Seven Tips for Volunteering in New West

Community Volunteer Connections Executive Director Stacy Ashton with great ideas on how to get involved in the community.

I love volunteering. My latest volunteer gig is actually a lifelong dream, from when I was 6 and wanted to be a librarian and part-time lion tamer when I grew up. I am one of the newest appointees to the New Westminster Library Board. Squee!

Volunteering has always been how I express the things that I love most in the world. My volunteering has included socializing cats at the Royal City Humane Society (including litter duty), helping out at the Vancouver Science Fiction Convention, and talking people through their hardest days on the Vancouver Crisis Line.

That’s a lot of different experiences, and most of them aren’t going to be full-time jobs.

But I do have a full-time position running Community Volunteer Connections, our local volunteer centre, so it is part of my actual job to help people get into volunteering. Here are my top 7 tips to find volunteer opportunities you’ll love! Continue reading “Seven Tips for Volunteering in New West”

In memory of New Westminster’s golden age: Wild Rice pays tribute to the King Neptune

Photograph shows a street view of Eighth Street, looking toward the river, showing the intersections of 8th and Victoria, Carnarvon, Columbia, and Front streets. Shows edge of CPR station, The Old Spaghetti Factory on the right, and a full view of The King Neptune restaurant at the foot of the street.
Photograph shows a street view of Eighth Street, looking toward the river, showing the intersections of 8th and Victoria, Carnarvon, Columbia, and Front streets. Shows edge of CPR station, The Old Spaghetti Factory on the right, and a full view of The King Neptune restaurant at the foot of the street. Photo: New Westminster Museum & Archives.

It’s been nagging at me to write about a particular Feast On The Fraser event that caught my eye: Wild Rice’s Tribute to the King Neptune on Thursday, October 1. Most people who moved to New West or came of age after 1982 will have no idea what the King Neptune is or why it deserves a tribute, but mention it to anyone who lived here during New West’s golden age when Columbia Street was the place to shop, and they will tell you that the King Neptune was the place to eat.

Continue reading “In memory of New Westminster’s golden age: Wild Rice pays tribute to the King Neptune”

Your guide to Feast On The Fraser

With twelve events over ten days, Feast On The Fraser presents New West folk with a dilemma: which one(s) to choose? Fear not, gentle reader. There is something for everyone in this week of foodie fun.

The full list of Feast On The Fraser events.
The full list of Feast On The Fraser events.

With twelve events over ten days, Feast On The Fraser presents New West folk with a dilemma: which one(s) to choose? Fear not, gentle reader. There is something for everyone in this week of foodie fun.

If you like to run with the cool kids: Get a ticket to the kickoff event on Friday, September 25. “Boathouse Brews & Bites” features a tasting menu of five mouthwatering treats incorporating Steel & Oak brew. It is the official launch party, so everyone who has had a role in putting together Feast On The Fraser will be there, including many of New Westminster’s movers & shakers. Tickets are $50.

If you’ve got someone you want to impress: Splurge on the Longtail Kitchen Seafood Boil & Fry on Saturday, September 26. Longtail is one of the best Thai restaurants in the Lower Mainland, so you know the food will be excellent. In addition to a smorgasboard of local Oceanwise mussels, clams, crabs, lobsters, fried oysters and prawns, the $83 ticket also includes a large bottle of Steel & Oak craft beer and live entertainment.

Another option is the Feast On The Fraser At Anvil Centre, on Saturday, October 3. For $94, Executive Chef Nin Rai will show you how to pair, prepare and plate a fancy meal at home. You will get to eat as well as learn. The menu includes vanilla butter poached sturgeon with local chanterelles, ice wine gelee, seared skin on Fraser run Steelhead with roasted butternut squash puree, and spiced pumpkin and banana fosters flambe. Wine pairings with each course are included in the ticket price.

Finally, Thursday, October 1, there is Wild Rice’s Tribute to King Neptune Restaurant. The King Neptune was the place to eat in New West many years ago, and longtime locals still talk about it with a pang of longing. The $45 menu includes an appetizer of fried oysters with house tartar and slaw, ling cod with anchovy butter and King Neptune salad for the main, and a Royal City Sundae for dessert. Each table will feature quotations from New Westminster’s archives that capture the history of our working waterfront (provided by New Westminster Museum & Archives).

For a date night that’s a little different: Head to the Palates & Paint Night Fundraiser on Wednesday, September 30 at 100 Braid Street Studios. The $53 ticket includes a painting lesson from a professional artist and a wine tasting featuring three glasses of Pacific Breeze‘s garagiste-style vino and a selection fo appetizers. The event is also a fundraiser for the Arts Council of New Westminster. All materials are supplied and no painting experience is necessary.

Go on a two-hour romantic riverboat cruise aboard the M.V. Native for the $38 Wine & Dine Cruise on Friday, October 2. Enjoy Pacific Breeze Urban Winery’s award-winning wine expertly paired with a meal of paddlewheeler sliders, fresh seafood chowder and mixed green candied salmon salad.

Take your sweetie out dancing at The Heritage Grill Dine & Dance on Wednesday, September 30. For just $35 you’ll enjoy a three-course meal and dancing to live entertainment with Ranj Singh.

For a night out with the girls: Join the Belly Dancing Divas at Taverna Greka on Friday, October 2. Your $39.75 ticket includes drinks, dinner and a chance to learn some new belly dancing moves! Your ticket includes a glass of wine or a pint of beer, pita and dip appetizer and a main course of your choice.

To enjoy new-to-you tastes: Try the Raw Night at Rain City Juicery on Sunday, September 27. Certified Holistic Practitioner Vanessa McKay from Good Fooditude will offer a taste of raw, vegan cuisine featuring nut pate sushi, raw zucchini pad thai and a raw vegan lime tart alongside drinks from Rain City Juicery for $43.

For fun on a budget: The Rock Band Party on Tuesday, September 29 at the Columbia sounds like a hoot. For $23 you’ll get a beer, highball or glass of house wine and your choice of sliders, chicken strips, flatbread pizza or potachos while enjoying the Harmonix Rock Band video game. Live entertainment with audience participation.

If sports are more your style, try Monday Night Football at Match Eatery on September 28. For $30 you’ll get a three-course dinner along with an exciting night of football. The menu includes a 4oz beer pairing with each course.

Or, for just $20 per adult or $15 per child, you can enjoy a pizza dinner and watch the Boston Pizza New West Master Chef Cookoff on Sunday, October 4. Up-and-coming young chefs will square off against the BP head chef to create the ultimate pizza. The winner will take home a voucher for free pizza for a year and may have their creation featured as a BP menu item.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, paid for by Tourism New West.

Feast like never before from Sept. 25 – Oct. 4 in New West

Get your stretchy pants ready: you are about to feast like never before. From September 25 – October 4, even the healthiest eaters in New West will want to take at least one “cheat day” to enjoy the mouthwatering delights on offer for Feast On The Fraser, a 10-day long gloriously indulgent foodie festival.

Featuring 12 tasty events over 10 days, the new Feast On The Fraser festival showcases local arts and culture as well as eateries.
Featuring 12 tasty events over 10 days, the new Feast On The Fraser festival showcases local arts and culture as well as eateries.

Get your stretchy pants ready: you are about to feast like never before. From September 25 – October 4, even the healthiest eaters in New West will want to take at least one “cheat day” to enjoy the mouthwatering delights on offer for Feast On The Fraser, a 10-day long gloriously indulgent foodie festival.

Organized by Tourism New West and presented in partnership with the City of New Westminster and the Brewery District by WesGroup Properties, Feast On The Fraser is designed to show off our city, pairing New Westminster’s top chefs with some of our brightest cultural talent. It’s much more than two weeks of tasty meals: each day of the festival features a one-time-only collaboration between an eatery and one of our other local arts, entertainment, or retail movers-and-shakers to create a one-of-a-kind culinary experience that can be found only in New West.

“New Westminster has long distinguished itself as one of Metro Vancouver’s premier culinary destinations, and it’s time for us to expand our dining scene and pair it with some fun experiences,” said Tej Kainth, Executive Director, Tourism New Westminster in a press release about the event.  “Feast on the Fraser is the perfect opportunity to further showcase the city’s delicious offerings, along with our rich arts, culture and entertainment scene.”

The festival kicks off on September 25 with Boathouse Brews & Bites, a beer-themed menu at the Boathouse Restaurant incorporating Steel & Oak’s delicious local brew. Other events over the 10 days include live music, painting your very own work of art, watching a Monday night football game, geeking out playing the “Rock Band” video game, dancing, cooking demonstrations, a boat cruise, belly dancing, a master chef cookoff, and even a tribute to the famous King Neptune restaurant (New West old-timers still talk about how amazing it was).

Participating businesses include 100 Braid St. Studios, Anvil Centre, The Boathouse, Boston Pizza, Heritage Grill, Longtail Kitchen, Pacific Breeze Winery, Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours, Steel and Oak Brewery, Taverna Greka, Truffles Fine Foods and Catering, Wild Rice, and more.

All events are ticketed, and I would suggest you snap yours up quickly – many are sure to sell out. The cost ranges from just $20 to $94 per person, so there is something to fit every budget.

Here’s the schedule:

Full details about the festival are found on Tourism New Westminster’s website.

Biggest one-day food truck fest in Canada comes to New West Aug 22

The Columbia StrEAT Festival is the biggest one-day food truck festival in Canada

Canada’s largest one-day food truck fest is back in downtown New West this summer.

On Saturday, August 22 from 4-10pm, The Third Annual Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest will bring over 70 food trucks, beer gardens and free entertainment to downtown New West.

Tacofino, Johnny’s Pops and DougieDog Hot Dogs will be back by popular demand. New vendors this year will include Culver City Salads, Cheeses Crust, Taters – The Baked Potato Co., and many more.

Many Downtown New West restaurants will also set up food tents to sell street food. RainCity Juicery and Old Crow Coffee are among the New West restaurants who will join the party on Columbia Street for the event. Boston Pizza is hosting a pizza-eating contest, featuring star contestant Mayor Jonathan Cote!

I spoke to Downtown BIA Program and Events Coordinator Maddison McKitrick to ask a few questions about the event:

Q: What has been the impact of this festival on downtown New West businesses?

A: We actually polled our membership and Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest ranked very high with our members regarding BIA initiatives. The impact has been amazing, bringing crowds of over 50k in 2014 provided great exposure for our Downtown businesses. We are expecting crowds of 75k this year!

Q: How many beer gardens will you have? Who is running them?

A: Four! The Heritage Grill, The Columbia Theatre, The Met Bar & Grill and Anvil Centre will be set up inside but their large window/doors will be open to the street. These beer gardens are technically liquor license extensions, basically a large patio for the establishments. The Met Bar & Grill will have Growers serving up samples in their beer garden.

Q: What entertainment are you offering? 

A: Huge variety! The Arts Council of New West will be hosting two festival tents of amazing acts, including Roland and Emma Nipp, Old Mare, The Alvair Trio, Bryan Michael and more. The Royal City Swing will be set up, dancing away and even offering intro lessons to attendees! Emily Harder, a local singer/songwriter, Six String and a Saxophone, a local New West jazz duo. We are expecting more to join the event as well. A full list of entertainment can be found on our website’s event listing.

Q: Is this a kid-friendly event? 

A: As our event runs from 4pm-10pm, it’s tailored to an older demographic but we definitely encourage families to attend and had tons attend last year. There are lots of yummy treats that are very kid friendly! Plus the Brick & Mortar Living girls will be presenting the Chalk Spot, a sidewalk chalk area for artsy kids on McKenzie Street at Columbia from 4pm-7pm.

A full list of participating food trucks is available on the New West Downtown BIA website. There is also a Facebook event you can join if you want to be updated with the latest info.

The Food Truck Fest is organized by the Downtown New West BIA, with support from RiverSky by Bosa Properties and Vancity.

Photo: Technomonkey Media, used with permission of the Downtown New West BIA.