Archive for October, 2011

Best Scarecrow

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Steveston Scarecrow Crawl winners announcement!

First place:  Pieces

Prize awarded by Richmond Review newspaper.

Second place winner: Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant

Prize awarded by Steveston Insider magazine.

Best Business to Trick or Treat

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Congratulations to With Our Own Two Hands Preschool in Steveston for winning Best Business to Trick or Treat.  The theme was Follow the Yellow Brick Road from Wizard of Oz with various stations and actors set up along the path.


With Our Own Two Hands

3871 Moncton St, Richmond BC V7E 3A7


Haunted Halloween Tours

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Ready to get spooked for Halloween this year? Get your tickets to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery’s Haunted Halloween Tour while you still can, as this exciting and scary event sells out every year! Offering a new spooky tour featuring wayward pirates and cursed ghosts, so grab your belts and cinch them tight because it will scare the pants off you!

Variety of tours:

Saturday, October 29th:

  • Halloween Self-Guided Visit 1:00 pm – children can meet the various ghosts and pirates and make Halloween crafts.
  • Traditional Haunted Tours 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm.
  • Extra Spooky tour (not recommended for young children 5:30 pm

Sunday, October 30th:

  • Traditional Haunted Tours 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm.
  • Extra Spooky tour (not recommended for young children) 5:30 pm

Cost: Adults $10.00, Seniors $7.50, Youth $5.00

Tickets available at the Cannery Store

Steveston Receives New Art

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Vancouver Whale Watch will be unveiling a 3000lb wooden sculpture this Friday, October 28, 2011 at 1pm.  Location is on the boardwalk between Sockeye City Grill and Pajo’s (Bayview Street & Third Ave).  The sculpture has not yet been seen but was commissioned by Cedric Towers of Vancouver Whale Watch as part of a reality TV show called Saw Dogs.  The show will air sometime this spring on Outdoor Life Network.

The wooden sculpture will be a mother Orca whale pushing her baby to the surface for it’s first breath, hence the name “First Breath”.  The sculpture’s location has been approved by Steveston Harbour Authority but may find another permanent location nearby pending the size and suitability of the boardwalk space.

Saw Dogs description from their website

A team of the world’s top chainsaw sculptors battle a deadline, and conflicting artistic sensibilities, to complete a series of commissioned wood carving projects on a scale never before seen. “Master Carver” and Saw Dogs Project Manager Steve Blanchard and his foreman introduce us to the hidden folk art of “Chainsaw Carving” – an incredible world hidden from the masses for over 50 years.

From Saw Dogs headquarters, Steve and his foreman pull from a pool of the best carvers in the world, matching their special skill sets to each week’s project, to craft some of the most intricate wood carvings imaginable. But unlike other crafts, chainsaw carving has an element of danger. Mistakes have resulted in loss of limb and even death. Confronting the chainsaw challenge requires a steady hand, a fearless disposition and a healthy ego.

Autumn Trollbeads Trunk Show – Pieces in Steveston

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Pieces is hosting an Autumn Trollbeads Trunk Show on Thursday October 13, 2011 from 4 – 8pm.  It’s the perfect time to start collecting these fantastic mini works of art for your arm!

Receive a complementary bracelet with the purchase of a decorative clasp OR purchase 3 beads and receive a complementary 4th bead (of the lesser value in the grouping)

Pieces, 100 – 3580 Moncton Street
Steveston Village
604 271 1011

Scarecrow Fever Returns to Steveston

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Scarecrows are a classic symbol associated with farmers’ fields. They range from being cute and comical to downright creepy. They can be very simplistic or extremely intricate. Scarecrows, the farmer’s stationary helper, date back 3,000 years. There are records that scarecrows were used in ancient Egypt, Greece and pre-feudal Japan. Last year the Steveston Merchants Association (SMA) introduced the first annual Steveston Scarecrow Crawl with the purpose of attracting people to the Village during autumn. The event was an astounding success, and the SMA board of directors quickly concluded that it would become an annual celebration.

When the Scarecrow Crawl was conceived, the SMA board of directors was uncertain how many businesses would participate in the event. We knew that SMA member businesses would show their community spirit and create scarecrows; however, over the course of the month over sixty scarecrows popped up! Fisherman Freddy at Pierside Deli, Lulu at Pieces, a Canucks green man at Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant, a charming waiter at Tapenade Bistro, a monkey scarecrow at A Monkey Tree, a sassy scarecrow at Bare Basics, nautical scarecrows, and many more creatively themed scarecrows greeted people at the entrances of many Steveston businesses.

People took the opportunity to stop and pose with scarecrows, and the streets buzzed with energy at this tribute to our riverside village with neighbouring farmland. One of the most exciting aspects of the Scarecrow Crawl is it is a work in progress. On any given day in October there are likely to be new scarecrows appearing as Scarecrow fever spreads!

The SMA is hoping to see even more scarecrows take over Steveston. We are also extending the invitation for the community to join in the fun, and are hoping to see scarecrows spread into Steveston neighbourhoods. On a recent walk through my neighbourhood, I saw a wonderfully inviting scarecrow and harvest display signaling a change in the season. A few years ago, I had a terrific time building a scarecrow with my children. We went to a local thrift store and bought overalls, a plaid shirt, a straw hat, gloves and boots. We assembled a very welcoming fellow who greets us every autumn at the front door, where he sits comfortably in an Adirondack chair. I enjoy seeing his button eyes, and hand stitched smile.

Build a scarecrow and place it at your doorstep. Scarecrows are whimsical and add character and personality to your home, just as festive Christmas lights and wreaths do in the winter. There are plenty of websites devoted to designing and building scarecrows, they do not have to be stuffed with straw. You can use crumpled newspaper or old rags. Exercise your creativity. Children love this activity; it is like a month long extension of Halloween!

For inspiration, visit the village and see what the merchants create. Grab a coffee or a hot chocolate and go a Scarecrow Crawl. Walk through the entire village, you will find them lurking everywhere. Do not forget to bring your camera. Oh, and we dare you not to smile!

by Sarah Gordon

Filming in Steveston

Monday, October 10th, 2011

“Quiet on the set. Rolling!” Stevestonites are becoming very familiar with Hollywood lingo as numerous film crews have been busy using diverse little Steveston Village as a Hollywood North outpost.

In 2009, teen idol Zac Efron drew crowds to Fisherman’s Wharf and Moncton Street to watch the feature film Charlie St. Cloud being shot.  2011 has been a banner year for Steveston, with the filming of ABC TV’s new and much touted show Once Upon a Time, which premieres October 23. Many Moncton Street businesses are dressed up, on an ongoing basis, to depict a fictitious town in Maine called Storybrooke.  Character Emma Swan is Snow White and Prince Charming’s missing daughter, who navigates the strange world of Storybrooke.  Meanwhile, at the beginning of September, Steveston Pool became a very active and inviting pool party, filled with beach balls, pool floats and a snack shack, as a location for Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3.

Also new to TV in September, The Secret Circle was filmed in and around the Steveston area. Kevin Williamson, who is also the creator of The Vampire Diaries, was drawn to Steveston because of its historic feel, and because the boardwalk could never be recreated in a Hollywood film studio.

Beyond the excitement of having Steveston captured on film, what does it mean for the village?  Over the course of three days, when film crews are working their magic to transform Steveston, and then filming, as many as sixty to one hundred crew, cameramen, and actors are here for long days, often amounting to 12-18 hours.  During this time they shop local, both for their personal needs, and for the film, therefore businesses directly benefit.  Currently two Steveston buildings for lease are in use, which would otherwise be vacant.

If you are in the village on a day when filming takes place here are some tips to help navigate your way through a film shoot. Most scenes are short, not much longer than waiting at a traffic light.  The crew will let traffic through regularly, both vehicles and pedestrians. Have no fear; you will not be trapped!  Film crews do everything they canto make sure businesses remain open as usual, including providing signage, and encouraging people to go inside the shops.

Listen to the Production Assistants who wear orange vests. If you are standing and watching, follow their instructions. If they request that you move it may be because you are being reflected in a window, or you may physically be in a shot. Also, remember to be quiet on the set to avoid them having to reshoot.  Film crews are aware that they are guests in a neighbourhood. They work hard to be successful on location, and keep the doors open for future film crews.

Remember that actors are working and they are in character. They are focussed on their role and doing their job well.  It is disruptive to ask for an autograph unless there has been a time specifically set aside for this.

Long after film crews have packed up and left, the legacy can influence a community.  The TV series Smallville, filmed in Cloverdale, continues to have long-term impact for the community as people have a fascination with locations that were used as sets.  A prime example is the Tolkien tourism phenomenon in New Zealand. Many Lord of the Rings fans have travelled to see where the hobbits roamed the lush green countryside. 

We can all take pride that Steveston is drawing Hollywood’s attention. It is going to be an exciting fall ahead as we tune in and recognize Steveston locations, and boast that we get to live here!

Written by Sarah Gordon.  Photos by Clayton Perry

Richmond Ravens Female Hockey Association

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

by Barbara Coates ~

The skates are size 2, the gloves XXX-small, but if her pants were any bigger she could probably go hang-gliding on Grouse. Alix Cameron, all of 3 years old, is ready to try her hand at ice hockey. Girls ice hockey. When asked what she thinks it will be like, “fun!” is the instant reply.

Alix dropped by the Richmond Ice Centre on September 13th to take part in the Richmond Ravens Female Hockey Association’s “Bring A Friend to Hockey” event. She was invited by her good friend, and long-time babysitter, Madison Perkins. This is Madison’s final year in minor hockey, capping a nine-year career that started when she was eight. “I got into girls’ hockey because I had friends who were playing,” says Madison. “I love this sport. At first I was afraid of falling on my butt, but I learned how to skate immediately. And it’s been non-stop fun.”

Women have been playing ice hockey since the late 1800s, a fact that surprises most people. Lady Isobel Stanley, daughter of the Governor General who donated the illustrious Cup, is featured playing on a pond at Rideau Hall in Ottawa in one of the earliest photographs of women enjoying the game. The pages of history are filled with the names of the pioneers of the female game such as The Vancouver Amazons, Victoria Kewpies and Seattle Vamps (dubbed by the media of the day as the “Seattle Sweeties”). Various women’s hockey associations had been formed and tournaments held across Canada in the early 20th century, but it wasn’t until 1990 that the IIHF sanctioned a Women’s World Hockey Championships and a further 8 years before the women’s game became an Olympic event. Since that time, the sport has exploded. Hockey Canada stats reveal a jump from just over 11,000 registered female players in the 1990-1991 season, to close to 86,000 for 2009-2010.

Patti Martin, President of the Richmond Ravens, has seen this growth reflected in their Association too. “When I first came on board five years ago, we had 170 members. This season we are looking at approximately 240. I think a good part of this is due entirely to the fact that we have made it a top priority to focus on development. And it’s working – we’ve had enormous success.”

This is a key point. Tony Lindsay is the Director of Hockey Development on the Ravens Board of Directors. He is passionate about helping the girls grow in the game. “Up until quite recently, people thought girls’ hockey was ‘just for fun’ and if you really wanted to develop competitive skills you had to play with the boys,” he recalls. “But we believe that with the appropriate challenges, you can develop the girls just as well as the boys.”

Developing the girls’ game is something that the entire province should be thinking about. Player representation from BC at the national level has been sorely lacking for years, compared with Ontario and the Prairie provinces. And there are multiple opportunities waiting for top calibre players: women’s hockey programs run in most major colleges and universities in North America (and at Cambridge and Oxford in the UK), scholarships are available, and many stars of the sport have gone on to coaching or broadcasting jobs such as former women’s national team Captain and 2-time Olympic gold medalist Cassie Campbell, who provides colour commentary for CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada.

“The girls association was formed in 1994 and up until last year we were known as the Richmond Girls Ice Hockey Association,” says President Martin. “With our tremendous growth we have been able to substantially increase the development of our players. In the past we have sent some of our teams to provincials but our goal moving forward is to see all of our teams get to this level”.

Attracting top quality coaches like AJ Sander, a minor hockey coach with 30 years of volunteer service who has taken the girls Midget rep team to the Provincials every year since joining the Ravens, is something the development-based Ravens association wants to do.  Melanie Jue and Stephanie Burlton are two new additions to the coaching staff this year and both young women boast stellar histories of hockey achievements.

Ms. Jue attended Cornell University where she held the distinction of being a multi-sport NCAA Division 1 athlete. She led the varsity hockey team to their first Ivy League and ECAC titles, NCAA top ten and national runner up honours. She is a second team All-American with over 20 years of playing experience, including 10 as a nationally certified coach, specializing in skill development. Ms. Burlton was a NCAA Division 1 starter for both the ice hockey and field lacrosse women’s teams at Union College in NY State. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist she has trained athletes in a variety of sports, including wheelchair basketball, rugby and tennis. She has also has experience working at the professional level with the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots and Vancouver Whitecaps.

 But there is more to being involved with hockey than preparing to tryout for the National team. “My wife and I played varsity level sports in college,” says Alix’s dad David. “But that’s not our entire focus for our kids. We just feel that participation in sports, any sport, is incredibly important for their overall development as people.” Tony Lindsay is quick to concur on this point. “While the opportunity to compete at the provincial, national and international levels is important, the girls acquire far more valuable life skills such as Leadership, Discipline and Commitment by being involved with this game.”

But right now, all that little Alix really cares about is having someone lace up her skates. When asked after the practice if she would consider playing again, she had this to say, “as long as I’m not hungry!”

 Barbara Coates is an Associate Director on the Board of the Richmond Ravens and serves as the volunteer Communications Director. She is an independent consultant with over 28 years experience in broadcasting and communications, and works with corporate, government and non-profit clients, developing communications strategies to “help them tell their stories”.

Riverside Mortgage Group

Friday, October 7th, 2011

by Sarah Gordon ~

I first met Bryan Johnstone when he became a Director of the Steveston Merchants Association.  He quickly jumped in to help plan events and has become an asset to the board. He brims with enthusiasm and is eager to help make Steveston a year round destination.  It is hard to believe that Bryan can find the time to volunteer when he and his wife, Tracy, who is also his business partner, are busy running a successful mortgage office, and juggling their young family.  Bryan and Tracy are recognizable Stevestonites. You will see them at every local event. They are also loyal supporters of Steveston restaurants and shops.

It is apparent that Bryan and Tracy love their profession as mortgage broker-owners of Verico Riverside Mortgage Group Inc.  Located at London Landing in Steveston, the Riverside Mortgage Group office exudes a warm seaside atmosphere. You instantly relax and feel welcome upon entering this tasteful space with its soothing blue walls, high ceilings and nautical prints. Bryan and Tracy joke that they based their choice of this idyllic location on convenient parking, close proximity to the village, easy access to blackberry patches and the bike park across the street. 

Bryan and Tracy believe that their clients’ happiness is key, and this comes through in the effort they have made to create such an inviting space to conduct business. They focus on educating their clients so that they can confidently make the right financing decision. They assist by guiding them step by step through the process. In turn, clients feel secure knowing that they are in competent hands.

Whether a client needs help preapproving a mortgage, or with a renewal or refinancing, Riverside Mortgage Group is able to assist. Flexibility and ease are top priorities at Riverside Mortgage Group. Having built their home and office space, Bryan and Tracy have the advantage of personal experience to assist their clients with one of the biggest financial investments they will make. 

In addition to Bryan and Tracy, they have a team of eight licensed multilingual mortgage professionals who offer service in English, French, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Vietnamese and Filipino. Riverside Mortgage Group is able to help self-employed clients and new Canadians find the best available rates.  On standard, qualified applications, you are never charged a fee to arrange your mortgage at Riverside Mortgage Group.

Bryan and Tracy have called Steveston home for the past five years. Tracy was born and raised in Richmond. Real estate has been part of her life for as long as she can remember, as both of her parents were realtors. Originally from Halifax, Bryan moved to British Columbia twenty-one years ago. He feels very much akin to this coastal environment; in fact, Steveston’s spectacular waterfront location and the outdoor environment were at the top of his list of reasons to move here.

Living and working close to home makes sense, as their personal and work lives are so interconnected.  They know the community well, and derive satisfaction from helping their fellow local businesses.  As a company, Riverside Mortgage Group likes to give back to Steveston and they are proud sponsors of local events including Steveston Starry Nights (Movies in the Park), and the horse drawn carriage ride, one of the highlights of Christmas in Steveston Village.

Giving back to the community is also very important to Bryan and Tracy. Tracy is actively involved with Breakfast with Santa at Lord Byng Elementary.  Bryan is one of the three cofounders of Tall Ships 2002. Stemming from his Maritime roots, and his love for all things nautical, Bryan lobbied the City of Richmond to get the event to Steveston, and worked on sponsorship and ship recruitment. Bryan’s volunteer work with the Tall Ships event helped introduce him to the Steveston community, and made him feel at home here.  He recently volunteered as Ship Liaison at the Ship to Shore event.  

Bryan and Tracy have worked as mortgage brokers in Steveston for the past ten years, eight years in the village and two years at their London Landing office. Both came from marketing and sales backgrounds, Bryan was involved with the telecom industry and Tracy worked in the food industry. In addition to their busy work lives, they ensure that they reserve plenty of time for their two young children.  As a family, they enjoy skiing, cycling and plenty of outdoor activities.  Bryan enjoys building furniture in his spare time. Both Bryan and Tracy love design, and took a keen interest when they had their home built.

Some of the Johnstone family’s favourite Steveston hangouts include the Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant, Tapenade Bistro, breakfast at the Steveston Hotel, Bean and Beyond Café, Steveston Pizza Co., and shopping at the Mercato and Heringers.   Their children’s favourite hot spots are Outpost Mini Donut Company, Splash Toy Shop, Alegria Cafe, where they love to play in the courtyard and eat grilled cheese sandwiches.  As a family, they enjoy hopping on their bikes and cycling around Steveston.

It is because of business owners like Bryan and Tracy Johnstone, who make a long-term investment in the place they work and live, that Steveston is such a vibrant and sought after community to call home.

Verico Riverside Mortgage Group Inc
#118 – 6033 London Road

Home Sweet Home – Autumn is Here

Friday, October 7th, 2011

by Sarah Gordon
This is one of my favourite seasons; it feels like a symbolic wave goodbye to spring. The buds of spring, which not too long ago were full of potential, now descend as leaves ceremoniously to the ground, but not before they turn magnificent colours as a final salute.

I enjoy the changes in nature, along with the cooler days. It is an awe-inspiring physical reminder of our place on Earth, as Earth’s axis tilts away from the Sun.

I recently experienced a sign of the changing season. To my delight, on an early run, I came across a morning mist suspended over a park
field, with a dramatic orange sunrise as a backdrop. I was pleased that an early morning walker witnessed this stunning scene with me. It took me back to another spectacular autumn morning in Alberta twenty years ago. As I drove along a quiet road, a fox darted out of a field shrouded with mist. I was extremely grateful to have seen that magic moment.

Autumn can draw out the child in us as we search for a pile of crisp leaves to shuffle through, and hear that delightful crunch, or even better, rake a pile and dive right in! It is a time for comfort foods, brisk walks, earlysunsets, the glow of warmly lit up houses, and the smell of smoke from a distant fire luring you home, and tempting you to light a fire of your own. Autumn conjures up the urge to cook a hearty stew, pour a glass of robust red wine, bake an apple pie, and curl up with a good novel.

I watch squirrels dashing about with their mouths stuffed with chestnuts, busily ‘harvesting’ their food, and stock piling their ground larders for winter, it dawns on me that humans do the same thing. Not only are we busy harvesting, but we are also preparing our personal nests, which we like to make extra cozy during the cooler months by adding throws, candles, seasonal decorations, with the goal of creating a comfortable environment for the extra time that we will spend indoors.

Autumn is an exciting time of change and anticipation of what lies ahead. It is a perfect vantage point to look behind at the fresh memories of summer, and imagine what lies ahead. Many family traditions stem from this time of the year, and are the stuff that childhood memories are made of: the first day of school, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and gearing up for the festive season, the merry making month of December filled with
so many of the year’s important religious celebrations. It is no surprise that many autumn celebrations are anchored close to home, within the fold of family and friends.

Patio furniture will soon be put in storage; and while summer flowerbeds are being cleared away, the hope of spring is already in sight as spring bulbs are ready to plant. Like the squirrel that will be spending a large part of its time in its nest, I too look forward to enjoying the indoor comforts of home sweet home.