BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for April 30 – May 6

This week in BC: Make books, smell the flowers, watch a doc, toast the Bard and more

Enjoy an ancient Indian art form during the City of Bhangra Festival

What to do in BC this week

Make Books, Read Books – April 28 – May 15

A literary festival for the SpongeBob set, BOOKtopia features writing workshops, poetry readings and storytelling sessions to encourage kids to turn off the TV and crack open the books. The West Vancouver-based festival is also rolling out a roster of top talent, including Peabody Award-winning producer Karen Levine, author of the bestseller Hana’s Suitcase, along with fellow literary luminaries Ted Staunton and Eileen Cook. It all starts on April 28 with a book-making workshop and wraps up on May 15 with a free screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 at West Vancouver Memorial Library, starting at 2 p.m. For more details, call 604-925-7408.

Take the Kids to Playland – beginning April 30

Prepare yourself, parents, it’s that time of year again when kids start pestering you about Playland. And, yes, a day at the fair may cost a pretty penny, but it just might be worth it to give your kids a chance to earn bragging rights for braving dozens of pulse-pounding rides like Hellevator and Atmosfear, or sharpening their sporting skills at a mini-golf course, climbing wall and shooting gallery. And when hunger strikes, you’ll have plenty of choices to satisfy your cravings with the likes of Pizza Pizza, Fundunkers Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and White Spot right on site. Buy discounted PlayPasses and swing by Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning April 30, with weekday openings starting June 17.

Raise Funds for Orphaned Wildlife – April 30

It’s not always such a bad thing to be treated like an animal. At least, not if you’re one of the lucky charges under the care of the Critter Care Wildlife Society, a non-profit group dedicated to rehabilitating B.C.’s injured and orphaned wildlife. You can help them fulfill their mission by joining Global TV’s Linda Aylesworth at Langley Seniors Recreation and Resource Centre (20605 51B Avenue) on April 30 for Critter Care’s 12th annual buffet dinner and auction, starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for this animal-friendly affair are $50 per person, with further details available by calling 604-530-2054.

Celebrate Earth Day Belatedly – April 30

Better late than never! Earth Day, celebrated globally on April 22, may have come and gone for another year, but Mother Nature will be honoured yet again at a belated birthday bash in South Vancouver’s Everett Crowley Park. On April 30, the dog-friendly green space — which bears no trace of its former life as a garbage dump — will be hosting an afternoon of free entertainment and eco-friendly exhibits, all designed to give props to our planet. Catch it from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and while you’re at it, if you really want to reduce your carbon footprint, check out Nice Shoes (3568 Fraser Street, Vancouver), a newly opened shop selling leather and sweatshop-free footwear and accessories.

Stock up on Plants – April 30 – May 1
You may not know it, but most homes are rife with indoor pollutants that can wreak havoc on your health. One quick fix? Plants — and lots of ’em. Certain houseplants — especially English ivy and aloe vera — are among the best toxin-busters around, absorbing up to 90 per cent of formaldehyde from such everyday offenders as mattresses, paint and vinyl shower curtains. So why not stock up at one of many annual plant sales held around town this week, including North Vancouver’s Park & Tilford Garden, Chilliwack Mall and Abbotsford’s Trethewey House Heritage Site on April 30, and Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden on May 1. For full details, check out GardenWise Magazine’s events listings.

Smell the Flowers at the Burnaby Rhododendron Festival – May 1
Sloshing through April showers is never fun, but it’s all worth it when the payoff is masses of May flowers. And they’ll be in fine form at the Burnaby Rhododendron Festival, a 23rd annual floral fest that’s all abloom with the city’s official flower. Along with a riot of rhododendrons, it also blends art and horticulture with watercolour workshops, garden tours, interactive art activities, roving performers and a silent auction. Life’s too short not to smell the flowers, so swing by this free festival on May 1, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the grounds of Deer Lake Park and Shadbolt Centre for the Arts (6450 Deer Lake Avenue).

Groove Your Way to the City of Bhangra Festival – May 4-14
It’s said we all march to the beat of a different drummer, but that won’t necessarily be the case during the seventh annual City of Bhangra Festival, when hundreds of music lovers are expected to get into the groove for this ancient Indian art form, a wild song and dance style created centuries ago to celebrate harvest season in Punjab. Our pick? Downtown Bhangra, a free outdoor concert on 
May 13 at the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza (Howe and Georgia streets) that features 200-plus performers running the gamut from dhol drummers, beat-boxers and break dancers to international acts like India’s Jaswinder Daghamia, Scotland’s Tigerstyle and Finland’s Shava.

Toast the Bard – May 5

Though dead and gone for 395 years, William Shakespeare is far from forgotten. If you’re a fan of the world’s most celebrated scribe, you’re invited to toast his 447th at Bill’s Birthday Breakfast on May 5 at Sheraton Wall Centre (1088 Burrard Street, Vancouver) from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. This annual fundraiser for the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival also includes talks from the directors behind this summer’s productions of As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses and Richard III. Plus, you’ll have a chance to win door prizes and purchase prize balloons for tickets to cultural events, restaurants and weekend getaways. To reserve a seat, priced at $40 per person, call
 604-739-0559 or book online. 

Dine at Mission Hill – May 6

If you consider gourmet meals one of your guilty pleasures, you won’t do much better than the Top Toques dinner at Mission Hill Family Estate in Kelowna on May 6. That’s when chef Matthew Batey welcomes Vancouver-based guest gourmands Frank Pabst of Blue Water Café and Todd Howard of CinCin Ristorante to collaborate in the creation of an exclusive six-course food and wine pairing dinner. Set in Mission Hill’s elegant Chagall Room, this epicurean evening starts at 6:30 p.m. with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception. Tickets are $165 per person, plus taxes, and available by calling 250-768-6483.

Watch a Doc at DOXA – May 6-15
Consider yourself a sophisticated cinephile? Then you’ll want to check out the DOXA Documentary Film Festival, unspooling at various Vancouver venues from May 6 to 15. If pre-press is any indication, it promises to “rock your world with exceptional Canadian and international documentaries guaranteed to entertain, inform and inspire.” Among the dozens of featured flicks, highlights include German director Werner Herzog’s 3-D film Cave of Forgotten Dreams and locally lensed pics on topics as diverse as aboriginal issues, urban decay and post-feminism.

Have a Spot of Tea – anytime
If all the hoopla about the royal wedding has suddenly inspired a taste for tea, you won’t find a better brew outside of Buckingham Palace than at Calico Cat Tea House (1081 Haliburton Road) in Nanaimo. This charming eatery, set in a cozy 1910 character home, serves over a dozen different types of tea, along with a mouthwatering menu featuring everything from homemade soups, salads and sandwiches to crepes, scones and desserts. Another reason to visit? Guests can pre-book a highly popular 10-, 20- or 30-minute tea leaf reading performed by a seasoned professional right at your table. For more details on this Vancouver Island institution, open Tuesdays to Sundays, call 250-754-3865.

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.