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Attractions Vancouver

New Views: Lawren Harris

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"Island, MacCallum Lake," by Lawren Harris. (Photo: Trevor Mills/Vancouver Art Gallery)

“Island, MacCallum Lake,” by Lawren Harris. (Photo: Trevor Mills/Vancouver Art Gallery)

Sometimes, change is good. It’s certainly true of celebrated painter Lawren Harris, whose 60-year career charted a course from vibrant landscapes to eccentric abstracts. Trace his artistic evolution at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Lawren Harris: Canadian Visionary (to May 4). Striking works by the Group of Seven member, such as “Island, MacCallum Lake” (pictured), focus on the spirituality of the place rather than the details—a stunning example of his journey into abstraction.

Sea Up Close

By SHERI RADFORD

Get up close and personal at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Photo: Sheri Radford)

Get up close and personal at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Photo: Sheri Radford)

Budding biologists, this one’s for you: until Apr. 30 at the Vancouver Aquarium, visitors can experience the facility’s 50,000 aquatic creatures like never before. Vancouver Aquarium Up Close offers a host of unique adventures, including the chance to step into the role of a marine mammal trainer, go behind the scenes to the jellyfish area or the shark penthouse, and visit the Wet Lab, with its more than 6,000 invertebrates, including crabs, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. It’s kind of like school, but way more fun.

A Bear of a Nap

By SHERI RADFORD

Sleepy, but ready for spring. (Photo: Grouse Mountain)

Sleepy, but ready for spring. (Photo: Grouse Mountain)

In Metro Vancouver, winter hasn’t truly ended until Grinder and Coola emerge from hibernation. These two grizzly bears, who aren’t related but who were each orphaned and rescued in 2001, live at the 2-hectare (5-acre) Refuge for Endangered Wildlife on Grouse Mountain. Every autumn, after steadily gaining weight all summer, the two bear buddies climb into their den to begin several months of snoozing. They usually reappear in April, significantly slimmer but ready to frolic in the snow and sunshine, with easygoing Coola tending to follow high-spirited Grinder’s lead. If you can’t squeeze in a visit to Grouse—or if you miss the bears after returning home—you can watch all their ursine antics via webcam.

Cherry Blossom Season

By SHERI RADFORD

Cherry blossoms by the water. (Photo: Tom Ryan/Destination BC)

Cherry blossoms by the water. (Photo: Tom Ryan/Destination BC)

What do you get when you bring together five of Vancouver’s top Japanese chefs for an evening of extraordinary Japanese cuisine? Sakura Night, which kicks off the eighth annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (Apr. 3 to 28). This enticing evening takes place at Tojo’s, and all money raised goes to support the festival—the only one of its kind in Canada.

Outdoor Adventures

By SHERI RADFORD

The cliché is, indeed, true: you can snowboard, golf and sail all on the same day in Vancouver—plus admire the cherry blossoms

A picture-perfect day at on Grouse Mountain. (Photo: KK Law)

A picture-perfect day at on Grouse Mountain. (Photo: KK Law)

Spring snowboarding and skiing at Grouse Mountain, a 15-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, offer spectacular views of the city and ocean.

Wind and waves make for an exhilarating day on the waters of English Bay. (Photo: Kevin Arnold/Destination BC)

Wind and waves make for an exhilarating day on the waters of English Bay. (Photo: Kevin Arnold/Destination BC)

Landlubbers and salty dogs alike enjoy sailing in the picturesque waters around Vancouver

The beautiful cherry blossoms signal the beginning of spring. (Photo: iStock/Maxvis)

Beautiful cherry blossoms signal the beginning of spring. (Photo: iStock/Maxvis)

Every spring, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the thousands of flowering cherry trees on city streets.

A golfer attempts a birdie on the 14th hole at Furry Creek. (Photo: KK Law)

A golfer attempts a birdie on the 14th hole at Furry Creek. (Photo: KK Law)

Fore! It doesn’t get any more relaxing than 18 holes at Furry Creek Golf and Country Club, a half-hour drive from Vancouver.

Vancouver Art Gallery’s Luscious Landscapes

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"Deep Forest" by Emily Carr. (Photo: Trevor Mills/Vancouver Art Gallery)

“Deep Forest” by Emily Carr. (Photo: Trevor Mills/Vancouver Art Gallery)

To March 9

The best way to see the forest for the trees? Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Emily Carr: Deep Forest for more than 40 exquisite paintings by the celebrated British Columbian artist. Stylized works such as “Deep Forest” (pictured) explore the spiritual forces of nature through vibrant hues and bold brushstrokes. Carr’s oil-on-canvas works were profoundly radical in their day for their fresh perspective on the coastal rainforest, previously viewed as impenetrable. For more stunning landscapes under the same roof, take in Lawren Harris: Canadian Visionary (to May 4). The Group of Seven founding member heavily influenced Carr and welcomed her into the ranks of Canada’s modernists. Trace the artistic history of the acclaimed painter, from his elegant portrayals of Lake Superior and the Rockies to his vibrant abstracts. It’s the great outdoors, but in a way you’ve never pictured.

Perfect Pints at 5 Vancouver Microbreweries

By JASON TWETEN

A fresh pour begging to be guzzled at R&B Brewing Co. (Photo: Jason Tweten)

In a city of self-proclaimed connoisseurs, Vancouver’s microbreweries have the difficult job of staying ahead of the trends. A great deal of knowledge and skill goes into pioneering craft beers, and for small-scale brewers this means taking large-scale risks. Lucky for patrons of the craft, this city lays claim to some of the most innovative and intelligent brewers in the business. We’ve compiled this list of our favourite microbreweries to help visitors try to keep up. (more…)

Holiday Displays Taken to New Heights

By JASON TWETEN

Holiday displays of this scale aren't to be missed

Holiday displays of this scale aren’t to be missed

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park sparkles with bright colours during the annual Canyon Lights event (to Jan. 4). This year, they’ve literally upped the ante by laying claim to the world’s tallest living Christmas tree. Come see the 46.4-m- (152-ft-) tall Douglas fir illuminated by thousands of flickering lights, and prepare to be dazzled.

Take Home the Taste

By SHERI RADFORD

The new Rocky Mountaineer cookbook

The new Rocky Mountaineer cookbook

Rocky Mountaineer has always offered spectacular food against a backdrop of equally stunning scenery in the Pacific Northwest and Alberta. Now you can recreate that fine food at home with Eat Play Love: Regionally Inspired Cuisine by Rocky Mountaineer ($24.95), a new cookbook from the luxurious train’s executive chefs. To purchase this delicious souvenir, visit merchandise.rockymountaineer.com. As for taking the view home with you, photos will have to suffice.

An Expression of Freedom at Coastal Peoples Gallery

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Artwork by Tim Pitsiulak. (Photo: Coastal Peoples Gallery)

In Arctic Wind IV: An Expression of Freedom, artists from Canada’s Arctic region explore land as a source of freedom. Emerging, established and internationally renowned artists showcase pieces in serpentine stone, marble and coloured-pencil drawings, such as Tim Pitsiulak’s “Tatigait (Sandhill Cranes)” (pictured). Visit Coastal Peoples Gallery and get ready to spread your own wings (Nov. 23 to Jan. 3).

Coast to Coast in Eight Minutes

By JEFF ALLEN

Flyover

Experience the feeling of flight at FlyOver Canada

My five-year-old son, Liam, is buckled into the spacious seat next to mine. I’m not sure which one of us is more excited. The space-age-looking flight deck makes me think we’ve just boarded the Starship Enterprise. I have no idea what’s in store. I’ve never flown across Canada in eight minutes flat before. (more…)

Meet John Cleese

By SHERI RADFORD

John Cleese hams it up

John Cleese hams it up

October 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30

Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Fawlty Towers. A Fish Called Wanda. The Muppet Show. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Die Another Day. John Cleese’s acting career is best described as long, eclectic and still going strong. As the 73-year-old criss-crosses the country with his cheekily named Last Time To See Me Before I Die tour (follow-up to his wildly popular Alimony tour), fans get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to ask questions of the living legend. See the comedy genius in six shows at the Vogue Theatre, and have your best silly walk ready.