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A Romantic Step Back in Time
By Jane Cassie

Back in the 1970's, my husband and I were high school sweethearts-bound together by heavy hearts and raging hormones. For two years we were never apart -dating, doting and devoted, from skiing the slopes of Grouse Mountain to strolling the shores of Spanish Banks. But like most teenage flings, things eventually took a turn -a change of interests, a need for growth, and yes, a parting of our ways. A few years later we had both married different people, had someone else's babies and had moved on in life.

Whether by luck or fate, twenty three years later our paths crossed again and we linked up for good -or at least until now. Yes, it's one of those serendipitous first-love tales that everyone likes to hear -right down to the vow-sharing, five blended kids, two friendly exes, and living happily ever after.

So here we are, eighteen anniversaries into the marriage, and that big question arises. What romantic gift will I surprise him with this time? A candlelight dinner at some swanky restaurant, tickets to a music concert, a hot night at a haute hotel? With time running out, I quickly go into Google mode and within seconds I have all three -and an idea that even Cupid would go ga-ga over.

Chicago -no not the city -but the musical group that we had swooned and crooned to in our teens, is coming to the River Rock, a theatre in nearby Richmond. Saturday In The Park, Colour My World, Hard To Say I'm Sorry. Just reading the tune titles conjures up those instant flashbacks and memories. This concert will be the perfect gift for the love of my life.

Why not spice it up with a sexy retreat? I click on the options and see that the 4-diamond AAA Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel is a convenient ten minute rapid-transit-ride away from the venue. This posh spot integrates seamlessly into YVR's international departures and like a kid-leather glove oozes with style, grace and comfort. Our view-boasting sanctuary would be just steps away from a seductive day spa and health club. And either the award-winning Globe@YVR or trendy Jetside Bar would provide our romantic meal deal.

I could even fire up the love bug a notch by booking a Gold Floor room -marble baths, jetted tubs, roomy showers. As well as pedigree service, these spacious havens have access to a private lounge where there's a breakfast spread each morning, culinary canapés in the afternoon, decadent desserts in the evening and an honor bar hosting everything from fine wine to malt brew.

Although we could hibernate in this heavenly retreat for our entire stay, the city of Richmond offers lots of Gold medal winners just outside the door. We could buff up at the Oval, a fitness arena that once hosted our 2010 Olympians, saunter through the historic fishing village of nearby Steveston, or ply the Pacific waves and look for pods of whales. Shrines, museums, wineries and the finest Asian fare now dot the streets of this multicultural city that, in our youth, was simply known as Lulu Island.

This gift is a no brainer and after a simple click of my mouse, everything from our Chicago tickets to chi-chi love nest has been arranged. And though a lot of changes have taken place since those teen-age love-crazed days, there's one I thing can be guaranteed. This anniversary will be more than just a celebration -it'll be a romantic step back in time.

If you go

Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel http://www.fairmont.com/vancouverairport

River Rock theatre http://www.riverrock.com/

Tourism Richmond http://www.tourismrichmond.com/

Image captions
#1 Skiing together in the early years
#2 Chicago performing at Richmond's River Rock Theatre  #3 Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel integrates into YVR's international departures
#4 High performance health club
#5 Gold Floor room -marble bath and jetted tub
#6 breakfast spread each morning
#7 culinary canapés in the afternoon
#8 Richmond Oval
#9 Fishing village of Steveston
#10 - finest Asian fare

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