Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Turning 50 with Chatty Cathy

Loretta Houben's Chatty Cathy collection. Photo submitted

Loretta Houben’s Chatty Cathy collection. Photo submitted

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

September 2010 introduced RCC News readers to Chatty Cathy and Loretta Houben’s memories of receiving this doll. Loretta’s article is
utterly charming and took us back to a simpler time — when you could pull a string to get a doll to talk.
Loretta would go on to write many more entertaining and informative articles, notably on genealogy (Family Tree Tips) and history, and she currently coordinates our seniors page. Thank you, Loretta, for your many contributions to the RCC News over the years.
− Julie Cheng, editor

1960 was a great year in more ways than one.

In 1960, I came into the world, and Chatty Cathy made her first appearance. I wonder how many of you remember Mattel’s talking doll. She said 11 different phrases such as “Will you play with me?” “Please comb my hair!” and “I love you!”

I received my first Chatty Cathy doll when I was four years old. I’ll never forget opening her box and seeing the top of her pretty blonde head. I pulled the string on her back, heard her speak and squealed with delight!

My mom had to put my doll on her Simpson Sears charge account as she was $11.95―an expensive toy in 1964! Mom took a few months to pay off the bill, as my younger sister also got a Chatty Baby doll at the same time.

The Dee & Cee Toy Company in Canada was taken over by Mattel in 1962, and produced the Chatty Cathy dolls until 1964. To this day they are sought after by doll collectors because of their superior facial colouring and peachy coloured vinyl limbs.

Dee & Cee contracted local housewives to sew the clothes for Chatty Cathy. A pale blue dress with a white eyelet pinafore can fetch up to $100 today on the eBay auction site, and the seams are unfinished! That may be hard to believe, but there’s no understanding the mind of a collector who is hunting to add to a valuable collection.

Loretta Houben received her first Chatty Cathy at age four.

Loretta Houben received her first Chatty Cathy at age four.

Chatty Cathy was first produced in Canada with short blonde hair, freckles, blue decal eyes and a blue dress with a white eyelet apron. She had a variety of clothes to choose from, including PJs, fancy party dresses, a red velvet hat and coat, and play outfits.

I became interested in Chatty Cathy in 2002 while browsing eBay. I discovered that Mattel had made a re-issue of Chatty Cathy in 1998, sold only in the JC Penny stores in the USA, so I bought one, and the rest is history.

Currently I belong to two Chatty Cathy groups online, and have made many friends. I’ve added to my collection and I own over 20 Chatty Cathy dolls, including Chatty Cathy Baby and Tiny Baby dolls, Baby Brother, Singing Chatty and Charmin Chatty, which were added by Mattel in later years.

Thanks to the internet I’ve had a chance to learn more about one of my favourite dolls. I also purchased Chatty Cathy’s vintage clothing patterns made by Simplicity and McCall’s. I’ve sewn quite a few dresses for her and have a sewing boutique online, which has added to the pleasure of meeting more friends, as every Chatty Cathy needs a new outfit from time to time!

Turning 50 together is an exciting adventure. I wanted to share some of the joy of doll collecting with you, especially such a cute doll as Chatty Cathy! I’d be interested in hearing if any of you have a Chatty Cathy from the 1960s.

First published in the September 2010 issue of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

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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Collingwood Corner: Joyce Station before and after

1950 Collingwood West Station Rupert And Vanness

Collingwood West Station, 1950, at Rupert and Vanness. Photo by Ted Clark, Richmond Archives

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

Many things have changed since the long-ago days when British Columbia Electric Railway (BCER) first ran a track through the Collingwood neighbourhood in 1891, travelling from New Westminster through to downtown Vancouver. Collingwood was built up along the track for homeowners who worked downtown, but because of the new streetcar system, could commute quickly while living in a lower-priced and quiet area.

There were originally two stations in Collingwood: Collingwood West at the corner of Rupert
Street and Vanness, high up near the bridge which crossed Rupert, and Collingwood East, located near the Joyce Station at Vanness and Joyce, on the west side of Joyce.

Today, the Skytrain runs through the East station, and it recently has been drastically renovated.

Collingwood East Station By Phillip Timms

Collingwood East Station. Photo by Philip Timms, Vancouver Archives, CVA 677-386

Translink has been working on enlarging the East Joyce Station since January 2016, and I noticed one gate on the south side, facing Vanness, was opened the first week in October 2017. The north gate is still closed as the work isn’t quite finished.

The newly renovated station has a set of escalators, an elevator, a place to safely store bikes and a building for commercial use. It’s very modern looking with beautiful artwork that resembles stained glass in the window near the escalators. It’s quite a remarkable improvement from 100 years ago!

To read more about the BCER and interurban history, please visit this Translink post online: http://buzzer.translink.ca/2009/03/a-short-history-of-interurbans-in-the-lower-mainland/

Joyce Station by Loretta Houben

New Collingwood East Station. Photo by Loretta Houben, Oct. 2017

Loretta Houben is a long-time resident of Collingwood and is completely enthralled with the new Joyce station on the east side.

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


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Still Moon Arts brings Still Creek to life through art, memories and history

Still Moon Performance

Lost and Found Performance: Carmen Rosen sings an original music piece composed by Isaac Rosen-Purcell, joined by youth dancers and fiddlers. Photo by Kat Wadel

BY JULIE CHENG

The sound of trickling water got louder as we tread carefully down the path. Through the trees we glimpsed a young man hopping over the water and rocks.

On this sunny September afternoon, we found ourselves on the edge of Still Creek in the Renfrew Ravine, immersed in a performance by the Still Moon Arts Society called Still Creek: Lost and Found.

The young man, Hamish Hutchison-Poyntz, tells the story of playing in the ravine with friends and making sure to avoid the older bullies who would throw rocks at them. Then he was gone in a flash, running down the stream. We followed after him along the safer path.

Still Moon Boy in Still Creek

Hamish Hutchison-Poyntz tells the story of playing in the ravine as a young boy. Photos by Julie Cheng

The performance draws from an important new book about the Still Creek watershed, which starts near Central Park and winds its way through Renfrew Ravine and on through Burnaby Lake before emptying into the Fraser River. The book, What Comes to Light: Stories of Still Creek Lost & Found, brings together artwork, poetry, historical research and archival photos. At the heart of the book are the stories, collected over two years, from local residents who lived and played in and around Still Creek.

You could say the book documents the love affair Carmen Rosen has had with the Renfrew Ravine and Still Creek since she moved into the neighbourhood in 2000.

What Comes to Light: Stories of Still Creek Lost & Found

What Comes to Light: Stories of Still Creek Lost & Found brings together artwork, poetry, historical research and archival photos.

Renfrew Ravine was the inspiration for the annual Harvest Moon Festival, started in 2003 and now just finished its 15th year this past September. The Ravine Sanctuary Garden, the 27th Avenue labyrinth and the 22nd Avenue yin yang bench were projects lead by Carmen with organizations including local artists in the Arts Pow Wow, Evergreen and the Windermere Leadership program.

In 2009, Still Moon Arts, Windermere Leadership students and the Department of Fisheries released chum salmon fry in Still Creek. And in 2012, the salmon returned to spawn in Still Creek for the first time in 80 years.

The stories of art, celebration, people and the salmon are woven together in What Comes to Light. What becomes apparent in this book is an enduring love and respect of art, nature and people can bring us all together and make great things happen.

Find more information on What Comes to Light: Stories of Still Creek Lost & Found at http://stillmoon.org/projects-2/still-creek-stories/

 

Old Ted was kind of short, stalky, had worked hard all his life … He lived a real homesteaders’ life with oil lamps in the house and water from a pump and he had pigs and chickens when none of us were allowed to. He was just grandfathered in, probably in his 80s, they thought he’d die soon so it was okay, then he actually lived to 107.

– Daniel McNeil

Still Moon Twetie Chickens

Laura Crema holds the chickens, which were made by Robin Lough, as the story of Ted Twetie and his chickens were told.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Gathering of Canoes – 2017 Pulling Together Journey

Canoe-journey

Photos by Penny Lim

BY PENNY LIM

The Gathering of Canoes was a long-anticipated event, one of the Canada 150th birthday events and the culmination of the annual Pulling Together Canoe Journey. First Nations paddlers – including our very own Collingwood C.R.E.W. based out of Collingwood Neighbourhood House – started up the Sunshine Coast and participants joined in along the way.

Months of hearing of this historic undertaking coming to town. The day dawned. On July 14, 2017, a crowd waited breathlessly at Vanier Park for a sighting of these 23 canoes.

Canoe-journey-3

Here they come! The canoes circled in their protocol before landing. The paddlers asked for permission to land on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

Canoe-journey-2

The excitement was heavy in the air. The ceremony was very inclusive, with the RCMP, Police Department and Mayor amongst the paddlers. The different tribes got to know each other, too.

Witnessing this moment was a privilege in life. Absolutely exciting and joyous! Electric waves of emotion.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News