Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

Leave a comment

Coastal City Ballet celebrates its 5th anniversary season with its Canadian premiere of Swan Lake


Swan Lake by Coastal City Ballet

Coastal City Ballet presents a modern twist on a timeless classic that the whole family will love, on Saturday, May 21 at 8 pm at the Playhouse in Vancouver and on Friday, June 10 at 8 pm at the Surrey Arts Centre in Surrey. Photo by David Cooper


Coastal City Ballet presents the highlight of the 2015-2016 season: the illustrious and beloved ballet Swan Lake, a Canadian premiere choreographed by Irene Schneider. Schneider presents a modern twist on a timeless classic that the whole family will love, on Saturday, May 21 at 8 pm at the Playhouse in Vancouver and on Friday, June 10 at 8 pm at the Surrey Arts Centre in Surrey.

Schneider’s Swan Lake explores the human emotion of a romantic love contrasted against a realistic and practical love of an arranged marriage. Odette (White Swan) comes to Siegfried in his dream, embodying the ideal of true love, while Odile (Black Swan) is presented to Siegfried by the evil Rothbarth as the woman he is to wed.

Schneider gives us a story that is more relatable to modern day while maintaining the tradition and essence of the Swan Lake we all expect to see. Audiences will not be disappointed to experience the classic Act 2 with the beautiful swans dancing in unison and the tragic ending of Act 4.

The diverse talents of Coastal City Ballet along with the beautiful score of Pytor Tchaikovsky, glorious costumes and imaginative sets brings this heart-wrenching love story to life. This full-length masterpiece is one not to be missed, that young and old alike will enjoy.

Li Yaming, artistic director of Coastal City Ballet, is excited to stage this ambitious ballet in the company’s fifth season. “I wanted to challenge the dancers and the company,” says Li, “and provide Vancouver audiences with a magnificent classic such as Swan Lake.”

Irene Schneider’s first commission for Coastal City Ballet was in 2012, when she choreographed the world premiere ballet Hansel and Gretel. “A long friendship has kept me in touch with Li Yaming, artistic director for Coastal City Ballet, and in the following years I came to choreograph A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Coppelia and Cinderella. Coming back to Coastal City Ballet to remount Swan Lake is like coming home,” says Schneider.

Schneider is an independent choreographer who has created over 60 ballets presented in numerous opera houses in Germany and throughout the world. After finishing her professional ballet career, primarily with Stuttgart Ballet, she began teaching and choreographing. Her career led her to Magdeburg Ballet, where she was artistic director for 15 years.

Coastal City Ballet is a repertory ballet company, based in Vancouver, that provides performance opportunities for emerging dancers, both Canadian and international. Coastal City Ballet’s repertoire ranges from original story ballets to classical and commissioned contemporary works by established international choreographers.

Since its conception in September 2011, Coastal City Ballet has successfully presented nine productions to audiences in greater Vancouver and Regina, Saskatchewan, including its first original story ballet Hansel and Gretel in 2012, as well as the staging of classical excerpts and commissioned world premieres by Wen Wei Wang, Joshua Beamish, Erica Trivett, Farley Johansson, and Artistic Director, Li Yaming, among others.

Coastal City Ballet presents Swan Lake


Date: Saturday, May 21 at 8 pm

Ticket prices: From $25.00 – $45.00 with discounts for groups of 10 or more

Address: Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, BC

Box Office: /604.241.7292

Vancouver Playhouse 604.665.3050


Date: Friday, June 10 at 8 pm

Ticket prices: From $25.00 – $35.00 with discounts for Groups of 10 or more

Address: Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88 Ave, Surrey, BC

Box Office: 604.501.5566


Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

Leave a comment

Buzzing into action: Youth invite bees to pollinate the ravine


April 2016, Windermere youth will join beekeeper Brian Campbell to plant their precious seedlings in the Renfrew Ravine. Photo by Daisy Martin-Moore

April 2016, Windermere youth will join beekeeper Brian Campbell to plant their precious seedlings in the Renfrew Ravine. Photo by Daisy Martin-Moore

It takes just a short stroll along the trails of the Renfrew Ravine to realize that spring is here! Fresh leaves are unfurling like tiny flags hanging on once-bare branches and colourful blossoms burst into life celebrating the spring air. Now is the perfect time to dust off those gardening gloves and dig out your tools from the shed—the youth in Renfrew-Collingwood sure are!

The Grade 9 Leadership students at Windermere high school spent the last two months carefully tending to tiny little wildflower seedlings that will soon make the Renfrew Ravine their home. Still Moon Arts has been working with the class on stewardship and arts initiatives this year with their expanding Youth Engagement Project. Now, with the support of master beekeeper Brian Campbell, Still Moon Arts and the students are making the Pollinator Project their next big thing!

The keen teenagers spent a session with Campbell learning all about native bees and their importance to our ecosystem. The class got to look up close at old bee houses as they talked about suitable habitats for bees and got to look even closer at deceased bees as they continued finding out about the different types that exist in the Lower Mainland.

Bees are important for human survival and wildflower and pollinator gardens are spaces for them to thrive. Photo by Carmen Rosen

Bees are important for human survival and wildflower and pollinator gardens are spaces for them to thrive. Photo by Carmen Rosen

There’s a lot of buzz about pollinator gardens and bees—all with good reason. These creatures are intricately woven into the fabric of our survival but have seen an alarming decline in their population worldwide. Habitat loss and pesticide use are among the leading causes of their loss. But wildflower and pollinator gardens are spaces for bees to thrive. By creating more of these spaces, the positive impacts of a healthy bee population is transferred across the surrounding ecological system.

Come April, the youth will once again join Brian Campbell with their precious seedlings and plant them in the ravine. This is being done with the hopes of building a larger network of pollinator havens that will work alongside other stewardship initiatives to contribute to a healthier ravine ecosystem.

If you’re stinging with curiosity and want to find out more about pollinator gardens and bees, Brian Campbell will be speaking at the Still Moon Arts Society’s annual general meeting on Thursday, May 5, 2016. More information is available at

Chitha Manoranjan is a resident of Renfrew-Collingwood and is the youth engagement coordinator at Still Moon Arts Society.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

Leave a comment

Eating Out in RC: Kamome Japanese Bistro

Kamome Japanese Bistro
5288 Joyce Street
Vancouver, BC


Kamome1Unlike most Japanese restaurants in Vancouver these days (which at last count was over 600), Kamome is not your run-of-the-mill, Chinese-run, sushi restaurant. No. Owner/chef Mika Walker is of true Japanese origin, from Osaka, and – surprise – you won’t even find sushi at Kamome. What? No sushi? What else is there you may be asking. If this is you, then I especially urge you to visit Kamome and find out.

As a Canadian who had the unique pleasure of living in Japan for 18 months, I can tell you that Kamome is the real deal. This is where the Japanese will be going to get their fix of food like mama used to make. And for the rest of us – we, too, can thank our lucky stars that we live in such a multi-ethnic metropolis as Renfrew-Collingwood, where we can find the real deals from all over the world on our doorstep.

The Kamome menu offers a wide selection of seafood, meat and vegetable onigiri that ranges from $2.50-$3.50 each. Onigiri is a Japanese fast food that is a rice ball wrapped in seaweed with various ingredients in the middle.

There is also a wide variety of donburi, which is a Japanese rice bowl dish with various toppings and sauces. Chicken Teri Don ( chicken with teriyaki sauce), Unagi Don (fresh water eel with teriyaki sauce), Ikura Don (salted salmon roe), Ebi Ten Don (Prawn tempura with tempura sauce) are a few of the choices ranging from $4-$6 for a small and $7-$12 for the larger bowls.

Kamome2Next, it is my pleasure to tell you of Mika’s very own creation – the Ja-panini. This is Kamome’s original grilled rice sandwich that comes in many delicious varieties like chicken, beef, prawn, salmon or unagi (fresh-water eel) with various vegetables and sauces. These carefully crafted combinations are wrapped with rice and seaweed and then grilled with a panini press.

I can tell you first hand that the Smoked Salmon Ja-panini is killer! The salmon along with asparagus, red pepper, lettuce and cream cheese was the perfect combination. Although the inspiration is clearly Japanese, I am sure that you will agree that the Salmon Ja-panini screams “west-coast classic.” Way to go Mika – your Ja-panini invention is an important culinary discovery and I look forward to trying them all.

Another specialty of Kamome, and even better than sushi, are the Rice Canapés (pictured below). Wikipedia tells us that a canapé is a type of hors d’œuvre – a small, prepared and usually decorative food, held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite. You can sample the five varieties of rice canapé for $12, or you can order an entire party tray of 25 rice canapés for $50.

Also at Kamome are side dishes like Hiya Yakko (cold tofu); Edamame (boiled green soybeans); Ikura Oroshi (salmon roe and radish) and potato soup.

For dessert, try the red bean muffin and green tea ice cream. I have been hearing good things about the ice cream shakes that come in vanilla, green tea and azuki (red bean) $5.

Kamome Japanese Bistro is Mika’s first restaurant. Kamome means “seagull” in Japanese and Mika named it that as “it is like summer, warm and cozy.” Well, I never had connected seagulls with warm and cozy before, but having been to Mika’s restaurant, Kamome, I believe it is the perfect name. Go taste the fresh, homemade goodness for yourself and say hello to Mika for me. Bon appetit.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

Windermere Leadership students lead Earth Day Parade 2016

Sunday, April 24, 2016



Earth Day

Windermere student organizers, community youth and cycling dinosaurs march for environmental justice in celebration of Earth Day. Photo courtesy of Y4CJN

For five years now, Vancouverites have been marching down Commercial Drive to the tune of The Carnival Band in celebration of our planet and Earth Day (which falls this year on April 22). Spirits are always high as youth and community members parade down the streets engulfed in a sea of banners and picket signs.

The marchers are accompanied by a giant windmill made from pop cans strewn together with chicken wire and a trio of fossil-fuel-loathing dinosaurs who are just as eager as the rest of the participants to express their environmental concerns.

Business operators and cafe goers drift away from their duties and conversations to gaze at the over 200-strong group of marchers headed towards Grandview park where speakers and entertainers await.

For the past few months, a new group of Grade 11 students from Windermere high school have been hard at work organizing the 6th annual Earth Day Parade and Celebration. The event is organized entirely by these students, together known as Youth 4 Climate Justice Now, along with guidance from their teacher Vagner Castilho. One student organizer, Gabriele Liessi, has been busy filling out event permits.

“I’ve been attending for the past three years and it’s always something I look forward to. I think the event is a great way for youth like me to get involved with climate-related issues and to show adults just how important having a sustainable future is to our generation,” Gabriele says.

The high school organizers aim to attract students from all over Vancouver out to the march and parade to educate and stand with each other in the battle for a greener future. Of course, people of all ages — young and old — who are concerned for the planet are encouraged to show up. In the past more than 1,000 people have attended the celebration and amazing environmentalists such as David Suzuki have even been guest speakers.

This year, the parade and celebration will be happening on Sunday, April 24. Bring your family, friends, signs, banners and spirit! Costumes are encouraged as well so don’t be afraid to dress up. For more information, please visit


Windermere Leadership program wins Earth Day Canada award

November 2015, the Leadership program at Windermere Secondary School won the Group Hometown Heroes Award from Earth Day Canada for their environmental work. The prestigious award comes with a $10,000 cash prize to support their work.

Over the last 10 years, the Windermere Secondary Leadership Program (WSLP) has spearheaded a number of large-scale and far-reaching environmental initiatives and events.

WSLP’s most notable environmental accomplishment is the education and empowerment of students across Vancouver through three major community events: the annual Climate Change Conference (C3), that brings over 300 students from across Vancouver together for a day of presentations, workshops and hands-on action; the annual Earth Day Parade and Celebration, a community event that has attracted up to 1,000 people and shut down Commercial Drive; and a film screening of two environmental films, Directly Affected and Spoil, with a special panel to address students and educate.

In addition, WSLP’s accomplishments include a garden with 25 large garden beds, 30 fruit trees, 20 perennial berry bushes, greenhouse, aquaponics system and a composter that can hold up to two tons of food waste; a grassroots program where leadership students present sustainability lessons and mentor Grade 6 and 7 students; car free day; a bike program with a fleet of 30 bikes for physical education classes to use; and a successful campaign and fundraising initiative that reduced the number of plastic water bottles going to landfill by over 50,000 to date, through the purchase of three special water fountains.

The Leadership program also had 50 students attend the Global Climate Race in Stanley Park last year and raised $1,000 for solar panels for the Stanley Park nature house.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

Leave a comment

April 2016 issue of RCC News is here

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

RCC News April 2016Get 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:

  • Students lead annual Earth Day Parade, Sunday, April 24
  • Youth invite bees to pollinate the ravine
  • Eating Out in RC: Kamome Japanese Bistro
  • Your feedback wanted on the Joyce Skytrain area development
  • The Gaston/Senft/McHugh historical collection
  • Coastal City Ballet’s Swan Lake

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 May 2016 issue is April 10. You are welcome to submit a story from 300 to 400 words. 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.