30th Annual Vancouver International Writer’s Festival

The Vancouver International Writer’s Festival (VIWF) opened this week for the 30th edition of the renowned festival of the written word.  In this age of quick and instant media the full house at Performance Works on opening night proved that readers and writers are still going strong.

While the Writer’s Festival holds events all year around, the marquis program runs from October 16th to 22nd, 2017, when more than 110 authors takepart in over 95 events. all over Granville Island.  The Festival has events for all walks of life and all ages.  Non-Fiction, Fiction, Poetry, Children, Youth literature and more all take the leap from the page to the stage.

Past writers in attendance have included; Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley, John Irving, Robbie Robertson, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Rohinton Mistry, Alice Munro, Ian Rankin, J.K. Rowling, Salman Rushdie, Frank McCourt.  Every year readers find new discoveries to add to their libraries and share with their book clubs, families and friends. Who will you find this year? Find out which events still have tickets online at writersfest.bc.ca

Beyond the festival special events continue through the fall, including Waiting For First Light, an Evening with Romeo Dallaire on November 16th, and A Newfoundlander in Canada, musician and writer Alan Doyle discusses his new book on November 20th.



Vancouver Lookout at Harbour Centre Gains Perspectives

As The Vancouver Lookout at Harbour Centre reaches middle age, the landmark has partnered with Vancouver Heritage Foundation for a collaboration series; Perspectives.

In conjunction with its 40th anniversary, Perspectives, is a series of talks that explores Vancouver’s thought-provoking history that has shaped the city’s present.  Inspired by the rich history surrounding the Vancouver Lookout, Vancouver Heritage Foundation planned five unique speakers to present on the diverse history of Vancouver.  From the unique vantagepoint offered by the Lookout, guests will enjoy fascinating talks on Indigenous stories and context, South Asian history and immigration, architectural development and change, Vancouver music scene and nightlife, and the city’s seedy criminal history.

Four Perspective events in the series remain;

Cultural Landscapes: Vancouver’s South Asian Community –
Saturday October 7th 9:45 – 11:30am

Historic Crime: Early Forensic Investigations –
Thursday October 19th 6:15 – 8pm

Heritage From Up High –
Sunday October 29th 9:45 – 11:30am

Vancouver After Dark: History of the Entertainment Scene
Thursday November 16th 6:15 – 8pm

Tickets for all talks are available online at vancouverperspectives.com

All talks take place at the Vancouver Lookout, located at 555 West Hastings Street.  Arrive 15 minutes early to take the elevator up to the Lookout.

Ce Soir Noir is back in black at Crab Park

Ce Soir Noir (This Black Night) descends on CRAB Park at Portside for the third year next Thursday, August 24th.

What began as a local counter-event to the brighter and whiter, Dîner en Blanc has evolved into it’s own east side annual event.  Dîner en Blanc, part of a well organized, ticketed, global phenomenon, offers patrons a chance to glam it up and enjoy an evening of gourmet food, high-end entertainment and experiences, whereas Ce Soir Noir is a free, casual local, dress-down event. Whichever floats your boat will be a good time for all.

Organizers of Ce Soir Noir invite people to just show up anytime between 5pm and 10pm on August 24th.  More than just a picnic, Ce Soir Noir becomes a picnic based art installation, with everyone a brushstroke in the artwork.  If you’re hungry, pack your own picnic food to share amongst friends, bring something to sit on or just park your butts on the grass then join in the camaraderie of other picnickers.  The only caveat is that the organizers hope everyone wears black from head to toe.

This year’s event has a city permit to take over CRAB Park, but still maintains it’s free community event status.  To be good neighbours in one of East Vancouver’s few waterfront parks, visitors are asked to be mindful of what they bring and take it out with them, leaving the park as clean or cleaner to the following day.

Whether you choose the white event or this black night, both gathering of diverse communities on August 24 might be just what the world needs a little more of in these divisive times.

Ce Soir Noir takes place August 24th between 5pm and 10pm at CRAB Park at Portside, 101 E Waterfront Road at Main Street.

Dîner en Blanc also takes place August 24th at a to be announced location.

5 Family Day Weekend Activities in Vancouver

As we move into the first long weekend of 2017, here’s 5 Family Day Weekend activities;

1: Align Entertainment’s The Little Mermaid : Michael J Fox Theatre, Burnaby –  Until February 18, 2017
With most family theatre productions taking place around the Christmas holidays, this is a welcome opportunity to introduce your little ones to live theatre.

2: Family Day at Burnaby Village Carousel : February 13th 11am-2pm
Families with young children can pre-register for crafts, carnival games, children’s entertainment, and carousel rides

3: Odysseo by Cavalia : Under the White Big Top at Olympic Village  – Until March 5, 2017
No horsing around, while not inexpensive, the whole family will enjoy the amazing 150 minute show.

4: Free Skating At Robson Square : Ice Rink at Robson Square – Until February 14, 2017
It’s your last weekend to take in free skating at the covered ice rink at Robson Square. Bring your own skates or rent a pair for $4

5: Family Day at the Peak of Vancouver : Grouse Mountain – February 13, 2017 only.
50% off Gondola access plus a full day of special activities including pancake breakfast, Global BC Family Puck Shoot Out, Family Day Lunch Specials, Candy Station as well as the usual snow activities

Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2017 Announced

DineOut-logo-no-datesChristmas comes early for Vancouver foodies as the highly anticipated launch of Dine Out Vancouver Festival events are announced.

We’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out the participating restaurants and menus but now’s the time to start planning which events to attend.  Over the last few years the Dine Out Vancouver Festival events have developed into a flavourful and fun program all of the own.

Robbie Burn Celebration, Secret Supper Soiree, The Grape Debate, are just some of the educational and tasty events in the program, there’s so many Dine Out Festival events to choose from there’s something for everyone.

Some of the series events include:

Cocktail Masterclass with award-winning bartender Lauren Mote as she takes you around the world to learn about cocktails of France, Scotland, Latin America and Bitters 101

Get Crafty with Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co in Kits or on Main as you make your own pizza and pair it with local craft beers

Brunch Crawls from Vancouver Foodster are once again pairing neighbourhoods with Dine Out Vancouver Festival for morning brunch tours around; Gastown, Kitsilano, East Village, Yaletown, West End, and Commercial Drive. Vancouver Foodster also hosts Art, Eat & Sip on Granville Island.

Check out all the Dine Out Vancouver Festival events scheduled today to start planning your festival fun.


June is Provence Rosés month

June is Provence Rosé month and in celebration of the world’s oldest Rosé and French wine region, Provence in Southern France, Vancouverites are invited to free tastings across the Lower Mainland.

Provence-Wines of Provence Wine GlassProvence has been a leading wine region in France for generations, known for its specialty in making Rosé wines. The popularity of Provence Rosés has grown to represent 5.6% of worldwide Rosé production with an average of 141 million bottles produced each year.

Perfect for patio sipping or pairing with any cuisine, Provence Rosés are versatile, fresh, pale in colour, dry and affordable. For casual wine drinkers, like me, Provence Rosés make a great all purpose wine for every occasion.

Throughout the month of June, Wines of Provence free tastings allow the public to experience a taste of Provence Rosés. Some of the Provence Rosé Events include:Provence-Wine and food

  • Liberty Wine Merchants (Granville Island) – Celebrate Provence Rosé
    Friday, June 3rd, 2016 – 11:00am-5:00pm
    Liberty Wine Merchants-Granville Island, 1660 Johnston Street Taste Provence Rosés paired with Provencal canapés by chef Lori Smithers-Ruiz.
  • 39th & Cambie BCLDB – It’s Provence Rosé!
    Saturday, June 4th, 2016 – 1:00pm-5:00pm
    BC Liquor Store-39th and Cambie, 5555 Cambie St.
    Taste Provence Rosés with Provencal canapés provided by The Bon Vivant Catering Group.
  • Liberty Wine Merchants (various locations)- Weekly Provence Rosé tasting
    Complimentary weekly tastings in the month of June 2016 at select Liberty Wine Merchants stores. Please contact each store for tasting schedule and details.

Stop by any or all of the Provence Rosé Events in June and pick up a featured bottle at a BCLDB Store or Liberty Wine Merchant.

Origins & Celebrations of Victoria Day

Well before confederation Canada has been celebrating the May Long Weekend, in 1845 the colonial government recognized May 24th as Queen Victoria’s Birthday. Over a century later, we still celebrate Victoria Day on the Monday before May 25th.  Not only a celebration of Queen Victoria but also the Canadian Sovereign’s Official Birthday.

The status of the holiday varies across the Canadian Provinces and Territories but everywhere there is a celebration on Victoria Day (or in Quebec, National Patriots’ Day).
Here in BC, as expected, the Provincial Capital is a hub of Victoria Day celebrations, culminating in the Island Farms Victoria Day Parade, today at 9am along Douglas Street.  Now in its 118th year, Victoria’s largest parade is a fun-filled day for the whole family, bringing out an annual crowd of 100,000+ and marks the unofficial kick off to summer for Victorians. Visiting Marching Bands perform all around Victoria for the weekend and the annual “Drum-Off” on the Parliament Buildings’ Lawn, is a crowd pleaser.

Wait for it….! #victoriadayparade2016

A video posted by GreaterVictoriaFestivalSociety (@victoriafestivalsociety) on

In New Westminster, the Ancient and Honourable Hyack Anvil Salute at Queen’s Park starting at 1130, has been taking place for 146 years.  The 21-Anvil salute was started in the early days of the Colony of British Columbia by the local fire department.  With no cannons available to perform a traditional 21-gun salute, the “Hyacks” as they were known, improvises by placing gunpowder between two anvils creating a tradition for the ages.

Whether you take in any local activities,  spend your Victoria Day with family and friends, or have to work on today, I hope you enjoy a great day and look forward to the summer ahead!