It's a fairly common image from the Middle Ages and from fairy tales: an armoured knight on horseback, riding triumphantly into battle wielding a sword. Today, of course, such a sight would have shocked witnesses almost immediately—unless they're at Academie Duello. A centre for European swordplay and Western martial arts, Academie Duello has revived centuries-old scenes similar to the one above. It teaches students ancient battle techniques, but does not re-enact epic duels or the well-documented silly-string wars that ensued when swords broke.
The 5,000-square-foot facility extracts skills and weapon information from authentic combat manuals and primary-source texts. Its instructors turn that knowledge into an in-depth curriculum, which today provides both adult and children's programs. Most of those programs also help students stay fit, as they replace weights and treadmills with longswords, shields, and rapiers. To immerse themselves further into knighthood, students can check out Academie Duello's museum, which preserves an ever-growing collection of weapons of war, armour, and fight books.
At Vivio Flower Gallery, owner and floral design expert Patricia Navarro creates elegant arrangements with a blend of classic and exotic flora. The gallery showcases seasonal and occasional creations, with creative twists on valentine’s day bouquets – including a three-foot centerpiece of Ecuadorian roses – Christmas-themed vases, and wedding designs.
Every autumn, when the cool air puts an end to the growing season, the gardening experts at Art Knapp Plantland reorganize their Port Coquitlam greenhouse into Art Knapp's Funland. This harvest festival beckons young and old alike with games and rides that range from the popular and scary haunted tunnel to carnival classics, all of which operate on a ticket system. This year, kids can romp on a tire swing and in a bouncy castle, as well as enjoy the cricket ride, octopus ride, and bear-and-monkey ride. Amid the rides and games, vendors serve carnival treats, and bright-orange pumpkins sit atop rows of straw bales. Inside Art Knapp’s store, meanwhile, an ornate Halloween display presents frightening spectacles such as one-eyed skeletons and a miniature haunted town where inhabitants can only get dial-up Internet service.
Beadworks stocks thousands of beads, tools, and jewellery-making accoutrements to custom craft a glamorous array of accessories. Chic epidermis enhancers are born by tossing a clawful of 6mm Czech fire-polish beads ($0.25 each) onto a 12"x19" flocked jewellery design board ($9.95), much like during a royal game of Yahtzee. Accrue style points with the triumphant placement of a Swarovski 16mm cosmic bead ($7.85 each), perhaps as an astral focal point. Align orbs once strung onto clear 49-strand Flexalon wire ($17.15 for a 30-foot spool) to cultivate a unified bracelet or necklace. Self-made jewellery produces a sense of satisfaction that’s unmatched even by drafting an impressive fantasy curling team or finally realizing that you’re (spoiler alert) a ghost.