There are so many great things to do in British Columbia – skiing, surfing, shopping, biking, eating – now you can even fly over the entire nation without leaving Vancouver. How?
On April 6, 2011, the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, celebrates the 125th anniversary of its incorporation. “Celebrate Vancouver 125” will start with a free birthday party on that day at Jack Poole outdoor Plaza, around the Olympic cauldron. Festivities start at 2 pm with a street hockey tournament and will include music, food, street arts and video art, and special performances and ceremonies. The Olympic cauldron will be lit and there will be a VERY big birthday cake!
In addition to its 125th anniversary, Vancouver also celebrates this year as Cultural Capital of Canada. “Summer Live” will showcase Vancouver’s vibrant arts scene with a free multi-stage celebration in Stanley Park from July 8th through the 10th, drawing on the city’s contemporary creative arts scene, First Nations heritage and its multi-cultural diversity. Dozens of other cultural organizations will be showcasing special events throughout the year to add to the celebrations.
As part of the celebrations, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation is asking Vancouverites to nominate 125 ‘Places that Matter’, where plaques will be mounted celebrating people, places and events that helped to shape the City of Vancouver.
The beginning of Vancouver started with the establishment of a sawmill and then the growth of the settlement called Gastown, around which a townsite called Granville grew. The city incorporated as Vancouver the same year the transcontinental railway arrived on the west coast. Its natural seaport soon became a major link in the trade route to the Orient, and the city started growing.
Today, the City of Vancouver is an exciting, multi-cultural, modern city in one of the most beautiful locations in the world, on Georgia Strait and the Pacific Ocean and overlooked by the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia. It has ranked highly on a worldwide list of “livable cities” for numerous years. There is so much to see and do around Vancouver, you’ll never run out of ideas: walk the seawall in Stanley Park; visit the Vancouver Aquarium, Gastown, or the Museum of Anthropology at UBC; explore the markets and boutiques at Granville Island; go boating up Burrard Inlet or take in an NHL hockey game at Rogers Arena; smell the flowers at Queen Elizabeth Park or the VanDusen Botanical Gardens; admire the Emily Carr collection at the Vancouver Art Gallery. They say that in Vancouver you can ski in the morning and go sailing in the afternoon!
Make sure you spend at least several days in this city which hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and book your Vancouver Bed & Breakfast accommodation before you come! Your hosts will be a fountain of information of all the wonderful reasons why Vancouver is the special city that it is.
Halloween is celebrated each year on October 31 and is a terrific opportunity for adults, especially grandpas like me, to act like kids and carve a few jack-o-lanterns. Historically Halloween is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and scarcity, and life and death, Halloween is a time for fun and superstition. Halloween has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth, and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off any roaming ghosts.
The Celtic holiday of Samhain, the Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day and the Roman festival of Feralia all influenced the modern holiday of Halloween. Halloween began to lose its religious connotation in the 19th century and became today’s more secular community-based children’s holiday. Although the superstitions and beliefs surrounding Halloween may have evolved over the years, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, children of all ages still look forward to parades, costumes and sweet treats to usher in the winter season.
Many British Columbia communities have special Halloween events. If you are traveling the province this All Hallows Eve, check with your local BC Innkeepers Guild members for events in the area. Perhaps you’ll visit a corn maze with the kids or do the Monster Mash. However you spend the spookiest of nights, have a seance on me.