Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


Leave a comment

Food Security Institute: Join summer gatherings at local gardens

BY BO DEL VALLE GARCIA AND EMMA WARNER CHEE

Food-security-event

Vanessa Richards (centre) of Woodword’s Community Choir leads a singing practice at the Norquay Orchard event last year. Photo by Dustin Ahjz

The Renfrew-Collingwood Food Security Institute (RCFSI) gathers neighbours around food. Together, we grow, we cook, we share and we build resilient communities. On the rooftop garden, at the Norquay Orchard and at our community gardens we aim to create a hub for our neighbours, both human and non, to share and increase knowledge around organic and regenerative food growing practices, soil systems, and wild and native plants.

This is an exciting time for us! This summer we will be joined by two new members of our team, Bo and Emma, who will be dedicating their time and expertise towards growing thriving communities both in the garden and out.

Bo is a creature of the cities and forests: a community organizer, activist and earth skills educator born to the traditional unceded lands of the Coast Salish – otherwise known as Vancouver, B.C. Bo identifies as genderqueer and uses They/Them/Theirs pronouns.

Bo is rooted deeply into their home and community, but never forgets that they are a visitor on this land. Their work operates in the intersections between earth, food, art and justice. They have spent countless hours learning from the natural world in academic settings, from elders and mentors, and from the living ecosystems themselves. They have worked on a number of projects concerning ecosystem repair, bioremediation, food forests design, biological pest management, rainwater harvesting and climate change resiliency and are so excited to be working with the RCFSI this summer!

Emma is a sociology student at Simon Fraser University and returning to RCFSI for a second year as a summer student. She loves growing, cooking, eating and talking about food. She is excited to spend time at the orchard and in the garden this summer, and to plant seeds for community growth and tasty veggies.

Summer events

This summer RCFSI will be working to foster a deeper connection with the land and each other, and are excited to invite everyone to our upcoming events:

Pruning Workshop at the Norquay Orchard (2732 Horley St.) – Saturday, June 17, 12 to 2 pm

Rooftop Garden Drop-ins at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House – Every Wednesday, 5 to 7 pm

Norquay Orchard Work Parties (2732 Horley St.) – Last Saturday of the month, 1 to 3 pm

There will be many more exciting opportunities to get involved. Keep an eye on the RCFSI Facebook page – Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute, or the website rcfood.wordpress.com.

If you are interested in volunteering contact collingwoodurbanag@gmail.com.

Copyright 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

Students find their passion at Windermere high school

BY JULIE CHENG

It’s hard to believe that my husband and I will soon become empty nesters. It’s been a long haul. We’d settled in the neighbourhood over 20 years ago, raising two kids here.

Words. Source: Vancouver School Board

Windermere’s motto “Facta Non Verba” means Actions, Not Words. Images source: Vancouver School Board

Now my youngest, Kate, will graduate this June from Windermere Secondary and leave home in September for university – and a life on her own. She follows her sister, Claire, who graduated from the same school three years ago and is also studying away from home.

We didn’t think twice about sending our kids to Windermere; after all, it was just a five-minute walk from our house. We also believe in public education. Still, we didn’t know what to expect from this small east Vancouver school.

We needn’t have worried.

Windermere Secondary is a neighbourhood gem.

Windermere High School

Sure, as Claire noted in her graduation speech, the bell doesn’t always ring on time and some windows are boarded up. But she received a tremendous learning experience as part of Windermere and its Leadership program, and by extension, she became part of a group of students who were active in the community. Claire learned a different point of view from the mainstream, learned to think on her own and take action, learned to be a leader – all qualities that have been invaluable in her adult life.

Claire describes a friend who volunteered with the school’s lifeskills class and discovered the rewards of helping students with disabilities. Her friend has gone on to study and work in the field, following her passion that she first found at Windermere.

More recently, another student was one of the lucky few to take part in the High School Science Week at St Paul’s Hospital’s Centre for Heart Lung Innovation as part of her career exploration experience. “I was happy to learn most of the students were from schools in the area and I was proud to represent Windermere,” she recalls in a report. She got to “play” with damaged organs, including hearts and lungs. “I felt like a kid in a candy store for the whole day!”

Which takes us back to Kate. Windermere gave her the opportunity to excel in sports and to volunteer as a score keeper and as an arts and crafts instructor to elementary school students. Most surprising to us, though, she found her passion the day she walked into her Grade 8 science class.

Today physics is Kate’s favourite subject, and she does well in chemistry, biology and math. She may study engineering. As someone who couldn’t understand physics and could only learn chemistry and calculus from good teachers, I can see that Windermere has excellent science and math programs.

As parents we put a lot of trust in the teachers who lay the foundation for our kids to succeed in life. Windermere has taught so many of our kids to be good citizens, to aim high and to dream that they can improve lives and, perhaps, even save the world.

Thank you.

Julie Cheng has been the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News for almost 10 years.

Windermere stories

Over the years the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News has published many stories about Windermere high school. A quick search on RenfrewCollingwoodCommunityNews.com leads you to stories that reveal:

Windermere staff are amazing:

Indigenous art project at Windermere: Reconciliation from the ground up – May 2017 issue
Judy Payne one of Windermere’s secrets to success – May 2015

Windermere students speak up about social justice:

Multinational corporation pays $15 a day for Hope water – Jan. 2017
Homelessness Action Week, October 12-18, 2014 – Nov. 2014

The students take action for the environment:

Windermere students celebrate Earth Day – Apr. 2017
Windermere students race to save the planet at the Great Climate Race – Dec. 2016

The students are everywhere in the community:

Windermere Organic Garden Team grows fruit, veggies and community – Nov. 2016
Celebrate Canada’s 149th birthday at Youth Celebrate Canada Day – July 1! – Jun. 2016

They learn to be strong and have a creative voice:

Film by Windermere Girls Group: Girls Are Just As Strong – Dec. 2016
Renfrew-Collingwood high school students create original play about addiction – Apr. 2017

Create Your Canada winners off to Ottawa

Create Your Canada Windermere winners

Windermere students June Lam and Gaelan Emo are off to Ottawa to see their bill introduced in the House of Commons by MP Don Davies. Photo courtesy of Don Davies, MP

Congratulations to Windermere students Gaelan Emo and June Lam for winning the Create Your Canada contest sponsored by Don Davies, the member of Parliament for Vancouver-Kingsway. Gaelan and June will travel to Ottawa to hear Don Davies introduce their bill in the House of Commons.

“This is a great way for youth to share their vision for our country,” says Don Davies. “I think it’s also a fun and engaging introduction to Parliament and the legislative process.”

Gaelan and June were chosen for their idea to create a tax incentive that will encourage food producers, suppliers and retailers to donate perishable food to charities. Way to go, Gaelan and June! To learn more about this competition, visit http://dondavies.ca/createyourcanada/

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

Community rallies around local carpenter Rob Allen after house fire

Rob Allen – our neighbour, volunteer and contractor at Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) –lost everything in a house fire early May. “I’m OK and so is the guy from downstairs!” he writes in an email.

Actually, he heroically saved his downstairs neighbour’s life by crawling through a smoky, burning basement and dragging him out of the blaze.

Rob lost everything in the fire. But as one friend said, quoting her parent’s wisdom, “Everything is replaceable except for you!” We’re grateful Rob is safe.

A talented carpenter by trade, Rob has worked on many projects around the neighbourhood and privately for folks who need woodworking help. Rob is a dedicated community volunteer who has spent many hours working on cultural infrastructure planning, making bird and bee houses in community workshops, teaching woodworking to homeschooling families and working with the city on dialogue around community representation. He also initiated the local Conversation Cafés.

His hearty chuckle and dedication to making the neighbourhood a better place – alongside his ability to see the positive in everything, including his own situation – is inspiring.

People at CNH and around the community have expressed a desire to help Rob. His partner has set up a GoFundMe page where you can donate online (www.gofundme.com/roberts-house-fire-campaign) – thanks to all of you who have already donated.

If anyone has woodworking tools they don’t need anymore, he is happy to accept them as donations, as he plans to do more woodworking workshops for beginner DIYers.

You are welcome to drop off monetary donations to Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 5288 Joyce Street, by Friday, June 2, attention Sally. You can also drop off tool donations at the reception.

Rob is overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the people around him and the community support has been important in helping him though this disaster with grace.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

June 2017 issue of RCC News is here

June 2017 RCC News

This issue of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News is full of the many wonderful people, events and programs happening in our neighbourhood!

Get your latest issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery store, library and community centre.

Or click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • Happy 100th to John Harlow
  • Community rallies around Rob Allen after house fire
  • Windermere students shine
  • June is Italian Heritage Month
  • Food Security Institute: Join summer gatherings at local gardens
  • Thank you CNH volunteers
  • Family movie night at Gaston Park

Do you have a local story to tell or an event to share? We’d love to hear about it! Email rccnews-editorial@cnh.bc.ca.

The deadline for the July 2017 issue is June 10. We welcome story submissions from 300 to 400 words long. Accompanying photos must be high resolution in a jpg file at least 1 MB large and include a photo caption and the name of the photographer.


Leave a comment

Collingwood Corner: Home Delivery in the 1960s

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

Once upon a time there weren’t online stores like Amazon. There weren’t personal computers, tablets or cell phones. Apparently, humanity was cut off from one another, living in a vast void.

Dairyland-Home-Delivery-1965-List

Home delivery price list from 1965. The prices are simply astounding. Image from the collection of Loretta Houben’s parents

Not quite. Growing up in Collingwood over 50 years ago, homemakers had access to home delivery options. One of them my parents subscribed to was Dairyland Home Delivery.

Please study the prices of the attached 1965 price list. For a growing family, usually consisting of two parents and four or more children, you had the option of an eight-quart family milk pack for $2.23. This was in the days before metric conversion. A quart of milk was 29 cents.

Along with a variety of milk products you could indulge in cream, whipped cream, apple and orange juice, yogurt, cottage cheese and butter. Butter was 66 cents for one pound.

The prices were comparable to a working man’s wage. My dad earned $150 per month working for the Glidden Paint Company as a forklift driver, yet he could indulge in home milk delivery.

I remember the pale yellow truck rumbling down our street early in the morning, and the bottles clanking as they were set on our front porch. Of course, the dairy products were all in glass containers, which my mom washed and set out the next week.

Another wonderful sound of a truck stopping outside our home quite often was the Simpson Sears truck from the warehouse in Richmond. Each season every home in Vancouver would receive a thick free Simpsons catalogue to dream over, filled with useful and exotic items for the home or your wardrobe.

Your order was placed by telephone one day, and your goods were delivered without charge the very next afternoon.

Once, age three, I remember a large brown paper covered box arriving at the front door. My mom paid the delivery man, and quickly hid the package in her closet. I begged her to see what it was, and so she emptied the box and gave it to me to play with.

I could smell that there had been a new doll in it! I cried and cried until my mom relented (for reasons unknown) and gave me the doll, which was meant to be a Christmas gift!

Woodward’s and Eaton’s also had home delivery, but Simpson Sears was my parent’s first choice.

Do you have memories of those long-ago days, and free delivery to your door?

Loretta Houben is a long-time resident of Collingwood and coordinates the Seniors Connection section of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

Collingwood Days 2017 – New location, same great family fun

BY ANDREA BERNECKAS

Collingwood-Days-Stiltwalkers

The 14th annual Collingwood Days runs from Saturday, May 20 to Sunday, May 28. Photos courtesy of Collingwood Days

Collingwood Days Festival is an annual intercultural community festival that celebrates the diversity, history and natural environment of Renfrew-Collingwood. Traditionally taking place in the last week of May, this year’s event will be celebrating its 14th year from Saturday, May 20 to Sunday, May 28.

We have many fond memories of Collingwood Days at Sir Guy Carlton Elementary, but due to a fire at the school last year, the main festival day will take place this year at Gaston Park, at Euclid and Tyne.

Over the years, Collingwood Days has highlighted the contributions of various groups and members of the neighbourhood. This year, we are honouring and celebrating the contributions of the First Nations in our community. There will be music, dancing, storytelling and history.

Collingwood-Days-DancersThroughout the festival week, there will be activities in various parts of the Renfrew-Collingwood: a carnival at Graham Bruce Elementary, a Cantonese and Italian Opera performance and exhibition at the Italian Cultural Centre, a native plant walk at Norquay Learning orchard, a tea house event at Collingwood Neighbourood House, First Nations storytelling at Collingwood Branch library and much more.

On the festival day, May 28, local Lions Club members will serve up a pancake breakfast from 9 to 11 am. After our opening blessing at 11 am, festivities will begin with live music and dance from Bright Sunset Chinese Dance Group, Windermere Choir, Calpulli Cemanahuac Aztec Dance Group, Peter Yap, Alicia Crestejo, Kathara Indigenous Filipino Cultural group and others.

Collingwood-Days-SingersDrop by and check out the International Marketplace, Artisan Village, BMX and the Dog Agility shows and Collingwood Gardens Tea tent.

There are opportunities to volunteer, promote your organization or sponsor our event.

Please check out the Collingwood Days Facebook page (www.facebook.com/collingwooddays/) for updates and Collingwood Days website (www.collingwooddays.com/) for more information.

Collingwood-Days-Band

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

Bruce Spring Carnival – Now in its 5th year

See you there – Friday, May 26, 4–8 pm

BY ROSANNE LAMBERT

Bruce-Spring-Carnival

Come for the carnival games, stay for the food and fun at this annual neighbourhood event. Photo by Mary Anne Purdy

Let me tell you about a little gem in our neighbourhood, just in case you hadn’t already stumbled across it.

Each spring, Graham Bruce Elementary’s Parent Advisory Council (PAC) proudly presents the annual Spring Carnival – located at 3633 Tanner street, in the back basketball courts on Moscrop. Mark your calendar for Friday, May 26 from 4 to 8 pm.

This fun-filled, intergenerational, intercultural community event is in its fifth year, with a longstanding tradition of bringing together families, students, staff, alumni, local neighbours and businesses from the broader community of Renfrew-Collingwood and beyond.

When our youngest first started at Bruce, the Spring Carnival was in its inaugural year (2013). It was created by the PAC as a way to raise funds to replace a primary playground, which the Vancouver School Board removed due to deterioration and safety issues. The playground was successfully installed in 2015, but this annual fundraiser continues as a way to mitigate shortfalls in education funding.

The proceeds from the Spring Carnival have been used for classroom technology upgrades, transportation to field trips, new equipment and enhancing our school’s curriculum. Last year’s event raised more than $9,000, which has funded a commercial popcorn machine this year, LEGO Robotics kits, subsidies for new after-school programs, and more.

Over the years, the annual coordination of the Spring Carnival also brought diverse families together in collaboration towards shared goals… building neighbourly relationships through this process, and strengthening the fabric of our community.

So, after a long winter in Vancouver it’s finally spring. We look forward to relaxing in the fresh outdoors at this event each year… seeing all the folks in the ’hood… sinking our teeth into delicious barbecued smokies … watching our kids at the classic carnival games.

There will be indoor bouncy castles, plus a variety of quality goods to peruse at the silent auction, and over $5,000 in raffle prizes! I’ll try my chances at winning the grand prize package, and so can you: It’s a trip for two to Victoria including round-trip airfare, IMAX film admission, and tours to the very beautiful Butchart Gardens and the very tropical Butterfly Gardens.

That’s not all. There’s free entertainment – a magic show by Ray Wong Magic, demonstrations of LEGO Robotics and much more! There’s something for everyone.

Best of all, when you support the Spring Carnival you also support Graham Bruce Elementary School in the education of children and youth in this community – our future citizens. Hope to see you there rain or shine!

Local artist Rosanne Lambert has been a parent at Bruce Elementary for the past eight years.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News