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What to See Vancouver

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.

Dreamy Designs at the Vancouver Fall Home Show

By CHLOË LAI

Love It or List It, Vancouver’s award-winning host Todd Talbot headlines this year’s Vancouver Fall Home Show

Oct. 18 to 21, 2018 A cozy escape from the world. A place to entertain family and friends. A staging area for creative projects. Dream homes take many forms, so it’s no surprise that design devotees flock to the Vancouver Fall Home Show for how-to guidance. Get tips, tricks and insights into the latest trends from industry experts such as Todd Talbot (pictured) of HGTV Canada’s Love It or List It Vancouver, then be inspired by products from more than 300 vendors. Welcome home.

Spirited Sightseeing: Halloween-themed Tours and Activities

By CHLOË LAI
Oct. 2018

The Gastown Steam Clock is located on Water St., one of the most haunted streets in town (Photo ©James Wheeler/Dreamstime.com)

It’s officially spectre-seeking season. Revel in eerie tales of local hauntings with Ghostly Vancouver Tours, hop aboard Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tours to see spooky sites—including the city’s first morgue—or solve a cold-case murder with Vancouver Mysteries. Forbidden Vancouver’s Lost Souls of Gastown tour weaves grisly historical anecdotes into a roving theatre experience, while nightmarish characters, haunted houses and scream-worthy rides await at Fright Nights at Playland. For family-friendly frights, ride The Stanley Park Halloween Ghost Train. Happy haunting!

Geek Power: Fan Expo Vancouver 2018

By SHERI RADFORD

Fan Expo Vancouver gathers more than 30,000 dedicated fans for four days of faraway-galaxy fun

Oct. 12 to 14, 2018 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 likeminded uber-nerds at the annual Fan Expo Vancouver. More than 30,000 fanboys and fangirls don elaborate costumes and line up to meet celebs such Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Pom Klementieff (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy). Will you try to be there? As Yoda said, “Do or do not; there is no try.”

Clowning Around: Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Costumes by Dominique Lemieux

Oct. 10 to 14, 2018 Corteo is staged around a once-in-a-lifetime event: the funeral of Mauro the clown. The colourful character dreams his own circus-themed celebration of life, which includes acrobats bouncing off beds, a live marionette, aerialists swinging from chandeliers, and a performer who floats above the crowd aided by gigantic helium balloons. It’s all the death-defying feats, eye-catching costumes and mesmerizing music that Cirque du Soleil is famous for. Definitely worth adding to your bucket list.

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.

Double Take: Film & TV Landmarks in Downtown

Hollywood North’s leading architectural landmarks are ready for their close-up

By CHLOË LAI
Sep. 2018

Photo by KK Law

Hotel Europe

Built 1909

As seen in Legends of the Fall, The NeverEnding Story, Twice’s “Likey” music video

The iconic flatiron-style building that dominates Gastown’s Maple Tree Square isn’t just the oldest reinforced-concrete structure in Vancouver: it’s the oldest in all of Canada. (Naturally, it’s also rumoured to be haunted.) If it feels like a little slice of New York City, that’s because the design echoes Manhattan’s famous Flatiron Building, constructed in 1902. Elegant original features—including Italian tile floors and granite columns—make it an ideal location for historical films. Originally a hotel for business travellers, the heritage building is now home to residential units and quirky shops. The best spot to snap a selfie with this landmark is from across the street, facing the Gassy Jack statue. (more…)

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.

Sean William Randall: In the Blue Future Exhibit

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

“In the Future” by Sean William Randall (Courtesy the artist)

Sep. 8 to 30, 2018 “Garden variety” isn’t how you’d describe Sean William Randall’s paintings. His super-saturated acrylic-on-canvas works are imbued with a strong sense of place—a nod to the Canadian artist’s former career as an architect—which, coupled with his keen colour sense, makes Randall one to watch. For an earthly garden of works that delight, visit Ian Tan Gallery’s In the Blue Future. The exhibit is an oasis of detailed acrylic-on-canvas pieces such as “In the Future” (pictured). This is one garden path we don’t mind being led down.

Comedian Jim Jefferies Takes a Crack at Vancouver

By CHLOË LAI

Photo by Art Streiber

Sep. 14, 2018 For Aussie comedian Jim Jefferies, everything is a laughing matter. The famously foul-mouthed comic is best known for his viral segment on gun control, and for his hilarious handling of controversial topics on The Jim Jefferies Show. In The Night Talker Tour, Jefferies unleashes a fresh new onslaught of jokes about everything from American politics to awkward parenting moments. Laugh it up at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

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.