Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


Leave a comment

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

Advertisements


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

9th annual Climate Change Conference by Windermere Leadership students

Calling all students: What will be your legacy?

 BY LYNN NGUYEN

Calling out youth in the Lower Mainland! It’s that time of the year again, Windermere Leadership’s ninth annual Climate Change Conference (C3) is happening on Friday, December 1, 2017! This year’s theme is What Will Be Your Legacy?  

We decided on this theme because we wanted to deliver the message that our time here on this beautiful Earth is fleeting. Decades from now when climate change has done its damage on this planet, will you be able to be satisfied with the actions you have took? What have you contributed towards our planet? It implies to take action and do something that will leave a positive impact for future generations. 

What is C3?

The idea came about not too long ago, from just a group of Leadership students who wanted to educate and spread awareness about climate change to primarily youth.  

Climate change is upon us more than ever in this day and age. Temperatures are rising, glaciers are melting and, in turn, sea levels are rising more than we’ve ever seen before.  

Yet youth are still turning a blind eye to this pressing crisis. This is why the Windermere Leaderships students present C3. In the past, we’ve had workshops revolving around fracking, LNG, food security, water and more.  

Now, each year the Grade 11 Leadership class is involved in continuing this vision. Our goals are for everyone to leave the conference with a heightened knowledge of climate change, and be able to walk out feeling inspired to take action and apply that knowledge in the real world. 

The entire day is student-led and organized by the Windermere Leadership 11 class. The day starts off with inspiring keynote speakers, then attendees break off into different morning workshops, followed by a lunch break, then an afternoon workshop.  

Workshops are determined by the attendees’ choice when they register. They range from more information-heavy sessions to hands-on activities to team bonding. This provides opportunities to network with other youth passionate about sustainability, like yourself! There is an option to buy lunch upon registering, and as always this is a zero-waste event so everyone must bring their own cutlery! 

Now that you have a better understanding about this phenomenal event, we encourage you to come join us! You can register online on our website, and get notified on any additional information such as our workshops and speakers for this year by following us on social media! Hope to see you there! 

Website: http://www.c3vancity.com

Facebook: @c3vancity

Twitter: @c3vancity

Instagram: @c3vancity

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

Windermere Law 12 students take action on homelessness

Homeless-Clothing-Drive-Windermere-web

All proceeds from the Windermere Law 12 clothing drive go to the local Morning Star Program, which helps the homeless. Photo submitted

Clothing drive to support the Morning Star program

BY KATIE FRAIN

The homeless, housing and affordability crisis at an all-time high:

  • The most recent homeless count found that there are 828 more people who identify as homeless in Vancouver. This is an astounding 30% increase since 2014, which is the highest increase to date in Vancouver.
  • The number of homeless seniors (55 and over) went up by 185, which makes up 23% of the homeless population.
  • The crisis has particularly affected the Indigenous population. Metro Vancouver found that 34% of the homeless population identify as Indigenous, despite making up a mere 2.5% of the overall population.

The Morning Star Program, located at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, is dedicated to helping low-income families and individuals that have been affected by the housing and homelessness crisis in Vancouver. Staff provide recreational, educational, social and cultural programs for members of the community. They offer everything from day camps for children, support for Indigenous people, services for seniors, and food security programs such as shower and breakfast programs and rooftop gardening.

Morning Star gives so much to our community, and it’s time we give back, to aid them in supporting people affected by the housing and homeless crisis that has struck citizens all across Metro Vancouver.

Clothing drive

Law 12 students from Windermere Secondary School are hosting a clothing drive from October 10 to 20, 2017, to assist members of our community who are vulnerable to poverty. They are also hosting an educational campaign on housing, homelessness and the affordability crisis in Vancouver and will be studying long-term issues around affordability and renting in Vancouver.

The class is looking for new socks and underwear, new toiletries such as toothbrushes and soap, and lightly used clothing cleaned and ready for use. Donations can be dropped off at Room 211 at Windermere Secondary School, or directly to the Collingwood Neighborhood House. All proceeds will be going straight to the Morning Star Program, so come on down and support those who need your help.

Katie Frain is a student in the Law 12 class at Windermere Secondary.

Time is ticking on the homelessness problem

BY ALYSSA YAN AND CINDY CHEN

Homelessness isn’t “necessary.”

It’s a problem that policymakers can address and take action to improve the situation. Despite that, homelessness is still on the rise in Canada, specifically in Metro Vancouver where the number of homeless people rose up 30% this year, as compared to the most recent count in 2014.

More than 1,032 people are unsheltered, sleeping in doorways and alleys, or simply couchsurfing in Metro Vancouver. Furthermore, an additional 2,573 people are living in homeless shelters or transitional houses.

Too many Canadians are feeling the effects of the ever-growing housing crisis, and it’s time to take assertive action on homelessness!

Causes of homelessness

With nearly one in every 300 residents homeless in Vancouver, what is the main cause of homelessness?

The main cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing – due to rising housing prices and the average house in Metro Vancouver costing around $860,000, according to the Globe and Mail. This leaves most people scurrying to find a place to rent. Even while renting, an average person living with a roommate can start paying at $2,000+. That hefty price tag doesn’t even include taxes, student loans and personal needs, so imagine the price of living alone.

That leaves most Vancouverites needing to make $50,000+ per year, per person in order to even have enough money to pay rent. That kind of money is only achievable for a fraction of people, resulting in more homeless people in Vancouver than any other cities in British Columbia.

Alyssa Yan and Cindy Chen are students in the Law 12 class at Windermere Secondary.

Alarming homelessness numbers – No end in sight but there’s help around the corner

BY CHRISTAL DO

Homelessness is a rising issue in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, and it’s no secret. There are so many keys that factor into the cause of people ending up on the streets. However, all but one is very obvious; housing affordability.

This year’s homeless count has skyrocketed due to lack of income and the outrageous housing costs of the real estate market. According to the same survey, the report counted 3,605 homeless people in total–a 30% increase since the last report in 2014. Yet, this number doesn’t include those who don’t seek help from public services, or are living in the crooks and nannies of places where volunteers aren’t able to find them.

According to Vancouver Sun (Sept. 15, 2017), “Vancouver rental cost for one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is now $2,020.” It’s going to get even harder for many people to make ends meet. Lack of income and the sizzling real estate market, it couldn’t be more difficult.

About half of the people surveyed in the 2017 Metro Vancouver Homelessness Survey stated that they were residents of the city for over a decade before ending up on the streets. Yet, we should keep in mind that this method of counting the number of homeless people all across the Lower Mainland only accounts for those in the state of absolute homelessness.

Types of homelessness

Absolute homelessness is the “visible” homelessness that we see on a day-to-day basis, such as those on the streets.

Meanwhile, there are many more people who are considered in the stage of “hidden homelessness.” Hidden homelessness is where these people have the opportunity to stay in shelters or are “urban couch-surfers”—those who do not have a regular address and temporarily stay in another household.

iceberg homeless count

Visible homelessness is only the tip of the iceberg compared to homelessness as a whole. Source: 2017 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver

Often times, visible homelessness is only the tip of the iceberg compared to homelessness as a whole (as shown in the iceberg image, provided by the 2017 Metro Vancouver Homelessness Survey report).

In addition to this, there is the idea of “relative homelessness”—when people are one pay cheque away from reaching the point of hidden homelessness.

With temperatures dropping, and Vancouver’s unpredictable weather, shelters are expected to be packed, while many others shiver in the freezing weather. Public services such as serving hot meals, food banks, and other programs are forecasted to be jam-packed with volunteers and guests for this winter season.

Are you looking for help?

The Collingwood Neighbourhood House is located in East Vancouver, and the Morning Star program for serving homeless folks occurs every Saturday morning from 7 to 10 am. Showers, a community breakfast, clothing exchange, and much more are offered to those who seek support.

Christal Do is a student at Windermere Secondary taking the Law 12 class.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

Easter Seals Camps make a difference

Join the Woman2Warrior fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Swangard Stadium

Mohini Takhar Easter Seals Camp

At Easter Seals campsites, anything is possible, says Mohini Takhar.

BY MOHINI TAKHAR

“Camp is the best place on earth” is the famous phrase of Easter Seals BC/Yukon. Easter Seals provides accessible camps for children and more recently opened them up for young adults as well. These camps are extraordinary as they are designed for people with disabilities. They are located in Squamish, Winfield and Shawnigan. I have been going to Squamish for the past four years.

One word to sum up my experience is “magical.” And yes, I am talking about the version with fairy dust and wishes. You can be your own superhero if you want. At Easter Seals campsites, anything is possible.

At these campsites, children are able to face their fears and try things they have never done before. There is this activity called The Big Swing, but it essentially is ziplining. The first time I tried ziplining, I was probably thrilled but also terrified! The strangest thing is that it was the best feeling I’ve ever felt. That’s what this camp gives you. It will give you the opportunity to surprise yourself in wonderful ways. That’s the great thing about the camp. You can let go and be yourself, probably in ways you didn’t even know about. You kind of discover yourself and find the things you love.

Being yourself. It’s a bigger and more complicated topic for people with disabilities. My 24-year-old friend Emily Anderson says, “Camp gives me a sense of belonging, a place where I can just be me and not worry about not fitting into either the abled-bodied or disabled worlds.” Anderson uses a mixture of a crutch and a wheelchair to get around. She says, “When I was little, I didn’t want to go to camp, but by the end of the week, I didn’t want to leave.” Once you go to one of these camps, you’re in it forever.

Easter Seals Camps are magical

Children and young adults are able to face their fears and try things they have never done before at Easter Seals camps.

Easter Seals makes summer camp possible for people who need minimal and maximum support. Those who require minimal support wouldn’t need a support worker to assist them at camp as there are more than enough camp counsellors to help. This makes it possible for children with disabilities to experience summer camp like anyone else would.

The impact Easter Seals has on children and now adults is astonishing. Children have been going since they were six years old. Regardless if you’re in a wheelchair or not, you have the ability to be whoever you would like to be without limitations. It’s an amazing outlet that children can come back to every year. Throughout the years, I’ve become fierce and more confident. You have the opportunity to have random dance parties with some good friends and dance like nobody is watching. You tend to become a completely different person here, which is an amazing experience.

Easter Seals BC/Yukon relies on community support and special events so campers can have this one-of-a-kind experience. If you would like to send a kid to camp, please consider signing up for their upcoming event Woman2Warrior on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Swangard Stadium. Woman2Warrior is an untimed, five-kilometre run through grass, trail and track, featuring top-secret obstacles designed to test strength, agility, determination and endurance. To register check out woman2warrior.ca

Mohini Takhar graduated from Windermere Secondary and currently studies at Douglas College. In her spare time, she enjoys working with children and reading. She has spoken at events on behalf of the Centre for Child Development and is the 2016 recipient of the BC Council for Exceptional Children Yes I Can! award in the category of self-advocacy. thewritingsidee.blogspot.ca/

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

15th Annual Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival, September 30, 2017

Twilight Lantern Walk Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival

Festival goers get ready at Slocan Park for the Twilight Lantern Walk. Photo by Ben Rosen-Purcell

BY JUNE LAM

With fall fast approaching, Still Moon Arts Society has been preparing for the 15th annual Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival, held this year on Saturday, Sept. 30.

The Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival is a signature festival that celebrates the full moon and harvest abundance, while honouring diverse cultural traditions. The festival will highlight art, music, environmental stewardship and community participation.

This year’s theme, Migrations, allows attendees to reflect on the global movements that occur every day, from the smallest of salmon fry to the largest of humans. Birds journey across land and sea to discover new places and build their nests; salmon and fish swim across vast oceans to spawn new life and continue the survival of their species and others; humans flow within and across boundaries to pursue new opportunities, reunite with loved ones or find safety.

With the current issues in our world, these systems of movement have played a significant role in people’s identity and relationships. As you yourself move through the festival and experience the installations of this year’s event, we invite you to discover your own stories and how you relate to this year’s theme.

MOON FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Harvest Fair: 4–6:45 pm
Slocan Park

The event gets under way with the Harvest Fair, which will feature live music, food and a booths from local organizations, artisans and non-profit groups. Another featured activity is the Harvest Fair, a home-grown harvest competition, which features entries by local gardeners of some of Renfrew-Collingwood’s best fruits, vegetables and flowers. Enter for a chance to win some awesome prizes!

Twilight Lantern Walk: 6:45 pm

The Twilight Lantern Walk begins with a moonlit parade from Slocan Park to Renfrew Park. Festival goers light their own lanterns and walk the trails along the ravine, accompanied by live music as darkness falls. Passing by the river-stone labyrinth, the procession will be invited to a walking meditation surrounded by music and light. The parade then passes by various art installations and surprise performances until it reaches Renfrew Park.

Lantern Festival: 7:15–8:30 pm
Renfrew Park

At nightfall, time slows down as participants absorb the beauty of candlelight, exquisite lanterns, ethereal music and the shimmering stream. Just outside of the stream, you’ll find musicians playing at the main stage, a Tea Garden full of delicious treats for you to enjoy, and a finale spectacle featuring dancing, stilting, fire spinning and fireworks.

Leading up to the big day, there will be multiple lantern workshops throughout the month. Don’t have a lantern for the parade? For a small cost, varying between $10 and $25, come out to Slocan Hall (2750 E. 29th Avenue) to make one:

Sept. 16: Advanced Lanterns (12–4 pm) – no instructor present

Sept. 18, 19, 20: Bamboo Lanterns (4–7 pm)

Sept. 21, 22: Globe Lanterns (4–7 pm)

Sept. 23: Advanced Lanterns (12–4 pm) – no instructor present

Sept. 25, 26: Globe Lanterns (4–7 pm)

Sept. 27, 28: Glass Jar Lanterns (4–7 pm)

For more information, visit stillmoon.org or our Facebook page, @stillmoonarts.

June Lam is the communications coordinator at Still Moon Arts Society. She graduated from the Leadership Program at Windermere Secondary and is currently attending the University of BC. She is also an avid volunteer and has been involved in the Renfrew-Collingwood community throughout her high school career. 

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News