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Gratitude Week Vancouver 2009

October 2nd, 2009 @ 1:24pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Gratitude Week is happening the week of Thanksgiving in Vancouver and if you’ve been looking for a way to give back to your community, this campaign is for you.

At this point in my life I have so much for which I am thankful. I think the most important element that has kept me going is the kindness of others; from friends and family, and even strangers both online and off. In just over a week you can express your gratitude for even the simplest comforts in life that many of our neighbours downtown cannot enjoy. Here’s how you can get involved:

Gratitude Week October 12 – 16, 2009

  • The Gratitude Gathering
    Daily (11am – 2pm ) Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza
  • Mental Health Awareness Forums
    October 13 – October 16 (12:30pm – 1pm & 1:30 – 2pm)
    Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza
  • The Gratitude University Street Collection
    October 14, (6am – 10am)
  • The Mala Collaboration: A Social Collaboration to End Homelessness
  • Donate
    “Gratitude Week will ensure that every possible dollar donated goes directly to the renovation of two buildings in the Downtown East Side that will make a measurable contribution to End Homelessness Now. The expectation is that these projects will in the very near future transition people into a better quality of life by providing safe, clean and affordable living conditions.” The two building are Gratitude House @ 31 W Pender Street and Hotel Gastown @ 110 Water Street.

    You can read more about the Gratitude Week to End Homelessness Foundation on The Mala Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

    A Year in 5 Minutes

    October 2nd, 2009 @ 11:03am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Author Chuck Davis, who runs the ultimate Vancouver history website, has been publishing an online series called “A Year in 5 Minutes“.

    The “New” Orpheum on Granville Street – Photographer: Jack Lindsay – ITEM #: CVA 1184-2290

    Hosted over at re:place Magazine, Chuck has been highlighting one year every week starting with the incorporation of our fair town in 1886. He’s just past the 50-year mark and I thought it was worth taking a look at some of his posts to learn a bit more about how our city has taken shape.

    In the series:

  • The First Decade: Public transit, Stanley Park and water.
  • The Second Decade: Public library, Interurban and gold!
  • The Third Decade: The PNE, a building boom and war.
  • The Fourth Decade: Fire, floods and Spanish Flu.
  • The Fifth Decade: Burrard Bridge, Vancouver Airport and the Great Depression.
  • Each “Year in 5 Minutes” post packs 365 days of history in one single blog page and features photos from the City of Vancouver Archives. The series is now up to 1937 and will keep going every week (posted every Monday) until we reach present-day Vancouver. It’s definitely worth checking out especially if you love local history like I do.

    TV Talk at the Vancouver Film and Television Forum

    October 1st, 2009 @ 5:00pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I’m a big fan of television and every fall there’s a new show out there that captivates my attention, makes me laugh, and inspires my writing. We may not watch shows when their air live but being at home on the couch with my husband is downtime that I truly value. If Olivia Dunham, Sheldon Cooper, and Tommy Gavin happen join us, all the better.

    Photo credit: dailyinvention on Flickr

    Yesterday I attended the TV Talk day of the Vancouver Film and Television Forum. The first session was R.I.P. Conventional TV featuring the following panel:

    Event Link Fest: October Fest

    October 1st, 2009 @ 12:18pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I can’t believe how many events are going on around town this month, let alone the handful or so happening tonight. This week’s action-packed Link Fest features everything from music events to fundraisers, enjoy!

    Photo © To Be Inspired on Flickr / ToBeInspired.com
  • Tonight from 6:00pm – 10:00pm League of Rock members will be putting on a showcase at The Yale on Granville.
  • Liberty Wine Merchants is also hosting their Port & Chocolate event tonight at the Vancouver Rowing Club, for a cause.
  • Raw Canvas in Yaletown is hosting their anniversary party tonight.
  • Tonight is the wrap party for the Dress for Success: Dress Me for Success campaign.
  • The Vancouver Chinese Cultural Festival takes place Friday, October 2 – Sunday, October 4 at the Plaza of Nations.
  • The 5th annual Drift Art on Main Street Art Walk & Open Studio Tour takes place this weekend.
  • Yesterday Providence Health Care launched a photo exhibit at St. Paul’s Hospital. Beyond Barriers: Photographs from the Frontlines of Health will be on the rooftop garden until October 16th.
  • The next Just Singing Round event on October 6th will include even more prize giveaways including hockey tickets.
  • October 9-11 is the Fraser Valley Bead & Jewelry Show at the Cascades Convention Center/Casino.
  • Blog Action Day is October 15th.
  • The Surrey International Writers Conference is October 23-25th.
  • Food4Music is a rock concert benefiting the Langley Food Bank taking place October 17th.
  • The Society Promoting Environmental Conservation presents their Harvest Festival on October 17th.
  • There is a new meetup group in town in honor of the .tel registry. Their next meeting is October 7th.
  • October 21st there is a unique event called The Engagement which is targeted at men to educate them on how to pick the perfect engagement ring for their special someone.
  • The Adoptive Families Association of BC has just started selling tickets to their annual “Wine on the Mountain” fundraising gala. It features food and wine pairings up on Grouse Mountain.
  • The Vancouver International Film Festival opening gala is tonight as well. If you have any events you would like me to profile in my weekly link fest, please feel free to contact me.

    The Morrissey on Granville

    October 1st, 2009 @ 9:54am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    A few weeks ago I got a tour of the newly-renovated Morrissey on Granville and last night Keira and stopped in for a bit to check it out at night. The renovation of this watering hole with a loyal customer base represents far more than a design overhaul; it’s a non-pretentious, laid back, yet really cool place to grab a drink which over the last 20 years or so, was next to impossible to find on Granville.

    Photo credit: Stephen Downes on Flickr

    Anyone who has been to Vancouver knows that Granville street is a pretty interesting place. At night it’s club district is filled with short skirts, egos and testosterone-fueled spats. In the light of day, especially now that the street is undergoing a revitalization, it’s like a blast from the past. The architecture is from a different time, actually more so from various different times.

    Art Deco theatres now house night clubs or stores, while hotels from the 1920s have been turned into hostels or parking lots. Piercing shops and tattoo parlours speckle the landscape in between adult novelty stores with neon “25 cent peep show” signs. Just down the block there’s a Burger King, a Payless Shoes, and private parties for things like BC Fashion Week. This eclectic mix of old and new, posh and rough, trendy and edgy makes it an area of the city where you either go to have fun, or avoid like the plague.

    I met with the designer of the new Morrissey, Reisa Pollard, who said that the renovation was to be the antithesis of EarlStonesClub. However, it was still supposed to be friendly and welcoming to the hotel guests, as it is a part of the Ramada. A classic live venue that has hosted rock and roll acts for a pint or five, she also didn’t want to lose that part of its history. Taking an Irish-themed hotel pub and turning it into a relaxed tribute with antique highlights was definitely a challenge but I’d say Reisa and her team pulled it off.


    Morrissey - Before Morrissey - Before

    Morrissey - Before Morrissey - Before


    Morrissey - After Morrissey - After

    Morrissey - After Morrissey - After

    Morrissey - After

    The Morrissey is located on Granville between Davie & Drake, and its building – the Austin Motor Hotel, dates back to 1906. Some of the elements you’ll see out in the open, as a part of the design, are either original or throwbacks to that time period. During the renovation Reisa removed the wood paneling from the back wall and uncovered the original wallpaper and you’ll also notice band stickers on the bar stools, funky pillows, and old radios stacked up on the walls.

    Music has always been an important part of the Morrissey and they still have live performances and every Saturday night at 10:00pm they will feature current buzz bands, indie, punk, rock, electro, old school hits and rotating DJs.

    Keira and I really enjoyed hanging out there last night. The staff was friendly, helpful, and courteous, and the music was simply fun. Once a Beastie Boys song turned into Tears for Fears Keira exclaimed, “I wish they would play some Duran Duran.” I assured her that given what we had already heard that night, it was probably on tap. Sure enough the very next song was Planet Earth. I would recommend checking it out and if you do, I’d love to hear about your experience.

    2010 Canadian Olympic Team Retail Apparel Launch

    September 30th, 2009 @ 4:56pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Tomorrow afternoon the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games Canadian team retail apparel will be revealed.

    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    Hbc is once again the apparel designer of the official clothing (for both the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Teams) and they’re hosting a free public event that will feature the following:

    12:00 – 12:15 DJ Hedspin
    12:00 – 1:00 Canadian athlete autograph session
    12:15 – 1:15 Cowboy Junkies
    1:15 – 1:45 Fashion Show of 2010 Canadian Olympic Team Retail Apparel
    1:45 – 3:45 DJ Hedspin
    2:00 – 3:00 Athlete autograph session
    3:45 – 4:30 Dan Mangan
    4:30 – 5:00 Fashion Show of 2010 Canadian Olympic Team Retail Apparel
    5:00 – 6:00 Sam Roberts Band
    5:30 – 6:30 Canadian athlete autograph session
    6:00 – 7:30 DJ Hedspin

    This will all take place at the Olympic Superstore on the main/street level if The Bay downtown. I must admit, I love a free concert and although it could get pretty packed in there, it’ll be fun to see Dan Mangan and Sam Roberts perform. No tickets are necessary but you will want to arrive early to catch any of these presentations or performers.

    Update: John was down at The Bay yesterday and snapped some photos of the concerts and the new apparel.

    You can view all of his photos in this Flickr set.

    Read more about the “Red Mittens” campaign here.

    Vancouver History: Before and After Part Seven

    September 30th, 2009 @ 1:57pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I’ve stayed in over a dozen hotels this year and I must admit that I’ve only ever stayed in a Vancouver hotel once. This week’s installment of my “Then and Now series features the cornerstone of our tourism community, hotels.

    Hotel Vancouver
    The first Hotel Vancouver from the 1880s was on Georgia at Granville. The second was built at Howe and Georgia, where the TD Tower sits today. My Flickr contact SqueakyMarmot has a nice side-by-side comparison of this iteration. These images are of the third Hotel Vancouver, which is in operation today.


    Private collection – ITEM #: Hot P80


    Photo credit: maynard

    Yale Hotel
    The Yale was founded in the mid 1880s and was one of the very few buildings to survive downtown’s Great Fire of 1886.


    Photographer: Jack Lindsay – ITEM #: CVA 1184-624


    Photo credit: David Ascher on Flickr

    Sylvia Hotel
    The Sylvia has been a landmark in English Bay for almost a century. It’s great for photographing especially in spring and summer when the ivy crawls its way all over the brick exterior.


    Photographer: Stuart Thomson – ITEM #: CVA 99-2632


    Photo credit: Tyler Ingram on Flickr

    Hotel Georgia
    The famous Hotel Georgia closed its doors and began renovation/re-construction a few years ago. It hosted high profile celebrities during its 80-year run including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and Bob Hope.


    Photographer: Stuart Thomson – ITEM #: CVA 99-3998


    Photo credit: rodefeld on Flickr

    Should you have any suggestions for next week’s installment, or any photos you think would be a good fit, please feel free to contact me.

    *All photos have their item number listed so you can look them up online or in person at the City of Vancouver Archives.

    VIFF 2009 Top 5 Canadian Films to Check Out

    September 29th, 2009 @ 5:41pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    This year I will be covering the Vancouver International Film Festival rather extensively. From films to parties, I’ll have tweets, photos, and write ups about the best of the fest.


    While the city is warming up for the hundreds of films that will grace our screens starting this week, I had been flipping through my program trying to formulate a viewing game plan. I then realized that there’s someone in town that could give me the ultimate VIFF overview, and that’s Marina from Row Three.

    Marina and Row Three have been an excellent online film resource for years and in 2008 I profiled her for my weekly E!Online article. Marina also introduced me to many things including the works of Carl Bessai — an amazing local filmmaker and consistent audience-favourite. Row Three‘s coverage this year will focus heavily on Canadian film and with almost 100 movies in the Canadian Images series at the festival, it’s a hefty task that I know they’re up to.

    I sat down with Marina the other night to see what she’s looking forward to this year and to see if she’ll make it to all 40+ films she has on her own “must see” list. I asked her to name a few of her picks (and I’ve added in one of my own as well):

    The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
    Canada/UK – Director: Terry Gilliam
    This was Heath Ledger’s last film and as Marina explained to me, Gilliam thought, “It was either scrap the movie or come up with some other way to finish it.” So some of Ledger’s friends were called upon to finish this in his honor. The film sees big names such as Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell and even Tom Waits make appearances although Marina says it’s truly Plummer’s film.

    Canada – Director: Bruce Sweeney
    “I’m mostly excited about this because it’s Bruce Sweeney,” said Marina. “I’m more excited about the cast – especially Gabrielle Rose.”

    Canada – Director: Nimisha Mukerji, Philip Lyall
    I was told this film won the audience choice award at Hot Docs earlier this year and is by two Vancouver directors about their friend who has Cystic Fibrosis and uses the internet to emotionally cope with it. Marina and I both have this one on our radar.

    I Killed My Mother
    Canada – Director: Xavier Dolan
    “For must-watch Canadian films I’ve got to say it’s I Killed My Mother,” noted Marina “It’s Xavier Dolan’s directorial debut. It got a lot of attention at Cannes and it’s also Canada’s entry into the Oscar race next year.”

    Prom Night in Mississippi
    Canada – Paul Saltzman
    “A really interesting and bizarre story about a high school in small town Mississippi that still has segregated proms.” Marina says, “The film is much more poignant because you get the view of segregation from the kids’ point of view and they’re really blunt. They don’t hide anything and what’s on their mind is what they say. It just really makes you wonder — like we’re in 2009 and people still think like that.” Marina said that it would be great if you have teenage kids and the film is “really well shot”.

    I just have to also quickly mention Facing Ali by Pete McCormmack as one I’m really looking forward to seeing as well. Marina also recommended Bessai’s Cole …but I have to keep this as close to a Top 5 as possible.

    Now that you know at least five six of the films that will be playing, I’d like to give you the chance to get out and see some movies. I have two double passes to give away to any* VIFF 2009 film so if you would like to enter to win, please leave a comment and I’ll draw the winners tomorrow afternoon. Your comment can include which of the Top 5 you’re looking forward to, your own picks, or even your favourite Canadian film of all time.

    You can pick up your own copy of the festival program or browse titles online to view other titles of interest. You can also check out the Row Three podcast for reviews and info about the film scene in Vancouver.

    *Winners will be able to select form any of the films on the schedule (except galas) and this will not include films that are already sold out or that only have rush/door tickets.

    Update: I just drew Hedwig and Rich as the winners of the tickets – thanks for entering the contest, everyone!