Cultural appreciation

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Check out Culture Days BC

By Adam Tatelman, Arts Editor

If the Fringe Festival doesn’t pique your interest, there’s more than just one way to get your fill of arts and culture. From September 30 to October 2, BC Culture Days offers a wide array of entertainment and artistic events from a multitude of different cultures, making it the perfect sample platter for anyone who’s interested in learning more about the world outside of Canada.

With over 300 separate activities available in the Vancouver area alone, it would be impossible to list everything of interest. So, in the hopes of invigorating public curiosity, this article will contain a broad cross-section of the different events offered, loosely organized by the nature of the activity.

For those inclined to leisurely sightseeing, there are several Public Art Walking Tours of the Vancouver area, each focused around a different theme. Areas include a walk from Yaletown to False Creek, as well as tours of Gastown and Chinatown. These tours are run by both English and Mandarin-speaking tour guides, so those who only know Mandarin will miss nothing while in attendance. All tours are available from September 30 to October 2.

If you’ve ever wanted to see the inner workings of a live theatre production, consider attending the Granville Island Arts Club Theatre tour on October 2. Backstage, you’ll get to see the set for upcoming Arts Club feature The Flick, as well as the production shop where all the props and costumes are put together. Theatre buffs may also enjoy North Vancouver Community Players’ backstage tour of Hendry Hall. On September 30, get one-on-one face-time with directors and stagehands, as well as a chance to dress up and rehearse with the actors themselves if you’re feeling melodramatic.

If Mexican art is more your taste, the Mexiquenses Artisans will be holding a Mexico Fest during Culture Days, in which they will showcase a variety of nature-based art pieces that represent the five major Mexican ethnic groups, namely the Matlazincas, Mazahuas, Nahuas, Otomíes and Tlahuicas, each with their own unique style and presentation. See it all on Friday, September 30 at UBC’s East Mall.

There’s much in the way of visual arts to appreciate, as well. On October 1, the Vancouver Art Gallery will feature works by Picasso, sculptures by Bharti Kher, Harry Callahan (no, not that Harry Callahan), and an exhibit comparing the works of Austrian Modernist Wolfgang Paalen to British Columbia’s own Emily Carr.

From September 30 to October 2, the Skwachàys Lodge Aboriginal Hotel also invites you to view its gallery, featuring Eric Parnell’s famous Haida Bears. And if that still isn’t enough art for you, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden welcomes visitors to see the watercolor, oil, and ink paintings of Chinese-Canadian artists Robert Ku and Tak Cheung Leun. The gardens are also open from the September 30 to October 2.

There are those whose preferences skew towards the musical. They will be pleased with the Music of the World Presentation at the North Vancouver City Library. Here, the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra will introduce audiences to stringed instruments from a variety of different countries, offering samplings of the Chinese Erhu fiddle, the Persian Kamanche, and many others. Check it out on October 1.

If dance is what gets you out of your seat, consider taking in a lesson at the Nora Pickett Irish Dance Academy on October 1, or a ballet lesson on October 2 in the Rolston Building at 1340 Granville Street. If you are more a casual dance fan, check out the open rehearsals for Ballet Rocks, an oddball performance combining Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, rock music by The Eagles, and Aboriginal mythology. Catch Ballet Victoria’s curious compilation at the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church on September 30.

If you’re out to wet your pants with friends, the Georgia Strait Alliance might have just what you need. On October 1, they’ll be taking over the Vancouver Maritime Museum for the third annual Water’s Edge Day celebration. Attractions include kayak and Tsleil-Watuth canoe paddle tours, touch tanks full of exotic marine life courtesy of the Vancouver Aquarium, and of course, every exhibit currently available in the museum.

Heritage aficionados will appreciate the opportunity to relive the roaring ’20s with Gatsby’s Night Out at the Orpheum. On September 30, the Orpheum will be transformed into a flapper’s paradise, replete with musical entertainment by Victoria and The Secrets, a Peter Forde art installment, and a magic show by the talented Matt Johnson. Those who wish to dress in period-appropriate clothing are encouraged to attend. Note that this speakeasy is for patrons 19+ only, so make sure your ID is in order.

To register for these events and hundreds more, head to and find out what’s going on near you.