Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Cambodia

Cambodia Robert Edwards

Photos courtesy of Robert F. Edwards

BY ROBERT F. EDWARDS

My dear friends and readers, I would like to share with you my visit once again to Cambodia. This time I was not travelling alone as a single backpacker, but was with a group of well-established charity organizations. One charity was the Developing World Connections, and the other a worldwide organization known as World Vision.

To commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News, we’re revisiting past stories that have particularly inspired us.
Among our ongoing contributors over the years has been the very personable Robert F. Edwards, who wrote engaging stories, offered his opinions and educated readers on various topics. The personal accounts of his travels around the world through his charity work has been inspiring. This particular story from July 2013 stood out for me as Robert talked about his experiences working with aid organizations to influence communities and bring personal joy to his own life. ─ Lisa Symons, sales and distribution

During my time spent with Developing World Connections, I had the opportunity and privilege of working alongside tradesmen and farmers in the southern part of Cambodia around Kep. This area, like most of Cambodia, is extremely poor and the farmers have no electricity or toilet facilities, just to mention a few things which they lack. Developing World Connections built not only two latrines but then went on for an irrigation system and completed smaller diversions to irrigate fields for the crops that are desperately needed. One of the most important of these crops is rice. It was a wonderful experience to help these farmers have a better life in the bare essentials that we take for granted.

The second part of my trip was equally, if not more, rewarding for me personally. I was given the opportunity by World Vision to visit four of my sponsored children in Cambodia. Along with this opportunity, I also shared some of the remarkable things that World Vision is doing. One was going to a school and talking to over 300 children about Canada. This general area has over 2,400 sponsored children through World Vision.

My most important part of my visit to Cambodia was to visit my wonderful sponsored children and their siblings as well as the mothers. My first child was from a district that the mother and daughter had to travel on one bicycle over eight kilometres with the temperature exceeding 34°C. I had a wonderful time (through an interpreter) sharing these precious moments with this wonderful girl and her mother. It made all of us realize and especially me this precious young girl was not just a face on a photograph.

Cambodia 2 Robert EdwardsIn the following days, thanks again to World Vision’s help, I visited my other three sponsored children who are much younger. The mothers and the siblings of these three children accompanied them on a long journey from one of the outposts in the district that World Vision was operating.

After sharing a considerable time with some things that I’d brought from Canada, the three children along with their mothers and siblings and World Vision personnel with myself all went to a Chinese smorgasbord. It was here when we sat down and started to enjoy the food that one of the World Vision’s personnel said to me, “you have a large family.”

We all had a good laugh for I lost count of how many children along with the three mothers were gathered around me. Walking up to the buffet, the little girl grabbed my hand and the little boy took my other hand and led the way. I truly felt not as a sponsor but as a grandfather enjoying my grandchildren.

The reason I’ve written this is not only to share sponsorships but relationships. Though these children and their parents were unable to communicate on a common language, we shared the most important thing that people can share in their lives together: happiness and love from all that were present.

Robert F. Edwards is a local resident who sometimes writes for the RCC News as The Other Guy’s Opinion.

Copyright (c) 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Youth Celebrate Canada Day 2018

Family fun for everyone – Sunday, July 1, Renfrew Park Community Centre

Young and old alike took part in a community dance at Youth Celebrate Canada Day last July 1st. Photo by Vincent Wu

Young and old alike took part in a community dance at Youth Celebrate Canada Day last July 1st. Photo by Vincent Wu

BY GABRIELLE PARMAN AND ANGUS HO

Are you seeking something fun to take part in on July 1st? Youth Celebrate Canada Day (YCCD) is back for its 22nd year to bring yet another festive, fun-filled event to the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood.

YCCD is an annual festival organized by youth from Windermere Secondary School to celebrate Canada Day at Renfrew Park. This is a family-friendly festival that brings the Renfrew-Collingwood community together in a day of joyous celebration. The event consists of stage performances and entertainment, carnival games, food concession, arts and crafts activities, and community organization booths.

This year’s entertainment will include acts such as vocal and instrumental performances, cultural dances and other displays of talent like martial arts. In our entertainment sector, we have made a commitment to promote cultural diversity and a greater sense of connectedness in our community. At YCCD, you will see the talent of community groups from a variety of different cultures.

This year, we are also incorporating interactive dances, food-eating contests and other festivities into our stage acts. By giving you fun and exciting ways to participate in the event, we hope to create a strong, lasting sense of community during and after the festival!

Children will have a superb time at the festival – whether participating in the carnival-style games to win prizes, getting their faces painted or jumping up and down on the bouncy castle.

While you are at the festival, why not check out some of our community booths? This year, YCCD has invited a number of different organizations within the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood and beyond, in order to showcase the excellent work that is done in our community.

Finally, don’t forget about the food! Make your experience at YCCD complete by swinging by the concession stand for a quick bite, a cold drink or a tasty treat.

Youth Celebrate Canada Day is planned and organized by a group of youth from Windermere Secondary School. The YCCD Core Committee is excited to bring this festival to you once again this year. We hope that you are just as excited to attend this joyous event. Through this year’s festivities, Youth Celebrate Canada Day aims to reflect the cultural diversity of our community and connect community members of all generations by creating positive, lasting memories for you all. We hope to see you at Renfrew Park on July 1st!

Copyright (c) 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Family tree tips for creating a memory box

Loretta Houben created this memory box as a tribute to her grandma Helen.

Loretta Houben created this memory box as a tribute to her grandma Helen.

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

A fun way to keep your family history alive is to create a memory box. Many sizes of boxes are available and can be purchased from Michael’s craft stores, Dollarama or Winner’s Homesense. They range in price from $3 to $25.

The focal point of the box could be a favourite photo or a personal keepsake. In my case I chose the earliest photo available of my maternal grandma, Helen Brutke. She was a talented seamstress so I lined the back of the box with fabric similar to the era in which she did most of her sewing.

I glued the fabric to the back of the box and added lace, which I had purchased years ago at my grandma’s favourite fabric store in Salem, Oregon. I included vintage buttons and a scrap of antique lace from her button box.

I played around with where to place the framed photo and the other items, and had fun while doing so! Whenever I look at this special memory box, I wish I had been able to know Grandma Helen, but she died when I was 10 days old. In this way I can’t forget her, thankful that I inherited her love of sewing.

A memory box also makes a wonderful gift for a loved one. (Remember Mother’s Day is on May 11th!) For my dad’s 80th birthday I bought a large box and included photos from all decades of his life, embellished the photos with scrap book images from the dollar store, and used coloured lettering from Michael’s craft store. It was fun to choose the pictures that represented his long life.

This year I’m working on a very special project to celebrate the upcoming First World War centenary. My great uncle, William Williams, who I wrote about in the April 2014 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News Family Tree Tips article, died after being wounded in battle in Salonika, Greece in 1917.

I plan to use a larger memory box and include a photo, a copy of his war medal card, photo copies of Salonika, a photocopy of the newspaper clipping describing his bravery in battle, and possibly his original war medal which was sent to his family after his death. (If I can coerce it from my dad’s possession.)

Visual mementos are a lovely way to keep the memory of our relatives alive, especially if they lived long ago or are ones you never met. Younger generations will appreciate the care and thought which went into making them, and one day they will be precious family heirlooms.

Next month’s installment will focus on searching old journals or diaries, notebooks and even receipts for family clues.

Loretta Houben is a member of the British Columbia Genealogy Society and enjoys finding ways to keep her family history alive and well. Please check the society’s website at www.bcgs.ca for free meet-ups once a month. First published in the May 2014 issue of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

Copyright (c) 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Celebrating our 15th annual Collingwood Days with playfulness

Collingwood-Days-2018

This year’s Collingwood Days invites community members to join in on all sorts of play and games, sports and arts alike, that are being held throughout the community. Image source: collingwooddays.com

BY ANDREA BERNECKAS

In May 2003, the first official Collingwood Days celebration took place at the Safeway parking lot at Tyne and Kingsway. Before then, a group of creative community-minded residents had been putting together yearly events to bring people together in shared experiences.

In 2000, there was Faces of Our Neighbourhood, an initiative that led residents on a parade from Collingwood Neighbourhood House to Slocan Park for a community celebration. Mosaic Madness followed in 2001; and in 2002, residents gathered to celebrate the installation of the Renfrew Totem Pole through Nature Meets Art.

The interest and need for regular community celebrations and gatherings brought about both Collingwood Days Festival and the Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival, which began September 2003.
After a couple of years at the Safeway location, Collingwood Days Festival moved to the Sir Guy Carleton Elementary school site, where it remained until 2016. After the closure of the school, the festival made the move to its new location at Gaston Park.

Throughout the years, the festival has highlighted the unique stories of Renfrew-Collingwood residents, and over time we have based our festival themes on these stories. We have discovered and showcased the histories of individual community members, the natural environment, artists and performers, local businesses and even our dogs!

What’s new for 2018

This year, we have a particularly fun theme, that of Play and Playfulness – “The quality of being light-hearted or full of fun” – and we invite community members to join in on all sorts of play and games, sports and arts alike, that are being held throughout the community.

Throughout the world there is play. There are schoolyard games, board games, sports and word games. Music, performance and making art can be playful. While we often think of play as something that is only for the young, play is critical to the physical and social well-being of everyone, no matter their age. This wide-ranging theme allows us the space to celebrate ways of playing from around the world.

This year, the festival week begins after the Victoria Day long weekend, on Tuesday, May 22; but you can jump-start playing by joining Family Board Games at Renfrew Library on Sunday, May 20 from 1:30 to 4:30 pm.

Among the many different things happening throughout the community are:

  • Lego Block Party at the Renfrew VPL (May 23, 3:30–4:30 pm)
  • Games Night at the Bamboo Café (May 23, 5–7 pm)
  • Mahjong at Renfrew Park Community Centre (May 24, 11 am–1 pm)
  • Open Mic Night and Board Games at First Lutheran (May 25, 5:30-9 pm)
  • Annual Graham Bruce Carnival (May 25, 4–8 pm)
  • Exhibition of art on the theme of play by the students of Dr. George Weir at Collingwood Branch library
  • Last but not least, Madam Beespeaker, the artist-in-residence at Renfrew Park Community Centre will be holding a Sketch-a-Palooza at Renfrew Community Centre on Sunday, May 27, 1–3:30 pm

Festival day

On Saturday, May 26, Gaston Park will be the site of playful activities ranging from live musical performances such as the Wooly Bears Square Dancing, Balkan Shmalkan and Vietnamese Fan Dancers; roving performers such as Lola Loops, Birds on Parade, and Ariel Amara; art and craft making with Still Moon Arts Society and local artists; as well as games led by InterACTIVE volunteers, Tin Can Studio, and other groups.

This is your chance to try out handball, bocce, backgammon, hoops, and juggling; make paper airplanes in the Artisan Village; and enjoy a variety of multicultural foods. We hope you join in the spirit of play!

Please check the festival insert in the May issue of the RCC News for further details, or visit www.collingwooddays.com

 


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Read On! Vibrant Collingwood mural depicts the neighbourhood’s past, present and future

Collingwood Wall mural

There is a colourful new mural on McHardy St. and Vanness Avenue in the neighbourhood of Renfrew-Collingwood. Photo by Bert Monterona

BY TONY WANLESS

Anyone who walks, bikes or drives regularly near the transit line on Vanness Avenue in Collingwood East of Rupert Street and toward the Joyce-Collingwood Skytrain station is familiar with the dreary and uninspiring cement wall that extends along the south side of the street beside the transit tracks.

For a long time the dispiriting, 26-metre-long wall had been a neglected, colourless strip of banality. Over time, the wall became covered with graffiti.

Today, there is a wildly colourful mural extending along the whole length of the wall. A brightly painted kaleidoscope of swirls and drawings and affirmative words, the Collingwood Wall embraces the neighbourhood with its multicoloured hues and swirls and whirls and drawings.

In the process, it also provides passersby with a tableau of the area’s history, from its beginnings as a wilderness with rivers teeming with salmon and other fish, of Indigenous people’s lives and of the migrations of people from around the world who now make Collingwood the varied, multicultural neighbourhood it is.

In a sense, it is a 26-metre story about how we came to be. These depictions of history and historical life enliven the entire street and SkyTrain track – passengers commuting to or from the suburbs are inevitably drawn to train windows as the riot of colours flash by – and refreshes the views so much that walkers often stop in their tracks so they can study the mural more closely.

Designed by noted Filipino, and, of late, Vancouver, muralist Norberto “Bert” Monterona, the mural was painted over the summer by members of the Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) youth group.

It wasn’t an easy task.

At first, the wall had to be repainted a basic white to cover over the grafitti that marred its entire length. Then outlines of the myriad forms and scenes in the mural – Monterona’s designs are known for their intricate, almost abstract, forms that often tell stories about the people who live there – had to be carefully outlined.

This outlining took some time, and for several weeks, passersby would stop and study it all, twisting their necks as they clearly tried to make out what was going on with “that wall.”

Now they know. It’s a storyboard about where they live, a pictoral history of what the area once was, now is and what it is rapidly becoming – a rapid-growing, vibrant neighbourhood that often has the feeling of a small town but is, in fact, becoming a modern-city multicultural centre.

Read On Dec2017 Word Search

Download the word search.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Vancouver-based EDM group Global Party Starters releases controversial single

Bout Us by Global Party Starters

Bout Us by Global Party Starters

The latest single from the Global Party Starters, titled Bout Us, features radio charting artists Elise Estrada and J.Young. The song recently won a Telus STORYHIVE grant which helped fund the music video that is now on YouTube.

Bout Us is a real-life Romeo and Juliet story that highlights cultural stigmas in Canada. The song is written about the true story of desiFEST founder and GPS co-founder, SatsB, and his wife Michelle.

SatsB, a South Indian Hindu, fell in love with Michelle, an East African Muslim. Their struggle to bring their families and cultures together ultimately led to the creation of desiFEST, a platform that uses music to build bridges between cultures. The video, featuring Kamantha Naidoo in the lead role, deals with this taboo in South Asian culture of dating and marrying outside of your culture and religion.

GPS started as an idea two years ago to take South Asian artists out of their niche markets and expose them to a wider musical audience. The group is comprised of three members from Canada’s east and west coasts: from Toronto, SatsB; Juno nominee and Western Canadian Music Award winner, DJ A-SLAM who grew up and still lives in the Collingwood area of Vancouver; and DJ REKing, a fresh face on the Vancouver music scene.

The GPS sound is EDM-focused (electronic dance music) with a mix of hip-hop and R&B vocals and South Asian influences. For all of their releases, remember to subscribe to their YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/globalpartystarters).

Bout Us – Global Party Starters with Elise Estrada & J.Young

Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8mI1_e502k&t=57s

Find more info on STORYHIVE: https://www.storyhive.com/project/show/id/2013

Find Global Party Starters at https://www.globalpartystarters.com/ and on Mixcloud, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Hussein “DJ A-SLAM” Alidina attended Carleton Elementary and Windermere Secondary and worked as a youth worker at Collingwood Neighbourhood House.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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The Veterans Memorial Mural of Grandview-Collingwood Legion, Branch #179

Veterans Memorial Mural of Grandview-Collingwood Legion, Branch #179

Part of the photo-realistic 6th Street Mural completed by artists Nick Gregson, David Mercer, John De Matos and Jesom. Photos by Paul Reid

BY PAUL REID

Three years since it was first rendered, the Veterans Memorial Mural that was painted onto the walls of Branch #179 is looking as fresh as ever.

In 2014, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #179 commissioned local mural artist Nick Gregson to give the walls of the branch a facelift. Nick worked with the branch to come up with a design. Four months after the first strokes were made, the transformation and resulting mural were nothing short of miraculous.

Nick and his volunteer crew (John De Matos, David Mercer, Jesom) worked throughout the summer and into the fall months, right up until Remembrance Day.

“This was a huge project. I wish we had more time to put in more detail,” says volunteer painter, David Mercer when interviewed on that day of its completion in 2014. “It’s something we worked hard at doing – just wish we had another month. But we’re quite proud of it and have been getting positive remarks.”

All who see the Veterans Memorial Mural will agree that the amount of detail on this mural is incredible. Using photos provided by Branch #179, the painters were able to capture near photo-realistic renditions of the faces of the Branch #179 members, sports teams and veterans of today and of the past.

“I have seen a lot of branch murals,” says Gerry Vowles, “and I think this must be one of the best, if not the best.” A member of  the branch since 1980 and former BC/Yukon Command President, Mr. Vowles is a retired Canadian Forces veteran who has served in many executive capacities throughout his RCL career at Branch, Zone and Provincial Command levels.

Nick Gregson at work on the Veterans Memorial Mural.

Nick Gregson at work on the Veterans Memorial Mural.

Nickolas Gregson’s artistic practice is rooted in graffiti and community-centered public art. Raised in East Vancouver, Gregson drew inspiration from local street art and the sanctioned graffiti spaces of Leeside Tunnel Skateboard Park.

In the same year that he created the Veterans Memorial Mural, Gregson launched the Metro Vancouver Art and Mural Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to building stronger communities through public art. Since that time, Gregson’s art and mural society has been transforming Vancouver’s blank walls into vibrant murals.

Being that it is such an exceptional work of art, the branch hopes to keep it up for years to come. “It’s been laminated,” explained Dave, when being interviewed about the mural back in 2014, “so if anyone tags it with graffiti, it will just wash off and be as good as new.” Thanks to the vigilant maintenance by the branch, it has remained as such.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News