Giving Tuesday – a new holiday tradition (for some)

Black Friday is over, right? Cyber Monday come and gone? Your email inbox is probably full of great promises of savings and deals that will never happen again. Like most of you I received an abundance of these emails this past week, and yes I was tempted. I may have indulged a little bit. But while the holidays have always meant gifts to and from friends and family, they have also meant charitable giving.

Giving Tuesday, as an official day, started 7 years ago in Canada. It’s about giving and volunteering for local charities and non-profits, and harnessing the potential of social media .

This Giving Tuesday, consider a few local groups in New West to give your time and funds to. The New West community is an incredibly generous one. On Saturday afternoon I volunteered by time with community members at Strong Side New West for their inaugural ‘Lift with Purpose’ deadlift fundraiser for the Purpose Society.

It doesn’t need to a huge effort. It can be as simple as coming out on December 15th to the Santa Parade (part of New West Winterfest) and bringing a few non-perishable food items (or some loonies from your change jar) for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Giving. Or it’s supporting a local organization like Fraserside Community Services Society and purchasing a holiday poinsettia from them.

Fraserside Community Services Mobile Work Crew are ready to delivery flowers and chocolates this holiday season.

Giving in your community can be as big or as small as you want. It will vary year to year depending on the situation. As Anne Giardini, Chancellor of Simon Fraser University, wrote in this morning’s Province, “Give, and scatter your tiny diamonds in the cosmic sands.”

Markets, bazaars, faires and parkades: Christmas is coming to New West

It’s mid-November again so that means craft fairs are upon us. Believe it or not, Circle Craft, held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, was held this past weekend. It’s the unofficial kickoff of craft season in the Lower Mainland and New West has its own events coming soon for those looking to buy local.

I’ve put together a comprehensive list of New West craft fairs for you again this year. Craft fairs are a great way to connect with local artists, see where your money goes and actualize your commitment to buying local. Bonus: there’s often hot chocolate and baked goods galore!

As always, if you have an event you would like listed that’s in New West please drop me a note:

Thornebridge Gardens Craft Fair
Saturday, November 16th
Thornebridge Gardens, 649 8th Avenue, New West

St. Peter’s Church Bazaar
Saturday, November 16th
330 Royal Avenue, New West

Herbert Spencer Craft Fair
Saturday, November 23rd
10am – 3pm
605 Second Street, New West

The Wylde Wood Christmas Faire
Saturday, November 23rd
River Market, Upper Level, New West

New West Craft
Three more Saturdays until Christmas!
Saturday, November 16th, December 7th and December 21st
River Market, New West

Special New West Craft Night Market with TWO locations
December 7th
Shopping, music, food and fun at the River Market AND 100 Braid Street Studios.
Tip: Avoid driving and parking frustrating and instead take the Skytrain between the two locations.

Fridays and Front Street – Holiday Edition
Friday, December 13th
Front Street, under the parkade

New West Farmers Market
Three more Saturday markets until Christmas
Saturday, November 16th, December 7th and December 21st
Belmont Street in Uptown, New West

Wow! There are a lot of craft fairs and local artisans in New West. Consider shopping local this holiday season.

On the Burnaby side of 10th Avenue is the Knights Christmas Market at St. Thomas More Collegiate.
Saturday, November 23rd and Sunday, November 24th

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride is personal. It is celebratory. It is protest. It is acceptance. It is courage.

This year’s Pride Week in New West mark ten years of celebrating Pride in the city. In our small city this event has grown over the years and welcomes community members from near and far to celebrate how we are unique and yet share a connection with each other.

This year’s Pride Week in New West mark ten years of celebrating Pride in the city. In our small city this event has grown over the years and welcomes community members from near and far to celebrate how we are unique and yet share a connection with each other.

Pride means something different to everyone that attends. For some it is an awakening, for others it is about education and for a lot of people it’s about celebrating themselves in a safe space surrounded by love.

I could write an extensive list of what Pride means to me and others but this year is a special year for me. Pride 2019 means experiencing and releasing grief, love and memories. On April 6th my uncle, Keith Fryer, concluded his battle with cancer. A battle that far too many people go through. During my visits with him while he was in hospice we talked a lot about New West and our community. We talked about the incredible networks we have and how people show up when the call is made. How for such a small city he and I shared connections across interests and neighbourhoods. He lived in the Brow of the Hill while I’m in Glenbrooke North. We both sit (sat) on boards of volunteer community organizations. Keith served on the Board of Directors with the New West Pride Society 7 years and this year I am volunteering my time to help with the event.

Keith Fryer

Pride means a lot of things to a lot of people. This year is a special one and I hope you can join in on the celebration.

For full event information visit the New West Pride 2019 Schedule. The Street Party kicks off at 3pm on Columbia Street at Fourth Street.

Paavo Nurmi Run

Last month I shared some tips about running in New West. If you’ve been considering a flat, fun and local run, I enthusiastically recommend the Paavo Nurmi Run on Saturday, June 22nd at 9am. The run takes place along the South trails of Burnaby Lake Park (a new route this year).

The Paavo Nurmi Run is a fun run for folks of all ages and speeds. There are three different distances available: 3km, 5km or 10km. The runs are low cost compared to a lot of other runs: $25-35 per participant – and kids run for free! Your registration for the run also gets you free access to the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival down the street at the Scandinavian Centre. There are even medals and prizes for top finishers.

Who is Paavo Nurmi you ask? He was a Finnish nine-time Olympic Gold winner and is considered one of the greatest runners of all time. Some refer to him as “The King of Runners” or the “Flying Finn.”

To register for the event you can head over to their website.

Bonus: The Midsummer Festival in Burnaby hosts a Wife Carrying Contest on Sunday, June 23rd (inclusive of all genders). It’s an entertaining afternoon you won’t forget.

Running in New West

Just over 10 years ago I joined a running group at a local gym. I had never proactively sought out running as a hobby or interest before. I loathed it in high school. Fitness tests and the 2400m run came three times a year and it was a nightmare for me. But I started small, 1 minute of running followed by 2 minutes of walking. The progression was slow but consistent and culminated in a 5km race a few months later. 

Running isn’t for everyone. And that’s 100% okay. For those that are interested in running in New West and want a few ‘pro-tips’, this post is for you. One seasoned runner, Carly-Ann tells people, “Being a runner from NW is not [like] being a runner from someplace else. No matter where you run, you’re going to be hill training on your way there or back.”

Since then I’e learned a lot about running in New West and wanted to share my accumulated knowledge of running in the Royal City.

Tip #1 – Hills, get used to them
Running in New West: You gotta love hills. You don’t need to run them all, but get comfortable physically and psychologically that there will be hills in your future. Even running across town from Glenbrooke North to the West End, there are some inclines to tackle. But as Naomi Perks told me – “There’s no shame in walking up those steep hills!” They can be a good challenge and if you ever get into hill training or hill repeats you are never short of new locations to try out.

Hills are nearly always on the menu in New West

Tip #2 – Safety above all else
Safety – it’s important for everyone to be seen and to see others. It is a brutal truth that not all drivers stop at stop signs or at pedestrian crossings. You are given one body, make sure you are cautious with it. For some people that might mean lighting your exterior up with reflective clothing or even a basic light system. Use lit crossings and don’t assume a drive sees you. When it gets dark in the winter, hit the track! New Westminster Secondary School has a well-lit track. You may even want to do some stair workouts. Personal safety is just as important – be aware of your surroundings, run in pairs or a group when possible, tell someone where you’re running and if you wear earphones keep one out.

Tip #3 – Record it
Electronic recording can be a great way to motivate and track your runs. Whether it’s Strava, Apple Watch, Nike Fitness, FitBit, or pen and paper journaling, keeping track of your runs will help ensure you don’t over train (or under train). Using your phone or electronic device can help track your pace, distance, time, elevation and sometimes heart rate. It can be an information overload but also fun to dig into.

The Apple Watch Activity app helps track your runs, walks, swims and other activities

Tip #4 – Variety is the spice
Avoid fatigue by incorporating different activities. Weight training is important for everyone regardless of age, weight, gender or ability. I’m a fan of New West’s Canada Games Pool because they have an awesome sled / prowler equipment that adds variety to every workout. Follow that up with some stretching or yoga is a great balance, or a dip in the pool. Variety is important especially to avoid injury and boredom.

Tip #5 – Fun New West Routes
There are limitless routes to discover in New West, pick one and discover a new neighbourhood

  • Queens Park neighbourhood – easy to add on distance
  • East to west run along 7th avenue – quiet route through a variety of neighbourhoods
  • New West Secondary School track – well lit and soft surface
  • Hume Park (my new personal favourite – hills, shade, washrooms!)
  • Queens Park is about 2.5 kilometres around and offers some challenging hills regardless of the direction you run
  • Glenbrook Ravine is quiet, car-free and gorgeous in any season
Find your favourite running route

Tip #6 – Join a local group
Over the years I’ve attended many runs hosted by the Running Room. There isn’t one in New West but the Running Room at Market Crossing in Burnaby is relatively close and some of their runs do cross into New West. The Queen’s Park Running Club has operated since the 1990s and meets at the Queen’s Park bandshell three days a week for groups runs of different lengths.

There is a lot to get excited about with running in New West. Take it slow and enjoy the journey.
And if you’re a runner in New West be sure to share your tips below.

When starting a new physical activity always listen to your body and consult your physician for advice.

New Year’s Resolutions: New Year, New West

When I first started writing this post it was that awkward time between Christmas and New Years Eve when your mind starts to wander. Perhaps it was the extra chocolate, carbs or down time that got me thinking about the coming year. Either way, I’m writing today about New Year’s Resolutions my New West friends. (I know, insert groan here).

Ringing in the new year or starting it off with a drastic change is pretty common. At my local grocery store they are already stocking their aisle ends with low carb shakes, protein bars and granola. And I’m already reading posts from friends about 2019 being the year they lose weight or get fit for good.

Instead of “New year, new me,” how about flipping that script and doing more of the good things you did in 2018? Start with listing five important moments in 2018. Next: what did you do to get through those moments? Was it a tough project? Public speaking? Challenging family situation? Next: What did you do right to succeed or learn from those moments? For 2019: resolve to do more of those things.

For those struggling or wanting to consider some more solid resolutions I’ve put together an alternative list of New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Introduce yourself to your neighbour (especially if you live in an apartment/condo)
  • Give up buying coffee/lunch/snack etc for 1 day a week and donate those funds to a non-profit you support.
  • Commit to volunteering for 2 hours a month to a local organization
  • Make a goal of walking/running/cycling a certain number of times in the year
    • Note: I made a goal of running 100 days in 2017. The distance was not important, just the commitment. And I completed it!
  • Write one nice thing about yourself every day in a book
  • Every Friday (or another day of the week) send a compliment to each of your employees
  • Write a letter (with real postage) to someone (note: some prices go up January 14, 2019!)
  • Commit to recycling and composting/separating organics more thoroughly
  • Buy one grocery staple from a local vendor or farmers market
  • Try a new recipe once a week

Be creative – paint your resolution, draw out a goal in your bullet journal, add some colour.

My resolutions you ask?

  • Attend a weekly yoga class
  • Do a set number of burpees per gym visit (they’re that full body movement that gets you every time)
  • Read 1 book per month (I’ve been on more of a podcast kick this year)

Ultimately small steps and doing more of what I love and what I know is good for me.

So, New West, feel free to share your New Year’s Resolutions below in the comments (or your anti resolutions!)