According to @Travelsmart.ca, since the Olympics 50 more people take transit each minute. As fuel prices rise higher and higher, more people are opting for transit for the first time. We, regular users welcome the new travellers as they’ll help keep service levels high and fares lower but perhaps a few tips on how to travel might be helpful. Here’s this weeks Top 10 list: Transit Do’s & Don’ts
1. DO have your fare ready when boarding the bus so you aren’t fumbling around looking for change and holding up a line of people. 2. DON’T ask for a free ride. 3. DO keep moving along the bus, platform or train once you board. 4. DON’T leave your trash or old newspapers behind on the vehicle, there are bins on every platform & near most bus stops. 5. DO carry on your conversations…quietly! If you’re sitting beside someone the rest of the passengers shouldn’t be able to hear, same thing for your mobile phone calls. Keep it down! 6. DON’T stand on the left side of an escalator. The common rule is Walk Left, Stand Right 7. DO have a seat but please allow elderly, people with special needs, baby buggies to sit/access the front seats when needed. 8. DON’T eat your breakfast/lunch/dinner on board…a nibble is ok but a smelly messy meal is too much. 9. DO try to take up as little space as possible if you have bags or parcels, you only paid one fare so don’t take up two seats. 10. DON’T get too comfortable, fall alseep and miss your stop…trust me, it happens!
I recently had an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of royalty as I spent the night at the historic Fairmont Empress in Victoria. In 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales danced until dawn in the Crystal Ballroom and in 1939 parents of our current Queen, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended a luncheon at The Empress. In addition, countless Hollywood royalty have graced the storied corridors since the hotel opened its doors in 1908. In recognition of this connection to the Royal Family, The Fairmont Empress, along with sister property Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, has proclaimed April “Royal Month” leading up to the historic nuptials of future King of Canada; Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29th. Break out the hats and gloves and take part in some of the ‘Royal’ events and festivities taking place all month long. One of the highlights, I’d love to do is the Royal Empress Room Dinner, served on The Queen’s China, only ever used by Her Majesty, until this dinner! Even though I don’t have a pedigree and paparazzi isn’t chasing me down, I was treated like royalty at The Empress. As soon as I walked in the doors I felt welcome, this century old property is prime place to spend a relaxing break in Victoria. Although the Inner Harbour, the hub of most Victoria activities lay just across the expansive front lawns, one can find plenty of activities to keep engaged within the walls of this castle, which was perfect on a rainy overnight stay as I experienced.
Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Empress provides first class spa services, stop in for curry and a cocktail at in the cool, colonial environment of the Bengal Lounge, lounge on a chaise with wine & oysters while overlooking the harbour on The Veranda and the ‘must do’ for everyone – Empress Afternoon Tea is renowned around the world. Those are just a few of the experiences you can find in The Empress without even checking in! Stay overnight and get the full Fairmont treatment, soak up the history
as you relax in your room and stroll the wide corridors, maybe even bump into one of the hotel’s supernatural guests. There are a least a couple of ghost stories passed on by many guests, although I don’t have one…yet. If you’re wandering, be sure to go downstairs to find the Archives to see the important roll The Empress has played in the history of Victoria. With the great activities happening for “Royal Month” now’s the perfect time to make The Fairmont Empress part of your own personal history too!
People always ask me what’s happening in Vancouver so I thought maybe I’d provide some updates once in a while to some of the stuff I think is going to be a good time. You might or might not agree but that’s the great thing about Arts & Entertainment, there’s something for everyone! So here’s some fun stuff happening to make your evening fun this weekend. This is just a sample, there’s lots more going on, just get out and find it!
Thursday Mar 31st : Rapper T-Pain is at Gossip Nightclub
The first and largest classical Chinese garden outside of China, Vancouver’s Dr Sun Yat Sen Gardens are part museum, part cultural education and part botanical garden all within a walled oasis on the edge of Chinatown. Named for the “Father of Modern China” the Dr Sun Yat Sen Gardens are an authentic representation of a traditional Chinese garden from the era of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Ming scholars lived and worked within their gardens and thus created gardens to encompass all aspects of daily life. Amongst the asymmetrical stone and plant formations are places for quiet contemplation and as one winds along the curves pathways and corridors they’re
connected to space for energy and work. From scenic vistas overlooking the gardens and ponds a sense of peace is found away from the bustle of the city. The Classical Chinese Gardens are currently open Tues to Sun from 10am until 4:30pm, in summertime it is open 7 days per week. Admission for adults is $12, discounts for children and seniors, including a guided tour (check website for more info and tour times) The Venue is also rentable for private functions, weddings, parties and receptions. Special
events and educational experiences happen throughout the year, check the garden calendar for upcoming events.
Released on iTunes on March 25, 2011, Songs For Japan features 40 tracks for $9.99 with the artists and labels waiving their royalties and fees so the proceeds can go toward relief efforts for the March 11th Japanese earthquake and tsunami. If each song was purchased individually from iTunes it would cost nearly $40 so for a quarter of the price, you get some great music and help out a worthy cause.
Charity singles and albums have been around for a while gaining major popularity in the 80’s with We Are The World and Tears Are Not Enough to aid Famine Relief in Ethiopia. In North America we don’t seem to have an many dedicated charity singles, unlike the UK where charity singles are routinely recorded exclusively for the charity event and regularly make the charts. Artists in North America more commonly donate the proceeds from an upcoming single to a charity. Does a charitable connection prompt you to purchase?
Bon Jovi’s latest tour “Bon Jovi Live 2011”, rocked into Vancouver for a two night stand. Vancouver and Bon Jovi have long had a special bond, this is where they recorded their breakthrough “Slippery When Wet”, “New Jersey” and post breakup “Keep The Faith” albums, which feature some of their best loved hits. Much to some of my friends dismay, I’ve been a big fan of Bon Jovi since high school and although some of my musical tastes have changed I’ve held on to a affinity to this band. Perhaps the fact that they have managed to evolve and stay relevant by adapting to the public’s changing moods has kept them from fading into the ‘retro’ catagory. My friends May, Brian and I hadn’t planned on attending but just last week a super discount on behind the stage tickets prompted us to the Jovi Bandwagon and we got tickets for the second night at Rogers Arena. I don’t know why but I’ve never seen them live until this, I wasn’t disappointed.
After a couple of over-anxious cheers due to dim lights in the arena the house lights actually went out and from our behind the stage seats we saw the band assemble on stage behind the giant video screen. As the screen parted the band jumped into action, minus Jon Bon Jovi himself. We could hear his voice but he wasn’t onstage, then we realized he was performing on his own on a mini stage amongst the fans at the opposite end of the arena. What an unexpected treat for the fans who had those seats! At the end of that song Jon came to the main stage, crossing the floor through the crowd, to
join bandmates Richie Sambora, David Bryan, Tico Torres, (unofficial member) Hugh McDonald and Bobby Bandiera.
Since this tour is in support of their latest Greatest Hits compilation all of the requisite hits were performed as the band took us on a trip through their catalogue of great songs. (Considering how young they all look and the energy they’re putting out it’s hard to believe they’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years!) Even though they’ve probably performed these songs endless times over the decades they still make them sound fresh and vibrant and there is very little tinkering with the classics. This is just straight ahead rock & roll and, as the case with some of the more recent singles, a little bit country, and the audience loved it. The crowd energy lulled for some of the lesser known singles but the setlist didn’t allow that to go on for very long as another great hit was always just around the corner.
Huge crowd participation followed the BIG songs, “You Give Love A Bad Name”, “Bad Medicine” (which featured a great interlude of the Rod Stewart classic, “Hot Legs”), “Lay Your Hands On Me”, “I’ll Be There For You”. The encores of “Wanted: Dead Or Alive” and “Living On A Prayer” really had the crowd in a sing-along mood, nearly overpowering the band at times. It was amazing to see such a cross section of society and ages bonding over a common love…one of the favourite moments doesn’t feature the band but a few small children who seemed so excited to be at the concert and were singing and dancing all night long (or at least until bedtime)
The amazing staging, lighting and monitors were very impressive and built to allow everyone to feel close up and included in the show. A VIP pit was encircled by the stage, risers behind the stage allowed Jon to ‘reach’ that audience and the band even got out from behind their instruments to move out middle of the floor.
We all commented on how the band really connected with the audience, even those of us behind the stage were acknowledged often throughout the evening. The attention to the fans and details might also be a reason why they had the best selling tour of 2010, with this “Live 2011” tour still in the early stages there’s a good chance they’ll have the top 2011 tour too.
Of all public spectator events this is the one time you’re invited to be boisterous and loud but still there are ways to make it fun to have fun!
1. DO arrive early…the beer line-ups are long and you don’t want to miss the start of the game. 2. DON’T arrive drunk. It’s great to have a few pre-drinks but remember it takes a while to settle into your system. Timing is everything. 3. DO wear your team’s colours and cheer them on! 4. DON’T disgrace your team’s colours/jerseys by committing a felony when wearing them. I’m sure they they can do without you being branded as a “TeamX Fan” when you’re arrested. 5. DO engage in a some light hearted ‘trash-talk’ with rival fans. 6. DON’T turn the trash-talk into an all out brawl…a la European soccer hooligans 7. DO sit in the non-alcohol seats if you bring your kids and are looking for a ‘family’ experience. 8. DON’T throw things onto the field of play (except for special occasions…hattricks etc) it just delays the game. 9. DO streak if you really feel the need and if you’re willing to be publicly ridiculed and ejected from the venue. See #2 10. DON’T commentate or coach from your seat. We can all see what’s happening, if we wanted a play-by-play we’d have stayed home.