Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards 2012

April 24th, 2012 @ 8:34am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The 23rd annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards were held yesterday at the Sheraton Wall Centre. There were recognitions like the Lifetime Achievement Award (Kirin Restaurant Group), the Mentorship Award (Julian Bond of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts), Best Front of House Service, and the Green Award (Trafalgars) along with the staples. Here are just a few of the winners from yesterday‘s ceremony:

Best New Restaurant Design, Chef of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, Best New Restaurant, and Best Upscale all went to Hawksworth, and Chef David Hawksworth.

Chef David Hawksworth
Chef David Hawksworth

Best Seafood: Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
Best Steakhouse: Hy’s Encore
Upscale Japanese: Tojo’s
Casual Japanese: Kingyo Izakaya
Best Indian: Vij’s
Best Dim Sum: Kirin
Best Pizzeria: Nicli Antica Pizzeria
Best Food Cart: Re-Up BBQ
Best Casual Chain: Cactus Club Cafe
Best in Whistler: Araxi
Best in Victoria: Ulla
Vancouver Island: Sooke Harbour House
Best Winery Dining in the Okanagan: Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek

The Chefs Table Society also named farmed BC oysters the Ingredient of the Year. A full list of the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners in these categories and more is available online.

Last month the Georgia Straight also released their list of top eateries for the annual Golden Plate Awards.

Northern Lights Over Vancouver

April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:38pm (PT) by Duane Storey

If you were in the Lower Mainland tonight, chances are you caught the amazing fiery sunset that streaked through the clouds above. However according to my friend Duane Storey, we could be in for a lot more in the skies tonight and early tomorrow morning. He has contributed the following post:

It’s pretty rare for the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) to be seen as far south as Vancouver, but it has happened occasionally in the past. Usually it is the result of unusual solar activity such as a massive solar flare. One such solar flare occurred in November of 2003, and registered as an X28 — amazingly powerful.

The magnetic field of the resultant solar explosion ended up enhancing the magnetic activity of the earth, and caused the aurora to go as far south as Mexico.

Northern Lights
2003 – Northern Lights in Vancouver. Photo credit: Duane Storey on Flickr.

A geomagnetic storm is currently underway that is predicted to cause the aurora to be visible as far south as Seattle. To keep track of the status of the aurora, visit and view the current pictorial representation in the sidebar to check on the status.

It’s pretty rare for the aurora to be visible this far south, so try and get out to see it if you can. It should make an appearance a few hours after midnight tonight. If you spot the Northern Lights be sure to take a photo if you can and consider sharing it with the Miss604 Flickr Pool.

Where to View the Northern Lights

The Province reports that one of the best viewing areas will be in the Fraser Valley as hundreds of people gather each year at Aldergrove Lake Park. An H.R. MacMillan Space Centre representative also told The Province that Dark Sky Park in Abbotsford would be a great place to catch a meteor shower as well.

I looked up “Dark Sky Park” to discover that it’s a nickname given to McDonald Park as it has officially been declared free of light pollution.

I’d have to agreed that out in the valley you will have a darker sky that will make the meteors easier to spot. However I would also recommend heading to the Sunshine Coast (although the last ferry back is at 9:40pm) or even heading up the Sea to Sky a bit to perhaps Porteau Cove (about 45 minutes from downtown). A friend of mine will be heading out to Cultus Lake where she says the stars are the brightest around.

A little closer to home you can try Cypress Mountain to get you above the city lights or Iona Beach although lights from air traffic at YVR might be distracting. You may also be able to spot some stars from Barnet Marine Park or Belcarra as they are tucked beside the Burrard Inlet, facing a “quieter” side of the North Shore.

A guest post by Duane Storey

Travel lover. Photographer. WordPress plugin author. Writer. Camper. Engineer. Dreamer. Follow Duane on Twitter @DuaneStorey.

Scotia Hockey: See Stanley With Lanny

April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:29am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Scotia Hockey Club, a proud supporter of all levels of hockey across Canada, is bringing back its “See Stanley With Lanny” contest. Until May 21st, you can enter for your chance to win a trip for 4 to see a Stanley Cup Final Game with Lanny McDonald.

Stanley With Lanny
Used with Permission from Scotia Hockey.

The trip includes spending money, accommodation, transportation to the the game, and 3 whole periods of hockey alongside Lanny. Official rules are available on the Scotia Hockey Facebook Page.

Reebok Stanley prize packs (1)Once a week during the playoffs, and once a day from May 23rd to June 10th, they’ll also be giving away Reebok Stanley Cup prize packs.

I know that most Vancouver fans are hockey fans through and through and they’ll continue to support hometown boys, past Vancouver players, and perhaps cheer for the opponents of our bitter rivals throughout the rest of the playoffs. Catching a few of the other Round 1 match-ups, the playoffs are sure to contain great hockey and be exciting as ever to watch.

To promote See Stanley With Lanny, I have two Scotia Hockey prize packs to give away as well as three of the Reebok Stanley Cup prize packs that include a Stanley Cup Final t-shirt, hat, backpack, and hoodie. Here’s how you can enter to win one of these five prize packs from me:

  • Leave a comment on this post about why you love hockey, plain and simple (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a @ScotiaHockey prize pack from @Miss604

I will draw all five winners at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. Update The winners are Michelle M and @Reese210 (Scotia Prize), and Vince, Iris, and Jenny (Reebok).

Army and Navy Shoe Sale 2012

April 23rd, 2012 @ 9:29am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The 63rd annual Army and Navy Shoe Sale returns Wednesday April 25, 2012 with doors opening at 8:00am at all locations (Gastown, New Westminster, Langley, Calgary, and Edmonton).

Styles will include BCBG, Betsy Johnson, Coach, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Eli Tahari, Fergalicious, Guess, Jessica Simpson, Steve Madden and Vince Camuto. Over 100,000 pairs will be stocked and marked down, some styles from $300 (original designer sticker price) to $40.

Rejected Shoes *sigh* Army and Navy Shoe Sale

In 2008 I interviewed Tania Berrios, a Junior Buyer for the Shoe Department, who offered up the following tips for sale-goers:

“I would definitely recommend for everyone to wear flip flops! That way you just slip them off and try on a new pair. Because the sale is so popular, it gets very full, so wearing something light and comfortable is ideal.

Another great tip is to grab a basket or the complimentary A&N shopping bag, fill it with all the shoes you like, and grab yourself an empty corner to try your shoes on. That way you don’t have people grabbing from your stash… yes the competition is fierce. For those shoppers who aren’t able to make it right at 8:00am, don’t worry we stock up the shelves all day, and especially for the lunch and after work rush. Once you have picked out your fantastic pairs of shoes, you are able to purchase them at any till in the store.”

In business since 1919, Army and Navy attributes their ability to offer such deep discounts and deals to their longstanding relationships with suppliers. The sale will run until May 6, 2012.

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Photos 2012

April 22nd, 2012 @ 6:40pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Although the blossoms in the West End have fallen, covering sidewalks like snowflakes, there are still thousands of trees bursting with spring colours across the city. Photos showcased this week from the Miss604 Flickr Pool all celebrate cherry blossom season.

Cherry blossom under sunny blue sky
Photo credit: LawrenceH on Flickr

falling bloom falling bloom aerie
Photo credit: rocketcandy & rocketcandy & rocketcandy on Flickr

Spring is here!
Photo credit: cahadikin on Flickr

Cherry Blossoms
Photo credit: cahaikin on Flickr

A Friendly Neighbourhood Cat A Sakura-Eating Kitty
Photo credit: DTBの写真撮影 & DTBの写真撮影 on Flickr

cherry blossoms cherry blossoms
Photo credit: laxtoyvr & laxtoyvr on Flickr

Cherry Blossom Festival - Vancouver 2012
Photo credit: on Flickr

Cherry blossoms & Vancouver Lookout
Photo credit: Wynonna on Flickr

Blooming Vancouver
Photo credit: Sliver of Light Photography on Flickr

Sakura II
Photo credit: Maurice Li on Flickr

BMO building burrard street blossoms
Photo credit: La Ola & Nicole Soltys on Flickr

Photo credit: veronique_m on Flickr

桜が咲いている: 春が来た Sakura time in Vancouver
Photo credit: DTBの写真撮影 & Eric Flexyourhead on Flickr

Vancouver Cherry Blossoms
Photo credit: Zorro1968 on Flickr

Cherry Blossom Festival
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks on Flickr

There is still time to check out a few Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival events this month. You can also enter your pictures in the Festival’s photo contest by email or tagging your photo with #VCCBphotocontest on Twitter. Entries are being accepted until April 28, 2012.

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.