Take A Hike! Go Wild In Coquitlam This Summer

Whether you’re a hiking newbie or a weekend warrior, Coquitlam’s trails will take you on some wild adventures.  

Interested in trekking some of the trails less travelled? Or are you new to hiking and would like to start slow? From the flat trails of City Centre to the thigh-burning peaks of Burke Mountain, you won’t believe the variety of terrain right here on our doorstep.

Fun fact: Coquitlam is home to more than 115km of well-groomed trails and pathways, all within the city – and that doesn’t even include the trails at Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, Minnekhada Regional Park and Colony Farm Regional Park.

So, where do you start?

Join a Group

If you’re new to hiking or to the Coquitlam area, joining a group is a great way to meet new people and explore the wilderness, whether you’re a beginner interested in short walks, or an adventurer seeking new challenges.

Hiking Ridge Trail | Photo: City of Coquitlam Flickr

Hiking Ridge Trail | Photo: City of Coquitlam Flickr

The City of Coquitlam’s outdoor recreation programs include guided hikes led by experienced leaders. You’ll explore new sights while getting outdoors in safe, organized groups.

For more information on the City of Coquitlam’s group hike programs, visit this link.

Trails to Try

Hoy Creek Trail

Just a short walk from the bustling Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain station, duck into this peaceful 2.8km gravel trail for a nature reprieve. Keep an eye out for blue heron and listen for the sounds of chickadees and woodpeckers. In the fall, you can spot salmon spawning in the creek. More Info

Minnekhada Regional Park

This 200-hectare park is home to 150 species of birds as well as beavers, black bears and singing bullfrogs. Hiking trails range from a flat path leading throughout the marsh (perfect for younger children) to an uphill climb through old-growth forest to the High Knoll, offering a mind-blowing wilderness view. More Info

Mundy Park

Rated by TripAdvisor as the #1 thing to do in Coquitlam, this park has 16km of trails with varying terrain, ideal for all ages. Mundy is home to the Phoenix Running Club and an annual MEC race, so it’s also a favourite among runners. More Info

Coquitlam Hiking Mundy Park

Hiking in Mundy Park | Photo: City of Coquitlam Flickr

Pinecone Burke Provincial Park

This beautiful wilderness area offers rugged hiking adventures for experienced hikers, with great views from higher elevations. Due to its remote trails, hikers are advised to trek in groups with knowledgeable leaders. More Info

Westwood Plateau Trails

Approximately 23km of trails wind their way through city parks, natural areas and greenways on Eagle Mountain. Ridge Park offers a challenging experience for the hiker who enjoys steep terrain in a dense forest setting. These trails are easily accessible by transit. More Info

Be Bear Aware

While enjoying the outdoors, please remember to respect nature and stay on the trails. Also be aware that Coquitlam is home to bears as well as other urban wildlife. Be alert, listen and watch for bears.

Black Bear | Photo: City of Coquitlam Flickr

Black Bear | Photo: City of Coquitlam Flickr

If you encounter a bear:

  • Stop and remain calm.
  • Do not scream or run.
  • Make yourself look big.
  • Talk in a low and calm voice while backing away slowly.

For more on bear safety, visit this link.

This blog post was shared with us by the City of Coquitlam. For more on Coquitlam’s upcoming festivals, events, and summer activities, visit the City of Coquitlam Explore Coquitlam page.

Time to Write

Where do stories come from?

What shape can a story take?

Does your little one love to create? Summer camp is coming soon, so with the help of Word Wrestlers, a creative writing camp at UBC, kids explore the questions above through excursions and experiments. Writing with play in mind – using rhyme, repetition, metaphor, story-telling and the expression of sensory experiences – actively connects kids with language in fresh and unexpected ways.

Five writing experiments to get your brain moving:

  1. Anagram: An anagram is a word or phrase that uses all the letters of another word or phrase in a different order. is an anagram of Word Wrestlers. Use your full name as a way to generate phrases or words. Use these words, and only these words, to make a poem. Add a drawing, if you like, to make it a poem comic!
  1. On Complaining: Set a timer for 2 minutes. Start the timer, and make a list of things you love to complain about. Try for at least 20 things. Green beans. Socks. Bullies. Bed time. Then, re-set your timer for 5 minutes. Choose one subject and write a list of everything you know about that subject. Congratulations! You have made a list poem. (Remember: complaints are even better shared.)
  1. Object. Find a funny or strange object, small enough to fit in a pocket: a felted bunny, a star stamp, a roll of washi tape. Imagine the person who would carry this object around, and write about this character in a notebook: What do they look like? Where do they live? What do they wear, eat, dream? Why do they carry this object with them? Once your character has taken shape, write a 500-word story from their point of view.
  1. Time Machine: Choose a day in the future (20 years, or 40 or maybe only 13). Make a list of 20 detailed events that occur on this very special day. Let your imagination run wild.
  1. Neighborhood Poem: Walk your neighborhood with a notebook in hand. For every block, write a sentence. Each sentence must contain something you’ve noticed that maybe no-one else has, e.g. a neon green pylon, ruby-throated hummingbird, rain gutter full of soft pink petals, deer-hoof imprints in the sidewalk, soap suds from the daily fire-truck hose down. By the time you arrive home, you have made a bonafide poem!

Word Wrestlers is a creative writing summer camp for kids 8 – 12.


Small Change, Big Hearts with Air Transat

For 90 minutes in the skies over Canada on December 7th, hundreds of children living with severe illnesses, and their families, were treated to an unforgettable experience, when they were greeted by Santa Claus on special flights organized by The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada and Air Transat. The flights, which took off from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, were part of Air Transat’s 12th annual Flights in Search of Santa, a joint effort in partnership with Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. And for the second year in a row, a flight from Paris carrying some 50 sick children and their families also took off in search of Santa.

Air Transat also used the flights as an opportunity to announce a further $98 975 donation to Children’s Wish, which represents the amounts collected over the past year as part of the air carrier’s Small Change, Big Hearts program and other initiatives, and is in addition to the over $5 million raised for Children’s Wish since the inception of the partnership between the two organizations.

“There is truly nothing better than seeing a child smile in wonderment, and we in turn are delighted to bring a little magic into the lives of hundreds of children across Canada and in France,” said Jean-Francois Lemay, President, Air Transat. “The Flights in Search of Santa is at the core of our partnership with The Children’s Wish Foundation and is the Air Transat family’s favourite event of the year.”

The memorable day began at the Air Transat check-in counter at Vancouver International airport, where some 250 passengers, including children living with severe illnesses, along with members of their families, received their boarding passes for the North Pole. They then made their way to the boarding lounge, where a number of festive activities awaited. Finally, they took their seats in the aircraft for a 90-minute flight during which Santa Claus made a surprise appearance and distributed presents to the wide-eyed children.

Chris Kotsopoulos, Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Wish Foundation enthused: “Children’s Wish Foundation is very fortunate to be able to count on the support of Air Transat, a partner since 2004. This event is truly one of the greatest moments of the year for Children’s Wish and for the participating children. We are delighted that Air Transat is here to help us make this unique day possible for these kids, for whom illness is a daily reality.”

The annual Flights in Search of Santa are made possible thanks to the generous collaboration of several partners including Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto Pearson, Vancouver International airports and Roissy Charles de Gaules airport, and the volunteer efforts of Air Transat employees.

For more information, follow the #SantaFlight hashtag on social media.

Testing that Helps Children with Cancer

New oncology patients at BC Children’s Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, now receive state-of-the-art testing for genetic variations that increase the risk of serious complications from two common chemotherapy drugs. With the results of this testing, each child’s care team can develop a personalized treatment plan that balances the risks of side effects with the therapeutic benefits of these life-saving drugs. And they’ve just treated their 150th patient!

The Personalized Medicine Programme tests pediatric cancer patients for genetic variations that increase the risk of serious side effects from two life-saving chemotherapy drugs: cisplatin and anthracyclines. Cisplatin is frequently used to treat children with leukemia, brain, bone and liver cancers and can cause permanent hearing loss in some patients. Anthracyclines treat leukemia, bone tumors and other cancers, but can lead to heart damage that may result in heart failure and the need for a heart transplant. Children are at particular risk for these complications and live with the effects for the rest of their lives.

An individual’s risk of suffering side effects for these drugs varies greatly based on genetics.“If we find a child is more likely to develop complications, we can consider modifying treatment so he or she receives the life-saving benefits of these drugs while minimizing risk,” says Dr. Rod Rassekh an Oncologist and Investigator with the Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital, and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia. “We also carefully monitor children in the high-risk group for complications, both during treatment and years afterwards. For families of children at lower risk of side effects, the testing provides reassurance during a difficult time.”

More innovation is under way, and this is likely to be a big breakthrough in how children with cancer receive treatment.


Coping With Acne

By: Dr. Shannon Humphrey, Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada

Acne is something that just about everyone has experienced at one point or another in our lives. In fact 90% of teens will have to deal with this common skin condition. Many people – including parents – believe acne is a part of life and will come and go as you grow up. It’s “just pimples” or something teens will “grow out of”.

Many studies show acne can have a profound effect on teens’ lives. Acne is much more than a cosmetic issue because it is often felt far deeper. It affects appearance and happens during a time of immense change – physical, emotional and social. Acne can affect the development of self-image and assertiveness in teens – factors that are important in forming friendships and dating. Having acne has also been associated with teasing, bullying and eating disorders. In order to cope, some teens are growing their hair to cover their face, avoiding eye contact, wearing heavy makeup to hide spots, avoiding sports like swimming if they have body acne and missing school.

What can be done to help? Here are some tips and tricks.

Emotional impact of acne: Facts and stats

– Research shows acne can result in significant emotional distress ranging from bad moods and embarrassment to shame, anxiety and even depression.

– Depression is 2 to 3 times more prevalent in acne patients than in the general public.

– In one study of teens with acne, the number who felt lonely (58%) or anxious (56%) was

comparable to those with diabetes, cancer and epilepsy.

– The longer acne goes on, the greater the psychological harm to personal and social life.

– The emotional impact of acne cannot be predicted by how severe the condition is and varies from person to person.

– Some acne sufferers say the psychological effects associated with this condition, such as hurt and shame, continue to be felt many years afterwards. Experts call this ‘emotional scarring’.

5 Steps to help with acne:

# 1 Treatment. For mild acne, self-treat with over-the-counter acne products. For moderate or severe acne, seek help from your family doctor or dermatologist. Treatment improves outlook.

# 2 Support. Enlist the support of family and close friends. Let them know how acne is affecting you and how they can help.

# 3 Camouflage. Find out how to hide acne by applying cover-up.

# 4 Skincare. Follow a good skincare routine for healthy skin and to get the best results from treatment.

# 5 Activities, social life. Be active. Be social. Make an effort to visit with friends and attend events.

About the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada:
The society, a national, not for profit organization, offers hope and help to sufferers by providing independent, reputable and current information on acne and raising awareness. For more, visit www.AcneAction.ca.

About Dr. Shannon Humphrey: Dr. Humphrey is a Vancouver dermatologist and spokesperson for the Acne and Rosacea society of Canada. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology and Skin Science at the University of British Columbia and director of Continuing Medical Education there. Dr. Humphrey established the first acne and rosacea subspecialty clinic at the University of British Columbia.

Get Halloween Sewing!

Halloween is a great time to DIY and putting together a stand-out costume doesn’t have to require years and years of garment-making expertise! With a little creativity and a few key tips, it’s easy for anyone to craft a creative costume.
Here are 5 tips for beginner sewers who want to make a notable Halloween costume:

  1. Choose ‘no-fray’ fabrics
    When you work with fabrics that don’t fray, costumes are as easy as cut-and-go. Look for felt, vinyl, pleather, and flannelette. Once cut, the raw edges won’t unravel, so the finish will look pro even if your skills are not (yet!).
  1. Find existing pieces
    Instead of sewing an entire costume, use clothes you already own as a base (or hit your local thrift shop) and build the costume on top of that. Having less to put together will save you time for extra trick-or-treating.
  1. Use a sewing machine that’s easy to work with
    Look for a sewing machine with features that are suitable for beginners. The Brother NQ900 sewing machine has speed control, an automatic needle threader, and an easy-to-load bobbin. A machine that’s easy to work with eliminates frustrations, so you can spend more time crafting your costume.
  1. Find creative ways to customize
    “Glue gun” is not a four-letter word when it comes to a homemade Halloween costume. Anything goes! Add studs, appliques (the Brother NQ900 has a sideways-sewing feature to make this super easy), or trim to your piece. Many sewing machines have the ability to embroider different fonts, so adding words or monograms to your costume is also within reach.
  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself
    Halloween is about having fun, and a DIY’d costume is a bragging right! So get creative, and don’t worry about little mistakes that only you will notice.

– Denise Wild

TV personality, sewing, DIY expert

Halloween Fun!

Looking for some spooky fun to keep you entertained this creepy season? Check out some of these fun happenings to keep you and your little ones busy, entertained and full of haunted history.

  • The Sea to Sky Gondola welcomes trick-or-treaters of all ages for an afternoon of activities from face-painting and trick-or-treating, to exploring the new kids’ Alpine Alley Trail. (Saturday, October 29th; 12am – 4pm)
  • Visit Spooktacular at Britannia Mine Museum and take a ride on the Halloween train, or walk through the Witch’s House, Spooky Science Show and Insect Emporium. (October 29th and 30th; 11am – 3pm)
  • Experience Halloween at Pemberton Museum with a wander through the haunted School House and participate in Halloween-themed games while enjoying fire-roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. (October 29th; 12am – 3pm)
  • A longstanding tradition, Tapley’s Farm neighbourhood in Whistler promises an evening of trick-or-treating with more than 80 homes participating. (October 31st; 5:30pm – 8:30pm)
  • Check out the Haunted Village at Burnaby Village Museum and wear your costume, listen to ghost stories and roam the haunted history of our local town.
  • Visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum for their annual Haunted Tour! There’s a mystery afoot in the museum some come out to learn, solve the secret and add to the spooky stories.
  • Hit up the Trick-or-Treat parade on October 31, 2016 at Willowbrook Shopping Centre for this popular and lively Halloween event! Just $2 (cash only) per child up to age 12. Registration starts at 4:30pm at the following Willowbrook entrances: Sport Chek, Swimco, Tim Hortons,  Sashimi Sushi, and Sears.
    Proceeds from the event will go to the Langley School District Foundation to support innovative and essential school programs for Langley students.

First Phone for Kids?

Finding the right time to provide your child with their first phone can be a challenge, but research shows that the average age a child gets their first smartphone is 10.3 years old.

Sprint is providing a one-stop resource to help parents determine the right time to buy their child their first wireless phone. With the launch of “Kid’s First Phone” website, Sprint is providing expert advice, an online quiz and other information to help parents make this decision. There is even a customizable parent-child mobile contract to set parameters and agree upon rules and limits for uses of a mobile phone.

Did you know? According to Influence Central, in 2016:

  • The average age a child gets their first smartphone is 10.3 years old.
  • 64 percent of kids already have Internet access via personal tablets/laptops.
  • 1 in 2 kids will have a social media account by age 12.

In today’s world, the question of when to purchase a child’s first phone certainly deserves attention. A wireless phone means growing independence, ease of logistics/scheduling, safety and security, but there are also concerns about cyber-bullying, inappropriate content and even out-of-control spending.

Sprint’s “Kid’s First Phone” website serves as a trusted advisor for parents and includes expert advice from Katie Hurley, LCSW, psychotherapist and author of “The Happy Kid Handbook.” Parents can take a quiz to determine an individual child’s readiness for a wireless phone, download and customize a wireless phone contract for themselves and their child, and read/experience third-party commentary on this topic.

Advice from an Expert

“This website is a great opportunity to sit down with your child and engage in a thoughtful discussion and even sign a wireless contract to set rules and limits,” said Hurley. “One of the first things I advise is asking yourself why you want this for your child. Is your child mature enough? And, what is the specific need for the wireless phone? Start from there and you’ll be off to a good, healthy and fruitful discussion for the entire family.”

Summer Fun at Rocky Mountain Flatbread

Keeping little ones busy during the summer can be a challenge, and there’s always a million extra chores for parents and caregivers. There’s also the need to prepare regular lunches and meals to ensure kids are fed and energized for all that summer fun!

Thankfully, Rocky Mountain Flatbread heeds the call of parents who need to keep the littles busy while also eating some tasty food! Every Wednesday from 11am – 12pm, moms, dads and caregivers can register to take their little one to the restaurant for parent-child workshops! Each week will feature a different activity, be it storytelling, yoga and dance, creating healthy snacks, faceprinting, crafts and tea party dress up events! Parents will have fun with their children participating in an unique activity, while kids will have a blast.

Best of all, stay behind afterwards to have a delicious pizza, full of healthy, local and organic ingredients that keep everyone fuelled and full!

Registration is required and class size is limited so be sure to register at info@rockymountainflatbread.ca to take part in these classes at the Main Street location!


Phoenix’s Therapeutic Gymnastics Program for Every Athlete

by Leigh Dawson, Special Needs Lead Coach at Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics

Phoenix’s Therapeutic Gymnastics Program for Every Athlete

We’re running back and forth on a long trampoline designed for elite gymnasts to practice their tumbling skills. I have two stuffed animals and a stress ball spilling out of my pockets as I play a two-person tag game with my athlete who we’ll call A. This is not your typical gymnastics class.

A and I work together in a private class where we weave cardio, gross motor, coordination, flexibility and strength building together with games, gymnastics skills and lots (and lots) of trampoline time. A has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is a member of our Therapeutics Gymnastics program. Like many of our athletes with ASD, A has difficulties with social situations, communication and behavior. Autism is a spectrum, which means that every individual that comes to us has unique needs and goals. The joy of the program is that we interact with the families directly in order to build something around those specific needs and goals, around the athletes themselves.

Not all our athletes have ASD, however. The program is available to anyone with a physical, social or behavioural need. Some of these athletes prefer to come on their own, like A, and work only with one coach. Others join a group situation, but may need an extra hand to help them navigate the class. Some of my greatest moments as a coach have been watching these children gain confidence and independence over time. As 1:1 coaches, both in a class and teaching a private lesson, we get the amazing experience of working closely with one child, getting to know their specific needs, and personality traits. By creating these bonds, the athletes, who may feel ostracized in other situations, feel comfortable. The gym becomes part of their community. We become a community together.