All articles tagged with ‘Vancouver’

Carnaval del Sol brings Latin culture back for 2019

Latin American food brings everyone together at Carnaval del Sol.

Add some Latin American flair to your summer at Carnaval del Sol, returning for its eleventh year at Concord Pacific Place on Saturday, July 6th and Sunday, July 7th, 2019.

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, and travel. Soccer is a huge part of Latin culture, so there’s also a soccer tournament during both days at Andy Livingstone Park.

Carnaval del Sol closes off the Latin American Week, which includes cruises, the Canada Day parade, a Latin film night, a look into Afro-Latin history, 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 $15.00 VIP pass for use on both days, including access to the beer garden and VIP areas), and is easily reachable by transit with a quick walk from either the Stadium-Chinatown or Main Street-Science World SkyTrain stations.

Photos from Sakura Days Japan Fair 2019

Grey clouds and periods of rain presided over the opening day of the annual Sakura Days Japan Fair in the VanDusen Botanical Gardens, but that didn’t stop festivities.

Though many trees had already shed their blossoms, there were a few still in bloom to celebrate this springtime tradition next to an assortment of Japanese food stalls, live entertainment including musical guests from Japan and booths selling traditional clothing and trinkets.


Couldn’t make it out or did the rain hold you back? View the rest of photos on Gallery.

Honda Celebration of Light 2019 dates and countries revealed

Japan’s performance in 2017

The Honda Celebration of Light returns to Vancouver’s English Bay this summer with three fun filled nights of fireworks synchronized to music. For 2019, the line-up includes two new participant countries are joining host country Canada – India and Croatia.

This is the 29th year the event has lit up the city, with India starting first on Saturday, July 27th, 2019, followed by Canada on Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 and then Croatia on Saturday, August 3rd, 2019.

Leading up to the pyrotechnic display, which begins at 10:00 pm, there will be live music and a selection of food trucks. For those wanting a more comfortable seat, there are three viewing lounges offering premium views (at a price); tickets are available online through the Honda Celebration of Light web site.

Source: Honda Celebration of Light

Welcome spring with Sakura Days Japan Fair 2019

Hojo Hand-Crafted Samurai Armor Corps from Japan appeared at the festival in 2018.

It just isn’t spring without a stop at the Sakura Days Japan Festival. Located in the beautiful VanDusen Botanical Gardens, this two-day event celebrates everything Japanese in a fun festival atmosphere. The gardens host this fair between 10:00 am PDT to 6:00 pm PDT on Saturday, April 13th and 10:00 am PDT to 5:00 pm PDT on Sunday, April 14th, 2019.

Spend the weekend with Japanese culture through live performances, music, food, arts, demonstrations and crafts and more under the budding pastel sakura — the Japanese cherry blossom. Two performers from Japan are scheduled to attend: taiko drummer Keita Kanazashi and shamisen players KiKi.

As the festival takes place in the outdoors, bring appropriate attire as it may rain or the fields might have mud. Parking is limited, so save the hassle and take transit (either the #17 bus, or walk from the Oakridge-41st Avenue Canada Line Station west along 41st Avenue, and then north along Oak Street) to reach VanDusen Botanical Gardens (about a 15-20 minute stroll).

Paid admission is required for entry; tickets are available for purchase online (includes discount) or in person at the door.

VanDusen Gardens glows for Festival of Lights 2018

With the holiday season in high gear, the VanDusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver are decked out in millions of Christmas lights for another year of the Festival of Lights.

The Festival of Lights is on now until January 6th, 2019. 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.

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.

AniRevo 2018 photos

Nothing says summer like sizzling cosplay! AniRevo returned to the Vancouver Convention Centre in downtown Vancouver for three days of Japanese pop culture and entertainment, complete with attendees in costume of their favourite series.


The action continues on Sunday. If you’ve missed it, check out the photos on Gallery.

Photos from Carnaval del Sol 2018

When the sun comes out, so do the people and for the 10th annual Carnaval del Sol, the plazas were packed and the lines long for Latin American cuisine, music, culture and shopping. The sights, sounds and smells brought together so many Central and South American countries as our neighbours and friends.

Couldn’t make it out? Browse through the photos from Sunday on Gallery.


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.

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