Lights at Lafarge

Dan Aykroyd and Crystal Head Vodka


Friday, March 14th, 2014 — 2:12pm PST
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This morning I met a Canadian entertainment legend, a member of the Order of Canada, and one outstanding Ghostbuster. Dan Aykroyd is in Vancouver today for a public appearance at the BC Liquor Store to promote his Crystal Head vodka. You’ve probably seen it and wondered about its curious shape and Dan is here to tell you about its benefits and all around coolness.

Things I Learned From Dan Aykroyd Today

Dan Aykroyd and Crystal Head VodkaIt’s not every day that you walk into the Vancouver Club on West Hastings, walk down a quick set of stairs and enter a brightly-lit room surrounded by crystal heads filled with vodka… and Dan Aykroyd is behind the bar. With whole-hearted passion Dan told a small group of Vancouver media about his venture with Crystal Head, focusing on its merits as a spirt and asserting its purity and Canadian heritage.

Crystal Head is 100% Canadian goodness
“Our theory with Crystal Head is that you’ll need additives to make a great cocktail so why not start with a vodka that has no additives?” High quality Canadian Peaches and Cream corn is used to produce Crystal Head, it’s gluten free, additive free (no glycol or citrus oils or added sugars), is made with pristine Newfoundland water, and is distilled four times.

As Dan puts it: “If you open products that are the norm — lesser products, less expensive products, lesser quality — you will know that they smell like Chanel No 5. When you open our bottle it smells like alcohol because we do not mask the alcohol.”

What’s Dan’s favourite sound in the world?
As the Vancouver Club‘s Master Barman Jonathan ‘Johnny’ Richard shook up a “China Head” cocktail for us Dan said: “Here now comes my second favourite sound in the world,” which was followed up with, “my first favourite sound is that of the Harley Davidson motorcycle.”

“I am always trying to do something better in life. I always try to collaborate with people to do a better bit. That might have been a number one movie, a number one television show, a number one record, a number one radio show, I have always chosen great collaborators and we make great products.”

You can submit your own Crystal Head art
The shape of the vodka’s bottle is based on the legend of the Crystal Heads, which carries its own mystery and allure. I asked Dan about the culture of the bottle that is emerging, as I’ve seen art pieces created by people around the world using it as a canvas. He said that the skull shaped bottle project came from two artists, himself as an actor and writer, and the bottle’s designer and creator John Alexander.

“We knew that it would be well-received in the design and artistic community and if you go on our site you’ll see we’ve had thousands of submissions from all over the world. They put it in leather, they put in bronze, they put it in rhinestones, they paint it, they put gold plate on it.” In fact a forensic scientist in Scotland even re-created a face for the skull.

Crystal Head celebrates the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary
A natural fit, Dan loves great music and great vodka. The Crystal Head Rolling Stones Gift Pack is available at Duty Free stores in Surrey, Aldergrove, and Abbotsford.

Sherlock Holmes has a Ghostbusters connection
Dan Aykroyd is also known for his spiritualism, and for being a UFOlogist, believing in mediums, psychics and other paranormal communications. Ghostbusters, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, brought some of his beliefs to light.

“There’s a book my dad wrote called History of Ghosts you can get it on Amazon. It tells the whole story of how it’s really my family business, and how we originated Ghostbusters from just my dad’s research, my grandfather’s research, and my great-grandfather’s research.”

Dan’s great-grandfather actually corresponded with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. When I asked if he was a Holmes fan (on behalf of my Stormy Petrel friends) Dan replied, “Oh yes. Absolutely, sure. Who isn’t really?!”

Dan Aykroyd and Crystal Head Vodka

The role for which most people recognize Dan Aykroyd
“Men, aged 25 to 40, it’s Ghostbusters. Women aged 20 to 30, it’s My Girl. They don’t know me from anything else – ‘you’re the dad in My girl‘. That’s it.”

Then he continued and I’ll never forget the big, proud smile on his face when he told me this. “People in the intelligence community in the United States and Washington, DC it’s Spies Like Us. Some of them have said to me, ‘I went into this community and this business because of Spies Like Us‘. So… I am responsible in part for the careers of young intelligence agents that are defending our freedom throughout the world because they went into that business.”

How You Can Meet Dan Too

Meet Dan tonight for a bottle signing event at the BC Liquor Store on at 5555 Cambie in Vancouver from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. He will then head to Victoria tomorrow, March 15th, for an event at Liquor Planet from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. He is absolutely genuine and gracious, and he definitely knows his spirits (both of the drinkable and paranormal variety). Crystal Head is a home-grown Canadian product worth celebrating, especially with such a fantastic icon like Dan Aykroyd at its core.

Please enjoy responsibly! Must be 19+ to attend the public liquor store events.

Things to do in Vancouver This Weekend


Friday, March 14th, 2014 — 10:14am PST
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Spring break is upon us and as the cherry blossoms begin to emerge, eventually covering our streets in pink confetti, there are many ways to keep the kids occupied starting with this weekend’s activity line up.

Things to do in Vancouver This Weekend

Mount Baker
Photo credit: Tim Kuelker on Flickr

Friday, March 14, 2014
Sponsored by Miss604: Friday Late Night Movies at the Rio Theatre
Sponsored by Miss604: Salt Spring in the City
SHIFT ‘n SHOUT: A Karaoke Dance Party!
Pi Theatre Presents: Between the Sheets
Scratch: New Works by Andrea Hooge: Opening Reception
Vancouver Wheelchair Rugby Tournament
Chuztpah! Festival
CelticFest Vancouver
Pacific Theatre Presents: The Seafarer
Vancouver International Dance Festival
Carousel Theatre Presents: Busytown
Dancing Monkey Presents: Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me

Saturday, March 15, 2014
Sponsored by Miss604: Salt Spring in the City
Spirit of the West at the Commodore
Pete Seeger Tribute Concert
DTES Community Arts Fund Program Grant Writing Workshop
Jason’s St. Patrick’s Day Ride
Hidden Charms Presents Rich Hope and His BRR
The Chan Centre Presents: SamulNori with Kim Duk Soo
Playdome at BC Place for Spring Break
Vancouver Wheelchair Rugby Tournament
Pi Theatre Presents: Between the Sheets
Chuztpah! Festival
CelticFest Vancouver
Pacific Theatre Presents: The Seafarer
Vancouver International Dance Festival
Carousel Theatre Presents: Busytown
Dancing Monkey Presents: Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me

Sunday, March 16, 2014
Sponsored by Miss604: Salt Spring in the City
Vancouver St. Patrick’s Day Parade
13th Annual Climb the Wall: The Stairclimb for Clean Air
Vancouver Recital Society Presents: Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott
Munchkin Matinee: EPIC
Gung Haggis Fat Choy (new date)
Constaninople Ensemble with Sepideh Raissadat
Vancouver Wheelchair Rugby Tournament
Pi Theatre Presents: Between the Sheets
Playdome at BC Place for Spring Break
Chuztpah! Festival
CelticFest Vancouver
Pacific Theatre Presents: The Seafarer
Vancouver International Dance Festival
Carousel Theatre Presents: Busytown
Dancing Monkey Presents: Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me

View the full monthly event list to plan ahead at any time. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for frequent updates about local events and community happenings.

Cheap Parking in Downtown Vancouver


Thursday, March 13th, 2014 — 4:11pm PST
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Today the CBC launched a very handy map, one that shows where the best (and worst) parking deals are located in Downtown Vancouver.

The Google Map shows meter parking as well as city-run EasyPark lots, where you might find a better deal parking in a lot than a nearby meter — or vice versa. The cheapest parking downtown can currently be found for $1 an hour at Powell and Cordova. However, supply in demand is at play so when meters are packed or empty, the city can put the prices up or down.

The Province put together their own Cheap Vancouver Parking map as well, which covers a smaller portion of downtown but includes monthly and daily parking rates. Other resources for cheap parking in Downtown Vancouver include “15 Top Parking Secrets” and these “Parking on the Cheap” tips.

Vancouver International Auto Show March 2014


Thursday, March 13th, 2014 — 1:44pm PST
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The largest automotive event in Western Canada, the Vancouver International Auto Show, returns to the Vancouver Convention Centre from March 25th to March 30th. Leading global manufacturers will be showcasing the hottest new models and trends, with the latest design and technology innovations.

Lexus CT200h from Regency Lexus Honda Civic Sedan Ford Fiesta Adventure in Ottawa/Gatineau Our ride, the Chevy Equinox

Presented by the New Car Dealers Association of BC, the Vancouver International Auto Show provides the best opportunity of the year for a hands-on experience with some of the world’s most popular brands.

It all kicks off with the Auto Show Preview Gala on Monday, March 24, 2014 then special features at the show will include the Exotics, a selection of truly exhilarating automobiles; Classic Alley, a tribute to our shared automotive history and the summer’s collector car shows; the Green Ride and Drive, offering guests the opportunity to test-drive the latest eco-friendly vehicles from top manufacturers; and the Red Line Stage, presenting special guest speakers and events.

Auto Show Hours

March 25-30, 2014
Vancouver Convention Centre West

Tuesday to Friday: 12:00pm to 10:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am to 10:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am to 4:00pm

Auto Show Tickets

General Admission: $15
Seniors (65+) and Students (w/valid ID): $10
Kids 7-12 (accompanied by an adult): $4
Kids 6 & under FREE (accompanied by an adult)
Family Pass (2 adults +2 kids 12 & under): $30
Multi-Day Pass (good for any 2 days): $25

Last year we had a great time at the Auto Show and I even interviewed Ford Canada’s CEO Dianne Craig. I’ve been working with car companies a lot more recently, especially Honda Canada, so it’s been great to see the latest technology, features, and eco-options on new vehicles.

Auto Show Contest

If you would like to check out the Vancouver International Auto Show, I have a family 4-pack of tickets to give away. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to the @VanAutoShow from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/uz6Iq

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. Follow the Vancouver International Auto Show on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Update The winner is Greg N!

Rain City Chronicles, Ken Tsui & Bestie Present Das Lexikon


Thursday, March 13th, 2014 — 11:44am PST
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Rain City Chronicles, Ken Tsui & Bestie present Das Lexikon — a mix of stories, supper, and German appreciation. Happening March 22nd, this event will be infused with Krautrock, German beer, entertaining stories inspired by German vocabulary handpicked by Rain City Chronicles, and a delicious bratwurst dinner by Bestie.

daslexikonAfter staging a memorable two night pop­up restaurant in a school cafeteria this past November for Rain City Chronicles’ “Tales from Public School” show series, edible pop­up producer Ken Tsui continues his partnership with Rain City Chronicles for Das Lexikon. In working with Lizzy Karp, the event transforms a culturally treasured space into a playful and energetic experience unlike any other in the city.

Rain City Chronicles, Vancouver’s premiere storytelling night, is pairing a diverse roster of Vancouverites with a collection of unique German words that spark captivating stories. From tales inspired by moments of “schadenfreude” (the pleasure derived from someone’s misfortune) to “waldeinsamkeit” (forest solitude), the evening revels in the idiosyncrasies of the German language.

With a casual, friendly and fun approach, the local German street food wunderkinds of Chinatown, Dane Brown, Clinton McDougall and chef Colin Johnson will serve up their take on the traditional German supper. Bestie’s dinner for Das Lexikon is a unique menu that celebrates the fundamentals of German comfort food, served one night only and created exclusively for the event. And yes, vegetarians are welcome.

Das Lexikon will take place on March 22nd at the Vancouver Alpen Club, an institution of a century’s worth of local German history. Bestie’s menu is available online now so you can see what delectable German treats will be available to devour — including all natural, gluten free, dairy free, free range bratwurst.

Tickets for Das Lexikon, at the Vancouver Alpen Club (4875 Victoria Drive), are on sale now for $38 (plus fees). Be sure to select your meal preference, meat or veg, when booking your spot. Follow Raincity Chronicles and Bestie for more information about the event including more entertainment announcements this week.