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PopUpPatio at the Westin Grand

July 25th, 2012 @ 11:19am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Sitting in the sunshine on the steps at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library or marching down to a Whitecaps game at BC Place you may not know that a few storeys above the intersection of Homer and Robson lies a hidden patio. Perched next to the pool at the Westin Grand, #PopUpPatio comes alive every Thursday and Friday with a live DJ, drink specials, and hot-off-the-grill menu items.

PopUpPatio PopUpPatio

PopUpPatio PopUpPatio

John and I were invited to #PopUpPatio last week — when the summer sun was indeed shining — to sample their cocktails and light menu designed by Executive Chef Matthew Richmond.

PopUpPatio PopUpPatio

All food and beverage prices listed on the menu include taxes and gratuity. For $20 flat you can get a sleeve of Granville Island Lager and a share plate. Custom cocktails include refreshers like rosé sangria, blueberry mojito, elderflower wine, pina colada, a blood orange margarita, and more.

Scallop and prawn kabob $14 (includes tax/gratuity)
Herb rubbed with lemon

Albacore tuna poke $14 (includes tax/gratuity)
Sesame marinated, cucumber, avocado, tomato

PopUpPatio PopUpPatio
Beef quesadilla $14 (includes tax/gratuity)
Grilled beef, cheddar cheese, homemade pico de gallo, guacamole

PopUpPatio PopUpPatio
Za’atar $12 (includes tax/gratuity)
Lebanese spices on flatbread with sumac, thyme, sesame seeds, labneh, tomato, cucumber, parsley

Our favourites were the quesdilla and the za’atar which had the largest portions and the most bang for your buck. The za’atar wasn’t out first choice off the menu but it was loaded with flavour and crisp ingredients. Drink wise, the sangria was tough to beat and perfect for a patio experience.

Considering the all-inclusive prices matched with the atmosphere and comfort of the outdoor lounge, it’s worth treating yourself at the end of the week. The #PopUpPatio is open every Thursday and Friday until September from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, weather-permitting.

Disclosure: Review was not paid to write this post. Our experience was compliments of the Westin Grand. A post was not expected and this did not effect the outcome/content.

Blogger Profile: Cat Watson

July 25th, 2012 @ 10:09am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Over the years I have profiled bloggers from the Northwest Territories to the Fraser Valley, anyone that interests me and that I hope will interest you as well. A few years ago I started asking a standard set of questions and I’ve sent these out to a few local bloggers for this week’s series. Click, share, explore, and enjoy.

Photo source:

Cat Watson

Twitter: CatWatson8
Facebook: Cat Watson Photography

How long has your blog been around?
My blog has been around almost 3 years now. I started blogging a few months after our first child, my daughter Evelyn, was born. We had recently moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, away from family and friends and everything familiar to me, and I was feeling incredibly lonely and to an extent, unfulfilled. I loved, and continue to love, being a mommy, but I wanted a project to work on that I could call my own. So I picked up my point and shoot and started taking pictures of everything, mainly plants and bugs and still life at first. I read and researched and forced myself to shoot in complete manual mode and just practiced a lot. I started asking friends if I could use them and their babies and families to practice on. And, along the way, I blogged it all, and Cat Watson Photography was born. In addition to the photos, I wrote as well about anything and everything. I found that writing and photography were both great outlets for me and something I really enjoyed, and just ran with it.

What is your role?
My role and involvement is…anything that needs to get done, I do it! That’s not entirely true, actually. My husband is an amazing designer, and has designed my logo, business cards etc. He also proofreads my posts for me and just gives his advice and input when I need it. He is a huge help!

What does your site do/what is it about
My blog is about my photography, but it’s also about my life. I love to write, and it’s a fun challenge for me to try and take ordinary days or experiences and turn them into creative stories that others will hopefully find interesting or captivating to read. My blog is a way for me to showcase my photos and work and to get business, but also an outlet for me personally as well as a means to let those who are interested get to know me a bit as well.

What can people see, read, and do when visiting your site?
People can see my most recent work, my portfolio, read about what to expect at their photo session and anything else related to getting their pictures done with me. Right now, I just want one site rather than a site and a blog. I think that, a lot of the time less is more and simple is the way to go, so instead of having a blog and a website I just combined the two so that potential clients only have one place to go. In addition to all that, visitors can also read more personal posts relating to my family and just what’s been going on in my life and how my kids are making me laugh and driving me crazy. I’ve started writing a lot more lately, and created a series called ‘8th&Ash’ which is simply about our transition and new life here in Vancouver.

Why do you blog?
I blog because I love it. Plain and simple. I love writing and I love taking photos and I love sharing it with anyone who is interested to have a look around.

What is the ultimate goal for your site, how would you like to see it grow?
The ultimate goal for my blog would be to firstly really nail down my style and vision as a photographer and writer. I still feel like I’m changing and evolving and that I am not quite “there” yet in terms of having a completely unique identity. It’s coming together, but I want to see it matured even more. Secondly, my goal is to grow a readership here in the Vancouver area and thus a steady client base. We’ve moved around a lot in the past 4 years, and I’m ready to settle a bit and get familiar with the area and hopefully make some lasting relationships. Thirdly, and this may sound cheesy, but my goal is to make people feel something when they read my words and look at my images. I want to make people feel inspired, encouraged and thoughtful. I want it to matter, even if on some small level.

Follow Cat:, on Facebook, and Twitter

Read all entries in my Blogger Profile series and feel free to suggest a blogger for possible feature in the comments of this post.

CanadaFest at Canada Place

July 24th, 2012 @ 3:45pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Canada Place is set to host its first ever CanadaFest during the BC Day long weekend. Celebrating all things Canada, BC, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it’s our city’s latest free festival that will be filed with food, music and activities for the family.

Canada Day 2011 @ Canada Place
Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

What CanadaFest
When Saturday, August 4, 2012 from 11:00am until 7:00pm.
Where Canada Place’s front plaza, the Canadian Trail on the West Promenade, the North Point, and the Observation Deck

The theme will be Canadiana at CanadaFest, from poutine to a Queen Elizabeth II impersonator. Other featured acts & activities include: Ali Milner (Cover Me Canada Finalist), Oyster Shucking Competition with Vancouver’s 2012 World Champ “Oyster Bob Skinner“, Nearly Neale’s Canadian A, Alouest Acadian Francophone, Git Hayetsk (celebrating BC’s First Nations community), Afternoon Tea, and the War of 1812 Exhibition.

You could spend the day at Canada Place then walk over to English Bay for the last night of the Honda Celebration of Light fireworks, enjoying all that Vancouver has to offer in the summer.

Canada Place is one of Vancouver’s most recognizable icons and is the first thing that thousands of international cruise ship travellers experience when they disembark. It’s fitting that they celebrate all things Canada with this new, free, family festival.

Follow @CanadaPlace on Twitter for more information about CanadaFest. is a proud sponsor of CanadaFest at Canada Place.

BC Travel Tuesday Week 1: The Inn at Laurel Point

July 24th, 2012 @ 10:19am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The BC Travel Tuesday series is returning this summer as I once again partner with Backyard BC to highlight hotels and destinations around the province. I will feature a weekly giveaway to 6 different properties for the next 6 Tuesdays in a row and Backyard BC will host a grand prize giveaway where you can enter once to win all 6 prizes. That’s a lot of local hotel stays!
Featuring a variety of hotels and resorts located throughout the province, Backyard BC provides residents of British Columbia with free access to exclusive discounts on accommodation. If you live and travel in BC, we’ll make sure you pay less than the lowest rates available to anyone else. Travel local. Save big. Visit Backyard BC online, on Twitter, or Facebook and see more of BC!

The first giveaway of the 2012 BC Travel Tuesday campaign is for a beautifully appointed property on the outer banks of Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

Photo courtesy of the Inn at Laurel Point

Inn at Laurel Point
Website, Twitter, Facebook, Backyard BC listing
Location: 680 Montreal Street, Victoria, BC
About: Decks give way to gardens. Glass walls invite natural light. Museum-quality art graces hallways, and wide open space gives you room to breathe. Book an in-room spa or dine al fresco on their oceanfront patio, or yours.
Prize: 2 nights in a Studio Suite & complimentary parking
Value: $650

To enter to win the weekly contest:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter this week’s @backyardbc @miss604 #bctraveltuesday contest for @ILPVictoria: CLOSED

Weekly winners will be announced every Tuesday on the latest BC Travel Tuesday contest post until the 6 weeks are up. Gift certificates for hotel and resort stays will be sent directly to each weekly winner so they can arrange their visit personally with the property. Some restrictions apply, based on availability.

This week’s contest is now closed.

View all posts in the series by following or subscribing to my BCTravelTuesday tag. Open to residents of BC. Backyard BC’s grand prize draw for stays at all 6 properties will take place September 4, 2012.

Archives Photos of the Day: Parades

July 24th, 2012 @ 7:49am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Coming up with a theme for my weekly photo collection from the Vancouver Archives can be a challenge, especially when I realize that I’ve already published about 70 collections. I’ve featured old timey Beach Scenes, Picnics, Grouse Mountain, Bikes, Ice Cream, Summer Scenes, and Amusements. What left to represent summmer in Vancouver? With Pride Week and the PNE coming up, how about parades?

1880s – Parade on Cordova near Cambie. VPL Accession Number: 19826. Photographer: Bailey Bros.

1900s – Circus parade passing Victory Square. VPL Accession Number: 6795A. Photographer: Philip Timms.