Friday, September 16, 2016

Victoria's Oak Bay Beach Hotel offers Fall Getaway Promotion

The summer crowds are gone, the kids are back in school and autumn is an opportune time to spring for an autumn getaway. And with the US dollar getting more bang for its buck in Canada these days, Vancouver Island is an ideal destination.
The Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria has a special Fall Getaway Promotion. If you haven't stayed at this beautiful property, located just minutes away from Victoria's Inner Harbour, you're in for a treat.

There is plenty to do once you're settled in. Oak Bay Beach Hotel has 100 rooms, all with outdoor balconies or decks; fireplaces; Canadian art; and bathrobes. In addition to the views, outside there's a pool and hot seaside mineral bath. Back in the hotel, The Snug Pub is a fun place to cozy up for a light meal or opt for something a bit more elegant in the Dining Room. 

For total relaxation, book a massage or facial at the Boathouse Spa & Baths. Yoga classes are held outdoors Sunday mornings (weather permitting). Movie Nights are held on Tuesdays, and there are dinner shows in the David Foster Foundation Theatre.

The Fall Getaway Promotion is for stays between October 3 - December 21, 2016 and includes:
  • One night in an elegantly appointed room
  • $40 hotel credit per night 
  • Full access to the hot seaside mineral baths, steam sauna and fitness studio 
  • Complimentary parking, Wi-Fi, movie channel and turndown service
For reservations, call 800.668.7758 and quote Promo Code or book online. Rates are in Canadian dollars (1 US dollar equals $1.32 Canadian dollars). For more ideas of what to do on the island, click on the Tourism Victoria website.

Photos by Sue Frause | October 2014

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Royal BC Museum's traveling exhibition, Species at Risk, goes on the road across British Columbia

Vancouver Island Marmots, one of Canada's most endangered mammals, suffered significant losses this past winter. The unique marmot may be found on mountain slopes and alpine meadows around central Vancouver Island, but the rodents are at risk due to habitat loss.

The Royal BC Museum's traveling exhibition, Species at Risk, highlights the plight of British Columbia's vulnerable flora and fauna, such as the Vancouver Island Marmot, and emphasizes positive ways people can help their non-human neighbors. This is the second summer the traveling exhibit will be touring around BC.

The traveling Species at Risk exhibition. 

Species at Risk is making stops throughout the province this summer at schools, museums and events on Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, Okanagan and, for the first time, the Kootenays. The public is invited to visit, explore and learn for free.

Species at Risk will be at Victoria's BC Legislature Grounds on Canada Day, July 1, for its send-off from Vancouver Island to the mainland. "We created Species at Risk to tell a story that is of critical importance to this province," said Prof. Jack Lohman, CEO of the Royal BC Museum. "We are extending our research and expertise to communities around the province to better explain what we do."

Beautifully designed Mini-Museum kits featuring real specimens and hands-on activities travel with the exhibition. The eight kits, four of which are new this year, are distributed to schools around the province and used throughout the school year. Two knowledgeable interpreters work with the regional partners to bring the exhibition to life and engage with local communities.

This butterfly, a subspecies of the Western Branded Skipper, is found in Garry Oak and coastal sand spit ecosystems around southern Vancouver Island. It is a species at risk because of habitat loss and pesticides. 

Species at Risk Tour Schedule - Summer 2016

July 1 | Canada Day Send-off, BC Legislature Grounds, Victoria
July 5 | Science World at TELUS World of Science, Vancouver
July 6 | Surrey Art Gallery and Bear Creek Park, Surrey
July 7 | Beaty Biodiversity Museum, UBC Campus, Vancouver
July 9 | Kamloops Museum & Archives, Kamloops
July 11 | Big Little Science Centre, Kamloops
July 12-13 | Okanagan Science Centre, Vernon
July 18-22 | Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art & History, Nelson
July 25-August 1 | Creston and District Museum, Creston
August 4 | Wildsight, Invermere Branch
August 8-12 | Ktunaxa Interpretive Centre, Cranbrook
August 15-19 | Rossland Museum and Discovert Centre, Rossland 

Photos and Images by Royal BC Museum

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Vancouver's Bard on the Beach celebrates 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death

The world will be honoring the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's passing on April 23, 2016. Joining in the global celebration is Vancouver's Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, which will stage a classic wake.

Will's Wake, hosted by Bard Artistic Director Christopher Gaze, joins together members and friends of Bard's Acting Company with Shakespeare lovers for a lively words-and-music tribute at the BMO Theatre Centre in Vancouver's Olympic Village. 

Christopher Gaze
"This is a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate the legacy of the greatest English playwright of all time," said Gaze. "In 2016, the company is joining the global movement in recognizing the 400th anniversary of his death."

Joining in the April 23 festivities will be the British Consul General in Vancouver, along with honorary guest Vancouver Deputy Mayor Heather Deal. On behalf of Mayor Gregor Robertson, she will officially proclaim April 23, 2016 as Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Day in Vancouver

Will's Wake, which runs from 7-10 PM on Saturday, April 23 in the BMO Theatre Centre, begins with a pre-show hors d'oeuvres reception. Bard revelers will enter the BMO Theatre for on-stage readings and music. Presenters include Gaze, along with Vancouver theatre luminaries Bernard Cuffling and Dean Paul Gibson. Also presenting will be 2016 Bard on the Beach Company members Bob Frazer, Hailey Gillis, Jennifer Lines, Tom Pickett, Kamyar Pazandeh and Andrew Chown. 

The presenters will not only be reading some of Shakespeare's most celebrated words, but some will be performing music during the evening. "We can't think of a better way to honor Shakespeare than by hosting this classic wake," said Gaze. "An evening full of eloquent language and sparked by music." At the end of the program, there will be live music by Jeff Gladstone & The Bad Ideas ("a Vancouver based band of scoundrels and minstrels performing songs about lost love and lost minds"). 

Tickets are $39, with funds going to support Bard Education programs. they're available online or by calling the Bard Box Office at 604.739.0559.

Bard on the Beach is Western Canada's largest non-profit professional Shakespeare company. Established in 1990, the annual festival is in Kitsilano's Vanier Park, located next to Vancouver's downtown core. The 2016 Festival runs June 3 - September 24 and productions include The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Pericles.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook: Save Food, Save Money, and Save the Planet

Victoria, BC freelance journalist Cinda Chavich's latest cookbook, The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook: Save Food, Save Money, and Save the Planet, has been nominated for a prestigious International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Award. Chavich, who specializes in food, wine and travel writing, is an award winning author of six cookbooks -- including The Girl Can't Cook and The Guy Can't Cook. The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook was nominated in the Food Matters category, which celebrates cookbooks that focus on the impact of food choices on personal health and the health of the planet. 
Freelance journalist Cinda Chavich
The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook tackles the global issue of waste on an individual level, advocating that if people are to reduce their own collective food prints, they must focus on diminishing the amount of food wasted in their own kitchens. Chavich is a longtime proponent of sustainable, local cuisine and eco-tourism, and inspired to write her latest cookbook when realizing she could do her part to address one of the globe's most pressing issues. Highlights of the cookbook include: 

  • More than 140 recipes
  • Transforming leftovers into delicious new dishes
  • Storing and preserving fresh foods to make them last
  • Shopping smart when buying in bulk
  • Debunking the myth of composting
  • All about the science (or lack thereof) of 'best/before' dates
  • Six weekly feasts (family sized meals)
  • Tips and tricks to stay on track

"I'm humbled to be nominated by such an important culinary organization and be in such esteemed company," said Chavich. "It's a big win for spreading the word about how we can end the global crisis of food waste by helping people take some easy steps at home to be part of the global solution." The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook was also the recipient of the Gourmand World Food Cookbook Award for Best Sustainable Cookbook in the English Canada competition.

Chavich's cookbook is competing against two others in the Food Matters category: The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook by the OAEC Collective and Olivia Rathbone and Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning) by Marion Nestle. 
That's me on the left with Cinda Chavich on a gourmet kayaking trip in BC's Gulf Islands in 2006

Click on for a complete list of IACP Cookbook Awards Finalists. The winners will be announced on April 3, 2016 at the 38th annual IACP conference in Los Angeles.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

John Lennon's Rolls-Royce returns to the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, BC

John Lennon's Rolls-Royce at the Royal BC Museum in 2011.

John Lennon's "psychedelic" Rolls-Royce has returned to the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, BC. Conservators of the museum squeezed Lennon's massive 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V Touring Limousine through the front doors of the museum into the main lobby. It will be parked on public display through April 28, 2016. 

The Beatles rode to Buckingham Palace in this Rolls-Royce to receive medals from the Queen in 1965. But back then, it sported its original color, matte black. 

Two years later, Lennon sent the Rolls to artist Steve Weaver, who designed custom paintwork in a Romany Gypsy style, with elements of the psychedelic era. The car was delivered to Lennon just before the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album was released. 

The paint that Weaver used was ordinary but very vulnerable latex house paint. The Royal BC Museum monitors the paint condition closely and has done conservation work on the paint over the years. 

BC entrepreneur and philanthropist Jim Pattison donated the vehicle to the Royal BC Museum in 1987 after its display at Expo '86 in Vancouver. Since then, it has been on display at various Royal BC Museum special events. It has also been exhibited across North American, most recently at exhibits in Montreal and in Vancouver at the 2015 PNE. The Rolls Royce was selected as one of the Royal BC Museum's 100 Objects of Interest in 2014 (click on to read more details about the Rolls). 

The Beatles arrive at Buckingham Palace in the 1965 Rolls-Royce. Photo courtesy Joe Johnson's Beatle Brunch Club.