Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

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May 2013 issue of the RCC News is here

The new issue is full of the many wonderful people, events and programs happening in our neighbourhood!

RCC News May 2013Get your May 2013 issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery store, library and community centre.

Click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • Collingwood Days, Saturday, May 25 and Talent Show
  • Former BC Lions running back John Henry White – where is he now?
  • Slow-grilled lamb souvla – traditional recipe for Greek Orthodox Easter, by Rania Hatzioannou
  • Hoops for Hope at St. Mary’s a huge success
  • Van Tech music teacher receives award from Canadian star Shania Twain
  • She prays and I cook, Marino and Librada, a Collingwood couple

Do you have a local story to tell or an event to share? We’d love to hear about it! Email The deadline for the June issue is May 10, 2013.


How to make Eliopitta traditional Greek Easter vegan recipe

Any meal can be a feast … just ask any Greek


How to make eliopitta, a traditional Greek vegan recipe

Watch the video 1 min. How to make eliopitta, a traditional Greek vegan recipe for Easter

Easter is the biggest holiday of the year for Greeks and others of the Christian Orthodox faith. As with all holidays, many of the celebrations and observations revolve around food.

During the 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter, many Greek Orthodox worshipers follow a strictly vegan diet, and have done so for centuries. Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday is on May 5th this year. Lent officially began on March 18th with “Clean Monday” (a day to cleanse out the indulgences of the Carnival weekend).

When the trend toward vegan dieting really took off in North America in recent years, many who tried it and abandoned it complained of the bland selection of meals and the endless tofu. Perhaps they should have looked at what the Greeks were eating.

Growing up, I have wonderful memories of Mom making delicious vegan foods for Lent. Part of what made these meals so wonderful is their limited time. By making them especially for Easter, they held a sense of anticipation. They were treats, much the way a birthday cake or Christmas turkey would be for others.

One of my favourite recipes is the simple yet extremely tasty ELIOPITTA. It literally translates as “Olive Pie,” though I would consider it more of an olive log. If you are not a fan of olives, do not dismiss this recipe. I know of several people who really dislike olives, but love ελιοπιττα. This recipe is not as common in Greece as it is on the island country of Cyprus where I was born.




  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice*

* This is about 4 or 5 oranges. Do not use any bottled juice; squeeze your own. It makes a difference.


  • 150 grams pitted black olives (stronger-tasting wrinkly ones are best)**
  • 2 finely chopped white onions
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried mint

** You will not find the wrinkly olives pitted, so do it yourself the old fashioned way: manually.


  • Mix the flour, baking powder and oil in a bowl. Add the orange juice. If mixture is not doughy enough add a tablespoon of water. Keep adding one tablespoon of water at a time until you get the consistency of dough.
  • Divide the dough into two or four portions (depending on how big you want to make each “pita.”
  • In a separate bowl, mix the olives with the oregano and mint. Add the onion. Divide the filling the same way.
  • Roll out each one several times until it is roughly an oblong shape — stretched out circle.
  • Spread the filling out as if you were creating a pizza — leaving a half-inch area free around the edges.
  • Roll the dough manually into one log and pinch the edges.
  • Repeat with the other portions. Place the logs onto a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  • Place into a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes. This really depends on the size — whether you made two large ones or four small ones. You’ll know they are ready by the golden colour of the dough.
  • Allow them to cool on a rack before slicing and enjoying.

Tip: when Mom made these outside of Lent (and skipping the vegan rule), she would brush egg whites on the top before putting them in the oven. This gave the ελιοπιττα a glossy appearance.

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Gladstone robotics teams aim for gold at World Championship

Gladstone high school students are prepping to once again represent their school, community and  country at the VEX Robotics World Championship held in Anaheim, California, April 17 to 22, reports Serinda Kong. Serinda is a grade 11 robotics student on Team 2K, which qualified for the championship in spectacular fashion.

At the World Championship, the students will compete with the best of the best in the United States. They will gain valuable experience and hope to follow the two Gladstone teams that won first and second prize at the championship last year. Gladstone has 20 teams made up of 100 students from grade 9 to 12. Robotics is also part of the applied skills rotation for grade 8s.

Students have worked extremely hard to qualify for this competition, notes parent Helen Xu, proud mom of Howard Lin, who is on Gladstone’s Team 2M.

To qualify, the 20 teams from Gladstone entered the Pacific Youth Robotics Society’s British Columbia VEX Championship at the BC Institute of Technology on March 8th and 9th.

“Team 2Z formed the winning alliance that qualified another spot for Gladstone at the world championship. In total five out of the eight teams from BC that qualified are from Gladstone,” says Serinda. “Teams 2M and 2K also took two qualifying spots by claiming the Excellence Award and Design Award, respectively.”

Teachers have contributed lots of their personal time to help the students, in particular, Todd Ablett. “Without his hard work and unconditional dedication, the students wouldn’t be able to participate in or compete at such a high level,” says Helen.

“Mr. Ablett has been more than a teacher to these students, he has been a great mentor, helping them grow academically and socially.”

The school and teachers have made extra efforts to support this trip but there is a substantial cost to attend the championship. “In order for our five teams to attend, each student is required to pay $1,200,” explains Serinda.

“Additionally, funding is necessary for robot parts to ensure our teams have the resources to perform their best.”

“Our purpose is to allow students, like myself, to gain experience and skills that can only be learned through a unique robotics environment,” Serinda adds. In a robotics class, students of all interests and skill levels work together toward a common goal.

“Robotics really highlights the talent and potential of all students that can one day change the world.”

If you are interested in donating to help these talented Gladstone students get to California and pursue their dream of winning the World Championship, a cheque can be sent to Gladstone Secondary School, 4105 Gladstone Street, or go to the donation link

Copyright (c) 2013 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News