BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for January 29 – February 4

This week in BC: Celebrate Chinese New Year, attend the Talking Stick Festival, party like a French Canadian and more

Take a dogsledding tour to the Soo and Callaghan valleys

What to do in BC this week

See a Pulitzer-winning Play
 – January 27 – February 27
Time was when all you could do during the dark days of winter was count down the days to spring. Not anymore: Do a little bit of vicarious summer living by catching August: Osage County, described as a “blistering Broadway sensation” and “the first great classic of the 21st century.” Does it live up to all the hyperbolic hype? Sounds like it, since it won multiple awards, including a 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. What’s it about? Think “Southern-fried familial dysfunction” that’s so funny, its three-and-a-half-hour run time flies by in “one lightning-fast jolt of pure theatrical electricity.” Catch it from January 27 to February 27 at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (2750 Granville St, Vancouver). For tickets, visit artsclub.com or call 604-687-1644.

Celebrate French Canadian Culture at the Vive les Voyageurs Festival – January 29-30

Quebec license plates read: “Je me souviens” — translation: I remember. Sometimes British Columbians, thousands of miles removed from La Belle Province, need a little reminder themselves that French is Canada’s second official language. Hence, Vive les Voyageurs Festival at Fort Langley (23343 Mavis Avenue) on January 29 to 30 invites anglophones to celebrate French Canadian culture with music, dancing, ice-sculpting demos and, of course, plenty of Quebecois-style cuisine like poutine and maple toffee on snow. And if you don’t know your bonjours from your bonsoirs, don’t worry: you can pick up a few bon mots at the French 101 display. For a jolt of joie de vivre, check it out from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Have a Gay Old Time at WinterPRIDE 2011 – January 30 – February 6
For alpine enthusiasts, it’s hard not to have a gay old time hitting the hills in Whistler. Now it’s even easier, thanks to WinterPRIDE 2011, a gay-friendly festival running from January 30 to February 6 at various venues around Whistler Village. Pool parties? Check. Comedy night? Check. Snowball Dance and Gender Bender Bash? Check and check. Plan to go? Take advantage of the special deals at Hilton Whistler Resort, The Coast Blackcomb Suites, Pan Pacific and the Fairmont Chateau, with more information on accommodation and festival events by calling 1-866-787-1966.

Attend the Talking Stick Festival – February 1-13
Aside from totem poles, teepees and dream-catchers, what has the First Nations community contributed to Canada’s arts and culture? Plenty, as you’ll see at the 10th annual Talking Stick Festival, a city-wide celebration of Aboriginal performance art that takes place from February 1 to 13. Held at the Roundhouse (181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver) and various venues along Commercial Drive, this cultural carnival showcases the works of some of the best local, national and international artists in a fusion of cabaret, music, dancing, theatre and storytelling. Tickets range from $12 to $25, with more information at fullcircleperformance.ca.

Celebrate Chinese New Year
 – February 3
The calendar may say 2011, but for some local folks, it’s not really official until the Gung Hay Fat Choy’s start flying for the Chinese New Year, taking place this year on February 3. That’s when 2010’s Golden Tiger slinks off to make room for the Year of the Rabbit, which, according to Chinese mythology, bodes for a peaceful year ahead. If you plan to celebrate by digging into some Far East eats, where can you find the best Chinese chow? Start with 2010 Chinese Restaurant Award-winners like Bao Bei Brasserie, Landmark Hotpot House, Jade Seafood, Dinesty and Kirin, for starters.

Support Canadian Writers with Margaret Atwood
 – February 3
Did you know that Vancouver once played home to Margaret Atwood, who claimed she could never get used to the sight of the city’s backdrop of blue mountains, which looked to her like some surreal stage set. Now the Toronto-based author is back — temporarily — to take part in a gala fundraiser for the Writers’ Trust of Canada. This swish soiree on February 3 kicks off with a cocktail reception in the rooftop ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (900 W. Georgia St.), followed by a theatrical performance based on Atwood’s best-selling novel The Year of the Flood. And not only will local glitterati meet literati, you can bid for one-of-a-kind items at a silent auction, too. Order tickets by phone at 1-877-906-6548.

Check out the Earlybird RV Show & Sale – February 3-6
Sure, RVs might guzzle gas the same way Type As guzzle coffee, but there’s nothing quite like it to crown you king of the road. If you’ve ever dreamed of owning one, you’ll find everything you need to get your motor running at the Earlybird RV Show & Sale from February 3 to 6 at Tradex Exhibition Centre (1190 Cornell Street, Abbotsford). An $8 admission ticket buys you the chance to check out 50 vendor booths and more than 200 recreation vehicles in a range of price points, all within 180,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibition space. Catch it on Thursday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Don’t Miss the Vernon Winter Carnival – February 4-13
An event that’s been going strong for more than half a century has gotta be good, right? That theory seems to hold true when it comes to the Vernon Winter Carnival, a seasonal celebration saluting its 51st year from February 4 to 13. Held at various Vernon venues, it features more than 100 family-friendly events, including a parade, snow-sculpture competition, dinner dances and even a hot-air-balloon fiesta. And while you’re there, it’d be a shame not to swing by nearby Silver Star Mountain Resort, too, for a quick shoosh down the slopes or an après-ski tipple at the Club Saloon.

See Bellydance Superstars – February 4-5
It may be cold outside, but the temperature is set to soar on February 4 at the River Rock Show Theatre (8811 River Road, Richmond), where the Bellydance Superstars promise to spice things up, Indian style, with Bombay Bellywood, a hip-shaking new show that mixes Bollywood and bhangra with Egyptian cabaret and American tribal-dance styles. Upping the authenticity factor, the taut-bellied troupe will share the stage with special guest Meera, an Indian dancer extraordinaire. Can’t make it? Don’t freak, the show is also playing the following night at Red Robinson Show Theatre (2080 United Blvd., Coquitlam), starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are priced from $39.50 to $49.50 at Ticketmaster outlets, charge-by-phone at 

Go Dogsledding – until March

If you think you have to hightail it to Alaska or the Yukon to experience a dogsledding adventure, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Opportunities abound just a short skip up the Sea to Sky Highway in Whistler, where you can hitch a ride aboard a range of guided Dogsledding Tours traversing the beautiful backcountry of the Soo and Callaghan valleys. Cool fact: the tours feature Alaskan huskies — the same breed used in the Iditarod dogsled race. Prices for the tours, running until March, start from $318 per couple, before tax, with further information available by calling Tourism Whistler at 1-800-944-7853.

Book a Romantic Stay on Pender Island – 
Want to score brownie points with your better half? Here’s one way: Book a stay at Poets Cove Resort & Spa (9801 Spalding Road, South Pender Island), billed as “the Gulf Islands’ premier luxury resort.” Tucked away in Bedwell Harbour, this rustic retreat features a full-service marina, stunning seascape and eco-adventures galore. Even better, it’s now offering an Island Romance package that features a two-night stay, three-course gourmet dinner, a dip in a steam cave and oceanfront hot tub, bottle of sparkling wine and chocolates and, if that’s not enough, a $100 gift card to use anywhere at the resort. Tempted? Book by calling 1-888-512-7638, or, to spy before you buy, check out the resort’s live webcam.

Test the Waters at Harrison Hot Springs – now
Are the lauded hot springs of Harrison really all that hot? There’s really just one way to find out: by testing the waters yourself. And now’s a great time to do it because Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa (100 Esplanade Avenue, Harrison) is offering a special getaway package that entitles you to a two night’s stay, daily buffet breakfast and one dinner in the historic Copper Room. Plus, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to stake out a spot in one of the resort’s five famed hot spring pools, too. For details or to book this promo, priced from $298 per room based on double occupancy, call 1-866-638-5075.

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