Vancouver’s Best Pumpkin Patch? You Make the Call!

untitled-7For the next two weeks or so, you’re going to be seeing a lot of pumpkins for sale.

They’re in every grocery store, usually not far from the check-out counter so you can make an impulse buy on the way out.  They come in all shapes and sizes – from 20-pound monsters to petite little gourds meant for centrepieces.

But true Halloween fans know there’s only one real way to pick out a pumpkin: by wandering through an honest-to-goodness pumpkin patch.

Now, you’re unlikely to find many pumpkin patches in downtown Vancouver.  In fact, you have to expand your search radius quite a bit before you get to pumpkin country. Head east to Pitt Meadows, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, even Surrey – These are all prime pumpkin towns, with plenty of farmland and open spaces.  To the south, Richmond, Delta and Ladner aren’t slouches either in the pumpkin department.  (This handy list of corn mazes is a good indication of where the pumpkin hotspots are.)

In fact, when you get down to it, the Lower Mainland offers a veritable cornucopia of pumpkin patch options, which is why I need your help: Do you have a favourite pumpkin patch in or around Vancouver? If so, let us know by leaving a comment below. 

I’ll get things started with my personal favourite, the Westham Island Herb Farm, in Delta. Continue reading:
Vancouver’s Best Pumpkin Patch? You Make the Call!

Hundreds of Zombies Dancing to Thriller: Thrill Vancouver Returns, Oct. 25

Photo credit: Vancouver Film School | Flickr

Photo credit: Vancouver Film School | Flickr

Are you ready to let out your inner zombie?

Thrill Vancouver, the event where people dress up in gruesome costumes and dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, returns Saturday, Oct. 25.  This year, the dance – which has attracted hundreds of participants in the past – is being held at Olympic Village Plaza, on False Creek in downtown Vancouver, at 4 p.m.

Thrill Vancouver is actually part of the international Thrill the World event, which sees thousands of participants in dozens of different countries simultaneously emulate the signature dance moves from Jackson’s epic 1983 music video Thriller, which famously featured walking corpses thrusting and gyrating to the beat.

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Hundreds of Zombies Dancing to Thriller: Thrill Vancouver Returns, Oct. 25

Free Movies at All Cineplex Theatres in Vancouver, Oct 18

Photo credit: Yaletown BIA | Flickr

Photo credit: Yaletown BIA | Flickr

Movie tickets at Scotiabank Theatre Vancouver are regularly priced at $12.99.  But on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 18, they’re absolutely free.

Scotiabank Theatre, along with nearly a dozen other Cineplex theatres in the Lower Mainland, will be showing free movies that morning as part of the annual Cineplex Community Day.  Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and movie start times range from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Apart from a free flick, you can also get cheap snacks: Regular popcorn, regular fountain drinks and selected candies are all $2. (Now that’s a “breakfast of champions.”) All proceeds are donated to the Free the Children Foundation.

So what’s showing?

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Free Movies at All Cineplex Theatres in Vancouver, Oct 18

Vancouver Loses its Beloved Steam Clock (for 2 months)

Photo credit: Junichi Ishito | Flickr

Photo credit: Junichi Ishito | Flickr

Gastown has lost an icon. The legendary Gastown Steam Clock, the steam-powered, 16-foot-tall clock on the corner of Cambie and Water Streets, is gone.

The clock was removed on Wednesday morning, Oct. 8, by city work crews, who carted it off on a flat-bed truck.  It will spend the next two months in a city works yard getting some long overdue repairs before being returned to its original location.

The clock debuted on Sept. 26, 1977.  If it happens to look a lot older than that, there’s good reason. The Victorian-style timepiece – with its  brass and copper finishings – was part of a larger effort to give Gastown a more vintage look and lure in tourists (other touches included the faux cobblestones laid down on Water Street).  The clock was installed to cover an existing steam grate and (at least, according to Wikipedia) “prevent street people from sleeping on the spot in cold weather.”

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Vancouver Loses its Beloved Steam Clock (for 2 months)

Finding the Best Stargazing Spot in Vancouver

NightPhotoClass-52If you’ve ever looked up at a night sky from downtown Vancouver, you’ve probably noticed a lot of nothing.  Even on a clear night, you’re unlikely to see stars.  The city lights are just too bright for stargazing.

So what’s a star lover to do? Get out of town.

There are some incredible starscapes out there. The key is finding a dark place, far from the ghostly glow of city lights, which can carry for miles and miles.  The usual suspects for great Vancouver views – like Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour – won’t do because the sky is still too bright. But one of the most popular spots for hobbyists and amateur astronomers – and people who just like to spot the Big Dipper – is Porteau Cove Provincial Park, approximately one hour northwest of Vancouver along the Sea to Sky Highway.

I checked out Porteau Cove on a recent night, which happened to correspond to forecasts of Northern Lights … the wavy green streaks in the night sky common at higher latitudes and on rare occasions even visible in the Lower Mainland.   Continue reading:
Finding the Best Stargazing Spot in Vancouver