Archive for December, 2012

Western Maritime Institute

Friday, December 14th, 2012

A new campus is opening on January 2, 2013 in Steveston located at 12740 Trites Road (beside Steveston Harbour Authority). The WMI Steveston Campus will be offering all courses to:

  • Fishing Master IV
  • Watchkeeping Officer of a Fishing Vessel to 24 metres
  • Master Limited (less than 6- gross tonnage)

Maritime Education Associates (MEA) was established to provide marine training in urban and rural locations throughout British Columbia and Canada to meet the accreditation training standards established by Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard and Industry Canada for the fishing, commercial and recreational marine industry.

Maritime Education Associates and The Western Maritime Institute is a Private Post Secondary Education Institute accredited with the Private Career Training Institutions Agency of British Columbia under registration number 3662.

We are also accredited with Det Norske Veritas under their Standard for Certification of Maritime Academies No. 3.401, Nov. 2004.

All MEA instructors are individually accredited by Transport Canada for the courses they teach and hold the approved Provincial teaching credentials.

Adorabelle Tea Room and Gift Shop

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Worlds Away in Steveston…

Adorabelle Tea Room & Gift Shop is housed inside the cheerful lemon yellow historic Steveston Court House.  The interior is charming with feminine touches in a relaxing palette of pale pink, white and black.  A variety of repurposed furniture painted white, plays a role in making Adorabelle simply ‘adorable’. 

You will notice the Eiffel Tower is paid homage to throughout the tea room.  An illuminated light panel above one of the seating areas will make you feel like you are staring up at the Eiffel Tower on a sunny day.  Other small scale versions are placed around the room, which according to Cathy Hayes, who owns the business along with her husband Chris Hayes, is thanks to Chris’s love of the French monument.  

To set aside time for afternoon tea is one of the most refined treats you can give yourself and a companion.  I recently had the pleasure of having afternoon tea with Steveston Insider’s publisher, Carolynne Palla.  Adorabelle promises if you “close your eyes…you will think you are in another place far, far away.”  We did just that. We took time from our busy schedules, switched off our cell phones (a courtesy requested inside the tea room), and far from the madding crowd we spent an hour conversing.  We sipped individually selected teas and leisurely ate our way through three tiers of tea sandwiches, fresh baked scones with sweetened cream and strawberry preserves, and petite sweets.

Cathy Hayes was born and raised in Richmond.  She grew up baking alongside her mother and loved it; in fact, they still work alongside each other occasionally in Adorabelle’s kitchen.  Chris Hayes is originally from London, Ontario.  The couple met at Bikram Yoga in 2002 and married three years later. After a brief move to Langley the Hayes relocated to Steveston in 2010.  They wanted to raise their two young children (ages 1 and 3) closer to family.

The Hayes confess that they are entrepreneurs by nature.  They saw the need for a tea room in Steveston and jumped at the opportunity. In September 2011 extensive renovations began on the interior of the old Court House (1925) which, until recently, had been used as a conference room and storage for the former law practice located next door. By the middle of February 2012 Adorabelle was open for business.

The dress code is casually elegant, and there is even a ‘Tickle Trunk’ containing tiaras, top hats, feather boas, fascinators, masquerade masks, and wands, which both children and adults enjoying dipping into to enhance their tea party!  If you are looking for a unique way to celebrate a special occasion or milestone consider a private afternoon tea booking. The venue seats twenty and is bound to leave your guests talking. 

At the beginning of November Adorabelle unveiled their holiday menu which runs through December.  The Christmas tier features caramel apple cider pound cake, strawberries and cream, a chocolate ginger cookie, chocolate peppermint petit fours, a mini cheesecake, along with an orange scone and an eggnog cranberry scone. The tea sandwiches include chicken Waldorf, egg salad pinwheel, dill cream cheese and smoked salmon pinwheel, cucumber and cream cheese, and savory bacon chive cupcake.

Child size tiers include a vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream, chocolate peppermint lollicakes, strawberries and cream, a vanilla meringue cookie and an orange scone. The tea sandwiches include cucumber and cream cheese, cream cheese and cherry pinwheel, and raspberry jam and holiday sprinkle.

With thirteen teas on the menu, supplied from Steveston’s very own Nikaido tea and gift shop, the choices are as diverse as they are delicious. A tray of loose teas will be brought to your table to smell, and from there you can narrow down your decision. Adorabelle’s top five favourites are Steveston Blend, Paris, Cream Earl Grey, Summer and Coconut Almond.

The gift shop at the entrance to the tea room is a nice stop for last minute shopping. Amongst the selection of gifts you will find locally made Dam Good soap, scarves, hair clips and aprons.

Adorabelle offers four 1-hour afternoon tea seatings (reservations are required) during their Wednesday through Sunday hours of operation (11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.).  Faced with the hustle and bustle that accompanies the holiday season, I am eagerly studying my December calendar to see when I can book an hour to decompress over a cup of Paris tea and sample the holiday menu.

Adorabelle Tea Room & Gift Shop
12051 Third Avenue
Phone: 604-241-1947

Pay It Forward

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

She couldn’t have caught me on a worse day. My first cold of the season had left me feeling bedraggled and on top of that I had to face Costco on a Friday morning, which requires all of my strength at the best of times.  I paused to study the nutritional value of cheese strings when a woman approached me and asked if I knew where she might find tofu.  She told me that I looked healthy and felt that I would be able to help her. Having made my day, of course I was eager to assist and offered a few suggestions. After a few comments and smiles I wished her luck and we said goodbye. As soon as she left I decided I would make it my quest to not only locate the tofu, like a needle in the Costco haystack, but also to find her again and report back. It took me approximately five minutes and voilà, my mission was accomplished. Feeling very touched she told me she was going to pay my kindness forward.

Before going shopping I had been at a school assembly where the inspiring principal passed on a message to the school’s 450 students about moving from “me to we” thinking, namely to be positive, to share and to help others. This message certainly registered with me and I thank him for his gentle reminder.

I recently read a column in The Vancouver Sun written by Craig and Marc Kielburger which was very inspiring.  This dynamic brotherly duo from Thornhill, Ontario founded Free the Children in 1995 when Craig Kielburger was only 12-years-old. Today, Free the Children is a highly successful international charity and educational partner. They believe in a world where all young people are free to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change. 

What caught my eye in this particular article “Hey parents, your children are watching” was adults need to lead by example to change the world. The Kielburgers frequently meet parents who wonder how their children can help make a difference. Although the brothers have plenty of ideas how children can help fight against bullying, poverty and hunger, every so often they like to turn the tables and ask parents what they are doing to help make a difference.  According to the 2012 Power to Change survey conducted by Angus Reid, the Kielburgers state that only 17% of Canadian adults believe that their generation has the greatest opportunity to help others and the world.

Those numbers are staggering.  Children are losing faith in the very people who should be guiding and inspiring them, namely their parents’ generation. In turn, adults are passing the torch to their children to fix the world’s problems; however, all is not lost. According to the Kielburgers “there is solid evidence that when parents – as well as teachers and mentors – show their helping side, children internalize and adopt these behaviours.”  How do we do this?  Lead by example is their wise suggestion. Take action. Volunteer your time. The Kielburgers cite another study which indicates that children are more likely to volunteer their time if they see their parents giving back to their community. 

It seems fitting at this time of the year, as we are rapidly propelling towards the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, to look beyond ‘me’, and even beyond one’s immediate family to the much bigger picture – one’s community.

Pause for a moment to think about how you can help someone.  It may be a small gesture like my Costco scenario. It could be on a much grander scale such as volunteering at The Richmond Food Bank to help pack boxes, or giving your time to help Richmond Hospital. If you love animals you can lend a hand at the SPCA or Richmond Animal Protection Society.  Organize a visit to a senior’s home and sing Christmas carols with your school, church group or Girl Guide unit. I did this a couple of years ago with my Brownies unit and it was the most heartwarming experience to see the joy in the residents’ eyes as they watched the young girls serenade them.  Better yet, visit a nursing home at other times of the year when they don’t have as many visitors.
That is what it all comes down to, moving from “what’s in it for me”, to creating happiness for someone else.  We frequently teach ‘it is better to give than to receive’. For children truly to understand this it must be modeled, so pay it forward. It doesn’t have to be complicated.  Give someone a break in traffic. Let someone go ahead of you at the grocery store if they only have a few items. Say hello to someone who looks like they need a little pick me up.  Shovel snow for a neighbour. Pay a stranger a compliment.

As the Kielburgers say, “your children are watching”. Lead by example and you will be paying forward the best gift that you can offer this world – kind, compassionate and socially conscious children.

Ringette: The Fastest Game on Ice

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

“What exactly is ringette?” is a question often associated with this sport which is sometimes mistaken for a version of girls’ hockey.  Laura Takasaki, a coach with Richmond Ringette, chuckles when asked, and is eager to correct the misconception as she is a great believer in the game that she has played for thirty years.

Like hockey, ringette is an ice sport, however, rather than playing with a hockey stick and a puck, the players use a straight stick and a rubber ring (imagine a 6” hollow blue doughnut). The greatest difference between the two sports is obstruction and interference are prohibited in ringette. In many ways the game shares more in common with basketball, soccer and lacrosse in terms of its offensive and defensive play.
In 1963 Sam Jacks, from North Bay, Ontario (also the inventor of floor hockey), developed ringette as an alternative ice game for girls at a time when hockey was for boys only.  The objective is to score on the opponent by shooting the ring into their net. The challenge lies in skating while catching or “stabbing” the ring. Physical contact is not allowed.  Once stabbed, the ring is easier to control than a puck, but ringette’s blue-line rules force more passing. As a result, players learn teamwork rather than depending on one or two dominant players. The absence of ring handling allows players to focus on improving their skating, which increases the tempo of the game, and has earned ringette the bragging rights of being ‘the fastest game on ice’. 

Most games last approximately one hour. As the pace is very fast, players get plenty of ice time. Six players from each team are allowed on the ice at one time; one goalie, two defense, two forwards, and one centre. The players wear full protective equipment including a distinctive face mask, a jersey and long pants. The goalie uses regular goal catcher’s equipment; however, some goalies use a unique catching glove.

Ringette is played throughout Canada at many different levels, from house league to all-stars and in national and international competition. In Canada, 50,000 athletes, coaches, and officials call ringette their sport. Takasaki is proud to report that there are a couple of Richmond players on the B.C. Thunder National Ringette team.

This sport builds strong, fit and confident girls, yet even though the game is not limited to females, the membership is still largely female. Involvement in sports teaches valuable life lessons such as commitment, time-management, goal-setting, teamwork and respect.  Ringette devotees also list the friendships they form as one of the top reasons they love being involved in the sport. Children can begin playing as young as five years old, and the beauty is you don’t even need to know how to skate, you can learn as you go!

Ringette is also gentle on the pocketbook. Startup costs are approximately $100 and rental equipment is available for players for the first year.  After that time, when you become hooked on ringette, as Takasaki says you will, you can purchase your own gear. 

Ringette’s age divisions include U9 (Bunnies) ages 4-7, U10 (Novice) ages 7-9, U12 (Petite) ages 10-11, U14 (Tween) ages 12-13, U16 (Junior) ages 14-15, U19 (Belle) ages 16-18,  Open 18 years+ and Masters 30 years+.

Takasaki’s household is a busy one. In addition to running the locally based event planning company, Imagine That Events, with her business partner, Sharon Liew, Takasaki’s entire family lives and breathes Richmond Ringette.  Laura Takasaki continues to play on Richmond Ringette’s Open team, and she coaches Richmond Ringette’s Bunnies division.  Her daughters Tayah (12) and Hailey (13) assist as junior coaches with the Bunnies.   Like their mother, they were both very young when they started playing ringette, and they continue to play, along with a core group of friends who also started playing as Bunnies.  Not to be left out, Laura’s husband Troy coaches the U14 team and the Open team.

The time commitment to Richmond Ringette depends on your division.  Younger players generally practice 1-2 times per week while higher levels practice 2-3 times per week.  Richmond Ringette’s home base is the Richmond Ice Centre. The season runs from September to March. Registration closes December 15th. Regular season games for U10 and up begin October 1st. The U9 season begins December 1st in order to have an opportunity to learn and practice the game. In January tournaments are played against other ringette teams across Metro Vancouver.

Ringette is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013. There are opportunities to come out and watch the fastest game on ice and register to play this season. Who knows, maybe 30 years from now your daughter will be living and breathing ringette like Laura Takasaki and her family.

Richmond Ringette

Pieces: A Special Place to find the Perfect Gift

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

“I love this shop” is one of the most rewarding compliments Pieces receives and it consistently makes David and Sarah Gordon smile.   Before they purchased the business, Sarah Gordon would bring her friends into the shop and utter those very words. 

An undeniable part of Pieces’ charm is its location.  The magic is housed inside the venerable red brick Hepworth Block, which has stood on Moncton Street for almost 100 years (2013 marks its centenary).  This landmark building survived the great fire of 1918 when most of Steveston burnt to the ground.  You can see a physical reminder of the fire on a scorched pillar inside the shop. 

Customers have used words such as exquisite, tasteful and whimsical to describe Pieces, and some fondly refer to it as their “go to” store.  Pieces takes pride in an “Especially Canadian” focus.  When the Gordons go on buying trips they are often asked what they sell.  Laughing, they explain what the store is not, a gift shop with beavers waving Canadian flags, but rather a tasteful collection of many Canadian made and designed products, often created by local artists. The overall look of the shop is largely thanks to the beautiful cottage style furniture created by Langley artist Jill Hall.

One customer concocted a recipe to describe Pieces. “Stir in a pinch of princess, a dash of nautical and a healthy dose of hostess-with-the-mostest, and you’ve got Pieces!”

It is amazing what can fit inside a small shop: Trollbeads, jewellery by local artists, home décor, Matt & Nat handbags, Lug bags, U.S.E.D. bags made from recycled seatbelts, stationery and cards, soaps, lotions (Barefoot Venus’ Hunny Mango is the fragrance showcased at Blue Canoe Restaurant), hostess gifts, umbrellas, wall art, and a children’s corner filled with goodies.

Pieces is the exclusive Richmond dealer of Sid Dickens Memory Blocks.  Sid Dickens came into the shop last February and was very impressed by the large collection and display of his art work. He hand signed all of the blocks (they sold out very quickly), and was even more  impressed to learn that instead of increasing the price of the signed blocks, David Gordon invited customers to make a donation to Variety – The Children’s Charity.

David and Sarah Gordon feel incredibly fortunate to have artist Jill Hall as an integral member of ‘team Pieces’. Hall’s creative talent and imagination is boundless.  She is constantly reinventing herself and proudly marches to her own drumbeat.   While she is very modest, Hall’s company, Castaways, has been featured in national magazines including Canadian House & Home and Style at Home. 

Hall taught herself to use power tools (after all, why shouldn’t a woman wield a table saw?) and began making custom furniture.  With the exception of the display cases, all of the furniture in Pieces is for sale.  Hall is happy to take special orders, with the understanding that she needs some artistic leeway.  Whatever you request, it is bound to elicit compliments and give your home style and character.

While the store is always changing, you will notice the most dramatic transformation takes place during the holiday season when the shop becomes a Christmas destination.

The Christmas window display has become a tradition, and with a nod to classic department store displays of yesteryear, it tells a story of its own. Past windows have featured everything from a seafaring shipload of saucy pirate sock monkeys and ballerinas, to an intricate spinning ship’s wheel with an accompanying nautical scene. Last year passers-by were captivated by a ‘Twas the Night before Christmas scene with toys tucked into miniature beds beside a fireplace. This year’s charming woodland scene has created a buzz as Jill Hall’s large cut out Christmas trees have become a coveted item.

Isabelle Henderson, Shawn Mercer and Heidi Wiesendahl are the indispensable staff members who the Gordons refer to as their Pieces family.  The Gordons are also deeply appreciative of their loyal customers’ support and commitment to shopping local.

A combination of music, conversation and laughter creates an energy which both customers and the staff enjoy. People describe Pieces as a ‘feel good shop’. Sometimes customers will pop in for a ‘spin and sniff’ and report that even a short visit is an instant mood lifter.  This holiday season, with the scent of cranberry candles in the air, Pieces is a perfect destination to find something unique for everyone on your gift list.

100- 3580 Moncton Street