Blogathon Vancouver 2009 Event Update

July 22nd, 2009 @ 7:32am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Blogathon Vancouver 2009 is just days away and preparations for the first-ever “on location” Blogathon event are coming along smoothly.

  • Sponsors so far include Kontent Creative (for the logo work), Workspace (venue), Dairy Queen (lunch), and Developmental Disabilities Association (dinner sponsor).
  • The lovely and talented Rachael Chatoor will stop by to treat us to some musical entertainment as well as Mojave (prior to their show at the Railway Club on Sunday).
  • For a bit of background, on July 25th starting at 6:00am I will be joined by a dozen other local bloggers over at Workspace in Gastown. For the following 24 hours we’ll all be updating our own sites every 30 minutes (publishing a new post) while each raising funds for the cause of our choice. This is the first time I’ll be out and about during a Blogathon so it will be pretty exciting, although probably even more taxing than previous years. Blogathon itself has been around since 2001, starting in the USA and now involves participants from around the globe.

    Photo credit: UGM on Flickr

    This year my personal cause is the Union Gospel Mission in the Downtown Eastside. “Union Gospel Mission is a non-profit urban relief organization serving Metro Vancouver and the City of Mission, providing hope for the hungry, hurting and homeless since 1940. If you find yourself without shelter, without food or without hope, UGM can help.”

    The idea is that the more pledges and donations I receive, the more I’ll keep going throughout the 24 hours (and helping causes throughout the year). You can support my Blogathon campaign through my personal donation page, through which all funds go directly to the UGM.

    In case my readers need a bit of added incentive, any donation of $20 or greater will get you entered in a draw to win a dinner cruise out on English Bay during the fireworks on July 29th. This is sponsored by Granville Island Brewing so you know it will be a good times with plenty of refreshments.

    Finally, if you are a blogger that would like to join us at Workspace on Saturday, please RSVP so that I can plan space and snacks accordingly. I have a list of participants on my Blogathon page and the global list is on the official site. This should be one whirlwind of a weekend but I’m extremely excited to see the difference we’ll all be able to make.

    Metro Vancouver Park Series: Holland Park

    July 21st, 2009 @ 10:28pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    This past weekend was the re-opening of Holland Park in Surrey to celebrate its recent upgrades. Although it’s changed drastically over the years, its new features (and recent Fusion Festival) are still worth noting as a part of my Parks Series.

    Surrey Fusion Festival

    How to Get There: Holland Park is right along Old Yale Road off King George Highway between the Surrey Central and King George Skytrain Stations. Super easy to get to by car, and especially by transit with several options from Skytrain to bus. [Google Map]

    Source: CivicSurrey

    Features: Very large grassy area and several water features (including Roseholly Fountain) along with a few of the remaining evergreen trees towering overhead in the South corner. New washroom building and concession stand with community storage space. Additional water features, the Holland Park Spirit Square, the new “Holland Gate” entrance, new raised cement garden beds, public art features and mosaics, tree-lined promenades and a 1km walking loop. You can read Paul’s recent post about the upgrades. The park doesn’t have a fancy playground, a lake, or a vast network of trails however it’s perfect for a picnic, flying a kite, a game of badminton, or a leisurely stroll.

    Photo credit: Paul Hillsdon on Flickr

    Notes: Holland Park is an official Vancouver 2010 Olympics celebration site. For 17 days it will host live entertainment, performing arts and live broadcasts the Games outdoors on giant screens. “Major concerts are planned on all Friday and Saturday nights with a focus on family and cultural performances on Sunday. Also, an international food pavilion, much like the Fusion Festival, will be a key component of the site and event, according to an April 2009 report to Surrey city council.” [The Now]

    Photo credit: Paul Hillsdon on Flickr

    Coming up in just a few weeks, Holland Park will also host a series of free outdoor movie events including Annie (August 1), Mamma Mia (August 8), The Lion King (August 15), and Hannah Montana: The Movie (August 22).

    KidSport – Sports Skills Are Life Skills Contest

    July 21st, 2009 @ 10:15am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Tomorrow morning I’ll be out at the Vancouver Art Gallery taking part in the KidSport Media Challenge. We’ll squaring off in teams and engaging in some friendly athletic competitions to raise awareness about KidSport and their “Sports Skills Are Life Skills” campaign.

    To kick-off the campaign, local members of the media will put their life skills to the test in a unique competition to see who will be crowned the KidSport “life skills” champions. Four media teams will compete in total, including media personalities from TSN, The Shore 104, Global TV, Team 1040, CTV, 99.3 The Fox, 24 Hours, CBC, The Beat 94.5 FM and social media experts and Steve Jagger

    KidSport is an organization that helps financially disadvantaged children participate in sports across the province. “We believe that no kid should be left on the sidelines and all should be given the opportunity to experience the positive benefits of organized sports. KidSportâ„¢ provides support to children in order to remove financial barriers that prevent them from playing organized sport.”

    Personally, I would have never turned out the way I did without the team-building, athletics, and leadership skills I nurtured and obtained while playing sports as a child. I started with volleyball in grade six and by the time I graduated high school, I was playing five sports a year. Having the opportunity to play these sports, learn the discipline they required, and just belonging to a community (especially during those tough Junior High years) is something I will forever cherish.

    Even though my dedication to athletics involved 10km runs at 6am before heading to my grade nine classes, getting mud in my ear at rugby tournaments, or tripping into second base like I did in last night’s slo-pitch game, it was all very worth it.

    You can follow KidSport on Twitter @kidsport, and feel free to stop by the Vancouver Art Gallery in the morning to support the campaign’s launch (and to see in which ridiculous activities I may have to partake). I’m on a team with Steve Jagger, Shane Gibson, and we’ve also recruited Megan Cole.


    Also, in the spirit of this campaign, KidSport and Miss604 would like to hear about how sport has positively impacted your life – or your kids’ lives. Please share you own personal story in the comments section and we’ll choose one lucky winner who will receive a $250 gift card to Boston Pizza. The winner will be announced at 4:00pm on Monday July 27th.

    Update: Here are some photos from the KidSport Media Challenge this morning (and some video from Raul) – thanks to my teammates for coming out and supporting the cause!

    KidSport Media Challenge KidSport Media Challenge KidSport Media Challenge KidSport Media Challenge KidSport Media Challenge KidSport Media Challenge

    Update July 27, 2009 I have just drawn the winner and it is Roller Derby!

    VinoCamp and CheeseCamp Vancouver

    July 20th, 2009 @ 2:15pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Last year’s inaugural VinoCamp Vancouver was such a success that it’s back again this August. As a special treat, the world’s first-ever CheeseCamp will compliment VinoCamp as well.

    “A different type of conference, VinoCamp CheeseCamp 2009 is designed for people interested in technology, wine and cheese as participants are encouraged to take photos of what’s happening, to blog, tweet and message their experiences.”

    Where: Grad Student Society Centre (Thea Koerner House), UBC
    When: August 8th, 2009 from 12:00pm – 6:00pm
    Register: Online

    There will be sessions about both wine and cheese, with speakers for each category as well. The lineup currently consists of the following:

    12:30pm – 1:10pm
    Keynote: The Wine Soaked Landscape: a global perspective on why we love wine country by Dr. Donna Senese, UBC Okanagan

    1:30pm – 2:10pm
    Old versus Young by Sid Cross & Daenna van Mulligan

    2:30pm – 3:10pm
    Cool, Single & Sustainable by Mark Davidson & Ingo Grady

    3:30pm – 4:10pm
    The Glass as a Messenger by David Sanders of Riedel

    4:30pm – 5:10pm
    Romancing the Vine: The trials and tribulations in owning a boutique winery by Patrick Murphy of Vista D’Oro, Mike Raffan of Township 7, and Kirby Froese of Dunham & Froese

    CheeseCamp (mostly TBD)
    4:30pm – 5:10pm
    Pondering Wine and Cheese Pairing by Anthony Nicalo and Sebastien LeGoff. Are wines and cheeses made with a particular philosophy a better pairing than those with divergent interests?

    If you are in either of these industries, are a hobbyist, or simple appreciate the delicious subject-matter, VinoCamp and CheeseCamp Vancouver are for you. You can follow @vinocampvan on Twitter for updates, news, and information.

    Homelessness in Vancouver – The Howe Shelter

    July 20th, 2009 @ 10:30am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The City of Vancouver is requesting public input with regards to the fate of the Howe Shelter. Until July 22nd they are asking Vancouverites to complete this survey pertaining to interim housing options.

    Photo credit: seanorr on Flickr

    “On any given night, at least 1,600 people in the city don’t have homes and many more are at risk of becoming homeless. The City and its partners have identified a need for at least 3,700 units of supportive housing (affordable housing with support services) in our city.” – source

    Immediate response is requested as the Howe Shelter only has provincial funding to operate until July 31, 2009. Based on data collected and the public’s input the shelter could receive a funding extension through April 2010.

    However, the shelter isn’t very popular in its neighbourhood which is why the City would really like the input collected in the survey.

    “The closure of one of two homeless shelters on the north side of False Creek has led to a new problem in the upscale downtown neighbourhood. The 36-bed Homeless Emergency Action Team (HEAT) shelter at 1435 Granville St. was closed at the end of June following weeks of protests by area residents. The shelter — and another like it on Howe Street, which remains open — led to a plague of open drug use and dealing, public urination and defecation, prostitution and public sex, trespassing, theft, aggressive panhandling and harassment outside their homes, residents complained.” – CBC

    Visit the City’s Interim Housing Strategy website to find out more about the options that are available and make your opinion count by filling out the survey.

    International Bog Days at Burns Bog

    July 20th, 2009 @ 8:19am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Burns Bog DayNext Sunday is the 18th annual International Bog Days celebration and to get in the spirit, Burns Bog in Delta is hosting a festival including entertainment, food, exhibits, and interpretive tours.

    “International Bog Days are happening, once again, this summer on July 25th and 26th, 2009. International Bog Day began in Scotland 13 years ago to celebrate the world’s bogs. This day raises awareness about the need to protect these precious ecosystems as well as the benefits of bogs to the health of our planet. This fun filled day is ideal for people of all ages looking to have a good time with family and friends.” [Burns Bog]

    The entertainment line up includes…

  • 10:30 Eliza and MC: Welcome, outline days events
  • 10:30 – 12:00 Doghouse
  • 12:10-12:50 Max Tell
  • 1:00-2:00 Mukutano Singing and Drumming Group
  • 2:10-2:35 Desert Rayne Dancers
  • 2:40-2:50 PFA Bhangra Dancers
  • 2:50-3:00 Sukh Dhaliwal
  • 3:00-3:15 Raging Grannies
  • 3:30 Closing Remarks, free draw
  • At 40 square kilometers, Burns Borg is the largest domed peat bog on the West Coast of North America and is a vital part of our region’s ecosystem. The Burns Bog Conservation Society is comprised of concerned citizens whose goal is to preserve the bog forever. They also host fundraisers and events that include anything from book sales to summer camps and fun runs.

    burns bog
    Photo credit: penmachine on Flickr

    Some quick bog facts:

  • Peat bogs store and filter 10% of the world’s fresh water.
  • A recent United Nations report estimates the preservation and restoration of peat bogs can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 10%.
  • Burns Bog Day will serve to education the public about this precious resource as well as provide more information about how to preserve this land. Sunday’s festivities are entirely free to enjoy and to raise funds for the society there will also be a prize raffle and Rock for the Bog performance on Saturday [PDF]. Download the official poster here [PDF] and stop by the Great Pacific Forum to participate next weekend.

    Kelowna Wildfire Resources

    July 19th, 2009 @ 6:50pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The Glenrosa wildfire is burning its way down the mountain in West Kelowna and over 11,000 people (and their pets) have already been evacuated.

    Used with permission / Credit:

    With road closures, power outages, poor air quality, and the need for resources, residents and visitors are turning to online sources for information.

    kelowna fire
    Photo credit: jnishi121 on Flickr

    Here’s a quick roundup for those in the area:

  • Major road closures: Highway 97 is closed from Highway 97 C through Westbank & Highway 97 C is closed at Highway 5A to the interchange with Highway 97 due to smoke. has information about alternate routes if you must get around the roadblocks.
  • Unofficial fire map (via

  • View Westkelowna Fire Jul 2009 #kelownafire in a larger map

  • Residents affected by the evacuation order are being asked to report to emergency evacuation reception centres at Royal LePage Place at 2760 Cameron Rd. and Mount Boucherie Secondary School at 2751 Cameron Rd. (source: CBC)
  • Concerned residents or relatives can call (250) 469-8490. Residents who are unable to reach evacuation centres are asked to call (778) 797-2269.(source: CBC)
  • For assistance evacuated your pet, you can reach the BCSPCA in West Kelowna (250) 861-7722. For horses, some of which are being left behind, call “Kim” (250) 215-0144 orthe BCSPCA at the same number. If you’re able to offer space for displaced horses, call (250) 503-8859.
  • For accommodation, donations or to provide volunteer assistance call: 778-797-2269.
  • Public can check on the air quality in the area on the Air Quality Health website or by following updates on Twitter @kelownaaqhi

  • Used with permission / Credit:

    So far Global TV has some of the best coverage with an extended news cast tonight, and (@kelownadotcom) along with Castanet are constantly being updated with news and information. Blogs such as No Going Back also offer personal perspectives and images. The official Twitter tag also seems to be #KelownaFire.

    Used with permission / Credit:

    Unfortunately this isn’t the only wildfire burning in BC, as the Terrace Mountain Fire is currently at over 800 hectares (although no structures are threatened). You can view all alerts on the Forest Service of British Columbia website.

    kelowna fire
    Unsure if original source of this famous photo from 2003

    This is the just one of many times in the last decade that a fire of this magnitude has hit the Kelowna area as the Okanagan Mountain Fire consumed 250 square kilometers in 2003. That year it was dubbed the “Summer of Fires” in BC. Luckily reports are currently saying that the Glenrosa fire is 40% contained.

    Surrey Fusion Festival 2009 – The Music

    July 19th, 2009 @ 10:11am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The three stages at Surrey’s Fusion Festival were busy yesterday hosting talent from the neighbourhood and around the world.

    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    From Greek and Bhangra dancers, to world-traveling acts and the local Surrey Talent Hour participants there was constant feet-tapping entertainment.

    Surrey Fusion Festival

    Voices of the Pacific Rim with the Vancouver Opera was a crowd-favourite as were The Fab Before from the Surrey Talent Search.

    Vancouver Opera @ Fusion Festival

    KS Makhan KS Makhan

    KS Makhan had one of the biggest crowds of the day at the 2010 Celebration Stage while Barney Bentall and the Grand Cariboo Opry picked things up on the Chevron World Music Stage.

    Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry

    Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry

    Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry

    Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry

    Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry

    Headliners Joel Plaskett & the Emergency then had the crowd singing, clapping and cheering well into the night.

    Joel Plaskett & The Emergency

    The festivities continue today at Holland Park from 11:00am until 10:00pm featuring Steve Dawson and Friends, Destineak with West Coast Contortion, Ache Brazil, Tropicana, Alex Cuba and more.