Vote for the Vancouver City Bird

April 16th, 2014 @ 10:46am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I don’t often delve into politics publicly but there’s one election happening this spring in Vancouver that cannot be ignored: The search for the Vancouver City Bird. There are six candidates in the running–all with their own Twitter accounts–and one hopes to come out on top so we can show it off for Bird Week 2015.

Vancouver City Bird Candidates

Northern Flicker | Twitter
Northern Flickers are large, brown woodpeckers with a gentle expression and handsome black-scalloped plumage. On walks, don’t be surprised if you scare one up from the ground.

Anna’s Hummingbird | Twitter
Anna’s Hummingbirds are among the most common hummingbirds along the Pacific Coast, yet they’re anything but common in appearance. With their iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throats, they are more like flying jewelry than birds.

Black Capped Chickadee | Twitter
A bird almost universally considered “cute” thanks to its oversized round head, tiny body, and curiosity about everything, including humans.

Pileated Woodpecker | Twitter
The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest.

Varied Thrush | Twitter
The Varied Thrush’s simple, ringing song gives a voice to the quiet forests of the Pacific Northwest, with their towering conifers and wet understories of ferns, shrubs, and mosses.

Pacific Wren | Twitter
Small in stature and incomparably energetic in voice, the Winter Wren inhabits moist forests and other habitats across much of eastern North America.

Park Board Commissioner Constance Barnes told Vancouver Metro: “We have the highest count of migratory birds in the world, it’s amazing.”

Staring at me
Photo credit: Ann Hung on Flickr

“They’re not just important for pollination, but also things like bugs and making the city green. They’re birds that we see everyday, you just don’t stop to appreciate them. So we’re looking at ways to engage the public, both kids and old birders like myself.”

John and I have spotted the Northern Flicker recently in Stanley Park and the Black Capped Chickadee is always open to a photo op if you’re walking around the west side of Beaver Lake. However it’s the Varied Thrush who gets mentioned most often in the posts that the Stanley Park Ecology Society contributes here. Wren and Chickadee are also the only ones of the bunch with Stanley Park Trails named in their honour. This is a tough decision!

You can vote for your favourite between now and May 10, 2014 which is the end of Bird Week this year.

Cherry Blossom Photo of the Day

April 16th, 2014 @ 10:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

During the month of April I will be featuring a Cherry Blossom Photo of the Day, sourced from the Miss604 Flickr Pool and/or the #Photos604 tag on Instagram. You can barely walk a full block in the city without encountering a photographer capturing this pink blooms — or stopping yourself — so it’s the perfect time to start this series. Enjoy!

Cherry Blossom engagement session
Photo credit: Daniel on Flickr

No trees are required to enjoy the effect that cherry blossoms have on our city. This couple posed for engagement photos amidst the natural pink confetti.

View more photography posts on Miss604 along with the Vancouver Photos of the Week.

Wildcoast Adventures Kayak Getaway

April 15th, 2014 @ 2:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

British Columbia, in all its splendour, is such a thrill to explore. There’s not much that can make me appreciate this province more than a mossy forest walk through towering Douglas Firs or a paddle around a cove, rolling over waves and water so clear I can spot the sea kelp stretching to reach surface sunbeams. We constantly find new ways to experience BC’s natural beauty and that’s where tours like those offered from Wildcoast Adventures come in.

Wildcoast Adventures offers a variety of kayaking options including tours around Discovery Islands and Desolation Sound. Last year I gave away an amazing kayak trip with Wildcoast and I’m excited to announced that we’ve partnered again to give away a bucket-list experience to one of my very lucky readers.

wildcoastkayak

Wildcoast Adventures Kayak Getaway

My contest is for their signature Orca Camp, where you’ll stay near the Michael Biggs Robson Bight Ecological Reserve:

This vacation begins with pre-trip accommodation at the beautiful Gowlland Harbour Boutique Resort on Quadra Island and includes a 4 day & 3 night remote camping and kayaking experience to see Killer Whales in Johnstone Strait. You will begin your vacation on peaceful Quadra Island where the spectacular beauty of the resort’s waterfront location encourages visitors to reconnect with nature.

After enjoying your first day and a peaceful night’s sleep at the resort, you will take a water taxi to Wildcoast’s remote Orca Camp where you will kayak each day on the lookout for Orcas! This is a great location to find killer whales as they often feed in the kelp beds just off the Orca Camp beach. This glamping experience includes beachcombing, hikes, fishing, awesome food, a native sauna, evening campfires, sleeping in safari tents, and star filled nights!

Heading back home after this trip you will be relaxed and inspired by the experience you’ve had disconnecting from your busy life and reconnecting with nature.

You can enter to win using any or all of these methods:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Head over to Facebook and “Like” this image (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win your way into @wildcoast_kayak’s Orca Camp tour from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/vP7kT

Follow Wildcoast Adventures on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their tours. Must be 19+ to enter. I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Friday, April 25, 2014. The prize is for one person only.

Contest does not include travel to & from Quadra Island BC. Valid for 5 Day Package Tour during 2014 season ONLY (dates subject to availability). No cash value. Prize awarded as is. No kayaking experience necessary.

Wildcoast was born out of the longstanding kayak company Coastal Spirits, which provided wilderness kayak camping tours, including the Orca Basecamp in Johnstone Strait for over 15 years. With its owners looking to retire, Expedition Manager, Damon Stapinsky saw the opportunity to take the company to the next level. Having spent entire summers working the front-lines on tours with guests from around the world, he had a keen awareness of what made a great experience and what was now needed to ensure great kayaking tours in Canada could be had by the new generations of adventure travelers. By going above and beyond for guests and sharing knowledge of the area and passion for the outdoors, the newly reborn Wildcoast is providing kayak tours that provide new equipment, fresh menus designed by a gourmet chef and packaged as well as custom kayak trip offerings in order to cater to the unique dynamic of each group of guests. [Wildcoast's Story]

Lost Lagoon by E. Pauline Johnson

April 15th, 2014 @ 10:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Pauline Johnson documented and shared “Legends of Vancouver” over 100 years ago, telling famous tales of the Lions peaks and giving Lost Lagoon its name. Many of Pauline’s works are in the Public Domain and her book, “Legends of Vancouver” is available on iBooks, and for free on Kindle. I wanted to share (more) of her work with my readers and after a walk in Stanley Park this weekend, Lost Lagoon seemed like the perfect place to start.

Lost Lagoon, foggy (with beaver)
Photo credit: colink. on Flickr

Lost Lagoon by E. Pauline Johnson

It is dusk on the Lost Lagoon,
And we two dreaming the dusk away,
Beneath the drift of a twilight grey,
Beneath the drowse of an ending day,
And the curve of a golden moon.

It is dark in the Lost Lagoon,
And gone are the depths of haunting blue,
The grouping gulls, and the old canoe,
The singing firs, and the dusk and – you,
And gone is the golden moon.

O! lure of the Lost Lagoon, –
I dream to-night that my paddle blurs
The purple shade where the seaweed stirs,
I hear the call of the singing firs
In the hush of the golden moon.

Sunset on Lost Lagoon...
Photo credit: gwacdotca on Flickr

Related posts: Pauline Johnson Opera by Margaret Atwood, Pauline Johnson’s Legends of Vancouver, Pauline Johnson Exhibit at Stanley Park Nature House, Pauline Johnson Memorial at Stanley Park, Vancouver History: The Lions, The Two Sisters.

Fan Expo Vancouver 2014: John de Lancie

April 15th, 2014 @ 10:13am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Fan Expo Vancouver returns to the Vancouver Convention Centre April 18th to April 20th bringing with it celebrity guests, your favourite writers, actors, and more. This comics, sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming show – expected to draw 25,000 fans – is packed with industry professionals, sketch duels, cosplay, workshops, and plenty of opportunities to shop.

John de Lancie at Fan Expo Vancouver

johnDELANCIE
Photo courtesy of Fan Expo

Attendees at Fan Expo Vancouver have many reasons to line up to meet John de Lancie, as the versatile actor and producer has been a part of some of the most memorable franchises in television. Best known as “Q” in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, de Lancie has also had roles in Stargate SG-1, Breaking Bad, The Mentalist, and even My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

When attending events like Fan Expo, de Lancie says he represents the fantasy of his roles but also the reality of actors just like him. “I am dealing a little bit in the fantasy world of what it is that we do but I also try to explain to people just what the reality is of what it is that we do.”

“While I don’t want to particularly tell the secrets of how the magician does their tricks, I give [the fans] enough of the ‘behind the scenes’ so that they have a better appreciation of what a real actor’s life is like — not just the ‘Tom Cruises’ of the acting world, but the character actors like myself or the people who have created families and lives, and made it through to my age doing essentially what we started wanting to do when we were 14 years old. So that’s pretty extraordinary right there.”

In 2012 de Lancie produced Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (formerly titled as BronyCon: The Documentary). The film centres on bronies, the adult fans of the 2010 animated television series, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic in which John de Lancie voices the character “Discord” — a mischievous chimera type-creature with powers, whose tomfoolery is reminiscent of de Lancie’s “Q”. He says he’s a obviously a big booster of the culture that has erupted around this incarnation of the My Little Pony franchise.

A Vancouver connection there is that Ashleigh Ball, from the band Hey Ocean! is the voice of “Rainbow Dash” in the same My Little Pony series. No stranger to our fair city, de Lancie has also visited often in the last few years to either do filming or visit his son who attends school in Vancouver.

Over the next few months he will be working with playwright Rajiv Joseph, who was a finalist for the Pulitzer, and he’ll also be heading to Tahiti to sail his boat 6,000 miles back to the US. Following those adventures he plans to work on a project that pertains to Syria, in particular the displacement of young people.

This weekend you can catch the fascinating John de Lancie at Fan Expo Vancouver as he will be available for autographs and photo ops, which you can purchase online in advance or in person.

Fan Expo Vancouver 2013
Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Fan Expo Vancouver Details

Where: Vancouver Convention Centre West Hall B & C, 1055 Canada Place
When: April 18 to 20, 2014
4:00pm to 9:00pm Friday, 10:00am to 7:00pm Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm Sunday
Tickets: Premium Package $99, Deluxe Weekend Pass $69, Friday $20, Saturday $35. You can also book your photo ops with your favourite guests in advance online.

Fan Expo Vancouver 2014 Celebrity Guests

Karl Urban (Star Trek), Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead), Bruce Campbell (Army of Darkness), Stephen Amell (Arrow), Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Stephen Amell (Star of Arrow), Eliza Dushku (Angel; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Dollhouse), Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville), John de Lancie (“Q” from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings) and many more. Check the guest list online for the latest announcements and follow Fan Expo Vancouver on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Lunar Eclipse Vancouver: Another Chance in October 2014

April 15th, 2014 @ 8:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Last night, through partly clouded skies, a total lunar eclipse was visible in Vancouver. The HR MacMillan Space Centre hosted an event and photographers took to the streets to capture the event:

Red Moon, Red Planet - Lunar Eclipse
Photo credit: Claude Schneider on Flickr

Lunar Eclipse Vancouver

As the CBC reports this morning, “if you missed last night’s total lunar eclipse, here’s some good news – there will be another one in October. Fortunately, Monday night’s eclipse is the first in a tetrad — a series of four total lunar eclipses separated by roughly six months each. The next one takes place on October 8th, peaking at 3:54 am PT. You’ll only be able to see the whole eclipse if you live west of Regina and Saskatoon, as the moon will set before it is complete in the rest of Canada. However, the peak of the eclipse should be visible almost right across the country.

The last two eclipses of the tetrad will take place on April 4th and September 28th, 2015. Tetrads, groupings of four total lunar eclipses, are expected a total of eight times during the 21st century, NASA Science News reports. However, that makes this century unusual — there were no such tetrads between 1500 and 1900.”

Lunar Eclipse
Photo credit: Claude Schneider on Flickr

Follow the HR MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver on Twitter and Facebook for more information about special viewing and learning events.

Cherry Blossom Photo of the Day

April 14th, 2014 @ 6:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

During the month of April I will be featuring a Cherry Blossom Photo of the Day, sourced from the Miss604 Flickr Pool and/or the #Photos604 tag on Instagram. You can barely walk a full block in the city without encountering a photographer capturing this pink blooms — or stopping yourself — so it’s the perfect time to start this series. Enjoy!

Tree, family
Photo credit: Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic on Flickr

View more photography posts on Miss604 along with the Vancouver Photos of the Week.