European Festival 2013 – Ukrainian, Croatian and other dance groups at the Swangard Stadium in Burnaby BC, Canada on May 25-26, 2013. The pan-Euro event is organized by the EuroFest BC Society with about 30 European countries represented including England, Germany, France, Denmark, Slovakia, Serbia, Russia, Spain, Slovenia, Turkey, Greece, Norway, Hungary and more. It is the largest annual celebration of European cultural in the Vancouver area. Visitors come to enjoy a diverse cultural experience through music, folk dances, songs, food etc.
Many countries have individual cultural pavilions to represent their own unique appeal at the European Festival which is a now a two-day event (May 25 – 26, 2013) and that aslo helps promote Canada’s multiculturalism. The aboriginal Metis First Nations were also present.
Performing in the videos are the Ukraine, Serbia and Bulgaria dance groups dancing to the cheerful rhythms of their respective traditional folk music and songs.
[Photos & Videos by Ray Van Eng | www.vancouver21.com ]
Relighting 2010 Olympic Cauldron at New Year’s Eve Countdown adds significance to World’s Greenest City by 2020?
Thank You Very Much Mayor Gregor Robertson & Your City Council!
I am happy to report that the Vancouver City Council has unanimously approved a motion to re-start the New Year’s Eve tradition that has been out of fashion in Vancouver in recent years. The earliest we could be seeing that happening is at the end of 2013, in time for the NYE 2014 party.
A New Year’s Eve (NYE) bash is an international event that everyone celebrates.
All cultures. All religions. All parts in the world. Americas, Asia, Europe, Arab, Oceania. Don’t matter who you are, where you, what you are, we all celebrate the beginning of a new year. NYE is also the best time for any city to stake a claim in the world media…FOR FREE!
On NYE, Every City is Vying for Attention
Make no mistake about it, every city is trying to grab your attention at NYE countdown. This worldwide attention is dictated by the different time zones. With the ticking of the clock, any major or even city in a certain time zone gets a fair chance to be featured in the world media as they ring in a new year.
This is not just about celebrating locally or even nationally. It is about taking part in an international event that everyone is focusing on. It is that Olympic moment that comes every year. Every city puts on an elaborate show to stand out against the rest.
If Vancouver won’t do it, Seattle would reap the benefits of being the crown-jewel of the Pacific NW.
Vancouver wants to become the World’s Greenest City by 2020
That is Mayor Gregor Robertsobn’s vision. Here’s an excellent way to sell that to the world on NYE. How? By relighting the 2010 Olympic Cauldron only at the end of the countdown and turn it off soon after the fireworks are finished to serve notice to the world that we are serious about reducing carbon emission and adhering to sustainable principles.
Jack Poole Plaza is Perfect Place for NYE Celebration
The Christmas Tree is there, so is the 2010 Olympic Cauldron. Robson St. & Granville Mall have none of that. Jack Poole Plaza is the perfect place to present to the world our unique heritage as a world-class city that has already hosted the 2010 Games and Expo 86.
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1…Olympic Cauldron is Re-lit! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Imagine that! What a glorious moment! Instead of a ball-drop, Vancouver should re-lit the 2010 Olympic Cauldron and the flame only comes on at the end of the count-down. And turn it off after the firework is finished. The worldwide media will pick up on that and present Vancouver’s commitment to sustainable principles and be the World’s Greenest City by 2020.
It cost $5,000 to re-lit the Cauldron but $Millions for a 30″ global TV ad
A single 30-second SuperBowl TV ad cost around $4 million. The same TV ad during the 2012 Summer Games is $20 Million (yes, for only 30 second). Re-lighting the 2010 Olympic cauldron would only be $5,000. If the world media picks that up, it is ALL FREE!
The return on investment (ROI) is clearly in favor for Vancouver to host a New Year’s Eve party. The Jack Poole Plaza with a spectacular waterfront view and where the 2010 Olympic cauldron is located provides the perfect setting to serve notice to the world as the city races towards its goal of becoming the World’s Greenest City by 2020.
恭喜发财 ! 金蛇贺岁 ! 新春同喜 ! For the 2013 Year of the Snake Chinese New Year parade on Feb 17, 2013, a Golden Snake slithered through Vancouver’s Chinatown along with the Fortune God 财神 giving blessing to anyone who were present. There were dragon dances, lion dances, First Nations dances, gypsy dances and more which altogether made up a very multicultural Lunar New Year procession.
Mayor Gregor Robertson was there along with many other federal and provincial politicians including BC Premier Christy Clark, MP James Moore and many others. It’s the Spring Festival 春节, time to say Gung Hay Fat Choy and wish for a prosperous lunar new year, the Year of the Snake.
Eastern Legends is the internationally-acclaimed sizhu musical group from Taiwan’s Chai Found Music Workshop. The six girl and one boy band plays Chinese chamber music and fuses traditional Asian music with other popular music genres of today.
They were invited by the Ottawa Chamber Music Society to come to Canada to perform at the CIBC LunarFest 2013 both in the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and the Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver in Feb 2013 to coincide with the celebration of the Lunar New Year or the Year of the Snake.
The band employ a wide variety of Chinese musical instruments such as the Erhu 二胡, Pipa 琵琶, Guzheng 古箏, Yueqin 月琴, Se 瑟, Dizi 笛子, Xiao 簫, Laba 喇叭 and the like. The result is a mix of traditional Asian melody with an occasional best of rap and Hip-Hop.
LuarFest 2013 is mainly a Taiwanese and Korean culture showcase integrated with plenty of other Asian multicultural elements to delight kids and adults from all communities to celebrate the lunar new year.
Year of the Snake 2013 Asian Expo Vancouver Lunar New Year celebration (Jan 31 – Feb 03, 2013) at BC Place in Vancouver BC, Canada. Chinese New Year multicultural celebration. Dance, Hip Hop, Model Search Competition, body-paint Fantasy Makeup Contest, Justin Lo Singing Show, Gary Chaw Concert etc.
It’s the Year of the Snake, so even a tortoise could be faster than a Ferrari!!
Vancouver needs a public, outdoor, open-to-all New Year’s Eve (NYE) Party. Not only for all citizens to celebrate the new year but also a perfect opportunity to remind the world of our unique heritage and formidable capabilities in hosting global events like the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Expo 86 and so on.
New Year’s Eve is the single most recognized event in the world among all cultures. That is why all major cities around the globe put on an elaborate show and are competing for attention. Not only should Vancouver be among them, we should shine in our own special way to claim our position as the crown jewel of the Pacific Northwest. Please do not hand Seattle that honor. To not participate in the NYE party tradition and be in tune with the rest of the world is to miss out on one of the best times of the year to promote our city.
Yes, there is a mini-NYE celebration at Robson Square for 2013, but the skating ring area is simply too small to host such a premiere event. Jack Poole Plaza is the right place to do it. We have the Christmas tree there with the Vancouver Convention Center and Canada Place nearby, two buildings that have connections to the city’s glorious past as host to a winter Olympic and world exposition as we look forward to build even better future.
We could further reinforce our international image as a city that is committed to sustainability principles and reducing carbon footprint by only re-lighting the Olympic Cauldron at the moment of count-down. This would be even better than a simple ball-drop to serve notice to the world of our serious intention to become the Greenest City in the World by 2020, a vision of yours, Mr. Mayor, that many of us wholeheartedly support and feel have a role to play in the implementation of the Greenest City 2020 plan.
Vancouver is not only a world-class city but one that many others look upon with admiration and even envy. To be without a NYE bash for a city like ours is like running a global business without an impressionable web site these days. It is not even an option. People won’t take you seriously.
Please Mr. Mayor, allow me to urge City Hall and Council to take action to start the new year right for 2014 and plan a NYE bash for those of us who live here and use that opportunity to tell the world of our many attractive attributes as a global destination for tourists, innovative hub for leading businesses and great place to live.
Thank you very much. My very best wishes to you and your council and have a wonderful 2013!
It’s that time of the year again, with fire-a-burning and ‘People Get Ready’ (yeah, that song) as the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train on its Rock ‘n Roll trek is heading to a station near them.
In its 14th year, the 2012 trains have one running for Canada and one for the U.S. Beyond bringing joy and happiness of the holiday season to the masses, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) company also hopes the program will help raise awareness of the importance of local food bank along its vast North American network in serving local communities.
Both Christmas-lights adorned locomotives made stops at more than 150 communities and this being the Hurricane Sandy disaster year which destroyed many people’s homes and lives in the affected areas, CPR encouraged everyone to bring non-perishable food items and/or donate money to feed the hungry and needy.
The two holiday trains officially kicked off their journey on Nov 28, 2012. The Canadian Holiday Train started from Beaconsfield, Quebec, while the U.S. ‘train of lights’ began its trek through the American Northeast and Midwest from Scranton, Pa after making brief stops in Kahnawake, Delson, and Lacolle, P.Q.
Three weeks and thousands of miles later, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train finally headed towards its final destination, Port Moody, BC. With snow on the ground, Dec 18, 2012 was an usual cold night at this suburb in Greater Vancouver. While all waited for Engine 9815 (the locomotive’s designation) to arrive, the Metro Vancouver Firefighters Band played light-hearted Christmas music right next to a campfire built by the Port Moody firefighters to keep the crowd warm.
Soon as the train pulled into the make-shift station behind the Port Moody Recreation Centre, band members Doc Walker, Miss Emily, Randall Prescott and the Brothers Dube opened up a boxcar stage and performed a number of Christmas and railroad songs including People Get Ready (by Curtis Mayfiled), Little Toy Train (Roger Miller) and others.
Prescott played a raspy and firey harmonica number that rocked the rollicking audience of about 200 people who gathered. Santa appeared on stage while his elves went around greeting the crowd as the band played ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’.
In the U.S., CPR offered a matching donation of up to US$250,000 for corporate and community donations made to any local food bank. In Port Moody, a check of CDN$7,000 was presented to the Share Family + Community Services.
As Miss Emily sang Silent Night and asked the crowd to join in, it was a lullaby for a good-night call. Mission accomplished, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train 2012 sounded its whistler one last time and retreated from Port Moody.
The VanDusen Festival of Lights is a Christmas event that many nature-lovers have been waiting for to start the holiday season.
One of the guiding principles of the VanDusen Garden has always been to connect people to plants and the natural environment. Year-round, visitors have come here to appreciate and learn about conservation, gardening, plant lives and stories, nutrition, pollination, adopt a tree, birding in the garden and many more.
The VanDusen Garden is also a popular spot for wedding couples getting hitched.
Although there are more than 100 events happening all year, don’t think that during winter the garden would be in hibernation. No, December happens to be the busiest time of the year.
To celebrate Christmas and the Yuletide season, the garden comes alive with more than a million light bulbs illuminating all vegetation and the surrounding enclave. 1.4 million lights to be exact.
Nancy Wong, VanDusen Garden’s Public Relations Director, proudly pointed out that volunteers counted each light bulb every year and made sure they were working before putting them on.
The Festival of Lights is an extremely popular event. Families come in droves.
On the first day of the festival (Dec 02), there was a long lineup of people wanting in before the garden officially opened at 4:30 PM. In fact, visitors were advised to purchase tickets in advance at Tickets Tonight or in person at the Garden Shop at VanDusen Garden as early as Nov 1st.
Once visitors entered the garden, many of them seek out the popular Dancing Lights at Livingstone Lake in which a continuous series of strobe lights was synchronized to rock versions of familiar Christmas songs that reverberated with the audience, adults and kids alike.
Music is the universal language, no loss in translation there. It signifies the joyous season and everyone is excited to be there. Dancing Lights plays every half-hour and it has become one of the main attractions of the Festival of Lights experience.
After the light show, visitors began to explore different areas of the garden and there were plenty for them to see and enjoy – Santa’s Living Room, Gingerbread Wood, Make-a-Wish Candle Shrine, Sparkling Spruce in the center court, Candy Cane Express model train etc.
Roaming along the brightly-illuminated Candy Cane Lane, you would likely hear a singing choir that draws you nearer or encounter two Christmas Gnomes, Svend and Jens eager to entertain.
Svend joked often in a heavy Swedish accent while Jens played his quiet and abiding partner. Their routine worked out very well I must say.
It’s the Winter Light season (not Lights, in honor of director Ingmar Bergman) and with Svend and Jens close by, you are reminded of the Swedish filmmaker’s world-famous troupe of actors including Liv Ulman, Max Von Sydow, Gunnel Lindblom and others. Ja!
After an hour or two, you just might feel hungry and it is a perfect time to have dinner at the garden. Both light fare and full meals are available at the VanDusen Garden. Dinner is also served every night at the Shaughnessy Restaurant during the Festival of Lights. Reservations are recommended.
Ho-Ho-Ho, Santa’s rocking in his chair!
[Photos & Video by Ray Van Eng | www.vancouver21.com ]
Rogers Santa Claus Parade 2012 Christmas Celebration in Vancouver with Canadian London Summer Olympic & Paralympic Games Athletes and Medalists as Grand Marshal
It is the 9th annual Rogers Santa Parade in Vancouver Canada on Dec 02, 2012. So what’s a Christmas celebration without a procession and many do consider this event to be the official kick-off to the holiday season.
Pre-parade celebration started early at 10:30AM with fun-filled activities like face-painting, write a letter to Santa, gingerbread and snowman decorating near the main media and VIP area of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
A two and a half hour main stage performance at the Coast Capital Savings Christmas Square included such groups as the Vancouver Tap Dance Society, Perry Ehrlich’s ShowStoppers and others. It is fun for the whole family.
In the spirit of giving, many brought along canned food, whole grain pasta, baby formula and even toys for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society distribution. Some donated money as well.
Food Bank Volunteers in bright yellow ponchos also walked along with the parade to accept donations from the public.
At 1PM, the parade started at the corner West Georgia and Broughton, traveled east along West Georgia, turned south on Howe and finished at Howe and Davie.
Some 3,500 parade participants including 60 marching bands, floats, choirs, various community groups etc. marched their way to greet the estimated 300,000 spectators who gathered to watch the procession.
Because of rain in the forecast, some may have decided to stay home. The crowd figures on site seemed a bit lower than official expectation. The weather did cooperate and only a small precipitation was recorded throughout the duration of the parade.
This year’s Grand Marshals are the Canadian Olympic athletes and medalists who competed in the London 2012 Summer Olympic & Paralympic Games. Among them were Michelle Stilwell (Gold) Darcy Marquardt (Silver) & Brent Hayden (Bronze). The crowd couldn’t be happier to greet them.
After the parade, Santa held court at Robson Square Ice Rink where skating was free for the day and a long lineup was formed to pose with Santa.
Sections of the roads in the downtown area were closed from 7AM to 4:30PM to facilitate the movement of the crowd and the parade.
Joy to the World!
[Photos & Video by Ray Van Eng | www.vancouver21.com ]
Bright Nights in Stanley Park 2012 (Nov 29, 2012 – Jan 1, 2013) is entering its 15th season. And it’s that time of the year again. Christmas, Santa, Silent Night, Noel, Yuletide, New Year, Boxing Day, Hanukah & Seasons Greetings.
Same as before, Bright Nights is a family-friendly event and an opportunity to raise money for the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. It is for a charity cause to honor the men and women who put their lives on the line every time they go out to save those who might be threatened by a raging fire or trapped in a dangerous environment. So be generous.
Entry to the Christmas Park display area is FREE and the entire place is adorned with Christmas-themed décor—reindeer, Santa, gingerbread houses, nutcrackers, presents, Christmas lights etc. A ticket is required for the Christmas Miniature Train Ride. (Prices are listed below.)
The Stanley Park miniature train, a key component that had made Bright Nights and other events such as the Halloween Ghost Train and Klahowya Village Train a great success every year, was transformed into the Bright Nights Train as it rode through the world-famous Douglas fir and cedar forest illuminated by what seemed like millions of colorful lights just in time for the holiday season.
Though smaller in size and stature than a life-size train, the engine designation is a special one – Engine 374. The namesake of which is the engine that pulled the first-ever transcontinental train to arrive in Vancouver in May 1887 all the way from its shop in Montreal.
Here at Stanley Park, the miniature train pulls passengers through an unforgettable journey of a brightly–lit Christmas Winter Wonderland. The view at the bridge over a lake is awe-inspiring and the trip boring through a tunnel full of modern cave-like paintings brings sheer delight of love, peace and joy. It just stimulates the mind.
indeed, Bright Nights at Stanley Park is not just for kids, adults enjoyed it just as much. Many come with their family to get into the Yuletide mood. This year’s the train’s soundtrack includes many modern renditions of old Christmas favorites for your enjoyment. You won‘t be disappointed.
Ho-ho-ho, Santa’s waiting.
Chritmas Train Ride Tickets -
Adult: $10.00 includes HST;
Child, Youth & Seniors: $7.00 includes HST
(Children & Youth 3-17, Seniors 65+)
Children Under 3 years of age are FREE
Christmas park admission is FREE
Advance tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.ca or charge by phone: 1-855-985-5000. (Note that Ticketmaster services charges apply)