New Sculpture by Ai Weiwei (with Hidden Meaning) Unveiled in Downtown Vancouver

Photo from Vancouver Biennale

Photo from Vancouver Biennale

One of the world’s best known political activists has unveiled a brand new outdoor sculpture in downtown Vancouver.

The provocatively named F Grass by Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei consists of hundreds of blades of metal grass arranged in the shape of the letter F.  The 13.5-square-metre sculpture, which stands just a few centimetres high, is located near the Coal Harbour waterfront at Harbour Green Park.

Visually, the sculpture looks arresting.  While the metallic blades of grass aren’t sharp, they look a lot like the traffic spikes that police use to puncture tires during car chases. But there’s a deeper symbolic meaning to the piece, as well.

Continue reading:
New Sculpture by Ai Weiwei (with Hidden Meaning) Unveiled in Downtown Vancouver

3 Fancy New Year’s Eve Parties to Celebrate in Style in Vancouver

Photo credit: Phil Wood | Flickr

Photo credit: Phil Wood | Flickr

Looking to paint the town red on New Year’s Eve? Vancouver offers plenty of options for New Year’s Eve revellers who like to party in style. While some events are sold-out by now, a search of Craigslist or popular resale websites may just turn up a few last-minute tickets.

Quite possibly the swankiest affair in the city, the Shangri-La Gala is held inside the 5-star, 62-storey Shangri-La Hotel in the heart of downtown.  The lightly Asian-themed party features canapes from the kitchen of Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges, as well as a midnight champagne toast.  The party spreads over four rooms and a grand ballroom and features two of Vancouver’s top DJs. All of this high-class fun will set you back $120 (guys 25 or older; ladies 21 or older).

Continue reading:
3 Fancy New Year’s Eve Parties to Celebrate in Style in Vancouver

More than the Olympics: Vancouver Attracts Highest-Ever Number of Visitors in 2014

Photo credit: MagnusL3D | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: MagnusL3D | Wikimedia Commons

It’s not just your imagination. Vancouver is more popular than ever.

In 2014, nearly 9 million people from overseas visited the city and stayed overnight, an all-time record, according to figures released by Tourism Vancouver. The 2014 total tops even the 2010 tally, when Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympic Games. Anyone who took a stroll on the Stanley Park seawall this summer – which was thronged with sightseers speaking dozens of different languages – probably got a glimpse of this first hand.

So what’s behind the surge in the number of tourists? Continue reading:
More than the Olympics: Vancouver Attracts Highest-Ever Number of Visitors in 2014

No Snow, No Problem: 5 Ways to Enjoy the Vancouver Mountains, Without Snow

Photo credit: iwona_kellie | Flickr

Photo credit: iwona_kellie | Flickr

Take one glance at Vancouver’s North Shore mountains and you’ll probably notice something amiss: snow.  By mid December, the mountains are usually blanketed in white, fluffy snow and full of skiers and snowboarders swooshing down the slopes. This year, however, is a different story.

Never fear.  Not only are two of Vancouver’s three ski resorts actually open for business, but there are plenty of other ways to experience the mountains.  Here are 5 ways to enjoy the Vancouver mountains, with or without the white stuff:

Take a winter hike: Cypress and Seymour Mountains both boast great winter hiking along a network of trails.  Normally, snowshoes would be required but dry conditions this year mean you may be OK with a good set of hiking boots and some crampons if conditions are icy.  Popular, intermediate-level trails include Dog Mountain on Mount Seymour and Cabin Lake on Cypress Mountain. Both of these hikes can be completed in a few hours and offer fantastic views. (Be aware that all winter hiking is challenging and extra precautions are required.) Free Continue reading:
No Snow, No Problem: 5 Ways to Enjoy the Vancouver Mountains, Without Snow

Top 5 Family-Friendly Holiday Attractions in Vancouver

Photo from Grouse Mountain

Photo from Grouse Mountain

Yes, you’ve still got presents to buy, holiday dinners to plan, office parties to attend and in-laws to pick up at the airport.  But don’t forget to leave a little time for some old-fashioned fun on the holidays.

In Vancouver, a bevy of amazing holiday attractions are sure to get the whole family into the Christmas spirit. Here’s a look at 5 can’t-miss family-friendly attractions for 2014:

Peak of Christmas on Grouse MountainGrouse Mountain is transformed into a little piece of the North Pole for this annual celebration.  Take the mile-long Skyride to the base of the ski resort, where you’ll discover a winter wonderland complete with lots of snow and an 8,000-square-foot skating pond. Kids can see live reindeer, take a mountaintop sleigh ride and get in some quality time with the big man in red himself at Santa’s workshop.  Through Dec. 24; $41.95 for adults, $23.95 for youth 13-18, $13.95 for kids 5-12.
Continue reading:
Top 5 Family-Friendly Holiday Attractions in Vancouver

Vancouver’s Best Light Displays + Christmas Karaoke in 1 Tour: 2014 Trolley Tour is Back

Photo from Vancouver Trolley Company

Photo from Vancouver Trolley Company

Like karaoke and love Christmas lights? Then this is probably the event for you.

The Vancouver Trolley Company has decked out its wooden trolleys and dragged out its karaoke machines again this year for the one-and-only Karaoke Christmas Lights tour. As the name suggests, this tour brings together the joys of belting out Christmas carols in a moving trolley with chances to see some of the best holiday light displays in town.

Guests can hop aboard the old-fashioned trolleys at 6:30 p.m. every night through Dec. 30 (except Christmas) outside Canada Place for the three-hour musical journey.  Inside you’ll find festive holiday lights, coloured bows and a karaoke machine charged up and ready to rock.

Continue reading:
Vancouver’s Best Light Displays + Christmas Karaoke in 1 Tour: 2014 Trolley Tour is Back

See Santa Swim Underwater in Full Scuba Gear at Vancouver Aquarium

Photo from Vancouver Aquarium

Photo from Vancouver Aquarium

Bored with all the standard holiday happenings in Vancouver?

Maybe an underwater Santa Claus – swimming amid giant halibut and sea stars in full Santa gear – will cheer you up.

Scuba Claus is back at the Vancouver Aquarium.  The uniquely amphibious Santa dons scuba gear and takes the plunge into the aquarium’s massive Georgia Strait tank once a day at 11:30 a.m. through Dec. 24.  With his long white beard trailing behind, the big man in red does a few laps with the exhibit’s resident rockfishes, giant sturgeon, crabs and other denizens of the deep.

It’s all part of the aquarium’s holiday celebrations, which seem to get bigger and fishier every year.   Continue reading:
See Santa Swim Underwater in Full Scuba Gear at Vancouver Aquarium