5 Reasons To Love March In Vancouver

February 28, 2009.

By this point in the year, Vancouverites, as accustom to rain as we are, are ready for a bit of a flippin‘ break from the stuff. But it won’t happen in March. Statistically speaking, March will bring approximately the same levels of rain as January and February did. The longer the winter lasts, the more critical it becomes to factor wine in to your survival plan. Only, get out of the house….

Time Change

The convention of advancing clocks so that late afternoon and early evenings have more light (known as Daylight Saving) was first conceived by successful English developer and man of leisure, William Willett. It seems Willett was so incensed that golf games were cut short with dusk coming too early that he took it upon himself to publish and circulate to Parliament a pamphlet entitled The Waste of Daylight (1907). Perhaps in part due to his original scheme to adjust clocks in twenty minute increments over a period of three weeks (wha?), Willet was initially met with ridicule. Undaunted, Willett continued to fight for Daylight Saving until his death. It wasn’t until 1916 (the year after he died) that the Daylight Saving Bill was passed in his native England.

Daylight Saving is sometimes (rather generously, in my opinion) referred to as Summer time. As you’re no doubt well aware, Vancouver in mid-March is far from ‘summer time’, but we all sincerely appreciate the momentous point on the calendar when we can at least begin to remember that the warmth of summer is on its way, however much it decides to take its sweet, freakin’ time with it. Thankfully, that momentous point is just around the corner. Use your extra daylight to walk the seawall, have a glass of wine on a patio (they will pop open before you know it), or if you’re in to that sort of thing, toast the 19th hole in tribute to Mr. Willett. Remember, turn your clocks forward by one hour on Sunday, March 8th.

MOA Re-opens

The stunning museum Museum of Anthropology (designed by architect Arthur Erickson) has been closed for a good long spell of six months. They’ve been busily renovating, and this month the doors will re-open to the public. Time to get re-acquainted with one of Vancouver’s most tranquil cultural facilities.

Although this re-opening is absolutely worth celebrating, it is only partial. The Bill Reid Rotunda and the Ames Theatre are due for completion in late Spring and the MOA Café is not scheduled to open until the Fall. The super huge extra final MOA re-launch is scheduled for January 2010.

This months opening will feature: TATAU: Samoan Tattooing and Global Culture exhibition; a panel installation called “‘ehhwe’p syuth” (To Share History) designed by Coast Salish artist John Marston; specially-commissioned Musqueam artworks installed in the new MOA Welcome Plaza; and an expanded Museum Shop.

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms are thought to be a sign of good fortune and an emblem of love. They represent Spring and are “an enduring metaphor for the fleeting nature of life“. Vancouver is sprinkled with thousands of flowering cherry trees. There is nothing quite like that brief window of time between first bloom and the inevitable Spring storm that shakes the petals off to cover city streets like a delicate pink snowfall. It may not feel like it today, but that window is approaching.

The good folks at Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Society have arranged myriad ways for you to enjoy this spectacle of natural beauty. From Guided tours and ‘blossom watching’ classes to tea ceremonies, art shows, and haiku readings, they have it all.

Kick off the Cherry Blossom season at Van Dusen Botanical Gardens Sakura Days: Event highlights will include Bing Thom Architects’ exciting new interactive installation as well as “numerous cultural performances…including the traditional Tea Ceremony in the Glass House by Urasenke, a Premiere Sake Tasting Event, Taiko Drumming, Shakuhachi and Koto performances, and Cherry Artisan Crafts”.

March 28 -29 | 10am to 5pm | Van Dusen Botanical Gardens

Frock Swap

The second annual Frock Swap takes place at the end of the month. “Celebrate the art of sharing and bring your gently-worn items to The Frock Swap. Free clothes, refreshments, sustainable shopping and saying goodbye to your never-worn-agains”.

Danielle Ow & Marjolyn Ustaris of Once Loved Threads plan and execute this fantastic event. “What you send to closet purgatory might be heaven-sent for someone else,” they say. So why not start your spring cleaning by tackling the closet? Dig out all of those unworn bits (still in good shape) and join the fun. In order to participate you have to register before March 20th. So smack in the middle of a depressed economy, people are simultaneously expanding their closets while recycling them as well. How cool is that? I’m guessing this will be extremely popular this year, so you’ll probably want to get on board soon.

March 29 | 12-4 | Box Studios | Register now | Unclaimed garments donated to WISH Women’s Shelter

Wine Fest

The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival goes down in March. This world renowned event features “wine tastings and pairings, gourmet dinners and luncheons, educational seminars and culinary competitions…and, this year, will serve 1,600+ wines from over 183 wineries representing 15 countries at 61 events.” Phew.

I am sorry to report that many events are already sold out. You can forget about the luxury of sipping Burrowing Owl at Glowbal, savouring Cedar Creek at Bishop’s, or attending the Blasted Church Midnight Service. Nor are there tickets available to the “Great Big Kitchen Party for a Great Little Wine Region”, with Rob Feenie cooking to compliment pours from the likes of Blasted Church, Cedar Creek, Elephant Island, Osoyoos Larose, and Tinhorn Creek all in the fresh and open space at Gastown’s Inform Interiors. But enough of what you can’t have…

There are many events with availability. The two that stand out are the Osoyoos Larose Component & Vertical Tasting (a mere $150 at the Terminal City Club) and the Icons of British Columbia seminar with a winemaker panel moderated by the exceedingly charming and ever-engaging David Scholefield. I also like the sound of the Diva’s at the Met wine & food grazing event – it focuses on a series of wines made by women from around the world. Sandra Oldfield from Tinhorn Creek and Heidi Noble from JoieFarm will be there. For information about the Playhouse International Wine Festival (Wednesday, March 25 – Saturday March 28) visit their website at www.playhousewinefest.com

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Michelle Sproule grew up in Kitsilano and attended Bond University in Australia and the University of Victoria before receiving her graduate degree in Library Sciences from The University of Toronto. She lives by the beach in Vancouver and enjoys wandering aimlessly through the city’s shops and streets with her best friend – a beat up, sticky, grimy, and uncooperative camera.

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  • Kathryn

    “turn your clocks back by one hour on Sunday, March 8th.”

    That would make you two hours late to work that Monday. Remember: Spring Forward / Fall Back.

  • Michelle

    If anyone is late for work on Monday – feel free to blame it on me.
    Sorry. Fixed.

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