Lights at Lafarge

Vancouver St Patrick’s Day Parade

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 — 10:14am PST
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The Vancouver St Patrick’s Day Parade will take place Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 11:00am in downtown Vancouver. As a part of CelticFest Vancouver, the 10th annual parade will be surrounded by activities and free family fun.

Happy celebrants, parade-goers and participants alike join the fun at the parade. Folks dress up in green, sometimes donning downright outrageous garb, just to watch! Up to 200,000 spectators are expected to attend and cheer on thousands of parade participants: colourfully-costumed revelers, award-winning pipe and drum bands, Celtic musicians, marching Colour Guard, Irish & Scottish dancers, sports groups, car clubs and vintage vehicles, mounted police, roving entertainers, resplendent floats, diverse community and cultural groups, celebrities, and more!

Vancouver St Patrick’s Day Parade Route

The Vancouver St Patrick’s Day Parade begins at Howe and Davie Streets at 11:00am and proceeds north on Howe to Georgia Street, ending at Georgia and Granville.

Vancouver St Patrick’s Day Parade Road Closures

Throughout the weekend, Granville between Robson and Nelson will be closed to vehicle traffic. On Sunday, March 16th, the following additional streets will be closed to vehicle traffic:

8:00am to 2:00pm
Howe Street from Davie to the Granville Bridge; all southbound traffic on Granville Bridge and Granville (except buses) from Davie to West 4th; Drake, one block east and one block west of Howe and Davie.

10:00am to 2:00pm
Howe Street, from Davie to Georgia; Georgia from Hornby Street to Seymour; Granville from Georgia to Pender.

Celtic Village and Street Market

After the parade, the Celtic Village and Street Market is the place to go. Located on Granville between Robson and Nelson — and in Robson Square — the Village features free concerts throughout the day from great Celtic bands at Mahony & Sons Music Stage and the CelticFest Community Stage at Robson Square. There will be community dance groups, the Penny Whistle Party, the Bohdrán Drum Circle among other great performances. The Street Market will have artisan and craft booths and food vendors. The CelticFest Workshops at Tom Lee Music will also be open.

The Celtic Village and Street Market will be open on Saturday, March 15th from 11:00am until 6:00pm and on Sunday, March 16th (Parade Day) from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

CelticFest Program Guides are available at participating Lower Mainland Starbucks. Check out the CelticFest Passport Contest to enter to win a trip to Ireland and follow CelticFest Vancouver on Facebook and Twitter.

Vancouver International Dance Festival: La Edad de Oro

Monday, March 10th, 2014 — 1:44pm PST
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The Vancouver International Dance Festival (“VIDF”) is now underway at various locations around the city until March 29th. The VIDF presents an extraordinary roster of dance artists and creators featuring a diverse wealth of free and paid events. The festival includes such international icons as China’s Guangdong Modern Dance Company and Spain’s flamenco innovator Israel Galván, as well as local favourites Dancers Dancing, Kokoro Dance, the 605 Collective, Goh Ballet, and more.

Photo courtesy of VIDF/Felix Vazquez

To share the creative, inspiring, and colourful experience of the Vancouver International Dance Festival with my readers, I have a pair of tickets to give away for La Edad de Oro (The Golden Age) where cutting edge Flamenco Master Israel Galván will make his Vancouver debut.

Bringing both great subtlety and explosive rhythmic movement to his work, the Seville-born artist is renowned for expressions that honour flamenco’s long lineage and history, while smashing stereotypes and preconceptions common to the form.

Hailing from Seville, Spain, Galván has dedicated a lifetime to exploring and sharing the percussive, passionate form that is flamenco, beginning under the tutelage of his parents, dancers José Galvan and Eugenia de los Reyes.

In Vancouver, he partners with cantor David Lagos and guitarist Alfredo Lagos in La Edad de Oro – a poised, kinetic exploration of the form. The work’s title translates to ‘The Golden Age’ and refers to a period beginning in the late 1800s and running until the 1930s. Historians of the form generally hold that this era represented a peak for flamenco, and that – apart from exceptional cases – no artist today could match the quality, purity, and creativity of practitioners from that age.

In La Edad de Oro, Galván approaches this sentiment in two ways: first, as a gauntlet to be picked up. Second, as an invitation to explore these popular conceptions; applying his unique, contemporary aesthetic to the very roots of flamenco and dancing the ‘golden age’ as though it were a new era.

La Edad de Oro will take place March 22nd and 23rd at 8:00pm at the Vancouver Playhouse and tickets are on sale now for $50 to $60. Here’s how you can enter to win your way in:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win tickets to “La Edad de Oro” at @VIDF from @miss604

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 5:00pm on Friday, March 14, 2014. Follow the Vancouver International Dance Festival on Twitter and Facebook for more information about events and shows this month.

Update The winner is Grace!

#findyourfit Spotlight on BC Careers: Trades and Skilled Transport and Equipment Operators

Monday, March 10th, 2014 — 11:14am PST
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keepcalm-darkThroughout January, February, and March 2014 I have partnered with WorkBC, the primary source of labour market information and employment resources, training information, programs and services in the province. Through their online resources, and my new featured series, we hope to connect British Columbians everywhere with the opportunity to take advantage of a growing economy.

Each week I will shine the spotlight on industries with the highest growth rate and employment increase (2010-2020) organized by growth rate — presented in a fun and informative manner. You can also follow #findyourfit on Twitter and WorkBC’s website for more information throughout the campaign.

5 Growing Careers in BC’s Trades and Skilled

Transport and Equipment Operators (Group 2)

According to the 2010 Labour Force Survey, the vast majority (92.2%) of those employed as trades, transport and equipment operators were employed full-time. All the trade occupations posted rates of full-time employment above the provincial average. Here is what you need to know about 5 Growing Careers in BC’s Trades and Skilled Transport and Equipment Operators (Group 2 as listed on the WorkBC website).

1. Aircraft Mechanics & Aircraft Inspectors


Age groups
25-44 55%
45-64 37%
male 98%
female 2%
The top region for this career in BC is the North Coast & Nechako with an average annual growth rate of employment (2010-2020) 1.5%, estimated current employment 1,000 British Columbians, and expected cumulative job openings (2010-2020) being 600.

2.Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics


Age groups
15-24 21%
25-44 52%
45-64 25%
male 98%
female 2%
The top region for this career in BC is the North Coast & Nechako with an average annual growth rate of employment (2010-2020) 3.1%, estimated current employment 300 British Columbians, and expected cumulative job openings (2010-2020) being 200.

3. Auto Service Technicians

Truck & Bus Mechanics and Mechanical Repairers


Age groups
15-24 8%
25-44 39%
45-64 51%
male 99%
female 1%
The top region for this career in BC is the North Coast & Nechako with an average annual growth rate of employment (2010-2020) 1.5%, estimated current employment 1,00 British Columbians, and expected cumulative job openings (2010-2020) being 600.

4. Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Mechanics


Age groups
15-24 17%
25-44 46%
45-64 35%
65+ 2%
male 99%
female 1%
The top region for this career in BC is the North Coast & Nechako with an average annual growth rate of employment (2010-2020) 1.5%, estimated current employment 1,00 British Columbians, and expected cumulative job openings (2010-2020) being 600.

5. Construction Millwrights & Industrial Mechanics

(Except Textile)


Age groups
15-24 5%
25-44 33%
45-64 59%
male 99%
female 1%
The top region for this career in BC is the North Coast & Nechako with an average annual growth rate of employment (2010-2020) 1.5%, estimated current employment 1,00 British Columbians, and expected cumulative job openings (2010-2020) being 600.

All of this and much more is available on the WorkBC website along with up-to-date job openings. You can also follow WorkBC on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Disclosure: Sponsored Post
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as a part of a 10-week series with WorkBC #FindYourFit

SPES: Setting Up House in Stanley Park

Monday, March 10th, 2014 — 10:14am PST
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StanleyParkEcologyThis post has been contributed by Ben Hill, Communications Volunteer with the Stanley Park Ecology Society (“SPES”). I have been following SPES since I moved into the West End almost a decade ago and I have been a member for two years. I wanted to offer the team an opportunity to share their news, events, and work so I have created “SPES Saturday” and SPES features where they will be contributing stories with my audience once a month.

Setting Up House in Stanley Park

Photo credit: Kyle Bailey on Flickr

Spring is in the air and we aren’t the only ones to notice the change in the season. The start of spring also marks the start of the nesting season for many thousands of birds in Stanley Park.

One of the Park’s most magnificent birds is also one of the first to begin nest building. Pairs of bald eagles start building or repairing their nests in February and often begin laying eggs by the end of the month. Bald eagle nests are the largest of any bird in North America; nests that have been used for many years can grow to two and a half meters across, and have been known to weigh as much as a VW beetle.

Of course most birds don’t have such large nests to return to each year or even the most suitable habitat. Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) has a nest box program to help out some of the birds that return to the Park to breed.

This April, keep your eyes peeled for small wooden boxes perched on poles around Lost Lagoon. These are nest boxes for tree swallows which migrate from Central America to breed in tree cavities in the north. During the summer, they can often be seen hunting insects over Lost Lagoon so it makes sense that the nest boxes are in a place with such a good source of food.

Photo by Photo by Mark T White
SPES Conservation Programs Manager
and a volunteer installing a swallow
nest box on Lost Lagoon.

The nest boxes offer the swallows places to raise chicks that are safe from predators. To make them even more secure, SPES installed spikes on the top of each box. This stops the gulls that also live on Lost Lagoon from standing on top of the boxes and grabbing the emerging chicks.

This year SPES will be installing swallow nest boxes at four new locations on Lost Lagoon. We’ve taken great care to make sure these new locations are ideal for the birds. They are on the north shore of Lost Lagoon, facing south to get maximum light and warmth. The size of the entry hole and the height above the cavity floor are designed to exclude unwanted species such as starlings and house sparrows.

On the same day, SPES is also installing nest boxes for another bird that relies on the wetlands in the Park: the wood duck. This beautiful duck has been known to nest in tree holes around Beaver Lake; a new box will be installed on Beaver Creek, close to the lake where two nest boxes are already established.

Photo by: Photo by Robyn Worcester
Tree swallow on nest box in Lost Lagoon

In an urban park like Stanley Park, the large rotting trees that naturally suit cavity-nesting wood ducks may pose a hazard for park visitors. The nest boxes provide wood duck habitat where suitable natural habitat does not currently survive and are a proven alternative should aging trees be removed for safety reasons.

When we think about Stanley Park, we tend to think of the great trees, but the streams, lakes and other wetland habitats are just as important to the health of the environment and its animals.

Installing nest boxes is part of the HSBC Freshwater Initiatives in Stanley Park project supporting SPES to enhance the Park’s wetlands, lakes, streams and ponds, particularly Beaver Lake, Beaver Creek and Lost Lagoon. Beaver Creek is one of only four remaining salmon streams in the City of Vancouver and therefore holds a great deal of ecological importance. With the help of a host of volunteers, SPES will be restoring the creekside vegetation in these areas and also undertaking habitat and wildlife monitoring. The habitat created by this project will be used for many years by the Park’s wildlife – and its nesting birds.

To learn more about Stanley Park’s birds, join SPES’ monthly “Birds of a Feather” Discovery Walks. Visit the Stanley Park Ecology Society website for more information.

Swallow Facts

Photo by Photo by Mark T White
Wood duck pair on nest box in Beaver Lake

Stanley Park is home to six different species of swallows, barn swallow, tree swallow, violet green swallow, northern rough-winged swallow, bank swallow and cliff swallow.

The most common swallows seen over Lost Lagoon are the barn swallows but they don’t use the nest boxes. They just feed on the insects over the water. Barn swallows once nested on cliffs and in caves throughout North America, but now build their nests almost exclusively on human-made structures.

About the Guest Author:

This post has been contributed by Ben Hill, Communications Volunteer with the Stanley Park Ecology Society. If you want to support a non-profit organization that makes a difference for wildlife and people in Stanley Park, please make a donation or become a member of SPES. For more information visit the Stanley Park Ecology Society website. Follow SPES on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

40 Years of Vancouver Whitecaps History

Saturday, March 8th, 2014 — 9:44am PST
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Vancouver Whitecaps FC will enjoy its 40th anniversary this year and even the Heritage Horns at Canada Place, which will sound after every victory this season, are in the mood to celebrate. In case you didn’t know that the Whitecaps were turning 40, or that the club had four decades of history, the following is a quick history lesson that I borrowed (generously, with permission) from the Whitecaps FC History page:

Vancouver Soccer Logos

1974 – 1979

The Whitecaps played their first game on May 5, 1974, when they fell to a 2-1 home defeat to San Jose Earthquakes. Though the first match was a loss, the crowd saw defender Neil Ellett write his name in the history books that day by scoring the Whitecaps’ first-ever goal in the league. Their first playoff appearance in 1976 was against the Seattle Sounders.

In 1979 Vancouver won it all and became the city’s first professional sports team to win a major North American Championship when they defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Upon return to Vancouver on September 9, 1979, as many as 100,000 people lined Vancouver’s Robson Street to salute their heroes during a championship parade, arguably creating the most historic moment in Whitecaps history.

1980 – 1985

The few years following their championship win of 1979, the Whitecaps were unable to defend their title. Hopes were high for a second NASL title in 1983, as Vancouver played host to the Soccer Bowl championship match at the newly-built BC Place Stadium. In fact, the Whitecaps 2-1 victory over Seattle on June 20, 1983, was the first sporting event to be played in BC Place and attracted a crowd of 60,342.

Vancouver WhitecapsFC Pre-Season Locker Room Tour

1986 – 1991

The demise of the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1984 resulted in the formation of a new league, the Canadian Soccer League (CSL), in 1986. This change in leagues was accompanied by a change in team-name, as the Whitecaps became the 86ers, which name came from the year of Vancouver’s incorporation as a city (1886) and the year of the club’s founding (1986).

From 1988 – 1991, the 86ers established themselves as a powerhouse, winning four-straight league championship titles. The club also set a North American professional sports record by playing 46 consecutive matches without defeat (37 wins and 9 draws). For this accomplishment, the 86ers squad of 1989 was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.


The 86ers entered a new era when the CSL folded and they became members of the American Professional Soccer League (APSL). With a new look, logo, and colours (red, black, and white) in 1993, the 86ers finished top of the APSL regular season standings before their season was abruptly ended in the playoff semifinals, as Los Angeles Salsa won 3-2 in a shootout at Swangard.

Vancouver WhitecapsFC Pre-Season Locker Room Tour


On October 26, 2000, after widespread public support, the 86ers formally changed their name back to the Whitecaps after their new owner, David Stadnyk, purchased the naming rights from former NASL Whitecaps director John Laxton. Local businessman and current owner Greg Kerfoot took ownership of the Whitecaps on November 13, 2002. On February 24, 2003, the Whitecaps men and Breakers women were brought under a new club structure called Whitecaps Football Club (FC).

In 1999 the Vancouver Southsiders supporter club was also formed. It is Canada’s oldest and largest soccer supporter group.


In 2004, the club announced plans to build the Whitecaps Training Centre on the campus of SFU. A memorable year ensured for Whitecaps fans in 2006, as both the men’s and women’s teams claimed an unprecedented double of USL titles. The club won it all again in 2008.

Having submitted a proposal in 2008 to enter MLS, MLS commissioner Don Garber announced on March 18, 2009 that Vancouver would be the home of the 17th team in MLS. The team would start their inaugural season at a temporary stadium on the site of the former Empire Stadium in March 2011. It was also announced that later that year, the new team would make a renovated BC Place their new home.

2011 – Present

In March 2011, Vancouver Whitecaps FC kicked off their first season in Major League Soccer at Empire Field and moved to BC Place in October where they played four matches to finish their inaugural MLS season.

On November 1, 2012, Whitecaps FC played their first-ever MLS postseason match. However, defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy defeated the ‘Caps 2-1 in the Western Conference First Round Knockout match in California. On September 6, 2012, Whitecaps FC joined the government of British Columbia and the University of British Columbia (UBC) in announcing the construction of the National Soccer Development Centre (NSDC) on the campus of UBC.

The third season in MLS for Vancouver Whitecaps FC was one filled with great excitement and memorable moments. The ‘Caps were dealt a cruel blow, however, as captain Jay DeMerit ruptured his Achilles tendon just six minutes into the season opener and would not return until September. Though they missed their fearless leader for the majority of the season, Whitecaps FC still went on to set new club records in MLS for wins (13), points (48), and goals scored (53).

Among the more noteworthy moments was a first ever victory over LA Galaxy on May 11, as well as a first win against rivals Seattle Sounders FC on July 6 at BC Place. Kekuta Manneh became the first Whitecaps FC player and youngest MLS player ever to score a hat-trick and he did it in Seattle. That match also sealed a fourth Cascadia Cup title for the ‘Caps – making them the winningest club in competition history – and the first trophy since joining MLS. Camilo Sanvezzo scored his first career hat-trick in a 3-0 win, giving the Brazilian the MLS Golden Boot as the league’s top scorer with 22 goals.

Read the full history on the Whitecaps’ website and follow the team on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

2014 Season

John and I have been season ticket holders since 2012 and we are very excited for this new season to get underway. Each home match is a designated “date day” for us, and we have a fantastic time meeting other fans (we are members of the Southsiders supporter club) and cheering on our team at BC Place.

Affordable single match tickets are on sale now along with 5-Packs, half season tickets, and season tickets. Join us in cheering on our blue and white at BC Place this season.