Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

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Film by Windermere Girls Group: Girls are Just as Strong

“Young girls don’t have to look a certain way to be happy.”

Just as Strong: A film by the Windermere Girls Club

Just as Strong: A film by the Windermere Girls Group. Source: Youtube

Last school year, the Windermere Secondary Girls Group watched the film Miss Representation, which provoked a strong reaction, writes Marisol Petersen, the community schools team coordinator for the Windermere Family of Schools.

The group was dismayed by the ways in which girls and women are being portrayed in such hypersexualized ways. They were also disappointed by the fact that female athletes and politicians are not treated the same way their male counterparts are in the media.

In response, the group asked if they could make a movie. The students – from Grades 8 and 9 – came up with the concept and key messaging they wanted their film to be about, assigned each other roles and set about filming all aspects of Just as Strong.

A community filmmaker, musician, visual artist and educator, Sarah Van Borek, was hired to help the Girls Group edit their film.

Their concept was simple but brilliant. The girls put signs up over the four front doors of Windermere – Beautiful, Average, Strong, Weak—and asked students to go through the door that reflected how they felt about themselves.

Ann in Grade 12 chose the door Average because she’s not confident in herself.

Zoe in Grade 9 also chose Average because she doesn’t see anything special about herself and she blends in with the crowd.

Mary Ann in Grade 9 chose Strong because she’s decided to be strong to overcome challenges in her life.

Rachel in Grade 12 chose Beautiful because everyone is beautiful in their own way.

The girls are now touring Just as Strong to local elementary schools with the hopes of getting our youth to think critically about what they see in the media and to continue the conversation.

“You are strong and beautiful just the way you are.”

Watch the powerful messages of hope in this video on YouTube at

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Still Creek Stories – Book launch

Still Creek Stories preorders

Preorders for the book were sold at this year’s Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival. Photo by Kaitlyn Fung


Over the past three years, Still Moon Arts Society has been producing a book to share memories about our beloved local Still Creek, which runs through the heart of the Renfrew Ravine. Artistic director Carmen Rosen started the project to chronicle the amazing stories of our neighbourhood and, together with her team, has gathered numerous stories from residents of various ages, experiences, cultures and length of time living in Renfrew-Collingwood.

From childhood memories in the ravine to the celebrated return of the salmon to our waterways, the book will feature the many experiences of art, nature, stewardship and more from Still Creek, as well as the community that has made it blossom. The stories have now been curated into a book that can be enjoyed by families, children, elders and everyone in between.

A preview of Still Creek Stories. Cover design by January Wolodarsky

A preview of Still Creek Stories. Cover design by January Wolodarsky Cover design by January Wolodarsky

Everyone involved in the project was so proud to take preorders for the book at this year’s Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival in September. After the years of story collection, it is an honour to share the incredible stories about Still Creek and Renfrew Ravine, some of which were previously forgotten, unheard or lost, and others that had yet to be discovered.

The book will be launched in January 2017. If you are interested in learning more about the project and preordering Still Creek Stories, you can visit

This project has been the culmination of many peoples’ hard work, thoughtful comments and heartfelt commitments to making these stories heard. It also could not have happened without access to the beautiful, rugged, loved, exquisite piece of nature that is Still Creek.

A big note of appreciation to everyone that has loved and protected the creek, therefore allowing this project to come to life.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Local mompreneur keeps kids comfy rain or shine


Little Goat sun cover

Helen Clark is shaded from the sun with a Little Goat sun cover. Photo by Trisha Clark


It was a rainy day in July when I went on a walk to Beaconsfield Park with my family – our first outing as a family of four. Our new baby was in her baby carrier, snug and dry under one of my company’s products: a Little Goat baby carrier cover. A cover for the baby carrier is one of those baby items that I had no idea I might need – until I needed one!

When my first daughter was born, my husband and I wanted to maintain as much of our pre-baby, active lifestyle as possible. While mountain biking and skiing together were no longer options, hiking and snowshoeing were activities we could still do as a family with the baby happily carried along. On our first snowshoeing trip the baby carrier got all covered in snow and, while the baby stayed warm and dry under many layers of clothing, I wanted a better solution.


Randal and Trisha Clark with daughters Helen and Iris (in baby carrier) keeping dry in Beaconsfield Park on their first outing as a family of four. Photo by Emma Jean Armstrong

I enjoy sewing and so I started sewing myself a baby carrier cover. Progress was slow with a young baby and I feared winter would be over before the cover was done so I looked at the options available online. I wasn’t happy with any of them so I persevered and finished the cover.

When I made that first baby carrier cover I didn’t intend to start a business, I just wanted my baby to be warm and dry in her carrier when we were hiking on the North Shore and walking around the city. But after receiving positive comments about my creation, I decided to start a business so that other parents could enjoy the outdoors too — regardless of the weather – and I now proudly call myself a mompreneur. My company is called Little Goat Carrier Covers because I once milked goats in France for a summer and fell in love with the curious creatures.

I work from home while my daughters are sleeping and now have three products: two baby carrier covers (one for wet and/or cold weather and one for sun protection) and teething pads. I invest in the community by working with local suppliers and service providers as much as possible; all of the products are made here in East Vancouver.

Keeping the manufacturing local increases my costs but it’s important for me to have peace of mind and confidence in my product. During production, I am able to visit the small factory often and will never forget my big smile when I saw my design being sewn into a finished product for the first time.

Starting a business has not been an easy path and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I’ve received really nice reviews and it makes me so happy every time I hear from a customer that another parent has recommended one of my covers. It feels good to help new parents by providing them with a useful product and it’s fun to ship them off as far afield as Torino, Italy.

The Lower Mainland has many small businesses making high-quality baby products so if someone in your life has a new baby, please consider supporting a local business.

Trisha Clark is a mother of two girls and a mompreneur. She has also been a high school science teacher, technical writer, lab technician and goat milker. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and squeezes in some windsurfing and skiing while her husband is parenting.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Windermere students race to save the planet at the Great Climate Race


About 50 students from Windermere Secondary raced to save their planet this year at the Great Climate Race. Photo by Jewel Dimayuga/Pooja Nair


We may not know what our future holds, but what we do know is that the rate at which climate change occurs depends on us. The Great Climate Race is a reminder that we can control our future, we just need to act fast.

On October 27, 2016, the second annual Great Climate Race took place. More than a thousand people of all running abilities gathered together at Stanley Park to raise awareness for climate change by completing either a or 2.5 kilometre or 10K run.

What makes this event so unique is that co-founders Ben West and Mari McMillan, both passionate environmental activists, designed it to be a zero-waste race that was more than just a run or walk.

The goal of the Great Climate Race is to spread awareness about climate change, bring together community in an encouraging and enjoyable way and fundraise for solar energy projects. Some of these projects include OrcaLabs to help make the orca research facility on northern Vancouver Island completely dependant on renewable solar power as well as a solar power project for the new Tsleil-Waututh administrative and Health Centre in North Vancouver

Our 50-member team at Stanley Park on that beautiful Sunday morning was a group of students from Windermere Secondary School. Located in the heart of East Vancouver, Windermere boasts a thriving garden, bike shop and Leadership program, amongst many other features. Vancouver is considered one of the “greenest” cities in the world, and Windermere definitely reflects that ideal.

These Windermere participants are also part of an in-school mini program called Leadership. With focuses on environmental stewardship and student growth through being active citizens, the Leadership program develops students into leaders of the present and the future. The Leadership program goes beyond school lessons to teach students, or have students discover for themselves what is going on in the community, and what they can do to help.

When the chance to attend the Great Climate Race was sprung upon us, we (the Leadership students) were brimming with excitement. Last year’s race seemed like an unbeatable event with all the smiles, encouragement and pride that was felt on the day of the race, but somehow we managed to top it.

“This is my second year running this race and it’s still an amazing experience,” said Janette Chen, a Grade 10 Leadership student. “It really brings awareness to the cause that we are fighting for and it’s a great opportunity to help out or show that you care!”

This year a Windermere team was organized by two Grade 12 students, and around 50 students raced to save their planet this year at the Great Climate Race. Prior to the race we were all preoccupied with asking for pledges and spreading the news about the event to all of our friends, families and classmates. Those who didn’t attend the event pitched in and pledged those who did, and mini-fundraising events such as bake sales took place, too.

On the day of the race there was no tension in the air. We knew that we could run competitively if we wanted to, but the Climate Race was also just an opportunity to enjoy the gorgeous sea-wall scenery and spend rare moments with friends face to face.

I went into the event unsure of whether I wanted to run or just take it easy, but I came out feeling proud that I accomplished something because I tried my best.

Propelled by the colourful posters and kind words from people I encountered while running, I ran faster and faster and started to realize what the race meant to me. To me, the race is a metaphor that we are in a race against time to save our planet, and the only people we need to beat are ourselves. We need to stop ourselves from destroying our home before it’s too late.

Right now, it’s not too late to take action. We might already be witnessing the precursors of climate change, but there are things we can do to slow down the effects of climate change. There are a multitude of things you can easily do, such as choosing electric power, starting a garden, or biking, walking, taking public transit more often instead of riding in a car. Anything, no matter how small, will make a difference. Change starts with us, and climate change ends here.

Clara Sun is a Grade 10 student in the Leadership program at Windermere Secondary.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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December 2016 issue of RCC News is here

RCC News December 2016

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:

  • Thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and distributors for another successful year
  • High school girl power: Girls are Just as Strong
  • Windermere Climate Change Conference
  • Local mompreneur keeps kids comfy
  • Get your copy of Still Creek Stories
  • Living on $18 a week for food

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 January 2017 issue is December 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.