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British Columbia

Fun & Fascinating Indoor Adventures

The weather outside is frightful, but these indoor activities are so delightful


Jan. 2020

Vancouver Aquarium (Photo by KK Law)

Vancouver Aquarium (Photo by KK Law)

1. Get a panoramic view of the city from inside the cozy chalet on Grouse Mountain—with a sinfully indulgent pastry from BeaverTails in hand, of course.

2. Wander through the new COS on Robson Street—the brand’s largest store in Canada—and find an outfit that’s the perfect mix of modern but timeless. While on Robson, check out all the other trendy stores and restaurants.

3. Experience a moment of zen while watching the mesmerizing jellyfish at the Vancouver Aquarium. 

4. Learn the cool chemistry behind crafting the perfect drink at Science of Cocktails, an adults-only event at Science World (Feb. 6). You may never look at science the same way again.

5. Examine paintings by Emily Carr alongside pieces by Indigenous artists from the same time period in Rapture, Rhythm and the Tree of Life: Emily Carr and Her Female Contemporaries at the Vancouver Art Gallery (to Jun. 28).

6. Sip a latte, nibble on a pastry and cuddle a friendly feline at Catfé. Vancouver’s first cat cafe received international attention a few years ago when pop singer Adele stopped by for some kitty snuggles.

Delicious food at The Teahouse (Photo courtesy The Teahouse)

7. Explore Stanley Park in the most delicious way possible: with a special package from The Teahouse that includes a one-hour private tour in a town car, followed by a three-course meal at the restaurant. 

8. Laugh until you cry at all the frenetic fun on the Vancouver TheatreSports stage. Famous folks who honed their improv talents with VTS include Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie.

9. Buy a doggone delightful outfit for your posh pup at Barking Babies, and maybe even treat your precious pooch to a bath and a blow-dry.

10. Sample stellar fare at discounted prices during the Dine Out Vancouver Festival (Jan. 17 to Feb. 2). Pro tip: wear your stretchiest pants. 

Science of Cocktails at Science World

11. Marvel at the 360-degree view of the city from high in the sky at the Vancouver Lookout.

12. Find out if the pen truly is mightier than the sword with a new ballpoint, rollerball or fountain pen from The Vancouver Pen Shop.

13. Meander through the Granville Island Public Market, the Net Loft and more on Granville Island, stopping often to refuel at a cornucopia of charming little eateries.

14. Browse for a quirky memento from Main and Local, a Canadian company that proudly makes “souvenirs that don’t suck.” Look for the CBC coffee mug, yoga-bear candle or “Not Sorry” rainbow socks at stores such as Make on Granville Island or Kimprints downtown.

15. Discover your new favourite author at the Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival (Feb. 8 to 13). This year’s highlights include Anna Mehler Paperny, Gary Shteyngart and Jamie Bernstein.

16. Feast on all the seafood delicacies that Vancouver is known for at Lift and Joe Fortes.

“Deep Forest” by Emily Carr (Courtesy Vancouver Art Gallery)

17. Treat your feet to a pair of Blundstone boots or cozy Glerups slippers from the Australian Boot Company. 

18. Linger over breakfast at De Dutch. You can’t beat a pannekoeken (Dutch pancake) with the oh-so-very-Canadian toppings of bacon and maple syrup.

19. Test out an indoor bike at the Peloton showroom, and check out all the cute athletic tops and bottoms that seem almost too nice to sweat in.

20. Dance the night away with The Strumbellas (Jan. 10 and 11), Tebey (Jan. 16), Michael Kiwanuka (Jan. 28), Theory of a Deadman (Jan. 31 and Feb. 1), Stone Temple Pilots (Feb. 5), The Beaches (Feb. 7), The Marcus King Band (Feb. 9), Wolf Parade (Feb. 12), Atmosphere (Feb. 23), Andy Shauf (Feb. 26), and Doug and the Slugs (Feb. 29), all at fabulous Commodore Ballroom (page 49), which has been Vancouver’s favourite live venue since 1929.

Live on Stage at the Arts Club


Jan. 2019

See a show at the Arts Club this winter (Photo ©Baytunc/istockphoto.com)

Various Dates The Arts Club’s three stages have something for everyone right now. At the Stanley, Noises Off (Jan. 23 to Feb. 23) is a classic farce that’s been delighting audiences for almost four decades. At the Goldcorp Stage, The Wedding Party (Feb. 27 to Mar. 22) shows all the hilarious confusion of one couple’s big day. And at the Granville Island Stage, the world premiere of Cipher (Feb. 6 to Mar. 7) will keep you guessing.

Relive the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver

A decade has passed since Vancouver and Whistler hosted the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, where Team Canada secured a record-breaking number of gold medals and finished third overall. Here are 10 ways to recapture the city’s most memorable moments.


Jan. 2019

The Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza (Photo by KK Law)

1. Gaze upon the 10-m- (33-ft-) tall Olympic cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza, with the North Shore mountains in the distance.

2. Take a peek at the Olympic display, which features torches and a full set of shiny medals, inside the Vancouver Convention Centre.

3. Pick up a pair of limited-edition 10-year-anniversary Team Canada mittens from Hudson’s Bay.


PuSh International Performing Arts Festival


Don’t miss FRONTERA at the PuSh Festival (Photo by Adrián Morillo)

Jan. 21 to Feb. 9, 2020 Cross-pollination fuels creativity, and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is positively buzzing with genius. More than 20 companies from nine countries showcase boundary-breaking contemporary dance, music and theatre. Don’t miss FRONTERA, a masterful collaboration between dance company Animals of Distinction, post-rock band Fly Pan Am, and UK-based scenographers United Visual Artists.

Total Reset in the Fraser Valley

Soothing hot springs, farm-to-table flavours and real-life Sasquatch sightings: the Fraser Valley offers plenty of ways to relax, refuel, and renew your sense of wonder


Jan. 2019

Duft & Co Bakehouse (Photo courtesy Duft & Co Bakehouse)

Seeking a restorative side trip? You don’t have to go far. Just an hour’s drive from Vancouver, warm community vibes welcome world-weary visitors to Abbotsford, affectionately known as the “city in the country.” Bonus for foodies: many local eateries source their ingredients directly from Fraser Valley growers. Explore the historic downtown area’s charming shops, then settle in at Duft & Co Bakehouse to reconnect with your travel companions over homemade sandwiches, or pastries such as cinnamon buns and twice-baked almond croissants. Everything is made fresh daily, using recipes developed by husband-and-wife team Tyler Duft and Cassandra Crocco. Right around the corner, gluten-free cafe The Polly Fox beckons with cheesy pizza buns, I-can’t-believe-they’re-vegan apple fritters and (on Saturdays only) vegan waffles served sandwich-style or with tasty toppings. Even delicious sips such as cappuccino and hot chocolate can be made vegan thanks to tasty nut mylks provided by next-door-neighbour The Habit Project. (more…)

No Skis (or Boards) Required

For a perfect day off the slopes, try one—or all—of these activities. There’s snow much fun to be had!


Jan. 2019

Five thousand twinkling lights illuminate nearly 300 trees in Whistler Village (Photo by Mike Crane courtesy Tourism Whistler)

Peak Perspectives

Ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola on a dizzying 4.4-km (2.7-mi) journey between Whistler and Blackcomb. Feeling adventurous? Catch the extraordinary glass-bottomed gondola and peek down at the powder-covered alpine fairyland 436 m (1,430 ft) below.

Organic Oasis

Need to chill out? Soak up magical mountain views from a rooftop hot tub at The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge. There are a plethora of tranquil treatments on offer, too: hydrafacials, massages, body scrubs, manicures and more. 

Glide to Gold

Put your skating skills to the test on the outdoor ice rink at Whistler Olympic Plaza. With free admission, $6 skate rentals and an Olympic-ring backdrop, it’s a frosty family favourite all winter long.

Indoor Discoveries

Escape the freezing temperatures outside with a visit to the inspiring and interactive exhibits at the Whistler Museum. Snap a selfie with a real Olympic torch, marvel at the original gondola, and learn fascinating facts about the resident black bears.

Ready, Set, Go!

Challenge your friends to a playful, giggle-inducing race at Whistler Olympic Park in the picturesque Callaghan Valley, where you can whiz down the sledding hill on a saucer or toboggan. 

Glow in the Dark

Looking for some extra sparkle? Go for a snowy stroll in Whistler Village, where 5,000 strings of colourful, twinkling lights—that’s 350,000 LED bulbs—illuminate nearly 300 trees.

Keeping Cozy


Dec. 2019

There’s a lot of outdoor fun to be had in Whistler, whether it’s whooshing down a ski run, snowshoeing through the woods or shopping in the Village. But there’s nothing fun about freezing your buns off. The solution? Smartwool’s merino wool accessories and base layers, which regulate body temperature, wick away sweat and control odours. They’re also incredibly soft—none of that old-school itchy stuff here—and available in a variety of eye-catching colours. Perfect for staying toasty, stylish and stink-free in the great outdoors. Layer up at McCoo’s.

25 Things We Love About Whistler

Especially in Wintertime


Dec. 2019

Nothing says “top of the world” like the stunning views from Whistler Blackcomb’s world-class ski runs (Photo by Vince Edmond courtesy Tourism Whistler)

1. Hitting the slopes of Whistler and Blackcomb for an epic day of skiing.


A Fine Feast on the North Shore


Dec. 2019

Indulge your taste buds at Feast the Neighbourhood Table this season. This Dundarave Village eatery serves hearty, locally sourced comfort food with a dash of French flair. Fill up on lobster bouillabaisse and Atlantic cod en papillote—that means “steamed in paper,” for those of us who aren’t gastro-nerds—as well as crispy fried chicken and Buddha bowls with house-made kimchi. Hungry for more? Share one of the mouth-watering Feast Platters (Earth, Sea or Surf and Turf). Don’t forget to order the fluffy mini-donuts—there’s always room for dessert.

Savoir Flair at Au Comptoir


Dec. 2019

Taste fresh French flavours such as the Vercingetorix salad, featuring a soft poached egg and white anchovies (Photo by KK Law)

For serious French bites, head to Au Comptoir, an unabashed salute to the classic Parisian bistro in the heart of Kitsilano. Go early for breakfast, lunch or dinner, because the popular spot doesn’t take reservations. Regulars pack into the cozy banquettes for de rigueur tastes such as croque madame, duck confit, grilled bavette steak and poisson du jour. Flavours are pure, ingredients locally sourced and service prompt but friendly. For a taste of the sunny south, drop by Yaletown’s Provence Marinaside, also open all day, for West Coast–style bouillabaisse, crab-and-shrimp cakes or half chicken provençale. Or, nibble on small plates and sip a glass of rosé at adjacent TWB—The Wine Bar. On the East Side, Les Faux Bourgeois yields a wealth of Gallic favourites, from escargots and onion soup to tarte flambée and hanger steak frites, all in a cozy but busy bistro setting.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Vancouver Art Gallery: Transits and Returns


“Skin Country” by Carol McGregor (Photo by Louis Lim. Image courtesy the artist)

To Feb. 23, 2019 For a unique insight into the nations of the Pacific region, stroll over to Transits and Returns at the Vancouver Art Gallery. In collaboration with Brisbane’s Institute of Modern Art, this transportive exhibit connects 21 Indigenous artists—including local First Nations—who tackle themes of movement, kinship, territory and representation. Carol McGregor’s remarkable possum-skin map, “Skin Country,” depicts indigenous plants used by Aboriginal communities near Brisbane, while Taloi Havini’s four-channel video “Habitat III” reveals the tense relationship between Australia and Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea. Chantal Fraser, of Samoan descent, manipulates objects to challenge cultural interpretations: don’t miss “The Way,” a dazzling rhinestone-studded wind turbine. Through their practices, the artists dive headfirst into ancestral roots and travel routes. And it’s a trip worth taking.

Afternoon Delight at Neverland Tea Salon


Dec. 2019

Enjoy seasonal high tea towers filled with sweet and savoury bites at Neverland Tea Salon (Photo by KK Law)

Tea-lovers revel in a wealth of choice as the city enjoys an afternoon-tea revival. True to its name, whimsical Neverland on the West Side takes tea to the next level. The china settings are gorgeous and the plates deliciously decadent, offering an array of sandwiches, sweets and savouries. Favourites roam from riffs on the traditional, such as a citrus scone with Devonshire cream and house-made jam, to a lemon-herb mascarpone sandwich with cucumber and arugula. All high-tea menus can be made with gluten and dairy omitted, and vegetarian and vegan versions are available. Find more indulgences at Notch8 in the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, at long-running tucked-away Secret Garden in Kerrisdale, and at Robson Street’s Ladurée, an elegant nod to the French salon de thé highlighted by in-house pastries and extraordinary macarons.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.