Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

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January 2018 issue of RCC News is here

Renfrew-Collingwood Community News January 2018

Happy new year! There is much to celebrate: 2018 also marks the 20th anniversary of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

This issue of the RCC News is full of the many wonderful people, events and programs happening in our neighbourhood!

Get your latest issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery store, library and community centre.

Or click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • Has it been 20 years? Renfrew-Collingwood Community News 20th anniversary
  • Happy Corner Preschool: Where learning is play
  • More action needed to address housing crisis
  • Housing for homeless residents planned for 4410 Kaslo Street
  • Seniors and kids at Three Links Care Centre
  • Family Literacy Day is January 27
  • The neighbours who support Still Moon Arts Society. You can, too!
  • Community kitchen dishes up friendship and food
  • New bike parkade at Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station
  • Collingwood Neighbourhood House winter 2018 programs

Do you have a local story to tell or an event to share? We’d love to hear about it! Email

The deadline for the February 2018 issue is January 10. We welcome story submissions from 300 to 400 words long. Accompanying photos must be high resolution in a jpg file at least 1 MB large and include a photo caption and the name of the photographer.


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Read On! Vibrant Collingwood mural depicts the neighbourhood’s past, present and future

Collingwood Wall mural

There is a colourful new mural on McHardy St. and Vanness Avenue in the neighbourhood of Renfrew-Collingwood. Photo by Bert Monterona


Anyone who walks, bikes or drives regularly near the transit line on Vanness Avenue in Collingwood East of Rupert Street and toward the Joyce-Collingwood Skytrain station is familiar with the dreary and uninspiring cement wall that extends along the south side of the street beside the transit tracks.

For a long time the dispiriting, 26-metre-long wall had been a neglected, colourless strip of banality. Over time, the wall became covered with graffiti.

Today, there is a wildly colourful mural extending along the whole length of the wall. A brightly painted kaleidoscope of swirls and drawings and affirmative words, the Collingwood Wall embraces the neighbourhood with its multicoloured hues and swirls and whirls and drawings.

In the process, it also provides passersby with a tableau of the area’s history, from its beginnings as a wilderness with rivers teeming with salmon and other fish, of Indigenous people’s lives and of the migrations of people from around the world who now make Collingwood the varied, multicultural neighbourhood it is.

In a sense, it is a 26-metre story about how we came to be. These depictions of history and historical life enliven the entire street and SkyTrain track – passengers commuting to or from the suburbs are inevitably drawn to train windows as the riot of colours flash by – and refreshes the views so much that walkers often stop in their tracks so they can study the mural more closely.

Designed by noted Filipino, and, of late, Vancouver, muralist Norberto “Bert” Monterona, the mural was painted over the summer by members of the Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) youth group.

It wasn’t an easy task.

At first, the wall had to be repainted a basic white to cover over the grafitti that marred its entire length. Then outlines of the myriad forms and scenes in the mural – Monterona’s designs are known for their intricate, almost abstract, forms that often tell stories about the people who live there – had to be carefully outlined.

This outlining took some time, and for several weeks, passersby would stop and study it all, twisting their necks as they clearly tried to make out what was going on with “that wall.”

Now they know. It’s a storyboard about where they live, a pictoral history of what the area once was, now is and what it is rapidly becoming – a rapid-growing, vibrant neighbourhood that often has the feeling of a small town but is, in fact, becoming a modern-city multicultural centre.

Read On Dec2017 Word Search

Download the word search.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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December 2017 issue is here

RCC News December 2017

This issue of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News is full of the many wonderful people, events and programs happening in our neighbourhood!

Get your latest issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery store, library and community centre.

Or click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • Collingwood Artisans’ Village Market 2017, Saturday, Dec. 9, 11 am to 4 pm
  • New vendors on board this season at the Hastings Park Winter Market
  • Got leaves? What you need to know about city leaf collection
  • Support the social enterprises among us
  • Come out and show your support for an off-leash dog park in Collingwood
  • St. Mary’s students remember veterans through No Stone Left Alone ceremony
  • Public hearing for Joyce-Collingwood Station Precinct Plan, Dec. 6, 6 pm
  • CNH staff take on the Welfare Food Challenge
  • Housing solutions at Windermere Secondary’s Housing Justice Conference 2017
  • Eating Out in RC: Pho 99 Broadway Tech Centre

Do you have a local story to tell or an event to share? We’d love to hear about it! Email

The deadline for the January 2018 issue is earlier than usual on December 5. We welcome story submissions from 300 to 400 words long. Accompanying photos must be high resolution in a jpg file at least 1 MB large and include a photo caption and the name of the photographer.

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Collingwood Corner: Joyce Station before and after

1950 Collingwood West Station Rupert And Vanness

Collingwood West Station, 1950, at Rupert and Vanness. Photo by Ted Clark, Richmond Archives


Many things have changed since the long-ago days when British Columbia Electric Railway (BCER) first ran a track through the Collingwood neighbourhood in 1891, travelling from New Westminster through to downtown Vancouver. Collingwood was built up along the track for homeowners who worked downtown, but because of the new streetcar system, could commute quickly while living in a lower-priced and quiet area.

There were originally two stations in Collingwood: Collingwood West at the corner of Rupert
Street and Vanness, high up near the bridge which crossed Rupert, and Collingwood East, located near the Joyce Station at Vanness and Joyce, on the west side of Joyce.

Today, the Skytrain runs through the East station, and it recently has been drastically renovated.

Collingwood East Station By Phillip Timms

Collingwood East Station. Photo by Philip Timms, Vancouver Archives, CVA 677-386

Translink has been working on enlarging the East Joyce Station since January 2016, and I noticed one gate on the south side, facing Vanness, was opened the first week in October 2017. The north gate is still closed as the work isn’t quite finished.

The newly renovated station has a set of escalators, an elevator, a place to safely store bikes and a building for commercial use. It’s very modern looking with beautiful artwork that resembles stained glass in the window near the escalators. It’s quite a remarkable improvement from 100 years ago!

To read more about the BCER and interurban history, please visit this Translink post online:

Joyce Station by Loretta Houben

New Collingwood East Station. Photo by Loretta Houben, Oct. 2017

Loretta Houben is a long-time resident of Collingwood and is completely enthralled with the new Joyce station on the east side.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Vancouver-based EDM group Global Party Starters releases controversial single

Bout Us by Global Party Starters

Bout Us by Global Party Starters

The latest single from the Global Party Starters, titled Bout Us, features radio charting artists Elise Estrada and J.Young. The song recently won a Telus STORYHIVE grant which helped fund the music video that is now on YouTube.

Bout Us is a real-life Romeo and Juliet story that highlights cultural stigmas in Canada. The song is written about the true story of desiFEST founder and GPS co-founder, SatsB, and his wife Michelle.

SatsB, a South Indian Hindu, fell in love with Michelle, an East African Muslim. Their struggle to bring their families and cultures together ultimately led to the creation of desiFEST, a platform that uses music to build bridges between cultures. The video, featuring Kamantha Naidoo in the lead role, deals with this taboo in South Asian culture of dating and marrying outside of your culture and religion.

GPS started as an idea two years ago to take South Asian artists out of their niche markets and expose them to a wider musical audience. The group is comprised of three members from Canada’s east and west coasts: from Toronto, SatsB; Juno nominee and Western Canadian Music Award winner, DJ A-SLAM who grew up and still lives in the Collingwood area of Vancouver; and DJ REKing, a fresh face on the Vancouver music scene.

The GPS sound is EDM-focused (electronic dance music) with a mix of hip-hop and R&B vocals and South Asian influences. For all of their releases, remember to subscribe to their YouTube channel (

Bout Us – Global Party Starters with Elise Estrada & J.Young

Watch on YouTube:

Find more info on STORYHIVE:

Find Global Party Starters at and on Mixcloud, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Hussein “DJ A-SLAM” Alidina attended Carleton Elementary and Windermere Secondary and worked as a youth worker at Collingwood Neighbourhood House.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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The Veterans Memorial Mural of Grandview-Collingwood Legion, Branch #179

Veterans Memorial Mural of Grandview-Collingwood Legion, Branch #179

Part of the photo-realistic 6th Street Mural completed by artists Nick Gregson, David Mercer, John De Matos and Jesom. Photos by Paul Reid


Three years since it was first rendered, the Veterans Memorial Mural that was painted onto the walls of Branch #179 is looking as fresh as ever.

In 2014, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #179 commissioned local mural artist Nick Gregson to give the walls of the branch a facelift. Nick worked with the branch to come up with a design. Four months after the first strokes were made, the transformation and resulting mural were nothing short of miraculous.

Nick and his volunteer crew (John De Matos, David Mercer, Jesom) worked throughout the summer and into the fall months, right up until Remembrance Day.

“This was a huge project. I wish we had more time to put in more detail,” says volunteer painter, David Mercer when interviewed on that day of its completion in 2014. “It’s something we worked hard at doing – just wish we had another month. But we’re quite proud of it and have been getting positive remarks.”

All who see the Veterans Memorial Mural will agree that the amount of detail on this mural is incredible. Using photos provided by Branch #179, the painters were able to capture near photo-realistic renditions of the faces of the Branch #179 members, sports teams and veterans of today and of the past.

“I have seen a lot of branch murals,” says Gerry Vowles, “and I think this must be one of the best, if not the best.” A member of  the branch since 1980 and former BC/Yukon Command President, Mr. Vowles is a retired Canadian Forces veteran who has served in many executive capacities throughout his RCL career at Branch, Zone and Provincial Command levels.

Nick Gregson at work on the Veterans Memorial Mural.

Nick Gregson at work on the Veterans Memorial Mural.

Nickolas Gregson’s artistic practice is rooted in graffiti and community-centered public art. Raised in East Vancouver, Gregson drew inspiration from local street art and the sanctioned graffiti spaces of Leeside Tunnel Skateboard Park.

In the same year that he created the Veterans Memorial Mural, Gregson launched the Metro Vancouver Art and Mural Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to building stronger communities through public art. Since that time, Gregson’s art and mural society has been transforming Vancouver’s blank walls into vibrant murals.

Being that it is such an exceptional work of art, the branch hopes to keep it up for years to come. “It’s been laminated,” explained Dave, when being interviewed about the mural back in 2014, “so if anyone tags it with graffiti, it will just wash off and be as good as new.” Thanks to the vigilant maintenance by the branch, it has remained as such.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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9th annual Climate Change Conference by Windermere Leadership students

Calling all students: What will be your legacy?


Calling out youth in the Lower Mainland! It’s that time of the year again, Windermere Leadership’s ninth annual Climate Change Conference (C3) is happening on Friday, December 1, 2017! This year’s theme is What Will Be Your Legacy?  

We decided on this theme because we wanted to deliver the message that our time here on this beautiful Earth is fleeting. Decades from now when climate change has done its damage on this planet, will you be able to be satisfied with the actions you have took? What have you contributed towards our planet? It implies to take action and do something that will leave a positive impact for future generations. 

What is C3?

The idea came about not too long ago, from just a group of Leadership students who wanted to educate and spread awareness about climate change to primarily youth.  

Climate change is upon us more than ever in this day and age. Temperatures are rising, glaciers are melting and, in turn, sea levels are rising more than we’ve ever seen before.  

Yet youth are still turning a blind eye to this pressing crisis. This is why the Windermere Leaderships students present C3. In the past, we’ve had workshops revolving around fracking, LNG, food security, water and more.  

Now, each year the Grade 11 Leadership class is involved in continuing this vision. Our goals are for everyone to leave the conference with a heightened knowledge of climate change, and be able to walk out feeling inspired to take action and apply that knowledge in the real world. 

The entire day is student-led and organized by the Windermere Leadership 11 class. The day starts off with inspiring keynote speakers, then attendees break off into different morning workshops, followed by a lunch break, then an afternoon workshop.  

Workshops are determined by the attendees’ choice when they register. They range from more information-heavy sessions to hands-on activities to team bonding. This provides opportunities to network with other youth passionate about sustainability, like yourself! There is an option to buy lunch upon registering, and as always this is a zero-waste event so everyone must bring their own cutlery! 

Now that you have a better understanding about this phenomenal event, we encourage you to come join us! You can register online on our website, and get notified on any additional information such as our workshops and speakers for this year by following us on social media! Hope to see you there! 


Facebook: @c3vancity

Twitter: @c3vancity

Instagram: @c3vancity

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News