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British Columbia

Disney on Ice in Vancouver

By SHERI RADFORD

Disney On Ice: Mickey’s Search Party

Nov. 28 to Dec. 1, 2019 Magic is in the air—quite literally—when Disney On Ice: Mickey’s Search Party glides into the Pacific Coliseum. This extravaganza features more than just ice skating as Disney characters perform acrobatic and aerial stunts, too, taking the entertainment high into the air above the audience. Mickey Mouse leads the way on a quest to find Tinker Bell, who has been kidnapped by Captain Hook. Immerse yourself in the enchanting worlds of Frozen, Coco, Moana and other beloved Disney-Pixar stories. Happily ever after, guaranteed.

Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival

By CHLOË LAI

Greg Hill pursues a carbon-neutral path to outdoor adventure in Electric Greg

Nov. 14 to 19, 2019 Deep alpine powder. Steep granite walls. Rugged backcountry bike trails. At the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, adrenaline-fuelled documentaries, photography exhibits and multimedia presentations take audiences deep into nature’s most spectacular—and challenging—terrain, led by legendary athletes. Highlights include: superstar climbers Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold race a dizzying 914 m (3,000 ft) up Yosemite’s El Capitan in The Nose Speed Record; a trio of intrepid bikers takes an unprecedented approach to Africa’s two highest peaks in Mt. Kilimanjaro & Mt. Kenya on MTB; and acclaimed skier Greg Hill pursues a carbon-neutral path to outdoor adventure in Electric Greg (pictured). Talk about next-level entertainment.

Broadway Across Canada: Waitress

By SHERI RADFORD

See Waitress at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre this November (Photo by Rene Cervantes)

Nov 12 to 17, 2019 Jenna is a pregnant waitress who dreams of a better life, far away from her small town and her abusive husband. The only thing that gives her solace is baking pies. She learns about a pie-making contest that might just be the answer to her prayers—but an affair with her gynecologist muddles her situation even more. Waitress is based on the beloved 2007 film starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion. The Broadway production made history when it debuted in 2016, thanks to the show’s all-female creative team. Experience this empowering and uplifting musical at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and enjoy a little slice of happiness at the same time. The best part? Zero calories.

Shopping Season

By SHERI RADFORD

Nov. 2019

Vancouver Christmas Market

Vancouver Christmas Market (Photo by Lindsay Elliott)

’Tis the time of year for buying thoughtful presents. Where better to look than the plethora of local markets? The Vancouver Christmas Market brings a Christkindlmarkt to downtown each year. Peruse the nutcrackers, candles, mulling spices, ugly Christmas sweaters, German steins, and ornaments by Käthe Wohlfahrt while nibbling on pretzels and sipping glühwein (mulled wine). At the Circle Craft Christmas Market, you can stock up on treasures by local artists and artisans, including Honey Canada’s adorable ornaments made from wool, seasonal decorations by ArtPen Studio, and prints and holiday cards by Beaver Pond Creative. Other must-visit markets include Shiny Fuzzy Muddy, Vancouver Etsy Collective Holiday Pop Up and Christmas at Hycroft. But be warned: you just might find a treasure (or several) for yourself, too.

Spirited Stories

Fancy a fright? Vancouver’s tour guides have plenty of spooky tales to tell. Here are a few local ghost stories to haunt your holidays. 

By CHLOË LAI

Oct. 2019

Have dinner with ghostly guests at The Old Spaghetti Factory (Photo © Jerry Coli/dreamstime.com)

Heeere’s Jennie! 

If you’re checking into the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and there’s a strange woman in a red gown in your room, you haven’t been double-booked. According to local legend, you’ve just met the ghost of Jennie Pearl Cox—aka the Lady in Red—a regular at the hotel’s ballroom dances until she was killed in a car accident in 1944. Guests report seeing her pass through elevator doors, particularly on the 14th floor. When an episode of The X-Files was filmed at the hotel, she hovered outside the window, frightening a cameraman so badly that he fled the set and refused to return. 

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West Coast Cuisine at West Restaurant

By TIM PAWSEY

Oct. 2019

At West, Bobby Milheron serves seasonal delights such as (clockwise from L) roasted ling cod, smoked carrots and braised kale; and beetroot salad (Photo by Leila Kwok)

For the ultimate in West Coast cuisine, head to South Granville’s West Restaurant. Executive chef Bobby Milheron presents farm-to-table ingredients with precisely honed flair and creativity, all in an elegant and modern wood-trimmed setting. Dishes evolve with the seasons, but hallmarks include Yarrow Meadows duck breast with kohlrabi, apricots and almonds; soy-sake-glazed Haida Gwaii sablefish; and Maple Hill chicken with grilled leeks, porcini puree and roasted maitake mushrooms. Service is seamless and wine pairings impeccable. The irresistible desserts include a Guanaja chocolate soufflé with poured vanilla crème anglaise. Not to be missed: the current prix fixe menu and the all-encompassing chef’s tasting menu.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Open-Air Art

By SHERI RADFORD

Oct. 2019

“217.5 Arc x 13” by Bernar Venet, at Sunset Beach (Photo by KK Law)

Thanks to the Vancouver Biennale, locals are accustomed to larger-than-life artwork springing up all around the city. Some of the pieces remain on a permanent basis, such as Marcus Bowcott’s “Trans Am Totem” near Science World, while others eventually move on to the next destination. The fourth iteration of this alfresco exhibition runs from 2018 to 2020, and it includes works such as “Paradise Has Many Gates” by Ajlan Gharem, which appears to be a mosque constructed from chain-link fence, right in Vanier Park. Another visiting piece is Maskull Lasserre’s “Acoustic Anvil: A Small Weight to Forge the Sea,” a colossal installation in Leg-In-Boot Square. The outdoor locations guarantee accessibility for all. Just remember to pack your walking shoes—and an umbrella.

Marc Cain Opens New Boutique

By SHERI RADFORD

Oct. 2019

Marc Cain’s new boutique inside Pacific Centre

Attention, savvy fashionistas: time to warm up those credit cards and flex those shopping muscles. Marc Cain recently unveiled a new boutique right downtown in Pacific Centre, in addition to its popular spot in Oakridge Centre. The German fashion brand is best known for its eye-catching one-of-a-kind prints—especially the seemingly endless variations of leopard print. Don’t delay if you find something you like: the stock rotates regularly, with new trend-worthy styles arriving every couple of weeks. Ready, set, spend!

Pampered Pubbing at Ballyhoo Public House

By TIM PAWSEY

Oct. 2019

Enjoy local craft beers, cocktails, high tea sandwiches and more at Ballyhoo Public House (Photo by KK Law)

Handy to cinemas and nightlife, downtown’s newly launched Ballyhoo Public House is a welcoming spot to enjoy local craft beers and smartly conceived cocktails. Drop by for high tea of devilled egg or avocado cream cheese sandwiches. Then hang at the bar with a refreshing Aperol Spritz or Bally gin and tonic. Traditional pub grub takes a back seat on this more contemporary menu, with the likes of crispy cauliflower, shishito peppers, an arugula and roasted chicken salad bowl, and a quartet of creative pizzas.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Funny Business at Improv Ecology

By SHERI RADFORD

See improv artists Gorilla Theatre perform in Vancouver as part of Improv Ecology

Oct. 14 to 20, 2019 Looking for laughs? You’ll find them at Improv Ecology, the International Theatresports Institute’s 2019 conference and festival. That’s a long way of saying that funny folks are descending on the city. Improv artists from six continents are meeting to discuss and hone their craft—and perform it in front of lucky Vancouverites and visitors. The 50 performances feature improvisers not normally seen outside their home countries. Usually business isn’t a laughing matter, but in this case it definitely is. 

Talking Trees: Cultural Tour and Dining Experience

By SHERI RADFORD

Oct. 2019

ALL YEAR Vancouver is known as the modern and sparkling City of Glass, but it also has an ancient forest right in its heart. Stanley Park is a must-see, and to experience it in an unusual way, Talaysay Tours has teamed up with Arc Restaurant in the Fairmont Waterfront to offer Talking Trees. This unique cultural experience takes visitors into the heart of the park with an Indigenous guide, in order to learn about traditional uses for local trees and plants. Afterwards, dinner at Arc features an Indigenous-inspired menu that brings the day’s lessons to life—in the most delicious way possible. Who knew local history could be so fascinating, and taste so good? 

East Meets West at Blossom Dim Sum & Grill

By TIM PAWSEY

Oct. 2019

At Blossom, every dim sum dish is made fresh daily, with zero MSG (Photo by KK Law)

An airy upstairs destination at Bute and Robson, Blossom Dim Sum & Grill takes fusion to the next level. Truly a merging of culinary cultures, the menu blends Asian inspiration with the freshest of West Coast ingredients. Tantalizing tastes include albacore tuna tataki with local black garlic and ponzu dressing; sweet ’n’ sour Sakura pork; bison rib eye; and seared sablefish with rice cake, baby bok choy and mushroom ponzu. A must for visitors, dim sum yields pork belly buns, tofu prawn tarts, mushroom dumplings with black truffle aioli, and more.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.