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, from our calendar to yours!
SOLSTICE | There’s nothing quite as magical as joining a procession of strangers meandering through streets with handmade lanterns on a chilly night. The Secret Lantern Society has once again organized a Winter Solstice Lantern Festival to fill the streets of Yaletown, Chinatown, and Granville Island in order to celebrate the Solstice. Get yourself out there and participate!
Wed, Dec 21 | Various Locations | DETAILS
FRESH AIR | Winter beaches have a lot to offer. Swimming isn’t advised, but cold water is clear and nice to stare into. Take some time out to appreciate the local seaweed, shells, rocks and beach glass. Climb around on cliffs (not to close to the edge) or sit on a log with a hot tea and contemplate how great it is to live in a city skirted by a shore that lets you touch down as you please with nature.
Any time | Free
LEARN SOMETHING | If you’re lucky enough to have a few days off this week, take an afternoon to explore one of the many Vancouver museums and galleries that you’ve been meaning to get to. Out at UBC, the Museum of Anthropology and the Beaty Biodiversity Museum offer beautiful architectural settings with carefully considered and compelling collections that will teach you lots about the cultural and ecological history of the region. The Museum of Vancouver is exhibiting All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors and Their Worlds and The Vancouver Art Gallery is showing Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures and Walker Evans: Depth of Field.
Museum of Anthropology | Dec 21 – 24 | 10am – 5pm (2:30pm Dec 24) | $16.75 | DETAILS
Beaty Biodiversity Museum (2212 Main Mall, UBC) | Dec, 21-24 | 10am to 5pm | $14 | DETAILS
Museum of Vancouver (1100 Chestnut St) | Dec 21-24: 10am-3pm | 10am-5pm | $15 | DETAILS
Vancouver Art Gallery (750 Hornby St) | Dec 21- 24 | 10am-5pm (4pm on 24th) | $24 | DETAILS
LIGHTS | Along with Tchaikovsky, Bing Crosby and repeated viewings of It’s A Wonderful Life, nothing catapults one into a mood for Christmas faster than walking – well-scarved, of course – around the magically transformed and twinkling gardens of VanDusen with friends and family. Easy access to freshly made waffles, hot chocolate and apple cider are tasty convincers.
Until Jan 2 | 4:30pm–9pm | VanDusen Botanical Garden (5251 Oak) | $18.50 (kids $14.25) | DETAILS
KICK BACK | Forget the hustle and pressure of the season and focus on the cheer. This is the ideal time of year for an idle cocktail in a proper hotel lounge. There’s something magical about a late afternoon drink in the grandness of an old hotel with it’s large expanses, high ceilings, luxurious furnishings, and all the international guests transporting you somewhere quite removed from real life. Try The Hotel Georgia, Bacchus at the Wedgewood Hotel or Yew at the Four Seasons (just follow the forest of decorated trees from the street entrance / lobby up to softly lit lounge for a holiday-themed cocktail).
MOVIES | ‘Tis the season for totally vegging out in a movie theatre. Obviously, you’re going to want to catch Star Wars Rogue One. After that, jumpstart your holiday spirit at The Rio Theatre with a screening of It’s a Wonderful Life AND Gremlins on Thursday night. or Die Hard on Friday (late show kicks off at 11:30pm).
Dec 22 + 23 | Various times | The Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway) | DETAILS
BASHO | Sorry to break the news, but Hastings-Sunrise is losing the adorable and consistently delicious Basho Cafe and this week is your last chance to get in for matcha, baked goods and a tuna tataki-topped rice bowl before doors shut on Friday. The good news is that Basho owners (who are ready to retire) have lined up some good people to take over with a similar concept – expect “Yama” to open early in 2017.
Now through Dec 23 | 9am-4pm | 2007 East Hastings | DETAILS
SKATE | Sitting on the couch watching the fire log channel is a noble holiday pursuit, but don’t let it go on for too long. Get up and get your blood flowing by hitting Robson Square for a lap or twelve around the ice rink. Keep in mind that one or two other people might be thinking the holidays would be a lovely time for a twirl, too, so plan ahead and expect a crowd. Bring your thermal mug, some nice thick gloves, and some cash (although skating is free, equipment rentals are ‘cash only’ – skates $4, helmets $2). Robson Square Ice Rink is open for business Christmas Eve (9am – 9pm); Christmas Day (12pm–5pm); Boxing Day (9am–9pm) and then back to regular hours on the weekend (9am-11pm).
7 days | Robson Square Ice Rink (800 Robson St @ Howe) | Free | DETAILS
LISTEN | The Carol Ships are out in full force touring the waters around the city for the last time on Wednesday night. Bundle up and hit a piece of shoreline to listen as angelic voices carry cheerful tunes across the cold water. Ships cruise under the Lions Gate Bridge at 7:20pm, through the waters off of English Bay (7:30pm) and over to the Cambie Street Bridge (8:20pm) and Science World (8:30pm) before swinging back to English Bay (9:10pm), RVYC at 9:20 and finishing with a final pass under the Lions Gate Bridge (10:05pm).
Fri Dec, 23 | 7:20-10:05pm | DETAILS
CIOPPINO’S | With all the crazy running around that the holiday season brings, it’s important to sit down and eat a restorative meal. Go big and treat yourself. Yaletown’s award-winning Cioppino’s only opens for lunch service once per year (now until Dec. 23rd). Checking out for a long lunch is a luxury that you’ve got to give yourself from time to time. Imagine, if you will, Linguini ai Porcini (wild mushrooms, garlic confit, savoury herbs) or free run chicken marinated with herbs and lemon from the rotisserie. Add a glass of wine and a tiramisu and you’ve got time well spent. Get in there!
Until Dec 23 | 1133 Hamilton St. | Reserve by calling 604-688-7466 | DETAILS
Michelle 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 streets with her best friend – a beat up, sticky, grimy (but faithful) camera.