On Surrey Vaisakhi Day 2013 on April 20, 201, Sikhs around the lower mainland and elsewhere came to worship at the Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar temple. Tens of thousands of South Asians then took part in the parade and enjoyed the free food and entertainment along the route that stretched several kilometers. The event is the oldest and one of the largest Vaisakhi Day programs outside India.
You don’t have to be South Asian to appreciate the all-you-can-eat free foods and drinks. There are plenty of Indian foods such as bottled water, Coke, Pepsis, fruit juices and other sodas. The hot sweetly-spiced Indian milk tea remains the favorite beverage however. Community performers and song-and-dance groups including the Punjabi group, Kohinoor Folk Arts Club have all gathered to provide entertainment.
As evident in the video above, the money offerings at the Gurdwara Sahib temple consist of more American dollars than Canadian ones (many in $1 dollar denomination). Way more. Does that suggest there were U.S citizens coming to Canada to attend this celebration? And as the Canadian $1 and $2 have become out of fashion in everyday use, the U.S. $1 becomes a popular and ‘cheaper’ replacement in cash donations, is that possible? Whatever the reason, the spirit of giving and generosity towards anyone were very much alive on Vaisakhi Day. That’s the way it is meant to be.
Was the BC Premier Christy Clark (together with her fellow Liberals Suzanne Anton, Amrik Tung, Kuljeet Kaur, Gurjit Dhillon, Moira Stilwell etc.) out campaigning to get ethnic votes or just taking part in the celebration of Vaisakhi Day one month before BC Election 2013 in Vancouver’s South Asian community of Main & 50th Ave?
Such was a question posed to the premier by a CBC reporter citing a similar accusation from NDP leader Adrian Dix whose political team was also at the event on April 13, 2013. Clark in particular mentioned the Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA) show that her government spent $11million to bring to Vancouver a week earlier. The BC general election is scheduled to take place on May 14, 2013, one month before BC Election 201. Christy Clark was behind Adrian Dix in every poll taken in recent weeks.
This Vancouver South area is a major center for the South Asian community. In 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper also stopped by and stood on the same podium and gave a Vaisakhi blessing as Christy Clark did. Both of them were running for re-election. An estimated 100,000 people showed up at Vaisakhi Vancouver 2013 which had the oldest Vaisakhi parade in North America.
Vaisakhi or Baisakhi as it is also known celebrates the start of the harvesting season for Punjabi farmers. This historical event which dated back to 1699 also marked the origin of Khalsa the Sikh religion.
Cherry Blossom Japan Fair Festival Saurka Days in Vancouver. The 2103 event takes place at the VanDusen Botanical Garden (5151 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC) April 06 & 07, 2013 from 10AM – 5PM. The World Umbrella Dance as choreographed by Shiamak Davar takes place on April 13, 2013 at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 12:45PM.
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)
Sails of Light 2012 Christmas at Canada Place in Vancouver BC. From Nov 29, 2012 to Jan 1, 2013, the five sales at Canada Place lights up to celebrate the Christmas season. Each year, an elaborate light show is projected onto the Teflon sails much like an artist applies brushstrokes on a canvas.
An estimated 500,000 people this year would enjoy the illuminated artwork on one of Vancouver’s landmark architectures, the Five Sails, from around Stanley Park, the downtown waterfront areas and on carol ships out and about in Coal Harbor and the Burrard Inlet. The event is a visual feast and a way for Canadians to tell their stories using lights, colors, shadows, animation, time duration and illuminated imagery.
Beyond being an artistic endeavor that reflects Canadian values, the Sails of Light venture also invites corporate customers to participate as partners and explore branding opportunities.
Sails of Light at Canada Place had become a Vancouver holiday tradition since 2009 when the event debuted just two months before the opening of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games that further established the city as an international destination.
CandyTown 2012 Vancouver Christmas Celebration Arrived Early in a Horse-draw Carriage through Historic Yaletown for the Holiday Season
One of the first to get into the spirit of the holiday season in Vancouver BC, the inaugural CandyTown 2012 at Yaletown celebrated the Yuletide season with a two day festival (Nov 24-25, 2012) that also helped re-introduce the historic heritage region of Yaletown to locals and visitors alike.
Presented by Concord Pacific, CandyTown 2012 is also the only FREE outdoor Christmas event in town. Kids and adults were invited to skate for free at the Scotiabank Ice Rink in Bill Curtis Square (right next to the Yaletown Rouindhouse Skytrain station) for the two days from 3PM – 9PM. On Saturday, NHL star Trevor Linden made an appearance from 12 Noon to 3PM and passed out autograph for fans. A signed Trevor Linden hockey jersey was also awarded to a lucky fan who entered the draw.
At the All I Want for Christmas Street Market, one of the boutique shops would seem to have something that you always wanted on sale to make the area an even more attractive locale to do your Christmas shopping.
One of the key highlights of the festival is the FREE horse-drawn carriage sponsored by Concord Pacific and hosted by Allan Financial that took passengers on a short 10-minute trip across historic Yaletwon which like Gastown elsewhere in the city used to be an industrial area but now filled with upscale boutiques and shops. Many generous riders gave donations at the end of the tour which were gladly accepted.
Ho-Ho-Ho, a long line of visitors also sat on Santa’s lap at a nearby tent and had their friends and family took photos of them using their iPhone, Blackberry and other what-have-you camera gear. An iPad user was seen sweeping the scenery shooting video to capture the festivities.
Indeed, the festival promised to have something for everyone. Join the Candytown Cocktail Tour if you like and follow the large martini glass sign and you will find your perfect candy-themed cocktail mix at participating Yaletown restaurants, taverns and bars.
By nightfall, the ice sculptures at the 1000-block Mainland Street glowed in the dark with changing colored-lights lit from below. Christmas-costumed figures leisurely strolled by to add to the carnival atmosphere for the holiday season.
Ah, allow me, clumsy as it maybe, to change the lyrics to the song ‘Let It Snow’ to fit the mood –
Oh the weather outside is not frightful
The ice sculptures delightful
Since we have CandyTown to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…
[Photos & Video by Ray van Eng | www.vancouver21.com ]
Vancouver Christmas Market Brings Old-World German Holiday Tradition & Best Shopping Experience You’ll Have All Season to Vancouver BC, Canada.
Get into the Holiday Spirit, Vancouver!
The Vancouver Christmas Market (VCM) follows the centuries-old tradition of a German Christmas market and brings all the cultural delights at this time of the year from Deutschland to all families from every community in this part of the world to help celebrate the holiday season. Besides Christmas-themed foods and entertainment, the VCM promises to offer the best shopping experience you’ll have all season as well.
This year as was last year, the location of the Vancouver Christmas Market is at the open plaza area right next to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (QE Theatre). It is a good location and just a short 5-minute walk from the Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain station and readily accessible to buses including some Northshore lines.
As suggested by VCM which tries its best to follow sustainable eco-friendly principles, the best way to get the market is by making use of public transportation. Though parking is also conveniently located including one that is right underneath the QE Theatre should you decided to drive.
This QE Theatre location is also where the First nations Aboriginal Pavilion was during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. In fact, the founder and president of VCM, Mr. Malte Kluetz indicated that he was inspired by that global sporting event that further established the City of Vancouver as an international destination to setup a world-class Christmas market with ideas based on his homeland country of Germany.
So what can be found inside the Vancouver Christmas Market?
With 45 vendors participating this year, many of then from Germany and Austria, the VCM offers a sampling of products, services and entertainment from the Bavarian country and surrounding regions. Here, you will find Bavarian Weisswurst, German Bratwurst, Swiss chesses, salted Bretzels, waffles, cinnamon bakeries, fine Belgian chocolates and the many different varieties of hand-crafted and painted chocolate candies.
Yes, there is a Carousel ride which is Vancouver’s first and only Christmas Carousel at $3 per ticket or 5 tickets for $10 too. Information for rates, tickets, prepaid special groups (of 20 people or more) and a 2-for-1 lunch pass (for downtown workers) are available at the Vancouver Christmas Market web site at http://vancouverchristmasmarket.com.
New this season is a FREE RE-ENTRY offer. You paid once for admission and you will receive a re-entry pass that allows you to come back anytime you want for the entire season which opens its gates from November 24 to December 24, 2012, 11am-9pm with early closing on Christmas Eve (Dec 24) at 6pm.
The Vancouver Christmas Market is largely an outdoor venue, so dress appropriately. Kaethe Wohlfahrt, Germany’s top Christmas ornament and décor company which sells hundreds of unique and one-of-a-kind Christmas decorative items, is the only shop sheltered inside a building that is part of the QE Theatre complex. Many of the outdoor shops are housed inside wooden huts. Washrooms are exterior temporary toilets (i.e. portable johns.)
No Christmas tree, either real or fake is sold at the market, so don’t come shopping for that and you won’t be disappointed. At the market, you will find many finely-crafted Christmas items on display with everyone seemingly having a story to tell and an old-world tradition beckoning you to find out more.
The VCM is a licensed premise, so alcoholic drinks are available for those who can be proved themselves to be 19 or over. Glühwein and a popular variant, the Feuerzangenbowle with a rum-soaked sugarloaf set on fire and dipped into the wine (usually red) are also served at the market. Adhering to the principle of sustainability to reduce waste, these popular German Christmas beverages are served in recyclable mugs. After your enjoyment, you can return the mug to get your $2 mug deposit back.
However, due to food and liquor licensing, no dogs or other pets are allowed with the exception for guide dogs. The market is also easily wheelchair accessible.
There is a live stage which features live bands, dancers and entertainment by artists and groups from such countries as Bulgaria, the Ukraine, Germany, Estonia and others. The Santa’s Brass Band plays traditional Christmas tunes with a toe-tapping rhythm that sees many visitors dancing with their partner around the stage.
And yes, this is a suggestion for the organizer – The melodies from ‘The Sound of Music’ would seem to fit in the market very well and indeed one would feel ‘the hills are alive’, so perhaps we might see (and hear) some of that in the future? On the other hand, the Vancouver Christmas Market is certainly teeming with life with a constant stream of visitors milling about the merchant stalls on Sunday afternoon Nov 25. Mr Kluetz said he expects to have 160,000 visitors this year. The 2011 attendance was 130,000.
Besides merchandizes from European producers, there are also no shortages of local and fair Trade goods including Fraser Valley honey, products from Ecofair Tarding and Tradewinds, woolen hats and clothing from Namaste National Products etc. And speaking of honey, Germany is the biggest honey-lover in the world, proclaimed one of the honey vendors at the market.
Amanda Todd Memorial Service: Mom Carol Todd Upheld Anti-Bullying & Celebrated Life With Beloved Suicide Daughter Princess Snowflake at Red Robinson Theatre in Coquitlam BC Canada on Nov 18, 2012
During the Amanda Todd Memorial Service at the Red Robinson Theatre in Coquitlam BC Canada on Nov 18, 2012, Amanda’s mother Carol Todd gave an 18-minute speech on stage and celebrated her life with beloved suicide daughter petnamed Princess Snowflake and pledged to uphold anti-bullying as a legacy for Amanda.
Singer/Songwriter Elise Estrada wrote and performed live her own single “Wonder Woman” and dedicated it to Amanda Todd as well. In her short and tragic life, Amanda was tormented by bullying both cyber and real, physical assault and blackmailing. Amanda Todd’s story detailed in a Youtube video she made using flash cards just prior to killing herself in Oct 2012 inspired hundreds of thousands around the world to rally against bullying and emotional and physical-abuse against teens and women.
After Carol Todd’s dedication was over, a video recording of Amanda Todd singing a Hillary Duff song ‘Someone’s Watching Me’ that Amanda performed at a talent show was being projected onto the large screen for the audience to see. Amanda had always wanted to be a famous singer and have the whole world listening to her songs.