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 http://ow.ly/F2SDi

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.

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:

LOH-004
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.

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

Vintage

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

vancouver-art-map-jazzberry

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.

saltylyon-vancouvermap

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.

1962-map

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.

orkposters-map

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

greycupparade

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 PlayNow.com 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.

Mary_Poppins_ArtsClub
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 http://ow.ly/EWP9I

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.

Lougheed Town Centre Giveaway

November 25th, 2014 @ 2:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Lougheed Town Centre is gearing up for the holiday shopping season now that Santa arrived last Saturday. It all starts with Black Friday on November 28th when doors will open at 7:00am and the first 200 people to visit Guest Services will receive a gift card up to a $200 value. Throughout the month of December, there will be live entertainment and holiday promotions to keep your spirits high.

LougheedSanta
Photo courtesy of Lougheed Town Centre

Enjoy “Feel Good Friday” lunch deals and live music from 12:00pm to 2:00pm on Fridays, entertainment from DJs, a saxophone player, stilt walking violinist, and Christmas carollers on various days from December 5th until December 21st, and a “Guaranteed Snowfall” daily at 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 5:00pm, and 7:00pm.

On Mondays (until December 15th) get free digital photos with Santa and enjoy a “shop while you wait” system so you can avoid waiting in line. Santa’s hours and photo prices are available online.

Shop at Hudson’s Bay, London Drugs, Walmart Supercenter, Sport Chek, Footlocker, H&M, Body Shop, The Children’s Place, Aldo, and over 100 other shops and services.

At any time of year you can take advantage of Lougheed’s free gift wrapping service (for gifts purchased at Lougheed), stroller/wheelchair rental, electric vehicle charging station, bottle warming station and emergency infant supplies, the family lounge, a holiday wireless lounge, children’s play area, and more.

Lougheed Town Centre Giveaway

To make the very best of your holiday shopping experience, Lougheed Town Centre is offering up a $100 gift card (valid at all retailers in the shopping centre) and a Santa Photo Package (includes a photo spend up to $25) for one lucky Miss604 reader. 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 $100 @LTCshopping gift card + Santa photo package from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/ETe1D

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Sunday, November 30, 2014. Follow Lougheed Town Centre on Twitter and Facebook for more information about their holiday deals, hours, entertainment, and special offerings. Lougheed Town Centre is located at 9855 Austin Ave in Burnaby and is accessible from the SkyTrain Millennium Line’s Lougheed Town Centre Station.