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What to See Vancouver

Save the City With Vancouver Mysteries

By SHERI RADFORD

Save (and see) the city with Vancouver Mysteries

Save (and see) the city with Vancouver Mysteries

Do you have what it takes to be a super spy? Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save Vancouver. Your adventure starts from a top-secret downtown location, then your team has just two hours to break codes and find hidden clues, in order to stop a criminal mastermind from detonating a bomb. Along the way, you learn about local history and landmarks—and walk a couple of kilometres. Vancouver Mysteries may be all fun and games, but if you set a new speed record for solving this spy puzzle, the bragging rights are real.

Bill Reid Gallery: Bold and Beautiful

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Hamatsa mask, at Bill Reid Gallery. (Photo: Jill Von Sprecken)

Hamatsa mask, at Bill Reid Gallery. (Photo: Jill Von Sprecken)

Come face-to-face with an astonishing cast of characters at The Box of Treasures: Gifts From the Supernatural. The masks and regalia on display are made by master carvers, including Kwakwaka’wakw artist and chief Beau Dick. The eye-catching creations have a short lifespan—they’re worn in dances four times, then burned to send them back to the spirit world. Meet these masterpieces at Bill Reid Gallery, to Sep. 27.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival

By SHERI RADFORD

Gorgeous views from the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. (Photo:  Joe Perez)

Gorgeous views from the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. (Photo: Joe Perez)

Said the Whale. Hawksley Workman. Blind Pilot. Adam Cohen. Phosphorescent. Taj Mahal. That’s just a small sample of the bands scheduled to perform at the 38th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival (Jul. 17 to 19). Every year, this seaside fest takes over Jericho Beach Park for three days of fun in the sun, attracting 40,000 folks who want to shop at the artisan market, eat mouth-watering food from around the world and, most of all, hear great music.

Pemberton Music Festival

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The Black Keys

The Black Keys

From Jul. 16 to 19, the mountains of Pemberton are alive with the sound of music. Simply swap out Julie Andrews’ warbling notes with lively hip-hop from Kendrick Lamar and Missy Elliott, blues-infused rock from The Black Keys and cheeky alt-rock from Weezer. With the scenic Mt. Currie as backdrop, the four-day Pemberton Music Festival features five stages with over 80 acts that range from crooners to comedians. It’s an event worth adding to your list of favourite things.

Whistler Sliding Centre’s Rolling Thunder

By SHERI RADFORD

Rolling Thunder, the newest attraction at Whistler Sliding Centre

Rolling Thunder, the newest attraction at Whistler Sliding Centre

Do you feel the need for speed? At the Whistler Sliding Centre, which was built for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, you can pretend you’re part of Team Canada on the newest attraction, Rolling Thunder. Hop in a bobsleigh on wheels and hurtle down the world’s fastest track, which reaches speeds of up to 90 km/h (56 mi/h). Time sure flies when you’re moving that fast, but the memories last a lifetime. Open to Sep. 6.

O2X: Rise Higher

By SHERI RADFORD

Participants test their limits in the O2X race

Participants test their limits in the O2X race

In an adventure race on a mountain, it’s impossible to improve upon Mother Nature’s challenges. What O2X (Jul. 11) does is craft a course that starts at the base and goes all the way to the peak, using only natural obstacles: riverbeds, ravines, rockfaces and, of course, elevation gain. The race has already been a success in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and New York, and now it’s coming to Grouse Mountain, attracting everyone from occasional exercisers to hardcore CrossFitters—anyone who wants to push themselves out of their comfort zone. The race ends the way all good events should: on a mountaintop, with live music, local food and copious amounts of beer.

Sea to Sky Gondola: Peak Adventures

By SHERI RADFORD

Cool views from the Sea to Sky Gondola. (Photo: Paul Bride)

Cool views from the Sea to Sky Gondola. (Photo: Paul Bride)

Squamish is known as the outdoor-recreation capital of Canada, so it didn’t take long for locals to fall in love with the Sea to Sky Gondola, which opened last summer. Hikers and trail runners adore having a gondola whisk them up to the summit, 885 m (2,900 ft) above sea level, where pristine trails stretch out in every direction. Yogis follow their bliss to the outdoor yoga classes held at Summit Lodge several times each week. Even Fido and Spot are welcome: dog owners trek for several hours along the Sea to Summit Trail from sea level up to the top, then take the 10-minute gondola ride down (only the ride down is canine-friendly). The newest addition to the area is Via Ferrata, which uses metal rungs and cables to create a vertical adventure for climbers. (more…)

50 Things We Love About Kitsilano

By SHERI RADFORD

Kids can't resist the allure of Kids Beach. (Photo: KK Law)

Kids can’t resist the allure of Kids Beach. (Photo: KK Law)

1. The elegant, art deco–style Burrard Bridge, which marks the eastern boundary of the Kitsilano area. The region is also bounded by the ocean on the north, Alma Street on the west, and 16th Avenue on the south. (more…)

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.

Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show

By SHERI RADFORD

An interactive installation at MOV's The Happy Show

An interactive installation at MOV’s The Happy Show

On the surface, Stefan Sagmeister seems like a genuinely happy person, with his quick smile, ready laugh and easy-going charm. In reality, the award-winning designer has struggled with depression, weight gain, alcohol and drugs. He says he developed Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show in order “to create something meaningful.” It uses bold design and entertaining information—plus gumball machines, a giant inflatable monkey and quotes tucked away in the downstairs bathrooms—to delve deeply into the universal human desire for happiness. Visitors’ reactions have been unequivocally positive. Sagmeister recounts one with particular delight: “I got a letter from a 13-year-old boy who kissed his first girl—a girl he’d had a crush on for two years—because the show somehow gave him the power to go up to her.” The show has also inspired “many many many marriage proposals.” Catch the wave of happiness to Sep. 7 at the Museum of Vancouver.

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.