Local

If you’re in the Metro Vancouver area, you can find anything from dining, to shopping and other events. There’s lots to see and do in Vancouver, and you’ll find some of it here. Be sure to view the Events Calendar for local celebrations.

Remembrance Day services for 2018 in Metro Vancouver

Remembrance Day 2017

Waiting to lay wreathes at the cenotaph in Victory Square on November 11th, 2017.

On Sunday, November 11th, 2018, 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. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on November 11th, 1918.

  • 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 10:40 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 10:25 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.

Metro Vancouver and Transit

Transit in Metro Vancouver is always a hot button topic. Anything and everything from fares, bus stops, right up to the technology used for transit vehicles. It seems that in the last decade or so, TransLink (the operating company behind Metro Vancouver’s public transportation system) and the government (both municipal and provincial) have proven they are incapable of effectively providing any sort of reliable operation to commuters in the Lower Mainland.

I’ve lived in the Vancouver area all my life and watched SkyTrain grow beyond the New Westminster station to Columbia, then over the Fraser to Scott Road and eventually out to King George, the Millennium Line when it only stopped at Sapperton, when there was no fare gates, and that you had to walk up steps when boarding a bus. Before the turn of the century, everything was branded as BC Transit, in its red, white and blue colour scheme of the Union Jack on our provincial flag. While there have been some major improvements and changes to the way we get around the region, not all of it is positive.

Many of those who live in Vancouver proper, Burnaby, New Westminster and parts of the Tri-Cities (Port Moody, Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam), transit is generally available and reliable. The story changes to the communities south of the Fraser River, where buses are frequently delayed or non-existent, and local governments ignore the advice of the people that elected them into office by offering unpopular methods of transportation.

That unpopular method is LRT (Light Rail Transit). For the last decade or more, the City of Surrey has been doing studies and waffling over the idea of how best to connect its many town centres (Surrey Central, Newton, Guildford) together with the existing SkyTrain network. In the last year or two, the city has made the firm decision to implement LRT going down King George Boulevard to Newton and out east along 104 Avenue to Guildford. I could go on and on about why this is a terrible idea (read my thoughts on this), but once the decision from the provincial and federal governments to issue funding for construction for the LRT, there has been a hard stance from all levels government that LRT is going forward. Their lack of vision and all the computer-generated imagery showcasing a happy community with less cars and more pedestrians is short-sighted. Surrey is a growing city and a decade after LRT is in place, the city and TransLink will again be petitioning the provincial and federal governments for expanded SkyTrain service, thus wasting more of our tax dollars which could have been spent efficiently from the get go. The LRT will eventually be dug up and replaced with an elevated SkyTrain guideway (akin to when the express bus lanes down No. 3 Road in Richmond were built to great fanfare only to be torn up a few years later for the construction of the Canada Line).

Now Vancouver is considering LRT along a major east-west thoroughfare: 41st Avenue. Yes, the 41 bus is always crowded and yes it takes forever to get from Joyce-Collingwood station out to the University of British Columbia. Here we go again. If you drive along 41st Avenue, you’ll notice it’s not very wide and always congested. Lined with single family homes, the city will need to expropriate a large number of properties to make this work, driving up the cost exponentially. While the city is trying to find ways to move people to their destinations with fast and affordable service, LRT, again is not the right idea. You’re basically moving the bus onto rails at additional cost with limited room for increased capacity. And with the Oakridge area undergoing major renovations to include high density residential space, this idea will fall flat on its face. A better solution would be dedicated HOV lanes for transit vehicles and cars with two or more occupants.

Furthermore to TransLink’s and the government’s poor knowledge on building transit is the Canada Line. Completed in 2009 before the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the Canada Line became too popular for its own good. Listening to the complaints of local business groups in Richmond that two tracks would make their establishments lose money because of an unsightly sterile concrete guideway, the line became single tracked after Lansdowne station (and out at the Vancouver International Airport). But it’s no joke now that the density in the island city is increasing with plans to tear down Lansdowne Mall to replace it with new high-rises and commercial space. But that’s not the worst of it. The Canada Line was crippled from the beginning with short platforms limiting the trains to two cars total. This lack of thought for future capacity has filled station platforms and crowded trains. TransLink has ordered more cars from Hyundai Rotem (the group that manufactured the first trains) to add more to increase service. There was even talk of making the trains into three cars, but that never materialized. Now Vancouver and Richmond are building up density along this rapid transit route which cannot possibly keep pace with that growth. Let’s not forget the clandestine construction which pitted local merchants along Cambie Street against TransLink and the builders over lost sales from lack of customers avoiding said construction (they’re now finally being awarded damages).

Then there was the Compass card debacle. How many transit systems around the world use fare gates/turnstiles and contactless cards for admission? Quite a few, and yet TransLink managed to drop the ball repeatedly because they didn’t redesign the fare structure beforehand. Trying to get proven technology to work with TransLink’s zone-based fare structure was a headache for the company and the public in general as costs spiralled out of control to the tune of $194 million dollars. The fare gates sat open almost four years before they were all closed in July 2016 finally forcing riders to tap in or out and ending nearly 30 years of the honour system.

The only recently positive news coming from TransLink and the levels of government is the extension of the Millennium Line out to Arbutus Street (and hopefully further out to the University of British Columbia). The Millennium Line has long been reviled as the “SkyTrain to nowhere” and its daily passenger counts are far less than the Expo Line, this has the potential to bring longer trains (no more two-car Mark II trains) as it connects with busy Broadway corridor. As long as TransLink plays its cards right and builds stations with longer platforms, this addition to SkyTrain becomes a much needed respite to the crowded 99 B-Line buses.

And to add a cherry on-top of it all, a TransLink bus stop in Pitt Meadows was named the worst in all of North America. Why? Because it’s on the paved shoulder of Lougheed Highway against a jersey barrier. Passengers are forced to endure speeding vehicles if they wait on the shoulder or they have lumber over the cement barrier to board their bus when it arrives. TransLink said they would address this, but why was it built in the first place? How could this ever have been a good idea from the beginning?

While TransLink continues to roll along like a sow in slop, it’s safe to say their executive leadership (along with the assistance of the Mayor’s Council*) will continue to draft up impractical and ill-considered plans to expand and “improve” the future of transit in Metro Vancouver.

*While TransLink is an independent entity, the Mayor’s Council (that’s 21 Metro Vancouver mayors, the Chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation, and the elected representative of Electoral Area “A”) pretty much has final say over the costs of projects, TransLink board appointments, fare increases, and executive compensation plans.

Canada Day events for 2018

The Canada Day parade in Downtown Vancouver

Canada turns 151 years old this Sunday, July 1st and it’s time to come out and party! Even though the weather is looking a little gloomy, doesn’t mean the party stops; there’s plenty of fun with food, parades, music, festivals and yes, fireworks! Bonne fête Canada! Sadly, the Canada Parade in downtown Vancouver will not happen this year.

Relive the classics with the Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo this weekend

Video games have come a long way in the last 40 years, and the Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo aims to keep the love for the classics alive this Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 at New Westminster’s Anvil Centre.

From 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, join other gamers for a chance to experience retro consoles, buy that long forgotten title and catch up on live entertainment and music. Learn how to make older consoles work on your new televisions, sample music made with 8-bit systems, test your knowledge with trivia and get an up close look at the fabled Nintendo PlayStation prototype console from the early 90s.

Tickets for the Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo are available online or at the door for $25.00. The Anvil Centre is a quick walk from the New Westminster SkyTrain station on the Expo Line.

Game-themed restaurant and bar EXP to close at end of June

Vancouver’s video game-inspired restaurant and bar, EXP, is closing down on Saturday, June 30th, 2018.

According to a post on the EXP Facebook page, The landlord informed restaurant management that they must shut down at the end of June. Leading up to the closure, food and drinks are being discounted with the funds going to staff as thanks for their efforts.

So come on down and power up with a Triforce Burger (or sip a Pikachu’s Revenge) while you still can.

It’s hoped, that EXP may be given a 1-UP to re-open at another site.

Source: Facebook

Celebrate Latin American culture with the tenth year of Carnaval del Sol

Latin American food brings everyone together at Carnaval del Sol

Start summer off with some Latin American flair at the Carnaval del Sol, celebrating its tenth year at Concord Pacific Place on Saturday, July 7th and Sunday, July 8th, 2018.

This two-day event is the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and incorporates food, fun, music and more from countries in Central and South America. Multiple plazas focus on many aspects of these cultures: food, arts, family, kids, health and wellness, kids, beer, travel and a chill zone sponsored by Tim Hortons. And with the World Cup in full swing, there’s a soccer tournament taking place at the nearby Andy Livingstone Park soccer fields.

Carnaval del Sol closes off the Latin American Week, which includes cruises, a parade, a Latin film night, Women’s panels, and wining and dancing.

Carnaval del Sol is hosted at Concord Pacific Place, 88 Pacific Blvd in Vancouver. There is a $2.00 admission this year for single day access (or a $10.00 VIP pass for use on both days) is easily reachable by transit with a quick walk from either the Stadium-Chinatown or Main Street-Science World SkyTrain stations.

TransLink fares going up on July 1, 2018

Compass Cards

TransLink fare prices are rising on Canada Day 2018.

To help provide improvements to Metro Vancouver’s transit system, TransLink is increasing its fares between five and ten cents on Sunday, July 1st, 2018. This fare increase is part of phase one of the Mayors Council’s 10-Year Vision for transit to add capacity, bus service and other enhancements around the region.

Single trip fares will see a ten cent increase, while concession fares go up five cents; monthly passes will cost two dollars more (concession by a dollar). Purchasing a DayPass will cost 25 cents more. The table below breaks down the cost per zone and fare type.

Single Use/Cash Tickets
Zone Current Fare New Fare
   Adult
1 $2.85 $2.95
2 $4.10 $4.20
3 $5.60 $5.70
   Concession
1 $1.80 $1.90
2 $2.80 $2.90
3 $3.80 $3.90
Stored Value Compass Card
   Adult
1 $2.20 $2.30
2 $3.25 $3.35
3 $4.30 $4.40
   Concession
1 $1.80 $1.85
2 $2.80 $2.85
3 $3.80 $3.85
Monthly Pass
   Adult
1 $93.00 $95.00
2 $126.00 $128.00
3 $172.00 $174.00
   Concession
All Zones $53.00 $54.00
Day Pass
   Adult
All Zones $10.00 $10.25
   Concession
All Zones $7.75 $8.00

Source: TransLink

Titanic exhibit to make stop in Richmond for 2018

The legendary liner RMS Titanic sails into Richmond’s Lipont Place this summer, through an exhibit showcasing artifacts of the ship’s ill-fated voyage.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit brings objects salvaged from the ocean floor, including china and pieces of the ship itself. There are also recreations of on board staterooms and berths, and an iceberg where touching is encouraged.

On April 10th, 1912, the RMS Titanic set off on her maiden voyage, departing Southampton, England for New York by way of Cherbourg, France and Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland. Shortly before midnight, the vessel had her fatal encounter with an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean. Some two and half hours later, approximately 1,500 people would perish as the ship slipped under the frigid waters in the early hours of April 15th, 1912.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit opens on June 23rd, 2018 and runs thru January 11th, 2019. Tickets for this event are available for purchase online. Lipont Place is located at 4211 No. 3 Road in Richmond.

Downtown Vancouver’s Canada Day Parade cancelled for 2018

The Parade in 2017 for the Canada 150 celebrations.

This July 1st, the streets of downtown Vancouver won’t be filled with floats or lined with crowds waving miniature red and white maple leaf flags as the Canada Day parade is cancelled going forward.

Citing rising costs, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, which hosts the parade, made the decision to cancel the procession instead choosing to focus on the events at Canada Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has run the parade since its start in 2009.

Source: Canada Place

Granville Station elevator repairs takes part of station out of service for 2 years

Starting today, and for the next two years, the three long escalators at Granville Station are no longer in service as TransLink works to replace them. These escalators are almost 30 years old, installed when the Expo Line began operation in 1986.

During this work, only the Dunsmuir Street entrance/exit will allow access to the train platforms. The Seymour Street entrance will remain closed until completion in 2020. Passengers looking to access SkyTrain through Pacific Centre will need to detour through the Bay and Vancouver Centre Mall.

TransLink recommends taking extra time if using Granville Station, or consider Burrard, Waterfront or Stadium-Chinatown Stations instead.

Source: TransLink

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