Forest Fire Risk

Now that summer is upon us, the temperatures soar and British Columbia’s dense forests dry out and become prone to forest fires. Small fires, including camp fires, are now banned through much of the province due to the risk. If you see a forest fire, call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a mobile device. For more info, click here.

Canada turns 150

Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary since Confederation in 1867. Throughout 2017, communities across the country are hosting events to commemorate this occasion. Here’s to 150 years of the true north, strong and free! #Canada150

Stanley Park Rose Garden Path

Stanley Park Rose Garden

Stroll along the paths and take in the aroma of dozens of blooming flowers in the Rose Garden in Stanley Park. While summer is nearly over, it’s not too late to enjoy the colour, depth and selection of the roses, whatever the time of year may be. A collection of photos over the years are available for viewing on Gallery.

 

Vancouver added as stop on Final Fantasy concert 2018 tour

Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy

Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy at the Orpheum in 2013.

The immense universe of music from the Final Fantasy franchise returns to Vancouver for another performance of Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy on Friday, June 1st, 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Led by conductor Arnie Roth, this 100-piece orchestra and chorus recreates the many themes, ballads, melodies and operas from more than 30 years of  this popular video game series. Complementing the live music are scenes from the Final Fantasy games, presented in HD, enveloping both the visual and aural senses.

Tickets for this single evening show go on sale at 10:00 am Friday, January 19th, 2018.

Vancouver is the only Canadian stop mentioned so far for 2018. Other cities on the tour include Kansas City, MO, Los Angeles, CA, St. Petersburg, FL, Portland, OR, Paris, France, Cleveland, OH, and San Francisco, CA.

Source: Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy

Nintendo Direct Mini unveils new games for 2018

Neku Sakuraba

Neku makes a return on the Nintendo Switch in The World Ends with You: Final Remix.

Nintendo kicked off 2018 with a brief Nintendo Direct video this morning announcing a bunch of upcoming titles for the Switch console.

After releasing a decade earlier on the Nintendo DS, The World Ends with You: Final Remix returns with improved graphics and an epilogue building on the existing storyline. Players can use the Joy Con controllers or the touch screen to interact with the game. This Square-Enix adventure is expected sometime this year.

The Pokémon x Tekken cross-over fighting game Pokkén Tournament DX gets two DLC packs this year. “Wave 1” includes Aegislash with Mimikyu and Mega Rayquaza as support Pokémon, while “Wave 2” includes Blastoise with Celebi and Mew for support. “Wave 1” is available January 31st, 2018, followed by “Wave 2” on March 23rd, 2018.

Kirby Star Allies brings everyone’s favourite pink ball onto the Switch with new abilities, including being an artist and using spiderwebs to capture enemies. Multiplayer functionality allows up to four friends to partake in the fun. Kirby Star Allies goes on sale March 16th, 2018.

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is getting the Switch treatment. In addition to the existing 29 playable characters from the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions, their levels and downloadable content, Link and Zelda can don attire from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Two players can play together sharing the Joy Con controllers in mobile mode. This title is scheduled for Spring 2018.

The ball is in your court with Mario Tennis Aces. Enhanced gameplay makes guessing an opponents next move far more formidable. A new story mode brings more ways to play, and challenging boss battles. This title is scheduled for Spring 2018.

It’s the epic story of survival in Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. Adol barely makes it off of a sinking ship with his life and ends up on a deserted island. Enlisting the help of other survivors to build a camp and defend themselves from the vicious inhabitants of the island thru fast-paced battles. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is expected in summer 2018.

New downloadable content for Super Mario Odyssey makes for balloon-popping fun! Upon completing the main story, a new mode called Balloon World appears with two modes: Hide It and Find It. In Hide It, players must hide balloons in various worlds for others to find. In Find It, the player must find balloons secreted away by others. This update becomes available in February 2018.

SNK HEROINES ~Tag Team Frenzy~ brings SNK’s famous idols together in a tag-team fighting game for the Nintendo Switch. Players can utilize special attacks and items to give themselves the advantage, making victory all the sweeter. This title is expected in summer 2018.

It’s payday! Pull of some expert pilferage with your friends locally or a world away with PAYDAY 2. Updated to take advantage of the Switch’s touchscreen and HD Rumble makes holdups that more sweeter. A new character exclusive to the Switch version introduces Joy, a Japanese hacker into the fray. PAYDAY 2 goes on sale February 27th, 2018.

Explore a forest and interact with its colourful flora and fauna in Fe. Advance through the forest by singing with the animals and plants to unlock its secrets; these songs come alive with feedback from the HD Rumble in the Joy Con controllers. Fe launches on February 16th, 2018.

In Celeste, Madeline must climb a mountain, using any terrain available, granted she has the stamina for it. Using her mid-air dash, Celeste can overcome obstacles in this dangerous environment. Adjust the difficulty by playing in Assist Mode, or unlock the B-side chapters for arduous adventures. Celeste launches on January 25th, 2018.

Source: Nintendo

Festival of Lights returns to VanDusen Botanical Gardens for 2017

It’s that time of year when the lush VanDusen Botanical Gardens transforms into dazzling display of colourful lights just in time for Christmas.

Thousands of Christmas lights are strung along the garden’s many trees and bushes that brighten up the winding paths. There’s also live music and food trucks serving warm drinks and snacks, a carousel, musical instruments and more.

The Festival of Lights is on now until January 7th, 2018. Tickets are required for entry and available online or in person. Dress appropriately as it may be cold or wet. Parking is limited, but transit is always an option (either with the 17 bus or a short walk north from the 41 bus).

Can’t make it? Check out the photos from the this year’s event on Gallery.

Zelda symphony invades Vancouver like horde of Moblins

Fans filling the auditorium at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Fans filling the auditorium at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

The wildly popular The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses returned to Vancouver to delight fans of one of Nintendo’s popular franchises with an evening of music and magic. The concert was held at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, instead of the Orpheum (as in years past) on Thursday, November 30th, 2017. Attendees of all ages filled the auditorium, many in costume or decked out in their favourite Zelda gear to show their love for the games.

Energetic local conductor Kevin Zakresky kept the crowd engaged with his performances leading the orchestra, turning to the audience for cheers and applause. He even broke out the Wind Waker baton for a few of the songs.

Tour producer Jason Michael Paul started the evening off with opening remarks, including a statement that the concert would go on hiatus for 2018. He added that if we’d like to see the tour start back up again, fans would need to contact Nintendo to let them know there’s still a demand for it.

The journey back into the many worlds of Zelda began with the overture, a compilation of the themes and motifs of Link, Princess Zelda and Ganon. From there, we launched into heaving Great Sea from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The calming music of the immersive Hyrule in the latest title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild captivated the crowd. Images from the games were shown on a giant screen behind the orchestra, adding to the wonder and nostalgia. Other compilations included selections from the 3D classics The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, the renowned The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the colourful The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Of course, there was also a reprise of additional melodies from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The evening concluded with a classic, the Ballad of the Wind Fish from The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. It was a beautiful way to finish off the concert.

Merchandise this year included a new tour shirt, updated poster, music books and a replica of the Wind Waker baton. As usual, the line for these goodies snaked their way up to the second level of the theatre.

Merch booth at the Queen Elizabeth theatre for the Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses #zeldasymphony

A post shared by Frederick Linsmeyer (@nephrus) on

Surrey Tree Lighting Festival for 2017 this Saturday

The 55 foot tree illuminates the plaza in 2016.

The 55 foot tree illuminates the plaza in 2016.

The annual tradition of illuminating Surrey’s largest Christmas tree returns Saturday, November 25th, 2017 at Surrey City Hall Plaza.

Enjoy live music, food trucks, a holiday market, fair rides and even a zip-line at this family-friendly event. Performances from over 20 different artists including Juno-winning artist Ruth B., alternative rock band Daysormay, and jazz-soul artist Krystle Dos Santos will take the stage next to choirs and other local acts. Of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand with the city’s mayor and council to partake in the entertainment.

There’s no admission to watch the 55 foot (16.7 metre) tall tree when it’s lit at 6:30 pm. The Surrey Tree Lighting Festival begins at 12:00 noon and ends at 7:00 pm. Take transit for easy access to the venue, which is a short walk from the Surrey Central Expo Line station.

Aniplex to release final Naruto album with five fan-picked songs

NARUTO FINAL BEST cover

Cover artwork for NARUTO FINAL BEST.

Aniplex held a poll for Naruto fans to select songs in the last compilation album for the animated series titled NARUTO FINAL BEST. The album has eleven songs, all opening and closing themes from the two series, Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, which aired over the span of 14 years.

The songs included in NARUTO FINAL BEST are:

  1. Blood Circulator by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION
  2. Blue Lullaby by Kuroneko Chelsea
  3. Pino to Amerie by Huwie Ishizaki
  4. Kara no Kokoro by Anly
  5. Tabidachi no Uta by ARUMIKURIKAMAKI
  6. ZetsuZetsu by Swimy

The songs chosen from the online poll are:

  1. Haruka Kanata by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION
  2. GO!!! by FLOW
  3. Namikaze Satellite by Snorkel
  4. CLOSER by Joe Inoue
  5. Sign by FLOW

Accompanying the CD is a DVD of the endings and openings, a booklet and Naruto sticker.

NARUTO FINAL BEST goes on sale December 13th, 2017.

Sources: Crunchyroll, Aniplex

Yuri!!! on ICE DVD and Blu-ray combo arrives February 2018

Yuri!!! on ICE The Complete Series Blu-ray/DVD box art

Artwork of the Yuri!!! on ICE The Complete Series Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD box set.

FUNimation unveiled their line-up of home releases for February 2018 and the hit anime series Yuri!!! on ICE was mentioned next to series Fairy Tail, Attack on Titan and All Out.

A limited edition combination pack includes all twelve episodes on both DVD and Blu-ray. This accompanied by an 80 page booklet chock full of artwork and interviews with the co-creators, three art cards, a three-inch button of Victor Nikoforov hoisting his golden medal, all inside a beautiful box that has a holographic Yuri!!! on ICE label and metallic silver snowflakes. A regular edition, minus all the goodies, is also available.

Yuri Katsuki made it to the Grand Prix Finals of ice skating, but winds up last. Upon returning to his home in Japan, Yuri contemplates on what to do next, until legendary Russian ice skater Victor Nikiforov shows up to be his coach. As the two train together, they learn more about each other and what they want to achieve, despite fierce competition from another Russian skater, Yuri Plisetsky and others from around the world. Will Yuri come out on top and win the gold this time?

This collectors edition of Yuri!!! on ICE is available for pre-order through FUNimation’s web site and is slated for release on February 6th, 2018.

Source: FUNimation

Free! to return with new anime in 2018

The boys from the Iwatobi Swim Club are coming back with a new series scheduled for summer 2018. Promotional artwork for this new anime is being screened at showings of the movie called Free! -Take Your Marks- in Japanese theatres.

Additionally, fans who purchase Blu-ray or DVD copies of Free! -Timeless Medley- and Free! -Timeless Medley- Promise movies, can receive tickets to enjoy episode 0 as a bonus; this episode isn’t being broadcast publicly.

Further details on the new Free! series will be added to the official web site at a later date.

Source: Free! -Take Your Marks-

Remembrance Day 2017 photos

Vancouver’s Victory Square was packed with people for Saturday morning’s Remembrance Day ceremonies. The sombre mood was reflected by the grey clouds above, the silence pierced by the occasional crying child, the planes flying overhead and intermittent sounds of the 21-gun salute from Portside Park.

Remembrance Day 2017 Remembrance Day 2017 Remembrance Day 2017
Remembrance Day 2017 Remembrance Day 2017 Remembrance Day 2017

Remembrance Day 2017 services in Metro Vancouver

On Saturday, November 11th, 2017, communities throughout Metro Vancouver will hold ceremonies to honour the men and women who serve and have given their lives for Canada for Remembrance Day.

  • Vancouver – Ceremony and Parade at Victory Square (West Hastings Street between Cambie and Hamilton streets). Starts at 10:00 am PST.
  • Burnaby – Remembrance Day Ceremony at North Burnaby Cenotaph in Confederation Park (Willingdon Avenue and Penzance Drive). Starts at 10:30 am PST, followed by the ceremony at 11:00 am PST.
  • Burnaby – Remembrance Day Ceremony at South Burnaby Cenotaph in Bonsor Park (Imperial Street and Nelson Avenue). Parade starts at 10:30 am PST, followed by the ceremony at 11:00 am PST.
  • New Westminster – Ceremony at the Cenotaph in front of New Westminster City Hall (511 Royal Avenue). Starts at 10:30 am PST.
  • Surrey – Ceremony at Cloverdale Cenotaph at the Surrey Museum and Surrey Archives (17710 – 56A Avenue). Starts at 9:30 am PST.
  • Richmond – Ceremony and Parade at Richmond City Hall (6911 No. 3 Road). Parade leaves Minoru Park at 10:20 am PST followed by the ceremony at 10:40 am PST.
  • Coquitlam – A Remembrance Day service will be held at the Blue Mountain Park Cenotaph (975 King Albert Avenue) beginning at 9:45 am PST, followed by a parade from the Como Lake Middle School to the Cenotaph at 10:30 am PST and concluding with services at the Cenotaph in Blue Mountain Park (975 King Albert Avenue).
  • Delta – Ceremony at North Delta Social Heart Plaza (11415 84th Avenue). Starts at 10:40 am PST.
  • Delta – Parade and Ceremony at Ladner Memorial Park (5010 47th Avenue). Parade starts at 10:15 am PST followed by the ceremony at 10:45 am PST.

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