Falcon, Owl, Grebe or Swallow? Vote Now for the 2015 City Bird of Vancouver

Photo credit: Magnus Manske | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Magnus Manske | Wikimedia Commons

It’s time to cast your vote for the City Bird of Vancouver – just don’t expect to see too many of the candidates flying around downtown.

The theme for this year’s “bird election” is rare birds. The Vancouver Bird Advisory Committee selected the four finalists in order to raise awareness about endangered species that were once common in and around the city.  Contenders this year are the barn owl, peregrine falcon, barn swallow and western grebe (a waterfowl).

You can vote online at the City of Vancouver website through May 9.  As of the time of writing, the grebe was pulling away as an early favourite with 4,757 votes, followed by the barn owl with 3,817 votes.  Each candidate also has a dedicated Twitter account to drum up support. You can follow along at @heyitsbarnowl, @thebarnswallow, @vanperegrine and @westerngrebe.  (Best Twitter bio goes to the barn owl: “An old soul. Fan of free-range organic food, urban agriculture, heritage buildings, espresso.”) Continue reading:
Falcon, Owl, Grebe or Swallow? Vote Now for the 2015 City Bird of Vancouver

Solve a Murder Mystery on the Streets of Vancouver on a New Tour

Image sourced from Vancouver Mysteries

Image sourced from Vancouver Mysteries

Ready to solve a murder mystery on the streets of downtown Vancouver?

A  newly updated tour is offering guests a chance to collect clues, track down suspects, decode secret messages and track down a fictional killer – all while getting to know one of the city’s iconic neighbourhoods.

Dubbed Crime in Downtown, the tour is the first offering from the revamped Vancouver Mysteries, now run by Forbidden Vancouver (the company that specializes in “scandalous” historical tours of the city’s dark side). It’s a bit like the board game Clue, but played out on a real-life scale. Tour goers assemble into squads of two-five “detectives” and rendezvous in a secret downtown location for a debriefing.

The premise: Local journalist Jimmy Capello has been found murdered. He had plenty of enemies. Now it’s your job to find out who did it and why. And the clock is ticking.  Continue reading:
Solve a Murder Mystery on the Streets of Vancouver on a New Tour

Want to be Trapped in for Fun? Downtown Vancouver’s First Escape Room Opens

Photo credit: muffinn | Flickr

Photo credit: muffinn | Flickr

Looking for an “escape” from everyday fun in Vancouver?

Downtown’s first escape gaming room has opened … or should I say locked … its doors. SmartyPantz, located on Abbott Street in Gastown, offers five different themed rooms to escape from – ranging in difficulty from “moderate to diabolical.”

Not familiar with the escape room phenomenon? Inspired by video games, these real-life amusement centres are popular around the world but just taking off in North America. In essence, they’re places where groups of people go to be locked inside a themed room – like a mummy’s tomb or a haunted mansion. The group then has to pick up clues, solve puzzles and pool their brainpower to get out before time expires, generally after 30-60 minutes.   Continue reading:
Want to be Trapped in for Fun? Downtown Vancouver’s First Escape Room Opens

Vancouver’s Olympic Village to Get New Theatre for 2015-16 Arts Club Season

A rendering of the Arts Club's new West First Stage

A rendering of the Arts Club’s new West First Stage

Olympic Village will soon be home to Vancouver’s newest theatre.

The Arts Club, Vancouver’s largest theatre company, has announced plans to open a new venue called the West First Stage in Olympic Village this November. The new facility will replace Granville Island’s Revue Stage.

The theatre, in one of the city’s fastest growing neighbourhoods, will have uniquely flexible seating arrangements. Seats can be rearranged into any of four configurations in as little as four hours.

The Arts Club plans to kick off programming at the West First Stage as part of its 2015-2016 season with the play Peter and the Starcatcher (Nov. 26-Dec. 27). This unique Peter Pan prequel traces the life of young Peter and how he ended up in Neverland in the first place. That will be followed up by The (Post) Mistress (Feb. 4-Feb. 28, 2016), a one-woman musical about a small-town postmistress, and Onegin (March 17-April 10, 2016), a Canadian musical premiere based of the Alexander Pushkin novel.

The Arts Club’s 2015-2016 season also includes some big premieres and hotly anticipated Broadway hits on its two primary stages, the Granville Island Stage and the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage on Granville Street.  Continue reading:
Vancouver’s Olympic Village to Get New Theatre for 2015-16 Arts Club Season

Got Mario? Retro Video Game Expo Comes to Metro Vancouver

6960232_origFans of old-school video games like Street Fighter, Mario Kart and Tetris are in for a treat. These games – and other classics from the ’90s (and earlier) – are set to take centre stage this month at a unique conference in Metro Vancouver dedicated entirely to retro video games.

The Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo, April 18 in New Westminster, is a full day and night of vintage video game tournaments, art and memorabilia. This is the third instalment of the expo, which gets bigger every year thanks to Vancouver’s huge gaming community.

Unlike many other gaming expos, however, this one has a distinct party vibe. Attendees often arrive dressed in costumes.  The venue, the 1927 Columbia Theatre in New Westminster, is fully licensed, and the drinks are flowing.  And not one but three live bands will be taking the stage, performing classic video game tracks from the Mario franchise, Final Fantasy, Zelda and more.

Of course, the centrepiece of the expo is a series of classic video game tournaments where attendees go head to head for top honours.   Continue reading:
Got Mario? Retro Video Game Expo Comes to Metro Vancouver