Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

When did egg hunting events become popular?

I understand both the Christian, Pagan, and marketing aspects of the Easter egg hunt tradition, but this year I’m a little puzzled – we got a flyler/invite in the mail to take our kids (which we don’t have) to Cambie Village for their annual egg hunt. A little more digging and it turns out there are a lot of community level oeuf hunting events, many with limited tickets – first come first served.

Is this typical? Is it more of a now thing than yesteryear? I hunted for chocolates in the living room. My parents hunted for real eggs in the yard. So, when did it become The Thing to attend the local equivalent of the White House egg hunt?

And just how many hiding places are there in a community center gym?

Merry Christmas

No matter what your beliefs, or as in my case lack of, please have a very good holidays from all of us. And be safe in all this holiday themed weather.

Christmas Stocking for Street Kids

I stumbled upon this group on Facebook and thought it fit nicely with the spirit of the season – it’s pretty much as the subject line describes. They’re looking for items, which will be gathered into stockings, and handed out to street kids. One of the organizers benefitted from a similar gift when they were on the street;

The stockings were awesome, they had a nice pair of gloves, socks, toques, soap, tooth brush/toothpaste, sanitary stuff for the girls, shaving stuff for the guys and of course some regular old fun stocking stuff to really make it feel like Christmas. I swear those were the best pair of socks I ever owned, they were so thick my boots stoped gouging into my heels and they kept me toasty warm. This made, what started out as a miserable Christmas Eve, into a much happier one.

The group is looking for particular items (as well as people to help hand the stockings out on Christmas Eve and Christmas day). Those items are;

Christmas Stockings
Rain boots
Socks (wool or something thick and warm)
Hand warmers
Rain gear (windbreakers, rain ponchos)
Vitamin packs
Healthy snacks
Christmas Items – candy canes, oranges, chocolates
Meal gift certificates
Hygiene products – deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, soap, cream, chap stick, qtips (all in travel sizes please)

There’s contact info on the Facebook site, or you can bring your donations to Free Store 2, taking place this Sunday, December 21st (more information on where and what exactly a Free Store is, can be found here.)

Your support is not only a big deal to the kids, but a big deal for the group itself, as they are looking to gain Non-Profit Society status for next year.

Put an eye out or blow a finger off… legally!

It’s Halloween season, and that means many things to many people. Chills, both figurative and literal, candy, costumes, a sense of fun and abandon not found in most other holidays (particularly not one with no day off), and a particular favorite of mine, fireworks.

I’ve mentioned before, I spent a lot of time in Calgary and Halloween is often cold, involves three times as much walking to get half the candy, and fireworks are a no-no – by Fall, the grassy hills in and around the city are pretty much tinder, and fireworks just create headaches for firefighters and nightmares for home owners, so the town is pretty stern on the matter. In fact, these dry conditions have interfered with Canada Day fireworks on occasion, if you can imagine that.

But Vancouver doesn’t have that problem, presumably due to it’s damp nature. But, in the decade I’ve lived here, I’ve see the popularity of fireworks increase, and it was pretty much a given that sooner or later some lug-nut with a roman candle and an unwilling target was going to alter the game. And while I can’t confirm the existance of lug-nut or target, the game has been tweaked. As of this year the rules on who can buy fireworks has been tightened, requiring buyers to be over 19, have two pieces of ID, and a permit, which you obtain for free by taking an online test. Firework sellers in turn, have to make sure you meet these criteria before selling to you.

This is a minor change, but the major change, one which I’m curious to see it’s effect on the availability of fireworks, is that you can only buy during the seven day period between Saturday, October 25th and Halloween. Given that fireworks dealers in town sold, in some cases, as early as a month before Halloween, this may affect the number of people choosing to act as dealers. I also assume this is why I’ve yet to hear the typical, pre-Halloween, late night pops and bangs of secret launches.

OK, I actually just stopped right now to take the test and it’s a token step – a dozen questions with pretty apparent answers;

Q: To find out more information about firework safety, you should…

1) Read Vancouver bylaw XYZ.
2) Travel to the South American factory where they were made.
3) Eat pie in front of the TV.

So, everybody in compliance now? Everybody submitted to the city the address where they intent to launch the fireworks from? (Yes, the application actually asks you that.) Everybody ready for some Halloween fun!?

Well then, I’m Chris, an Android – I can put my arm back on, but you can’t, so play safe!

[NOTE] Other cities in the GVA have different rules, so read up. West Van has similar rules and selling period, but the permit costs $5. Burnaby appears to have the same selling period, but no permit. It’s not clear if someone from Burnaby would need to obtain fireworks from a vendor in Vancouver or West Vancouver, or if a Vancouver permit will allow you to by from a Burnaby vendor. Given that these steps seem designed mostly to make sure we’ve all read the rules, I’m sure I’m over thinking it. But I’ll get back to you all if I find out more (or, if you know more, post here.)

The Stanley Park Ghost Train Rides Again

glowing skulls, originally uploaded by cathycracks.

Every year Lydia talks me into going into Stanley Park on a late fall evening and ridding around on the Ghost Train [vpb]. Since 1999 the train has run throughout the fall celebrating Halloween. Since I’m too old to put on a costume and go trick-or-treating it’s pretty much the only thing I do for the holiday. It’s a shot of child-like goodness, as the ride and the other things going on around the park really capture what made Halloween one of the best holidays back when we were kids.

If you’ve got kids then this is almost a must. Apart from free admitance into the petting zoo, and the chance to make their own pirate hats the ride is really for kids. It’s still enjoyable without children, as we’ve gone the last few years. If you don’t need to worry about getting the kids into bed by a certain time then going later on at night is a good idea because the lines seem to subside by 8:30.

If you do have kids this year is a pirate theme, and dressing up for ride is encouraged.

For times and ticketing information visit the Vancouver Park Board’s website [vpb].

Viva la revolucion!

Your revolution

If you aren’t doing anything tonight, there’s a “Celebration” of the Cuban Revolution at Trout Lake, meeting up at the beach concession stand.

What being Canadian means to you

Canada Day False Creek Ferry

Back on Canada Day [mbv] we fired up a bit of a poll to see what it was about this country that people were most proud of.   We let the poll run a few days, and now the results are in.  Out of 20 possible answers, some such as Alex Trebek were slightly tongue-in-cheek, we’ve got our winners.

Perhaps not surprising to anyone whose been forced to sit through a university poli-sci course with a section on Canadian identity “Not Being American” won with 28% of the vote.

Narrowly behind that with 26% came the one I voted for “Our Progressive Social Values” in which basically could include anything you wanted but I made a special note of our laws on gay marriage and our pot laws.

Next we had a tie at 9% between the sport of hockey and the maple leaf.  Well below that came snow, the wilderness and the CBC.

Those of you who voted thanks for taking part.  Not only was it interesting to see the results, but it was a good test of our polling system which we’ll be using again soon.

What makes Canada for you?

The Peace Arch

As we all celebrate Canada Day, I thought we’d take a slightly cheeky look at a fairly incomplete list of things that people feel make Canada what it actually is. These are things that define us, things that divide us and things this country into what it is.

Some of these things you might love about our nation, and others you might hate. Feel free to vote if you’re not from these parts as well, giving us an outsider’s perspective on how the world views Canada.

Choose wisely.


Happy Canada Day: fireworks information


So it’s Canada Day.  Hopefully you all have a great day.  If I were back in Kelowna I might make a note about boat safety, since basically all anyone does is drink and then go ride around the lake until the city shoots its fireworks off by the Okanagan bridge.

Of course once again Vancouver is going to have its own fireworks display [cdfw] with fireworks platforms on the water in both West Vancouver and Coal Harbour.  The fireworks start at 10:30 pm and while there’s a ticketed controlled area at Canada Place for watching them you can see them for free at a number of local spots, which I’ve listed below.

Barge 1: West Vancouver Barge

  • West Vancouver Seawall from Ambleside to Dundarave
  • The Stanley Park Seawall, West Side
  • Kitsilano
  • Jericho

Barge 2: Coal Harbour Barge

  • Canada Place – a controlled access point – Tickets are sold through Ticketmaster. Net proceeds go to support the Strathcona Community Centre Food Security for Children Program.
  • Harbour Green Park
  • Stanley Park Seawall, East Side
  • Harbour View Park, North Vancouver
  • Lonsdale Quay
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