Book Giveaway: Live at the Commodore

December 17th, 2014 @ 1:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

If I was Miss Sheilds from the beloved holiday film A Christmas Story I would legitimately give Aaron Chapman’s new book Live at the Commodore an “A Plus-Plus-Plus-Plus…!” It arrived by courier last week and I immediately sat down to read it.

I didn’t budge as the sun crossed through the sky and the hours passed. I pulled out my sticky notes and began marking off my favourite lines and references so I could bring them up later when gushing to John about the book. I would read a passage, close the book, and hold it to my chest — just like the fictional teacher who read Ralphie’s theme — then open it again to read more.

Live at the Commodore by Aaron Chapman

“Who’s playing tonight?”

What made the book so brilliant? I felt as though I was reading what could easily be turned into a moving and captivating Ken Burns documentary about Vancouver’s entertainment history.

Live at the Commodore starts out “Once Upon a Saturday Night”, telling the tale of Granville Street, then moves into a chronological history of how the Commodore Ballroom came to be, how it thrived, how it almost died, how its doors were shut and opened again as chapters of music history in Vancouver were written.

I went from imagining my Oma and Opa out dancing on a Saturday night (which they did in the 1950s) to looking at legendary rock photographer Bev Davies’ photos of D.O.A., some of the founders of hardcore punk. I learned about Drew Burns and the place where a who’s-who of music greats — like The Police, The Clash, Blondie, Talking Heads, Nirvana, New York Dolls, U2, Tom Waits, and the White Stripes — took the stage.

1930 – Commodore Ballroom. Archives# CVA 99-3855.

In Live at the Commodore, Aaron Chapman (author of Liquor, Lust, and the Law, a bestselling history of Vancouver’s Penthouse Nightclub) delves into the Commodore’s archives to reveal stories about the constellation of characters surrounding the club over the last 80-plus years, as well as startling, funny, and outrageous anecdotes about the legendary acts that have graced its stage. Filled with never-before-published photographs, posters, and paraphernalia, Live at the Commodore is a visceral, energetic portrait of one of the world’s great rock venues.

If you enjoy reading about Vancouver, history, music, and can appreciate some pretty rocking photography, pick up your copy of this untold story of Vancouver’s rock ‘n’ roll landmark for $28.95 online or look for it in your local book store.

Win a Copy of Live at the Commodore

I received my review copy of the book from the publisher Arsenal Pulp Press and I have another to give away to a lucky Miss604 reader to enjoy. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment naming the best concert you’ve ever seen in Vancouver (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a copy of #LiveAtTheCommodore by @TheAaronChapman from @ArsenalPulp + @Miss604

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Monday, December 22, 2014. Follow Arsenal Pulp on Twitter and Facebook for more information about their BC titles and follow author Aaron Chapman on Twitter.

Vancouver Christmas Cats of Instagram

December 17th, 2014 @ 11:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Two things that I, and most of the internet-using population around here, love dearly are cats and Vancouver — a reason why we recently hosted an Internet Cat Video Festival and funded a Cat Cafe. As such, during this busy holiday season I thought I would spread some lighthearted cheer by introducing some incredibly adorable local cats of Instagram who have plenty of Christmas spirit:

Photo credit: Hayley Bouchard on Flickr

Vancouver Christmas Cats of Instagram

Found using this #CatsOfVancouver tag, elliot_sheldon is one well-behaved feline in this Christmas card-worthy pose:

A photo posted by @elliot_sheldon on

Scout of TheScoutChronicles is a very social cat, sending out Christmas cards to many friends on Instagram who also posed with their cards:

A cat in a sweater – a Christmas sweater – courtesy of Jiro_Boo:

While it’s not Christmassy per se — and I have no idea how they did it — but BestFriendsPetCareVancouver got this little one to not only wear a hooded sweater but also stay in it long enough to snap this photo:

A pet food and supply store on East Hastings, LongLiveCatsandDogs recently featured Ritchie in a festive Santa hat:

A photo posted by @longlivecatsanddogs on

The Vancouver Canucks get a mention for their BCSPCA and cat-themed Christmas cards this year including this photo of Kevin Bieksa and a kitten:

A photo posted by Vancouver Canucks (@canucks) on

Gary of HisNameIsGary is the only cat I actually follow on Instagram. He had me hooked ever since he appeared in a Yoda costume and this Santa Claws getup is just as good:

A photo posted by Gary (@hisnameisgary) on

Finally, while not all cats they feature are local, the popular CatsofInstagram account is actually run by Erin Filtness of Vancouver and it’s the go-to Instagram cat photo account for more than half a million people worldwide:

I don’t have a cat but you can follow me on Instagram anytime @Miss604.

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival

December 17th, 2014 @ 10:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Celebrate the 21st annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival on December 21st in three Vancouver communities. Presented by the Secret Lantern Society and Artistic Director Naomi Singer, this free family event (with some ticketed attractions) will illuminate the longest night of the year.

Tonight in Vancouver: The 17th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Photo credit: Rikki / Julius Reque on Flickr

These are festive celebrations of the human spirit expressed through art and music, enjoy a night of spirited fun with lanterns, fires, singing, drumming, music and dancing.


Join a last minute lantern workshop in any of the three celebration locations. Lanterns can be made in as short as 30 minutes. While supplies last.

Granville Island: A last Minute Lantern workshop will be held on Sunday December 21, 2014 at the False Creek Community Centre (1318 Cartwright St) from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Drop in and make a simple lantern ($10 each) to carry in the procession that leaves at 6:00pm.

Yaletown: Drop into the Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews) and make a simple lantern ($10 each) to carry in the procession that gathers in David Lam Park at 6:30pm.

Chinatown: Drop into the Strathcona Community Centre (601 Keefer St) from 4:00pm to 6:00pm and make a simple lantern ($10 each) to carry in the procession that leaves at 6:00pm.


Granville Island: Meet at 6:00pm at Leg-In-Boot Square, Granville Island Triangle Square, or H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. The 3 processions converge on Granville Island and are greeted by the traditional torch-lit Song Of Welcome by The Vancouver Morris Men. The Carnival Band, Bloco Energia and the Rhythm Spirit Drummers then join forces to lead everyone over to Ron Basford Park where Radiant Heat weave their fiery magic atop the hill and a giant fire sculpture of the rising sun lights the darkest night.

Yaletown: Meet at 6:00pm at Cooper’s Park, Emery Barnes Park, or the Vancouver Aquatic Centre. These three lantern processions are led by the drums of Tege Fo Collective along the seawall as well as through historic Yaletown to converge in David Lam Park where they are welcomed by the traditional English music and dance of the Tiddley Cove Morris Dancers and a spectacular fire performance by The Vancouver Fire Collective.

Chinatown: Meet at 6:00pm at the Strathcona Community Centre and join a lively lantern procession led by the drums of African Crossing through the streets of Strathcona for a magical evening at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (578 Carrall St).

Indoor Performances

Granville Island: After the processions pop into the False Creek Community Centre (1318 Cartwright St) from 7:30pm to 9:30pm for hot chocolate and live music and dancing with Star Child Drum Group, Hot Club of Pluto, Rhythm Spirit Drummers and Odette Slater. Experience the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance and Welch Border Dances by The Vancouver Morris Men, who have been part of this festival for the entire 21 years. Learn about the celestial facts of winter solstice with Community Astronomer Bill Burnyeat in the amazing inflatable Canadian Planetarium, while being serenaded by the award-winning violin of Michael Burnyeat. Look for the roving Mistress of Ceremonies and Ritual Historian Shaughna Born (in the top hat) to tell you the sometimes bloody and epic stories ancient peoples told to explain the loss of the light.

Yaletown: After the Yaletown processions pop into the Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews) from 7:00pm to 10:00pm for a variety of indoor activities starting with the Opening Welcome at 7:00pm by Master of Solstice Ceremonies Ari Lazer. Performers include the Git Hayetsk Dancers, Kira Schaffer of Firebelly Performance Society, Kathleen Forrester, Orkestar Slivovica, Jacky Arrah Yenga and more.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Following the Chinatown procession, meet at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (578 Carrall St) from 6:00pm to 10:00pm to celebrate the Chinese winter solstice, dong zhi, which marks the rebirth of the yang qualities of light and energy. The Garden will be filled with lanterns created by artists Joey Mallett, Yoko Tomita, Jacquie Rolston, Naomi Singer and Secret Lantern Society volunteers. Tickets are $5 per person or $10 for a family (at the door) or online in advance, plus fee. Make your own simple lantern decorated with bird images with artists from the Secret Lantern Society in the Scholar’s Study for $3. Featured performers include the energetic jazz of the Brad Muirhead Quartet, the wild drums of African Crossing and the thrilling rhythms of Uzume Taiko.

Labyrinth of Light

Labyrinth of Light: From 6:00pm to 10:00pm at Performance Works on Granville Island and 6:00pm to 11:00pm at the Roundhouse in Yaletown.

Labyrinth of Light
Photo credit: Jack on Flickr

Created with over 700 pure beeswax candles, the winter solstice labyrinth invites you to warm yourself in a self-guided ceremony intended to help release old attachments and envision new possibilities as the darkest night of the year births a new season. Hosted by Helene Bolduc, with crystal bowl toning by Christine Paton.

Purchase Labyrinth of Light tickets online and select your exact visit times. Everyone who gives a donation or purchases a ticket to one of the labyrinths will receive a solstice button.

Follow the Secret Lantern Society on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

Christmas Lights in Vancouver

December 16th, 2014 @ 11:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Growing up in Surrey, one of my favourite Christmas memories was when our whole family would bundle up and pile into our van for a night of Christmas light hunting. First things first, we’d stop somewhere to pick up hot chocolate that would warm our mittened hands, and then we’d always head to New Westminster to check out the homes near Queen’s Park. “Oohs” and “Ahhs” from our lips fogged up the back windows as brilliant heritage homes dazzled with the most impressive light displays that just got better from year to year.

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden
VanDusen – Photo credit: Ann Hung on Flickr

Christmas Lights in Vancouver

If you’re on the hunt for twinkling light displays around the Lower Mainland, here are some of your best bets:

Attractions- Paid

Bright Nights in Stanley Park (by donation), Festival of Lights at VanDusen Garden, Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Bear Creek Park Christmas Train.

Christmas at Jack Poole Plaza
Jack Poole Plaza – Photo credit: Zorro1968 on Flickr

Attractions – Free

Burnaby Village Museum, Jack Poole Plaza Christmas Tree, Surrey City Hall Christmas Tree and Central City Plaza, Dundarave Festival of Lights, St Paul’s Hospital Lights of Hope, Spirit Square, Town Centre Park’s Lafarge Lake and the Inspiration Garden in Coquitlam.

Christmas on the Beach ~ West Vancouver, BC
Dundarave – Photo credit: SeaSide Signs ~ Vancouver, BC on Flickr

Residential Christmas Light Maps

Local news organizations crowdsource the best residential light display information each year to put into interactive maps. Check out the Vancouver Sun and News 1130 for those helpful tools. The Now has a guide posted for Surrey and Delta as well.

Chimp Charitable Giving Giveaway

December 16th, 2014 @ 10:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Chimp a local Vancouver company that empowers people and organizations to manage and amplify their charitable impact.

Used by individuals, groups, companies, and charities, Chimp allows you to host an online account from which you manage donations to your favourite charities or give the gift of a cause neutral charitable contribution to friends, family, and colleagues.

How Chimp Works

When you deposit money into your Chimp account, you receive a tax receipt immediately. The funds can then be given away or simply saved to give another day. If you’re familiar with charitable lingo, your Chimp Account is like your own private foundation, or you can think of it as a savings account for charity.

You can give to any registered charity in Canada with Chimp, and you can choose whether you wish to remain anonymous. You can also support a group that’s raising funds for a good cause by contributing to their Giving Group.


Give the gift of giving. Send a friend a gift of charitable dollars through Chimp, and let them decide the recipient. Your friend does not need to have a pre-existing Chimp Account; they’ll receive a personalized invitation to claim your gift, and can give it through Chimp to whatever cause they care most about.

Chimp lists every registered charity in the country and they display public data (from the Canada Revenue Agency) for each organization on our Charity Pages. This helps users research their giving options, and learn more about organizations working in their area of interest. Charities will receive any gift a Chimp user makes to them through Chimp. They don’t have to sign up to receive this money.

Chimp’s customizable and automated matching technology makes it simple for companies to empower employees, customers, and community members to give to what they care about. Companies can match contributions to personal Chimp Accounts, or they can match any gift to a charity or Giving Group they want to support.

How I’ve Used Chimp

I had funds in my Chimp account which I recently used to contribute to my Covenant House Sleep Out campaign, which raised over $4,100 for their work with at-risk youth in Vancouver.


I simply logged in, clicked on “Give Money”, found Covenant House Vancouver on the list of charities, and within a few more clicks of the mouse the funds were off.


Until December 31, 2014 another local company, Hootsuite, is covering fees on gifts to charities. This means that more of the money you give through Chimp goes to the charity of your choice.

Chimp Charitable Giving Giveaway

I have $80 in my Chimp account right now that I will be giving away to a Miss604 reader, to empower them to support the cause of their choice. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment (1 entry) with the name of the cause you would support (optional)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
Support the cause of your choice! RT to enter to win $80 in a @wearechimp account from @Miss604

You can use your gift to support any registered Canadian charity via Chimp and $80 can go a long way with many organizations, providing meals and supplies for dozens of people, or you can pay it forward and help a friend who currently has a donation campaign going for a charitable fun run or event. There are many possibilities!

Follow Chimp on Twitter and Facebook for more information about their powerful giving tools. I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Thursday, December 18, 2014. The winner will receive the $80 prize via a direct Chimp account in their name for which they can then use to support the cause of their choice.

White Spot Christmas Day Lunch

December 16th, 2014 @ 9:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The White Spot Christmas Day lunch for charity is back again this year as management and staff at two locations continue a decade-long tradition of donating their time, tips and proceeds to the Richmond Hospital Foundation and Variety – The Children’s Charity.


White Spot Christmas Day Lunch for Charity

The Kingsway Vancouver and Richmond Centre White Spot restaurants will serve legendary classics – such as award-winning Legendary burgers, Spot Classics, pastas, salads and ribs – in support of two local charities. Last year, the restaurants raised more than $16,000, and hope to set a new record this year.

Where: Richmond Centre (Unit 1902 – 6551 No. 3 Road)
When: Wednesday, December 25, 2014 from 11:00am to 3:00pm
Cause: Richmond Hospital Foundation

Where: Kingsway (1476 Kingsway at Knight Street)
When: Wednesday, December 25, 2014 from 11:00am to 3:00pm
Cause: Variety – The Children’s Charity

Since the Christmas Day Luncheon’s inception, more than $160,000 has been generated for a good cause. Follow White Spot on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date on their latest menu offerings and promotions.

10 Vintage Ski Photos From Local Vancouver Mountains

December 15th, 2014 @ 3:54pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

For decades the North Shore mountains have been a playground for locals and visitors, especially during ski season. Grouse Mountain had one of the first double chairlifts in the world when it was constructed in 1949, Mount Seymour has been enjoyed since 1938, and Mount Strachan & Black Mountain make up the popular Cypress Mountain Ski Area that was in the spotlight during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Thanks to the City of Vancouver Archives, we can catch glimpses of what skiing (and ski equipment) on the North Shore has looked like over the years.

10 Vintage Ski Photos

Vintage Ski Photos Vancouver
1940: View from Mt. Seymour. Archives# CVA 586-123. Steffens-Colmer Studios Ltd.

1940: Skiing on Mt. Seymour. Archives #CVA 586-116 & CVA 586-119 & CVA 586-114.

1929: Grouse Mountain. Archives# CVA 99-2002 & CVA 99-2000. Stuart Thomson Photos.

1940: Mt. Seymour. Archives# CVA 586-122.

1929: Grouse Mountain. Archives# CVA 99-1994 & 1940: Grouse Mountain. Archives# CVA 586-117.

1920: Grouse Mountain. Archives# CVA 99-1989. Stuart Thomson Photos.


Of course I can’t leave out that epic Empire Stadium ski jump:

1958: Empire Stadium Ski Jump. Photo: Leslie F. Sheraton. Archives# 2008-022.007.

Vancouver Photos of the Week

December 15th, 2014 @ 1:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Christmas time in Vancouver means ice skating at Robson Square, checking out the lights in Stanley Park, getting shopping done on your favourite retail street, and spending times with loved ones at Canyon Lights, VanDusen Garden, or enjoying a holiday show. Here are just a few of the photos that have been shared with the Miss604 Flickr Pool and #Photos604 on Instagram as locals enjoyed the city this week:

Vancouver Photos of the Week

mind the gap Leaf mountain
Photo credit: Lisa Nixon & Ruth Hartnup on Flickr