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What to See Vancouver

Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival

By CHLOË LAI

Greg Hill pursues a carbon-neutral path to outdoor adventure in Electric Greg

Nov. 14 to 19, 2019 Deep alpine powder. Steep granite walls. Rugged backcountry bike trails. At the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, adrenaline-fuelled documentaries, photography exhibits and multimedia presentations take audiences deep into nature’s most spectacular—and challenging—terrain, led by legendary athletes. Highlights include: superstar climbers Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold race a dizzying 914 m (3,000 ft) up Yosemite’s El Capitan in The Nose Speed Record; a trio of intrepid bikers takes an unprecedented approach to Africa’s two highest peaks in Mt. Kilimanjaro & Mt. Kenya on MTB; and acclaimed skier Greg Hill pursues a carbon-neutral path to outdoor adventure in Electric Greg (pictured). Talk about next-level entertainment.

Spirited Stories

Fancy a fright? Vancouver’s tour guides have plenty of spooky tales to tell. Here are a few local ghost stories to haunt your holidays. 

By CHLOË LAI

Oct. 2019

Have dinner with ghostly guests at The Old Spaghetti Factory (Photo © Jerry Coli/dreamstime.com)

Heeere’s Jennie! 

If you’re checking into the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and there’s a strange woman in a red gown in your room, you haven’t been double-booked. According to local legend, you’ve just met the ghost of Jennie Pearl Cox—aka the Lady in Red—a regular at the hotel’s ballroom dances until she was killed in a car accident in 1944. Guests report seeing her pass through elevator doors, particularly on the 14th floor. When an episode of The X-Files was filmed at the hotel, she hovered outside the window, frightening a cameraman so badly that he fled the set and refused to return. 

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Open-Air Art

By SHERI RADFORD

Oct. 2019

“217.5 Arc x 13” by Bernar Venet, at Sunset Beach (Photo by KK Law)

Thanks to the Vancouver Biennale, locals are accustomed to larger-than-life artwork springing up all around the city. Some of the pieces remain on a permanent basis, such as Marcus Bowcott’s “Trans Am Totem” near Science World, while others eventually move on to the next destination. The fourth iteration of this alfresco exhibition runs from 2018 to 2020, and it includes works such as “Paradise Has Many Gates” by Ajlan Gharem, which appears to be a mosque constructed from chain-link fence, right in Vanier Park. Another visiting piece is Maskull Lasserre’s “Acoustic Anvil: A Small Weight to Forge the Sea,” a colossal installation in Leg-In-Boot Square. The outdoor locations guarantee accessibility for all. Just remember to pack your walking shoes—and an umbrella.

Talking Trees: Cultural Tour and Dining Experience

By SHERI RADFORD

Oct. 2019

ALL YEAR Vancouver is known as the modern and sparkling City of Glass, but it also has an ancient forest right in its heart. Stanley Park is a must-see, and to experience it in an unusual way, Talaysay Tours has teamed up with Arc Restaurant in the Fairmont Waterfront to offer Talking Trees. This unique cultural experience takes visitors into the heart of the park with an Indigenous guide, in order to learn about traditional uses for local trees and plants. Afterwards, dinner at Arc features an Indigenous-inspired menu that brings the day’s lessons to life—in the most delicious way possible. Who knew local history could be so fascinating, and taste so good? 

Elissa Cristall Gallery: From Here

By HANNAH POAROS-MCDERMOTT

Oct. 2019

“From Here #1” by Lesley Finlayson

Painting may not be on your list of outdoor hobbies, but after seeing Lesley Finlayson’s work, you might be tempted to branch out. The Scottish-born artist is a fan of the French en plein air technique, meaning the landscape is both her subject and her studio. From Here at Elissa Cristall Gallery (Oct. 3 to 26) focuses on the relationships between light, land and water. Streams of colour splash across each canvas, and it’s not hard to imagine Finlayson embracing every type of weather. Want to give it a whirl? Set up your easel now, before Raincouver—Vancouver’s soggy alter ego—strikes again.

The Magic of Mexico with Cirque du Soleil

By CHLOË LAI

Cirque du Soleil: Luzia (Photo by Matt Beard. Costume by Giovanna Buzzi)


Oct 1-Dec 15, 2019
In the mood for something truly spectacular? Cirque du Soleil: Luzia transports audiences to a dreamy, otherworldly vision of Mexico, complete with breakdancing soccer players, hoop-diving “birds” and a galloping, life-sized stallion puppet. It’s also the first touring production in Cirque history to incorporate rain, adding a splash of drama to the already dazzling aerial stunts—acrobats twist, twirl and flip through strategically placed downpours as they soar from one dizzying perch to another. Espectacular!

Literary Festivals in Vancouver

BY CHLOË LAI

Sep. 2019

The central branch of the Vancouver Public Library is a hub for literary events throughout the year (Photo © Rebecca Brown/dreamstime.com)

Local bookstores and libraries host author readings and book launches year-round, but autumn is literary festival season. Here are five events that celebrate the written word in all its forms. Fair warning: your list of must-read books is about to get a lot longer.

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Before Ever After at Jennifer Kostuik Gallery

By HANNAH POAROS-MCDERMOTT

Sep. 2019

“Twelve Giraffes, Maasai Mara, Kenya” by David Burdeny

African animals and their wild homes take centre stage in David Burdeny’s Before Ever After: Photographs from Kenya and Tanzania. Motivated by the threat of mass extinction, Burdeny is on a mission to show that animals are worthy of our attention—and our protection. Against stunning backdrops, a coalition of cheetahs lines up in formation.  A mini-pride of lion cubs basks in the sun. An elephant wanders through grassy plains with her calf. A tower of giraffes—yes, that’s what a group of giraffes is called—struts across the Maasai Mara National Reserve. If you’ve ever been on safari, you’ll recognize these sights. But there’s no need for a flight to Africa: Burdeny’s striking collection of photographs is on display from Sep. 13 to Oct. 6, at Jennifer Kostuik Gallery. 

Fiery Flamenco Festival

By SHERI RADFORD

Manuel Liñán Company performs Baile De Autor

Sep 13-29, 2019 There’s no need to fly to Madrid or Barcelona to experience the raw emotional power of Spanish dance. The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival features artists from around the world, including Manuel Liñán Company performing Baile De Autor, which offers a glimpse into the creative process; and La Caramelita Company performing Nritya, which explores the connections between flamenco and India; as well as Canadian performers such as Flamenco Rosario. The best part? No passport required.

Definitely Dalí: Another Dimension

By HANNAH POAROS-MCDERMOTT

Sep. 2019

“Dalinian Dancer” can be found at Thurlow Street and Alberni (Photo by Caroline Toth)

Seen anything strange recently? Two large Dalí sculptures have spent the summer on Vancouver’s sidewalks as part of Chali-Rosso Gallery’s annual Definitely Dalí exhibit. “Space Venus,” hard to miss at 3.5 m (11 ft) tall, towers over visitors at the corner of West Hastings Street and Hornby until mid-January 2020.  At Thurlow Street and Alberni, “Dalinian Dancer” (pictured) comes to life thanks to augmented reality: download the dedicated app for an uncanny experience. Check out this swirly sculpture at its sidewalk location until Sep. 18, or follow it to Oakridge Centre, where it will be on display from Sep. 19 to Oct. 14 as part of Meet the Masters: From Picasso to Pop Art. Dreaming of more Dalí? Take a peek inside Chali-Rosso Gallery, where over 100 works by the Spanish artist are on display. So surreal. 

 

A Tour for Every Taste

Hesitant to explore Vancouver solo? Let a guide lead the way on 10 of our favourite city tours. Make sure to wear your comfiest walking shoes—and stretchy pants for the foodie outings.

By SHERI RADFORD

Sep. 2019

Gastown is full of historic landmarks, such as the flatiron-style Hotel Europe in Maple Tree Square (Photo by KK Law)

Walk This Way (or Run)

Forbidden Vancouver peeks below Vancouver’s glittering surface to expose the seedy (and captivating) underbelly. Learn about crime, revenge, fire and disease on the Lost Souls of Gastown Tour. Discover hidden cemeteries, notorious crime scenes and the ghost stories of Deadman’s Island on the Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour. Or hear about murder, scandal, financial strife and bootlegging—while sampling sinfully good treats—on the Art Deco and Chocolate Tasting Tour. The guides are so entertaining, it’s almost criminal.

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Vancouver Art Gallery: Ways of Seeing

By CAROLINE TOTH

“Obsession” by Vikky Alexander (Gift of the artist, Dr. Doug Foster, Bill Jeffries and Ian Wallace. Image courtesy of the Vancouver Art Gallery)

To Jan. 26, 2019 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the Vancouver Art Gallery’s summer exhibits are sure to have you seeing things differently. Vikky Alexander: Extreme Beauty (to Jan. 26) is the Canadian artist’s first retrospective, featuring over 80 works from throughout her career. Alexander’s photographs, collages and installations explore themes of nature and artificiality, critiquing consumer culture and subverting public spaces such as shopping malls and designer gardens. Robert Rauschenberg 1965-1980 (to Jan. 26) highlights pieces that Rauschenberg produced as his focus shifted from New York–inspired collages—made using media clippings and found objects—to more overtly abstract textile works. In both shows, the artists blur the lines between mediums to reimagine how we see the world. Now that’s a beautiful sight to behold.