Perhaps better known as Miss 604, Rebecca Bollwitt is a prolific Vancouver-based blogger who clues her readers into daily happenings in and around Vancouver, writes about short getaways from the city and shares interesting tidbits about the Vancouver’s history (including daily city archives photos).
She’s been at it since 2004 and in that time has been voted one of BC’s Top 100 Women of Influence by the Vancouver Sun and received various accolades for her blog, including Best Vancouver Blog by local weekly the Georgia Straight for three years in a row.
What prompted you to start Miss604 and how has it developed over time?
My career has been in online media for the last 12 years and in 2004, blogs were just getting big. I started a diary/personal blog called Miss604 (it was anonymous) in 2004. By 2006 blogging and “Web 2.0″ were getting bigger and I decided I wanted to do more with my online space. I flipped the focus away from me and turned it toward Vancouver, something I can talk about all day, every day. Since 2008, I have been self-employed with my company sixty4media (building WordPress Web sites) and doing Miss604.com full time: operating it as a professional blog (still with a personal voice) focusing on West Coast life.
Who do you hope is reading your blog and why?
My mother was my first reader and I hope that any content I publish will still be of interest (and be appropriate) for her. My audience is young professionals and families throughout the “604″ area code and the Pacific Northwest but I appreciate every single reader.
You also run a WordPress development company. How do you manage to post several times a day on Miss604 in addition to that?
Writing is my passion. I can sit and write PHP code or a historical piece about Vancouver all day, every day. I’ve always been a writer and have always been obsessed with online publishing, ever since I created my own band fan site in 1997.
What have been some of the coolest unexpected things that have happened as a result of starting your blog?
Aside from meeting a variety of amazing individuals — celebrities or not — I am very privileged and honored to receive behind-the-scenes tours of local and international locations. From exploring the Vancouver Archives or the clock tower of the Sinclair Centre, to getting sent to Ghana to deliver bicycles through a charity campaign. There’s never really a dull moment.
You obviously have a passion for where you live. What do you love so much about Vancouver? What are the top reasons to visit your city?
I love Vancouver but I also love Surrey because that’s where I lived for 22 years and it has an undeserved reputation. At least it did until a few years ago when people started to realize that this suburb of half a million people is full of diversity, culture, and history. I’m fascinated by Vancouver as well, and it is my home. I love that even though it’s a young city (compared to many other world-class destinations) it has an amazing First Nations heritage on top of being a melting pot for various cultures over the last 126 years. It’s cliche but you can indeed kayak, zip line and dine on top of a mountain all in one day (and I’ve done that a few times before).
What’s a common misconception about Vancouver?
I think that it has no history because it’s so “young”. One of the elements I make sure to showcase on my site every single week (or multiple times a week) is Vancouver’s history.
Where are some places that you take friends and family from out of town when they visit you in Vancouver?
We have family visiting next week from Iowa (where my husband is from) and we’re taking them around Stanley Park (Sea Wall and trails), on an Aqua Bus to Granville Island, up Grouse Mountain, and up the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish and Whistler. I think one of Vancouver’s most charming traits is that while it’s an incredible destination on its own, it’s an even better gateway to quick escapes from the city: Within an hour you can be on a glacier or camping at a lake.
Is there anything visitors to Vancouver shouldn’t miss eating?
In Vancouver you need to simply explore the variety of options that are right at your doorstep. Have sushi one day, fish-and-chips the next, poutine topped with pulled pork, halibut with miso broth, chicken tikka masala, or a maple doughnut topped with bacon.
What are your favourite day trips or overnights from Vancouver?
Squamish and Whistler, because you can’t beat the Sea to Sky corridor for its scenery, views, hikes, and recreation options. Then there’s Harrison Hot Springs since it’s such a quick getaway and you can golf, do a river boat eco-tour, or enjoy the signature hot springs.