Subject: It’s now than 3 months until you’ll be moving into ISSofBC Welcome Centre

Welcome to the 3nd eNews. It’s now less than 3 months until you’ll be moving into ISSofBC Welcome Centre.

This eNews provides an important update on the building’s construction and move-in, more info on the centre, and a spotlight on Commercial Drive. If there is something you’d like to know about ISSofBC Welcome Centre and the surrounding, please send an email to
ISSofBC Welcome Centre Construction Update

The following important information is from Patricia Woroch:
"The building completion date has been postponed, and move-in dates have been rescheduled to May 26th and 27th for Terminal Avenue and May 31st for Drake Street. While this gives us more time to pack and label, we all need to continue to be prepared for the move. Please refer to Veronica's Corner for more information."

For regular updates on the construction including photos, stories and statistics, check out the ISSofBC Welcome Centre blog.

Neighbourhood Perspective

To help you get to know the neighbourhood, each eNews includes an interview with an ISSofBC staff member who lives in the neighbourhood. This issue went to Donna Mackniak, LINC Teacher, who has lived in the area for 15 years.

What do you like about the area?

I like the diversity, vibrancy and celebratory nature of this area. On a day-to-day basis, the Drive is energized, the sidewalks alive with all types of people coming and going. Then add to this all the special events such as Italian Day, Car Free Day, East-Side Pride, Illuminaries, Trout Lake Farmer's Market, the East-Side Cultural Crawl, Parade of Lost Souls, amongst others.

Why is the area a good one for our clients?
This is a great area for ISSofBC to provide services to immigrants and refugees because of all the convenient amenities with all its shops, restaurants and SkyTrain. Even more importantly, immigrants and refugees will feel very much a part of this neighbourhood because of its diversity of people. It's this diversity that creates a welcoming feeling to all its residents and visitors. I also feel very safe in this area.

What are some of your favourite neighbourhood haunts?
I have so many favourite restaurants, bars and stores: Reef Restaurant, Fratelli's Bakery, St. Augustine's Craft Brew House and Kitchen, Dime, Tatsu Japanese Bistro, Libra Room, Jean Queen store, Kalena's Shoe Store, Home Hardware and Santa Barbara Market, to name a few.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Such a great neighbourhood to hang out in after work hours!

ISSofBC Welcome Centre: Unique Co-Location Model

We’ve all heard ISSofBC Welcome Centre described as world class and unique, and one of the reasons why these are apt descriptors is the co-location model. The centre brings together under one roof a number of essential services for refugees and immigrants.

ISSofBC Welcome Centre connects ISSofBC’s established excellence in refugee and immigrant services with a number of community partners. In addition to transitional housing, settlement services and language classes, the centre includes medical services, refugee services – SOS, VAST & Inland Refugee Society, a foodbank, financial services – VanCity, and family services – Mt. Pleasant Family Centre.

ISSofBC Welcome Centre provides staff with a unique ability to connect on a daily basis with other experts in service delivery. Not only does it mean enhanced services for our clients and students, but also a professional and personal opportunity to learn from the staff of our co-located partners.

Commercial Drive

Commercial Drive is an amazing & vibrant area due to its strong multicultural, multi-ethnic and activist identities. The neighbourhood has a long history of being home for newcomers to Canada. Italians and Portuguese settled in the area in the 1950s. Since that time, immigrants from Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean, Middle East & Africa mix with a strong aboriginal community to form a dynamic neighbourhood.

The Commercial Drive area, including ISSofBC Welcome Centre, is on the unceded Aboriginal Territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. The Aboriginal population is higher in ISSofBC Welcome Centre’s surrounding neighbourhood than other parts of Vancouver (8% versus Vancouver’s 2%). And there are a number of organizations working with Aboriginals in the local area, including those at Britannia Community Centre on the Drive and along the northern edge of the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre. National Aboriginal Day in June is celebrated annually at Trout Lake with a full day of events that showcase the diversity of Aboriginal people from across Canada.

The Drives’ Italian immigrant roots are still evident in small coffee shops, restaurants and the bocce ball area of Victoria Park. For a taste of Italy, go to Commercial & 2nd and visit Fratelli Bakery, La Grotta Del Formaggio and Café Calabria (for the life size Roman statues as much as for the coffee). One of Vancouver’s biggest street parties is Italian Day celebrated each year in June.

While Commercial Drive may have Italian immigrant roots, it is now one of the most multicultural communities in Canada. It is home to Latin, Persian and organic grocery stores, and restaurants representing every kind of cuisine, including Chinese, Mexican, Nepalese, Portuguese, Indian, Lebanese, Ethiopian, Japanese, Syrian, Jamaican, French and Tunisian.

ISSofBC Welcome Centre Construction Update

While the dramatic transformation of the buildings’ exterior continues with the installation of the cedar coloured siding, the interior is also rapidly changing. Work on the 1st floor’s ceiling, walls, doors and painting is now complete, and work has begun on the 2nd floor. Another crew is installing the elevators.

For regular updates on the construction including photos, stories and statistics, check out the ISSofBC Welcome Centre blog.

Veronica’s Corner

As we all get ready for the big move, each enews includes some important information from ISSofBC’s Move Coordinator, Veronica Lee. This update includes highlights of the packing and labeling instructions.

Veronica has distributed coloured labels to all staff, and each coloured label identifies a particular floor (Orange - 1st flr; Green - 2nd flr; Blue - 3rd flr; Red - 6th flr). So don’t trade labels with your colleagues or mix & match colours. These labels are extremely important as everything that is to be moved must have a label.

Packing and labeling instructions have been issued as follows:


The moving company will provide the eCrates (boxes).
  • Desks - Empty desks and pack the contents. Place loose small items (e.g. pens, paper clips, etc.) in an envelope or plastic bag, and pack them away.
  • Bookcases - Place all the removable shelves to the bottom and remove the shelf pins. Place the pins in an envelope, and pack them away.
  • File cabinets - Vertical and lateral cabinets may be moved with only the bottom two drawers loaded, and other drawers empty. Pack the contents from these other drawers. If your cabinets are placed in a row, label them with alpha sub-code to ensure they will be placed in the proper order (i.e. 8A, 8B, 8C, etc.).
  • Storage cabinets - Pack all the contents.
  • Lock or unlock cabinets and drawers - Lock cabinets if you have the key. If not, movers will tape the drawers shut.
  • Keys - Do not leave keys in the lock or drawer; pack them in the eCrate. Movers are not responsible for damage or loss of keys.
  • Boards - These can be left hanging on the walls, place a label on the bottom right hand corner of the board.
  • Computer and computer peripherals (e.g. keyboard, mouse, etc.) - Contractor will pack them.
  • Telephones - Contractor will pack them.
  • Breakable Items - Protect with paper and properly pack.
  • Personal Items (e.g. pictures, plants, ornaments, etc.) - Take them home prior to the move.
  • Use your assigned colour label - Clearly label everything that is to be moved with your name, room # and floor. Do not use other colors.
  • Affix labels to the ends of each box, not to the sides or tops.
  • Label the plastic bags provided for the computer peripherals and telephones.
  • Don’t forget to label frequently overlooked items such as waste baskets, keyboard trays, desk pads and paper trays.
And a final reminder that everything to be moved must have a label (including furniture you are getting from other staff).
ISSofBC Welcome Centre is located at 2610 Victoria Drive, Vancouver BC, V5N 4L2. Click on the address to view the location on google maps.
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Immigrant Services Society of BC, 2610 Victoria Drive, Vancouver, BC V5N 4L2, Canada
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