The Miss Guides

August 3rd, 2009 @ 8:51am (PT) by Guest Author

The following guest post was contributed by Amanda Coolidge.

This summer the heat is on (literally!) in the arts world of Vancouver and to add to the ever-growing repertoire of fabulous artistic events in the city, are The Miss Guides – a Vancouver-based artist collective.

TMG at The Harbour Centre TMG at The Harbour Centre1
April Smith & Peter Davies of AHA MEDIA on behalf of W2 Community Media Arts

Featuring Natalie Doonan, Katherine Somody, and Sean George, The Miss Guides lead performative urban walks, uniquely blending historical tour with performance art. Their current hour-long walk, Walking the Ruins: Fragments of Vancouver, is “rooted in the idea of Ruins as ‘fragmentary remains,’ and attempts to piece together conflicting visions of the city by making unexpected connections between four diverse and surprising sites of past- and present-day ruin. From breath-taking attractions, such as Harbour Centre’s The Lookout, to contentious projects like the new Canada Line, The Miss Guides turn their lens on a city gearing up for international pageantry.”

TMG in Graffiti Alley1
April Smith & Peter Davies of AHA MEDIA on behalf of W2 Community Media Arts

This alternative sightseeing experience is not to be missed by both locals and tourists, and provides an opportunity to rediscover the city through a creative approach to urban space.

TMG in Graffiti Alley
April Smith & Peter Davies of AHA MEDIA on behalf of W2 Community Media Arts

Although all performances/walks are sold out, The Miss Guides are offering private walks for the same price. Gather 6 – 8 friends for $20 each (includes the $13 admission to Harbour Centre) and enjoy an evening of walking through the city through narrative and performance art. You never know what you may discover in the Vancouver urban space!

For more information you can visit, follow them on Twitter @TheMissGuides, or join their Facebook group.

Amanda Coolidge is an Educational Technologist at BCIT and freelance writer/photographer based in Vancouver.

Cloverdale Flea Market

July 31st, 2009 @ 1:00pm (PT) by Guest Author

The following guest post was contributed by Naomi and Ryan of to be, inspired.

I’ve been going to the Cloverdale Flea Market for the past 10 years. It’s located right next to the Cloverdale Horse Track and costs a dollar to get in – totally worth it. If you like to people watch, this is the place for you.

Photo credit: Naomi & Ryan on Flickr

There’s a fantastic mix of all sorts of sellers trying to unload their wares – I’ve seen everything from old motorcycles to antique sewing machines, although the selection has shrunk a bit since I started going. In the Spring and early Summer months you’ll find a ton of bedding plants, hanging basket plants and any type of bushes and tree roses for almost half off regular retail prices. You’ll also find that the flea market is split into two sections. The outdoor section consists of anybody and everybody that buys a table and brings whatever they can haul in their cars. I’ve been lucky in the past – you just need to have a sharp eye. Some of the things I’ve managed to snag are:

  • 1/4 cello for 25 bucks
  • holga camera for 10 bucks
  • vintage filing cabinet from the 1940′s for 25 bucks
  • vintage fire extinguisher from the 1950′s for 20 bucks
  • vintage black rattan bag with gold hardware and braided chain strap for 5 bucks
  • vintage pyrex teacups with matching dishes for 5 bucks
  • The second half of the flea market is inside two buildings. Here you’ll find more of the “regular” sellers who sell a carefully edited selection of trinkets like glassware, watches, cellphone things (yawn) and other more fragile products.

    Don’t forget to bring cash! If you do, there is a bank machine next to the concession stand. Don’t forget to haggle – that’s the best part, and as the flea market season progresses, I’m trying to hone my skills. The only piece of advice I have is to respect the seller’s item and don’t low ball an offensive price. If the seller really wants to sell you the item, you can make an offer and if he doesn’t accept it, just walk away slowly. I’ve had sellers run after me and say FINE FINE I’ll accept your offer.

    Flea markets can be hit or miss. You can spend hours scouring the tables, rummaging through bins of trinkets and still come up empty handed. The Cloverdale Flea Market is no exception, however this summer I seem to be having a lot of luck finding fun and unique items. There’s nothing more satisfying than coming across that gem.

    Cloverdale Flea Market
    Cloverdale Fairgrounds
    60 Avenue & 176 Street
    Every Sunday (except special events and holidays)

    Naomi and Ryan share a passion for all things old and the inspirations you can draw from them. Through their blog, to be, inspired, they explore (with a vintage twist): design, style, decorating, refinishing and other cool stuff both locally and globally.

    Caribbean Sunrise

    July 31st, 2009 @ 8:30am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    After so many sunsets with John on the West coast, we enjoyed our first Carribean sunrise together this morning (and I’m not referring to the drink). We went on a mini photowalk down to the beach to capture this breathtaking sight and we’ll be back again later today to enjoy some of that sun, surf, and sand.

    Punta Cana Sunrise Punta Cana Sunrise

    Feets Seaweed

    Punta Cana Sunrise

    Took several shots on different settings

    I couldn't pick which photo was my fave


    Sand and Seaweed

    Punta Cana Sunrise

    The resort is absolutely wonderful, even though we’ve only seen about 20% of the entire property so far. I’ll be exploring later today and look forward to trying out more of their cuisine (and perhaps a drink from the swim-up bar in the pool).

    Resort Villa Resort Villa

    Since I couldn’t decide which sunrise photos to post (of the 9 I have uploaded) you can view the rest of my photos on Flickr and John has a set up as well.

    Gone Fishing

    July 30th, 2009 @ 3:25pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    This afternoon John and I landed in the Dominican Republic for a quick (albeit work-related) trip.

    Just checked in... our Royal Service suite

    It’s my first time ever in any place considered tropical so it’s completely captivated me. The sights, the aromas, the sounds, and the instant humidity fogging up my camera lens. We’re in very good hands at the resort so I’ll have a full write-up upon our return but for now, check my Flickr stream for photos. I’ll have most of my trip updates in the form of photos over the next while — and boy I can’t wait to walk over and see that beach.

    Punta Cana

    I would like to say a big Thank You to all those providing guest posts this week, there’s more interesting and unique content to come over the next few days.

    BC Day Long Weekend 2009 – Close to Home

    July 30th, 2009 @ 1:00pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The August long weekend is notorious for beach blanket parties, backyard barbecues, and swimming in lakes, however if you’re sticking around town here are some fun-in-the-sun activities to keep you entertained.

    Photo credit: qousqous on Flickr
  • Saturday, August 1st is Ridge Meadows Heritage Day.
  • China takes to the skies with their pyrotechnics as a part of this year’s Celebration of Light on Saturday, August 1st. China always impresses so this finale of the series should be one awesome sight.
  • Vancouver’s Pride Society hosts one of the most exciting festivals of the year as Pride Week sees movie nights, art exhibits, fundraisers, concerts, fashion shows, and of course the Pride Parade. The officially designated Vancouver Pride Day is Sunday, August 2nd and at noon the parade will begin to march (and dance) across 20 blocks downtown in front of 500,000 spectators. You can view a list of street closures here but it would be a good idea to take transit or walk that day.
  • The Gastown Farmers Market kicks off this Sunday, August 2nd at 10:00am and will run until 3:00pm. Check out for information on all regional farmers markets.
  • Sunday, August 2nd is also the Jamaican Festival out in Surrey at Holland Park. They’ll have reggae music, a cricket clinic, tug of war, boblsed racing, and a ton of delicious food (and I also recommend trying the smoothies).
  • On Monday, August 3rd Fort Langley is hosting their BC Day Festival from 10:00am – 4:00pm.
  • July 31 – August 2nd celebrate Squamish Days. You can even follow @squamishdays on Twitter for news and updates.
  • July 31 – August 2nd is also the 60th annual Spirit of the Sea festival in White Rock. “A variety of events span more than 2 kilometers along the waterfront overlooking the silver beaches of Semiahmoo Bay.”
  • This Saturday and Sunday it is also the 32nd annual Powell Street Festival. It is the longest-running community festival in the Lower Mainland and will feature Japanese Canadian arts, culture and heritage through dance, music, film and video, visual arts, martial arts demos, amateur sumo tournament, craft vendors, traditional displays, and of course, tons of scrumptious Japanese food.
  • And a quick reminder that across the province there is also the BC Cultural Crawl. Check out their site for arts and culture event listings around BC.
  • If you have a community event that you would like to promote, please feel free to leave a comment on this post or contact me anytime.

    The Streets of Port Moody

    July 30th, 2009 @ 9:00am (PT) by Guest Author

    The following is a guest post contributed by Amber Strocel of

    I have lived in the Port Moody area for a little over 6 years. My children were born here, and our family is happy to call this place home. As we head into the BC Day long weekend I thought I would do a little digging and learn more about the history of Port Moody, which is intertwined with the history of British Columbia.

    The mainland colony of British Columbia was created in 1858 following the discovery of gold on the Thompson River. With prospectors flooding in from the United States, Governor James Douglas wanted to exert British control over the region. A colony was established and Lieutenant-Governor Richard Moody was appointed to oversee the creation of a capital city. New Westminster was chosen because it was considered easier to defend than Fort Langley, where the colony of British Columbia was originally declared. It fell to Moody to build the city of New Westminster with the Royal Engineers under his command.

    Spring Street in Port Moody
    The backstreets of Port Moody today.

    In addition to establishing the capital the engineers, or sappers, built roads connecting the city to other regions. One of those roads was North Road, linking New Westminster to Burrard Inlet. The terminus of the road was named Port Moody, for Lieutenant-Governor Richard Moody. The road was meant to provide a supply route from military ships docked in Burrard Inlet to the capital at New Westminster. When their work was complete the Royal Engineers returned to England in 1863. However most of the sappers elected to stay, and they received land grants of 150 acres as compensation. John Murray and three others chose to receive land in Port Moody, although John Murray was the only one of the four who ever actually lived in the community.

    Things changed quite suddenly for Port Moody in 1879 when the town was named as the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Over the next few years land speculation became rampant and a town site was laid out. Murray’s son, John Jr., named the streets. He chose patriotic names such as Elgin Street for the Governor General of Canada and Queens Street for Queen Victoria. He also chose the names of family members. Jane Street was named for his mother, Kyle Street for his brother-in-law, Mary Street for his sister and Hugh Street for his brother. Clarke Street was named for his father’s partner Captain James A. Clarke and Murray Street was named for the whole Murray clan.

    Railroad tracks
    Railway line running through Port Moody.

    St. John’s Street and St. George Street actually received their names due to clerical errors. The streets were meant to be John Street for John Murray Sr. and George Street for John Jr.’s brother-in-law. However, for some reason instead of writing ‘John St.’ or ‘George St.’ on the survey he wrote ‘St. John’ and ‘St. George’. The result is the saintly names Port Moody residents are familiar with today. Rumour has it that when Vancouver archivist J.S. Matthews learned the street name he said, “Johnny Murray was no saint.”

    Sadly for the land speculators their gamble in Port Moody didn’t pay off. Although the first Trans-Canada train pulled into Port Moody in 1886 the rail line was extended to Vancouver in 1887. Land values plummeted back to earth and fortunes were lost. Many investors were quite upset and went so far as to launch lawsuits, which were not successful. And so rather Vancouver became the largest urban centre in the province and Port Moody did not. The streets, however, still bear the names of the people who built the community and had high hopes for the region.

    This post was written by Amber Strocel, who contributes to along with her husband, Jon. Their blog highlights news and events in and around Port Moody and the Tri-Cities. You can also catch up with Amber’s musings on life and parenting at

    BC Cultural Crawl 2009

    July 29th, 2009 @ 9:36am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The 8th annual BC Cultural Crawl kicks off this weekend from Barkerville to Victoria, Cranbrook to Comox. The goal of the cultural crawl is to highlight community art events around our province which are happening every day throughout the month of August.

    Here’s a sample lineup of events happening across the province on BC Day, August 3rd:

    Filberg Festival Photo: Keira-Anne

    Bard on the Beach
    Nelson Art Walk
    Bard to Broadway
    Stinking Fish Studio Tour
    Filberg Festival
    ArtsWells Festival
    Harmony Arts Festival
    Squamish Days
    BC Cultural Crawl
    MusicFest Vancouver

    Check out the Van Dop Arts & Cultural Guide to British Columbia for a complete calendar and regional listing of events.

    Container Gardening with Atlas Pots

    July 28th, 2009 @ 5:12pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Growing your own garden, beautiful flower beds, or cultivating that perfect shrub can be rewarding, especially if you don’t have much room to work with. Vancouver’s downtown “shoebox” living spaces make it difficult for green thumbs to live out their passions however it can be possible — even if you have the smallest of patio spaces.

    Photo credit: jorge zapico on Flickr

    I’m giving away a free container gardening consultation from Atlas Pots. They are a family business that knows all there is to know about container gardening, from fiberglass and fibercrete, to terrazzo. Seeing as how the snow last winter finally did in what little balcony garden John and I had, I’m assuming others out there might be in the same boat especially with this summer’s heat.

    In this one-hour consultation from Atlas they will examine your growing space and give gardening advice. In particular they will focus on container gardening advice, such as which planters are best for which plants and space, suggestions on what plants to include, etc. Adding to that, the winner of this contest will also receive a $150 gift certificate to spend at Atlas to get their garden up and growing.

    To enter to win this prize (valued at $250 total), please leave a comment on this post outlining what you’re currently growing (or would like to be growing). If you can fit all of that into a Tweet, you can @AtlasPots and @Miss604 to enter to win as well. Bonus points (meaning an extra entry) if you already have a container garden, which you’d like to improve, and you post a photo of it to the Miss604 Flickr group.

    Update, August 17, 2009: I have drawn the winner of this giveaway and it is Susan Main. Congratulations, Susan & thank you for entering.