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Jill Von Sprecken

A Stand-Up Guy: Colin Mochrie

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Comedian Colin Mochrie

Comedian Colin Mochrie

Off-the-cuff comedian Colin Mochrie returns to his improv roots with back-to-back shows alongside the Vancouver TheatreSports League, the ensemble that first helped him flex his funny bone over 35 years ago. From there, the VTSL veteran went on to find fame on Whose Line Is It Anyway? with fellow Vancouver-raised comic Ryan Stiles. On Sep. 23 and 24, 2016, get ready to chuckle, chortle and guffaw as the ad-lib artist takes to the stage at The Improv Centre and the Vogue Theatre. Consider your funny bone tickled.

Drake’s Hip Hop Comes to Vancouver

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Canadian rapper Drake

Canadian rapper Drake

What hasn’t Drake done? The Degrassi star-turned-rapper and unofficial ambassador of The 6ix—his nickname for his hometown of Toronto—is only the fourth performer in history to rack up 100 entries on the Billboard Hot 100. His multi-platinum single “Hotline Bling,” and the video’s so-bad-they’re-good dance moves, topped the charts and inspired countless memes and parodies along the way. He’s also shared a kiss with Madonna onstage and coached Canada to victory in the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game. What will he do next? Find out when his Summer Sixteen tour arrives at Rogers Arena, Sep. 17 and 18, 2016.

Green Grocer: Be Fresh Local Market

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Produce at Be Fresh Local Market

Produce at Be Fresh Local Market

Picking up provisions can feel like a chore, especially when on the quest for healthy, convenient cuisine. That’s why Be Fresh Local Market’s diminutive cafes and grocery store really pack a punch. Local products—think Nice Vice ice cream and Erin Ireland’s To Die For banana bread—a juice bar, bakery and to-go meals line the carefully curated shelves, for a fresh take on refuelling. Plus, the Kitsilano location boasts a grocery shop on-site, with plenty of farm-fresh produce and artisan fare. Added bonus: the focus on sustainability. Over-ripe produce gets slated for the juicer, and grocery delivery by bike through partner SPUD is on offer. Easy as (organic) pie.

Spirit of Whistler: Local Liquor

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Whiskey Jack Ale from Whistler Brewing Company

Whiskey Jack Ale from Whistler Brewing Company

Local flavours aren’t just on the plate, they’re also in the glass—from hops-and-malt offerings to spirited tipples. Tip a pint at Whistler Brewing Company, where seasonal brews and stalwarts such as Whiskey Jack Ale are crafted by hand. At Pemberton Distillery, the award-winning Schramm Vodka is made from potatoes sourced from just down the road. Or sip Gillespie’s farm-to-glass spirits, including the Aphro Vodka with chilli, cacao and vanilla. We’ll raise a glass to that.

New Works by Artist Wim Blom

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"The Small White Table," by Wim Blom. (Photo: David Borrowman)

“The Small White Table,” by Wim Blom. (Photo: David Borrowman)

At 89 years old, BC-based artist Wim Blom knows a little something about time. His serene, sculptural still lifes take two to three months to complete, meaning it’s years before he’s crafted the number of works required to exhibit. It’s worth the wait. Each piece beautifully balances simplicity and precision, for an effect that’s as compelling as it is timeless. Marvel and linger, but certainly don’t wait to see pieces like “The Small White Table” (pictured) at Ian Tan Gallery’s New Works (Sep. 10 to 29, 2016).

Flamenco Fiesta

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

See the Mercedes Amaya Company at the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival

See the Mercedes Amaya Company at the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival

From Sep. 10 to 20, 2016, find a little slice of Spain—and a lot of fiery footwork—at the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival. This year, the festival says bienvenido to the Mercedes Amaya Company, an ensemble helmed by the niece of legendary Gypsy flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya, credited as the finest of her generation. The company stamps, claps and sashays in Templanza (Sep. 16 and 17, 2016), an authentic homage to the dance. Be sure to catch passionate performances by Vancouver’s own Flamenco Rosario, plus lectures, workshops and more. Olé!

The Must List: September

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Take in spectacular views of the city on a flightseeing tour. (Photo: KK Law)

Take in spectacular views of the city on a flightseeing tour. (Photo: KK Law)

Give two thumbs up to top-notch performances at the Vancouver Fringe Festival (Sep. 8 to 18, 2016) and the Vancouver International Film Festival (Sep. 29 to Oct. 14, 2016).

Fill your camera with photos of landmarks such as the Gastown Steam Clock, Olympic Cauldron, Inukshuk, Digital Orca, Canada Place and A-maze-ing Laughter.

Eat sushi. (more…)

Super Fun: Vancouver Mysteries

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Save the city with Vancouver Mysteries

Save the city with Vancouver Mysteries

Like Gotham City or Metropolis, Vancouver needs a superhero—and you’re it. The villain? The infamous Muck Monster who, along with her gang, plans to take over the world. Grab a cape and a few superhero friends, and save the city’s peace-loving citizens in Vancouver Mysteries’ Heroes & Villains game. The adventure begins downtown, and the clock is ticking: your super squad has only two hours to find the monster’s hideout and stop her evil plans. On the way, you’ll explore the city, learning about local history and landmarks. But remember: with great power comes great responsibility (and great fun).

Feast for the Eyes at MARKET by Jean-Georges

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Strawberry mousse at MARKET by Jean-Georges The Muses Dinner

Strawberry mousse at MARKET by Jean-Georges The Muses Dinner

At MARKET by Jean-Georges, masterpieces on the plate are pleasing palates and palettes alike. Inspired by the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Picasso: The Artist and His Muses (to Oct. 2, 2016), The Muses Dinner series presents pretty-as-a-picture dishes influenced by the women who left an impression on Picasso’s personal life and paintbrush. Throughout September, sample dazzling and delectable four-course menus inspired by the fiercely independent Françoise Gilot and enigmatic Jacqueline Roque. Cubism never tasted so good.

Where the Wild Things Are

Orcas and parrots and bears, oh my! Take a walk on the wild side to spot awe-inspiring—and downright adorable—animals at locations around Vancouver

By SHERI RADFORD and JILL VON SPRECKEN

Grinder shows off his balancing skills in the grizzly bear enclosure at Grouse Mountain. (Photo: KK Law)

Grinder shows off his balancing skills in the grizzly bear enclosure at Grouse Mountain. (Photo: KK Law)

Grouse Mountain
For close encounters of the furry and feathered kind, set your sights on Grouse Mountain. At the mountaintop, find grizzlies Grinder and Coola roaming and splashing around their 2-hectare (5-acre) wildlife refuge. The two bears aren’t related, but they do share a similar backstory: both were found orphaned as cubs, then rescued in 2001. For a meal that’s more than memorable, watch the bears’ morning feeding, then tuck into your own bear-themed breakfast (to Oct. 9, 2016). Those inclined to flights of fancy head to the Birds in Motion demonstration to meet the resident raptors, including hawks, owls and a golden eagle. On the way back down the Skyride—or from the parking lot—try to spot timber wolf Alpha, a retired movie star, who cuts an imposing figure as he roams his habitat.—JVS

Vancouver Aquarium
All that’s wet and wild—on the West Coast and beyond—can be found at the Vancouver Aquarium, where more than 50,000 animals from around the world make a splash with visitors and locals alike. Be mesmerized by jellyfish, roll up your sleeves and pet a stingray, watch acrobatic Pacific white-sided dolphins, and come face-to-fin with many other aquatic residents. But the menagerie of marine life goes way past penguins and beyond belugas: see salamanders and frogs, slow-moving sloths and even Amazonian insects. The aquarium’s intent is to inspire and educate ocean admirers of all ages, but it just so happens to be a ton of fun, too.—JVS

Whale Watching
When it comes to awe-inspiring sights, glimpsing whales in their natural habitat ranks as high as the watery giants dive deep. In the Strait of Georgia, orcas can be spotted breaching and spy-hopping for onlookers, an impressive sight when considering their massive size—5,400 kg or 6 tons—and striking black-and-white dress. And these playful members of the dolphin family aren’t the only species that call the local waters home: grey whales, minke whales, humpbacks and dolphins can also be found in the area, as they feed, frolic and ultimately charm visitors. To see whales in the wild, book a tour with one of the many local whale watching companies.—JVS

Catfe. (Photo: KK Law)

One of Catfé’s furry residents. (Photo: KK Law)

Catfé
Vancouver’s first cat cafe has the purr-fect combination of coffee to sip, treats to nibble and kitties to cuddle. Home to a rotating selection of eight to twelve friendly felines, all available for adoption, Catfé offers a safe space for homeless cats to meet an array of people—even pop superstar Adele, who stopped by in July. Since opening late last year, Catfé has found forever homes for more than 160 cats, including Larry and Darla (who didn’t let Adele’s attention go to their heads), along with Mr. Whiskers, Cornelius, Pitter Pat and Ron Furgandy. The cafe also stocks an assortment of “meowchandise.” It’s definitely the cat’s pyjamas.—SR

Maplewood Farm
More than 200 animals call Maplewood Farm home, everything from horses and cows to birds and rabbits. Kids can experience what it’s like to live on a farm by riding a pony, watching a milking demonstration and feeding the chickens, ducks and bunnies. Call ahead to find out about special behind-the-scenes opportunities to groom the animals, collect eggs, set up feed and more. It might be enough to turn an urban-dwelling child into a budding Old MacDonald.—SR

Bloedel Conservatory
Stepping into the Bloedel Conservatory is like entering another country, a lush paradise filled with 500 exotic plants and flowers and 200 free-flying birds, all under one dome. Say hello to finches, cockatoos, doves, partridges, parakeets, Chinese pheasants, dwarf macaws and African parrots—and don’t be surprised if one says hello right back. The three different climate zones (tropical rainforest, subtropical rainforest and desert) make the whole experience feel like an overseas vacation, all without leaving Vancouver.—SR

Take it to the Top With Fresh Adventures

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Views of the Stawamus Chief and Howe Sound

Views of the Stawamus Chief and Howe Sound

TO SEP 30 Vancouver’s backyard is nothing short of spectacular, with a mix of mountains and ocean that’s as easy on the eyes as it is perfect for exploring. If the abundance of outdoor options has your head spinning, let Fresh Adventures lead the way. Go beyond the beaten path, and join fellow outdoor enthusiasts on day-long tours, including a trek through Mount Seymour’s scenic alpine surroundings and a suspension bridge in leafy Lynn Canyon. Or tackle the Stawamus Chief, the second-largest granite monolith in the world, before a stop at beautiful Shannon Falls. Regardless of which tour you choose, jaw-dropping views are included, as is the West Coast–inspired picnic lunch, complete with delectable edibles like candied salmon and fondue, enjoyed at what feels like the tippy-top of the world. The knowledgeable guide offers tidbits on everything from local terrain to First Nations stories, so your curiosity is satiated, too. Added bonus: all the little details—like transportation—are taken care of. The great outdoors just got a little greater.

Get the Scoop

Make your summer even sweeter with a creamy, dreamy scoop at one—or all—of these frozen favourites

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Earnest Ice Cream. (Photo: KK Law)

Earnest Ice Cream. (Photo: KK Law)

1. Earnest Ice Cream Small batches and local ingredients give these popular scoops a grown-up feel, but flavours like cinnamon heart, lavender and toasted marshmallow will make you feel like a kid again. (more…)