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Gone Fishing

July 30th, 2009 @ 3:25pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This afternoon John and I landed in the Dominican Republic for a quick (albeit work-related) trip.

Just checked in... our Royal Service suite

It’s my first time ever in any place considered tropical so it’s completely captivated me. The sights, the aromas, the sounds, and the instant humidity fogging up my camera lens. We’re in very good hands at the resort so I’ll have a full write-up upon our return but for now, check my Flickr stream for photos. I’ll have most of my trip updates in the form of photos over the next while — and boy I can’t wait to walk over and see that beach.

Punta Cana

I would like to say a big Thank You to all those providing guest posts this week, there’s more interesting and unique content to come over the next few days.

BC Day Long Weekend 2009 – Close to Home

July 30th, 2009 @ 1:00pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The August long weekend is notorious for beach blanket parties, backyard barbecues, and swimming in lakes, however if you’re sticking around town here are some fun-in-the-sun activities to keep you entertained.

Photo credit: qousqous on Flickr
  • Saturday, August 1st is Ridge Meadows Heritage Day.
  • China takes to the skies with their pyrotechnics as a part of this year’s Celebration of Light on Saturday, August 1st. China always impresses so this finale of the series should be one awesome sight.
  • Vancouver’s Pride Society hosts one of the most exciting festivals of the year as Pride Week sees movie nights, art exhibits, fundraisers, concerts, fashion shows, and of course the Pride Parade. The officially designated Vancouver Pride Day is Sunday, August 2nd and at noon the parade will begin to march (and dance) across 20 blocks downtown in front of 500,000 spectators. You can view a list of street closures here but it would be a good idea to take transit or walk that day.
  • The Gastown Farmers Market kicks off this Sunday, August 2nd at 10:00am and will run until 3:00pm. Check out EatLocal.org for information on all regional farmers markets.
  • Sunday, August 2nd is also the Jamaican Festival out in Surrey at Holland Park. They’ll have reggae music, a cricket clinic, tug of war, boblsed racing, and a ton of delicious food (and I also recommend trying the smoothies).
  • On Monday, August 3rd Fort Langley is hosting their BC Day Festival from 10:00am – 4:00pm.
  • July 31 – August 2nd celebrate Squamish Days. You can even follow @squamishdays on Twitter for news and updates.
  • July 31 – August 2nd is also the 60th annual Spirit of the Sea festival in White Rock. “A variety of events span more than 2 kilometers along the waterfront overlooking the silver beaches of Semiahmoo Bay.”
  • This Saturday and Sunday it is also the 32nd annual Powell Street Festival. It is the longest-running community festival in the Lower Mainland and will feature Japanese Canadian arts, culture and heritage through dance, music, film and video, visual arts, martial arts demos, amateur sumo tournament, craft vendors, traditional displays, and of course, tons of scrumptious Japanese food.
  • And a quick reminder that across the province there is also the BC Cultural Crawl. Check out their site for arts and culture event listings around BC.
  • If you have a community event that you would like to promote, please feel free to leave a comment on this post or contact me anytime.

    The Streets of Port Moody

    July 30th, 2009 @ 9:00am (PT) by Guest Author

    The following is a guest post contributed by Amber Strocel of TheV3H.com

    I have lived in the Port Moody area for a little over 6 years. My children were born here, and our family is happy to call this place home. As we head into the BC Day long weekend I thought I would do a little digging and learn more about the history of Port Moody, which is intertwined with the history of British Columbia.

    The mainland colony of British Columbia was created in 1858 following the discovery of gold on the Thompson River. With prospectors flooding in from the United States, Governor James Douglas wanted to exert British control over the region. A colony was established and Lieutenant-Governor Richard Moody was appointed to oversee the creation of a capital city. New Westminster was chosen because it was considered easier to defend than Fort Langley, where the colony of British Columbia was originally declared. It fell to Moody to build the city of New Westminster with the Royal Engineers under his command.

    Spring Street in Port Moody
    The backstreets of Port Moody today.

    In addition to establishing the capital the engineers, or sappers, built roads connecting the city to other regions. One of those roads was North Road, linking New Westminster to Burrard Inlet. The terminus of the road was named Port Moody, for Lieutenant-Governor Richard Moody. The road was meant to provide a supply route from military ships docked in Burrard Inlet to the capital at New Westminster. When their work was complete the Royal Engineers returned to England in 1863. However most of the sappers elected to stay, and they received land grants of 150 acres as compensation. John Murray and three others chose to receive land in Port Moody, although John Murray was the only one of the four who ever actually lived in the community.

    Things changed quite suddenly for Port Moody in 1879 when the town was named as the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Over the next few years land speculation became rampant and a town site was laid out. Murray’s son, John Jr., named the streets. He chose patriotic names such as Elgin Street for the Governor General of Canada and Queens Street for Queen Victoria. He also chose the names of family members. Jane Street was named for his mother, Kyle Street for his brother-in-law, Mary Street for his sister and Hugh Street for his brother. Clarke Street was named for his father’s partner Captain James A. Clarke and Murray Street was named for the whole Murray clan.

    Railroad tracks
    Railway line running through Port Moody.

    St. John’s Street and St. George Street actually received their names due to clerical errors. The streets were meant to be John Street for John Murray Sr. and George Street for John Jr.’s brother-in-law. However, for some reason instead of writing ‘John St.’ or ‘George St.’ on the survey he wrote ‘St. John’ and ‘St. George’. The result is the saintly names Port Moody residents are familiar with today. Rumour has it that when Vancouver archivist J.S. Matthews learned the street name he said, “Johnny Murray was no saint.”

    Sadly for the land speculators their gamble in Port Moody didn’t pay off. Although the first Trans-Canada train pulled into Port Moody in 1886 the rail line was extended to Vancouver in 1887. Land values plummeted back to earth and fortunes were lost. Many investors were quite upset and went so far as to launch lawsuits, which were not successful. And so rather Vancouver became the largest urban centre in the province and Port Moody did not. The streets, however, still bear the names of the people who built the community and had high hopes for the region.

    This post was written by Amber Strocel, who contributes to TheV3H.com along with her husband, Jon. Their blog highlights news and events in and around Port Moody and the Tri-Cities. You can also catch up with Amber’s musings on life and parenting at Strocel.com.

    BC Cultural Crawl 2009

    July 29th, 2009 @ 9:36am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The 8th annual BC Cultural Crawl kicks off this weekend from Barkerville to Victoria, Cranbrook to Comox. The goal of the cultural crawl is to highlight community art events around our province which are happening every day throughout the month of August.

    Here’s a sample lineup of events happening across the province on BC Day, August 3rd:

    Filberg Festival Photo: Keira-Anne

    Bard on the Beach
    Nelson Art Walk
    Bard to Broadway
    Stinking Fish Studio Tour
    Filberg Festival
    ArtsWells Festival
    Harmony Arts Festival
    Squamish Days
    BC Cultural Crawl
    MusicFest Vancouver

    Check out the Van Dop Arts & Cultural Guide to British Columbia for a complete calendar and regional listing of events.

    Container Gardening with Atlas Pots

    July 28th, 2009 @ 5:12pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Growing your own garden, beautiful flower beds, or cultivating that perfect shrub can be rewarding, especially if you don’t have much room to work with. Vancouver’s downtown “shoebox” living spaces make it difficult for green thumbs to live out their passions however it can be possible — even if you have the smallest of patio spaces.

    Photo credit: jorge zapico on Flickr

    I’m giving away a free container gardening consultation from Atlas Pots. They are a family business that knows all there is to know about container gardening, from fiberglass and fibercrete, to terrazzo. Seeing as how the snow last winter finally did in what little balcony garden John and I had, I’m assuming others out there might be in the same boat especially with this summer’s heat.

    In this one-hour consultation from Atlas they will examine your growing space and give gardening advice. In particular they will focus on container gardening advice, such as which planters are best for which plants and space, suggestions on what plants to include, etc. Adding to that, the winner of this contest will also receive a $150 gift certificate to spend at Atlas to get their garden up and growing.

    To enter to win this prize (valued at $250 total), please leave a comment on this post outlining what you’re currently growing (or would like to be growing). If you can fit all of that into a Tweet, you can @AtlasPots and @Miss604 to enter to win as well. Bonus points (meaning an extra entry) if you already have a container garden, which you’d like to improve, and you post a photo of it to the Miss604 Flickr group.

    Update, August 17, 2009: I have drawn the winner of this giveaway and it is Susan Main. Congratulations, Susan & thank you for entering.

    Vancouver History: Enjoy the Sunshine

    July 28th, 2009 @ 4:11pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    We had what many called snowmageddon this winter and now we’re busting the thermostats with record heatwave temperatures across the Province. All this wonderful sunshine might be getting too hot and uncomfortable for most to bear as we hear grumbled complaints about the weather around town. The following history tidbits serve to remind us of the unpleasant and soggy days we’ve experienced throughout the City’s history (which will hopefully help us cool off a little in the meantime).

    Sidewalks clearer than roads

  • 1853: The first dairy farm in Greater Vancouver was operated in Ladner by Alexander McLean. After being flooded out in 1853 McLean moved his family and their 50 cows to the west bank of the Pitt River in what is now Port Coquitlam.
  • May, 1894: The largest Fraser River flood occurred, flooding far and wide from Agassiz straight through to Richmond.
  • In 1948 the Fraser flooded the Valley again, impacting agricultural developments, two transcontinental rail lines and the airport that had been built in Richmond.
  • March 26, 1956: 1,000 facts about Vancouver were collected by UBC students for the Tourism Association. They noted that Vancouver get an average of 1,663 hours of sunshine annually.
  • As president of the Vancouver Tourist Association, Leo (Michael Leo) Sweeney (1886-1977) wore a straw boater hat when it rained “to prove it was liquid sunshine.”
  • October 28, 1921: A sudden flood wave at Britannia Beach crashed down on the village and swept away 50 of its 100 houses, killing 35 people.
  • October 18, 1934: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Gomez, Charlie Gehringer, Heinie Manush, and Lefty O’Doul, played a game in Vancouver as “Babe Ruth’s All Americans,” against the “American League All-Stars.” It was pouring rain yet 3,000 fans showed up to watch these pros play knee-deep in mud. Said Lefty O’Doul in the dugout, “Say, this is some baseball town, isn’t it? Back in Portland there weren’t five hundred out and on a bright and sunny day.” [source]
  • October 12, 1962: Hurricane Frieda hits Vancouver. Frieda started out as a typhoon, became a hurricane, and is what some called an “extra” tropical storm.
  • June 1988: Record rainfall for June in the Fraser Valley this month saw 144 mm (5.7 inches) of rain pour down.
  • The source for these tidbits is the Vancouver History website. Please visit, browse, and consider sponsoring.
  • As an update to the first note, Vancouver currently gets between 1900 – 2200 annual hours of sunshine, meanwhile places such as the aptly-named Sunshine Coast see about 2400 hours.

    The Amazing Hunt Canada Line Race

    July 28th, 2009 @ 11:47am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The Amazing Hunt is coming to the Canada Line. A while back in my Amazing Hunt 2009 preview post there was mention of a Skytrain race and it’s now been confirmed that it will take place in October on the shiny new Canada Line. This will be the second transit race and this time participants will only be able to use the Canada Line (unlike the ability to use Skytrain and buses in the past).

    Canada Line Preview Tour

    The “Back to the Transit” race will take place Sunday October 3rd from 10:00am to around 3:00pm. You can check out the Amazing Hunt blog for more information or see how I enjoyed the race over when I participated in 2007 and 2008. The Amazing Hunt is such a great time and can really help build a team, strengthen a relationship and well… it can also test your patience with each other. Register online (not on Facebook) to book yourself and a team member in for this event.

    If you’d like a sneak preview of the Canada Line, I was treated to a full line tour last week that you can read about here.

    Blogathon 2009 – We Made it

    July 26th, 2009 @ 6:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Post #49 of #49 – Over the next 24 hours I will be raising funds for the Union Gospel Mission during Blogathon 2009 by writing a blog post every 30 minutes. Please consider donating to my cause to keep my going until 6am PT July 26th.

    We made it. After 24 hours of blogging Miss604.com readers have donated and pledged over $3,000 to the Union Gospel Mission. The support in all forms has been overwhelming and I cannot say it often enough but I have the best readers in the world.

    There has been a group of bloggers here at the on-site event who have worked hard for their causes as well. Each and every one has put in an amazing amount of effort into their individual campaigns.

    I’ll be heading home soon with John and getting some sleep so the site won’t be updated for the next day or so, understandably. I will keep the donation page live until Tuesday at which time I’ll draw the winner of the Granville Island Brewing fireworks boat cruise experience as well as the $25 Kingston gift certificate donated by John Biehler.

    If you would like to re-live my 24 hours, you can read all of my Blogathon 2009 posts here. Thanks again everyone, and goodnight (good morning) from Gastown.