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Things to Do Vancouver

Swordplay 101: Academie Duello

By CHLOË LAI
May 2019

Unleash the warrior within with beginner-friendly courses at Academie Duello

Anyone who’s ever seen an episode of Game of Thrones has wondered what it might be like to prepare for battle. Gastown’s Academie Duello, the largest school of European swordplay in the world, has the answer. (Spoiler alert: it’s awesome.) Sign up for an Adventure program to get a 90-minute crash course in combat, wielding the weapon of your choice—anything from a mighty pole-axe to a two-handed longsword. To finish off, channel your inner Jaime Lannister or Brienne of Tarth in a daring duel against a fellow recruit. Fancy yourself a true knight? Head to Langley, just an hour’s drive away, for a longer session to hone your sword-fighting skills on horseback. For glory!

Deep Dives at Bill Reid Gallery

By CHLOË LAI

“Becoming Worthy” by Marika Echachis Swan

Multiple dates, 2019 Pick up almost any postcard of the West Coast, and you’ll find glamour shots of beaches, glaciers, salmon, orcas and, of course, the Pacific Ocean. Our identity is deeply shaped by British Columbia’s connection to water. Go beneath the surface at the Bill Reid Gallery’s qa y xw – water honours us: womxn and waterways (“Becoming Worthy” by Marika Echachis Swan, pictured; to Oct. 2). Nine Indigenous female artists explore historical practices and tackle modern-day threats to our coastal ecosystems through women-centred works in video, printmaking, carving, performance and more. And don’t miss Counternarratives (to Jun. 2), which makes waves by contrasting idyllic 20th-century paintings by Archibald Fairbairn with contemporary Indigenous critique. We’re hooked.

Focal Point: Capture Photography Festival

By CAROLINE TOTH

“Untitled, from Acts of Appearance Series” by Gauri Gill (Courtesy the artist)

Apr. 3 to 30, 2019 Every year, the Capture Photography Festival brings into focus works by both established and emerging artists, with exhibits and events throughout the city. For those who like to mix their media, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Moving Still (pictured; Apr. 19 to Sep. 2) draws on India’s long history of experimental photography. The exhibit showcases contemporary artists who place themselves in their own photos, providing insight on wide-ranging social and political themes.

Huge Art Fair Takes Over Vancouver Convention Centre East

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Photo courtesy Art Vancouver

Apr. 25 to 28, 2019 The city’s annual art extravaganza is returning for its fifth year, and it’s bringing plenty of eye candy along. Art Vancouver showcases cutting-edge works by over 100 sculptors, painters and photographers from around the world. Last year’s show drew more than 8,000 art admirers for a weekend of exhibits and events like the popular Face of Art runway show, where artists display their work to a crowd via catwalk. Speaker series, after-parties, workshops and a city-wide art crawl round out the experience. It promises to be a fair to remember.

A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature Arrives at Science World

By SHERI RADFORD

A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature exhibit

To Sep. 3, 2019 However you add it up, the truth is inescapable: numbers are all around us, from the tiny nested spirals of a sunflower’s seeds to the layout of the universe. Learn all about it at Science World, where a visiting exhibit called A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature brings math to life in the most entertaining way possible. An enormous mirror maze (pictured) forms the centrepiece of the exhibit, where you can lose yourself—quite literally—in a pattern of endlessly repeating reflections.

Picture Perfect: Vancouver’s Best Springtime Photo Ops

By SHERI RADFORD
Mar. 2019

Cherry blossoms in False Creek (Photo by KK Law)

Every spring, Mother Nature decks out the city in glorious pink and white petals. The best places to spot cherry blossoms include the West End, Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, VanDusen Botanical Garden, and False Creek near Granville Island (pictured). (more…)

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.

A Fan-Tastic Weekend: Fan Expo Vancouver

By SHERI RADFORD

Fan Expo Vancouver is the perfect time to break out your best costumes

Mar. 1 to 3, 2019 Whether you belong to the “May the Force be with you” or the “Live long and prosper” galaxy of geekdom—or another one entirely—you’re sure to find like-minded uber-nerds at Fan Expo Vancouver. Fanboys and fangirls of all ages don elaborate costumes and line up to meet celebs such as George Takei (Star Trek), Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars), Pamela Anderson (Baywatch), and Cary Elwes and Wallace Shawn (both from The Princess Bride). Will you try to be there? As Yoda said, “Do or do not; there is no try.”

There’s Snow on Them Thar Hills

By SHERI RADFORD
Feb. 2019

Photo by Leo Zuckerman/Destination BC

Vancouverites are persnickety about snow, and most have a strong opinion about where it belongs: on the mountains. Fortunately, Grouse (pictured), Seymour and Cypress mountains are all nearby, and a picturesque two-hour drive leads to the winter wonderland of Whistler Blackcomb. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting plenty of the white stuff in early to mid-January and late February, so pull out your skis, snowboard or snowshoes and get ready to head for the hills!

Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Vancouver

By SHERI RADFORD

Photo courtesy Coast Mountain Photography/Tourism Vancouver

Multiple Dates, 2019 Usher in Lunar New Year by going whole hog—it’s the year of the pig, after all. On Feb. 10, the Spring Festival Parade winds through Chinatown, as traditional lion dancers join dance troupes, martial artists and more. The annual Temple Fair at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (Feb. 10) fetes the occasion with a full line-up of activities. And the celebrations at International Village Mall (Feb. 8 to 10) include souvenirs, live entertainment and delectable bites. Gung hay fat choy!

Local Lore: High-Priority Powder

By CHLOË LAI
Jan. 2019

Photo by Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler

Ever hear of the 30-cm (1-ft) rule? Rumour has it that when that amount of fresh powder falls overnight, some businesses open late to give lucky locals a chance to get a few rides and ski runs in before work. The luckiest folks, however, are visitors who get to stay out in the snow all day. Ride on!

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.