Chinese New Year Celebration

Shauna Baker is reporting for City Lights down at the Dr.Sun Yat-Sen Gardens to celebrate the Chinese New Year, welcoming in the Year of the Ox. 

“The history of the garden is actually a scholar’s home, and this was built 23 years ago. Everything here is brought from China so it is a very unique experience to come through. We have tours, we always have hot Chinese tea going and wonderful people. Some have been here for over twenty years…they have a lot of stories to tell. Today, February 1st, is one of our biggest days though,” says Constance Barnes from the gardens. “Because we’re non-for-profit, we have people that just have such a passion for the gardens, and what it stands for, it’s really about people that give their time and energy to a good cause.” 

“Because of the weather, I think that we’ll have less, last year we had over three thousand people that came through so it’s usually very well attended, and the parade has up to thirty thousand sometimes.” 

Some of the activities included fortune telling, balloon animals, classical Chinese music, crafts for children, calligraphy, story telling, and a range of incredible performers in the Cultural Olympiad. And of course, no Chinese New Year celebration would be complete without the dragon dance, which celebrates the dragon spirit, the most celestial of creatures who brings good luck. It’s the Year of the Ox, a time for laying foundations, tenacity, and working hard. The best of luck to you on the year ahead.

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City Lights- Mavi Jeans Gastown Grand Opening Party

Heather Bissonnette is down in Gastown at 355 Water St., at the new location of the Mavi Jeans store. There were a lot of fashionistas down at the grand opening party, as well as just ordinary people searching for that pair of perfecting fitting pants. According to many there, Mavi jeans just simply fit and look good. 

We caught up with Amy Beeman from the Beat 94.5 and had a quick chat about the new location. “Shopping on a Thursday night is fantastic. I love it.” “What do you think of the new location in Gastown?” “It’s a great store. I love how everything is on one floor. I’ve been to a couple of the Mavi openings…I’m a regular customer.” “How many pairs of Mavi do you have?” “I think four. After tonight it may double.” 

It’s not just for the female race either. According to Jesse Hutch of Pacific Artists, “They’re actually one of the very few pairs of jeans that actually fit me growing up…Jeans are just really difficult to fit, and Mavi fits me, and I like that.” 

Catherine Dunwoody, of Lou Lou Magazine, who hosted the event, simply says, “We love Mavi, and its just a fun event to get involved in.” 

If you’re still looking for that great pair of jeans, head on down to the Mavi store in Gastown, surely that’s where they’re waiting. 

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City Lights- Pangea Day

This is something I had thought about for ages and didn’t realize had actually been done. How awesome. Pangea Day is a four hour program of short films, live music, and visionary speakers. The event is broadcasted live from six nations worldwide, in seven languages, to millions of viewers all over the globe who experience it at the same time whether through internet, television, or mobile phone. Vanessa Tomasino leads the City Lights crew last May 10th, 2008, to the Vancouver chapter where millions of viewers around the globe are linked through the power of film.

 “No matter how many people will be here today, please know that there are perhaps ten million people seeing this live around the world, and we’re all part of a global campfire experience,” says Paul Schellenberg, the Downtown Co-ordinator, in his opening speech. “Pangea Day is the first time that this has ever happened anywhere in the world, that 150 countries or more are coming together to see this live broadcast…It’s a one time event, and I don’t know if it will ever happen again.”

The narration from the start of the film goes like this: For the next four hours, imagine something different. Today, right now, millions of people from around the world have gathered to see what it might feel like, for one day, to see the world through each other’s eyes.

Pangea Day is an opportunity to experience the same emotions, view the same images, experience the same reactions as millions of our other brothers and sisters around the globe. To know that millions of others are feeling what you feel (to some degree) is most definately something that will help bring us closer together, using the power of media to spread inspirational messages and hope, to remind us that in essence, we are all the same. Let’s hope this becomes an annual event.

To check out the footage from this groundbreaking event, and for more information, visit www.pangeaday.org

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City Lights- City Chase

The Mitsubishi City Chase is part obstacle course, part scavenger hunt. It takes place every year across Canada, and in preparation for the 2009 event, we’ve decided to take a look at last year’s footage of our Novus TV host Sarah Westwood out at the UBC Ropes Course.

Carina Holtby of Vancouver City Chase explains what this competition is all about. “City Chase is an urban adventure series, similar to a scavenger hunt, similar to those Amazing Race and Fear Factors that you see on TV. It’s an opportunity for those teams of two to really learn about their city and really experience their own backyard…City Chases are held all over the world, we’re actually in fifteen different countries now which is very exciting for us.”

So, let’s gear up. Sarah dones a harness and a blue helmet and is ready to roll. She, along with a partner, are taken to the Giant’s Ladder, a set of horizontal boards placed at widely spaced intervals reaching up into the tops of the trees, tall trees, where the intervals lengthen as the height  increases. Ropes attached, and a team below holding on tight, they make their way upwards. It looks easy at first, but by about halfway up the distance between the boards is almost as much as Sarah’s height. Being the champion she is, she swings herself up on the last rung with some slick ninja moves and stands triumphant. Now, imagine six hours of these jungle gym exertions, in the middle of summer, taking place throughout the city.

The Vancouver City Chase event takes place this year on August 22nd. If these sorts of shenanigans sound like you, visit www.mitsubishicitychase.com for more information and to register.  

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City Lights-Disc Golf

Sarah Westwood is out with professional disc golfer Steve Crichton to try out her frisbee skills, and really just learn what disc golf…is.

“Well, it’s just like regular ball golf in the sense that you’ve got a tee, and you’ve got your eventual outcome, in this case a basket instead of a hole. So, the main concept is to try and get your frisbee from your tee to the basket in as few shots as possible.”

“You have different discs for different distances in golf courses…drivers, nice and sleek with bevelled edges, and you’ve got putters, which are a bit more rounded on the edges. ”

Sarah gives it a go, throwing her frisbee with a decent amount of height but not exactly in the right direction. Steve offers her the professional consolation of any good coach. “There’s a big learning curve in this sport…the first couple times you come out can be a little frustrating. Just to sort of get the fundamentals and technique of everything. ” Sarah changes the subject, asking our Disc Golf Professional just what exactly drew him to the sport.

“On Toronto Island in Toronto, they had a course down there that a friend of mine took me to, and we went down there, and it was just sort of the perfect blend between other disc sports that I had been playing and…the sport of golf as well. It’s a great way to be out there with your friends in the park. It doesn’t cost anything to play disc golf…it’s a really social sport as well…a great blend of mental fitness I guess, in that sense.”

If disc golf looks like something you could be interested in,visit the British Columbia Disc Sport Society’s website, at www.bcdss.ba.ca

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City Lights- Chinese Night Market 2008

Heather Bissonnette brings us to Vancouver’s Chinatown to check out the local night market. Right in the center of Chinatown, not only are there good deals to be had on a range of products from hand-crafted bags, clothing, jewelry and ornaments, there are many stalls with second hand items that can quell your bargain hunting urges, things that can’t be found in the boutique stores.  You can search for treasures, buy a lucky bamboo for you or your friends, guaranteed to bring you health and wealth, and then eat from the endless stalls of ethnic foods, have some bubble tea to wash it all down with.

“What do you like about the night market?” Heather asks one of the local stall workers. “It’s fun,” she replies, ” It gives me something to do for the whole summer. I don’t like to be stuck on the same thing, the same job, for the whole summer. This is also a family business, I come to help out here…it’s quite fun to do.”

There are also events; singing, dancing, magic shows, martial arts, bands, and games and prizes. The Vancouver Chinatown Night Market claims to be the first of its kind in North America, so when the nights are warm enough, be sure to come down and explore this feast for the senses. The Vancouver Chinatown Night Market runs from May 15th through to September 6th in 2009, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.  Visit the website, www.vcma.shawbiz.ca for more information.

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City Lights- Movers & Shapers Exhibit

Ishra Sharif is at the Vancouver Museum to check out last year’s exhibit, Movers & Shapers 2008. Movers & Shapers was exhibited in both 2004 and 2007. 2008’s exhibit was the culmination of the two previous years; it profiled twice as many designers as in previuos years, twenty, and the designers’ spaces were larger, with more events surrouding the designers than in previous years.

Jane Cox of Cause + Affect, one of the biggest partners bringing Movers & Shapers to the Vancouver museum, describes the mission behind their multi-disciplinary firm. “We have a few agendas…one of them is bringing more culture to Vancouver. When we first moved to Vancouver, especially from being in London, a culture mega-capital, we…felt that there were a lot of creative things going on, in little silos around the city, but there isn’t really this sort of big, collective and community spirit around culture, especially in the design sector…the art community is pretty well established and a lot of people know about artist communities and galleries, but the design community lacks.”

“The designers in this city…seem to kind of fly under the radar. The public doesn’t know about them, and the designers themselves are lacking a community to connect to one another. The thing that designers face in Vancouver is that they tend to get more recognition outside of the city than within the city. We have designers here within Movers & Shapers that are world renowned. ”

Let’s hope for another Movers & Shapers this year around. For more information on the previous exhibits and the designers involved, visit http://www.causeandaffect.com

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City Lights-The Sunday Service

“We do a weekly show here at the Hennessey at 9 pm on Sundays where we take suggestions from the audience and we make up comedic scenes on the spot,” says Kevin Lee of the Sunday service. 

“We weave the audience’s words into a tapestry of gold.” 

“We have a bit more of an alternative feel than you would normally get going to an improv show. We don’t center ourselves very much, we strive to push ourselves in directions we’re not used to or have not tread before. We really try to infuse it again with who we are as the performer which you don’t see a lot of truthful improv,” says Ryan Beil, also of the Sunday service.

That is the Sunday Service according to…the Sunday Service. And they definately don’t limit themselves. They are always trying new things, not just improv but sketch, video, and music accompaniment. They frequently have guest actors perform with them from around the city. And no, this isn’t some random tiny troup of actors. According to Discorder Magazine, “This is the DFA 1979 of theatre: escapist, absurd and entertaining above all, but always based on real personalities that just happen to be grappling with hilarious situations.”

Make sure you hop along to get your dose of the Sunday Service the next Sunday they’re performing. Visit www.thesundayservice.com for more information. 

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Novus Free Talk-Victoria Day

May long weekend is coming!! Let’s get excited. With a false Spring showing its face, I think I speak for all of us when I say we are eagerly anticipating the real thing. Victoria Day has always been the jumping off spot for the onslaught of warm weather and here we look at what Vancouverites had to say about last year’s May long weekend holiday.

“Our city has a lot to offer. Honestly, I’m not originally from here and like, six years ago I came here on holidays and I just don’t think there’s anywhere else that’s as nice as Vancouver really,” says one lady who recently made this city home.

With the harbour and all its water options, Stanley Park, Granville Island, and the beaches such as Kitsilano and English Bay close at hand, there are many many options for you and your crew to explore under the first warm sun. But why the holiday in the first place? How many of us know the reason behind the day off of work? Erin Ireland put this question to a few of the people we interviewed and here is sample of some of the answers. If you don’t know the reason behind Victoria Day, watch the video for Erin’s answer at the end. 

“That means, I guess, that if you’re from Victoria you get…I dunno! It’s a stat. holiday so I’m stoked!” 

“I believe there are a couple reasons. Maybe, Queen Victoria, it might be Victoria being the name of the capital of BC…”

“I dunno. The queen? I really don’t know. I’ve lived here all my life, and I’ve been a Canadian all my life, and I have no idea.” 

Perhaps you can fare better.

City Lights- H&M Store Opening

H&M has long been a fashion staple. I remember the day when I set foot in Europe eight years ago to be blown away  by the store and so utterly disappointed to have to return back to Vancouver a year later where such a thing did not exist. (Not even in North America yet). But time has passed and now Vancouver can claim their own H&M store right downtown.

Here we revisit the event that has changed fashion in Vancouver, the opening of the H&M store at Pacific Centre. Host Ishra Sharif schmoozes with some  very important fashionistas and checks out the party that was the grand opening.

Laura Shankland, the Communications Manager of H&M Canada, talks about the new H&M. “It’s over 28,000 square feet and is actually our largest store in Canada. So we’re really excited to be bringing our business concept, which is fashion and quality at the best price, to Vancouver. You’ll find two floors packed with the latest fashions…there’s everything from updated basics to the very latest international trends. And you really can dress top to toe: shoes, underwear, accessories, denim, partywear, we have everything.” 

Lana from CBC Radio 3 was at the H&M party, “You know I moved here three years ago and I’ve been waiting for this store to open, for, pretty much three years. And it’s been wild, it’s been great. There’s an open bar…there’s a few sharp elbows but for the most part everyone’s well behaved. The clothes are great and it’s nice to have H&M in the city.” 

While there is no longer an open bar, there are probably also no sharp elbows around to get in your way of some good old retail therapy. H&M is located on the corner of Granville and Georgia. For more information, visit www.hm.com

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