Archive for February, 2016

Jane Ingman Baker

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Champion of Dunbar Village

Jane Ingman Baker Dunbar Life coverThe saying “If you want something done, give it to a busy person” applies tenfold to Dunbar resident Jane Ingman Baker.

Ingman Baker’s resume reflects an incredibly diverse academic career and a full slate of volunteerism equal in length to her employ-ment experience. Not only does she hold a degree in law but also a PhD in biochemistry. When asked about this she laughs and says, “Some would call me jack of all trades, master of none.”

More likely people would call her an active community-minded citizen who has the best interests of Dunbar at the top of her list.

Her array of volunteer work includes five years as a board member with the Dunbar Residents Association, her ongoing role as chair of the Dunbar Vision Implementation Group (she has been actively involved for nine years), and her latest volunteer venture, as vice president of programing with the Dunbar Community Centre Association.

Ingman Baker has lived in Dunbar for 27 years. She recalls visiting the Dunbar Community Centre frequently when her children were growing up but noticed in the last few years that patron usage was slipping. She isn’t one to sit back and wait for someone else to do something; she rolls up her sleeves and jumps in to offer assistance.

Her volunteer work with the Dunbar Community Centre Association is currently her largest involvement with a commitment of close to 20 hours each week. She joined the executive 18 months ago and is happy to report that the facility has “turned a corner.”

The Dunbar Community Centre’s parking lot is busy again. This is largely due to adapting program-ming to meet the community’s needs.

She has a visionary quality and is determined to make the community an even better place to live. The seasoned lawyer/UBC adjunct professor in the Faculty of Medicine is always asking questions and looking for answers.

She chuckles when she reports she is currently taking a master gardener course, as she would like to see gardening flourish in the community. She believes gardening is an important part of our culture and the Dunbar Community Centre will eventually offer a course to teach new residents these skills. Ingman Baker feels it will help bring people together and ultimately help to better under-stand each other.

She says new residents from Asia often hail from concrete cities and are in awe of our city’s greenery, lawns and gardens. It is her belief that working side by side and creating a gardening community will foster more tolerance and break down stereotypes.

Examples of other adaptive programming include an exercise class for ages 50 plus. She says some octogenarians really love it. An outdoor preschool program has been well received and line dancing to Mandarin music, mahjong and table tennis always draw crowds.

Speaking of crowds, Ingman Baker is extremely impressed with the turn out at 2015 holiday craft fair. Vendors reported higher sales than the last few years and over 2,500 people passed through the community centre.

Salmonberry Days is one of this dedicated volunteer’s favourite events. With a smile she says, “It is wonderful to see happy people enjoying a free event with bouncy castles and volunteers barbequing $2 hotdogs.” She and the entire Dunbar Community Centre Assoc-iation board have taken the Food Safe course so they can serve food at all events.

Ingman Baker is always searching for ways to engage more adults on a volunteer basis in their community.

She asks, “How do we give people the tools to get a satisfying volunteer experience?”

Jane Ingman Baker Dunbar LifeShe believes it is entirely possible based on the record number of volunteers that popped out of the woodwork during the 2010 Winter Olympics. She says teen volunteerism is in good shape thanks to the mandate of accruing community volunteer hours as part of the high school curriculum.

Ingman Baker grew up in London and started volunteering as a teenager. She regularly visited seniors’ homes and psychiatric hospitals and later became an active volunteer at the University of Sussex.

Where did her philanthropic nature stem from? She says it is a combination of being innate and modeled by her parents and grandparents. “I come from a family of gregarious people. We are people who know our neighbours.” She adds, “Your personal health reflects the health of your community.”

Regarding volunteer experiences and moving on after a time she says, “It is a time to refresh and renew with new experiences.”

A good friend shared words that resonate with her, “Leave an organization in better shape than you find it.” She has certainly taken this to heart with the legacy of valuable work she has contributed to many Dunbar organizations through her gift of experience and time.

She says, “There is a lot of talk about Dunbar village, and a lot of things that happen here are village-like.” She notes that the only move she and her family made was when they bought their neighbour’s house four doors away. She feels this is part of the small town charm of Dunbar.

She recalls when a new headmaster arrived at St. George’s School. He was smitten with the local independent shops where merchants know their customers by name and people recognize each other on the street. It is Ingman Baker’s hope to foster and maintain this sense of community. She feels, “It is possible. You have to see the silver linings.”

This champion of Dunbar’s commitment to her community is inspiring. She says, “The level of engagement and opportunities in Dunbar unparalleled in the city.”

Ingman Baker’s go-getter attitude may very well spawn a spike in Dunbar volunteerism as others follow suit and seek out the plethora of opportunities that lurk in this great neighbourhood.

Kerrisdale Equipment

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Serving Vancouver for 56 Years

Kerrisdale Equipment Ron Russell Dunbar LifeIn a city where so many head spinning changes are taking place it is refreshing to see long term businesses like Kerrisdale Equipment continuing to flourish.

Ron Russell has owned his equipment and tool rental stores since 1979. He purchased Kerrisdale Equipment from his father Howard Russell who was a plumbing and mechanical heating engineer, and his friend, Fred Topping, who was a homebuilder.

The two men came from different trades, yet they shared a common ambition to open a hardware business on Kerrisdale’s West Boulevard in 1960. When Ron Russell purchased the business he took it in a new direction with the introduction of tool rentals.

It was never Ron Russell’s childhood dream to follow in his father’s footsteps. Born and raised in Vancouver, he grew up in Kerrisdale and attended Vancouver College. After completing his first year of university (he had dreams of being an architect) his father offered him a summer job and that was the end of his schooling. He has never looked back although he chuckles when he says, “If I had gone into a government job I would have had a pension and that would be nice.”

Kerrisdale Equipment is a success story and under Ron Russell’s ownership the business has grown in size considerably.

Kerrisdale Equipment exterior Dunbar LifeIn 2001 he opened a second location on Dunbar (next door to the Dunbar Public Library), which replaced a former tool rental business. In 2012 he took the company to a whole new level when he opened a 20,000 square foot Southwest Marine Drive location near Heather Street. Russell reports that homeowners are not as familiar with this location but it is well worth exploring.

He was sad to see the original West Boulevard location close its doors last autumn when the building sold. A direct result of the Kerrisdale closure has been a doubling of business at the Dunbar store. Ron Russell points out, “While homeowner rentals are declining, contractor use is up.” This is directly related to the volume of building that is taking place all over Vancouver.

From air tools and equipment to cleaning and floor care, masonry and tile, painting and decorating, pumps and plumbing, wood working, heavy equipment, ladders, scaffold, landscaping and gardening, lifting and moving, lighting and electrical, welding and much more, Kerrisdale Equipment is very likely to have what you are looking for and if they don’t happen to have it they are happy to source it.

Ron Russell is extremely proud of his skilled and knowledgeable employees who are well versed in how to use the equipment.

Is your lawn mower on the fritz or perhaps your hedge trimmer is not in tiptop shape to tackle the big project ahead? Kerrisdale Equipment’s service department repairs many makes of lawn and garden equipment, small engines, chainsaws, trimmers, blowers, generators and more. They also offer a complete sharpening service for mower blades, chainsaws, shears and reel mowers. Bonus: For a fee Kerrisdale Equipment offers pick up and delivery service within the Lower Mainland for both regular and heavy equipment.

There are now very few independent equipment rental stores left in the city as large nationals such as Home Depot have stepped into the market. In fact, only three remain in Greater Vancouver.

Ron Russell finds it a shame that we live in such a disposable world. He says, “Some people will buy cheap tools rather than rent them.” He recommends renting, as you will not be faced with storing, servicing or ultimately disposing of poorly made equipment. More importantly, contractor grade tools and equipment do a superior job.

He forecasts there will be a movement back to being do it yourselfers as costs of trades will become prohibitive for some homeowners.

Kerrisdale Equipment interior Dunbar LifeVery much a supporter of the community, in a humble manner Ron Russell admits his business is a keen supporter of the local Little League, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and a new endeavor, they are lending support to the new Pacific Autism Family Centre currently being constructed in Richmond.

As many small business owners will attest, there isn’t often a lot of spare time outside of one’s work life, however when Ron Russell does get a chance to break away he enjoys a game of golf. He also likes to get out on the local water in his 20-foot boat with his wife and their 10-year-old son.

After 56 years in business what makes him most proud? He replies, “I am proud the business has survived for so long by consistently staying ahead of the game for our customers.”

Kerrisdale Equipment
4522 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2G6
Telephone 604-224-3255

Dunbar Pizza and Grill

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Where Italy Meets India

Dunbar Pizza Jasvir Nandda Dunbar LifeJasvir Nandda is the jovial owner of Dunbar Pizza, a business he has proudly run for 17 years. The menu is as unique as the inviting aroma of pizza and Indian cuisine, which mingle and fill the air. Nandda’s genuine warmth makes you feel like you have stepped into his home kitchen.

Don’t be surprised if he calls you “my friend” as that is what you will quickly become when you converse.

Up front the establishment is small, with a window counter and seating for a handful of people. Behind the scenes the deep restaurant houses pizza ovens, walk in coolers, a big gas stove and more fry pans and pizza boxes than you can shake a stick at.

Nandda is originally from the city of Jalandhar, located in the state of Punjab, India where several generations of his family, dating back to his grandfather, worked in the restaurant industry. Their specialty was Indian food and sweets. His father and uncle worked as cooks, although he points out his mother’s important role was to be the “home boss.”

In 1993 Nandda moved to Canada to join relatives here. He loves his life in his adopted country and does not miss the pollution or the hot climate he left behind. He also appreciates how safe Canada is in comparison.

After working in various professions he decided to take a risk and open his own business based on his experience as a cook. He thanks a friend of his brother-in-law for encouraging him to purchase a pizza business.

Why set up shop in Dunbar? He explains it took time to find the right location. Two attempts to lease businesses in North Vancouver and New Westminster fell through, and then one day he was visiting Dunbar and spotted a for rent sign in the window. He had finally found a home for his business, which was formerly a pizza restaurant.

Capital outlay for equipment was a consideration when he started out and therefore he started only making pizza. Two years later he introduced Indian food to the menu. He started slowly. Samosas were the first item to debut. A clever marketer, when customers would purchase a pizza Nandda would tempt them with a couple of complimentary samosas.

Today his Indian food is as popular as his pizza. Customers go wild for his butter chicken in addition to the lamb korma and spinach lamb. Those items are only the tip of the iceberg; the Indian menu features appetizers (pakoras, samosas), lamb, chicken and a good selection of vegetarian dishes. Tandoori breads (naan, parantha and roti) and a number of biryani rice dishes round out the Indian menu.

Flip the menu and a long list of pizzas can be found ranging from the Dunbar Special to international salutes to India, Italy and Greece. Nandda says the most popular choices are the Canadian, butter chicken and Hawaiian pizza.

High school students are big fans of Dunbar Pizza. They sweep in during lunch hour and after school for pizza by the slice.

Special prices on pizza by the slice (based on volume) make a meal even more enticing with a can of pop included to sweeten the deal.

Remarkably, in addition to pizza and Indian food Nandda also offers Greek and Italian cuisine. Craving souvlaki, spaghetti, lasagna or barbeque baby ribs? No worries, he has you covered.

“We are so lucky to have so many culinary options in this multicultural city.” Jasvir Nandda

What does he enjoy most about the business? He says eating what he cooks ranks high on the list. He enjoys the variety of pizza and Indian food and says he doesn’t have a favourite dish.

Dunbar Pizza exterior Dunbar LifeHis customers make the long hours well worth it. Many of them are locals and have been supporting his business for years. When people call him for deliveries (a big part of his business) often he is so well acquainted with them that he knows their order. He says some customers will even let him select on their behalf.

Living in Surrey means long days for this hard working business owner. The restaurant is open seven days a week until late at night. Nandda likes to spend his limited free time with his wife and two teenagers. Vacations don’t happen often, in fact it was three years ago that he was last in India.

With a smile on his face, Nandda concludes,” I am born to work.” Based on the pizzas that my children tried and gave two thumbs up, I would also add he was born to cook. I will be back to try the Indian fare.

Dunbar Pizza & Grill
3348 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2C1
Telephone 604-732-4999