August 1, 2013

Country Lane's 10th birthday a great success!

Chalk up another successful event held by the Mountain View Neighbourhood Group, who have been coordinating community gatherings for over a decade now. The 13th community BBQ held on Sunday, June 14th had special meaning for the neighbourhood, as it was to mark the 10th anniversary of a unique piece of Vancouver's public realm – the Country Lane (south lane at 700-block east 27th).

To make this event as meaningful as possible, it was important to ensure that key individuals were in attendance. These included local community advocates Sharole Tylor, Jackie Larson, Jeannie Kamins (all of whom were involved in spearheading the Country Lane), Lilli Wong and former Vancouver city planner Sandy James. Sandy was the Lane's most vocal proponent at city hall.

It was also suggested that we invite members of Vancouver city council to mark the occasion. Councillors Elizabeth Ball and George Affleck attended, as did MP Don Davies and a representative of the office of MLA Mable Elmore. The Country Lane was built following its approval by city council in July 2002, then led by Mayor Philip Owen.

Philip Owen was also proposed as a guest, and to the delight of organizers he agreed to join the festivities. He arrived with his grandson, who enjoyed the BBQ food and the company of other children in attendance.

The biggest challenge facing the event was trying to make sure everyone possible could attend this public event. Once we had commitments from many people, the next challenge was getting the community to know the event was happening, and where. Posters were circulated all over the neighbourhood, each featuring a small map where the Country Lane was.

We also used social media – our website, email lists, and Facebook group helped to raise awareness. Using Twitter had an additional bonus. A reporter for the National Post saw a 'tweet' about the event and, intrigued by the Country Lane concept, persuaded his editor to run a page 3 story about the Lane, along with a photo of organizer Mike Klassen and Sandy James. It helped to give organizers the boost they needed to generate interest in the July 14th event.

Mike contributed his semi-regular “community correspondent” column to the Vancouver Courier newspaper discussing the Country Lane and forthcoming event, which helped to give it a final bit of profile. On July 14th just before noon, community members began to straggle in for the food and good company. Neighbour Robert Major took on BBQ duties and roasted all the beef, turkey and vegetarian weiners. Several also brought their own dishes, and two 'soccer tents' were provided additional shade from the sun.

The images show what a great event it was – many members of this diverse community gathered, young and old.

Thanks to everyone who joined us that day, and especially to Sandy James and Philip Owen for your leadership and foresight to create a great public space like Mountain View's Country Lane. Many thanks also go out to the Vancouver Foundation and their Neighbourhood Small Grants program, which provided us with a grant to cover the event costs.

Posted by Mike Klassen at 11:29 PM | Permalink

July 11, 2013

Courier newspaper: "Vancouver's country lanes turn ten"

A community event in the Country Lane circa 2006

We're getting excited about this weekend's 10th Anniversary BBQ in the Country Lane. In advance of that event, the Vancouver Courier newspaper is running a piece on this subject:

Community Correspondent: Vancouver’s country lanes turn ten

A two and a half-page report titled “Country Lanes Demonstration Project” from Engineering Services to city council, dated July 9, 2002, is buried on the website archive known as It is a “former” public policy conceived by a group of enthusiastic city staffers who saw the potential in Vancouver's otherwise overlooked back alleys.

But with so many laneway homes being built today, will the Country Lane program that has lately languished win new fans at city hall?

Read more:

Posted by Mike Klassen at 1:26 PM | Permalink

July 7, 2013

July 14th--BBQ Lunch with neighbours in the Country Lane!

Click poster for larger version

We're excited to have some special guests coming to our Sunday BBQ! Please join us for the fun with friends and neighbours. It is the 10th Anniversary of a special Vancouver public space. Bring a dish to share, or just show up and join us for lunch.

Date: Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Time: 11:30am to 1:30pm

Where: "Country Lane" -- south lane of 700 block East 27th (just east of Fraser, between 27th/28th Avenue) -- see Google Map.


For more background and photos of the history of the Country Lane see this link.

Read a recent report in the National Post newspaper on the Country Lane.

Posted by Mike Klassen at 9:11 PM | Permalink

July 2, 2013

Country Lane 10th Anniversary Community BBQ


The Mountain View Neighbourhood Group is excited to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of a very special Vancouver public space located right in our community. Please come meet your neighbours for a free lunchtime BBQ on Sunday, July 14th. We have invited several reprentatives from the City of Vancouver, including those who spearheaded the original lane. Kids and family members welcome.

Date: Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Time: 11:30am to 1:30pm

Where: "Country Lane" -- south lane of 700 block East 27th (just east of Fraser, between 27th/28th Avenue) -- see Google Map.


For more background and photos of the history of the Country Lane see this link.

Read a recent report in the National Post newspaper on the Country Lane.


Posted by Mike Klassen at 11:18 PM | Permalink

December 11, 2012

Please Vote! A Letter from Saffron

The following letter was circulated to friends and families in our neighbourhood. It is a sample of the passion and drive Saffron and Christie have devoted to getting out the vote for McBride School's Aviva Community Fund drive. The message is simple: PLEASE VOTE. If you have not registered, or voted you have the ability to vote TWO MORE TIMES. You must vote TODAY before 9pm PST, and before 9am PST on Wednesday, Dec. 12th.

Go here >>


A Letter from Saffron Henderson

Hi, Everybody! I don’t know if you’re all on the McBride Google list as well, but just wanted to touch base before this competition is over....which is only 2 votes from now!!

Christie and I talked tonight. We are both so tired we feel shredded. We have not eaten properly, slept properly, recovered from our viruses or been able to think or talk of anything else but this playground for the last couple of weeks (or months, really), and I believe we have both done absolutely everything we could do without losing our careers or families.

We are not feeling alone in this! Many of you have gone above and beyond just supporting or helping. You’ve hiked through the neighbourhood looking for voters, delivering flyers, talking to businesses....some of you with colds, 9 month pregnant bellies, little ones at your side, or no time for yourself left over in a day. Some of you have done amazing things in your workplace, engaging hundreds of people with your enthusiasm and energy. Some have created media miracles and found umpteen new ways to promote our cause. Many have worked behind the scenes in the office or library raising both money and awareness. I have been surprised by many a determined parent and teacher. Our school’s leader, Parin Morgan, has shown her support for both parents and children by helping us in any way she can. What passion we have for these kids and this school and this neighbourhood!

I think McBride has come together in a way I haven’t seen before, and I feel more connected to the parents, teachers, and staff at McBride and LMOSC than I could have imagined last year.

We are two votes away from the end of this wild ride. We want to thank you so much for your support, whether you’ve been quietly voting or shouting from the rooftops. If we don’t make it into the Top 10 in our category, and the Finals, we will have the gift of community to keep. And some good pictures, too!!

It’s not time to sing our swan song or make a concession speech yet, though.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Mike Klassen at 7:26 AM | Permalink

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