Cheap Parking Near GM Place / Rogers Arena


I fear this could be one of those secrets that I share and no longer becomes useful. Like going through the Duty Free store at the border. It used to turn a 2hr wait into 20 minutes, now everyone pops in to pick up lemon drops and the wait is just the same.

Nonetheless, here’s how you can save $25 on parking when going to events at GM Place. Yes, I said SAVE $25 on parking, because on Saturday night when both the Lions and Canucks were playing, parking in and around the stadiums was $30.

But if you walk a couple blocks towards Chinatown, you can nab a spot for $5. Walk another block and you can grab a HUGE Chinese dinner for 2 for $20 and look what you just did – dinner AND parking with $5 left over for 50-50 tickets at the game.

The lot is at the corner of Keefer and Columbia/Quebec, it has large orange P signs on the side. Pull in, pay your $5 in advance and pick a spot.

Just a block and a half away from the lot is New Town Bakery [158 E Pender]. The siopaos here are legendary and only $1.30. You can also select a 3 item meal and bowl of Won Ton soup for just $11, or scan the value menu for bowls of ramen soup for just $6.50. My grandfather and I had a fully filling meal for just $17 between us.

The only drawback to this parking spot is the area. But, if you’re going on a busy game night, or concert event, there should be enough traffic going to and from the venue at the same time as you to make you feel a little safe.

View chinatown in a larger map

If it’s too dodgy for you, pony up the extra bucks and park downtown or near the rink.

I should add one other place to pick up a great parking deal for events at GM Place would be the Edgewater Casino. There, you can park for free – sorta. The up front fee is $40, but the sign says it’s refundable. That means you have to pay up front, but if you step inside the casino you can get your money back… provided you don’t dump it at the tables.

This lot is a bit of a nightmare getting in and out of. It’s tight, underground and there’s only one way in, and one way out. That means it gets VERY busy after a game when everyone is trying to leave at the same time.

I had my key in the ignition at Keefer and Columbia/Quebec at 9:54. I was home in North Vancouver by 10:11. I’m guessing the guys under the Edgewater were still waiting to get out.

How to do a Vancouver Wedding on a Budget: Picking a Venue

sequoia grill at the teahouse

For more tips check out the complete Vancouver Wedding on a Budget series.

You need two venues when you plan a wedding. One for the ceremony, one for the reception. The best way to save money is to pick a place that can do both or find a place where you can do one of them for free.

Initially Jen and I were planning on getting married along the Ambleside seawall. It’s a place we’ve gone for walks throughout our relationship, and it’s special to us. The District of West Vancouver has no issues with small wedding ceremonies in city parks, as long as you’re a small party and don’t get in anyone’s way.

You will, execute, with a witness, and deliver to the Parks and Community Services Administration Office, a copy of your licence agreement (i.e. the letter of permission) along with consideration in the amount of $100.00. Your letter of permission (signed licence agreement) must be available at the ceremony.
[West Vancouver]

When we started planning the wedding, we figured the ceremony would be there and then it came time to choose a place for a reception. I canvassed some photography and event planning pals and they came out with some great suggestions, but they all came out waay too expensive.


So we decided to plan a lunch wedding, instead of a dinner party. You save on menu, you save on alcohol, and since many of our guests are families with children, you don’t force them to keep their kids up past bedtime.

While we were brainstorming on venues, I kept coming back to the Sequoia Grill at the Teahouse in Stanley Park. Jen really wanted to keep everything on the North Shore, but I knew this would be the perfect place for a reception.

One day last week, Jen and I drove out and decided. That was it. Here’s the best part: we could have the wedding ceremony on the huge lawn at Ferguson Point, just across from the venue.

20091201 vancouver - 49

The wedding and reception would be at the same place. We’d be somewhere filled with many beautiful corners to do wedding photos, and we’d be in the same place as our guests, not worrying about out of towners getting lost, or others needing rides. One place for ceremony and reception.

The City of Vancouver is a little more lenient when it comes to having weddings in city parks. Here are the rules you need to remember:

Wedding ceremonies are held at various locations throughout Stanley Park including Ferguson Point, Rose Garden (maximum 25 people), Third Beach, Devonian Harbour Park, the wooden bridge area in Ceperley Meadow, as well as Lost Lagoon and Beaver Lake. (Please remember: no chairs, tents, awnings, tables, decorations, alcohol, rice or confetti and your group must be less than 50 people.) No bookings allowed in these areas.
[Vancouver Park Board]

In other words, it’s first come first served, keep it small, don’t get in anyone’s way and we won’t charge you a dime!

That’s how we picked a venue for a Vancouver Wedding on a Budget, what are your tips?

2008 Canadian Election Campaign: Why I Voted Liberal

I should start with a disclaimer that I have always voted Liberal. I grew up in the era of Trudeaumania and I have never wavered.

VoteWhen I take issue based surveys, my personal attitudes do sway a bit to the Conservative side of the spectrum, but there are just so many deal breakers associated with the party, I cannot bear myself to vote blue. From a woman’s right to choose, to the faith based nature of policy, to issues of war, the Conservatives just bring too much baggage to the party for me to ever budge.

The negative name calling nature of their advertisements and the silencing top down approach of their leadership will never win me over.

So this election campaign was never about me voting Conservative, it was about whether or not I would continue supporting the Liberal party.

Jen and I voted on Saturday at the advance poll. I had my mind made up and wanted to make sure we had a chance to vote as a family and get Z involved in the process.


I have been very impressed with Jack Layton, ever since he came in to leadership of the NDP. He has been confident, positive, reassuring and just has a trustworthy demeanor. Yes, his party has some very heavy tax and spend policies, but I’ve always liked the man, so I was willing to entertain a vote for the NDP. His adaption of blogging tools, widgets and Twitter during this campaign has also shown me that Jack either gets it, or is eager to surround himself by people that do.

The Greens never really played much into my debate. I’ve always thought them to be a hippy fringe party, with one issue and not much substance for the rest of the meal. That changed on debate night. Elizabeth May jumped in and stirred it up on each and every issue, and many times I agreed with what she was saying.

I was afraid of Stephane Dion. I admit it. He lacks charisma, he’s awkward, he’s bookish. It’s true. But then I watched him on The Hour with George Strombouloupolous and saw, for the first time, a confident, smart, positive man. [watch here]

So I eventually became more comfortable with all 3 parties on the left side of the spectrum.

The election and how to vote has become an issue many bloggers are addressing in their posts. Darren Barefoot voted Green, because he usually does and his riding wasn’t a swing one. Derek Miller voted NDP, because he usually does and the NDP are strong in his riding.

How would I do it?


It would have to be done strategically. Canadians need and must vote strategically this election. A vote swap Facebook app has even been created to help things move along.

With 3 parties crowding the left side of the ledger, it’s obvious we’re a socially responsible society that doesn’t mind a bit of tax and spend. The problem lies with the Conservatives gobbling up all the right wing religious, family values, socially conservative, small government people all to themselves.

So unless Canadians place their votes together strategically for candidates that have a chance to defeat the Conservative in their riding, the Tories will glide up the middle of the vote split and sweep to a majority.


My riding is North Vancouver. The incumbent MP is a Liberal, Don Bell. He’s a former Mayor of the region and has never lost an election in his 30+ year career in public office. The Conservative challenger is Saxton. A guy who got on his horse on opening day of the campaign and plugged signs up and down every major boulevard in the district. He’s been running and running hard.

I heard a candidate round table on the news radio one morning and the Green candidate was late to phone in while the NDP made opening remarks that I only remember as being totally ridiculous and not relevant to the campaign at hand.


It was then my mind was made up. I had an incumbent Liberal who was in tight against an aggressive Conservative. I am comfortable with Dion as Prime Minister so I voted where my vote needed to go.

Election day is October 14.

I spent some time strategizing my vote. If you’re Conservative, there is no strategy – vote for your man/woman. If you do not like Stephen Harper, then you need to look a little deeper to figure out where your vote will do the most damage. This is not an election to be taken lightly.

Vote. And vote strategically.

The Blog According to Buzz. Spread the word, ya heard?

How to do a Vancouver Wedding on a Budget: Picking Invitations

20008-04-01 france (71)

Be sure to check out the complete Vancouver Wedding on a Budget series of posts.

When planning for invitations, there are a few hidden costs that you don’t think of right off the top when you’re doing things like choosing stationery, font, colours, theme and layout – mainly, postage.

It’s proper to send a self addressed stamped envelope for the RSVP with each invitation, so that immediately doubles your postage costs for each invite.

Jen and I are only going to be sending out 40-50 invites, so that’s only an additional $25 for return postage, but if you’re having a big wedding, it can quickly add up, especially when you factor in reply cards and extra envelopes.

But, as with anything, there are many ways to cut costs when it comes invites.

You can simply email your guests and sort their responses on your own for nothing. You can step your presentation a bit by creating an eVite which will let you add a little bit of wedding personality to your invitations, and it will manage your responses for you – again for free.

If you want to go traditional and have actual printed invitations mailed to guests, there are still ways to save.

Jen and I are wanting to try something a little more traditional, while still having a new media flare. So we’re choosing to mail invitations, but have the RSVPs handled online through a personal wedding website. (I’ll tackle the personal wedding website in a future installment)

I tossed the question out on Twitter one night, and got an instant response. “Use a Google Form for RSVPs, will populate a spreadsheet of guests,” wrote @dougsymington.

I tested it. It’s brilliant. I can ask guests to choose menu items, provide email addresses, give us information about special needs, and have it all instantly populated on a spreadsheet for easy viewing and management.

The Google Form is free, it’s embeddable in our wedding website, it’s totally customizable and it’s thorough in its managing of information.

When it comes to saving money on the invites, doing them yourself is the easiest way. I can take a photo with special meaning to Jen and I (definitely not the one below!) and have it printed on a postcard with iPhoto on my Mac.


With iPhoto, you can add all the fancy scripty font and then you just put the wedding website and RSVP address on the bottom.

Going the postcard will mean we dont have to buy envelopes to mail the invites, and we can keep the design to just one card (saving paper costs). By having the RSVPs online, we dont have to buy extra reply cards, envelopes and postage.

Total cost for invites, including postage, would be about $2 each!

What are your secrets for saving on wedding invitations? Let me know.

The Blog According to Buzz. Spread the word, ya heard?

How to do a Vancouver Wedding on a Budget: Picking a Cake

Cupcakes wedding cakes

Be sure to check out the complete Wedding on a Budget series of posts.

Jen and I are still 9 months out from our wedding, a little early to be booking cakes and flowers and the like, but we want to do this on a budget so we’re planning ahead and getting as much information as we can.

Today was a meeting with Cupcakes. Jen and I love their stuff. They’re cute, yummy, and as I’ve said many times before the Chocolate Chocolate Cupcake with Penfolds Bin 2 is one of my favourite things in the world.

So we had a consultation to talk budget, design and more. We’re planning on 60 people at the wedding, and a 3 tier cake at $8 a serving would roll us out at $500. Wow.

But that’s not all, Christina told me on Twitter that most venues also ding you for a $2-$3 cake cutting fee.

So let’s back things up a bit.

We also looked at a simple 7″ cake and a tier of cupcakes. That worked out better, $250.

My pal Shelley told me some venues still ding you for a cutting fee, even on cupcakes! WTF? See dollar signs when the word wedding is mentioned, or what?

Even with the cupcake version, things are still sounding very expensive, especially after what I was hearing on Twitter today.

“Oh please don’t book with cupcakes – you pay through the roof there for sickly sweet sugar and the brand,” said Laura.

John got his done by a friend for a mere $125.

Sean suggested going to VCC. “Solid cakes without the diabetic coma.”

John said to skip the cake altogether, and Susan agreed.

“We saved money and did a hard candy buffet and chocolate fondue. SAVED $$,” she wrote.

So this weekend we’ll go to WestLynn Bakery, a classic for kids from the shore, to have a look at their Lemon Cake.

We settled on a quote from Cupcakes that would give us a 7″ cake with some sugar butterflies scattered on it sitting on 3 tiers of 60 small and large cupcakes with pink, orange and yellow icing.

We have until January to make the order, so there is lots of time to shop around.

What are your thoughts on wedding cakes and how to get a good one on a budget?

The Blog According to Buzz. Spread the word, ya heard?

Note: this post was re-published from the Internet Archive after the original posting was lost in a drive crash. You can follow the original comment thread there.