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Chloe Lai

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.

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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The Magic of Mexico with Cirque du Soleil

By CHLOË LAI

Cirque du Soleil: Luzia (Photo by Matt Beard. Costume by Giovanna Buzzi)


Oct 1-Dec 15, 2019
In the mood for something truly spectacular? Cirque du Soleil: Luzia transports audiences to a dreamy, otherworldly vision of Mexico, complete with breakdancing soccer players, hoop-diving “birds” and a galloping, life-sized stallion puppet. It’s also the first touring production in Cirque history to incorporate rain, adding a splash of drama to the already dazzling aerial stunts—acrobats twist, twirl and flip through strategically placed downpours as they soar from one dizzying perch to another. Espectacular!

Literary Festivals in Vancouver

BY CHLOË LAI

Sep. 2019

The central branch of the Vancouver Public Library is a hub for literary events throughout the year (Photo © Rebecca Brown/dreamstime.com)

Local bookstores and libraries host author readings and book launches year-round, but autumn is literary festival season. Here are five events that celebrate the written word in all its forms. Fair warning: your list of must-read books is about to get a lot longer.

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Hanging out with Caroline MacGillivray

The fun-fuelled fitness instructor talks about the joys of hanging upside down, the age limit for pole-dance fitness classes (spoiler alert: there isn’t one) and the best ways to get the most out of summer in the city

By CHLOË LAI + Photos by KK LAW
Aug. 2019

Caroline MacGillivray hangs upside down at Tantra Fitness

There are two kinds of people who show up to fitness classes: those looking for fun ways to stay fit, and those seeking an instructor who can trick them into getting fit without them noticing. (Guess which one we are.) For both of these groups, Caroline MacGillivray is the holy grail of instructors. 

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Last Hurrah: 35 Ways for Kids to Enjoy Summer

35 ways for kids to enjoy the dog days of summer. Some activities are also suitable for adults—with kiddo supervision, of course

By CHLOË LAI

Aug. 2019

Fun at Creekside Park (Photo: KK Law)

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Where There’s a Will

By CHLOË LAI

The Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival at Vanier Park

To Sep. 21, 2019 The Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival turns 30 this year, and it’s coming out with (prop) guns blazing. A Wild West–themed The Taming of the Shrew transports the comedic battle of wills to cowboy country. A young woman defies the societal norms of 1940s India in All’s Well That Ends Well. A ruthless warrior reclaims her honour in a postmodern rendition of Coriolanus. Witty one-liners and a lawbreaking lover take centre stage in a delightful adaptation of Oscar Award–winning Shakespeare in Love. Performed beneath the big white tents at waterfront Vanier Park, this season promises to go off with a bang.

10 Years of Beers: Vancouver Craft Beer Festival

By CHLOË LAI

Photo by Mark Yue

To Jun. 9, 2019 British Columbia was once known for its lumber industry, but these days our calling card is of a frothier, more festive variety: craft beer. Score a pint (or three) of BC’s finest brews at venues across the city during Vancouver Craft Beer Week. Canada’s first-ever craft beer week turns 10 this year—and it’s spent that decade ramping up our city’s reputation for world-class suds. Raise a glass to more than 100 breweries and cideries, including Vancouver’s Postmark Brewing, Abbotsford’s Field House Brewing Co. and Cobble Hill’s Merridale Cidery & Distillery. Plus, it’s all paired with live music, food trucks, mural painting, and beer tours on 15-passenger bikes. Craft-beer fans, welcome to your hoppy place.

Summer Adventures Unleashed

Awesome outdoor activities for every type of traveller

By CHLOË LAI
June 2019

Sometimes, the best place to kick off the journey to inner peace is a deserted dock on a mountain lake (Photo by Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

The Laid-Back Explorer

Every inch of Whistler is packed with showstopping views, but some vantage points are extra awe-inspiring. Lace up those walking shoes to explore the Whistler Summit Interpretive Walk, home to postcard-worthy backdrops such as the inukshuk (a stone figure traditionally used by the Inuit) and Black Tusk. Or step into an iconic red gondola at the record-breaking Peak 2 Peak for 360-degree views of, well, everything. (Pro tip: catch the glass-bottomed gondola.) Want to soak up scenery, serenity and sunshine all at once?  Unroll your yoga mat at one of the many local parks for solo asanas, or call Whistler Eco Tours for group classes at picturesque Alta Lake—on stand-up paddleboards, no less. (more…)

Swordplay 101: Academie Duello

By CHLOË LAI
May 2019

Unleash the warrior within with beginner-friendly courses at Academie Duello

Anyone who’s ever seen an episode of Game of Thrones has wondered what it might be like to prepare for battle. Gastown’s Academie Duello, the largest school of European swordplay in the world, has the answer. (Spoiler alert: it’s awesome.) Sign up for an Adventure program to get a 90-minute crash course in combat, wielding the weapon of your choice—anything from a mighty pole-axe to a two-handed longsword. To finish off, channel your inner Jaime Lannister or Brienne of Tarth in a daring duel against a fellow recruit. Fancy yourself a true knight? Head to Langley, just an hour’s drive away, for a longer session to hone your sword-fighting skills on horseback. For glory!

Deep Dives at Bill Reid Gallery

By CHLOË LAI

“Becoming Worthy” by Marika Echachis Swan

Multiple dates, 2019 Pick up almost any postcard of the West Coast, and you’ll find glamour shots of beaches, glaciers, salmon, orcas and, of course, the Pacific Ocean. Our identity is deeply shaped by British Columbia’s connection to water. Go beneath the surface at the Bill Reid Gallery’s qa y xw – water honours us: womxn and waterways (“Becoming Worthy” by Marika Echachis Swan, pictured; to Oct. 2). Nine Indigenous female artists explore historical practices and tackle modern-day threats to our coastal ecosystems through women-centred works in video, printmaking, carving, performance and more. And don’t miss Counternarratives (to Jun. 2), which makes waves by contrasting idyllic 20th-century paintings by Archibald Fairbairn with contemporary Indigenous critique. We’re hooked.

2019 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

At Provence Marinaside, the whole Dungeness crab provençale with seasonal vegetables and seven-grain rice is as attractive as it is delicious (Photo by KK Law)

We salute the restaurants and people who make Vancouver such a foodie paradise

By TIM PAWSEY, SHERI RADFORD & CHLOË LAI
MAY 2019

Critics’ Choice

LES CLEFS D’OR CANADA SILVER SERVICE 
Provence Marinaside

No one makes more reservations in a year than a hotel concierge. And few have their fingers on the city’s dining pulse as firmly as Vancouver’s Les Clefs d’Or. Always in the loop, they can recommend the ultimate experience—and often secure that hard-to-find last-minute table. This year, their nod goes to Provence Marinaside, a waterside delight on False Creek’s Yaletown shore. Marine-inclined fare marries South of France classics with West Coast flair, such as bouillabaisse, Dungeness crab provençale and olive-dusted seared tuna, using the freshest of local ingredients. Savour smaller bites at the adjacent TWB — The Wine Bar.—TP (more…)