Wednesday, June 30, 2010

story: community gardener

Beverly has lived in Riley Park for a long time…it is here that she raised a family. She often brought her kids to the Riley Park Community Centre.

She first lived on 17th in a house but now lives on 31st (at Fraser) in a townhouse…when she made this move she became interested in finding a community garden.

It has been 3 years now that she has been working with Eddie in Riley Park's Community Garden.

Beverly is in charge of the flowers and Eddie is in charge of the vegetables! They sometimes have meetings over the phone about what is going on in the garden, but now their partnership in the garden has it's own rhythm!

When Beverly is not gardening she is an artist! She has just completed an artist in residence at Carnegie Centre and she performs in a sextet called Zeellia - Beverly plays a Hurdy Gurdy and sings!

So, next time you see a community gardener, say "Hello! What do you do when you are not gardening?"

You might be surprised.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

story: Chuck and Irma

Chuck grew up in and around Riley Park. He sold Kool-aid on hot summer days and tried to pull down the girls bathing suits at the Sunset pool.
One unsuspecting girl, Irma, was the recipient of such affections and she was, understandably, none too impressed. Chuck had a bit of a reputation!

Chuck is pictured here in 1963, he is the enthusiastic kid in the foreground!

As Chuck got older he partied in Queen Elizabeth Park in the summer and he skied over moguls on the hills in the winter. Finally, Irma became interested.

Both Chuck and Irma remember making out on the bleachers in Percy Norman pool... and now... they have been married for 33 years!

Chuck became the Engineer of the Community Centre and continues to live in the area

Monday, June 28, 2010

story: In and Out

Kelsey Mackintosh took these amazing polaroid photos during Car Free Day on Sunday June 20th. She is a local photographer who lives in the Riley Park neighbourhood.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

story: Sunshine Club

When me and my twin sister were in high school, Mom organized a Sunday afternoon film program for the disabled at Riley Park Community Centre. This was the early 80’s after the community centre’s expansion.

Dad was the projectionist, and got the films from the film library at the National Film Board. Mom ran the concession. Us kids would be the helpers.

Folks would enter from the double doors off Ontario and make a left into the first room. It was the room opposite the Senior Centre.

My mom thinks it was called the Sunshine Club.

This program ran for years until it just got too big for the centre.

My parents were always trying to help us kids understand the lives of other people. They wanted us to be more accepting of others and for us to be thankful for what we had.

They would always volunteer us to help out in the community.

Of course my sister said we didn’t volunteer we were volunTOLD!


by Ingrid Steenhuisen

Saturday, June 26, 2010

story: friendly neighbourhood

My Parents moved into the housing complex at 33rd and Main in 1957 and we moved to various units as the family grew.

Our house was the go to house for whatever you needed: a cup of sugar, babysitting, a shoulder to cry on or as a community resource.

My mom was just like that.

There was one row of houses in this complex called the Pensioners Row for folks who were 70 or older.

When I was about 8 and a half one pensioner in particular would come by and ask “Would you like me to take the kids for walk?” My mother was grateful for this break in her day as he would take us around Queen Elizabeth Park for an hour or more! Here would be this nice old guy with 4 or 5 kids tagging along!
I will never forget him.
Wilf Polkinghorn.

by Ingrid Steenhuisen

Friday, June 25, 2010

story: Eddie

Eddie has volunteered here at the Riley Park Community Centre for about 5-6 years. He manages the Community Garden and is on the Seniors Committee. Eddie seems to be a very busy fellow, despite being retired for 20 years!

Eddie wanted to start the garden here for the seniors. He began getting involved by leading the groups of high school kids who would volunteer to clean it up and get school credit. Although he has never worked as a gardener, he learned all he knows through reading, as well as trial and error he says.

Eddie shows me (Lisa W.) around the garden, pointing out that not much has come in this year due to some cold weather. He is growing three different kinds of lettuce, potatoes, beets, and loads of rhubarb. He also has numerous planters of beautiful flowers, which are planted by Beverly!

Eddie comes here a few days a week to care for the garden, which is handy because he lives across the street from the community centre! Before being involved here Eddie ran a grocery store on 41st and W. Blvd. His family is from China. In 1851 his Great Grandfather started a sugar plantation in Hawaii, and in the 1880's his Grandfather came to BC to work on the rail roads. Eddie was born in Vancouver, and was the only Asian person in his high school grad class in 1948. He just had his 60th reunion at Magee Secondary School.

In the four decades he has lived in this neighbourhood, Eddie has noticed a lot of new families moving in. He hopes the garden will stay where it is even though the Community Centre is being demolished. He is busy today preparing the garden for the 18th Annual Little Mountain and Riley Park Festival, which is Sunday June 27th from 11:00am - 4:00pm. He will be giving away plants, flowers and bulbs.

Eddie says of the garden, "It's a nice little plot for anyone who wants to grow things... It gives me a little peace of mind."

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Me and my twin sister were 13 years old in the early 1970’s and living at 36th and Main at the time. Mom would let us take our younger siblings (there were 4, soon to be 5, and this gave our Mother a bit of a break/rest) to Riley Park. We would go to swim and swing … being sure to return for dinner. Our youngest brother loved the monkey bars and we learned quicklynever to be in a panic right away if we couldn’t find Fred, at least until you checked the monkey bars! Most often he could be found there!

Along the lane there was different apparatuses where all the kids and teens liked to play on back then: the swings, teeter-totters, the gymnastic trapeze bar and rings, the pool (was open 5 or 6 days a week, each summer) and the monkey barsEverything (except the swings) was taken out - apparently due to liability issues - replaced by stuff mostly for toddlers. Within the past decade they put in the climbing rock . . . exactly in the same place - where the monkey bars used to be.

Fred was three or four years old when they were building the conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park. A picture of it was in the Sun newspaper after the brick walls and the roof’s metal framework were completed. The glass panels weren’t installed yet, and it grabbed my Dad’s attention since the construction company was made up of 9 brothers from Holland, and that was my family heritage. Dad shared the picture with all of us, and of course Fred just wanted to climb it, seeing that - to him - it was just another set of monkey barsGIANT ONES!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

story: Adam and the Electric Bike Shop

Adam works at the The Grin Cyclery, at Main and 30th. This bike shop is unique as they will turn your bike into an electric bike.

Above: One of the battery testing stations at the shop

Adam takes me (Lisa W) through the process, and I won't lie I don't get it... but it sure is amazing and I am thankful he took the time to show me around and explain everything. Everyone working there seemed to be having a lovely day and didn't mind me poking around with my camera. His boss used an electric bike to travel across Canada using only 10 dollars of electricity! They also sell unicycles here, and every Wednesday they bring unicycles down in front of Science World and let people try them out.

He has been working at this company since last March. It was the first job he took since arriving in Vancouver from the UK. During his job search Adam applied to over 150 places! He enjoys working at the bike shop, and is thankful it is in the Riley Park neighbourhood.

Above: One of the workshops!

"This area has got a lot of independent stores, a vibrancy that other places don't have. I find other neighbourhoods can seem a little clinical. Main St has a good mixture of old and new. Also, the food in this stretch is one of the best parts of the job! It would be cheaper for us to be along Marine Dr. but it is worth it to be in this location, here you can go for lunch or drinks after work. I can get my good coffee too!"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

story: 4295 Main Street

Yamake Noodle and Fortune Cookie Factory
Oct 1972

Salt Spring Coffee Shop
June 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

story: picture frame

This is my face in a painting that I really like.

I like this photo because that's not the real me. My face is at a window.

I think there is a story along with these characters. There is a mother and a father and a child, but the child is at school. They live in a cottage. They're loving and caring. They would probably have 2 rooms and one bed, and the mother and father would usually sleep at the bed because they are old and the child would sleep on the ground with the pillow and use his clothes as blankets cause there are no blankets. Poor child!

One day the father got fired because he has been stealing money from the cashier. But one day the child decided to get his own job and a man let the little boy work at the school. He saved lots of money till one day he earned lots of money ! He told his parents, he told his neighbour! His parents were surprised of what he did. The parents thanked him so much that they gave the bed to him. The next day he woke up and he was so surprised. He saw five pots of gold money! When the parents woke up and saw five pots of gold the parents said, "Did you do this?" He said "No I didn't." So they fixed the house and it was marvellous! So they lived a happy life!

The end

Sunday, June 20, 2010

story: East 33rd

In 1952 East 33rd at Main Street used to look like this:

Here it is in 2010.
The Chevron apparently grew up, grew old and moved on...
Coming soon!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

story: Forests of Riley Park

It is often good to get a little context in relation to the history of the area when gathering the library one day I came across this little historical anecdote:

In the early 1900's a fellow by the name of Hugh Gunn* was hired to clear Main Street all the way south to 33rd. The idea of course was to expand the community and provide roads. In those days, Hugh needed to cut down a lot of trees since it was dense forest...but what Hugh didn't know when he started the project was that between Main and Fraser was mostly swamp!

Apparently Hugh needed to fit the oxen with snowshoes to allow them to walk on the boggy areas! He certainly didn't want to lose his oxen team disappearing into the swamp!
Imagine that sight: a team of strong oxen wearing snowshoes!

The rest of the forest from 33rd south to 41st wasn't logged and cleared for housing until the 1950's.
Until that time folks continued to hunt for rabbits in there... if you can believe it!

*Hugh Gunn unfortunately blew himself up while building Hastings Street many years later.

story: good start to the day

Teresa Paris at her 10am Aquafit class at Percy Norman...
you can find her there most mornings!

Friday, June 18, 2010

story: type

I took this photo while Jenny was working on her post with lisa g. It's a good picture to me even though it's not one person posing. I don't care that it's blurry. It reminds me that it is art, it's just a normal day and not a special occasion. People wouldn't normally take this photo. It expresses my feelings.

Lisa is in a good pose thinking of something. I don't know what she is thinking of but I bet it's really good. Maybe she is thinking about Jenny's story, taking pictures or Sports Plus. I wonder if she is thinking about something bad or good or in the past.

By Vivian

Thursday, June 17, 2010

story: 1952 Nat Bailey aerial

Check out this aerial shot!
You can even see the wing of the plane at the top of the photo.
This image is part of the VPL archives from 1952.

You can get a real sense of the changes in the area around Nat Bailey. Particularly when you consider the new Olympic sized pool and all the new facilities that are built in the land to the north of the ball park!

Please notice the Riley Park Community Centre isn't even built yet, nor is Percy Norman Memorial Pool.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

story: O o o o opera

Every Tuesday I use to go to opera lessons with my mom. On the first day I was in opera lessons I met the most nicest girl for all the girls I knew, her name was Christina and she was my best friend there. Every Tuesday we practiced and practiced a lot for concerts. We sang in Oakridge mall, in theatres, and many more. But when the next session started I had to quit because my mom could not pick me up or drop me off. The sad part for me was when I had to leave my best friend Christina I will never forget her.

story: Tailored Memories

Here is a video about the history of the building Re Entry Espresso now resides in!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

story: emergency situation

When I called Riley Park Community Centre I was put on hold today.
When someone came on the line to talk to me they were distracted. Their hand went over the receiver and I could hear muffled talking.

I guess there was an emergency situation going on.

When she got back on the line to talk with me I learned there was indeed an emergency... in the pool.
I asked what happened.
I was told that someone had puked in the pool.

PUKED in the pool?

I was intrigued and horrified.
I guess this kind of thing happens...a public establishment and all.
I just never even considered it.

I asked about the procedures for this kind of emergency...

Well, the pool is heavily chlorinated, but first it is evacuated.
All the folks get vouchers to return on another day.
The swimming classes were cancelled.
It fully shut the pool down!

Shut down!
Of course!
What else could you do?
I just never even considered it.

This kind of emergency isn't normally talked about.


story: babies on deck

Rose told me that when she brought her son to Percy Norman Pool when he was a baby he could play and sleep on the deck of the pool!

This was curious at first to me and I thought that this must be because she worked at the she had special privileges... but no, this was standard practice at the time! In the late 1970's, moms could come to the pool and swim and do aquafit and have their kids right there looking on - from the pool deck!

And then I found the picture below in the Percy Norman Archives!

What a great idea!

Except now the kids have to be in day care separate from the moms....

No judgement from me, things change - I know...

but, I can't help thinking what a good idea that is...and I always seem to love things from the 1970's.

by lisag

Monday, June 14, 2010

story: Conversation with Daphne

How do you tell a life story encompassing 93 years?

A difficult prospect, I must say.

Also, being the collector of the stories, I feel privileged to hear and learn more than I can possibly share...but I do my best.

This short video hopes to capture the vibrancy that is Daphne, a few of her memories, a sense of a neighbourhood from a time that seems simple yet hints at the challenges that everyone has...

I thank Daphne for taking the time and having the patience for me to ask a lot of questions!
I thank her son Greg who continues to collect the family history...I hope everyone has someone in their family to take this on!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

story: Turner's Dairy

Check out 3333 Main street in 1950!
Alot of nuthin' there now, used to be a car sales showroom...
The red brick building on 17th just peeks out from behind the old dairy in the shot from 1950, but in 2010 it gets to show off!

Friday, June 11, 2010

story: Bead Freaks

Kayla runs a store on Main St. called Bead Freaks. She met with Lisa W one afternoon to tell her how her store began.

"I opened six years ago this September. I've always been at this location (4412 Main St), although I thought at first that I'd wanted to be on Commercial Dr. I almost moved in there but there was already another bead store there and I didn't want to take away from her business, although it has since gone out of business. This store has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, it's a complete labour of love. My mom imported things as her job while I was growing up. She would send me little packages, and I remember being so fascinated by them.

I know a lot about metaphysics and it's not something I push on people but if people ask I will talk to them about it. If you need something I find you are drawn to it anyway and don't usually have to ask for it. I always say, "Just look around." By this I mean, if people need grounding in their lives they are usually drawn to a stone that helps with that. Kyanite is good for taking negative energy away and providing focus. Two of my girlfriends bought pieces of Kyanite, one put hers in front of her computer screen and it turned brown and broke. The other friend put hers in her meditation room and it is still blue and fine. They say it absorbs radiation. I'll give it to people who have been through chemo therapy.

Stones were developing in the ground for millions of years and I don't like to push it but there has to be some sort of energy in them. Beads used to be currency for a long time, you know? First Nations people used to use beads to throw on the land as an offering before they settled on it. I have an energy reader who comes to the store on Saturdays. She just sits down and starts consulting your guides and her guides. She will ask you a random question like, "What's your favourite cookie?" and that helps her read your energy. It's fun to do.

I am so thankful I get to travel for my job. I go to China, Indonesia, Hong Kong. This (Above) is the girl I bought baskets off of in Bali. I sell them low so that they will sell and I can keep supporting the basket makers. (Below: More photos from Kayla's trip to Bali!)

From Indonesia I get all these glass beads. These are recycled beer bottles, these are televisions screens (pictured below)!

I sort of forgot that this was what I always wanted to do. My friends remind me. I have been blessed with friends who have helped me, especially with all the cabinets and drawers and renovations here.

I try to keep my prices real, I try not to gouge things. You shouldn't have to charge people more than they can afford and people should be able to walk away with something nice for themselves. I often get people coming in here for movies. People from the A-Team movie came and cleared me out of carved skulls and stuff. I can't wait to see the movie. One day I had Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Renolds come in. They were looking for stuff for their designer friend. They bought some wooden beads, Ryan modeled them for us. She looked gorgeous and not a stitch of make up on.
I am so thankful to be around lovely people that are just bopping around the store looking for cool stuff so they're not in a stress-y mood or anything. I want to stay in this location for as long as I can. I don't know what other neighbourhood would be right. I've been really lucky here. Beads are a destination spot, if they are a true bead freak will seek you out.

Above: Grub the shop dog.