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British Columbia

10 Spots to Dine on Commercial Drive

By TIM PAWSEY

Arriva Restaurant. (Photo: KK Law)

Arriva Restaurant. (Photo: KK Law)

True to its origins, Commercial Drive is home to myriad Italian and other flavours. Discover sweet treats at Fratelli Bakery, super sandwiches and cheeses at La Grotta del Formaggio or the ultimate espresso at Prado Cafe. Dining roams from authentic plates at long-running Arriva (pictured) to oven-fired pizzas at Marcello, Lombardo’s and Via Tevere Pizzeria, which is worth the detour to nearby Victoria Drive. Tunisian and French tastes rule at romantic Carthage Cafe. Sniff out Fets for the town’s biggest single-malt offering, or check into St. Augustine’s for its impressive range of craft brews. The Drive has it all.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Playtime: The LEGO Imagine Nation Tour

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

A giant LEGO sculpture at the LEGO Imagine Nation Tour

A giant LEGO sculpture at the LEGO Imagine Nation Tour

Since 1932, LEGO has built fun brick by brick. Now, the LEGO Imagine Nation Tour (Sep. 30 to Oct. 2, 2016) is taking the colourful building blocks across Canada for an out-of-the-LEGO-box experience. Kids of all ages can pose alongside 20 life-sized sculptures, find inspiration in the mountainous brick pit, learn construction tips and tricks from one of the world’s few master builders, and put engineering skills to the test in a bridge-building challenge. The tiny bricks have even gone digital, letting LEGO architects bring their creations to life by scanning them into an interactive game. Plus, there’s plenty more to build, play with and purchase. In this LEGO universe, having fun is child’s play—unless, of course, you happen to step on a brick while barefoot.

Oktoberfest-Themed Fun at Harvest Haus

By SHERI RADFORD

Harvest Haus. (Photo: Jonathan Evans, jonnypicture.com)

Harvest Haus. (Photo: Jonathan Evans, jonnypicture.com)

Raise a bierstein to Harvest Haus (Sep. 29 to Oct. 9, 2016), which returns to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza this fall for its third annual Oktoberfest-inspired party. The full German experience includes beer, bratwurst and brass oompah bands—plus pretzels, spaetzle, lederhosen, lip-syncing competitions and more. The best part? No passport required.

Canuck Keepsakes

By SHERI RADFORD

This patriotic Roots t-shirt makes a cool keepsake

This patriotic Roots t-shirt makes a cool keepsake

Seeking souvenirs? Look no further than Roots. Founded in 1973 in Ontario, the company is virtually synonymous with Canada. You can’t go wrong with a t-shirt or hoodie adorned with symbols of the True North Strong and Free, such as maple leaves, hockey, curling, a map, a flag or the ever-popular (and instantly recognizable) beaver logo. It just doesn’t get any more Canadian, eh.

The Spa at the Wedgewood Hotel

By SHERI RADFORD

The relaxation room at The Spa at the Wedgewood Hotel

The relaxation room at The Spa at the Wedgewood Hotel

Whether your goal is rejuvenation, wellness or pampering, you’ll find it at The Spa at the Wedgewood Hotel. Leave your troubles behind as you unwind with a cup of tea in the luxurious relaxation room, then head to a treatment room for your choice of R&R. A customized facial targets exactly what your skin needs, while a massage works out aches and stiffness after a long flight. Also on the spa menu: body scrubs, body wraps, manicures, pedicures, waxing and more. Ready, set, relax.

Weird & Wonderful: This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven

By SHERI RADFORD

Find a collection of curios at This Monkey's Gone to Heaven

Find a collection of curios at This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven

If you’ve ever wondered where to buy a voodoo doll, taxidermic baby rat, edible-ant lollipop or knitted version of a dissected frog, you’re in luck: This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven opened recently on Main Street. Filled with oddities and curios, the shop caters to those seeking something a little (or a lot) peculiar. As Alice in Wonderland would say, “Curiouser and curiouser!”

Made In Canada: Etsy Vancouver Market

By SHERI RADFORD

The Etsy Vancouver Market: Made in Canada. (Photo: JuMi Story)

The Etsy Vancouver Market: Made in Canada. (Photo: JuMi Story)

Seeking a special souvenir? Circle Sep. 24 and 25, 2016 on your calendar, because that’s when The Etsy Vancouver Market: Made in Canada returns. Newly expanded to two days, and now taking place in the spacious Pipe Shop Building, this year’s marketplace is bigger than ever. Browse all the quirky creations by local artists and artisans, including wooden coasters from Reclaimed Print Co., cozy toques from Woolvan Knits, sweatshirts from My Cat Is People and pocket squares from Vancity Squares.

French Fare at Tableau Bar Bistro

By TIM PAWSEY

Niçoise salad (front left) and steak frites at Tableau Bar Bistro. (Photo: KK Law)

Niçoise salad (front left) and steak frites at Tableau Bar Bistro. (Photo: KK Law)

Tucked away beside the Loden Hotel, Tableau Bar Bistro delivers French cuisine in a relaxed but polished setting. The menu shifts seasonally, but some stalwarts always prevail, such as grilled flat iron steak frites, free-range chicken supreme, moules frites and albacore tuna niçoise, as well as irresistible mushrooms on toast. For dessert: coconut crème brûlée, chocolate mousse and other surprises. Wines are smartly chosen, cocktails are classic, and brews range from local on tap to specialty French and Belgian.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Word Vancouver

By SHERI RADFORD

Word Vancovuer. (Photo: Monica Miller)

Word Vancovuer. (Photo: Monica Miller)

Bookworms and bibliophiles, this one’s for you: Word Vancouver (Sep. 21 to 25, 2016) celebrates the written word with five days of free events for both adults and children, everything from author readings and panel discussions to comics displays and slam poetry. This year’s featured authors include Lynn Johnston, Joy Kogawa, Anosh Irani, Ujjal Dosanjh, Paul Yee, Wayde Compton and Bif Naked. Write on!

A Stand-Up Guy: Colin Mochrie

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Comedian Colin Mochrie

Comedian Colin Mochrie

Off-the-cuff comedian Colin Mochrie returns to his improv roots with back-to-back shows alongside the Vancouver TheatreSports League, the ensemble that first helped him flex his funny bone over 35 years ago. From there, the VTSL veteran went on to find fame on Whose Line Is It Anyway? with fellow Vancouver-raised comic Ryan Stiles. On Sep. 23 and 24, 2016, get ready to chuckle, chortle and guffaw as the ad-lib artist takes to the stage at The Improv Centre and the Vogue Theatre. Consider your funny bone tickled.

Terrific Thai

By TIM PAWSEY

Chu-chee salmon at U & I Thai. (Photo: KK Law)

Chu-chee salmon at U & I Thai. (Photo: KK Law)

Cleverly monikered U & I Thai stands for Ui Ratsomjit, who calls on her upbringing and experience running a food cart in Bangkok to offer authentic dishes using fresh local ingredients. Friendly servers in traditional costumes bring mainstays ranging from green papaya salad to stuffed chicken wings to pad thai with prawns and satays, plus coconut with crème brûlée for dessert.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Drake’s Hip Hop Comes to Vancouver

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Canadian rapper Drake

Canadian rapper Drake

What hasn’t Drake done? The Degrassi star-turned-rapper and unofficial ambassador of The 6ix—his nickname for his hometown of Toronto—is only the fourth performer in history to rack up 100 entries on the Billboard Hot 100. His multi-platinum single “Hotline Bling,” and the video’s so-bad-they’re-good dance moves, topped the charts and inspired countless memes and parodies along the way. He’s also shared a kiss with Madonna onstage and coached Canada to victory in the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game. What will he do next? Find out when his Summer Sixteen tour arrives at Rogers Arena, Sep. 17 and 18, 2016.