Getaway for Christmas at The Empress

Many of the Christmas traditions we know and love were established in Victorian England, and that Christmas charm lives on in the city of Victoria.  Central to Victoria’s Yuletide spirit is the famed Fairmont Empress.  The grand Castle on the Coast is making spirits bright with Christmas at the Empress, the first festive season following its grand $60 Million restoration; events and festivities throughout the hotel.

Friends and relations send salutations over Festive Tea at the Empress, pouring until January 2, 2018. Traditional afternoon tea with famous seasonal offerings and classic desserts is made extra special for Festive Champagne Afternoon Tea including a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne. On December 16, 17, 23 and 24, live carolers singing Christmas favourites in the Lobby Lounge add even more Christmas spirit to the festivities.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, until December 23rd, take the chill off and enjoy the Inner Harbour views from the Fairmont Empress’ Winter Veranda. Find a selection of hot beverages and holiday bites while making s’mores around a fire.  If adult libations are more your speed, step into Q Bar for the Season of Joy Drinks, the Empress mixologists are pouring warm and cold modern interpretations of classic festive cocktails throughout the Holidays.

On New Year’s Eve, Q at the Empress and the Crystal Ballroom have a celebration fit for a Queen. In Q, find a five-course set menu, followed by a grand dessert buffet in Lobby Lounge. In the iconic Crystal Ballroom, a modern, Chef-attended festive buffet with live music and cash bar starts the celebrations. After dinner, ring in the New Year with live music at the most elegant New Year’s Eve party in Canada’s most romantic city with a live performance by local jazz and pop singer, Amanda Woods.

 In the morning, start the New Year off right, at Fairmont Empress Resolution Brunch on January 1, 2018 from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm in the Lower Lobby. The best brunch in town, filled with everything sweet and savoury to kick off the New Year and wrap up Christmas at the Empress for another season.

 For complete list of Christmas at the Empress and New Year’s Eve events, visit the Fairmont Empress holiday brochure online.

Picks of the Week – November 22, 2017

The last weekend is here and the spirit of Christmas is lighting up the city, literally. Find light displays and more in these picks of the week.

Market: The Christmas Market season is in full swing with the Vancouver Christmas Market opening today, running until December 24, at Jack Poole Plaza. This weekend looks for the West End, Dunbar, Strathcona, River District and Portobello markets in all corners of Vancouver.

Jodi Proznick
photo: Michele Mateus

Jazz: Frankie’s Jazz Club welcomes Juno award nominated jazz bassist Jodi Proznick on Thursday night for a release of her new album, Sun Songs

Narnia: Carousel Theatre, invites families to step through the wardrobe as C.S Lewis’  The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe comes to the stage.

Comedy: Brianne Nord-Stewart launches her new comedy web series The Dangers of Online Dating with a special screening at Penthouse nightclub on November 23rd

Swim: At the Gateway Theatre in Richmond experience a witty, engaging evening with Beverley Elliott’s one-woman show Sink or Swim until November 25th.

Carols: Friday night, The Tenors take the stage for their Christmas Together tour at Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Air: Join the great Bernard Cuffling for an Orwellian one-man show Coming Up For Air at Kay Meeks Centre until November 25th.

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company  The Day Before Christmas is onstage at the Goldcorp Stage until the day before Christmas, while fan favourite Onegin returns to the Arts Club, Granville Island Stage, until December 31st.

Ice: Through the weekend follow your heart to the world of Disney On Ice at Pacific Coliseum

Scoop: At Firehall Arts Centre, from November 11 to December 2nd, Only Drunks And Children Tell The Truth tells the tale of the 60’s Scoop of indigenous children with truth and humour

Solo: At Performance Works, Vanishing Vancouver comes to life in Solo Theatre Collective’s Satellites, playing  November 16 – 26.

Drag: The Christmas Queen returns to ruin Christmas for Vancouver Theatresports League and on Saturday nights does double duty against Vancouver drag diva the Unstoppable Connie Smudge

 

 

Holiday Light Displays for the 2017 Season

As the Holidays draw near, Metro Vancouver twinkles as people and places put up light displays all around the City. Some of the brightest and most festive displays are opening to the public in the coming weeks, here’s a list of light displays to enjoy the twinkle of the Holiday Season:

Lights of Hope at St Paul’s Hospital – Celebrating 20 years, St Paul’s Lights of Hope have illuminated the West End helping to raise much needed funds for the hospital. The 2017 Lights Of Hope lit up last week with a public event featuring fireworks, food trucks and family entertainment at St Paul’s Hospital on Burrard Street. Stroll past, admire the lights, look for the sponsor’s stars – Free Admission

Bright Nights
Bright Nights at Stanley Park

Bright Nights, Stanley Park Christmas Train– Two million lights twinkle throughout the plaza and Miniature Train. Ride the train, watch the dozens of festive displays while strolling the plaza sipping a hot cocoa, from November 30, 2017 to January 6, 2018 opening hours vary for Matinee and Night Trains. – Matinee Train tickets are $6 for all ages, Night Train tickets are $12(Adults) or $9(Children/Seniors). Admission Bright Nights Train Plaza only, is by donation (suggested $4, proceeds to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund)

Canyon Lights

Canyon Lights Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park opens November 23rd, 2017 and runs until January 28th, 2018. Thousands of lights spread throughout the Park, the bridge, Treetops Adventures, with 8 of the tallest living Christmas Tree. – All-day Adult park admission is $42.95, includes the holiday activities, crafts and entertainment beginning at 4pm each day.

Heritage Christmas presented by Concord Pacific at Burnaby Village Museum – Celebrating a Heritage Christmas with the Holiday traditions of a century ago at Burnaby Village. Explore the illuminated Village looking for clues on the 12 Days of Christmas scavenger hunt, November 25th 2017 until January 5th, 2018 – Free Admission / Carousel Rides $2.65

Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Garden
Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Garden

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden run December 1st, 2017 to January 7th, 2018 opening at 4:30pm. Over a million lights turn the botanical gardens into sparkling winter wonderland.  Carolers, dancing gnomes and the popular Dancing Lights show (on the half hour) make this one of the city’s most popular and Instagramable #vandusenFOL Christmas Light displays – Adult Admission $15.24 (in advance) or $18.10 (at door)

Christmas at Canada Place – Port Metro Vancouver presents the 30th annual Christmas at Canada Place holiday event, from November 23rd to December 31st, 2017, stroll the festive fun along The Canadian Trail (west promenade) to see the new Canada’s North light display at the North Point of Canada Place, glimpse the iconic Woodward’s department store holiday windows, take in the Christmas fun at Fly Over Canada and don’t forget to look up to the Canada Place Sails of Lights. – Free Admission

Glow Christmas – For the first time, Milner Village Garden Centre in Langley sets the Fraser Valley aglow with a half-million lights over four Christmas Gardens, Food Trucks & Bar, Craft Market and more from 4-10pm, November 23rd to December 30th, 2017 – Admission – Adults: $19.99 (in advance) $25 (at door)

Lights at Lafarge – Coquitlam’s Winter Light Festival is the largest free light display in the Lower Mainland, Town Centre Park is illuminated with hundreds of thousands of lights, with roving performers, hot chocolate & cookies, a Holiday Market and of course Santa are all just steps from Lafarge Lake – Douglas Skytrain Station, from November 25th, 2017 to January 21st, 2018 – Free Admission

Chanukah in the City – Celebrate with music, hot chocolate, doughnuts and gelt as the Silber Family Menorah, Canada’s tallest, lights up the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza from December 12th to celebrate the first of the 8 Days of the Chanukah Festival Of Lights

Holiday Market from Vancouver Foodster

‘Tis the season for shopping and browsing the Holiday Markets around the city and on December 6th Vancouver Foodster introduces a Holiday Market like no other.  A night of tastings to celebrate the Holiday Season, Vancouver Foodster’s Holiday Market explores a trio of neighbourhoods to see what merchants have in store.

South Granville, False Creek and Kitsilano welcome holiday explorers to visit a selection of markets that will feature various vendors offering a  selection of savoury and sweets, plus beverages for guests to enjoy and peruse.  Market visitors will have a chance to browse, try and perhaps purchase many different foods and beverages throughout the event, meet some new food loving friends, meet the producers and chefs, and learn about each of the participating vendors and markets.

Guests will check in at Milano Coffee Roasters, at 156 West 8th Avenue to receive their Market Passport and Menu before setting off to explore the rest of the Holiday Market.

In addition to Milano Coffee Roasters the Vancouver Foodster Holiday Market also includes;

Meinhardt Fine Foods
3002 Granville Street, Vancouver

Be Fresh Market Cafe
1900 West First Avenue, Vancouver

Silk Road Tea
2066 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver

Tickets for Vancouver Foodster Holiday Market are on sale now from Eventbrite.
Ultra Early-Bird: $18 per person before November 22, 2017
Early-Bird: $25 per person after November 22, 2017
Regular $30 per person after November 29, 2017

5 Plays for the 2017 Holiday Season

O what fun it is to see family friendly live theatre!  Here’s 5 Christmas themed plays that everyone in the family will enjoy this Holiday season.

A Christmas Carol – December 7 – 24, 2017 – Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond
Charles Dickens’ classic, plus a few Ghostly visitors, help Scrooge and all of us find the spirit of Christmas

 


The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe
  – November 25 – December 31, 2017 – Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St, Granville Island, Vancouver
Join the Pevensey children as they step through the wardrobe and visit the magical world of Narnia in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia classic adventure

 

Disney’s Beauty And The Beast – December 7, 2017 – January 13, 2018 – Arts Club Theatre Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, 2750 Granville Street, Vancouver
Disney’s tale as old as time comes to life, with a song as old as rhyme, lavish costumes and lush sets.

 


East Van Panto : Snow White And The Seven Dwarves
– November 29, 2017 – January 6, 2018 – York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Join Snow White as she flees across East Van from the Evil Queen of North Vancouver with helps of the magical Vancouver characters she meets along the way.

 

Christmas Queen 4 – Secret Santa – November 22 – December 23, 2017 – Improv Centre, 1502 Duranleau Street, Granville Island, Vancouver
HRM (Her Royal Meanness), The Christmas Queen returns to once again attempt to foil Christmas, will she finally succeed?  

Bonus: Christmas Queen – Drag Race – Saturdays November 25, December 2, 9, 16, 23 at 11:15pm – Improv Centre, 1502 Duranleau Street, Granville Island, Vancouver
The Christmas Queen is joined by guest host, The Unstoppable Connie Smudge for 5 naughty late night shows when anything could, and will, happen.

What’s Your Favourite Christmas Movie?

Over the Holidays you’ve probably rewatched at least one of your favourite Christmas movies, along with numerous specials and shows.

Are you one of those who favours the classics, like A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas or Miracle on 34th Street?  Does A Christmas Story bring back memories?  Do you categorize Die Hard as a Christmas movie? Is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween or Christmas Movie?


Here’s the Top Five most successful Holiday movies ever (all from recent years), is your favourite amongst them or do you have another that you consider a classic, must-watch, to get you in the spirit of the Season?

 

 

    1. Home Alone (1990) : $580+million (rates adjusted for inflation)
    2. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) : $414+million
    3. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) : $360million
    4. The Santa Claus (1994) : $297million
    5. Polar Express (2004) : $253million

(values from BoxOfficeMojo.com)

Whatever gets you in the Christmas spirit I hope you enjoyed it and had a very Happy Holidays!

12 Days Of Christmas Present Ideas – recap

While it’s into the last minute shopping zone, there’s still time to do some shopping if you haven’t checked everything off your list yet.

The 12 Days of Christmas Present Ideas mentioned over the last couple weeks have plenty of simple ideas for your gifting, many don’t even require you to leave the house to purchase.

In case you missed any of the 12 Days of Christmas, here’s a recap:

Day 1:  Get the Season brewing with the Staub Cast Iron Teapot

Day 2: Don’t be ground down by the AeroPress Espresso & Coffee Maker

Day 3: It’s written in the leaves at Treasure Green Tea Company

Day 4: Roll out the laughter with JFL Northwest, Vancouver’s Comedy Festival

Day 5: Christmas burns bright with Vancouver Candle Co or Tom Dixon fragrant and artistic candles

Day 6: Light up their Christmas with home accessories like this Establish & Sons lamp

Day 7: Spread warmth & cheer with gear from Live Out There

Day 8: Put some flavour under their tree with tasty food events from Vancouver Foodster, Cook Culture Cooking School and Dine Out Vancouver Festival

Day 9: Give sweet sensations from Brockmann’s Chocolate or Cook Culture’s Artisanal Chocolate

Day 10: Catch the lords a leaping when Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo returns to Vancouver

Day 11: Spread some cheer for your hostess gifts from East Van Jam

Day 12: Give the best gift of all, yourself – volunteer your time, assistance or skills.