November 03, 2009 | 2010 Olympics >
Victoria, Festivals & Events
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On Friday October 30, 2009, I was in Victoria to watch the start of the Olympic Torch Relay. School children dressed in red and white
holding Canadian and Olympic flags created corridors to the stage and were greeted by the Olympic
mascots - Miga and Quatchy. Around me were all sorts of people: couples, families, business people, and international students all waiting with excitement. As the TV cameras scanned the crowd, people cheered if they saw themselves on the big screen that was set up next to the stage. The big screen also entertained us with videos from the Vanocouver 2010 website - "Meet the Vancouver 2010 Mascots" and the "Lights Will Guide You Home" video which always gets me teary-eyed.
Anyways, there was great excitement amongst the crowd as everyone watched the flame latern as it made
its way from the aboriginal boat in the harbour to the stage in front
of the Parliment Buildings. Welcome speeches were made and then it was time to light the Celebration Cauldron. The crowd held their breaths as Darlene Poole and John Furlong had a little bit of troubles lighting the cauldron - "oooe-ing" and "ahh-ing" in disappointment when the flame didn't take. Eventually the cauldron was lit and everyone cheered with excitement. Simon Whitfield and Catriona Le May Doan lit the first torch from the cauldron and then began the leg of the relay through the crowds.
October 09, 2008 | Tips from Us >
Vernon, Farms & Markets
Find more information about Vernon - Farms & Markets
In September, I returned to my hometown to visit with family. The fall season in the Okanagan brought back one particular memory... APPLES!!! Fall meant the peak season for apples and as a kid I remember going to a family friend's orchard to collect apples that had fallen from the trees to make apple juice. The amount of labour was intense to make the juice but the rewards were sweet and we had concentrated apple juice for the rest of the year!
We no longer make homemade apple juice but I felt the need to share my childhood memories with my nephew so we decided to go to Davison Orchard to see the "apple patches" (as my nephew describes them)!
The orchard was decorated to display the seasons harvest - great orange pumpkins, a variety of apples and squiggly shaped Goose Gourds. To get a full tour of the orchard we hopped on the tractor-pulled Apple train for a "rollicking" ride! While on the tour you had the option to get dropped off to pick your own apples off the trees. The final destination of the tour was in front of the petting farm. A donkey "hee hawed" us welcome as we walked into the farm area where we also saw some bunnies, chickens, sheep and even fed some hungry goats! Then back to the main market for some apple samples and to try their caramel apple dessert for lunch!
I think we'll be back there again as it was a memorable visit for my nephew, so good in fact that you'll see his reluctance to go home in the video when we said good bye.
February 23, 2007 | Tips from Travellers >
Harrison Hot Springs, Hot Springs
Find more information about Harrison Hot Springs - Hot Springs
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If you are tired of bumping into silly tourists while walking about on your next vacation, take a trip to a place during it's off season. I took a trip out to Harrison Hot Springs in January. Sure, the weather was rainy but the scenery was still breathtaking! Harrison Lake was so calm and peaceful. Great place to get away from the city after the holiday chaos. Don't forget your bathing suite and your flip-flops!
July 14, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Lillooet, Sightseeing Tours
Find more information about Lillooet - Sightseeing Tours
On June 25 and July 1-3 I had some friends of mine visit Mount Seymour, Joffre Lakes and Lilloet and here is what they thought:
May 15, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Squamish - Hiking
This past weekend brought beautiful weather to Vancouver, Coast and Mountains so to take advantage of it, a small group of us went to Stawamus Chief
(aka “The Chief”) for a hike just outside of Squamish. The Chief is a Provincial Park with picnic tables, grass area, full running washrooms, camping, a little info booth/gift shop where you can snack on ice cream bars and a nice little walk to view BC’s 3rd highest waterfall - Shannon Falls
The hike up the Chief is a little more intense than the walk to Shannon Falls. I found the trail level to be intermediate-difficult. I'm not a big hiker but I found it was a good work out and it's much more scenic than the Grouse Grind. The age range of hikers varied from 7 years old to 65+ and some pet dogs. I would ensure you wear proper footwear, take extra clothing, water and a little snack before you go up. Although we did see a fellow walking up the trail barefooted… he looked like the extreme/outdoorsy type and probably was ‘callousing’ up his feet for some other sport?! Perhaps training for a hot-coal walking contest or he could be just plain crazy.
Anyways, the trial had some man-made steps, ladders and chains to assist you on the steep inclines but majority of the trial was composed of rocks and mother-earth. There are 3 peaks you can hike; one path leading to peak 1 & 2 and another path leading to peak 3. You can also get to peak 3 via peak 2 (map
). We only climbed to the 1st peak where we soaked in the view of the Howe Sound and overlooked the town site of Squamish and the surrounding mountains. It was very breathtaking and serene minus the stark-white topless male teens who were trying to work on their tans (a sure sign that summer is on it’s way...)
We managed to fi
April 26, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Silver Star Mountain Resort, Skiing & Snowboarding
Find more information about Silver Star Mountain Resort - Skiing & Snowboarding
I made it to Vernon for my first and last run of the year on the Easter weekend and all I can say is... FANTASTIC!!! I arrived and stayed overnight in Vernon on Thursday night and headed for the hill on Friday morning. I left Vernon at 9:30am and I was strapped in my bindings at 10:30am. Ok, i'm not the die-hard-boarder making it there for first tracks... but why bother when we had the whole hill to ourselves?! We still found the runs where no one had been all day! Fresh tracks - CHECK! Perfect spring skiing conditions: weather and snow - CHECK! Exhausted by the end of the day - CHECK! Do it again the next day?! - CHECK! Yes, for a day pass of $53 the resort had a special deal that weekend: $53 for a 4 day pass! How could we resist? The second day was even better only because it had snowed overnight and left us fresh powder in the morning! For the rest of the day the weather was pretty good minus the interludes of fog but we had moments where it was snowing when the sun was shining and blue skies were over our heads! It was a pretty surreal moment if you have never experienced it before and NO... I don't smoke wacky grass... The higher elevation winds were moving the snow clouds so fast that the snow fell slower than the winds blew the clouds... Anyways, the backside of the hill was closed on Saturday but the hill still offered a lot of terrain. We managed to find a circuit route that gave us a lot of opportunities to explore off the main runs and into the trees... yah, it was pretty fantastic! For the 3rd & 4th day... I could see the mountain ranges from where I was staying and again, it looked like the snow had fallen overnight... Fresh snow! I wish I could say I went up again but regretfully I had to stay home and get rid of the jello feeling in my legs. Yes, I'm out of shape and yes, I've put myself to shame by blogging this, but I thought I needed to share this to those who are interested in finding a great place to ski or board for next year! Silver S
March 08, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Vancouver, Wineries & Vineyards
Find more information about Vancouver - Wineries & Vineyards
I attended and volunteered for the wine festival this past weekend and I just wanted to let you know this was a fantastic event if you enjoy wine or if you are looking for new wines to purchase to take to dinner parties! The evening tastings were held at the Vancouver Convention Centre at the Waterfront and the theme region this year was France. There were 60 wineries serving 240 wines from 7 different regions in France (including Champagne). Altogether the festival had 750 wines, 185 wineries and 15 countries participating this year. Besides noticing people getting friendlier as the night progressed, the evening consisted of wine tasting, food sampling and a dance performance by a group of gals (Can-Can style type dancing). My recommendations for next year, is to attend the tasting room on the first night (Thursday) as noted on the festivals website. It is less busy and you'll have a better chance of purchasing the hard-to-find wines in the Festival Wine Shop. When I went, the wines I wanted to purchase were all sold out. Oh! and be sure to have a bite to eat before hand! They do have samples of cheese, chocolate and other snacks but it won't fill your stomach. As for volunteering, this was my first year and I'll probably help again next year as it seemed to be a well organized event. It was run by a great group of people and lot's of volunteers who have been returning to help almost every year. I'm not sure how many times you have to volunteer in order to move from spit bucket removal to tearing tickets at the door. But whatever job I'm assigned to, I'll be there again next year!
February 24, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Richmond - Dining
This past Tuesday my friend dropped into town and decided to stay at the Fairmont YVR the other night, I had my hesitations to visit her because of the cost for parking. A good thing for her, she was one of my best friends so I didn't mind sacrifing parking fees. I rolled up to Gateway Valet & Concierge at the hotels entrance and asked the valet what my options were for parking in order to visit a guest at the hotel. He offered valet at $15/hour or go into the economy lot and park for $10 for the entire evening. Well, as the thrifty person I am, I went for options 2. All you need to do is bring your parking stub with you after parking your car and take it to the front desk and ask to pre-pay your ticket with them. You must get the room number of the guest staying at the hotel and the fee will be applied to the guest's room. Just make arrangements with your friend/family to pay him/her the $10 and voila, parking guaranteed, at least, til the next morning and as a bonus, you have in-and-out privilages! I didn't get the procedure on the in-and-out privilages but they take your license plate so there is something in place, just ask the cashier upon exiting. One concern I had was that, at night, the economy lot looked dark and far but when walking from the parking lot to the hotel, it wasn't as far as I thought. Just follow the pedistrian paths, the signs and as long as you walk in the lit areas, you'll feel safe. Another great thing about the economy parking lot is that the main lit area was wide, turfed and was covered for those rainy Vancouver days! Two notes on the hotel for visitors and travellers: 1) If you have down time before your international/US flight, go to the bar in the hotel for a drink where you can listen to the catchy music stylings of the bar's pianist and enjoy some complimentary spicy trail mix while sitting in comfy couches/chairs. 2) This hotel is also a great place to stay if you have a really early flight the next day and you have no one in