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Vancouver

Cool Creatures at the Aquarium

By SHERI RADFORD

Beluga whale greeting guests at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Photo: Noel Hendrickson/Vancouver Aquarium)

Beluga whale greeting guests at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Photo: Noel Hendrickson/Vancouver Aquarium)

There are 50,000 reasons to visit the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. That’s how many weird, wonderful aquatic creatures call the aquarium home, including salmon, beluga whales and sea otters.

Sea otters are one of many creatures found at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Photo: Margaret Butschler/Vancouver Aquarium)

Sea otters are one of many creatures found at the aquarium. (Photo: Margaret Butschler/Vancouver Aquarium)

Now it’s easier than ever to see them all, thanks to a recent expansion that includes new exhibits, galleries, a children’s play area and a cafe overlooking the crown jewel of the city, Stanley Park. Earlier this summer, TripAdvisor travellers named this green space the best park in the world—for the second year in a row. Better make that 50,001 reasons.

 

Gourmet Parisian Pastries

By TIM PAWSEY

An array of desserts found at Faubourg. (Photo: KK Law)

An array of desserts found at Faubourg. (Photo: KK Law)

Faubourg, a trio of smartly appointed, chandelier-bedecked, gourmet bakeries, transports you to Paris, with the look and feel of a fashionable cafe on the Champs-Élysées or Boulevard Saint-Germain. Owner Franck Point, who hails from Lyon, oversees meticulously made croissants (including pistachio or almond-paste-filled, and pain au chocolat, of course), baked fresh throughout the day. Other temptations range from flaky mille-feuille topped with Chantilly cream to impeccably made macarons, not to mention the dessert of the month, plus an array of delicious breads (baguette, brioche, etc.), excellent coffee and polished, prompt service.

Beaune on Main

By TIM PAWSEY

Floating Island (fluffy egg white floating on creme anglaise, toasted almond and caramel sugar nest). (Photo: KK Law)

Floating Island (fluffy egg white floating on creme anglaise, toasted almond and caramel sugar nest). (Photo: KK Law)

Nestled among Main Street’s funky antiques stores and edgy boutiques, The French Table is a welcoming, unswervingly Gallic salute in a laid-back bistro setting. Hervé Martin (once chef to the King of Belgium) revels in classics ranging from Burgundy fondue and pan-fried sweetbreads to duck confit and coq au vin, delivered with impeccable but friendly service. Unearth more good Main Street tastes at Burgoo, for comfort food, and The Acorn, for cutting-edge vegetarian.

Hot Looks That Beat Summer Heat

By SHERI RADFORD

Pool parties, festivals, BBQs—there are plenty of reasons to look good in summer, but no one wants to spend hours slathering on thick make-up that melts in the August heat. Instead, try this handful of products to look your sun-kissed best

Skoah-00694Essie-Summer-Collection

The oil-free Skin Boost Serum from Skoah uses plant polypeptides to increase collagen production and fade hyperpigmentation, resulting in firmer, clearer, hydrated skin. Essie’s summer collection of nail polishes includes eye-catching shades such as florescent fuchsia berry (pictured) and supercharged blue violet.

Mineral-Fusion-Lip-TintSelf Tan Bronzing Mousse from St. Tropez

 

Sheer Moisture Lip Tints from Mineral Fusion use cocoa butter to nourish lips while adding a hint of colour. The Self Tan Bronzing Mousse from St. Tropez creates a streak-free, natural-looking golden hue that lasts up to five days—and doesn’t harm skin the way Mother Nature’s suntans do. Find the Skin Boost Serum at Skoah and the other products at London Drugs. Who knew summer beauty could be so effortless?

West End Italian

By TIM PAWSEY

(Front) Antipasto salami and cheese platter. (Back) Tonnarelli cacio a pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper). (Photo: KK Law)

(Front) Antipasto salami and cheese platter. (Back) Tonnarelli cacio a pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper). (Photo: KK Law)

Locals know Tavola, a friendly haunt just west of Robson at Denman, for its flavour-packed fare and smartly picked Italian and Pacific Northwest wines. Perch at the bar for walnut pesto or chicken-liver crostini with a glass of grappa. Or settle in for house-made pastas, made fresh daily, such as seafood linguine with anchovies, garlic, chillies and lemon, or brown-sage gnocchi with pine nuts. Mains run from seasonal seafood to brick-roasted chicken and more.

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!

SeaWheeze: Sea, Sun, Sweat & Smiles

By SHERI RADFORD

Runners enjoy the seawall during the SeaWheeze, Lululemon's half marathon. (Photo: Sheri Radford)

Runners enjoy the seawall during the SeaWheeze, Lululemon’s half marathon. (Photo: Sheri Radford)

One of the world’s prettiest half marathons, the SeaWheeze winds around spectacular downtown scenery such as the seawall and Stanley Park, encouraging runners to forget about setting a new personal best and instead snap plenty of photos. Along the route, over-the-top entertainers—including stilt walkers, TheatreSports improvisers and yogis on paddle boards—also encourage dawdling. Too bad all 10,015 spots in this year’s race sold out in under an hour. But there are still ways to get in on the weekend’s fun.

Sunset yoga practice in Stanley Park after SeaWheeze half marathon. (Photo: Sheri Radford)

Sunset yoga practice in Stanley Park after SeaWheeze half marathon. (Photo: Sheri Radford)

All are welcome at the Sunset Festival in Stanley Park. First Eoin Finn leads a sunset yoga practice, perfect for stretching out tired muscles after the morning’s long run, then The Colourist and headliner Capital Cities fill the park with their pop sounds.

Limited edition athletic gear from Lululemon

Tracker-Short

Any event organized by Lululemon isn’t complete without apparel. The day before and the day of the race, a pop-up store featuring exclusive SeaWheeze clothing and accessories takes over the Vancouver Convention Centre. Lengthy line-ups don’t deter diehard shoppers, who scoop up the limited-edition tees, tanks, shorts, crops and more, none of which can be purchased in any other stores or online.

It’s a weekend of great workouts—whether for bodies or credit cards (or both) is up to you.

The SeaWheeze and Sunset Festival take place Aug. 23. The pop-up store is open Aug. 22 and 23.  Register for next year’s SeaWheeze in Jan. 2015. 

Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tours

By SHERI RADFORD

Tour attendees sample food at Urban Fare

Tour attendees sample food at Urban Fare

Foodies know that the best way to experience a new city is by wining and dining, but there are only so many restaurants a solo eater can try each day. The solution? Sign up for the Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour with Vancouver Foodie Tours and visit five of the city’s top destinations in just three hours. Stops such as Kirin and Urban Fare (pictured) guarantee that rumbly tummies quickly turn into satisfied bellies. Each tour ends with sweet treats at Bella Gelateria; the first delicious bite demonstrates why the celebrated gelato shop is the second busiest in the world. Let the eating begin!

Outdoor Essentials

By SHERI RADFORD

Whether your warm-weather destination is a beach, cabin or tent—or just the backyard—these handy items should improve your trip

Picnic basket and blanket from Poppytalk

Basket & Throw

Vancouver’s Jan Halvarson, who founded the popular design blog Poppytalk, teamed up with Target to create a line of “glamping” items such as a picnic basket and a camping throw with a useful carrier handle.

 

Playing cards by The Mountaineers Books

Playing Cards

Play your favourite card game and learn wilderness safety skills at the same time. The Don’t Get Lost Out There! Deck gives practical info on orienting a map, GPS usage, how to avoid getting lost, and more. At local bookstores.

 

Fabric checkerboard from Poppytalk, perfect for travel

Checkers

Banish boredom with this adorable fabric checkerboard, which includes game pieces and a cute travel bag, from Poppytalk for Target. Lightweight, colourful and quiet, it’s the perfect game for kids and adults alike.

 

Dermalogica sun protection line can be found at Spruce Body Lab

Sun Protection

For fun in the sun without fear of sunburn, slather on Protection Sport from Dermalogica. Non-greasy and water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, it’s ideal for extreme sport enthusiasts. At Spruce Body Lab.

 

Find a striped HBC hammock at The Bay

Hammock

Laze away the long hot days of summer in a hammock from The Bay. It comes in the eternally popular HBC multi-stripe pattern also found on swim trunks, beach towels, tote bags, deck chairs, Swiss Army Knives and more.

 

Zap Away bug repellant products from Escents Aromatherapy

Bug Spray

Repel pesky mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies with Zap Away spray from local company Escents. Made from lemongrass and lavender essential oils, the spray smells wonderfully fresh and is free from DEET and other harsh chemicals.

The PNE by the Numbers

By SHERI RADFORD

Whether you go for just one day of the Fair at the Pacific National Exhibition or all 15 days, it adds up to a memorable experience

The Wave Swinger is a favourite for everyone at the Pacific National Exhibition. (Photo: Courtesy of the PNE and Tourism Vancouver)

The Wave Swinger is a favourite for everyone at the Pacific National Exhibition. (Photo: Courtesy of the PNE/Tourism Vancouver)

1910 - year of the first PNE

2,000 – times per day a PNE Prize Home ticket seller says, “Win a house, win a car!”

2,000 – calories in the Vortex Burger from Gourmet Burgers

860 - pounds of food consumed by the 45 Superdogs*

Full house at the Superdogs show at the PNE. (Photo: Courtesy of the PNE/Tourism Vancouver)

Full house at the Superdogs show at the PNE. (Photo: Courtesy of the PNE/Tourism Vancouver)

74 - years that local big-band leader Dal Richards has performed at the PNE

712,049 - visitors*

200,000 - people saw the Superdogs show*

250,000 - stuffed animal prizes won at the games*

22 - dumpster loads of dung taken away from the livestock barns*

The Hellevator and AtmosFEAR, two of the tallest rides at Playland. (Photo: Courtesy of the PNE/Tourism Vancouver)

The Hellevator and AtmosFEAR, two of the tallest rides at Playland. (Photo: Courtesy of the PNE/Tourism Vancouver)

3,750 - deep-fried Mars bars sold*

81 - age of the oldest person to ride the AtmosFEAR*

2,000,000 - Those Little Donuts sold*

 

*During 2013 Fair at the PNE

Tasty Tomes

By SHERI RADFORD

An appetizing trio of books will whet your appetite for dining adventures. Find all three at local bookstores
StreetEats_VancouverCATStreetEats Vancouver by Mijune Pak, edited by Suresh Doss ($16.95): In this comprehensive new book, Mijune Pak (aka Follow Me Foodie) dishes up all the details on the city’s burgeoning street-food scene, including local favourites Japadog and Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck.

StreetFoodJournal

The Street Food Journal: An A–Z by Sophia Augusta ($16.95): Foodies can keep track of all the street eats they sample, from the ordinary (Italian ice cream, American hot dogs) to the unusual (starfish on sticks in China, “red red” stew in Ghana), in this beautifully illustrated notebook and sketchpad.

Foodspotting-Field-GuideThe Foodspotting Field Guide edited by April V. Walters ($15.95): This guided journal from Foodspotting—an online community of eager foodies who share where to find specific dishes in cities around the world—includes photographs and details on 75 must-try dishes.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

By SHERI RADFORD

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have still got it.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers continue to rock the stage nearly 40 years after the group formed.

“The Waiting.” “You Got Lucky.” “Learning to Fly.” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers started making hit songs in the 1970s, and they haven’t slowed down a bit since then. See them live, along with opener Steve Winwood, Aug. 14 at Rogers Arena. And remember, “the waiting is the hardest part.”