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YYC Burger Week: Cast Your Vote for the Best Burger in Calgary

One of the contestants in this mouth-watering competition. Photo: 80th and Ivy.

One of the contestants in this mouth-watering competition. Photo: 80th and Ivy.

It’s time to settle a question that’s near and dear to this beef-lovin’ town: who has what it takes to eliminate the competition and claim the glorious title of Best Burger in Calgary?


Hot Dining: Buy Cookies for Charity

These cookies make great gifts

How often does a snack do triple duty? This one tastes great, makes an ideal stocking stuffer and raises money for charity. Until Dec. 31, gourmet cranberry cookies tucked into cute red piggy banks are available for $5 at National Bank locations. Proceeds go to Breakfast Clubs of Canada, which provides nutritious meals to thousands of school children nationwide. Stop by a branch of National Bank (555 Burrard St. or 5811 No. 3 Rd., Richmond) to pick up one—or a few—and you’ll be as popular as Santa.—Sheri Radford

Hot Art: Arts off Main Gets into the Holiday Spirit

“Untitled” by Sabine Simons

Arts off Main is spreading some cheer this holiday season. On Dec. 15 and 16, gallery artists including Lee Sanger and Sabine Simons (“Untitled,” pictured) donate 10 per cent of their sales to the food bank, and as of Dec. 1, visitors to the gallery can bring in non-perishable items to help fund the drive. While in the area, don’t miss Flake Out on Main Street (Dec. 15 to 23), a competition to determine the ‘hood’s best-decorated business.—Kristina Urquhart

Support Starlight Children Foundation’s Walk & Run for Smiles

Starlight Children’s Foundation’s Walk for Smiles

Head out to Pacific Spirit Park at University of British Columbia on Sep. 29 to raise money for a good cause at the seventh annual Walk for Smiles. This event happens simultaneously, rain or shine, in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Choose the 5K walk or the 10K run and help raise funds for this Canadian charity, which brings happiness and memories to children with serious illnesses by granting wishes, bringing toys to hospitals and arranging outings and vacations. After the walk or run tuckers you out, enjoy live entertainment, food and arts and crafts on-site. Keep an eye out for local mascots milling the crowd, including Vancouver Aquarium’s Beebop Beluga, and BC Lions’ Leo the Lion. There’s still a few days left to register, or you can sign up in person at the event. Bonus: if you raise $100, the $25 registration fee is waived. For more information, visit the Walk for Smiles website.

Hot Art: Terracotta Warriors Art Project Winds Down This Month

“Cultural Warrior” by Tony Yin Tak Chu. Photo by Kendal Egli

Keep an eye out for these statues, guarding street corners in fancy dress. The Terracotta Warriors public art project highlights BC’s strong ties to Asian culture with 2-m- (7-ft-) high fibreglass replicas of the famous clay Terracotta Army, which was buried with China’s first emperor in 210 BC to defend him in the afterlife. Shutterbugs: click away at all 33 designs, whether it’s the lone female (“The Last Empress” by Amy Lau and Rob Dolphin), one with traditional garb (“Cultural Warrior” by Tony Yin Tak Chu, pictured) or a cool culture clash (“Tlingit Warrior” by Una-Ann Moyer). The statues are being auctioned off Sep. 27 for charity. For a map of locations, visit www.terracottawarriors.ca.—Kristina Urquhart

Terracotta Warriors Public Art Project on Vancouver’s Streets

"The Last Empress" by Amy Lau and Rob Dolphin is part of the BC Lions Society Terracotta Warriors public art project. Look for her in Yaletown

The city has an army of protectors watching over us with the Terracotta Warriors public art project. Local artists painted 33 of these 2-m- (7-ft-) high fibreglass sculptures, which guard the streets of Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond until October, when they will be auctioned to benefit the BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities. All but one of the statues are replicas of the famous clay Terracotta Army, which was buried with China’s first emperor in 210 BC to defend him in the afterlife. Look for “The Last Empress” by Amy Lau and Rob Dolphin (pictured), who created the only female of the bunch. This likeness of China’s 19th-century empress connects the Terracotta Army with the country’s last true imperial power. For a map of locations, visit www.terracottawarriors.ca.—Kristina Urquhart

Hot Shopping: Shopping for Charity with Karma Exchange

Silk blankets at Manito Silk

Want to feel good about spending money? With each purchase of a luxurious silk robe or full-sized silk blanket (pictured) from Manito Silk, or of Karma Noodles from Sala Thai, or of stunning Karma Crystals from The Crystalworks Gallery, the Sanga Primary School Water Project comes a step closer to its goal of a rainwater harvesting tank to store drinking water for the seven-month-long dry season in Sanga, Ghana. Karma Exchange brings together responsible businesses, socially aware shoppers, and charities that help end the poverty cycle by providing access to education and clean water. Who knew indulging yourself could be so spiritually fulfilling? Visit www.karmaexchange.com to find out more.—Sheri Radford

Hot Art: Portraits of Inner Strength

"The Believer" by Gavin Murphy is one of the photographs on display for "Transitions."

Local photographer Gavin Murphy is using his art to support a good cause. Until April 6, proceeds from his latest fundraising exhibition will go to the organization Breast Cancer Action Ottawa. Entitled “Transitions presented by Meridian,” the show features portraits of women of all shapes, sizes, ages, races, and backgrounds. These inspiring photos are an apt celebration of women, while also raising money to support survivors of a disease that targets people from all walks of life. On view at Gallery Farina, 216 Elgin St., and Meridian Credit Union, 99 Bank St., 613-741-4029.

Hot Dates: Dining Out for Life

Dockside Restaurant and Brewing Company photo by KK Law

March 29

One day each year, restaurants all across North America contribute 25 percent of their sales to charities that support people living with HIV/AIDS. In Vancouver and Whistler, 250 restaurants participate, giving diners plenty of opportunities to benefit A Loving Spoonful (www.alovingspoonful.org) and Friends For Life (www.friendsfor life.ca). So, after enjoying breakfast at Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe, lunch at Pink Elephant Thai or dinner at Dockside, you’ll leave with both a full belly and a warm heart. For more info, click here.—Sheri Radford

Hot Shopping: TOMS One for One Program

TOMS Classic 101 sunglasses

There’s nothing like the elation after a new purchase. Now that feel-good moment lasts even longer thanks to the TOMS One for One program. First came the shoes, which saw over 1,000,000 pairs given to children in need around the globe, and now for every pair of sunglasses purchased, TOMS offers much-needed medical treatment and prescription eyewear to those who can’t afford it. So protect your peepers and stock up on a new pair, or three, of these Italian-made sunnies (including the Classic 101, pictured), available for the first time this month. Visit www.toms.ca for retailers and to shop online.—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Shopping: Pretty in Pink

This cute hair brush benefits charity and fits into your purse

Head to Sephora this October for one of the limited-edition pink products (including the pop-up hair brush, pictured) that help benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This beauty-product-lover’s paradise donates one dollar to the BCRF for every item sold. —Jennifer Patterson

More information:

Pacific Centre, 701 W. Georgia St. 778-331-3942.

Metropolis at Metrotown, 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby. 604-678-2360.

Coquitlam Centre, 2929 Barnet Hwy., Coquitlam. 778-284-2350.


Hot Shopping: A Fashionable Reason to Shop

Michael Kors scarves

Wondering why so many people have pink ribbons pinned on their lapels right now? Well, October is breast cancer awareness month, so it’s a prime time for fundraising and for showing support. Fashion joins the fight at Holt Renfrew, where purchases of the limited-edition, cashmere-and-wool-blend leopard print scarves by Michael Kors ($50, pictured) benefit the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation—celebrating its 25th anniversary.—Jennifer Patterson

More information:

Holt Renfrew, Pacific Centre, 737 Dunsmuir St. 604-681-3121.