In the dining room, the rhythmic pounding of a bodhrán hand drum mingles with the joyful melodies of a tin flute, flooding every inch of the space with an ebullience punctuated by onlookers’ clapping hands and tapping feet. The diners have left the feasts spread across their tables mostly untouched, their attention glued to the band in the midst of their lively song. Such moments aren't a rarity at Donegal's Irish House, but are an almost nightly occurrence at the jovial eatery that brings locals together to make new friends and share in internationally inspired meals.
Champions of fostering an atmosphere of community and friendship, the affable staff goes out of its way to make guests feel welcome, thanks to attentive service and an ever-changing calendar of events that keep inviting guests back. On select evenings, patrons can convene at Donegal's to watch a Canucks game or to see local bands. As guests chat and mingle in the dining room, the kitchen buzzes with chefs concocting Irish standards such as shepherd's pie and international cuisine that includes perogies and sausage, jambalaya, and butter chicken. Donegal's signature dish remains the whopping blarney stone burger, a 7.5-pound charbroiled Canadian beef patty that gets its eater a commemorative T-shirt and a place on the wall of fame if it's eaten within two hours with no help. Unsuccessful competitors, meanwhile, find their snapshot displayed on the wall of shame, under the most personal entry from their dream journals.
The next generation of professional bowlers could very well be lacing up their small, adorable shoes at Sandcastle Bowl Bar & Grill. The alley hosts a youth league for bowlers as young as five, which is the earliest age Santa accepts requests for bowling gloves. Luckily, strikes and spares don't end once players reach adulthood. Adult leagues let grownups compete across the alley's 20 lanes, which accommodate both five- and tenpin bowling.
While competitive, Sandcastle Bowl Bar & Grill's leagues are primarily social gatherings, with plenty of opportunities to make new friends (bowlers can join teams or sign up as individuals). This spirit of friendly sportsmanship also extends to casual events. The alley hosts after-school bowling on weekdays, and on Saturdays, the staff cranks up music and turns on special effects lighting during an all-you-can-bowl party called Strike FX.
Visits often spill over into the onsite restaurant, Zachary's Grill. The menu puts standard snack bar food to shame with dozens of options such as handmade burgers and shareable baskets of dry ribs.
Named 1 of the Top 100 Golf Practice Centers And Learning Facilities In America by Golf Range Magazine in 2011, Eaglequest Coyote Creek Golf Course pairs its renowned practice facility with a par 65 course to foster improvement in players of all abilities. The 18-hole, 4,165-yard course facilitates fast rounds of golf with 7 par 3 and 11 par 4 holes, and 4 holes more than 300 yards in length, prompting players to use every club in their bags. Lines of trees stud the edges of nearly every fairway, a creek winds through the course’s gently undulating terrain to alter shots, and a tennis player with a racquet plays defense on the final hole.
Before golfers head to the first tee, they can loosen up their swings by launching high-calibre practice balls at Eaglequest's synthetic driving range. To further groom their games, clubbers can schedule lessons with one of the course's CPGA instructors, who remedy slice-prone swings, shaky short-game shots, and 9-irons stricken with the common cold.
Owned and operated by a cohort of passionate paintball players since 2001, Ambush Paintball's three recreational fields, with a fourth opening May 27th, constantly undergo grooming to ensure their safety and to accommodate new, challenging obstacles. A 200-foot-long tire wall, two-storey clock tower, and 50-foot easel for target practice adorn the massive 450'x250' Ambush City Field, whose square shape and symmetrical layout prevent either team from naming their strategies after famous couture dresses. Meanwhile, two mobile homes, nicknamed the Redneck Fortresses, shelter participants on the Grassy Mounds Field when they're not navigating the trenches and maze-like grassy paths on the outside. More paths abound on the 5-acre diamond-shaped Lost Forest Field, whose tree forts and barricades have hosted as many as 200 players at a time. Elsewhere, a celebrated speedball park hosts a range of guests––from first-timers to pros of the sport––for tournaments every Sunday.
A PADI five-star instructor-development centre, Ocean Pro Divers has provided Surrey with professional scuba training and gear for more than two decades. Over that time, owners Shannon and Wes Kozak have netted a team of expert, PADI-certified instructors, who draw from both local and tropical experiences to enlighten students at their fully equipped facility. In addition to offering the full spectrum of scuba-training courses, the Ocean Pro Divers staff leads diving adventures almost every weekend of the year. They also offer travelling dive packages to international destinations, giving students a choice between wading through exotic waters or staying near home to explore the subaquatic depths of Vancouver, which abound with marine life and hibernating hockey players during the off-season.
Some things about the Clova Cinema have changed over the years; as it passed from owner to owner, it has been a video-rental shop, a youth centre, and a stage for live performances. But despite its numerous incarnations, the rich red facades, the art-deco decorations, and the bright marquee have remained proudly in place. These features hearken all the way back to the theatre's 1947 opening, when Humphrey Bogart dominated the screen and popcorn was popped in gleaming machines instead of Buick-sized microwaves. Now, the cinema's single screen flickers to life with weekly evening and weekend matinee showings of current releases. The theatre is rife with family touches, from the real butter on the popcorn to Cupcake the dog, who is on hand at matinees to entertain guests before the show and sniff out unsilenced cell phones.