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.

    Vancouver Police Museum Good Times

    June 25th, 2009 @ 9:56am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I first discovered we had the Vancouver Police Museum last spring during the Amazing Hunt as they had a clue box parked outside. It’s taken me over a year to finally get in there and thanks to a chat I had a few months ago with Executive Director Chris Mathieson, I was able to rally a small group of friends (including the Biehlers and Keira) to go on a special tour last night.

    Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

    Aside from being a comprehensive museum packed with anything and everything you’d want to know about Vancouver’s grimy, gritty, and sordid past they also run a number of public programs such as Forensics for Kids, educational programs, birthday parties, and spring break activities. One of their most popular features (however probably not recommended for the kiddies) is the tantalizing Sins of the City tour. It’s a walking tour around Chinatown and the Downtown East Side where Chris provides decades-old stories about illegal gambling, prostitution, brothels, opium dens, and everything in between.

    Blogathon Vancouver 2009 – Save the Date

    June 24th, 2009 @ 1:24pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Last year the official site was out of commission so I took it upon myself to organize Blogathon Vancouver for those in the city that were interested in keeping the tradition alive. This year, the global event is back in full force taking place July 25th from 6am until 6am on July 26th.

    Over the last three years I have been involved with Blogathon, either as a cheerleader, donor, participant, or local organizer. Essentially it’s a blogging marathon where participants publish one post on their blog each half hour for 24 hours. Along the way they collect pledges and donations online for the cause of their choice. With the official system back in place, tracking pledges will be much easier for all involved so I look forward to seeing that functionality returning. Another option is for participating bloggers to create a personal donation page on Canada Helps, a system that supports online donations for thousands of non-profits across the nation.

    Karen from during her campaign / us at Duane’s during Blogathon 2008

    If you are a local blogger and would like to participate in Blogathon 2009, please be sure to register on the global site starting July 1st. You can follow @blogathondotorg for their updates.

    Once you’ve registered (or even if you’re thinking about signing on) please connect with me so that I can add you to a special Blogathon Vancouver blogroll and help promote your campaign. I have also arranged a place for all local participants to gather (Workspace in Gastown) should they wish to spend their 24-hours with others. The benefit of having people around is that it’s often easier to come up with post ideas, you could do a quick photo walk as a post, there’s encouragement from all sides, and you’ll be surrounded by others enduring the same insomnia/writing frenzy. I will try to register a Vancouver Tweetup during that time as well and Duane will be spearheading a Blogathon event in Chilliwack.

    I will do my best to support the participating bloggers (we had 12 last year that raised well over $10,000) and I hope you’ll join us in using our online spaces to benefit some great causes.

    Update: If you’re planning on signing up (starting July 1st) for blogathon, and you’re in the Vancouver area, feel free to add these badges to your site so you can start promoting your campaign a bit. After July 1st you’ll have your own donation page link etc. but it doesn’t hurt to start building the hype. Thanks so much to Kontent Creative for coming up with these. Right click and save/copy source for the file.



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    Mountain View Cemetery Open House

    June 24th, 2009 @ 8:19am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I know this must seem a bit grim, but Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery is hosting an open house Saturday July 11th and they would like you to come and spend an afternoon with them on the scenic grounds.

    Photo credit: Hayley Bouchard on Flickr

    I’m certain Mountain View is the final resting place of many loved ones in Vancouver as it has been around since 1887. What makes this story interesting to me as well is some of the people of note who have been laid to rest there. This includes…

  • Former mayor W.H. Malkin (as in the Malkin Bowl etc.)
  • Joe Fortes (lifeguard, hero, the Citizen of the Century)
  • Harry Winston Jerome (track and field star and one time 100-meter record holder)
  • Herbert Oliver Lee (builder of the Lee Building on Broadway)
  • Gustav Adolph Roedde (as in Roedde House)
  • and Thomas Ellis Ladner (founder of Ladner)
  • You won’t find John “Gassy Jack” Deighton there though as he’s over in New Westminster’s Fraser Cemetery along with the likes of Raymond Burr, and Arthur McBride.

    Mountain View is Vancouver’s only cemetery and they would like this open house to serve as a new introduction to this meaningful place. The event will feature tours including visits to their new water features, joss paper demonstrations, and visitors are encouraged to have a picnic near the fountain. Organizers are hoping that a visit to Mountain View with the family could become a new summer tradition for many.

    I’ve only passed through during a Haunted Vancouver trolley tour but I’d be really curious to pay a visit during the day to check out all of Mountain View’s history. It may seem like an odd place to spend a Saturday afternoon but it sure is a unique way to connect with your city’s past. Mountain View also hosts “A Night for All Souls” in the fall.

    Spinnakers Victoria Gastro Brewpub and Guesthouses

    June 23rd, 2009 @ 12:11pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub is located just a quick harbour ferry ride across Victoria’s inner harbour and is the home of Canada’s first purpose-built brewpub. Spinnakers produces at least ten different types of ales (not lagers) and they turn around new beers each month, often designing custom brews for community events and fundraisers.



    During our visit we were lucky enough to sample some menu items, which were absolutely divine — I must have heard John say “Wow” at least a dozen times throughout the meal.

    Spinnakers Spinnakers Spinnakers Spinnakers

    Spinnakers Spinnakers Spinnakers Spinnakers

    We had been to Spinnakers before but I think we just ordered pizza (which in itself is great) however we’re much happier to have explored the rest of the offerings.



    Our flight of beer included a Hefeweizen, Stout, and Porter paired with lavender white chocolate truffles, dark chocolate raspberry, and another chocolate truffle topped with barley. Our final drink was a Brandenburg 3 paired with Saltspring Island cheese.


    We also discovered that adjacent to the brewpub, just across the grassy courtyard, there is a selection of guest houses with lovely rooms. They include a continental breakfast, local paper and an assortment of baked goods supplied each morning. In the off season the guest rooms go for about $149 a night (and up) and in the peak summer months you can rent the entire Mary Street Cottage for $279.


    Spinnkers Guest House/Cottage

    Spinnkers Guest House/Cottage

    Spinnakers offers local ingredients, fresh seafood, chocolate truffles made in-house, wines, vinegars (made on-site), and of course the hand-crafted beer. On top of that, they even create their own special mineral water. It’s a culinary delight in a comfortable atmosphere (darts and pool tables upstairs) with a glorious view of the harbour. Spinnakers is the epitome of eating local and is a highly recommended stop during your next trip to our Province’s capital.

    Our stop at Spinnakers was during our Coast Hotels ‘New Victoria for New Media’ tour – view my Flickr set for more images.

    Ziplining on Grouse Mountain

    June 23rd, 2009 @ 8:48am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The other day I had the chance to go ziplining on Grouse Mountain with their Air Grouse ziplining tour. Essentially you can purchase your zipline pass at the base of the mountain and it will include your skyride (gondola) fare as well at the 2-hour zipline circuit.

    Grouse Mountain

    Grouse Mountain

    There are three ziplines at the lodge level and then you’ll take the Peak Chair up to the final two which will have you ripping above the treetops at up to 80km/h.

    Ziplining on Grouse

    Ziplining on Grouse

    Ziplining on Grouse

    It’s a great way to explore Grouse Mountain beyond the gondola and believe me, it’s a serious rush. There is a little bit of hiking involved, especially to get up to the two top towers but once you’re strapped in and ready to go just sit back and let the line carry you away.

    Ziplining on Grouse

    Ziplining on Grouse

    Ziplining on Grouse

    Ziplining on Grouse

    Unfortunately I had my camera strapped around my neck so when I went into “landing position” all you could see on my video is the sky. However, I’ve mixed up all my clips into this single video (with music by Silversun Pickups).

    The total cost of the zipline tour is about $105 and as Jenn Thomson noted (as she did the media tour with me) it’s about the cost of taking your kid to a hockey game or going out for a big fancy dinner.

    Grouse Good Times

    You can also book in groups (it’s fun to ride with someone else on the twin line beside you) and they’ll take a group photo for you as a keepsake before you set out on your tour. I’m looking forward to trying this with John and I promise next time, I’ll scream a little less.

    Royal BC Museum in Victoria

    June 22nd, 2009 @ 3:00pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    One of the highlights of any Victoria trip for me is always the Royal BC Museum. They have seasonal exhibits combined with traditional displays and the IMAX which make it enjoyable for all ages, any time of year.

    Royal BC Museum

    We were on a mission to explore “Treasures: The World’s Cultures of the British Museum” that is in Victoria until September of this year and spent the better part of an hour perusing all of the dazzling ancient artifacts.

    Royal BC Museum

    The self-guided tour leads you through displays starting with Africa, moving on to the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Oceania, America and the Modern World. You’ll see everything from a mummy, to the Rosetta Stone, busts of Marcus Aurelius, a Rembrandt sketch, ancient carved Buddha statues, and gold masks from Columbia.

    Photo credit: (c) The Trustees of the British Museum – Deir elBahri, Thebes, Egypt , Early 22nd Dynasty, ca 930 BC, Papyrus
    Photo credit: (c) The Trustees of the British Museum – Found at Olympia, Greece ca 460 BC, Bronze

    The features at the Royal BC Museum always draw a crowd and they saw the highest attendance of almost a half a million visitors during their 2007 Titanic exhibit.

    On any given day you can explore the National History Gallery (home of that famous Wolly Mammoth), and the Human History Gallery that features everything from First Nations history to a Modern History Gallery. John said thanks to these exhibits he’s been able to learn more about the province and our nation – they’re personal favourites of mine as well. They’ve also included a permanent Climate Change feature that features everything from the Pine Beetle to exploring weather patterns at interactive computer stations.

    Royal BC Museum

    You are welcome to take photographs (without flash) throughout the museum, except in the special exhibit halls or where otherwise noted. If you regularly frequent the museum (more than once a year) it would be worth looking into an annual pass, which is only $45 for adults. Many other attractions over in the Vancouver area offer annual or family passes for locals and I think they’re tremendous deals e.g. the Vancouver Aquarium.

    Royal BC Museum

    Outside the Royal BC Museum you’ll spot the Netherlands Carillon bell tower, thunderbird park, the BC archives, a native plant garden, sculptures, and monuments. Of course the museum is also across the street from the legendary Empress Hotel as well as the BC Legislature building.

    I’ve visited the museum every time I’ve ever been to Victoria and when you combine the traditional galleries with the traveling exhibits it just adds that much more value to your trip.

    This stop was during our Coast Hotels ‘New Victoria for New Media’ tour – view my Flickr set for more images.