Tag Archives: Vancouver

HIGH END AUDIO ENTERTAINMENT; SEE IT AND HEAR IT TO BELIEVE IT!

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Vancouver, BC, June 3rd, 2016 – The Vancouver Audio Show 2016 returns to the Hilton Metrotown Hotel, from 24th – 26th June 2016

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Listen to a superb selection of the world’s best HiFi & AV systems all in one location, and each one within an individual listening Suite. Sit down, relax and enjoy the music. Checkout the latest gear in the market today and meet top professionals from within the industry for top quality advice on your next HiFi/AV purchase.

 

At the show you can check out a wide selection of brands such as SONY, Astell&Kern, Atoll électroniquie, Audio Note UK, Bluesound, audioquest, Burmester, Denon, Clearaudio, Devialet, Focal, JVC, Hegal, Magico, NAD, Nordost, Meridian, Martin Logan, Marantz, QNAP, plus many, many more. Be sure to enjoy each room and spend some time chatting with the experts on hand. Expect to see and hear a selection of North American and West Coast audio show debuts over the event weekend, along with some excellent demonstrations full of expert advice.

 

Listen to the brand new Magico S5 MKII Loudspeaker, launched at the show by Liquid Sounds


Don’t miss
the Canadian Debut of Sony’s Hi Res USB turntable which Redefines the Turntable Category by Introducing Hi-Res Audio Capability

 

Element Acoustics present the legendary Burmester 909 power amplifier for the first time at a Canadian show.

 

Learn about Hi Resolution audio and Meridian’s ability to decode and playback MQA files. Meridian, the supporting partner of Element Acoustics, will be running several sessions each day each followed with a Q&A.

 

Experience the Search for Trova: An Audio Alchemist’s Trek to Cuba’. A presentation following three audiophiles and recording enthusiasts that set out for Santa Clara, Cuba in December 2015 will show pictures and video clips from the test recording process at the cathedral and EGREM, plus audio clips of the product ready to go to mastering prior to final release as a HD download interspersed with commentary from the creators.

The home-enthusiast recordist still exists with the help of small, very high quality digital multi-track recorders and many more microphone manufacturers than previously existed. These machines give sonic results we could never have dreamt of in the old reel-to-reel world.” — Lee Lockwood, Lone Oak Audio.

 

The high end audio gear blew me away, I never knew music could sound this good

— Michael from Burnaby, BC

 

I was able to hear about 20 different systems at the show helping me to understand my desired setup!

— Nigel from West Vancouver, BC

 

Amazing to see (and hear!) all this great hifi in one place. I want it all!

— Ryan from Vancouver, BC

 

Enjoy an unforgettable audio experience with 20+ demo rooms, top headphone brands, a huge selection competitions and all the music you can imagine. It’s all at the Vancouver Audio Show 2016.

 

How to Sponsor a Relative

As part of Citizenship Week 2014, the Honourable Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Multiculturalism), and new Canadian citizens sing the national anthem at Rogers Arena, home of the Vancouver Canucks — Vancouver, British Columbia

 

As part of Citizenship Week 2014, the Honourable Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Multiculturalism), and new Canadian citizens sing the national anthem at Rogers Arena, home of the Vancouver Canucks — Vancouver, British Columbia

테스트….As part of Citizenship Week 2014, the Honourable Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Multiculturalism), and new Canadian citizens sing the national anthem at Rogers Arena, home of the Vancouver Canucks — Vancouver, British Columbia

 

Canada’s family sponsorship program was on hold from 2011 to 2014. But in 2015 Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Canada opens new ways to reunite families.
By Victor Ing, Asian Pacific Post
Canada has a long tradition of promoting family reunification in Canada.
In fact, it is an express objective of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to see that all families are reunited in Canada.
Tens of thousands of sponsored family members are admitted to come to Canada every year as permanent residents. While the majority of family members admitted are spouses and partners, the second largest category of admitted family members are the parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
In the fall of 2011 the Parent and Grandparent (PGP) family sponsorship program was temporarily put on hold to allow Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to re-evaluate the program and to process the significant backlog of applications that had accumulated.
In 2013 CIC announced that the temporary hold on the PGP program was going to be lifted. The PGP program was set to be reopened on January 2, 2014 but with a significant number of new changes introduced. The most important change announced was that CIC would only accept a maximum of 5,000 new applications for processing in 2014.
Furthermore, to ensure that sponsored parents and grandparents would be better cared for after arriving in Canada, CIC also announced that it was making a 30 percent increase to the minimum income levels that sponsors would need to demonstrate in order to successfully sponsor a parent or a grandparent to Canada.
As a result of these program changes, sponsors are now required to provide their Canada Revenue Agency tax return notice of assessments for the past three years as proof of their income. As expected, there was no shortage of new applications when the PGP program was reopened for business on January 2, 2014. The 5,000 application cap limit was reached in less than one month. By February 3, 2014, CIC had released a public statement announcing that the cap had been reached and that the PGP program would be reopened to new applications in January 2015.
With the PGP program set to reopen for new applications in January 2015, prospective sponsors and applicants alike should begin preparing their applications now or seeking advice from a third-party representative if they have not already done so. While the exact date the program is reopening is not yet known there are a number of steps and factors to keep in mind that will improve your chances of making a successful application for 2015, including the following:
• To improve your chances of being placed into the queue for processing in 2015 PGP applicants should ensure that their complete applications are received at the CIC office on the same day that the program is formally reopened.
• A complete application will include the appropriate fee payment, a complete set of validated forms with original signatures and all of the supporting documents required to accompany the application.
• Ensure that the application forms you complete are the latest versions available on the CIC website. An application package with outdated forms is not considered a complete application package that will be placed in the queue for processing.
• The application fees for your application package may not be processed for months after its submission. If you are paying the applications fees using your credit card, ensure that your credit card is valid for at least 9 months from the date of the submission of your application.
• Ensure that the sponsor provides the past three years of his or her Canada Revenue Agency tax return notice of assessments to be included in the complete application package.
The cap for the PGP program is sure to fill up very quickly again for 2015 as it did this year. With January 2015 being only a few months away, you should not delay any further in making your preparations to file your application.
Victor Ing is a lawyer with Miller Thomson in Vancouver, BC. He provides a full range of immigration services. For more information go to www.canadian-visa-lawyer.com or email ving@millerthomson.com.

Vancouver’s Hidden Children

Nassim Elbardouh, a teacher at Britannia Secondary School, sits on the BC Teachers’ Federation’s Committee for Action on Social Justice which developed a draft ‘sanctuary schools’ policy this year. Photo: David P. Ball.

 

Vancouver School

 

Many undocumented families, fearing deportation, don’t enrol kids in school.

 

By David P. Ball, TheTyee.ca

 

Written on a wall in Pedro’s soon-to-be-demolished, cramped Vancouver apartment are words:

 

“I want water.” “Can I go to the washroom?”

 

This, for Pedro’s two oldest children, is the closest they will get to a classroom. Pedro and his wife say that when they tried to register the kids in Vancouver schools, they were asked to produce proof they were in Canada legally. But Pedro and his wife are not.

 

So, using erasable markers and letter-and-number props from the Dollar Store, Pedro writes English phrases on the wall for the children to learn. When he leaves every day to work for under-the-table pay on construction sites, his wife continues the lessons even though she doesn’t speak English.

 

The couple had their first two children after they moved to B.C. in 2007 from Tequila, Mexico. That means the children, ages five and six, are Canadian citizens even if their parents are here without status.

 

“Even though my children were born here and are Canadians,” Pedro tells The Tyee in an exclusive interview, “all the different people I talked to when I called different schools, and went in person, said it was necessary to prove my own immigration status when we tried to register for schools here.”

 

The non-status couple have since had another son and daughter; a fifth is due next January. But things haven’t panned out as they hoped here, a land of opportunity and stability compared to low wages and high unemployment back home.

 

“It wasn’t safe for them there,” he says, “And even working full-time, it’s not enough money to make a livelihood for all the kids.”

 
BC teachers union drafts ‘sanctuary schools’ policy

 

Pedro and his family are among thousands of migrants without legal status likely living in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. They are targets of federal Conservatives tightening immigration laws and cracking down on “illegals.”

 

But critics say the new laws are just driving people like Pedro further underground. And, like their parents, Pedro’s children live in a state of “legal limbo,” as one immigration lawyer told The Tyee.

 

Education is just one front in a daily battle for non-status immigrants to access services most of us take for granted, but which also include health care, public transit, and safe work.

 

As such parents try to access education for their children, The Tyee has learned that the B.C. Teachers’ Federation has passed a province-wide draft “sanctuary schools” policy — one that Vancouver’s school district is examining closely.

 

The policy runs separate but parallel to City of Vancouver’s interest in enacting a “sanctuary city” policy to ensure undocumented residents can access municipal services without fear of deportation.

 

“I try to teach my children different things at home, but my children are missing a lot,” Pedro admits of his teaching attempts. “I see other children my kids’ age, some of them already know how to write, how to read and other things—but my children are falling behind.
“It’s been very frustrating… In our Hispanic community, I’ve met many other people who are in the same situation.”

 

Unable to afford the bills in Surrey, Pedro’s construction boss offered him a free two-bedroom apartment in a building the company is demolishing next month. The catch: one room is full of tools and equipment, the stove breaks frequently, and hazards like natural gas ruptures are frequent. Four kids and two parents sleep on the floor in the remaining bedroom.

 

Nassim Elbardouh, a teacher at Britannia Secondary School, sits on the BC Teachers’ Federation’s Committee for Action on Social Justice which developed a draft ‘sanctuary schools’ policy this year. Photo: David P. Ball.

Nassim Elbardouh, a teacher at Britannia Secondary School, sits on the BC Teachers’ Federation’s Committee for Action on Social Justice which developed a draft ‘sanctuary schools’ policy this year. Photo: David P. Ball.

 

 For students, proof of residency all that’s needed

 

Even though school district officials told The Tyee that only residency—not citizenship—are required to enrol in public education, even some Canadian citizens face demands of their status.

 

Surrey resident Ana David Emery, a Canadian of Caribbean origin, told The Tyee she has on multiple occasions been asked to produce proof of her citizenship when trying to enrol her Canadian-born children in schools—both in Surrey and in her former city, Langley.

 

“We said, ‘We have the birth certificates of our children—it’s not us parents applying for school, so what’s the issue here?’” she recalled. “Nobody in those school districts could explain why it was a requirement for us to show our citizenship papers.

 

“So we refused to show them because they had no basis to ask for that request. We offered our water and hydro bills—we are in the catchment area, we had our proof of that.”

 

Wayne Wong is the Vancouver School District’s Principal for English Language Learning and Student Placement. He expressed surprise that people like David Emery or Pedro, with Canadian citizen children, would have been ordered to prove their own status.

 

What schools require, he said, is documents showing that they live in the appropriate neighbourhood to attend a particular school, known as the catchment area.

 

“It shouldn’t need more than proof of residence in the catchment area,” he told The Tyee in a phone interview. “We would just need alternative documentation to see if they can prove that they have been maintaining residence here and are here to stay.

 

“In order for student to access publicly funded education, their immigration status is relevant—but it is not the sole indicator of whether they are able to get free public education.”

 

After the BCTF’s executive passed its sanctuary schools draft policy several months ago, Wong said he and his higher-ups received copies and so far interest has been high. The district’s superintendent also received a copy, but was away on holidays at press time; unnamed sources close to the draft said the district has expressed initial support for passing a similar policy following the union’s which states “that the BCTF encourage locals to work with school boards to adopt a ‘sanctuary school’ policy.”

 

Schools don’t talk to border services: Wong

 

Wong said he has encountered only a “few” cases of undocumented families seeking schooling for their children, and that requests would be reviewed “case-by-base.”

 
But he said that with proof of long-term residence — and an intent to remain here — parents’ status shouldn’t be a barrier. Pedro alleged one school principal seemed supportive and sympathetic, but kept copies of his passport, heightening his anxieties about being turned over to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

 

“We do not send this information to Border Services,” Wong insists, emphatically.

 

“If somebody just leaves their kids here because they’re Canadian citizens, they’d need to access it through the international program,” he explained. “But if the parents are living here for several years and can prove it, they can come through us.

 
“You’d just need to show proof you’ve been living here for some time. If we can see documentation that you’re residing here, we would probably look at that as proof of maintaining ordinary residence here.”

 

Wong has reviewed the draft BCTF policy, and said the matter is up to “a higher level” — the superintendent and the trustees.

 

“We need to have a little more time to look it over,” he said. “But in general, I don’t have anything against it.

 

“I don’t have anything against a sanctuary city. Kids should be in school. Education is important; it’s not just for some, it’s for all students.”

 

One member of the BCTF committee that wrote the draft sanctuary schools policy is Britannia Secondary teacher Nassim Elbardouh, who this fall is moving to Sir William Macdonald Elementary School (pending a resolution to the current teachers’ strike).

 

Before agreeing to an interview with The Tyee, she emphasized she doesn’t speak on behalf of her union, but simply as a teacher and member of its Committee for Action on Social Justice.

 

“I’ve spoken with families whose children are unable to be registered in the school system because the parents can’t provide a Social Insurance Number or a passport,” she said. “Even if they’re not turned away at the door, by not having a policy that explicitly states, ‘You’re welcome’ to families living in fear of deportation, what we’re doing is creating a climate of fear that makes people too afraid to come and try to enrol their children in school.”

 

‘You can’t learn if you don’t feel safe’

 

In her own experience as an educator, she said it would be hard to tell if a student had precarious immigration status. But the family of one student, she recalls, was applying for refugee status, and “dealing with a really complex bureaucracy,” leading them to fear deportation at any moment.

 

“It’s often really difficult to understand, particularly if English is not your first language and you’re living with the fear of deportation,” she said, “of never knowing whether or not you’re going to be able to stay, if you’re going to be there for the next school year.”

 

Elbardouh cites academic studies concluding “that you can’t learn if you don’t feel safe,” which she says is precisely why many B.C. schools offer hot lunch or breakfast programs for those in poverty, and settlement support services to refugees and immigrants.

 

Vancouver school district has an “Educational Opportunities Policy” that states that schools won’t discriminate based on ethnicity, gender, economic means or other barriers.

 

When people really think about it, it does not make sense that… we would create the conditions that make it unsafe for certain groups of people to access the school system,” she argues. “Why would teachers be in a role where we have to determine someone’s immigration status before we teach them?

 

“Our jobs as teachers and administrators are to teach, not to be immigration authorities. We’re not border guards.”

 

‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ in schools

 

In 2007, Toronto District School Board passed its own policy, labelled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It was the first educational authority in Canada to do so.

 

The change came after intensive lobbying by advocates and members of the public outraged that CBSA had detained two minors from their school, as immigration lawyer Laura Best described, “to smoke out their parents” who lacked citizenship status in Canada.

 

Facing an outcry that children were being used as pawns in Canada’s immigration enforcement, Toronto schools passed a policy that students of any citizenship status could attend classes without fearing being reported to CBSA.

 

But Elbardouh, who has studied the Toronto policy closely, warns that since its passing, the policy has been poorly publicized, and impossible to find online. That means the message of safety is muted for nervous families—something crucial for B.C. schools to avoid in adopting similar policies, she said.

 

‘I have no Plan B’: immigrant

 

Back in Tequila, Pedro was a musician in a band playing musica norteña, a central- and northern-Mexican traditional music featuring accordions, bass guitars and singing. A construction co-worker lent him his guitar and sometimes he plays it for the children.

 

When he’s at work, he lives constantly fearful of an immigration raid. If he is caught, he admits, “I have no Plan B.” Another undocumented worker in a different construction site, who also requested anonymity, told The Tyee a CBSA raid forced her to plunge into a rooftop water tank, where she hid in frigid water for more than an hour despite her asthma, as authorities searched for her in vain.

 

Pedro understands his status is precarious here, but massive immigration backlogs mean following the “legitimate” process were simply not possible for his family. But he asks: Should the children, however, be punished for their parents’ choices?

 

“I feel that it’s not fair because I think that all children deserve to go to school—everyone should have access to an education,” he says. “Regardless of the status of the parents, my children were born here and should be allowed to go to school.”

 

All he wants is for his four—soon to be five—children is to grow up in a “stable, safe and peaceful” country like Canada, he insists.

 

“Mostly,” he adds, “I want them to fulfil their dreams.

 

“My daughter wants to be a teacher. I feel really emotional about that, because they’re not even able to attend school. But children are the future of our communities.”

* Name changed because of deportation fears

 

 

Dine Out™ in January

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Canada’s largest annual restaurant festival kicks off January 16.

 

Tourism Vancouver’s Dine Out™ Vancouver Festival is Canada’s largest annual dining celebration, attracting over 100,000 local and visiting food enthusiasts to experience the city’s exceptionally diverse culinary scene.

 

Street Food City

Street Food City

 

Now in its 13th year, the festival gives diners the opportunity to select from over 250 restaurants each offering unique three (or more) course prix-fix meals at $18, $28 or $38 per person, many complemented by the Wines of British  Columbia, and craft beer and cocktails.

 

Over the 17 days of the festival, dozens of culinary events allow festivalgoers to enjoy unique culinary experiences not available throughout the rest of the year. These can include guided dining adventures, culinary and cocktail tours, cooking classes and demonstrations, dinner and film pairings, debates, guest lectures, BC wine and craft beer tastings, street food markets and more.

 

Visit www.dineoutvancouver.com for details.

 

Mussels

Mussels

 

Grand Tasting on Granville Island

Grand Tasting on Granville Island

 

Vancouver Gems

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Ellen Lee is a Vancouver designer currently living and working between Singapore and Bali. These photos are from a brief visit to Vancouver in October.

 
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Vancouver on the Verge of a Comedy Coup-

Vancouver comedian Graham Clark gets by with a little help from his friends. Photo via Graham Clark’s Facebook

 

Vancouver comedian Graham Clark gets by with a little help from his friends. Photo via Graham Clark’s Facebook

Vancouver comedian Graham Clark gets by with a little help from his friends. Photo via Graham Clark’s Facebook

 

With a ‘nobody’s going to get famous’ attitude, BC comics get noticed.

 

By Sarah Berman, TheTyee.ca

 

In Little Mountain Gallery on a Tuesday night, the line between comedy show and hanging out at a friend’s place is charmingly blurred. At this show, billed “Ring-a-Ding-Dong-Dandy,” beer comes out of a picnic cooler, vintage wrestling is projected from a laptop, and buddies-slash-comedians Graham Clark and Ryan Beil offer rolling commentary on everything from boot tassels to Hulk Hogan’s goth phase. Drawing from Clark’s savant-like knowledge of pro-wrestling, the event’s premise is simply to watch old fights and let funny people do the talking.

 

Photo via Graham Clark’s Facebook

Photo via Graham Clark’s Facebook

 

It’s the type of casual jokey atmosphere that was rare in Vancouver a decade ago, but has since become emblematic of the city’s scrappy, experimental approach to comedy. It’s also something Vancouver’s newly re-elected mayor Gregor Robertson wants to guest host (at least according to a recent tweet.)
“When I started, there wasn’t even a comedy club,” Clark recalls of the early aughts in a less funny Raincity. “Yuk Yuk’s had closed or was in the process of closing. There was no club here for a long time.”

 

Since those days, Clark says self-produced nights all over the city have become the DIY glue holding Vancouver’s scene together. He names the Hero Show, Alicia Tobin’s Come Draw With Me and Paul Anthony’s Talent Time.

 

I would add to that list Havana’s Laugh Gallery (a stand-up show Clark hosts every Monday) and The Sunday Service (a weekly improv show by Beil and friends Taz VanRassel, Caitlin Howden, Aaron Read, Kevin Lee and Emmett Hall). “That’s been the big draw for me in the Vancouver comedy scene—everybody is do-it-yourself, always trying weird new forms and new ideas for shows,” Clark says. “It keeps it interesting.”

 

A moving sale at a costume store prompted Clark and his team to ‘flip’ ‘Wilderness Man’ into a ‘Quantum Leap.’ Photo via Graham Clark’s Facebook

A moving sale at a costume store prompted Clark and his team to ‘flip’ ‘Wilderness Man’ into a ‘Quantum Leap.’ Photo via Graham Clark’s Facebook

 

An ongoing contest for emerging Canadian comics proves that glue is holding together surprisingly well. Clark and Beil are on two different teams still competing for $500,000 in production financing and a prime-time slot on CBC. To stay in the ComedyCoup competition, the teams submit a short video assignment each week.
Branded a creative “accelerator,” the ComedyCoup platform looks like a crowdfunding site except with ratings, comments and shares as its chosen currency. Fan votes have whittled a pool of hundreds of competitors down to a top 15, including Clark’s “Wilderness Man” and Beil’s “Heir Heads.” Two weeks before the winners were announced, there were still seven groups hailing from Metro Vancouver in the competition—more finalists than Montreal and Toronto combined.

 

BC represents

 

Much like Vancouver’s live shows, the B.C.-grown video projects offered a mix of heavy-hitters, rookies and some loveable weirdos in between. Stand-up hustler Sunee Dhaliwal co-stars in “Buddy Guys,” while Ivan Decker and Adam Pateman rep the Dungeons and Dragons-themed “Roll for Damage.” All three can be regularly found behind a microphone in this city. Holly Pillsbury’s “Welcome to Tulip” makes light of culture clashes in the small Alberta town Rosebud, where a Supreme Court judge recently ruled on a controversial fracking case.

 

Of course, none of these projects can be understood without the creative networks that keep them alive. There are dozens of writers, cinematographers and producers working each week to make actors like Beil and his co-star Bruce Novakowski look good (or evil, as the case may be).

 

Ryan Beil and Bruce Novakowski in ‘Heir Heads.’ Photo via Heir Heads’s Facebook

Ryan Beil and Bruce Novakowski in ‘Heir Heads.’ Photo via Heir Heads’s Facebook

 

“Heir Heads,” for example, is a product of a years-long collaboration. Writer and director Dylan Innes first pitched his idea to Beil while working together on a TV set two years ago. The premise was simple: two brothers find themselves cut off from their deceased father’s billions until the siblings can make $1 million on their own. Beil says he liked it right away. “If anybody offers me work I’ll say ‘let’s do it,’ because you never know.”

 

“Wilderness Man” was also conceived in part before the competition began. “It was something we had kicking around,” Clark recalls. “Dan [Barham] and Josh [Loewen], they helped me with my website, and the concept of the website was a man-of-the-woods kind of thing. While shooting it, we decided to make a short video of this character.” The result is a relentless stream of wholesome nature-based gags, “as if Pee Wee Herman was lost in the woods for 75 years”—to quote the project’s cutline.

 

“It’s just throw everything against the wall and see what sticks,” Clark says of the fast-paced creative process week to week. “With the last entry, we were coming up with an idea and it just so happened I found a costume shop having a moving sale.” The “Wilderness Man” team would spin this windfall into a Quantum Leap tribute, complete with a dozen kooky characters.

 

“I basically bought all the wigs and hats as I could carry,” he says. “That must have been the best day of the owner’s week.”

 

Photo via Heir Heads’s Facebook

Photo via Heir Heads’s Facebook

‘We’re just doing it ‘cause we’re doing it’

All this is to say years of teamwork and risk-taking are paying off for Vancouver’s comedy coup d’état. Even with another round of eliminations on the way, Clark and Beil prefer to riff off each other rather than “roast” their competitors.

 

Coincidentally, the next ComedyCoup assignment asks the top 15 to do just that. A video featuring Joe Rogan and John Dore calls for a 15-way below-the-belt “roastmageddon”—whatever that means.

 

For Beil, this doesn’t particularly fit with Vancouver’s misfit ethos. “Because we’re far removed from places like Chicago or Toronto where there’s a comedy infrastructure, it’s always like ‘Well, nobody’s going to get famous or notice anyways,’” he says. “There’s a lot of cross-pollination, and there’s less jockeying for position, more ‘We’re just doing it ‘cause we’re doing it.’”

 

What Beil is saying rings most true in a space like Little Mountain, where creative folks can be so radically themselves, no material is too casual or too strange. But for whatever reason, I also don’t rule out the getting famous part. This city exported Nathan Fielder’s hit show Nathan For You, and the Seth Rogen franchise before that. Who knows? Beil, Clark and the rest could fair just as well on prime time.

 

Photo via Heir Heads’s Facebook

Photo via Heir Heads’s Facebook

 

Cinema Behind the Orange Gate

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Public Art Installation by Byungseo Yoo
November 30- December 30, 2014
Public Storage (Location TBA)
Curated by Sojin Kim

 

Artist Talk/Opening Reception: November 29, 3:00-5:00pm
Satellite Gallery 560 Seymour St, Vancouver, BC
Public Storage Open Hours: By Appointment Only (contact information below)

 

Vancouver, BC—For the month of December, Vancouver’s Public Storage turns into an eccentric public art space featuring Disposable Cinema, a hydraulic folioscope created by Art Star Korea contestant Byungseo Yoo. The exhibition opens up a discussion around public art, Art Star Korea, and the perceived futility of the arts within Vancouver’s economic landscape.

 

Disposable Cinema (2014) was first presented on Art Star Korea in an episode on the theme of “temporary life.” The installation comprises a complex paper folioscope (flipbook), constructed out of one long strip of paper and a collection of found materials—plastic bottles, styrofoam, paper cups, and wooden boxes—plus two sheets of paper laid one on top of the other on the floor. Water dripping from a plastic bottle suspended from the ceiling causes the strip of paper to slowly turn, activating the apparatus and causing the pages on the floor (one of which says “disposable” and the other, “cinema”) to slowly and feebly lift and fall. The pages turn until all the water drains out of the bottle and the machine stops moving, and then the entire folioscope is abandoned.

 
This short-lived piece is being shown in Vancouver at Public Storage, a modern garbage dump of sorts, where people pile their stuff “in cold storage.” As an exhibition space, it lacks and even neglects any notions of productivity and movement. Without windows or a proper ventilation system, the space is inadequate for human habitation, suited solely for the display of unused—even useless—objects.Unlike all the other objects in storage, however, Disposable Cinema is the only one that forlornly continues its lonely mechanical labour behind the orange gate.

 

Byungseo Yoo graduated from the Korea National University of Arts. He is the leader of an ongoing artists’ initiative, Miwansung Project, and has exhibited nationally and internationally at such venues as Seoul Museum of Art, SeMA Nanji Residency (Seoul), National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Residency (Changdong), slowRush Platform (Incheon), Arco Amuseum (Idaho), and Zeroone Center (New York). Cinema Behind the Orange Gate is Yoo’s first exhibition in Vancouver, Canada.

 
Sojin Kim is an independent curator who graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2013. Kim’s curatorial practice focuses on transnational identity and formation of identity in relation to public spaces. Sojin is currently organizing public art exhibitions under the mentorship of Tyler Russell, Director/ Curator of Centre A.

 

Byungseo Yoo. Disposable Cinema, 2014. Photo: Art Star Korea website, November 2014. http://program.lifestyler.co.kr/storyon/artstarkorea/22/Board/View

Byungseo Yoo. Disposable Cinema, 2014. Photo: Art Star Korea website, November 2014. http://program.lifestyler.co.kr/storyon/artstarkorea/22/Board/View

 

Sojin Kim, Independent Curator

sojin.ca

 

There Goes the Internet

Takei as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu aboard the Starship Enterprise.

 

Takei as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu aboard the Starship Enterprise.

Takei as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu aboard the Starship Enterprise.

George_Takei_2013Actor, activist and online sensation George Takei is coming to Vancouver November 18.

 

Who: George Takei
What: speaking tour
When: November 18, doors at 8:00 p.m.
Where: The Queen Elizabeth Theatre,
How much: $25 to $199
With a career spanning five decades, George Takei is known around the world for his founding role in the acclaimed television series Star Trek, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise.

 

Mashable.com in 2012 reported Takei is the number one most-influential person on Facebook, with more than 5.9 million likes (now nearly 8 million). Takei has more than one million followers on Twitter. Takei authored “Oh Myyy! There Goes the Internet,” in 2012, which ranked number 10 on the New York Times e-book nonfiction list. Takei’s has appeared in many television shows, such as Scrubs and The Big Bang Theory. He can be heard voicing animated characters in films and television series such as Mulan, The Simpsons, Futurama, Hey Arnold! and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

 

His life story was detailed in the documentary To Be Takei, which screened at this year’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver.

 

Takei, a Japanese American who from age 4 to 8 was unjustly interned in two U.S. internment camps during World War II, is an outspoken supporter of human right issues and community activist. Takei has served as the spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign “Coming Out Project,” and was cultural affairs chairman of the Japanese American Citizens League.

 

Event listings November

 

Friday Night Film Series – White Rock
First United Church
15385 Semiahmoo Avenue
White Rock, BC
October 31, 2014; November 28, 2014
7:00 p.m.

 

The White Rock Social Justice Film Society presents screenings of Miss Representation (Oct 31), and The World According to Monsanto (Nov 28).

 


 

 

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya – Vancouver
Vancity Theatre
1181 Seymour Street
Vancouver, BC
November 1 to 9, 2014

 

Discovered inside a luminous stalk of bamboo, a tiny girl lights up the life of a childless woodcutter and his wife — even if they’re a little perplexed by the lightning speed with which this magical new-born begins to crawl, walk, talk, and transforms into charming young lady, all within a matter of weeks. Studio Ghibli’s other anime master Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies; Pom Poko) bows out with a tender, joyful, exquisitely crafted folk tale for all ages.

 

Kaguya captivates everyone she meets, and bestows such bounty on the family that the wood cutter moves them to a city mansion, where she is courted by the most eligible bachelors far and wide. The role of “princess”, though, is not to her liking. A wild child at heart, she yearns for the countryside and the carefree life she once knew…

 

Lovely to look at, Takahata’s timeless, serene, hand-drawn impressionism is the perfect medium for an enchanting story that dates back 1000 years. The synergy of colour, line, movement and simple human observation ensures that The Tale of Princess Kaguya will stand as one Studio Ghibli’s very finest achievements, a film that other animators will admire and dream of emulating — and, maybe in our sleep, the rest of us will, too.

 


 

 

Heart of the City Festival – Vancouver
Various Downtown Eastside venues
Runs to November 9, 2014

 

The 11th annual celebration of the Downtown Eastside’s culture and heritage includes twelve days of music, stories, songs, poetry, cultural celebrations, films, theatre, dance, processions, spoken word, forums, workshops, discussions, gallery exhibits, mixed media, art talks, history talks and history walks, and an array of artists. Highlights include Theatre in the Raw’s production of The Raymur Mothers, the Carnegie Jazz Band, Barrio Flamenco, Sawagi Taiko, Dovbush Dancers, and Keepers of the Flame: A Celebration of Poetry.

 


 

 

Gait to the Spirit 2014 – Vancouver
Scotiabank Dance Centre
677 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC
November 1, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.
November 2, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.

 

Gait to the Spirit 2014 Celebrating its 5th Annual Festival of Classical Indian Dance, Gait to the Spirit Festival brings outstanding Bharathanatyam dancers to Vancouver! A Unique Dance Festival not to be missed! Friday, October 31st, 2014-8pm MEENAKSHI SRINIVASAN Saturday, November 1st, 2004-8pm JANAKI RANGARAJAN Sunday, November 2nd, 2014-1:30pm Nivedha Ramalingam & Sujit Vaidya Tickets *Tickets on sale in late September only $25 general $22 students & seniors SPECIAL PRICE $44 for both Friday and Saturday Shows Tickets available from Banyen Books & Sound 3608 West 4th Ave 604.737.8858 For more info please visit the EVENT – festival section of Mandala’s website WWW.MANDALARTS.CA

 


 

 

SFU Philosophers Café: Art Salons – Gunilla Klingberg – Vancouver
Contemporary Art Gallery
555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, BC
November 1, 2014
3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

 

In the spirit of social gatherings that provide forums for discussion, SFU Philosophers’ Café will run two art salons in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Gallery. The subject for this event will be the first Canadian solo presentation of work by Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg, a series of inter-related projects on the gallery façade and off-site. Come and explore the issues and ideas that new, contemporary artwork raises in a gallery setting. The café will start with a guided tour of current exhibitions with Director Nigel Prince, followed by a discussion with Shaun Dacey, Curator, Learning and Public Programs and special guests.

 


 

 

Ouxi Taiwanese Puppetry Festival – Vancouver
UBC Museum of Anthropology
6393 N.W. Marine Drive
Vancouver, BC
November 4 to 9, 2014

 

The Taiyuan Puppet Theatre and the Chin Fei Feng Marionette Theatre Troupe offer puppetry workshops, school shows, and public performances. These events will culminate in a cultural exchange on November 9 at 3pm, when visiting Taiwanese puppeteers will spend the day with invited First Nations artists to create a collaborative experimental work.

 


 

 

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five – Vancouver
Studio 1398
1398 Cartwright, Granville Island
November 11 to 15, 2014

 

Get unstuck in time this November. Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five explores the human condition by reliving its most beautiful and heartbreaking moments. Experience the story of Billy Pilgrim, the man who becomes “unstuck” in time, in the stage adaptation of Vonnegut’s celebrated novel. As Pilgrim jumps uncontrollably between moments in his life, he bears witness to the true love, horror, war, and peace of recent and future generations. Witness Pilgrim’s remarkable journey through time and space, love and hate, and everything that lies between – during his life as a young boy, as a soldier in World War II, and even as part of an exhibit inside an interstellar zoo.

 


 

 

Vancouver Asian Film Festival – Vancouver
International Village Cinemas
88 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC
November 6 to 9, 2014

 

The 18th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival will take place from November 6 to 9, 2014 at Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas, located in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown neighbourhood.

 

Our theme this year is “What’s Your Perspective?” – a question that calls upon our collective past and present, and how we interact with one another in society. Accompanying this theme, we’re creating our 18th year artistic campaign that promises to be edgy, visually stunning, and thought provoking

 


 

 

Passion for Justice – Vancouver
Ironworks Studios
235 Alexander Street
Vancouver, BC
Thursday, November 13, 2014
7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

 

Passion for Justice is a highly-anticipated evening of celebration with Pivot Legal Society’s supporters, partners, and allies. Pivot is a leading Canadian human rights organization that uses the law to address the root causes of poverty and social exclusion in Canada. Since 2002, Pivot has won major victories for sex workers’ rights, police accountability, affordable housing, and health and drug policy. Join us to celebrate our victories with Executive Director Katrina Pacey and the Pivot staff!

 

There will be a jaw-dropping performance from Crystal Precious, a neo-burlesque artist, singer, and rapper who specializes in something she calls strip-hop. Listen to her latest album here. Brown Paper Bag will also be playing a set of classic soul, gospel and blues. There will be creative raffle packages, a live auction, plus incredibly embarrassing performances from members of the Pivot team.

 


 

 

Seven – Vancouver
St. John’s School
2215 W. 10th Avenue
November 14, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.
November 15, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

 

Documentary play based on personal interviews with seven women who have brought major changes to their home countries of Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala, and Cambodia. Proceeds go to Freedom for Our Daughters, which is dedicated to protecting the human rights of young women.

 


 

 

Swedish Christmas Fair 2014 – Burnaby
Scandinavian Community Centre
6540 Thomas Street
Burnaby,BC
November 15 and 16, 2014, 11:00 a.m.to 4:00 p.m.

 

Traditional Swedish Goods and Current Desirable Items. The Swedish Cultural Society will host its annual Swedish Christmas Fair on the weekend of November 15-16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. This is the opportunity to experience some early Swedish Christmas Cheer and at the same time shop for both traditional Swedish goods and current desirable items. 29 different vendors will offer a wide range of products to purchase for the family, home, celebrations and for gift giving. Free Admission & Free Parking. Live music entertainment. The Swedish Café will offer open sandwiches, Christmas porridge, pastry and cookies, coffee, milk, juice, hot dogs and Glögg.

 


 

 

Grupo America – Vancouver
Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre
183 Roundhouse Mews
Vancouver, BC
November 16, 2014
Performance 2:00 p.m., workshop at 3:15 p.m.

 

As part of the Dance Allsorts program, New Works presents a performance and workshop with Vancouver-based Latin American dance troupe.

 


 

 

Vancouver Jewish Film Festival in Richmond
Beth Tikvah
9711 Geal Road, Richmond
November 16, 7:30 p.m.

 

The Vancouver Jewish Film Festival is coming to Richmond! Don’t miss the screening of Hannah’s Journey, directed by Julia von heinz. This film is based on a Theresa Bäuerlein novel, and is an engaging examination of the after effects of the Holocaust on third-generation Germans and Israelis. Tickets are on sale now and available online at vjff.org or by phone 604-266-0245 or 604-809-4143 or through Beth Tikvah: 604-271-6262. Tickets are also available at the door 30 minutes before showtime. Cost $13 – general admission, $10 seniors/students

 


 

 

Taking Liberties and Policing Borders Arbitrary Detentions and Deportation of Refugees and Migrants – Vancouver
Liu Institute for Global Issues
6476 NW Marine, UBC
Vancouver, BC
November 17, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

 

Please join us for a night of discussion and activist art against the rise of detention and deportation of refugees and migrants in Canada. The first part of the night will be a roundtable and public discussion. Guest speakers are Chris Morrissey from Rainbow Refugee, Harsha Walia from No One Is Illegal, Gina Csanyi-Robah from the Canadian Romani Alliance, Immigration Lawyers Peter Edlemen and Lesley Stalker. The second part of the night will be an impromptu art creation led by Artist and Activist Melanie Schambach. Everyone is welcomed to participate in the public discussion and the art creation. The finished art product will be displayed at the Liu Gallery.

 


 

 

FKA twigs – Vancouver
Commodore Ballroom
918 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
November 17, 2014
Doors 8 p.m., show 9:30 p.m.

 

English dream-pop singer songwriter tours in support of debut release LP1, with guests Boots.

 


 

 

George Takei – Vancouver
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
650 Hamilton Street
Vancouver, BC
November 18, 2014
Doors 8:00 p.m.

 

The Georgia Straight presents an evening with legendary actor, social-justice activist, social-media mega-power, and author. With a career spanning five decades, George Takei is known around the world for his founding role in the acclaimed television series Star Trek, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise. Mashable.com in 2012 reported Takei is the #1 most-influential person on Facebook, with more than 5.9 million likes.

 

Takei has more than one million followers on Twitter. Takei authored “Oh Myyy! There Goes the Internet,” in 2012, which ranked #10 on the New York Times E-book nonfiction list. Takei’s has appeared in many television shows, such as Scrubs and The Big Bang Theory. He can be heard voicing animated characters in films and tv series such as Mulan, The Simpsons, Futurama, Hey Arnold!, and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

 

Takei, a Japanese American who from age 4 to 8 was unjustly interned in two U.S. internment camps during World War II, is an outspoken supporter of human right issues and community activist. Takei has served as the spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign “Coming Out Project,” and was cultural affairs chairman of the Japanese American Citizens League.

 


 

 

Loon – Vancouver
Historic Theatre at The Cultch
1895 Venables Street, at Victoria Drive
Vancouver, BC
November 18 to 23, 2014
8:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. matinees November 22 and 23)

 

A man. The moon. A most peculiar love story. The team behind Grim & Fischer return with a wordless love story that whisks a man to the moon and back! In their signature full-face mask style which has been described as “pure magic” by the CBC, the Wonderheads step into the life of a terribly lonely man to ask the question: can a man truly love the moon? Tickets from $19 at tickets.thecultch.com, 604.251.1363.

 


 

 

Ari Shaffir – Vancouver
The Comedy MIX
1015 Burrard, Century Plaza Hotel & Spa
Vancouver, BC
November 20, 8:30 p.m.,
November 21 and 22, 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

 

Actor and standup comedian known for his comedy special Passive Aggressive and his role in the Rob Schneider film InAPPropriate Comedy.

 


 

 

The Eastside Culture Crawl – Vancouver
Various locations
Vancouver, BC
November 20 to 23, 2014

 

Extended to four days for the first time ever, the beloved annual event invites Vancouverites to make intimate artistic discoveries in their own neighbourhood.

 

The 18th annual Eastside Culture Crawl – a four-day celebration of art and expression in all its beautiful and bizarre manifestations—runs November 20 to 23, 2014 in studios, homes, garages, and more, throughout Vancouver’s Eastside. The annual festival brings thousands of visitors to the area bounded by Main Street, 1st Avenue, Victoria Drive, and the waterfront to meet an impressive array of painters, jewelers, sculptors, potters, photographers, glassblowers, furniture designers, and more.

 

“The Crawl is a singular experience that removes the barriers between artist and public—allowing creators to showcase their work, answer questions, and share their unique art-making process,” said Esther Rausenberg, Executive Director. “This open invitation into artists’ studios represents a remarkable opportunity for individuals to enhance their understanding of the visual arts and deepen their appreciation for the incredible abundance of talent within our city.”

 


 

 

Salsa Night Fundraiser – Vancouver
Astorino’s Ballroom
1739 Venables
Vancouver, BC
November 22, 2014
8:00 p.m.

 

Noche de Salsa is an evening of dancing and socializing in support of a health clinic for migrant farm workers in BC. The evening will kick off with a free salsa lesson from Micheal Gabriel Rosen of Mas Movement. There will be salsa dancing, a silent auction, and drinks and snacks available for purchase.

 


 

 

How To Change The World By Firing Yourself – Vancouver
Internet Masterminds
Suite 210 – 1737 West 3rd Avenue
Vancouver, BC
November 24, 2014
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

 

We are more and more becoming a creative, entrepreneurial society with possibilities at the tips of our fingers. The sharing and collaborative economy has enabled instant access to business, service, utilities and networking capabilities. What can we do? And how can we do it NOW! In this presentation you will discover…
• How the world has and is changing to meet consumer and business demands? • An outline of the new sharing/collaborative economic ecosystem and opportunities
• Using “Lives Changed” as a key performance indicator
• A strategy that will help you win at life and the Internet
• What can we expect to see in the future? About Nik Badminton Regional Director, North America for Freelancer.com Nik is leading the charge of expanding Freelancer across Canada and the USA. He has an extensive past in the digital world and has lead transformational capabilities in world-leading ad agencies and consulting organizations.

 

He has been the trusted advisor to C-level executives across government, telco, high-tech, air transport, travel, pharmaceuticals, gaming, and utilities industries. Nik is also a notable speaker on the future disruptive technology at universities and at conferences across North America, including SXSW, ICSC, Marketing Magazine, Deloitte, and BCAMA. He also writes for The Huffington Post and curates events related to tech, culture and humanity.

 


 

 

Piga Picha Exhibition – UBC
UBC Museum of Anthropology
6393 N.W. Marine Dr., UBC
Vancouver
November 25 to April 4, 2015

 

A collection of over 180 photographs that explore Kenya’s popular culture, from 1910s to the present day.

 


 

 

Usher – Vancouver
Rogers Arena
800 Griffiths Way
Vancouver, BC
November 27, 2014
Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m.

 

Grammy-winning soul-pop/hip-hop singer-songwriter and actor, with guests August Alsina and DJ Cassidy.

 


 

 

Jazz is the New Punk!
Nov 27, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm
Fox Cabaret
2321 Main, Vancouver

 

Featuring performances by DarkBlueWorld, the Inhabitants, and JP Carter.

 


 

 

Out For Lunch – Vancouver
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC
November 28, 2014
12:10 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

 

Liu Guilian, pipa, Zhenghua Zheng, guqin, Nicole Li, erhu, Jan Walls, Chinese Kuai Ban storyteller and Anabelle Liao, narrator perform music from ancient China.

 


 

 

102nd Grey Cup
Nov 30, 3 pm
B.C. Place Stadium
777 Pacific, Vancouver

 

The CFL championship game features the top teams from the Eastern and Western Divisions of the Canadian Football League.

 


 

 

Toque
Dec 5, 6-10 pm; Dec 6, 11 am–5 pm
Western Front
303 E. 8th, Vancouver

 

Western Front’s annual craft fair and fundraiser features 1UP Caramels, Anita Sikma, AW by Andrea Wong, Cumulus Project, Dear Pony, Draw Me A Lion, Erin Templeton, Fable Naturals, Fieldwork, Fleet Objects, Gailan Ngan, Gray Metal, Henderson Dry Goods, Hendrik Lou, Hives for Humanity, Made by Kin, Maggie Boyd Ceramics, Nellija Zi, Olla Flowers, Osmics, Paperback Note, Perro Verlag, Simply Read Books, Thistle Town Studio, and Woodlot.

 


 

 

Ryu Goto Plays Brahms
Dec 6, 8, 8 pm
Orpheum Theatre
601 Smithe, Vancouver

 

Lahav Shani conducts the VSO and violinist Ryu Goto in a performance of Glinka’s Russlan and Ludmilla: Overture, Brahms’sViolin Concerto in D Major, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor.

 


 

 

Dylan Thomas: A Return Journey
Dec 9-21
The Cultch
1895 Venables, Vancouver

 

Richard Jordan Productions presents director Anthony Hopkins’ portrait of the famous Welsh poet. Starring Bob Kingdom.

 


 

 

Skills Connect for Immigrants – Vancouver
ISS of BC
333 Terminal Avenue
Vancouver, BC
Every Wednesday
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
(604) 684-2561, extension 2123

 

Come and learn about Skills Connect for Immigrants, a dynamic initiative that helps ease the transition of skilled immigrants into the Canadian workforce by connecting them with industry-specific skills training, credential evaluation and job search services. If you are unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t use your pre-arrival skills, we can help you.

 


 

 

Skills Connect for Immigrants – Surrey
ISS of BC
303-7337 137 Street
Surrey, BC
Every Thursday
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
(604) 590-4021, extension 2193

Come and learn about Skills Connect for Immigrants, a dynamic initiative that helps ease the transition of skilled immigrants into the Canadian workforce by connecting them with industry-specific skills training, credential evaluation and job search services. If you are unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t use your pre-arrival skills, we can help you.

 


 

 

A Naked Truth

sushi_web

sushi_web

 

Sexual assault still prevalent in progressive, multicultural  Canada.

 

By Abeer Yusuf

 

Sad as it is for me to write this, I know very few women, if any at all, who have never experienced some form of sexual harassment in the hands of the opposite sex.

 

As an Indian who has observed my country’s own struggle with violent acts of sexual aggression—be they gang-rapes or honour killings—I put my hopes in Canada, a country that habitually condemns these wrongdoings on a global platform.

 

Growing up, my parents were extremely protective and vigilant; when I visited India on holidays, I was ferried around in cars, absolved of sexual harassment on the streets. My parents worried as an adult I wouldn’t know how to deal with unwanted advances of men. By observing others, I developed a cowering and covering strategy.

 

Every time a man on the street would look at me, I would suddenly hunch so that my chest wouldn’t appear as obvious—even though it was covered under a dupatta (shawl wrapped around the chest)—and tug at my back so that my butt was less visible, swathed as it was under a long dress and loose pants. Despite this, I’ve been routinely groped, catcalled and of course, been on the receiving end of suggestive songs by roadside Romeos asking for my nightly rate—among other experiences. I’m sharing these private details to lead to a point: I didn’t expect this to happen in Canada.

 

That India, a breeding ground for sexual assault, is a lot like Canada, wasn’t one of the revelations I expected to have when studying in British Columbia. While Vancouver prides itself in being the quintessential safe and developed city, since I’ve been here last year, there has been news of at least four different sexual assaults on campus alone. There have been times walking down the street I have felt unsafe—in broad daylight. The beach near my home is filled with all sorts of people—students like myself, sometimes families, and most often greying white men.

 

Unfortunately for me, I cannot hide my skin colour, so my “exoticness” often betrays me. Almost every time I have gone down to the beach, I have, without fail, been asked a suggestive and intruding question by an older white man. Unpleasant questions about me being the kind of girl they’re looking for, comments about how “hot” I look, unwanted advances of all kinds.

 

Once, while I was reading a book on a bus, an older white man approached me, investing me into a conversation I didn’t want to have. Not knowing how to react, I tried to keep talk to a minimum, returning to my book as a sign to fend him off. Eventually he whispered into my ear, “you must have a lot of boyfriends.” I didn’ t answer the question and turned to my book silently. Two minutes later, he whispered into my ear again, “you know you’re a hot little thing, don’t you?” I told him to please stop. He replied, “oh, you’ve had enough, have you?” Desperate, I walked off the bus to get away.

 

What is it that enables men to make these distressing, sexualized intrusions? The only answer I can see is a widespread culture that encourages the objectification and consumption of women by men.

 

I read of a particularly stark example of this culture recently: a new catering service in Vancouver offers sushi served on nude models, a Japanese trend called nyotamori. As you’ve probably already imagined, these aren’t female sushi chefs plating sashimi on men’s abs—it is (surprise!) women’s bodies served for consumption. In light of my own experiences, I struggled to agree with the people who believe it is empowering—that literally treating a woman as a plate is a beautiful, respectable phenomenon.

 

I simply this as yet another example where women are expected to endure men’s sexual advances, where men feel entitled to women’s bodies.

 

That day on the bus, everyone sitting around us saw what was happening, yet not one person stepped in to fend him off. I guess that’s to be expected in progressive, multicultural Canada.

 

We ask, you tell us: What is Vancouver’s best kept secret?

Phil Grace and Claire O'Gorman_web

 

Kayla Wu_web

Kayla Wu

 

Student

 

I know lots of nice cafés in Vancouver but Busho café is the best one. I am totally addicted to their Matcha desserts. They are often sold out when I go there in late afternoon, so honestly I want this place to be kept in secret just for me!

 


 

Sutthida Norasarn_web

Sutthida Norasarn

 

Student

 

I love ‘Sephora’ in Pacific Centre. It has hundreds of cosmetic products that women must like and I am a big fan of them. I often go there and spend over 1 hour even though I just look. In my country Thailand, there is a little opportunity to be able to get imported cosmetics, so I am really happy to be in Vancouver.

 


 

Eddie Shu_web
 

Eddie Shu

 

Manager

 

I’d say the lighthouse in the Stanley Park. I love photo shooting and can take many beautiful landscape pictures there. I prefer going there in evening, because the view of the lighthouse with sunset is amazing.

 


 

Phil Grace and Claire O'Gorman_web
 

Phil Grace and Claire O’Gorman
 

East Vancouver residents
 

There’s a bridge in East Vancouver that you go over to get into Port Vancouver. It’s just an overpass over the train tracks, which leads to nowhere, but it’s such a good vantage point. Just off Wall Street there’s a park, I think It’s called Meditation Park, there’s a little path, and if you follow that path there’s some steps down and a bridge. You can see across the water, it’s beautiful. They actually want to take the bridge down, which is sad. There’s a huge mural of it at Platform 7—the coffee shop on Hastings and Nanaimo,

 

British Alt-Rockers in Vancouver (Again)

Alt-J-Large-Wallpaper_web

 

Alt-J-Large-Wallpaper_web

 

Reflections of a fan who can’t afford to attend every single Alt-J show.

 

By Aurora Tejeida

 

The first time I saw Alt-J in concert was in April 2013. The British band was playing at the Commodore and I had probably listened to their first album at least 24 times during the months leading to the concert. According to my iTunes library, to this date I’ve listened to Breezeblocks 89 times; I guess you could say I was pretty excited.

 

Then they came back, just a few months later. They played at the Orpheum, and I opted to skip it because as far as I knew, they didn’t have any new material. Now they’re back with a sophomore album. Here’s why you should try to go see them October 17 at the Orpheum.

 

Alt-J’s first album, An Awesome Wave, was one of the weirdest Top 20 albums of 2012. It’s a young band, formed in 2007, when Joe Newman (guitar/lead vocals), Gwil Sainsbury (guitar/bass), Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards/vocals) and Thom Green (drums) met at Leeds University. It was in their dorm rooms that Newman and Sainsbury started recording songs using Garage Band. Since they couldn’t make too much noise in the dorms, their music can seem eerie and experimental, but in a good way. Apparently the term “folkstep” was invented to describe it.

 

And while I don’t approve of the Orpheum as an appropriate venue (I don’t like the confinement of theatre seating), it’s quite the experience to listen to them live. That is assuming they’ll play enough songs from their first album. I haven’t really given their second album a chance. Sainsbury left the band earlier this year, and Pitchfork described the new album as “exactly what you’d expect from a band that finds itself at the top after failing upward and has no idea what their next step is.” But then again, Pitchfork hated their first album too.

 

Event listings October

 

The Vancouver International Film Festival – Vancouver
Various locations around Vancouver
Ongoing until Friday, October 10, 2014

 

The VIFF is one of the five largest film festivals in North America. Acclaimed as “an unspoiled celebration of world cinema,” VIFF showcases over 300 films from 60 countries around the world.The international line-up includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.Three main programming platforms make our festival unique: we screen the largest selection of East Asian films outside of that …region, we are one of the biggest showcases of Canadian film in the world and we have a large and important nonfiction program.Attracting a large, attentive and enthusiastic audience of film lovers, the festival remains accessible, friendly and culturally diverse. As the critics say, VIFF is very much a festival “designed for the benefit of people who love films and people who make them.”

 


 
Victorian Vancouver: Family Portraits
Roedde House Museum
1415 Barclay Street
Vancouver, BC
Monday, September 01 – Friday, November 28, 2014
Various Times
$5.00

 

In its 128-year history, the city of Vancouver has seen immense change and amidst its iconic city of glass buildings, it’s hard to see visible traces of an older history. An exhibit called “Victorian Vancouver: Family Portraits” tells the story of three families from distinct cultures who were foundational pioneers in Victorian-era Vancouver. From Hawaiian longshoremen to Chinese printers to German bookbinders, each of these families created their own sites of culture, commerce & community in the city’s early years.

 


 

Ai Weiwei New York Photographs 1983–1993 – Vancouver
Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery
1825 Main Mall, UBC
Vancouver, BC
Ongoing until November 30, 2014

 

227 black-and-white photographs taken by the renowned Chinese artist during the decade that he resided in New York City.

 


 
Zombie Combat Zone – White Rock
16799 Beach Road
White Rock, BC
October 2 to November 1, 2014
6:30 p.m.

 

The zombies are multiplying and humanity’s only hope is you and a paintball gun! Zombie Combat Zone – the only place in Canada where you can hunt and shoot zombies with paintball guns – is back for our third season. Our unique facility in White Rock is as an immersive, zombie-fighting experience. Dressed up in tactical gear and armed with paintball guns, you and your squad must fend off wave after wave of the undead under the cover of thick forest. And, just to up the ante, all of this zombie mayhem happens after dark!!!

 


 
Fall Okanagan Wine Festival – Okanagan
Various venues
October 3 to 13, 2014

 

The Okanagan Wine Festival Society presents an 11-day celebration of local wine and wineries.

 


 

7th annual Fraser Valley Food Show – Abbotsford
TRADEX Trade & Exhibition Centre
1190 Cornell Street
Abbotsford, BC
Friday October 3, 2-9pm
Saturday October 4, 10-8pm
Sunday October 5, 10-5pm
 
Information and tickets: www.fraservalleyfoodshow.com
Tickets: $9 adults ($7 online), $7 seniors, $5 youth aged 13-16, Free for kids 12 & under
Experience the magic of food and cooking at the Fraser Valley Food Show. This year’s show features over 100 exhibitors, celebrity chef demonstrations, cooking competitions, the 3rd Great Canadian Sausage Making Competition, cheese seminars, the Bite of the Valley featuring local Fraser Valley restaurant cuisine, wine and beer seminars on the Grapes and Hops Stage, the Wine, Beer, and Spirits Tasting Pavilion, and the Gluten-Free Living Show.

 


 
13th Annual Premium Sake Tasting Night – Vancouver
Coast Coal Harbour Hotel
1180 W. Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
October 4, 2014
7:00 to 9:30 p.m.
 
Tonari Gumi (a charitable organization providing programs and services for seniors in metro Vancouver) (tonarigumi.ca) will host their 13th Annual Premium Sake Tasting Night to raise money for programs and services for seniors. This event, the largest event of its kind in Western Canada, will be held on Saturday, October 4, 2014 from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm at the beautiful Coast Coal Harbour Hotel (1180 West Hastings Street). Attendees will enjoy a special selection of more than 40 premium Japanese sakes and a delectable assortment of appetizers from local participating restaurants, a unique silent auction featuring many hard to get sake items and an exceptional raffle.

 


 
Middle Eastern Drum Workshop – Vancouver
Artworks
237 E. 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
October 4, 2014
2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

 

Trevor Salloum leads a program for drummers/dancers of all levels who would like to gain some experience and knowledge of the doumbek (Arabic tabla) and riq. Topics include terminology, positioning, warm-up exercises, common strokes and rhythms, improvisations, notation, art of the drum solo and style for dance accompaniment.

 


 
Vancouver Book Fair – Vancouver
UBC Robson Square
800 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC
October 4, 2014, 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.;
October 5, 2014, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

Western Canada’s only antiquarian, collectible, and rare-book fair featuring material in categories like Canadiana, children’s and illustrated, fine press and limited editions, history and military history, literature and fine arts, modern first editions and signed copies, natural history, travel and exploration, and science and technology.

 


 
PumpkinFest 2014 – West Vancouver
West Vancouver Community Centre
2121 Marine Drive
West Vancouver, BC
October 5, 2014
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

 

Get in the Harvest Spirit and join us for some good old fashioned family fun! Our 4th PumpkinFest promises to be better than ever with pony rides, pumpkin patch, live cow milking demo’s, hay maze, goat hill, live entertainment, beer garden, family zone, police and fire displays, free swim, skate and open gym plus much much more!

 


 
Lily Allen – Vancouver
Commodore Ballroom
918 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
October 5, 2014
Doors at 7:00 p.m., show at 8:00 p.m.

 

British pop singer (“Smile”) performs tunes from latest albumSheezus.

 


 
Italian Music Legends – Coquitlam
Hard Rock Casino Vancouver
2080 United Boulevard
Coquitlam, BC
October 8, 2014
Doors at 7:00 p.m., show at 8:00 p.m.

 

F2 Productions presents performances by Italian pop artists Umberto Tozzi, Nicola Di Bari, Alan Sorrenti, Bobby Solo, and Gigliola Cinquetti.

 


 
Alt-J – Vancouver
Orpheum Theatre
601 Smithe Street
Vancouver, BC
October 14, 2014
Doors 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m.

 

Indie-rock band from Leeds, England.

 


 

Vancouver Cuban Music Festival – Vancouver
Performance Works
1218 Cartwright Street, on Granville Island
Vancouver, BC
October 16 to 19, 2014

 

The Georgia Straight presents a four-day celebration of Afro-Latin rhythms featuring performances by Azúcar Negra Orchestra, Pedrito Calvo, Tania Pantoja, Sixto Llorente “El Indio”, Waldo Mendoza & Gardi. Event includes workshops, movie screenings, children’s shows, and drumming circles.

 


 
Small Business Advice-a-Thon – Vancouver
Creekside Community Recreation Centre
1 Athletes Way
Oct 17, 10 am–4 pm, 10 am–4 pm

 

In celebration of Small Business Month, Benchmark Law Corporation is hosting a FREE Small Business Advice-a-Thon! Sign up for 20 minute sessions with lawyers, accountants, financial experts, business coaches, web designers, and more. You can have as many sessions as you want! – Speakers and door prizes – The first 100 attendees will receive a resource package containing useful business documents, coupons and products

 


 

Vancouver Halloween Parade and Expo – Vancouver
Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel
1088 Burrard, Vancouver
October 18 and 19, 2014
10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
 
Convention of fandom with cosplay, comics, anime, games, makeup, costumes, arts, and performances. Event includes a Halloween Parade on Granville St. Oct. 19.

 


 
2014 Community Resource Fair – Maple Ridge
Haney Place Mall
19000 Haney Place
Maple Ridge, BC
October 18, 2014
11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

 

The FREE Community Resource Fair brings together over 50 health and wellness professionals from local non-profit and businesses to connect residents with needed services.
With a proven combination of information, fun & interactive activities, and local entertainers, the Fair is a great way to spend a fall afternoon for everyone in your family.
A health & wellness extravaganza!  www.crfconnect.org

 


 
RIPE Local Food Festival 2014 – Vancouver
Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews
Vancouver, BC
October 19, 2014
4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

 

As Vancouver Farmers Market’s signature fundraiser, RIPE pairs farm-to-table chefs and restaurants with our farmers and producers to bring Vancouver an amazing evening of local food. Edible Canada, Vij’s Rangoli, and Forage will present this year, along with signature cocktails by VFM vendors Long Table Distillery and Odd Society Spirits, a special RIPE cask from R & B Brewery, and wines from BC Wine Studio. RIPE will also feature live entertainment and an abundant silent auction.

 


 
Marketa Irglova – Vancouver
St. James Hall
3214 West 10th Ave
Vancouver, BC
October 20, 2014
Doors at 7:00 p.m., show at 7:45 p.m.

 

Czech singer-songwriter tours in support of second solo album Muna

 


 
MØ- Vancouver
The Imperial
319 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
October 22, 2014
Doors at 8:00 p.m., show at 9:30 p.m.

 

Danish electropop singer tours in support of debut release No Mythologies to Follow, with guests Holy Child.

 


Dalai Lama Speaks on “Avalokiteshvara Empowerment” – Vancouver
UBC Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre
Vancouver, BC
October 23, 2014
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,
Doors open at 8:00 a.m.

 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will give an in-depth teaching on compassion at the UBC Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre (formerly the Thunderbird Arena) in Vancouver, BC, on October 23, 2014.
The teaching is titled “Avalokiteshvara Empowerment” in reference to Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist deity of compassion, mercy, and altruism. This beloved deity is known as Guanyin in China, Kannon in Japan, and Chenrezig in Tibet. As an empowerment, this teaching will convey specific practices for cultivating compassion in daily life. The empowerment has a continuous 2000 year-old history as a direct transmission of wisdom and compassion passed from teacher to student. As part of this heritage, every audience member will receive a blessed artifact from His Holiness.
 
Renowned anthropologist and author Wade Davis will be introducing His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In addition, a Himalayan marketplace will be set up with unique vendors, artisans, and community groups.
 
More info at www.dalailamavancouver.com

 


 
Surrey International Writers’ Conference – Surrey
Sheraton Guildford Hotel
15269 104th Avenue
Surrey, BC
October 23 to 26, 2014
 
The 21st annual writers’ weekend features over 70 workshops and chances for one-on-one meetings with well-known authors, agents, and editors.

 


 
International Artist Day Festival – White Rock
White Rock Gallery
1247 Johnston Road
White Rock, BC
October 24 to 26, 2014
 
The City of White Rock is pleased to host The International Artist Day Festival, showcasing local art. www.internationalartistday.com contact us at 604 536-3049 for further information and updates on this year’s celebration. Proceeds benefit “Master Artists in Local Schools”

 


 
Yelle – Vancouver
Fortune Soundclub
147 East Pender Street
Vancouver, BC
October 25, 2014
Doors at 7:00 p.m., show at 8:00 p.m.

 

French electropop musician tours in support of upcoming new release.

 


 
Diego El Cigala – Vancouver
Chan Shun Concert Hall
6265 Crescent Road, UBC Campus
Vancouver, BC
October 25, 2014 8:00 p.m.

 

Spanish Gypsy vocalist melds flamenco, tango, Latin jazz, bolero, and son.

 


 
Skills Connect for Immigrants – Vancouver
ISS of BC
333 Terminal Avenue
Vancouver, BC
Every Wednesday
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
(604) 684-2561, extension 2123

 

Come and learn about Skills Connect for Immigrants, a dynamic initiative that helps ease the transition of skilled immigrants into the Canadian workforce by connecting them with industry-specific skills training, credential evaluation and job search services. If you are unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t use your pre-arrival skills, we can help you.

 


 
Skills Connect for Immigrants – Surrey
ISS of BC
303-7337 137 Street
Surrey, BC
Every Thursday
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
(604) 590-4021, extension 2193

 

Come and learn about Skills Connect for Immigrants, a dynamic initiative that helps ease the transition of skilled immigrants into the Canadian workforce by connecting them with industry-specific skills training, credential evaluation and job search services. If you are unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t use your pre-arrival skills, we can help you.

 


 
Sins of the City walking tour – Vancouver
Vancouver Police Museum
240 East Cordova Street
Vancouver, BC
Various times, until October 29
 
Ages 16+, $20 for adults, $16 for students and seniors
Experience the world of a cop in the 1920s when Vancouver was a seething hub of sex, drugs, booze and organized crime.
 
604-665-3346
Your 90-minute walking tour takes you through the streets and alleys of Chinatown on the lookout for brothels, bootlegging joints, gambling houses and opium dens. This is a must-see tour for anyone looking for the edgier side of this great city!

 


 
Heart of the City Festival – Vancouver
Various Downtown Eastside venues
October 29 to November 9, 2014
 
The 11th annual celebration of the Downtown Eastside’s culture and heritage includes twelve days of music, stories, songs, poetry, cultural celebrations, films, theatre, dance, processions, spoken word, forums, workshops, discussions, gallery exhibits, mixed media, art talks, history talks and history walks, and an array of artists. Highlights include Theatre in the Raw’s production of The Raymur Mothers, the Carnegie Jazz Band, Barrio Flamenco, Sawagi Taiko, Dovbush Dancers, and Keepers of the Flame: A Celebration of Poetry.

 


 
Nosferatu: A Special Hallowe’en Presentation – Vancouver
Orpheum Theatre
601 Smithe Street
Vancouver, BC
October 30, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
 
Gillian Anderson conducts the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in a live performance of the soundtrack for the 1922 silent film.

 


 
Friday Night Film Series – White Rock
First United Church
15385 Semiahmoo Avenue
White Rock, BC
October 31, 2014; November 28, 2014
7:00 p.m.
 
The White Rock Social Justice Film Society presents screenings of Miss Representation (Oct 31), and The World According to Monsanto (Nov 28).

 


 
Gait to the Spirit 2014 – Vancouver
Scotiabank Dance Centre
677 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC
October 31, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.
November 1, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.
November 2, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.
 
Gait to the Spirit 2014 Celebrating its 5th Annual Festival of Classical Indian Dance, Gait to the Spirit Festival brings outstanding Bharathanatyam dancers to Vancouver! A Unique Dance Festival not to be missed! Friday, October 31st, 2014-8pm MEENAKSHI SRINIVASAN Saturday, November 1st, 2004-8pm JANAKI RANGARAJAN Sunday, November 2nd, 2014-1:30pm Nivedha Ramalingam & Sujit Vaidya Tickets *Tickets on sale in late September only $25 general $22 students & seniors SPECIAL PRICE $44 for both Friday and Saturday Shows Tickets available from Banyen Books & Sound 3608 West 4th Ave 604.737.8858 For more info please visit the EVENT – festival section of Mandala’s website WWW.MANDALARTS.CA

 


 

SFU Philosophers Café: Art Salons – Gunilla Klingberg – Vancouver
Contemporary Art Gallery
555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, BC
November 1, 2014
3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
 
In the spirit of social gatherings that provide forums for discussion, SFU Philosophers’ Café will run two art salons in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Gallery. The subject for this event will be the first Canadian solo presentation of work by Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg, a series of inter-related projects on the gallery façade and off-site. Come and explore the issues and ideas that new, contemporary artwork raises in a gallery setting. The café will start with a guided tour of current exhibitions with Director Nigel Prince, followed by a discussion with Shaun Dacey, Curator, Learning and Public Programs and special guests.

 


Ouxi Taiwanese Puppetry Festival – Vancouver
UBC Museum of Anthropology
6393 N.W. Marine Drive
Vancouver, BC
November 4 to 9, 2014

 

The Taiyuan Puppet Theatre and the Chin Fei Feng Marionette Theatre Troupe offer puppetry workshops, school shows, and public performances. These events will culminate in a cultural exchange on November 9 at 3pm, when visiting Taiwanese puppeteers will spend the day with invited First Nations artists to create a collaborative experimental work.

 


 
Vancouver Asian Film Festival – Vancouver
International Village Cinemas
8 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC
November 6 to 9, 2014
 
The 18th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival will take place from November 6 to 9, 2014 at Cineplex Odeon International  Village Cinemas, located in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown  neighbourhood.
Our theme this year is “What’s Your Perspective?” – a question that calls upon our collective past and present, and how we interact with one another in society. Accompanying this theme, we’re creating our 18th year artistic campaign that promises to be edgy, visually stunning, and thought provoking

 

Russell Peters vs. The World

Russell Peters_web

 

Russell Peters_web

 

His tour may be called ‘Almost Famous’ but we’re pretty sure legendary Canadian comic Russell Peters is all-the-way famous.

 

Comedian Russell Peters will bring his friendly brand of comedy to Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on September 27. Growing up in Toronto, Peters has spent the past 25 years building a career as one of the biggest comics in the world.

 

With all-new material and an improvisational flavour, Peters just might single you out in the crowd. “I like to interact with the front rows,” says Peters of his signature back-and-forth with the audience. “I use the interaction to take me from bit to bit. Some guys go on-stage with a script and don’t deviate from it. That’s not my style. I have my set and know what I want to cover; I just use the audience to move me in certain directions. It’s very collaborative and each show is unique.”

 

The Almost Famous World Tour will also feature Russell’s Official Tour DJ’s; Toronto’s DJ Starting from Scratch and New York City’s DJ Spinbad, as well as video cameras and screens for an up-close and intimate show in an arena setting Peters can currently be seen as a judge on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, alongside Roseanne Barr and Keenen Ivory Wayans. Peters can also be seen in Jon Favreau’s critically acclaimed movie, Chef.

 

Starting in 2008, Peters was one of the first stand-up comedians to self-finance, self-produce and distribute his own comedy specials and DVDs, with Red, White and Brown and 2011’s, The Green Card Tour LIVE from the O2 Arena. He sold over 350,000 DVDs across North America. His last special, Notorious was the first original comedy special for Netflix. Peters currently has over seven hours of content on Netflix.

 

Thanks to YouTube and a global following, Peters has sold-out arenas from Madison Square Garden to the Sydney Opera House. Peters has also performed for the troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and on the USS Eisenhower and HMCS Winnipeg, and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Lopez Tonight, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and on HBO, CNN, MTV, BBC and Al Jazeera. Peters 2010 memoir, Call Me Russell was a Globe and Mail number one bestseller in Canada.

 

Health Cuts ‘Cruel and Unusual Treatment’

Dr. Martina Scholtens advocating for refugee rights. Photo by David P. Ball.

 

Dr. Martina Scholtens advocating for refugee rights. Photo by David P. Ball.

Dr. Martina Scholtens advocating for refugee rights. Photo by David P. Ball.

 

Canada’s government is slated to appeal a federal judge’s ruling on the cruelty of refugee health care cuts.

 

By Aurora Tejeida

 

This summer a federal judge ruled that millions of dollars in cuts to some refugee claimants’ health care amounted to “cruel and unusual treatment.” The cuts impact failed claimants as well as claimants from countries like Mexico and Israel that Canada’s government deems to be safe.

 

The court ruling also found no evidence that the cuts reduced refugee claims and costs, even though Ottawa claimed that the measure, which came into effect in 2012, would dissuade “bogus” refugee claimants from coming to Canada and save taxpayers $80 million over four years.

 

“The whole thing doesn’t make any sense from the costs perspective,” said Susan Nouch, a family physician who provides primary care to government assisted refugees and refugee claimants in a Vancouver health clinic.

 

“[The cuts] might be saving the Federal government money because they’re denying to pay these costs, but those have really just been downloaded on to the provinces. So there are no real savings and it’s anticipated that it likely costs more because instead of spending money on primary preventative health care, patients end up needing more costly treatments in the emergency room,” she added.

 

Even though it’s been two years, health workers are still getting used to the cuts. Refugee claimants that arrived before 2012 often managed to be in the country long enough to get a work permit before their hearing. Once they had a permit, they could access MSP (medical coverage), but that’s not the case anymore.

 

According to Nouch, the cuts have created two main issues: One is that all refugee claimants, regardless of where they arrived from, don’t have coverage for medication. And second, that there are people with absolutely no health coverage, except for cases where public health and safety were involved. This applies particularly to those who have failed their hearing and are undergoing an appeal—a sometimes lengthy process—and claimants from “DCO” countries.

 

DCO stands for designated countries of origin. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, DCOs “include countries that do not normally produce refugees, but do respect human rights and offer state protection.” This 37-country list includes Mexico, Israel (excluding Gaza and the West Bank) and Hungary, as well as the U.S. and almost every country in Europe. The aim of this policy is to “deter abuse of the refugee system by people who come from countries generally considered safe.”

 

Nouch sees things differently. “The federal government is trying to use the cuts to basic health care services as a political tool to deter people from coming here, it has nothing to do with health needs,” she explained.

 

The cuts also have little to do with actual refugee and asylum seeker needs. According to the ruling, the cuts haven’t reduced claims. If anything, Justice Anne Mactavish wrote that the 2012 policy puts refugee claimant’s lives “at risk and perpetuates the stereotypical view that they are cheats and queue-jumpers, that their refugee claims are bogus, and that they have come to Canada to abuse the generosity of Canadians.”

 

Even though the ruling acknowledged the government’s right to limit social benefits, it also stated that the measures represented an “intentional targeting of those seeking protection of Canada—an admittedly poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged group.”

 

The lack of health care is especially troubling in cases where DCO and failed claimants have health needs that involve heart issues, pregnancy, diabetes and children.

 

“People from DCOs have nothing, they can’t go to the emergency room or walk-in clinics,” said Nouch. “It’s very frustrating […] we’re always trying to scramble together some kind of plan for these patients that don’t have coverage to get medication that they need.”

 

As other provinces step in, BC lags on coverage

 

The number of refugee claimants in B.C. is smaller compared to other provinces. According to Nouch, our province only gets a fifth of the claimants that arrive in Ontario and Quebec. But the issues they are facing don’t change, if anything, things might be tougher here.
Other provinces have started filling the gap left by the cuts the federal government made two years ago. Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Alberta have all implemented programs, but not B.C. Physicians like Nouch have had to recur to sample or stock medication, as well as borrowed services from other institutions or, what’s even worse, having to delay treatments.

 

“We’re hoping that something will be done soon to fill that gap,” she explained.

 

But Nouch isn’t sitting around waiting for the government to step in. She belongs to a group of health care workers that are forming a B.C. refugee health coalition to formally approach refugee advocacy in the province.

 

“Federally, this is going to be a very important year for refugee advocacy […] This federal court ruling was in favour of the lawyers and doctors that were advocating for refugees, but the federal government is appealing the ruling. If they win, this will move to the Supreme Court of Canada,” she explained.

 

The ruling gave Ottawa four months to make changes or the court will reinstate the pre-existing arrangements.

 

But Nouch’s hope for a change in policy doesn’t end at the Supreme Court. “There’s the federal election next fall too,” she added.

 

 

One Year in Canada

vancouver downtown

 

vancouver downtown

 

After 365 days in Vancouver it’s onward and upward for this international student.

 

By Abeer Yusuf

 

August 22, 2014 marked a full year since I came to Canada.

 

As with anyone who remembers a particularly momentous day, I can trace the day’s events like a backward Google map. My parents and I had never been to a Western country, despite having travelled within Asia a formidable amount. We were nervous—least of all because it was going to be a 24-hour journey.

 

I was simply elated to be going with my parents, who I consider my biggest support system. We arrived in Vancouver late afternoon, and until 8 p.m., there was no sign of a sunset. We didn’t do much: just thanked the heavens that our journey was without any major bumps.

 

A year later, in the spirit of doing nothing, I wallowed in self-pity all day for reasons I’d prefer not to bore you with. With this navel-gazing reflection in mind, I’d like to share what I’ve observed in a year.

 

First things first: iced peach tea is not a concept here. Neither is chili sauce. I like to think of myself as a gastronaut, so this comes as more than a mild shock to me that neither items make it to any menu I’ve seen in the Lower Mainland. Hashtag really First World City?

 
People are extremely polite and nice. One of the things my parents loved most when they visited was how people would just stop their cars in the middle of the road so that you could walk across, and even waved. My mother in particular was so taken by this, she was wont to wave at random strangers wherever we went.

 

But people here are also no different from any other major city—they have a strict regimen, every activity/meeting is time-slotted, everything is commodified. It’s almost like Japan with how punctual people are and how they don’t tolerate being delayed.

 

I’ve had to learn this next one the hard way, but as a journalist in Vancouver, I find lots of people don’t fancy opening up and talking to you. I’m not talking about run-of-the-mill weather conversations, and this isn’t always the case of course, but people are incredibly conscious of how they are represented in print, and fiercely protective of their privacy. It makes it a challenge to converse and write freely on controversial topics—it’s an everyday lesson in diplomacy and bargaining.

 

But perhaps one of the biggest challenges I’ve had here is making friends. I don’t think this applies to everyone either—just to international graduate students in particular. When I think about it however, it makes perfect sense. You come across a smaller pool of people in grad school, have fewer opportunities to mingle and meet new people, and by the time you’re at this level, most people have already found their set friends and companions. It’s certainly not easy to try to broach this, no matter how sociable you are. Of course, in my case this was compounded by the fact that I knew no one—no friends or family when I came here—hence the one-year-still-lonely pity party.

 

Which brings me to my next and last point. As an international student, it is not always easy to fit into a new country, with new systems, new customs and new norms. If you have friends who’ve been here for some time, you’re much luckier than a significant portion of us—because they can help you navigate the testier waters. If you have friends you’re starting out with, even better. You’ll be weathering a lot of storms, but together, and there’s nothing  better than sitting with your friend from back home, crying together at midnight about how tough your assignment is and how pathetic you feel about being in the doldrums.

 

It goes without saying that having relatives a phone call away—no matter how distant their relation may be to you—is a comfort massively underrated. If you should feel homesick, desperate to eat home-cooked food once more, need emergency human contact, these are the people you can count on.

 

But if like me, you happen to be in the one percent of people who has none of the above resources available, don’t despair. I’ve been here a year; I won’t lie, it has not been easy, but take heart in knowing that someone on this page knows exactly what you feel—and it gets better (I assume).

 

Yes, you’ll feel so much more accomplished and positive knowing what you overcame. Once you’ve made Vancouver your home away from home, you’ll look back and think, “when did I ever not feel at home here?”

 

 

Is Vancouver fashionable? Tell us what you think.

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By Aurora Tejeida

 

The Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) is happening mid September, and someone, presumably their social media team, has been scoping out the city’s street style. Leaving outdated yoga pants jokes aside, Vancouver isn’t exactly known for being fashionable. Still, this event is held twice a year, and boasts 25,000 attendees.

 

Unlike fashion, one thing Vancouver is undoubtedly good at is diversity. Staying true to it’s diverse nature, VFW is supposed to host designers from “over 30 global fashion capitals.” And past VIP attendees include the stars of Twilight, The Desperate Housewives of Vancouver and the Barenaked Ladies. I’m not even joking.

 

Even though this is the 24th season of VFW, we still wonder if there is such a thing as style in Vancouver. Guidebook has surveyed Vancouver Fashion Week’s street style gallery and attempted to make some sense out of the outfits. Turns out ladies be layering! And flowers are for dudes.

 

Full disclaimer: my fashion sense includes purposefully dressing like a lumberjack on occasion.

 

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This picture is so very Main Street. Great colours and the dress’ design is very original. I like her attitude, way to go Liana!

 

10346437_10152485910606804_2522634071390080754_n

I’m not sure how I feel about the colour scheme in Rori’s outfit. It’s like she’s got a split personality. But I am pretty impressed she can walk around on those heels.

 

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There’s something very 90s about Sandy’s outfit. It reminds me of Alicia Silverstone in Clueless. She looks great, but I’m left hoping it wasn’t a windy day.

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I guess flowers are in for guys and girls. Too bad Keaton poses like an over-sized Ken doll. Relax, buddy! It’s still summer, sort of.

 

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This picture reminds of that scene in The Sound of Music where Julie Andrews’ character decides to make clothes out of the window drapes. Somewhere in Vancouver there’s a drapeless window, just because Freddy wanted a matching pair of shorts and a tie.

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I’m not sure what to say about this one outfit. I’m sure Anastasia had her reasons.

 

fashion_web

More flowers! Also, I wonder how many pairs of converse this guy owns.

 

10556268_10152683286036804_2340096358895385522_n

Remember when overalls and Birkenstocks weren’t fashionable? Yeah, me neither.

 

 

Syrian Refugees: Is None Too Many?

syrian refugees - World Bank, creative commons licensed

 

syrian refugees - World Bank, creative commons licensed

syrian refugees – World Bank, creative commons licensed

 

By Crawford Kilian, TheTyee.ca

 

Every generation likes to think it’s reached some peak of ethical perfection; every generation’s descendants think the same thing about themselves, and wince at their forebears’ follies and ignorance.

 

If we ever wonder what our grandchildren will despise us for, one failure has been staring us in the face for over three years: the plight of Syria’s refugees.

 

Street protests in March 2011 seemed at first like an encouraging part of the Arab Spring: popular demonstrations that could soon lead to the ouster of Bashar al-Assad and the establishment of some kind of democratic state in his place. We could applaud from the sidelines without even having to commit any military forces, as we had in Libya when it was overthrowing Colonel Qadafi.

 

Instead, Assad turned out to be a far tougher dictator than Qadafi. He has fought his opponents almost to a standstill, while driving seven million Syrians out of their homes. About two and a half million of them have fled the country.

 

Most of those have gone to neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. Smaller numbers have reached Iraq, Egypt, and Algeria; a thousand Syrians have even ended up in Gaza.

 

These numbers are a heavy burden on the host countries’ economies. The UN High Commission for Refugees estimates that as of July 7, one million Syrians are now in Turkey, only 800,000 of them registered. Over 200,000 are living in camps.

 

UNHCR says that non-governmental support for the refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt will cost $3.74 billion this year. But only fractions of this sum have been met, from 17 per cent in Turkey to 36 per cent in Jordan.

 

Begging for alms

 

This is not surprising. “Humanitarian” is a long way to spell “beggar,” and both UN agencies and NGOs must simply beg for alms from prosperous countries and their citizens. The alms must cover the needs of suffering people in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Palestine, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Haiti, and many other countries too poor to absorb the shocks of violence, disease, and natural disaster.

 

So where does wealthy Canada fit into the picture? In theory, Harper’s government has magnanimously invited 1,300 refugees from Syria. But 1,100 of them have to be privately sponsored. This summer Immigration Minister Chris Alexander got into a farcical exchange with CBC Radio’s As It Happens about how many refugees have actually arrived here. Alexander kept refusing to give a number; program host Carol Off kept asking for it until he hung up on her.

 

Canada’s passive-aggressive foreign policy

 

La Rochefoucauld famously observed long ago that we always find the strength to bear the misfortunes of others. This is not a strength we should be proud of, our governments least of all.

 

Historically, western governments have tended to welcome politically convenient refugees. If a Cuban and a Haitian land together on a Florida beach, for example, the Cuban gets to stay and the Haitian is deported forthwith.

 

After the failed Hungarian revolt in 1956, Canada welcomed many refugees fleeing the Soviets, including a whole school of forestry absorbed into UBC’s. Now, despite a semi-fascist government in Hungary, Canada is reluctant to admit Roma refugees fleeing Hungarian persecution.

 

In other words, we carry out a passive-aggressive foreign policy by loudly admitting people fleeing from regimes we don’t approve of, while quietly rebuffing refugees from our friends.

 

Canada has an uneven record here. The Pearson and Trudeau Liberals welcomed American draft dodgers and deserters in the 1960s and ‘70s, but deserters from the Iraq War got the bum’s rush from Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. In the 1970s we were happy to admit the Vietnamese boat people and the Indian Ugandans kicked out by Idi Amin. More recently, we’ve accepted Somalis and Tamils, though with mixed feelings.

 

Recruiting the best and bravest

 

In the 1930s, our grandparents were anything but open to such refugees. The Nazis were beginning the horror of the Holocaust in Europe, but Canada didn’t give a damn. A powerful 1983 book, None Is Too Many, documented the genteel bigotry that rebuffed Jewish refugees. “None is too many” was reportedly the definition of a postwar immigration official of the acceptable number of Jewish refugees in Canada. Anti-Semitism was just another facet of the typical Anglo-Canadian attitude toward First Nations, Asians, and anyone else not ethnically English or Scots.

 

Slowly, in the second half of the 20th century, we abandoned the stupid idea of “a white man’s Canada.” We began to admit more Asians and Africans, not just refugees, and we watched them flourish. We acquired something between a taste and an addiction for pho, samosas, and sushi.

 

As a college teacher between 1968 and 2008, I met students who had escaped from horrors around the world: Vietnamese and Chileans, smart young Ugandan Ismailis, Czechs who wept when they talked about 1968, Iranians who feared the Shah’s Savak secret police even in 1960s West Vancouver.

 

Without realizing it, we had accidentally recruited the bravest and brightest, the most imaginative, the people too good for the status quo at home.

 

They were just the latest arrivals in a Canada that has found a windfall in almost every global upheaval of the past century. Whether it was Doukhoubors driven from Russia, or the Hutterites, or the Toisan speakers of the Pearl River Delta, or Salvador Allende’s followers driven from Chile, we have welcomed them, struggled to understand them, and grown stronger from them.

 

You would think that our own history would teach us to seek more such windfalls. Now we have the chance to acquire the best of a couple of million Syrians, an invaluable human resource like the Jews of the 1930s. But Stephen Harper’s government prefers to fret about “bogus” refugee claimants.

 

For Canada, on this file, progress is an extremely relative concept. Liberal MP Marc Garneau said last spring that Canada has admitted just nine Syrian refugees up until then, when other countries had admitted thousands.

 

What countries? Well, the U.K. has admitted just 24.

 

Finland, with about the population of B.C., has found room for 500. Sweden, population 9.5 million, accepted 26,461 asylum seekers in 2013, one in five of all such people in the EU—including 12,000 Syrians.

 

Germany has accepted 40,000 Syrians and plans to accept another 10,000; the Germans took in 300,000 refugees during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

 

When the world has almost 50 million refugees, even Germany’s contribution seems trivial; ours is both contemptible and foolish.

 

Our loss

 

If nothing else, we should welcome Syria’s refugees out of sheer self-interest. Canada has repeatedly profited from its refugees: the Vietnamese, the Ugandan Ismailis, the Chinese—not to mention those
like the Dutch who came here after World War II because we’d liberated them from the Nazis.

 

All those earlier immigrants had experienced life under brutal dictatorships and knew how lethal they are. Once
settled here, they helped build a country that deserves to be proud of its ability to keep over a hundred cultures working and prospering together. The immigrants, more than many of us, know the value of this country.

 

We are already a country of immigrants and refugees; they have made us what we are. From the Syrians we can expect hard work, commitment to building a new life, and the kind of gratitude we currently do not deserve.

 

 

Last chance to see Vancouver’s Celebration of Light!

Photo by Jon Rawlinson / wikimedia commons
Photo by Jon Rawlinson / wikimedia commons

Photo by Jon Rawlinson / wikimedia commons

 

Third and final installment of the annual fireworks festival represents Japan on August 2.

 

Thousands will gather in downtown Vancouver to view the third and final performance of the 2014 Honda Celebration of Lights on August 2. Japan competes against France and the United States for this year’s title.

 

If you’ve missed the fireworks festival until now, grab a blanket or chair, head to one of the beaches surrounding the Burrard Inlet, and prepare yourself for some of the fiercest fireworks in the world. The show starts at 10:00 p.m. or after dusk.

 

Road closures will affect central areas of Vancouver during the fireworks display. If you are driving, pick a parking lot further away from the shores and walk the rest of the way. Walking, cycling and taking transit are encouraged. A complimentary bike valet will be available at Sunset Beach.

 

Roads near Kitsilano Point shut down at 6:30 p.m. and the West End arteries close at 7:30 p.m. Only residents with parking decals for the neighbourhood or with vehicle registration displaying a neighbourhood address will be allowed access at those times.

 

Chile Out

Venezuelan film “Bad Hair” screens at the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.

 

Venezuelan film “Bad Hair” screens at the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.

Venezuelan film “Bad Hair” screens at the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.

 

Chilean filmmakers featured at Vancouver’s 12th Latin American Film Festival.

 

The Vancouver Latin American Film Festival, running from August 28 to Sept 7, announced its 2014 film lineup last week. The 12th annual festival features 73 films, including 36 feature-length films screened in three venues in downtown Vancouver.

 

The program’s Panorama section offers a view of some of the most recent and exciting new Latin American films, including much-hyped film Bad Hair by Venezuelan director Mariana Rondón. Many classic Cuban films will be screened as well as a film adaptation of the late Gabriel García Márquez’s novella No One Writes to the Colonel (1999).

 

Now in its fourth edition, the program Canada Looks South will highlight films from Latin-Canadian filmmakers. This year’s focus turns to works by Chilean-Canadian filmmakers. Chile is also the guest country at VLAFF 2014, which has invited six Chilean filmmakers plus renowned Chilean actor Manuela Martelli, who will be featured in a retrospective at the festival.

 

The fest’s Indigenous Film section partnered with the Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival to screen films by B.C. First Nations filmmakers alongside works by Indigenous filmmakers from Oaxaca, Mexico.

 

Chilean actress Manuela Martelli will be featured in a film retrospective at VLAFF 2014. Tickets to the festival go on sale August 12, 2014 at www.vlaff.org.

Chilean actress Manuela Martelli will be featured in a film retrospective at VLAFF 2014.
Tickets to the festival go on sale August 12, 2014 at www.vlaff.org.

 

Local indie games spotlighted at SIGGRAPH

Games showcase! See and learn about the programming, design and old fashioned magic that goes into video games.

 

How to Train Your Dragon 2 will screen during the SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 will screen during the SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver.

 

World’s best computer animation conference returns to Vancouver August 10 to 14.

 

By Sarah Berman

 

Back in April, Guidebook went inside Vancouver’s independent video game industry to ask how newcomers can break into the city’s competitive design and development scenes. We learned that much of Canada’s $2-billion gaming industry is based right here in Vancouver, alongside massive digital effects studios working for Hollywood films.

 

Did you know: there are 2,329,413 individually animated hairs on Sully from Monsters, Inc.?

Did you know: there are 2,329,413 individually animated hairs on Sully from Monsters, Inc.?

 

This month, many of those gamers and developers we interviewed will be attending the 41st International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, a.k.a. SIGGRAPH. (The title’s a mouthful—I know). Geeks of many stripes will convene at the Vancouver Convention Centre from August 10 to 14 to attend lectures and workshops on the latest digital graphics innovations and trends.

 

Vancouver has hosted SIGGRAPH before. In 2011, the conference broke previous all-time attendance records—”one of the most memorable SIGGRAPH conference cities” according to the 2014 press release.

 

“We are thrilled to be returning to these cities and it is a testament to their popularity both with our attendees and exhibitors,” said Joe Marks, SIGGRAPH Conference Advisory Group Chair from Disney Research at The Walt Disney Company. “The fact that we are returning to Canada is a direct reflection of its strong and growing computer graphics community.”

 

 

Speakers include developers and designers who have worked on blockbusters like The Matrix, King Kong and Avatar. For example, Academy award-winner Paul Debevec is Chief Visual Officer and leads the Graphics Laboratory at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies. He will return to SIGGRAPH to speak at a number of panels.

 
Now trending: indie games

 

 Games showcase! See and learn about the programming, design and old fashioned magic that goes into video games.

Games showcase! See and learn about the programming, design and old fashioned magic that goes into video games.

 

SIGGRAPH 2014 has teamed up with Media Indie Exchange (The MIX) to bring the first-ever SIGGRAPH indie game showcase to its exhibition beginning August 12. As part of its collaboration with The MIX, conference attendees will access exclusive presentations by game developers working on indie projects featuring a wide variety of cutting-edge graphics and gameplay that in some instances is still in the experimental stages.

 

Although the presenters are yet-to-be-announced, we have a hunch many of Vancouver’s locally-grown studios will show their 3D modeling, animation, programming and graphics. In recent years, many of Vancouver’s big studios have moved out, replaced by leaner, more experimental mobile-ready outfits like A Thinking Ape and Eastside Games.
“The MIX brings a high level of talent, creativity, and quality to the table. We are excited to bring this experience to the SIGGRAPH community and put a spotlight on it,” remarked SIGGRAPH 2014 Conference Chair Dave Shreiner. “Hopefully, speaking with indie developers first-hand will inspire individuals and small teams in attendance to ‘go for it’ with their own projects.”

 

“The MIX at SIGGRAPH 2014 shows the ongoing impact of indie studios on the industry,” said Justin Woodward of The MIX. “This event provides another platform where we can help share advances from this world with new audiences.”

 

Registration for the graphics conference starts at $50. For the latest updates visit s2014.siggraph.org.

‘Dailies’ program gives each presenter one minute to present an animation and describe the work.

‘Dailies’ program gives each presenter one minute to present an animation and describe the work.

 

YUNA-MANIA

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Malaysian pop sensation Yuna makes a stop at Vancouver’s Imperial Theatre on August 29. Guidebook chats with the singer about touring, fasting and feeling anonymous in North America.

 

By Abeer Yusuf

 

If you happened to follow New York music blogs in 2011, you may have noticed the much-hyped FADER label picked up an indie-folk artist named Yunalis Mat Zara’ai—Yuna for short.

 

A few DJs and producers (you may have heard about a guy named Pharrell?) remixed her acoustic songs into low-key electro jams. Despite her catchy hooks and colourful style, Yuna stayed well under the radar while the rest of North America continued obsessing about Miley and Lana Del Rey.

 

Meanwhile, back in Malaysia, Yuna fever was peaking years before the cool kids in NYC figured it out. In Kuala Lumpur (where this writer attended university) Yuna is already a star that’s won dozens of awards and can’t take public transit for fear of mobs.

 

Yuna has bridged these two contrasting realities for a few years now. And this year, while on the North American festival circuit, she also fasted for Ramadhan—no easy task when switching time zones under a summer sun.

 

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But the discomforts of fasting on the road pale in comparison to the hardships faced by the country she calls home. Malaysia Airlines suffered another tragic loss when one of its passenger jets was shot down over eastern Ukraine last month.

 

As a social media ambassador for the airline, Yuna has tweeted her support for Malaysians who lost loved ones in the crash alongside timely updates from Gaza, where over 1,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli attacks.

 

“Praying for innocent souls perished in wars, innocent souls trying to survive,” reads her Twitter feed, with hashtags #MH17 and #GazaUnderAttack.

 

A law graduate, Yuna speaks authoritatively on both tragedies, and lends her star power to Malaysian humanitarian efforts. Yet through these tumultuous times, she remains focused on her art, combining Malay tradition with a smart pop sensibility.

 

As Yuna’s musical talents catch up with her in the form of critical acclaim, her star is on the rise here in Vancouver. Ahead of her performance at the Imperial Theatre on August 29, Guidebook asked her about her album, tour and religious observances.

 

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Guidebook: Your new album Nocturnal is more electronic than your previous indie-folk records. What has led you in this new direction? Do you think it’s a permanent shift?

 

Yuna: I just wanted to try something different. I love folk music but at the same time, I thought it would be cool to dive into electronic and see how I can diversify my music. Maybe I’ll go back to doing folk, who knows? I’m just enjoying myself making the music that I want.

 

G: As a Muslim who observes Ramadhan, how has it been performing while on the road in North America? Do you have any fasting-on-the-go tips?

 

Y: It’s hard, honestly. I keep myself hydrated throughout the night, it helps to keep you energized during the day.

 

I performed a couple of times [in July] (since Ramadhan was during summer time there were a lot of festivals I was performing at) without water and I’ve done that before. Just mind over matter I think, for me.

 

G: Do you feel a sense of anonymity in North America? In comparison to KL [Kuala Lumpur], where I assume you get mobbed everywhere you go.

 

Y: A little of course. It’s kinda nice to be able to walk around without being stopped or stared at all the time.

 

I used to take the train to the city in KL all the time but I can’t do anything like that now without people stopping me for photos. Not that I mind! Just that it’s very uncomfortable especially when you just want to do your own thing you know.

 

G: Back home you’ve inspired a whole generation of Malaysian girls to wear the tudung [head cover] creatively. How does it feel to see your personal style being adapted and reimagined?

 

Y: It’s very cool. I don’t think I’ve inspired them, I think a lot of girls just had it in them to cover up and just needed someone to show how it’s very easy to wear the tudung and keeping your Muslim identity in the modern world.

 

G: Many people say you’re Sudirman’s successor because of your growing international fame. Any plans to inject a taste of Malay music or words into your songs? [Sudirman Arshad is the only Malaysian musician to perform at Royal Albert Hall].

 

Y: Hopefully—I’m always finding ways to fuse my Malay identity into my music.

 

G: Almost every Malay singer has a Hari Raya [Eid celebration] song. Will you ever have one too, for your Malaysian fans?

 

Y: I actually have one its called “Raya Oh Yeah.”

 

G: You’ve played in Vancouver before. Do any memories stand out from your last visit?

 

Y: The people! I was really surprised that I had a lot of fans in Vancouver. Also we had really good Malaysian food in Vancouver!

 

G: Our magazine is read by young people making big changes by moving to Canada. Having some personal experience uprooting yourself, what advice would you give to international students in Canada?

 

Y: Stay true to your roots, it starts from there when you want to make a change.

 

FIFA fans unite at Carnaval del Sol

Photo via Carnaval del sol press kit

 

Photo via Carnaval del sol press kit

Photo via Carnaval del sol press kit

 

There is no better crowd than Latin American soccer fanatics. Celebration heats up July 5.

 

By Aurora Tejeida

 

Last Friday Facebook announced that a total of 141 million people had commented about, liked or shared posts about the World Cup. In comparison, the Super Bowl  got some 50 million people commenting on Facebook, the Sochi games 45 million and the Oscars 11 million.

 

Whether Canadians like to admit it or not, the 2014 World Cup is poised to become the biggest sporting event in history, possibly larger than the 2008 Beijing Olympics (which were watched by an estimated 3.6 billion people).

 

Vancouver’s Latin American community knows full well what the Cup is worth (and I don’t just mean the $11 billion Brazil spent on stadiums). This year, Carnaval del Sol—a weeklong festival that celebrates Latin American culture in Vancouver—is hosting World Cup viewing parties at the Edgewater Casino until July 13.

 

For five bucks you can watch games on giant high-definition screens and enjoy three-dollar Long Island Iced Teas and four-dollar Heinekens. For countries that live and breathe soccer, much like Canadians live and breathe hockey, the World Cup viewing experience can be as emotional as an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, except with higher stakes and way more fun.

 

The venue, which holds over 400 people, will also have an hourly shuttle service leaving from Commercial drive and Downtown from Thursday to Sunday on days with matches. Attendees are asked to “bring your flag, your energy and passion.”

 

It’s a great excuse to get together with friends to eat and drink—especially if you’re rooting for Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Honduras or Chile. Every game your country plays is like a Super Bowl viewing party on steroids—with snacks and beer even if the game is being broadcasted at 9:00 a.m.

 

This is very common practice in Latin America, where even offices commonly set up special World Cup viewing areas for employees. According to Forbes Mexico, 80 per cent of Mexican offices will give employees time off to watch all the matches the country is participating in. All the more reason to don the characteristic green shirt the Mexican soccer team is known for.

 

This year’s competition is already proving to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable World Cups in recent history. Spain, the current champs, lost their chances of moving on to the next round after losing their first two matches. As did England, the country where the sport was created.

 

But if soccer is not really your thing, the Carnaval del Sol also offers food and music-related activities. The festival, which is organized by Latincouver, will also host its main event on Granville Mall on the weekend of July 5. The event will feature food stands and food trucks with cuisine from El Salvador, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba and Argentina. Don’t miss out on the churros.

 

The event will also have two stages for musical acts and dancers, with over 15 different performances during the weekend. Don’t know how to dance? A third stage will also be constructed on Robson Square to host a dance floor and the chance to get some free lessons from professional dancers.

 


 
Photo via Carnaval del sol press kit

Photo via Carnaval del sol press kit

 

 
Quick Facts

 

1. This is the most expensive World Cup to date, costing an estimated $11 billion. The 2010 World Cup in South Africa cost $4 billion.
2. 3.7 million tourists are expected to visit World Cup sites. But only 600,000 people are expected to come from outside Brazil.

3. There were as many disallowed goals as there were allowed goals in the first round of matches in Group A.

4. It cost $900 million to build the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, making it the second most expensive soccer stadium in the world. The first is England’s Wembley Stadium at $1.25 billion.

5. Eight different countries have won previous World Cups: Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Uruguay, Germany, Italy, England and France. Brazil has won five times, Italy four and Germany three.

 

Sources: CNBC and The Mirror.
 

Photo via Carnaval del sol press kit

Photo via Carnaval del sol press kit


 

Where to Watch

maps

 

maps

 

As an international student or newcomer to Canada, nobody will blame you for skipping the Stanley Cup hockey playoffs. However, finding a restaurant or sports bar that will show the sports you actually want to see can sometimes be a challenge.

 

If you’re as excited as we are, you’re already making plans to cheer on your team. Here’s a look at where to watch, whether you’re cheering for Brazil, Italy, Portugal, South Korea or Iran.

 


 

Commercial Drive

 


 

With more big screen venues than any other street in the city, Commercial Drive is one of the best places to watch World Cup action. Portuguese and Italian communities make this area a lively spot for fans to hang out.

 


Boteco – Guidebook’s pick for Brazilian fans

 

(604) 566-9028

2545 Nanaimo St, Vancouver BC

Boteco is the unofficially official Brazil House in Vancouver. With a projector and several big screens, Boteco is known to show inner-city football games—not just the international ones.

 


Abruzzo Cappuccino Bar – Guidebook’s pick for Italian fans

 

1321 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC

(604) 254-2641

 


Portuguese Club Of Vancouver – Official Portuguese House

 

1144 Commercial Drive, Vancouver

(604) 251-2042

 


The Charletan

 

1447 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC

 


Caffé Napoli

 

1670 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC

 


Vancouver

 


 

It may not rival the hustle and bustle of Rio or Sao Paulo, but Vancouver is home to several FIFA-friendly establishments. For a central viewing experience, check out these spots.

 


The Pint – Official Brazilian House

 

455 Abbott Street, Vancouver BC

(604) 684-0258

 


The London Pub – Official English House

700 Main Street, Vancouver BC

604-563-5053

 


Doolin’s – Guidebook’s pick for Irish fans

 

654 Nelson Street, Vancouver BC

 


La Casita – Guidebook’s pick for Mexican fans

 

101 West Cordova Street, Vancouver BC

 


Butcher and the Bullock

 

911 West Pender Street Vancouver BC

(604) 662-8866

 


Dover Arms Pub

 

961 Denman Street, Vancouver BC

 


Library Square Pub

 

300 West Georgia Street, Vancouver BC

(604) 633-9644

 


Soho Bar & Grill

1184 Denman St, Vancouver BC

 


Sin Bin Sports Grill

 

295 W 2nd Avenue, Vancouver BC

(604) 677-3515

 


Burnaby / East Van

 

For those residing east of Boundary, these local haunts will be showing FIFA World Cup games all month.

 


Oscar’s Pub

 

3684 East Hastings Street

(604) 298-5825

 


Panadería Latina Bakery – Guidebook’s pick for Chilean fans

 

4906 Joyce Street

 


Caffe Mondiale

3722 Hastings Street

 


Polish Community Centre – Official Polish House

 

4015 Fraser Street, Vancouver BC

(604) 874-8620

 


German Cultural Centre – Official German House

 

4875 Victoria Drive

 


Kitsilano

 


 

Manchester Public House – Guidebook’s pick for Dutch fans

1941 West Broadway, Vancouver BC

 


Marpole

 


 

South Hall Palace – Official Korean House

8273 Ross Street, Vancouver BC, near South Marine Drive

 


North Shore

 


 

Sailor Hagar’s Brew Pub

 

86 Semisch Avenue, North Vancouver

(604) 984-3087

 


Two Lions Public House

 

2601 Westview Drive, North Vancouver BC

 


Coquitlam

 


 

Urban Gate – Guidebook’s pick for Iranian fans

 

1158C High Street, Coquitlam BC

 


North Delta

 


 

The Delta Lion Pub – Guidebook pick for Australian fans

 

11186 84th Ave, North Delta BC

(604) 591-2111

 


 

Richmond

 


 

Pumphouse Pub

 

6031 Blundell Road, Richmond BC

(604) 274-7424

 


 

WINGS

 

Abbotsford

Burnaby

Coquitlam

Granville

Langley

Maple Ridge

Surrey

White Rock

Edmonton

Airport

 greatwings.ca

 


Steveston

 

The village of Steveston is giving Commercial Drive a run for its money, with a FIFA-long festival celebrating every qualifying team. 32 local businesses are hosting a team “pavilion” with special events happening every day of the tournament.

 

For full details visit www.worldcupsteveston.com

 

 


 

CIBC

 

The bank is hosting a cross-country mobile soccer festival, featuring games broadcast outdoors live on the big screen along with fun activities for fans and families, including a Cheer Booth, footballing tips and demonstrations from ‘Masters of Ball Control’ freestyle soccer players and much more.

 


 

Worlds Apart

Photo via Vancouver Folk Music Festival

 

Photo via Vancouver Folk Music Festival

Photo via Vancouver Folk Music Festival

 

This year’s folk festival lineup includes legends of Americana alongside Afrobeat royalty.

 

By Sarah Berman

 

Ahead of the 37th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival beginning July 18, Guidebook brings you six highlights from the beachside concert series. From Bob Dylan’s ex-lover to Fela Kuti’s youngest son, it’s a chance to get close to the world’s biggest folk dynasties this summer.

 


 

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Joan Baez

 

Joan Baez has basically lived at folk festivals for the last 56 years of her life.

 

“A stunning soprano, Joan’s natural vibrato lent a taut, nervous tension to everything she sang,” reads a description of the performance that sparked her career at the first Newport Folk Festival in 1959.

 

Her vibrato also speaks to the political dimension of traditional American folk, which Baez embodies near-perfectly. She sang at political marches during the civil rights era, and would surely feel right at home protesting alongside British Columbia’s anti-pipeline marchers.

 

Her collaborations span history’s most recognized folkies, from Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan and Steve Earle.

 


 

VFMF14_Media_Amos_Lee_LR_02_web

Amos Lee

 

Hailing from Philadelphia, Amos Lee blends folk, R&B, rock, country and soul in a way that somehow references both Willie Nelson and Al Green simultaneously.

 

 


 

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Seun Kuti and Egypt 80

 

As an artist, Seun Kuti has big shoes to fill. But as the youngest son of legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, Seun “ably carries the afrobeat torch his father lit.”

 

For those unfamiliar with afrobeat, the genre combines traditional West African guitar stylings with funk, jazz, infectious call-and-response vocals and ecstatic percussive elements. As with other folk traditions, Fela’s music also spoke to a troubled political landscape in Nigeria and neighbouring nations during the 1970s and 80s.

 

After his father’s death in 1997, Seun became the leader of his father’s band, Egypt 80. Suen plays a combination of original material and Fela Kuti classics.

 


 

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Typhoon

 

An 11-piece indie orchestra, Typhoon is billed as Portland’s “biggest” emerging band, marked by a horn and string sections and eclectic percussion. The complicated arrangements layer handclaps, horn lines and a veritable choir under its charming guitar-driven rock surface.

 


 

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Wintersleep

 

Representing Canada, Halifax’s Wintersleep are another essential source of handclap-driven summer jams that shade in triumphant riffs with ghost stories.

 


 

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Banda Kukana

 

Lead singer Yolanda Chicane, together with Azarias Arone, founded the Maputo-based Banda Kakana. The group represents a new generation of Mozambican bands, following in the celebrated footsteps of groups like Ghorwane, Eyuphuro and Orquestra Marrabenta Star of Mozambique.

 

Kakana’s sound is based in marrabenta, popular Mozambican dance music with roots in traditional rhythms and Portuguese folk music. They sing in a variety of languages, including Changana, Emacua, Chope, Portuguese and English.

 

 

A Midsummer Night’s Stage

A Midsummer Night’s Dream / Photo by Davide Blue / Bard on the Beach

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream / Photo by Davide Blue / Bard on the Beach

A Midsummer Night’s Dream / Photo by Davide Blue / Bard on the Beach

 

The Shakespeare festival Bard on the Beach turns 25 with the return of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

 

By Tanvi Bhatia

 

It’s no secret that William Shakespeare is the most famous name in the book when it comes to theatre.

 

Vancouver is lucky enough to not only have a large variety of theatre productions, Shakespearean and otherwise, but is also home to Bard on the Beach, a summer Shakespeare festival that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Jennifer Lines (Ariel) / Photo and design by David & Emily Cooper / Bard on the Beach

Jennifer Lines (Ariel) / Photo and design by David & Emily Cooper / Bard on the Beach

 

Shakespeare can be intimidating: the language is challenging for native English speakers and learners alike. Don’t let it frighten you, though, because the mark of good Shakespearean actors is the ability to allow the audience to understand the play, breaking down the language barrier through action and vocal inflection. Shakespeare’s plays were written to be performed, not read, and the Bard on the Beach cast does a great job of performing them.

 

Four plays are running this summer. A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest are the more well known of the bunch, both taught in elementary and high schools in B.C. The other two are Cymbeline and Equivocation.

 

If you’re not a Shakespeare fan, or you’re looking for something light, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a good place to start. It’s a lighthearted comedy about men and women all falling in love with wrong person, with a bunch of magic and antics thrown in. I was lucky enough to see a preview show, and I can say that I was entertained throughout.

 

Kyle Rideout (Puck) Photo by David Blue / Bard on the Beach

Kyle Rideout (Puck) Photo by David Blue / Bard on the Beach

Actors Naomi Wright, Scott Bellis, Ian Butcher and Bernard Cuffling are returning Bard talent, making it easy to follow the plot without much prior knowledge or any understanding of the play. It’s not straight-laced Shakespeare, either—the Bard on the Beach performance includes new jokes and splashes of pop culture in the soundtrack to add a modern twist.

 

The Tempest and Cymbeline are a little heavier, though hardly less enjoyable, and good to see if you’re looking for more of a challenge. Equivocation is the only play of the four that wasn’t actually written by Shakespeare; it is a piece written by Bill Cain, originally performed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, about what would happen if Shakespeare were commissioned to write a play that puts him in a difficult situation.

 

A change from the normal Shakespearean works, Bard on the Beach’s Equivocation is supposed to be both humorous and insightful, worth watching if you want an idea of what the behind the scenes life of the famous playwright looked like.

 

All performances take place in Vanier Park, spread out across two different stages, and the prices range from $27 to $47. The park is accessible by car or by transit, but beware: it’s not located near a Skytrain station, so plan out a bus route ahead of time and give yourself extra time to find your way.

 

Scott Bellis (Bottom) / Photo & Design by David & Emily Cooper / Bard on the Beach

Scott Bellis (Bottom) / Photo & Design by David & Emily Cooper / Bard on the Beach

It is also wise to bring a sweater or jacket, because the stage opens up to the outside and it can get chilly as it gets late. Most importantly, come ready to enjoy a show that will allow you to view Shakespeare in a new light.

 


Colleen Wheeler ( Elizabeth Rex) Photo by David Blue / Bard on the Beach

Colleen Wheeler ( Elizabeth Rex) Photo by David Blue / Bard on the Beach

Shakespeare Translations

 

The English language has changed a whole lot since Shakespeare wrote his plays over 400 years ago. For the most part, you’re not going to hear old-timey words like “cometh” and “vouchsafe” on the streets of Vancouver.

 

But that shouldn’t stop anyone from inserting a little Shakespearean wit and flavour into everyday conversation. Courtesy of the Bard on the Beach blog, here are some common phrases (and some romantic ones, too) to try next time you’re ordering coffee (or proposing).

 

Good morning
Good morrow

 

How are you?
How now, good friend, how farest thou this day?

 

Can I have a cappuccino to go please?
Barrista true, vouchsafe to grant one cup
Of that sustaining brew, a cappuccino.

 

I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?
I prithee, fair one, take my hand and vow
To join our hearts and souls eternally,
To spend our days in joy, our nights in bliss,
O, grant me this and seal it with a kiss.

 

 

Bob Frazer (Shagspeare) / Photo & Design by David & Emily Cooper / Bard on the Beach

Bob Frazer (Shagspeare) / Photo & Design by David & Emily Cooper / Bard on the Beach

Sorry, it’s just not working, we need to break up.
My dear, I hate to say it does not work;
The time has come to end our fellowship.
or
The joy we’ve shared must now come to an end;
And love we must seek out with other friends.

 

I feel like you just don’t listen…
If thou wouldst deign to use thine ears, then thou
Wouldst hear my words.

 

Want to get a drink some time?
Come and crush a cup of wine. [Romeo & Juliet]
or
I prithee, come and join me for a drink.
or
Wouldst thou vouchsafe to drink and chat with me?

 

Translations courtesy of www.bardonthebeach.org/blog

 

Photo: Bard Festival Site / Bard on the Beach

Photo: Bard Festival Site / Bard on the Beach

 

Small Plates, Big Bites

Espana_Meatboard_web

 

Espana_Meatboard_web

 

Latin-inspired churros, tacos and tapas make for messy, shareable fun. The plates may be small, but these two popular weekend spots offer plenty of finger food to fill up on. Did we mention the wine and mezcal selection? Yes, you’ll need a second napkin.

 


 

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Duck livers, frisse, quail eggs, crispy serrano ham and pedro ximenez dressing.

 

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Photo by Espana / Facebook

Espana
1118 Denman
Vancouver, BC
(604) 604-558-4040

 

Espana is a trendy tapas-style restaurant featuring wines and shareable plates from Spain. It is located in the center of the Davie strip, a few blocks away from English Bay.

 

The décor is modern and intimate, with dark wood furniture and long narrow bar. It is a great spot for a date or for grabbing a bite with friends. The place is always packed, so expect to wait a while before being seated. They don’t take reservations, but if you come around 6:00 p.m. you’re more likely to get a table. If you come later, don’t worry, there is ample room at the bar.

 

If you are coming for dinner, I’d recommend ordering about five plates for two to share. Popular dishes include the crispy pork belly served with white beans and a romesco sauce ($12), ling cod ($12) and the crispy squid served with a minted chili jam ($10). There’s also a few unique salads, a range of cured meats, homemade cheeses, and a good selection of Spanish pates and croquettes.

 

Espana is open late—until 1:00 a.m. during the week and 2:00 a.m. on weekends—making it an ideal spot for a few tapas-style snacks and more than a few drinks.

 

Popular snacks are the crispy chickpeas ($5) served with paprika and mint, olives stuffed with anchovies ($5), and any of their cured meats ($6). I like to order the meat board ($21) so that I can sample all five of their cured meats, including smoked boar chorizo and serrano ham that has been aged for 14 months.

 

The dinner crowd is a bit more chilled out that the late night snackers, so if you are looking for quiet conversation, come early.

 

—Shannon Pidlubny

 


 

Los Cuervos_Seared Tuna Taco_facebook_web

Photo by Los Cuervos Seared Tuna Taco / Facebook

 

Los Cuervos_Open Kitchen_Facebook_webLos Cuervos Taqueria & Cantina
603 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC
(604) 604-558-1518

 

Los Cuervos is a hip taqueria in the ever-expanding Kingsway and Fraser neighborhood. It’s an inviting, laidback space, decorated with the bright colours found in Mexico cantinas. The 30-seat restaurant is stylish, featuring a round mosaic-tiled bar in the center.

 

I prefer sitting at the bar so I can watch the chefs in action, squeezing out dough for churros (a donut-like pastry that is formed in sticks and deep fried). They serve this traditional dessert with your choice of chocolate or caramel dipping sauce. Ask for both.

 

I come here just for those crispy churros, and for the cocktails they make with mezcal (made from roasted agave). My favorite is the sage suero, a sweet and zippy drink made with homemade sage tea, agave syrup, soda, lime and tequila. They serve a few local beers too.

 

Dinner options include a good range of vegetarian and meat tacos, a few tostadas and one daily quesadilla. All tacos are served on a single six-inch corn tortilla. You’ll need three or four of them for a meal, which can get a bit pricey at $4 a piece. But the tacos here are both a visual and a gourmet experience, featuring meats not ordinarily made in taco truck in Mexico City, such as: duck, bison, and seared tuna.

 

Don’t expect simple tacos here. They pride themselves in elevating the toppings while using both local and traditional ingredients such as huitlacoche sauce (made with a corn fungus that is a delicacy in Mexico).

 

—Shannon Pidlubny

 

Portrait of a Megalopolis

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Award-winning author Rana Dasgupta will discuss his first non-fiction book about Delhi at the Indian Summer Festival in Vancouver.

 

Who: Rana Dasgupta, author of Capital
What: Speaking during the Indian Summer Festival
When: Friday, July 4, 2014, 8:00 p.m.
Where: SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W Hastings Street
How much: $15 single talk / $20 double bill*

 

“The most unexpected and original Indian writer of his generation.” —Salman Rushdie

 

To look at contemporary Delhi is to look at the symptoms of the global 21st century in their most glaring and advanced form. At the turn of the 21st century, acclaimed writer Rana Dasgupta arrived in Delhi from New York, with a single suitcase. He had no intention of staying for long, but he “fell in love and hate” with the city, and fourteen years later, it is still his home.

 

Fourteen years of breakneck change and upheavals on an unprecedented scale. Dasgupta, winner of the 2010 Commonwealth Prize for best book, takes the audience on an intimate tour of the erupting Asian megalopolis that is the capital of India.

 

Speaking to billionaires and slum dwellers, drug dealers and bureaucrats, psychoanalysts and metal traders, he paints a dazzling portrait of a city in a moment of stupefying change. Enormous fortunes have been made; a city has been ripped down and rebuilt and customers pay for global luxury with bags of cash. The city brims with rage, and terrible crimes steal the headlines. Dasgupta’s acute historical and social analysis, helps us to understand how things came to be as they are.

 

But Dasgupta speaks about more than just one city; Delhi’s lessons are for all cities and indeed, about our global future. The Indian Summer Festival runs July 3 to 12 in Vancouver. For more event details see www.indiansummerfestival.ca.

 

Rana Dasgupta won the 2010 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for his debut novel Solo. He is also the author of a collection of urban folktales, Tokyo Cancelled, which was shortlisted for the 2005 John Llewllyn Rhys Prize. Capital is his first work of non-fiction. Born in Canterbury, England in 1971, he studied at Balliol College, Oxford he now lives in Delhi. He was the Whitney J. Oates Visiting Fellow in the Humanities at Princeton University in 2012, and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Brown University in 2014.

 

Event description and bio via www.indiansummerfestival.ca.

 

Take Your Pick

Cherry Lane Farm / photo by Abeer Yusuf

 

Cherry Lane Farm / photo by Abeer Yusuf

Cherry Lane Farm / photo by Abeer Yusuf

 

From raspberries to plums, a guide to do-it-yourself fruit picking in Vancouver.

 

Story and photos by Abeer Yusuf

 

With the height of summer fast-approaching, the flowers that give Vancouver the springtime appearance of a child’s drawing book will finally give way to fruits. B.C. is known for its quality produce and local growers will soon serve up the best nature has to offer.

 

Can you imagine a greater joy than bending over little bushes, climbing up ladders—literally picking the lowest-hanging fruit—and bringing it home to enjoy for days to come? The Lower Mainland is home to countless orchards which offer every kind of fruit, squash and green you can think of. To complete your summer experience, head over to these farms and pick your own fruit!

 

“U-Pick”, as they are often known, involves bringing your own bucket, picking your choice of fruit and paying by weight before heading home. It’s a win-win for farmers and customers—farmers don’t have to worry about extra harvesting workers and the product is delivered instantaneously; customers get a better deal buying from the orchard directly while having a fun outing.

 

Located as close as Burnaby, Richmond and Surrey, U-Picks are a common sight in the developed north, and are usually in full swing during summer, when fruit is ripe. Guidebook spoke with two farms with different crops about U-picking on the West Coast.

 


 

photos by Abeer Yusuf

Surrey Farms / photos by Abeer Yusuf

Surrey Farms, Surrey

5180 – 152 Street
Surrey, BC
(604) 574-1390
What: Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
When: Strawberry season on now; raspberries’ season starts in June; blueberries start the first week of July.
How much: All for $1.25 per pound.
Transit: By bus (two buses from Bridgeport station) and car.
Bring: Cash and your own bucket.

 

Mandy Rai, 54, runs a tight ship—in her maroon Jeep, she runs from one farm to another, taking care of the family business and answering non-stop calls.

 

Owner of 300 acres of berry field spread over four farms, Rai forgets she’s in Vancouver when berry picking season comes along as Punjabi families descend upon her crops. “You wouldn’t be able to tell that you’re in Canada when you see families taking the fruit,” she says.

 

Rai, who came to Canada in 1977, has been working on the farm and taking care of it for the last 27 years. Despite not needing to do this work, Rai finds a sense of purpose, and most importantly, comfort working on the farm, adding, “if I don’t do anything I’ll get bored.”

 

The farm, which employs eight full-time staff, is a massive operation—Rai’s leftover blueberries go to canneries during the season and she also sells them locally. Rai is extremely proud of the work and crop she puts out every year, and encourages people to come out and have fun.

 

“It’s a great fun activity for the whole family,” she says.

 

Mandy and Miles’ tips for U-Picking:

 

•Wear gumboots. Don’t come to the farm in high heels and a skirt. Dress in clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.

•Bring water—you’ll be under the sun.

•Don’t randomly pick at all the fruit—go orderly in rows. Picking at random fruit my cause good fruit to fall.

•If you have kids, talk to them about the farm’s other crops. Many plants are young and growing, in danger of being trampled.

•Don’t eat the fruit before you pay for it—it’s common courtesy.

•Practise changing lightbulbs on ladders before picking apples and peaches. It’ll give you the practise to balance yourself out in the orchard.

•Miles’ super tip: “If you’re going to try bargaining with me about how much to pay for your U-Pick, don’t show up in a BMW or a Mercedes.”

 

 


 

Cherry Lane Farm / photo by Abeer Yusuf

Cherry Lane Farm / photo by Abeer Yusuf

 

Cherry Lane Farm, Richmond

9571 Beckwith Road
Richmond, BC
778-833-3379

 

What: Apples, plums for U-pick. Lots of fresh vegetables grown on the farm for sale as well.
When: Apple season starts the second week of August, plums the first week of September.
How much: Prices vary by quality.
Transit: SkyTrain, bus and car.
Bring: Cash, and comfy clothes. Buckets and ladders provided.

 

Miles Smart runs his family’s farm in Richmond and says he grows everything apart from watermelons. The 25-year-old is farmer by day, bass player by night, and loves what he does—so much so he quit his sociology and history degree when he realised farming was more fun than writing term papers.

 

Yet when you step onto his farm, you’ll find he’s just as willing to talk to you about the variants of B.C. topsoil as he is comfortable debating Nietzsche and Schopenhaur. Growing everything from Korean garlic to field tomatoes to fennel and kale, Cherry Lane’s U-pick will feature Gravenstein apples and Italian prune plums. The farm usually has cherries too, but Smart says this is not a good year for his cherries, so U-picking won’t be available for those. He does however encourage people to come for the apples this year, as he predicts this crop will bear great fruit. And if you don’t know much about apple picking, don’t worry. Smart and other farm employees are always on hand to tell you what to pick.

 

Smart’s farm also has an incredible range of vegetables and greens you can buy fresh after you’re done picking. One particular highlight is the Romaine lettuce, which Smart says is the best in town. Other items on the exhaustive list are: sorrel, mizuna, green peppers, fennel, zucchini, Italian dandelion, broccoli, cabbage, celery, Swiss chard, winter squash, onions, leeks, corn, beets, potato, tomatoes, and even French Colombard grapes.
Smart plans to keep the farm within the family and does what he does because soon, “when the farm is more glorious looking in about July, there will be nothing better than the sunset over the farm a drink in hand,” he says. “You swell with pride.”

 

How to pick the right fruit:

 

For strawberries: pick the ones that are really really red and firm all through.
For raspberries and blueberries: make sure the fruit is blue on all sides, if it is green partially, its not completely ripe.
For Gravenstein apples: pick the ones that have red stripes on them, they almost look like a tigers’. If they’re red, they’re ready.
For prune plums: if they’re softer to touch, they’re ready to be picked, if they feel hard and firm, keep looking.

 

 

 

Wu-Tang Clan

Wu Tang Clan / photo via facebook

 

Wu Tang Clan on Stage / photo via wikipedia

Wu Tang Clan on Stage / photo via wikipedia

 

Wu Tang Clan / photo via facebook

Wu Tang Clan / photo via facebook

New York rappers to perform in Vancouver for the first time ahead of new album.

 

By Sarah Berman

 

Who: NYC rappers Wu-Tang Clan
What: reunion concert
Where: Orpheum Theatre
When: June 28, 2014, 8:00 p.m.
How much: $65 to $180 at northerntickets.com

 

Attention hip-hop fans: the most anticipated show of the summer is fast-approaching. Vancouver has seen emcees Raekwon, GZA and Ghostface make stops in Vancouver, but never before have so many original members of the critically-acclaimed Wu-Tang Clan rocked a local stage all at once. You can see the whole crew live at the Orpheum Theatre on June 28.
Two decades into a non-stop rap career, Wu-Tang continue to hustle. The tour is in support of their upcoming album A Better Tomorrow which is coming out later this year, featuring unreleased verses from the late ODB.

 

But their most recent record is the album making headlines. A single copy of the double album “The Wu—Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” (Wu call their home borough of Staten Island Shaolin) is slated to be auctioned off for an eye-popping $5 million.

 

“The music is available for purchase and ownership by one individual only,” explains the album’s website. “It is presented in a hand carved nickel-silver box designed by the British Moroccan artist Yahya.”

 

The single pressing allegedly “encapsulates the Clan’s legendary dark funk and avant garde sound and is produced in the original Wu-Tang style of the 90s.” The album, which hasn’t yet been heard by fans, will be making a tour of museums, galleries and festivals around the world, where fans and critics may listen to it one at a time before auction.

 

“This is the first high-profile album never to be commercially released to the public and the first of its kind in the history of music,” the Shaolin website states.

 

Two angry but committed Wu-Tang fans launched a crowdfunding project to match the $5 million bid. The Kickstarter failed with only $15,000 raised. The crowdfunder aimed to allow “the rest of us get to enjoy an epic album instead of some uber-rich bastard keeping it to himself like a collector’s item.”

 

The super-limited release of Shaolin has led to conversations about music’s value in the digital era. It’s also got everyone stoked to see Wu live in concert. The hashtag #WuLife has been heating up around the world in anticipation of the summer tour.

 

Tips on Tipping

 

Q: I am coming to Vancouver to study in September. I’ve heard that every culture is different when it comes to service gratuities. What is expected with regards to tipping in Canada?

 

A: With most service industry jobs in Canada, a gratuity or “tip” is expected in addition to charges for a service. The amount one tips depends on various factors, such as the particular service rendered, as well as the quality and complexity of the service, among other things.

 

Canada has a fairly generous tipping culture compared to Europe or even some parts of the United States. For dining out at a restaurant, it is generally considered the standard to tip a base amount of 15 to 20 per cent. Unlike many other countries, where tips are given mostly for exceptional service above and beyond basic service, in Canada pretty much anyone working as a server or bartender is being paid a minimal hourly wage with the understanding that this will be supplemented by tips.
 

To not tip or to tip less than 10 per cent can be taken as an offense, or perhaps an expression of dissatisfaction with the service. That said, if the service is poor, it is considered more proper to communicate this to the server. Often there are factors at work that are beyond the server’s control, such as when the cooks in the kitchen receive a large amount of orders at once—oftentimes patient, polite communication is all that is needed.

 

Also keep in mind that it is fairly common practice for servers to share a small percentage of the tips they earn with the “back of house” staff—the people you might not see who prepare, cook, and present the food.

 

Q: I know it’s normal to tip at a restaurant, but are there other times I should tip? How much?

 

A: Yes. There are other instances besides dining out where tipping is expected and should be taken into account when calculating the total cost. These include specialty coffee shops, taxis, valet and hotel services, hairdressers and ordering drinks at bars. However, Canadians do not tip retail store clerks.

 

In these circumstances, with smaller purchase amounts, calculating a percentage can be kind of painful or silly. In these cases basic amounts—like a coin or a small bill—can suffice. For example, a ten or twenty dollar taxi ride might be worth anywhere from one to four dollars gratuity.

 

Ordering an espresso, latte or other artisanal coffee might call for anywhere from a quarter to a loonie. At bars, as with coffee, the amount of gratuity will depend on the complexity of the beverage. Just as you would give a bigger tip for a low-fat caramel machiatto with extra foam than you would for a cup of drip coffee, so too would you tip more for a fancy cocktail with mushed-up fruit than you would for a regular pint of beer.

 

With debit and credit machines, many places simply present the option to directly select the desired tip percentage, which is automatically calculated and added to the total charge.

 

Use your discretion, but be generous when you can, because many people in the service industry take great care to offer the highest quality product they can, and even something that seems simple, like running a shot of espresso or mixing a cocktail, takes much more skill, precision and craftsmanship than is readily apparent to the consumer.

 

Vancouver council supports ‘sanctuary’ for undocumented migrants

The newly formed Sanctuary City coalition's Byron Cruz (left) and Alejandra López Bravo met with city, health and police officials last month. A municipal task force prepares to recommend “sanctuary city” policies this summer / Photo by David P. Ball.

 

The newly formed Sanctuary City coalition's Byron Cruz (left) and Alejandra López Bravo met with city, health and police officials last month. A municipal task force prepares to recommend “sanctuary city” policies this summer / Photo by David P. Ball.

The newly formed Sanctuary City coalition’s Byron Cruz (left) and Alejandra López Bravo met with city, health and police officials last month. A municipal task force prepares to recommend “sanctuary city” policies this summer / Photo by David P. Ball.

 

Policy would stop municipal agencies like transit police from giving info about ‘illegals’ to immigration authorities.

 

Story and Photo by David P. Ball, TheTyee.ca

 

At the base of the back-alley staircase into a Vancouver health clinic, two men lay the groundwork for an enclosed community garden plot and introduce themselves with an eager “¡Hola!” Upstairs, Latin American women and men cook fresh tortillas for lunch while they ready the clinic’s new digs, working among unpacked moving boxes and furniture stacked like Jenga blocks.
 
Around the corner, nurse and migrant advocate Byron Cruz introduces The Tyee to a Mexican woman who made headlines after a midwife delivered her baby at home because, as an undocumented immigrant in the city without insurance, she couldn’t afford the $10,000 hospital bill and feared deportation if caught.
 
In her arms now, the woman’s baby boasts a grin, a healthy, full head of hair, and paint-speckled pants. Cruz asked that the clinic’s name not be published because it offers services to others like the mother who are deemed “illegal” by the Canadian government.
 
The issue of undocumented immigrants reared up on January 27, when 24 Hours newspaper revealed that the B.C. Coroners Service was investigating the death of an undocumented Mexican hotel worker, Lucia Vega Jiménez, while in the custody of Canada Border Services Agency. Vega Jiménez had been in custody a full month after being stopped by transit authorities. A string of deportations after tips from transit police to CBSA, often following unpaid bus fares, has deepened mistrust towards basic city services among many immigrants, Cruz said.
 
Now, five months after Vega Jiménez’s apparent suicide (and with a public inquest planned for September), advocates are closer to seeing a new city policy implemented that would prevent municipal agents, like transit officers, from feeding immigration authorities the information they need to find and deport undocumented migrants.
 
Vancouver council is now actively moving towards a “sanctuary city” designation, with city officials, the Vancouver Police Department, Vancouver Coastal Health and other agencies recently meeting with advocates from Sanctuary Health, a group formed in 2012.

 

 

City supports ‘sanctuary’ declaration

 

 

In Vancouver, various social housing projects, food banks and schools require users to present government ID, something unavailable to those without status. This means a number of service providers know who undocumented migrants are. While providers are under no obligation to report them to CBSA, Cruz said, without a clear policy it puts them in a difficult position withholding the information if asked.

 

In an interview in his city hall office, Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs said he supports implementing a sanctuary city policy, similar to one adopted by Hamilton on February 12, nearly a year after Toronto’s last February. Dozens of cities across the U.S. have such policies.
 
For instance, in 1979 the Los Angeles Police Department issued an internal rule that police officers cannot question people simply to determine their immigration status, shortly before the city’s mayor declared LA a “sanctuary city.” A decade later, New York City issued an edict barring city staff from reporting migrants’ citizenship status to federal agents, although the city’s police must still cooperate with immigration in criminal cases.
 
Meggs said that a planned report from the mayor’s working group on immigration, planned for release late this summer, will recommend the city move towards a sanctuary policy, cautioning that “it’s not something that we can do just by passing a resolution and consider the work done,” but requires careful thought and implementation.
 
If such a resolution is passed by the Vision Vancouver-dominated council, Meggs said, a draft agreement with the Vancouver Police Department and the separately elected park and school boards would be prepared.
 
Some, however, are suspicious about Vision Vancouver’s motives for climbing aboard the sanctuary city bandwagon, particularly before an impending civic election.
 
Daniel Tseghay, a member of the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE), put forward a similar and successful motion at the left-leaning party’s policy meeting in March. If elected, he said COPE will “immediately on day one” declare Vancouver a sanctuary.
 
With rising housing prices in the city “disproportionately” affecting migrants, especially those without status, Tseghay argued such a policy from Vision, which he described as a “neoliberal party making this city far too expensive,” would be hypocritical.
 
“Vision Vancouver is aware they have an election coming up; they’re trying to co-opt this very sensible policy and program,” he said. “If they don’t commit completely, but just touch on it to show they’re interested in it, it’s a way to get some of the progressive vote.”
 
Meggs countered it would be foolhardy to rush in a policy that might “over-promise and under-deliver,” a warning he said members of the immigration working group raised when he asked them to examine a sanctuary city designation.
 
Without TransLink or the Vancouver Police Department adopting similar policies, for instance, some immigrants could falsely believe they are protected from being reported to immigration.
 
Alejandra López Bravo of the advocacy group Sanctuary City agreed with Meggs on that point.
 
“We think that a policy on paper doesn’t make any sense; there needs to be meaningful implementation,” she said. “For that, we need to have TransLink and the VPD on board, otherwise you might have a lot of backlash, or a policy that doesn’t mean anything in the lives of affected people.”

 

 

Not just a ‘rebrand’

 

 

A councillor for Vancouver’s Non-Partisan Association (NPA) was unavailable for comment before press time, but Toronto’s move to adopt sanctuary city garnered blowback from several conservative-leaning councillors who unsuccessfully voted against the motion.
 
“Giving sanctuary to illegal immigrants is an insult to everyone who is waiting to enter this country legally,” Toronto councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong told the Toronto Star. “It sends a message to the world that it is okay to break the law to come to Canada, and now you can get away with it.”
 
Meggs said he doesn’t expect similar political heat over supporting non-status immigrants in Vancouver, or over concerns that the city may be overstepping its jurisdiction into federal immigration turf. “We’re not dealing with immigration policy, we’re dealing with the consequences of it,” he said.
 
There are very few statistics about how many people live paperless in Vancouver, Meggs said. “Generally speaking, people understand that support is necessary, and we need to be clear [these] people generally are here for all the right reasons. We’re not talking about criminals by any means. There are all kinds of reasons why people wind up in this situation.”
 
CBSA declined to comment on its response to such a policy change, or its impacts on enforcement activities, saying in an emailed statement that “it is not the practice of the Canada Border Services Agency to comment on third party policies and proposals.”
 
Meanwhile, as volunteers in the relocated Vancouver clinic begin to unpack supplies for their new offices, which offers no-questioned-asked care to people regardless of their citizenship, Sanctuary City advocates said they will continue to push for a comprehensive policy that ensures undocumented immigrants feel safe to access basic services.
 
“This is not only about human rights, it’s about shifting the mentality,” muses López Bravo, as a crew unloads a white van in the alley below. She said a sanctuary city policy should not simply re-brand the city, but represent a “shift in culture, to be able to see people as people and not as different categories of people who are deserving or not deserving.”
 
“Sometimes we think of Canada as a very humanitarian place that is very diverse and inclusive,” she said. “We have to realize that this is not the case for many people that live and work here.”

 

Sounds from the Underground

Cave Girl @ The Astoria

 

Cave Girl @ The Astoria

Cave Girl @ The Astoria

 

Equipped with a skateboard, phone camera and a hand-drawn treasure map, Guidebook investigates Vancouver’s exciting new bands at Music Waste.

 

Review and photos by Andrew Reeves

 

It is testament to the resilience of Vancouver’s underground music scene that the Music Waste festival celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.

 

Music Waste originated as an irreverent protest against the New Music West festival, which was sponsored by the corporate music industry and, besides charging exorbitant entry fees from bands seeking to perform, also took little interest in artists that might be considered too edgy or experimental.

 

Now, in a triumph of grassroots culture over big business, Music Waste continues to wreak sonic havoc on a yearly basis while New Music West has long since evaporated like an ice cube in a hot pan.

 

Much of the success and resilience of Music Waste is due to its determination to remain accessible and inclusive. Bands that do not get chosen for the official MW shows are encouraged to put on their own “Go Your Own Waste” events, as long as they charge no more than $5 cover and allow access to anyone with a Music Waste pass.

 

In addition, related cultural happenings such as “Art Waste” gallery openings and “Comedy Waste” improv performances have sprouted in collusion with the main festival.

 

With close to a hundred bands playing at dozens of venues, it’s impossible to see everything. But with the help of a convenient scheduling app and the knowledgeable guidance of local alt-pop duo Still Creek Murder’s singer/guitarist Samuel Dick, I had something like a treasure map to lead me through the myriad options available.

 

While it’s possible, on a given night of the festival, to simply pick an event and stick with it until closing time, it doesn’t hurt to have a bike, skateboard, or some other means of speedy transportation with which to hop from venue to venue.

 

Saturday’s schedule alone had me cruising back and forth across East Van, beginning mid-afternoon with MOSSFETT’s 90’s inspired, feedback-heavy grunge-punk set at Neptoon Records (where, thankfully, there were complimentary earplugs available). From there I travelled the twenty blocks downhill to the Electric Owl for a “Go Your Own Waste” performance by Owl Skowl, followed by Cave Girl at the Astoria, Infidel at Pat’s Pub, and the last fifteen minutes of improv comedy at the China Cloud—and this all before the stroke of midnight!

 

With so many performances to choose from, part of what makes Music Waste special is the opportunity to hear artists you might not otherwise be exposed to. One such discovery for me was Phantoms Again, who were playing the festival’s finale early Sunday evening at the Anza club when I arrived. I immediately found myself absorbed by their trance-inducing, downtempo garage rock and mesmerised by sultry frontwoman Cali Barbara’s seductive, reverb-drenched vocals and languid, undulating dance moves. After their set I had to splash cold water on my face and bum a smoke from a stranger outside before I could return to any pretence of normality.

 

While recuperating I watched as the security guys busted a group of festival-goers attempting to shotgun cans of beer around the back.

 

“That’s not cool,” said one of the bouncers, but there were no hard feelings, no one was banned, and an atmosphere of celebration and revelry continued to pervade the rest of the night.

 

While the constrictions of spacetime make it impossible for a given individual to catch more than a fraction of the potential performances, one would be hard-pressed to come away from a Music Waste weekend without feeling the intense, radiant solidarity of Vancouver’s underground music community.

 

I know that, for myself and hundreds of fellow ‘wasters, Music Waste will continue to be a local hot-weather tradition as much as Wreck Beach, Richmond Night Market, and secret outdoor dance parties.

 

 

We ask, you tell us: What is Vancouver’s best kept secret?

Josephine Anderson_web

 
Josephine Anderson_web
“On the Trans Canada trail in Second Narrows park, about 200 metres in there’s an amazing treehouse. It’s right along the path, they’ve built up this ladder. From there you can see the most beautiful view—the ocean, all the cars going over the bridge, and people are walking by below you on the path. It’s very hidden.” —Josephine Anderson, filmmaker

treehouse
 


 

Elisabeth Piccolo_web

“Tealeaves. It’s all organic, they’re a local Vancouver company and nobody knows about them! They don’t have a storefront, but it’s the best tea you’ll ever have—all flavoured with natural essential oils—it’s the only tea I’ll drink.” —Elisabeth Piccolo, commerce student

teabag

 


 

Gal Aveay_web“I’m going to change my mind. Vancouver’s best kept secret is the karaoke sushi bar on Main Street Simply Delicious. On like 27th. It’s one of my favourite places. Kyle’s Cafe too—it’s a Chinese-American-style diner.” —Gal Aveay sushi
 


 

Sydney Robertson_web“One secret Vancouver keeps very well is that it’s not as ‘green’ as we’d like to think. It’s more of an image thing—less about helping the world. They’re doing a good job in comparison to other places, but considering the ‘greenest city’ image they’ve built up, I don’t think they’re up to that standard.” —Sydney Robertsonmaple leaf

 


 

Event listings June 12th

 

‘Out of the Earth’ art exhibition – North Vancouver
Seymour Art Gallery
4360 Gallant Avenue
North Vancouver, BC
Until July 5, 2014
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
 
Residents of Salt Spring Island, Thompson and Olivier work to capture the essence of nature using two distinct artistic media. Thompson weaves natural materials into standing lamps, which cast a shadowed glow when illuminated. Olivier fashions her work by either coiling or slab-building clay, sometimes a combination of both, after which she fires these creations in a large pit using many organic materials. No two of their works are ever alike.

 


 

Practice Drawing at Roundhouse Café – Vancouver
Roundhouse Community Arts Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews
Vancouver, BC
Every Friday
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
(604) 713-1800
info@roundhouse.ca

 

Join other life-drawing enthusiasts in the Roundhouse Café area for an hour of capturing the human form on paper. No need to register, just walk through the door and find a spot. These sessions, inspired by the Vancouver International Dance Festival life-drawing events, feature professional dancers as the models.

Test your skills on:
June 13 – Jennifer Aoki
June 20 – Txi Hannah
June 27 – Edouard Beaudry

 


 

B.C. Shellfish and Seafood Festival – Vancouver Island
Various Locations
Comox Valley, BC
Vancouver Island
June 13 to 24, 2014

 

Highlights include wine and beer-pairing dinners, land and sea culinary tours, opportunities to explore shellfish farms, and an oyster-shucking competition.

 


 

Yann Tiersen – Vancouver
The Rio Theatre
1660 East Broadway
Vancouver BC
June 13, 2014

 

French avant-garde post-rock musician, with guests No. Tierson is one of the most celebrated soundtrack composers and man behind the music of the much-loved Amelie.

Tickets $25 plus fees, available online at www.ticketweb.ca and Yann Tiersen’s website.

 


 

Understanding Career Options – New Westminster
620 Royal Avenue, Room 200
New Westminster, BC
Saturday, June 14, 2014
9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

 

This week’s topic: Career Decision Making, Goal Setting and Action Planning. For more information and registration, please contact Rahila Ansari at 604-522-5902 or 604-395-8000 ext. 1277.

 


 

CBC Music Festival – Burnaby
Deer Lake Park
6450 Deer Lake Avenue
Burnaby, BC
Saturday, June 14, 2014

 

If you’ve ever wondered why Canada is known for its indie music, here’s a great place to start.

CBCMusic.ca’s new festival features Tegan and Sara, Spoon, Arkells, Hannah Georgas, Wake Owl, Chad VanGaalen, Belle Game, Crystal Shawanda and many more renowned Canadian acts.

The event is hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, with special co-host appearances by CBC’s Stephen Quinn, with more CBC talent and stars to be announced.

 


 

Slavic Day – Vancouver
Robson Square
800 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC
Saturday, June 14, 2014
12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

 

Family festival features concerts, Slavic food, beer garden, and entertainment all day.

 


 

Lafarge Lake Free Fishing Day – Coquitlam
Lafarge Lake
Pinetree Way
Coquitlam, BC
June 14, 2014
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

 

This family-friendly event is open to all levels of fishing enthusiasts. Whether you wish to try the open lake or in the netted area for beginners, there will be lots of fun and opportunities to fish. Experts will be on site to teach fishing fundamentals and techniques. Come early and experience stocking the lake with fresh Rainbow Trout.

Visit Festival Coquitlam for more information.

 


 

Master Class Featuring Oliver Stone – Vancouver
SFU Woodward’s in the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
Saturday, June 14, 2014
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

Highlights of the event for aspiring and professional filmmakers includes a networking reception, a screening of Oliver Stone’s Last Year in Vietnam and a master-class discussion on first films, and a discussion on making Canadian indie films with local filmmakers Marc Stephenson, Taylor Hill, and Gary Hawes, the directors and film producers behind That Burning Feeling, The F Word, and Leap 4 Your Life.

 


 

An Evening With Oliver Stone
Vogue Theatre
918 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
Saturday, June 14, 2014
8:00 p.m.

 

Includes a screening of his latest documentary film The Untold History of the United States—Bush II & Obama: The Age of Terror and a moderated discussion and open question period with Oliver Stone. Presented by Vancouver Biennale. Tickets $25.

www.vancouverbiennale.com

 


 

Car Free Day on Commercial Drive – Vancouver
Commercial Drive
From Venables To North Grandview Hwy
Vancouver, BC
www.thedrive.ca
(604) 251-2884
Sunday, June 15, 2014

 

Frying fish over fire, parading drummers, healing gardens, DJs spinning beats, plus all of your friends and neighbours hanging out. Commercial Drive is the birthplace of Car Free Vancouver Day—thank you, you lovely rebels, you! We’re getting back to the roots of this festival this year which means less planning from us and more involvement from you. This is YOUR day to bring yourself to your community. Bring your PASSIONS, your ENERGY and your CREATIVITY to the street!

 


 

Dystopia Fashion Show – Vancouver
Performance Works
1218 Cartwright Street
Granville Island
Vancouver, BC
Monday, June 16, 2014
Doors at 6:30 p.m., show begins at 7:30 p.m.

 

Created by the students at John Casablanca Institute, the post-apocalyptic-themed show is a fundraiser for Covenant House. Tickets $25 and up.

www.jcinstitute.com/blog/

 


 

Shaker Series: Wine vs. Beer Showdown – Vancouver
Legacy Liquor Store
1633 Manitoba Street
Vancouver, BC
Jun 18, 2014
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
www.shakerseries.com

 

Meet young single professionals and taste three rounds of beer-wine pairings with cheese. Non-singles are also welcome.

Tickets $40.

 


 

Tri-City Greendrinks – The Burning Issue: What Does Zero Waste Look Like? – Port Moody
Inlet Theatre
100 Newport Drive
Port Moody, BC
Jun 19, 2014
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Port Moody City Councillor Rick Glumac gives an update on the waste-incinerator proposal. In 2008, Rick was part of the Waste-to-Energy Task Force that rejected the gasification incinerator proposal for Port Moody.

Free admission.

 


City Drinks at the Sun Tower – Vancouver
128 Pender St West
Vancouver, BC
June 19, 2014
6:00 p.m.

 

Join the Vancouver Heritage Foundation for swinging jazz and cocktails at the landmark Sun Tower. Spend an evening at this Beaux-Arts beauty for wine, a cocktail and canapés and be part of the conversation about heritage in our city. Proceeds support Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s educational programming.

VHF will welcome special guest historian and author of several Vancouver history books including  LD: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver by Daniel Francis. Local jazz musicians James Danderfer and David Blake will set the mood as we enjoy libations from cocktail expert and Bambudda bar manager Buck Friend.

The Sun Tower was built in 1912 commissioned by L.D. Taylor, longtime mayor of Vancouver, to house The Vancouver World newspaper. Drafted by W.T. Whiteway, the architect for the original Woodwards building, it was briefly the tallest commercial building in the British Empire.

The Vancouver Sun bought the building in 1937, and renamed it Sun Tower. Although The Sun has long since relocated to other offices, the building has been known by that name ever since. The ornate architectural details, bold symmetry, and green dome roof has stood as a proud icon of Vancouver’s history for years.

Tickets $75 at www.vancouverheritagefoundation.org

 


 

Michael Buble – Vancouver
Rogers Arena
800 Griffiths Way
Vancouver, BC
June 19 and 20, 2014
Doors 7:00 p.m., show at 8:00 p.m.

 

Pop superstar from Burnaby performs tunes from latest album To Be Loved.

 


 

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – Vancouver
Fortune Sound Club
147 E. Pender
Vancouver, BC
Jun 20, 2014
8:00 p.m.

 

Canadian art-rock band founded by Alaska B and Ruby Kato Attwood, with guest Sun Killer. Part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

 


 

Dances for a Small Stage: Summer Lovin’ – Burnaby
Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, South Lawn
6450 Deer Lake Avenue
Burnaby, BC
June 20 and 21, 2014
8:00 p.m.

 

Since its inception in 2002, Dances for a Small Stage has wowed audiences by tearing down formalities and creating intimate, raw scenarios in which to experience dance. The popular series is renowned for bringing unique and innovative contemporary dance, inclusive of all disciplines, to a rough–and–tumble cabaret setting.

Over the years, more than 200 artists have performed on its 10-by-13-foot stage to packed crowds who enjoy the series’ raucous celebratory atmosphere and cutting–edge choreography. Urban, dynamic and full of imaginative and diverse programming, the Small Stage series has become a mainstay of the Vancouver arts scene with its inventive approach to live dance-theatre.

Tickets $15 for adults / $10 for youth (high school and younger).

 


 

TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival – Vancouver
Various Venues
June 20 to July 1, 2014

 

The 29th annual jazz fest features top name artists from around the world and select acts from Vancouver. Performers include Maceo Parker, Arturo Sandoval, Bobby McFerrin, Cassandra Wilson, Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood, the Charles Lloyd Quartet, Bill Frisell, Kelly Joe Phelps, Royal Canoe, King Khan & the Shrines, Jill Barber, John Korsrud’s Hard Rubber Orchestra, the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet, Christian McBride Trio, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, the Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet, the Jeff Ballard Trio, the Jeff Hamilton Trio, Cory Weeds with Harold Mabern, Nels Cline and Julian Lage, Harris Eisenstadt’s Golden State, Human Feel, the Deciders, Tony Wilson’s Reach for the Sky, David Virelles Continuum, the Satoko Fukii Trio, the Jennifer Scott Quartet, Susanna, the Craig Scott Quintet, Paul Pigat and the Smokin’ Jackets, and Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin with the Guilty Ones.

 


 

Daisy Day Festival – Coquitlam
475 Lebleu Street
Coquitlam, BC
Jun 21, 2014
9:00 a.m.

 

Bring the family for a free pancake breakfast, served with coffee and a side of toe-tapping live music, singing and dancing.
Entertainers onstage, kid’s activities, games, face painting, crafts and food. Performances by Fat Jazz, 5 On A String Bluegrass, and Korki the Clown. Rain or shine.
Free admission.

 


Food Cart Fest – Vancouver
215 West 1st Avenue
Vancouver, BC
Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Beginning June 21, 2014

 

Food Cart Fest is a gathering of over 20 of Vancouver’s top food carts presented by Arrival and The Streetfood Vancouver Society. Join us every week in the summer for food, fun, and sun complemented by community markets, live music and DJs, craft food vendors, kids activities, and more.

Food carts include Mogu, Tacofino, The Reef, Holy Perogy, Vij’s Railway Express, Mom’s Grilled Cheese and more.

 


 

Salt-N-Pepa – Richmond
River Rock Show Theatre
River Rock Casino Resort
8811 River Road
Richmond, BC
June 21, 2014

 

Doors at 7:00 p.m., show begins at 8:00 p.m.
Hip-hop act from New York consisting of Cheryl James (“Salt”) and Sandra Denton (“Pepa”), with Shock G of Digital Underground.

 


 

Lucie Chan and Marigold Santos: Attachments – Richmond
Richmond Art Gallery
7700 Minoru Gate
Richmond, BC
June 26 to August 17

Opening Reception: Thursday, June 26 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

 

Richmond Art Gallery will present the the work of Lucie Chan (Vancouver) and Marigold Santos (Montreal) in an exhibition entitled, Attachments. Integral to their work is their fascination with drawing as a potent vehicle for storytelling. Constructing surreal worlds derived from biographical details, anecdotes and imaginative wanderings, their work explores shifting social landscapes shaped by cultural confusion and the transient nature of human connections. Santos frequently draws from her immigrant experience and Filipino folklore for inspiration in creating her large scale drawings and paintings. Guyanese born Chan frequently brings the stories of others into her intimate drawings, sharing what she calls, a “cultural lesson.” Together the works explore identity and notions of attachment and separation to ‘self’, ‘others’ and ‘home’.

Guyanese-Canadian artist, Lucie Chan holds a BFA with distinction from ACAD University and a MFA from NSCAD University. She has shown nationally in group and solo exhibitions as well as completed artist–in-residence programs across Canada, and twice at ARTerra in Lobão da Beira, Portugal. She has been the recipient of numerous provincial and national grants and was long-listed twice for the Sobey Art Award (2005, 2010). Her drawing-based installation and animation practice focuses on narratives of cultural confusion, loss and the transient nature of human connections. She often works one on one with members of the public to create a diverse range of works inspired by their stories.

Marigold Santos pursues an inter-disciplinary art practice involving drawn and printed works, sculpture, animation and sound. She completed her BFA in Print at the University of Calgary in 2006, is a recipient of numerous awards, and has exhibited her work within Canada, United States and Japan. She currently resides in Montréal, QC, where she completed her MFA from Concordia University in 2011.

 


 

Desert Live Music Festival – Osoyoos
Gyro Beach
Osoyoos, BC
June 27 to July 1, 2014

 

Performances by Yukon Blonde, Shawn Hook, Redeye Empire, No Sinner, Papertrails, Tasman Jude, Great White North, Jory Kinjo, Matt Stanley & the Decoys, Bricoda, Kansas-Lee, Earthbound, Devon Coyote, Uno Mas, Poppa Dawg, Ari Neufeld, and Brent Tyler.

 


 

Sunday Afternoon Salsa – Vancouver
Robson Square
800 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC
Every Sunday from June 29 to August 24, 2014
www.sundayafternoonsalsa.com

 

Annual free event includes salsa-dance lessons (3:00 p.m.) and performances (5:00 p.m.) Includes social dancing throughout the afternoon.

Free admission.

 


 

FREE Canada Day Concert featuring Matthew Good – Surrey
Bill Reid Millennium Ampitheatre
176 Street at 64 Avenue
Surrey, BC
July 1, 2014
10:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

 

Join in the all-day fun, FREE! We’re celebrating Canada’s 147th birthday at the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre (formerly-named Cloverdale Millennium Amphitheatre). Featuring performances by Canadian rock legend Matthew Good, rapper Kyprios and DJ Flipout.

Also enjoy food, games, amusement rides, and a “spectacular fireworks finale.”

Visit surrey.ca or call 604-591-4811 for more details.

 


 

Welcome to Night Vale – UBC
Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
6265 Crescent Road
Vancouver, BC
July 8, 2014
Doors at 6:00 p.m., show begins at 7:00 p.m.

 

Podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor and narrated by Cecil Baldwin, with music by Disparition.

Tickets $27.25 and up (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com

 


 

Fleetwood Multicultural Fair and Market – Surrey
Fleetwood Community Centre
15996 – 84 Avenue
Surrey, BC
July 13, 2014
11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Presented by Latinos In Action Society & Inside Kolors. This meeting of cultures is open to all families in our region! Come to the Fleetwood Community Centre for an exciting and fun day to entertain and engage small business, great food and musical talent in one event.
There will be a marketplace and kid’s zone to enjoy.

Space is limited – Apply early via Facebook or email us info@latinsummerfest.com

Contact: Ana David info@latinsummerfest.com

 


 

Sounds of Summer Music Series – Surrey
Various parks in Surrey
July 14 to July 30, 2014
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. nightly

 

Summer sunsets, live music and stunning garden settings.

From guitars to sitars, classical melodies to blues beats, you’ll hear it all during Surrey’s Sounds of Summer. This FREE performance series in the city’s gardens is a fantastic way to discover a new garden, rediscover a favourite space, or relax and unwind within a beautiful outdoor setting. Each garden is unique, as are the performances that will take place in each of them. With a different genre each night, be sure to join us for all 6 evenings and enjoy the Sounds of Summer!

Performances are from 6:30 to 8:00 pm each evening. Garden gates at The Glades and Darts Hill Garden Park will open at 5:00 p.m. for extended visiting hours before the performances begin. Be sure to remember your folding chairs, blankets and picnic baskets to fully enjoy the performances.

Contact 604-501-5050 or partnersinparks@surrey.ca for details.

 


 

Honda Celebration of Light – Vancouver
English Bay
Downtown Vancouver, BC
July 26 to August 2,
10:00 p.m., or after dusk
www.hondacelebrationoflight.com

 

The 24th annual international fireworks competition features performances by teams from the United States (July 26), France (July 30), and Japan (August 2). Takes place rain or shine.

Free admission.

 


 

Yuna – Vancouver
The Imperial
319 Main Street
Vancouver B.C.
August 29, 2014
7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

 

Yuna describes her music as “a cross between Mary Poppins and Coldplay.” The best Malaysian import!
Tickets $20 plus fees, available online at www.ticketweb.ca and at Red Cat, Zulu and Highlife.

 


 

Skills Connect for Immigrants – Vancouver
ISS of BC
333 Terminal Avenue
Vancouver, BC
Every Wednesday
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
(604) 684-2561, extension 2123

 

Come and learn about Skills Connect for Immigrants, a dynamic initiative that helps ease the transition of skilled immigrants into the Canadian workforce by connecting them with industry-specific skills training, credential evaluation and job search services. If you are unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t use your pre-arrival skills, we can help you.

 


 

Skills Connect for Immigrants – Surrey
ISS of BC
303-7337 137 Street
Surrey, BC
Every Thursday
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
(604) 590-4021, extension 2193

 

Come and learn about Skills Connect for Immigrants, a dynamic initiative that helps ease the transition of skilled immigrants into the Canadian workforce by connecting them with industry-specific skills training, credential evaluation and job search services. If you are unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t use your pre-arrival skills, we can help you.

 

Finding Food Carts

Food Cart Fest

 

Food Cart Fest

Photos via Arrival Agency.

 

Weekly ‘Food Cart Fest’ coming to New Surrey City Hall every Saturday.

 

By Sarah Berman

 

In with the beach weather also comes food cart season. These brightly-coloured trucks may seem elusive at first, but with a little preparation, you can make the most of Vancouver’s diverse collection of street foods. We at Guidebook have scouted out the easiest ways to find lunchtime pupusas, curries, perogies, tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches and more.

 

One of the fastest ways to find food carts is to follow them on Twitter. Mobile restaurants like Vij’s Railway Express (@vijsrailway) or Mom’s Grilled Cheese (@momsgrilledchz) keep their feeds updated with addresses, intersections and events they’re attending.

 

But the simplest way to browse Metro Vancouver’s diverse selection of food carts is to attend the summertime Food Cart Fest, beginning July 21, 2014. Full of great food, music, and friends, this weekly event is not to be missed.

 

Like last year, more than 20 food carts will get together every Sunday at a parking lot on 215 West 1st Avenue in False Creek. The site is next to the Seawall and a short walk from the Canada Line’s Olympic Village Station. Guidebook recommends Japanese-style sandwiches from Mogu, Salvadoran pupusas from Guanaco, grilled cheese sandwiches from Mom’s and Tacofino tacos.

 

This year Food Cart Fest is expanding to two more locations. On Saturdays beginning on June 21, the same food carts will meet at the new City Hall Plaza in Surrey from noon to 5:00 p.m.

 

Plus, on select Friday nights you’ll find the food carts at Sunset Beach in downtown Vancouver, at an event called the Sunset Social. That’s happening June 27, July 11 and August 15 starting at 5:00 p.m. The social offers a crafts market by Blim and roller disco organized by Daniel Pitout from the local band Nü Sensae.

 

All of these events are presented by Arrival Agency and Street Food Vancouver (a local coalition of food carts).

 


 

Food on Wheels

 

Guanaco specializes in a Salvadoran staple food: pupusas, a thick handmade corn tortilla filled with your choice of cooked pork, chicken, seasonal beans, and a mixture of fresh cheeses and vegetables.

 

Mogu offers Japanese-inspired fast food. Try their pork katsu, chicken teriyaki, and kabocha korokke (sweet squash) sandwiches.

 

Le Tigre delivers a contemporary interpretation of classic Chinese cuisine with a West Coast influence. Chefs Clement Chan and Steve Kuan cook up beet fries, fried chicken, pork buns and kimchi fried rice.

 

Mom’s Grilled Cheese serves classic home-style grilled cheese, soups, and other comfort foods. Trust us, if you like cheese, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Tacofino is the lovechild of three young tree-planters, serving Baja-style cooking with international influences. Try their tuna ta-takos.

 

Vij’s Railway Express is the mobile restaurant of celebrated Vancouver Chef Vikram Vij. Featuring Indian-fusion favourites.

 

Food Cart Fest girls

Photos via Arrival Agency.

 

Mom’s Grilled Cheese @ Food Cart Fest

Mom’s Grilled Cheese @ Food Cart Fest/ Photos via Arrival Agency.

 

Cycle the City

cycle

cycle

 

Guidebook takes a grand tour of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods on two wheels.

 

Story and photos by Alice Sejin Lim

 

Vancouver is a gigantic city with lots of things to see. I have lived in the Lower Mainland for almost eight months, and yet there’s many famous landmarks in Vancouver I don’t know about.

 

So, I signed up for a bicycle tour—Cycle City’s “Grand City Tour”—which takes tourists through attractions in Stanley Park, the West End, Granville Island, False Creek, Chinatown and Gastown. All these places have historic stories associated with them.

 

I was excited to ride a bike and explore the city. However, I was afraid, too. I had not ridden a bike for almost two years, and biking for almost five hours in a busy city seemed dangerous.

 

Those worries were not necessary. As soon as I arrived at the bike shop in the West End, skilled and trained mechanics found me a perfect bicycle. Pretty quickly I received a helmet, listened to a brief instruction about the bike, and met my tour guide. He was really friendly and explained the tour plan for the day. As I listened to his introductions, I started to relax and felt confident about riding a bicycle.

 

Once the other tourists in our group were ready to roll, we set out to Stanley Park. We rode along the seawall, stopping every now and then as our tour guide explained some famous landmarks, such as the totem poles and the Vancouver skyline. The explanations were full of interesting stories and jokes.

 

We rested for a few minutes on the famous English Bay, and rode a little ferry to Granville Island. We had an hour to explore the Granville Island market on our own. The market was bustling with liveliness; the market sold everything from fresh berries to spices to handcrafted souvenirs. After exploring the market and eating lunch on our own, we set out to the Olympic Village.

 

After looking at Olympic Village and its busy apartments, we rode alongside Science World to Chinatown. There, we saw the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park, and some of the city’s oldest buildings. We headed over to Gastown, the Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. We finished our ride at Canada Place, then headed back to the bike shop.

 

This tour is easygoing, safe, and entertaining. The road is not steep, and tourists ride at an easy pace. At the beginning, the staff at the bike shop find each person a suitable bicycle. The tour stops every ten to twenty minutes to allow riders to take a closer look, and to give our legs a rest. The explanations are easy to understand and entertaining. If there are any questions, the tour guides answer it.

 

This tour gave me, and other tourists, the best explanation of the city.

 

Cycle City Tours has its base on Spokes Bicycle Rentals. Cycle City Tours offers tours other than the Grand City Tour; they offer Stanley Tours, which takes tourists around the Stanley Park, and Central City tours, which is a smaller version of the Grand City Tour. The tours are available on any days, and at different times. They also offer small private group tours for families with little children. At least 24 hour notification is needed to cancel a tour, and if it rains, two hour notification to cancel a reservation is acceptable.

 

More information on the tour is available on their website, www.cyclevancouver.com/, or on their Facebook page,www.facebook.com/CycleToursVancouver.

 

False Creek

 

 

City of Bhangra celebrates 10 years

Gurk Bains - City of Bhangra

 

Gurk Bains - City of Bhangra

Photo by Gurk Bains

 

By Tanvi Bhatia

 

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the City of Bhangra Festival in Vancouver. Bhangra is a style of Punjabi folk dance, song and rhythm.

 

For ten years now, City of Bhangra has been celebrating the dance with a showcase of bhangra acts of all different styles, featuring fusions of hip-hop and western instruments while maintaining the core elements of the dance and music.

 

This year, the festival takes place from May 29th to June 7th, kicking off with a TransFusion event at SFU Woodwards, a mash-up of traditional bhangra with other folk styles. This year’s TransFusion will feature First Nations hoop dancers, Jewish folk dancers, a hip hop crew and more.

 

There are over 17 events and 300 performers, but if you can’t make it out to all of them, Downtown Bhangra is a good one to check out. Taking place on Friday June 6 from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday June 7 from noon to 10:00 p.m., Downtown Bhangra is a free showcase of some of festival’s talented performers taking place in the plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery. It’s a celebration of music and dance, and a perfect way to end the festival.

 

Some of the performers you’ll have the opportunity of seeing in action throughout the festival include UBC’s own Girls Bhangra Team, Furteelay Shokeen (an all-male bhangra unit from Detroit) and Jay Status (an emerging Punjabi vocalist from the UK).

 

The theme (and social media hashtag) for this year’s City of Bhangra Festival is #BhangraLove, which according to the event website, is about “embracing the idea of love crossing all boundaries—social, cultural, sexual, religious, geographic—and uniting (even igniting) the hearts and minds of diverse audiences through the vibrancy of bhangra music, dance, art, poetry, and song.”

 

You can connect with the City of Bhangra Festival through Facebook and Twitter, but nothing beats being there and experiencing it through your own eyes. It’s definitely worth checking out if you enjoy music or dance, or if you’re looking for an affordable way to have a good time.

 

See What’s Growing in Vancouver

photo by Abeer Yusuf

 

photo by Abeer Yusuf

 

Why locals love their farmers’ markets.

 

By Abeer Yusuf

 

They appear like mushrooms every spring and summer, forming an important fabric of the Vancouver identity—the weekly farmers’ market.

 

A way of bridging the gap between the farm producers and the end customer, farmers’ markets are the perfect weekend activity that goes far beyond vegetable shopping.

 

At a typical Vancouver farmers’ market, you’re sure to find the usual variety of in-season vegetables and fruits. Depending on the season, different greens are in vogue. At the time Guidebook paid a visit, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, leeks and aragulas were in, coming in from as far as Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

 

For greenfingers there are a wide variety of flowering trees, vegetable starts, and potted plants bearing flowering promise. At some farmers’ markets, gardening advisors offer help and suggestions for free, for those wanting to pick up tips and enquire about gardening techniques.

 

If you ask a Vancouverite, they don’t go so much for the vegetables as they do the bakeries, flower shops, musical entertainment and crafts. Fresh flowers galore, almost anything can be bought—at the Kitsilano market, this reporter spotted birdhouses!

 

Fresh honey, handmade soap and artisan jewellery is available in droves. A family-friendly environment, face-painting is a common sight. Informal bands have impromptu jam sessions and there are as many people at the markets as there are dogs.

 

Perhaps the most integral component of a farmers’ market is the food. Baked goodies abound with samosas, takeaway jars ready with Indian chutney. Food trucks set up camp at these markets to do brisk business—so be prepared to wait in line on Sundays. Everything from chili to grilled cheese sandwiches to fish and chips to crepes can be found.

 

Every year Metro Vancouver seems to sprout a new farmers’ market. Be smart, find the one nearest you—we suggest bringing a wad of cash and an appetite.

 


 

Main Street Station
Every Wednesday, June 4 until October 1
3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
1100 Block Station Street along Thornton Park across from the VIA Rail Station and near the Main Street Skytrain Station

 


 

Yaletown
Every Thursday to October 2
2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. each week
Mainland Street between Davie and Helmcken at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line Stop.

 


 

Trout Lake
Every Saturday to October 18
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each week
North Parking Lot of John Hendry Park at Trout Lake
Between Templeton and Lakewood south of the 13th Avenue Alley

 


 

Kitsilano
Every Sunday until October 19
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each week
2690 Larch Street at 10th Avenue, Parking Lot of Kitsilano Community Centre

 


 

West End
Every Saturday to October 18
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each week
1100 Block of Comox Street across from Nelson Park at Mole Hill

 


 

Kerrisdale
Every Saturday, June 14 until October 11
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each week
East Boulevard between 37th and 41st Avenue – near Kerrisdale Arena

 


 

Mount Pleasant
Every Sunday, June 15 until October 12
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each week
Guelph Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, on the paved play area between Mt. Pleasant Elementary and Guelph Park

 


 

Royal City, New Westminster
Every Thursday, June 5 until October 9
3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. each week
Tipperary Park on 4th Street located next to City Hall in New Westminster

 


Surrey
Every Wednesday, June 11 until October 8
12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. each week
Surrey City Hall Plaza, 13450 104th Ave, Surrey

 


 

UBC
Every Wednesday, June 18 until October 15
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each week
On the corner of East Mall and Agricultural Road, outside of Irving K. Barber Library
Every Saturday, June 21 until October 15
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each week
UBC Farm, 3461 Ross Drive, Vancouver

 


 

Lonsdale Quay
Every Saturday until October 29
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each week
123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver

 


 

Coquitlam
Every Sunday until October 26
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each week
Dogwood Pavilion Parking Lot, 624 Poirier Street, Coquitlam

 

Vancouver’s favourite component, gluten-free goodies sell like hot cakes at farmers’ market. / photo by Abeer Yusuf

Vancouver’s favourite component, gluten-free goodies sell like hot cakes at farmers’ market. / photo by Abeer Yusuf

Samosas and Indian treats like this homemade chutney can be found at Kitsilano’s farmers’ market. / photo by Abeer Yusuf

Samosas and Indian treats like this homemade chutney can be found at Kitsilano’s farmers’ market. / photo by Abeer Yusuf

Crêperie La Bohème, a food truck which offers all kind of crêpes both savoury and sweet. / photo by Abeer Yusuf

Crêperie La Bohème, a food truck which offers all kind of crêpes both savoury and sweet. / photo by Abeer Yusuf

 

This vendor at Trout Lake sells a variety of seeds, of herbs, grain and flowering plants. Thyme smudge sticks can also be found here. / photo by Abeer Yusuf

This vendor at Trout Lake sells a variety of seeds, of herbs, grain and flowering plants. Thyme smudge sticks can also be found here. / photo by Abeer Yusuf

Depending on the season, all kinds of freshly-picked mushrooms can be found. / photo by Abeer Yusuf

Depending on the season, all kinds of freshly-picked mushrooms can be found. / photo by Abeer Yusuf

 

 

We ask, you tell us: What is Vancouver’s best kept secret?

tara

 

   zaynah  

Zaynah Khan (student)

 

“I’d say Steveston village in Richmond. It’s a fishing village, so you can literally get 100 different types of fish and chips. It’s a quaint little place, the people are really friendly and you have lots of small local shops.”

gene  

Gene Campbell (artist at a video game company)

 

“People don’t know that there are many hiking trails on the West Coast and the Cypress mountains. It also doesn’t rain all the time here [in Vancouver] either.”

kamil  

Kamil Somaratne (student)

 

“Vancouver maybe the city of glass, but it’s also the city of vinyl. There are so many great record shops along East Broadway and Main Street! I prefer to shop at Zulu Records on West 4th and at the Mainstreet Street Vinyl Record Fair –which happens twice a year at The Cambrian Hall.”

tara  

Tara Belicourt (urban farmer and teacher)

 

“There’s a lot of guerilla gardening movements up at Commercial Drive. People go garden at any vacant spot they find to fill it up, even if they’re not allowed to. That’s pretty interesting.”

Award-winning Venezuelan films at SFU Woodwards

Venezuelan film

 

venezuelan film

 

Who: Venezuelan Canadian Society of B.C.
What: Screening Brecha en el Silencio (Breach in the Silence) and El Silencio de las Moscas (Silence of the Flies)
When: Sunday, May 25, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Where: SFU Woodwards – Goldcorp Center for the Arts (149 W Hastings Street)
How much: $10 each

Join the Venezuelan Canadian Society of B.C. (VCSBC) for a double screening of two internationally-acclaimed Venezuelan films:

 

Brecha en el Silencio (“Breach in the Silence”) by Andrés and Luís Rodríguez.

Start time: 2:00 p.m.

This film was Venezuela’s official submission to the Oscars 2014 best foreign language film category. The film was also featured in the Vancouver International Film Festival.

 

El Silencio de las Moscas (“Silence of the Flies”) by Eliezer Arias.

Start time: 4:30 p.m.

This film won in the Latin American competition for the 2014 International Documentary Festival in the Dominican Republic.

Tickets are $10 for each movie, and they are available at the door or online at www.vcsbc.ca

VCSBC is a non-profit organization that acts as a bridge between Venezuelans and other communities in British Columbia. The organization aims to foster integration and collaboration by offering programs, events, services and information to the community.

 

For more information on the Venezuelan Canadian Society of B.C. visit www.vcsbc.ca or www.facebook.com/vcsbc

 

Hip-hop meets beer hops at Vancouver’s Craft Beer Week

Vancouver’s much-loved Hip-Hop Karaoke All Stars will kick off Craft Beer Week.

 

Right: Vancouver’s much-loved Hip-Hop Karaoke All Stars will kick off Craft Beer Week. Left: Red Racer’s new India Session Ale is brewed at Central City Brewing in Surrey, B.C.

Right: Vancouver’s much-loved Hip-Hop Karaoke All Stars will kick off Craft Beer Week.
Left: Red Racer’s new India Session Ale is brewed at Central City Brewing in Surrey, B.C.

 

This year’s Craft Beer Week runs from May 30 to June 7 at various restaurants and bars across Metro Vancouver. It’s a nine day annual festival that showcases the best local and international craft beers.

 

This year’s theme? Hip-hop. Also: beer hops. You know, that bitter, floral taste that’s trending in recent years? Anyway, here’s two of many events worth checking out.

 

Opening Night

Who: MC Prevail, DJ Flipout, the Hip Hop Karaoke All Stars, plus 20 local brewers
What: Hip-hop party and beer tasting
When: Friday, May 30, 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Where: Gossip Nightclub, 750 Pacific Boulevard
How much: $49 plus taxes and fees

 

Dubbed “the top of the hops” and “the beast of the yeast” this opening night party features MC Prevail, DJ Flipout, Vancouver’s Hip-Hop Karaoke All Stars, and 20 of the craft brewing industries finest. A $49 ticket includes entertainment, unlimited craft beer samples, a souvenir tasting glass, and door prizes for the those dressed in their hip-hop best. A couple of Vancouver’s finest food trucks will be on site. Participating breweries include Phillips, Four Winds, Bomber, 33 Acres, Ninkasi, Parallel 49, Red Truck, Bridge, Main Street, Driftwood and more.

 

Brothers in Hip-Hops

Who: Gigantic Brewery, Surrey’s Central City Brewing, Ninkasi, and Parallel 49 Brewery
What: dinner and beer tasting
When: Thursday, June 5, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Where: The Butcher & Bullock, 911 West Pender Street
How much: $49 plus taxes and fees

 

The Vancouver Craft Beer Week website says they’re “brothers from different mothers, but all sons of the hop.” Four brewers from East Vancouver to Surrey to Washington state have teamed up to host a night of “hop-tastic food and drink.”

 

“Last year saw these brewers each showcase a hop-heavy brew with amazing pub food sampled throughout,” the VCBW site explains. “This year, each brewer will be bringing their next-gen signature hoppy brew for guests to sample, taste and discuss at The Butcher & Bullock.”

 

Kicking off at 6:00 p.m., the night’s featured brewers will be Ben Love of Gigantic Brewery, Gary Lohin of Surrey’s Central City Brewing, Jaime Floyd of Ninkasi brewing, and Graham With of Parallel 49 brewing. They’ll also have the festival’s featured home brewer Ryan Elliot onsite that evening to showcase the hobbyist’s point of view.

 

Ticket includes all the beers in question along with abundant beer paired food stations. Swag, takeaways and door prizes will be given away throughout the night.

Douglas Coupland’s first-ever solo art exhibition

Public sculpture “Digital Orca” by Douglas Coupland

 

douglas

Left: Public sculpture “Digital Orca” by Douglas Coupland Photo: Philip Jama / wikipedia Right: Douglas Coupland Photo: Douglas Coupland / wikipedia

 
Hailing from West Vancouver, Douglas Coupland is celebrated around the world for defining a generation. Literally. His very first novel, the 1991 bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture gave us an entire lexicon to match an Internet-hungry age—complete with words like “McJob” and, of course, “Gen X.”

Coupland has since written a lucky 13 novels, many about wired, clever young people who are grappling with existential angst and loneliness. While Coupland’s writing makes plenty of reference to American pop culture, there is an underlying Canadian-ness present in his books, which is a source of pride for many British Columbians. Books like Souvenir of Canada, City of Glass, and his biography of Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan pay tribute to Canadian culture even more directly.

 

While most culture-savvy Canadians will have read a Douglas Coupland book (critics’ faves include Microserfs, Girlfriend in a Coma, Hey Nostradamus! and sometimes jPod), fewer are aware of his visual art career. But a quick look at Coupland’s Twitter bio— “Never left art school”—hearkens back to his time attending Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver.

 

Coupland has been commissioned to create many public sculptures, including the pixilated Orca whale along Vancouver’s Burrard inlet. Earlier this year he announced another commissioned sculpture—a gold-plated replica of Stanley Park’s Hollow Tree, to be displayed at Marine Drive and Cambie between Richmond and Vancouver.

 

It’s great timing then, that Coupland is showing his first-ever solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery beginning on May 31. The show is called “Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything.” The gallery has been keeping a blog of the installation process, which makes reference to lego sculptures, Fukushima tsunami debris, and a larger-than-life “Gumhead” sculpture of Coupland’s face.

 

“Using Lego, one of his favourite art supplies, Coupland has created large-scale artworks such as Towers and 345 Modern House both of which will be on view for the first time in his solo exhibition,” explains the Vancouver Art Gallery blog. “In Lego as Self-Portrait he uses these building blocks to create an abstract portrait of himself, stacking them vertically until the column replicates his exact height; the work consists of 194 Lego bricks, hermetically sealed inside a clear Plexiglas sleeve.”

 

“In conjunction with Doug’s solo show, the Gallery has commissioned him to create an interactive public sculpture titled Gumhead which will be situated on a grassy knoll on the Howe Street Side,” the blog says.

 

Abeer Untapped: India Inc.

Editor at Large / flickr

 

Chai Tea leaves

 

Where’s the line between cultural appreciation and exotic™ marketing?

 

By Abeer Yusuf

 

I was walking along South Granville some time back, when I chanced upon a billboard outside a Blenz Coffee store. The billboard caught my eye because it said “MUMBAI.” As someone who identifies Bombay as home, I looked at it more closely.

 

The ad was pitching a new product from the coffee store, a “Mumbai Orange” juice tea, displaying said juice with artfully laid out spices and ginger root. Although the ad made no claims of authenticity, I rolled my eyes at yet another attempt at exoticization.

 

Ever since I’ve come to Vancouver, I’ve realized things about my people that I never knew before. For example, I never knew that the right way of saying chai was chai tea. As far as I know, chai IS tea.** I’d also not known that chai could come in the variation of a chai tea latte, or that tea could even be made as a latte.

 

I’ve talked to many Vancouverites who’ve asked me if a particular blend of chai latte tastes just as authentic as “back home”—I don’t have the heart to tell them that what they’re having is just a commercial machine marketing a product that fits an entire nation into a tea bag. It’s frustrating to think that so many people probably think Indians drink spiced tea all day, because while the statement of tea-addicted Indians may be true, the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves they’re consuming in tea only shows up in our food. If the same people were to travel around India, they would be hard-pressed to find a store that sells a chai tea latte with matcha infusions, unless it were a Starbucks.

 

Reaching new levels of absurdity, Oprah Winfrey launched her own blend of chai tea, which is “rich in cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves, blended with black tea and rooibos.” Rooibos is a plant indigenous to South Africa, and I assure you, cannot be found in an Indian chai. According to Oprah, who came up with the line especially for Teavana, a subsidiary of Starbucks, “this is what tea should taste like.” It should also come as no surprise that this tea is trademarked.

 

In a video promoting the tea, Oprah also says, “I love spicy tea, that’s what chai really is.” India thanks you, Oprah. After making a complete fool of herself at an Indian home and expressing shock at Indians eating with their hands (on her 2012 India tour), this step in tea entrepreneurship is sure to make up for past follies.

 

Tea-hawkers like Oprah aren’t the only culprits. I’ve probably met more people that practise yoga in Vancouver than in Bombay. There are probably more kinds of yoga here than in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh—and it boggles my mind.

 

Why is it that patented yoga moves and star anise-flavoured tea are the rare elements of India Vancouverites understand? Perhaps it shows how little people in the developed north know and are willing to know about the people from a different world.

 

These examples miss India’s cultural pluralities, and when they fall into the hands of corporations, the complexity is completely erased. So the next time you go out to your local artisan coffee shop, please keep in mind that adding cinnamon and cardamom to something and naming it after a metropolitan city doesn’t make the thing authentic or exotic.

 

 

**NOTE: Chai is the Hindi/Urdu word for tea, usually made with milk and black tea. In people’s homes and upon special request at tea stalls, you can get ginger-infused chai or cardamom and ginger-infused chai, which is then called masala chai (spiced tea)—though the commoner only drinks black tea boiled with milk and sugar.

 

 

Science Without Borders

IMG_4168_web

 

LEFT:FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Luis Gustavo Bet, Ananda Codo Fàvero, Lahiri Loradao Souza, Dean of Science Margaret Heldman, Renan Bitencourt Garrido /Langara College/Jennifer Oehler RIGHT:FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Ananda Codo Fàvero, Lahiri Loradao Souza, Renan Bitencourt Garrido, Luis Gustavo Bet, Matheus Peres do Mascimento, Kaline Raiana da Silva Carvalho/ Langara College/Jennifer Oehler

LEFT:FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Luis Gustavo Bet, Ananda Codo Fàvero, Lahiri Loradao Souza, Dean of Science Margaret Heldman, Renan Bitencourt Garrido /Langara College/Jennifer Oehler
RIGHT:FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Ananda Codo Fàvero, Lahiri Loradao Souza, Renan Bitencourt Garrido, Luis Gustavo Bet, Matheus Peres do Mascimento, Kaline Raiana da Silva Carvalho/ Langara College/Jennifer Oehler

 

Massive exchange program brings Brazilian science and tech students to Vancouver.
 
By Sarah Berman
 
As part of an ambitious new exchange program funded by the Brazilian government, Canada will welcome 12,000 science students at the undergraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral levels by 2015. Called Science Without Borders, many of the Brazilian students will study right here in Vancouver for up to 18 months.
Nine international students from the Science Without Borders program started science and tech classes at Langara College earlier this month. They join 200 international students studying in Langara’s science programs.
 
Langara’s Dean of Science Marg Heldman says many of the current cohort are studying marine and environmental science. She says other program interests include information technology, chemistry, computer programming and engineering.
 
“Our first cohort arrived in October,” says Heldman. Langara’s Science Without Borders students joined the college in 2013, but have been studying English as a Second Language in preparation for university-level study in a new language. “The scholarship has three components: English training, academic and internship.”
 
Four of the students have already embarked on a field study in Tofino, BC in April. As part of an environmental studies class, the students visited Pacific Rim National Park for five days. “The Brazilians were very impressed,” says Heldman.
 
Science Without Borders aims to place 101,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics students overseas by 2015. Many other schools across the Lower Mainland have partnered with Brazil on this program, including Douglas College, Vancouver Community College, University of the Fraser Valley and more.
Langara anticipates the arrival of 18 more students from the Science Without Borders program in the coming months, who will begin their university studies in September.
 
“This is an extraordinary initiative by the Brazilian government to bolster science and technology education amongst their student population,” says Heldman. “As a college, we’re thrilled to play a part of these efforts, and we will work to reinforce this international relationship and to support our visiting students in realizing their educational goals.”
 

Geeky Weekends

#5 with a bullet: Customers browse the vinyl bins at Red Cat Records on Main Street./ Kristian Secher

 

#5 with a bullet: Customers browse the vinyl bins at Red Cat Records on Main Street./ Kristian Secher

#5 with a bullet: Customers browse the vinyl bins at Red Cat Records on Main Street./ Kristian Secher


 
May is full of snob opportunities! Record collectors will swap vinyl and top ten lists over the May long weekend, while comic nerds are planning a free get-together the following weekend.
 
By Sarah Berman
 
For those who identify as comic nerds and/or music snobs, Vancouver’s got plenty of opportunity to show off your trivia steez. A two-day record swap will feature massive personal collections of  rare vinyl. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Comic Arts Association is planning a weekend festival full of opportunities to draw, self-publish and appreciate comics.
 
High Fidelity
 
What: Main Street Vinyl Record Fair
When: Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: The Cambrian Hall, 215 East 17th Avenue
How much:  $3 at the door
 
Everybody knows at least one person who is a self-described “audiophile.” Chances are this same person is obsessed with the analog sounds of a vintage record player.
If you want to meet some of these people, come on down to Cambrian Hall over the May long weekend, to see record snobs in their natural habitat. Lifelong collectors will buy, sell and trade new or used records all day Saturday and Sunday. Other vendors will sell turntables, audio gear and other listening essentials.
Over 40 independent record dealers will be featured, with different vendors each day. Local deejays Knights of the Turntable will be spinning records throughout the weekend.
Donations will also be collected to raise money for CiTR Radio 101.9FM, the Safe Amplification Site Society and Girls Rock Camp Vancouver. “We accept donations of vinyl records from the community year-round and provide these albums for sale at The Main Street Vinyl Record Fair either by donation or for very low prices,” explains the event Facebook page.

 

Draw Something
 
What: Vancouver’s Comic Arts Festival
When: May 23 to 25, Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Roundhouse Community Arts Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews
How much: Free
 
The Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (VanCAF) is a weekend-long celebration of comics, and it’s coming to town beginning Friday May 23. The festival features readings, panels, and workshops, culminating in a two-day exhibition for cartoonists from across the country and down the coast.
 
The goal of VanCAF is to appeal to both die-hard comics fans and newcomers alike. For this reason, admission to all events is completely free, and table costs for exhibitors are super low. “We’re not so much concerned with making a profit as we are transforming Vancouver into a city of storytelling and comics,” explains the VanCAF website.
In its first year, the festival attracted 3,200 attendees with 92 exhibitors; in 2013, our attendance reached 5,000 with 122 exhibitors. Here’s hoping this year will attract even more comic enthusiasts.

 

Newcomers Vancouver Fair

 

vancouver_web

 

 

What: Vancouver Newcomers Fair
When: Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel, 1088 Burrard Street, Vancouver
How much: Free if you pre-register on the site, $10 at the door

 

It is never easy to come to a new country and learn the ropes all over again. You may have a degree from a veritable university that is not recognised here, or you may want to brush up on your English language skills.
You may also just be confused about some immigration rules you read online.
Where do you go?

 

Newcomers Canada, an online resource, is bringing a newcomers fair on the 24 and 25 May for international students, newly landed or settled immigrants and corporate expats currently living in British Columbia.

 

The fair, which will be held in Vancouver for the first time, aims to provide services to help make transitioning to Canada as smooth as possible, so if you are lo oking for the opportunity to chat one-on-one with visa, employment, education and settlement experts, this fair will allow you to do exactly that.

 

Government officials will be available on hand for immigration seminars, visa eligibility and assessment clinics. IDP IELTS, the education sponsor for the event, will also be offering introductory IELTS classes.

 

 

5 Tips To Make The Most Of The Fair:
 
1. Be there early if possible.

 

This is a free event, which means lots of people will be showing up. It also means that if you have a complicated situation that you’d like to explain to a government official, it’s a good idea to get there when they’re still fresh and not annoyed and badgered from having answered the same question a dozen times.
Some exhibitors will also have jobs available on the day, so if you are looking for employment, bring along a copy of your résumé and any other qualifications or documents that you feel may be necessary.

 

2. Have all your documents ready the night before.

Don’t come to the fair with some documents missing; it’s better to have more and not need them than reach there and find out you missed a crucial paper. It’s also a good idea to get photocopies of your important documents beforehand.

 

3. Take cash along.

A lot of the services that will be offered there will not be free, and there is a chance that the various service providers may not have debit or credit card machines. Have some cash on hand.

4. Come prepared.

The dress code for the fair is smart casual, as there may be interviews conducted on the day.
So dress for comfort without looking too last-minute. You’re going to be walking around the ballroom for quite a bit, so make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothes and shoes. It’s also a good idea to take empty files and a backpack to stuff everything into, because you’ll be receiving a lot of promotional material, along with important papers you wouldn’t want to get crumpled.

 

5. Have a game plan.

With lots of people teeming around various stalls, things can get really frantic. Fairs like these usually have a mock-up of what entities are located where. It’s also a good idea to check the website before going in to see the exhibitor list. Be sure to make a note of the seminars times to make sure you don’t miss the ones that are most relevant to you. Prioritise what’s important and attack strategically.

 

The fair, which is said to be the largest of its kind in Canada, will have showings in Calgary and Toronto after.

 

‘Don’t blame foreign workers,’ says fast food employee

TFWs-hires_web

 

TFWs-hires_web
Federal moratorium on restaurants hiring temporary workers makes many afraid they’ll be forced to go home.

 

By David P. Ball, TheTyee.ca

 

 

Temporary foreign workers are speaking out against Canada’s sudden moratorium on restaurants hiring them and others in the program, which country-wide has more than tripled over the last decade to nearly 340,000 workers.

 

But with tearful stories about Canadian restaurant workers fired and replaced with foreign workers dominating the airwaves—and a C.D. Howe Institute report last week concluding that the program has ramped up B.C. unemployment by 4.8 per cent—a number of people who came to Canada under the program say they are not to blame for job losses here.

 

One 37-year-old fast food restaurant worker, who asked not to be named for fear of employment repercussions, said that for five years she’s wired $500 back to her husband and two teenage children in the Philippines every month. But now that Conservative Employment Minister Jason Kenney has banned restaurants for applying for workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, she may have to pack up and go home.

 

“If I can’t get my residency, I’ll have to go back to the Philippines a failure. I feel like a failure in my life, even though I work so hard,” she said in an interview. “I never stop hoping to live in Canada, because I know Canada is a better place for my kids.”

 

At a press conference at Vancouver’s Multicultural Helping House yesterday, the Business Administration graduate from Manila’s Far West University said before leaving the Philippines in 2008, she worked as a server in a high-end bar and grill that she couldn’t afford to eat at herself.

 

After working five years in a fast food chain, she has twice been denied permanent resident status and was similarly rejected when she applied for her husband under the program.

 

With her current restaurant contract ending this summer, a job offer a few months later will likely fall through if the moratorium continues, she said. Even though she has paid from day one into employment insurance, when she applied for her contributions to tide her over until her next job, she was rejected because she lacks residency status.

 

When she hears Canadian workers outraged over losing jobs to foreign workers, the mother of two hopes they see that the issue is with government policy. Foreign workers, she said, are even more precarious because they are restricted in where they can work when they are here.

 

“I wish I could explain to them, ‘I understand you guys because you have a family too,’” she said. “But it’s not our problem. Ask the government why this is happening, please don’t blame foreign workers.”

 

 

Program also suppresses Canadian wages: NDP

 

 

Federal New Democrat employment critic Jinny Sims told reporters her party doesn’t oppose the temporary foreign worker program itself, but said that the rules against abuse by employers need to be much more tightly enforced.

 

“We’re seeing the program being used and abused to not only hurt very vulnerable temp foreign workers who arrive in this country,” she said, “but also to suppress wages for those working in Canada—Canadian citizens, permanent residents and arrivals.”

 

Another worker who spoke out at the Multicultural Helping House is Glen Syping, who left a wife behind in the Philippines in 2009 to work at a Wendy’s restaurant in Saskatchewan, where his employer secured medical coverage for him and put him in a house with three other foreign workers.

 

But he said things went downhill when the franchise owner demanded he and his housemates relocate to another Wendy’s in Brandon, Manitoba, where his health coverage was not valid. He was only legally allowed to work in the province the employer brought him to, but when he raised the issue with the boss he was told there was no choice.
“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “New foreign workers don’t become citizens here. It’s hard for the workers here. They only have the chance to go back home, I guess.”

 

He was one of the lucky ones, having secured permanent resident status in 2012 and moving to B.C. But for many people, the promise of finding a path to citizenship is either labyrinthine to navigate, or non-existent.

 

The moratorium on restaurant work was supposed to stop restaurants from applying for Labour Market Opinions, which is how employers prove to the government there are no Canadians available to work with the skills needed for their jobs.

 

But for the 37-year-old business graduate, now one of many foreign workers toiling below their skill and training levels in fast food giants, she asked why the moratorium had to punish those who are already here, under already precarious conditions.

 

She doesn’t know what the next three months hold, once her current employment ends.
“I’m a taxpayer, I’m not cheating,” she said. “How come they can’t allow me to live here? That’s why I’m so upset. I’m waiting for my new contract, but how can I survive for three months without work? I can’t work because it’s illegal.”

 

Canadian Immigration Integration Program excludes Latin America

 

By Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

 

Last month, Guidebook reported that a program called the Canadian Immigration Integration Program (CIIP) received a $1.9 million funding boost to help prospective immigrants make the transition to living in Canada. Guidebook has learned the extra funding approved by Immigration Minister Chris Alexander is not meant to amplify the initiative’s reach. As a result, the service will not be provided in countries apart from ones where it is already in place.

 

According to Amanda Lannan, spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the money will simply allow current programs to continue. “The additional funds announced in March support the overall delivery of CIIP to extend ongoing CIIP services,” she said in an email statement.

 

The fact that the CIIP remains the same, at least until September 2014, means countries along the American continent—the source of 17.4 per cent of new permanent residents in 2012—will still be excluded.

 

“In addition to a number of cities across China, India, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom, CIIP services may be delivered in various other countries as well: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Finland, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen,” reads the program’s webpage.

 

How the new resources are distributed among the nations where the CIIP functions wasn’t explained, despite continued email correspondence with Lannan. The information wasn’t available in the accountability section of the program’s webpage, nor was it found in other databases explored by Guidebook.

 

 

How CIIP works

 

In each country where CIIP services are accessible, soon-to-be immigrants receive free pre-departure orientation. The program is available to people coming to Canada on federal skilled worker visas and provincial nominees visas; CIIP also trains spouses and adult dependents.

 

The idea, Lannan said, is to help them “to be well on their way to success in Canada by providing information on foreign credential recognition, the Canadian labour market and settlement in Canada.” This support is provided in the final stages of their immigration process.
The program aims to reduce unemployment rates among immigrants. In 2013, 37.3 per cent of the people who emigrated to Canada within five years or less from the regions where CIIP operates (Europe, Africa and Asia) were unemployed. Thus, the government decided it is better to channel those individuals into the labour force before they set foot in the land of maple trees.

 

 

According to Lannan, people who enrolled in the CIIP have to comply with three different components.
The first commitment is a one-day workshop where participants are informed about:

 

•  job prospects by geographic areas and professional fields;
•  potential challenges and how to confront them;
•  job search strategies and tools;
•  types of jobs and how to retain those jobs;
•  and what agencies or services they can reach to in order to receive help.

 

The second component “involves personalized planning focused on key job and integration decisions, as well as actions to be taken before and after arrival in Canada,” Lannan wrote.
Finally, the last component aims to connect migrants, via Internet, with CIC’s partner organizations like immigrant-serving agencies and colleges, as well as with potential employers.
Are you a newcomer to Canada who has completed the CIIP program? Let us know about your experience with this government service by emailing sarah@theguidebook.ca.

 

 

BIG SCREENS

ESTADI~1

 

Estádio Nacional de Brasília

webdevs-25

 

Brazil’s FIFA World Cup is less than a month away. Do you know where to watch?

 

As an international student or newcomer to Canada, nobody will blame you for skipping the Stanley Cup hockey playoffs. However, finding a restaurant or sports bar that will show the sports you actually want to see can sometimes be a challenge.

 

Next month, Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament for the first time since 1950. The national teams of 31 countries have advanced through qualification competitions. A total of 64 matches will be played in twelve cities across Brazil. Spain is the defending champion, having defeated the Netherlands 1–0 in the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa.

 

If you’re as excited as we are, you’re already making plans to cheer on your home country next to your friends and family. Here’s a look at where to watch, whether you’re cheering for Brazil, Italy, Portugal, South Korea or Iran.

 

Commercial Drive

With more big screen venues than any other street in the city, Commercial Drive is one of the best places to watch World Cup action. Portuguese and Italian communities make this area a lively spot for fans to hang out.

 

Boteco – Guidebook’s pick for Brazilian fans
(604) 566-9028
2545 Nanaimo St, Vancouver BC

 

Boteco is the unofficially official Brazil House in Vancouver. With a projector and several big screens, Boteco is known to show inner-city football games—not just the international ones.

 

Abruzzo Cappuccino Bar – Guidebook’s pick for Italian fans
1321 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC
(604) 254-2641

 

Portuguese Club Of Vancouver – Official Portuguese House
1144 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
(604) 251-2042

 

The Charletan
1447 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC

 

Libra room
1608 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC
(604) 255-3787

 

Caffé Napoli
1670 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC

 

Downtown

 

It may not rival the hustle and bustle of Rio or Sao Paulo, but downtown Vancouver is home to several FIFA-friendly establishments. For a central viewing experience, check out these bars.

 

The Pint – Official Brazilian House
455 Abbott Street, Vancouver BC
(604) 684-0258

 

The London Pub – Official English House
700 Main Street, Vancouver BC
604-563-5053
Doolin’s – Guidebook’s pick for Irish fans
654 Nelson Street, Vancouver BC

 

La Casita – Guidebook’s pick for Mexican fans
101 West Cordova Street, Vancouver BC

 

Butcher and the Bullock
911 West Pender Street Vancouver BC
(604) 662-8866

 

Dover Arms Pub
961 Denman Street, Vancouver BC

 

Library Square Pub
300 West Georgia Street, Vancouver BC
(604) 633-9644

 

Soho Bar & Grill
1184 Denman St, Vancouver BC

 

EAST VAN

 

For those residing east of Boundary, these local haunts will be showing FIFA World Cup games all month.

 

Oscar’s Pub
3684 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
(604) 298-5825

 

Panadería Latina Bakery – Guidebook’s pick for Chilean fans
4906 Joyce Street, Vancouver BC

 

Caffe Mondiale
3722 Hastings Street, Burnaby BC

 

MEtro Vancouver

 

From Marine Drive to the North Shore, from Dunbar to Surrey, we’ve scouted out neighbourhood viewing for you and your team.

 

South Hall Palace – Official Korean House
8273 Ross Street, Vancouver BC, near South Marine Drive

 

Urban Gate – Guidebook’s pick for Iranian fans
1158C High Street, Coquitlam BC

 

The Delta Lion Pub – Guidebook pick for Australian fans
11186 84th Ave, North Delta BC
(604) 591-2111

 

Polish Community Centre – Official Polish House
4015 Fraser Street, Vancouver BC
(604) 874-8620

 

German Cultural Centre – Official German House
4875 Victoria Drive

 

Manchester Public House – Guidebook’s pick for Dutch fans
1941 West Broadway, Vancouver BC

 

Two Lions Public House
2601 Westview Drive, North Vancouver BC

 

Pumphouse Pub
6031 Blundell Road, Richmond BC
(604) 274-7424

 

Sin Bin Sports Grill
295 W 2nd Avenue, Vancouver BC
(604) 677-3515

 

Sailor Hagar’s Brew Pub
86 Semisch Avenue, North Vancouver
(604) 984-3087

 

School’s out

Greg Ehlers/ Simon Fraser University

 

grad

 

Just in time for spring convocation, Guidebook asks graduating international students:

 

what’s next?

Catrina Ji

Catrina Ji

Catrina Ji

 

Artisan Baking
Vancouver Community College
Country: China

 

When she turned 18 years old, Catrina Ji was certain she wanted to take a business major at Simon Fraser University. She moved to Vancouver by herself and started her career in 2011. But things were not easy. “Most Chinese students are good in mathematics but I’m different and I decided to quit it after one year,” she admitted.

 

After making that big decision, Ji tried to join a hospital facilities management program but it was already full. “So I overheard that Vancouver Community College was opening their second baking course for international students and I thought I could do that first and then do the hospital thing, but when I took the first class I felt like: ‘Whoa! I like this!”

 

After spending one year mastering sourdough, Asian buns, and Cornish pasty, the now 21-year-old closed her studies with style: She got an internship at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. “I went to an interview with their pastry chef. It was a Friday and the next Monday I was there,” she said proudly.

 

For one month, she was able to showcase what she had learned at VCC by rotating through the kitchen’s four pastry stations. At the beginning, she felt she wasn’t fast enough but she overcame her frustration and moved forward. “Then, for example, I was helping to put custard inside cream puffs, and I also had to put the icing on top and decorate the plate.”

 

At the same time, she learned a whole bunch of new things. “When I went there, the hotel was hosting the TED event and the chef took me to the chocolate station. He taught me how to temper it and we made trophies out of chocolate. I helped putting the different parts together. We made like 250 or 300.”

 

That internship, which was a requirement for graduating, inspired her to continue with her studies. Not even a month after becoming a certified baker, in April she enrolled in a new course. This time she is focusing on pastries, a field where she feels she can explode her creativity even more.

 

Once she finishes this second program in August, she plans to work in Vancouver for a couple of years. She wants to keep learning and she feels more comfortable doing that in Canada. “Because here we treat teachers and older people like friends, and it’s easier to communicate,” she said.

 

Once Catrina accomplishes her goals here, she wants to go back to her hometown to pursue her biggest dream. “I want to open my own café. I would try in China first because Canadian dollars are more expensive and in China, even if the competition is tough, you have a lot of chance to do new things because they have a lot of people.

 

“If I get successful in China and make money by myself, I’ll come back to Canada,” she added. “That’s the plan.”

 

—Valentina Ruiz Leotaud o

 

 

Heraldo Abreu

Heraldo Abreu

Heraldo Abreu

 

Sound Design for Visual Media
Vancouver Film School
Country: Venezuela

 

After just one year of studying intensively to become a sound designer for movies, TV shows and videogames, Heraldo Abreu can now breathe easy.

 

For 12 months, he had to keep his eyes on the books and the computer screen. Now he feels ready to face the real professional world. “This program comprises, in one year, everything you are supposed to learn in four years. I really wanted that because, afterwards, I was going to be able to go out and gain more experience in the field. In addition to that, I really liked the fact that it didn’t focus just on the theory and that it provided the practical tools that I needed to master when I decided to look for a job,” Abreu said.

 

This was Abreu’s first university experience and even though he feels prepared now, it wasn’t like that at first. “When I arrived, I thought I knew more than I actually did. Most of my classmates had been working with audio for years and I felt a little behind. However once I had completed half of the program, I was able to work shoulder to shoulder with them without causing any delays.”

 

Heraldo got a little help from his friends and that circumstance was another aspect of the program that this Venezuelan boy really enjoyed. “Not only I got to share with Mexican, Brazilian, Spanish, Polish, Icelandic, Chinese, Italian, and English peers, but I was also able to collaborate, in different projects, with students from the 3D, animation, film production, and game design courses,” he said.

 

Those collective processes turned out to be a huge learning experience for the 19-year-old. It felt very different from what he was used to and it surely helped him to fall more in love with his career. “I got to learn things about audio that I didn’t know about and it was great to have that sense of connectedness with a group of people who are always talking about the same things.”

 

Aiming to keep that kind of connection, Abreu is now helping younger students with final projects. But he isn’t stopping there; he’s also working in a feature film called A Legacy of Whining and just finished working on another film called CANDiLAND, where Gary Busey (Lethal Weapon) is one of the leading stars.

 

Even though working in movies is not a stable job, he expects to keep doing it in Vancouver’s flourishing industry. He wants to gather enough money to continue his education, because in the future he would like to explore the field of studio recording.

 

—Valentina Ruiz Leotaud o

 

 

Ga Young Sin

Ga Young Sin

 

Hospitality and Tourism Management
Sprott Shaw College
Country: South Korea

 

Ga Young Sin completed her two-year study of hospitality management on May 10, and will celebrate her graduation from Sprott Shaw College on May 22. Looking back at her time as an international student in Vancouver, Sin says she got the first-hand experience needed to break into the local hotel scene.

 

“In co-op we actually experience the hotel industry,” says Sin of her time working in the back offices of Time Square Suites in the West End. Not just limited to the management side of the equation, Sin learned about every aspect of hospitality—from the kitchen to the accountant’s office.

 

“I studied the other departments so I can understand more about how the hotel works,” Sin says. “I learned I had interest in accounting.”

 

Sin says she appreciates Vancouver’s laid back atmosphere and cultural understanding. “In Korea we have to do everything fast—no one will wait for you,” she says. “I was surprised by the endurance and patience Vancouverites have for us who are learning the culture and language.”

 

Now that her courses are completed, Sin is focusing her attention on applying to jobs in her field. She wants to continue working on her English so that she can greet guests face-to-face. “I want to move on, I want to deal with the guests in the front of the house.”

 

To international students who are learning English while they study, Sin says keep pushing, even when it seems hard:  “I would like to encourage them to keep going, even if their English is poor—keep on trying and they will get opportunity like me to work in Canadian industry.”

 

—Sarah Berman o

 

 

Sophie Wang

Sophie Wang

Sophie Wang

 

Sauder School of Business MBA
University of British Columbia
Country: China

 

When Sophie Wang first visited Vancouver in 2012 on a holiday, she thought she was in a movie. She fell in love with the pace of the city and its harmonious mix of nature and civilisation.

 

Returning to Macau where she was working at the time, Wang, 28, considered applying for graduate school in Vancouver. That’s when she found the perfect fit with the UBC Sauder Business School, where she is completing a Masters in Business Administration.

 

Wang admits that while she loves the city, her intensive course took some effort getting used to.

 

“We have four compulsory courses running concurrently at all times [and] we also have group projects so it forces me to work with people I’m not familiar with. Also, just being in North America, the business culture is quite different—professors encourage you to be really assertive, I find that’s really different from the business culture in Asia, so culture shock was the first obstacle,” says Wang.

 

A graduate of the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Aerodynamics, Wang found some considerable differences in the classroom culture here. For example, “in Asia, you don’t have conflicts with your colleagues or your boss. If you have confront your boss, then that basically means the end of your career at that company. But here people are encouraged to voice different opinions, I find that really interesting.”

 

Wang has learnt many things, but the most memorable lesson from her time at UBC has been “to be confident with who I am and with my background, and the values that I represent,” adding that “at first it was really challenging for me to voice my opinions in front of everyone, I found that really intimidating. But the more I expressed myself, even though [it may be] different from what others may think, I found that people were more willing to communicate with me after class and I gained respect from my teammates by engaging myself in all kinds of projects, so that built my confidence.”

 

Wang is quite keen on using her skill set as an MBA student and an English interpretation degree to get a job in supply chain project management in Vancouver. While willing to relocate and aware of how competitive her ideal job is, she wants to stay put because of her love for the cityscape.

 

A native of Wuhan, China, Wang’s love for the city comes from the abundant nature she sees while living on campus. “I really enjoy being able to wander in forests. I was running with some residents at St. Johns College from the [UBC] botanical garden to Wreck Beach, it was really misty and some ducks were swimming, there was moss and wood, it [felt] like I was in a dream.”

 

Dreams aside, Wang’s Chinese and Canadian experiences have made her realise that both countries could do with a bit of the others’ values. Canadians could do with being a bit more humble says Wang, adding that “Chinese people are really considerate of what you may feel so sometimes we try not to offend people.” And what can the Chinese learn from Canadians? Without skipping a beat, Wang says “democracy and a respect for different values.”

 

—Abeer Yusuf o

 

 

Anum Sultan

Anum Sultan

Anum Sultan

 

Event Management
Art Institute of Vancouver
Country: Pakistan

 

“In Pakistan, events only mean marriages,” says Anum Sultan, a 23-year old Pakistani student pursuing her diploma in event management from the Art Institute in Vancouver.

 

Sultan, who’ll be graduating in December, is keen on staying back in Vancouver for precisely this reason—she wants to become an event planner for meetings and conferences, but is aware that Islamabad’s social scene hasn’t quite evolved yet to create that demand.

 

Sultan came to Canada to complete her bachelors in marketing, which she had begun in Pakistan, and transferred her credits to the Thompson Rivers University. But while living in Kamloops she found a new love: event management.

 

“I participated in organizing cultural events, fundraisers, festivals—I was involved in the university’s UNICEF chapter, the student council—there would be two to three events every month, so I tried to manage as many as I could while juggling my studies at the same time.”

 

Sultan says she fell in love the first event she helped manage a launch party for the school’s Pakistani student club. “We had a really limited budget, like $250, but we had a great event and the turnout was good. There were a lot of people and they loved it, people were talking about it the next day on Facebook and it even caught the media’s attention.”

 

It got Sultan thinking, and she began looking at event management seriously—moving in the process to Vancouver to begin her diploma in the field.

 

“I love everything about my course. It’s not only books, you don’t have to learn and mug everything up, it’s quite practical and hands on, and the teachers are all business professionals from the industry, so they share their experiences and take us to their events.”

 

Prior to coming to Canada, Sultan had no idea she would end up wanting a career in event management, but says that she cannot think of wanting to do anything else now. “I’ve been doing a lot of volunteer work and unpaid jobs, and I’ve been putting out my CVs to wedding planners and event management companies, so I’m really hoping I can get a job soon.”

 

Sultan knows that it won’t be easy to break into an industry that relies extensively on social contacts and networking but is prepared to put in all the hard work. “If I’m doing something that I love well, people will hear about it and I know I’ll break into the industry.”

 

—Abeer Yusuf o

 

 

 

Lisa Deng

Lisa Deng

 

Lisa Deng

 

Accounting Diploma
Langara College
Country: China

 

Lisa Deng says much of what she’s learned in Vancouver happened outside the classroom. In her four years living in the city—first studying English as a Second Language and then beginning a two-year accounting program—Deng transitioned from homestays to living on her own.

 

“I’ve found my personality has become stronger,” she says. “In the beginning I was just a little kid—I’d never lived away from my parents before. Now I know how to cook for myself and live independently.”

 

Deng was drawn to Langara’s accounting diploma because it was shorter than a bachelor’s degree, and it pointed to a business career that’s always in demand. “I chose accounting because in the beginning, I [thought] accounting was the most interesting among the business subjects.”

 

In her years at Langara, Deng has volunteered her time at the international education office, helping other international students find their way. “I’m very proud of volunteering there—I have been since the first time I joined the general courses,” she says. “I have met lots of students, and really like to share my experience.”

 

Deng’s advice to international students is to find a place like Langara’s international education office and ask lots of questions. “Go there, enjoy more activities there, and ask questions to them and the volunteers.”

 

While looking for job experience as a bookkeeper, Deng began working off-campus as a sales associate at an optical store. Now that she’s completed her education, Deng plans to apply as an immigrant and permanent resident. “I am lucky that I have work to be a self-provider,” she says.

 

—Sarah Berman o

 

 

Hyo June Jang

Hyo June Jang

Hyo June Jang

 

Hospitality and Tourism Management
Sprott Shaw College
Country: South Korea

 

Hyo June Jang, known to fellow students as Jun, already worked in the hotel industry before he came to Vancouver to study. Jang brings his experience working kitchens in Seoul to a hands-on co-op position preparing pastas and quinoa salads at Vancouver’s Georgia Hotel.

 

Jang says the major difference between working as a line cook in Korea and Canada is, of course, the language. “When I came here I was nervous because English is not my first language,” he recalls. “But to those who come here, I say just relax and focus on your studies: you will be a success.”

 

Now that he’s completed his studies and co-op placement, Jang is ready to dive into the workforce. When looking for jobs, Jang considers the experience he will get at both big and small hotels. “At a big hotel, working is often just one thing—for example it’s just making a salad or prepping something over and over,” he explains. “But if it’s small hotel I have lots of experience, making lots of different things.”

 

Having lived in downtown Vancouver for two years, Jang has come to appreciate Vancouver’s stunning scenery. “Vancouver has a very good harmony with nature, we even have beaches downtown,” says Jang. “In Korea, there are many buildings, it’s too noisy.”

 

“I like it here—It’s beautiful,” he adds.

 

—Sarah Berman o

 

 

Abhinav Sharma

Abhinav Sharma

Abhinav Sharma

 

Bachelor of Commerce
University of British Columbia
Country: India
Abhinav Sharma’s problem is one that is true for every newly minted graduate—what do I do next?

 

“It’s really weird, you’re suddenly done with school, you don’t have a set rigid schedule to follow, you don’t have classes to go to anymore, you don’t have projects or deadlines that pin you down schedule wise, so it’s sort of like I’m just floating in air,” says the 21-year old from India. “I don’t know what to do.”

 

Sharma, who will receive his bachelor’s degree in commerce on May 26, has therefore done what any like-minded student would do—go back to studying. “Even though I might not want to study, I just sort of would like to keep studying more, because that’s the rhythm I’ve been in for the past 18 years of my life.”

 

Sharma will take his financial risk management certification exam (FRM) and chartered financial analyst (CFA) exam which take place in November and December respectively. Sharma’s life in his own words is currently penduluming between extremes: “I’m just doing a mixture of extreme hang outs with friends, where you just go partying and all that, and then the next day sometimes I’m just studying for 8-9 hours for some exam. There are certain exams I haven’t even signed up for [but] I’m studying for.”

 

Sharma sees syllabuses and exams in his distant future too, with reason, as Sharma feels the need to set himself apart from others. “Thousands of people have a Bachelors degree in finance, it’s just a matter of distinguishing yourself from the others, so that’s what these certifications do,” he says.

 

So set is Sharma in distinguishing himself that his long-term plan include getting his Series 79 license, a US-based investment banking certification which is recognised the world over, getting into an MBA school and working on the side.

 

Sharma, who has specialised in finance and is keen on entering the banking sector, has already received offers from HSBC, RBC and CIBC, but is holding out for a Vancouver-based position.

 

Sharma’s addiction to the city derives from the comfort factor it has given his rather gypsy-like upbringing. A child of Indian diplomats, Sharma has been on the move from the time he was born in Hungary. The list of countries he has lived in would make Vasco da Gama proud, having spent three years each in Hungary, Sri Lanka, India, Toronto in Canada, Bangladesh and China.

 

“This is the only time I’ve lived in a place for more than three years so it’s good to finally feel like… not settled, but relatively settled compared to the other countries I’ve been to for a relatively shorter period of time. It’s also the weather.” He even professes to like the rain so many Vancouverites sigh over, adding that “BC is so beautiful because of the rain, because there’s a lot of nourishment that the plants and trees get,” he says.

 

A jolly person by nature, Vancouver has also been home ground for a unique reason for Sharma. “Because Vancouver is such an international hub, I’ve actually met a lot of people from different countries I’ve been to in one place. So I’ve met many of my friends from my time in Beijing, I’ve met many from Dhaka, I’ve connected with friends from Toronto, Sri Lanka over here… they’re here now. The different pieces of my memories that I’ve had, have come together here in Vancouver.”

 

Ultimately, Sharma wants to stay back because it’s the place he sees the most of his own multicultural upbringing reflected—“Vancouver in a general sense is a mini-world. I’ve been to China, Sri Lanka, Hungary; in Bangladesh, as great as a place it is, you’re not going to find many people from China, Hungary, Sri Lanka in Dhaka. That’s the best thing about Vancouver, it’s the only place that’s accommodated that aspect of my life and because it’s so integrating it allows me to enjoy that part of my life a lot. I know it’s a cliché to say that, but I genuinely feel that way.”

 

—Abeer Yusuf o

 

 

Say Cheese!

Cheese 1

 

Cheese 1

 

Develop your taste for Canadian cheese at Vancouver’s EAT! Festival

 

By Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

 

A sharp Roquefort, a salty pecorino, a sweet manchego. When people think about cheese, many think of European products. For consumers, centuries of manufacturing tradition guarantee good quality.

 

Newcomers may be surprised to discover Canada has its own cheesy traditions. “Making and eating cheese has been a part of the culture since [Samuel de] Champlain brought cows from Normandy in the early 1600s,” Walrus writer Sasha Chapman explains in a piece exploring the origin of Kraft Dinner. (KD is a neon orange powdered macaroni dish that has gained mythical status in Canada—the opposite of “quality” cheese). Kraft products aside, during the 2013 Global Cheese Awards, an aged Lankaaster from Ontario was named the best in the world.

 

At Vancouver’s upcoming EAT! Food + Cooking Festival beginning May 30, Canadian Dairy Farmers will be hosting a series of workshops showcasing national cheeses. Guidebook reached out to Reg Hendrickson, Dairy Farmers’ trainer, consultant and cheese connoisseur, to find out what festivalgoers can expect.

 

What’s out there

 

Hendrickson says each seminar will showcase six to seven varieties of 100 percent Canadian cheese, from Vancouver Island to Prince Edward Island. For Hendrikson, the key is “to get the cheese in people’s mouths,” and let them experiment and have fun with it because no matter what they try, it’s going to be good.

 

“We have a really high milk standard,” he said.

 

Asked about what’s the best type of cheese being made in the country, he didn’t hesitate to mention cheddar. Hendrikson pointed to Cows Inc., a company from P.E.I. as a personal favourite: “Their Avonlea clothbound cheddar was the top cheddar in Canada in 2013; their creamy extra oil cheddar was one of the top cheddar of the world in Wisconsin three weeks ago; and their appletree smoked cheddar won the top smoked cheddar in the world in Wisconsin,” he said.

 

Hendrikson says you can taste the cheeses’ island origin. “What’s Prince Edward Island famous for? Potatoes! So when you smell their clothbound [Cows’] you get raw potato; it’s called their terroir.”

 

Every year Hendrikson travels from coast to coast to research cheeses produced in each part of the country. His latest discovery was in the west.

 

“There’s an interesting cheese called Queso Fresco, it’s a Latin American cheese and the producer is out in Alberta. It’s a grilling cheese; he has the queso fresco and then the queso paisa, and then the queso duro, they are fresh cheeses and when you get them in your mouth is like ‘whoa!’ The butter, and salt, and it’s gorgeous!”

 

You can learn how to find and taste these cheeses in Hendrikson’s EAT! seminars. Nevertheless, he was kind enough to provide Guidebook with a few tips in advance:

 

  1. Do some research. Tell a cheese seller what you like, and work together to find a taste profile that fits your palate.
  2. Not all cheeses are the same. They might all say “blue cheese” on the label, but Hendrikson says the tastes vary wildly. “You have the softer blues, you have the big, bold blues, and you have what I call the socky-moldy blues.”
  3. Pair cheeses with fruit, grain, nuts, and seeds. Avoid things like peppers, garlic or cauliflower “because those particular vegetables are going to have fairly high taste profiles which then takes you away from the taste of the cheese.”
  4. Start with tradition. Hendrikson recommends beginning with traditional pairings, like cheddar and apples.
  5. Taste mild cheeses first. If you have variety, start with the milder cheeses and then move up in flavour until you reach the bolder ones.
  6. Keep it social. Each person in a group of friends can buy a small amount and then everybody gets to taste a little bit. Kids can be involved if pairings with juices are arranged.

Want more? Watch this space next issue to read more about “100 mile” cheeses in B.C.

 

Photo: Queso Fresco from Latin Foods in Alberta.

 

 

 

 

Discover Vancouver: Troubleshooting on the North Shore mountains

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Are you ready for a steep climb? Be prepared for the unexpected when hiking Vancouver’s mountains.

 

Story by Sarah Berman

Photos by Kristian Secher

 

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News photographer Kristian Secher wasn’t prepared for the Grouse Grind?but not in the way you might guess. Secher has plenty of experience climbing mountains, but a recent trip to Grouse took many unexpected turns.

 

“I got up really early, and I’d been out the night before but I didn’t have as much of a hangover as expected,” Secher recalls. “So I went on my bike. According to Google maps it was 21 kilometres, about 1.5 hours.”

 

An international student from Denmark, Secher set out to hike the Grind for the first time. He packed his bags for a full day of hiking: warm waterproof clothing, a camera, a meal and snacks, plus plenty of water. “It was such hell getting up the last bit before Grouse,” he says. “I was told Grouse is not the tallest mountain, but it’s the steepest to bike.”

 

The Grouse Grind is located in North Vancouver, British Columbia, at the base of the Grouse Mountain ski resort. As Secher noted, it’s a steep and mountainous trail that begins at the 300-metre-elevation and climbs to 1,100 metres over a distance of approximately 2.9 kilometres. The Grouse Grind hike is difficult, requiring high endurance and physical fitness. People with health concerns including high blood pressure, heart and breathing problems are warned not to attempt to hike the trail.

 

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Unfortunately, when he arrived at the mountain, Secher discovered the Grouse Grind trail was closed. “Metro Vancouver watershed crews have been undertaking significant maintenance on the Grouse Grind and this work continues seven days a week. Critical trail work is expected to continue into May,” explains Metro Vancouver staff. “Upcoming maintenance involves rope railing maintenance, rock clearing, removal of dangerous trees and helicopter work.”

 

With the hiking trail out of commission until May, Secher says he had no choice but to take the gondola to the top. “I felt like it would be a waste to bike all the way up there. Without thinking I bought a ticket for the Skyride for $40.”

 

In mid-April, Secher still had the option to rent skis or snowshoes on the mountain, even though the snow was getting heavy and wet. It costs $18 for a two-hour snowshoe rental, and $22 for an entire day. “I thought I wasn’t going to limit myself to two hours, and I ended up walking around for almost four hours.”

 

“It was my first time snowshoeing,” Secher says. “I managed to fall a couple times. Once in front of four Canadians. Canadians will have a laugh at that.”

 

Depending on your fitness level, hiking can take anywhere from an hour and a half to several hours. The scenery is the greatest reward for your efforts. “It was nice,” says Secher. “Walking around you have this view over the Fraser Valley and Vancouver, with mountains all around you.”

 

When hiking, ensure that you leave yourself enough time to complete your hike before the sun sets. “When you’re going down again there are some quite steep slopes,” Secher recalls. “I noticed many people had brought plastic bags so you can slide down on them.”

 

Secher slid down the slope in just his nylon running pants. Not only did he get soaked, he also lost the keys to his bike lock. “The zipper must have torn on my back pocket, and the keys fell out,” he says. “I had looked forward to biking out, with the steep downhill.”

 

Secher decided to leave his bike locked to a lamppost and take the bus home. If you have a bus pass or transit fare, the 246, 247 and 236 buses run between downtown Vancouver and hte mountain. But Secher forgot one thing: to tell the resort staff he was leaving a bike overnight. “I had a brief moment of panic,” Secher says. “I had mentioned my situation to someone, and they asked ‘Did you report to [the staff] the bike will be there overnight?’”

 

With an unattended bicycle or a car left in the parking lot, the North Shore Search and Rescue staff may assume somebody is missing. This would launch an expensive and unnecessary rescue mission.

 

If you can’t do the Grind, you can spend $40 on a gondola to the top.

If you can’t do the Grind, you can spend $40 on a gondola to the top.

 

Secher went back to the mountain the next day, ready to cut his bike lock with a power tool called an angle grinder. Luckily, a rescue mission was never launched. “I went to the office to notify them we’d be making a lot of noise and sparks,” Secher recalls. “I asked if maybe somebody had turned in my keys… and there they were.”

 

With a day of unexpected adventure under his belt, Secher has some sage wisdom to offer fellow travelers in the mountains: “Bring a plastic bag to slide on … I noticed a few people brought fold-out chairs to sit on, too.”

 

Visit www.facebook.com/grousegrind to see the latest Grouse updates.

 

A cafe for cat-lovers

catfe03

 

catfe03

 

Vancouver’s ‘Catfe’ asks for money to get started

 

By Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

 

“Are you a dog or a cat person?”

 

When I was an exchange student in Japan, people asked this question over and over.

 

At the time, most of the people I met had at least one pet. However, now that I’m an international student in Vancouver, things are different. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed cat or dog person, this city doesn’t make it easy to keep a fuzzy friend. Eight out of 10 apartments don’t allow pets, according to a research published by UBC students on TheThunderbird.ca.

 

Having experienced this limitation first hand, Michelle Furbacher decided she wanted a place where she and people like her could hang out with their favorite kind of pet without any restrictions. In her case, those pets are cats.

 

That’s how the Catfe idea came about. Inspired by similar places that exist in Japan and that have been replicated to cities like Montreal and San Francisco, the owner of Smitten Kitten Cat Sitting decided she wanted to bring that experience to Vancouver.

 

In an effort to launch before the end of the year, Furbacher started a crowdfunding campaign which aims to raise $50,000 by June. She says the funds will help pay for the construction, furnishing, and the first month of operations of the place, as well as the appropriate licenses.

 

Of course, she has to have a community approach in order to convince people to contribute. And she does: the Catfe’s cats are provided by the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association, which rescues more than a thousand cats per year and places them in foster homes. With their help, Furbacher aims to build a colony of adoptable cats.

 

But clients don’t have to take a cat home necessarily. Catfe’s future owner also wants to provide a space where people can pet the animals and play with them while they do the normal things everyone does at a coffee shop. She says socializing with cats improves people’s mental health, and she has a point: lan M. Beck, a professor of animal ecology at Purdue University, told the Calgary Herald people tend to feel less stressed and lonely when they touch animals and talk to them.

 

Obviously emotional wellbeing has to be paired with physical health, and Furbacher has anticipated sanitation concerns. To meet health regulations, she sought advice from local shelters on how to manage big clowders of cats, and has opted to separate cat-petting and food consumption areas.

 

Furbacher says Vancouver Coastal Health have given Catfe a green light?as long as food handling staff remain separate from kitty caretakers. She’s still sharpening those details while the crowdfunding campaign goes on but, just in case, pre-packaged goodies would probably be her first supply.

 

The Catfe is expected to open in downtown Vancouver, but the location hasn’t been selected yet.

 

 

Changing China: Vancouver’s documentary film festival DOXA

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Themes of urbanization and migration at Vancouver’s documentary film festival DOXA.

 

By Aurora Tejeida

 

China is currently undergoing one of the fastest transformations in history. As the country pushes to urbanize and grow its middle class, many are making the move to the city. The effects of both globalization and urbanization can be felt in even the most secluded rural villages.

 

You can see these shifts on the big screen during Vancouver’s premier documentary film festival, coming up on May 2, 2014. These documentaries, along with more films shot in China, make up this year’s DOXA’s Changing China genre.

 

Web Junkie

 

Directors: Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia
Country: USA/Israel

 

“One time I spent 15 straight days and nights playing World of Warcraft,” says one kid. “That’s nothing,” says another kid. Mothers weep as they recount how their children spend 40 days at Internet cafes without showers or bathroom breaks.

 

“He wears diapers. The Internet changed my son.”

 

In Web Junkie Israeli filmmakers Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia explore the lives of teenagers at an Internet rehab centre in the outskirts of Beijing. The military facility is just one of 400 similar clinics that the Chinese government opened after declaring the Internet as the number one threat to the country’s youth.

 

“The phenomenon is universal. But the children that I met gave up on reality,” said Shlam. “One of the reasons I wanted to make this film is because technology is shaping our intimacies.”

 

But unlike the rest of the world, China is undergoing a fast-paced transition from rural to urban. The effects of globalization and the rise of a middle class can’t be missed in Web Junkie?even if the film attributes the teenager’s addiction to “electronic heroin” to China’s one-child policy and a competitive education system.

 

At the moment the film was shot, Shlam did not have official permission from the government. But she had permission from the head of the clinic and the project. “His only condition was that I live in the camp,” explained Shlam. During the shooting she slept in the same cells as the inmates. This is why the film offers intimate access to the patients and their families, who are also encouraged to stay in the clinic during the three to four month stints their sons and daughters are subjected to.

 

At one point the head of the clinic says anyone who spends more than six hours a day online for reasons other than studying or working are Internet addicts?a particularly scary thought for anyone who’s ever binge watched a Netflix show on their laptop. But perhaps Web Junkie is touching on an even more terrifying idea.

 

“We need to ask ourselves how much is too much Internet use,” said Shlam.

 

Web Junkie is playing at the Cinematheque on Saturday, May 3 at 5:00 p.m. and at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre on Wednesday, May 7 at 12:30 p.m.

 

 

Little Proletarian

 

Director: Shen Jie

 

Country: China

 

Hai is down on his knees and on the verge of tears. His mother watches in the background as Hai’s father gives him a vicious beating. The opening scene of Little Proletarian is a fitting; like the rest of the film, it’s slow-paced and violent.

 

“This barbaric scene is something that I’ve seen so often that I didn’t feel astonished at all,” explained Shen Jie, the director of the film.

 

The 41-year-old filmmaker left Beijing after the SARS epidemic and wandered for many years around China’s Yunnan Province and Tibet. “I think it was a natural physical instinct that made me go back and take a new look at my hometown,” said Jie.

 

Having grown up in the countryside meant Jie knew all about the violence some children suffer at the hands of their fathers. “Such cruelty can only have cruel consequences,” he added.

 

Most of the film is shot on the back of the motorcycle 14-year-old Hai drives. Untouched by what the audience might think, he beats up other children and talks about his plans to move to the city, where he says he’ll become rich through gambling.

 

Jie felt it was his responsibility to document the effects violence and rapid urbanization is having on China’s youth, who are “flooding into the cities in pursuit of wealth.”

 

“It is a cheap perfume that entices them to follow a path into decadence,” explained Jie. But everyone makes mistakes when they’re kids. And while it may not be surprising to see a 14-year-old smoking and drinking, the amount of violence surrounding Hai and his friends is evidence of a terrible habit that Jie swears is far too common in China’s countryside.

 

Little Proletarian is playing at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre on Sunday, May 4 at 9:15 p.m. and Wednesday, May 7 at 3:00 p.m.

 

 

Huhu

 

Director: Lao Zha

 

Country: China

 

On the opposite side of the spectrum, nothing seems to be changing in a small rural community in Haiyuan County. The Hui people that live here belong to Muslim ethnic group that still rely on ancient traditions.

 

A little boy named Huhu plays with his friends and tends to the animals in the farm. He snuggles with his mother, who we later find out is not fit to be a parent.

 

As Huhu’s grandparents try to provide for him, their only wish is that Huhu can one day become a teacher.

 

This film was shot entirely from a children’s perspective, and at child’s height. As the camera follows little Huhu around, we get a glimpse at the reality of rural communities in China. Director Lao Zha served as a teacher in the village, since then he’s been visiting and staying with Huhu’s family often. Garnering an eight-year relationship with them.

 

“Huhu’s family is open minded and they don’t care too much about having me around. They’ve been very willing to talk about their family businesses to me,” explained Zha.

 

But even secluded rural villages like Huhu’s are feeling the impact of change. “The direct impact is that most villagers have left the village,” said Zha. “The schools were once giving a six-year education, but now they only offer three years.”

 

Still, Huhu goes to school and helps his friends study. He sings traditional songs and tends to the animals, unaware of the changes that are coming.

 

Huhu is playing at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre on Wednesday, May 7 at 5:00 p.m.
More documentaries from China and beyond

 

The Last Moose of Aoluguya (China)

 

Thursday, May 8, 8:30 p.m. @ Cinematheque

 

The award-winning filmmaker, Gu Tao, has spent the last several years exploring life among the Ewenkis, an ethnic minority who inhabit china’s northern boreal taiga forests. The Aoluguya Ewenkis’ semi-nomadic existence, like that of Sami people in northern Europe, or Dukha people in Mongolia, changed drastically in 2003 when the Chinese government introduced a ban on hunting and forcefully displaced the Ewenkis to a reservation.

 

Chimeras (Finland)

 

Monday, May 5, 7:15 p.m. @ Vancity

 

China is a country at a critical juncture. On one hand it has a rich culture rooted in millennia of history. On the other, it stands poised to become one of the largest economic superpowers in the world. Chimeras renders the conflict between old and new China through the stories of two contemporary artists: internationally celebrated painter and pop conceptualist Wang Guangyi and photographer Liu Gang, a promising arrival on the art scene.

 

Powerless (India)

 

Tuesday, May 6, 8:45 p.m. @ Cinematheque

 

In Kanpur, India, in the brutal summer heat, when the power goes off, life gets very harsh for the city’s three million inhabitants. In this city electricity is big business. But even as the power companies hound the local population to pay their bills, stealing electricity is the only way to survive. No one is immune to power failures, from hospitals to factories, and when the lights go off, life shuts down.

 

Birds of September (Lebanon)

 

Thursday, May 8, 5:00 p.m. @ Vancity

 

Whether it’s the streaming tangled ribbons of streets flowing by the windows outside, or the broken poetry of each of the people interviewed about their lives?this is a film that you simply surrender to and let take you away. The title refers to the people of Beirut, and their peregrinations to and from their city.

 

Bloody Beans (Algeria/France)

 

Saturday, May 3, 9:15 p.m. Vancity

 

The Algerian War of Independence as told through a gang of street kids. Phantasmagorical, magic, and occasionally a little bit cuckoo, this is documentary filmmaking that takes serious risks.

 

Abu Haraz (Poland)

 

Sunday, May 4, 1:00 p.m. @ Vancity

 

Abu Haraz opens with a shot of an isolated man rowing across the water, treading amongst palm trees. The pervading sense of melancholia and loss is immediately apparent. When the construction of a large scale dam threatened to transform the village, the inhabitants mobilized and staged a number of protests. Maciej Drygas’ film is an elegiac ode to the village of Abu Haraz.

 

Return to Homs (Syria/Germany)

 

Sunday, May 4, 9:00 p.m. @ Cinematheque

 

A remarkable portrait of a country at war, Talal Derki’s film was made over the course of two years from 2011 to 2013. During this period, we watched a group of young men transform from ordinary citizens into revolutionary fighters.

 

Breath (Brazil)

 

Monday, May 5, 9:15 p.m. @ Vancity

 

With his debut documentary, Marcos Pimentel fixes his lens on a small rural community in Brazil. What he finds is a universe composed of pleasures both grand and small.

 

Additional film listings courtesy of the DOXA program.

 

Searching for Halal

halal food

 

Are you Muslim and sick of forcibly being a vegetarian in Vancouver? If you observe halal food rules in Vancouver, chances are you are not spoilt for dining choices. Which is probably why you’re not sharing the enthusiasm your friends have for a new eatery they’ve found in Gastown because you know you’ll inevitably be stuck with ordering either French fries or the dry vegan sandwich. Our handy guide helps give you a few  options you could try out the next time you go into town.

 


 

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Dhaka Fish & Briyani
5750 Fraser Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 327-4800

 

Open all week from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. except Tuesdays
The lunch special can only be ordered from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

 

There are many Indian eateries that can be found on Fraser Street, but this is the place to go if you want some really good chicken biryani. The restaurant, opened in 2010 by a Bangladeshi couple, is not much to look at. Don’t go here expecting Indian music playing in the background or express customer service.

 

Dhaka Briyani serves a good fare of basic halal desi food, and their biryani is a favourite with the regulars. It is also reasonably priced, so students will appreciate this find. The briyani’s serving size is quite generous, and tastes just like something you’d find in South Asia. You can even ask the chef to make it extra spicy?if you can handle it, that is.

 

If you’re on a tight budget, their lunch special is a great option: you get six items including freshly made naan, chicken curry, tandoori chicken, mixed vegetables, dhal, and rice along with some raita (yogurt).

 

Bonus Tip: There are a number of halal butcheries along Fraser Street too, if you want to buy not only fresh meat, but also frozen halal sausages, nuggets or pepperoni pizza.

 

-Abeer Yusuf

 


 

anatolia

 

Anatolia Express

 

1055 Canada Place, behind Vancouver Convention Centre
Vancouver, BC
604.647.7550

 

Mondays to Fridays 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturdays 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Sundays 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

 

Anatolia is a quiet little gem tucked away in Coal Harbour, with another branch in Burnaby (though the downtown location is our favourite). Run by Hakki Cakal, a magnanimous Turkish man, it only has a few things on its menu?but they are all done really well.

 

Take the beef kebab for example. You’ll get two kebabs, rice, bread, a green salad, two small sides that are either vegetables or cooked lentils in yogurt along with vinegar-infused beet. The meat is really well cooked and the food is always extremely flavourful, so make sure you take your best appetite. Portion sizes are good and the bread is baked fresh everyday, so if at the end of your meal you want to buy some to take home, do so!

 

The best part about this restaurant isn’t just its food though?it’s the “million dollar view” as the menu suggests. The eatery overlooks the Burrard Inlet and North Shore mountains, so you will often find planes landing and taking off in the blue waters. If that sounds about right to you, you can even enjoy Middle Eastern tea while taking in the view.

 

-Abeer Yusuf

 


 

Dosa House_web

 

Madras Dosa House

 

5656 Fraser Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 327-1233

 

Tuesdays to Fridays 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Saturdays 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Sundays 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Closed Mondays

 

Madras Dosa House is not a halal restaurant per se, but I’ve included it in the list because it offers good vegetarian food. Few people in Vancouver know about South Indian food, and fewer know good South Indian food.

 

Located on Fraser, this restaurant has bright orange walls and a quiet ambience, and the best food you can get here is its simple, vegetarian fare. I had a crack at the masala dosa to see if it really was as good as back in India, and it was surprisingly delicious. Masala dosa, a savoury pancake of sorts served with stuffed potatoes, dhal curry, tomato chutney and coconut chutney is part of the staple South Indian diet. Here in Vancouver, it will offer your tastebuds a new experience.

 

And don’t worry, even though it is Indian food, the owners never make their food spicy (upon request, they will add green chillies though), so you won’t be making emergency trips to the loo at night. Their food is made fresh and I would especially recommend their coconut chutney, because they make it fresh everyday (a novelty even in India) and it provides the perfect pairing for your dosa.

 

Note: Alcohol is served at this restaurant.

 

-Abeer Yusuf

 

Q&A Free adult English classes

 

As a newcomer to BC, it’s natural to have a long list of questions about life in your new country. That’s why Guidbook would like to dedicate this space to answering the questions of our readers. If you have a question about finding housing, applying to schools, applying for visas, saving money or even discovering Vancouver’s nightlife, send your query to sarah@theguidebook.ca. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll find an expert to advise.

 

As a newcomer to British Columbia, you are entitled to free adult English classes. Here are some basic questions and answers about how to get started.

 

How do I get started?

 

Your first step is to visit an assessment centre. It’s the job of the assessment centre to make sure you are able to take the classes. Once they have checked to make sure you can take a class, they will send you to a school near you. You will need to fill out an application form and give the assessment center some official documents. Below are names and locations of three assessment centres in the Lower Mainland:

 

For people living in Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, South Delta, Burnaby or New Westminster, contact:
Western ESL Services – ELSA Assessor
#208–2525 Commercial Dr.
Vancouver, BC V5N 4C1
elsareferral@telus.net
(604) 876-5756

 

For people living in Surrey, North Delta, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, or Maple Ridge, contact:
Surrey Language Assessment Centre – ELSA Assessor
#202-7337 137th St.
Surrey, BC V3W 1A4
surreylac@telus.net
(604) 507-4150

 

For people living in the Fraser Valley, contact:
Chilliwack Community Services
9214 Mary Street
Chilliwack, BC V2P 4H6
neavea@comserv.BC.ca
(604) 792-4267
www.comserv.bc.ca

 

How do I know if I am allowed to take free ELSA classes?

 

1. You must be newcomer to British Columbia to be allowed to take an ELSA class.
2. You must be 17 years old or older.
3. You must be approved for permanent residence.
If you are a naturalized Canadian citizen or a refugee claimant, you are not allowed to take free ELSA classes in Metro Vancouver. Naturalized citizens and refugee claimants can only take free ELSA classes outside Metro Vancouver.
What documents can I use to apply for ELSA classes?

 

You can apply using any one of the following documents:
•Permanent Resident Card (PRC)
•Interim Confirmation of Permanent Residence (form IMM5292)
•Record of Landing (form IMM1000 – issued prior to June 2002)
•Visitor Record case type 17
•Work Permit (Employment Authorization) case type 27
•Study Permit (Student Authorization) case type 37
•Temporary Resident Permit (Ministerial Permit) case type 86, 87, 88 or 89
•Notice of Decision from the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) confirming convention refugee (CR) status
•Letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) giving approval to remain in Canada while application for permanent residence is being finalized (approval in principle)
•Letter from the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
•Live-in Caregiver work permit

 

When can I take ELSA classes?

 

Classes are offered all year. They can be taken in the morning, afternoon or evening. Full-time classes are 25 hours a week. Part-time classes are 9 to 15 hours a week.

 

Answers courtesy of www.welcomebc.ca.

 

Inside Izakayas

Photo: Guu Kobachi/ facebook

 

Photo: Guu Kobachi/ facebook

Photo: Guu Kobachi/ facebook

 

Vancouver is known for its Japanese-style tapas bars. If you are planning a date with a special someone, or want to splurge on a fancy night out with a big group of friends, these spots combine delicious shareable small plates with trendy urban ambiance.

 

Whether it’s the creative cocktails, cultural fusions or late night delicacies you’re after, Guu and Suika are sure to impress any visitor to the city. From the boisterous welcomes to the hand-painted daily seafood menus, Guidebook suggests newcomers try one of these stellar izakaya experiences.

Photo: Guu Kobachi/ facebook

Photo: Guu Kobachi/ facebook

Guu Kobachi

735 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC
604-683-0735

 

Guu is a Vancouver institution, with five locations in Metro Vancouver and two in Toronto. Each spot has its own spin, including Guu with Garlic (tagline: make garlic sexy), and Guu Garden, which specializes in oden.

 

Guu Kobachi on Denman Street in the West End of Vancouver is the latest to reopen its doors with a warm, wooden interior. The space is narrow, but the atmosphere is lively. Instead of a regular menu, Guu Kobachi offers daily fresh sheets of hot pot, oshinko, yakitori, sausage, ochazuke, potato salad or ramen noodle. Every day is different.

 

This reviewer made a last minute Valentine’s Day reservation at the bar. Each Guu location has its own unique reservation policy, so be sure to check the website www.guu-izakaya.com before dropping in for a bite.

 

Plates arrive one by one with exciting visual arrangements and unexpected twists for your tastebuds. For example, gomae arrived in three colourful piles—not just your typical spinach and sesame. You may never have imagined tasting carrot gomae, but the imaginative sauce will leave you wanting to eat it again soon.

 

Mixed drinks are also a forte at this location—the glasses are larger than expected, and pack a lot of punch.

 


 

Photo: Suika Snackbar/ facebook

Photo: Suika Snackbar/ facebook

Suika Snackbar

1626 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC
(604) 730-1678

 

Suika’s gritty, cavernous interior lends itself to big groups or talkative dates. Exposed brick, distressed iron and a massive chandelier made of sake bottles give the space an alternative vibe.

 

The assorted sampler arrives in an adorable jewelry box of agedashi tofu, seared tuna, lotus plant and whatever other appetizers the chef decides to throw in that day. The stone bowl bibimbap is also a highlight, with barbequed pork belly, beef or vegetable.

 

As with Guu, Suika likes to show off creative cocktails, including a not-too-sweet sake and lychee fruit sangria.

 

Reservations are not a necessity for this restaurant, though big groups should consider it, especially on a weekend.

 

Right up until the end of your meal, Suika toys with your meal expectations. Instead of an after-dinner mint, your bill will arrive with a couple frozen grapes.

Photo: Suika Snackbar/ facebook

Photo: Suika Snackbar/ facebook

Photo: Suika Snackbar/ facebook

Photo: Suika Snackbar/ facebook

Five stages you’ll go through when adjusting to your new life in Canada

 

By Sean Celi, Vancouver Immigrant Youth Blog

 


 

[Editor’s note: Sean is the founder of a website for immigrant youth bloggers. If you are a current high school student who would like to share your migration experience with an active online community, visit www.vanimmigrantyouth.blogspot.ca to learn how to get involved. The following is an advice column that is republished from the Vancouver Immigrant Youth Blog with permission.]

 


More about Sean:

 

Hey! I’m Sean, the founder of an online space called the Vancouver Immigrant Youth Blog. Ever since I was 11, I have maintained a personal blog to release my own repressed thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

 

In 2011, I emigrated the Philippines with my family. During my first few weeks in this country, I always felt sad, lonely, and worried.  Reading other people’s blog posts inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and reach out to the people around me.

 

Because of other people’s blogs, I was able to discover skills I did not think I had; I was able to experience things I never thought I would; and I met friends who made adjusting to my new life here a lot easier. That is why I thought of creating this blog. I hope that through this blog, you will also be inspired to go out, access the resources that you have, and enjoy your life in this beautiful city!

 


Stage 1: Early excitement

 

At this stage, you are very excited about a lot of things. That’s normal. You are new to this country, so you try to imagine all the amazing possibilities that can happen to you in this new place. You think about the new friends you will make, the new places you will visit, and the different type of freedom you will experience in this country.

 

For those of you who moved from a tropical country, you might be excited about winter and/or the snow. (I must admit I was at the beginning!) Then come winter, you’ll be disappointed to find out that the snow melts so fast because of rain.

 

Stage 2: Shock and longing

 

At this stage, you realize that moving from one place to another is not that easy, especially if this is your first time doing so.

 

After being excited for the first few weeks, you now feel overwhelmed. You now know that your life here will never be the same as your life in your motherland.

 

You realize that it will take a lot of time before you build friendships as meaningful as the ones you have made in your home country. You start to miss your best friends and relatives back “home.” Feeling like you can’t cope up with the changes that are fazing you, you constantly debate with yourself trying to figure out whether moving here is the right choice or not. Tears may or may not be part of this stage.

 

Stage 3: Gradual adaptation

 

After being overwhelmed with your new surroundings, you now realize that there’s no better person to help you with your adjustment but yourself. You now start making friends with people who understand you and whom you understand.

 

You slowly let go of your fears. You begin trying out new things, becoming involved in your community, and exploring the city you’re in.

 

Stage 4: Optimism and renewed excitement

 

After letting your guard down, excitement starts to fill your mind and heart again. You are once again excited about the numerous opportunities that this country offers.

 

You start discovering your potential, which empowers you to remain involved in your school or community. You now regularly hang out with your newfound friends, and you enjoy their company a lot.

 

Waking up for school is now less dreadful than it was during the first month of school. Now, you look forward to living a new exciting life in this country—as a student and as a youth.

 

Stage 5: Continuous swim between the currents of two (or more) cultures

 

You are now well adjusted to your life in this country, but that does not mean that there will not be times when you will suddenly miss your motherland again. Every now and then, you think about what your life could have turned out to be if you did not emigrate your home country at all.

 

You will constantly ask yourself where your true “home” is. Oftentimes, there will be no clear answer. That is okay, because here’s the truth: the country that you left, and the country that you are now in are, in one way or another, both your homes now.

 

Do not worry about being confused as to where your true loyalty lies. Even though you now are having a blast in this country, you will still long for some memories that you created in your native country.

 

You can never entirely abandon your love for either country. So there’s no point debating where your true home is. Just remind yourself of how blessed you are to have two places that you can call home–not everyone is given that chance.

 

Greater Vancouver Zoo loses Eurasian lynx ‘Papa’ to cancer

Photo via Greater Vancouver Zoo

 

Photo via Greater Vancouver Zoo

Photo via Greater Vancouver Zoo

 

A 19-year-old Eurasian lynx named Papa was humanely euthanized by Greater Vancouver Zoo veterinary staff on April 3, 2014, following a battle with nasal cavity cancer. Papa had lost the ability to breathe or swallow due to an adenocarcinoma tumor. The median life expectancy for Eurasian lynx is 15 years.

 

Papa was rescued from a private owner in 2000 in poor body condition. He was taken to the Greater Vancouver Zoo located in Aldergrove, British Columbia for rehabilitation.

 

The Greater Vancouver Zoo released a statement on April 5 discouraging people from keeping exotic animals like Papa. “Lynx are typically skittish, very private and solitary animals, in addition to having specialized needs,” reads the statement.

 

Eurasian Lynx are listed as “least concern” conservation status by the International Union of Conservation of Nature “red list.” They are currently found in 46 countries in Europe, northern Asia and the Middle East.

 

“It is always extremely difficult losing a member of our zoo family,” reads a statement from the zoo. “Papa will be missed dearly by those who cared for him and those who connected with him through their visits to the zoo.”

 

 

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson to run for re-election in the fall

Mayor Gregor Robertson poses in downtown Vancouver. Robertson announced his intent to run for a third term as mayor.
Mayor Gregor Robertson poses in downtown Vancouver. Robertson announced his intent to run for a third term as mayor.

Mayor Gregor Robertson poses in downtown Vancouver. Robertson announced his intent to run for a third term as mayor.

 

Since 2008, Gregor Robertson has been the bike-riding, transit-taking mayor of Vancouver. He has been criticized for his close ties with high-end condominium developers, and for failing to meet affordable housing targets, but has remained an accessible mayor throughout his time leading the centrist political party Vision Vancouver.

 

Robertson’s major election promises have included ending street homelessness by 2015 and becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020. While the City seems to have fallen behind on these targets, Robertson remains well-liked by many Vancouverites, perhaps because of his infrequent appearances as a deejay.

 

“I’ve been honoured to lead Vancouver over the past five years,” Robertson said in a Vision Vancouver press statement. “I’m running for re-election because we need a mayor with experience in business and government who can take our city to the next level.”

 

Robertson will be seeking a third three-year term in the fall. “More than anything, that means getting the Broadway Subway built, taking a strong stand against the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and continuing our work on homelessness and becoming the greenest city in the world,” reads the statement.

 

Before becoming the mayor of Vancouver, Robertson co-founded an organic juice company called Happy Planet. He was also a Tides Canada director from 2002 until 2004, when he entered politics with the provincial New Democratic Party.

 

Robertson was elected as an MLA for the provincial riding of Vancouver-Fairview, before switching to municipal politics. He served as the opposition critic for small business and served on a climate change task force.

 

The election in Vancouver will happen on November 25, 2014. The Vision Vancouver party will hold an official leadership vote May 4. Then on May 22, Vision will hold a fundraiser at the Coast Plaza followed by a nomination meeting June 14 to select councillors.

 

The major right-wing party in Vancouver, called the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) has not yet announced its candidate for mayor. It is scheduled to hold a fundraiser May 7 at the Vancouver Convention Centre and it still hasn’t said whether it will hold a nomination meeting.

 

The left-leaning political party called the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) has not announced a candidate either. These announcements are expected to happen before the summer of 2014.

 

A Taste of the ‘Indian Summer Festival’

Arundhati Roy 2-hires_web

 

Arundhati Roy 2-hires_web

Photo by David P. Ball

 

Author Arundhati Roy speaks to a sold-out crowd in Vancouver

 

By Sarah Berman

 

Arundhati Roy is a Booker Prize-winning novelist and public intellectual from India, who has spoken out against corruption in all its forms for more than twenty years. For the first time ever, she came to Vancouver to read a from a few nonfiction books and essays about the injustices associated with resource development, India’s caste system, Western-style democracy and corporate concentration of wealth.

 

On Tuesday, April 1, 2014, a sold-out crowd of one thousand people gathered at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church to take in Roy’s revolutionary ideas. One of the most powerful stories she read was called “Walking with the Comrades,” an essay Roy wrote about visiting tribal people in Chhattisgarh, where Maoist guerrillas have been fighting off India’s paramilitary forces in the jungle for years.

 

Roy described the border between Maoist and paramilitary-controlled lands as “backward.” These mineral-rich forests in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal are all highly sought-after by India’s powerful mining companies, sparking unfathomable interpretations of the rule of law.

 

“It’s the epicentre of a war. It’s an upside down, inside out town,” she said of the border town Dantewada. “The police wear plain clothes and the rebels wear uniforms. The jail superintendent is in jail. The prisoners are free—three hundred of them escaped from the old town jail two years ago. Women who have been raped are in police custody. The rapists give speeches in the bazaar.”

 

Roy recounted her tale with a sense of humour and purpose. When visiting the Maoists, she was told to bring three specific objects including a coconut. She was given several different appointment times, a password, and was instructed to look for somebody with a hat, magazine and bananas. The audience sat in rapt attention as she recalled a mishap between Roy and her messenger.

 

While reading from her latest book Capitalism: A Ghost Story, Roy pointed out that wealthy corporations have found new ways to undermine the dissent of middle class people.

 

For example, Roy pointed to the ways resource extraction companies have embraced the arts. From film and literary festivals to Vancouver’s own Goldcorp-sponsored arts venue, mining companies in Canada and India maintain their power by attaching their names and wealth to artist installations, thereby discrediting more radical artforms.

 

Vedanta, a company currently mining for bauxite in the homelands of the ancient Dongria Kondh tribe, sponsored “Creating Happiness”: a film competition for young film students. Vedanta’s tagline is “Mining Happiness.”

 

During a post-reading chat with David Beers, she also took time to criticize popular conceptions of Gandhi. Roy wrote an introduction to a new edition of a book called The Annihilation of Caste. Roy explained that Gandhi wanted to abolish untouchability but not caste. She recounted his brutal and unjust actions while living in South Africa, which was a shock to many in the audience.

 

Roy was born Suzanna Arundhati Roy in 1959 in Shillong, India. Her Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things is set in Kerala, where her mother grew up. The Vancouver event was put together by the Indian Summer Festival, which is coming July 2014.

 

Indian Summer Arts Festival was founded by a Vancouver-based not-for-profit secular arts organization in 2011. The Indian Summer Arts Society is dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building public awareness of artists of South Asian origin in the performing, visual, literary and folk arts and fostering dialogue between Canada and South Asia.

 

 

Vancouver political party votes ‘sanctuary city’ onto the agenda

Vancouver has a municipal election coming up in fall 2014, which will decide the mayor and city councillors going forward. One left-leaning political party called the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) has decided to make “sanctuary city” part of its election platform.

By Sarah Berman

Vancouver has a municipal election coming up in fall 2014, which will decide the mayor and city councillors going forward. One left-leaning political party called the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) has decided to make “sanctuary city” part of its election platform.
   Sanctuary city is a term given to municipalities that enact policies to protect non-status migrants when accessing basic services like education, healthcare or women’s shelters. More than 36 cities in the United States and two Canadian cities have enacted laws that prevent municipal service providers from turning over undocumented migrants to police or border enforcement authorities.
   “There’s a fear to access basic services,” explains Daniel Tseghay, who proposed the “sanctuary city” policy at COPE’s policy convention in Vancouver on March 30. “As a result, a lot of non-status people are trying to keep as anonymous as possible. They do not access social services like libraries or food banks. Women who are in abusive relationships may not go to emergency shelters.”
   Tseghay says this fear comes from the possibility of investigation, detainment and deportation. “There’s always the possibility the worker is going to check for identification, find they’re a non-status migrant, and tell immigration authorities.”
   Interest in sanctuary city policy has grown in recent years. In February, Hamilton, Ontario became the latest sanctuary city in Canada, following the footsteps of Toronto, Ontario in 2013. Big American cities like Chicago, New York City and San Francisco are also sanctuary cities. 
   “In Canada there’s been a lot of changes at the federal level,” Tseghay explains of Canada’s aggressive immigration policy targeting asylum seekers. Canada’s federal government has made sweeping cuts to refugee healthcare funding, cut the amount of asylum applications in half and continues to detain non-status migrants indefinitely.
   In response to these changes, Tseghay and COPE are calling for the City of Vancouver to ensure access to basic services for all Vancouver residents, regardless of immigration status. This means city workers will not be allowed to ask about a resident’s status or report it to immigration authorities. 
   Tseghay calls it a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach, which will help children access basic education. “We need to make schools sanctuary zones, where children can go to school without the threat that their parents might be found out and deported.”
   A group called Sanctuary Health has been reaching out to workers that provide social services in different departments of government, to provide training. Already groups like No One Is Illegal (NOII) have worked to push the public conversation in this direction.
   “I think there’s a narrative of migrants that needs to be challenged,” says Tseghay. “The narrative of migrants taking something from Canada. Of Defrauding, stealing, of being a drain. It says, ‘We can’t have too many migrants, because they’ll bombard our services.’”
   “In reality, we see that immigrants are investing in the community,” says Tseghay. 
   Over the last 50 years, COPE has been one of the major leftist political groups on the municipal level, running against the right-wing Non-Partisan Association (NPA). Vancouver elected a COPE-led government in 2002 under Mayor Larry Campbell.

   However, by 2005 many centrist members of COPE including Campbell broke off from the party and started Vision Vancouver, which now holds a majority government under Mayor Gregor Robertson. COPE no longer has a seat in council. 
   While the other parties have yet to announce official election policies, COPE members hope the sanctuary city movement will make waves this election. “I think it’s going to be big,” says Tseghay. o



photo COPE members vote at the party’s policy convention March 28.

Daniel Tseghay proposed making Vancouver a “sanctuary city” at COPE’s policy convention on March 29.

 

Vancouver has a municipal election coming up in fall 2014, which will decide the mayor and city councillors going forward. One left-leaning political party called the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) has decided to make “sanctuary city” part of its election platform. By Sarah Berman Vancouver has a municipal election coming up in fall 2014, which will decide the mayor and city councillors going forward. One left-leaning political party called the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) has decided to make “sanctuary city” part of its election platform.    Sanctuary city is a term given to municipalities that enact policies to protect non-status migrants when accessing basic services like education, healthcare or women’s shelters. More than 36 cities in the United States and two Canadian cities have enacted laws that prevent municipal service providers from turning over undocumented migrants to police or border enforcement authorities.    “There’s a fear to access basic services,” explains Daniel Tseghay, who proposed the “sanctuary city” policy at COPE’s policy convention in Vancouver on March 30. “As a result, a lot of non-status people are trying to keep as anonymous as possible. They do not access social services like libraries or food banks. Women who are in abusive relationships may not go to emergency shelters.”    Tseghay says this fear comes from the possibility of investigation, detainment and deportation. “There’s always the possibility the worker is going to check for identification, find they’re a non-status migrant, and tell immigration authorities.”    Interest in sanctuary city policy has grown in recent years. In February, Hamilton, Ontario became the latest sanctuary city in Canada, following the footsteps of Toronto, Ontario in 2013. Big American cities like Chicago, New York City and San Francisco are also sanctuary cities.     “In Canada there’s been a lot of changes at the federal level,” Tseghay explains of Canada’s aggressive immigration policy targeting asylum seekers. Canada’s federal government has made sweeping cuts to refugee healthcare funding, cut the amount of asylum applications in half and continues to detain non-status migrants indefinitely.    In response to these changes, Tseghay and COPE are calling for the City of Vancouver to ensure access to basic services for all Vancouver residents, regardless of immigration status. This means city workers will not be allowed to ask about a resident’s status or report it to immigration authorities.     Tseghay calls it a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach, which will help children access basic education. “We need to make schools sanctuary zones, where children can go to school without the threat that their parents might be found out and deported.”    A group called Sanctuary Health has been reaching out to workers that provide social services in different departments of government, to provide training. Already groups like No One Is Illegal (NOII) have worked to push the public conversation in this direction.    “I think there’s a narrative of migrants that needs to be challenged,” says Tseghay. “The narrative of migrants taking something from Canada. Of Defrauding, stealing, of being a drain. It says, ‘We can’t have too many migrants, because they’ll bombard our services.’”    “In reality, we see that immigrants are investing in the community,” says Tseghay.     Over the last 50 years, COPE has been one of the major leftist political groups on the municipal level, running against the right-wing Non-Partisan Association (NPA). Vancouver elected a COPE-led government in 2002 under Mayor Larry Campbell.    However, by 2005 many centrist members of COPE including Campbell broke off from the party and started Vision Vancouver, which now holds a majority government under Mayor Gregor Robertson. COPE no longer has a seat in council.     While the other parties have yet to announce official election policies, COPE members hope the sanctuary city movement will make waves this election. “I think it’s going to be big,” says Tseghay. o photo COPE members vote at the party’s policy convention March 28. Daniel Tseghay proposed making Vancouver a “sanctuary city” at COPE’s policy convention on March 29.

COPE members vote at the party’s policy convention March 28. Photo by Sid Tan / COPE Facebook page

 

Daniel Tseghay proposed making Vancouver a “sanctuary city” at COPE’s policy convention on March 29.

Daniel Tseghay proposed making Vancouver a “sanctuary city” at COPE’s policy convention on March 29. Photo by Sid Tan / COPE Facebook page

Vancouver political party votes ‘sanctuary city’ onto the agenda

 

Vancouver has a municipal election coming up in fall 2014, which will decide the mayor and city councillors going forward. One left-leaning political party called the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) has decided to make “sanctuary city” part of its election platform.

 

By Sarah Berman

 

 

Vancouver has a municipal election coming up in fall 2014, which will decide the mayor and city councillors going forward. One left-leaning political party called the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) has decided to make “sanctuary city” part of its election platform.

 
Sanctuary city is a term given to municipalities that enact policies to protect non-status migrants when accessing basic services like education, healthcare or women’s shelters. More than 36 cities in the United States and two Canadian cities have enacted laws that prevent municipal service providers from turning over undocumented migrants to police or border enforcement authorities.

 
“There’s a fear to access basic services,” explains Daniel Tseghay, who proposed the “sanctuary city” policy at COPE’s policy convention in Vancouver on March 30. “As a result, a lot of non-status people are trying to keep as anonymous as possible. They do not access social services like libraries or food banks. Women who are in abusive relationships may not go to emergency shelters.”

 
Tseghay says this fear comes from the possibility of investigation, detainment and deportation. “There’s always the possibility the worker is going to check for identification, find they’re a non-status migrant, and tell immigration authorities.”

 
Interest in sanctuary city policy has grown in recent years. In February, Hamilton, Ontario became the latest sanctuary city in Canada, following the footsteps of Toronto, Ontario in 2013. Big American cities like Chicago, New York City and San Francisco are also sanctuary cities.

 
“In Canada there’s been a lot of changes at the federal level,” Tseghay explains of Canada’s aggressive immigration policy targeting asylum seekers. Canada’s federal government has made sweeping cuts to refugee healthcare funding, cut the amount of asylum applications in half and continues to detain non-status migrants indefinitely.

 
In response to these changes, Tseghay and COPE are calling for the City of Vancouver to ensure access to basic services for all Vancouver residents, regardless of immigration status. This means city workers will not be allowed to ask about a resident’s status or report it to immigration authorities.

 
Tseghay calls it a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach, which will help children access basic education. “We need to make schools sanctuary zones, where children can go to school without the threat that their parents might be found out and deported.”

 
A group called Sanctuary Health has been reaching out to workers that provide social services in different departments of government, to provide training. Already groups like No One Is Illegal (NOII) have worked to push the public conversation in this direction.

 
“I think there’s a narrative of migrants that needs to be challenged,” says Tseghay. “The narrative of migrants taking something from Canada. Of Defrauding, stealing, of being a drain. It says, ‘We can’t have too many migrants, because they’ll bombard our services.’”

 
“In reality, we see that immigrants are investing in the community,” says Tseghay.

 
Over the last 50 years, COPE has been one of the major leftist political groups on the municipal level, running against the right-wing Non-Partisan Association (NPA). Vancouver elected a COPE-led government in 2002 under Mayor Larry Campbell.

 

 

However, by 2005 many centrist members of COPE including Campbell broke off from the party and started Vision Vancouver, which now holds a majority government under Mayor Gregor Robertson. COPE no longer has a seat in council.

 
While the other parties have yet to announce official election policies, COPE members hope the sanctuary city movement will make waves this election. “I think it’s going to be big,” says Tseghay.

 

 

 

Work and play come together in Vancouver

Fathom Interactive: Playing games at the office? In the industry, they call it “research.”

 

Photo: Via Global Game Jam press kit

Photo: Via Global Game Jam press kit


 
boxArt_520x790_web

TowerFall

For more than two decades Vancouver has been a global leader for video game development. While a few big studios like EA Games and Capcom are still here, major industry shifts have pushed tablet and mobile games into the spotlight. Independent start-up game developers like Eastside Games, Fathom and A Thinking Ape are hiring more and more young developers, illustrators and animators. Guidebook sat down with indie gamers to find out the best ways to score a gaming job in Vancouver.
 
By Sarah Berman
 
For students graduating into video game industry jobs, the line between work and play becomes a little blurry.
 
“We call it research,” explains Kay Chan, a producer at Eastside Games in downtown Vancouver. Employees at Chan’s studio are encouraged to play the latest video games every day. “You have to keep up with the trends, and it sparks your creativity,” she says.
 
Canada’s video game industry is a $2 billion juggernaut, placing third in the world behind America and Japan. Much of Canada’s game development happens right here in Vancouver, where industry titans like EA Games and Capcom employ hundreds of people.
 
“I chose Vancouver because it’s got a ton of studios,” Chan recalls of her move to Canada from Australia two years ago. She arrived amid tumultuous times: larger console developers (Activision, Rockstar) are being pulled away from Vancouver by tax incentives in Ontario and Quebec. Meanwhile, technology shifts have sprouted new gaming start-ups in the city at a record pace.
 
“Some of the big studios moved out, but that sort of made room for a lot of mobile,” says Chan. Sure, there are fewer studios with multi-million dollar budgets, but smaller mobile-ready studios like Eastside are absorbing the talent from Vancouver’s high-performing game development schools.
 
In the Greater Vancouver Area, studios hire from a large pool of programming, communications and design talent including grads from the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, BCIT, Vancouver Film School, Capilano University, the Centre for Digital Media at Emily Carr and Vancouver’s Art Institute. Studios said they recruited software developers nationally from the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto and animators from Sheridan in Oakville, Ontario. Although Capilano’s praised interactive design program is soon-to-be discontinued, there is no shortage of local Vancouver talent waiting for a chance to build the next hit game.
 
No two paths into the gaming industry look the same. Engineering, illustration, communications, and film production can all lead to a career in Vancouver’s game studios, say hiring companies. “We’re not necessarily looking for people who have gaming experience per se, but we are looking for people who solve problems creatively, and have a passion for coding and building,” says Sonia Ryan, recruiter at A Thinking Ape.
 
With so many education options, how does a student stand out? Guidebook explores four ways to score a dream job making video games.
 
Tip 1: Network like a pro
 
On April 8, 2014, outside a gamer bar called EXP, hundreds of people lined up around the block to attend a “Hiring Happy Hour” organized by 11 game development companies including Eastside, A Thinking Ape, Fathom Interactive and Relic Entertainment. Inside, rainbow-haired students score facetime with recruiters, shaking hands and removing resumes from plastic folders.
 
“I was new to Vancouver, and I wanted to dig in as much as possible,” recalls Jordan Tame, now a junior game designer at Eastside Games. While finishing a game design program at Vancouver Film School last year, Tame estimates he attended 30 events before snagging an entry-level customer support gig with his preferred development company.
 
“There were meetups from Meetup.com, pub nights, sometimes speakers talking about whatever topics are relevant, hiring happy hours,” he says. “I was going to all of these events because that’s where you get to know people.”
 
But scoring facetime is only half the battle. To really impress recruiters, industry professionals say
 
Tip 2: Jam it
 
When I asked about the industry’s movers and shakers, designers and software developers alike mention the mythic Kimberly Voll.
 
Voll took the reigns of Vancouver’s Global Game Jam five years ago when only 25 people participated. Fast forward to 2014 and over 350 designers, digital-media artists, programmers, audio engineers and musicians piled into UBC’s Life Sciences building earlier this year to make video games for 48 hours straight.
 
A game called TowerFall was conceived this way, says Chan. “It has a huge cult following and it’s really, really hard to play.”
 
“Vancouver has one of the biggest game jams in the world,” she recalls of the 2012 jam that spawned the archery battle game with a pixilated aesthetic. “Every weekend people will get together and make a game.”
 
From studio to studio, recruiters repeated that unique do-it-yourself game making stands out on resumes. Sonia Ryan, a recruiter at A Thinking Ape says her company looks for candidates who go beyond their class assignments.
 
“We encourage everyone to work on side projects, and to contribute to the coding community,” Ryan says of A Thinking Ape’s strategy for hiring software engineers. “We look for any interesting projects that they list that aren’t school projects,” she adds. “If it’s all you have not that impressive.
 
“If you want to get into games, start making games,” says Tame. “Don’t wait for anyone to teach you, or tell you.”
 
Tip 3: Narrow your search
 
There are dozens of studios based in Vancouver with staff numbers ranging from five to over five hundred. But reaching out to every one of them to ask for a job is not the best strategy according to people and culture manager Lidi Giroux of Eastside Games.
 
“We like to see students have a vested interest in this studio, rather than spamming every studio with the same cover letter,” she says. “The games we make are different. Our games have a sense of humour … they have a different audience than a lot of other games, so it helps to figure out where people want to work and focus.”
 
Every company has its own flavour, says Chan. Choose a couple studios who make games that you appreciate, and study their company closely.
 
Tip 4: Live for games!
 
“I was pretty much born in front of a computer,” says Chan of her lifelong obsession with virtual play. “Back in the ‘80s when the first computers that came out, I learned the alphabet on a keyboard.”
 
A Thinking Ape loves to see candidates with a knack for puzzle games. In fact, the company has a brain teaser posted on their site. “We’ve had a lot of interest in this puzzle,” Ryan says. “Whether it’s software engineers, artists or designers, they all have an interesting approach to it. We’re always looking for people who have an interest in solving problems, who can provide an elegant solution to complex problems.”
 
Leisure Suit Larry was Chan’s favourite game growing up, while Tame sites one of the early Blizzard games called Black Thorn as his inspiration for entering the industry.
 
Young game industry employees show gaming is not just a perk—it’s a life’s passion.

 

Photo: Via Global Game Jam press kit

Photo: Via Global Game Jam press kit

 

A Thinking Ape’s “war room”

A Thinking Ape’s “war room”

 

Fathom Interactive: Playing games at the office? In the industry, they call it “research.”

Fathom Interactive: Playing games at the office? In the industry, they call it “research.”

 

In Bloom: Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver

Photo by Dan Fairchild

 

Cherry Web

Photo by Dan Fairchild

By Carina Thanabadeepathara, VCBF.ca

 

A cherry tree in bloom is a wondrous sight. It is the quintessential symbol of spring, of renewal and new beginnings.

 

This year, Vancouver’s 40,000 cherry trees are once again inspiring our visual artists, musicians, poets, musicians, filmmakers, designers, artisans, photographers, and chefs. Just in time for the annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, we’re taking a look at the history and culture that has brought Japanese Sakuras to the streets of Vancouver.
 
The History
 
Vancouver is known for its street trees, but particularly its flowering cherries. The majority of these trees are the result of extensive plantings made during Vancouver’s boom years following the Second World War. Most of Vancouver’s flowering cherries are Sato Zakura (village cherries), so named because their origins are obscured by long cultivation in Japanese villages. Many of the trees were gifts to the City from Japan.
 
The first were planted in the 1930s in Stanley Park at the Cenotaph—gifts of the mayors of Kobe and Yokohama, to commemorate Japanese Canadians who fought in WW1.
In 1958 three hundred more cherry trees were donated by the Japanese consul, who described the gift as “an eternal memory of good friendship between our two nations.”
Many of these trees continue to flourish in all their glory in Queen Elizabeth Park, at Stanley Park, on the Cambie Heritage Boulevard and on the University of British Columbia campus. In total, some 35 different flowering cherry cultivars can be found in Vancouver.
 
The Festival
 
Linda Poole is the executive director and founder of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. “I believe in the power of the blossoms,” she says. “The ephemeral nature of the blossoming of the cherry tree reminds us all to seize the moment and celebrate life now.”
 
Poole founded the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival in 2005. “While living abroad in the Canadian Foreign Service for 13 years I longed for the glorious cherry trees in bloom back home at springtime,” she recalls.
 
“I learned of the age-old Sakura Festivals of Japan from a Japanese diplomat named Knobu-san and thought this would be a perfect way to celebrate the beauty and joy our 40,000 Japanese flowering cherry trees bring to our city every spring.”
 
The Festival found a permanent home in 2008, with the planting of the cherry grove, dedicated to the Honorable Dr. David Lam, at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens in 2008.
 
Event Highlights
 
This year’s festival will feature an abundance of events inspired by the cherry tree. It begins with a gala opening—Sakura Night on March 30—a culinary concatenation featuring five of Vancouver’s top Japanese chefs and hosted by the legendary Tojo.
 
Following the launch, the festival will present:
 
Cherry Jam concert
 
Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
 
@ Indoor concourse of Burrard Skytrain station
 
Featuring dance, theatre, poetry and folk performances by Yayoi Movement Theatre, Michael Averill and more.
 
Plein-Air Blossom Painting
 
Saturday, April 5, 12, 19, and 26, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
 
@ VanDusen Botanical Garden
 
Try watercolour, ink and oil painting classes taught by esteemed artists. $50 per 3-hour class.
 
Blossom Bollywood
 
Saturday, April 12, 2014, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
 
@ Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza
 
Free Bollywood dance party organized by SHIAMAK dancers.
 
Sakura Days Japan Fair
 
Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
 
@ VanDusen Botanical Garden
 
Two-day celebration of Japanese culture. $12 at the door.
 
Bike the Blossoms
 
Saturday, April 26, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
 
@ China Creek South Park (E. Broadway at Clark Drive)
 
A guided bike tour through the best blossoms in Vancouver.
 
New this year, the Festival will present a free Cherry Rush tent at Sakura Days Japan Fair. Cherry Rush will welcome newcomers to this city and new Canadians at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens on April 5 and 6. This featured tent is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

 

Types of Cherry Trees in Vancouver

 

Akebono Web 2
 
Akebono (Prunus x yedoensis):
 
The daybreak cherry, is a seedling of ‘Somei-yoshino’ with dense and ascending branching and pink blooms. This cultivar is widely grown in North America and is typically grafted.
 
Tree: Moderate-size, flat-topped and umbrella-shaped.
 
Flowers: Pink buds with petals fading to milk white from pale pink; individual flowers with 5 petals, often stained rose red at the base
 
Bloom time: Late March to early April

Locations: Running along Graveley St. from Lillooet to Windermere, or at Riley Park, 39th to 41st Avenue at Manitoba.

 

kanzan_cutler_highbury Web 1
 
Kanzan (Prunus Sato-zakura):
 
An ancient (sometime before 1681) Japanese cultivar, also called ‘Kwanzan’ or ‘Sekiyama.’  Kanzan is the most common and robust of all flowering cherries on Vancouver streets.
 
Tree: Large with sturdy, upright-spreading branches
 
Flowers: Double layers with loosely packed deep pink petals fading to pale pink with uneven edges
 
Bloom time: mid-April to mid-May
 
Locations: Fairview areas, including Sutcliffe Park on Granville Island and 7th Ave from Hemlock to Main.

 

Home buying season? Canada’s real estate outlook

Photo by Robert Nathan Garlington /pixabay

 

Photo by Robert Nathan Garlington /pixabay

Photo by Robert Nathan Garlington /pixabay

 

Though prices are high, sales are up in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. A recent report shows Canadians are more likely to enter a bidding war compared with last year. Experts recommend proceeding with the largest down payment possible.

 

As many buyers begin their hunt for the perfect home this spring, mortgage experts at Canada’s Bank of Montreal (BMO) are advising that the first step to ensuring long-term affordability is having the largest down payment possible.

 

“Among the many considerations for prospective home buyers, the most important of all is building a substantial down payment,” says BMO mortgage expert Laura Parsons in a Marketwired press release. “A larger down payment means the buyer will have to borrow less, resulting in lower overall housing costs.”

 

Parsons added that a typical down payment ranges between 5 percent and 20 percent. Those with down payments that equal less than 20 percent of the purchase price will need to pay mortgage insurance on their loan, which will add to their overall costs.

 

More bidding wars in 2014

 

Canada’s real estate market is one of the highest valued markets in North America. A recent report by the Financial Post revealed Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary are among the most expensive real estate markets in the world. But sales have gone up since 2013. In Vancouver 2,530 homes were sold in February, a 40.8 percent increase from a year ago.

 

According to the BMO Home Buying Report released earlier this month, more Canadians are willing to fight it out to secure a property, with 34 percent of Canadians willing to enter a bidding war when it’s time to buy a home. That is an increase of 6 points, or 21 percent, from a year ago.

 

In major city centres, appetite for competitive bids is the highest in Toronto and Vancouver (44 percent and 41 percent respectively). Provincially, prospective buyers in the Prairies and British Columbia are the most willing to compete on the price of a home (38 percent respectively).

 

The report also found current homeowners visited an average of 9.5 homes before buying. While half (49 percent) were successful on their first bid, this figure drops to 42 percent among those who bought in the past 5 years—including 32 percent in Vancouver and 24 percent in Toronto.

 

To account for these conditions, Parsons noted that those planning to buy a home should sit down with a financial adviser to develop a comprehensive plan that will help them reach their down payment targets and find a mortgage that suits their needs.

 

For example, BMO’s five-year fixed low-rate mortgage currently offers a rate of 3.49 per cent and comes with a maximum 25 year amortization, allowing customers to pay their mortgage off faster and save in interest over the long term.

 

Talking taxes with Gabrielle Loren

GML Head Shot_web

 

GML Head Shot_web

You don’t have to be a certified accountant to feel prepared for tax season. If you think about it clearly, all you have to do is fill out a few forms. But for newcomers to Canada, the task of declaring income or claiming credits can feel impossibly difficult. We chatted with North Vancouver tax expert Gabrielle Loren of Loren, Nancke & Company about filing a Canadian tax return as an international student or new immigrant. Her best advice? If you’re not 100 percent sure, don’t be afraid ask.

 

It’s the most confusing time of the year. Tax season is upon us, and you may be wondering whether or not you need to fill out a tax return and mail it to the government.

 

To make the process easier, we’ve spoken with a tax expert from North Vancouver who has helped thousands of people file their taxes as international students and as new Canadians. The main takeaway is this: you do not need to file a return if you are a resident of another country and have not made any Canadian income (from a part time job or self-employed business). However, if you have stayed in Canada most of the year and intend to stay as a resident, then you may have to file a return. Residents of Canada may receive some tax refunds and deductions. If you are still not sure, ask a tax expert for help.

 

Taxes for international students

 

Here’s what Gabrielle Loren has to say about filing as an international student: “The first question is whether or not the student is a resident of Canada for tax purposes. Just because you go to school here doesn’t mean you have to file a tax return.”

 

If you’re not sure if you’re a resident, think about what bank you use, and what identification you carry. “Residency is where do you call home, where your health card is from, where you keep your bank account and so on,” Loren says.

 

“For example, if a student comes to Canada from China to study from September to December, and he or she goes back home for Christmas and summer break, that student doesn’t actually have to file a return unless they have Canadian source income.”

 

Most international students do not get a job in Canada because they do not have a Social Insurance Number (SIN), which many Canadian employers need. “If they decide to get a job, the issue most kids will have is finding a job that gives taxable Canadian income,—if they don’t have a SIN, they can’t hire you.

 

“But that doesn’t mean students won’t have a job. For instance a student may run a side business. A tutoring business is a perfect example. If an international student makes money by tutoring on the side, then they would have to file a Canadian tax return.”
International students with Canadian income have to file a return no matter what. But most likely, an international student won’t make enough money to have to pay taxes anyway. Any income under $10,000 a year will not be taxed. “Even if they’re resident of China, have to file the income,” Loren explains.

 

If you make income, you can also deduct many of your expenses. “In your tax report you can deduct expenses, for example if the student has to drive by car or bus to other places to give the tutoring, the government will offset that income. The net profit is all you would pay taxes on,” says Loren.

 

“But unless it’s over $10,000 they’re not paying a penny of tax,” she adds. Because of this, Loren says the vast majority of international students will not have to file a tax return, and therefore will receive no GST or child tax credits.

 

“Most students would not be eligible for refunds,” Loren says.

 

Taxes for new immigrants

 

People who are immigrating to Canada have a much more complex tax system to deal with, and it gets even more complicated for students who decide to stay in Canada permanently. Loren recommends contacting an accountant who specializes in non-resident and new immigrant taxes.

 

One thing to remember is that taxes are based on residency—not on citizenship. So the status of a citizenship claim makes no difference in Canada.

 

Loren explains: “The deemed resident status kicks in not only by how much time you spend here.” Canada uses a 183 day rule: if you’ve spent more than 183 days of the previous year in Canada, you could be a “deemed resident.”

 

“It’s one day more than half the year: if you’re here 183 days could be a deemed resident of Canada,” Loren says.

 

But the 183 day rule isn’t all the government looks at. “There’s a form that you can fill out, called a request for ruling of residency status, but it takes 6 to 8 months to get that processed,” says Loren, adding that “common sense” is the best method.

 

Loren says a good thing for new immigrants to do when they arrive in Canada, is “take an inventory of the different things they own that might have a tax implication.”

 

“For example, someone from Iran may have a home in Iran that a brother-in-law lives in,” she says. “They may have stocks and bonds and cash in the bank, plus furniture and fixtures. If they buy a new car, and rent a place in Canada, they need an inventory by asking ‘What do I own? What is it worth? What is the fair market value?”

 

Fair market value is what somebody not related to you would pay for the property. These values will determine how much tax you will pay for years down the road. “What I call ‘entry values’ will determine the cost for Canadian tax purposes,” says Loren.

 

“If these Iranian immigrants sold their home, they would have to report on their Canadian tax return that the house sold for $120,000.” Bottom line: if the value of a house or other property in another country goes up a certain amount, new immigrants will have to pay capital gains tax in Canada.

 

The good news is, new immigrants can take advantage of some tax refunds. ”For instance. a good one if they have children under the age of six, is the universal childcare benefit of $100 per month,” says Loren. New immigrants can also file for a GST credit, which can be up to $230 depending on income.

 

For international students who choose to stay after their studies, there may be some tuition credits to claim. “But you can’t file for them unless you are a resident,” says Loren. “For example, if in 2012 you weren’t a resident yet, but at university, then in 2013 you become a resident and decide to stay … For 2013 your tuition credits would move forward, but your 2012 credits would be lost.”

 

Loren says taxes can be very individual, so experts are the best source of information. “If you’re not 100 percent certain, ask,” she says. “If you go to the CGA website, you can find an accountant in your area that has expertise.”

 

To get a tax accountant referral, visit www.cga-bc.org. To learn more about Gabrielle Loren, visit www.LNCO.ca.

 

TED talks happening in Vancouver March 17-22

Bill Gates: “If you gave me only one wish for the next 50 years, it’d be to invent the thing that halves the cost energy with no CO2. This is the one with the greatest impact.” Speakers like Gates will be televised on the jumbotrons at BC Place from March 17 to 21, 2014. / Photo via Wikipedia.

 

Bill Gates: “If you gave me only one wish for the next 50 years, it’d be to invent the thing that halves the cost energy with no CO2. This is the one with the greatest impact.” Speakers like Gates will be televised on the jumbotrons at BC Place from March 17 to 21, 2014. / Photo via Wikipedia.

Bill Gates: “If you gave me only one wish for the next 50 years, it’d be to invent the thing that halves the cost energy with no CO2. This is the one with the greatest impact.” Speakers like Gates will be televised on the jumbotrons at BC Place from March 17 to 21, 2014. / Photo via Wikipedia.

The tech, art and design conference celebrates its 30th anniversary with Bill Gates, astronaut Chris Hadfield and more. Select schools, libraries and non-profits will be screening the talks live.

 

For the first time ever, the world-renowned technology, entertainment and design conference known as TED Talks will be hosted in Vancouver. The bad news is, tickets cost over $7,000 and were sold out last year. But the good news is, many students will be able to watch the talks live for free.

 

The webstream will be open to accredited secondary schools, universities, libraries, community centres and non-government organizations in the following communities: Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Richmond, Squamish, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria, West Vancouver and Whistler.

 

Kwantlen University has confirmed it will screen the talks at the Grassroots Cafe located at the school’s Surrey campus. TED organizers said BC Place also agreed to provide live televised distribution of the talks on its Jumbotron screen located at Terry Fox Plaza, according to the Vancouver Sun. The viewings will take place every day, starting March 17. The televised access will run to 7:45 p.m. each night until March 21, when it ends at 1 p.m.

 

William Kamkwamba from Malawi is an all-star TED Talker who will be speaking on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 from 3:45 ? 5:00 p.m. When he was 14, he built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap, working from rough plans he found in a library book called Using Energy.

William Kamkwamba from Malawi is an all-star TED Talker who will be speaking on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 from 3:45 ? 5:00 p.m. When he was 14, he built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap, working from rough plans he found in a library book called Using Energy.

“This is our 30th birthday and we decided to make this the most ambitious TED yet,” director of partnerships Tom Rielly told BC Business. “So we wanted to do something that would give back to the community in a real and exciting way.”

 

Speakers will touch on topics ranging from education to climate change, form architecture to music, from typography to fireflies. Randall Munroe will talk about his passion for What If questions. Yoruba Richen will talk about the fastest-moving social justice campaign in history. Wendy Chung will offer a scholarly overview of what we know right now about autism. And Chris Hadfield of NASA will put down his guitar long enough to talk to us about life in space?and back on earth.

 

Chinatown’s Tough Evolution

Rosesari in her room at the May Wah hotel, a privately owned single room occupancy hotel in Vancouver’s Chinatown. She pays $320 a month. Her neighbours on the same floor pay $200 to $290 a month.

 

Rosesari in her room at the May Wah hotel, a privately owned single room occupancy hotel in Vancouver’s Chinatown. She pays $320 a month. Her neighbours on the same floor pay $200 to $290 a month.

Rosesari in her room at the May Wah hotel, a privately owned single room occupancy hotel in Vancouver’s Chinatown. She pays $320 a month. Her neighbours on the same floor pay $200 to $290 a month.

 

Do working-class ethnic enclaves have a space in future cities? Vancouver’s changing Chinatown reflects shifts across North America.

 

Story and photos by Jackie Wong, Megaphone Magazine

 

[Editor’s note: This story previously appeared in Megaphone Magazine, a local bi-weekly sold on the streets by homeless and low-income vendors. For more information about Megaphone, visit www.megaphonemagazine.com.]

 

“Ni hao,” says a red painted wall on the southwest corner of Main and Keefer.

 
It is an English phonetic spelling of “hello” in Cantonese?part of a huge advertisement for a coming condominium development in the rapidly-upscaling Union-Keefer-Georgia area between Main and Gore streets in Chinatown.

 
The inscription has the unintended effect of mocking the people crowding the bus stop below. Most of Chinatown’s Chinese residents can’t read or speak English, nor can they afford what the developers call “achievable home ownership” at 1888 Keefer Street. Obviously, the condo advertisement is not for them, though it pretends to speak their language.

 
What gets lost in translation is that despite the new condo towers, restaurants, and coffee shops catering to a new class of English-speaking residents and workers in the neighbourhood,

 
Chinatown’s longest-standing residents are barely holding on to their homes in a part of the city that has been central to their lives and family histories in Vancouver.

 
Recent flashpoints, like the city-ordered demolition of the Ming Sun Benevolent Society headquarters in December and the 30 to 40 percent rent increases served to elderly residents of the

 
Chau Luen Tower on Keefer Street earlier this month, are signs of the precariousness facing Chinatown’s predominantly elderly Chinese-speaking residents. The population is already on the margins because of their poverty, their language and their age.

 
The BC Residential Tenancy Branch recently ruled against a landlord’s attempts to raise the rents at the Chau Luen, marking a victory for the renters who would have otherwise been priced out of the building and the neighbourhood.

 
But with recent reporting from the Carnegie Community Action Project that there are no more rooms renting for the monthly $375 shelter allowance rate for people on income assistance, and with a 30-year Local Area Plan to be passed for the Downtown Eastside (DTES) next month, Vancouver’s Chinatown persists as a contested space.
The neighbourhood lies at the nucleus of the city’s ongoing tensions around housing affordability, racialized discrimination, access to services and questions about who has the right to the city.

 

The view outside on Pender Street.

The view outside on Pender Street.

 

Changing neighbourhoods, unchanging attitudes

 

The cost to rent an office or retail space in the east side of the city is more affordable than renting spaces in the central parts of downtown or the city’s west side. So it makes sense that Chinatown, an historically working-class ethnic enclave, is sought-after territory for Vancouver’s creative class and upmarket professionals. The change in the neighbourhood is a hot conversation topic among Vancouverites, but the experience is not this city’s alone.

 
Chinatowns across North America are undergoing similar transformations. In the United States particularly, community organizers are raising concerns about the impacts that gentrification will have on Chinatowns’ original residents.

 

The Vancouver Second Mile Society’s Chinese Seniors Outreach project coordinator, Cindy Pang (left), walks with 93-year-old Gai Li Lin.

The Vancouver Second Mile Society’s Chinese Seniors Outreach project coordinator, Cindy Pang (left), walks with 93-year-old Gai Li Lin.

Last year, New York City’s Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) embarked on the United States’ first multi-city Chinatown land-use study to compare Chinatowns in Philadelphia, Boston and New York City. The results, published in a fall 2013 report, are strikingly applicable to local discussions:

 
“Recent luxury and high-end developments in each city’s Chinatown have directly and indirectly threatened both current residents’ and future immigrants’ ability to live, work, shop, and participate in the community and cultural life of these historic neighbourhoods,” reads the report. The result, report co-author Andrew Leong told the BBC earlier this month, is “a sanitized ethnic playground for the rich to satisfy their exotic appetite for a dim sum and fortune cookie fix.”

 
While Chinatowns across North America are facing similar uncertainties, cities differ in their responses to the concerns raised by community organizers about gentrification and its related evictions, affordability and accessibility concerns. That the AALDEF exists at all is evidence of a robust culture of multi-ethnic community organizing in major American cities.

 

The room is crowded and bright.

The room is crowded and bright.

 
In San Francisco, hundreds of housing rights advocates, spurred by the outreach work of the influential Chinese Community Development Center, threw their support behind an elderly Chinese couple threatened with eviction from their home near San Francisco’s Chinatown last fall. Community action against the eviction delayed their move-out date. And while the family eventually lost the fight to keep their home, a robust community of bilingual housing advocates worked with them to find them a new affordable rental apartment, a rare treasure that is arguably even harder to find in expensive, tech-booming San Francisco than it is in Vancouver.

 
Here at home, Vancouver’s lack of strong ethnic community organizing is evident in the relative invisibility of non-English speaking citizens in public conversation. That invisibility has consequences everywhere in the community, from the widely-felt and seldom-documented racism and discrimination experienced by Chinese-speaking seniors in DTES food line-ups to the quiet resignation with which many will submit to circumstances that English speakers, or people who are able to leverage more capital in society, would refuse to accept without a fight.

 
“Perhaps because of history, or because of the lack of community activism for the Chinese community and with the Chinese community, it plays out in terms of their response,” says King-mong Chan, a researcher and organizer for the Carnegie Community Action Project. Chan is one of only a handful of Chinese- and English-speaking bilingual outreach workers in the DTES.

 
His work includes connecting with Chinese-speaking elders in the DTES and Chinatown to learn about their living situations, their housing needs and how they can be better connected to community services that will benefit them.

 
Chan says he observes a disturbing complacency among the Chinese-speaking population that he doesn’t see as frequently among English-speaking residents of the DTES. “When I talk to them, they don’t have the money to buy certain food. So they buy cheaper food,” he says. “They’ll just sort of accept the fact they have less and less money to buy food as opposed to speaking out.”

 
I was told similar stories of the quiet resignation that comes from learning, over the span of a life, to live with less and ask for little while writing a series about Chinatown seniors last year for Vancouver’s Tyee Solutions Society.

 
“They’ll force a smile to cover the pain and overcompensate for it, to reassure me that things are fine when I know they’re not,” Deanna Wong, the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre’s Chinese seniors’ outreach coordinator, told me. “They have my contact information. But a lot of times they won’t want to trouble me for it.”

 
To live with the assumption that there are no supports available is also historically rooted.

 
The legislated racial discrimination that many Chinese citizens faced in their first years in Canada is still alive in the memories of the seniors who now live in Chinatown. Many of them still have racial epithets hurled their way on the streets; of the little research conducted on the Chinese-speaking seniors community in the inner city, racialized discrimination is a top challenge facing the population. Frontline workers like Wong, Chan, and others are well aware of it.

 
The challenge, however, is creating action from awareness.

 

I look old, 92-year-old Rosesari says, but my heart is still young

I look old, 92-year-old Rosesari says, but my heart is still young

 
Creating a new sense of community

 
“Despite government considerations on how best to reconcile historical wrongs and discriminatory laws faced by Chinese-Canadians in the past, there remains a Chinese-Canadian population that currently experiences discrimination and neglect.”

 
So says a proposal co-written by Doris Chow, a frontline worker in the DTES. In collaboration with other community service organizations in the neighbourhood, Chow submitted a proposal to the provincial government in January to create a legacy fund to re-invigorate the Chinese benevolent associations that used to play a stronger role in contributing to Chinatown’s social fabric.

 
The benevolent associations were originally established at the turn of the 20th century to safeguard Chinese-Canadians from discriminatory legislation,” Chow says.

 
Today, she says, “there’s this gap in services the associations can fill?and quite [culturally] appropriately, too.”

 
She’s talking about gaps in housing services that could potentially be filled by benevolent associations that currently own Chinatown property but lack the capital to renovate it for community use.

 

Gai Li Lin has lived at the May Wah for eight years.

Gai Li Lin has lived at the May Wah for eight years.

 
Community organizations serving both the Chinese- and English-speaking populations of the inner city supported the legacy fund proposal, including the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, MOSAIC BC, the Dugout and Union Gospel Mission.

 
The wide-ranging support speaks to a growing appetite to think about the Downtown Eastside and Chinatown in more integrated terms; a lack of coordinated service provision keeps the communities away from each other, even though its members rub shoulders all the time.

 

Gai Li Lin’s room features a framed portrait of her late husband.

Gai Li Lin’s room features a framed portrait of her late husband.

 
“There are Chinese seniors living in the same buildings as Downtown Eastside residents. And they’re intermingling all the time. But our interventions are completely separate,” Chow says. “So the services that are available in the Downtown Eastside can be sometimes one-dimensional and they don’t have the capacity to take into consideration the Chinese seniors that come to the Downtown Eastside to access the food, housing, health and mental health services.”

 
Change is happening quickly in the DTES and Chinatown. Next month, Vancouver city council will pass the 30-year local area plan for the neighbourhood. And the city is already considering leasing the site of the former Vancouver police station at Main and Cordova streets to a California tech firm, despite interest from community groups to use it as a hub for social innovation that serves the Downtown Eastside community.

 
These changes, of course, are not Vancouver’s alone. They are, as the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund calls them in its Chinatown land-use report, “government policies accelerating gentrification.”

 
Even so, its authors acknowledge, “Chinatowns have persisted as havens for low-income immigrants and workers, not only because of the continued need for affordable and culturally appropriate services and goods, but also because of the many people fighting to maintain their existence.”

 

Venue Spotlight : Roger’s Arena

Katy Perry / Photo by Liam Mendes

 

Rogers Arena

Rogers Arena

 

By Seo Yeon Bae (UBC Intern)

 

Lady Gaga, Michael Buble, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Pink, Cher, One Direction, Imagine Dragons, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z. Can you guess what they have in common? They all have held or will have their concerts at Rogers Arena.

 

Rogers Arena is the home to the Vancouver Canucks, and also serves as one of the biggest venues for major events in Vancouver. The arena can accommodate approximately 18,890 people at once and has welcomed more than 21.6 million visitors since its opening in 1995. Here are some of the major shows coming to Rogers Arena:

 


 

Lady Gaga performing "Glitter and Grease" on The Monster Ball Tour / wikipedia

Lady Gaga performing “Glitter and Grease” on The Monster Ball Tour / wikipedia

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is having her concert, The artRave: ARTPOP Ball at Rogers Arena on May 30, 2014. Her tour begins on May 4 in Florida, and she visits five more Canadian cities including Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Toronto. The tickets went on sale on Dec 9, 2013 and the prices range from $35-200.

 


 

Michael Bublé / Photo by Eva Rinaldi

Michael Bublé / Photo by Eva Rinaldi

Michael Bublé

One of the most well-known Canadian singers began his tour in Finland on February 21, 2014 and will end up in Mexico on Aug 9, 2014. His visit to Vancouver is on June 19-20, 2014. Major cities include New York, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Sydney, Melbourne and Stockholm. The tickets are on sale now and the prices range from $49-119.

 


 

Lionel Ritchie / Photo by Eva Rinaldi

Lionel Ritchie / Photo by Eva Rinaldi

Lionel Richie

Five-time Grammy winner Lionel Richie has recently announced to extend his global world tour, “All The Hits All Night Long” with a special guest, CeeLo Green. His concerts have sold out in several places including Australia and New Zealand. His tour will kick off at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on May 29, 2014. Ticket prices vary from $325-425 for two people.

 


 

Cher (center), Julianne Hough (right) and Tyne Stecklein (left) in Screen Gems’ BURLESQUE. / Photo by  jonnessa_  via Flickr

Cher (center), Julianne Hough (right) and Tyne Stecklein (left) in Screen Gems’ BURLESQUE. / Photo by jonnessa_
via Flickr

Cher

Cher, an American singer who is also well known as the Goddess of Pop, is having her “Dressed to Kill” Tour from March 22, 2014 to July 11, 2014, for 4 months. The 67-year-old singer will kick off in Phoenix, Arizona. She will visit eight cities in Canada including Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary and Vancouver. Ticket prices vary in great extent from $80 and are available online.

 


 

Katy Perry / Photo by Liam Mendes

Katy Perry / Photo by Liam Mendes

Katy Perry

The 11-time Grammy nominee singer Katy Perry has recently announced “The Prismatic World Tour.” The massive tour includes 46 cities worldwide. She will kick off in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 22, 2014. She will be visiting Vancouver on Sept 9 and 10, 2014. $1 of each tour ticket sold for the North American leg will be donated to UNICEF.

 

What’s in a Sandwich?

ham-246822

 

ham-246822

Photo by ALFONSO CHARLES / pixabay

 

Sandwiches can be a depressing food.

 

Whether it’s peanut butter and jelly slapped between two slices of white Dempster’s bread, or a plain (non-grilled) cheese sammie, these foods can be reminders of elementary school—or perhaps our own laziness.
This is probably why some Vancouver restaurants have decided to think outside the typical lunch box. Whether it’s switching ingredients, fusing culinary cultures, or even ditching the bread altogether, these sandwiches are breaking with tradition with tasty results.

 


 

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Miura Waffle and Milk Bar

 

2521 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 687-2909

 

For a unique sandwich experience, the husband and wife operated Miura Waffle and Milk Bar offers a selection of sweet and savoury options with innovative Japanese essence. The waffles are made fresh to order, cut in half and filled with delicious things to make a “sando”—an abbreviation of sandoiichi, the Japanese word for sandwich. The Miuras recently opened their new location on Main Street just south of Broadway, easily accessible by transit.

 

A popular choice is the “Bulgogi” made with marinated beef, egg sauce, and kimchi.  Also available are “Wasabi Salmon,” “Hoisin Sausage” and the crunchy “Chicken Karaage” sandos.
If you have a sweet tooth, dessert options include the “Banana Caramel Sando,” the “Boston Cream,” with chocolate and house-made custard, “Cheesecake Sando” and the classic “Fruits and Cream Waffle Sando.”

 

Noteworthy milkshakes are also offered.Vanilla ice cream is made in house, and the creative infusion of Japanese flavours—chocolate-wasabi and caramel-miso are two examples—make these shakes truly unlike anything else offered in Vancouver.

 

Also delectable are the “Yoggy Milks”: sweet and tangy yogurt drinks made with real fruit or even maple syrup. Yum.
Miura Waffle and Milk Bar established a strong reputation for great food at their previous location on Davie Street, and was featured on the Food Network series You Gotta Eat Here!

 

The new Main St spot, besides being centrally-located, has a warm, comfortable atmosphere, thanks to its high ceilings and wood-panelled decor. They also serve beer, and are open till eleven on Fridays and Saturdays, making it a good place to meet friends for a drink and snack before going to an event. Don’t overlook this singularly tasty culinary experience.

 

—Andrew Reeves

 


 

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Big Lou’s Butcher Shop and Sandwich Counter

 

269 Powell Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 566-9229

 

I’m pretty sure this Brooklyn-style deli and butcher shop has the meatiest sandwiches in town. Though its palette is multicultural (menu items include a Korean-inspired bulgogi chicken sandwich and a Vietnamese-style bahn mi) the presentation is all-American (read: huge).

 

Yes, it may be a challenge to finish Big Lou’s interpretation of a Vietnamese sub, however every bite you can handle will be a delicious melt-in-your-mouth experience.
Spicy pickled green beans rest on top of marinated pork shoulder and house-made duck paté. The perfect amount of carrot and cilantro balance out this sweat-inducing sandwich.

 

Big Lou’s is located in historic Japantown. The front entrance tiles read “Komura”—the name of a grocery store that occupied the building from 1906 to 1941. Japanese residents were evicted from Vancouver during the Second World War, and many never returned to the area.
While you’re there for a lunch break or afternoon sammie, check out the butcher counter for their selection of locally-sourced pork, beef, lamb and chicken cuts. If you’re in the neighbourhood (admittedly it’s an awkward part of town to pass through transit-wise) these meats are cut to order in any style to suit your home cooking needs. There’s also soups, sausages and pies to take home.

 

—Sarah Berman

 

Girls’ Night Out

 

‘Evangeline’ actor Mayumi Yoshida

‘Evangeline’ actor Mayumi Yoshida

 

These red carpet snaps were taken at the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival’s opening gala on March 6, 2014. Photos by Kimberly Tseng and Marie Conboy.

Had a great weekend out? Want to share with the Guidebook community? If you would like your photos published in Guidebook, send them to sarah@theguidebook.ca with the word “Nightlife” in the subject line.

 

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton will speak to a Vancouver audience leading up to International Women’s Day

Photo by Harald Dettenborn
Photo by Harald Dettenborn

Photo by Harald Dettenborn

Who: Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted by the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Women’s Leadership Circle
When: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton Street

 

In honour of International Women’s Day, the Vancouver Board of Trade is bringing Hillary Rodham Clinton to Vancouver, as part of its Women’s Leadership Circle program.

 

Clinton served as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013, after nearly four decades in public service. Her “smart power” approach to foreign policy repositioned American diplomacy and development for the 21st century.

 

“Throughout her remarkable career, and in her roles as mother, daughter, First Lady, senator, and Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s steadfast focus on the political, economic, and social empowerment of women has been an inspiration,” says Jill Schnarr, vice president of community affairs at Telus and chair of the Women’s Leadership Circle at Vancouver’s Board of Trade on the Vancouver Board of Trade website.

 

As First Lady and Senator from New York, Clinton traveled to more than 80 countries as a champion of human rights, democracy, and opportunities for women and girls. Clinton also worked to provide healthcare to millions of children, create jobs and opportunity, and support first responders who risked their lives at Ground Zero. In her historic campaign for President, Clinton won 18 million votes.

 

“Clinton is recognized as an incredibly resilient leader, boosted by her remarkable dynamism and energy. She has cultivated a talent to stay positive and unwavering, with the ability to bounce back from hardship to be even stronger than she was before,” Schnarr continued. “On behalf of the Women’s Leadership Circle, I am thrilled to welcome Hillary Rodham Clinton to The Vancouver Board of Trade this spring.”

 

Tickets are still available at www.boardoftrade.com/hillary.