A Ray of Sunshine in November: Vancouver's Eastside Culture Crawl

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As our blog readers know by now, ToursByLocals is based out of Vancouver, Canada. Most people who live in this gorgeous city will tell you how much we love it here. But most people will also admit that they're less likely to feel the love in November. It's definitely shoulder season: the glorious crisp fall days are softening to grey, and the snow hasn't yet piled up on the North Shore mountains.

So Vancouverites have had to come up with creative ways to keep our chins up while we mourn the loss of summer's sunshine, and impatiently wait for the ski season to start. One of the most successful diversions has become a full-on attraction, and it's running this weekend: The Eastside Culture Crawl.

Vancouver's image as a travel destination is a pretty fresh and polished one, full of glass towers, water, mountain views and outdoor enthusiasts. But our city is also home to a strong, gritty and edgy community of artists. The Eastside Culture Crawl, now in its 16th year, celebrates the diversity and artistry of the citizens among us. Every November the painters, jewelers, sculptors, furniture makers, musicians, weavers, potters, writers, printmakers, photographers and glassblowers prop open the doors of their workshops and invite the rest of Vancouver in for a behind-the-scenes look at their artistic process.

Because it always falls towards the end of November, the Culture Crawl weekend is often rainy and cold. But it doesn't deter people, who come out in the thousands clutching maps of Vancouver's Eastside (Strathcona is a real artistic hotspot, as are the warehouses near Clark and Commercial Drive) and travel mugs steaming with coffee.

Some people are in the market to buy art. Others just enjoy walking from studio to gallery to workshop, admiring the range of work on display. You can chat with both emerging artists and internationally established masters of their craft. When the studio doors are thrown open, it's like an underground community has surfaced, and Vancouverites realise just how many artists live and work among us.

If you're in the city this weekend, check out Vancouver Magazine's feature on how to pick and choose which workshops to visit. Plan your time wisely; with 429 artists involved this year, it's impossible to see everything!

The forecast is calling for a weekend full of rain, so bring along a good umbrella, cup of joe and an open mind. You'll be experiencing a whole new side of Vancouver, while gaining awareness of talented local artists and their work.
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