Victoria’s Russell Books sets Guinness World Record

On Guinness World Records Day, November 14th, Victoria’s iconic Russell Books gained even more recognition as it set a brand new Guinness World Record; “The Tallest Tower of Guinness Book of Records”

The Russell Books team of builders began working in the early afternoon stacking and locking the Guinness Book of Records into a stable base for the growing tower at the new Russell Books location (opposite the original location on Fort Street in downtown Victoria). By 4pm, the doors were opened for a soft opening of the new 18,000 sq ft location, inviting the community and media to witness history in the making.

The community had a vested interest, since they had been invited to help with this record by donating copies of Guinness Books of Records, in exchange for a store credit. The people browsing and mingling in the open house feeling on the new store’s street level contrast with the tension and stress on the lower floor as the team continued to stack books. Once the tower reached the mezzanine, getting closer to the Guinness Record designated 6m mark, all eyes turned to watch. Nervous energy took over as the tower occasionally wobbled, causing the builders to stabilize or adjust the books. The tower was just a few books away from topping out, then after a tease of removing books to adjust again. Then after 5.5 hours, the final editions were added to the tower, breaking the 6m mark to great applause.

Guinness World Records’ Phillip Robertson presents Russell Books co-owners Andrea Minter & Chad DePol with the Record Certificate

Guinness World Record adjudicator Phillip Robertson was on hand from New York to verify the record followed the strict guidelines set by the organization for this brand new category. Once the tower was confirmed to be freestanding for a minimum of 10 seconds, the record was theirs. Robertson presented the Guinness World Record Certificate to owner Andrea Minter and the Russell Books team to hang proudly in the new store. For safety reasons the tower of 1000+ books was disassembled but the memory will live on for all who witnessed it, and donated books to complete the daunting task.

12 Holiday Markets & Craft Fairs for your 2019 Christmas Shopping list.

As the annual Circle Craft Christmas Market wraps up it kicks off the Holiday season of craft fairs. Over the next month, Metro Vancouver is filled with markets and fairs of all sizes bringing the best of handcrafted, artisanal gifts and crafts for your holiday shopping.

So skip the crowded malls, shop local and find something unique and handmade at one of the many fun and festive Christmas Craft Markets around Metro Vancouver. 

Here’s a dozen Christmas Craft Markets for you to find that special something for stockings,  under the tree or a treat for yourself

Christmas at Hycroft : November 14 – 17, 2019 – Three floors of the Edwardian Hycroft Manor are filled with the spirit of the season as Christmas at Hycroft plays host to decor, artisans, family fun, entertainment and Santa. Admission $15

West Coast Christmas Show & Artisan Market : November 15 – 17, 2019 – The 12th annual showcase of crafts, foods and gifts fills the TRADEX in Abbotsford. Admission $9

Crafty Affaire: November 16, 2019 (ElginHall, South Surrey), November 30, 2019 (Harris Barn, Delta), December 14 + 15, 2019 (Croatian Cultural Centre) The Holiday Markets from Craft Affaire spreads four days of markets, in three locations around Metro Vancouver to share their artisan’s wares to the communities. Admission by donation

Vancouver Christmas Market : November 20th – December 24th, 2019 – The Vancouver tradition, returns for the 10th year, the German-style Holiday Market brings 80+ huts filled with vendors of authentic German sweets, treats, trinkets and more to its waterfront location at Jack Poole Plaza. Adult Admission: $8 (early bird – before 2pm weekdays) and up

Dunbar Holiday Craft Fair : November 23, 2019, the 37th edition of Dunbar Holiday Craft Fair, finds 140 hand-selected artists and vendors at Dunbar Community Centre with crafts, edible gifts, and entertainment, everything you  need for your holiday shopping. Admission $5 at door / $4 presale online

West End Holiday Craft Fair: November 23 – 24, 2019 – West End Community Centre hosts 55 carefully curated artisans and vendors selling only handcrafted gifts.  Admission: Free

Toque Craft Fair: November 29 – December 1, 2019 – The Western Front Annual Community Fundraiser and Craft Sale has curated designers and artists for your holiday shopping as you support for the Western Front’s year-round arts & music programs. Admission by donation

Got Craft? Holiday Market : December 7 – 8, 2019 – at the Croatian Cultural Centre, Got Craft? is the place for DIYers, crafters and handmade enthusiasts to come together. Admission $5 at the door / $3 online in advance

Make It! The Handmade Revolution Holiday Show: Five Days of Finds, December 11 – 15, 2019 at PNE Forum, join the handmade revolution with over 250 makers, crafters, artisans and more. Admission $10 / Kids under 12, Free

Shiny Fuzzy Muddy : December 14-15, 2019 – Heritage Hall on Main Street welcomes The Arts Collective’s 20th annual and final Show for its crafters, vendors, artists and collaborators to sell their holiday wares. Admission $4

Portobello West Winter Wonderland Market at Van Dusen Festival of Lights : December 16 – 23, 2019 – Portobello West brings a curated market to the Van Dusen Festival of Lights for a week of holiday shopping combined with the festival activities of the Festival of Lights. Admission $19-$22

Kensington Community Holiday Craft Fair : December 17, 2019, Kensington Community Centre’s annual fair features vendors selling toys, art, clothing, jewelry, home decor, children’s and baby handmade items from 10am – 4pm. Admission: Free

Get crafty, get shopping and have fun! Happy Holidays! 

Be Entertained By The Heart of the City Festival

The 16th annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival is now underway. Until November 10th, the neighbourhood is filled with music, stories, theatre, poetry, cultural celebrations, films, dance, readings, forums, workshops, discussions, gallery exhibits, mixed media, art talks, history talks and history walks.

Heart of the City Festival 2019 participants photo: David Cooper

This year’s theme Holding the Light has emerged from the compelling need of DTES-involved artists and residents to illuminate the vitality and relevance of the Downtown Eastside community and its diverse and rich traditions, knowledge systems, ancestral languages, cultural roots and stories. Events happen throughout the Eastside, some are ticketed events with admission by donation, and many are free giving everyone the opportunity to participate in the Festival.  

This week the Festival presents Opening Doors – Vancouver’s East End 2019, a Firehall Arts Centre and Vancouver Moving Theatre production..  Directed by Donna Spencer, Opening Doors features the dramatization of selected personal histories from Daphne Marlatt and Carole Itter’s extraordinary local legend-of-a-book Opening Doors first published in 1979.

2019 Heart of the City Festival Artist-in-Residence : Khari Wendell McClelland

Spotlight on the East End is a concert music series that profiles an exciting line-up of local POC, Indigenous and marginalized emerging and professional musicians. The 2019 Festival Artist-in-Residence Khari Wendell McClelland (The Sojourners/Freedom Singer) is the Curator. Featured musicians include Tonye Aganaba, Francis Arevalo and Shannon Bauman, among many more in concerts Thursday Nov 7, 8pm, at Russian Hall, or Saturday Nov 9, 8pm, at Tight Club

Arising From the Downtown Eastside features two documentaries:  

The Story Behind Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way (25’):
In 2018, Vancouver Moving Theatre, in a collaboration led by Indigenous artists, knowledge-keepers and partners across the land, toured Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way to cities and communities across Canada. This play and cultural encounter brought to life the story of Old One and his heartbreaking and hilarious journey to reconcile with himself, his family and community. Local filmmaker Jessica Hallenbeck (Lantern Films) has created a short film that traces the national tour, cultural practices across the land, and the reflections of participating actors, youth and elders. Showing for free, Saturday Nov 9, 7pm at Carnegie Theatre, 401 Main.

Survivors Totem Pole (24’): In 2016, the Survivors Totem Pole was carved by Downtown Eastside resident and activist Skundaal Bernie Williams, and then raised at Pigeon Park in a powerful pole raising and potlatch witnessing ceremony attended by over 1,000 residents, Elders and VIPs. Filmmaker Susanne Tabata, follows the extraordinary community-led journey to create and raise a monument to survivors: a tribute to the enduring strength, resistance, persistence and inclusion of the Downtown Eastside community.  Following the film’s screening, Saturday Nov 9, 8pm at Carnegie Theatre, stay for a talk-back with Susanne Tabata, Skundaal Bernie Williams, and guests from the Sacred Circle Society.

The mandate of the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival is to promote, present and facilitate the development of artists, art forms, cultural traditions, history, activism, people and great stories about Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The festival involves a wide range of professional, community, emerging and student artists and lovers of the arts. Over 1,000 local artists and Downtown Eastside residents participated in last year’s Festival.

Heart of the City Festival continues until November 10th. For full line-up ticketing information visit

Join #Miss604Party celebrating Miss604’s 15th Anniversary

Western Canada’s beloved @Miss604, Rebecca Bollwitt, is celebrating 15 years of by giving back to the communities that have made her the most awarded-winning blog. 

One of Named one of British Columbia’s Top 100 Women of Influence and recipient of over 20 local blog awards, Rebecca Bollwitt is celebrating the crystal anniversary of by hosting a party at Timber (1300 Robson Street) November 14th from 6:30pm to 9:30pm.
Tickets are available online at with proceeds being donated to Variety – the Children’s Charity.

Miss 604 - Rebecca Bollwitt

Rebecca built her first website in 1997 and she has been blogging about life in B.C. since 2004 on Over the last 15 years, has become the most award-winning blog in Western Canada, garnering numerous “Best Blog” and “Best Twitter” awards as well as a national award from Notable and an international media award from Variety – the Children’s Charity, where she volunteers her time as both Secretary of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Marketing and Membership Committee.

“Variety’s Show of Hearts Telethon has been an annual tradition in B.C. for over 50 years,” says Rebecca. “And when I got the chance to work with the production in 2015 as its first-ever social media sponsor, I was hooked. I saw how each year they help over 3,000 kids with special needs province-wide by providing mobility equipment, specialized therapies, mental wellness, educational programs, lifesaving medical equipment and more, and I knew I had to be a part of this.”

Rebecca has also co-authored 2 books for Pearson/Que (Blogging to Drive Business) and nearly 10,000 blog posts about fun things to do, local insights, travel, and history. She remains committed to supporting her community and continues to sponsor over 25 events in B.C. each year. Rebecca is an official Jeans Day Ambassador for the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation and a proud blog sponsor of Big Sisters B.C. Lower Mainland and One Girl Can. 

To see her philanthropy in action, Join Rebecca’s 114,000 followers on social media @Miss604, and join the #Miss604Party celebration on November 14 at Timber. Tickets include 604-themed canapés, a drink ticket, door prize ticket, networking, and support for Variety – the Children’s Charity. Raffle and silent auction items include prizes donated by The Cultch, DanceHouse, Disney on Ice, Early Music Vancouver, Forage, Gateway Theatre, H2 Rotisserie & Bar, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, PuSh Festival, Rob Cole Stretch Therapy, TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Christmas Market, Vancouver Opera, Vancouver TheatreSports, Vancouver Whitecaps, and more!

Prepare to Explore 23rd Eastside Culture Crawl

The 23nd Annual Eastside Culture Crawl brings art lovers from all around Metro Vancouver to East Vancouver, November 14 to 17, 2019. For four days, more than 500 artists will open their studios, garages, and display their artwork for the public during Vancouver’s favourite celebration of visual arts, design, and crafts.

Taking in the Vancouver area bounded by Columbia Street, 1st Avenue, Victoria Drive, and the Waterfront, the Eastside Arts District is home to the highest concentration of visual artists, designers, and craft makers in Canada. The Crawl welcomes arts patrons and collectors, community builders, and inquisitive tourists to explore this community of artists through on-site visits, and interactive installations. This year, the Eastside Culture Crawl offers an expanded lineup of events with the addition of the Displacement Exhibition and a series of free artist talks hosted at various studios throughout Vancouver’s Eastside.

East Van by Iris Mes Low Size: 24” x 18” Medium: Oil on Canvas Year: 2019

“Each year, we welcome visitors to discover the creativity and richness of the Eastside Arts District. For our 23rd annual Crawl, we are also imparting an urgent message through our new Displacement Exhibition, that this vibrant community needs more support,” says Esther Rausenberg, Executive Director of the Eastside Culture Crawl. “As Vancouver’s artists continue to face immense hardships such as renovictions, rising rents, and dwindling studio availability, it’s imperative we come together to protect creative spaces and celebrate the integrity of this incredible, industrious community and recognize the positive impact artists have on our society.”

More people are responding to this dynamic visual arts community than ever before. While the Crawl has grown in size and attendance every year since its inception in 1994, last year the festival saw record-breaking attendance with more than 45,000 people (30% more than the previous year) meeting artists, exploring studios, and participating in workshops over the course of four days.

Nature of the Experiment by Mat Holmstrom Size: 6ft x 6ft (6 Panels) Medium: Acrylic & Mediums on Canvas Year: 2018

A highlight of Vancouver’s arts and cultural calendar, the Eastside Culture Crawl attracts returning visitors and first-timers from across the Pacific Northwest and beyond each year to explore the Eastside Arts District. The Crawl provides visitors with a behind-the-scenes peek into life as an artist, allowing them to engage with different forms of art, including painting, sculpture, pottery, photography, jewelry, glass art, furniture, and much more.

Before the Eastside Culture Crawl gets underway on November 14th, the public is invited experience some of the pre-festival feature presentations, workshops, demonstrations, and exhibitions, including:

A juried exhibition of works by Metro Vancouver visual artists who have faced the challenges of eviction or have found ways to survive displacement.
On at the following venues:
ARTS FACTORY (281 Industrial Avenue)
Until November 10, 2019 
FIREHALL ARTS CENTRE (280 E. Cordova Street)
Until November 24, 2019 | Opening Reception: November 6, 2019, 5-7pm
THE CULTCH (1895 Venables Street)
Until November 24, 2019 | Opening Reception: November 6, 2019, 6-8pm
Until November 17, 2019 | Opening Reception: November 6, 2019, 6-8pm

November 4–8, 2019 at 7pm | November 9, 2019 at 2pm
A curated series of intimate and entertaining talks by 2019 Culture Crawl artists, designers, and craftspeople, at various studios.

November 14–17, 2019 | Noon to 11pm daily | Strange Fellows Brewing (1345 Clark Dr)
A showing of evocative, art-based, contemporary silent films.

November 22, 2019 at 7pm | The Arts Factory (281 Industrial Ave)
ECCS and Cineworks present an evening of films with cross-disciplinary artist and UBC Associate Professor Marina Roy.

Eastside Culture Crawl runs November 14 – 17, 2019 in the Eastside Arts District. For full listings and details for all events, artists, talks, and locations visit

Lumière Vancouver expands for 2019

As we prepare to fall back to Pacific Standard Time, Lumière Vancouver illuminates the early dark evenings downtown and West End neighbourhoods in spectacular fashion starting tonight, and throughout the weekend. 

Luna – Lumière Vancouver

Back for its sixth year, the annual, family-friendly event is inspired by light and artistic expression. Lumière Vancouver 2019 includes more than 25 interactive art installations that are sure to enchant visitors to the expanded four sites: English Bay, Jim Deva Plaza, Lot 19 (Hornby at Hastings Street), and šx????n?q Xwtl’e7én? Square (North Plaza at the Vancouver Art Gallery).

Helping create the brilliant installations are lighting partners: MK IlluminationTangible Interaction, and Hfour.
Each of Lumière Vancouver’s four site’s interactive art installations honour a different theme:

• Nature at English Bay
• Pride at Jim Deva Plaza
• Local at Lot 19
• Interactive at šx????n?q Xwtl’e7én? Square

Free Vancouver Trolley shuttles will be available to transport viewers between each site.

Tetra by HFour photo: Ben Z Cooper

Public Disco will be hosting a free outdoor dance party each night of Lumière Vancouver at Jim Deva Plaza in the Davie Village. Dance and light-inspired performances will further mesmerize audiences at all four sites.

“Lumière has been an incredible, ever-growing success since its launch in 2014,” says Stephen Regan, Executive Director of the West End BIA. “Huge thanks to our event and lighting partners for making Lumière one of the first great family-friendly events of Vancouver’s fall/winter calendar. We look forward to hosting thousands of viewers throughout the three days.”

Visitor 2 by Tangible Interaction

Lumière Vancouver 2019 runs November 1 – 3, 2019 from 5:00 to 10:00 pm nightly. (Select installations will remain up for the remainder of the fall season for spectators to enjoy nightly.) For more information, visit

Vancouver Foodster Celebrates Global Flavours

This November Vancouver Foodster brings us two events that show us the diversity of the city’s food scene, while also showing us how similar dishes vary around the world.

Dumpling Fest returns for another year on November 6th. Dumplings are served in cultures all around the world, find out how they do it by visiting the Dumpling Fest restaurants from Little Saigon, Chinatown and South Granville areas of Vancouver. Each will serve up different kinds of dumplings, from Vietnamese dumplings, to Russian Pelmeni to Wonton and more.
Participating Restaurants include:
Do Chay Saigon Vegetarian, 1392 Kingsway, Vancouver
Hey Dumplings!, 208 Keefer Street, Vancouver
MixxBao, 1426 W 8th Ave, Vancouver
Blossom Dim Sum, 808 Bute St, Vancouver
Tickets for Dumpling Fest are available now on Eventbrite.

Curry Fest invites patrons to tantalize their taste buds as restaurants in downtown Vancouver serving up different kinds of Curry dishes from South Indian to Vietnamese to Thai and more. On November 13th, each restaurant will be serving up their Curry Plates and Bowls for guests to enjoy with your foodie friends and family, or meet some new food loving friends, meet the chefs, and learn about each of the participating restaurants and their global menus.
Participating Restaurants announced, so far, include:
Bob Pochana Thai, 1660 Robson Street, Vancouver
House Special, 1269 Hamilton St, Vancouver
Davie Dosa Company, 1235 Davie Street, Vancouver
Tickets for Curry Fest are available now on Eventbrite.

Even if you’re not joining in the Vancouver Foodster events, follow along on social media to whet your appetite, on instagram @TastingPlatesYVR  #TastingPlatesYVR  @Vanfoodster  #Vanfoodster