Free Repair Cafe in the West End

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

There is a free Repair Cafe happening at the West End Community Centre on June 22nd where a volunteer fixer can look at your electronics, small appliance, phone, computer, and more. Book an appointment in advance, or walk-in with your item, and enjoy free coffee or tea and chat with others while you wait for your repair.

West End Repair Cafe

Free Repair Cafe in the West End

  • Dates: Saturday June 22, 2024 from 9:30am to 1:30pm
  • Location: West End Community Center (870 Denman St, Vancouver)
  • Repair Appointments: Book online in advance to reserve your free spot. Walk-ins are also welcome, but there is no guarantee that your item will be looked at. One repair ticket per household, one item per repair ticket.

What Can Be Repaired

Volunteer fixers will be able to address items in the following categories:

  • Computers – repair & tech support: ie) desktops and laptops. 
    • Not accepted – printers, monitors & tablets.
  • Cell Phones – Repairs are available only if a qualified cell phone repairer is on-site. For screen replacements, please bring a compatible screen for your specific phone model. Due to the difficult and fragile nature of cell phone repair, repairers cannot be held liable for any damage that may occur during the repair process.
  • Electronics – Home entertainment items including stereos, guitar amps, electric pianos. VCRs. DVD players, and kids’ electronic toys.
  • Small appliances – ie) lamps, toasters, foot heaters, hair dryers, and fans.
  • Clothing/textiles – ie) shirts, pillowcases, pants, tablecloths. If bringing zipper or button repairs, you must provide your own button/zipper. 
    • Not accepted – items requiring alterations, hemming, bag repair, shoes. Some zipper repairs may not be possible due to complexity and time.
  • Bicycles – minor repairs and tune ups. Replacement parts such as cables or inner tube, must provide your own part(s)

Those with an appointment time will have first priority. Walk-ins will be seen on a first-come first-served basis, and only if there is time and fixer is available.

Repair Cafe events are presented by SPEC (Society Promoting Environmental Conservation) in partnership with the City of Vancouver. “The more we can repair, the longer products stay in circulation. The longer products stay in circulation, the less waste we produce.”

SPEC also offers the Inside the Vancouver Repair Guide. It’s a curated directory of local repair shops ready to breathe new life into your beloved items, from electronics to apparel.

Follow the West End Community Centre on Facebook for more events in this neighbourhood.

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BC Lions Concert Kickoff with 50 Cent

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

The BC Lions are hosting their third annual Concert Kickoff on June 15th and they’ve just announced that it will be headlined by Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson.

BC Lions 50 Cent

BC Lions Concert Kickoff with 50 Cent

50 Cent hits the stage at 3:00pm on Saturday, June 15th on Save-On-Foods Field at BC Place and the BC Lions will take on the Calgary Stampeders starting at 4:00pm. Tickets are available now. The upper bowl will be open as well.

“It’s an honour to give our great fans the opportunity to see a world class performer who resonates across multiple generations of music lovers. Concert Kickoff has become a great tradition in Vancouver and 50 Cent is our best one yet,” said Lions’ owner Amar Doman.

The day of football fun begins early outside with the Backyard Party starting at 10:30am on Terry Fox Plaza and expanding out to Beatty and Robson Streets. The tailgate party will have fun and games for fans of all ages plus a solid food and beverage menu. Fans 19 and over can enjoy Molson Coors beverages for $5.

OneRepublic was the first to headline the Concert Kickoff in 2022, and last year LL Cool J  had the honours. More recently, 50 Cent performed in Vancouver at a sold-out Rogers Arena last September as part of his Final Lap tour.

The BC Lions host Edmonton on Friday, May 31st in another pre-season match up, and they’ll start their season away versus Toronto on June 9th.

More Football Fun This Season

It’s the launch of an exciting season of football in BC, with the Lions heading to Victoria in August for Touchdown Pacific, and Vancouver hosting the 111th Grey Cup November 10-17, 2024. Tickets will go on sale to the public on June 4th.

Help Name the New PNE Amphitheatre

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Today, following an extensive nationwide call for proposals, Freedom Mobile was revealed as the naming rights partner for the new PNE Amphitheatre.

New PNE Amphitheatre Project
Rendering/Photo submitted

Help Name the New PNE Amphitheatre

The 12-year agreement includes a number of additional elements with support not only for the amphitheatre, which is anticipated to open in 2026, but beginning in 2024 a partnership on some of the PNE’s most beloved properties including the annual summer Fair and the PNE’s extremely popular Halloween event, Fright Nights.

At the official sod turning ceremony today, it was announced that Freedom Mobile has decided to engage the people of BC in selecting the official new name for the venue. The new name will be revealed following the public vote.

Public Poll

The choices are:

Freedom Mobile Amp: An energized short form of the legacy amphitheatre, a venue that gets amp’d up by Freedom Mobile for amazing experiences where performances, emotion, and atmosphere are amplified.

Freedom Mobile Arch: Pays tribute to the unique architecture of the venue itself as the largest free-span timber frame in the world. The roofline and arches are designed and oriented to showcase the spectacular natural beauty of the West Coast.

Freedom Mobile Rise: A nod to the Hastings-Sunrise community where the venue lives, and a place where amazing performances will have us rising out of our seats.

Freedom Mobile Place: As a gathering spot, a communal place to have fun, sing, dance, celebrate, and make long-lasting memories together.

Get your votes in by Friday, June 7 at 5:00pm PDT.

PNE Summer Night Concerts 2024
New Playland Coaster Launching This Summer

Courage To Come Back Awards Recipients 2024

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Last night as we celebrated the recipients of the 2024 Courage To Come Back awards, over $1.72 million was raised for Coast Mental Health!

Courage To Come Back Awards Recipients 2024
2024 Courage To Come Back Awards recipients: Samantha Sewell, Kevin Parker, Leo Sammarelli, Baylie McKnight and Monica Gärtner

Courage To Come Back Awards Recipients 2024

The Courage To Come Back Awards, presented by Wheaton Precious Metals, welcomed over 1,600 guests who gathered to celebrate the extraordinary stories of triumph over adversity of the five inspiring awards recipients.

Funds raised will go to Coast Mental Health Foundation to support programs for those living with mental illness. The event was co-chaired by Lorne R. Segal, O.B.C., D.Litt. (Hon.), LLD. (Hon.), President of Kingswood Properties Ltd., and Eric Carlson, Core-founder and CEO Anthem Properties.

The five recipients each shared their stories of how they have ‘come back to give back’ in their communities and were honoured for their incredible journeys. Click on their names to read their biographies:

“I’m not a superhero, I’m just a woman with a disability that has a great deal of perseverance and a desire to help my community live with dignity.”

Monica Gärtner – Medical

From the day she was born, Monica Gärtner has faced challenges most could not imagine. She has a very rare bone disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, causing her bones to break easily. As a result, she has had over 500 fractures – something as small as a cough could cause a broken rib.

As a child, she felt excluded from day-to-day activities in school and was bullied, taking an immense mental toll, and leading to suicidal thoughts. She couldn’t see a future for herself. But she persevered, completing her studies and becoming strong enough to manage many tasks – such as getting items out of a fridge – that might have seemed impossible.

Despite facing discrimination at every turn, Monica gained full time employment.  She was underestimated and overlooked for roles and promotions by employers because of her disability and had to work extra hard to prove herself time and time again.

After two car accidents, a fall out of her chair, which resulted in multiple fractures, and months and months of rehabilitation, she continues to work full time. Less than a year ago, both of her lungs collapsed. Her medical team didn’t think she would survive, and she was denied certain supports because they feared breaking her bones. But Monica did survive, is back at work, and continues to defy the odds.

Remarkably, Monica finds the time and energy to fulfill her life’s mission: to show that people living with disabilities can live equal lives to able-bodied people. She selflessly shares her story through public speaking, writing and acting. In 2016 she published a book “Overcoming the impossible-A Life of Trials and Triumphs” about her story. She also founded the Canadian Assisted Travel Society to support people with disabilities who want to travel. She has volunteered her time on multiple charity boards, and mentors her peers.

“I never imagined I would have achieved some of the things that I’ve been able to do knowing years ago I was on the brink of death numerous times.”

Kevin Parker – Addiction

Kevin Parker’s journey from poverty, addiction, violence, and homelessness is a testament to his resilience. Growing up with no food on the table or lights in the house, he was forced into a life of crime to provide the basics for his family. And, as a bi-racial child in the 1970s, he struggled to fit in. He turned to drugs to cope, starting with marijuana, soon escalating to cocaine and crack by the time he was 13. Surrounded by cousins and brothers in the same destructive cycles, his life was overtaken by addiction and crime for over 20 years.

He lived in an alley in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for over a decade. He was stabbed, took a hatchet to the head, tortured, beaten, shot at, and convicted of crimes 31 times.

But, after over two years in prison, Kevin was sent to a treatment centre, and he has now been sober for 15 years. He got his first legal job, reconnected with his wife Chylo and was finally able to be a dad to his two boys. Tragically almost 9 years later Chylo passed away of sudden brain cancer, but against all odds, Kevin remained strong and did not relapse. He has since remarried to Amy, and they have two other sons. His family is one of his proudest achievements. 

Today he has become a powerful and inspiring voice in the recovery community. He has led the way for many of his childhood friends and family – in addition to hundreds of others – to follow in his footsteps of recovery.  He shares his story in many public settings to help others and advocate for harm reduction, as well as diversity and inclusion for black folks in the community. He managed BC’s first complex care housing facility in Surrey, and now works at the Spencer Creo Foundation supporting peers in the DTES with supportive employment and wrap around supports.

“My message is very clear: No matter how difficult and hopeless your situation may be, you and only you have the power to change it.”

Leo Sammarelli – Physical Rehabilitation

Once the Canadian Light Weight Boxing Champion with Olympic aspirations, Leo Sammarelli was on the path to athletic stardom when his life changed forever.

At the age of 22, he was shot four times in a case of mistaken identity, ripping apart his lungs, internal organs and spinal cord. He would never walk again. Colostomy bags, urinary catheters and severe neuropathic pain became his new reality.

Leo went through an intense physical rehabilitation, re-learning basic life skills and how to manage his new conditions. But mentally he also struggled to come to terms with his new life, to see a way forward and to manage the stigma associated with being a gunshot victim.

The opportunity to participate in the Paralympian Search later that year shifted his thinking and gave him new purpose. He was invited to join several teams and chose to join the Para Nordic team. Soon, rigorous training and sheer determination paid off. He has won medal after medal at national and international events, branching into a wide range of sports including wheelchair racing, cycling, swimming and martial arts.

He takes on seemingly impossible challenges, including the Grouse Grind on his hands, and completing the 122km RBC GranFondo cycling event – the only paraplegic to do so.

Leo has also returned to his boxing roots, founding West Coast Wheelchair Adaptive Boxing. He leads in person and online classes to promote physical fitness for people with spinal cord injuries and able-bodied athletes alike. 

Leo’s inspirational passion goes far beyond sport. He generously shares his story at events and with his extensive social media following to inspire youth in difficult circumstances. He reminds them that they have the power to change the course of their own lives. He also participates in research, volunteering and fundraising for numerous causes. 

“I realized that my disability and the bullying were nothing to be ashamed of and that others were going through very similar things.”

Samantha Sewell – Youth

Samantha Sewell was born with Apraxia of Speech, a neurological disorder that impedes speech and causes anxiety. As a child, she was told she would never be understood by others. Through hard work and dedication, she did learn to speak, and said her first understandable sentence at the age of 15.

School and high school were an unbearable nightmare for Samantha. Without special provisions for her disability, she was underestimated and fell behind. She endured years of physical and emotional bullying, not only from her peers but also a teacher, who told her she was ‘retarded’ and sent her to practice in a closet. She became depressed and considered suicide.

But Samantha never retaliated, and, incredibly, she started a movement called ‘Be someone’s hero, not a bystander’. She also won her first beauty pageant, and realized she could use this as a platform for her anti-bullying movement. She decided she wanted to make a living by making a difference. She continues to win pageants in BC, Canada and internationally, growing her platform and spreading her message of hope. She is Miss Universal Global 2024.

Despite the huge amount of focus, work and preparation that public speaking entails for her, Samantha speaks on anti-bullying and inclusion on radio shows, at schools, New York fashion shows and more. She is also a sought-after model.     

Fluent in ASL, she qualified as an Early Childhood Educator and has opened her own inclusive childcare centre, creating a safe and welcoming space for children that aren’t accepted elsewhere. Samantha also finds time to volunteer at hundreds of events to raise awareness for causes and has trained in suicide prevention.

“I have come a long way, and I believe I had the courage to come back not only for myself but also as a wounded healer to make a difference in the community and the world.”

Baylie McKnight – Mental Health

From a very young age, Baylie McKnight experienced mental health challenges including loneliness and emotional dysregulation. She struggled with her peers in school and talked of suicide and self-injured. Lacking appropriate support, she abused alcohol and drugs. She was pregnant at 13, taking crystal meth and raped at 15, unhoused, and in and out of abusive relationships for many years.

After several false diagnoses, she was finally diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) at 18. But she was soon to discover that BPD was highly stigmatized and under-funded. Many in the health community continue to wrongly believe that people with BPD are attention-seeking and manipulative. There was almost no support available, and Baylie had to travel from Victoria to Vancouver once a week, every week, for over a year to access the only treatment option.

Her mental illness caused barriers with her schoolwork, in accessing healthcare and treatment for alcohol dependency, getting a driving licence and much more.

Despite this, Baylie graduated from school a year early and completed a master’s in social work. At 16 she stopped taking drugs and began providing street outreach to others in need. She shared her story with kids across BC, solidifying her purpose in life to help others. 

Knowing the critical gap in services, at 21 she started the Borderline Personality Disorder Society of BC with a friend – who sadly passed away by suicide soon after.

Today, thanks to Baylie’s leadership, compassion and incredible personal dedication, the organization offers support groups and Dialectal Behaviour Therapy in person and virtually. They reach people across BC, Canada and the world. These supports can often be lifesaving and life changing. She’s also fulfilled her dream of opening a private counselling practice.

Every donation to Coast Mental Health Foundation helps to provide people living with mental illness with a meaningful place in our community – a place to live, a place to connect, and a place to work.  As a leader in community-based care, Coast Mental Health is a critical link between hospital services and our communities, and a vital part of the continuum of care.

Follow Coast Mental Health on Instagram or Facebook for more updates.

Miss604 is a proud media partner of the 2024 Courage To Come Back Awards

Related: Vancouver to Light Up For The Courage To Come Back Awards

Doors Open Richmond Giveaway

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Richmond Museum presents the 17th annual Doors Open Richmond from June 8–9, 2024, at over 40 unique locations across the city, each representing the city’s cultural diversity and rich heritage. You can enter to win a prize package!

Doors Open Richmond - Courtesy of Richmond Museum
Doors Open Richmond – Courtesy of Richmond Museum

Doors Open Richmond Locations

12 Service Battalion Museum & 39 Service Battalion
Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre
Bahá’í Community of Richmond
BC Ambulance Services
Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site
Eastern Catholic Church Richmond
Gina Page, Seawrack Press Studio
Gurdwara Nanak Niwas: India Cultural Centre of Canada
Lingyen Mountain Temple
London Farm
Minoru Chapel
Nanaksar Gurdwara Gursikh Temple
Peisen Ding, Branscombe House Artist-in-Residence
Richmond Art Gallery
Richmond Caring Place
Richmond City Hall
Richmond Artefact Collection
Richmond Family Place
Richmond Fire-Rescue
Richmond Jamia Masjid (Sunni Muslim Mosque)
Richmond Museum
Richmond Nature Park
Richmond Olympic Oval
Richmond Public Art
Richmond Public Library
Richmond Public Works
Richmond RCMP
Richmond Recycling Depot
Richmond Youth Education Center
Sanduz Estate Wines
Scott Pleydell-Pearce Artist Studio
Sea Island Heritage Society
Steves Farm
Steveston Buddhist Temple
Steveston Japanese Language School
Steveston Museum
Steveston Tram
S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Richmond Service Centre
Sudnya Dance Academy
The Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency
Turkish-Canadian Society
Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franko
Vedic Cultural Centre
View a map of all of the sites here

Visitors will get a glimpse behind-the-scenes of organizations or businesses, through tours and hands-on activities. Select highlights from this year’s program include: the Turkish-Canadian Society of Vancouver, where visitors can sample savoury Turkish cuisine and practice traditional crafts; the Richmond Olympic Oval, where sports enthusiasts can tour the facilities and the interactive museum that is the first of its kind in North America; the Steveston Japanese Language School, where families can create their own unique paper craft; and many more.

In addition to the in-person program, visitors can learn more about sites through videos showing at the Richmond Cultural Centre Performance Hall and Richmond Museum Theatre.

Bus tours will be available on both days to take visitors to different places of worship along No. 5 Road, known as the “Highway to Heaven.” This year’s tour will have stops at the Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre, Lingyen Mountain Temple, Richmond Jamia Masjid, and the Vedic Cultural Centre (Sunday only).

Enter to Win

I have a prize package to give away! Here’s how you can enter to win:

Win a Doors Open Richmond Prize Package

Established in 2008, Doors Open Richmond is the longest-running Doors Open event in BC. The local event is part of the Doors Open Canada program supported by the City of Richmond, the BC Arts Council, the Province of British Columbia, and the Government of Canada. The event is organized by the Richmond Museum Society.

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