Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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The little house on Park Avenue

ParkAvenueStation

A snippet taken from a photo by Major Matthews in 1908, showing the Park Avenue station at Vanness and Boundary Road. No houses have been built on the hill up to Kingsway yet. Photo courtesy of Vancouver Archives

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

Once upon a time there was a little house in Collingwood. The city of South Vancouver grew and changed all around, while two World Wars and a major Depression took place. A BC Electric Rail tramline came and went on the left of the property, with the Park Avenue station just steps away.

In 1986 a modern new SkyTrain shadowed the view where the tramline once ran. The one-lane road in front changed to many lanes as it was widened, and its name changed from Park Avenue to Boundary Road.

ParkAvenueHouse

5515 Boundary Road in 2009, the little house where the Rickard family lived. Photo by Loretta Houben

The little house began life with an owner from England. Maybe he built the house himself. The first mention of Park Avenue in the BC Directories happens in 1914, when Cresswell B. Rickard, builder, is shown living in the modest little home at 129 Park North.

In 1917 he’s listed as a carpenter at the Vancouver shipyards, but then his occupation is a cabinet maker at 2993 Kingsway in 1920, a year in which there were only four households listed between Kingsway and Vanness Avenue on Park Avenue North.

In the 1921 Canadian census, Cresswell Rickard appears at 129 Park North in South Vancouver, with his wife Louisa Jane and their three sons, Reginald, Sidney and Earnest.

In 1925 Rickard is still at 129 Park North but working at 2902 Granville as a cabinet maker. He appears consistently until 1929, when he’s a cabinet maker at 1427 West Broadway.

Then in 1930 his home address changes to 5691 Boundary Road. The next year the address for the little house is 5515 Boundary Road, the number it remains until it’s eventually torn down in the 2010s to make way for a complex which consists of three large condo towers.

I’ve always been curious about old houses. I took a few photos of 5515 Boundary in 2009, as the look of it fascinated me. I tracked down the name of the owner by digging online and checked out C. B. Rickard’s marriage certificate where I discovered he was married in 1911 in Vancouver.

He remained in his little home until 1973, when he died at age 98. His death certificate states that he lived in the municipality where he died for 67 years. So, although I can’t find a trace of Boundary Road before 1914, where Rickard first appears in the directories, he may have lived here since 1906.

In a few more months, the brand-new Annex for the Collingwood Neighbourhood House will open. It sits on the spot where the little house at 5515 Boundary Road once sat, where the Rickard family lived.

As our neighbourhood changes dramatically, it’s good to stop and remember the pioneers who forged the way before our modern world evolved, and imagine what life was like as they raised their families in the tiny little homes with the large gardens and fruit trees, as the BCER tram rattled past, and the brand-new automobiles chugged up the hill to Westminster Road (now Kingsway).

Loretta Houben is a long-time resident of Collingwood and a regular contributor to the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

Copyright 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Turning 50 with Chatty Cathy

Loretta Houben's Chatty Cathy collection. Photo submitted

Loretta Houben’s Chatty Cathy collection. Photo submitted

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

September 2010 introduced RCC News readers to Chatty Cathy and Loretta Houben’s memories of receiving this doll. Loretta’s article is
utterly charming and took us back to a simpler time — when you could pull a string to get a doll to talk.
Loretta would go on to write many more entertaining and informative articles, notably on genealogy (Family Tree Tips) and history, and she currently coordinates our seniors page. Thank you, Loretta, for your many contributions to the RCC News over the years.
− Julie Cheng, editor

1960 was a great year in more ways than one.

In 1960, I came into the world, and Chatty Cathy made her first appearance. I wonder how many of you remember Mattel’s talking doll. She said 11 different phrases such as “Will you play with me?” “Please comb my hair!” and “I love you!”

I received my first Chatty Cathy doll when I was four years old. I’ll never forget opening her box and seeing the top of her pretty blonde head. I pulled the string on her back, heard her speak and squealed with delight!

My mom had to put my doll on her Simpson Sears charge account as she was $11.95―an expensive toy in 1964! Mom took a few months to pay off the bill, as my younger sister also got a Chatty Baby doll at the same time.

The Dee & Cee Toy Company in Canada was taken over by Mattel in 1962, and produced the Chatty Cathy dolls until 1964. To this day they are sought after by doll collectors because of their superior facial colouring and peachy coloured vinyl limbs.

Dee & Cee contracted local housewives to sew the clothes for Chatty Cathy. A pale blue dress with a white eyelet pinafore can fetch up to $100 today on the eBay auction site, and the seams are unfinished! That may be hard to believe, but there’s no understanding the mind of a collector who is hunting to add to a valuable collection.

Loretta Houben received her first Chatty Cathy at age four.

Loretta Houben received her first Chatty Cathy at age four.

Chatty Cathy was first produced in Canada with short blonde hair, freckles, blue decal eyes and a blue dress with a white eyelet apron. She had a variety of clothes to choose from, including PJs, fancy party dresses, a red velvet hat and coat, and play outfits.

I became interested in Chatty Cathy in 2002 while browsing eBay. I discovered that Mattel had made a re-issue of Chatty Cathy in 1998, sold only in the JC Penny stores in the USA, so I bought one, and the rest is history.

Currently I belong to two Chatty Cathy groups online, and have made many friends. I’ve added to my collection and I own over 20 Chatty Cathy dolls, including Chatty Cathy Baby and Tiny Baby dolls, Baby Brother, Singing Chatty and Charmin Chatty, which were added by Mattel in later years.

Thanks to the internet I’ve had a chance to learn more about one of my favourite dolls. I also purchased Chatty Cathy’s vintage clothing patterns made by Simplicity and McCall’s. I’ve sewn quite a few dresses for her and have a sewing boutique online, which has added to the pleasure of meeting more friends, as every Chatty Cathy needs a new outfit from time to time!

Turning 50 together is an exciting adventure. I wanted to share some of the joy of doll collecting with you, especially such a cute doll as Chatty Cathy! I’d be interested in hearing if any of you have a Chatty Cathy from the 1960s.

First published in the September 2010 issue of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

Copyright (c) 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

 


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Family tree tips for creating a memory box

Loretta Houben created this memory box as a tribute to her grandma Helen.

Loretta Houben created this memory box as a tribute to her grandma Helen.

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

A fun way to keep your family history alive is to create a memory box. Many sizes of boxes are available and can be purchased from Michael’s craft stores, Dollarama or Winner’s Homesense. They range in price from $3 to $25.

The focal point of the box could be a favourite photo or a personal keepsake. In my case I chose the earliest photo available of my maternal grandma, Helen Brutke. She was a talented seamstress so I lined the back of the box with fabric similar to the era in which she did most of her sewing.

I glued the fabric to the back of the box and added lace, which I had purchased years ago at my grandma’s favourite fabric store in Salem, Oregon. I included vintage buttons and a scrap of antique lace from her button box.

I played around with where to place the framed photo and the other items, and had fun while doing so! Whenever I look at this special memory box, I wish I had been able to know Grandma Helen, but she died when I was 10 days old. In this way I can’t forget her, thankful that I inherited her love of sewing.

A memory box also makes a wonderful gift for a loved one. (Remember Mother’s Day is on May 11th!) For my dad’s 80th birthday I bought a large box and included photos from all decades of his life, embellished the photos with scrap book images from the dollar store, and used coloured lettering from Michael’s craft store. It was fun to choose the pictures that represented his long life.

This year I’m working on a very special project to celebrate the upcoming First World War centenary. My great uncle, William Williams, who I wrote about in the April 2014 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News Family Tree Tips article, died after being wounded in battle in Salonika, Greece in 1917.

I plan to use a larger memory box and include a photo, a copy of his war medal card, photo copies of Salonika, a photocopy of the newspaper clipping describing his bravery in battle, and possibly his original war medal which was sent to his family after his death. (If I can coerce it from my dad’s possession.)

Visual mementos are a lovely way to keep the memory of our relatives alive, especially if they lived long ago or are ones you never met. Younger generations will appreciate the care and thought which went into making them, and one day they will be precious family heirlooms.

Next month’s installment will focus on searching old journals or diaries, notebooks and even receipts for family clues.

Loretta Houben is a member of the British Columbia Genealogy Society and enjoys finding ways to keep her family history alive and well. Please check the society’s website at www.bcgs.ca for free meet-ups once a month. First published in the May 2014 issue of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

Copyright (c) 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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June 2018 issue of RCC News is here

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:

  • Youth Celebrate Canada Day Sunday, July 1
  • RCC News 20 years: Turning 50 with Chatty Cathy by Loretta Houben
  • Expert tips to fight chafer beetle
  • Remembering Pat
  • Collingwood Corner: Joyce Road Auto Wreckers
  • Let’s talk about elder abuse
  • Read On! Start your day off right
  • Canada’s updated Food Guide coming soon
  • Local church shares music with the neighbourhood

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 July 2018 issue is June10. 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

BY LORETTA HOUBEN

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: http://buzzer.translink.ca/2009/03/a-short-history-of-interurbans-in-the-lower-mainland/

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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November 2017 issue of RCC News is here

RCC News November 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:

  • Remembrance Day 2017
  • Renfrew-Collingwood resident Henry Lau wins two Mayor’s Arts Awards
  • Collingwood Corner: Joyce Station before and after by Loretta Houben
  • Time is ticking on the homelessness problem: Windermere Law students speak out on homelessness
  • Global Party Starters releases controversial single supported by Telus STORYHIVE
  • Getting to know our neighbours by asset mapping
  • Visible Minorities: A podcast for people of colour
  • 9th annual Climate Change Conference December 1, 2017: Calling all students: What will be your legacy?

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 December 2017 issue is November 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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May 2017 issue of RCC News is here

RCC News May 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:

  • Let’s get outside and celebrate spring!
  • Collingwood Days special insert – New location, same great family fun
  • Bruce Spring Carnival – Now in its 5th year
  • Adult education time machine: History of the Collingwood bookmobile
  • Eating Out in RC: The Captain’s Boil
  • Coastal City Ballet brings Giselle to Vancouver audiences
  • Collingwood Corner: Home delivery in the 1960s
  • Indigenous art project at Windermere: Reconciliation from the ground up

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 2017 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.