Vancouver Adventures: Our Picks for February 20 to 26

This week: taste the world’s best wines, attend a record-breaking VAG exhibition, and see Sleeping Beauty like never before

Bacchanalia Gala Dinner and Auction – February 20

The week-long Vancouver Wine Festival kicks off in style with a Venetian Masquerade at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The black-tie affair (masks encouraged) begins with an Italian sparkling wine reception, followed by a gourmet five-course meal by executive chef Cameron Ballendine paired with nine acclaimed wines from Italy, Australia, Spain, Croatia, France and Portugal. Serious wine collectors will have the chance to bid on rare wines throughout the evening at both live and silent auctions, including a bottle of 1906 Chateau Latour valued at $10,000.

$450/$3600 per table of 8
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.; The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, 900 West Georgia Street

MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture – February 20 to June 12

The Vancouver Art Gallery is set to break records with its largest ever exhibition, MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture. The VAG credits Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque as early revolutionaries who first added layers to their canvases with strips of wallpaper, scraps of sheet music or torn newspaper headlines. The impressive 35,000-square-foot exhibition, featuring 371 artworks by 156 artists, explores the phenomenal impact mashup production has had on Modern Art across all four floors of the downtown gallery.

Members Opening: February 19, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street

International Wine Tastings – February 25 to 27

If you only attend one Vancouver Wine Festival event, organizers recommend making it the International Festival Tasting. Considered the heart of the festival, the Acura Tasting Room brings participating wineries together to pour their select wines in one interactive space. For those dedicated tasters hoping to interact with winery principals — including winemakers, proprietors, senior executives and other stars of the industry — the Thursday evening and Saturday matinee sessions promise to be quieter.

Tickets starting at $75
February 25 and 26 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
February 27 from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Vancouver Convention Centre West, 1055 Canada Place 

Vancouver’s Historic Hotels – February 20

Vancouver Heritage Foundation‘s Heritage Week nears its end with an insightful tour of Vancouver hotels, both past and present. The walking tour, sponsored by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, explores the history and architecture of some of the city’s most storied buildings, the design decisions made to attract a certain clientele, the evolution of a visitor’s needs over time and the impact accommodation has on the destination itself.

$15, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Phantom of the Opera – February 20

Toronto-based composer Andrew Downing has created a multimedia masterpiece, combining Ruper Julian’s 1925 cinematic production with live chorus and chamber ensembles for a revived take on The Phantom of the Opera. The mesmerizing update to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original score, performed with the Vancouver Bach Choir, adds refreshed nuance and emotion to the classic gothic tale.

Tickets starting at $29
8 p.m., Orpheum Theatre, 601 Smithe Street

Credit: Joanne Reed

Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra – February 20

Celebrated local cellist Rebecca Wenham joins the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra for a single-night program featuring the works of Beethoven, Elgar, and Tchaikovsky. The community orchestra, composed of professional and non-professional musicians, play five to six concerts per season under the direction of Conductor Jin Zhang. Wenham can also be seen in an upcoming feature presented by Music on Main and as principal cellist with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.

Tickets starting at $10 (Kids under 12 free)
8 p.m., Shaughnessy Heights United Church, 1550 W 33rd

Caitlyn Jenner – February 23

Since revealing her true identity as a transgender woman in early 2015, Cailtyn Jenner has become a household name, bringing new awareness and acceptance to the topic of transgender community. Formerly known as Bruce Jenner, the celebrity first rose to fame as a 1976 Olympic gold medallist and more recently returned to the spotlight as a reality television personality on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Caitlyn currently stars in I Am Cait, an E! Network reality show that documents her gender transition journey — an inspiring personal story that she will share in person at the Orpheum Theatre this week.

Tickets start at $40
8 p.m., Orpheum Theatre, 601 Smithe Street

Grapes of Laugh – February 25

Eat, drink and be merry for a great cause at the Vancouver TheatreSports™ League’s annual Grapes of Laugh charity event. The local non-profit comedy league has raised more than $105,000 in support of its Community and Outreach programs over the past eleven annual events, proving nothing pairs better with wine (and great food) than a strong dose of improv-inspired laughter. Emceed by Vancouver’s Man-About-Town Fred Lee and Howard Blank, VTSL promises to turn your typical dry fundraiser into a fun, wine-fuelled evening.

$50, 7 p.m., The Improv Centre, 1502 Duranleau, Granville Island

Sleeping Beauty – February 25

Nova Scotia-based dance company Ballet Jörgen is committed to presenting exclusively original works, meaning that this winter’s Sleeping Beauty tour will feature a never-before-seen rendition of the timeless love story. Fall back in love with the classic tale of Aurora and her prince, as some of Canada’s finest talent spread an appreciation for ballet across the country.

Tickets starting at $15
7:30 p.m., The ACT Arts Centre, 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge

Credit: VSO

The VSO New Music Festival – February 25 to 28

Contemporary composers take over the Orpheum Theatre this week for the four-day New Music Festival. This year, guest artists Kronos Quartet and Standing Wave join the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in the annual celebration of modern music. Tickets include all pre- and post-concert events, including composer spotlight discussions and after parties that will help you to further understand, appreciate and re-imagine the possibilities of orchestra music.

7:30 p.m., Orpheum Theatre, 601 Smithe Street