Archive for June, 2017

Steveston’s History Comes to Life

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

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Animated Walking Tours.

Travel back in time to the year 1917 to witness Richmond’s early days. The 60-minute Steveston Walking Tour Vignettes guide you through one kilometre of village history, where you will discover the pleasures and perils of living and working in historic Steveston as talented Hugh McRoberts Secondary School drama students perform five original plays, written by local playwright Andrew Wade.

McRoberts high school student actors take on a variety of roles that showcase Steveston’s diverse cultural heritage making these walking tours a truly memorable experience.

Tour participants are led by a guide on a one hundred year journey in time, drawing back the curtain on Steveston’s gentrified present to a grittier past.

In the modern streets of Steveston, the guide brings participants unexpectedly to “pop-up theatre” short plays inspired by historic events.

Jamie copyLife in Steveston one hundred years ago held a lot of drama. In 1917, local fishermen wondered if salmon would return after the 1914 Hell’s Gate landslide destroyed access to the salmon spawning beds of the Fraser River. Floods, fires and other disasters also weighed heavily on people’s minds. In Steveston’s canneries, racial divisions sometimes resulted in fierce confrontations. Meanwhile, as British Columbia embraced the prohibition of alcohol, some saw a big business opportunity.

The young actors vividly bring to life characters encountering these events while also evoking universal human themes of romance, determination, and resilience.

Sarah Glen, Executive Director of the Steveston Historical Society, is excited to see the tours take shape. She says, “There are so many stories to tell from Steveston’s history; the village is built on the contributions of so many. The purpose of the tours is to give the viewers a short ‘impression’ of what life was like in this time period. Our performers do a wonderful job at bringing these stories to life.”

Frank copyThe plays give talented students from Hugh McRoberts Secondary School the opportunity to recreate characters from the past. Drama teacher Judyann McCarthy is delighted with the opportunity they provide for her students.

“I have enjoyed working with this dedicated group of student actors on a project that takes us out of the classroom and watching them apply their skills and abilities in a whole new world, old Steveston. It has been a lot of fun explaining words like ‘skedaddle’, and that people used to eat wild greens, and that our little city has always had rich cultural diversity.”

Her students agree with Judyann, expressing excitement at bringing to life the unique character and the incredible history of Steveston which they represent. The project has challenged the student actors, altering their perspective on the past and present.

These Steveston Walking Tour Vignettes are a great experience for the whole family, and a fun way to discover local history and culture.

female tour guide copyTours depart from the Steveston Museum (3811 Moncton Street) at 4:30 p.m. on Fridays and 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays in June and July. Tickets are $7.00 per person. Booking in advance is recommended as availability is limited. Children under 12 are free when accompanied by a paying adult (maximum two children per one adult). Book in person at the Tourism Richmond Visitor Centre at the Steveston Museum (3811 Moncton Street) or by calling the Visitor Centre at 604-271-8280.

More information on the tours can be found online at www.historicsteveston.ca.

This year’s Walking Tour Vignettes – Canada 150 Project is presented by the Steveston Historical Society and the City of Richmond through the Steveston Museum. This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between Richmond Community Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast. Special thanks to the Steveston Historical Society, the City of Richmond and Hugh McRoberts Secondary School.

Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Wongs Nursery flowering StevestonRooted in Richmond Since 1966.

I have always admired the gorgeous hanging baskets on the lampposts and seasonal flowers that beautify a number of major boulevards in Richmond’s city centre. Until recently I had no idea where these plants originated from, however I was enlightened when I met the grower, Paul Wong, who is the charming and affable owner of Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery.

Paul is the son of Yuen Wong, who founded Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery in 1966. Over the years Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery moved two times. The nursery was located on Cambie Road for 38 years. In 2008 it relocated to the impressive site on No. 2 Road. Sadly, Yuen passed away the same year. Paul is grateful his father had an opportunity to see the company in its magnificent new home. His vivacious mother Dorothy has retired but she loves to come assist during the busy spring months.

Wongs Nursery family StevestonPaul grew up in Richmond and graduated from Richmond High. He recalls assisting at the greenhouse after school before starting his homework. In the early 1990s his father approached him to join the company with the intention that Paul would eventually take over the family business. The father and son team worked together for many years – over time as retail and sale contracts grew they phased out wholesaling to stores such as Safeway, Sears and Woolco.

After an unseasonably cold and snowy winter followed by a rain-filled spring I suspect many gardeners are doing a jig as we welcome summer and have a taste of what the majority of Canadians experience each year. This will likely make us appreciate and maximize our time in our gardens more than ever. Paul says, “The nursery’s plants were almost two weeks behind this year.”

Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery sells Richmond’s largest selection of hanging baskets, geraniums, bedding and container plants.

The front retail space is just the tip of the iceberg, walk through and you will discover there are eight additional greenhouses totalling 25,000 square feet. This is where the plants are grown.

Eight seasonal staff are brought in at the beginning of March; the greenhouses are a beehive of activity where staff can be seen plant hanging baskets for clients including the City of Richmond, which has been purchasing from Wong’s for over 20 years.

Ninety per cent of Wong’s plants are grown on site from pre-started seedlings or rooted cuttings.

Paul says, “Hanging baskets are our forte. Customers return because of the quality. We grow the best products and our prices are very good. Customers will also be able to find two or more identical basket here.”

Wongs Nursery No. 2 Rd StevestonWong’s Greenhouse & Nursery is open from the beginning of April through mid-July for the spring and summer season. It reopens in late September through early November and at this time you will find fall and winter plants in addition to spring bulbs such as daffodils and tulips.

Although the garden centre is seasonal, Paul is kept busy year round. He points out, “All year there is something growing here so I am always checking in and overseeing the business.” During the spring and summer he goes into overdrive working every day for three months. He manages the staff and attentively assists customers.

The weather dictates sales and sunny days are always the busiest. Paul has seen a surge in customers from local condo owners looking for patio plants for planters and he is pleased to report Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery offers a very good selection.

Paul shares a helpful gardening tip to file away for next season: “It is safe to plant annual plants outdoors when the evening temperature has consistently reached double digits.”

As a long term Richmond resident Paul is extremely appreciative of this community. Although the city has experienced many physical changes he feels the community spirit is as strong as the Richmond he remembers growing up.

What does Paul find most rewarding about running his own business? He says, “I enjoy being able to grow a great product for our customers and have them return year after year. I am also grateful to the community for supporting local merchants.”

Indeed, the beautiful, quality plants Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery sells certainly keep customers returning, but it is also the home-grown personal, friendly and knowledgeable service that makes this family business such a success.

Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery
11140 No 2 Road
Richmond, BC V7E 2E7
Telephone 604-278-1028

Sweet Paws Dog Grooming Services

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

Sweet Paws Dog Grooming Noriko Ikuta StevestonHelping Dogs Look Their Best.

Furry clients out for a walk like to stop in and say hello to their human friends at Sweet Paws Dog Grooming Services. Sweet Paws owner Noriko Ikuta says with a smile, “I know the dogs by name.”

Noriko and her husband, Reverend Grant Ikuta (Steveston Buddhist Temple), moved to Toronto from their native Japan in 1992. During their 16 years in eastern Canada they had four children. They also had a golden retriever named Rusty who Noriko learned to groom. Realizing she had a hidden talent, she was inspired to attend Toronto’s Pet Grooming Studio Academy where she turned her hobby into a career. After graduating she was hired by the Academy. It was a natural fit; Noriko has always loved animals and as a child dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.

The Ikuta family moved to Steveston in 2008. Reverend Ikuta has relatives here and the couple were excited to find a strong Japanese community. Noriko says it is lovely to hear Japanese being spoken on the street which was not prevalent in Toronto. “I quickly discovered Steveston is a special close-knit community where people support each other,” she says.

Sweet Paws Dog Grooming Ola StevestonIn June 2015 Noriko decided it was time to open her own business. She chose to locate Sweet Paws close to home. She appreciates the beautiful location, the village’s history and as a dog owner (the family now has a Coton de Tulear named Lucky who occasionally pops in to visit Noriko at work), she was aware a grooming service was needed.

Her clean and neat as a pin grooming studio is located on Third Avenue, across the street from the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. Noriko mentions that some customers take advantage of two free hours to go to their own spa appointment or shop or dine in the village. Her client base is growing steadily in dog friendly Steveston village where it is a common sight to see dog owners stopping to chat.

Much like a human spa, Sweet Paws strives to offer a soothing atmosphere where dogs are pampered.

Owners can be nervous when they say goodbye to their pets. Noriko mentions if an owner is not calm their dog will pick up that energy; she says it is helpful to exercise the pet before it comes in to relax and tire it out. Some dogs react better than others to the idea of being groomed. Being parted from their owner is the most difficult part and barking nervously is common.

All sizes and breeds pass through the door, from pint size Yorkies to large Labradoodles.

Sweet Paws Dog Grooming Bayview Third StevestonLong-haired dogs and those with busy, active lifestyles will need to be groomed more frequently than shorter-haired dogs or those with inactive lifestyles. Waiting too long between grooming appointments can cause matting, which may result in a shorter cut. Tip: Brush and comb your dog at home between grooming sessions.

Summer and Christmas are the busiest times of the year and Noriko advises booking two weeks in advance. How often your dog needs grooming depends on how quickly her/his fur grows, however, Noriko mentions six to seven weeks is standard. Gentle organic shampoos are used. Noriko can easily assess skin types and for canines with extremely sensitive skin she uses hypoallergenic products.

When asked what she finds most rewarding about operating her business Noriko replies, “I feel very calm working around dogs all day. It is very healing.”

She says, “At our studio, we provide a calm atmosphere to lessen the stress felt by the dog. Our staff is trained to treat each dog with care, being mindful of the stress it may be feeling. To ensure the best treatment, we do not overbook our appointments. Every session is by reservation only and we contact the owners as soon as the appointment is finished so their pet does not have to wait for prolonged periods. Our reward is to see the happy faces of both the dogs and their owners when they come to pick up their loving pets.”

Canines were likely very grateful for their warm fur coats during the chilly winter we experienced, but now that summer’s here it’s time to book a grooming appointment. Check out Sweet Paws’ Facebook page for some adorable before and after shots to get an idea of how Noriko and her staff can make your dog look and feel his or her best.

Sweet Paws Dog Grooming Services
105-3531 Bayview Street
Richmond BC V7E 5W3
Telephone 604-285-7425
www.sweetpawsdog.ca

Catch Kitchen + Bar

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

Catch Kitchen patio view StevestonLocally Inspired Dishes and a Magnificent View.

A magnificent setting is always a plus when dining out and Catch Kitchen + Bar delivers with its picturesque location on Fisherman’s Wharf. The restaurant offers a spectacular vista of Steveston harbour, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island. Patio diners take in views of the Fraser River inlet and snow capped Mount Baker while bar patrons enjoy views of the gorgeous North Shore mountains.Catch Kitchen Jon Yacoub Steveston

Finding this prime spot (the former home of the Charthouse restaurant) was the opportunity of a lifetime for brothers Jon and Marc Yacoub and their cousin, chef Daniel Bachara. It was their dream to open a restaurant together and securing this spacious scenic gem was icing on the cake.

Jon, Marc and Daniel all come from restaurateur backgrounds; both of their families owned restaurants in England, which is where they were all born. The Yacoub family moved to Steveston when Jon and Marc were young. “My dad ran the Granville Island Hotel for many years until he bought his own restaurant,” Jon says. He and Marc attended Lord Byng Elementary and both graduated from Steveston High.

Daniel gained his culinary experience at his father’s restaurant in the U.K. and moved to Canada in his late teens. Jon has devoted his entire career to restaurant management.

He got his start bussing tables at The Manor restaurant in Tsawwassen. He also worked as a server at the Charthouse in his early 20s and went on to manage The Boathouse in White Rock and Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant.

“We wanted to let the view in.” Jon Yacoub

Catch Kitchen + Bar opened in March 2016 after extensive renovations. Marc is a contractor and brought his team on board to modernize the space. It took four and a half months to create the desired effect, with the three partners lending a hand. Jon mentions they are thankful for their friends who pitched in to help.

Wood, metal and cement are used to bring the outdoors inside. The result is aesthetically pleasing, creating a modern and industrial seaside atmosphere. Large black and white nautical photographs adorn the wood panelled walls, corrugated metal is used to create pony walls and industrial pendant lights set the mood. Other decorative touches include propellers mounted to the entry wall alongside an illuminated metal sign that spells out the word Catch. Large banks of windows let in an abundance of light and of course look out to the million-dollar view.

“Our concept was to create a Coal Harbour or Granville Island experience in Steveston.” Jon Yacoub

Jon explains, “We are extremely proud of our Steveston roots. We felt this is what the community needed, to be able to enjoy an upscale casual dining experience without having to leave the neighbourhood.”

There is something on the menu for everyone’s taste including local seafood favourites alongside Mediterranean and bistro-style dishes. Menu changes take place seasonally to highlight ingredients from as many local suppliers as possible.

Catch Kitchen craft beer StevestonJon mentions that some of the popular dishes include the warm seafood salad, lemon caper halibut, roast beef dip and grilled chicken burger. The in-house prepared crab cakes and peppercorn New York steak are also crowd pleasers. Gluten-free diners can order with ease from a separate and extensive menu. Following your meal, succumb to temptation and order dessert made from scratch by Catch’s pastry chef.

Catch’s bar features seven flat-screen televisions, making this the perfect spot to watch sporting events including hockey, soccer and football. Many local craft beers are on tap to quench your thirst as you cheer for your favourite team. Both the restaurant and bar offer happy hours and children are welcome in both sections.

A nostalgic nod to former Steveston High (which was demolished two years ago) is a wall for alumni to sign and include their year of graduation.

Catch Kitchen 3866 Bayview StevestonThere is no shortage of seating in this establishment that accommodates up to 155 people in the restaurant (inside and on the patio) with another 65 seats in the bar. Catch Kitchen + Bar is a perfect spot year round to host a large gathering or a company dinner or an intimate dinner for two. Jon mentions they are excited to be hosting their first wedding reception.

This summer head to the patio or pull up a chair indoors to escape the heat and ‘catch’ a beautiful sunset – all the while knowing that if you are a local you won’t have to deal with a long drive home, and if you happen to be an out of towner, you will experience what Stevestonites get to enjoy in our own backyard – lucky us!

Catch Kitchen + Bar
200-3866 Bayview Street
Richmond, BC V7E 4R7
Telephone 604-284-1222
www.catchkitchen.com