Anti-Racism Resources

Absolutely Fabulous 2017: Gordon Neighbourhood House with co-hosts Black Lives Matter

Earlier this week Gordon Neighbourhood House along with the Association of Neighbourhood Houses released a public statement acknowledging the reality of anti-black racism in our community.

As an organization we are committed to promoting an anti-racist society and we are sharing these resources so that our community can have a better understanding of why we have made this commitment and learn how to join us.

Today there will be a Freedom from Hate march in our neighbourhood starting at 4pm in Jack Poole Plaza and ending at Sunset Beach where there will be speakers. Please remember to bring your mask.


Learn more about the loss of Hogan’s Alley and the work being done by the Hogan’s Alley Society.

Circa 1948 is an augmented reality app that allows you to take a virtual tour of the now destroyed Hogan’s Alley.

This interactive map Black Strathcona celebrates some of the interesting people and places that made up the neighbourhood.

The Vancouver Public Library has access to copies of the work of Vancouver born poet Wayde Compton and you can find an interview with him here.

This video explores what life was like in Hogan’s Alley before its destruction, as well as highlighting the community activism that took place to prevent further displacement of people from nearby Chinatown.


Woke or Whateva is a bilingual podcast based out of Montreal, you can find their Instagram account here.

The Conscious Kid and The Great Unlearn are two Instagram accounts that you can follow to challenge your thought process and hold yourself accountable.

This document Anti Black Racism in so called ‘Canada has a large collection of Canadian specific resources for self-education.

Check out this report Towards a Healthy City – Addressing Anti-Black Racism in Vancouver.

Black Lives Matter Canada can be found here and you can follow this link to read the Vancouver Black Lives Matter Calls on the City to Dismantle Systems of Violence and Oppression.

This link take you to a two hour Youtube Webinar titled Resistance and Resurgence: Confronting Anti-Black Racism in Canada.

Diverse Book Finder is a website designed to help parents source books that feature Black and Indigenous people and People of Colour.

Raising Little Allies To Be might be of interest to some parents.

Indigenous Peoples Day is this Sunday June 21st. This article highlights some of the ways that you can celebrate virtually through podcasts, movies, sports, humor, and museums.

The Vancouver Public Library has resources for learning about Indigenous people here.


Massy Books is an Indigenous owned book store in Downtown Vancouver.

Afro Biz is a website that can help you to find Vancouver’s Black owned businesses, Black owned restaurants, Black artists, and more.


The Write to Read project delivers books, libraries, tablets, and high speed internet to remote Indigenous communities in BC.

Vancouver Black Therapy and Advocacy Fund is raising money to support the mental health needs of our Black community members.

Black in B.C. Community Support Fund for COVID-19 is a fundraiser for a low-barrier, emergency, micro-grant program to support those experiencing financial hardship at this time.

Statement on Anti-Racism

The Gordon House team has spent the last few weeks in deep reflection about the persistence of structural racism in our communities, and examining our own complicity within these systems. Hatred has no place in our community. But nonetheless, it continues to exist in our community.

Like you, we are horrified by current events. Black and Indigenous people are being killed every day for acts as simple as going for a run. There has been a substantial (and shameful) increase in anti-Asian racism here in our own neighborhood, and we are aware of multiple instances of elders being targeted by this violence. Something in our system is broken — and we must all take intentional action to fix it.

We have come together with our sister Houses across the Association of Neighbourhood Houses BC to make a public commitment to anti-racism work. Anti-Racism is the ‘practice of identifying, challenging, preventing, eliminating and changing the values, structures, policies, programs, practices and behaviours that perpetuate racism’. That statement is attached – and we hope you hold us accountable to do this work.

In the coming weeks, we will be sharing educational anti-racism resources for the community, including live workshops. We also welcome additional ideas, resources and workshops that we can share – please email

Please view our full public statement here:.

Deeper Roots Program

Connect Yourself To The Land

Gordon Neighbourhood House offers Deeper Roots, an educational gardening program that provides opportunities to connect with the land and deepen our understanding and relationship with nature.

We will explore how to grow food, plants and medicines in ways that care for both humans and the earth. We will develop a practice of gratitude and awareness that will shift how people look at growing food and the natural communities around them.

Join us for weekly drop-in garden sessions and nature-based activities and walks. Once a month we will also offer a multi-lingual session in the garden. All ages and levels of garden experience are welcome. Be prepared to experiment and learn together!


All sessions will take place in the West End neighbourhood of Vancouver. Locations will vary between each session. Once you have registered for a particular session, we will contact you with the meeting location, safety guidelines and what to wear/bring 1-2 days before the session.


Contact Joey at if you have questions or concerns about accessibility.


Each session will have a max of 5 participants. We will be registering participants on Eventbrite only (please don’t email to register).

We would like to offer the opportunity for as many different people to participate.

If you’re interested in multiple sessions, please sign up for one or two first, and allow others a chance to register before signing up for additional sessions. If a particular session is full, join the waitlist.

If you’re bringing a child or youth, please register them and indicate their age in the registration form.


Program schedules will be released on a monthly basis. Click on each link below to register and view more session information:

Tuesday, June 16 at 10:30am – Herb Tour

Thursday, June 18 at 2:30pm – Garden Session

Tuesday, June 23 at 2:30pm – Bee Safari in the Garden

Thursday, June 25 at 2:30pm – Garden Session

Tuesday, June 30 at 10:00am – Garden Time in Spanish with Mayra (for Playtime families)

More info on our urban farming initiatives can be found here.


by Darlene

stock photos free
 of water macro photography of drop of water on top of green plant nature

Here’s a little information about mindfulness meditation to make it more accessible. Meditation and that wandering monkey mind! Well, minds think, that’s what they do. Rather than emptying the mind of thought altogether, meditation provides us with an opportunity to ‘steer the mind’ using concentration practice. Mindfulness is the ability to know or name what we are noticing or experiencing. Concentration practice is the ability to hold our focus where we choose.

Here is a mindfulness meditation practice to explore. While our attention may come and go, our body and breath are always with us. When we notice our mind has wandered, we can use the opportunity to steer the mind, to concentrate instead where we prefer or intend. Steer your mind to notice the next out breath when it occurs. And then the next one in the ongoing in-and-out cycle of breathing. And then the one after that too. To help you with your concentration practice you might observe a physical sensation that helps you know, ‘oh, this is an out breath.’ Perhaps the downward settling of your chest or belly or maybe the air moving through your nostrils. Keep noticing that next out breath as it occurs. Gently, allow yourself to notice how your body is breathing just as it breathes, there is no need to make your body breathe in any particular way. Perhaps you are taking small sips of air or maybe your breath is moving in your chest or possibly down in your belly.

The point of meditation is not necessarily to empty the mind of all thought, rather to steer the mind to where we intend and bring it back to our chosen point of focus. With this concept in mind we can be gentler with ourselves each time we steer the mind back toward the focus of our concentration practice.

Social DistanSING

Christopher Clarke Hyndman of the Quixotic Neurotics

In celebration of Neighbourhood House Week 2020 we collaborated with community members to host a unique rooftop concert (dubbed #socialdistanSING) for West End apartment dwellers to cheer from their balconies and celebrate the strength of community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 5th after the daily 7pm cheer for front line workers we surprised neighbours with a Beatles inspired West End rooftop concert from the corner of Gilford Street and Comox Street to celebrate the power of togetherness and social inclusion.

Happy Neighbourhood House Week! #socialdistanSING #2020goodneighbours

Posted by Gordon Neighbourhood House on Saturday, May 9, 2020

Connections and relationships are at the heart of our organization,”said Executive Director Siobhan Powlowski,”we have operated in this neighbourhood for over 75 years and are proud to have worked alongside thousands of amazing neighbours like musician Christopher Clarke Hyndman to improve our community. While COVID-19 has drastically affected the programs we used to offer, our values remain as strong as ever.”

At a time when most people are staying at home, many apartment renters have been asked by landlords to keep noise to a minimum,and be considerate of neighbours. Organizers of the rooftop concert tried to find the right balance between creating a fun experience,and avoid bothering some neighbours.

“It sounds counter intuitive,”explained local musician Christopher Clarke Hyndman of the Quixotic Neurotics, “I had to convince everyone that more speakers are actually less disruptive than fewer speakers. When you use lots of speakers you can position them in all directions with a lower volume so that everyone can hear the music. That way some neighbours don’t just get thumping bass and echoes, it creates a great experience for everyone.”

This first week in May has historically been declared Neighbourhood House Week by the Mayor of Vancouver, and events are planned all across the city to celebrate the contributions of Neighbourhood Houses. This year organizers had to get creative in devising ways to celebrate the occasion together. The West End is known for its canyons of tall apartments and condo building, and ‘vertical communities’ so a rooftop concert was a perfect fit. It is not uncommon for some buildings to be over 20 stories with hundreds of residents stacked above each other. Unlike must outdoor concerts however, only residents in these buildings were able to watch the show. To make everything possible,organizers had to carefully hoist each piece of sound gear up a fire escape ladder to the roof of the three-storey walk-up apartment building where the event will be held.

“I hope our neighbours enjoy it,”remarked Jim Balakshin, the Director of Community Development, “I can’t think of a better time to host a rooftop concert to cheer people up,and bring everyone together for a common cause.”

The Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC has been leading community development in Metro Vancouver for over 120 years, and currently operates 16 neighbourhood houses, and an outdoor camp. These facilities have become second homes for many residents, and are a place to makes connections and build long-lasting relationships with neighbours from diverse backgrounds.

Gordon Neighbourhood House has served as a community hub in Vancouver’s West End since 1942. We have a history of working alongside our friends and neighbours to facilitate connection, engagement and collaboration, while seizing opportunities for community development. In the context of COVID-19 our programming may have changed, but our values remain.

Creating Calm

by Grace

Worry serves a useful purpose—it warns us of danger and it motivates us to find solutions. Worrying, however, that goes on for longer periods of time without cease, can lead to anxiety and a host of health problems. This 12-minute webinar Creating Calm: Simple Activities for Stressful Times” offers 5 practical activities for anyone looking to reduce worry and create calm for themselves, and also for those that they are supporting. This webinar comes with downloadable handouts that can be laminated and cleaned for safe reuse so they can be freely shared with others. It lasts for 12 minutes, and can be found here.

This webinar was created by Kristine Theurer, PhD who volunteers with Grace who is a senior support worker at Gordon House and the Jewish Seniors Alliance.

Dr. Kristine Theurer is a researcher who pioneered the use of standardized peer support and peer mentoring programs to address loneliness and social isolation in senior living. She is a published author of a number of research articles, the most recent of which Reducing Loneliness and Depression: The Power of Peer Mentoring in Long-Term Care in JAMDA and The Need for a Social Revolution in Residential Care, the most downloaded article in the Journal of Aging Studies. Dr. Theurer leads training workshops for staff working in health care in Canada and the US and presents regularly at international conferences. She has received numerous research awards including grants from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She serves on the planning committee for the national conference on culture change in Canada, hosted by the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging.

Naan Lavaash Recipe

by Nahid

Serves 8 pieces of Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dry yeast
1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. Combine half the water (1/4 cup), yeast, salt and oil into a medium bowl.
  2. Add 1 cup of flour and mix with spoon.
  3. Add the remaining 1 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water.
  4. Use your hands to mix until it forms a ball of dough. Leave in a warm place covered for 1 hour.
  5. Form the dough into a log and cut it into 8 equal pieces.
  6. Roll each piece into a ball. Leave it to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Flatten the dough using a rolling pin or empty glass bottle.
  8. Cook each piece on a hot dry pan on medium heat, about one minute per side (depending on temperature). Flip when you see pockets of air forming (see video).


Asian Heritage Month

cherry blossoms at GNH

May in Canada is Asian Heritage Month. We are proud of the Asian heritage in our community and want to share some of the ways that we can all use this month to celebrate Asian culture and learn important history.

Firstly we would like to highlight the low number of coronavirus cases in the City of Richmond, and the fantastic work being done by the Chinatown community during this quarantine to take care of Chinese seniors with culturally appropriate groceries. A great article on stories and experiences of Chinatown seniors during this pandemic can be found here.

Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society have created virtual explorASIAN 2020 to celebrate Asian culture online with podcasts, virtual museum tours, virtual art exhibitions, virtual concerts, virtual yoga/meditation, and much more. Check out their Facebook page.

Vancouver Public Library have created a list of recommended e-books and audio books.

The 360 Riot Walk Tour gives participants the opportunity to learn about the history of the 1907 Vancouver Anti-Asian riots by engaging in a guided virtual walking tour that you can access free online here.

Vancouver Asian Film Festival has launched Elimin8hate which is a campaign against the recent rise in racist attacks against Asian-Canadians.

Sounds Japanese Canadian to Me is a podcast by the Nikkei National Museum.

Many Japanese-Canadians have served in the Canadian military and in fact the Stanley Park Cenotaph turns 100 this year.

The beautiful Vancouver cherry blossoms originated as a gift from Japan in honor of the Japanese-Canadians who served in WW1. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival has all of the information on best spots for admiring these trees, both IRL and virtually, as well as running an International Haiku competition.

📷 : Jeff Chant

Statement regarding the closure of the West End Food Hub

For the past five years, Gordon Neighbourhood House has worked alongside the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) to run the West End Food Hub. Delivered each Friday, our Hub was one of the largest neighbourhood-based emergency food programs in Greater Vancouver. We served over 500 people each week (in turn representing over 1500 people in our community), providing food access, hot meals, cooking education, produce markets, free counselling, clothing and household goods, family resource programming, referrals, advocacy and much more.

Greater Vancouver Food Bank recently announced that it would be closing all neighbourhood-based food distribution (including the West End Food Hub) and opening two locations at Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the Mount Pleasant Community Centre. More information about the new locations is available here:

Gordon Neighbourhood House does not agree with the decision to close the West End Food Hub. We had committed to continue providing the Food Hub during COVID-19 as local food access is more important now than ever before.

Our members have voiced considerable anxiety about their food security amid the combined impacts of a public health crisis, economic crisis and the closure of supportive programs like the Food Hub. We hear you, and we have been working around the clock to find safe, healthy and dignified options for emergency food support. If you are in a tough spot and need support, please email

In the long-term, Gordon Neighbourhood House remains committed to ensuring dignified emergency food supports are available in the West End. If you are a local organization or businesses wanting to support us in providing emergency food access to the community, we need your help. Email to get involved.

Reading Resources

Did you know that before Gordon House moved into 1019 Broughton Street it was the original location of the West End public library?

We have continued with this tradition by providing a free community lending library in our lobby. Although we are currently closed to the public, there are many other free lending libraries in our neighbourhood: on Cardero (at Nelson near Cardero Bottega), in Mole Hill, and on Pacific (at Thurlow).

Vancouver Public Library provides free access to e-books, audio books, academic resources, and their Facebook group does a story time for children. If you don’t yet have a library card, you can sign up online.

Storybooks Canada and Indigenous Storybooks offer free educational resources to promote literacy and language learning.

The International Children’s Digital Library provides access to children’s books from cultures around the world, and Story Time Online has videos of celebrities reading children’s books. 

The World Health Organisation has released a storybook to help children and young people cope with COVID-19. This can be downloaded for free and is available in 6 languages currently, with another 30 languages coming soon.

For those looking to support local retailers Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium at 1238 Davie remains open for business Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.