Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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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


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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


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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