Everyone's favourite reason to camp out on Kits Beach has been planned for the Summer 2012 season: The 22nd Annual Celebration of Light!
The world's biggest off shore fireworks display - yes, the world's BIGGEST! - is a 3 night show where each night a country gets a chance to dazzle the city with a choreographed fireworks display, set to tunes played over the radio.
A new country is joining the mix this year - Vietnam - who will start the show on Saturday July 28, then Brazil on Wednesday August 1 and Italy on Saturday August 4.
Be sure to plan an all day picnic at the beach to get a good seat, as this is always a popular event (the best fireworks you'll ever see on a warm night in July? I'll be there). Keeping you entertained before it gets dark is the Red Bull Airshow, as well as many bands and street vendors .
More information here: http://hondacelebrationoflight.com/#
Continuing in the series, today we'll look at some fun activities for Kids in Kits! Being quite a family friendly community, there is a lot of open space, parks and beaches for kids to let loose and have some fun. If you're looking into specific programs that teach something new, add to their skill set or get their imaginations going, check out the "Best of Kits..Kids Fun":
Pear Tree Education (215-2678 West Broadway, between Stephens and Trafalgar St).
This is another spot we've previously blogged about. Always offering courses (for kids and adults) on everything from Arts, Drama, Education, Fitness, Language, Martial Arts, Music and Sports.
There are day camps as well (March Break always fills up fast!). Some classes require registration and some are drop-in. It's a great facility with lots of room, an ice skating rink, field, playground and more.
Haya Busa Karate (1807 West 1st Ave @ Ron Zalko Fitness Centre)
Offering classes for kids as young as 3, this Karate School is lead by a 6 Time National Champion. Karate allows kids to develop karate skills, discipline, self confidence and more. The lessons can be for fun, or kids can train with their eye on tournaments and other events.
Family rates are available, and give it's location, you're easily able to squeeze in a workout at Ron Zalko while your kids practice their Karate!
HR MacMillan Space Centre (1100 Chestnut Street @ Vanier Park)
If telling your kids that you're going to the Space Centre doesn't get them excited, I don't know what will. Offering demonstrations, up to date Sky information, exhibits and some hands on activities, this place will surely inspire your little ones. Offering classes every Saturday to educate kids of all ages.
Sunny days this past weekend turned into a wonderful time on Granville Island. How often do you discover something new there? Whether it's an interesting vegetable, an intriguing cut of meat, a creamy cheese or an even more delicious dessert than you thought possible, Granville Island always delivers on surprises.
Ever tasted Sake at the Artisan Sake Maker? At 1339 Railspur Alley, this little Local Sake Maker has space to create Sake and a cute little patio to enjoy tasting Sake flights and some cheap bites to eat (paired well with the Sake). Since the Sake (hot or cold) is made on location, there are quite a few different varieties to try (you'll notice the taste differences immediately). The staff are very knowledgeable and are quick to offer help and descriptions.
From the website:
"Handcrafted in our artisan studio located at Railspur Alley on Granville Island, Osake is the first “fresh premium”Junmai Sake [Namazake] of its kind produced in Canada. Fermented from top-quality Japanese sakamai, then hand-pressed and hand-bottled, Osake is left unfiltered to optimize its fresh, delicate, fruit-like aromas and flavours. Unlike premium sakes imported from Japan, which are typically produced once a year in winter, Osake is made in small batches several times a year in cycles roughly corresponding to the changing of the seasons. This departure from tradition allows us to explore and produce versatile wines that complement the varied in-season bounty of our local west coast cuisine-from fish and shellfish in spring and summer to heat-warming braises and stews in fall and winter."
Open 11:30-6pm every day, this is a great little spot to do some people watching and enjoy some Sake.
Looking to move to Kits? Here are a few developments that should be opening in the next few years. Unfortunately they won't be ready for Summer 2012, so if you're looking to move to Kits in order to call the beach your home this summer, you'll have to wait it out... or start looking!
York Townhomes at 2024 York Ave.
With 6 units (and 3 storeys) ranging from $899,000 to $1,438,000 in price and 1060 to 1644 sq.ft., this development isn't' for everyone. However, for those interested, it'll have spacious, functional floor plans offering residents the luxurious finishings. Balconies and floor to ceiling windows take advantage of the views and natural light (with upper units having roof top decks). Each unit has private entry via elevators and secure private underground parking.
More information: http://hbdyork.ca/hbd/
Expect it to be completed by Winter 2012.
2035 W 4th Ave Condos
Currently in pre-construction, this development promises 14 one or two bedroom concrete "state of the art smart" homes. Developed by Formwerks.
Won't be finished until at least 2014. We'll keep our eye on this one.
W4th and Fir St.
Currently in reconstruction, there is not very much information about this project, so we will keep you posted. Developed by Ledingham McAllister.
Emily Carr University of Art + Design offers lectures and events, relating to, what else? Art + Design. This week there is a very interesting talk by Lloyd Kahn, a pioneer of the green building movement, an Editor-In-Chief of "Shelter Magazine". He is the author of a few books, including "Builders of the Pacific Coast".
On Thursday April 19, from 7-9m, Lloyd is giving a presentation on topics from his new book, "Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter: Scaling back in the 21st Century". What makes this presentation one to see is that it is a visual presentation os the work of many Do It Yourself Designers and Builders of tiny homes, studios, shelters, sheds, greenhouses, etc. All focusing on self sufficiency and green building, and built on a variety of surfaces including land, water, wheels and in trees.
This is a free public talk, located in the Emily Carr lecture Theatre (Room 301).
Pear Tree Education is a great learning centre in Kitsilano (215-2678 West Broadway, in between Stephens and Trafalgar St) for kids aged 7-15. They offer quite a few services, including tutoring, as well as special events like the "Under the Sea" Oceanography Course for Kids. It runs from April 2 to June 28 from 3:30-7pm. The course description lists aquatic ecosystems, species unique to Vancouver and the flora and fauna of the West Coast as topics of this course.
If you kids are fascinated by the mysterious under water world, this is a great way to develop their interest!
Keep you eyes on pear Tree's other special events for something that may interest your child a little more. Other events have included Kitchen Chemistry, Web and Computer Work, Structures Workshops and More.
Lunch is an underrated meal. Sandwiched between Breakfast and Dinner, sometimes forgotten, usually on the go and so it presents it's own quirks. Ideally slightly healthy, filling enough to give you the energy to get to dinner, and yet quick. Luckily Kits was built for those healthy types looking for something simple and usually handheld. There are lots of quick cafes and spots to grab a great meal that might actually make you forget about dinner and jump straight to dessert!
Here are our picks for the best quick, homey lunches in Kits!
Whole Foods Market (2285 West 4th Ave @ Vine St)
This is an establishment. Both grocery store and food shop, you can get a very filling and delicious burrito, or you can be creative at their salad bar, or grab one of their prepared lunches! All good, all healthy (unless it's something dessert-y, which are generally healthier versions) and all cheap. Friendly, knowledgable staff and lots of indoor and outdoor seating (with water you can serve yourself with) round out this location as a great lunch destination! I've been known to grab a couple of their little wraps when I'm in need of something before dinner and my frequent burrito buyer card is almost at the elusive "Get one Free"!
This bakery/cafe offers a great variety of breads, sandwiches, soups, yogurt+granola, salads and pastries. With different soups (try the White Bean and Prosciutto or the classic Tomato Basil) and sandwiches every day, there is always a reason to go. A nice communal table as well as other seating ensures there is probably room for even a large party. I don't suggest ruining your dinner, but seriously, have a cookie! They're big, soft, and have a great chocolate to cookie ratio.
Long been known as a student hangout (thanks to being open 24 hours, having lots of tables and free Wi-Fi) this place gets high marks for their bakery and lunch selection. They always have fresh pastries (like muffins, scones, the usual suspects) as well as lots of delicious cakes to really indulge. But the best thing they offer are their sandwiches! Choose from the menu, or make your own, from the bread to the sauce to the toppings). Not enough time for that? Grab a nice bowl of something from their hot / cold selections. Oh, and they're licensed, so if you do have the time to enjoy your sandwich in house, grab a glass of wine as well.
A newer Kits local, this place is great s you love a well made, grab and go sandwich! With as much as possible made in house, and the rest sourced locally, these sandwiches are thought through from top to bottom. Give yourself some time, as the menu is huge! Lots choices ranging from Vegetarian, Roast Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, Deli, Ham, and (my favourite) Corned Beef and Pastrami. This is a must try, though be warned, you'll be going back again.
More information, and their large menu, on their website.
It's back! The Annual BC Spot Prawn Festival at the Fisherman's Wharf at False Creek. Presented but the Chefs Table Society of BC, this annual event kicks off Spot Prawn season with a big spot prawn boil by some of the city's top chefs (and veritable spot prawn masters).
This is a one day only event - Saturday May 5th from 11-3pm - so get your tickets fast. Each ticket includes a plate of deliciously prepared spot prawns, sides, sauces and bread from Terra Breads to complete your meal. As well, it gets you entrance into the food, wine and beer tent! Cooking demos will ensure you go home with a bag of spot prawns and lots of ideas. This is a great family event as well, with activities and demos for the kids to enjoy. Visit the website to get your $12 ticket before they sell out.
If you can't make it to the one day event, spot prawn season goes on for 6-8 weeks after, allowing you (and many of the restaurants in the area0 to buy their spot prawns fresh every day after 1pm.
Is it normal to have cups of coffee in the morning, creamy lattes in the afternoon and espressos post dinner? Yes? Phew, I didn't think the sheer volume of coffee shops in this city was a coincidence! So here are our picks for the Best of Kits. Coffee!
As always, our picks are in no particular order, as each one is enjoyed from the first to the last drop. The next nice weekend, I'm going to do a coffee crawl!
49th Parallel Coffee Roasters (2152 West 4th Ave)
Probably high on everyone's list, this sleek coffee cafe is for aficionados. "Coffee is an experience for the senses" they say, and boy do they provide that. The baristas are knowledgeable, helping you select the roast that would match your tastes perfectly and presenting you with a beautiful cup. This shop also offers coffee beans for home brew and some wonderfully delicious bites to eat. If you like coffee for the caffeine as well as the taste, 49th Parallel should be high on your list of must haves.
For more information, as well as coffee bean news from around the world and tips on how to make the best coffee, see their website.
Open Monday to Saturday 7am to 8pm, Sunday 8am to 6pm.
Thomas Haas (2539 West Broadway Ave)
Would you like a coffee with your chocolate? Maybe it's because I'm sitting in a room full of chocolate, but this shop has a fantastic ambience. Warm, and always smelling fantastic, I'll never say no to a visit here. Savour their hot chocolate or mochas (not to anyone's surprise, they are phenomenal here) while sharing a freshly made almond croissant or enjoy an espresso with a small piece of chocolate. Also offering sandwiches and a plethora of chocolate options, even those who don't like chocolate should try one (there are quite a few savoury rather than sweet options), especially since you will probably run into Mr Haas himself.
See their website for menus, and all the other services they provide.
Open Tuesday to Saturday 8am-5:30pm
Momento Coffee House (2766 West 4th Ave @ Macdonald)
I have friend who would walk by three other coffee shops on their way to this one.. that says a lot when one is in need of caffeine! Offering well made espressos, lattes, cappuccino's, and more, you know you'll get to enjoy a good cup. And focusing on what they do best (the coffee) they source their pastries and sandwiches from a La Baguette on Broadway, ensuring a quality cup and snack.
The guys are pros, for years they were consistently winning at the Canadian Barista Championships for their latte art. With a big space, this place probably offers your best chance for securing a comfortable spot to enjoy your cup. Always looking to offer the best beans, they can satisfy even the pickiest of coffee drinkers.
Open Monday to Friday 6am to 7pm. Weekends 6:30am to 7pm.