Surrey Canada Day – Opening Ceremonies

July 1st, 2009 @ 4:03pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This morning we headed out to the Cloverdale Millennium Amphitheatre for Surrey’s Canada Day festivities. As Western Canada’s largest Canada Day celebration it doesn’t disappoint. There are aisles of food vendors, from Jamaican patties to crepes and perogies, a craft area for kids, sustainability zone, interactive displays, midway games and rides, and two large stages filled with entertainment until tonight.

Surrey Canada Day 2009

Surrey Canada Day 2009

Surrey Canada Day 2009

Surrey Canada Day 2009

Surrey Canada Day 2009

Surrey Canada Day 2009

Surrey Canada Day 2009

This morning we walked around to check things out, grabbed a smoothie from the Jamaican ‘Mi Juicy’ cart, and enjoyed the opening ceremonies. Mark Donnelly (who often does the anthem at Canucks games) led the crowd in singing O! Canada and the Mayor introduced local MLAs, MPs, and council members before everyone devoured a giant cupcake-cake of the Canadian flag.

Surrey Canada Day 2009

Surrey Canada Day 2009

We’re heading back now to catch performances by Kuba Oms, Jeremy Fisher, Carly Rae Jepson, Sweatshop Union, You Say Party! We Say Die!, Bif Naked, and 54-40. The entire festival is FREE of charge and will end with fireworks at 10:15pm.

Surrey Canada Day 2009

The rest of my photos are available on Flickr and John, who takes much better shots, has his up on Flickr as well.

My Sister's Keeper Movie Pass Giveaway

June 30th, 2009 @ 12:38pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Next week My Sister’s Keeper will hit theatres and I have a handful of double passes to give away to my readers so they can check it out. Based on the novel by Jodi Picoult, it stars Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin, Sofia Vassilieva and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine), and is directed by Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook).

I also have a special sneak peak of the Pete Yorn single, “Don’t Wanna Cry” which is featured in the film.

Pete Yorn – Don’t Wanna Cry

To enter to win one of the movie passes (valid for any Cineplex theatre) please leave a comment below listing your favourite, emotional, meaningful, moving chick flick of all time. If you’re able to get all of that into a tweet as well, I’ll include that as an entry. I’ll draw a winner at the end of the week when I’m out of town on a girls getaway with one of my favourite gals.

As a side note, if you’re up for more movie giveaways, check out‘s sweepstakes that I’ve featured here.

Update: I have just drawn the winners and Maryanne, Alex, Aria, Paulo, and Wendy be notified by email – thanks to everyone for entering the contest!

Canada Day 2009 Roundup

June 30th, 2009 @ 9:58am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Tomorrow is the 142nd birthday of our nation and it seems as though every village, town, municipality, city and community in our region is celebrating.

Photo credit: Our Enchanted Garden on Flickr


  • Victoria Park (1415 Victoria Drive @ Kitchener Street) from 12:30pm – 3:00pm. Family activities, food, and entertainment
  • Canada Place with parade (starting at 7:00pm) and Canada Day Fireworks at 10:30pm
  • Yaletown Grand Prix (racing starts at 1:00pm)
  • Canada Day on Robson (12:00pm – 6:00pm)
  • Crab Park Canada Day Festival (1:00pm – 4:00pm)
  • The Molson Canada Day Club Crawl (7:00pm – 2:00am)
  • North Vancouver

  • Celebrations with entertainment at Waterfront Park
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge 2 for 1 admission on Canada Day
  • West Vancouver

  • Festivities take place at John Lawson Park (5:00pm – 10:00pm) You could also view the Canada Place fireworks from this side.
  • Burnaby

  • Activities at Richmond Park (behind Eastburn Centre) 11:00am-2:30pm
  • Burnaby Village Museum will host a celebration as well (free admission)
  • Port Moody

  • Canada Day events at Rocky Point Park (12:00pm – 5:00pm)
  • New Westminster

  • Royal Canada Day at Queens Park (11:30am – 3:30pm) with fireworks at 10:15 pm at the New Westminster Quay
  • Richmond – Steveston

  • Steveston Salmon Festival
  • Delta

  • All day celebrations at starting at 9:00am at the Delta museum and archives and ending with an evening celebration at Chalmers Park with fireworks at 10:15pm
  • Surrey

  • We’ll be rocking out in Surrey all day at the Cloverdale Millennium Amphitheatre, with fireworks at 10:30pm
  • White Rock

  • Canada Day by the Bay and the Rock 10km run take place
  • Langley

  • Langley’s events take place at McLeod Athletic Park (56th Avenue and 216 Street)
  • Fort Langley will also host an event from (10:00am – 5:00pm)
  • Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows – Mission
    [Hat tips to Fraser Valley Pulse for these listings]

  • Canada Day at Memorial Peace Park
  • Canada Day tea at Haney House (Haney House Museum at 11612-224th St) 1:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Celebrate Pitt Meadows Canada Day (at City Hall)
  • Canada Day Celebrations at Fraser River Heritage Park
  • Abbotsford

  • Canada Day Festival (8:00am – 10:00pm)
  • Chilliwack

  • Canada Day at Chilliwack Heritage Park
  • Squamish

  • Festivities at UnPavillion Park
  • If you’re feeling really patriotic, check out O’ Canada House on Barclay street (which is now a B&B). It’s where a version of our nation’s anthem was written, right here in downtown Vancouver.

    Whatever your plans include tomorrow, be sure to slather on the sun block as it should be pretty toasty outside and stay tuned for my coverage from Surrey.

    Vancouver History: Robert Burnaby

    June 29th, 2009 @ 11:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I was browsing my favourite Vancouver History site the other day and came across a mention that Robert Burnaby has more landmarks named after him than any other BC pioneer. With so many streets, parks, and monuments dedicated to those who helped shape our region I decided to look a bit further into Burnaby’s past to see what made him rise above the rest.

    Photo credit: Derek K Miller on Flickr

    Robert Burnaby was from Woodthorpe, Leicestershire, England and arrived in BC in the 1850s to survey New Westminster, upon the request of Col. Richard Moody (who also made him his secretary).

    “Richard has got Mr. Burnaby now as his “Private Secretary” which will I trust be a great comfort to him, as he had no help before, and the letters of all kinds were innumerable.” — 3rd March, 1859, From the Letters of Mary S. Moody [source]

    He was a businessman, dealing with affairs in Victoria as well as exploring areas in the Lower Mainland, in particular the region around Burnaby Lake in 1859. In 1892 the municipality of Burnaby received its charter of incorporation, and was named in his honor by Moody. According to the City’s website, “he has given his name to a city, a park, a lake, a hill, a Vancouver street, a mountain range in McKenzie Sound, an island and a narrows in the Queen Charlotte Islands.” Burnaby also spent time serving in the BC Legislature in Victoria.

    Photo credit: Marina on Flickr

    You can explore the various landmarks, including the city, or even Robert Burnaby Park to enjoy his legacy. The park features a baseball diamond, dog off leash area, casual picnic area, playground, outdoor swimming pool, tennis, walking and hiking trails, disc golf course. Also, according to entertainment podcaster Marina Antunes, the park was also the home to the “Cabin in the Woods” and various sets for New Moon and Battlestar Gallactica.

    For more information about local namesakes, I would recommend checking out the book Namely Vancouver: A Hidden History of Vancouver Place Names or browsing the Hall of Fame on the Vancouver History website.

    Metro Vancouver Park Series: Cates Park

    June 29th, 2009 @ 8:12am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Summer to us means packing up John‘s big blue backpack and heading down to the beach. We walk through forest trails that open up into sprawling sandy shores and rest for hours in the open air. Snacks include fresh fruit and water, while we either read books or use the headphone splitter to enjoy the latest sonic mixes John has on his iPod (from podcasts to our favourite albums).

    Beach Times

    The other day we had our first official beach day of the year and we decided to shake things up a bit and head out to Cates Park in North Vancouver. We had access to a car, which made our decision to venture outside of downtown an easy one, but you can also get there by transit. This recreational area along the Burrard Inlet, across from Burnaby and just near Deep Cove, is truly a gem.


    At first glance it’s a boat launch, grassy picnic area, concession, sandy beach (with small rocks), and trail network. However there’s also a lot of history at this particular location including signs of the old Dollarton Mill burner (read a little bit about ‘Cates‘ in one of my previous local history posts).

    First Nations tradition and culture is also highlighted through totem poles and a war canoe on site at Cates, whose ancestral name is Whey-Ah-Whichen (which means ‘faces the wind’). “Whey-Ah-Whichen is the Tsleil-Waututh name for this place which defines Indian Arm from Burrard Inlet. The Squamish know it as Atsenách. The point was named after Lieutenant Rocke of HMS Satellite, which patrolled the Northwest Coast in the 1850s.” [source]

    The beach seems quiet and calm even when the park is packed with groups and families having cookouts and picnics. Also, it’s a great shoreline for beachcombing and exploring tidal pools. One of my beach pass times is rock balancing (on a very small scale mind you) but it was also the perfect place for that.

    My humble rock balancing feat

    There are kayak rentals, playgrounds, a Wally’s Burger stand, and I would highly recommend exploring the Malcolm Lowry Walk. The park also has a dog off-leash area and in the summer it’s the home of a concert series, running every Saturday night this year from July 11 – August 22.

    Photo credit: Mike Todd on Flickr

    View from Cates

    Exploring more of the beaches the Metro Vancouver area has to offer made me wonder — which is your favourite beach in the region? Could it be Iona? Belcarra? Crescent/Blackie Spit? Jericho?… Feel free to leave your answer below.

    What's your favourite beach in Metro Vancouver?

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    New Moon, Jonas Brothers, Star Trek & Trailer Park Boys Sweepstakes

    June 27th, 2009 @ 9:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I admit, that’s probably the most keyword-rich title I’ve ever published, but I assure you it’s all very relevant. Our pals over at MovieSet connect fans (however rabid) with films while they’re in production or out on the big screens by way of information, promotions, and videos.

    They also run sweet contest sweepstakes for anything from swag to sweet experiences such as their recent promo for The Hangover where a lucky fan was awarded a getaway weekend in Vegas at a Caesars Palace suite. They currently have a handful of sweepstakes going where you can win swag from your favourite films, simply by filling out their contest form online.

    Twilight New Moon Lover’s Choice
    Win signed framed photos of Twilight stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart [enter here]

    Jonas Brothers Sibling Rivalry
    Win a triple signed drum head, Rolling Stone magazine, or JB poster + concert DVDs. Three grand prizes to be awards (one for each bro) [enter here]

    jonas-brothers-125x125 twilight-newmoon-125x125

    Star Trek Director’s Cut
    Win a press backgrounder signed by JJ Abrams plus two framed film cell art montages [enter here]

    Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day
    Win the complete TV series of a Canadian classic on DVD in a cool stash bag [enter here]

    star-trek-directors-125 trailer-park-boys-dvd-contest-125

    MovieSet is local and they cover the big blockbusters as well as independent films and everything in between. They create content, blog posts, videos, and many contests in order to get the fans the information (and swag) they crave. They even linked up my article where I interviewed producer Todd Hallowell. The contests above run until the end of July or the beginning of August – good luck!

    Friday Morning Link Fest: Where Did June Go?

    June 26th, 2009 @ 11:01am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    It’s a sunny Friday morning and although this week has been grim in the entertainment world (having lost Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson) there are still a few things happening in the online realm that might boost your spirits.

    Photo credit: Pat Zaph on Flickr – From the group pool
  • Laurie Cooper (@WhistlerMama) is trying a social media experiment by selling her house via Twitter. By only publicizing on Twitter, she’s also setup a referral program wherein you could get $10,000 if you help promote and close the deal.
  • Victoria Revay (known locally for her contributions to Now Public and Techvibes) is setting out on a cross-Canada journey and will be blogging the entire way.
  • The Greater Vancouver Food Bank‘s 4th annual Lunch Money Day is July 15th. Brown bag your lunch that day and contribute what you would have spent to your local Food Bank.
  • On July 4th Granville Island Brewing will be hosting an event at the Cambie Kitchen (with White Spot’s new slider burgers) to raise funds for local charities.
  • Calling all designers: Kokanee is hosting the Crank the Can design contest surrounding their Crankworks event. Submit your can designs and yours could be one of three to be featured on upcoming cans of Kokanee.
  • The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is coming July 17-19 at Jericho Beach Park.
  • Surrey’s Fusion Festival will also be happening July 18-19 at Holland Park.
  • The City of Vancouver Planning Department wants your input. Complete an online survey (Downtown Capacity & View Corridors Study) until June 30th to share your opinions and views with regards to upcoming projects and urban design objectives. You can find out more on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. The public input survey is a part of the ongoing public involvement process.
  • The Design for Diversity event will take place this Saturday at Oakridge Centre. They’ll have a stage setup with music, dance, entertainment and demonstrations.
  • I chose the photo for this post (by Pat) because it reminds me of the “Blogger Day at Playland” I arranged last year. It was such a good time — we couldn’t stop smiling and laughing. Playland is now open daily until late September. Pat also recently took photos at the Hastings Park Conservancy which includes the Opera Walk. I’ve listed this in my “10 Hidden Gems” post for Tourism Vancouver and I think it’s definitely worth exploring.

    Canada Cup of Beer 2009

    June 26th, 2009 @ 8:17am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The good folks at Just Here for the Beer are bringing back the Nando’s Canada Cup of Beer next week on July 4th. This will be the fourth annual event which is Vancouver’s largest beer festival.

    Granville Island Brewing

    Last year I played a tiny role as a sponsor (just by promotion) and it’s been neat to follow all the beer-related activities over the last twelve months such a pub crawls, food pairings and movie nights. On July 4th they’ll be at UBC’s Thunderbird stadium with almost 50 vendors including CAMRA BC, and our friends at Rickard’s, and Granville Island Brewing. It’s also the perfect opportunity to explore new brews from across the country, around the province, and over on Vancouver Island.

    Photo credit: Urban Mixer on Flickr

    VIP tickets (that include a BBQ lunch, 4 full beers in the lounge, tasting tickets, souvenir mug, t-shirt, reserved seating etc.) are $60 and regular tickets (including 5 beer tokens, a souvenir plastic mug, and an event brochure) are just $15. There are also a variety of satellite events including an after party on July 4th.