Vancouver Weekend: We're Thinking...November weather activities

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      Need something to do this weekend? Here are five activities to do when that November weather hits.

      It's getting hot (tub) in here

      It’s gross, cold, and dark outside? Head to your local community centre hot tub. 

      Sure, the knee-jerk reaction might be something along the lines of: “why would I ever want to soak in a human stew with a bunch of old men? What was that thing that just floated by? Why is that child screaming?” 

      Here’s the thing, though; beggars can’t be choosers, and it’s hard enough for Vancouverites to afford an apartment, let alone one with a suitable bath to soak in. But that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the glorious feeling of being engulfed in hot water. So bring a book, a water bottle full of ice, some earplugs, and relaaaax. Have faith in the all-powerful C h l o r i n e. Strike up a convo with that old guy who’s at the local YMCA so often you start to suspect he might actually just live there. He’s usually pretty nice. 

       Or, if the thought of rubbing shoulders with the local pool people (hi, that’s me, a local pool person) is too cringy for you, spend a small fortune by driving up to Whistler’s Scandinave Spa. It’s basically the same thing, really, but the people are prettier, the world is quieter, and – this one may actually be worth the $100 admission fee – it’s a kid-free spot. 

      Ah, screw it. Sea-To-Sky, here I come. -Chandler Walter

      Mille Feuille / Burdock & Co

      Pretend to be a food critic

      Vancouver has an amazing food scene, and that has only been proven by the most recent Michelin awards that gave eight Vancouver restaurants the coveted star. So what do you do when the November weather hits? Pretend to be a food critic. All you’ll need is a tiny notebook, a pen, and the confidence to eat by yourself (maybe it’s my anxiety but why is it so scary to eat alone?).

      Make a reservation at a fancy restaurant of your choosing, show up by yourself with your notebook, and be sure to order multiple courses. In between bites nod thoughtfully as if you’ve just made a profound discovery like that guy writing “the next big screenplay” at your favourite coffee shop, and then write something in your notebook. Whatever you write doesn’t even need to make sense, just make sure one of the staff notices you writing. They’ll be so freaked out thinking you’re a food critic you’ll get the best service at a restaurant you’ve ever seen. Maybe you’ll even get a free meal out of it.

       Pro tip: if you have a camera be sure to bring it. You don’t even need to use it, just having it on the table will increase your credibility tenfold. Not that I would know, I would never use my position as a journalist to take advantage of restaurants for free food (if you’re my managing editor reading this I promise I’m joking… probably). -Marco Ovies


      Because I have two children, aged six and three, I spend my rainy days inside struggling with my sanity. Disney+ only gets you so far. Fortunately, my older daughter has discovered the wonderful world of puzzling. My wife hunkers down with her at the kitchen table, strengthening her brain power. She can dominate 300-piece puzzles on her own (more or less), which surely indicates she’s some kind of budding genius puzzle wizard. The assumption—and hope—is she can face off against some, oh I don’t know, European wunderkind in a lucrative and all-expenses-paid puzzling tournament somewhere in Bavaria.

      Somewhere between Bobby Fischer-inspired daydreams, I need to parent my toddler. Playground visits are a rain-or-shine-type activity, so there’s lots of that going on. Otherwise, I’ll strap her into the minivan and drive around, playing Grateful Dead shows in the vain hope it’ll put her to sleep. It worked for the older one. Not for the younger, though. She seems to actually really like Dead. So at least there’s that.– Stephen Smysnuik

      Marceline Clarke-Williams

      Home Stuff, Elsewhere

      Let’s be real, how happy you are going out to do things in the sad girl era of Vancouver rain largely depends on your method of transport. People with cars and expendable income probably look at the perpetual precipitation and think “hell yeah, fresh pow on the slopes!” and then jump in their SUVs to go cut up wicked slaloms on Mount Seymour… or something. If, like me, you rely on legs and buses, then the prospect of doing anything that sees you outdoors for more than five minutes requires overcoming entropy—even for the mental health boost of leaving the house. 

      So, I do things I enjoy at home, but in a different place. Buy a two-player board game with a minimal table footprint, get used to playing it at home, then take it for a spin in the wild with a spouse/friend/child. I love to set up in a coffee shop with some chai and cards. Floorplan, Sagrada, Arboretum and Herbaceous are some of my faves to play in the cosy comfort of a cafe, as I wonder whether Highway 1 will get washed away again. — V. S. Wells

      Relive one’s youth at the arcade (if you’re old)

      Sometimes the best thing you can do when November hits is get out of the house, especially when, thanks to variable factors (split with spouse, being downsized at work, general laziness combined with screaming weed habit), you’ve been reduced to living in a windowless Marpole basement suite. Because there are only so many NPCers you can beat with a pool cue, stab repeatedly with a broken bottle, or run over 10 times in Grand Theft Auto, it’s good to mix things up at your nearest full-service arcade. First, let’s shed a tear for Movieland on Granville, which was, for decades, Vancouver’s number-one destination for pinball fanatics, House of the Dead disciples, and perverts who’ve long-wished there was some way to watch dirty movies that didn’t involve heading to seedy back-of-the-room booth with a roll of quarters. And now, horns up for the Den on Robson, which is kind of like Movieland, except about 200 times cleaner, and completely nudie-reel free. 

      The mission of the licensed hangout in the Barclay Hotel is a simple one; in the space's own words, “We literally wanted it to look like the den in your parents basement growing up.” And while there are no black light posters, no weird mould smell, and roach burns on a beer-stained carpet, you will find pinball, Buck Hunter, skee ball, Pac-Man, and other classics, along with beer on tap and a cocktail list that includes Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario’s Paloma, and Legend of Zelda. See you at the Den’s Addams Family by Bally pinball table the next time it rains. And, seriously, don’t put your loonie on the machine if someone else is playing—you can have your turn when they're done, which is to say as soon as it stops raining, probably sometime in May. – Mike Usinger