Best Unveilings and New Arrivals

January 2, 2009

ELECTRIC AVENUES

Lighten up your city commute with a cartoon-like electric car. These puppies max out at 60 kph, but who cares? The City of Vancouver has a new bylaw that allows the cars on any road with a speed limit of 50. Which means people might actually buy these energy-saving putt-putts.

CASINO ROYALE

You’re a diva. You’re divine. You’re gambling with high-rollers in an Italian villa. Actually, you’re in Burnaby at the Grand Villa Casino, which boasts two floors teeming with 1,000 slot machines and 50 tables. Learn to love it; slot-pumping in chrome hallways is the new (nickel-a-pop) escape. Gatewaycasinos.com and Bclc.com

GOLDEN ARCHES

Colossal, sweeping wooden arches—possible thanks to the innovative Fast & Epp engineering team—make the $178-million Richmond Oval an architectural boon, but the 8,000-seat speed-skating venue will need to become multipurpose after the games in order to justify its creation (6200 River Rd.). On the opposite side of the practicality spectrum, Canada Line, the new SkyTrain connecting Richmond, YVR, and downtown, is the most eagerly anticipated and tangible gift to the city. Coal Harbour to the airport? 20 minutes. Service
begins in November. Canadaline.ca

BABY BELUGA

Tiqa, Canada’s first captive-born beluga, made waves with aquarium-goers—and also with conservationists,
who’ve had no luck increasing wild beluga populations. She’s also something of an attention hog. Blow her a kiss on your way to the Frogs Forever exhibit, with 26 species of an animal being decimated by environmental chaos. The redeyed tree frog is particularly alarming.

GREEN ACRES

A sweeping addition to the convention centre, with six acres of “living roof” and 400,000 varieties of indigenous plants, breathes new life into the old Expo 86 site. The state-of-the-art building boasts seawater heating and cooling systems, on-site water treatment, and a marine habitat built into its foundation, making the renovated centre one of the greenest in the world.

100-METRE DIET

Planting is under way on the roof of the Pan Pacific, where chef Daryle Nagata is building a herb garden of biblical proportions. The plots will take up more than 3,000 square feet (roughly the size of six Vancouver condos), and will produce over 100 varieties of edible plants: dwarf apple trees, wasabi, alpine strawberries, marshmallow plants, and edible tulips are just a few.

MADONNA

It was a long time coming, but the material girl finally burst in (and quickly out) of our scene October 30. GM Place flooded with 55,000 locals hungry to be part of the city’s first glimpse of the world’s most celebrated diva.

KYLE WELLWOOD

Number 42 has become one of the Canucks’ leading lights. We scooped the 25-year-old forward from Toronto, which makes the points he’s racking up all the more satisfying.

JAE KIM

In her past life, Jae Kim was a New York lawyer and Democratic Party fundraiser. After hitting town, she was drafted by the Vancouver Foundation, where she serves as president of the new Streetohome project, drawing funds from philanthropists to aide the homeless.

THOMAS PRENDERGAST

Direct from New York City, the new CEO of TransLink is at the helm of a burgeoning transportation system that will open up the city at last. First on the docket: the SkyTrain’s Canada Line and a new bridge to replace the Pattullo.

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