Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

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

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

Life Lessons From a Horse

Monday, June 15th, 2015

web_Ailsa_Hemming_Dunbar_LifeIt turns out winning a prize at a country fair can change your life.

Ailsa Hemming (15) won a gift certificate for a pair of riding boots and helmet at the Southlands Country Fair when she was seven years old. Once she had the equipment her parents and grandmother decided a couple of riding lessons were in order, and so began Hemming’s adoration of horses.

Highlander is the name of her majestic 11-year-old Palomino horse that lives at Southlands Heritage Farm. Her family free leases Highlander, which means although they do not own him, they pay for his boarding and food, they are in charge of the day to day decisions, and first and foremost, Hemming cares for him.

Hemming is devoted to Highlander. Every day after school and on weekends she visits the barn and mucks out his stall and feeds him.
She says, “Both of these jobs help cut back the cost of boarding him at the farm.” She also rides Highlander six days a week. “If I am unable for some reason to muck him out, feed and ride him, then it is my responsibility to find someone to cover me.”

Oh, if Highlander could talk, the stories he would tell. He led a chequered past before meeting Hemming. She reports, “Highlander was born wild in a herd looked over by hippies. He then somehow wound up in a drug addict’s basement and backyard along with another horse.”

That is when his current owner found him and bought both horses. Highlander lived in Southlands for a while. When the owner moved to Europe the horse moved to California for a couple of years. In March 2014 he returned to Southlands.

It was at this time Hemming was looking for a new horse to lease. Her coach, Hilary Leach, alerted her that she knew of the right match. Hemming ended up leasing Highlander twice a week until last September when she took him on full time. In addition, she works at the barn all summer unless she is away at a horse show.

Hemming describes Highlander’s personality as being stubborn and pushy. “We’ve been working really hard on teaching him about personal space. He’s broken my glasses by flinging his head in my face. However, for all his faults, he is incredibly sweet and loves his job.”

She goes on to say, “He can be super strong when you’re riding and jumping him, but he can tell if he has an inexperienced rider on him, and he is super calm and reliable then.” He also does some therapeutic riding lessons at the Southlands Therapeutic Riding Society (STaRS) during the day when Hemming is at school. She adds, “He’s perfect for this as he is so dependable on the roads and rarely spooks.”

In addition to the time she spends caring for Highlander, Hemming helps with birthday parties, camps and lessons at Southlands Heritage Farm. She also takes lessons there. She says, “It’s a really great atmosphere and all of the barn staff really go out of their way to make sure your horse is well cared for.”

web_Ailsa_Hemming_horse_Dunbar_LifeOver time Hemming’s riding involvement has increased. Highlander shows in the “jumpers,” which is judged on the speed of getting around a course without knocking down the jumps. She says, “Highlander absolutely loves it and is quite the little speed demon.” They compete at local show grounds including Maple Ridge Equi-Sport Centre and Thunderbird Show Park, as well as at Southlands Riding Club shows.

Her family has been incredibly supportive of Hemming’s passion. Two years ago her father became the district commissioner of the Vancouver Pony Club, and her mother runs the stable management section of the club. She mentions, “Since I got Highlander my mum has ridden him a couple of times in lessons and on a trail ride. My grandmother in New York is an enthusiastic supporter too.”

Riding has moved to the top of Hemming’s interest list. She confesses that dance and piano lessons moved to the sidelines when riding became more serious.

Last Thanksgiving Highlander became ill, only one month after their partnership commenced. Hemming describes the sit-uation as being very serious. “He wasn’t eating anything and would lie down and refuse to get up, and he had a fever.” Except for a quick dash home to eat Thanksgiving dinner she spent the entire weekend at the barn. The vet was called and with the help of antibiotics Highlander was soon well again.

The experience proved to be a crash course in “owning” a horse. It also demonstrated Hemming’s maturity, devotion and responsibility for Highlander who was finally receiving the love and care he had missed in his early years.

She concludes, “I definitely think that having Highlander has changed me. It has taught me what it is like to be completely responsible for something other than myself.”

Dunbar Little League

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

The crack of the bat, the smell of the leather glove and the welcoming sun on your face. Baseball season is here again.

I have fond memories of playing for Dunbar Little League (DLL) as a child where I spent many hours at the park with family and friends. We ate Dickie Dee Ice Cream, dads coached, and I played right field frequently. Not much has changed since then but those memories never prepared me for my experience as a DLL parent.

This, my friend, is a whole new ball game.To most, Dunbar Little League represents community, friendships, sportsmanship and a rite of childhood passage. DLL is all those things and more to the parents and the players.

The journey usually starts with Blastball, a lighthearted introduction to the game where players have a blast and parents are just happy to be out of the house.

Then you work your way up to T-Ball and things start to make sense, players are eager, and parents are happy to see the baseball “light” of inspiration click on.

Next is the big leap into Minor B, where it is all about the pitching machine and the shock of players when they actually can strike out. Up to this point, three strikes and you’re out was just a dark rumour whispered in the dug out.

Minor A is the ultimate separation of fact from fiction. There is a pitcher on the mound and he or she is actually trying to strike you out. The kids at bat are making contact and the fielders are making plays. It is amazing to watch the transformation. Players develop, parents become more invested and before you know it, we are playing the game of baseball.

DLL’s Majors division is all of those great things and more. Not only do you get to sit back and enjoy the exciting ‘after school special’ entertainment, you become part of the whole production.

As with most children’s organized sports, parent volunteers are essential, but no one can prepare a parent for his or her first day working a concession shift. The math alone is terrifying. But nothing says bonding like burgers grilled for the love of the game and the kids playing it.

Dunbar Little League means many things to many people. Here are my Top 10 highlights and observations:

  • It is a true neighbourhood game. The catchment is so small that kids often play against their neighbours, classmates, friends, and sometimes even against their own brother or sister.
  • The season is short but intense.
  • Games played at the same location means not having to drive all over the Lower Mainland.
  • The promise of sunshine and the relief of rain cancellations.
  • Concession – feeding a family of five for only $25, trying the Umpire Burger and liking it, 50-cent candy bags buy you an hour of peace, eating more hot dogs and hamburgers in an eight week span than you normally do in a whole year.
  • Working at the concession – grill masters who bring their own aprons, parents having a hard time with math, cooking more for the community in a couple of hours than you can for your own family during the season. Getting to know the parents on your team and enjoying a good laugh.
  • A Majors scorekeeping rookie mistake, forgetting to change the scoreboard or worse, not keeping proper pitch count.
  • Dunbar stadium seating discussions with fellow parents include dreams of custom seat cushions and heated wind protection.
  • Siblings being dragged to their brother or sister’s game only to realize they are having a 2-3 hour playdate with the neighbourhood kids. Throw in a hot dog and a candy bag or two for dinner, and this becomes the highlight of their week!
  • Later bed times and homework gone by the wayside in exchange for less screen time and great sleeps. Note: pace your candy bag accordingly.

Dunbar Little League is a treasured neighbourhood institution that has stood the test of time. This positive imprint in our neighbourhood would not be possible if it wasn’t for the dedication of our DLL families, volunteers, sponsors and support from our community.

Hope to see you at the diamond!

by Nicole Wong Koroluk

Dunbar Little League is one of the first leagues in Canada and started in 1958. The league is known and respected throughout Canada for its spirit of fair play and offering boys and girls, regardless of their level of skill, the opportunity to play baseball, learn some skills and have fun. Most of the league’s games are played at Memorial Park located at Dunbar Street and West 33rd Avenue, however Minor B games are played at Balaclava Park.

Dunbar Lawn Bowling Club

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Located in the heart of Dunbar is the Lawn Bowling Club. The clubhouse was established in 1926 and serves as the community’s epicentre for summer lawn bowling and croquet. It is also a social hub for bridge and indoor croquet in the winter months, in addition to various parties and gatherings, which are hosted by the club throughout the year.

While the membership is diverse, all bowlers share a common love of the outdoors as well as an enjoyment of mildly active sports in a very social and relaxed environment.

When you first arrive at the green there is a ritual of polishing bowls and relaxing before names are drawn from a hat to pick the players for each team. Two teams play on each rink and each team can consist of two, three, or four players, so there is always help available for new players wishing to hone their game.  Men and women play together, and younger players are reminded that exuberance and fitness often lose out to age and wisdom in a 2 ½ hour game.

Lawn bowling isn’t played with a ball; in fact, it’s an oval “bowl” that is weighted differently on each side, in order to throw a curve around other bowls that are obstructing the target ball (called a jack). The first player, called a lead (think curling), position their bowls strategically so that the second, third and skip can use or abuse their teammate’s bowls, to make additional points.

The only equipment required to begin playing this sport is an inexpensive pair of smooth soled shoes. The bowls, which come in different sizes and weights for women and men, are provided free for your first season.  A set of white attire is recommended if you are going to play in the Sunday afternoon matches (draws) and competitions, but street clothes are acceptable at other times.

After the games are finished and the equipment is packed away, coffee, tea, and cookies magically appear and it’s hard to believe that you are sitting in the middle of Dunbar in such a quiet and tranquil setting.

There are various men’s, women’s, and mixed games scheduled throughout the weekdays as well as evenings. Female bowlers plan their own inter club competition, host luncheons and interact with various other lawn bowling clubs around the city, playing at home and at other clubs though out the summer. This is a great way to get out and meet other people around the city who share the same interest.

In addition to lawn bowling, croquet is played at the Dunbar Lawn Bowling Club. Learning the basics to lawn bowl or play croquet is easy; mastering the intricacies and subtleties of each game takes study and practice.  Games can be joined for croquet or lawn bowls on a daily basis, and there are always members available to lend some assistance as your skills and tactics progress with each game.






Croquet is a little easier on the knees but still involves abundant walking and the mental game of American rules or Association can be as demanding as a chess match. The tolerance on the wickets is 3/16” and the rebar-sized hoops that are pounded into the ground are highly intolerant of small errors. Golf croquet is less mental and is more of a “be nice to me and maybe I’ll be nice to you” type of play; many consecutive nights of dinner clean up have been won and lost between spouses on the golf croquet green. Games can last 1-2 hours depending on the players and the game played. The club provides all of the equipment, and you can even get double mileage from your lawn bowling shoes.

There is nothing like a relaxing afternoon or evening spent on the green lawn bowling or playing croquet with friends, having a cup of tea and enjoying the solace that is uniquely associated with the Dunbar Lawn Bowling Club.

The season begins on Saturday May 5, with an open house on Saturday, May 11 between 10am – 2pm. This is an opportunity to visit the clubhouse, meet the members and try your hand at either lawn bowls or croquet.

UBC Sports Camps

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Now open for registration are the following programs. For more information or to register, please visit the website or call 604-822-1540

1.  Winter Soccer Programs will be starting next week! REGISTER NOW!
EUROSTAR- Thursday January 19th- March 8th, 3:45-5pm, Ages 4-7 years, $118, Code 7660
PROSTAR – Thursday January 19th- March 8th, 7-8:30pm, Ages 8-12 years, $126, Code 7658

2.  Winter Track & Field Programs also starting next week! REGISTER NOW!
FUNDAMENTALS – Wednesdays, 7-8:30pm, Ages 10-14 years, $126, Code 7659

3.  Pro-D Day Program spaces are filling up quickly. REGISTER NOW!
Feb 3rd, 6th, 17th, Apr 20th, May 9th & 18th. 9am-5pm, $58/day, Ages 5-12 years.

Spring Break options are being finalized now, as well as a summer activity schedule that is guaranteed to offer something for everyone!  Stay tuned for exact spring and summer program dates and information, as they will be available on the website in the next few months.

UBC Camps Management
6160 Thunderbird Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3
Tel: 604-822-1540


Dunbar Soccer Association

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

The face of youth community soccer has recently changed in Vancouver, and especially on the westside of the city.  A new club, Vancouver United FC, has formed combining the three local clubs that had been in existence for over 50 years – the Dunbar Soccer Association, Kerrisdale Soccer Association, and Point Grey Soccer Association.  The new club represents over 3700 players from the ages of 5 to 17 years old.  It is the largest youth soccer club in Vancouver and one of the largest soccer clubs in western Canada.

Why this change when the three existing clubs have been in their respective neighbourhoods for over 50 years?  For the past number of years the clubs were already integrated in many ways, including sharing the same technical directors, undertaking joint player assessments and team formations, coordinating referee assignments, and developing and sharing local playing fields.  With the new Club we are looking to more cost effectively and seamlessly deliver youth community soccer by optimizing the resources and volunteers available to us.  We want to keep soccer an exciting, enjoyable, rewarding and reasonably priced opportunity for our players and families in Vancouver – especially on the westside of the city.  Some of the new Club’s directions include an enhanced player, team and coach development program, pursuing ample playing turf fields and facilities for our teams, providing greater sponsorship opportunities to support reasonable registration fees while providing increased services and benefits to our players and families, sponsoring higher competitive youth teams in the club, and providing an opportunity for adult teams to be part of the club.

How are we doing this?  The new identity of the Club started at a brand visioning workshop last April.  Based on the feedback at the workshop the Club is developing a new brand, including new vision and mission, uniforms, club colours, logo and website.  These club elements are being developed and will be implemented in the fall as they are established.  An interim Board of Directors was created from the membership of the previously existing three club’s Boards.  This Board will be in place until the first Annual General Meeting next spring. So have we forgotten our past?  One important concern to many during the conversations leading up to the creation of the new club centred on the loss of our past.  The previous club boards respected this concern and ways are being considered to maintain the legacy of the original clubs.  For example, at the House level for players from the ages of 5 to 9, there will be little difference to the format that has existed for years.  There will be three Houses – Dunbar, Kerrisdale and Point Grey – that will still represent their communities under the general umbrella of the new Club.

More information about the new Club will be posted on our website as it becomes available (  This is an amazing period of change and transition so not all of the pieces of the puzzle are in place at this time – but we are moving forward and it is exciting.

by Peter Delaney, Vancouver United FC President

UBC Fall Programs

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

UBC CAMPS FALL PROGRAMS ARE NOW OPEN FOR REGISTRATION! There is a great selection of programs for everyone this fall.
Running for  eight to ten week sessions UBC Camps offers Soccer, Multi-sports, Bike Hike, Track and Field, Nature Studio and Uniquely
You. UBC Camps also will take care of your child’s Pro-D Days,offering one day camps from 9am to 5pm. Check out the website at for more details.

UBC Camps
6066 Thunderbird Boulevard

Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3

tel 604-822-6121