BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for July 17 – 23

This week in BC: Catch Cirque's Kooza, tour Gabriola's studios, cycle the Cowichan Valley's wineries and see some Brazilian films

Eric McCormack plays a real-estate agent in Glengarry Glen Ross at the Arts Club

What to do in BC this week

Attend the Harrison Festival of the Arts – July 10-18
Tourists visit Harrison Hot Springs for its warm, restorative waters, but now there’s another reason to swing by this quaint, seaside town: the 32nd annual Harrison Festival of the Arts. Taking place July 10 to 18, this community carnival wakes up the usually sleepy spot with a hip hodgepodge of theatre, art, literature and music from around the world. Held at Harrison Memorial Hall and other local venues, the featured performers include David Lindley, billed as “one of the best guitarists on this or any other planet,” Peatbog Faeries, a group of “mad Celtics from the Isle of Skye,” and world harmonica champion Carlos del Junco. Want to make a weekend of it? Check out the special festival packages at Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa by calling 1-866-638-5075 or visiting harrisonresort.com. For further details, visit harrisonfestival.com.

See the Brazil
 Film Festival – July 15-18
Not that we need any more proof that Vancouver’s a multi-culti community, but here it is anyway: the third annual Brazilian Film Festival, unspooling from July 15 to 18 at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St.). Here’s your chance to check out the country’s colourful culture via 10 feature-length films with titillating titles such as Love Stories Last Only 90 Minutes and Elvis & Madona, a rom-com about a lesbian named Elvis and a transvestite called Madona. On a more serious side, you’ll likely be inspired by Lula, The Son of Brazil, which traces the rise of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from shoeshine boy to the country’s president, and a free panel chatfest about the future of Brazilian film with Bianca de Felippes on July 17 at 2 p.m. For info, visit brazilianfilmfestival.com.

Take Your Kids to the Whistler Children’s Art Festival – July 17-18
If you’re a big believer in the maxim that kids should be seen but not heard, then you’ll want to avoid Whistler like the plague on July 17 and 18. That’s the date of the 27th annual Whistler Children’s Art Festival, when the Creekside community will come alive with the sound of hundreds of noisy kids. If you find such cacophony cute, then you’ll enjoy checking out the scads of entertainment, games, competitions and workshops, including Juno Award-winning entertainer Norman Foote & Friends, The Blue Berries, Circus Fungus and mime artist Maximime, among many others. For information and registration, call 604-938-9221 or visit whistlerartscouncil.com.

Enjoy the Surrey Fusion Festival – July 17-18
With a name like the Surrey Fusion Festival, you know you’re in for a good mash-up of music when a guitar-lickin’ lineup of international and local artists, more than 40 in all, takes the stage on July 17 and 18 at Holland Park (13428 Old Yale Road). The action includes performances by Arrested Development and a long-awaited reunion by Grapes of Wrath, along with 30 international pavilions and exhibitors showcasing world cuisine and culture. Plus, you’ll find global dancers stepping it up in styles running the range from Korean and Indian to African and Chinese, along with an authentic Aboriginal Pow Wow full of ceremonial song and dance. Find further details by visiting www.fusionfestival.surrey.ca

Celebrate the Burnaby Discovery Day Festival – July 18
As Vancouver’s less famous neighbour, Burnaby is oft overlooked. But each year, the low-key community gets its due at the 26th annual Burnaby Discovery Day Festival, taking place July 18 in and around Shadbolt Centre for the Arts (6450 Deer Lake Ave.). From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Burnaby will earn bragging rights for unrolling a lineup of live theatre, music, street performances and visual arts to entertain visitors of all ages. Equally important, the free grassroots gathering helps amp up community pride by showcasing the many service and helping organizations that form the bedrock of this bedroom community. For details, call 604-291-6864.

Groove to the Mission Folk Music Festival – July 23-25
“Worldwide music. Small-town heart!” That pretty much sums up the mission statement of the 23rd annual Mission Folk Music Festival, taking place July 23 to 25 at Fraser River Heritage Park, a riverside retreat that sets the stage for “one of the most diverse and eclectic ranges of music from across Canada and around the world.” And that’s no empty exaggeration, either, given the global grooves spanning the spectrum from South America to the South Pacific and Africa to Acadia, along with all points in between, each offering their own unique take on folk, world, roots and blues. For tickets and further information, call 1-866-494-FOLK (3655) or click on missionfolkmusicfestival.ca.

See Eric McCormack in Glengarry Glen Ross – July 22-Aug 22

It’s a big stretch from playing a likeable gay lawyer on Will & Grace to a ruthless, testosterone-riddled real-estate salesman, but Eric McCormack makes the leap convincingly in the Arts Club Theatre’s production of Glengarry Glen Ross, playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (2750 Granville St., Vancouver) from July 22 to August 22. David Mamet’s masterpiece of workplace rivalry sees four backstabbing salesmen peddle questionable investments in a contest to become top dog at a cutthroat Chicago real-estate office, where slumping sales buys you a quick ticket to the bread line. But be forewarned, this is a David Mamet play, so you can expect loads of mature language and content. For tickets, priced from $25, call 604-687-1644 or visit artsclub.com.

Catch Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza – July 22-Aug 22

Your Canadian pride is sure to kick into overdrive as Cirque du Soleil, Quebec’s world-class circus troupe, offers up its latest spectacle, Kooza, from July 22 to August 22 at Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Place. To call the acrobatics “jaw-dropping” is no mere cliché, neither are the fanciful costumes, whimsical sets and rollicking soundscape, all of which explain why Las Vegas rushed in to offer the troupe ongoing exposure in seven separate Sin City shows. In Kooza, audiences can expect the usual: “an adrenaline rush of acrobatics” combined with the art of clowning, all mixed into a colourful mélange that’ll make them wish they’d run away and joined the circus, too. Catch it Tuesdays through Sundays, with further information at cirquedusoleil.com.

Take the 
Gabriola Studio Tour 2010 – July-August
Gabriola Island, tucked in the Gulf Islands, is a tourism destination in itself, thanks to its pristine public beaches, forested parks and friendly, small-town spirit. But on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. throughout July and August, there’s yet another reason to visit: the Gabriola Studio Tour 2010, inviting art lovers to meet over a dozen of the Island’s finest visual artists while checking out their collective works in progress. Of course, the whole point of the tour is to promote Island artists, so rest assured you’ll have plenty of opportunity to add to your own personal art collection as well. For more details, go to gabriolaartscouncil.org or call 250-247-7409.

Book The Birds and The Bees Package at the Fairmont – now
Who wouldn’t love to live in downtown Vancouver, complete with a rooftop garden overlooking the city’s spectacular ocean and alpine scenery? While you may not be so lucky (or us, either, for that matter), the buzz is that hundreds of thousands of honeybees are living the high life, so to speak, in a rooftop sanctuary at The Fairmont Waterfront (900 Canada Place Way). And, thanks to the artistic efforts of students at Emily Carr University of Art & Design and Capilano University’s IDEA Program, the bees are living in five phenomenal hives that embody living art. See it for yourself by booking The Birds and The Bees package, offering a one-night stay, buffet breakfast, honey-themed welcome amenity and a personalized herb garden and beehive tour, from $269 based on double occupancy. Call 1-866-540-4509 to book.

Check out the Rocky Mountaineer’s Whistler Olympic Adventure – now
Wondering what you missed during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games? Or just want to revisit Whistler’s moment on the world stage? Then check out Rocky Mountaineer’s Whistler Olympic Adventure, taking travellers to the spots where sports history was made with a three-hour tour of the Olympic competition venues. The package includes round-trip travel, a picnic lunch, overnight accommodations and tours of the Whistler Olympic Park, the site of the alpine downhill events and the Whistler Sliding Centre. Rates start at $378 per person, with booking information at rockymountaineer.com or 1-877-460-3200.

Cycle through the Cowichan Valley Winery Tour – this summer
Bike fans, take note: you can blend two pleasant pastimes into one excellent adventure with the Cowichan Valley Winery Tour. The six-hour, 60-km guided cycling trip, available from now through October, rolls out postcard-perfect scenery along with stops at Merridale Estate Cidery and Cherry Point Vineyards. A great way to soothe sore muscles, this cycle-and-sip excursion is probably the only time when it’s actually OK to drink and drive! The $117.95 price tag, if booked online, also includes bike and helmet rentals, winery and cidery tours plus lunch. For info, call 888-848-0742 or visit victoriatours.org.

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