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Things to Do Vancouver

In My Kitchen: Cooking with Locals

By CHLOË LAI
Oct. 2018

Swiss home cook shows guests how to make spaetzle

Have an appetite for culinary adventure? Don an apron and step up to the stove with In My Kitchen. Local home cooks open their doors to small groups, sharing traditional family recipes for everything from perfect Swiss spaetzle noodles to tasty Middle Eastern tabbouleh. Cook up a storm from scratch, then take a seat at the host’s dinner table to enjoy the fruits of your labour, served with a side of lively conversation and new friends. The icing on the cake? Everyone takes home a recipe booklet and shopping list, so they can recreate their favourite dishes. It’s Canadian hospitality at its finest.

Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival 2018

By CHLOË LAI

Balkan Shmalkan at Victory Square (Photo by Tom Quirk)

Oct. 24 to Nov. 4, 2018 Craving a true community vibe? The 15th annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival celebrates the neighbourhood’s triumphs, challenges and ongoing activist efforts with over 100 events. Take a deep dive into powerful accounts of the violence faced by Indigenous women in Material Witness. Or kick up your heels with Balkan Shmalkan (pictured)—a self-described “sweet dance party orchestra”—between performances by gospel and blues singers, fiery poets and captivating speakers. Bring a friend, or better yet, make new ones.

Where to Celebrate Diwali in Vancouver

By CHLOË LAI

Arno Kamolika performs a Bharatanatyam interpretation of Rabindranath Tagore’s Shyama

Oct. 3-Nov. 17, 2018 Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, brightens long autumn nights. Fire up your cooking and mosaic-painting skills at Diwali Fest or catch one of Diwali in BC’s trailblazing performances: A Vancouver Guldasta illuminates the challenges faced by the Sikh diaspora in the ’80s, while The Believers Are But Brothers shines a light on online extremism. A fresh take on Bengali dance drama Shyama (pictured) pays tribute to its original creator, the first non-European Nobel Laureate poet. Truly dazzling.

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.

Grand Finale: Personal Highlights from the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Long-Time Curator

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

“Fall (Modality 16)” by Jock Macdonald (Image courtesy the Vancouver Art Gallery)

Sep. 22 to Mar. 17, 2018 Thirty years, more than 80 exhibits and one Order of Canada all add up to one extraordinary career for curator Ian Thom. In the Vancouver Art Gallery’s A Curator’s View: Ian Thom Selects, the esteemed retiree presents a final round-up of personal highlights from the permanent collection, including works by Jock Macdonald (pictured), Emily Carr and many others.

In the Spotlight: Vancouver International Film Festival

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Photo ©Ulia Koltyrina/Fotolia.com

Sep. 27 to Oct. 12, 2018 Grab some popcorn and settle in—the Vancouver International Film Festival is on silver screens across the city. In the limelight this year are over 200 features and 100 short films hailing from more than 70 countries, plus a host of events, workshops and live performances. It’s one of the largest showcases of Canuck films in the world, so it’s guaranteed to have fans of Canadian cinema on their feet. Documentaries and East Asian films also play strong supporting roles. In that case, better make that popcorn a large.

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.

On the Brink: Vancouver Fringe Festival

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Diana Bang in Self-ish

Sep. 6 to 16, 2018 For a theatre experience on the edge—of your seat, that is—don’t miss the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Over 11 days, more than 700 shows and 90 artists take over every nook, cranny and stage on Granville Island and beyond. Catch groundbreaking performances such as Self-ish (pictured). This one-woman play featuring Vancouver actor Diana Bang brings a comedic touch to universal themes of grief and tragedy. Get ready to bend some boundaries.

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.

One Perfect Day: Fun for Foodies, Shopaholics & More

Whether you get fired up about food or are delighted by the outdoors, here’s how to make the most of your time in Vancouver

Vancouver’s northern waterfront at sunset (Photo by Barbershop Films/Tourism Vancouver)

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Aug. 2018

FOR FOODIES

Beat the crowds and kick off the day at Granville Island Public Market, a foodie’s paradise stocked with smoked salmon, gourmet cheese, baked goods and more. Peruse the wares while munching Lee’s Donuts or a croissant, but save space for a sit-down brunch at downtown’s popular Café Medina, known for heavenly Liège waffles and lavender lattes. (more…)

A Whale of a Time

By SHERI RADFORD
Aug. 2018

Photo ©Elsvander Gun/istockphoto.com

Looking for an orca encounter? Local whale watching companies are happy to oblige. They know where to find the local pods, and they can identify individual members based on their markings. The wild whales often make a splash for curious onlookers, breaching, spyhopping (pictured) and lobtailing as entertainingly as their captive brethren. To symbolically adopt one of these magnificent cetaceans, ask at the Vancouver Aquarium.

For whale watching tours, contact Prince of Whales, Vancouver Whale Watch, or Wild Whales Vancouver.