This blog post contains information on West End resources for seniors, homeless services, food access, public toilets, and community news & connections. Words highlighted in green are links that you can click on to access further information.
The Better at Home Program helps seniors with day-to-day support from grocery shopping, friendly visits, and transportation to light housekeeping and minor home repairs. For West End and Coal Harbour residents, the program is being facilitated through the West End Seniors Network, please contact their Community Services Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (604) 669-5051.
BetterMeals is a seniors service which offers a wide variety of dishes to choose from that are healthy, delicious, and satisfy a wide variety of specific dietary needs. For more information visit their website or contact email@example.com (604) 299-1877.
ElderDogCanada provides assistance to seniors and their canine companions including support obtaining food, animal hygiene, minor grooming, and transportation to and from the vet. For more information contact Jacqueline Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are an isolated person looking for assistance to get essential goods then please contact BC211. The website homepage also provides information on a variety of emergency resources.
There is a regularly updated emergency food & shelter resource map here and a print friendly version of emergency food & shelter resources here.
Coast Outreach Teamcan be reached at 604-669-2447. The Coast Resource Centre is closed but support and information is still available at T 604-683-3787 or M 604-603-9151.
For emergency harm reduction supplies you can contact Spikes on Bikes West End:8am – 2pm Monday to Saturday / 604-317-1315 call for service.
Information on the location and operating hours of the Food Bank are available here.
The food handling guidelines by the BC Centre for Disease Control outlines food issues that may arise at both the grocery stores and at home. It can be found here.
Our friends at Christchurch Cathedral 960 Burrard St are reopening their Wednesday cafe to do takeout meals from 11:30am-12:30pm with physical distancing measures in place.
Keep connected with your friends and neighbours in the West End with these two popular Facebook Groups : Vancouver West Enders (nightly 7pm cheers & other news from the community) and Photographing in the West End (photos & videos from residents in the West End).
I Lost My Gig is a Facebook group providing support and networking opportunities to artists and other vulnerable freelance or gig workers whose jobs have been affected by current restrictions.
vegetable stock at home involves using whole onions, carrots, celery and herbs
that you buy and sift into the compost bin once their flavor has infused into
Here is a low-cost and low-waste alternative to making stock using vegetable scraps, peels and stalks. It requires little work, just some simmering time and freezer space:
1)Every time you cook, save your vegetable peels, stalks and tops in a container or bag (I use yogurt containers) and store it in the freezer. I save pretty much everything but pepper and squash seeds, and of course anything that’s spoiled.
2) Once your container is full, put your scraps into a large pot with enough water to just cover the scraps. Optionally, you can add a pinch of salt and 2 bay leaves.
3) Bring up to a boil. Then turn down to low-medium heat and simmer for ~1.5 hours. You can add a lid but keep it ajar.
4) Once done, strain and let cool. Vegetable stock stores really well in the freezer. Refrigerate for up to 7-10 days.
Nutritional info: Vegetable peels and stalks actually contain a lot of the vegetable’s nutrients. If you’re worried about pesticides on peels of conventional vegetables, consult this guide to find out which vegetables to leave out of your stockpile.
Meat eaters only: If you eat meat, save your bones! It will give your stock a wonderful flavor and a dose of minerals (phosphorus, magnesium, potassium), electrolytes and collagen that help with cell repair and function.
Here’s a delicious meal that is vegan, gluten-free, low-cost, easy and flexible.
It’s a fan favourite in our Community Lunch program, and now you can make it at home!
This dish is a source of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, B vitamins, Vitamins A, E, C, K, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids.
All you need to get started is peanut butter, canned tomato, and some veggies. At the end of this recipe you’ll find tips on how to adjust for ingredients you prefer or have on hand. Enjoy!
Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
· 1.5 L vegetable stock (if you would like to learn how to make your own low-cost & waste free vegetable stock we have a recipe here)
· 2 tbsp vegetable oil
· 1 onion
· 1 inch piece of ginger
· 3 garlic cloves
· 1 large yam
· 2 small-medium potato
· 1-400 ml canned tomato
· 1 can chickpea
· 1 bell pepper
· 3 leaves kale or 1/3 bunch spinach
· ¾ cup peanut butter (no added sugar)
· 1/8 tsp chili powder
· 1/8 tsp cayenne
· 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
· Salt & pepper
Extremely optional toppings:
· Sprinkle of chopped peanuts
· Few sprigs of chopped herb (cilantro, parsley, or green onion)
1. Begin warming up 1.5 L vegetable stock or water on the stove or microwave in a small pot or microwave-safe container. Heat until it starts steaming / simmering.
2. Peel onion, garlic, yam. Cut onion, yam, potato and bell pepper into ~2 cm bite sized cubes. Finely chop the ginger and garlic. Roughly chop kale/spinach.
3. In a large soup pot, heat vegetable oil on medium heat. Sautee and stir onion for 5 minutes, until they are translucent.
4. Add garlic, ginger, yam and stir for another minute.
5. Add canned tomato with juices. Simmer on medium-low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Drain and rinse can of chickpeas. Add chickpeas, chili powder and cayenne to the pot. Stir.
7. Grab a large metal bowl or container and scoop in one ladle of vegetable stock. If it’s really hot, let it cool for a couple minutes.
8. Add remaining vegetable stock to the soup pot. Cover pot and turn on high heat. When it bubbles, turn to medium heat and simmer for ~15 min, until yam/potato is fork tender.
9. Take your peanut butter and add ¾ cup to the 1 ladle of vegetable stock. Whisk together until smooth. Mixing the peanut butter with a little stock will be much easier than mixing everything in the large pot.
10. Once yam is almost fork tender, stir peanut butter mixture and bell pepper into soup pot and cook for 3-5 minutes.
11. Turn off heat and stir in spinach/kale and lemon juice.
12. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve and top with herbs and chopped peanuts.
How to adjust this recipe:
· If you don’t have vegetable stock you can use water, but add some extra seasonings (bay leaves, more garlic & onion).
· You can replace any of the veggies (broccoli or green beans would be tasty)
· Replace the chickpeas with any kind of bean, lentil, split pea or grain
· I like using canned diced tomato, but you can use crushed, paste, sauce, whatever you have.
· Replace lemon juice with apple cider vinegar, lime juice or any light acid
· Add leftover rice or shredded chicken to make it heartier.
· The more peanut butter you use, the thicker your stew will be.
Jeera Aloo (potatoes sauteed with cumin) is a vegetarian dish that is simple, healthy, tasty, and easy to make at home with only a few ingredients.
4 boiled potatoes, medium size (cut in cubes)
1 ½ tsp jeera, whole (cumin seeds)
1 tsp ginger (fresh), minced
1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp jeera powder (cumin seeds powder)
2 tsp dry mango powder *
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Few sprigs of coriander leaves (chopped)
In a pan, add oil, once hot, add jeera, let it sizzle, add the ginger and jalapeno. Mix well.
After two mins, on low flame, add turmeric powder, cumin powder, dry mango powder, coriander powder, paprika powder and salt. Mix well for a couple of mins. on low flame.
Add boiled potatoes, mix in well to coat it with the spice mix. Close the pan and let it cook for 10 mins. on low flame. Once the potatoes are well coated, check seasoning, and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
*PS: If you don’t find dry mango powder, after the potatoes have been coated with the spice mix, squeeze ½ lime or lemon or add 1 tsp. of lemon/lime juice.
In this post we’ll be sharing a Chili con carne (Beef Chili) recipe in a photo series with descriptions for the method and our chef’s secret ingredient.
This recipe is very flexible and may serve up to 8 portions. You can use almost anything to substitute or increase this hearty one bowl meal that’s one of Gordon House’s favorite.
Remember that many canned items may already contain salt and that salt concentrates as you cook it so try and salt your chili lightly as you go.
Keep a spoon, try your food as much as possible and adjust seasoning to your taste – the best measure for heat is your own.
As with many things, this always tastes better the next day but for that it needs to survive! After you serve and separate your portions for freezing, you have 2 hours to cool it to around 21*C (70*F), then put it in the fridge with an open lid so it cools down to 4*C (39*F).
Ingredients – about 1lb ground/minced beef (sub for pork, mix, turkey, chicken) – about 5 oz bacon (that’s about 1/3 of a 1lb package), diced (sub for any smoked sausage) – 2 cans of red kidney beans, rinsed (sub for any beans you’d like! All beans like chili) – 1 ½ onion (that’s about 2 cups), diced – 2 small carrots (that’s about 1 cup), diced – 1 large celery stalk (that’s about 1 cup), diced – 3 cloves of garlic, made small (chopped, minced, grinded, sliced, etc.) – cilantro, as much as you like, chop the stems for the stew and keep the leaves for finishing – tomato paste, 2 large teaspoons (sub for ½ can of crushed/diced tomato or passata) – bay leaf, about 1 large leaf or 2 small ones – cumin, about 1 ½ tablespoon – chili flakes, about 1 ½ teaspoon (sub for chipotle or chili powder, with caution) – smoked paprika, about 2 teaspoon – fennel seed, about 1 teaspoon – nutmeg ground, about 1 teaspoon – black pepper, about 5 grind turns or 1 teaspoon – salt, about 1 ½ tablespoon divided in pinches along the cooking and stewing – water, about 2 cups for the beans + 2 cups for diluting the chili
Optional – cheese! Added in the end, it makes a difference – chef’s secret ingredient, scroll down and check your pantry! – also, almost anything! Other veggies are more than welcome, other spices and peppers, chili is super versatile.
Method Make sure you have everything you need – a large pot is needed, you’re gonna cook a big meal. We recommend using a spatula or wooden spoon to help you further on. Keep the meats in the fridge until it’s time to deal with them, at last. Wash your hands and all your produce, then proceed to peel. Once you decide which spices you’ll use, keep them at hand or have them mixed in a container. Take time to have your veggies cut before you move to the bacon, and cut it by last. Then, start:
Have about 1/3 of your rinsed beans mixed with 2 cups of water – you can choose to blend it or cook it and mash it in a small pot, whatever you choose the outcome should be a bean juice/soup/mash that will be your base.
Bring your pot up to heat and add the bacon, keep on high (and keep an eye!) stirring lightly to help spread.
Once it starts browning, add the onion and mix well – we want the brown bits as they add flavor, but don’t let it burn! The French call these bits “sucs” and we’ll deglaze them as we cook.
As it softens, add the celery and garlic and cook it for about 3 minutes. Make sure to spread the celery around and use its watery consistency to get those sucs out.
Add the carrots and cilantro stems, the bay leaf and about 1/3 of all your spices and salt.
Take your meat out of the fridge and divide it in at least 2 parts. Keep your heat on medium high, move your sautée veg to one side of the pot and add the first half to the bottom.
The meat will fry a bit and then lose its water, and here you should add some of your spice mix and salt and keep tapping and spreading the meat to prevent chunks and to cook it uniformly. Then, mix it with the veg and move it to the other side, clearing the bottom for the second half.
Repeat the process with tapping, spreading and seasoning.
This is important for distributing the seasoning uniformly and for using the meat’s water to deglaze the bottom of the pot.
Use your spatula or spoon and make your meat work for you, getting all those bits out – we’ll come to them again. Once you have it all together, add the tomato paste/tomato product and mix it all very well.
At this point you should have you beans’ soup/juice/mash at hand and start adding it slowly, about ½ cup first, to help you loosen the brown bits from the bottom. Once again, make your meat work for you so don’t be afraid to stir vigorously and use the side of your spatula/spoon.
After adding all you bean juice/paste/mash, add the beans, the remainder of your spices, a good pinch of salt and about 1 cup of water – you’ll feel the thickness of your meal taking form. Reserve the other cup of water to dilute the chili to your taste. At this point I usually let it cook at a low heat for some 10 minutes and then move to the secret step.
Yes! There is a secret ingredient to my chili and that is cacao, cocoa, or unsweetened chocolate. Both powder and piece will work as long as there’s absolutely no sugar added. Believe me, I’ve tried with different types of chocolate and if it seems strange to add chocolate, imagine sweet chocolate…. It’s something I’ve learned years ago from a Mexican chef and have applied since then – I sincerely recommend you try. Mexican cuisine is famous for many things, including their use of chocolate in savoury recipes and sauces – think mole, some of the best ones contain some chocolate in it.
For this recipe amount, I recommend a full tablespoon, that should be sprinkled and then mixed into the chili.
You’ll feel the smell of chocolate very strongly at the beginning and as it cooks and melts into the chili it dissipates like alcohol, leaving behind the twist in taste. I’d recommend not tasting it at this moment because the chocolate will overwhelm your senses. Let it cook a bit and taste it then.
Because you’ve added the chocolate, you should keep stiring the chili at medium temperature for about 5 minutes, and then bring it to a boil.
After you bring it to boil, reduce the heat to minimum, stir well and give it a try. Is it too chocolate-y? Cover for about 10 minutes. Stir again, check your seasoning, salt, and texture, how does it taste? If it needs more seasoning or water, stew it on low, covered, for another 10 minutes.
We like to have some shredded cheese added to melt inside as we prepare to serve but we recommend skipping this if you plan to freeze part of you chili – you can always add it once you thaw your portion and bring it to boil.
This is our finalized chili – it should look glossy even without the cheese! It should smell delicious and make you crave it, like all food prepared with love and care – it’s gonna be great!
You can serve it plain, with chips, with nachos/tortilla chips, with tortilla wraps, with green leafy salad, with fries/hash browns, with sour cream, with yogurt, with tomatoes and cilantro salad, with rice, with extra spicy hot burning sauce, with popcorn (yes, I know of stories), or pretty much anything you’d like!
Let us know what you served your chili with! Please share pictures, subs, comments, we’d love to hear from you.
With the COVID19 pandemic wreaking havoc with our work, social, and home lives, a lot of people are spending a great deal of time in front of the T.V. (or on their devices, as it were) soaking up a lot of content. Personally, I’ve binged the entire HBO series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” I love the show, but am not sure if watching roughly 100 episodes of a narcissistic misanthrope does one any good in terms of one’s mental health. Besides, with the real-life version sitting in the White House, why bother? I’m currently re-watching “Tiger King” on Netflix, looking for nuances I might have missed. It’s compelling, just like a can’t-look-away car wreck, but it is not for everyone. So, I thought I’d give you a list of some of my favourite movies to watch, should you have the means to do so. I hope this list helps you enjoy your isolation. Please stay safe and healthy.
In no particular order, I recommend:
“Notes On A Scandal” – a delicious U.K.drama of a very manipulative conniving school teacher who’s looking for a special someone to bring under her control.
“Idiocracy” – a movie released in 2006 predicting that the gradual dumbing down of America would lead to its demise 500 years in the future. How could Mike Judge (creator of “Office Space” and “King of the Hill”) have the prescience to so accurately predict such a state in our neighbours to the south? Only thing he got wrong, was that it only took ten years for the U.S. to reach bottom.
“Treasure of the Sierra Madre” – a classic Humphrey Bogart movie wherein we see man’s basic instinct – to look after oneself first and foremost – rear its ugly head. Watching this, you might ask yourself, what would you do in such a situation. I like to think I know, but I honestly do not know what my answer would be.
“Bombón El Perro” – simply put, one of the most beautiful movies you will ever watch. A seemingly down-and-out man’s fortunes are turned around when he is given a dog by someone grateful for his act of kindness. You’ll smile with great joy after watching this.
“Amadeus” – a lush movie depicting the jealousy one composer, Salieri, holds for perhaps the greatest composer to ever live…Mozart. With such sets, costumes, and music, while a purely fictionalised account of what might have been, this is sure to please anyone who watches it (even with its dark undertones).
“Dead Man Walking” – the acting in this movie, (based on real-life events) is second-to-none. Sean Penn plays Matthew Poncelet, a convict, set to be put to death for a rape (of which he is definitely guilty). In his corner is Susan Sarandon, playing Sister Helen Prejean, a fierce opponent of the death penalty. Penn’s portrayal is so very compelling that, if you’ve any compassion at all, you’ll shed a tear for this despicable person.
“The Godfather” (1 and 2) – what can I say? Perhaps two of the best movies ever made. I’ll leave it at that.
“March of the Penguins” – escape your current reality as Morgan Freeman narrates the lives of a colony of penguins at the South Pole. As ice packs recede, this movie might make you think a bit about the impact we are having on our animal friends.
“The Royal Tenenbaums” – a stellar cast portrays a dysfunctional family brought together by an absent father (Gene Hackman) who wants to make it right with those he abandoned. One of the funniest lines ever uttered on film is in this movie: “Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hitting the cemetery?”
“Moulin Rouge” – with a great score and colourful cast of characters, this ultimately tragic story of a courtesan being pursued by two would-be lovers is certain to stick with you.
Vancouver’s West End has always been a great destination for food. From the 100-mile menu at Forage, to hand-pulled noodles at Legendary Noodle, greasy poutine at La Belle Patate, Drag Bingo at Mary’s, small plates at Kingyso Izakaya, a slice of cheap ‘za at Megabite, pastries at Cardero Bottega, or late night drinks on Davie Street, we have some of the most diverse and amazing restaurants and bars around.
After more than a week of social-distancing and self-isolating, many of us have realized that we sometimes take our independent cafes and local watering holes for granted.
Our friends and frequent partners at WEBIA (The West End Business Improvement Association) have created the ultimate list of restaurants open for delivery and take-out in the West End. For those of us that can afford this foodie indulgence, it is a great way to gorge and support local businesses that have been forced to close for dine-in customers.
Every year Gordon Neighbourhood House help hundreds of West End neighbours file their income tax returns through our Income Tax Clinic. The program is by donation, and available to any low-income neighbour with a ‘simple’ tax return.
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, The Canada Revenue Agency has extended the filing due date for 2019 individual tax returns. This decision was made to reduce the necessity for taxpayers and tax preparers to meet in person during this difficult time.
“In order to provide greater
flexibility to Canadians who may be experiencing hardships during the COVID-19
outbreak, the Canada Revenue Agency will defer the filing due date for the 2019
tax returns of individuals until June 1st, 2020. However, the Agency encourages
individuals who expect to receive benefits under the GSTC or the Canada Child
Benefit not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements
for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.”
As a result of this announcement, we made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel all income tax clinic appointments in order to protect the health and safety of all volunteers and participants.
As of March 17th, 2020 Gordon Neighbourhood House will be temporarily closed to the public until it is safe again to open. We would like to thank everyone for their understanding and patience as we determine whether we will offer this program again before the filing date. Please email Jessy at email@example.com for more information.
One of Vancouver’s liveliest and most historic downtown neighbourhoods, the West End is well-loved for its diversity, tree-lined streets, and proximity to nearby parks and beaches. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, the virus has created unique challenges for our community.
Across Metro Vancouver, approximately two thirds of the population own a home. The situation is very different in the West End however, as over 80% of residents are renters in high-rise apartment buildings. Equally troubling, many West End renters live alone, in one bedroom apartments with higher than average rents. Amid massive layoffs and job insecurity related to COVID-19, many tenants have been experiencing anxiety about being able to pay rent, and cover basic necessities.
According to a recent survey
by Abacus Data, 62% of renters are ‘extremely worried or worried a lot’ about
the COVID-19 pandemic compared to other Canadians. Additionally, 64% of renters
are ‘really worried’ about not being able to pay their bills over the next
Gordon Neighbourhood House
has compiled these updates and resources for tenants and landlords during these
“As we work together to fight this pandemic, we can’t afford to leave anyone behind,” Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End said. “That’s why I delivered recommendations that address the immediate concerns of both landlords and tenants who are doing their best at this difficult time.”
Some immediate measures include:
Immediately suspend all evictions (except in cases of danger and safety issues) to ensure people can stay in their homes, during this public health crisis.
The BC government will provide support to help people pay their rents, by giving up to $500 a month towards rent, building on the recently announced federal and provincial financial supports for British Columbians facing financial hardship. Application information for this program will be released soon.
The BC government will enact a rent freeze so rents cannot go up on April 1st.
Allow landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-1
Residential Tenancy Act The Residential Tenancy Actis a provincial law that states what your legal rights are as a tenant. This Act sets out rules for both you and your landlord. There is a government office called the Residential Tenancy Branch. If you encounter a problem, the Residential Tenancy Branch has trained staff who can provide information about the Act and its application to your specific circumstances.
City of Vancouver Renter Office The Renters Office helps ensure households have a place at the City to access timely information and receive support in exercising their tenancy rights under Provincial and City policies. City staff monitor enquiries daily, and aim to respond within two business days. (604) 673-8291 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tenant Survival Guide This plain-language guide offers tenants a basic understanding of residential tenancy law in BC. It is designed to educate readers on their rights and responsibilities, and help prevent or resolve any problems they may encounter during their tenancy.
Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre TRAC is a non-profit organization that promotes the legal protection of tenants by providing information, education, support, and research on residential tenancy matters.
Linda moved to the West End years ago and she really enjoys Vancouver because there is not much snow during the winter. She adores the neighbourhood because she can walk anywhere. In fact, for 35 years she would walk to Downtown everyday, where she worked at the Government of Canada,
“I used to get off work and head to the beach… it felt like a vacation.”
Nowadays she enjoys traveling, volunteering once a week, and going to knitting club. Linda has been volunteering at GNH for 25 years.
“I know everyone who’s around but what’s more, my daughter who grew up with the community is now working here.”