Monthly Theme: Beginnings

Welcome, 2017. A lot of people have been anticipating your arrival.

It feels so wonderful to be back to the routine, in a new year, despite the arctic weather than refuses to shove off.

Here at Tenth, we considered but decided against a year-in-review post. We’re focused on looking forward. A fresh beginning. It’s why we’ve chosen “beginnings” as our theme this month and we encourage you to share with Tenth readers your thoughts on “beginnings” in the comments. You can also see the end of this post for ways you can help contribute to the site.

Here in New Westminster, the community starts the year with a peculiar immediate need. The Arenex, a beloved part of our community, has collapsed due to the accumulated weight of the snow. I know many people are waiting to hear what exactly happened, but there have been hints that the new roof’s insulative properties may have contributed to the snow not melting fast enough. We all await the engineer’s reports. A huge kudos to the staff members who took action when they heard unusual noises of creaking. So many people would have just ignored it. Their actions ensured that no one was injured.

It’s so unexpected, isn’t it? “Collapsed due to the weight of the snow” is nowhere near the top of my list of possible building failures here in our southern West Coast town. I would have expected earthquake (see also Richard McBride) or even arson before “snow weight”. For so many now, the return to routine also begins the work of relocating and rebuilding clubs and programs that relied on this community resource. Clubs like the Shasta Trampoline who have lost essential training equipment (there’s a gofundme campaign to replace their equipment if you’re able to help). A Facebook Group has been created to share memories and I am loving reading all the stories—especially of things I didn’t know much about, like the boxing club and the rifle range, or of important moments in the lives of New Westers: first steps, first awards, first friends. The Arenex’s future is a story I’ll personally be following closely. It does represent an interesting beginning for our community.

This month also marks an important month to consider ourselves. You don’t need to make resolutions, but I find January the most perfect time to start something new or refresh a part of my home with a bit of decluttering. On Boxing Day, we all went through our drawers and closets to find clothes and shoes to donate, and I went through my overstuffed craft cupboard to do something more meaningful with unused supplies.

We hope the stories we bring this month inspire you in some small way to begin something afresh, too.

One little bit of housekeeping: we’re looking for volunteers interested in helping our site. We know the site is well trafficked and that people search for community information – lots of it. Not a week goes by when someone doesn’t come looking for the “best barber in New West”. The reality is that although the print magazine is slowly gaining some traction, the website doesn’t generate revenue and unfortunately falls to the bottom of my list after family and paid work, where it competes for precious time allocated to volunteering for a number of causes. If you’re itching to write or get involved where you live or work, we offer a lot of flexibility and support to get you going on contributing, including story ideas and editing support. I am constantly asked to cover stuff in the community—whether it is events or fundraisers or new businesses or new ventures or new societies or important issues—and there’s just no way for me to get to all of the requests. A lot of the groups that ask for coverage aren’t able to muster the volunteer power to write about it themselves, so this is a really great way to contribute. Get in touch with me if you can help.


Monthly Theme: Celebration

We chose “celebration”as this issue’s theme because we wanted to showcase the diversity of what celebration means in New Westminster. Instead of a collection of predictable holiday stories (though I assure you there will certainly be some of those), this issue explores celebration from other angles—the challenges of creating celebrations in our city, celebrating ourselves, our traditions, our families, and celebrating both life and death.

In the dark of winter, I take comfort in bright sparks that light my way: meeting a friend I haven’t seen in a long time, warm mugs by the fireplace, making time to read a book, brown leaves crunching under boots, and maybe a few too many of my favourite cookies*.

Whatever you celebrate in December—or don’t—I hope January 1, 2017, feels like opening a brand new notebook: a fresh start for a new year and a renewed sense of celebration of the life we live together, here in New West.  

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Nests (aka Poopstacks)
No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Nests (aka Poopstacks)

*My Favourite Cookies – No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Nests

These cookies are super sweet and really simple to make. You can easily adapt to be vegan, gluten free, or nut free if you’d like.


  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • ⅔ cup peanut butter
  • About ½ cup flaked coconut
  • ¼ cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup milk (I sometimes use coconut milk)
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine


  • Line cookie sheets with waxed paper. In medium bowl, mix oats, peanut butter, coconut, cocoa and vanilla; set aside.
  • In 1-quart saucepan, heat sugar, milk and butter to boiling. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour over oat mixture; quickly stir to mix well.
  • Immediately drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets; cool. Carefully remove from waxed paper to serve.

The print magazine:

Our December/January issue is now available at an expanded list of distributors. I’d like to say thank you to our subscribers and this issue’s advertisers, whose support is the reason we are able to bring you this magazine issue after issue. Please support their businesses!

For a complete index of all of the articles in this print edition, please visit the issue page.


Monthly Theme: Wellness

Does anyone else feel like a switch has been flipped and we are firmly in autumn mode almost suddenly? I sure do. Leaves are turning colours and falling, my furnace got a dusting and a new filter before being woken up, and I’m wearing socks for the first time in months. I went hunting for a favourite pair of gloves the other day, and had a moment out with a friend last night where I yearned for the jacket I’d ignored as I walked out the door. Yup, it’s definitely not summer anymore.

beeAt our house, we’re back at the school-kid grind. I’m always amazed at the ease of which the school seems to fall into routine, like a bee hive where all members have a job to do to ensure success. Teachers to shepherd young minds, admin and staff to set a tone and keep the building running as well as it can, and students to fill their minds up with everything they’re learning – academic and social. Some kids transition pretty seamlessly into school, some need a bit of support to feel they’re in the right place. But, here, as we enter October, it seems to be a fairly well-oiled machine and needs are being met as best they can.

I’m bracing for the onslaught of colds and maybe even *shudder* lice that inevitably comes with a swell of school kids with their heads together and *knock wood* so far we haven’t succumbed to either. We’re still trying to grasp the last of the summer and spend time putting the garden to bed before the first frosts hit. Tomorrow, we’re heading to the New West Apple Press Fest to really make autumn feel welcome.

If I can make one request, readers? Please keep the storm drains in your neighbourhoods as clear as possible. When the rains hit (and it’s a given, here on the wet coast), clear storm drains make the streets less flooded and more safe.

This month, our theme on Tenth is Wellness. Our print issue is out at distributors starting today, featuring a beautiful cover illustration by my co-publisher, Johanna Bartels. Articles from the print magazine will be out on the website soon and we’ll be sharing and promoting them throughout the month.

We want to share stories this month that show off how well our community is and what parts need improvement. I’m hoping some of you will feel compelled to write about traffic, transportation, transit, housing, health, taxes, city services, community organizations… you name it.  Come to us with your ideas, and let’s share it on Tenth. Talking to one another in the community is one way to keep it well and a community mindful of wellness is a place I like living in.


Monthly Theme: Balance

facebook-03This month, our theme is balance.

For my family, September is about the mad rush of back to school and trying to get into the swing of weekly classes, practises, and early bedtimes. It is hard to juggle the incredible weather we (usually) experience in September with the need to get adequate rest for the hustle and bustle of what we’ve signed up for. There’s just so much “outside-ing” to do before the weather takes a turn for the worst and I don’t want to miss any of it. We are booked up in September, but I like it. I’m content with how much time I’ve spent this summer lake swimming and splashing in Hume Park pool, sitting on grass doing nothing but sweating, and trying to come up with unique ways to convince my kid it really is bedtime despite the bright sunshine streaming through his curtains.

I’ve been thinking lately that “busy” shouldn’t be the badge of honour it has become. I’ve noticed I’ve fallen back into saying “busy” when I’m asked how things are going. The truth is that I’m not busy all the time. When I track my time—and I do, it’s a habit I’ve gotten into as a result of being a freelancer who often bills by the hour—I can see that there are big chunks of my day where I’m not doing anything that would fall under “busy”: lunch with a friend, catching a movie with my kid, getting a pedicure. These are fabulous things to spend my time on. More correctly, I was “occupied”, not “busy”.

There are also chunks of my time where I’m frazzled or pressured. For example, earlier this week, I was editing a document and it wasn’t going as fast as I’d like and I was worried about making the deadline I’d promised. Another time I only had 30 minutes to get somewhere 35 minutes away and I was feeling nervous about being late. Had someone called me on my phone and asked how I was at, I’d have said I was “busy”. But these chunks of time don’t equal the occupied and calm chunks of time, they just feel bigger.

A lot of “busy” is actually just not being able cope with the stresses and demands of our modern lives as well as we think we are supposed to.

You may have noticed that Tenth to the Fraser was a little quiet over the summer. That’s because I gave myself permission to shed my self-imposed burden of responsibility to post something every single weekday. It was making me feel frazzled and—yup, you guessed—busy for no real reason.

Tenth to the Fraser isn’t just about me and what I want to post. It has always been an arena for conversations and opinions from anyone willing to submit—we’ve always tried to provide a balance of opinions. So, this September, I’m going to continued posting at a pace that gives me balance, and I encourage you to submit something to help fill in the gaps to keep the conversation coming. Maybe writing something for fun will help you feel balanced, too.

What kinds of posts are we looking for? Here’s some ideas to get you going. We’d love to hear from you.

  • Tell us why your event or cherished organization is so great. Don’t just send in the event or organization details, write from your heart and tell everyone why they should get involved. I can help you edit it.
  • What is it about New West that makes you happy? What makes you mad?
  • How do you balance the demands of your work and your life outside of work?
  • Tell us about your favourite activity that needs balance.
  • Profile a person you think is awesome.
  • Balance some rocks at the riverfront and snap pictures of it and submit a photo essay.
  • Tell a story.

Hoping you find balance in your lives this month, my fellow New Westers.

Monthly Resources, Links, and Suggestions

Some resources to get you thinking this month.

In your calendar: This month we recommend you fit in:

  1. Recovery Day in Uptown New Westminster on September 10, featuring a performance by the one and only Bif Naked.
  2. Tourism New Westminster’s Feast on the Fraser – specifically the Royal City Farmers Market Farm to Long Table dinner at Tipperary Park on September 29. Info and tickets coming out soon, but save the date for now.

Reading list: Check out this great post in the New York Times, The Busy Person’s Lies written by author and time management expert Laura Vanderkam. Such great truths backed with some data.

NotebookTime management: The Ivy Lee Method – this method centres are creating lists of specifically six things. I’ve been doing this for a number of months now, with some modifications. Each day, I start a fresh page in my notebook and date the page at the top centre. I write an intention, three things I *must* get done, and three things I *should* get done. I add a meal plan note as well.

How to say no graciously: I get asked a lot to attend events, sit on boards, volunteer for gigs, have my brain picked. I am so incredibly bad at saying “no, thank you”. I badly want to be a part of whatever the invitation is about and contribute, but I have struggled with feeling out of balance after I’ve said yes. I found this huge list of ways to gracefully say “no thanks” and regularly consult it. That said, two gigs I have said yes to this month are: sitting on a panel for Word Vancouver about the art of the submission (September 25), and a talk and demonstration about terrariums at New Westminster Public Library (September 29).

Practise gratitude: The past few months I’ve been posting to Instagram one thing I’m thankful for each day and a few local friends have played along. Why don’t you play along with us? In July it was #JoyfulJuly, in August it was #awesomeaugust or #awegust for short. In September, we’re using #Septacular (thanks Dave in New West for the idea!)

Watch: Norway has Slow TV. This is the opposite of most traditional network television. the producers pick a topic and then spend hours, if not weeks, digging into it. It’s now available on Netflix Canada. (h/t to our site developer Catriona for sharing this).

Listen: I’m relatively new to podcasts but am really loving them this past month. Please share your favourites in the comments. My recent faves are Revisionist History and Serial.

The art of the handwritten letter: A friend and I have been exchanging letters with one another using good old paper and pen. In her last letter, she commented “It is funny how different the things are that we talk about via letter versus text versus phone versus in person?” Why not send a handwritten letter to someone you haven’t talked to in a while? I like that it made me sit down and reflect on what’s going on in my life.



River Stories: Terry Hughes

In preparing for the print edition of Tenth focused on Rivers (now at our distributors!), we heard a lot of river stories. Some false, some exaggerated, and some completely true. One such story is about Terry Hughes (b.Dec.17, 1940, d. Nov.8, 1959).

The name may be familiar to you – this is the sports field and playground park on the corner of McBride and 8th Avenue, beside École Glenbrook Middle School. But who is Terry? And why was this part of New West named after him? And why am I calling this a “river story” when it’s easily a kilometre away from the riverfront?

Horizontal and vertical lines- pilings in the water. Photo by Kevin McConnell
Horizontal and vertical lines- pilings in the water.
Photo by Kevin McConnell

The City of New Westminster has a great little info sheet about Terry Hughes Park, that is factual and solidly written. It’s buried in a PDF so needed some lightweight sleuthing to find it. Thanks to Dale Miller at A Sense of History Research Services for pointing me this way and to the City for giving me permission to reproduce portions of the text here:

Hughes was a New Westminster boy who attended Lord Kelvin Elementary and had just graduated from New Westminster High School. While playing with some friends on log booms along the shore line near the Queensborough Bridge, a young girl fell into the Fraser River. Hughes died trying to save her.

In reporting the tragedy, the British Columbian newspaper wrote: “Young Hughes had dove into the water to help nine-year-old Carol St. Pierre who had fallen into the river from a boom of logs… Hughes was sitting on the shore with Michael Lamb and another companion. Without hesitation he dashed for the river and plunged in, trying to swim upstream to reach the girl. Robert Thomas, 28, also heard the cry and plunged into the water to help. Terry was holding the girl’s head above the water when Thomas neared them. Suddenly the youth and the girl vanished beneath the water. When they reappeared, Thomas grabbed the girl and started back for shore. Witnesses said Terry was having trouble staying afloat. Thomas told officers the youth grabbed his leg when he started for shore with the girl. ‘We all went under. I broke free when we came up, but I thought I had really had it,’ related Thomas. ‘The little girl climbed on my back and had her arms wrapped around my throat. I couldn’t breathe. … I was taking a lot of water and nearly blacked out.’ Then Kenneth Heron dove into the water, swam to the struggling pair and grabbed the girl. Thomas, who said he was not a strong swimmer, ‘just made it’ to a log boom where his wife and two men pulled him to safety. Witnesses said Terry sank beneath the surface right after Thomas took the girl. They said the youth broke water once more then vanished.”

Terry’s body was recovered the next day. He was buried in Fraser Cemetery with a police guard of honour and mourned by a community shocked by the tragedy. Terry’s mother, Mabel Hughes, accepted the presentation of the Royal Canadian Humane Association’s Medal of Bravery in his memory.


How the park came to be named Terry Hughes Park is another story from the City’s Info Sheet:

This site was part of a large civic property purchased by the federal government in 1947. It became the location of a new Westminster Regiment armoury which replaced the historic 1896 structure at Sixth Street and Queens Avenue. The new building was planned for construction after World War II, but funding was not available; eventually the project was abandoned and the federal government turned part of the site into the rented apartments of the Glenview Veterans Housing project. The lower, swampy portion of the site occupied by a section of the Glenbrook Ravine had been partially filled as part of the Glenbrook Sewer project of 1912. Eventually, the ravine was completely filled, and the City leased the site from the federal government. It was partially developed at that time and called Jackson Park, after Mayor Toby Jackson.

In 1959, a local boy named Terry Hughes lost his life while attempting to save a young girl who had fallen into the Fraser River. Councillor Jack Allison suggested re-naming the park in Hughes’ memory. The leased park site was developed in 1961 with a playground and softball diamond. In 1992, the federal government announced the redevelopment of the Veterans Housing site. The city negotiated a significant portion of the land to form the site of the new Glenbrook Middle School as well as a new civic-owned Terry Hughes Park. The new, improved, and rebuilt park was dedicated on September 30, 2000 with members of the Hughes family in attendance at the ceremony.

Terry’s grave is in the Upper Fraser section of the Fraser Cemetery, and is often included in walking tours of the cemetery.

Photo Essay: Rivers

Did you know our MLA is also a talented photographer? It’s true! Thank you to Judy Darcy for providing such a stunning array of photos of our beautiful Fraser River.

Says Judy, “The first thing I do most mornings is look out my window at the spectacular view of the Fraser River. The colour and light on the river change constantly and I am fascinated with trying to capture its mood. The Fraser transforms, transports and reflects everything around it. It gives rise to our parks, our businesses, our bridges – and our fog. It gives birth to our salmon. And it inspires our art!”

Judy’s office is taking place in the New Westminster Cultural Crawl on August 13 and 14, and the photos in the gallery below as well as other photos will be on display at her office at 737 Sixth St. They are also featuring the work on Terry Aske, an amazing quilt artist, who incredibly, has quilted a map of New Westminster I cannot wait to stop by and see. She recently had a statement in the House with a bit more info about her participation in the Crawl.