Starting from September 22nd to January 5th Science World is giving you a real life look at the secret lives of pets, though you cats and dogs. Their newest exhibition: “Cats & Dogs” is the first, large-scale exhibition dedicated to these animals. It reviews everything we know scientifically, sociologically and culturally about both canines and felines, and makes it palate-able and easy to digest for even the littlest of learners.
As taken from the press release, “The science of animal behaviour has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, overturning a number of preconceived ideas about cats and dogs regarding how they demonstrate their skills, awareness and intelligence every day.” This interactive exhibit gives you a look into their psyche, while getting you moving. You can test your agility against dogs with a jumping and running/dodging challenge. Or learn how to better identify either species with a “guess who” style game. And you can even quiz one another on your learned animal trivia with a board game. You will also “learn about peculiar and distinct traits found in a huge variety of dog breeds from the tiniest Chihuahuas to the tallest Great Danes, and cats ranging from the lush, furry Persians to the sleek, hairless Sphynx”.
Fun for the whole family and a topic that is relatable to so many of us who either own a cat or a dog.
And starting November 23rd, visitors to Science World can also take in their newest IMAX experience: “Apollo 11: First Steps Edition”. This is special giant-screen version of the critically acclaimed, theatrical documentary Apollo 11, but is not the full-length feature.
It recalls the first moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin through first person accounts from the astronauts, as well as all the men and women stationed at NASA. Engineers, scientists, and mechanics working tirelessly for the success of the mission, and the safe return of their spacemen. The IMAX film contains never before seen, actual footage of the space mission, that saw Americans being the first men on the moon. The very one where they declared so memorably, “this is one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind”.
The documentary’s giant screen release is well timed to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of NASA’s first lunar landing, and features the newly discovered 70mm footage and audio recordings from NASA and the National Archives. It allows audiences to experience one of humanity’s greatest achievements, over 50 years ago, in a more intimate and revealing way.
Having not read up on or watched much of NASA’s historic lunar landing, this offered me the best way to get all caught up. And in my eyes, it also was helpful in debunking the conspiracy that all the above was just a hoax.
For more on either of this season’s newest attractions, visit Science World’s website for ticket sales and additional details. https://www.scienceworld.ca/
From now to January 5th, 2020 “Aurora”, the winter festival is back for its second year in Vancouver. Although this time they are bigger and better with a brand new location at PNE’s fair grounds. The increase in square foot means additional room for more light displays, event spacing, food stalls, and marketplace vendors.
My trick with these sort of activities is to come early, blitz through everything, take all your people-free photo, then go through it all again after, to better take things in, the second time around. I also suggest bringing a friend to help you take those completely necessary photos with your favourite light feature. The following is what you can expect, but naturally there is nothing like exploring it in person.
With so much to see and do, I highly suggest locating the posted event map, and taking a photo of it to reference later. You definitely don’t want to miss any of it, each corner is a difference feature.
The most iconic of them is actually the gateway into “Aurora”, a giant glacial iceberg that you walk under.
And a short distance away was their giant Christmas tree, that you too can walk under.
To your right is the souvenir shop. I highly recommend stopping by here first before venturing any further, they have a great selection of accessories that light up. These make fun props and unique souvenirs to mark your time at “Aurora”. LED swords, wands, and thunder sticks. And to keep you dry and warm (as most of this is outdoors), they have umbrellas, toques and gloves for sale. I grabbed the latter, which too was lit with LEDs. Each finger tip got a dedicated bulb and with a push of a button you could switch it between colours and strobing or flashing patterns.
To your left is their carnival section with all ages rides like a miniature coaster, spinning strawberries, and the Ferris wheel crowning it all. Here, you can also play games to win prizes.
The rest of the property is for your to explore, to wherever your eyes take you next. If you are looking to capture a glimpse of Santa, be sure to check the times listed at the entrance of his inflated snow dome. He arrives and tells the kids a story with the help of his elf.
There is also a dome for puzzles and colouring, a quite space to take a seat with your young family. For something a bit more active little hands can turn to a winter wonderland take on tic tac toe and checkers, and a black lit neon ring toss using the antlers of wooden reindeers.
Nearby you can test your dexterity with a sling shot game. Aiming and tossing plastic balls towards inflated snowmen.
There is a candy cane lane with giant lollipops, macrons that you can sit on, and human-sized cupcakes. The sugary path of pink leads you to a giant gingerbread house at the end.
All the staff are dressed like elven folk bundled up warm in cloaks, outfitted with pointed ears. They guide the way and help you take photos, should you ask. They also have a rotation of characters ready for photo ops. Like the friendly yeti and the beautiful snow queen. When she is not in, you can test out her throne in her ice castle.
Walk along wooded paths discovering moments created in LEDs. Floral life and wild life brightening up the night.
The feature that will capture everyone’s attention is the tunnel of lights, a colour changing techno-coloured experience in rainbow.
There is also a yellow glowing tunnel with giant beers and the reindeers towing Santa’s sleigh around it.
By the gnome village is a talking tree. You can take a seat as he recalls the “Night Before Christmas”.
You can take a wild ride on their giant slide. Which comes with a bird’s eye view of the event.
Or rent some skates and take a spin around their rink. For those who are less confident on blades, you can loan one of their plastic animals with handles, to better support yourself.
And if get hungry there are a handful of food trucks to choose from. Order poutine, sandwiches, perogies, or stir fry; and enjoy it in their communal covered area.
But if you are looking for somewhere warmer to eat dinner at, check out the drinking hall with plenty of benches, and the occasional live band performing holiday tunes on stage.
And there are plenty of vendors offering hot beverage and/or spiked drinks. Mulled wine and hot chocolate are great ways to keep warm. We indulged in their feature “disco” cocktail, served in a blinking blue globe, this blue punch is available with or without alcohol. Best enjoyed on their light up dance floor.
If you are looking to check a few names off your Christmas shopping list? “Aurora” also had a market place with local, artisan, goods for sale.
Given how much time you can spend wandering the park and revisiting your favourite moments, you can come back a visit multiple times before the end of the season. “Aurora Winter Festival” runs from November 22nd to January 5th. For tickets and hours of operation visit their website using the link below.
This weekend we were at our very first “Cornucopia”, Whistler’s fall food and drink festival, which includes a variety of events to partake in. In order to get the most out of our experience we signed up for a little of everything, like a live cooking class where you get to eat the fruits of your chef/instructor’s labour. This is that recap.
Attendees were gathered at the grand foyer of the Whistler’s Conference Centre. You choose yours seat between several tables clustered around the “Sub Zero & Wolf Culinary Stage”. It was a formal sit down event, which included the visibility of two televised screens. They were helpful in allowing you to follow along with this instructional tasting.
Our instructor was Daniel Crane, Executive Chef at “Tyax Lodge”, and this would be his first foray in teaching on a public stage, in front of a live audience. In order to see him in action, check out my latest drinking vlog, where I recapped this, and a few of the other events I participated in.
Chef Daniel used the following 3 courses to highlight his background. He prides himself on working with farmers, sourcing his ingredients from them as much as possible. And this was well reflected in the meal to come, 3 courses inspired by flavours from the land and sea.
As a workshop, it was great to be able to take in his tips and trips. And/or sit back and simply watch things unfold like a cooking show; with the added pleasure of eating it after. I personally really enjoy seeing how my food is put together, to be able to appreciate the workmanship of each dish so much more.
And as he prepared our multi-course meal, we would enjoy wine from “Fort Berens Estate Winery” in Lillooet, BC. Their handcrafted wines reflect the unique qualities of Lillooet’s terroir; and has won them several regional, national, and international awards. The winery is located two hours north, over the coast mountains. This is a small valley, the same size of Burgundy, France. There, it is very dry and arid, with very little snow and rain. The land’s pour soil is great for grapes, the energy to grow them all goes to the fruit and not its leaves.
Our first “Fort Berens” wine was their 2018 Chardonnay, a wine that won in the category of top white at “Cornucopia 2019”
Our second glass was their 2016 Pinot noir made from five different types of grapes, clones of varietals originating from France to California. The result, an deep red with earthy layers and the fruity notes of raspberry.
The last glass was the “Fort Berens’ Late Harvest Muscat”. A sweet wine, that paralleled our dessert to come. Made with a late harvest grape it has exotic notes of ginger, lemon grass, and apricot. A nice cool wine with light acidic tones.
As for the food that went with each, the following will be a notable recap of the demonstration, followed by my honest review of the food. I will not be offering step by step instructions on how to replicate each dish, instead, you will have to attend next year’s “Cornucopia” yourself.
Our first course was an “Albacore Tuna Tataki”. Seared rare tuna served with a cherry tomato ratatouille, warm olives and caper berries. Seasoned with chilli, olive oil, a parmesan crisp, and saffron aioli.
We learned that you start by making sure the pan is nice and hot, so that the albacore tuna cooks up with a lovely crust. You also want to lay the fish away from you, to avoid the oil from splashing on to you. You then season your tuna with olive oil paprika, salt and pepper. Your don’t want to sear it for too long, though do want to get all four sides, and allow the fish to sit.
Next you prepare the ratatouille which involves adding together your vegetables and finishing it with parsley and salt.
For your aioli you blend your mayonnaise in a blender at a lower setting. You then slowly add in oil and turn up the speed: “really high, really quick, and then kill it”. If you blend it too slowly it comes out too thin. You know you have done it right when your finished product is a nice yellow colour.
We then got an inside look at the intricacies of plating. Slicing the tuna thin, dotting your plate with mayonnaise, lining your ratatouille on the side, and finishing the plate off with some deep fried rice paper for added crispiness.
The result, a tasty and light start. Fresh and tangy with tomato, and familiar with the tuna and creamy mayo combination. The white wine’s citrus notes really complimented the seafood here.
The second course was “Pan Seared Brome Lake Duck”, served with a parmesan and sage gnocchi, cherry jus, and quark cheese mousse.
Chef Daniel first began with the gnocchi. He and his team had already pre-boiled the potatoes needed for 35 minutes, just so that they are soft enough to pierce with knife. Once they are peeled, they are pressed down to small bits using a potato ricer, (A new and soothing sight for me). The collection of potato granules are the mixed together with one egg, and one and a half cups of flour, then repeatedly folded in to build gluten. The dough is then rolled into a line a cut down to small pieces. It is then ready to be boiled in water for 1-2 minutes. When they start to float, you remove then from the water. And once they cool down you can sauté it with the asparagus.
Making the chutney involved sautéing chopped red onion, gooseberries, a little bit of sugar, and red wine vinegar. Then letting it cook down with all its liquids cooked off.
The duck breast was prepared in a sous vide bag, seasoned with salt and pepper. It is then seared and plated with its demi glaze and cherries, alongside the chutney and gnocchi.
The meaty piece of duck was perfection, with all its sides balancing out the plate. Fresh and crispy asparagus, sweet and sour chutney, and a rich caramelization from the cooked cherries.
Our third and final course was a “Berries and Cream” dessert, made with fresh berries, a coconut foam, cardamom crumble, and chamomile syrup.
First came the making of the granola based crumble featuring pumpkin seeds, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cardamon. To it Chef Daniel added in a good amount honey, and a little bit of sugar with canola oil. The goal is for it to be sticky before popping it in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
The berry compote was mix of blackberry, cherry, and strawberries. More sugar is added to make it a proper dessert. It is finished with lemon juice, and cook down at a low heat for 20 minutes. And lastly a splash of vanilla extract goes into the mix, after the temperature is turned off.
In order to get the camomile syrup, you start by steeping tea bags into water and cooking it.
And for the meringue you remove yolk from egg whites. And the whites get whipped in a blender so they won’t fluff up. More sugar is added again, as well as cream of tartar, to help keep things nice and stiff; so that your meringue does not flop out in the oven. It is baked in the oven at 200 degrees, until it is nice and crispy.
The coconut foam uses a higher fat concentration of coconut milk, mixed with icing sugar. It is piped on to the plate using a foam gun.
Surprisingly the dessert wasn’t too sweet, I found our dessert wine sweeter. The cardomon notes gave the plate a fall feel, the camomile a nice floral essence, and the juicy berries offered a nice contrast to the crispy and chewy meringue curl it was scooped out over.
In conclusion, a great event and a fun way to add a little flare to dinner. I learned a few kitchen tricks and was fully entertained throughout the entire meal. And I honestly think it all tasted better because I witnessed its journey to completion, and respected the time and effort that it took to get it on my plate. For all the food enthusiasts, I highly recommend looking into attending another such class next year. Start planning now by visit the link below. https://whistlercornucopia.com/
Lumière Vancouver returns for its 6th year. This is the festival that sets “the city’s downtown and West End neighbourhoods aglow in spectacular fashion. The annual event that is inspired by light and artistic expression, with over 25 interactive art installations at four different sites: English Bay, Jim Deva Plaza, Lot 19, and šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square (formerly known as the North Plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery)”. (As taken from the press release).
The origins of this one of a kind light show came from the desire to breathe life into November. Between Halloween and Christmas this month sees slower visitor traffic and an increase in cold and rainy weather. So in order to combat this trend and bring life to downtown Vancouver’s prominent areas, Lumière is lighting up the night.
From November 1st to the 3rd you can expect live performers, great music, and interactive displays. But for those who can’t make it out between 6-10pm, you can still take in several of light displays until February of 2020.
The following are some of what you can expect from each site. Each completely different, so I suggest taking the time to visiting each one. But for a more telling view and engaging experience, check out my latest vlog, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.
We started at English Bay where the art work will remain until February. Here, the light installations are all animal themed, with a goal to bring awareness to the conservation of these endangered species.
“Luna” by MK Illumination is returning for her 5th year. The iconic whale was made specifically for “Lumière” in recognition of the whales in the waters around Vancouver.
Joining her is a heron in its twinkling nest. “Stanley” by MK Illumination is named after Stanley Park, which is home to one of the largest urban great blue heron colonies in North America.
“Davie” by MK Illumination is a 24 foot tall grizzly bear. He pays homage to BC’s wilderness, in hopes of shining a light on the story of BC’s grizzlies.
“Eugenia” by MK Illumination represents the iconic oak tree that has decorated the English Bay skyline for three decades. A colour changing tree, set to the beautiful English Bay backdrop and setting sun. The original currently sits on top of the famous Beach Avenue residency, Eugenia Place.
I especially thought the daddy long legs spider was creative. An eight legged creature that offered warmth and a place to sit with real flames and faux webbing. And this weekend “Ember Art Fire Performances will be putting on one “hot” show at 6, 7, and 8pm.
Next, we took a Vancouver trolley to our second stop. And if and when you visit, so can you. They have transportation services all throughout the weekend from 5-10pm. Free shuttles looping between the 4 locations, running in 15-20 minute intervals.
“Jim Deva Plaza” on Davie Street will have live DJ’s, drag performances, visual art displays, and a beer garden from 3-10pm November 2nd and 3rd.
As for the art installations, “Tetra Velo” by Hfour is a pyramid of lights that flash and strobe. It uses public data to generate and create colour patterns.
“Chromatic Shadows” by Willie Ng consists of 6 lamps facing a white backdrop. Here, your shadow becomes a moving installation. The exhibit mimics the colourful distortions that occurs when a lens fails to focus all colours of light onto the same spot.
“Woven” by Tangible Interaction is a series of arches, interlocking into one. The playful light patterns hop from arch to arch as you walk beneath them.
The “Lumière Block Party” by Public Disco is a licensed 3-day block party at Davie Village. Guests gather under a 80ft tent with smoke machines, disco balls, and strobing lights. Here there is a cash bar and seats to enjoy your beverage at. Or you can take your drink to the dance floor; and be inspired by the live dancer and DJ on the projected stage.
“Visitor” by Tangible Interaction was commission by the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) for digiPlaySpace. Covered in hundreds of responsive LEDs and proximity sensors, you are able to interact with this cloud through a button and a joystick.
Next on our “Lumière” tour was “šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square”, at the “Vancouver Art Gallery”. Here, You can show your love for our city, by posing next to the giant “<3 VAN” sign.
“Neon at The Post” is presented by “QuadReal Property Group”. They have a partnership with the Museum of Vancouver to bring back to life some of the classic neon signs that lit up Vancouver in the middle of the last century. These 3 signs are available for viewing at Lumière, before permanently lighting up public spaces at “The Post” (the site of the former Canada Post building downtown).
“Alternity” by Wiz (Roy Tremmell) is a branching tree of lights that speaks to the future. It gets you to consider how everyday decisions determines your path through an infinity of possibilities.
“Segmentium” by Adrian Wilson and Dayna Scodras is a kinetic art installation whose speed and rotating direction are computer-controlled, and responsive to the ambient temperature. It it meant to represent a connection to the outside.
“Steely T” by Hippo Love Creative Art Society is a giant turtle with a shell that strobes lights and shoots flames. Riders are able to hop on and take in all the sights from an elevated perch.
“Orchidelirium” by Alysia Crissman is 3 steel orchids sprouting out from the concrete. You are able to customize the blooms by using the colour wheel touchpads, to change the colours reflected on their petals.
“Daisy” by eatART is the world’s largest solar-powered tricycle, used as the platform for Sam Carter and Emily Cheung to perform opera on. The carriage is the stage with room for a DJ booth.
Special Performances at this site includes the above mentioned opera nightly at 7pm, with rotating DJs at 8:30pm.
Then it was back on to the trolley and down to the last stop: “Lot 19”. Named after the parking lot that is located under this plaza.
Tonight, hula hoop artists and jugglers showcased their craft with LED lit equipment.
“Telefunkin’ Shadow Stage” by Alejandro Samper invites spectators to step behind their giant TV and have their silhouettes projected on the screen on the other side. You are encouraged to get wild and animated with your movements.
“The Beating Heart” by Ron Simmer is a 250lb., half-inch thick reinforced fiberglass polyester resin, anatomically correct heart. It represents the fragility of life, personal connection, and togetherness. You place your hand on a sensor and it will detect your heartbeat, reflecting it, amplify it, and projecting the rhythm of it through LEDs inside the heart sculpture.
“Key to My Heart” by Shadow Puppet Productions is built as two giant antique skeleton keys and a lock. It allows participants to change the lights within the lock, with their touch. You place you hand in the mold. A pulse sensor within detects your heartbeat, and the lighting of the infinity mirror lock will sync and flash to your pulse.
“Lux Memoriae” by Ari Lazer is a collection of large and medium scale geometric lanterns. Each lantern is designed to explore the harmonic form as it arises in nature or through the fundamental principles of space.
Once again majority of these exhibits will only be around for this weekend: November 1-3rd. So be sure to take in the experience and get excited for November and all the beautiful lights to come. For more information and specific performance times, visit their website with the link below. https://www.lumiereyvr.com/
I am excited to write about this one! This is a one of a kind interactive display, musical, cabernet, comedy show, haunted house, and dance hall; all in one. A performance like no other that celebrates the arts and Halloween across 13 spooky nights: October 18th to 27th from 7-10pm (11pm on weekends).
This is “The Tours for the Recently Deceased”, brought to the you by “Beaumont Studios” in partnership with “Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret”. This is the studio’s largest “most outrageous theatrical initiative to date”. My coverage is based on my media night attendance, where we were able to take photos and videos to help share this experience. Something that I am more than happy to do. I have honestly been raving about the following since its launch night.
I have never been to “Beaumont Studios” before, so this was just as much an opportunity to explore this shared space (I didn’t know this was even a thing), as it was to see the actors within them. The building is set up like “WeWork”, but for artists. “An open and supportive environment to cater to a wide variety of emerging artists and creative professionals”. Several studios/rooms under one roof: hair salon, mechanical garage, musical studio, art gallery, and fashion house; to name a few.
All together, a great location for the 13 nights of guided Halloween Tours. Which includes 8 audience participation performances, and the spooky Tim Burton inspired characters they are hosted by. You were not only able to engage with the actors and take part in the scenes, but can explore the elaborately deviated setting they were in as well.
Your journey begins as you check-in at the front counter. There, you are greeted by your “afterlife” caseworker, June. With cheek and humour she explains that you are dead, but can still escape the afterlife yet. You receive “your handbook”, which are a series of riddles to solve. One by one you visit each character listed and from them and their performance, you extract a clue. A number that correlates to a letter in the alphabet. And together they spell out a word, a password to get you into purgatory, and past that: the land of the living (aka the exit).
You are able to explore the rooms at your leisure and pace, in whatever order you please; even doubling back the way you came, so should you need to. I liked the freedom of exploration, and the choose your own type adventure that puts you in the shoes of the protagonist. Although letting a group of people loose in a limited space can become chaotic quick.
There were points where we didn’t know where to go. We found ourselves bumping into others, joining scenes mid way, interrupting performances/actors, and missing out on key narratives. But worst of all, we had puzzles solved by those before us. And for a completion-ist like myself, and those who are heavily invested in the experience, this takes away from its entirety. Not to mention we were scolded several times by the in-character actors, telling us that we weren’t suppose to be here. For a couple I couldn’t tell if they were acting or acting out. And that shift the mood. With no instructions and no guides, who are we the guests to know where we are suppose to be and when? Therefore, what I am proposing is set groups that roam the space together. Being ushered by a “tour guide” from scene to scene. You pause, solve any mystery as a group (escape room style), and enjoy the fullness of the show. After all, tickets are already booked in 20 minute intervals to facilitate this.
The following recap is in the order in which we experienced it. I will not be divulging too much detail as to what we saw. I don’t want to give away any of the suspense and surprise. Just enough to entice you to visit yourself. And at $30 per ticket ($25 for members) you well get your money’s worth. All the following to see and be a part of, and strategically placed snacks to munch on, along the way.
Please excuse the quality of my photos. I avoided using flash as to not distract the performers even more. It was also hard to focus on the moving actors.
A witch and the Headless Horseman gave you the scare of your life.
In the hair salon, Edward Scissorhands give you one heck of a hair cut.
We walked in on the Mad Hatter having his tea party. Alice and the white rabbit joined us around the table with cookies and mini cupcakes to enjoy.
There was also chips and salsa in the kitchen.
Outback, a mirrored maze stood between you and the Red Queen. She invites you to a croquet match, but on her terms. She supplies the balls and the flamingos.
I enjoyed the comedic stylings of the Penguin, and marvelled at the beauty of Cat Woman and her flexibility.
The Corpse Bride was an amazing singer. She sang of loved lost and curses broken.
Meat Pie was on the menu in Sweeney Todd’s barber shop. A saucy baker gave us a memorable cooking lesson. She also let us in on the secret ingredient in her famous pies.
While Sweeney himself offered guests free shaves. All in a studio of an artist that makes knives, how fitting.
Also roaming around were a host of characters that could help and guide you on your journey in the afterlife. Like Jack Skellington and Sally from “A Nightmare Before Christmas”.
Along the way, each connecting hallway or corridor was just as elaborately decorated. Be it a mystical wonderland or a spooky scene. Plenty of photo ops and backdrops to take advantage of.
And if you make it through this choose your own adventure theatre experience, you meet the ghost with the most himself: Beetlejuice. Purgatory’s most entertaining and most mischievous DJ.
With a cash bar and an open dance floor, visitors are invited to get down and boogie with all that go bump in the night. Admission includes a complimentary drink ticket to get you started. Exchange it or cash for soda, water, beer, wine, or highballs.
In conclusion, for those who like the macabre and art that is off the beaten path, this is for you. Hands down my favourite Halloween experience for this season and year, and one that I highly recommend. A great first of its kind event, that already has me looking forward to next year’s assembly. Get your tickets now with the link below!!
One week to Halloween, and VanDusen Garden’s fall light show is back for another year. But as my first time, this was all new to me. From October 17th to the 27th the garden is open daily at 5pm to 9pm. Visitors can take in the displays with the last bit of day light, break for dinner at one of the available food trucks; and then go back to enjoying the sights, with the dark of the night making the lights glow even brighter.
Where last year the theme was Hansel & Gretel, this year we have woodland magic. As taken from their press release, “The old barred owl has played a Halloween trick by casting a “hootenanny” spell and making it glow. Take a journey through the garden and help Anna the hummingbird and her friends lift the spell by collecting Halloween treats along the way.”
Also new for this year is the expansion of the arena, new on-site food vendors; and a new timed ticket system, that ensures you are fighting the crowds for your perfect shot. Your ticket choices are between 5-6pm, 6:30-7:30pm, or 8-9pm. Tickets are priced at $9.50-13.50, with kids 2 and under free.
As an all ages event, there are crafts for the kids and a scavenger hunt that has them collecting stamps, in exchange for prizes and treats.
The following are a few of the features you can expect, to help plan your adventure and ensure that you don’t miss anything. We arrived early enough to capture some photos with the last bit of day light, then more when the sun set.
“Hootenanny” is the above described magical trickster owl. With colour changing eyes, she perches at the entrance eliciting a scare with the giant letters “b-o-o-!”
The “Scarecrow” sits at the centre of the lake, guarding the lantern lit walkway.
The “Acranophobia” section plays on the age old fear of spiders. But these are less threatening with tinsel limbs and large glowing eyes.
“Harvest Fest” was hosted by a “squirrel”, she solicits your help in lifting the aforementioned spell. You can find her amongst the hay barrels, corn husks, and pumpkins.
I foresee the giant pumpkin being a popular backdrop.
But preferred the highly detailed carved pumpkins, and the ones in the pumpkin patch.
The latter was a collection of jack-o-lanterns, lit from within. Gathering at a stopping point, in a clearing.
The “Enchanted Forest” came with forest sounds and mystical melodies, adding depth to a lit pathway. You walk along and take note of the mushrooms and caterpillars made out of pumpkins, and the projectors adding blinking eyes and the bat signal to the scene.
“Anna the hummingbird” is a large display in green and pink lights. The character also comes personified, greeting the littlest of guests with purple hair, a large tulle dress, and a masquerade mask.
There were also natural features of the park that they decorated with lights, like the berry tone lit cave and the garden dome.
In conclusion, this is a unique outdoor event that gives guests another reason to visit the garden, and a new way to take in the space. Ideal for families and kids who get into the spirit by dawning their own costumes. For how to get tickets and more on the event, visit the link below.
After missing last year, “Harvest Haus” is back in a big way, and at a larger venue. From October 10-20th celebrate Oktoberfest with “The Social Concierge” and “Playland”. This year they have made the occasion a family affair, with two features: “Harvest Land” and “Harvest Haus”. The latter is a drink hall for adults; the former a German themed farm festival, with numerous attractions for young and old. I visited opening night and partook in both for the review below.
“Harvest Land” is open at 4pm. Kid friendly, there is plenty to keep them occupied. With a map and well labelled areas, it is fun to explore the expanse of the outdoor fair ground. But be warned, majority of the attractions do require a fee to play.
“Woodland Den” has axe throwing. You pay for throws and get a crash course before you start. A flick of the wrist to make the axe spin and stick, it is harder than it looks. Here, you can also try your hand at log sawing, or simply watch it being done below.
I enjoyed the comedy of the lumberjacks performing in the “logger area”. A show in the use of a chainsaw and the two man hand saw. Two professional teams competed and hilariousness ensued.
I was most excited about the “woodland labyrinth”, so was disappointed by it the most. What looked like hedges to weave through on the map, was actually a series of fencing arranged like a maze. A few panels were decorated, many more left plain. You simply walked along the path, ending up where you started from. Near the exit was a feature that felt undone. As a whole, this exhibit felt rushed. I wish the show runners created pausing points and photo ops within the labyrinth. Or had projectors strobing light and casting patterns for more visual interest. Day or night it is the same with varying amounts of light.
The “Kinder Farm” zone cleverly used exhibits and props from PNE’s agrodome. Tractors, plastic farm animals, and the petting zoo. Lambs, goats, rabbits, chicks, and a donkey made an appearance here.
There were also pony rides from some of the most fashionable horses around. With their manes dyed and their harnesses bedazzled they were like pageant contestants.
There was even a pumpkin patch to take photos in. Not the ones on farms where you can pick your own from the patch. But many individual pumpkins assembled on the grass to simulate the experience, without any of the mud associated.
I especially liked the giant pumpkins in planters, still on stem. And the shelf stocked with pumpkins and gourds of various sizes and colours.
Here, you could also purchase pumpkin and cabbages for throwing and slicing. Baby porcelain pumpkins were armed into sling shot holsters; you fired them in a contained hay and grass field. For kids under 12 it was free, parents paid. And no, you don’t get to keep the pumpkin afterwards.
As for the cabbage, at $5 a head, you took each to the “Bavarian Village”, where you could live out your fruit ninja dreams. Wielding a real metal sword, you could stab, slice, or chop your cabbage head down to size. But you aren’t able to keep the salad afterwards.
If you don’t feel comfortable swinging a sword, you can watch the professionals handle theirs with sword play demonstrations, or get more comfortable with one through “knight camp training” in the “Marketplatz”.
And if swords aren’t your weapon of choice, there is also archery lessons and the opportunity to pull an arrow at a target.
Looking for more fun and games, then take part in classic fair games for prizes. Like ring toss and gone fishing.
All the above is located outdoors, so if and when it rains you can retreat into the “Marketplatz” to keep dry. Here you can ride on a merry-go-round or mini coaster. Or run around in their fun house. There are also vendors selling handmade wares to shop.
And for those needing an outfit for “Harvest Haus”, traditional lederhosen and dirndls are available for sale, as well as felt hats and steins. All of which are highly recommended when partying it up in the beer hall, which opens to ticket holders (separate from Harvest Land) at 6pm.
All “Harvest Haus” guests are required to rent and drink out of one of their branded steins for $3, plus a $5 deposit you get back when the stein is returned. If you spring for the VIP ticket, your admission includes the cost of the stein rental, and access to the raised Bavarian-themed long table VIP seating area, with its own VIP bar. This area guarantees you a seat in front of the band and the live performers.
Acrobats, jugglers, fire twirlers, and unicycle performers roamed the beer hall and fair grounds engaging in guests and posing for photos.
For those who are planning to stay for the evening’s festivities, I suggest eating before. Fuel up when exploring “Harvest Land”, as only salted and sweet pretzels are available within “Harvest Haus”. Majority of the food trucks and food stands are open and operating outdoors. You can bring said food in to “Harvest Haus”, but will need to check your stein in when leaving, and line up to get back in. And that is a missed opportunity, had their been food available indoors we probably would have spent more and stayed longer.
Food vendors included PNE staples like the grilled cheese stand, the one that specializes in chicken and waffles, and flavoured mini doughnuts. For the Oktoberfest theme there were plenty of German meat options available like pork hocs, bratwurst and sauerkraut, porchetta sandwiches, and pulled pork buns for various food trucks.
As for “Harvest Haus” itself, the event gives you the ability to drink and engage with other German and European beer-loving folk. All while partaking in drinking chants, and regale in the music of an oompah band: the official Harvest Haus sound of the Halle; as well as DJ Meike Zeddam, der mann über die stadt. The event runs every night until the 20th, with special seatings on certain days. So for more on that and to learn how to get your tickets for the largest fall themed celebration and Oktoberfest party, visit the link below.
Opening Night: Thur, Oct 10, 4pm – 10pm
Friday Night: Fri, Oct 11, 4pm – 10pm
Thanksgiving Weekend: Sat, Oct 12— Mon, Oct 14, 12pm – 10pm
Weeknights: Wed, Oct 16 — Fri, Oct 18, 4pm – 10pm
Closing Weekend: Sat, Oct 19 — Sun, Oct 20, 12pm – 10pm
Hastings Park – Home of the PNE Fair
2901 E Hastings St
Vancouver, BC V5K 5J1
2019 marks the 15th year of the Interior Design Show (IDS) in Vancouver. A trade show known for “Igniting innovation & celebrating design tradition”. It hosts and welcomes “individual designers, artists, makers and design-centric brands who have come together to showcase their current works, concepts and products”.
As my first visit and first time, I simply thought this was a trade show with vendors hawking carpet by the foot, light installations, and/or wallpaper. But this show is so much more than just a live-action catalogue, more than a space where you can shop for your next renovation or home project. There is plenty to see and do, and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves art and an interactive experience.
2019’s theme is “Design DNA”. “DNA is the building blocks of who we are, our identity. For IDS Vancouver 2019, each component, each varied shape represents a designer, concept, product, idea, moment, or experience – a piece of the overall DNA. Beyond the look and feel, the theme will be explored and interpreted in all facets of the show, including their onsite and offsite programming, special features and show floor activations.”
And “In addition to experiencing installations and features, there will also be opportunities to hear from some of the design world’s most notable and talented personalities and connect with a long list of world-class designers that either call Vancouver home, or call on Vancouver for inspiration.”
In this blog, I will only be covering exhibitors at the actual showcase, held at the Convention centre. A few of the highlights that were brought to our attention during the media preview, and a few of the displays that caught my eye as we explored the exhibition hall, as they were still setting up.
Right at the entrance is “A sense of place”. An feature brought to you by Benjamin Moore and a London based multidisciplinary artist. Emily Forgot looked at Canadian architecture when she combined shapes and colour palettes. You may recognize what was referenced, but it is all pretty abstract. Like the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and the Museum of Anthropology. All 14 of these original custom pieces are for sale, with 50% of those sales going to “out of schools”. “Out of schools” is “BC’s award-winning education program that uses film and video with facilitated group discussion to engage students on issues of homophobia, transphobia and bullying”.
At the “Edible Futures” section you take an audio tour through a “what if” world. Artists envision what our food sources would be like between now and the far future, and go into detail on how we get to that place. It presents multiple perspectives on global food security issues like climate change, declining fresh water supply, loss of biodiversity, food waste, and the gap between producers and consumers.
Seaweed as a meat substitutes and dumplings filled with weeds and wild flowers. This travelling exhibition curated by the Dutch Institute of Food and Design and presented by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, will have you going “hmmmm” over your next meal.
LA based retailer “Poketo” will have a pop-up this weekend. They are best known for their exhibitions and workshops that foster their local creative community. Hear from their founders and shop a selection of their design-conscious goods.
“Seeds” is a sea of sented ribbon to wade through. Dutch eating designer Marjie Vogelzang. It tells a story from seed to bread, where the kitchen’s functions are broken down to reveal the ways that the preparation and sharing food drives human connection.
One I am excited about, that wasn’t at its full construction was “The Bistro and Wine Bar” presented by Kim Crawford. A sampling bar that takes guest through five distinct varietals in a visual setting reflective of its aroma and taste.
The “VIP Lounge” is designed by “LIV”, an award winning design studio that incorporates all aspects of design into their practice, including branding, animation, illustration, and CG artistry. This resting place has curated furnishings and accents to help create and “regal and relaxing” VIP experience.
“Prototype” is a curated showcase of the next generation of designers. It features products and objects not currently in production. You as an attendee can vote for your favourite and between these votes and a panel of judges, the winning design gets its own feature at Studio North.
The “Restock Central Bar” highlights the waste from the residential construction industry. Its goal is to bring awareness to the message of salvaging and reusing to help build a more non-toxic future. This space has been created with 80-84% recycled material, 15% has been salvaged, and only 5-1% will go to the landfill. It has been erected with no cutting and no drilling, but instead, connecting materials with clips or straps so that it is intact for future use. “Restock” was designed by “measured architecture”, and built by “powers construction” with salvage materials by “unbuiler”.
Here are some additional visuals that caught my eye.
In short there is plenty to see and do at this unique trade show. Treat yours eyes and your senses at the Interior Design Show from the September 26-29th, at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
The first weekend of September marks another “Luxury & Supercar Weekend”. And this year the weather was on our side. With a bold sun and cloud free skies we made our way down to VanDusen garden for this year’s set up and roll in. A behind the scenes look and guided tour by Vice President, Nadia Ladisernia. She led us around the site, introducing us to key manufacturers. The following is a look at the highlights, and a few of the luxury vehicles you can expect.
For its 10th year, the “Luxury and Supercar Weekend” has become a “pinnacle occasion” to showcase the world’s most lavish supercars. A one of a kind stage that includes gourmet food trucks, a champagne vending machine, pop up restaurants and bars, and a live Supercar auction. The 17 acres of the botanical garden gives ticket holders much to see and much more to explore, as the most exclusive outdoor event in Canada.
For 2019, the following will be firsts for Canada. The first time in Canada you can lay eyes on and get close to the 2020 PININFARINA BATTISTA, the 2020 PAGANI HUAYRA BC ROADSTER, the PORSCHE 992, the KARMA REVERO GT, the BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT, the JAGUAR XE PROJECT 8, the RANGE ROVER SV AUTOBIOGRAPHY, the MCLAREN GT; and a limited edition, unique to Canada BMW.
For the cinematic recap and manufacturer speeches, check out my latest vlog, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.
Our tour began at the “BMW Canada” and the unveiling of their unique-to-Canada vehicle. The “M8 Individual Manufaktur Limited Edition” is the first of 20 released in and for Canada. Canada holds a special place in BMW’s heart, given we are one of the top 5 countries for BMW sales, internationally and globally. An impressive stat considering our population. This speaks to the loyalty the brand holds in Canada.
Right across from it was the “Karma” booth, showcasing the 2020 Revero GT, with a BMW motor and the title of “most elegant luxury EV”.
It wasn’t there when we were, but make sure you stop by the “Lamborghini Vancouver” booth to witness the Pininfarina Battista. A full electric supercar named after its founder Battista Farina; the man better known for designing the most beloved and well received Ferraris to have ever hit the road.
We did get to take in the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ though. “With its enhanced aerodynamic profile, a fully redesigned front, larger side skirts, the omega-shaped rear wing; and lighter, higher exhaust outlets implanted into the featherlight carbon fiber chassis.”
At the Ducati booth their line up included the Diavel 1260s, Scrambler, and the Panigale.
Rolls Royce had their Phantom with its long wheel base, valued at 3/4 of a million. Their flagship model that is synonymous with luxury.
The Cullinan was humoursly described as the “Rolls Royce of all SUVs”. It is the most luxurious SUV, named after the largest raw diamond found in South Africa. The names a tribute to it being a diamond in the rough, with its ability to go anywhere. Any where in comfort with a glass partition between driver and passenger, starlight ceiling feature (as with the phantom), and a tailgate with an electronic pull out seat.
Pagani gave us the official Canadian public launch of the 2020 Pagani Huayra BC Roadster. A track vehicle with a body kit and spoiler befitting of it. To be an eligible owner of one, you must have had to already own a Pagani in the past.
And this is the street version of the Pagani Huayra roadster. This one is on loan from its owner, who only just received it 3 months prior. It is a special order, manufactured to your specifications, with a 2-3 year wait for completion. Each one is considered a work of art.
Representing McLaren are two versions of the Senna. One is in their champion’s livery in red. “Inspired by one of McLaren’s greatest racing drivers, the McLaren Senna is utterly dedicated to allowing the driver to be the best they can possibly be.” It is most extreme road legal car from McLaren.
And new is the Mclaren GT. “Engineered for continent-crossing capability, combining power and performance, to create the lightest, quickest accelerating car in its class”.
And at Porsche they had two of the brand new porsche 911, 992 generation to get close to and in to. And for those who visit their hospitality space this weekend, not only are there beverages and furniture for guests to enjoy. But at their “Exclusive Manufaktur” area, they will be embossing pieces of leather with their logo, for fans of the brand.
For more information and how to get tickets to this weekend’s event visit the link.
The most anticipated two weeks of the season is finally here, The Fair at the PNE is open and running daily. And as always, it is serving up live entertainment, one of kind exhibits, a fully stocked marketplace, and of course plenty of new and interesting carnival eats. And in this post, I was invited down bright and early to check out the latter. So here is what is new and noteworthy, and what you can expect at this year’s Fair, for food.
For the more visual review, click the link below for my latest video, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.
Our morning started out at the “Elotes and Totchos” where we had the perfect breakfast dish. Tater tots dressed like nachos in three different flavours. This is the “carnitas” with saucy pulled pork, onion, tomato, cilantro, and chipotle mayo. It tasted exactly as you expect it to: delicious! Crispy potato nuggets, juicy salsa, and luscious cream.
At the new “Revel District”, in the “Mexican zone” is the “Cerveza Bar” where you can get Mexican beers and fun cocktails. The former also included a limited edition release beer by local Vancouver brewery, “Parallel 49”. In honour of The Fair the brewmasters at “Parallel 49”, have created an easy drinking Mexican style beer. Made with GMO-free corn, a Mexican yeast, and a lower alcohol content. It fits the booth they are available at, and offers Fair goers and easy drinking beer. It is only available at their taproom and at the PNE, for the duration of The Fair.
If you are looking for a cocktail, they have one that is both tasty and fun. The “Tipsy unicorn” is glittery liquer flavoured in either an orange mango or blue raspberry. Each is mixed with vodka, and served with a billowing trail of smoke. This head turner drinks like juice.
At “Corn Dog King” they were playing off the popularity of ramen, by coating their dogs on a stick with it. Pork hot dogs, wrapped in cheese, dipped in a cakey batter, rolled in crushed up raw ramen noodles; and then deep fried for a salty, sweet, and crunchy treat. I was surprised by how much I liked this! This one is worth trying, the ramen adds something to it, besides calories.
“Rick’s Pizza” sells pizza by the slice, and this year they have more than just pepperoni and cheese. This is the “dill pickle pizza”, a thin crust with white cheese, plenty of tangy pickle slices, and a heavy dusting of dill. You must like pickles to enjoy this one. There is no masking itss distinct taste and no way to avoid it. This would be great with some beer and/or as a side to some barbecue.
At “Tin Lizzy Concessions” they are offering Fair goers “deep fried chicken skin”. Described as the best part of the chicken, coated and deep fried in an airy and crunchy crust. It was tasty, but a little too greasy and ashy for my tastes. I missed the juiciness that you get from fried chicken, after you have eaten the skin.
At “Jimmy’s Lunch” they were celebrating 90 years at The Fair, across 4 generations. Here we had their grilled onion beef burger with lettuce, tomato, mustard, and their ketchup relish. So simple, yet so good. If you are looking for something more filling, this is what I would recommend. Not to mention they have plenty of covered seated to shield you from either the sun or the rain.
At “Freakk Fries” you can enjoy the longest fries in North America. To date, they are the only place to get fries that are almost 5x longer than your regular sticks. Each order of crispy footlong fries is available in one of six different dressings and/or seasonings.
The garlic Parmesan is their most popular.
Chipotle mayo gives you double the spice with heat in the drizzle, and a shake or two of chilli flakes.
And the ranch bacon reminded me of eating a baked potato, but more travel-ready. They also have butter chicken, sour cream and cheese; and chocolate drizzled fries, for those with a sweet tooth.
At the “Rice burger” truck we enjoyed Japanese flavours sandwiched between two “buns” made from pressed and grilled white rice. It was basically a more portable way to enjoy “chicken katsu” and/or “beef yakiniku” over rice. The latter was easier to eat, but left me wanting more sauce, and a crunchy element like fried onions to give it some texture.
I preferred the flavour of the chicken rice burger with crispy fried chicken and tangy mayo, but it required you unhinging your jaw, in order to get the perfect full bite.
For even more pickles we headed to the “A Sweet Mind Candy Co.” booth to try their newest cotton candy flavour: pickles. A green tuft of fluff that smelled like pickles, but didn’t quite deliver on the punch of tangy, sour pickles. Great for those who actually don’t like pickles, you can enjoy its faint essence.
At the soft serve hut they were doling out butterbeer flavoured ice cream. I splurged and ordered it with smoke for whimsy, but was still disappointed by its presentation. I expected better branding, a cup more aligned with the “Harry Potter” franchise (where the flavour originated from). Or at least something similar to the photo on the booth itself. Though just as well, as I didn’t get to enjoy most of it. The clerk struggled to complete the dessert, flighting against how quickly it melted. It was messy well before it got to me, and as a result I wasn’t able to finish it. I don’t like trying to catch up to melting ice cream; most of it ended up over my hand. As for the flavours, it was like a watered down butterscotch, and the green wafer roll was coconut pandan; great on its own, but not complimentary to the soft serve.
In short, there are plenty of reasons to visit The Fair, and plenty to see and eat to keep you there the whole day. Come once a year, if not a handful during their very limited, two week run. Don’t deny your cravings.
PNE, THE FAIR
2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, V5K 5J1
What goes in to, on to, and around me. This is me and what I see, all my stories in Vancouver BC! A big mouthed food and lifestyle blogger discovering what the world has to offer through dining, travel, and new experiences. Follow along to see the life of Maggi.