Arts Council Gallery Sessions

The Gallery Sessions is a new initiative by the Arts Council which allows us to feature local musicians in our gallery space. The shows are all ages and affordable to give these musicians the chance to play for a whole new audience. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such accomplished musicians in this series and are hopeful that the sessions will continue to grow and become a ‘must attend’ musical event in the city. Continue reading “Arts Council Gallery Sessions”

Local (and Cheap!) Family Adventures

I will be the first to acknowledge that we are an actively scheduled family. My kid is involved in tonnes of activities, as are my husband and I. We like it. We are good at it. We do stuff.

These activities that are, for the most part, solo endeavours, so we make a point of doing unscheduled adventures together. And this year, to make the most of this precious family time, we’ve resolved to keep it local and adventure in New Westminster. Which, to be honest, is pretty darned easy to do.We spend a lot of time at a variety of playgrounds, but what about slightly more structured activities? Here are four of our go to family adventure destinations in this fair city. Continue reading “Local (and Cheap!) Family Adventures”

Time To Get Curious

It’s no secret that we’re proud of our rich history here in the Royal City.  Our streets are laden with lovely heritage homes and we have some of the best antique stores in the Lower Mainland.

When Jenny Cashin of Mid Century Modern Home moved her shop into the River Market, it just made sense that the River Market then became home to a new type of flea market.  A type that had never been seen in New Westminster before.

And so the Curious Flea was born.


The Curious Flea is a flea market for the modern age.  It’s a social flea.  An event where people are invited to shop, hang out, engage and explore.  Traditional flea markets are a hodge podge of items ranging from the unwanted to the unloved to the hidden gem and everything in between.  They’re often in stuffy halls packed to the gills with bargain hunters of every size.  Get in, get out. Kinda gloomy and depressing.

Not so, the Curious Flea!  This flea has everything going for it.  Select vendors displaying their vintage, up-cycled and retro wares.  Incredible food from the River Market tenants, spectacular view and venue, buskers to encourage you to get up and party, facepainting for the kids (and the adults, lets be honest…I’ll be doing it) from 11:30-4 by The Stage New Westminster and dance parties both days from 1 pm – 2 pm hosted by Music Box.  And lets not forget the Battle of the Curious.

sauna pants

We all own something strange.  It could be a family heirloom…it could be a horrid gift from an ex…it could that thing you just found in your closet.  Bring it  to the flea on Saturday and take it upstairs to the Curious judging booth.  The Curious Flea ringmasters will take its picture (so you don’t have to part with your treasure) and your contact information and then a team of crack experts will choose the winner by end of flea on Saturday.The winner of the most curious curio, most vintage oddity or just most plain weird will win $100 to spend at the Flea on Sunday.  Hooray!  The item will then be imortalized forever in the Curious Hall of Fame for all to gaze on in awe.

The most important thing about the flea however, is that it is a community flea.  The River Market is an anchor point in New Westminster’s blossoming downtown community, and the Curious Flea is celebrating that fact.  Many of the vendors, including Belle Encore, Brick and Mortar Living, Flying Fox Art and Design, LoCalo Living, PAVA Creations and Robyn’s Vintage Nest  are New West locals.  There are even got some original Quayside residents bringing their collectibles from home. And because of the proximity and inspiration of Front St, there will be a special table featuring wares Front St merchants. Fleaers are encouraged to come to the Flea and then take a walk down Front St to complete their day….and their collecting.

We have built this flea to be a celebration of our community.  A celebration of New Westminster and its diverse residents, fantastic shops and incredible passion.  A celebration of why we, as a city, are awesome…and just a bit curious.


The Curious Flea will be taking place on June 1st and 2nd from 10 am to 5 pm at the River Market at 810 Quayside Dr.  General Admission is free, but there is an $10 early bird rate for 9 am entrance. We’re going to hold the flea on a quarterly basis, so lets make this first one a great one!  And if you have any suggestions…be sure to find me and let me know.  We want the flea to keep getting better and better.

For more information, check out the River Market website and the Curious Flea Facebook page.  And come on…get curious with me!


BOO! Westminster: Local Halloween events for the whole family

The second annual Petrifying Pooch Parade, hosted by local pet-sitting business Calli Co., is Saturday, October 29 from 12-2pm in the Queen's Park off-leash dog park.
The second annual Petrifying Pooch Parade, hosted by local pet-sitting business Calli Co., is Saturday, October 29 from 12-2pm in the Queen's Park off-leash dog park.

Halloween is just around the corner, so here’s a handy dandy list of events for everyone (and we do mean everyone) in the family. The pets in your life will be snout over tail for the Petrifying Pooch Parade, the horror fan will scream with joy for the Haunted Hall and you can even get a chance to PUMP yourself up with a Halloween workout!

With all this Halloween fun, New Westminster has become BOO Westminster.

Mwa ha ha ha ha

Drag Divas Halloween
Saturday, October 29t, 10:00 pm, Heritage Grill
Join MZ Adrien and the Guest Divas Moaning Lisa and Erica Divine (with a special cameo by Tish Snooky). The gurls are planning some fabulous fun with some of the spoookiest characters around. Prizes prizes prizes, food, drink and a whole lot of fun! Wear your costumes and be ready some divalicious drag.

Halloween Costume Party
Saturday, October 29th, 6 pm -1 am Terminal City Pub
It’s the time of year to play dress-up and party like animals. TheTerminal City Pub is having it’s annual Halloween Costume Party. Prizes for the top three costumes, shooter specials all night, dance floor with killer tunes and UFC Pay Per View. Contact the pub for ticket inquiries.


BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) and work out in costume at the October 31 Halloween PUMPkin workouts in various locations around New West.
BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) and work out in costume at the October 31 Halloween PUMPkin workouts in various locations around New West.

Halloween Fun
Friday, October 28th, 3:30 pm, New Westminster Public Library, 716 6th Avenue
Ghostly stories and a Halloween craft await kids ages 4 – 10 at this free event.

All Treats, No Tricks
Sunday October 30th, Noon -3 pm, 810 Quayside Drive,
The River Market is celebrating Halloween and the grand opening of four new merchants. There will be live entertainment, crafts, and pumpkin carving. Your kids can show off their costumes and trade for treats at select merchants.

2nd Annual Petrifying Pooch Parade
Saturday, October 29th, 12 pm – 2 pm, Queen’s Park Off Leash Dog Park
Save the date – you won’t want to miss it! Dress up your doggies in their favourite Halloween costumes and join other dog lovers for this SPOOKTACULAR event! Refreshments will be provided for both doggies and humans.

Halloween PUMPkin Work Out
Monday, October 31 various locations and times throughout Boo Westminster
Bring your own pumpkin (5 to 10 lbs), dress up in your spooky best and head out to the PUMP-kin work out. Be motivated, encouraged and inspired to a new life of health and fitness, and have a good giggle while you are at it. Email newwest@survivorbootcamp to reserve your spot.

World Animal Day Children’s Art
Sunday, October 30th from 12 pm- 4pm, Centennial Community Centre
The event brings animal awareness to young people and organizers are inviting children to wear animal costumes with prizes going to the best and cutest. It is being put on by the New Westminster-based Campaigns Against The Cruelty to Animals

The Metro Hosts 2nd Annual “Haunted Hall” – a Spooktacular Fund-Raising Event for the Entire Family
October 26-October 31 1 pm – 8 pm, 759 Carnarvon Street
This Halloween, The Metro will once again be transforming its 8000 square foot events centre into Haunted Hall – a spooktacular fund-raising event in support of local charities. Families of all ages will be entertained by over 8000 square feet of cobwebs, ghosts and goblins, spooky sounds, tricks and treats, pumpkin patch for little humans and haunted hall tours with live spooks for the not so faint of heart. Entry is $5 per person or $10 for a family pass in support of The WITS Anti-Bullying Program and Purpose Society.

Family Spook House Adventure
Thursday, October 27, 10 am – 12 pm, Queensborough Community Centre
Come enjoy the indoor Spook House and enjoy a celebration of costumes and carefree fun. Don’t forget to wear your costume for a spirited Halloween. Lots of equipment like the bouncy equipment, ride‘em toys, gym equipment and more. The activity leader will be sure that your morning is fun and interactive. This is also a great opportunity to meet other families
in the neighborhood.

It’s a Halloween Party!
Friday, October 28, 9-11:30 am, Queen’s Park Arenex
Ghosts and goblins from the Motoring Munchkins drop-in program are invited to dress as their favorite Halloween creature and join in the party fun. There are plenty of tricks and treats for all! Entry fee includes a digital emailed picture of your child against a spooktacular backdrop.

Monster Madness

Wednesday, October 26, 3:30 pm-5 pm Centennial Community Centre
No bones about it – prepare for that ghoulish night by making hobgoblin crafts, terrifying treats and mucous membrane milkshakes. The sca-a-ary activities continue with spooky stories and howling fun.

Count Chocola’s Creatures
Wednesday, October 26 6-7 pm Centennial Community Centre
Have fun making creepy chocolate and tricky treats just in time for Halloween. You’ll create ghosts on broomsticks and spooky snacks that will captivate even the non-squirmish. Make special eerie decorations for your room and treat yourself to ghastly witches brew.

Family Halloween Hoopla
Saturday, October 29, 1:30-3:30 pm Centennial Community Centre
Calling all monsterous moms, Dracula dads, ghoulish grandparents and spine chilling children to an afternoon of witchy, wacky fun. Try your skills playing eerie games, get creative making creepy crafts and cookie decorating. There’s spooktacular fun for the whole family including a magic show by Johnny B Good.

Haunted Halloween Family Skate
Saturday, October 29 6:30 – 8 pm Moody Park Arenta
Moody Park Arena’s horrific Halloween experts have a “Spooktacular” evening of fun planned for the whole family to enjoy. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes.

Haunted Halloween Happening Party
Friday, October 29 6 – 8 pm Queensborough Community Centre
Join a fun filled ghoulish night of activities at the Queensborough Haunted Halloween Happening Party. Our leaders will be making wicked crafts, face painting help you carve some scary pumpkins. The night will end with a magic show by “Johnny B Good” Remember to dress up for this Family event.

Costume Contest
Friday, October 28, 6-8 pm Queensborough Community Centre
So you think you can make the best costume? Stop by the Haunted Halloween Happening Party for a night full of Halloween fun! There will be a costume contest that is fun for all ages – strut your stuff for a chance to win a prize! Contest starts at 6:00 pm! You may get in the contest line as soon as you register. Awards will be announced at 7:45 pm

Pumpkin Carving
Friday, October 28, 6-7:30 pm Queensborough Community Centre
Join us for our 6th annual pumpkin carving party at the Queensborough Community Centre. Bring your own pumpkins and we will provide all the tools and creative patterns. Best of all, they do all the clean up! Please RSVP your attendance as registration
is required.

Pumpkin Carving Contest
Friday, October 28, 6-7:30 pm Queensborough Community Centre
Halloween is just around fun and participate in our Carving Contest. Be as wild creative as you like! If you cannot get a hold of a pumpkin in your area, feel free to use any vegetable or fruit. The important thing is that you carve it yourself. Original carved pumpkins only, no generic stencil cut pumpkins allowed! Awards will be announced
at 7:45 pm sharp!

CGP Halloween in Wonderland
Wednesday, October 26, 6:30-8:30 pm
I’m late, I’m late for a very important date…No time to wait. Join Alice, the Cheshire Cat and
the Mad Hatter as they bring their Wonderland madness to Canada Games Pool.

For info on even more events in the Lower Mainland, this writer is a big fan of the yoyomama halloween and pumpkin patch listing.

The smile’s in the aisle: Thrifty Foods comes to New West

The new Thrifty's. Photo: Erin Jeffery.
The new Thrifty's. Photo: Erin Jeffery.

I have a confession. I have a Thrifty Foods problem. I grew up in Mill Bay BC (home of one of the first Thrifty Foods) so it holds a special place in my heart. I dream about the cheese scones and I wax philosophically about the marinated meats. It’s grocery nirvana. The first time I brought my husband home to the island, I told him we HAD to go to Thrifty Foods.

“Its just a grocery store, “ he said, “ I hate grocery stores”

“Not this one”, I smugged, “It’s special. It’s the happiest place on earth…it’s the Disney of grocery stores!”

He was not impressed. But he did like the scones.

As I was waiting to cross the street to check out the new store that opened today in Sapperton, I excitedly texted the aforementioned husband.

“The new Thrifty’s in Sapperton is open 24 hours seven days a week! HOORAY!”

“Oh great”, he responded “ I’ll never see you again”.

Islanders are passionate about Thrifty’s. Its a community grocery store that is more locally and sustainably focused than other big grocery chains. The outer perimeter of the store is filled with BC produce, local artisan baked goods and sweets, ocean wise seafood and, of course, Island Farms dairy products (yum). Grocery items in the centre of the store range from well known brands to locally canned preserves to Thrifty’s own label. Price wise, they are comparable on most things, but they do tend to be a bit higher priced for butcher items. The quality and selection is beyond compare. Think Whole foods without the big price tag.

Have I mentioned the scones?

The best thing for me about Thrifty’s has always been its staff. They are almost freakishly friendly.. Today, I had a cookie handed to me by one of the managers from my ‘hometown store’ who just came over to help. He had a friendly smile and nod (and cookie) for everyone who passed his way, chatting with them about the new store and how happy they were to be in New Westminster. I later was in the cereal aisle looking for oatmeal when out of nowhere, a helpful Thrifty-er explained the multiples pricing structure. Then thanked me for hanging out at their new store.

I think they might put something in the cookies…

I do wish that the outer perimeter was a bit wider to allow for carts and strollers to navigate through easier. The grocery aisles were nice and wide, but I did get in a traffic jam at the scones…they really are that good. I’d also recommend walking or taking the train if possible. Not only is it better for our planet, but the parking lot underneath the store is $5 an hour for parking. They do validate, but it’s still a bit steep. And with only one machine to pay for parking at, it can also get a wee bit busy.

All in all, I think this store is going to be a great addition to the New Westminster community. They already have scads of events coming up partnering with the Royal Columbia Hospital Foundation, and the store is sure to be a welcome addition to an area that doesn’t have many grocery stores in easy access.

Now, if you’ll excuse me…I hear a scone calling my name…