Megan’s Top 10 Reasons Why New West is Awesome

This is a guest post by Megan Sargent, a recent tranplant from Ontario via Prairies for a nine-year stop on her way to the West Coast.

The renovated River Market will be a treat when it opens. Photo: Briana Tomkinson.
The renovated River Market will be a treat when it opens. Photo: Briana Tomkinson.

1. The Quay/Boardwalk

The Quay is being redone! No longer ugly and mostly empty, it’s got a shiny new renovation and is set to open very soon. The Boardwalk along the Fraser River is great for running, walking, holding hands, and watching Sea Lions and Harbour Seals in the water (it’s true! I saw three of them playing around by the Quay two weeks ago), and watching the tugboats.

2. The mall at New West Station.

In the process of being done right now. This mall will have a movie theatre attached to the SkyTrain station! How awesome is that?

3. New West is close to everything.

The SkyTrain. Just 27min to downtown. Bonuses: 85% of the time you get a seat and 100% of the time you don’t have to transfer at Commercial.
New West has fast connections to the 99, highway 1, etc. Making it fast and easy to get to Delta, Surrey, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Vancouver, Richmond -basically anywhere in the Lower Mainland.

4. Rent is cheap.

Rent is a whole lot cheaper than Downtown Vancouver. I recently saw an ad for a two-level loft condo with water and mountain views on the Quay for $1200 a month.

5. New West has a lot of bars and restaurants.

Seriously. I think the per capita of bars to people in New West is astronomical. And not scuzzy bars either (although we have those too! Hey, everyone needs those sometimes).

There are loads of sushi places in New West, plus there are cool restaurants like The Heritage Grill, which has live music every night. And the pubs: River’s Reach, The Terminal, etc. And we have a martini bar. Who needs Yaletown and Yaletown priced drinks?

Plus we have “Fever” the nightclub, if you’re into that sort of thing.

6. New West has lots of great recreation spots.

  • There is a Bikram’s yoga studio right across the street from Columbia Skytrain station.
  • Queen’s Park!
  • There are cheap lacrosse games to go to.
  • There is $1 skating on Wed nights at Moody Park Arena
  • The Quay boardwalk
  • The New Westminster Secondary School District has lots of great adult programs. They have tons of stuff like photography classes, Yoga, Women’s Floor Hockey, cooking classes, and Tai Chi (which I’m taking right now) and they’re cheap!
  • There are putting in a new waterfront park along Front Street, which will have beach volley ball courts (so I’m told), if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • There are at least 3 off-leash dog parks that I know about (and I don’t have a dog) .

7. New West if full of awesome Heritage Houses

A lot of times I just go for walks to see all the amazing houses and architecture around.

8. New West is FULL of great breakfast/brunch places.

My personal favourite right now is Couzies. But there are lots of great brunch options and coffee shops.

9. New West has great shopping.

What? I know what you’re thinking, but it’s true! There is Army & Navy, plus lots of funky independent stores and if those don’t float your boat there are the outlet stores in Queensborough.

10. New West has a strong sense of community.

We are fun people to hang out with. Enough said.

New West heritage on Flickr

I came across a fabulous collection of photos lovingly detailing many of New Westminster’s historical buildings on Flickr today. From Queens Park jewelboxes and historic churches to humble peaked-roof homes on the Brow of the Hill, it showcases  the variety of architecture and neighbourhoods in our beloved city.

These particular photos were taken by a Coquitlam photographer with a passion for heritage buildings who goes by Bob_2006. Thanks for capturing all this, Bob!

I love checking in to see what our local talent has shared on Flickr. Another great source for photos of New West is the Royal City Flickr photo pool, which has 122 members! Many of New West’s archival photos are also online (though not, unfortunately, on Flickr … would be so much easier to search).

While I’m on the subject of photography, I also wanted to share that the Royal City Farmers Market is planning a monthly photo contest this year. Just tag your market photos with RCFM2009 in the Royal City Flickr Pool and you’ll be entered to win some swag.

Update: For more on Bob Hare’s work documenting heritage buildings around the Lower Mainland, check out fellow hyperlocal blogger’s post from the Tri-Cities point of view.

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Irving House’s twist on Christmas tradition: apple garlands

Those seeking ideas for sustainable decorations this Christmas, should cast their eye to the keepers of the past. New Westminster’s Irving House museum is profiled on Gardenwise for their unusual twist on a traditional garland that uses real apples for a beautiful and memorable look.

At Irving House in New Westminster the halls really are decked with boughs of holly — and lots of other traditional accents that transform the home into a celebration of a Victorian Christmas.

There are probably not many better places to evoke the spirit of the season than at this heritage home, where visitors are transported back to the 1860s and the ambiance of Victorian times.

Full instructions (and more illustrations of these lovely and eco-friendly decorations) are on Gardenwise .

The pinnacle of guest room perfection – in New West!

In a recent Globe & Mail column, Vancouver-based HGTV designer Kelly Deck draws on the example of a New Westminster friend’s home to illustrate dos and don’ts of guest room decor :

For seven years, Gillian has been ceaselessly redecorating the interior of her New Westminster home. Last Sunday, we ascended a narrow fir staircase to a room where Gillian has created a warm and romantic retreat for the guests she and Michael are expecting this holiday season. As is her habit, the room is a clever blend of old and new, with a general air of welcome.

As I drove home that afternoon, I thought about why Gillian’s guest room felt right and well thought out, while those in many other homes (ones by designers included) often feel wrong. I think she’s got a few easy do’s and don’ts for us.

Sounds very Queen’s Park to me! Seriously though, I do think that many homes here in New West aspire to that “clever blend of old and new, with a general air of welcome.” Deck never says that her friend Gillian owns a heritage home, but the “narrow fir staircase” and the aim to blend old with new hints at it.

For those who are wondering, the tips in the article include:

  • Give guests room to store their junk
  • Don’t be too feminine
  • Buy good sheets
  • Smash that cheap ceiling light
  • Don’t skip the window finishes
  • Resist putting family photos on the wall
  • Remember the thoughtful touches

From the photo with the article, this is indeed a stellar example of a guest room. Gillian from New West has even framed a collection of cheeky poems as the wall art! Kudos to Gillian. Wonder what other gems local decorating divas have concocted …

New course series for heritage home lovers

Heritage home aficionados can now sign up for applied courses on home restoration through the Vancouver Heritage Foundation:

… the Vancouver Heritage Foundation, established in 1992 and best known for raising money and awareness through workshops and its wildly popular annual heritage home tours, to offer a unique educational series.

It’s called Old School: Courses for Building Conservation, and it’s designed to meld heritage theory with hands-on practice.

The $400 certificate program comprises a mandatory core course called Heritage 101, as well as seven elective courses.

Graduation – and it’s expected it will take you about two years to complete the program schedule – is dependent on attendance and most courses are available evenings and weekends, in fall and spring sessions.

If you’re not looking for the diploma, you can pick and choose individual courses, which range in price from $12 to $100, and include Windows and their Conservation, Research the History of a Building, Creating a Budget for a Conservation Project, and Creating a Conservation Plan.

Instructors include familiar names in Metro Vancouver heritage circles, like consultant and author Don Luxton and Eric Pattison, a New Westminster architect who specializes in heritage building.

Source: No longer a deal, vintage homes priced for heritage and “green” benefits”, Vancouver Sun