Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

Leave a comment

Easy bike ride follows Still Creek to Burnaby Lake

Burnaby Lake is a haven for birds. These goslings stay close to their mom and dad. Photos by Bryden Fergusson


In these COVID-19 times, many people are choosing to ride their bikes to get from point A to B. It’s a great way to maintain physical distancing and get some exercise, sunshine and vitamin D at the same time.

If you’re looking for a safe ride, take one of the bike paths under the SkyTrain lines, which are well marked and have crossing lights at busy streets.

Central Valley Greenway from Renfrew/Rupert SkyTrain station to Burnaby Lake

This route gives you views of Still Creek and takes about 1.5 hours roundtrip from Renfrew Station.

1. Pick up the Central Valley Greenway from the Renfrew or the Rupert SkyTrain station.

2. Head east, safely cross busy Boundary Road at the crossing light.

3. The greenway takes you behind Home Depot. After the Home Depot parking lot, turn right at Gilmore.

4. Cross Gilmore at Still Creek Avenue, heading for Dick’s Lumber.

Pick up the trail at Gilmore and Still Creek Avenue next to Dick’s Lumber.

Looking northwest behind Dick’s Lumber to the towers of Brentwood.

5. Follow the Central Valley Greenway, past the Toyota dealership on your left, Costco across the street on your right and the Burnaby Eco-centre (recycling centre) on your left. Be careful of the trucks leaving the driveways along this industrial stretch.

6. Cross Douglas Road and turn right where you can pick up the greenway next to Still Creek.

Sights along the way include the remains of a beaver dam in a small tributary that runs into Still Creek. Photo by Julie Cheng

7. Continue past the overpass near the Sperling SkyTrain station. The trails of Burnaby Lake are now 5 minutes away.

South of Sperling SkyTrain station heading east towards Burnaby Lake, now just 5 minutes away.

Enjoy a peaceful ride in the shade of trees.

Leave a comment

Support your native bee pollinators


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


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 (

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

Leave a comment

3 top garden tips for summer


Deadheading truly is addition by subtraction when it comes to keeping your garden in full bloom. Make sure to remove the entire flower from the stem. Photo by Julie Cheng


During the dry summer months, managing your garden turns into more of a survival game than anything else.

Proper watering, pruning, and deadheading are all essential to keeping your garden fresh as the summer months carry on. Whether you are an experienced gardener or someone that is just getting started, remember these important tips while executing these fundamental gardening tasks.

1. Watering

  • When watering planters, fill the pot until there is a thin layer of water on top of the soil and then let it drain. Repeat 5 to 8 times depending on the size of the container. If the soil is still absorbing the water rapidly, keep watering until the absorption slows.
  • Even after what feels like significant rainfall, continue your watering routine. If you check the soil after some rain, you’ll see that it is often only the top layer that gets wet.
  • For larger plants such as shrubs and small trees, extensive watering is required. If you notice any signs of wilting, start putting either a soaker hose, or some sort of continual watering apparatus, on the plant for at least a couple of hours a day. The permanent wilting point (PWP), is when your plant has wilted past the point of no return. To avoid this, ensure it is given significantly more water at any sign of wilting.

2. Pruning

  • While certain plants call for specific pruning guidelines, a good rule to stick by is always cutting at a “crotch,” where the branch you are pruning meets another branch or the main stem/trunk. Cutting at a crotch will allow the plant to maintain a natural shape, as cutting mid branch often causes “suckers,” where are new growths that extend straight up in undesirable fashion from the point that was cut.
  • When pruning roses, always try to cut back to a branch that has at least five leaves on it. If that’s not possible, aim for a “node,” a small bump where new growth is beginning.
  • Always be on the constant look out for dead limbs on your trees. Not only are they a danger to the people walking below, removing the dead weight will encourage quicker regrowth.

3. Deadheading

  • Like weeding, deadheading can be a tiresome but ultimately worthwhile endeavor. Continually removing the dying flowers from a plant, before they seed, forces the plant to keep producing more and more flowers.
  • Make sure to remove the entire flower from the stem. An efficient technique can be found by just using your thumb and your index finger to pop the flower heads off.
  • If you are not in a position to deadhead regularly, don’t hesitate to remove flowers that are only beginning to show signs of decay. As contradictory as it feels, deadheading during the flowering season truly is addition by subtraction when it comes to keeping your garden in full bloom.

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

Copyright 2019 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News