Picks of the Week – September 2, 2015

After last week’s deluge of wind and rain, let’s hope that our Labour Day long weekend doesn’t leave anyone in the dark while they check out the picks of the week;

Ribs: today at PNE the 5th Annual Rib Fest is bbq competition is sure to get your taste buds watering at the Celebration Plaza from 4pm

Icon: The original Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons perform their legendary song catalogue at River Rock Show Theatre tonight.

PNE: On Labour Day, PNE 2015 comes to a close but not before some final Summer Night Concerts, with Dennis DeYoung, Boyz II Men, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Brett Kissel and Loverboy

Rock: Thursday at the Commodore, get your rock on with Eagles Of Death Metal

Folk: catch the vibe at Malkin Bowl as Ben Harper brings his unique sound to the outdoor venue on Friday evening

Punk: Minnesota’s Babes In Toyland remind the crowd of their 90s heydays when they play the Biltmore Cabaret on Friday

Cakes: XY: Gold Friday brings in San Fran DJ Byron Bonsall to provide the beats for the Poundcake GoGos to shake their cakes to.

Bard:  Labour Day weekend seems to be a perfect time for Shakespeare’s Loves Labours Lost, one of the four shows playing at  Bard of the Beach until September 26

Remix: The Chainsmokers gets the Commodore Ballroom dancing with their energetic dance music on Saturday night

Onyx: Get ready for back to school when Onyx at XY welcomes DJ Domtop and the Betta Bitch Sorority

Mad: If EDM is your thing, get a whole day of it at Mad Decent Block Party with Dillon Francis, Grand Theft, Humans and more on Sunday at Westjet Concert Stage at PNE

Head ‘FORE’ a round at Longlands Golf

Longlands_IMG_0179Off the beaten path in Comox, BC, Longlands Golf Course is a tranquil, compact Par 3 course in the country.

As a rather novice golfer, Longlands is not usually too busy so you won’t feel rushed or pressured if you’re not exactly hitting those Par 3s every hole. The 18 hole course is completely surrounded by trees and nature, so while there’s a good chance you won’t find your ball once if it hits the rough, there’s no chance of hitting a neighbour. The neighbours, here are deer and racoons and even the possible bear.Longlands_IMG_0184

Pre or post your round, or even without playing, the Longlands restaurant is an enjoyable spot for lunch seven days a week as well as breakfast and dinner on weekends. The huge, sunny patio is a popular spot for social gatherings and special occasion brunch buffet.  Since a par 3 doesn’t take as long, it leaves more time for a cocktail on the patio with the rest of your foursome.

Longlands Golf Course is located at 1239 Anderton Road, Comox BC.

Haystacks & Librettos at Vista d’Oro Farm

VistadOroOn September 12 food, wine and song come together for a one-of-a-kind evening Haystacks & Librettos at Vista D’oro Farms & Winery in Langley.  The first of the Dairy Barn Sessions sees global opera star, tenor David Curry will be joined by two singers from Vancouver Opera’s Young Artist Program, Eden Tremayne (soprano) and Francesca Corrado (mezzo-soprano) to perform in the farm’s heritage dairy barn.

DavidCurryThe evening’s music is divided into two halves, the first will include works from Mr. Curry’s favourite operas he has performed in during his career including works by Mozart, Bizet, Verdi, and Puccini. The second half features hits from Broadway’s great songbook

An evening in the bountiful Campbell Valley wouldn’t be complete without a great meal. Between the music sets, Chef Chris Whittaker of Vancouver’s Forage Restaurant will prepare a family-style three course dinner with local ingredients paired with Vista D’Oro wines.

Vista D’oro owner Lee Murphy says, “we know this will be the single most magical and romantic evening of the summer for those who join us”

Haystacks & Librettos takes place Saturday, September 12, starting at 4pm, at Vista D’oro Farm – 346 208th Street in Langley.
Tickets $300, including opening cocktails & canapes in the vineyard,concert, 3-course dinner with wine pairings plus return transportation from Vancouver

Friday Find: Eagle Aerie Gallery – Tofino

EagleAerie_IMG_0088In the centre of the tiny village of Tofino, you’ll find Roy Henry Vickers’ beautiful Eagle Aerie Gallery. Roy Henry Vickers is an internationally renowned First Nations artist with works in galleries and collections around the world.  His works have often been given as the Official Gift of the Province of British Columbia; having been presented to the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin.  Visitors arriving at Vancouver International Airport pass many of his works in the YVR halls.

Vickers’ mixed heritage, his mother was of English descent, has given his work a distinctive, and sought after, style.  The longhouse styled gallery in Tofino, is a tranquil, destination to peruse the original prints and carvings as well as the reproduction prints, lithographs and block mounts.  The gallery regularly hosts special events like Roy telling the personal stories that inspired his art.  With works costing from a few $1000 to a few dollars, there’s something for every budget to take home a piece of Roy Henry Vickers art on your next visit to Tofino.

Eagle Aerie Gallery is located at 350 Campbell Street, and free to visit from 10am – 5pm, 7 days per week.

Catch lunch at Schooner Restaurant

Schooner_15 04 08 Celebrating 66 years serving the village of Tofino, Schooner Restaurant is an institution on the West Coast.  Perched on the rise at Second & Campbell Streets, overlooking the town and harbour, the restaurant has been at the centre of the community as it’s grown from a remote post-war outpost to a world renowned destination.

Schooner_IMG_0084We stopped in on a busy summer afternoon, while it was an overcast, breezy afternoon the heated patio was busy and the warm cozy dining room was a lively hub of visitors and locals.
The varied lunch menu, as expected, featured a lot of seafood but there’s something for everyone in the family. From share plates to Asian inspired bowls to classic burgers or fish & chips.

Schooner_IMG_0085I choose a fantastic stacked fish burger with prawns, the fresh fruit salsa and spicy fried jalapeño contrasted for a burst of flavours. Crispy fries complimented the soft burger bun.
Billy’s Chicken Hot Pot was a Thai style, tangy, zesty mix of veggies and grilled chicken in a coconut red curry sauce.
Judging by other dishes coming out of the kitchen, everything on the menu looked tasty and substantially portioned. The steady stream of patrons attested to the history and good word of mouth surrounding the Schooner Restaurant.

Schooner Restaurant is located at 331 Campbell Street (corner of 2nd) in downtown Tofino, BC. Open Tuesday – Sunday for Lunch and Dinner.

Picks of the Week – August 26, 2015

Wrapping up the 5th weekend of this August, we have a bonus week to squeeze the most out of our summer with these picks of the week:

Finals: The Amway Canadian Championship will be decided tonight when Whitecaps FC host Montreal Impact at BC Place.

Taste: Explore Chinatown tonight when Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates explores the east side neighbourhood.

PNE: The second weekend of PNE 2015 rolls along with more great entertainment; Beatlemania, Broadway’s Peter Pan, Farm Country, Playland and hot Summer Night Concerts, this week with Beach Boys, Daughtry, New Pornographers, Tom Cochrane & Red Rider and Colbie Callait & Christina Perri.

Stars: this is your last chance to catch Theatre Under The Stars at Stanley Park as Oliver! and Hairspray are held-over until Sunday

Bamboleo: Spanish language French band, Gypsy Kings, bring their lively act to the River Rock Show Theatre on Thursday night.

Queens: Back It Up Thursdays at Celebrities Nightclub packs the stage with the City’s Super Queens for a night of entertainment benefiting YouthCo and Friends for Life

Bard: Spend the weekend at the beach and enjoy some Shakespeare where Bard of the Beach presents The Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Loves Labours Lost and Shakespeare’s Rebel until September 26

Icon: Legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Paul Anka stops by the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver to perform his iconic songbook on Friday night

GoGo: G-Luve drops the beats and the Bootybox GoGos drop their gear at XY Friday night

Alive: Peter Frampton comes alive when he plays the Hard Rock Casino live on Saturday night

Country: Continuing a weekend of music icons at Hard Rock Casino, Steve Earle & The Dukes play on Sunday night

Bunny: Jane Smoker hosts, DJ Domtop spins, and Carlotta Gurl struts her stuff as Playboy on Saturday night at XY



Discover the old growth Cathedral Grove

CathedralGrove_IMG_0055In the heart of Vancouver Island, visitors can walk amongst nearly a millennium of history.   MacMillan Provincial Park, better known as Cathedral Grove, along Highway 4, is one of the most accessible stands of old growth forest anywhere in North America.  Begun with 136 hectares donated by forester H.R. MacMillan in 1944, his namesake park is a gem for any natural history buff, the meandering trails guide visitors through the grove of ancient Douglas Fir, Hemlock and Western Red Cedar trees. While the exact age can’t be known until a tree dies, based on circumference, it’s assumed that Cathedral Grove contains trees up to 800 years old.  However, most of the trees sprouted after a devastating forest fire three centuries ago.  CathedralGrove_IMG_0054
Untouched by human hands, since the time of the signing of the Magna Carta, long before North America  nature has had an impact on the grove, some of the trees roots die off leaving some branches and trees to topple easily, as warning signs advise of throughout the Park.  In extreme wind storms the forest can be irreparably changed, as hundreds of trees came down in the last severe storm in the 90s some of the trails only recently reopened and the natural regeneration is restoring a renewed splendour to the downed trees. Whether as a day trip from Nanaimo or Parksville-Qualicum, or as a stop on your way to Port Alberni and the West Coast, Cathedral Grove at MacMillan Provincial Park is a definitely must do on everyone’s Vancouver Island adventures.

CathedralGrove_IMG_0051MacMillan Provincial Park is located 25km west of Qualicum Beach and 16km east of Port Alberni on Highway #4. Hiking trails are relatively easy and well maintained, some are even wheelchair accessible.

Sights / Sounds / Sports / Style / Socializing