Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Slocan Park notice board keeps community connected

Local artists create a gorgeous salmon-shaped bulletin board with the help of a Neighbourhood Small Grant from the Vancouver Foundation

BY ROB HOWATSON

This beautiful salmon-shaped bulletin board, hanging on the wall of the Slocan Park Field House, is an invitation for neighbours to connect with each other.

This beautiful salmon-shaped bulletin board, hanging on the wall of the Slocan Park Field House, is an invitation for neighbours to connect with each other. Photo courtesy of Rob Howatson

When it comes to community building, you can never have too many bulletin boards to help spread the word about upcoming neighbourhood events.

Problem is, aside from libraries and community centres, the city offers few legal spaces to display notices. There are about 200 or so municipality-approved poster cylinders – metal bands that wrap utility poles – located in the city, but they tend to be restricted to the busiest arterials. And, as the Vancouver Public Space Network points out in a letter to Mayor Robertson’s Engaged City Task Force, commercial poster companies quickly and repeatedly blanket these word rings with their paid advertising. This leaves little room for neighbours to tape up their block party invites.

Fortunately, some community-minded Renfrew-Collingwood residents have found a way to provide at least a little space for grassroots notices. Local artists Carmen Rosen and Suzo Hickey applied for a Neighbourhood Small Grant from the Vancouver Foundation to create a gorgeous bulletin board shaped like a chum salmon. The functional art piece hangs on the wall of the Slocan Park Field House, an effective location given its proximity to the busy 29th Avenue Skytrain station.

Suzo says they chose a fish shape for the piece in recognition of Still Creek that used to flow through Vancouver’s eastside until much of the waterway was culverted in the early 1900s. Sections of the creek still run on the surface in the Renfrew Ravine, near the Grandview Highway and in Burnaby. In 2012, a record number of chum found their way up the creek to spawn, despite the fact that until recently the creek was considered one of the most polluted streams in B.C. and little fish activity had been reported there in the past 50 years.

“This project was a great way to share local history with the neighbourhood,” says Suzo, “but more importantly we invited area residents to help decorate the notice board’s fishy frame with steel washers, copper washers and bottlecaps. And in doing so, we provided a  great opportunity for people to meet and share experiences, which I think is the best way to build community.”

The eye-catching bulletin board is managed by the Art House in the Field Collective, which uses the Slocan Park field house as studio space for visual art classes, costume design, music and photography.

Neighbourhood Small Grants Project – Application deadline April 7, 2014

Collingwood Neighbourhood House has once again partnered with South Vancouver Neighbourhood House to host the Neighbourhood Small Grants and Greenest City Neighbourhood Small Grants project this year. Pairs or small groups of residents are encouraged to apply for a grant from $50 to $1,000 to improve your neighbourhood socially, culturally or physically!

Please go to vancouverfoundation.ca/nsg  for more information and to apply. All applicants are encouraged to apply online. If you cannot apply online, paper applications can be picked up at the Neighbourhood House beginning in March 2014. Online application opens on March 3, 2014. Application deadline is April 7. For further information contact Sheri Parke at sparke01@shaw.ca or reception at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 604-435-0323.

Copyright (c) 2014 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Eating Out in RC: Romer’s Burger Bar, “great food, awesome waterfront location, cool atmosphere, excellent service”

BY PAUL REID

The view from the atrium is spectacular at Romer's Burger Bar

The view from the atrium is gorgeous at Romer’s Burger Bar. Photos by Paul Reid

Romer’s Burger Bar
8683 Kerr Street, Vancouver, BC
604-566-9545

Greetings food fans. How goes it? I had a fantastic day today. Today was the day that we (Canada’s men’s hockey squad) mopped the ice with our poor American friends to the South – a joyous occasion that never gets old. (Thanks, too, of course, to Canada’s dear women’s hockey unit who also socked it to the Yanks the day previous). Go Canada!

So that was in the morning, if you recall. What better way to celebrate such a magnificent victory than to have a brewski or two and lunch on some sun-drenched patio, say, overlooking a scenic river scene. “In Renfrew-Collingwood?” you query. Well, technically no, but if we were to dial back the hands of time to the days of historic Collingwood, then we could say yes. For in those days, reader, before there was a South Vancouver, everything between Collingwood and the Fraser river was considered Collingwood. And it’s there, overlooking that lovely river at the foot of Kerr, that we now have Romer’s Burger Bar.

My accomplice on this particular outing was not my sweetie, although he is a very nice man – our very own Robert F. Edwards, who as we all know, has been a contributing writer for the RCCNews on and off for nearly a decade. He also has the fine distinction of being my friend, of which I am proud.

So it’s now about 12:30 as we enter Romer’s and the place is packed – a good sign. Still, there is some room out in the atrium, which is the portion of the patio surrounded by glass to keep it nice and cozy year round. Apparently in the warmer months, the atrium opens up to join the rest of the patio which is a big hit all summer with the bevy-swilling, burger-munching, sitting-by-the-river-in-the-sun crowd. Until then, on a cold, windy, yet sunny day as this day was, the atrium was the perfect place to enjoy the river’s serenity in action.

The burgers at Romer's look like a work of art.

The burgers at Romer’s look like a work of art.

But let’s not forget the food. And people, I’m telling you – you will not be disappointed with your burger at Romer’s. We are talking gourmet burgers here.

Robert’s reaction upon his first bite was, and I quote: “Now that’s a good burger!” I myself will second that motion. And you may also agree with us, by checking out these pictures, that these burgers arrive looking like works of art.

Robert had the Wicked Deadly Cheeseburger: five cheeses, red onion, leafy greens and Russian tarragon dressing (11.95). I had the Chorizodor: chorizo-spiced pork and beef patty, cheddar, pepper jack, Boursin, vine-ripened tomato, sweet onion, avocado and diablo sauce (12.75). With sea salt fries (2.50).

And, of course, there was beer involved in such a situation – the Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale (5.50) for Bob and the Eastern Promises Pilsner (5.50) for myself. We cheers Canada’s hockey victories. We cheers USA’s hockey defeats. Now we just need to school those Swedes, which at the time of this writing – remains undone.*

Romer’s Burger Bar is the creation of executive chef Jim Romer. Born in Marin County, and trained at Culinary Institute of America, Jim has spent over 20 years preparing “mind-blowing” good food.

Jim believes that good food begins with fresh, locally sourced ingredients that include nothing that you can’t pronounce. Secondly, Jim’s all about the flavour: “unexpected, sublime, wonderful flavours like the melt-in-your-mouth Kobe beef in the Ultimate Kobe Classic that makes you say Holy $#!% is that a good burger.”

Romer’s philosophy is this: “Eat good food. Keep it fresh. Keep it simple. Be creative. Let seasons and farmers be our guide. Be good to the planet, and all who are on it. Laugh. Share. Do what you do best: with us, it’s burgers.”

Here, here. Mr. Romer and company – Romer’s Burger Bar rocks! In addition to the food, awesome location, cool atmosphere, the service was excellent and, everyone I talked to there, really nice. Thank you and keep up the fine work. I shall return and so should you my dear reader. Bon appetit.

*No doubt. 3-0. Way to Gold, Canada, in hockey at the Sochi Olympics!

Copyright (c) 2014 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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March 2014 issue of the RCC News is here

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

March 2014 news stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood in East Vancouver. Local news on events, people, history, eating out, recreation, arts & culture.

March 2014 news stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood in East Vancouver. Local news on events, people, history, eating out, recreation, arts & culture.

Get your March 2014 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:

  • Strong Women: Commemorating International Women’s Day
  • A lot of fun and a bit of magic: Project Chef’s secret ingredients for health and nutrition by Julie Cheng
  • Loretta Houben’s family tree series continues with tips for searching the Greater Vancouver directories
  • Eating Out in RC: Enjoy the burgers and view at Romer’s Burger Bar
  • Still Creek stories – Collecting memories, stories and photos of Still Creek
  • Getting more from your city garden by Stephanie Lim
  • Slocan Park notice board keeps community connected – Apply for your Neighbourhood Small Grants – Online application opens March 3

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 April 2014 issue is March 10.


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Books for Me! fosters the joy of reading at Graham Bruce Elementary school

Literacy foundation builds new partnership in Renfrew-Collingwood

BY JULIE CHENG

Grade 1 students Matthew and Derek (left to right) proudly display the books they chose to take home with them. “The cover is very cool,” says Matthew. “I think this book is good,” says Derek. Photos by Julie Cheng

Grade 1 students Matthew and Derek (left to right) proudly display the books they chose to take home with them. “The cover is very cool,” says Matthew. “I think this book is good,” says Derek. Photos by Julie Cheng

“Thank YOU!” The heartfelt, joyous chorus of the students was music to the ears. As the grade 4/5 students filed out of the room, each clutching a book provided free by Books for Me!, Mary Ann Cummings beamed.

“It’s really wonderful to see how excited these kids are,” she said. Mary Ann is the president and a founding member of Books for Me! Literacy Foundation, a Vancouver-based charity that puts donations of new or gently used books directly in the hands of children.

Mid January, Mary Ann, Books for Me! secretary and co-founder Dana Hirst, first-time volunteer Mai Doan, along with teacher-librarian Dee Mochrie and principal Lani Morden, were on hand to deliver the first batch of books to Graham Bruce Elementary School students.

A retired lawyer, Mary Ann saw the importance of literacy first hand when she worked with prison inmates as a law student. “I became convinced literacy is the key—you need to have those skills to prosper in society,” she said.

Grade 1 student Jaylene carefully places a bookplate in her book with the  help of Dana Hirst, a founding member of Books for Me!

Grade 1 student Jaylene carefully places a bookplate in her book with the help of Dana Hirst, a founding member of Books for Me!

Indeed, you could say supporting children’s literacy is one of the best investments in the future. Studies show that children who have books in their home reach a higher education level.

As of January 1, 2014, Books for Me! has placed more than 14,700 books with kids through programs at 11 locations, including Collingwood Neighbourhood School, Collingwood Neighbourhood House and Thunderbird Community Centre.

Programs such as Books for Me! encourage reading in the home. As Family Literacy Day this January 27 highlighted, it is critical for parents and caregivers to read daily with their children and to make books and reading an integral part of their family lives. Reading, even 15 minutes a day, is important to a child’s development.

Books for Me! also organizes and funds school visits by children’s book authors. “We’re so excited because author Jacqueline Pearce is coming in April,” Principal Morden said.

Danny, Tanner, Sydney and Anya check out the variety of books on display.

Danny, Tanner, Sydney and Anya check out the variety of books on display.

Books for Me! welcomes volunteers and donations of books. If you are interested in volunteering or hosting a book drive at your place of work, please contact booksformevancouver@gmail.com. You can visit www.booksformevancouver.org for more information.

Julie Cheng is the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

Copyright (c) 2014 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News