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Jill Von Sprecken

One-of-a-Kind Buys at Litchfield

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Mar. 2019

Litchfield (Photo by KK Law)

Have home-decor hankerings? On the lookout for luxury goods? Then head to concrete-and-wood-trimmed Litchfield, a carefully curated Gastown boutique that has everything you want—plus a few things you didn’t know you needed (but really, really do). Most of the thoughtful decor, housewares and personal accessories are by emerging or unheard-of designers, while others are influenced by owner Jonathon Litchfield’s childhood in Japan. But everything is as functional as it is fashionable. On our just-gotta-have-it list: Hasami Japanese porcelain, WANT Les Essentiels bags, locally made Vitruvi fragrances, and Patchology’s On the Fly travel skincare kit. Guaranteed to satisfy any and all shopping desires.

Public Art: Acoustic Anvil in Olympic Village

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Mar. 2019

“Acoustic Anvil: A Small Weight to Forge the Sea” by Maskull Lasserre (Photo by KK Law)

Normally the tool of metalworkers or vengeful cartoon characters, anvils don’t often turn up in day-to-day life. Unless you happen to pass Leg-In-Boot Square, where Maskull Lasserre’s colossal installation “Acoustic Anvil: A Small Weight to Forge the Sea” arrived last fall. It’s part of the Vancouver Biennale, a public art exhibit that brings large-scale sculptures to the city’s streets. And although its landing place may seem haphazard, the aptly named square was actually once a place of industry, home to boat builders and stevedores. (It was also where a boot with a leg still in it was displayed in 1886, in hopes that the owner might return to claim it—hence the name.) The prodigious art piece isn’t just a nod to the past—it’s a tool-turned-instrument, thanks to the delicate violin f-hole that slices through the anvil’s centre. Put your ear to it and tune in to the sounds of the ocean, just as you would a conch shell. Hear that? It’s the sound of the area’s sea-bound past and future.

Truly Unusual Souvenirs

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Feb. 2019

Chinese-takeout-themed mug by Main and Local

Because you can’t bring the Steam Clock or Granville Island with you, there are Canadian-inspired souvenirs by Main and Local. The Montreal-based company specializes in Canadian and city-centric—from Toronto to Vancouver—keepsakes, with the encouraging tagline “souvenirs that don’t suck.” Fun, displayable take-home tokens include a poutine snow globe, sushi air freshener and Chinese-takeout–themed mug. After all, nobody really needs another souvenir that sucks. Stock up at Make or at www.mainandlocal.com.

Vancouver International Wine Festival Features Californian Wines

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Vancouver International Wine Festival photo by Marjo Wright

Feb. 23 to Mar. 3, 2019 There’s a lot to celebrate at the 41st annual Vancouver International Wine Festival. There are over 1,500 wines, 15 countries, 160 wineries and 54 events—trust us, the math is easier before the bacchanalia begins—which all adds up to one epic event. This year, California dreamers come out on top with 53 attending wineries from the Sunshine State, the showcase region in 2019. Take part in seminars, vintage tastings and winery dinners, or head straight to the festival’s hub: the International Festival Tastings. Ready, set, sip!

Alpine Escape for Foodies

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Jan. 2019

Fresh fare at Aura (Photo by Joern Rohde/www.joernrohde.com)

For a post-piste vibe that’s serene and scenic, head to Aura in Zen-like Nita Lake Lodge. Outside are views of a gorgeous glacier-fed lake, while inside the modern decor includes bold-and-beautiful artworks like “Dynamic Herd,” seven brightly coloured galloping deer sculptures. On the plate, find farm-fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared with French flair, like roasted beet salad with horseradish crème fraîche or butternut squash farro risotto. Picturesque and peaceful—now that’s to our taste.

Two of a Kind: Dundarave Print Workshop + Gallery Exhibits Two Top-Notch Printmakers

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

“The Ridge” by Betty Jean Drummond

Jan. 23 to Feb. 24, 2019 Look back on the careers of two powerhouse printmakers at Dundarave Print Workshop + Gallery. The best of both their worlds is on display in Betty Jean Drummond and Marijke Nap: A Retrospective of Two Highly Regarded Resident Printmakers. See Drummond’s richly textured landscapes (“The Ridge,” pictured) alongside Nap’s whimsical assemblage works. Both draw from a wealth of inspiration—Drummond studied with contemporaries like A.Y. Jackson, while Nap’s Brazilian upbringing is visible in her work. Two printmakers are better than one.

Like a Rock: Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band live at The Palace of Auburn Hills (Photo by Ken Settle)

Feb. 7, 2019 Those in the mood for some “Old Time Rock and Roll” are in luck: Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band are on their final farewell tour, and they’ve brought their catalogue of classics along. After five decades of chart-topping songs and sold-out stadiums, one of the world’s best-selling artists is ready to “Turn the Page” and retire from the road. Catch the “Travelin’ Man” and his band at Rogers Arena.

New Year, New Art at the Contemporary Art Gallery

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Jan. 2018

“Abandoned Details 4” by Anna Torma (Photo courtesy the artist/Esker Foundation)

Multiple dates Starting the New Year off with a bang, the Contemporary Art Gallery presents three—nearly simultaneous—January exhibit openings. On Jan. 18, two solo shows take over the gallery space: Chair for a Woman, featuring imaginative sculptural works by Anne Low, and If No One Asks, Aslan Gaisumov’s thought-provoking still and moving images. They join off-site exhibit How far do you travel?, which takes over the streets as of Jan. 17. The innovative exhibition wraps city buses in works by five Canadian artists, such as “Abandoned Details 4” (pictured) by Anna Torma. Consider it a cultural tour de force.

Like a Local: Ice Skating at Robson Square

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Robson Square Ice Rink (Photo by KK Law)

To Feb. 28, 2019 Besides saying “sorry,” ice skating may be one of the most Canadian activities out there. Take part in this patriotic tradition at Robson Square Ice Rink, which appeals to aspiring Sidney Crosbys and Patrick Chans alike. And aside from showing off your triple lutz to all your new (and very polite) Canuck friends, the best part is entry is free and skate rentals are only $5. Prefer to stick to the sidelines? Watch all the action with a warm drink from the concession. Get ready to glide.

Canadian Artist Paul Ygartua’s Vivid Works at Ukama Gallery

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

“Fiesta” by Paul Ygartua (Image courtesy the artist)

Jan. 18 to 31, 2019 Depth of colour and feeling combine in vibrant works by Canadian artist Paul Ygartua. His pieces create dimension through a unique backdrop of canvas and plexiglass—a medium he developed back in 1980 (“Fiesta,” pictured). Peruse his paintings at Ukama Gallery’s Primordial Abstraction: Depth & Illusion.

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival 2019

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Zvizdal (Photo by Frederik Buyckx)

Jan. 17 to Feb. 3, 2019 For an evening spent on the edge—of your seat, that is—head to the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. Now in its 15th year, the annual fest celebrates groundbreaking theatre, dance, music and visual arts in 26 works by globetrotting artists from 13 countries. This year’s line-up features six world premieres, including contemporary dance by MACHiNENOiSY, and Afrobeat-infused dub poetry by D’bi. Not to be missed: Zvizdal (pictured), a provocative documentary that follows an elderly couple who refused to leave the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Get ready to bend your boundaries.

Happy, Healthy New Year: Vancouver Edition

Making New Year’s resolutions is easy—keeping them is a little harder. Here’s how to make them stick while enjoying the wellness-friendly West Coast

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Jan. 2018

YYoga’s airy Northshore Elements studio is ideal for breaking a sweat or finding your Zen (Photo by KK Law)

EXERCISE

Yoga Ready to get your om on? Mat-toting locals abound in yoga-obsessed Vancouver. At YYoga, say namaste to sleek studios that offer more than a dozen different styles of yoga, 800 classes per week, and (at select studios) infrared sauna. Prefer to mix it up? Spin classes, Pilates, floor barre and more can be found here, too. Semperviva also boasts bright and airy studios around the city, with 10 different styles of yoga on offer. Our advice: salute the sun at the Sea Studio on Granville Island where gorgeous waterfront views can be enjoyed from your mat. (more…)