Archive for the ‘Around Town’ Category

CoV says, "No fire!" – Smokey the Bear says, "RAARRRR!"

Calgary grass fire (April 2009) by IYAcalgary

Calgary grass fire (April 2009) by IYAcalgary

The Vancouver Parks Board has taken a look at all the grass turning brown and made a proclamation; no fire please.

The fire hazard in all city parks has been rated at “extreme”.

As of today, smoking is banned in all parks and trails, and charcoal/wood burning BBQs are right out as well – gas BBQs, which do not produce sparks, ash, or coals, are not mentioned, though it’s not clear if that means they’re ok to use or not.

Also, campfires are a no-no, even on Vancouver beaches.

I’ve never see Vancouver as brown as I have in recent years – a effect I thought I’d left behind on the prairies, but we can’t have a Summer respite from Winter rains AND have green parks. And grass fires suck, so keep it on the concrete, yeah?

The seven-day forecast says nothing by hot and sunny for Vancouver, so this ban will likely be in effect for awhile.

Effective today, the following precautions are now in place:

* No smoking in parks or on trails
* No charcoal or wood burning barbecues
* Stay on trails

Fire hazard signage is in place in Vancouver’s heavily wooded parks — Stanley Park, Everett Crowley Park and Jericho Beach Park — which are especially vulnerable to fires.

Park visitors should take precautions against accidental fires and be alert to signs of fire or smoke:

* Campfires are not permitted at any time in any of Vancouver’s parks or beaches
* Report any signs of smoke or fire by calling 9-1-1 immediately
* Watch for forest fire hazard signs in some parks and additional fire safety information posted in parks and on the Park Board web site


Outdoor Movie Night!

It’s the second annual Yaletown outdoor movie night. Where you get to watch a movie and hang out with friends.

When:  Sunday,  Jul 19th
Where: David Lam Park

It’s being done in conjunction with a community picnic. So the picnic starts from Noon – 4pm and then the movie starts at dusk.  They play the movie on a giant 40’x20′ screen and it’s usually a “secret” classic 80’s movie that they’ll play.

Given the clue they provide “who ya gonna call?”, we can safely guess it’ll be Ghostbusters playing. They suggest bringing along a blanket and flash light.  If it rains it’ll be postponed to the 26th.

Google Labs City Tours

Google Labs has just recently launched city tours and it’s pretty interesting to see what it suggests when you punch in Vancouver.

The system generates a schedule complete with maps and walking times as well as time spent at the various attractions.  Whether you’re a visitor or a local it provides some pretty solid suggestions for everybody.

Depending on the date you select there may or may not be a “tour” set up but it also allows you to play tourguide and input your own.

Free Comic Book Day 2009 – Today, May 2nd!

fcbd2009It’s this day, this year, and you get free comics at your local comic shop. Pretty straight forward, eh?

But seriously – Free Comic Book Day is an annual event, held on the first Saturday of May. Besides being a great way to promote comics and reading, comic shops have individually turned them into mini-conventions, with prizes, costumes, local creators, games, special sales, and even charity work.

While to you it is a day of free comics (check the list!), each store buys these comics. The publishers have discounted them to varying degrees (as gold and silver sponsors) , but the shops still pay for them (and considering they bring in hundreds of books for the event, that can add up), so please check your store’s preferences – most have a limit per person, which you can then exceed by paying a nominal price, making a donation to charity, etc. In fact, some regular customers make it a point to toss them some coin anyhow – what’s a couple of bucks, a fiver, or some cans of soup for a fistful of comics?

Find Your Local Comic Shop

Big shouts out to RX Comics, The Comic Shop, Golden Age, Imperial Hobbies, Lucky’s, and Elfsar, which I’m linking to because a) I have an account there, and b) the sheer volume of stuff they pack into their FCBD is insane – be sure to bring non-perishable offerings for the Vancouver Foodbank.

Springtime means two things…

…allergies and bike tuning.


So, I popped Loratadine for the allergies and took the bike to the local bike shop. Actually, being Vancouver, it turns out there are a lot of shop. Friends I quizzed each have their own favorite, but all shops appearing roughly equal, I ended up taking the bike to Our Community Bikes on Main and 17th – the closest one to my house. It seemed a decent place to check out, not only because it’s close, but because they open their workshop up to the public, helping to teach people bike repair. They also have an amazing amount of serviceable, but previously owned spare parts – so if you’re fixin’ on a budget…

I got my bike repair badge in Scouts, so someplace that had helpful brains to guide me through anything I didn’t fully grok seemed perfect.

This time however, I opted to get them to do the work – the bike in question (see above) is a fantastic, Olypmpic era (as in Montreal) Iverson that’s been sitting in an old shed for 20 years, and tires (not to mention the crazy, hub-enclosed 3 speed gear system) are beyond me at this point. Plus, paying them keeps them afloat – keeping them afloat means continued access to their skills and their programs of training and, for lack of a better term, pedal-empowerment.

Ideally I’d be familiar with several stores and could compare and contrast, so this wouldn’t seem so one-sided, but the fact is, I’ve been hear 10 years, I’ve only just gotten a bike again. But, to be fair – Vancouver is full of shops!

Got one you like? Don’t like? Isn’t on the Google map provided? Then comment!

Meanwhile, I have to go – I got a call today that my bike is ready. I want to try this wacky 3-speed out.

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?

Game Developers opt for Conference in Vancouver

Having just returned from the annual whirlwind that is the Game Developer’s Conference (typically held in either San Francisco or San Jose), I’m ready for a nap, even three days later. But, part of me is looking forward to mid-May, when the GDC comes to Canada. Recent years have seen a lot of shuffling in tradeshow circles, particularly video games, as several large, annual gatherings hustle to attract attendees, and GDC is in like a dirty shirt, splitting itself into the usual US show and adding shows in Austin, Europe, China, and Canada.

The shows, in short, are open to anyone and are designed to facilitate the opportunity to learn various tracks. There are seminars and sessions for artists, programmers, designers, sound engineers, management, business devleopment, and so on and so on. Shows are often an eclectic mix of established developers and publishers, along with students looking to make contacts and learn some things their curriculum won’t cover.

Right now, there doesn’t seem to be a basic expo pass, something that just allows people to wander the show floor, talk to companies, and see a few things they’re working on. However, the pricing, particularly the early pricing, for the fuller access passes is quite good. It’s still a ways off, but as mentioned, the pricing is better for early birds than waiting until we get to May.

This is a bit of an experiment – there hasn’t been a GDC Canada before, but it’s long overdue.

Fireworks saved by food.

After it looked like the end of the road for Vancouver’s better-than-the-rest-of-the-world fireworks display, The Celebration of Fire Lights Festival, The Keg has stepped in to save the day. Details aren’t known, but apparently the old sponsors have signed back on as well, making it look a lot like they were previously willing to pay some, but not all of the pricetag, and the addition of The Keg’s support made it more feasible for all sponsors. So, get out your beach blanket, and fire up the police helicopters, the fireworks will be back this August!

Ever had lunch on the City Hall lawn?

Yeah, me either.

And yet Mayor Gregor Robertson is in trouble for proposing to turn some of the municipal HQ’s lawn space, which is currently lined up for improvement, into a community garden.

It might be just me, but isn’t turning it into a garden an improvement, and a good one at that? And also, it seems a little hair-up-the-nose to pick a procedural slapfight over a chunk of land none of us have ever really considered let alone enjoyed.

Photo by Dave Ho

Photo by Dave Ho

Coming on the thematic heels of Herb’s recent post, in a town filled with community gardens, isn’t it a good idea to promote the idea on the most high profile lawn around? And do we really want the mayor spending even a half hour debating this in council session, all things considered? Which is to say, isn’t this a non-issue?

Great places for local produce

BC Hot Hothouse Pepper

Photo Courtesy of BC Hot House

One of my most favorite places to get local produce is the Two E’s Farm at 16411 Fraser Hwy in Surrey. They grow a lot of their own organic fruits and vegetables. More importantly, they try to keep all of their food local whenever possible.  They’re the only place that I know of that actually tells you where the food came from, which is a big plus. They have their own farm on site, so a lot of the staples people eat (broccoli, Green Onions, Lettuce) are grown there as well. Tried Kale from Two E’s for the first time last year… very sharp flavour.

Did I mention that they don’t charge you an arm and a leg for their food? Yes, even the organic stuff.

Great produce, and great value… but make sure you pack your paid for produce in their bags… otherwise they’ll think you didn’t pay for them when you go outside. Also, no Credit Cards Either.

If you know of any other places around Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley to get reasonably priced, high quality food, leave a comment. Currently, I’m looking for both an egg supplier, beef and milk source. Sometimes Safeway and the regular chain stores  can get quite expensive.

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