Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

Leave a comment

Coping with COVID: Have a snow day

Stay on track with cross-country skiing


View from Cypress to Vancouver Island. Photo by Julie Cheng
It’s a breathtaking view from Hollyburn’s Powerline trail to Vancouver Island. Photos by Julie Cheng

Feeling cooped up with the provincial COVID restrictions and the non-stop Vancouver rain? When I used to be cooped up all day with my young kids, I’d hand them off to my husband at 6 pm and escape by myself for a night ski at Hollyburn Ridge on Cypress Mountain. Often when it was raining down here, it’d be snowing up there.

I don’t mean downhill skiing or snowboarding, but the immersion-with-nature experience of cross-country skiing.

Each winter more than 2.7 million Canadians and 240,000 Vancouverites take to cross-country trails, according to the Canadian Ski Council (Facts + Stats 2017–18).

A winter workout

Cross-country skiing is a great way to stay energized and keep fit while enjoying the outdoors.

It’s a whole-body winter sport that improves circulation, strengthens the immune system, detoxifies the body and relieves stress. I find the combination of exercise and fresh air gives me a good night’s sleep. Best of all, cross-country skiing is easy on the knees and joints.

Sport for all ages

Cross-country skiing is an easy way for beginners to enjoy snow sports. Photo by Julie Cheng
Cross-country skiing is an easy way for beginners to enjoy snow sports.

The whole family can enjoy cross-country skiing.

My youngest was three when she started. We’d head to Hollyburn Lodge for a hot chocolate and vegetarian chili to warm up. Just remember to bundle up with layers and keep everyone’s hands and feet warm and dry.

Enthusiasts pull their toddlers in a special sled and get a great workout at the same time. Many older skiers who fly by me are in terrific shape for their age.

It’s easy to start learning with classic cross-country skis – just think walking/gliding on skis in groomed tracks. Once you become more advanced, you may want try skate skiing, which can be an even better cardio workout.

Nature’s magic

The quiet swish of skis over snow is one of the great joys of winter. It’s peaceful and rejuvenating to wind along mountain trails and breathe in the fresh forest air. The scenery can be breathtaking.

I always end my ski on Cypress by going down the Powerline trail where, on a clear day, you can see all the way to Vancouver Island.

One afternoon, the clouds lifted and the sun peaked out, revealing Nanaimo in the distance. The sun glowed red then disappeared over the horizon. It was magical.

As I drove down the mountain, I slipped below the clouds and back into the dreary city. But I wasn’t feeling cooped up anymore.

Local cross-country ski trails are found on Hollyburn Ridge’s nordic area on Cypress Mountain – a 40-minute drive from Vancouver. There are 19 kilometres of trails for beginner to expert skiiers, including 7.5 km of trails lit for night skiing. If you want to get away from the crowds, especially during these COVID times, ski to the top. The initial uphill burn on your lungs and legs will be worth the effort when you catch all the trails going downhill the rest of the way. These days you need to purchase tickets and ski rentals online and wear a mask on site. Visit

Leave a comment

March 2021 issue of RCC News is here

RCC News March 2021 issue

Happy spring! Let’s stay connected to your community through the RCC News. Please stay safe while you’re out and about.

Click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • CNH celebrates 10 years of Places That Matter
  • Windermere fitness park fundraiser
  • Collingwood Corner: Theatre on Joyce Street
  • Taking out in RC: Chefhyve
  • Online open house for Joyce Street condo tower
  • Real T online youth program returns
  • Seniors Connection: Stanley Park birds in winter

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 April 2021 issue is March 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.


Leave a comment

Read On: Celebrating the Lunar New Year 2021


Lunar New Year 2021 is the Year of the Metal Ox. Photo of sculpture by Joe Fafard on Georgia street. By Sophia Han
Lunar New Year 2021 is the Year of the Metal Ox. Sculpture by Joe Fafard on Georgia street. Photo by Sophia Han

For Chinese people, the year starts with the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. This year, Chinese New Year starts on Friday, February 12. In China, this is a holiday that lasts for one week, but it is also celebrated in places where many Chinese people live.

Every Lunar New Year is associated with an animal sign. For 2021, the animal sign is the Ox. People born in 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985 and 1997 are Ox people because an Ox year occurs every 12 years. Ox people are considered hard-working, honest and dependable.


Traditionally, the Lunar New Year is a time for families to be together and eat special foods such as fish, dumplings, and wheat noodles called “longevity noodles.” People believe that if you eat these noodles, you will have a long and happy life.

In Chinese culture, red is considered an auspicious colour, so people often wear red clothes during the holiday. People also decorate their homes with red pieces of paper with traditional Chinese sayings and give children gifts of money in red paper envelopes.

It is common for adults to give each other mandarin oranges and anything gold-coloured (such as chocolates wrapped in gold paper or sweets in gold-coloured boxes).

Some things are considered unlucky to do during the Lunar New Year. Washing your hair is considered unlucky because it suggests that you may wash away good fortune. It is also considered unlucky to sweep or break an object.

If you have a friend who celebrates the Chinese New Year, you can greet them in Cantonese by saying kung hei fat choi (“gong hay fah choy”) or in Mandarin by saying gong xi fa cai (“gong zee fah-chai”). This means “Wishing you good fortune.” 


celebrate – to do things you enjoy because of a special occasion

associated – if you associate something with another thing, this means the two are connected

occurs – when something occurs, it happens

considered  – thought of

dependable – a dependable person is someone who acts the same way over time

traditionally – things you do because of a custom or belief

longevity – long-life

auspicious – lucky

decorate – to make a place look attractive

sayings – something that people often say

common – if something is common, it happens often

suggests – makes you think of something

fortune – wealth, good luck

Word search: Celebrate the Lunar New Year
Play online at