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by Catherine Dunwoody Poutine enthusiasts rejoice! From April 1- 3, our favourite Francophone festival returns with musical artists, cultural activities, and of course fabulous food. It’s all happening at Mackin Park in Maillardville, Coquitlam in celebration of the 33rd annual Festival du Bois. The festival is the largest of its kind in BC, bringing a little bit of Québécois culture to the west coast. The official kick-off on the first evening begins with the Friday Night Contra Dance featuring live music from The Sybaritic String Band with Maureen Collier. What exactly is Contra Dance? It’s a social dance done in lines of couples usually done accompanied by live traditional music. There’s a dance caller who teaches easy “figures” on the spot, like in square dancing, and prompts you during the dance. A great way to work up your appetite we’d say! Speaking of which, we are already salivating in anticipation…

By Brittany Tiplady Alejandro Diaz’s contemporary Mexican restaurant, El Santo, opened in 2015 and has remained a New Westminster favourite year after year—pandemic and all.  Along with Executive Chef Sam Fabbro, El Santo has garnered rave reviews and critical acclaim since opening. Diaz and his team have been featured in regional and national publications alike, such as the Globe and Mail and the Vancouver Sun. The restaurant has also taken home some impressive hardware — earning gold at the Vancouver Magazine Awards for Best Latin Restaurant (2017). Not to be outdone, though, the El Santo team are also good, honest, and charitable people. Diaz is passionate about giving back to organizations like Canucks Autism Network, and nearby shelters in New West. It’s the kind of place you can feel good about giving your business to, with the bonus of the food and drink being second to none. *All photos care of  Andrea Iñurria I had the…