Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

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Read On! Celebrating mothers


Who doesn’t love waffles for breakfast on Mother’s Day? Photo by Sophia Han
Who doesn’t love waffles for breakfast on Mother’s Day? Photo by Sophia Han

The tradition of breakfast in bed **

Sunday, May 14 is Mother’s Day. It has a long tradition in the United States where it was first celebrated in 1914. In Canada, sons and daughters show their appreciation with small gifts offlowers and cards. The tradition of serving mom breakfast in bed started in the 1930s.

Favourite breakfast meals on Mother’s Day include French toast and pancakes because they are easy and fun for children to make. A fresh fruit salad is a healthier option that is also easy to prepare (and clean up afterwards). Serve the meal with a small bouquet of carnations, the traditional flower of Mother’s Day.

A brunch tradition ***

Not everyone enjoys breakfast in bed. Since the 1940s, restaurants have advertised Mother’s Day brunch specials. Brunch is a British tradition invented in the late 19th century. It combines a social gathering with both breakfast and lunch. Taking mom out to brunch at a restaurant also saves her the work of cleaning up afterwards.

Besides breakfast or brunch, there are many other ways to recognize the work that mothers do. A simple phone call is a meaningful way to show appreciation and a more recent trend is to enjoy an outdoor activity together such as a hike or a stroll in a park.

Favourite local brunch spots include Liberte Cafe & Restaurant at 3670 Vanness Avenue and Canffle at 3581 Kingsway. Liberte Cafe specializes in desserts and waffles made from ube, a purple yam with a sweet, nutty flavour. 

Or for something different, try treating mom to dim sum. There are many excellent restaurants in Vancouver but a hidden gem is Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine at 3328 Kingway.

What is your favourite place to take mom for Mother’s Day? Let us know – just email


appreciation – when you feel thankful for something

serving – giving food to someone

healthier – better for your health

afterwards – after an event

bouquet  – a bunch of flowers

since + present perfect V use since before have and the past tense of a verb to describe a continuous action that began in the past: Since the 1930s, mothers have enjoyed breakfast in bed.

specials  – meals available for special occasions

social gathering – gathering of friends and families

besides – in addition

recognize – to show appreciation for someone’s work

meaningful – important or special

trend – something that is popular

stroll – walk

specialize – use specialize to talk about the food a restaurant makes well

hidden gem – a special place that is not well known

Word search

** Lower intermediate

*** Upper intermediate

Copyright 2023 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Read On! Happy Year of the Water Rabbit


May the Year of the Water Rabbit be a lucky one for you and your family. Photo by Sophia Han
May the Year of the Water Rabbit be a lucky one for you and your family. Photos by Sophia Han

A year of hope **

In 2023, the Lunar New Year starts on January 22nd. The Chinese zodiac sign for 2023 is the Water Rabbit. It is a symbol of peace, hope and longevity.

The Lunar New Year is the most important public holiday in China, but it is also celebrated in Asian countries such as Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. Because Vancouver is home to many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year, you may be asked to join the celebrations at someone’s home.

Read on to learn about traditional gifts to bring your hosts on this special occasion.

During the Lunar New Year, a bowl of citrus fruits symbolizes luck and happiness. Photo by Sophia Han
During the Lunar New Year, a bowl of citrus fruits symbolizes luck and happiness.

Giving Lunar New Year gifts ***

Gift-giving is an important Lunar New Year tradition, but gifts vary depending on the age and the giver’s relationship to the recipient.

You may already know that children receive money in bright red packets called hongbao. If your host has children, it is fine to give them a small amount in a red packet, but the amount should be an even number. Except for the number 4 (which sounds like the word for death in Chinese), even numbers are considered lucky.

Many Asian bakeries at this time will sell boxes of traditional sweets like almond cookies, but it is also common to see gifts of chocolates wrapped to look like gold coins. Crispy egg rolls are sweet, flaky biscuits that are sold in large tins. They are considered lucky because they symbolize wealth.

Money trees and lucky bamboo plants are also popular and a basket of any citrus fruit is always welcome. All of these items symbolize prosperity. In fact, so long as your gift is lucky or auspicious, you can’t really go wrong.

In Renfrew-Collingwood, drop by the Pine House Bread & Cake Shop at 3396 Kingsway for almond cookies. For chocolate gold coins, visit Purdys Chocolatier at 2777 Kingsway.


Lunar New Year – a year that starts on the first full moon of the year

Chinese zodiac – 12 animals that represent a group of stars

longevity – long-life

occasion – an event

vary – things that vary can be different or change

relationship – the connection between people

recipient – the person receiving something

alreadyalready can describe something that is true before the present time

except – not including

considered – thought to be

common – something that happens often

prosperity – wealth

auspicious – suggesting success

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** Lower intermediate

*** Upper intermediate

Copyright 2023 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Read On: Celebrating the Lunar New Year 2021


Lunar New Year 2021 is the Year of the Metal Ox. Photo of sculpture by Joe Fafard on Georgia street. By Sophia Han
Lunar New Year 2021 is the Year of the Metal Ox. Sculpture by Joe Fafard on Georgia street. Photo by Sophia Han

For Chinese people, the year starts with the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. This year, Chinese New Year starts on Friday, February 12. In China, this is a holiday that lasts for one week, but it is also celebrated in places where many Chinese people live.

Every Lunar New Year is associated with an animal sign. For 2021, the animal sign is the Ox. People born in 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985 and 1997 are Ox people because an Ox year occurs every 12 years. Ox people are considered hard-working, honest and dependable.


Traditionally, the Lunar New Year is a time for families to be together and eat special foods such as fish, dumplings, and wheat noodles called “longevity noodles.” People believe that if you eat these noodles, you will have a long and happy life.

In Chinese culture, red is considered an auspicious colour, so people often wear red clothes during the holiday. People also decorate their homes with red pieces of paper with traditional Chinese sayings and give children gifts of money in red paper envelopes.

It is common for adults to give each other mandarin oranges and anything gold-coloured (such as chocolates wrapped in gold paper or sweets in gold-coloured boxes).

Some things are considered unlucky to do during the Lunar New Year. Washing your hair is considered unlucky because it suggests that you may wash away good fortune. It is also considered unlucky to sweep or break an object.

If you have a friend who celebrates the Chinese New Year, you can greet them in Cantonese by saying kung hei fat choi (“gong hay fah choy”) or in Mandarin by saying gong xi fa cai (“gong zee fah-chai”). This means “Wishing you good fortune.” 


celebrate – to do things you enjoy because of a special occasion

associated – if you associate something with another thing, this means the two are connected

occurs – when something occurs, it happens

considered  – thought of

dependable – a dependable person is someone who acts the same way over time

traditionally – things you do because of a custom or belief

longevity – long-life

auspicious – lucky

decorate – to make a place look attractive

sayings – something that people often say

common – if something is common, it happens often

suggests – makes you think of something

fortune – wealth, good luck

Word search: Celebrate the Lunar New Year
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