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Where to Shop Vancouver

Happy Easter!

By SHERI RADFORD

Celebrate Easter with a carrot soap from Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

Celebrate Easter with a carrot soap from Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

April 20

Trying to keep the calorie count down this Easter? Skip the decadent chocolates and head to Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics for bunny bubble bars, made with shea butter and coconut oil, to fill bath time with candy-scented bubbles. Also pick up some carrot-shaped soap, with moisturizing carrot oil on the outside and softening cocoa butter on the inside. The best part: zero calories.

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

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.

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.

Converse: Creature Feature

By SHERI RADFORD

Cute kicks from Converse

Cute kicks from Converse

Most parents can admit that their usually well-behaved offspring are capable of acting like little animals at times. Now Converse wants to dress kids like animals, too—but in the cutest way possible. Their Chuck Taylor All Star Creature shoes give kids adorably ferocious feet. The low-top shoes have a Velcro flap, perfect for tiny fingers to manage, while the high-tops sport laces for more grown-up kids. We’re all in favour of outfitting kids in animal designs as charming as these, but we’ll skip the unappealing animal behaviour, please. Pick up these cute kicks, and loads of other whimsical things to clothe or entertain wee ones, at Dandelion Kids. For more fun finds for tots and tykes, visit Hip Baby, which specializes in organic, sustainable and non-toxic products; and Redfish Kids Clothing, which uses bold fabrics from around the world to create limited quantities of eye-catching outfits.

Float House: Get Ready for Nothing

By SHERI RADFORD

Relax in a sensory deprivation tank at Float House

Relax in a sensory deprivation tank at Float House

Imagine 90 minutes of utter relaxation in a sensory-deprivation tank: floating peacefully in warm, heavily salted water, with no sights, no sounds, no smells. That’s the only thing on the menu at Float House in Gastown, and it’s been proving immensely popular. The five tanks are in constant use, filled by folks wanting to relieve stress, lower blood pressure and recover from injuries. A float tank is also ideal for meditating, visualizing and fostering creativity. Who’d have guessed that 90 minutes of nothing could be so enriching?

Get Doodling with Canada Doodles

By SHERI RADFORD

Banish boredom and learn cool facts about Canada with Canada Doodles

Banish boredom and learn cool facts about Canada with Canada Doodles

“Design some rain boots and an umbrella to keep you dry from Vancouver’s rain.” “Draw a pod of orcas in an awkward family photo.” These are just a couple of the whimsical prompts found in Canada Doodles by Megan Radford (Gibbs Smith, $9.99), a new book that sneaks fun facts about Canada into all the ideas for budding artists. The Doodles series has already tackled cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Boston, but those places simply can’t compete with the quirkiness of Canada: “Banff National Park features wildlife overpasses above the highway. Draw a pack of moose driving convertibles across one.” Inspiration, indeed. At local bookstores.

Top Tomes for Travellers

By SHERI RADFORD

Before your next flight, stop by a bookstore.

After you knock Vancouver (#7) off the top 10 cities to visit, start planning the next must-see spot

After knocking Vancouver (#7) off the top 10 cities to visit, start planning the next must-see spot

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 ($16.99): This compendium awards Vancouver the #7 spot on the list of the world’s top 10 cities to visit in 2014, describing it as “nature’s eye-candy.” Also inside: the planet’s best honeymoon destinations, hidden foodie highlights, best luxury boot camps and more. (more…)

More Than Skin Deep

By SHERI RADFORD

Low on time? No problem. Visit Bare Essentials Skin Bar

Low on time? No problem. Visit Bare Essentials Skin Bar

Even when time is tight, healthy skin is important. That’s why Bare Essentials Skin Bar offers 30-minute customizable target treatments. The 12 enticing options include the Screwdriver, to banish blackheads; the Scotch on the Rocks, to purify and smooth skin; and the Mudslide, which provides a deep clean and controls oil. Located right downtown, the skincare boutique will have you in and out in half an hour. Healthy glow guaranteed.

Downtown’s Fresh Fashions

By SHERI RADFORD

A party dress for only $39? Yes, please. At Joe Fresh

A party dress for only $39? Yes, please. At Joe Fresh

Sticker shock? No thank you. The prices at Joe Fresh won’t break any budgets—think $39 for a party dress (pictured), $29 for velvet pants and $79 for a cashmere crew neck sweater. The popular Canadian brand recently opened its third standalone store in Vancouver, this time in the heart of Robson Street. For more fashionista finds without designer prices, visit H&M or the new Old Navy at the corner of Robson and Granville, and have your credit cards ready.

Maple Madness

By SHERI RADFORD

Coconut water has competition – maple water, by SEVA

Coconut water has competition – maple water, by SEVA

Move over, coconut water—there’s a new healthy drink on the scene, and this one is uniquely Canadian. From sugar maple trees in Quebec’s Laurentian Forest comes pure, thirst-quenching maple water, packed full of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and antioxidants. Sip it chilled as-is or mixed with sparkling water or, for a sweet twist of maple, use it in smoothies, cocktails, baked goods and brewed coffee. Find maple water by SEVA at Whole Foods and Urban Fare, and prepare to be refreshed.

Sweet Valentine Gifts

By SHERI RADFORD

Woo your valentine with an eye-catching watch by Swatch

Woo your valentine with an eye-catching watch by Swatch

February 14

Show your sweetheart some love with the new Sweet Valentine Swatch, a timepiece that’s equal parts adorable and eye-catching. Or keep it for yourself and use it to count down the minutes until you see your beloved again. At Swatch The Store. If your darling is the type who’d rather nibble on something sweet than wear it, make a stop at Rogers’ Chocolates or Purdy’s Chocolates to find a palate-pleasing present.