Metro Vancouver Pumpkin Patches: Tips

October 5th, 2010 @ 11:30am (PT) by Jennifer Miles

With Halloween right around the corner, thoughts of witches, pirates, bags-full of candy and of course jack-o-lanterns fill children and parents’ minds a-like. In a follow up to my pumpkin patch write up from a few years ago. Here a few tips for those of you headed out to pumpkin patches over the next few weeks.

Pumpkin Patch

  • Don’t pick your pumpkins too early in the season. Pumpkins are living things after all and if you pick them too soon they will be stinking piles of mush long before your munchkins can take a knife to them. Either that or they will just be too soft to carve. Don’t wait too long either, the closer you get to Halloween the less choice there is and if it’s been rainy (which is fairly common) the pumpkins start to get soggy sitting in the fields.
  • Try to head to the pumpkin patch during ”non-peak” times. Obviously weekends are the busiest but be mindful of when bus loads of school kids on field trips might also be showing up. I recommend mid afternoon during the week to avoid crowds. Of course check websites or call ahead to confirm hours of operation.
  • Don’t get carried away. It’s easy to get excited (we’ve done this several times) when picking your future jack-o-lanterns and end up with too big or too many pumpkins. Little ones tire quickly of cleaning pumpkin guts and some of the fun of carving your pumpkins will be lost. Try not to chose the biggest pumpkins in the patch but something you can picture your kids being able to clean and carve (with help). Also, don’t pick too many as carving pumpkins is time consuming and you- know- who ends up doing all the work once the kids get tired.
  • Have fun. Put on your boots and old jeans. Let the kids get dirty as they wander the muddy fields finding that ”perfect” one. It’s usually a good idea to bring cash as some places don’t take interac or credit cards. Also, bring a bag to carry pumpkins and to protect the trunk of your car. Don’t forget your camera either.

For more information here are the links to a few local and very popular pumpkin patches. Most have additional activities but also charge admission (which may or may not include a pumpkin): Laity Pumpkin Patch, Country Pumpkin Patch, Aldor Acres, Apple Barn, Maan Farms, Petey’s Pumpkin Patch.

A guest post by Jennifer Miles

Guest contributor Jennifer Miles is a mother who loves being active with her family of seven. From camping, baseball, swimming, and day trips, she's a power-mom with a passion for BC living.

The Midtown Experience

October 5th, 2010 @ 10:15am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Vancouver’s downtown has many neighbourhoods; some officially named while others are giving nicknames by locals. There’s Gastown, then if you head along Beatty you’re in Crosstown until you get to Yaletown. The West End starts at Burrard and there’s Davie Village, English Bay, and Stanley Park. Coal Harbour faces the North Shore while the Financial District along West Pender and West Hastings sleeps over the weekend. The Entertainment District along Granville is then in a sort of limbo — placed between Yaletown and the West End. This is where The Rolston condo development is setting up shop and promoting “Midtown”. This area is defined between False Creek and Helmcken, Burrard and Homer.

Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Walking around the neighborhood Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Walking around the neighborhood

The Rolston will be popping up where the Cecil currently sits on Granville Street. Their goal is to show how liveable the surrounding area is – which is sort of Yaletown meets False Creek, Sunset Beach, and the Entertainment District. To promote this, they sent John and I on a “Midtown Experience” tour this past weekend. Armed with an agenda filled with 12 hours of fun, here’s a glimpse of what we got up to in “Midtown”.

Stop: Tartine Bread and Pies
Location: 770 Beach Avenue
Our experience: It’s hard to avoid the incredible aromas wafting out into the neighbourhood from Tartine’s ovens. Fresh breads, muffins, brioche, cookies, croissants and pies filled with delectable ingredients tempt all who pass. We each ordered a coffee and filled up on baked-goods including the ham brioche, cherry tart, cheese scone, and morning glory muffin.

Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Tartine for breakfast

Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Tartine for breakfast Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Tartine for breakfast Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Tartine for breakfast

Stop: Absolutely Fabulous Urban Spa
Location: 1500 Hornby at Beach Avenue
Our experience: I admit, this isn’t the first time I taken my husband for a pedicure although rather than a quick n’ speedy soak and file, this was the full-on day spa experience wrapped in about 90 minutes. We shared a room and faced each other as our feet soaked, toe nails were filed, calves were massaged and (in my case) polish was applied. I mucked up my polish on two toes when I put on my shoes and the staff touched it up on the spot and offered additional touch ups throughout the week if I needed, which I thought was a nice gesture. They also played some really pretty piano music on the sound system which made it easy to close our eyes and enjoy our time at this urban oasis.

Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Absolutely Fabulous spa Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Absolutely Fabulous spa Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Absolutely Fabulous spa

Stop: Nu Restaurant
Location: 1661 Granville St, under the Granville Bridge & right on top of False Creek
Our experience: Sunday brunch at Nu is “must do” in Vancouver. Located across from the Granville Island Market you’ll enjoy jazz music and passing sailboats from the dining room. Complimentary hot chocolate and scones warm your palette before trying one of their divine eggs benedict. For $23 you can select a beverage (coffee, tea, or brunch cocktail), an appetizer, and any of their bennies. It’s a little more than a Denny’s breakfast but the atmosphere and the view are worth it.

Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Nu for brunch

Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Nu for brunch Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Nu for brunch Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Nu for brunch

The next suggested stop was a VIFF film at either the VISA Screening Room, Pacific Cinematheque, Vancity Theatre, or the Empire Granville 7.

Stop: Sanafir Restaurant
Location: 1026 Granville St
Our experience: We were first sat at the window on little cube chairs, which were pretty uncomfortable but our server was kind enough to move us over to a booth upon inquiry. We ordered several tapas including the gazpacho shrimp and black pepper calamari then John recalled the “lamb balls” we had at the Rogers/VIFF party we attended at Sanafir the other day. He asked our server and she brought us out some the Lamb Kafta along with some Mediterranean ribs. When she asked how the ribs were we both looked up from licking our fingers and said in unison, “amazing”. We also had a shrimp vindaloo upon recommendation and the mango banana spring rolls for dessert (with chocolate ganache for dipping).

Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Sanafir for dinner

Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Sanafir for dinner Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Sanafir for dinner Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Sanafir for dinner

Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Sanafir for dinner Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Sanafir for dinner Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Sanafir for dinner

Stop: Sip Lounge
Location: 1117 Granville St
Our experience: The final stop on our tour was at Sip for some after dinner drinks. Turns out, it was Oktoberfest and all of the servers were wearing fun and flirty costumes to celebrate the occasion. The open kitchen behind the bar smelled delicious and we talked about our day and upcoming week over a pair of martinis.

Sunday in Midtown, Vancouver - Sip for after dinner drinks

The goal was to show that this part of downtown isn’t just for Friday and Saturday nights. Given the walking distance, range of activities, and quality of restaurants, it’s definitely a community in which you could spend a lot of time.

Disclosure: – I was not paid to write this post & the establishments we visited were unaware that we were on a media tour. All photos in this post are by John Bollwitt for Miss604.

Vancouver History: Ceperley

October 5th, 2010 @ 9:05am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Ceperley Meadow at Second Beach in Stanley Park is home to festivals, bike rides, power walks, and outdoor movie nights. It’s also where you can find the site of Vancouver’s first children’s playground after Grace Ceperley (who loved children) willed an endowment for that purpose in the late 1920s.

another morning, another ride... (part 12)
Photo credit: steveleenow on Flickr

Grace was the wife of Realtor Henry Ceperley who came to Vancouver around 1886 from California and was involved in the development of Stanley Park. He helped encourage the CPR and Ottawa to maintain the area as park land.

Photo credit: Lara604 on Flickr

The Ceperleys lived at Deer Lake in Burnaby and developed the Fairacres estate that included a strawberry farm and a mansion.

When Grace passed in 1917, the estate was sold and from the 1930s until the 1960s it changed hands a few times. The City of Burnaby acquired the property and the mansion in 1966 and in 1992 it was designated a heritage property.

Photo credit: Lara604 on Flickr

The Fairacres mansion is now the Burnaby Art Gallery and is a part of the Burnaby Arts Centre. You can walk around the grounds, gardens, and spot other original buildings from the estate like the barn or root cellar.

Photo credit: Lara604 on Flickr

If you’re into spooky stories, it may be the right time of year to visit the art gallery — rumour has it, Grace still walks the halls.

With Glowing Hearts Unfestival Today

October 4th, 2010 @ 12:52pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

During the Vancouver 2010 Games, everyone became a reporter in their own way. Photos, videos, podcasts, tweets, and Facebook updates allowed anyone in town to share what they were experiencing with the rest of the world. While all of the high-fives were happening and the streets flowed with flags and colours of all nations, Andrew Lavigne was making a documentary about social media creating social change.

With Glowing Hearts Festival Flyer

Today is your chance to view this film at the With Glowing Hearts Unfestival. They are doing a screening at 4:00pm that will be free for the community and then again at 7:00pm for $12. The paid screening will include a larger event with silent auction, drinks, Q&A and every ticket-holder will receive a producer credit on the film for contributing to its production.

If you’d like to support this film, the social media community, and the continued story-telling of what went on in town during the Vancouver 2010 Games, this is definitely an event not to miss.

Next Canucks Captain & Jersey Giveaway

October 4th, 2010 @ 11:15am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

While the Canucks prepare to enter their 40th season they are currently without a defined team captain. Roberto Luongo gave up the “C” a few weeks ago and the city is wondering just who will be the next person to lead our team on the ice and in the dressing room. I thought I would enlist three prominent Canucks bloggers to chime in on the subject.

Brian Wawryshyn
­­If I was personally choosing the next captain of the Vancouver Canucks, I would go with Henrik Sedin. All the people that didn’t think Markus Naslund made a good captain are now cringing, I know. However, I believe Henrik, and to a slightly lesser extent Daniel, have become the face of the franchise. Henrik is an NHL award winner, the league’s MVP and he was the quiet leader through a tough stretch last season and our most consistent player. I know that Ryan Kesler is the physical in your face type player that can go out and throw that big hit to ignite his teammates. He’s emotional and provides a lot to the lineup when he’s healthy, but I think Henrik is the better choice, the calming influence, and the quiet leader on and off the ice.

That said, if I had any say in the matter, I would let the player vote on the captaincy assignments as they know better than any of us who the leaders on this team are.

Richard Loat
I don’t think there’s any one player without flaw that is capable of being captain. I would have gone with co-captains, but Gillis has shot that down. I think while captaincy used to be a big deal, based on the media circus that hockey has become, the role of captain has become nearly synonymous with “scape-goat”. If I had to pick one I’d go with Henrik. Kesler’s time will come soon enough.

Sean Zandberg
It is difficult to answer the question on who should be the next Canucks captain. I don’t get to see what happens in the locker room. I cannot see which player motivates the players the most and provides the rally cry. I don’t know which player is regarded as the biggest leader in that regard. So it comes down to what I see on the ice. Henrik Sedin had a monster campaign in 2009-10 and that may sway a lot of votes in his direction. To me, that’s all fine and dandy, but Daniel Sedin is capable of doing the same thing. He would have scored about 111 points had he played all 82 games. So I’ll leave scoring out of my sorting process.

What I go by is how a guy plays and what his persona is in front of the press. In that regards, I’ll go with Ryan Kesler. When the Canucks play like a pile of manure Ryan Kesler says it in front of the press. He plays a 2-way game with excellence. He blocks shots, fights if he has to. He’s a gladiator. A warrior. He wears his heart on his sleeve. That is a guy I would want to follow, especially where it matters most…in the playoffs.

Canucks 40th Anniversary Jersey

If you would like to add your two cents to the discussion, please leave a comment on this post. One contributor will win a 40th anniversary edition Canucks jersey from the Canucks Team Store (as seen in the photo above). I will draw one name from all comments/entries Tuesday October 12th at 9:00am.

Update October 9, 2010 As we’ll probably see a “C” on someone’s jersey tonight, you can enter to win the jersey after October 9th simply by leaving a comment about how you feel about the decision.

Update October 12, 2010 The winner (drawn at random) is Del Herbert. Thanks to everyone for their input and I hope we can all get behind Henrik as he leads us into a new Canucks era.

Ride-Share Week 2010

October 4th, 2010 @ 10:03am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Even though we have one of the largest bus networks in North America combined with rapid transit, there are still many who rely on our roads to get to and from work. TransLink and Jack Bell Ride-Share present the annual Ride-Share Week to raise awareness for commuting options in particular, carpooling programs.

Across BC, commuters can search an online database to find a ride-match in their area, whether they can offer a ride or need a ride. To encourage commuters to use this online system, all those who sign up during Ride-Share Week (October 4-8, 2010) will be entered to win prizes such as gas coupons, ferry vouchers, and a chance to win a rail trip for two through the Rockies. All new and current commuters in the online database will be eligible for prizes this week.

Translink's Ride Share Week

I also have two $60 vouchers for BC Ferries to give away between now and Wednesday, then again from Wednesday to Friday. To enter to win, please leave a comment with your answer to the following:

What’s the name of the Ride-Share Week Dummy?
a) Bob
b) Rick
c) Roger

I will draw one winner on Wednesday at 12:00pm and then provide another question to answer for a draw on Friday. Follow @BCrideshareweek on Twitter for updates throughout the week as well.

Update The winner for the first half of this contest is Mark.

The next question to answer in order to qualify for the second $60 voucher for BC Ferries is: How many years has Ride-Share Week been running?

Leave your answer in the form of a comment and I’ll do another draw on Friday October 8th.

Update The second winner is Toby, congratulations!