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

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…

BUSSING NYE | The last day of 2012 is here. Whether you have plans to glam it up for a fancy dinner on the town or are meeting friends for a quiet get together at someone’s digs, it’s always wise to plan ahead. What about transport? Catching a taxi in Vancouver is hard enough on a Monday afternoon, and flagging one down on New Years Eve is a bleeding miracle. This year, anchor your back-up plan with public transit, which is free after 5pm. Have fun, and most importantly, stay safe!

POLAR BEAR SWIM | Some swear it’s the best way to start a new year, a freezing cold dunk in the Pacific Ocean. 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. The Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club is one of the largest and oldest Polar Bear Clubs in the world (this is the 93rd year). Costumes and the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race are the highlights. It’s said that a few swigs of serious can help supply the requisite courage (not that we encourage that sort of thing). Brrr. 
Tuesday, January 1 | 2:30pm (Registration begins at 12:30pm) | The icy shores of English Bay | DETAILS

FIRST FOOT | Heads up, it’s important to think about who will be your First-Footer this year. In Scottish folklore, the first-foot is the first person to enter your home on New Year’s Day and a bringer of good fortune for the year ahead. The first-foot is traditionally a tall, dark-haired male who brings with him coal (for warmth), a coin (for prosperity), some bread (may you keep your belly full), and a drink for good cheer. So rustle up a tall, dark haired male (no problem, right?) and get moving on an amazing 2013.

BRUNCH | This is the week for brunch. Tables were booked a while back, but if you’re one of those people who likes to see how things shake down on New Years Day before you commit to where you want to be at what time and with whom you’ll be eating your first meal of 2013, there are still options. Cafe Medina is on the top of our list. Don’t let the line-up intimidate, it moves quickly and the reward of sticking it out is worth it.
556 Beatty Street in Vancouver BC | 604-879-3114 | DETAILS

SNOWSHOE & FONDUE | This is a great week to get properly bundled up for a trek through the snowy trails of Cypress Mountain that ends with a cheese and chocolate fondue meal at Hollyburn Lodge. For $80 you get equipment rental, a guide and meal. Not bad! There’s nothing like a few hours in the snow followed by a cold beer and a warm meal; it’s one of the great privileges of living in Vancouver that we can fit this in as an after-work activity and still be home and tucked into bed well before midnight.
Fri & Sun (6pm-10pm | Mon to Thur – only available for groups of 8 or more) | $80 | DETAILS

DO THE NEW | As you’ve no doubt noticed from the poll on our front page, Vancouver welcomed plenty of new restaurants, bakeries, cafes and food shops in 2012. The four newest mentionables that are worth your attention are below. Happy hunting…

Finch’s | 501 East Georgia @ Jackson | Re-opening January 2nd.
Beaucoup Bakery | 2150 Fir St.) |
Pig & Mortar | 1529 West 6th Ave. |
The Pie Shoppe | 721 Gore St between Pender and Union | Tuesday – Saturday 11am – sell out |

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. It’s close and economical. Because a few other people are likely thinking the same way, you’ll want to register as soon as you can. Vancouver Parks and Rec offers everything from yoga and martial arts to cooking and art classes. Get sorted today!

BE BAD | The post-holiday week can be hard. The abrupt drop in the number of social engagements and sudden predominance of kale over carbs is a lot to adjust to. So don’t. Be bad and scoot over to the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral off Main St. for a ready-made dinner party. Load your plate up with old-school Ukrainian perogies (handmade by church volunteers) and sit at a crowded table full of other carb-loving jolly folks throwing their resolutions to the wind. A “regular dinner” consisting of 6 perogies, 2 cabbage rolls, sauerkraut or salad and Ukrainian sausage costs just $12. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, borscht served with rye bread is only $3.50.
Fri, January 4 | 5-8pm | Holy Trinity Ukrainian Cathedral | 154 E 10th | $3.50 – $15 | DETAILS

FIDDLING | 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, this weekend brings the perfect opportunity to make it happen. Vancouver-based textile artist Kaytee Kilgour will be at Chinatown’s craft central, Blim, on Saturday to teach an introductory level screenprint workshop. Sign up and learn how to burn screens using photo emulsion, be taught the basics about water-based ink, and fiddle around with getting your chosen image on textiles.
Sat, January 5 | 2–5pm | Blim (115 Pender St. E) | $65 | DETAILS

GROUNDED | A combination of excessive consumption and general holiday buzz can leave you feeling somewhat deflated, detached and not a little stunned. Get grounded by heading down to East Hastings’ Homesteaders Emporium to hear local farmer Karl Hann speak about his 17 years of working the soil. Hann (certified organic since 1996) will discuss ways to grow food on a small scale in an urban setting. He’ll also cover specifics like how to achieve soil nutrition as well as ways to deal with bugs, slugs and weeds.
Sun, January 6 | 11am-1pm | Homesteader’s Emporium (649 East Hastings St) | $5 suggested donation

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


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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