What are your favourite Christmas traditions? When I was a kid, my Mum and Dad would take us to Bright Nights in Stanley Park and we have some special memories of those visits. I remember always looking forward to the train, the lights, and the food- the smell of popcorn, roasted chestnuts… it marked the beginning of the Christmas season for us. This year Bright Nights is celebrating 20 years and I’m excited to be teaming up with them to give away a family pack of four tickets to celebrate.
This year’s theme is Nostalgic Christmas, bringing together Bright Nights memories, family traditions, classic holiday movies, vintage toys, and more. What better way to celebrate a milestone than looking back at everything that has made this annual event so special? Whether this is a favourite tradition in your family or you’ll be going this year for the first time, one lucky family will win their tickets! See below for more information about Bright Nights and how to enter.
Take a ride on the Bright Nights Train and enjoy light installations, festive displays, and live performers along the train route, or take in the beautifully decorated Stanley Park Train Plaza (or both!). With more than 3 million lights, the display and train ride are a fun Christmas tradition for all ages. A portion of train ride ticket sales in addition to donations made by light display visitors are contributed to the BC Professional Firefighter’s Burn Fun, with more than $1.4 million being raised to help burn survivors and their families since 1998.
It’s that time of year again! The PNE is a Summer tradition here in BC and along with the rides, the animals, the dog races, and outdoor concerts (I know I’m missing some things, there’s just too much to list!), the food is one of the highlights for many visitors. There’s a novelty about the food at The Fair- maybe it’s the atmosphere, maybe it’s the people serving it, maybe it’s the food itself (or all of the above) but it’s definitely on another level than your everyday meals. Add in that some of the items are only available once a year at the PNE and it’s the perfect excuse to try something new (food dares have definitely become an annual tradition for a many, but more on that later) alongside classic favourites like the infamous mini donuts and elephant ears.
Whether you want to go with some classics or go a little crazy (or maybe a try a little bit of everything) you’ll get a sample of of what’s available this year at the PNE to indulge your cravings in this post. There are so many options to choose from it’s hard to narrow down the choices, but I’d definitely suggest trying something new alongside something classic/ familiar. I’ve got a total sweet tooth so I couldn’t resist including 2 sweet options on this list (one’s a classic and one’s new this year), alongside 3 savoury options + I’ve also included some extras at the end that I didn’t want to leave out.
What food are you wanting to try at the PNE this year?
Waffle Ice Cream Cone aka #TheWaffleTaco- Steve O’s Public House
Picture a taco made out of a waffle cone filled with ice cream, whipped cream, and finished with your favourite toppings. Need I say more? This is a twist on the classic waffle cone that deserves a place on your PNE food list: the waffle taco is dipped in chocolate, filled with rolled ice cream that’s mixed with your favourite toppings (here’s just a few of the options you can choose from: Oreos, Skor, and strawberries) and topped with whipped cream. Choose up to two toppings to customize your waffle cone and indulge your inner sweet tooth. If you love ice cream don’t miss #thewaffletaco this year!
Dumplings- Dim Sum Express
Want to try something different than typical fair food? If you’re looking for something outside of burgers and hot dogs, dim sum is a refreshing option. Added bonus: you can eat it on the go as you walk around the fair.
A PNE classic. What’s a BeaverTail exactly? It’s thinly- rolled dough that’s deep fried and topped with cinnamon and sugar (the classic version) or choose from other topping combos like bananas and peanut butter. If you really want to indulge try the Triple Trip: chocolate hazelnut spread, peanut butter and Reece’s Pieces (shown). Oh em gee so good!
Jamaican Style Fish & Chips- Double Decker Diner
Two reasons not to miss this: 1) Fusion cuisine always produces some amazing combinations and these fish and chips are no different and 2) Everything is cooked and served in a converted double decker bus! This British classic gets an update with Jamaican flavour served alongside hand- cut fries (these aren’t the frozen, out of the bag variety!). If there’s room, eat your meal on the open air patio atop the second level of the bus and enjoy great views while you eat. Come for the food, stay for the bus!
Cricket Burgers & Fries- Gourmet Burgers
Maybe you’re wanting a burger while you’re at the PNE. But maybe you want to take it to a whole new level…? Enter the cricket burger new to the fair this year. Add this to your food dare list but be prepared to enjoy it more than you might think (if you’re willing to give it a try!). Crickets are a great source of protein and while they aren’t a standard burger topping, don’t be afraid of them adding a weird flavour (they don’t). This makes for a great foodie bucket list item to check off and some entertaining photos. Definitely one of the more adventurous items available this year at the PNE and worth a try!
Other foods to check out:
Double Bacon Mac N’ Cheese Super Footlong Hotdogs- Super Footlong
Funnel Cake Poutine- Funnel Cakes
FOOD DARE: Chicken Feet- Chicky’s Chicken (definitely one of the crazier foods available this year!)
What’s on your PNE food list this year?
For full details about The Fair at the PNE, check out their website and find them on social media:
Two words: craft beer. It puts a big smile on my face when I hear those two words together and I had the chance to co- host an event inspired by my favourite hoppy drink, the #HopsShopRepeat pop up, on the long weekend at The Handpicked Home in White Rock. This event combined craft beer and shopping plus a giveaway from everyone involved- cheers to a fun evening! One of the best things that has come from this blogging journey is the people I’ve met and businesses I’ve had the chance to work with and this is made even better when the opportunity comes along to bring a few of them together for an event like this.
Together with Trading Post Brewing, CPC Woodcraft, and Shop Ava to Zoe, we had an evening full of craft beer- inspired fun and it was the first event that I brought The Surrey Girl Project to (Piya will be carrying the Surrey neighbourhood tees from Locomotive Clothing in shop soon!). Our hope for the event was to encourage visitors to meet the makers behind one of the local brands Piya carries in THH, get introduced to a local craft beer brewery, and have everyone have a good time while shopping local. I think we succeeded and it was a great evening full of friends and fun.
Piya (the owner of THH) and I have been good friends since she opened her shop about two years ago (happy shopiversary friend!!) and we’ve teamed up on a bunch of things, but this was the first pop up like this we’d organized. We’d been scheming for a month or two about how everything would come together and as soon as we knew Candice and Carlos from CPC Woodcraft were able to make it on the 6th we saved the date. Thanks to Piya and a few of the brands carried in shop and Trading Post Brewing, we had a craft- beer themed giveaway that shoppers could enter; shopping + craft beer and a giveaway? I think we got in some good stuff there. 😉
We held this 2- hour pop- up on the Sunday of the long weekend and had fun handing out samples of 1827 Helles Lager and Rye Amber Ale with Kristin from Trading Post and introducing shoppers to the makers behind CPC Woodcraft (have you seen their handcrafted beer caddies and openers?? Even if you’re not a beer drinker their handmade pieces are great for wine and other bevvies). We’re already chatting about another pop up event and can’t wait. If you missed this pop up, you can see some of the highlights from the event below and if you made it out we hope you had as much fun as we did. Cheers to good times with good friends!
Thank you to everyone who helped bring this pop up together, took part, and came out for an evening of craft beer + shopping on the long weekend! Can’t wait for the next one and hope you can make it when we plan it. Cheers!
Day 2 of getting in the Canada Day spirit here on OHP! And this is something to get the whole family in the patriotic spirit and have some fun showing their national pride: starting today through Friday June 30th we’ll have this Canada- inspired photo backdrop set up at The Local Space in Langley. Come down and shoot a photo and enter to win some great prizes from The Local Space and Canadian Tire! Get all the details below and see how to enter + what’s up for grabs!
Visit The Local Space in Langley between Tuesday July 27th and Friday June 30th to snap your photo (click here for directions). We’ve got everything you need to snap some fun photos including hockey sticks, props, and prints- choose your faves or include them all!
The first 10 people to stop by the shop and take a photo will receive some fun Canada swag + the very first person will win a giant swan pool floatie from Canadian Tire!
Share your photo on Instagram or Facebook and tag @ourhappyplaceblog and use the hashtag #RedandWhite to be entered to win a selection of goodies (worth $130+!!!) from The Local Space! ***Please make sure to tag Our Happy Place on Instagram and/ or Facebook to be entered- see below for bonus entry info)
The backdrop will be set up until Friday the 30th during regular shop hours (click here to view hours) , but you’ll have until midnight on June 30th to share your photo.
Once you’ve posted, copy + paste the link to your photo in the contest widget below to unlock bonus entries!
Special thank you to these partners for helping bring this #RedandWhite giveaway together:
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.