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Jill Von Sprecken

Tour de Vancouver

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Cycle City Tour guide shows participants Coal Harbour

Guide from Cycle City Tours shows participants Coal Harbour

Pedal pushers, take note: a bicycle is the perfect way to see Vancouver. Put up your kickstand and push off with Cycle City Tours. There are plenty of excursions to choose from, including The Grand Tour, which gets cameras clicking with city highlights that range from Stanley Park to Chinatown—and everything in in-between. Beer aficionados can take The Brewery Tour for a sampling of the city’s hopping craft beer scene. What are you waiting for? Ride on!

Gone Fishin’

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Sure, there’s plenty of fish in the sea. And luckily for eager anglers, the Pacific Ocean just happens to be Vancouver’s backyard

There'll be no stories about the one that got away: Jason Tonelli of Pacific Angler with a fish on his hook. (Photo: KK Law)

There’ll be no stories about the one that got away: Jason Tonelli of Pacific Angler with a fish on his hook. (Photo: KK Law)

Hook, Line & Sinker

Top-notch spots to catch coho, chinook and sockeye salmon—not to mention delectable Dungeness crabs—are just minutes from the city’s bustling downtown core. Jason Tonelli of Pacific Angler, who’s reeled in catches from as far away as Argentina and Chile, says that Vancouver’s proximity to great fishing sets it apart. “Nowhere else in the world can you fish this close to a metro area,” he says, gesturing to the skyline behind the boat.

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Take it Outside: Dining Alfresco

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Guests prepare to dine outdoors at the Araxi Longtable Series. (Photo: Toshi Kawano)

Guests prepare to dine outdoors at the Araxi Longtable Series. (Photo: Toshi Kawano)

August 4

Our fave summer activity? Wining and dining alfresco. Luckily, Whistler’s much-celebrated Araxi is bringing their Longtable Series to Vancouver for the first time. Set in picturesque Vanier Park, the hyper-local, four-course meal for 300 guests features appearances by chefs from CinCin, West and more.

Day at the Races: Deighton Cup

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Spectators donning floppy hats look on as horse races take place.

Spectators donning floppy hats look on as horse races take place.

Fancy frocks, dapper duds and mint juleps can mean only one thing: we’re off to the races. The Kentucky Derby–style Deighton Cup (Jul. 26) promises a day of high-stakes horse racing, fashion and cocktails. Dandies kick it off with The Big Smoke, for cigars, scotch and whisky tastings, while tipplers join the revelry at The Julep for the Mint Julep Craft Cocktail Competition. The rest don cufflinks and fascinators for a chance to win “Best Dressed,” take in the luxury car collection, and enjoy the action on the racecourse. Champing at the bit? We are, too.

Life’s a Beach

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Which way to the beach? With Vancouver’s wrap-around shoreline, a stretch of sand can be found in any direction

On a warm day, Kitsilano Beach is filled with sunbathers and people enjoying the waves. (Photo: Dannielle Hayes/Destination BC)

On a warm day, Kitsilano Beach is filled with sunbathers and people enjoying the waves.                                    (Photo: Dannielle Hayes/Destination BC)

English Bay

This palm tree–lined sunbathing spot is popular with the downtown crowd, and for good reason: lively eateries vie for views along Beach Avenue and bustling Denman Street, and the seawall leads a constant stream of amblers, joggers and cyclists into nearby Stanley Park. Join the crowds for photo ops with public art, or just enjoy the views. (more…)

Sounds of Summer: Vancouver Folk Music Festival

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Crowds gather at Jericho Beach for the annual music fest. (Photo: Dannielle Hayes/Tourism Vancouver)

Crowds gather at Jericho Beach for the annual music fest. (Photo: Dannielle Hayes/Tourism Vancouver)

July 18 to 20

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival may take place at Jericho Beach Park, but this is no ordinary day at the beach. Back for its 37th year, the much-loved fest brings a toe-tapping line-up of music to a seaside setting. Over 60 artists from 12 countries share their eclectic sounds, ranging from the folk songs of Joan Baez to the Afrobeats of Nigerian Seun Kuti and Egypt 80. It’s not only music, either: shop the artisans’ market, sample food-vendor fare, and keep wee ones occupied in the Little Folks area. It’s fun in the sun, guaranteed.

Pedal Power: Gastown Grand Prix

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Participants pedal their way through Gastown to the finish line.

Participants pedal their way through Gastown to the finish line

July 9

One day a year, the cobblestoned streets of Gastown transform into a thrilling racecourse for the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix. The challenging race attracts Olympic-calibre riders from around the world to a route that loops around landmarks such as the Gastown Steam Clock and the statue of Gassy Jack. The free and fast-paced excitement begins at 5:45 p.m., but arrive early to secure the perfect spectating spot.

Bearfoot Bistro: Baby, It’s Cold Inside

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Guests raise a glass to smooth, chilled vodka in Bearfoot Bistro's Belvedere Ice Room. (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

Guests raise a glass to Bearfoot Bistro’s Belvedere Ice Room. (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

The cliché is true: Canadians can always find a reason to don a parka. And in Bearfoot Bistro’s Belvedere Ice Room, it’s a necessary wardrobe addition. Step into the sub-zero vodka room—the coldest in the world—and sample from more than 50 types of the hard liquor. The Arctic temperatures enhance the flavour for a tasting experience unlike any other. It may be the most fun you can have in a parka.

50 Things We Love About Granville Island

By SHERI RADFORD and JILL VON SPRECKEN

Want to explore False Creek on your way to Granville Island? Take the Aquabus mini ferry. (Photo by Dominic Schaefer)

Want to explore False Creek on your way to Granville Island? Take the Aquabus mini ferry. (Photo by Dominic Schaefer)

1. Commuting via Aquabus or False Creek Ferries.

2. SeaVillage, a charming collection of floating homes.

3. Browsing for fresh produce, bread and seafood in the Granville Island Public Market.

4. Spotting orcas with Wild Whales Vancouver.

5. Ocean Concrete, the oldest and largest tenant on the island. It’s been there since 1917.

6. Edible Canada at the Market, with its fresh regional fare on the menu, plus foodie tours and a gourmet artisan retail shop.

7. Watching buskers perform: musicians, jugglers, magicians and more.

8. Hand-pressed, hand-bottled sake from Artisan SakeMaker.

9. Splashing around in the Granville Island Waterpark.

10. Watching artisans hard at work in their studios.

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Fresh Idea: FarmCity Fresh Cart

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The FarmCity Fresh Cart is part of Vancouver's Street Vending Program

The FarmCity Fresh Cart, part of Vancouver’s Street Vending Program, features a selection of farmed goods

For a shopping stop that always bears fruit, visit FarmCity Fresh Cart. It can be found on city streets with a selection of produce, locally made preserves, cured meats by Re-Up BBQ, pre-packaged salads and even ice cream. It’s a feel-good stop, too: the cart helps support local farmers by giving shoppers regular access to market-fresh produce. If that isn’t reason for an impromptu picnic, we’re not sure what is.

Susan Point: Works on Paper

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Artist Susan Point creating one of her limited edition prints for her Works on Paper exhibit. (Photo: Bill Reid Gallery)

Artist Susan Point creating a limited edition print for her Works on Paper exhibit. (Photo: Bill Reid Gallery)

Everything old is new again—especially in the hands of celebrated artist Susan Point, famed for eye-catching Coast Salish art that blends her ancestors’ stories with non-traditional techniques. To see a near-complete collection of her limited-edition prints, assembled from 1981 to present, head to Gastown and visit Spirit Wrestler Gallery’s Susan Point: Works on Paper (Jun. 28 to Jul. 19; preview Jun. 25 to 27). Bonus: on Jun. 28, don’t miss the chance to meet Point in person.

All That Jazz

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival had over half a million in attendance last year

The TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival had over half a million in attendance last year

To really tune into the rhythm of the city, take in the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival from June 20 to July 1. Now in its 29th year, the fest promises 300 performances that feature a lineup of musical luminaries such as Bobby McFerrin (Jun. 22), Jill Barber (Jun. 24), Hiromi: The Trio Project (Jun. 21) and the Charles Lloyd Quartet (Jun. 27). Plus, the festival jazzes up the opening weekend with free and family-friendly activities, including artisan markets, three music stages, a community fair and more in downtown’s Robson Square, Jun. 21 and 22. Guaranteed to have toes tapping, citywide.