I first discovered we had the Vancouver Police Museum last spring during the Amazing Hunt as they had a clue box parked outside. It’s taken me over a year to finally get in there and thanks to a chat I had a few months ago with Executive Director Chris Mathieson, I was able to rally a small group of friends (including the Biehlers and Keira) to go on a special tour last night.
Aside from being a comprehensive museum packed with anything and everything you’d want to know about Vancouver’s grimy, gritty, and sordid past they also run a number of public programs such as Forensics for Kids, educational programs, birthday parties, and spring break activities. One of their most popular features (however probably not recommended for the kiddies) is the tantalizing Sins of the City tour. It’s a walking tour around Chinatown and the Downtown East Side where Chris provides decades-old stories about illegal gambling, prostitution, brothels, opium dens, and everything in between. Continue reading this post 〉〉
Last year the official Blogathon.org site was out of commission so I took it upon myself to organize Blogathon Vancouver for those in the city that were interested in keeping the tradition alive. This year, the global event is back in full force taking place July 25th from 6am until 6am on July 26th.
Over the last three years I have been involved with Blogathon, either as a cheerleader, donor, participant, or local organizer. Essentially it’s a blogging marathon where participants publish one post on their blog each half hour for 24 hours. Along the way they collect pledges and donations online for the cause of their choice. With the official system back in place, tracking pledges will be much easier for all involved so I look forward to seeing that functionality returning. Another option is for participating bloggers to create a personal donation page on Canada Helps, a system that supports online donations for thousands of non-profits across the nation.
Karen from TinyBites.ca during her campaign / us at Duane’s during Blogathon 2008
Once you’ve registered (or even if you’re thinking about signing on) please connect with me so that I can add you to a special Blogathon Vancouver blogroll and help promote your campaign. I have also arranged a place for all local participants to gather (Workspace in Gastown) should they wish to spend their 24-hours with others. The benefit of having people around is that it’s often easier to come up with post ideas, you could do a quick photo walk as a post, there’s encouragement from all sides, and you’ll be surrounded by others enduring the same insomnia/writing frenzy. I will try to register a Vancouver Tweetup during that time as well and Duane will be spearheading a Blogathon event in Chilliwack.
I will do my best to support the participating bloggers (we had 12 last year that raised well over $10,000) and I hope you’ll join us in using our online spaces to benefit some great causes.
Update: If you’re planning on signing up (starting July 1st) for blogathon, and you’re in the Vancouver area, feel free to add these badges to your site so you can start promoting your campaign a bit. After July 1st you’ll have your own donation page link etc. but it doesn’t hurt to start building the hype. Thanks so much to Kontent Creative for coming up with these. Right click and save/copy source for the file.
I know this must seem a bit grim, but Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery is hosting an open house Saturday July 11th and they would like you to come and spend an afternoon with them on the scenic grounds.
I’m certain Mountain View is the final resting place of many loved ones in Vancouver as it has been around since 1887. What makes this story interesting to me as well is some of the people of note who have been laid to rest there. This includes…
Former mayor W.H. Malkin (as in the Malkin Bowl etc.)
Joe Fortes (lifeguard, hero, the Citizen of the Century)
You won’t find John “Gassy Jack” Deighton there though as he’s over in New Westminster’s Fraser Cemetery along with the likes of Raymond Burr, and Arthur McBride.
Mountain View is Vancouver’s only cemetery and they would like this open house to serve as a new introduction to this meaningful place. The event will feature tours including visits to their new water features, joss paper demonstrations, and visitors are encouraged to have a picnic near the fountain. Organizers are hoping that a visit to Mountain View with the family could become a new summer tradition for many.
I’ve only passed through during a Haunted Vancouver trolley tour but I’d be really curious to pay a visit during the day to check out all of Mountain View’s history. It may seem like an odd place to spend a Saturday afternoon but it sure is a unique way to connect with your city’s past. Mountain View also hosts “A Night for All Souls” in the fall.
During our visit we were lucky enough to sample some menu items, which were absolutely divine — I must have heard John say “Wow” at least a dozen times throughout the meal.
We had been to Spinnakers before but I think we just ordered pizza (which in itself is great) however we’re much happier to have explored the rest of the offerings.
Our flight of beer included a Hefeweizen, Stout, and Porter paired with lavender white chocolate truffles, dark chocolate raspberry, and another chocolate truffle topped with barley. Our final drink was a Brandenburg 3 paired with Saltspring Island cheese.
We also discovered that adjacent to the brewpub, just across the grassy courtyard, there is a selection of guest houses with lovely rooms. They include a continental breakfast, local paper and an assortment of baked goods supplied each morning. In the off season the guest rooms go for about $149 a night (and up) and in the peak summer months you can rent the entire Mary Street Cottage for $279.
Spinnakers offers local ingredients, fresh seafood, chocolate truffles made in-house, wines, vinegars (made on-site), and of course the hand-crafted beer. On top of that, they even create their own special mineral water. It’s a culinary delight in a comfortable atmosphere (darts and pool tables upstairs) with a glorious view of the harbour. Spinnakers is the epitome of eating local and is a highly recommended stop during your next trip to our Province’s capital.
The other day I had the chance to go ziplining on Grouse Mountain with their Air Grouse ziplining tour. Essentially you can purchase your zipline pass at the base of the mountain and it will include your skyride (gondola) fare as well at the 2-hour zipline circuit.
There are three ziplines at the lodge level and then you’ll take the Peak Chair up to the final two which will have you ripping above the treetops at up to 80km/h.
It’s a great way to explore Grouse Mountain beyond the gondola and believe me, it’s a serious rush. There is a little bit of hiking involved, especially to get up to the two top towers but once you’re strapped in and ready to go just sit back and let the line carry you away.
Unfortunately I had my camera strapped around my neck so when I went into “landing position” all you could see on my video is the sky. However, I’ve mixed up all my clips into this single video (with music by Silversun Pickups).
The total cost of the zipline tour is about $105 and as Jenn Thomson noted (as she did the media tour with me) it’s about the cost of taking your kid to a hockey game or going out for a big fancy dinner.
You can also book in groups (it’s fun to ride with someone else on the twin line beside you) and they’ll take a group photo for you as a keepsake before you set out on your tour. I’m looking forward to trying this with John and I promise next time, I’ll scream a little less.