Get Warm Project

October 30th, 2011 @ 12:56pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Back in 2008 locals organized themselves through Twitter, emptied their closets, and formed an impromptu warm clothing drive called “Tweetup Heatup“. Many saw the snow and frost around them and instantly thought of those on our streets, out in the cold. The forecast is calling for our coldest winter in 20 years and once again that means that the situation will be dire for our community’s 2,600 homeless. This year, the new Get Warm Project, isn’t wasting any time and they’re out to offer support for the next four months.

Fresh Start
Photo credit: PiscesDreamer on Flickr

From November 2011 until February 2012 the Get Warm Project will be collecting coats, blankets, and other warm clothing by way of donation boxes throughout Metro Vancouver. The items will be picked up bi-weekly and distributed by the Union Gospel Mission to those in need.

Schools, offices, and businesses can sign up to host a donation box by contacting the Get Warm Project by emailing Sara McKenna (sara[at] or Krista McKenna (krista[at] for more details. Participating businesses will be listed online at the beginning of the month.

Read more about the initiative by following the Get Warm Project on Facebook or Twitter.

Catching Up With Raffi & Layton’s Letter to the Nation

October 28th, 2011 @ 3:41pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I’m a “Beluga Grad” as Raffi called me — a person in my generation who grew up with the “Baby Beluga” album (although I’m more partial to “Down by the Bay and “Shake My Sillies Out”). We’d put Raffi records on before we danced around or as we were being tucked into bed at night. My sister now had Raffi CD’s and tapes that she listens to in the car with her children. Earlier today it was pretty surreal when I was able to call Raffi up to chat about his latest song, “Letter to a Nation” that honours the words of Jack Layton.

Work in progress
Photo credit: Jenn Farr on Flickr

Jack Layton, leader of the NDP and the official opposition in Canadian Parliament, passed away this summer after a hard-fought battle with cancer. During the days that followed, Canadians gathered in public places to leave notes, flowers, light candles, and crack open a can of Orange Crush. His last letter to Canadians moved our nation. The words resonated with many, despite their political orientation, and now they live on in song.

Singer-songwriter, author, and essayist Raffi Cavoukian (or just Raffi to most of us) has put those words to music, with the blessing of Layton’s wife Olivia Chow. The tune is available for all Canadians (and non Canadians) to download, sing, perform, remix, and remember the important message.

Click to hear Raffi talk about the song “Letter to a Nation”

How did it come to be that I could call up Raffi on a rainy Friday afternoon? One day I noticed that @Raffi_BC started following me on Twitter and my eyes lit up. I was able to connect with someone so influential from my childhood thanks to social media. Raffi even has a song called “Tweet Me Right” inspired by the popular social network. We’ve followed each other on Twitter for a few months now and when I asked for the interview, he was very obliging.

Raffi speaks about the impact of social media

Raffi continues to write songs, he keeps up a blog, and does speaking engagements in support of his Child Honouring initiative, “a children-first approach to healing communities and restoring ecosystems.” Raffi was in Calgary during our call as he was giving a talk at Mount Royal University. He said there are resources for youth and adults on the Child Honouring site including songs that can be streamed, downloaded, and shared. You can catch him next on Salt Spring Island (where he is based) on November 26th for an event with Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

Young and old are encouraged to download “Letter to a Nation”, share it, and play it. Sheet music for piano (with guitar chords) is also available along with the lyrics so that everyone can remember Layton’s words to our nation.

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” – Jack Layton.

Vancouver Votes iPhone App

October 27th, 2011 @ 1:32pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Municipal elections are taking place in Vancouver November 19, 2011. You can find out various information about your registration, where to vote, and more from the election office or online. However, if you’re on the go and want all of this information in your purse or pocket, there’s also an app for that.

Vancouver Votes iPhone App Vancouver Votes iPhone App Vancouver Votes iPhone App Vancouver Votes iPhone App

The City of Vancouver’s “Vancouver Votes” application is free to download from the iTunes App Store and offers voter information, candidate listings, news updates, and even a quiz about civic politics. Election results will also be available on the app after the polls close.

Invite the World to Vancouver & Chocolate Giveaway

October 27th, 2011 @ 11:39am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

You can now Invite the World to Vancouver through a new digital postcard platform. Simply visit the site, select a series of photos or upload your own, and they’ll send a real post card to the recipient. They’ll cover the postage, print the card, and have it delivered.

Invite the World

I for one, love receiving actual tangible mail so this idea sounds really fun. Your recipient can even see what one of your personal photographs look like as a printed up post card, should you select that option. When you send a postcard from the Invite the World website you are also entered into a draw to have 4 friends or family come and visit you in Vancouver with flights, accommodation, and some spending money included.

To promote this new initiative, the local partners of Invite the World have offered up $100 for Mink Chocolates to give away to one of my readers. Mink is located at the foot of Hornby Street and serves up some of the most original hand-crafted chocolate creations around.

Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post listing what landmark, place, or scene that you would put on a post card (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
I entered to win $100 for @MinkChocolates from #InvitetheWorld & @Miss604

I will draw one winner at random from all entries next week at 12:00pm on Thursday, November 3, 2011. The Invite the World site and contest for participants over there is open until December 31, 2011.

Update The winner is Elaine Davies!

BC Craft Beer Month 2011

October 27th, 2011 @ 11:13am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

October has almost come to an end and that means Craft Beer Month in BC is also wrapping up. I’m a bit late to the party on this post but there are still some great craft beer events happening around town that you might want to check out.


October 28, 2011 – See Full Listings
Driftwood Tasting at Firefly
When: 2:00pm – 6:00pm
Where: Firefly Fine Wines and Ales, 21755 Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge
When: 4:00pm
Where: Firefly Fine Wines and Ales 2857 Cambie, Vancouver
What: Driftwood won “Best Beer” at the Canadian Beer awards for Fat Tug. Enjoy samples from this Victoria-based brewery.

October 29, 2011 – See Full Listings
Halloween Party & Cask Night at Central City
When: 8:00pm
Where: Central City Brewing, 13450 102 Ave, Surrey
What: The annual Central City Brewing Halloween party with prizes for costumes and a cask at the bar. Reserve now.

October 30, 2011 – See Full Listings
Real Ale Sundays
When: 4:00pm
Where: The Whip, 209 East 6th at Main Street, Vancouver
What: This week’s cask is Central City ESB.

October 31, 2011 – See Full Listings
St Augustine’s Manichean Mondays
When: 6:00pm
Where: St Augustine’s, 2360 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
What: Cask night – check out their live beer menu.

If you’re into Brewmaster’s Dinners (several course meals planned out with beer pairings) check out Central Bistro on Denman. They just had one for this month but these events are regular occurrences so they may have another listing up shortly.

Please enjoy responsibly and plan a safe ride from home these events. Follow @BCCraftBeerMont on Twitter for updates and events throughout the year.

Peak Performance Project 2011: Top 5

October 26th, 2011 @ 4:25pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Peak Performance Project, for the development of new and emerging BC music artists, announced their Top 5 Artists for 2011 this afternoon. Narrowed down from a field of twenty finalists, the placement of the Top 3 will remain a mystery until the grand finale event in November.

Top 3 (in alphabetical order)
The Boom Booms, Current Swell, The Matinée

4th and 5th for 2011
4. Hilary Grist ($10,000 prize)
5. Acres of Lions ($5,000 prize)

The Top 20 artists received $5,000 in initial funding this year and they each contributed songs that celebrate our city that you can download for free.

Tickets for the finale on November 27, 2011 are $10.05 (plus service charges) and that is where the winner will be announced. Third place will receive $50,000, second will get $75,000 and first will win $100,500.

This is the third year of the five year commitment by the Peak Performance Project, an initiative of 100.5 The Peak and Music BC. Previous winners include We Are the City (2009) and Kyprios (2010).