Archive for the ‘Vancouver news’ Category

Vancouver ranked most liveable city in North America for 2015 (again!).

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Vancouver renewed its title of fifth most liveable city in the world and first in North America, beaten only by Vienna, Zurich, Auckland and Munich. 2014’s survey, conducted by Mercer, returned the same results.

The survey looks at several factors such as personal freedom, crime, political stability and air quality, and Vancouver’s milder climate is one of the main reasons for it having a higher ranking in North America.

The survey also looks at housing but not for the cost. If that were to be taken into account, Vancouver would most certainly dip a few spots in the ranking as would many cities. Almost every city on this list also ranks as one of the most expensive to live in.

While cities in Western Europe held a majority of the rankings, there were more Canadian cities in the top 35 than those in the U.S. Behind Vancouver was Toronto (15), Ottawa (18), Montreal (24) and Calgary (33).

Top 35 cities for quality of living:

Vienna, Austria
Zurich, Switzerland
Auckland, New Zealand
Munich, Germany
Vancouver, Canada
Dusseldorf, Germany
Frankfurt, Germany
Geneva, Switzerland
Copenhagen, Denmark
Sydney, Australia
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Wellington, New Zealand
Bern, Switzerland
Berlin, Germany
Toronto, Canada
Hamburg, Germany
Melbourne, Australia
Ottawa, Canada
Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Stockholm, Sweden
Stuttgart, Germany
Brussels, Belgium
Perth, Australia
Montreal, Canada
Nurnberg, Germany
Singapore, Singapore
Adelaide, Australia
Paris, France
San Francisco, U.S.A.
Canberra, Australia
Helsinki, Finland
Oslo, Norway
Calgary, Canada
Boston, U.S.A
Dublin, Ireland

Source: Jill Slattery, VanCityBuzz

Top Spring Break ideas in beautiful British Columbia

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Sure, you could decide to spend spring break doing your annual domestic deep-clean. But explain that to your kids, who just heard their friends are heading out on exciting spring break escapes in regions across the province. Here are just a few excursions the whole family can enjoy:

1. Surf the coast

If you thought surfing was a uniquely southern sport, think again. The sport is booming on beach breaks in and around Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The apex is located just south of Tofino, but Ucluelet — known as Ukee by locals — is gaining a reputation as a jumping off point on the shoulder of the wave.

Lessons: Surf schools abound, with lessons starting around $75 per person per session, including board and wetsuit. Alternatively, rent a long board and suit from $15 each per day. Among the many suppliers are Live to Surf, the granddaddy of the area’s surf shops, or Canadian pro Sepp Bruhwiler’s Westside Surf.

2. Carve it up

Spring is upon us, but the snow hasn’t gone anywhere in the higher reaches. Warmer temperatures lend themselves to sun-soaked resort patios and sunburnt faces — both of which may come as a welcome change after winter. With resorts across the province, this is one activity that can be done in nearly everyone’s backyard.

Day lift passes: Consider Sun Peaks near Kamloops (adults from $79), Revelstoke ($80), Big White near Kelowna ($79), Mount Washington near Victoria ($75), or Whistler/Blackcomb near Vancouver ($115).

Lessons and equipment: Many resorts have learning sessions starting from under $60 and equipment rentals from $40. Some mountains offer package deals.

3. Swim Harrison Hot Springs

If you need to rejuvenate those sore muscles and that bone-tired soul, head to the indoor and outdoor mineral pools at Harrison Hot Springs Resort. The kids will have too much fun to interrupt your relaxation, and if you’re not a parent, don’t fret — some pools are adults only.

Admission: Access to the resort’s five pools is only for guests, with two-night spring break family packages starting from $449, and bed and breakfast from $139. If you stay elsewhere in the area there is a public hot pool in the centre of town that costs $9 per swim for adults, or about $13 for the day.

4. Flip a coin in the capital

Victoria’s mild year-round climate makes it an obvious choice for a spring getaway for the family. Wind permitting, try taking the helm of a sailboat as you brave the Strait of Juan de Fuca or round the Discovery and Chatham islands. On a calm day, opt instead for a motorized harbour tour, then one of the city’s indoor activities like the Royal BC Museum and its current exhibition on wildlife photography.

Prices: Charter a boat for a half day for $400, or for $675, take it for the day at Blackfish Sailing Adventures. Harbour tours are $22 for adults, and museum admission is $16 for adults, or $25.80 including a screening at the Imax.

5. Go for a ride

March is not always known for its blue skies, so to up your chances of fair weather, head to the Sunshine Coast and pedal some of the area’s dozens of scenic bike routes. There’s no guarantee you’ll end up with a tan, but you’ll have a great time whatever the weather, and whatever your style of riding or skill level. Should it happen to rain, there is plenty to do and explore indoors.

Costs: Ferry fees from Horseshoe Bay to the Sunshine Coast are $50 per vehicle and $15 per passenger. If you’re renting bikes or want a tour, try Off the Edge Adventure Sports, where rides start at $40 per day and guided trips from $130 per person.

7. Get back into hibernation

Tired of above-ground activities? Try spelunking. Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park, located just west of Parksville on Vancouver Island, is home to an explorable network of caves packed with crystal formations and fossils. The caves can be a wet at times, but caving is the kind of activity that demands getting out of your comfort zone.

Costs: Self-guided caves are open daily, and helmets with lights can be rented for $8.50 from Horne Lake Caves & Outdoor Centre. They also offer three-hour spelunking tours for $69 for adults, with all equipment included.

8. Make your footprint

Snowshoeing is a relatively inexpensive way to see some pristine backcountry all across the province. If you simply can’t get away for spring break, take a few hours and head to your local hills. For something further flung, try Fernie in the East Kootenay region.

Costs: Rent a pair of snowshoes for around $22 a day, or head out on a tour.

8. Rediscover our coastal heritage

Haida Gwaii is far from most B.C. cities, but getting there is a key part of this serious adventure and there’s plenty to do when you arrive. Catch a ferry along the Inside Passage before BC Ferries cuts this legendary route, then cross the Hecate Strait. Once the multi-day journey is through, stretch your legs and explore Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site or visit the Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Llnagaay. Your family will surely remember this trip.

Fares: Ferry fees for a one-way trip from Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert, then on to Skidegate are around $175 per person and flights between Masset and Vancouver start around $250.

Source: Matt Robinson, Vancouver Sun

Vancouver ranked top city in North America (again!) for quality of life

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Canadian cities, led by Vancouver, dominate North America’s Top Five list for quality of life, according to a survey issued by global business consultant Mercer.

Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal took the next three spots, followed by San Francisco, according to the 2014 Mercer Quality of Living rankings.

The only weakness in ranking Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal compared with Vancouver was their harsher winters, said Luc Lalonde, a principal at Mercer Canada.

“It basically boils down to climate because Vancouver has a relatively mild climate,” Lalonde said Wednesday.

The study also looked at such factors as political stability, crime statistics, public and medical services, consumer goods and recreation. The quality of living index is used by companies to help determine compensation for their employees working abroad.

Ottawa ranked 14th globally, while Toronto was 15th and Montreal 23rd.

Globally, Vienna has been the top ranked city for the last three years, while Vancouver retained its fifth-place spot, Lalonde said.

Zurich was No. 2 worldwide for quality of life, followed by Auckland, New Zealand and Munich, Germany.

Lalonde said the rankings don’t usually change dramatically from year to year.

“Wherever you have stability, good infrastructure and if the environment is politically and socially stable and if you have good public services, these things don’t change overnight.”

Cities with the lowest rankings in North America included Mexico City, financially troubled Detroit, St. Louis, Houston and Miami.

Although Miami and Houston are popular destinations, factors such as crime, air pollution and traffic congestion could have affected their scores, Lalonde said.

The city with the lowest ranking globally was strife-ridden Baghdad, followed by Bangui in Central African Republic and N’djamena in Chad.

Source: LuAnn LaSalle, Canadian Press

Top 10 romantic ideas for Valentine’s Day in Vancouver

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Lacking ideas for fun, lovey-dovey things to do this Valentine’s Day? Miranda Post at Inside Vancouver has got you covered if you fancy beer, are looking for flower alternatives or want to relive the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Check out her selection of 10 Valentine’s Day to-dos below.

Go on a neighbourhood-centric date
Are you an East end boy trying to woo a West end girl? Meet in the middle and go on a neighbourhood-centric date. Don’t know where to start? Check out these date ideas for Mt. Pleasant, Commercial Drive, North Shore and Downtown.

Channel Don and Megan Draper
It’s time to feather your finery gents or slip into that slinky little dress ladies. The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver celebrates it’s 75th anniversary this year. To celebrate, the hotel is opening a swanky pop-up bar dubbed ‘The Roof’ on its top floor. Enjoy Mad Men-era cocktails with your arm candy under the green copper roof starting February 14.

Don’t be a tart
Just eat one. From February 10-14, Hawksworth and Bel Cafe’s pastry chef Wayne Kozinko is producing Valentine’s Day inspired raspberry chocolate tarts. The tarts are a perfect finish to a decadent dinner or a to-go item to surprise your food-focused guy or gal at home. The pretty little cups are layered with Valrhona Caraibe dark chocolate, a tangy raspberry creme, another namelaka or daub of Valrhona, fresh raspberries and a white chocolate heart.

Relive the Vancouver 2010 Olympics courtesy of Edible Canada
From February 14-16, Edible Canada House will host a 2010-esque, Olympic-style house party under the Granville Bridge in their 2nd annual Festival Under the Bridge. Watch Canadian athletes vie for gold as you sample nouveau Canuck cuisine like bison chilli or beef brisket and maple flapjacks. Got wee tykes? They’re welcome too and could leave tuckered out with painted faces if the Granville Island Toy Company has anything to do with it.

I’m on a boat!
Can’t afford to charter a yacht? Try an Aquabus tour instead. Bring a thermos full of something warm, a snack and hop on an Aquabus. They travel between the WestEnd, Granville Island, Science World and Edgewater Casino. Ships ahoy lovers!

Feast on Fruits de Mer
Every February Blue Water Cafe and Rawbar chef Frank Pabst creates a menu of unsung heroes. Urchin, mackerel, herring, sea cucumber and whelk all populate the menu this year. It will be a delicious and do-gooder style Valentine’s Day, 10% of all proceeds support the Vancouver Aquarium’s Oceanwise program.

Give your sweetheart an Archimallow bouquet

Located in Holt Renfrew’s H Project, Archimallows satiates Vancouver’s newest dessert love affair: flavoured, handmade marshmallows. Instead of that bouquet of tired roses grab your sweetheart an edible bouquet of Archimallows. Archimallow ‘stems’ are $3 each and come with three marshmallows on each in flavours like champagne, strawberry cream, lemon or vanilla.

Check out a former SYTYCD choreographer
If only my friends Gayle and Chris lived in Vancouver. They’re two of my most athletic (read: super jock) friends who are also die hard fans of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). If they did live here, I would take them to go see SYTYCD choreographer Peter Chu perform at Dances for a Small Stage 30 from February 13-15 at the Ukranian Centre of East 10th Street.

Drink Beer
Brewery tours are a perfect way to spend an afternoon. Don’t feel like walking or transiting through Vancouver and beyond on the hunt for the perfect mug of hoppy deliciousness? Then book you and your date a chauffeured brewery tour, sit back and sample as many frothy brews as you like.

Indulge in ethical Eastside Chocolate
Nothing makes lovers feel more warm and fuzzy knowing that their Valentine’s day gift is both yummy and ethical. East Van Roasters is awesome for two reasons: they employ ladies from the Rainer Hotel in a program that provides training in the art of chocolate making and their goods are organic. East Van Roasters has crafted a variety of single-origin chocolate treats just in time for Valentine’s Day. Flavours include: Pistachio Rose or Cayenne Toffee and Fennel.

Bonus: Catch a free Concert
Every Thursday and Friday throughout this month CBC hosts its free concert series, the CBC Toque Sessions, in Studio One. Check out Juno award-winning Blackie and the Rodeo Kings February 14.

Vancouver places fifth in American Cities of the Future 2013/14

Friday, April 12th, 2013

New York City has once again claimed the title as the top city in the Americas for attractiveness for inward investment, but the fast-rising São Paulo is proving a fierce competitor.

Uncertainty characterises the current global economic climate. With a 16% decline in FDI in 2012, investment agencies are facing greater competition to attract FDI projects. Yet New York has remained a top global destination for FDI, and was named as fDi Magazine’s American Cities of the Future 2013/14, with São Paulo coming in second and Toronto in third.

New York, the global hub of international business and commerce, grabbed the title for the second time in a row. Despite a knock or two, the city has continued to show its strength in surviving disasters both economic (Wall Street bail out) and natural (Hurricane Sandy). The city remains one of the world’s top destinations for investors, attracting 1.08% of global FDI. The total number of FDI projects into New York increased in 2012 with figures up 10.4% on the previous year.

But a South American competitor is nipping closely at its heels. For the first time in fDi Magazine’s bi-annual rankings, the Brazilian city of São Paulo has not only entered the top 10, but it ranked second overall, just ahead of Toronto. São Paulo is a key player in the global FDI arena, reaching sixth place worldwide in 2012, and attracting 1.19% of FDI projects. FDI into the city has increased year on year since 2004, according to greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets, which is part of the same division of the Financial Times as fDi Magazine, fDi Intelligence.

Canadian cities Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, and performed particularly well in the attraction of knowledge-intensive FDI. All three locations were among the top 20 key destination and source cities for FDI. With the exception of New York, Montreal-based companies invested in more FDI projects than other city in the Americas region.

A sound financial system, relatively low corporation tax rates and an open and affluent economy have resulted in Canadian cities dominating the category for business friendliness across all city sizes. However, a high concentration of top global companies, top world banks and continued expansion of existing FDI activities have helped New York win the award of Best Major American City for Business Friendliness 2013/14. Of the Financial Times’ Global 500 companies, 25 were headquartered in New York, along with 14 of the world’s top 1000 banks, according to The Banker magazine’s annual ranking.

Coming in second, Toronto’s business-friendly environment is encapsulated in Invest Toronto’s American Cities of the Future submission, which states: “When stable, transparent financial and regulatory systems combine with a society that enjoys some of the most advanced freedoms in the world, it creates an environment for success.” Placed in third, Montreal’s success lies in retaining and developing relationships with existing investments – data from fDi Markets shows that one in five FDI projects since 2003 were expansions.

With virtually no restrictions on foreign investment, low corporation tax rates and high levels of economic freedom, Santiago in Chile was ranked the fourth most business-friendly city across the Americas region, and the top in Latin America among major cities. Santiago utilises this advantage to encourage potential investors, as is evident in its American Cities of the Future submission: “Santiago is viewed today as a haven for foreign capital in times of crisis due to its characteristics: security and transparency, as well as its competitiveness and excellent business projections.”

Canadian cities were awarded top positions for business friendliness in various city size categories: Vancouver ranked top of the large cities, with Mississauga top of the mid-sized cities. Victoria came top among small cities, and Waterloo was positioned just ahead of Delta in the micro cities.

Source: Jacqueline Walls, FDI Intelligence

Renew, Refresh, Renovate at this year’s BC Home + Garden Show

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The BC Home & Garden Show takes place this year from February 20th-24th.

The BC Home + Garden Show is the most trusted resource for every home improvement project, inside and out. Enjoy five days of insight and inspiration for making every house a home, featuring HGTV stars like Bryan Baeumler of Leave It To Bryan, Paul Lafrance from Decked Out and Vancouver’s own Philip DuMoulin & Sarah Daniels of Urban Suburban, 425 retailers and a full line-up of new features, all under one roof.

OPENING NIGHT is Wednesday, February 20th, 4pm – 9pm where the show kicks off with a night of perks, refreshments and entertainment tailored to every designing woman. Start at the Home Cooking Stage and catch the SHAW Cooking with Fire Chili Cook-off featuring the kitchen talents of firefighters from across the Lower Mainland, then stick around for a ladies-only beer tasting seminar presented by Just Here for the Beer. Add lots of female-friendly social media giveaways, free swag bags for the first 100 show-goers and plenty of surprises!

Don’t miss Family-friendly on Thursday, Spring Fashion Show on Saturday, Around the World in Eight Gardens, artwork, Portobello West, and so much more!

For further information, please see BC Home & Garden Show.

Vancouver comes in at no.3 in the world’s most liveable places

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Three Canadian cities have again cracked the top five on a ranking of the world’s most liveable places.

In the latest report from the Economist Intelligence Unit released Tuesday, Vancouver ranked third, followed by Toronto and Calgary in fourth and fifth respectively.

The Canadian cities were bested only by Vienna in second and Melbourne, which topped The Economist’s Liveability Ranking.

The annual survey of 140 cities uses more than 30 factors to gauge the state of healthcare, education, infrastructure, stability, culture and environment — rendering a score out of 100.

Vancouver lost marks only for petty crime rates, availability of quality housing and congested road networks, with report authors citing a series of infrastructure projects such as the new Evergreen transit line “that will no doubt have a long-term benefit, but in the short-term they can be disruptive.”

Toronto received a “Tolerable” rating (as opposed to Acceptable) for roads, public transit and housing while Calgary waned in temperature ratings.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi mused that his city’s spot on the ranking proves a “thriving business community, and a vibrant cultural scene that is attracting people from around the world” ­— echoing comments from Stephen Harper’s speech at the Stampede last month when the Prime Minister declared the Alberta metropolis as the greatest city in Canada.

The only other Canadian city to make the Economist list was Montreal in the 16th position.

Australia was the only country to outperform Canada, posting four cities in the top 10. The authors say the trend among the most liveable cities shows a preference for “mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density.” Canada’s density is 3.40 people per square kilometre, while Australia’s is 2.88.

The results vary little from the last ranking released six months ago, with Vancouver maintaining the third spot after slipping from first place in 2011.

Most of the top-tier countries are separated by fractions of a percentage — the first-ranked Melbourne is scored 97.5, only 1.8 points higher than 10th-place Auckland, N.Z. The Economist Information Unit uses the ranking to provide suggestions on how businesses should compensate employees working abroad in cities “where living conditions are particularly difficult.”

It’s one of several studies of its kind, but economic development experts in the listed Canadian cities say The Economist report’s catering to business communities could lead to tangible benefits.

“It’s certainly circulated to an audience of potential investors and investors that may be interested in relocating to our city,” said Randy McLean, a strategy director at the City of Toronto, adding good scores in categories like education will help attract top management talent and their families.

Source: Jake Edmiston, National Post

Vancouver is officially the most expensive city in North America

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Zurich has topped Tokyo to become the world’s most expensive city, as surging currencies push up the cost of living in countries like Switzerland and Australia, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Vancouver overtook U.S. cities to become the most expensive in North America, ranked 37th in the world. Los Angeles was the most expensive U.S. city – equal 42nd with Shanghai – while New York came in 47th.

The Swiss Franc’s allure as a safe haven for investors moving their funds out of Euro zone nations propelled Zurich to the top spot from fifth last year, while Geneva came in third.

Five Australian cities made it into the top 20, led by Sydney and Melbourne in seventh and eighth places, according to The Worldwide Cost of Living survey, carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“Exchange rates have been the greatest influence for the Australian cost of living, with the Australian dollar seeing its value to the U.S. dollar double in a decade,” said survey editor Jon Copestake in a statement.

The survey of 130 cities worldwide compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products, including food, clothing, transport, rents and private schools.

Asian cities moved up the ranking, with Singapore gaining one place to 9th spot and Seoul climbing nine places to 27th.

Asia was also home to some of the cheapest cities. Three of the four cheapest were in the Indian subcontinent: New Delhi and Mumbai in India, and Karachi in Pakistan, which was the cheapest of cities surveyed.

Source: The Vancouver Sun

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