Archive for August, 2012

Kokopelli Cafe

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

The bond of friendship can brew great ideas.

Cindy Delgado and Jessica Hotz met in 2002 when their oldest children were in preschool. They lamented that although Dunbar was an ideal community to raise their respective families, there was a missing link, namely a cafe that would welcome parents and children with open arms and offer fresh and healthy food, like you would find at home.

On their wish list for a family friendly cafe were special touches that only parents would think of, such as a wide doorway and aisle to accommodate double strollers, a washroom with a child-sized sink, a change table, and of course a great play space for children.

Their vision for Kokopelli Cafe was born, and the business has flourished for seven years under the ownership of Delgado and Hotz, keeping families happy and well nourished.

After three months of major renovations to transform the space that was previously a green grocer, and prior to that a bakery, Kokopelli was open for business. All the food that they serve is made in the cafe’s kitchen daily from scratch. They are proud to offer healthy alternatives and tasty gluten-free options.

Choices abound on the impressive menu. Hot and cold beverages include coffee, tea, hot chocolate, iced drinks and blended “Frapelli” drinks. If you are looking for something to tantalize your taste buds the vast selection of baked goods ranges from carrot cake, to loaves (lemon, chocolate chunk zucchini and the Maui loaf, laden with coconut, pineapple and banana), brownies, muffins, scones, cookies and banana bread. Another treat is the mini donut muffin which tastes like a donut, but is not fried.

The breakfast and lunch menu is abundant. Breakfast croissants, yogurt and granola, wraps (the Southwest wrap features black beans, cheese, brown rice and cilantro), quiche, quinoa salad and sandwiches (including Tuscan chicken and Portobello mushroom). Not forgotten are their youngest customers, who can order grilled cheese sandwiches, yogurt, fresh fruit, baby food in jars and Baby Mum-Mum rice biscuits.

Not only can you enjoy food fresh from Kokopelli’s kitchen while you are at the cafe, but you can also take it home. These smart thinking entrepreneurs also sell their own granola, which is so popular that it is now available at Stong’s, IGA and The Heights Market. Some local bed and breakfasts also serve it at their tables.

Designed to make your life simpler, Kokopelli offers frozen take-home entrees and soups. This is a growing business for them and Hotz promises it “tastes just like it would at home, if you had the time to make it yourself.” Their macaroni and cheese and chicken pot pie are very popular. They also sell frozen scones that you simply pop in your oven and take credit for – it can be your little secret. Delgado and Hotz take great pride in everything that they serve and believe “if it’s not good enough for us, it’s not good enough for you.”

Hotz has a degree in food and hotel management, and comes from a marketing and consulting background. Delgado has a background in business. Hotz is full of praise for Delgado’s culinary skills. She believes Delgado’s love of baking and food preparation breeds great food, and the business partners look for those same qualities in their kitchen staff. They have found those attributes in culinary trained Heather Eddy, who runs the kitchen along with the rest of the team. As well, several employees work behind the counter in this busy cafe.

Delgado and Hotz delight in giving back to their community through volunteer work. Both of them are actively involved with their children’s schools. In addition, Hotz has been a board member with Dunbar Village Business Association since its inception five years ago. They both believe strongly in this community which feels like a small town where people know and care about each other.

What Delgado and Hotz offer Dunbar is exemplified by the story of a customer who was expecting her first baby. She did not know anyone in the community until she discovered Kokopelli and became a regular customer. She made friends through the cafe, and was deeply appreciative for Kokopelli’s existence. It is stories like these that Delgado and Hotz find deeply gratifying.

The namesake behind the business, Kokopelli, the south-western flute playing deity who spreads joy to people, has certainly infused himself within the walls of this warm and homelike cafe. Delgado and Hotz, your mission has been accomplished.

Kokopelli Cafe
4593 Dunbar Street

Dunbar’s Private Schools

Monday, August 20th, 2012

With the start of a new school year, Dunbar Life shines the spotlight on three excellent, unique and well established private schools in the neighbourhood. These schools all play an important role in enhancing the desirability of living in this community.

Crofton House School was founded in the West End of Vancouver and relocated to Dunbar 70 years ago. Immaculate Conception is 80 years old and St. George’s School is now 82 years old. While many things have changed over the years, what has remained constant is the quality education these fine schools offer their students.

Crofton House School
3200 W 41st Ave | 604-263-3255 |

Crofton House School founder, Dr. Jessie Gordon, was an educational pioneer with a far-reaching dream. A visionary of her time, she believed in the transformative power of knowledge. In 1898, she established an all-girls school where young women could step beyond the confines of gender and reach the full extent of their potential. This philosophy has remained at the heart of Crofton House for over a century.

A university preparatory school, Crofton House is located on W. 41st Avenue at Blenheim Street. It boasts an impressive staff of 100 teachers with a student population of 820. A very attractive student/teacher ratio is part of all grade levels.

Dr. Pat Dawson, Head of School, is dedicated to girls taking centre stage at Crofton House. There is a sincere commitment to each girl and her individual development. Instruction is customized. Accomplishment is cherished and celebrated. Girls feel confident and comfortable with math, science and technology, as well as the creative arts and athletics. They are free from the distractions and restrictions of mixed-gender environments. They are surrounded by other girls who are there to learn and teachers who light the way.

Some exciting developments have taken place at the school over the past year. In September 2011 the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Centre opened its doors, welcoming junior and senior kindergarten students (ages 4 and 5) onto the campus for the first time, thereby allowing girls to attend the school from Junior Kindergarten through to Grade 12. The ECE program was deemed a huge success with full enrolment in its first year. The youngest Crofton House students are thrilled to have their own secure mini woods for outdoor play, and a ‘magic door’ which connects the Centre to the Junior School’s gymnasium.

Connecting play and creativity with foundational skills in literacy and numeracy, the junior and senior kindergarten programs enable each student to reach her potential within a supportive, nurturing community. Light, airy classrooms are designed specifically with their needs in mind along with learning centres abundant in resources, tailored to their development.

The Junior School is a dynamic, energetic centre of learning for young girls in Grade 1 through 7. The program develops the whole child by offering an enriched and challenging curriculum with caring and enthusiastic teachers. Exciting lessons, field trips, in-depth projects, the integration of technology, and a positive partnership with parents all contribute to the environment of high expectations for each girl.

The Senior School provides an enriched and accelerated curriculum which meets or exceeds the BC Ministry of Education graduation requirements. Exposure to fine arts and applied skills complements a rigorous academic program that prepares young women for successful post-secondary studies and other opportunities. Physical education is compulsory to the end of Grade 10, and students have a variety of opportunities to be physically active, both in scheduled classes and in the extensive athletics and intramural programs.

The other major undertaking at the Crofton House campus over the last year has been a full scale renovation of the Old Residence (a magnificent heritage house built in the early 1900s) which will house the administrative offices. Alumna will have access to meeting facilities, in addition to the elegant Heritage Dining Hall with its beautiful plaster ceiling designed by sculptor Charles Marega, who created the two lions at the south approach to Lion’s Gate Bridge.

Immaculate Conception School
3745 W 28th Ave | 604-224-5012 |

Immaculate Conception School is a small, independent Catholic elementary school located on a quiet cul-de-sac on W. 28th Avenue. This faith based, coeducational school has a population of approximately 200 students, and follows the BC Ministry of Education’s elementary school curriculum.

The spirit of the school is one of Christian community with the belief that each child has the right to acceptance, love and respect in this community.

In 1926 the Jesuit Fathers founded and opened Immaculate Conception Parish, as the church now stands, in what was then the hinterland of Vancouver. The school opened its doors in the Church’s basement in September 1926. By 1932 Immaculate Conception Parish established a separate building for the school, where the Parish Centre now stands.

The present school building opened in September 1954. At that time Immaculate Conception School had an enrolment of more than 200 students including many children from the neighbouring Musqueam First Nations Band. In September 2005 Immaculate Conception School began using the beautiful Parish Centre and gym. Immaculate Conception School provides enrichment activities for all of their students including literature circles, media literacy, oral language experiences, math challenges and science projects related to specific topics, as well as activities designed to promote health and fitness. Students are challenged to develop new skills and apply their knowledge in ways that contribute not only to their academic growth, but also to their personal and social development.

The school stages an annual theatre production in which every student participates either as a cast member, or assists with the myriad of other jobs required to mount a production.

In keeping with their inclusive policy, any student in Grade 3 through 7 is welcome to join the school’s performance choir. The choir performs at school and parish functions and participates in the annual Saint Thomas More Music Festival.

The spoken word forms a significant component of the learning experience at Immaculate Conception School, both in the classroom and as an extra-curricular activity. All grades participate in the school and regional speech arts festivals. Intermediate students write and present speeches and all students are encouraged to participate in Bible reading, poetry recitation or storytelling.

St. George’s School
Junior boys: 3851 W 29th Ave, Senior boys: 4175 W 29th Ave

Founded in 1930 in the Anglican tradition, St. George’s School welcomes boys from all faith traditions from across the Lower Mainland, Canada and around the world. This university preparatory school offers a broad and inclusive program embracing academics, the arts, athletics, leadership, outdoor education and service.
St. George’s School is recognized as one of Canada’s premier day and boarding schools for boys. The day program is for Grades 1 to 12, while the boarding program is for Grades 8 to 12.

The original school operated out of a large country manor house and has grown significantly over the school’s 82 year history. St. George’s occupies two campuses on West 29th Avenue.

The Junior School (Grades 1 through 7) is located in a highly recognizable Dunbar landmark. This 1912 heritage building was formerly an all-girls Catholic school (Covent of the Sacred Heart) until 1979 when it was sold to St. George’s. This year will mark the building’s 100th Anniversary.

The Senior School campus is a more modern facility which houses Grades 8 through 12. Altogether, St. George’s School consists of approximately 1100 students, with 300 faculty and staff members.

St. George’s stands behind its mission “We build fine young men” by providing their students with a challenging and supportive learning environment within which to grow, mature and flourish.

Committed to being an all-boys school, the respected institution has conducted ample research into the benefits of single-sex education for boys. Schools that can cater to the unique needs of each gender typically provide more enriching, supportive, and relevant environments for their students. At St. George’s the commitment to boys’ education includes a broad and inclusive educational experience reflecting best practices in boys’ learning.

Headmaster Dr. Tom Matthews attests to the different learning styles between boys and girls, and states that many boys in co-ed schools shy away from service, leadership, and the arts, favouring more stereotypical ‘male’ endeavours. At St. George’s boys feel able to be themselves and to move outside their comfort zone, both in the classroom and in their co-curricular activities.

St. George’s is committed to a program that nurtures well-rounded students by offering over 50 problem-solving based academic options, from advanced mathematics to psychology to animation; with over 20 Advanced Placement courses that are internationally recognized; with over 50 athletic options, 50 clubs, and 60% of the student body enrolled in band; with a designated Community Service program that has students building schools in Peru, St. George’s School prepares its students for university and for life. This is why 100% of St. George’s go on to pursue their studies at the post-secondary level attending a wide range of universities across Canada, North America, and worldwide.

Driving Us Crazy

Monday, August 20th, 2012

“I’m a good driver.”

Have you ever heard any other assertion? In the history of the automobile has anyone ever reported being a bad driver? A distracted one? An inconsiderate one? A poorly skilled one? Interestingly though, if you ask anyone about other drivers, most will launch into a raging diatribe condemning other drivers as unfit for the roads or even a driver’s license.

So which is it then? Are we the good drivers that we describe ourselves to be or are we collectively as terrible as we describe others to be?

I pondered this while accidentally driving through the gong show of a summer day camp morning drop-off zone; it was as if someone had unfortunately booked the Bad Driver Convention for the same time and location as the day camp. Drivers were reversing down the middle of the street, executing the Austin Powers 12-point turn, and waiting parked in the through traffic lane all within the same block, despite the efforts of the beleaguered day camp traffic monitors. The Convention Keynote Address was the car that crossed the midline to angle park on the wrong side directly in front of my oncoming vehicle and sent its young camper hopping out on the traffic side to run around the car. Seriously.

With September comes the return of many driving routines, for good or for bad. Even with more kids walking to school, some adults cycling to work and teens busing everywhere, we are all out driving many, many times a week. Dunbar has a number of schools that bring commuters from all over and many UBC students travel through on their way to campus. Now is a good time for all of us to evaluate our driving behaviours and maybe even turn over a new leaf while out on the road. Or pass this guide along to those who could use a fresh new leaf in the driving department.

Do Leave Earlier
When I had a gaggle of small children in tow we went through a stint of being late for school. A sweet young teacher made the annoying suggestion that we leave ten minutes earlier each day. Years later I think perhaps she was onto something. It seems crazy but you could try it.

Do Take Turns
A particular quirk of many locations in Dunbar is that, with cars parked on both sides, some narrow streets effectively become single-lane traffic. Unless you have the ability to levitate your vehicle, an unspoken Dunbar rule requires drivers to do a quick evaluation based on street width, distance to oncoming vehicle, logic and courtesy, then pause off to the side to allow the driver closest to the narrow portion to pass through first. Each driver waves to acknowledge the other and in that moment the world becomes a more civil place. The wave is a beautiful thing: always do the wave.

Don’t Do Things That Would Have You Featured on a Bad Driver Reality TV Show
Think about it.

Do Be Cautious Around Schools Always
I have a good friend who was like a one-woman traffic policing unit around our children’s school. If you thought you might just back up through an intersection, you’d be hearing from her. If you parked right on the corner for convenience, despite obstructing drivers’ view of pedestrians trying to cross, you could expect her tap on your window. And if you chose to speed down the cul-de-sac to turn around, she would be standing on the street waiting for you on your way back. I sometimes wondered if this was a bit much until I found out that the day before my friend’s 18th birthday, her little sister, six year old Anne Marie, was crossing the street at the corner in front of their neighbourhood parish school when she was hit by a car and died there, right in front of her mother. After learning this, my heart ached every time I saw my friend heading toward an offending vehicle. Always be cautious and law-abiding around schools and consider speaking to drivers who are not.

Don’t Be Distracted at Trouble Spots
There are locations where your chances of having an accident are much greater: be aware of them. Dunbar St & 33rd Ave as well as 16th Ave & Imperial/Discovery St are dangerous intersections. Have your wits about you.

Do Drive Like Someone is Watching
Juvenile though this is, we all know that parent drivers behave better in front of a school when the Traffic Monitor is watching. But parents need to remember that someone is watching their every driving move, namely their children. The adage ‘Do as I Say Not as I Do’ will not serve well in driving world. If you ever pass on the inside, run red lights, fail to stop at stop signs or text in traffic, expect your kids to do the same. And when they are suddenly 17 and driving on their own, you will not want them doing these things.

Don’t Put Your Child Out On the Street
There is outrageous irony involved when parents lift their child out of a carefully installed, government approved child safety car seat from the traffic side of their car only to place said child literally staggering about in the street, with cars whizzing by only metres away. Ditto for babes in strollers or ‘bucket’ car seats, in peril placed on the street. The relative importance of having your children floss daily, wear bike helmets or apply sunscreen is reduced to zero while this is part of your daily routine. Make the whole car seat thing worthwhile: get kids out on the sidewalk side! And though it looks cute in the ads, if your kids ever slide open that snazzy traffic-side van door to scamper out into the street, weld it shut.

Do a Shoulder Check on the Right. Often.
It’s not called the “blind spot” for nothing and out of nowhere a cyclist can be in it. Especially on Dunbar Street itself, with the designated bike lane, get in the habit of making one additional right shoulder check before you turn right. Failure to do so could drastically change your life and someone else’s.

Do Chill Out.
Your children really do not learn enough in the first ten minutes of school to warrant killing others en route in order to be on time. If you are late, slow down and be late. Create a routine that involves dropping older students off away from the school and having them walk in or, with little ones, park further away and teach them to walk in safely. Take time to plan an alternate route to work or to school specifically avoiding stressful trouble spots. Even small route changes can make a big difference. Plan ways to drive less and otherwise “chillax” while you are out there. An accident takes longer than driving slowly.

As you drive this autumn, imagine a new teenage driver critiquing your every move, or a child suddenly running out into the street, or an oncoming driver waving courteously to acknowledge you for allowing her through. Any of these things could happen.

Dunbar Vacuum

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Brent Hawkins and his wife Jacquie own and operate Dunbar Vacuum. Frustrated by our disposal society, Brent attempts to divert unnecessary waste from the landfill by repairing vacuums which in some cases have been in service for as many as sixty years. He is also proud to offer same day service repairs for emergency situations when a cleaner needs a quick turn around, and he is capable of working with all makes and models of commercial and domestic vacuums.

Dunbar Vacuum retails new machines including Cyclo Vac, Electrolux, Riccar, Sebo, Samsung and Simplicity. The shop also sells rebuilt vacuums and customers have the opportunity to trade in previous models. In addition, they rent vacuums and steam cleaners, and the store happens to be one of Vancouver’s largest dealers of bags, filters and hoses.

While vacuum sales and repairs are Brent’s forte, he has found a niche with his innate mechanical skills. Other items that he has fixed range from fans to toasters, irons, kettles and air conditioners. He also sharpens knives, scissors, hedge clippers and lawn mower blades.

How did Brent get into the business of repairs and sharpening items which seem unrelated to a vacuum store? He explains that customers started asking if he offered this service and so he began adding this service to his repertoire. He sharpens as many as twenty knives a week. Impressively, when hearing this information, like clockwork, someone strolled in with a sharpening request.

He jokes that not many couples can work together successfully, yet he and his wife’s personalities are well matched and customers enjoy their banter. They have been married since 1986. Jacquie Hawkins came from a commerce background as a senior loans officer with the Royal Bank. After having their first two children she left her banking career and joined Brent at Dunbar Vacuums.

The shop keeps the couple very busy. Brent is in the shop at 6 a.m. and the hours of operation are 8:30 – 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday. They are closed on Sunday and Monday. They do not have employees which means holidays are a rare treat for the Hawkins.

The selection of products and customer care keeps people returning to Dunbar Vacuum. It is common to see third generation customers following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents. Clients from as far afield as Hawaii take advantage of having parts shipped that are not available in the United States. Closer to home the business has a loyal local clientele, along with customers from Burnaby, North Vancouver and Richmond.

Dunbar Vacuum was originally owned by Brent’s father, Doug Hawkins, who opened the shop in 1962. At the age of 10 Brent started helping at the shop after school and on weekends. After graduating from high school it was his dream to become a diesel mechanic, however his father wanted him to take over the business and they worked together until Brent bought the business in 1989.

The Hawkins are very proud parents. They place great importance on family values and have always encouraged their adult children to follow their dreams. Over the years customers have taken a keen interest in the family photos on display which chronicle the Hawkins children’s development. Returning customers have watched them grow up through the photographs, and to this day people come in to inquire how they are and what they are doing.

Their son, Cody (20), is actively involved in lacrosse and is team captain of the Delta Islanders; he goes professional next year. Kaitlyn (22) is a hairdresser in North Delta. Brittany (23) is a competitive gymnast and cheerleader. Breann (25) is a supervisor and lifeguard at Ladner Leisure Centre and got married earlier this month.

Dunbar Vacuum is a strong sponsor of team sports. They have supported the Dunbar Little League Minor A division since 1989. Brent and Jacquie personally volunteer with their son’s lacrosse team with respective roles as game day manager and game day equipment manager.

This business is an example of a family owned enterprise that has stood the test of time due to the owners’ commitment to service and quality products. The Hawkins offer their customers a personal connection, literally with snapshots of their family life. That is something that big box stores do not offer, and for that, this independent business deserves a round of applause for their ingenuity in thinking outside of the box.

Dunbar Vacuum
3468 Dunbar Street

Treasured Bulb Sale

Monday, August 6th, 2012

The Treasured Bulb Sale will offer a wide range of bulbs for sale, from garden favourites to specialty bulbs, as well as an expanded selection of garlic. Beginners as well as collectors will find quite a few gems. Some sources for bulbs include: Private Gardens, Lohbrunner Alpine Garden at UBC Botanical Garden, and some specialty growers. The Shop in the Garden will also open with lots of accessories and tools for bulb planting, and your favourite commercial collections.

To make this a fun event and to play up the event’s theme that bulbs are “buried treasure” they are offering free entry to the Botanical Garden for those that arrive in costume. (Entry to the sale, which is located in the garden’s entrance area, is free for all, but regular admission applies for those that would like to enter the garden, except those in costume).

The event will also feature a children’s area with a treasure chest full of nodding onion bulbs (allium cerium) for children to reach into and select a bulb to pot up. There will also be face painting, pirate hat crafts and stickers for little buccaneers.

Tours on the Greenheart Canopy Walkway will also be offered at a special discount on the event day for those that would like to “walk the plank.”

Planting Demonstrations-plenty of advice available
Tea and Goodies by Donation
Bus C-20, Ample free Parking at the Garden, Bike racks

Saturday, September 15, 2012
11:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. free admission
UBC Botanical Garden,  6804 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver
For more information: or 604-822-4529

UBC Botanical Garden Apple Festival

Monday, August 6th, 2012
A family-friendly celebration of apples! Sample uncommon apple  varieties, including organic and heritage, and purchase bagged apples and trees. The festival includes crafts, food, demonstrations, and children’s activities. This year’s apple festival will be hosting the official naming ceremony for the very popular SPA 493 apple! Please join them on Saturday, October 13th at  1:00 p.m. on the great lawn to be one of the first to find out this apple’s official new name.
Festival highlights:
• Over 60 varieties of apples to taste in the  tasting test for just $5
• Over 39,000 pounds of bagged apples for sale including over 70 varieties of heritage, organic and  conventional apples.
• A wide selection of apple trees for sale. Last year there were over 100 varieties!
• Many savory and sweet food vendors including apple pie, hot apple cider and apple juice for sale
• Children’s activity area including story time, crafts and puppet shows
• BC Fruit Tester’s  display of over 200 varieties of apples. Bring apples from your home tree for identification!
• Apple themed activities like the Choices Market Longest peel contest
• Discounts on  Greenheart Canopy Walkway tours
How to get there: Transit: Take bus C-20 from the UBC Bus Loop; Driving: Free shuttle from West Parkade; Cycling: Bicycle parking on site
This event is fundraiser for UBC Botanical Garden  hosted by the Friends of the UBC Botanical Garden volunteer group. Funds raised support important research, conservation, education and community outreach.
October 13 and 14, 2012, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
For more information contact: 604-822-4529   No dogs please
Admission: $4 cash includes free entry to UBC Botanical Garden
Location: UBC Botanical Garden, 6804 SW Marine Drive (16th Avenue)