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Jill Von Sprecken

Bobbie Burgers’s Pretty Petals

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"The Lure of Magical Thinking" by Bobbie Burgers

“The Lure of Magical Thinking” by Bobbie Burgers

At this time of year, the most gorgeous gardens are indoors, not out. Especially at Bau-Xi Gallery, where a room of bold-hued blooms by Bobbie Burgers can be found in The Lure of Magical Thinking (Dec. 11 to 24). The Vancouver-based artist is known for her fresh florals, and her most recent works explore mature and dying flowers with thick, layered colours and lush sculptural elements (“The Lure of Magical Thinking #1,” pictured). It’s the same beautiful blossoms, just in a different light.

30 Things We Love About Whistler

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

On or off the mountains, there’s plenty to adore about this winter-friendly town

Dogsledding in the Callaghan Valley (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

Dogsledding in the Callaghan Valley (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

1. Slaloming—or at least attempting to slalom—down the slopes of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

2. Biting into a truffle or brittle from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory or Rogers’ Chocolates.

3. Braving ice cream headaches at Cows Whistler.

4. Marvelling at the jaw-dropping views from on board the record-breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola.

5. Donning a parka to sip spirits in Bearfoot Bistro’s Belvedere Ice Room.

6. Joining the young and young-at-heart for a slide down Coca-Cola Tube Park.

7. Roots, a Canuck company that’s added a dose of Canadiana to wardrobes since 1973.

8. Making tracks in a pair of snowshoes from Cross Country Connection.

9. Practising our triple lutz while gliding around the free outdoor rink at Whistler Olympic Plaza, located right in the heart of the Village.

10. Feeling stress melt away with a massage, manicure and more at one of the resort’s many spas.

11. Channeling our inner Olympian on the bobsleigh and skeleton tracks at Whistler Sliding Centre.

12. Picking out a Coast Salish carving or handcrafted jewellery at The CRS Trading Post.

13. Digging into filet mignon or a New York strip at Hy’s Steakhouse, The Keg Steakhouse & Bar or Sidecut.

14. Sampling a buttery croissant or melt-in-your-mouth pastry—or two, or three—at Purebread, a local favourite.

15. Soaring high above the scenery with Superfly Ziplines or Ziptrek Ecotours.

16. Getting a rush of adrenaline over the Cheakamus River with Whistler Bungee.

17. Sipping handcrafted beer at The Brewhouse or Whistler Brewing Company.

18. Pairing Araxi’s celebrated Pacific Northwest plates with one of 1,000 wines from the cellar.

19. Soaking up the area’s local history at Whistler Museum or the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.

20. Admiring stunning local and international artworks at Whistler’s galleries.

21. Reliving the 2010 Winter Games at Whistler Olympic Park on snowshoes, cross-country skis and
even toboggans.

22. Refueling with a sweet hand-stretched pastry from BeaverTails before heading back down Whistler Mountain.

23. Keeping toasty in a sweater from Amos & Andes or a fur shawl from Snowflake.

24. Warming up with a wood-fired pizza or other fresh regional fare at Grill & Vine.

25. Defying gravity on the indoor trampolines at Bounce.

26. Exploring the great outdoors on snowshoes, snowmobiles, dogsleds and more.

27. Partaking in Whistler’s post-black-diamond ritual with après-ski at Garibaldi Lift Co., Dusty’s or Merlin’s.

28. Going in search of untouched powder with Whistler Heli-Skiing.

29. Giving credit cards a workout at the shops.

30. Snapping photos by the Olympic Rings  and the Inukshuks in the Village and at the top of Whistler Mountain.

In the Spirit

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Gary McMillan's "Economical Use of Three Bears"

Gary McMillan’s “Economical Use of Three Bears”

For artworks that are merry and bright, head to Elissa Cristall Gallery for Holiday Exhibition (Dec. 11 to Jan. 10). This lively collection includes Gary McMillan’s whimsical landscapes (“Economical Use of Three Bears,” pictured), which feature natural settings that are carefully rearranged and reimagined. Also gracing the gallery walls: minimalist abstracts by Camrose Ducote and Christopher Friesen, super-saturated landscapes by Lesley Finlayson and airy collages by Jessie McNeil.

Japanese Drumming of Katari Taiko

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Katari Taiko-Jeanie

Katari Taiko. (Photo: STU-DI-O by Jeanie)

Some follow the beat of their own drum, while others follow the Japanese drumming of Katari Taiko straight to the Vancouver Playhouse. On Dec. 6, the group celebrates 35 years of reverberating rhythms with Return of the Wild Taiko. The group, the first of its kind in Canada, fêtes the major milestone with musical guests Chibi Taiko, Sansho Daiko, Sawagi Taiko and Vancouver Okinawa Taiko. Get ready for an evening with more percussion than you can shake a drumstick at.

Winter Warm-Up at The Charles Bar

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Beer-Battered pickle spears at The Charles Bar

Beer-Battered pickle spears at The Charles Bar

The Charles Bar, a lively sports and suds spot in the trendy Woodward’s building, welcomes the arrival of sweater weather with seasonal menu additions. Elevated pub-food offerings include pistachio-crusted chicken parmesan and the chef’s famed bourbon BBQ ribs. Or sip from ample beer and cocktail offerings while noshing on tangy beer-battered pickle spears. Wait out winter from a cozy booth? Don’t mind if we do.

Brunch Bliss at Café Medina

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Decadent Liège waffles are a signature item at Café Medina

Decadent Liège waffles are a signature item at Café Medina

Just a hop, skip and jump from its original location, Café Medina’s new digs channel Parisian charm with a side of heavenly Liège waffles. The cafe is one of the most adored brunch spots in the city, so despite the newly expanded space, line-ups are still de rigueur—but well worth the wait. Treat taste buds to the luscious lavender latte, a perennial favourite, before tucking into tagine, fricassée or saumon fumé. On the run? Grab a waffle to go, topped with irresistible peach-bourbon butterscotch or blueberry-juniper preserve. It’s a guaranteed morning-maker.

Football Fever: Grey Cup 2014

The Grey Cup makes its way to Vancouver, bringing fast-paced football and four days of celebrations that go way beyond the usual end-zone dance

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

    The 102nd Grey Cup Championship Game will take place in Vancouver, November 30

The 102nd Grey Cup Championship Game will take place in Vancouver, November 30

From the stands at BC Place Stadium to the streets of Vancouver, the 102nd Grey Cup promises to have fans on their feet for a weekend of football and festivities. The Canadian Football League (CFL) championship game will see the sports arena packed to capacity with 52,000 cheering fans on game day. But the celebrations don’t start—or end—there. Street festivals, a parade and concerts featuring Trooper, Tim Hicks, Hey Ocean! and 54-40 mean there’s just as much excitement outside the stadium as inside. (more…)

Football Fever: Grey Cup 2014

The Grey Cup makes its way to Vancouver, bringing fast-paced football and four days of celebrations that go way beyond the usual end-zone dance

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

    The 102nd Grey Cup Championship Game will take place in Vancouver, November 30

The 102nd Grey Cup Championship Game will take place in Vancouver, November 30

From the stands at BC Place Stadium to the streets of Vancouver, the 102nd Grey Cup promises to have fans on their feet for a weekend of football and festivities. The Canadian Football League (CFL) championship game will see the sports arena packed to capacity with 52,000 cheering fans on game day. But the celebrations don’t start—or end—there. Street festivals, a parade and concerts featuring Trooper, Tim Hicks, Hey Ocean! and 54-40 mean there’s just as much excitement outside the stadium as inside. (more…)

Eastside Culture Crawl

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Visit artists in their studios and see art, crafts and more at the Eastside Culture Crawl

Visit artists in their studios and see art, crafts and more at the Eastside Culture Crawl

Looking to scout out studios? Marvel over masterpieces? Contemplate crafts? Then get ready to rub shoulders with local talent at the 18th annual Eastside Culture Crawl (Nov. 20 to 23). The popular annual event welcomes more than 20,000 art admirers into artists’ studio spaces in edgy East Van. Wondering where to begin? Download a map from the Crawl’s website, chart your course, and step out for this fun, free festival.

Cool Jewels

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Find stunning jewellery and more at Ruby Tuesday

Find stunning jewellery and more at Ruby Tuesday

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but at Ruby Tuesday there are plenty of precious pieces to chum around with. This charming boutique carries an array of eye-catching jewellery and accessories, most of which are crafted by local and Canadian designers. Think sterling silver cuffs, flora- and fauna-inspired pendants, and eye-catching earrings set with semi-precious stones. Get ready to make some new friends.

Bean There, Done That

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

This fall, the folks at Bean Around the World are raising a glass—better yet, a mug—to 25 years of top-notch coffee with West Coast roots

Bean Around the World roasts their beans daily. (Photo: KK Law)

Bean Around the World roasts their beans daily. (Photo: KK Law)

Some leave their heart in San Francisco, but founder Pete Boëda found his when he spotted his first coffee roaster while visiting the Golden City in 1978. Though it took over a decade, Boëda’s newfound love came to fruition when he opened a small cafe complete with in-house roaster—not a common sight at the time. Now, 22 independently owned cafes, each with their own unique style and flavour, bear the Bean Around the World name. (more…)

Tasty Tome

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The humble tin can goes gourmet with the help of this unique cookbook

The humble tin can goes gourmet with this unique cookbook

Keep can openers at the ready: Tin Fish Gourmet (Arsenal Pulp Press; $21.95) by Vancouverite Barbara-Jo McIntosh has been re-released to the delight of time-pressed chefs everywhere. Imaginative recipes transform humble tins of oysters, tuna, mackerel and more into mouth-watering dishes. Find classic staples and inventive offerings alike, ranging from tuna casserole to clam and fontina pizza. Gorgeous colour photos and a stamp of approval from three-star Michelin chef Michel Roux make this the perfect fishy find. At local bookstores, including the author’s own Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks.