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2014 Grey Cup Weekend

The BC Lions have been eliminated from the CFL Playoffs, but the buildup to the 102nd Grey Cup is just starting to build. Vancouver is hosting the national event at BC Place Stadium. Organizers have planned a full weekend of events to entertain the many football fans that will be flooding into our fair city. The game itself will be played on November 30th, with a kickoff of 3 p.m.

Here is a full list of the events planned for the days leading up to the Grey Cup:

Thursday, November 27th

Telus Street Festival

This a family friendly event at Canada Place that is free of charge. Gates open at 11 a.m. The festival will continue each day until kickoff.

Red Truck Tailgate Concert Series

Doors open at 5 pm at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Three bands will be featured: Hey Ocean!, Family of the Year and Gay Nineties. Base tickets are selling for $35. Hey Ocean! will be headlining and plan to take the stage around 10:30 p.m.

CFL Awards

The 2014 CFL Awards will be handed out at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. with the cheapest tickets going for $70. Full VIP experience passes are available for this event.

Friday, November 28th

Blakes CFL Alumni Legends Luncheon

The three-course lunch kicks off at 11 a.m. at the Vancouver Convention Centre. A silent auction is planned along with live entertainment and Q&A session with CFL greats. Tickets are a little steep for this event, with a starting price of $150.

Red Truck Tailgate Concert Series

Doors open at 4 p.m. at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Friday’s theme is country music, with One More Girl, Tebey and Tim Hicks preforming. Cowboy boots recommended, but not required.

Hall of Fame Night

The 2015 inductees to the CFL Hall of Fame will be announced at this event. The festivities will take place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel with doors opening at 7 p.m.

Saturday, November 29th

Athletes in Action Breakfast

Start the day off with a hearty breakfast at the Vancouver Convention Centre and rub elbows with CFL players and their wives.

Festival Parade

Starting at 10 a.m., the parade will begin at Smithe and Hornby and will head west to Burrard, then turn North making its way to Dunsmuir, then East to Granville Street. The Grey Cup trophy will be on display as well as floats, marching bands and past and present CFL stars.

Red Truck Tailgate Concert Series

The final night of this event features Trooper, 54-40 and Sass Jordan. Doors ope at 12 p.m. for all the keeners.

Scotiabank Rock and Roar Gala

This is the premier event of the lead up events to the Grey Cup. It will take place in the Vancouver Convention Centre West ballroom. Unfortunately this event is already sold out.

Sunday, November 30th

Fan March

Before the big game, the CFL has organized an event that celebrates the game’s loyal fans. The march will start at Jack Poole Plaza at 12:30 p.m. and will finish at BC Place Stadium.

Hope everyone has an unforgettable Grey Cup weekend!

Vancouver Remembers

This Tuesday is Remembrance Day, a day set aside to acknowledge the brave men and women who have served and who are currently serving Canada’s military.

After the events in Ottawa last month, it is more important than ever for the public to show their support for the people who put their lives on the line just by putting on the uniform.

Vancouver will be hosting a number of events to remember and acknowledge our soldiers. Here is a short list:

Generation to Generation Ceremony

Where: Jack Poole Plaza (Convention Center West)

When: 8:30 a.m.

Event: This ceremony is intended to show the generational exchange of service. A senior veteran will pass Canada’s flag to the next generation of veterans from wars overseas. The cauldron will be lit during the exchange and will continue burning until 11:00 a.m.

Victory Square Ceremony

Where: Victory Square Cenotaph (corner of Cambie and Hastings)

When: 9:45 a.m.

Event: This is the main Remembrance Day gathering in Vancouver. The event will begin with a performance by the Vancouver Bach Youth Choir. At 10:00 a.m., the Vancouver Flag Party will lead the veterans to Victory Square. The cenotaph ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. At 11:00 a.m. the Last Post will be sounded followed by two minutes of silence and a 21-gun salute. The ceremony will receive a fly-by from the Royal Canadian Air Force. The event will conclude with a performance of “In Flanders Fields.”

Smaller Events:

Memorial South Park Cenotaph

Where: 41st Avenue and Windsor Street

When: 10:30 a.m.

Grandview Park

Where: Commercial Drive and Charles Street

When: 10:45 a.m.

Chinatown Memorial

Where: Keefer Street and Columbia Street

When: 12:30 p.m.

Diner en Blanc

If you haven’t received your official invitation by now, it’s probably too late.

Diner en Blanc is returning to Vancouver for it’s third sitting. The mysterious all-white dinner party is an invite-only picnic that has become one of the most anticipated social engagements of the Vancouver summer calendar.

The event, for those of you in the black, is basically a bring-your-own-everything-picnic, where all the attendees wear white.

Why is an invitation so sought after? That’s a good question. Probably because the organizers are extremely savvy in their marketing and social media skills. The whole event is like one perfect Instagram photo, complete with a black and white filter to give it that retro vibe.

Tickets are $35, for nothing more than a chance to sit at a table. Again, you have to provide your own food and drink.

Besides the ‘only wear white’ gimmick, the dinner’s popularity is also aided by the mystery surrounding its location. Each year the organizers choose a new public setting for the event. The catch: no one is altered to the location until a few hours before the event.

Prospective picnickers go through a series of complicated registration phases to secure a seat. Over 35,000 people applied for this year’s event and only 3,200 were accepted. The good thing for past guests, is once you’re in, you’re in annually. That is, if you don’t break any of the long list of etiquette rules, the most stringent being ‘only white garb’.

So for those of us without a snowy white ticket, there’s always a spot on the beach. Wear whatever you like, you will always be welcomed back.

The Ultimate Waterslide

This past weekend Salt Lake City residents were treated with a summer gift: a 1,000-foot long slip-and-slide down the city’s Main Street. The massive slide was a huge hit and was accompanied by live music, food trucks and street performers.

Now the organizers are looking at different cities around North America to bring their summer event to. And guess what, Vancouver is on the list!

The event is  pay-to-ride, with single tickets running around $15 and triple slides at a discounted rate of $25. For an extra $10 ($35 total), sliders can buy an unlimited access pass. The organizers also offer a $45 VIP experience with extended sliding hours, lunch included and various sliding swag.

The organizers in Salt Lake donated the proceeds to Ronald McDonald House and the Utah Aids Foundation.

The big question is which street in Vancouver would be best for a 1,000-foot water slide? We’re thinking Alberni downtown, or maybe an extreme version on Oak Street, right next to Vancouver’s favourite mattress store, Simmons Mattress Gallery.

And don’t worry; the slide is mounted on a layer of foam. Maybe not as comfortable as the memory foam found inside in a Simmons Beautyrest, but enough so you won’t rip up your belly on the pavement.

Tell us where you think the slide should go with the hashtag #VanSlide.


Urban Beekeeping

Hives for Humanity is offering free beekeeping lessons every Monday night at the Milross Gardens in Chinatown. The non-profit organization will host weekly workshops from 5 pm to 6:30 pm until the end of the summer. The workshops are open to anyone and include gardening tips, beekeeping care and the opportunity to taste honey fresh from the comb.

The Milross Gardens are located at 989 Main Street, just off of Milross Avenue. The site contains two hives that thrive beside a 6,000 square foot community garden. The garden has 130 raised garden boxes, of which 40 are designated as pollinators. The rest of the boxes are available for lease by Vancouver residents. Two of these are set aside for composting.

While the bees may be attracted to the adjacent flowers, their range can include a radius of 6.5 kilometers. If you live in the Chinatown or Strathcona neighbourhoods, the nectar from your garden could be contributing to the honey being produced in the Milross Gardens.

If your interest lies more in the garden and less on the bees, stop by between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm on Mondays to talk to the garden’s local horticulturalist.

For more information on the Milross Gardens, visit: http://www.milrossgardensonmain.com.

For more info on Hives for Humanity, visit: http://hivesforhumanity.com

World Cup Final Party

Outdoor sporting celebrations are a problem for Vancouver organizers. After 2011s (let’s not use the ‘r’ word) public mutiny, the city is tentative to put their stamp of approval on any event that brings sporting fans together in a concentrated area. And this is understandable…

To control the ruckus but still offer an event where people can publicly enjoy sport, the city has organized a celebratory indoor community event for the final match of the World Cup. The event will be held at Trout Lake Community Centre and is titled “Soccer! Samba!! Celebration!!!”

The event will have a Latin theme with live music and dancing. The goal of the organizers is to recreate the atmosphere of a stadium inside Brazil. This is a family-friendly event, so it is strictly alcohol-free. There will be two zones, a Rio De Janeiro Zone that mimics the surround sound of the stadium experience with a party atmosphere and a Soccer Fan Fun Zone for all the younger soccer enthusiasts. The kid zone will have a host of activities and games available to keep the kids interested.

Guests are asked to dress up in the colours of their favourite  World Cup team. Awards will be given out for best outfit.

The facility can only hold 800 people, so book your tickets online as soon as possible. The doors will open at 10 a.m. next Sunday. Have fun!

Celebrate the Light

It all started on Canada Day – A fifteen-minute display of light streaks, shimmering arcs and deafening explosions. Then we had a short break and then BAM! The skies were alight again for the Fourth of July. Then it was the bike ravers on Saturday night.

“When will the explosive madness subside?!?!” Said no one.

Bring on the free light parties!

If you are a firework enthusiast living in the Lower Mainland, you will be happy to know that the annual Celebration of Light Festival (formerly the Symphony of Fire), will be returning to English Bay. This year’s naming rights were past to the Japanese auto manufacturer Honda.

Competing this summer will be the USA, France and Japan. The Americans will get the party started on the 26th of July, followed by French on the 30th and finally by Japan on Saturday, August 2nd.

If you have not been to the summer fireworks before, here are a few basic facts and tips for Vancouver’s Celebration of Light:

  • The fireworks are shot from a barge approximately 500 metres from shore.
  • One of the best views for the fireworks is from the water. If you have a friend who owns a boat, send them a quick message on Facebook today. Plant the seed.
  • Don’t plan on getting out of the downtown core quickly. Your best bet is to use public transit and then plan to spend a few hours, post fireworks, walking around downtown or visiting a pub or restaurant. This will give the crowds a chance to disperse.

The Fireworks start at 10 p.m. If that’s past your usual bedtime, make sure to get as much rest as you can the night before.

Summer Outdoor Movies in Stanley Park

Grab your lawn chair, some healthy snacks and all the jelly bracelets you can find at your parent’s house; The Chevron Summer Cinema Series is coming back to Stanley Park.

The best popcorn flicks from the 80s and 90s will be cast upon the giant blowup screen at Ceperley Meadows every Tuesday night from July 8th to September 2nd.

Fresh Air Cinema will once again be putting on the event that has seen up to 5,000 viewers attend a single viewing. This is the fifth year of the hugely popular outdoor movie night.

Last year, the cinema series partnered with a number of food trucks that offered a variety of tasty snacks for filmgoers. Hopefully the trucks will be returning this year.

Guests are reminded that there is absolutely no smoking in Stanley Park. Alcohol consumption at the event is also prohibited.

This year’s lineup is as follows:

July 8th: The Lego Movie

You have to start with a kid’s film – It’s tradition.

July 15th – Pretty in Pink

The good kind of Molly. Not the Miley kind.

July 22nd – Foot Loose

It’s the 30th Anniversary of this Kevin Bacon dance-off. We hate to imagine what the Reverend Shaw Moore would think of twerking!

July 29th – Mean Girls

Before Lindsay went all crazy she was reciting some of Tina Fey’s funniest lines. “You go Glen Coco!”

August 5th – Dumb and Dumber

Harry and Lloyd fans rejoice. Put our bill on Seabass’ tab.

August 12th – Ghost

Just when you thought you had the visual of Demi Moore at the pottery wheel out of your head…

August 19th – The Karate Kid

Sweep the leg.

August 26th – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Love the film for some of the action bits, but have you watched it lately? Crazy racial stereotypes. Just saying…

September 2nd – The Princess Bride

You voted for it and Fresh Air Cinema responded with: “As you wish.” A perfect film to end the series.

Sunset Food Trucks

One more reason why Vancouver is an awesome place to live: Weekly Food Truck Festival at Sunset Beach.

Yes, you heard right. This summer the Vancouver food trucks will be circling their wagons in the Sunset Beach parking lot every Friday night. The festival will focus on the culinary creations of Vancouver’s mobile cooks, but it will also feature local art and music. The backdrop: well you know what’s down there – one of the most gorgeous spots to watch the sun dip away, rivalled only by Spanish Banks.

The weekly food-love-in will start at 5 p.m. and wrap up (unintentional pun) around 9 p.m, just as the sun sets.

Andrew Fielding, president of the Streetfood Vancouver Society, is hard at work getting the permits in order. He still needs approval from the Parks Department. He is also looking for corporate sponsorship to help with the funding.

Last year, a similar festival was held at the Olympic Village, with help from the Waldorf Hotel. The new plan would place the organizing power firmly in the hands of the cart owners. “This would be different…this would be our event,” claims Fielding.

In any form, Vancouverites win. No Fun City. Ha! We think not!

Fright Nights 2013

Halloween is two days away and all the little ghouls and ghosts are putting the last minute touches on their costumes. They will proudly parade them at school on Thursday and then it’s off to the neighbourhood for treats and a few PG scares.

For the adults, it takes more than a little fake blood and a bed sheet to peak the fright levels. Even the current stock of horror films offers few ‘jump out of your seat’ moments.

Good thing Fright nights has returned to the PNE. The annual scarefest is on until November 2. This year’s scream offerings include six haunted houses, twelve rides of doom and an entirely new freak show titled The Monsters of Schlock.

We’ve attended a few Fright Nights in the past and they always live up to their hype. You always think: “how scary could a haunted house be in an amusement park?” Turns out – pretty scary. We pity those poor souls who have to stand in hidden trap doors for three hours…

And the wooden coaster is always great for that initial plunge – the drop into the unknown. They don’t build them like they used to.

So tuck the little ones in, hire a sitter and get your scream on. We can’t promise it will help you sleep, but it will be a ‘wicked’ night out.

Draw By NIght

Attention all doodlers, designers and creative types! Vancouver is now hosting a new outlet for your artistic endeavours. Draw by Night is holding bi-monthly drawing parties at the Vancouver Film School Cafe at 390 West Hastings Street.

The next party is tonight, from 6-8pm. The theme will be video games of a spooky nature.

The parties are intended to promote creativity, imagination and the collaboration of local artists in the Vancouver community. Participants draw on communal rolls of paper, spread out over long tables. You can bring your own artistic implements or use the creative tools supplied. It’s completely free and tons of fun.

Previous parties have included author readings, live music and guest artists. One show incorporated a live stream from the studio of Cian Donnelly in Rome.

Participants are encouraged to use twitter and other social media platforms to share their work and promote future events.

Once again, the event is completely free of charge and no previous artistic background is required. Just show up, have fun and let your creativity flow.

Draw a mattress themed composition, send us a photo to our twitter feed and we’ll publish your artwork on our blog. Can’t think of any video games involving mattresses, but I’m sure you will come up with something.

For more information on future events visit http://drawbynight.notsosimpleton.com/

Vancouver International Film Festival (2013)

Now that Will Smith has sent Jayden back to school, we’ve recovered from that terrible Hangover and Tonto has retired that ridiculous headdress, it is time to head back to the theatre for some truly inspiring celluloid magic. Neither too fast, nor too furious, genuine cinema returns to our city with the Vancouver International Film Festival.

VIFF will open on September 26th and run for two weeks, closing on October 11th. During that time, over 340 films will be shown from 70 different countries. Just over a hundred will be the works of proud Canadians.

The festival is the second largest in Canada and although it does not draw the star power that Toronto attracts, it does provide one of the most diverse exhibitions of film offered in North America.

There were a few speedbumps this year over theatre availability, after Granville 7 closed for good and The Centre for Performing Arts was sold to the WestSide Evangelical Church. But VIFF secured six theatre locations and eventually managed to work out a deal with the new owners of The Centre.

The Vancouver Playhouse will be a new venue, with the tearful exit of their ‘live company’ earlier this year. The Rio is also on the list, the only theatre where drinks of the adult-kind may be consumed inside the cinema. Also, the festivals new headquarters at Simon Fraser’s University Woodwards campus, will host a number of smaller screens. The gala functions will take place at The Centre.

The films in this year’s festival have been separated into eight series for quick reference (many straddle more than one category). VIFF’s online guide colour codes the films according to the series they belong to. Here is a list of the eight series and a brief description of what viewers should expect:

Galas and Special Presentations

  • Pretty self-explanatory. This year’s opening gala film is Nebraska, an American road-comedy about a father settling scores and a son looking for a way in. The closing gala will feature Annette Benning’s, The Face of Love.

Canadian Images and BC Spotlight

  • This category features local talent. Along with a plethora of short films, BC filmmakers will be presenting a dozen feature submissions filmed and conceived within our province. From the larger Canadian folder, comes All the Wrong Reasons, one of Corey Monteith’s last films. The film aspires to show the right and wrong ways to love.

Dragons and Tigers

  • A VIFF staple, Dragons and Tigers features films from East Asia. This portion of the submissions represents the largest exhibition of East Asian films outside of Asia.

Cinema of Our Time

  • The ‘world music’ category, Cinema of Our Time offers contemporary films from around the world.

Spotlight on France

  • The films of Australia. Kidding. Films from France. Probably very good ones. Moving on…

NonFiction Features

  • There are 75 documentary films that will be screened in this category. Canada has always supported and encouraged the works of documentary filmmakers. Considered one of our natural talents, the documentary genre is ripe with Canadiana content.

Art and Letters

  • This series highlights other visual and literary artists – the poets, dancers, painters and designers that give and inspire the colour that the film lens loves to capture. Rap is War, a film from this series, documents the underground hip-hop scene in Cuba and its political message.

Altered States

  • For the late-night set, Altered States focuses on films of a darker nature. Many of the titles included in this series have age restrictions. Check out Willow Creek, Bobcat Goldthwait’s (yes, of Police Academy fame), Blair Witch’ian’ style, Sasquatch picture.

Tickets, like any film festival, are sold in confusing clusters, overpriced singles and unaffordable passes. That being said, we wouldn’t miss it for the world. Anything to get the taste of After Earth from our mouths.


Vancouver International Dance Festival

Were you enamored by Kurt Warner’s dance moves away from the huddle? Does Marry Murphy’s scream move you to tears? Maybe it’s time to take in the real thing.

The Vancouver International Dance Festival begins on Tuesday and runs until the 19th of March. Professionals from all over the world will be strutting their stuff on the Roundhouse Stage and the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts.

There will be daily performances and Artist Talks where fans can interact with the performers and learn more about their craft.

This year’s line-up includes:

EDAM (Vancouver)

Yvonne Pouget (Germany)

Trial & Eros / Deborah Dunn (Montreal)

SiNS Dance (Halifax)

Cruceta Flamenco (Spain)

Marc Boivin / Ichigo-Ichieh (Montreal / Nelson)

Kokoro Dance / Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (Vancouver)

battery opera (Vancouver)

The Source (Vancouver)

Arts Umbrella (Vancouver)

Khambatta Dance Company (USA)

T42 (Swizerland / Japan)

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Festival Website. A number of the performances are free with the $3 VIDF annual membership card.

The festival has been in operation since 2000, with performances and workshops being offered around Vancouver.

Enjoy.

battery opera

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