Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Come out – dig in! Earth Day celebration at Everett Crowley Park, April 27, 2019

Saturday, April 27, 11 am – 3 pm. From the 7200 Kerr Street parking lot, follow the signs to the Earth Fest celebration site.

BY MARY HIEBERT

Did you know that southeast Vancouver is home to one of the largest parks in the city?

Everett Crowley Park is an urban forest. From the views of Richmond farmlands to the tranquil Avalon Pond, the park has many trails and quiet places to enjoy the choruses of birds amid the lush woodland.

The site is named for Park Board Commissioner Everett Crowley, long-time resident and owner of Avalon, Vancouver’s last independent dairy. Formerly known as the Kerr Road Dump, this area was a closed landfill for 25 years before its official opening as a park in 1987.

Through the hard work and dedication of community stewards and the Parks Board, the natural environment is recovering resulting in a lovely wooded and hilly habitat frequented by birds and other urban wildlife. A great place for dog walking, too.

In 2017 the Vancouver Parks Board piloted a park stewardship program in Everett Crowley Park. Individuals, couples and families enthusiastically volunteered to help keep “invasives” at bay in newly replanted areas of the park. The Park Stewardship program is now growing strong, with monthly “invasive pull” events. Working together is a fun and efficient way to get things done!

Everett Crowley Park is a perfect place for nature-based learning. School and out-of-school groups are invited to come and learn.

A scheduled school class arrives at nearby Champlain Heights Community Centre where the first lesson is: History.

Looking up at the giant jigsaw puzzle mural in the community centre’s entrance way, the children learn how long humans have lived in this area, who the first peoples were and how they lived. The story unfolds, First Nations, then colonization, logging of the area, then dairy farming, City landfill and finally what is now Everett Crowley Park.

Then it’s off to the park itself for hands-on tree planting by the children, mushroom log inoculation, sound scaping and listening. A very healthy way to learn.

If you haven’t visited Everett Crowley Park for a while, come out to the Earth Fest celebration on Saturday, April 27. There will be a wide range of free family-friendly activities including music and dance by the Tiddley Cove Morris Dancers, eco-demonstrations such as mason bee care and health, Dogs in the Park Initiative, nature talks and walks, forest-based learning, stream-keeping Vancouver’s streams and rivers, hands on making of spore and seed “bombs.”

You can also join volunteers to plant bee-friendly shrubs and tree-friendly mushrooms. Learn the past history of the park and where it’s growing, what park stewards are doing and how you can be involved.

The entertainment, exhibits and activities are all free and wheelchair accessible. Free healthy snacks and refreshments – please bring your own cup!

This annual community event is organized by local residents and is supported by the Champlain Heights Community Association’s Everett Crowley Park Committee in partnership with the Vancouver Parks Board. Saturday, April 27, 11 am – 3 pm. From the 7200 Kerr Street parking lot, follow the signs to the Earth Fest celebration site.

Mary Hiebert is a park steward with the Everett Crowley Park Committee.

Copyright 2019 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Join the fight against climate change at the 9th annual Earth Day Parade, April 20, 2019

More than 1,000 community members will march on Saturday, April 20, will you be one of them?

BY RACHEL CHOW

Our planet is being hurt by our environmental and social decisions and the first step to changing that is by raising awareness and shifting how we think about our relationship to the natural world.

The Youth 4 Climate Justice Now Committee invites everyone in the Lower Mainland to attend the 9th annual Earth Day Parade on April 20, 2019, to participate in a fun day of learning about environmental issues, celebrate the work being down in communities around climate justice and learn how we can shape a more sustainable world.

Windermere Leadership students invite the community to march in the 9th annual Earth Day Parade, Saturday, April 20, 2019. Pictured is Earth Day Parade 2018. Photo by Michael Wheatley

“It’s hard to take the first step towards making change, especially for youth, but this generation is the future and our choices will affect both us and generations to come, so we need to take action now if we still want a planet to live on,” says Rachel Chow, one of the organizers this year.

“Throughout the years, society’s connection to nature has faded, but that connection will never disappear,” she continues. “My whole life, I’ve been surrounded by both cities and nature, and I can’t imagine a planet where that balance is broken. I want to spread awareness about these problems because if our view on nature isn’t changed, I don’t even know if I’ll have a future to look forward to.”

The goal of the parade and festival is to inform the community of our current climate situation and provide them with a reason to care about the planet. It will be on Saturday, April 20, 2019 from 1 to 3 pm starting at Commercial and Broadway and continuing to Grandview Park. There will be guest speakers, performers, and diverse booths about many topics that youth find most pressing in the climate justice movement.

About the Earth Day Parade

For the past 9 years, Windermere Leadership students have taken on the role of organizing the parade to host an event for Earth Day created by youth, for youth, about environmental and social problems and how we can help shape the future that we want. Each year, they host a festival with many different booths and speakers at Grandview Park to engage the community in these problems. This year will be the 9th year Leadership students will host this celebration and they hope to bring about change in any way they can. Learn more at: http://earthdayparade.ca/ or https://instagram.com/windermereldp?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=1civybdp6bxpx

Rachel Chow is a student in the Leadership program at Windermere Secondary and the Earth Day coordinator.

Copyright 2019 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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New trails open up the wonders of Renfrew Ravine

New walkways take residents deep into Renfrew Ravine. Photos by Julie Cheng

BY JULIE CHENG

“Have you come across the coyotes yet?” the walker asked me one morning.

It’s a completely different world down here, deep in Renfrew Ravine. The peace of the forest surrounds you; the sounds of the birds and rushing water soothe you. Then there are the coyotes.

I’d taken the steel stairs and timber steps leading from the Boyd Diversion entranceway near 22nd Avenue, past newly planted native plants and down to a boardwalk that winds its way alongside its creek, Still Creek.

The walkways are part of a park renewal that’s been years in the making. In October 2018, the Vancouver Park Board finally completed the construction of the new trails around Renfrew Community Park and Renfrew Ravine Park.

Renfrew Ravine Park is located between the 29th Avenue SkyTrain station and East 22nd Avenue. It’s the only park in Vancouver with a creek in a natural ravine. It’s never been culverted over, like many other Vancouver creeks, apparently because it was too far east and too steep.

The boardwalk runs along Still Creek.

The boardwalk runs along Still Creek. New trails around Renfrew Community Park and Renfrew Ravine Park were completed in October 2018.

Members of the Still Moon Arts Society, a local arts and environmental organization that co-produces the Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival, have long envisioned a trail system around the ravine and were key in getting these trails done.

Still Moon Arts has also been instrumental in the return of chum salmon to Still Creek. This happened for the first time after 80 years, in 2012. Since then, salmon have been seen spawning behind the Canadian Tire on Grandview Highway in late October or early November.

Access to nature has been linked to enhanced mood and well-being and lowered stress and depression. So it’s wonderful that residents young and old are discovering the wonders found in this urban forest, at the creek’s edge.

Just beware the coyotes.

A cascade of sword ferns above Still Creek.

A cascade of sword ferns above Still Creek.

How neighbours can help the salmon and the ecosystem in Renfrew-Ravine

  • Do not use harmful chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides. These run into the storm drainage system and may end up in Still Creek.
  • Dispose of garbage, chemicals, paints and other liquids properly. Do not dump chemicals down the storm drain.
  • Wash your car without soap or with phosphate-free soap.
  • Join the Still Creek Streamkeepers to monitor the health of Still Creek and run activities that help improve water quality and ecosystems. You can also take part in monthly meetings. Find more info at stillmoon.org/learn/streamkeepers/

Renfrew Ravine improvements

  • Staircases with better access to trails
  • Accessible walkway into the trail system from the parking lot on Renfrew Street
  • Bridges across Still Creek
  • Dog off-leash park near Renfrew and 22nd Avenue
  • Fencing and benches

─Source: City of Vancouver

Copyright 2019 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Family Tree Tips: Using Ancestry Library Edition at the Vancouver Public Library

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

The avid family tree researcher knows about ancestry.com or ancestry.ca. This is a powerful database with billions of genealogy documents stored online, accessible through an expensive membership unless purchased on sale. But are you aware that the ancestry site can be researched at your local library?

I attended a class to learn how to do this at the Collingwood Library in December 2018. Deanna from the Central Branch taught the hour and a half session. There were nine spots available, but only three people showed up that evening. We each were provided with a laptop to work with, and this made it easy to follow along as Deanna projected what she was doing onto a large screen.

Anyone with a library card can sign in to the computers available at the library. The Central Branch in downtown Vancouver has several computers with blue tags on top that can directly log into the Ancestry Library edition.

First you sign into Firefox, then add your library number and pin. Click the accept button, and then click on Digital Library, then choose Online Resources. Enter Ancestry Library Edition, then click on Find, then Access Now.

You will be able to search the census, vitals, military, immigration and quick links with member trees, birth, marriage and death records. Ancestry Library Edition includes most of the information found in a paid membership site, but the content is not exactly the same and some documentation might require paid membership to access. If you would like to know what databases are not included, the Central Branch has a printout for this, and other helpful printouts on tips for searching the Library Edition.

Deanna helped us navigate through some of the search pages by using the name John Smith. The class learned how to narrow down the different fields. For example, we explored the 1921 census for Canada. A map was shown under the search button, and we could click on it and narrow the search to a specific province.

When you discover a document you’d like to save, you can send the document home by email or add the information to a USB stick. I tried emailing and it was very easy to do.

The tips I learned were that if you do a broad or narrow search on names you will get a better result. Sometimes it’s difficult to find your ancestor’s name on a census, as the census takers often made up the surnames!

Another neat trick I learned was that the hammer and wrench tool on the side of an image means that if you click on it, you can print, download, rotate the image right or left, or flip horizontally!

Part of the database for the Ancestry Library Edition includes the 1851 to 1921 Census of Canada, US Border crossings from the US to Canada from 1908 to 1935, Canada City and Area Directories from 1819 to 1906, Canada Obituary Collection 1898 to 2015, Canada Ocean Arrivals 1919 to 1924 and Canadian Passenger Lists 1865 to 1935. To see the full list, pick up a printout at the Central Branch. The United Kingdom, England and Wales, Northern Ireland, Europe and the USA are also included.

To find out when the next Ancestry Library Edition class will be offered, search events on Vancouver Public Library online. The next one is Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at 6:30 pm until 8 pm.

I highly recommend taking a class. It will be like opening Pandora’s Box, and you will be surprised and delighted. You may also disappear down a rabbit hole or two for a few hours. Best of all, it’s free!

Loretta Houben is the author of the Family Tree Tips series published in the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

Copyright 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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4 gardening tips for fall

Hydrangea

Do not be afraid to cut hydrangeas back quite drastically once they finish flowering. Photos by Julie Cheng

BY SOREN ELSAY

The days of tank tops and bare feet in the back yard have come to an end. However, as experienced gardeners know, garden work is a year-round process. While the spring and summer are where the excitement happens, what you do during the fall and winter plays just as crucial a role in your garden’s fortunes.

The conditions may be less than ideal for being outside, but make sure you find time to properly put your garden into hibernation mode by following these tips.

1. Plant bulbs

The best way to make sure springtime starts off with a bang is to plant bulbs in the fall. Aim for planting them from the middle of October until the end of November to see them emerge in full bloom in the spring. Make sure they are planted four to eight inches below the surface and most types, such as the ever-popular daffodils, should be planted in groups of five or more per hole.

Unfortunately, bulbs are a favourite treat of the local wildlife. Try deterring them by coating your bulbs in baby powder just before they get put in the ground.

Keep your bulbs dry at all costs while storing them. Wet bulbs tend to go bad very quickly. If a bulb is black or mushy, don’t put it in the ground and expect it to grow.

2. Cut down perennials

Perennials, as opposed to the one-season-and-done “annuals,” are plants that return every year. But that does not mean you let them wither and die though the winter. Cut down them down to the ground once they turn brown or begin to look unpleasant. They will be back.

Cut down perennials like peonies right to the ground once they turn brown.

3. Prune hydrangeas (if you have them)

Although brilliant when they flower throughout the summer, hydrangea bushes tend to get overgrown and hard to manage very quickly. To keep them under control, do not be afraid to cut them back quite drastically once they finish flowering. It’s not unheard of to prune it down to two-thirds or even one-half of its initial size. Always make your cut just above a fresh bud or at “crotch” (where a branch meets another branch).

4. Leave the leaves

Understandably most people like the tidy look of not having brown leaves scattered across their lawn; however, I would advise leaving or even putting a layer of leaves on top of your garden beds once the plants are done for the season. The leaves will provide both insulation against the cold for the bulbs still in the ground as well as an influx of nutrients as the leaves decompose over time.

Soren Elsay has worked as a professional landscaper. He is an aspiring writer with a bachelor of arts from the University of British Columbia.

Copyright 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Eating Out in RC: Zorro’s Pizza and Spaghetti House

Zorros-reopens

The man now behind Zorro’s, taking over the legacy, Wayne Bergquist. Photos by Paul Reid

4453 Boundary Road, Vancouver
Free delivery (after 4 pm)
Phone: 604-438-6446
Now accepts debit as well as cash

BY PAUL REID

Greetings food fans. I was very excited to review this next gem in that jewel-encrusted crown of RC eateries, Zorro’s Pizza and Spaghetti House. Yes! Zorro’s is back! Many of you already know, since it happened back in February – Zorro’s reopened!

Many were stunned and saddened by the passing of Tony Siliverdis, the man behind Zorro’s. The pizza became legendary. As RC’s Eating Out restaurant review guy, I was saddened to find myself having never tried it. The more I heard about how great it was, the more I regretted having never had the experience.

Alas! Wayne Bergquist and his mom, Cynthia Ostonal, have come to the rescue, apparently just in time. “When we contacted the Siliverdis family, we found that they had pretty much given up looking for someone to take over the business and were getting ready to sell everything at an auction.”

Thank goodness for Wayne and Cynthia. Short of building a time machine, there was no way for me to ever try a legendary slice of that Zorro’s pie.

The Jerry's Special lives up to all the hype.

The Jerry’s Special lives up to all the hype.

It’s the exact same menu. I had to have the legendary Jerry’s Special (named after Tony’s son). Bacon, salami, pepperoni, onion, mushrooms, olives, green peppers, pineapple, fresh tomatoes and lean beef.

I was not disappointed. My Jerry’s actually lived up to all that hype. It was old school: thick and delicious and I will definitely be back to try more. Now, as admitted, I never had a true one of Tony’s creations, so I cannot compare, but I can honestly say that I was very impressed. A deal at $22. Yes, this baby is so thick, one slice is pretty much a meal for some. I had about four of the eight because it was just so good and I was stuffed!

Wayne is using the exact same recipes for the dough. I found the crust to be like a freshly baked pastry – chewy, delicious and thick – but not too heavy. Even the thick crust at the end, which you often might leave behind, was good to the last bite.

Well done guys! Mikeal Hunt, Zorro’s new pizza chef, should be proud.

Zorros-chef

Zorro’s pizza chef Mikeal Hunt should be proud.

Wayne has been enjoying Zorro’s pizza since he was about 16 years old. He’s about 40 now, so that’s a lot of Zorro’s. Wayne knows how it should taste. “We’re making it the same, but we’re making it better,” he says. “Maybe a little less ‘wet.’ We’re also going to be adding some new pizza to the menu. We now have a Double Cheeseburger pizza and Sweet BBQ pizza.”

And what does Billy Hopeless of the Black Halos – (un)official ambassador of Zorro’s pizza, say? “My picture is up on the wall with Tony’s—that’s gotta say something. I only hope they can keep it as faithful as they have to the legacy they are carrying on as there has never been a better pizza than Zorro’s. If I wasn’t so busy planning my next attack with the reunited Black Halos and living in Gastown so far away from my old hood, I’d probably have jumped in to keep the old oven cooking.”

Well friends, what are you waiting for? Get on the phone and get yourself one of the best deep dish pizzas. Bon appetit.

Comments from the RCC News website regarding Tony Siliverdis

Mr. Dunlop

Rest in peace, my friend, you will always be remembered as a great man with a beautiful family; hardworking and best pizza in Vancouver for sure. You delivered pizza to my family for 30 years. We will miss talking to you about anything and everything; going to miss you; love you.

J. Mihaichuk

My family home was up the street in the 70s to the late 90s. I was at Zorros Pizza way too much. I loved the family and of course the pizza was amazing. Still after all this time I remember the great man Tony was, always a smile, sometimes a glare, but always a person all of us could trust. He will be missed. I only wish I could have brought my kids to Zorro’s to meet the man, the Legend.

Len

I recently went to Zorro’s for pizza as I live out of town. I’m sorry for your loss as your father was a wonderfully kind human being. I worked shift throughout the early 1990s and would drop by for food to take to work and chat with your mom and dad. They were very kind people. I was pleased to be able to introduce my 8-year-old son to your father about a year ago and chatted like the old days. My son liked your father and your dad gave him a free can of pop. Your father was old school and will be sorrowfully missed. My son told everyone your father’s pizza was the best he ever tasted.

Read more about Tony Siliverdis of Zorro’s

Copyright 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Three cheers for community volunteer Carla Nissen

Carla-Nissen

Carla Nissen is someone who just loves to give back to her community. She recently helped the RCC News to scan years of old issues, soon to be available on our website. Photo by Paul Reid

BY PAUL REID

Our community is so lucky to have its volunteers. Our spotlight falls this time on Carla Nissen, who recently came to the rescue of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

As you know, we are celebrating our 20th year this year, and a couple of months ago we had a small celebration to mark the occasion. One of the things that happened at that time was that an old stack of hardcopies of the RCC News was brought back to light, having been hiding in a storage locker for nearly a decade.

The old issues really became a hit — people were leafing through them, reminiscing about the stories going back over 20 years. (Our 20 years did not include the precursor “newsletters,” but those were there, too.)

And now, thanks in full to the generosity and hard work of our wonderful volunteer, Carla Nissen, all of those old issues have been scanned, rotated, edited and transported into a digital format to be enjoyed by all for years to come.

Until now, these hardcopies, for the most part, were the only surviving copies of each issue. Soon these digital copies will be uploaded to our website to join the more recent issues.

You may recognize Carla. She has been a friendly face at our local Safeway for the past 17 years. She has also lived in our community for the past 11 years. She has always been interested in giving back.

Carla first began volunteering when she lived in Coquitlam, with the Greater Coquitlam Crisis and Information Line. Following two weeks of intensive training and armed with a big binder full of info, Carla began taking calls. Over three years, she heard a lot.

“It was an amazing feeling, to be there for people in their most vulnerable time, when they had nowhere else to turn.”

Usually, the calls resulted in Carla pointing people in the right direction. “We were not there to try and solve peoples’ problems ourselves.”

Carla liked this work so much, she eventually became a group leader, training others to do this work.

“Working with the other volunteers also made it special. We were all treated very well; we were appreciated, and it was all very touching. We could feel the benefits that we were making in others lives.”

Back in Collingwood, Carla has been volunteering for Collingwood Neighbourhood House for about a year. She started off working at the front desk, but feels she really found her niche in the administration office: making phone calls, stuffing envelopes, and most recently, scanning of the RCC News.

“It took roughly 12 hours to scan and edit everything.”

As volunteers often do, Carla learned some new skills. In this case, she learned to use CNH’s office scanner; also Adobe Acrobat. “I also used Google to answer some questions, such as how to rotate pages in Acrobat.

“It was exciting for me to go through the old issues. I saw pictures of friends, stories about my workplace (Safeway). I sent some stories over to friends, via my phone. They were delighted to see them. I sent one to a co-worker who had been mentioned in the old Rants and Raves column.
She couldn’t believe it.

“When I saw the posting for archiving, I was so excited. I had been reading the paper for years and years and I thought, what better way to help my community than to make this available. Overall, it was an interesting and fulfilling experience.”

On behalf of the RCC News and the RC community: Thank you Carla Nissen.

Copyright 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News