BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for November 20 – 26

This week in BC: Start your Christmas shopping, learn self-defense, eat oysters, light up Ladysmith, crawl Eastside culture and more

Stanley Park plays backdrop for the Arts Club’s The Patron Saint of Stanley Park

What to do in BC this week

Take Part in the Yellow Point and Cedar Country Christmas Tour – November 18-21
How’d you like to knock off all your Christmas shopping without setting one foot in a crowded mall? Then check out the 22nd annual Yellow Point and Cedar Country Christmas Tour, inviting shoppers to embark on a self-guided road trip to 27 top Nanaimo-area artisans from November 18 to 21. You’ll stop at working studios, farms and shops, where you can enjoy light refreshments with the artists plus browse everything from locally produced edibles, native art and jewelry to stained glass, pottery and hand-forged iron work. Check it out from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Check out the 14th Annual Clayoquot Oyster Festival – November 19-21
Tofino harvests some 500,000 gallons of Pacific oysters each year, so it’s only appropriate that the seaside city is set to be the site of the 14th annual Clayoquot Oyster Festival, running from November 19 to 21 at various local venues, including SoBo Restaurant (311 Neill St.) and the Tofino Community Centre. Attracting mollusk maniacs from both near and far, this oyster eat-a-thon includes wine and food pairings, educational seminars, oyster farm tours, slurping contests and even a Mermaid’s Ball and Oyster Gala, button-bursting bacchanals for foodies who like to get formal. For tickets, call 1-800-863-4664 or email tickets@seaviewcable.net.

Attend Wine in the Sky – November 20
Did you know that at this very moment, almost 1,000 B.C. children, from babies to teens, are awaiting adoption? You’ll hear all about it at Wine in the Sky, a gourmet gala on November 20 that shines a light on Adoption Awareness Month. Held at Vancouver Lookout (555 W. Hastings St.), this entertaining evening is emceed by Global TV’s Catherine Pope, herself an adoptive parent, and features jazz performances, gourmet food and wine pairings, dancing and live and silent auctions, all starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for $125 per person, with further information 604-689-1463 or email wineinthesky@thefinerdetails.ca

Book it to the Jewish Book Festival – November 20-25
Literary lovers of all ethnicities are welcome to spread the word at the Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival, running from November 20 to 25. Now in its 26th year, this bustling book bash brings a world of writers, spoken-word artists and performers to the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver (950 W. 41st Ave.). Bookworms will be beguiled over the writing workshops, literary readings, panel discussions, children’s activities and even a presentation for dog lovers — a November 25 appearance by dog expert and UBC psychology professor Dr. Stanley Coren, author of Born to Bark.

Learn to Battle Back at Academie Duello – November 21 & 27
Big cities like Vancouver can be urban jungles. And if you’re not built like Tarzan, you could be at risk of getting attacked by crazed, two-legged beasts. Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay‘s (412 W. Hastings St., Vancouver) Umbrella Self-Defense workshop teaches guys and gals alike how to battle back, using an everyday umbrella or cane, on November 21 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Can’t make it? Then check out the other workshops, including an Intro to Swordplay session on November 27 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., which teaches students the fundamentals of attack, defense, posture and movement. For more information, call 604-600-9878.

Catch Disney on Ice’s Let’s Celebrate – November 24-28
What’s the next best thing to winging off on a winter retreat to Disneyland? Catching Disney on Ice’s Let’s Celebrate, an all-new musical that brings more than 50 iconic cartoon characters to the Pacific Coliseum at the PNE (2901 E. Hastings St., Vancouver) from November 24 to 28. Mickey and Minnie Mouse take centre stage in a magical montage that sees them celebrate an Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter, Mardi Gras with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen, and a Valentine’s Day Ball with the Disney princesses, along with appearances by Lilo & Stitch, assorted Disney villains and the Toy Story stars. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 604-280-4444.

Light it up in Ladysmith – November 25
Pamela Anderson may be the pride of Ladysmith, but the buxom babe’s old home is far from the town’s only attraction. An estimated 20,000-plus people are expected to turn up for the 23rd annual Ladysmith Christmas Light Festival on November 25, featuring live music, roving entertainers, food vendors, Kinsman parade and a fireworks finale. Plus, Santa himself will make a special appearance at 6:30 p.m. to flip the switch on 200,000 twinkling lights adorning the town’s historic downtown core. PS: Italian food fans can get an early start on the festivities at a $5 spaghetti dinner at Eagles Hall, starting at 3 p.m. For further details, call 250-245-5888.

See The Patron Saint of Stanley Park – November 25 – December 26

Most fairy tales are set in far-off lands, but The Patron Saint of Stanley Park takes place right in our own backyard. Like a local-style It’s a Wonderful Life, this festive fable casts Vancouver’s historic park as the backdrop for a heartwarming holiday yarn about a mysterious vagabond who helps a struggling family to see that Christmas really can “illuminate the strength of the human spirit.” Catch this holiday treat, an Arts Club Theatre production, from November 25 to December 26 at the Revue Stage (1585 Johnston St., Granville Island). For tickets or more details, call 604-687-1644. 

Get Christmassy at the West Coast Christmas Show and Marketplace – November 26-28
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas — especially if you’re anywhere near Tradex (1190 Cornell St., Abbotsford) from November 26 to 28. That’s because it’s set to double as the North Pole for the third annual West Coast Christmas Show and Marketplace, where over a hundred exhibitors will be unwrapping everything from food and décor to gifts and toys. You’ll find all you need to summon the seasonal spirits, thanks to loads of festive seminars and presentations by expert interior decorators and celebrity chefs.

Don’t Miss the Eastside Culture Crawl – November 26-28
Culture comes in many incarnations — from pop to counter to multi-culti — and you’re guaranteed to experience them all at the 14th annual Eastside Culture Crawl, a free three-day visual arts phenomenon that opens the doors to artists’ studios in East Vancouver. Held from November 26 to 28, this fine-arts fest features the work of emerging and established artists, everyone from painters, jewellers and sculptors to furniture makers, potters and glassblowers, each hailing from the area bounded by Main Street to Victoria Drive and from First Avenue to the waterfront. Check it out on Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

See Gabryel Harrison’s Mixed-media Paintings 
- until November 27
Vancouver artist Gabryel Harrison finds inspiration in the sound and texture of words. That’s one reason why her new series of mixed-media paintings, on display at Winsor Gallery (3025 Granville St., Vancouver) until November 27, incorporate such unexpected elements as video, sound and even Braille, giving the canvases a depth that is both inviting and mysterious. To enhance the effect, she also uses oils, beeswax, gold leaf and bitumen in her palette in hopes viewers will “perceive their world differently, with a deepened sensate appreciation for its beauty.” For more information, 
call 604-681-4870.

Laugh It Up
 at The Comedy Mix Club – until January 2
We all know it’s not nice to laugh at people. But you can throw those rules right out the window at The Comedy Mix club at Century Plaza Vancouver (1015 Burrard St.), where it would be rude not to laugh at the hilarious headliners hailing from B.C. and beyond. Catch the laughs nightly until January 2, but just make sure you don’t choke on the licensed club’s yummy pub-style appies at the same time. And hey, if you swing by on the evening of November 25, you’ll be just in time to witness the 13th annual Lights of Hope, St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation’s festive fundraiser, taking place right across the street.

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