Vancouver’s Best Hotspots

The 2010 Winter Olympics drew in a large hoard of celebrities to Vancouver. This was fabulous news for Vancouver’s burgeoning tourism industry. With the number of great restaurants, tourist attractions, shopping, and great hotel accommodations available in the city, the Olympics will be a great way for people the world over to learn about this awesome city.

If you are looking for a nice place to eat in the city, try out the Bacchus. Set in an elegant ambience, with flowers and a good deal of greenery, ambient lighting and a glorious menu, Bacchus can be a great treat for your family. The restaurant has a large canvas of Bacchus, Greek deity of wine and frolic, and the particular attention the restaurant pays to its wine list amply justifies its name. Other eateries of interest – you will find most of them on Canada411 – include Monk McQueens Fresh Seafood and Oyster Bar, the Watermark at Kits Beach, the Seasons in Queen Elizabeth Park, and the Aqua River Restaurant.

Good hotels abound in the city. One of the classiest hotels is the Metropolitan Hotel, which sits right atop the mountains and offers glorious dining, great accommodation and a fine view of the city. Other great hotels include the Astoria and the Balmoral.

Vancouver offers some great shopping to tourists. Some of the best shopping can be had on Broadway Street and the Marine Drive. The Capilano Mall on the Marine Drive and the Kingsgate on Broadway are worth visiting. There’s also the Arbutus and the Denman malls, as well.

Nightlife in Vancouver had something of a quixotic start. Before 2003, bars and clubs were forced to close early, so there wasn’t much of a nightlife. Since then, however, the city authorities have started building up a cosmopolitan nightlife, especially around the Granville street, and the Olympics have worked as an added boost to the idea.

  

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After a three-week hiatus due to NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics, “The Biggest Loser” returned with a bang last night, with lots of controversy. First, you may remember that they left us hanging three weeks ago with Cheryl and Darrell hanging on in squat position balancing an Olympic torch replica. Darrell’s knees finally gave out, and he went home, with Cheryl remaining on campus.

Then, host Alison Sweeney announced that the teams would no longer be couples but would be broken up into blue vs. black. They do this every season and it doesn’t get any less annoying. Really, do they have to keep confusing us and messing with the show’s format? Alison then announced the initial challenge, which would give one person control in the game. But first, before they agreed to play a game of Memory, they had to agree to the fact that with the game came the possibility of eating a lot of calories, mostly in the form of chocolate chip cookies that were worth 100 calories each. Behind each memory card were food items, and behind two of them were golden tickets that would determine the game’s winner. The only two that stepped forward to play were Michael and Andrea. After the game went back and forth, and after both consumed way more calories than they wanted to, Michael won…despite eating 2310 calories worth of cookies and other junk. He was then given the right to choose the teams, and he also would have the power to give immunity this week to either himself or to one other player.

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1946’s “Suspense” is, without a doubt, one of the weirdest classic-era Hollywood films ever made. It attempted to blend the appeal of  tough-as-nails post-war film noir thrillers with, yes, ice skating.

An Olympic skater for her native England at age 12, Belita “the Ice Maiden” (not sure how long that moniker lasted) had been best known in the movie world as a competitor to Norwegian Sonja Henie, the hugely well-paid skating star of a series of successful light musical comedies for Fox. Working with “Poverty Row” studio Monogram, Belita understandably wanted to get out from Henie’s shadow and become more of a dramatic actress. “Suspense” must have seemed like a natural transition: a fairly lavish crime drama with an ice-show setting…a noirish one. Here, Belita skates — suspensefully  — as Barry Sullivan and the great Eugene Pallette look on.

  

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I’m having a hard time thinking of two many notable films involving Olympic level winter sports, but “Downhill Racer” definitely qualifies. It was a labor of love, albeit an extremely jaundiced one, for it’s ski-happy producer and star, Robert Redford, and features plenty of thrilling racing footage captured by first-time director Michael Ritchie. The first choice was avid skier Roman Polanski.

You can read my quick-take review of the Criterion DVD here.

  

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Last night’s two-hour episode began with the final 71 contestants being broken into three rooms. Two rooms would hold those advancing to the next round, and one room full of those heading home. This, after one final shot to impress the judges with a solo performance.

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