Vancouver Sun: Reconciliation is child’s play in North Vancouver with Indigenous-focused playground

Vancouver Sun article:

“When the concrete is poured this week to create the footings of a teepee in a new playground at Ridgeway Elementary School in North Vancouver, the foundation will secure more than just a physical structure.

Brad Baker, principal of the North Vancouver School District Indigenous Education Program, said the Indigenous-focused playground will support the three pathways of Indigenous education in the school district: students, educators and community members.

Most important among them, of course, is the children.

“The entry to learning is play, and for us as Indigenous people, that also means learning from the land,” said Baker. “This is a permanent example of play and learning from the land.”

Arieanna Schweber, 39, mom to two kids at Ridgeway elementary, led a $200,000 community fundraising drive to finance the project. From the beginning, the idea for a new playground was inseparable from the community’s commitment to honour the history and culture of the Skwxwú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.”

Continue reading here…

New Natural Playground Coming to Ridgeway Elementary in North Vancouver

Press Release

New Natural Playground Coming to Ridgeway Elementary in North Vancouver

Community Supported Playground Breaks Ground March 13

North Vancouver, B.C., March 5, 2021 – On March 13, 2021, Ridgeway Parent Advisory Council (PAC) and North Vancouver School District #44 will break ground on a custom natural playground at Ridgeway Elementary. “We are very excited to see these play areas come to life,” notes Arieanna Schweber, who led the project on behalf of Ridgeway PAC, “This project is the result of three years of work, collaboration, fundraising, and the amazing support of our community.”

The idea for new play spaces began in 2018 in response to growth in the student population and community around Ridgeway Elementary. Spread across two zones on the property, the new play spaces offer new opportunities for imaginative open-ended play for the school’s 610 K-7 students. Dean Yeo, Ridgeway Elementary Principal, notes “This project will create excitement for students and staff about outside learning and playing, not only during the times of this pandemic, but for years to come.”

The new playground pays respect to the natural environment, featuring five custom-designed natural log and rope play pieces designed by Projects in Place Society, a full design-to-build non-profit society helping build stronger communities through sustainable design. The play pieces were designed based upon ideas generated from Ridgeway staff, family surveys, student brainstorming events, and environmental impact assessments. The playground has been designed to be inclusive, featuring accessible recycled tire surfacing, supported by a grant from the Tire Stewardship BC (TSBC), as well as inclusive sensory musical flowers. 

“Every child deserves a great place to learn and play,” said City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan. “Outdoor spaces such as our park and playgrounds are crucial in supporting the well-being of children. The City is proud to contribute to this new natural play space and appreciates the PAC’s and School Board’s investment in this inclusive and accessible playground.”

Ridgeway PAC raised almost $200,000 towards the project, with additional in-kind donations of design services, labour, equipment and materials raising the value of the project to nearly $400,000. 

The new play spaces are the result of a “by the community, for the community” approach to development. The playground is made possible thanks to the generous in-kind labour and equipment support of Houston Landscapes, Gauthier & Associates Landscape Architects, and Natural Impressions Outdoor Play, as well as materials donated by Veratec, Specimen Trees Wholesale Nurseries Ltd., Emterra, and J K Truck & Crane. 

“At Houston Landscapes, we believe in giving back to the communities in which we live and work,” notes Jeremy Miller of Houston Landscapes, “We have been seeking out a project where our equipment, our connections to suppliers, but most importantly, our skillset could be put to use to help grow our communities and are very excited to work with the North Vancouver School District, Projects in Place, and Ridgeway PAC to bring this project to fruition.”

This project gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of North Vancouver through their Community Grant program and Living City Grant, as well as grants received from the Can.Aid.Ian Fund, held at Vancouver Foundation, and generous partner support from Anthem Properties, Cascadia Green Development, Morrison on the Park by CREO Developments, Wasserman, and Whole Foods Market. Thanks also goes to the many Friends of Ridgeway PAC who participated in fundraisers or who donated generously toward this project

The press kit and photos are available for download at 

Arieanna Schweber
Ridgeway PAC

Lisa Dalla Vecchia
Communications Manager
North Vancouver School District


Gift Card Fundraiser

Help raise money for Ridgeway PAC by buying gift cards for everyday purchases or holiday gifts from some of Canada’s largest retailers. We offer these gift cards to you at face-value, and for each gift card bought Ridgeway PAC earns rebates ranging from 2% – 10% of the purchase price of the cards. For more information click here, or view the [revised]  Parent Order Form and List of Retailers. We also hope that you will approach your employer with this fundraiser using our Letter to Employers (or consider buying gift cards from Ridgeway PAC  for your business’s employee recognition program, customer thank you(s), or in-lieu of a Holiday Gala).

Fall Food Fundraiser

Let us help you simplify your grocery shopping with 3 great food fundraisers delivered right here to Ridgeway! 

  • Moja Coffee – 400g bags of whole bean coffee freshly roasted in North Vancouver. Many varieties to choose from! 
  • Two Rivers Meats– Local, ethically-raised frozen meat boxes of ground beef, chicken, bacon, steak, or the “essentials” box. 
  • Samosas, Teas, Meals & Sauces – frozen samosas, cordon blues, chicken strips, butterfly shrimp, mussels plus some great pantry staples including butter chicken sauce, rice, chutney, and chai masala

Up to 30% of your order comes right back to Ridgeway PAC! Come to our upcoming PAC meeting on October 19th  to see how we’re trying to put this money right back into the school. 

Please follow each link above for the different food orders. Although hosted separately, you can pick up each food item at the same time / day!

Deadline: October 30th
Order Pick-Up: Nov 13th from 3:30 – 4:30pm by the gym doors (outside)

Pick Up Details:

Please note, due to COVID-19, we need to wait for the school to empty before hosting pick-up. Please enter the pick-up line from 9th Avenue (following the spaced cones) and exit along the marked path by the gym.

Please wear a mask for pick up! Thank you!

Family Photo Fundraiser

Get your family photos done early! We are excited to be working with once again with Sarah Jane Photography to offer you a Mini Photo Session right here at Ridgeway. Sarah specializes in candid portraits, capturing beautiful family moments in a natural way.

You’ll have a chance to book a 20-minute timeslot for your family photo session.

Friday, October 2 from 10am to 5pm (this is a Pro D day)
Saturday, October 3 from 10am to 5pm

The session fee per 20-minute timeslot is $50 and includes 1 digital image. You have the option to purchase 3 images for $100 or all images (usually around 15) for $250.


As a fundraiser, Ridgeway will get back the session fee for every family that books a timeslot.

* If Friday and Saturday times fill up, we will consider adding the Sunday *

COVID-19 Precautions:

Please complete a self-assessment prior to your session and only come if you pass. Please do not show up more than 5 minutes before your session and please leave after. Please wash your hands before and after your session. Common spaces (such as any benches used) will be sanitized.

PAC Meeting & AGM Sept 21

Start the new year involved and informed. We welcome you to join us for our first Ridgeway Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meeting of the year to help shape this year’s activities and priorities.

September PAC Meeting / Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Monday, September 21
7pm – 8:30pm
Join the Zoom Meeting HERE or dial 778 907 2071. Alternative dial-in numbers available here.

Meeting ID: 916 8767 4081
Passcode: 358097

The virtual meeting will open at 6:45pm to allow for some socializing / working out of any technical difficulties people have logging on. We will share a PAC Meeting Primer on Monday with all the relevant documents, voting procedures, etc.

The Ridgeway Elementary Parent Advisory Council (PAC) was created by and for parents to have a voice in matters at the school and to enrich the school experience for students and parents. COVID-19 does change what we can do (no in-person events or fun lunch, more info on this to come), but we also have a chance to decide on new ways to create and support our community.

This meeting will also include our deferred Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the election of new volunteers (see below for roles that need filling).

  • Community support / event ideas
  • Proposed budget (restricted due to the impact of COVID-19)
  • Fundraising ideas to add more back to the budget
  • Review of minutes from our last meeting
  • Elections for open positions
  • Updates from Ridgeway admin

The Ridgeway Elementary Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is a registered non-profit society. As an independent organization, it is required that we operate with at least 5 executives including President and Vice President and 3 Directors. Our organization includes the following volunteer positions:

  • President(s)
  • Vice President(s)
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Family of Schools Representative
  • District PAC Representative
  • Board of Directors (at least 3, including outgoing President)
  • Various volunteers for committees / fundraisers / tasks

All positions can be shared. We are currently looking for candidates to hold the President and Vice President positions.

Whichever position you choose, or whether you can only attend meetings or volunteer for tasks, being a part of the PAC can be an amazing experience – to meet friends, to connect within the community, and to model involvement for your kids. Most PAC ‘work’ is behind a computer and can be done at any time of day (even for those of us who work full-time!).

President / Vice President Openings

The President and Vice President positions typically oversee various volunteers / committees, manage the finances with the Treasurer, co-ordinate with school admin / teachers, host the meetings, and either do or delegate administrative tasks (email database work, newsletters, etc). The PAC is always whatever the core group of volunteers decide to make it.

The President / Vice President positions must be filled to continue to provide financial support to the teachers and students at this school.

Our bylaws dictate President and Vice president positions are held for a maximum of 2 years per volunteer. The outgoing President will be there to support both roles throughout the years ahead.

If you would like to nominate yourself for any open position, please email before the meeting (ideally!). Thank you!!

Traffic Safety Reminders

As we head back to school this month, we want to take a few moments to encourage you to choose active transportation to school or to support your child in walking to school independently. However, we know that driving is a reality for many families and that it’s important we ensure that driver behaviour is not putting our kids at risk.

We encourage you to ‘Drive to 5‘ – drive to within a five minute walking distance – and follow the safety rules of our neighbourhood (including the *new 30km/hr speed limit* on St. Andrews Ave.):

(Click the link for high resolution)

Thanks to the advocacy of parents and residents in the area, in 2019/2020 we completed a Ridgeway School Zone Safety Review with the City of North Vancouver that included an online survey, in-person open house, and traffic monitoring throughout the neighbourhood. The result of this review is a new Action Plan for Ridgeway including:

  • Phase 1 (2020 / early 2021) – More visible pedestrian crossings, diagonal diverters, expanding slow zones, street murals to draw attention to no stopping zones, curb bulges and pedestrian priority areas
  • Phase 2 (2021 / 2022) – New speed bumps, raised crosswalks, enhanced pedestrian crossings on Keith Rd

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in this process! We encourage you to review the photos for an idea of some of the improvements coming.