Jodi Picoult in Vancouver

February 23rd, 2011 @ 3:51pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival takes place in October however throughout the year they also organize a series of special events with internationally-acclaimed authors. Coming in March, they will be presenting bestselling author Jodi Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper, Handle with Care). Picoult will read from her new novel, Sing You Home, accompanied by guitarist Ellen Wilber.

“Popular author Picoult tackles the controversial topic of gay rights in her latest powerful tale…Told from the perspectives of all three major characters, Picoult’s gripping novel explores all sides of hot-button issue.” – Booklist

The reading will take place at St Andrew’s-Wesley United Church (Nelson at Burrard) at 7:30pm, Sunday March 13, 2011. Tickets are $21 general/$19 students and are available online or by calling (604) 629-8849.

In addition to the special event with Jodi Picoult, this spring the VIWF will present 2010 Man Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson, bestselling author Simon Winchester and two of Canada’s most acclaimed writers, Elizabeth Hay and Miriam Toews. The VIWF has also recently launched Incite, a free regular reading series in partnership with Vancouver Public Library.

If you would like to win tickets to Picoult’s reading March 13, please leave a comment naming your favourite book or one that you love to read over and over again. I will draw one winner at 12:00pm March 1, 2011.

Update The winner is Lia – have a great time at the reading!

From the Miss604 Flickr Pool

February 23rd, 2011 @ 12:09pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Miss604 Flickr Pool photo roundup is ready to roll for the 29th week featuring contributed images of around the Metro Vancouver area.

[053/365] Play Again S'il Vous Plait
Photo credit: Kardboard604 on Flickr
Make Web Not War Pre-Conference Meetup - Vancouver, BC
Photo credit: kk+ on Flickr
Commercial Drive
Photo credit: BC Robyn on Flickr
island princess
Photo credit: vintageheart^ on Flickr
Photo credit: rbostyle on Flickr
Photo credit: Nicole Soltys on Flickr
Burrard Bridge and Beyond - 1967/2010
Photo credit: entheos_fog on Flickr
3rd Beach Model
Photo credit: TylerIngram on Flickr
English Bay - Vancouver - 2011
Photo credit: John Whitworth Photography on Flickr
Keefer Street Top of the Morning
Photo credit: PiscesDreamer on Flickr
Sunset from Lighthouse Park
Photo credit: popjon2 on Flickr
Street hockey, street party
Photo credit: kennymatic on Flickr
Bloedel Conservatory
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks on Flickr
Photo credit: popejon2 on Flickr

Click-through on each image to see more from each photographer and please feel free to add your own shots to the Miss604 Flickr Pool.

Top Ten Endangered Sites in Vancouver 2011

February 23rd, 2011 @ 11:27am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Over the last ten years the Heritage Vancouver Society has released its list of the Top Ten Endangered Sites in Vancouver and the 2011 list is now out.

  • Schools: Carleton (1896, 1908 to 1912)

  • Carleton School 1912. Archives Item# LGN496
  • Schools: Kitchener (1914 & 1924)
  • Schools: Sexsmith (1912 & 1913)
  • Shannon Estate (1915 to 1925)
  • Strathcona North of Hastings
  • Gordon T. Legg Residence (1899)
  • Collingwood Library (1951)
  • Lower Mount Pleasant
  • Granville Street (1888 on)
  • 2400 Motel (1946)
  • As you can see, several Vancouver schools top the list of most-threatened buildings in the city. “In recognition of the magnitude of this threat, our top three sites illustrate the main threats to Vancouver’s historic schools: closure, redundancy and demolition,” stated the Heritage Vancouver Society online. “These ten sites represent the many challenges that we have in building a future for heritage in Vancouver.”

    The Vancouver Historical Society will be hosting a free public event at the Museum of Vancouver on Thursday, February 24th at 7:30pm. Donald Luxton will give a talk on each of the sites on the 2011 list if you would like to learn more.

    Loutet Park to Host First North Shore Urban Farm

    February 23rd, 2011 @ 10:20am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    A groundbreaking ceremony will take place at the first urban farm on the North Shore this weekend at Loutet Park. On February 26th from 3:30pm until 4:30pm public are welcome to attend the event that will launch the edible garden project in North Vancouver.

    Vegetable garden
    Photo credit: Downing Street on Flickr

    The farm will produce vegetables on the North Shore, for North Shore residents, allowing them to source their products locally and not from across the bridge. The urban farm will be managed by farmers Gail Spurr and Jo White from the Edible Garden Project as well as members of the community.

    “This is not your typical farm,” says Heather Johnstone, Edible Garden Project Coordinator. “We’re lucky to be located next to an elementary school so students will have a chance to be involved. Plus, we are able to provide gardening workshops and set up volunteer opportunities on site – this will be a farm where the community is very much involved.”

    The Loutet Farm is a project of the North Shore Neighbourhood House, UBC and the CNV. The Edible Garden Project manages community gardens, the Sharing Backyard Bounty garden sharing program, and the Strong Roots education program.

    The groundbreaking for Loutet Farm will take place at the South end of Loutet Park (at 14th St and Rufus Ave, North Vancouver). Follow @The_EGP on Twitter for more community garden updates.

    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet

    February 22nd, 2011 @ 1:10pm (PT) by John Biehler

    The following photo essay was experienced and contributed by John Biehler exclusively for

    After driving for a number of hours from Courtenay, our tour pulled up to the beautiful Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet. I didn’t quite know what to expect before arriving but when we did, we were all awestruck by the natural waterfront setting the resort was built around.

    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort

    Immediately upon checking into my room, the stunning views overwhelmed me with every well appointed room having floor to ceiling windows. Even the bathroom had glass doors that could be opened allowing you to see the ocean from the enormous bathtub and shower:

    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort Black Rock Oceanfront Resort
    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort
    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort Black Rock Oceanfront Resort

    One very unique feature of an oceanfront resort like this is that you can’t help but leave your windows and balcony doors open at night…nothing is more soothing than hearing the waves crash below your window. The only downside to a room like this is that you may not get much sleep as you’ll want to watch the sun come up in the morning everyday, no matter what time that may be.

    Sunrise out my window
    Sunrise from my balcony

    After getting settled, we headed down to the wine cellar, located in the lower portion of the resort where Executive Chef Andrew Springett had created a special menu to allow us to sample everything the restaurant had to offer:

    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort
    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort

    Dinner featured a selection of Vancouver Island and BC wines including Averill Creek Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, Alderlea Hearth and Quail’s Gate Chenin Blanc:

    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort

    We then began with plate after plate of unique food combinations and wine pairings:

    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort
    Birch Syrup Cured Coho Salmon, Poached Spot Prawn, Micro Celery

    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort
    Fraser Valley Rabbit, Celeriac & Green Apple Remoulade, Red Leaf Greens

    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort
    Warm squab breast, parmesan truffle ravioli, onion & leek fondue

    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort
    Apple Glazed Black Cod, Crisp Gnocchi, Scallions with Japanese Mushrooms,
    Lemon Dressed Apple and Frisee Salad

    Black Rock Oceanfront Resort
    Sauterne poached pear, almond glass, sweet Genoise

    It’s worth noting that the Black Rock had the fastest wireless internet connection speed I’ve ever experienced, let alone in a hotel. It certainly made it easier to quickly upload all the photos you see in this post while I was staying there, giving me more time to enjoy the amazing views from my room.

    Sadly it's time to check out of the Black Rock

    Suffice to say, I didn’t want to leave.

    Related posts from the rest of the tour of Vancouver Island include caving in the Horne Lake Caves, surfing in Ucluelet and a zodiac tour of the Broken Group Islands.

    John is an avid photographer, gadget geek and traveller. You can find him on Twitter and at where he discusses photography and all sorts of technology. All photos in this post were taken by John.

    Disclosure: Activities, services and dining experiences during the trip were compliments of Tourism Vancouver Island or the operators and businesses mentioned.

    A guest post by John Biehler

    Guest contributor John Biehler is an avid photographer, gadget geek and traveler. He has filled in for Rebecca on several media travel trips and provides stunning video and photos from these adventures.