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Chloe Lai

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.

Skookum Festival Takes Over Stanley Park

By CHLOË LAI

The Killers (Photo by Stephen Schulcz)

Sep. 7 to 9, 2018 Go big before you go home: this month, heavy hitters from the worlds of music, food and art gather in Stanley Park for the first-ever Skookum Festival. For three days, the urban forest is alive with the sounds of international legends such as Florence and the Machine, Metric, Buffy Sainte-Marie and The Killers (pictured). Show-stopping cuisine fuels the fun with offerings from top local eateries—including Kissa Tanto, Bel Café and Vij’s—served amid larger-than-life murals and interactive art installations. When the sun goes down, Skookum After Dark events ramp up at various venues downtown. World-class concerts all day and night? It’s music to our ears.

Sail Away in Style

By CHLOË LAI
Aug. 2018

The V2V Empress is decked out in eye-catching art by Kwakwaka’wakw artist William Cook

Road trips are fun, but boat trips—especially the luxury catamaran kind—are even better. Set sail for Victoria aboard V2V Vacations’ sleek high-speed vessel, which is docked right downtown. Spend three scenic hours cruising the Salish Sea, with 360-degree views of the Gulf Islands and West Coast wildlife from the upper deck, fresh BC fare to snack on, and plush reclining leather seats that are perfect for a mid-cruise snooze. The V2V Empress arrives right in the heart of Victoria, and those travelling in Royal Class can head straight to their concierge-organized activities. Smooth sailing, guaranteed.

First-Ever Vancouver International Bird Festival Takes Wing

By CHLOË LAI

Photo ©Aquamarine4/Dreamstime.com

To Aug. 26, 2018 “Everybody knows that the bird is the word!” The Trashmen’s catchy tune is especially apt this month, when the first-ever Vancouver International Bird Festival swoops into town. Aviary-themed activities include a Coast Salish canoe journey that explores shoreline restoration efforts for feathered friends, stilt walkers in bird costumes, world-class wildlife art exhibitions, scavenger hunts for kids and more. Whether you’re a fledgling nature lover or an aspiring ornithologist, it’s sure to be a real hoot.

Jack White at Rogers Arena

By CHLOË LAI

Photo by David James Swanson

Aug. 12, 2018 Jack White’s latest album, Boarding House Reach, has been making waves since its release. Debuting at number one in both Canada and the USA, it traipses between an unusually wide range of genres—from heavy metal to jazz to spoken word reminiscent of old-school rap—that showcase the Grammy Award–winning rocker’s unapologetically experimental approach. Ride along on White’s madcap musical exploration at Rogers Arena.

Party in the Park: Harmony Arts Festival

By CHLOË LAI

Outdoor movies at Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver

Aug. 3 to 12, 2018 The Harmony Arts Festival is the ultimate all-in-one alfresco experience. Sunshine? Check. Free concerts and movies? Check. Art exhibitions, world-class cuisine and waterfront wine pairings? You betcha. Catch afro-funk and Latin soul jams by Coco Jafro (Aug. 12) and watch plein air painters in action at Ambleside Pier. New this year is the Indigenous Feast (Aug. 7), with slow-cooked bison short ribs and more by Salmon n’ Bannock, served with a side of live blues music. Who says you can’t have it all?

25 Budget-Friendly Summer Activities

Live music, outdoor movies and bathtub races—here are 25 of the best things in life that truly are free, and a few that come pretty darn close

Sunset Beach is home to ocean views and public art, including “217.5 Arx x 13,” a steel sculpture by French artist Bernar Venet (Photo by KK Law)

By CHLOË LAI

1. Braving the crisp waters of English Bay to reach the floating dock waterslide, which rockets you right back into the waves from whence you came.

2. Clambering all over public art pieces from the Vancouver Biennale, like the curved “217.5 Arc x 13” at Sunset Beach, cast-bronze “A-maze-ing Laughter” figures at English Bay and oversized “Public Furniture | Urban Trees” at Spanish Banks Beach.

3. Hiking the 2,830 steps of the Grouse Grind, locally known as the best way to build buns of steel, and gaining a new appreciation for the scenic (and sweat-free) gondola ride down Grouse Mountain afterwards. (more…)

Non-Stop Fun: Vancouver Pride Weekend 2018

By CHLOË LAI

Photo by Michael Song/Tourism Vancouver

Aug. 3 to 5, 2018 Forget sleep: Vancouver Pride‘s finale weekend has events from dusk to dawn—and dawn to dusk. Hopelessly devoted to drag? Sing along to hit songs at Grease the Drag Show Remix, or head to Parq to meet RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni. Fuel up at the Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast (Aug. 4), dance all night at Celebrities, then join rainbow revellers at the 40th annual Pride Parade (Aug. 5) and Sunset Beach Festival (Aug. 5). Now that’s a party marathon to be proud of.