5 Iconic Vancouver Murals

January 26th, 2015 @ 11:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

When I land at YVR, step out the automatic doors from the arrivals area and sniff the cedar-coated Sea Island air, I know I’m home. I hop in a cab at the airport cruise up Granville from one end to the other, and just over the crest of the Granville Street Bridge I get a glimpse of the snow-capped mountains between the neon of the entertainment district. As I pass the Orca mural by Wyland at the north end of the bridge, I not only feel like I’m home, I have one of those “I’m lucky to live here” moments.

2010
Photo credit: Daniel Lobo on Flickr

The Orca mural came down this month after being a symbol of homecomings for me, and an iconic and unofficial “Welcome to Downtown” monument for many more, since 1994.

down comes the whaling wall
Photo credit: Shannon Leigh Photography on Flickr

Painted by the artist Wyland, there are 100 of these large outdoor murals known as Whaling Walls around the world. The murals feature life-size images of sea life like gray whales, breaching humpback whales, blue whales and orcas. In Vancouver a new mural will be commissioned but the location will be moved to East Vancouver [Source].

5 Iconic Vancouver Murals

The ocean, mountains, and a city full of glass towers are all images associated with Vancouver but other works like Wyland’s Orcas, have come to be symbols of their communities. Here are 5 iconic Vancouver murals have stood out for me over the years:

The Beatty Street Mural
Location: Beatty Street between Dunsmuir and Georgia
About: This has always been a popular mural location. In 2009 the current patchwork of graffiti and murals was painted over by the city as this piece took shape, featuring prominent Vancouverites throughout history.

Vancouver: City of Destiny
Photo credit: Clayton Perry on Flickr

David Suzuki Mural Vancouver: Mural (Behind a parking lot off Georgia Street) Beatty Street Mural Vancouver: Mural (Behind a parking lot off Georgian Street)
Photo credit: Kyle Pearce & longzijun & kris krüg & longzijun on Flickr

Lao Tsu Mural
Location: 311 East Pender Street
About: Part of the Vancouver Mural Tour. Vancouver’s first traditional Chinese painting portraying a historical scholar and philosopher in a mural.

Laozi mural
Photo credit: Richard Eriksson on Flickr

Vancouver, B.C. Lao Tzu over Chinatown
Photo credit: Curtis Cronn & Jason V on Flickr

Graffiti Alley
Location: Between Richards and Homer, running parallel to Hastings.
About: A city-funded project that went up in 2005.

Graffiti Mural in Vancouver
Photo credit: Mark Atwood on Flickr

Alley Graffiti Mural, or graffiti?
Photo credit: Terry Lawson & forester401 on Flickr

West End Mural
Location: Bidwell at Robson
About: After the Starbucks moved out in 2014 after 20 years, the fate of the store space is uncertain but this artistic depiction of Vancouver’s West End and Kitsilano along Bidwell is a mainstay in the community.

Do Lipton employees take coffee breaks?
Photo credit: Wee Sen Goh on Flickr

nice places Bidwell and Robson
Photo credit: Ryan & flinner! on Flickr

The Drive Mural Project
Location: Commercial Drive at Charles Street
About: Part of the Commercial Drive Mural Project

House Party
Photo credit: Philip Tong on Flickr

the drive.charles street mural 2 the drive.charles street mural 1
Photo credit: Henry Lam & Henry Lam on Flickr

Want to check out more murals? The Great Beginning Program of 2008 has helped create and maintain about 4 dozens murals around the city, that you can visit on self-guided tours and pinpoint on this interactive map:

If you have a favourite mural in Vancouver, leave a comment about it or take a photo on Instagram and tag it #Photos604.

Win Tickets to the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference CIMC

January 26th, 2015 @ 9:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Let’s face it, the thought of “internet marketing” doesn’t always conjure up the most pleasant feelings as pop-up ads, spam email, and unwanted selling opportunities come to mind. However, there is a very good side to internet marketing, and it’s the bigger, better side. The side where a campaign raises thousands for a cause, where a video can move you to happy tears, and when the independent business can connect with major brands to reach customers and audiences they wouldn’t have dreamed of reaching before. Making connections and achieving goals.

CIMC

This is the side of internet marketing that I know and that has allowed me to grow my dream business over the last ten years. I love what I do, and you should too, so with the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference coming to Squamish, I hope I’ll see you in the audience when I take the stage for a panel presentation.

CIMC

Where Quest University, Squamish, BC
When Saturday March 28th and Sunday 29th, 2015 from 9:00am each day
Tickets Early bird (ends January 31st) $399.00 + fee

Hear from over 20 World-Class speakers, enjoy 6 networking opportunities, participate in a $10,000 Dragon Den style contest with the Lion’s Den, attend workshops, the Best Agency to Work for in Canada Award Banquet, the Canadian Internet Marketing Awards, and parties.

Speakers include everyone from prolific local bloggers and the UBC School of Journalism, to individuals from Invoke Media, TELUS, Whistler Blackcomb, 1-800-GOT-JUNK, and more.

CIMC is hosted by Marwick Marketing and Jelly Marketing, two BC marketing firms who were fierce competitors who realized there wasn’t a solid internet marketing conference for them and their staff in BC so they banded together to bring this event to our backyard.

Win Tickets to the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference

Leave the city behind and come join us in the beautiful mountain town of Squamish for two days of inspirational talks on internet marketing. Get inspired and learn from industry leaders within digital marketing and leave refreshed and full of action points for your business.

Use the discount code RB15 PLUS to get 15% off your conference admission AND enter to win a pair of tickets here:

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Follow CIMC on Facebook and Twitter for more information. Join the Thunderclap campaign to show the world you’ll be at CIMC in Squamish this March. I will draw one contest winner at 9:00pm on Friday, January 30, 2015.

Cirque du Soleil Varekai in Vancouver

January 26th, 2015 @ 8:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Cirque du Soleil returns to Vancouver May 20th to May 24th for a limited engagement of the touring arena show, Varekai. Hosted in the Pacific Coliseum, Varekai takes place in a captivating forest at the summit of a volcano inhabited by whimsical and enchanted creatures.

CIrqueduSoleil
Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca Costumes: Eiko Ishioka © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil Varekai in Vancouver

Advance tickets for Varekai are available now online exclusively to Cirque Club members through Thursday, January 29, 2015. Tickets for the general public will be available online starting Friday, January 30th, ranging from $40 to $125 (subject to change).

A world called Varekai: The sky lets go a solitary young man, and the story of Varekai begins. Parachuted into the shadows of a magical forest, a kaleidoscopic world imbued with fantastical creatures, a young man takes flight in an adventure both absurd and extraordinary. On this day at the edge of time, in this place of pure and undiluted possibility, begins an inspired incantation to a life rediscovered and to a newly found wonder in the mysteries of the world and the mind.

The world Varekai (pronounced ver.ay.kie) means “wherever” in the Romany language of the gypsies the universal wanderers. Directed by Dominic Champagne, this production pays tribute to the nomadic soul, to the spirit and art of the circus tradition, and to those who quest with infinite passion along the path that leads to Varekai.

Other BC stops for Varekai include Penticton and Victoria. Follow Cirque du Soleil on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Why Does Rain Smell So Good

January 24th, 2015 @ 9:15am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

In Vancouver we have at least a dozen ways to say it’s raining out, from light drizzle tapering to showers, to downpours and deluges. The rain also has many sounds. There’s the splash of vehicle crossing an intersection, a persistent single drop beating down on a window ledge, and the popcorn dance of water beads hitting the top of an umbrella. What about the scent of the rain? The first time a dusty summer sidewalk sizzles under a much needed sprinkling, or when the park has been soaked for two weeks straight and the scent of cedar slips down onto the mulch path from each evergreen limb.

Rain fell the night before
Photo credit: Eric Flexyourhead on Flickr

Why Does Rain Smell So Good?

A study published in the journal Nature Communications was recently shared by Mashable says that the rain smells so good because when raindrops land on certain porous surfaces, they can trap tiny air bubbles containing small particles, which then shoot upward, into the air.

These aerosols are likely responsible for carrying aromatic elements, along with bacteria and viruses stored in the soil.

Aerosols are small liquid droplets or solid particles that are suspended in a gas, and it is these particles that are responsible for the smell of rain after a light to moderate shower on a warm day, a smell that is known to scientists as “petrichor”.

The study also says that one complicating factor, which helps explain why heavy rainfall is not as associated with the smell of rain, is that although raindrops can generate aerosols, successive raindrops can actually eliminate them from the air by colliding with them like a missile.

Big Grey world, small orange leaf
Photo credit: Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic on Flickr

The rain to me is an umbrella fort on the patio as a child, walking to school and waiting for the bottom cuffs of my pants to dry out before lunch time, cringing when someone walks under an awning with their golf umbrella open, relying on nothing but Gore-Tex to keep me dry, camping in June — it always rains when we camp in June — and countless walks in the park with my husband. The rain might seem to ruin a vacation, festival, or concert but it’s the reason Vancouver is so spectacularly green throughout the year. Things could be much worse really, at least it’s not a Polar Vortex for instance — I say as I type this from my in-laws’ home in Iowa. For me, the smell of the rain is quite simply the smell of home.

The East Van Cross

January 23rd, 2015 @ 1:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Developed from a graffiti symbol that has circulated for several decades, the Monument for East Vancouver sculpture (known also as the East Van Cross) was created by Ken Lum as an expression of hope and defiance. Installed in 2010 at the corner of Clark and East 6th Avenue, Lum once told the Vancouver Sun that he recalled seeing the phrase while growing up on the eastside. He also talked to someone almost 80 who recalls seeing it as far back as the 1940s and 1950s.

The East Van Cross

Church of East Vancouver
Photo credit: Paul Krueger on Flickr

East Van Cross East Van Cross East Van Cross ~ portrait East Van Shining Bright East Van
Photo credit: Karen Lee Colangelo & Jeff DeWeerd & Roxanne Sukhan & Hendl & Dennis Tsang on Flickr

East Van Cross
Photo credit: Dennis Tsang on Flickr

East Van
Photo credit: Philip Tong on Flickr

The East Van Cross has its own following and whether you’re just settling into the neighbourhood or your family has deep roots in the community, everyone has an opinion of what the sculpture means to them. One Yelp user even says: “Brooklyn has their bridge — East Van has our cross.”

the controversial "East Van" sculpture 1
Photo credit: waferboard on Flickr

double monument East Van Cross
Photo credit: Tyler Wilson & Amanda on Flickr

East Van East Van
Photo credit: Philip Tong on Flickr

Sarah Milroy said in the Globe and Mail: Drive by [Ken Lum’s] cross at night and the letters reassemble themselves in the mind in a fleeting double take: Is it East Van or Evangelist that we see glowing against the night sky? “I liked that people might experience that momentary misrecognition,” Lum says. It’s complex, like the city itself. “People say Vancouver is such a beautiful place, and obviously that’s true. But I have always thought Vancouver is very complicated. There’s a lot of layers to it.”

East Vancouver Cross Sign
Photo credit: kris krüg on Flickr

IMG_3175-10
Photo credit: Leah Gregg on Flickr

Last year designer Susan Fiedler conceived a fundraising initiative called the East Van Cross Project to benefit Pivot Legal Society. Inspired by this meaningful piece of public art, Fiedler was the first individual to be granted a license from the City of Vancouver to reproduce the iconic East Van Cross in the form of jewelry, beginning with two sterling silver pendants. You can follow the East Van Cross Project on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

eastvancross

Previous Vancouver Icons posts: Robert Burns Statue in Stanley Park, Vancouver Maritime Museum, Flack Block, The Drop, Prospect Point Lighthouse, Engagement, Ovaltine Cafe, The English Bay Slide, Freezing Water #7, Cleveland Dam, Heritage Hall, School of Theology Building at UBC, Gate to the Northwest Passage, St Paul’s Hospital, Capilano Lake, Stawamus Chief, Nine O’Clock Gun, Malkin Bowl, Search, Vancouver Rowing Club, Echoes, Point Atkinson Lighthouse, English Bay Inukshuk, Hollow Tree, Hotel Europe, Lions Gate Bridge Lions, LightShed, Granville Bridge, 217.5 Arc x 13′, Canoe Bridge, Vancouver Block, Bloedel Conservatory, Centennial Rocket, Canada Place, Old Courthouse/Vancouver Art Gallery, Dominion Building, Science World, Gastown Steam Clock, SFU Burnaby, Commodore Lanes, Siwash Rock, Kitsilano Pool, White Rock Pier, Main Post Office, Planetarium Building, Lord Stanley Statue, Vancouver Library Central Branch, Victory Square, Digital Orca, The Crab Sculpture, Girl in Wetsuit, The Sun Tower, The Hotel Vancouver, The Gassy Jack Statue, The Marine Building, and The Angel of Victory. Should you have a suggestion for the Vancouver Icons series please feel free to leave a note in the comments. It should be a thing, statue, or place that is very visible and recognizable to the public.

Things to do in Vancouver This Weekend

January 23rd, 2015 @ 9:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This week it was confirmed that Vancouver is the second least affordable city in the world — but at least we’re not a No Fun City! The Robson Square ice rink is still open for free skating, we have a boat show and motorcycle show, the PuSh Festival, winter farmers market, and more all happening this weekend.

Gastown Steam Clock
The return of the Gastown steam clock. Photo credit: Philip Tong on Flickr

Things to do in Vancouver This Weekend

Events that run for longer than three days in a row are highlighted in green below.

Friday, January 23, 2015
Sponsored by Miss604: Friday Late Night Movies at the Rio Theatre
Cupcakes and Canvas
Alicia Tobin’s Come Draw With Me
Vancouver Canadians + Blue Jays Hot Stove Luncheon
The Motorcycle Show
Vancouver Turkish Film Festival
Pacific Theatre Presents: Underneath the Lintel
Vancouver Boat Show
Dine Out Vancouver: Festival Events and Dining Specials
Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival: Various Locations
PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
Free Skating at Robson Square Ice Rink

Saturday, January 24, 2015
Winter Farmers Market at Nat Bailey
TEDxBCIT
Vancouver Shogi Club (Japanese Chess)
Winter Cask Festival at Central City Brewing
Broadway and Opera Take Centre Stage in Surrey
The HTML500 – Canada’s Largest Learn to Code Event
Dine Out: Vancouver Foodster Presents Main Street Brunch Crawl
Dine Out: Craft Distillery Tour
CANADIAN QUINTESSENCE The Conductors’ Concert
SFU Dance Marathon in support of BC Children’s Hospital
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Family Literacy Weekend at Science World
Pacific Theatre Presents: Underneath the Lintel
The Motorcycle Show
Vancouver Turkish Film Festival
Vancouver Boat Show
Dine Out Vancouver: Festival Events and Dining Specials
Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival: Various Locations
PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
Free Skating at Robson Square Ice Rink

Sunday, January 25, 2015
Dine Out: Vancouver Foodster Presents Downtown Brunch Crawl
Re-Purposeful: A Repurposed Fashion Show
Discovery Day at the Vancouver Convention Centre
Aussie Day at AnzaClub
Fresh Pasta & Gnocchi Making Classes
A Staged Reading of HOMECOMING, by Kamila Sediego
Family Literacy Weekend at Science World
The Motorcycle Show
Vancouver Turkish Film Festival
Vancouver Boat Show
Dine Out Vancouver: Festival Events and Dining Specials
Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival: Various Locations
PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
Free Skating at Robson Square Ice Rink

View the full monthly event list to plan ahead at any time. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for frequent updates about local events and community happenings.

San Andreas Fault at Coachella Valley Preserve

January 22nd, 2015 @ 10:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

John and I recently had the opportunity to get away, thanks to Rogers Communications, and the Palm Desert was calling our name. Resort spas, cocktails, brunch, and shopping were all on our list of things to enjoy but at the very top was a nature walk (or two). The first was Joshua Tree and the second was to the Coachella Valley Preserve and the Thousand Palms Oasis.

San Andreas Fault at Coachella Valley Preserve

San Andreas Fault at Coachella Valley Preserve

Staying at the Westin Mission Hills Resort, it only took 12 minutes to drive over to the Coachella Valley Preserve, which I found on a list of nature walks in Palm Springs.

Surrounded by dry, rocky valley peaks and pale desert sand, this pocket of wetland was a true desert oasis with lush, towering palms and Desert Pupfish swimming in the Salton Sea tributary fed by underground springs.

From the USGS: “The Coachella Valley Preserve is located on the trace of the San Andreas Fault between the towns of Palm Springs and Indio, California. The main groves of the preserve are called the Thousand Palms Oasis. A visitor center is located in the Paul Wilhelm Grove along Thousand Palms Canyon Road. Springs rising along the Mission Canyon Fault and Banning Fault (parallel strands of the San Andreas Fault System) are the water source for Desert Fan Palms (Washingtonia filifera) (Howard, 1994).

The preserve began with the purchase of 1,920 acres of the proposed site by the California Nature Conservancy. It was expanded with the support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The preserve now encompasses 17,000 acres, protecting three separate desert dune fields and six palm forests (over 1,500 palms). It is part of a 20,000 acres dedicated to protect the habitat of the Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard and other species. The preserve covers a large portion of the Indio Hills in the valley west of Joshua Tree National Park (Coachella Valley Preserve, 2009).”

We pulled up and parked, passing a park map and donation box along a sandy path before reaching a small visitor centre filled with pioneer artifacts and old photographs. We set out along the McCallum Trail boardwalk first, ducking under palm branches then following another loose sand path to the visitor centre.

San Andreas Fault at Coachella Valley Preserve

San Andreas Fault at Coachella Valley Preserve San Andreas Fault at Coachella Valley Preserve

We looped back around as we both wanted to get above the oasis, having previously spotted some hikers on a ridge as we drove in.

San Andreas Fault at Coachella Valley Preserve

Curious about the geology of the West Coast, particularly when it comes to earthquakes, we both wanted to pinpoint the location of the San Andreas Fault. This continental transform fault extends roughly 810 miles (1,300 km) through California and forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate.

We found a winding path on a mound that rose above the oasis on the south end of the park and made our way up to where we could spot the highway on which we drove in, surrounding mountains, and a lovely early sunset.

San Andreas Fault at Coachella Valley Preserve

San Andreas Fault at Coachella Valley Preserve

I called up an interactive Google Map of the San Andreas Fault on my phone and our blue location beacon overlapped with the red line of the fault. We were standing directly along the fault line.

sanandreasfault

Living in Vancouver I’m constantly in awe of our coastal rainforests, islands and ocean shores and it was so interesting to explore a totally different and unique geographic and geological area. The walk along the McCallum Trail was about 30 minutes there and back with a mix of boardwalks and soft paths in the desert gravel.

The hike up the mound, where we stood atop the lookout, was very steep but there were small children who managed to get up and down right before us. Always check the weather when hiking in Palm Springs (it could be scorching or very breezy in the winter) and bring water with you all the time.

San Andreas Fault at Coachella Valley Preserve

On the way out we also dropped a few bills in the donation box as there was no park fee and we felt we definitely got a lot of value out of this true oasis.

Disclosure: cmp.ly/3

Views expressed in this post are my own. I would like to thank Rogers Communications for organizing the trip to use Roam Like Home. With Roam Like Home, Rogers customers can use their Share Everything plans (data and unlimited talk and text) in the U.S. for just $5/day.

Robert Burns Statue in Stanley Park

January 21st, 2015 @ 11:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Upon entering Stanley Park, either by turning east off Georgia Street from Vancouver or from the Coal Harbour Seawall, the first statue you will come across is that of Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns. Looking down at the Vancouver Rowing Club and out over the city, this was the very first statue ever installed in the City of Vancouver back in 1928.

A photo posted by Rebecca Bollwitt (@miss604) on

Robert Burns Statue in Stanley Park

According to the Vancouver Archives: “In February 1924, inspired by a recently published critical analysis of Burns’ work, the Vancouver Burns Fellowship was formed to encourage the study of Burns’ life and works and the singing of his songs. The group also hoped to erect a statue of Burns in Stanley Park.”

burnsstatue
Archives# CVA 1184-2705. Photographer: Jack Lindsay.

“The unveiling ceremony was August 25, 1928 and was followed by dinner at the Aztec Room of the Hotel Georgia. The Honourable Ramsay MacDonald, ex-Prime Minister of Britain, arrived by train that day with his three daughters. It has been reported that a large crowd welcomed him in spite of his arrival time of 7:30am. He was, coincidentally, in Canada on vacation and agreed to unveil the monument.”

Robert Burns -1
Photo credit: pkdon50 on Flickr

The inscription on the monument’s front plaque reads:
1759-1796. Robert Burns’s sincere desire or friendship and brotherhood among all peoples is clearly shown in his many poems and songs. His poetry and letters, both serious and humorous are worthy of study by those who value liberty and freedom.

On the side plaque is an excerpt from To a Mountain Daisy (1786):
On turning one down with his plough
Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow’r,
thou’s met me in an evil hour;….
to spare thee now is past my pow’r
thou bonie gem.

Cutting A Figure
Photo credit: Mark Faviell on Flickr

This memorial was rededicated on the 200th anniversary of the bard’s death by the Burns Club of Vancouver on July 21st, 1996.

Robert Burns Monument
Photo credit: Jerry Meaden on Flickr

Robbert Burns Day (January 25th) is widely celebrated and in Vancouver several organizations, businesses and groups keep the tradition alive by hosting a supper, as the Centre for Scottish Studies will do on Friday, January 23, 2015. One of the most unique events in honour of The Bard is Gung Haggis Fat Choy (February 8th) which blends the Chinese New Year with a Burns Supper.

Previous Vancouver Icons posts: Vancouver Maritime Museum, Flack Block, The Drop, Prospect Point Lighthouse, Engagement, Ovaltine Cafe, The English Bay Slide, Freezing Water #7, Cleveland Dam, Heritage Hall, School of Theology Building at UBC, Gate to the Northwest Passage, St Paul’s Hospital, Capilano Lake, Stawamus Chief, Nine O’Clock Gun, Malkin Bowl, Search, Vancouver Rowing Club, Echoes, Point Atkinson Lighthouse, English Bay Inukshuk, Hollow Tree, Hotel Europe, Lions Gate Bridge Lions, LightShed, Granville Bridge, 217.5 Arc x 13′, Canoe Bridge, Vancouver Block, Bloedel Conservatory, Centennial Rocket, Canada Place, Old Courthouse/Vancouver Art Gallery, Dominion Building, Science World, Gastown Steam Clock, SFU Burnaby, Commodore Lanes, Siwash Rock, Kitsilano Pool, White Rock Pier, Main Post Office, Planetarium Building, Lord Stanley Statue, Vancouver Library Central Branch, Victory Square, Digital Orca, The Crab Sculpture, Girl in Wetsuit, The Sun Tower, The Hotel Vancouver, The Gassy Jack Statue, The Marine Building, and The Angel of Victory. Should you have a suggestion for the Vancouver Icons series please feel free to leave a note in the comments. It should be a thing, statue, or place that is very visible and recognizable to the public.