SCOUT LIST: 10 Things That You Should Absolutely Do Between Now & Next Week

December 31, 2013 

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by Michelle Sproule | The main objective of this website is to scout out and promote the things that make Vancouver such a sweet place to be. We do this with an emphasis on the city’s independent spirit to foster a sense of connectedness within and between our communities, and to introduce our readers to the people who grow and cook our food, play the raddest tunes in our better venues, create our most interesting art, and design everything from what we wear to the spaces we inhabit. The Scout List is our carefully considered, first rate agenda of super awesome things that we’re either doing, wishing that we could do, or conspiring to do this week. You can also check it out in the Globe & Mail, from our calendar to theirs…and yours!

POLAR BEAR SWIM | Some swear a freezing cold dunk in the Pacific Ocean is the best way to start a new year. It’s definitely invigorating, even if it’s just your big toe that makes it in. The level of energy coursing through the crowd alone can fuel weeks of seeming invincibility. Give it a try, or at least enjoy the spectacle. The Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club is one of the largest and oldest Polar Bear Clubs in the world (it kicked off with a handful of brave souls way back in 1920). On-site cash and non-perishable food donations to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank are encouraged. Always imaginative costumes and the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race are the highlights. It’s said that a few swigs of the good stuff and a backhand swipe across the lips can help supply the requisite courage (not that we encourage that sort of thing). Brrr.
Wed, Jan 1 | 2:30pm (Registration 12:30pm) | The icy shores of English Bay | DETAILS

BRUNCH | This is the week for brunch! This city used to be stuck in some seriously lame brunch doldrums, but things have improved tremendously over the last five years or so. From the decadent, refined, and different (Hawksworth, Wildebeest, Sun Sui Wah) to the reliable and old school (Medina, Deacon’s Corner), Vancouver now offers the full range. Take your time tucking in, and don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not OK to have a cocktail instead of coffee. Oh, and if “no more hollandaise” was one of your New Year’s resolutions, oops! Chin up.

REGISTER | So you’ve made yourself a promise to change a few things, cook more, take a photography class, get in shape – that sort of thing. When considering taking up a new activity, starting at your local community centre often makes the most sense. The Vancouver Parks Board operates 24 community centres at various locations throughout the city, so the likelihood of there being one in your neighbourhood is pretty high. One of the greatest things about your local Community Centre is how super economical it is. Expect a few other people to understand that and register for your yoga, martial arts, cooking class on the double. Get sorted today! DETAILS

WEST END COFFEE | If all has been going to plan, the highly anticipated Greenhorn Cafe should open in the West End on January 3rd. Check it out this Sunday morning with an appetite, The New York Times, and a cup of Moja coffee.
Opening Day is Jan. 3rd | 994 Nicola St. in the West End (at Nelson) | DETAILS

LUMINESCENCE | The term for a gathering of jellyfish is a “Smack”. Isn’t that a great word? Head down to the Vancouver Aquarium to catch the last of the Luminescence exhibition and be mesmerized by a smack (it doesn’t get tired) of 100 jellies as they float gracefully through special tanks with lighting installations designed to highlight their beauty. Also be amazed by an electric eel who will transfer its electricity to power the lights of a Christmas tree; learn about how deep sea fish create light in the darkest parts of the ocean; and, as always, make a stop at the Giant Pacific Octopus tank. Luminescence: A Celebration of Aquatic Light is showing daily between 9:30 and 5pm at the Vancouver Aquarium. Get hustling, because this exhibition is only up until January 22.
Now through Jan. 22 | 9:30-5pm | Vancouver Aquarium (845 Avison Way, Stanley Park) | DETAILS

GROUNDED | Coming down from a combination of excessive consumption and general holiday buzz can leave you feeling somewhat deflated, detached and not a little stunned. Get grounded by taking a walk in nature this week. The Stanley Park Seawall, Kits Beach and Jericho are all great city walks. The Pacific Spirit Park trails are restorative, too. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to go further afield, consider a wander through the pathways of the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Delta or hike out to Quarry Rock in Deep Cove. Although sunny skies are predicted for the weekend, January can be slightly soggy, so gumboots or otherwise sensible footwear will be a smart move.

DUDE | The Rio Theatre presents a late night screening of the Coen Brother’s The Big Lebowski this Friday. Not only is it a great flick, but showing up in film-related costume is always an awesome way to go (plus you’ll get $2 off at the door). Superbonus: White Russian cocktails will be available. Such a combination can only bring good things, right? So drag out your bath robes, Dieter suits and/or viking headgear and get yourself to the Rio. Props to the person who can pull off a wet ferret or a pee-stained rug. Get creative!
Fri, Jan. 3 | 11:30pm | Rio Theatre (1660 E Broadway) | $8 ($6 in film-related costume) | DETAILS

CREATE | Start off 2014 by getting creative. Vancouver-based artist Danielle Magee will be at Chinatown’s craft central, Blim, on Saturday to teach a Level 1 Screenprint Workshop. Sign up and you’ll learn how to burn screens using photo emulsion and the basics about water-based ink. You’ll also get to fiddle around with getting your chosen image on textiles. If you’ve been sitting on an original design or an image that you’d like to see on a t-shirt or tea towel, now is the time to make it happen! This class runs a hefty $75 but it includes an 8×10 screenburn of one image of your choice as well as up to 10 prints of your image, 3 color changes, AND a lifetime membership to Blim.
Sat, Jan 4 | 2–5pm | Blim (115 Pender St. E) | $75 | DETAILS

HEALTH | Kitsilano’s O5 Rare Tea Bar is a sleek-looking shop on West 4th that’s dedicated to the art of tea. Their passion is infectious and grounded in a deep understanding of and appreciation for the different types of tea, the places from whence they’ve come and the people doing all the growing. O5 also hosts workshops and tea-related events. Scoot into the shop on Sunday night, for example, and you’ll learn how to make natural probiotic packed kombucha in the comfort of your own home. The class will only set you back $10 and is a manageable one-hour in duration.
Sun, Jan 5 | 5pm | O5 Rare Tea Bar (2208 W. 4th) | $10 | DETAILS

GIG | The idea that slick Denver indie pop outfit Tennis will be on the road this early in the year is crazy! Most bands wait for things to start to thaw before booking shows. Maybe they just have lots of practice booting around the icy Rockies roads en route to the next gig. In any event, mark your brand new calendars with this show and make it your New Year’s resolution to get out to see more bands. Tennis offer the sharp hooks of bigger more acclaimed bands such as Grizzly Bear and Vampire Weekend and will definitely have to bring their a-game if they want to outshine local openers The Shilohs who round out the bill. (- Nic Bragg from The Zulu Report)
Mon, Jan 6 | Fortune Sound Club Project Space (147 E Pender St) | DETAILS

Check the Globe & Mail every Thursday for our Special Weekend Edition of the Scout List

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late-may-2009-169Michelle Sproule grew up in Kitsilano and attended University in Australia and the University of Victoria before receiving her graduate degree in Library Sciences from The University of Toronto. She lives in beautiful Strathcona 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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  • m

    You recommended a brunch restaurant in the 10 things to do this week that is closed for the next 2 weeks???
    Farmer’s Apprentice – Closed Jan. 1 – 13

  • Scout Magazine

    Too right, M. In our haste, we neglected due diligence. Thanks for saving the day.