Local Business Story: Raising the Bar

Jesse & Ashley are the co-founders of a unique company Views Balcony Inc.

Views Balcony Inc. is a local Vancouver small business that can help extend your home from the indoors to the outdoors.  

What they’ve created is an enjoyable and decorative way to enhance and elevate a small outdoor space. Their unique design uses beautiful Acacia bartops which is one of the best naturally durable woods, perfect for outdoors. Also easy to install with adjustable steel brackets and they’re foldable.

A great idea. Perfect for morning coffee, working from home or happy hour.

Their booth at a local small business pop-up at Container Brewing. Photo: d. king

After creating their hero product, the balcony bar, they’ve expanded their products to include beautiful space conscious accessories to complement.

Get Outdoors

https://viewsbalconybar.com/pages/our-story

 


c’est si bon terra

I’m here to spread the good news that Bonterra Wines which are all completely organic, carbon neutral & bio-dynamic from California, are now available right here in Vancouver, B.C.

Photo: d. king (taken in my downstairs couryard)

Meaning “good earththis winery lives up to its name! At the recent California wine tasting held at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Vancouver, Bonterra had a booth which gave me an opportunity to sample more than just the few reds that I’d bought in the past when in California.  The wines of course are readily available in California but now we can buy several of the ones they produce in specialty stores like Marquis, Everything Wine and Liberty here in Vancouver as well as some of the government liquor stores. I believe the chardonnay is only available at LCB but if interested please check beforehand to make sure they have stock.

A sales rep for the company was nice enough to send over two whites (a sauvignon blanc priced at $26.98 + tax,  a chardonnay priced at $22.29 + tax and a rosé  priced at $27.98 + tax) to sample – both dynamic in more ways than one. I was waiting for an opportunity on a sunny day to crack open these bottles to share with a few discerning wine loving friends.  This happened just this past weekend…which brings me to this post and our combined review in the notes below.

Photo: Lisa King (taken on my upper deck) – Look at the beautiful colour in that bottle.

But first…let’s talk about the benefits of drinking organic vs regular non-organic wines.  One thing I can tell you for sure is that you’re not likely to get a next day hangover headache because there are “very little to no sulphites” and other crap in the wine.  Of course that’s related to not going too overboard with the drinking in the first place.  I’m talking 3 bottles shared with friends where next day we all woke up feeling normal – by that I mean rested and not the least bit foggy…just in case you think our normal is waking up with a hangover which sometimes is the case.

Organic Life Practices – (paragraph below taken from the website):

“We start by growing our fruit in certified-organic vineyards, so our grapes are verifiably grown without the use of harmful synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. A constellation of climate-smart farming practices further enhances our vineyards, bolsters soil health and vitality, and ultimately leads to pure and flavourful fruit. These practices include applying compost, planting cover crops, limiting tillage, and animal grazing for natural weed control and soil fertility enhancement. We conserve nearly 50% of our land in its natural state and cultivate spaces that enhance insect and wildlife throughout our vineyards.  This is the essential starting point for fruit with purity you can taste.”

Sustainable, bio-dynamic…all these words but what does it really mean?

Sustainable, from soil to sip.

Bonterra estate vineyards are all dual-certified organic and sustainable, with certifications coming from CCOF and California Certified Sustainable Winegrowers (CCSW), respectively. This dual certification is mirrored in the winery, which also carries CCSW certification. Both credentials involve third-party audits, with CCSW assessing over 100 winery practices relating to the natural environment, quality of grapes and wine, and social responsibility to employees and communities. This combination affirms their total commitment to doing what’s right in the vineyard, in the winery, among the communities, and for each of us to enjoy.

Looking for proof? Look to the label.

Their wines readily identify responsible practices with designations found on the packaging like “Made with Organic Grapes,” Organic CCOF Certified, and Demeter Certified Biodynamic®. These certifications mean that an outside governing board is certifying their practices and holding them accountable for purity and sustainable quality. So, when in search of something altogether better, be sure to seek out these indications on labels, to be sure you’re picking up a verifiably purer pour.

 Tasting Notes:

  • Sauvignon Blanc 13%, organic wine. Aromas of grapefruit and kiwi and lush flavours of honeydew.
  • Rosé 13%, organic wine. Dry and crisp acidity with notes of red berries.
  • Chardonnay 13.5%, organic wine. Predominantly made of Chardonnay, complete with a few bunches of Muscat de Roussanne and Viognier, which bring its uniqueness. It’s smooth and creamy with ripe tropical fruit, buttery mouthfull matched with vibrant acidity. Balanced and tasty with a lingering smoky and nutty finish.
    Photo: Lisa King

We were all in agreement that the cold Sauvignon was an elegant summer sipper while the Chardonnay was our favourite – to drink any time of the year.  I was pleasantly surprised that I liked the Rosé as much as I did (I always want to like them but it’s rare that I find a rosé I really enjoy).  We all genuinely loved this one as it had just the right balance of crisp to dryness but not overly dry.  

We all agreed that we’d purchase any of these wines.  As a matter of fact we’re making phone calls right now.

If you try any of these let me know what you think?

Did I mention they go great with food?

Feel-good Friday: stamp of approval

To the man who was born in a suit,

I saw you parked outside the post office today. Photo: d. king

and my fellow Montrealer…we miss you, but we will continue to enjoy your poetic and inspirational music for a lifetime. That is the gift you gave us that will never die.

d. king

A few of my personal favourite lines by Leonard Cohen:the one below is more profound these days…If you read into it, it can speak to the major differences that have torn people apart in relation to the pandemic and politics. So silly.  But let’s end this on a more positive note…

Going to the post office will be a much more pleasurable experience for us Canadians and for those on the receiving end of getting our letters, postcards and packages.

You’re welcome!

 

Flying High in Vancouver

Leading up to Canada Day which is every July 1st, I thought it a good idea to showcase some exciting & inspiring local events and businesses.I began with a little write-up on Vancouver’s “Bard on the Beach” our first-rate Shakespearean theatre group which brings tourists and local community together by filling seats to capacity every afternoon/evening until the finish in September.

Yesterday I decided it was time to do another flying trip over Canada.  In a matter of minutes not only did I experience the trip of a lifetime flying over the great rockies, Niagara Falls and more…but I also flew over the American Great Wild West.  All without leaving my seat.  Let me explain.

Gift Shop + Restaurant on Premises

Fly Over Canada is located at Canada Place – which is an iconic landmark located in the heart of Vancouver’s waterfront.  We know it as a venue for world-class events, home port to the Vancouver-Alaska cruise lines, Vancouver Convention Centre East, Pan Pacific Hotel, FlyOver Canada, World Trade Centre and more.

Canada Place

FLY OVER CANADA is North America’s leading flying ride.

Last time I was here was at least six or seven years ago where I experienced “Fly Over China.” “Fly Over Canada” experience is always showing, however they add another country or area of interest which shows for only so long before they switch it up.  If you’ve never been I urge you to go.  A bit pricey but totally worth the trip.  You’re strapped to a moving seat suspended, feet dangling, enveloped by a 20-metre spherical screen which gives you the feeling of actually being on the journey as they’ve captured thrilling, authentic footage of real locations so riders experience those locations as they truly are.

Using advanced technology to showcase awe-inspiring sights as you’ve never seen them before incorporating special effects — including wind, mist and scents.

I’ve flown and driven all over Canada as well as the American West like all the places shown on the ride…but I’ve never seen them like this before.  Totally Thrilling!

No photos or video allowed.

ABOUT:

THE REAL WILD WEST

Monument Valley, Arizona

Experience the West at its wildest. Glide over vast prairies and towering peaks. Dip into valleys where untamed rivers rush, and buzz through electric urban spaces pulsing with energy. Limited Showing: April 21 – June 26

FLYOVER CANADA

Soar across Canada from coast to coast to coast. Sweep over Niagara Falls, vast prairies and massive mountain peaks to see Canada like never before.

https://www.flyovercanada.com/

Bard on the Beach

This is what I’m talking about…

Photo taken from Bard Site

The tents are up and the shows have begun. We can gather once more as a community with world class theatre in the park.  Vancouver welcomes Bard’s 33rd season with three new productions.

I cannot tell you how sad it was walking by the Vanier Park location with my dog for two long summers of darkness.  By that I mean no tents to be seen during the pandemic shut down period. But now the Bard is Back and stronger than ever!

Photo: d. king

I attended the opening night of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – an appropriate production to start off this beloved Shakespeare Festival as the story is all about love, magic and dreams.  With that comes fairies, goblins, misunderstandings, confusion, egos, love gone wrong – and finally made right.  Kind of like life itself but with a Shakespearian twist.

Elyza Samson, Carly Street, Polina Olshevska, Kate Besworth & Anna Wang-Albini in the magical fairy woods A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2022
Photo: Tim Matheson

Shakespeare’s comic masterpiece follows four young lovers and a troupe of stumbling actors through enchanted woods, on a journey of discovery to find out who they are, whom they love, and why it matters. Beginning in a world in disrepair, the story moves to the forest, where the natural and supernatural have merged and elves, goblins, and talking trees guide the way.

Heidi Damayo, Emily Dallas, Christopher Allen & Olivia Hutt play a quartet of magically manipulated lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2022
Photo: Tim Matheson

If you like slapstick comedy with a Shakespearean silliness, you’ll love this production. The costumes and sets are outstanding.

Directed by veteran Bard director and actor Scott Bellis (director – The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2017; Bottom – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2014). Onstage from June 8 – September 24.

Let me know how you like it…

TICKETS:

https://bardonthebeach.org/whats-on/discover-our-2022-season/

 

The Mood: Midsummer Night’s Dream

Vancouver’s Shakespeare Festival “Bard on the Beach” is back with a 2022 lineup filled with laughter, suspense and excitement.

(A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Why do people refer to Shakespeare as “the Bard?”

Since the word “bard” means poet, we’re essentially calling Shakespeare “the Poet” when we refer to him as “the Bard.” Since centuries upon centuries of poetry enthusiasts concur that he’s one of the greatest poets that has ever lived, it’s only fitting we call him “the Poet.” Thank you Google.

Our Bard Village is where festival goers from home and around the world can enjoy world-class plays, special events from light opera and VSO evenings to wine tastings with food & fireworks. Something that was certainly missed over the past two years.  Luckily for me I can walk there in minutes.

I’m looking forward to attending the opening night of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” 

Synopsis:

Shakespeare’s comic masterpiece follows four young lovers and a troupe of stumbling actors through enchanted woods, on a journey of discovery to find out who they are, whom they love, and why it matters. Beginning in a world in disrepair, the story moves to the forest, where the natural and supernatural have merged and elves, goblins, and talking trees guide the way. It’s time again to enter a place of love, laughter and magic!

“I adore this play – it’s full of joy, magic and love. This is my tenth (Dream) production and I can’t wait to see it onstage again!” – Christopher Gaze, Bard Artistic Director

Directed by veteran Bard director and actor Scott Bellis (director – The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2017; Bottom – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2014). Onstage from June 8 – September 24.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Fireworks and Barbeque Night

Have you been?

Upcoming Plays:

Harlem Duet: This Governor-General’s Award-winning drama explores the complicated relationship of a Black couple in three key periods in the American Black experience: 1860, before the US Emancipation Proclamation; 1928, during New York’s Harlem Renaissance; and in post-civil rights 1997. Each setting reframes the story of the woman, her deep love for her partner, and her sacrifices – and resilience – in the face of his betrayal. With connections to OthelloHarlem Duet explores important contemporary questions about race, privilege and relationships.

Romeo + Juliet: Shakespeare spins a tragic and timeless story of two young people who fall deeply in love, in spite of a bitter feud that divides their families. Their passion – and Juliet’s courage – never fail to move and inspire us. And today more than ever, the play’s “two households alike in dignity” are a powerful reminder that with love, even the world’s greatest wounds can be healed. This production, in a classical setting, casts new light on Juliet’s experience.

Photos: taken from Bard website

For Tickets:

 https://bardonthebeach.org/whats-on/2022-season-

 

All I Wanna Do

Is have some fun What I really wanna do is introduce you to exciting new recording artist Austin Jay and his debut single which is climbing up the Worldwide Hits 2022 charts!I met Austin Jay in Palm Springs just before covid hit and he immediately made an impression on me with his personable manner and good looks. I didn’t realize the scope of his talents until later.  We were part of a group for an impromptu wine tasting at local hangout Bouschet where he was sitting with a woman whom I misidentified as his girlfriend.  Turns out it was his mom. It’s not the first time I’ve put my foot in my mouth.  But Oh well…she looks young so it was an understandable mistake and hopefully a compliment, and since then she’s become a friend.  So getting back to Jay…

I’ve since become very impressed with his resume.  Austin Jay writes music, has studied classical piano and voice, has done community theater, and can act.  He’s on his way to being signed by a record label.

His song “All I Wanna Do” is taking off on Spotify.  After 3 1/2 weeks, it has over 30,000 streams!  There are 17,000 monthly listeners and thousands of followers with almost the same numbers as the top recording artists Lizzo and Justin Bieber’s monthly stats.  Austin has also debuted on the public playlist Top 50 in the UK, was featured in Crowns – the industry Music Magazine (see below). 

Speaking on ‘All I Wanna Do’, Austin Jay says: 

This is the song that got me through the pandemic, the reason why I kept on pushing and continued with my music. I believe in it with my whole soul. I want this to be my introduction to the world stage.”

Have a Listen:

https://austinjay.lnk.to/alliwannado

Good work Austin Jay!  Look forward to tracking your success and listening to lots more HITS!