Things to do if you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious

I am not normally one to identify as an anxious person, you could say I’m a perfectionist or an overthinker but I had never classified myself as an anxious person until the pandemic. 

All the symptoms I would get of anxiety usually would correlate with something, a fight with a friend, if I somehow managed to be under prepared for something, or a presentation I was nervous for. and the symptoms would always go away as soon as that issue was dealt with. My heart would stop racing, my shallow breaths would steady themselves and my thoughts would return to a more relaxed state. 

But since the pandemic began I have noticed that my anxiety can become a constant state, especially if I have not socialized in a while (whether that be at work or having a Zoom call with friends) or if there is a switch up in my routine (such as going to from full time work where I’m going to my job, to full time school where I’m mainly at home and am dealing with a bundle of deadlines and a lack of creative inspiration). We live in this pressure cooker of a world right now and little things that are not a big deal in my regular day life seem amplified under a microscope.

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The pandemic I know has not just raised my anxiety but basically everyones. We are a part of this generation that needs to be in the know all the time and we have the answers to almost all questions at our fingertips. So the constant unknown (coupled with the lack of physical contact, the fear of getting sick by simply going to the grocery store and being stuck in the same place day in and day out) is making people sad and frustrated. The worst part is many people (including myself) thought that this would be over by now, that life would be normal again and mask wearing and social distancing would be a thing of the past. But with the end feeling far, far away (sometimes even non existent) it feels not only draining but anxiety inducing. 

It can all feel overwhelming especially when you have to still deal with your regular day to day obligations such as work or school. So I have tried to find some helpful tips to get through these days.

I am no expert on giving mental health advice and I understand that people with real prolonged mental health problems may not benefit from this list. This is just simply a list for those who don’t always struggle with stress and anxiety and some ideas to help get through it. 

Anyways, disclaimer aside, here are some things that have helped me relax when I am feeling overwhelmed with work, school and just the world at large, but still have to function. 

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Complete a Simple Task: I have gotten into the habit of making my bed every morning. A friend gave me this tip, saying that it helps them be more productive and it helps me as well. It tricks my brain into thinking I have accomplished something and makes me more prepared for the rest of the day. It also helps me to focus more because I can’t do work when I know my room is a mess. But completing a simple task doesn’t just apply to making your bed. It can be as small as making yourself a cup of coffee and breakfast or something more productive like sending an email you have been putting off. The goal is to make yourself feel like you have done something beneficial for your day that will make you feel accomplished. 

Take a Shower: This might just be me but my day to day problems seem so much more solvable in the shower. I think it is the combination of being away from distractions on your phone and that by taking a step back from your task, you are letting your brain relax more and come up with new ideas, a resolution or sparks your creativity. A shower can just make you feel better as well, you feel more refreshed and clean after. 

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Stay Off Social Media: Jumping off the shower point of being away from your phone, staying off of social media doing this when I start to feel overwhelmed is helpful in calming myself down and completing a task. It’s very easy to stay on your phone all day, to be sucked into a vortex of other people’s stories, pictures, captions and the list can go on, but I think one of the biggest anxiety inducing things is looking at what other people are accomplishing that you aren’t. It’s a daily practice for me to remind myself that social media is a highlight reel of everyone’s most joyous moments, and I

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love it normally for being just that, but sometimes it can rob you by comparing yourself to others. People you’re acquaintances with who are further ahead in life, getting married, running their own companies, or just having amazing jobs, instead of being happy for those people we tend to compare our own lives to theirs and it robs you of joy. By staying away from social media until you are in a better headspace, networks like Facebook and Instagram can make you spiral more. 

Take a Break: If something is overwhelming you sometimes you need more than a ten minute hot shower to get over it. There is no better time than in a pandemic to go easy on yourself, on your emotions and to give yourself a break. Establishing a few throughout your work day might be the thing that pushes you to complete your daily tasks without getting burnt out. Some ideas where you can stay off your phone is to go on a walk, read a book (a happier genre) and paint or colour. Adult colouring books were invented for a reason, it’s been proven that they help relieve stress and anxiety and also help with focus. 

These again are just some ideas, if you continue to struggle with prolonged anxiety reach out to a friend or family member for help.

Things to do this week online and in person

Have you reached a point where you are simply out of ideas on how to keep yourself entertained during these trying times? Well I feel your pain there is little to do and with the holiday season gone and over with there is simply not much to do aside from brace yourself for winter weather. But there are other things to do to keep yourself entertained and less on your phone. 

 Some people don’t want to leave their house unless it is absolutely essential, while some people are totally comfortable with going to restaurants and stores. Everyone is at a different comfort level and that’s okay as long as provincial guidelines are being abided by. For this list I have tried my best to create some options for everyone, from the super cautious to the risk takers. Just remember the importance of staying local right now with provincial guidelines in place. 

Here are some ideas on how you can spend this week whether that be at home and virtual or in real life. 

Take a Walk/ Hike: We have been blessed with relatively good weather for this time of year, with a mix of rainy and sunny days with that typical cool air letting us know it is winter time, even if we aren’t met with snow. But that could all be changing as soon as this weekend with snow warnings teasing us in parts of the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. So get out into that fresh air and sunshine while you still can, head to a local park or trail where you can take in the surroundings of nature and still not be too far from home. It is important right now that we are all taking the time to exercise and get fresh air as it has health benefits to our physical and mental health. If you are located in the Fraser Valley try a trail like Vedder Mountain Ridge in Chilliwack that is ranked easy to moderate or the Abby Grind in Abbotsford if you are looking for something really challenging. If you are located more into the city try Deer Lake in Burnaby for something more easy to moderate and  Grouse Grind in Vancouver for more of a challenge. Remember to keep socially distanced everyone!

Price: Free

Benefits: Copious 

 Glow Gardens Light Display: If you thought gorgeous light displays were for Christmas only then I’m here to share that this drive thru exhibit is on every weekend until the end of January at Milner Village Garden Center in Langley. If you did not have the chance to head over at Christmas time or  are just missing the holiday season and want to bask in the warm, festive glow a little bit longer than now is your chance. This event is the perfect excuse to get out of the house and yet not get out of your car, especially if the winter blues are starting to hit (it is Blue January today, or the most depressing day of the year). Tickets come with the option of adding mini donuts, or getting their famous LED light cup.

Price: 29.99 with add ons ranging from 2.49 to 4.49

Dates: January 21-23 , January 28-30 

Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival: An in person event that is still able to happen during COVID gives me a sense of normalcy in this crazy world right now. But this event is able to stay safe and socially distanced with its new modifications this year. This includes many venues doing  take-out only drinks and a virtual map that is available on their website. Hosted by 39 local restaurants, cafes and chocolatiers in the Vancouver area, this event is about bringing new customers to local restaurants they may not have known in an exciting way. Each vendor gets to put their own spin on hot chocolate, from  Honolulu Coffees dairy free guava puree and coconut milk hot chocolate to the Bench Bakehouses rosemary infused hot chocolate, there is a kind for everyone. Their website has the full list of vendors and their hot chocolate creations, click the link above and find your favourite match.

If you don’t live in Vancouver or are looking to participate at home then there are amazing and easy hot chocolate recipes out there that can be tailored to what you like. Prefer white hot chocolate or maybe you like yours with other flavours in it like a little heat or a hint of citrus, google some recipes or come up with your own creation at home. Most recipes require the basics cocoa, sugar, milk and the rest is up to you!

Price: Price of hot chocolate 

Dates: January 16- February 14

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Join a Virtual Event: Since the start of the pandemic the switch from at home and online spaces has made life carry on in some capacity, we can still go to work and get an education and we can still attend all these events just through our computers. It may not be as great as actually being there, but virtual concerts, exhibits and seminars are happening everyday. There are tons of local virtual events that are putting on display culture and education.

Check out this week an online and in person exhibit at the Port Moody Art Centre entitled “Are We Still Together?” by  Ghislain Brown-Kossi a French artist based here in Vancouver that highlights how we interact with each other, how relationships form and feelings of disconnect between diverse communities. 

Price: Free 

Date: January 14- February 15, Virtual Tour is on January 21 7:15 pm over Facebook live 

Another virtual event taking place this week is the Vancouver Short Film Festival that starts this weekend, highlighting BC based local film makers. Starting in 2005 this local event has been trying to connect young filmmakers with established professionals in the business. Composed of 61 films in total for a virtual all weekend event, it takes supporting local to a new level. 

Price: Ranges, starting at 7$ with the option to get the full weekend passes for 40$ 

Dates: January 22-24 

Enjoy this week friends!

Movies to watch if you’re experiencing wanderlust

If you are like me and have always had an innate desire to travel, this pandemic is making you feel built up with tensions of wanting to escape and have adventure. You might be experiencing symptoms of wanderlust, restlessness and just an overall sadness for the time you have lost and all those memories that will never be because there are “stay at home” orders, on top of being sad and frustrated from the state of the world. 

During this pandemic where we are sworn to our couches and have little of a life outside our computers and phones, it’s nice to get inspired about what we will be able to do one day (hopefully not too far into the future). 

With little to do during these stay at home orders I personally have found solace in the collection of movies I have that can transport me to a new country. These movies are not all critical masterpieces, but watching them gives me hope that one day boarding planes will not be deemed as a health hazard. That one day it will again be encouraged as something we have to do to better our understanding of the world, with all the different cultures, religions and experiences it has to offer. 

But for now while we all remain couch potatoes here is my list of movies to watch if you need to curb some feelings of wanderlust, before your restlessness takes over and u book a trip to Mexico prematurely. 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) : Trapped in the repeated rhythms of an unextraordinary life, Walter Mitty experiences daydreams of adventure that are getting worse. When his job depends on him tracking down a missing photo and the photographer, he is swept up in a real life journey taking him around the world. Starring Ben Stiller, this film explodes with colour, life and an underlying message to escape the ordinary every once in a while. 

This movie takes the viewer to Greenland, Iceland and Afghanistan, but in real life all of these places are just, in fact, Iceland. Originally I found this quite shocking, (it’s supposed to be an around the world movie after all?!) but now it just makes me realize how extraordinary and diverse Iceland is. With its picturesque landscapes of glacial lagoons, quaint fishermen towns and evergreen mountains, this movie takes its time to show the audience all the beauty Iceland has to offer, using wide shots and a lot of B-Roll.

Where to Watch: No streaming services have this movie in Canada. But if there is one movie I recommend, renting online it would be this one!

The Hundred Foot Journey (2014) : An Indian family fleeing the political rampage in their town, heads to Europe seeking a fresh start. They stumble upon an idyllic town in southern France called Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, where they open an Indian restaurant across the street from a posh French restaurant where the owner tries to get them to leave in every which way.

This movie to me is an undiscovered gem to the world. It perfectly combines a romance of food, culture and location. Filmed in the actual town that this movie is set in, the film showcases a simpler life among the characters who bike everywhere and get their ingredients, like fresh mushrooms or black currants, from the forests or local market. Although set in modern time, it feels like another world and makes you idealize what it would be like to move to a town in Southern France.

Where to Watch: Another entry with no where to stream unfortunately.

 

Wild (2014) : This memoir turned movie is the true story of prominent author Cheryl Strayed, who embarked solo on a hike of the Pacific Crest Trail a 1,100 km route. Starring Reese Witherspoon this movie takes you on a journey, not only a physical one of the character roaming the trails by herself, but also a emotional one as it shows flashbacks of her life from before, as she comes to terms with the death of her mother, a divorce and her use of heroin as a coping mechanism. 

This story may not take you to quaint towns in Europe or the snowy mountains of the Himalayas but throughout the characters trek it shows you the diverse landscapes of the U.S.A’s California and Oregon. With dusty deserts to lush green forests it’s a marvel that areas like that can exist that close together. 

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

Eat, Pray, Love (2010) : Another memoir turned movie this story is about Elizabeth Gilbert, who has left a mundane marriage and the trappings of a typical life in order to find herself and her love for life again by visiting three countries each with her own idea of what she wants to find. 

You may have read this and been like this film is on every travel movie list, but that is for good reason, as it is the absolute quintessential travel movie. It feeds every wanderlust impulse you might experience and yet at the same time makes you wanna book a ticket to Naples right now. 

This movie takes you to four places with such a stark contrast between them and the film does a beautiful job of capturing the essence of each place. Starting with a bustling  New York, where her life takes places before she decides to embark on her travels. Then to Italy where she indulges in the simple pleasures, eating a lot of pasta and taking in the beautiful sites of Rome, then to India where she works on healing herself and gaining spirituality, and finally to Indonesia where she focuses on happiness, peace and connecting more with nature. 

If you enjoyed the movie and want more from the characters adventures, I highly recommend reading the book, you might not physically get to see these places but you definitely can imagine them!

Where to Watch: Netflix 

I hope this list helps you curb some wanderlust, or inspires you for future travels!

How to keep up your New Year’s resolution

It’s January 14th and while it is a different year there is no denying that the New Year’s resolution was still a predominant thought for many people as we rang in 2021. But just like years past where we say this is going to be the year we accomplish our New Year’s resolution, and even buy a bunch of gym equipment for losing weight or a new journal to write out thoughts and emotions, we almost instantly forget about it. For many, this is a constant pattern that happens every year, being adamant to work on yourself and then completely forgetting (or straight up avoiding) the goal as soon as we reach the two week mark in January. (It’s almost quite comforting in a funny way that we kept up the New Years tradition of forgetting our resolutions).  I’m not saying that this happens to every person, I’m sure there are a bunch of success stories out there of people who told themselves they would eat better, or stop talking to that guy that screams “red flag”, but I’m just saying it’s hard to come across those individuals. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do it ourselves!

Maybe I’m the eternal optimist here who believes that goals can be accomplished and we can all be the people we want to be. But I truly think New Year’s resolutions no matter how many years they go undone for people can provide them with a fresh start that they need. So being the self proclaimed optimist that I am, here are some ways that you can keep up your New Year’s resolutions if you are at that two week slump or the feeling of motivation has long passed you. I’m no expert but these are some things that have helped me or someone I know when trying to accomplish a goal. 

Pick Something Small and Manageable: Every year we go out on a limb and say “I’m going to eat better”, “I’m going to exercise everyday”, “I’m going to learn to cook”, “I’m going to take a French class”, and this list goes on and on until we are too overwhelmed by everything we are not and everything we have to do. If you focus on one thing and know that it’s something manageable then you have more of a chance of actually accomplishing it. Maybe take “eating better” and break it down into day by day. If you really struggle with eating healthy, focus on one meal being nutritious everyday. For example, lunch could be the easiest meal for you to make healthier options, creating more veggie based sandwiches or soups for yourself. Once you have mastered lunch look towards dinner. Be realistic, if you think you are going to struggle with completely changing your diet then don’t, take it step by step. 

Keep Yourself Accountable: I’m asking for you to be Mr. Tough Guy with yourself here. If you are not going to keep yourself accountable on January 1st or 2nd, you won’t for the next year or even the next week. If you are set on accomplishing your New Year’s resolution you have to remember it everyday. This could come in multiple forms. If your resolution is to read more than break it down into steps you can manage, (sounds an awful lot like step number 1)! Set an alarm for 15 minutes each day at a time that is most convenient for you. Maybe it’s right in the morning before the rest of your household wakes up or after dinner when you’re in a bit of a food coma and want a way to relax. For bigger goals set up a time and leave your equipment out the night before. If your goal is to do one hour of yoga everyday, book a class (when COVID restrictions are more lenient) so you’re actually spending money on your goal and that way you feel more pressure to show up for it.  While COVID now limits our ability to take classes, you could write it in your calendar and set out your clothes and equipment the night before so you remember to do it as soon as you wake up. 

 

Get Others Involved: I don’t necessarily mean to force your sister into waking up at 6 a.m with you to go for a run, what I’m meaning is by having a solid support system it will help you stay focused. Pick people who not only believe in you but will call you out if you are not keeping up the resolution, this helps you stay more accountable.Try someone like your mom or a sibling or a close friend who is not afraid to tell you how it is. Also, by getting others involved you could inspire someone to join you, maybe your sister will get up and run with you one day a week (but closer to 9 a.m). Having someone to complete goals with makes your resolution seem less daunting and more like a fun activity that you can do with a built in support system. 

Go Easy on Yourself: This is coming from a girl who’s a perfectionist in everything she does, so I completely understand being hard on yourself when it comes to accomplishing new goals. So I’ll be trying to take my own advice on this one as well.

You have finally decided to complete a goal! That’s amazing! You shouldn’t be focusing on everything you did wrong, focus on everything you’re doing right to better yourself. For example, if you only had the stamina to work out for thirty minutes instead of  a full hour, that’s still incredible, and it’s thirty more minutes of physical activity you have than before you started your resolution. Thinking like this will make you feel better and want to strive to work towards your goal. 

Reward Yourself: Making changes to your everyday life is not something light, it takes

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determination and focus, so the fact that you have decided to work on yourself deserves some recognition. If your goal was to eat better maybe treat yourself by getting take out on Friday’s or getting yourself a nice coffee on your day off. Little rewards will not only make you feel more accomplished but brighten your day as well.

TV shows you may have not known are filmed in BC

With all the enjoyment I experienced while finding more unknown films that are filmed here in British Columbia, I thought it would be exciting to do a sequel (of sorts) and discuss some television shows that are filmed in Vancouver and the greater province that we may not have known or have forgotten about. 

As previously discussed we all seem to know and adore the film and television industry that happens here and according to the bc government website is one of our biggest economic sectors. It’s not just Vancouver that gets the bright Hollywood lights shining their way, it’s all over BC. From small towns of Squamish to a couple cities over in Langley, you could say all of BC is a hotspot for finding film crews and for many here it just seems like a common occurrence to see film sets or desperately try to get closer. 

I know when I first moved here, from a tiny town in Ontario where nothing happened I was absolutely starstruck by the amount of productions that happen here. My family and I would track down filming locations of our favourite television show at the time (which is also included on this list) Once Upon a Time. Seeing how they used the tiny town of Steveston to be the home of the show for 7 seasons even when real people lived there with the stores being their livelihoods, it fascinated me how normal everyone seemed to make it. But now being a transformed, self proclaimed British Columbian this doesn’t faze me as much anymore. (Maybe because my home town of Abbotsford is the land of Hallmark movies). 

For Vancouver, superhero shows are pretty common, from such shows as The Flash, Supergirl, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. But there are some amazing other shows with no superhero ties that are shot here. So this is my list of television shows that are filmed here in BC that you may not know about. Let’s begin!

Virgin River (2019- ) : This hit Netflix show follows a nurse practitioner Melinda Monroe, who is trying to escape her past by starting fresh in a sleepy Northern California town of Virgin River nestled between the gorgeous mountains. This show is

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constantly using shots of evergreen forests, crystal blue waters and sleepy mountains as their B-roll and just seeing some of these shots, you would have to agree, looks like it came off a postcard from somewhere in BC (and it is). This show films all over BC, including Squamish where the exterior shots of Jack’s bar on the river are filmed and Burnaby where the lake that houses Paige’s Bakery food truck is shot. Most predominantly though, this tv series is shot on Bowen Island which pillars the show as the downtown main street. This show was recently renewed for a third season, so hopefully this will include new locations local audiences can keep an eye out for. 

Where to Watch: Netflix 

The X Files (1993- 2002 , 2016-2018) : A long television series with an even longer list of filming locations in BC. This classic television series follows FBI Special Agents as they deal with unsolvable and mostly supernatural cases known as the X-Files. This series and the reboot that happened in 2016 are shot in many locations all over the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. From Chilliwack, Delta, Vancouver and Victoria this show stems all over. Some well known sites are Vancouver Art Gallery, the now closed Roosters Country Cabaret in Pitt Meadows and our very own school, BCIT’s Aerospace Technology Campus. 

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime (seasons 1-9) 

Once Upon A Time (2011-2018) : This television show follows classic fairytale characters, like Prince Charming and Little Red Riding Hood who are cursed by the Evil Queen and find themselves in our world where there are no Happy Endings. For most of the series it takes place in the make believe town of Storybrooke all set in the real town of Steveston, a historical town in Richmond BC. The thing I find most

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interesting about this is that for the most part all of the locations in this show are set on the same street. The clock tower/ library is a focal point of the show is just a two minute walk  away from Granny’s Diner and Mr. Gold’s Pawn Shop, all real stores in this real fishermans town. Unlike some other shows where one set is far away from another in real life, you can walk down the street in Steveston and instantly recognize every corner of this quaint town. 

Where to Watch: Disney Plus

A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017-2019) : The Netflix series (although the 2004 movie starring Jim Carrey also uses Vancouver) was a show I was completely unaware of being filmed in BC. The show is about three children who after the death of their parents are placed under the care of their evil guardian Count Olaf played by Neil Patrick Harris. In real life the star of the series is known for actively sharing his love for BC on social media. Whether that be, showcasing his kids climbing trees in Stanley Park or tubing down a snowy Cypress Mountain, so it makes sense that he would want his work to take him here. The show is mainly filmed all over Vancouver with notable locations including SFU campus, Lynn Canyon Park and the Hollywood Theatre.

Photo via www.vitalthrills.com/

Where to Watch: Netflix 

The Good Doctor ( 2017- ) : This show follows an autistic doctor as he tries to prove himself in a prestigious hospital in San Jose. In real life this television show is filmed in and around Vancouver. Primarily set within the hospital building, the show uses three different BC locations in order to pull it off including, Vancouver Community College, City Hall in Surrey and Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver. (Interesting that no actual hospitals make that list). This show has been on my list to watch for a while and anchored to a BC base. I may just have to give it a chance. 

Where to Watch: Crave 

Honourable mentions go out to Riverdale who film all around the Fraser Valley and mainly for using Rocko’s Diner in Mission as a main location in their show.

Movies You Didn’t Know Were Filmed in BC

We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, our land laced with picturesque mountains and oceans, rolling evergreen trees and great weather (at least for half the year when it’s not raining). So with this it is easy to believe that major Hollywood film crews flock to our gorgeous province to shoot their films and television shows.

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We are aware of the booming film industry that happens here and happily broadcast it. Action and superhero scenes grace the streets of downtown Vancouver, while Hallmark film crews are all over  my own town of Abbotsford, embellishing the streets with their seasonal decorations and fake snow. It seems like all locals are on the lookout for locations we recognize when watching movies. Actually, it is one thing that constantly distracts me when watching shows because I’m always trying to see if I recognize the locations they are using. 

With that said here are some shows that we all know and love to be shot in British Columbia, from the twisted teen TV show, Riverdale to our very own national treasure’s Ryan Reynolds superhero film, Deadpool. But there are some shows that go extremely unnoticed when it comes to us recognizing that they were filmed here.So here is my list of movies that were filmed in British Columbia that either doesn’t get enough recognition of being filmed here or it’s just widely unknown. Let’s begin! 

White Chicks (2004) : This film I was absolutely shocked to see was filmed here in BC. I have seen this movie a handful of times and always when I need a good, late night laugh and don’t need to be focusing on insane plot holes, (like how nobody noticed that it was two African American police men impersonating blonde socialites?) But moving on. According to IMDB this movie was shot all around BC including locations like Vancouver, Victoria and even Chilliwack where some of the exterior scenes of The Hamptons was filmed. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled the next time I watch this movie for locations I know. 

Where to Watch: Netflix

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (2005) : This was a movie I grew up watching and did not realize that this was shot in BC until I was much older. The film follows four friends spending separate summers all over the world, but in real life (for 

Photo via ImagesFanpop.com

3 out of the 4 girls) you follow them all around BC. This film’s locations take us from Ashcroft to New Westminster, Vancouver to Kamloops, and into a very noticeable Vancouver International Airport (keep an eye out for all the green airport furnishing, you’ll recognize it right away.)

Where to Watch: Crave (but it often shows up on Netflix and the sequel lives there too) 

Elf (2003) : The most modern  Christmas classic and overall just hilarious movie,  started to trend here in Vancouver this past holiday season when we all collectively realized that it was filmed, partly, in BC. These were mainly shot on sound stages for the indoor scenes. But in order to create some real magic with the North Pole shots, the film crew had to use the Pacific Coliseum at the PNE, as no other sound stage was big enough to hold the entirety of Santa’s Village. Another part of this film was shot at Riverview Hospital in Port Coquitlam. BC made just makes me more inclined to adore this movie. 

Where to Watch: As of now no Canadian streaming services offer Elf. So strange! It feels like a missed opportunity.

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) : This completely underrated, star studded movie, with the likes of Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson and Jon Hamm had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was watching. I honestly did not understand how it could not be getting more recognition when it debuted in 2018 and I gained even more adoration for this movie when I discovered that it was filmed in Vancouver and Burnaby. Set in the 1970’s at a deteriorating casino hotel this movie follows the guests inside all trying to keep their secrets from the other guests. The movie is set between the border of California and Nevada making a place like Vancouver a good cover.

Photo via thehdroom.com

Where to Watch: No streaming services offer this in Canada, but you can purchase it on Amazon Video, Google Play or Youtube (but honestly I’d wait until it’s back on Crave.)

50 Shades of Grey Trilogy (2015-2018) : Another Dakota Johnson entry, how neat! This steamy and sensual movie trilogy had everyone talking when it first came out about its erotic plot and  that would make its way into mainstream movie theatres for anyone to watch. So much so that the very obvious use of BC based locations went unnoticed or at least that is not what we were talking about when it came to these movies. The series that is set in Seattle was predominantly shot in Vancouver with many notable locations including Gastown, Stanley Park and University of British Columbia. 

Where to Watch: Two of the three movies are currently on Netflix, so binge away!

Happy Gilmore (1996) : An Adam Sandler classic before his movies became something less than critically acclaimed, saw his character, Happy, becoming a golfer

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to save his grandma’s home. The movie is a crowd favourite and earns extra brownie points with me for being the only film on this list to be entirely filmed in British Columbia. Locations include a Pitt Meadows golf course, and a Vancouver mansion that in the film belonged to the Gilmore grandmother. Other cities such as Richmond and Surrey were also used. Next time I sit down to watch this funny classic I’ll be keeping a lookout!

 Where to Watch: Netflix 

Honourable mentions go out to The Edge of Seventeen and The Planet of the Apes series, for equally grabbing my attention for the little recognition they got for being filmed here. 

While we can’t really explore local right now with the pandemics restrictions on travel, we can definitely be transported to new worlds in movies, or even just our cities we know and love.

2021 is Here, Now What?

It’s safe to say now that winter break is over that the holidays did not go out with a bang like they may have in years past. But they went out in a quiet murmur, as we all collectively tried to hang on to a shred of normalcy during these, yes, unprecedented times.

We didn’t get the big, fun parties, or dinners, or light displays that draw in crowds of thousands. Instead, we got more home time, more quietness and more of what we are all sick of hearing at this point, more “Stay at Home” orders from provincial and federal governments. 

Yes, it was that holiday season we all craved at one point or another, tranquil evenings, with no midday huff because you have to start getting ready for a Christmas party you have no interest in going to where friends and family inundate you with questions about your personal life. But now that the pandemic brought this quiet holiday season, it feels mundane. For myself personally, I can not wait for the next holiday season, where get-togethers are once again encouraged and I can see all my friends and family again and answer their nosy questions. 

Whether you were like my family, and really got into Christmas (i.g, constantly watching Christmas/ Hallmark movies, decorating every room in the house and listening to Christmas music non stop). Or you did not want to celebrate and just hoped the final weeks of 2020 would pass quietly, it all seemed like we were so eager to ring in the New Year. Everyone pining for a fresh start, get some good news flowing from the media and for things to go back to normal. 

But what if things take a really long time to get back to normal? Instead of what we were all hoping for, which was for things to go back to normal right now. 

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I think that I, along with many others may have naively thought that once the clock hit midnight on December 31st our world would go back to the way it was. The internet seemed to attach us to this notion that it was the year 2020’s fault for making life so horrible. That 2020 caused the pandemic, racial injustice and challenged democracy to a new level, and when 2020 passed so will this horrible curse on the world. But we were all too eager for normalcy and with 2021 here and nothing changing the world seems frustrated. We are still dealing with the same issues that plagued the year. Vaccines are rolling out at an impressively slow rate for how desperate our country wants to get back to normal, and racial injustice issues seem to continue to cripple the United States, with Pro-Trump protestors scaling the walls of the Capitol. It seems like the veil is lifting and idle citizens, like myself, are realizing that all the terrible things that happened in 2020 are not just a time capsule of that year, but are spilling out into this year and will have repercussions on the foreseeable future. If I’m being honest, it sucks, like, really sucks.

So with this dull holiday season over and with the January “winter blues” here to stay and worsened this year due to the pandemic, it’s time to ask that nagging question, now what?

Do we continue down this path of simply blaming the year 2020 for all our problems and potentially do the same thing to 2021? Or do we just embrace this terrible time and remember that it is going to get better? Well to that I say, let’s embrace the suck!

I think that we have to understand that it was not 2020’s fault for the way this year happened, that we as humans need to take responsibility for it and that whatever happens in 2021, we have the power to be better, and things are already changing. There is hope on the horizon, vaccines are here to stay and as Canadians we will be well ahead of a lot of other countries in the indoctrination process. Protests for Black Lives Matter and just a better understanding of privilege versus injustice have made the forefront of conversations. Finally, it has already made us better, we are starting to become more reflective, compassionate human beings.

 It is still going to be a terrible few months, I’m not going to lie. We are going to have to deal with the cold, dreary winter with less human contact than ever, with nothing in our personal lives to look forward to except maybe a Zoom call with friends or a dinner out with your partner. I don’t think we have to sugar coat it for ourselves or pretend that we are ok or that this year is better, when it’s obviously not off to a good start. We just have to embrace the suckiness of the season and remind ourselves that it is not forever

So, let yourself break down, take necessary breaks from work, social media and the news, and when you feel like you need help call friends and family. I may sound like a broken record to all the other annoyingly optimistic people in the media when I say that this is not forever, this is just for now. But it is true, so let’s not blame 2020 let’s embrace it. 

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With real, lasting change comes some pain and discomfort and while we have a long way to go for being a better society, we all did all get a good kick in the right direction from 2020. It made us stop and focus on real matters and for that I think we should be thanking 2020. So thank you 2020, you may have sucked but you made us grow. You made us appreciate the small joys, you made us reflect and change our actions and you made us more compassionate. So let’s continue 2021 with our cautious optimism, our quarantine hobbies  and our new sense of kindness and humanity. 

 

Some Cozy Movies to (Re)Watch if you Need Some Comfort

With COVID restrictions being once again firmly planted for our city of Vancouver and others within the Fraser Valley, we might as well be on the hunt for new things to do at home. This means plenty of new movies to look forward to, but if you have already watched the entire contents worth of Netflix during the last quarantine then maybe it’s time to pull out some classics. 

Recently, my boyfriend and I began rewatching the Harry Potter series and it made me regain a sense of calm. Watching classic movies or movies you have seen a gazillion times tends to (at least make me) feel as though everything is going to be okay and can transport me back to simpler times. So here is a list of movies and series to rewatch if you want a good, old fashioned, comfort fest. 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/ Wallpaper Flare

Harry Potter Series: (Of course because I was just talking about it). This may only apply to the first three or four movies, where all the evil stuff hasn’t really started to happen yet. But the cozy scenery, the warm tone colours washed over the film and how everything feels magical. The first couple still have a kidsy feeling to them making it cute and wholesome. 

About Time/ Wallpaper Flare

About Time: Maybe I just think that British accents are comforting, but this movie is begging to be played in front of a fireplace, with twinkling lights while you’re under a heavy weighted blanket. This movie is about a man that can time travel in order to get the simple life he wants. It’s about caring for your family, spending time with loved ones and making the most of the everyday. 

 

When Harry Met Sally/ Wallpaper Flare

When Harry Met Sally: You might look at this entry and think, no. Too Rom-Com for me. But if you are craving a blissful evening of hot cocoa while it’s raining outside, I swear you will not be disappointed. It is quintessentially cozy. From the music of Harry Connick Jr., the fall colour that embellish the screen and being charmed by the funny Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal and Carrie Fisher. This movie began the “falling in love with your best friend” trope, but no other movie can do it quite like this one. 

Well that is all I got for you!

Outdoor Activities to do This Weekend

With a gorgeous weekend ahead, and probably one of the last for this year, it is necessary we take advantage of this fresh air the best way we can during this global pandemic. Get away from your house and from American election fatigue this weekend with some outdoor activities. 

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Go Ice Skating: The season to be merry and bright is just around the corner and although you might say it’s still too early for that, I beg to differ! Especially this year, that has kicked everyone to the ground and metaphorically stomped on our lives, plans and aspirations. No, I refuse for 2020 to have my holiday spirit too! So have some early holiday fun by ice skating! The Vancouver Parks Board announced that they are bringing back drop-in skating to the public at multiple rinks including, Kitsilano, Trout Lake, and many others. This starts November 7 with some new safety protocols in place including limited people on the ice and heightened sanitation of heavily touched surfaces. Find more details and ticket prices here.

 

Hollyburn Mountain, Vancouver/ Trip Advisor

Go on a hike: This weekend will be perfect hiking weather, cool and sunny, so get some socially distanced exercise by hitting a trail this weekend. There are some stunning hikes around Vancouver that are made even more gorgeous by the vibrant fall colours embellishing trees and covering the ground like confetti. Some places with high elevation might be experiencing snow right now so make sure you plan ahead accordingly. Or stick to lower elevation areas for less risk. 

Lumiere Light Festival: This free to see light installation is available in two locations. One at English Bay and another at Jim Deva Plaza, and giving off some major Christmas vibes as well. Including larger then life animals in lights like a whale, bear and a bird. This art installation will only be around until the end of the month, so make sure to see it before it is too late!

Lumière Vancouver/ Facebook

Opinion on the Travel Industry During COVID from an Airline Brat

Pexel Image: Air Canada

So I’m exactly what you would call an Airline Brat, actually you could call me an Airline Brat x2 because I’m a second generation pilots kid. I grew up with rescheduled Easters and birthdays because my dad wasn’t home for it, but it was always made up for because we could go away with him for a weekend trip.

An airport is a comforting place for me, travelling was always a welcomed and encouraged activity.  So when COVID hit, I saw this industry that holds a place in my heart and my history crumble to absolute pieces. My dad is one of the lucky few who still has employment and continues to fly even during this pandemic, but for the majority of the industry it’s been an almost complete wipe out. So here are some of my thoughts about how this has been handled.

The travel industry was one of the most predominantly hit from COVID-19 and while other industries have received financial support from the government, airlines are now only finally expecting to get something around February. This has been after months of pleading, that was only recognized by the government last month.

Pexel Image: West Jet

Which is ridiculous considering that other businesses that were hit, such as bars, clubs, venues, even casinos were able to receive financial support before them. Even though they can still operate functionally while airlines have lost 90% of their business.

This again makes little sense when other countries have given sufficient support to their main airlines, for example, France and the Netherlands are providing bail outs to their airlines that are in the 10 billion dollar range. 

While it’s completely relevant to not want to travel at this time, or even travel to the next city over, it should be noted that the travel industry is a necessity to Canada’s economy and it should not be one of the things that gets brushed aside.

Remembrance Day: Things to Do

This year is different, obviously, and the way we normally would celebrate Remembrance Day with giant crowds indoors would be considered earth shattering in the age of this pandemic. But never fear there is a way to celebrate and honour veterans even in the wake of a global pandemic.

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Wear Your Poppy: There are still plenty of places that are distributing poppies with donations, they are at grocery stores and coffee shops. Just looking a little different with no one handing them out. 

Coquitlam Poppy Drive: I’m not sure why not more people are talking about this,  Coquitlam Legion Branch 263 is doing some major events to help support veterans and show their love. They are having a drive by poppy stand, where you can purchase  poppy masks as well! This will be running November 7-8 from 11am – 3pm at 1025 Ridgeway Avenue, Coquitlam. 

Coquitlam, Sponsor a Meal: Through the Legion Branch 263 you can also sponsor the cost of a meal to seniors who are veterans for 7.50 per meal (by calling 604-927-4386 and having your credit card at the ready).

Join A Digital Service: Although some events have been completely cancelled this year there are still multiple services that are being displayed virtually. Including Abbotsford, Langley, Maple Ridge, New Westminster and more.  

Cut out a Poppy and put it in Your Window: Similar to how we threw hearts in our windows to show appreciation for front line workers. Embellish your windows with poppies to show your love and support for our veterans. 

Finally, on a personal note, COVID has opened my eyes to what these veterans and their families must have gone through. Please don’t think I’m trying to compare days of sitting at home with what veterans have experienced, that is not my intention. I’m simply comparing our sacrifices today of not seeing family and friends, wearing masks and working from home to those back then. Those who were drafted against their will or had to watch their loved ones being sent out without any communication once they’ve gone and no clue if they’d ever be home. Our problems seem so much smaller and it just really puts things into perspective.

Remember During Tonights Election: Be Kind

I am not normally one to discuss politics, there you caught me. Obviously it is important and I try to pay attention as much as I can, but especially within the last four years I have found that it can be extremely challenging to have well rounded opinions. 

With the rise of social media, fake news and correct news being replaced with what aligns with that person’s individual view point on their Facebook page, there has been such an increase in people shouting (online and off) at the other side of the political spectrum saying “You Are Wrong”! It has made it hard to be impartial and make well educated decisions. 

Donald Trump’s presidency has driven a massive wrench between people even here in Canada, and rightfully so, with his ludicrous allegations, hypocritical actions, arrogance and medieval views on human rights. But it has created such a divide that it is frowned upon for people to hear out both sides. They are either Republicans or Democrats (and to a lesser extent for us Canadians Conservatives or Liberals) no inbetween.  

So on the eve of the American presidential election, where bets are being placed, riots are being anticipated and people are just extremely fearful for their lives. I think it is essential that we stress the importance of kindness to others. That might make me sound unrealistic or a bit of a dreamer, but the amount of stress that everyone is already under, with the ongoing pandemic, the fear of losing democracy and so on, being rude about someone else’s viewpoint is going to have even more negative effects. 

Sure you can educate those people about why you think they should change their view points, retweet and share articles that could help others make well educated decisions  but don’t be rude about it online or offline. 

This all being said it is an important election, it is going to challenge not just the United States, or even Canada but the world at large, but being kind and considerate of others and their feelings is how we are going to get through it no matter who wins this election.

 

Food for Thought: Some Restaurants in Vancouver to Try

When I think about culture my mind automatically goes to food, from the history of it, to how it brings people together around the table and isn’t that all culture really is? People coming together?… Well maybe it is just me, but I do think I’m onto something. Anyways today I thought I would talk about the cultures that truly shaped Vancouver and because we have a bunch of restaurants needing business I figured it would be interesting to share restaurants from these cultures. Hey, we may not be able to travel much right now but at least you can experience the cuisine of these places. 

There are obviously many cultures that have shaped Vancouver but I have decided to focus on First Nations, Japanese and Italian.  So let’s get into it and you are forewarned that a lot of these places I have not personally tried but will be added onto my personal bucket list!

First Nations: There are few authentic indigenous restaurants around Vanvouver so you have to make these places count! 

Salmon N’ Bannock ($$-$$$): Known for its bannock (obviously) they also offer wild fish and free range game meat. Find them at https://www.facebook.com/SalmonNBannockBistro

Mr. Bannock ($$): This is a food truck (even better for social distancing) that has been around since 2018. They use traditional cooking methods such as stone baking. Find them at https://www.facebook.com/MrBannockFood/ 

Japanese: A culture that is strongly rooted in Vancouver, their cuisine is easy to find and enjoyable. 

Ramen Danbo ($): It has been described as “cheap and delicious” focusing on the classic Japanese soup ramen, that is way better than that packet of Mr. Noodles you have at home. Find them at https://www.facebook.com/RamenDanbo/

Miko Sushi ($$-$$$): This restaurant is family run and operated serving some great sushi. (They don’t seem to have a website or social media, so you know its good when its still super popular).

Italian: A culture that I didn’t know had much influence on Vancouver culture until I did my research but alas it is true, and as someone who just had been to Italy before the coronavirus I am alway on a hunt for good fresh made pasta (but it seems to have been a dead end until now maybe. 

Osteria Savio Volpe ($$): Characterized with its fresh, homemade pasta and locally sourced ingredients, this one is definitely on my list.Find them on Instagram at  https://www.instagram.com/savio_volpe/?hl=en

Tavola ($$$): This restaurant serves modern Italian food in the traditional family style way of sharing.Find them at  https://www.facebook.com/tavolavancouver/

Hope you enjoyed the list, don’t forget to keep on supporting local restaurants!

 

Herstory: Amazing Women in Mission Event

I might potentially be a little bit biased, but when I get to talking about women I get overwhelmed with the notion that they are some of the most resilient, brave, under appreciated beings on earth. Yes I am truly a die hard feminist, so it fills my heart with joy to talk about what’s next in the BC Cultural Days line up. They will be hosting a livestream event entitled Herstory: Extraordinary Women of Mission that will take place tomorrow afternoon starting at 1:30. 

This event is a video production that documents the past and present lives and stories of Mission women that have impacted the community. From politicians to educators, artists to athletes they will be taking a look back at a diverse group of women and the many achievements they have encountered. 

Usually this takes place as an in-person event but due to the ongoing pandemic that has disabled the ability to throw large gatherings they have had to adjust. They have resorted to an online viewing over Youtube.

Normally, when we talk about feminists they are usually women that have gone down in history, we think of Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo or Gloria Steinem basically we think of the legends. Or we think of people that are far removed from our lives such as Michelle Obama, Emma Watson, Beyonce or Oprah Winfrey, basically women of top celebrity status (and are not Canadian as well). So with an event like this, it is wonderful to see that influential women are not only so close in proximity to us but are also more likely to be just everyday people. 

So grab your laptops and let’s bask in the glory of some amazing, local women!

Click here to get the link and grab more details.

Writers Festival: Tegan and Sara’s New Memoir High School

The Vancouver Writers Festival continues this week with a strong line up of authors to appear on livestream and recordings. But the event that I’m most excited for (and whether it is culturally pertinent you can be the judge of that) is the discussion with iconic Canadian singing duo Tegan and Sara. These two have sung their way into our hearts since the mid-90’s. Now having been in the music business for decades (decorated with Juno awards and a Grammy nomination) the LGBTQ icons have turned to writing by releasing their new memoir High School.  

Posted by Tegan and Sara on Friday, April 17, 2020

Tegan and Sara/ Facebook

This conversation will be hosted as a livestream over Zoom by Baharak Yousefi tomorrow evening (October 23) at 8 pm PT. So it is (what I think) the perfect way to ring in the weekend!

 Their memoir is written about their formative years of high school (naturally) during the cultural time of grunge-punk. They discuss going through their parents divorce while trying to figure out their identity and sexuality. Themes of love, friendship, sex and drugs all come into play during this memoir making it extremely candid especially for two people who are so heavily in the spotlight. 

Posted by Tegan and Sara on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Tegan and Sara/ Facebook

I personally will be picking up a copy of this book, as Tegan and Sara were a big part of the soundtrack of  my adolescence with songs like I Was a Fool, Where does the Good Go and Closer. Their music is soulful and slightly angsty which made it easy to slide into my heart at 14 and stay there ever since. 

This event is to pay what you can with an option to listen in for free. Click here to buy tickets. Click here to purchase their memoir. 

 

Japanese Horror Film Festival: New this Week in Vancouver

Are you a horror movie junky? Have you braved some of the classic horror movies like The Exorcist, Scream, or Get Out and yet still hungry for more? Well The Cinematheque movie theatre in Vancouver will be hosting a terrifying Japanese horror film festival, just in time for the spookiest season. This genre of Japanese horror hasn’t earned the title of J-horror for nothing! Running from October 23 to October 31 this film festival will showcase five classic (and frightening) Japanese horror films rarely screened on this side of the world. So grab your theatre going buddies and lets watch some films!

Here is the list and a brief (vague) summary of the plots:

Ring (1998)- A cursed video tape and a reporter on the hunt to break the curse before she dies from it as well, this horror film is where the term J-horror was coined. 

 Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)- A businessman is plagued by a curse that turns his flesh into iron after being run down by a “metal fetishist” (and yes it is exactly what it sounds like). 

Audition (1999)- Categorized as “disturbing” this film starts out with a widower trying to find love again and does so by auditioning woman, and ends with his torture as the woman he chooses can’t stand his love for anyone else. 

House (1977)- In this horror movie the house that six friends visit seems to come to life as weird events occur, from a severed head taking flight to an evil spirit embodied in a cat portrait. 

 Dark Water (2002)- A mother and daughter move into an apartment where creepy things begin to happen and they begin to think that it is something to do with the supernatural.

Tickets cost $12 per show and each show runs multiple times throughout this week, click here to find more details. 

Buffoon: A New Play Coming to Vancouver

Oh, how I do enjoy the theatre and oh how happy I am that it is making a return to Vancouver just in time for the cozy holiday season. The Arts Club Theatre Company is set to premiere its newest show entitled Buffoon tomorrow at the Granville Island Stage in Vancouver. The show is set to run between October 22 to December 6 with the option to watch it virtually between October 29 to December 6. 

Ensemble is back! Join our group of young professionals on Friday, October 30 at the Granville Island Stage for a night…

Posted by Arts Club Theatre Company on Friday, October 9, 2020

Arts Club Theatre Company/ Facebook

This one man show is written by Anosh Irani and is about a man named Felix who was born to circus folk but doesn’t give him the loving family he so craves. He quickly learns to become “the funny man” that gets him on his journey to becoming a true buffoon. This heartfelt show will leave you feeling gut wrenched from both hilarity and sadness and combines themes of love, loss and fate. 

Right now the Arts Club has put together a bundle where you can watch all three of their fall/ winter productions for a discounted rate of $159. Where you can select the times and dates you would like. Including this show along with two other productions, No Child… that is running between September 24 to November 8 and their last show, The Twelve Dates of Christmas running from November 19 to January 3. (Both these shows will be at the Newmont Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.) 

For this as a single show tickets are $39 to watch it live, or $19 to watch the recording. 

Advanced safety protocols have been put in place to ensure the health of both audiences and staff alike. Including designated lineup times to get in the building, limited available seating, hand sanitizing stations, and multiple other ways to ensure we can all safely get our theatre fix. 

If you have exhausted Netflix and every other movie you can think of this is a great way to watch something new and show some love to local artists of the theatre. Say it with me now “Support Local” and  “Support Local Theatre”!

For other details or to purchase tickets click here

 

Vancouver Walking Tours: A New Way to Explore Vancouver Culture

Some of the best ways for people to learn about culture, history and art may not be from a museum. It is also true that some people may find it hard to learn about Vancouvers culture from the view of a laptop or phone.

So with the anticipation of Halloween, I thought it would be fun to talk about a different way to explore the culture in the city we call home. So in comes  Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours. They are walking tours (obviously) that cover the unknown history of Vancouver from the late 19th to early 20th century. From the dark to the unexpected to the downright salacious these tours are made for curious people. And yes, although they are open past Halloween, some tours are made more fun from the spookiness of the season!

Tour guides are dressed up and made out to be people living in this time, in order to immerse you in the history of Vancouver in a new and exciting way.

Some tours have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the ones that have remained open are those that can be completely outdoors to a bide by social distancing protocols. These tours include, The Dark Secrets of Stanley Park, The Lost Souls of Gastown, and (the one that is now on my personal bucket list) The Really Gay History Tour.

Jack-O’-Lantern…the term originated in 17th-century Britain, where it was used to refer to a man with a lantern or to…

Posted by Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours/ Facebook

With Halloween fast approaching The Lost Souls of Gastown tour is available every night until the end of the month with multiple times to insure smaller groups.

This experience is perfect for people that want to explore the other side of Vancouver’s history (the side that you may not have learned in history class) and is a cool, new way to explore Vancouver even if you have lived here your whole life.

So go and be a tourist this Halloween! Tickets are $29 per tour and to find details about the specific one you had in mind, click here.