Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Eco-corner: Get ready for the Vancouver ban on plastic straws in spring 2020

You can choose from a wide range of reusable straws. Photo by Julie Cheng

BY JULIE CHENG

“No straw, please.”

Instead, I ask for a long metal spoon for my smoothie, and it goes down just fine.

This request has been a habit of mine for the past year as I geared up for the City of Vancouver’s straw ban when it was scheduled to go in effect in June 2019 as part of its Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy.

To my disappointment, that deadline was postponed.

Now city staff is supposed to present a by-law to council by November 30, 2019, to ban plastic straws beginning April 2020.

The by-law will include an exception for accessibility needs, including patients in hospitals and community care facilities who require the use of bendable plastic straws.

The problem with straws

According to the City of Vancouver, plastic straws and stir sticks make up about 3% of the city’s shoreline litter and negatively impact marine life and the environment.

Plastic straws can fall through screens on recycling sorting lines so they can’t be recycled. Even straws that are marked biodegradable or compostable are considered contaminants and are not accepted in the Vancouver’s Green Bin program.

Reusable options

Earth911’s handy chart shows alternatives to single-use straws. Source: earth911.com/food/straw-alternatives

Nowadays there are all kinds of different options for reusable straws, from glass to bamboo to stainless steel. They come in all sizes – you can get fat ones for your bubble tea as well as short ones for your cocktail that double well as a compact travel straw.

Check out Nada (Broadway and Fraser), Soap Dispensary (Main and 21st Avenue) and the Cook Culture (downtown) for their selection of reusable straws.

The best option is to just say no.

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

Copyright 2019 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Collingwood Corner: A brief history of Connaught School 1913–1932

Bayley’s claim with house at 650 Rupert Street and school beside it. Could this be the schoolhouse on the lower fields of Grenfell School that Loretta Houben’s dad remembers? Source: Vancouver Archives

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

For quite a while I’ve been fascinated with old school buildings, and Sir Wilfred Grenfell School is no exception. The school opened on December 3, 1958 and recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, but when I attended its hallowed halls from 1965 to 1973, it was quite new.

However, behind the cement structure that faces Wellington Avenue there is a much older building made of wood. According to the BC Directories online, John Norquay Annex was at this location from 1933 to 1955, showing the annex located at Price and Rupert.

From 1913 to 1932, another school was located here, on the lower section. A steep set of stairs leads from the upper level where the present school buildings are, to the bottom where there is a large empty playing field.

When I attended the school, there were two sets of stairs. My dad remembers long ago in the 1940s that there was a schoolhouse on the lower fields.

Recently I decided to investigate. I checked out the Vancouver School Board website (www.blogs.vsb.bc.ca/heritage) where there are many old photos of Vancouver schools, and noticed that to date, there were no photos of Connaught School, which was the name of the first school at that location.

I recalled that I had seen a photo of Rupert School in the Vancouver Archives. Could this be Connaught School? By patient searching in the BC Directories, and by looking at Rupert Street from 1913 onwards, I verified that Rupert School was located near Price Street on Rupert.

The school appears in two photos under the name “Bayley’s Claim.” I assume this is referring to Charles W. Bayley, who lived at #650 Rupert, and his house is in the photos next to Rupert School. There’s also another photo showing the odd numbered houses across Rupert Street, also in Bayley’s Claim.

Connaught School was named for the Duke of Connaught, Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert (1850–1942), Governor General of Canada and brother of King Edward VII.

The 1913 BC Directory states that Euphemia C. Jones was the principal. In 1913 she lived at 1848 7th Avenue.

Besides studying the streets in the directories, you can also look up names of people and see their occupations next to their address and name. Euphemia Jones was only 21 years old but due to the drastic increase in population growth, schools were expanding rapidly.

Using my Ancestry membership, I looked up the Jones family. On the 1911 Canadian census, I found Euphemia living with her parents in Vancouver at age 19. She was a teacher earning $860 per year. Euphemia married in 1915, and most likely that was the end of her teaching career.

Back to Bayley’s claim. After studying old Vancouver maps until I was quite googly eyed, I examined the Goads Fire Insurance map from 1912. Zooming in closely I discovered pay dirt!

Closeup of Price and Rupert area from 1912, showing a drawing of the school and house. Photo source: Goads Fire Insurance Map

The school is on the lower grounds facing Rupert, formerly called Collingwood Road, with Charles Bayley’s house to the right of it. I assume the buildings across the road are the rest of the claim.

Connaught School photos haven’t been found until now because they are named incorrectly in the archives!

The houses on Rupert Street were renumbered in 1930. By closely matching the names of the occupants with the old and new set of numbers, I noticed that #650 changed to 4530, which was vacant in 1930, and gone in 1931. Could this be the time frame that the second school building on the upper ground, made of wood, was built and renamed John Norquay Annex?

Of the four houses across the street, 4535 Rupert was built in 1912 (formerly 665) and 4543 Rupert was built in 1910 (formerly 657). This is according to the BC Assessments online.
When you go past the corner of Price and Rupert, maybe you can imagine it in your mind’s eye, and hear Miss Euphemia Jones ringing the school bell, and wonder why Charles Bayley purchased a claim at that corner.

I believe I’ve solved the Connaught School photo mystery and learned quite a bit more about the Collingwood area.

Loretta Houben has lived in the Collingwood area for more than 54 years and receives extreme satisfaction at solving local historical mysteries.

Copyright 2019 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival is back on September 14, 2019

Moon-Fest-2019-poster

BY ANGUS HO

The Moon Festival is back for its 17th year on Saturday, September 14, 2019! This family-friendly event in Renfrew-Collingwood will bring you tonnes of live music, entertainment, beautiful art displays, food and more, for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and evening.

Co-produced by Still Moon Arts Society and the Renfrew Park Community Association, the festival celebrates the harvest abundance and the full moon, while bringing to attention the natural beauty of Renfrew Ravine and Still Creek, which is one of the few remaining open stre ams with urban forest in the city.

Join us and over 5,000 other attendees from all over East Vancouver neighbourhoods to experience the transformation of the natural environment of the Renfrew Ravine into an enchanting scene of light, colour and music.

Pre-Moon Festival workshops

Come take part in public workshops offered throughout the month of September. Prior to the festival, you can make your own lanterns to help guide your way through the night, or learn how to make delicious mooncakes.

September 3 6: Arduino Lantern Workshop (5 8 pm) at Slocan Park Fieldhouse // $100 (4 days)

Fee includes $65 supplies for electronics and lantern materials. Must bring your own laptop with pre-installed apps – registration and details on the website stillmoonarts.ca.

September 7: 5 8 pm: Mooncake Workshop at CNH Annex // $20

September 8: 10 am 1 pm: Mooncake Workshop at CNH Annex // $20

September 7 & 9: Fire and Water Lanterns at Slocan Park Fieldhouse // $20 (2 days)

September 7: 1:30 4:30 pm

September 9: 4 7 pm

September 8 & 9: Mushroom Lanterns at Slocan Park Fieldhouse // $25 (2 days)

September 8: 1:30 4:30 pm

September 9: 4 7 pm

September 10, 11, 12: Glass Jar Lanterns (4 7 pm) at Slocan Park Fieldhouse // $10 (1 day)

Moon Festival Schedule September 14

Harvest Fair: 4 – 7:30 pm @ Slocan Park

The Moon Festival kicks off with the Harvest Fair, a family-friendly festival featuring local musicians and performers, community organizations, food, games and activities, and a harvest competition where you can bring your homegrown crops to win prizes.

Twilight Lantern Walk: 7:30 – 8 pm

At sunset, attendees are encouraged to light their lanterns and join the parade, which is complete with live music and costumed participants. The parade will pass by various art installations and maybe even surprise performances until it reaches Renfrew Park.

Lantern Festival: 8 – 8:45 pm @ Renfrew Park

At Renfrew Park, witness the beauty of candlelight, exquisite lanterns, ethereal music and the shimmering Still Creek, with entertainment and food just outside of the ravine. The evening closes off with a finale spectacle featuring dancing, stilting, fire spinning and an explosion of light.

For more detailed information on the workshops, Moon Festival schedule, and accessibility, visit stillmoonarts.ca.

Cracks-in-Creeks-artists

Performers and organizers after the performance of Cracks in Creeks. (L to r) Isabelle Russell, Jenna Berlyn, Roxanna Wang, Red Fawkes, Marie Whimbey, Tasha Hillman, Carmen Rosen, Starr Muranko, Devan Pawa-Larsen, Bea Miller. Photo by Angus Ho

Cracks in Creeks: Final showcase at the CNH Annex on September 22

On August 11, a group of emerging artists performed a site-specific version of Cracks in Creeks: Live Streaming on the banks of Still Creek, as part of the Vines Art Festival. The performers embraced the natural sounds and beauty of the ravine in their surroundings, while the audience moved through the creekside space in Renfrew Park with the performers. Tea was served after the performance alongside a knowledge-sharing session about Indigenous plants in the ravine.

You can still attend the final indoor performance of Cracks in Creeks at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House Annex on September 22, from 6 to 7:30 pm. Join in witnessing the culmination of this youth mentorship project that spanned the entire summer.

Over many weeks, the performers of Cracks in Creeks were inspired by knowledge about Renfrew Ravine’s ecosystem, teachings about Indigenous plants and medicines, eco-art created by Still Moon Arts, and choreography lessons by professional dance mentors. Entrance to the final performance is based on a sliding scale from $5 to $20.

For more information on the performance and all events happening in September, visit the new website at stillmoonarts.ca. Follow Still Moon Arts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @stillmoonarts to stay up to date on all of our news!


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Support your native bee pollinators

Julie-Cheng-beehouses

Checking out my mason bees at the end of the work day. The top bee house is homemade and the bottom was purchased at Figaro’s garden store. Photo by J. B. Fergusson

BY JULIE CHENG

Native bees are endangered due to pesticide use and loss of habitat. They are often better pollinators than the honeybee, helping pollinate our fruit trees and vegetables and preserve the native ecosystem. We need to whatever we can to help these efficient pollinators.

With the expert guidance of staff and volunteers by the organization Hives 4 Humanity, I was inspired to build bee homes from reclaimed wood for my backyard to give the little native pollinators a place to nest.

This summer, my apple trees and blueberry and raspberry bushes are bursting with fruit.

Mason bees working

Bees are cold blooded and here they are waiting for the morning sun to warm them before getting down to work. Photo by Julie Cheng

It’s a great way to start and end the work day, watching the bees. The bees are fascinating and super-cute.

What you can do to help native bees

  • Plant native wildflowers that are bee-friendly
  • Plant some bee turf instead of grass for your lawn
  • Do not use pesticides or herbicides in your garden
  • Build a bee home in your garden
  • Purchase bee cocoons and set them out in spring/summer by your bee home
  • For bee supplies, check your local garden store (like Figaro’s, West Coast Seeds) or online store (beediverse.com)
Butterflies-pollinators

Butterflies are also pollinators. Photo by J. B. Fergusson

Julie Cheng has lived in the neighbourhood for more than 20 years and is the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

Copyright 2019 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Collingwood Corner: The Birds’ Paradise

Albert Jones playing violin at 5207 Hoy Street. Photo from the Vancouver Archives CVA371-1215

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

Thanks to Allen Doolan, a subscriber and moderator on one of the Nostalgic Vancouver Facebook groups I’m in, I recently discovered that a bird aviary was once in the Collingwood area at 5207 Hoy Street.

The bird aviary was quite well known and was even mentioned in a letter to the editors in the February 24, 1941 edition of Life magazine. The owner was Charles E. Jones, who was also briefly the 26th mayor of Vancouver until passing away September 1, 1948.

Charles E. Jones was Vancouver’s 26th mayor. From the Vancouver Archives CVA371-1191

I can’t find out much about Charles Jones, but he certainly loved birds. If you visit the Vancouver Archives online, you will be able to see many postcards of the birds. Some of them will make you smile! I’ve included my favourites here.

Dog resting at the aviary with feathered friends. Photo from the Vancouver Archives CVA371-1193

The old house on Hoy Street that once contained these delightful creatures is still standing. It was built in 1910, and still has its original charm with a lovely garden. I’ve often been drawn to this house while walking in the neighbourhood, and now I know why. What a fascinating history it has.

According to the B.C. Directories online, “Birds Paradise” was listed along with Charles Jones’s name in the 1939 edition. I think it may have been a lucrative or at least a most interesting pastime for him. He was listed as retired in 1932, but in later editions of the B.C. Directories, he is listed as alderman, and then he is mayor in 1947.

Postcard. From the Vancouver Archives CVA371-1199

The letter to the editor of the Life magazine in 1941 from Clyde Ragsdale states that Charles Jones “revived a childhood dream when he created this sanctuary, where thousands of birds, wild and domestic, representing some 35 species, from Chinese nightingales and Indian bulbuls to South American finches, have found haven.”

Copyright 2019 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

 


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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