Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Read On: Growing your own food

Plant basil herb

Growing your own food has many benefits. It’s easy to start fresh herbs like basil indoors in spring for transplanting outside in the summer. Photo by Julie Cheng

BY TONY WANLESS

Do you grow your own food?

Many people today have found that growing some of their own food – vegetables, herbs, perhaps eggs if they have a hen house –in a window box or garden plot has many benefits.

One benefit is that food you grow usually costs less than store-bought food. That is why during times of hardship, such as the Depression and the Second World War, when people had little money, they grew food in their backyard or in shared garden spaces.

Also, growing their own food was often the only way they could get the kind of food that kept them healthy. During the Second World War, home food gardens were often called “victory gardens” – because they helped countries at war divert their resources to the war effort to achieve victory.

Today, although we are not at war, most people still like to cut costs. While a household may not grow rich by growing their own food, they will be able to cut some part of their annual food spending.

Another benefit is that freshly picked food is usually more tasty than store-bought food (which must be sorted, stored and delivered to grocery stores) because it is often eaten within minutes of being picked.

Although commercial growers try to move their fresh food from store to supermarkets quickly, the process still takes time. This is important, because all food loses vitamins and nutrients during the time from harvest to market.

In Vancouver, you can grow your own herbs, vegetables and other food in many ways. Some people simply put some containers on a balcony or porch. Others plant full gardens in a yard or any plot of land that is available.

Some people without yards rent space from “shared plots” – pieces of land in neighbourhoods where people can grow plants for a small rental fee. Think of it as backyard farming done in a collective way.

In the Renfrew-Collingwood area there are several such growing areas, including two large community gardens: one in the Collingwood area east of the Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station, and the other in the Norquay area that was formerly located on Kaslo Street across from the 29th Avenue SkyTrain station and now is being planned for Slocan Park. (The Kaslo site is being turned into a place for the homeless.)

The Collingwood Neighbourhood House also offers several food initiatives and has much advice for those wanting to grow their own food. For more information visit http://www.cnh.bc.ca/community/renfrew-collingwood-food-security-institute/ or the blog https://rcfood.wordpress.com/

Definitions

  • hardship: a condition that is difficult; suffering
  • victory: the act of defeating an enemy or opponent
  • divert: to cause something or someone to change direction
  • cut: lessen or reduce
  • collective: done by people acting as a group

Word search

Read-On-Word-Search-May-2018

Click on the image to download this word search.

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Celebrating our 15th annual Collingwood Days with playfulness

Collingwood-Days-2018

This year’s Collingwood Days invites community members to join in on all sorts of play and games, sports and arts alike, that are being held throughout the community. Image source: collingwooddays.com

BY ANDREA BERNECKAS

In May 2003, the first official Collingwood Days celebration took place at the Safeway parking lot at Tyne and Kingsway. Before then, a group of creative community-minded residents had been putting together yearly events to bring people together in shared experiences.

In 2000, there was Faces of Our Neighbourhood, an initiative that led residents on a parade from Collingwood Neighbourhood House to Slocan Park for a community celebration. Mosaic Madness followed in 2001; and in 2002, residents gathered to celebrate the installation of the Renfrew Totem Pole through Nature Meets Art.

The interest and need for regular community celebrations and gatherings brought about both Collingwood Days Festival and the Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival, which began September 2003.
After a couple of years at the Safeway location, Collingwood Days Festival moved to the Sir Guy Carleton Elementary school site, where it remained until 2016. After the closure of the school, the festival made the move to its new location at Gaston Park.

Throughout the years, the festival has highlighted the unique stories of Renfrew-Collingwood residents, and over time we have based our festival themes on these stories. We have discovered and showcased the histories of individual community members, the natural environment, artists and performers, local businesses and even our dogs!

What’s new for 2018

This year, we have a particularly fun theme, that of Play and Playfulness – “The quality of being light-hearted or full of fun” – and we invite community members to join in on all sorts of play and games, sports and arts alike, that are being held throughout the community.

Throughout the world there is play. There are schoolyard games, board games, sports and word games. Music, performance and making art can be playful. While we often think of play as something that is only for the young, play is critical to the physical and social well-being of everyone, no matter their age. This wide-ranging theme allows us the space to celebrate ways of playing from around the world.

This year, the festival week begins after the Victoria Day long weekend, on Tuesday, May 22; but you can jump-start playing by joining Family Board Games at Renfrew Library on Sunday, May 20 from 1:30 to 4:30 pm.

Among the many different things happening throughout the community are:

  • Lego Block Party at the Renfrew VPL (May 23, 3:30–4:30 pm)
  • Games Night at the Bamboo Café (May 23, 5–7 pm)
  • Mahjong at Renfrew Park Community Centre (May 24, 11 am–1 pm)
  • Open Mic Night and Board Games at First Lutheran (May 25, 5:30-9 pm)
  • Annual Graham Bruce Carnival (May 25, 4–8 pm)
  • Exhibition of art on the theme of play by the students of Dr. George Weir at Collingwood Branch library
  • Last but not least, Madam Beespeaker, the artist-in-residence at Renfrew Park Community Centre will be holding a Sketch-a-Palooza at Renfrew Community Centre on Sunday, May 27, 1–3:30 pm

Festival day

On Saturday, May 26, Gaston Park will be the site of playful activities ranging from live musical performances such as the Wooly Bears Square Dancing, Balkan Shmalkan and Vietnamese Fan Dancers; roving performers such as Lola Loops, Birds on Parade, and Ariel Amara; art and craft making with Still Moon Arts Society and local artists; as well as games led by InterACTIVE volunteers, Tin Can Studio, and other groups.

This is your chance to try out handball, bocce, backgammon, hoops, and juggling; make paper airplanes in the Artisan Village; and enjoy a variety of multicultural foods. We hope you join in the spirit of play!

Please check the festival insert in the May issue of the RCC News for further details, or visit www.collingwooddays.com

 


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May 2018 issue of RCC News is here

RCC News May 2018

In this issue we continue to mark the 20th anniversary of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News. Come visit our booth at Collingwood Days and celebrate with us!

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:

  • 15th Annual Collingwood Days – special insert
  • Celebrating 20 years of RCC News: My story by Muriel Ann Rivard
  • We need to build the humans sector by Stephen Elliott-Buckley
  • Sharon Gregson steps down as CNH director
  • Deciding to follow your dreams, twice by DJ A-SLAM
  • Coast employment program keeps streets clean

Do you have a local story to tell or an event to share? We’d love to hear about it! Email rccnews-editorial@cnh.bc.ca.

The deadline for the June 2018 issue is May 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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3 easy tips to get your lawn and garden going this spring

Topdress-lawn

The new soil from topdressing will integrate itself into the existing material in a matter of weeks, and your lawn will thank you for it. Photos by Julie Cheng

BY SOREN ELSAY

The long-awaited end to winter is finally upon us and with it comes a fresh start for your lawn and garden. Whether you loved your garden and lawn last year or would rather forget that aspect of 2017, spring is the ideal time to set yourself up for a successful green season.

While the warming weather might seem like enough to get your lawn and garden going, there are a handful of things you can do to set yourself up for a satisfying year in your own personal green space.

Topdress your lawn and garden

Topdressing is the act of adding fresh (preferably richly composted) soil to both your lawn and garden. The best part of topdressing is how easy it is to do.

For your lawn, simply apply a thin, roughly half-inch layer evenly on top of your grass. Once applied, simply let it slowly consolidate into the existing soil layer. It may be visually jarring when you first see your nice green lawn coated in composted soil, but fear not, the new soil will integrate itself into the existing material in a matter of weeks, and your lawn will thank you for it.

In your garden, apply the fresh soil by digging down  four to six inches into your existing garden bed and blend your old soil with the new, composted material.

For both the lawn and garden, the topsoil will give a much-needed nutrient boost after the long winter.

Aerate your lawn

Manual aerating tools

Manual aerating tools. The holes from aerating allow nutrients from both the air and from moisture to penetrate your lawn with more ease.

Filed into the landscaping category of “short-term hit in exchange for long-term gain,” aerating your lawn will do wonders for your grass later in the season.

While there are a number of techniques for aerating a lawn, the basic premise is the same: puncturing holes in the ground in order to improve circulation amongst the roots. By breaking up the ground, these holes allow nutrients from both the air and from moisture to penetrate your lawn with more ease.

The most common machine used for this procedure is an aerator, which resembles a snowblower but instead of spitting snow, pulls out four-to-six-inch plugs of lawn and leaves them behind. If you don’t want to rent an aerator, or are looking for a new workout fad, pitchforks have been known to work as well, though at a much less efficient pace.

If you are planning on topdressing your lawn as well, make sure to aerate first before laying on the topsoil layer. The aeration will allow for quicker and easier absorption of the new soil.

Plant new or transplant

Although Vancouver has the reputation as a wet city, the rainfall that we receive in the non-winter months is actually significantly less than your garden needs. That is why the spring is ideal for both planting new items as well as transplanting existing ones to another spot in your garden. Once the summer rolls around, keeping the ground moist enough for a freshly installed plant to thrive is very tough, so take advantage of still-wet conditions before it’s too late.

When it comes to transplanting, always make sure to fill the new hole fully with water and then let it drain before putting the plant in the ground. This will ensure that the roots will remain hydrated while they are disturbed and at their most vulnerable. Continued watering after a transplant is also key to ensure a smooth transition.

Soren Elsay is a Vancouver-based professional landscaper. He is an aspiring writer with a bachelor of arts from the University of British Columbia.

Copyright (c) 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Neighbourhood Small Grants Projects are back in 2018

Deadline April 9, 2018

NSG-2017-Bike-Day

Neighbours Dickson and Jackie held bike repair workshops last summer with funding from Neighbourhood Small Grants. Photos by Marina Dodis

BY SHERI PARKE

The purpose of the unique Neighbourhood Small Grants program is to help build community and strengthen connections right where people live.

Use your imagination and come up with an idea that you think would improve your neighbourhood in a fun and friendly way. Apply for a $50 to $500 grant to help fund your idea, meet new neighbours, learn more about each other and do something fun and interesting together.

It’s easy to apply. Just use the online application form (www.neighbourhoodsmallgrants.ca) to tell us what you want to do to enhance your neighbourhood socially, physically or culturally.

Projects that were approved last year include neighbourhood clean-ups, vegetarian cooking classes, organic garden planting, knitting clubs, bicycle repair workshop, block parties, cultural celebrations, birdhouse-making projects, neighbours breakfast social and outdoor movie night. Sounds like fun, right?

This year our themes are (1) intergenerational fun, (2) Indigenous acknowledgement and learnings and (3) multicultural activities.

A resident advisory committee reviews applications and then decides which ones will receive funding. Please visit the website to learn about application guidelines.

Online applications open February 19, 2018.

Application deadline is Monday, April 9, 2018.

Apply online: www.neighbourhoodsmallgrants.ca

Paper application forms are available at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 5288 Joyce Street, Vancouver, BC V5R 6C9

Do you have questions? Email sparke01@shaw.ca.

Sheri Parke is the coordinator of the local Neighbourhood Small Grants.

Free bike repair day in Joyce-Collingwood

NSG-2017-Bike-Day-2

At the 2017 free bike workshop day in Collingwood, neighbours learned simple repairs like patching flat tubes, adjusting brakes and gears, and lubricating chains.

August 2017 on a Friday afternoon, there they were! Braving the heat wave that day, folks lined up to talk to workshop hosts Dickson and Jackie, who joined forces with two super-talented mechanics from Our Community Bikes, a responsible, locally minded bike shop in East Vancouver.

These bike enthusiasts listened to various bicycle issues and taught their neighbours some simple repairs like patching flat tubes, adjusting brakes and gears, and lubricating chains!

Dickson and Jackie, who are neighbours, applied for a Neighbourhood Small Grant last March. When their application was approved they went to work on their plan: to teach, do repairs and meet friendly folks in the neighbourhood! They brought their own tools, skills and knowledge.

The grant funds were used to purchase the bike repair necessities as well as provide yummy snacks for those lining up. They were able to send folks away with a small flat repair kit and safety front and rear flashing lights, also purchased with grant funds. Sweet!

This workshop was very enthusiastically received by neighbours. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response feedback Jackie and Dickson are hoping to hold another event.

They express their thanks to Neighbourhood Small Grants for supporting their project, and giving them the experience of holding it has really encouraged them to try and make it a recurring event.

“We loved getting to meet our bicycle-riding neighbours and look forward to waving as we pass them on the Greenway!”

Neighbours Dickson and Jackie held bike repair workshops in summer 2017 with funding from Neighbourhood Small Grants. Photo by Marina Dodis

Copyright (c) 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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April 2018 issue of RCC News is here

Renfrew-Collingwood Community News April 2018

It feels like spring! There is much to celebrate: in this issue we continue to mark 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:

  • New photos of Collingwood Neighbourhood House Annex
  • Celebrating 20 years of RCC News: The RC Soap Box
  • Collingwood Corner: Boundary Road and Rae Avenue, 1945
  • Local resident runs for director position at Vancity
  • Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin
  • Expert tips for your job interview. MOSAIC’s job fair April 10
  • Legion update: Cedar Rocket raises money for veterans

Do you have a local story to tell or an event to share? We’d love to hear about it! Email rccnews-editorial@cnh.bc.ca.

The deadline for the May 2018 issue is April 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: On spring

March2018WordSearchReadOn

WORD SEARCH: Save the image and print as a worksheet.

BY TONY WANLESS

We’re in that wonderful time when winter ends and spring arrives.

Soon, there will be no more looking out the window every morning to see what kind of day it will be. It could be cold and dark – as it has been for the past three months. Or it might turn sunny, tantalizing you with a hint that better, drier, warmer weather is coming. Mother nature has trouble making up her mind early in this month.

So you can be fooled. In early March, it could be just like February – cold and wet and dark when you wake up, and then later warmer and hinting at better weather to come. But on March 20, that will start to go away. Sure, old-man winter might still hang around desperately for a while hoping to beat nature and hang on.

But that’s not likely.

Every day for the next three months it will begin to get warmer and brighter in the Northern Hemisphere, in which Vancouver is situated.The sun will rise a few minutes earlier every day and and fall into night a little later. Plants will sprout, winds will soften.

That’s generally, of course. In Renfrew-Collingwood it might be a little different than in the rest of B.C. because we are in Vancouver, which is next to the Pacific Ocean. Our spring usually comes a bit earlier than the March 20 date because our coastal climate means the ocean has a strong influence over our weather.

On the coast, in early March we can be swathed in raincoat-and-boots-and-warm-hats for a few days and then suddenly it’s spring. The coats and umbrellas are thrown off, the joggers are out in only shorts and light shirts, the flowers start popping their heads out of the ground and the birds are singing.

We’re lucky that way. In much of Canada, winter still holds everyone in its grip for a few more weeks. East of Vancouver and in eastern B.C., Canadians still shudder through the worst of that season. The Prairie provinces often have to endure bitter cold, although it can be broken in Alberta by the odd warm current that wends like a train through the Rocky Mountains; the Great Lakes area is still shuddering in a deep freeze; In Quebec, the song “Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver” (My country is not a country, it is winter) is still true; and in Eastern Canada’s Maritime provinces, howling winds from the  Atlantic Ocean have most people still wearing winter gear.

Spring, by the way, isn’t only enjoyed by current residents of the West Coast. Its gradual delivery of delight from misery has been known for centuries by First Nations who lived here in closer harmony with nature. They learned long ago how to cope with the changing nature of early spring, venturing out of their dwellings when the light and warmth arrived and then retreating back to their warming fires when the cold and dark and rain made a return engagement.

But today, we live in cities, in artificial environments fueled by electricity, and so are often removed from the full effects of nature. As a result, we aren’t able to change our feeling so easily.

That’s why spring is so important. It is the time of renewal, of approaching freedom from darkness, from enclosure, from sameness and boredom. It’s also why, for centuries, people have celebrated spring with various festivals like the Lunar New Year, celebrated this year on February. The festival is always an anticipation of the joys of spring.