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Throughout the school year, UBC students perform their own compositions and the work of classical masters at the Roy Barnett Recital Hall at UBC, free of charge. Get a glimpse of future artists in this ongoing series of grad recitals. And be sure to have a glass of wine with Miss A, a recital fixture who attends every performance in the gusto of her Sunday best. (She’s even got a Facebook fan page.) 604-822-0182. Music.ubc.ca
Get a taste of Aboriginal cuisine at VCC’s student-run Wild Salmon restaurant, open May through August. This dine-dining room offers up starters for $4, mains for $9, and desserts for $3. Try anything with oolichan oil, a nutritious, über-British Columbian delicacy. 250 W. Pender St., 604-443-8352. Vcc.ca
Rent the Baldwin House for a private dinner party. The Arthur Erickson-designed gem sits alone on Burnaby’s pristine Deer Lake. Downstairs there’s room for a dozen to dine together. $325 per night in the high season or $1,500 for a whole week. Be sure to book months in advance. Blog.conservancy.bc.ca
Watch an opera from backstage. Join the Opera’s Director’s Circle by donating any sum greater than $10,000, and they’ll arrange it. Once you’re in the Circle, “concierge” Carmen Murphy will be handling your parking passes, special dinners, and any other opera-oriented needs that might arise. Contact Carmen Murphy at 604-682-2871 xtn 4832.
Throwing a cocktail party is all fun and games until you realize your bar stock is weak (half a bottle of cheap vodka won’t cut it) and you don’t know your Manhattan from your Mai Tai. The handsome lads with Amy Elliott Cocktails will sort you out. Friends since grade school, the three guys have 15 years’ combined experience working behind the wood, and they come with their own sleek setup, including glassware and dozens of top-shelf recipes. 604-764-9379. Amyelliottcocktails.com
There’s no better way to revel in the bounty of our local foodstuffs than by sitting down to a linen-draped table planted in the middle of UBC Farm in the heart of summer as a local chef (like Bishop’s Andrea Carlson or Refuel’s Robert Belcham) plies you with course after course of regional delicacies and B.C. wines. Outstandinginthefield.com
When conditions are right (the air is bracingly cold and the sky is clear of its wintry cobwebs), snowshoeing under a full moon on Mount Seymour is transcendent. Nothing breaks the muffled silence but crunching footsteps. Time slows. And at the end you’re rewarded with a panoramic view of the city, which feels a little like walking back through the wardrobe from Narnia. 604-986-2261. Mountseymour.com
In earshot of the small waves lapping onto Second Beach, movies are shown on a giant screen at Ceperley Meadow in Stanley Park. Pack snacks, bring a blanket, and enjoy the incongruous graces of nature’s media room. Westendbia.com
The monopoly tycoons of the 19th century may have done their wheeling and dealing in musty mansions with poncy Ports, but the lap of luxury in the 21st century involves an epicurean escapade with a bottle of Luxor Brut – a delectably smooth blend of Pinot Noir and 24-karat gold leaves. $7,000 a bottle. Oru Restaurant at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, 1038 Canada Place, 604-695-5500.
Walk the meditation labyrinth at St. Paul’s Anglican Church on the last Friday of the month, when they offer candlelight and live music. 130 Jervis St., 604-685-6832.
Enjoy a spectacular view of Robson Square from the rooftop pavilion of the Vancouver Art Gallery. You’ve rented it and brought in Rob Feenie to cook a private dinner party, of course. Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby St., 604-662-4714. Vanartgallery.bc.ca
Two hundred artists put up 400 pieces for sale at The Cheaper Show each June, a raucous happening/exhibition growing this year to include a Toronto edition as well. Here’s the deal: Everything costs $200. Skip your lattes for a month. Thecheapershow.com