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Where to Go Vancouver

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!

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

Commercial Drive

By KRISTEN MORAN

Nestled in the heart of East Vancouver, Commercial Drive boasts nearly 350 shops and restaurants along a 22-block strip, but we focussed on a few blocks in the centre of the action

Banners featuring the colours of the Italian flag line Commercial Drive. (Photo: Kristen Moran)

Banners that feature the colours of the Italian flag line Commercial Drive. (Photo: Kristen Moran)

The delightful scents rolling out of Escents draw you in to get a better whiff. The West Vancouver company has gained international status, especially after its stress relief line was featured on The Dr. Oz Show. Find a hidden treasure at Mintage. This large vintage shop boasts a wide variety of hand-selected pieces to suit even the most fashion-forward individuals. (more…)

Best of the Fests

By SHERI RADFORD

Thousands gather to enjoy top musical acts at the Squamish Valley Music Festival

Thousands gather to enjoy top musical acts at the Squamish Valley Music Festival

Spectacular scenery, world-class camping and a musical line-up of more than 70 performers, including Eminem, Bruno Mars and Canada’s own Arcade Fire. Think it’s too good to be true? Think again. The Squamish Valley Music Festival (Aug. 8 to 10) always attracts an astounding list of both international and local talent, and this year is shaping up to be bigger than ever, with Arctic Monkeys, Tokyo Police Club, Foster the People and more.

Vancouver Pride: Rainbow Power

By KRISTEN MORAN

Crowds enjoying the Vancouver Pride festivities. (Photo: Michael Song/Tourism Vancouver)

Crowds of people enjoying the Vancouver Pride festivities. (Photo: Michael Song/Tourism Vancouver)

Come join the fun along with half a million other partygoers at the annual Vancouver Pride Parade (Aug. 3). What began as a peaceful protest march for gay rights 36 years ago has transformed into quite the spectacle, with colourful floats and hundreds of parade enthusiasts twirling and dancing their way through downtown dressed in brightly coloured, over-the-top costumes. Starting at Robson Street and Thurlow, participants frolic through the downtown core and along the waterfront strip of Pacific Street and Beach Avenue before ending at Sunset Beach, where a festival and market are held. The celebration includes over 100 booths and food vendors, a beer garden, a family zone with kid-friendly activities and live music. Grab your rainbow flag and party on!

Happy BC Day!

By SHERI RADFORD

Fireworks light up English Bay at the Honda Celebration of Lights (Photo: Coast Mountain Photography/Tourism Vancouver)

Fireworks light up English Bay at the Honda Celebration of Lights. (Photo: Coast Mountain Photography/Tourism Vancouver)

August 2 to 4

As the temperature rises, we present our top 10 ways to celebrate the BC Day long weekend.

1. Oohing and aahing as the Honda Celebration of Light (Aug. 2) fireworks illuminate city skies.

2. Practising our savasana and downward-facing dog with world-renowned yogis—and listening to Hannah, Matthew Schoening and The Soul Rebels—at the Wanderlust Festival (to Aug. 4) in nearby Whistler.

3. Making a splash at local beaches, pools and water parks.

4. Watching live theatre outside at the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival (to Sep. 20) and Theatre Under the Stars (to Aug. 23).

Folks enjoy the variety of food truck fare at the Food Cart Fest. (Photo: KK Law)

Find a variety of bites at the Food Cart Fest. (Photo: KK Law)

5. Pleasing our palates at the Food Cart Fest, every Sunday.

6. Celebrating gay pride at the Vancouver Pride Parade (Aug. 3) and Queer Arts Festival (to Aug. 9).

7. Enjoying food, family activities, music, visual arts and more at the Powell Street Festival (Aug. 1 to 3) and Harmony Arts Festival (Aug. 1 to 10).

8. Taking in the Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery (to Sep. 1).

9. Screaming with delight/terror on all the rides at Playland (to Sep. 21).

10. Picking up local produce and handmade crafts at farmers’ markets around the city.

Cheers to Summer Beers!

By KRISTEN MORAN

Vancouver’s craft beer scene has grown at an impressive rate, with microbreweries popping up all over Metro Vancouver and with them a slew of on-site tasting rooms. Drink it by the glass or pick up a growler (a large, refillable glass bottle) to take home

Order your brew in a jar, glass or sampler, at 33 Acres Brewing Co. (Photo: Joshua Michnik)

Order your brew in a jar, glass or sampler, at 33 Acres Brewing Co. (Photo: Joshua Michnik)

R&B Brewing 

This East Van brewery has been creating handcrafted lagers and ales since 1997, and its award-winning concoctions never fail to impress. The growler station is open Friday through Sunday, with five taps that rotate regularly with brews like Sun God Wheat Ale and Red Devil Pale Ale. Seasonal favourite Birra Fresca Cucumber Mint IPA rolls out this month, and Nettle Mint Ginger has just arrived.

Green Leaf Brewing Co.

This new brewery is nestled in the heart of Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, making it the perfect spot to quench your thirst while shopping around the waterfront market on a hot summer day. Constantly rolling out new creations, Green Leaf usually has four brews on tap including an IPA, a hefeweizen, a Berliner weizen and the year-round brew Pie Hole Pale Ale. Taster flights, glasses and growlers are all available to buy in the tasting room.

Parallel 49 Brewing Co. 

Known for its artistic labels and uniquely named brews, Parallel 49 has become one of the top breweries in Vancouver. Try a glass of the Hoparazzi India Pale Ale or seasonal brews like Seedspitter, Banana Hammock Summer Hefeweizen and the new Tricycle Grapefruit Rattler, or try several in flight samplers of four. Fill up your growler or purchase select six-packs on site.

33 Acres Brewing Co.

Not even a year old yet and this hip little brewery is pouring beer in 26 restaurants around Vancouver and is selling its brews in numerous liquor stores. The tasting room at 33 Acres allows beer enthusiasts to sample creations, such as summer brew 33 Acres of Sunshine, in a glass, 709-ml (24-oz) jar or 1.89-L (64-oz) growler. Set up a group tour and get an exclusive look at brewing while enjoying snacks and sampling the sudsy sensations.

Day at the Races: Deighton Cup

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Spectators donning floppy hats look on as horse races take place.

Spectators donning floppy hats look on as horse races take place.

Fancy frocks, dapper duds and mint juleps can mean only one thing: we’re off to the races. The Kentucky Derby–style Deighton Cup (Jul. 26) promises a day of high-stakes horse racing, fashion and cocktails. Dandies kick it off with The Big Smoke, for cigars, scotch and whisky tastings, while tipplers join the revelry at The Julep for the Mint Julep Craft Cocktail Competition. The rest don cufflinks and fascinators for a chance to win “Best Dressed,” take in the luxury car collection, and enjoy the action on the racecourse. Champing at the bit? We are, too.

50 Things We Love About Granville Island

By SHERI RADFORD and JILL VON SPRECKEN

Want to explore False Creek on your way to Granville Island? Take the Aquabus mini ferry. (Photo by Dominic Schaefer)

Want to explore False Creek on your way to Granville Island? Take the Aquabus mini ferry. (Photo by Dominic Schaefer)

1. Commuting via Aquabus or False Creek Ferries.

2. SeaVillage, a charming collection of floating homes.

3. Browsing for fresh produce, bread and seafood in the Granville Island Public Market.

4. Spotting orcas with Wild Whales Vancouver.

5. Ocean Concrete, the oldest and largest tenant on the island. It’s been there since 1917.

6. Edible Canada at the Market, with its fresh regional fare on the menu, plus foodie tours and a gourmet artisan retail shop.

7. Watching buskers perform: musicians, jugglers, magicians and more.

8. Hand-pressed, hand-bottled sake from Artisan SakeMaker.

9. Splashing around in the Granville Island Waterpark.

10. Watching artisans hard at work in their studios.

(more…)

The Liberty Distillery: From Grain to Glass

By TIM PAWSEY

Handmade cocktails from The Liberty Distillery. (Photo: KK Law)

Handmade cocktails from The Liberty Distillery. (Photo: KK Law)

Vancouver is in the midst of its biggest spirits resurgence since BC’s prohibition ended in 1921, with craft distilleries popping up all over. Granville Island’s The Liberty Distillery makes premium spirits only from BC-grown and organic grains. Drop by for regular tours and tastes, with an educational theme, of gin, vodka and a white (unaged) whisky, all sampled at their suitably well-worn 110-year-old Saloon Bar, which was salvaged from an old hotel.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

5 Waterside Bites

By TIM PAWSEY

Watch floatplanes take off and land at the Flying Beaver Bar & Grill (Photo: KK Law)

Watch floatplanes take off and land at the Flying Beaver Bar & Grill. (Photo: KK Law)

Myriad haunts around town offer a chance for spectacular waterfront dining, each with a twist.

1. Flying Beaver Bar & Grill Close to Airport South, locals, travellers and off-duty pilots rub shoulders at this tasty, pubby spot that doubles as a floatplane terminus.

2. Bridges The grand dame of Granville Island patios delivers a close-up of busy False Creek, with West Coast tastes such as grilled wild sockeye salmon and steamed local mussels.

3. Wild Rice  Overlooking heritage vessels moored on the working Fraser River at New Westminster’s River Market, this contemporary bistro serves updated takes on classic Chinese dishes.

4. The Beach House Cross the Lions Gate Bridge and head west along Marine Drive to take in a dazzling sunset dinner at this West Van landmark.

5. Lift Bar-Grill-View A stylish rooftop deck, complete with fire pit, yields breathtaking harbour and mountain views and creative, locally inspired plates to match.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Tough Mudder

By SHERI RADFORD

Participants take their first leap at the start of the race (Photo: Touch Mudder)

Participants take their first leap at the start of the race (Photo: Touch Mudder)

It stretches over 16 km (10 mi) of rough terrain. It contains challenges that our ancestors tried hard to avoid: fire, electricity, water and heights. And it’s probably the only competition in the world with both an official pain reliever and an official beef jerky. (Advil and Oberto, respectively, in case you were wondering.) (more…)