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Jill Von Sprecken

Top Timepieces: Global Watch Co.

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The Longines shop-in-shop at Global Watch Co.

The Longines shop-in-shop at Global Watch Company

A trove of treasured timepieces can be found at Global Watch Company, a boutique devoted to haute horology and fine diamond jewellery. The swish space is home to three unique shop-in-shops, including 165-year-old German watchmaker Glashütte Original—one of the few showrooms to carry the brand in BC. Rounding out the collection: a range of sophisticated sparklers, some featuring rare coloured diamonds. Adore adornment? Then this venue is a must-visit.

cesna?em: the city before the city

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Ancient artifacts from

Ancient artifacts from cesna?em

Vancouver officially became a city in 1886, but the area’s history goes back much further—nearly 5,000 years, to be exact. For millennia, the Musqueam Nation has called this land home, and the remains of the ancient village and burial site still lie beneath the modern city. Delve into the rich history at cesna?em: the city before the city, a trio of long-term exhibits that explore oral histories, examine artifacts and highlight contemporary Musqueam culture. It’s a history buff’s dream. At the Musqueam Cultural Education Resource Centre & Gallery, Museum of Vancouver and Museum of Anthropology.

Sea Monsters Revealed at the Vancouver Aquarium

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

A sand tiger shark, at the Vancouver Aquarium

A sand tiger shark, at the Vancouver Aquarium

Songs, stories and even statues have been devoted to the monstrous beasts lurking beneath the ocean’s surface—and now, the Vancouver Aquarium is adding an exhibition to the list. Sea Monsters Revealed (to Sep. 7) brings creatures of the deep onto dry land through a preservation technique called plastination, which displays the insides and outsides of the ocean’s most fascinating residents, including a sand tiger shark, Humboldt squid and metre-long ocean sunfish. The stuff of legend? This exhibit certainly is.

6th Annual Vancouver Draw Down

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Budding artists at the Vancouver Draw Down

Budding artists at the Vancouver Draw Down

Delighted by design? Enchanted by illustration? Then make your mark at the 6th annual Vancouver Draw Down (Jun. 20), a day-long celebration of creativity. Sketch and scribble at over 30 free hands-on workshops found in art galleries, museums, community centres, parks and more. Plus, keeners prime their skills to Jun. 19 with the online daily drawing challenge. So go ahead: dare to doodle.

Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Every summer, colourful tents pop up for Bard on the Beach

Every summer, colourful tents pop up for Bard on the Beach

All the world’s a stage—but perhaps none is more picturesque than seaside Vanier Park, where open-air tents pop up every summer for Bard on the Beach (Jun. 4 to Sep. 26). The popular Shakespeare festival features four different shows: The Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Shakespeare’s Rebel. Lectures and family nights, plus a peekaboo panorama of ocean and mountains, make this fest a dream that doesn’t end midsummer.

Craft Beer Circuit

Easy drinking, hoppy or just plain experimental—a bevy of brews can be found around Vancouver. Explore the options at these breweries, all just a hop, sip and jump away

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The beautiful interior at Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall. (Photo: KK Law)

The beautiful interior at Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall. (Photo: KK Law)

1. BIG ROCK URBAN This Alberta outpost’s proximity to the SkyTrain makes it an ideal starting point. On tap: the brand’s stalwart brews alongside sips such as Hollow Tree Pacific Northwest Red Ale, inspired by the Lower Mainland and developed to please West Coast palates.

2. 33 ACRES The pristine aesthetic at this brewery and tasting room is a design buff’s dream, and the perfect locale for sipping 33 Acres of Sunshine, an unfiltered white ale, or 33 Acres of Life, a smooth California Common–style beer. Refuel with food truck fare or an espresso-based bevvy.

3. MAIN STREET BREWING Tucked away just east of Main Street, this industrial heritage space serves a rotating menu of cask-conditioned beer alongside a solid selection of regular draft options such as the Westminster Brown and the Saison No. 7, with its subtle splash of pepper and citrus.

4. BRASSNECK Reclaimed wood and zany artwork line the walls, while the frequently rotating taps attempt to keep pace with even the most enthusiastic beer lover’s thirst for new and inventive brews. Nano batches keep the pours fresh and eclectic, reflected in the eight or more offerings on tap.

5. STEEL TOAD This refurbished industrial space boasts an airy mix of glass and wood, and brews that range from the authentic Yorkshire Best Bitter to the more adventurous East Coast “Nineties” IPA with spicy rye undertones. Stay for inventive bites from the menu, then hop the SkyTrain for a quick—and perhaps wobbly—exit.

Eco-Friendly Eatery

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The Fairmont Waterfront's ARC restaurant boasts a beautiful dining room and bar

The Fairmont Waterfront’s ARC restaurant boasts a beautiful dining room and bar

Curvaceous ARC brings local fare full circle: fresh ingredients are only an elevator ride away, cultivated on the Fairmont Waterfront’s rooftop garden. The bounty of fruit, honey, herbs and edible blossoms elevates cocktails, desserts and more, and complements Ocean Wise seafood and offerings from local purveyors. Plus, the seasonal bites are served in a sleek space with harbour views. It’s not easy being green? This swish eatery makes it look simple.

Fabulous Finds at Renew Gallery

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Renew Gallery's showroom is chock-full of elegant pieces

Renew Gallery’s showroom is chock-full of elegant pieces

If any shop should be stocked with treasures, it’s hidden gem Renew Gallery. Tucked away near Main Street, this bright showroom is the perfect setting for the collection of stunning antiques, vintage decor and beautiful period lighting. The carefully curated pieces range from furniture to stained glass to glittering chandeliers, and each is one of a kind. Consider Renew the pearl of second-hand shopping.

Abstract Artworks by Julia Dault

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"Drama Queen" by abstract artist Julia Dault. (Photo: Jason Wyche courtesy the Artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York)

“Drama Queen” by abstract artist Julia Dault. (Photo: Jason Wyche courtesy the Artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York)

Playful and psychedelic, Julia Dault’s avant-garde abstracts may seem to break rules, but the New York–based artist is actually making them—for herself. Her elegant sculptural works are single-handedly wrestled into place on-site, sans nails or glue. And her paintings’ pop-art palette? It’s a combination of unmixed paint applied with unconventional materials such as squeegees and sea sponges, no paintbrushes allowed (“Drama Queen,” pictured in detail). See her dizzying designs at Contemporary Art Gallery’s Blame It on the Rain until Jun. 28.

Vancouver’s Craft Beer Circuit

Easy drinking, hoppy or just plain experimental—a bevy of brews can be found around Vancouver. Explore the options at these breweries, all just a hop, sip and jump away

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The beautiful interior at Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall. (Photo: KK Law)

The beautiful interior at Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall. (Photo: KK Law)

1. BIG ROCK URBAN This Alberta outpost’s proximity to the SkyTrain makes it an ideal starting point. On tap: the brand’s stalwart brews alongside sips such as Hollow Tree Pacific Northwest Red Ale, inspired by the Lower Mainland and developed to please West Coast palates.

2. 33 ACRES The pristine aesthetic at this brewery and tasting room is a design buff’s dream, and the perfect locale for sipping 33 Acres of Sunshine, an unfiltered white ale, or 33 Acres of Life, a smooth California Common–style beer. Refuel with food truck fare or an espresso-based bevvy.

3. MAIN STREET BREWING Tucked away just east of Main Street, this industrial heritage space serves a rotating menu of cask-conditioned beer alongside a solid selection of regular draft options such as the Westminster Brown and the Saison No. 7, with its subtle splash of pepper and citrus.

4. BRASSNECK Reclaimed wood and zany artwork line the walls, while the frequently rotating taps attempt to keep pace with even the most enthusiastic beer lover’s thirst for new and inventive brews. Nano batches keep the pours fresh and eclectic, reflected in the eight or more offerings on tap.

5. STEEL TOAD This refurbished industrial space boasts an airy mix of glass and wood, and brews that range from the authentic Yorkshire Best Bitter to the more adventurous East Coast “Nineties” IPA with spicy rye undertones. Stay for inventive bites from the menu, then hop the SkyTrain for a quick—and perhaps wobbly—exit.

Getting Cheeky: Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

These two musical powerhouses collaborated on a jazzy album, Cheek to Cheek

These two musical powerhouses collaborated on a jazzy album, Cheek to Cheek

A musical match-up between Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga may seem unlikely, but as the Grammy Award–winning Cheek to Cheek album proves, they’re making beautiful music together. Both famed in their own right, the iconic vocalists each add their own distinctive spin to the Great American Songbook. Hear songs like “Sophisticated Lady,” “Lush Life” and—perhaps most appropriately—“Anything Goes” as the pair promotes their jazzy album at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, May 25 and 26.

Kids in the Hall

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The Kids in the Hall. (Photo: David Hawe)

The Kids in the Hall. (Photo: David Hawe)

The Head Crusher. Cabbage Head. Chicken Lady. In the ’80s and ’90s, The Kids in the Hall earned a cult following for bizarre skits featuring TV’s quirkiest characters. Now, the Canadian comedy troupe is on tour, and they’re bringing old and new material along for the ride. Join the five original cast members—and a host of alter egos—for an evening of wacky and irreverent comedy at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on May 20.