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Secret Garden: Monet Comes to Vancouver

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When was the last time you visited an art gallery or museum? Took in a cultural experience? Like hearing your favourite musician live transcends hearing a recording, the opportunity to view art in person goes beyond viewing it online or in a book.

The name Monet is synonymous with art for many, and more specifically Impressionist Art. It’s hard to imagine a world without his iconic water lilies paintings, but there is more to the works of Monet than many are familiar with. From June 22- October 1 this year, The Vancouver Art Gallery, in collaboration with the Musee Marmottan Monet, presents Claude Monet’s Secret Garden, a selection of 38 paintings produced by the artist at his home in Giverny, France, spanning his 60- year career and includes his final piece, Les Roses produced in 1925/ 26.

What makes this collection of works interesting- beyond the simple fact that it’s a chance to witness Monet’s work in person- is that these are all pieces from Monet’s personal collection, works he chose not to sell (the Musee Marmottan Monet is home to the largest collection of Monet’s works and is where these pieces usually reside). The paintings on display range from works produced in his early career, before arriving at his home in Giverny, through to the end of his career, when he produced the infamous water lily paintings, among others featuring his beloved gardens.

  While we may have an appreciation for his work now, at the time he produced many of his famous pieces- including those featuring the infamous water lilies- no other artists of his time were producing works that depicted reflection the way he did (Monet only sold one of his water lilies paintings during his lifetime). This is a good reminder that it isn’t always just the painting itself that has to be considered to appreciate it, but also the period in which it was produced, what was common practice/ accepted at the time, and even the style/ focus of the work. All of these are factors that can help us understand why a specific artist and works of art are significant, why art goes beyond just being a pretty picture. 

  Monet’s work may be appreciated by many around the world now, but at the time his work was revolutionary. In case you need any more convincing to visit the Monet exhibit, here are a few more facts about the artist himself and why his pieces have gained the fame they have:

  • The focus of his paintings was light itself and how it behaved (such as at different times of day, on snow, on water, etc)

  • Because Monet wanted to capture the light at a certain time of day in outdoor settings, he had to work quickly, and his brushstrokes are clearly visible
  • By the 1880’s Monet came to the belief that one canvas wasn’t enough to capture what he wanted to convey (ie the changing light), so he would produce similar works featuring the same landscape, etc that demonstrated the change in light and how it behaved (see the two paintings below as examples)

  • His pieces feature clear/ bright colours- the colours of his paintings had not been seen before, as Monet chose to paint outside, rather than inside by candlelight (sand can be found in the paint of some of his pieces from painting outside)
  • No other artist of his time depicted reflection the way Monet did (like that seen in his water lilies and other works)- these paintings don’t have a horizon, instead it’s implied by the reflection in the water
  • In 1883 Monet and his family moved to a 90- acre property where he cultivated gardens and water gardens- his gardens are featured in 250 of his paintings, including wisteria, roses, willow trees, and the famous water lilies

  • His water lilies pieces were not shown to the public during his lifetime as he didn’t want to have to explain them to a contemporary public who didn’t understand his work
  • The invention of the train and train bridge were critical to Impressionist period artists as it allowed them to travel around France and paint in locations previously challenging to visit
  • For outdoor paintings, Monet would use smaller canvases as they were more practical to paint on to capture the light at the time he was painting; for large- scale pieces like the water lilies, Monet constructed a large studio to work indoors
  • Towards the end of his career, his pieces bordered more on an abstract style of painting (like those seen more after WW2)

If you are looking for activities to do this Summer, a visit to the Monet exhibit won’t disappoint. If anything it’s a bit of a surreal experience to be in the presence of such art, to see the individual brushstrokes up close. Whether you follow art closely or just have a general interest, this is an opportunity to witness works by an iconic artist s in person and enjoy a cultural experience. Details about the Claude Monet’s Secret Garden exhibit below.

Exhibit Details:

Runs from June 22- October 1, 2017

Location: Vancouver Art Gallery

Tickets: Adult- $24 | Senior (65+)- $20 | Kids 6- 12- $6.50 |

Kids 5 & under- Free

Enjoy visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery by donation on Tuesday evenings from 5- 9pm

June 22, 2017
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Day Out with Thomas, The Friendship Tour {Giveaway}

Who has a Thomas fan at home? My two- especially Ari- love the blue engine and his friends and it’s always one of the top TV requests in our home. I remember watching Thomas as a kid and I love that he’s still around and as popular as ever. Our house has become littered with wooden train sets and countless trains, and Ari has even requested a Thomas themed birthday party this year. She doesn’t know it yet, but we’re taking her to meet Thomas later this month in Squamish and I’ve got the chance for your family to win a 4- pack of tickets so your little Thomas fan can too!

Thomas makes annual appearances at West Coast Railway Heritage Park every year and he’ll be back again from May 20- 22. Not only do you get to meet the blue engine himself, your family can also enjoy a variety of activities.

Activities include

  • 20 minute train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Photos with Thomas at the station
  • Meet Sir Topham Hatt
  • Bouncy castle
  • Magician and musician performances
  • Play on Thomas train tables
  • Thomas theme mini-golf
  • Sand Castle Building
  • Thomas craft tables
  • Model Railway Display
  • Tattoo station

Scroll to the end of the post for more info, to purchase tickets, and to enter to win a family 4 pack of tickets!

  

Learn more on the WCRHP website and follow on Facebook & Twitter

Need directions? Click here.

Buy tickets here.

Contest Details

Prize: Family 4- pack of tickets to Day Out with Thomas, The Friendship Tour 2017 (more than $165 value!)

Winner will select a date from May 20- 22 and ride time- choose: 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm or 4 pm.

Enter below for your chance to win a family pack of tickets! 

(4 tickets) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photo & image credit: West Coast Railway Heritage Park

 

May 9, 2017
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Oh Kale Yeah! Healthy Family Expo 2017 + Giveaway

Posted in Events, Health by

 

I’ve shared quite a bit about our family’s journey with health and wellness, with much of our experience centring around diet and more recently, fitness. With two members of the family having food sensitivities and an overall effort to make healthy lifestyle choices, it isn’t always easy and convenient, but we’ve seen the difference these efforts make. Some of the things we had to do cold- turkey (Ari going gluten and dairy free) and others we’ve added in over time (juicing regularly, more home- made meals and snacks, growing our own organic food, exercise), but in either case, learning about the options available to us and speaking to others who could share form experience helped inform many of our choices.

Later this month (March 26), one of my favourite events will be returning-Healthy Family Expo– and with it an amazing array of vendors whose goal it is to help attendees incorporate healthy choices into their lives. Whether you are looking to incorporate eco- friendly options into your home, want to try some new additions to the family menu (kale anyone?), or scout out some new fitness ideas, you won’t be disappointed with the variety of vendors the organizers line up. I’ve been to every HFE since it began and can’t say enough good things about the event; it’s also family- friendly, making it perfect for parents who bring the kids along (kids 15 and under get in free). Want to check it out for yourself? See details below plus get a 2- for- 1 promo code for tickets. See you there!

About the Healthy Family Expo

The Healthy Family Expo is a fun-filled day for the whole family that introduces Metro Vancouver parents to small steps & simple solutions for healthy, active, eco-friendly living.

Date: Sunday, March 26

Time: 9am- 5pm

Location: Vancouver Convention Centre (East Building) – 999 Canada Place Way

Tickets: Kids 0- 15 Free | Adults 16+ $15 | VIP Adults $24.95

Click here to purchase tickets online- use promo code OHP241 to get 2- for- 1 tickets!

  • Adult Expo tickets are $15 each online, cash at the door, or available at London Drugs from March 1-26.
  • Kids under 16 get in FREE and ALL ATTRACTIONS are included with admission!

Highlights of the 4th annual Healthy Family Expo:

  • Meeting popular CBC Kids characters Daniel Tiger, Super WHY!, Bookaboo & Scout
  • Bobs & LoLo and Jessie Farrell concerts featuring songs celebrating the natural world
  • HUGE Active Kid Zone with rock wall, giant hamster ball race track, Tumblebus & TumbleTown, Springfree trampolines, Sportball & Pedalheads play areas and more
  • 200+ exhibitors with healthy food sampling & eco-friendly products & services
  • Whole Foods Market Zone, London Drugs Health Zone, and brand new Toyota Canada Outdoor Living Zone, West Coast Kids Healthy Baby Zone, and Green Living Zone
  • Science World fire show and ninja & tumbling demonstrations on stage
  • Vancouver Aquarium AquaVan interactive zone for kids
  • $15,000 Grand Prize Showcase including a 1-year lease on a Toyota Prius c
  • Baby feeding & changing lounge with complimentary diapers, wipes & comfy seating
  • Family Rest Stop courtesy of Love Child Organics and lots of stroller parking
  • First 500 adults through the door receive a gift bag full of healthy product samples
  • First 200 adults through the door receive an adult pass to Science World; an
  • Partial proceeds of ticket sales support Canucks Autism Network sports programs.

Springfree Trampoline is a new addition to this year’s Active Kid Zone at the Expo. It’s a smart active living choice that delivers fun for the whole family and you can test-drive one for yourself at the event on March 26th.  And guess what? There are 2 chances to win one for your family!  One lucky family will be taking home a Springfree Trampoline through the Expo’s early bird ticket draw, and another one as part of the Expo’s Grand Prize Showcase (visit the Healthy Family Expo website for terms & conditions for those giveaways). That’s a prize valued at over $3000!

 

To get involved in the fun:

  1. Join the Expo 2017 Facebook Event to RSVP to win thousands in prizes at their March 23rd pre-Expo Facebook Party from 8 to 10 pm
  2. Buy tickets early to qualify to win a Springfree Trampoline
  3. Grab 2-for-1 adult tickets online using limited time promo code OHP241 

And to kick off the pre-Expo celebrations, organizers are giving away a $200 Healthy Family Expo 2017 shopping spree that one lucky winner will get to spend on their choice of exhibitors at the event on March 26th! This online giveaway runs from March 6 – 22, 2017, and the winner must be a British Columbia resident aged 19+ able to attend the Healthy Family Expo at the Vancouver Convention Centre between 9 am & 5 pm on March 26 to pick up and use the prize that day.

Enter for your chance to win through Rafflecopter below.

The winner will be announced at the pre-Expo Facebook Party on March 23rd, 2017!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

March 4, 2017
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Cirque Du Soleil: A Date Night with TORUK

Posted in Date Night, Events by

Last night I got to go to my first Cirque du Soleil show and it was A M A Z I N G. Based on James Cameron’s movie, Avatar, TORUK- The First Flight is here in Vancouver from Dec 13- 18 as part of a global tour.

I’ve talked to lots of people who have gone to a Cirque Du Soleil show and have never heard anything less than amazing reviews and it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Will and I had been looking forward to going for about a month and made a date night of it and enjoyed some time out without the kids. From what I know of Cirque shows I expected amazing sets, beautiful costumes, and mind- blowing performances/ acrobatics. And that’s exactly what we got with TORUK. The show is 2 hours long including a 20 minute intermission and from start to finish TORUK delivers from one amazing act to another. Whether you’ve seen Avatar or not, you will enjoy this show; Will mentioned he liked that it was based on a movie he was familiar with (and liked), but it’s not essential for enjoying TORUK.

Highlights for me included the amazing set that transformed throughout the performance, the talented performers, and the attention to detail (the costumes/ props were so beautiful). TORUK is set up in an arena, with the audience surrounding the majority of the stage area, making it dynamic to view- everywhere you look there’s something to see. Parts of the set would change throughout the show, moving and adapting for each act- you never knew what to expect next, and each performance seemed better than the previous. My jaw dropped several times throughout the show and I couldn’t stop shaking my head at what the performers are capable of. The acrobatics and choreography blew my expectations away, with several of the performers contorting their bodies in ways I had never seen before.

It’s hard to pick a favourite scene/ act, so I’ve shared photos of a few of them below. If you have the chance to see a performance of TORUK, I would definitely recommend it. As my first Cirque Du Soleil show, I left feeling pretty giddy from TORUK- I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience with this entertainment franchise and it was a great way to spend a night out with Will (although there were families with kids there so don’t rule it out as a fun family night out). My only advice would be to arrive about half an hour before show time to give yourself plenty of time to find parking, maybe grab some food, and get settled. For show and ticket information, see below.

 

 

 

 

 

About Toruk- The First Flight
TORUK takes viewers to Pandora, the setting from the film, and features everything you’d hope for in a Cirque du Soleil show, produced with a creative team including Cameron himself helping to bring everything for the show together. Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and filled with a variety of characters, this show is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film AVATAR, and before humans set foot on Pandora. When a natural catastrophe threatens to destroy the sacred Tree of Souls, Ralu and Entu, two Omaticaya boys on the brink of adulthood, decide to take matters into their own hands. Upon learning that Toruk can help them save the Tree of Souls, they set out with their new friend Tsyal on a quest high up in the Floating Mountains to find the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Prophecy is fulfilled when a pure soul rises among the clans to ride Toruk for the first time and save the Na’vi from a terrible fate.
Through a combination of cutting- edge visuals, puppetry, and stagecraft accompanied by a beautiful cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination.
This live immersive experience also bears the distinct signature of directors and multimedia innovators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things.
Show Info
Show Dates: December 14- 18th, 2016
Location: Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver
Tickets: $51.90- $149.50 + service charges (family pack pricing available)
If you’d like to purchase tickets, click here to go to the Cirque Du Soleil website and check availability.
Top Photo Credit: Jesse Faatz
All other photos my own.
Disclosure: I received tickets to TORUK in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
December 15, 2016
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Cirque Du Soleil: A Date Night with TORUK

Posted in Date Night, Events by

Last night I got to go to my first Cirque du Soleil show and it was A M A Z I N G. Based on James Cameron’s movie, Avatar, TORUK- The First Flight is here in Vancouver from Dec 13- 18 as part of a global tour.

I’ve talked to lots of people who have gone to a Cirque Du Soleil show and have never heard anything less than amazing reviews and it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Will and I had been looking forward to going for about a month and made a date night of it and enjoyed some time out without the kids. From what I know of Cirque shows I expected amazing sets, beautiful costumes, and mind- blowing performances/ acrobatics. And that’s exactly what we got with TORUK. The show is 2 hours long including a 20 minute intermission and from start to finish TORUK delivers from one amazing act to another. Whether you’ve seen Avatar or not, you will enjoy this show; Will mentioned he liked that it was based on a movie he was familiar with (and liked), but it’s not essential for enjoying TORUK.

Highlights for me included the amazing set that transformed throughout the performance, the talented performers, and the attention to detail (the costumes/ props were so beautiful). TORUK is set up in an arena, with the audience surrounding the majority of the stage area, making it dynamic to view- everywhere you look there’s something to see. Parts of the set would change throughout the show, moving and adapting for each act- you never knew what to expect next, and each performance seemed better than the previous. My jaw dropped several times throughout the show and I couldn’t stop shaking my head at what the performers are capable of. The acrobatics and choreography blew my expectations away, with several of the performers contorting their bodies in ways I had never seen before.

It’s hard to pick a favourite scene/ act, so I’ve shared photos of a few of them below. If you have the chance to see a performance of TORUK, I would definitely recommend it. As my first Cirque Du Soleil show, I left feeling pretty giddy from TORUK- I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience with this entertainment franchise and it was a great way to spend a night out with Will (although there were families with kids there so don’t rule it out as a fun family night out). My only advice would be to arrive about half an hour before show time to give yourself plenty of time to find parking, maybe grab some food, and get settled. For show and ticket information, see below.

About Toruk- The First Flight

TORUK takes viewers to Pandora, the setting from the film, and features everything you’d hope for in a Cirque du Soleil show, produced with a creative team including Cameron himself helping to bring everything for the show together. Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and filled with a variety of characters, this show is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film AVATAR, and before humans set foot on Pandora. When a natural catastrophe threatens to destroy the sacred Tree of Souls, Ralu and Entu, two Omaticaya boys on the brink of adulthood, decide to take matters into their own hands. Upon learning that Toruk can help them save the Tree of Souls, they set out with their new friend Tsyal on a quest high up in the Floating Mountains to find the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Prophecy is fulfilled when a pure soul rises among the clans to ride Toruk for the first time and save the Na’vi from a terrible fate.

Through a combination of cutting- edge visuals, puppetry, and stagecraft accompanied by a beautiful cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination.

This live immersive experience also bears the distinct signature of directors and multimedia innovators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things.

Show Info

Show Dates: December 14- 18th, 2016

Location: Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver

Tickets: $51.90- $149.50 + service charges (family pack pricing available)

If you’d like to purchase tickets, click here to go to the Cirque Du Soleil website and check availability.

Top Photo Credit: Jesse Faatz

All other photos my own.

Disclosure: I received tickets to TORUK in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

December 15, 2016
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Cirque Du Soleil TORUK is Coming {Giveaway}

Posted in Date Night, Events by
Cirque Du Soleil is returning to Vancouver in December with the latest performance, TORUK The First Flight, inspired by the James Cameron’s film Avatar. Transporting show goers to the world of Pandora, it combines the intrigue of the movie with Cirque’s captivating acrobatics. Back for 5 days in December, TORUK is arrives just in time for families to enjoy some quality time together before the busy- ness of the holiday season takes over.

 

Show Info
Show Dates: December 14- 18th, 2016
Location: Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver
Tickets: $51.90- $149.50 + service charges (family pack pricing available)
If you’d like to purchase tickets, click here to go to the Cirque Du Soleil website and check availability.
Want to see TORUK with your family? Enter below to win a family pack (2 adults, 2 kids) of tickets! Contest runs from November 21- 30, 2016. Open to residents of the Greater Vancouver Area (those able to make it to one of the Vancouver show dates).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photo Credit: Jesse Faatz
November 21, 2016
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