Extra Helping Holiday Food Drive

Monday, November 19th, 2012 — 7:34pm PST
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Thanks to the year-round efforts of campaigns like Five Hole for Food, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (and food banks across Canada) stay top of mind. It’s during the holidays however that the pinch is felt the most for many and food banks really need your help to keep the shelves stocked. Real Canadian Superstore is making it as convenient as possible for you to give, helping those who could use the support this season.

extra-helpingOn November 23, the Extra Helping™ Holiday Food Drive kicks off in Metro Vancouver, BC and across Canada. Until December 13, 2012, you can make a donation at any Real Canadian Superstore, noFrills and Extra Foods store by bringing nutritious, non-perishable food items to drop into the in-store Extra Helping donation bins, or by making a cash donation at the check-out. Donations made within Metro Vancouver will stay in Metro Vancouver helping ensure neighbours are helping neighbours.

Participating stores will also be selling a specially designed $5 PC Blue Menu Deluxe Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese Dinners for $5. This box will equal 4 food items and a $1 donation. Just pay for it at the check-out and drop it in the Extra Helping donation bin on your way out.

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society helps 27,000 individuals each week, 26 percent are children. Food distribution is up this year but food donations are down. In British Columbia, the most needed, non-perishable items include: canned proteins such as fish and meat, meals in a tin like hearty stews, dry whole wheat pasta, rice, canned fruit and vegetables, meals in a box, macaroni and cheese, whole grain cereal, granola bars, baby food and formula.

Find a participating store location online and check out the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Surrey Food Bank, Share Society (Tri-Cities), and the Richmond Food Bank to learn more about upcoming campaigns in your area. You can also make food bank donations at the Vancouver and Surrey Santa Claus parades on December 2nd.

White Christmas: Arts Club 2012

Monday, November 19th, 2012 — 3:09pm PST
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John and I were having brunch the other day and I said how much I am looking to the holiday season — especially holiday theatre season. “Bundling up, walking down chilly streets, salted sidewalks crunching under our feet, meeting under the Stanley Theatre marquee and watching White Christmas.” He replied: “That’s such a Vancouver comment — the crunch of salt, not snow, on the sidewalks.” John has a point but regardless of whether Vancouver has snow this winter, there will be a White Christmas at the Arts Club from November 29th to December 23rd, 2012.

The cast of the Arts Club Theatre Company’s 2009 production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical. Photo by David Cooper.

“Oh, Vermont should be beautiful this time of the year, with all that snow!” White Christmas is based upon the Paramount Pictures film written for the screen by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, and Melvin Frank with Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin.

Performances will be Tuesdays at 7:30pm, Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm. Tickets are $29 to $85, inclusive of taxes and fees. Book your tickets by calling the box office at (604) 687-1644 or by making an online purchase. The Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage is located at 2750 Granville St, at 12th Ave.

I have a pair of tickets to give away to opening night, December 5, 2012. 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 see White Christmas @TheArtsClub from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/fq9NQ

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Monday, November 26, 2012. Follow the Arts Club on Facebook and Twitter for more information throughout the season. Update The winner is Kathleen!

Hope in Shadows 2013 Calendar

Monday, November 19th, 2012 — 11:29am PST
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The 10th anniversary Hope in Shadows Calendar is now available on the streets of Vancouver. The calendar serves many purposes but its two main features are to showcase the photography of low-income residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside community and also provide training to vendors who are all from the community.

Hope in Shadows Cover 2012
2010 Hope in Shadows cover. See more previous images on Flickr.

The Hope in Shadows calendar sells through our vendor program, which offers low-threshold sales work for people impacted by poverty and marginalization. By attending a basic sales training session, low-income people are licensed to sell the Hope in Sahdows calendar on the streets of Vancouver. Vendors get one free calendar to get started and make $10 profit for every $20 calendar sold. We train over 200 vendors every year.

I usually get my calendar from Catherine who has been posted outside Waterfront station in previous years. In 2010, she told me that she suffers from depression and severe anxiety and that getting out to sell the calendars is a highlight for her each year.

Last year Paul Ryan, Project Director at Hope in Shadows, 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.

You can find a street vendor at most major intersections in Vancouver, on the West Side and Downtown, outside SkyTrain stations and in other high-traffic areas.

The Hope in Shadows Book is also available. Co-published by Pivot Legal Society and Arsenal Pulp Press, it is a collection of personal stories behind some of the stunning contest photographs that have been published in the calendars. The book has now sold more than 5,000 copies on the streets of Vancouver. In 2011, they also sold a record-breaking number of calendars — over 14,000!

When you make your purchase you’re not only getting a calendar that features local photography, you’re supporting the vendors and making a difference in our community. Follow Hope in Shadows on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about this project.

Burnaby Village Museum Heritage Christmas 2012

Monday, November 19th, 2012 — 9:49am PST
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It was on this day in 1971 that the Burnaby Village Museum (then Heritage Village) was officially opened by Governor General Roland Michener. Aside from seasonal activities, it’s a year-round attraction where you can learn about Burnaby’s history, take a ride on the heritage carousel, and check out the old Interurban.

For the holidays, the Burnaby Village Museum is hosting a Heritage Christmas.

Photo credit: Ruth and Dave on Flickr

The Village is illuminated this festive season with spectacular displays of lights that are sure to put you and your family into the holiday spirit! Lights in our parking lot are a teaser of what’s to see inside. Delight in the shimmering Winter Wonderland near the Love Farmhouse, an Angel-Crossing at the bridge, a Holiday Lane and be wowed by the gigantic multi-coloured Christmas tree sparkling near the carousel. Eco-sculptures, adorned with shining holiday lights, are out of their winter hibernation and along the edge of the meadow.

Stop by November 24th to December 14th, 2012 daily from 12:00pm to 4:30pm and December 15th, 2012 to January 4th, 2013 between 12:00pm and 9:00pm. The village will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Admission is free and carousel rides are $2.30. Follow the Burnaby Village Museum on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Central Park New York Photowalk

Sunday, November 18th, 2012 — 9:44am PST
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In Vancouver, Stanley Park is a close to a “Happy Place” as I can find. Forest trails, hidden creeks that come alive after a rain shower, and sweeping views of the North Shore. It’s full of life but it’s peaceful at the same time. So, when I come to New York, I always go for a stroll in Central Park (which is actually just a tad smaller than Stanley Park).

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View of Central Park from the Top of the Rock

We entered from the south, off West 59th, and went past the outdoor ice rink, which is apparently the largest of its kind on the East Coast. Grey squirrels dashed around among fallen leaves and toppled trees, which appeared to be victims of Superstorm Sandy’s winds just a few weeks ago. It’s a little-known fact that Stanley Park’s grey squirrels originated from New York. In 1909, eight pairs of grey squirrels were given to Vancouver from New York, for Stanley Park.

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My mother and I are in New York all week and since she’s never been to the Big Apple, I knew we had to start out with a walk in the park. There’s so much to see, you get a sense of the city (with a healthy mix of locals and tourists) and it’s absolutely free.

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View the rest of my photos (and the photos still to come this week) on my Flickr account and follow me on Instagram for mobile pics.

Bright Nights in Stanley Park 2012

Friday, November 16th, 2012 — 1:58pm PST
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Bright Nights in Stanley Park return for the 15th year to illuminate the forest with holiday cheer. Benefitting the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, the miniature railway and surrounding area have been transformed into a festive wonderland fit for Santa and his elves.

Bright Nights in Stanley Park 2012

New this year is extended weekend hours with Bright Nights staying open until 11:00pm. Matinees are also being offered Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays in December from 11:00am to 3:00pm.

Funds raised through the donations bins on site all go directly to the Burn Fund, which provides life saving, life supporting and life enriching services to the people in BC. This year the Burn Fund is also encouraging visitors to bring food items and baby supply donations (formula, diapers) for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.

Bright Nights in Stanley Park will be open from November 29, 2012 until January 1, 2013; Sundays to Thursdays 3:00pm to 10:00pm, Fridays and Saturdays 3:00pm to 11:00pm, along with the matinees.

Admission is $10 (adults 18-64), $7 (children & youth 3-17), free (children under 3 years), $6 seniors (over 65), and $5.50 for just the matinee train (all ages).

Advance tickets are available at Ticketmaster by calling 1-855-985-5000 or going online. Same day tickets available, starting November 29th, at the on-site Miniature Railway Box Office in Stanley Park from 12:00pm, (604) 257-8531.

If you would like to enjoy Bright Nights in Stanley Park with your friends and loved ones this year I have 4 family packs of tickets available (that each contain 4 tickets). Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment naming your favourite outdoor holiday activity (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win 1 of 4 family packs of tickets to @BrightNightsVan from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/fmjE2

I will draw 4 winners at random from all entries next Friday, November 23, 2012 at 12:00pm. Follow Bright Nights on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

Update The winners are @AngieQuaale, Michael Kwan, Monique, Coby.