Who we areWe are residents of George Pearson Centre in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Videos of ResidentsWatch three unique videos featuring Pearson residents and learn about their lives at Pearson Centre.
This time, with photos. We had about 25 people for dinner, more than usual. We ran out of plates! And most of the food. For beverages, we had sparkling apple juice or fresh squeezed orange juice. The pile of oranges was much bigger than this and smelled amazing:
We also made a fruit smoothie using raspberries frozen from last year’s harvest. The residents’ gardens have a giant raspberry patch so we always have plenty to freeze.
We also made pancakes out in the main dining space so we could hand out pancakes as they came hot off the griddle! With those pancakes we had real maple syrup and orange vanilla honey yogurt.
From the oven we served Rosemary Roasted Roots (potatoes, yams & carrots). And of course, bacon – both regular bacon and turkey bacon. We also did eggs to order – fried or omelet. Now that’s something you don’t get on a hospital tray-style meal!
The parking lot at the main entrance of Pearson has recently been greatly reduced. We are down to about 40 parking spots – where before there were closer to 100. For now, parking on the street is free so if the lot is full, parking elsewhere isn’t too hard to find.
Watching this structure go up makes the redevelopment real. It will be 2 stories and quite large – too bad it won’t actually house anyone! That will be fulfilled by the new modular housing development that is being built at the corner of Heather and W 59th – due to open in a month or so.
Recently, in late October, the City of Vancouver announced, without consultation, that they would be building temporary modular housing next door to George Pearson Centre, at the corner of Heather and W 59th Ave. The space has been unused lawn for as long as anyone can remember.
For Pearson folks, it was a bit shocking to learn about something as a done deal, without any prior consultation. But we understand that housing the homeless is something few people advocate for in their back yard. In fact, a lot of the neighbours are protesting against it.
From the City’s website: “Our next housing development will be home to two, three-storey buildings; each with 39 homes (total of 78 homes) for homeless residents….Both buildings will be managed by Community Builders, an experienced supportive and low-income housing provider with 15 years of experience in Vancouver’s urban core area specializing in tenant support for persons with a variety of needs.”
At the recent November 14th Resident Council meeting, George Pearson Centre residents discussed this new development, which is expected to spring up very quickly, to house people this coming winter. Residents have some concerns about what new neighbours will bring, but no one suggested that this shouldn’t happen. We discussed inviting the new neighbours to events at Pearson. Everyone needs a home, said a resident.
On July 20, 2017, three GPC Residents were able to go and speak at the City of Vancouver’s public hearing on the rezoning application.
Several more were heard in a new method – pre-recorded video contribution. This enabled people who would not otherwise be heard, to speak up. Many who live at George Pearson Centre cannot easily attend an hours-long hearing in person. Kudos to the City for allowing a new form of contribution – we hope it continues.
It is unfortunate that there were no GPC residents present at the 2014 Pearson Dogwood Policy Statement hearing at the City. Their voices were missed, and decisions were made that appear to exclude the wishes of the most vulnerable residents. While the independent housing is welcomed by many, those who prefer larger group living similar to the current Pearson model are left without a home on this site.
The redevelopment planning continues for the land on which George Pearson Centre sits. In 2016, members of Resident Council became concerned that very few residents were directly engaged in the planning. It is a complex process that is inherently difficult for Pearson residents to be a part of without various kinds of support.
So, Resident Council asked VCH to fulfill its commitment made in the policy plan to consult and collaborate with Pearson residents as part of the planning process. As a result, VCH has facilitated two open houses, several focus groups and some one-on-one interviews. There will be two reports – Part 1 gathers feedback on Housing Design, while Part 2 looks at the Care Models.
The results of Part 1 are posted here. Download Report 1: Housing Design
The reports will go to the City of Vancouver as part of the rezoning application. Anyone who wishes to attend or speak at the public hearing can do so. Information can be found here:
Pearson’s Garden Club grew another giant pumpkin this year. We received the seedlings from a volunteer’s friend and started a friendly plant competition. One pumpkin pulled ahead in the race for biggest size. When harvested, the Great Pearson Pumpkin weighed 340 lbs. After we chopped the pumpkin up (which took considerable time and effort) some was given away for baking, cooking etc.
John Nyce was our friend and neighbour. He moved into Pearson when he was 16 years old. He passed away on Feb 27th, just 5 days after his 55th birthday. He is missed by many of us.
John was a caring fellow. He always asked you “How are you?” He had a speech impediment, so some people had trouble understanding him at first, but he was patient and would repeat himself until you understood. One thing we all remember about John is his laughter – he loved joking around and was quick to laugh. Another thing we remember is that he loved drinking Coca-Cola.
Nowadays, people of such a young age don’t move to Pearson. But in the 1970s, things were different. People remember John as a mischievous youngster with a great sense of humour, and that he would hide when it came time for him to go to ‘school’, like many children do.
John used to travel on his own up to Oakridge mall, about 16 blocks from Pearson. There was some concern at some point that he wasn’t safe doing that, and some people starting worrying him about going there. So John started going to Metrotown mall, which is about 60 blocks away, in the next City over (Burnaby), and involves taking public transit. He wasn’t afraid of adventure, that’s for sure!
Something else that John was passionate about was Soccer. He had a specialized attachment on his wheelchair that enabled him to play Powerchair Football, also known as Power Soccer. Here John had one of his many friend circles – Powerchair Football Canada wrote a blog post on March 16, 2016 in memory of him as well. He was their longest running athlete!
John Nyce’s memorial was on Saturday April 2nd. The family came to Pearson. Some live in Vancouver, but many of them traveled a long distance to come share this time with us. John and his family are from the the Nisga’a nation – their village is Gitwinksihlkw, and they are the “People of the Lizards.” It is about 100 km north of Terrace. Staff and residents really appreciated the family coming such a long way, so we could remember John together at his home of the last 39 years.
John’s memorial was attended by many residents and staff. The family presented GPC a handmade wooden plaque thanking staff for the care they gave John for the 39 years he lived here. The plaque will be located on Ward 6 for now, John’s local neighbourhood, and it will likely go into the Activity Wing at a later time for all to view.
Being part of the Pearson Community means dealing with a higher rate of death than the outside community. Some people who move here are in a more fragile health state, and it’s usually not surprising when someone with complex serious health issues passes away. But Pearson is also home to long term residents – and when they pass away it has a significant impact on the staff and other residents. We are glad to have known John Nyce and will remember him fondly.
Garden Club is now in it’s 7th full year of happening, and it just keeps getting better and better. Seeds were started indoors at the end of March, and with this warm spring we’re having, we’re transplanting tomatoes already. As well, our strawberry patch is in full production. And nothing tastes so sweet as the first strawberry of the year!
It’s probably the most popular meal we make at Community Kitchen here at Pearson.
Maybe it’s because a good breakfast is hard to deliver in the way that food normally arrives from the institutional food service provider – trucked from the kitchen on a hospital-style tray. Maybe it’s because fresh-off-the-griddle pancakes and fresh scrambled eggs are a distant memory to many of the people who’ve lived here for decades.
Maybe it’s just because a full fledged breakfast is awesome.
The menu included:
- Fruit smoothie made simply with apples and assorted frozen fruit and enough water to blend. This includes raspberries that we froze at the height of our summer harvest from the residents’ gardens here at Pearson (Garden Club, a Farmers on 57th program)
- Hash browns – grated the last of 2015’s potatoes harvested from the Pearson gardens
- Scrambled eggs
- Bacon and sausages
- Pancakes (flour plus eggs plus milk plus butter)
- Berry compote (also frozen berries from the summer)
- Real maple syrup. Know what’s in table ‘syrup’? Mostly Corn Syrup. Plus gum, colouring, flavouring and preservatives.
- Fresh-baked cinnamon buns and plain rolls, prepared in advance by our incredible volunteer Chris.
One of the best parts about Community Kitchen is the socializing that naturally occurs over a meal. Volunteers grab some food and sit down when they have time. We talk about what we could make at the next dinner, even though it is a month away.
As well, residents get the rare opportunity to have seconds (and thirds) of something they really like. Something we try to encourage is for residents to choose what they want.
We were so busy cooking and sharing food that I forgot to take any photos. I leave it up to your imagination…