End of an Era: Canadian Tire Money Going Digital

5c_aSandy McTire’s days may be numbered.

The tam-wearing Scotsman, with his bushy moustache and toothy grin, is featured as a mascot on some of Canada’s most beloved currency – Canadian Tire money.  Since 1958, shoppers at Canadian Tire stores have received Canadian Tire money as a form of cash back (.4 percent per dollar spent) on their purchases.  The distinctive paper bills come in a variety of denominations – from five cents to $2 – and can be redeemed at Canadian Tire stores.

But after 56 years, Canadian Tire money is finally going digital.   Continue reading:
End of an Era: Canadian Tire Money Going Digital

Vancouver’s Playland Amusement Park Getting $80-million Facelift

8202639344_6e065fc2b2_zVancouver’s famous Wooden Roller Coaster may be getting a little sprucing up.

Playland at the Pacific National Exhibition – the nearly century-old amusement park on the edge of downtown Vancouver – is about to begin an $80-million restoration project. The massive undertaking, set to start next fall and be completed over 13 years, will increase the size of the park by 50 percent, from 6 hectares to 9 hectares.

Playland and the PNE have a long, storied history in Vancouver. Hastings Park, home of Playland, was given to Vancouver by the province back in 1889.  The first annual PNE Fair took place way back in 1910.  Happyland, the precursor to Playland, opened in 1926.

Over the years, however, Playland has started to show its age.  Some of its signature rides, like the 1958 Wooden Roller Coaster and the 1960 Wave Swinger, are more than a half-century old, while many others, including the Scrambler, Pirate Ship, and Log Flume date from the 1980s.  The renovation plans call for modernizing rides while also “introducing a softer, more welcoming look and feel,” according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.

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Vancouver’s Playland Amusement Park Getting $80-million Facelift

Vancouver Mini Escapes: Half-Day Trip to Bowen Island

BowenIsland-8Summer’s almost over … but not quite yet.

If you’re looking for one last getaway from the city but are short on time, consider the little island that’s practically in Vancouver’s backyard: Bowen Island.  You get a taste of Gulf Island living, beautiful forests, a small town and pristine beaches – and you can be back home in time for dinner.

I checked out Bowen over a recent weekend and was amazed at how much there is to do. Getting there is relatively easy.  Ferries leave regularly from the Horseshoe Bay Terminal in West Vancouver.  The quick, 20-minute trip will set you back $11.65 for a roundtrip ticket (add an extra $32.90 if you bring a car).  I drove on this time, but I’ve biked on in the past. (Bowen’s mountainous topography makes for dramatic – if somewhat exhausting – cycling.)

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Vancouver Mini Escapes: Half-Day Trip to Bowen Island

See the World Cup in Vancouver – Tickets on sale now

Photo credit: brent flanders | Flickr

Photo credit: brent flanders | Flickr

Missed the last World Cup in Rio? Now’s your chance to see the next one … right here in Vancouver.

Tickets for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup went on sale this week.  The largest women’s sporting event in the world runs from June 6-July 5 at venues in six cities across Canada, including Vancouver. Downtown Vancouver’s B.C. Place stadium will host nine matches in total, including the all-important final on July 5.

The 2015 Women’s World Cup claims to be Canada’s first coast-to-coast sporting event. Other cities getting in on the act are Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton.  In total, 24 national teams will be facing off, including Canada, which won bronze in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

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See the World Cup in Vancouver – Tickets on sale now

Power, corruption and lies – new book on Vancouver history digs deep

A man and woman walk across the still-relatively-new Lions Gate Bridge, 1939. City of Vancouver Archives. CVA 260-995. Photograph by James Crookall.

A man and woman walk across the still-relatively-new Lions Gate Bridge, 1939. City of Vancouver Archives. CVA 260-995. Photograph by James Crookall.

It’s likely that even most Vancouverites won’t know the facts or even the names behind many of the stories collected in a forthcoming book on the city and its history. Anvil Press’s Vancouver Confidential, to be published Sept. 15, collects essays by a variety of writers on unknown and obscure stories from the fringes of Vancouver.

Police corruption, blinkered courts, a murder/suicide in Chinatown and the case of the Lovers’ Lane Marauder are all here, featured in a book the publisher promises will “honour the chorus line behind the star performer, the mug in the mugshot, the victim in the murder, the teens in the gang and the ‘slum’ in the path of the bulldozer.”

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Power, corruption and lies – new book on Vancouver history digs deep