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| APRIL 2013

ValleyLiving inside

An interview with Greg Phelps ..........pg2 What do our MAYORS like to watch .................pg8 Perfect Pairings ~ with Gregor Mowatt ..pg19 SNOWBIRDS PHOTO BY: KIRK PHOTOGRAPHY


DESIGNER SCREEN ROLLER SHADES on sale until April 30, 2013

2 The Comox Valley Record

Va l l e y L i v i n g

Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

❰❰ An Interview ❱❱

GREG PHELPS takes a moment to relax during his lunch break. He's a former mayor of Courtenay, and spent 30-plus years in radio.

with Greg Phelps Greg Phelps

What do you love about cycling?

Sales representative for WesternOne Sales & Rentals

It’s a great way to get healthy and it is something that a couple can do. My wife Charleen and I are taking it one step further and riding our tandem in this year’s Boomer’s Legacy Ride to Victoria in June.

What prompted you to start cycling?

I used to jog but got sore feet so I looked for something that was challenging but low impact. When we first started out four years ago, riding from Courtenay to Comox was a big deal. Last year, friends Born at St. Joseph’s General Hospital and I did the Boomer’s Ride and Parksville 100k. Charleen and I and in Comox. St. Joe’s is celebrating its some other friends also did the Tour de Victoria and the Whistler Grand Fondo. Cycling is healthy — and social! Everyone we meet is so 100th this year — I am not! friendly.


How long in Comox Valley?

What's your favourite food and why?

On the Island, including Courtenay off and on for over 35 years.

That is easy — lemon meringue pie. My mom used to make the best lemon pie ever. With five kids in the family, the pieces tended to be quite small. So now when I eat lemon pie — the pieces are big!

What are the various jobs you've held over the years?

How many pages do you have? Let’s just say I had lots — including over 30 years in the broadcast business.

Claim to fame?

Mayor of Courtenay. Maybe just being a nice guy!

Tell us more about your time working in radio.

Current passion? Cycling.

I started as a news reporter and to this day, I am a news junkie! I listen, watch and read about news every day! People, places and events fascinate me!

What was the best thing about your career and why?

My radio career allowed me access to ordinary people, political leaders, entertainers, sports figures and many others. But the best part was helping to shape our community by opening the airwaves to local groups, individuals and non-profit organizations. They truly are I don’t really have one. I have lost the lifeblood of our community. I worked with so many over the years friends and loved ones and now and while it is not fair to single out particular groups, I would like to choose to value each day as a gift. acknowledge the Salvation Army, YANA and Habitat for Humanity as But I have told my golf foursome that being near and dear to me for personal reasons.

Bucket list?

if I win the lottery I am going to buy some better friends!

What was the most challenging and why?

Getting out. After more than 30 years it was time for a change.

What has been your most memorable life experience?

OK, it sounds sappy — but meeting and marrying my best friend. We passed our 35th last year and Charleen is still willing to climb on to the tandem with me!


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Is there anything else you'd like us to know?

No! And I am glad Facebook hadn’t been invented when I was a teenager.

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Typical parent answer — my children. My son Ryan is a teacher in Burnaby. I have a lot of respect for teachers even if I do tease him about being overpaid and having too much time off. And my daughter Roo followed me into the broadcast business. She is probably the only fourth-generation broadcaster in Canada. My father-in-law Billy Browne used to say, “She was vaccinated with a gramophone needle.”


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Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

GetTHE DIRT If your yard needs fresh soil and lots of it, it is best to buy bulk from a local supplier. Vancouver Island Enterprises is a retail and wholesale supplier of landscaping and gardening mediums, supplying their clients with topsoil (100% organic), sand, gravel, bark mulch and their very own organic compost. The organic compost is a high-quality medium perfect for vegetable and flower gardening or any other areas in the garden where you need to distribute a rich, healthy medium. Vancouver Island Enterprises is the only retail and wholesale supplier of organic compost in the Comox Valley, they provide same day delivery, offer pickup service and also sell small quantities. At Vancouver Island Enterprises you can be assured of fair prices, friendly service and quality products.


❰❰ Perfect Perennials ❱❱ PULMONARIA ‘Little Stars’ HARDINESS: -40 BOTANICAL NAME:



This is a wonderful choice for the shade garden. It has adorable white freckled leaves with clusters of minature bells that start out pink and then turn cobalt blue as they mature. The variegation in the leaves brightens up a dark area. Great for the woodland garden. At only 12", it can be used as a ground cover or in containers


Hummingbirds love them but deer leave them alone.


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Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

Dispelling a few MYTHS about trees

Garden Events

There are many myths surrounding the planting requirements of trees.

CV Horticultural Plant Sale

April 27th ~ Florence Filberg Centre

Trees are the focal points of most gardens, so the needs of these green giants should be respected. After all, they breathe, eat, and live just like we do! A good start would be to dispel a few persistent myths. though it is a method that has been used for many years in the horticultural world. Researchers have discovered that sick trees develop a chemical barrier of their own.

cut. Roots store and direct nutrition to the tree; to cut them would deprive the tree of this energy.


MYTH: A newly planted tree should be

REALITY: Most varieties of tree only grow

end of cut branches promotes the health of the tree.

Strathcona Sunrise Rotary Club

REALITY: New trees become more

firmly established if they are not pruned. It is recommended to prune only those branches that have been damaged during transportation or at the time of planting.

Fertilizer Sale

30L BagS



.00 each

Every Saturday Morning at the CVRD Compost & Education Facility on Headquarters Road

What’s It All About? All proceeds go towards both local and international Rotary projects.

Echo Gear Up & Save™ Event instore rebate only valid at participating dealers with purchases made April 1st - July 31st, 2013. Not valid with any other offer.


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MYTH: Applying protective paint to the

MYTH: Newly planted trees should be pruned hard to compensate for their lack of roots.


are planted in a windy area, and even in that case, the tutors should be removed after a couple of years. Trees learn to move with the wind; leaving them to support themselves helps them develop a strong root system.

in the six weeks following the appearance of leaves in the spring. That is when it is important to feed your trees with a good fertilizer.


REALITY: Trees only need tutors if they

June 15th & 16th

MYTH: Trees grow throughout the


supported by tutors (supporting trees or structures).

Denman Island House & Garden Tour 2013

Saturday May 12th


REALITY: Healthy roots should never be

REALITY: This is not necessary, even

Mile of Flowers Plant-In, Courtenay Tuesday, May 28th

NIRS Mother’s Day Garden Tour


should be trimmed so that new branches will grow more evenly.

May 5th ~ Komox Band Hall


MYTH: When planting a tree, some roots

Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens Art & Bloom Festival Victoria Day Weekend

NIRS Rhodo Sale

10 A



T M to 3 P M • 5



Seeds, Seedlings & Plant Sale Earth Day Arts & Crafts for Kids Skyrocket Compost Interactive Demos & Local Food Events Neighbourhood Group Info Live Music and Other Surprises!

Ride your bikes stay for the day, explore local galleries and the museum, pack a picnic or dine local.

Celebrate Earth friendly living in the heart of Courtenay!

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Va l l e y L i v i n g

Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

❰❰ Duchess of Dirt ❱❱

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Leslie Cox So ... anyone heard about these new grafted tomatoes yet? I have been encountering mention of them periodically over the past year or so. Asked a gardening guru friend if she had heard about them. Nope. They were totally new to her. So, how new are they? Well, it turns out grafted tomatoes have been available commercially in some regions of Europe and Great Britain since 1962. Wow. That is over 50 years ago. It would also appear there were some experimental tomato grafting projects undertaken on a limited scale in the southern United States at about this time, though not much is known about it. In the U.S. experimental projects, they were using jimson weed (Datura stramonium) for the rootstock in an attempt to overcome root-knot nematodes. Yikes! At least some parts of all datura species are poisonous and there is documentation of numerous deaths attributed specifically to Datura stramonium in various medical journals. Needless to say, grafting tomatoes to jimson weed never took root back then. Studies provided proof of probability for dangerous levels of alkaloids being transferred from the poisonous rootstock up into the tomato fruits. Grafting is a technique that has been in practice since before 2000 BC in China. It was originally done on woody plants, such as fruit trees, in an effort to increase production and thwart various diseases that afflict the fruits. In the fifth century, the Chinese began experimental grafting on herbaceous plants. They worked on members of the gourd family with an aim of increasing the size of the fruits. Success was found when they increased the root-to-shoot ratio through multiple graftings. The technique in grafting is to take a scion (the top part of the desired plant you wish to grow) and attach it to a rootstock (the root system of a separate plant). The rootstock brings vigour and good disease resistance capabilities to the new plant union while the scion contributes quality and fruit flavour. Now enter the 20th century, when a Japanese farmer started experimenting in the late 1920s with herbaceous grafting on

The Comox Valley Record

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New reINforced sTamped squash belong. www.labellamiehairstudio.com11-gauge sTeeL frame With a limited 10 Year Warranty Based on his success with watermelons For extreme strength on select LS fabricated deck New froNT skId pLaTe models and its spread throughout the agricultural New reINforced sTamped deck Protect the muffler from impact an sector, grafting cucumbers soon followed. With a limited 10 Year Warranty from grass Nowadays, herbaceous grafting is done on New froNT skId pLaTe SPRING premIum eNgINes Protect the muffler from impact and keeps heat away HusqvarNa YTH24v42Ls melons, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants ... from grass Top of theyou range Kawasaki We’ll give theengines • 42” / 106.7 cm fabricated deck and tomatoes. SPRING premIum eNgINes HusqvarNa YTH24v42Ls over mouLded sofT-ToucHO • Locking differential Top of the range Kawasaki engines And it is catching on in North America edge this spring. 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It is idealdeck for homeowners looking for a • 42” / 106.7 cm fabricated HusqvarNa YTH21k42 $ 99 • 42”/106.7 cm reinforced deck $ 99 growers throughout North America and Hydrostatic transmission purpose ride-on mower that can$easily manoeuvre 9 arM • Locking differential • Hydro/Pedal transmission clutch • High seat cutting deck MSRP • Kohler 21 hp engine MSRP 42”/107 cm 12 back gauge stamped bushes and flower beds. M • Hydro/Pedal transmission $ 99 •• Manual Mexico. Hydro/Pedal transmission Briggs & Stratton 19.5 hp engine As for the home gardener ... grafted • 42”/106.7 cm reinforced deck Hydrostatic transmission SPRING tomatoes have been available from selected The features and performance to ensure MSRP 42”/107 cm 12 gauge stamped cutting deck • Kohler 21 hp engine a comfortable and efficient mowing SPRING seed suppliers since about 2008 as near as I OFFER experience. The features and performance to ensu With purchase of a Husqvarna 100 Series Trimmer. can ascertain. 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The supposed perks to these new, albeitLockINg dIffereNTIaL HusqvarNa HusqvarNaWith 7021p 11-gauge sTeeL frame 5521p HH See inside for details. its 21” cutting deck,LSthis push mower Folds down for easy storage, this mower also provides a 4 point position Engages both rear wheels when one begins to slip (O RR ForWith extreme strength on select fabricated deck will provide you with an excelexpensive, tomato plants is a higher crop lent cut throughout the years cutting height adjustment for varying lawn conditions. frf HusqvarNa YTH21k42 HusqvarNa YTH21k42 models select models.) pp Briggs & Stratton 5.5 lb-ft torq engine Honda 6.9 lb-ft torq hp engine • 3-n-1 • Manual clutch • High back seat yield of your favourite heirloom variety and • Manual clutch • High back seat bb New reINforced sTamped deckwidth 3-n-1 • 21” / 53.3 cm cutting 21” / 53.3 cm cutting width • Ball bearings 11-gauge sTeeL frame • Hydro/Pedal transmission With a limited 10 Year Warranty • Hydro/Pedal transmission $ 99 99 onStraightall wheels Rear ball bearing wheels • Straight drive control$ • 4 point height adjustment greater disease resistance. 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I am presently working with a client to redo her guest bathroom/powder room. We did some research and went to COMOX VALLEY FLOORS, to talk to Jim; went to SPLASHES, to talk to Dave; and we went to BARTLE & GIBSON as well. We are fortunate to have all of these wonderful sources at our fingertips. We tend to do a lot of research on the internet, but it is preferable to actually 'see' what is available. We came away at the end of our day with some amazing choices. Our thoughts on what we saw:

TILES - beautiful to look at - but make sure that what you decide upon will continue to look fresh and new over the years. We liked the randomness of mosaics and different sized tiles to use as a feature on a shower wall. We kept going back to a series that had a 'jewel' like tile inserted at random. SINKS - the idea of having a towel bar wrapped around a pedestal sink initially intrigued us. However, we thought that unless the towels were perfectly hung after each use it would be unattractive. We ultimately chose the BOULEVARD pedestal sink from American Standard. FAUCETS & SHOWER HEADS

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- less is definitely more. Some of the fixtures had so much going on they looked like you needed Engineers papers to use them. We like a collection called GREEN TEA, again from American Standard. After our research we decided to remove the dated counter and sink, replace it with a pedestal sink. Remove the tub with those hideous 'shower sliders' and replace it with a walk-in, tiled, glass doored glamourous shower! The vinyl flooring will be replaced with a coordinating tile. These changes will not only update the bathroom but make it look larger. Judith Moore Interior Design • 250-941-0262 •

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8 The Comox Valley Record

Va l l e y L i v i n g

Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

What do our mayors like to watch?

❰❰ Movie Magic ❱❱ What are your favourite movies of all time?

We know our elected officials from periodic elections and the countless meetings and public functions they attend in their communities. But what do do they like to do in their precious spare time? Valley Living asked the three Comox Valley mayors...



Shawshank Redemption with Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins: I am a fan of Morgan's and watch any movie he is in, but this had an exceptional storyline with solid supporting cast members. Well done. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: The first movie I ever waited in line for, with my children. Very good family entertainment. This movie started me watching movies with special effects. Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts: I first read the book, then watched the movie and liked both. It was a movie that you could just enjoy!

That's an easy one for me … Ferris Bueller's Day Off … sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses! Although when I served in the Naval Reserve in the 1980s, Officer and a Gentleman was a good one, as I got to wear my Navy whites going to watch this movie down in Victoria, but that's really another story. For great soundtrack and high-flying action, Top Gun is of course a favourite for the mayor of the Town of Comox (I love it when the Snowbirds and the F18 demonstration team are practising over Kye Bay)!


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I think my No. 1 favourite was To Kill a Mockingbird, and the reason I like it is because it has such a beautiful story in it and there's so many sub-plots in it. It's about overcoming addictions and, initially for an older lady who's dying, it's about overcoming prejudice — and it's all about prejudice, and it's about integrity, and it's about special-needs people, you know, how special-needs people were treated at that time. It's an amazing movie, I think. I also like western movies and good ones, like I think Tombstone was a great movie and when I was a kid I saw the movie Shane. It was great in the '50s and I still think it was a well-made movie.

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Va l l e y L i v i n g

Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

The Comox Valley Record


Comox Valley Real Estate REVEALED Here & There:

The most common statistic you read in real estate reports is average price, followed by sales are up or down a certain percentage. Having been a salesperson for 35 years, I know that there really isn’t an average price. For years real estate boards and companies have tried to define an average price but realistically an average price is only those dollar sales over a time period divided by the number of sales. So if there are a lot of sales in a higher price range, then it looks like the price went up. Conversely, if a lot of first time buyers enter the market and buy lower priced homes, it looks like the average price has gone down. If you’ve been doing this job for a while and that means in my definition, experiencing a really bad market, a really good market, and then something in between, you look at list to sell ratios. They define what’s good, what’s average and what’s bad. A list/sell ratio is the number of listings taken over a time period in comparison to the sales over the same period. The best indicator is 12 months, the one month period can swing

significantly. The Comox Valley list/sell ratio is 47% over the past 12 months or 682 sales divided by 1461 listings, the 12 months before 620 sales divided by 1307 listings or 51%. This is my opinion only; a balanced market (good market) sell to list ratio is 55-60%, a sellers’ market is 65% plus and a buyers’ market (that’s pretty well when you should buy, but you don’t) is anything below 40 to 45%. As you can see we’re not bad, but we’re not good either. The Comox Valley year to date sales are down 12% over last year, not unexpected, listings are also down 7% and the “average” price is down 6% to $326,058. So far this year there are only 15 sales over $500,000 reported to VIREB (Vancouver Island Real Estate Board) for our area. 75% of sales are below $400,000. Statistics from the board which includes all of Vancouver Island, mirror ours, total sales down 11%, prices down 3%. Mr. Flaherty would like to see a soft landing to the so called real estate bubble. What I’d like to point out, is we landed 3 years ago!

Gregg Hart • Royal LePage in the Comox Valley

Updatin ng, Renov vating g orr New Construction

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Source: MLS 348212 Royal LePage In the Comox Valley

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Listed for: $359,000 Features: Hi-Ranch bungalow, open

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Va l l e y L i v i n g

Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

The many benefits of

BUYING LOCALLY Buying locally creates jobs. The number

of unemployed men and women has gradually declined in recent years, but those figures are still high in many communities. Buying locally creates jobs in your community, potentially creating a job for you or a friend or family member.

Buying locally helps the environment. Buying within your community

reduces the amount of fuel you’re likely to use for a weekend shopping trip while also reducing pollution. In addition, many local store owners use local materials and ingredients, reducing the amount of fuel consumed to get products into the store.

Buying locally creates a more closely knit community.

Juggling a career and a family can make it hard for men and women to get to know their neighbors and other members of their community. Buying locally is an opportunity to strengthen that bond with your neighbors, creating a close knit community in which residents may feel safer and more comfortable. Buying locally is more convenient. Convenience is paramount to many consumers, and buying locally saves both time and money. Driving to a faraway mall or shopping center or paying costly online shipping fees is not nearly

as quick or convenient as shopping within your community, where you can purchase and take home items on the same day without using a full tank of gas or paying for shipping.

Buying locally benefits your local economy.

In 2004, the consultancy Civic Economics was commissioned by Chicago’s Andersonville Chamber of Commerce to examine the economic impact of 10 local businesses against that of chain businesses. The study found that of every $100 spent at local businesses, $68 remained in the local economy, while only $43 of every $100 spent at chain stores remained in the local economy. That’s a significant boost to your local economy, and all it requires is shopping at local retailers.

Buying locally can increase your property value.

Homeowners might be able to increase the value of their homes by buying locally. A joint study from Independent We Stand and Civic Economics found that cities with a strong centralized small business district had a 54 percent greater increase in property values than communities that did not have such a district. A more thriving local community, including a thriving shopping district, is no doubt attractive to prospective home buyers. The reasons for shopping locally are many. In addition to helping local business owners, consumers who shop locally are also helping themselves.


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Buying locally is a great way for consumers to find the products and services they’re looking for and help their local economy along the way. The small businesses in your community may be owned by your next door neighbor, who relies on his or her fellow townspeople to keep the business going strong. Buying locally is not only beneficial for local business owners, but buying locally benefits consumers and members of the community in a number of ways.



Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

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Walking for Wildlife MARS fundraising event will help them to help injured creatures

At the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society's Earth Day Walk for Wildlife April 21, educational outreach worker Reg Westcott will answer your questions and outline some of the challenges that face a wildlife rescue organization.

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expense of providing 24/7 hospital facilities, plus costly medicine and food for the increasing number of injured and/or sick wildlife.” In teaming up with the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s National Walk for Wildlife Campaign, the MARS spokesperson says the distance you cover will be added to the cross country efforts of all participants. In addition, CWF will provide Walk for Wildlife buttons to everyone who participates! While the drama of last year’s walk — when the MARS team rescued an osprey who tangled with a couple of bald eagles — may not be repeated, it is still a great opportunity to connect with and view the wildlife that is so prevalent in our Valley. MARS ambassador birds will be on hand with educational outreach worker Reg Westcott, who will answer your questions continued on page 12

April 8 to May 12, 2013

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Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) will stage its second annual Walk for Wildlife fundraiser Sunday, April 21 in celebration of Earth Day. This fundraising event leaves from the parking area, on the south end of the Courtenay Airpark, where fresh air joins with one of nature’s most interesting theatres for bird watching. The walk is an easy one-kilometre stroll, skate, skip, or hop along the banks of the Courtenay River Estuary. The paved pathway easily accommodates wheelchairs and strollers and, of course, Fido is welcome to tag along. Event organizer Lynda Hodgkinson enthuses, “The Walk is a great opportunity to wrap yourself in family, friends and the outdoors while helping to maintain a local avian facility for the North Island’s most vulnerable species. "All proceeds go towards the demanding

Now Open! The Comox Strathcona waste management's (CSWM) compost education centres will open in April. Our on-site educators will give you a facility tour and answer any of your composting, organic gardening and conservation questions. Elementary, middle and high schools, preschools, clubs and summer groups are encouraged to make arrangements with our educators to bring their students for an environmentally-focused and interactive session.

Locations Comox Valley Compost Education Centre 4795 Headquarters Road, Courtenay BC Cambell River Compost Education Centre 228 South Dogwood Street, (Across from Strathcona Gardens recreation complex) Campbell River BC

For more information about composting visit: Follow comoxvalleyrd

12 The Comox Valley Record

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Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

This snowy owl, rehabilitated and recently released, is an example of the good work done by the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society in Merville. continued from page 11 and outline some of the challenges that face a wildlife rescue organization. Once again, MARS acknowledges the generous donations of water (don’t forget your water bottle) from Water Pure and Simple, fruit from Quality Foods in Comox and the “stand by” assistance from St. John’s Ambulance. Look for Scotia Bank and Coastal Community Credit Union tents and, of course, the MARS registration tent. For those with a yen for something sweet there will be delicious Hot Chocolates’ eagles, a selection of MARS gift items, Royston Roasting Co. coffee and MARS

Spring Raffle tickets for sale. Registration begins at 9 a.m., with the event lasting until 1 p.m. The $10 registration fee is waived if participants obtain sponsoring pledges from their friends, neighbors, co-workers, and families. You may download pledge sheets online at The forms are also available for pick up from various Comox Valley merchants which are listed on our website. Don’t forget to bring your pledge sheets and donation money. Adult and child prizes will be awarded for the most pledges. — Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society

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The Comox Valley Record 13

New Earth Day Downtown event for DCBIA Downtown Courtenay is launching a new event this April 20th and the whole community is invited! Earth Day Downtown is a day-long celebration of local food and backyard gardening and a great way to celebrate earth friendly living. Live music, kids’ art activities, local business events, vendors and local non-profits will all be part of the fun as the community celebrates 'earth-friendly' living in the heart of our urban core. The DCBIA is welcoming a wide variety of vendors and community organizations downtown from 10 am till 3 pm. Vendors are offering everything from compost makers and compost product, mushroom kits, seeds, seedlings, trees and berry bushes, seed bombs, kids crafts and much more! Vendors and groups will be set up in the lot at the corner of 5th and England Families are invited to come down and learn about gardening methods, chat with growers and farmers and get inspired for their own backyard farming activities. Community organizations are also joining the celebration and talking about projects and initiatives that support local food production, urban famring and healthy eating! Confirmed vendors to date include: Merville Organics, Natures Way Blueberry Farm, Weegasin Farm (mushroom kits), Sugar Shack Seeds, Comox Lazo Women's Institute,

Lake Trail Neighbourhood Connections, Lush Valley, Earth Art Studios hands of kids art activities, Sunrise Rotary - Skyrocket Compost, CVRD Community Educator Gayle Bates, Tree Eater Nursery and Farm, Morrison Creek Alpaca, Fresh Earth Products Speedibin Composter, City of Courtenay Green Team, Comox Valley Seed Savers and Fertile Ground. Live music and hands on art projects will add even more fun! Performers include Luke Blu Guthrie, Alan Jossul and Annie Becker, with more surprises yet to come. Earth Art Studio will be offering hands on earth day crafts for kids. Local shops and restaurant are also getting in on the action! Beyond the Kitchen Door is hosting a special “Meet Your Maker” cooking demo with Chef Laura Agnew owner of As You Like it Catering. Chef Laura will be working with products from local food producers from noon till 4 pm including Abuelo's (tortillas), Clever Crow Sea Salt and Spice Mixes, Eatmore Sprouts, Ironwood Farms (produce), Tree Island Yogurt, Simply Divine (honey) and Island Bison. Restaurants are offering special “Earth Day Fresh Sheets”. Union Street Grill is getting into the spirit of things offering Bison Tacos with local Abuelos Corn

Tortillas, Pattison Farms and Eatmore Sprouts Greens, Sunflower Sprouts, Island Bison Blade Roast (slow roasted with Pattison Farms Tomatillos and fresh rosemary right out of Danielle’s garden from home) and topping it off with Union Street Pico de Gallo and Luke Guthrie Smoked Crescendo Pepper Tree Island Yogurt. Earth Day Downtown is a reflection of the many ways that Downtown Courtenay is defining itself as a community destination as well as a retail one. "Visiting Downtown Courtenay has to be a 'value added' experience" says DCBIA President Mark Middleton. "We can’t always compete with pricing but we can always compete with personalized service, unique selections, atmosphere, quality and a strong sense of community." For more information and updates on Earth Day Downtown you can check out the Downtown Courtenay Facebook page or

Courtenay’s Environmental Efforts REPORT HIGHLIGHTS

The City has issued its rst ″State of the Environment″ report, with a baseline to measure progress on environmental initiatives over time.

Air Quality

Varies during the year, with levels of particulate matter sometimes going over recommended levels in winter.

Transportation Transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are on the rise, 20 % higher than 2007 levels.

Water Use

Land Use

Per capita water consumption has been declining over the past 10 years, but showed a slight increase last year.

96 % of residents are within 400 meters of a public park. The ratio of compact housing has increased slightly since 2006.

Waste Garbage diversion rates are increasing, but overall emissions from waste generation continue to rise.

Energy Overall community-wide GHG emissions increased by 10 %, although building emissions are slightly down since 2007.

What’s Your Footprint? An “Ecological footprint” is a measurement that captures many of these categories. It measures people’s total impact on the environment through natural resource consumption and waste generation. Average Canadian

World Average

Sustainable Target







Only you can take responsibility for your own ecological footprint! To learn more about the State of the Environment report and how you can reduce your impact on the environment visit:

City of Courtenay • 250-334-4441 • 830 Cliffe Avenue •

14 The Comox Valley Record

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Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013










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Your lifestyle choices can help preserve polar bears habitats (NC)—Polar bears are synonymous with Canadian pride and the Arctic, are threatened by the loss of sea ice habitat due to climate change. What can Canadians do to make a difference? Start with some simple, small steps that the whole family can participate in. One new way to get involved is to join forces with Coca-Cola Canada and World Wildlife Fund by visiting Here you can learn more about what you can do right now to help effect change and make a pledge to take action.

Need some ideas to get started? Make a pledge to: • Turn down the thermostat and open the blinds and curtains to benefit from passive solar energy. • Add another layer or put on a cozy sweater, instead of turning up the heat in the house. • Replace household light bulbs with CFL bulbs. • Keep car tires inflated to specifications. • Walk, cycle, carpool or take public transit to work at least one day a week. • Use both sides of the page when printing or copying. • Use recycled paper and toilet paper. • Look into switching to a renewable energy provider. • Unplug phone chargers when not in use. • Buy energy efficient appliances when replacing old ones. Canadians can also create their own pledges and encourage friends and family to participate by sharing their pledges on Twitter using the hash tag #everyactionmatters.

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Va l l e y L i v i n g

Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

How much house is enough? Maybe less than you think!

The Comox Valley Record 15

GO GREEN Front Load Washers are Energy Star Rated

One of the most important steps to reduce your ecological footprint is to ask: how much house do I really need? Many people are finding that they can live comfortably in less. Changes to municipal policies in Comox, and soon in Courtenay, are promoting the introduction of “laneway” or “carriage” houses. Located in the rear yard of existing or new homes, these are small (up to 645 square feet), fully self-sufficient homes. Such small dwellings (officially called “Detached Accessory Dwelling Units”) have been very popular in Vancouver, where more than 500 have been built and 300 more are in the planning stage. Victoria, too, has had a policy encouraging “garden suites” since 2010. Many Comox Valley neighbourhoods with their larger lot sizes are well suited to this type of development. A detached dwelling can offer many concrete benefits, not least of which is the equity it adds to a home. As shelter, it’s quite affordable, because the land is already paid for. Costs start from as little as $75,000. Rented out it can be a mortgage helper bringing in $800 to $1,000 per month. It can function as a guest cottage, allowing long-term visitors to stay close by but independently. Many are built to create a home for elderly parents or adult children. Conversely, empty-nesters can use a carriage house to simplify and

downsize their lives or free them up to travel. Less space means less stuff, less maintenance and smaller utility and heating bills. It’s these features that allow these space- and energy-efficient dwellings to significantly reduce a household’s ecological footprint, and, through "ecodensity", to help make our communities more compact, walkable and efficient to service. The key to making any small space work, whether it’s a carriage house or a boat, is the design. This means, above all, having an open plan and making very efficient use of space - including sometimes having spaces do double duty. Smaller doesn’t have to mean cramped feeling, however. Generous amounts of glass, skylights and vaulted ceilings are typically used to create a feeling of spaciousness, as is openness to outdoor living space. A smaller footprint definitely means there’s less room for stuff, but by planning for storage - including shelving, built-ins and ingenious use of leftover nooks and crannies – one can accommodate the important things. As we grapple with the challenges of reducing our impact on the environment there is a simple step to reducing our footprint: use less, starting with where we live. Small homes like these offer a way to make a big difference.

John Gower is a home designer based in Courtenay. His company, Gower Design Group, can be found online at

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is a fast and easy way to see what the Comox Valley has to offer. Finding out what the Comox Valley has to offer is a whole lot easier with the new Destination Comox Valley phone app.

Record Staff The iPhone app allows users to quickly and effortlessly find information like business and event listings, maps, photos, information on each of the communities in the Comox Valley, weather and direct contact info for the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre (VIVC). "The app aids visitors because it is current information that will help them book events, provide ideas on what they can do in the community, access maps and locate desired stops," says Lisa Henderson, a partner with Better Mousetrap Marketing, who runs the Comox Valley Visitor Services Program. "It also provides a direct link to the VIVC where they can receive assistance in bookings, ideas for what to see and do, and literally to plan an itinerary." Released in June, the app is also linked to the mobile website at www., the online visitor guide and the VIVC so updated information is available across all platforms. Besides helping visitors find their

way around and decide what to do, Henderson also points out how the app helps local businesses. "The app aids businesses participating in the program to leverage their visibility," she says. "It is a dynamic platform is an asset to participating businesses because it reaches a segment of the marketplace that heavily use their mobile devices to access information. "It further benefits the businesses because information can be changed, updated or added and timely and seamlessly." The app and mobile website also have a 'what's near me?' feature which shows what businesses are in the users vicinity. Users can view local businesses in Google Maps or in augmented reality, (AR is available within the iPhone app or iPhone 3Gs or newer), get contact information, or add businesses to their own list of favourites. The Discover Comox Valley app also features a series of top 10 things to do lists based on categories. Whether you're looking for the top 10 fresh air adventures, relaxing escapes, hidden treasures, free fun or family-friendly things to do, the app lists it all.


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Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

The Comox Valley Record 17

❰❰ Food News ❱ ❱

Food News from around the Comox Valley by hanspetermeyer Congratulations to several new restaurant owners in the region. Doug and Aigul Zackodnik are new owners of the Purple Onion Deli in Comox. In Courtenay, Damon Ulmi has taken over as chef and owner of Tita’s. Tickets for the BC Shellfish Festival Gala Chef’s Dinner went on sale April 1. Chef Philipe (The Breakwater) and Chef Jonathan Frazier (Atlas Cafe) are two of several Island chefs in the lineup. As of April 13, my favourite place to buy pastries, groceries, vegetable starts – the Comox Valley Farmers' Market – moves to it’s spring-through-fall Headquarters Road location. Congrats to 40 Knots Estate Winery on their bronze medals at the Great Northwest Wine Competition against 800+ entries from Oregon, Idaho, Washington and BC! The tasting room is now open Fridays and Saturdays noon-5pm. Hornby Island’s Seabreeze Lodge has a new chef and is open for dinners on weekends. They’ve also benefited from recent liquor law changes allowing them to sell wine from their Carbrea Vineyard.

Got food news?

Chef Aaron Rail and Manager Connie Earl are taking a short break from their popular One Big Table events at Avenue Bistro. OBT returns on May 27 with a 4 course dinner paired with Beaufort Winery 2012 new releases.

Please drop a note via or comment at

Atlas Cafe opens after renovations at 8:30am, April 18. They’ll be closed Mondays til May 13 for further renos.

Got a favourite stop or news that I’m missing?

Opening of the seasonal crab fishery means the Prontissima Pasta / N’usi Seafood storefront in Tin Town will only be open noon-5:30 Wednesday-Friday. Their fresh cooked/frozen crab has been a big hit at recent Happy Hours at my house… and at several restaurants in the area. Backyard Farmers Unite! is a family-focused celebration of growing food and having fun in downtown Courtenay on EarthDay, April 20 10-4. April 25 Atlas Cafe, Avenue Bistro, The Breakwater, Martine’s Bistro, Union Street Grill, and Zocalo Cafe in Courtenay and Fusilli Grill, Royal Coachman Inn, and Salmon Point Restaurant in Campbell River are all participating in the 8th Annual Dining Out for Life. A portion of diners’ dollars will go to AIDS Vancouver Island. “April in Paris” is the theme for the April 28 cooking classes offered by Gaetane Palardy of Island Gourmet Trails and Edith Jacob of in French (afternoon) and English (evening). Locals is open and serving delish local food even as they prepare for their move to new digs in May. They’re also sponsoring our April #localfoodhero question: Who’s springtime flavours are you anticipating? Enter at EatDrinkVancouverIsland to win $100 dining. If you're young and want to learn how to grow food, check out the local chapter of Young Agrarians.

Celebrating 16 years of the simple things

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Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

❰❰ Gadget Corner ❱❱

TASTE THE BOUQUET We have a Large Selection of Local Comox Valley and VQA wines as well as a variety of International wines from around the world.

Dishwasher safe iPad stand Take your favorite online recipes into the kitchen WITHOUT FEAR.

Whether it’s deliciously crusty ciabatta, a rustic loaf of farmhouse bread or sticky cinnamon rolls, Silpain mats are uniquely designed for baking perfect doughs and bread. From thick, crusty artisan loaves and homemade pizza, to flaky croissants and crisp crostini, the Silpain ensure goodies have an irresistible and professional crusty finish. The uniquely perforated mesh surface creates greater airflow and ensures even heat transfer during baking. The perforations allow excess moisture from the dough to escape by seeping through the mat, which results in a perfectly baked crispy crust. The darker surface ensures even browning. The nonstick matt is ideal for pastries, free-form tarts, baguettes and biscuits.


Silpain requires no pre-greasing. It fits all the standard cookie sheets and can be used thousands of times, in all types of ovens. It’s temperature resistant from -40°F to +500°F. Clean up is easy: just wipe with a damp cloth. Once dried, simply roll up the Silpain mat or store flat.

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Za'atar (pronounced "zahtar") is a Middle Eastern spice mix of wild thyme, ground sumac, toasted sesame seeds and sea salt. Named after the Arabic word for "thyme,” the seasoning's main herbal ingredient, za'atar has been used in Middle Eastern cuisine since medieval times dating as far back as the 11th century. In blending za’atar, the wild thyme gives the mélange an elegant perfume and gentle complexity, the sumac adds a tart, lemony edge and the toasted sesame seeds contribute a nutty

accent. Combined with the sea salt, these flavours work beautifully together. A versatile mixture, za’atar is a great alternative to Herbes de Provence in dishes with roasted chicken or lamb. Za’atar is also enjoyed with bread and extra virgin olive oil. Dip the bread in

the oil and then the herb mix, or make a paste of the oil and herbs, brush it over pita bread or flat bread and grill for a few minutes. A few serving suggestions is to enjoy za’atar sprinkled over hummus, topping sliced ripe tomatoes or dusted over the Middle East labaneh, a thickened yogurt spread. A dash of za’atar gives the Greek salad a new flavour dimension. Earthy, savoury, tart and tremendously aromatic, za'atar is the versatile spice blend responsible for the iconic flavours associated with Middle Eastern food.

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Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013



❰❰ Perfect Pairings ❱❱

Gregor Mowatt talks about Prosecco, Pinot Grigio & Malbec Hans Peter Meyer “We’re starting with the Prosecco because we all need to be drinking more bubbly.” And that’s how we started our wine tasting. My guide, Gregor Mowatt, was talking about how most of us treat bubbly – Prosecco from Italy, Champagne from the Champagne region of France, Cava in Spain, Sekt in Germany – as reserved for “special events.” “That’s an old-school cliché,” says Mowatt. “Sparkling wine goes well with almost any meal or occasion. Prosecco, for example, is a ‘peasant’ sparkling wine. In Italy we’d be sipping this with a bowl of almonds, olives, even potato chips at hand. Here at Crown Isle we’d serve this by the bottle, with brunch, lunch, or dinner. It’s very versatile.” Before assuming his position as Director of Operations in 2011 Gregor Mowatt was very active in the wine industry: a managing partner in Terrarosa Imports, BC Fine Wine Manager at Maxxium, and long before that General Manager and Wine Purchaser with Cin Cin Ristorante in Vancouver. Wine is now only a small part of his job, but it has a big place in his heart and he is keen to introduce people to new experiences. At our tasting he’d pulled three bottles from the current Crown Isle list: the Prosecco, an 2012 Oyster Bay Pinot Grigio from New Zealand, and a 2009 Malbec Barrel Select from Bodega Norton in Argentina. As he poured he remarked how the Oyster Bay is very different from what many associate as characteristic of this varietal. “Lots of the Italian entry level Pinot Grigios are one dimensional - zesty, lots of citrus. This isn’t. It has stone fruit and bracing qualities, but as this bottle

warms, the wine opens up and you’ll get apple and pear flavours as well.” Gregor recommended pairing this with Crown Isle’s crab, brie, and salmon salad. “It’s a special wine by one of New Zealand’s great houses, and we’ll be featuring it by the glass in May and June.” Finally, the big red. “This is uncharacteristic of how most people understand Malbec,” Gregor says as I sip. “I like it because it’s got a complexity that most similarly priced Malbecs just don’t have. Yes, it’s got the dark, brooding quality. But the style is more Old World. There’s some structure in the tannins, a sense of the terroir – the soil and place. You have to think about it a little bit. It’s not an ‘entry level’ red.” It is, nevertheless, from Argentina and a natural pairing with red meat. “You could put this together with any steak, but I’d like to see it with one of our burgers. It’s something we could do more of in this country: have a good glass of wine like this with lunch or dinner.”

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Reservations recommended at participating “Dining Out For Life” restaurants across Vancouver Island

COMOX VALLEY—Reservations at some of Vancouver Island’s top restaurants are filling up fast, in anticipation of “Dining Out For Life”— a fundraising event supporting AIDS Vancouver Island on April 25th. More than 80 restaurants, up and down Vancouver Island, have signed up to donate 25% of their food sales which, along with donations, are expected to raise more than $40,000 in support of people living with and at-risk for HIV/AIDS on Vancouver Island. “Many restaurants have told us reservations for April 25th are already coming in, so we are encouraging diners who are hungry for a new restaurant experience, or who want to support their favourite restaurant, to be sure to make reservations” says James Boxshall of AIDS Vancouver Island. In the Comox Valley, there are eight restaurants participating in the event including: Atlas Café, Avenue Bistro, The Breakwater Restaurant, Martine’s Bistro, Mad Chef Café, Union Street Grill & Grotto, Zocalo Café all of whom will donate a quarter of their sales on April 25th The full list of participating restaurants is posted at vancouverisland , with many establishments offering breakfast, lunch and dinner in support of the event. Diners who participate on April 25th will also have an opportunity to win a prize package including a night for two at the Chateau Victoria and a $750 voucher at Expedia Cruiseship centres. Other prizes will be given away on the event’s Facebook page , for diners who post memorable photos of the event online. Organizers are also using Twitter to promote the event, with the hashtag #DOFLVI. Donations to AIDS Vancouver Island will also be encouraged, to support the organization’s food and education programs across the island. “The support we receive from Dining Out For Life means the world to us and helps us to sustain the work we do, feeding people and educating them to stay HIV free. Every donation counts,” says Katrina Jensen, executive director. AIDS Vancouver Island provides support and prevention programs across Vancouver Island, with offices in Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtenay, Campbell River and Port Hardy. 2013 sponsors and supporters include: Labatt, Unity Business Systems, CTV, the Times Colonist, the Ocean, Jack FM,, Monday Magazine, Comox Valley Record, 99.7 the River, 98.9 Jet FM and HQ Campbell River.

Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013


Dining Out For Life

April 25TH

Vancouver Island

When you dine at a participating restaurant on April 25, 25% of your food bill will be donated to AIDS Vancouver Island. Making a difference never tasted so delicious. Comox Valley Restaurants AtlAs CAfé Avenue Bistro the BreAkwAter restAurAnt MAd Chef CAfe MArtine’s Bistro union street Grill & Grotto ZoCAlo CAfe

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Va l l e y L i v i n g

Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

The Comox Valley Record 21

❰❰ Farmers Market Profile ❱❱

Gerry McClintock, McClintock’s Farm

From beef to berries to buffalo: Farming as an exercise in change change change Hans Peter Meyer McClintock’s Farm has been part of the Comox Valley’s local food economy since Gerry and Val moved to Dove Creek Rd 25 years ago. But the roots are much deeper than that. “Val’s family has been farming in the Valley since the 1870s,” Gerry says. “I only became a full-time farmer 15 years ago when I retired as a forest engineer.” With their daughter Sandra recently joining the operation, there is now a sixth generation of Valley farmers in the family. The farm they bought was a hay and vegetable operation in need of TLC. It also needed a change of focus. “We started by growing hay. We added a cow and calf operation. Then berries, then sweet corn. Most recently, Sandra has brought in water buffalo.” Gerry chuckles, “The farm’s been in transition since the day we bought it.” From Market to u-Pick to Market The Comox Valley Farmers' Market has been part of that change. One of its functions is to act as an incubator: growers get a foothold, build some market share, and potentially move on, allowing others to incubate their own local food businesses. “We started with berries because we had a piece of land that was too small to hay. Gary Rolston [regional agrologist at the time] suggested blueberries. The market was where we first started selling them. We got so many customers we were

able to sell direct from the farm. Eventually we morphed into a u-pick operation, with all sales from the farm.” Visitors to the farm asked after raspberries in the garden, and soon McClintock Farm was adding rows of raspberries to their u-pick options. “We’re still expanding that part of what we do,” Gerry says. Along the way the cow and calf part of the business was let go, replaced by Sandra’s water buffalo dairy. “Our daughter wanted to join us on the farm and farm full-time. Her plan to form a cottage dairy had too much uncertainty in it though.” Gerry explains that it was Gary Rolston, again, who suggested an opportunity. “He asked if we’d consider developing a water buffalo dairy, because Natural Pastures Cheese was looking for more milk for their mozzarella.” That led to a long term contract with Natural Pastures and a current herd of 33 water buffalo. You’ll find some of their water buffalo product – as Natural Pastures’ Buffalo Mozzarella – at the Comox Valley Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings. You’ll also find their sweet corn at the summer market, as well as the Campbell River and Qualicum Beach markets during the mid-August to lateSept season. “It’s interesting to see how different the markets are,” Gerry notes. “In Qualicum you see people buying their groceries. It’s what we’d like to see more of at the Comox Valley Farmers' Market” – locals sourcing our weekly groceries from our local food economy.

Breakfast on the Go? Coffee Break? Lunch Break? or Take Home! • Healthy, wholesome and nutritious baked goods, hot soups, entrees and snacks prepared fresh daily. • Handcrafted Gluten Free baked goods Go Crazy! baked fresh each week. Our new collection of TORLYS cork floors is on sale.

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22 The Comox Valley Record

Va l l e y L i v i n g

Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

Being in the beauty industry, one of the questions I get asked most frequently is

Thinking of Buying Green? Buy a Quality Bra

What can I do to look younger? Well... What ages you: clinging to a time warped haircut or colour.

Turn back time by updating your look yearly. Looking current is different from looking trendy. You can keep pace with subtle changes, such as losing an inch in length or just adding some layers, having fun with colour or simply styling your hair differently. Even classic cuts change a bit year to year. The bob, for instance, is freshest today with full bangs, light layers and a casual finish. If you want to try the ombré hair colour effect (darker color at roots and progressively lighter towards the ends) but are afraid it’s too young for you, modify the trend and keep the contrast between hues fairly subtle.

Sometimes people think they get a deal on lingerie when they find a bra for $19.99 at their favorite big box store. We would beg to differ. Any bra that sells for under $20.00 isn’t going to stand up to the rigors day-to-day use. That bra will end up in landfill quicker than you can say “Earth Day.” But how do you spot quality in lingerie? How do you know if what you’re buying is going to last?

What ages you: the wrong colour lipstick.

Turn back time by steering clear of dark lipstick shades. Lining the lip with a pencil one shade darker than your natural lip colour and filling in with the matching lipstick is best. Avoid overly matte lipstick as it tends to settle into lip lines and opt instead for creamier lipsticks and/or glosses. Lip glosses are especially youthful.

More tips for a youthful you:

Here are a few things to look for when bra-shopping: · Look for straps with hot-melted seams rather than just stitching so you won’t have the unfortunate surprise of a popped seam. · If you’re shopping for an underwire-free bra, be sure to look for built-up shoulder straps as that is where the weight is carried in that type of bra. · Look for double-layered cup sides that push breasts inwards for support and to create cleavage. · Remember that support comes from the back, so look for fabric that is very strong but comfortable to wear. The more hook closures on the back, the better. · Look for underwires that are wrapped in foam and double-wrapped in fabric so they don’t poke out. · Look for fabric over the shoulder with elastic that attaches at the shoulder blade for a bra that’s less likely to stretch out. · Avoid front-closure bras as there is no adjustment that can be made as the garment ages. · Look for quality lace – it’s soft to the touch and doesn’t itch.

Curled eyelashes immediately make eyes "pop." You can curl your lashes AFTER mascara application; just make sure the mascara has dried completely. Stand up straight. Think about all the sexy women you know. They stand up straight and confidently. Not only will this make you look ten pounds thinner in seconds, it will make you look five years younger as well. Get a good night's sleep. Few things can age you overnight more than a lack of sleep. Get plenty of zzzzzz’s to prevent eye puffiness, dark circles and a sallow, dull complexion. As I have just celebrated a milestone birthday, I plan on practicing a bit of what I preach by standing straighter, re-applying my lip gloss and booking in for a spring haircut. Oh yeah, and sleeping in on the weekend! Submitted by: Leanne at Level 10 Eurospa • 250-334-0209 •




lip glosses are

If you follow these tips, you’re bound to get a bargain because you’ll get a bra that will last for many washings and wearings to come. As one of our customers put it, “My Grandma told me that we weren’t rich enough to buy cheap. We had to buy it once and have it last.”

hypoallergenic, paraben free and formulated with Vit.E

Natasha Bill for Secret Drawers Lingerie Ltd. • 431 5th Street, Courtenay • 250-897-7488

for long lasting colour and shine.

French allure. Timeless beauty. Sensual collections. C’est tres chic. Since 1876 431 Fifth Street, Downtown Courtenay 250-897-7488

204 - 1025 Cliffe Ave. Courtenay • 250-334-0209

Va l l e y L i v i n g

Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013

The Comox Valley Record 23

Dierdre Mellin


is delighted to be back in the Comox Valley and operating

Sublime Fashion Collection.

“Mubole” Strap sling back wedge. Graphite or Jeans European comfort and fashion. Made in France. $170.00

“Searle’s earle’s for that hard to fit foot”

Ser Serving the Comox Valley for over 80 Years Mon. - Sat. 9:30-5:30, Friday till 9pm

250 Fifth Street, Downtown Courtenay 250-334-3178

Photos by Janice Hayward

“Electric, free-spririted attitude for women of all ages”

...Where Fashion gets personal... Sizes 2-18

Courtenay... Next to Safeway on Cliffe Ave.

“Electric, free-spririted attitude for women of all ages”

Stylish women in the Comox Valley know her as the owner of Sublime Fashion Collection in Courtenay (next to Safeway). Friends know her as Dierdre Mellin, and many more know her as the original owner of the Dower Cottage (1976 to 1989). Dierdre arrived in the Comox Valley from California in 1974, departed for the Lower Mainland in 1989, then returned 10 years, later following the death of her husband. “West Vancouver was the fast lane … it was a struggle … I just wanted to come back and slow down to have time to recover from the death of my husband,” Dierdre explains. With her young son in tow, she relocated to the Valley. “I have a history with so many people here,” she says. “I have always loved the Valley. I wanted to come back to my home. I feel safe and it is beautiful.” Dierdre opened an interior design business, Dierdre Mellin Interiors, in 2003, but with fond memories of Dower Cottage, she harboured a notion of returning to retail. Her first attempt with franchiser, Current Fashions, was a disaster. The concept was simple; all Canadian-made-goods. However,

in the first shipment of merchandise, 80 per cent of the goods were made in China. It took a year and a half before Dierdre paid the price to walk away from the nowdefunct Current Fashions. She changed the name to Sublime Fashion Collection. It’s been four years. Dierdre is Sublime and Sublime is Dierdre. She found the grounding she was looking for. “Retail gives me a sense of pride with the achievements of my business. I was missing creativity; retail gives me that,” Dierdre says. She often stays after hours building new displays and refreshing the store for the next day’s customers. Customer service is paramount. She enjoys learning what her customers like, need, and want, then she and her staff work with customers to build on their wardrobe and create their style. She is thankful for the buy-local campaigns and for the people who support local business. Dierdre cannot fathom selling the store. “It is a big part of my social life, she confesses. “I feel (the Comox Valley) is my home for life.” Sublime is at 1-1599 Cliffe Ave., or call 250-338-1284.

“Electric, free-spririted attitude for women of all ages”

Janice Hayward, Record Staff

24 The Comox Valley Record

Va l l e y L i v i n g

Tuesday, APRIL 16, 2013


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April 16, 2013  
April 16, 2013  

Section V of the April 16, 2013 edition of the Comox Valley Record