Posts Tagged ‘community’

Pacific Spirit Park Society

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Krista Voth, Pacific Spirit Park, Dunbar Life

Champion of Dunbar Village.

Dunbar is privileged to have magnificent Pacific Spirit Regional Park backing onto the neighbourhood. Twice the size of Stanley Park, it boasts 78 kilometres of forested trails frequented by walkers, runners, bicyclists and horse riders.

Established in 1989, Pacific Spirit Regional Park was originally part of the University Endowment Lands. It was created as a natural forest preserve and is part of Metro Vancouver’s park system. Covering 763 hectares, the park consists of foreshore (including Wreck Beach), forest and Camosun Bog and is home to a variety of birds, small and large mammals and amphibians.

A number of rare native plants and some of the few remaining old-growth trees in the Lower Mainland can be found in Pacific Spirit Regional Park. The biodiversity of this rich ecosystem is threatened by the spread of invasive plants, especially English holly and ivy. However, all is not lost. The community is fortunate to have the dedicated Pacific Spirit Park Society (PSPS) led by program coordinator Krista Voth along with a committed board of directors and an army of volunteers (totalling 275) who act as public stewards of the park.

Krista is a former Waldorf and Montessori teacher. She is studying geography at UBC and has a keen interest in the way urban parks are used and cared for by the public. Beyond her course work in the Environment and Sustainability program, her research focuses on citizen science data collection and social inclusion in public parks. She is always looking for new ways to educate people and her enthusiasm is contagious.

PSPS provides opportunities for volunteers to engage in stewardship projects and citizen science data collection, as well as offering a variety of volunteer run education programs.

Krista mentions that approximately 80 per cent of the volunteers in the stewardship and data collection programs are youth and young adults between 14 to 25 years of age. There are a number of ways volunteers contribute to Pacific Spirit Park Society.

Eco Team volunteers meet on Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. to remove invasive plants and help plant native species. Between 30 to 50 people come out each week to lend a hand and keep the Himalayan blackberry, holly and ivy at bay. Volunteers also assist in mapping illegal trails created by walkers and cyclists; they close off the trails by replanting and fencing them.

The Eco Watch program provides opportunities for volunteers to map and monitor the spread of invasive plants and to test the water quality in two of the Park’s streams that support salmon populations. Volunteers gain experience in the environmental science field and develop GPS mapping skills – the intention is to evaluate the effectiveness of the invasive plant removal programming and monitor the health of wildlife habitat.

Krista is excited to report that PSPS has recently received a TD Friends of the Environment grant to help fund their newest program: Eco Kits. The interactive educational kits include activities and lessons that are perfect for teachers and students visiting the park. Currently, bog and forest kits are being piloted and this fall the selection will expand to include streams and ponds.

Another popular program is Eco Walks, a partnership between PSPS and UBC’s Tapestry independent retirement community located near the park. PSPS offers a monthly nature walk and talk to a maximum of 15 people – Krista says there is always a waiting list.

Volunteer recruitment happens naturally. Like the spreading ivy, volunteers spread the word about their positive experiences and bring new helpers into the fold.

Krista says, “There is no minimum commitment of time, it’s all a matter of personal preference. Some volunteers come once, while others return week after week. People come from as far as Burnaby, Richmond and Surrey to offer their services. Some are students who are looking to fulfill volunteer hours required by their schools, others are retirees or people who don’t have yards.”

“Volunteering with PSPS helps people get out in nature who might not otherwise get a chance.” Krista Voth

The society partners with many local schools including Immaculate Conception School, Lord Byng Secondary, Queen Elizabeth Elementary, St. George’s School and University Hill Secondary. It has also formed a network with Eastside schools.

As well, PSPS partners with South Vancouver settlement agencies, new immigrants and international students. These groups are eager to participate in order to learn more about nature and Canada.

Krista mentions, “It is very satisfying for volunteers to see the results of their work.” She would like people to know that PSPS always welcomes new volunteers.

What does Krista find most rewarding about her work? “Definitely working with the volunteers. My favourite day is Saturday. I come home saying, ‘I have the best job in the world.’ People come out in all weathers – it’s a real highlight.” she says.

Thank you to these Champions of Dunbar Village who contribute countless hours for the betterment of the community. Like the name of the park, your boundless team ‘spirit’ is recognized and appreciated.

Pacific Spirit Park Dunbar

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

Champion of Dunbar Village

Monday, December 5th, 2016

ann-pacey-katarina-halm-john-halldorsonDunbar Earthquake and Emergency Preparedness (DEEP)

Do you recall the modest earthquake that struck the West Coast on December 29, 2015 and jolted many of us awake from our sleep? How prepared were you for that event? Almost a year later, do you have emergency supplies and a solid action plan in place or have you swept the occurrence under the rug as a one off event?

Since 2011 an active team of Dunbar citizens have been talking about and preparing for ‘the big one,’ a full-scale earthquake. Dunbar Earthquake and Emergency Preparedness (DEEP) is a citizen’s grassroots effort to ensure Dunbar residents are able to take care of themselves after such a disaster.

Ann Pacey is one of DEEP’s energetic founding members. She is a member of various emergency related organizations and boards, including the Village Vancouver Transition Society (VV), which inspires individuals and organizations to take actions that build resilient and sustainable communities. DEEP emerged out of a presentation VV made to the Dunbar Residents’ Association (DRA) in 2011 to encourage neighbours working together.

“We’re all in it together. I was interested in the question of building community resilience when I started.” Ann Pacey

At this meeting enthusiasm ignited and key members from the DRA including Susan Chapman, Jane Ingman Baker and Walter Wells formed a steering committee and joined forces with Pacey to start DEEP. Another key player who Pacey describes as “a tireless volunteer” is Katarina Halm, who dedicated great effort into compiling the wealth of information found in DEEP’s brochure, building their website and coordinating outreach.
After a major disaster occurs people will be on their own for a significant length of time and will need to look within their local resource base, as city and emergency resources will be over extended. DEEP’s original vision was based on the Block Watch model, to build neighbour capacity block-by-block to collectively look out for each other and offer their skills in time of an emergency.

Block captains were invited to participate in the DEEP program adding new and interesting activities to their block parties. Pacey says DEEP’s Block Watch model has been slow to gain wider participation however, perhaps with added awareness this could become a reality.

Pacey points out that people don’t have to share political, religious or cultural views in a time of a crisis. It is a time to rally together; having DEEP in place helps neighbours kick into action and assist one another.

“Now is the time to prepare, not when a disaster happens. If we are prepared we will be able to take better care of ourselves.” Ann Pacey

DEEP looks at actual events in other cities such as Christchurch and San Francisco, to learn from and apply those lessons, when (and based on plate tectonic research it is indeed when, and not if) a similar earthquake occurs on the West Coast.

Pacey stepped down as DEEP’s head when she moved out of Dunbar, but she still plays an active role and John Halldorson has taken over as director. He is a Dunbar Community Centre Association board member and as a retired Chief Warrant Officer in the Canadian Army Reserve for 43 years, had ample experience dealing with emergency response.

Halldorson says, “It is a bit of a struggle getting people involved and then keeping them interested.”

“DEEP does monthly presentations of various preparedness subjects and a couple of table top scenario exercises to run through what happens in an actual event.” John Halldorson

He points to the good work DEEP has done increasing awareness and developing neighbourhood preparedness using the Map your Neighbourhood Program.

Map Your Neighbourhood creates a neighborhood map identifying locations of gas meters, propane tanks, and other hazards, as well as a list of all residents, particularly those likely to need help. It identifies those with key skills such as medical, ham radio, machinery operators or equipment, for example, chain saws, generators, and winches that might help in an emergency. Map Your Neighborhood teaches a team approach to neighbourhood response, including communications and staying safe while helping.

“DEEP has a vision of being a stepping stone and coordinating point in the community during a emergency or disaster,” Halldorson reports. He is pleased to share, “DEEP is one step closer to this as Dunbar Community Centre Association has funded a shipping container which will contain emergency equipment like radios, enhanced first aid, tarps and search and rescue kits. The Vancouver Park Board has authorized this container to be set up at Dunbar Community Centre. This dovetails perfectly with the City’s recently launched Disaster Support Hub (DSH) concept, will hopefully get city support and that may help us, as the only emergency preparedness community group in Vancouver.”

Imagining the prospect of having one’s home and life turned upside down is not pleasant, but thanks to the dedicated DEEP volunteers and their visionary preparedness plan, Dunbar is one step ahead of many communities. To learn more about DEEP visit their website ( and request a talk on a block level. After all, it’s always best to be prepared.

Save-On-Foods Dunbar

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Save-on-foods-dunbar-checkout-palla-mediaA flurry of activity took place for six weeks to prepare for the May 14 grand opening of Save-On-Foods new location on West 41 Avenue. Two days prior to the big day, store manager Randy Nerling took time to discuss the impressive renovations and what the neighbourhood can expect from the new grocery store.

The transformation of the former IGA began at the end of March. At the same time Overwaitea Food Group, owned by Jim Pattison, purchased two other Vancouver IGAs on the east side, which have also been converted to Save-On-Food stores.

“There’s a buzz in the neighbourhood. I believe this store will be well received.” Randy Nerling

Save-on-foods-dunbar-Randy-Nerling-palla-mediaContractors, Save-On-Food’s head office support team and regional specialists worked around the clock to reach the mid-May opening goal. In that time the shop received an exterior and interior facelift consisting of painting, lighting, flooring, fixtures and refurbishing refrigeration equipment.

Nerling laughs when he reports, “It was looking so good three days prior to opening that one customer entered the store and was trying to shop until he realized he was surrounded by people in construction hats.”

In addition to the physical changes a key part of the time was used to transition the former IGA staff who were automatically transferred over if they wished to stay. New systems, programs and cash registers needed to be learnt. The majority of former employees and management joined Save-On-Foods and additional new staff were recruited to round out the team.

Nerling comments, “They possess an abundance of experience and knowledge which they offer the company.”

Save-on-foods-dunbar-1-palla-mediaThe opening is exciting for Save-On-Foods fans as the only other location in the area is at UBC. What can customers expect to find at this new store? While the square footage is smaller than a regular Save-On-Foods, the design team managed to accommodate an extra aisle to ensure that some of the best-loved products would find their way to the shelves. The house label, Western Family is showcased alongside popular brand name favourites, offering added value while keeping exceptional quality to its name. Darrell’s Deals are hand picked weekly by Save-On-Foods’ president and offer impressive savings on popular products.

A new feature called “six mix” specialty soda pop allows customers to mix and match a customized six-pack.

A premium floral section features high quality fresh cut bouquets and single stem flowers for custom-made designs. A deli and meat counter along with seafood selections are showcased with a butcher on hand to assist in choosing what you would like for dinner that night. With plans to expand its offering, phase two of the renovation includes a bakery and a restaurant style section featuring hot foods.

Save-on-foods-dunbar-fresh-palla-mediaBeing a 100 per cent locally owned company distinguishes Save-On-Foods from other grocery stores. Since its early beginnings in 1915 the company has taken pride in partnering with local producers including Alberta beef farmers and produce farmers as close by as Delta. When in season Save-On-Foods features and promotes these producers through signage and campaigns. ‘In store everyday’ is the shop local display that features products from all over our province.

The Dunbar store offers a unique service called Click and Connect. This online shopping program allows shoppers to pay from the comfort of their smart phone or computer. Pull up in the parking lot and the purchase will be delivered directly to your car at an arranged time.

Giving back to the community is a large part of Save-On-Foods mandate. Schools, sports teams, community events, clubs and the biggest benefactor, B.C. Children’s Hospital, are all generously assisted by the company.
Fundraising to assist those affected by the Fort McMurray wildfires has been high on the list of priorities. Nerling says, “Trailer upon trailer has been sent, loaded with food hampers.”

“The heartbeat of the company is to give back. It’s what we do.” Randy Nerling

Giving back also resonates for Nerling on a personal level. He has recently been nominated to sit on the Dunbar Village Business Association’s board of directors and is excited to attend their Annual General Meeting on June 15.

Nerling was hand picked as the new store manager. With 25 years’ experience there is no question that he was the person to oversee the renovation and transition the former IGA staff into their new roles as Save-On-Foods employees.

He shares a story akin to president Darrell Jones who worked his way up the ladder from bagging groceries as a part-time job in high school. Nerling got his start as a high school student stocking shelves in Nanaimo.

Save-on-foods-dunbar-store-palla-mediaExtremely supportive of its employees, Save-On-Foods recognizes the talented and committed people working for the company by offering management courses, university credited leadership courses and even scholar-ships for team members and their families. He says, “Our people are home grown and have been with the company for a long time.”

Nerling is excited to have made the move from Richmond’s Price Smart (also an Overwaitea affiliate) to Dunbar, which he describes as “a nice little community.”

Welcome to the neighbourhood, Save-On-Foods.

3535 W 41st Avenue
Vancouver BC V6N 3B8
Telephone 604-261-2423

Chloe and Skylar Sinow

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Dunbar’s Dynamic Duo

Skylar and ChloeIf you haven’t heard of Chloe and Skylar Sinow you are likely to very soon. These Dunbar residents’ friendly faces appear on their Kids Can Cook Gourmet organic pasta sauces that are taking B.C. grocery stores by storm.

To date this sister and brother team have three varieties of pasta sauce placed in 150 B.C. and Alberta shops. Chloe is 12 and Skylar is 13 years old, and they have been going full speed ahead as a marketing and chef team for two years.

The adventure for these go-getters began in November 2014 when they sold homemade pasta sauces, dried pasta, caramel popcorn and cookies at Dunbar Community Centre’s Christmas craft fair as part of a fundraising initiative for Cook for the Cure. The pasta sauces were a surefire winner and reorders came in quickly.

Chloe admits she was a picky eater when she was younger and their homemade pasta sauce was always something she would eat. When the sauces received glowing feedback from customers they knew they had created a product both parents and children were seeking.

“We are big fans of promoting sustainable farming and cooking with fresh local ingredients.” Skylar Sinow

Skylar has always loved to cook. He recalls getting into the kitchen at an early age to watch and assist. Chloe confesses her interest in marketing is partially thanks to her business savvy parents, Andrea and Harald Sinow, who ran their own company.

In 2013 the Sinow family went on the trip of a lifetime. Andrea and Harald sold their company and the foursome packed their bags, accompanied by their Labradoodle named Moka, and set off on a yearlong trip to Europe. Visiting UNESCO sites was a large part of their agenda. Their father mentions, “We lived a nomadic life and followed the weather south.”

The family purchased a motorhome and bicycles and over the 12 months visited 17 countries. Chloe and Skylar were home-schooled during their time away. Skylar fulfilled his writing requirements by drafting a cookbook.

When they returned home to Canada the ball really got rolling. 2015 was a monumental year with two auditions for the national television shows Chopped Canada and Dragons’ Den.

Last February Skylar auditioned for the Food Network’s teen edition of Chopped Canada and was accepted. The show broadcast last December and he was honoured to have placed runner up.

Skylar and Chloe Kids Can Cook pasta sauce Dunbar LifeSkylar and Chloe were encouraged to audition for Dragons’ Den by one of their many mentors, chef Vikram Vij (who was a past ‘dragon’). They earned a spot on the show, which broadcast last November, and made their impressive pitch. They left with two dragons backing them for a deal of $25,000 for ten per cent equity.

When asked how they handled the pressure they mention the incredible support of their friends and family who listened and critiqued their presentation many times before the big day.

They are very grateful to the community of Dunbar that they refer to as their extended family.

Pasta sauce production is a family affair; even their parents get involved. The sauce is made in a government-regulated facility in Burnaby and is overseen by two regulated staff. The family orders the produce, which they clean, chop, process, label and box. Skylar has his Food Safe certification and smiles when he reports, “It is fun to be able to tell my parents what to do.”

Running a business takes dedication and commitment and the pair have an abundance of both qualities. Skylar pops home from Lord Byng Secondary School at lunchtime to make business calls while Chloe manages their social media presence. With her keen eye for design she also helped create their website.

They admit dedicating time to their business is their primary focus outside of school although they also take time to pursue their favourite hobbies. Chloe’s fashion company is her other passion. She just completed her first fashion line as part of the Vancouver School Board mentorship program. The skilled seamstress sewed the apron that she wore on Dragons’ Den and sells them through the Kids Can Cook Gourmet website. She attends Lord Kitchener Elementary and likes hanging out with her friends. Chloe says, “The reward of working hard is playing hard.”

Skylar and Chloe Sinow Kids Can Cook Dunbar LifeSkylar enjoys cycling, gardening and everything food related, from making his own bread and cheese to developing recipes. He has also assisted chef mentors with catering events and even catered his teacher’s wedding reception with his friend Quinton.

Offering kids healthy food choices and educating them about where their food comes from is of utmost importance. They have big dreams ahead for their company and plan to introduce new products such as soup and possibly gardening packages for kids. Skylar says, “Grandparents would go crazy for that.” Chloe concludes with wisdom beyond her years, “We want to be the leaders of our futures.”

Jane Ingman Baker

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Champion of Dunbar Village

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Southlands Country Fair

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ~ Rain or Shine! (most events under cover in case of rain).  Gates close at 4:00 p.m.

What is the Southlands Country Fair?
It’s a community event that focuses on horses and a rural lifestyle within the city of Vancouver. It was created to showcase the unique equestrian neighbourhood of Southlands, and to give all residents of Vancouver the opportunity to enjoy a day in the country, without leaving the city.

Who comes to the Country Fair?
Several thousand people attend the Country Fair every year. At the Fair, you’ll meet families with kids as well as lots of other people seeking an old-fashioned country experience within the city.

What can you do at the Country Fair?
There are activities for all ages, all day long. Shopping, learning, petting animals, riding ponies, playing games, and watching horses and riders perform…you will be entertained from the moment you enter the gates. Specific attractions include:
•Horse Entertainment throughout the day featuring Southlands riders demonstrating all the exciting things horses can do
•Pony Rides and Hay Rides
•a Farm Yard Fun area for the kids full of old-fashioned, country-themed activities
•the Country Lane Market for those who love to shop for local arts and crafts
•Silent Auction
•Book Sale and Bake Sale
•the Macdonald Street Farm full of animals for the kids to meet
•lots of great food and a pleasant picnic area
•day-long musical entertainment featuring local artists

Will there still be things to do if it rains?
YES, a majority of the events will be moved indoors or undercover.

What does it cost to come to the Country Fair?
Entry to the Fair grounds is by donation. We suggest $5…but it is up to you. Once inside the grounds, there are plenty of FREE activities for children and adults.

Some activities, such as the pony rides, games and amusements, and the petting farm require a small fee of $1-3.

What is done with the money raised by the Country Fair?
Partial proceeds are used to fund the Southlands Country Fair Summer Riding Program, which enables underprivileged children to take a series of riding lessons with local riding schools and Southlands Riding Club instructors. Other money raised at the Fair is donated to two local charities that run programs for disabled riders: Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities and Southlands Therapeutic Riding Society. The remainder of funds raised are used to support the Southlands Riding Club, a non-profit society established in 1943 as a recreational and training facility for junior and amateur equestrian athletes.

Do you still have a question or comment? Contact Country Fair Coordinators Pippa or Crissy.

Pippa Emrick Coordinator 604-351-5522 or

Crissy Barbata Coordinator 604-351-5222 or

Southlands Riding Club
7025 Macdonald Street
Vancouver,  V6N 1G2

The Vancouver International Marathon

Monday, February 6th, 2012

The Vancouver International Marathon Society, is excited to inform you that this year’s BMO Vancouver Marathon will be running through your neighborhood on Sunday, May 6th, 2012.

They would like to invite you to a Community Open House to share with you how the event will impact and interact with your business and/or residence.  Your participation and input are very important to them as they showcase beautiful Vancouver to 15,000 runners and 60,000 spectators and supporters during this world-class event!

The Society is thrilled to present this year’s two brand new routes for the 41st BMO Vancouver Marathon and Half Marathon, and they are very grateful to have the support of the communities.  Learn about the various opportunities to be involved, and to discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding this event.

Date: Monday, 13th, 2012

Drop in time:  4-7pm

Kerrisdale Community Centre, Srs Craft Room


Shop Dunbar This Holiday Season

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

This holiday season, think outside the mall. If you choose to shop, make your gifts more meaningful by finding items that are truly representative of Dunbar, not something that can be found on any shelf, in any town. Dunbar is home to a number of locally owned restaurants and specialty shops. Yet, many of these independently owned establishments face the threat of being run out of business by corporate chains and the escalation of hyper-competitive online shopping. Keeping your favorite mom-and-pop shops around requires a conscious effort and faithful commitment to choosing to buy locally.

There are so many reasons why shopping locally is the most economically beneficial choice for the community. Independent retail shops carry handmade items crafted by local or regional artisans, just as many independent restaurants focused on sustainability incorporate locally grown and seasonal produce into their menus’ recipes. Because these business owners recognize the importance of purchasing goods and services from other independently operated businesses, they are much more efficient at circulating money back into the local economy than chain stores which seldom, if ever, utilize locally sourced items. Building inventory through local purchasing also reduces our environmental impact, since less transportation is involved.

Small, independently owned businesses are adaptable when it comes to utilizing available rental space in their towns, and require comparatively lower infrastructure costs than nationally owned stores which typically demand uniform facilities. Whereas chains’ profits go back to corporate headquarters out of town, almost everything spent at locally owned businesses is guaranteed to stay within the community. Because business owners are more focused on their own interests than on national trends, a community of locally owned businesses is able to offer a very wide array of products and niche outlets. Preserving this diversity in an increasingly homogenized world is essential in promoting community growth and prosperity, as it brings in tourists seeking destinations with distinctive character and entrepreneurs looking to settle in an area friendly towards new start-ups and innovation.

Truly recognizing and caring about the needs of their community, locally owned businesses donate to local nonprofit organizations much more frequently than their big-box adversaries. They’re also more flexible when it comes to strengthening the community through joining local organizations. One of the greatest aspects of shopping locally is that you often get an opportunity to establish connections with the owners themselves.

Dunbar is a community in Vancouver located on the west side of Vancouver.  The boundaries are between 16th Avenue in the north to 41st Avenue in the south, and UBC Endowment Lands in the west to Mackenzie Street in the east.

photos by Clayton Perry