Archive for the ‘copyright to Palla Media’ Category

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

Third Eye Martial Arts Studio

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Empowerment Through Self-Defence

It was “a lightning bolt moment” the first time Mehdi Saadati saw his uncle Master Ebrahim Saadati compete in Taekwondo. Mehdi was seven years old at the time and was instantly hooked; he knew he wanted to get involved in martial arts.

Third Eye Martial Arts Dunbar Master Erahim SaadatiMaster Saadati also began Taekwondo when he was seven. He earned his black belt when he was 12 years old. In 1989, he became a member of the Iranian National A Team and won first place at the International Fajr tournament. He continued to compete at national and international championships and in 1992 won a gold medal at the World Military Championships. In 1994 he won a silver medal at the Asian Games. In 1998 he became the Canadian champion in the welterweight division in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Taekwondo is the second most popular sport in the world (soccer is number one). Taekwondo is well loved because it teaches discipline while building self-confidence and both physical and mental strength. Mehdi points out how empowered students feel when they learn self-defence skills.

Mehdi moved with his family from Tehran to Vancouver in 1993. Master Saadati immigrated two years later. He started teaching Taekwondo at Kerrisdale and Sunset Community Centres in 2000 after he retired from competing. In 2011 the pair joined forces to work together at Third Eye Martial Arts Studio.

Master Saadati is the owner and head master and Mehdi is the general manager and head instructor. He describes Dunbar as “the jewel of the city.” What stands out for him is the strong sense of community; he really enjoys running into students and their families on the street. Although he doesn’t live in Dunbar currently, he has his eye on a condominium that would lighten his commute to a matter of minutes.

The first Third Eye Martial Arts Studio opened at West 8th Avenue (near Hemlock Street) and the large 5,000 square foot space serves as company headquarters. The Dunbar studio opened in 2013.

IMG_6393The smaller Dunbar space is busy seven days a week with over 300 students registered. Youth classes can accommodate 20 students and are taught by three instructors. Adult classes take place weekday evenings and weekends. All classes are co-ed although the demographic is slanted slightly higher towards female students for both kids and adult classes.

“Taekwondo is beneficial for everybody. It is not age dependent. It is something everyone can try.” Mehdi Saadati

Students from ages 3 to 72 attend classes at the Dunbar location as they work their way up from white belt through the rainbow of colours (yellow, green, blue, red) to reach black belt status.

Third Eye Martial Arts Dunbar Mehdi SaadatiMehdi says it’s never too late to begin this sport. He shares the story of a 70-year-old student who earned her black belt; she began at age 66. With admiration in his voice and a big smile he says, “She is the most tenacious woman I have ever met.”

As general manager, Mehdi manages the studios and ensures classes run smoothly. He specializes in teaching kids with special needs and autism; private classes are offered for low functioning students.

“The magic that happens when you make a connection is the most gratifying thing in the world.” Mehdi Saadati

If your child is looking for a kicking good birthday party consider Third Eye’s West 8th location. This is a great chance to introduce a group of kids to martial arts and you don’t have to be a member. Mehdi says many Dunbar families take advantage of these fun parties.

Another popular service is Third Eye’s after school program (also held at the West 8th studio). Instead of leaving your child with a babysitter or staying home alone, he or she will be picked up from school in one of Third Eye’s van and transported to the studio for Taekwondo training, homework and snack time. Parents pick their kids up before dinner.

Bullying is a subject close to Mehdi’s heart. He experienced being bullied as a child and says it can happen to anyone. Master Saadati, Mehdi and the other instructors are committed to children’s safety and security. Third Eye hosts a bully prevention program twice annually for all ages.

When a child is bullied Mehdi says, “It can feel like a dead end road.”

Third Eye’s workshop can also help parents identify the signs that aren’t always apparent. There is a physical aspect to the program run by three to four instructors and Master Saadati. Follow Third Eye Martial Arts Studio on social media (Facebook and Instagram) or refer to their website for further details.

Third Eye Martial Arts 4256 Dunbar StIf Taekwondo sounds like the sport for you or your child, consider Third Eye Martial Arts Studio’s special winter offer. From now until mid-March receive a one-month trial class and a free uniform for $49.95. You never know, your child may become hooked just like Master Saadati and Mehdi!

Third Eye Martial Arts Studio
4256 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2E9
Telephone 604-428-4256
www.temartialarts.com

Crepe & Cafe

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Customers Come First for New Owner

Crepe Cafe Dunbar 3500 w41stDiljeet Taheem is the proud new owner of Crepe & Café located at the corner of West 41st Avenue and Collingwood Street. He took over the established business last June and is quickly winning over customers.

Originally from Delhi, Diljeet followed his brother to Vancouver in 1990. He holds a Masters degree in Economics in addition to a diploma in Microcomputer Business Applications. He worked at the Vancouver School Board for a number of years and currently owns a design, printing and sign making company called Jasonbel Creations Inc. in addition to operating Crepe & Café.

His passion for cooking began at an early age. Diljeet explains, “I liked to watch my mother preparing food.”

Crepe Cafe Dunbar Diljeet Parminder TaheemDiljeet had been looking to purchase a coffee shop for two years when he discovered Crepe & Café was for sale and felt it was a perfect fit. Diljeet wasn’t looking for a formal dining experience and knew a franchise would not suit him. He was determined to operate an independent business where he could apply his creativity and make the business his own.

Cleanliness is high on this owner’s list of priorities so he started by giving the restaurant a full makeover. All of the counters were replaced and the floor was refinished. Tiffany-style pendant lights hang over counter and a number of chandeliers are mounted throughout the dining area. A black industrial open ceiling is balanced with white walls and artwork. He also replaced all of the furniture. Diljeet smiles when he reports a little boy commented on the comfortable new chairs.

Not being French or having run a restaurant did not deter the new business owner. The former owners trained him. He says, “I learnt from them but I did not stop.” He mentions his chef friends also shared their knowledge. Diljeet took to the challenge in an academic fashion and threw himself into researching French cuisine. He makes frequent references to the importance of technique.

“Cooking techniques are the same around the world with minor variations.” Diljeet Taheem

When it comes to crepes, Diljeet drew from his experience with the dosa, a type of pancake commonly made in southern India, which share similarities.

Crepe Cafe Dunbar interiorHis wife Parminder works alongside him in the kitchen; she prepares the crepes while Diljeet brews coffee and bakes.

Diljeet hasn’t changed the menu but he has improved it. He has added an organic salad to the crepe plate without increasing the price. He says, “I want to make sure my customers receive quality and value.”

On the menu you will find savoury crepes known as galette made with buckwheat flour. A number of fillings are available including eggs with Black Forest ham and Swiss cheese, smoked salmon with organic spinach and Swiss cheese, and chicken with red onion, tomato and Swiss cheese.

Sweet crepes include lemon and sugar, Nutella and banana, sugar with butter and cinnamon, and an assortment of jam fillings. Gluten-free crepes are also offered. Grilled sandwiches and wraps are very popular with the lunchtime crowd, and the fresh baked goods (including almond cookies and croissants) are a perfect accompaniment to enjoy with a variety of organic coffees (latte, cappuccino, espresso, Americano), organic teas (Diljeet says he makes an excellent chai latte), and other hot comfort drinks (hot chocolate and steamed milk).

When Diljeet sets himself a goal he won’t stop until he masters it. For example, he wanted to improve the coffee sold at Crepe & Café. He says, “I used my research skills to learn everything there is to know about coffee.” From using quality beans to the art of grinding, pressing and percolation, he says, “I technically fixed the coffee brewing process and have passed this knowledge on to my staff. The quality has to be there for the price.”

Diljeet strives for a personal experience. He says, “I want it to be like a home.”

Honest opinions are of utmost importance to Diljeet; he makes a point of personally serving new customers and asking how they enjoyed their meal. “My goal is to have them respond with a wow,” Diljeet says. One of his proudest moments to date was when he asked for feedback from a French couple – they were so impressed with their experience they asked Diljeet if he has spent time in France (he hasn’t).

Treating his customers with respect and courtesy comes as second nature to Diljeet. He likes to pull back customer’s chairs and is always happy to assist senior customers by holding the door.

When asked what he is finding most satisfying about operating Crepe & Cafe, Diljeet replies without hesitating, “What I am learning and using in my business. Knowing the café is improving and that people like the changes is very satisfying to me.”

Crepé & Cafe
3500 W 41st Avenue
Vancouver BC V6N 3E6
Telephone 604-566-9787

Spring Gardening After a Hard Winter

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Pruning
Pruning small trees and shrubs in February, during the dormant period, is a safe time to make cuts. Avoid pruning shrubs that are about to flower, as you will lose the buds. Use your handsaw and secateurs to improve access, shape, or remove branches broken by snow loads. Cut back any of last year’s perennials that were left for winter interest such as coneflowers or ornamental grasses. Cut to within an inch of the crown of the plant.

Damage and Debris Removal
In winter or early spring remove fallen leaves, branches, breakage from snow, and dead portions of Chafer grub damaged lawns. Rake up debris from the lawn and garden beds and dispose of as much possible in the green bin. Note that homeowners can call 311 and request the largest green bin available or order a second bin. Piles of debris left on the lawn will kill the emerging spring grass beneath it and becomes a nesting site for slugs and insect pests.

Add Composted Mulch
With spring on its way, a layer of composted mulch installed on the planting bed will help to suppress weeds, retain moisture, and moderate soil temperature. If your soil is light brown or yellowish in colour, this is a telltale sign that you need to use bark mulch as a top-dressing to add vital nutrients to your garden.

2017 is the year of ‘Soundscaping.’ Plant trees or shrubs that have dense lower branches in order to buffer your garden space from urban noise. Leaves, trunks and branches serve to disperse sound waves. It’s no surprise that trees are once again in the spotlight for their health benefits.

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

Dunbar Little League

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Champion of Dunbar Village.

You can almost hear the aluminum bat ping, smell the burgers on the grill and feel the teams’ collective energy as David Berrington enthusiastically describes his involvement with Dunbar Little League (DLL).

David-Berrington-DLL-Dunbar-LifeDavid is president of DLL’s board and he’s a huge fan of the organization. This season DLL celebrates its sixtieth season, making it Vancouver’s second oldest Little League. Although the season is short, three months in total from April to June, in addition to tournament season (mid-June to the end of July), DLL is a true community anchor.

Volunteers are fully responsible for running DLL and there is no problem getting people out to lend a hand. David says, “This is not drop and go, this is drop and participate.”

“We have the strongest volunteer base of any league we interact with. We measure our success by our community spirit.” David Berrington

An example of community spirit is the pre-season field preparation workday; approximately 150 people turn out every year without fail. They come equipped with hoes, shovels and rakes to weed, put up fences, and spread “red gold” which is what David jokingly says they call the expensive dirt.

He mentions that season openers draw as many as 500 kids and 1,000 family members. He adds, “No other Dunbar events have a turn out like this.” Closing day also draws huge crowds. An annual parade kicks off the day, beginning at West King Edward Avenue and processes, complete with police escorts, along Dunbar Street to Memorial Park. With as many as 700 kids, coaches and parents joining in, by the time they reach the park the numbers double in size with the awaiting crowd.

Community celebrations are at the heart of DLL. Perhaps it is because, as David acknowledges, “Baseball has a rich tradition of history and ceremony” that they place value on commemorating special occasions. On Mother’s Day the concession stand is off limits – no mothers are allowed to volunteer. Instead, mothers and grandmothers are showered with adoration in the form of a cooked breakfast made by the dads.

Another notable occasion is the annual coaches game. This one night tournament is an opportunity for everyone to come out and watch the coaches play. A volunteer who happens to be a restaurateur, came up with the idea of offering a special menu of meatball sandwiches and crab rolls at the concession stand, which met with great approval. As many as 300 people have come out to cheer on the coaches; kids act as umpires and get an opportunity to make announcements. Pancake day for the Majors players is an opportunity to shine the spotlight on the senior players prior to the playoffs. They hold fun competitions and players receive a commemorative pin in appreciation of their time spent with DLL.

Players and their families are guaranteed to be neighbours due to set boundaries within the Dunbar area.

Only accepting registrations from Dunbar kids creates instant connections with one another at Memorial Park and Balaclava Park, which are the home parks to the 500 DLL players who range in age from 4 to 12.

Beginning at age 4 children can sign up for T-ball where they will get their first taste of being a Little Leaguer. At age 7 they progress to Minor B division (the only level that plays at Balaclava Park), at age 9 they advance to Minor A and finally at age 11 through 12 they reach Majors division at Memorial Park’s big diamond.

All teams are co-ed and it’s never too late to learn to play baseball. David notes that while registration has already taken place for the older divisions, T-ball registration is underway during the month of February.

“The concession turns a small profit every year. It’s not about making a profit, it’s about the community feeling.” David Berrington

The concession is open to everyone; residents will often stroll by and make a purchase. For $5 you can purchase a burger and drink. Popcorn, hot dogs, Caesar salad wraps and slushies are all very popular but the top seller by far is the candy bags priced at a mere 50 cents. Over the course of a season DLL sells over 6,000 bags. Groups of volunteers meet twice a season to bag the candy.

With 50 DLL teams in total there are plenty of opportunities for local businesses to get involved as sponsors. David mentions there is a waiting list to sponsor the Majors level. Businesses benefit from exposure to local residents but it is also a philanthropic investment in the neighbourhood that drives many to get involved.

How did David get involved? Although he did not play baseball as a child he made a point of introducing his two sons to a variety of sports. They became hooked and have worked their way up through DLL. His oldest son has now moved on to Bantam Triple A with Vancouver Community Baseball. His youngest son is completing his final year in DLL’s Majors division.

DLL logo sqDavid admits that as a human resources consultant his strength is managing and leading people. He has thoroughly enjoyed volunteering for DLL. With one final year as president he admits, “I’ll miss it terribly. The involvement I have is special.” He will remain for an additional year as past president, but will always be involved in some capacity. “I don’t own the league. I have been a caretaker for a few years. You always hope to leave an organization in a better place when you move on,” he says.

Regarding the sixtieth anniversary season DLL plans to host an alumni game and hold a party in June which all former coaches and players are invited to attend. Information and details will be forthcoming on DLL’s website at www.dunbarbaseball.ca

Puppies and Toddlers

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Puppies-Dunbar-LifeMany Dunbar families have dogs, which means most of those have had the Puppy Experience. Our now four month old puppy reminds me daily of how remarkably similar the experience of having a puppy is to the Toddler Experience. Sorry kids.

Both toddlers and puppies involve a general disruption of routine and constantly require surveillance and intervention. When puppy finally exhausts herself and konks out on the floor, we scurry about, having showers or putting things away while puppy sleeps. Try bringing in groceries or sweeping the floor or emptying the dishwasher with a puppy or a toddler ‘helping you.’ The ordinary can become a personal challenge: the other day I got crazy and decided to sneak the door mats back to their usual positions at the front and back doors. After 24 hours of their remaining in place I thought I had clinched a victory, until I entered the room to see our puppy whipping the mat in circles above her head like a cowboy swinging a lasso. The mats were collected once again.

Both puppies and toddlers regularly walk off with car keys and mail and shoes if not secured away. All possessions are at risk. A toddler in our family once hid a turned off pager inside a bread-maker, an extremely clever move given the frequency of that appliance’s use. Our counters and tables are strewn with a bizarre collection of random items retrieved from the puppy. Last month I was driving off almost late for a meeting when, with a sinking feeling, I noticed in my rear view mirror a Fed Ex truck pulling up to our house. Imagining perfectly the Christmas on-line shopping delivery scenario, I looped around and returned home again to find our puppy in the front hall, pleased to have her very own hand-delivered personal chew toy package in her mouth. Rescuing the home delivered “toy” and replacing it with an approved dog toy, pretty much identical to a baby toy, all ensured that I was definitely late for my meeting.

Toddlers and puppies both cause an inordinate amount of energy and conversation to be focussed on bodily functions. Those not involved in this world are surprisingly less enthusiastic about tales of successful potty use or, in the case of dogs, back yard visits. For proud participants in this endeavour, detailed reports provided at work or at dinner parties never quite bring about the thrilled response we are looking for.

Both puppies and toddlers provide constant reminders of the wonders of the world around us. We are amazed by a toddler crouched in that full-squat position young children rest in, staring intently at a beetle on the ground, tapping it gently with a tiny index finger. On a recent walk our puppy caught sight of someone vaping at a bus stop. She pulled over, sat directly in front of him and stared at the vision before her, glancing at me a few times to check whether this situation was alarming or not.

Nobody can deny that both are beyond adorable when asleep. How many times a parent finally has a toddler asleep on their chest, and, rather than carrying the child to bed, lingers there with the delicious weight and warmth of this small person upon them. Or having a puppy literally curled up upon one’s feet and not getting up, though needing to, for the sheer delight of the moment. We linger because the moment is beautiful and because we know all too well that the whirling dervish will soon return.