Who *is* that girl?

-Carly in

Hello! Welcome (back) to Tenth to the Fraser! Here’s a little introduction about me, Carly Fryer, your new resident collaborator, cultivator, curator and keeper.

Jen recently asked me if I would be interested in continuing the tradition that is Tenth to the Fraser. About two years ago I introduced myself to Jen at the New West Farmers Market. We’d interacted over social media and I recognized her from photos so I went up and introduced myself – “I’m Carly, you may know me as @theregoescarly.” (Seriously, that’s how I introduce myself to people that have only known me on social media.) Jen saw some potential and later recruited me as a board member for the New West Farmers Market where I am the Board President (as many of you know Jen was also a previous board member and President). Now I have been gifted a huge responsibility of steering Tenth to the Fraser.  Thank you Jen! (I also promise I will not join the McBride Elementary PAC and three-peat filling the impressive shoes of Jen.)

Who is Carly Fryer you may ask?

  • I am a resident of New West and have been for just over 10 years.
  • I enjoy walking, running and hiking as well as exploring our city as much as possible.
  • In 2011 I moved to London to work for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and prior to that I worked for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • My cat, Lucy, is a constant source of amusement.
  • Hawaii (Maui) is one of my favourite travel destinations. You may see a few photos pop up here and then.

As is tradition with Tenth to the Fraser, outside contributions and content is welcomed as well as ideas for collaboration. I preface this with the fact that I work full-time and commute at least two hours a day. So my time and energy might be limited but I find with a new challenge I am often re-energized. If you see me around please feel free to say hi, drop me a line or give me a high five.

Bring it on!

A Question Unasked Goes Unanswered

I belong to a New Westminster-specific Facebook Group called Share New West. Have you heard of this group? Share New West is a community-driven group that promotes a “gift economy”. A gift economy is a mode of trade in which items are exchanged without any expectation of a future reward or payment.

Share New West believes that everyone has something to share and that “together we can achieve great things”. They have a defined mission: 1) To inspire and nurture a strong sense of community and 2) To reduce our collective carbon footprint by giving, sharing, and asking for things we might otherwise throw out or buy.

I’ve been really pleased to belong to this group and have been gifted a few little items I was looking for and was able to declutter quite a few items I was hoping to pass on. Typical buy and sell language that includes acronyms and abbreviated phrases (“GUC”, “next!” etc) is discouraged, and instead participants are encouraged to talk to one another as though you were on the doorstep of your neighbour’s house having a chat. Even Mayor Coté has gotten in on the sharing – and borrowed my lefthanders baseball glove.

Requests for items to keep or to borrow are encouraged, and I’ve been prompted to say “actually yes I have that, and I don’t use it, and you’re welcome to it, come on by and grab it”. It’s been a really positive experience. As well, discussions about the item, where you could buy it, where it might be available, and even compliments about something are all welcome. This is not a transactional group – this is a group that encourages community.

On April 28, one of the participants in Share New West posted a more unusual request. Monika wrote:

 

Monika and her fiancé, Maynard, decided to get married ahead of schedule. As she posted, Maynard’s mom and grandmother were flying from Nova Scotia for a visit and there was talk of a combined birthday party since four family members have birthdays within one another.

“I jokingly said let’s make it a big party and get married while they’re here too and then at least your grandmother can see the ceremony!” said Monika. To her surprise and amusement, he agreed and they started planning immediately.

Monika admits she was a bit anxious with asking on Share New West. “I honestly had no idea what to expect and after I posted I had so much anxiety! Wedding dresses are a big deal, and quite sentimental, or have good monetary value. I was mostly hoping that I wouldn’t be laughed at for asking for something so major.”

Her worry was unfounded however and the the response was immediate and incredible. Within a day there were no less than fourteen offers of a dress loan (one of which was me!), two offers for a cake, plus offers to help with flowers or other arrangements if needed.

Matisha Behnsen, another Share New West member, was one of the cake baking offerers. “I love to bake and when I saw her post, I remembered one of my favourite parts of my own wedding was the cake. I felt it was something I could offer that I do well at. I’m not a professional but I’ve been baking ever since I was little. I love how food brings people together and puts a smile on their face.”

Monika said yes to a dress mostly for fit, but also because it was love at first sight. “My ultimate goal was to find one that didn’t require any sort of altering due to the sentiment of the dress but also cost,” she said. “I did honestly love all the dresses I tried on. They were amazing, and all so beautiful.”

The owner of the dress, Desiree Savoy, also pitched in and secured a discount from local business Aloha Dry Cleaners to have her dress cleaned. “They did an amazing job of dry cleaning the dress! It had been stained with chocolate from post-reception fountain clean up, was black on the bottom from a night of dancing in the Foggy Dew, and had numerous other little marks. These stains had been on the dress for almost 12 years, and they got 99% of the stains out. I’m amazed it looks almost brand new!”

A discount on cleaning really helped, said Monika. “We had a very small budget considering the time frame and if I had the option to alter the dress I didn’t really have the funds ready, and just cleaning a wedding dress can be pricy.”

The wedding took place in the Rose Garden in Queen’s Park in June. “The ceremony was chaos, but perfect,” Monika reflected. “It rained. But the rain slowed to a light mist for the duration of the ceremony and it was great. I was late, but it worked out as there were a couple guests who got lost and we wound up having to wait for them anyways!”

Monika’s favourite part is that her daughter, Mara, was able to give her away.

Now, Monika has a deeper connection to our city. “I’ve always loved New West for its physical beauty, but I know now the beauty goes much deeper than the sights you see, the people within the community really make it shine,” she says.

Matisha sums it up for a lot of us “Sharers”. “The Share page has been so wonderful. Getting a chance to give and meet my neighbours has been such a wonderful experience for me. I have a lot of social anxiety so it can be difficult to take that first step to introduce myself to someone new. And the page has provided that for me.”

And sometimes, it provides a very special dress.

Farmers Market Challenge – Unexpected Absence

What do you do when you walk into a world of veggies only to discover there are no veggies?

That was the dilemma I faced last market day. For days I had excitedly anticipated carrots and kale, beets and squash filling my bags. We had been without the über fresh for over a month due to weather extremities; it had been far too long.

I got there early, right as the clock struck 11 a.m. I walked up and down the vender rows. I went inside the tent. I did a second run through. My eyes were surely deceiving me. The only vegetables they saw were potatoes, a beautiful buffet of potatoes, but only potatoes. That was it. Nothing more. After the second run-through, I started asking questions.

The ladies at Kiki’s Kitchen filled me in. The aforementioned weather extremities that had made market conditions too dangerous to proceed a couple weeks earlier, had also wreaked havoc on our farmers’ crops. Winter had come.

I could have walked away. I am sure some did walk away. But what is a challenge without the challenge?

This was an opportunity.

This is what farmers’ markets are all about.

They are unpredictable. They are at the whim of the weather. Nothing is guaranteed.

Except, of course, new discoveries.

Had the veggies been there: I would not have spent $12 on a bag of smoked chanterelles; I would not have stopped before the row of $10 homemade soups; I would not have indulged in that sample of award-winning honey. In my budget-minded books those were luxuries, not necessities. But had I not indulged, those new flavours would forever have been lost on me.

That would have been a shame.

Without the vegetables stealing my attention, this shopping adventure was all about splurging.

Market Loot:

Wheelhouse Seafoods: • 2 salmon burgers ($9)

Kiki’s Kitchen: • 1 jar ginger-beet soup, 2 servings ($10)

Your Wildest Foods • 1 bag of dried smoked chantrelle mushrooms, 6 servings ($12)

Honey Bee Zen • 1 500 ml jar wildflower honey ($9)

Total spent: $40

The salmon burgers and dried mushrooms were not new purchases. We had purchased the salmon in our first week of the summer challenge, and the mushrooms were purchased the first week of the winter challenge. Experienced forager Matt McAllister travels all over North America seeking his mushrooms; he had just got back from a trip to California where he had found “exotic” black trumpet mushrooms. But it was the smoky ones I was interested in. Previously I had tried his fire morels that had been foraged from areas devastated by fire. When you have had smoked mushrooms, it is real hard to go back. The smokiness is deep and dominant. I would recommend pairing them with a dish that is not already overly flavoured. We used ours in risotto and omelettes. We contemplated putting them into a stir fry, but we thought better of it figuring the mushrooms and soy sauce would be in an all out battle for flavour power.

The honey was for my four-year-old, who has been struggling the past month with a cold, turned flu, turned ear infection, turned lingering, hacking cough. As such, he’s been gobbling up our honey stores like crazy. At Honey Bee Zen, I sampled a few of the options, but it was the Harvest Moon that had me salivating for more. Turns out, plenty others too. This flavouring, which has placed first in B.C. the last four years running, was awarded third in its class at the American Beekeepers Federation’s annual Honey Show in Texas the week prior – where it was also auctioned off for $120!

I paid $9 for the same flavour and size.

The soup was all me. After a month of dealing with a sick child, my belly needed comfort, health and ease. Of the three soup vendors on site, I opted for Kiki’s Kitchen. I sampled the super greens and ginger-beet, and the ladies would have allowed me to keep going with the other flavours, but I needed to show restraint, if only for my budget. I was already blown away by the first two.

The super greens was creamy, with a definite, but not overwhelming vegetable note, and a pleasantly, surprising, heated kick at the end. Comparably, the ginger-beet was all ginger. For those who love ginger, this is your soup. Topped with a dusting of parmesan and a few slices of avocado – Oh. My. Yum. I do not know if I have ever had a pureéd soup so delicious. Lucky for me, Kiki and Paula felt they needed a boost of colour in their flavour options, which is how the ginger-beet came to be.

The quantity of my expenditures may not have filled my bags, but they sure did fill my belly.

Fascination with the Fraser

Jennifer Hewitt of video and editing business Clipsake has contributed this article. You can find the first article here.

As a new wife and soon to be Mom, I’ve spent the last year getting reaquainted with the Royal City which I previously called home in the early 2000s while attending Douglas College. Myself and my husband Simon relocated from Vancouver’s Mt. Pleasant neighbourhood in January 2016 and we’ve spent our time finding our new favourite places that have made New Westminster feel like home.

It can be difficult moving to a new community. The butcher, the baker, the sweet espresso maker you’ve come to know and love are all miles away. Your daily commute and your neighbours change all in one fell swoop. The way to thrive? Wander, explore and stay curious!

As the proper nerds that my husband and I are, we got to peering through our new city’s website and looking at plans past, present and future. We were most intrigued by the plans to continue the connections of the different communities along the waterfront. Those proposed connections included the proposed Q2Q bridge and the Waterfront Greenway connection which would effectively link Queensborough, the Quayside/Downtown and Sapperton. So here are some of my favourite places in these ‘hoods.

Queensborough

Favourite memory this year? Seeing the shocked look on a group of shoppers faces as they returned to their cars at Queensborough Landing to find a heavily pregnant woman being photographed while dancing, sans music, by the riverside.  

Viewing a space, a place, a community from different angles is one way to fall in love with a city. Since moving into the Brow of the Hill neighborhood, one of the first places Simon and I started exploring was across the river in Queensborough.

Walking the flat, meandering paths along the Fraser river, past lovely houses, big skies and light industrial lots provided a great backdrop for conversation (no huffing and puffing up hills). We also found looking across the Fraser at the Quay and our own neighborhood framed by mountains, bridges and sky a refreshing take on BC’s oldest city.

Rather than one continuous trail in Queensborough, you will find a series of pathways which encourage you to make make your own way through neighborhoods, railway tracks and roads…but that adds to the fun. Failing to find a detailed walking map of these pathways, I used this map from Let’s Go Biking for my first couple of explorations.

Also in this neighborhood, the popular Queensborough Landing shopping centre backs along a section of the Fraser River that houses log booms, river birds and great views of the Queensborough bridge, though I haven’t yet shopped here…. Instead it served as the spot where we took our maternity photographs, cementing it as a special place for us for years to come.

The River Market  / Westminster Pier Park

Favourite memory this year? Watching the Filipino senior dancers perform traditional dances before breaking into a modern dance set to Lady Gaga’s, ‘Poker Face’ during the Canada Day 2016 Multicultural Festival.

This area has changed dramatically in the 15 years since I last lived in New Westminster. The river that used to be a place to admire from up the hill is now a place filled with public art, spaces to gather and lots of quality places to eat, drink and be merry!

In fact, whether travelling abroad or in her own city, one of my favourite ways to explore is a bit Pac-Manesque…. nom nom nom. An ideal way to explore the Quay is starting at the west side of the Quay, stop in to meet the local brewmasters at Steel and Oak.

Get some exercise before calling into the River Market. If you are like me and are heavily pregnant, you might grab some of the amazing fried chicken from Re-up and sit comfortably while watching people bend and contort in amazing ways at the circus school.

Maybe finish with a gelato from Tre Galli Gelato Caffe (their pizza is also AMAZING) and get back outside where you could find people jogging, doing yoga and even playing volleyball while watching the tugs go by. Even if you aren’t into yoga, the sight of a crowd of people in bright tights bending and moving in the sunshine is a far cry from the abandoned feeling this place used to have not so long ago.

The vibrant River Market now gives people a reason to come down the hill (despite the inevitable uphill return 😉 thanks to the variety of shops and events that take place there. The recent Feast on the Fraser gave people the chance to get to know local chefs at Wild Rice Bistro. This was an event that turned strangers into life long accomplices in the destruction of  innocent carrots and tomatoes as the group attempted garnishes and learned to fillet a salmon.

Heading down to the hammocks and the reclining bench seats are perfect places to relax with a treat and a book. Finishing off your walk, don’t you dare fight the urge to take a photo with the largest public art installation from the 2014-2016 Vancouver Biennale 2014-2016. Tag your photos #wowwestminster to get in on the online record, or save these photos for years to come to show your nearest and dearest how dramatically different the waterfront looks once again.

Finally, cross to the wrong side of the tracks and go visit local bean buster, Old Crow Coffee to fortify you for the walk home!

Sapperton

Favourite memory this year? The popping of a dozen corks (sparkling juice of course 😉 at the launch of the Clipsake website in Glenbrook Ravine park under a perfectly sunny sky.

Checking out the other proposed connection to the trail along the Fraser (Sapperton Landing to Westminster Pier Park), the 1km stretch of Sapperton landing trail is a great place to head after taking in the view from up the hill in Glenbrook at The Castle Neighborhood Grill .

You get bonus points if you manage to completely perplex your English relatives as I’m wont to do by introducing them to the Castle breakfast yorkies. Nothing like the original yorkshire pudding, but so, so good.

At the Annual Sapperton Day Street Festival this year, I saw a performance by the Royal City Swing Dancers and I was hooked. These guys and gals will give you some comedy, music and yes, dancing on a Friday night in Sapperton if you’re up for it!

A trip to downton Sapperton is like a treat to yourself or to your nearest and dearest if you are in a generous mood. I recommend beginning your little stop with rich, dark Italian coffee and sweet treat from Fratellis. Then you will find it easy to hit up the trifecta of local love by visiting 3 boutiques all on one block that sell Canadian and local gifts, blooms and treats. In fact, it is almost dare worthy to say that I bet you can’t walk into  Bloom Bloom Room, Cadeaux and Banana Lab and leave without a smile and a treat.

The New Westminster Culture Crawl this year saw artists opening up the doors to their workshop and welcoming everyone to see the variety of art. Everything from quilting to metal works, photography to mixed media. 100 Braid Street Studios in Sapperton is one beautiful space for artists and events. Not to mention it is the last historical industrial buildings still in tact in New Westminster, though its future is in question.

Wandering down the busy Columbia street past Hume Park, you will find a stretch of The Central Valley Greenway that follows the Brunette River. This year, the river was thick with spawning salmon being watched by curious photographers, herons perched in trees and the occasional bear. Driving on this busy stretch of road between Lougheed and New Westminster, you would never guess that this natural wonder was taking place just behind the trees. For that reason, I encourages you to meander, wander and explore New Westminster to make it feel like home.

 

Monthly Theme: Memory

We’re hard at work putting together the December/January issue of the print magazine, which means my list of stuff to do is full of cryptic, single-word notations, rather than my usual explanatory phrases jotted down thoughtfully. Without the list, I’d forget so much, but even taking 45 seconds to write the list seems like a poor use of time. But I don’t trust my memory the way I used to and so I scrawl “just enough” into my notebook to stay organized.

Memory is funny—we spend so much time talking about it and working to improve it and yet, when we actually need to access it, we sometimes are bad at it. I’ve listened to quite a few podcasts lately (Serial and Someone Knows Something are two I’ve enjoyed) that deal in themes of how a person’s memory can fail or fade, especially in stressful situations. There’s lots of science exploring false memories, and recent research even suggests false memories can help people in unfamiliar situations.

dad-huntingRecently, I had the chance to share some memories about my dad with a friend I’ve only known a few years. Through talking about him, I eventually got chatting about what life was like growing up as a west coast kid living in a small town where industry and economy was dictated by resources. My dad logged, hunted, fished, and worked various jobs: on fish boats, at the pulp mill, in the bush, eventually settling on repairing furnaces and boilers—work he’d learned in the Navy.

I have a memory of him that has such startling clarity, I feel like I’m watching a movie. Dad would come home from work, wearing the exact same outfit he always did: a navy polo shirt, work jeans, pull-on work boots, wool socks. He’d come in through the basement door, take off his flannel, plaid, lined work jacket. He’d head directly down the hall to the laundry room and wash his hands in the concrete basin using a scoop of powdered Sunlight detergent. Once “clean”, he’d take a glob of Vaseline and smear it into his work hands to try and soften the callouses and prevent dryness. He’d clap his hands together, and they would make a particular squooshy sound. As a six year old, I loved watching this ritual. It must have signalled that Dad was home for the day.

If I asked my brother or my mom about this, there’s a great chance they wouldn’t have the same memory at all, or that the memory would be different than mine. But this memory forms a really important part of how I remember my dad, and in how I organize my thoughts about him; it is an example of the hard work I know he put into his jobs.

This month on Tenth, if you haven’t already guessed, the theme is Memory. We’d love to hear from you about your memories, ways you use them, and perhaps even some recollections of the New Westminster of days gone by. We’ve got some posts ready to give you advice on how to share and preserve those memories, and I’m hoping to bring you some in-depth articles I’ve been working on that will hopefully jog your memory and compel you to act about situations facing our community, such as seismic mitigation of schools or transportation.

Please feel welcome to contribute your writing, photos, events, and art. You can reach out to me on Twitter or via email.

One last thing: 2016 Remembrance Day Service

New West’s Remembrance Day service is outdoor, at the cenotaph located in front of City Hall at 511 Royal Avenue. The service will commence at 10:30am. Parade assembly is at 10:25am at Queens Avenue and 6th Street. Wreath pick up from tent on City Hall front lawn begins at 9:00am. All members of the public are invited to attend. For more information please call 604-527-4581 or email specialevents@newwestcity.ca.

The Waters That Run the World

The Waters that Run the World-01Before rail and cars, rivers served as transportation routes, linking cities and regions in countries around the world. Working rivers are as essential to the social and economic prosperity of the regions they serve as other forms of infrastructure. While moving people and goods around are a big part of a river’s function, they also provide populations with food and water for both drinking and other human activities, such as agriculture and electricity generation. Today, working rivers are often associated with history, and the role they’ve played in the development and exploration of different countries and civilizations. However, many of these rivers are just as important to the populations they serve today.

Generally, working rivers are sources of fresh water that provide many benefits. These contributions are usually related to industry and social wellbeing, making the long-term sustainability of rivers essential to earth’s populations. If rivers are no longer able to “work” for local economies and populations, an existential threat arises to those who rely on that water to sustain themselves.

The exploration of Canada would not have been possible without rivers, which helped make this vast country navigable. Once people got to where they wanted to be, the river continued to work for them, and cities and towns quickly developed beside rivers to support industry and human life.

With advancements in transportation, rivers don’t receive as much attention as they once did. However, settlements along rivers primarily use them as channels to transport goods between cities and ports. For example, in Central Africa, the Congo River is the main conduit for trade between countries and provinces in a basin home to over 115 million people.

The Waters that Run the World-02The Waters that Run the World-06In BC, the Fraser River serves as a working commercial route, facilitating the transportation of all sorts of goods and supporting industries such as fishing and agriculture. The Fraser Valley, which runs along the south bank of the river from Richmond to Greater Chilliwack, is home to some of Canada’s most fertile farmland.

As well as industry, working rivers are vital to the social wellbeing of their regions, serving as a source of food and fresh water for human activities. While fresh water only makes up about one percent of the earth’s surface, roughly 40 percent of the planet’s more than 28,000 known species of fish are found in lakes, rivers, and streams.

For many indigenous populations living along working rivers, fish stocks are a very important part of their diet and culture. In BC, Fraser River salmon is inextricably tied to First Nations’ history, and has been their most important food source for generations, along with sturgeon and other fish found in the Fraser.

The Waters that Run the World-04According to UBC’s Indigenous Foundations, Coast Salish First Nations have managed Fraser River fisheries and lived off salmon for thousands of years. For local First Nations communities, salmon is not only a dietary staple, but is of cultural and ceremonial importance.

Like all ecosystems, working rivers cannot sustain communities unless they are properly looked after. The importance of river stewardship has grown in in recent years, especially in rapidly-developing regions like Central Africa and South America, the respective homes of the Congo and Amazon basins. Deforestation and mineral exploitation has contributed to increased degradation of the Amazon and Congo rivers, and overfishing has led to a shortage in food for indigenous populations who depend on those waters to sustain themselves.

The Waters that Run the World-03The Fraser River has experienced its share of challenges, most of which are related to declining salmon runs, and the balancing of industry and environmental interests. If the Fraser is to continue working for First Nations and all its stakeholders, consensus is that private, public, and indigenous stakeholders must be involved in developing lasting solutions for the river.

If you want to learn more about the various working rivers in this article, consider visiting the Fraser River Discovery Centre, located on New Westminster’s Riverfront at 788 Quayside Drive, where many of the issues concerning working rivers are featured in the Centre’s self-guided galleries and exhibits.