Video Games Live in Vancouver 2012

Friday, August 3rd, 2012 — 11:47am PDT
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Video Games Live, the world’s largest and most successful video game concert, is returning to Vancouver this fall. It’s a symphonic orchestral experience, mixing music from some of the greatest video games of all time.

Photo courtesy of Video Games Live

Creator and producer Tommy Tallarico (world-famous video game composer) has put together segments that range from Final Fantasy and Zelda to Pokemon and Warcraft. His music evokes memories from first Nintendo box to tickling your ears with today’s modern sounds — from Earthworm Jim to Mass Effect.

This all-ages show has been described as: “All of the power and emotion of a symphony orchestra, combined the energy and excitement of a rock concert, mixed together with all of the cutting edge visuals, technology and fun that video games provide.”

The Video Games Live tour will start off in Toronto on October 25th and makes its way across the country, stopping at the Orpheum in Vancouver for one night only on November 6, 2012. Tickets are currently on sale starting at about $40.

I have a pair of tickets to give away as well, here’s how you can enter to win your way into this unique experience:

  • Leave a comment naming your favourite video game of all time (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win tickets to @VideoGames_Live from @PMconcerts & @Miss604

Follow Video Games live on Twitter for more information. I will draw one winner at random from all entries next Friday, August 10, 2012 at 10:00am. Update The winner is Sean Hagen!

Cloverdale Blueberry Festival 2012

Friday, August 3rd, 2012 — 9:54am PDT
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Blueberries are now in season and you can head out to local growers to pick up baskets full of these plump, sweet, juicy, and healthy morsels grown right in BC. This Saturday, Surrey’s Cloverdale community will be hosting their 9th annual Blueberry Festival in celebration of this boisterous berry that can be paired with salads and ice cream or devoured by the handful on their own.

Out on a limb
Photo credit: amerzzw on Flickr – Submitted to the Miss604 Flickr Pool.

On Saturday, August 4, 2012 from 9:00am to 5:00pm there will be a variety of events in downtown Cloverdale, at Clover Village Square, the Surrey Museum Plaza, and more. Festivities will take place between 176th and 180th Streets, and 60th Ave and Highway 10 and a free shuttle bus will run from venue to venue.

blueberries blueberries
Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Events include the Surrey Show and Shine, a blueberry pie eating contest, BMX demos, pancake breakfasts and BBQs, an art festival at the museum’s plaza, an antique tractor pull and more. The Cloverdale Blueberry Festival is absolutely free to attend but you’ll want to bring your wallet so that you can get your fill of sweet summer bites.

CanadaFest at Canada Place: Queen-A-Gram

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 — 4:00pm PDT
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Canada Place is introducing CanadaFest on their promenade this Saturday, August 4th. The goal of this new, free, family-friendly festival is to celebrate all things Canadian along with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. While Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II cannot be in attendance at CanadaFest, those who stop by the festivities can enter to win a prize fit for a royal.

Locate the Queen-A-Gram photo-booth at CanadaFest and snap a photo of yourself with a life-size cutout of the Queen. Post it to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or all three and mention @CanadaPlace & #QueenAGram in your post. You’ll automatically be entered in a draw to win an amazing trip for two to Victoria valued at over $1,700.

For those who cannot make it to Canada Place for CanadaFest on Saturday, post a photo of yourself doing your best regal wave with the caption: “Hi to everyone attending CanadaFest at @CanadaPlace on August 4th. #queenagram”. You will receive a bonus entry into the Victoria getaway contest. All Canadians (at age of majority in their province) are eligible.

The fabulous grand prize (compliments of Tourism Victoria) includes a two-night stay at the Fairmont Empress, transportation to and from Victoria with Pacific Coach, whale watching with Eagle Wing Tours, tickets to the Victoria Symphony, passes to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, buffet breakfast at the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour, sight seeing tour with Big Bus, passes to Adrena LINE Zipline Adventures.

CanadaFest will take place from 11:00am to 7:00pm on Saturday, August 4, 2012 in and around Canada Place in downtown Vancouver. is a proud media partner of CanadaFest at Canada Place.

Vancouver Parks Mobile Application

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 — 2:04pm PDT
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The Vancouver Park Board launched a park-finding app for iPhone earlier this year. This free application allows you to locate a park on a map and click to see its amenities and facilities.

Vancouver Parks App Vancouver Parks App Vancouver Parks App

One feature I would love to see is a search by amenity. For example you could click on an icon and see all off-leash parks. Another would be integration with Google Maps so that you can get directions to a park.

A few weeks ago I asked Jason Watson, Communications Coordinator for the Park Board, about possible updates. He said that since the app launched in January they have had hundreds of downloads each month however, they are unsure if they’ll move ahead with a 2.0 version.

In the meantime, it’s a decent tool for quick park information (if there is a park near you, if it has a pool, etc.) You can also download the free Metro Vancouver iParks Explorer App for park listings and information around the entire region.

Vancouver Icons: Kitsilano Pool

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 — 11:04am PDT
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Like moths to a flame, bathing-suit clad bodies flock to the Kitsilano Pool as soon as the summer sun starts to shine. It’s a bright blue beacon of warm weather recreation at one of the city’s most popular beaches.

Photo credit: ecstaticist on Flickr

Kits Pool
Photo credit: Carolyn Coles on Flickr

1931 – Construction laying out Kitsilano Pool. Archives item# Be N51.1.

In 1931, Percy Norman looked out from the rocks of Lighthouse Park across to Kitsilano and decided he had to swim across. No one knows if he had attempted the route before, but that year he led 40 intrepid swimmers across the chilly waters to commemorate the opening of the original Kitsilano Pool. All made it. [Vancouver Open Water Swim Association]

Kitsilano Pool Tranquility IMG_1733
Photo credit: keepitsurreal & zemistor on Flickr

Photo credit: zemistor on Flickr

showboat and wakeboard event-1 showboat and wakeboard event-8
Photo credit: Ariane Colenbrander & Ariane Colenbrander on Flickr

Over the years the pool has hosted stunts, fire drill displays, Olympic trials, and the long-running Kitsilano Showboat. Set up along the south side of the pool, the showboat – now in its 75th year – hosts free entertainment (weather permitting) with performances running until August 17th this year.

Kits Beach March 22, 2009
Photo credit: RyAwesome on Flickr

Kits swiming pool at sunset
Photo credit: JamesZ_Flickr on Flickr

Kitsilano Beach at Dusk
Photo credit: Duane Storey on Flickr

The Kitsilano Pool swim schedule usually runs from Victoria Day until the second week of September.

Other Vancouver Icons posts include: White Rock Pier, Main Post Office, Planetarium Building, Lord Stanley Statue, Vancouver Library Central Branch, Victory Square, Digital Orca, The Crab Sculpture, Girl in Wetsuit, The Sun Tower, The Hotel Vancouver, The Gassy Jack Statue, The Marine Building, and The Angel of Victory. Should you have a suggestion for the Vancouver Icons series please feel free to leave a note in the comments. It should be a thing, statue, or place that is very visible and recognizable to the public.

Protect Against Mosquitos Naturally

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 — 9:49am PDT
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A warm but soggy summer so far has proven to be the perfect incubator for pests with officials now warning of mosquito bites. With the words “West Nile Virus” showing up in subsequent headlines this week, I’m certain many are scooping up their bug repellent.

Deep Cove forest, North Vancouver
Photo credit: Scapevision on Flickr

Closing our eyes and spraying blindly, we’ll cough through clouds of chemicals to remain bite-free. However, I knew there had to be natural solutions available so I went to the first source that came to mind: David Suzuki’s Queen of Green. Here are Lindsay Coulter’s tips:

Protect Against Mosquitos Naturally

Create a mosquito-unfriendly home
Think about all the non-toxic things you can do to keep mosquitoes away. Chemical and synthetic ingredients in bug sprays often don’t break down in the environment so they linger and can cause harm to plants and animals, other than mosquitoes.

  • Remove standing water (mosquito breeding grounds) — refresh bird baths.
  • Fill, cover or remove backyard items that collect water — empty planters, kids’ toys, wheelbarrows, etc.
  • Keep your rain gutters clean to help rainwater flow freely.
  • Repair screens on doors and windows.
  • Keep grass to about three inches and trim shrubs.
  • Attract mosquito eating chickadees, house wrens, bluebirds, swallows, and martins with birdhouses or bird baths.

Make yourself unattractive to mosquitoes
Go fragrance-free. Mosquitoes love scents in soaps, lotions, shampoos, perfumes and laundry detergent.

  • Cover up with long sleeves, long pants and socks.
  • Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks. Tuck your kid’s pants into their socks for extra protection.
  • Take a bug net or bug shirt camping. It will keep you sane.
  • Try herbal repellents with essential oils of citronella, cedar, eucalyptus, lemongrass or peppermint. They can be safe for use on children (but not on babes under two).

Avoiding DEET is recommended as it is a registered pesticide. Get outside and enjoy all that British Columbia has to offer and protect yourself from bites using one of Lindsay’s suggestions. Follow her on Twitter @DavidSuzukiQoG and download the David Suzuki Foundation’s Bugs Off Guide.