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MAY 2012 TM

50+ Active Living Magazine

CBC’s Science Guy Bob McDonald

PLANNED GIVING ISSUE Volunteers and Donors Celebrated

PLUS • Farewell to Shirley Valentine • Walking to a Milestone Birthday And more... WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

MAY 2012


How to feel young again: Tip No 71 – pass the popcorn. Get a (SOCIAL) life — experts agree that being social and active has many physical and emotional health benefits. Get your dose here.

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MAY 2012

Be Your Best ������������� At Any Age


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6 Grabbing Opportunities

Media’s go-to science guy made his own luck with a little ingenuity and a lot of enthusiam.

PLANNED GIVING SECTION 8 Respite Care Frees Up Families

Family caregivers enjoy a break even if they can’t afford to pay for it.

Delta Music Makers Concert Band continues to thrive after more than 25 years.

29 Camels, Fairies and Mandalas Award-winning illustrator Kristi Bridgeman finds inspiration in the natural world.

32 En Plein Air

Despite the occasional challenge, Plein Air artist Sheree Jones loves creating outdoors.

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12 Staying Connected


14 A Living Legacy

36 Travel 41 BBB Scam Alert 43 Classifieds

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17 Changing Lives

Rainbow Kitchen’s Walter Adams doesn’t just volunteer – he makes magic happen.


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27 Strutting Their Best Stuff

Volunteering at Saanich Peninsula Hospital keeps Shelagh Bell active and feeling young. Semi-retired couple spends time and money supporting this wildlife rehabilitation facility.

20 Restoring Smiles

Loving parents climb to the top of the world as loving contributors to Make-A-Wish Foundation.

23 Tell it Like it Was

Local author Naomi Beth Wakan shares her thoughts on a few of her favourite biographies.

24 Farewell to Shirley Valentine

by Barbara Small

40 Ask Goldie

by Goldie Carlow

42 Forever Young by William Thomas

44 Reflections: Then & Now by Gipp Forster

Nicola Cavendish starts to focus on her next chapter as she bids her character adieu.

Senior Living is distributed at all BC Pharmasave locations.

Cover Photo: Radio and television personality Bob McDonald. Page 6. Photo: Judee Fong Senior Living is published by Stratis Publishing. Publisher Barbara Risto Editor Bobbie Jo Reid Ad Coordinator/Designer Steffany Gundling Advertising Manager Barry Risto 250-479-4705 ext 101 For advertising information, call 250-479-4705 Ad Sales Staff Ann Lester 250-390-1805 Mathieu Powell 250-479-4705 ext 104 Barry Risto 250-479-4705 ext 101



Editorial Oct 2011.indd 1

4 The Family Caregiver

4/24/2012 5:02:05 PM

Head Office Contact Information: Box 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1 Phone 250-479-4705 Fax 250-479-4808 Toll-free 1-877-479-4705 E-mail Website Subscriptions: $32 (includes GST, postage and handling) for 12 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 editor@seniorlivingmag. com Senior Living is distributed free throughout British Columbia. Stratis Publishing Ltd. publishes Senior Living (12 issues per year). ISSN 17103584 (Print) ISSN 1911-6403 (Online)

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MAY 2012





Legal and Financial Considerations for Family Caregivers

ersonal planning involves making arrangements in advance in case you need assistance with managing your legal, financial and health-related affairs due to illness, injury or disability. It is important to ensure that the person you are caring for has taken the time to complete an Enduring Power of Attorney and a Representation Agreement. These documents help ease future decision-making, such as withdrawing money from the bank, selling a house or providing informed consent for a medical procedure. An Enduring Power of Attorney appoints a person, called an “attorney,” to make financial and legal decisions. When appointing an “attorney,” select someone trustworthy and capable of dealing with financial matters. If no Enduring Power of Attorney has been completed and a person is incapable of managing their own financial affairs, the Public Guardian and Trustee’s Office (PGT) or a court-appointed committee may be required. A Representation Agreement authorizes someone to act on person’s behalf to manage their medical affairs when they are no longer able to do so. The person making the Representation Agreement must communicate how they want to be cared for to their appointed representative. The Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre (www.nidus. ca, 604-408-7414) provides detailed information on these topics. Consult a lawyer to prepare these documents and for advice on how to best meet the needs of your specific situation. There are various financial impacts related to family caregiv-

ing. Costs include loss of income due to either illness or caregiving; home care and other medical care not subsidized by the health authority; the purchase of equipment for the care recipient; adaptions to the home; and the possible cost of facility placement if not subsidized. It is hard to predict all the costs one may incur as a family caregiver. Preparation in advance by both the care recipient and caregiver is essential to help mediate this financial burden. An effective financial plan needs to consider the many scenarios that may arise and the costs that may be sustained. Options to consider include critical illness or long-term care insurance, use of RRSPs, reverse mortgages or home equity loans. Speak to a financial advisor or your bank for more information. SL Tax credits can also offset some of these expenses. Next month: The emotional impact of caregiving May 5-11 is Family Caregiver Week in B.C. To learn more about events, visit Barbara Small is the Program Development Coordinator for Family Caregivers’ Network Society located in Victoria, BC.

The Family Caregiver column is brought to you by the generous sponsorship of Saint Elizabeth




7/18/2011 5:28:20 PM


MAY 2012




eeting Bob McDonald, the host of CBC Radio One’s Quirks and Quarks, is like meeting an old friend who not only tells entertaining stories, but shares his infectious enthusiasm and passion for life. Unsure about his early career path, Bob dropped out of university but soon realized his life had to be more than driving trucks and working construction. In 1973, his girlfriend introduced him to Toronto’s Ontario Science Centre, where she held a summer job. “It was a fabulous place,” he grins. “It combined all the things that I liked – science and entertainment.” Learning that Science World would be looking for full-time guides that September, Bob says, “I basically talked myself into that job and was hired on enthusiasm. They didn’t check my background but they liked my enthusiasm!” And so began a long career in communicating science to the public, making it fun and informative. It was the mid-’70s and NASA began sending robotics to Mars and other planets. Bob wanted to go to the Jet Propulsion Lab in California to report on the developments, but the Science Centre couldn’t afford to send him there. “I took a few days off, bought myself a ticket, wrote a letter to NASA on Science Centre stationary introducing Bob McDonald as a reporter for Canada and just went there,” he recalls. “My letter got me a press badge to get in to watch history unfolding before our eyes. It was magical.” Filled with wonder, Bob returned to Canada armed with fascinating stories to tell. “The media called up the Science Centre and asked if someone could talk about space exploration on television. I said, ‘Sure, I can do that.’ After it was done, they said, ‘Wow, you were really good. Do you want to come back and be our science guy?’ I said, ‘Sure!’ Word spread and someone else would say, 68


‘Hey, I’m doing a documentary. Would you like to do that?’ And I would say, ‘Okay.’ No one ever said to me, ‘have you done this before?’ Usually, they would say, ‘I like your stuff. Would you like to try this?’ I guess you say ‘yes’ first and then scare the pants off yourself wondering if you had bitten off more than you can chew, but it all worked out in the end.” Stripping away the scientific jargon and making science understandable to the general public comes naturally to Bob. “It’s the lost art of storytelling, which is why I enjoy working in radio because all we have are the words and sounds,” he says. “Our stories have to be clear because it’s about understanding the essence of what the scientist is doing.” “When you think about it, every week some of the smartest people on earth talk to me and tell me stories about things we didn’t know before. It allows me to see the magic of science and feel their excitement, but I didn’t have to do the work!” Besides CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, Bob’s television work includes being the “go-to-guy” for science commentaries on CBC’s The National and an occasional documentary. He also writes and produces his own documentaries, including last year’s wellreceived Magical Mystery Cures, about the anti-aging industry. “There were a lot of legitimate products at the huge Las Vegas Exhibition, but I was going after the scam artists,” he says. “One memorable case was this person who had a laptop computer, two USB ports with two wires attached to quartz crystals that I held in my hands. On the monitor was a constantly changing pattern screen, and I wore headphones to listen to soothing music while holding these crystals.” “I asked the young lady who was wearing the requisite lab coat, ‘What’s WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

Photo: Judee Fong


Radio and TV personality Bob McDonald and his girlfriend Sharon plan to visit the Jet Propulsion Lab for the Mars Rover landing in August. happening?’ She replied, ‘We’re balancing your quantum codes.’ I replied, ‘I didn’t know I had quantum codes.’ And she answered, ‘The whole universe is based on quantum mechanics. You have quantum codes that define you, and this program will help rebalance your codes and re-align it with the universe.’” Chuckling, Bob says, “Wow, here’s this impressive gadget, mix in a grain of truth and give this extraordinary claim! I heard others making up their own scientific terms, confusing the public and saying they had a cure for a condition they had invented.” For Bob’s future wish list, it’s not surprising to find space travel at the top. “I would like to see Earth from afar, but I would also like to see some of the other worlds that we’ve only seen through robotic eyes.” He adds enthusiastically, “I’ve already picked my vacation spots. There’s a volcano on Mars that’s twice as high as Mount Everest. If you stand on top, the sky above you

would be black and the sky below you would be pink or gold. You would be able to see the curve of the planet. Imagine seeing a sun rise from there! There’s a moon on Jupiter that’s completely covered in ice. There’s another moon on Jupiter that has black sulphur lakes, yellow snow and green volcanos. I’m not making this up; it’s a real place.” Bob’s earthly wish list includes seeing as much of the world as he can. “I’ve already circled the earth one and a half times,” he says. “There’s still so much I’d like to see on my motorcycle or my sailboat. When you’re on the water with your sails full of wind, it’s the most exhilarating feeling. I’m also a long-time motorcyclist; my girlfriend and I plan to return to the Jet Propulsion Lab in California because they’re lining up Mars again, and we plan to be there for the Rover landing in August.” With six honorary doctorates, numerous prestigious honours for his contribution to public awareness of science, including being named an Officer of the Order of Canada, Bob remains humble. “There’s so much happening in the science world,” he says. “I want to keep the public informed in a timely and entertaining way. I feel very privilege to do what I do.” Following his own advice, Bob says, “It’s never too late to follow your dreams. Dreams are free but when you get older, the choices are more limited. Find what you really like to do and don’t be afraid to grab the opportunities SL when they come along.”

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MAY 2012


Planned Giving

Respite Care Frees Up Families



nne Dawson hates calling the caregiver who comes into her home twice a week to provide respite care “a worker.” Anne, 51, views her mother’s caregiver as someone who does more than just the physical work of caring for her mother Rose, 81, diagnosed with dementia. “One year, she brought card-making items and helped my mom make a card for me,” says Anne. “And I really treasure that because it was the last time Mum was able to write. So [the caregiver] sees us as a unit. She helps with the emotional care as well, not just the physical.” Rose’s caregiver is provided for free under the Caregiver Support Programme provided by the Saint Elizabeth Foundation. The programme provides free respite care to families where the caregiver and the person being cared for live together, and for those who cannot afford to pay for respite

care. It also provides free training and education sessions delivered by health care professionals that emphasize health and stress management, injury prevention, holistic care, caregiving instruction and free instructional resources designed specifically for caregivers. It also publishes The Caregiver Compass, which provides information for family caregivers that is available for free download on their website. “None of this work would be at all possible without the generous support of all donors, be they large corporations or individuals,” says Louise Murray, Director of Charitable Programmes at Saint Elizabeth. “The individual donor is powerful in its way. It gives the individual the opportunity to give back to their community and also feel empowered that they are having a direct effect on the care ...continued on page 10

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One in three Canadian deaths is caused by Heart Disease and Stroke Your Gift Will Save Lives Call or email for a free Legacy Planning Kit: Melanie Brooks

Coordinator, Planned Giving 1.888.473.4636



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One gift. Unlimited possibilities. Imagine the seed a conversation can plant. New ways of fighting disease. A work of art that moves generations. A business that creates thousands of jobs. And the University of Victoria students behind these achievements will have you to thank for making it possible. Your gift. Your legacy. A planned gift to UVic can blossom into anything. Contact Natasha to start the conversation about creating a lasting legacy in your will or estate plan.

Natasha Benn | 250-721-6001 |


MAY 2012


GET TO KNOW... your legacy

Discover how you can shape your legacy and ensure compassionate end-of-life care and bereavement support for future Victorians through a planned gift to Victoria Hospice. Learn how a bequest, life insurance gift, annuity, or other planned gift can make your dreams come true. For more information, or to arrange a confidential meeting to discuss your gift intentions and interests, please contact Tom Arnold at 250-519-1749 today.

VH-SrLiv-PlanGive1204.indd 1


Celebrating 15 years of People Protecting Places

provided in their own communities.” A registered charity operated through Saint Elizabeth, the Foundation is a not-for-profit home and community health care organization with operations across Canada. It began assisting informal caregivers in Ontario in 2007, then in Victoria in November 2009. Since then, it has provided 1,838 hours of donated care and 576 visits in Victoria alone. Currently, 350 clients are served by the programme in Victoria, the majority of them seniors, says Kim Duffus, Saint Elizabeth’s Regional Director. The programme has just received funding to expand into Vancouver, and Duffus believes it will fill a niche for Mainland clients too. “There is no doubt that the need is there,” she says. “I anticipate we will see it take off quite quickly in Vancouver. We will be going out and educating people about the programme this month.” Carol Louis is a nurse supervisor in Victoria who has been working at Saint Elizabeth for three years. She says the benefits of the programme are visible. “You can see that the people who we’re providing the care for – their family members – are so relieved. They can get respite even when they can’t afford it.” Anne and her mother live together in Victoria. While Rose’s caregiver does provide Anne with a chance to get out and run errands, meet friends and simply have a bit of a break, Anne says the caregiver also suggests ways to make time spent with her mother enjoyable. 9:25:17 AM “When my mom was not very well and I was worried she was not able to get out, the caregiver suggested that she help to set up a garden on the deck, since I can’t always get out to the garden centres myself. She does really try to make it a pleasant time for Mum and for me as well.” Part of Louis’s job is to assess families who request fee-free respite care to determine their eligibility and how many hours of monthly care for which they qualify. The maximum number of hours for which a family can qualify is 32 hours per month. Louis matches client and caregiver by looking at a variety of factors: diagnosis, the client’s interests, if a male or a female caregiver is most appropriate, or if there is any cooking or other specific activities involved. She says they try to send the same person all the time to create continuity in the client’s life. The caregivers at Saint Elizabeth are qualified home support workers who are graduates of programmes like the Community Health Worker programme at Camosun College in Victoria. They work with both Saint Elizabeth’s paying and fee-free clients. Louis says families “are so thankful and appreciative that it’s available.” Anne agrees. “I’m really very happy with Saint Elizabeth. SL They’ve been so great to us – and for us.” For more information:, email or 1-800-463-1763 ext. 6516.

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Give the gift of care, comfort, dignity, independence and respect. Your donations enable us to fund community programs and education for seniors and their caregivers; purchase specialized equipment; upgrade care facilities with home-like enhancements; fund valuable research to improve the way the elderly are cared for; and protect the respect our elders deserve. Your legacy will help us enhance quality of life for the elderly for generations to come.

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GVEF - Planned Giving Senior Living Magazine 4.625”h x 3.42”w - B&W prepared by Art Department Design 250 381-4290 April 2010

Your legacy: a better future for everyone touched by cancer. Discovery needs willing partners. When you remember the BC Cancer Foundation in your will, you’ll be supporting world-renowned research in BC that is shaping the future of cancer care. Please be sure to use the full legal name of our organization: BC Cancer Foundation

Registration Number: 11881 8434 RR0001 Toll free 1.888.906.2873 WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

MAY 2012

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helagh Bell is a youthful 84 year old, who has a special connection with the Saanich Peninsula Hospital. Karen Morgan, Executive Director for the care facility says Shelagh, as a volunteer, manages a unique project at the hospital that supports people who have lost a loved one, in either the hospital’s Palliative Care Unit or the Extended Care Wards. “She takes her job so seriously that one of the social workers has taken to calling her “Trouble” – entirely in jest,” says Karen. “In 1992, I expressed an interest to my husband of 48 years about helping out at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital,”

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says Shelagh. He encouraged her to join, which she did that same year, as a volunteer for the Hospital Auxiliary. “My first job was taking the library cart around to the Extended and Acute Care wards,” she says. The library cart service allowed Shelagh to make “wonderful contacts” with patients and residents in the hospital. Unfortunately, the library cart program is no longer in service because of the potential risk of infection with multi-use books. Shelagh has been a volunteer, Auxiliary Member, Past President of the Auxiliary, and Board Member of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation. “She gets intensely involved in anything she does, and brings a wonderful can-do attitude to any project she undertakes,” says Karen, adding, “Shelagh has been volunteering so long here that she is very ‘well-connected’ at the hospital and is truly a leader.” Shelagh currently holds two volunteer positions: one in the Auxiliary and Foundation hospital gift shop where she has the opportunity to greet visitors and have conversations with patients; and the other in the hospital office. “When there is a death on the unit, I start an information file showing next of kin, contact numbers and mailing address,” says Shelagh. “I then address the card and leave it on the unit for staff and volunteers to sign.” She WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM


Photo: Colin Jackson

Planned Giving

says primarily her job in the office is organizing files and arranging for cards to be sent. “I have always been a people person who loves to watch and listen to people, so perhaps that was why I fit right into the hospital atmosphere,” she says. “I still attend monthly hospital meetings.” Karen says Shelagh is both professional and fun loving. “She would finish every auxiliary meeting with a joke, and she is still regularly called on to end their meetings with a laugh,” says Karen. “I retired from the Foundation Board after nine years to make room for new ideas,” says Shelagh, “and I’m still connected to the Foundation through

the Bereavement Program.” Shelagh says she stopped working shifts on the Palliative Unit when she became involved in the Bereavement job. “I still visit the Palliative Unit twice a week.” Shelagh took on the Bereavement Program when she recognized the importance of continued contact with family members after the loss of a loved one. It was through her own experience of support from her friends at the hospital when her husband died at SPH that Shelagh realized how much staying connected helped her with the healing process. “I love the SPH, our community hospital,” says Shelagh. “It’s where you can get to know the staff and where, as a patient, you are a person, not just a number.” She says she continues her volunteer work because it fills a need to be needed. “I like to think that it keeps me young, although, when I look in the mirror that is hard to believe.” “She [Shelagh] is the very model of a senior supporting and caring for others, and is a much-loved member of our hospital community,” says Karen. “We’re so happy to have her smiling face around and truly appreciate the work she does SL in support of the hospital.” For more information about charitable donations to The Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation, visit www. or call 250-652-7531. For volunteer information, email Ms. Chris Foster, Manager of Volunteer Resources at:

The War Amps A Legacy of


Amputees” Since 1918, The War Amps has met the needs of war amputees. Today, the Association continues to serve them, and all Canadian amputees, including children. The Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program provides artificial limbs, regional seminars and peer support. Through CHAMP, The War Amps tradition of “amputees helping amputees” will continue long into the future. For planned giving information, contact:


1 800 363-4067

Ali and Branden are members of the Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program

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It’s our hospital.

Planned giving When you want to do more for an organization you believe in and trust.


hen a parent or spouse, close friend or relative has received exceptional care at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, leaving a legacy gift helps ensure that staff can continue to provide the same outstanding level of care to other patients into the future. All donations, whether annual, monthly, periodically, or a legacy gift planned for in your will, are deeply appreciated.

For more information please call Donna Randall at 250-652-7531


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A Living Legacy Planned Giving


Gary and Ruth Statham with a bear cub.

residential groundskeeper. To entertain during various events, Ruth has dressed up as a bear and has stamped children’s hands and directed them to the TV monitors where they can view the bears. Other volunteer activities at the centre include working as a gift shop attendant, acting as tour guide, or helping to clean cages. A big attraction at the nature preserve is the Eagle Release on Family Days.

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North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre

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Photos: Sylvia Campbell


ary and Ruth Statham discovered North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington on Vancouver Island in 2001. Founded in 1984 by Robin and Sylvia Campbell, NIWRA is a world-class wildlife rehabilitation facility developed for alleviating the suffering of wild creatures and releasing them back to the wild. “We were very impressed with the wildlife centre they had set up there,” says Gary. Shortly after the Stathams began visiting the centre, Robin and Sylvia indicated they didn’t have an enclosure large enough to accommodate the bears coming through the shelter. “We were in a fortunate enough position to make a donation,” says Gary. A year later and with help from other donors, the accommodation was built and ready to receive the bears. With running water and trees where the animals are very much isolated from human contact, the sanctuary now shelters bears in a natural-looking surrounding. When they are released back into the wild, they haven’t become accustomed to being around humans. The enclosure is set up with monitors so visitors to the centre can view the bears without disturbing them. Gary and Ruth contribute both time and money to the sanctuary. Recently, they donated a much-needed and much-appreciated travel trailer for the Wildlife Preserve’s

Planned Giving “A lot of families come out and watch an eagle being released into the wild,” says Gary. “We’ve been part of that. We do a lot of background work where we’re sort of helping set up events or take down events or helping get auction items.” Ruth and Gary met at university while studying to become social workers. Ruth’s career led her to working with hospitalized special needs children, while Gary worked primarily with families. They began their careers in Victoria while living on a hobby farm. Born in Ludlow, England, Gary came to Victoria with his parents when he was a child. “I really had no say in the matter,” he laughs. Ruth began her life in Victoria, but since her parents were in the military, “they moved all the time,” she says. Having lived in Vancouver, Germany, Ontario and Alberta, when it came time to go to university, Ruth returned to Victoria.

Semi-retired, the couple has fond memories of the trips they have taken. “We took our children out of school and travelled with them and had them in correspondence school and thought they got a much better education,” says Gary. Travels with their son and daughter included the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Vietnam, Australia, Singapore, Botswana and Egypt. The travels were spread out over several years. “It seemed to be a lot easier to teach them while we were travelling,” says Ruth. “In Costa Rica, we came across the leaf cutter ants. We got down on the ground looking at them and writing up a history of what they did and how far they went.” On another occasion, while the family was in Costa Rica, one of the children was required to write about a favourite dog or cat. Since they didn’t have a dog or cat, at the time, the story turned into

writing about a howler monkey. The children sent the reports to the school and got feedback on what they were doing and what they were expected to do next, so it was easy for them to follow the program, says Ruth. While they were travelling, the children “had to do their education first.” When they wanted to go to the zoo in San Diego, for example, the Stathams parked outside the zoo and the children were required to get their schoolwork finished before they could go inside. Both Ruth and Gary enjoy sailing and have done a lot of sailing with their children. They have gone as far as Desolation Sound and into the States, “but mostly around the Gulf Islands and across to the Mainland,” says Gary. Whether travelling by land, air, or water, the couple loves to explore. “There have been times when we’ve hooked up the camper and just taken right-hand turns to see where we ended up,” says Gary. Ruth also has a keen interest in


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  WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

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Planned Giving “As a non-profit organization, funding is always on our B.C. history, and they both like to explore the province. Although the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre is the minds. Gift giving during one’s lifetime allows the indibiggest charity Ruth and Gary have contributed to, Gary be- viduals to see where and how their legacy is being used.” And a living legacy is longs to seven organizations in all and does eight differequally important to Gary and Ruth. ent volunteer jobs over the “If people are in a fortunate course of the year. position to be able to donate – “I have contributed to whatever the amount – before other non-profit organizatheir death, then I hope they tions and other organizawill,” says Gary. “Ruth and I tions that I feel are very have been able to help several worthwhile, but don’t get organizations to continue their the financial benefit,” Gary work. We don’t ask for monusays. Ruth volunteers at Arts and Crafts programs ments in our name, in fact, with seniors in Parksville we prefer to be anonymous. and runs the Street Market However, in giving, we feel a in Parksville and Farmer’s great pride from knowing and Market in Qualicum when seeing – while we’re still alive time allows. – that we have helped an orgaSL The Stathams have renization to continue. Ruth dons a bear costume. lieved some of the tension on the NIWRA by providFor more information about ing the organization with a living will says Chief Operating the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association, visit www. Officer Sylvia Campbell., or email

© AFP Teresita Chavarria

Your Legacy Is Her Future.

Since 1973, the Canadian Section of Amnesty International has promoted and protected human rights at home and abroad, through ongoing campaigning, outreach and education programs. By remembering Amnesty International in your will and estate planning, you will be helping to build a future where the fundamental dignity of every person is respected worldwide. For information and assistance, contact: Heather Warren, Gift Planning Associate (613) 744-7667 ext. 239 1-800-AMNESTY Charitable Reg. No. 11878 5914 RR 0001

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Planned Giving


or 76 years, Walter Adams of Esquimalt has lived a good life and achieved good things, without fuss. But now a fuss is being made over him. Recently, he was named Victoria’s 2012 Unsung Hero because of his volunteer work for the Rainbow Kitchen, a non-profit society providing a place for people from all walks of life and circumstances to come and share a meal together. Each weekday, Walter quietly re-creates the miracle of loaves and fishes out of a hall attached to Esquimalt United Church. Once a year, a committee from the First Unitarian Church of Victoria and the Community Social Planning Council pick an Unsung Hero, who they define as “ordinary people who have done extraordinary things and whose contributions within non-profit organizations deserve to be better known, more fully appreciated and publicly applauded – because they will inspire the rest of us.” The Unsung Hero title comes with a $5,000 cheque for the Rainbow Kitchen, raised from proceeds of a dinner held

Photo: Anne Knudsen



Walter (centre) with some of his Rainbow Kitchen volunteer cooks.

April 27 in Walter’s honour. Walter provides more than a calm, effective presence at the Rainbow Kitchen. He changes people’s lives. He finds the vol-

Every year the WRA Wildlife Rescue Association of BC treats more than 3,000 wild animals.

For more information please contact us on:

Tel: 604 526 2747 Email:


Your planned gift will support our vision of improving the welfare of local wildlife.


MAY 2012

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Planned Giving unteer cooks and the food and he runs a dining room that people love. Some say it offers a peaceful option, where they are treated to first-class food, with respect. It is the only place in Victoria where children are welcome for a meal. From his Métis beginnings, as the son of a dairy farmer, Walter was brought up with the principle that no one should ever go hungry. Born in the “dirty ’30s” in Macdowall, Saskatchewan, Walter did not have an easy child-

hood – he spent two years in hospital as a result of an accident; his dad was in the TB sanitarium for seven years; and Walter left school after Grade 8. “In school, in winter, we often sat on the desk as it was too cold to put our feet on the floor,” he recalls. Despite his youth, Walter had a knack for leadership. He supervised as many as 400 men in numerous construction projects, before he became a horse breeder and trainer in Manitoba. He was


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entrusted with the horses of the RCMP Musical Ride, the Russian Circus and the Lipizzaner stallions. He calls himself a cowboy, but he had a stable of as many as 60 horses, with 15 staff, and he has 1,500 wins to his credit. Proud of his Métis roots, Walter’s family tree boasts over 5,000 names; all traced to the first Adams who came to this continent as a buffalo hunter, and who married a First Nations woman. He points out his great-grandmother’s will, signed with an X, bequeathing her “horse, harness, buggy, 4 chairs and one spotted cow” to her son. His father provided game for the family table and was the oldest musher in the Prince Albert Winter Games. His mother was second cousin to John Diefenbaker. Upon retirement to Victoria in 2004, Walter was looking for an Anglican Church and for something useful to do. He found both at the now disestablished St. Saviour’s in Vic West, where there was a night shelter and a weekly lunch program, called the Rainbow Kitchen. Walter began to cook for both. Eventually, the shelter closed but the Rainbow Kitchen expanded from 40 guests once-aweek to 120 every weekday. After St. Saviour’s closed its doors, Walter masterminded the Rainbow Kitchen’s move to Esquimalt. A few days before its reopening in February, he had a bevy of bus drivers, all members of the Canadian Auto Workers union, helping move his huge refrigerators. Walter’s special skill is bringing groups together to meet a common goal. He has


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Planned Giving Buddhists, Ismailis, Mennonites and many other faith groups cooking for the kitchen. He sweet-talks Victoria grocers into significant donations. “No one says ‘no’ to Walter,” says volunteer Grace Holness. Walter once accepted a free shipment of six pallets of frozen dessert from a Montreal donor, shared part of it with the Salvation Army and found a cold storage unit that would keep the food – enough for a year’s worth of desserts, he said. He even got the company to spend $600 to ship the food over on the ferry. Another week, Walter was lamenting his nearempty shelves: Then a fisherman brought in 1,100 pounds of salmon. “One winter, we ran out of fuel for heating,” he recalls. “A guy walked in and asked how much it cost to fill our tank; then he wrote a cheque for $1,000.” Walter allows himself a little boast: “The Rainbow Kitchen does a lot of people a lot of good. It is not just a meal.” A retired Roman Catholic priest offers weekly counselling; VIHA’s street nurses

drop in every second week. Many of the Kitchen guests are mentally ill, Walter says. “We can’t do much for them, but we can feed them.” He believes the fact that the Rainbow Kitchen is founded on faith helps keep it safe. But as well as providing food for the disadvantaged, Walter touches their lives. He helped one desperate, drug-addicted older woman get off the streets by first letting her use his telephone. Slowly, he unravels the story that she had significant savings in her hometown. With that money, handled very judiciously, the woman is now off drugs and living a healthier life. And he has brought together estranged family members. Twice, Walter has found a Rainbow Kitchen client dead in his bed or on the floor. They didn’t turn up for lunch, so Walter went looking for them… and then arranged a celebration of their life. He says simply: “You do good for people; that is what we are here for.” “The problem with being Walter’s

friend is that his goodness is infectious,” says one former St. Saviour’s parishioner. “He was telling me that he had to find a new place for a homeless woman staying with him and Jean. He had rescued her from her van, but now he was having guests… so, the next thing I knew, I had her in my house.” A fellow parishioner had terminal cancer, so Walter arranged for him to move into a neighbouring apartment, so he and his partner Jean Baskin could care for the man in his final days. Walter’s life continues to have challenges. A beloved granddaughter died of cancer two years ago, and Jean – a childhood sweetheart with whom he reconnected at a school reunion after both were widowed – has serious health issues. But he copes, cheerfully, with whatever life dishes out, to provide a much-needed service. And he never seeks recognition for himself. His philosophy for life: “You have to say ‘I forgive you’ more than you SL say ‘thank you.’”

HELP US TO IMAGINE THE FUTURE WITH A GIFT TO INSPIRE Help foster the love of reading and enrich our community by making a donation to the Greater Victoria Public Library through your financial and estate plans. A gift in your memory will benefit readers and lifelong learners today and tomorrow so our community can grow and develop. Such a legacy is a fitting tribute to a life well lived.

HOW DO I LEAVE A GIFT TO THE GREATER VICTORIA PUBLIC LIBRARY? Arrange for a charitable gift through a bequest in a will or set aside a dollar amount. Consult your professional advisor to learn more ways to leave a legacy and ensure your gift maximizes the advantages to you and to the Greater Victoria Public Library. Call or write us to learn more about how planned giving benefits present and future generations. 735 Broughton St., Victoria, BC V8W 3H2 T: 250-413-0356 Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am-4:30 pm Charitable Registration Number: BN 11894 6979 RR0001


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Restoring Smiles Planned Giving



Make-A-Wish volunteers Hans and Heather Pedersen.

Photo: Brooke McAllister

eather and Hans Pedersen began volunteering with Make-A-Wish BC 27 years ago, not long after their daughter Jennifer’s wish to go to Disneyland to meet Mickey Mouse was granted through the organization. “We were so lucky to see a smile on her face,” says Heather. “It had faded with all the pokes and medicine, and it was nice to get away from the hospitals and doctors.” Sadly, Jennifer lost her battle with cancer a week after that wish, but the family still fondly remembers the trip to Disneyland. “We were so touched by our experience.” Heather, Hans and other family members have been volunteering with Make-A-Wish ever since. Over the years, Heather and Hans have done many things with Make-A-Wish, including interviewing wish kids, helping out at fundraising events and helping stuff envelopes for the Make-AWish direct mail twice a year.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Heather met Hans at a friend’s house. He had immigrated to Canada from Denmark after graduating from the School of Agriculture in 1966. After spending five months on an Alberta farm, Hans hitchhiked to Vancouver to look for work on a dairy farm in the Fraser Valley. Finding the pay too low, he moved on to construction work at the pulp and paper mill in Powell River and, a year later, another move took him to cement finishing on the W.A.C. dam project in Peace River. His final move took him to Richmond where he became selfemployed, putting in manholes, sewer and water pipes (underground construction). He started his own company in 1980 and worked there until his retirement in 2008. In 2005, the 20th anniversary of Jennifer’s passing and to honour her memory and give thanks for making her wish come true, Heather and Hans, with a group from Make-A-Wish, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest mountain in Africa 22 20



and the highest free-standing mountain on earth. The team’s goal was to raise $150,000 for Make-A-Wish funding for children’s wishes. Initially, the couple had no desire to go mountain climbing. They merely accompanied their daughter to an information night and inadvertently found themselves on the climbers’ list. “We are too old,” Heather protested. “No way,” said the Make-A-Wish organizer. As the most senior couple raising funds for the climb, the Pedersen’s began training with a trekking group from the U.S. Heather went to Curves for more training to get herself fit, but she says Hans was already fit from his work. When they did “Grouse Grind,” a 2.9-kilometre trail that goes up beside the gondola on the Grouse Mountain, “Hans would do two climbs to my one,” says Heather. “He was definitely in better shape for Kilimanjaro than I was.” For still more training, the couple hiked around Bunsen Lake and up the

Chief by Squamish. In the end, although their daughter decided not to go on the climb, Heather and Hans were not deterred. “Climbing the mountain was an awesome experience,” says Hans. “Hard work, but worth it. The scenery was spectacular.” In addition to mountain climbing, while they were in Africa, the couple went on a six-day safari. Heather was excited about seeing the five big game animals: lions, hippos, giraffes, elephants and rhinos. Some of the other animals they saw included water buffalo, zebras and hyenas, but leopards and cheetahs were viewed only from a long distance as “they are very elusive. The feeling of seeing the animals in the wild is an incredible experience,” says Heather. “We were in their territory and they were not fussed by us being there.” Closer to home, the Pedersens tend information booths for Make-A-Wish at golf tournaments. Every December, they volunteer at the light show at Van Dusen



MAY 2012

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Botanical Gardens, where millions of colourful lights are strewn around flower beds, trees, shrubs and decorations, creating a spectacular sight. One of the attractions is a Make-A-Wish shrine where people come to light a candle, make a wish and a monetary donation – if they wish. “Seeing all the happy faces there is the highlight of volunteering,” says Hans. Heather and Hans have always taken an active role with their children and grandchildren and in their community. Hans coached runners and ran track meets when their daughter was in a track club. Heather helped by “lending a hand when needed.” When she had time, Heather also volunteered at the Richmond Hospital Foundation. In 2010, the Pedersens volunteered for the Olympics. While Heather met and greeted Paralympic athletes at the airport, Hans volunteered with the Norwegian athletes as well as the Paralympics with the Danes in Whistler. Energetic seniors, Heather and Hans still like to travel. Besides camping around B.C., they go to Denmark regularly where they have family. “We also have long-time friends there, so lots of visiting,” says Heather. The Pedersens will continue to volunteer for Make-A-Wish, helping where and when needed and donating money towards SL granting wishes and restoring smiles. For more information about Make-A-Wish, visit www.

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Tell it Like it Was – on Biographies BY NAOMI BETH WAKAN


veryone is fascinated with the lives of others, particularly when they are shooting to stardom, or descending rapidly from that space. Biographies are one of the most popular genres of books read these days as we sift through other’s lives, wistfully wondering what it would have been like to have lived such a life, or maybe glad we haven’t done so. Recently, I have read four biographies. One of them, of a 1,000 pages, almost seemed as long as the life it described as I ploughed through it: Juliet Barker’s life of Charlotte Bronté. It took five years to write and, apart from raising my offspring, I have never devoted that much energy to a single project, and so was overwhelmed at her effort and wrote to tell her so. I later picked up another biography of Charlotte; this time by her friend Mrs. Gaskell. It was over 600 pages, but they were much smaller pages. It was amazingly readable, though I had been forewarned by Barker that it was totally inaccurate. I was fascinated with the Brontés’ saga because they were such a dysfunctional family, yet they produced at least two great novels, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. A severe father in a motherless household, a druggy, ne’er-do-well and alcoholic brother, a wretchedly uncomfortable home in a severe climate and three timid girls who each wrote at least one bestseller. The story of how they did it is what pulls people to reading biographies. The next biography I tackled was the one about A.A. Milne, the author of all the Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear stories. It was by Ann Thwaite and, again, it was a hefty 550 large pages. People tuned in to Facebook and Twitter aren’t about to attack anything that long these days, but I am old-fashioned, love the smell of books and am game for anything when it comes to a literary challenge. People accused Milne of staying childlike all his life and he wrote a famous response: “When I am told, as I so often am, that it is time that I ‘came to grips’ with real life – preferably in a brothel, or a public bar, where life is notoriously more real than elsewhere, minds more complex, more imaginative, more articulate, [one’s] soul nearer the stars – I realized sadly that, I should bring back nothing but the same self to which objection had already been taken.” I love this quote. It resonates with me as I have always wondered what “growing up” really means when I view corrupt politicians and spin advertising protecting crummy products and... the list is endless. The tale of Christopher Robin’s sad upbringing (that was actually the name of Milne and his wife’s sole child) drew me to read later the wonderful books Christopher Robin wrote about

those years when he had been a fictional child, as well as a real one. One biography leads to another. The last book I read in my recent trip into bio land, was Dorothy Parker: what fresh hell is this? by Marion Meade. Dorothy was the master of the fast quip and the short story; as Tom Masson said, “all of her things are asides.” Again, it took a few days to read those 450 pages. I couldn’t put it down as it was about a group of people that had persuaded me many years ago that North America was the place to be for a budding writer, and the Algonquin Hotel in New York City was the exact spot for the greatest possibility of success. It was at the Algonquin Hotel that Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woollcott, Harold Ross (editor of The New Yorker), Robert Benchley, Heywood Broun, Robert Sherwood, Frank Adams and George Kauffman ate lunch regularly at the round table, and oh, how I longed to join them! It was only later that I discovered that Woolcott ate himself to death and most of the others were alcoholic. Their sex lives were similarly in disarray. Benchley was portrayed as a family man, whereas he womanized all over the place, and Dorothy went through men at a voracious and suicidal pace. She stated firmly, “People ought to be one of two things, young, or dead.” Little did she know she would drag on in a state of alcoholic stupor until she was 74. Still, it was their writing that drew me to the Algonquin Round Table crew. Which brings up the basic question that all biographies pose, “Can one separate the man or woman from their achievements? Can we enjoy a great book, a fine poem, a work of art knowing that the creator was a total waste of time? Mark Twain claimed that biographies only described “the clothes and buttons of the man,” but I think the best do better than that. They bring consistency; balance pluses and minuses in a person’s life; and present some kind of a unified tale. Some say biographies are written for revenge and, indeed, in some cases this may be so, as in the case of Mommie Dearest that Christina wrote about her mother, Joan Crawford. If you are planning to write a biography, in order to avoid a libel suit, you must be ever alert, particularly if it involves members of your family, for they can be the least forgiving. A good overview of biographies is Biography: a brief history by Nigel Hamilton. This book will have you scrambling for SL pencil and paper to note down “must-read” biographies. Naomi will be reading from her latest book, A Roller-coaster Ride: Thoughts on aging – for dates and locations, visit www.


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Arts & Entertainment

Farewell to Shirley Valentine BY KEVIN MCKAY

Nicola Cavendish as Shirley Valentine.

into a near empty house, as ushers tidy up programs and collect lost items. In a similar way, Nicola’s career is nearing its end. After more than 35 years on the stage, she is walking through those empty seats, metaphorically speaking, one last time, as she prepares to take the first steps on the next journey of her life. Theatre and, in particular, the iconic character she is so closely associated with, Shirley Valentine, have been a huge part of Nicola’s professional life, but she is ready for a change. “I have loved every step of the way, but I will be so happy

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Photo: Barbara Zimonick


omething special transpires between performers and their audience during a live show – whether magical, musical or dramatic. Today, a few simple clicks can connect people to almost anything they want to view on screen around the clock. And while screens can range from IMAX-sized walls to hand-held devices, the experience pales to what one gets from the interaction between live human beings. For actress Nicola Cavendish the emotions and energy flow exchanged during a live performance are palpable. “There is a very magical feeling in the theatre when the audience experiences the show,” she says. “While I perform, they laugh and respond and feel. Often, I can hear a pin drop with their attention to what my character Shirley Valentine is saying. After the show is over and I walk out and into that empty theatre, I can almost hear the minds at work and the hearts that pumped and the emotions they felt. The energy is still in the space and it is tangible. You can even sense those who may have enjoyed a good snooze!” For the audience, the show ends with the final lines and the curtain call. For the performers, the show ends when they gaze




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Arts & Entertainment to walk off the stage at the Blue Bridge Theatre, MacPherson Playhouse in Victoria on May 20th and say farewell to Shirley Valentine.” Nicola was born in England in November 1952 and raised in the Okanagan after moving to Canada with her family when she was five years old. While growing up, she always imagined she was destined for a career in academia as her mother was a school teacher, and her sister a brilliant student and academic at the University of Victoria. After graduating from Penticton High School, Nicola moved to Vancouver to attend the University of British Columbia and wound up in a class that defined her life. “While taking many first year lectures, I took a course called the History of Theatre in a huge lecture hall with 400 students. I was snagged by the theatre department right there and then,” recalls Nicola. “I felt that theatre people had a special flourish to them. They had a colour to their personality, a certain swagger and courage about them that I found very attractive. I was only 18 years old, but I felt like I had finally found myself. I fell right into it. Perhaps it found me.” Following graduation and a summer’s work as a hospital aide, Nicola nailed her first audition, landing the role of Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion. She has not looked back since, working primarily on most of the national stages over the years with the occasional nod to television and film. Nicola was fortunate to have worked during a great

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time for actors in Canada. “I have had the good fortune of being invited to work across the country,” she says. “I spent so much time on the road, eight weeks at a time, rehearsing and learning and then performing. In those days, companies had more money and the government, both federal and provincial, had a much greater understanding of the value and importance of culture and the arts. Actors would join large casts

and cross the country on a regular basis to share and learn and grow their craft.” “Now, people who write plays with more than five characters may never see it produced, unless it is a musical. I enjoy musicals and think there is nothing like them, but I am a dramatic and comedic actor and I enjoy pieces that make [people] think.” In 1987, English writer Willy Russell wrote a one-woman play called Shirley


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Valentine and the role of her lifetime was created. Nicola has performed the play more than 675 times in her career beginning in 1990 when she was 37 at the recently closed Vancouver Playhouse. And now she has come full circle, finishing her run as Shirley with completed shows in Winnipeg and Calgary before her final week in BC’s capital city. Though she and Willy Russell have never met, she says, “When he came to Canada to promote his musical Blood Brothers, he was on a national interview circuit. He sent me a letter and told me that everywhere he went he was asked if he had seen my performance of Shirley Valentine. Poor man.” Part of the draw for doing one last run of Shirley is working with the same director, costume designer and stage manager since the original production in Vancouver 23 years ago. And though Nicola is the only actor in the play, she never feels truly alone. “Your partners are all the members of the audience,” she says. “Sometimes it can be hard to speak because the laughter is so loud. I am very grateful for the wonderful crowds I have performed in front of but you have to be strong. It has been a great run, but it takes so much out of me.” Part of the drain is due to the unexpected and sudden loss of her husband Michael Wilmot last year. “It has caused me such a loss of strength and the time has come to take greater care of myself and not give such a huge amount of energy to a play. Grief is a mighty character, and I must take time to bow down to it. The time has come.” Nicola is winding things down before taking that final curtain, no longer wishing to go at full speed all the time. She is making a transition into widowhood and is finding she has an unexpected ally. “Shirley has become my medicine. The play has become the most extraordinary medicine in my time of grief,” she says. “I find myself listening to the play in a way I never listened before. I find it a very healing and healthful experience now. The heart is so profoundly involved because it’s all about the life you live and how you live it.” The magic flows both ways, and while Nicola will undoubtedly miss performing Shirley Valentine, so too will theatre goers miss the opportunity to witness and appreciate Nicola’s talents following this final Victoria run. She leaves on a high note and with no regrets. “All my work in theatre feels like payback for something life has given to me. I grew up with the belief that one good turn deserves another and that is how I have lived my life. It is easy to be selfish and it is easy to be kind. I choose to be kind. My favourite line in the play is, ‘It was sweet, it was lovely, it was a day full of kindness.’ The future will unfold SL as it will, and I am happy to just let it be.” Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre’s special presentation of Shirley Valentine starring Nicola Cavendish will run May 15–20, at the McPherson Playhouse. For tickets, visit or call 250-386-6121 or toll-free 1-888-717-6121.


Arts & Entertainment


Curt Jantzen, musician, founder and director of the Delta Music Makers Concert Band.

Photos: Bev Yaworski


usic has been a life-long passionate pursuit for Curt Jantzen, musician, founder and director of the Delta Music Makers Concert Band. He has led this band for over 25 years on a journey into both stimulating musical pieces and enchanting popular repertoire that has entertained appreciative audiences at successful concerts internationally. When choosing music for the band, he emphasizes: “It’s important that the music be interesting for the audience. I feel it should include music styles that are audience-friendly.” Curt and his wife Jhandie started the Delta Music Makers Concert Band in a modest way in 1983 by advertising for an “adult beginner band, for adults with no musical experience where they could learn how to play an instrument and find out how to read music.” Through their efforts over the years, the group grew from 15 members to a full concert band of over 50 musicians, now wellrespected throughout B.C. Today, band members range in age from their teens to their 80s. Their ever-changing concert repertoire can typically include Broadway show tunes, folk music, marches, jazz, waltzes and more – some of which have been recorded on three CDs. Performing as many as 15 concerts a year, the band rehearses weekly at Delta Secondary School in Ladner. Curt is quick to add that, although he is director, the band is also skilfully supported by Assistant Director Margaret Behenna. In addition, volunteers are vital to the band’s ongoing success. “The commitment in our group is amazing,” says Curt, “particularly in these times when everyone is so busy with so many demands on their time. Our group is very social.

They organize garage sales, picnics and other events. We are also known as ‘the band that travels’ – as we have performed concerts in New York, the U.K., Germany, Switzerland, Austria and many Canadian locations.” Curt officially retired in 2003, after 33 years in public education, where he was a music teacher in schools at all levels. He was also Fine Arts Coordinator for the Surrey School District, supervising music, art, and drama K-12, having completed a Bachelor of Music Education and a Masters of Educational Ad-



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ministration from UBC. In addition to his role as Music Director, Curt continues to enthusiastically teach band part time at local elementary schools in Ladner, where he lives – thereby giving young children the opportunity to learn a band instrument. His own musical path started as a youngster with the piano, followed by the violin, then woodwind and brass instruments. Despite their busy schedule, Curt and his band members also find time to organize one of their favourite projects – the annual outdoor Ladner Bandfest held every June in Ladner’s Memorial Park. The Delta Chamber of Commerce recently honoured Curt with the Special Events & Tourism Award in 2011 for his work creating the Annual Ladner Bandfest – a free event that is now the largest gathering of adult musicians in Western Canada. Although he was acknowledged with the award, Curt humbly emphasizes that the event is really accomplished by a volunteer committee that works tirelessly for months behind the scenes to make it a smooth-running festival.


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Delta Music Makers play at Ladner Bandfest.

“Bands love to come to the Ladner Bandfest,” says Curt. “There’s a camaraderie aspect to the festival and it’s an opportunity for musicians to strut their best stuff. The bands know when they come to the Ladner Bandfest, the audience will be knowledgeable musicians and people who are really interested in bands. Ladner residents have embraced it. Many people spend the whole weekend, bringing their lawn chairs and picnics.” About 20 bands perform at the festival involving about 700 musicians. For 2012, bands such as the Port Moody Community Band, the Vancouver Travelling Band, the Orcas Island Community Band and many others will perform. Hundreds of spectators come to enjoy the outdoor atmosphere. Enthusiastic listeners might just be treated to an eclectic and melodious mix of popular tunes ranging from solemn marches and waltzes to lively jigs and Dixieland jazz. Previous event favourites have included Les Miserable, 76 Trombones, Phantom of the Opera, ABBA and even Elvis. It’s not uncommon to have renowned SL musician Dal Richards show up for a guest appearance.


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For more information about Delta Music Makers Concert Band and the free Ladner Bandfest on June 9 and 10, visit WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

Artist Profile


With her family as inspiration, Kristi has created delightful and whimsical illustrations for children’s writer Bobbie Hinman’s fairy series, The Sock Fairy and The Knot Fairy. “I had already imagined my fairies with added input from my daughters,” she says. “It was great fun to show the Knot Fairy with purple wings, dressed in purple polka dot pajamas and carrying her How to Tie Knots in Hair manual. Everyone has experienced waking with tangles and knots in their hair, and who better to blame than a Knot Fairy?”

Photo: Judee Fong


hen the late P.K. Page, legendary poet, writer and artist, asked Kristi Bridgeman, artist and award-winning illustrator, to illustrate her whimsical poem, “There Once Was a Camel,” Kristi was nervous but thrilled to be asked. “Most authors have an image of how their stories or poems are portrayed,” says Kristi. “P.K. gave me complete freedom to paint the characters as I saw them in my imagination. I had been painting mandalas for a few years, so a ‘camel dressed in enamel’ was a perfect starting point. In my mind, the camel was wearing a cloisonné vest, which is similar to painting mandalas.” Shortly afterwards, Kristi had another opportunity to illustrate P.K. Page’s retelling of a Brazilian legend, Uirapuru (pronounced “Oor-a-poor-oo”), the tale of a little brown bird with the most beautiful voice. “I spent two months researching the Brazilian culture, their art, all the inhabitants of the Brazilian rain forest,” Kristi recalls. “Besides the environmental issues, the story is also about poetry, creativity and love.” Uirapuru was named winner of the 2011 Bolen Books Children’s Book, as well as the finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Illustration. Having her early home-life disrupted by separated parents and an ill mother, Kristi and her sister were raised by their loving grandmother, a caring aunt and a family friend. “I remember being sent out to the garden to look for fairies when I was five,” she recalls. “It was a magical time where you were free to explore and to use your imagination, peering under every flower, leaf and bush. I still have a painting I did at the age of six when I painted my first fairy. That’s when I decided I wanted to be an artist and illustrator.”

Krisi Bridgeman; Yellow Song of the Uirapuru (left). Kristi uses earth-friendly supplies such as her water-based paints, bottled sepia ink and quill pens for her fine art work and illustrations. In Uirapuru, Kristi’s rich tapestry of the rainforest’s existing flora and fauna is faithfully depicted. The gradual disappearance of the Brazilian rainforest is cleverly shown by the gradual loss of warm tropical colours changing to a bleak gray-purple hole. Closer to home in Victoria, Mount Douglas Park serves as an inspiring reminder that the environment must be saved for future



MAY 2012

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Yes, it’s true,” says Tracy Merkley, owner of Central Park Denture and Implant Centre. “A younger appearance can be partially achieved by opening up your bite, which means increasing the distance between your nose and chin.”

If you look in the mirror and relax your face you will see how it elongates, giving you more youth. Now, close your teeth together and see how you age instantly, and maybe look a little grumpier. There is an art to setting the teeth in a natural arrangement, giving dimension and light reflection. It’s what Tracy calls “smile design.” A standard arrangement can look flat and fake. The length, size, color and position are all variables for achieving a more youthful, natural appearance. Your denturist is your own personal artist when it comes to shaping your teeth. At Central Park Denture it is a team effort combining Tracy’s expertise with your input on how you want to look.

generations. Not many people are aware that Douglas Creek in Mount Douglas Park is a successful salmon spawning ground. Kristi’s detailed and colourful watercolour illustration of the “Salmon’s Life Cycle” is installed above Douglas Creek where the salmon’s journey begins, their travels beyond the Aleutian Islands and finally their return home. Her love of patterns and detailed lines are seen in her awardwinning illustrations of Uirapuru and “There Once Was a Camel,” her acrylic Temple series and especially in her intricate mandalas. Kristi explains, “Mandalas are found in nature. The natural world often goes unnoticed but when we stop to admire it more closely, we see incredible patterns in a pinecone, a snail shell or the centre of a sunflower.” “I start with a central theme such as peace, harmony or nature, which becomes my focal point. In this meditative/healing state, I create my patterns, laying down the colours and shapes.” Each of Kristi’s mandalas, like Nature, is detailed and unique with captivating eye-appeal. Generous with her time and art, Kristi supports and contributes to many local, children’s and environmental fundraising projects including Friends of Mount Douglas Park, Stream of Dreams and, one close to her heart, the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB). “The FFB is especially meaningful for my family as my daughter has been diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa,” she says. “We have participated in several fundraisers for them as this organization makes possible ongoing research into finding

Tracy will guide you toward choices that give you a great smile, but still ensure the proper functioning and maximum stability of the denture. If you are getting your first set of dentures, or your current dentures are uncomfortable, not biting well, or are more than five years old, Tracy encourages you to contact her so she can help put a smile back in your future.

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cures and treatments for various forms of blindness.” Representing the Vancouver Island Illustrators, Kristi demonstrated her special magic in the Central Library’s rotunda this past February. To the delight of people who had stopped to watch, the water coloured image of a little boy holding his favourite toy, emerged from her pen and brush. Last summer, the Greater Victoria Public Library contacted the Vancouver Island Illustrators to do a display with a library theme. “The creative sparks just flew and grew into a plan for an illustrated alphabet,” says Kristi. “We love any challenge and the Illustrated Traveling Alphabet Show is the entertaining result.” During the spring and summer, various contributing members of the Vancouver Island Illustrators will be demonstrating their artistry at different library locations. Asked if there is any special project she would love to tackle, Kristi smiles and says, “I think I’ve already done it with P.K. Page. Her words were such an inspiration and so visual that I would have an immediate image in my mind. It was such a fun project and, if I didn’t have a deadline, I would have kept going!” SL Kristi’s art and books can be purchased at Bolen Books, Munro’s Books, Greater Victoria Art Gallery, Sooke Harbour House and She Said Gallery. For more information on Kristi’s artwork or current shows, visit or email her at





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Artist Profile

En Plein Air


ast August, at West Vancouver’s Harmony Arts Festival, an annual event at John Lawson Park, artist Sheree Jones and a friend were entered in the outdoor painting competition. “We chose what we thought was a great location for what we wanted to paint,” recalls Sheree, 57, who has been painting seriously for the past six years. “Unfortunately, once we settled ourselves with our gear and began to paint, we quickly realized that it was Kid’s Day – a little like Coney Island on the Fourth of July.” Her intended subject was a park bench near a tree, with the ocean behind it. “It was really quite a challenge, as whole families of cyclists kept parking their bikes against my tree,” says Sheree. And she’d

Next Month in Senior Living...

Day Trippin’ B.C. travellers delight in holidays close to home, both locally and in surrounding areas. Join them as they share their adventures in the June issue.

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forgotten her camera. “Let’s just say, I now know all the words to the ‘Little Ducky’ song and many more. Ah, the challenges of painting outdoors.” Despite the challenges, Sheree has persisted and finds painting outdoors – en plein air – her favourite activity. Although she has no formal art education, she attends workshops as often as she can. At a 12-day session in 2009, near Granada, Spain, Sheree was introduced to the practice of plein air. This, in turn, led to another workshop, with B.C. painters Mike Svob, Andrew McDermott and others, on Gabriola Island and hosted by the Federation of Canadian Artists, of which she is a member. Of course, on the wet West Coast, sunny days can be rare, even in summer. However, when the weather is good, Sheree grabs her plein-air painting kit, which includes a collapsible easel with detachable cups for mineral spirits and varnish, as well as a carry-all packed with brushes, tubes of paint and other supplies. Her kit is always packed and stored near the garage door for a quick getaway. One of her favourite destinations is Hornby Island, but Sheree likes to paint on other Gulf Islands, as well as Vancouver Island and the Mainland, particularly the Okanagan. Art has always been an important part of Sheree’s life, and the vibrant landscapes and still-life oil paintings she is now creating are evidence of her long interest and growing skill. Back in Grade 10, she threatened to quit because her high school in North Vancouver did not have an art program. Fortunately, she found out about a two-year arts program at Carson Graham Secondary and finished Grade 12 there. After graduating in 1972, she travWWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

Photo: John Dowler


elled to California to study calligraphy and print design with David Lance Goines. From there, she went to India and Southeast Asia to learn about batik and other fabric-design techniques. Returning to Canada, Sheree settled for a decade on Bowen Island. Inspired by the landscape there, she continued to study fabric arts, drawing and watercolour, while working at a series of jobs, including landscape design. But watercolour didn’t provide the vibrant colours she wanted, so when she returned to the Lower Mainland, Sheree registered for a night-school course in acrylics. Acrylic paints dry quickly, though, and she began to experiment with oil paint. She now prefers oils, thanks to their slow drying time and “buttery” quality. Although some painters object to the strong smell of turpentine, which is required to thin oil paint and clean brushes, Sheree says that using odourless mineral spirits solves that problem. About six years ago, Sheree heard about a North Vancouver studio run by artists Kiff Holland and Dene Croft, where she could get lessons as well as mentoring, and now spends as much as possible of her spare time there. Working in a shared studio, with other painters around, has lots of advantages, she says. One is that “you are taking in all sorts of information about techniques,” without even realizing you are learning, when you work with other artists.

In addition, Holland and Croft often invite well-known painters to their studio to lecture and show their work. Sheree also paints at home, in a corner of her living room where the view from her windows looks out past her garden to Vancouver’s harbour and skyline. Her favourite painters include Canadian Tom Thomson, known for his association with the Group of Seven; Spaniard Joachim Sorolla; American John Singer Sargent, well-known for his portraits; and American Richard Schmid.

Sheree believes she has acquired two important and necessary skills: drawing from a live model (life drawing) and en plein air techniques. Life drawing increases an artist’s powers of observation, and painting outdoors encourages speedy painting without niggling over unimportant details. Sheree is looking forward to retiring from her part-time job in a linen store and launching a new career as an art teacher. “My dream is to be able to travel and SL teach,” she says.


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MAY 2012


Travel & Adventure

Walking Coast To Coast My Milestone 65th Birthday



ell, they were wrapped in Smart Wool socks and snuggled in Gore-Tex shoes but, yes, as a matter of fact they did. But it wasn’t all that long ago. On the first Sunday in October, I set out on foot from St. Bees on the

northwest coast of England to walk the breadth of this fine country, from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, a trek of 192 miles. Why, you might ask would a man celebrate his 65th birthday with a punishing 14-day march over rugged mountains and barren moors, up and down 29,000 feet of rocky paths and heathered fields when dinner and a movie would do just fine?

The author at Robin Hood’s Bay. 36 34


I’d like to say it was the challenge of a lifetime, but the fact is that as men get closer to death they do really screwy things. Some guys jump out of planes or race sports cars or take up kite surfing. Hell, I know a man who celebrated turning 65 by getting married again! No, a man’s mind after 60 is never to be trusted. But, I love to hike and writer Alfred Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk

Photos: Magdalena Heinrich

“And did those feet in ancient time, Walk upon England’s mountains green?” –Milton


along England’s wild and pristine footpaths has intrigued me for years. Designed to engage nature and avoid civilization, the path cuts across the spectacular and mountainous Lake District, through the forests and forded streams of the Yorkshire Dales and finally across the bleak and barren knolls of the North York Moors. Three national parks, two weeks, one backpack, a guide book with compass, map and Swiss Army knife – everything a rambler needs for a fortnight of freedom on foot. It was drizzling through sunshine early in the morning of October 2nd when, following tradition, I dipped my foot in the Irish Sea, snatched a good luck pebble from the beach and climbed up the 300-foot sandstone cliffs at St. Bees. One foot in front of the other, I was on a milestone mission. By two o’clock, I had scaled St. Bees Head, dipped down to Fleswick Bay, inspected an ancient lighthouse, clamoured over the first of several hundred stiles, mastered a kissing gate into a field of sheep, passed through the village of Sandwith, took a photo of the Dog and Partridge Pub, crossed a dozen farmers’ fences and arrived to my great surprise … back in St. Bees. The “Mile Zero Coast To Coast” sign I had sneered at six hours earlier, was laughing at me now. Learning the hard way that English national parks do not allow markers or signs, I abandoned the path and took the long, low road to Ennerside Bridge. Everything went into a dryer; hot socks revived my legs and a pint of Wainwright’s Ale restored my spirits for now. Reaching the Fox & Hounds Pub by dark, my legs were tingling and everything on me, including my backpack, was drenched. I had trained for 16 and 18 miles, but not the extreme elevation of the Lake District, where peaks hit two and three thousand feet. Out early after a sumptuous full English breakfast – if the terrain doesn’t kill me, the cholesterol will – I scaled the roller coaster trail that hugs the edge of a beautiful, black lake known as Ennerdale Water. I looked forward to sitting for a spell on Robin Hood’s Chair, but it turned out to be a large, lush outcropping that’s embedded in the side of the lake. The wrap around scenery was dreamy and dramatic – glistening green hills dotted with black-faced sheep and crisscrossed with fast-running streams. Rocky paths disappeared up and over mountain peaks, ancient stone walls surrounding pastures that fell out of sight into valleys below. I was as much lost in their woods as I was in their words – stiles, dubs, becks, folds and duckboards – but I found the River Liza and never let her out of my sight. The sun peeked through briefly and I saw Scafell Pike in the distance, England’s highest peak at 3,210 feet. Thank God, the path circles that one! It was ugly and unorthodox but by plodding ever east by my compass, I stumbled upon the hamlet of Seatoller where I took tea. From there, it was a hike through Johnny Wood, past Nook Farm and The Flock Inn (I love the English names) and into Rosthwaite for the night. A pint, a pie and an intense study of tomorrow’s ordinance map was becoming my evening’s routine. The next day begins beautifully – country paths and stone walls, waterfalls and folds full of sheep. Climbing Greenup


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MAY 2012

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100th Calgary Stampede and Canadian Rockies

July 12-19th: 8 Days Be part of history and join them with tickets to the Saturday night Grandstand show and the Sunday finals. There are the majestic and breath taking Canadian Rockies to experience. Highlights include; Stampede tickets, Banff, Columbia Ice Fields tour and “Oh Canada eh!” Dinner show.

Mountain Peaks of B.C

July 24-28th: 6 Days Wild life, wild flowers and mountainous beauty will attract you to this tour as well as the fruit and wines of the Okanagan. Highlights; Whistler, Sun Peaks, Kelowna, Big White, Silver Star, Osoyoos, Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad Museum and Manning Park.

West Coast, Chemainus & Victoria

Aug 9-11:4 Days Wells Gray Provincial Park, a vast wilderness of pristine forests, high mountains, roaring rivers, big lakes and amazing water falls. Lunch with the cowboys of yesteryear and ride aboard the Kamloops Heritage Railway. .

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Hill was tough but stunning. Towering cliffs loomed in the distance – Lining Crag, Greenup Edge, Eagle Crag. I scaled them all and three more to boot, but I got lost again and had to follow two experienced hikers into Grasmere, their first two attempts to make this trek thwarted by weather. This trek being far more difficult than I anticipated – longer, higher, harder with lousy weather – I was soaked in sweat and a little disoriented when I went to the post office and got a bus schedule. I gotta get out of here! I drowned my sorrow with an extra pint of Bass at The Red Lion and visited both William Wordsworth’s house and his grave behind St. Oswald’s church. “I wandered lonely as a cloud…” Okay, so he got lost a lot too. But the next morning, the sun came out and a grizzled, old hiker at breakfast at the Chestnut Inn seemed genuinely disappointed when I told him I was quitting the walk. “I could never do it, but you, you’re still young.” And then I remembered why I was here – to prove 65 was not so old. I returned to the path making the rocky ascent up Grisedale Pass to Grisedale Tarn in under two hours. At Ruthwaite Lodge, a boarded-up hiker’s hut, I knew I could not get lost. Striding eventually through the gorgeous valley into Patterdale with the sailboats on Ullswater Lake bobbing in the background, I thought I might just finish the walk. With the Lake District and the gale force winds behind me – everything from the weather to the sign markers to my attitude improved. Gradually, the focus of the walk switched from the place to the people. Ian Moseley, the innkeeper of Old Water View in Patterdale, insisted I try the ales brewed especially for this gorgeous B&B, and as we poured over maps highlighting better, drier paths and lower alternate routes I knew I’d met a fellow walker I would most certainly see again. The 16-mile route to Shap was rugged and long but waiting for me at the Brookfield House was dear, sweet MarWWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

garet who served me tea and scones by the fire and actually washed and dried my sweat-soaked clothes. The path over the fells to Orton was “dead easy” as Ian had predicted and the Irish publican of The George Hotel gave me a lift after dinner out to Scar Side Farm for the night. The 13-mile section to Kirby Stephen was easier than it looked on the map and from the Smardale Fell I thought I saw the mysterious Nine Standards Rigg in the distance – 12-foot high spooky statues atop a moor in the middle of nowhere. Kirby Stephen might be the tidiest town in Britain, bustling with people, none too busy to give directions or suggest a good pub. Sadly, I had to take the low route across the Pennine Hills, the backbone mountains of Britain, and missed the Nine Standards Rigg at the top. “Swampy?” said the crusty gent in the pub. “If you see hats floating on the path, they would be coast-to-coasters!” Stone barns in steep valleys, rolling sheepfolds and white waterfalls – the walk into Keld defined the word “bucolic.” I loved Keld – a stark hamlet of a dozen stone houses located on a bleak and barren moor with a tiny museum and a “Public Convenience” – because it was the halfway point across England. I celebrated with two pints of Black Sheep Rigg Welter, the best dark ale I’ve ever had, at the tiny, perfect pub in Keld Lodge. Sheep – I’m staring at them, talking to them, dreaming of them. If I see one more sign in a shop that says “Thank Ewe,” seriously, I’m going to scream. The 11-mile walk to the village of Reeth was glorious. The sun shone, I walked in shorts, I sat on a log for lunch and there was no getting lost, no need to gauge the compass or consult the guide book because I followed the River Swale all the way. And what a beautiful river it is – red-headed from the peat bogs, it rushes under bridges, gorges down chutes, the roar ringing in your ears for hours. The green scene of the river snaking through Swale Valley is breathtaking. Reeth, the Yorkshire setting for the James Herriot series All Creatures Great



MAY 2012

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And Small is a typically pretty ‘Dale town’ with a green common and a couple of pubs. At the Black Bull, I shared great conversation and a pizza with two Brits, cousins completing Wainwright’s walk, three sections each year. And so it went, a lone walker by day, clinking pints with strangers in pubs at night. The evening’s camaraderie became the reward for the solitude of 20-mile days. The last days seemed to fly by, the anticipation of making it to the North Sea building by the mile. From Reeth to Richmond was practically a stroll; a flat track through farms and knolls scaring up pheasants every mile or so. The trail from Engleby Cross to Great Broughton was hard and long, moor after muddy moor. Lost and in the middle of a fog, I stumbled upon the Lord Stone Café, where I got directions and a half mug of tea. The upscale Wainstones Hotel in Great Broughton offered me a hot bath and … a pants presser in the room. The roller coaster tramp over the North York Moors continued, some green, others purple with thick heather and Scottish thistles. I passed a few grouse butts, overgrown stone blinds used in shooting the plump and squawky birds. Isolated and built into the side of a hill, I nearly fell onto the roof of The White Lion, a sprawling, cavernous pub, a thing of old English beauty. Beggar’s Bridge was a welcome sight as I walked to Glaisdale at dusk. On my last day on the coast-to-coast walk, I’m feelin’ good and lookin’ for an ocean. Today’s trek begins with me standing barefoot and banging on the door of The Arncliffe Arms to retrieve the shoes I left in their drying room the night before. Warm shoes and dry clothes, I’m counting my blessings and touching wood – no sprains, no bad falls, no pulls, calluses, not even a blister. As long as I ice my right knee at night, the body is holding up. At Egton Bridge, I took a photo of a fly fisherman casting into a quiet pool on the River Esk. There were stepping stones across the Esk, “The Hermitage” cave and a tidy little trailer park to break up the day, but the high, hard slog to the end was not a victory lap. At Grosmont, I fell into step with Magdalena, a young Austrian girl who was toughing it out after losing her walking poles crossing a stream waist high. It was War Weekend and the townsfolk were dressed in ’40s clothes and vintage uniforms celebrating victory over the Germans. Grosmont to the coast was a tough uphill march on mostly moors and a few back roads. Then serendipity struck. I was standing atop Sleights Moor at 700 feet taking on water when the drizzle slowed and the clouds around me lifted like a curtain on a stage. The sun broke through and there it was, due east and dazzling, the towers of Whitby Abbey sitting in front of a twinkling sea. The North Sea. I’d be in Robin Hood’s Bay by sunset. I walked slower knowing it was imminently reachable and maybe … because I didn’t want the journey to end. Hours later, I strutted, okay hobbled, triumphantly into Robin Hood’s Bay. I headed straight to the sea and the lawn of the Victoria Hotel, which takes in the whole sweep of the surround-


ing cliffs and the sandy bay below. And there, leaning on the fence high above the smuggler’s village of Robin Hood’s Bay with 192 miles of England’s most savage and splendid landscape behind me, I pretty much broke down. No whoops, hollers or high-fives, I just stood there quietly thinking “Damn, I actually did it!” “But what did ya learn?” asked the gruff barkeep at The Bay Hotel where I collected my Coast To Coast certificate and a T-shirt showing the route. “Never expect intelligent conversation from sheep,” I replied. What I did learn is that with preparation (mine could have been much better,) patience (I had more at the end) and perseverance (here I gave myself an “A”) you can accomplish anything at almost any age. Age 65 may or may not be the new 50, but it sure as hell ain’t the old 65. The people I met along the way from thick-accented Cumbrians to the cheerful Yorkies were the sweetest,

Mission accomplished, William arrives at Robin Hood’s Bay on Day 14, his 65th birthday.

most helpful Brits I have ever met. And to all the staff at Macs Adventure ( thank you, you made a man’s birthday the milestone of his life.

If you’re a walker – and you should be – Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk is your pilgrimage. Do it while you still can. Go with a group and go in the SL summer, but go.


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MAY 2012

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Photo: Jason van der Valk

Do you get the Senior Living Readers Newsle�er? Sign up today by visi�ng our website at Each month, we email subscribers our latest newsle�er containing informa�on you won’t find in our magazine. You never know what we’ll include! We have ar�cles on: • successful re�rement • seasonal recipes • computer �ps • gardening • travel • health • fitness • housing • finances • caregiving, etc. PLUS: Info on upcoming magazine features, events, senior-focused adver�sers, advice ar�cles on our website and interes�ng videos.

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Dear Goldie: Now that I’m in my 80s, I seem to be forgetting so many things, especially names. I have to write everything down in order to keep up a normal life of appointments and attending functions. I live alone in a rental suite close to shops and businesses. My daughter and two sons live within 80 kilometres and visit often. I walk daily; attend a senior organization weekly; and, generally, keep busy. My only problem seems to be memory loss. I am very aware of it and find it annoying. Have you any suggestions? –L.C. Dear L.C.: Keep appointments with your medical doctor so he/she will be aware of any changes in your health. You seem to live in a comfortable area with all conveniences nearby. Your family visits often and you are socially active. Continue in this manner as long as your health permits. You haven’t mentioned your dietary habits. This is very important in order to maintain weight, strength, activity and general well-being. No doubt your doctor would notice any change and if there Senior Peer Counselling Centres – Island Campbell River 250-287-3044 Courtenay/Comox 250-890-0099 Duncan 250-748-2133 Nanaimo 250-754-3331 Port Hardy 250-949-5110 Salt Spring Island 250-537-4607 Sidney 250-656-5537 Victoria 250-382-4331

Senior Peer Counselling Centres – Mainland Burnaby 604-291-2258 Coquitlam – Tri-Cities 604-945-4480 New Westminster 604-519-1064 North Vancouver 604-987-8138 Richmond 604-279-7034 Vancouver West End 604-669-7339 Vancouver Westside 604-736-3588 WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

is a link to memory. Reading the daily newspaper and interesting books also keeps you more alert. Dear Goldie: I recently moved to your beautiful city from a lifetime in Ontario. As a retired businessman with a wife and two children – all attending university – life has changed. I feel my role has become chief cook and bottle washer while my family rushes in and out getting an education. I have no regrets about retiring, but it seems now that I finally reached it with all of its enticing possibilities, I can’t get out of the kitchen! To add to my problem, I have never liked cooking or cleaning up after meals. I love my family but surely there is a better life of retirement for me. I look forward to your reply. –S.A. Dear S.A.: You paint a sad picture of retirement with you dealing with kitchen chores while your family enjoys more education. Whatever happened to communication in your family? Well, it is never too late to start talking, so set a date and time for a family meeting. When you get together, speak up and let them know exactly how you feel about this situation. If you don’t, they will assume you are being quiet because you are content in your new role! Families are often great at making these assumptions. Have a written agenda with you, so you can communicate exactly SL how you feel. Goldie Carlow is a retired registered nurse, clinical counsellor and senior peer counselling trainer. Send letters to Senior Living, Box 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria, BC V8T 2C1.

SCAM ALERT Give Wisely This Year


hether responding to a natural disaster or giving to a cause you’ve long held in high esteem, Better Business Bureau advises donors check out the charity before giving money. While there are many reputable charities and relief organizations, there are some that may not be giving all or most of the money you donate to where you think it should be going. Here are a few things to consider before donating: Call the charity. If someone comes to your door requesting a donation, get the person’s name and ask that they come back at a later time. Find out if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has authorized the use of its name by this person. If not, you may be dealing with a fraudulent solicitor.

How much is going to the actual cause? Ask the person representing the charity to explain how much of the donation is going to administrative costs to run the charity versus how much is going to aid in the region or cause.

Tax receipts. If you are looking to make a tax deductible donation, only a registered charity has received a Registration Number from the Canada Revenue Agency and can issue donation receipts for gifts.

Be cautious when giving online. Take precaution when responding to spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. In response to a natural disaster, there are concerns raised about many websites and new organizations that are created overnight allegedly to help victims.

Stick to a list. Consider keeping a list of charities you donate to and do not deviate from your list. Explain to solicitors that you already have a list of organizations to which you donate to help diffuse the situation.

Watch out for charity fraud. Legitimate charities do not demand donations; they willingly provide written information about their programs, finances or how donations are used; and they never insist you provide your credit card number, bank account number or any other personal information.


For more tips like this, visit the BBB website at SL

For more information, contact BBB Mainland BC at 604-682-2711 and or BBB Vancouver Island at 250-386-6348 and

MAY 2012

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The U.S./Canada Border Wall – Build It and They Will Laugh


t first, I was skeptical about a U.S. plan to build a wall along its border with Canada, at 6,400-kilometres, the world’s largest undefended border. A leaked draft report speculated that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency has proposed the use of barriers on the 49th parallel to manage “trouble spots where passage of cross-border violators is difficult to control.” What a long and expensive route to fighting crime that would be. Generally speaking, if Americans want to keep a criminal from entering their country through Canada, then the solution is simple. Keep Conrad Black right where he is, in that prison in Miami. Seriously, we don’t want him back anyway. News of the wall surfaced with an environmental impact study and I thought, “Nah, no way, they’re not going to build a surveillance fence along our border.” But then, all of a sudden, the Customs and Border Protection Agency went public by stating on the record that a plan to build a fence along the border with Canada was “not actively under consideration.” And I thought yup, concrete and barbwire, floodlights and cameras – that wall is going up just as sure as George Dubya Bush attacked Iraq when Iran was the real enemy. I mean it makes perfect sense if you’re American. Half the bridges in American are crumbling and need replacing. So, what do you do? Build a fence across your northern border. I wonder what a 49th parallel wall would look like. Like the Apartheid Wall Israel is building to control Palestinians – a 26foot-high rampart with electric razor wire and sniper towers? Or more like the shiny, metallic beam and post-design America is constructing along their border with Mexico to keep out people who clean their toilets and pick their fruit. Americans think big so, quite likely, we’ll end up with a wall so huge Sarah Palin will be able to see it from her porch. The best we can hope for is a wall low enough that Canadian geese can still fly south to American golf courses, but high enough that we don’t have to look at Detroit. I hope it’s at least 50-feet high thereby providing the screens for several thousand drive-in theatres on our side of the wall. We will celebrate the completion of the wall with a war movie festival showing every war Americans lost. (I expect the Americans will use their side to advance the case 44 42


of capital punishment. Look for a new reality TV show along the line of Cops. They’ll call it Wall Hangings.) A big wall will simplify America’s Homeland Security search for potential terrorists planning attacks on U.S. soil. Now, instead of tracking Mideast nationals taking flying lessons in small U.S. airports, all they have to do is identify Muslim extremists in Canada who are currently taking up pole vaulting. Good luck building a wall through the Halfway House Hotel, which straddles the border between Dundee, Quebec and Covington, New York. Please, do not erect this wall between the bar and the washrooms. That’s just asking for trouble. And in their house in Estcourt Station, half in Quebec and half in Maine, do you think Ed wants to be tripping over razor wire when he goes to the beer fridge, or Elsie wants to be asked the value of her goods when she’s bringing up preserves from the basement? No, this U.S./Canada border fence is just a really bad idea. Once known as the “friendliest border in the world” I think nice, polite Canadians could support a tidy, newly painted, twofoot-high picket fence. Anything else will be an insult to our cooperative attitude toward a neighbour who can sometimes be psychotic and “invasion happy.” Americans might just this once listen to one of their own smart and peace-loving citizens, Ashley Brilliant, who is famous for saying: “Be a good neighbour and leave us alone.” I am always surprised at what American governments consider a good idea. Canada remains a loyal friend to the behemoth to the south and we continue to believe that cooler heads containing actual brains will prevail. As the saying goes, Americans will always do the right thing … after they try every other dumbass idea first. You just have to wait them out and, while doing so, try to keep a straight face. Note: William Thomas’ book Guys: Not real bright–and damn proud of it! is not the biography of any sitting or recent SL president of the United States. William Thomas is the author of nine books of humour including The True Story of Wainfleet and Margaret and Me and The Cat Rules. For comments or ideas, visit



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Reflections THEN & NOW


was asked recently to describe my dream house – it could be any which way I wanted it and money was no object. The sky was the limit, so I went for it! It would have a large living room with plenty of space for a grand piano (I always wanted to learn to play the piano). I like plush furniture, so there would be lots of that. Not one, but maybe two or three sofas that didn’t have to be pushed up against the wall. And expensive coffee tables and end tables would be scattered about with crystal ash trays on them, even though I wouldn’t permit smoking. Comfortable arm chairs with ottomans that you weren’t allowed to put your feet on. Lamps would glow in soft hues when darkness came to spend the night. Perhaps I’d have a large gas fireplace with a large mantel to hang stockings on at Christmastime. A large magnificent living room but, sad to say, I would not allow anyone to live in it, including myself. It would just be for looking at in a world of pretend. But it would be grand – oh, so grand! My dream house would have 20 bedrooms with an en suite bathroom off each one. Fifteen of them would be for the servants. Not really servants but people who

needed a job. The other five would be for guests – people who had no home or bed and needed a place to get their heads together. The kitchen would be spacious with a large island in the middle. It would have two large microwaves built into the wall and two huge ovens and two humungous refrigerators. I mean with 20 people living there, these wouldn’t be luxuries. They would be necessities. The den would be my favourite spot. It would have a gas fireplace and four leather chairs spread out before it. Burgundy leather high-backed chairs with tacks stapled to give them that old-fashioned look. I’d have a large desk with a comfortable office chair behind it. And around it, shelves to give comfort to all my books; and a huge television set taking up a whole wall (remember: money is no object). The bar would be stocked with ice cold iced tea, Pepsi and lemonade in the summertime (No booze. One way or another, it always tempts trouble, and I wouldn’t want trouble in my dream house.). The dining room would be magnificent with a table so long it could seat 30 people. Fifteen for the folks who worked there and 15 more for invited guests (I’m sure glad we put in that extra oven!).

“Reflections” MAIL-IN ORDER FORM Reflections, Rejections, and Other Breakfast Foods Name_____________________________________ by Gipp Forster A collection of Gipp’s humorous and nostalgic columns. A wonderful read for Reflections, ���������� yourself, and a and Other Breakfast Foods thoughtful gift for friends and family members.

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There would be a long porch down the front of the house and along each side with rockers to while away soft summer evenings and, in the day, to enjoy the smell of freshly mowed grass and the sound of singing birds in the trees. I wouldn’t live there myself. The house would be far too rich for my blood, but it just might bring joy and hope to the pilgrims who wander our shores of plenty but just haven’t spotted a treasure in the sand yet. It would be fun to look in on them and hear the laughter and witness the celebration of hope. Dreams are just dreams, I know. But depending on the circumstances, we have the power and ingenuity to make some dreams come true. When dream becomes vision, it gains legs to run the distance. Twenty bedrooms? Why not? It isn’t much in the overall of what we have and what we could do if we really wanted to. As for me, I am content to live in the house that has been allotted me. Three small bedrooms, a tiny kitchen, an even smaller bathroom and a living room that can be crossed in three steps. A small electric fireplace with a small mantel. The dining area can seat 12 as long as six sit on the laps of those with chairs. I guess you could say I’ve got my dream house. I don’t need to dream or wish for more – what might have been, might have been but isn’t. What will be will be with or without dreams. Oh, I still have my dreams! And I will have until the day I graduate into a better place. I guess you could say that that place is my dream house. A place of many mansions. Until then, I’ll snuggle into what I’ve got. SL

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