May 262013

We had a great seminar today on Neighbourhood Building (if I do say so myself).

Getting home, I immediately self-administered a stiff double-something for medicinal purposes, then Chris and I took our desperate house-bound DogBeast for a long walk. (I tried to lay in a hammock and ignore the DogBeast, but she was pushing at the hammock so hard that the rocking was spilling my whiskey and making me seasick. A tired DogBeast is a good DogBeast.)

As Chris and I walked, we talked about the seminar: the discussions, the ideas, the potentials, the visions. We also talked about the ditches of Lower Hammond (so cool! We’re going to do a photo essay), the old houses and the new houses and the neato crazy houses (Chris has lived here over 20 years, so he has seen lots of evolution), and the things that make Hammond special. For example…

We have commercial areas

Integrated commercial activity is a tremendously valuable asset that many neighbourhoods lack, but Hammond has it in spades. In fact, it’s a pillar of our neighbourhood.

Before the seminar started this morning, I had the pleasure of escorting Paul Sparks, one of our guest speakers, around the displays in the foyer and told him about our community. The last display had a bunch of neat historical photos of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. I told Paul that many neighbourhoods in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have deep historical roots, and that those roots are defining characteristics of those neighbourhoods.

Paul asked me: “What is your favourite historical icon in your neighbourhood?”

I thought for a moment and then answered: “The Hammond Mill”. It’s not scenic, it’s not pretty, it doesn’t have any quaint visual qualities, but  it is the reason that Hammond exists. It’s employed generations of Hammond folks and has been an integral part of the Hammond community for over 100 years. It may have no visual aspects that are reminiscent of the past, but the fact that it is there and still running and still employing people is a tremendous achievement and an asset to Hammond.

Later, as Chris and I were dragged around Hammond by the DogBeast, we talked of the great potential of “downtown” Hammond, the stretch of Maple Meadows across from the mill. We (Hammond folks) have the potential to have a small local commercial enclave that is within walking distance for most people in  Hammond. In most neighbourhoods this is impossible to surmount. In Hammond the infrastructure is already in place.

We have intuitive boundaries

During one of the excercises at the seminar today, I talked to a person who was frustrated because she couldn’t identify the boundaries or the centre of her neighbourhood. There were few obvious landmarks or “shared spaces”.

I understand why she feels that way. I’ve lived in places like that. We’re lucky in Hammond because we have very obvious  geographical and historical boundaries. Hammond starts at the Fraser River. Go south, get wet. We have big arterial roads to the north, smaller ones to the east and west.

port_hamm_mapThese boundaries aren’t exclusionary. Over the last year with Hammond Neighbours, I have often been asked: “I live at XXX. Is that part of Hammond?”

My answer is always “Sure”. If you want to be a part of Hammond, you’re in. But nevertheless we have a sense of a geographical boundary, an area that comprises “Hammond”. We know where Hammond is. It defines us.

We are a mix of people

Hammond has nutty demographics. There are young families, and there’s the elderly lady up the street who has the beautiful beds of marigolds and wax begonias every begoniayear. (She planted purple petunias this year instead of red begonias. It is bothering me. It is supposed to be red begonias.)

Hammond is historically a working-class neighbourhood. Even now the mix doesn’t include fancy-schmancy rich-people houses, although there are many beautiful heritage houses that the owners have lovingly fixed up. Interspersed with those jewels there are (relatively) inexpensive townhouse and apartment complexes. Hammond Park is a perfect example of Hammond’s diversity. Some of the nicest heritage houses in Hammond face onto the park, as does a townhouse complex, the neighbourhood convenience store and some rental houses.

There are many empty lots in Hammond. Development is inevitably coming. I feel, though, that Hammond is very well positioned to integrate a diversity of development styles, and is particularly able to welcome density that fits with and enhances the character of the area.

We have character

Yeah, that character thing… As Chris and I were walking (being dragged by DogBeast) around today, we noted many fun weird things that we see all the time but that are unique to Hammond. There’s the folks in Lower Hammond who have done up their mobile home with cedar siding (and it looks great!); the odd extensions and build-outs to the mill-worker houses (mostly done before the era of building permits); the church converted into a house; the old store-front in “downtown” where the resident has built a beautiful sidewalk garden.

Hammond has a “feel”. Working-class, practical, unpretentious, quirky. An enclave. A community.


 Posted by at 1:01 am
Apr 232013

Birthday CakeThere are a couple of new pages on the website that will help us organize the Hammond 130 birthday party:

If you can help us accomplish any of the items on the timeline, please get in touch (either via the Facebook group page or by emailing me). We’ll also need some volunteers on party day. If you have ideas for other activities, please also get in touch. The group that is organizing the party can’t take on any more projects, but we would love to help you put your idea together!

Also, if there are any clever graphic designers out there, we’d love a fun “Hammond 130” logo for the event.

photo by: Will Clayton
 Posted by at 11:14 am
Feb 152013

Birthday CakeThe game is afoot! The hounds are unleashed! The coffee is percolating!

The planning has begun for Hammond’s 130th Birthday. The notes from Monday’s meeting are below. Please jump in with ideas, suggestions, and offers to volunteer!

When / Where

  • Hammond Community Centre
  • August 10 or 17 (depending on when the Park’s and Rec department does their annual shut-down)


  • Re-imagine Hammond
  • What’s Your Hammond Story? (the favourite)
  • What’s Your Hammond Connection?


Displays set up in the community centre:

  • Hammond Heritage
  • Hammond Hometown Heroes: (Larry Walker, Norm Grohman, other famous Hammondites)
  • …other groups?


These were the ideas we came up with during our brain-storming session. They’re just ideas – some will get dropped, and we’d love to add other ideas. We’ll also be talking to our Student Representatives to get their ideas.

  • Movies in the Park
  • Family Dance
  • Parks & Leisure activities (like at the party last summer)
  • Participaction (the federal program)
  • Free / sponsored swim
  • Talent show
  • Parade (decorated bikes, etc)
  • Historical walking tour (maybe also garden tour? house interior tours?)
  • Katzie cultural presentation
  • Face painting / balloon animals
  • Hammond Mill tour
  • Kid’s corner with lots of toy trains
  • Living history displays: videos showing living history interviews with Hammond Residents
  • Community-painted “wish-list” facades on plywood in commercial area of Hammond
  • Car show / shine, teenager car show / shine
  • Trunk sale
  • Basketball / ball hockey
  • Watergun fight
  • Painting blocks for the pool fence
  • Live music
  • Karaoke


  • We are approaching the Katzie people with hopes that they will participate
  • The Historical Society and Heritage Commission will work with us on historical displays, info, etc
  • Pathfinders: the local Hammond troupe has volunteered to help


These are ideas. We have to approach these groups to see if they are interested.

  • Kiwanis / Rotary concession
  • Katzie salmon BBQ
  • Watermelon eating contest


  • We have applied for a $300 Festival grant from the municipality
  • We have some fundraising ideas: pub night, 50/50 draws at the Maple Ridge Flames hockey games
  • We will talk to local businesses and ask for sponsorship
  • We may be able to partner with the Historical Society (so that we can provide charitable donation receipts to sponsors)
  • We have to put together some paperwork for sponsors before we can approach them
photo by: Will Clayton
 Posted by at 12:29 am
Feb 112013

Birthday CakeWe’re having a meeting on February 12 at 7 PM at the Hammond Community Centre to discuss, plan, strategize, image, vision, actualize, facilitate, incentivize, incubate, conceptualize, synergize, architect and leverage existing best-of-breed collaborative intermandated human capital channels for …

Hammond’s 130th Birthday Party!

… that will be held in August 2013.

Sorry for the short notice (although Leanne has already announced it via the Hammond Neighbours Facebook group).

photo by: Will Clayton
 Posted by at 5:46 pm
Nov 102012

We’re having a meeting of the Hammond Neighbours at the Hammond Community Centre at 6 PM on Monday Nov 12. We’ll be talking about the proposed Hammond Community Plan, youth representatives in the Hammond Neighbours group, and other recent stuff. Val Patenaude of the Maple Ridge Historical Society will be there as well, so we’ll be able to talk to an expert regarding Hammond history.

Unlike previous meetings, this meeting will not be pot-luck, so don’t feel obligated to bring anything.

 Posted by at 11:14 pm
Oct 022012

Last night the Hammond Neighbours Ad-Hoc Self-Appointed Disorganized Organized Committee (HNAHSADOC) got together for a potluck dinner and chat about recent and upcoming events. Dinner featured left-over pop, chips and candy from the July party, big bowls of popcorn, and, yes, some actual real nutritious food. (We feel it’s important to set an example regarding good nutrition.)

Most of the usual suspects were in attendance, plus a couple of new faces. Dave Speers, our handy-dandy municipal liaison and go-to guy was there, as was Tony Cotroneo, Recreation Manager Youth & Neighbourhood Services. Here’s what we talked about:

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:39 pm
Sep 252012

Time for the Hammond Neighbours De-Facto Self-Appointed Disorganized Organizing Committee to have a yak. (You too can be a member of the HNDFSADOC – simply show up!) Friends, interested parties, kids, dogs, and anyone looking for a free meal are also invited. (Well, not dogs – they are *all* looking for a free meal and tend to hog the swedish meatballs.)

Monday October 1, 7 PM, at the Hammond Community Centre.

Some topics of conversation:

  • the Pool House Painting project
  • ideas for fall activities, projects, get-togethers, etc
  • becoming a formal organization that can apply for grants, accept donations, enter into contracts, etc.
  • anything else people want to talk about

Please bring a dish with enough food to serve 4 – 5 people. (If you’re in a pinch, don’t worry about it – there’s always way too much food at these things.) If your dish contains seafood, nuts or other common allergens, please label it accordingly.

 Posted by at 9:42 pm
Sep 242012

If you haven’t dropped by the Hammond Pool to check out the painting project, you should – it looks terrific! Bright and clean, and Dulux even painted the chain-link fences. I can’t believe how generous they’ve been, and how hard Cyndy has worked to put this all together.

There’s another painting day on Thursday – Dulux is continuing with the building while Cyndy gets started on the mural. Fun! If you can, please drop by and pick up a brush or just say hello and thanks to the Dulux folks.

 Posted by at 11:06 am
Sep 222012

We had a “Hammond Neighbours” table at the big GETIFest event today at the Memorial Peace Park. Cyndy re-purposed the historical display she made for the Hammond Neighbours Party in July and also made a display about current and recent Hammond Neighbours projects.

click to enlarge

The display was fantastic – people raved! Many, many people spent a long time looking over the photos and descriptions of the heritage houses and snippets of Hammond history. (Cyndy herself was over at the Hammond Community Centre painting the pool-house, so she didn’t get to hear all the compliments first-hand.)

Objective estimates (they actually have “counters” of some sort at the Farmers’ Market) put the number of attendees at around 3000. I talked to people steadily all day – it was very fun talking to old and new Hammond residents, and people who have new interest in our neighbourhood since they’ve been reading about our activities in the local newspapers. I especially liked talking to a number of elderly people who now live in downtown Maple Ridge but previously lived in Hammond and have fond memories of their houses and neighbours and gardens. They were very pleased to see current residents taking an interest in preserving the neighbourhood they know and love very much.

Many people told me that we (Hammond folks) are lucky to live in such a special place. How can I not agree?

 Posted by at 10:24 pm
Sep 052012

The HUB cycling group is organizing a “Discover Hammond” cycling tour on September 15, 2012. The ride will be led by Ian McLeod, who has an interest in “land use, transportation and civic culture in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland” and writes about these issues on his blog, and who, together with Claus Andrup, recently published the booklet Aesthetic Maple Ridge.

The meeting points for the ride are:

10:00 – Memorial Peace Park (@ blue fountains)
10:20 – Ridge Meadows College on Thorne Ave.
10:45 – coffee break and chat at Stomping Grounds Coffee House at Osprey Village, Pitt Meadows
11:30 – meeting place for Hammond Neighbours: where Katzie reservation road and Wharf Street meet (by Golden Ears Bridge)

After a tour of Hammond of probably about an hour or so, the ride will end in Hammond. Those who wish can ride back to downtown Maple Ridge with us. The distance of the ride from Memorial Peace Park to Hammond is approx. 13 km.

See the HUB website for more information.

 Posted by at 10:27 pm