Experience VanDusen Festival of Lights, A Magical Winter Wonderland With Over 1 Million Lights

Experience VanDusen Festival of Lights, sponsored by YVR and Air France happening this year from December 1 to January 7! Stroll with friends and family through interactive themed areas, watch the famous dancing lights show on Livingstone Lake, sing along to your favourite holiday classics at the Festival Stage, listen to stories and take a selfie with Santa, light a candle at the Make-A-Wish candle grotto, warm up with a specialty beverage at their new licensed fireside lounge, savour tasty treats and much more.

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Experience VanDusen Festival of Lights, A Magical Winter Wonderland With Over 1 Million Lights

Finding Zen (Literally) in Vancouver: Inside Nitobe Garden

Photo credit: Phillip Jeffrey | Flickr

Photo credit: Phillip Jeffrey | Flickr

Nature lovers know Vancouver has more than its share of exceptional parks and gardens, from 1,000-acre Stanley Park to the tiny .3-acre Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.  But there’s one garden that even the most dedicated of outdoor buffs tend to overlook: the Nitobe Memorial Garden on the University of British Columbia campus.

The 2.5-acre garden, tucked away near a set of campus dormitories, happens to be regarded as the best traditional Japanese garden in North America, and one of the finest in the world.

Inside the gates, the garden – a circular pathway around a small lake, all set in the B.C. coastal forest – doesn’t look like much, at least at first glance.  But on closer inspection (and with a little help from the handy brochure), it becomes clear that the traditional Zen garden has been meticulously designed, right down to every leaf and stone. Continue reading:
Finding Zen (Literally) in Vancouver: Inside Nitobe Garden

Got Plants? Vancouver’s Biggest Plant Sale Comes to VanDusen Garden, April 29

Photo credit: VanDusen Botanical Garden Official Photostream | Flickr

It’s hard to believe people get this crazy about a plant sale, but apparently this is true.

One day every spring, before dawn, the line starts forming outside of Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden.  People camp out with lawn chairs, carrying blankets to keep them warm.  Some bring picnic baskets to enjoy an alfresco breakfast, sipping orange juice and nibbling muffins.  Many have their own wheelbarrows.

As the sun rises and the hours go by, the line swells.

Thousands will join the queue over the course of the morning, snaking in an enormous line outside the garden.   Then, when 10 a.m. rolls around and the gates are officially thrown open, chaos breaks out.  Imagine Walmart on Black Friday.  Within 15 minutes, more than 1,000 people race inside, elbowing for position and jockeying to get to the head of the pack.

And for what?

Plants.  Herbs and vegetables.  Roses.  Grasses.  Vines.  Trees.  Shrubs.  Perennials.  Natives.  More than 40,000 plants in total wait inside – part of the biggest, baddest plant sale in Metro Vancouver.

Sound like your idea of fun?  The VanDusen Plant Sale returns this Sunday, April 29, starting at 10 a.m. sharp and running to 4 p.m.  Continue reading:
Got Plants? Vancouver’s Biggest Plant Sale Comes to VanDusen Garden, April 29

Celebrate Japanese Heritage in Vancouver: Sakura Days fair, April 7-8

Photo credit: Canadian Veggie | Flickr

The word sakura refers to the Japanese cherry blossom.  Every April in Vancouver, nearly 40,000 cherry trees – originally gifts from Japan in the 1930s – burst into full bloom.  To commemorate the occasion, the city comes alive with a host of blossom-themed events, including a unique two-day celebration of Japanese food, culture and crafts under the cherry trees: Sakura Days.

This year, Sakura Days (April 7-8) is set inside the lush VanDusen Botanical Garden,  a 55-acre sanctuary of rolling lawns, woodlands and lakes in the heart of the city.  Amid a sea of cherry blossoms, enjoy sushi from some of the city’s top Japanese chefs.  Sample artisan-made sake while taking in performances of Japanese taiko drumming and koto harp.

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Celebrate Japanese Heritage in Vancouver: Sakura Days fair, April 7-8