Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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September 2017 issue of RCC News is here

September 2017 RCC News

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:

  • Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival, Saturday, September 30
  • September a good time to move beyond work-life balance
  • New exhibit at Il Museo: The Venetian Ghetto
  • Easter Seals Camps make a difference
  • Collingwood Corner: Check out Nostalgic Vancouver Facebook
  • Banana Grove grocery celebrates 25 years
  • Guacamole for justice
  • Logan the goat chews up Renfrew Ravine native plants
  • Plus Collingwood Neighbourhood House fall recreation programs

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 October 2017 issue is September 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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Food Security Institute: Join summer gatherings at local gardens

BY BO DEL VALLE GARCIA AND EMMA WARNER CHEE

Food-security-event

Vanessa Richards (centre) of Woodword’s Community Choir leads a singing practice at the Norquay Orchard event last year. Photo by Dustin Ahjz

The Renfrew-Collingwood Food Security Institute (RCFSI) gathers neighbours around food. Together, we grow, we cook, we share and we build resilient communities. On the rooftop garden, at the Norquay Orchard and at our community gardens we aim to create a hub for our neighbours, both human and non, to share and increase knowledge around organic and regenerative food growing practices, soil systems, and wild and native plants.

This is an exciting time for us! This summer we will be joined by two new members of our team, Bo and Emma, who will be dedicating their time and expertise towards growing thriving communities both in the garden and out.

Bo is a creature of the cities and forests: a community organizer, activist and earth skills educator born to the traditional unceded lands of the Coast Salish – otherwise known as Vancouver, B.C. Bo identifies as genderqueer and uses They/Them/Theirs pronouns.

Bo is rooted deeply into their home and community, but never forgets that they are a visitor on this land. Their work operates in the intersections between earth, food, art and justice. They have spent countless hours learning from the natural world in academic settings, from elders and mentors, and from the living ecosystems themselves. They have worked on a number of projects concerning ecosystem repair, bioremediation, food forests design, biological pest management, rainwater harvesting and climate change resiliency and are so excited to be working with the RCFSI this summer!

Emma is a sociology student at Simon Fraser University and returning to RCFSI for a second year as a summer student. She loves growing, cooking, eating and talking about food. She is excited to spend time at the orchard and in the garden this summer, and to plant seeds for community growth and tasty veggies.

Summer events

This summer RCFSI will be working to foster a deeper connection with the land and each other, and are excited to invite everyone to our upcoming events:

Pruning Workshop at the Norquay Orchard (2732 Horley St.) – Saturday, June 17, 12 to 2 pm

Rooftop Garden Drop-ins at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House – Every Wednesday, 5 to 7 pm

Norquay Orchard Work Parties (2732 Horley St.) – Last Saturday of the month, 1 to 3 pm

There will be many more exciting opportunities to get involved. Keep an eye on the RCFSI Facebook page – Renfrew Collingwood Food Security Institute, or the website rcfood.wordpress.com.

If you are interested in volunteering contact collingwoodurbanag@gmail.com.

Copyright 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Windermere Organic Garden Team grows fruit, veggies and community

Windermere Organic Garden market stall

The Windermere Garden Organic Team had just put out their produce when a cook from Collingwood Neighbourhood House offered up herbs. Photo by Jenny Lu

BY JANETTE AND CINDY CHEN

The Leadership program in Windermere Secondary has transformed an empty weed-filled area in the school’s grass field into a beautiful, edible food garden. There are now two parts to the garden at the school: the courtyard located at the heart of Windermere and the orchard located on the upper right of the Windermere field.

A team of devoted youth arrive every day after school to keep the garden in top condition. The students range from Grades 8 to 12 and make up the Windermere Organic Garden Team (WOGT). This year, the garden leaders are Gaelan Emo and Kobie Gingras-Fox, and included in the team is a student from the University of B.C. Fresh Roots, Jenny Lu.

Summer market

During summer 2016, the Windermere Organic Garden Team held a market stand for seven weeks every Tuesday outside the Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH), at Joyce and Euclid. All the profit has gone back to help improve the Windermere garden.

The day before or on the day of the market, students would hand pick and wash the organically grown fruits and vegetables before transporting them to Collingwood Neighbourhood House by bicycle.

The crops included varieties of cucumbers, apples, kale, squash, cabbages and tomatoes. Every week, new and previous customers came to the stand, and whether they bought some produce or not, they all left with encouraging words that continue to push the students to keep up their work in the garden.

Windermere Garden market stall

Just a few of Windermere’s fruits and vegetables of the week. Photo by Jenny Lu

Growing community

Along with the summer market, the WOGT plans to work on greater projects involving the garden and members of the community. One such project is a giant mural located on a side wall in the orchard.

In collaboration with Collingwood Neighbourhood House, WOGT hopes to bring in students, such as students in the Windermere Athena Arts program, as well as youth from the community to all work on it.

Right now, one of the garden leaders is working with Crecien Bencio, a youth from CNH, to plan the mural. Watch for a swarm of students to start on it as soon as warmer weather returns.

Janette and Cindy Chen are Grade 10 and 11 students in of the Leadership program at Windermere Secondary. Both are involved in the community through various programs and organizations. They have been regular members of the Windermere Organic Garden Team since Grade 8 and 9.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Remembering David Hanuse – A beloved elder

David Hanuse gives a traditional First Nations welcome

David Hanuse gives a traditional First Nations welcome at a gathering in 2008. Photo by Julie Cheng

Dave Hanuse, a former board member of Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH), elder to CNH’s Aboriginal youth, volunteer with Families Branching Out and just a very sweet man, passed away October 17, 2016. He was 73.

Dave was somebody who always looked on the bright side of life, loved to joke and laugh in his gentle way and spoke warmly about finding a home among the staff and volunteers at Collingwood Neighbourhood House.

He was generous in sharing his cultural knowledge and practices and often gave a blessing – singing and accompanying himself on the drum – before Families Branching Out dinners. He loved to join the youth in the Canoe Club and felt such peace and contentment canoeing with them. He last participated in the Canoe Club’s Pulling Together Journey about two or three years ago.

Dave’s health was failing over the last few years but he still made the effort to come to Families Branching Out, more recently accompanied by an aide. It obviously made a huge difference to him to be a part of Families Branching Out and of CNH.

Julie Cheng, editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News, recalled the days when she and David sat on the CNH board. “We had a special bond because we were both ‘newbies’ on the board, as he called us,” said Julie. “He always gave me a warm hug whenever he saw me.”

“I will always remember Dave’s twinkly, sparkling eyes,” recalled Jennifer Gray-Grant, CNH executive director. “He was the kind of person who absolutely focused on you when he spoke to you. He always gave you the sense that the time you spent speaking to him mattered to him. I will miss his kindness, his caring and his gentle manner.”

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Dedicated chef of Morning Star breakfast program honoured with national award

BY DR. RICHARD BERWICK

The early morning crew is ready to spring into action. Photo by Richard Berwick

The early morning crew is ready to spring into action. Photos by Richard Berwick

It’s tough to find cooks with engaging personalities and Canada-wide reputations, working hard hours at community venues like Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH). We have one at the Collingwood Saturday Breakfast Program and her name is Nafisa.

Nafisa Sultana arrived in Canada from Bangladesh in February 2009. She found her way to our kitchen five years ago, three years after I started scrambling eggs and washing dishes with other volunteers for the Saturday Breakfast Program in 2008.

Not your typical chef

In our work with a largely homeless or home-challenged group of regulars – of all ages and many ethnic backgrounds – we found in Nafisa a professional chef capable of organizing all the details of a successful program: food purchasing and storage, thoughtful preparation of balanced meals, guidance for the volunteers who range from high schoolers to the people of the diverse communities that comprise the staff and public of CNH.

From left, Maria (Philippines), Nafisa (Bangladesh), Taeko (Japan) ready to serve the cobbler.

From left, Maria (from the Philippines), Nafisa (Bangladesh) and Taeko (Japan) are ready to serve the cobbler.

On any given Saturday, you’ll find the jam-packed kitchen filled with volunteer galley hands with ethnic origins, and past lives, in Bangladesh (that’s Nafisa!), the Philippines, Japan, China, Vietnam, India, Kazakhstan, Korea, Canada and the U.S.

I’ve watched Nafisa move in her career seamlessly from refugee to resident, from hard labour at Pizza Hut, to cook and then chef at New Hope Community Services Society in Surrey and at Langara College – all the while earning her culinary arts degree at Vancouver Community College.

These have been difficult simultaneous commitments, but the extraordinary challenge that Nafisa counts as the work she treasures, above all else, is walking into our kitchen at 5:30 in the morning every Saturday and getting meals – breakfast and lunches – out to anywhere between 50 and 80 hungry people.

Not your typical Saturday

Here’s what it looked like in the kitchen on this particular early fall Saturday morning:

I arrive at the kitchen about 6:30 am, about an hour after Nafisa and Chris have lit the boilers and cranked up the ancient oven with a pilot light that works when you don’t look at it (I exaggerate, slightly). Nafisa, Chris and Viktoriya (last resident in Kazakhstan), are hard at work on the bag lunches, washing veggies, digging out the big fry pans that work well when the grill goes to sleep, as it did today.

Nafisa sees me step into her kitchen, gives me the usual bear hug through all of my guilty lateness and sharpens a couple of knives for me to chop the onions, peppers and tomatoes, and then to make a marinade for the omelets.

Advice from Nafisa: “If you use that cleaver, you’ll get the liquid over everything.” She’s right, of course. I can only bristle in my amateur-cookness. The sausages are burning in the oven, but only a little.

Volunteers file in and do the basics of breakfast: slicing loaves for toast, putting out the milk and juice, the peanut butter and margarine and jam, getting coffee out to the folks waiting for the call to come and pick up their breakfast plates – omelets, sausage, pilaf, fruit, apple cobbler for dessert, breakfast cereals on the side.

When it’s all over, we hear the occasional review from departing clients: “Thanks for everything. Eggs were a little hard.” “God bless.” And so it goes. Nafisa stands back to watch her kitchen run like a clock going backwards, dishes collected and washed, tables cleared, some of the men lingering quietly at their tables wanting to chat a bit about their week.

Nafisa is coming into her own professionally as first-rate Canadian chef, and will be honoured on November 2 in Toronto with the 2016 Be-a-Star (all-Canada outstanding chef) award from Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services for her work at Langara College. But she is at home with us at Collingwood for the long run, always with an astonishing well of energy on Saturday morning.

Dr. Richard Berwick is a volunteer with the Saturday Breakfast Program at Collingwood Neighbourhood House.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Picnic, popcorn and movie at Gaston Park, June 17

Family fun on June 17, 7 pm, at Gaston Park

BY BLISS ZUNIGA-RODGERS

Picnic and Movie at Gaston Park

Bring the family out to the picnic and movie at Gaston Park. Photo courtesy of Collingwood CommunityPolicing Centre

Food, fun and a free movie – what a dynamic combination to kick off summer!

On Friday, June 17 starting around 7 pm all are invited to gather at Gaston Park (Euclid Avenue near Joyce Street) and bring a picnic for yourself, your friend or your family and meet your neighbours. Dinner will be followed by games for the kids and then, once the sun sets, a free movie complete with free popcorn.

The event was sparked in part by Victor Toh, who is the chair of the Collingwood Neighbourhood School Parent Advisory Council. He wants his son to go to school in the kind of a neighbourhood where people stop to talk to each other.

At a recent idea jam, Victor Toh, Collingwood Neighbourhood School vice-principal Joel Levine and Collingwood Neighbourhood House executive director Jennifer Gray-Grant were discussing ways to increase community connectedness. The idea of a picnic in the park evolved into a picnic, games and movie night, which they hoped would draw even more people to take part.

“We’re pulling our school’s annual movie night from the school into the park,” Toh said. That way, they can help build connections between different facets of the community such as parents and students, community members and organizations, and the school and the wider community.

The Collingwood Community Policing Centre (CCPC) joined the group to offer one of its movie-in-a-park nights to coincide with the picnic. Collingwood Housing Co-op joined as a partner and then the Collingwood Branch of the Vancouver Public Library offered to do a pop-up library at the event.

Toh and a friend received a Neighbourhood Small Grant to cover the cost of posters to advertise the event, water bottles for attendees and prizes for the games for the children. The CCPC will provide the free popcorn. Toh and a friend have also organized music while Renfrew-Collingwood INTERactive will run the games.

Toh said they have made new community connections. “It’s about helping kids and families.” Toh would like the neighbourhood where his son goes to school to be seen as a place beyond just a series of houses and apartments. “I want people to know they’re in a neighbourhood where everyone helps support each other and is a part of something.”

There are other benefits as well, according to CCPC’s Partap Sahota. “The stronger the community and the more people that get involved, the less crime there is. Getting to know your neighbours is the best form of crime prevention.”

The CCPC looks beyond the stereotypes of the role of police, to the role of friendly neighbours in building safe communities. When neighbours know each other, they will look out for each other, for example, by checking up on their houses when they are away.

Joel Levine of Collingwood Community School hopes that events like this one will connect his students to their neighbourhood so that they take more ownership and initiative towards improving it. He’s also glad to have an opportunity to plan a fun, family event.

All are invited to join the fun at Gaston Park on Friday, June 17 starting at 7 pm. Just bring a picnic, a blanket or chairs and a something to keep you warm as the sun goes down and the family-oriented movie starts.


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New Community Heritage Committee seeks RC memorabilia

BY PAUL REID

Lil-MissesThe new Renfrew-Collingwood Heritage Committee is ready to carefully borrow, document, reproduce and return your historical photos (and other small mementos) of Renfrew-Collingwood.

Working with advice from the Vancouver Archives and the Museum of Vancouver, the committee has created the forms that will enable the residents and former residents of RC to submit items for inclusion in a Renfrew-Collingwood historical collection. You can also have your items forwarded to the Vancouver Archives for consideration in its collection.

This new initiative of the Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) was inspired by the lifelong work of local historians Sadie Gaston and her nieces Bobbi Senft and Jackie McHugh. To these three, our hats will forever be off for working so diligently to preserve our past for us in their extensive collection.

With all three now departed, the torch of officially seeking out and preserving Renfrew-Collingwood history has been passed to the rest of us through this new entity, the Renfrew-Collingwood Heritage Committee.

If you have something to be documented or that you would like to donate, please contact the committee through CNH at 604-435-0323.

Baseball-league

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News