Cities are the ultimate conglomerations, existing as both the collections of people, institutions, and locations that currently compose them as well as the memories of all of the bygone inhabitants that came before. Without some concept of that past, current-day residents are hard-pressed to really understand their present. Fortunately, the historians at Museum of Vancouver keep visitors in the know with expertly curated exhibits revealing the unforgettable events that shaped the city's character. In the permanent galleries, a series of permanent historical displays chronicle the city’s evolution from the 1900s real-estate boom into the excitement of the 1970s. In 1960s-1970s: You Say You Want A Revolution, Vancouver’s hippie community comes to life with the jangling tunes of local bands of the day and discussions of the Greenpeace movement; in Neon Vancouver, Ugly Vancouver, gallery walls fill with the sizzling light of antique advertising and signage rescued from obscurity before its date with the dump.
To complement the history galleries, three special rotating exhibits each year showcase works by artists such as Tobias Wong, a cheeky craftsman considered one of the forerunners of conceptual design. In 2013, visitors will revist Vancouver's street photography era as they delve into the works of the infamous Foncie Pulice, and explore the west coast modernist architecture of Daniel Evans White. During special events, the museum’s halls fill with the wisdom of curators, artists, and others explaining their work.
As the sun’s rays reach across British Columbia, breakfast is being served, coffee and all, in the middle of Shuswap Lake. Though it's been cooked aboard one of Waterway Houseboat Vacations’ watercrafts, the diners devouring their morning meal still have the overwhelming sense that this is what it feels like to spend quality time in the wild. That combination of coming together as a group while communing with nature is Waterway Houseboat Vacations’ raison d'être and has been since its founding in 1968.
Dedicated to outfitting aquatic sojourners with the most lavish, well-equipped vessels possible, the company's proprietors had their own fleet of houseboats built up in their Sicamous-based boat yard. Each masterpiece of engineering is embellished with luxurious amenities such as hot tubs, fireplaces, and gold-plated shoulder parrots, each of which fight for boater attention with lake-adjacent activities such as swimming, hiking, water-skiing, and fishing. While eager to introduce visitors to the scenic beauty of the Shuswaps, the company simultaneously aims to uphold a dedication to environmental stewardship, preserving their beloved home with initiatives that include stocking boats with biodegradable soap and spearheading a comprehensive recycling program.
Seasoned charioteers at Black Beauty Line navigate winding routes past Victoria’s most picturesque locales. The average 30-minute tour circles the neo-baroque Parliament buildings that border the Inner Harbour and clip-clops toward historic James Bay Village. Riders can snuggle under provided quilts as buggies glide past sites such as the Heritage Homes, whose snowy veils on winter rides melt away for spring rides to reveal manicured gardens and groggy lawn ornaments. Along the way, charioteers impart tales and tidbits about the tour attractions, and good-naturedly pose for photos after the ride. The well-kept carriages are also available for private event rental, often for weddings. Owner Rebecca Spray brings 30 years of caring for horses to Black Beauty Line. As a member of Carriage Operators of North America, she ensures that horses are healthy, well groomed, and not actually a horse impersonator looking for real-world experience. Pets are welcome to come along for the ride, and everyone must make reservations before the tour.
The 10-acre open-air Burnaby Village Museum transports visitors back in time to explore a 1920s-inspired village filled with heritage and replica buildings typical of a tram-stop community along the B.C. Electric Railway. Explore the surroundings at a leisurely pace and enjoy the smiles of period-costumed townsfolk who offer demonstrations in the village’s homes, businesses, and shops. Fan-favourite stops include the blacksmith, the schoolhouse, the spaceship, and the farmhouse gardens. The annual pass also includes rides on the historic 1912 CW Parker Carousel, with riding mood music provided by a 1925 Wurlitzer Military Band Organ and a mezzo-soprano monkey. For an old-fashioned holiday outing, Burnaby Village hosts Heritage Christmas from November 27 to January 2 to let visitors experience the merry-making of yore. Picnic tables, a gift shop, and an ice cream parlour are also on the premises.
It often takes 12 minutes just to leave the house, remember you forgot your keys, and go back for them. In the same amount of time, Island Express Air’s signature snappy flights can shuffle passengers all the way from Abbotsford to Vancouver. The airline also services Victoria and Nanaimo with their fleet of professional aircraft, outfitted with cutting edge XM Satellite GPS technology that keeps pilots apprised of weather and terrain clearance.
The airline complements its regularly scheduled local flights with airborne sightseeing tours. From the windows of intimate planes equipped with a maximum of 10 seats, tourists drink in views of the Gulf Islands, Mount Baker, and other landmarks, dipping low enough to glimpse whales as they power-wash the plane’s underside with their blowholes. Alternatively, the airline’s private charter flights can whisk passengers to a destination of their choice.
Even as it soars across the deep, clear blue waters of Lake Okanagan, the Lake Lounge keeps its passengers, crew, and cooperative stowaways connected to a bevy of land-based pleasures. A comprehensive sound system blasts pleasurable beats throughout its two decks, and three flat-screen TVs reaching widths up to 50 inches broadcast the passengers' choice of entertainment. On the lower deck, vaulted ceilings soar over dinner tables and an electric fireplace keeps the room warm in colder weather, and on the open top deck passengers bask in lake breezes and take in panoramic views of the water and evergreen-coated shoreline. When not focused on the scenery, they step across an elevated dance floor lit by multicoloured lights or discuss their favourite childhood pet fish over tipples from a fully stocked bar.
Dinner-cruise passengers sup on a daily-changing menu that cycles through regular entrees such as cedar-plank salmon and peach barbecue chicken. As the Lake Lounge sails past opulent lakeside homes and the city skyline, the sun colours the sky as it sets and the stars sleepily stumble into place to form their constellations. The ship's crews also host wedding receptions, family reunions, and birthday parties on the dual decks.
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