December 14, 2005 | Tips from Us >
Whistler, Festivals & Events
From December 17th to the 30th, Whistler’s
community centre for arts, culture and inspiration -Maurice Young Millennium Place- will be completely transformed into a winter wonderland for the inaugural North Pole Central festival
. This family-oriented festival is sure to get you into the Christmas spirit.
At noon on December 17th, the festival kicks off
with Santa arriving in Whistler on the Fire Rescue Service’s No.1 fire engine. Live music, street performers, children’s activities and hot chocolate will round off the day’s festivities.
Over the following two weeks visitors can get involved in a variety of fun events. There will be daytime activities on Whistler Blackcomb, indoor craft workshops, seasonal sing-alongs, holiday films, and headline music and comedy shows.
Kids will want to visit Santa’s workshop to deliver their letters and get their photo taken with the big guy himself. Be sure to stop by the festive holiday beverage bar to satisfy your hot chocolate and eggnog cravings.
Maurice Young Millennium Place is located on Blackcomb Way near Village North.
December 14, 2005 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Vancouver - Shopping
It's not hard to tell that most British Columbians love to get outdoors
. One of the worst-kept secrets for outdoor adventurers in BC is a store called Mountain Equipment Co-op
(also known as MEC). Founded in Vancouver, this large store stocks outdoor technical clothes, backpacks, bike parts, backcountry ski equipment, kayaks and paddles, and much more. The prices are the lowest you'll find anywhere for the same standard of quality. Case in point: a friend who lives in New Zealand and travels regularly to see his sister in the UK, always makes sure his flight has a stopover in Vancouver to stock up at MEC. The store sees a steady stream of out-of-towners checking out the gear, and the logo is almost as common a symbol as the maple leaf, identifying Canadian travellers when they head out on excursions. (When I was hiking in Spain, a fellow traveller noticed I was Canadian when she spotted my MEC socks!) The store requires all shoppers to purchase a $5 membership, and the co-op structure means MEC's pricing is fair and mark-ups are minimal. You'll find two MEC outlets in Vancouver
, one on Broadway and one in North Vancouver.
December 12, 2005 | Tips from Us >
Nelson, Skiing & Snowboarding
Find more information about Nelson - Skiing & Snowboarding
December is the skier's secret month. While most people bustle about with their Christmas shopping, attend office parties and other social functions, real snow enthusiasts are making time to hit the slopes too. December means great snow, and in the weeks before school holidays begin, deals abound – free lift tickets, discounted lodging, and even massive savings on snow cat and heli-skiing adventures. Give yourself an early-season Christmas present – beat the crowds, and take advantage of some great winter deals. Kicking Horse Saves the Snow For Christmas
Not all resorts in BC rush to open for US Thanksgiving. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
near Golden has scheduled their opening for December 16. With over a hundred and fifty centimetres blanketing the upper parts of the mountain, opening Day is shaping up to be an epic. There's a variety of new accommodations too, located right at the base of the Golden Eagle Express gondola, ranging from $85 - $147 CDN per person/per night for accommodation and a lift ticket – not just in early season, but through to January and February as well. Whistler Classic Raises Money for a Good Cause
It's not too early to get a team together for the 14th annual TELUS Winter Classic, January 27 – 28, 2006 at Whislter
. This two-day package is is not only the ultimate Whistler Getaway, all of the money raised goes to charity! The $1700 (per team) price includes all-day lift tickets, skiing with one of Whistler-Blackcomb's internationally-renowned ski pros, and lift-line priority to eliminate the wait; not to mention a host of special events too. Since 1993, the event has raised over $3.5 million for a variety of charities, including local Search and Rescue teams, schools, food banks, and programs which focus on c
December 11, 2005 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Burnaby - Museums
I grew up in Burnaby
and walked by the Burnaby Village Museum
everyday on my way to school. This weekend, it was time to take my kids to the 1920's heritage town. We were planning on visiting Father Christmas, but after wandering in and out of the 30 heritage buildings, watching the town's blacksmith demonstrate how to forge, and cheering on the jovial baker as he made animal candies out of marzipan, we had little time left for anything else - except the carousel! We wandered past the roving Christmas carollers and the replica church (which my dad helped build by the way), paid our $1.50 and walked into the carousel house. Yee-haw! Hold on tight - here we go! The hand-carved 1912 carousel actually did go around pretty fast and my little horse with it's corn-cob saddle swiftly bobbed up and down in time to Jingle Bells. After a quick visit to the candy shop for our Root Beer Float, Sour Apple and Bubblegum candy sticks, it was time to go back to 2005. The Heritage Christmas event is open until January 1, but the village and carousel are open all year round.
December 08, 2005 | Tips from Us >
Vernon, Cross-Country Skiing
Find more information about Vernon - Cross-Country Skiing
This weekend Vernon is going to be a happening place! The Viessmann FIS World Cup 2005
is being held at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre
, approximately a 20 minute drive from Vernon. This is an exciting event as it is the last chance for the 160 cross-country ski athletes to compete for a spot in Torino at the 2006 Winter Olympics in February.
Vernon has really jumped onboard. It seems like the entire community is getting involved with several events going on in addition to the races. The races take place on Saturday, Dec 10th and Sunday, Dec 11th and the Vernon Museum
is housing a small exhibit on cross-country skiing, the Okanagan Science Centre
is offering an interpretive program called “World Cup Slippery Slopes” and Festival on the Hill is a full day of festivities including North Okanagan performers to keep spectators entertained.
By the way, did you know that Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre
is known as one of the premier cross-country ski areas in North America? They are next to Silver Star Ski Resort so between the two facilities, they have over 100km (60 miles) of ski trails.
December 02, 2005 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Victoria - Attractions
I'm really looking forward to this weekend. Not only has Victoria experienced our first snow fall of the season (and possibly only), the beginning of December marks the start of Christmas seasonal celebrations at Butchart Gardens
. I want to get out to Butchart early this year (we try and go every year as a family tradition) and view the wonderful display of lights enhanced with a snow frosting. I'm especially looking forward to trying out Butchart's newest addition, an outdoor skating rink! Carollers, twinkling lights, skating, hot chocolate, poinsettias and the search for the twelve days of Christmas! I'm definitely going to be in the Christmas spirit after this weekend!
December 01, 2005 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Victoria - Museums
It is finally here! The long awaited showing of Linda McCartney’s exhibit, “Sixties, Portrait of an Era” opened today at the Royal British Columbia Museum
. The 51-photograph exhibit of 1960s musical icons includes Jimmy Hendrix, The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, etc… I can’t think of a better way to escape some of the Christmas shopping mayhem and slip back in time to the days I remember so well. Since seeing the exhibit this morning, I find myself humming my old favourite tunes.
The exhibit runs from now until January 31, 2006.
November 28, 2005 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Duncan - Dining
About 30 minutes drive from Victoria
is the Cowichan Valley
, a region which is becoming known as a mecca of food and wine production. As my in-laws live in Cobble Hill, my husband and I often spend time in the area. We've spent many weekends bombing around the backroads, searching out unique nooks and crannies. Over the years, we've developed our list of "must-stops" for every visit. On the top of the list is Merridale Cider
, which is the only estate producer of sparkling hard apple cider in the province. Their not-too-sweet ciders are worth seeking out, and we usually buy a supply to take home with us. They recently opened a bistro on premises, which is a fantastic place for lunch. There's nothing I like better than their "ploughman's lunch" of cheeses and bread, accompanied by a chilled glass of cider, while overlooking the orchard. There's a number of wonderful, small wineries in the area too. My mother-in-law favors Glenterra's "Brio" as her house white, and it's a perfect summer sipper. Nearby Venturi Schulze
winery produces wines that are a real treat, and we always ensure we have a ready stock of their "Millefiori" on hand. Winter might be approaching but the Cowichan is has the mild temperatures of Southern Vancouver Island that rarely drops below freezing. I'm looking forward to a couple days in the Cowichan soon.
November 25, 2005 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Vancouver - Shopping
When I visit a new city, I love to discover items I'll never find at home. Here's a few of my favourite local clothing shops in Vancouver that'll have your friends asking "Where'd you get that?" when you get home: Dream in Gastown boasts that 98% of the store is stocked with local designers. The funky boutique has clothes, handbags, jewelery and other accessories. This is truly a favourite of mine, especially for the Funk Shui
felted wool hats and scarfs, and Angelfish
necklaces and earrings. South Main Street - dubbed "SoMa" by some, has a growing collection of fantastic independent stores. Narcissist Designs
is hands down my favourite for simple - yet unique - dresses. just a few doors away is the Barefoot Contessa
, where 'pretty' is given an edgy side. And Eugene Choo
is so darn cool it hurts. For shoe afficianados, Gravity Pope
on 4th Avenue is like coming home. Shoes that only existed in your wildest dreams live here. My most recent purchase is a colourful pair of rubber boots, perfect for the west-coast weather - they make a rainy day very fun. If you need some help navigating the choices, there'a tour company that'll take you to the best finds. Shopabout Tours
has a range of half-day excursions to different neighbourhood to check out the merchants.
November 25, 2005 | Tips from Us >
Kelowna, Arts, Culture & History Tours
Wow - it just doesn't get much better than this. Last week I was so excited about the return of Discover the District with Dickens - the outdoor adaptation of Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol". Now I find out that I can purchase the Kelowna ArtsCard
and receive great discounts on all kinds of performances for the next year! For only $20.00, the ArtsCard saves me up to 20% when I buy my tickets for Suessical the Musical or A Cowboy Christmas and you already know how excited I am to see Dickens again this year! The card is valid for an entire year so who knows what great events I'll be able to see during the next twelve months! As well, I can purchase the card at a variety of venues including London Drugs or even right downtown Kelowna at the Rotary Centre for the Arts
or the Visitor Info Centre
. You know moving to Kelowna almost three years ago, my husband and I were a little concerned we were leaving behind the bright lights of Vancouver for the fields of "small townville". However, I have to say we have been pleasantly surprised how urban Kelowna truly is and impressed by the availability of great events and performances. (And there is nothing like getting tickets for these great events at a discount!) If you're coming to town over the next year and would like to take in some entertainment - be sure to consider the Kelowna ArtsCard. It's definitely a great deal.