The Vancouver Lexicon – our A-Z dictionary of local slang, myths, legends, and such – might appear to be complete, but we mean to keep adding to it every week. Today we included a further six new localisms that everyone should know about. They are Pho Bich Nga, Chocolate Fuck Ups, Skypig, Granville Shitshow, Diner En Blanc, and Lumberjoke.
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!
GIN + JUICE | Get yourself to Gastown’s Nouvelle Nouvelle this Thursday night for an evening inspired by Snoop Dog’s classic jam “Gin+Juice”. The shop isn’t just having a sale (20-40% off) of their very beautiful men’s and women’s clothing lines. They’ve also asked Odd Society bartender Matt Cooke to bring some gin over to their shop to make some drinks with fresh, cold-pressed juices from The Juice Truck. The whole shopping / cocktail experience will go down with an old school hip hop soundtrack and a room full of solid people. Plus, it could be an interesting experiment in whether or not the nutritional value of the cold pressed juice can cancel out the naughty gin. Because science is good, right?
Thu, July 24 | 6-10pm | Nouvelle Nouvelle (209 Abbott St.) | DETAILS
PRECISION | Chef and “knife-nerd” Kevin Kent is in town to entice you with fine quality Japanese knives. Knifewear opens at The Chinatown Experiment this week. Head down to 434 Columbia St. to handle, hear about and drool over a line-up of hundreds of knives from more than 40 of the best Japanese knife brands. Also on hand: a selection of supporting artifacts like chef-curated cookbooks, cutting boards, and kitchen gadgets. “Cooking is the new rock and roll,” Kent says. “And the new black leather pants are Japanese knives.” Heck yeah they are.
Now through July 27 | 11am – 7pm | 434 Columbia St. | DETAILS
RESTAURANT RUMBLE | The event of the month goes down this Wednesday. The charity boxing showdown organized by the Aprons for Gloves Boxing Association is pitting Vancouver’s bussers against its barbers and its cooks against its bartenders. It happens in two parts: “Undercard Fights” go down in the afternoon (3:30-6:30pm) followed by the Title Fights in the evening (7-10pm). At three 3-minute rounds per, Title Fights go down fast. Boxers go glove to glove without headgear or shirts and title belts are on the line. This event is sold out, but the resourceful enthusiast will be able to get hands on tickets through darker channels. Also, this event will also be live streamed at The Bottleneck on Granville Street.
Wed, July 23 | 3:30 & 7pm | SFU Woodward | 149 W. Hastings | Various $ | DETAILS
AFTER HOURS | How cool would it be to hang out at the Vancouver Aquarium after hours? No view-hogging children or toe-crunching strollers, just gentle darkness with the soothing sounds of water and jellyfish. This Wednesday night brings just such an opportunity: After Hours is an evening of engaging awesomeness set inside the Aquarium. Guests can enjoy wine, beer and a little scientific talk, a show about caring for Dolphins, a film, and a spin in the wet lab where they can touch invertebrates like sea stars and urchins. So civilized. Tickets are selling fast; try Craigslist or FB if you can’t score directly from the Aquarium.
Wed, July 23 | 6:30-10pm | Vancouver Aquarium | Stanley Park | $25 | DETAILS
GO GREEN | Earthsave Canada offers a free talk on the benefits of plant-based diets at Robson Square on Thursday night. If you’re interested in shifting your diet to include more plants think about attending to hear what physician, author, and speaker Michael Greger can tell you about the latest in plant-based nutrition and health research. This event is open to the public on a first come first serve basis.
Fri, July 25 | 7pm | UBC Robson Square (800 Robson St) | Free | DETAILS
MORBID CURIOUSITY | Stanley Park might be a serene aggregate of quiet forest paths with a inviting coastline, but like many beautiful things, it has a dark side. This weekend is your chance to get the scoop on some of the park’s shady past including murders, suicides, park cemeteries and burial places, treasure, shipwrecks, drownings, and what can only be described as mysterious incidences – if you’re in to that sort of thing.
Sat, July 26 | 1-3pm | Lost Lagoon Nature House | $10 | DETAILS
PICK-YOUR-OWN | It’s blueberry season! Farmers markets and local grocery stores are loaded with them, but picking your own is a fun summer activity. Head toward Ladner/Delta and out to Westham Island (directions). Once you cross the wooden planked bridge to the soft roads lined by long grass and foxgloves, you’ll find fantastic u-pick berry farms and roadside egg and vegetable stands. Take your own buckets for easy post-picking transportation.
Emma Lea Farms | Daily 10am – 6pm | 2727 Westham Island Rd. (Ladner) | DETAILS
PRIDE | Vancouver Pride is gearing up. This weekend watch out for the Pride Walk & Run (starting AND finishing at Brockton Oval in Stanley Park with disco water stations in between) as well as Pride picnic (a family friendly event that will involve all manner of games like volleyball, tug-of-war, watermelon eating and a high-heel shoe toss). The main event – Pride Parade – goes down next Sunday, but between now and then there are numerous events to take in.
Now through Sun, August 3 | Various times and locations | DETAILS
FIREWORKS | Keep in mind that Celebration of Light fireworks (aka Stab Night) start this week (Saturday). First to represent their country with pyrotechnic expression is the United Sates (July 26), followed by France (July 30), and finally, Japan (August 2nd). Plan accordingly, and for crying out loud, don’t try to drive through the West End while the festivities are going down. Also, no knives, please. For serious.
Sat, July 26, 30, August 2 | 10am | English Bay | Free | DETAILS
ROAD TRIP | Wine Country is something pretty right now. If you can slip away for a weekend, consider heading to the stunning Similkameen Valley for an al fresco dinner in a vineyard that will capture everything that’s magical about summer. Think warm air, beautiful light, amazing food, fine conversation, and phenomenal wine. The Orofino 1.6 Mile Dinner offers a five course meal utilizing ingredients gathered from farmers and artisan producers from within a 1.6 mile radius of the Similkameen’s charming Orofino Winery. Preparing the meal will be Cameron Smith and Dana Ewart from Joy Road Catering and Gold Medal Plate-winning Chef Mark Filatow of Waterfront Wines. Dinner starts with bubbly and canapés at 5:30pm. Contact 250-499-0068 or admin [at] orofinovineyards.com to make your reservations.
Sat, July. 26 | 5:30 | Orofino Strawbale Winery | Cawston, BC | $150 pp | 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.
by Andrew Morrison | We broke the news of Chambar’s coming expansion back in October. The Belgian-Moroccan eatery – one of my personal favourites since it opened 10 years ago on Beatty Street – is only moving next door…
The new restaurant will be roughly twice the size of the current one, with about 270 seats between two levels, a 50 seat patio, and private rooms that can fit 20 – 80 people. There are lots of opportunities for new design motifs to fit in with the old, but I suspect it will look very similar to the original. Yes, in addition to the branding, relaxed vibe, deep drinks programs, and casual flirtations with fine dining, much of its furniture will also be making the move, which is great news because who doesn’t love the original tables, couches, banquettes and button-ed up red booths? ”The layout will be just like the old Chambar,” Karri explains, pointing out how the front will be the lounge and bar area that narrows at the waist to open up into a dining room. “The new place has brick and beams, too,” she adds, referring to the core aesthetic of the original. One big change is that the wall that divides the patio from the interior will be glass (said patio will also have its all-day sunshine filtered by young trees – sounds awesome). Also making the move will be the staff, though they’ll definitely be needing to hire a lot more people considering the breadth of their expansion.
30 more people, to be exact. They’ll need them, too, as the place is huge. I went on a tour with co-owner Karri Schuermans today and while it was clear that they still have a ways to go if they’re to meet their revised target opening date of the first week of August, most of what’s left to do is cosmetic. Most of the heavy lifting appeared to be done. As you can see from the shots below, it does resemble the layout of the original Chambar. The only obvious departures are the sprawling patio (which I expect will be pretty magical), the stairs that lead down to the massive kitchens and private room, the rooftop deck for further private functions (killer views from up there), the sound proofing at the entrance to the rear dining room, and the introduction of a new colour to the Chambar fold: a tealish green (evidenced on the wall section by the door and wave-like panel that spills across the ceiling above the bar).
Owner/chef Nico Schuermans menus are also taking shape. He’ll be keeping plenty of the Cafe Medina (also moving) originals – which he developed in the first place – for breakfast service (fricassee, etc), while lunch and dinner will see classic mainstays like the lamb tagine and the moules frites joined by about 20 small plates, which are still in development. I don’t know how they could possibly improve on the drinks side of things, but they’re aiming to make life easier for the bar staff. The 22 seat bar is purpose-built for ease and efficiency (wells and rails galore), and the wines are going to be laid resplendent on racks inside a great big temperature-controlled walk-in box of glass just off the dining room. It all looks fantastic, and it’s incredibly comforting that they’re a known entity with a pretty kickass track record of doing good things. I mean, what’s not to love about this move? Chambar + patio? Yes, please! Chambar + breakfast? Absolutely! Chambar + roof? Let’s go!
You, Scout reader, have good taste. We’ve always known this, but we don’t often take advantage of it. This new feature changes that. From here on in, we want your help in refining our HOODS MAP so that we can keep steering locals and visitors alike to the best of our place in the world. There are five different geo-specific questions that we need answers to this month. We’ve done the initial curatorial leg-work of narrowing down the options to a shortlist, but we need you to finish the job.
VOTE for your pick (and view results) on our OKANAGAN page.
VOTE for your pick (and view results) on our ISLANDS page.
by Nic Bragg | From Kitsilano’s Zulu Records, we once again present our monthly Scout feature, the Zulu Report. Within, you’ll find The Track – the song on heavy rotation in the shop this week; The Playlist – our selection of videos; The Gig – the “must-see show”; and The Glance – which details the best gigs on the immediate horizon. From our ears to yours, enjoy… Read more
by Stevie Wilson & Andrew Morrison | The Sun Tower at the corner of West Pender and Beatty Streets is one of Vancouver’s most recognizable landmarks, particularly due to its eye-catching, mint-coloured dome that’s visible from nearly everywhere in the city. However, despite the building’s iconic status (and its magnetic tourist’s photography), it’s not too often that hear from anyone who’s actually been inside the dome or, better still, atop the cupola, so we decided to take a look.
Keep in mind that it wasn’t easy. The dome is impossible to gain access to if you don’t have the building managers on your side. It took plenty of correspondence and explanation of benign intent on Scout’s part to convince the keymasters that we were there by virtue of sincere curiosity and true affection for the building’s architecture and history. In the end, our foot in the door came last month when Scout was invited to a Vancouver Heritage Foundation event. One thing (begging) led to another (pleading), and eventually a tour was arranged in good humour, for which we will remain eternally grateful. Take a look…
To gain access to the dome, one most first get to the 17th floor, up a winding staircase made of marble and through a locked door. The interior is a bit of a shock at first. There are no frescoes, sculptured metopes or decorative flourishes of any kind at all, which is a truth that came rudely, really, as one half expects the gorgeous thing to be filled to the knees with treasure. But it’s completely bare and unadorned save for spidery support beams in yellow painted steel that have been bolted above a noisy blue machine that operates the building’s elevators. It was all very industrial, which is to say a little deflating of the imagination.
And yet it clearly wasn’t without beauty. The dome is lit by a ring of oculi (the fancy name for circular windows). These look over the city from the cardinal points, and gazing out of them was a real trip. Though the buildings that surround it are mostly new (especially to the west and south), the windows – recessed and antique as they are – soften their glaring modernity like a Hipstamatic filter. But the real view is up even higher. A sketchy, steel-framed platform leads to a ladder that rises to a trap door in the ceiling. Once unbolted, this leads to the cupola, or the open-air nipple that stands erect at the dome’s apex. Here, the building’s big fib is revealed. The green-tinge on the dome’s exterior isn’t real. It’s a faux patina design that’s been painted to mimic oxidized copper. Alas, the view – so raw and exposed – more than makes up for it.
The history of the Beaux-Arts building is readily found and filled with fantastic details, but here’s a brief run-down: Noted Canadian architect William Tuff Whiteway (of Woodwards fame) was commissioned to design the structure in 1911-12 by the now-infamous Vancouver mayor L.D. Taylor. It began as the offices for Taylor’s newspaper company, The Vancouver World, before the publication folded and the building was passed to Bekin’s, the Seattle-based storage and moving company. At the time of its completion, the building was recognized as the tallest (commercial) structure in the British Empire – a distinction that previously belonged to the nearby Dominion Building. In 1937, the Vancouver Sun took over the building, renamed it, installed a massive red neon sign across the top, and continued operations until 1965 when it relocated to 2250 Granville Street.
Unlike the exterior of the tower – which still features Charles Marega’s controversial “nine maidens” perched at the 8th floor, bare breasts and all – the interior has changed much over the years. In 2011 it was redeveloped by Allied Properties as creative spaces, though several historic features are still on display on the top floors, including tile work, marble staircases, single-paned fenestration, radiators, and beautiful door handles. Inside and out, there’s no other building like it. Take a look…
by Andrew Morrison | Danny Fazio and Thomas Anselmi of Arrival Agency invited me to take a look at how things were going at The Fox Cabaret yesterday. The space has come a long way since the mess left behind by the building’s previous long-term tenant, The Fox Cinema. The Fox, of course, was an old school porn theatre, and well documented as a grossed-out, fap-fest house of carnal horrors. Though it was an institution of sorts and very much part of the Main streetscape, screening 35mm adult films throughout the 1980′s and 1990′s, and well beyond 2003 when it switched over to DVD format. You can click here to learn more about the theatre and its 2010 end while empathetically lamenting the loss for commuting masturbators from across the Lower Mainland, but I don’t think it has been missed by that many people in the neighbourhood.
So what is The Fox Cabaret? I think we’re supposed to think of it as another “cultural compound”, the second coming of The Waldorf, which was sacrificed to false real estate idols last year. It’ll be operated by the same crew as before – led by Arrival founders Thomas Anselmi and Ernesto Gomez with partners Rachel Zottenberg and David Duprey (see also The Emerald, Rickshaw, The Narrow) – so I trust that we can expect similar programming as before. If you require a refresher, these guys arranged for The Cheaper Show, the East Side Culture Crawl, the New Forms Festival, the Polaris Music Prize, the Presentation House Gallery, the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Vancouver International Film Festival to hold events at The Waldorf, and for Black Mountain, Japandroids, Douglas Coupland, Rodney Graham, Grimes, Michael Turner, and Paul Wong to headline evenings as well. In addition to the great gigs and events that I feel confident in anticipating, I know that Music On Main will be doing some of the programming, and that comedy group The Sunday Service is set to become an entertaining fixture. Diversity for the win.
Clearly, Mount Pleasant’s cultural landscape is about to get a big shot in the arm. When The Fox opens, it will offer a cavernous space (with all the theatre seats gone) for 190 people. An upper balcony will have room for another 25 or so, and then an upstairs bar will seat another 50 when it opens later – possibly as soon as April – in what used to be the theatre’s old projector room (check out the disco ball, plucked from the destruction of Richards On Richards). The bar operations are going to be the province of Kevin Brownlee, who also works the wood at South Granville’s storied West Restaurant. The hours will be in the evenings until midnight on weekdays and 1am on weekends, with those being extended to 1am and 2am respectively after six months. There will be a food component, but it will basic – snacks only.
The Fox Cabaret is on track to open for its first events next weekend. Get your sneak peek below…