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PARKSVILLE QUALICUM BEACH LIFE
nything can be accomplished with determination and there’s no shortage of it in Parksville Qualicum Beach.
In this issue you’ll get a sense of the determination of a Bowser couple in their quest for an über-environmentally conscious home and that same drive is evident at a local farm where they were determined to have another successful cranberry season. Painter Cindy Mawle found even more determination when faced with adversity and renowned aboriginal artist Bill Helin throws his drive and passion into illustration and animation. Our food columnist Carrie Powell-Davidson was determined to help you find all the products you need for a locally-sourced Christmas meal—and she did—and Brenda Gough shows the determination of a couple in Nanoose Bay who have made an undeniable difference to residents in need. We hope this issue fills you with determination to make a difference within your means or to begin or finish that project that you know you’ll feel proud of. Curl up and read about some interesting Christmas traditions with Linda Tenney’s column and enjoy your own happy and stress-free holiday as much as possible.
- Lissa Alexander
Warm winter wishes from all of us here at Oasis.
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Winter Edition 2013
9 Stuff 2 Do 10 Cindy Mawle 15 Echo Valley Farms
Great local winter events around the community.
Lissa Alexander Originally from Qualicum Beach, she completed her journalism training in Calgary.
Finding fulfillment with painting. Growing cranberries in North Qualicum Beach.
Leigh Craig An artist, art director & designer.
Her photojournalism career began while in Kuwait.
21 Loco 4 Local
A spotlight feature focusing on local food and gardening with a bonus recipe.
22 Bill Helin
Renowned artist delves into illustration and animation.
An outlook on life with publisher Linda Tenney
A journalist for more than 30 years, she’s been in Oceanside for 20 years.
27 Feature Home
A writer, local food advocate, event planner & tireless promoter.
Publisher Peter McCully email@example.com Editor Lissa Alexander firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Steve Weldon email@example.com Art Director Leigh Craig firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation Laurie Fairbanks email@example.com
Susan Pederson A local journalist.
Efficiency at its finest in Bowser.
TÊTE À TÊTE
An outlook on life with Linda Tenney, the publisher of Eyes on BC Magazine.
Question and Answer with Virginia Brucker, director of the Nanoose Community Services Association.
Cover Photo Linda Matteson-Reynolds
4-154 Middleton Ave. Parksville BC, V9K 1X3 PH: 250-248-4341 FX: 250-248-4655 Oasis magazine is published quarterly by the Black Press. The points of views and opinions expressed herein are those of authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher of Oasis. The contents of Oasis are protected by copywright, including the designed advertising. Reproduction is prohibited without written consent of the publisher.
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13-11-13 9:33 AM
Stuff Do Milner Christmas Magic: December 6-8, 13-15, 18-22. A family festival with thousands of Christmas lights, storytellers, local musicians, Santa, a Teddy Bear Cottage and more. Milner Gardens and Woodland in Qualicum Beach. www.viu.ca/milnergardens
Winter Wonderland on Ice: Dec.16-Dec. 26, excluding Christmas Day. Skate in an arena at Oceanside Place, complete with a sleigh, trees, snow, penguins, polar bear and more. Parksville. www.rdn.bc.ca
Echo Players Theatre: Cinderella is playing from December 12 through 29. Be my Baby is a romantic comedy, playing February 20 to March 9. Village Theatre, Qualicum Beach. www.echoplayers.ca
Vancouver Island Opera Recitals: A recital series featuring singers and musicians leading up to the full opera production in the fall. February 23 and March 23, 3 p.m. at the MAC in Parksville. Programs to be announced. Refreshments available. www.vancouverislandopera.com
The Brant Wildlife Festival: A celebration of nature and Brant Geese. A variety of events take place in March and April from wildlife viewing to tours and a grand gala. www.brantfestival.bc.ca
The Errington Hall: Top notch Canadian talent with music concerts and dances, coffee house nights, classes and more happening throughout the winter. Beverages and baking. Errington. www.erringtonhall.bc.ca
Qualicum Acoustic Cafe (QUAC): First Friday of each month throughout the winter. Organic coffee and baking. Rotary House, on the corner of Fern and Beach Roads, Qualicum Beach. www.facebook.com/QualicumAcousticCafe
Unlocking the Past: May 24, 2014. Conference held by the Qualicum Beach Family History Society. Speakers discuss how to effectively research family history and genealogy. Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre, Parksville. Registration open now. www.qbfhs.ca
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Painting WITH Passion Story by Lissa Alexander. Photography by Brian Argyle.
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CINDY MAWLE IS THERE
We have blinds for Tilt & Turn Windows
The Bowser artist has finally reached a place in her artistic career where she’s happy with her paintings, and every artist knows that’s not easy to achieve. “I am feeling much better about the work that’s coming out and sometimes I do the happy dance,” she chuckles. “I see it and I think, ‘Oh my God, I’m so happy with this’.” But reaching that place of satisfaction hasn’t been easy. When Mawle was in her early teens she lost both her mother and her grandmother, and later cancer threatened her own life. But somewhere, while facing both challenges, she found incredible strength within her and she found the focus that always seemed to elude her. The experiences made Mawle realize life is precious, and she’s even more bound and determined to paint, and paint well. She wants to reach her life-long painting goals in the next few years. Many would say she’s already there.
A BATTLE WITH THE SYSTEM Mawle spent a lot of her time in grade school out in the hallway. She would be sent there after disrupting the class. But that was okay, she explains, because at least there she could get some work done. She found staying focused was also a challenge later in life, while working with other artists or taking workshops. A small amount of inspiration was good, but soon she found she had to separate herself from other people and concentrate on her own style in complete solitude. When Mawle was 12 her grandmother lost her battle with breast cancer. A short year-and-a-half later her mother died of the same disease. “Life wasn’t great at home anymore, it was downright messed up,” she explains. Mawle, who has a sister six years younger than herself, became the strength in her family. To cope herself, she began writing poetry and turned to her artwork to help work through the feelings. After high school Mawle continued sketching, and when she moved from Sooke to Didsbury, Alberta, she found she had a lot more time to paint. Her daughter was born while living there in 1988, and she began teaching art and multimedia to children and adults, while working hard to improve her own painting skills. She also began managing an optometrist office. Mawle knew she was a likely candidate for breast cancer, so was regularly checked. Even though her tests came back negative, one day she knew something was wrong. Upon getting retested, she found out her suspicions were accurate. Mawle was the same age her mother had been when she died, and her daughter, 14, was the same age she had been when she lost her mother. “It was almost like a chance to correct things,” she says. She quickly took charge of the situation, and was very assertive when it came to dealing with doctors and others in the medical field. She negotiated less chemotherapy treatments and was insistent about the days she went for treatment, as she continued working at the optometrist office throughout. “I don’t like to call it a battle with cancer I call it a battle with the system,” she says.
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Mawle feels she was “coached from beyond” by her mother and grandmother, and others fed off her strength and passion. After her treatment people from around town came in to her office to talk and ask her advice. >>>
The Window Dresser
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>>> Although at some points throughout her treatment she was too sick to paint, Mawle continued with her work once she was able, and with new determination.
MAKING A NAME Years ago Mawle worked with pencil doing detailed portraits, she then painted with watercolours for a time and finally settled on her medium of choice, acrylic in the early ‘90s. In 2004 she moved back to Vancouver Island after reconnecting with a man she had been deeply in love with 25 years earlier. “The flame just never went out,” she says. “I always knew I would move back to the Island but never in my wildest dreams thought I would be where I am now sharing my life with him.” Mawle rented studio space in Qualicum Bay and was also a resident artist at The Old School House Art Gallery in Qualicum Beach but once again realized she needed her own working space. At home, in her Bowser studio, her favourite subject to paint is her granddaughter, Cheyanne. She makes a fantastic subject, Mawle says, with her radiant red hair and her authentic enthusiasm, even when she knows the camera’s on her. A few years ago Mawle was invited to submit artwork for a book, a project of renowned painter Ken Kirkby. It is called Mythography, featuring a number of other professional artists. A poem was written to accompany each of the paintings. WINTER 2013
This year Mawle took first place in The Old School House Arts Centre’s Grand Prix d’Art, a popular painting event that attracts artists from around the Island and beyond. Paticipants pull Qualicum Beach locations out of a hat and paint them in a three-hour race. >>>
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Secrets to GREAT
Photos page 10 top to bottom: Cindy Mawle sketching at beach with her granddaughter, Mawle’s painting ‘Fascination’. Page 12-13 left to right: Mawle’s painting ‘A walk with Grandma’, Mawle at work in her studio, paintings in Mawle’s studio.
Mawle took only dramatic sized canvases this year, to challenge herself. After setting up she looked up and lo and behold it was the banner she had painted for the Town, she explains. Mawle recreated the banner and its surroundings. Her painting was purchased soon after her win was announced. >>>
Mawle says it has only been in the last year that she has started to really like her paintings. She has been putting in the time to master her craft, and choosing to work in solitude has certainly paid off, she says. Where in the past she would get frustrated and not know how to resolve an issue, she is successful in doing so now.
A SIMPLE PLACE Although Mawle has always felt like she was easily distracted and had trouble focusing, she recognizes a sense of calm in her paintings. When painting, she is transported to another place, where life is simple and makes sense. And that’s something she hopes viewers take from her work. “I want them to see and feel that. Because there’s so much stuff going on in the world these days and it’s so hard to weed your way through all this information and everybody’s out to get whatever they can for themselves, and who do you believe?” she questions. “So stop and look at one of my paintings and go, ‘Ahhhh.’ And bring yourself into right here right now and just stand there and look at the art and just centre yourself. And then off you go back into the craziness.”
174 Corfield St., Parksville, BC V9P 2G5 OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK
Mawle’s work can be found at the Island Exposures Gallery in Parksville, TOSH in Qualicum Beach, the Salish Sea Market in Bowser and Ginger Nine Studio and Gallery in Courtenay. Visit her website at www.cindymawle.com
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Cranberries AT ECHO VALLEY FARMS Story & Photography by Linda Matteson-Reynolds
CRANBERRIES – FROM THE BOG TO YOUR TABLE Blanketed amongst a sea of red, the tart, juicy and freshly-plucked cranberry floats freely to the top of the bog waiting for the harvest. The cranberry has a remarkable journey from the peat-rich bog to your turkey’s favourite side dish and is an essential part of the traditional Canadian and American holiday table.
1980’s, John and Susan Walsh started investigating the possibility of expanding their 150-acre potato farm to accommodate cranberry farming.
It’s cranberry season at Echo Valley Farms, a 387-acre parcel of land nestled between the Beaufort mountain range, Mount Arrowsmith and the Strait of Georgia.
So began the process of research and consulting to see if cranberries would be best suited for the land. “It was a long and painful but rewarding learning curve to cultivate this native North American plant and we now feel, after 20 years of experience, that we will never really be able to control it,” admits John. >>>
The Walsh family has been well known to many Vancouver Islanders as outstanding producers of potatoes for the past three generations. In the
“After some serious flooding and crop disasters we decided that continued expansion of our land, based mostly of virgin peat bog, was too much of a financial risk,” states John.
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THE CRANBERRY’S BEGINNINGS
Cranberries are a unique little Vitamin C-packed fruit. They can grow and survive only under a very special combination of factors. These factors include acid-peat soil, an adequate fresh water supply, and a growing season that extends from April to November. Cranberries grow on low-lying vines in beds layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay. These beds are commonly known as bogs or marshes. Commercial cranberry bogs, such as Echo Valley Farms, use a system of wetlands, uplands, ditches, ponds and other water bodies that provide a natural habitat for a variety of plant and animal life.
THE GROWING PROCESS In the spring, the first major challenge is frost on the buds. The damage can be done as early as March as the plants begin to wake up from their winter slumber. To help ward off any possible damage, the crop is protected by a sprinkler irrigation system that ices over the buds providing an insulated zone. For John and Susan, this is a dusk-till-dawn job to ensure that pumps and sprinklers are running and if a problem occurs, there is little time for repair. “We once had a frost in June when flowers were about to open and we lost our whole crop in approximately five minutes,” claims John.
“We started with eight acres and after a few years decided that we would expand again and added another 10, which we lost to the ‘cranberry girdler moth’, a pest which destroys the roots of the plants by girdling the outer layer of the plant’s bark,” explains John.
Pollination of the cranberry fields is critical and beehives are rented from The Flying Dutchman in Nanaimo. Strong hives of 60,000 or more bees are required at a rate of two hives per acre. Once pollination is complete, the hives are removed from the perimeter of the bog.
The Walshes were challenged to either give up or keep going, as the cost of planting an acre of cranberries, excluding the land cost, is approximately $20,000, by the time you get a yielding crop. From planting to market takes about four to five years.
“There have been many round-table family conversations about how much sense it makes to carry on and even now that we have 40-acres planted and approximately 34-acres producing, we are still having those conversations,” admits John.
To “wet harvest” the crop, the cranberry bog is flooded with up to 18 inches of water the night before the berries are to be harvested. Cranberries are hollow on the inside so that’s what makes them float to the surface of the bog. Harvesting is accomplished by the workers >>>
Every autumn, cranberries reach their peak colour and flavour and are ready for harvesting. In B.C. this usually occurs from late October into November.
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Photos page 15: gathering cranberries. Page 16-17 left to right: The Walshes with their cranberry rakes, Susan gathering cranberries in the field. Page 18 top to bottom: Fresh cranberries from the bog, cranberries in sorter, a fresh baked cranberry loaf made with Echo Valley Farms’ berries.
raking and corralling the berries into floating booms directed towards the harvester ladder at the edge of the bog.
The Walsh’s second oldest, Zachary, has now joined the operation after attending agricultural school.
Fresh cranberries, the ones you buy in the produce aisle of your local grocery store, are “dry harvested”. This is the best way to get the absolute freshest of berries. A mechanical picker that resembles a large lawnmower combs the berries off the vine. Although Susan still does some dry harvesting for a few select customers and personal consumption, Echo Valley Farms relies on the wet harvesting technique as their berries go directly to processing plants for juicing and drying.
“He may be having second thoughts as this season has been a weather disaster for the potato part of our operation which is his specified interest. There are many different challenges facing the farming industry and you have to be sharp to survive.”
Although the farming lifestyle has its benefits, the inherent unpredictability and hard work associated with it makes it look less attractive to some. “Convincing the next generation that farming is a way of life and that it is a choice of sacrifice is a tough sell. We have one of our four children that seems to be on the path of the torch carrying,” states John.
Echo Valley Farms is committed to operating their business while minimizing the environmental impact. They manage their farm in a way that enhances the natural resources while promoting the production of high-quality crops. A long-time partnership between the farm and Ducks Unlimited Canada involves water control structures that flood the land in the winter creating a wetland area for waterfowl, while mitigating soil erosion at the farm. In this way, the Walshes nourish the community, wildlife and the environment. “We are stewards of the land, this is our future too,” states John. For more information visit www.echovalleyfarms.ca
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LOCO 4 LOCAL THE CHALLENGE: To source out everything we need for a Christmas dinner made from food grown or created right here in Oceanside.
THE RECIPE Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce
Story by Carrie Powell-Davidson
1 cup Sugar 2 Oranges Water 2 ½ cups Cranberries 1 ounce Grand Marnier
Grate the rind off of the two oranges and place zest into a medium size saucepan. Squeeze the juice from the shells of the oranges and add enough water to make 1 cup of liquid. Add to saucepan and turn on heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and liquid begins to boil. Add the cranberries and simmer until most of the berries have broken. Stir occasionally. Let cool slightly and then stir in the Grand Marnier. Cool, cover & chill.
Carrie’s Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce PHOTO:Lissa Alexander
Happy ‘Homegrown’ Holidays!
that are readily available. Toss with one of the specialty vinegars from Qualicum Beach’s That Extra Touch and you have a tasty winter salad. PICKLES AND OTHER CONDIMENTS: Sue’s Preserves is out of Nanaimo but they can be found locally. They make pickles and cranberry sauce. You can make your own cranberry sauce with cranberries from Yellow Point Cranberries just south of Nanaimo. That Extra Touch makes crabapple jelly that will go well with the turkey or pork. For some quick and easy canapés, serve this on crackers with cream cheese. SWEETS, CHEESE AND TEA: Qualicum Beach is home to Biscotti di Notte and More where you can get Italian shortbread, pizzelle and of course, biscotti which goes perfectly with tea or coffee from Maggie’s Farm in Qualicum Beach. Visit Little Qualicum Cheeseworks in Parksville to put together an unforgettable cheese tray and pick up some wine to go with dinner while you’re there at MooBerry Winery. Enjoy your locally-sourced Holiday dinner.
so check out Halvorson’s Farm in Nanoose or Tiger Lily Farm in Errington. For something completely different, how about a Porchetta Roast, a pork loin seasoned with truffle oil, garlic, lemon zest and spices from Ravenstone Farm in Dashwood. THE STUFFING: Get your locally made bread from La Boulange in Qualicum Beach and if you use bacon, you can get that from Sloping Hill Farm, also in Qualicum Beach. If sausage is more to your liking, pick that up at Ravenstone as well. Of course, you’ll need onions from Whiskey Creek Nursery and herbs from Nourish Farm, both in the Qualicum Beach area. Gravy-Surprise! Sloping Hill has flour and other grains grown right here in Qualicum Beach. MASHED POTATOES AND OTHER THE TURKEY: This was a little hard to find VEGETABLES: Whiskey Creek Nursery has because most of the turkey farmers grow to potatoes, squash, leeks and kale. Local garlic order, so word to the wise, plan early for next is plentiful and available all year around. year and be sure to get your order in. TOSSED GREENS WITH VINAIGRETTE: NourWe did find a few farmers with some extra, ish Farm also grows delicious, nutritious shoots
It can’t be done!” squawk the nay-sayers. “We don’t grow enough food here in the summertime let alone in the dead of winter!” Admittedly, it took a little legwork to nail down farmers and food producers with food to sell during the Christmas season, let alone those that stay open at this time of year. However, like the season we’re honouring, if one believes then wishes really do come true. There are many more farmers/food producers in our region than the space of this article allows but therein grows the fun. Foraging is a favourite pastime of locavores and after just one day of foraging around Oceanside, we have everything we need to create the perfect homegrown holiday meal.
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SWITCHING PATHS Story by Susan Pederson, Photography by Linda Matteson-Reynolds
hen my 13-year-old daughter gushed that Bill Helin had been to her school—and rattled off his list of accomplishments with ease well over a year after that visit—I was curious just how he manages to leave a swath of awe-struck fans in his path. From the moment I find myself lucky enough to share space with the local artist, I am enveloped by a powerful, gentle energy that is at once calming and disarming. Something tells me I will be gushing over Helin myself in a year from now, and I’ll be in good company. His notoriety as an artist has seen him rubbing elbows with and gifting his art to, the likes of former President Bill Clinton and Canadian Astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk. Helin carved a walking and talking stick for President Clinton, and designed three patches for Dr. Thirsk’s uniform, for his assignments on the Columbia and the International Space Station. “I always had the gift for creating,” Helin understates. “Ever since I was a little boy, when I started scribbling drawings on paper.”
CARVING A NAME
Locally, he is well known as the artist who created the 40-foot Ravensong canoe, carved from a 550-year old red cedar, which he donated to the Ravensong Aquatic Centre in 1995. The impressive craft travelled to the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver, where it served as the centrepiece for Aboriginal Tourism (at one point being portaged up an escalator en route to its display area) before being returned home to the Island for good. Helin left impressive footprints in China last year as well when he carved a pair of totem poles for the Canadian International School in Hong Kong. The two-and-a-half month turbo-charged visit with his wife Susan also saw Helin teaching his art and sharing his culture. When he arrived back to the tranquility of Parksville from the smog and bustle of the city, his body hit the brakes and once again nudged Helin onto a different path. “I couldn’t even open my hands from carving with a chainsaw and other hand tools for two-and-a-half months. But my journey to Hong Kong was important for putting my creative distractions behind me for that period of time. I became totally immersed in the education system and what it embodies. I was also very impressed with the teachers and the more than 1,850 respectful and polite students from 41 countries at the school.” >>>
Helin discovered his calling in those early years in Northern B.C., but that voice was soon put on hold as he followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a commercial fisherman instead. A fateful injury forced him to leave the sea and return to his passion for making art. Since 1982, Helin has been doing just that, creating traditional Tsimshian (pronounced SIM-shee-an in English) art forms in precious metals, graphic arts and design, hand-painted acrylic on canvas and woodcarving.
A Bill Helin piece of jewelry is a coveted item internationally and Helin was grateful to have made “a very good living” off his jewelry and wood carving for many years.
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Bitten by the education bug, and wanting to give his body a rest from the rigours of carving on such a large scale, Helin set about illustrating children’s books for Strong Nation Publishing, a company founded by Terry Mack, a top aboriginal educator. This year, he has already illustrated 32 books in the first two phases of a series called Strong Readers Guided Reading Books, which immediately became a hit with kids and teachers alike across Canada. “This is the most revolutionary guided reading series ever produced, and I illustrate with three writers on this series.” His latest project is illustrating a series written by an Inuit writer, Michael Kusugak, who now is living in Deep Bay. He also just finished a storybook written by Mack called Mouse Welcomes Winter Solstice, an education book for kids about the winter constellations and the traditions of the West Coast First Nations tribes. “Six years back I started to experiment with digital illustration, but I promised myself when I turned 50 that I would focus on my storybook illustration projects.” Or so he thought. With the ink barely dry on Phase II of the book series, Helin has inked an animated movie deal with Bardel Entertainment in Vancouver. WINTER 2013
“Initially I just wanted to colour my images digitally, but then I got carried away with all the fun tools in my favourite program, Photoshop,” he offers, by way of explanation. “I have been fascinated with
animation since I was a child. Now I am taking an online animation training course and working on a teen video called Quest to Save Mother Earth and we’re looking for financing. “We have over 47 different stories in our Gitsees tribe alone, and so many have died off with the elders. I am hoping to preserve some of them through books and animation. I have all the old narratives, some of which I have illustrated, which I hope to put into future books.” And movies, by the sounds of it. It’s impossible to imagine that the floodgates of creativity Helin now channels towards animation will close any time soon. He has not sworn off wood carving forever, but has let his jewelry-making slide, knowing the art is in good hands. His sister Leanne, who started training with Helin in 1990, has been making a steady living off the sales of her beautiful wearable art in precious metals, infusing each piece with her own unique style.
LEAVING A LEGACY Helin’s recent foray into the competitive world of coffee (he is a partner in Spirit Bear Coffee, an organic coffee company), while at first might seem to have come out of left field, actually marries nicely with his other creative endeavours, and nurtures a much bigger picture. “I creatively branded Spirit Bear Coffee Company and invested in it, with the intention of educating the world about our endangered Spirit Bears, that are only found on our Tsimshian Territory here in B.C.” Clearly, Helin is passionate about education, and he feels strongly >>>
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Photos page 22-23 left to right: Bill Helin singing a traditional song, a bracelet, a necklace. Page 24-25 L-R: Helin sketching an illustration, a few of the 32 books Helin has illustrated.
about creating a compassionate network, “where [people] have concerns for our future generations, informing them about the importance of protecting Mother Earth from the greedy corporations.”
Protector, artist, and master of following the path that fate throws him upon, Helin’s full-bodied legacy could still be in its infancy. “I have been asked on a few occasions what I wish my legacy to be. I want to be a creative storyteller who is inspiring and important, especially to children and teens. Most of all I want to be remembered as someone who cared about his family and future generations.”
With Helin having left deep footprints, along many genres of creative expression, he will surely be remembered, although one can’t help but imagine — with delighted anticipation — what path Helin will stumble upon next.
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MINDFUL LIVING Story by Lissa Alexander, Photography by Peter McCully
here’s a new house in Bowser perched above the Strait of Georgia with an unrivalled view of Chrome Island, but there’s an even more compelling reason why it’s noteworthy.
Manfred and Isolde Winter have taken environmentally conscious living to the next level, with the help of local contractor and designer Christo Kuun. From the extensive rainwater collection system, to the state of the art microfiltration sewage system, to the use of sustainably harvested West Coast wood, everything in the home has been carefully selected to leave the lightest environmental footprint possible. “We wanted to build an ecologically sensitive, energy efficient, sustainable home,” says Manfred. “We wanted to use products that are as easy on the environment, [to] try to stay with the local economy, local merchants and local craftsman. “
Manfred and Isolde have always been conscious of the environment. The couple first came to Canada from Germany in the 1970s when Manfred was studying chemistry at the University of British Columbia. They liked Vancouver, with its year-round potential for outdoor activities, and so decided to move to Canada full time in 1988. The couple moved to Bowser at the beginning of 2012 and began building their dream home that Spring. It was completed in August of this year. Christo Kuun, of Christo Kuun Design & Construction, has been designing and building houses for about 40 years. And though he’s always been conscious of the products he uses, he’s never built a home to this environmental standard. In fact Kuun took a course to become a Built Green certified builder for this project. In order to have a certified Built Green home, Kuun had to go through a checklist of specifications to ensure a high standard for indoor air quality, resource usage and overall environmental impact. The house also had to be tested for an EnerGuide (energy efficiency) rating. Kuun achieved platinum, the highest rating, for the Winter’s home, which also meets the requirements for the voluntary R-2000 energy efficiency standard for new homes in Canada. >>>
AND SO THE CHALLENGE BEGAN.
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Kuun said the Winters were very hands-on with the building process and helped do extensive research to locate the right products. All the wood used for the home was sustainably harvested and in some cases, wind-fall salvaged. The alder wood flooring and the fir doors came from the North Island and the kitchen cabinetry was made in Errington from local hemlock. “There is no exotic wood in the house, it’s all West Coast,” explains Manfred. >>>
The custom-made front door is four inches thick and made from local fir. It has double weather stripping and a spring-loaded threshold seal, which drops when the door is closed.
IN LOVE WITH SOAPSTONE The house has a north-facing view and a sunroom on the south side, which brings the sun into the house for a brighter feel. It stores heat effectively because the double-glazed windows allow the sun to heat the Canadian soapstone flooring. All the other windows are triple-glazed. The sun room contributes to heating the rest of the house in the colder months by opening the double doors downstairs leading to the living room or opening the windows which lead up to the second floor hallway. In the summer the skylights in the upstairs study can be opened to allow the hot air to escape, so it never gets too hot. WINTER 2013
“It really works,” Manfred says. “When we had it fairly hot for a while [in August] it didn’t get hot in here, so no need for air conditioning.” In the kitchen, the Winter’s make use of induction cooking, where
an electric current produces a magnetic field which heats only magnetic metal pots. This type of cooking is faster and more energy efficient than using traditional cookers. All the countertops in the kitchen are Canadian soapstone from Quebec, and the faucets are all water- saving. In the bathrooms the toilets are wall hung and the tanks, tucked behind the wall. The dual flush system they use has been proven to save up to 67 per cent of water usage in most homes. The bathroom tiles have 40 per cent recycled content. A hot water recirculation pump ensures there is no water wastage in the bathroom or elsewhere in the house. “That means when you go in to the bathroom and you know you want to use the hot water you push a button which activates the pump and the pump recirculates the hot water in the hot water loop so that you have hot water very quickly when you open the tap,” Christo explains. The primary heating in the house is radiant in-floor heating. A heat pump produces hot water for the floors and hot water tank. This pump, which uses heat in the outside air, delivers 3 to 5 units of heat for every equivalent unit of energy used to run the device. A soapstone fireplace enhances the living space downstairs and it’s more than just a shiny centrepiece. Soapstone has the highest heat retention of the natural stones and it radiates the heat for hours after the fire is out. The fireplace is clean burning, and doesn’t produce soot or creosote. >>>
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MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The home is also equipped with the highest efficiency heat recovery ventilation system on the market, since the house is incredibly air-tight. This draws in fresh air and recovers more than 90 per cent of the heat in the outgoing air for top notch indoor air quality. The sewage treatment system uses the most advanced method of residential waste water treatment currently available and the Winters installed the first one sold in B.C. Microbes digest all the organic matter so that it is 98 per cent clean, far better than the limits for bathing water, according to the company that makes it. In the basementÂ rainwater collection tanks hold water collected from the roof and garage. This will be used for the Winterâ€™s laundry, toilets and gardening. Nearly all the lights in the house are LED, the paints used are all zero VOC, or non-toxic, and even the drywall is 28 per cent recycled. There have been provisions made to easily install an elevator should the Winters require one, and the skylights in the home operate by remote control which have rain sensors. The house is also set up for solar panels, which will be installed shortly, and the garage is equipped for an electric car charging station. >>> WINTER 2013
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Although it was a challenge to source materials and get all the subcontractors on board with the Built Green program, Kuun feels he’s learned a great deal and is excited for his next green project, where he’ll be more familiar with the process. He said he’s most proud of the craftsmanship in the home and of his talented crew of workers.
“It turned out really great, I’m happy with it,” he says. “And most importantly, the clients are happy with it.” Manfred says he and Isolde decided to go to the measures they did in the house because they feel it’s important that everyone make an effort within their means. “I’m convinced that on a large scale if we continue on the way we are at the moment it’s going to end... not good.” He says he recognizes that single efforts may not make a big difference, but he hopes more people will become inspired to live more environmentally responsibly, and then, step by step change may happen.
Photos page 27: Exterior of environmentally mindful Bowser home. Page 28-29 left to right: Entrance to home, Extra insulated door to help regulate heat, Kitchen cabinetry, Home owners Manfred & Isolde Winter in their living room in front of their soapstone fireplace. Page 30-31 L-R: Kitchen, Exterior of home, Up stairs vent that regulate heat in the home, Bathroom, Sun room that helps heat home. Page 32 Top to bottom: Water storage tanks, Grey water holding tank, Service panel, microfiltration sewage system, Winters serving coffee to Christo Kuun.
To contact Kuun email him at: email@example.com or call 250-757-9495.
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Story & Photos by Linda Tenney
’Tis the season of culture & tradition...
I watched the fog drift across a field this morning. In slow rhythmic movements, it draped a layer of quiet over two horses grazing on a bale of hay. Snow was on the way ... you could smell it in the air. For many the cold and snow means tune-ups, oil changes, and a switch to deep tread tires on their cars. Even more are thinking about a speedy zip down a snowy ski run on two perfectly waxed boards. I’ve watched those hardy folks. The ones who layer up in ski gear to race down the cut at Mt. Washington. Their cheeks rosy, whooshing through soft new powder to come to a skidding stop in a flurry of snow at the bottom. Then back on the chairlift to do it all over again. I’ve never been on skis. Frankly, zooming down a snowy hill at break-neck speed seems downright reckless. Something a little slower like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or tobogganing does have appeal though. Vancouver Island has so much to offer during the winter, and I’m up for trying something new. If winter sports don’t work out, I’ll simply cozy up in front of the televised yule log with a
good book and wait for spring! Winter sports aside, the season is filled with a slate of cocktail parties, Christmas concerts, live theatre, decorated home and light tours, and heaping trays of traditional sweet things. We tighten our social circles and reconnect with family and friends. It’s a wonderfully warm and fuzzy time of the year when smiling faces and nods acknowledge our small town connectedness. A season that fills our days and nights with precious memories and celebrated tradition. When I was a child and my brother and I still believed in Santa Claus, my father would sneak out in the middle of the night to drag a sleigh through the new snow on our walkway ... then point it out to us in the morning. “Santa must have been here,” he’d say. “And the cookies and milk are gone, too!” We laughed with delight. We believed. And in later years, we pretended we believed. It was tradition. For just a moment ... let’s take a look at two other cultures and how they celebrate the season. I always find it interesting to learn how different we are ... yet how very much alike we are.
In Japan, a Buddhist monk named Hotei-osho is similar to our own Santa Claus. Hotei-osho visits each house to deliver gifts to the children. The little ones believe that he has eyes in the back of his head, so they always behave when he’s around. It sounds very much like our Santa’s ‘Naughty and Nice’ book. He’s always watching too! I particularly like the tradition in Finland, where feathered friends are considered in the celebrations. A sheaf of grain is tied to a pole in the garden, and nuts and seeds are scattered. Tradition has it that some people won’t start their Christmas dinner until the birds have eaten. That certainly sounds like a heart-warming tradition! A Finnish Christmas tree is decorated on Christmas eve with fruit, flags, tinsel, cotton and candy, and although electric lights are used these days, candles were traditional in the past. I encourage you to embrace our cultural differences this season. It might be fun to experience other traditions, and you may even find yourself choosing one of them as your own.
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VIRGINIA BRUCKER Story by Brenda Gough Photo by Peter McCully
Director of Nanoose Community Services
for 30 years at Nanoose Bay Elementary School. A grandma had phoned and said there was a family in the area, a single mom with three kids, with no food or hydro. So that was kind of the impetus behind starting the food bank. We solved that immediate crisis but realized The hardworking volunteers are the heart there must be more similar situations in the and soul of the Nanoose Community Services community. The schools now have lunch Association which provides a week’s groceries programs but they haven’t always. once a month for low income individuals and We also run the Elf program which has been families living in the area, as well as a variety going for 25 years and that helps needy of other services for residents who need families at Christmas. assistance. Question: For those who don’t know, can you While Nanoose Community Services Association explain a little about the Elf program? has been operating for almost four years, the Bruckers have been a positive force in people’s Answer: Last year we helped 276 people at Christmas. We support the Nanoose First lives for many more. Nations as well as non-reserve families. We Question: How did the food bank come about? also support seniors because there are a lot of elderly people who really struggle and are Answer: We started the food bank five and a lonely and have no one to remember them half years ago. We ran it in the back of Nanoose at Christmas. And then we have adults with Place but it wasn’t very fancy and we only had disabilities that also get some help at Christmas $800 in the bank from donations. so it is quite broad. People in the community heard about the work we were doing and stepped forward and said People can self-nominate. They can phone in we would like to help you. One of them had and say I need help. People can be nominated quite a bit of experience fundraising for non- by friends or family or neighbours… that profits and the other one was a real organizer. happens quite often. As well the elementary They offered to help and then we started school will give us a quiet whisper in the ear saying a family at school is struggling. They fundraising. get groceries, a turkey voucher and one gift for Question: What sort of a need did you fill in the each child around the $50 price range. community that the SOS or the Salvation Army We try to make sure everybody gets a book couldn’t address? and a pair of pyjamas, even adults, and if Answer: The (SOS) don’t offer food. The there is a greater need they may get more than Salvation Army offers food but they are up by that. For an adult with disabilities they might Wembley Mall in Parksville so transportation is get something like a hoodie, some socks, a an issue. How do you get your groceries back grocery card, gas card or gift card so they can home to Nanoose Bay on the bus? go out for a coffee or meal which is a treat we It really started when I was working as a teacher all take for granted. t’s a small room, not very fancy or modern and at times the shelves are bare. It is the headquarters of the Nanoose Bay food bank located at the very back of Nanoose Place and it is where you will most often find Virginia and Charlie Brucker.
Question: What sort of feedback to you get from the people you help? Answer: We just actually shared a beautiful letter from a client at our golf tournament. It was very special and I think it is not an exaggeration to say that in at least two cases that I know of people had said they were at the end of their rope and thought they could not go on anymore and we were able to do what was needed to help them overcome that feeling of hopelessness. That’s a hard thing. Question: How often can people get food? Answer: Once a month at the food bank. They must phone on the Tuesday before to make an appointment. Food day is always the second Thursday of the month and they get about enough groceries to last a week...three meals a day and that tides people over.
For more information or to find out how to help call Nanoose Community Services at 250-468-9888 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To register online, visit www.nanoosecommunityservices.com.
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Need a “go-to” before the I do’s? The answer is in black & white! Whether you’re planning an intimate gathering of close friends and family, or a full-on wedding-ofthe-year complete with a dance floor and eightpiece band, Black & White Event Rentals will help transform your backyard into the wedding celebration of their dreams. In business for more than 20 years on Vancouver Island, “we’ve built a reputation for great customer service, up-to-date inventory, and on-time delivery,” so that on that big day, all you’ll have to think about is whether it’s time for another glass of champagne! Call us to discuss the details of your special day!
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Enjoying family time in a great community
What moves you? Whether it’s a place to relax, retire or watch your grandkids grow, we can help. At RE/MAX Anchor we have experienced Realtors® to help you find the perfect fit, for all the things that move you.
Serving the Oceanside Area
www.remaxanchor.ca 250-752-2466 1-800-668-3622 113 West 2nd Avenue, Qualicum Beach
Outstanding agents. Outstanding results.®
©2013 RE/MAX, LLC. Each office independently owned and operated. 130248 Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX.®
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Published on Nov 26, 2013