Dear Readers

  Dear Readers, “Are you still remarkable?” – the wonderfully witty first line from Mayor Gregor Robertson when I ran into him at Musqueam on the National Aboriginal Day. I grinned and pondered about my last 2 years or so.  On that day, I chatted with many truly remarkable women (and men) from our community as well as our beloved Adriane Carr and Andrea Reimer – women for whom age has only reinforced their desire to have an impact and their ability to be a positive influence.  I am in awe of their devotion to the community. “Just be who you are (is all you need)” as Adriane kindly advised me on my growing concern about living happy and fullest life as we (women) age.  Elsewhere in the issue, we highlight the secrets of “Learning To Just Be” that can be hard to do for some of us who especially want to keep pace with our fast-changing city. Summer is here. Keep gardening and keep growing your passion.  Happy Canada Day!   Cheers, Keiko Honda Chair, Community Engagement Editor-in-Chief   ...

Vancouver Regional Heritage Fair: a Celebration of a Transgenerational Community...

By Susan Tsang At one thirty-eight in a clear May afternoon, steady streams of nine to twelve-year-old students participating the Vancouver Regional Heritage Fair filed into the Seniors’ Lounge at the Kerrisdale Community Centre. They were all armed with folded poster boards that were half their sizes and equipped with presentation models that they had prepared for months, ready to present their research topics on Canadian history to the visitors. The visitors’ questions and the presenters’ answers outperformed each other generating an escalating hum like rushing water. At the edge of the floor, I met Elwin and the story of Hudson locomotives of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) from the nineteenth century.  After detailing the origin and contributions of the trans-Canada railroad, Elwin said, “We need to pass knowledge on. How would anyone know the steam engines existed if we don’t pass it on?” A question immediately rose to my mind: why do we need to impose our history onto someone else? Steam engine is an old technology, why do we bother to learn about it? It seemed like it has a commonsense and straightforward answer, but I wanted to take the opportunity of being at a history event that allows me to dig answers from our young generation. I, too, had a research question and wandered through the corridors of the past.   Elwin with his Royal Hudson project. As I was getting lost in my thoughts, the lively presentations invited me to learn about the residential schools, Cirque Du Soleil, and the evolution of the Canadian stores. My editor also suggested to me to have a conversation with Isaac and the blacksmiths. Right away, Isaac asked me what I had already known about blacksmiths. He then invited me to do a simulation...

Interview with Patrick Colvin, Permaculturalist, Engineer, Urban Farmer...

By Sean Yoon A lifestyle that promotes healthy living by integrating nature into our daily lives, permaculture is an ongoing dialogue in our community. Last summer, Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society, or VACS began its permaculture project around Vancouver called placemaking, transforming public spaces like front boulevards into gardens. One of these spaces was a front boulevard site converted into a pollinator garden on 23rd and Mackenzie.  VACS has begun a new permaculture project for this year called Permaculture InAction. As one of the project’s leaders, Patrick Colvin was born and raised in a small city in Northern Ontario. He then went on to complete his bachelors of honours in engineering at Queen’s University in South Ontario. Throughout his degree, Patrick was discovering and wanting to address issues that are currently afflicting our society. In particular, he was concerned with the environmental issues arising from the chemical industry, which in many cases, has produced chemical waste destructive to our environment. The city of Sarnia in Southern Ontario for example, close to where Patrick studied, is a region that is host to numerous chemical facilities. And in Sarnia, there is a river called the St. Clair River that has a history of having chemical waste being dumped into it by local chemical facilities. The St. Clair River is currently still being listed as an area of concern because of chemical pollutants.  “Permaculture is interesting because it provides an alternative way of thinking. It’s a different way of looking at what we do as a people on the planet. It brings together plants, our land and us as stewards of the land – it allows us to reimagine this world that we live in. For me there’s a lot to learn about and I feel like I...

Exploration of Our True Voices: The Beginning of the VACS Musical Voice Lab...

By Susan Tsang “Skillsharing” might sound like a strange, and even confusing term when you first stumbling upon it. To simply put, people skillshare when they exchange their skills with one another, whether they are singing, improvise acting, or cooking. Skillshares is only a part of a bigger picture of connecting the community through meaningful interactions. Vancouver Arts Colloquium presents a series of skillshares workshops that link people in one place to build our skills as well as the community. On June 18, as soon as the Upcycling Fabric workshop led by the creative Colleen Rhodes had been completed, people trickled into the room for the Musical Voice Lab to learn from the skilled Dramatic Soprano Jane Perrett. Our group consisted a wide range of people aged from ten to sixty but we openly shared our experiences (or lack of experiences) with one another. We got to know each other as past choir members, curious people, some who had taken lessons before and ceased singing for years, and I belong to the last group. Like everyone else, I was excited to pioneer the unexplored territory of our voices. Most of us had found out about the workshop through Jane. We were attracted to her uplifting voice and exhilarating opera performances. Along with her friend Leo (also a singer and an instructor) who played the piano and offered tips, we were set to generate music together. First, we touched base with the basic Italian “i” (pronounced “e”). Jane instructed that saying “i” correctly is the foundation of singing; knowing how to imitate properly with our voices is helpful for beginners to polish the basic skills. The process was a novel and interesting one because it was like learning a new language, we tightened our lips...

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