Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

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
Play online at

Leave a comment

Read On: Celebrate Canada Day 2020 on July 1st


Message for Canada. Trout Lake. Photo by Sophia Han


What is Canada Day? ***

Canada Day is celebrated on July 1, which is the anniversary of the founding of Canada’s original constitution in 1867.

In the past, cities around Vancouver have celebrated the day with fireworks. This year, it is important to maintain social distancing rules while celebrating the occasion.

The Government of Canada and the city of Surrey have websites with information to help you celebrate the occasion virtually.

Celebrate virtually **

The Government of Canada has a website where you can download pages for children to colour. You can also watch video performances by Canadian artists.

Canadian Heritage activity packs

Canadian Heritage YouTube channel
The city of Surrey also has a website.

The city of Surrey is asking people who are residents of Surrey and the Lower Mainland to send videos of themselves wishing Canada a happy birthday or singing Canada’s national anthem.


Celebrate Canada Day with a picnic *

In the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood, there are many outdoor places where you can celebrate Canada Day with a picnic.

Everyone should bring their own food and keep 2 metres apart. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and hand sanitizer!

Renfrew Ravine Park and Renfrew Community Park are nearby parks where you can enjoy a picnic and feel close to nature. Central Park, Trout Lake Park and Deer Lake Park are large parks that are also close by.

If you want to picnic and enjoy a good view of the city, you should go to Queen Elizabeth Park. From this park, you can see Vancouver. If you want to enjoy a good view of the sunset, you should go to English Bay or Jericho Beach. Lighthouse Park is in West Vancouver but it is also a beautiful place to share a meal and enjoy the sunset.

There are many ways to celebrate Canada Day. You can stay safe while enjoying the local scenery.
Happy Canada Day!



Anniversary – the date when an event took place in a previous year
Founding – the beginning

Original – the first

Constitution – a set of rules that guide how a country should be run
Maintain – to keep doing

Social distancing – rules to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 disease

Occasion – special event

Virtually – something you do using a computer

Download – to move or copy a file from a computer

Performances – shows

Residents – someone who lives in a place

Lower Mainland – the city of Vancouver and the areas around Vancouver

Anthem – a song that celebrates a country


Celebrate – to do something special for an important event

Picnic – a meal you enjoy outdoors

Apart – not close together

Sunscreen – something to prevent sunburn

Hand sanitizer – something you put on to kill germs

Nearby – not far

Close by – not far

View – things you can see from a place

Local – things or places that are nearby

Scenery – things you can see around a place

Word Search


Copyright 2020 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News