Raffle Winner’s Road Report

Edith Stevens was the lucky winner of the 2018 ArtSpring’s Raffle: A Cultural Affair. The prize for two included ($4,760.00 value):
• Airfare from Ganges to downtown Vancouver return
• A suite at the exclusive L’Hermitage – 3 nights
• Tickets to May 31, 2018, Maestro Bramwell Tovey: A Gala Celebration at the Orpheum Theatre
• Curated Tour of the Vancouver Art Gallery
• Tickets to June 2, 2018, Mamma Mia at Arts Club, Stanley Theatre
• A generous $2,000 allowance to cover meals, taxis, and incidentals to ensure you experience the best Vancouver has to offer.
• Assistance with restaurant reservations.

Edith’s Road Report…

There are a few classic moments in one’s life,  you know, the ones you will never forget: perhaps your wedding day, the birth of your first kid, maybe a bucket list holiday to some awesome place like the Grand Canyon or Lake Louise.   Well, this amazing weekend will be right up there for Richard and me, starting with the seaplane ride from Ganges:  such a treat, no ferry line-ups or crowds at the coffee shop. One feels like a celebrity, zipping into the heart of Vancouver in half an hour.

We walked along Robson Street to our hotel, inconspicuously nestled among the new downtown condo towers.  The folks at L’Hermitage were so welcoming, helpful and kind, each day. They have an outdoor heated lap pool,  bikes for us to use (complete with helmets, a little knapsack, and a map of Vancouver’s extensive bike lanes), and a zillion thread count bedding.  And it was so quiet – always a concern, coming from Salt Spring to a big city! Each morning we feasted on a buffet that included just about every breakfast item one could imagine – perfect eggs,  granola, light flaky croissants, platters of meats, cheeses, and fresh fruit – good thing we had three days to try all the different perfect looking items.

The restaurants we dined at were amazing.   I can’t decide which is more important: that the food looks beautiful,  arranged artistically on the plate, or that it tastes outrageously delicious.   Really classy: when we mentioned to our waiter at Blue Water that we would be sharing our two entree choices,  they offered to plate them up into two half portions, and bring them one at a time…… each perfectly elegant,  just smaller: melt in your mouth sablefish and halibut, with perfect spears of steamed asparagus and tiny roasted beets.  The owner of Bishop’s Restaurant, John Bishop, greeted us at the door as if we were old friends, and came by our table several times over the course of the meal to chat.   The food was again, over the top: roast duck, lamb loin, refreshing pear, fennel and goat cheese salad, decadent chocolate pate, and a beautiful, light, basil pannacotta.    Each meal was not rich or filling, but just the right amount to awaken the taste buds to unique and unusual flavours.

The entertainment part of the weekend was superb.   The VSO Gala for outgoing conductor Bramwell Tovey, while filling the Orpheum Theatre to capacity, had the charm and appeal of a family gathering.   With exceptionally talented musicians playing and singing spirited music together as only the best of friends can, Bramwell effortlessly carried us through the flow of each performance,  sharing colourful anecdotes, and humorous memories of his 18 years with the symphony.

Sixth-row seats for the stage performance of Mamma Mia made us feel like we were on that secluded Greek isle right along with Donna and her decades ago sweethearts,  dancing and singing the familiar songs. With voices that were rich and heartfelt, the minimalist sets that changed with the slightest adjustments, we enjoyed a first class Broadway musical – one we will always remember.

Getting a private tour of the Vancouver Art Gallery of original paintings by Emily Carr gave us new insights about her we did not know and an even greater appreciation of her work. We also took in a new exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology, coming away with an even greater appreciation of British Columbia’s First Nations culture.   We feel so fortunate to call the Pacific Northwest our home.

So how many superlatives are acceptable to include in one article?   This prize weekend was unbelievable, incredibly special for us to be sure.  We flew back Sunday afternoon exhausted but totally exhilarated. The truth of it all, however,  is that we have right here on Salt Spring, much of the great culture a big city has to offer. We will continue to enjoy the gallery shows at ArtSpring (and at the many other art galleries on the island as well) and the first class musical performances here – both by Salt Spring’s own several talented vocal and instrumental groups,  and also concerts by visiting performers. It is a wonderful little theatre. And while their Treasure Fair is always a great fundraiser each summer, I do hope they hold this Cultural Affair raffle again. It felt good to support Artspring, but it sure was amazing to have the winning ticket! A big thank you to the team involved at ArtSpring who did all the work that went into making this prize a well-planned success. We highly recommend that next year you buy a ticket!

Edith and Richard Stevenson