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Jill Von Sprecken

5 Scenic Sites for Souvenir Snaps

Must-see public art, natural wonders and cultural icons

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Jun. 2018

Photo ©JamesVancouver/istock.com

Siwash Rock
Stanley Park Seawall

The ribbon of seawall that winds its way around Stanley Park has plenty of sublime sights, but chief among them is iconic Siwash Rock. Located between Lions Gate Bridge and Third Beach, the outcropping has stood sentinel at this spot for an estimated 32 million years—long (like really, really long) before Captain George Vancouver sailed these waters. According to Squamish First Nations legend, the stone is a man who was transformed by supernatural beings, forever immortalized as a reward for being unselfish. A noble legend, and one that may explain why Siwash remains completely unruffled by all the attention. (more…)

First Nations Art Exhibit at Uno Langmann

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

“Door Carving” by Charlie James

Jun. 1 to 30, 2018 History buffs and art enthusiasts alike will appreciate First Nations Art at Uno Langmann. Chock-full of for-the-ages artworks, the exhibit chronicles Aboriginal culture and heritage through Salish, Haida, Musqueam and Kwakwaka’wakw artists like Charlie James (“Door Carving,” pictured). Also showcased are non-Indigenous artists like Thomas Harold Beament, whose broad brushstrokes captured traditional settlements and practices. In short, prepare to be fascinated.

It’s Patio Season at Bells and Whistles

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Bells and Whistles photo by Jonathan Norton

For Fraserhood fixture Bells and Whistles, spring marked an important milestone: patio season. It’s the venue’s first since opening last fall, and excitement is brewing. Known for a line-up of local beer and a menu to match—we’re talking elevated burgers, fries and ballpark chilli—this hoppy venue has also added patio-friendly sips and snacks to the roster. Try the rosé-spiked pink sangria or the refreshing citrus-forward Thug Passion Slushy alongside warm-weather menu additions like lamb-curry-smothered fries and seasonal ice cream sundaes. Summer has arrived.

Legendary Haida Artists Showcased at Museum of Vancouver

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Exploring First Nations art is a great way to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on Jun. 21

To Jun 15, 2018 There are over 450 reasons to visit the Haida Now exhibit at the Museum of Vancouver. That’s the number of fascinating artifacts and artworks on display in the powerful showcase. Among them: works by legendary artists Bill Reid and Charles Edenshaw, plus beautiful historic pieces that highlight the Haida nation’s rich culture and traditions. Carvings, jewellery and headpieces paint a picture of day-to-day life, while photography and timelines give a sense of history. It all adds up to one engaging exhibit.

8 Eateries With Exceptional Views

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
May 2018

Glass walls at Cactus Club’s Coal Harbour location look out over Stanley Park (Photo by KK Law)

In Vancouver, stunning scenery is just part of the package. The city’s supermodel good looks run the gamut: sparkling skyline, Coast Mountains, urban forests. (We could go on.)

To satisfy both hunger and a thirst for views, take it to the top—of Grouse Mountain, that is. Perched 1,127 m (3,700 ft) up the mountainside, The Observatory offers vertiginous views of Vancouver from the cantilevered dining room.

Water views and sustainable seafood are the specialty at The Boathouse, with beach-side locations on both Kits Beach and English Bay. Seawall-situated Ancora features a menu of Japanese-Peruvian fusion, accompanied by stellar views of Granville Island and beyond. Similarly situated along the water, pub-fare specialist Tap & Barrel serves favourites like the PB&J Burger with a side of spectacular scenery.

At Lift, serene Stanley Park and the marina are the backdrop for sublime Pacific Northwest fare like crispy fried Humboldt squid and sashimi. The 405-hectare (1,000-acre) park—plus ocean and mountain views—can also be enjoyed from Cactus Club’s Coal Harbour location, where sliding glass walls let the outside in.

The city steals the show at Joe Fortes’ rooftop patio, where bustling Robson Street below is a people-watcher’s delight. Fronted by Yaletown’s glittering glass-walled towers, Dockside with its yacht-side terrace is perfect for savouring local specialties like grilled halibut or roasted salmon.

Consider your eyes, and appetite, satiated.

Vancouver’s Craft Beer Circuit

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
May 2018

From left: Craft Lager, Filthy Dirty IPA, Trash Panda IPA and Ruby Tears NW Red Ale, at Parallel 49 (Photo by KK Law)

From easy drinking to just plain experimental, a bevy of brews can be found around Vancouver. Explore the options in hop-heavy neighbourhoods like Brewery Creek or East Village, where craft breweries are all a hop, sip and jump away. Start with local stalwarts like Brassneck and Parallel 49. For an even larger concentration of breweries, tap into Vancouver Craft Beer Week (May 25 to Jun. 3). This frothy celebration of beer, live music and special events culminates with a festival where 100 breweries pour over 300 beers and ciders. We’ll raise a glass to that.

Hot Ticket: Three Premieres at Ballet BC

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Ballet BC photo by Cindi Wicklund

May 10 to 12, 2018 The final presentation of Ballet BC’s 32nd season unveils one Canadian and two world premieres—a triple-threat performance that’s sure to be en pointe. Program 3 brings to the stage for the first time Cayetano Soto’s haunting Beginning After, and New Work by the company’s own artistic director, Emily Molnar. Plus, for the first time in Canada, Bill presents the raw energy of Israeli choreographers Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar. See all three at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Get Crafty: Locally Distilled Spirits

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
May 2018

Toast your travels with Schramm Gin from Pemberton Distillery

Would you like to take your time in Whistler and bottle it? Then save suitcase space for small-batch spirits with local flavour. At Gillespie’s Fine Spirits, savour tipples such as Sin Gin with its locally foraged botanicals, and Raspberry Gin that’s crafted with BC berries. Pemberton Distillery is famed for the award-winning Schramm Vodka—made from potatoes sourced from just down the road—as well as more creative options like the Barrel-Aged Apple Brandy that boasts BC-based fruit. Now that’s souvenir-savvy.

2018 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

At Five Sails, enjoy pan-seared bass piccata, vegetables and golden fingerling potatoes in a lemon-and-caper butter sauce—and, of course, the incredible view of Coal Harbour

Our annual Where to Dine Awards pay tribute to the hardworking folks who make Vancouver such a food-lover’s paradise

By TIM PAWSEY, SHERI RADFORD & JILL VON SPRECKEN
Photos by KK LAW

Critics’ Choice

LES CLEFS D’OR CANADA SILVER SERVICE 
Five Sails Restaurant

Vancouver’s abundant dining options can overwhelm a hungry traveller, but Les Clefs d’Or always know the newest hotspots, the tried-and-true stalwarts and the hidden gems. These dedicated concierges won’t steer you wrong, and this year their top pick is Five Sails. Perched right on the waterfront, this perennial favourite expertly combines stellar West Coast cuisine with warm service and stunning views of the mountains, inner harbour and Stanley Park. Linger over poached lobster, roasted sablefish or smoked duck breast while watching floatplanes land and cruise ships depart. And make sure to peruse the wine list, which showcases selections from BC’s Okanagan region.—SR (more…)

Thousands Hit the Streets for the Vancouver Sun Run 2018

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Every year, more than 40,000 runners of all ages and abilities lace up for the Vancouver Sun Run

Apr. 22, 2018 Lace up your runners and join over 40,000 of your closest friends at the Vancouver Sun Run. The annual road race was launched in 1985, and took off—now it’s Canada’s largest 10-km (6.2-mi) race, and the third-largest race of its kind worldwide. It attracts elite runners from around the globe, as well as costumed competitors, wheelchair athletes and sprinters of all ages. Along the picturesque route are podium-worthy views of Stanley Park and False Creek, as well as morale-boosting live entertainment. Trust us: it’s the most fun you can have with your running shoes on.

Northern Exposure: Capture Photography Festival 2018

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Apr. 2018

“Subduction Study #7” by Kapwani Kiwanga. (Photo by Victor Sguaresso courtesy Kapwani Kiwanga/Goodman Gallery)

Various dates The Capture Photography Festival is ready for its close-up. From Apr. 3 to 30, the snapshot spectacular focuses on top photographic talent at events, public art projects and gallery exhibits across the city. To see snaps by shutterbugs in all stages of their careers, head to the Contemporary Art Gallery’s The Blue Hour (Apr. 6 to Jun. 24). The exhibit highlights photography by five international and Canadian artists, such as Kapwani Kiwanga (“Subduction Study #7,” pictured), who explores the possible collision of the African and European continents. Now that’s a new angle.

Best Places to Spot Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Mar. 2018

Cherry blossoms mark the beginning of springtime in Vancouver. (Photo courtesy Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival)

When it comes to springtime celebrations, no one paints the town pink quite like the cherry blossom. The city is home to more than 40,000 cherry trees, which line streets and populate parks with dazzling rosy-hued displays. Sakura spotters make a beeline for Stanley Park, VanDusen and Nitobe Memorial Garden for some of the city’s best bloom-filled views. For more flower-themed fun, head to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (Apr. 3 to 29) for haiku contests, picnics, concerts, arts and culture events, and much more. A perfect bash to celebrate the beautiful buds.