Name the Translink Electronic Fare Card

October 13th, 2010 @ 2:00pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

London has the Oyster and Hong Kong has the Octopus… what will Vancouver have?

In 2007 I wrote a post about a lack of fare options (or rechargeable electronic fares) for visitors and residents alike, such as the Charlie Card that I saw in Boston.

It looks like Translink has finally caught up with the trend as they’re planning to introduce an electronic re-loadable fare card for 2013. They are also currently looking for public input about the project and hosting a naming contest for the cards.

You may submit your suggestions through the online form or via text message (text CONTEST, your name, and your idea to 77777). The naming contest winner will get an iPad, and in 2013, the winner will also receive an electronic fare card loaded with a year of free transit.

You can check out more of Translink’s latest ideas and provide your input during one of their Transportation Fairs this month:

  • Saturday October 16 at Creekside Community Centre in the Olympic Village, 1 Athletes Way, Vancouver
  • Sunday October 17 at the Executive Plaza Hotel, 405 North Road, Coquitlam
  • Saturday October 23 at the Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre, 13458 – 107 A Avenue, Surrey
  • All Transportation Fairs run from 10:00am until 3:00pm. Participants will be eligible to win a monthly FareCard (one drawn each hour) and the grand prize – a year’s free transit – will be given away after the last Transportation Fair on October 23rd.

    I’m not sure how the naming of the cards usually work (eg. I have no idea how they came up with Oyster for London) but I’m curious to see what people will submit for the name of Metro Vancouver’s fare cards.

    Homelessness Action Week 2010

    October 13th, 2010 @ 11:10am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The 5th annual Homelessness Action Week is happening right now in Vancouver with the goal of increasing awareness about the issue, finding solutions, and taking action.

    Actions that you can take include learning about the causes of homelessness, adding your voice to the discussion and call to action, and volunteering in the community.

    Events this week include:

    October 13th, 11:00am – 2:00pm
    The Gathering Place (609 Helmcken St)
    Event will provide services for the homeless including meals, hair cuts, foot care, basic medical care, bike repair and more.

    October 14th, 1:00pm – 5:00 pm
    Broadway Youth Resource Centre’s 11th Annual Open House (691 E Broadway)
    The celebration coincides with Homelessness Action week so they are asking those attending to bring a non-perishable food item, or a pair of new socks.

    October 15th, 10:00am – 3:00pm
    Vancouver Homeless Connect (151 W Cordova St)
    Event will provide services for the homeless including meals, hair cuts, foot care, basic medical care, bike repair and more.

    You can fill out an online survey to inquire about volunteer opportunities or stop by one of these events. You can also help year-round by supporting organizations such as the Union Gospel Mission, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, and Covenant House.

    The Great Big Boo in Metro Vancouver, Win Tickets

    October 13th, 2010 @ 10:34am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The last time I spoke with Patrick Roberge it was regarding his production of the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games. Changing the pace a little bit, his company Patrick Roberge Productions (PRP) is now presenting the The Great Big Boo across Metro Vancouver.

    The Great Big Boo
    The Great Big Boo

    “Halloween is a children’s holiday,” says Roberge, who has two youngsters of his own. “I remember when you would grab your pillow case and trick or treat until it was full of candy. Now it’s turned into a retail holiday, an adult holiday with parties and scary attractions.” Roberge and his team wanted to bring back the excitement and celebration of Halloween for children by creating a production that would allow them to dress up in their costumes once more, trick or treat in a safe environment, and have a ton of fun in the process.

    However, it’s all about finding that balance between being spooky and being entertaining when it comes to children. “Our first priority is not to be scary,” explains Roberge. The misfit characters that live on Boo Alley sing fun, upbeat tunes while they dance and perform. There are also children in the performance which Roberge says is a great ice-breaker for the young audience. “Kids really fall in love with the characters right away; from the vampire that’s afraid of the dark, to the Frankenstein that wants to be a lounge singer or the princess who doesn’t know how to be a princess.”

    Aside from the lighthearted atmosphere, parents will appreciate that the show is easily digestible — providing laughs for them as well as the children. Roberge highlights the fact that it’s not only allowing families to have a Halloween together but also a shared theatrical experience.

    The Great Big Boo
    The Great Big Boo

    The full-length theatre version runs a maximum of 50 minutes (with an intermission), which is followed by trick or treating with the characters who come out for a meet n’ greet after the show.

    While the first few shows are at Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver (October 22nd) and the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey (October 23rd) the Great Big Boo heads to Fort Langley October 28th until the 30th. Audience members will get access to the historic landmark and children will be able to trick or treat from within the Fort, getting the most mileage from their costumes this year. “The whole theme of the show is that on Halloween, you can be anything you want to be,” says Roberge, noting that even parents have been known to dress up for the occasion.

    Tickets are $19.95 and guests two years old and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult. If you would like to bring your family to this fun, safe, dry, and super kid-friendly Halloween showcase here’s how you can win a 4-pack of tickets:

    Leave a comment on this post with your favourite childhood Halloween memory (or favourite recent memory with your own children). One winner will receive tickets for the show on October 22nd at Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver and another will receive tickets for one of the performances in Fort Langley from October 28th until the 30th.

    Each winner will receive a 4-pack of tickets as well as the official soundtrack of The Great Big Boo. I will draw the winner for the North Vancouver performance on October 19th, and the Fort Langley winner on October 25th.

    Update The first winner (for the North Vancouver show on Friday) is Cameron!
    Update The second winner (for Fort Langley shows) is Tania!

    Vancouver Giants Date Night 2010

    October 12th, 2010 @ 2:24pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Vancouver Giants 10 YearsThe Vancouver Giants have been brewing up some very special events and giveaways for their 10th anniversary season. The next theme night is “Date Night” on Friday October 22nd when the Giants will take on the Brandon Wheat Kings.

    The Date Night offer includes two tickets to the game for $25. All fans in attendance will also have a chance to win a trip for two to Hawaii. To book your Date Night tickets use promo code: ALOHA on Ticketmaster.

    I have a pair of tickets to give away to a reader so that they can enjoy Date Night (and get entered to win the trip to Hawaii). There are two ways to enter to win tickets:

  • Leave a comment on this post listing your ideal “date night” experience (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
  • RT to enter to win Date Night @WHLGiants tickets from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/2Svhg

    I will draw one winner at random from all entries on Monday, October 18th at 12:00pm.

    Update The winner is Jason – have fun at the game!

    Metro Vancouver Parks: Queen’s Park

    October 12th, 2010 @ 1:10pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Jumping between mud puddles and crunchy multicoloured leaves on the forest floor, Fall is my favourite time of year to enjoy the trails and scenery of our local parks. It’s not too late to leaf peep around Metro Vancouver as lush green leaves slowly turn to fiery orange on rain-soaked branches. One of the best places to enjoy the season is Queen’s Park in New Westminster.

    front entrance
    Photo credit: waferboard on Flickr

    Getting Here
    Coming from the Valley, take the Pattullo Bridge’s Royal Ave exit. Loop around and then turn right on 1st Street then right on 3rd Avenue. From Vancouver, you can take the Canada Way exit, following it all the way down to McBride and turning right into the park before you get to the Pattullo exit. You can also come up from Queensborough or Richmond via Royal Avenue, turning left at 6th then right on 3rd Avenue. By transit, you can take a 155 bus from the Braid Millenium Line SkyTrain station.

    View Larger Map

    Queen’s Park has one of the best adventure playgrounds around and when I was little, we would play hide and seek with wild bunnies (or those that escaped the childrens farmyard). Within the park’s 75 acres there are sports fields for soccer, rugby (with uprights) or baseball, a waterpark, washrooms, rose gardens, a bandshell, tennis courts, and the arena (home of the Salmonbellies). There are also picnic shelters and a concession stand.

    Queen's Park in the Rain (05/06) Queen's Park in the Rain (04/06)
    Photo credit: DennisSylvesterHurd on Flickr
    Queens Park, New Westminster, BC
    Photo credit: nucksfan604 on Flickr

    The trail network connects to the New Westminster Greenway system. I found an interesting self-guided walking tour outlined on this site that includes a stop at Irving House, the arena, and the park.

    The neighbourhood around Queen’s Park (on the West side) is a great place to view Christmas lights during the holiday season as well. There are some beautiful homes that are always lit up in style.

    1918 – Lovers Walk, Queen’s Park, New Westminster
    Photographer: W. Brown, Archives Accession Number: 3165

    New Westminster Parks & Recreation was established in 1861, while the city was still the capital of BC (and five years before they moved the capital to Victoria). Queen’s Park was established in 1886, the same year that Vancouver was incorporated as a city.

    Should you have a suggestion for the next Metro Vancouver or Fraser Valley park profile, please feel free to leave a note in the comments. I also accept guest posts should you wish to contribute your own piece about a local park.

    Peak Performance Project 2010 Vote Now

    October 12th, 2010 @ 10:55am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The award-winning Peak Performance Project is now in its final stages. The top 20 musicians, artists and acts were announced, they all went to bootcamp, they all performed in live showcases over the last month, and now it’s time to vote for your favourite.

    Live at Squamish 2010 - We Are The City
    2009 PPP winners, We Are the City
    Photo credit: John Bollwitt

    The finalists are:
    Adaline (Vancouver)
    41st and Home (Vancouver)
    Acres of Lions (Victoria)
    Aidan Knight (Victoria)
    Behind Sapphire (Vancouver)
    Ben Sigston (Vancouver)
    Bodhi Jones (Vancouver)
    Christina Maria (Surrey)
    Christopher Arruda (Nanaimo)
    Debra-Jean (Vancouver)
    Greg Sczebel (Salmon Arm)
    Jess Hill (Vancouver)
    Kuba Oms (Victoria)
    Kyprios (North Vancouver)
    Parlour Steps (Vancouver)
    Said the Whale (Vancouver)
    Steph Macpherson (Victoria)
    Vince Vaccaro (Victoria)
    Yes Nice (Burnaby)
    YUCA (Langley)

    Public voting is open until midnight on October 18th. One vote per IP address is allowed. Be sure to support these talented local artists by way of voting, heading out to their shows, and requesting them for radio play.

    Year two of The PEAK Performance Project will see an increase of overall funding to B.C. artists from $275,000 to $315,000 in development cash awards and will see all Top 20 artists receive artist development funding. The 1st place artist will receive $100,500, 2nd is $75,000, 3rd is $50,000, 4th is $10,000, 5th is $5,000 and all 20 finalists will receive $3500 each in initial artists development funding.

    The $5.29 million PEAK Performance Project is designed to educate, promote, develop and hopefully launch the careers of some of British Columbia’s top emerging artists. It also hopes to foster the province’s music industry and create a sense of community amongst music professionals.

    PowerSmart Month: Week 2 – Electronics

    October 12th, 2010 @ 9:49am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    October is PowerSmart Month and I have partnered with BC Hydro over the next few weeks to bring you contests, rebate offers from local retailers, energy-saving tips, and event info. This week’s theme is electronics.

    PowerSmart Month

    PowerSmart Deal of the Week
    From October 8th until the 14th, save 15% off all ENERGY STAR major appliances from Bosch, LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool at Future Shop.

    PowerSmart Tip of the Week
    Since 2007, the Government of BC has banned certain electronic equipment from being included in trash collection. Reuse and recycle old electronic equipment (computers, printers, fax machines, telephones etc.) at local Return-It centres or independent centres like Free Geek. Some manufacturers like Samsung also have their own programs for recycling their devices.

    When it comes to replacing old electronics, you can also be Power Smart. You may not always remember to turn off the light or unplug your charger but having electronics that are already certified as being energy-efficient is a bit of a no-brainer. This all starts with looking for the ENERGY STAR logo on things like refrigerators, radios, DVD/Blu-Ray players, and televisions. You can research the power usage of Plasma versus LCD versus LED technology or even look at the packaging that contains your product.


    You can view some really great tips for being power smart around your home submitted by readers in my Week 1 PowerSmart Month post.

    PowerSmart Events this Week
    Team PowerSmart will be at Langara College’s 40th anniversary tomorrow and on the SFU and BCIT campuses on Thursday. The Coquitlam Express will host BCHL PowerSmart night at their game on Friday, October 15th.

    Contest of the Week
    I have two $100 gift cards for Best Buy available. To enter to win, please leave a comment about your latest electronics purchase (or your next) and if you took things like ENERGY STAR (or similar ratings), consumer reviews about their energy-efficiency, or packaging into consideration when making your purchase.

    I will draw two winners, who will each get a $100 gift card for Best Buy, on Monday October 18th at 12:00pm. Follow @PowerSmartBC on Twitter for more tips and contests happening throughout the month.

    Update The gift card winners are Connie and Chris. Stay tuned for this week’s contest and PowerSmart Month information.