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  • May 25, 2023 edition - To swim at Vancouver’s beaches, or not to swim?

May 25, 2023 edition - To swim at Vancouver’s beaches, or not to swim?


The weather is getting warmer and we’re well on the way to a proper(ly scorching) summer, which means that Vancouverites and visitors alike will be flocking to the city’s many beaches over the coming months.

Which, year after year, prompts the age-old question: Can you, or even should you, swim in the ocean around Vancouver?

Go to any beach when the sun is shining and you’ll see some people popping into the water. Not many—it’s cold Canadian water, after all—but still, a few. Hell, you’ll even see some particularly bold people going for polar bear dips during the winter. Some locals will swear it’s not worth the E.coli risk, while others will surely argue that a quick dip doesn’t hurt.

Then there’s also the debate about what beach has the cleanest (well, least dirty, more like) water for swimming. Why is English Bay’s water known to be so much more hazardous than, say, Wreck Beach? Is Spanish Banks a better swimming spot than Kits Beach? Will you grow an extra arm if you dare to dip a toe into False Creek?

Here’s the thing; we’re actually asking you. Let us know in our poll below just what Vancouver’s true thoughts on ocean swimming are—and why.

Do you swim at beaches around Vancouver? If so, which one is the best?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

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Paul Simonon and Galen Ayers savour songwriting on their sparkling collaborative debut

About five years ago, Paul Simonon was exploring the Mallorcan coastline and came across a remote fishing village. The legendary Clash bassist returned a few months later to spend over a year there, painting and carving and busking in the streets with local musicians.

When he eventually headed back home to London, Simonon connected with his friend, singer-songwriter and activist Galen Ayers, who, similarly, had been in Greece, a few waves over, writing. The duo began exchanging and developing ideas.


The Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival is back Jun. 24-25!

The continent's flagship dragon boat festival hits False Creek next month, and there's more than ever to see. With dragon boat races every eight minutes starting at 9am, the TD Main Stage's 100% local lineup including Dear Rouge and Sabai, cultural demonstrations and activities, food trucks, local vendors, and lion and dragon dance.

The Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival's 35th anniversary is Vancouver's ultimate summer kickoff party!


Deadliest April on record: 206 people in BC died from unregulated toxic drugs

206 people died from unregulated drugs in BC last month, according to the latest report from the BC Coroners Service.

An average of 6.9 people in the province died every day, in the deadliest April on record, bringing the total number of deaths in 2023 to 814. If deaths continue at this rate, the unregulated drug death toll will top 2,500 this year.


Boca del Lupo’s VR Salon reflects on what it means to be human

Two Venice Film Festival award-winning films will be shown at Boca del Lupo’s VR Salon at the Fishbowl on Granville Island from May 24 to 28.

Boca del Lupo is a Vancouver-based theatre company that hosts performances in unconventional spaces, which co-founder and artistic director Sherry J Yoon describes to the Straight as being “part of the creation of the work.”

“I really feel that I’m a reflection of the city that has supported me,” Yoon says. “It’s a great opportunity to be an artist in the city… working with different artists, different theatre makers, dance makers, filmmakers, animators, scuba divers, rock climbers and just a real cross-section of disciplines.”

Featured arts listings

  • Big Dog Energy: Vancouver's best dog-friendly comedy show featuring local and international comedians will be at The MOTN on Thursday night. | May 25 | $18.50 | The MOTN

  • Spend your summer with Carousel Theatre for Young People. Their wide range of summer camps are filling up quick!*

  • WILD NIGHT Burlesque Show: Featuring some of Vancouver’s most entertaining performers and presented by Clare Voyeur, WILD NIGHT will include gogo dancing, games, and a signature cocktail to make for a sexy Sunday night at Portside Pub. | May 28 | $33+ | Portside Pub

  • Tremors Festival presents Stages of Transformation! An artistic showcase bringing together theatre artists, arts-workers, and creative communities exploring how abolition and transformative justice can impact theatre-making.*

  • Studio Showing: VDCM: Tethered features three works by Virginia Duivenvoorden and Kay Huang (VDCM) which explore the invisible threads that connect us forward and pull us back. | June 2 | Free, register in advance | Scotiabank Dance Centre

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Visit Vancouver Bubble Tea Festival this summer!

Canada’s largest Bubble Tea Festival is returning to Burnaby Swangard Stadium, Jul. 7-9, bringing you the theme of Taste of Taiwan and two nights of outdoor movie. Get your tickets now!


On Our Radar: Space Queen takes a cosmic trip to the dark side of the moon with new EP, Nebula

With ’70s-style garage rock elevated by gorgeous harmonies and psychedelic melodies, Space Queen’s sophomore EP, Nebula, is a cosmic trip to the dark side of the moon.

Heavy jams are balanced with acoustic interludes that show off the musical dexterity and vocal chops of the trio, comprised of Jenna Earle (guitar), Seah Maister (bass/keys), and Karli MacIntosh (drums), underscoring their stoner sensibilities with an ethereal quality that recalls the group’s former folk project, Sound of the Sun.

Featured music events

  • Babygirl: The Toronto duo–comprised of Kiki Frances and Cameron Bright–is performing at the Biltmore Cabaret on Thursday. | May 25 | $17 | Biltmore Cabaret

  • Fruit Bats with Jeffrey Silverstein: The American indie rock band from Chicago, Illinois will be performing with support from Portland-based indie country artist Jeffrey Silverstein. | 8pm | May 27 | $36 | Commodore Ballroom

  • Join Vancouver’s renowned, multi-faith choir, Universal Gospel Choir for How I Got Over. Saturday, Jun. 3 at the Vancouver Unitarian Church on 49th and Oak.*

  • Alive N KISSin': Vancouver's Premier KISS Tribute band is playing a free outdoor show at Burnaby’s Hats Off Day 2023. | 11:30am | June 3 | Free | Big stage at the intersection of Hastings and Carleton

  • Canadian rockers The Dirty Nil and Daniel Romano's Outfit combine forces for a supercharged Canadian 2023 tour rolling into the Rickshaw Theatre on Jun. 15.*

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Don’t miss the 2023 Vancouver International Jazz Festival this summer, from Jun. 23 until Jul. 2. With more than 140 shows, including 50 free performances at venues across downtown and Granville Island. For tickets and show information visit CoastalJazz.ca.


From jackfruit to lime bombs: four beers to get you set for summer

Summer is almost here, and that means it's time to dive into beers that fall under the umbrella of light, fruity, and fun.

These are four beers that you’ll need to check out—if not make permanent staples—this summer.

The Rest of the events

  • Planted Expo: Check out dozens of speakers and 200+ exhibitors ranging from food and beverage providers to beauty products, health and nutrition brands, home decor items, and more. | May 27 and 28 | $20 | Vancouver Convention Centre West

  • Journaling in the Park: Explore healthier relationships through journaling. No experience is needed. Just bring a notebook, pen, and something to sit on. | 10am | May 27 | Free | Ceperley Park covered picnic area

  • An Evening in Space with Plasteroid: Plasteroid returns to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre with a second installment of their successful Planetarium show, featuring live chilled out ambient music set to a journey through our solar system. | 7:30pm | May 27 | $23 | H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

  • At the Vancouver AI Conference on May 28, attendees explore AI innovation, ethics, and future, engaging with industry leaders and gaining valuable insights for a successful AI journey.*

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