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…
FANCY | Fix your hair and wipe the mud from your boots, Kissa Tanto has joined the ranks of Vancouver take-out options this week. Bansan (‘Supper’) options will run you $48 per person, and they sound really tasty (this week: watercress and radish salad with Japanese curry dressing, Calabrian chili & miso chicken, Japanese potato salad and a Bergamot olive oil cake with rhubarb compote). DETAILS
BUDGIES | Speaking of additions to Vancouver take-out options this week, did you hear that Budgies Burrito’s has reopened? Perfect for the park or to take-home and hibernate. Hit the Kingsway institution for a from-scratch Tex-Veg-Mex burrito fix from noon-8pm Tuesday-Saturday. DETAILS
DRINK | We’d all prefer to saddle up to a bar to enjoy some ambience with our drinks, but while we wait for that luxury to return, the novelty of a take-away cocktail can tide us over. Not only can you work on your own bartending skills by tucking into a DIY kit, but you also get the benefit of seeing the unique creativity that individual bartenders and restaurants put into their libations. The Keefer Bar launched their program this week, and we already have our eye on their Tokyo Drift kit…and maybe a Pineapple Daiquiri kit too. DETAILS
EXPLORE | So what if the weather forecast is calling for rain for the majority of this long weekend, our Provincial Parks are once again open for day-use. Time to dig out your rain gear, pull on some sensible footwear and go for a hike! Responsible distancing and respectful exploring are key if we want our parks to stay open, so please do both. DETAILS
BIRDS | Missing nature but not sure if you’re ready for a full-on hike? British Columbia welcomes somewhere in the neighbourhood of 60 species of birds back from their winter migration during these warming months, so now is a great time to take up birding. Get started from a window, then venture out to your yard or local park. Try to isolate and identify one or two of the warbles and whistles in your area. Make a list to keep track of your sightings! Need some guidance? Check out the Birding in British Columbia website for everything from rare bird alerts to birding guides, forums and web cams. DETAILS
CULTURE | This year’s Indian Summer Festival will not include crowded concerts or intimate in-person art shows, but organizers have re-imagined it to include an impressive line-up of online musical performances and brain-expanding talks. Our picks: Sonic Tributes, a virtual concert that goes down on Saturday, May 16th (would pair nicely with take-out from Vij’s) and the May 23rd lecture featuring environmental activists Vandana Shiva & David Suzuki, who will talk about Covid-19 as a wake-up call. Check the Indian Summer website for full DETAILS.
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 are open this weekend. Take a trip to Trout Lake or Riley Park on Saturday, or Kits on Sunday to fill up on spring goodies like fiddleheads, chives and lovely eggs from happy chickens as well as leafy greens, hearty root vegetables, fresh bread, sticky honey and other locally-grown goodies. Expect a line, but don’t be discouraged by it. It moves quickly and fresh local food grown by cool as heck farmers will be worth the wait! 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!
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!