Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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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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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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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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Let’s celebrate literacy in September

BY JANICE BEXSON

From the time we wake up and until we go to sleep, literacy plays an integral part in everything that we do.

Literacy Is Life logo

Image source: decoda.ca

Whether we are checking the weather forecast, reading the instructions on how to make a breakfast shake, knowing the number of the bus that will take us to our destination, reading and answering emails and texts, ordering lunch and paying the bill, driving to a new destination, buying groceries, helping a stranger or tourist read a map to find a specific Air BNB, checking a bank statement, reading a story book to a child before bedtime or setting the alarm for tomorrow, we need and use basic literacy skills in order to achieve these activities in our work and in our daily lives.

However, these literacy skills are not just about learning how to read and write. They also involve knowing how well we use our literacy skills so that we can participate more fully in our community. Using existing and gaining new literacy skills increases our self-confidence, encourages connection to others, and expands our health, social and economic opportunities.

In British Columbia (B.C.), Decoda Literacy Solutions (Decoda) has declared September “Literacy Month.” Decoda supports community organizations in B.C. (including Collingwood Neighbourhood House) with funding, training and resources for a variety of literacy initiatives. Decoda’s “Literacy Is Life” campaign raises awareness about literacy and hosts a variety of activities throughout September.

As the lazy days of summer gently ease into fall, children return to school and adults generally shift from leisure to work mode, so September is the perfect month to think about how we can continue to foster literacy.

How can I foster literacy?

Well, there are many ways to involve literacy learning in your busy lives during September. A few examples include:

  • Play board games that inspire spelling, mathematical and logical thinking, such as Scrabble, UpWords, Qwirkle and Rush Hour.
  • Read a book out aloud, instead of silently.
  • Instead of using your GPS (global positioning system) to help you find a new destination, try using a good old paper map (the most updated copy you can find).
  • Challenge yourself and discover what 20 abbreviations or acronyms mean (e.g. GPS, ASAP, etc.)

Fostering our literacy skills involves constantly challenging ourselves, so that we continue to maintain and strengthen those skills. “Practice makes perfect”’ as the saying goes or “practice makes better,” as I prefer to say.

So, go ahead – this month, find out what literacy initiatives exist in the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood, and take some time to visit Decoda’s website (www.decoda.ca) and view the Literacy Is Life campaign. Have a good Literacy Month!

Janice Bexson is the literacy outreach coordinator at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House.

Copyright 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News