BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for January 22-28

This week in BC: Check out the PuSh festival, dine out in Vancouver and the Okanagan, see Kodo drummers and more

46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes plays at UBC as part of the PuSh festival

What to do in BC this week

Hit up the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival – January 18 – February 6
It’s that time of year again: when PuSh comes to shove. But not in any negative sense of the word, mind you. We just mean the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, which is set to bust boundaries in a multi-disciplinary mash-up from January 18 to February 6 at various Vancouver venues. One show to catch? On January 23 at 2 p.m., see 46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes at UBC’s Frederic Wood Theatre, featuring acrobats battling the clock in a fun one-off performance. Or catch PuSh’s performance of La Marea, a free, site-specific work that features nine fictional scenes unfolding on street corners, shop windows and balconies along Gastown’s Water Street only until January 22. For details call 604-605-8284.

Wine and Dine in the Okanagan – January 19 – February 6
If your New Year’s resolution involves cutting costs, you probably think it means cutting out restaurant meals, too. Not so fast: You can save and savour at the eighth annual Wine & Dine Thompson/Okanagan, featuring fabulous deals on meals from January 19 to February 6 at the region’s top restaurants, including Chop Steakhouse in Kelowna, Bogners of Penticton and Billy Miner’s Roadhouse in Kamloops. This budget-conscious bonanza features delicious deals at dozens of other participating eateries, too, all offering special three-course prix fixe menus for $15, $25 and $35 that can be paired with wine offerings from the Okanagan Valley. For more information, visit bcrfa.com. 

Learn about Diving – January 22-23

What lurks beneath the waves? Divers’ Weekend at the Vancouver Aquarium (845 Avison Way) aims to answer all your undersea questions on January 22 and 23 with a posse of aqua experts who’ll fill your cranium with so much diving data you’ll be tempted to take the plunge yourself. This 12th annual exposition also features 35 exhibitors, including the Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Navy Diving Unit, Artificial Reef Society of BC, Canadian Association for Underwater Science, along with an array of engaging seminars, workshops and dive demos. P.S. Show your certified diver certificate and you’ll get a 50 per cent discount off the price of admission. For all the stuff you need to know, call 604-659-3474.

Check out Robbie Burns Day at Craigdarroch Castle – January 23
What was it about Robbie Burns that has people still hauling out the haggis to celebrate his birthday, more than 200 years after his death? Maybe it’s because the 18th century Scot, a peasant farmer by birth, was known as a layperson’s lyricist, hence his nickname of the Ploughman’s Poet. On January 23, check out Robbie Burns Day at Craigdarroch Castle (1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria), site of a Scottish-themed celebration that includes plenty of Highland music and haggis, starting at 11:30 a.m. Need more info? Call 250-592-5323.

Dine Out in Vancouver – January 24 – February 6
It’s said Vancouverites know their restaurants like they know their umbrellas. And their adventurous appetites — whether they’re sampling ocean-wise seafood, izakaya, charcuterie or tapas — definitely qualify them as epicurious. That’s why you’ll need to reserve right away for Dine Out Vancouver, an edible extravaganza featuring 14 delicious days of dining at Vancouver’s hottest restaurants. From January 24 to February 6, you can munch on special three-course menus for $18, $28 or $38 per person from a raft of restaurants, all of which also offer fabulous BC VQA wine pairing suggestions. For further info, and a list of participating restaurants, visit tourismvancouver.com.

Hear the Kodo Drums
 – January 28
Drums did more than bang out a beat in Japanese tradition. They were found at every shrine and marked the physical and metaphorical edge of a village: If you could hear them beat, you were part of the community. Kodo, Japan’s pre-eminent performing arts ensemble, has lived this principle for 30 years, using thundering sounds that turn audiences into one big global village. The group, known for its musical mastery and vibrant traditions, makes a return to Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre on January 28 to debut four fresh pieces and a brand-new recording. Tickets for the concert, starting at 8 p.m., are priced from $60.50 to $77.50 through Ticketmaster or by phone at 604-280-3311.

Celebrate Winter in Rossland – January 28-30
It may not feature Quebec’s beneficent Bonhomme, but Rossland Winter Carnival, running from January 28 to 30, holds the distinction of being Canada’s oldest winter carnival. Since 1897, townsfolk have been braving the chill to take in a street parade, variety show, food fair and live entertainment in downtown Rossland. This year will be no different, as revelers put winter hibernation on hold to enjoy everything from a Blizzard Music Festival and B.C. Pond Hockey Championships to a kids’ carnival and Rotary wine fair, along with free skiing, skating and scads of sporting competitions.

See Becky’s New Car – until January 29

If you’re a married, middle-class mother, you have everything society says you should want, right? Not if you’re the title character in Becky’s New Car, a “wacky and wistful adventure” from playwright Steven Dietz that unites some of Vancouver’s best talents — Jackson Davies (The Beachcombers) and Cavan Cunningham (Corner Gas) among them — in a Lower Mainland touring production until February 7. Take a detour from the ordinary on this comic joyride that makes a pit stop this week at Surrey Arts Centre through January 29. For a full schedule of performances, go to artsclub.com.

Wine Down at Yew
 – throughout January
New Year’s resolutions aside, if the only thing you’ve been exercising lately is your credit card, you’ll be glad to know you can take a breather from the budget blues at Yew Restaurant (791 W. Georgia St., Vancouver). Throughout January, thirsty guests can swing by for Wine Down Sundays, featuring 50 per cent off every bottle of wine priced from $19 to $36. And if that’s not enough to inspire your celebratory spirit, you can also pop the cork on a bottle of Champagne, starting at $55 on Sundays till month’s end. Whatever your pleasure, try it with chef Grant Macdonald’s January dinner special — a three-course prix fixe meal featuring Sidney Island venison and a variety of seasonal apples sourced from local orchards. For reservations, call 604-692-4939 or go to fourseasons.com.

Snowshoe with Baby – until March 31

Think “Mommy and Me” classes, but on a mountain. That’s the gist of the Baby and Me Snowshoe sessions at Mount Seymour. Bonding with your bambino is the no-brainer byproduct, but these 90-minute guided snowshoe slogs also give you the chance to buddy up with other baby wranglers, too. Interested? Then head for the hills on Thursdays until March 31, where you’ll also share some après tea time (and no doubt some toddler tales) with fellow diaper-wipers. But before you bundle up the baby, just be sure you can handle hauling your mini-me around for one-and-a-half hours. For more information on this alpine outing, running from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., call 604-986-2261.

Adopt a Best Friend – now

A dog is for life, not just for Christmas. Despite this sage bumper-sticker saw, heaps of people still gift family and friends with holiday puppies each year. And before Valentine’s Day rolls around, these same feisty furballs are abandoned or returned in droves to animal shelters for chewing up carpets or just outgrowing their initial cuteness. If you’re looking for a canine companion, one who’ll be at your side for the next decade or longer, now is a great time to visit any of the 37 SPCA shelters across B.C. For info call 1-800-665-1868.

Visit Irving House – anytime

Home sweet home. That was likely the thought on Captain William Irving’s mind each time he returned from a sojourn at sea to his 1865-era New Westminster digs — proclaimed at the time as “the best home of which British Columbia can yet boast.” Now called the Irving House Historical Centre (302 Royal Avenue), it’s open for guided tours, audio-visual programs and lectures on local history. The site has been lovingly maintained, and looks as if the Captain has just moved out — despite a crack in the wall caused by a 1946 earthquake. Be sure to visit the gift shop, too, for a variety of Victorian-themed history books, toys and other souvenir items. For tour schedules, call 604-527-4640 or visit nwpr.bc.ca.

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