Best of Vancouver 2017: An introduction to the 22nd annual edition

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      by Craig Takeuchi

      Once upon a Pacific Standard Time, a bright-eyed, winsome, youthful starlet—seemingly out of nowhere—began popping up on red carpets around the world.

      Charmed by her relaxed demeanour and the breathtaking splendour of her features, they cooed: “Who is she?”

      Her name? Vancouver.

      “Surely you remember her breakthrough role in the comedy-drama Expo 86: Man in Motion?” others pointed out.

      You see, this precocious upstart had begun gracing top-10 lists before she cemented her stardom with her internationally acclaimed role in the 2010 action-thriller blockbuster XXI Olympic Winter Games (opposite her costar Whistler, and with the cast boasting the likes of Miga, Sumi, Mukmuk, and Quatchi, who have since faced severe career declines).

      Ah, such a breath of fresh air, they exclaimed. So natural! So quaint! So OMG!

      Agog with fascination, onlookers were amazed at how the little-known talent quickly absorbed a worldly sensibility yet retained a bucolic orientation, at home with both gritty urban dramas and heart-racing outdoor adventures.

      Yet as is the name of the game called fame—particularly for one who appeared to achieve things so effortlessly, so expeditiously—the knives, always waiting in the wings, came out.

      As demand increased and everyone wanted a piece of her, her salary skyrocketed, becoming unaffordable and unattainable to the independents who made her famous.

      The complaints and unfair comparisons began. Pshaw, she’s not as urbane or polished as legendary stars like London, New York City, or Paris, they decried.

      She may look nice, but once you get to know her she’s cold, unfriendly, and standoffish, still others knocked.

      She cries far too much, everyone added. She’s moody, dark, and in desperate need of Prozac.

      She’s had work done, they criticized. She’s been to the “dentist”.

      She lies around high and naked on beaches, someone said while lying high and naked on a tanning bed.

      Ah, but you see, despite her much-debated rise to prominence, she has still retained a firm fan base, particularly among those who knew her before her name found its way into the vernacular.

      Those who understood her realized that she was actually but a small-town girl thrust onto the international stage, with extremely high expectations thrown upon her within a relatively short period of time. She’s still developing, still learning, and still early on in her career, compared to many of the costars with whom she shares screen time.

      Yes, there are those of us among them all who, undeterred by the naysayers and crackpots and social-media critics, still recognize that she has numerous attributes to appreciate and admire.

      There are her multilingual skills and willingness to befriend those from differing backgrounds and cultures while also maintaining relationships with high-flying celebrities, politicians, public figures, and Deadpool.

      Though not always successful, she has striven to stand up for the marginalized, the persecuted, the overlooked. And there’s her willingness to poke fun at herself while laughing with others. And at them.

      And amid all of this, despite all of her flaws and shortcomings, deep down in her core, she still remains the one we always knew, and will always continue to be. And, with that, we’ve compiled our list of the best aspects of Vancouver, from her self-effacing embrace to where she is forging ahead as a global leader.

      And in the end, the real question is: who, exactly, are they anyway?