Sunshine Coast: Gibsons Landing

March 13th, 2010 @ 9:55am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I’ve profiled Gibsons, BC as a day trip destination before but having been able to take a walking tour yesterday with John, I figured it was time for an updated article about this seaside gem.

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Hopping on a BC Ferry, the 40-minute crossing to Langdale from Horseshoe Bay is a breeze.

Gibsons, BC

Vancouver 2010 Paralympics Day 1

March 12th, 2010 @ 11:28am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I had a familiar feeling this morning as the Paralympic flame looped its way around the downtown core during its 24 hour relay. Pedestrian thoroughfares, tents, displays, torchbearers, and cheerful passersby wearing red mittens. The Vancouver 2010 Paralympics Games kick off tonight with the Opening Ceremony at BC Place and the excitement among the Canadian Paralympic Committee members and their athletes is palpable.

This morning I sat in on a press conference with the Canadian Paralympic Committee as they welcomed media to the very first Paralympic Games hosted on Canadian soil. Honorable Gary Lunn, Minister of State for Sport, Blair McIntosh, Team Canada Chef de Mission, Carla Qualtrough, CPC President and Henry Storgaard, CPC Chief Executive Officer were all in attendance.

Canadian Paralympic Committee

“The hype has taken our athletes by storm,” said Chef de Mission, Blair McIntosh. The athletes were welcomed at the airport, honored at a pep rally in Whistler, and now they’ll get to march into BC Place Stadium as representative of excellence in sport for their country.

“The team is the strongest and biggest ever,” McIntosh added saying that the Canadian Paralympic Committee is projecting that Canada will finish within the top 3 countries in medal standings. Looking at the athletes’ achievements thus far, the goal doesn’t seem that far off at all. We have the defending gold medal champion Sledge Hockey team, the defending gold medal Wheelchair Curling team, a ParaAlpine team that’s had 33 trips to the podium before, and even a ParaNordic athlete who is competing in her 9th Paralympics.

Canadian Paralympic Committee CEO Henry Storgaard commented on the funding they have recently received. In past years the CPC’s budget has been about $1million – $1.8million a year to operate, which includes transportation, training, support, and research.

The Paralympics did benefit from the Own the Podium program but the biggest boost was announced a week ago in the Federal Budget. Ottawa pledged $10million over two years to the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “This establishes a new era,” said Storgarrd, calling the funding “epic”. Members of the CPC were almost moved to tears and two even hopped up to hug Minister Gary Lunn.

Canadian Paralympic Committee Canadian Paralympic Committee

Canadian Paralympic Committee Canadian Paralympic Committee

Back downtown the 24 hour relay burns on with laps through Robson Square. The torchbearers are hanging out awaiting their turn to carry the flame while public are welcome to chit chat and get photos. When the flame is passed, torchbearers are being encouraged to pose for photos with those in the crowd.

Paralympic Torch Relay

Paralympic Torch Relay

If you have some time today, head down to Robson (between Bute and Howe) to spot a torchbearer and learn their story. As I walked home I watched the flame be passed and those who had been hanging out with the receiving torchbearer cheered him on as he got his turn. There is a much more approachable atmosphere with this relay compared to the Olympics.

Paralympic Torch Relay Paralympic Torch Relay

Paralympic Torch Relay Paralympic Torch Relay

Paralympic Torch Relay

“Our athletes will shine in front of a hometown crowd,” said Carla Qualtrough at the press conference. I for one can’t wait to witness these amazing feats while I enjoy this unbeatable and everlasting Olympic and Paralympic feeling.

Get Your Photo with the Paralympic Torch

Although CTV stated that it will not be showing live coverage of the Opening Ceremony tonight, they have decided to air it live for residents of BC only. Tomorrow before Sledge Hockey kicks off as a part of their 57 hours of coverage, they will broadcast the Opening Ceremony for the rest of the country (and once again in BC).

For more information about transportation, free events, Robson Square attractions, pavilions, concerts and more, check out my Vancouver 2010 Paralympics Guide.

Donate to Win Tickets to the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics

March 11th, 2010 @ 1:37pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Robert Scales of VancouverAccess2010.com recently approached me to see if I could help run a contest to give away his tickets to the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony. Wanting to do more than simply hold a draw, Robert had the fantastic idea to also raise funds for the BC Wheelchair Sports Association.

We only have about 10 hours to run this contest in order to get the tickets to the winner on time so here’s how it will work:

  • Please visit the online donation page and contribute a minimum of $10 to the BC Wheelchair Sports Association.
  • The page will generate a list of all donors for us and from that list, a winner will be drawn at random.
  • It’s pretty much a win-win situation. A cause is supported, you learn more about the upcoming Paralympics coverage on VancouverAccess2010.com, (& Miss604.com) and someone gets to attend the Opening Ceremony with a friend — for $10.

    The ceremony will not be televised live as CTV will be taping it and airing it on Saturday March 13th.

    The contest will close at 12:00am March 12th (that’s midnight tonight) and I will notify the winner by the email they supply on the donation page. 100% of the donations will go directly to the BC Wheelchair Sports Association as they are registered with CanadaHelps.

    Thank you and I hope everyone really enjoys the excitement and amazing athletic performances of the Paralympic Games.

    Update: Due to an error with the CanadaHelps site last night we have extended the contest until 8:00am Friday March 12.

    All donations of at least $10 are contest entries and must be received through the online donation page. The winner will need to arrange to collect their tickets from Robert tomorrow, Friday March 12th, 2010. Two tickets will be awarded, valued at $370 for the pair.

    Bard on the Beach 2010 Season

    March 11th, 2010 @ 10:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Vancouver’s favourite outdoor Shakespeare experience, Bard on the Beach, will be back again this summer with a fully-packed performance schedule.

    Bard on the Beach

    My Bard on the Beach contests last year were my most popular of 2009 so I’m pleased to announce ad help promote the productions that will take place June 3rd – September 25th, 2010.

    Main Stage Tent

  • Much Ado About Nothing: June 3 to September 25
  • Antony and Cleopatra: June 16 to September 24
  • Studio Stage Tent

  • Falstaff (Henry IV, I & II): July 1 to September 22
  • Henry V: July 14 to September 24
  • Special Events

  • Bard Explored: June 26, July 17, August 7 & 14
  • Forum: Shakespeare at War: July 12
  • Bard-B-Q & Fireworks: July 21, 24, 28, 31
  • Celebrating Red & White: August 14
  • Opera & Arias: La Bohème: August 30 & September 6
  • Tickets are $35.50 (evenings) and $18.75 to $29.50 (previews & matinees). Shows July 1st to September 25 are $38.00 (evenings) and $20.00 to $31.50 (previews & matinees). Tickets go on sale this coming Monday, March 15th and it would be best to plan your summer events now as shows often sell out.

    Old Gastown Meets New Technology

    March 10th, 2010 @ 4:51pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The Gastown Business Improvement Association founded the Gastown Blog in the summer of 2009 to breathe some new life into this historic community. With daily features, history lessons and business profiles, it’s a one-stop source for Gastown information.

    Over the last few weeks the Gastown Blog launched an initiative to put QR codes on old buildings where passers-by can scan the code and call up a post from the blog about that building. Ray Kanani, who worked on the project, explains in this video:

    Your smartphone’s camera acts as a scanner while processing the symbol, which looks like a scrambled bar code. The QR code contains information that can be accessed with an iPhone or Blackberry application, instantly calling up a webpage with Vancouver Archive photos and historical facts about the building.

    QR Codes & the Gastown Blog

    You can find these QR code stickers on over 20 buildings in Gastown and they’re hoping to expand. If you happen to walk by a building with the QR code sticker in the window, give it a try and learn more about the neighbourhood. The QR code technology is still pretty new to Vancouver (although it was developed in 1994) and it’s currently widely used in Asia.

    Gastown BIA
    The Gastown Blog
    QR Code Generator
    QR Code Application – ScanLife (Free on iTunes)
    QR Code Application – QuickMark ($0.99 on iTunes)

    SFU Wins Spread the Net Challenge

    March 10th, 2010 @ 12:12pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I was at Simon Fraser University last September for the launch of the Spread the Net challenge and it was a pleasure to be back to hear the announcement that they were the winning school.

    The challenge was to see which school across Canada could raise the most in support of Spread the Net’s mosquito net campaign with UNICEF. On Monday I sat down for a chat with campaign co-founder, Rick Mercer who is the host of CBC’s The Mercer Report. We chatted about SFU’s victory and how social media played a role.

    You can listen to our conversation by clicking on the player below:

    Rick Mercer at SFU for the Spread the Net Challenge Rick Mercer & Me

    Rick Mercer at SFU for the Spread the Net Challenge

    Kudos to SFU’s UNICEF Club and all SFU students for a job well done raising $16,000 this school year. The Spread the Net Challenge will kick off again next fall however you can still learn more, donate or participate anytime, online.

    Spread the Net
    UNICEF Canada
    The Mercer Report
    2009 Spread the Net Launch at SFU
    Trish’s blog post about the event

    Background music on the audio recording is by Spoon.

    24 Hour Paralympic Torch Relay

    March 10th, 2010 @ 8:30am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay will arrive in Vancouver March 11th and make a 24-hour loop around downtown until the Opening Ceremony March 12th.

    Olympic-ified City

    Robson Square, with the relay looping around Howe, Georgia, Granville, Smithe, Bute and Robson

    2:00pm March 11th until 2:00pm March 12th, 2010

    Robson Square will host live entertainment as well as sponsor activities, sport demos and cultural craft displays. You will be able to skate for free on the ice rink and the free zipline will open up again March 12th at 10:00am.

    YES! Vancouver Philanthropy Workshop

    March 9th, 2010 @ 3:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Y.E.S! Vancouver (Young Executives for Success) is hosting a workshop March 23rd featuring panelists that will discuss how philanthropy fits into their lives.

    Stand Up! Leveraging Business Knowledge & Personal Passions
    Panelists include Chris Breikss of 6S Marketing Inc., Heather White of 2020 Communications, Judy Brooks of Blo, and philanthropic leader Matt Hill of Run for One Planet. The moderator will be Katrina Carroll-Foster, Co-Founder of Y.E.S! Vancouver and owner of WiseWinston.

    I’ve had the opportunity to speak at a Y.E.S! event before so I can say that this networking group is inspiring, motivated, and probably some of the friendliest local executives (and small business owners) you’re likely to meet in one place. They also have a longstanding partnership with the non-profit, Dress for Success.

    Dress for Success (DFS) Vancouver is a registered Canadian Charity that provides low income women with professional attire, career development tools and a network of support to help women thrive in work and in life.

    Tickets for this event, taking place at the OPUS Hotel, may be purchased online for $20 (Y.E.S! member price), $40 (non-members), or $120 (membership sign-up & admission).

    You can find out more about Y.E.S! Vancouver on Facebook or Twitter.