Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

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Read On: Camping


Reading level 3 (***)

For most people in Vancouver, B.C. Day is the unofficial start of summer.

And for many, it also means it is time to think about going camping.

Camping in one of the many forest parks in B.C. is a long-time summer tradition enjoyed by both old and young.

But camping does require some knowledge, so if you are new to it, you should learn as much as you can about it before you attempt it.

A good start is the B.C. government, which has (free) information on camping in leaflets, small books and pamphlets, and online. Many books on camping in B.C. also exist.

Unless they are very experienced, most local families go to campgrounds where everything – such as campsites, toilets and other needs – are provided for a small cost.

But it is best to check, because many are filled quickly.

With almost all camping, you must bring much of your own equipment with you. You will need a tent, sleeping bags, a comfortable ground cover like a sheet of foam or plastic, a camp stove, food, eating utensils like plates, knives and forks, perhaps something to cut wood for a fire (where allowed), and some warm clothes because the woods can be chilly at night.

Many official campsites supply water, but it is a good idea to bring your own if you can.

When camping, a popular pastime is swimming in nearby lakes or streams if they are available. So bring some swimsuits and towels.

Reading level 2 (**)

You need some knowledge to enjoy one of the many campgrounds.

The B.C. government has much material in different languages to help you understand what you must do and bring when being in the forest.

Understand that you will have to bring your own food, water, bedding, a tent, and clothing that is comfortable in the heat of the day and cool of the night.

First published in the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News August 2019.


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Read On: How to focus in an unfocused world


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Distraction, or the inability to focus for more than very short times, has become common in the high speed, technological world of today.

Today, we are bombarded by so much mental stimulation, we find it very difficult to concentrate on anything for very long.

There are noises and other attention-robbing distractions everywhere. Music, traffic, conversations and especially smart phones, which everyone now seems to be constantly holding to their ears, eyes or mouths, routinely rattle our focus.

Today, a growing number of us are becoming worried about what seems to be our loss of attention. With all this stimulation to our brains, our ability to concentrate has been reduced to a few seconds or minutes.

The medical term for this problem is Ego Depletion. But we likely call it something like mental fuzziness or tiredness. Some people may even worry that their brains are damaged.

But there are strategies to counter this problem. Many are old and existed long before technology was everywhere and overwhelmed our thinking processes. But they are now being revived to helping us cope with this new world.

No doubt we will eventually learn how to adapt to this new world. But until then, we might want to think about using the old techniques.

These include:
1. Writing things down so we can refer to them later.
2. Using To-Do and other lists.
3. Doing tasks in bite-sized pieces.
4. Taking many time-outs when learning or working.
5. Focusing on chunks of information instead of a steady stream.
6. Switching to other tasks, which allows the mind to rest.
7. Napping, meditating and other quieting actions.
8. And, of course, using your phone less.


bombard: attack (a place or person) continuously with bombs, shells or other missiles.
routinely: as part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason.
depletion: reduction in the number or quantity of something.
cope: deal effectively with something difficult.

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Read On: Many reasons to love Renfrew-Collingwood

Renfrew Ravine Labyrinth

In Renfrew-Collingwood, there are many quiet areas, like the Renfrew Ravine labyrinth, where you can just sit and think. Photo by Julie Cheng


I have been living in Renfrew-Collingwood for 13 years. Before that, I lived in more central locations such as the Cambie Street and downtown areas.

I have also lived in other cities in Canada, the United States and Europe.

R-C, as Renfrew-Collingwood is often called, seemed different at first. It was more Asian. Life seemed to move at a different rhythm than in other parts of Vancouver.

But now I would not live anywhere else.

Why? That is simple: It has everything I like.

This includes:

Many people. I like people – the way they look, the way they act, the way they talk, the way they eat. So I want to be around them most of the time. They make me feel like I belong to a group, or a big family.

Space. Although I like to be with people, there are times when I want to be alone with nature. I can do that in R-C. There are many quiet areas, like the Renfrew Ravine, where I can just sit and think.

Variety. Residents of Renfrew-Collingwood come from many different parts of the world and from many different cultures. This gives the neighbourhood an international feel that appeals to my wandering spirit and desire to learn. Every day, I can feel, for a few moments, like I am in China, Korea, Japan, Manila or Mexico.

Language. Renfrew-Collingwood is what is known as a “polyglot” neighbourhood. That means it is home for many different languages. I am originally Dutch, but my main language is English, and like many Canadians, I am also familiar with French, and less so, some knowledge of other European languages. Probably, because of that, I enjoy hearing and trying to learn other languages.

In Renfrew-Collingwood, I can pick up bits of Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean or Tagalog. Sometimes I hear other languages as well.

It is like travelling the world without leaving home.

Why do you love living in Renfrew-Collingwood? Please let us know. Email

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News