Éric Lapointe

Back home, artists like Garou and Éric Lapointe would be guaranteed sellouts, but tabarnak, the place was nearly 3/4 empty both times I went to see these famous Quebecers this past week (which means probably less than a thousand people showed up each night). What luck for us few who know better (joke…) and get to see up close these “Vancouver”  hidden gems for free! :D

OK, so maybe the percentage of people who speak or understand French is not that high here. Still, I would have thought that curiosity would have filled in the gaps with the Vancouver population overflowing with Olympics tourists and athletes.

Anyhow, rocker Éric Lapointe and his band delivered a great show for us and the small crowd gave him a warm welcome, shouting “Lapointe! Lapointe!” even before he set foot on stage and continued throughout the evening.




I suggest you check out the schedule on the Place de la francophonie website and sample some of the music on YouTube. Who knows, you might be surprised. Like, did you know that legendary Quebecer Zachary Richard is actually an American from Louisiana who sings in French? And remember André-Philippe Gagon? He’s the imitator who shot to fame with his one-man rendition of “We Are The World” back in the mid-eighties. These guys will be performing this week. Don’t come in too big numbers, though; I’ve been thoroughly enjoying those front row seats myself! :D




It was back to my roots tonight as I went to the “Place de la francophonie” to see a very famous Québec artist — Garou (remember him from the opening ceremony?). The portion where Garou sang old classics that had French origins was brilliant. He would sing mostly in French, with occasional verses in English or Spanish, and back again to French for the chorus. I never knew that Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” was actually a cover of a French song. :s  Great show.


With Québec singer Élizabeth Blouin-Brathwaite


The Italy House, located at the Yaletown Roundhouse Community Centre. Nothing much to do unfortunately. But I liked these funky chairs and some ski equipment that were on display. I doubt it was free, but there was a section for wine tasting too.

4:30pm, the Netherlands’ famous Heineken House was already full. Lots of disappointed people had to be turned away to look for other things to do instead. And I just heard on CTV News that in the evening you needed your Dutch passport to get in! :s It will be difficult to get in what some call the biggest party place of the Games (4,000 people capacity). Oh and one word of advice: if the weather is so-so, bring an umbrella with a flat top with you. My huge, pointy umbrella had to be put aside as I entered the O Zone. Luckily, the rain held off while I was there.

Watching the Olympics at the CTV booth on Robson St., cheering freestyle mogul skier Jennifer Heil on. She won a silver medal. :)

The overwhelming trend of the day is that the fun free things to do require you to stand in line for a long time and if there are no lineups, expect a boring experience. :s


(Another edit… I think this is the simplest way to go about telling/showing you where the free stuff is)


LiveCity Vancouver/Yaletown
Richmond O Zone
Ziplining Downtown
Place de la francophonie
Vancouver Art Gallery

And this page with its great collection of free venues. The above links can be found on the map right here:

Free activities at the Olympics? Now here’s something to smile about. :D

You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the Olympics. Have fun while they last; in just a few weeks it will be all over! ;)


Yaletown Splash
Once in a while they open some fire hydrant valves that shoot up in the sky and give us a spectacular show!

Last weekend Gastown was the stage for the free shows and this past weekend it was Yaletown’s turn.  The weather was perfect.  Well, maybe a little too hot?  on Saturday, me and my friends tried to find a spot in the shade with a decent view on the stage, but of course, they were all taken…

 Too Hot to Handle
The shade was our best friend this weekend — it was HOT!!!

Free Jazz at David Lam Park
The David Lam Park in Yaletown.  That ice cream vendor is sure to make a buck sooner than later! ;)

After roasting in the Sun for about 30 minutes, we decided to head to the indoor stage.  A show was already on and, since spots away from the Sun were on high demand, I only managed to sneak way back in the room, with a wooden pillar right in my face. :s  The band Sliding Hammers was playing:

Sliding Hammers
Swedish sisters Mimmi Pettersson Hammar and Karin Hammar

Sliding Hammers
A fine piano solo just ended

I especially liked Ronnie Gardiner, the drummer, from which you could feel a deep sense of joy through his playing (not that the others weren’t having fun — they were; it was just most apparent in him).  He was all smiles and sooo relaxed behind his drum set whether it was a mellow song or playing through a solo.  Going to live shows is so much fun when you can feel that energy emanating from the band/artist.  It was a very enjoyable show with great music and good laughs listening to the comments the sisters had for us in-between songs.

Official Website


Festival Banner in Gastown
Free Jazz in Gastown! :)

I had an excellent first show as I went to Gastown Saturday to enjoy some of the free concerts happening there this weekend.  At 90 years young, Dal Richards is one cool cat on stage and his orchestra is very talented indeed.  There was not one weak number in their set, consisting mostly (if not all) of jazz standards, usually leaning on the uptempo swing style.

If you live in Vancouver or are passing by this Summer, why not check the orchestra out at the Fair at the PNE this year?  Mr. Richards was telling us that they will be playing for us every day at noon and 2PM there, throughout the fair.  Don’t miss out on this entertaining performance!

Dal Richards and his Orchestra
Dal Richards and his Orchestra


With All His Heart
Dal had to wave a white towel at him so he wouldn’t overheat from his smokin’ rendition
(I forgot the name of the song — “it’s not on the CD”, Dal said :) )

Sax Player
Saxin’ it up

Battle Of The Drums Raging On
Battle Of The Drums raging on — lol!

Dal Richards
Dal Richards