The Rush: Mike and Fiona Go National and Social

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 — 12:54pm PDT
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Back in October the Vancouver-based television talk show Urban Rush got an overhaul as beloved long-time hosts Michael Eckford and Fiona Forbes went national. The show’s name changed to simply The Rush and it got bumped up on Shaw and Shaw Direct with national and local segments.

therush-logoThe biggest change was probably in the way that the show is presented — and interacted with as they started live streaming the broadcasts online.

Using LiveStream, Mike and Fiona answer questions in real-time as well as gather questions for guests through the stream’s chat, Facebook and Twitter. This feed doesn’t stop at any point in the show, sharing a full behind-the-scenes look at the show’s production.

“The live stream has been really interesting because we sort of knew what it was, we’ve seen it in use before but television has always been sort of a one-way passive media. That’s the way everybody thinks and that’s the way that it’s alway been done and so it shall be in the future,” said Mike as we (fittingly) chatted over Skype for this interview.

It’s been a game-changer for the hosts as well as the audience who can now ask questions to guests. Fiona says there’s even a core group of audience members that pop up for each show, some from as far away as Finland, Germany, France, Ireland, all over Asia and from Africa.

“Talking about interesting things going on, talking about interesting things people are doing — I think it helps the city grow up and find an identity and figure out who they are culturally. Hopefully we get to continue to be a part of that.”

Having the live stream not only adds a new layer to the show’s format, it also provides even more content. Fiona told me that she loves the spontaneity of it all. “It’s been really cool to have the audience join in. Sometimes we take questions during the interview and other times we kind of do bonus footage or interviews during commercial breaks to get extra footage. We’ll open it up to different topics — random things the audience is curious about.”

With local audiences growing to national and international viewership has not stopped the show from celebrating its local roots. Both hosts grew up in the area and were pleased that with the switch, they wouldn’t have to lose their Vancouver touch.

“It’s where we are, it’s who we are,” Fiona said. “We want to reflect that but also make it applicable to the rest of the country. It is Canadian content.” Mike said that supporting the community is still key and talking about Vancouver, while being in Vancouver is what helps the most.

The Rush: Mike & Fiona
Photo courtesy of The Rush

With social media playing such a big role in their hosting duties, it was a bonus that both have been using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other networks for quite a while. “I’m not sure we could have jumped into it the way that we did without being a little bit nerdy on our part when it comes to social media,” Fiona laughed. She added that they both love social media anyway so it was a natural fit as far as opening the door to the audience and striking up that interaction.

“It’s still just talking to people,” Mike added. “It’s still letting people know you and getting to know other people as well. Part of it is we’re pretty social people anyway just in terms of our job so even though it is using new technology in a certain way, it’s still the oldest art form in the world, which is a conversation.”

Catch The Rush weeknights in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba on Shaw and in Ontario on Shaw Direct (check local listings for exact channels and times). Taping takes place between 12:00pm and 2:00pm Pacific and this is where you can hop on the LiveStream and follow the day’s topics on Twitter. Episodes are archived on LiveStream and online.

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival 2012

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 — 10:39am PDT
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Celebrate the change of seasons on Friday December 21st on Granville Island, in South East False Creek, in Yaletown, Chinatown, and on the East Side with the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival. Presented by the Secret Lantern Society, this free family event will have lanterns, singing, dancing, and a processions through town.

Granville Island

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival 2012Starting at 4:00pm you can stop in to the False Creek Community Centre (1318 Cartwright St) to make a lantern for $10, which will just take 30 minutes. Processions will leave right at 6:00pm from three different locations: Leg-In-Boot Square, Granville Island Triangle Square, and the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre.

At Leg-In-Boot Square the crowd will split, with some heading toward Granville Island and others heading east to Creekside. When the three processions meet on Granville Island they will be greeted by the traditional torch-lit Song Of Welcome by The Vancouver Morris Men. The Carnival Band and the Rhythm Spirit Drummers will combined to lead everyone over to Ron Basford Park where the Vancouver Fire Collective will weave their fiery magic and a giant fire sculpture of the rising sun lights the darkest night.

Returning to the False Creek Community Centre at 7:30pm, festivities will continue until 9:30pm with the Roma Swing Trio, music from the Carnival Band, singing from Indian Time Drum Group, and storytelling from Mind Of A Snail Puppet Co. You could also head into Performance Works on Granville Island at 7:30pm for a community dance.

South East False Creek

Starting at 4:00pm you can stop into the Creekside Community Centre (1 Athletes Way) to make a lantern for $10, which will just take 30 minutes. The procession will leave at 6:00pm from Leg-In-Boot Square and return to Creekside for more festivities at 7:00pm until 10:00pm. Hot chocolate, live music, stories from Lost And Found Puppet Company, and more.


Starting at 4:00pm you can stop into the Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews) to make a lantern for $10, which will just take 30 minutes. Processions will set out from three locations: Cooper’s Park, Emery Barnes Park, and the Vancouver Aquatic Centre. Lead by the drums of Tege Fo Collective along the seawall as well as through historic Yaletown, the processions will converge in David Lam Park where they will be welcomed with a spectacular fire performance by Fire Tribe.

Head back inside at the Roundhouse from 7:00pm to 10:00pm for live music, dancing, drumming, lantern creations, stories, and more. Sit beneath the giant Tree of Life in the Secret Lantern Garden, enter the realm of myth and legend in a fabric and light installation created by Heather Jones with Zee Kesler, or be entranced by the aerial dance of Kira Schaffer and Colleen Yuen of Firebelly Performance Society. From Russian gypsy musicians and dancers to traditional English folk dances of the Tiddley Cove Morris. It will be a grand celebration.

Tonight in Vancouver: The 17th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Photo credit: [travelfox] on Flickr

18th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival at the Vancouver Chinese Garden Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
Photo credit: & mountainhiker on Flickr


Starting at 4:00pm you can stop into the Strathcona Community Centre (601 Keefer St) to make a lantern for $10, which will just take 30 minutes. The procession will head out from the Strathcona Community Centre at 6:00pm with Russell Shumsky & Friends on the drums, winding through the streets of Strathcona and ending up at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Festivities will continue until 10:00pm with drummers, stories, a choral performance by The Real Treble Makers, and raise your spirits in the Winter Solstice Music Ceilidh featuring Toddish McWong and the Black Bear Rebels & Friends.

East Side

The evening begins in three neighbourhood homes that will have lanterns and performers before processions head out. 2256 Parker St (lantern workshop, with music by Savoir Faire), 2257 Parker St (music by Taryn the Tailor), 2162 Parker St (music and shadow puppetry by Erica Mah + the Sargasso Season). Tickets are required for these shows and they have sold out in the past. Email info[at] to pre-register for the show or workshop you would like to attend.

Immediately after these house concerts follow the wild Roma-influenced music of Orkestar Slivovica as they lead you in a procession down Parker Street, straight to the Britannia courtyard for more music, hot chocolate and the on-going Labyrinth of Light. Events at the Britannia Community Centre (1661 Napier St) are free for the whole family. From 6:00pm to 10:00pm you can enjoy the lanterns, dance, sing, and be entertained.

Labyrinths of Light will only be at the East Side and Yaletown events this year.

Labyrinth of Light - 2011 Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
Photo credit: eych-you-bee-ee-ahr-tee on Flickr

The Secret Lantern Society reveals details about the event every now and then on their website, keeping a bit of mystery going until the very day. Donations for the society are accepted at all events.

Holiday Ice Skating in Vancouver

Monday, December 17th, 2012 — 3:49pm PDT
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We’re bundling up with our coats and scarves as the local mountains continue to get sprinkled with fresh powder – winter is most definitely here this week! A popular family activity is to lace up the skates and enjoy an afternoon at the local ice rink (perhaps followed up with a cup or two of hot chocolate). The Vancouver Park Board has plenty of skating options over the holidays including a few rinks that are even open on Christmas Day.

Skating Bench Monday Fun and Games
Photo credit: {Karina} & Chiot’s Run on Flickr

Holiday Family Skating December 22-28, 2012

Sunset Rink: Open Saturday December 22nd from 2:00pm to 3:00pm for family skate and 3:15pm to 4:15pm for public skate. Open Sunday December 23rd for public skate from 2:00pm to 3:15pm and family skate from 4:30pm to 5:30pm. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day. Open Thursday December 27th from 3:00pm to 4:15pm for Low Cost Skate.

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From the Miss604 Flickr Pool

Monday, December 17th, 2012 — 1:24pm PDT
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The weather is always a hot topic in Vancouver making it more than just small talk in any local conversation. A gorgeous sunset, a blustery day with the Sea Wall closed, and some of the first snowflakes of the season. This week’s collection of photos from the Miss604 Flickr Pool include sunshine and slush, festive lights and dark nights. Enjoy!

Vancouver's Winter Skyline
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks on Flickr

Winter Mountains
Photo credit: Mark Faviell Photos on Flickr

Snowy Owls of Boundary Bay
Photo credit: TylerIngram on Flickr

Rainbow umbrella Vancouver Souvenir Glasses
Photo credit: Ruth and Dave & Photocat62 on Flickr

Dawn light, heritage hall. Jazz #signage But is it still? Sunny days
Photo credit: Stv. & Stv. & Stv. & Stv. on Flickr

Patio in winter Intersection
Photo credit: Ruth and Dave & devlon duthie on Flickr

Playing with clouds Inbetween times
Photo credit: {e u g e n e} & Mark Faviell Photos on Flickr

Photo credit: . Jianwei . on Flickr

Benched Crosswalk
Photo credit: Mark Faviell Photos & BillXu Photos on Flickr

City Lights
Photo credit: Wynonna on Flickr

gastown, vancouver
Photo credit: SeanBirch on Flickr

Under The Bridge Downtown
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks on Flickr

Historic and Modern
Photo credit: Wayneson Chan on Flickr

False Creek at night Jewel Box of Lights at the Bloedel Conservatory
Photo credit: Zorro1968 & どこでもいっしょ on Flickr

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden
Photo credit: どこでもいっしょ on Flickr

PC100053 Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden
Photo credit: on Flickr

Christmas In Vancouver
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks on Flickr

As always, please click through on these images to view more work from the photographers and feel free to share your own photos with the Miss604 Flickr Pool. View all photo collections here.

The Commercial Drive Coffee Company: Coffee Giveaway

Monday, December 17th, 2012 — 11:15am PDT
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The Commercial Drive Coffee Company popped onto my radar just a short time ago when they supplied the complimentary coffee at my London Drugs book signing event — and I’m very glad that they did. Roasted in East Vancouver, they have signature Vancouver-themed coffee styles that include:

  • The Drive Espresso: “A smooth, low acidity, European style blend. Great to drink as a short or long espresso. It will leave a great taste in your mouth.”
  • Grandview Medium Roast: “A medium roasted coffee blend with a smooth flavour that still carries a full bodied cup of coffee.”
  • The Continental Medium Roast: “A medium roast coffee, with history. To support local business on the drive, CDCC partnered up with Continental Coffee for this particular blend. Continental Coffee has been on the drive for over 30 years at 1806 Commercial Drive and is an essential part of the drive’s coffee culture.”
  • Park Drive Dark Roast: “A dark roast coffee blend full of body and flavour.”

Vancouver is one coffee-loving city so the Commercial Drive Coffee Company has offered to supply one lucky Miss604 reader with coffee for a year. They will be awarding 26 coupons that can each be redeemed for a bag of coffee at at London Drugs locations. That’s 2 bags of coffee a month! 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 a year’s supply of @TheDriveCoffee from @londondrugs & @Miss604

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 10:00am on Friday, December 21, 2012. Follow the Commercial Drive Coffee Company on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their roasts, where to buy, and what community event they’ll attend next.

Update The winner is Roberta! (comment December 17)

Vancouver History: Abbott House

Monday, December 17th, 2012 — 10:09am PDT
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Nestled between the residential towers of the West End you can spot a few heritage houses that have endured for decades. Some converted to apartments or businesses, others preserved in time like Roedde House. One that sticks out, with no other heritage houses remaining in its immediate vicinity, is Abbott House at 720 Jervis Street between West Georgia and Alberni.

Abbott House
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks on Flickr

The rich built their homes on the bluff above Coal Harbour where Morton had built his cabin. West of Burrard, Hastings turned into Seaton Street, which was known as Blueblood Alley. But the bluebloods soon left for the West End, and then Shaughnessy. Only one Blueblood Alley mansion remains, Henry Abbott’s home at 720 Jervis. [Vancouver Sun]

1960 – West Georgia and Jervis. Archives item# Air P91.

Henry Braithwaite Abbott (same namesake as Abbott Street) had his house built in 1899. He was an executive with the CPR who was present in Craigellachie, BC when the last spike was hammered in to complete Canada’s first transcontinental railroad. He was also on the first train from Montreal to Port Moody with Lord Strathcona [source: Vancouver History].

Abbott House, 720 Jervis
Photo credit: nonstopdesign on Flickr

The house (now painted “CPR Red”) has undergone transformations over the years, it was even the original home of the Elbow Room Cafe until 1996. If you do a search for its address you’ll find that it has apartments which are a part of the Residences on Georgia development.