What do do in Kitsilano on a Sunday?
Farmer's Market? Folkfest? Spanish Banks?
Sundays can be lazy… I haven't been rushing to go off to Church since January. I first blamed it on being busy organizing the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner and related events… then dragon boat paddling started… and I had to prepare my coaching lessons before going out on the boats… and then the weather got too nice to spend indoors… or maybe it's because my girlfriend makes such good tasty breakfasts on Sunday mornings?
Sunday mornings in Kitsilano… walks along the beach… shopping along 4th or Broadway… But now there is something brand new and “very Kitsilano-ish.” After having lovely french toasts with my favorite “lazy maple” bacon, we headed over to the Kitsilano Community Centre after noon, to attend the inaugural West Side Farmer's Market. The market is held on the Eastside parking lot behind the community centre and adjacent to the playing field. Just East of Larch and between 12th and 11th Avenues.
I hadn't even been there 3 minutes, when I bumped into organizer Mel Lehan. He was surveying how everything was going… acting as a good will ambassador. He told me that the Farmer's Market had been doing well at Trout Lake Community Centre, and it was time for one on the West Side. Mel lives close by, just over on MacDonald St. Mel is an incredible community organizer in Kitsilano. He helped Mel co-founded St. James Community Square, helped organize the Kitsilano sign at the south end of Burrard Bridge, plus so much more. The Vancouver Courier interviewed Mel for this story: Mel Lehan instigated the Kitsilano Farmers Market to give West Siders a …
And then we bumped into former city councillor Fred Bass, who lives close by on Larch St. Fred was wearing his biking gear, as he bikes almost everywhere. Last summer, I introduced Fred to dragon boat paddling, so now he introduces me to people as his “dragon boat coach.”
There was lots of fresh produce. I loved the smell of fresh basil… and wanted to buy some, but knew anything would be sitting in a hot car while we had dragon boat practice in the afternoon. I checked over the freshly frozen lox… all the fresh raspberries, cherries and blueberries… I even considered buying some ostrich leather to make a new sporran. In the end we settled on some mango jam. $10 for a large jar. I used to love this mango grill sauce – but now I can't find it anywhere. I plan to mix the mango jam with other sauces to create some special marinades… yum yum!
After dragon boat practice, our team congregated at Mario's Gelato. It's a new team tradition – go have gelato after practice. As we were paddling back to the dock, I asked our drummer Stephen Mirowski to ask each paddler to shout out their favorite ice cream flavour. Back came the enthusiastic answers, “Chocolate,” “Mango,” “Strawberry,” “Sorbetto,” “Durian” (I don't think they were serious…), but then neither was Wendy, when I prompted her to shout “Tequila!” to lots of cheers. Our dragon boat team is a foodie team and it loves its ice cream.
The afternoon was coming to an end. After relaxing a bit, we decided to bicycle out to Jericho and check out the Folk Festival. We both remarked that we hadn't seen so many vendors along the walkway before. I was last at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival two years ago. It's a great place to find some real exciting intercultural music. People still talk about the workshops that featured Silk Road Music and Pepe Danza a few years ago. Musicians meet… and music happens… it doesn't matter what instrument, style, race, or culture. Musicians come together, meet and make music. Why can't politicians do the same thing? Music is something that always finds ways to transcends racial and cultural boundaries.
Speaking of transcending racial boundaries… we bumped into friends Margaret Gallagher and Omar Kassis. Margaret was taking a break from introducing acts in her role as a media host from CBC. I told Margaret that I had caught the promos and her first show for “Flavour of the Week” the new cooking show she is doing with Fred Lee. Blueberries are featured this week. gonna have to listen Wednesday 3:30 or Friday 7:30pm on CBC 690AM Radio… blueberries are my favorite. I love the blueberry sorbetto at Casa Gelato.
We cycled all the way out to Spanish Banks. We checked out Spanish Banks Creek, where a salmon creek had been reconstructed with a holding pool. Very nice… the tall trees kept the area cool. We cycled past people having barbeques, people swimming in the water, people playing bocce, badminton and volleyball. I remembered the sites where we held barbeques parties for the Gung Haggis dragon boat team on Canada Day weekends for the past 3 years. Hmm… I think it's time for a BC Day weekend bbq for the team.
We watched the sun setting from the farthest point, past the last parking lot – just before Marine Drive starts to go uphill. It's a lovely view with Georgia Straight to the West, Howe Sound with Lighthouse Park to the North, and Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver to the East. It is peaceful and reminds me of all my family summer weekends in our little 17 foot power boat, fishing Howe Sound and Sechelt. My dad used to launch our boat from Kitsilano's Vanier Park.
We cycled back and to my dismay I discovered all the concession stands had closed. It was not event 8:30 yet! No fish & chips! Darn. We mosied past all the vendors again, listening to somebody singing Janis Joplin songs from the Folk Festival main stage. Then I saw the large video screen. Wow! Folk Festival finally goes 21st Century. The images changed from performers, front view… back view… audience members… mothers holding toddlers… very cool… very folkfest! And to top off my evening… I bought a straw cowboy hat for $5.