Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Food Security Institute: Join summer gatherings at local gardens

BY BO DEL VALLE GARCIA AND EMMA WARNER CHEE

Food-security-event

Vanessa Richards (centre) of Woodword’s Community Choir leads a singing practice at the Norquay Orchard event last year. Photo by Dustin Ahjz

The Renfrew-Collingwood Food Security Institute (RCFSI) gathers neighbours around food. Together, we grow, we cook, we share and we build resilient communities. On the rooftop garden, at the Norquay Orchard and at our community gardens we aim to create a hub for our neighbours, both human and non, to share and increase knowledge around organic and regenerative food growing practices, soil systems, and wild and native plants.

This is an exciting time for us! This summer we will be joined by two new members of our team, Bo and Emma, who will be dedicating their time and expertise towards growing thriving communities both in the garden and out.

Bo is a creature of the cities and forests: a community organizer, activist and earth skills educator born to the traditional unceded lands of the Coast Salish – otherwise known as Vancouver, B.C. Bo identifies as genderqueer and uses They/Them/Theirs pronouns.

Bo is rooted deeply into their home and community, but never forgets that they are a visitor on this land. Their work operates in the intersections between earth, food, art and justice. They have spent countless hours learning from the natural world in academic settings, from elders and mentors, and from the living ecosystems themselves. They have worked on a number of projects concerning ecosystem repair, bioremediation, food forests design, biological pest management, rainwater harvesting and climate change resiliency and are so excited to be working with the RCFSI this summer!

Emma is a sociology student at Simon Fraser University and returning to RCFSI for a second year as a summer student. She loves growing, cooking, eating and talking about food. She is excited to spend time at the orchard and in the garden this summer, and to plant seeds for community growth and tasty veggies.

Summer events

This summer RCFSI will be working to foster a deeper connection with the land and each other, and are excited to invite everyone to our upcoming events:

Pruning Workshop at the Norquay Orchard (2732 Horley St.) – Saturday, June 17, 12 to 2 pm

Rooftop Garden Drop-ins at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House – Every Wednesday, 5 to 7 pm

Norquay Orchard Work Parties (2732 Horley St.) – Last Saturday of the month, 1 to 3 pm

There will be many more exciting opportunities to get involved. Keep an eye on the RCFSI Facebook page – Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute, or the website rcfood.wordpress.com.

If you are interested in volunteering contact collingwoodurbanag@gmail.com.

Copyright 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Community rallies around local carpenter Rob Allen after house fire

Rob Allen – our neighbour, volunteer and contractor at Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) –lost everything in a house fire early May. “I’m OK and so is the guy from downstairs!” he writes in an email.

Actually, he heroically saved his downstairs neighbour’s life by crawling through a smoky, burning basement and dragging him out of the blaze.

Rob lost everything in the fire. But as one friend said, quoting her parent’s wisdom, “Everything is replaceable except for you!” We’re grateful Rob is safe.

A talented carpenter by trade, Rob has worked on many projects around the neighbourhood and privately for folks who need woodworking help. Rob is a dedicated community volunteer who has spent many hours working on cultural infrastructure planning, making bird and bee houses in community workshops, teaching woodworking to homeschooling families and working with the city on dialogue around community representation. He also initiated the local Conversation Cafés.

His hearty chuckle and dedication to making the neighbourhood a better place – alongside his ability to see the positive in everything, including his own situation – is inspiring.

People at CNH and around the community have expressed a desire to help Rob. His partner has set up a GoFundMe page where you can donate online (www.gofundme.com/roberts-house-fire-campaign) – thanks to all of you who have already donated.

If anyone has woodworking tools they don’t need anymore, he is happy to accept them as donations, as he plans to do more woodworking workshops for beginner DIYers.

You are welcome to drop off monetary donations to Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 5288 Joyce Street, by Friday, June 2, attention Sally. You can also drop off tool donations at the reception.

Rob is overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the people around him and the community support has been important in helping him though this disaster with grace.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Collingwood Days 2017 – New location, same great family fun

BY ANDREA BERNECKAS

Collingwood-Days-Stiltwalkers

The 14th annual Collingwood Days runs from Saturday, May 20 to Sunday, May 28. Photos courtesy of Collingwood Days

Collingwood Days Festival is an annual intercultural community festival that celebrates the diversity, history and natural environment of Renfrew-Collingwood. Traditionally taking place in the last week of May, this year’s event will be celebrating its 14th year from Saturday, May 20 to Sunday, May 28.

We have many fond memories of Collingwood Days at Sir Guy Carlton Elementary, but due to a fire at the school last year, the main festival day will take place this year at Gaston Park, at Euclid and Tyne.

Over the years, Collingwood Days has highlighted the contributions of various groups and members of the neighbourhood. This year, we are honouring and celebrating the contributions of the First Nations in our community. There will be music, dancing, storytelling and history.

Collingwood-Days-DancersThroughout the festival week, there will be activities in various parts of the Renfrew-Collingwood: a carnival at Graham Bruce Elementary, a Cantonese and Italian Opera performance and exhibition at the Italian Cultural Centre, a native plant walk at Norquay Learning orchard, a tea house event at Collingwood Neighbourood House, First Nations storytelling at Collingwood Branch library and much more.

On the festival day, May 28, local Lions Club members will serve up a pancake breakfast from 9 to 11 am. After our opening blessing at 11 am, festivities will begin with live music and dance from Bright Sunset Chinese Dance Group, Windermere Choir, Calpulli Cemanahuac Aztec Dance Group, Peter Yap, Alicia Crestejo, Kathara Indigenous Filipino Cultural group and others.

Collingwood-Days-SingersDrop by and check out the International Marketplace, Artisan Village, BMX and the Dog Agility shows and Collingwood Gardens Tea tent.

There are opportunities to volunteer, promote your organization or sponsor our event.

Please check out the Collingwood Days Facebook page (www.facebook.com/collingwooddays/) for updates and Collingwood Days website (www.collingwooddays.com/) for more information.

Collingwood-Days-Band

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Bruce Spring Carnival – Now in its 5th year

See you there – Friday, May 26, 4–8 pm

BY ROSANNE LAMBERT

Bruce-Spring-Carnival

Come for the carnival games, stay for the food and fun at this annual neighbourhood event. Photo by Mary Anne Purdy

Let me tell you about a little gem in our neighbourhood, just in case you hadn’t already stumbled across it.

Each spring, Graham Bruce Elementary’s Parent Advisory Council (PAC) proudly presents the annual Spring Carnival – located at 3633 Tanner street, in the back basketball courts on Moscrop. Mark your calendar for Friday, May 26 from 4 to 8 pm.

This fun-filled, intergenerational, intercultural community event is in its fifth year, with a longstanding tradition of bringing together families, students, staff, alumni, local neighbours and businesses from the broader community of Renfrew-Collingwood and beyond.

When our youngest first started at Bruce, the Spring Carnival was in its inaugural year (2013). It was created by the PAC as a way to raise funds to replace a primary playground, which the Vancouver School Board removed due to deterioration and safety issues. The playground was successfully installed in 2015, but this annual fundraiser continues as a way to mitigate shortfalls in education funding.

The proceeds from the Spring Carnival have been used for classroom technology upgrades, transportation to field trips, new equipment and enhancing our school’s curriculum. Last year’s event raised more than $9,000, which has funded a commercial popcorn machine this year, LEGO Robotics kits, subsidies for new after-school programs, and more.

Over the years, the annual coordination of the Spring Carnival also brought diverse families together in collaboration towards shared goals… building neighbourly relationships through this process, and strengthening the fabric of our community.

So, after a long winter in Vancouver it’s finally spring. We look forward to relaxing in the fresh outdoors at this event each year… seeing all the folks in the ’hood… sinking our teeth into delicious barbecued smokies … watching our kids at the classic carnival games.

There will be indoor bouncy castles, plus a variety of quality goods to peruse at the silent auction, and over $5,000 in raffle prizes! I’ll try my chances at winning the grand prize package, and so can you: It’s a trip for two to Victoria including round-trip airfare, IMAX film admission, and tours to the very beautiful Butchart Gardens and the very tropical Butterfly Gardens.

That’s not all. There’s free entertainment – a magic show by Ray Wong Magic, demonstrations of LEGO Robotics and much more! There’s something for everyone.

Best of all, when you support the Spring Carnival you also support Graham Bruce Elementary School in the education of children and youth in this community – our future citizens. Hope to see you there rain or shine!

Local artist Rosanne Lambert has been a parent at Bruce Elementary for the past eight years.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Indigenous art project at Windermere high school: Reconciliation from the ground up

BY JULIE CHENG

Windermere-aboriginal-art-Jerry-Whitehead

Aboriginal artist Jerry Whitehead demonstrates the art of spray painting. Photos taken and edited by Olivia Lee-Chun, Harkarn Kaler and Tiffany Tu

This spring, look for a new mural at Windermere Secondary School that brings together nature and Indigenous culture. Windermere has received a $20,000 grant from the Betty Wellborn Artistic Legacies Foundation for an art project that features local Indigenous artists running workshops and working with students to paint this mural.

Fine arts teacher Alyssa Reid’s project proposal was inspired from reading Wab Kinew’s The Reason You Walk, a memoir about reconciliation and healing between father and son that may ultimately spark conversation about Canada’s own reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Coincidentally, Windermere’s former vice-principal, Alison Ogden, had once posted outside her office a quote from the same book that Reid “really took to heart.”

The quote reads: “Reconciliation is not something realized on a grand level, something that happens when a prime minister and a national chief shake hands. It takes place at a much more individual level. Reconciliation is realized when two people come together and understand that what they share unites them and that what is different between them needs to be respected.”

Windermere-aboriginal-art

Two students spray painting the stencil design they created.

Windermere’s aboriginal support teacher, Davita Marsden, suggested to Reid that local contemporary Indigenous artists Sharifah Marsden, Corey Bulpitt and Jerry Whitehead might be interested in working on the project.

“After speaking with the artists we decided on three workshops for staff and students that would give them some grounding and knowledge in Indigenous art that would lead to a large (1,000 square foot) mural on the front of the school,” Reid explains in an email.

“Our basis for the mural is a rooting in Mother Nature that links everyone to the earth and stresses the importance of nature and the earth to our Indigenous people done in the three very unique styles of each artist.”

The workshops started late April, with Sharifah Marsden teaching a beading workshop, Corey Bulpitt doing a stencilling and spray painting workshop, and Jerry Whitehead leading a design question/answer workshop. The painting begins in May.

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

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Let’s get outside and celebrate spring

BY JULIE CHENG

Reconciliation pole raising at UBC

There were many hands eager to help at the reconciliation pole raising at the University of B.C. on Apr. 1, 2017. A day of history. Photos by Penny Lim

The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping – spring is here at last! And that means stepping outdoors and getting together at the many events and activities happening around our neighbourhood. Here are a few ideas.

Join in a community celebration. Whether it’s a school carnival, a European festival or Collingwood Days, there are plenty of fun local celebrations for the family to enjoy. Come on out and meet your neighbours and discover local talents!

Explore by Skytrain. Spring is a great time to shop at local farmers’ markets, enjoy new food trucks or discover new neighbourhoods – it just takes a short hop by Skytrain to get there. For ideas check out the RCC News’ Skytrain Rambler series.

Show the Renfrew Ravine some love. Still Moon Arts Society runs workshops in the Renfrew Ravine and has an online guide to ravine self-walking tours. Evergreen runs its Uncover Your Creeks program in the Renfrew Ravine once a month.

Volunteer at a local garden. Dig into the opportunities at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House Rooftop Garden or the Norquay Learning Orchard, run by the local Food Security Institute.

Join a walking club. Drop by your local community centre or neighbourhood house to find a walking club or group day trip program that’ll take to you near and far.

Cranes Reifel Bird Sanctuary

The group taking the Killarney Community Centre trip to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary in late March saw gorgeous birds such as these sand cranes and mallard ducks.

Ducks Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Julie Cheng is the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News. She has lived in Renfrew-Collingwood for 20 years and loves to get some vitamin D from the sun while gardening, cycling or walking outdoors.

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

BY CINDY CHEN

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