Best of Vancouver 2016: Activities & Events

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      Best bicycle MacGyver

      Every summer we hear stories about ignorant motorists leaving their dogs locked inside vehicles in the blazing heat. So why not give this guy credit for figuring out how to provide his pooch with the ultimate air-conditioned rickshaw ride? It’s a stylin’ sight along Victoria Drive, him in his cool denim jacket and shades, with his beagle buddy sitting comfy in the shade in the back seat. And on rainy days, the little guy stays dry while still getting heaps of fresh air. Genius comes in many forms.


      Best celebration of Canada’s First Nations

      National Aboriginal Day provides all Canadians with the opportunity to learn about and reflect on the past, present, and future of our country’s First Nations. The annual celebration at Trout Lake covers all the bases: food, art, music, history, a marketplace, and community outreach converged at the park this year, where all were welcome to take a canoe ride on the lake, be part of a traditional smudging ceremony, and engage in storytelling with indigenous elders. Top it all off with some smoked salmon, “Indian” tacos, and fry bread, and this community-oriented event fills both the stomach and the soul.


      Best way to rebel against marijuana prohibition

      It’s an act of civil disobedience that has been repeated for 20 years without interruption: Vancouver’s renowned 4/20 celebration. Previously held at the Vancouver Art Gallery (and before that, Victory Square), this year’s event took place at Sunset Beach, where stoners from across the Lower Mainland gathered to puff, puff, pass on April 20. The unsanctioned event drew about 100,000 people to the new location, showing prohibitionists across the country that despite protest from the city and the park board, the people of Vancouver won’t be giving up the herb anytime soon.


      You'd be hard-pressed to find an event that pisses as many Vancouverites off as Dîner en Blanc.


      Best local event to get ridiculously riled up over

      We get it: bike lanes are, like, kind of old news, and your colleagues don’t get nearly as outraged as they used to when you mention Justin Bieber in the lunchroom. What the hell are you supposed to take out your anger and frustration on now? Not to worry: the ever-growing Dîner en Blanc makes an easy (and fun) target. A bunch of folks dressing in the same shade and packing a picnic to enjoy at a public site, which will likely have no effect on your livelihood or well-being? Bah! Vancouver is the worst.


      Best celebration of indigenous culture to mark Canada’s 150th birthday

      Vancouver wants to become the aboriginal cultural-tourism destination in Canada next year, when the country observes its 150th birthday. To achieve that vision, the city government has approved plans for the Drum Is Calling Festival of indigenous arts. The festival will be held at Larwill Park in downtown Vancouver in July 2017 and is expected to draw 125,000 people. Plans also include a Walk for Reconciliation, which is anticipated to mobilize up to 100,000 marchers. Thousands took part in a rainy four-kilometre march marking the end of Reconciliation Week in Vancouver in September 2013.


      Most likely time someone will happily oblige if you tell them to kiss your ass

      Vancouver Pride Week.


      The Aprons for Gloves Boxing Association’s annual Restaurant Rumble pits service-industry workers against one another in the ring to benefit underprivileged kids.
      Amanda Siebert


      Best way to get knocked out

      We’re not ones to endorse violence, but if that violence is for charity, it becomes a little more acceptable. The Aprons for Gloves Boxing Association’s annual Restaurant Rumble pits food-and-beverage professionals against each other to raise money in support of the Eastside Boxing Club’s outreach program for at-risk women and youth, which allows them to receive free mentorship and training at the EBC’s Chinatown gym. If there was ever a reason to take off that apron and strap on a pair of gloves, this event is it.


      Best sign that you’re secure at the Vancouver Pride parade

      Thanks to a visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, this may have been the securest Vancouver Pride parade ever. Although he had previously marched twice in the parade, this year was the first time he marched as a sitting prime minister (and the first sitting prime minister to march in the parade too). For those who didn’t notice, security men were positioned on top of rooftops, some scanning high-rises with their binoculars. Meanwhile, the entourage of citizens marching with him in the parade was peppered with members of his plainclothes security detail. How could you tell? Their sunglasses, grim faces, and earpieces.


      Best place to score a hot date and a heavily discounted Italian wool coat

      Forget Tinder: land a date the old-fashioned way (aka IRL) by hitting up Vancouver’s legendary Aritzia warehouse sale. The blowout attracts approximately 99.9 percent of the city’s women—and a handful of men—during a five-day period, many of whom spend a large portion of their time waiting listlessly for the doors to open. Strike up a convo and, if you’re feeling the sparks, make a move. Refrain from being a creep, however, by promptly setting your sights elsewhere if you’re denied—there are 70-percent-off Italian-milled, wool-cashmere coats to be had, for God’s sake.