Archive for February, 2012

Southlands Country Fair

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ~ Rain or Shine! (most events under cover in case of rain).  Gates close at 4:00 p.m.

What is the Southlands Country Fair?
It’s a community event that focuses on horses and a rural lifestyle within the city of Vancouver. It was created to showcase the unique equestrian neighbourhood of Southlands, and to give all residents of Vancouver the opportunity to enjoy a day in the country, without leaving the city.

Who comes to the Country Fair?
Several thousand people attend the Country Fair every year. At the Fair, you’ll meet families with kids as well as lots of other people seeking an old-fashioned country experience within the city.

What can you do at the Country Fair?
There are activities for all ages, all day long. Shopping, learning, petting animals, riding ponies, playing games, and watching horses and riders perform…you will be entertained from the moment you enter the gates. Specific attractions include:
•Horse Entertainment throughout the day featuring Southlands riders demonstrating all the exciting things horses can do
•Pony Rides and Hay Rides
•a Farm Yard Fun area for the kids full of old-fashioned, country-themed activities
•the Country Lane Market for those who love to shop for local arts and crafts
•Silent Auction
•Book Sale and Bake Sale
•the Macdonald Street Farm full of animals for the kids to meet
•lots of great food and a pleasant picnic area
•day-long musical entertainment featuring local artists

Will there still be things to do if it rains?
YES, a majority of the events will be moved indoors or undercover.

What does it cost to come to the Country Fair?
Entry to the Fair grounds is by donation. We suggest $5…but it is up to you. Once inside the grounds, there are plenty of FREE activities for children and adults.

Some activities, such as the pony rides, games and amusements, and the petting farm require a small fee of $1-3.

What is done with the money raised by the Country Fair?
Partial proceeds are used to fund the Southlands Country Fair Summer Riding Program, which enables underprivileged children to take a series of riding lessons with local riding schools and Southlands Riding Club instructors. Other money raised at the Fair is donated to two local charities that run programs for disabled riders: Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities and Southlands Therapeutic Riding Society. The remainder of funds raised are used to support the Southlands Riding Club, a non-profit society established in 1943 as a recreational and training facility for junior and amateur equestrian athletes.

Do you still have a question or comment? Contact Country Fair Coordinators Pippa or Crissy.

Pippa Emrick Coordinator 604-351-5522 or

Crissy Barbata Coordinator 604-351-5222 or

Southlands Riding Club
7025 Macdonald Street
Vancouver,  V6N 1G2

Bean Around the World

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Bean Around the World is a neighbourhood coffee house buzzing with energy. Tan Tran, the charming owner with a warm and welcoming smile, has put his personal stamp on his coffee shop. With its mustard and red accent walls, black wainscoting, eclectic artwork, and a cozy corner with two chairs to snuggle up in beside a gas fireplace, complete with a chess board and a bookshelf which is a lending library, the atmosphere evokes the feeling of an inviting living room.

Tran opened Bean Around the World in May 2005. He felt that the south end of Dunbar was in need of a coffee house, and he particularly liked the idea of being in a community where people could walk to his business from their homes.  In addition, he was attracted to the building that houses Bean Around the World.  His diverse customer base includes everyone from bus drivers, to teachers, police officers, students, and construction workers.  Over the years Tran has shared some important milestones with his customers as they have welcomed new babies, students have headed off to university, and families have moved in and out of the community.


There are currently twenty one Bean Around the World locations in British Columbia. Each coffee house is independently owned and operated, allowing owners, like Tran, to personalize their business, and not convey a cookie cutter feeling.  The common denominator is the coffee. Coffee beans are centrally roasted in North Vancouver and are supplied to Bean Around the World coffee shops.

Tran describes his business as a hybrid coffee house/bistro. Beer and wine is available at lunch.  The creative menu has the ability to make you smile before you even taste the food.  Try not to grin when you order a Gobbler sandwich (artisan pecan/craisin bread, with smoked turkey, red onions, garlic butter, honey Dijon and cheddar) or the Chickalish wrap (chicken, masala, lentil, curry).  Other temptations include the divine Namaste sandwich (marinated grilled veggies, pesto sauce, provolone and smoked gouda) as well as the Spirit Park muffin (made with spelt flour), carrot cake, squares, breakfast sandwiches and on the day that I was there, African Safari soup.  The wheat free and gluten free pastries are very popular items.

Tran comes to the world of coffee from a diverse background, having worked in a variety of fields including the food and beverage industry, insurance, Information Technology (IT), importing Asian groceries and goods, and as a paralegal. Tran is well travelled and has witnessed coffee culture in many parts of the world.   Born in Vietnam, he spent his childhood in Hong Kong, Winnipeg and Vancouver. As an adult he lived in Montreal for a few years, but was drawn back to the West Coast.

His decision to open Bean Around the World stemmed from a desire for a new life style. He is a self-described “people person”, and his goal is to bring happiness and laughter to his customers. Judging by the full tables, and the satisfied look on his customers’ faces, Tran has worked his magic.  He has a strong social conscience, he is doing his part to keep his business ethical, and he is committed to fair trade.  Tran is quick to give credit to his staff of seven who are an asset to the business. They contribute to the welcoming environment, and enjoy working at the busy coffee shop.

He gauges the success of his business by the loyalty and continued support of his customers; many treat the coffee shop as their second home.  It is open seven days a week and on weekdays you can grab your first eye opening coffee as early as 6 a.m. (weekends 7 a.m.). The shop is open until 6 p.m. nightly.  Bean Around the World supports local fundraising and charity events through the donation of coffee.
In December 2011, Tran opened his second business, Blaq Sheep Coffee House & Bistro, in Yaletown.  He splits his time between the two businesses; however Dunbar customers are sure to see him each day.   He lives in the Dunbar area and not surprisingly Tran’s favourite thing about the community is the people.

Coffee is one of my greatest indulgences, and I attest that Bean Around the World makes a fine cup of coffee, and furthermore, Tran made good on his promise; I walked out the door with a smile on my face.

5601 Dunbar Street

by Sarah Gordon, photos by Sandra Steier


Monday, February 13th, 2012

“Design changes everything…” is Innova Kitchens and Baths company slogan.  Having recently gone through the daunting task of designing both a new kitchen and bathroom, I confess that at times I was in over my head.   When I met Paul Coker I joked that if I had known about Innova’s design service I would have thrown in the towel and hired him and his business partner, Lee Stergios, at the beginning of the project!

With over twenty years each of design and project management experience, Coker and Stergios formed Innova Kitchens and Baths in 2004.  Innova’s showroom is tucked around the corner on Collingwood Street, just off of West 41st Avenue. The bright and attractive space with high ceilings serves double duty as their office, and showcases a sampling of kitchen styles.  Coker points out that the showroom displays are a mere tip of the iceberg, and there are a multitude of options available.  It is important to schedule an appointment to visit the showroom as Coker and Stergios may be on location at a project site.

By working closely with their clients, Innova ensures a successful renovation will reflect the style of the home, consider how the space is used, and take into account personality and personal taste.  Innova’s renovations are driven by design. Construction only begins once the design is completed, as opposed to some renovation companies which design when construction is already underway.

Innova’s services are not limited to kitchens and bathrooms; they can work with you on any area of your home including living and dining areas, custom built-ins, bedrooms, custom closets, entertainment and media rooms, and developing basements.

While the original showroom was in Burnaby, Coker and Stergios decided to relocate to Dunbar as many of their clients are Vancouver based.  They offer their interior design and renovation construction services to Burnaby, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, New Westminster, Port Moody and Coquitlam.

Below are some of the top reasons why you should consider hiring a professional kitchen designer. They can provide:

1. Detailed CAD layout, electrical/mechanical, and elevation drawings that optimize the functionality of your new kitchen, and ensure a cohesive design style.  Drawings give you a preview of how your new kitchen will look and function, and avoid costly errors during construction.

2. An integrated lighting plan that includes both functional and ambient lighting specific to the new kitchen design.

3. A professionally coordinated finish and fixture selection. This helps ease the feeling of being overwhelmed when selecting and coordinating flooring, cabinetry, handles, countertops, the backsplash, paint, plumbing and light fixtures, window coverings, fabrics, wallpapers and any other design and finish elements.

4. Assistance with the selection of appliances to ensure that you choose appliances that meet the functional needs and scale requirements of your new kitchen. You do not want to be one of many people who inadvertently purchase expensive and incorrectly sized appliances.

5. A detailed fixed price contract based on the design, fixture and finish selection thus avoiding the costly surprises associated with cost plus projects.

6. General contracting and professional management to ensure trouble free completion of your project in the construction phase.

Whether you are looking to renovate your kitchen or bathroom yourself and need a plan that will ensure a successful renovation that does not lead to costly errors, or if your are looking for an interior designer to take you from concept to completed renovation, Innova Kitchens and Baths provides you with a design plan to get it right the first time and ensure success.

5739 Collingwood Street


by Sarah Gordon,  photos by Sandra Steier

printed in Dunbar Life Magazine


The Vancouver International Marathon

Monday, February 6th, 2012

The Vancouver International Marathon Society, is excited to inform you that this year’s BMO Vancouver Marathon will be running through your neighborhood on Sunday, May 6th, 2012.

They would like to invite you to a Community Open House to share with you how the event will impact and interact with your business and/or residence.  Your participation and input are very important to them as they showcase beautiful Vancouver to 15,000 runners and 60,000 spectators and supporters during this world-class event!

The Society is thrilled to present this year’s two brand new routes for the 41st BMO Vancouver Marathon and Half Marathon, and they are very grateful to have the support of the communities.  Learn about the various opportunities to be involved, and to discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding this event.

Date: Monday, 13th, 2012

Drop in time:  4-7pm

Kerrisdale Community Centre, Srs Craft Room


EGRC: The Little Charity that Continues to Make a Big Difference

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

BC’s Society for Educating Girls in Rural China (EGRC) is a local grass roots charity that is making a big difference to the live of young women in rural China.

Founded by Dunbar resident and business owner Tien Ching the EGRC provides financial support for young women from rural china to attend university. Inspired by Tien’s own hardship of growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution where her dream of attending university was stolen from her and instead was forced to work for seven years in a fertilizer factory. After managing to immigrate to Canada in 1983 and settling in the Dunbar area Tien vowed to make a difference anyway she could. In 2005 she started BC’s Society for Educating Girls in Rural China to provide the gift of education to those young women like her who have tried to make the best of a dire situation.

To date EGRC has sponsored 286 young women from impoverished rural regions to receive university education and is planning to expand it’s sponsorship to include high school as it is becoming increasingly difficult for girls to beyond grade 9. EGRC is hoping to launch the high school program in 2012 with fundraising efforts targeting Canadian companies that operate in China. The charity would also like to work together with Lower Mainland high schools; perhaps a twinning program that will see students raise money, but also correspond with their Chinese counterparts.

While this is mostly about raising money, it is also about making a connection through education so that the next generations from Canada to China are prepared to work together to solve the world’s social, economic, and environmental problems. Despite China being an economic powerhouse, the per capita average GDP of impoverished rural regions is a mere $400 compared to Canada’s average GDP of $39,000, according to the International Monetary Fund.  This impoverishment reveals itself in all facets of life, including schools which house girls in overcrowded dormitories, and are limited to an average of 40 cents of food per day.

Families simply cannot afford for their daughters to attain a post-secondary education.  Tien firmly believes that education is the key to transcending poverty to a world of opportunity and success.  Because girls are unable to afford schooling, they must help support their families by getting labor-intensive jobs that pay very little. Tien nourishes each sponsored student by providing them with the financial means to attend schooling, but also invests attention and time into each student to ensure their eventual success. Educating women means educating futures generations because educated women have educated children.

The success of this little charity is shown through Bixia Wang, an EGRC sponsored student who is the first student to continue on to graduate studies in Canada.  In September, she began her master’s degree at Simon Fraser University on a scholarship from SFU. Miss Wang struggle with her emotions to say, “this program has changed my life and my future children’s life” she pauses “and my children’s children’s life”.

Tien attributes the charity’s success to the ongoing support of the Dunbar community. For the past 8 years Tien’s business, the Omega Gallery, on Dunbar and 27th, has been the hub for both the residents and businesses to come and drop off donations and hear the latest news. In 2011 Tien sold Omega Gallery to focus solely on the charity but wants everyone to know that it is just as easy to stay connected by going across the street to Chloe Angus Design at 4273 Dunbar. Chloe Angus has been a long time supporter of EGRC and joined the board in 2011 to help with ongoing fundraising efforts.

A major source income for the EGRC is the annual Dim Sum Luncheon; the fundraiser includes a raffle, silent auction, and of course and array of exotic dim sum delicacies. This year the luncheon will be hosted by Global TV’s Dr Art Hister on April 13th. To book your tickets or for more information go to Chloe Angus Design, call 604-732-9370, or email

From Tien Ching, the board of EGRC, and the 286 young women who’s lives have been changed by the Dunbar community’s continuous support and generosity, “Thank You”.