Five Reasons Why My New West Citizen Badge Should Be Revoked

You know when you have a friend coming to town and they say “You gotta show me all the sights! What do you do in your town?” and you list off all the cool and fun things that makes your hometown fun and interesting and exciting? Well, I’m going to admit today that some ofRead More

Into The Abyss, by Graham Ballantyne (@gnb) via flickr
Into The Abyss, by Graham Ballantyne (@gnb) via flickr

You know when you have a friend coming to town and they say “You gotta show me all the sights! What do you do in your town?” and you list off all the cool and fun things that makes your hometown fun and interesting and exciting?

Well, I’m going to admit today that some of the items that makes New Westminster famous I’ve never experienced. I’ve lived here for almost 15 years (except for that year where we lived just off Cambie and I hated every single second of it) and I realized the other day that there are things I’ve never checked out, and I’m kind of ashamed. Especially since I’m a contributor here at Tenth to the Fraser. So today marks not only a coming clean of places I have never checked out, but it also marks The Day I Vow To Experience All of These Things in 90 Days or Less. If you’re game, why don’t you come with me?

  1. Massey Theatre – This one is by far the most embarrassing. As a former youth community theatre nerd, there is absolutely no excuse for having not supported many of the brilliant acts to have passed through this place’s walls. But the fact is, I’ve never seen a show or never been inside the Massey Theatre. With the possibility of it being shut down, this is flat-out unacceptable.  Over the next 60 days I can check out: Tropical Extravaganza, Superstar Nora Aunor, the New Westminster Symphony Orchestra, Dance Power’s 18th Annual Dance Festival, Revolver: The World’s Best Beatles Tribute Band, and The Vagina Monologues. I’ve decided to hit the Vagina Monologues on March 28th because it’s just $18 and the proceeds go to places I want it to go to. Anyone want to join me?
  2. Irving House – I’ve never been in the New Westminster Museum and Archives. Strange, since I love old houses, and Irving House is the oldest known house in the Lower Mainland. Not only that, but I’m told the staff are incredibly knowledgeable, and there’s a gift shop. According to the New West Parks and Rec website (PS: please update that sucker, it’s clonkier than a 1981 Hyundai Pony), Irving House is open 12-4 on Saturdays and Sundays this time of year, so it’s on my calendar. Send me a note if you’d like to join me.
  3. New Westminster Salmonbellies – this one wasn’t for lack of trying. I actually had tickets to a game last season, but at the last minute couldn’t go. A quick look through their website tells me that the season opener is in Burnaby May 14th, and the first home game is Thursday May 20th. Anyone? Tickets are a whopping $15 per adult.
  4. Hyack Festival – no, seriously. For some reason, I’ve just never been. I come from a place where the long weekend in May is generally the opener of your family vacation, so that’s usually when I go away. Plus, with 7 family birthdays to celebrate in May, I find myself a bit partied out. I am completely intrigued to see all this stuff those of you born and raised here wouldn’t miss for the world. Also, this anvil battery thing? That’s just plain old awesome. This year’s theme is “Be your best in the City of New West” and there are a gajillion events planned. I’m making a point of going, especially to this maypole thing Jocelyn talked about, taking place on May 26th.
  5. Walking Tour – well-known local historians, Archie and Dale Miller, ( twitter as @senseofhistory) offer various walking tours of our fine city. I was all set to go on one last summer, an especially interesting one about the original street plans for this fine city, and then, I don’t know, I think I had a bad baby day. Anyway, it’s a bit ghoulish, but I also love cemeteries, and I have to admit I have never done a walk through at the Fraser Cemetery and I was digging around and found this awesome “virtual” tour of the cemetary and am going to go play headstone hunter the next sunny Saturday.

So now it’s your turn, readers. What iconic New Westminster icon is a “must do”?

Jen Arbo

Jen Arbo is the editor and co-publisher of Tenth to the Fraser. She's been writing for the site since 2007 and lives in Sapperton with her family. A project manager at heart, she also operates Hyack Interactive, a digital communications company. Find her on Twitter or Instagram.

Jen Arbo is a really valued member of the Tenth to the Fraser community. Interested in joining our pool of writers? Please see these submission guidelines.


  1. We’re outings-challenged right now with the new baby, but maybe by the time the Salmonbellies season begins we can join you. I am in danger of having my Canadian citizenship revoked because I have never once sat through a hockey game from start to finish, either live or televised. I have even less experience with lacrosse. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a game … ever …

    We will be all over Hyack Fest. Boo-yah.

  2. Huh. We have a lacrosse team? Who knew?!

    I’d be up for doing almost any of these. The Vagina Monologues just seems weird to go to with an Internet acquaintance. 😀 We just don’t know each other that well yet. *haha*

  3. The Hyack parade is Loooooong. Last year we left after an hour when the floats just kept. on. coming. I mean, it was great, a fabulous kick off to parade season, but mileage may vary with your favourite toddler.

    My favourite New West events from last year were the Queen’s Park Neighbourhood Garage Sale and the Queensborough Urban Fall Fair. The latter like a mini-PNE, far more tolerable for the under-4 set. The former – if you like garage sales and I do. Every fifth house for blocks around selling its old junk. Get the kid a $0.50 toy at the first place and then browse to your heart’s content.

    I am intrigued by the Tropical Extravaganza at Massey Theatre.

  4. Don’t forget the Regimental Museum! It has a rich and fascinating collection, full of human interest, with deep roots in our community.

  5. Like history? We are loaded, and the staff at the museum are extremely knowledgeable!!! Sadly, not enough civic attention is paid to celebrate the rich and diverse beginnings of New Westminster. This is reflected in the inadequate facilities that house so many of our historic treasures. Do go to the museum, take a friend, and then write your local politicians! Tell them to make it a priority!! You will be impressed with the books they offer for sale too — buy a couple, read them, it’s like taking a trip, only it’s a trip in time, and you don’t have to leave the house!

    Cemeteries? They are cool, and what might be really interesting is what will be discovered, what will be made known, and what will become of the cemetery that the high school is built on!

    Also, don’t forget to attend May Day — it is special! All citizens, from the very young to the very old enjoy the celebration!!

    Visit the Lacrosse Hall of Fame — its in the community centre right beside the Canada Games Pool.

    Feed the ducks that frequent the pond in the picturesque Tipperary Park right beside City Hall.

    On a nice day (or for car buffs, when the Show ‘n’ Shine is happening), cruise down to Columbia Street and raise a pint while watching the Mighty Fraser drift by as you sit on the outside deck at the Brooklyn Bar & Grill; its spectacular!

    Learn a bit about the old B.C. Penitentiary and then go have lunch at the Penn Cafe; the food is outstanding!

    Check out local artwork, even make a purchase, at Centennial Lodge located in the middle of beautiful Queen’s Park!

    Wander on in to Century House located in uptown Moody Park — check out what you can do or can look forward to doing!

    Don’t wait for the Heritage Home tour to appreciate the craftsmanship and architectural detail of Queen’s Park houses, do it on a sunny day — it’s a lovely outing!

    Residents Associations put on all sorts of community events and you don’t have to live in the particular neighbourhood to partake in these family-friendly outings — it’s a good time for everyone and everyone is welcome!

    And DO make a point to patronize the historic Massey Theatre — it truly is one of the most impressive jewels in our Royal City crown!

    Thanks! I look forward to what others can add to the list!

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