The Vancouver Paranormal Society

Thursday, October 25th, 2012 — 2:11pm PST
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In recent years terms like Electronic Voice Phenomenon (“EVP”) have found a place in pop culture references thanks to television shows that hunt, chase, or debunk paranormal activity. Locally, the Vancouver Paranormal Society has been conducting investigations of their own for the last 19 years. The non-profit organization is the Lower Mainland’s longest-running paranormal research group and they have been keeping very busy.

Vancouver Paranormal Society

“With the presence of TV shows and stuff like that it’s helped people sort of come out of the woodwork and contact us,” said Peter Renn, President and Lead Investigator at the Vancouver Paranormal Society (“VPS”). Peter got into this line of work — or hobby really, as all VPS members volunteer their time and have day jobs outside of the group — due to experiences he had growing up in a heritage home. It led him to want to explore just what might be out there.

“Our main priority as a group is helping people out. But taking a step back from that, the personal experiences you have with the things that you see just make you look at the world differently, with a different perspective.”

VPS Members volunteer their time to conduct two types of investigations: private residential cases and public buildings. Usually people get in touch with the group to find answers to things they cannot explain — and to see if there is a logical explanation out there.

Peter said that 95% of the time there’s a logical explanation for something that people might deem as paranormal but it’s that other 5% that drives them.

Members come from all walks of life and have varying belief systems but they have one thing in common, they hope to understand more than they do now by sharing their experiences with their clients. Each case is confidential and clients receive a report from the team once the investigation wraps up.

For public buildings, usually it’s the VPS team that contacts the manager or business owner so that they can go in and test new equipment or experiment with new methods. Local landmarks famous for otherworldly visitors include the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (with the “Lady in Red”), the Dominion Building (and its architect that is said to linger near the stairwell) and several others including theatres and museums.

You can catch up with some of the public adventures of the VPS on their blog, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also place a request for an investigation by visiting their website.

All Souls at Mountain View Cemetery 2012

Thursday, October 25th, 2012 — 11:40am PST
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Mountain View is Vancouver’s only cemetery and around this time of year, it’s bustling with activity. From being a major stop on the Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour to hosting its own series of workshops and events called All Souls.

66/365 - Dream
Photo credit: olfiika on Flickr

In many cultures around the world, the days at the end of October and the beginning of November are an important time for honouring the dead in our lives, through ceremony and celebration, and the practical maintenance of the family gravesites, including cleaning and decorating graves, feasts, flowers, lanterns, and candles.

All Souls at Mountain View Cemetery was created to provide opportunities for the public to commemorate their dead with a family-oriented community art event. Artists and community come together to create a sanctuary for remembrance and reflection. The event takes place in the cemetery at the end of October each year.

8th Annual Night for All Souls at Mountain View Cemetery
When: Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm
What: An atmosphere of contemplative beauty with music, warming fires, and fragrant teas to comfort the living, and public shrines to remember the dead.

All Souls – Threshold Choir Performance
When: Sunday, October 28, 2012 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
What: The all-women Threshold Choir honours the ancient tradition of singing at the bedsides of people who are struggling, some with living, some with dying.

Documentary film screening: “Forever”
When: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
What: Screening of the 2006 documentary “Forever” about Pere-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

Orkestar Slivovica Balkan Brass Band Performance and Procession
When: Thursday, November 1, 2012 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
What: The Orkestar Slivovica Balkan Brass Band performs at Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery and leads a procession through the shrines to honour the dead.

All of these events take place at the Mountain View Cemetery Celebration Hall at 5445 Fraser Street (entrance at 39th Ave).

Parade of Lost Souls Festival: Secret Souls Walk & Dance Party 2012

Thursday, October 25th, 2012 — 8:25am PST
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The Parade of Lost Souls Festival is currently underway with the Secret Souls Walk and Dance Party rounding out the festivities on Saturday.

The parade of lost souls 2011, Vancouver IMGP5391
Photo credit: Eyesplash & Tim Gage on Flickr

Birds Debone-Air
Photo credit: PiscesDreamer & PiscesDreamer on Flickr

This year’s Secret Souls Walk invites artists, performers and patrons to explore what the end of this world age could look like – to explore, and to create what awaits us just over the horizon. Will our future be dark and depressing, or bright and beautiful? The choice is one for each of us to make…

Over the last week the festival has hosted workshops with costume creation, crafts, puppet making and more. Tonight they’ll have a Thriller workshop where you can learn the choreography to this zombie-shaking dance at the Britannia Community Centre.

The Parade of Lost Souls Festival’s Secret Souls Walk will then take place on Saturday, October 27, 2012 starting out from a secret location in East Vancouver at 5:30pm. In previous years there was an actual parade that went down Commercial Drive but this walk takes a different route, past art installations and performers along a planned course.

The location will be announced on the festival’s website and social networks in advance. Grab your costume and bring a suggested donation of $5 to take part, with proceeds benefitting Public Dreams.

POLS Dance Party Poster

Following the Secret Souls Walk there will be a dance party starting at 9:00pm at the Rickshaw Theatre (254 E. Hastings) with DJ Oker and DJ Tango. Admission is $25 (tickets can be purchased online in advance) and this is a 19+ venue.

If you would like to attend the Secret Souls Walk Dance Party on Saturday night, I have 2 tickets up for grabs. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win tickets to the #ParadeofLostSouls Dance Party from @publicdreams & @miss604

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 10:00pm tonight (Thursday, October 25, 2012). Must be 19+ to attend. Enjoy responsibly and plan a safe ride home.

Update The winner is @jonathan_uy!

Vancouver Inspiration Pass from VPL

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 — 2:14pm PST
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Many of us don’t take enough time to be a tourist in our own town but the Vancouver Public Library is hoping to change that with a new program where families can enjoy some of our most popular and beloved attractions for free.

Starting Thursday, November 1, 2012 you can borrow a Vancouver Inspiration Pass from your local Vancouver Public Library (with your valid library card).

Vancouver Inspiration Pass - Launch - 20121024_17
Photo credit: Vancouver Public Library on Flickr

The Vancouver Inspiration Pass gets you into places like the Vancouver Aquarium, Science World, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver Bach Choir, Vancouver Opera, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and the UBC Museum of Anthropology at no charge. You can also use the pass for access to the Park Board’s many fitness centres, swimming pools, skating rinks, pitch and putt golf courses, and botanical gardens.

Vancouver residents who are 14 years of age and older can use their VPL card to borrow the pass which allows admission to these great attractions for a family (2 adults and up to 4 children) or a group of up to 6 young people (ages 14 to 18). Passes can be redeemed for ticketed events at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Opera and the Vancouver Bach Choir as well.

There will be 120 passes in circulation (15 at the Central Branch and 5 at every other branch) that will be available for borrowing every 2 weeks. Starting today (Wednesday, October 24, 2012) you can reserve a pass ahead of time using the library’s online catalogue.

Learn more about the program online and follow the Vancouver Public Library on Facebook and Twitter for updates and special offers.

On the Go Kids Event App

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 — 1:19pm PST
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yoyomama was one of the first parent blogs on my radar thanks to Annemarie Tempelman-Kluit‘s presence at local events and conferences over the years. While I’m not a parent myself, yoyomama is a great resources for families, entertainment info, and events in Vancouver and Toronto. They have recently launched On The Go Kids, an iPhone app that provides family-friendly event listings.


You can browse events in your area, sort them by date and time, view them on a map, and search by category such as dance, festivals, music, markets, theatre, and more. You can also search events based on their location, venue, and if they are free or paid.


For the ability to search events, save, share, and keep that calendar right in your pocket on your mobile device, it’s a fantastic resource for families. Download it for free from the iTunes App Store today.

Vancouver Opera: La Bohème

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 — 11:19am PST
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The first romantic film I ever saw was Moonstruck, starring Cher and Nicolas Cage. One of my all-time favourite scenes in that film is when Cage’s character takes Cher’s character to her first operatic experience, La Bohème, at the glorious Metropolitan Opera and how Cage’s hand inches toward Cher’s, while a woman sings heartbreakingly, and how a single tear runs down Cher’s cheek.

I’ve since seen Moonstruck probably a dozen of times it’s become clear that it’s the love story within the love story that is the ultimate romantic viewing experience. So when I found out that La Bohème was the Vancouver Opera’s season opener, I was more than just a little excited.

Vancouver Opera's La Bohème
Photo credit: Tim Matheson for Vancouver Opera

All the performances were spot-on with tenor Jason Slaydon (Rodolfo) and Marianne Fiset (Mimi), both making their Vancouver Opera debut, driving the show with deep understandings of their characters and expressing it through their phenomenal voices. I also adored mezza-soprano Krisxtina Szabo who was a lot of fun to watch as the gold-digging flirt, Musetta)

The set was spectacular and multi-dimensional. Act Two began with an impressionist painting of a crowded Parisian street being projected onto a see-through screen, with actors slightly replicating that painting just behind it. The result was a beautifully-layered tableau. I also really loved how video of snow falling was used on the same see-through screen in the third act

The greatest love stories are tragic, and this tragedy is what primarily drives the appeal for this story of Mimi and Rodolfo. But what really makes La Bohème so popular here (this is probably the most frequently mounted opera at the VO) and everywhere, is that’s it’s relatable. Qe each have been in Mimi and Rodolfo’s shoes or have felt what they have, and have come to understand that love isn’t what we thought it was. As expressed by Ronny Cammareri in Moonstruck,

“…love don’t make things nice – it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die.”

Vancouver Opera presents La Bohème this Thursday October 25th, Saturday October 27th, and Sunday October 28th at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Follow Vancouver Opera on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about their shows this season.

Disclosure: Review
Michelle received media tickets courtesy of Vancouver Opera. This did not affect the outcome of her coverage.

A guest post by Michelle Kim

Guest contributor Michelle Kim is a local actor, producer, director, and writer. Providing write-ups about theatre, film, and the arts.