Woodward’s Christmas Windows Return


Monday, November 29th, 2010 — 11:02am PST
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Christmas at Canada Place is expanding this year as it presents a walking tour of downtown featuring the iconic Woodward’s Window displays. These portals of Christmases past will be set around the downtown core including an installation at the new Woodward’s building.


1900s Woodward’s. Vancouver Archives Item# CVA 677-611. Photographer: Philip T Timms.

The campaign launched this morning with an event at the TD Canada Trust located on West Hastings at Abbott. This particular window features an animated horse and cart, both orignal pieces from the deparment store’s heyday.

Return of Woodward's Christmas Windows Return of Woodward's Christmas Windows

“You put your heart and soul into it and do it one piece at a time,” said window display creator David Rowland of Creatix Studios. Rowland has been making window displays since the 1970s and the legendary Woodward’s windows are pretty much the holy grail of the industry. He and his staff spent about 100 man hours creating the display you can see today.

Return of Woodward's Christmas Windows Return of Woodward's Christmas Windows

“The main difference is that when Woodward’s set it up it was one long shot but here we’ve had to separate [the displays] around town.” Rowland was beaming as his passion for his craft (and this project) shined through.

“We feel very strongly that the tradition that is these windows should be preserved,” added Robin Wilson of Canada Place. “It’s part of our history, it’s a part of Christmas.”

There are six stops on the walking tour including Bentall Three, Bentall One, BC Ferries Vacations, the Vancouver Christmas Market, Canada Place, and TD Canada Trust.

To celebrate and promote these pieces, I am running a contest as a part of my sponsorship of Christmas at Canada Place.

From now until December 15th, snap a photo of any of the Woodward’s Windows and upload it to the Miss604 Pool on Flickr or post on Twitter including @CanadaPlace & @Miss604 in your message. The winner of the photo contest will get four tickets to Christmas at Canada Place’s “Breakfast with Santa” on Saturday, December 18th.

The 23rd annual Christmas at Canada Place proudly supports the Strathcona Community Centre’s Food Security for Children, an essential program that helps to feed children on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Rogers Santa Claus Parade in Vancouver 2010


Monday, November 29th, 2010 — 9:16am PST
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The Rogers Santa Clause Parade has quickly become a holiday tradition in Vancouver. Now in its 7th year, this annual celebration will take over the streets of downtown Sunday December 5th at 1:00pm.

Santa Claus
Photo credit: Tyler Ingram on Flickr

Xmas Square
From 11:00am until the parade starts at 1:00pm, the corner of Georgia and Howe will host “Xmas Square” festivities such as face painting, balloon twisting, live entertainment, a gingerbread tent and more. This is free for the public although be sure to stop by the Greater Vancouver Food Bank tent to make a donation.

Robson Square Ice Rink
According to UBC Robson Square’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, the ice rink will be open for the season starting December 5th, after the parade. This has yet to be fully confirmed but it would be a great way to end your morning after watching the parade. This post has full updates on the Robson Square construction.

Best Places to Watch
You will be able to view the parade all along its route however you can try the Vancouver Art Gallery steps for a higher view, or further along Howe since the Georgia side will most likely be more crowded.

Road Closures
The parade will begin at Georgia at Broughton and travel East to Howe, then turn onto Davie.


Click map to enlarge

6:00am to 5:00pm
Alberni from Cardero to Jervis
Nicola and Broughton from Georgia to Robson
7:00am to 5:00pm
Hornby from Davie to Pacific
Drake from Howe to Burrard
10:30am to 5:00pm (approximately)
Georgia from Pender to Seymour
All streets crossing Georgia will be diverted
Howe from Dunsmiur to Drake
All streets crossing Howe will be diverted

The 2010 Grand Marshals are John Furlong, CEO, VANOC, The Honourable Mary McNeil, Minister of Citizens’ Services and past Minister of State for the Olympics, and more than two hundred 2010 Winter Games volunteers. You can watch a broadcast of the parade on CityTV Saturday December 11th and Sunday December 12th.

Donate to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank online or bring non-perishable items on parade day. Collections will be made by volunteers moving along with the pace of the parade or at the Xmas Square.

Movember Events in Vancouver 2010


Monday, November 29th, 2010 — 8:51am PST
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As the month known as Movember comes to a close, moustached faces across the city are preparing for the shaving of a lifetime. It was more evident this year than any other, from Vancouver to Whistler and Victoria, that men in BC really do care about a cause (and aren’t afraid to look a little different to prove it). For the last month thousands of Canadian men have been growing moustaches (not goatees or beards) to promote their own fundraising campaigns, bringing awareness to prostate cancer research, programs, and awareness. Through two events this week, they will be able to celebrate the hard work of their follicles.

Dip Your Upper Lip (the Movember Tweetup)
Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Movember Tweetup & Stache-Off
The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe is hosting a Tweetup on Tuesday, November 30th from 5:00pm-7:00pm complete with a moustache-judging contest or “Stache-Off”. The event will be judged by three female Twitter users from Vancouver and all are invited to attend. Prizes and giveaways include hot shaves for participating men for the end of the month. This is a free event but there is a capacity limit so RSVP is required.

Official Movember Gala Parté
The official Movember Gala Parté will be December 2nd at Fortune Sound Lounge from 8:00pm until late. This will include a moustache contest, fundraising totals, and the awarding of Man of Movember and Miss Movember. Gala Partés will be held in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria.

Nice staches
Movember 2009 Mo Sistas – Photo credit: Invoke on Flickr

Canada’s current fundraising total is the most of any participating country in the world with $16,290,731 raised to date by 117,870 “Mo Bros”. Leading company teams include CIBC World Markets Inc., PricewaterhouseCoopers, and KPMG LLP.

Canadian Snowmobile in Whistler


Sunday, November 28th, 2010 — 10:46am PST
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Having spent more time in Whistler during the spring and summer months, I’m familiar with its many activities outside of carving up the snow-covered slopes. Even when the mountain opens up for its world-famous winter season you can still find plenty to do if you’re not a skiier or snowboarder. From ziplining to snowshoeing, the possibilities for adventure are seemingly endless and this weekend we discovered how much fun a morning snowmobile expedition can be as well.

Canadian Snowmobile - Callaghan Valley

Canadian Snowmobile is centrally located under the Longhorn, gondola and main rental building for Whistler Blackcomb. After signing up for our session, we met our group outside in the village as morning snowflakes tumbled down.

Canadian Snowmobile - Callaghan Valley

Our guide, Daniel, arrived promptly and we piled into the tour company’s van parked near the main Whistler bus loop. About 20 minutes later we arrived at the Canadian Snowmobile cabin in the Callaghan Valley, ready to suit up.

Canadian Snowmobile - Callaghan Valley

Canadian Snowmobile - Callaghan Valley Canadian Snowmobile - Callaghan Valley

The wood-burning stove in the cabin crackled while those who needed gear loaded up with boots, helmets, snow-pants and jackets. Waiting outside was a queue of Yamaha snowmobiles and after a quick lesson, we were on our way.

Canadian Snowmobile - Callaghan Valley

Members of our tour group either paired up or hopped on their own machines for the ride. The snowmobiles were top of the line with hand-warmers in the handles and very simple instructions to stop and start.

Canadian Snowmobile - Callaghan Valley

Daniel used hand signals to communicate with our caravan and hopped off to dig out any member who got stuck in the thick powder lining our route.

Canadian Snowmobile - Callaghan Valley

Reaching exhilarating speeds and surrounded by picturesque scenery, I almost let out an audible “Whee!” while we carved our own paths and danced around corners.

Canadian Snowmobile - Callaghan Valley Canadian Snowmobile - Callaghan Valley

The clouds parted, the sky went from navy blue to azure, and a blanket of fog rolled in and out like a tide through the trees.

Canadian Snowmobile - Callaghan Valley

Canadian Snowmobile Tour

Twisting between frozen creek beds and old-growth evergreens on the back of Sproat Mountain, I had a flashback to snowshoeing in the Ancient Forest last winter near Prince George.

Canadian Snowmobile - Callaghan Valley

Canadian Snowmobile offers a variety of snowmobiling adventures including our 3-hour beginner/family-friendly “Callaghan Cruiser” tour. Our experience was extremely positive and while riding the gas-powered beasts through the hills was fun, I’d love to check out their snowshoe, dogsled or fondue tours in the future.

Disclosure: cmp.ly/2

Bif Naked to Speak at BC Cancer Agency Community Cancer Forum


Friday, November 26th, 2010 — 10:28am PST
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Tomorrow the Westin Bayshore downtown is hosting the BC Cancer Agency Community Cancer Forum with an impressive line-up of speakers including local singer, songwriter and internationally-acclaimed artist Bif Naked. She will sharing her personal story about her battle with breast cancer over the last two years.


“I Love Myself Today” from Purge, 2001

Having been a fan of her work since the single “Daddy’s Getting Married” hit the airwaves in 1995, I was delighted to have the chance to speak to Bif this morning. I wanted to learn more about how she went from playing punk shows to being on a different stage, championing such an important cause (and how she still combines the two in her daily life).

“I wish I could do it full time,” said Bif over the phone as she prepared for her Grey Cup Festival performance in Edmonton this Sunday (after coming back to Vancouver tomorrow for the forum). “I always like to make a joke that cancer was the first vacation I’ve had in 20 years.” However after being diagnosed in 2008, Bif did anything but rest. She went on to write and record her sixth studio album, The Promise, while undergoing 13 months of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Bif will be sharing her personal experiences at tomorrow’s forum; how she has persevered and the stories that she feels need to be told. “One thing that I was really fortunate to have experienced was just the ability to sit with other patients during treatments or around the treatment center.” She added that people always rally around family members and friends however there’s always a sense of imposition. “Societally, there’s such a need for dialog among people – there’s so much shame and embarassement around cancer specifically and people tend to go inward and I guess just hunker down.”

She is seizing this opportunity to bring awareness to this lack of discussion and conversation about what is happening to people in our community. “I’ve got the gift of a big mouth that I’ve been blessed with anyway so if I can open dialog, create any awareness at all and lend my support for cancer patients and their families, that’s my goal and I love it.”

The forum runs from 9:30am until 4:00pm Saturday November 27th and registration is not required — this event is open to everyone.


“Bluejay” from The Promise, 2009

Follow @BifNaked on Twitter for inspiring words, show information, and updates from Bif.

Vancouver Art Gallery Christmas Tree Lighting 2010


Friday, November 26th, 2010 — 9:30am PST
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The giant 50-foot Christmas tree returns to the lawn of the Vancouver Art Gallery starting with a lighting ceremony on December 2nd.

Amacon Christmas Tree on the Art Gallery lawn

The tree, which is the largest of its kind in Western Canada, is installed each year by AMACON who also uses the opportunity to donate funds their consultants, contractors, and contacts have raised for local non-profits over the last year.

Bro Jake, Vancouver Childrens Choir Vancouver Childrens Choir

In 2009, roughly $100,000 was presented in large-cheque form to BC Lions Courage for Kids, Empty Stocking Fund, Rock 101 Cares, Lasting M.A.G.I.C, BC Children’s Hospital, Amateur Sports in BC, Canada Company and The Diana Krall Foundation.

Krall Centre @ VGH - Diana Krall, Elvis Costello

Bro-Jake from Rock101 will once again emcee the event that begins at 5:30pm, along with the lighting countdown at 6:45pm. There will also be performances by The Vancouver Children’s Choir, Christmas soloists and special guest appearances by the BC Lions, and Santa Claus himself. The tree will be on display until January 4, 2011.