Must see January Events in Vancouver

January 6th, 2016

Winter is in full swing here we have had some frost, fog and even some light snow flurries mixing in with the rain, overall though it has not been a wild and stormy winter which we can be accustomed too, this is just as well as we are still an active city and have plenty activities to do for anyone who has decided to visit Vancouver and Whistler this winter. Let us show you the very best events that you should see in January.

DINE OUT VANCOUVER – Jan 15 – 31
Dine out Vancouver is the first major event of the year and has been a massive hit in Vancouver over the last 14 years. Tourism Vancouver presents us with Canada’s yearly largest food and drink festival spanning 17 days. The festival gives diners the opportunity to select from hundreds of restaurants each offering unique three (or more) course prix-fix meals at $20, $30 or $40 per person, many complemented by the Wines of British Columbia, and craft beer or cocktails.

Website: http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/

PUSH INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE ARTS FESTIVAL – January 17 to February 5, 2017
The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is one of Vancouver’s signature events. Produced over three weeks each January, the PuSh Festival presents groundbreaking work in the live performing arts.
The PuSh Festival expands the horizons of Vancouver artists and audiences with work that is visionary, genre-bending, multi-disciplined, startling and original. The Festival showcases acclaimed international, Canadian and local artists and mixes them together with an alchemy that inspires audiences, rejuvenates artists, stimulates the industry and forges productive relationships around the globe.

Website: http://pushfestival.ca/

ART, EAT, SIP at GRANVILLE ISLAND – Jan 20th
Get set for an extraordinary night of art, eating, and drinking on Granville Island. Visit resident artists, local producers of beer and spirits, and taste dishes from some of Granville Island’s finest restaurants, breweries, and distilleries. Following your “passport” as your guide, you will enjoy dishes, bites, sips, as well as have a chance to meet the artists, chefs, tour breweries, a distillery, and more.

Website: www.vancouverfoodster.com
Granville Island Website: http://granvilleisland.com/

Winter Solstice and Christmas in Vancouver

December 22nd, 2015

December 21st is the shortest day of the year which marks the Winter Solstice, this means it is the peak of the long dark nights in the northern hemisphere and in a few weeks time the longer days will be noticeable and celebrated.

It is also Christmas day on Friday and it is going to be a special one as we have the rare event of a Full Moon dazzling the night skies for the first time since 1977, the next Christmas full moon will be way into the future in the year 2034!

There are still many events to look forward too during the Christmas week – here are some highlights we feel you and the families will all enjoy!

Flyover Canada at CANADA PLACE
Fly over Canada has transformed itself into a Christmas Winter wonderland and continues to wow the masses with their 20 minute experience including a visit to the North Pole where we visit Santa himself. It is just as well too as you will be helping Santa with a problem as his Elves are missing, so while you are up there saying hello and enjoying the scenery you will be helping him find his missing elves!

Hours of Operation
Daily 10AM until 9PM
December 24 10AM until 6PM
December 25 Closed
December 26 10AM until 9PM

https://www.flyovercanada.com/tickets/christmas/

Enchanted Nights at the Bloedel Conservatory
Enchanted Nights at the Bloedel Conservatory starts at 4:30 every day (save Christmas Day) until January 3rd. Here you will visit an enchanted Forest wonderland that is home to magical Sprites and Fairies. You will be walking through gorgeous Art installations of Jelly Fish and Dragons – this will be spectacular and sure to fire up anyones imagination!

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bloedel-conservatory.aspx

Vancouver Christmas Market – open until Christmas Eve
The Vancouver Christmas Market has become known as one of British Columbia’s most delightful holiday attractions. The much-anticipated event is a magical outdoor experience, featuring more than 50 traditional wooden huts decorated with thousands of twinkling lights, all showcasing an assortment of vendors selling authentic food, handcrafted decorations, sweets and gifts.

http://vancouverchristmasmarket.com/

We hope you all have a great holiday season and a prosperous new year!

Snowbus is now running excursions from Vancouver to Whistler

December 10th, 2015

Courtesy of Westcoast sightseeing and Big bus tours we welcome the return of the Snowbus for the Whistler winter season of 2015/2016. This runs until March 28th 2016

You can book tours with us at the Front desk so you can make the most of your stay by visiting the winter wonderland that is Whistler. Snowbus offers round trips and one way excursions with packages available to add on if you wish to ski the fantastic hills of Whistler Blackcomb.

So far the season has not disappointed. In Vancouver we are experiencing a succession of relentless rainstorms and mild temperatures, however, the same cannot be said for Whistler as this has been generally a pure snow storm event, as we write this blog there is around 153cm of Snow at the base and summit with more predicted to come with a drop in temperatures which is fantastic news.

Our closest stop to the Sunset inn and suites is at the Comfort Inn hotel on 654 Nelson Street – it is the same corner as Doolins Irish bar on the corner of Granville St.
Pick up times: Comfort Inn Downtown, Vancouver 6:30am & 1:45pm & 5:45pm (Fri Only)

Website: https://snowbus.com/

Christmas season at the Vancouver Aquarium

November 26th, 2015

The Vancouver Aquarium will be open all through the festive season and Santa will be taking a dip among the marine life as he travels the globe throughout December. Here are the events at the aquarium between now and January 3rd.

SCUBA CLAUS!
Did you know that Santa is quite an excellent swimmer? If you didn’t you do now and you can witness this firsthand at the aquarium. You will get an excellent chance to wave hello to Santa as he makes his annual visit to Vancouver – you can watch him take his daily dive among the gorgeous Beluga Whales and other aquatic friends.

CHRISTMAS TREE POWERED BY ELECTRIC EELS.
How cool is this – the aquarium came up with this genius idea that puts the Electric Eels to work albeit in a festive mood – these are remarkable animals and of course it is all in the name, these Eels have the ability to produce electricity, the power they can create can be up to 600 volts of electricity! Ouch.
Fear not – these Eels want you to enjoy the season just as much as they do and they will harness their power to light up the Christmas tree – making this a must see unique holiday display.

THE POLAR EXPRESS 4-D EXPERIENCE.
If you have never experienced 4-D now is your moment at the Aquarium. This has been a staple over the last 10 years and has wowed the audiences that visit the aquarium. If you are a thrill seeker then this is a must for you, so hop on and enjoy this incredible ride – you will feel the rumble of the train, be among magical falling snow with the scent of hot chocolate making this feel very festive indeed!
Experience the Youtube trailer here:dmO-4wXgB9Y

CANADA’S ARCTIC GALLERY.
Time to bundle up and visit the the far north of Canada albeit under water in the frigid waters of the Arctic. The tour will highlight what the exhibits and inhabitants of this world, you may have a chance encounter with the feeding animals, you can test your cold tolerance and experience the freezing temperatures of these chilly waters. Tours are daily.

BECOME AN ANIMAL TRAINER!
If you are a true animal lover then this is the job for you! Put on those rubber boots, grab yourself a bucket filled with yummy fish and you are ready for a fantastic animal encounter. You will be up close and personal with beluga whales, dolphins, Sea lions and Sea otters.

For further information on the Vancouver Aquarium click here: http://www.vanaqua.org/

Cypress Mountain opens Friday! Grouse and Seymour opening soon…

November 19th, 2015

It has been a wild, wet and stormy in the Pacific Northwest with many of us feeling a wee bit miserable at what has been a very soggy and dark week. This weather is really not all doom and gloom at all, as at this time of year if the wet stuff is falling on our heads down here in the city, well then there is a good chance it is falling as Snow up on the northshore mountains overlooking Vancouver, in fact the Weather systems have provided the mountaintops with an above average dump of the white stuff so early on in the season.

Cypress Mountain due to open on Friday November 20th 2015
Last year we were hoping for a great season for skiing which ended up being one of the worst in memory, November was promising in 2014 but as the season transitioned from Autumn to Winter it became unusually dry and mild, so come February even the Snow makers on the Ski hills could not operate due to the balmy conditions, the temperatures and prolonged dry spells were more akin to Spring conditions we are more familiar with during March.

We are only midway through November 2015 and we have had more than a promising start as accumulating snow has arrived in abundance – so much so that some resorts in the interior of BC are open for business, check out Big White http://www.bigwhite.com/geo/van/ in Kelowna which opened last weekend, and at the time of writing has already 118cm of Snow at its base.

Cypress Mountain is planning to open a few of its runs in a couple of days time, at the moment there is 45cm of Snow at the base, the snowy conditions did briefly turn to rain, however, it does look like a building high pressure ridge is going to form, this will encourage cool, crisp conditions which will be perfect for the Snow making machines to be running so Skiing conditions will be great for the public.

Cypress Coach lines – West end pick up.
You can take transportation up to Cypress mountain via the Cypress coach lines shuttle – the location is a little under a 5 minute walk from the Sunset Inn hotel at the North-West corner of Davie and Thurlow Street (across from Starbucks). View the map here: https://www.google.ca/maps?q=Davie+street+at+Thurlow&hl=en&ll=49.28056,-123.130935&spn=0.001816,0.00327&hnear=Davie+St+%26+Thurlow+St,+Vancouver,+Greater+Vancouver,+British+Columbia&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=49.280417,-123.131234&panoid=S0dLdm-cmFwBEkfHek3Zww&cbp=12,44.84,,0,0

Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour should be opening hot on the heels of Cypress mountain – please keep checking their websites for updates.

Grouse Mountain: https://www.grousemountain.com/
Mount Seymour: http://mountseymour.com/

Big Bus Hop on Hop off Winter Hours & Vantage Whistler Winter tours

October 28th, 2015

The BIG BUS Hop on, Hop off sightseeing tours have officially switched to their Winter hours and routes as of mid October 2015.

The frequency of these tours will be every 60 minutes every day with the first buses leaving at 9.15am and the final routes at 3.15pm. The closest stop to the Sunset Inn and Suites will be on Burrard Street outside the Century Plaza hotel pick up stop #16. The first Bus arrives at this stop at 10.16am.

Rain or shine Big Bus have a great reputation for an easy no fuss tour that enables you to see the very best of Vancouver and you will be fed plenty of information about Vancouver. Tickets can be purchased directly at the Hotel with payment by credit Card only.

About Big Bus Hop on Hop off
The Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Pass is a fun and flexible way to see the best of Vancouver! Check out their Live Bus Map to find a stop near you. http://westcoastsightseeing.com/live-bus-map/ Our buses are equipped with GPS so you know exactly where we are in the city!

Cruise and choose from over 20 stops at world-class attractions. Enjoy a birds-eye view of Vancouver at your own pace, complete with one-of-a-kind commentary.

Included with your Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Pass:
Mix it up! Choose from over 20 stops to create your adventure
Free one-way ferry ride to the public market, galleries and colourful culture of Granville Island
As many as 7 stops in Stanley Park, voted the best urban park in the world
World-class commentary in English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin
Vancouver’s only company with convertible, clear-top bus covers for stunning views rain or shine

For further information on their city tours click here: https://westcoastsightseeing.com/hop-on-hop-off/

VANTAGE WHISTLER TOURS
With the Winter season soon knocking on our doors it is time to look north and towards Whistler – Canada’s premier Ski resort – one of the best ways to enjoy Whistler and this Winter wonderland is by using Vantage Whistler tours!

Vantage Whistler offers daily sightseeing tours from Vancouver to Whistler. We provide hotel service, pick up and drop off at your downtown location. Experience 6 stops on our tour, which include Prospect Point in Stanley Park, Cypress Mountain, Porteau Cove, Shannon Falls, Brandywine Falls, and Whistler Village. Spend over 4 hours of free time exploring Whistler which is full of great attractions. The tours are commentated and include complimentary snacks and drinks. And if it happens to rain on the day of your tour, we also provide you with an umbrella. The duration of the round trip tour is approximately 11 hours, starting at 8:00am in Vancouver and returning by 7:00pm. We provide all tours using Mercedes-Benz Sprinters. We also keep the tour groups to a maximum of 11 guests per bus, offering a more private tour experience.

Website: http://www.vantagewhistler.com/

The Fall & Winter hours of 3 must see Vancouver attractions.

October 15th, 2015

As the season transitions through Fall into the Winter hours many major attractions will be changing their schedules in line with the changing of daylight hours and volume of tourism traffic.

GROUSE MOUNTAIN
Many of the attractions at Grouse Mountain have closed for the season due to weather conditions, however, there are still activities that will be carrying on until the resort changes for the Winter season and hopefully the snows will return for the ski season.
A few of the regular attractions such as the Sky Ride 8:45am-10:00pm, Theatre in the sky 9:30am-9:00pm and the Eye of the Wind (Wind Turbine) Guided Tours 11:00am-3:00pm – are all still in operation.

Click on the following link to see what the Seasonal Activities are in operation and you can also see the schedule for the upcoming Winter Season. https://www.grousemountain.com/current_conditions#activities-guide

CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE
Capilano Fall/Winter hours are as follows:
October 13 – November 26 9:00am – 5:00pm
November 27 – January 3 -(Closed Christmas Day – Dec 25) 11:00am – 9:00pm
– to find out Winter hours for 2016 keep checking the Capilano website and follow our Facebook page and blogs for future information.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vancouver, British Columbia. The reason is simple, there are so many things to see and do.

The Canyon Lights will begin on from November 27, 2015 through to Sunday, January 3, 2016. (Closed Christmas Day – December 25th). Park hours are 11:00am – 9:00pm. Canyon Lights tickets are valid all day with holiday activities beginning at 4:00pm.
Celebrate Canyon Lights November 27, 2015 to January 3, 2016. Re-capture the feeling of wonder and excitement of the holiday season and be amazed by the hundreds of thousands of lights throughout the park. The suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, the rainforest and canyon are transformed into a world of festive lights and visual enchantment. See the world’s tallest living Christmas tree (153 feet tall!), go on a Snowy Owl Prowl, decorate gingerbread cookies and make your own Christmas card in the Winter Pavilion, and sing-along with the holiday band.

Website: http://www.capbridge.com/

GRANVILLE ISLAND & PUBLIC MARKET
During the actual Winter – the Granville Island Public Market will be closed on Mondays – the actual date this begins is still to be confirmed. The current hours through fall are as follows.

Granville Island Public Market Hours: Open 7 days a week: 9am – 7pm
Browse the aisles and sample local and exotic flavours from the very best farmers, bakers, butchers and fishmongers. All fresh. All the time. There’s crafts galore and buskers too. Plus a waterfront courtyard for people-watching.
Website: http://granvilleisland.com/public-market

Net Loft – Open 7 days a week: 10am – 7pm
The Net-Loft has a selection of Stores, shops and crafts – plus eateries for you to enjoy – click here for the full business directory http://granvilleisland.com/directory-location/directory-location/net-loft

Kids Market Hours: Open 7 days a week: 10am – 6pm
A wee hidden gem in the heart of Granville Island – The Kids Market is located next to the pond at the entrance to Granville Island and has over 25 shops, services and activities for children and their families.
The Kids Market is housed in an old factory which is over 100 years old, two annex buildings and a train caboose. Shop and play indoors or enjoy the patio and play area beside the pond! Splash around in the water park that is right next door!
Website: http://www.kidsmarket.ca/#welcome

The Public Market and Net Loft will be keeping regular hours on Remebrance Day, Wednesday, November 11, 2015.

Vancouver Brewery Tours

October 7th, 2015

Do you like craft beer? Do you like to wander around the city while stopping by some great bars for an outstanding beer but have no idea where to find them – well worry no more as Vancouver Brewery tours are here to help you out!

Founded in 2013 Vancouver Brewery tours recognise that Vancouver is in the midst of a fantastic Craft Beer explosion and they want you to see and experience the very best craft beer establishments in downtown Vancouver. Their mission is for you the consumer to help support the smaller local craft brewers and to taste specialty beers that you will only find in these little gems. The community is growing ever stronger as the months and years go by and they are really helping to put Vancouver on the map as one of the top tourist destinations in this market.

What tours are on offer?
Vancouver Brewery Tours offers you two choices for tours, weekly Public Tours and by request Private Group Tours.

Public Tours
Public tours are offered year round, run every week from Tuesday to Sunday, and are the best way to experience Vancouver’s craft beer scene. Whether you’re a thirsty local or a curious visitor to our beautiful city, we’ve got a tour for you! Public tours book up quickly so reserve your spot early.

Public Tours are offered year round at the following times:
Tuesday 4:00pm to 8:00pm
Thursday 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Friday 2:00 pm to 5:00pm
Saturday 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Leave the keys at home and the driving to us! We’ll meet you at Waterfront Station, conveniently located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, where you’ll embark on a brewery tour journey you won’t forget that includes the following:

3 brewery visits in 3 or 4 hours
Pick up, drop off and transportation to and from the breweries
Enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guides
Behind the scenes brewery tours
VIP seating and entrance
From grain to glass: an introduction to the brewing process
A Vancouver Brewery Tours souvenir pint glass
And PLENTY of craft beer samples at each stop
Learn more about Public Tours including which breweries are scheduled for each day here.

Private Group Tours
Private brewery tours are perfect for groups looking to reserve the entire van for private functions. From birthday parties, bachelor/bachelorette parties, corporate and client appreciation events, we specialize in hosting custom, fun and memorable tours for any occasion. With up to 28 seats available and two 2 brewery tour vans, leave the details to Vancouver’s brewery tour specialists and call us today.

The Breweries that Vancouver brewery tours use: http://vancouverbrewerytours.com/Breweries.aspx

Blogpage: http://vancouverbrewerytours.com/Home/News.aspx

Queen Elizabeth Park is 75 years old!

September 2nd, 2015


Come celebrate Queen Elizabeth Park’s 75th year. Take in a free concert, enjoy our licensed area, free pitch and putt, free admission at the Bloedel Conservatory, $5.00 zipline rides, food trucks, family fun, and much more!

Queen Elizabeth Park
The park itself is located right in the middle of Vancouver and is one of the highest points of the city – the location is affectionately known as ‘Little Mountain’.
Some of the gardens are found to be a in a sunken hollow – this is actually the remnant scarring as the land was once used as a quarry, the rocks that were taken were used to lay down the new road systems for the growing city of Vancouver at the time.

The idea was to transform the ugly scarring of the Quarry into sunken gardens on top of the hill, the growth of plants that had become quite overgrown and not a very good sight to the eye was also transformed to create a larger park for the public to enjoy. The site had been turned over to the Vancouver Park Board for park and recreation purposes, and was dedicated as such by King George VI and his consort, Queen Elizabeth (the mother of Queen Elizabeth II) on their much lauded visit to Vancouver in 1939, as King and Queen of Canada.

Happy 75th Birthday QE
As this is a very big birthday there will be some great events and activities happening in celebration.

Live Music Stage schedule
Beginning at 12:00 noon to 12:30pm with Opening Speeches

12:30pm to 1:30pm Pop Junkies
1:45pm to 2:45pm Hot Panda
3:00pm to 4:15pm Patrick Nazemi
4:30pm to 5:30pm The Zolas
5:45pm to 7:00pm Delhi 2 Dublin

At 2:00pm, 3:30pm, and 5:00pm there will be an aerial show by CircusWest at the fountain plaza.

All day activities from 12:00 noon to 7:00pm with the Stanley Park Brewing licensed area.
$5.00 zipline rides
Free pitch & putt
Free admission at the Bloedel Conservatory
Face painting at the fountain plaza
Photo booth at the fountain plaza
Pickleball at the tennis courts
Free drop-in at the QE lawn bowling club

City of Vancouver QEP: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/queen-elizabeth-park.aspx

Urban Wildlife in Vancouver

August 15th, 2015

Vancouver is highly rated as one of the most stunning cities in the world to visit and it is very hard not to see why. The city is situated in a temperate rainforest that encompasses much of the Pacific Northwest and is greeted by vigorous weather systems that barrel in from the massive Pacific Ocean for 9 months of the year. Due to this and the large mountains that greet the weather Vancouver and Vancouver Island is an area that has incredible dense forests and amazing fauna that is home to some incredible wildlife.

Nature in the city – meet your fellow neighbours!
It is not unusual for a guest to come in from sightseeing and being quite surprised and astonished at some of the animals that they have just spotted in the city – to many of us it is just a normal every day occurrence, however, we really do appreciate and love the diversity of the local flora and fauna that makes up the fabric of the city. So let us introduce to you the local wildlife of Vancouver.

Skunks, Raccoons and Squirrels
These animals are everywhere and are easily spotted all year round but more especially in the Summer months and after nightfall – however, if these creatures are hungry enough you will catch them in the daytime too. It is likely you will see a skunk more regularly than a Raccoon and when you do you will probably see a few as they tend to wander around with their young.
We do not advise that you feed these animals, they are cute but there is always the possibility that they may bite and Skunks are famous for spraying an oily substance that smells like an awful strong stench of Sulphur and marijuana – not a great smell. They are harmless overall though, so if you wish to have a peak of them you can do so but give them their space as they go on their merry way.

There are so many Squirrels here it seems unreal, you will always catch them scurrying around the streets and up the trees – they are pretty tame overall and have really worked out how to live in harmony in the city.

Bald Eagles, Crows and Herons
These birds are by far the most noticeable of all the animals in the city all year round – the Bald Eagles are certainly more noticeable in the Spring and Summer months due to the Fledgling season where they have many options to hunt for food and this can easily be seen when you are out and about in the city. One of the signs that there is a bald eagle not too far above you is when you hear the Seagulls and Crows crying out a warning cry to each other as they are fearlessly protecting their young from being prey, if you hear this commotion look up – it is almost guaranteed that a large bald eagle or other type of Bird of Prey is about to swoop down and feed itself and its own chicks.

Crows are everywhere in Vancouver and they are one of the most respected and revered creatures that many of us have a love hate relationship with. There is a fantastic phenomenon that happens daily in Vancouver which involves thousands of Crows heading to and from their roosting spot in Burnaby. The murder of crows is quite the sight to see and happens at Sunrise and Sunset every day – if you have a keen eye you will spot the spectacular ‘Crow train’.

Check out this Video of the Crows going home: https://youtu.be/IhVdcjyKdSU

The other gorgeously majestic Bird to spot in Vancouver is the Great Blue Heron. The Herons you can find wading in the shallow waters at pretty much any Beach in and around Vancouver and soaring smoothly in the skies above you. For a better sighting of these birds you need to head to Stanley Park near the Tennis courts, here, the Herons have been nesting at this site for quite a few years and there are roughly around 80 nests at top of the trees and the months of April to June are the prime time to catch them rearing their chicks.

For further Animal watching head to the Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park where you can see all the above creatures but lots of Ducks, Canada Geese, Turtles and plenty of people if you like to people watch!

For further information on Vancouver wildlife check these sites out.
Stanley Park Ecological Society http://stanleyparkecology.ca/

Vancouver Aquarium http://www.vanaqua.org/