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Jill Von Sprecken

Deer Lake Gallery: Horror Vacui

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Find pieces by artists like Mallory Donen at the Horror Vacui exhibit.

Oct. 7 to 28, 2017 Do empty spaces give you the creeps? Deer Lake Gallery has the cure: the exhibit Horror Vacui. The art principle—also a fear, called kenophobia—takes an aversion to white space and fills the void with visually busy, dynamic art that encompasses the entire canvas. Meditative and time-consuming, these works demonstrate intense attention to detail through mark-making and repetition. Take in a collaborative mural, plus drawings, sculptures and paintings by artists such as Mallory Donen (pictured).

Tacofino Oasis: Bliss in the Business District

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Take your taste buds on a tasty stay-cation at Tacofino Oasis. (Photo by Amy Ho)

For many, paradise is only a burrito away. If that’s your idea of nirvana, make your way to the city’s latest Baja-inspired outpost: Tacofino Oasis. It’s the fourth location in the family of Mexican-meets-West-Coast eateries, which hail from humble food-truck beginnings. This resort-inspired spot features a menu of unique offerings, including duck carnitas, pork belly burritos, crispy octopus and upside-down cheesecake. For those on the run, there are grab-and-go burritos, too. And of course, no watering hole is complete without craft beer and cocktails. Paradise, found.

Art: Whimsical World

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"The Wind and the Water", by Dana Irving.

“The Wind and the Water”, by Dana Irving.

The wild West Coast gets a dash of whimsy in the hands of landscape artist Dana Irving. The artist’s playful, minimalist world has been described as a blend of Emily Carr and Dr. Seuss, and includes works such as “The Wind and the Water” (pictured). Irving captures the Pacific Northwest’s towering peaks and treetops—and everything in-between—in bold, stylized pieces that celebrate a spiritual connection with nature. Explore her great outdoors at Adele Campbell Fine Art Gallery.

All Hail Holt Renfrew’s New Beauty Hall

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Sep. 2017

Devoted to beauty? So is Holt Renfrew’s new beauty hall.

Beauty worshippers, take note: there’s a new temple in town. Bedecked in European marble, Holt Renfrew’s new beauty hall is a sanctuary of skincare, cosmetics and fragrance. The 4,876-sq-m (16,000-sq-ft) space boasts 29 counters, nine of which offer private rooms for by-appointment facials and treatments. Hard-to-find brands include Louboutin’s nail lacquers and lipsticks, and Sulwhasoo’s holistic South Korean skincare. But there’s plenty more to venerate: make-up by Charlotte Tilbury, skincare by La Prairie, Jo Malone’s interactive fragrance wall—and everything in-between. It’s the answer to any beauty maven’s prayers.

Janet Jackson: Unbreakable Tour

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Be a part of the rhythm nation at Janet Jackson’s show on Sep. 26.

Sep. 26, 2017 It’s music to fans’ ears. Janet Jackson is hitting the road to promote her Unbreakable album—again. The last tour was postponed so the Grammy Award–winning singer could add “mom” to her already impressive resume. Now, the rebooted State of the World tour brings chart-topping hits from across the acclaimed artist’s career, plus hit singles like “No Sleeep” and “Dammn Baby” to Rogers Arena.

On a High Note

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The Treetop Adventure Course is not your average walk in the woods.

The Treetop Adventure Course is not your average walk in the woods.

Trekking through the treetops isn’t just for Tarzan anymore. Now, regular Joes and Janes can have a ball in the branches as they swing, scamper, climb and zip through 70 different aerial obstacles, some as high as 18 m (60 ft). Even little canopy climbers can test their balance on the kids’ course. Learn the ropes—and maybe even thump your chest a little—on the Treetop Adventure Course.

Art: Masters of the Northwest Coast

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Get a glimpse of something truly spectacular at the Masters of the Northwest Coast exhibit.

To Sep. 30, 2017 There’s no denying that the Pacific Northwest is easy on the eyes. There are stunning coastlines, majestic mountains and, of course, eye-catching First Nations art. To see works by some of the best Indigenous artists in the West, head to Douglas Reynolds Gallery for Masters of the Northwest Coast. The exhibit features masks, sculptures, jewellery, carvings and more by famed artists like Bill Reid, Beau Dick and Robert Davidson. Pure eye candy.

Schmooze with Sea Lions

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

It’s always a roarin’ good time at Steller’s Bay. (Photo: Vancouver Aquarium)

Looking to meet some locals? Then head to the Vancouver Aquarium for an introduction to some of the most sociable West Coasters around: Steller sea lions. Like any true local, they love seafood, sunbathing and ocean swims. Find them enjoying all their favourite things at Steller’s Bay, the Aquarium’s latest exhibit. Not only is it the perfect place to meet and greet these charismatic creatures, but it’s also an active research station that helps scientists understand why wild Steller sea lions are disappearing. We can’t think of a better reason to get up close and personal.

Vancouver Fashion Week: Evan Clayton

Collections by local designer Evan Clayton hit the catwalk at Vancouver Fashion Week

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

(L) The Devil In Miss Jones collection was inspired by the sculptures of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. (R) Evan Clayton.

(L) The Devil In Miss Jones collection was inspired by the sculptures of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. (R) Evan Clayton.

Sep. 18 to 24, 2017 Vancouver-based fashion designer Evan Clayton is only 25, but he already has a wealth of experience under his—presumably very chic—belt. His show-stopping collections have ruled the runways at Vancouver Fashion Week for eight seasons, been featured on British Vogue online, and graced the catwalk in Vienna, Austria. (more…)

Artist Collab: Northwest Coast Meets New Zealand

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Find the beautiful results of Singletary and Gardiner's perfect pairing at Spirit Wrestler Gallery.

Find the exquisite results of Singletary and Gardiner’s powerful pairing at Spirit Wrestler Gallery.

Sep. 9 to 30, 2017 Two heads are better than one. For proof, go no further than Spirit Wrestler’s Pacific Currents: New Collaborations in Glass and Jade. This creative collab crossed cultures and an ocean, bringing together two far-flung artists: Preston Singletary, a Northwest Coast First Nations glass artist; and Lewis Gardiner, a New Zealand–based Maori jade artist. The result? Traditional stories and designs that find form in innovative new artworks. Now that’s a dynamic duo.

Poke Paradise

The city’s trendiest dish, straight from the Aloha State

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

At Pokérrito, sample a signature poke bowl or create your own masterpiece.

At Pokérrito, sample a signature poke bowl or create your own masterpiece.

Get ready to hang ten. Poke—Hawaii’s marinated raw-fish salad—has caught a wave, sweeping across the city and leaving Polynesian-inspired flavour in its wake. The island staple is pronounced “poh-kay,” which means “to cut or slice.” An apt description, as poke’s main ingredient is cubed raw fish, which is then topped with fresh ingredients. Of course, sushi-loving Vancouverites wasted no time saying aloha to the dish, and menus here feature both classic and creative versions. Here’s where to take the plunge.

Downtown

Where Pokérrito

Why Hawaiian and Japanese tastes collide in poke bowls and handheld seaweed-wrapped burritos (no chopsticks required).

Find it 558 Dunsmuir St. or 991 Hornby St.
www.pokerrito.ca

Where Poké Time

Why The adventurous try the Super Cruncheritto, a poke burrito stuffed with marinated fish, mandarin oranges, nacho crumbs, corn flakes and more.

Find it 1258 Robson St.
www.poketime.ca

Where Hooked Poke Bar

Why Hawaiian poke with a side of feel-good flavour, owing to the gluten- and dairy-free menu, house-made sauces and sustainable seafood choices.

Find it 995 Hornby St.
www.hookedpokebar.com

Kitsilano

Where Hoké Poké

Why Customize a bowl or choose from house creations, tortilla-wrapped burritos or tuna-and-guacamole-topped poke nachos.

Find it 1834 W. 4th Ave.
www.thehokepoke.ca

Gastown

Where Poké Guy

Why Classic poke dishes with plenty of island flavour, thanks to authentic Hawaiian salts and sustainable Ocean Wise seafood.

Find it 420 Richards St.
www.thepokeguy.ca

Where The Poké Shop

Why Customizable poke bowls can be packed with unlimited out-of-the-bento-box toppings that range from pineapple to guacamole.

Find it 306 Water St.
www.thepokeshop.ca

Main Street

Where Pacific Poke

Why Add a dash of the West Coast to signature or build-your-own bowls with toppings like avocado nori and jalapeño salsa.

Find it 625 Main St.
www.thepacificpoke.com

Cambie Village

Where Westcoast Poké

Why Curious but non-committal? These poke bowls come in a snack size—the perfect way to test the waters.

Find it 463 W. 8th Ave.
www.westcoastpoke.com

Best for Brunch

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Start your day off right at Fergie's Cafe. (Photo: Darby Magill)

Start your day off right at Fergie’s Cafe. (Photo: Darby Magill)

In Whistler, brunch is mountain-activity fuel and a reason to drink mimosas before noon, all rolled into one. Start the day at Wild Wood Pacific Bistro, where nine varieties of eggs Benny (try the sampler plate) and legendary banana bread French toast are on offer. Cheeky Southside Diner serves favourites like the big-ass pancake—go ahead, add chocolate chips—and breakfast poutine. For brunch en français, head to Crêpe Montagne for a delectable array of sweet and savoury crepes. A gem along the Sea-to-Sky for homemade fare, Fergie’s Cafe (pictured) regularly packs its teeny interior with brunch-goers who spill out onto the lawn. Brunch bliss, found.