From the Miss604 Flickr Pool

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 — 10:04am PDT
Comments 1

Welcome to holiday season in Vancouver with plenty of events and activities, festive cheer, and glittering decorations everywhere you turn. The following photos have been submitted to the Miss604 Flickr Pool over the last week, highlighting our beautiful region.

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

DSC07720-s Juxtaposition
Photo credit: senic yang & Kevin Krebs on Flickr

Photo credit: Gingercat2008 on Flickr

Cleveland Dam Park
Photo credit: Wynonna on Flickr

Vancouver Downtown at Sunset Looking up in Robson Square Ice Rink
Photo credit: TOTORORO.RORO & Kevin Krebs on Flickr

Snowy Owls of Boundary Bay canada goose
Photo credit: TylerIngram & senic yang on Flickr

Photo credit: Mark Faviell on Flickr

Accuracy Nikon COOLPIX S800c Sample Photo (5 of 5)
Photo credit: popejon2 & Michael Kwan (Freelancer) on Flickr

Delicate patterns
Photo credit: Ruth and Dave on Flickr

reaching the sky Breaking Dusk
Photo credit: Kissarissa & {e u g e n e} on Flickr

Historic and Modern
Photo credit: Wayneson Chan on Flickr

Grouse Mountain
Photo credit: bcbusinesshub on Flickr

DSC07176-s Archway in Portal Park
Photo credit: senic yang & Kevin Krebs on Flickr

Christmas in Vancouver Vancouver waterfront at night
Photo credit: Zorro1968 & Zorro1968 on Flickr

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

PC335-Urban Docks Holiday
Photo credit: a.Vision 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.

Whitecaps FC Store in Metrotown

Monday, December 10th, 2012 — 11:59am PDT
Comments 107

Vancouver Whitecaps FC have opened up a retail store in a fantastic location at Metropolis at Metrotown. This past weekend we took the SkyTrain over to the store to take a look at the selection and pick up some gifts.


Jerseys, golf shirts, t-shirts, and even luggage tags fill the racks at this outlet. There are a variety of t-shirt and long-sleeve shirt styles that I haven’t seen before at the BC Place kiosks along with great stocking stuffers like stickers, shot glasses, mugs, and pennants. From infant to adult sizes, you’ll find a good selection for all ages.

Check out the Holiday Packs that include 4 tickets to the 2013 Major League Soccer Home Opener in the Teal section at BC Place, plus an official Whitecaps FC scarf ($100 plus tax). There’s also a ticket kiosk in the store where you can get single tickets, season tickets, 9-packs, and student season tickets.

There are deals happening all the time (we got a free signed copy of Bob Lenarduzzi’s book with purchase) and we could even use our Whitecaps FC season ticket-holder discount (of 15%). Whitecaps FC BMO MasterCard holders receive a 10% discount on all in-store merchandise.

To celebrate the opening of the Whitecaps FC store in Metropolis at Metrotown I have a team-signed ball to give away to one lucky reader. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment naming a Whitecaps FC player (past or present) – (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a @WhitecapsFC team-signed ball from @Miss604

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 10:00am on Saturday, December 15, 2012. Follow Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Twitter and Facebook for more information about the store, the team, and the upcoming season.

Update The winner is Peter!

Holiday Tea at The Urban Tea Merchant

Monday, December 10th, 2012 — 11:24am PDT
Comments 2

Last May I was introduced to the family behind The Urban Tea Merchant along with their expertise on all things tea, their afternoon teas, and their wide selection of tea-related products. This shop and tea parlour located between Thurlow and Burrard, bordering Georgia and Alberni, is a fragrant and soothing oasis among the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver.

Urban Tea Merchant Urban Tea Merchant

For my first experience in the spring I enjoyed iced teas but when I returned last week with Marc Smith, they offered up new blends of their signature TWG luxury teas just for the holiday season.

Urban Tea Merchant Urban Tea Merchant

Holiday Tea Service
To compliment their Westcoast Tea Service, Champagne Tea Service, and Weekend Brunch, The Urban Tea Merchant now offers a Holiday Tea Service. For $48 per person the Holiday Tea includes hand-crafted sandwiches, savouries and sweets, and a pot of TWG Tea‘s Holiday Collection such as the Christmas Lights Tea.

Urban Tea Merchant

Urban Tea Merchant Urban Tea Merchant Urban Tea Merchant

Marc and I both agreed that our favourite sip was the White Christmas tea, a Yin Zhen white tea which was blended with hibiscus, spices, and orange peels. We also tried Red Christmas (a rooibos style) and Christmas Lights (which had a sweet marzipan flavour). There were so many goodies to choose from on the multi-tiered platter we couldn’t even finish it all. I loved the salmon sandwich and the tuna on a crostini along with the gingerbread, scones, and macarons. Each piece is delicately infused with festive and seasonal teas, complimenting the brews in your cup.

Urban Tea Merchant

Urban Tea Merchant Urban Tea Merchant

Urban Tea Merchant Urban Tea Merchant Urban Tea Merchant

The December Lunch Special is also a Petite Tea Service for $20 that includes a variety of five savouries and four sweets along with an $8 credit towards any TWG tea. The shop is sparkling with holiday colours, festive teas, and all kinds of accessories — perfect gift ideas for the tea drinker in your life. You can sniff, sample, sip, and pick out the perfect blend.

Reservations can now be made for the Holiday Tea and other afternoon tea services including group events. The Urban Tea Merchant is located at 1070 West Georgia Street and you can find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Review
This is not a paid post, views are my own. The Urban Tea Merchant recently invited media in to try their Holiday Tea Service.

Archives Photos of the Day: Granville Island

Monday, December 10th, 2012 — 9:44am PDT
Comments 1

It was on this day in history (1868) that the second Earl Granville was named Secretary of the Colonies. Granville Townsite (Gastown), Granville Street, Granville Island. have all been named after him. It’s a nice tie-in to today’s collection of photos from the archives, which all feature Granville Island. At this time of year it’s just as alive as in the summer with holiday gift shoppers visiting local artisans, dinner essentials getting hand-picked in the market, and holiday plays bringing audience to theatres to laugh and be inspired.

(Left) 1954 – Aerial view over Granville Island. Archives #CVA 228-400. (Right) 1939 – View of False Creek from the Burrard Bridge. Archives #CVA 260-1017.

(Left) 1920s – False Creek, B.C.E.R. Company, Kitsilano Trestle, Leslie Coal Company Limited.
VPL Number: 8141. Photographer: Leonard Frank.
(Right) 1917 – Industrial Island (Granville Island) looking north east towards West End. VPL Number: 20406.
Photographer: Dominion Photo Co.

(Left) 1918 – Schaake Co. Ltd. Machinery – Engineers & Machinists. VPL Number: 20430. (Middle) 1918 – Pacific White Lead Co. Ltd. – Granville Island. VPL Number 20463. Photographer: Dominion Photo Co.
(Right) 1916 – Wallace Foundry Company. VPL Number: 86884. Photographer: Jack Cash.

(Left) 1916 – Looking East at False Creek and Granville Island. VPL Number: 20026.
(Right) 1920 – Looking Northwest. VPL Number: 20807. Photographer: Dominion Photo Co.

(Left) 1949 – Arrow Transfer warehouse no.4, Granville Island. VPL Number: 81039. Photographer: Artray (Right) 1962 – Clay’s Wharf. VPL Number: 85762. Photographer: Stanley Triggs.

(Left) 1954 – Old and new Granville Street Bridge. VPL Number: 39838. Photographer: Province Newspaper. (Right) 1953) View of downtown streets, new Granville Bridge under construction, old Granville Bridge, Granville Island. VPL Number: 82372Y. Photographer: Artray.

Visit the Vancouver Public Library or the Vancouver City Archives for more historical photographs.

Vancouver Foodster Best Burger Challenge

Friday, December 7th, 2012 — 9:39am PDT
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Richard Wolak from Vancouver Foodster has officially crowned a winner in his Best Burger Challenge. From November 5th until November 30th he had 29 restaurants (and a food truck) throw their hats in the ring and the final choice was made by the public through a vote that took place November 28th to December 3rd.

Max’s Burgers: “The Local”. Photo courtesy of Richard Wolak.

“Burgers are one of those menu items that are popular in many restaurants in our area,” Richard told me. “Yes we are often known as a healthy city, but I see it as balance, people who are working out also want to treat themselves to a burger. The challenge gets people out to try new burger creations that either haven’t been on their favourite restaurants menus or gets them out to try new restaurants and the burger creations that they are featuring.”

The winners were announced on Richard’s website this week:
1st Place: Max’s Burgers – “The Local”
2nd Place: The Fray – “Triple Threat Burger”
3rd Place: Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant – “The Mistress”
4th Place: Luke’s Kitchen — “Veggie Burger”

“The top 5 winning burgers were all ones that were custom created by the restaurants for this challenge, and the top 2 winning burgers were all about local and from what those restaurants have told me, this was the most popular item on their menu during the challenge outselling every other menu item.”

Richard said that aside from promoting local eateries and engaging the public, the challenge actually had a major impact on the way that one competitor did business. Max’s Burgers (1st place) previously used Alberta beef. For this challenge they came up with “The Local” burger and used grass-fed local beef from The Honest Butcher. “Almost every customer began ordering “The Local” and paying a higher price as this was their most expensive burger on the menu. Within two weeks they decided to change the entire beef supply moving strongly in a more local sustainable direction, and now all their beef is being purchased locally, totally changing the way they do business and service their customers.”

This is actually Richard’s third food challenge, having hosted his own Best Beef Burger and Fries Challenge, a Poutine Challenge and a Pancake Challenge earlier this year. “The chefs enjoy being challenged and it also challenges the servers and the rest of the staff creating a camaraderie of sorts which energizes the whole team and increases sales for their respective restaurants.”

You can read full descriptions of each winning burger on Richard’s site and also find out who he personally named Best Beef Burger last year. Follow Richard on Twitter to learn more about his upcoming events (like Food Talks and Tasting Plates) and explore more of the delicious food this city has to offer.

GLOW Salt Spring Island Giveaway

Thursday, December 6th, 2012 — 2:02pm PDT
Comments 434

Today I’m heading over to Salt Spring Island (otherwise known as our ‘Happy Place’) to enjoy the second annual Glowtini competition. Bartenders and mixologist from the isle will compete to tantalize taste-buds with a custom cocktail created specifically for Salt Spring Islanders and guests this holiday season. I’ll be joined by Janice Mansfield and David Wolowidnyk at the judges’ table to sip and sample contest entries — it’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it!

Get Your Glow On - Logo

The Glowtini contest will begin at 8:00pm tonight and those in attendance with us at Harbour House can make a donation to Salt Spring’s Copper Kettle Community Partnership to try the cocktail that gets crowned as this year’s Glowtini.

Salt Spring Island is fast becoming a year round destination, as visitors discover an increasingly popular winter vacation awaits them. Recently named one of the top 10 islands to visit during the festive season, Canada’s organic food capital is a welcoming retreat with exciting offerings for the holidays. Take in spas, winery tours, boutique shopping, galleries, outdoor adventures, dining and foodie experiences including the Saturday Market and visits to Salt Spring Cheese and the Bread Lady as well as one of three wineries. And now it’s “Christmas on Salt Spring!” and the secret is out.

Helping to coordinate the island’s festivities is the Salt Spring Christmas Committee comprised of the Island’s accommodation providers, retailers, restaurant owners, specialty stores, non-profit groups, local media, the chamber of commerce and the island’s arts community. Visitors will enjoy an authentic BC holiday focused on family and friends having fun, and enjoying unique experiences.

As previously mentioned, Salt Spring Island is very special to John and me, which is why I’m excited that they have once again partnered with me for a campaign. Last year I attended the Glowtini event and gave away a getaway package and we’re doing the same. Here’s what Salt Spring Island businesses have provided for this year’s giveaway:

Hastings House Country House Hotel Invites you to be their Special Guest!

Settle into your deluxe accommodation overlooking Ganges Harbour. Your hillside room features a king size bed, gas fireplace, large bathroom with deep soaking tub and separate shower, heated floors and a covered balcony to drink in the views. That evening your dinner reservations will be at one of the Island’s favourite dining establishments.

The following day you will discover a morning hamper at your door, inside are freshly baked muffins and coffee to help awaken you. A full English Breakfast served in our Manor House will complete your visit and prepare you for another day of discovering more fabulous adventures on Salt Spring.

Prize Recap

  • Round trip flights for two, courtesy of Saltspring Air
  • Two nights accommodation for two, at Hastings House Country House Hotel including: Afternoon Tea and English breakfast and a $50 Wellspring Spa gift card
  • Dining gift card at one of the Island’s popular eateries, Auntie Pestos
  • Salt Spring Hamper full of locally produced goodies
  • $50 Gift card for boutique shopping at Twang & Pearl

Saltspring Island from the air

If you need further affirmation that this is a great place, perhaps this Open Love Letter to Salt Spring written by last year’s contest winner will win you over:

“In Miss 604′s original post, she described Salt Spring Island as “magical”. There is truly no better word to communicate the feeling of being in your presence…” “…Salt Spring Island, this was my first visit, but it will certainly not be the last. We loved your easygoing attitude and quiet pride. Locals and fellow tourists alike were singing the praises of your community in the summer, when the market is bustling and the outdoor adventures of kayaking and hiking become a real possibility. I look forward to the day when I will see you again. But until then, I send you my love and my loved ones.”

Here’s how you can enter to win the incredible Salt Spring GLOW giveaway (valued at $2,500!) from Salt Spring Island Tourism and the Salt Spring Christmas Committee:

  • Leave a comment on this post naming an upcoming Christmas on Salt Spring event (as listed on their website) (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a #GLOW @HelloSaltSpring getaway from @Miss604

Follow Salt Spring Island Tourism on Twitter and Facebook for more information throughout the year.

I will draw one winner at random from all entries on Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 12:00pm. Must be 19+ to enter and claim. Prize includes and is limited to the items listed in the prize recap above. The winner will have to claim their prize between January 15th to April 15th, 2013, based on availability of flights and accommodation. The winner will also agree to be disclosed and do any follow-up interviews/ or media related activities. The Salt Spring Christmas Committee, Hastings House Country House Hotel as well as Salt Spring Air, and the Chamber of Commerce sponsor the contest.

Update The winner is Wanderlust Megan!