It’s always a challenge to come up with a theme for my weekly series. However, being that this month is all about facial hair growth for Movember, I decided to make “moustaches” my focus this week. All of the photos below were taken in Vancouver over the last century and found via the Vancouver Archives.
The City of Surrey is hosting their first Surrey Open Data Hackathon this month. The concept is to use Open Data (the City’s free and public data sources) to create concepts and innovative tools like web applications, mobile applications, Google Maps mashups, and more.
An example of usage (from Vancouver) could include using the newly accessible park listings to create an iPhone app that shows you all local parks on a map with pins or stickers indicating if they have water fountains, a pool, an off-leash area, and other features. Someone’s already created a map of water fountains in Vancouver, a trash day calendar, and a street parking guide using the City’s open data. Toronto, New York, Washington DC, and Nanaimo also have open data.
The City of Surrey is enabling Hackathoners to come up with new ideas for accessing the information and to engage citizens in their region. Surrey’s open data collection currently consists of property data, aerial imagery, water infrastructure pipes, sanitary infrastructure, drainage, transportation data medians, and environment and topography fish classifications.
Surrey’s Open Data Hackathon will take place Sunday November 20, 2011 from 9:00am to 5:00pm at the new City Centre Library, meeting room #418. Lunch and coffee will be provided. The event is open to everyone with ideas and especially programmers.
With a strong Canadian dollar, despite long waits at the border, Vancouverites love to spend time south of the border. Shopping at outlet malls, professional sports games, hitting the slopes, and more shopping are main draws between the two rainy Pacific Northwest cities. Over the last few years, John and I have enjoyed Seattle together, mostly during day-trips and mostly during baseball season. I’ve spent the night in the city a few times and searched the usual online review sites to pick a room based on ratings and location. Thanks to a media trip I was a part of last week, I now have a list of four hotels throughout Seattle that I know I can choose from based on their neighbourhood, price-range, and comforts.
Pineapple Hospitality hosted a group of media from Vancouver last week so share their story, which includes operating four family-owned Seattle-area boutique hotels. They have The Watertown Hotel and The University Inn in the University of Washington District (just North of downtown), HotelFIVE (in the heart of downtown), and The Maxwell Hotel (Queen Anne).
We stayed in The Maxwell Hotel for a few days and met with Michelle Foreman Barnet, President and COO, and her team around the fireplace in the lobby. “Experience transcends the physical product,” she said to our group when talking about her hotels. And we had quite the experience at The Maxwell.
Just one year old, The Maxwell (named after Michelle’s son) was crowned one of the Top Ten Trendiest Hotels by TripAdvisor, and I can see why. It’s not often I walk into a hotel room and say out loud: “Nice!” (for various reasons). I think the last time I did that was at the Beau-Rivage in Lausanne, Switzerland, at The Wick, or upon coming across the phenomenal showers at Tulalip.
The Maxwell is located at the foot of Queen Anne Hill, which Managing Director Marco Baumann told me is one of the seven hills on which Seattle is built. It’s walking distance to the Space Needle and Seattle Centre (I also took the Monorail from Westlake downtown back to the hotel on my own), and there are some great restaurants nearby like Pesos and Toulouse.
I enjoyed entering a room and being immediately welcomed by a vase with flowers and a little ledge on which I placed my room key. One peek around the corner and the room opened up. Hardwood floors, bright colourful fabrics and prints, a large flat-screen television, pod coffee maker, tall windows, and with one more turn into the bright bathroom I spotted amenities and plenty of counter space.
I stay in dozens of hotels each year and there are a few key things I look for in a room:
- Suitcase stand: This might seem rather obvious but I don’t like putting my luggage on the floor. If I can easily find a stand for my suitcase that’s the first “win” for a hotel room in my books. The suitcase stand was out in the open (not hidden in the closet) at The Maxwell.
- Outlets: I travel with a lot of tech. I plug in my laptop, charger for my camera battery, an Airport (for my own WiFi), and charger for my iPhone. Sometimes I have to unplug clocks and lamps or crawl under a desk to find an outlet. Not at The Maxwell. There were several easy-to-spot outlets above table-level where I could charge-up.
- Television: A must-have for me in any hotel room is a sleep-timer on my TV. I don’t travel just to watch TV in a hotel however I do use it to help me fall asleep – I like the background noise. Having a sleep-timer allows me to turn on the TV, watch for a few minutes, and have it automatically turn off after 45 minutes. Complete with timers on the remotes, when you hit the power button you also immediately get local channels, not a hotel ad. A nice touch.
Again, those seem rather simple and might not phase a casual traveler, but they’re little things that I enjoy seeing in a property. I also mention them because I could simply type descriptive words like “elegant”, “comfortable”, “modern”, “bright”, and “welcoming” to describe The Maxwell, but those small touches do make a difference to me. That, and the delicious mini pineapple cupcakes that are served with complimentary coffee in the lobby each day.
A quick check of the rates online and you can book a room from about $139-$179 a night this winter. Bonuses are free WiFi and parking, free bike rental, an indoor pool, a coffee shop counter in the lobby (the incredibly large lobby at that), and it is a dog-friendly hotel. While they’re comfortable for a solo traveler or a couple, the rooms are practical for families, with two queen beds available, a small living room area, and a fridge. A restaurant will also be opening in the new year.
The staff was friendly, from Justin who checked me in at the front desk to Tyler the General Manager, along with Sam and Marco – our super hosts during our stay. Thanks to this trip I got to spend time in an area of Seattle that I had not previously explored and am looking forward to seeing how the Queen Anne area grows around the Maxwell.
Over the years many Presidents of the United States of America have visited Vancouver. Whether it was during the depression or war years or for speaking engagements after their terms. Over the last 125 years, the Commander in Chief has been no stranger to our city, although some visits have been few and far-between.
You may have noticed a very grand dedication to Warren G. Harding in Stanley Park. In 1923, he was the first sitting President to come to Vancouver. He spoke at a luncheon at the Hotel Vancouver and to a crowd of 50,000 in Stanley Park. One week later, in San Francisco, Harding passed away and Vancouverites were stunned. The Kiwanis Club started a campaign to get a memorial put up in Harding’s honor, in the place that he spoke in Stanley Park. Charles Marega (Caption George Vancouver statue at City Hall, Joe Fortes Monument in the West End) was commissioned for the piece.
In July of 1915, Teddy Roosevelt and his wife were on a train that would pass through Vancouver, where they were going to catch a boat to Seattle. According to Vancouver History: “The Vancouver Board of Trade had formed a welcoming committee to greet the Roosevelts, who would arrive at the CPR station. The Board, unwisely, had not included Mayor Louis D. Taylor in the delegation. (They didn’t like him.)”
As a result, Taylor (for whom Taylor Way is named) hopped on the train in Port Coquitlam to welcome the pair on his own. He was even the first to step off the train in Vancouver and introduce the Roosevelts to the crowd that waited. As the story goes, he took them for a quick spin around Stanley Park before dropping them off at their ship. The source of this story is Daniel Francis’ book L.D.: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver.
Operation Red Nose started out in 1984 as the brain child of Jean-Marie De Koninck of Quebec who got members of his swim club to offer to drive motorists home, in their own vehicle, if they had too much to drink. Since that time Operation Red Nose has expanded to over 100 communities across Canada, providing a safe ride home for any revelers who might not be fit to get behind the wheel.
In Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley you can call 1-877-604-6673 or (604) 532-0888 for a ride, or call (604) 532-0888 for information. Services in BC are provided in communities such as Abbotsford-Mission, Comox Valley, Delta-Richmond, Kamloops, Williams Lake, Surrey-Langley, Nanaimo, North Shore, Prince George, Ridge-Meadows, and the Tri-Cities.
If you’re hosting a party, there are tips for planning ahead on the Operation Red Nose website. There are also volunteer positions available if you’d like to sign up to be a driver, navigator, or work at headquarters.
Be sure to plan your safe ride home this holiday season and enjoy the festivities responsibly. Follow @ORNose on Twitter for news and updates. The service is confidential and free. Any client donations are given to local non-profit youth organizations.
The 4th annual West Coast Christmas Show and Marketplace returns to the Tradex in Abbotsford, December 2nd to 4th.
The presentation stage will feature local chefs, the Dairy Farmers of Canada will host cheese seminars, there will be an on-site nursery, photos with Santa, local artisans and crafters, and a festival of trees.
You’ll also be able to order your live Christmas tree from Evergrow in Burnaby. They’re a local service that will deliver a live tree to your home for the holidays then pick it up and re-plant it in the Fraser Valley, to be used again next year.
Tickets are just $7 for admission all three days. If you’d like to win your way in, I have two pairs available as well. Here’s how you can enter the draw:
- Leave a comment on this post naming your favourite holiday snack (1 entry)
- Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
Update The winners are Joanne & Duncan!