British Columbia – Vancouver Cocktail

Each month, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel Canada, discovering the best each province has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also featuring a drink the area is known for. Today, we are in British Columbia, where the Sip Advisor resides. Although we lack large egos (in this humble writer’s opinion), the province once called itself “The Best Place on Earth”. Let’s see what life is like on the Left Coast:

Nicknames: ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ is the slogan that appears on licence plates in the province after being adopted as an official motto in 1964. Another common catchphrase used here, particularly by the local tourism industry, is ‘Super, Natural, British Columbia’. No matter what moniker folks want to tag onto the place, I prefer to simply call it home.

Motto: “Splendor without diminishment” – Ooh la la, tres fancy!

Food: The Nanaimo Bar – a sweet treat consisting of layers of a crumb base, icing middle and chocolate top – was invented in Nanaimo in the 1950’s. The bar’s popularity grew when it was featured at Expo 86 and efforts have been made to see the Nanaimo Bar named ‘Canada’s Favourite Confection’. The dessert even got the stamp treatment in 2019, but I’d rather lick the real thing.

Drink: British Columbia has amazing craft beer, wine and distillery industries, making the Sip Advisor a very happy man. A nostalgic entry here is Clearly Canadian, which was founded in B.C. in 1987. The flavoured sparkling waters grew wildly popular quickly, being featured in movies and TV shows such as Jerry Maguire, Seinfeld, Friends, and Sex and the City.

Nanaimo Bar

Site to See: Having travelled a fair bit of the province, there’s really not many bad choices to explore. If I had to pick a favourite place, it would probably be Whistler, which provides an amazing escape in both winter and summer. Situated in the mountains, Whistler offers picturesque landscapes, while the has village a number of great dining and entertainment options.

Street: The Downtown Vancouver portion of Granville Street is lined with much of the city’s entertainment district and can be a very interesting place to traverse at night. The street was once illuminated with numerous neon light signs, reminiscent to Las Vegas, but many have been removed. Granville Street is the second most expensive property in Canadian Monopoly.

TV Show: While B.C. is sometimes referred to as Hollywood North, thanks to the film and TV industries that do so much shooting here, not many project are actually set in the province. The most enduring series was The Beachcombers, running for 19 seasons and 387 episodes. The Sip Family recently stayed in Gibsons, where the show was set, seeing the boat (Persephone) and café (Molly’s Reach) used in the show.

Movie: No movie takes place entirely in B.C., but a couple films have the majority of their plots occur in the province. Of these, I really enjoyed The Hunted, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio del Toro. del Toro plays a former armed forces operative, while Jones, his former mentor, is tasked with tracking his student down. The movie mostly uses hand-to-hand combat fight scenes.

Granville Street

Book/Author: Environmental activist David Suzuki was born in Vancouver in 1936. He has authored 52 books, including 19 for children, mostly on scientific topics. Suzuki is also known for his long-running TV series The Nature of Things and the David Suzuki Foundation, which is dedicated “to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that does sustain us”.

Fictional Character: Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother, is played by Vancouverite Cobie Smulders. She is a true Canadian girl, best shown through her love of hockey and the Vancouver Canucks. Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed How I Met Your Mother even more with the touch of Canadiana and our hometown being involved. I’ll even forgive Scherbatsky for her time as teen pop idol Robin Sparkles.

Fictional City: Edgemont, a made up suburb of Vancouver, was the setting for a teen drama series of the same name. The show ran for five seasons and 70 episodes, centered on the young love and break ups of students at McKinley High School. A couple cast members went on to more recognized projects, such as Kristin Kreuk (Lana Lang on Smallville) and Grace Park (Kono Kalakaua on Hawaii Five-0).

Actor/Actress: This is a tough category. First, there’s universally-beloved movie star Ryan Reynolds. Then, there’s stoner comedy icon Seth Rogen. And, who could forget the legendary Michael J. Fox. A sentimental nod also has to go to Raymond Burr for his iconic role as lawyer Perry Mason. All are from Vancouver or its surrounding suburbs and have represented the province quite well.

Ryan Reynolds

Song: British Columbia is certainly not the easiest name to turn into lyrics, but on New Year’s Eve 1965, Jewel of the West (Beautiful B.C.) was made the official theme song of the province. It was composed by musician Machelle Shapira. Another song worthy of mention is Home for a Rest by Spirit of the West. That home the North Vancouver-based band is longing for is B.C.

Band/Musician: Bryan Adams is one of the most successful musicians of all-time, selling close to 100 million records and singles worldwide. He is best known for songs such as (Everything I Do) I Do It for You, Summer of ’69 and Heaven. Also deserving of mention is crooner Michael Bublé, who has had a number of chart-topping songs and albums, to go along with four Grammy Awards.

People: Terry Fox is a national hero. With one leg amputated due to cancer, Fox was only 21 when he embarked on a cross-country trek to raise awareness about the disease. Sadly, Fox didn’t achieve his goal of going coast-to-coast, as his deteriorating health forced him off the road. His legacy exists to this day thanks to all he inspired with his courage. Terry Fox Runs are done annually around the world, raising an estimated $800 million for cancer research.

Animal: The Great Bear Rainforest is home to the rare Kermode Bear (aka Spirit Bear), which is recognized as B.C.’s Provincial Animal. The bear was named after Frank Kermode, who helped discover the animal. Spotting a Spirit Bear is said to bring good luck. One bear, nicknamed Clover, is believed to be the first in captivity, after the cub was abandoned and not suitable for release into the wild.

Spirit Bear

Invention: In 1911, the modern Egg Carton was invented by Joseph Coyle, a newspaper editor and publisher in Smithers. Coyle developed the device to help settle a disagreement between a farmer and hotel owner over deliveries often resulting in numerous broken eggs. Eggs were previously transported in baskets. Coyle turned the creation into a successful business venture.

Crime: B.C. has a sordid history, with criminals such as Robert Pickton and Clifford Olsen part of our unfortunate past. Pickton confessed to 49 murders, following the discovery of various remains on his family pig farm in 2002. Olsen, known as the Beast of British Columbia, killed 11 kids and teens in the early 1980’s. There’s also the Highway of Tears in Northern B.C., where at least 80 women have gone missing or been murdered from.

Sports Team: The Vancouver sports scene features three teams, the Vancouver Canucks (NHL), B.C. Lions (CFL) and Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS). From 1995 to 2001, there used to also be the Vancouver Grizzlies (NBA), but after six dreadful seasons, the franchise relocated to Memphis. Despite their short existence, the Grizzlies still have a cult following in the province and outside it.

Athlete: Two Burnaby-born icons fill this category. Hockey star Joe Sakic (commonly referred to as ‘Burnaby Joe’) and Christine Sinclair, perhaps the greatest female soccer player of all-time, both come from the Vancouver suburb. In Burnaby, a street has been named after Sakic, while Sinclair’s name is attached to a community centre located near Joe Sakic Way.

Grizzlies

Famous Home: Because so much filming is done in B.C., many recognizable homes from TV and movies can be found. This includes Archie’s house from Riverdale, the home Happy Gilmore is trying to save for his grandma, and Jacob’s property from the Twilight franchise. For something a little more historical, there’s Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1992.

Urban Legend: B.C. is home to some legendary mythical creatures, including the Sasquatch – was even used as one of the 2010 Olympics mascots, named Quatchi – and Ogopogo, a water monster said to inhabit Okanagan Lake. There have also been various sightings of mermaids, sometimes made along B.C. Ferry routes. It’s almost as if they want to be seen.

Museum: The Revelstoke Railway Museum is home to the Last Spike at Craigellachie, which completed the Canadian Pacific Railway’s cross-country expansion in 1885. This construction made the line the first transcontinental railway in Canada. The spike was driven into the ground by financier Donald Smith, then removed and turned into a souvenir for some of the wives of Craigellachie.

Firsts: Kim Campbell, born in Port Alberni, became the first female Prime Minister of Canada in 1993. Although her term only lasted 132 days (the third shortest in the country’s history), it was still a gender barrier-breaking moment. Canadian women’s magazine Chatelaine named Campbell its Woman of the Year for 1993. To date, she is the only Prime Minister to come from B.C.

Mermaids

Company: A family-favourite dining spot for the Sip Family is White Spot, famous for their comfort food. The company, founded almost 100 years ago in 1928, has branched out to offering their wares in fast food settings, with those locations known as Triple-O’s (named after the restaurant’s popular burger sauce). Mrs. Sip and I had part of our first-ever date at a White Spot, so I will always be fond of the chain.

Events: Two events put the province on the world stage: Expo 86 and the 2010 Olympics. Expo 86 marked only the second time a Canadian city hosted a World’s Fair, with the theme being “Transportation and Communication: World in Motion – World in Touch”. At the 2010 Olympics, Canada set a new record for gold medals at an Olympics, capped by winning the hockey tournament on Sidney Crosby’s ‘Golden Goal’.

Miscellaneous: Ladysmith’s own Pamela Anderson, recognized for her role on TV show Baywatch and appearances in Playboy Magazine, was actually famous from the day she was born. Born on July 1, 1967, the 100th anniversary of Canada’s official founding, Anderson was Canada’s Centennial Baby… at least from British Columbia. It’s like she was destined to be a star.

Vancouver Cocktail

Vancouver Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Benedictine
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with a Cucumber Slice

This drink was created in 1954 at the renowned Sylvia Hotel. Apparently, the recipe was lost until it was rediscovered by bartender and cocktail historian Steve Da Cruz in 2006. The beverage can now be found at various locations around Vancouver. I subbed my Jagermeister Spice for Benedictine, as I can’t justify buying a new bottle of something for a 0.25 oz serving.

September 21 – What’s My Name Again?

30 for 30

While the title of today’s post is shared by the popular ESPN sports documentary series, I’m using it to describe 30 great achievements of my 30 years on this planet. This is kind of my bucket list of crossed off items… mission accomplished!

Family and Friends

1: Got Engaged – I’m still surprised she said yes!

2: Got Married – Again, I’m still surprised she said yes… I gave her a year and a half to change her mind!

funny-marriage

3: Was a Best Man – Broski Sip got married in 2010 with me by his side.

4: Planned a Stag Party – Nothing says “I love you, man” than planning the perfect sendoff as your buddy enters married life.

Rites of Passage

5: Earned a Driver’s License – Been on the roads for 14 years now… Mrs. Sip still doesn’t have a full license!

6: Graduated High School – Some people didn’t see that coming!

High School Graduate

7: Earned 4 Diplomas/Degrees/Certificates – I have quite the resume… anyone looking to hire!?

8: No More Picky Eater – Chicken strips and fries are pretty awesome, but lobster and escargot are better.

9: Moved Out – It was hard to leave the amazing home of Ma and Pa Sip, but living with Mrs. Sip has its own benefits!

Travel

10: Travelled to 34 Countries – Mrs. Sip will hit 50 countries before she turns 30, but I think I still made a pretty damn good dent.

11: Stepped foot on 6 Continents – I’m only missing Antarctica, which we hope to get to one day.

12: Lived Abroad – Spent six months living in England and travelling Europe.

studying-abroad

13: Visited the Greatest Cities in the World – From London to St. Petersburg, Sydney to Los Angeles, the resume isn’t full yet, but I’ve been to so many cool places.

Academics

14: Made the Honour Roll – Got my shit together one year and made the honour roll twice… it never happened again.

15: Graduated with Honours – Always knew journalism and I were a match made in heaven!

Professional

16: Became Published – My first article ever (aside from online and school writing) was for B.C. Hockey Now.

17: Covered the Vancouver Canucks (NHL) and B.C. Lions (CFL) – The two biggest sports franchises in Vancouver and I got to watch both for free!

Journalism

18: Worked the 2010 Winter Olympics – NBC Universal Sports hired me for the Games, a goal of mine when I first entered journalism school.

19: Made Money Doing What I Love – Watching sports for a job just doesn’t get much better… perhaps getting paid to have sex!?

20: Started The Sip Advisor – I was thirsty (literally!) for a new project when Mrs. Sip suggested The Sip Advisor. Here we are and I’m pretty sure everyone is having a good time!

Adventure/Crazy

21: Tried a Number of Extreme Sports – Bungy jumping, ziplining, zorbing, luging, surfing, scuba diving… I’ve tried them all!

22: Saw my Favourite Comedians Perform – From Christopher Titus to Daniel Tosh, I’ve seen all of the living comedians I ever wanted to.

23: Won Money in Las Vegas – I’m too cautious to lose or win a lot of money, but I did come home up on one trip and that’s more than a lot of people can say.

Stays in Vegas

24: Won Money at the Races – My last trip to Fraser Downs resulted in six winning bets on nine races, including picking three winners straight up!

25: Hosted an Annual Event – My annual Beer Pong tournament is a highlight of the summer social calendar.

26: Invented a Word – Walk Blocking – like cock blocking, but everyone can do it!

27: Became an Internet Sensation – And the journey has only just begun!

28: Swam Across a Body of Water – I joined Mrs. Sip for a crossing of the water outside our lodge in Indian Arm, B.C. It took us 45 minutes round trip to make the journey.

29: Shot a Gun – Cousin Sip and I hit one of the many ranges in Las Vegas to help cross this off the list.

30: Sang Karaoke – Not well, but Mrs. Sip and I do perform a rocking version of ‘I Hate Everything About You’!

Drink #264: What’s My Name Again?

Sept 21

  • 0.3 oz Spiced Rum (I used Kraken)
  • 0.3 oz Southern Comfort
  • 0.3 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 0.3 oz Goldschlager
  • 0.3 oz Vodka
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

There are still so many things left to do (get a tattoo, touch a snake, go skydiving, drink motor oil!) that the next 30 years should be just as adventurous as the first 30. Any suggestions!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot finishes Rum Week and the story goes that if you have enough of these, you’ll forget your own name! While it is a rather potent shooter, it’s also very tasty, helped along by the Peach Schnapps, Southern Comfort, and Goldschlager. I’ll have to try their little dare sometime and see how long it takes for the ol’ mind to go blank! Let’s drink to my successes and excesses!