From our calendar to yours comes this carefully considered agenda of cool things we are doing, wishing we could do, or conspiring to do in Vancouver from now until the end of the month. Note that you can now get the Scout List – with a few extra pieces of intel included – sent to your inbox by signing up for your subscription in the sidebar.
YEAR OF THE RABBIT | Get yourself to Chinatown for the 49th Chinese New Year parade on Sunday (January 22). Expect to be vying for viewing space with an estimated 100,000+ other enthusiastic parade goers – this Vancouver tradition has been on hold for the past two years, and excitement is high in anticipation of its return! The parade starts at 11am at the Millennium Gate on Pender and travels east along Pender. It then turns south onto Gore and west onto Keefer before ending at Keefer and Abbott. The parade usually lasts a few hours, so we suggest you take a hot drink to keep your hands warm and wear a nice thick red (a lucky colour) sweater. Find out more.
CELEBRATE | Make the most of the New Year festivities by extending your Chinatown stay to explore Chinatown’s Classical Chinese Gardens (11am to 4pm). Expect hands-on Year Of The Rabbit activities and demonstrations, as well as music, a tea ceremony, traditional calligraphy demonstrations, fortune tellings, a wishing tree and many, many dumplings! Find out more.
CONNECT | Chinese New Year celebration might officially ‘start’ on Saturday, January 21, but they keep going until the first week of February – a perfect excuse to make as many dates to dine out with friends as possible. Seats are going fast, but we suggest you factor Bao Bei into your plans. Bao Bei is offering a celebratory 6-course menu that covers all the CNY bases: noodles for longevity, dumplings for wealth, pork belly for prosperity, and fish for bounty (choose the whole menu for $108 per person or order a la carte) but be forewarned: limited quantities of each dish will be available per night (plus, seatings for these dinners are sought after, and reservations are moving quickly) so dial up your pals and figure out which date works for you sooner than later. Enter the Year of the Rabbit with a happy heart and a full belly. Reserve here.
FEAST | Don’t want to get out of your PJs, but still want to celebrate? Chefs Justin Cheung and Ernest Lee, of Potluck Hawker Eatery have lined up an eight course meal inspired by South-East Asian rituals – some stand-outs for us include: Oyster Mushroom Wings, salted egg yolk, curry leaf cereal; Truffled Hainanese Chicken, ginger, scallion; and Whole Lobster Pad Thai, rice noodle cooked in premium lobster stock, tamarind, peanuts – plus an entire jug of Thai tea. The special spread is designed to fill four-to-six bellies happily and is available to preorder for pickup this weekend (Jan. 21-22) only. Don’t have enough people to fill your table last minute? Extending your Lunar celebration by enjoying leftovers on a lazy Sunday/busy Monday is also an option. Get your order in now.
FANCY | Notch8 Restaurant at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has a sweet Lunar New Year afternoon tea that features items such as Hainan Chicken, pork dumplings, prawn toast, Red Bean Macarons, Egg Custard Tart and Red Envelopes with gold chocolate coins. Tea is on Thursday – Sunday with various reservable sittings at 11am, 1pm, 3pm. Not inclusive of tax or gratuity, tea will run you $69 per adult, $34.5 per child (ages 12 and under). Bonus: you can also order Afternoon Tea to go! Find out more.
SETHFEST | Let’s face it: January is often a little bleak. If the bare trees, soggy ground and early sunset have you feeling bummed, lighten things up with a good belly laugh. Not feeling you have the material to do it on your own? You’re in luck: The Hollywood Theatre has you sorted out January 23-26 with Seth Fest. Celebrating the films of local legend and creative genius Seth Rogen, the Hollywood is screening Neighbours, Superbad, Pineapple Express and This is The End Monday to Thursday respectively. Shows start at 7; laughing starts at 7:01. Get into it.
CREATE | Still trying to scratch the New Year itch by adding a new skill to your 2023 repertoire? Or just looking to fill some “downtime” getting your hands dirty while having fun and getting your butt out of the house? Either way, there’s a good chance that THIS Gallery can help sort you out with their stacked calendar of winter workshops, January 19th through March 19th. The diverse roster of topics so far range from painting, figure drawing and gelli-plating (basically a simpler version of screenprinting) to making new threads out of old denim and meditatively hand-stitching portals. THIS Gallery also hosts monthly ‘Quaff and Create’ nights every third Thursday (kicking off tonight, January 19th, 6-9pm), where participants can enjoy music and a drink (included in the price of registration) along with some wild card elements while art-making. Find out more.
PuSh | The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is taking over stages and unlikely venues around the city right now… with over twenty performances to check out, it’s a good idea to peruse the PuSh calendar to develop a plan. Our pick? The Café. From PuSh: “Here is an invitation to be a voyeur, to eavesdrop on private conversations, to witness intimate relationships up close and personal. The Café invites audiences to explore seven vignettes by nine playwrights of various ethnicities, ages, beliefs, sexual orientations and gender identities. With content performed in various languages, The Café is a day-in-the-life exploration of the cultural mosaic in a Vancouver coffee shop. Audience members are free to stay at one table and watch a scene reach its conclusion, but they can also take a journey around the coffee shop and experience other scenes–it’s a theatrical Choose Your Own Adventure.” Find out more.
FINALLY | Livia owners Claire Lassam and Jordan Pires have been working towards opening their beautiful Commercial Drive restaurant evenings since they first opened doors in 2019. There have been spurts of dinner service (think antipasti, burrata and bread, housemade pasta, and most importantly, wine) but the open-close see-saw ride of pandemic restrictions made it difficult to be consistent…until now. Livia has just announced that they are now open and serving up meals meant for sharing with friends by candlelight every Thursday to Sunday. Count. Us. In.
100 AMIGOS | The 100 Amigos art show opens downtown next Friday, January 27th. If you haven’t seen one of these exhibitions before, here’s the premise: 100 artworks 100 artists, all working within the same 12″x12″ parameters, presented within the same space. From the organizers: “The collection aims to celebrate and uncover some of Vancouver’s most exciting visual artists from a full spectrum of disciplines. The artists are curated on skill and motive – not marketability – 100 Amigos provides artists the opportunity to create without bounds.” It’s been a while (about two years) since the last one. Show up next Friday night to enjoy the art and all the makings of a proper opening party, including swanky canapes, DJ sets and tequila. Find out more.
FRESH AIR | Take some time to get outside and appreciate the seaweed, shells, driftwood and beach glass at a local beach. Any beach will do. Can’t decide? Iona Beach Regional Park in Richmond (just north of the Vancouver International Airport) is a great go-to at this time of year, a beautiful stretch of sandy shoreline that spreads toward the sea at the mouth of the Fraser River. In addition to walking the beach (when the tide is out it goes on forever!) there’s also a breakwater to conquer. Breathe it in!