Fighting COVID Together a BC Gala Auction

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Fighting COVID Together is an online charity auction event taking place on Saturday, May 23, 2020 involving six of British Columbia’s most well-respected philanthropic organizations.

After their gala events were cancelled this spring due to COVID-19, these charities are coming together in this exciting, fun, and unprecedented live online charity auction event hosted by

Fighting COVID Together

When: Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 7:00pm (until 8:00pm)

Where: Online! Sign up as a bidder through by 4:00pm on Friday, May 22, 2020 in order to register for the live auction. You will also be able to preview the exciting  items up for auction in advance.

About the Event

The concept for Fighting COVID Together came about when my colleague Howard Blank, known for mixing his love for philanthropy and his skill for hosting and auctioneering, wanted to do something to help all the charities he cares so much about. He turned to his friends at Able Auctions and event expert Tracey Wade along with Laura Ballance and me, and soon Fighting COVID Together took shape.

This will be an upbeat and fast-paced online auction helping charities who need the public’s support right now. The format is simple and is based on Able Auctions’ proven track record in industrial auctioneering. Hosted by Howard Blank, the virtual event will consist of a live audio auction for each of the six charities involved where guests will be able to bid in real time on items upon viewing photos and descriptions. 

There is no registration fee for guests and no costs for the six charities involved, and 100 per cent of proceeds go to directly to them!

I hope to see you (virtually) at the live auction event on May 23rd in support of these great causes.

BC Parks Will Start to Re-Open May 14 After COVID Closures

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

After closing due to COVID-19, BC Parks will start to re-open the majority of provincial parks and protected areas and marine parks on May 14, 2020. People across the province will have more access to safe outdoor recreation opportunities, while meeting the guidelines of the Provincial Health Officer.

Porpoise Bay Provincial Park
Porpoise Bay Provincial Park is set to re-open May 14, 2020

BC Parks Will Start to Re-Open May 14

On May 14, 2020 BC Parks plans to re-open many front and back-country trails, beaches, picnic areas, washroom facilities and boat launches for day-use.

  • Visitor centres, nature houses and concession buildings may be opened on a case-by case basis.
  • In some instances, facilities such as playgrounds, hot springs, halls, and picnic shelters will remain closed.

On June 1, 2020 BC Parks will re-open most provincial campgrounds and back-country camping.

  • To ensure physical distancing, you may notice some changes in campgrounds, including additional spacing between campsites and limitations on the number of guests in campgrounds.
  • Some communal facilities such as shower buildings will open with enhanced cleaning protocols, while campgrounds that require visitors to use shared cooking facilities and backcountry cabins will remain closed.

Parks that attract large crowds will remain closed until it is safe to reopen at a later date. Backcountry campgrounds in some parks with high day use will also remain closed.

Camping Reservations

All camping has been suspended until May 31, 2020. Most provincial campgrounds and backcountry camping will open June 1, 2020. The Discover Camping reservation system will be available for new reservations May 25, 2020 at 7:00am PDT.

Health and Safety Guidelines

  • Please visit parks close to home.
  • Visitors are expected to respect any facility or area closures and to follow the physical distancing requirements set out by the PHO.
  • Visitors should bring their own hand sanitizer are asked to practice appropriate hygiene.  If you are sick, please visit another time.

On the South Coast, parks such as Porteau Cove, Okeover Arm, Kilby, Stawamus Chief Protected Area, Cypress Provincial Park, Chilliwack Lake, and Shannon Falls do not yet have a re-open date posted.

You can check a park’s status online here to see if it has a projected opening date or note.

Join the Kitchen Hacks Challenge in Support of Food Banks BC

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Better Together is asking families around the province to get cooking in the Kitchen Hacks Challenge by sharing their best “kitchen hacks” on camera for the chance to win up to $1,000 cash and support Food Banks BC at the same time during the pandemic.

Kitchen Hacks Challenge

Kitchen Hacks Challenge

This video contest is meant to inspire kids, teens and adults to discover the benefits of cooking and eating together by sharing their favourite kitchen hack for the chance to win cash prizes. It replaces the organization’s beloved Hands-on Cook-off contest, which was retired after its tenth anniversary last year.

The Kitchen Hacks Challenge is easy to enter and has been designed with physical distancing guidelines in mind:

  • Open to all residents of BC, and families can enter by sharing their best kitchen hacks from the comfort of their own homes via a video submission online.
  • Video submissions must be 60 seconds or less.
  • The contest is open from April 22nd to May 22nd. Submissions must be received by 12:00pm PDT on May 22, 2020 to qualify. For every qualifying entry, BC dairy farmers will donate $100 to local food banks in support of COVID-19 relief efforts.
  • Cash prizes include: Grand prize of $1,000 cash awarded to the winning submission and a People’s Choice award of $500 cash. BC dairy farmers will match both amounts in donations to Food Banks BC.

These days, families are spending more time than ever at home, and this easy and fun contest is the ideal activity for families looking to pass the time as social distancing recommendations are still in place – and all for a great cause. 

It’s free to enter and participating in the contest is simple: all it takes is a video submission of 60 seconds or less that shows off a kitchen hack for making family meals happen.

Follow Better Together on Facebook and Twitter for more info, and get cookin’!

Maple Roch in Summerland: Win a Prize Package

Comments 151 by Rebecca Bollwitt

On this day two years ago I was touring around Summerland, BC on assignment with ZenSeekers. On this day two weeks ago, I discovered my jar of maple sugar from Maple Roch and I used it to make a stellar Old Fashioned.

Maple Roch in Summerland

In 2012, after retiring after a 32 year career as a Northern New Brunswick Canada as District Officer with the RCMP, Roch Fortin started Maple Roch with 6 barrels. Today they produce 100!

Savouring Summerland

With the efforts of maple craftsmen back East and collaborations with the Sumemerland farming and artisan community, Maple Roch produces and sells superb Canadian syrups and sweet treats.

Savouring Summerland

When I visited the Summerland shop in 2018 I tried sea salt caramel maple, maple syrup water (a by-product of the process), a maple lip balm, a maple hand scrub, organic local granola, and candied walnuts made with Maple Roch. I’m so glad I decided to purchase a jar of the maple sugar as well at the time.

Win a Prize Package

Maple Roch is still delivering their products through online orders during COVID-19 and they have offered up a deliciously sweet gift package to a lucky Miss604 reader.

Maple Roch Contest

It includes an assortment of maple products like maple caramel spread, maple mustard, granola, maple cider vinaigrette, their limited edition Aurora Gold maple syrup and more (value $140).

Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Comment on this post on Facebook (1 entry)
  • Click below to post an entry on Twitter
Click to enter via TwitterClick To Tweet

I will draw one winner on Friday, May 15, 2020 at 2:00pm. Maple Roch will ship the package directly to the winner.

UPDATE The winner is Christine W!

Army & Navy is Closing Permanently

Comments 8 by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s been a Vancouver institution since 1919, and home of the legendary annual shoe sale, but it was announced today that Army & Navy is closing permanently.

1960s Cordova & Carrall. Archives #CVA 780-768

Army & Navy is Closing Permanently

From The Province this morning:

In a statement Saturday, owner Jacqui Cohen said she has made the difficult decision to permanently close after they were forced to shutter all five of their stores and temporarily layoff their staff.

“We had hoped to re-open but the economic challenges of COVID-19 have proven insurmountable,” she said.

“I am full of gratitude for our staff and their years of service, our suppliers with whom we forged decades-long relationships, and of course our loyal customers who were at the heart of our business.”

Cohen noted that at this time last year they were celebrating the centenary of Army & Navy — a company her grandfather started in 1919 — and they were looking forward to the years ahead.

Army & Navy has operated in eight communities in Western Canada for the last 101 years.

Canada’s Original Discount Store

Founder Samuel Joseph Cohen was born in San Francisco in 1897. He came to BC and at 19, he acquired his first stock by buying out a men’s clothing store in Kamloops. He founded Army & Navy as a surplus store on West Hastings in 1919 with his father Jacob Solomon Cohen and brothers Joseph and Henry, eventually owning five stores. Cohen shunned the limelight, telling a reporter, “If I want any advertising, I’ll pay for it.” Army & Navy was cash only, offering “no credit cards, deliveries or fancy store fixtures.” His motto was “Get the goods sold—there’s always more to follow.”
[Source: History of Metropolitan Vancouver by Chuck Davis]

Cohen opened a second store in Regina in the 1800 block of Scarth Street in 1920 and, in 1925, the mail-order headquarters. The first Army and Navy store in Edmonton opened in 1928, north of Jasper Avenue on the west side of 101 Street. Cohen’s brothers, Joseph Cohen of Vancouver and Harry Cohen from Edmonton, joined him in the business.
[Source: Canadian Museum of History]

The New Westminster, BC, store opened in 1939.

During the Depression in Saskatchewan

Cohen was sensitive to the situation of prairie farmers and their need for practical, inexpensive goods. On retiring as manager of the Regina store, Cec Keiser was quoted in The Leader-Post, April 30, 1977: “Sammy was always concerned with the poor people and many of our customers in the 1930s were farm families and those on relief.”
[Source: Canadian Museum of History]

Self-Serve Shoe Department

During the Second World War, Army and Navy was the first store in Western Canada to introduce self-serve shoe departments, with tables dedicated to individual sizes. The retailer became famous for its shoe sales, for which people would line up around an entire city block. Following the war, Army and Navy again carried army surplus goods.
[Source: Canadian Museum of History]

1942 Army and Navy Annex. Archives #CVA 1184-330
1942 Army and Navy Annex. Archives #CVA 1184-330

Cohen said she will be spending the weeks ahead ensuring the women and men who have worked for Army & Navy have their support, and will focus on the philanthropic work of Face the World, an organization she created 30 years ago to support the city’s most vulnerable.

VE Day Celebrated in Vancouver

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

On this day 75 years ago at 7:04am air raid sirens began to blare out all over wartime Greater Vancouver to mark VE Day (Victory in Europe).

VE Day Celebrated in Vancouver

V-E Day in Vancouver. Vancouver Daily Province. May 7, 1945. Archives #CVA 586-3852
V-E Day in Vancouver. Vancouver Daily Province. May 7, 1945. Archives #CVA 586-3852

This marked the end of the conflict with Hitler’s Germany, with surrender on May 7, 1945, and May 8, 1945, being declared officially as V-E Day.

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