One district, two district, three district HOP: The Ultimate New West Shop Hop

The Downtown New Westminster BIA and Uptown New Westminster BA are teaming up with Sapperton Merchants for a unique shopping experience – The Ultimate New West Shop Hop. We’re coming together to encourage New Westminster residents to support their local merchants and discover some great shops in other neighbourhoods.

From February 10th to 19th, passport holders who collect one stamp from each district by redeeming the offer on the passport will be entered to win one of three phenomenal prize packs, each valued at well over $500. Shoppers who frequent more than three merchants will increase their chances to win with additional entries. And trust me…you want to win one of these prizes.

The passports can be picked up at any participating merchant, the Tourism New West kiosk at the Anvil Centre and the Royal City Centre admin office.

We’re really excited to be doing this initiative across the shopping districts, highlighting some of the best local independent businesses in New West and promoting each of them. Some of these businesses have been in New West for decades, and some are just starting out, but all of them are a key component to what makes this city so great.   And really, anything that we can do to encourage people to shop locally is good for everyone.

We’re also very aware that this past winter has been hard on many local businesses. These people are our neighbours. Our friends. Now is a great time check out a shop that you haven’t visited before, try a new class, or simply have a great cup of coffee with a friend.

The participating merchants are as follows…

Pink Ribbon Bakery
Michelle Dupre Design & Company
Koyabell Fitness
Russian Spoon
Beach House Tanning & Swimwear
BLENZ The Canadian Coffee Company
Carlson Wagonlit Travel
Doctor Beauty
Cartwright Jewelers
The Gallery at Queen’s Park

Bosley’s Pet Store
Mid-Century Modern Home
Polo Health + Longevity Centre
Old Crow Coffee Co.
Lofty Living Lifestyles
Hive City
Karma Teachers
Good Omen
Brick & Mortar Living
Mila + Paige
Zoom Hair Salon
Gathered Roots Acupuncture

MOVE – Yoga.Pilates.Dance Studio
Fireside Public House
Mindful Mutts
Barley’s Homebrewing Supplies
Fratelli Authentic Italian Bakery
Bloom Bloom Room
Kerry’s Boutique
Cadeaux Boutique & Day Spa


Christmas in Sapperton

dsc_4259Are you ready to kick off the holiday season with some HO HO HO – then clear your calendar for this Sunday, December 4 from 12-5pm and come join in some free family fun in Sapperton!

A small group of merchants including Cadeaux Boutique, The Bloom Bloom Room, Mindful Mutts, and Good To Go got together to plan this first of what they hope is to be an annual Christmas community event. They decided a community-wide festive street party would be just the thing to connect business and community together. A passport was created listing all the merchants participating along with their free family fun activity at the event; make your own door swags at the Bloom Bloom Room, pet photos with Mindful Mutts, free hot apple cider and popcorn at Cadeaux, photos with Santa at Good to Go, ornament decorating in the parklet for kids, delicious food samples at local restaurants and more. The group also reached out to local talent to include the Quayside Singers who will sing carols from 12-1pm in the parklet as well as Juno nominated singer GinaLina who will follow in the parklet from 2-4pm with more festive holiday music and sing alongs.

The group created this community event in Sapperton to remind residents that there are some really great businesses on East Columbia St and that you don’t have to leave New Westminster to do your holiday shopping or run your errands. Keeping it local was key to this first annual event. The group also wanted to connect with other shopping districts in New West and surrounding communities to highlight everything from healthy smoothies and wraps, boutique blooms, local artisanal gifts, women’s clothing and jewelry, doggie daycare, restaurants, vintage home decor, a women’s only kickboxing gym, local cycle shop and other dynamic businesses located on East Columbia Street.

The passports are available now for shoppers to pick up at one of the participating businesses or during the event. Revellers are encouraged to visit all the participating merchants to check them out, partake in their festivities and fun, get a stamp and then visit the next one on the list. When the passport is complete and all the stamps are ticked off, participants can make their way over to Cadeaux Boutique to collect their complimentary swag bag filled with more goodies from the Sapperton businesses! Of course this encourages continued community connection for both the shoppers and merchants in a positive and fun manner. One more reason for the residents and shoppers to fall in love with Sapperton, and to continue to support local in New West!

See you on East Columbia Sunday December 4th!


Soothe the Savage Beast

On August 20, 2016, millions of Canadians witnessed Gord Downie—Canada’s very own Shakespeare—give what may be his last concert performance following a diagnosis of glioblastoma, an aggressive and terminal form of brain cancer. For three decades he has fronted “Canada’s Band,” the Tragically Hip. With tears in our eyes and music in our hearts, we sang along to At the Hundredth Meridian, and its lyrics hit hard:

If I die of vanity, promise me, promise me
If they bury me some place I don’t want to be
You’ll dig me up and transport me, unceremoniously
Away from the swollen city breeze, garbage bag trees

But mostly, we celebrated. We celebrated the power of the band’s words, music, and artistry. We celebrated their part in the soundtracks of our lives. As did Downie. He could have retired to live what remains of his life privately. He could have been spending time with his closest friends and family. But instead, he chose to focus his energy on creating and performing.


Mostly, I think, because he is an artist. He is compelled to do it. He knows, like any artist knows from the top of their paint brush to the tip of their tap shoe, that art has the power to soothe: “I go for it; I sing, I dance, I listen to this great band, I do what the music urges.

Studies have shown that engagement in the arts can have a positive impact on health and wellness, including a decrease in symptoms of depression, a reduction in stress, an increase in positivity, and, in some cases, an improvement in immune system functionality. Mere engagement in the arts as a casual observer can have an impact, but to really feel the benefits get your hands dirty and get creative*.

In other words, folks: get your art on.

artArt makes us feel good. I think children instinctively know its power and potential. They colour, dance with abandon, sing songs about kittens and stop signs, and build magical kingdoms out of dust and dreams. We encourage them to express themselves through art and are angry when music and art programs are cut in school.

When we get older, the instinct to create wanes. Creativity becomes a ‘sometimes’ endeavour, an indulgence, if we create at all. We come up with excuses like, ‘I can’t sing. I’m too old to dance. I didn’t get good grades in art class. I’ve always wanted to paint, but it’s too late now. I have no time.

My challenge to you: silence that inner critic and get out and create!

It doesn’t need to be pretty. You don’t need to be Emily Carr, Shane Koyczan, or Gord Downie. You just need to do.

I write. I colour with my kid using my own colouring books. A friend journals and creates little worlds in terrariums. Another—a veterinary assistant—creates animal portraits in pointillism. Yet another sings in a choir. One friend forms tiny objects from wood when he is camping. Another, in his late thirties, got his hands on a number of electronic music pedals and boards, and dived right in, having never owned gear like that before.

There are so many opportunities to get creative in New Westminster. If you want some instruction to get you going, try a Paint and Sip night at 100 Braid St. Studios, an adult hip hop class at Dance Matrix, guitar lessons at Neil Douglas Guitar on 12th, adult musical theatre classes at The Stage New Westminster, or stand-up comedy classes at Lafflines The Columbia Theatre. If you are ready to go for it, pick up an ‘adult’ colouring book at Black Bond Books, join a Royal City Literary Arts Society meetup, sign up for a community choir, or simply grab a canvas and some paint at a dollar store.

Find something new, return to something old, and just do it. You’ll be amazed at how much better you will feel. Gord knows this:

Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish
When the little sensation gets in your way?
No ambition whisperin’ over your shoulder
Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish, eh?

~ Fireworks




Stuckey, H. L., & Nobel, J. (2010). The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature. American Journal of Public Health, 100(2), 254–263

Uptown Live Gonna Give It To Ya

When it comes to New Westminster street festivals, one of our favourites is Uptown Live. This stellar event is returning to the streets of Uptown New Westminster on July 23 from 12-9 pm and we’re pretty excited. We got the press release in the mail yesterday with the complete lineup, and judging from the looks of things, it’s going to be amazing.

We love it when events bring attention to our city, and this one, like the Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Festival, brings a bunch.

This year’s free music festival and street party is headlined by indie music darlings Good for Grapes and The Boom Booms. Other performers include the legendary R & B Allstars, Twin River, JP Maurice, Little India, Blue Moon Marquee, The Tourist Company, Field Study, The Katherines, Tonye Aganaba, Lydia HolBrandon  IsaakGabriela  GenevaTea  PetrovicSarah  Wheeler  and Gary  Comeau  &  the Voodoo Allstars.

In addition to these artists, performances by local acts like the New Westminster Secondary School Combo and Quayside Voices will also be featured.

Outside of musical entertainment, there will be artisans from New West Craft, a mini market from the Royal City Farmers Market, street performers, a Kids Zone, food trucks and more.

It’s sure to be a great day for the family and for Uptown New Westminster and we’re looking forward to checking it out.

For the complete schedule, head on over to the website 


ONE Prize

The ONE Prize is becoming synonymous with some pretty cool projects in New Westminster. And with five days left until the deadline, I thought I would chat with some past ONE prize winners to see about getting some inspiration on producing the next cool ‘thing’ in New West.

ONE Prize is a community fund seeded by Donald’s Market and River Market. They invest 1% of ONE members’ shopping dollars at Donald’s Market into this fund. 2016 marks the fifth year that the ONE prize has been offered.

This year, ONE members have collectively raised $4500 for the ONE fund and River Market and Donald’s will be awarding three $1,500 prizes.

The great thing about this prize is that it allows individuals, non profits, groups, schools…really…just about anyone…to apply, giving the community of New West the chance to discover that their neighbours are up to some pretty nifty things. Continue reading “ONE Prize”