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Serial Images and Reading the City

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A week ago I visited the Surrey Arts Centre for the Among the Plazas and the Courts: Writers Reading the City event. Presented in partnership with Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Creative Writing program.

With all the changes happening in Surrey, I thought it would be interesting to hear how the expression of ‘city life’ is changing in writing and art. After all, art imitates life, right?

Upon entering the Arts Centre, my first stop was the gallery to check out Beyond Vague Terrain: The City and the Serial Image. This exhibition showcases a combination of photography and serial images to represent ideas of the city.

Some of my favourites:  Sylvia Grace Borda’s . A very bold, yet somber collection of  backdrops and bus stops in Surrey. Did you know that there are 1100 bus stops in Surrey? Enjoyed the larger -than- life stops of the city.

Another winner is Vancouver Apartments by Chris Gergely,  a series of photographs of walk up apartment buildings in Vancouver. I spent a lot of time in front of these, examining the way these apartments invite us in through their glass doors. Retro in the urban. Some of the photographs made me feel like I was standing in front of an-old time stage. I’ll never see a walk up apartment in the same light again.

Millennium Line by Khan Lee is composed of a series of photos that continued the length of 3 walls, simulating a panoramic ride with the vantage point from the top of a moving Skytrain car. 300 000 stills were used in the piece. If you ride the train, you’ll appreciate this meaningful combination of stillness and movement through serial photography. The art exhibit runs to March 18th & I highly recommend that you check out all the fabulous displays. Grab a coffee at the gallery cafe, take in some art, and contemplate the city.

There were four writers on the panel of Reading the City that evening, locals Sadhu Binning, Jeff Derksen and Cecily Nicholson, and Portland-based writer, Matthew Stadler (who told me he ventured to Vancouver via rail. Must do that sometime). Each read selections and provided commentary on their own works and other authors, reflecting various aspects and ideas of the city.

I enjoyed all the writers, their perspectives and heart they brought to the readings and discussions. Sadhu Binning recited a colourful poem reminiscing about the people who  lived on his route when he worked as a postman in the 1970s. Cecily Nicholson gave an emotive and insightful  depiction of life in a Whalley neighbourhood written after coming home from her experience of the G20 in the summer of 2010. Jeff Derksen was clever, playful and thought- provoking with his style of writing. The questions he poses through his work made me more aware of Capitalism within the context of the urban environment. Matthew Stadler was quirky and highly intriguing. His mention of the ‘in- between city’  and how the city landscape is portrayed by people and literature. Very relevant in today’s world of constant change in our environments.  I was inspired by all these unique individuals.

I was very thankful that I spent some time at this event taking in these forms of expression. Remember, you don’t have to be a connoisseur of fine things to appreciate and enjoy art. Art is a tool for learning and discovery that is open for everyone to enjoy.  As I sat in the program room that had reached capacity, I realized that I was sitting amongst a diverse group of people from all generations and backgrounds living this experience together.  I spoke with some of the people who seemed like regulars and others who seemed to be visiting the art space for the first time. It truly was a feeling of community & we are fortunate to have these spaces and places to get together.  There’s art waiting for you in the city, so make a point to check out what’s going on at the Surrey Arts Centre.

Fatima was born and raised in Surrey. She is a yoga fanatic and loves aromatherapy. Her professional experiences are in Community Development, Communications/Marketing, & Human Resources. Fatima has been an active volunteer within the community for several years. With a passion for the creative and a love for the entrepreneurial spirit, Fatima is excited to bring something new to our city.

Events

Get in the Christmas spirit with these five local events

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christmas event in surrey
A Wonderheads Christmas Carol via Surrey Civic Theatres / Facebook

The holiday season is here and that means warm drinks, baked treats and heartwarming holiday movies. Due to strict COVID-19 restrictions last year, most people spent the holiday season at home, but this year more events are available to be enjoyed safely.

If you’re looking to enjoy some Christmas carols, watch a play with family and friends or find fun activities for the kids, then look no further than these fun events that will be hosted in Surrey this month.

Swing Dance Christmas

If you have a holiday party to attend this month and you want to brush up on your dancing skills, try taking a swing dancing class. Rock Step Swing Dance is hosting a swing dance Christmas event on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. The class will be 45 minutes and attendees will enjoy some Christmas snacks and a dance session afterwards. The class costs $20 and anyone who wants to attend can get their tickets here. There are 75 spots available in the class.

Alice in Wonderland

The holiday season is also a time to revisit childhood memories by watching a panto. The Royal Canadian Theatre Company will be presenting the play Alice in Wonderland, written by Crystal Weltzin, at the Surrey Arts Centre. The play will run from Dec. 16 to 19, 23, 24 and 26. Tickets cost $34.99 for adults, and $29.99 for seniors over 60 years of age and children under 12. If you want to make it a family outing, there is a group price of $115 for four people.

Christmas Train

For a more active event for children, check out Bear Creek Park’s Christmas train from Dec. 6 to 31, excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Families with two children and two adults can pay $35 to attend and single tickets are $11.50. In this train ride, families will get to enjoy all things Christmas like Santa, hot cocoa, Christmas music and pretty lights.

A Christmas Carol

Another Christmas show to check out is A Wonderheads Christmas Carol presented by the Wonderheads at the Surrey Civic theatre on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. If you enjoyed Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, you’ll be sure to enjoy this play because this is reportedly an adaptation of the novel. Tickets are $26 for children and $39 for adults and they are going fast.

Christmas Choir

For those who love the sounds of Christmas, check out the Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir who will be performing at the Surrey Arts Centre on Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. This group of talented men have reportedly been performing in Surrey for the past 30 years. Attendees are required to show their vaccine card and wear a mask, and tickets are $29 and can be purchased here.

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The Surrey Holiday Lights festival is kicking off next week

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surrey holiday lights
Image via Surrey Holiday Lights / Facebook

There is a spectacular and dazzling new light and music festival coming to Surrey Civic Plaza this holiday season called Surrey Holiday Lights.

It will follow the annual Surrey Tree Lighting Festival which takes place on Nov. 20, and will remain open into January. There will be live entertainment, carollers, and an immersive Christmas lights extravaganza.

What to expect at the Surrey Holiday Lights festival 

There will be a tent with Santa and his elves, his workshop, and a holiday house. Enjoy enchanting displays in the Glow Gardens with interactive areas and light tunnels. Then sway to live entertainment taking place at the North Pole and Snowflake stages.

As expected you will be treated with a variety of holiday eats. There will be food trucks serving up mini doughnuts, twisted potatoes, crepes, savoury meals, and many tasty snacks. Stay warm with gourmet hot chocolate, special coffees, or enjoy a craft beer or cooler.

There will also be a chance to catch a glimpse of Santa himself. Santa will be taking free photos through the month of December.

The festival will run daily from Nov. 25 to Jan. 2 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Surrey Civic Plaza, 13450 104 Avenue. For more information, visit www.surreyholidaylights.com.

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A brand new immersive light festival is coming to Surrey next month

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lumagica

The Lumagica light festival is making its Canadian debut right here in Surrey.  

Starting Dec. 3, guests will get to experience a holiday festival of lights like never before. Lumagica is an outdoor/indoor event that is bringing joy and brightness to every city it touches. 

Lumagica, created by MK Illuminations, provides a unique opportunity to get into the holiday spirit. It has been experienced on a global level, and is now coming to the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. 

With more than 120 features and ornaments, a light tunnel, magical North Pole village, Gingerbread Lane and a fully lit forest, there is so much to enjoy. You can stroll along a one kilometre light walk and feel the magic of Christmas. Do all this while warming up with a cup of cocoa, mulled wine, or one of the other food and drink options available. 

There will also be an opportunity to visit Jolly Ol’ St. Nick and his cabin in the North Pole. There you will also find a wide array of delicious treats and eats, live entertainment, or go shopping at the marketplace. 

To get the full experience along with memories to take home, be sure to have your camera ready to capture the festive backdrops for holiday photos. 

Lumagica will be held at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds in Surrey from December 3 to 30, 2021. The immersive experience will be open daily from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

Tickets start is $16 and are available online at lumagica.ca. Children under age 4 are free, and discounts will be offered for families, post-secondary students, and seniors.

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Events

Where to be spooked this Halloween weekend

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cougar creek halloween surrey
Image via Cougar Creek's House of Horrors / Facebook

It’s that time of year where we carve pumpkins, indulge in scary movies, check out haunted houses and fill ourselves up with candy. There are so many local activities in Surrey to partake in this Halloween that it’s hard to pick just one.

If you’re struggling to narrow down how to spend Oct. 31, we’ve put together a list of spooktacular outings that shouldn’t be missed. Whether you’re looking for a haunted house, a place to enjoy spooky treats or just somewhere to play Halloween games, Surrey has it.

Halloween Pumpkin Express 

For families with young children, Halloween Pumpkin Express will be a good place to check out. It’s at Bear Creek Park and families can enjoy a train ride through the forest. The tickets for the daytime train ride cost $11.50 each for anyone over age 2, and $14.70 for the night train which is recommended for people over the age of 12.

The kids on the train will reportedly receive a snack as they enjoy their ride and a little pumpkin to take home. The day train runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the night train runs from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Cougar Creek’s House of Horrors

Now, if you’re looking to get scared, look no further. What was formerly known as Potter’s House of Horrors has been renamed to Cougar Creek’s House of Horrors — and it’s just as scary as ever.

Get ready for a double dose of fright because each ticket allows access to two haunted houses. Tickets can be purchased online and the website advises that they sell out fast.

Cougar Creek’s House of Horrors requires proof of full vaccination for customers 12 and up to access the haunted house. You can pick anytime from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. this Friday and Saturday. Sunday is the last day to check out this haunted house and it will be open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. that night.

Mainland Whiskey’s trivia and costume contest 

For costume contests and fun trivia games, Mainland Whiskey, a distillery in South Surrey is offering a fun Halloween night on Saturday starting at 4 p.m. The distillery promises yummy soul food, fun prizes, and spooky cocktails.

The trivia will start at 7 p.m. and space is limited so make sure to arrive on time.

Spooky desserts at Rocky Mountain Chocolate 

Of course the perfect way to end Halloween is with some yummy spooky desserts. Head over to Guildford Town Centre for some sugary treats at Rocky Mountain Chocolate. There are also spooky chocolate packages available online.

Make sure to check out as many fun and frightening places as possible and celebrate safely.

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There could be another music festival coming to Surrey this fall

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Holland Park Surrey Fvded

The FVDED in the Park music festival last weekend was just the beginning. Music lovers in Surrey can get geared up for another festival coming their way — the Contact Winter Music Festival.

The Contact Festival pulled off an epic show in Vancouver earlier this year. In February the show took place on the roof of BC Place Stadium. Fans were able to watch virtually and enjoy live music to beat the pandemic blues.

Now it appears that the Contact Festival may take place in October at Surrey’s Holland Park.

There haven’t been a lot of details released to confirm the event, nor tickets on sale, however Stay Happening has announced that the festival will take place from October 8 to 10, 2021.

Contact Festival & The Organizers

The Contact Winter Music Festival has been running since 2012, and normally takes place inside BC Place, hosting 36,000 people. The music played and presented is the best in EDM (electronic dance music). The 2-day festival highlights up-and-coming Canadian artists.

This event normally takes place in December, but was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. Event organizers then put together a virtual performance that was broadcasted live from the roof of BC Place.

Now there are murmurs of the festival taking place in Holland Park this October, perhaps to a smaller degree.

FVDED in the Park just wrapped up on September 11 at Surrey’s Holland Park, and this festival is brought on by the same event organizers, BluePrint. FVDED also brought together technical and electronic music, with headliners such as DeadMau5.

BluePrint operates venues like Celebrities Night Club on Davie Street, Venue on Granville Street and the Fortune Sound Club on East Pender, all in Vancouver.

Holland Park

Holland Park is a popular park in Surrey’s City Centre and is located beside Central City. The park is huge, covering 10 hectares. Although it isn’t the largest park, it is often referred to as the “Central Park” of Surrey.

One of the main draws for Holland Park is its ability to host events. There have been numerous events and festivals organized at this park over the years. 

Fans are excited to learn more details about the Contact Festival in hopes that Surrey’s City Centre will get another major event.

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