Surrey’s Party for the Planet

Monday, March 28th, 2011 — 10:43am PDT
Comments 2

Promoted to the front page of April 16, 2011

In the tradition of Winterfest, the Fusion Festival, and Canada Day celebrations, the City of Surrey is hosting Party for the Planet, another free public festival happening this spring in honor of Earth Day.

Surrey Fusion Fest 2010 Surrey Canada Day 2010 Winterfest 2009 in Surrey

With an eco-friendly focus for the whole family, the event will have demonstrations and themed interactive activities including Agriculture Alley, the Community Corridor, Energy Avenue, Nature Nook, Landscape Lane, Water Way, and the Transportation Trail. A big attraction will be the green zipline across the Central City Plaza and some amazing home-grown BC talent taking to the main stage that will be bike-powered.

Surrey's Party for the Planet - sponsored by

Performers include an appearance by Elmo, Ta Daa Lady, Bobs & Lolo, Shane Philip, Tambura Rasa, Greg Sczebel, George Leach, Aidan Knight, Hannah Georgas, and Spirit of the West.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to take public transit to the event, which is easily accessible by bus and SkyTrain at Central City. Festivities kick off April 15th and performances begin around 11:00am Saturday April 16, 2011. is a proud sponsor of Surrey’s Party for the Planet.

Update: April 16, 2011

Surrey’s Party for the Planet, BC’s largest Earth Day celebration is well underway. Despite it being a bit chilly this morning, thousands made their way through the tents, displays, and earth-friendly activities setup at Central City.

Party for the Planet, Surrey Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey Party for the Planet, Surrey
Party for the Planet, Surrey Party for the Planet, Surrey
Party for the Planet, Surrey Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey Party for the Planet, Surrey

Party for the Planet, Surrey

I brought John Biehler along to try out the Wild Play Element Parks zipline and he took the following video with a GoPro camera strapped to his wrist:

The festivities continue tonight with concerts on the main stage from Aidan Knight (6:00pm), Hannah Georgas (7:00pm) and Spirit of the West (8:00pm).

Party for the Planet, Surrey

Take a bus, SkyTrain, or park at the free bike valet and get some exercise working the bike-powered stage. Bring some cash for treats and a backyard tree sale otherwise, enjoy all of the free performances and activities for all ages.

More photos are available in my set on Flickr.

Playland Introduces New Ride, Star Flyer, Atmosfear

Monday, March 28th, 2011 — 9:04am PDT
Comments 9

The Playland amusement park on the PNE fair grounds will introduce a new ride this year, for the first time in 4 years, according to a press release issued this morning. The $2 million “Star Flyer” will be placed near the pirate ship and stand 5 meters taller than the park’s current height champion, The Hellevator, at 218 feet. If it’s anything like the images my friend Duane found online, it looks like the swing ride, only 218 feet up in the air:

Playland, which has been a part of the exhibition grounds for the last 101 years, will be offering up rides on the Star Flyer with no additional charge this summer. You can ride it for free with your admission or as a part of your ride passport when the PNE takes place later in the summer. 2011 PlayPasses are on sale right now and Playland opens up April 30, 2011. The Star Flyer will make its debut in July.

The last few times I’ve been to Playland, for Fright Nights or with friends on a rainy day, have been a blast. For some reason the bumper cars get more enjoyable with age however – of all 35 rides at Playland – I must admit the 53-year old wooden coaster is still the most thrilling to me.

Update April 6, 2011: Since “Star Flyer” was the manufacturer’s name for the ride, Playland hosted an online vote to select a new name. ATMOSFEAR was the winner and is now the name of the park’s latest addition.

Update July 13, 2011: The Atmosfear will open at Playland on Saturday July 16, 2011 at 10:00am. “Hitting top speeds of 70km/hr, riders will be whirled 360 degrees in the air for two gravity-defying minutes. This ride can accommodate up to 500 riders an hour, making it a “must ride” for all amusement park enthusiasts. ATMOSFEAR is the first new ride at Playland in the past four years.”

Georgia Straight Golden Plate Awards 2011

Friday, March 25th, 2011 — 11:45am PDT
Comments 4

The Georgia Straight’s annual Golden Plate Awards have been announced as Vancouverites voted, in 138 categories, for their favourite places to eat and drink around town. Here are a few highlights for me:

Tapenade BistroBest Richmond Restaurant
Tapenade Bistro (Steveston)

Best Korean
Jang Mo Jib

Best Middle Eastern
Afghan Horsemen

Best Neighbourhood for Restaurants

Best Whistler Restaurant
Araxi Restaurant + Bar

Best Pre-Game Restaurant
Shark Club

Hapa Izakya RobsonBest Izakaya
Hapa Izakaya

Best Chain Restaurant
Cactus Club Cafe

Best Budget Restaurant
White Spot

Best Eatery with Live Entertainment

Best Ramen
Kintaro Ramen

Best Breakfast
Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe

Seasons in the ParkBest View Restaurant
Seasons in the Park

Best Hamburger
Vera’s Burger Shack

Best Restaurant B.C. Beer Selection
Alibi Room

Best Coffee Shop with Wireless Internet

Best Restaurant for Cocktails
The Diamond

View a complete list of first, second, and third place winners online, on an interactive map, or in this week’s issue of the Georgia Straight. Remember to support local business and visit your favourites often for the best beer, cocktails, brunch, hamburger, or ramen in town.

I also wanted to make a special note about the Roaming Dragon food truck (that placed 3rd in its category). They catered Vancouver’s Twestival last night and were a huge success. To keep the momentum going, they’re donating 20% of their sales on Monday, March 28th, to our Twestival cause, Beauty Night. Please stop by and see them between 12:00pm and 3:00pm at 1075 West Georgia.

Kokanee Mountain Cans Prize Pack

Friday, March 25th, 2011 — 10:59am PDT
Comments 103

Kokanee recently launched a new series of beer cans that depict trail maps of Western Canadian ski destinations including Whistler Blackcomb, Marmot Basin, Cypress Mountain, Fernie Alpine Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort, Lake Louise, Red Mountain Resort, and Mount Washington Alpine Resort.

Kokanee Cans

Complete with QR codes, you can also scan the cans to get the trail maps instantly on your phone. With the weekend coming up, it’s a friendly (and timely) reminder that although grey skies are moving in on Vancouver, you can still get outside and enjoy some early spring activities, such as carving up the powder at any of these fine destinations.

Top of Showcase T-Bar

snowboarding/skiing at Cypress Mountain.. Timber Bowl
Whistler Blackcomb (runningclouds), Cypress Mountain (iwona_kellie), Fernie (Scott Innes)

To promote their new Mountain Can series, Kokanee has offered up the following prize pack for a reader: Two lift Whistler Blackcomb tickets, a Kokanee bucket, a Kokanee hoodie, a Kokanee backpack, and a Kokanee t-shirt. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment naming one of mountains on the Kokanee cans (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
  • I entered to win a #KokaneeMountainCan prize pack from @Miss604

    I will draw one winner on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 12:00pm. There is no purchase necessary and you must be 19 years or older to participate in this Kokanee giveaway. Please enjoy responsibly. Contest is open to residents of BC.

    Update The winner is A.J. (@gluttonwithacam) – congratulations!

    Whitecaps FC First MLS Home Game

    Friday, March 25th, 2011 — 10:22am PDT
    Comments 1

    The Vancouver Whitecaps FC hosted its first MLS game at home last weekend at Empire Field. Although the opposing Toronto FC fans had a presence in the stands, it was quickly drowned out by the chants and cheers of Whitecaps fans.

    Whitecaps FC vs Toronto FC: From the radio booth
    Photo credit: John Bollwitt

    The crowd of 23,000 on opening day was electric with excitement and anticipation. Scarves were removed from around necks and held up, flashing the Whitecaps FC logo with pride, songs were sung, and you couldn’t have asked for a better outcome in a soccer game, let alone a premiere home-opening game as Vancouver came out on top, 4-2.

    Whitecaps FC vs Toronto FC: From the radio booth
    Photo credit: John Bollwitt

    In case you were wondering who that large group was that knew all the songs, had their own branded scarves, flags, and attention of the team, they were the Southsiders — the Vancouver Whitecaps’ loyal supporter group since 1999. You can find tickets in their section online, learn their songs, sign up for membership, and support the team at home and on the road.

    If you were at the game or know someone who was, you can view a full panoramic photo of Empire Field courtesy of GigaPan. Click on the South or North views and zoom in to see if you can spot yourself in the stands.

    The next Whitecaps FC homegame at Empire Field is Saturday April 2nd. Tickets are still available starting at just $20. Follow @WhitecapsFC and @Southsiders on Twitter.

    UBC Archives: The Great Trek

    Thursday, March 24th, 2011 — 12:22pm PDT
    Comments 6

    The other day I visited the UBC Archives after messaging back and forth with archivist Erwin Wodarczak, who runs the @UBCArchives Twitter account. Being a big fan of local history, and having previously visited the Vancouver Archives, I was excited to discover artifacts from their vaults and see what kind of resources were available for research purposes.

    UBC Archives

    I read the minutes of the first Board of Governors, perused old photo albums depicting student life over the last century, and tried out the automated archive retrieval system.

    UBC Archives

    UBC Archives UBC Archives
    UBC Archives UBC Archives

    UBC Archives

    One important piece of Vancouver history that was highlighted for me was the story of “The Great Trek” or “The Great Pilgrimage”. This was a peaceful protest by UBC students in order to finish building the campus out in Point Grey. Up until that time, they use facilities in Fairview — on the site of what is now Vancouver General Hospital.

    Although a site commission had, several years earlier, selected Point Grey as the location for the new university, the outbreak of World War I in 1914 halted development of the site following the initial clearing of the land and some preliminary construction. Overcrowded lecture halls and inadequate laboratory facilities characterized the University’s early years at Fairview. Additional space had to be found as the number of students grew. Professors held agricultural classes in a private residence, French classes in the basement of a church un-used by its congregation during the week, and chemistry classes in the famous chemistry tent erected on the site.

    UBC Archives Image# UBC 1.1/862

    Students and faculty alike viewed the “shacks” at Fairview as a temporary inconvenience and looked forward to what they felt would be an imminent move to the new campus. Unfortunately, the inadequate Fairview facilities would serve as home to the University for its first full decade of existence. As the number of students attending UBC expanded, the frustration with government inaction on the construction of a new university campus also grew so much so that the students decided to take action. [The Great Trek Remembered]

    In the spring of 1922, the student-run “Build the University” campaign began. Each would collect signatures on a petition wanting the government to resume construction of the Point Grey campus. With the petition in hand, signs, banners, cars and horses, 1,200 students walked from Fairview to the Point Grey site. They gathered within the shell of the Science Building, where construction was halted so many years before.

    UBC Archives Image# UBC 1.1/1315

    By the end of the campaign and the trek, they had approximately 56,000 signatures which they took to Victoria and were granted government funding to complete UBC’s campus. The cover of the school’s paper, The Ubyssey, read “Government Sees the Point!” on November 9, 1922.

    UBC Archives Image# UBC 93.1/188

    There is a cairn on campus (West Mall) dedicated to the effort of the students. I’m looking forward to uncovering more stories, photos, and documents in future trips to the archives.