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Vancouver

Run for It

By SHERI RADFORD

It’s hard not to be a runner in a city with routes as spectacular as the seawall and Stanley Park. Whether you’re a newbie jogger or an Olympic-level sprinter, Vancouver has much to offer

The Vancouver Sun Run draws big crowds. (Photo: ©MajaPhoto/Istockphoto.com)

The Vancouver Sun Run draws big crowds. (Photo: ©MajaPhoto/Istockphoto.com)

RACE
Canada’s largest 10K road race, the Vancouver Sun Run (pictured; Apr. 27) attracts more than 48,000 walkers, joggers, runners and wheelchair athletes. The route showcases breathtaking views of Stanley Park, English Bay, False Creek and, off in the distance, snow-capped mountains. A longer race that also makes full use of the scenery is the BMO Vancouver Marathon (May 4), which Forbes magazine recently named one of the world’s top 10 marathons worth travelling for. Of particular note? An abundance of both on-course entertainment and spectacular shoreline views. Those not ready to go the full distance can choose a more manageable half marathon or 8K instead.

Lightweight clothing by local company Lululemon keeps its wearer cool and dry

Lightweight clothing by local company Lululemon keeps its wearer cool and dry

WEAR
Running on the wet West Coast requires adaptable clothes that dry quickly. Local company Lululemon (pictured) makes a range of lightweight wicking clothing with anti-stink panels; many pieces include reflectors, thumbholes and zip pockets. The GT technical sports collection from New Zealand’s Icebreaker includes ultra-lightweight styles made from fine merino wool, ideal for warm-weather exercise.

Runners on Vancouver's spectacular seawall. (Photo: Bob Young/Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Tourism)

Runners on Vancouver’s spectacular seawall. (Photo: Bob Young/Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Tourism)

RUN
Figuring out the best routes in a new city can be challenging. Both Lululemon and The Running Room offer free running sessions every week, so you can learn where to go and make new friends at the same time.

Afraid of coming undone? Try Lock Laces

Afraid of coming undone? Try Lock Laces

LOCK
Want to turn your favourite running shoes into slip-ons? Replace your shoelaces with a set of stretchy Lock Laces from Nathan, and you’ll never again have to deal with laces coming untied mid-race. At New Balance.

What Makes Olga Run by Bruce Gierson

What Makes Olga Run by Bruce Gierson

READ
Don’t dismiss Olga Kotelko as a little old lady. At 95, the spry Vancouverite still regularly competes in 11 track-and-field events, including sprinting, long jump, shot put and javelin—and she holds more than two dozen world records, despite not starting training until age 77. Fellow Vancouver resident Bruce Grierson became so fascinated with the retired schoolteacher that he wrote What Makes Olga Run? (Random House; $29.95). Following Kotelko to track meets and research facilities over several years, the book tries to unlock the secrets to living a long and healthy life. If Kotelko’s example inspires you to get active, pick up a copy of Ben Kaplan’s Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now: The Rogue’s Guide to Running the Marathon (Greystone Books; $19.95), which outlines a week-by-week program to go from couch potato to marathon competitor in one year. It also features heart-pumping exercise-music recommendations from 29 artists as varied as will.i.am, Marilyn Manson, Dolly Parton and yet another Vancouverite, Michael Bublé. At local bookstores.

UPCOMING RACES & RUNS
Apr. 27
Vancouver Sun Run
May 4 BMO Vancouver Marathon
Jun. 7 Whistler Half Marathon
Jun. 22 Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5K
Jul. 5 The Underwear Affair
Aug. 23 SeaWheeze Half Marathon
Sep. 14 Terry Fox Run
Oct. 5 CIBC Run for the Cure
Oct. 26 Rock ’n’ Roll Oasis Vancouver Half Marathon and Cunningham Seawall 10K
Nov. 16 New Balance Fall Classic

5 French Finds

By TIM PAWSEY

Steak tartare topped with an egg yolk, at Bistro Wagon Rouge. (Photo: KK Law)

Steak tartare topped with an egg yolk, at Bistro Wagon Rouge. (Photo: KK Law)

Bistro Wagon Rouge Beef cheeks Bourguignon, cassoulet and steak frites are just some of the top draws at this East Side diner, reinvented and rediscovered by locals.

Les Faux Bourgeois This bustling room brings new life to the unlikely backwater of Kingsway and Fraser. Go for the tarte flambée, choucroute, duck confit and more.

Salade de Fruits Cafe South Granville’s worst-kept secret is a tiny space in Le Centre Culturel that packs ’em in for frogs’ legs and coquille St. Jacques.

Provence Mediterranean Grill Polished West Side retreat not far from UBC welcomes with a sunny disposition and classic variations such as West Coast bouillabaisse, prawns provençale and more.

The French Table Long-time downtown chef Hervé Martin pulled up stakes for South Main and never looked back. Go for the croque monsieur, Burgundy fondue and friendly but polished service.

Sets and the City

By SHERI RADFORD

Rachel Nichols (Kiera) in action on the Continuum set

Rachel Nichols (Kiera) in action on the Continuum set

Vancouver excels at portraying other places: Seattle, New York, Chicago and more in movies ranging from Juno and Mission Impossible 4 to Superman: Man of Steel and most of The Twilight Saga series. But rarely can it throw off its fake American mailboxes and license plates, stop hiding its glorious mountains, and just be itself.

When Simon Barry and Pat Williams started developing their time-travel TV series Continuum, they expected someone would make them change the setting to “Unnamed North American City”—or, at the very least, Toronto. Barry says, “Pat and I worked as cameramen for years on movies that were trying to hide Vancouver. A lot of effort and energy went into that.” He adds, “We live here and we love the city.” As time passed and no one raised objections, eventually Barry began to write the city into the series mythology, noting that the plethora of fresh water and hi-tech companies here, coupled with the low population density, make it the ideal city of the future. Barry films the series in the colder, rainier months of the year, so the little free time he does get is in the summer. “Vancouver is probably the best place in the world to be in the spring and summer and fall,” he says. “Winter is not, unless you’re a skier, and then it’s fantastic.”

The Continuum actors have also grown to appreciate Vancouver. Rachel Nichols, an American, had never been here before landing the starring role of time-travelling law-enforcement agent Kiera, but she fell in love with both the location and the Vancouverite who is now her fiancé. “I’ve applied for permanent resident status,” she says. “I’m really setting up shop in Vancouver.” She praises almost all of the outdoor activities, from biking in Stanley Park to skiing in Whistler, with one notable exception: the Grouse Grind. “I did it once,” she says with a laugh. “I’m in shape. I enjoy working out. But that is an hour and 15 minutes of hell!” Other things she praises about Vancouver? Dining at Yaletown’s Blue Water Cafe, shopping at Holt Renfrew and watching the Vancouver Canucks play: “I’d never really watched hockey until I came to Canada, and I started watching Canucks games, and I thought, my god, this game is fantastic.” She’s even managed to turn her Boston Bruins–loving father into a Canucks fan.

Actors Victor Webster (Carlos) and Rachel Nichols (Kiera) filming Continuum in front of CBC Vancouver

Actors Victor Webster (Carlos) and Rachel Nichols (Kiera) filming Continuum ouside of CBC Vancouver

Fellow actor Erik Knudsen, who plays the reclusive computer genius Alec, hails from Toronto but is smitten with his new home: “Vancouver is a beautiful city. Great food. People are smart. Everyone is health-conscious,” he says. “Eventually I want to move to Vancouver. It’s my favourite city now.” He especially loves getting outdoors: hiking, fishing on Rice Lake, snowshoeing on Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour, and visiting Whistler. He also raves about the restaurants, especially Romer’s Burger Bar, Crave India and Earls.

Ryan Robbins, who plays the new and mysterious John Doe character, was born in nearby Victoria and has nothing but praise for Vancouver: “We don’t have to play the humility card anymore. We’re a kick-ass city. Why should we think that no one’s going to watch a show because it’s set in Vancouver?” After living all around the world, in places as far flung as New York, Los Angeles and Southeast Asia—and even travelling around Australia for a while, working as a circus performer—his heart still belongs to Vancouver, especially the foodie scene. His top spots include hole-in-the-wall sushi places such as Shizenya and java-aficionado favourites such as the Greenhorn Espresso Bar, with its Moja coffee and enticing nibbles that “take comfort food to a whole new level.” His loyalty to the city extends to its troubled hockey team: “Am I rooting for the Canucks? Hell, yes! I am a Canucks lifer. I will root for that team until the day I die, despite how bad they are.”

The city has clearly won the hearts of the show’s actors, and Continuum viewers in 133 countries seem to agree: Vancouver is ready for its time in the spotlight.

Season three of Continuum began airing last month. Visit www.showcase.ca/continuum for more info.

Amy Grant

By SHERI RADFORD

Christian pop artist, Amy Grant

Christian pop artist, Amy Grant

After more than 25 years in the biz, Amy Grant is practically synonymous with Christian pop music. In addition to her string of Grammy Awards and Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, she’s one of only two Christian artists with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. See this legendary artist perform live with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Apr. 14 at the Orpheum Theatre.

Ken Diamond: Leather is Better

By SHERI RADFORD

Moccasins, at Ken Diamond

Moccasins, at Ken Diamond

Leather work may be a dying art, but you wouldn’t know it from the gorgeous moccasins (pictured), belts, wallets and key chains handmade by Ken Diamond in his Vancouver studio. He uses only high-quality leather and classic designs to create his timeless pieces. Find them at The Block and Sharks and Hammers, or shop online.

Il Divo: Broadway’s Best

By SHERI RADFORD

This quartet is well-versed in making beautiful music

This international quartet is well-versed in making beautiful music together

“Some Enchanted Evening.” “Tonight.” “Memory.” “Can You Feel The Love Tonight.” Hear these hits from South Pacific, West Side Story, Cats, The Lion King—and more—as Il Divo brings A Musical Affair: The Greatest Songs of Broadway Live to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Apr. 10. Joining the international quartet on stage is Lea Salonga, the Tony Award–winning actress and singer. Making beautiful music together? Sounds like a winning combination to us.

Vancouver Canucks Fans Can Win a Trip to Los Cabos

By SHERI RADFORD

ME Cabo Hotel in Los Cabo San Lucas

Poolside, at ME Cabo resort  in Los Cabos

Though the Vancouver Canucks have been knocked out of playoff contention for the 2013-14 season, they’re still hard at work. With three games left in the regular season (Apr. 10, 12, 13), it’s not time for them to go on vacation just yet. Loyal fans, on the other hand, will definitely be dreaming of warm-weather holidays during the final game of the season, Apr. 13 at Rogers Arena, when Los Cabos Tourism gives away an all-expenses-paid trip that includes a three-night stay at ME Cabo resort in Cabo San Lucas.

Land's End in Los Cabos

Land’s End in Los Cabos

Want to escape the cold Canadian climate for the white sandy beaches of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula? Entering the contest is easy. On Sunday night, while the Vancouver Canucks take on their long-time rivals the Calgary Flames, simply tweet a photo of the game from inside Rogers Arena using #MyCanucksView and include both @VanCanucks and @LosCabosTourism. One Baja-bound winner will be announced at the end of the second intermission.

The sun setting on paradise, in Los Cabos

The sun setting on paradise, in Los Cabos

Fans can even get a taste of the Baja right here in rainy Vancouver. Before Sunday night’s game, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., popular food truck Tacofino will be handing out free Baja-style tacos to those heading into the north entrance of Rogers Arena.

Let the Baja daydreams begin.

Top Thai

By TIM PAWSEY

Chef Angus An. (Photo: KK Law)

Chef Angus An. (Photo: KK Law)

Hailed as the best Thai dining in town, Maenam uses locally sourced, organic ingredients, blended in traditional and contemporary styles. Chef Angus An, who cooked under David Thompson at London’s nahm (the first Michelin one-star Thai in the world), has a reputation for vibrant plates underpinned by seamless spicing and refreshing detail. Recent additions to house mainstays such as green papaya salad, crispy fried oysters and green curry halibut include the perfectly pan-fried, eight-spice, crispy ling cod. The wood-clad room is gently understated but dutifully focused on the bar, whose innovative cocktails also break the mould. Wines are thoughtfully chosen, sometimes featuring smaller, hard-to-find BC boutique producers, but always well matched—not an easy task with occasionally fiery dishes such as these.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Bean Around Town

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Discover Vancouver’s neighbourhoods with a cup of the city’s most celebrated beverage in hand

A lineup of pour-overs at the ready, at Revolver. (Photo: KK Law)

A lineup of pour-overs at the ready, at Revolver. (Photo: KK Law)

Gastown
The city’s oldest neighbourhood is a hotbed for fashionable boutiques and trendy watering holes—coffee houses included. Diminutive and wood-trimmed, Revolver is regularly crammed with connoisseurs. The menu rotates weekly, with beans chosen by blind taste test. At the forefront of the slow-coffee movement, the cafe’s brewed-to-order methods include pour-over, syphon, French press, AeroPress, Chemex and, of course, espresso.

ALSO VISIT Luke’s General Store for the quaint shop and celebrated Stumptown roast. Or wait for a carefully crafted pour-over at Timbertrain, where it’s all aboard the slow-coffee movement.

Downtown
Just like the heart of the city, much-loved JJ Bean is always lively, and diverse. Settle into the beautifully appointed location inside the art deco–style Marine Building, or people-watch from the sleek Yaletown location. The third-generation roaster and cafe takes its small-batch house-roasted coffee seriously—and Vancouverites swear by it.

ALSO VISIT Charming Finch’s Tea & Coffee House for fair-trade and organic coffee, and baguette sandwiches with a cult-like following.

A barista pulls an espresso at Milano. (Photo: KK Law)

A barista pulls an espresso at Milano. (Photo: KK Law)

West End
The vintage bikes and reclaimed wood in Greenhorn Espresso Bar capture the essence of the West End, nestled between downtown and Stanley Park, and encircled by the seawall. A retail shop, gallery and light-fare menu round out the coffee shop’s devotion to a great cuppa. Beans are sourced from North Vancouver’s Moja Coffee, which features fair-trade and organic beans, roasted on-site.

ALSO VISIT Milano for the complex and award-winning blended espressos.

Kitsilano
At 49th Parallel, easygoing cafe meets top-notch coffee in a neighbourhood known for its beach scene and West Coast vibe. The beans from this coffee roaster can be found in cups across the city—and North America. To round out the experience, bite into a made-from-scratch indulgence from Lucky’s Doughnuts.

ALSO VISIT Elysian, a neighbourhood favourite known for first-class coffee and house-made baked goods.

Main St. & Commercial Drive
Matchstick Coffee fits right into trendsetting East Vancouver, where cutting-edge meets quirky. This micro-roaster and cafe serves meticulously crafted pour-overs and espressos, and fresh bites prepared with local and organic ingredients.

ALSO VISIT Bump ‘n’ Grind for the rotating menu of coffee prepared with a Clover brewer. Art lines the walls at Kafka’s, but with four brewing methods available, the real art is in the cup.

Sea Up Close

By SHERI RADFORD

Get up close and personal at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Photo: Sheri Radford)

Get up close and personal at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Photo: Sheri Radford)

Budding biologists, this one’s for you: until Apr. 30 at the Vancouver Aquarium, visitors can experience the facility’s 50,000 aquatic creatures like never before. Vancouver Aquarium Up Close offers a host of unique adventures, including the chance to step into the role of a marine mammal trainer, go behind the scenes to the jellyfish area or the shark penthouse, and visit the Wet Lab, with its more than 6,000 invertebrates, including crabs, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. It’s kind of like school, but way more fun.

Film Noir, Live

By SHERI RADFORD

Helen Lawrence is film noir like you've never seen it before. (Photo: David Cooper)

Helen Lawrence is film noir like you’ve never seen it before. (Photo: David Cooper)

To April 13

Equal parts theatre, film and visual art, Helen Lawrence uses computer-generated sets as the backdrop for a hard-boiled film noir tale set in 1948 Vancouver. Bring your favourite femme fatale—or hardworking private detective—to this world premiere. At the Stanley.

One-of-a-Kind Skylines

By RACHAELA VAN BOREK

Sola Fiedler’s creations are 100 percent recycled, handmade and heartfelt

The tapestry showing Vancouver before the 2010 Winter Games is still a work in progress. (Photo: KK Law)

The tapestry showing Vancouver before the 2010 Winter Games is still a work in progress. (Photo: KK Law)

Vancouverite and 78-year-old knitter extraordinaire Sola Fiedler has spent the past 30 years creating huge tapestry cityscapes of several Olympic Games hosts. Every bridge, tree and building is pulled from Fiedler’s memory. (more…)