Staying at the Westin Portland

November 25th, 2014 @ 11:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Our first trip to the Rose City in September was successful, despite the outcome of the soccer match we were in town to support. We walked to Providence Park for the aforementioned game, took the Tri-Met Max streetcar to Washington City Park, the Japanese Gardens, and the International Rose Test Garden. Craft beer was enjoyed along with food truck fare, pub favourites, French bistro brunches, and tax-free shopping. Of course every successful trip needs a solid home base and ours was at the Westin Portland.

Staying at the Westin Portland

We pulled up to the front on Southwest Alder Street, sent the car away with the friendly valet, and were greeted by the Westin’s sweet white tea aroma as we opened the double doors into the lobby. On the right, the contemporary Lobby Lounge’s tall windows illuminated the regal space filled with gold and blue furniture, wood-panelled walls and a corner I made note of for later where we would sip cocktails.

Westin Portland

Westin Portland Westin Portland Westin Portland

After checking in with the front desk, and hearing about their Green Choice option that lets you decline housekeeping for a day in exchange for points or vouchers for the hotel’s Daily Grill restaurant, we made our way up the elevator to our Studio Suite.

Westin Portland Westin Portland Westin Portland

The room was bright and spacious, with a decor that mixed textured fabrics, metals, and warm colours. On one side the fluffy and inviting Heavenly Bed, and on the other a sitting area where an orchid leaned gently over a thoughtful bottle of bubbly that had been delivered for John’s birthday — the real reason for the trip, the soccer match, and the experience of the new-to-us city.

Westin Portland

The bathroom was stocked with amenities, from cotton swabs and conditioner to a loofa by the bathtub, which was next to the rain shower stall. The desk in the room had every plug and hookup we could have asked for right on the table top so that we didn’t have to go digging around on the ground and behind furniture to find an outlet.

Westin Portland

The room looked out on one of Portland’s famous food cart pods located between SW Alder, SW Washington, 9th Ave and 10th Ave where dozens of food trucks served their street-side fare, giving us inspiration for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Being so comfortable, and with every amenity we required, we could have stayed in the room longer than we did each day, lounging in our robes in the morning while planning our next move in the city.

Westin Portland

While it was tempting to lay in the pillowy soft comfort of the signature Westin Heavenly Bed from sunrise until sunset, the Westin Portland’s location was ideal for starting out on foot to explore the city or to loop around the block and purchase a $5 streetcar day pass from a kiosk on the sidewalk that could take you all corners of the city.

This boutique Westin felt luxurious without being over the top to the point where amenities and technology seemed superfluous — it also reminded us of staying at the Magnolia Hotel in Victoria, which we adore.

Coming Up in Portland This Season

It’s safe to say that Portland is so hot right now. Everyone wants to experience its culinary culture, craft beer scene, arts, and much more so if you’re planning a trip to Portland this season, here are some upcoming holiday events:

The Westin Portland is also offering a holiday shopping package that includes a $50 Nordstrom gift card for each night you stay, with rates starting at $239/night and complimentary 4:00pm checkout. Visit their offers page online for details.

Westin Portland

Follow Travel Portland on Twitter and Facebook along with the Westin Portland on Twitter and Facebook for more information about visiting Portland this season.

Disclosure: cmp.ly/1

This is not a paid post. Views are my own. We paid for our room with a discounted media/review rate.

Holiday Open House at Township 7 Vineyards

November 25th, 2014 @ 10:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Township 7, the local vineyard and winery known for its community events and of course its tasty wine selection, is hosting two open houses at its Langley and Naramata locations in December.

Holiday Open House at Township 7 Vineyards

Township 7

Penticton

Where: Naramata Bench/Okanagan Valley Wine Shop 1450 McMillan Ave, Penticton
When: Saturday, December 6th, 2014 from 11:00am to 5:00pm
Details: The Okanagan wine shop is surrounded by 7 acres of vines on the picturesque Naramata Bench with views of both Lake Okanagan and Skaha Lake.

Visit Township 7 and the other charming businesses and galleries in Penticton as they ferment a holiday tradition like no other. Enjoy a full day of fun at Township 7’s annual Christmas Open House celebration and enjoy festive goodies while they light up the vines. The holiday celebration will have wine tastings, treats from My Chocolate Crush, special holiday gift packages, and live Christmas music by Misty Knol. Pick up the perfect presents or gift cards stocking stuffers for your wine enthusiast friends and family, then head to Downtown Penticton for the 17th Annual Santa Claus Parade & Christmas Light Up.

Langley

Where: 21152 16th Ave (at 212th St) in Langley
When: Sunday, December 7th, 2014, 11:00am to 5:00pm
Details: Celebrate the holiday spirit in wine country — without leaving the city — at Township 7’s South Langley winery. There will be wine tastings in the cozy barrel cellar tasting room, handcrafted treats by White Rock Chocolates, special holiday gift packages, and live Christmas music.

This event is also a fundraiser in support of the Langley Christmas Bureau. Bring a new unwrapped gift for donation to the charity and receive a complimentary wine tasting.

Follow Township 7 on Facebook and Twitter for more information about self-guided tours, wine seminars, fundraisers, the community grape harvest/stomp, and winemaker dinners.

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

November 24th, 2014 @ 1:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Up in the crisp North Shore mountain air, with the aroma of evergreens and a rushing river below, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park will light up with thousands upon thousands of twinkling lights for the 9th year of Canyon Lights. Featuring the world’s tallest living Christmas tree, a 250 year old Douglas-fir standing at 46.4m (152 feet) tall, Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge offers a festive experience for families from near and far.

Canyon Lights on Bridge
Photo credit: Capilano Suspension Bridge on Flickr

Canyon Lights

The entire Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, including the Cliffwalk and the Treetops Adventure, will sparkle amongst the trees. Warm up in the comfort of the new Winter Pavilion with a cup of hot chocolate and a gingerbread cookie, do a scavenger hunt around the historic park, and sing along with carollers.

Canyon Lights will take place Saturday, November 29, 2014 through to Saturday, January 3, 2015. The park will be open from 11:00am to 9:00pm daily with holiday activities from 4:00pm to 9:00pm. Closed on Christmas Day, December 25th. Admission is $65.00 for a family (two adults, two children – includes memberships for BC residents) or $31.95 for adults, $12.00 for children (6-12).

Partial proceeds from admission will be donated to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. Capilano Bridge will also continue hosting its Twelve Nights of Christmas for local charities including Canuck Place, Special Olympics BC, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, North Shore Neighbourhood House, Easter Seals and Kids Up Front.

Canyon Lights Giveaway

Once again this year I have an awesome prize package up for grabs that includes:

  • A family Pack of passes to Canyon Lights (2 adults, 2 kids)
  • Four hot chocolates
  • Four baseball caps
  • Two Capilano Suspension Bridge umbrellas

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 #CanyonLights prize package from @CapSuspBridge & @Miss604 http://ow.ly/EOhMR

I will draw one winner on Friday, November 28, 2014 at 12:00pm. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is located at 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver. Follow on Twitter and Facebook for more information about Canyon Lights and year-round activities.

Hope in Shadows Calendar 2015

November 24th, 2014 @ 11:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The 2015 Hope in Shadows calendar is now for sale and you can scoop one up from your local vendor, located on a bustling street corner in Vancouver.

buy-calendar

There are a few layers to the Hope in Shadows project, starting with the photographs that go in the calendars. Hope in Shadows, based in the Downtown Eastside, grew out of the work of a group of Pivot Legal Society volunteers who began working with the Downtown Eastside community in 2000 and in 2003, Pivot hosted the first Hope in Shadows photography contest in 2003.

“Single-use film cameras were distributed to people in the neighbourhood. Participants took pictures of their friends, their families, and the places in the community that mattered most to them. The top photos became the first Hope in Shadows calendar. From the very first year, the community was eager to get involved with the project, and since then Hope in Shadows contest participants have captured over 30,000 images of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Winning photos are chosen by a panel of artists from inside and outside of the community, and through a community vote. Contest winners and photo subjects are invited to share the stories behind the captivating images, and a selection of winning images is featured in the annual calendar.”

Hope in Shadows 2010
In 2010, Catherine sold me a calendar outside Waterfront Station.

The Hope in Shadows calendar is then sold through our vendor program, which provides opportunities for residents to earn an income, gain and practice skills, and act as ambassadors for their community. Every season, Hope in Shadows works with over 200 low-income people who sign up to sell the calendar. Vendors earn $10 dollars for each $20 calendar sold. Since the first calendar was published in 2003, vendors have sold over 75,000 copies.

I spoke with Project Director Paul Ryan a few years ago and he told me that selling calendars is a stepping stone for a lot of people. “It helps them gain self-esteem and build confidence. It’s a way that they can feel good about earning money again.” Some of the vendors use the program to compliment a low-income for their household as well, especially with the holidays around the corner.

A full list of vendor locations is available online including high traffic areas in Downtown Vancouver, Granville Island, and a few spots in Victoria, BC. You can also purchase a calendar online. Follow Hope in Shadows on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

8 Vintage Vancouver Cake Photos

November 24th, 2014 @ 10:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

There is a deep appreciation for delicious delicacies, decadent treats, and comforting home-cooked fare in Vancouver, from sashimi and Canadian caviar to vegan ice cream, donuts and gooey cheeseburgers. One sweet indulgence is cake, of all shapes and sizes, that our talented local pâtisseries and bakeries serve up for special occasions and everyday delights. Here are a few foodie-worthy photos of cakes that have been devoured throughout Vancouver history:

8 Vintage Vancouver Cake Photos


1932: Burrard Bridge cake. Archives# CVA 99-2723. Photographer: Stuart Thomson.


1937: Premier Pattullo cutting his birthday cake. Archives# CVA 371-1768.

1946: Margaret McNeil and Vancouver Diamond Jubilee cake. McNeil was the first caucasian child born in the City of Vancouver when it was incorporated. Her birthday cakes were always grand, and shared with the city. Archives# LP 129.


1945: Margaret McNeil’s birthday cake. Archives# LP 180.


1947: Vancouver Board of Trade 60th Anniversary cake presented by the Hotel Vancouver. Archives# Port P1814.03.


1950: Dal Richards 10th anniversary at Hotel Vancouver Panorama Roof. VPL# 81255. Studio: Artray. & 1966: New Westminster centennial cake. VPL# 44556. Studio: Province Newspaper.


1947: Famous Players 25 year cake. Archives# CVA 1184-1904. Photographer: Jack Lindsay.

View more photos from the archives…»

Black Friday in Metro Vancouver

November 22nd, 2014 @ 9:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Take our turkey-fuelled Boxing Day deals, amp them up, drive up the discounts, offer them before Christmas, and you have the shopping phenomenon south of the border known as Black Friday. The day after American Thanksgiving is all about deep discounts and deals at retailers of all sizes and you can now find this holiday shopping experience at several local shopping centres around Metro Vancouver.

escalator
Photo credit: James Butler on Flickr

Black Friday in Metro Vancouver

Metropolis at Metrotown
Starting at 7:00am on Friday, November 28th, Metropolis at Metrotown will be offering amazing deals and promotions to shoppers throughout the weekend with over 125 participating retailers. Door crasher specials will be available until 10:00am and early bird shoppers can enter to win gift card prizes starting at 7:30am via the touchscreen kiosks located at Customer Service and Atrium Court. Customers can access the mall through the entrance closest to Customer Service Ground Level, near Target, which will open at 5:00am. All other mall entrances will open at 6:00am.

Coquitlam Centre
List of retailer deals and specials on the Real Deals page (coming soon). Coquitlam Centre is giving away $5,000 in gift cards in their Get spotted on Black Friday promotion. Open Friday, November 28, 2014 from 9:00am to 10:00pm.

Lougheed Town Centre
Doors open at 7:00am on Friday, November 28th. Be one of the first 200 people to visit Guest Services at 7:00am and receive a gift card up to a $200 value. Enjoy live entertainment from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. View the list of deals online.

Guildford Town Centre
Starting Friday, November 28, 2014 at 7:00am, enter to win a $25,000 shopping spree. List of retailer deals and specials available in this PDF.

London Drugs
check out flyer deals starting Friday, November 28, 2014 and special same-day shipping service for online purchases made by residents in Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond and Surrey. Customers can also order online and pick up in-store at any of London Drugs 78 locations in Western Canada within two hours of ordering.

Shop West 4th
In association with Kitsilano 4th Avenue Business Association, look for merchant deals and discounts appearing on the Shop West 4th website on Thursday, November 27th for Friday, November 28th.

Hunter & Hare’s Black Friday sale is November 28th to November 30th at 334 West Pender Street, 11:00am to 7:00pm daily. All sale clothing items will be priced from $5 – $30, and they will be refreshing the floor daily with new pieces.

Pacific Centre and Richmond Centre
Open 7:00am to 9:00pm on Black Friday, November 28, 2014 with retailers offering a wide variety of sales and promotions like in-mall “fashion spotting” on Black Friday rewarding shoppers with gift cards just for being stylish.

Win Tickets to the Vancouver Giants Teddy Bear Toss Game

November 21st, 2014 @ 2:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Vancouver Giants embody hockey with heart, especially with their annual Teddy Bear Toss which supports the CKNW Orphans Fund and The Province Empty Stocking Fund.

Vancouver Giants Teddy Bear Toss

vancouver giants logoOn Saturday, December 6th, as Vancouver takes on Saskatoon, fans are encourage to bring a new, unwrapped stuffed animal to the game and will throw them to the ice when the Giants score their first goal. Stuffed animals will also be available for purchase in the concourse.

Tickets for the game are available now starting at under $20! Purchase online, by phone 604-4-GIANTS (604-444-2687), or at the Pacific Coliseum box office. The Giants also have great ticket packages available for families.

If you would like to attend Teddy Bear Toss night, I have two ticket four packs to give away. Bring your friends, bring the family, have a great night out with hockey in support of two great local causes. 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 tickets to the @WHLGiants #TeddyBearToss game from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/EH4uV

I will draw two winners, who will each get a four pack of tickets, on Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 12:00pm. Follow the Vancouver Giants on Twitter and Facebook for more information about games, team news, and community events.

Things to do in Vancouver This Weekend

November 20th, 2014 @ 7:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Before American Thanksgiving, Black Friday, the Grey Cup Festival, and the cracking open of advent calendar windows (or beer boxes) we have a very full second-to-last weekend in November to enjoy. Here’s what you can get up to in Vancouver this weekend before the holiday rush begins.

The Winter Sun
Photo credit: Conrad Olson 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 21, 2014
Sponsored by Miss604: Late Night Movie at the Rio Theatre
Adoptive Families Association of BC Gala
Beaujolais Nouveau 2014 at Heritage Hall
Artist Talk: Shimabuku
Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week[End]
Alicia Tobin’s Come Draw With Me
West Coast Christmas Show and Marketplace, Abbotsford
The Secret Case of Sherlock Holmes, Langley
Handmade for Littles Pop-up Shop
Christmas at Hycroft
18th Annual Eastside Culture Crawl
Pacific Theatre: Subway Stations of the Cross
The Arts Club: Avenue Q
The Cultch: Broken Sex Doll
Studio 58/Langara College Presents One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Movies: Crime Fest at the VIFF Vancity Theatre
Hopscotch – Whisky, Beer, Spirits Festival

Saturday, November 22, 2014
Sponsored by Miss604: Surrey Tree Lighting Festival
Dunbar Holiday Craft Fair
Artisan Holiday Show
21st Annual Art For Life Art Auction & Gala
Edmonds Festival of Lights
Theatre Replacement: Jet Set Art Auction Fundraiser
Tasting Plates Coffee Crawl
An Afternoon with Miss Vickie
Burnaby Art Gallery: Art Sale and Fundraiser
Median Charity Craft Fair
Refresh Winter Market
Bakers’ Market, Moberly Arts and Culture Centre
The Original 007 James Bond Tribute Party: “Die Another Day”
CandyTown in Yaletown
MEC Snowfest Vancouver
Vancouver Winter Farmers Market at Nat Bailey Stadium
Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry | 9th Annual Fundraiser for Potluck Café Society
Vancouver Jewish Book Festival
Vancouver Christmas Market Opens
Handmade for Littles Pop-up Shop
Christmas at Hycroft
The Secret Case of Sherlock Holmes, Langley
Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week[End]
West Coast Christmas Show and Marketplace, Abbotsford
18th Annual Eastside Culture Crawl
Pacific Theatre: Subway Stations of the Cross
The Arts Club: Avenue Q
The Cultch: Broken Sex Doll
Studio 58/Langara College Presents One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Movies: Crime Fest at the VIFF Vancity Theatre
Hopscotch – Whisky, Beer, Spirits Festival

Sunday, November 23, 2014
Canuck Place Pose with a Purpose
Panago Random Act of Pizza
Blim Market
Fluid Framers Filmmaker Series: Ben Russell
Salvation Army Fill the Kettle – Celebrity Kettle Kick-Off
Random Acts of Romance and Lucille’s Ball Double Screening at the Rio
River District Craft Fair
Britannia Library Film Screening: Death in Venice
Handmade for Littles Pop-up Shop
Christmas at Hycroft
The Secret Case of Sherlock Holmes, Langley
Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week[End]
West Coast Christmas Show and Marketplace, Abbotsford
18th Annual Eastside Culture Crawl
Vancouver Jewish Book Festival
Vancouver Christmas Market
The Arts Club: Avenue Q
Studio 58/Langara College Presents One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Movies: Crime Fest at the VIFF Vancity Theatre
Hopscotch – Whisky, Beer, Spirits Festival

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.