Victoria Sketch Club
Senior Celebration Festival Report
Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition
CELEBRATING SENIORS IN OUR COMMUNITY Photo: Laura Leyshon
Performers delighted the crowds in a funfilled day at Senior Living magazine’s 2nd Annual Senior Celebration Festival. Read story on page 14. COVER PHOTO: Members of the Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition’s The Chain Gang. Read their story on page 6. Photo: Bill Reilly Publisher Barbara Risto Editor Bobbie Jo Sheriff Contributors Norman K. Archer, Pablo Archero, Rhonda Birtwhistle, Goldie Carlow, Gipp Forster,W. Ruth Kozak, Louise Latremouille, Laura Leyshon, Christel Martin, Mayo McDonough, Starr Munro, Pat Nichol, Enise Olding, Mathieu Powell, Kathy Reilly, Michael Rice,Vernice Shostal, Barb Small, Peter J. Smith, Kathleen Zaharuk Design Barbara Risto, Bobbie Jo Sheriff Proofreader Allyson Mantle Advertising Manager Barry Risto For advertising information, call 479-4705 Ad Sales Staff IMG Innovative Media Group (Victoria) Mathieu Powell 250-704-6288 John Dubay 250-294-9700 Ann Lester (Nanaimo) 250-390-1805 Barry Risto (Vancouver) 250-479-4705 Glynn Currie (Nanaimo) 250-327-8005 Distribution Ron Bannerman, Jim Gahr, Bob O’Neill, Ron Peck, Lorraine Rhode, Barry Risto, Betty Risto, Ted Sheaff, Mark Stratford, Tanya Turner Contact Information Senior Living, 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave.,Victoria BC V8T 2C1 Phone 250-479-4705 Fax 250-479-4808 E-mail (General) email@example.com (Editorial) firstname.lastname@example.org Web site www.seniorlivingmag.com Subscriptions $32 (includes GST) for 10 issues. Canadian residents only. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Senior Living is an independent publication and its articles imply no endorsement of any products or services. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publisher. Unsolicited articles are welcome and should be e-mailed to email@example.com Senior Living Vancouver Island is distributed free throughout Vancouver Island. Stratis Publishing Ltd. publishes Senior Living Vancouver Island (10 issues per year), the Housing Guide (January & July) and Senior Living Vancouver & Lower Mainland (6 issues per year). ISSN 1710-3584 (Print) ISSN 1911-6403 (Online)
FEATURES 2 La Dolce Vita
Fred Colussi lives the “sweet life” in Port Alberni.
6 The Chain Gang Nanaimo cyclists advocate for safer roads for every mode of transportation.
8 The Art of Balance
Departments 10 VICTORIA’S PAST REVISITED Governor Richard Blanshard
38 TASTY TRADITIONS Fond memories and heritage recipes
46 AUTHOR Lyn Hancock
Maintaining physical balance into old age.
12 All Things Musical
4 The Family Caregiver Barbara Small
Judith McIvor lives a musical life as the leader of the Duncan Probus Choir.
26 Ask Goldie
28 Scam Alert
Annual Festival showcases activities and lifestyles for seniors.
18 Life Fully Lived
Goldie Carlow Mayo McDonough
36 Courageous & Outrageous Pat Nichol
Tony Phillips-Montgomery’s reflections on life in Always Up in the Air.
37 Bygone Treasures
48 Just Rambling
Members of the Printmakers Only Group maintain a traditional art.
24 Something for Everyone The Juan de Fuca Senior Citizens Association offers numerous hobbies and interests to keep seniors active.
30 Senior Living Character
Michael Rice Gipp Forster
and nd... Home Support Directory 34 Crossword 39 Classifieds 42 Events 44
Retired violinist Uldis Lepmanis continues to conquer mountains.
40 Creative Play
Western Canada’s oldest art group is still going strong 98 years later.
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LA DOLCE VITA BY KATHLEEN ZAHARUK
Photo: Kathleen Zaharuk
orn March 8, 1925, Ferruccio Colussi (a.k.a. Fred) was the third son and the fourth child in a family of 11 siblings. His birthplace, Casarsa, Northern Italy, approximately 100 km from Venice, continues to sustain itself primarily through farming and winemaking. “What I remember most is our home always being filled with people,” says Fred. “There were 14 of us altogether. My unmarried aunt and my grandfather lived under the same roof. We did not have a great deal of money, but we were fortunate that my father had a steady job as a bookkeeper and worked until over 70 years of age. We also owned land, a few cows and a horse. Although we didn’t have much, we always had food to eat and a roof over our heads.” At 18, Fred became employed as a millwright for three years during the Second World War. He avoided enlistment because of his age, too young by four months, however, after the war he was conscripted for a year. When the veterans returned, Fred lost his job as a millwright and moved to Belgium to work in the coal mines for a few years before he returned to Italy. “My older sister had already moved to Trail, B.C. and because she was willing to sponsor me, I jumped at the opportunity to begin a new life. I looked forward to steady employment and the resulting security of having a regular paycheque.” But life in Trail fell short of Fred’s expectations. Unemployed for seven months, he finally landed a job in a dry cleaning shop, earning 75 cents an hour. “I was good and ready to make a
change when I heard, through a priest I had met, about the abundance of forestry and construction jobs in Port Alberni. Four of us quit our jobs and came to Port Alberni in 1955. I still keep in touch with two of those men. One was best man at my wedding and now lives in Coquitlam. The other is a neighbour and friend to this day.” Fred worked as a labourer for 18 years at the plywood factory. He takes great pride in the fact that, at age 45, he apprenticed and received his journeyman ticket in welding. Until his retirement at 65, he was a certified welder for Alberni Plywood. He recalls the 1964 tsunami in Port Alberni. He had taken his wife and children to higher ground and returned to witness the water rolling up his street, getting ever closer, only to stop directly across the street from his home. “It was like Venice,” he says. “There was water everywhere and the houses
just up the street were [submerged]. I remember building a fire and hosting several of my neighbours to food and warmth. It was a frightening, almost surreal experience. I believe the only reason there were not deaths, as a result of the tidal wave, was the time at which it occurred.” The first wave of the tsunami hit at about 10 p.m. on a Sunday night. The second wave hit around midnight. Most people were home in bed, asleep. Families awoke surrounded by water, but lives were spared. Fred says this year’s storms were more frightening than the ’64 tsunami. “I could see and hear the swaying of the trees in my own backyard, which was an indication of the magnitude and force of the wind.” As part of an active, healthy lifestyle, Fred continues to follow some of his homeland’s traditions, including making wine, sometimes using grapes he grows
SENIOR SENIORLIVING LIVING
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in his bountiful garden. This award-winning winemaker enjoys the fruits of his labour in front of his fireplace stocked with wood he chops himself. His well-tended garden also offers vegetables and herbs he uses as head chef for family gatherings. To round out his days, Fred remains active in the community as a member of the Italian Club where he plays bocci ball and cards. During Saturday night dances at the Canadian Legion, he practises his dance routines. And every day, rain or shine, he ventures out for a onehour walk to keep his body limber and his mind clear. “I enjoy an active life. I gave up smoking years ago, eat a diet consisting mainly of fresh food without preservatives, and I eat with gusto! I am one of the lucky ones who has been fortunate to have had a life free of serious illness. I realize no one lives forever, and I am grateful for each day. I am happy to be able to live life with my mind and body fully functioning. It is la dolce vita – the SL sweet life!”
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THE FAMILY CAREGIVER
Preparing for the Move to a Care Facility
reparation ahead of time can make the move from home to a long-term care facility emotionally and practically easier. As caregiver, your focus will likely be on what the move means for your family member, but it is also important to recognize the major change you will experience. Expect a broad range of emotions. These could include guilt, or possibly relief that the responsibility of care is no longer solely on your shoulders. You may even have second thoughts about your decision. These are all normal reactions. Remind yourself that it may no longer be safe for your family member to live at home and you alone may be unable to provide the care they need. If there are several family members involved in the caregiving, it is helpful to have a meeting as the process unfolds, so everyone is informed. But be prepared. The process may cause mixed emotions, even if everyone has agreed it is necessary. The person moving into the facility should also be involved in the decision-making as much as possible. Fear of the unknown can make an admission more difficult. Collect as much information as possible about the facility. If time permits, visit the facility before moving day with your loved one. Meet the staff, and possibly participate in some social activities. Make a plan for the kind of support you will need during this time. Bring a friend along on moving day or plan to have someone at home when you return so you are not alone. On the more practical side, ask the facility for information on room sizes, furnishings provided by the facility and any limitations on the type or amount of personal belongings that can be brought in. These guidelines will often be
BY BARBARA SMALL
dependent on the facility, the set-up of the room and the care your family member requires. Objects brought from home, such as photographs, favourite items and books help a person feel more comfortable in his or her new surroundings. More clothing than usual may be needed due to laundry cycles. Try to avoid clothes that require special care and ensure clothing is easy to put on and take off. Label all clothing. Some facilities have their own method for attaching labels, which remain intact during laundering. To avoid loss, also mark (with permanent ink) the following items with your family member’s name: glasses, dentures, hearing aids, canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. Review with the staff the kind of care you provided – what worked and what didn’t. Your valuable information will help the facility staff create a care plan. While the caregiving role shifts upon facility placement, caregiving does not end. Your loved one’s personal care will be provided by someone else, but you will still provide emotional support, visit, advocate for them and perhaps take them to appointments. Next month: Creating Wellness and a Balanced Life SL
Barbara Small is Program Development Coordinator for Family Caregivers’ Network Society.
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TThe Chain Gang
an (John) Van Beek, Dave Beer, Jim Kirby and Debby Keith have been working on The Chain Gang. Far from wearing leg irons and black-and-white stripes or doing hard time, the members of this Chain Gang dress in brightly coloured spandex (stripes optional) and pedal. And they’re hoping more people will join them! Debby, Jim, John and Dave are members of the Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition, a group of cyclists ranging in age from children to octogenarians. As members of The Chain Gang, they ride every Sunday, weather permitting, usually around the Nanaimo area. They never travel faster than the slowest cyclist, and no one is left behind. “We’re very social, not a bunch of racing cyclists,” says Dave. John agrees: “Midway through our ride, we stop at a pub.” Longer trips are usually scheduled in advance. The Chain Gang has taken B.C. Ferry to Horseshoe Bay, ridden along Vancouver’s John van Beek’s (front left) 90km 82nd Birthday Ride. quieter streets, lanes, trails and dikes to becoming organized and developing an advocacy group [in NanTsawwassen and then ferried back to Duke Point. The Chain Gang also carpools to favourite spots like Skutz aimo],” says John, one of the founding members. The Vancouver Falls, then cycles the Trans-Canada Trail to the Kinsol Trestle Area (VACC) and Greater Victoria (GVCC) already had cycling near Shawnigan Lake and back to Skutz Falls. A 54 km round coalitions and “we felt it was time to have one here, too.” As trip on an old, tree-lined railway grade, there is no traffic apart members of the British Columbia Cycling Coalition, they meet from pedestrians, so if they pack a lunch – even inexperienced with communities, regional districts, bus and railway companies and the Ministry of Transport advocating for cyclists. cyclists can spend a pleasant day. The GNCC advises the City of Nanaimo about cycling safety While The Chain Gang is the social arm of the GNCC, the organization has a more serious side. Founded in 1987, the GNCC issues. For example, some of Nanaimo’s streets were notoriously consisted of “a bunch of bicycle enthusiasts who saw a need for narrow in areas, such as the Quarterway Bridge on Bowen Road.
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Photo: GNCC Collection
BY CHRISTEL MARTIN
Photo: GNCC Collection
Because of GNCC advocacy, Bowen Road and the bridge were widened. “Now there are Share the Road symbols all along there,” says Debby. The City consults GNCC about road maintenance and cycling standards. Worn and potholed shoulders don’t affect cars, but they can be fatal to cyclists. When the Nanaimo Parkway was being planned, the City wanted a multi-use trail for pedestrians and cyclists alongside it. GNCC supported that initiative, then helped push for the E&N Trail, a paved path adjacent to the railway tracks on the former CPR (now Island Corridor Foundation) right of way. Now that the ICF owns the rail lines, GNCC and communities throughout Vancouver Island are working for continuous trails, just like Nanaimo’s. John wants Canadian trains to accept bicycles the same way their European counterparts do: by putting them in a separate baggage car. Cyclists could board the train in Victoria, ride to Parksville, take the Alberni Pacific “Steam” Railway to Port Alberni, visit the National Historic Site at McLean’s Steam Sawmill, cycle to Tofino and back, then catch the train or ride along adjacent trails toward their next adventure. John also wishes Canadian bus companies would take the same attitude toward bicycles as European ones do. Then cyclists could load their bikes on a bus without first having to dismantle and box it – providing their own box – and ship it as freight. Island Coach Lines/Greyhound won’t guarantee that cargo will travel on the same bus as the passenger, or even to the same depot (Vancouver freight and passenger terminals are several blocks apart). Thanks to GNCC advocacy, city buses have bicycle carriers. Another part of GNCC’s mandate is cyclist education, much welcomed by Nanaimo’s Manager of Parks Richard Harding. He says many cyclists act like pedestrians: they ride on sidewalks, ride against the flow of traffic, and cross lanes without consideration for motor vehicles’ much longer stopping distance and drivers’ inability to see small moving objects – all this while wearing dark clothing and no helmets! RCMP Traffic Sgt. Mike Legassicke agrees. He says that although many cyclists have driv-
ers’ licences, they forget driving rules when they mount their bicycles. Some people don’t know bicycles fall under the Motor Vehicles Act and are subject to the same rules of the road. Unfortunately, there’s minimal enforcement and when cyclists do get a ticket, it’s usually after they’ve caused an accident. Since cyclists are the most vulnerable, they’re most likely to get injured, too. Both Legassicke and Harding agree that the GNCC does a fine job educating cyclists. Together with Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Culture, GNCC cycling instructor and physiotherapist Taryn Langford teaches Can Bike, a course in how to ride in traffic and survive, how the rules of the road pertain to bikes, simple maintenance and fitting the bike to the rider’s body. Debby credits Can Bike with giving her the confidence to find her passion. Debby’s siblings have myotonia, a muscular disease that prevents them from participating in athletic activities so, like them, she’d rarely ridden a bike. “It wasn’t until I was an adult I realized I’m not physically handicapped, I’m only psychologically handicapped by being raised as though I was.” Shortly after her 40th birthday, Debby took Can Bike One. Until then, whenever something “felt scary to me, I would panic and fall over.” John says: “You should see this girl bike now.” In 2005, “this girl,” a retired social worker and Jim, a retired forestry firefighter, cycled the coast of Australia. Debby and Jim have cycled to Nelson and the Columbia Ice Fields, explored Nova Scotia, and cycle-toured the islands of Hawaii and Cuba. As this issue goes to press, they’re exploring Mexico. In 2006, John, Jim and Debby cycletoured Ireland, France and Spain, taking the pilgrims’ Santiago de Compostela trail. Later this year, they’re touring the Netherlands, John’s homeland. Debby proves anyone, not just an ex-marathoner like her partner Jim, can learn to cycle safely and well. If you long to feel sun on your face and wind in your hair, grab that dusty
old bike in the garage and come to one of the GNCC’s safe cycling classes. You may find your passion, too. For more information about the Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition, or safe cycling, visit: • www.thegncc.org • www.nanaimo.ca • www.bccc.bc.ca • www.cyclingsolutions.ca • www.icbc.com/youth/pdf/bikesmarts. pdf Cycling Traffic Skills Course for Adults (Nanaimo) – April 29. Learn how to ride more safely and comfortably in traffic; taught by an experienced CAN-BIKE 2 cycling instructor. Nocost workshop (9 am to noon), on-bike/ on-road training ($35, 12:30 to 5:00 pm). Do you know a child aged 10–14 who would benefit from cycling training? An all-day course is being held on Monday, April 30. Cost is $30 per student. Space is limited. Details/registration online at www.CyclingSolutions.ca/nanaimo or by calling 250-721-2800. SL
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The Art of Balance B
alance, in any area of life, is often more evident by its lack than its presence. Physical balance, effortless when young, becomes harder to maintain as one ages. People start to trip over small irregularities in the pavement; turn their heads quickly and the world spins; stand still with eyes closed and reel as though intoxicated. Restriction of physical activity for fear of falling feels safer, but it is the worst thing to do. “Use it or lose it” is as true of balance as of any other physical function. Balance comprises three sensory systems working in harmony. Proprioception receptors in muscles, tendons and joints constantly respond to movement and tension through feedback with the brain. The vestibular system in the inner ear transmits information about orientation in space, combines with proprioception to keep people upright and with vision to keep objects in focus as the head moves. These systems deteriorate with age and lack of use, and therefore require more conscious focus on balance. But these systems can be strengthened. The following are some resources available in the Victoria area that may help improve and maintain balance. Vestibular Therapy: People who suffer from dizziness, which is not related to medication, can benefit from a specialized form of physiotherapy called vestibular therapy. Physiotherapist Lorelei Lew often sees complex cases that result from accidents or neurological diseases, as well as those with dizziness caused by ear problems such as viral infections, benign positional vertigo or age-related degeneration. “With ear problems, we are mostly retraining the brain,” says Lew. “It is very satisfying because people get a lot better. With other conditions, it is a mixed bag. For some, it is teaching them how to cope, for others it is more curative – getting the dizziness down and the balance better.” Most patients with balance problems due to age-related degeneration visit Lew for about four sessions and learn exercises that help recalibrate the vestibular nerve and strengthen proprioception. During this time, patients perform exercises daily from home, then continue them three times a week in order to maintain improvement. The Royal Jubilee Geriatric Out-Patient Clinic (GOPC): This recently expanded clinic consists of a team of physiotherapists, rehabilitation assistants, nurses, social workers and an occupational therapist, who work together to keep their clients safely active and living at home. There is no charge to attend. Patients are referred to the GOPC by a geriatrician, but may also attend following referral by their physician to VIHA’s single-entry system for geriatric services. Michael Pohlmann, a GOPC physiotherapist, says that after the clinic receives the referral, patients are usually contacted within 8
BY RHONDA BIRTWHISTLE
a week. Patients requiring physiotherapy are given individualized exercises to improve stamina, strength and active control of their muscles, and, if necessary, receive basic vestibular therapy. They may see a physiotherapist one-on-one, join a circuit-training class or both; the schedule depends on their energy level. Patients with an active lifestyle may come to the clinic for only one visit. Inactive patients may come up to three times a week for a couple of months. “I’ll bring some seniors in for 30 minutes, maybe three times a week, before or between classes,” says Pohlmann. “We may not be exercising for all that time, but they are slowly building up their stamina. Their homework is then to do some active walking with their spouse or caregiver – but also to make sure they are resting enough.” Community-Based Activities: Both Lew and Pohlmann say that keeping physically active is crucial to maintaining balance into old age, but they stress safety. Lew suggests that people who can no longer bend from a standing position to pick items off the floor do so while sitting – provided they can do this safely. Pohlmann says some people initially resist using walkers that will enable them to safely increase their activity, but then find the added mobility opens up new opportunities. Both therapists emphasize the use of community-based activities such as walking, yoga, tai chi and exercises in a pool or gym. For those who have not been to an exercise class for years, deciding where to start can be daunting. Senior’s yoga, tai chi or exercise classes can be found in the Silver Threads’ publication, Seniors Moments. Recreation Centres provide calendars of classes, and each centre has a Recreation Co-ordinator who can help people find the best option for their needs. The Yakimovich Wellness Centre has an eight-week course, Living Actively in Your Community: Steps to Connect, starting April 3, that introduces seniors to the use of recreation centres. Dr. Elaine Gallagher, Associate Director of The Centre on Aging at UVic says, “Poor balance is the number one risk factor for falls. However, some major U.S. studies done in the 1990s on healthy seniors showed that tai chi stood out among all the other environmental things people could do, as the best exercise for preventing falls. The Taoist Tai Chi Society, a non-profit organization, holds classes to teach a set of tai chi moves and offers health recovery classes, where the emphasis is on using tai chi to improve overall health, including balance. People in this group proceed at their own pace. They are encouraged to stand as much as possible, but can also exercise while seated. Yoga also helps people improve their balance and provides other health-related benefits. Different types of yoga may vary in focus and intensity. Speak to the instructor before signing up. And always check with a physician before starting any new exercise SL program.
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VICTORIA’S Past REVISITED “N othing” may be an unfair summary of the first Governor of the colony of Vancouver’s Island’s achievements, but it comes close. He arrived with a flourish. As the two-masted H.M.S. Driver sailed into port in March 1850, there was a somewhat half-hearted gun salute. This was probably the most impressive event of his short and sour tenure. Without doubt, Richard Blanshard was deceived. Unquestionably naïve and more than a little gullible, he was born on October 19, 1817, the son of a wealthy London merchant. He graduated from Cambridge University with a master of arts degree and completed his training as a lawyer, but never took any interest in pursuing law. In fact, travel was much more to his liking and he served a term in the British Army in India. At 32, some strings were pulled on his behalf and in July 1849 he was appointed Colonial Governor of Vancouver’s Island; a posting that went wrong from the beginning. A series of delays before he set sail meant he did not assume office until almost a year later. He knew there was to be no salary, but the promise of a furnished Governor’s Mansion, together with 1,000 acres of farmland would support him comfortably.
The Man Who Did Nothing
His manner was quiet and polite, without any trace of pomposity. This was in marked contrast to the man who was his future archrival in the struggle for power, James Douglas, the Chief Factor for the Hudson’s Bay Company Fort. Blanshard, described as a “great smoker and a great sportsman,” was a thoroughly decent young man, even if a bit on the dull and melancholy side. He was no match for the conniving of those who were determined to make life difficult for him. The welcome he received was about as warm as the weather on that cold March day, with a foot of snow on the ground. No one greeted him officially, so he had to scurry around to find some reluctant representatives of the colony to listen to the proclamation announcing his appointment. As soon as it was over, they went back to work. Douglas was visibly displeased because he had wanted the job. Blanshard asked for the whereabouts of the Governor’s Mansion and was shown some ground on the corner of what are now Yates and Government Streets. His house would eventually be here, but unfortunately, there were not many skilled craftsmen and they were needed elsewhere, so the building had not yet begun. Clearly disappointed
and not even offered a room at the Fort, Blanshard had no alternative but to make his way back to the ship and install himself into the cramped quarters of the cabin he had just vacated. The ship, however, needed to make a run down the west coast for supplies. Blanshard sailed along with her, and returned accompanied by a flock of sheep and a herd of cattle. This unsatisfactory state of affairs continued for a month, after which, Douglas grudgingly gave him a room at the Fort. Here he soon discovered the ero Arch Pablo tion: a tr s truth of a Illu remark made later by Dr. John Helmcken: “Blanshard had all the authority, but Douglas had all the power.” The Governor had arrived to govern a colony with no colonists, only Hudson’s Bay Company employees, who were fiercely loyal to their autocratic Chief Factor. Douglas, encouraged by London to make the situation in the colony conducive to English immigrants, dragged his feet be-
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Governor Richard Blanshard BY NORMAN K. ARCHER
cause it was clearly not in his best interests to do so since he would lose the total control he enjoyed over his employees. Furthermore, the Hudson’s Bay Company was extremely powerful and well established. Humourists remarked that “HBC” really stood for “Here Before Christ.” Out of his depths and at his wits end, Blanshard made inquiries about the promised 1,000 acres of land. He received vague answers and was shocked that the land was only his to use while he was Governor, after which it would revert to the Hudson’s Bay Company. He was also told that there were no farmhands available to work the land, so it was useless to him. Blanshard was unwelcome and made to feel an interloper in a situation that worked perfectly well until he appeared. Douglas consistently ignored his suggestions and spurned his recommendations. After considerable urging by the Governor who was losing patience, the “mansion” was finally completed – all 800 square feet of it! Its four tiny rooms fell far short of expectations and were hopelessly inadequate for any civic receptions. This was the last straw. Blanshard’s money was running out, the cost of supplies at the Hudson’s Bay Store – the only store in Victoria – was pro-
hibitively high and there was neither income nor adequate housing. Blanshard threw up his hands in frustration and tendered his resignation to London on November 18, 1850, after only seven months in office. But the Colonial Office was in no hurry to accept it. While awaiting his answer, he was suddenly propelled into a flurry of excitement over a coal mining dispute at Fort Rupert on the northern tip of the Island. The mines, along with every other business, belonged to the Hudson’s Bay Company. Miners were leaving to venture to the goldfields in California and disputes escalated; natives murdered two miners. Blanshard hurried to the scene and dealt poorly with the matter, destroying a whole native village and summarily executing those he assumed were the offenders. When he returned to Victoria, he found a growing restlessness among the settlers tired of the James Douglas’ autocratic methods. Realizing Blanshard had issues with Douglas, the disgruntled settlers recruited him as a powerful ally. The situation between the two men became bitter and all Blanshard wanted was to go home. His health was failing. He developed tic douloureux and had recurring bouts of malaria.
Blanshard’s inconspicuous career as Governor was fraught with errors and miscalculations and so too was the street named after him. A surveyor’s error resulted in two segments of the street not jibing correctly at the intersection with Pandora Avenue. Originally, there was an awkward jog in the road until subsequent planners turned the blunder into a sweeping curve. Finally in September 1851, he received word from London that his resignation was accepted and he took the first available ship back to England. He carried with him the petitions of the unhappy residents, together with blistering reports he had written, attacking the Hudson’s Bay Company, in general, and James Douglas, in particular. The reports were carefully documented and persuasive and left no doubt that, in his opinion, the current state of affairs where Douglas operated, as a virtual dictator, could not be allowed to continue. But his words fell on deaf ears. The next Governor appointed by the Colonial Office was James Douglas. SL
Norman Archer is an historical city tour guide in Victoria and the author of Tales of Old Victoria.
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ALL THINGS MUSICAL STORY AND PHOTO BY ENISE OLDING
hen she was 12 years old, Judith McIvor heard a high school choir sing so beautifully it sent shivers down her spine. “It became a dream of mine to be in a choir like that or to lead such a choir,” she says. Now, as the soaring voices of 14 female members of The Probus Choir join in a practice session, Judith realizes her dream has come true. Growing up with music all around her, Judith spent her early years in Vancouver and later in Nelson. “My dad was my mentor and kept me at it; he’d sit beside me while I practised the piano,” she says. Judith’s father was a choir leader, and Judith belonged to two choirs. She later spent some time at the Banff School
of Fine Arts, and eventually became a piano teacher, a junior choir director, a church organist and a choir leader for 10 years. When Judith married Scott, a banker, they moved around the province, lived everywhere from the Kootenays to Vancouver and eventually settled in the Cowichan Valley. “I love writing, reading, yoga, walking, boating and gardening - I adore flowers,” says Judith. And the Valley has been a great place for her to pursue these interests. Through all the moves and the demands of their growing family, Judith’s involvement in, and love of, all things musical is the constant theme by which she lives her life. When her four children were grown, Judith set about formalizing her musical education.
As unlikely as it might seem, the Duncan Probus Club, of which the McIvors are members, turned out to be the perfect starting point for Judith’s next musical challenge. A choir. “I wanted to cut down on piano teaching and embark on a new musical adventure,” says Judith. “Singing is visceral, much more so than anything else – you sing with your whole body.” So when the idea of a choir came to light, Judith invited everyone in the club she thought would be interested to an exploratory meeting. From there, a fledgling group of 10 women with a common love of music came together. Many had self-doubts as they had never been in an adult choir, and didn’t even read music. But they vigorously embraced the musical challenges and, as a result, have grown into a cohesive, sup-
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portive group that exudes confidence and joy. The members’ backgrounds are varied: a commercial fisher, teachers, nurses, a medical technician and a renowned calligraphy artist. “We enjoy the camaraderie,” says Judith. “We all want to bring a certain amount of happiness to people.” At the same time, they support each other by blending their voices together with personality. Since its early days, the choir members have steadily increased, and they perform regularly at Club meetings. The choir takes up no more than 10 minutes per Probus meeting because they adopted the wisdom of Judith’s father: “Always leave them wanting more!” Between the Club’s other business and special guest speaker, the choir performs a medley of songs carefully chosen and rehearsed. Members say, “We care about how we look and try to theme our appearances to the type of music being sung, but we don’t wear uniforms or matching outfits.” Every choir member contributes in a different way; the computer experts keep the business and research on the move; another lends her home for rehearsals; and they all provide input to the performance theme. Apart from the Probus Club, the choir sometimes performs for the public, including a rendition of “Oh Canada” at hockey games. No matter where the next gig takes them, the choir embarks on their practice sessions with such a collective creative enthusiasm that bursting into song seems natural. Following lively and humour-laden discussion of the songs, melodies, nuances, choreography and other intricacies involved in the upcoming performance, the group energetically assembles to await the appropriate tone emitted by Judith’s silver pitch pipe. Then they do what they love best and break into glorious song. Judith, with her calm, patient and gracious, yet commanding presence leads the singers through the repertoire and on to a satisfying performance. “We want to do a good job,” she says, “but we’re not perfectionists.” SL
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Photo: Starr Munro
Munro Photo: Starr
the musical styles of the Courtenay Evergreen Choristers, the Swingin Strings Ukulele Band and the Pension-Aires Barbershop Quartet (to name only a few of the performance groups in attendance), visitors of all ages found themselves thoroughly entertained. Between pauses in the stage performance, many festival attendees took time to enjoy a snack and peruse the exhibition booths. On hand to visit with guests were characters profiled in past issues of Senior Living magazine. Everyone from authors, to musicians, to actors and performers were readily available. As well, a number of vendors, craftspeople, travel agents and seniors housing and care providers presented colourful products, banners, displays and information kits. For many festival attendees the great variety of activities and people to see made for a busy day. “My daughter told me about the festival,” said Hanni Iaonnides, festival visitor. “I feel I have only just got here, and it is already about to wrap up. There is a lot of information here. I didn’t realize there would be so many interesting things to X
Photo: Laura Leyshon
nformation, music, dancing and laughter marked the 2nd Annual Senior Celebration Festival. Hosted March 9 at the Pearkes Recreation Centre in Victoria by Senior Living magazine, the Festival showcased a variety of activities and lifestyle options available for those 55 plus. Artists, musicians, craftspeople, social clubs, community organizations and seniors’ service providers were on hand to share talents, information and resources available in the local senior community. Over 100 exhibits and a dozen performance groups kept over 2,500 visitors informed, inspired and entertained. Senior Living columnist and motivational speaker Pat Nichol amused visitors and kept the performance stage on time, as Master of Ceremonies. “The great thing about the performances we’ve seen here today,” said Nichol, “is that there has been something here every one of us can relate to.” From dance performances by the Monterey Tappers, the Silver Senioritas and the Victoria Ballroom Dance Society, to
3/23/2007 4:37:04 PM
Photo: Starr Munro
We got RESULTS from Senior Living magazine!
THANK YOU Senior Living wishes to acknowledge many people who contributed to the success of the 2007 Senior Celebration Festival.
“Over the last 2 years, Senior Living magazine has been an integral part of our overall advertising strategy. Our other sources do provide us with a greater volume of qualified leads, but Senior Living magazine is second to none in sales, resulting in new residents joining our community. In the senior living industry, medical professional referral sources are considered the most successful. Senior Living magazine referrals are now rivalling that impressive statistic.” Shelly Pendlebury Director of Community Relations
First, all the talented performers who gave voluntarily of their time to provide a full day of enjoyable entertainment. We would also like to express our gratitude to the following businesses who contributed in a variety of ways: The Municipality of Saanich, CFAX Radio, Times Colonist, Island Displays, BC Ferries, Pacific Audio Works, Tom Lee Music, St. John Ambulance, Kettle Catering, A&W, Swiss Chalet, Kelsey’s Restaurant, Seattle Clipper, Tillicum Mall, Coast Hotels, CH TV, Shaw Cable, A Channel, News Group, Greater Victoria Eldercare Foundation, Berwick Retirement Communities and Attractions Magazine. Thank you to Master of Ceremonies Pat Nichol. A big thanks to all the volunteers, especially Gail Fattore and Karen Brantley for doing such an excellent job of running the administrative and information booth. Thanks also to Saanich Volunteer Services for providing a number of volunteers to help us out. Thank you to Bill Cove for organizing all the buses from North Island. Also Linda Moore of Campbell River Parks & Recreation, Taim Rose of Port Alberni Echo Sunshine Club, Sheila Jackson of Qualicum Seniors and Edna Hahn of Parksville Happy Wanderers Travel for their assistance with organizing and filling the buses.
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Thank you to our Senior Living staff who helped out in so many ways, and organizers Sandy Munro and Anna Haney, whose efforts kept all the pieces together. Thank you to photographers Laura Leyshon, Starr Munro and Mathieu Powell for documenting the event. Our appreciation to all the senior exhibitors, and supporting businesses and organizations. It’s your participation that made this festival possible. Finally, thank you to each and every visitor who attended. In Gratitude, Barbara & Barry Risto, Publishers Senior Living magazine
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see. This event is very important. Not all seniors get the chance to get out, to find out all this information. Here, everything is all in one place. The information is easy to access, and people are so friendly.” Guests to the festival travelled from as far north as Campbell River to partake in the celebration activities. Douglas and Audrey Best caught a bus from Nanaimo for the event. “We saw the show advertised in the magazine and thought we would come see what it was all about,” said Audrey. “We’ve collected a whole bag of information about seniors’ activities. We’re mostly interested in information about seniors travel groups, and we were able to find a lot of information here.” Frank Pernigoni and his wife came from Cobble Hill to check out the festivities. “It’s nice to get out, and go for a stroll,” said Frank. “I’m enjoying the music and entertainment. It’s nice also to see what people my own age are doing, and nice as well to meet some younger people. Meeting them helps to make sure I don’t get fossilized!” Robert Law, activity coordinator at Photo: Starr Munro
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Glengarry Hospital used the Senior Celebration Festival as an opportunity to organize a special residents outing. Sitting in the performance area enjoying the entertainment, Robert smiled and clapped as the Vancouver Island Scottish Country Dance Society performers wrapped up their final number. “This is the first time I’ve come to this event. Not only are the residents with me enjoying the exhibits and entertainment, but [also] they are here meeting people and friends that some of them haven’t had the chance to see in a while,” said Robert. “And as an activity co-ordinator, this event is a great opportunity as well for me to see what activities are out there that might be of interest to seniors.” Networking and meeting new people was as much an important part of the Seniors Celebration Festival for the exhibitors as it was for the guests. “I’m truly amazed at how much there is out there in terms of a senior’s community,” said newly published author Ken Merkley. “When you retire it is definitely not the end of life. As an author, I’m sitting here with other authors not only selling our books but, even more importantly, sharing ideas about printing and publishing and our experience as authors.” “This festival is so wonderful,” said exhibitor Joyce Sandilands. “The diversity of it, so many people to talk to. We’ve had so many people coming to our booth to chat that I haven’t had much chance to get out to all the great displays, myself. I’m a big fan of Senior Living magazine, and this festival, it sums up and brings to life the essence of the magazine. The amazing stories of seniors are magnified at a show like SL this.”
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LIFE FULLY LIVED BY LAURA LEYSHON
in the air, Tony decided to leave her career as a stewardess. On the ground, she worked in reservations and fell in love with a married man. To get over him, Tony decided to leave her job and the country. “I chose Canada, where I knew no one; by emigrating, I was fulfilling a prophecy,” she says. A few weeks before she left for Vancouver, she heard from Pip, a man she had met briefly at a tube station. The two went for dinner and by the end of the meal, the virtual strangers knew they were destined for marriage. So, when Tony left for Vancouver, and Pip for Malaya, their three-year engagement began. “I told Pip I would go to Vancouver for a while, and if my parents eventually emigrated from England, I would get them settled in and we’d take it from there.” Pip agreed. After Tony’s parents settled in Canada, she left for Malaya, married Pip and got a job as an announcer at an English radio station. The couple eventually moved back to London before returning to Canada, where Tony gave birth. When her daughter was old enough, Tony decided to school her in England. Mother and child travelled back and forth between their two countries. When Tony and her Photo: Laura Leyshon
ith sparkling eyes and a youthful appearance, Tony PhillipsMontgomery is young at heart. When her daughter was a child, she asked her mom about the “old days.” The innocent question spurred Tony to write her memoirs for her daughter and her grandchildren. Always Up in the Air is a compilation of a lifetime of experiences that span more than eight decades. And while her story reads like a well-crafted novel, Tony concedes that life is sometimes more remarkable than fiction. “Things that happened were not of this world,” she says. “But it was real, very real.” At 17, Tony joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and worked through the Second World War. When the conflict ended, Tony’s mother reminded her that she had just been in a war and she should take a few weeks off. Many of Tony’s friends were marrying and settling down, trying to go back to “normal” life. But for Tony, the thought of marriage didn’t appeal. “I had met many men and had many marriage prospects, but there were too many other things to offer in life,” she says. “The time was never right for marriage; I had other plans.” Instead, she went on a job hunt, was hired as a “Stargirl” airhostess with the British South American Airways, and
travelled the world. But even in the heavens, this Stargirl felt restless. At that time, the women trained the men who, in turn, took charge. Tony and the other girls were answerable to them, but made less money. Fed up with the gender inequalities
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daughter returned to Canada for good, Pip passed away. After her husbandâ€™s death, Tony managed a hotel. One day, she heard from James, the married man sheâ€™d left behind years ago in London. His wife had also died, and he wanted to see Tony again. Their reunion led to marriage, and a new beginning in Victoria. Life and work took the couple to New York, San Francisco, Qualicum Beach, back to Victoria and then once again to Qualicum Beach. Recently, Tony moved back to Victoria â€“ her 67th move. â€œI really do feel like a gypsy,â€? she says, â€œI have never been a homebody.â€? When she decides to do something in life, she does it. â€œI donâ€™t dilly-dally!â€? Future plans: write and reflect on a life fully lived. She says a friend recently read her book and said, â€œMy goodness, you just donâ€™t stop do you â€“ and you certainly have had a lot of boyfriends, havenâ€™t you?â€? Tony replied, â€œAnd then some. You donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve told all do you?â€? She laughs, â€œI did, after all, write it for my grandchildren.â€? SL Always Up in the Air is available by e-mailing Tony at email@example.com
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