October 23, 2020

2020 Halloween outlook: fireworks boom; costumes fizzle

Fireworks sales skyrocket as ban looms in Vancouver and pandemic hits costume retailers hard

Just Imagine … Fun Clothing owner Donna Dobo expects revenue from costume sales to be down by about 50% this year | Rob Kruyt

Canadians normally spend a total of around $1.4 billion on Halloween, but that outlay is expected to be down considerably this year.

If there is a retail niche where Vancouverites are likely to splurge, it may be on fireworks. That’s because this is the last year that the City of Vancouver will allow individuals to buy fireworks and to set them off within city limits – though it will make exceptions for professionals and those organizing events such as the Honda Celebration of Light.

“There is an industry – a mom-and-pop, pop-up shop industry around fireworks sales,” said Vancouver Coun. Pete Fry, who introduced a 2019 motion to ban fireworks that council approved earlier this year, following a staff report.

“We gave them a one-year grace period, recognizing that these businesses had already bought stock,” Fry told BIV.

He said it was time for a crackdown on fireworks. Imagine, he said, “if somebody were to come to us today, and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this great idea for an incendiary pyrotechnic device that we can light off, and it’ll start fires, make loud explosions, release toxic gases and, you know, heavy metals, and it’s going to be bad for the environment and scare people and animals.”

The ban goes into effect November 1. Fireworks sellers say the move will either further push sales online, to First Nations that are exempt from bylaws, or to the black market.

“Online sales are booming,” said Phatboy Fireworks operations manager Parm Cheema, who intends to open 13 pop-up shops in Vancouver October 25 through October 31.

“Most of our customers are from Surrey, Burnaby and cities where they are already banned. The only place we can sell them is Vancouver and North Vancouver. We will also have a store in Port Moody and in Kamloops.”

Surveys, however, say that the COVID-19 pandemic is prompting consumers to limit Halloween activities.

Pre-pandemic, a Google (Nasdaq:GOOGL) survey found that about 54% of Canadians, or 16.2 million people, planned to spend an average of $86 on Halloween-related purchases, for a total of about $1.4 billion.

This year, the technology giant found that 62% of Canadians do not plan celebrate Halloween.

The research firm Field Agent similarly found fewer Canadians planning to celebrate Halloween.

Its survey showed the average Canadian household planning to spend 13.6% less on treats – $44.27 this year compared with $51.25 last year.

Field Agent also found that spending on decorations is expected to fall 13% to $34.53, while spending on costumes is expected to fall 11% to $50.66.

Countless costume shops have started to pop up on major streets and in suburban shopping centres.

The Just Imagine … Fun Clothing, Inc. store on Granville Island, which sells costumes year-round, in addition to dance wear and ballet shoes, is also gearing up for what is normally its busiest time of year.

“I would say that we’re down 50% from last year, although our website has been busy,” owner Donna Dobo told BIV.

She built her small business’ e-commerce site many years ago using Texas-based Big Commerce (Nasdaq:BIGC), a competitor to Canada’s Shopify (TSX:SHOP). Like other Vancouver small business owners, she sees online sales as key to stable revenue during the pandemic. 

About 20% of Dobo’s revenue comes from online sales, with customers buying components for costumes, as opposed to pre-packaged full outfits. “People tend to come to us for the elements of their costumes, like the wigs and make-up, accessories and masks,” Dobo said. “We have the expertise to advise them on how to put together a unique and original look.”

B.C. provincial health officer Bonnie Henry on October 19 called trick-or-treating “relatively low risk,” because it takes place outside, but stressed that precautions remain necessary.

“This is not the year [when] we’re going to have hundreds of kids going to hundreds of houses in large groups,” she said. “That can’t happen this year. This has to be Halloween in the time of a pandemic, and for many families that will mean staying at home.” •



Politicians exploiting the pandemic’s free pass to free spending

The pandemic has given our politicians a joyride, a field day, a licence, a leash with no tug.

They can furrow their brows and proclaim stress all they want and point to the unprecedented challenge and the uncertain times and pledge we are all in this together. Right, right, right.

But the evidence lately would convict them on any charge of taking advantage of a system they run. Their system permits them these days to disburse money as an exercise with no consequence.

At our senior levels of government, this exercise has been weaponized to make them popular, because let’s face it, too few of us have too much money. Why would someone giving us money – our money, it should be noted – be anything other than all things wonderful? And who in public life would be so self-destructive in these circumstances to suggest the tap be twisted shut?

But the other side of the coin in this benevolent service has been self-service, including a grand cover for monkey business – like their preservation or manipulation. It has been their form of pandemic insurance.

In John Horgan’s case, it meant an election call no one really needed but he really wanted. Like napalm on the beach in that memorable Robert Duvall line from Apocalypse Now, it smelled of victory. The election was one part salvation, one part salivation.

In Justin Trudeau’s case, meanwhile, the pandemic meant liberty to perform a stunt to defy a rational investigation into an irrational scandal by threatening an election no one really needed (but his party might also have really wanted). His principal goal was to defuse the bomb that still lay with the lit fuse, the WE escapade. For the time being, they dodged an explosion.

Need we delve into the devil in the details?

The $912 million program proposal, since slayed, to pay young people to be volunteers and cycle the funds through an organization with prime ministerial familial conflicts galore had the odour of a bag of hockey gear on a sunny afternoon in a compact car.

The opposition sensed opportunism. It wanted to establish a Commons committee on “corruption” on the controversy. Trudeau, taking a page from his father’s propensity for political judo, said the threat of this committee was worthy of a confidence vote in the minority government and that, hey, if he lost, we’ll just have an election to settle it.

The move worked, and the opposition, or enough of it, settled down.

About the last thing the federal New Democrats want in this halcyon period of supporting Trudeau while feasting on a hefty leg of pork barrel is to evaporate electorally. This is as good as it gets for the federal NDP any time soon, and the difference between Burnaby’s Jagmeet Singh holding the leadership and Vancouver’s Adrian Dix seeking it.

Trudeau stared them down, won his confidence vote, and deferred the investigation of the WE mess for now, but not forever. For now seems good enough in this era.

Without the pandemic, Trudeau would be in a vice grip. The public health tragedy was the best thing that could happen to him, as it was with Horgan – an excuse to ignore the revenue line in the income statement and ignore even more the expense line in it. It has been an occasion to ride the coattails of science’s guidance to perform the political art of accelerating social engineering.

In Horgan’s case, he was able to apply for a four-year permit; in Trudeau’s, the longer he waits, the less happily his tale may end.

The Trudeau brand is a delicate flower. There will come a time, maybe not right away but eventually, when benevolence runs its course, when bills come due, when outcomes of expenditures are apparent, and we may wonder if what he did was really worth it.

Then, I suspect, he will disappear. He would have left on top before the last election, but because he does not want to leave on the bottom, he might not wish to wait for an election two years away. Generosity is easy in these shoes, vision not so.

What is worth wondering is whether Chrystia Freeland will really want to haul his baggage into a campaign. What she might have to overcome might make her want to return to journalism. Well, OK, I exaggerate. •

Kirk LaPointe is publisher and editor-in-chief of BIV and vice-president, editorial, of Glacier Media.


How to spend the perfect fall weekend in Whistler (if you aren't the sporty type)

Everyone knows Whistler is a haven for hikers, mountain bikers, and general thrill-seekers. So what if you want to spend the weekend there and aren't the sporty type?

Florence Petersen Park in Whistler. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

Everyone knows Whistler is a haven for hikers, mountain bikers, and general outdoorsy thrill-seekers. So what if you're more into the "apres" than the ski? 

With its proximity to Metro Vancouver and easy access via the stunning Sea to Sky Highway, Whistler is a perfect fall weekend getaway, even if you aren't super sporty. 

Now, I can't help you if you hate the outdoors overall - let's face it: Whistler's raison d'etre is the outdoors, and you will need to get yourself from where you're staying to where you want to eat, relax, or learn whether it's on your own two feet or wheels. Pack your weekend bag with cold weather essentials, like boots that can work in rainy or slushy/snowy conditions, a warm jacket, gloves and a hat. And don't forget your non-medical face masks - this is travel in the time of COVID, after all.  

Where to eat

The resort town is packed with restaurants, cafes, and bakeries, perfect for people-watching patio sessions as well as picking up treats on the go or enjoying a beautiful meal. You'll find a mix of familiar major players in the Village, as well as some veteran spots that invariably end up on the must-visit list (like Araxi or Purbread, for example). Vancouverites will recognize spots like Peaked Pies and La Cantina from their Vancouver outposts, and some tried-and-true local haunts like Splitz Grill for burgers, the Sunshine Diner for those hangover cure breakfasts, and Bar Oso for cocktails and charcuterie.

For a terrific dinner out, the award-winning Alta Bistro has a great fall special right now, which is a "Family Style" dinner for two for $79. The meal begins with their housemade focaccia and spread of the day, followed by a couple of appies and a main, then dessert. You'll get to share plates of things like Smoked B.C. Rockfish or a Wild Mushroom Cassoulet, all featuring beautiful ingredients like produce sourced from farms in nearby Pemberton. The cozy dining room still feels intimate even with all the COVID safety protocols in place, and you can toast to your good sense for booking a table with cocktails from their bar or one of the terrific wines from their list. 


Pizza and salad at Pizzeria Antico. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

If dinner is a more casual affair, tuck into pizza and pasta at Pizzeria Antico on Main St in the Village They're firing up their hand-stretched pies and pouring great brews in a fun atmosphere - and they do take-out, too. Their Caesar Salad is an absolute must; it comes loaded onto their house flatbread, and it's a generous portion perfect for sharing, and their pizzas are served with a pair of scissors for custom cutting.

Come brunch time, there's a fresh option in town thanks to legendary steakhouse Hy's, which is piloting their all-new brunch menu in Whistler. Warm up under the heaters on their patio and sip on fresh-squeezed OJ or their house Caesar or Bloody Mary, and enjoy their thick, rich, berry-topped French Toast or their tender steak and eggs. You can even get a grilled cheese sandwich made with their signature cheese bread. 


Brunch at Hy's Whistler. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

Speaking of bread, carb-lovers will want to take note of Bred, aka Ed's Bred, which is down in Creekside. This all-vegan bakery makes the absolute best sourdough loaves, along with plant-based baked treats and espresso drinks. 

You'll also find the perfect sweet treat at Whistler's beloved outpost of Cow's, the PEI-based ice creamery. They have a dazzling array of flavours you can get in a cup or a cone, including a couple of dairy-free options. 

Do some exploring

Whistler was made for walking, and that's just what you should do. Stroll the Village, or check out the Valley Trail (which connects all the Whistler neighbourhoods) and pause for all the beautiful moments you'll want to snap pics of. One of my favourite little hidden gem walks is through Florence Petersen Park, which basically puts you in a quiet forest glade adjacent to all the Village's bustle - there are some great little treasures along this path, including some fun public art. 

There is art aplenty in Whistler, including a fun self-guided Indigenous art-spotting walk you can do as you make your way through the Village. The big draw, however, is the Audain, which is open for visitors Thursdays through Sundays and on holiday Mondays. There are also several small galleries in town; you'll find some eye-catching works inside the Whistler Contemporary Gallery that make for a fun diversion. The Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) is also a worthy stop for learning about the two First Nations groups upon whose land Whistler is built. Be sure to catch the live welcome song in the courtyard, and if you've got kids they have a challenging quiz to work on while you're exploring the exhibits. One last little off-the-beaten-path option is the Whistler Museum, which is a small venue packed with neat background on the region's history, wildlife, and Olympic legacy. If you've got little ones with you, ask for a scavenger hunt at the front to make their visit special. 


The Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

Speaking of kids, if you manage to get there during a dry spell, the playground in the Olympic Plaza is absolutely fantastic. There are lots of spots nearby to pick up a coffee and a treat, too, to enjoy while you wait for the kids to get their fill of climbing and sliding. This is also where you can pose with the Olympic rings and enjoy your very own 2010 throwback moments.

Relax at the spaaaaahhh...

Indoor pools aren't really a thing in Whistler (I've always wondered why not) but there are several reputable spas if the ultimate in relaxation is on the agenda. There's the popular Scandinave, as well as spa facilities at most major hotels. 

Fine, maybe a little "hiking"

Okay, so you might not be the kind of Whistler visitor who brings a bike or plans to spend a day hiking challenging terrain, but there is one gentle hike that you can check out come nighttime that is particularly special. Vallea Lumina is the "night hike" multimedia experience that finds visitors immersed in a bright and beautiful story told through projections, installations, and music that brings together local lore, the allure of nature, and the power of human connection. Make your way up and around the illuminated hillside terrain, taking pauses to view scenes that take you further into the story, until you are actually inside the story and showered in magical lights. The night hike is an easy one and is suitable for kids, too (though no strollers are permitted on the trail). 


Vallea Lumina. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

If your legs are up for it the popular Train Wreck hike in the Whistler area is a good option for getting in your exercise and some excellent photo ops thanks to the graffiti-laden train cars that are the focal point of the trail. 


Whistler offers a range of accommodations, from the bare basics of the Pangea Pod Hotel to all-out luxury at high-end spots like the Four Seasons or the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. For something terrific that strikes a perfect balance the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa is a great option for a weekend stay. The hotel chain has rigorous COVID-19 safety protocols, including mandatory masks in public spaces, elevator capacity limits, and sealed room doors post-cleaning that ensure no one goes in after housekeeping before your arrival.

The Hilton has a number of rooms with kitchenettes, which is great if you'd rather save some money on dining out, need a place to stash leftovers or food you've bought to take back home with you, or if you want to enjoy some drinks and snacks in your room after the 10 p.m. liquor service cut-offs now in place in B.C. If a larger suite is in your budget, the Hilton Whistler's two-bedroom suites can easily sleep six and come with a full kitchen, washer-dryer, and their own steam room (probably the best amenity you could imagine for restoring achy muscles after walking around the Village or on trails all day). That washer-dryer, by the way, can come in handy if you have gotten soaked in rain or slush, and also for a quick turnover for clean face masks. The hotel has a restaurant that's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and there's an outdoor pool on the site that may beckon you a bit more easily in the warmer months. 

Thanks to the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa for providing a two-night stay and breakfast and to Tourism Whistler for facilitating some of the meals and activities; all opinions and inclusions are those of the author’s and were not guided or influenced in any way, and none of the businesses or entities mentioned were granted any previews of the story prior to publication.

Vancouver Is Awesome


This Scottish butcher shop stood in the heart of downtown Vancouver for nearly a century

A beautiful new book shares the history of James Inglis Reid, whose Granville Street butcher shop served as Vancouver's 'Larder of the Wise' for decades

James Inglis Reid at 559 Granville Street circa 1945. Photo by Jack Lindsay/Vancouver Archives AM1184-S1-: CVA 1184-1860

Picture Granville Street between Dunsmuir and Pender, and what do you see? Maybe it's the bus shelters with people lined up along the transit mall to catch their trolley bus ride, or the big glass windows of the Pacific Centre, Holt Renfrew, and any number of restaurants and stores. 

It's hard for many of us in present-day Vancouver to see anything but this kind of scene on Granville, but for most of the 20th century, in the pre-mall era, this was a bustling district for commerce and local shoppers, home to prominent local and independent retailers. 

One such business was James Inglis Reid, a Scottish-style butcher shop, which called 559 Granville Street home from 1915 to 1986 - an impressive 71 years.

The business began a few years before on Main Street, which was then known as Westminster Avenue, then was briefly located on the now-extinct Harris Street. Scotsman Reid fell in love with Vancouver and settled here, bringing over his bride from their homeland and setting up shop and deep family roots.

James Inglis Reid specialized in house-cured Ayrshire bacon, a Scottish style that was harder to find in Vancouver, as well as another traditional item, haggis, the polarizing dish made with sheep offal. Orders would come in from not just around the province for haggis ahead of Robbie Burns' Day, when it's customarily eaten, but from on the other side of the border, too. 

With a knack for clever newspaper ads that played up Reid as a one-location only kind of outfit, and signage on the marquee and in the shop itself with signature slogans, this "Larder of the Wise," as it was known (and announced on the storefront) was dedicated to labour-intensive processes that yielded high-quality products all made by skilled hands. Shoppers would just as easily be office-dwelling husbands picking up cuts of meat to bring home to their wives for supper, as it would be discerning regulars who made the trek on the old trams and streetcars to fill their baskets for their home larders.


Sales floor at James Inglis Reid, Ltd., 559 Granville Street Vancouver, 1925. Photo by Leonard Frank/Vancouver Archives AM1451-S3-F09-: CVA 1451-1

Though Reid, and his son-in-law who ultimately came to run the business, survived wartime rationing and business restrictions (such as the long span of time when retailers were prohibited to operate on both Wednesdays and Sundays in the City of Vancouver) and changing tastes, but did not survive the redevelopment of the downtown core, and with it, the arrival of the Pacific Centre. 

Reid's granddaughter, M. Anne Wyness, has recently brought the legacy of her family's business back into the spotlight through a beautiful and photo-rich book called The Larder of the Wise: The Story of Vancouver's James Inglis Reid Ltd (Figure1 Publishing).

Though Wyness does include a short first-person introduction, the story of the beloved butcher shop is told in an easy-going and chronological third-person narrative, with abundant historic images of Vancouver and from behind the scenes at the shop as well, like ledger books and handwritten memos. 

It's a lovely tome that will spark joy for any local history nut, with a crossover appeal to food lovers who perhaps count themselves among the many who now shop at independent "artisanal" butchers that have been enjoying a resurgence in the last decade.

I had the opportunity to ask Wyness a few questions about the book.

V.I.A.: What was the research process like? The book is so rich in detail with so many references and images of artifacts. Did you know what materials you were looking for or was it a lengthy exploration?

M. Anne Wyness: The research for the book was done over several years. I had little information about the business when it was located on Westminster Avenue/Main Street and then on Harris Street and initially focused my research on learning about characteristics of this area in the early 1900s which took time. Frequently, finding a newspaper ad or article led me to further research. For example, James Reid’s 1917 ad regarding the value of buying his bacon and including a quote from a Government pamphlet about living in wartime (p. 26), led me to learn about Canadian food regulations in the First World War. In another example, I found I had to delve into specific aspects of the planning of Pacific Centre to discuss the impact of this development on downtown businesses and the store in particular. I did have extensive business records to use as a source both in my own collection and at the Vancouver City Archives (we had donated records to them earlier). Discovering all that these records had to offer meant many hours spent sorting through them, note-taking, and analysis. Fortunately, I was familiar with many of the artifacts available to me as I had preserved these with the help of the Museum of Vancouver after the store closed.

I'm curious about the choice to refer to yourself in the third person. What was it like writing such a personal story with an academic distance?

My goal in writing the book was to tell the story of the family business in the context of Vancouver’s history. To achieve this goal, I decided to refer to myself in the third person throughout. I did not view it as academic distance, but rather as objective distance. I chose to share a more personal perspective with readers in the introduction and the epilogue as a way to ‘bookend’ the story so to speak.


The Larder of the Wise by M. Anne Wyness. Photo: Figure1 Publishing

What are some of your childhood memories of the shop?

Being taken for a ride on the large freight elevator located in a corner of the back shop. 

Visiting my father in the second-floor office – if I arrived in the morning when he was counting the cash; before taking it to deposit at the bank, it was impressive to see the money spread out and organized in neat piles on his desk.

Walking behind the bacon counter and stopping to watch Nelson Menzies as he cut the butter into one pound and half-pound amounts, checked the weight on a small scale and then wrapped it in special paper with the words James Inglis Reid Ltd. on it.

Visiting Willie Reid and my father in the cellar – because of the smokehouse, it was always a cozy place. Sometimes I was there when they were taking a tea break and conversing using sign language because Willie was deaf. In my younger years, before health regulations made it impossible, a cat named Barney might be persuaded to come out to visit me.

In the past 5-10 years, single-focus food businesses, like butchers, have become more popular, as consumers are more driven to "shop local" and also know the source of their food. Do you wonder what it might have been like had the business pushed through the late 80s to now? Do you think the shop as it was would be embraced now in a way it may not have been by shoppers in its last years?

I do wonder what might have been possible if the decision had been made to continue in business. The current interest in this type of business was not predicted in the mid to late 1980s. A key element of the store’s success was the focus on quality and value for money and I think this focus will always attract many shoppers. Today, the business with adjustments necessitated by changing times, might well be viable and embraced by many.

Are you a fan of haggis?

I take my haggis in small amounts mainly around Robbie Burns Day, if at all.

Vancouver Is Awesome


7 seasonal B.C. beers from around the province to fall in love with this autumn

Craft brewers around B.C. have been busy capturing the flavours of the season, perfect for your next can, bottle, or glass of the sudsy stuff

The Explore BC IPA. Photo: BC Ale Trail/DBC

British Columbia's talented craft brewers have been busy capturing the flavours of the season, perfect for your next can, bottle, or glass of the sudsy stuff.

You can taste your way around the province this fall thanks to the BC Ale Trail's picks for some awesome autumnal examples of delicious B.C. brews. But you'd better hop to it because seasonal releases are as fleeting as the sunshine seems to be in a Vancouver fall. 

Here are seven fresh highlights for fall beers from around the province, with tasting notes courtesy the BC Ale Trail. 

Explore BC IPA with Haskap Berry – Brewed Collaboratively by 6 Regional Breweries 

The Explore BC IPA is a collaboration among six breweries from across B.C.’s mountain towns to the wild north, and the Sea-to-Sky to our ranches, rivers and ranges. Homegrown haskap berries and blackberries present a rich berry colour, while the balance of B.C. hops and locally-malted grains provide traditional pine notes and subtle fruity, floral flavours. This limited edition West Coast IPA is a true representation of our province that pairs perfectly with B.C.’s natural beauty. (6% ABV, 60 IBU) 

  • Read more about this special B.C. brew HERE.

The Explore BC IPA is available for a limited time at 50 government liquor stores, several private liquor stores, and on tap at several breweries and restaurants. A complete distribution list is available here

Fresh Prince Fresh Hop IPA – Bright Eye Brewing


Fresh Prince Fresh Hop IPA – Bright Eye Brewing. Photo via Facebook

Brewed with 100 lbs of Comet hops from Legit Hops in Chilliwack, straight from the bine to the brewery within three hours of harvesting. Notes of oily citrus, pine and peppercorn in every mouthful. (6.5% ABV, 40 IBU)

Bright Eye Brewing can be found on the Kamloops, Shuswap, Vernon & Merritt Ale Trail.

Dying Wish Nordic IPA – Jackknife Brewing 


Dying Wish Nordic IPA – Jackknife Brewing. Photo via Facebook

This beer includes a big addition of fresh Centennial, Cascade, and Chinook hops from the brewer’s own backyard. Brewer Brad Tomlinson, who has 22 hop plants at home and another eight at the brewery itself, describes the beer as fresh, juicy, and smooth. (5% ABV, 40 IBU) 

Jackknife Brewing opened at the start of the pandemic. We hope to add it to the Kelowna Ale Trail soon.

AION Farmhouse Ale – House of Funk Brewing


AION Farmhouse Ale – House of Funk Brewing. Photo via Facebook

House of Funk’s first anniversary beer, Aion, is a culmination of the brewery’s house cultures developing over the year, providing a unique harmony of acidity, aged complexity, and funk. (7.0% ABV)

House of Funk Brewing can be found on Vancouver’s North Shore Ale Trail.

Maiden Harvest Saison – Foamers’ Folly Brewing


Maiden Harvest Saison – Foamers’ Folly Brewing. Photo via Facebook

This farmhouse saison features triticale, a hybrid of rye and wheat, from the first yield of the brewery’s own farm in Maple Ridge. The triticale was paired with a citrusy yeast, and hopped with just enough Sabro hops to incorporate notes of citrus and cedar. (6.5% ABV, 27 IBU)

Foamers’ Folly Brewing can be found on the Maple Ridge Trail.

Fresh Data Fresh Hopped Hazy IPA – Category 12 Brewing


Fresh Data Fresh Hopped Hazy IPA – Category 12 Brewing. Photo via Facebook

This once-a-year release features delectable, freshly picked Cascade hops from Chilliwack. (5% ABV, 34 IBU) 

Category 12 Brewing can be found on the Victoria Ale Trail. 

Full Patch Pumpkin Saison – Longwood Brewery


Full Patch Pumpkin Saison – Longwood Brewery. Photo via Facebook

Who knew that a Belgian-style saison brewed with pumpkins and spices would taste so good? Longwood’s brewmaster Harley Smith, that’s who! (9% ABV, 30 IBU)

Longwood Brewery can be found on the Vancouver Island Part 1 Ale Trail.

Vancouver Is Awesome



What are we reading? October 22, 2020

Getty Images

Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor

The ever-eloquent Josh Marshall on how the chaos and criminality of the Trump era has undermined our capacity for shock:

“The sad truth is that we’ve gotten used to this – the casual law-breaking and bad acts, the aping of foreign strongman antics, the lies that come as easy as water flowing down a hill. It all seems normal now.” – Talking Point Memo 


Jack Handey is working on some vaccines. He hasn’t had much luck with the Hangover Vaccine – “despite years of study, little progress” – but his Pseudo-Vaccine is promising:

Doesn’t really do much of anything, but comes with a coupon for half off your next vaccine.” – New Yorker


Timothy Renshaw, Managing Editor

New recipe for an anti-COVID-19 tonic: slurpees, saponins and soapbark trees. – The Atlantic


Add an estimated US$3.94 trillion drop in global GDP to the world's upwardly spiralling pandemic bill. COVID will cost the top 10 hardest hit countries a projected US$697 billion. – Buy Shares


Succinct description of 21st century social networks from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt: "amplifiers for idiots and crazy people." – The Verge


Emma Crawford Hampel, online editor:

There are many parallels between the U.S. election 100 years ago and the one now. “Sick president. Global pandemic. Racial injustice. Welcome to the U.S. election...of 1920.”  – Maclean’s


Glen Korstrom, reporter

Given that it is election time, it's worth a look back at one of the most transformative elections in B.C. history – 1991. Longtime BC Liberal Mike McDonald tells the story in his blog post about the lead-up to that election, and how the stars aligned for a party that had no seats in the legislature but went on to become the official opposition. Well worth a read – Rosedeer blog