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Metro Vancouver Park Series: Central Park

June 2nd, 2008 @ 8:49am (PT) by Guest Author

The ongoing parks series continues with another generous contribution from Raul who decided to take on Burnaby’s Central Park.

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Metrics Central Park’s size is 90 hectares.

How to get there Easily accessibly by car going south-east on Kingsway, or by Skytrain at Patterson Station.

Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

Park Use Clearly marked trails make for nice long walks. Central Park also offers children playground and a great pitch-and-putt for those of you who love golf. If you are a nature lover, this urban forest will give you lots of trees to enjoy a relaxing afternoon.

Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

History “According to The Greater Vancouver Book (Editor in Chief: Chuck Davis)1, it was once a naval reserve set aside as a source of masts and spars for ships of the Royal Navy. The park was named to honour Mrs. David Oppenheimer, the wife of Vancouver’s second mayor, who was born in New York City.” [Central Park, Burnaby Wikipedia]

Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

Notes I normally would only swing by Central Park whenever I visit my Burnaby-based friends. I expected it to be incredibly busy. However, I found that it was really nice to just walk around with my friend and spend a leisurely evening without all the hordes of people that flock to Stanley Park or Queen Elizabeth Park.

Summer Road Closures in Vancouver, June 2008

May 31st, 2008 @ 4:19pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

If you’re a driver in downtown Vancouver the beginning of June might cause you a few headaches. Aside from the “usual” Canada Line or water main construction, June is “Bike Month” in the city and several events will be taking place that involve some major road closures.

Triathlon Vancouver: The Triathlon events will cause a few disruptions along some major arteries from June 1st until the 9th. On Thursday June 5th things kick off with the Parade of Nations along Beach Avenue, starting at the Inukshuk at English Bay. Access to Stanley Park by vehicle will be either limited or completely cut off during the week as well. One Sunday June 8th Davie street will also be closed from Denman to Burrard.

Photo credit: Stephen Rees on Flickr

List of Road Closures Triathlon Site, City of Vancouver, PDF
Triathlon Vancouver website (includes transit re-routing information)

Car Free Day Vancouver: This year’s Car Free Day involves several communities across the city simultaneously: Cambie Street, Kitsilano, Main Street, Marpole, and the West End. As you can probably deduce, roads in those areas will be closed.

Something that doesn’t involve road closures but still encourages alternate forms of transport is the Commuter Challenge: “The Commuter Challenge is a nation-wide event that promotes friendly competition among organizations and cities to see who can get the highest percentage of employees out of single occupancy vehicles and into healthier and cleaner modes of commuting such as walking, cycling, transit, carpooling, vanpooling and teleworking. This year the Commuter Challenge runs from June 2-June 6.” The Commuter Challenge is in honor of Canadian Environment Week, June 1-7, 2008 and Clean Air Day on June 4th.

For anyone making the change from gas guzzler to pedal power, the City of Vancouver issued a handy Bike Route Map in 2007 that should prove to be pretty useful.

Von Bondies Play Richards on Richards

May 30th, 2008 @ 3:11pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

After rescheduling from late April until this weekend, I’m pretty darn ready to go see the Von Bondies rock out at Richards on Richards tomorrow night.

In all honesty I was first introduced to them when I started watching Rescue Me, as their song C’mon C’mon plays during the opening credits.

It wasn’t until John started sharing more of their songs with me that I truly started rocking out to all things Von Bondies, starting with their second album Pawn Shoppe Heart in 2005.

Advance tickets are $12.00, though Ticketmaster and Zulu Records. Those who had tickets for the original show on April 25th (like us) will be able to use them tomorrow (doors are at 7:00pm).

A Vancouver Girl's Guide to the iPhone Part 4

May 30th, 2008 @ 10:23am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I haven’t touched on my Vancouver Girl iPhone series in a while but I figure with its presence in the movie last night, and the Apple Store opening last weekend, it was time for a revival. What makes this latest edition special? It’s a hybrid iPhone series AND Link Fest.

Nuh uh- First off, a quick note that ties into last night’s Sex and the City Movie. Carrie is admittedly, as always, technologically challenged. When I opened up the 24 Hours this morning I saw a neat article about the “Geek Chic” toys used by the girls in the film however knowing my gadgets I found it was inaccurate (not to be too picky, because it was a really cute concept).

But to get things straight, Carrie does not own a MacBook Air in the movie, but a MacBook Pro. Also, Samantha is the one with the iPhone.

– The Apple Store opened up downtown last week and John Biehler was there taking pics and checking the place out.

I managed to head in with John (my husband, John) that afternoon and bought some iKlear to clean my MacBook and iPhone screens.

Note: There is no cashier or checkout, just a roaming hand-held wireless device and they can email you a receipt so you actually don’t have to touch or sign anything. Oh, and they’ll butter you up and tell you that you have a pretty name and face – although John says that’s just all a part of the “Apple Experience”.

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

– I got my fancy shmancy bedazzled iPhone case down at Bellis Fair for $12. It’s a nice little hard case that isn’t too heavy and it’s a nice change up from the silicone wrap that I got at the Crystal Mall in Burnaby (and that I got for my birthday from John Biehler). I’m not sure how long it will last as I’m already noticing some peeling so I’ll be switching it back to my other pink covers pretty soon. It’s just nice to have variety.

Hat tip to Tanya for sharing some of her iPhone protection with me as well.

Final note, I’ve heard a lot of people lately talking about how their clients, friends or bosses have recently purchased iPhones and have no idea how to work them. I have to say that if you’re already familiar with Macs, then you have a far better chance of understanding and catching on to the iPhone. If you are coming from Windows and Blackberry land the learning curve could be steep so be prepared.

From personal experience, I know there was certainly some stress involved while trying to comprehend the simplicity of Apple after so many years in PC land. I would suspect someone going from a Nokia to an iPhone wouldn’t know how to automatically start setting up their email, installing apps etc.

However, there’s a huge support system of iPhone’rs in Vancouver as well so make sure you do some research – “slide to unlock” is the first step.

**This is not discouraging anyone from buying an iPhone, I would say the same thing about buying a car that isn’t an automatic if you haven’t ever driven stick before… err which I kind of also did ;-)**

Sex and the City Movie Review

May 30th, 2008 @ 12:55am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

As I mentioned yesterday, I was able to screen the Sex and the City Movie a few days ago and as a result a bite-size version of my review below is appearing in today’s 24 Hours newspaper. Rush on out to pick up the free daily if you simply need more Miss604… in print!

Fun flowers

Now, I could focus on the varying themes throughout the movie; the colour blue, which is bright, lovely and eye-catching, the tale of Cinderella that presents itself in many forms, or the fact that the number three keeps popping up all over the place, from apartment numbers to magazine covers. However in depth I feel I should go there is only one truly underlying theme in the film which is love.

One may think that the television show on which the movie is based was all about the sex, but a quick glance at the friendships between Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha would quickly change your vote. It has always been about the love and the movie is no exception. It brings ‘love’ out from the shadows like that dusty Dior outfit in your closet you recently rediscovered. Love for your city, your friends, your family and above all, yourself.

The movie starts off at an expedited pace, giving a quick recap of everyone’s lives to see what we’ve missed in the last few years and to introduce anyone new to our four girls. I for one am super happy that Samantha got an iPhone, although at one point Carrie tosses it aside saying, “okay I have no idea how to work this.”

Kristin Davis’ ardent delivery as Charlotte firmly grips your heartstrings while Cynthia Nixon and BC’s own Kim Cattrall reprise their roles with fervent growth and maturity while providing some expected comic relief. Sarah Jessica Parker reintroduces us to an endearing Carrie Bradshaw whose fanciful yet resilient spirit captivates the audience, reminding die hard fans why they’ve adored watching her accumulate stories (and shoes) over the last decade. Not to mention how amazing she looks in all 81 outfits.

Chris Noth, David Eigenberg, Jason Lewis, and Evan Handler illuminate the screen with their individual depictions of good guy and bad guy drivers on the rocky roads on which every relationship must travel.

For a film in which forgiveness is as coveted as Manolo Blahnik maryjanes, it isn’t your typical fairytale, but I sure fell in love all over again.

Label of Love

Here are some slight spoilers so put on those earmuffs errr… blinders if you don’t want to read them.

Sex and the City Movie Vancouver Premiere

May 29th, 2008 @ 9:33am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

In all honesty, I saw the movie days ago thanks to the 24 Hours daily newspaper. Don’t worry as this post isn’t about spoilers or details (that one will hit the wires tomorrow), but I thought I would continue my current saucy mini series by highlighting this local girl’s view of Sex and the City in honor of tonight’s silver screen event.

Six years ago I lived in Boston and one of the highlights of my living arrangement was that my roommate loved gadgets tech toys. These included a huge TV, premium cable packages and surround sound, which resulted in evenings spent sitting on the lovely Crate & Barrel sofa with obscenely large cushions watching the last few seasons of Sex and the City on HBO.

Seeing as how I was all by my lonesome in Boston and hardly made any female friends (I worked with geeky boys mostly) the show to me was bittersweet. However, the roommate bonding time was pretty priceless as he and his girlfriend pretty much kept me afloat in many ways when I was so far from home.

Upon my return to Vancouver, alas, there was no HBO and the DVDs hadn’t yet hit store shelves. I relied on Bravo reruns and horribly edited TBS syndicated morsels for my SATC fixes.

I’m not going to commit a cardinal blogger rule and divulge which Sex and the City character I am because frankly I think there’s a bit of each of the girls in all of us. I have my quirky moments, my determined and driven steamroller days, my playful tendencies (including a more tender side of me only my husband gets to see) and no matter how rough and tumble I try to be, a spider in my room would still make me squeal.

Tonight I’m heading to the exclusive premiere gala (pre-movie, at Republic) and I’ll be alone, more than likely amongst contest winners with their “three gal pals” that they were allowed to bring along. Since I’m covering the event I suppose my involvement and experience will differ from theirs, but nonetheless it would be nice to order a retro cosmo with someone else who came of age in the Parcheesi era – or even of the Trouble generation like me.

Honestly, what would make me pretty darn happy would to be able to spend that evening out with my husband. Every girl has their independent side, which should never be lost, but like I’ve said before… most of the time it seems as though it’s John and me versus the world. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My official movie review will be published at 1:00am Friday May 30th

Show times start at 10:00pm Thursday May 29th, check out CinemaClock for details about all Metro Vancouver theatres screening the movie.

Vancouver Burlesque, an Elegant History

May 28th, 2008 @ 10:26pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Our city has had a legendary history in the world of burlesque, leading up to the present-day Vancouver Burlesque Festival and this weekend’s Chick a Boom Room event featuring the Burlesque Beauties.

Photo credit: Danse Collection Dance

At the turn of the 20th century Vancouver was just starting to boom. Building on up the backs of the industry workers, loggers, and Klondike gold rushers there needed to be some form of entertainment and Mr. Pantages was just the man to provide it. The original Pantages Theatre opened in 1908 and went through many iterations, which once involved being called The State in 1919 featuring burlesque acts. Through all of its phases The Pantages was indeed Vancouver’s vaudeville beacon and another of the same name was opened down the street (on Hastings) in 1917 [DCD]

In 1927 The Orpheum opened up and for 25 cents you could enjoy a vaudeville show featuring the likes of Marie White and the Blue Slickers, Pat Henning and Co., a family act, in Versatility; the “Beloved Clown Toto”; dancers Chaney & Fox; Ethel Davis “in Refreshing Song Chatter” and Bee Hee & Rubyette and a movie, The Wise Wife. [VancouverHistory]

Joe Philliponi opened the doors to The Penthouse on Seymour Street in 1945 [VancouverHistory] and it’s still alive and kicking today, even recently featuring a Heritage Vancouver night of burlesque.

The burlesque scene in Vancouver is yet again taking off amidst these overgrown roots and you can catch the latest revival this Friday and Saturday night at the Stadium Club at the Edgewater Casino.

Starring the Burlesque Beauties, “The Vancouver group, clad in luscious lingerie, love getting a rise out of their audiences, but they also take their craft extremely serious and enjoy their work. And real work it is. All are thoroughly trained professional dancers who never stop training on the strict choreography and timing which burlesque demands.” [ClubZone]

It’s also important to note that burlesque does not necessarily mean striptease but a theatrical and comical form of entertainment involving womanly wit and sass.

This weekend’s showcase (Friday and Saturday at 8:30pm) is also a reality show of sorts, where you will see three different girls playing the part of “Miss Baby Doll”. Audience members are then encouraged to visit the Burlesque Beauties website and vote for their favourite woman who represented the role so that she can fill the last spot in the group.

My husband and I will be checking out the show on Friday night, not only will it be my first trip to the downtown casino it will also be the first time I’ve witnessed a burlesque show. From the images I’ve seen, I’m actually really looking forward to it.

As a side note, the Pantages Theatre is being refurbished and renovated in time for the Pauline Johnson Opera in 2010

Social Media for Change: Food Bank RoundUp

May 28th, 2008 @ 9:28am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I recently did some housekeeping on the site and removed a section of my About page, dissecting it into several other pages. One that I would like to bring your attention to is Causes.

I know folks around here love to give and help out whenever they can, that’s what makes this area so great. However only once a year at Christmas do we see a huge spike in support. I’d like to do another Food Bank RoundUp to highlight some events and ways you can continue to give this summer.

Photo credit: Photojunkie on Flickr (used with permission) – PhotoJunkie.ca

Surrey Food Bank: Car Wash Fundraising Event at Eaglequest Golf Course on Saturday May 31, starting at 9:00am. There will be hot dogs and refreshments while you get your car washed by donation to the Food Bank, or you can bring by non-perishable food items.

Greater Vancouver Food Bank: Through the GVFB I found out about National Hunger Awareness Day, which will be June 5th 2008. This event is to encourage Canadians to give, speak, and spread the word about hunger in their towns and across the country.

On May 31st it is Healthy Kids Day at Langara Family YMCA (282 West 49th Avenue), admission is free but all those who attend are encouraged to being a donation for the GVFB. There will be a BBQ, bike rodeo and even pony rides. Yes, pony rides.

There is also the North Burnaby Food Bank, located at 250 Willingdon Ave and the New Westminster Food Bank Society at 1111 Sixth Avenue (also a part of the GVFB).

Tri Cities Food Bank (Share Society): Because not every region in South Western BC falls under the GVFB, please remember that you can donate locally, to help out those in your own neighbourhood. Here are Food Bank locations in the Tri-Cities area:

2615 Clarke St. Port Moody (rear of building)
2211 Prairie Ave. – Port Coquitlam, Trinity United .St. Catherine’s Anglican Church
535 Marmont St., Coquitlam, Como Lake United Church

For some quick numbers from the Surrey Food Bank: More than 1.2 million hours of labour, including 800,000 plus volunteer hours, contribute to the operation of food banks every month… More than 40% of food recipients are children… Many food banks give more than just food – people in need often require advocacy services regarding landlord-tenant issues, income assistance applications, training programs, etc.

If you have a community event coming up consider partnering with the Food Bank in your area ie. bring a non-perishable food item and get a free balloon animal.. or something because I sincerely feel that anytime is the right time to give.