Stephanie’s dad moved to the West End during WWII, he worked for years at the harbour which is one of the reasons why she likes living near the bay. Since she moved to her current apartment, a seagull visits her everyday, his name is Nelson (find him on Instagram @nelson.the.seagull). Nowadays, Stephanie teaches international students, “when I walk back from work, Nelson is able to spot me walking down the street” this is indeed a one of a kind friendship.
Bonnie used to have a business collecting pottery and she had whole shelves covered with it. To this day her collection continues to grow as she participates in the West End Pottery Club and assists to all the shows. However, since 2007 after receiving a IT course, she started a new business fixing computers.
“It all started at a café on Denman St., I could work from anywhere really, now I’m able to take computers apart without any problems.”
What she wants to see for the West End is an area that can support the local initiatives and economy, on her part she believes there is a lack of infrastructure for these purposes.
Last month, we transformed our front mini-plaza into a festive community BBQ full of amazing sights, sounds, and hickory sweet aromas for all to enjoy.
Over 150 neighbours, members, volunteers, donors and partners were invited to fill their stomachs with hamburgers fresh from the grill and salads with greens from our urban gardens. The event featured local musicians such as Madelyn Read and Jan Bartolome, who played some folk and R&B tunes. Other highlights included multiple games of street hockey, after dinner board games, and snacks from Popcorn in the Park (operated by John Merzetti).
A feeling of unity and belonging
Belonging is different for each person but is often associated with feeling at ease, being safe, and being around friendly and familiar faces. At the end of the event, approximately 90% of participants felt an increased sense of belonging in their own community and felt a connection among the people in the West End.
“The ambiance of people laughing and talking, the music, decor and the delicious food was amazing,” says a West End resident.
“It was a beautiful evening and it truly feels good to be a part of it.”
This event was made possible by the generous support of the TD Park Peoples Grant. An enormous thank you to the folks that gave up their evening to volunteer with us and everyone who joined us. More photos can be found here.
The days and weeks leading up to Vancouver’s annual Pride Parade are always packed with events full of fabulous fun!
To join in the celebration and festivities, we hosted the Absolutely Fabulous Neighbourhood Pride Plaza Party on July 22nd. West neighbours, residents, and families were invited to come together for an evening of artmaking, games, storytelling, and music.
We partnered with various community groups to host more than a dozen activity stations. Folks helped paint a 25 feet long PRIDE sign (check it out here), shared their stories at our “Humans of the West End” photo-documentary station, and practiced their circus skills at the hoop station (hosted by DSU Hoop Club).
Thank you to the RBC Denman Branch for supporting this event.
Summer’s just around the corner, which means we are fully immersed in the growing season! Our Farmer Joey and her garden volunteers have been busy planting at our 3 urban farm sites and 10 public herb boxes.
Urban Farm Program
For the last month, Joey and her Urban Farm team have been busy moving soil and prepping our 3 urban farm sites for planting. Last week we brought back 30 lbs of daikon and beets that overwintered and used it to make veggie soup for 300 of our Food Bank members!
So far we’ve planted turnips, lettuce, bok choy, flowers, radishes, leeks and a Japanese herb called shungiku (edible chrysanthemum) that is cooked just like spinach. Almost everything we grow comes back to nourish the community in our Community Lunch program.
Besides taking pride in growing fresh healthy food, our volunteers are also having a great time working in the sun and getting to know each other. We get together every Tuesday at 3pm. If you’re interested in gardening with us, contact Joey at email@example.com.
Community Herb Box Program
Our Community Herb Boxes provide a free resource for West Enders to harvest and enjoy fresh herbs. There are 10 garden boxes located throughout the West End filled with sage, oregano, parsley, chives, thyme, and more! Each box is lovingly taken care of by a Gordon House volunteer.
This program is different from the Urban Farm program, as the boxes are visible and open to the public…so come and harvest a sprig or two for your dinner!
Click on the map below to see which box is nearest you:
Not sure how it works? In the next few weeks, we will be attaching new signs to each box, so you’ll know what to look for and how to harvest:
With the support of some West End Elves, Gordon Neighbourhood House will be hosting our first annual Holiday HoHoHoDown.
Join us on Thursday, December 20th from 6:30 – 9:30pm for an evening of food, drink and holiday cheer. Take an Insta worthy selfie with a sassy snowman, make friends over mulled wine, and channel your inner Mariah Carey with carolers. There will be an Outdoor Mini-Concert (with fresh, local musical talent), a West End Arts Market (gifts galore), a Kringle Korner for kids to create crafts (big kids welcome) and a Grinch Gala for grownups to sip hot drinks (dressing up highly encouraged). This free event has something for everyone – you won’t want to miss it!
On November 1st we held our annual volunteer appreciation event to thank all the community members who dedicate their time and their skill set’s to ensuring Gordon Neighbourhood House is an asset to the West End. Volunteers came out from across all programs to mingle over a selection of wine and appetizers. Many volunteers found themselves meeting new people from other programs for the first time, while others were delighted to catch up with some familiar faces.
Staff at Gordon House were delighted to have the opportunity to thank all our wonderfully talented and colourful collection of volunteers who make this organisation all that it is. Our senior director Siobhan expressed this gratitude in a speech that highlighted the many benefits that come from volunteering, and afterwards our community farmer Joey presented the volunteers in attendance with a bundle of herbs grown in our own gardens. There were also door prizes raffled off and presented by chef Peter at the end of the night.
Cozy Corners is a new morning program on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-11.30am upstairs in the Atrium of Gordon House. This program aims to provide a space where people from the community can come to warm up with a hot beverage on comfortable chairs, and chat with other community members or even zone out on their own with a puzzle or an art project. Cozy Corners is open to all and will be hosted by two lovely volunteers who are members of the West End community.
Chop n’ Chat is a new program which runs three Thursdays a month from 3pm-6pm. This program is an opportunity to hang out and socialize with a group of volunteers while learning to prepare different meals. It is run by our Gordon House chef Peter who guides a group of volunteers to prepare healthy soups and salads for the weekly Friday Food Hub that occurs at Gordon House in collaboration with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. If you are interested in getting involved with Chop n’ Chat, please email Aileen, the volunteer coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Would you like to have a space in the West End where members of your community can gather together to converse in their native language and celebrate a shared culture? We have room space available to host Conversation Clubs. Please contact volunteer coordinator Aileen at email@example.com if you would be interested in finding out more.
On August 12th the West End Food Series hosted the Food Fiesta, a one day food festival at Gordon House. 31 attendees, 6 volunteers, 4 facilitators, and 3 staff members came together for a day of learning, dialogue, social connection and of course, delicious food!
One person said the Food Fiesta event was “a great way to create connections and community at GNH, and a sense of home base”. We really enjoyed seeing people sharing food tips and recipes, getting excited about taking their DIY kimchi home, and lingering to chat with new friends over summer mocktails.
Thank you to Vancity, Village Vancouver and West End Neighbourhood Food Network for your support and collaboration. We’re now planning fall workshops for the West End Food Series. Sign up to receive updates on the next WEFS event.
Would you like to share your food passion and skills?
Check out the picture of this huge 4.2 pound siu choy (yes, that’s one individual plant) that we harvested from the garden last week! Siu choy is an Asian vegetable that is in the same family as bok choy. It’s great for chopping up to make stir frys and soups. We ended up using ours to make a turmeric coconut noodle soup for our Meatless Monday Community Lunch.
September is a time of bounty, as we have also been bringing back beans in three colors (yellow, green, purple), as well as peas, salad, edible flowers and zucchini. It’s also a time of transition, as we make space and plant for fall. We’ve seeded spinach, turnips and daikon (Japanese radish), and we plan on planting garlic at the end of the month.
Come get your hands dirty with us! The Urban Farm Team is currently gardening on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm. Contact Joey to volunteer: firstname.lastname@example.org.