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Jill Von Sprecken

Recipe for Revelry at Bearfoot Bistro

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Memorable meals await at Bearfoot Bistro.

Memorable meals await at Bearfoot Bistro.

Bearfoot Bistro—one part culinary amusement park, one part fine-dining fixture—is the kind of place foodies write home about, thanks to its 20,000-bottle wine cellar, ice-encased vodka tasting room and palm tree–studded patio. Here it’s possible to sabre a bottle of champagne, don a parka to sip sub-zero spirits and indulge in three- or five-course tasting menus, all in one elegant evening. Now that’s a wild ride.

Dîner en Blanc: Twice as Elegant

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Don a crisp white outfit for this pop-up picnic with an elegant twist. (Photo: Jonathan Evans)

Don a crisp white outfit for this pop-up picnic with an elegant twist. (Photo: Jonathan Evans)

Aug. 24, 2017 What happens when Parisian elegance meets flash-mob feast? Dîner en Blanc, a pop-up event that draws thousands for an all-white-attire affair. Launched 29 years ago in Paris, the posh picnic is now hosted in over 70 cities worldwide. And this year, for the first time in North America, the elegant evening will be hosted in not one, but two secret locales. Strict rules add a certain je ne sais quoi: all attire must be white; tables, chairs and accoutrements are toted in by participants; and locations remain hush-hush until just hours before. Tickets are snapped up weeks in advance, but this en blanc bash is truly a sight to behold. Bon appétit!

Ultimate Alfresco: Araxi Longtable Dinner

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The great outdoors just got a little greater.

The great outdoors just got a little greater.

Aug 20, 2017 Meals just don’t get more memorable than the Araxi Longtable Dinner, where diners sit elbow-to-elbow with 150 other guests. With spectacular Mount Currie as backdrop and Araxi’s famed James Walt as chef, this four-course dinner enjoyed alfresco has all the elements of a night to remember. It takes place at Pemberton’s North Arm Farm, chosen not just for the stunning scenery, but also because it’s where many ingredients in the family-style dishes were grown. Now that’s a fresh farm-to-table fête.

Richmond Art Gallery: Beyond the Horizon

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"Evening - Keremeos, B.C." by William Percy Weston. (Photo: Lance Blomgren)

“Evening – Keremeos, B.C.” by William Percy Weston. (Photo: Lance Blomgren)

To Aug. 20, 2017 See the forest and the trees—and everything in-between—at Richmond Art Gallery’s Beyond the Horizon. The exhibit explores Canada’s vast landscape through the works of famed True North artists, and 10 secondary-school students’ responses to them. See stunning scenery by luminaries like Toni Onley, Susan Point and William Percy Weston (“Evening – Keremeos, B.C.,” pictured) alongside some of BC’s fresh talent. It’s the great outdoors, but in a way you’ve never pictured.

Vancouver Mural Festival Brightens Up City Spaces

The writing—graffiti, street art and more—is on the wall

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Visit The Arts Factory to see this nature-infused mural by Ola Volo

Visit The Arts Factory to see this nature-infused mural by Ola Volo. (Photo: KK Law)

Aug. 7 to 12, 2017 Artists are painting the town red—and every other colour of the rainbow—at the second annual Vancouver Mural Festival. Last year, the inaugural event added a splash of colour to the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood by way of 35 eye-catching murals. This year’s festival adds to that colourful legacy, transforming more than 50 additional walls around East Van into large-scale canvases. The line-up includes artists from Vancouver and around the globe, with an emphasis on graffiti artists like AA Crew, and First Nations artists such as Corey Bulpitt and Sharifah Marsden. The paint-flecked celebrations include a vibrant street festival, live musical performances, walking tours, artists talks and a beer garden. If your trip wasn’t timed quite right, don’t fret: on Saturdays, take in the city’s largest display of street art on a guided tour. Or simply download a map for a self-guided stroll of alfresco art.

Pictures From Here: Photo Exhibit Captures the Spirit of the City

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"Paddler, Mouth of the Seymour" by Rodney Graham. (Photo: Rodney Graham/303 Gallery, New York)

“Paddler, Mouth of the Seymour” by Rodney Graham. (Photo: Rodney Graham/303 Gallery, New York)

To Sep. 4, 2017 See the city through the lens of famed local photographers in Pictures From Here at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The exhibit highlights the emergence of photo-conceptualism, a movement that brought the city international attention as a centre for contemporary art. Skilful snaps by luminaries such as Fred Herzog, Roy Arden, Jeff Wall and Rodney Graham (“Paddler, Mouth of the Seymour,” pictured) act as a counterbalance to the lyrical landscapes that had dominated the Canadian art-making tradition. Now that’s a fresh perspective.

Oh Canada! Online Art Auction

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"Indian Encampment" by  Thomas Mower Martin. (Photo: Heffel Fine Art Auction House)

“Indian Encampment” by Thomas Mower Martin. (Photo: Heffel Fine Art Auction House)

Jul. 6 to 27, 2017 It’s a True North takeover at Heffel. Raise a virtual paddle at the Oh Canada! online auction, which features historical Canadian works to celebrate the country’s sesquicentennial. Stop by the auction house to view watercolours, oils and pastels by celebrated artists like Cornelius Krieghoff and Thomas Mower Martin (“Indian Encampment,” pictured). Let the bidding begin.

Gathering of Canoes Lands at Vanier Park

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Welcome the incoming canoes at Vanier Park. (Photo: Takaya Tours)

Welcome the incoming canoes at Vanier Park. (Photo: Takaya Tours)

Jul. 14, 2017 History buffs, take note: Gathering of Canoes digs paddles deep into Vancouver’s past. For millennia, the coastal waterways were highways for local First Nations peoples, and this Friday, it’s possible to witness a traditional canoe landing at Vanier Park. Watch as up to 30 canoes request permission to come ashore on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories, just one stop on a 10-day journey that travels time-honoured routes along the Sunshine Coast. Afterwards, celebrations make a splash with musical performances, family-friendly activities and an afternoon feast.

Canada’s Got Talent(ed Artists)

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"Vanishing Prairies - Wood Grain Elevator" by Mark Bowen (Photo: Mark Bowen)

“Vanishing Prairies – Wood Grain Elevator” by Mark Bowen. (Photo: Mark Bowen)

To Jul. 16, 2017 It’s Canada’s 150th birthday, which means that normally apologetic and modest Canucks are celebrating home-grown talent—sorry. To see for yourself, head to Ferry Building Gallery’s Oh Canada exhibit. Artists from north of the 49th parallel showcase works in various media, including prints by Vancouver-based artist Heather Aston and layered photographic pieces by Mark Bowen (“Vanishing Prairies – Wood Grain Elevator,” pictured). Again, sorry for tooting our own horns.

Happy 150th Birthday, Canada!

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Fireworks light up Coal Harbour.

Fireworks light up Coal Harbour.

Jul. 1 to 2, 2017 This year, Canada blows out 150 candles—and everyone’s invited to the birthday bash. For the country’s largest sesquicentennial celebrations outside of Ottawa, head to Canada Day at Canada Place for festivities that include five stages of music and performances, fireworks, a pancake breakfast, a parade and more. Take in famed Canuck musicians like Sam Roberts, Hey Ocean! and Dragonette, explore the armed forces exhibits, and help welcome 150 new Canadians in a group citizenship ceremony. It’s not to be missed—this party’s been a century and a half in the making.

Ask an Insider

Whistler’s concierges dish on their favourite eateries

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Show-stopping charcuterie at Basalt. (Photo: Brad K)

Show-stopping charcuterie at Basalt. (Photo: Brad K)

HIDDEN GEM

Tucked away in quiet Creekside, Red Door Bistro packs in locals for French cuisine with a West Coast twist. Out-of-the-way Alta Bistro delights diners with sustainable farm-to-fork fare in an intimate space. At Basalt, the volcanic-rock bar and hand-crank meat slicer catch the eye, but it’s the charcuterie and seasonal dishes that steal the show. (more…)

Great Canadian Inventions at Science World

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Discover Canadian inventions at Science World.

Science World’s Made in Canada exhibit is a hands-on exploration of innovation.

To Sep. 4, 2017 What do the Wonderbra, egg carton and goalie mask have in common? They were all invented by inquiring Canadian minds. Find out more about the True North’s innovative spirit—and get creative yourself—at Science World’s interactive Made in Canada exhibit. Kids of all ages can build and create 3D art, design a fast (or slow) bobsled and learn about local inventions in this hands-on exhibition. Ready, set, invent!