Yes, renters can vote in civic elections!

If you already voted in the last provincial election, you are on the voter’s list. Just show up on Saturday. Bring two pieces of ID, preferably a driver’s licence plus either a credit/debit card and a utility bill. Even if you are not on the list, you can affirm you are a White Rock resident at the polls.

Where do I vote?

The closest poll is Star of the Sea Centre just a block up the hill at 15362 Pacific.
Polls are open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Why should I care?

If you care about whether you can walk to vibrant shops up the hill, how fast your rent goes up or if more trees are cut down nearby, then you have plenty of reasons.

Mayoral candidate Wayne Baldwin supports more density in Town Centre to revitalize struggling businesses. For renters, more housing units mean more options if you must move and more supply helps restrain rents in White Rock. While there are legitimate issues about the speed of growth, an anti-density council would mainly please existing property owners who want to keep out more supply so their home values rise faster.

Many of us were dismayed by the cutting of trees at the west edge of our parking lot to enhance house views across the street. The cutting was done even though council had decided to rewrite its policy, but Lynne Sinclair, Al Campbell and Grant Meyer (whose signs are prominent across the street) voted to continue enforcing the policy and down came the trees. If the trees were important to you, we suggest you choose other candidates, such as Helen Fathers, who voted to suspend enforcement of the policy.

Where do I find more on where candidates stand?

Peace Arch News election coverage is at peacearchnews.com/news/election and the Vancouver Sun also has results of a questionaire of White Rock candidates. Individual candidates have their own websites and Facebook pages. You can contact Wayne Baldwin through his website at waynebaldwin.ca.

Too many tenants don’t vote and let councils get elected that don’t represent their best interests. Let’s change that.

– This is a message from Royal Villa Residents for Wayne Baldwin


Blink and you might miss it. It’s the White Rock outdoor summer film series.

The White Rock Business Improvement Association has finally – and quietly – announced its summer 2010 lineup of outdoor movies.

You will have certainly made other plans – I know I have. But here goes:

First up was Train Your Dragon, July 3 at West Beach by the Rock. I know! I missed it too.

Pity we weren’t there to drink it in. Sounds like a gem. The well-reviewed animated flick, which premiered on regular indoor screens earlier this year, tells the unlikely, surely heartwarming tale of a dragon-hunting Viking named Hiccup who befriends a young dragon and learns there’s more to dragons than meets the eye.

It rates an impressive 8.3 (out of 10) at IMDB.com and features voices by the likes of America Ferrera (Ugly Betty, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), late night host Craig Ferguson, and the immortal geek-stud McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) from Superbad and Superbad alumni Jonah Hill, plus the publicity stills are super cute.

Continue Reading »

Their futuristic friendship launched a ’60s TV classic that sought out new worlds and went boldly where no one had gone before.

And next weekend, Mr. Spock and Captain James T. Kirk will be reuniting at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver.

That’s right, Star Trek fans, actors Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner are headlining the official Star Trek convention Sunday, June 27.

It’s a rare joint appearance for the two men, who, at 79, continue to inspire fans across the globe and here at home.

The ever-popular Nimoy – who appeared in 2009’s Star Trek, the latest movie offering in the four-decade-long franchise – recently retired from showbiz, but Shatner’s career continues at Warp speed.

The Shakespearean actor is slated to appear in the upcoming TV series Sh*t My Dad Says, which is based on a Twitter account. When he’s not acting, Shatner keeps a high profile, recently speaking out against salmon farming on the B.C. coast and becoming the target of a Facebook campaign seeking to have him nominated as a replacement for Governor General Michaëlle Jean.

Continue Reading »

ZOMG you guys! Apollo the hibernating Kermode bear left his den briefly. And then he went back inside again!

“Not sure what he was doing outside of the den, but it’s a blustery day today…he might be feeling restless from the wind,” bear-cam operator Stephanie Waymen of Rosswood, B.C. told The Terrace Standard.

“He’s now pulling leaves into his den with his huge paws, making himself a new pillow, which we’ve seen him do once before. Apollo is a good den-keeper. He likes to lay his boar-sized head down on fresh leaves, especially after a rain. Maybe his den gets a little muddied and the fresh leaves give him a buffer from the damp,” she said.

Last year he didn’t leave the den until April.

Apollo the bear, Rosswood, B.C.’s fuzzy-wuzzyest hometown star, is still super cute.Kermode Kam

The hibernating Kermode bear, a rare white/creamy-coloured variant of a black bear, has been watched by fans over the internet while he’s been sleeping in his den this winter.

According to The Terrace Standard, the camera was put up outside the den by a Rosswood resident named Stephanie Waymen. She calls the bear Apollo, because she believes it’s a male bear.

Right now, there is a new, 14-minute clip featuring Apollo giving himself a spring bath. Awww!

To see streaming video of the bear in his den, click here.

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010 – Heads up, Bravo fans.

“FYI,  Bravo! is being replaced temporarily in Quebec and out West in order for Shaw to provide French language Olympic coverage.”

– This from someone in the programming department of Bravo today, responding to a customer feedback email I sent Friday. So fear not.

UPDATE: March 7, 2010. Turned on Bravo last Monday morning and voila! Like magic. It had returned to channel 40. Looks like the promise has been kept, everyone! Our long national Bravo-less nightmare is over.

Happy viewing.

UPDATED AGAIN! Patrick from Shaw Cable has just assured me that my missing channel – Bravo, on 40 – is a temporary measure. They’ve switched things around on the dial due to Olympics coverage.

He promises Bravo will be back after Feb. 28.

Bravo, Patrick.

Glad I asked!

Suburban Exile

Here is my earlier post outlining what’s at stake if we lose Bravo for real…


They call it a news drop. When a big story comes out and obscures other big news already in progress.

Okay, so maybe a missing TV channel isn’t big-big, but it’s big to me.

Shaw Cable has removed Bravo, Channel 40, from the regular (non-digital) TV line-up.

They pulled this fast one Friday, the same day Shaw announced plans to take over the broadcast assets of Canwest Global Communications Corp., and the same day as the opening ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Bravo is now only available on channel 56, if you’re a digital subscriber, I presume.

They moved KVOS from 23 to 30 last week, but at least it’s still available to regular cable viewers.

I’m still hurting from the time they removed PBS Detroit from the non-digital offerings.

No Bravo means no movies on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings, no Actors Studio, no Dexter, no Mad Men, and certainly no home grown Canadian arts and cultural programming, like Spectacle: Elvis Costello With…, or Star Portraits – a reality show about painting (Didja see the portraits of Alex Trebek and Margaret Trudeau? Well, you’re going to miss Saturday, Feb. 13th’s edition featuring astronaut Roberta Bondar).

Tell Bravo how you feel: bravomail@bravo.ca

Tell Shaw you’re not happy – after all, we’re getting less but paying the same: 604-629-8888 or email via a generic mailing address you’ll find at its customer care page. Sorry, that’s the main telephone number and it doesn’t seem to get you very far.

Bottom line is they want customers to switch to digital cable, and they’re going to keep pulling good channels off the regular cable package until there’s nothing left to keep us there.

What they don’t realize is this just gives people like me another reason to switch on my computer and surf TV on the internet.

See related posts: What happened to WTVS-Detroit? and Shaw Cable’s migration to digital cable on the Total Recoil blog. And the most recent of all! About Bravo! From Bravo dot ca

Why become a reporter? For the free stuff.

From commuter to-go mugs to guidebooks, the BC IMC's loot bag is nifty.

It doesn’t happen very often (homemade CDs and self-published books notwithstanding), but sometimes free stuff is offered, just saying. The B.C. Media Centre’s swag bag, full of gratis goodies for the unwashed unaccredited media covering the Olympics, is a case in point. As these things go, it’s pretty sweet. No fuzzy wuzzy mascots or spiffy aquamarine sports wear, but it’s probably at least $50 worth of stuff. Maybe more!
What are you waiting for, members of the unaccredited media? You aren’t fooling anybody. Fifty bucks. That’s like the going rate for a freelance article these days.
Among the loot?

  • One colorful, waterproof carrying bag made from recycled billboard vinyl, suitable for carrying notebooks, cameras, and an assortment of complementary goodies. Inside, an array of items for the hardworking members of the working press:
  • 1 package of Cold-FX, the official cold and flu remedy of the 2010 Winter Games. It’s a “first-day booster pack” with six doses.
  • 1 Best Place on Earth “to-go” style coffee mug, steel grey, commuter EZ grip handle, courtesy of B.C., the host province.
  • 1 official reporter notebook (spiral) from McDonald’s, emblazoned with slogans in both official Canadian languages, with Chicken McNuggets on the English side and a picture of a child reporter interviewing an unidentified blonde woman against a spectacular mountainous backdrop on the other. Includes helpful hints for the monolingual foreign press, such as a mini French-English mini phrase book. Sample phrases: De rien means you’re welcome, and merci means thank you, of course, but did you also know felicitations means congratulations, and Ou se trouve le restaurant McDonald’s le plus pres means Where is the nearest McDonald’s? I thought not. BTW, if you’re in Whistler, you’re in luck: they’ve just opened two McDonald’s just for the games. Booklet also includes some coupons for a Big Mac! So you’re half-way to Freedom 35 right there. Continue Reading »

It’s the Rheos on Muchmusic, circa who knows.

Shaved Head. Oh, how weird, wonderful, and utterly missed is this beautiful band?

YouTube comments include:

I love the rheos, but, dave bidini is a showboating egotistical jackass. Martin on the other hand has been touched by god or something, an under-appreciated canadian treasure

Originally published on Dec 29, 2008 @ 21:10. Reposted in light of the recent court decision.

Women’s ski jump isn’t an Olympic sport, so forget about cheering the gals on in 2010.

But wait! I (and every other Canadian taxpayer) helped pay for the damn ski jump venue at Whistler. Who says they can’t jump? The International Olympic Committee, that’s who. Apparently, ski jumping is the only sport at the winter Olympics that doesn’t allow females to compete.

The IOC keeps insisting there just aren’t enough qualified female ski jumpers around the world to justify adding the sport to the winter roster – contrary to the wishes of the Canadian Olympic committee and the International Ski Federation.

According to news stories back in February of ’08, IOC president Jacques Rogge said it’s not discrimination. Rather, with just 80 women jumpers in the world, allowing them to participate in 2010 would “dilute” and “water down” the value of Olympic medals.

Hmmm. By that same token – only 80 world-class athletes in a particular sport – one wonders about the case for winter Olympics as a whole.

After all, how many countries participate in the winter Olympic games vs. the summer Olympics?

Let’s consult Google. Turns out this August, Beijing hosted more than 11,000 athletes representing 204 countries – from Brunei and Papua New Guinea to Tuvalu, Tonga and Trinidad and Tobago. Two hundred and four countries – that’s higher than the number of sovereign states with membership in the United Nations (193).

Beijing competitors took part in 28 sports, and 302 individual events. Kind of a big dealie-o.

How do the winter games compare? If size matters at all to you, hope you’re sitting down: in February 2006, Torino, Italy, hosted a mere 2,500 athletes from just 85 countries. They competed in seven sports for a total of 84 events. There’s more going on at a seniors’ games tourney!
Continue Reading »

UPDATE: The set is now gone, and the site restored to its original purpose – as a small, neighbourhood park in South Surrey. This obviously casts doubt that the producers of the fourth film in the series will be filming in the Metro Vancouver area. Sorry!

I know where Bella Swan’s house is.

Bella Swans house, the set

Bella Swan's house, the set

The Twilight movie set, built for the second and third installments of the popular teen vampire series, lies on an unassuming residential street somewhere in a rural Surrey neighbourhood.

Film crews, and possibly the film’s biggest, gorgeous stars, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, were there last week.

Not that any fans found out.

They were kept well away from filming by the production’s seasoned security crews, who closed off the street a safe distance from the action.

Even the kids at nearby East Kensington Elementary in Cloverdale were put out. Their route for the school’s annual Terry Fox Run had to be changed at the behest of the movie crew.

Continue Reading »


Take a drive up the eastern bench above the Southern Okanagan wine Mecca of Oliver, B.C., and you’re sure to spot some wild horses among the sagebrush and arid, sloping hillsides.

You’re not seeing things. Turns out there have been free roaming horses in the Oliver area for a long, long time. On a recent drive through the area on a scorching hot summer’s afternoon in late August, we spotted a small band of horses by the side of the Mount Baldy access road.

It was a thin but healthy mare, two yearlings and a muscular, wary stallion, who each continued to graze by the side of the road when we slowed down to take some photos.

Entranced by their wild beauty, we slowly got out of the car, and walked as close as we dared. Continue Reading »

Something terrible happened to channel 43 this summer.PBS_logo

Sometime, when I wasn’t paying attention, my tied-for-favourite PBS channel, WTVS-Detroit, vanished from my Shaw Cable lineup. And in its place was some cruddy kiddy TV station showing idiotic baby-oriented cartoons with primary colours, shrieking voices, and loud, clunky soundtracks.

It took me a few weeks to realize what had happened. I’d been tuning in during the day, and somehow mistook Treehouse, a toddler-centric station geared to the very, very young, for the regular morning children’s programming on PBS.

Normally, I figure stuff like this out right away. I was pretty distracted. July heatwave, anyone? But a few nights ago, as I was flipping around the dial, I landed on channel 43 – proud home, I thought, to PBS.

Something was amiss. There was no Frontline or Nova, Masterpiece or Mystery. A clue lay stamped on the screen in the lower right hand corner: the distinctive logo of the Treehouse channel. What the hey? Continue Reading »

I blinked – hard – when I read the subject line in my email: John Hughes is dead.

“Stay tuned for multiple repeats of The Breakfast Club,” my main squeeze wrote. When someone you love dies, someone who loves you should be the one to break the news.

And I loved John Hughes. Continue Reading »

It’s a story-book ending for former detainees Laura Ling and Euna Lee, two American journalists who’ve spent more than four months imprisoned in North Korea, after they were arrested under suspicious circumstances.

Yesterday, after an unannounced meeting in Pyongyang between former U.S. president Bill Clinton and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the two women were pardoned and freed. They had been sentenced to 12 years hard labour for illegally entering the country.

For family, friends and supporters of a Canadian woman held captive in Somalia for the past year, today’s news headlines and footage of the two jubilant women returning to the States must have provided a painful contrast indeed.

On Aug. 23, 2008 freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout – along with Australian photographer Nigel Brennan and others – was grabbed near Mogadishu and held for ransom.

Her captors, rebels caught up in the northeast African country’s long-standing civil war, initially demanded a ransom of $2.5 million for her safe release, although the sum is reportedly much lower now.

Held in isolation at undisclosed locations over the past year, her mental and physical health is deteriorating, and she fears for her life.

“I don’t want to die here and I’m afraid I’ll die in captivity if I don’t get help soon,” Continue Reading »

A scene from Never Cry Wolf

A scene from Never Cry Wolf

From Eight Below, the true-life tale of an abandoned pack of Huskies who survive an Antarctic winter alone to horror/Sci Fi classic, The Thing, the wilds of northwest British Columbia have formed the backdrop to a surprising number of “Hollywood” movies.

If you’re old enough, maybe you remember 1982’s The Thing, an icy little nightmare directed by horror master John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell, a shaggy-haired, blue-eyed ’70s everyman who battles a terrifying threat from beyond. Set in a remote, Antarctic outpost, it’s considered by purists to be Carpenter’s best film. It’s certainly one of the most successful modern-day remakes, in my book.

It mines a fear of emptiness and the dread of the unknown – all while riffing on the predictable plot lines of an “and-then-there-were-none” type thriller.

poster_thethingIt may have been set in the Antarctic, but look closely at the snowflake-laden, windswept wasteland, and you might recognize the wintry environs surrounding a little-known corner of British Columbia – the town of Stewart, B.C., a historic mining outpost Continue Reading »

Also see Part I of Stuff To Do: Vancouver’s North Shore

Porteau Cove Provincial Park
, Hwy 99, south of Britannia Beach. Picturesque spot on Howe Sound. Features a popular camping and Scuba dive site.whistlerpeak

Worth a tour is the B.C. Museum of Mining at Britannia Beach. Go underground in a real mine tunnel and later try your hand at gold panning. Open seven days a week March 14 to Nov. 1, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and from Monday to Friday (9-4:30) during the winter. Rates are $18.50 for adults, $13.95 for seniors and students, $11.95 for youth. Five and under is free. Family rate is $55.


Another picnic spot is Shannon Falls Provincial Park, Highway 99, just south of Squamish. Falls are 335 metres high. Stretch your legs on one of the pathways leading past the falls.

The easy, low-elevation hike through the forest to Cheakamus Lake is another stop en route to Whistler. Turn right onto the access road at Function Junction (just before Whistler), then take a gravel road to the left, and continue for seven kms to the parking lot and trailhead. It’s a three-km hike to the first campsite. Along the way, there’s a footbridge across the creek for those headed to Black Tusk. The Cheakamus Lake trail continues on from the first campsite for several more kms to another campsite at Singing Creek. The lake is a deep turquoise colour, thanks to glacial run-off.

Interested in the First Nations that have traditionally maintained a presence in the Whistler area for thousands of years? Visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, at 4584 Blackcomb Way.  This gorgeous new facility – it’s a jewel in Whistler’s pre-2010 crown – is an absolute hub Continue Reading »