Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

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Skytrain Rambler: Stop at Sperling-Burnaby Lake to see baby ducks and geese

More reasons to ♥ Skytrain


Burnaby Lake Geese

A spring-time ride to the Sperling-Burnaby Lake Skytrain station takes you to the delightful baby geese that make their home at Burnaby Lake. Photos by Julie Cheng and Bryden Fergusson

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I love the Skytrain. With two lines (Expo and Millennium) running through it, Renfrew-Collingwood has more Skytrain stops than any other community. The Skytrain can take you downtown and on to the North Shore by Seabus, east to Burnaby or Surrey, and south to Richmond.

The Skytrain saved me years ago when I was feeling isolated at home and searching for places to go with my two preschool kids. I’d pack them in the stroller and take the Skytrain to the family drop-in at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, the storytimes at the Central Branch library and onto the Seabus for a walk along the North Vancouver seawall.

Today the Skytrain gives my teenage kids freedom to move around the Lower Mainland. Sadly for me but happily for them, Skytrain takes them to the shops and restaurants on Robson Street or at Metrotown.

April is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Hop on and take a Skytrain ride to a lovely spot in Burnaby that is linked by nature to Renfrew-Collingwood. You’ll see baby ducks and geese and more!

Skytrain stop: Sperling-Burnaby Lake

Zone 2 on the Millenium Line; about 10 minutes from Renfrew or Rupert Station OR 30 minutes from Nanaimo, 29th Avenue or Collingwood-Joyce Station. The longer route takes you past the beautiful waterfront of Sapperton in New Westminster.

Sperling-Burnaby Lake Skytrain Station Stained glass

The beautiful light from the stained glass greet you in the Sperling-Burnaby Lake Skytrain Station.

From the Sperling-Burnaby Lake station, it’s an easy 10-minute walk to Burnaby Lake and its lovely calm waters that are fed by Still Creek. This is the same creek that flows through our neighbourhood’s Renfrew Ravine.

Before coming out of the station, enjoy the beautiful light coming from the station’s stained glass. Then head south (away from the mountains) and take the overpass, where you’ll be rewarded with a glimpse of Still Creek and other great views.

Overpass to Burnaby Lake

You get great views from the overpass.

Bridge View

Follow the Central Valley signs to Burnaby Lake. Pass by the target range for the Burnaby Archery Club and head to the back side of the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex (includes the Bill Copeland ice rink).

Central Valley signs to Burnaby Lake

Follow the Central Valley signs to Burnaby Lake.

You’ll soon find one of the entrances to Burnaby Lake. Ahead of you is a path leading across a bridge and to your right another path leads to a large open field where people can be found flying model airplanes whenever the geese are not around. It’s your choice which route you take. Either one will take you around the lake’s entire 11 kilometres of trail.

You can download a map of Burnaby Lake Regional Park to help you get around.

Boats at Burnaby Lake boat house

You’ll see colourful boats and a gorgeous view of Burnaby Lake from the boat house.

If you don’t have much time to walk around the whole lake, continue to the right past the large field. You will cross a parking lot and across the boat house. The boat house (actually called a rowing pavilion) and spectator stands were built for the rowing events during the 1973 Canada Summer Games. More recently rowers trained here for the 2012 Summer Olympics, and the last time I visited, there was a wedding in full swing in the beautiful boat house. From here people also launch their rowboats or kayaks.

Skytrain is a fast, efficient and environmentally friendly option for transportation. It saves you parking and gas, and best of all, lets you enjoy beautiful natural spaces like Burnaby Lake.

Bird boat house

In addition to baby ducks and geese, Burnaby Lake is a great place to spot blue herons, bald eagles, kingfishers and osprey.

Julie Cheng is the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News. This story was first published in the April 2015 issue.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Understanding diets: Separating fact from fad


Spring is a great time to renew focus on our health and wellness from a holistic perspective. This includes nurturing our bodies in ways to support our physical as well as mental health.

Every day, the average person makes over 200 decisions about food.

These small decisions can add up to important impacts on health and happiness. However, if you’ve ever tried to sift through nutrition blogs, articles and other online information, you know that it can be overwhelming to figure out what, how and when to eat for optimal health and enjoyment.

This past March was Nutrition Month, with the theme Take the Fight Out of Food. This campaign was led by Dietitians of Canada and focuses on building happier, healthier relationships with food by tackling five food-related topics. The campaign helps consumers to cut the confusion and get straight to the science, when it comes to choosing well-balanced dietary habits that can be maintained for long-term health.

To help you separate fact from fiction when it comes to diets, here are three basic steps you can follow:

Spot the problem.

The diet and weight-loss industry in Canada isn’t tightly regulated, leaving room for sneaky marketing to spread unfounded nutrition claims. Spot the problem by keeping an eye out for red flags to help identify myths that seem too good to be true.

For example, is the diet or supplement promising “rapid weight loss,” an “easy cure” for a long list of diseases, or some sort of “full-body detox?” If so, it’s a good idea to do some digging before including it in your lifestyle.

Get the facts.

Good dietary recommendations should be based on evidence, given by qualified experts and be something you can follow for the long term. Look for blogs, articles, recipes or social media posts written by registered dietitians.

Seek support.

Food is so much more than the sum of its calories. The way we choose to eat can have strong ties to cultural tradition or lifestyle patterns, as well as our overall happiness. If you’re seeking to change your diet, the support of loved ones can help to smooth the transition, along with reliable resources like the ones listed below.

A great way to kick off a positive change is to find new healthy recipes and try them out with friends and family. Here is a delicious appetizer recipe for you to try at your next gathering!

Chorizo Tapas with Roasted Red Pepper


  • 2 fresh chorizo sausages                                                   2
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt                                                125 mL
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers from a jar, drained           250 mL
  • ¼ cup unsalted almonds                                                  60 mL
  • 15 slices baguette, diagonally cut                                  15 slices

Step 1
Diagonally cut chorizo into slices. Cook in a large non-stick frying pan, over medium heat, 2 minutes on each side until golden (or barbecue whole sausages, then cut into slices).

Step 2
Meanwhile, combine yogurt, peppers and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until creamy but still a little chunky. Add salt and pepper.

Step 3
Toast baguette slices, if desired. Spread each with a generous spoonful of sauce, then top with one or two slices of chorizo. Transfer to a platter and serve as an appetizer.

Recipe by Danone, available at

Amanda Hunter is a dietetic intern studying at the University of B.C. Helen Yeung and Kathy Romses are public health dietitians at Vancouver Coastal Health.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Windermere students celebrate Earth Day

Windermere Earth Day parade April 22, 2017

Join Windermere students in their seventh annual Earth Day Parade and Celebration on Saturday, April 22. Photo courtesy of Windermere Leadership program

Join the Earth Day Parade and Celebration – April 22


Every year, grade 11 students from Windermere Secondary’s Leadership program dedicate their time to organizing an event for Earth Day. This year will be our seventh annual Earth Day Parade and Celebration happening on Saturday, April 22, 2017.

The event aims to educate and engage youth on important environmental issues including climate change. This year the event will be looking at issues that directly affect our communities such as the recently approved Kinder Morgan pipeline as well as tankers on our coast.

We are driven to organize this event every year by our desire for a just and sustainable world and to empower those who attend to work towards a greener and more sustainable future.

The event will start off with a parade near Commercial-Broadway Skytrain Station at 1 pm and will proceed northwards on Commercial Drive to Grandview Park where there will be a variety of speakers, performers and activities.

We invite and encourage everyone to come out with signs, dress up, and walk with us on Saturday, April 22 at 1 pm!

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Get ready for Vancouver’s biggest job fair – April 11

MOSAIC job fair

At a job fair it’s important to dress the part to make a good first impression. Visit the Vancouver Northeast WorkBC Employment Services Centre ahead of time to find tips on writing resumes and cover letters, and interview and networking skills.

MOSAIC is hosting its 6th Annual Career & Job Fair on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Croatian Cultural Centre located at 3250 Commercial Drive.

Career fairs offer job seekers a unique opportunity to meet employers face-to-face, create a positive impression, and make meaningful personal connections that are impossible when submitting a resume online.

Here are some tips on how to connect effectively with employers and get the most out of a job fair.

Before the job fair

  • Determine which of the businesses participating in the fair match your career objective. Make a list of your target employers based on their needs and your skills and interests.
  • Visit the websites of participating employers you have pre-selected to find out about their job opportunities and company culture. The research will help you figure out if the company is a good match for you.
  • Use the information from your research to develop a list of questions you’d like to ask employers. Employers are looking to hire people who are polite, proactive and equipped with a positive attitude and good listening skills. Stand out from the crowd by asking thoughtful, smart questions. Don’t ask questions for which the answers are readily available online.
  • Prepare your resume and make sure that you have plenty of copies ready. Prepare different versions of resumes tailoring each to a targeted employer and career objective.
  • Most employers prefer that you apply online before the job fair. It also allows you to cast a wider net, as many companies are hiring for a variety of positions at multiple locations and this way your application will be seen by more hiring managers within the company.

Furthermore, by taking the extra step in preparing for the job fair, it shows prospective employers your commitment and interest in working at their company. This does not mean that you are wasting your time by attending the job fair; employer representatives are taking note of candidates they are interested in, so be sure you make a good first impression.

  • Come prepared. Bring a simple notepad and pen to take notes and a folder to keep your resumes organized and ready to hand out.
  • Visit the Vancouver Northeast WorkBC Employment Services Centre to find tip sheets or workshops on topics such as resume and cover letter skills, interview skills and networking skills to help you prepare with putting your best foot forward.
  • Prepare a 20- to 30-second introduction to use with employers. The introduction should be a concise and well-presented message that quickly provides just enough information about you to generate the listener’s interest and attention, and set the stage for meaningful conversation.

At the job fair

  • Dress the part. First impressions are important and send an immediate message regarding how serious you are in your job search. Clothing should be clean and pressed; business casual is appropriate for most jobs.
  • Take time to interact with the employers you’ve targeted. Deliver your resume and take the time to make a positive first impression on the employer by showing interest in their needs.
  • To appear confident and knowledgeable about the company, demonstrate your knowledge by asking questions that are specific to a position or department you’re interested in. Tell the employer how your skill-set matches their requirements.
  • Watch your body language. A firm handshake and eye contact are important. Good manners are critical to making a good impression; employers always appreciate someone who is dedicated, conscientious and attentive.
  • Be friendly and stay on topic. Job fairs can be noisy, so speak clearly and with confidence.
  • After talking to each representative, ask for a business card and use the back of the card to record notes to help you remember important details and follow-up instructions. If no card is available, record their contact information and your comments in your notepad.

 After the job fair

  • Follow up with thank you notes or emails a day or two after the job fair. Thank the employers for taking the time to meet with you, review key points from your conversation and add any new information. Don’t forget to attach your resume and follow up a week or two later to see if opportunities are available for you within their organization.

For more information on how to prepare for a job fair or other job search tips and information please contact the Vancouver Northeast WorkBC Employment Services Centre at 604-708-9300 or visit

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Renfrew-Collingwood high school students create original play about addiction

Green Thumb Theatre offers free community performance April 24 at Killarney high school


Green Thumb's Fix(ed), an interdisciplinary look at addictive behaviour

Grade 11 and 12 students known as the East Van Young Creators’ Collective have created Fix(ed), an interdisciplinary look at addictive behaviour. Image courtesy of Green Thumb Theatre

Since late September 2016, 10 students from schools in the South East Vancouver neighbourhood have been meeting weekly to create and rehearse an original play. Under the guidance of Green Thumb Theatre’s artistic associate Shawn Macdonald, the group of Grade 11 and 12 students known as the East Van Young Creators’ Collective have been pooling their diverse talents to create Fix(ed), an interdisciplinary look at addictive behaviour.

“It’s not just about addiction,” says Macdonald. “We wanted to explore those strategies and behaviours young people engage in in order not to feel certain things, or to avoid pain. It can be drugs or alcohol, but it can also be devices, or social media, or even just thought loops or negative ideas that we become identified with that drive our behaviour.”

The piece chronicles the lives of 10 high school students, each struggling with being stuck in a way of being that may not serve them.

Tamsyn Kushner , a Grade 12 student from Windermere Secondary, describes the process this way: “It started with us as a team deciding on what kind of main theme we’d work with. We decided on addiction because it’s general but it’s something that everyone has to deal with in some way. We decided it would be a character-driven story with intertwining plots and relationships.”

“This is a new model for our youth outreach here at Green Thumb,” adds Macdonald. “Not only are the students 100% responsible for creating the content of the show, but we want to engage more directly with our immediate community and neighbours.” Green Thumb Theatre’s “campus” is located next to Carleton School near Kingsway and Joyce.

Tamsyn Kushner recognizes the value of these kinds of projects. “For me, it was so cool to get the chance to work on an original play creation. I don’t have many opportunities for that. I was excited to use my artistic skills in a new way.”

The students hail from Windermere, David Thompson, Gladstone and Killarney secondary schools.

The play will be presented at each of the four participating schools during the day for students in Grades 11 and 12. It will also offer an evening performance for the community at Killarney on Monday, April 24 at 7 pm  – free of charge.

The play is created and performed by Vanessa Figueroa (David Thompson), Andy Diep and Nada Molemba (Gladstone), Hansel Rehberger (Killarney), and Christian Garcia, Maggen Rosario Falvo, Tamsyn Kushner, Aisha McCarnan, Sara Nguyen and Asia Pzyborowska (all from Windermere).

Shawn Macdonald is the artistic associate of Green Thumb Theatre.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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April 2017 issue of RCC News is here

RCC News April 17

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:

  • Get ready for Vancouver’s biggest job fair
  • Neighbourhood high school students create Green Thumb play about addiction
  • Women’s personal safety workshop by the Vancouver Police Department
  • Graham Bruce Elementary gets top marks
  • Understanding diets: Separating fact from fad
  • Help create a multi-language food guide
  • Windermere students celebrate Earth Day, April 22
  • Local resident Bill Chan runs for Vancity board – vote at your local branch
  • Pedestrian safety tips

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 2017 issue is April 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.

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Adult education time machine: The history of the bookmobile in Renfrew-Collingwood


Collingwood Bookmobile

Interior of Vancouver Public Library Bookmobile with Harry M. Boyce, Peter Grossman, and Colin Robertson, 1953, Photographer: Province Newspaper. Photo from the Special Collections Historical Collections at the Vancouver Public Library, VPL Accession Number 3403

Much has been written about the architectural importance of the Vancouver Public Library’s Collingwood Branch Library here in Renfrew-Collingwood. Its modernist architectural design was so striking that, at one time, it was the most visited modernist building in all of Vancouver.

In turn, the design won the local architectural partnership of the commission to design the award-winning main library branch once housed at the corner of Burrard and Robson Street in downtown Vancouver.

However, a lesser but equally important story is the fact that Collingwood Branch Library was once home to Vancouver Public Library’s bookmobile. When there were far fewer branch libraries in Vancouver, a proposal for a bookmobile was mentioned in the Vancouver Public Library’s 1950 annual report.

By March 1956, the bookmobile was up and running, and quite popular with library patrons. According to an old newspaper article from the Vancouver Herald from July 19, 1956, the total circulation of library materials in the bookmobile’s first four months of operation was approximately 45,000 – a number equal to a small branch library.

The Vancouver Public Library’s humble Collingwood library was connected to the bookmobile as the branch library was headquarters for the bookmobile and its book supply. The book stock on the bookmobile was approximately 2,000 books. However, the bookmobile could pull from its inventory of 18,000 books from its storage area at Collingwood library.

From its humble home in Renfrew-Collingwood, the bookmobile once operated five days a week and initially had a dozen weekly stops all over the city. According to a 1960 annual report from the Vancouver Public Library, consistently popular bookmobile stops included Kingsway and Fraser, 25th Avenue and Main Street, 54th Avenue and Elliot, 54th Avenue and Victoria and Commercial and Broadway.

This little book bus operated by the Vancouver Public Library could definitely be categorized as an important agent in the development of informal adult education here in Vancouver.

An article in the Province newspaper from April 4, 1972, chronicled that the Vancouver Public Library even began as the “ ‘New London Mechanics Institute,’ a recreation room and library for employees of Hastings Mill at the foot of Dunlevy” when education and learning was at a premium. Many of these mechanics institutes were the predecessors of more formal institutions of adult education.

Furthermore, a Vancouver Public Library annual report from 1956 revealed that “wheels have brought the Vancouver Public Library to thousands of people who do not have the advantage of branch library service nearby” and its success encouraged the bookmobile’s librarian to say that the city needed more branch libraries.

According to an existing article written by Nora Schubert, the bookmobile’s route ran past several seniors’ homes, reaching an audience that otherwise may have gone without library service.

The bookmobile may have had humble roots, but it was an agent of transformation for both informal adult learning in the city and for the evolution of the city’s library system.

Local resident and writer John Mendoza uncovered this Renfrew-Collingwood connection while looking at the history of adult education in Vancouver. This article was originally written as an assignment for the University of BC.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News