Richmond Review

Richmond Review is no more – newspaper closes down after 83 years

Posted Sept 4, 2015

Below are two excerpts from the final issue of the Richmond Review published July 24, 2015. The paper ran from 1932 until mid-summer 2015 for 83 years.

Also below are Twitter excerpts from the Review‘s last days.

I was fortunate to work with such great reporters during my high school years and an internship in April-May 2015. Thanks for the experience and memories, Richmond Review. You will be missed.

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 Choir celebrates Japan tour with concert

Posted May 15, 2015

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Story can also be viewed here:

Richmond launches new emergency notification system

Posted May 13, 2015

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Music in Our Schools hits Gateway Theatre

Posted on May 8, 2015

West African ensemble Masabo performed this week at Gateway Theatre as part of Music in Our Schools. — Image Credit: Catherine Ludwig

West African ensemble Masabo performed this week at Gateway Theatre as part of Music in Our Schools. — Image Credit: Catherine Ludwig

More than 500 elementary students filled the Gateway Theatre earlier this week to experience traditional West African culture, as part of a two-week event called Music in Our Schools.

The culture experience is one of many performances and concerts that will give more than 2,000 students a chance to experience live music and to perform using their own talents in Richmond’s own professional theatre thanks to a partnership between Gateway Theatre and the Richmond School District.

On Wednesday, elementary students from Blundell, General Currie, Gilmore, Ferris, Homma, Manoah Steves and Quilchena Elementary went to see a West African ensemble called Masabo, a group of African musicians, dancers and storytellers who have shared their culture with children and youth across West Africa, Norway and Canada and are sharing the beauty and energy of traditional West African culture.

Music in our Schools also has five evening concerts at the Gateway Theatre during the first two weeks in May that feature local secondary and elementary bands.

On May 14, another 500 students from Blair, Cook, General Currie, McKinney, and Spul’u’kwuks elementary schools alongside students from MacNeill secondary will watch Project Soul, a crew of street dancers from Vancouver that have come together to share their passions with each other and with as many communities as they can, and to inspire one soul at a time through the art of street dance.

This show will open with a special performance by the MacNeill Secondary Dance Crew.

Story can also be viewed here:

Richmond Youth Honour Choir members reminisce experiences in Japan

Posted on May 6, 2015

The Richmond Youth Honour Choir.

The Richmond Youth Honour Choir.

Gabriella Epp did not feel homesick even once during the Richmond Youth Honour Choir‘s recent 10-day trip to Wakayama, Japan.

“It was a really different experience because of the environment,” said the 13-year-old. “So it was cool to experience a different atmosphere and a different culture.”

Several choir members said their favourite part of the trip was eating ice cream, seeing the castles and singing with the Wakayama Children’s Choir.

One member, in particular, had an unforgettable day during the trip: Mykela Ylaya celebrated her seventh birthday in Japan, eating cake at a welcome party for the choir. The mayor of Wakayama had hosted the dinner and added the surprise for her.

“The first birthday present came from the Wakayama choir,” said Ylala. “I didn’t open it yet.”

The youngest of the 20 kids that went on the trip, Ylaya was the only one from the prelude choir, which consists of members aged five to seven. Her sister Rebekah, 12, also went along. James Gill, 16, was the oldest of the group.

Besides the homestay in Wakayama with members of the Wakayama Children’s Choir, the children also visited Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and Matsumoto.

“We didn’t get to go to Hiroshima, which is unfortunate,” said Heidi Epp, artistic director and Gabriella’s mother. “That was a part of the original plan, which was why we were singing ‘Lullaby for Hiroshima,’ which is also by a Vancouver composer, but it had to do with logistics and economics, so we couldn’t get to Hiroshima.”

The song itself is in Japanese and English, and was commissioned for the opening of the Hiroshima exhibit at the University of BC’s Museum of Anthropology a few years ago.

Heidi had the children write down their experiences and is in the process of creating a group journal. One common entry was about the castle stairs.

“They were 62 degrees angled up, 42 inches apart,” said Gabriella Epp. “It was literally a ladder. Samurais in battle would jog up them like they were nothing, but you could go literally on your hands and climb up them like a ladder.”

Jimmy Fan, 9, said while at the castle where they had to wear slippers, he had to take his off because they kept falling off.

“At all the schools, you had to change into slippers, but what was kind of funny was that our high school-aged guys have much bigger feet than the Japanese kids” said Heidi, chuckling. “And so they had their heels hanging way off the slippers because they were way too small for them.”

“When we were singing at Matsumoto Castle,” said Ylala. “There were people in the back dancing and trying to copy all the moves we did.”

Heidi Epp said after the concert, people from Wakayama were trying to sing all their songs and choreography.

“The kids in the choir that had been here two years before, they broke into a song that we had taught them when they visited us two years ago and they remembered it. They just spontaneously broke into that song,” said Heidi.

When they returned to Richmond, upon their arrival at YVR, the children started singing “Lullaby for Hiroshima” a cappella.

Ylala said while in Japan, everybody loved “Stand by Me” when they sang it, causing some of the kids to start humming it.

Gabriella said her biggest highlight of the trip was going to the castles. “I like seeing history stuff and museums, so probably the castles. Especially to the castle where we saw a really big Buddha statue. It was huge. That was really cool.”

The idea for the trip came when the Wakayama Children’s Choir visited Richmond in 2013 and performed with the Richmond Youth Honour Choir. They also homestayed with members of the choir.

The purpose of that trip was to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Richmond and Wakayama.

The Richmond Youth Honour Choir will be having its season end concert on Saturday, May 9 at 7 p.m. at the Peace Mennonite Church, 11571 Daniels Rd. Tickets (adults, $15, students and seniors $10), will be available at the door.

The finale concert, titled “Notes Between Friends,” will feature songs the choir brought to Wakayama, Japan to share with Richmond’s sister city.

The May 9 concert begins at 7 p.m. at Peace Mennonite Church, 11571 Daniels Rd. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors and free for children five and under. Tickets are available by calling 604-723-4040, or at

There will also be auditions for all three levels of the choir for the 2015/16 season on May 13 and 16. More information can be found at

Story can also be viewed here:

All-day fitness event works up a sweat for cancer research

Posted on April 30, 2015

Carolyn Atwal and her husband Manprit Atwal (centre) were among some 500 individuals who worked up a sweat at the BC Cancer Foundation's third Workout to Conquer Cancer Saturday at the Richmond Olympic Oval. The event raised $360,000 for life-saving cancer research at the BC Cancer Agency. (Photo: Richmond Review archive)

Carolyn Atwal and her husband Manprit Atwal (centre) were among some 500 individuals who worked up a sweat at the BC Cancer Foundation’s third Workout to Conquer Cancer Saturday at the Richmond Olympic Oval. The event raised $360,000 for life-saving cancer research at the BC Cancer Agency. (Photo: Richmond Review archive)

The BC Cancer Foundation raised $360,000 for life-saving cancer research at its third Workout to Conquer Cancer event Saturday at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

Five hundred people signed up for the day-long fitness challenge to take part in the most meaningful workout of their lives.

Inspired to participate after recently being diagnosed with breast cancer, Carolyn Atwal powered her way through several fitness challenges including Zumba, retro arerobics, yoga, and boxing.

The athletic mother with a toddler was diagnosed six months ago while in early stages of pregnancy with her second child.

“I’m young, and you don’t expect to get cancer at this age,” says the 36-year-old, who is committed to seeing her kids grow up and ridding her body of the disease.

Atwal registered for Workout to Conquer Cancer because she wanted to “do something” empowering. As someone who works-out regularly she thought the event was a great fit. Through her network of family and friends she raised $2,700 for cancer research.

“Hopefully in the next year I’ll be cancer free. I just want to live for my babies,” says Atwal.

In three years, Workout to Conquer Cancer has raised over $1 million, providing researchers at the BC Cancer Agency with the platforms, people and power to rapidly respond to areas of research with the most promise in improving cancer outcomes.

“With every crunch and lunge, we witnessed a powerful expression of the commitment we share in ensuring more and more British Columbians can say three important words: I’m still here,” said Douglas Nelson, president and chief executive officer of the BC Cancer Foundation as he thanked and congratulated participants.

The dollars raised at the event will be put to work supporting projects of the highest priority, including the development of new therapeutics to help in the effort to stop metastatic disease in its tracks.

For more information visit

Originally published in the Apr. 29, 2015 issue.

Pacific Autism Family Centre gets big boosts

Posted on April 30, 2015

A rendering of the Pacific Autism Family Centre that is being constructed on Sea Island. (Photo: Richmond Review archive)

A rendering of the Pacific Autism Family Centre that is being constructed on Sea Island. (Photo: Richmond Review archive)

The Pacific Autism Family Centre received two major boosts from financial institutions this month.

On Thursday, TD Canada Trust donated $75,000 to the centre’s foundation, while BMO Financial Group presented a $100,000 cheque to the Sea Island facility which is slated to begin construction any day and be completed by May of 2016.

Sergio Cocchia, CEO and co-founder of the Pacific Autism Family Foundation, said the project is “being developed as a spoke model with the hub being in Richmond, but ultimately each spoke being established around the province.” Cocchia said the foundation envisions the centre will provide access to information and services for people with autism throughout the course of their lives.

“Autism, we have to understand, does not go away,” said Cocchia.

“There are going to be many more senior citizens with autism in the future, so the centre is a resource centre for many, it’s a place to come to access resources to try to help them. We envision that people across their lifespan for both themselves and their families, they’ll be able to access those programs and access proper information from the centre.”

Cocchia believes “our society should definitely be interested in autism and how we as a society address this growing population,” saying that the number of people being diagnosed with autism is increasing. Today, one in 68 children in the province of British Columbia is being diagnosed as being on the spectrum and there are 69,000 individuals in the province that are recognized as being on the spectrum.

“It’s an issue that’s of incredible relevance in today’s world,” Cocchia said.

“And that’s why we’re hearing more and more about it, so many new stories are coming out about autism. I think that maybe people are starting to realize that this is a problem of epidemic proportions.

“It doesn’t seem to be getting any better, which leads to the question of why are these numbers getting higher, why is it costing so much, what are the proper treatment methods. I think we as a society, and this is happening across the world, are starting to struggle with trying to find some of the answers.”

Cocchia has a 20-year-old son with autism, so together with his wife and co-founder Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, they know what families go through and the challenges they face.

“It really is a spectrum,” said Cocchia. “We’re all individuals. I think it’s true also with autism. I love the saying that people say that when you meet a child with autism, you meet a child with autism. You haven’t met every child with autism because they’re all completely different. Just like atypical people are all individuals, so are people on the spectrum.

“Their autism presents often times in very individualistic ways, so we struggle with the idea. I don’t think there’s a voice for autism. There has to be many, many, many voices for autism because there’s many, many, many different individuals that need to be represented and thought of in the conversation.”

Originally published in the Apr. 24, 2015 issue.

Invasive species battle gets boost

Posted on April 30, 2015

Giant hogweed is one of the species the Invasive Species Council of B.C. is fighting. (Photo: Richmond Review archive)

Giant hogweed is one of the species the Invasive Species Council of B.C. is fighting. (Photo: Richmond Review archive)

The city’s battle against the spread of invasive plants has received a $7,000 boost from the provincial government.

The funding is part of 29 grants, totalling $1,702,000, that are being distributed provincewide to local governments, regional invasive species committees and the Invasive Species Council of B.C. to assist with their activities and support the objectives of the provincial Invasive Plant Program.

“These species can cause a great deal of harm to natural resource-based sectors, including forestry, agriculture and aquaculture,” said Richmond Centre MLA Teresa Wat. “This funding will go a long way to help the City of Richmond manage the spread of invasive species.”

The funding will go towards activities such as raising public awareness of invasive plants, surveying invasive plant populations and actively treating high-priority sites to control the spread of these plants.

Invasive plants are species that are not native to British Columbia and originate from other areas. They disrupt the region by displacing native vegetation and can cause considerable economic and environmental damage. Some, such as giant hogweed, pose a health risk to people (e.g. skin irritation). Invasive plants can disrupt natural ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, increase soil erosion, alter soil chemistry and adversely affect commercial crops.

The Invasive Plant Program identifies sites where invasive plant species have been found and responds rapidly to contain and eradicate them before they become established and start spreading.

This funding is in addition to the $735,000 already allocated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations for invasive plant control and management in 2015-16.

To learn more about the Invasive Plant Program, visit:

Originally published in the Apr. 22, 2015 issue.

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Prospect of teacher job cuts as district hit by cutbacks

Posted on April 30, 2015

Screen Shot - Teacher job cuts report

Originally published in the Apr. 22, 2015 issue.

Hugh Boyd hosts environmental summit

Posted on April 30, 2015

Screen Shot - Hugh Boyd environment summit

Originally published in the Apr. 17, 2015 issue.


Hummingbirds heading home to nature park

Posted on April 17, 2015

Richmond Nature Park is holding a Hummingbird Homecoming on Sunday in celebration of the rufous hummingbird’s return from California and Mexico.

A park interpreter will be stationed in the nature park’s wildlife garden to teach visitors how to identify the different species of hummingbirds in Richmond, how to attract them to your garden and to answer questions such as should you feed them throughout the year.

The rufous hummingbird can be identified as males with rusty orange colouring and a flashing red throat and females as a subdued green, which provides camouflage while sitting on their nests. This species returns to the Pacific Northwest each spring where a feast of insects and spring bloom nectar caters to their high energy needs. Baby Rufous Hummingbirds hatch in May, are fully grown by July and ready to head south in August.

The rufous hummingbirds reside along with the Anna’s hummingbird species that live in the park year round. Anna’s hummingbirds are slightly larger with iridescent emerald feathers and vivid purple throats.

Hummingbird Homecoming is open for all ages and admission is by donation, with proceeds supporting Richmond Nature Park’s educational programs. It takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 19.

The park is located at 11851 Westminster Hwy.

For more information, call the Richmond Nature Park at 604-718-6188 or visit

Originally published in the Apr. 15, 2015 issue.


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