Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


Leave a comment

New trails open up the wonders of Renfrew Ravine

New walkways take residents deep into Renfrew Ravine. Photos by Julie Cheng

BY JULIE CHENG

“Have you come across the coyotes yet?” the walker asked me one morning.

It’s a completely different world down here, deep in Renfrew Ravine. The peace of the forest surrounds you; the sounds of the birds and rushing water soothe you. Then there are the coyotes.

I’d taken the steel stairs and timber steps leading from the Boyd Diversion entranceway near 22nd Avenue, past newly planted native plants and down to a boardwalk that winds its way alongside its creek, Still Creek.

The walkways are part of a park renewal that’s been years in the making. In October 2018, the Vancouver Park Board finally completed the construction of the new trails around Renfrew Community Park and Renfrew Ravine Park.

Renfrew Ravine Park is located between the 29th Avenue SkyTrain station and East 22nd Avenue. It’s the only park in Vancouver with a creek in a natural ravine. It’s never been culverted over, like many other Vancouver creeks, apparently because it was too far east and too steep.

The boardwalk runs along Still Creek.

The boardwalk runs along Still Creek. New trails around Renfrew Community Park and Renfrew Ravine Park were completed in October 2018.

Members of the Still Moon Arts Society, a local arts and environmental organization that co-produces the Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival, have long envisioned a trail system around the ravine and were key in getting these trails done.

Still Moon Arts has also been instrumental in the return of chum salmon to Still Creek. This happened for the first time after 80 years, in 2012. Since then, salmon have been seen spawning behind the Canadian Tire on Grandview Highway in late October or early November.

Access to nature has been linked to enhanced mood and well-being and lowered stress and depression. So it’s wonderful that residents young and old are discovering the wonders found in this urban forest, at the creek’s edge.

Just beware the coyotes.

A cascade of sword ferns above Still Creek.

A cascade of sword ferns above Still Creek.

How neighbours can help the salmon and the ecosystem in Renfrew-Ravine

  • Do not use harmful chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides. These run into the storm drainage system and may end up in Still Creek.
  • Dispose of garbage, chemicals, paints and other liquids properly. Do not dump chemicals down the storm drain.
  • Wash your car without soap or with phosphate-free soap.
  • Join the Still Creek Streamkeepers to monitor the health of Still Creek and run activities that help improve water quality and ecosystems. You can also take part in monthly meetings. Find more info at stillmoon.org/learn/streamkeepers/

Renfrew Ravine improvements

  • Staircases with better access to trails
  • Accessible walkway into the trail system from the parking lot on Renfrew Street
  • Bridges across Still Creek
  • Dog off-leash park near Renfrew and 22nd Avenue
  • Fencing and benches

─Source: City of Vancouver

Copyright 2019 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Why I love Renfrew-Collingwood: Livable, accessible, friendly

A spring day on a quiet street in Renfrew-Collingwood, with Grouse Mountain and Seymour Mountain in the background. Photos by Julie Cheng

A spring day on a quiet street in Renfrew-Collingwood, with Grouse Mountain and Seymour Mountain in the background. Photos by Julie Cheng

BY JULIE CHENG

Renfrew-Collingwood is a special place where its warm and friendly residents of diverse cultures—pioneers and newcomers, young and old—live together in harmony and feel like they belong. The locals come out in droves to two annual festivals to celebrate this diversity: Collingwood Days and the Renfrew Ravine Harvest Moon Festival.

Still Creek runs through Renfrew Ravine.

Still Creek runs through the heart of Renfrew Ravine.

This historic residential neighbourhood is tucked away on the eastern edge of Vancouver on the border of Burnaby, B.C. The neighbourhood is home to hidden gems, from unexpected sweeping mountain views and the Renfrew Ravine (an urban forest with a salmon-bearing creek running through it) to Carleton School (one of the oldest schoolhouses in Vancouver) to many authentic, ethnic restaurants including Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, Filipino, Italian and Indian.

Residents travel by Skytrain and cycle paths alike in Renfrew-Collingwood.

Residents travel by Skytrain and cycle paths alike in Renfrew-Collingwood.

It’s always been an easy neighbourhood to get to. In the 1890s the interurban tram connected Renfrew-Collingwood to the rest of Vancouver. Today two Skytrain lines run through it, carrying residents to and from work in a matter of minutes, north to Port Moody (on the brand-new Evergreen line), east to Burnaby and Surrey and west to downtown Vancouver. Walking or cycling is a great way to discover the neighbourhood.

Why do you love Renfrew-Collingwood? Please let us know! Email rccnews-editorial@cnh.bc.ca.

Julie Cheng has loved living in Renfrew-Collingwood for 20 years. She is the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

Serving up a lot of fun and a bit of magic: Project Chef’s secret ingredients for health and nutrition

BY JULIE CHENG

Master Chef Barb shows the proper way to measure flour with the help of Chef Tiffany. Photo by Julie Cheng

Master Chef Barb shows the proper way to measure flour with the help of Chef Tiffany. Photo by Julie Cheng

“It’s time for the magic ingredient,” says Barb. “This makes bubbles when you add water.” As she measures the baking powder into the bowl, the kindergarten students, all together, let out an awe-filled, “Whoa!”

“Now I’m going to show you a fancy tool: It’s your finger!” she says, waving her index finger in the air. “But it must be a clean finger.”

Another huge “Whoa!” fills the room as she turns the flour into dough with the fancy kitchen gadget that’s her finger.

Watching this animated woman in action is a real treat. You can’t help but think, “These kids are so lucky” and “I wish I learned to cook from her.”

These lucky kindergarteners from Graham Bruce Elementary are learning to cook from Barb Finley, a school teacher for 25 years who later became a chef and has taught at the Dubrulle Culinary Institute and the Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver.

Chef Saman mixes the dough with the fanciest kitchen tool ever—her finger! Photo by Barb Finley

Chef Saman mixes the dough with the fanciest kitchen tool ever—her finger! Photo by Barb Finley

Barb started Project Chef in 2008 to teach children about wholesome food. This school year, Project Chef will run in a total of 14 schools in Vancouver, including Graham Bruce and Nootka schools, and cook with some 1,500 children and 800 parent and community volunteers—but there’s also a three-year wait list of more schools wanting this program.

At Graham Bruce, Barb and her team is running the Project Chef in Residence program, where they work for one month. From kindergarten to grade 7 and parents to teachers, everyone at the school learns to develop healthy attitudes toward food, make meals from scratch from whole foods, and, most of all, they learn that sharing food with people is a joyous thing. “It’s a total immersion,” explains Barb. “When the whole school is involved, that’s when magic really happens.”

The program buys local and organic as much as possible, from farmers markets. You can still get fresh greens in winter, says Barb. “Right now, there’s arugula and kale, and the wildest, wackiest carrots—the kids love them.”

Chefs Jeevan, Nathan and Aezen proudly display their pizza masterpiece. Photo by Michelle Fattore

Chefs Jeevan, Nathan and Aezen proudly display their pizza masterpiece. Photo by Michelle Fattore

From Day One, the kids commit to have “an open mind and an open mouth” – to try new foods. This week they’ve already learned to make Whole Wheat French Toast with Blueberry Sauce (which the kids “hoovered”), and Make-You-Strong Salad with Apple Juice Vinaigrette (one student said, “Chef Barb, I feel stronger already!”).

On the menu today is a dinner favourite: Speedy Whole Wheat Pizza. Barb’s staff, Brandon and Michelle, as well as volunteer Sharlyn and parent volunteers Sukh and Sonny, help the students as they grocery shop around the room and measure, mix, roll the dough and put their pizza together. The kindergarten chefs are excited with their pizza creations, saying it’s the best pizza ever.

Parent volunteer Sukh is the proud dad of two students at Graham Bruce. He says, “It’s a great program. The kids are having fun.”

Julie Cheng’s daughter, Kate, took part in Project Chef a few years ago at Grenfell Elementary. Kate would come home and talk about what she learned, like how to slice an apple so it looked like a star. Now a high school student, Kate is still cooking.

March is nutrition month and also Spring Break – the perfect time to cook with your kids! For recipe ideas visit projectchef.ca/blog/recipes/.

Copyright (c) 2014 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

 


Leave a comment

March 2014 issue of the RCC News is here

The new issue is full of the many wonderful people, events and programs happening in our neighbourhood!

March 2014 news stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood in East Vancouver. Local news on events, people, history, eating out, recreation, arts & culture.

March 2014 news stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood in East Vancouver. Local news on events, people, history, eating out, recreation, arts & culture.

Get your March 2014 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:

  • Strong Women: Commemorating International Women’s Day
  • A lot of fun and a bit of magic: Project Chef’s secret ingredients for health and nutrition by Julie Cheng
  • Loretta Houben’s family tree series continues with tips for searching the Greater Vancouver directories
  • Eating Out in RC: Enjoy the burgers and view at Romer’s Burger Bar
  • Still Creek stories – Collecting memories, stories and photos of Still Creek
  • Getting more from your city garden by Stephanie Lim
  • Slocan Park notice board keeps community connected – Apply for your Neighbourhood Small Grants – Online application opens March 3

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 April 2014 issue is March 10.


Leave a comment

Skytrain Rambler: Get fresh at farmers markets

BY JULIE CHENG

Get kohlrabi and more fresh produce at your local farmers market

Julie Cheng’s purchases from a recent trip to Trout Lake Market include a crisp kohlrabi, which her kids love to eat raw.

September is an especially good time to take advantage of the summer harvest. For great taste and nutrition, there’s nothing better than just-picked fruits and veggies from the farm. In Renfrew-Collingwood, we’re lucky we can hop on the Skytrain and find ourselves at a local farmers market within 15 minutes on various days of the week.

My kids love it when I pick up a fresh kohlrabi from the market. They eat it raw, sliced thin. For them it’s a refreshing, yummy treat; for me it’s a good source of vitamin C (which helps your body absorb iron) and B vitamins (good for the nerves and brain), potassium and calcium.

Let’s hop aboard and meet at the market!

Skytrain stop: Nanaimo
Zone 1; 5 minutes from Renfrew-Collingwood stations

Strawberry planter in community garden

On the way to Trout Lake Market, check out this innovative space-saving strawberry planter at the community garden. Photo by Julie Cheng

From Joyce-Collingwood or 29th Avenue stations, take the Expo or Millennium line, heading to Waterfront station.

Exit Nanaimo station. Cross Nanaimo Street heading east and walk down the Skytrain path, stopping by the community gardens along the way.

Head north (towards the mountains) til you reach Trout Lake, also known as John Hendry Park.

If leaving from Rupert station, stop at Renfrew station and walk east along Grandview Highway (12th Avenue) for about 10 minutes. You’ll hit the north end of Trout Lake.

Head to the far north parking lot.

Andy and Dad entertain shoppers at Trout Lake Market

Andy and Dad entertain shoppers at Trout Lake Market. Photo by Julie Cheng

Trout Lake Market (every Saturday until October 19 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm). One of the longest-running and most popular markets in Vancouver, Trout Lake Market is always jam-packed. There are often lineups for the food trucks such as Vij’s Railway Express.

It’s not all about food. The scene is colourful and festive with musicians playing and face-painting for kids and kids at heart. In addition to the fresh produce, from apples and peaches to beets and turnips, you can pick up fresh-baked bread and pies, meat and cheese, salmon and oysters, and lots more. If it’s organic, even better!

Skytrain stop: Main Street
Zone 1; 10 minutes from Renfrew-Collingwood stations

Take the Expo or Millennium line, heading to Waterfront station. Stop at Main Street station. The market is located at Main and Terminal, at Thornton Park and across from the VIA Rail Station.

Main Street Market (every Wednesday until October 2nd from 3:00 to 7:00 pm). This market is perfect for commuters heading home. Why not stop and pick up some dinner here? While here, check out the beaux-arts style VIA Rail Station, which was completed in 1919.

Skytrain stop: Yaletown-Roundhouse
Zone 1; 15 minutes from Renfrew-Collingwood stations

Take the Expo or Millennium line, heading to Waterfront station. Stop at Granville Station and transfer to the Canada Line heading to Richmond. Stop at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station.

Yaletown Market (every Thursday until September 26 from 2:00 to 6:00 pm). Located in historic Yaletown just outside the Yaletown-Roundhouse Skytrain station, this is a new market for 2013. It’s on Mainland Street between Helmcken and Davie. Stay awhile to browse the neighbourhood boutiques afterwards or stop for a coffee or ice cream in a nearby café.

Find more info on the above farmers markets at EatLocal.org.

New urban farm at Van Tech high school

(R to L) Fresh Roots’ Marc Schutzbank, intern Damaris Galvez, Van Tech grade 12 student Karen Wasdeb and customer Sara Ross. Photo by Julie Cheng

Skytrain stop: Renfrew
There’s a new urban farm in our neighbourhood, and it’s run by local students with the help of the Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society.

Zone 1. From the Renfrew station, walk east to Slocan Street and up the hill. The farm is sandwiched between the soccer field and the tennis courts.

VanTech Schoolyard Market (every Wednesday until November from 3:30 to 6:30 pm and every second and fourth Sunday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm). Stop by for some of the best prices in town for fresh, local produce. This is Fresh Roots’ first season growing at Vancouver Technical Secondary. It is a first-of-its-kind schoolyard market garden where the food is grown and sold back to the community and to the Van Tech café starting September.

Fresh Roots is working to make the urban farm sustainable. “Healthy, local food should be accessible, and it should work,” says Marc Schutzbank of Fresh Roots. More info and photos at freshroots.ca and facebook.com/freshrootsurbanfarm.

Skytrain stop: 29th Avenue
Harvest Fair (Saturday, September 21, 4:00 to 7:00 pm). For a change of pace, stop by the Harvest Fair held annually at Slocan Park as part of the Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival. Here neighbours showcase their summer harvest, from beefiest bean to largest sunflower to tubbiest tomato.

Walk with the lantern parade that starts at 7:00 pm along the ravine down to the Renfrew Park Community Centre, where more entertainment awaits alongside the magical lantern-lit stream.

If you’re feeling hungry, stop for a slice of pizza from Ragazzi’s, at 22nd Avenue and Nootka (across from Renfrew Library). Don’t miss their Caprese Salad, made with tomatoes and baby bocconcini cheese—so simple yet so delicious.

Julie Cheng loves to eat healthy but is a bad cook, so she appreciates simple recipes. She is the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

Marc’s Market Salad

While at Van Tech I purchased ingredients—picked just that morning—for a colourful, flavourful salad. It included purslane, which Marc Schutzbank of Fresh Roots says is a source of the hard-to-find omega-3 essential fatty acid that’s such good brain food. Purslane adds a robust taste and crisp crunch to the salad. I did indeed serve this with salmon and the meal was amazing. Thanks Marc!

Fresh salad ingredients from the Van Tech urban farmschool

Fresh salad ingredients from the Van Tech urban farmschool. Photo by Julie Cheng

For salad:
Van Tech salad mix
Purslane leaves
Bunch onion tops, sliced thin
Nasturtium flowers

For dressing:
Place 2 parts olive oil, 1 part white wine vinegar, 1 tsp good mustard in a jar and shake it all up.

To serve:
Place salad veggies in a large bowl and drizzle with dressing. Optional: add a half cup of sesame seeds for crunch and carmelized leeks for sweetness.

Serve with grilled salmon. Enjoy!

—JC

Copyright (c) 2013 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


Leave a comment

September 2013 issue of the RCC News is here

The new issue is full of the many wonderful people, events and programs happening in our neighbourhood!

Renfrew-Collingwood Community  News September 2013

Read RCC News September 2013

Get your September 2013 issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery store, library and community centre.

Click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • Have a Still Moon September – The 11th Annual Harvest Moon Festival celebrates the return of the salmon to Still Creek
  • The neighbourhood through a senior’s eyes
  • Tips to start your own family tree – Begin at the beginning!
  • Diane Crowder: Our neighbourhood hero
  • Fun and tasty lunch ideas for kids back to school
  • Skytrain Rambler: Get fresh at farmers markets
  • Collingwood Neighbourhood House Fall Recreation insert

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 issue is October 10, 2013.


1 Comment

Skytrain Rambler: Stadium-Chinatown

Favourite places to go and eat by Skytrain

BY JULIE CHENG

Banana cream pie from VCC's Seiffert Market

Banana cream pie was Gilligan’s favourite and is one of the best deals from VCC’s Seiffert Market. Photos by Julie Cheng

“Banana cream pie!” My husband’s eyes lit up. “That was Gilligan’s favourite. Mary Ann always made it for him.”

“Did you like Mary Ann or Ginger?” I asked. Mary Ann and Ginger are two very different but hot castaways from the iconic TV series Gilligan’s Island.

Pause. “I liked Mrs. Howell; she had lots of money,” he said.

The banana cream pie was just one of the deals I picked up from Seiffert Market at Vancouver Community College, located downtown at Pender and Cambie. That day I was lucky to get my hands on fresh-baked muffins (still warm, six for $2.50), whole-wheat buns (12 for $1.50), shepherd’s pie ($4.00) and chicken dinner ($2.50, reduced from $4.50). But the fresh pies are really the best deal in town: $3.50.

Sieffert Market is just one of my favourite places I’ll talk about in a new series: the Skytrain Rambler.

Why Skytrain Rambler?
I love the Skytrain. With two lines (Expo and Millennium) running through it, Renfrew-Collingwood has more Skytrain stops than any other community. The Skytrain can take you downtown and on to the North Shore, east to Burnaby, Coquitlam or Surrey, and south to Richmond.

The Skytrain saved me years ago when I was searching for places to go with my two preschool kids. I’d take them to the Central Branch library, Metrotown, Central Park, Seabus and North Vancouver. When they started to fuss with hunger we’d always find a good meal just around the corner.

Today the Skytrain gives my teenage kids the freedom to go to these very same places and discover their own favourite eating spot. It’s a fast, efficient and environmentally friendly option for mass transportation. You save on parking and gas and you’ll enjoy amazing views.

Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain station map

Go up the stairs or escalator and stop outside the Stadium Smoke Shoppe. Under the Plan Your Trip Here sign you’ll find a map showing where you can walk to within five minutes from the station.

So hop on and take a ride!

Skytrain stop: Stadium-Chinatown
Zone 1; 10-15 minutes from Renfrew-Collingwood stations

From Joyce-Collingwood, 29th Avenue or Nanaimo stations, take the Expo line or Millennium line, heading to Waterfront station.

From Rupert or Renfrew stations take the Millennium line to VCC Clark then transfer to Expo or Millennium line heading to Waterfront station.

Get off at the Stadium-Chinatown stop. Head up the stairs or escalator, past the Blenz and up another flight of stairs. Exit at Beatty and Dunsmuir.

Seiffert Market. One block west along Dunsmuir, you’ll hit the back entrance of Vancouver Community College (main entrance is 250 West Pender Street; walking time from station is 5 minutes). Upstairs, Seiffert Market sells fresh muffins, pies, cakes, lunch entrees and more made by VCC baking and culinary arts students.

Hedley has worked at Vancouver Community College for 25 years

While at Seiffert Market, be sure to say hello to the smiling guy behind the counter, Hedley, who has worked at VCC for 25 years.

On any given day you can get treats and staples for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, from delicious croissants and cakes to ready-made soups and salads to uncooked racks of lamb and salmon filets.

The lunchtime scene reminds me of Woodward’s $1.49 Day sales as customers scramble for the best deals that day. Watch the elbows! Also check out the student-run cafeteria or JJ’s restaurant. Downstairs in the salon, you can get your hair cut for $7.50.

Exit VCC at Hamilton and Dunsmuir. Walk south up Hamilton Street, past the Canada Post office to Georgia Street (3 minutes).

Central Branch, Vancouver Public Library (350 West Georgia Street). It was always a treat to take my kids to the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library. Under the soaring lobby outside the branch you can enjoy a coffee/hot chocolate and muffin with your kids before going to one of the children’s storytime and checking out the terrific collection of books.

Head west down Robson Street to Howe Street (10 minutes).

Seafood tacos from one of the food carts at Robson Square

At Robson Square you can enjoy amazing food like this perfectly seared scallop with mango salsa taco from Feastro the Rolling Bistro food cart. Photo by Puspa Affandi

Robson Square. Here’s another great place to people watch. Take your pick of delicious multi-ethinic food from the food carts surrounding the square. The Vancouver Art Gallery is also right there, housed in a beautiful former provincial courthouse. Admission for children under 5 is free and is by donation on Tuesdays 5:00 to 9:00 pm.

Across from the Vancouver Art Gallery, on Georgia Street, the Hong Kong Bank building features a stunning piece of art hanging from its lobby: a 90-foot (27.5 metre) aluminum pendulum by sculptor Alan Storey.

Chinatown. Head north til you hit Dunsmuir Street again and walk east til you’re back at the Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain station. Walking this will take you at least 25 minutes so think about hopping onto the Skytrain at Granville station (Dunsmuir entrance is before Seymour Street) and making your way back to Stadium-Chinatown. Once there, exit to the right of the transit Lost Property office, through the concourse level down the stairs to Keefer Place and past T&T supermarket.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver's Chinatown

Opened in 1986, the Sun Yat-Sen garden is an urban oasis set amidst new high rises.

Head down Keefer until you hit the back side of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (578 Carrall Street between Keefer and Pender). There is a free section of the garden that is run by the Vancouver Park Board.

Chinatown has changed a lot since I enjoyed the breakfast butterhorns from BC Royal Café and the apple tarts from Hong Kong Café. Those wonderful cafes have long gone but you can still get apple tarts at the busy New Town Bakery (148 East Pender)—they’re not quite the same but still pretty good. While at New Town, take out a Dai Bao, which one friend described as a Chinese hamburger.

If the timing is right, check out the Vancouver Chinatown night market, running til September 8, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 to 11:00 pm, along Keefer Street between Main and Columbia.

That’s the end of the first Skytrain trek. Back home, the banana cream pie must have earned an A+ for its maker. Gilligan and Mary Ann would have approved.

Julie Cheng loves to ride the Skytrain. She is the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

Copyright (c) 2013 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News