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Jill Von Sprecken

Public Art in Vancouver

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Jonathan Borofsky's "Human Structures Vancouver"

Jonathan Borofsky’s “Human Structures Vancouver.” (Photo: KK Law)

The great outdoors just got a little greater. Thanks to the Vancouver Biennale, alfresco art installations are popping up around the city, transforming ordinary outdoor spaces into cool cultural attractions. A tour along the Granville Island and False Creek waterfront takes art aficionados past three recent works: Jonathan Borofsky’s interconnected “Human Structures Vancouver” (pictured above), Cosimo Cavallaro’s playful “Love Your Beans,” and Gustavo and Otávio Pandolfo’s massive “Giants” (pictured below)—perhaps the most buzzed-about addition.

"Giants" by OSGEMEOS. (Photo: KK Law)

“Giants” by OSGEMEOS. (Photo: KK Law)

Spanning six cylindrical cement silos, the larger-than-life graffiti mural may be the most ambitious project yet by the Brazilian twin brothers known as OSGEMEOS. At the very least, Vancouver has some colourful new residents.

East Meets West

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Beautiful Bambudda

Bambudda’s contemporary space. (Photo: KK Law)

A trendy Gastown gem, Bambudda boasts artfully conceived Cantonese cuisine in a smart space. Modern banana-leaf wallpaper and a hopping street-side bar perfectly match the contemporary Asian tapas. Former Top Chef Canada contender Curtis Luk serves up dishes such as pork belly with taro and salt-and-pepper Humboldt squid. Or, from Feb. 19 to 22, ring in the Year of the Sheep with a special dumplings menu. This traditional dish symbolizes togetherness and prosperity, making it a perfectly delicious way to celebrate Chinese New Year. Gung hay fat choy!

Inuit Imagery: Ningeokuluk Teevee

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Ningeokuluk Teevee's "A Lot of Bull"

Ningeokuluk Teevee’s “A Lot of Bull”

In Beyond the Surface: Drawings by Ningeokuluk Teevee (Feb. 14 to Mar. 6), the Cape Dorset artist creates vibrant coloured-pencil and graphite drawings that bring Inuit mythology and stories to life. See works such as “A Lot of Bull” (pictured) in the 25 drawings on display at Inuit Gallery.

Romantic Vancouver

With its backdrop of misty mountains and stunning shorelines, this city was made for sweethearts

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Enjoying the sunset at English Bay (Photo: KK Law)

Enjoying the sunset at English Bay. (Photo: KK Law)

9 Things to do for Sweethearts

1 Show off your triple Lutz while gliding around the outdoor rinks at Robson Square and Grouse Mountain.

2 Whip up a delectable meal in a couples cooking class at The Dirty Apron Cooking School.

3 Soak up a spectacular sunset at English Bay.

4 Tour Stanley Park and the seawall on a tandem bike from Spokes Bicycle Rentals.

5 Snuggle up on a sleigh ride through Grouse Mountain’s winter wonderland. Afterwards, warm up next to the fireplace with a steaming mug of hot cocoa.

6 Escape to Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, an enchanting oasis in the heart of Chinatown.

7 Snowshoe through Cypress Mountain’s snow-covered terrain, then warm up with cheese and chocolate fondue in historic Hollyburn Lodge.

8 Admire art, preferably hand in hand, at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

9 Share a canvas and hand-crafted cocktail at Raw Canvas while creating a masterpiece in the “painting pit.”

(more…)

Balanchine‘s Bold Ballet

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Beautiful and bold ballet by George Balanchine

Beautiful and bold ballet by George Balanchine

Graceful and groundbreaking, George Balanchine’s choreography revolutionized dance. Now, Miami City Ballet salutes the famed 20th-century choreographer in Balanchine, a sweeping triple bill that showcases his acclaimed career through Serenade, Symphony in Three Movements and Ballo della Regina. Known for his ability to express music through movement, he created ballets that feature works by celebrated composers such as Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Verdi. See this showcase of virtuosity at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Feb. 19 to 21.

The Addams Family Musical

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Get to know The Addams Family all over again

Get to know The Addams Family all over again

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky. In fact, the oddball family is just as you remember, only now they’ve taken their antics onstage in The Addams Family: A New Musical. Anyone who feels their family is a bit, well… bizarre, will relate to Wednesday Addams when she brings her “normal” boyfriend and his parents home to dinner. Catch all the quirkiness at the Michael J. Fox Theatre, Feb. 6 to 21.

Crystal Hut: Tippy-Top Trek

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Enjoy Crystal Hut waffles. (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

Enjoy Crystal Hut waffles. (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

Stellar skiing, breathtaking views—and waffles. Just a few reasons locals and visitors alike trek 1,845 m (6,053 ft) up Blackcomb Mountain. Find the irresistible Belgian-style temptations at Crystal Hut, a cozy cabin nestled into a mountain ridge. The famed treats are served all day, and come loaded with tasty toppings, including whipped cream, maple syrup and chocolate chips. Take the sweet treat or a wood-oven-baked specialty out on the patio and enjoy the view. After all, you came all this way.

Eagle Float in Brackendale

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Spot iconic bald eagles during a float down Cheakamus River with Sunwolf. (Photo: Logan/Sunwolf)

Spot iconic bald eagles during a float down Cheakamus River with Sunwolf. (Photo: Logan/Sunwolf)

Every winter, a very different sort of visitor flocks to beautiful Brackendale: bald eagles. The tiny town outside Squamish hosts one of the largest populations of the iconic bird worldwide, all thanks to a fantastic feast of spawning salmon. To catch a glimpse of the feathered arrivals, take an idyllic float down the Cheakamus River with Sunwolf. Expect to see dozens of eagles perched along the glacier-fed river, often occupying the same tree—unusual behaviour for the über-territorial bird.

(Photo: Bob/Sunwolf)

(Photo: Bob/Sunwolf)

Equally breathtaking are the views of the Tantalus Mountain Range and surrounding scenery, certain to inspire nature enthusiasts and shutterbugs alike. Afterwards, cozy up in the riverside lodge by the wood stove and warm up with hearty homemade chilli. Avian enthusiasts should note that this rare opportunity is over in the blink of an eye—the season only lasts from mid-Nov. through Feb.

Men in Tights

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Men in tights, tutus and toe shoes

Men in tights, tutus and toe shoes

Like any other dance company, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo tours with toe shoes and tutus. The difference? The marvellous all-male troupe. Outfitted in drag, the dancers poke fun at classic ballets such as Swan Lake and Paquita, all while en pointe. However, along with the over-the-top costumes and campy comedy is impressive dance technique that’s certainly no joke. Catch this bevy of ballerinas at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Jan. 24.

Vintage Typeface Pendants

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Old linotype repurposed for beautiful pendants

Old linotype repurposed into beautiful pendants

Christi York’s vintage pendants aren’t just pretty—they also hold a little piece of Vancouver’s past. The modern-looking brass columns are actually old linotype, salvaged from Canada’s first Chinese print shop, 106-year-old Ho Sun Hing Printers. Translating the tiny printing-machine moulds proved challenging, but discovering cool symbols such as “fierce like an ancient king” and “a charming woman” seems worth the trouble. Find them at BuenoStyle.

Into the Blue at Dundarave Print Workshop + Gallery

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Jenny Hards' "The By-Way"

Jenny Hards’ “The By-Way”

Dundarave Print Workshop + Gallery has the blues—from cyan to cerulean, and everything in-between. Explore the sapphire shade in Mood Indigo, which highlights the cool, calming and expansive qualities of the hue through etchings, monotypes and relief prints. Get lost in Jenny Hards’ serene horizon (“The By-Way,” pictured), and other works by gallery artists, Jan. 5 to Feb. 1.

Roundhouse Lodge: Food With a View

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Patio sunshine at the Roundhouse Lodge (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

Patio sunshine at the Roundhouse Lodge. (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

Roundhouse Lodge, the palatial venue perched atop Whistler Mountain, is taking sky-high dining to the next level – 1,850 m (6,069 ft) up, to be precise. Its elevated location makes mid-mountain refuelling easy, which is good news for ski bunnies and sightseers alike. Located at the Peak 2 Peak Gondola terminal, the lodge offers three open food courts and large patios to match. Or try a swanky sit-down meal at Steeps Grill & Wine Bar, located under the same roof. Get ready to feel on top of the world.