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Books

The following is a list of some titles that will give you a deeper insight into the multicultural richness of Vancouver and Victoria:

  • The Black Canoe: Bill Reid and the Spirit of the Haida Gwaii, by Robert Bringhurst (Douglas & McIntyre): A poet and storyteller pays tribute to the great Haida artist Bill Reid.
  • City of Glass: Douglas Coupland's Vancouver, by Douglas Coupland (Douglas & McIntyre): Generation X author Coupland's homage to his hometown is both a personal memoir and an alternative history of Vancouver's cultural icons.
  • The Concubine's Children: Portrait of a Family Divided, by Denise Chong (Penguin Canada): A moving narrative of a Chinese immigrant family at the dawn of the 20th century.
  • The Complete Writings of Emily Carr (University of Washington Press): Born in Victoria in the late 19th century, Emily Carr went on to become one of Canada's greatest and most original artists. In addition to painting, Carr also wrote, and this collection contains her remarkable autobiography, journals, and fiction. Emily Carr, part of the Extraordinary Canadians series (Penguin Canada), is a new biography of the artist by Lewis DeSoto.
  • Empress Letters, by Linda Rogers who, until November 2011, was Victoria's poet laureate (Cormorant Books): Stories of a sea voyage in the '20s mixed with opium secrets and a few cameos by island notables like Emily Carr and frequent visitor Tallulah Bankhead.
  • Making Vancouver, by Robert A. J. McDonald (UBC Press): A scholarly history of Vancouver's development to 1913.
  • Obasan, by Joy Kogawa (Anchor): The author was 7 years old in 1942 when the outbreak of war with the Japanese prompted Canada to send its Japanese citizens to internment camps in the BC Interior. The book draws on her experiences during that period.
  • Shoeless Joe, by W.P. Kinsella (Mariner Books): This novel by Vancouver storyteller and raconteur Kinsella was adapted into the popular movie Field of Dreams.
  • There Is a Season, by Patrick Lane (McClelland & Stewart): Although an award-winning memoir about the author's relationship between his garden and his own recovery from alcoholism, the words are so beautifully crafted, they come together as the definitive book about Victoria, aka the Garden City.
  • Vancouver Cooks and Vancouver Cooks 2, edited by Jamie Maw (Douglas & McIntyre): Fifty of the area's best-known chefs contributed to this celebration of the amazing food culture and restaurants of Vancouver, the Lower Fraser Valley, and southern Vancouver Island.
  • The Vancouver Stories: West Coast Fiction from Canada's Best Writers (Raincoast Books): With stories by the likes of Pauline Johnson, Emily Carr, Alice Munro, Malcolm Lowry, and many others, this wide array of short fiction reveals just how varied Vancouver really is.
  • Victoria: The Unknown City, by Ross Crockford (Arsenal Pulp Press): Tales of hidden intrigue and historic curiosities in Canada's westernmost provincial capital, whose polite, "just-like-England" exterior conceals a surprisingly quirky and rough-edged heart.

The City as Stand-in: Films Filmed in Vancouver

It's really a bit ironic: Though hundreds of films and television shows have been shot in and around Vancouver, the city and the surrounding region usually serve as stand-ins for some other metropolis, country, or region. TV series have included Chaos and Smallville; here is a very brief list of some of the better-known movies filmed in Vancouver.

  • 2012 (2009) -- We're in that year when we're to find out if the world is really going to end, as predicted in this made-up Mayan prophecy; in the meantime, you might recognize bits of Vancouver before disaster strikes.
  • The 6th Day (2000) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in this tale of a future when clones conspire to take over the world. The Vancouver Public Library (pictured here) serves as a stand-in for an evil corporation's headquarters.
  • Best in Show (2000) -- In Christopher Guest's hilarious "mockumentary" about celebrity canines and their owners, Vancouver's venerable old Coliseum building doubles as the venue for a dog show.
  • Christmas with the Kranks (2004) -- The Pacific Centre Mall in downtown Vancouver is easy to spot in this comedy about a suburban family trying to skip the crass commercialism of Christmas.
  • Dreamcatcher (2003) -- The town of Steveston is meant to be a quaint Maine village in this Stephen King balderdash about aliens terrorizing a group of buddies vacationing in a cabin.
  • Elf (2003) -- Vancouver does a stellar job of standing in for Manhattan in this Christmas flick starring Will Ferrell.
  • The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) -- The University of British Columbia campus gets screen time in this tale of a young girl killed by a priest during an exorcism.
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven(2004) -- A TV mini-series based on the book by Mitch Albom about a man who meets up with some important people in the afterlife.
  • Gods and Monsters (1998) -- This fascinating film, starring Ian McKellen as James Whale, the director of the original Frankenstein, would be worth watching even if it weren't filmed in Vancouver.
  • Herbie Fully Loaded (2005) -- Lindsay Lohan starred in this family-friendly remake of a Disney movie about a cute little Volkswagen.
  • Night at the Museum (2006) -- The Vancouver Art Gallery stars as the Museum of Natural History in New York.
  • Scary Movie (2000) and Scary Movie 4 (2006) -- These idiotic horror-film spoofs, filmed all over the Lower Mainland, have raked in gazillions.
  • Strange Magic (2011) -- Gastown's cobblestone streets are a stand-in for London's Leicester Square and the film premiere of Harry Potter.
  • Timecop (1994) -- Granville Island is featured in this time-warp thriller starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
  • The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2010) and Eclipse (2008) -- The film adaptations of Stephanie Meyer's teen vampire romances suck in blood and big bucks at the box office; New Moon was the first Twilight flick shot in IMAX.
  • The X-Files (1998), X-Men 2 (2003), and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) -- These three movies (as well as the X-Files TV series) give nods to Robson Square in downtown Vancouver and that black-glass high-rise known as the Sheraton Wall Centre.

Music

A number of notable punk-rock bands originated in Vancouver. D.O.A., the most famous, has been performing for 30 years and is often referred to as the founders of hardcore punk. Other early punk bands from Vancouver include the Subhumans; the Young Canadians; the Pointed Sticks; Active Dog; the Modernettes; UJ3RK5; I, Braineater; and Nomeansno (originally from Victoria). In the 1990s, when alternative rock hit the mainstream, several Vancouver groups rose to prominence, including 54-40, Odds, Moist, the Matthew Good Band (2011 Juno Rock Album of the Year), and Econoline Crush. More recent successes include Gob and Stabilo.

Today, Vancouver is home to a lively independent music scene, including bands such as the New Pornographers, Destroyer, Frog Eyes, the Organ, Veda Hille, and Black Mountain. Vancouver also produced the influential metal band Strapping Young Lad and pioneering electro-industrial bands Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly. Popular musical artists from Vancouver include Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, Michael Bublé, Nickelback, and from Vancouver Island, Diana Krall. Notable hip hop artists from Vancouver include the Rascalz, Swollen Members, and Sweatshop Union.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.