Tis the Season – Winter Celebrations at Anvil Centre

It’s being described as a ‘cornucopia of entertainment for everyone.’ And after checking out the event listing I can confirm there is something for everyone. There’s a hip-hop dance party, musical performances, singalongs and art installations, yoga and an Indigenous Circle – Storytelling and Tea.

Winter Celebrations kicks off on December 18th at 1pm at the Anvil Centre with an evening of joyful choir performances followed by Quayside Voices.

And Christmas isn’t complete without a reading of the Dickens classic, ‘A Christmas Carol.’ On December 21st and 22nd New West Performing Arts Collective will perform this staged reading.

There truly is something for everyone. Be sure to check out the website for a full breakdown of events.

Many of the events held on the main level of the Anvil Centre are free however tickets for events held in the theatre range from $10-$20 with some lower prices for students. Ticketsnw has them available for purchase now!

Women on Wednesdays brings new workshop to New West

Women on Wednesdays (WoW), a local group established to create space for women to gather and strengthen their participation in the democratic process, is hosting an exciting workshop in two weeks on Wednesday, December 5th.

See Something, Say Something: Confronting Harm for Women in Leadership is an event being held jointly by New West’s own WoW (Women on Wednesday) and FACEBC (Feminist Association for Collaborative Education).

After a moment where they didn’t know how best to speak up, WoW’s organizers Councillor Nadine Nakagawa and Trudi Goels realized there is a great opportunity to learn. They partnered with FACEBC and both are excited to host this important event in New Westminster.

In this workshop, participants will examine some of the tools that women in leadership roles can use to draw attention to someone’s harmful behavior, or draw the community’s attention to harm. What is a call in? What is a call out? What other ways can we confront harm? When is each method of confronting harm appropriate and what are the risks associated with each? This workshop will explore the ways we can have these difficult discussions in compassionate and community building ways.

This workshop is reserved for women-identified, transgender and non-binary folks.

There are tickets available through the FACBC website https://www.facebc.org/ on a sliding scale and free tickets are available by emailing Amanda@FaceBC.org. Your ticket includes a hearty vegan meal (sorry it is not allergen free).

The event details are:
Wednesday December 5th
7:00 to 9:00 PM
350 Columbia Avenue – New Westminster
The venue is accessible with a ramp at the front door, elevator to get between floors, and the bathrooms will be marked gender neutral for the evening.

For more information:

Craft fairs are coming to town

The holiday season and craft fairs go hand-in-hand. And craft fair season is upon us people – get  yourself ready because there are quite a few in New Westminster in the next month.

I spotted a few signs around town this past week and thought that a compiled list of New West – based fairs would be beneficial to everyone. (Note: If you know of one and want me to add it please email hello@tenthtothefraser.ca).

Here they are in chronological order so you can add them your calendar:

Herbert Spencer Craft Fair
605 Second Street
Saturday, November 24th

Thornbridge Gardens
649 8th Avenue
Saturday, November 24th

Christmas Crafts in Support of the Deaf-Blind Community of Vancouver
Hosted at the River Market
Saturday, November 24th

St. Peter’s Church Bazaar
330 Royal Avenue
Saturday, November 24th

New West Craft – night market!
Hosted at the River Market and 100 Braid Street Studios
Saturday, December 1st

Fridays on Front (under the parkade)
Friday, December 14th

New West Craft
Hosted at the River Market
Saturday, December 15th

And while it is technically in Burnaby the craft fair held at St Thomas More Collegiate is along Tenth Avenue:
Knights Christmas Market at St Thomas More Collegiate
November 24 & 25th

The New West Farmers Market primarily hosts food vendors but also has a small selection of artisans.
Saturday, November 17, December 1st and December 15th
Belmont Street

Voting with your dollar

It’s a regular occurrence unfortunately. A local business announces that they’re closing up shop for one of a number of reasons: lease terminated, profit margin too slim, irregular flow of business, cost increases, or just fatigue.

A lot of these reasons seem out of our control, so what can a community like New Westminster do? I believe it starts with small, regular steps and active decision making. I believe that every day we vote with our dollar. As such I wanted to share a few actions I take to vote with my dollar. But I also invite you to share what your favourite small businesses are in New West and what you buy from them.

Farmers Market
This year I made a conscious decision to purchase eggs from vendors at the New West Farmers Market instead of buying from the major chain grocery stores. This may have meant spending $1-2 more per dozen eggs but I knew that the money was going directly to the food producers and quite often the eggs were fresher, larger and proven free range or BCSPCA Certified.
During berry season (which was pretty amazing) I bought a large amount of berries from local vendors like Mandair Farms, Maan Farms, Peace Arch Farms and others. Their berries were normally picked and packed in the morning for delivery and sale that afternoon. My freezer is now packed with local produce ready for a smoothie or baked treat and I don’t need to buy imported berries at 3 times the price.

Pet food and products
Most major grocery stores carry a variety of pet products, some better than others. I made a conscious decision to stay out of big box providers and buy from small businesses in New West that offer the food my cat needs.

Spice, baking supplies and all things wonderful
Galloway’s is one of those incredible places that hasn’t changed much over the years. The ticket system sometimes works but the prices remain low and the products are pretty consistent. I remember my grandmother used to go there specifically at Christmas time to buy crystallized ginger claiming it was the best.

Did you know that Kozak Ukrainian Bakery in Uptown sells a dark chocolate sourdough loaf? I’m definitely a babka bun fan paired with a warm latte.

There are plenty of smaller product vendors scattered around New West. Each of them offer their own blend of unique products. While not all of their produce is locally grown, I try and shop there as I know the funds will go to a local business owner. I particularly enjoy shopping at Freshico in Glenbrooke North and try and go there regularly.

So, New West, how do you vote with your dollar? What are you favourite local businesses? Do you know of a gem? Share below and encourage others to keep them in business.

Spare Parts Adventure Society Brings the Fun on October 4th

Spare Parts Adventure Society is having its next pop-up adventure playground Thursday, October 4th at Tipperary Park in New Westminster from 3pm-6pm. Come build with us during the last New West Farmers Market of the Summer season. We will be set up close to Queens Ave adjacent to the market and running rain or shine!
Spare Parts Adventure is about encouraging free play and is meant to be wonderfully unstructured! We encourage parents to take a mostly hands off approach and see what your kids create using their imagination! We provide basic tools such as saws and hammers as well as nails for the kids. We will also be on site supervising from a distance with an aim to ensure safety but not directing the play.
October 4, 2018 at 3pm – 6pm
New West Farmers Market
Tipperary Park
315 Queens Ave, New Westminster
Follow our adventures, volunteer with us and find our next pop-up through our website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!
Twitter: @sparepartsnw

The Man from New West

I’m a prairie kid. I’ve lived on the west coast for half my life now, but my shoulders still relax when I hit the flat land. Sometimes I pretend I am there when I drive the 17 to Tsawwassen . . .

I came to Vancouver for grad school, and landed a federal job as I was finishing my thesis. I used to say I got stuck. Used to say I don’t get this rain thing; you get wet. But after 24 years I can now maneuver an umbrella with the best of them.

My first husband used to say that if you are going to live in Vancouver, live in Vancouver. Then we moved to Burnaby. We purchased a brand new townhouse. Got a dog. Had a kid. Then we ended.

Leap forward ten years. Ten soul searching, demon releasing, voice finding years. I can hear the rain as I write this – the cars on Columbia – and perhaps catch a glimpse of a tug on the Fraser if I get up from my chair and look out the living room window of my high rise apartment.

I was still living in Burnaby when I met the Man from New West. I want to use geography and weather analogies to describe him but that feels trite. He was a force. A big, huge, rolling personality. His dog is mine now, and the aging Boston Terrier can get some air when he greets you. With all four paws off the ground and a teethy grin, I am always reminded of his first owner.

My second husband lived in New West for most of his time on the West Coast. He was a Toronto boy, but you couldn’t hear it in his intonation. When I met him he had been a bus driver for over five years and so he knew parts of the Lower Mainland in great detail, but he most especially knew New West. And when I – out of a very old habit – wanted to drive into Vancouver for something, he would always suggest that we could find the same closer to the Fraser.

It’s thanks to the Man from New West that the pier boardwalk became a regular part of my life, and that 3rd Avenue hill. Angelina’s and Amelia’s. The Neil Douglas Guitar Shop and Royal City Jewellers were part of our regular routines, as we went down an ever refreshing, stringed rabbit hole.

It was on the day Donald Trump was elected that we became uncomfortably familiar with Royal Columbian Hospital. A month before we hopped on an aquabus near Granville Island and tied the knot, the Man from New West received a diagnosis of stage four colon cancer. We walked the blue line on the floor of RC many times until we shifted treatment to BC Cancer in Surrey, at which point we crossed back and forth on the Pattullo Bridge. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Chris arranged a solo photo shoot in Gastown shortly after he and Jana were married. Photo credit: Sarah Eshpeter

We received support from Polo Health + Longevity Centre as that New West man struggled to manage his cancer. And eventually we took over the back room of Heritage Grill, for a living wake.

Visiting with old and cherished friends at Chris’ living wake. Photo credit: Gillian Taradash

On 25 September 2017, my husband was the recipient of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) in the home we boldly purchased together during a year of disease, near the Fraser. His was the first assisted death in New Westminster. And thanks to the New West Hospice Society’s efforts to have New Westminster declared a Compassionate City, I don’t have to fear speaking about this end of life choice.

Being a Compassionate City will change how we act and what we we believe to be true by encouraging people and organizations to talk about dying, death and loss. Everyone becomes a compassionate neighbour, knowing what to do and what to say to those that are experiencing end-of-life. We envision a city with open dialogue in coffee shops & schools and caring for our neighbours when they need it. https://newwesthospice.ca/compassionate-communities/

MAID has been a legal right in Canada for over two years, but there are still so many – horrific – obstacles to its access. Since my husband died I have been learning about these obstacles, and raising my voice to bring change. Our experience was such a blessed one. The Fraser Health New West Palliative Team had never supported a MAID until they began to work with us, but they did not show the fear and judgement that some health care professionals are expressing. Instead they showed us the most beautiful mix of humanity and professionalism. And thank goodness for that, because the Man from New West released a lot of anger and fear in his dying. Perhaps you read about the elderly couple in Toronto who had simultaneous assisted deaths? They are somewhat the poster children for the peace that can come with this choice. And so I will continue to speak as I am to you right now, of what is most simply a choice. Just as in grief, there are no norms in death beyond the ones we make for ourselves.

The rain has stopped outside my window as I round these words out. The days are getting shorter and for each one of late, I hold a singular passage of the earth around the sun. Hold my year old heart. Hear the echo of an angry, insular man as he let go. But it’s not his anger I hear when I descend the wooden steps to Front St and Rain City Juicery, Hive Cafe, Old Crow, Fridays on Front. I hear the taunt of a broad shouldered, bearded man brimming with life, slipping his hand into the back pocket of my jeans and saying, “See?”

The day before Chris’ assisted death, his 41st birthday. Photo credit: Jana Buhlmann


Photo credit for feature image: Ellie Ericson Photography