Norman Armour, head of Vancouver’s popular PuSh festival, stepping down

Norman Armour is stepping down as artistic and executive director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

He helped to found the popular Vancouver cultural festival in 2003 and has been the festival’s leader ever since.He will leave the post official on April 27.

“In the early beginnings of PuSh, co-founder Katrina Dunn and I wanted to effect change with the creation of a vibrant festival for the contemporary performing arts. We envisioned Vancouver
artists forging new relationships and new business opportunities with the rest of Canada and beyond; and saw the potential benefits of a dynamic interplay between seemingly disparate
disciplines, between arts patrons, and between the city’s venues and creative communities,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

“I am immensely proud of the countless successes, rewarding partnerships and groundbreaking milestones the organization has afforded me, and I look forward — with great anticipation — to where new leadership will take PuSh in 2019 and beyond.”

Next January’s program is already in place, making the 15th edition of the festival Amour’s final instalment.

Armour is set to remain in Vancouver but will take on a consulting role with the Australian Council for the Arts, beginning in May. He will will lead the development and implementation of the Australian Council’s international strategy in North America.

“Norman has been an outstanding Artistic and Executive Director, who has led with unwavering devotion, commitment and bold creativity; forever changing the face of Vancouver’s arts scene,” says Mira Oreck, President of PuSh Festival’s board of directors. “Norman is leaving the organization in the strongest place it has ever been, positioning us extremely well as we plan for the next exciting stage of PuSh.”

The festival added in a media release: “During his tenure, Armour brought his zeal to connect audiences to artists, to connect the local to the global, and …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Tourism Vancouver says 2017 was a record year for visitors

More than 10.3 million people visited Vancouver in 2017, according to Tourism Vancouver’s data.

That’s a new record, the fourth year in a row our city has seen a new record, the agency said Tuesday in a media release.

Last year’s total of 10,345,867 people was an increase of 3 per cent over 2016, they say.

Visitors from Australia grew 20.4 per cent year over year (there were 238,823 in 2017), the biggest such single-country increase. China was the second-biggest riser, up 7.1 per cent from 2016’s total to 300,172 visitors in 2017. Germany (15.4 per cent), Mexico (12.9) and Japan (5.2) also showed noticeable increases.

Cruise ship visitors were up 2 per cent in 2017 over 2016: 842,928 passengers set foot in Vancouver in 2017 from 236 vessels-visits. Tourism Vancouver estimates each of those vessel-visits brings an average of $3 million in spending.

The coming year is expected to be another big one, as Vancouver will play host to 33 large conventions and events, cruise ship traffic will rise to nearly 900,000 passengers, while YVR added 16 new flights in 2017.

Plus, 2018 has been declared the Canada-China Year of Tourism by the federal government.

Tourism Vancouver estimates that the tourism industry contributes approximately $4.8 billion to the Metro Vancouver economy each year and provides more than 70,000 full-time jobs.

…read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Warrant issued for B.C. suspect in attack on helpless, autistic man in Ontario

Police have issued a Canada-wide warrant for a Surrey man in a vicious assault on a helpless, autistic man in Mississauga, Ont.

Ronjot Singh Dhami, 25, of Surrey, is believed to be on the lam with two unidentified accomplices, who wore hoodies over their heads during the incident.

And thanks to tips from law enforcement and the public on the West Coast, investigators are confident they will soon identify two other suspects.

The March 13 assault involving three suspects took place around 10:45 p.m. at the Mississauga mall’s bus station and was caught on surveillance footage.

The clip shows a man sitting at the bottom of a set of stairs putting on in-line skates. When he realizes three men are descending the stairs, he quickly pulls his shoes out of their way.

Suddenly, the trio turn to surround the seated man. One grabs the victim by the collar and begins to punch, while the other two begin to stomp and kick from behind and in front of the victim.

Almost as quickly as the attack began, the attackers then turn and walk away slowly, as the victim doubles over with his hands to his bloodied head. The victim, a 29-year-old man with autism, is “still very shaken up” and “going through a lot,” said Peel Regional Police Insp. Norm English.

“The circulation of this investigation to B.C. proved to be very beneficial and Peel Regional Police have confirmed the identity of the first suspect,” English told Postmedia News.

Dhami is well-known to police in B.C., but his whereabouts remain a mystery.

“Dhami may still be in the GTA and we encourage him to call a lawyer and surrender to police,” English said. “The other two males involved in this incident are also being urged to surrender.”

“They should be aware that you’re next,” he said. “We will identify you and …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Stewart Muir: Delays in Trans Mountain pipeline expansion costs B.C. up to $40m every day

On March 10 about 500 people from a dozen groups and First Nations gathered at Vancouver’s Jack Poole Plaza to send a message to the B.C. government that it’s time to get on with the critical Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

I won’t use this space to go into the arguments that were covered in the media after our event and one held the same day by pipeline opponents. I would, however, like to bring to light something worrisome going on behind the scenes.

One of our speakers was Ellis Ross, Skeena MLA and former Haisla Nation chief councillor. He spoke from the heart about the personal risk he and other First Nations people take when they speak in favour of resource projects. Ellis spoke about threats of violence, intimidation, of well-funded campaigns to push such leaders out of office.

The unfortunate reality is that for some of those speaking this past weekend, it was an extraordinarily brave thing to provide their testimony in a public venue. That’s not OK.

Fifty-one First Nations have endorsed the expansion and the renewed prosperity for their people it’ll create — every First Nation along the route. More and more First Nations leaders have had enough and are starting to speak out against the forces of ‘no’ that have crushed so many opportunities.

Yet opponents would have you believe that all First Nations in B.C. are opposed to the expansion — that’s just not true, and it’s disrespectful to pretend otherwise.

Ross spoke about the need to respect others’ opinions, and the importance of well-informed, respectful debate. We disagree with those who protest against the pipeline, but respect their right to protest and engage in informed debate.

Yet, some of them showed up at our event and tried to disrupt it — not with debate, but silly costumes and intimidation. They …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun