5 reasons to love Kitsilano Showboat on its 80th anniversary

Kitsilano Showboat | Facebook photo

Kitsilano Showboat | Facebook photo

Kitsilano Showboat opens for its 2015 summer season on Monday (June 22), with 30 nights of free entertainment through to August 15.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the amateur theatre, and there’s good reason to catch a show.

Quite simply, Kitsilano Showboat is one of Vancouver’s most charming summer traditions. Even though I grew up in East Van, my family trekked over to the West side a few times every summer for a picnic dinner leading up to the show.

Later, when I lived in Kitsilano, I would wander down on weekday evenings to catch a few acts. From teenage tap dancers to senior jazz musicians, eight-year-old pop-stars-in-the-making to big bands, there was always something to enjoy.

Here are five reasons why I love Kitsilano showboat–and why you will too.

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5 reasons to love Kitsilano Showboat on its 80th anniversary

5 romantic beach walks in Vancouver

Photo credit: TOTORORO.RORO | Flickr

Photo credit: TOTORORO.RORO | Flickr

Do you love chocolate, movies, and long walks on the beach?

So does everybody else.

It’s a personal-ad cliche for a reason: most people enjoy a scenic, leisurely walk with a loved one. Whether you’re just getting to know each other or just need some space to hash out that long-festering issue, a beautiful walk has a way of smoothing over the rough edges.

And if things don’t work out, hey–at least you’ve gotten some exercise.

Here are five beaches in Metro Vancouver that are perfect for the walk and talk. They’re just as nice in winter as they are in summer, with far fewer people to come between you and your beloved.

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5 romantic beach walks in Vancouver

Three ways Canadian Thanksgiving differs from American Thanksgiving

Pumpkins at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market | Facebook photo.

Pumpkins at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market | Facebook photo.

If you’re American and you love a good holiday dinner, the second weekend in October is prime time to head up to Canada. That’s because Thanksgiving celebrations are in full swing here, so you can enjoy turkey and stuffing not once, but twice–six weeks before American Thanksgiving. Score!

So what’s the difference between American and Canadian Thanksgiving? When I taught English in Japan years ago, my students were surprised to hear that there was a difference at all–but indeed, there is.

I freely admit that most of what I know about the U.S. celebration comes from American television and movies. However, I’ve celebrated many a Thanksgiving in Vancouver and can tell you how we do it based on a very scientific survey of People I Know.

Here are three basic differences.

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Three ways Canadian Thanksgiving differs from American Thanksgiving

Best Spots to Watch the Celebration of Light Fireworks

Photo credit: Klim Levene | Flickr

Vancouver’s annual fireworks event, the Celebration of Light competition, is back this weekend! Every year, different countries compete with a dazzling array of pyrotechnics over English Bay. This year, the schedule is as follows:

Saturday, July 27th, 2013: United Kingdom
Wednesday, July 31st, 2013: Canada
Saturday, August 3rd, 2013: Thailand

But the Celebration of Light is more than just fireworks. In addition to being the largest offshore fireworks competition in the world, the fireworks are preceded by SHOREfest, a live music concert series, and an airshow featuring pilot Pete McLeod. So where’s the best place to take in all the action?

English Bay Beach
The best view is arguably from English Bay Beach at the end of Davie and Denman Street. Here is where you can catch headliners Serena RyderDaniel Wesley, and Mother Mother playing before the fireworks begin, and nearby vendors, restaurants, and washrooms make the location prime. However, be prepared for huge crowds. Arriving early to stake out a spot is a necessity, while driving is not an option. Use Translink to find out about bus route and stop changes during the fireworks and plan accordingly.

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Best Spots to Watch the Celebration of Light Fireworks

5 Places to Enjoy Vancouver Cherry Blossoms Now

Vancouver cherry blossoms

Photo credit: TheVancouverGuy

While many North American cities have a few hundred cherry trees blooming in the downtown core, Vancouver is lucky enough to have 40,000 cherry trees spread throughout the city. Many of these pink and white beauties, in an impressive variety of cultivars including Akebono and Accolade, are blooming now.

You’ve probably spotted the cherry blossoms at Burrard Skytrain Station. And snapped a smartphone pic or two of the blossoms outside your front door. But where should you really commit and set up your picnic blanket?

Here are your five best options for a day of sunshine and petals: Continue reading:
5 Places to Enjoy Vancouver Cherry Blossoms Now