Let’s face it – navigating across Vancouver’s congested bridges can be an aggravating exercise, particularly during the rush hour commute. Pack your patience: there’s a very good reason to visit West Vancouver this week.
Now in its 26th year, the 10-day Harmony Arts Festival (on through Sunday, August 7) comes alive along the scenic waterfront on Argyle Avenue from 14th to 16th Streets. If spectacular views of the coastline and Stanley Park aren’t enough to draw your attention, there are a variety of activities to please all the senses.
Choices abound for music, film, art and culinary experiences. All ages are sure to find something interesting to do and most events are absolutely free!
Community collaboration and strong sponsorship from Odlum Brown Limited makes this popular annual festival possible.
Making a debut this year is Mixology on the Pier, a fundraising evening that promised fabulous music, tempting morsels and creative, bold drinks. I was happy to have been invited to this inaugural evening of bartending magic.
Vancouver is home to a wealth of renowned bartenders who hail from all over the world. Eight of Vancouver’s best, including Grant Sceney (Canadian Bartender of the Year), Sabrine Dhaliwal (2015 Belvedere Cocktail Challenge London winner) and Alex Black (2015 Deighton Cup Cocktail Director), dazzled visitors with their individual brands of libation magic.
Eight distinct bar stations, featuring exuberant local mixologists, entertained guests with a mix of mirth, showmanship and aperitif wizardry. Every visitor was given a “gem” that they could use to vote for their favorite drink in the cocktail competition.
– Olivia Povarchook’s bubbly, tangy Ye-Ye Girl
– Jayton Paul’s fragrant and locally sourced Fir Trade
– Alex Black’s spicy, bold and lip-tingling Fogo e Paixao
– Sabrine Dhaliwah’s floral, vivacious Sockdollager
– Shea Hogan’s strong and comforting Hart of Gold
– Katie Ingram’s tangy and aromatic Kick Safe
– Robyn Gray’s frothy, luscious Garden Terrace Margarita
– Grant Sceney’s earthy and fresh Apparition of Purity
Bon Vivant Catering provided mouth-watering canapés with West Coast flair. Portobello skewers, bison sliders and freshly shucked oysters were gobbled up by eager guests. The only complaint I heard amongst the merriment was that there wasn’t enough food to satiate everyone.
There were, however, no protests for lack of drink.
Ambleside Pier was staged to look like a pop-up beach, although the giant cones reminded me more of shark’s teeth than boat sails.
No one seemed to mind amidst the glorious Vancouver backdrop, a sublime sunset and the clinking of cheerful glasses.
The goal of Mixology Night was to raise $15,000 for local art programs. Judging from the intoxicated, sold-out crowd, the Harmony Arts crew deserves a toast to its own success.
Photos by Cora Li.