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British Columbia

Whale Tale

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

A killer whale breaching. (Photo: ©schaef/Fotolia.com)

A breaching killer whale. (Photo: ©schaef/Fotolia.com)

What’s wet and wild on the West Coast? Whales, of course. These denizens of the deep are one of the area’s biggest attractions—and with good reason. Dressed in striking black and white, orcas make a splash for onlookers by breaching (pictured), lob-tailing (slapping tail flukes) and spy-hopping (rising out of the water like a periscope). The playful cetaceans are the largest member of the dolphin family, sometimes weighing in over six tons, yet they propel their powerful bodies through the water with grace. For a chance to see killer whales feed, frolic and ultimately charm visitors, book a tour with one of the many local whale watching companies.

Take it Outside

’Tis the time of year for camping, road trips and visits to seaside cabins. Bring these handy items along on your next adventure

By SHERI RADFORD

Keep bugs at bay with these essentials from Escents

Keep bugs at bay with these essentials from Escents

OUTDOOR SURVIVAL KIT Banish bugs with this DEET-free kit from Vancouver company Escents. The body spray, body balm, aroma blend and shampoo/body/shave bar use all-natural essential oils to repel creepy-crawlies.

A Fjällräven Kanken backpack in Lake Blue

Fjällräven’s Kanken backpack in lake blue

BACKPACK Millions of school-children can’t be wrong. The roomy, sturdy Kånken backpack has been popular in Scandinavia ever since its launch in 1978. Fjällräven recently added four new colours—ocean green, lake blue (pictured), leaf green and burnt orange—so there’s sure to be an option for every preference.

Organization is easy with the Glovebox Grab-and-Go Buddy

Organization is easy with the Glovebox Grab-and-Go Buddy

ORGANIZER With its wire frame and large pockets, the Glovebox Grab-and-Go Buddy is ideal for keeping important items handy and organized while en route in the car. It converts into a carrying bag, making it easy to bring everything with you while out and about. At Canadian Tire.

Protect your skin with sunscreen by Ombrelle

Protect your skin with sunscreen by Ombrelle

SUNSCREEN Say bye-bye to burns with Ombrelle. The Canadian brand makes a whole range of dermatologist-recommended lotions that protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. At Shoppers Drug Mart.

Light your way with this convertible lantern and flashlight from Woods

Light your way with this convertible lantern and flashlight from Woods

LANTERN/FLASHLIGHT Compact and versatile, this gadget by Woods transforms from a flashlight into a lantern simply by sliding it up or down. And a run time of two hours means you won’t be left in the dark. At Canadian Tire.

4 Hoppy Havens

By TIM PAWSEY

Mussels Orleans-style,  with andouille sausage, corn, peppers and Cajun cream, at Biercraft. (Photo: KK Law)

Mussels Orleans-style, with andouille sausage, corn, peppers and Cajun cream, at Biercraft. (Photo: KK Law)

Thanks to a burgeoning craft beer scene and no shortage of savvy cicerones, Vancouver is a brew-lover’s paradise. Here’s where to get your hop on.

1. Biercraft Bistro Find an impressive array of local and imported taps and bottled beers, paired with the likes of classic French onion soup, exotic mushroom pasta, steak frites and grass-fed lamb shank.

2. Alibi Room This Gastown heritage destination focuses on true craft beers from across the Pacific Northwest, matched with equally local, gastro-pubbish plates.

3. Portland Craft This cozy and popular Main Street haunt offers a spirited salute to Oregon’s pioneering brewing scene, with casual plates and rotating taps of Deschutes, Pyramid, Rogue, Hopworks, Alameda and more.

4. Tap & Barrel These bustling mega-pubs live up to their name with a plethora of good BC pints and wines as well, all on tap, served with creative pizzas, fish ’n’ chips, salads and burgers.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Clothes for Cool Kids at Redfish

By SHERI RADFORD

Pinwheel kimono, at Redfish Kids

Pinwheel kimono, at Redfish Kids

You’ll be wishing you were a child again when you step into Redfish Kids. The adorable dresses, skirts, shirts, shorts and pants are all made right here in Vancouver using durable fabrics in vibrant prints. Each item is designed to grow with the child, so this summer’s dress becomes next summer’s sun top. Most ingenious of all is the kimono onesie (pictured), which eliminates the struggle to get baby limbs into the right tiny openings. Cute and clever.

Chic Picnic: Dîner en Blanc

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Elegant Dîner en Blanc in David Lam Park

Elegant Dîner en Blanc in David Lam Park

Picnic basket—check. Nearly 4,500 of your closest friends—check. All-white attire—check. Every year, elegant Dîner en Blanc (Aug. 25) draws thousands of alfresco diners for a very posh picnic. The event was launched 27 years ago in Paris, and is now hosted in over 60 cities worldwide. Strict rules add a certain je ne sais quois: all attire must be white; tables, chairs and accoutrements are toted in by participants; and the secret location is revealed just prior to dinner. This must-see event is so popular, tickets are snapped up weeks before. It’s a sight to behold—and to check off your bucket list.

Revolutionary Bistro: Homer St. Cafe

By TIM PAWSEY

Halibut, at Homer Street Cafe. (Photo: KK Law)

Halibut, at Homer Street Cafe. (Photo: KK Law)

An artful resurrection of a once humble diner, Homer St. Cafe and Bar dazzles with polished marble and brass in true brasserie style. On the classically inspired but decidedly contemporary menu: bountiful charcuterie and local cheeses, smoked magret duck, and tender grilled strip loin beef steak. The pièce de résistance? The hallmark chicken, cooked on the cherry red Grande Flame Olympia Rotisserie that rules the lower bar.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Fair Fun at the PNE

By SHERI RADFORD

Ride the PNE's newest ride: The Beast

Ride the PNE’s newest ride: The Beast

Tops on our list of summertime activities is visiting The Fair at the PNE (Aug. 22 to Sep. 7), with its impossible-to-resist deep-fried foods, outdoor concerts and hair-raising rides. New this year: The Beast (pictured). This scream-inducing ride has speed, height and both side-to-side and circular motion. Who can resist?

Win! $100 GC to Redfish Kids

Contest-RedfishKids[resized]
Based in Vancouver, Redfish Kids Clothing was inspired by the street fashion of cities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. With strong images and expressive colours, Redfish fabrics are handpicked from around the world and purchased in limited quantities. Each Redfish garment is locally made with love and attention to detail.

Get your little ones ready for back to school with a $100 gift card from Redfish Kids! Here’s how to win:

1. On Twitter (1 entry): “Retweet to #win $100 GC @RedfishKids! #Contest #MyCourageousKid #BackToSchool @WhereVancouver

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

Contest closes September 7, 2015.

Contest rules and regulations

Bay Watch: Beach Bay Café and Patio

By TIM PAWSEY

Inside charming Beach Bay Café. (Photo: KK Law)

Inside charming Beach Bay Café. (Photo: KK Law)

Newly landed, almost right on the shores of the West End’s English Bay, is bright and airy Beach Bay Café and Patio. The well-designed West Coast dishes roam from delicious house-smoked steelhead trout with apricot and cream, and sweetbreads with rhubarb and roasted baby beets, to strip loin with broccoli and bitter greens, and rare albacore tuna with Swiss chard and leek terrine. Wines are smartly picked and cocktails include the aptly monikered Sailor and Sand: Sailor Jerry spiced rum, sloe gin, Fernet-Branca and more. Sign us up.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

La Cantina: Mexican Fusion Flavour

By SHERI RADFORD

Indulge in Mexican fusion at La Cantina

Indulge in Mexican fusion at La Cantina

Although it opened just a year ago, La Cantina has quickly rocketed to the top of the must-visit list. This friendly, unpretentious spot serves mouth-watering Mexican fusion: tacos (chicken, fish, Mayan-style pulled pork, chorizo and more), burritos, soups and salads. Don’t miss the Machu Picchu, with its mixed greens, quinoa, beets, cashews, avocado and ginger soya dressing. And don’t delay—ándale, ándale!

Natural Drops at Grapes & Soda

By TIM PAWSEY

Sockeye salmon paired with Puzelat-­Bonhomme Petillant Naturel Rosé, at Grapes & Soda. (Photo: KK Law)

Sockeye salmon paired with Puzelat-­Bonhomme Petillant Naturel Rosé, at Grapes & Soda. (Photo: KK Law)

Recently arrived Grapes & Soda is next door to similarly tiny and perfect Farmer’s Apprentice organic eatery. Go for the hard-to-find all-natural wines, such as Puzelat-­Bonhomme Petillant Naturel Rosé, carefully paired with the likes of smoked salmon, or the Roagna Langhe Bianco, paired with chicken balantine. Or try the Stormy Flip cocktail, paired with a wickedly refreshing sorrel sorbet with juniper meringue, yogurt and honey.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Alfresco Eats

Where to find perfect picnic fare, great groceries and to-go food that’s to die for, all to be enjoyed outdoors

By SHERI RADFORD

A picnic feast, courtesy Giovane Cafe

A picnic feast, courtesy Giovane Cafe

Vancouver is at its most spectacular in the summertime, and the long, hot days are best spent relaxing on a beach or in a park. When it comes time to pack provisions for an outing, the possibilities are endless, ranging from simple do-it-yourself to elaborate meals created with care by someone else. (more…)