Come Celebrate Main Street’s Car Free Day this Father’s Day

Come Celebrate Main Street’s Car Free Day this Father’s Day


Main Street Vancouver celebrates Car-free Day this Father’s Day. For eight years running, Car-free Day has been an annual event attracting thousands of participants living in and around Main Street. This event aims at promoting urban living with the exclusion of cars. People living on Main Street and the surrounding neighbourhoods are discouraged from using vehicles on this day as the streets will be full of people, entertainers, music festivals, and vendors. It is more than just avoiding driving in the streets but it is a full festival with thousands of people participating in various different activities.

Car-free Days in Vancouver was initially launched in Denman Street back in 2008. The initial ideas of the organizers of this festival were to explore ideas on car-free urban living. The idea was motivated by a series of car free street festivals held at Denman Street between 2005 and 2008. After the first official Car-free Day in Denman Street, many other localities in Vancouver adopted the idea and currently the festival is held across four streets in Vancouver. These streets are Main Street, Commercial Drive, West end (Denman Street) and Kitsilano.

The festivals are organized and run by environmentally conscious volunteers.  One of the primary visions the organizers of these events have is to encourage better environmental policies, while sharing local knowledge and renewing the local culture. To this end, the festival is not only about eschewing cars, but there is a broader environmental message.

Each of the localities where the car free festivals are held have incorporated their own local and unique flavour. On Main Street, the festival will be held on Sunday, June 19th over an expansive 21 blocks from Broadway to 30th Avenue. Some of the things to look forward to during the festival at Main Street will be: numerous kids zones, mini-festivals, street hockey, community supported stages with dozens of bands, artisan market as well as community police.

Apart from the music, dance, food and other fun activities, Car-free Days offers locals the opportunity to walk peacefully in the normally car-heavy streets, enjoying the sun and cleaner air. There will be no car hooting, engine roars or smelly fumes from car exhaust pipes. The local culture will also be on display, and people will have the chance to interact with one another and socialize as they are having fun. The festival on Main Street kicks off at noon and ends at 7pm.  Everybody is encouraged to turn up to this festival as there will be plenty of interesting stuff to do. It is a big festival! It is free! You don’t to miss it!

Zoning Regulations Favour Vancouver’s Main Street Neighbourhoods

Zoning Regulations Favour Vancouver’s Main Street Neighbourhoods


Unlike most other developed cities in the world, Vancouver is very far from being considered a concrete jungle. On the contrary, the city’s administration is determined to take the top spot in the list of green cities in North America by 2020. This won’t come easy because sacrifices will have to be made and regulations have to be followed if the ambitious goal is to be achieved.

Despite the good intentions behind the regulations, they may sometimes limit the ambitions of property developers in the city who may want to build huge structures. A good example is in the Zoning Districts. Let’s start by taking a look at what the city regulations have been able to achieve so far.

Since 2013, Vancouver has been ranked in Knight Frank’s Prime Global Cities Index. In the first quarter of 2016, the city was ranked top with a 26.3% increase in performance of prices of prime residential properties. This is just three years after the city was added to this list. This means that prices of prime residential property have had a relatively higher growth rate in these three years when compared to other cities in the world. Between March 2015 and March 2016, Vancouver had the highest growth rate in the world.

Local investors are doing all they can to get a piece of the pie. Foreign investors have also taken notice and this has resulted in massive demand for property in Vancouver which further increased the price of the properties. With the influx of millions of foreign dollars, the city administration is taxed with ensuring that there is order in the development and that Vancouver maintains a spot in the list of the best cities to live in globally.

On the other hand, zoning has its limitations. With several prime properties witnessing interesting bidding wars in the recent past, it is very clear that investors are willing to spend on property in Vancouver. However, they have to think about zoning before buying a property to take down because zoning Bylaws for each district control the kind of development that will take place in the area. This means that you can’t build a skyscraper on land that has been set aside for single family homes.

The city also controls tearing down of buildings in districts that have been set aside as historical areas such as Chinatown and some pre-1920 homes in Strathcona.

While this may appear punitive, it comes with its own share of benefits. The first one is that development is controlled, hence there should be improved organization of the city. Another one, which is very important in the case of Vancouver, is that natural life and open spaces are maintained in the city.

Investment in Main Street neighbourhoods has benefited from the city’s zoning regulations. This is because these neighborhoods have commercial districts, residential districts, small industrial districts and some historic areas. Investors and developers in these neighborhoods have access to a wide range of options when it comes to investing, with minimal restriction to any ambitious plans they may have. The city is also able to maintain order since the development is done in a planned and very organized manner. Main Street locals can expect to enjoy Vancouverism for a very long time.

10 Things You Need to Keep in Mind When Buying a Home


Whether you’re upgrading or downsizing, or purchasing your first home, these tips could help you choose the right home, get it for the best price and avoid needless costs. Here are the things you need to keep in mind.

1. Manage your emotional attachment to the home

Buying a home is the largest purchase most people will make. You’ve been thinking about your dream home for years, and when you see almost everything on your checklist right in front of you, it’s hard not to fall in love on the spot. Love at first site is blind, and it’s easy to pay more than you should, take on a larger mortgage than you planned, or miss a few steps or details.

It’s usually best to view at least five competitive properties before signing any contracts. Even if you’re absolutely sure this is the one, looking at a few more will put your mind at ease.

2. Visit the property more than once

Plan to visit the property several times before submitting your offer. If you came with your spouse the first time, consider coming out again with your best friend. More than one perspective, from someone who knows you well, can be helpful. They’ve been listening to your likes and dislikes for years, and their input on whether you’ll be happy in the home can be invaluable.

3. Holding out for a better deal can be risky

There is no way to know if a larger home will come on the market, for less money, a day after you close on the one you’re considering. Market fluctuations will always be part of any real estate transaction. If the home is competitively priced for the area, you really like it, and it meets the needs of your family, there’s no reason to hold off on making a prudent investment.

4. Be wary of bargains

When you see marketing buzzwords designed to lure bargain-hungry buyers, be careful. A house represents a good deal based upon it’s historic price, the area’s comps, current marketing conditions, the home’s features, potential resale value and your family’s needs. If you have to remodel it so you can live in it, chances are it wasn’t a bargain. Buyers decrease their chance of making emotional mistakes dramatically by working with an experienced real estate professional who knows the local market.

5. Spending too much

When you decide to buy a home, you’re going to pay more than just the cost of the house. Some of the additional costs will include inspection reports, home insurance, moving costs and closing costs. As you determine if you can afford the property, make sure you factor in these costs, so there are no surprises later.

You will also want to consider any renovations, the cost of utilities, strata fees where applicable, property taxes and a budget for unforeseen repairs. Don’t be afraid to ask the current owners what they spend a year on bills. Evaluate your fixed costs and leave yourself some breathing room.

6. Spending too little

Focusing only on the price can also be a mistake. If you need a larger home, or have specific requirements, the money you save today could end up going towards a move when you buy the home you actually need. Evaluate your plans over the next five to ten years to determine whether the home you’re considering represents the best long term investment for you.

7. Lowball offers can be expensive

Every home buyer wants the lowest possible price, and it’s your prerogative to negotiate on the price. There’s a big difference, however, between firm negotiations and lowballing. Lowball offers run the risk of being rejected out of hand by the offended seller. There may be no going back after that. If this is your dream home, remodeling second best so it will work could be costly. If the home is a good fit for you, a market savvy professional can help you present a respectful and realistic offer that is not too far off from what you would like, or what the seller will accept.

The seller will usually be invested in the property. Even if you’re a cash buyer, if you actually want to buy the property, it’s best not to insult the seller by throwing out a lowball offer.

8. Be proactive and do your homework

Buying a home that hasn’t been thoroughly vetted could become a large, expensive and regretful mistake. You may feel a lot of pressure to make a quick buying decision, from family members, friends, the seller and your Realtor. If you love the home, you don’t want to take too long, so schedule a home inspection report immediately. Inspections can uncover problems like structural issues, termites, flooding or mould.

Remember, it’s more than a real estate investment. The decision will change your life, so make sure you’re fully engaged during every step of the process.

“A day in the life” can be a very profitable exercise. Walk the neighbourhood and meet some of the neighbours. If you plan to walk your dog to the local park, why not park in front of the home and take your pooch on that walk. Drive to the stores you’ll be shopping at. Check the streets at night. Are the neighbours rowdy, or is it pretty quiet? Buying a house can be both exciting and daunting. Doing your due diligence can get you into your dream home with a bit less stress.

9. Get pre-approved

It’s important to go to lenders before you look at properties. Find out how much they are willing to lend you, so you can focus on homes you are able to afford. It can be very disappointing to find your dream home, only to discover you can’t have it.

10. Evaluate your loan options carefully

Buying a home can be stressful, and there’s a temptation to just sign on the dotted line to get the paperwork over with. Some buyers choose an adjustable rate mortgage to receive a lower interest rate up front, but fail to consider that their rate and monthly payments could increase in the future. Others will jump on a 15-year term, so they can pay off the debt in less time, only to realize they can’t swing the high payments if there are any changes in their income. Taking the time to educate yourself and find the right mortgage for your needs is a very important step in the buying process.

Early Birds Can Save Big on Vancouver’s Upcoming Bike Share Program

Early Birds Can Save Big on Vancouver’s Upcoming Bike Share Program


The Vancouver Public Bike Share Program is the biggest thing ever to come to public transportation in Vancouver. If you join the early bird list, you will get early access to the program and also close to 50% off the annual membership costs just by being a founding member.

Currently, two membership plans are available. The first one is the Standard membership plan where you get unlimited 30 minute rides for a whole year. Instead of paying the regular $180, you will only have to pay $99 and save over $80 just by being a part of the founding members. The other package is the Plus membership plan where you will pay $129 instead of the regular $240. Again, you’ll get to save over $110 just by being a founding member.

Monthly overage fees for the Standard package are $2 for the first 30 to 60 minutes of riding and $3 for every half hour after the first 60 minutes. For the Plus membership package, overage fees are $3 for every half hour after the first 60 minutes. You won’t need to pay anything extra for the helmet since each bike will come with one.

This special discount is only valid until Thursday June 30, 2016. The annual membership will start on June 15, 2016 and end on July 1, 2017. After this initial subscription, membership will renew with the regular rates.

In addition to discounted prices, founding members will also receive other exclusive benefits. These benefits include a helmet discount that can be redeemed at any local bike store, a special key for founding members, first access to the bikes and an exclusive invitation to the official launch party when the setting up has been completed.

The program finally has a name! It has been dubbed Mobi and it is pronounced as “moe-bee”. The name was coined from the phrase “more bikes”, but is can also be used to reflect mobility, momentum and motion – the main pillars of cycling in Vancouver. The program’s tagline is “Bikes we Share” and it shows the community-based aspect of the program.

Work is already in progress to prepare 150 stations and 1500 bikes for launch this summer in Main Street, 16th Avenue and Arbutus Street. Businesses have the chance to sponsor the program and get more eyes on their branding. Sponsors will enjoy increased brand awareness, social awareness, more customer interactions and a more authentic commitment to empowerment of the community through healthy alternatives to traffic congestion while improving environmental sustainability and air quality in the city.

The bikes will have a waterproof control panel on the handlebars where members can tap their cards to unlock the bikes. If you haven’t subscribed for an annual option, this control panel has a keypad that you can use to enter the PIN that you will be assigned at the booth upon paying for the ride.

Sign up for a discounted founding membership package here. You can also suggest a location or get more information on how you can sponsor the program by going to the program’s official website.

VANTalks Comes to Main Street May 26th

VANTalks Comes to Main Street May 26th


VANTalks, the local version of TED Talks is coming to Vancouver! The event will centre on innovative and creative ideas, borrowing from the international format where ten different speakers are given the chance to talk briefly and expound on various different topics and ideas. VANTalks will be held on Thursday 26th May starting from 6.30pm to 8.30 pm at Kiggins Theatre.

The talk will be engaging and informative. This is a chance for locals as well as visitors to be enlightened on a variety of topics and have fun at the same time. Some of the topics that will be discussed include innovation and creativity, media, culture and local sustainability. Speakers have also been selected from a wide pool and they include a filmmaker, a senior high school student, the CEO of Burgerville, a tech guru who is also a computer engineering graduate of Nanyang Technical University in Singapore and two small business consultants.

Main Street Vancouver, is a place with diverse culture and home to many people who have different backgrounds. The people are also creative and innovative and as Kevin Hiebert, the event organizer, explains; this idea came up when he was talking to a friend, Steve Valenta, on how to highlight the many innovative and creative ideas they hear about daily in Vancouver.

This idea sunk in well with community leaders immediately and it was a go from the start! The main sponsors of the event who are iQ- credit Union, which is a community foundation for Vancouver Downtown Association and Southwest Washington, picked up the idea right away and the planning started. The representatives of the city of Vancouver as well as the Kiggins theatre representatives were all involved in planning the event.

VANTalks will not only provide an opportunity for Main Street Vancouver and Vancouver city as a whole to showcase the great ideas and amazing talent that is within, but it is also a forum which shall have some big names who have essentially made a difference in society and they will be ready to share on how they did so. There are many unrecognized talents that are doing great things in Vancouver and this will definitely be a chance for them to showcase others what it is that they do.

Gates to the event will open an hour prior to the start of the event to allow attendees to settle down in good time before the first speaker. Individual tickets will be going for $10 and they can be purchased at www.vantalks.org. In addition to the individual tickets, there will also be corporate rows at the theatre and a free ticket will be given for every ten tickets bought by a business entity or corporation. After the main event, attendees will also have a scheduled time to interact with one another as well as the speakers, so that they can expound further on particular topics and answer any extra questions that anyone might have. Kiggins theatre is located at 1011 Main Street Vancouver.

Main Street Farmers Markets Ready for Another Fantastic Year

Main Street Farmers Markets Ready for Another Fantastic Year


It’s an exciting new season for Vancouver Farmers Markets. The rain has subsided and Vancouver shoppers will soon be turning out as the sunny weather returns. You’ll see some new vendors this year, and some of the established shops with exciting new products.

Main Street Station

Main St. Station returns for its 6th season, at the commuter intersection of Main and Terminal. Market vendors will line up on the east side of Thornton Park, on the sidewalk along Station Street.

Venders will offer everything from meats and cheeses, to baked goods, crafts and much more. Take in the complimentary chef’s demonstrations. Hot food will be offered on-site, so you may want to pick up dinner and then relax in the park for  the evening.

Website: http://eatlocal.org/markets/main-st-station/
Email: info@eatlocal.org
Phone: 604-879-FARM

Open: June 1 through October 5, 2016, every Wednesday from 2:00 – 6:00 pm.

Public Transit: Skytrain and bus

Parking Options: Easy Park Lot #16 (1696 Quebec St.),
250 Northern St, 1150 Station St. and 231 National Ave.

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market will soon be re-opening at 2300 Guelph Street, between West 7th Ave and West 8th Ave. It’s one of the newest farmers markets, but already has become a community gathering place. There’s no better place for newcomers to Mount Pleasant to meet the neighbours.

Website: http://eatlocal.org/markets/mt-pleasant/
Email: info@eatlocal.org
Phone: 604-879-FARM

Open: June 12 through October 9, 2016, every Sunday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Public Transit: bus

Parking Options: Street parking is available

Nat Bailey Farmers Market

Nat Bailey Public Market is open year-round. Every Saturday you can find locally grown fruits and vegetables, meats and seafood, cheeses and breads, from local farmers and rancher, fishermen and artisans. Food trucks and hot drink vendors, and market musicians will keep you fed and entertained.

Website: http://eatlocal.org/markets/winter-market/
Email: info@eatlocal.org
Phone: 604-879-FARM

Open: Year-round

Parking Options: Parking within walking distance

HUB Bike to Work Week May 30 – June 5

HUB Bike to Work Week May 30 – June 5


Join thousands of others in Metro Vancouver who have signed up for HUB Bike to Work Week. The event will run from May 30 through June 5, 2016. Whether you want to save money, improve your level of fitness, or just try something different, Bike to Work is an excellent way to add some excitement into the daily task of getting to work.

KLM is presenting the event and is giving away a new bike a day and a trip for 2 to Amsterdam, one of the world’s bike capitals. Anyone who logs a bike trip during Bike to Work Week will be entered. For a complete list of prizes visit https://bikehub.ca/bike-events/bike-to-work-week/prizes.

If you’re new to cycling, or haven’t been on one for some time, consider hosting a HUB Workplace Cycling Workshop at your office, or you sign up of an upcoming HUB Streetwise Cycling Course. You’ll learn everything you need to know for a safe and convenient bike commute.

It’s free, fun and easy to participate:

• Register for Bike to Work Week. Decide whether you’re registering solo, joining a team or starting a team.
• Encourage your colleagues to join your team and help you win prizes.
• Log your trips during the Bike to Work Week and you’ll be entered to win more prizes. You have the choice of entering your total kilometres cycled or by mapping it.
• Check the Celebration Station Map to find out where you will be able to stop for free bike mechanic services, free treats, and more prize draws throughout the week.
• Consider becoming a member of HUB to support cycling improvements and bike education around the Vancouver.
• If you’re a team leader, be sure to pick up your package at the office: 1 -828 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver between 10am and4pm Monday through Thursday.

Additional Resources

HUB website: Bike to Work Week
Registration form

Dance Dance Party Party: A One of a Kind Event

Dance Dance Party Party: A One of a Kind Event


Do you love to just get out and dance, or are you the shy type who dances alone where no one can watch you? Well, even if you find it difficult to move your body because you fear being judged; fear no more. Dance Dance Party Party is an exclusive girls’ only event that gives you the chance to dance the best way you can and have plenty of fun. This event is all about girls dancing and there are no guys to interfere with your evening.

Dance Dance Party Party is a unique event meant to help girls who cannot dance, or the shy kind, improve their dancing skills. There are a variety of songs played over one hour which you can dance to as you wish. However, Dance Dance Party Party is not for novice dancers only. There are some crazily talented dancers that can teach you a thing or two about dancing by copying their moves. There are no seats for you to watch, so once you get there you have to hit the dance floor and there; no exceptions. This is an alcohol free Party as well, and there won’t be any alcohol being sold at the bar.

Dance Dance Party Party is a weekly event that is hosted at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre. This is a girls-only activity that gathers all girls above the age of sixteen and allows them to dance their minds out without the fear of judgement. The event takes place every Tuesday between 8.15pm and 9.15pm. Think of it as a weekly activity that you can go and have fun, drop that sweat and learn some cool dancing moves at the same time.

This weekly activity gathers all types of dancers: the self-conscious ones, the crazy ones and the innovative ones. Here at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre it is all about dancing and nothing else. Nobody cares about how you are dancing and there are no skeezy dudes to disturb your peace.

Each weekly dancing session is referred to as a “class” and you will pay $20 for four sessions or simply $5 per class. A drop in would cost you $7 which is quite fair compared to the fun that you will have. The classes are hosted at the Mount Pleasant community Centre which is located at 1 Kingsway, Vancouver British Columbia V5T 3H7.

During each class, a playlist of groovy songs is played allowing you to do your thing the best way you know how. This is a fun routine activity that will first of all help you with your dancing skills and eventually lift your self-esteem. It is also a good alternative to the gym as you dance vigorously and burn that extra fat in your body. It is a weekly event that runs all year round and you should definitely not miss the chance to be there, so take the initiative and buy your ticket today!

Nothing But Thieves’ North American Album Tour Comes to Main Street

Nothing But Thieves’ North American Album Tour Comes to Main Street


Vancouver will be lucky to host the popular UK band Nothing But Thieves in their North American Tour. This tour, dubbed “Under My Skin” is organised to support their debut self-titled album. This tour began in Texas, with the first event taking place in Houston on Saturday, April 16 and it will go on until Friday, May 27. The last event will be in Napa Valley, California.

Residents of Main Street will get to enjoy the event which will take place at the Imperial Vancouver on Wednesday, May 25. Other cities that will get a piece of the action in this tour include Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Kansas and Portland among others.
In some of these cities, Nothing But Thieves will be getting support from The Wrecks, which is a New Jersey cover band full of the fun-loving spirit and attitude. This four piece band performs music that draws from a wide range of styles featuring both modern hits and successful electrifying hits from the past.

They have successfully made covers for music by artists like John Denver, Elvis Presley, LMFAO, Lady GaGa, Bruce Springsteen and even Bon Jovi. Clearly, nothing is too complicated or too hard for The Wrecks. This is why they encourage all their fans to ‘come out and party like a wreckster!’

Nothing But Thieves on the other hand has been able to hit the Number 1 spot at Alternative Radio with their smash hit, “Trip Switch”. This hit is the first single from their debut album and it has been in the Alterative Radio top ten list for 12 weeks now. On VEVO, this song has so far reached more than 3.5 million views. This song was even brought by the band to the Jimmy Kimmel Live! TV show on ABC.

This band’s debut album is now out via Sony Music UK and RCA Records. This album has also been released in the US and has been on sold out headlining shows in New York and Los Angeles. Having achieved all this success in their debut album, this band seems geared to becoming unstoppable in the near future.

The event in Main Street will start at 9.00pm but doors will open at 8.00pm. Tickets will be going for $18 and they will be available from Friday March 18. There will also be a Facebook presell from 10.00am to 10.00pm on Thursday March 17. The password for this presell is CHEER. After the pre-sale, you will be able to buy the tickets from all Ticketmaster outlets and Red Cat Records.

Ticket sales will stop at 4.00pm on the day of the show. However, if the band’s success is anything to go by, there is a high chance that the tickets will sell out earlier so you better get yours early to avoid being locked out.

To gain admission you will need to be 19 years and older and this will be proved by show of a government issued ID.

More New Childcare Spaces for Vancouver Residents

More New Childcare Spaces for Vancouver Residents


Mother’s Pride Family Child Care, Little Mountain Neighborhood House, Emma’s Infant & Toddler Care, Spare Time Clubhouse, YWCA Vancouver and Mount Pleasant Community Center are some of the establishments that you can visit for child care services in the Main Street area. The city of Vancouver is working towards increasing the number of these establishments in Main Street and the entire Vancouver in an ambitious four year growth plan.

Previously, the city administration worked with a two year target which ran from 2012 to 2014. By the end of the period, more than 500 spaces had been built, a number which exceeded the set target for the period. This must have been the inspiration behind the target for the new period, which was to begin in 2015 and run to 2018. During this four year period, the city hopes to create another 1,000 childcare spaces in Vancouver.

If we take a look at the ground covered so far, the city is on track to once again exceed the set targets for the period ending in 2018. Here’s what has been achieved so far:
•    188 new child care spaces have been built in Vancouver since the period began
•    An additional 389 have been committed and development is in progress
•    A total of 577 new childcare establishments have been approved

Having achieved such numbers this early into the period, it will be very easy for the city administration to not only meet, but also to exceed the set targets. This will make it easier for families to live in Main Street since busy parents will be able to get peace of mind knowing that their young children are in safe hands.

These targets show the city’s dedication towards the provision of good early childhood development and support for families run by parents with busy schedules. Some of these new childcare centers will be co-located in elementary schools. According to Mayor Gregor Robertson, this move will provide a one-stop solution for childcare and early learning needs. It will also enhance better space utilization in the city thus making Vancouver a more inclusive and healthier city.

More quality child care spaces in Main Street will provide a good start for children in the area, which will increase their readiness for school while reducing their vulnerability. Statistics have shown that kids who get a good start in their early years of life tend to have better mental and physical health in their adult years. They also perform better in school and as a result find it easier to secure the more attractive job positions.

Even with this rapid increase in childcare spaces in the city, Vancouver still has room for more spaces. Currently, the available spaces only meet about 32% of the city’s childcare needs for children aged below 12 years. At this rate, however, it won’t be long before this need is fully net.
Every child should have access to safe outdoor play spaces because they are very critical in the child’s physical, mental and social development.