From our calendar to yours comes this carefully considered agenda of things we are doing while self-isolating. Please note that you can now get the Scout List – with a few extra pieces of intel included – sent to your inbox every Thursday. Sign up for your subscription in the sidebar.
For over 10-years running, the whole point of this column has been to get Vancouverites off their asses and out the door to try new things and support cool people doing cool stuff. Alas, that’s not going to work so well under these current circumstances, so I’ve temporarily adapted it to focus on things you can do at home…
LISTEN | The latest Track & Food podcast has hosts Jamie Mah and Mickey Mcleod talking with restaurateur Brandon Grossutti of Pidgin about his new food delivery app, breaking the current food delivery model and mental health. And, if you’re digging listening to food-related conversations, you should also check out the recent chat between Chef Dave Gunawan (Ubuntu) and Polygon Gallery’s Director Reid Shier on The Polygon Podcast. Gunawan and Shier talk about art, food, and community.
FARMERS | While strict social distancing measures will be in place to encourage fresh food enthusiasts to “shop, not stop” it is nevertheless comforting to know that our farmers markets will start their season on schedule this weekend. Take a trip to Trout Lake or Riley Park on Saturday, or Kits on Sunday to fill up on spring goodies like stinging nettles, chives and lovely eggs from happy chickens as well as hearty root vegetables, fresh bread, dried fruits, sticky honey and other locally-grown goodies. Don’t expect to see food trucks, flowers, crafts or non-food nursery items available for purchase, but do expect lines. Can’t wait. Farmers are heroes and fresh fruits and vegetables are delicious! DETAILS
FIX | If you made any sort of resolution to use this isolation time to start or finish a home projects, but then realized that you didn’t have the requisite tools to seal the deal, you’re not alone. Buying power tools isn’t in everyone’s budget, so if you are keen on getting a project finished but still need those tools, you’ll be happy to learn that the good folks at Vancouver Tool Library are opening their doors this weekend. Social distancing measures will be in place. Find out more.
ART | Don’t let flattening the curve flatten your creativity. Need a jump start in to the world of art? Every Tuesday and Friday, the Vancouver Art Gallery connects with a guest from the local or international art communities to have a conversation about an art-related topics called “Art Connects”. The conversation is live streamed via the webinar platform on Zoom. This upcoming Tuesday (May 5), the Art Connects topic is “Preserving The Collection in Times of Crisis” and listeners are invited to submit questions | DETAILS
WATCH | In a pre-Covid world, this would be the week to plan which Doxa Film Festival screenings to scoop tickets to. Sadly, the annual celebration of documentaries had to be cancelled. To help you keep your brain sharp, the clever crew at Doxa reached out to their community to ask which documentary films and non-fiction podcasts were worth the watch/listen, and they’ve compiled a list here. Plan your documentary safari from home!
CELEBRATE | Tuesday brings with it a fantastic opportunity to get back in the saddle with the magical margarita and taco-filled holiday that Canadians love to adopt as their own: Cinco de Mayo. With a little luck, the sun will come out and you can sit outside with some Mexican take-out. We’d suggest ordering in advance from Chancho Tortilleria. The restaurant is offering a sweet-sounding meal kit for $55 that covers all the bases, including micheladas or margaritas. DETAILS
HEADS-UP | Mother’s Day is coming up. Don’t worry, you still have a week. But here is the thing: I’ve noticed restaurants, chocolate makers and florists encouraging pre-orders. It might be wise to heed those encouragements. Mom will appreciate the effort. For a list of restaurants offering take-out and make-at-home meals, have a look here.
DOCUMENT | Vancouver photography studio, The Good Side, has a timely series of portraits that’s starting to take shape. The ”Through The Window” portraits capture Vancouverites as photographed in social isolation. If you want to participate, you can read about the program and connect with Good Side here. Commissioned portraits are made available for download through an online gallery at a sliding scale – a session of this nature would typically run you somewhere in the neighbourhood of $250, but Good Side understands that many Vancouverites are experiencing financial hardships right now, thus the sliding scale. Even if you aren’t in the market for professional photos, we think this is a cool project documenting an uncool time and we hope to see it grow.
PLANT | With the world at a standstill, it can be extremely satisfying – even therapeutic – to watch something grow. This week, I’m focusing on tomatoes. To be clear, I don’t know the first thing about growing vegetables, so if you’re experienced in the garden, you might as well skip ahead to the next entry on the list right now as this one is for the noobs. As a novice gardener, I’ve been relying on the Old Farmer’s Almanac. I also tried making a mini greenhouse from a spent salad container and it’s working beautifully. Take a look at the tutorial on that project here. This is also the perfect time to plant garlic. It doesn’t take a lot, just a little dirt and some garlic cloves. It’s satisfying to watch something grow, and nice to have something to look forward to! Visit Victory Gardens for a straightforward how-to video: DETAILS
NATURE | Missing it? Us too. Did you know that The Vancouver Aquarium can help with a penguin cam, a sea otter cam, and a jelly cam? It’s not quite the same without the beach smells and the sound of waves, but it’s something! And trust me, that jelly cam is particularly soothing at night. DETAILS
WRITE A LETTER | Just think of how great would it be to open the mailbox to find a beautiful, hand-written postcard or letter from a friend right about now. Be thoughtful and write a few letters to friends. Not sure how to reach out when you’re not on social media? The Regional Assembly of Text can set you off on the right track via their helpful “Maintaining a Friendship During These Hard Times” application form set. “Sold in a set of 3 assorted yellow cards, these handy new applications will help you negotiate new ways to stay connected with your loved ones during these hard times.” Worth a look.
ORGANIZE | Need an activity? Sick of cleaning but not sure if you’re ready to graduate to a creative project? Why not transition from the former to the later by way of organizing things neatly? Empty junk drawers, forgotten boxes, dusty bookshelves or crowded closets and arrange contents in to interesting patterns on your floor, desk or kitchen table. Sound pointless? Give it a try, it might actually jumpstart your creativity. Need inspiration? Check out Things Organized Neatly. You can do this!
CLEAN | Chances are you’ve already checked this one off the list, but when you’re ready to do it again, we suggest you check out the David Suzuki Foundation’s “Queen Of Green” tips for home cleaning. DETAILS.
MAKE | There’s no time like the present to contribute to change. Start by making a mason bee home! If you have access to a little wood and a drill, check this useful post on how to build your own. No drill but access to bamboo? Here is a DIY tutorial. No drill, no bamboo? No excuses! Even cardboard will work.
CHERRY BLOSSOMS | It’s OK to go for a walk. In fact, it’s more than OK. It’s a good idea! Fresh air and nature will help keep you sane. Plus, it’s cherry blossom season and it would be a shame to miss it because you slipped down a Covid-19 induced Netflix binge hole. There could be a heavier pedestrian contingent than advisable in your usual places, but get out there. Walk around the block. These beautiful, varied, fluffy blossoms are a timely reminder that nothing lasts forever.
DREAM | To be honest, even though here is no real rush to get out of my current sweatpants and old sweater uniform right now – I’m not in a financial position to do a lot of shopping at the moment. But it doesn’t hurt to dream, and imagining a time when I can put on something other than sweats to meet a friend at a bar for a margarita is a lovely distraction. For me, spring fashion inspiration is coming in strong from the following local shops:
Did I miss your favourite local? Please let me know in the comments below!