bob kronbauer, buntzen lake - katie cubitt

Bob Kronbauer’s Fave 5 Vancouver Haunts

Internet maven Bob Kronbauer of the award-winning website Vancouver Is Awesome spreads some of that awesomeness around.

bob kronbauer, buntzen lake - katie cubittHe’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere: Bob Kronbauer, founder and chief booster and bottle washer at the delightfully addictive two-year-old website Vancouver Is Awesome (VIA was recently voted the best local blog of 2010 by Georgia Straight readers), is a man on a mission to introduce residents and visitors to the fresh, cool and ephemeral things that make our region the sweet place to live that it is.

When he’s not overseeing a team of 20-plus pro bono editors and contributors (this is a not-for-profit operation) who produce daily features on a smorgasbord of tasty local topics mainly of the arts and culture variety, Bob somehow finds time to involve VIA in an inordinate number of outside projects, either partnering with organizations or going solo to work on festivals, events and exhibits.

And in addition to all this, he has found a few minutes to write for Frugalbits. O Lucky Us!

Bob Kronbauer’s 5 five free, cheap or worth it things to see, do or buy in Vancouver (or beyond)

EAT until you are full at the All India. I’ve been regularly eating at (and recommending) All India’s buffet for well over a decade, always suggesting it to locals as well as visitors to our city. Though the price has gone up a bit with inflation over the years, it’s still number one on my affordable food options list. I frequent this $10.95 all you can eat veggie buffet almost weekly, and I’m not even a vegetarian!
All India Sweets and Restaurant, 6507 Main Street, 604-327-0891,

DRIVE to a lake with your friends. Just a few minutes past Squamish is a trifecta of three small lakes that are all within 15 minutes of each other, all just off the Sea to Sky Highway. Brohm, Alice and Cat are equally beautiful, swimmable and fishable lakes, and you can carpool to all three of them for the same price as a 3D movie. Alice Lake has a provincial campground for RVs and fancy camping with flush toilets and a pop machine, Cat Lake has a B.C. Forestry campground for more rustic tenters who don’t mind wheelbarrowing their gear in 100 feet from the parking lot to the lake, and Brohm doesn’t have overnight camping options at all but is a nice place to lie out on the rocks, take a dip or simply have a picnic or take a hike around during the winter months. Oh, and all three are stocked with rainbow trout by the fishery service if you care to throw a line in the water any time of the year!
Off the Sea To Sky Highway,

LISTEN carefully for the national anthem at noon every day. For the past 15 years, every single day at noon the first four notes of our national anthem are blasted out of 10 massive aluminum horns on the top of the Pan Pacific Hotel at Canada Place, sounding the lunch bell for the city. The horns blow at 115 decibels, and though they can be heard throughout downtown all the way to the North Shore, there are folks who have been here their entire lives, who live and work around downtown, who tell me they haven’t yet heard this 6.5-second daily blast. Perk your ears up at noon and enjoy a brief blast of patriotism!

HARVEST enough free blackberries to fill your freezer. Every year starting at the end of July, the back alleys, railway tracks, ditches, lanes and trails of Vancouver, which are overgrown with thorny vines, offer delicious blackberries. They’re invasive in gardens and surely a nuisance to most property owners, but making outings to stock up on Pacific Blackberries every year may become a personal necessity after you get your first taste. The most fruitful brambles can be found on the North Shore as well as Burnaby Mountain, but they really can be found in every neighbourhood in the city. Free!

WRITE letters to loved ones at the Regional Assembly of Text. The first Thursday of each month, the Regional Assembly of Text offers the use of their typewriters as well as supplies for a fun (and free) night of letter writing. They’ve been operating their free-to-join Letter Writing Club since September 2005, bringing together a community of people who love writing letters as much as they love receiving them. No electronic devices here; we’re talking paper, ribbon and the clackety clack of communication tools from a bygone era coupled with good company. Again: FREE!
Regional Assembly of Text, 3934 Main Street, 604-877-2247,

For more from Bob Kronbauer check out

Photo: Bob Kronbauer at Buntzen Lake, by Katie Cubitt

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