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 heartofthecityfestival.com

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 lumiereyvr.com.

Give a Foodie Gift from Vancouver Foodster

Perfect for the foodie on your holiday shopping list, Vancouver Foodster has a trio of great events coming in the New Year; 6th Annual Noodle Mania on January 16th, 7th Anniversary Tasting Plates Downtown  on February 6th, and Tasting Plates Mount Pleasant on February 27th.  Any or all of them will appeal to the friend or family member on your list who has great taste.

Noodle Mania – January 16, 2019 is a roaming tour in exploration of the city’s noodle dishes from Cambie Village, to Olympic Village, and Commercial Drive. Along the way, taste all sorts of noodles from chow mein to spaghetti to mac & cheese, pho, pad thai, ramen and more. Restaurants featured in Noodle Mania include; Mangia Cucina & Bar on Manitoba St, Hon’s Won Ton House on East 2nd, Viet House Restaurant on Cambie Str, Pami /Tseng Noodles, and more.

Tasting Plates Downtown – February 6, 2019 explores the neighbourhood restaurants in the downtown core of Vancouver including such locations as La Cantina Urban Taco Bar on Nelson St, Firecrust Neapolitan Pizzeria, and Mumbai Local on Davie St.

 

Tasting Plates Mount Pleasant – February 27, 2019 takes a tasting tour of the Mount Pleasant, Olympic Village, False Creek neighbourhoods to see what’s new and flavourful; like the new PappaRoti location on Columbia St. in Olympic Village.

On each of these Vancouver Foodster events, the participating restaurants will be serving up Tasting Bowls or Plates for guests to enjoy. Along the way the tasters will have a chance to visit many different types of restaurants across the events, meet some new food loving friends,  meet the chefs, and learn about each of the participating restaurants.

Find early-bird and advance tickets for all of these events on sale now. Visit vancouverfoodsterevents.com for links to purchase from Eventbrite.

Lumiere Vancouver brings light to the nights

Just as Daylight Saving Time comes to an end, Lumiere Vancouver returns for a 5th year to light up long Vancouver nights.  This weekend the beloved winter festival brings three nights of interactive art installations land activities to three iconic Vancouver sites: English Bay, Jim Deva Plaza,
šx????n?q Xwtl’e7én? Square, formerly known as the North Plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery. 

Lumiere – Luna

This year, the festival, with the support of its partners, will feature 17 public artworks created by local and international artists. Like a beacon on the bay, the now iconic Luna the illuminated Orca, returns to Morton Park, at Davie & Denman Streets, lighting the shores of English Bay. Look for Luna to be joined by Stanley, an illuminated 13 foot heron honouring Stanley Park’s Great Blue Heron colony. Both brilliant beasts are created by MK Illumination Canada

New this year, Lumiere expands to the šx????n?q Xwtl’e7én? Square (Art Gallery north), with seven interactive installations to help celebrate the return of Standard Time and the earlier nightfall. The plaza welcomes the public to be inspired, intrigued and interact with the music and light art works.

Public Disco shakes up Davie Village on Saturday November 3 for a night of music and dancing. Featuring a lineup of local DJ’s, hundreds of disco balls and a variety of immersive art works, it will be a night to remember.

Lumiere will kick off tonight, Friday November 2, 2018 and runs until Sunday November 4, 2018 in all three locations. Events take place 5:30 – 10pm nightly. For more information on the featured artists and the full schedule, visit lumiereyvr.com

Tasting Plates Downtown Vegetarian Edition – Recap

Last night, a sunny Fall evening brought out a bounty of the season as downtown restaurants participated in Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates Vegetarian Edition.

Dozens of hungry tasting platers, explored downtown Vancouver on the plant-based journey.  Participants checked in and collected their menus and map cards then set of to find that the harvest has put on the plate.  Chefs were invited to be creative and present items that best exemplifies their restaurant’s meat-free options. Don’t let it be said that vegetarian food can’t be satisfying and substantial, the tasting platers were rewarded with a global journey of vegetarian menu to fill their bellies.

Tasting Plates included:

Living Produce Aisle: 1168 Hamilton Street

It’s always harvest season at Living Produce Aisle, the check-in and first stop on this Tasting Plates tour. The fresh greens and produce hydroponically grown in store makes for a fitting location to start of the first Tasting Plates Vegetarian Edition.  A quick shot of wheatgrass was followed by a light salad of fresh picked greens, alongside a creamy PB&J smoothie.

 

Saj & Co: 813 Davie Street

Chef Malik was working the piping hot, domed saj overtime as he cooked a platter of Middle Eastern flavours, a hearty flatbread wrap, beautifully creamy traditional and squash hummus, along with a refreshing chickpea, couscous salad were all packed with taste, textures and colour.

 

 

Firecrust Neapolitan Pizzeria: 808 Davie Street

The choose-it-yourself pizzeria is a dream for any fussy eaters, dozens of selections (veggies and meat) to top your pizza truly customize each crispy crust. Choosing one of the “We Build” vegan selections makes the decisions simple the Salsiccia Vegano consisted of Italian Tomato Sauce, YamChops Vegan Crumbled Italian Sausage, House-Made Vegan Mozzarella, Caramelized Onions, Roasted Red Peppers & Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Davie Dosa Company: 1235 Davie Street

Davie Dosa delivers the flavours, their plant-forward South Asian dishes pair perfectly for a vegetarian menu.  A traditional potato filled dosa, Idly – a rice and lentil steamed cake, Medhu Vada – a savoury lentil donut, vegetable and lentil soup, with tomato and ginger chutney on the side.

 

La Cantina Urban Taco Bar: 722 Nelson Street

Head south of the border in the middle of Downtown Vancouver, La Cantina has almost as many vegetarian options as meat fillings. The Portobello – mushrooms, bell peppers, tamarind sauce topped with coleslaw, and the Mestizo – rice and black beans, avocado sauce and radish, were both substantial, filling and full of flavour.

 

If Tasting Plates tickled your taste buds, get ready for the next edition, Tasting Plates Gastown coming October 24, 2018. Also check out one of the Vancouver Foodster Food Challenges; Best Sangria Challenge, or the Best Sushi Roll Challenge both running until October 7, 2018

14th Annual Santa Claus Parade is coming to town

With a wink of an eye and a twist of his head…the jolly ol’ elf is coming!

It’s time for the man in the big red suit to come riding into town as the 14 annual Vancouver Santa Claus Parade presented by Telus fills downtown Vancouver with festive fun on Sunday December 3rd, 2018.

Starting at Noon, the parade route begins at West Georgia at Broughton Street, runs east on West Georgia to Howe Street then comes to an end at Howe at Davie Street.  Global BC news anchor Chris Gailus leads the parade as this year’s Grand Marshall, along with colleagues from the city’s other media outlets and the CKNW Orphans Fund, one of the parades charity partners.  Another beneficiary is the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, volunteers will be on hand throughout the day, to collect cash or non-perishable food donations for the food bank.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to line the streets and participate in the parade in bands, choirs, floats and community organizations.  Before the parade, feed your troupe with Breakfast with Santa at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver from 9:30am – 10:30am then get in the holiday spirit at the Christmas Square, in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.  From 10am until Noon, the Square features fun for kids, young and old face painting, gingerbread man and christmas ornament decorating, ‘letters to Santa’ writing stations and entertainment on the Main Stage. After the parade, head to Telus Garden at Seymour and West Georgia St, to get a picture with Santa.

With the big crowds it is best to plan ahead, take transit and arrive early. If you can’t make it to downtown Vancouver to watch the parade in person, tune into Global BC and BC1 to watch the Vancouver Santa Claus Parade telecast starting December 17th, 2018.

EAT.DRINK.PLAY at Firehall Arts Centre June 22, 2017

On June 22, 2017, the Downtown Eastside’s Firehall Arts Centre celebrates its neighbourhood with EAT.DRINK.PLAY.  Toasting the incredible food and drink happening in the Firehall’s backyard, the annual event brings together the area’s finest restaurateurs, craft brewers, small-batch distillers, and performers for an eclectic summer evening of sampling and sharing.

“For 35 years, the Firehall has been producing performing arts in this wonderful heritage building at the corner of Cordova and Gore. Our neighbourhood is so full of great places to eat and we wanted to let our audiences know about them,” explains Donna Spencer, Firehall Artistic Producer, “so we decided three years ago to create an event that would celebrate their contributions to the neighbourhood and invite these businesses to introduce themselves to our audiences by sharing their culinary expressions. The event has quickly become an annual favourite with everyone who attends providing a perfect capstone to the end of our programming season and a refreshing way to start the summer.”

Circle Game photo: Tyler Branston

Attendees will discover the diversity of delectable treats and libations while enjoying performances from the cast of the Firehall’s recent hit Circle Game: Reimagining of the Music of Joni Mitchell, as they roam through the heritage building bidding on some amazing silent auction items. 

Some of the local restaurants contributing tastes of signature dishes include neighbourhood hot spots The Diamond, Deacon’s Corner, Clough Club, Tuc Craft Kitchen, Kofta Meatball Kitchen, Save On Meats, The Pint, and Cadeaux Bakery, among others.  

Local brewers Powell Brewery, Big Rock Brewery, Andina Brewing Company, Strange Fellows Brewing, Strathcona Beer Company, and Steamworks will be here while Odd Society Spirits returns to serve up samples of their signature vodka and gin.  

EAT.DRINK.PLAY takes place June 22, 2017 at 7pm at Firehall Arts Centre tickets are available online now.