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British Columbia

Reach the Beach

Ready for a long, lazy day on Kits Beach, First Beach or (for the truly brave) clothing-optional Wreck Beach? Don’t forget these warm-weather essentials

By SHERI RADFORD

A beach chair sporting the iconic HBC stripes

A beach chair sporting the iconic HBC stripes

BEACH CHAIR Hudson’s Bay was established way back in 1670, and it’s been a Canadian mainstay ever since. No patriotic Canuck can resist the iconic HBC stripes on everything from beach chairs, baseball hats and pocket knives to water bottles, patio umbrellas and wooden canoes. (more…)

50 Things We Love About Kitsilano

By SHERI RADFORD

Kids can't resist the allure of Kids Beach. (Photo: KK Law)

Kids can’t resist the allure of Kids Beach. (Photo: KK Law)

1. The elegant, art deco–style Burrard Bridge, which marks the eastern boundary of the Kitsilano area. The region is also bounded by the ocean on the north, Alma Street on the west, and 16th Avenue on the south. (more…)

5 Alfresco Favourites

By TIM PAWSEY

Soft-shell crab and To Kill Ya martini, at Lift. (Photo: KK Law)

Soft-shell crab and To Kill Ya martini, at Lift. (Photo: KK Law)

Patio culture truly blooms in June, albeit with heaters and blankets to ward off early-summer-evening chills.

Lift Bar-Grill-View An expansive rooftop deck and lower waterside patio lure with sweeping harbour views along with progressive West Coast fare.

Gotham Downtown’s best-kept secret is a compact, discreet private garden, populated with oversized parasols to keep the martinis chilled—and a fireplace to keep the clientele warmed.

Wild Rice Hop on the SkyTrain for an easy 30-minute trip to New Westminster, where this riverside room serves contemporary Chinese-fusion fare with casual flair.

Pier 7 The SeaBus spirits you across the harbour close to this dockside North Van room, where upper- and lower-deck patios grant impressive vistas of the working port and downtown.

The Teahouse This impressively transformed, one-time officer’s mess boasts a dramatic deck overlooking English Bay, near Third Beach, on the shores of Stanley Park.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Top Timepieces: Global Watch Co.

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The Longines shop-in-shop at Global Watch Co.

The Longines shop-in-shop at Global Watch Company

A trove of treasured timepieces can be found at Global Watch Company, a boutique devoted to haute horology and fine diamond jewellery. The swish space is home to three unique shop-in-shops, including 165-year-old German watchmaker Glashütte Original—one of the few showrooms to carry the brand in BC. Rounding out the collection: a range of sophisticated sparklers, some featuring rare coloured diamonds. Adore adornment? Then this venue is a must-visit.

G&T Design’s Luxe Linens

By SHERI RADFORD

A whimsical throw pillow by G&T Design

A whimsical throw pillow by G&T Design

Beavers and chickens and ravens, oh my! These are just a few of the critters you’ll find screen-printed on earth-friendly textiles from G&T Design, along with moose, pineapples, bicycles and inspirational sayings. Vancouver resident Stephanie McRae uses natural linen to create her vintage-looking pillows, tea towels and napkins, because she likes that the durable fabric is also sustainable. She’s even been known to create custom designs for clients celebrating special occasions. Available at Barefoot Contessa and at Etsy.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Whether you’re a nervous nellie or a thrill-seeker or somewhere in between, there’s an outing to suit your desired adrenaline level

By SHERI RADFORD

Explore Whistler's back country on horseback

Explore the picturesque Pemberton Valley on horseback. (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

Horseback
Giddy-up! If you feel the urge to saddle up and hit the dusty trail, call Adventures on Horseback—only instead of dusty trails you’ll see postcard-worthy scenery throughout the Pemberton Valley, BC’s very own cowboy country. As you clip-clop along, keep your camera ready for picturesque creeks, tall grasses, roaring rivers and lush forests. Most impressive of all is the snow-capped peak of Mount Currie, rising up 2,591 m (8,501 ft). Surrounded by so much tranquillity and natural beauty, it’s easy to imagine you’ve slipped into an earlier, simpler, quieter time period. Trips can be customized for riders of all levels, from beginner to expert, and even small children. Adventure Ranch also offers equine adventures, complete with friendly cowgirls.

Bike
Summer here is practically synonymous with cycling. At the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, more than 1,507 m (4,946 ft) of sprawling bike-park terrain guarantees a trail for every preference, from gentle and banked to tight and twisty. Over 200 km (124 ft) of the trails are lift-serviced, meaning you can start from what feels like the top of the world and descend on two wheels, fuelled only by adrenaline. Whistler Eco Tours offers a valley bike tour for those who want to keep it peaceful and learn about history, geography and nature while on a bicycle, as well as a single-track tour for more advanced riders wishing to explore rougher terrain. Whistler Electric Bike Tours lets riders take it easy, which is especially appreciated on the uphill sections.

ATV
Do you feel the need to boldly go where no one has gone before? Put the pedal to the metal with Whistler ATV and embark on a bushwacker tour. Deep in the backcountry, stunning views of snow-capped mountains and remote lakes await. If you’re not afraid of heights and want to experience high alpine trails, choose the “top of the world” tour. Or chill out on a leisurely “easy rider” tour, with its gentle trails, perfect for newbie ATVers and families. For even more ATV excursions, call Canadian Wilderness Adventures. In summer, the most popular trip involves riding 1,830 m (6,000 ft) up Blackcomb Mountain, then enjoying live music and wild BC salmon on the Crystal Hut patio, with its sweeping views—a feast for all the senses.

cesna?em: the city before the city

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Ancient artifacts from

Ancient artifacts from cesna?em

Vancouver officially became a city in 1886, but the area’s history goes back much further—nearly 5,000 years, to be exact. For millennia, the Musqueam Nation has called this land home, and the remains of the ancient village and burial site still lie beneath the modern city. Delve into the rich history at cesna?em: the city before the city, a trio of long-term exhibits that explore oral histories, examine artifacts and highlight contemporary Musqueam culture. It’s a history buff’s dream. At the Musqueam Cultural Education Resource Centre & Gallery, Museum of Vancouver and Museum of Anthropology.

Win! Whale Watching for Two

Whale Watch

Vancouver’s proximity to the Pacific yields plenty of opportunities for water adventures, but ogling orcas tops our list. Close encounters of the marine kind can be found with Vancouver Whale Watch, a local company that offers tours through the scenic Gulf and San Juan islands.

We’re giving away a whale watching trip for two with Vancouver Whale Watch! Here’s how to win:

1. On Twitter (1 entry): “Retweet to #win whale watching for 2 @vanwhalewatch! #contest #winvanwhales @wherevancouver http://ow.ly/OHUMn”

2. On Instagram (1 entry): Follow @WhereVancouver and regram the contest post on Instagram. Be sure to include #WinVanWhales, @vanwhalewatch and @WhereVancouver in your post.

Contest closes July 8, 2015.

Contest rules and regulations

Tops for Shops: Robson Street

By SHERI RADFORD

Ecco's new store on Robson Street

Ecco’s new store on Robson Street

Long considered Vancouver’s mecca for savvy shoppers, Robson Street now ups the ante even more with the recent addition of Ecco (pictured), the Danish brand known for stylish but comfy footwear. The store is mere steps away from the intersection of Robson and Burrard, where you can find well-crafted leather bags at Roots, stylish yogawear at Lululemon, alluring lingerie at Victoria’s Secret, beauty products galore at Sephora, sweet-smelling skincare products at L’Occitane en Provence, and intricately designed greeting cards and gift bags at Papyrus. It’s enough to put a spring in the step of any serious shopaholic.

Sea Monsters Revealed at the Vancouver Aquarium

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

A sand tiger shark, at the Vancouver Aquarium

A sand tiger shark, at the Vancouver Aquarium

Songs, stories and even statues have been devoted to the monstrous beasts lurking beneath the ocean’s surface—and now, the Vancouver Aquarium is adding an exhibition to the list. Sea Monsters Revealed (to Sep. 7) brings creatures of the deep onto dry land through a preservation technique called plastination, which displays the insides and outsides of the ocean’s most fascinating residents, including a sand tiger shark, Humboldt squid and metre-long ocean sunfish. The stuff of legend? This exhibit certainly is.

Healthy Fast Food at Tractor

By SHERI RADFORD

Meghan and Steve Clarke in their new Tractor location,  in the Marine Building

Meghan and Steve Clarke in their new Tractor location, in the Marine Building

Meghan and Steve Clarke had never run a restaurant before—her background is marketing, while his is investment banking—so they surrounded themselves with experts when they opened the first Tractor location two years ago, in Kitsilano. Chefs designed the menu of healthy sandwiches, salads and soups, then a nutritionist reviewed everything. The end result was so popular that the husband-and-wife duo recently opened a second location, in the iconic Marine Building. Right in the heart of downtown, this larger, brighter room serves the same dishes we already know and love: Moroccan chicken stew, roast pork sandwich, kale chicken Caesar salad and more. Who knew healthy eating could be so delicious?

Best Bites on Robson

By TIM PAWSEY

An assortment of  mouth-watering North African dishes at Fez Café. (Photo: KK Law)

An assortment of mouth-watering North African dishes at Fez Café. (Photo: KK Law)

Myriad flavours contribute to the multicultural feel on the west end of Robson Street. At welcoming Fez Café Bistro, nibble on lunchtime omelettes, baba ghanoush or hummus, or linger over a dinner of couscous royale or merguez, brochettes, lentil soup, lemon sole and more. The North African decor is beautiful, with live music Friday through Saturday evenings. (No alcohol served.) Find authentic Korean at Jang Mo Jib, which means “mother-in-law’s house.” Head to Guu for lively home-style Japanese, or to Tavola for fresh-made Italian pasta and small plates.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com