Things to do in Vancouver This Weekend

November 28th, 2014 @ 9:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The last weekend of the month is packed with holiday activities and of course the 102nd annual Grey Cup Festival, which has taken over the streets from Jack Poole Plaza to Canada Place with free fun for the whole family. More events and attractions for the next three days are listed below:

Photo credit: Peter So 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, November 28, 2014
Sponsored by Miss604: Late Night Movie at the Rio Theatre
2014 CFFLFC Grey Cup Meet & Greet
Emily Carr’s 41st Annual Student Art Sale
C3 Climate Conference
Other Vancouver Market
Seniors Centre Society Jumble Sale
Top Line Vocal Collective “VOICES IN COLOUR” Concert
Kyle Bottom’s Comedy Bucket
West Side Story, Karen Flamenco
SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village at Grouse Mountain
Grey Cup Festival Downtown Vancouver
Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate
Vancouver Christmas Market
Studio 58/Langara College Presents One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Saturday, November 29, 2014
Grey Cup Festival Parade
Crafty Affaire Holiday Market, White Rock
Ballet BC Up – Ballet 101
Portobello West Holiday Market
Strathcona Winter Craft Fair
Curious Flea Market- November Winter Wonderland, New Westminster
4th Annual Strathcona Winter Craft Fair
Free Family Day at the Contemporary Art Gallery
Introduction to Self Healing – Workshop
West Point Grey: Family Gingerbread House Decorating
West Side Story, Karen Flamenco
Vancouver Winter Farmers Market at Nat Bailey Stadium
Saturday Book Club at Vancouver Public Libraries
Grey Cup Festival Downtown Vancouver
Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate
SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village at Grouse Mountain
Vancouver Christmas Market
The Arts Club: Avenue Q
Studio 58/Langara College Presents One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Sunday, November 30, 2014
Vancouver Archives Film Screenings
P.O.W ( Power Of Women )
North Vancouver Arts Council Workshop: Artful Printmaking
Grey Cup Festival Downtown Vancouver
Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate
SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village at Grouse Mountain
Vancouver Christmas Market
The Arts Club: Avenue Q
Studio 58/Langara College Presents One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

View the full monthly event list to plan ahead at any time. If you have any events to add for the December list, please submit to me via the contact form.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for frequent updates about local events and community happenings.

STORYHIVE Web Series Competition

November 28th, 2014 @ 1:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

TELUS and Optik TV’s STORYHIVE is funding content creators in our community through two campaigns in 2014. The first in the spring awarded $200,000 in production funding and another ends on December 1st, awarding 15 $10,000 grants in BC and 15 $10,000 grants in Alberta, plus two $50,000 grants to produce and distribute a full web series.


STORYHIVE Web Series Competition

STORYHIVE is a community-powered funding program where content creators can get the funding and distribution they need to bring their projects to the screen. Local creators from British Columbia and Alberta apply for grants to produce a pilot and the community votes to decide which projects get funding and distribution on Optik Local via TELUS Optik™ TV On Demand.

As the winter deadline draws near, I’ve had a few participants send me their campaign information:

  • Eastside Stories: The residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are among the most impoverished, desperate, and resilient people in North America. In a city celebrated for its natural beauty and liberal ideals, their reality is one of stark contrast. Last season, portrait artist, Lauren Brem, and a group of local film makers set out to capture the stories behind the faces on her sketch pad. What they learned has inspired the continuation of a project aimed at shaking the stigma surrounding our neighbours in “Canada’s poorest postal code.” Now, EASTSIDE STORIES looks to dig deeper, and to connect with and chronicle more of our unlikely muses, their unique spirit, and their struggle to find a balance in the socio-economic divide.
  • Kingdom99: Kingdom 99 is a Sketch Comedy Show set in the world of Fantasy. The story goes that a down-on-his-luck wizard accidentally opens a portal between our world and 98 other “kingdoms,” inciting chaos and a dangerous struggle for power. This allows us to play with already established characters from popular fiction and likewise create our own, with an epic storyline that turns the stories fantasy fans already know and love, on it’s head.
  • My Grade 8 Diary: Greer Willcox is a happy, healthy 28 year old woman…Until the day she is hit by a bagel truck and loses all of her memory of her formative high school years. Greer sets out on a journey of RE-self discovery as she connects with the people and memories she wrote about in her teenage diary. Throughout the series we are transported back to the hallways of her school and we are witness to moments of rediscovery and the recollection of memories.
  • And dozens more…»

Alannah Turner is one of the participants (My Grade 8 Diary) who was first drawn to the initiative because of its crowd-powered foundation.

storyhive-gr8diary“You have to plan, pitch, get your information out, connect with your audience and ramp up support by yourself; it is challenging but it lays the ground work for a successful show. I have made a web series before and used crowd funding to produce it. I appreciate the process.”

Turner’s background is in theatre but fell in love with storytelling and wanted to start writing her own tales.

“Vancouver is truly a ‘make your own work’ friendly city. However, funding is more often than not the downfall of many brilliant projects. The passion projects move down on the list to make time to do the work that pays the bills. The project is like that for me. I have been waiting for the right time to make it. When I heard about STORYHIVE it was like a big green light blinking at me saying ‘you can make this show! and PAY everyone!'”

The STORYHIVE model relies on fan votes and so far Turner is finding the most traction through Facebook promotion, however Twitter is also driving clicks and views from around the world. Back at home, Turner is probably not alone in expressing appreciation for the local funding initiative.

“There are thousands of web series out there. It is hard to know which ones to pay attention to. Look at Orange is the New Black, or House of Cards. Both are web series. Why do we know they are worthy of our time? The have the seal of approval from a major distributor. STORYHIVE is giving local filmmakers the chance to have their work elevated to a higher level.”

Another bonus of potentially being awarded a STORYHIVE grant is that you don’t just get funding, creators get partnered with mentors who will guide them through the ins and outs of the web series industry. Turner says that STORYHIVE is setting participants up with the tools they will need to succeed.

The deadline to help out your favourite project is fast-approaching so take a look at STORYHIVE and cast your vote for your favourite web series pitch until December 1 at 11:59pm. Anyone with Internet access can vote, regardless of their physical/IP location. Winners of Stage 1 — the top 15 projects as voted by the community in BC and Alberta — will be announced on December 8th. Follow STORYHIVE on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Toy Shopping at the Toy Box in Kitsilano

November 28th, 2014 @ 10:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

There aren’t too many shops that when upon entering, my eyes get wide, a big smile forms, and I look forward to browsing every shelf and stand for intriguing and exciting finds. At least, I didn’t expect the amount of awesome energy I would feel when I first stepped into the Toy Box on West Broadway last week, and discovered its playful and positive atmosphere which is all about being young at heart.

Shopping at the ToyBox in Kitsilano

Toy Shopping at the Toy Box in Kitsilano

While the Toy Box by Toy Jungle has been a neighbourhood fixture for 42 years, owners Misti and Gary Mussatto moved the store into this location at 2933 West Broadway and had a grand re-opening celebration just this month. The pair, who were named “Toy Retailers of the Year” for Canadian independent toy stores in 2004 also own and operate The Toy Jungle locations at Morgan Crossing and at Park Royal.

Starting with a blank canvas, Gary transformed every inch of the West Broadway shop into a toy factory, with themed decor from floor to ceiling.

“The most special thing we offer is our team, the people who work here really care about kids and they care about the toys.”

I enjoyed my visit to the Toy Box so much because while the store had a playful factory theme, it allowed for much more than simply having a child enter the store, grab a toy, and take it to the cash register with mom or dad in tow. Every inch of the shop lends itself to an experience.

You can sit an play with trains, games, and puzzles. You can follow the Toy Jungle’s signature characters around the shop as they appear in various locations and, my favourite part, kids can ring the exclusive birthday bell when they come in on their birthday. The setting sparks your imagination.

Kids can also put on a hard hat and become “Toy Inspectors” for the day, actually assisting with market research that goes into the creation of the Tooky’s Picks recommended toy lists available at the counter.

At the grand re-opening of the store Gary said: “We like people that just want to play. We encourage people to play everyday. Just to come in and to see toys and games, things that might inspire them, and want to actually play. It’s a little escape from the every day.”

For an aunt like me, who isn’t on top of the latest brands and trends in the toy world, the best part of my Toy Box experience was discovering Tooky’s Picks which are toy suggestions based on age, gender, and type of child — from energetic and creative kids to the imaginative and nurturing. These lists, named after the store’s mascot character Tooky, helped me find the best toys for my nephews aged 6, 10, and 12 and thanks to toy specialist Neil’s recommendations, I believe found the perfect gifts for them.

Of course each area of the store is sorted by age group and you’ll spot popular brand names, like Playmobil and LEGO, along with some locally-designed toys like Cobble Hill puzzles.

Enter to Win

Discover and experience the Toy Box and Toy Jungle for yourself by entering to win a $50 gift card that you can use at either the Toy Box in Kitsilano, Toy Jungle in Park Royal, or Toy Jungle at Morgan Crossing in Surrey. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a $50 @ToyJungleToyBox gift card from @Miss604

Follow the Toy Jungle on Facebook and Twitter for more information, and plan a visit to one of the shops for the full experience. I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Tuesday, December 2, 2014.

5 Cool Vancouver Maps

November 27th, 2014 @ 10:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

There are many creative crafters, designers, and artists out there and when their inspiration comes from the city we love, the work they produce becomes that much more special. Vancouver is Awesome recently featured a minimalist map by Archie Archambault of Portland so I thought I would look up a few more unique maps that any Vancouverite would be proud to display in their home or office.

5 Cool Vancouver Maps


Map Description: Nautical map of Burrard Inlet published in 1893 (archives item# Map 50). This photo of the map is in the public domain via the City of Vancouver Archives so you could get it printed, as I outline in this handy guide to creating prints from archive holdings.

Art Prints


Map Description: By Jazzberry Blue on Etsy. Gallery quality Giclée print using a heavyweight, lightly textured, cotton rag paper and Epson K3 archival inks for over 200 years of vibrancy. $33.57 and up.


Map Description: By Annalena Davis of SaltyLyon. This print is created using the artist’s original hand-drawn map of the city’s blocks. All sizes are printed on 100% cotton rag, acid-free, fine art paper. Choose from 24 different colours. $23.15 and up.


Map Description: Designed by Raymond Biesinger, based on the layout of Vancouver on the September 3, 1962 when the Trans Canada Highway officially opened and featuring prominent local buildings. Screenprinted in an edition of 106 copies by Séripop at 24″ square, two colours on white 10 pt Domtar Byronic smooth cover paper. Signed and editioned. $50.


Map Description: Neighbourhoods of Vancouver by Ork Posters. Black and white, green and tan, yellow and white, navy and off-white available. 22” x 22”, black soy-based ink, white, matte 100% recycled paper. $22.

All prices posted are prices at time of publishing.

Related Post: 10 Cool Vancouver Gift Items on Etsy.

Grey Cup Festival Parade

November 27th, 2014 @ 8:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The 102nd Grey Cup Festival has arrived in Vancouver bringing with it four full days of free activities, live entertainment, and of course the championship game on Sunday. One can’t-miss tradition is the Grey Cup Festival Parade, which will take place on Saturday, November 29th.

Grey Cup Festival Parade


Presented by Save-On-Foods, the Grey Cup Festival Parade starts out from Smithe and Hornby streets in Downtown Vancouver at 10:00am and will finish at Dunsmuir and Granville streets by 12:00pm.

The parade will head up Smithe to Burrard, turning right and following Burrard until Dunsmuir where it will turn right again until Dunsmuir meets Granville.

The fun won’t stop there as there is a full lineup of festivities on Saturday. Walk over to Canada Place Way for the TELUS Street Festival (free), the Main Stage (free), the Nissan Family Fun Zone at Jack Poole Plaza (free), the Cheerleader Extravaganza (free) at the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Red Truck Tailgate Concert Series (ticketed), and Team Parties (ticketed).

Follow the 102nd Grey Cup Festival on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more information and coverage.

Related Post: Check out photos from previous Grey Cup Festivals in Vancouver over the few decades.

Vancouver Photos of the Week

November 26th, 2014 @ 3:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Even through the wind and rain that is shaking the last rust-coloured leaves from the trees, Vancouver’s beauty is hard to ignore. Along puddle-soaked paths and umbrella-covered sidewalks, local photographers with everything from smartphones to professional cameras have shared their images with the Miss604 Flickr Pool and #Photos604 on Instagram over the last week. Here are just a few of my favourites:

Vancouver Photos of the Week

When people run in circles
Photo credit: Jianwei Yang on Flickr

The Arts Club Presents Mary Poppins

November 26th, 2014 @ 1:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The holidays are about spending time with family and friends, and what better way to enjoy a night out in the city than to catch a show at the Stanley Theatre? The Arts Club presents Mary Poppins from December 5th until January 4th bringing P.L. Travers’ writings and the popular Disney movie to life on stage.

2013 cast of Mary Poppins. Photo by David Cooper, courtesy of The Arts Club

The Arts Club Presents Mary Poppins

Practically perfect in every way, the tale of everyone’s favourite magical nanny will sweep you off your feet.

Watch Mary Poppins (Sara-Jeanne Hosie) fly over the rooftops of London once again this holiday season and feel like a kid again. Remember, anything can happen if you let it. This family musical based on the writings of P.L. Travers and the popular Disney film features the unforgettable songs “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” plus some catchy new ones. Practically perfect in every way, the tale of everyone’s favourite magical nanny will sweep you off your feet. Original music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
Book by Julian Fellowes. New songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Co-created by Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins will be on the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (2750 Granville St, Vancouver) from December 5th, 2014, to January 4th, 2015. Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:00pm, and Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00pm. Tickets start at $29, inclusive of taxes and fees. Call the Arts Club Box Office at (604) 687-1644 or book online.

Win Tickets

The Arts Club has offered up two pairs of tickets (value $144 each) to the December 10th performance at 7:00pm for me to give away. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment naming your favourite Mary Poppins song (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win tickets to @TheArtsClub’s Mary Poppins from @Miss604

Follow The Arts Club on Facebook and Twitter for more information about Mary Poppins on stage and other performances this season. I will draw two winners at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Wednesday, December 3, 2014. Each winner will receive a pair of tickets to the December 10th performance exclusively.

Lights of Hope at St Paul’s Hospital

November 26th, 2014 @ 10:45am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

St Paul’s Hospital will shine bright again this season as Lights of Hope illuminates Burrard Street starting November 27th. With 10 kilometers of string lights and more than 100,000 bulbs, this display is to dazzle and also inspire passersby to donate to St Paul’s in recognition of their support for our community.

St Paul's Lights of Hope 2013
Photo credit: qasic on Flickr

Lights of Hope at St Paul’s Hospital

Lights of Hope has been going strong since 1998 and this year it will kick off with an outdoor celebration on Thursday, November 27th from 6:30pm until 8:30pm. The display will be lit between 6:30pm and 7:00pm and fireworks will help ring in the season with an extra burst of colour.

St Paul’s Hospital is located at 1081 Burrard in Vancouver and Lights of Hope will be shining everyday from dusk to dawn until January 12, 2015. To make a donation towards the campaign’s goal to raise $2.5-million visit the Lights of Hope website and follow St Paul’s on Twitter and Facebook for more information.