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Summer in Review

With the days already growing shorter, the colour of the leaves starting to change and crops reaching their harvest point, Vancouver is ready for the fall season. Since next Friday is the first day of Autumn, why not reminisce on everything that happened this past summer in BC.

Honda Celebration of Lights

Watching the magnificent firework displays along Vancouver’s beaches is an annual tradition. This year’s competitors were South Korea, Sweden and South Africa. Each created an unbelievable combination of fireworks, related to the theme of ‘Love’. However, the overall winner of both the Judges’ and the People’s Choice was South Korea.

Credit: geebird11 via Instagram

Pride Parade

Another annual event in the summer is the Vancouver Pride Parade, which brings together people from all over the city. Again this year, the parade was a success, and we even received a visit from our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

Wildfires

This year, we saw another season of the devastation that can be caused by wildfires. At one point, there were approximately 600 fires burning across BC at the same time. As a result, the province entered a state of emergency and also required the presence of the Canadian Armed Forces. Only within the last 2 weeks have the fires begun to lessen; however, the damage will have a lasting effect on our beautiful province. Below is a photo of one of our tour guides on the lake during mid-summer, surrounded by smoke. 

Credit: Stephen Elgar

PNE

Caramel apples covered with crickets, KitKat fries, and all sorts of delicious foods were present at this year’s Pacific National Exhibition. Also, new this year to the Fair, was the jousting show, Knights of Valour. Viewers could watch real and heartstopping, unchoreographed matches between professional jousters. Huzzah!

Credit: Tourism Vancouver/PNE

Cloudraker Skybridge 

A new suspension bridge opened up this past summer, and the Cloudraker Skybridge offers some of the best views in Whistler. Were you daring enough to walk 140 metres across the Whistler Bowl from the Peak to the West Ridge?

Vancouver Art Gallery

This summer, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s feature exhibit felt like it was made for a Canadian. The exhibit, called Cabin Fever, showcases the culture behind the architecture of a typical cabin in North America.

Royal BC Museum

In Victoria, the new exhibit at the Royal BC Museum, Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs, had everyone talking. The displays feature ancient artifacts and visitors had the opportunity to explore the mysteries of the Eqyptian civilization. Check out one of our previous blog posts for a complete review of the exhibit. Fortunately, visitors have until December to check out the displays for themselves.

Vallea Lumina

Another new attraction to open up in Whistler this summer was the multimedia night walk called Vallea Lumina. The story focuses on the tale of two long-lost hikers who stumble into a world of enchantment and light amongst the forgotten legends of Whistler.

Bard on the Beach

Hopefully, everyone had the chance to brush up on their Shakespeare with Bard on the Beach. This summer’s shows included As You Like It, Macbeth, Time in Athens, and Lysistrata.

Credit: Stephen Elgar

 

We wish we could sit and go over everything that happened this summer, but hopefully, our blog brings back a few recent memories. Was there anything you experienced this summer that should be on this list? Share it with us on social media!

Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs – Exhibit Review

Credit: Royal BC Museum

Ancient Egypt has always enthralled the world with its mysteries. So when the Royal BC Museum announced its latest feature exhibit, it was easy to see why people began planning their next trip to Victoria. Given the enchanting title of, “Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs,” visitors have the chance to explore the wonders of the ancient Egyptian civilization.

Exhibits of this grandeur are usually something you’d find in the halls of European museums. In particular, many people are excited about the fact that this exhibit offers an in-depth look into the entirety of the Egyptian culture.

Credit: Royal BC Museum

The overall verdict? Whether you’re an amateur archaeologist or someone looking for something to do this weekend, this exhibit should be on everyone’s must-see list.

The exhibit showcases history ranging from the Predynastic Era (5000-3000 BC) to the Greco-Roman Period (333 BC – 313 AD). Within these periods, the displays are then divided into sections illustrating aspects of average life for the Egyptian people. These sections include:

  • Landscape/Climate
  • Gods/Goddesses/Mythology
  • Pharaohs
  • The Citizens/ Private Life/Hieroglyphics
  • Architecture/Sacred Temples
  • Beauty
  • Funerals and the Afterlife

Many of the visitors seemed to favour the sections that focused on the mythology, the pharaohs, and the funeral preparations. That might be Hollywood’s influence since the movies tend to focus on these aspects, but it was interesting to see fact separated from fantasy.

Credit: Royal BC Museum

Here you get to see the complexities of a culture where most everyday things symbolized something far grander. Animals were not only food but sacred pets or the symbols of gods. The pharaohs were labelled the divine rulers of Earth, and the middlemen between the gods and people. The gods themselves were found in every part of life and held supreme power.

Each area of the museum was lined with dozens of artifacts, some of which are thousands of years old. Various interactive elements also exist, making this exhibit great for kids. The presentation of the content wasn’t overly text-heavy and offered lots of visuals. It was also easy to follow along with the story being told, as guests aren’t lost within a sea of technical terms and historical figures.

Credit: Royal BC Museum

Reading between the lines, however, the exhibit’s sections each uniquely address a few overarching topics. The themes of power, prosperity, and the struggle for eternal life follow guests throughout their visit. As a result, you leave the museum with a sense of curiosity regarding the secrets of the pharaohs and how history really came to be as it’s known today.

Credit: Royal BC Museum

To summarize my recent visit, I was left in awe of the incredible achievements of the ancient Egyptians. The very first sign you see once you’ve entered the exhibit perfectly describes what a guest will experience, with the statement, “Let’s Travel Back in Time.”

Credit: Royal BC Museum

Entrance to the exhibit is available as an additional purchase on our Victoria & Butchart Gardens Tour. See our Royal BC Museum Page for more information.

Afternoon Tea in Vancouver

Credit: Neverland Tea Salon

Afternoon tea has always been a fun way to experience an iconic British tradition. With a variety of teas and unique locations available, many different hotels, cafes, and salons offer their own versions of this popular activity. Additionally, it’s a social opportunity that doesn’t leave you feeling rushed.

I think that’s part of the reason why afternoon tea is so popular; people can sit and relax, taking their time sampling the different menu items provided, while enjoying the company of others. Most afternoon teas provide an atmosphere of elegance and can be enjoyed year round, which is great in a place like Vancouver, which may or may not have less than spectacular weather sometimes!

In our post today I am going to list some popular places to enjoy afternoon tea; however, this list is not limited to just downtown Vancouver. Places like Victoria are well-known for having a strong British influence, and there are many places worth visiting in the surrounding areas of Vancouver. Before we start the list though, here are a few things you should note.

The terms ‘high tea’ and ‘afternoon tea’ are commonly used together but are actually different things. Designed for commoners during the 1700s, high tea was a hearty meal consisting of meats and vegetables, consumed after the workday.  Afternoon tea, on the other hand, originated in the 1800s, courtesy of Anne Russell, the Duchess of Bedford, who often felt hungry around mid-afternoon and would ask for tea and a snack to be prepared for her. Quickly, this became a trend and many amongst the higher classes began taking part. This is also the version which is accompanied by both smaller savoury and sweet dishes.

Thus, afternoon tea is what this post will be focusing on. Since there is more to the experience than just tea and food, the places on this list will also be judged on their atmosphere, value, and unique features. Accompanying each location will be the cost per adult (pre-tax and not including gratuity), as of July 2018.

Fairmont Empress Hotel

This iconic hotel in B.C.’s capital city of Victoria has mastered authentic Victorian elegance with modern sophistication. The Fairmont Empress has served more than 80,000 guests annually and uses bone china from England to dish out a locally made menu with a selection of teas that are ethically and sustainably sourced, as well as offering their own famous chocolate cake. Surrounded by elegance and with the finest service, you will find yourself travelling back through time when dining in their historic lobby.

Cost Per Adult: $78

Credit: Tourism Victoria

 

Notch 8

The Notch 8 restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is famous for their themed afternoon teas. With a fine attention to detail, guests enjoy a selection of pastries with edible decorations, unique platters and dishware that match the theme. Over the years, this restaurant has had themes ranging from the Brothers Grimm to old Hollywood. Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Notch 8 offers guests a different experience every time they visit.

Cost Per Adult: $65

Credit: ICE Portal, Inc./Accor Hotels

Neverland Tea Salon

The Neverland Tea Salon is one of the newer locations on this list and offers a whimsical approach to afternoon tea. Enjoy bottomless teapots and choose from any of their four different afternoon tea menus. With a children’s tea option, reviewers have commented that the Neverland Tea Salon is perfect for younger guests. Dietary restrictions cause no issue here, as vegetarian and gluten-free options are readily available. Enjoy desserts and sandwiches that are as cute as the atmosphere at this spot.

Cost Per Adult: $38           

Credit: Neverland Tea Salon

                                                                                                                                   

Adonia Tea House

Adonia Tea House is perfect if you are looking for a vintage atmosphere for your afternoon tea. This quaint shop tucked away in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood advertises a relaxed setting, perfect for anyone wanting an afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of life. Keeping up with the trends set by the hotels, Adonia promotes their authentic experience with fresh and local ingredients. You can also enjoy their tasty sweets and savoury items to go with their catering services. Don’t forget to purchase some tea from their selection of products available for sale.

Cost per Adult: $33

Credit: Adonia Tea House

 

Pâttisserie Für Elise

Located inside an authentic heritage home in Vancouver, this charming location is a hidden gem worth exploring. Pâttisserie Für Elise specializes in traditional afternoon tea, but with French desserts. Located in Yaletown, this shop is a charming escape from the rush of the downtown core. Enjoy their desserts to go, and the Victorian feel while sampling your macarons.

Cost Per Adult: $30

Credit: Claudia Lucía via Instagram

 

For those who are afternoon tea experts, or those looking for their first experience hopefully this post has you already making plans to try some of the places we’ve listed. If we missed a place that you think should have made the list then let us know!

 

 

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