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Arts and Entertainment

And the Oscar goes to…The Royal Canadian Theatre Company



Photo Credit: Aaron Siebenga

While Hollywood stars gathered for The 89th Academy Awards a.k.a. “the Oscars” in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 26th, The Royal Canadian Theatre Company (RCTC) held their second annual Oscar party. The event was held at Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel during the Oscars with 122 people in attendance. 

All the fun began at 4:30 p.m. during the red carpet coverage and carried on throughout the award show. Guests were able to enjoy appetizers, delicious mashed potatoes, bread, roast beef and drinks throughout the evening.

Mashed potato toppings

Roast beef

Many of the theatre actors, staff, and board members attended the party with their families, including RCTC’s Founding Artistic Director, Ellie King, and President, Shara Nixon. Nixon was also one of the hosts of the evening.

Nixon says that events like the Oscar party give participants the opportunity to dress up, have fun, and provide the backbone of support to RCTC’s youth mentorship program. RCTC doesn’t charge kids and individuals who come to their theatre, so this fundraiser is one of many that supports the program.

At the event, King mentioned that the company is also entirely dependent on fundraisers in order to pay for the venues. It costs them around $20,000 per show for an approximate three-week run.

During the Oscars, RCTC held a silent auction for those attendees who wanted to bid for gift baskets. Individuals also had an opportunity to purchase 50/50 tickets and Oscar ballots. Whoever had guessed the winners in the biggest award categories won a trip to The 90th Academy Awards next year.

Silent Auction

The event was a successful fundraiser and the best part about the evening for the event organizers was being able to raise funds for their  students.

Nixon is proud to be a small part of helping Surrey’s youth gain valuable skills through the mentorship program.

“Learning presentation skills, how to handle yourself in front of a large audience and gaining self confidence are key to business success,” Nixon says. “So while we are just teaching theatre skills, those skills are transferable to help build strong success for our kids.”

Actors Rachel Criag and Ashton Ramsay

RCTC is thankful for all the support they receive from the community. Without the support, the company wouldn’t be able to reach out to nearly as many individuals as they do right now. The company has stated that the world of theatre can be satisfying to those individuals who lack support in different areas of life. RCTC also ensures an inclusive environment for everyone, which enables the kids to broaden their creativity and relationships within the community.

Stephanie Bruce, RCTC’s company stage manager, appreciates being a part of an amazing company. She has known King ever since she was three-years-old. When King established RCTC in 2006, Bruce started helping out with various backstage tasks. Even if she’s building sets in a storage locker in winter, she always has a blast.

“My grandmother always told us to find the place where we were happy and where we could enjoy what we do and not dread going to work everyday,” Bruce says.

It’s sometimes rare to find a company such as RCTC that cares deeply for their students and all those who are involved with them. They pride themselves on what they get accomplished in the community.

“We’re more than just a theatre company,” King says. “We change lives.”

If you’d like to go to an Oscar Party next year, you’ll know where to find RCTC and all the fun.

Nominees for “Most Bling”


Photo Credit: Aaron Siebenga

Shara Nixon and Ellie King


Daniella Javier is a third-year journalism student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C. Since she was 10-years-old, she’s wanted to become a journalist. Writing has always been her greatest passion. Daniella’s favourite part about interviewing is that she gets to meet new people each time. She prides herself on her ability to listen to others and to hear their thoughts and concerns. In her spare time, Daniella loves to travel. One day, she hopes that she can combine her two passions – cruising and writing – and to be able to write for a cruise line. She continues to stand on this motto: “Find a career you love and never work a day in your life.”

Arts and Entertainment

Imagine Van Gogh Comes to Vancouver February 2021



Opening in February 2021

Register now and gain access to the Exclusive Pre-Sale!

Vancouver / Thursday, November 26th, 2020 – Imagine Van Gogh, the ORIGINAL immersive exhibition from Europe featuring more than 200 of the Dutch artist’s paintings, is coming to Vancouver in February 2021 to the award-winning Vancouver Convention Centre. The convention centre offers one of the most beautiful settings in Canada’s Pacific Gem and has convenient access to all the major visitor amenities in the downtown core. Imagine Van Gogh has sold more than 300,000 tickets in Canada this year in Montreal, Quebec City, and in Winnipeg and is now ready to debut in Vancouver.

With the safety of guests, employees and the community as the highest priority, Imagine Van Gogh will open in February 2021 in accordance with the public health guidelines in British Columbia.

Created by French Artistic Directors Annabelle Mauger and Julien Baron, famous for their immersive exhibits Cathédrale d’Images in Les Baux-de-Provence, Imagine Van Gogh was presented first by Encore Productions in France, where it amazed audiences with its grandiose and immersive concept of Total Image; the viewer is literally transported on a journey to the heart of the artist’s work. The exhibit brings Van Gogh’s canvases to life in a vivid, spectacular way: the audience will literally enter the artist’s world of dreams.

“Original canvasses are expanded and fragmented, then projected into unusual shapes to emphasize the mesmerizing exaggerations and distortions of Van Gogh’s work. Visitors experience their energy, emotion, and beauty like never before,” says Annabelle Mauger.

During its first Canadian stops in Montreal and Quebec City, the unique Imagine Van Gogh exhibition received widespread praise. Before closing in March, Montreal received close to 200,000 visitors and thereafter 75,000 in Quebec City this past summer – during a pandemic! The presentation is currently underway in Winnipeg and has now been extended to the end of December due to incredible demand despite limitations around COVID-19.

Paquin Entertainment Group and Tandem Expositions, in conjunction with Encore Productions (France) are excited to bring this spectacular production to Vancouver for the very first time. Like Montreal, Quebec City, and Winnipeg the show is sure to be an exceptional success and the highlight of the 2021 arts season on the West Coast.

Register now at: and get exclusive access to presale information in order to purchase tickets prior to the public on sale.

Exceptional COVID-19 Measures

The health of our guests, staff, and community remains our highest priority. The exhibition is a contactless experience. A limited number of guests will be allowed in on a timed-entry basis, hand sanitizer will be provided, physical distancing of two meters will be required, and masks will be mandatory upon entering. The exhibition will adhere to all safety guidelines established by the B.C. government.

Pascal Bernardin Encore Productions

After promoting and working with some of the biggest Artists (Bob Marley, The Police, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Supertramp, Sting), Pascal Bernardin created Encore Productions in 1987 to start bringing Family shows to his markets (Disney on Ice, Mamma Mia, The Walking Dinosaurs).

Encore Productions joined the Fimalac Entertainment group in 2014 to present the most successful International Expositions such as The Titanic, The Art of The Brick, Jurassic World, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Imagine Van Gogh and Imagine Picasso. The success of these expositions is due to the subjects, artists, partners, and the quality of production which brings the audience a unique and memorable experience.

Fimalac Entertainment:

Through a unique set of skills and infrastructures, Fimalac Entertainment includes nine companies specializing in production and management for artists and artistic projects, a diversity of 22 equipment’s (performance halls, congress and exhibition centers), 7 Parisian theatres and a service of support functions (financial, legal, human resources, booking, marketing, sponsorship and ticketing).

Tandem Expositions

Paul Dupont-Hébert who is President of Tandem Expositions is no stranger to the Quebec Cultural Scene. Friend and Agent of Francis Cabrel for more than 40 years, he has produced many musicals in Quebec, including the world-acclaimed musical Notre Dame de Paris.

He is also behind the success of Imagine Van Gogh in Montreal and Quebec City. After the success of these markets he is looking forward to bringing the exhibition across Canada and internationally.

Paquin Entertainment Group

Established in 1985, Paquin Entertainment Group is a leading, full-service North American arts and entertainment company with offices operating in Winnipeg, Toronto, Vancouver, and Nashville. Paquin Entertainment Group is home to a diverse portfolio including, artist agency and management, film and television, theatrical production, and touring exhibitions.

Since its inception, Paquin Entertainment Group’s core vision remains unchanged: to foster a creative culture that seeks and develops the world’s premier artists and productions.

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Arts and Entertainment

What Sorts of Events Could Use a Magician?



Live entertainment can be a fantastic way to improve your event. Not only does live entertainment provide guests with something to do and watch while at the event, but it also can go a long way in improving the overall atmosphere. Common live entertainment options usually include singers, bands, and dancers, which people are typically accustomed to.

However, one “magical” live entertainment option is to hire a magician. Magicians are truly unique entertainment options, pulling off stunts and tricks that you’ll never see from other live entertainers.

That being said, magicians aren’t perfect for every type of event, as they fill a niche role. So if you’re looking to book a magician as a live entertainer, how can you know if they’ll be a good fit? Let’s take a look at what sort of events could use a magician.

Corporate Events

One of the best types of events for magicians to perform at are corporate events. Rather than hiring a cookie-cutter performer like a singer or band, an employer can hire a much more unique entertainment option in a magician.

A magician can add charm and excitement, something that can be sorely lacking at some corporate events. Magicians can also be great at getting an audience engaged and socializing, getting your employees to mingle and be involved rather than stand by themselves.

Hiring a unique choice like a magician for your corporate event shows that you are a committed employer that is dedicated to bringing unique experiences to your employees. Your employees will surely enjoy being exposed to something they may have never had the pleasure of experiencing before. As a result, they’ll be much more likely to be happy with the corporate event.

School Assemblies

Another great type of event for magicians to perform at is large school assemblies. Assemblies provide the perfect opportunity for magicians to perform for a wide variety of reasons.

First, the event provides a large crowd that will be extremely fixated on the magician. Regardless of whether they’re performing at an elementary school or a high school, students would much rather watch a magician perform than go back to doing work.

In addition, children and young adults are some of the people that have the easiest time suspending their disbelief. Suspension of disbelief is extremely important when performing magic tricks, as magicians want the audience to feel like they’re truly magical.

When performing at an assembly, children and young adults will love seeing a magician’s tricks, and they’ll be absolutely flabbergasted. Seeing the joy and wonder on their faces will be well worth it.


When people traditionally think of party entertainment, they think of singers, DJs, dancers, and bands. Magicians aren’t usually lumped into that group and are thought of as entertainers that perform in much more rigid and structured events.

That being said, magicians can still be used to great effects during parties. In fact, a party setting can allow a magician to combine many different types of magic tricks and experiment with how they work. First, a magician may start out on a stage performing standard magic tricks in front of a crowd. Not only does the magician entertain guests, but they also serve as a focal point and conversation piece for the party.

After the performance is over, the magician can walk around and mingle with guests. During this time period, the magician can reveal some different kinds of tricks, namely sleight of hand tricks that require the magician to be up close and personal. In most settings, these types of tricks would be impossible, but a party setting provides the perfect opportunity.

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Arts and Entertainment

5 Heartwarming Holiday Books to Enjoy with Your Family



The holidays are fastly approaching. And now is the best time to pull out those holiday books and enjoy the holiday spirit as a family.

Don’t know what books to read to your children?

Read on to find out some classic stories that are bound to put a smile on your child’s face!

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

This is a classic by Dr. Seuss. The story is about the Grinch who lives up on a hillside away from Whoville.

The Grinch despises Christmas and hates that the citizens of Whoville are having such a good time during the holidays. The Grinch comes up with the idea to take Christmas away from the “Whovillians.”

He goes through each one of the homes and steals Christmas trees, presents, stockings and the like. He thinks he’s done the job. But when the residents of Whoville wake up, they still end up singing in the town square.

Because Christmas isn’t about presents for the Whos, it’s about family and love. This opens up the Grinch’s heart, who then goes down to Whoville to apologize and celebrate Christmas with them.

Why is this book a great read?

Children can learn that Christmas (and holidays in general) aren’t really about the gifts and decorations, but instead about coming together as a family and community.

2. A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickon’s A Christmas Carol is similar to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Like the Grinch, Scrooge is a devout Christmas hater. He believes in only work and can’t stand Christmas — “bah humbug” — in his own words.

However, during one night, he is visited by three ghosts: the ghost of Christmas past, present, and future.

After observing his past holiday memories, seeing his present actions, and watching what will become of him if he continues his this way, Scrooge has a change of heart.

He doesn’t want to be the curmudgeon everyone avoids. After that night, he goes to Tiny Tim’s house bringing Christmas gifts. He is determined to change his ways and bring some Christmas cheer.

Why is this book a great read?

Like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Christmas Carol carries the same message: Christmas isn’t about wealth or presents but about being around the ones you love and care about.

3. The Legend of Old Befana

This is one of the most heartfelt Christmas books. Written by Tomie DePaulo, The Legend of Old Befana is a time-old Italian story about an elderly woman in an Italian village who sweeps day in and day out.

One night, the three kings visit her place before journeying on to Bethlehem. They invite her but she declines; she has to sweep.

She then regrets her decision, making sweets to bring to the baby Jesus. She doesn’t get to Bethlehem in time and is said to be giving sweets to children every Christmas.

Why is this a great read?

It introduces children to another culture and their interpretation of Christmas.

4. Olive the Other Reindeer

Written by Vivian Walsh and J. Otto Seibold, Olive the Other Reindeer is a Russel terrier believing that she is the other reindeer. She ventures to the north pole to help Santa and save Christmas.

Why is this a great read?

This is one of the more modern holiday books. It’s endearing and provides a fun interpretation to the “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” song, and story.

It’s a great present and goes well with the best holiday cards.

5. Carl’s Christmas

Alexandra Day’s holiday book, Carl’s Christmas, tells the journey Carl, the dog has running errands with the young child of his owners.

Why is this a great read?

It has more picture than text which allows for children to create their own story about Carl the dog.

Warm Your Heart and Homes with Holiday Books

No matter what holiday books you choose, these five are bound to make your child smile!

What holiday books do you recommend? Leave a comment below.

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Arts and Entertainment

7 Dazzling Outdoor Holiday Lighting Ideas



Nothing says competition like the holidays. Remember when you were a kid and your family always tried to one-up what they had done the year before? It’s contagious, isn’t it?

Now you’re an adult and you’re looking for the best outdoor holiday lighting ideas for your own home. Look no further because we’ve got you covered with 7 awesome ideas to get you started.

1. Wrap It Up

Think about candy canes and how they swirl. You can create a similar effect with your outdoor holiday lighting. Wrap your lights up and over and around your fencing, house columns, whatever you have available.

Too much house for you to do this alone? There are professional services like Texas Firman Christmas Lighting who can help you out.

2. Plants

Using the base of plants on your porch or trees in your yard is a great way to spice things up for the holidays.

Nothing is better than sitting on your porch swing in the middle of winter, sipping on warm cider and enjoying the outdoor holiday lighting.

3. Lanterns

This is a timeless classic. You can purchase these at any holiday store and line your driveway or walking paths with them.

If you want to next level your outdoor holiday lighting, go with a bright color like blue or purple.

If you don’t want to spend the cash, you can use snowballs as the base for your own temporary homemade lanterns.

4. Outdoor Furniture

Chances are good your outdoor furniture isn’t getting much use during the winter months. Give yourself a reason to change that.

Have any extra styrofoam laying around? You can make your own particle lights!

You can hang wreaths and lights on your porch swings or poolside furniture to give it some cozy overtones. This makes for great holiday parties.

5. Decorate Your Snowman

If your kids (or you) spent half the day making a snowman, let the whole neighborhood see him in the evening.

Nothing will brighten up the faces of the kids on the block more than seeing a bright and shining Frosty in your yard.

6. Use Useless Items

We all have wicker baskets laying around the house. We probably don’t even remember why they’re around or why we haven’t thrown them away.

Melting snow, and water in general, has a habit of ruining things we don’t want to be ruined. Anyone who has been the victim of a leaky pipe can tell you that.

So use worn out items and cheap purchases from your local drugstore to give this year’s decoration ideas an edge without breaking the bank.

7. DIY Outdoor Holiday Lighting

Maybe throwing up some lights and calling it a day just isn’t good enough for you anymore.

If this is the case, it’s time to go full DIY mode. You make some pretty cool things with cheap supplies. Check out these festive light balls.

When you’re decorating for the holidays, it’s up to you, your personal taste, and how much energy you’re willing to put into it.

We’ve given you some ideas that can spice up your home and yard and we think you’re ready to get the party started.

If you enjoyed this post, check out our other posts on celeberating holidays.

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Arts and Entertainment

Celebrate Diwali Safely at the 5X Festival Mainstage



Normally the Diwali Season would be full of galas, parties and events; however unfortunately this year, as we battle a global pandemic we struggle with finding ways to celebrate Diwali in smaller, more intimate ways. This hasn’t held the local music festival, 5X Festival back, who will be celebrating Diwali with their 5X MainStage Event on November 14th.

The festival app, powered by global wellness and fan engagement platform Stepathlon, has provided a positive alternative outlet for so many South Asian students and young adults who otherwise have a lack of outlets during these unprecedented times.

The app provides a place for creativity to bloom, encourage physical activity and to connect with other like-minded youth from across the globe.

Over the past few months the festival has gone global and tripled their engagement with over 30k digital festival attendees versus their average 10k in person attendees. Tripling in size during a global pandemic has been a huge win for the local festival.

Their MainStage event will include headliners: The Sandy Lion, Kay Ray, Avan Jogia, Pallavi Sharda, Alok Menon, BFunk, Navpreet Banga of Brown Girl Lifts, and Sangtar.

The digital festival has already featured the likes of Lisa Ray, Jazzy B, Cartel Madras, Saint Soldier, Raaginder, Horsepowar – all providing exclusive content specifically for the 5X Festival audience.

For those still interested in participating and taking part in the 5X Mainstage on November 14 from 1-5pm, all they have to do is sign-up at

5X Festival gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Surrey, City of Vancouver, Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Canada, the BC Arts Council, and the Province of British Columbia.


5X is a global brand and online community that champions South Asian youth culture for ages 16-35. They bring the liberated spaces of social media into a real, physical experience.

Their flagship Surrey festival, taking inspiration from both SXSW and Afropunk, features the best of South Asian music, art, fashion, and film. For more information, visit

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