Miss604.com Featured Series

The New Hudson’s Bay Athletic Shop

October 13th, 2015 @ 7:34am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

A 10,000 square foot athletic shop has opened up in Downtown Vancouver, for both men and women who are on the go in our active city. Located in Hudson’s Bay, this is a new one-stop destination for athletic and outdoor apparel and footwear with a focus on running, biking, yoga, hiking and golf.

Photo credit: Janis Nicolay for Hudson’s Bay

New Hudson’s Bay Athletic Shop

The shop features sought-after brands such as Nike, Reebok, Under Armour, Adidas, Helly Hansen, Lole, Y.A.S. and Puma. In addition, fitness accessories such as water bottles, headbands, bags and caps will be available in the new space.

The new athletic shop in Vancouver is part of Hudson’s Bay’s vision to become the activewear destination for the modern man and woman, ranging from high-performance items for workouts including running, cross-training, conditioning, hiking, biking, golfing, and yoga.

Photo credit: Janis Nicolay for Hudson’s Bay

Win a Gift Card

If you would like to check out the new Hudson’s Bay Athletic Shop and browse the selection of activewear that suits your lifestyle, I have two $100 gift cards to give away to two lucky Miss604 readers. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment sharing how you stay active or like to break a sweat (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a $100 @hudsonsbay #HBActive gift card from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/TlpD1

Hudson’s Bay‘s Athletic Shop is open in the Downtown Vancouver location at 674 Granville Street at Georgia. Follow Hudson’s Bay on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more information.

I will draw two contest winners who will each receive a $100 HBC gift card on Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 12:00pm.

Flying Squirrels in Stanley Park

October 11th, 2015 @ 9:40am (PT) by Guest Author

SPESLogoFourLineThis post has been contributed by Celina Starnes, SPES Public Education & Outreach Manager with Stanley Park Ecology Society (“SPES”). I have been following SPES since I moved into the West End a decade ago and I have been a member for three years. I wanted to offer the team an opportunity to share their news, events, and work so I have created “SPES Saturday” where they contribute and share stories with my audience once a month.

Fur Flies in Stanley Park

After the sun sets, northern flying squirrels cruise the Park’s tree tops.

Look! It’s a bird! It’s a bat! No, it’s the elusive northern flying squirrel! Unlike Stanley Park’s other two squirrel species – the common bushy-tailed eastern grey squirrel and the smaller Douglas squirrel – the northern flying squirrel, Glaucomys sabrinus, is rarely spotted in the Park.

Northern flying squirrel
(Photo: US Fish & Wildlife Service)

What makes this species so hard to find? For one thing this squirrel is strictly nocturnal. Its large eyes and whiskers help it to see and feel in the dark, and a sensitive nose leads it to its favourite food: truffles (fungi).

This squirrel’s penchant for truffles benefits the forest when the squirrel inadvertently spreads the truffles’ spores.

The fungus has a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with the forest that provides the trees with otherwise unavailable water and nutrients from the soil and the fungi with carbohydrates from the trees.

The same feature that gives these fascinating rodents their name is another reason why this squirrel eludes detection. They cannot fly, but they do adeptly glide five to 25 metres through the forest canopy on thin “wings” of skin stretched from wrist to ankle. The skin flaps that help them fly, however, hinder their locomotion on the ground, so these squirrels stick to the trees to get around.

They are so elusive up there, though, that the last one identified in Stanley Park was in 2007 by a biologist thinning branches during post-windstorm restoration initiatives.

Your best chance to spot one of these night creatures, then, would be on Stanley Park Ecology Society’s free annual Creatures of the Night candlelit forest walks on Thursday to Sunday nights every half hour in parallel with the Stanley Park Halloween Ghost Train, October 9th to November 1st, 2015.

Stanley Park Ecology Society members ride free on the Stanley Park Ghost Train!

About the Guest Author:

This post has been contributed by Celina Starnes, SPES Public Education & Outreach Manager, on behalf of the Stanley Park Ecology Society. If you want to support a non-profit organization that makes a difference for wildlife and people in Stanley Park, please make a donation or become a member of SPES. For more information visit the Stanley Park Ecology Society website. Follow SPES on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

Nourish Health and Wellness Retreat in Whistler

October 10th, 2015 @ 9:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Rejuvenate and invigorate your mind, body and soul this November during Cornucopia, Whistler’s legendary annual celebration of food and drink. The Nourish Series of workshops and the Nourish Retreat will offer a full package of programming or à la carte workshop sessions dedicated to your mind, body and spirit during the first weekend of Cornucopia.

The Nourish Retreat is a full package for three nights and four days, while the Nourish Series offers drop in workshops and sessions that speak to specific interests. Enjoy yoga, cooking demonstrations, spa time, farm-to-table dining and more.


What: Nourish Series in Whistler
When: Thursday, November 5th to Sunday, November 15th, 2015
Tickets: Available online
Where: Whistler Conference Centre, various venues (Yama Yoga)

What: Nourish Health and Wellness Retreat in Whistler
When: Thursday, November 5th to Sunday, November 8th, 2015
Tickets: Available online, limited space! Includes some evening Cornucopia events
Where: Whistler Conference Centre, various venues (Scandinave, Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre, and more)

This is the third year the Nourish Series has been a part of Cornucopia and the first year for the retreat. “It was a natural progression from the seminars, the luncheons and the yoga that we started with in year one,” Nourish Event Coordinator Allison Hunter tells me. “We are offering a package that encompasses everything Nourish, with a splash of Cornucopia flair. Whistler has a huge heath and wellness scene and we live and breathe it here- so it fit into Cornucopia seamlessly.”

Looking at the Nourish Retreat and Nourish Series schedule online, it’s jam-packed with activities that focus on balance, celebration, and a feast for the senses.

“Whistler is a hub for active, healthy living and Whistler is a feast for the senses in itself. This retreat is a reflection of our town, and it is not hard to find shining examples of people eager to share their passion.” ~ Allison Hunter

From quiet and inward activities like the traditional first nations smudging ceremony, the Scandinave Spa afternoon, and the one on one appointment with the Holistic Nutritionist, to events that are social such as the intimate dinners and the Cornucopia festivities.

Hunter says they will also honour age old traditions while learning about modern practices. Forest forages, yoga and hydrotherapy will be balanced by raw food, wines, and current music.

“Our hope is that our guests celebrate the balance, and take this into their every day lives.”

Workshop leader Merina Koly, who manages the recently opened Zend Conscious Lounge in Yaletown, hope to share that message of balance and the 80/20 rule:

“Most are coming to the Cornucopia event to indulge in education, wine, drinks and fine food which is totally great, it’s a wonderful event. That’s the 20% we can be doing to enjoy life. There is a 80% that we need to be very mindful to. The health, the eating right, and providing our body with the food and premium supplements it requires to function optimally.”

The beauty of the retreat is that you don’t need to already be into these practices in order to participate. Koly enjoys having an interactive group where everyone has a varying knowledge that they can share. “I really like to assist those who are looking to change their lifestyle, work step-by-step towards creating more balance and wellness in their lives. I really look forward to all who come, and I am confident it will be an amazing event.”

Nourish is billed as a retreat that can benefit everyone. If you have a hunger for the healthier lifestyle, Nourish is the perfect way to not only actively get started but to learn about best practices and connect with others.

“Life is busy for people — we know, and we understand,” Hunter says. “This is a time to slow down, press pause, indulge, learn, connect with yourself and a likeminded community. A time to indulge in all of the good stuff life is made of!”

Read more about the Nourish Retreat and book your spot today as space is limited.

VIFF Repeats This Week

October 9th, 2015 @ 2:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The 34th Vancouver International Film Festival concludes tonight with the VIFF Wrap party but in case you missed some screenings, fear not! There will be almost a full week of repeats coming up.


VIFF Repeats This Week

The Vancity Theatre, VIFF’s year-round home, will play host to some of the award winners from this year’s festival, such as Sleeping Giant (Best Canadian Film) and The Devout (BC Emerging Filmmaker). Also on offer will be celebrated films from other festivals, including The Lobster (Prix du Jury, Cannes 15), Rams (Grand Prix, Un Certain Regard, Cannes 15) and Umrika (Audience Award: World Competition, Sundance 15). Other decorated films returning are Marshland (winner of 10 Goya Awards in Spain) and 100 Yen Love and Home Care (Japan and the Czech Republic’s submissions, respectively, for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar).

Saturday, October 10, 2015
Rams (11:45am)
Iam Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced (1:45pm)
A Ballerina’s Tale (4:00pm)
Umrika (6:15pm)
100 Yen Love (8:30pm)

Sunday, October 11, 2015
Requiem for theamerican Dream (4:30pm)
Sabali (6:15pm)
The Lobster (8:15pm)

Monday, October 12, 2015
Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven (12:00pm)
Rainbow Island (1:45pm)
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (4:00pm)
Sleeping Giant (6:15pm)
The Royal Tailor (8:15pm)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Landfill Harmonic (1:30pm)
Hannah: Buddhism’s Untold Journey (4:00pm)
The Devout (6:15pm)
Home Care (8:30pm)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Jumbo Wild (2:30pm)
Palio (4:00pm)
Racing Extinction (6:15pm)
No Men Beyond This Point (8:30pm)

Thursday, October 15, 2015
Marshland (6:30pm)
Magallanes (8:45pm)
Racing Extinction (6:15pm)

As these screenings fall outside of VIFF’s dates, these are not official festival screenings. Consequently, festival passes, ticket packs and complimentary vouchers will not be accepted for VIFF Repeats. Attendees will need to purchase an individual ticket for each show. Tickets are available online or in-person at the Vancity Theatre box office (1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver) 30 minutes before showtime.

Stay connected with VIFF for updates and announcements by following @VIFFest on Twitter and pick up your program guide at locations across the Lower Mainland for more information.

Miss604 is a proud Media Partner of the Vancouver International Film Festival

Vancouver Bach Choir Celebrates 85 Years

October 9th, 2015 @ 11:04am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The City of Vancouver wasn’t even 45 years old at the time the Vancouver Bach Choir gave its first concert at the Orpheum Theatre in December of 1930. Outside of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (1919) the Vancouver Bach Choir is the oldest performing arts organization in the province, and one of the oldest symphonic choirs in the country. Heading into its 85th season, I spoke with Music Director Leslie Dala to learn more about this Vancouver institution.

Image courtesy of the Vancouver Bach Choir

Vancouver Bach Choir Celebrates 85 Years

“It’s a group that has stood the test of time,” Dala told me over the phone on a rainy autumn day. “Over the last 20-30 years there are so many great choirs that have popped up in the city, award-winning choirs, chamber choirs. What makes us a little different is that most of our repertoire is the stuff that we do with the Vancouver Symphony, the really big pieces that you need a larger group to do. That’s our niche basically so we’re very fortunate with that.”

The Vancouver Bach Choir (“VBC”) is an amateur organization, meaning that people are not paid but Dala says the singers are of a very high caliber. They’re auditioned, in fact he hired three new voices earlier this week, and they join because they love to sing. “A number of people recently retired from the group in the last couple of years, some of whom had over 30 years experience singing with us.”

“Basically music is something which completely enriches our lives and the earlier that one has contact with that, exposure to that, a chance to study that, I think that’s where it can make an impact.” ~ Leslie Dala

In 1984 the Vancouver Bach Choir formed a special children’s project, to bring the benefits of singing to young people across the city. Some of the performers today have even grown up through the Vancouver Bach Children’s Chorus & Youth Choir, continuing on with the Vancouver Bach Choir. “It really is a family that has grown together.”

“It’s quite wonderful to see when everyone comes together for our Christmas concert at the Orpheum where we literally have over 400 voices on stage, from as young as 5 years old to the adults. I really cannot think of any other organization in the province that has that kind of richness to it. It’s a really wonderful thing.”

So what gives VBC its staying power? Dala says it’s a formula that includes the changing group year to year, the repertoire, and their outreach in the community. “We’re very conscious of the fact that the performing arts audience in general tends to be shrinking, so in the past few years we’ve tried to get outside of our home at the Orpheum and go out into different communities to just let people know that we are around.”

For the special anniversary season the organization is working with some crowd and choir favourites. They’ll start off on December 6th with “Christmas with the Bach Choir” with sing-a-long carols, an organ and brass quintet, and familiar, festive tunes. On December 12th they’ll perform Handel’s Messiah, which Dala says is the piece the group has done more than anything in its history.

“It’s a ritualistic concert experience, and some people go to that every year. I think for people who have never been I strongly encourage them to come because it’s quite possibly the most performed piece of classical music in existence, certainly for choir and orchestra and it speaks to that, it’s quite a magnificent piece. [Messiah] features amazing choruses, and really beautiful arias for the soloists.”

This year Simone Osborne, Canadian lyric and operatic soprano who was one of the youngest-ever winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions at age 21, will perform with VBC and it will actually be her first Messiah. Another singer who has graced stages around the world, who will also perform their first Messiah with VBC on December 12th, is baritone Daniel Coolidge.

BachChoirStatsHeading into 2016, VBC will perform Downing’s Phantom of the Opera on February 20th. They will show Rupert Julian’s dark and haunting 1925 silent film during the concert and sing a live soundtrack written by Toront-based composer Andrew Downing.

Staying true to their name, Bach’s St Matthew Passion will close out the anniversary season on March 19th. Dala says that it’s such an enormous piece that they’ll require a double choir and double orchestra. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will be joining them along with a soloist.

“St Matthew Passion is considered to be truly one of the greatest works every written in the classical canon.”

This particular piece hasn’t been performed in Vancouver for over a decade and it was chosen by the members of the Vancouver Bach Choir during a survey for this season, as opposed to its selection being made by an artistic director or small committee. “I knew I had the backing of the choir and it’s a piece that’s really important to all of us, it’s a monumental piece and a great way to cap off our season. It’s very relevant to who we are and what we do.”

Tickets and season subscriptions are now available for the Vancouver Bach Choir’s 85th anniversary season. Follow along on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

Strike a Chord Benefit for Music Heals

October 8th, 2015 @ 1:35pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s gala season in Vancouver and one of the most unique events out there is the Strike a Chord benefit for Music Heals. This special evening is filled with music (of course) and it benefits music therapy programs in our region.

MusicHealsGala2015What: Strike a Chord Benefit for Music Heals
Date: Thursday, October 22, 2015
Time: From 7:00pm to 2:00am
Where: The Imperial (319 Main Street)
Tickets: Available online now. Charitable tax receipts will be issued for a portion of the ticket price.

Strike a Chord promises a memorable evening of entertainment and special guests, fantastic food, drinks and dancing.

Last year, with performers that included Serena Ryder, Grammy winner Chin Injeti, The Matinee, and The Boom Booms, Strike A Chord raised $50,000 for local music therapy programs.

Music Heals raises money and awareness for music therapy. They have donated $250,000 to music therapy programs across Canada, with a particular focus on BC, in just their first two years in operation. These programs serve children, seniors, palliative care, burn units, autism, bereavement, dementia, rehabilitation, and more.

Win Tickets

Music Heals has generously offered up a pair of tickets for me to give away to one lucky Miss604 reader and their guest. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment filling the in blank: “Music Makes Me…” to enter to win (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win tickets to @musicheals_ca #StrikeAChord from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/TbD8b

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Wednesday, October 14, 2015. Must be 19+. Follow Music Heals on Facebook and Twitter for more information.