Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

THE ‘WILL-O’-THE WISP & the JACK O’ LANTERN – Why we Carve Pumpkins at Halloween…

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

As Halloween is fast approaching it is time for us to get creative with the Pumpkin carving! At the hotel, we are putting our heads together to think of cool images to carve into the pumpkins – we will also love for you to help us out -what kind of cool imagery do you want us to carve into our own Pumpkin? If you have any ideas please let us know and even better, share your photos of the cool carvings you have created for this occasion!

In this blog we will discover the origins of pumpkin carving and as to why we continue this tradition every year.

THE ‘WILL-O’-THE WISP & the JACK O’ LANTERN Connection
The tradition of carving pumpkin has various origins and the most popular in well known folklore are the stories of The Will-O’-the Wisp and Jack O’ Lantern.
The ‘Will-O’-the Wisp’ was created by a natural phenomena that happens to occur when plants are decaying over Swampy or Peat Bog areas and are in the process producing a Phosphorescence Glow .
During the 18th Century tales of folklore were created to personify this ghostly apparition and tales of Pixies and Sprites were soon born to explain what was happening. The Sprite was said to form wispy flames of light around it and would lead foolish travelers astray by luring them towards the swampy bogs – where ultimately some may have gotten themselves stuck in the dark murky swamps.
In Latin the light is known as “Ignis Fatuus” which translates “foolish fire.” The reference of the name “will-o’-the-wisp” has been extended to any impractical or unattainable goal.

On the subject of the Phosphorescence Glow there are many common occurrences of this that you can see for yourself, materials such as Paints, Glow in the dark toys and Clock dials are all examples of a man made material that presents the Phosphorescence glow processes in opposition to the chemical states happening naturally.

The Jack O’ Lantern is related to the Wisp, but in modern times when we follow this tradition the Lantern seems to be a more common phrase that comes to mind.
The origins of this are from Irish and Scottish Myths and Legendary Folklore that come in various incarnations. In short, the tales usually involves a man ‘Jack’ Who has an undesirable trait wether he be stingy or a thief and has played a trick on the devil which never bodes well for his Soul. As punishment, Jack’s Soul after passing is generally to be found in Limbo as the devil agrees too spare it, yet, unbeknownst to Jack it means the soul cannot be entered into Heaven nor can it be let into Hell in part due to his lifestyle decisions and as well as the experience with the devil itself!!!

The images portrayed into the Pumpkins are of a ghoulish nature for these reasons, and over the years that we have traditionally celebrated the tradition, there have been many pranks played into the custom too – so the evolution of some of these Lanterns portray humorous looking Ghouls and imagery.

Below are some Lanterns that were created with some friends on a Halloween excursion to Seattle…..what do you think of them? Cool eh!

This summer is full of events and festivals, take a look at what is in store!

Friday, June 28th, 2013

July is fast approaching and that means it is time to get out and about in the city as festival season will be hotting up….apparently the weather is going to play ball too just in time for Canada Day on July 1st.

It seems like the West is going to be enjoying better weather than of late (but us Vancouverites are quite used to a rainy start to the Summer…In Vancouver the month of June is commonly named as Juneuary….lol).
Forecasters are predicting temperatures in the mid 20 Celsius and possibly higher in parts (for you Fahrenheit folks out there this will be the high 70s pushing into the 80s), but we will have to wait and see when next week comes around….would be nice eh!

JULY 1st – CANADA DAY
Celebrate this Nations national holiday on July 1st with a fantastic long weekend spectacle around the city. Here are our suggestions where you can enjoy the Canada Day Celebrations.

CANADA DAY ON GRANVILLE ISLAND
Granville Island will be the bug of the party, starting the celebrations bright and early from 7am right until Midnight, you will be treated to a Pancake Breakfast, fantastic festival atmosphere with live dancers, Jazz music and performances courtesy of the South Asian Cultural Extravaganza.

http://granvilleisland.com/event/canada-day-celebration

CANADA DAY WATERFRONT PARTY & PARADE
The Canada Day Party will begin at 10am till 6pm at Canada Place which like Granville Island is a must see area to visit, it is also where the Cruise Ships dock in the summer season.
There will be a full on festival atmosphere down here with 3 stages for live entertainment.
CANADA DAY PARADE The Parade begins at 7pm and begins at Georgia St and Broughton St So don your best red and white clothes and get there to enjoy the festive activities!

http://www.canadaday.canadaplace.ca/

CANADA DAY FIREWORKS
The Fireworks will cap off the perfect day of celebrations from the beautiful setting of the Burrard Inlet which Canada Place overlooks with the gorgeous North shore mountains and North Vancouver in the background.
The fireworks will get going from 10.30pm till 11pm. Hopefully the weather will be clear as you will still be able to see the north shore backdrop with stunning twilight setting on these long balmy evenings.

http://www.canadadayfireworks.ca/

There are a couple of festivals happening on Saturday July 13th
KHATSAHLANO! Music & Arts Festival
A major music festival right in the heart of the trendy Kitsilano district
Located along West 4th Ave between Burrard St and Macdonald St, the area will be funpacked with live music, dancing and plenty of street performers with around 50 participants to make it a very special day. The area is awesome on its own too, like Davie Village it is packed with excellent Restaurants, Bars, Cafes and trendy shops – you cannot go wrong.

GAYDAY @ PLAYLAND
One of the first festivals that are leading up to the Vancouver Pride Parade is Gay Day at the PNE PLAYLAND Fairground….so don your best pink and bring out that inner child in you at the fun of the fair!

https://www.facebook.com/events/178249728899316/

VANCOUVER FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL
Friday, July 19 – Sunday, July 21
By far one of the biggest events in the musical calender in Vancouver, this is a must see festival that is not only folk music but does encompass other genres and styles that can relate to it. The musicians here are excellent too, so for the money spent you will not be disappointed at all.
It is also set at the stunning location of Jericho Beach, this is one of the finest beaches in the Vancouver area and offers stunning views of Vancouver and its surroundings.
$45 – $50 Friday only; $75 – $80 Saturday or Sunday; $135 – $165 Weekend Pass; student, youth and senior discounts available.

http://thefestival.bc.ca/

CARIBBEAN DAYS FESTIVAL – NORTH VANCOUVER/LONSDALE QUAY
Saturday, July 27 – Sunday, July 28
Let the Caribbean spirit flow through veins with lively music, excellent food that is full of flavour as only the tropics know how, and they have a way to party like no other!
Also when you are there, check out the Lonsdale Quay area, it is North Vancouver’s equivalent of Granville Island and Pike Place Market in Seattle.

http://www.caribbeandays.ca/

CELEBRATION OF LIGHT FIREWORKS
Saturday, July 27th, Wednesday, July 31st & Saturday, August 3rd
One of the biggest events in the Vancouver calender and a truly fantastic spectacle that draws almost half a million people to the West End Beaches of Sunset Beach and English Bay, iy is now in its 23rd year.
It is a worldwide competition that is held annual in various worldwide cities. Each country per night is hoping to win the prize by perfecting an incredible display in synchrony to Music of their choice.

There will also be an acrobatic air display to get you going before the fireworks kick off at 10pm.

Fireworks information: http://www.sunsetinn.com/blog/?cat=717

Please check with the hotel for details regarding this major event as there will be road closures. The Sunset Inn is within the no drive zone.

The Jimi Hendrix connection & the district of Strathcona

Friday, May 10th, 2013

There has been a lot of interest in the local media as of late on the subject of Multiculturalism and, in particular, the ethnic diversity of the populations that reside in Vancouver. It seems apparent that the so called majorities that the articles are talking about can be assumed to be of Caucasian decent, however, the reason these articles are being created suggest that the Caucasian populous are actually the absolute minority. When you come to visit Vancouver you will immediately notice that it truly is a very diverse city, the differing ethnicity of people all around you is very clear to see, this has always been the case in Vancouver and such its history is very rich and varied.

The subject of multiculturalism and political correctness can be left for discussions over a coffee or a beer among yourselves, it does however lead us onto some interesting history regarding the area of Strathcona and a certain influential musician by the name of Jimi Hendrix.

JIMI HENDRIX, HOGANS ALLEY & STRATHCONA
Many of you will have heard of Jimi Hendrix and will know that he hailed from the Seattle area which is not too far away from us just South of the Border – along with many other very famous musicians that have over time have been extremely influential on the musical scene. However…did you know that he actually spent some of his childhood growing up in an area not too far from Main Street Station called Strathcona and more specifically an area known as Hogan’s Alley.

Hogan’s Alley was a Neighbourhood area that was predominantly made up by the Black community and Jimi Hendrix was one person who resided there, he went to school here as a young boy and eventually started to begin his journey into music learning his trade in the area.
The alley itself now has Plaque in commemoration to the once vibrant community that has all but vanished and transformed into Chinatown and The Strathcona district. A predominant Asian and specifically Chinese community, Strathcona is also one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city – and it really does show, you can walk around and see the differing colours, shapes and sizes of the property and can imagine the battles between the locals, urban planners, and ultimately, the influence and evolution of Gentrification that the locals have had to endure over the years.
During the 1950s and 1960s the Black community started to be moved on by urban planners and this has been a bone of contention over the years due to the manner of how this happened.
The Plaque in the area has been a long time coming and as Vancouver has well over 20,000 black people here it is right that this community is not forgotten like many others who are celebrated here.

JIMI HENDRIX SHRINE
Yesterday, a friend and myself decided to take a walk along Main Street towards Chinatown, the Downtown Eastside and Gastown and along the way we decided to stop by the small building that is now the Jimi Hendrix Shrine.

This is a true little gem and is well worth a visit, it is also quite close to the Main Street Station Bus and Train terminals, you just need to walk 2 blocks North along Main St under the Georgia Viaduct, which is also the southern gateway to Chinatown. Here you will see a building and a sign that has guitar murals painted on the side of it – follow the building East and the little shrine is there.

We walked in and was met by a really nice guy called Lewis who is one of a few handful of volunteers that help run the shrine and its cute little garden out back. Inside the Shrine, there are pictures, guitars and some information on Jimi’s history in the neighbourhood and there are also his Lyrics to his very well known songs on the wall.

There is also some great information regarding a famous Restaurant called Vie’s Chicken and SteakHouse which was located right by where the Shrine now stands and is part of folklore on Hogan’s Alley. It was here at Vie’s that Jimi’s grandmother Nora worked and as Jimi got older he would learn to play here at after hours. Vie’s operated between the 1920s through to the 1970s and was a major hangout for very famous Black Stars of the day such as Nat king Cole.

The site of where the shrine is where a letter was found to be written by Jimi and addressed to Nora Hendrix, at 209 Union St. in Vancouver’s Chinatown. The now owner of the Shrine followed his curiosity to see the address only to find a dilapidated shed on that location – it was then discovered that this was the former location of Vie’s kitchen and was then decided that a special memorial should be created – and the rest as they say is history!

We hope that you found something from this blog and will take a small trip to the Shrine while you are checking out the Chinatown area.

Two novelty ways to explore Vancouver city and beyond…

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

We believe that Vancouver is one of the most stunning cities in the world and how could you not. So what are the best ways to see the city and its surroundings? We feel we have a few novelty ideas that will make your trip that extra bit special.

As always, we will always recommended the regular city tours such as the cool Big Bus and Trolley tours, but Vancouver has a few more options up its sleeve – these are the famous walking tours of the city and Seaplane tours of Vancouver, Vancouver Island, ocean and mountains.

For those of you who like to explore the city on foot, Vancouver is indeed spoiled for choice with a great number of walking tours around the city – our pick will be ‘The Tour Guys’.

The Tour Guys offer free tours and more specialized walking tours at an offerdable price around our town, these guys are an absolute pleasure to be chaperoned around the city, they are energetic, fun and are pretty much street performers in their own right, but they belong to you, we think this is pretty awesome.
The tours focus on three areas of the city, which includes the well known area of Gastown which is the oldest area of Vancouver and certainly has quite some character and many many stories behind the scenes of Gastown, these stories you will be sure to hear from these great guys.

The tours which you will have to spend a little cash on include – Murder, mystery and mayhem, Eat your cart out (a delightful tour of the now famous Foodcarts of Vancouver), and a Craft beer tour called Beer makes history better – a tour that involves craft beers, sounds pretty cool eh!

If there is a tour that does not fit your schedule, you can also contact them and build a tour that fits you and your budget too…

The next option is a really really cool one, this could be a real treat for a loved one or an idea to have an epic view of the city, let us introduce to you the Harbour air seaplane tours.
Boasting a a large fleet of 39 aircraft, Harbour Air are proud to boast that they are the largest all Seaplane fleet in the entire world. Whenever you come to Vancouver, one of the most noticeable objects in the skies above you are these float planes buzzing all over the area.

The tours are great, they include anything from a short 10 to 20 minute tour of the City, to more extensive tours that travel farther afield such as Victoria, Seattle, Whistler, the great north shore mountains and Glaciers – we cannot think of anything more spectacular than buzzing around in a seaplane over Cypress, Grouse or Seymour mountains with the city falling behind.

http://www.harbour-air.com/

http://www.tourguys.ca/