Help a Rainbow Refugee Resettle in Canada

As we head into Pride Weekend in Vancouver, we reflect on the privileges and freedoms afforded to Canadian citizens. While not perfect, they’re far better than many places around the globe, especially for those identifying as LGBTQ+. Rights have been extended in more and more countries but unfortunately, there are still at least 14 countries where homosexuality is legally punishable by death.

Rainbow Refugee is a Vancouver based community organization supporting people seeking refugee protection in Canada because of persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Since 2011, Rainbow Refugee Society has worked in partnership with the Federal government to direct a blended sponsorship program called the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Project (RRAP). This is a national project and Rainbow Refugee has the responsibility of working with its own Circles of Hope as well as other community organizations across Canada to sponsor LGBTQ+ asylum seekers.

The Rainbow Connection is one of the Circles of Hope hoping to supporting Rainbow Refugee. We are a group of friends, lead by Mr. Gay Canada 2019, working together to assist a LGBTQ+ person hoping to resettle in Canada. We are grateful to live in Canada and have the ability to live and love in a safe and supportive community. Supporting a person, presently living in an African refugee camp, whose life is in danger because of who they are is our way of sharing the benefits that we have through our citizenship and friendships.

We have set up a Canada Helps donation page to help raise funds online as well as raising offline funds to support our goal. Along with our knowledge and support, the money we raise will assist this Rainbow Refugee to set up a new life in Canada. It will go towards food, housing, transportation, personal health… anything and everything needed every day to live a full life.
We hope you will support us in this endeavour, any little bit you can contribute is greatly appreciated and if you cannot provide monetary support we ask that you share the donation page with your network.

Thank you!

Pride At The Gallery Gives You An Art-On This Friday.

This Friday Vancouver Art Gallery presents Pride at the Gallery, a night of creativity, fun and connection in celebration of LGBTQ2+, with added programming on top of regular admission.

In the Rooftop Pavillion, overlooking Robson Square, one of the evening’s two themed, licensed bars The Vancouver Art Gallery will host the popular Me Love BINGO!. Part variety hour, part game night and part immersive theatre, Me Love BINGO! is an event that fosters community created by Kyle Loven, a Vancouver-based performance and visual artist. Dressed in drag as the night’s bingo host extraordinaire, Loven will provide endless entertainment with games, performance numbers and prizes all while following an unexpected narrative journey. 

At the Gallery’s second themed bar, in the Annex Workshop, guests will have an opportunity to indulge their creative side with communal mural painting as part of Paint & Drink!.

Stationed throughout the four floors of the Vancouver Art Gallery will be Queer Living Library. Inspired by Human Library, it follows a performance format emulated worldwide that invites people to borrow a human book with the readers becoming listeners. The speakers or “books” will share their lived experiences as members of the local LGBTQ2+ community. Guests will hear from Orene Askew aka DJ O Show, the two spirited activist named a 2019 Pride Parade Grand Marshal, as well as painter Leanne Christie, Shanique Kelly aka DJ Softieshan, photography artist Tom Hsu and gallery owner Wil Aballe of Will Aballe Art Projects (WAAP).

Presented with Vancouver Pride Society, Pride at the Gallery events and activations are all included with admission. In addition visitors will have access to all of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s summer exhibitions and are invited to discover works aligned with explorations of gender and sexuality as presented in Vikky Alexander: Extreme Beauty, Robert Rauschenberg 1965–1980, Moving Still: Performative Photography in India and Views of the Collection: The Street.

Pride at the Gallery takes place tomorrow, Friday August 2nd, 2019 from 5pm to 9pm at the Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street. 

Visit vanartgallery.bc.ca too purchase tickets and access the full schedule for Pride at the Gallery,

Picks of the Week – July 31, 2018

Another month wraps up and the August long-weekend is packed with loads of entertainment in these picks of the week

Cinema: Vancouver Civic Theatres are presenting free outdoor Wednesday evening cinema at šx???ex?n Xwtl’a7shn (formerly QET Plaza) outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, tonight the 2019 live action Dumbo starts at dusk.

Theatre Under The Stars photo: Lindsay Elliott

Stars: The 2019 season of Theatre Under The Stars presents the entertaining musicals Mamma Mia! and Disney’s Newsies on alternating nights until August 17th.

Gallery: This Friday Vancouver Art Gallery presents Pride at the Gallerya night of creativity, fun and connection in celebration of LGBTQ2+, with added programming on top of regular admission.

Gig: Friday, August 2 the Vancouver Convention Centre launches Summer Sounds on Jack Poole Plaza, a music experience from The New Shackeltons, taking place from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM, with more performancer schedule each Friday, August

Celebration of Light

Fireworks: The 2019 Honda Celebration of Light continues tonight, with plenty of entertainment to enjoy before Canada brings light to the skies above English Bay.

Repertory: The third play, Superior Donuts, in the Ensemble Theatre Company’s 7th Annual Repertory Festival opens this week, with the trio of plays in repertoire at the Jericho Art Centre until August 16th.

Bach: Early Music Vancouver brings the Vancouver Bach Festival to Christ Church Cathedral and Chan Centre for Performing Arts until August 9th. This week featured performances include; Part II of Bach Complete Brandenburg Concertos with Les Boréades tonight, Faure Requiem with Vancouver Bach Choir on Aug 1st, and Bach Cantatas with Les Boréades on Aug 2nd.

Parade: Everyone loves a parade, and the Vancouver Pride Parade, on Sunday August 4th promises to be one of the most colourful and lively parades of the year.

Sunset Beach Festival

Pride: The Vancouver Pride Sunset Beach Festival is your destination for entertainment, food trucks, beer garden, vendors, dancing, and more after the Parade or come earlier and get your place to enjoy the entertainment all day

Puppets: Museum of Anthropology’s Shadows, Strings and Other Things features a broad array of puppets, old and new, from 15 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas until October 14

Art:  The Vancouver Art Gallery dives into its permanent collection to present Robert Rauschenberg 1965–1980, an exhibition of important but rarely seen works by the prolific twentieth-century American artist, until October

Bard: The 30th season of Bard on the Beach is underway at Vanier Park with Taming of the Shrew and Shakespeare in Love playing in repertoire through the summer on the Mainstage, and All’s Well That Ends Well on now at the Howard Family Stage.

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival

Blooms: The second Chilliwack Sunflower Festival opens August 1st with a total of 20 acres of flowers, bringing colour to the Fraser Valley community

Korean: The 18th Annual Korean Festival fills Swangard Stadium in Burnaby with Korean culture, food and arts, on Saturday August 3rd from 10am to 8pm

Arts: Harmony Arts Festival fills the West Vancouver Waterfront from Ambleside Pier to John Lawson Park, with a line-up of entertainment from August 2nd to 11th with scores of music, arts, film and food events, much of it free.

Vancouver Foodster Iced Summer Drink Challenge Results Are In

Judges’ Choice
“Always Summer In Thailand” from Ban Chok Dee/Food By Fanta

For the last month Vancouver Foodster and readers have been searching for their favourite entry in the Iced Summer Drink Challenge, and the results are in. Finding that perfect way to beat the summer heat has been a pleasure as the media judges and public tasted the four entries.

Vancouver Foodster challenged cafes and restaurants around Metro Vancouver to create their best iced drink for the summer, and they came up with a diverse line-up of chilled drinks.

Judges’ Choice
“Hojocha Herbucha” –
Paragon Tea Room

As with all of Vancouver Foodster’s food challenges, the panel of media judges including myself, Regina Ip (@pigoutyvr) and Shelley Hayashi (@shelleyhayashi) tasted all of the entries and independently voted for the Judges’ Choice Best Iced Summer Drink. The public is also invited to try any or all of the entries, then vote for their selection to claim the title of People’s Choice Iced Summer Drink.

People’s Choice
“Badass Brownie Epic Shake” – Firecrust Custom Salads + Pizzas

With such a varied selection of drinks to sample the voting was tough, resulting in a very close race. The Judges Choice came out in a tie for the top spot with the entry from Ban Chok Dee Thai & Food By Fanta – Always Summer In Thailand in a tie for first place with Paragon Tea Room’s Hojicha Herbucha. The People’s Choice resulted in the Badass Brownie Epic Shake from Firecrust Custom Salads + Pizzas Vancouver and Langley locations.

For the full details of the drinks and all the results of the Iced Summer Drink Challenge online at vancouverfoodster.com

Bigger & Better Chilliwack Sunflower Festival return for 2019

Blooming bright for a second year, the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival returns on August 1st.  This year, a massive field of dahlias complements the acres of sunflowers, for a total of 20 acres of flowers, bringing even more colour to the Fraser Valley community,!

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival

Every day from August 1 to September 15, visitors can make their way through 35 varieties of peak-season sunflowers — from two-foot Dwarf Sunspots to 12-foot Mammoth Grey Stripes, in varying shades of yellow, orange, and red. Pick your own Sunrich Orange sunflowers to take home (while supplies last), as well as cut sunflowers and field flowers, sunflower-inspired gifts, and onsite-grown spring bulbs of tulips and daffodils.

The addition of 54 varieties of dahlias, a giant pumpkin patch, and a field of pick-your-own Chilliwack corn (while supplies last) bring even more to the 2019 Festival

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival – Dahlias

“The success of last summer’s inaugural Chilliwack Sunflower Festival exceeded all expectations,” says festival co-founder Kate Onos-Gilbert. “It was so gratifying to welcome thousands of families, couples, and individuals to our fields, and to see them marvel at the bounty of seasonal beauty that Chilliwack produces at this time of year. The festival has grown so much since last year, too — so I encourage those who attended last year to make a return visit.”

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival – Pick Your Own Corn

Around every turn, the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival provides countless opportunities to capture the perfect Instagram-worthy keepsake photos and videos. Roam the acreage to discover swing sets, an operational windmill, a vintage bicycle, face cut-outs, and more.  Take a break from the blooms with the many outdoor lawn games available to play: bolaball, “giant” Jenga, dominoes, tic-tac-toe, checkers, and more. 

Weekends include the added attraction of the Rotary Club of Chilliwack Fraser train, which offers free rides through the fields.

A dedicated covered area provides a shaded retreat from the summer sun to enjoy cold drinks, ice cream, and snacks, plus local food trucks will be on site daily.

The Chilliwack Sunflower Festival runs every day from August 1 to September 15 (hours vary; check website for full details). Location is 41310 Yale Road. Ticket and season-pass prices vary for individuals, families and bus groups; children five and under are admitted free.
On-leash pets are welcome — a water station and complimentary pick-up bags will be available.

Visit chilliwacksunflowerfest.com for directions, complete ticket pricing, and more information.

Fairmont Says #ComeSleepWithUs for Pride

Last night, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver kicked off Pride with the annual Lady In Red Ball. Hosted by Fairmont Pride Ambassador, Kendal Gender, hundreds of revellers celebrated while raising funds for the Dr Peter AIDS Foundation. Not to be left out, the rest of the local Fairmont family of hotels and resorts are also inviting visitors and locals to celebrate pride.

Lady In Red Ball Host & Fairmont Pride Ambassador Kendal Gender

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is offering 10% off at any of the Vancouver and Victoria property with a special amenity, as well as food and beverage specials to help celebrate love. Your stay will enable the hotels to make a donation to the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation.

Some of the specials at the local area Fairmont Hotels include:

Cocktails: Stop by any of the downtown sister properties, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Fairmont Waterfront and Fairmont Pacific Rim to sip on special Fairmont Pride cocktails with a $1 donation from each of them.

Fairmont Vancouver Airport: Stopover at Jetset Lounge until August 5th to sip on the 1181, a cocktail featuring Empress Gin and Fort Berens Rosé, that gives a nod to the iconic Davie Village lounge. $15 each with $1 donated to the Dr. Peter Aids Foundation.

Rainbow Buns from giovane cafe + eatery + market

Fairmont Pacific Rim: In addition to a Love Is Love overnight package, get a sweet treat from Giovane. Pride Sugar Buns are back, these rainbow buns are only available until August 5th, pre-order via the Ritual app to save time & money on your order.

Fairmont Waterfront: Until September 30th, staycation in luxury and be close to the downtown Vancouver Pride and Vancouver Queer Film Festival action, with the Fairmont Waterfront Love Is Love Pride Package, 10% discounted room rate, welcome amenity and $10 per night donation to Dr Peter AIDS Foundation.

Fairmont Empress: Wrap up your pride season with a getaway to Victoria for some rest and relaxation with the Fairmont Empress Love Is Love package, until September 30th, treat yourself to a luxury stay with special amenities and the hotel will make a $10 donation to Victoria Pride Society.

Watch for all the sister properties on the Fairmont Pride Float in the 2019 Vancouver Pride Parade on Sunday, August 4th.

29th Annual Harmony Arts Festival comes to Ambleside August 2nd

West Vancouver’s Harmony Arts Festival is an annual summer destination for people from all over Metro Vancouver.  Filling the Ambleside Waterfront from Ambleside Pier to John Lawson Park, the festival brings a line-up of entertainment from August 2nd to 11th with scores of music, arts, film and food events, much of it free!

Highlights of the festival events include;

ARTS:

Indigenous Showcase: the indigenous exhibition returns to Harmony Arts for a second year, recognizing the tradition of gathering and celebrates Indigenous artists and communities in a modern context to share in the richness of their arts

ArtSpeaks: Artist talks, art demonstrations, workshops, hands-on classes and more. ArtSpeaks takes place daily and most classes are free!

Art Beat: the Ambleside and Dundarave local shops and restaurants highlight local artists in their storefronts. 

Fresh St. Market Art Market: Argyle Street is filled with a diverse array of one-of-a-kind, gifts, and products including ceramics, glass, jewellery, leather, painting, photography, textiles and wood. Meet artists and artisans who display awe-inspiring works in a row of white tents.

MUSIC:

Harmony Arts Festival

Over the 10 days, Harmony Arts Festival includes 50 live music performances on two stages.

The PARC Retirement Living Garden Stage in Millennium Park, features daytime concerts, dinner concerts at 5:30 p.m. and evening headline concerts at 8:45 p.m. 

The Main Stage in John Lawson Park is home to the popular Sunset Concerts, daily at 7:30 p.m., as well as timeless melodies of the Seniors Series, sponsored by Revera Retirement Living – Hollyburn House on August 4, 5 & 11. 
The 2019 line-up includes: The Paperboys, The Matinée, Dreams: The Ultimate Tribute to Fleetwood Mac, Bobby Bruce’s Nearly Neil and the Solitary Band, R&B Allstars, Desirée Dawson and more. 

FILM:

Outdoor Cinema in the Park takes place each night at 9pm at the John Lawson Park stage. 
This year’s line-up includes award-winning current and classic family-friendly films like Green Book, Crazy Rich Asians, The Incredibles 2, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Black Panther, Top Gun and more. 

FOOD:

Every good festival needs good food, and places to take a break and enjoy the music with your friends. Harmony Arts Festival doesn’t disappoint with a hearty selection of its own free dining spots and ticketed events.

Harmony Arts Festival offers three special ticketed culinary events:

Ambleside Pier

2nd Annual Indigenous Feast: at Ambleside Landing August 6th, 6pm features a traditional indigenous menu paired with Nk’Mip wines

9th Annual Best of the West:
 on Ambleside Pier August 7th, 7-9pm 12 of the Lower Mainland’s best restaurants paired with 12 wineries for a culinary arts event and competition

4th Annual Night on the Pier
: on the Ambleside Pier August 8th, 7:30-9:30pm welcomes some of Metro Vancouver’s top mixologists competing to create the best cocktail as voted by the attendees.

Other dining options around Harmony Arts Festival include;

Artisan Eats
, a collection of food trucks at John Lawson Park.

The Park Royal Beachside Patio
 finds a pop-up version of Feast The Neighbourhood Table to Argyle Street.

The RE/MAX Waterfront Lounge
 enjoy dining alongside the Parc Retirement Living Garden Stage.

Harmony Arts Festival packs in so much entertainment and activities there’s sure to be something for your whole family to enjoy. 
Visit harmonyarts.ca for a full list of events and times.