5 of the Coolest Things to Do in Vancouver


For those considering moving to Vancouver, you can find most kinds of food or activities to suit your personality. It is not hard to discover fun things to do ranging from daring and adventurous, to classy and cultured. Below are 5 of the craziest things you need to check out while in Vancouver.

Dark Table Restaurant

For those looking for the truly unique dining experience, Dark Table definitely fits the bill.  The dining concept is simple. Guests are given the menu before they are seated at their table. Once they have ordered, they are escorted to the dining room in complete darkness. The idea is, that without sight, your sense of taste, smell, hearing and touch is amplified, leading to a whole new eating experience. On a side note, Dark Table employs the visually impaired to guide their guest through this unique experience, giving jobs to those who experience a 70% unemployment.

Whistler Bungee/ Outdoor Art Gallery

Whistler Bungee is a short day trip outside of Vancouver and a great activity for the adrenaline junkie.  At Whistler you can experience the heart-pounding thrill of jumping off of a narrow bridge, 50 meters high, over the rapids of the Cheakamus River.

While you’re there, take another drive and check out the Whistler Train Wreck art gallery.  Though not your ordinary art gallery, it features old train wreck that occurred decades ago and was never totally cleaned up. The  decaying boxcars were tastefully  painted by local graffiti artist. It’s a short hike and situated among lofty pines and next to the rushing Cheakamus River.

 Wreck Nude beach

At this beach you’ll have to strip off any pride you may have to join hundreds of others in a unique and childishly freeing experience.  Wreck beach is Canada’s famous “clothing optional” beach.  It offers picturesque views of the ocean and San Juan Islands. You don’t have to worry about prying eyes since a relatively easy hike down a cliff secludes it. There are multiple venues and activities there like the annual Bare Buns Run and attempts at breaking the world record for the most “skinny dippers”.

Duello Sword Fighting School

Forget vanquishing the enemy while sitting on the couch playing your favorite video game. Experience the real thing at Duello Sword Fighting School. Here you can learn real sword fighting techniques from a mix of weaponry. They teach most everything, from the long sword to rapier. You’ll receive gladiator like training from professionals and a cool skill to brag about to your friends.

Critical Mass

Critical Mass

Critical Mass is a grassroots campaign of enthusiast, supporting safety and awareness self-propelled modes of transportation. They take to the street in masses riding their sometimes unique bikes. They are quite a site for those that get stuck in traffic every last Friday of the month. The route differs from month to month and always ends with cheering and high fives from all the participants.

There are so many great activities, restaurants, parks, beaches, and events in Vancouver. You may just decide a visit isn’t enough and move here to enjoy all that our beautiful city as to offer.

Image credit: Whistler Bungee, Patrick Hui, Ben Didier

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Buying A Waterfront House: 4 Things You Need to Know

Vancouver Water Front Homes

No matter which direction you start to drive in Vancouver, you’ll eventually run into a beach or waterfront. Those that move to Vancouver not only get to enjoy the gorgeous scenery, but also are minutes away from our beautiful beaches. A home idyllically situated right on the shores of a waterfront can be a tough find. Those fortunate enough to own such properties often enjoy pristine views, tranquil surroundings, and full immersion in other Nature. Yet, the process of researching waterfront homes isn’t without its complexities and requires careful thought. Besides, finding a house on the water connects with a timeless housing adage, “it’s all about location, location, location!” Here are 4 tips to help you decide if that waterfront property will meet you and your family’s needs and expectations.
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Kitsilano- A Beautiful Refuge amongst the City



Very early memories of Kitsilano are a mix of golden trees tumbling burnt red leaves down to the well-weeded pavements. I remember family trips to the bakery to enjoy cinnamon buns and pizza bagels. Kitsilano is a neighbourhood that has something for everyone, truly a diverse neighbourhood in a diverse city. Continue reading

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The Pursuit of the Perfect Patio – Yaletown Vancouver

Yaletown Condos for Sale in Vancouver Neighborhoods Yaletown


When you think of this buzzing neighborhood in Vancouver British Columbia what image pops into your head? For me, it’s the typical stereotype- chic boutiques, upscale restaurants, modern condos, lofts and apartments, and pretty girls with designer dogs in their matching purses! However, after reading an interesting article posted by the BIA (Business Improvement Association of British Columbia), I was surprised to discover Yaletown boasts more dynamic depth than I’ve given it credit for!
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Soundproofing your Vancouver Condo

Soundproof Vancouver CondoUnfortunately, when it comes to soundproofing, there is very little that can be done after the condo has already been built.  Yet one of the most often requested pieces of advice from Vancouver condo owners and town home owners is just how they can better soundproof their homes.

Most of the time condo dwellers are wondering just how they might stop the transmission of sound coming in from other units.  In wood floor units that are improperly soundproofed especially, just the sound of the upstairs neighbours walking across the floor can sound like elephants at a dance party.

The problem of course is that the soundproofing really should have been done during the construction phase.  Unfortunately, current building codes are not stringent enough when it comes to condo soundproofing.

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Home Office Decorating Tips

Yaletown Home Office DecorIf you have a home office you know already what a nightmare it can be to keep your work life and home life separate or at least to achieve a happy balance between the two.  When it comes to decorating however, a more seamless transition between office space and living space is often desirable.

Even though a home office still needs to function like any other office, it shouldn’t have to stand out like a sore thumb in your Kitsilano home or Yaletown condo.  Office decor needn’t be the standard cookie-cutter grey filing cabinets and brown banker’s boxes.
Most home offices could benefit from a facelift now and again especially if space or storage is an issue.

For those people especially who have clients come by their home office, you’ll want to ensure a functional and stylish space with room for seating.  Clearing clutter in any case is a major first step.

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TV and your Decor

Yaletown Appartment Real EstateFor most people, a fifty inch plasma screen is something we’d rather not be the entire focal point of our family space.  When entertaining at our homes it can be especially important to downplay the screen in favour of creating an atmosphere conducive to conversation and sociability.

The problem of course for many people is just how to work with the ever larger screens whilst still keeping these from becoming the central focus of our living rooms.  While some people are fortunate enough to have a separate family room or media room, the rest of us must find ways to incorporate television screens more subtly.

For those in smaller spaces especially, such as a Yaletown condo, choosing ways to incorporate your television without overwhelming the space is essential.  If your Yaletown home is slightly smaller in size, you need to choose pieces that function to full utility.

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Spring Cleaning 101

Spring Cleaning Your Vancouver Home and CondoWith spring in the air we can tend to forget that with the better weather also comes a host of allergens and irritants.  What many people don’t realize however is that much of the pollution we suffer from can be caused by products found right in our own home.

In order to clear your home of pesky dust mites and other allergen causing problems, a good spring cleaning is always in order.  Below are some great tips for ridding your Vancouver home or Vancouver condo of lurking allergens.

Chemical cleaners are actually some of the worst offenders.  In an attempt to clean up your home you may inadvertently be brining in more problems.

Now that there are a variety of green cleaning products to choose from, it shouldn’t be too hard to switch from your regular cleaners.  Green products are much less toxic to inhale and are much safer for you, your children and your pets.  When in doubt look for products that carry a third-party certification of their green status.

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Foreign Investment in Vancouver Housing Market

Vancouver Real Estate ForiegnAccording to a recent survey undertaken by the Vancouver Foundation, a whopping 3 out of 4 Vancouverites agree that there is “too much foreign ownership of real estate” in the city.

A further panel discussion took place at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre in order to discuss the issue of housing costs, ownership and affordability in the Vancouver area.

The dilemma is clear as a recent study named Vancouver as the second most unaffordable city out of 325 cities in the world.

A single detached home in the Vancouver area has risen to a hefty 1 million dollars.  This despite the fact that the median incomes for families have hardly seen any increase in decades.

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Vancouver Housing Prices

Vancouver Housing PricesThough Vancouver is known to be one of the best places in the world to live, the housing costs can be a deterrent for many.  However, it is worth remembering when bemoaning the price of a Vancouver home or Vancouver condo, that in comparison to some other places around the world the costs are actually much less.

For instance, in the London finding an affordable place can be a nightmare.  Even for those well-to-do seekers, a suitable home is a difficult thing to find.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Diana Carney the wife of Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of Canada who is now set to take over at the Bank of England, recently tweeted about her difficulties trying to find a suitable house for rent in London.  Though the newspaper found it slightly comical that the £4,800 weekly housing allowance should cause such consternation, the reality of the London market might surprise many a Canadians.
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House-hunting in Vancouver without the hair-tearing

KevinFrank.ca Showcased on VancityBuzz

Kevin Frank Screen ShotAt its best, house-hunting is full of excitement and hope, enlivened by the dream of discovering just the right treasure in just the right neighbourhood. At its worst, it can be a draining death-march that leaves you longing for the old days, when you just evicted a bear and took over his cave. Going online doesn’t always help: the big generic sites are overwhelming and not exactly user friendly. That’s why it’s such a delight to come across a genuinely helpful, engaging site like kevinfrank.ca. Continue reading

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Choosing a House Size that Meets your Needs

House Size - Vancouver Real EstateWhen it comes to choosing a new home, size really does matter.  But interestingly, the size you choose is often dependent on your age and cultural background.

Most people in the market for a home are hoping to get something as big as they can for their money.  According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, the median size that home buyers are looking for is 2,226 square feet.

Looking at the figures however also reveals a fairly significant variety in how big the desired home is.  This variety is a result of numerous factors some of which include, age, race, and ethnicity.

Of course it is no surprise that as age increases, space requirements do to.  Vancouver real estate shoppers who have kids that have already left home are simply not going to need the same space as those who have multiple kids living under the same roof.
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Home Alarm Systems

home alarm systemSelecting a home alarm system is an important task for any new home owner.  Keeping your house safe with a security system will ensure a sense of peace and make you feel secure.

However, when selecting a system it is vital that you do your research and read all of the materials before signing up with any particular company.  While some security companies claim to be ‘free’ there is often a lot left unspoken.

Any  real estate owner or homeowner seeking to buy a new security system for their home should be sure to read the fine print in any agreement.

Many companies advertise ‘free’ services.  But what exactly does this mean and how does this work?

The truth of the matter is that some security companies might offer some free materials, for instance a door or window sensor, a wireless keypad or a motion detector, but in order to actually activate these features you will need to shell out some cash.
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Lightening up your Home

vancouver Home LightingWhile many people realize how important good flow and design is to a home, fewer are aware of the importance of lighting.  Lighting can alter mood and create just the right atmosphere in any room.  Simply imagine the beauty of waking to a flood of natural morning light streaming into your kitchen.

Though not all homes will have the benefit of huge windows and floods of natural light, there are many things you can do to harness the light your Vancouver home does receive.

For those who are planning on doing renovations on their Vancouver or Kitsilano home, you’ll want to consider just how any major changes are going to affect the light in your home.  And while of course there are many other factors to consider, this essential element can make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of your home.
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2013 B.C. Housing Forecast

bc housing forecast imageThough many naysayers have been predicting a bursting of what has been termed a housing bubble in the Vancouver market, the reality is a good deal brighter.  Articles and blogs claiming a dramatic decline in housing values in B.C. have very little true credibility.

The fact remains that throughout the previous year almost all Vancouver residents saw modest gains in their Vancouver real estate assessments.  In the city of Vancouver itself, net gains of about 2.2 percent in assessed home values were seen.

Likewise in Burnaby gains were as much by 3.99 percent and in Surrey home values increased by 5.15 percent.

In the Township of Langley residential real estate values increased by 3.13 percent.  The City of Richmond did however see a very slight decline in the assessed values.  A marginal decline of some 0.64 percent was noted, however this fails to show some important facts.
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Traffic Circles and Cyclists’ Road Safety

vancouver streetsRecently, more and more attention has been drawn to the dangers of traffic circles, or mini roundabouts for cyclists.  While these have increasingly been instituted in the city of Vancouver and elsewhere as a means to slow down traffic, there are a variety of reasons why these are actually causing more problems than they are solving.

At least two recent studies have shown that these traffic circles are causing more risks for cyclists than regular intersections.  Not only do many people, motorists and cyclists included, not know the proper way to use them, but they can also be very dangerous in icy or wet weather.
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New Kitsilano Rotisserie

kitsilano restaurantNosh, the new Kitsilano rotisserie is making news for its tasty dine out menu.  The amazing restaurant is offering a 3 course dine out for only $18.  The offer will be on until February 3rd.

The restaurant opened back in January.  While the spot is rather small and the decor minimalist, the food is terrific.  The meat and veggies are sourced as close to home as possible.

The dine out menu offers two starter options.  Either a creamy parsnip and apple soup or a salad.  The salad comes with roasted beets and caramelized squash.

The slow roasting main course is well worth every penny.  Tender rotisserie pork is available as are the ribs.  The veggies are just as good as the main rotisserie meats and they offer a few good beer options on tap as well.
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Vancouver Opting for More Food Carts

Vancouver CommunityInspired by Portland’s food cart program, the city of Vancouver is looking to expand the food carts found just outside the downtown core.  The city is hoping that a Portland-style food cart system ill take hold just around the city.

Just half-way into a four year pilot program on food carts, the city itself began to reach its uppermost limit for food carts directly in the downtown area.  There are already 103 permits issued for the permanent carts.

There will be another 12 operators added to the program each year for the next two years.  These carts in clusters act as a draw for locals and tourists, particularly in the summer months.
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Investors Betting on Market Recovery

real estate market homesVarious investors, notably hedge funds and private equity firms are racing to buy up land, homes and building parts.  These firms are making bets that the housing recovery is at hand.

John Paulson, a hedge fund manager who bet wisely against subprime mortgages back in 2006 and 2007 is just such a one now moving to snap up land.  Paulson has turned his head towards land in the hardest hit areas of the housing crisis.

Paulson and his company have bought up land in Arizona, Nevada and California.  Paulson & Co have plans to build upwards of 25,000 homes in these areas.  The company is still looking for more land.

Private equity firms are also looking towards housing investments.  Blackstone Group, BX, recently spent about 2.7 billion to buy up 17,000 single family homes.  These were mostly homes that had been foreclosed and the company continues to seek out more across the United States.
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Vancouver Renters Gain New Database

vancouver renters databaseVancouver renters will have a new tool at their disposal now, namely a searchable database that will help them avoid the worst rental properties.  The new website will allow anyone to search their own building or any one they are contemplating living in by both address and Google map.

Up to 2,500 buildings will be on the list including single-room occupancy hotels and private apartments.

The move is part of a pledge by city council to make it easier for renters to find out whether or not their building is meeting its obligations in terms of various city codes.  These include fire codes, life safety issues, maintenance, electrical and plumbing amongst others.
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