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.

Interurban car 1207

A look back at the interurbans

Even though the Downtown Historic Railway is out-of-service, you can still experience the heritage interurbans online. Browse through pictures and brush-up on the routes these versatile rail cars took on their journeys through the Lower Mainland.

 

Dates and countries revealed for 2017 Honda Celebration of Light

The United States of America's show in 2016

The United States of America’s show in 2016

This summer, the evening skies over English Bay will light up with a trio of pyrotechnic performances for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light.

The three teams representing their countries in the annual fireworks competition are:

  • Akariya Fireworks for Japan on Saturday, July 29th
  • Jubilee Fireworks for the United Kingdom on Wednesday, August 2nd
  • Royal Pyrotechnie for Canada on Saturday, August 5th

On each day of the fireworks, live music, food and other activities are available to entertain the crowds. In addition to watching (for free) from the beach, there’s paid seating available.

The organizers behind the event are hosting a vote for the top three Canadian songs as part of Canada’s 150th birthday. To cast your ballot, visit the Honda Celebration of Light web site.

Source: Honda Celebration of Light

First experience at playing Breath of the Wild

Nintendo Switch demo

A Nintendo Switch with a demo of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

I had an opportunity to play the demo of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch earlier today. One of the most anticipated titles announced for the Nintendo Switch, the hype around Breath of the Wild is all real. Nintendo teased Zelda fans with videos to show how much detail went into developing this title and promised the most open and expansive adventure in the franchise yet. They’re not wrong about that.

First, let’s look at the Nintendo Switch itself. The whole console is the size of a Wii U tablet, but is easy to hold in handheld mode. I played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with the pro controller, which is Nintendo’s interpretation of an actual gaming controller like those on a PlayStation or Xbox instead of the smaller Joy Con that snap to the sides of the Switch. The pro controller felt light and comfortable; the buttons are easy to reach, and it’s wireless.

The game itself has a 20 minute limit. I didn’t make it far in the allotted time, wandering around, picking up items and cleaving Bokoblins in two, but it opened my eyes to just how massive Hyrule is. The game begins with Link waking up from a deep sleep. Before heading out into the open, there’s a couple of treasure chests containing items of clothing that can be worn. It’s important to remember that the environment affects Link now more than ever before. Certain clothing must be worn to keep him from overheating or freezing — a temperature icon exists onscreen to alert you to this.

A new item called a Sheikah Stone is an accessory that acts as a map and compass. Because the world is so immense, map points make it easier to set locations to come back to later. I’m sure its purpose expands as the game progresses.

Once out in the fields, it’s just breathtaking. The horizon is endless, mountains, rivers, forests, ruins and towns all as far as the eye can see. The first NPC (non-playable character) I met was an old man seated under a cliff with a roaring fire, cooking apples. After picking up a branch, I took some of that fire and proceeded to set some of the grass field on fire. Unfortunately, I had done so at the edge of a cliff and couldn’t escape and thus succumbed to the flames. But it was testament to how interactive the environment really is.

Seizing an abandoned axe, I promptly proceeded to cut down some trees. The axe also proved helpful defeating some of the roaming Bokoblins — a few swings easily felled these creatures. Upon expiring, they leave behind either horns or teeth which are collected for a later use. Apples are plenty, taking the place of hearts to replenish Link’s health.

Gone are the days of speeding across Hyrule as Link now tires after continuous running — a green circle appears when the B button is held down and depletes the longer it is held. Link can now jump on command and climb walls, no more vines or exposed brick to ascend or descend. It all adds to the experience.

I got a little confused using the in-game menus. Items acquired are stored in this menu, but the control sticks navigate these sub-menus where as the L and R shoulder buttons switch between the menu screens.

Another neat feature is the auto save. No more will you have to save your game (or forget to) as the game will periodically record your progress with a visual reminder to show it is doing so.

The graphics are beautiful; sticking with the cel-shading that first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Nintendo has refined the look to improve the visual experience. 20 minutes is not enough to take in all that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I look forward to playing it fully and enjoying the fruit of Nintendo’s labour.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild goes on sale, Friday, March 3rd, 2017.

Vancouver trades Burrows to Ottawa for Dahlen

Alex Burrows

Alex Burrows during a pre-game warm up with the Vancouver Canucks.

After 12 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, winger Alex Burrows heads east in a trade with the Ottawa Senators. In return, Vancouver receives forward Jonathan Dahlen from Ottawa.

Burrows, who hails from Pincourt, Quebec, spent his entire NHL career (up until this point) with the Canucks. Known for his aggressive style of play, he was no stranger to controversy involving other players and on-ice officials. Burrows tenacity was a boon for Vancouver, especially scoring shorthanded or overtime goals when needed. During his 2016-17 season with the Canucks, Burrows scored nine goals, with 11 assists, earning 20 points.

Dahlen, from Ostersund, Sweden, started the 2016-17 season with the club Timra, scoring 24 goals, with 17 assists for 41 points. He has also played for Sweden’s national team in the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, as well as the under-17 competition in 2016.

Source: Vancouver Canucks

Sword Art Online movie in limited Canadian theatrical run March 2017

Get ready to enter the immersive realm of Sword Art Online in the anime title’s first feature film, Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale- which is coming to theatres across North America. If you live in Canada, there’s only five Cineplex locations across the country that are showing this movie; the upside is they’ll have multiple showtimes.

These five cities include:

  • Calgary, AB – Cineplex Eau Claire Market Cinemas on March 17th at 7:00 PM and March 18th and 19th at 4:00 PM
  • Vancouver, BC – Cineplex The Park Theatre on March 17th at 7:00 PM and March 18th and 19th at 4:00 PM
  • Halifax, NS – Cineplex Cinemas Parklane on March 17th at 7:00 PM and March 18th at 4:10 PM
  • Ottawa, ON – Cineplex South Keys Cinemas on March 17th at 7:00 PM and March 18th and 19th at 4:00 PM and March 19th 4:30 PM
  • Toronto, ON – Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas and VIP on March 17th at 7:00 PM and March 18th and 19th at 4:00 PM

With a new game comes a new world. Technology has improved with new devices called Augma and a new game, Ordinal Scale. Donning the augmented reality headset, Kirito reunites with his friends from earlier adventures as they explore this new game and discover its dark realities.

Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale- runs for two hours and will be shown in Japanese with English subtitles.

Source: Eleven Arts

Eagle

Over the last few weeks, plenty of eagles have chosen to congregate in Delta. While stopping alongside the highway wasn’t a really great option, nearby Deas Island Regional Park is a safer spot where you can find these majestic birds perched on the bare tree branches.

An eagle surveys his surroundings from a tree in Deas Island Regional Park.

Sailor Moon R – The Movie coming to Cineplex in Canada

Get ready to fight evil with the power of the moon as Sailor Moon R – The Movie comes to Canadian theatres! Some 39 Cineplex locations across the country will host the legendary Sailor Scouts for a one day showing on Wednesday, March 1st, 2017.

As a child, Mamoru Chiba presented another boy with a rose, who in turn promises to hand a flower back to Mamoru. Fast forward to the future where Mamoru fends off a flirtatious Usagi Tsukino in a garden. The boy from his past re-appears, coming between him and Usagi, intent on making good on his promise. Concerned over this mysterious person, the Sailor Scouts meet at Rei Hino’s temple where they learn of an asteroid headed towards Earth. This asteroid is home to small amounts of life which leads to monsters attacking Tokyo in an attempt to harvest energy from its human population. What connection does this enigmatic boy have in connection with Mamoru and will the Usagi and her friends be able to save Earth from destruction?

Also being shown is the 15 minute short, Make Up! Sailor Guardians, with Usagi and Chibiusa.

Sailor Moon R – The Movie includes some scenes with flashing lights which could be uncomfortable for those with photosensitive epilepsy.

Tickets are available for purchase online.

Sources: Cineplex, Eleven Arts

Yuri Katsuki Nendoroid announced for pre-order

Yuri Katsuki Nendoroid

Yuri Katsuki is about to leap into our hearts with a triple lutz

It’s time to lace up your skates and hit the ice with the star of YURI!!! on Ice with Yuri Katsuki! He’s the latest in Good Smile Company’s line of collectible Nendoroid mini figures.

Yuri wears the black with silver trimmed outfit from his Eros performance, choreographed by his coach, Victor Nikiforov. This costume was also worn by Victor before on the ice.

Each Nendoroid comes with accessories and are interchangeable with other Nendoroid figures. Included are three different facial expressions: his seductive face from his Eros recital, a happy expression, and one of embarrassment. Yuri also comes with two hair styles — one that’s slicked back and the other tousled. Even he can’t stay away from his favourite food: a bowl of steaming hot katsudon (pork cutlet with egg over rice), complete with tiny chopsticks.

Plus, there’s a bonus — a small rubber charm featuring the likeness of Yuri, but only if purchased through Good Smile Company’s online shop.

Yuri Katsuki Nendoroid Yuri Katsuki Nendoroid

Pre-orders for this adorable representation of Yuri Katsuki close on March 16th, 2017 and is expected to ship later in July. Suggested retail price is ¥4,167 JPY (or about $48.91 CAD).

Source: Good Smile Company

Second season of Attack on Titan to air April 1, 2017

Attack on Titan season 2 promo

Promotional artwork for the second season of Attack on Titan

It’s no joke, the long-awaited second season of Attack on Titan has a date: Saturday, April 1st, 2017. The colossal creatures who devour hapless humans will also stream for fans in North America through FUNimation on the same day.

In this upcoming season, we learn that the titans terrorizing the last of humanity have kept many other, never before seen monsters at bay, including the Sasquatch-like beast titan. With Eren Jaeger’s power to transform into one of these fearsome beings, he just may turn the tide against the female titan… Japanese rock band Linked Horizon returns to perform the opening theme (they recorded the two intro songs in the first season). Perhaps we’ll finally get to see what Eren Jaeger’s key unlocks…

Attack on Titan airs in Japan on Tokyo MX and on MBS.

Sources: Crunchyroll, Twitter, FUNimation

Let TransLink know how you feel about fares

Compass Cards

TransLink wants your feedback on its current fare structure.

Are you frustrated with the cost of taking transit around Metro Vancouver? Does the current zone system confuse you? Now’s your chance to let TransLink hear your opinion with the transit fare review survey.

Current fares on SkyTrain, bus and SeaBus are determined by how many zones travelled. While all bus rides are one zone, SkyTrain has three zones — but the number of zones differs depending on the time of day (three zones during peak/rush hours and one zone for evening hours/weekend/holidays). This perplexes people not familiar with the system and those who use it infrequently.

This feedback aims to make adjustments to the fare structure based on distance travelled, time of travel and method of transport used.

So what would you like to see? Fares based on distance (such as paying less to travel from Joyce-Collingwood to Metrotown), time of day (more for travel during rush hour Monday morning instead of early afternoon on a Wednesday) or service (it’s cheaper to take a bus than it is to ride SkyTrain or the West Coast Express).

The survey closes on Friday, February 17th, 2017.

Source: TransLink

HMV to close, depriving Canadians another place to buy anime

An HMV store on Robson Street

An HMV store on Robson Street

Another Canadian retailer is exiting the market. HMV, purveyors of all things entertainment, is winding down its operations and closing all 102 store locations over the next couple of months. It also marks the end of the few physical merchants selling anime products within Canada.

Aside from grabbing the latest movie, or that classic vinyl record, HMV had a fairly decent selection of anime. While many other shops hosted a limited choice of more popular titles, HMV could be counted on for a wider assortment of anime, albeit at a higher price. Plus, they also sold various collectibles and knickknacks including mugs, posters, apparel and plushes.

The closure announcement came on January 27th, 2017, due to competition from online sources that could offer more items at lower prices and on-demand streaming services with vast libraries of music and video at modest monthly rates.

HMV’s online site is no longer available for browsing. Stores remain open to clear out remaining inventory on discount.

Source: HMV

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