Kicking off a new series on Miss604.com called Top Five I’ll be featuring my personal picks for things to see and do in various BC communities in 2010. Having recently spent the last two weekends in Whistler, it’s a natural starting point for the series. These are my Top Five picks for spring and summer 2010 activities.
Peak to Peak
There’s not another experience like it as the Peak to Peak will sail you 1427 feet above the valley floor between Whistler and Blackcomb. The ride lasts about 11 minutes and the views are simply breathtaking — especially if you wait for the special silver car to come around as it has a glass bottom.
Although it’s currently closed for regular maintenance, the Whistler Blackcomb Peak to Peak gondola will re-open for the summer season on May 22nd. Once you make it across, there are plenty of hiking trails (from easy to moderate) on either side where you can check out glacier-fed lakes, wildlife, and indigenous plant species.
I’ve been fortunate enough to experience many spas in BC but Scandinave certainly stands out. Think of the lovely Grotta at Tigh-Na-Mara on Vancouver Island but then take that outdoors and make it about 3 times larger. The Scandinavian approach offers several pools in which you can soak, all at various temperature levels. This is complimented by a wet eucalyptus steam room as well as a dry Finnish sauna. Rotating through these rooms and the pools rejuvenates and detoxifies your skin and body. To top it off, they have a private snowy hillside setting and a dining area inside featuring goodies from Bearfoot Bistro. The main feature is the outdoor sauna, steam, and bath experience however they also offer massage treatments. It’s definitely worth treating yourself and if you’re a local, you can get a “season’s pass” to visit the pools as often as you like, at a discounted rate.
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
Sitting at the base of the Upper Village on Blackcomb, this is one of our favourite places in the area. Not only is it situated inside a beautiful building where glass and wood meet in stunning design but the history, heritage and culture that it exudes is priceless.
Learn about the Squamish and Lil’wat nations (upon whose territory the ski resort lies), browse historical artifacts, wander through galleries and even take an interpretive forest stroll. The Cultural Centre is definitely something for young and old to enjoy.
Whatever you do in Whistler and regardless of your budget, head out for a meal at least once during your visit. From the amazingly delicious Avalanche Pizza to premium dining at Araxi and Bearfoot Bistro, there’s something for everyone. Last weekend I was introduced to the dangerous magic of a “Sake Margarita” at Sushi Village, which is the ultimate aprÃ¨s-ski / pre-party destination with some rather creative sushi rolls on the menu. For brunch check out Elements in the Summit Lodge or head to Creekside for a classic diner experience at Southside.
As a special bonus I’ll also include Grilled Fromage in Squamish for your drive to or from Whistler.
It’s worth stopping in and trying one of 50+ kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches that they have to offer. That, and the cheesiness of the entire diner will certainly bring a smile to your face.
We were in town for the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival and I admit, I hardly witness any slope-side action because there was also so much going on in the village. Whistler’s festivals always include outdoor adventure and plenty of entertainment all day long. I missed the photography showdown but we attended the opening party, the Schick Fashion Exposed fashion show, the Chevy Test Drive, State of the Art, and plenty of outdoor concerts.
Upcoming festivals in Whistler include the Childrens Art Festival July 17th and 18th, Kokanee Crankworx August 7th until the 15th, and annual events that are always covered on Miss604.com such as Cornucopia and the Whistler Film Festival.
For more information about Whistler you can follow them on Twitter @WhistlerBlckcmb or @GoWhistler.
The official Twilight Convention is coming to Vancouver, which was the home of most of the filming for the saga has taken place so far.
When May 14th, 15th and 16th, 2010
Where Sheraton Wall Center (1088 Burrard)
Guests of the convention include Catherine Hardwicke (Director of Twilight, Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown), Peter Facinelliu (Twilight’s Dr. Carlisle Cullen), Bronson Pelletier (Jared of The Wolf Pack), Kiowa Gordon (Embry Call of The Wolf Pack), Charlie Bewley (The Volturi Tracker Demetri), and Jodelle Ferland (Eclipseâ€™s Bree). The convention will also host a Volturi Vampire Ball that Saturday night, a Twilight themed centerpiece contest for the ball, a costume competition, Twilight trivia and Sunday brunch with a silent auction for charity.
Tickets are available online and single day passes start at $10 with premium weekend packages for about $169. I have two general admission weekend passes to give away to a reader that is interested in attending.
To enter to win, please leave a comment on this post or publish the following on Twitter:
I will draw a winner at 8:30am Tuesday May 11th.
Update The winner is Anna (comment entry). Congratulations and have fun at the convention!
Fine print: Please check back here on that day to see if you have won. If the winner is from Twitter I will @ or DM them with details to contact me and they will have 24 hours to do so before a new winner is drawn.
The City of Richmond is encouraging locals and visitors alike to explore their city this weekend, offering up over 40 free attractions to enjoy as a part of Doors Open Richmond 2010.
Many participating partners will organize guided tours, displays and activities to enrich your experience. Whether you live in Richmond or you’re a welcome visitor, don’t miss this fascinating chance to discover many special parts of Richmond and its rich history.
Places of Worship, Arts Galleries, Studios & Public Art, Green Space, and Family Friendly venues are all welcoming guests from 10:00am until 4:00pm May 1st and 2nd. You can visit any of the following spots of interest, free of charge.
In Richmond’s City Centre area you may visit the Richmond Arts Centre, Richmond Museum, Richmond Cultural Centre or the Richmond Art Gallery for an exhibit tour. There is also the Pathway’s Aboriginal Centre, Gateway Theatre, Richmond Chinese Community Society and Minoru Place Activity Centre who will open their doors this weekend.
Discover the Pam Holl hunt Fine Art Home Studio or the Richmond Artists Guild, take a stroll through Terra Nova Rural Park or visit the John M.S. Lecky UBC Boathouse.
Head to the Vancouver International Airport without having to go through Arrivals or Departures (I recommend exploring the Observation Area). There are also several home studios to visit in this area including Browning Stained Glass.
The Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site is a must-see as well as the Steveston Museum, the Interurban Tram, London Heritage Farm and the Britannia Heritage Shipyard National Historic Site.
Grandpa’s Old Cars is a destination for car-lovers, located at Rosewood Manor. The Lingyen Mountain Temple is a beautiful Buddhist monastery that will be open for guided tours and lunch on the weekend.
Were you aware of the winery in Richmond? Stop by Sanduz Estate Wines for a complimentary wine tasting on the weekend. Nearby there is also the Richmond Nature Park as well as guided tours of either the Richmond Jani’a Mosque or Nanaksar Gursikh Temple.
Brochures and maps for participating attractions, places of worship, parks and trails are available online.
During the Olympics I had the chance to have a little visit with the Stanley Cup at the BC International Media Centre. Phil Pritchard was present with his white gloves as media and security staff lined up to find and point out where their favourite player or team’s name was engraved.
I walked up to the cup, found the Vancouver Millionaires, and posed beside it for a photo as a feeling of total hockey fan bliss washed over me. Everyone in the room urged me to hug it, so I put my hands on either side and posed for more photos.
My friends John Biehler and Robert Scales did the same while others even gave it a smooch. It was surreal.
After uploading my photos and sharing them online I received some grief instantly saying that it’s bad luck to touch the Cup. From what I understand, you cannot lift the Cup if you have not won it nor should a player touch it if they haven’t earned it. It’s also bad luck for the captain of a team to touch or lift the conference cup ahead of the Stanley Cup final series. I really don’t know the official protocol for fans.
With Phil and Craig — the keepers of the cup — looking on from 5 feet away, I touched it as did everyone before and after me.
Update I have contacted the Hockey Hall of Fame to see if there is an official position on this.
Update From Kelly Masse, Director, Corporate and Media Relations for the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto:
Whether seeing the Stanley Cup while it’s on the road, as you did during the Olympics, or visiting it at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, guests can touch it, hug it, kiss and get their picture taken with it. What is only reserved for players who have won it is hoisting over your head. So unless your name is on it, you can’t lift it.
There is a superstition that you shouldn’t touch it unless you have won it. In fact, if I’m touring a current player or coach around the Hockey Hall of Fame, I will let them know that we are about to go into the Great Hall, which is the room that houses all the NHL trophies, including the Stanley Cup. I’ve seen players stand on the peripheral of the room, I’ve seen them walk in the room, but not near the Cup, and I’ve seen them circle the Cup, but I’ve never seen a player touch it that hasn’t won it. In fact, I’ve seen mascots of NHL teams do the same thing.
Masse also brought up the superstition about the touching Lucky Loonie that was buried under the ice during the 2002 Olympics. Thanks to everyone for chiming in on this!
The YWCA Women of Distinction Awards take place in Vancouver June 1st, 2010. The list of nominees has just been announced along with a new people’s choice category, Connecting the Community.
Women from around Metro Vancouver have been nominated for their dedication to various community programs, businesses, leadership, and outreach.
The categories are Arts, Culture & Design, Business & The Professions, Community Building, Education, Training & Development, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Health & Active Living, Non-Profit & Public Service, Technology, Science & Industry, and Young Women of Distinction.
Nominees include Heather Redfern (Executive Director, The Cultch), Sylvia Corning (Program Head, International Business Management, BCIT), Sxwelhchaliya Julie Baker (Squamish Nation Chief and Council, Squamish Nation), Seana Wade (CEO, Survivor Bootcamp Inc.), Rita Thodos (Regional Manager, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), and many more deserving women.
Every nominee in every category is eligible for the Connecting the Community Award. Simply head over to the YWCA of Vancouver’s website to cast your vote online. You can spread the word about your favourite nominee online by sharing the link http://ywcavan.org/vote on Twitter.
The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony June 1st at the Westin Bayshore. As the Social Media Sponsor, I will be on location live-tweeting and blogging the event.