Archive for April, 2017

Dunbar Theatre

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

The West Side’s Only Independent Movie Theatre.

Dunbar Theatre popcorn concession Palla MediaOn the landscape of full time independent movie houses, Dunbar Theatre is literally a sole survivor; it is the last of its kind in the city of Vancouver. There has never been any question that Dunbar is a very special community, and this is confirmed by the neighbourhood’s support of this well loved theatre, which opened in 1935.

Dunbar Theatre archivesDunbar Theatre was built during the Art Deco architectural period by J. Howard Boothe; he ran it until 1941 when Odeon bought the theatre and made it part of a nationwide chain. It closed down between 1987-1988 and then was taken over by Famous Players for approximately ten years. Once again it closed, and this time it seemed destined to be demolished; however, the community adamantly rejected plans for redevelopment.

In February 1998, three university students, including young entrepreneur Ken Charko, the present day owner of Dunbar Theatre, approached the property owner and requested permission to operate the theatre as a summer project. Soon after, Ken leased the building and brought Hollywood magic back to Dunbar as the theatre’s new independent owner. Eight years later he also became the operator of Varsity Theatre on West 10th Avenue, which closed in 2006 due to redevelopment.

Dunbar Theatre exterior Palla MediaKen mentions neighbourhood theatres are in a high-risk category – they are costly to run, leases can be high, theatres are located in prime locations where real estate is highly sought after, and independent theatres are in competition with multiplex theatres, home downloading and Netflix. But this is a happy story, a success story and the Dunbar, as the theatre is fondly referred to, has stood the test of time and this is to be celebrated.

“Dunbar Theatre is a community anchor. Stong’s is the other major anchor and it is these two businesses that help make Dunbar different than other neighbourhoods.”  Ken Charko

The Dunbar shows first run films and Ken personally screens all of them; on average the runs are two to three weeks. He opts for primarily family friendly films, reflective of this community’s movie going audience. Recent showings of Star Wars, La La Land and Lego Batman have been extremely popular.

Dunbar Theatre tickets Palla MediaWestJet Magazine has ranked Dunbar Theatre as one of North America’s five iconic movie theatres describing it as, “Delightfully retro, the theatre shows first-run films and is known for its comfortable, stretch-out seating and secret-recipe popcorn.”

Ah yes, the popcorn. Online reviews invariably mention the legendary buttery popcorn. And just why is this popcorn so darned tasty? Ken says he does not scrimp on quality. He invests in better corn, special salt and salted butter. Ken reveals that “off sales popcorn” is also very popular. People will drop in as they walk by simply because they are craving their favourite treat.

The concession stand is an important revenue generator. Charko jokes when he says, “I am a popcorn salesman.” All of his prices are lower than the chains, from the concession stand to tickets.

Dunbar Life Ken Charko Dunbar TheatreFor Ken, this is a labour of love. It is his passion for films and for this community that drives him to keep running Dunbar Theatre.

He mentions that one of the pay-offs is being able to offer his staff good jobs. Ken estimates Dunbar Theatre has helped put approximately 1,000 people through university.

An astute businessman, he has come up with creative ways to utilize the venue. For instance, did you know it is possible to hold a private birthday party at the Dunbar? A full screen experience blows even the best home media room experience out of the water.

Companies rent the facility as a unique way to host customer appreciation events. Ken has also nurtured a good relationship with local schools. With the theatre’s ability to seat 350 people schools such as St. George’s School and Point Grey Secondary School have screened their own films relevant to the curriculum. One school watched a movie about climate change and brought in the director for a post-show discussion.

Dunbar Theatre seating Palla MediaIf you are a new mother and are craving a romantic comedy or drama, Movies For Mommies is designed for you. Movies run alternating Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. Mothers, their babies up to 18 months old and toddlers too are welcome in this kid-friendly environment.

What’s next for the Dunbar? Ken always has ideas brewing. He is contemplating an audio-visual upgrade and also has plans to replace the seating (have no fear, the spacious distance between seats will remain). He is also considering a VIP section in the theatre’s balcony. Another thought is to mount a film festival in September; he believes the community would embrace this idea.

In his unique position as the only full time independent movie theatre Ken says, “It defines who I am. I’ve got the greatest job.”

Dunbar Theatre
4555 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6S 2G7
Telephone 604-222-2991

East Summer Colour with Flowering Bulbs

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Higher Ground Gardens plantsLooking to add summer flowering plants to your existing shrubs and perennials? Try summer flowering bulbs for a display that can bloom from early summer through to mid-fall. There are many gorgeous bulbs you can plant in spring for great summer colour, and cut-flowers. Dahlias are commonly planted tender bulbs. Mostly tropical in origin, summer flowering bulbs bring a hint of the exotic to our garden beds and borders. Sold in mesh bags at your local garden centre, you will have many options to choose from. Gladiolus, Dahlia, Begonia, Asian Lilies as well as Canna Lilies and Calla Lilies can all be grown from bulbs.

Celebrate Canada in Red and White Style
This year, Canadian bulb producers have introduced showy red and white bulbs to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Look out for ‘Canadian Celebration’ dahlias with a white flower that has a delicate red stripe on the petals. ‘True North’ Lilies, Gladiolus and Dahlias are all vibrant variations of red and white blossoms for a patriotic garden display.

Easy Care Tips for Success with Summer Bulbs
Most summer bulbs love warm soil and the heat of summer. In Vancouver, you can plant in spring for blooms by summer. Dahlias, Canna Lilies and Gladiolus like a spot in full sun with moist but well drained soil. Calla Lilies can be planted in part shade or full sun. Stake taller plants as they grow. In early autumn, remember to dig out the bulbs after all the foliage has receded. Store them in a cool, dry place away from car fumes. Let them lay dormant all winter and repeat next spring!

Jessica Salvador is a Certified Landscape Horticulturist. She is Co-Owner of Higher Ground Gardens with Christian Kessner, a Certified Landscape Technician

www.highergroundgardens.com

Champion of Dunbar Village

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Dunbar Residents’ Association

The Dunbar Residents’ Association (DRA) definitely fits the bill as a Champion of Dunbar Village; it plays an instrumental role in making Dunbar a better place to live. The association promotes community spirit, informs residents about important issues that have an impact on the neighbourhood, and works tirelessly to make sure Dunbar residents’ views are heard at City Hall.

The community can thank a much-needed stop sign for being the catalyst to form the highly valued DRA.

In 1989 a group of neighbours successfully petitioned for the installation of a stop sign at the corner of Crown Street and West 27th Avenue. The group was not active again until 1991 when a developer proposed to build a disproportionately higher density develop-ment in central Dunbar’s business district. It was another victory for the community, thanks to the DRA, after discussions with the developer the project was dropped. Rather than disband, the group decided to carry on as a registered non-profit society and officially became the DRA.

The organization’s mandate is to facilitate meetings regarding proposed changes to the Dunbar neighbourhood. They build community by printing a newsletter with a circulation of 6,000 copies three times a year, which is delivered to every household with the dedicated assistance of 250 volunteers.

Dunbar Residents Association Sonia Wicken Colleen McGuinnessSonia Wicken has been involved with the DRA’s board since the beginning. She is currently the board’s treasurer. “It is a way to give back to this wonderful community that is home,” Sonia says.

DRA’s president of the board, Colleen McGuinness says, “As an association we speak on behalf of the neighbourhood.” She points out there are many accomplishments to be proud of during the DRA’s 25-year history. She has been involved for 10 years and is in her second term as president. She mentions, “A two year term provides continuity and allows new people to step up and contribute to the board.”

Part of their work involves advocacy at City Hall. They utilize the expertise of their members to act as spokespeople. She points to board members Bill Rapanos (a retired planner) and Jonathan Weisman (a lawyer) as two examples of instrumental DRA advocates.

With a small budget and no paid staff, Colleen admits it is hard to manage new technologies such as the website that they are in the midst of redesigning. The association appreciates the work of two students from Lord Byng Secondary who manage the DRA’s interactive email list for communication amongst Dunbar neighbours.

DRA played a role in initiating the Dunbar Community Patrol, DEEP (Dunbar Earthquake and Emergency Preparedness) and Salmonberry Days.

Every month, considerable effort is made to schedule the Dunbar Community Patrol, run entirely by volunteers to increase neighbourhood safety. Patrol assignments are based on the city’s crime statistics with the goal of ensuring coverage throughout Dunbar with an emphasis on higher crime areas.

DEEP emerged out of a presentation Village Vancouver Transition Society (VV) made to the DRA in 2011. At this meeting, enthusiasm ignited and key DRA members including Susan Chapman, Jane Ingman Baker and Walter Wells formed a steering committee to join forces with Ann Pacey of VV to form DEEP. This active team of Dunbar citizens has been talking about and preparing for a full-scale earthquake, to ensure Dunbar residents are able to take care of themselves and each other should such a disaster occur.

Synonymous with May in Dunbar is Salmonberry Days, a unique month long environmental festival to build awareness of Dunbar’s natural surroundings. The DRA created this event in partnership with the Dunbar Community Centre Association and the business association that was active at that time.

Each year Salmonberry Days chooses a theme and fills the entire month with walks, talks and a bus tour.

As an example, Colleen describes how 60 people will magically appear to go on a guided walking tour of the neighbourhood to learn about the fascinating history of Dunbar’s early architecture and the original property owners.

This year the Salmonberry Days planning committee has selected anniversaries as the theme, to tie in with the festival’s 20th anniversary, the 25th anniversary of the DRA, and Canada’s 150th birthday celebration. Nature, the environment, history, gardening and community will be in the spotlight.

The culminating event is the annual Dunbar Community Centre Associations’ Salmon-berry Days Fair on May 28 at Memorial Park. The DRA is looking at new funding sources for Salmonberry Days. Colleen says, “Happily, this year we have found an anonymous fairy godmother.”

B.C.’s May 9 provincial election is just around the corner. The DRA always organizes a candidates’ debate and this year, working in cooperation with the Dunbar Community Centre Association, it will be held on April 28 at Dunbar Community Centre. “We always get an excellent turn out. Dunbar is a politically savvy community,” Colleen says.

Colleen explains why she offers her time, and her response likely represents many DRA volunteers’ motives. She says, “Dunbar is my community. I want to live in a viable, safe and engaged neighbourhood and this is how I can do my part.”

As for the future of the DRA, Sonia concludes, “The organization is still very important and relevant as the city and its neighborhoods are rapidly changing.”

Thank you to each DRA champion who has offered his or her time over the past 25 years to help make Dunbar a special place to call home. Here’s to the next 25 years!

Membership in the DRA is $20/household/year ($10 if a household member is 65 or over) and runs from October to September. Monthly DRA meetings take place on the first Tuesday of the month at the Dunbar Community Centre. Visit the DRA’s website for the schedule at www.dunbar-vancouver.org

Granville Gardens

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Granville Gardens lobbyA Unique Boutique Residence. Kerrisdale’s New Senior’s Community Feeds the Spirit.

The innovation and architectural quality of Granville Gardens is just the first hint of the uniqueness that has been passionately considered for those who enter through the port-cochere.

Filtered fresh air, steam fireplace, wifi, patios surrounded by water features and lots of natural light give this residence a bright west coast style. With only 62 suites one can certainly expect nothing less than a personalized experience.

Centrally located at the corner of Granville Street and W. 49th Avenue, the building is situated conveniently close to amenities in Kerrisdale, Marpole and Oakridge. Yet with triple glazed windows and double drywall, it feels miles away from city life.

Wilma Atchison and Sandra BarrThe warmth and passion of the entire Granville Gardens team is clear. “Creating meaningful environments that promote close community ties is important to us,” says Wilma Atchison, General Manager. “Feeding the spirit is our top priority whether it is being more active, more social, pursuing something familiar or trying something new.” Where you live really does matter.

“It’s where we want to learn what is most important to you. By providing choices such as all-day dining, flexible menu options, life enrichment programs and excursions by shuttle bus. Our ambassador program offers a variety of volunteer opportunities—anywhere from hosting events to selling merchandise in our Tuck Shoppe. If it is meaningful to you, do more of it. No compromises necessary,” adds Sandra Barr, Assistant General Manager. “What does life enrichment mean to you?”

A variety of suites are available, but with accelerating demand from visitors, timing is essential. “It’s an exciting time for individuals to have the opportunity to be a part of building a community from the ground up,” Wilma adds “and where really good friendships are made.” Everyone has a story to share.

Recognizing that each person is unique in their interests, abilities and preferences, and with access to a professional health and wellness coach, the option for personalized support is convenient, comforting and empowering.

The three-storey building is extremely attractive. The large open concept lounge and Red Maple Restaurant are very serene spaces with a seaside feel. Beautiful shades of blue, gray and earth tones have been chosen for furnishings and carpets. Slate tiled walls, beautiful artwork and millwork, amongst magnificent floor to ceiling windows add to the peaceful ambience.

Granville Gardens studioA furnished guest suite offers a retreat stay for those interested in sampling an experience or not worrying about household chores, enjoying dining excellence at one’s convenience and where visitors are always welcome.

A variety of unique studio and one-bedroom suites offer complimentary feature wall paint choices, high ceilings and views overlooking one of three garden patios surrounding the building. The building is non- smoking and pet friendly. Parking is on a first come basis and included for the first year. Secured scooter parking is also available.

Granville Gardens roomSuites feature a spacious bathroom with walk-in shower, kitchenette with apartment sized fridge and a state of the art emergency response system. Consideration for space saving storage units are included, and one can consult with an interior designer about storage solutions to personalize one’s space.

Amenities invite one to explore new interests or continue favourites in the Fine Arts Studio, Club Lounge (poker or bridge anyone?) and the Great Room, a space to host exercise programs of Osteofit, tai chi and yoga, TED talks, musical guests and educational forums.

In-house amenities include a small library called ‘The Book Nook,’ ‘Ye Olde Tuck Shoppe’ and a Hair Salon. A variety of mobile services will offer head to toe pampering from foot care and spa treatments, or for your convenience visiting hearing consultants or lab services.

Granville Gardens Chef TeamThe dining experience of farm to table selections is truly a taste journey, bursting with flavour. It starts with our Bistro Bar which offers a continental breakfast for the early riser or beverages and snacks the rest of the day. The Red Maple Restaurant, with a Maitre d’ to welcome you and your guests, is open from 9:00am to 7:00pm, offering daily specials or an à la carte option. Between meals consider our Bistro Menu, featuring signature inspired dishes. In suite dining is also available as required.

Granville Gardens diningThe dining experience is more than just about nutrition. Chef Rodrigo explains, “One eats with their eyes, heart and taste buds.” The Chef and his team take a personal interest in your dining experience, offering a wide array of international flavors and personal preferences, whether vegetarian or gluten free. A beautiful private dining room overlooking a private patio space is peaceful and perfect for special events, meetings and celebrations.

Granville Gardens W 49thGranville Gardens’ team and philosophy embraces one’s desire to continue to have a lifestyle which best suits them, regardless of one’s age. Undoubtedly, this beautiful residence is “inspired senior living” at its best that individuals will feel proud and happy to call home.

Granville Gardens
100-1550 West 49th Avenue
Vancouver, BC, V6M 2R6
Telephone 604-563-3540
www.verveseniorliving.com/granville-gardens

The Dunbar Public House

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Dunbar Pub drink crowd Palla MediaWhere Friends Gather.

For the past nine years The Dunbar Public House has been Dunbar’s hang out. Dima Mekhlis is the soft-spoken, friendly owner of this restaurant where locals drop in to enjoy a bite to eat, have a drink and watch a game on one of the establishment’s three flat screen TVs.

The corner restaurant is a wonderful spot to meet for dinner before or after a movie at Dunbar Theatre.

It has a pub-like feel but is completely family friendly; for many years it was a diner. Dima says, “Many of those patrons grew up and progressed from milkshakes to beer.” Long term Dunbar residents may remember the location was previously a bike shop and a pharmacy.

The wall is decorated with an assortment of jerseys, including hockey, soccer and baseball. The Dunbar Public House staff is always happy to tune in to whatever sporting event customers’ request. Dima admits his favourite team is the Canucks, especially during playoff season.

Originally from Ukraine, Dima spent his high school and college years in Israel. He has lived in Vancouver for the past 18 years and is the proud father of two daughters.

Dunbar Pub drink burger Palla MediaThe menu highlights pub fare. The house-made hamburgers are the restaurant’s specialty, and what goes better with a burger and fries than a nice cold beer? Some of the featured items include the 29th Ave Burger (in honour of their location at Dunbar Street and West 29th Avenue) with goat cheese and avocado. Also on the menu you will find the lamb burger, the Cajun chicken and tuna burgers and the veggie burger with sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese.

Sandwiches, house-made soup and salads and tempting appies including nachos, chicken tenders, perogies, poutine, pork dry ribs and steamed edamame are also available.

Dunbar Pub drink nachos Palla MediaIn addition to the lunch and dinner menu, The Dunbar Public House offers a brunch menu every Saturday and Sunday between 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (and on statutory holidays). A veggie omelette is offered along with eggs Benedict, Montreal meat hash, steak or bacon and eggs, or the Dunbar skillet (veggies, two poached eggs, hollandaise, with your choice of bacon, chorizo, BBQ pulled pork, or smoked salmon). Add a mimosa or a craft Caesar if you like to kick-start your day!

Check out the board to see the daily specials (drinks and food) and don’t miss happy hour every day from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. until closing. Open seven days a week until midnight (until 1:00 a.m. Thursday through Saturday), this is one of Dunbar’s only late night hangouts.

Dunbar Pub drink beer Palla MediaThe Dunbar Public House serves eight draft beers and also is a keen supporter of local craft beers. In total there are 21 bottled beers to choose from. Patrons can look forward to light ales as the summer months approach.

Enticing draft cocktails include the Snake Bite (Strongbow cider, Howe Sound lager and blackcurrant juice) and the Creamsicle (Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc and a shot of Absolut Mandarin). Regular cocktails such as the Bicycle (Vanilla Stoli mixed with lemonade) and the Stress Reliever (vodka, dark rum, peach schnapps, cranberry and orange juice) are sure to wet your whistle.

What makes this restaurant stand out? Dima says, “I believe it is my friendly staff; many are long time employees.”

Dunbar Pub drink Dima Mekhlis Palla MediaHis staff is a group of energetic young people who help to provide an exciting and eclectic environment. Some of them are locals while others come from other parts of Canada and around the globe.

“As a long term community restaurant we care about the neighbourhood.” Dima Mekhlis

He adds, “It’s all about team effort here. The neighbourhood is very special too.” Many customers live in the area and are loyal customers. Dima enjoys his role in offering an environment where good memories are created.

Mark your calendar for Mother’s Day and treat mum to brunch. Close down the home kitchen – breakfast in bed is nice – but going out and having the option to order off a menu earns brownie points!

Dunbar Pub drink 4497 Palla MediaThe south facing patio is a popular place to sit year round thanks to the overhead heaters. People watch, enjoy the sun, wave to your neighbours as they pass by, and best of all, if you are a local, stroll home after a drink and meal. After all, that’s the beauty of having a local public house in your community.

The Dunbar Public House
4497 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6S 2G4
Telephone 604-222-9922
www.thedunbar.ca