I Love Transit Week Transit Camp in Vancouver

August 20th, 2015 @ 11:46am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

transit_camp_2015_squareFor the seventh year in a row, Translink is dedicating their digital channels, the print Buzzer, time and thoughts to the love of transit! I Love Transit Week will run between August 31st and September 4th, and in the past it has featured haikus, reflective essays, pictures, stories about finding love on transit, a wedding on a bus, paintings, a cake, a crossword and even a song.

Sign up for Transit Camp

Translink is offering up two FREE day-long Transit Camp experiences for children and adults this September.

I Love Transit Camp (Kids) September 1st, 2015

I Love Transit Camp for kids is an opportunity for kids between the ages of eight and 12 to visit TransLink operating companies’ facilities to learn about how transit works and have some fun at the same time.

The day will start around 9:00am at Edmonds Station, and the group will head to SkyTrain Operations and Maintenance Centre (OMC). While there, they will visit where the SkyTrain is maintained and cleaned as well as the SkyTrain Control. Kids will get a chance to use the SkyTrain simulator, ask questions of SkyTrain staff and even take a trip on a train around the OMC testing track. There will be a lunch break before saying goodbye to OMC.

Next, campers will hop back on SkyTrain and head for Gilmore Station. Once there, they’ll take a ride on a bus and get a behind-the-scenes tour of Burnaby Transit Centre. They’ll see the fleet overhaul and where they fix and update almost everything on a bus, including the painting of buses and reupholstering of seats. You will also get a tour of the bus yard with articulated and 40-foot buses.

Afterwards, campers will get to have fun on a 40-foot bus and talk to a bus operator instructor about what it’s like to drive a bus. The group will get back on a bus that will drop everyone off at Gilmore Station. The day should wrap up around four o’clock and will also include a visit with Transit Police.

How to take part
Due to safety concerns for both OMC and BTC, Translink is only able to take a maximum of 20 people on the camp. That means 10 kids (ages 8-12) and their guardians will be able to participate in the camp. If you’d like to participate, Translink would like kids to tell them (in 50 words or less) what they love about transit. You can also submit a photo and/or a video as part of your entry. Before you or your little one starts typing or writing, you’ll want to read the participation guidelines.

Send your submissions to thebuzzer@translink.ca with “I Love Transit Camp Kids” in the subject field, or you can surface mail it to The Buzzer, 400 – 287 Nelson’s Court, New Westminster, BC, V3L 0E7. Be sure to include your name, age, where you heard about the camp, and the phone number and name of the guardian you wish to bring with you. The deadline for submissions is August 24, 2015. If you are selected, Translink will need a participation form filled out by August 28th, 2015.

I Love Transit Camp (Adults) September 3rd

The first I Love Transit Camp for adults (age 13 and up) is an opportunity for adults to visit Burnaby Transit Centre and have some fun while you’re at it. The day will start shortly after noon at Gilmore Station. Once there, you’ll take a ride on the bus and get a behind-the-scenes tour of Burnaby Transit Centre. You will see the fleet overhaul where they can fix and update almost everything on a bus, including the painting of buses and reupholstering of seats. A tour of the bus yard with articulated and 40-foot buses is also included. Afterwards, you’ll get to have fun on a 40-foot bus and play some games. Games and some other activities are planned, along with some meet and greets. At the end of the day, a bus will drop everyone off at Gilmore Station, the day should wrap up around four o’clock.

How to take part
Due to safety concerns at BTC, Translink is only able to take a maximum of 20 people on the camp. This means 20 adults will be able to participate in the camp. If you’d like to participate, you’ll need to tell Translink (in 50 words or less) what you love about transit. If you like, you can also submit a photo and/or a video as part of your entry. Before you start typing or writing, you’ll want to read the participation guidelines.

Send your submissions to thebuzzer@translink.ca with “I Love Transit Camp Adults” in the subject field, or you can surface mail it to The Buzzer, 400 – 287 Nelson’s Court, New Westminster, BC, V3L 0E7. Be sure to include your name, age, where you heard about the camp, and phone number. The deadline for submissions is August 24th. If you are selected, Translink will need a participation form filled out by August 28th, 2015.

Stay tuned to the The Buzzer Blog for more details leading up to both the Transit Camp for Kids and Transit Camp for Adults.

Disclosure: Sponsored Post

This post is sponsored by Translink and Translink's I Love Transit Week

Things to do in Vancouver This Weekend

August 20th, 2015 @ 10:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This weekend we welcome back the Fair at the PNE for its 105th season, bringing with it concerts, exhibitions, attractions, and the new Craft Beer Fest. Elsewhere around town, enjoy free movie nights, farmers markets, theatre sports, a garlic festival and much more for the whole family over the next few days.

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Events that run for longer than three days in a row are highlighted in green below.

Things to do in Vancouver This Weekend

Friday, August 21, 2015
Sponsored by Miss604: Friday Late Night Movies at the Rio Theatre
Bollywood Under the Stars 7: Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
Friday Movie Nights in Cloverdale, Surrey
Peekaboo Beans Pop-Up Play Date
An Evening With David Duchovny
Alicia Tobin’s Come Draw With Me
Strange Animals at the Gam
Say Hi To A Stranger – Opening Party
Take Off Fridays, Free Fun at YVR Airport
Free Friday Walking Tours, West Hastings
Fresh Air Fridays at Highstreet in Abbotsford
Vancouver Theatresports with Colin Mochrie
Free Waterfront Walking Tours, North Vancouver
Shipyards Night Market, North Vancouver
Surrey Night Market
International Night Market, Richmond
Vancouver Queer Film Festival
Theatre Under the Stars in Stanley Park

Saturday, August 22, 2015
Sponsored by Miss604: Downtown Surrey Movies Under the Stars
Urban Forest Concert with Bon Jovi Bon Jovi Moved to Rogers Arena
Curious Flea
Craft Beer Cruise
Panorama Dog Park Bake Sale, Surrey
Steveston Interurban Tram: Teddy Bear Picnic
RepublicXS: Shanghai Nights
Whole Way House Family Picnic in the Park
Steveston Dragon Boat Festival
Sips Cocktail Emporium Grand Opening
Staircase Theatre: Movin’ On Up
Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest, New Westminster
Nordel Crossing Summerfest
Movin’ On Up-Staged Readings
Vancouver Theatresports with Colin Mochrie
Summer Sessions Concerts at Shipbuilders’ Square, North Vancouver
Cates Park Concerts
Trout Lake Farmers Market
West End Farmers Market
Free Waterfront Walking Tours, North Vancouver
Vancouver, Plaza of Nations Night Market
Richmond Night Market
Surrey Night Market
International Night Market, Richmond
PNE Summer Concerts
Vancouver Queer Film Festival
Theatre Under the Stars in Stanley Park

Sunday, August 23, 2015
Say Hi To A Stranger – Closing Party
Art in the Vines
Craft Beer Cruise
7th Annual Vancouver Garlic Festival
Curious Flea
Free Sunday Salsa Downtown
Vancouver Street Food Festival
Ambleside Artisan Farmers Market
Kitsilano Farmers Market
Free Waterfront Walking Tours, North Vancouver
Vancouver, Plaza of Nations Night Market
Richmond Night Market
Surrey Night Market
International Night Market, Richmond
PNE Summer Concerts
Vancouver Queer Film Festival
Theatre Under the Stars in Stanley Park

Check out the full August event listings here and if you have an event to include, please send it in by email for a free listing. Follow Miss604 on Twitter for more daily updates.

NEW: Subscribe to the Weekly Events Newsletter

If you wish to receive this weekly/weekend event list right to your email inbox, please sign up for the new Miss604 Weekly Events Newsletter below. It will be sent once a week, only to those who opt-in.

5 Ways to Make the Best of a Girls Getaway in Whistler

August 19th, 2015 @ 10:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Here in Sea to Sky country, where we can literally climb a mountain and kayak in the same day, having a getaway resort that supports adventurous activities (and the relaxing spa and cocktail time that follows) is what makes Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler such a fun destination. I recently booked an action-packed 2 day experience in Whistler with John’s niece who was visiting from Chicago. With such a tight timeframe, but so much to see and do, we fit in so much without feeling rushed.

5 Ways to Make the Best of a Girls Getaway in Whistler

1. Peak2Peak + Hike
Driving straight up from Whistler and parking in the Day Lot off Village Gate we walked over to the Whistler Village Gondola to pick up our Peak2Peak 360 Experience tickets and start our ascent.

Tip: If you use Pay-By-Phone for parking do that, there’s usually a lineup for the machine at this lot and this saved us about 15 minutes.

Mountain bikers streaming on the dirt trails below and cottonwood drifting through the air to mimic the winter snow, we arrived at the Roundhouse Lodge. We took photos at the Olympic rings, with Whistler Bowl as the backdrop, and walked over to the Peak2Peak Gondola. This is the longest and highest lift in the world, stretching between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and providing incomparable views of towering volcanic peaks to coastal rainforest.

Peak2Peak Gondola and Hike

Once on the other side (Blackcomb) there are several trail loop options, with clearly marked signs notifying you of the time it will take to walk the loop and what time the last download on the Peak2Peak or the Solar Coaster chair lift will take place. We went for the Alpine Walk (20 mins one way), connected to part of the Overlord Trail (for 20 mins), and up to the Blackcomb Lake loop (for 20 mins). Our round trip was about 2.5 hours but we stopped at Blackcomb Lake for a water break and to take some photos.

Tip: If you’re going to go beyond the Alpine Walk, which is a good stroll for all fitness levels and three generations of a family, be sure to have a trail map on you and do some research ahead of time.

2. Dinner by the Lake
After working up an appetite we checked into our loft at Nita Lake Lodge in Creekside, with floor to ceiling views of Whistler mountain, a small kitchen area with sink and fridge, and 2 king bedrooms, one of which was on the second level with its own adjoining bathroom.

Our loft at Nita Lake

View of Whistler Bowl from Nita Lake

Nita Lake Lodge

We spruced up for dinner and walked down to Aura, one of Nita Lake’s 3 dining options. We sat on the patio, lakeside, and selected our mains and sides from the full service Aura menu.

Dinner at Aura at Nita Lake Dinner at Aura at Nita Lake
We couldn’t decide which salad we liked best, they were both so delicious. Nita Lake Salad with shaved asparagus, spiced walnuts, goat cheese, honey citrus dressing / Pemberton Salad with potatoes, summer squash, local greens, herb vinaigrette. Both gluten free.
Dinner at Aura at Nita Lake
Roasted Chicken Breast, confit garlic cream, oven dried tomato.

Dinner at Aura at Nita Lake
Cider Brined Pork Chop, pan roasted apples, apple mustard, pan gravy.

Dinner at Aura at Nita Lake
Seared Scallops, sweet pea puree, butter braised baby kale, charcuterie vinaigrette.
We also ordered sides (pea risotto and roasted local vegatables). All of our entrees were gluten free.

My niece, having recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, didn’t even have to ask for a separate menu as icons showed which dishes were vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free. 5 of the 6 main courses were all gluten free from the get-go, what I attribute to the fresh, local, all natural ingredients used by Executive Chef Dean Hossack and prepared in a pure and natural way to let the West Coast flavours shine on their own. The service was attentive and friendly (we had Leah on the patio both nights we dined at Aura and she was lovely) and there’s no rush to leave the warm summer patio even after the sky has gone dark and the bulbs of the NITA sign near the lakeside entrance start to glow.

3. Adventure! Ziplining
We popped down to the lobby bright and early the next day to take the complimentary Nita Lake Lodge guest shuttle to Blackcomb Base to try out the brand new Sasquatch Zipline from Ziptrek.

Sasquatch Zipline with Ziptrek

Tip: You can do just the Sasquatch Zipline if you like, it takes about an hour to get up, over, and down again, or you can add it on to your extended multi-line Ziptrek adventure.

This behemoth up this summer and is the longest zipline in Canada and the USA. Reaching speeds of over 100km/h and whipping down 2km of cable between two mountains, it was one heck of a way to wake up! It was absolutely terrifying but completely thrilling, especially since it’s a tandem line and you can “race” your friends or at least try to take photos of each other mid-flight.

Tip: We went for brunch at Stonesedge in Whistler Village following our zipline experience as they had some great gluten free brunch items like the Farmer’s Bowl (crispy herbed potatoes, roasted red peppers, balsamic, roasted tomatoes, smashed avocado, sprouts, scrambled eggs, sriracha crème fraîche).

4. Spa
Any tension from the previous day’s hike or the shot nerves from the morning’s zipline adventure was smoothed away at the Spa at Nita Lake. After calling the resort to have the guest shuttle collect us again from Whistler Village we donned our robes and walked over to the Spa at Nita Lake. Ranked as one of the Top 10 Organics Spas in the world, you can book a wide range of services, from body wraps to manicures, and enjoy a dip in the spa’s own outdoor hot tubs in the shadows of Whistler Mountain.

I had a relaxing and rejuvenating scrub — that felt amazing after our previous adventures in the rocks and dirt of the mountain — followed by a Swedish massage. With the right amount of pressure and focus on some troubled areas, I felt amazing following the massage — or “spa drunk” as John and I say, when you feel sleepy, silly, completely relaxed after a massage and you just want to float away on a cloud.

My one criticism would be that the locker room was fairly small so if you do have about 4 people in there, it can get cramped and you’ll be dancing around each other. Once you’re done in the locker room, simply head to the relaxation lounge with its fluffy-pillowed lounge chairs, natural sunlight, and refreshing cucumber water to wait for the rest of your party.

Tip: Check out the spa brochure and if you have the time, you can book a full Nita Spa Day that includes Swedish massage, facial, manicure, and pedicure.

5. Resort Perks
We ended the day on the Cure Lounge patio, as the sun ducked behind the mountains and cast an orange hue over the lake. We people-watched those kayaking on the lake or passing by on the Whistler Valley Trail, a smooth, 40km path that connects you to the entire region by foot, bike, rollerblade, or skateboard.

Wine on the Cure Lounge Patio

What I enjoy most about this resort is its perks, it makes you feel like you’re truly “away from it all”, supplying everything you might need to enjoy your time away from home. The complimentary guest shuttle into Whistler Village, multiple hot tubs, a splash pool, and complimentary bike, kayak, canoe, fishing rod and paddleboard rental for guests. In the winter there is complimentary snow shoe rental as well.

Your Girls Getaway in Whistler at Nita Lake

Available year-round from April, the Eat.Play.Love. – Ultimate Girls’ Getaway Package starts from $2309 for two guests and offers a complete West Coast luxury escape for friends or couples looking for an out-of-the-box Whistler experience that balances excitement and relaxation.

Nita Lake Lodge Getaway

Choose from a range of activities including ATV or horseback ride in the summer, to snowmobiling or dog sledding in winter and ziplining is available year round. Relax with specially crafted cocktail and light bites in front of the fire or cozy up on the patio of Cure Lounge before sitting down to a gourmet meal at Aura Restaurant. Cap the night off in the hot tub as you relax underneath the stars.

    The Nita Lake Lodge Eat, Play, Love. Ultimate Girls’ Getaway package includes:
    
  • 2 night stay at Nita Lake Lodge in a 2 bedroom lakeview suite
  • Breakfast each morning at Aura Restaurant
  • Welcome Girls Getaway cocktail and light bites at Cure Lounge
  • Nita Spa Day (four hour package includes massage, facial and mani/pedi)
  • A yoga class of your choice at Loka Yoga
  • An outdoor adventure of your choice from Canadian Wilderness Adventures or ZipTrek from Ziptrek Ecotours
  • Summer: ATV, horseback riding or River of Golden Dreams o Winter: Snowmobile, Snowshoe or Dog Sled
  • Year Round: Ziptrek zipline or treetop tour
  • Dinner at Aura with a bottle of wine
  • Ila Body Treats spa gift
  • A fresh smoothie or juice from Fix Café

Rates for the Nita Lake Lodge Girls’ Getaway Package start from $2309 plus taxes, based on two guests. Bookable now for stays year-round from April 6th, 2015 with blackout dates from December 18th to January 3rd and all Canadian and USA long weekends. Activities are based on availability and weather dependent. To book this package please call 1-888-755-6482 or visit the Nita Lake website.

Disclosure: Review Post

This is not a paid post, views are my own. I received a media rate for some experiences and paid for the rest.

Small Business Tips from Sage Summit

August 19th, 2015 @ 9:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This summer I traveled to New Orleans for the Sage Summit, the largest conference for small and medium sized businesses in the world, with over 7,000 attendees, hundreds of sessions, 70 speakers, and endless networking opportunities in the Big Easy. Taking place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, right along the Mississippi River a quick stroll away from the legendary French Quarter, the conference brought in delegates from around the world to be inspired in the business world, in everyday practices, and to learn more about Sage products.

Sage_Summit_2015

Starting off the week with an address from Sage’s CEO, the massive convention centre hosted a wide array of speakers including the daily keynotes panelists: General Colin Powell, Deepak Chopra, Tony Hawk, Chad Hurley, Jane Seymour, Matthew Weiner, Trevor Noah, Baroness Karren Brady, and Brandi Temple. People in the arts, in business, in sports, politics, you name it. Every day at breakfast and lunch I sat in the dining hall with accountants, family business owners, faculty, non-profit leaders, and entrepreneurs.

There was a lot to take in, and a lot from which I could draw inspiration, but here are some quotes I made a point of saving during the morning keynote addresses.

Small Business Tips from Sage Summit

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As a writer, I loved Matthew Weiner’s insights when he sat on a panel about interacting, and dealing with, fans alongside Trevor Noah and Tony Hawk. Weiner created the award-winning series Mad Men for himself and while there are focus groups that tell you what your typical fan might be, and you do listen to a lot of feedback from social media and elsewhere, he said he had to stay true to the story he wanted to tell. He gave the people what he wanted them to watch, and that didn’t make the show any less of a success, it helped it thrive.

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The next Sage Summit takes place in Chicago and if you’re in the business world, and not even a Sage customer, I recommend that you check it out. It was very well organized, the agenda on the mobile app was the best event tool I’ve ever used, their speaker lineup is always impressive, and you’ll make some great connections from around the globe.

Sage Summit 2015

Win Sage 50

If you do want to check out Sage as a customer, I have 5 boxes of Sage 50 Pro Accounting—Canadian Edition to give away. Sage 50 Accounting (formerly Simply Accounting) is easy-to-use accounting and business management software that provides you with the tools you need to manage your bookkeeping, payroll and business needs and the freedom to do just that with ease. Each Sage 50 Pro copy that I’m giving away is a $249.99 value! Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment quoting some of the best business/life advice you have received (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a copy of #Sage50 from @SageNAmerica @Miss604 http://ow.ly/R6hJv

I will draw five winners at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Thursday, August 27, 2015. Follow the tag #SageSummit and @Sage_Summit on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

COBS Bread Opening On Robson

August 18th, 2015 @ 1:44pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Downtown Vancouver’s West End is getting a new COBS Bread on busy corner of Robson Street, in a popular location that was left vacant a few months ago. Opening on Wednesday, August 19th at 1709 Robson at Bidwell, COBS will be serving up fresh, made-in-house breads and treats every single day. I got the chance to pop-in earlier this week to check out the latest business in my favourite neighbourhood.

COBS Bread Opening on Robson Street

COBS Bread Opening On Robson

Alongside Area Manager Ian Buck I had a tour of the bakery, which has pristine white walls, state of the art ovens, giant mixers, and racks upon racks of fresh baked goods lining the storefront counters — a much different look and feel from the mellow brown decor of the previous coffee shop tenant. I tried my hand at assembling some cinnamon buns, with Ian providing a demo of what will be the morning process of producing 96 fresh, hot, sticky, sweet rolls.

COBS Bread Opening on Robson Street

How did I do?

COBS Bread Opening on Robson Street

COBS’ other offerings include artisan breads, whole grain breads, seasonal treats, sweets like scones and croissants, and their signature Pane di Casa.

COBS Bread Opening on Robson Street

COBS Bread Opening on Robson Street

COBS Bread Opening on Robson Street

COBS Bread opened in 2003 and now has 84 locations across Canada and the Eastern USA. Each store connects with its community by getting involved with events and also donating leftover bread, daily, to local charities. They are still looking for some West End partners, if you have one in mind, please leave a comment and I’ll pass along the suggestion.

On opening day, the Robson location will also be donating proceeds to Breakfast Club Canada. Follow COBS Bread on Twitter and Facebook for more information and be sure to stop by on August 19th to see what COBS is all about and to support Breakfast Club Canada.

We Heart Local Awards 2015

August 18th, 2015 @ 11:17am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

WeHeartLocalAwards2015Get ready to show your favourite local food producer a little love: it’s time for the third annual We Heart Local Awards!

For the last three years, these people’s choice awards has highlighted the most popular food and agriculture businesses and organizations across the province. Your vote helps support the local economy, spread the word about why local is better…and it also tells your favourites how important they are to your community.

If you want to support your local butcher, baker, or ice cream maker, nominate them for a We ♥ Local award!

We Heart Local Awards 2015

Anyone living in BC can nominate and vote for their favourites in the following 15 delicious categories:

Favourite Farmers’ Market
Favourite Store to Buy Local
Favourite Local Meat or Poultry Supplier
Favourite Local Seafood Supplier
Favourite Local Cheese Maker
Favourite Local Sweet Treat
Favourite Local Advocate
Favourite Local Winery
Favourite Local Brewery
Favourite Local Food Truck
Favourite Local U-Pick Farm
Favourite Local Orchard/Fruit Supplier
Favourite Local Restaurant or Chef
Favourite Local Florist or Nursery
Favourite Local Greenhouse or Veggie Grower

Nominations started August 17th, and voting is open from September 7th to September 14th, 2015. When you vote, everyone’s a potential winner: nominating and voting for your local BC favourites also enters you into weekly draws for a chance to win one of five $100 gift cards to your local BC VQA store. Plus, you’ll be automatically entered in the Grand Prize draw for a luxurious three-night stay at Taku Resort and Marina along with your choice of a cooking course for two, valued at $1,800. This prize includes $300 gift card for BC Ferries to cover the cost of ferry transportation to Quadra Island. It’s an unforgettable way to experience local – especially once you hear Taku’s family story. Grand prize winner will be announced on September 15, 2015.

To cheer on your favourite local loves (and discover new ones), head to We Heart Local, or download their mobile app for iPhone to find what’s in season right from your pocket.

Buy Local. Eat Natural!

Be sure to get your nominations in this week and then follow the program online, on Facebook, Twitter #WeHeartLocal and on Pinterest.

VQA Wine Giveaway

For even more incentive to nominate and vote for your favourite BC growers and producers, I have a $100 VQA wine gift certificate to give away. Established in 1990, BC VQA certified wines must meet specific standards with respect to origin, vintage and varietals. These wines are also tasted by a qualified panel for quality characteristics prior to being able to use the BC VQA designation. To put it simply, when you see BC VQA on a bottle, it is your guarantee that you’re sipping a wine that is 100% from British Columbia! [WineBC]

Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Comment with the name of a BC grower, producer, winery, or brewery (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a $100 BC VQA wine prize from @weheartlocalbc @Miss604 http://ow.ly/R3EFp

I will draw one winner at random from all entries on Friday, August 21, 2015. Must be 19+. Remember to get your nominations and votes in for the We Heart Local Awards!

Update The winner is Nancy!

Disclosure: Sponsored Post

This post is sponsored by We Heart Local