Garry Point Park Cherry Blossom Festival

On 7th April, Ben and I decided to go to the Garry Point Park Cherry Blossom Festival after our lunch after church service.

This is the 3rd year of this festival held at Garry Point Park.

This is the first time we came to this festival.

The program of the festival at various tents. Fortunately, the weather was perfect during the festival. The tents are just for precaution in case of shower as April is usually a wet month.

Here are some of the events; Sado Tea Ceremony at the Hanami Tent. (more…)

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HSBC Celebration of Light 2007

Sorry about this, guys. Am going to take a 1-day timeout from our vacation series to blog about the biggest fireworks event in the world. I just gotta do it today because I wanted to pique the interest of some of you before tomorrow’s finale fireworks show.

The biggest summer event in Vancouver is the annual fireworks competition where countries were invited to present a 30 minute fireworks show. This is held over 4 nights in a 2 week period in end July each year in English Bay. Over a million people attends the fireworks this year.

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English Bay is perhaps the greatest setting one could get for a fireworks competition. The fireworks are fired from barges moored in the middle of the bay. With a wide open bay and the North Shore mountains as a backdrop, it is beautiful by itself.

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Some lucky ones, get to watch from the high rises by the English Bay beaches. I am still waiting to be invited to a party in one of these high rises. I don’t know of any friend-of-a-friend who owns one of those condos … introduce me if you know anyone who owns a condo by the bay!!

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Other lucky ones get to watch from their boats. There are many boats you could rent but they are expensive. For us we almost always watch from Vanier Park which is a lot more family oriented.

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Alrighty … am gonna just share the picture I took from the first three nights of the fireworks. They are presentations from Spain, Canada and China. Of the three I attended, China really blew me away. They are by far the best so far. I heard that they have brought along the fireworks they have designed for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

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Below are some of the “keepers” that I took. They were all taken with either the 70-200mm or the 17-40mm lenses. Exposure time ranges from 1.3 secs to 2.0 secs.

Enjoy!! (more…)

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PNE

It has been a ritual for Vancouverites to attend the PNE every summer. The crowds at the PNE is at times unbearable. So, I took a day off work during the week to bring the boys when the crowds are much thinner. During the weekend, it’s quite impossible to get from attraction to another.
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The PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) is normally held the last two weeks just before school reopens. It is because if this timing that Vancouverites had considered the PNE to be the final event of summer.

The exhibition has been held in Hastings Park since it first took place in 1910. The biggest attractions of the two-week fair are its numerous shops, stalls, performances, a nightly fireworks show, and the PNE Prize Home.

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We love the Wiggle Chips at the PNE, having first tried it in Revelstoke. A bag costs $3 or for $5 you get two bags of freshly sliced and fried potatoes. It’s served hot straight out of the fryer — yummy!

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The sign on the stall reads “We slice’em, You spice’em”. There’s a table full of all kinds of seasonings to spice up your potatoes. We tried almost everyone of the spices!

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Family owned & operated since the 1920?s, Jimmy?s Lunch serves the famous hamburgers loaded with fried onions. Hot Dogs, fish & chips and french fries are among other traditional favourites at the PNE.

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They fry their onions in the front of the stall where they take your orders. Just looking at them and the smell itself will pull you to have a closer look. I like the huge pile of onions.

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We ordered the two-piece fish and chips just because of the size of the fish. Reminded me of the fish and chips I had in London once.

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We cannot remember exactly how much it costs — seems like about $9.

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We had also the funnel cake below for $5.

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For more pictures around the PNE, click the link below.

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HSBC Celebration of Lights – Mexico

Tonight is the Finale Night for the HSBC Celebration of Lights. Unlike previous years, this year’s finale night is a full competition featuring a new contender, Mexico.

The crowd started forming at 7pm. We went to watch from Vanier Park which is a great place for photographers because of the backdrop. By the time we were there, there were a lot of photographers already staked out their vantage point.

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The fireworks are launched from the barge in the middle of English Bay. Many boats were already assembled around the barge. The reports said that there were 350,000 people on this night alone at the beaches around the English Bay.

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I brought along a Kakuro to while away the almost 3 hours wait. Did a couple and failed to solve both! This is supposed to be easy. Saw where I did wrong … 7+4=12!! Duh!

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Had to stop the Kakuro when the sun started to set over the bay. It was getting too dark.

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The bright lights from West End looked beautiful from where we were. The fireworks started at 10pm when it was completely dark. It’s great having the sun start setting at 9pm. Sigh … a couple of months more, we’re back to shorter and shorter day.

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We did not expect Mexico to do so well being first timers but we were quite blown away by their presentation. The fireworks synchronized so well with the music that was broadcasted. Compared to the other presentation we saw, China, they had more colours and much larger “bloom” which filled the sky.

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After the end of the 25 minutes Mexican fireworks, there was another 6 minute finale presentation. If you plan on a visit to Vancouver in summer, I strongly suggest that you time your vacation during the fireworks nights. You will not regret it.

There are more fireworks pictures on the link below … hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I had taking them. (more…)

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HSBC Celebration of Lights – China

The HSBC Celebration of Lights is the largest fireworks competition in the world. This event had been held every year since 1991 in mid summer. From 1991 to 2000, the event was known as the Benson and Hedges Symphony of Fire until the city pulled the plug on sponsorship from the tobacco company.

I still recalled in 2001, the event was almost cancelled because the organizers could not find a sponsor for the event and also that the city hall were getting worried about organizing the event that large. HSBC came to the rescue in the nick of time with the funding and this event has since been known as the HSBC Celebration of Lights.

West End

The musical fireworks event is held in the English Bay. Just the perfect setting for a fireworks event this big — with the North Shore mountains and the downtown skyline as a backdrop. The event is held on four nights over a two week period. We watched the fireworks from Vanier Park.

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Because this is a food blog, we simply had to include the obligatory picture of food. This is the snack that Nanzaro bought for $7.50. It’s pretty expensive and the chicken strips were not too great — it’s just breaded chicken.

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For the first time, there are 4 countries invites to compete this year. Previous years, there were three countries invited. The countries this year were represented by the leading fireworks manufacturer from Italy, China, Czech Republic and for the first time, Mexico.

We went for the China and Mexico show this year. The pictures below were shots taken from the chinese presentation.

The show started at 10pm and the local radio station broadcasts the music simultaneously. Let me know what you think of these pictures. It was pretty hard to get great shots.

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Click of the link below for more pictures of the Chinese fireworks …

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Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley, WA

OK, this is not about food again but I just can’t resist posting more photo shots I made today. Feel kind of guilty hijacking Suanne’s blog for my pix … aaaanyway …

We made our way across the border today into Washington state and visited the Tulip Festival at the Skagit Valley. Skagit Valley has been hosting the Tulip Festival every April for the past 23 years and is about 50 miles from the Canada-US border. Here are some of my favourite shots – hope you enjoy it.

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Click on More for more photos.

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