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Where to Go Vancouver

Spirited Sips

By TIM PAWSEY

Bring a friend or make new ones at the BC Distilled Festival

Bring a friend or make new ones at the BC Distilled Festival

The BC Distilled Festival (Apr. 8) is a testament to this town’s torrid love affair with craft distilleries, which continue to blossom across the province at a rate faster than anywhere else in Canada. At least 34 BC distilleries are on hand to sample everything from premium gin and vodka to BC’s first single malt artisanal whisky, at the Croatian Cultural Centre, a short walk from the Broadway SkyTrain. Not here on festival day? No worries, you can sample at several notable spots. They include Long Table Distillery, a tiny, intimate tasting room close to downtown; Liberty Distillery on Granville Island, offering tours plus tastings at a Prohibition-era wooden bar; Central City, a state-of-the-art distillery and brewery in Surrey; and Odd Society Spirits’ esoteric, well-crafted sips plus a cocktail lounge on the East Side in a reclaimed dockland warehouse.

A Song of Ice and Fire

By SHERI RADFORD

A concert as epic as its namesake.

A concert as epic as its namesake.

While you’re (still) waiting for the next book and TV season, immerse yourself in the GoT world at the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience (Apr. 1, 2017), complete with 3D designs that rise from the stage and an 80-piece orchestra conducted by the show’s composer, Ramin Djawadi. After all, winter is coming.

Dance Dance Fever

By SHERI RADFORD

San Francisco's Alonzo King LINES Ballet.

San Francisco’s Alonzo King LINES Ballet.

Newbies and aficionados alike always find much to love at the Vancouver International Dance Festival (Mar. 1 to 25). The 17th annual fest brings to local stages everything from ballet to butoh. Don’t miss Dairakudakan, Japan’s otherworldly ensemble; the visionary choreography of San Francisco’s Alonzo King LINES Ballet (pictured); and Post No Bills, a solo piece by Denmark’s Kitt Johnson that explores the transformative power of crisis.

Breaking Boundaries

By SPENCER VAN VLOTEN

Aaron Davidman in Wrestling Jerusalem

Aaron Davidman in Wrestling Jerusalem

The Chutzpah! Festival (to Mar. 13) is back for another year of culturally diverse, boundary-pushing music, dance, comedy and theatre. This year’s fest includes performances from Abraham.In.Motion, who deliver a mixed repertoire of Kyle Abraham’s socially conscious hip-hop, jazz and African dance fusions. On the theatre front, Aaron Davidman grapples with identity, justice and history in his solo show Wrestling Jerusalem (pictured). And for those after something on the lighter side, Mark Schiff, one of Jerry Seinfeld’s favourite funnymen, has all the laughs you need.

Happy Hour Heaven

By LUCAS AYKROYD

Cheers! Raise a glass to happy hour at Ancora. (Photo: Allison Kuhl)

Cheers! Raise a glass to happy hour at Ancora. (Photo: Allison Kuhl)

Ah, afternoons. You could take a nap, catch up on email—or party like the sky’s the limit at Vancouver’s thriving happy hours. Here are five of the best:

Ancora
M-F 3:30-5 pm
Fusing Peruvian and Japanese flavours with West Coast ingredients, airy Ancora also delights with its location, facing Granville Island across False Creek. Get comfy at the bar with an $8 barrel-aged cocktail (the Angel’s Share or the Diavolo in Manette) and fresh oysters, spicy albacore tuna rolls or sablefish croquettes with cilantro pumpkin sauce. (more…)

Making Spirits Bright in Vancouver

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Fireworks kick off the annual Lights of Hope display at St. Paul's Hospital. (Photo: Jill Von Sprecken)

Fireworks kick off the annual Lights of Hope display at St. Paul’s Hospital. (Photo: Jill Von Sprecken)

Around the city, festive light displays make Vancouver merry and bright. In downtown, the Lights of Hope dazzle with 100,000 twinkling bulbs, while the Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting brings a 15-m (50-ft) tree to Robson Square. Bright Nights in Stanley Park is a magical display of three million sparkling lights. Near Olympic Village, Enchant brings festive fun for the whole family with the world’s largest Christmas light maze. Farther flung but worth the trip, Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge raises hundreds of thousands of lights to spectacular new heights.

Oktoberfest-Themed Fun at Harvest Haus

By SHERI RADFORD

Harvest Haus. (Photo: Jonathan Evans, jonnypicture.com)

Harvest Haus. (Photo: Jonathan Evans, jonnypicture.com)

Raise a bierstein to Harvest Haus (Sep. 29 to Oct. 9, 2016), which returns to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza this fall for its third annual Oktoberfest-inspired party. The full German experience includes beer, bratwurst and brass oompah bands—plus pretzels, spaetzle, lederhosen, lip-syncing competitions and more. The best part? No passport required.

A Stand-Up Guy: Colin Mochrie

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Comedian Colin Mochrie

Comedian Colin Mochrie

Off-the-cuff comedian Colin Mochrie returns to his improv roots with back-to-back shows alongside the Vancouver TheatreSports League, the ensemble that first helped him flex his funny bone over 35 years ago. From there, the VTSL veteran went on to find fame on Whose Line Is It Anyway? with fellow Vancouver-raised comic Ryan Stiles. On Sep. 23 and 24, 2016, get ready to chuckle, chortle and guffaw as the ad-lib artist takes to the stage at The Improv Centre and the Vogue Theatre. Consider your funny bone tickled.

Drake’s Hip Hop Comes to Vancouver

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Canadian rapper Drake

Canadian rapper Drake

What hasn’t Drake done? The Degrassi star-turned-rapper and unofficial ambassador of The 6ix—his nickname for his hometown of Toronto—is only the fourth performer in history to rack up 100 entries on the Billboard Hot 100. His multi-platinum single “Hotline Bling,” and the video’s so-bad-they’re-good dance moves, topped the charts and inspired countless memes and parodies along the way. He’s also shared a kiss with Madonna onstage and coached Canada to victory in the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game. What will he do next? Find out when his Summer Sixteen tour arrives at Rogers Arena, Sep. 17 and 18, 2016.

The Must List: September

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Take in spectacular views of the city on a flightseeing tour. (Photo: KK Law)

Take in spectacular views of the city on a flightseeing tour. (Photo: KK Law)

Give two thumbs up to top-notch performances at the Vancouver Fringe Festival (Sep. 8 to 18, 2016) and the Vancouver International Film Festival (Sep. 29 to Oct. 14, 2016).

Fill your camera with photos of landmarks such as the Gastown Steam Clock, Olympic Cauldron, Inukshuk, Digital Orca, Canada Place and A-maze-ing Laughter.

Eat sushi. (more…)

Fun on the Water

From jet skiing to kayaking to fishing, Vancouver is a water sports paradise

By LUCAS AYKROYD

Jet skiing fun on the calm waters near downtown with Vancouver Water Adventures. (Photo: KK Law)

Jet skiing fun on the calm waters near downtown with Vancouver Water Adventures. (Photo: KK Law)

Long known as the Gateway to the Pacific, Vancouver is the place to play this summer for those eager to hit the water. And the ocean is just the beginning.

Burgeoning with salmon and sturgeon, the Fraser River, British Columbia’s longest river (at 1,375 km/855 mi), flows into the Strait of Georgia south of Vancouver. Other nearby rivers, creeks and lakes offer recreational opportunities for the whole family, from whooping it up at the famous Cultus Lake Waterpark waterslides to gazing awestruck at turquoise, glacier-fed Garibaldi Lake during a hike.

Ready to make a splash? Multiple options are readily available here.

(more…)

25 Things We Love About Summertime in Vancouver

As the temperature rises, so does our passion for this sun-kissed city

By SHERI RADFORD

A stroll through downtown’s magnificent Stanley Park. (Photo: KK Law)

A stroll through downtown’s magnificent Stanley Park. (Photo: KK Law)

1. Long evenings that end in glorious sunsets.

2. Kayaking, canoeing, dragon boating, stand-up paddle boarding and any other water-based activity.

3. Spending a leisurely morning at a farmers’ market.

4. The abundance of outdoor festivals.

5. Seeing orcas in the wild on a whale-watching adventure. (more…)