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Chloe Lai

The Greatest Gift: Seasonal Shopping

By CHLOË LAI

Illustration ©Svetlana Chistobeva/iStockphoto.com

Nov. 7 to Dec. 24, 2018 It may be too early to hear sleigh bells ring, but it’s never too early to start whittling away at your shopping list. Make spirits bright with locally crafted treasures from one of the many studios and shops on Granville Island, or fill stockings with offerings from more than 300 Canadian artisans at the Circle Craft Christmas Market (Nov. 7 to 11). Nostalgic merrymakers love Christmas at Hycroft (Nov. 15 to 18), where festive vendors fill every nook and cranny of an Edwardian mansion decked out in traditional finery, and revel in the open-air magic of the German-themed Vancouver Christmas Market (Nov. 21 to Dec. 24). An exemption from the panic of last-minute shopping? That’s the greatest gift of all.

Queen Elizabeth Theatre: Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

By CHLOË LAI
Oct. 2018

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Nov. 13-18, 2018 She was the first woman to receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. She’s won four Grammy Awards, and been inducted into the Hall of Fame for songwriting and rock ’n’ roll. At the Tony Award–winning Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, fans sing along to the pop icon’s greatest hits—including “You’ve Got a Friend”—while retracing her humble beginnings. It’s got us feeling “Some Kind of Wonderful.”

In My Kitchen: Cooking with Locals

By CHLOË LAI
Oct. 2018

Swiss home cook shows guests how to make spaetzle

Have an appetite for culinary adventure? Don an apron and step up to the stove with In My Kitchen. Local home cooks open their doors to small groups, sharing traditional family recipes for everything from perfect Swiss spaetzle noodles to tasty Middle Eastern tabbouleh. Cook up a storm from scratch, then take a seat at the host’s dinner table to enjoy the fruits of your labour, served with a side of lively conversation and new friends. The icing on the cake? Everyone takes home a recipe booklet and shopping list, so they can recreate their favourite dishes. It’s Canadian hospitality at its finest.

Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival 2018

By CHLOË LAI

Balkan Shmalkan at Victory Square (Photo by Tom Quirk)

Oct. 24 to Nov. 4, 2018 Craving a true community vibe? The 15th annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival celebrates the neighbourhood’s triumphs, challenges and ongoing activist efforts with over 100 events. Take a deep dive into powerful accounts of the violence faced by Indigenous women in Material Witness. Or kick up your heels with Balkan Shmalkan (pictured)—a self-described “sweet dance party orchestra”—between performances by gospel and blues singers, fiery poets and captivating speakers. Bring a friend, or better yet, make new ones.

Dreamy Designs at the Vancouver Fall Home Show

By CHLOË LAI

Love It or List It, Vancouver’s award-winning host Todd Talbot headlines this year’s Vancouver Fall Home Show

Oct. 18 to 21, 2018 A cozy escape from the world. A place to entertain family and friends. A staging area for creative projects. Dream homes take many forms, so it’s no surprise that design devotees flock to the Vancouver Fall Home Show for how-to guidance. Get tips, tricks and insights into the latest trends from industry experts such as Todd Talbot (pictured) of HGTV Canada’s Love It or List It Vancouver, then be inspired by products from more than 300 vendors. Welcome home.

Spirited Sightseeing: Halloween-themed Tours and Activities

By CHLOË LAI
Oct. 2018

The Gastown Steam Clock is located on Water St., one of the most haunted streets in town (Photo ©James Wheeler/Dreamstime.com)

It’s officially spectre-seeking season. Revel in eerie tales of local hauntings with Ghostly Vancouver Tours, hop aboard Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tours to see spooky sites—including the city’s first morgue—or solve a cold-case murder with Vancouver Mysteries. Forbidden Vancouver’s Lost Souls of Gastown tour weaves grisly historical anecdotes into a roving theatre experience, while nightmarish characters, haunted houses and scream-worthy rides await at Fright Nights at Playland. For family-friendly frights, ride The Stanley Park Halloween Ghost Train. Happy haunting!

Where to Celebrate Diwali in Vancouver

By CHLOË LAI

Arno Kamolika performs a Bharatanatyam interpretation of Rabindranath Tagore’s Shyama

Oct. 3-Nov. 17, 2018 Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, brightens long autumn nights. Fire up your cooking and mosaic-painting skills at Diwali Fest or catch one of Diwali in BC’s trailblazing performances: A Vancouver Guldasta illuminates the challenges faced by the Sikh diaspora in the ’80s, while The Believers Are But Brothers shines a light on online extremism. A fresh take on Bengali dance drama Shyama (pictured) pays tribute to its original creator, the first non-European Nobel Laureate poet. Truly dazzling.

Show-Stealing Walruses at the Vancouver Aquarium

By CHLOË LAI
Sep. 2018

Photo courtesy Vancouver Aquarium

Move over, adorable otters. Make way, pint-sized penguins. Magnificently moustachioed walruses have arrived at the Vancouver Aquarium, and they’re a big deal in more ways than one. The first walruses to ever live at the aquarium, Lakina and Balzak are as enormous as they are charming: once fully grown, Lakina could weigh up to 1,700 kg (3,750 lbs) while her half-brother may tip the scales at 3,700 kg (8,150 lbs). They’re also talented “singers,” serenading visitors with deep roars, train-like whistles and more. And did we mention that they’re capable of sucking clams right out of their shells? Get a glimpse of these talented behemoths at the Research Outpost, which is open to the public for the first time. Talk about making a splash.

Double Take: Film & TV Landmarks in Downtown

Hollywood North’s leading architectural landmarks are ready for their close-up

By CHLOË LAI
Sep. 2018

Photo by KK Law

Hotel Europe

Built 1909

As seen in Legends of the Fall, The NeverEnding Story, Twice’s “Likey” music video

The iconic flatiron-style building that dominates Gastown’s Maple Tree Square isn’t just the oldest reinforced-concrete structure in Vancouver: it’s the oldest in all of Canada. (Naturally, it’s also rumoured to be haunted.) If it feels like a little slice of New York City, that’s because the design echoes Manhattan’s famous Flatiron Building, constructed in 1902. Elegant original features—including Italian tile floors and granite columns—make it an ideal location for historical films. Originally a hotel for business travellers, the heritage building is now home to residential units and quirky shops. The best spot to snap a selfie with this landmark is from across the street, facing the Gassy Jack statue. (more…)

Shop Local: First Pick Handmade

By CHLOË LAI

Sterling silver pieces by Vancouver-based jewellery designer Kolton Babych

Sep. 15 and 16, 2018 Tired of knickknacks? For stylish souvenirs as dreamy as the memories you’ve made on holiday, head to First Pick Handmade. This market showcases the latest made-in-Canada fashions and accessories by more than 30 indie designers. Bring home the wild beauty and eco-friendly ethos of the West Coast with reclaimed-wool shirts by Anián, recycled-cashmere accessories from Winterluxe, and signature jewellery by Kolton Babych (pictured)—all created in Vancouver. You’re going to need a bigger suitcase.

Comedian Jim Jefferies Takes a Crack at Vancouver

By CHLOË LAI

Photo by Art Streiber

Sep. 14, 2018 For Aussie comedian Jim Jefferies, everything is a laughing matter. The famously foul-mouthed comic is best known for his viral segment on gun control, and for his hilarious handling of controversial topics on The Jim Jefferies Show. In The Night Talker Tour, Jefferies unleashes a fresh new onslaught of jokes about everything from American politics to awkward parenting moments. Laugh it up at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Make a Move at the Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House

By CHLOË LAI

Photo courtesy Kababayang Pilipino

Sep. 15, 2018 Dream of busting a move, but don’t know the difference between hip hop and Highland? Head to the annual Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House. More than a dozen dance companies offer free classes for every aspiring Fred Astaire and would-be Bruno Mars. Get sassy with swing moves from Dancing Bee Dance Studios, tap into First Nations traditions with powwow lessons from Nyla Carpentier and Raven Spirit Dance, or explore festive folk-dance steps with Kababayang Pilipino (pictured). Time to strut your stuff.