• Keeping Fido Fabulous

    dog
    by Ross Collicutt | Apr 15, 2013

    dogNot only are our dogs our best friends, they make great workout partners!  Dogs make amazing workout partners because they are consistent, reliable, and enthusiastic; they also never make excuses, never tease you, and don’t try to compete with you. One of the best ways to get in shape and stay that way is to give your dog what he craves, plenty of exercise.   

    Regular (twice daily) exercise for dogs is recommended to prevent obesity which can lead to a host of other health issues including heart disease and arthritis.  Not only does exercise help your dog stay healthy physically it has a positive effect on both your dog’s and your mental wellbeing,  just think no more chewed shoes or holes in the back yard!   

    Having fun outdoors with your dog is a great way to expend energy in a productive way.   There are so many great parks and trails in Nanaimo, including 8 permanent off-leash parks and a handful of pilot sites to explore. Try a new park each week. If you have kids get them involved too.  You can all have tones of healthy fun by getting outside and getting some exercise.

    Wherever you decide to take your pooch for outdoor fun, make sure they are wearing their license.  You never know when he might find a way to escape even the most watchful eye. Also always clean up after your pooch.  Picking up after your dog keeps our parks and environment clean, healthy and beautiful.

    For more information about Nanaimo’s dog off leash parks including a downloadable map, log onto our Dogs in Parks & Trails section or enter "off-leash parks" in the search box at the top of this website.

  • Nanaimo's Food Strategy

    food logo 1
    by Ross Collicutt | Apr 09, 2013
    food logo 1

    The City of Nanaimo is preparing a Nanaimo Food Charter and Food Strategy, which is intended to focus on the specific needs, assets and desires of the community in achieving a healthy, prosperous and sustainable food system.

    Have you:

    • Thought about ways we can be healthier and improve our community through food?
    • Thought about how we can create more business opportunities and jobs through food?
    • Met other people who also have great ideas about food, and are willing to share them?

    Have you thought about…

    • Growing more food locally?  From your back yard?  Local farms?
    • Keeping livestock or bees for food production?  What does that look like?
    • Manufacturing local food products?  Jam?  Seafood?  Other specialty items?
    • Unique ways to celebrate food?
    • Innovative ways to provide more affordable food?  What about emergency situations?
    • Other cities (places) where you’ve seen unique food ideas unfold?  What does that look like for Nanaimo?

    What about other ideas? 

    Join our Conversation!  Add your comments about Nanaimo’s food future to the comments below.

  • Nanaimo Parks, Recreation & Culture...A place for you!

    by Ross Collicutt | Mar 28, 2013

    With the recent spring like temperatures lately Nanaimo residents are starting to feel the itch to get out and enjoy this amazing place we call home.  This is the ideal time of year to try something new and/or continue to pursue a favourite hobby. 

    Here at Parks, Recreation and Culture we can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the (almost) arrival of spring than to browse through the new spring and summer Activity Guide available now. Within the guide you are sure to find a program or class that is suited to the interests of you or your family.  

    Whether it’s swimming lessons, signing up for a REC pass, trying a creative art class, or dropping in for a round of pickle ball, we have a wide range of programs and classes to meet everyone’s needs no matter what your age or ability. We have a place for you!

    Inside the guide you will also find a wide variety of summer day camps and programs for children and youth to stay active this summer.  There are many new programs such as; ‘Early Risers Yoga’, ‘Cardio Cross Training’, ‘Tea Leaf Reading’, and ‘Website Design – The Basics’, just to name a few.

    Registration for the spring/summer season begins Wednesday, March 6th. Register in person, by phone 250-756-5200, or online at ireg.nanaimo.ca. Be sure to have your IReg client number ahead of time if you plan to register online. 

  • Share your Passion - Propose a Program

    activityguidethinking
    by Ross Collicutt | Mar 12, 2013
    activityguidethinking

    March is always an exciting time around Parks, Recreation and Culture. Why, you ask? Simple…there’s a shiny new Activity Guide! And with it comes a whole host of new programs. 

    One of the best parts of releasing a new Activity Guide is hearing your feedback, both from your registration choices (what you do/don’t sign up for) and from the questions and comments we receive in person and online. It’s always interesting stuff!

    One of the most common questions when a new Activity Guide is released is: “How can I offer a class with Parks, Recreation and Culture?” Let me walk you through it.

    First, develop a clear idea and purpose for the class. If you wanted to teach sewing, for example, consider the skills you might teach, how much time you might need, and if/what a final project might be. This is actually the most important part of creating a successful program because if you don’t have a clear idea and purpose for the class, potential participants won’t know what it’s all about and likely won’t sign up. 

    Once your idea is ready, head over to our website and download the program proposal form. You’ll see we’ve included a Frequently Asked Questions section to assist you. Read through everything and then fill out the form. If you still have questions, feel free to give me a call.

    Helpful Hints:

    • Attach your resume and any other supporting documents (certifications, etc…) when you hand in your proposal.
    • Check the deadlines at the bottom of the form, and hand in your package on time. While we accept proposals year round, we only evaluate them twice a year. Missing the closest deadline means your proposal won’t be considered for another 6 months.
    • Don’t get too caught up in details like times, number of participants, pricing, and remuneration. If your program is selected, you’ll talk about all of those things in depth with a program coordinator. At the proposal stage, we just need the gist!

    If you can believe it, we’re already accepting program proposals for our Fall 2013/Winter 2014 Activity Guide. The next deadline is May 10th 2013, so start the brainstorming process…and good luck!

    **

    Megan Lum is a Recreation Coordinator with Parks, Recreation and Culture. She started her career with this department as a Leader in Training (LIT) and Quest volunteer before pursuing a degree in Recreation and Health Education at the University of Victoria. In her spare time she runs, reads, and (attempts to) play hockey. She’s also a professional magician’s assistant.

  • Maple Tree Tapping in Nanaimo

    bigleafmaple_leaf
    by Ross Collicutt | Mar 04, 2013

    bigleafmaple_leafRecently, on February 2nd, there was an article on the local TV news regarding the tapping of large leaf maples for the production of maple syrup.

    I have been asked if tapping maples is harmful to the tree. Much research has been done regarding this question.

    Removal of the sap, (the trees food) which is not maple syrup until it is refined through boiling, does not hurt the tree too much. Experiments in which eight to twelve times the normal amount of sap was removed yearly for five years did not detectably slow the annual growth. The damage done is directly related to the number of taps used.

    Each tap hole is a wound that the tree must “heal”. Unlike humans, trees “heal” their wounds by sealing off (compartmentalization), rather than repairing the damaged tissues as we humans do. Every tap hole represents an area of damaged tissue that will never be functional again, either for nutrient water transport or food storage. Also, until the hole is compartmentalized it acts as a route for diseases and or insects to enter the tree. The average sugar maple tree lives approximately 50 years.

    Other recent studies have suggested that a smaller drill hole and tapping tool, half the regular size, still allows for good sap flow and much less damage.

    One final note; it is against the City of Nanaimo’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Regulations Bylaw and Tree Management and Protection Bylaw to do this activity on public property. I thought it was important to clarify this after finding a few maples tapped in one of our City parks.

    So if you are interested in this food production hobby, please ensure you do so on private property.

    * Thanks to the University of Minnesota for some information in this article.

    **

    Alan Kemp is the Urban Forestry Coordinator and has been in that position since September of 2006. Prior to that he was the Horticulture Foreman for the City Parks Department. Alan has worked full time for the City since 1986, but originally started with the City in 1976. Alan graduated from UBC in 1980 and also has a diploma in Horticulture from the University of Guelph.

  • Cool Places - My Favourite Neighbourhood Park

    DSC_3097_small
    by Ross Collicutt | Feb 12, 2013

    By happy chance, I moved to Nanaimo in 2011. Looking to relocate to Vancouver Island, I landed a job working for the City as a member of the Current Planning team. Straight away, my family and I began to explore the city, looking for the local attractions and special places that we could enjoy together.DSC_3095_small

    Meanwhile, during lunch breaks at work I began to run with my new colleagues. On one such lunch hour, we ran along the waterfront walkway. I remember running down a forested ravine trail that dumped us on a small pebble beach. Following my friends, I had no idea where I was, really. It usually takes several visits to a new place before I can return there again with confidence. That trail through the forested ravine struck me as a something special; however, as we ran on, the park was lost to my mind. 

    But one day not long after, my family and I rediscovered the trail while we walked around our neighbourhood. Ohh, Beach Estates Park! Right... Since then, Beach Estates Park has become without question, my favourite Park in the City. We go there for the journey, and we go there for the destination. And it’s a place that we take all of our visiting friends and family. 

    When I describe the park to my Nanaimo friends and colleagues, most long-time residents either recognize the name, vaguely; or they are not familiar with the place at all. Little known for whatever reason, I love this place and find the park a treasure and a peaceful escape in the midst of the busy city. 

    DSC_3097_small

    From the Newcastle + Brechin Neighbourhood Plan: Within the park there are a number of earthen and plank walkways, stairs and bridges that crisscross the deep, narrow ravine which forms one of the city’s most unusual parks. The creek flows along the bottom of the ravine and widens to a tidal estuary at Departure Bay.

    The best of Beach Estates Park can be enjoyed after—or during—a heavy rain when the rushing stream spills over the (10 metre!) falls. A walk through the shaded trails, misty and cool, is not so shabby on a hot summers day either. 

    And I know at least one dog who likes the trail as much as I do. Enjoy.

    **

    Brian Zurek works as a planner for the City of Nanaimo. In his spare time he enjoys exploring the west coast with his friends and family. 

    **

     

  • Imagine a Nanaimo without culture?

    TheatreInThePark
    by Ross Collicutt | Jan 28, 2013

    TheatreInThePark

    The City of Nanaimo is in the process of developing a new cultural plan. A resident asked me the other day why we would bother planning for culture and what is the point of culture anyway? I have found that when people ask questions like this it is usually because they don’t understand what culture is or why it is so important for cities and the people who live in them. So I decided to explain by asking them to imagine a Nanaimo without culture.

    Without culture there would be no pictures on our walls and our kids would not learn to draw or paint. There would be no designers, engineers or architects so our clothes would look all the same and so would our cars and our houses.

    Think of what life in Nanaimo would be like without music? You couldn’t listen to music in your car, at the office or on your iPod. There would be no concerts to go to and no music at the hockey game if there would even be a hockey game (hockey is part of our culture). Nanaimo would not have radio or television, no video games and no opportunities to see a play or show because there would be no actors. There would be no writers and therefore no libraries or books and our children would never learn the joy of reading. There would be no parks, gardens, trails or beaches to enjoy!

    A Nanaimo without culture would be boring, empty, bland, sterile, sad, bleak and stressful. Our economic health would be adversely affected because we would not be able to attract young, skilled creative professionals to live, work and invest here. Without culture there would be no history, personality, cultural diversity or uniqueness. Without culture people would not choose to live here.

    Culture enriches our lives by providing enjoyment and appreciation of all creative endeavors. Through culture our lives are enriched by engaging with and learning from other people and cultures. Culture opens our minds to new perspectives through dialogue that is interesting, challenging, thought provoking and goes beyond the mundane. Culture inspires and brings joy, value and purpose to our lives.

    Culture increases connection and community. It creates synergy and reason for celebration. It reflects and honours all cultures. It supports and encourages all creative people from artists to creative professionals resulting in increased economic prosperity.

    Can you imagine a Nanaimo without culture?

  • A New Lesson in Family Time

    by Ross Collicutt | Jan 02, 2013

    Family time is a variable concept.

    This week I learned a valuable lesson in the various concepts of quality family time. After an attempt to wear out my 8 year old son at the pool on a rainy Saturday, I took him to “Family Sports” at Oliver Woods. We tried out the obvious activities, badminton, basketball, hockey and soccer and had such a great time Cameron could not stop talking about it when we got home. I should have known better than to suggest to my husband that we return on Sunday for “Family Gym Time” to enjoy some quality family time when I saw the glint in his eye at the mention of badminton. I have learned never to play Monopoly with the man but his concept of “Family Gym Time” was a whole new experience.

    When we arrived the badminton nets were not set up, much to my relief. The relief was short lived when John quickly remedied the situation. I have to say that I am very proud of my wise son who saw what was about to happen and quickly found another family to adopt him. While as a mother I was relieved my son escaped, I was also very worried about being abandoned with “Mr. Badminton”.

    While I frantically attempted to return the fast moving birdie with feathers a-flying Cameron had moved onto a friendly game of hockey. As I was attempting to dodge the missile launch of the shuttlecock, Cameron and his new family enjoyed a new version of basketball played with a football. I was very grateful that Cameron was distracted in a fun round of “What time is it Mrs. Wolf” while Mr. Badminton practiced his Attacking Clear and Hairpin Net shots on me, all the time demonstrating sportsman like behaviour of laughing, jumping up and down pointing at me while making the shape of an “L” on his forehead.

    I am happy to say that I not only survived “Family Open Gym” but my son thoroughly enjoyed it and want to go back. We will definitely participate in “Family Gym Time” again only I might try to bribe John into not setting up the Badminton. Oh, and for Christmas Lance received PRC passes to enjoy Badminton........perhaps Pickle Ball might be a good fit too.

  • NanaiMommies

    by Ross Collicutt | Nov 27, 2012

    It had been a busy, hot, fun-filled summer.  I had spent the majority of it covered in tempera paint, glue, glitter, bubble solution and sweat.  But on this particular mid-August day, everything, every little hair, was perfect.  I wasn’t bedecked in my typical garb – a school bus yellow “Summer Leader” t-shirt and shorts.  Instead I wore a long, matte satin white gown, a delicate, fingertip length veil, and gloves.  I felt like I’d stepped into a fairy tale, where dirt does not exist, the sky is always blue, and little birdies always join in when one bursts into spontaneous song.

    (Well, that last part is true.  I do burst into spontaneous song...regularly...but, not often with little birdies...)

    As I made my way toward the front of the church, three little wide eyed faces grinned up at me.  They were also scrubbed clean, standing beside their parents.  Two darling little girls, and one very handsome little boy from my playground programs had asked to come, and I was delighted to invite them.  This wasn’t the “Janna Banana” they were used to!  

    At the tea afterwards, the children from my playground program came up to speak with me.  So determined were they to be well mannered that they were positively vibrating, trying to contain themselves.  I suppressed my laughter and was in the process of kneeling down to their level to thank them for attending when all of a sudden my head was yanked violently to the left!  And again!  And again!  Somewhere within my peripheral vision I could see the little boy yanking on my veil, nearly swinging from it, a very intense look in his eye.

    “Bees, Janna Banana!!  BEES!!  There are BEES!!!”  My little friend, the Exterminator, had noticed two confused little creatures crawl up beneath my veil in an attempt to pollinate the satin flowers of my headdress.  And he had steeled himself to protect me, at all costs, even if it meant my dignity and a $75 hair do.  

    Rest assured, all ended well.  He reluctantly released his grip on my veil, and the bees enjoyed a gentle catch and release fate.  I had amazing balance, and managed to NOT fall flat on my face, and my coiffure was lacquered with enough hairspray that not even one hair had moved.  In fact, I seem to recall that my hairdo remained firmly in place for several days, even after I’d removed the 150 hairpins that had also held it in place.  

    This is just one of many wonderful memories I have of my history with Parks, Recreation & Culture children’s programs.  I began my career with Nanaimo PR&C in 1999.  As a roving Playground leader, I travelled back and forth between two City of Nanaimo Playgrounds; Franklyn Street Playground (now a newly renovated and renamed community garden & play area, Pawson Park, at the corner of Franklyn Street and Machleary Street) and Ranchview Playground, in Cinnabar.  Over the following two years, I was a Senior Leader at two different Summer Daycamp locations – Camp Kaleidoscope (now Bowen Explorers) and Camp Seaside, which was located at the Kin Hut in Departure Bay.  

    I have the privilege of knowing, first hand, how the quality programs offered in the summer through Nanaimo Parks, Recreation & Culture, many of them free or at minimal cost, made a difference in many a child’s life.  Barring that very, very important fact, I know how they made a difference in my own life, as an employee.  I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my work...every hilarious, exhausting, endearing moment.  Over the past decade, I can’t begin to count the number of times a self-assured young adult has waved to me on the street and yelled “Hi Janna-Banana!”  And all at once I feel warm and fuzzy (and old, but that’s another blog post).  I hope that I was a positive influence in their lives, through my endeavor to make their summer experience with Parks, Recreation & Culture memorable.  I know that they certainly had that effect on me. 

    If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out the amazing summer programs that are offered through Parks, Recreation & Culture, there is still time to let your little one experience the fun, energy and creativity of one of our Summer Programs.  Some of the options still available for August are the following; 

    Full and partial Day Camps, which are loaded with a variety of activities and challenges, and often result in lifelong camper friendships.  Register for the full week, or take advantage of our FlexReg option if only certain days of the week are needed, or if you need to work around a rotating shift schedule.  Some to try?  Look at Girls Get Active (6-10 years), Camp Holidaze (5-10years), Camp Wild (5-9 years), Cool Kids Skate (6-11years) or Adventure Sports Camp (8-12years) for a full day’s worth of fun!

    Playground Programs are designed for children ages 5-12, and are run on a drop in basis until August 24th.  Come and stay on site, while your children enjoy FREE, supervised activities like arts & crafts, sports and games.  This year, we have staff from Nanaimo Science & Sustainability Society (NS3) dropping by our locations each week to encourage scientific exploration through play!  Come, bring a picnic lunch, and enjoy the warm afternoons while we still can.  You’ll find these programs at Harewood Mining Community Water Park (Howard Avenue behind John Barsby School), Mansfield (Blythe Avenue), Deverill Park (which is also a water park! Halliburton Street), and Pawson Park (Franklyn Street).  

    Give Parks, Recreation & Culture a call at 250-756-5200, and speak to our staff about your summer fun options.  Go and invest in some memory making.  You’ll never regret time well spent. 

    **

    Janna Logan works part time as a Clerk for the Business Services Department at Nanaimo Parks, Recreation & Culture.  She's also a full time <air quote> Domestic Engineer <end air quote>, part time Home School Teacher, and, now, occasional Bloggess.

  • From DOS to Does It All!

    JannaHusbandButtertubs
    by Ross Collicutt | Nov 27, 2012

    To say that I was interested in taking the “City of Nanaimo Social Media” training program put on by my employers would be a bit of an understatement.  I was enthralled by learning the ins and outs of doing business in the age of Social Media.  To learn about how the rules have changed with its inception. I am a child of the computer age.  It hasn’t always been a part of my life; I remember getting our first clunky, slow family PC at the age of 14 years.  I started my pixilated, sluggish games in DOS.  DOS!

    (Was that a murmur of warm sentiment I just heard?  On the other hand, if you are asking yourself “What’s DOS??” most likely this article doesn’t quite relate to you yet.  And...well, I’m a bit jealous.) 

    I didn’t take typing classes, as my classmates two years senior to me did.  I took something innovative.  I took keyboarding.  I took a class in data processing.  I had the option of learning some crude computer programming, but I decided to veer toward computer based accounting, instead.  Yes.  I believed that computers couldn’t get more complex.

    Then they did.  The World Wide Web as we know it today, the cornucopia of information, entertainment and interactions at the press of a few keys.  Smart phones.  Everything that our ancient PC could do, and more, can be done by my handheld device!  That blows my mind.  Twenty years and lifetimes worth of change later, people are connecting in unprecedented ways.  People are doing business in unprecedented ways.  People are learning to communicate differently.  What’s unique about Social Networking in the business world is that it’s not just about the dollars and cents.  Social Media adds a personal element that wasn’t there before, in the cold, mathematical digital world; an easy, casual ‘relationship’ between those who provide the services and those who use them...a personal touch in an otherwise impersonal environment.

    During our class, I noticed in a portion entitled “Analytics,” that the largest demographic using our City of Nanaimo online tools are women, between the ages of 20 – 40.  A significantly large portion of our online activity on the City of Nanaimo webpage, IREG (our online registration program), our Facebook page and Twitter accounts, is thanks to this group.  I wondered aloud to the facilitators what else we are doing to provide this specific group with specific, exceptional online service that caters to them...

    And that was how this segment of our Blog was born.  Ladies, (and Gentlemen – this is not an exclusive club) I’m not only the author, I’m a member!  I fall smack dab in the middle of that demographic.  My name is Janna.  I work part time as a Clerk for the Business Services Department at Nanaimo Parks, Recreation & Culture.  I am also a full time <air quote> Domestic Engineer <end air quote>, part time Home School Teacher, and, now, occasional Bloggess.  You like the term?  Me, too.  Sounds glamorous.

    Janna

    In other words, I’m the voice that you might hear on the other end of the phone when you call our switchboard.  I’m the woman who may register your child in his or her first Preschool or Day Camp program.  I’m that goofy person who introduces herself as “Janna Banana” to you and your child when you come swimming.  I’m the mom that stands beside you, craning her neck to see her toddler prancing around in her tutu at Baby Ballet.  I’m the frazzled, but happy home educator who is trying to wrangle the screaming two year old at Buttertubs Marsh while teaching her two other elementary aged children about the life cycle of a frog...

    JannaHusbandButtertubs

    With Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Culture, as a citizen, a customer and as an employee, my life has been enriched.   I’ve had so many wonderful experiences that are too good to keep to myself.  And I hope that soon, I can share these experiences with you.  Anecdotes that you can relate to...ideas on how to spend a family afternoon at one of our beautiful parks...programs and events that you won’t want to miss...craft and activity inspiration... We’ll talk soon!

    **

    Janna Logan works part time as a Clerk for the Business Services Department at Nanaimo Parks, Recreation & Culture.  She's also a full time <air quote> Domestic Engineer <end air quote>, part time Home School Teacher, and, now, occasional Bloggess.

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