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.
Plants aren't all that scary. Which is what makes Potters House of Horrors so unusual. Every year, when the chill of autumn fills the air and pumpkins grow on vines, Potters transforms from a relaxed garden center into a spooky maze filled with giant spiders and hung skeletons. Traveling through the 9,000-square-foot labyrinth, visitors will encounter of a series of haunted rooms where live actors and animatronics test their tolerance for fear in a setting straight out of a horror movie. Whether under cover of darkness or in a kaleidoscope of color, each room is designed to frighten everyone, from teenagers to emotionless robots who take over teenager bodies.
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.
A tiny ripple glides along the smooth-as-glass water, alerting captain Pete to the fact that he and his passengers are about to have company. Sure enough, within seconds a group of glossy black fins breaks through the sea in a silent, synchronized ballet. A native Washingtonian who has spent his entire life on the water, captain Pete orchestrates San Juan Excursions to grant guests the chance to go head-to-head with nature in moments such as these. As marine naturalists certified by the Whale Museum’s Naturalist Training Program, captain Pete’s crew of passionate guides take to the peaceful waters of the Puget Sound to entertain boatloads of guests with informative facts about area wildlife witnessed during excursions.
The team’s passion for nature informs its low-impact approach to whale and wildlife watching, which is exemplified in the Odyssey, the company's tour boat. Originally a U.S. Navy search-and-rescue vessel forged in 1941, the craft is fueled by biodiesel when possible and maintains a low propeller RPM to minimize the Bono moans it releases into the water column. Though San Juan Excursions specializes in whale watching, it also sends adventurers forth to explore the waters on their own steam during sea-kayak tours.
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.
In 1897, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery made history by producing 50,707 cases of canned sockeye salmon—the largest pack by a single cannery in British Columbia. This bumper harvest came about three years after the cannery opened, when it was known as the Monster Cannery along Steveston's cannery row and in the nightmares of the younger canneries. Operational until 1979, today it occupies the same real estate and persists as one of the few historically intact canneries in British Columbia.
Inside, visitors explore the province's fishing history with guided tours, films, and interactive exhibits, including the Canning Line, one of the site's permanent attractions. Here, guests can experience what it was like to work on a 1930s-era canning line. A hard day's work on the line can wind down at the gift shop, which is stocked with cannery-themed apparel, toys, and gifts.
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