Hotel Bellwether in Bellingham

April 11th, 2011 @ 11:43am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The beauty of living in Vancouver is that we have seemingly endless options for weekend activities. Whether it’s heading for a walk in the woods, cycling a sea side route, or even leaving town to explore more of the Pacific Northwest. When some retail therapy is in order, especially with a strong Canadian dollar in our pockets, Bellingham is a top destination for locals.

We discovered this weekend that aside from doing slingshot trips South, hitting up Target and Trader Joe’s, there’s a beautiful overnight option available right along the bay.

Hotel Bellwether Hotel Bellwether

Hotel Bellwether
Website, Twitter, Facebook, rooms from $165 USD.
This 65-room inn is just 10 minutes from Bellis Fair mall and is situated right on Bellingham Bay. Surrounded by free parking, walking trails, kite-flyers, and sailboats, it’s a picturesque maritime setting.

Hotel Bellwether

John and I have a bit of a routine when we check into hotel rooms. Open the door, check to see where the washroom is, scope out the view on the balcony, plug in our electronics, and hook up to the WIFI. We found a snug jacuzzi tub, standing shower stall, TV with full digital cable (so we could still get CTV or CBC), and complimentary (high speed) internet. We were told that most rooms have a king size bed and two of the three floors are pet-friendly.

Hotel Bellwether Hotel Bellwether

After we settled in, we were given a tour of the property including a peek at the lighthouse suite. Located in an actual lighthouse-style structure, it’s 3 floors of accommodation with panoramic balconies and amenities fit for honeymooners or anyone who wants to feel like a newlywed.

Hotel Bellwether

Hotel Bellwether Hotel Bellwether

We returned to our bay-view room, popped open some Washington state wine, and watched the sun duck behind the Olympic Mountains before we headed down to Harborside Bistro, located on the first floor of the hotel.

Hotel Bellwether

Dinner featured locally-sourced ingredients like fiddlehead ferns, fresh mushrooms, and Oregon beef. We barely shared our caramel bread pudding or bourbon chocolate desserts with each other as it was difficult not to gobble them down immediately following our meal.

Harborside Bistro Harborside Bistro

Harborside Bistro

Caramel bread pudding Dessert

Until recently, I had no idea that the Bellwether, and its entire waterfront district (with plaza, spa, restaurants) existed. For a quick trip out of town, without losing stunning coastal views, it’s a nice option to rest your head if indeed you’d like to shop til you drop or make some time for a bit of romance with a loved one.

Disclosure: I was not paid to visit the hotel however our accommodation was courtesy of the Bellwether.

Vancouver Theatre for Spring/Summer 2011

April 11th, 2011 @ 9:10am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Vancouver theatre scene has always been alive and kicking however this spring and summer it seems it to have attracted a large variety of blockbuster productions.

April 5 – April 10, 2011 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre
The Graduate
April 14 – May 14, 2011 at the Granville Island Stage
Fiddler on the Roof
April 29 – May 1, 2011 at the Centre for Performing Arts
June 1 – June 26, 2011 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Mamma Mia
August 16 – August 21, 2011 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre
May 12 – June 10 at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

I also want to include mention of the 25th anniversary of Ballet BC at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre April 14, 15 and 16, 2011 as well as Bard on the Beach and Theatre Under the Stars that will open up again in June and July.

I have two tickets to give away to The Graduate at The Arts Club on Granville Island which is opening this week.

Mrs. Robinson, Are You Trying to Seduce Me?
“Benjamin Braddock is a little worried about his future. Just out of college, he doesn’t know what he wants from life—but it sure isn’t plastics. Then he meets Elaine. The only problem? She’s Mrs. Robinson’s daughter!”

Adapted for the stage by Terry Johnson and based on the novel by Charles Webb and the screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry.

To enter to win, leave a comment on this post listing your favourite venue for watching a play in Vancouver and/or post the following on Twitter:

I entered to win tickets to The Graduate @TheArtsClub from @miss604

I will draw one winner Friday, April 22, 2011 at 12:00pm. Please also check out year-round productions put together by theatre companies of all sizes throughout the city.

Update The winner is Tiffany – Enjoy the show!

Ballet BC 25th Anniversary

April 8th, 2011 @ 11:05am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s Ballet BC’s 25th anniversary and they will celebrate by presenting a collection of world premiere performances next week.

“We are delighted to be bringing our Vancouver audiences an exciting evening of new works by Canadian and Ballet BC alumni. We are also honoured to be collaborating with one of Canada’s leading chamber orchestras, The Turning Point Ensemble. This magnificent program of four new creations promises to be a thrilling experience for both dance and music lovers alike.” says Ballet BC Artistic Director Emily Molnar.

Alexis Fletcher. Photo by Chris Randle

April 14th – April 16th will feature the following works at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Choreography: Serge Bennathan
Music: New Composition by Michael Oesterle

Choreography: Wen Wei Wang
Music: Owen Underhill

Choreography: Gioconda Barbuto
Music: New Composition by Anthony Genge

Choreography: Donald Sales (read a great interview with him in the Georgia Straight)
Music: David Lang

I have two tickets to give away to the production Friday, April 15th.

To enter to win, leave a comment on this post the following on Twitter.

I entered to win tickets to @BalletBC from @Miss604

I will draw a winner at 9:00am, April 13, 2011.
Update The winner is Mercedes – have a great time!

Vancouver History: 1886

April 8th, 2011 @ 9:56am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

All year we will be celebrating Vancouver’s 125th Birthday through public events and celebrations. Since the city was incorporated on April 6, 1886 I thought it would be interesting to see what happened after City Council was formed and our little townsite of Granville became Vancouver.

September 1886 – Mayor, Council, City officials. Archives Item#LGN 1045. Photographer: Herry T Devine.

April 6, 1886
The City of Vancouver was incorporated as a group met for a small ceremony in Jonathan Miller’s house. About 1,000 people lived in Vancouver at the time.

May 12, 1886
The first meeting of Vancouver’s City Council took place. The first item on the docket was a petition to lease, from the Federal Government, a 1,000-acre military reserve to be used by the city as a park. This would become Stanley Park.

June 13, 1886
The Great Fire ripped through Vancouver. It took about 45 minutes to spread and destroyed almost 1,000 of the city’s wooden buildings. Businesses were rebuilt within days and Vancouver sprung back to life.

Day after the Great Fire. Archives# CVA 1477-416.

Businesses in Gastown rebuilt 1 month after the Great Fire, July 1886. Archives item #Str P7

July 4, 1886
The first sea-to-sea CPR transcontinental passenger train arrived in Port Moody after crossing Canada in 5 days and 19 hours.

July 13, 1886
City Council passed a by-law (No. 258) regulating the use of bicycles by imposing a speed limit of 8mph.

July 30, 1886
Vancouver’s first fire engine arrived at Port Moody and a four-horse team hauled it over miles of dusty roads via New Westminster to Vancouver. It arrived August 1st and as there were no horses available in Vancouver to haul it to fires, it was pulled by the firefighters themselves.

Also in 1886
Chuck Davis included a few more items on his site under 1886 such as the fact that the Vancouver Police Department’s first badges were made from America silver dollars that year and the city’s first graveyard at Brockton Point in Stanley Park was closed.

The timelines above are sourced from where you can read about these events in more detail. Please help Chuck Davis’ work live on by sponsoring a year that will be published in his book.

Video Games Live in Vancouver

April 7th, 2011 @ 9:10am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Video Games Live is coming to Vancouver for two performances next week presenting music from popular video games with choir performers, orchestras, exclusive video footage, and live action.

The world’s biggest video game concert (that set a Guinness World Record in 2008 for most video game performances in a single year) will be at the Centre for Performing Arts April 13th and 14th. This is the first stop on their Canadian tour and tickets are still available.

If you would like to attend, I have 3 pairs of tickets to give away to each of Wednesday and Thursday’s shows. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post listing your favourite video game (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
  • I entered to win 1 of 6 pairs of tickets to @VideoGames_Live from @Miss604

    I will draw all 6 winners (3 for each date) at 12:00pm Monday, April 11th, 2011.

    Update The winners are @bradpittlike, Stephen, Jon Jennings, Megan, Chris, Jessica Sarai (April 13th), and @brittriddell, @stv, Lyndsi (April 14th).

    Obscura Day 2011

    April 7th, 2011 @ 8:45am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The Atlas Obscura, an online directory of bizarre, amusing, and curious attractions, once again presents Obscura Day this Saturday, April 9, 2011, around the world.

    There are currently 103 cities participating with events from a meetup at the Owl House Museum in East Cape, South Africa, to Tinkertown tours in Sandia Park, Minnesota, and tours of Mary’s Gone Wild Folk Art and Baby Doll Museum in Supply, North Carolina.

    On the map for Vancouver there are Vancouver Police Museum tours and Secrets of the Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Chinese Garden tours.

    “A few weeks ago, we received a massive donation from a woman whose father was Vancouver’s first full-time forensic scientist,” Chris Mathieson, Executive Director of the Vancouver Police Museum, told me. “Detective Inspector Vance, often dubbed “Vancouver’s Sherlock Holmes”, was famous throughout North America for his exploits and innovations in scientific police work. He’s the reason our building (the original home to the VPD Bureau of Science) was built in 1932.”

    The Police Museum will be participating in Obscura Day for the second time this year. “What makes these Obscura Day tours so special is that we’ll be opening some of those donated boxes for the first time; we’re not completely sure what’s in them, but there’s no doubt that it’ll be an exciting glimpse into the history of forensics in Vancouver.”

    You can follow Atlas Obscura on Facebook or Twitter for information about unique attractions around the globe and their participating in Obscura Day 2011.