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o a k b ay l ivin G

Tweed SPRING 2014

Behind the music Oak Bay’s famous composer, tobin stokes


giving new life to an estevan Character Home

Art lovers Marion Evamy and Bobb Hamilton I N S I D E › P e o p l e › T R AV EL › F OO D › H I S T O R Y › A rts

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Spring 2014 Volume 2 Issue 1


10 Cover Story Take a tour

of Oak Bay composer Tobin Stoke’s musical journey.



Oak Bay Insider

Christopher Causton takes a walk on the Centennial Trail.


Historic Oak Bay


Dogs on the Avenue

Photographers capture the cute, the cuddly and the gangly in Oak Bay canines.


tweed! Tweed Magazine welcomes

Writer Ivan Watson relives the 1939 Royal visit to Oak Bay.


Romancing the Stove

Join Pam Grant at the home of Margie Parikh.


Tea With

Tweed editor Susan Lundy chats with rector Christopher Page.



Postcards Home Travel

to Greece and Turkey with Barrie Moen.





your Oak Bay suggestions for the next edition. So, do tell! Email editor Susan Lundy at:








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TALK of the TOWN ! » Winchester Gallery is excited to launch a “fantastic” fivepart lecture series on the history of art on Vancouver Island by Oak Bay resident Robert Amos. The lecture series runs April and May, and although it will be held at the gallery’s downtown location (796 Humboldt Street) and not its Oak Bay site, organizers expect it will draw a host of Oak Bay art and history lovers.

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the church’s upcoming 60th anniversary. Fosdick said the book, called St. Philip Oak Bay – a pictorial history of faith and fellowship, has been very warmly received.

» Paintings and photo-

graphs celebrating Bowker Creek are currently on show at Moka House Coffee (1769 Fort Street), March 3 to 29, and will run again at Serious Coffee (2060 Oak Bay Avenue), April 1-30.

PeterDowgailenko, Cusheon Lake

“It was a tremendously positive undertaking,” she said. Anyone interested can view the book online at books/4622616-st-philipoak-bay. There are also several copies available at the Greater Victoria Public Library, as well as the Oak Bay Archives.

» Two shows at Eclectic Gal-

lery this spring feature Oak Bay artists. From March 10 to April 5, Photo by Barbara Julian Oak Bay artist Peter Dowgailenko will be joined by The images, which celebrate Victoria artist Lindy Michie Bowker Creek as a “unique for a combined show. and ancient natural feature,” Dowgailenko exhibits oil include watercolours by wellpaintings of scenes from known Oak Bay artist Avis around the community, and Rasmussen and photographs is considered a master of by Barbara Julian and her light and shadow with the nephew, nature photograability to see beauty in the pher Anton Brakhage, both world around him. of whom also live in Oak Exhibiting May 12 to June Bay. 14 are Katherine Farris and Julian says her photographs Louise Osboren, who share document a year of creek an Oak Bay studio. Both walking and journaling. express a love of floral paintings. Opening reception for » A new book by Gillian Fosthis show is Thursday, May dick about St. Philip Angli15 from 6 to 8 pm. can Church coincides with





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Young musicians at an all-ages backyard music festival are, from left, Carson Isenor, Eric Boudreau and Sierra Lundy.

Making music and building community


he magnitude of it all struck me when composer Tobin Stokes, featured in this edition of Tweed, brought out a score he’d written for an orchestra. A mesmerizing array of bars and staffs and notes and clefs danced over the page, directing each instrument to create, individually, a sound that would collectively result in one glorious resonance. The thought was overwhelming. Then, as I continued to gaze at the score, I realized that although it looked like a foreign language — since I can’t read music — the fact is, music is a commonality we all share. It took me back to last winter when I witnessed Paul McCartney take the stage at Rexall Place in Edmonton. Song after song transported everyone in that arena to a place somewhere in their memories — so many Beatles and Wings songs set the soundscape to our lives. I couldn’t help but get teary as 20,000 people sang in unison every word to “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude.” Those were powerful moments. As noted by music therapist Leslie Pike (in Birth and Rebirth, page 20), music takes people to places that are both fascinating and even therapeutic. For me, a few notes of “Dancing Queen” and there I am, in my bright pink childhood bedroom, singing along with Abba. A few bars of Puccini’s “Tosca” carries me to my grandfather’s living room; and Handel’s “Messiah” at Christmas, reminds me of my father, now deceased. One of my daughters sings, plays and writes music. My mother is always trilling away about this and that. Even the dogs sing. And this summer, I will marry a man who plays the drums. (Boys and girls — never hook up with a drummer! The first time you haul drums to the truck after a gig, you’ll be pining for a vocalist.) For the past four years, we’ve held a music “festival” at our home, featuring 10 bands with musicians ranging in age from 16 to 65. The night ends with a multi-age throng of more than 200 people grooving on the lawn under the lights — age becomes irrelevant as generations merge, united by the music. 8



Tobin says there is no one style of music he prefers over another and he listens to it all — certainly helpful to someone who creates such diverse sounds. I urge everyone to check out the audio clips on his website at www.tobinstokes. com. His music is both splendid and moving. As I read the stories that make up this issue of Tweed, I realized that “community” sits at the heart of many. It struck me that in the same way all those instruments in Tobin’s score work individually to comprise a coordinated effect, the many people in Oak Bay, who create and maintain community, also add their individuality to a collective purpose. Consider those who work nurturing native ecosystems in Uplands Park and Brighton Walkway in “Gardening Guerillas” (page 34). Or look at Oak Bay police and firemen, as they find ways to make a difference locally, in the story All In The Community (page 30). Also check out the story featuring Marion Evamy and Bobb Hamilton, and note Bobb’s work to increase the presence of Oak Bay’s arts community Finally, Tea With’s Christopher Page, rector of St. Philip Anglican Church, speaks to the joy of community, noting: “Every Sunday I share in a community that celebrates love and encourages me to live gently and respectfully in the human community and in relationship to all of creation. This seems a profoundly relevant way to spend my life.” There is much, much more in this edition of Tweed. So please enjoy . . . and let the beat go on!

Susan Lundy EDITOR

Born and raised in Victoria, Susan Lundy has worked as a journalist, editor and freelance writer for over 25 years. She is also editor of Soar Magazine and her columns on family life run in several Black Press newspapers. Her first book — Heritage Apples: A New Sensation — was published last spring. Follow her on Twitter @slundytweet

CONTRIBUTORS ivan watson grew up in Oak Bay and is an alumnus of Glenlyon Norfolk School. He works as a freelance writer, historian and marketing and communications strategist. Follow him on Twitter: @watsonivan

ARNOLD LIM is a longtime photojournalist and videographer whose credits include the Globe and Mail, Sports Illustrated, the Toronto Star and Black Press.

chris causton is a former mayor, restaurateur and hotelier; and current Harbour Ferries Captain and Rotarian. He’s a voracious reader who still enjoys a good game of tennis.

Sharon Tiffin is an award winning photographer who has worked for Black Press community newspapers for 24 years.

ANGELA COWAN is a nationally published poet and award winning fiction author who moonlights as a freelance journalist and feature writer.

DON DENTON has photographed numerous high-profile events, including the Olympics, World Hockey Championships, European Figure Skating Championships and a Royal wedding.

March to June


March 7 to April 25

April 26-27

Tribute to Nashville

Oak Bay Artists Spring Studio Tour:

dinner theatre at Oak Bay Beach Hotel, featuring some of Nashville’s most renowned recording artists. FMI: www.

March 15 The “spirited” opening of Will Millar’s

JENnifer BLYTH is an award-winning writer, photographer and editor, whose stories have appeared in BC Business, BC Home, WestWorld and Yes Magazine.

KEN SAKAMOTO is an award-winning photojournalist, whose assignments include Queen Elizabeth II, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, first mission of the space shuttle, major league sports and famous people.

pam grant is a recovering chef, award winning writer and Victoria native, who enjoys music, travelling and epicurean adventures — especially those that involve eating dinner at other people’s homes.

Natalie North is a feature writer whose words can be found on the pages of Monday Magazine, a comedy stage or inspired illegible notes in all of her pockets.

art show at Winchester Gallery in Oak Bay includes a performance by Millar and an Irish whiskey tasting.

March 23/April 27/ May 25 St. Philip Anglican Church hosts Bluegrass Mass the fourth Sunday of each month, beginning at 4 p.m. and featuring bluegrass, Americana, Canadiana, roots music, Eucharist and a brief message. FMI: rob@

April 2/April 7 End of the Winter Adult Hockey League with playoffs at Oak Bay Recreation (April 2). Start of the spring hockey league, April 7.

April 6/May 4/June 1 Group Publisher Penny Sakamoto

Creative Design Lily Chan

Circulation Director Director, Sales and Advertising Bruce Hogarth Oliver Sommer Editor Susan Lundy

Cover Photo: Arnold Lim 818 Broughton Street, Victoria, BC V8W 1E4 Phone 250-381-3484 Fax 250-386-2624

St. Philip Anglican Church hosts Jazz Vespers with the Bob Watts Trio, on the first Sunday evening of each month, at 7:30 p.m.

April 7 to May 10 TWEED magazine is published quarterly by Black Press. The points of view or opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher of Tweed. The contents of Tweed magazine are protected by copyright, including the designed advertising. Reproduction is prohibited without written consent of the publisher.

New works by Georgia Angelopoulos and Miles Lowry at Eclectic Gallery. FMI:

Take a self-guided tour of up to 30 local artist studios. FMI:

May 24-26 Swiftsure International Yacht Race hosted by the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

May 25 Quartet recital at Oak Bay United Church; part of the Oak Bay Matinee Music Series, beginning at 2 p.m. FMI: www.

June 2 Year-end choral concert at Oak Bay High School, 7 p.m. in the auditorium. FMI: oakbay.sd61.

June 7 Garagellennium: the annual event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at various homes in Oak Bay. FMI: www.

June 7-8 The 52nd annual Oak Bay Tea party takes place at Willows Beach. FMI:

June 13 Last day of classes and year-end barbeque at Oak Bay High School. FMI:




Musical notation Composer Tobin Stokes is the man behind the sound


By susan lundy Photos by Arnold Lim

Composer Tobin Stokes at the waterfront in Oak Bay. Following pages: Stokes making music in his studio. 10


’m impressed even before I meet renowned composer Tobin Stokes. Google his name and get 9,500 hits. Visit his website and listen to ear-caressing clips of music he’s created. Then count the number of accomplishments listed on his website under “a few credits” (there’s 22) and note how many are tagged as “current projects” (seven). My first question should be, “When do you sleep?” Stokes writes music for orchestras and choirs, films, television, theatre and opera. His commissions


include the 2010 Olympics, the Victoria Symphony, CBC Radio, the XV Commonwealth Games, Ballet British Columbia and more. He has scored films and TV series for the BBC, CBC and ABC (Australia), and his choral works are performed around the world. In early February, his opera Fallujah — set in wartime Iraq and based on a US marine’s personal experience with post-traumatic stress disorder — won second place in an international composers’ competition. Listening to clips from Fallujah on Stokes’ website ( sends chills up my spine.

Stokes, 47, turned out to be as gracious as he is talented, welcoming me into his comfortably cluttered studio — a small, soundproofed structure tucked away on an Oak Bay side street. He was happy to chat and seemed relaxed, despite those seven projects on the go. “Music comes all the time,” he said, “on a walk at Willows Beach, travelling, in the shower.” That’s a good thing, considering all the musical notes he’s currently juggling. Topping his “to do” list during our late January interview was his opera Pauline, with libretto by Canadian novelist and poet Margaret Atwood. Commissioned by City Opera Vancouver and premiering at York Theatre in May, this marked his most pressing deadline: he needed to complete Act Two edits and get the music to the singers. “It’s been great to work with [Atwood],” he said. “She calls her libretto a coat hanger and says it’s up to me to build a coat.” He was also working on two projects

for the Belfry Theatre (where he’s done “sound design” for the past 20 years), including Proud, a performance about Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Equivocation, which will also run at Vancouver’s Bard On The Beach this summer. The evening before our interview, Stokes performed at the Belfry, playing the congas, “telling a story using no words,” and singing First Nations songs. The latter relates to another of his current projects as he once again composes for the biannual International Choral Kathaumixw Festival in Powell River. He’s been composer in residence at the festival since 1994, creating large oratorio works often with First Nations themes. His fifth project was a musical composition for the Victoria-based Emily Carr String Quartet. This was still in the formative phase in January, but, intriguingly, Stokes had decided to base the music on everything Carr published about birds. Edits to Fallujah were also underway SPRING 2014



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in preparation for a March “stand and sing” performance at Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. And finally, he’d just been commissioned for a large new work for Victoria Symphony, set to premiere this fall. In addition to all this, he’d recently finished another two projects: the first, co-scoring “Wild Canada,” a four-part series for BBC/ CBC, narrated by David Attenborough; and the second, scoring “How To Be a Wild Elephant,” which premiered in January on the CBC’s The Nature of Things. Always in the back of his mind is his opera Rattenbury, based on the scintillating life and death of Oak Bay’s famous architect, Francis Rattenbury. The opera has been performed in concert version but Stokes said, “I have much bigger plans for it; it’s still simmering.” So when does he sleep? He laughed and said: “I used to work long, long hours but now I try to search for more balance. In the last five years that’s been a big switch.” Part of that has been a move with his wife, Jude Isabella, and their two sons (now aged 20 and 22) back to Oak Bay three years ago. I always had ideas. “We wanted to get back to the water,” says Stokes. “We love to paddle I was always and it’s a quick walk down to Willows improvising on the Beach. Oak Bay is so walkable; we barely use a car. We cycle or walk to piano, changing keys the village and the beach.” on all my pieces . . . They also love to garden and both are amateur painters. Isabella, a science tobin stokes journalist, was in Kenya working on a series of stories on elephants at the time of the interview. One of their sons is a well-established musician, and the other is an economics student at the University of British Columbia. Music came early to Stokes; he played the piano by ear at age three, and began singing in choirs at seven. He also showed an early interest musical composition. “I always had ideas. I was always improvising on the piano, changing keys on all my pieces . . . no, my piano teacher didn’t like it!” he laughed. In elementary school, he switched to percussion, which Stokes believes provided a “good framework for a composition.” “It often meant focussing all the musicality of a piece into a singlepitched instrument, like a snare drum, for example,” he said. Born in Vancouver and raised in Powell River, Stokes moved to Victoria at 14, landing at Oak Bay High with the “legendary” band teacher Dave Dunnet. Stokes played drums in the band and ensembles, and marched at events like the Oak Bay Tea Party. A directed studies course in musical composition, created by Dunnet, introduced him to technology such as early synthesizers. He also travelled with the school band to Europe in 1982 and 1984. The school community helped him raise funds for the trips, and Stokes believes that the nurturing he got at Oak Bay High, plus the opportunities presented by Dunnet were pivotal in his career. Stokes went on to obtain a degree in classical percussion from the University of Victoria, and began composing choir music on his own. He played drums in several bands, but it was a moment of clar-

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ity following a rehearsal with the Victoria Symphony that launched his career. “I realized I’d rather be the guy at the other end of the pencil,” he said. “I loved what I was hearing, but I didn’t want to hear it from the back row. I wanted to hear it in my head first.” Some 20 years and dozens of compositions later, Stokes (who enjoys listening to all styles of music), can’t name a favourite piece, but recalled the pleasure of achieving milestones, such as writing his first symphony. “And I’m proud of little bits,” he said, “like when I’ve written my self into a corner and how I back it out.” Like many artists, he makes a distinction between “art” and “craft,” describing pieces written for film and television as his craft: “I’m giving them what they want in order to tell the story. But when it’s left to me — like an orchestra piece — I have the freedom to look at my own voice and the way I want to express it.” And express it he has — just ask Google.





NEWLY red Above: Red Art Gallery in its new location; Marion Evamy’s artwork; Evamy and Bobb Hamilton. Following page: Evamy in her upstairs studio.

The joyful art of Marion Evamy and Bobb Hamilton By Natalie North Photos by Ken Sakamoto 14




he first time Marion Evamy submitted to the Sidney Fine Art Show, the artist behind Oak Bay’s Red Art Gallery wasn’t there to accept the The Show Designers’ Choice Award for “Cirque II,” a mixed-media pinwheel of patterns and bold colours sewn together by the human form. The following year, Evamy’s husband Bobb Hamilton received a call from organizers, asking if the couple could attend the awards ceremony. He convinced Evamy to make the trip and soon the two were tucked into seats No. 1 and 2 at the Mary Winspear Centre. “That should have been a tip-off,” Hamilton says amidst an array of photo albums, brochures and catalogues telling the story of Evamy and Red, now at its new location, 2249 Oak Bay Avenue. “There’s only one award left, the grand poo-bah: Best in Show. We’re sitting there and Marion hasn’t been asked up to accept an award yet. She looks at me. I look at her. I know what’s happening and she says: ‘I guess they forgot about me.’ She was serious.” As Hamilton predicted, Evamy was about to be called to the stage and given the honour for “African Queen,” another figurative piece engulfed in scarlet hues, the colour palette for which her studio-gallery is known. His delight and pride permeates every corner of discussion surrounding Evamy’s I provide the artistic evolution, from the first dog porcreative impact traits to abstracts united by only a vibrant palette and a fearlessness. Evamy simply and the artistic smiles, happy to have her gallery director input, but it’s a fill in the parts of the story her paintings total join effort. can’t, and turns her attention to the official gallery greeters. Pepita, the rescued Meximarion evamy can runt and Magnus, the cuddly golden retriever, are eagerly awaiting their belly rubs. This is a dynamic familiar to any one of their gallery visitors – or the roughly 400 house guests who used to stop by their Oak Bay home during bi-annual studio tours prior to the 2011 opening of a storefront. “I provide the creative impact and the artistic input, but it’s a total joint effort,” Evamy says. “It wouldn’t happen without both of us pitching in.” There’s no time for marketing in the schedule of a painter who churns out about 80 pieces annually. “The fact that I don’t hesitate when I paint, is what I call the nofear method: just get in there and figure it out,” Evamy says. The 53-year-old Calgary import moved to Oak Bay in 2006 and met Hamilton, 59, a longtime Victoria realtor, two years later while he was fundraising for the Garth Homer Society’s art works program. Hamilton happened upon Evamy’s joyful originals, enlisted her help and the rest is (recent) history for the two, who were married last October. “We realized we both had this love of art,” he says. “I’m not an artist, but she is and I love appreciating art. That common denominator launched our relationship.” As homage to Garth Homer shortly after the birth of Red, they hosted a show by art works clients. Outside of representing 15 other artists, they continue to offer their walls to community groups and art students of different stripes. Non-profit organizations in

AG664_Sabiston_Focus.indd 1




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need of a fundraising venue also have an open invite to host events at the space. “We’ve always felt like we’ve led very privileged lives and wanted to give back,” says Evamy. “Why not use the gallery and our love of art to involve the community?” Evamy’s propensity for art and leadership links directly to her parents. Her mother Catherine remains a philanthropist in Calgary while her late father, Michael Evamy, left his mark on the city as an architect. His prominent work included the Alberta College of Art and Design, where Evamy studied following pursuit of a psychology degree from the University of Victoria (1983). But like many creative people, Evamy’s career path took a few turns. With an early professional life in real estate, marketing and PR, she didn’t shift towards art until her father was undergoing cancer treatments and asked Evamy to paint with him. The request led to experimentation in the mid-90s and by 2000, a Ron Burns-inspired crack at pop art dog portraiture had blossomed into a full-time job as a “pup artist.” “I knew I always enjoyed creative endeavours and certainly when I was young my dad encouraged me. Once I got painting

and started to get some validation, it definitely started to resonate with me. Now I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be.” Her motto: to live life like an exclamation, not an explanation. The peppy punctuation graces each of her signatures, most recently a series of faces exploring texture. Each one has grown from a process of layering her trademark colours, without an image in mind. “It’s just a way I like to work,” she says, “to make a mess with paint, to get a lot of texture down and then see what emerges.” While Evamy navigates unfamiliar territory with gels and combined media, Hamilton forges a path of his own. Bolstered by the gallery’s new locale in the heart of the village, his focus as of late has been to rally the neighbouring galleries and together demand more attention from Tourism BC. “We feel that we’re helping cement the signature of Oak Bay as an art gallery mecca,” Hamilton says. “We’re blessed here with six art galleries within two blocks. Nowhere in Victoria is that available.”. “It’s a no-brainer,” Evamy says. “This really is the place to come for art. It’s a big component of Oak Bay. It’s one of the things that makes us stand out.”




oak bay insider

Trailblazing on the Centennial Trail

Christopher Causton was mayor of Oak Bay for 15 years, and now works as a Harbour Ferries Captain. He is the founder and former owner of Jason’s (Camilles) and Rattenbury’s (Spaghetti Factory), and is a classically trained hotelier. He is a keen tennis player, and member of the Harbourside Rotary for 29 years. He is also working with the VI Spine Trail Association to link trails from Victoria to Cape Scott.

Photo by Sharon tiffin


ducting a symphony in front of a half-finished pavilion en Milbrath wanted to see a trail go from (an event that occurred here in 2006). Note also the downtown Victoria around the Rockland area, picture on the electric transformer next to the pavilion through Oak Bay and back to Victoria’s waterfront. The year was 2005 and Oak Bay’s Centennial of the 1932 Oak Bay School Soccer Association, and check out the perfect likeness of Dick Hales, an Oak Bay Committee was looking for good projects. With the sports legend. princely budget of $1,549 in hand, the idea of a CenTravel along one of Oak Bay’s most loved roads, Istennial Trail was born. Commencing at the Foul Bay/ land, noting how in the 900 block, on one side, houses Brighton intersection, the trail would join together are 100 years old or more, and on the other side, they’re some well-known walks, ultimately creating a walkable more recently built — and see how they coexist togethroute that exemplified both beauty and convenience. er. More good examples of old and new houses blending Running along Brighton Avenue behind Oak Bay United Church and properties that it used to own, Cen- together can be seen up to the 600 block. After passing the Jones’ Estate, and one of the area’s tennial Trail weaves its way across Victoria Avenue, past best laid-out subdivisions, you enter Anderson Hill Roslyn and down to Hampshire. Here, the trail has been greatly enhanced thanks to sterling work by volunteers from the Friends of “The trail would . . . ultimately create Brighton Walkway. At Hampshire, note a bench dedicated by his a walkable route that exemplified both family to Roger Colwill — who started the first Christmas Festival at Central and St. Patrick — beauty and convenience. and a fallen oak. That tree fell in South Oak Bay Park: natural beauty at its finest. Jog to the left, and you and was moved here by the parks department . . . a should get a 360-degree view from the highest point. natural piece of public art. A small round was cut from this tree to be used as a dedication plaque at Jog to the right and you’ll enjoy one of the prettiest paths in Oak Bay, winding down through Calvert CresMunicipal House on Government Street, which cent and Earn Street back to Transit Road. is one of the “greenest” buildings in the city. And then it’s round McNeill Bay and on to Sunny Centennial Trail crosses Monterey, Oliver, St. Lane. A little known marker at this bay reads, “Miss Patrick and St. David before descending (past more good work by volunteers) to Transit Road, Irene Margaret Ross who gave this Esplanade to the people of Oak Bay.” See if you can find it! Also look formerly known by the much richer name of here for the original homestead gate. St. James. One hundred and twenty two steps lead from Sunny Trail markers are evident in Lane to the top, and as you regain your breath at various places but here, as you Walbran Park, there is a wonderful plaque with a lot of walk down, you can see green history on it. (Who knew that Captain George Vancouand white decals. Copied ver brewed Spruce beer!) A great selection of art deco from the “red and whites” houses leads to Gonzales Hill and the Gonzales Hill on the Compostela Trail in Observatory, a wonderful place for quiet contemplation. France, these small signs The trail then winds its way back down the road to should tell you if you’re King George Terrace, down Crescent Road and at Foul going the right way! Bay Road crosses back into Victoria, where hopefully the Cut through the path city’s waterfront trail will connect. in front of the Windsor A simple idea but a beautiful walk: Ken Milbrath Pavilion and imagine a was pleased. Lieutenant Governor conSPRING 2014




historic oak bay

A Royal Welcome Story by ivan watson Photos courtesy of the Oak Bay Archives

Seventy-five years ago this spring, huge cheering crowds throughout Canada welcomed King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, as the Royal couple became the first reigning monarchs to visit this country.


illions of Canadians engaged in one of the largest and most patriotic celebrations in Canadian history — a national moment of pride just a few months before international tensions led to the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe. The Royal couple arrived on the RMS Empress of Australia in Quebec City on May 17, 1939 and over the next few weeks travelled by special rail carriage to every province in the Dominion, and included in the tour was a visit to Oak Bay. Accompanied by Prime Minister Mackenzie King, the Royals performed official duties: in Ottawa, the Queen laid the cornerstone for the Supreme Court and the King dedicated the National War Memorial in front of 10,000 veterans. The Queen, moved by the crowd’s welcome, broke from protocol to speak personally with several veterans. In doing so, a new and enduring tradition was inaugurated: the Royal walkabout. As the Royal train steamed through Canadian communities large and small, momentum and anticipation built steadily for the visit to British Columbia. For weeks in advance, the Victoria Times and Daily Colonist newspapers reported on every detail of the upcoming visits. Local businesses such as David Spencer, Safeway Stores and Hudson’s Bay proclaimed their loyalty with patriotic ads and time off for their employees on the day of the big event. Special commemorative keepsake editions of both newspapers were produced before and after the Royal visit. The BC Electric




Railway Company and Vancouver Island Coach Lines arranged special tours of Victoria by streetcar and bus. Hudson’s Bay even dedicated its store windows to a colourful display of scenes of the lives of the Royals. After a triumphant stop in Vancouver — which Prime Minister King thought was “one of the finest of the entire tour” — the Royals boarded the SS Princess Marguerete and set sail for Victoria, arriving on the evening of May 29. The Times captured the excitement of over 100,000 spectators who thronged the area around the CPR terminal to cheer as the King and Queen stepped on “Oak Bay wanted its Vancouver Island for the first time. very own ‘Gala Day’ to “City Bedecked, Awaits be picture perfect.” Royalty” proclaimed one headline: “Harbor Front Bathed in Fairyland of Light for King and Queen.” As a dramatic welcome spectacle, “beacon fires” were lit and rocket “magnesium bombs” and flares set off in Victoria, Esquimalt and Saanich as well as at Cattle Point, Trail Island and Gonzales Bay in Oak Bay. The “Pageant in Fire for the Royal Visit” even extended over the American border to Port Angeles. The Royal couple stayed two nights as guests of Lieutenant Governor Eric Hamber at Government House. Floodlights lit up the Royal Standard, which fluttered atop the building. When the sun rose on May 30, everything was ready for the only full day of Royal festivities around Victoria. A much anticipated highlight of the visit was the Royal procession through surrounding municipalities. A 15-mile tour was organized and route details in Oak Bay along Cranmore Road to Hampshire Road and Oak Bay Avenue were published in advance for maximum publicity. Oak Bay’s royal welcome was meticulously planned. Momentum had been building over a week of royal celebrations as a

At left: Thousands of residents welcome their King and Queen from special viewing platforms in front of the old Municipal Hall building. At right: Cranmore Road decorated for the Royal Visit.

special horse show and polo matches at Willows Park took place a few days before the actual visit. Throughout Oak Bay, public and private viewing stands were constructed to provide the best possible vantage point for thousands of residents to watch the Royal procession. Oak Bay wanted its very own “Gala Day” to be picture perfect. A giant street banner dyed royal blue with gold borders was installed at the start of the tour route at Cranmore and Cadboro Bay roads which proclaimed: “Loyal Greetings from Oak Bay,” and a similar banner at the end of the route at Oak Bay Avenue and Foul Bay Road said: “Oak Bay Says Godspeed and Farewell.” Over 1,000 children from Willows, Monterey, St. Michael’s and Glenlyon schools were stationed at the beginning of the Royals’ route into Oak Bay. The children shouted and sang patriotic songs, and threw masses of tulip, iris, peony and rose pedals on the street just before the arrival of the Royal car. The Daily Colonist noted that every child waved a Union Jack in loyal greeting. Sporting well pressed uniforms, Oak Bay Sea Cadets, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides stood at attention as the Royal procession advanced. Many locals donned their Sunday best and decorated their houses with hand-

made flags, bunting and patriotic banners. Thirteen standard bearers of the International Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE), dressed in “spotless white,” bore flagpoles with large Union Jacks, which they dipped in ceremonial honour as the Royal motorcar passed by. At Oak Bay Municipal Hall, the Royals were greeted by thousands of cheering residents as well as many veterans of the First World War, several of whom were seated in wheelchairs in the front row of the viewing stand. The Britannia Branch Brass Band played “The Maple Leaf Forever” and “Land of Hope and Glory.” Oak Bay Reeve Taylor led an official parade in advance of the Royals, while dozens of schoolchildren performed Maypole dances. Apparently, Oak Bay’s Reeve impressed the Queen. Later, at a reception at City Hall, it was reported that unique among all of Victoria’s municipal leaders present, “the Queen detained Reeve Taylor for a few quietly spoken words.” As the procession left Oak Bay, sick children from Royal Jubilee Hospital waved with excitement. It was noted that this was the only point when the Royal car slowed almost to a halt so that the King and Queen could wish the children well. After

leaving Oak Bay, the Royals enjoyed a state luncheon at the Empress Hotel and the King broadcast a special message heard around the Empire and the world. On May 31, the Royals departed Victoria. Prime Minister Mackenzie King wrote in his diary that the Victoria visit was “a crowning gem.” No doubt the enthusiastic welcome of thousands of loyal Oak Bay citizens helped considerably to leave that impression. King George VI wrote that he was “deeply touched” by the spectacle and warmth of his welcome to the city that bears the name of his great-grandmother. As a lasting tribute to the Royal visit and as a show of solidarity, the flagpole at Oak Bay’s fire hall was erected in June 1939. Do you have any personal memories, photos or stories of Oak Bay’s Royal Visit? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Email: / Twitter @watsonivan SPRING 2014



Birth & rebirth Estevan renovation ready for its family By Angela Cowan Photos by Ken Sakamoto


teps away from the Estevan village in Oak Bay, amidst the pockets of snowdrops and the green shoots of an early spring, a revitalized 1949 house on Dunlevy Street awaits the newest member of its family. Adam and Leslie Pite are expecting their first child this St. Patrick’s Day, and have been working hard to get the house ready, breaking open new spaces and breathing new life into the building. The previous owners had lived in the 20



space for 40 years, never updating past new coats of paint. For the Pites, first time homeowners, the prospect of such an extensive renovation was overwhelming. The underlying structure had potential, but it was hard to see past the dark, cramped and dated design. So, they went to the professionals. They enlisted the help of Oak Bay designer Jodi Foster to transform the house, knocking down walls, tearing down dark wood panelling and essentially

Above: Phone cove. At right: Leslie and Adam Pite in their Estevan home. Previous page: Open concept for living room and dining area, and leaded glass door.

rearranging the entire main living space. Jodi previously assisted Adam with redecorating his Oak Bay dental office, and the designer brought Leslie into the Estevan house even before the Pites had made an offer. “She was the brainchild behind the entire thing,” says Adam of Jodi. “She had the vision, and she helped us to see that vision.” To imagine how the house looked like in its “before” state, picture each room compartmentalized from the next, wood panelling soaking up the few scraps of natural light that managed to push through to the back rooms, near-shag carpets and narrow doorways. With Jodi’s direction and the meticulous genius of Peter Forbes of P.J.F. Construction, the entire right half of the house was rebirthed into a wide open concept: the dining area became a spacious kitchen, and the existing cubed kitchen was transformed into a third bedroom. While it may sound like a convoluted game of musical rooms, the effect is a perfect divide of private and public spaces: a soundproofed wall separates the bedrooms and bathrooms from the light and spacious living area, which is ideal for entertaining. As the renovations got underway, Adam

and Leslie tried to maintain as much of the original charm as they could, retaining the leaded glass door into the front room, a small “phone alcove,” and vintage light switch covers. But the greatest treasure they uncovered, literally, was under the thick, swirling caramel carpet. The 65-year-old original oak hardwood floors were beautifully preserved and looked practically new. And by pulling some of the boards from the back bedroom, they were able to extend the flooring throughout the main living area. Not everything could be salvaged, however. The mouldings around the windows — multi-layered casings — had succumbed to too much damage and were replaced; the coved ceiling proved unsalvageable as well. Papered with a textured and painted wallpaper, it would have been exceedingly difficult to remove, so to avoid spending countless hours scraping and peeling, the ceiling was re-finished with just a quarter inch skim of drywall. Looking at the completed product, it’s easy to lose sight of how much work went into making the ceilings as smooth as polished glass. The Pites move around their space easily, making coffee and puttering in the kitchen SPRING 2014



with an air of long-standing ease, although they only officially moved in at the beginning of December. There’s a sense that they’re quickly comfortable wherever they go, having already moved several times each. Originally from Sarnia and Edmonton respectively, Adam and Leslie met and fell in love while working on the mainland. Adam discovered the island lifestyle a few years earlier while working with the Victoria Cool Aid Society, and soon convinced his wife to cross the pond. “I always say I fell in love with it over here and I pulled Leslie with me,” he says, laughing. They spent a few years downtown in a condo, “[Estevan] is and when their realtor introduced them to the area, they jumped at the chance to settle near the such a neat little Estevan village. community.” “It’s such a neat little community,” says Leslie, drawn to the peaceful area, the abundance of leslie young families and the great schools. Pite The neighbourhood is indeed charming: people walking their dogs down the brisk sunny streets, the small shops in the village boasting hand-knit woollies and local art, neighbours stopping in the quiet streets to chat. The Pites seem to fit right in, both being community-minded people. Adam, a dentist on Oak Bay Avenue, strives to give his patients a reassuringly calm experience. He also consults part time with patients, who are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, about their dental needs.

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At left: Old doorbell and (below) old light switch with new digital heat control. At far left: Living room fireplace.

Leslie works as a music therapist, travelling to clients all over Oak Bay and Victoria. Using recorded music and playing and singing herself, Leslie deals with children with special needs and seniors with dementia. Music has a way of connecting with emotions, with a part of the brain that may not be accessible anymore, especially when dealing with dementia. “When they hear something familiar, memories come back, lyrics come back,” she says. The results can be astounding. And though every session may be different, tailoring to what that particular client may need, there’s always a goal in mind. “We use music with intention,” she says. “To improve someone’s quality of life.” Though the Pites have only just settled into their new home, they’ve already put down roots, entwining their lives into the neighbourhood. Their new open space stands poised to soak up years of laughter and music, spiced smells from the kitchen, and, just around the corner, the gentle contentment of parenthood. STAIRS | STAIRCASES | LAMINATE & HARDWOOD FLOORS | EXTERIOR & INTERIOR DOORS


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1911 Oak Bay Home Listed for: $1,695,000 CDN Features: Enjoy tastefully renovated Oak Bay character with room for the whole family in this 1911, five-bedroom home. The 6,236-square-foot house on a private, quarteracre lot features a huge living room with fireplace, large formal dining room with built-ins and an open custom kitchen with large island. Additional possibilities await for use as a quiet nanny or teenager space. Step outside into the mature landscaped yard, boasting several private patios and a custom outside fireplace ideal for entertaining, or enjoy an easy walk to nearby Willows Beach, Estevan Village and local schools. Source: MLS Listings/

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OAK BAY LANDMARKS One:06 features unique Oak Bay landmarks as seen through a roving camera eye. “One” honours the uniqueness of Oak Bay and 06 gives a nod to its history — 1906, the year it incorporated into a municipality. For this edition, photographer Don Denton’s camera eye explored some of the creatively designed and displayed apartment names in Oak Bay.





Dining and

Wining Photos by DON DENTON

Romancing the Stove columnist Pam Grant feasts with Margie Parikh

Home for dinner The southernmost area of Oak Bay is a spot of both great significance and stark beauty. The Chinese community bought land here to establish a cemetery, choosing this site for its spectacular feng shui. Narrowly escaping development in the late 1960s, the Chinese Cemetery at Harling Point was finally designated a national historic site in 1995. I am regularly drawn to this area, which was named for local resident Dr. Frederick Harling, who died after joining a neighbourhood effort to rescue people clinging to a capsized boat in a January storm in 1934. I always pause at the cemetery’s altar and funerary chimneys — once turquoise —to take in the view of the Olympic Mountains and remember the people who rest here. More often than not, I continue northeast, following a small path between bedrock leading to a nearby house where I stand today with Tweed photographer Don Denton. Visiting a house you once lived in is unnerving. Though I 26



am aware of the multiple renovations that have occurred, I am still unprepared for what I see inside. Walls have been replaced by supporting posts, and though there are defined spaces, the flow between them is uninterrupted. I feel the pang of loss but appreciate the beauty, focussing on the familiar view of Trial Islands like a lifeline keeping my emotions in check. Fortunately, I am quickly distracted by the megawatt smile of current owner Margie Parikh, who was doing her own growing up in Nelson when I lived here. She is simultaneously finishing things in the kitchen, saying goodbye to her sister (and neighbour) Rita, answering husband Lonn Friese’s questions and asking Don what he needs to set up. This would be stressful to most, but Margie is the definition of a multi-tasker, and as far as I can see, a woman who fails at nothing. Her degree in International Relations from UBC (after she rejected an initial plan for medical school) was followed by an MBA in Marketing and International Business from Columbia University, and a career with Microsoft. Specializing in international marketing strategies and with regular travel to Japan, New Zealand and everywhere in between, meant undertaking 100-hour work weeks. Feeling pressure as a mother of two small children — one of whom she was still nursing — she recalls asking her employer if she could make the occasional virtual presentation. Her boss replied that everyone had to make sacrifices, and noted that she herself had two cats and a fiancé. When she agreed to participate this story for Tweed, Margie

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Advice you can count on Whether you need help managing your investments, planning your retirement, maximizing your retirement income or creating a lasting legacy for your family, Jason can help. warned she wasn’t a cook. However, the aromas from the kitchen strongly suggest this is untrue. No one wants a food writer and a photographer staring at you while you cook, so I joined Lonn for a tour of my former home. It quickly becomes apparent that “uber” achievement is a motto for the whole family. Once my domain when I was a semi-reluctant piano student, one room is now filled with an array of musical instruments. Though Lonn has a full schedule as a teacher at Monterey Middle School, he explains that he and son Ajay, 15, both perform in local bands, and pauses to show me a video for Ajay’s YouTube channel that showcases his son’s significant musical talent. Both also share a love of video production and still photography. I later discover that Lonn has crafted the magnificent cupboards in the kitchen, so add fine carpentry to his list of activities. Daughter Amisha, currently in Spain, graduated from high school last year and was a competitive gymnast; like her brother, she has performed in local theatre. All members of the family are actively engaged in volunteer work and I’m not sure how many languages they speak between them. Suddenly, I really wish I’d kept up my piano lessons. After Don finishes taking photos, we are invited to join them for dinner, a veritable feast of family recipes, including a vibrantly coloured melange of diced yam and chickpeas simmered with ginger, garlic and spices — including a touch of cinnamon. Edamame and cauliflower are gently flavoured with lemon, salt and a touch of chili, and cumin-scented rice rounds things out. Dishes of lime pickle, a fabulous dried peanut chili and coriander seed chutney, remi-

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Above: Naan bread; Basmati and wild rice; edamame and cauliflower with lemon a touch of chili. At right: Margie Parikh busy in the kitchen of her Oak Bay home. Previous page: Food detail; Lonn Friese, Margie Parikh and their son, Ajay.

niscent of dhukka, are passed around, and Kolhapuri sweets, gur and luscious shrikhand — strained yoghurt perfumed with cardamom and saffron — intrigue and delight. These Maharashtrian dishes are favourites that Margie’s vegetarian parents grew up with in India. However, wanting their children to experience Canadian life, Margie and her siblings participated in hot dog days at school, and family meals included Shake and Bake for the kids a couple of times a week.Margie notes that her own children ate meat initially, but after living in Japan where they ate little of it, they simply lost their taste for it. Don, Ajay and Lonn are deep in conversation about music and photography on the other side of the table as Margie and I talk about her work.

Though she became a financial planner several years ago, she still devotes a significant amount of time to volunteer work in governance because she wants to give back to her community. Since arriving in Victoria, she has served on advisory committees for the City of Victoria, the Kaleidoscope Theatre and the Women’s Sexual Assault Centre. Currently, she serves as the vice chair of the Mountain Equipment Coop Board of Directors and supports Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV) as a National Risk Manager and director. Don had headed home and I probably stayed longer than I should have. Ultimately, I learned two things: you can go home again, and sometimes, you can have it all.

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All in the community Former police chief reflects on policing in Oak Bay By Susan Lundy Photos by Don Denton


Above: Former Oak Bay police chief Mark Fisher in his office at the Oak Bay police station. 30



t was a small gesture with a big reward. As former Oak Bay police chief Mark Fisher and another constable cycled back to the detachment from a community event at Willows Park, they encountered a child walking up Bowker Avenue, calling for his lost dog. The officers told the child to stay put while they searched the area on their bikes. “We found the dog within a two-block radius and were able to take it back to the child,” Fisher recalls, sitting in his office at the police department on the eve of his departure to Nanaimo, where he is now RCMP detachment commander. “All in all it probably took us about 10 minutes, but it was one of those small things that we get to do in Oak Bay that makes working here rewarding.” As Fisher looks back on his time in Oak Bay — over six years as a resident and two and half as police chief — he reflects on the rewards of policing in Oak Bay, the changes it underwent during his term, and the close working relationship between Oak Bay police and firefighters.

“It’s a big loss for Oak Bay,” says fire chief Dave Cockle about Fisher’s move. “He’s brought new leadership, new ideas and [advances] in community service.” Fisher has always been a strong advocate of community policing, a philosophy that in Oak Bay means, “no call is too small.” “People will call about issues that might not normally be considered police issues,” Fisher says. “But we still go to them. That’s how you build community support. And I have a group of officers who really understand and thrive amid that understanding.” Fisher was already living in Oak Bay when he took over as police chief in 2011, moving from a position at Victoria’s West Shore RCMP detachment. “I had knowledge of the issues coming into the job, plus a good sense of the community and what’s important to the community. Having that understanding was important.” A community survey conducted shortly after Fisher arrived “spoke strongly” to maintaining the community policing approach, part of which involved increasing department visibility. Fisher says officers “up and down the ranks have bought into this,” conducting more foot and bike patrols and increasing traffic enforcement. In fact, the number of

bike patrols is up 30 per cent over last year. “It’s often just as fast on a bike and officers see and hear and smell so much more,” Fisher says, adding, “Community support is high here. People are quick to thank officers and support them by phoning with information. You worry if they stop calling b ­ ecause it means they feel you can’t or won’t do anything.” During Fisher’s tenure, the police department — in collaboration with the community and the Oak Bay Police Board — developed a four-year strategic plan, “focusing on initiatives that the community feels are important.” Fisher is also credited with devising a recruitment strategy that has led to a younger and more diverse department. “We [have attracted] excellent applicants who want to come and work here and that, in my mind, is reflective of support we receive from the community. . . I am very proud of the quality of experienced officers we have hired over the past couple of years,” he says. “They have fit in extremely well . . . and love working here.” Many of the calls that police deal with in Oak Bay involve mental health issues, suspicious phone calls and fraudulent contractors. “There is very little violent crime,” says Fisher, recalling a few armed robberies, some domestic and sexual assaults, break and enter offences and property crimes. “Community support “There have been some serious acis high here. People cidents involving pedestrians and scooters… and some drug seizures.” are quick to thank In Nanaimo, Fisher has a much larger officers and support staff with different challenges and more complex crime. them by phoning with “It will be hard to leave Oak Bay. We information. love our neighbourhood… I could see us coming back here.” mark fisher Born in Edmonton, Fisher joined the RCMP in 1991, and speaks fondly of the small towns such as Williams Lake, the Comox Valley and Creston, in which he’s worked. In Bella Coola, his family was embraced by the mostly First Nations population, which shared its traditions and culture with them. In Gold River, he recalls learning different policing skills, such as setting bear traps and tracking cougars. “You get to do neat things in small places.” By the time Fisher transferred to the West Shore, he and his wife, Julie, had driven around the city and “fallen in love” with Oak Bay. They bought a house close to Willows school, where their son, Liam (now 15), attended. “We like the small town feel with city services. It’s nice not to have to get in a car and drive everywhere. It’s also really safe with lots opportunities for kids.” Fisher recalls attending numerous Oak Bay events in his role as police chief, including the annual bike festival, the Tea Party parade and the community ride. “I got to plug in the lights for light-up one year,” he smiles. “That was neat.” He also speaks highly of the relationship between the police and fire departments, which attend numerous calls together. “They have a very strong community focus; the fact they are right

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Financial planning services and investment advice are provided by Royal Mutual Funds Inc. (RMFI). RMFI, RBC Global Asset Management Inc., Royal Bank of Canada, Trustand Corporation of Canada andprovided The Royal Financial planningRoyal services investment advice are by Trust Royal Company are separate which are affiliated. RMFI is Mutual Funds Inc. (RMFI).corporate RMFI, RBCentities Global Asset Management Inc., Royal 2014 TWEED 31 licensed as a financial firm inSPRING the of province Quebec. Bank of Canada, Royalservices Trust Corporation Canadaofand The Royal Trust ® / ™Looking Trademark(s) offor Royalcorporate Bank of Canada. and Bank are registered Investment & Royal Retirement Company are separate entitiesRBCwhich are affiliated. RMFI Advice? is trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. ©2011 Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. licensed as a financial services firm in the province of Quebec. 45808 (09/2011) Talk to me today. ® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. ©2011 Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence.

Above: Fisher and Oak Bay fire chief Dave Cockle.

next door helps us build on this relationship.” As fire chief Cockle points out, the two forces also train together in areas such as first aid, jointly conduct safety and anti-bullying campaigns in the schools, and together develop emergency planning strategies. They also play lunchtime sports with students at Monterey Middle School, splitting into teams for activities such as soccer, dodgeball and basketball. “We put them all on the court together — it’s great for [the students] to have a chance to be around our guys,” says Cockle. The close proximity of the departments also allows for some light-hearted rivalry, the two chiefs agree. For example, the firemen’s annual calendar shoot has been a great source of “goodnatured ribbing” by the police department. “There were lots of sirens blaring and commentary as the shoot went on outside last year,” smiles Fisher. “We give them a hard time over the calendar.” “There is definitely some jealously there,” contends Cockle, who also noted that the fire department “needed to put a bigger TV” in the exercise room, for the police officers who share it. Joking aside, Fisher says, he will truly miss Oak Bay and his staff. “This has been a fantastic place to live and raise a family for the past six and half years. And I have very fond memories of the impact that some of our officers have had on families in the community, as a result of their approach to finding community-based solutions to issues, instead of solely focusing on the crime.” Like finding a lost dog, he says, “It’s those little things that people remember.”

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TEA WITH christopher page

Tweed editor Susan Lundy interviews Christopher Page, rector of Oak Bay’s St. Philip Anglican Church (celebrating 60 years) at Café Misto.

Christopher Page Claim to fame:

Rector of St. Philip for 20 years as of February 2014; involvement for 26 years.


hung in over a long period with a group of people who have not always agreed. At times, we have let each other down; yet, because of our shared commitment to a greater reality, we have carried on as a community of faith practising the profound art of forgiveness. We have experienced together the rich rewards of faithfulness.

Where were you born and who is your family? I was born in Duncan and grew up on the edge of Oak Bay. I moved away for 10 years returning in 1987 with my wife and two young daughters to share in ministry at St. Philip on the corner of Neil and Eastdowne.

none of us ever fully and perfectly lives the life entrusted to us. In my faith tradition, we see in Jesus the wisdom, light and goodness that are characteristic of our true nature. It is challenging when we live by values that are less than those for which we were created.

What is your passion? I am passionate about supporting people in awakening to the possibility there may be a dimension of life deeper than the material realm that so preoccupies our lives. I am passionate about being part of a community that cherishes children and works to nurture an awareness of their profound value simply because they bear the gift of life. I delight in seeing seniors come to a place of peace about their lives and the reality that the physical part of their journey may be nearing its end.

Who are some of the most interesting people you’ve met? Honestly, some of the most interesting people I have ever met are my three granddaughters. Part of the beauty of being a grandparent is that I have the space to observe my grandchildren in a way I did not when I was sharing in raising my own children. My granddaughters are a source of endless fascination. They have a deep wisdom and beauty that strengthens my faith. I am greatly blessed that they live nearby, and count it as a gift that I get to worship alongside them most Sundays.

What is the best thing about your chosen path? My professional life has enabled me to share with people joys and sorrows in deep and profound ways. In recent years I have had the privilege of baptizing the infants of parents I baptized when they were infants. I have married people I knew as small children and have shared in celebrating the passage through death with families who have been part of my life for many years. I have experienced firsthand the faithfulness and courage people are capable of in the most difficult circumstances. What has been the most challenging? The greatest challenge in my work is seeing that

Anything else you’d like us to know? At times the organization in which I work is dismissed as, at worst damaging, or at best irrelevant. Every Sunday I share in a community that celebrates love and encourages me to live gently and respectfully in the human community and in relationship to all of creation. This seems a profoundly relevant way to spend my life. What brings you joy? It brings me joy when I see peoples’ hearts soften and open. It brings me joy when I am able to share in building human relationships that are respectful and loving. SPRING 2014



Gardening guerrillas Volunteers nurture native ecosystems By Jennifer Blyth Photos by Sharon Tiffin and Don Denton


Above: Volunteer Pam Sinclair pulls some weeds on the Brighton Walkway. At top: Native flowering currant. Inset: Camus (photo courtesy Jen Blyth).




or some, Scotch broom might appear a sunny, yellowflowered shrub perfect for the garden landscape. Others might like the tasty possibilities of a Himalayan blackberry. The lush greenery afforded by a single plant of English ivy? Few other species can compete. And therein lies the problem. Each of these plants, and many others that arrived with early farmers’ seeds and plants, have made their way into local parks and gardens. Here, they choke out native plants that would otherwise thrive in a balanced ecosystem, providing an attractive landscape, and food, shelter and nesting materials for birds and other wildlife. Fortunately, Oak Bay is home to a dedicated army of volunteers — gardening guerrillas, you might say — who gather regularly to bash broom, pull ivy, remove weeds and re-introduce native species. Margaret Lidkea, well known to many for her years at the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary, has been working with Girl Guides in local parks since 1993, removing invasive plants so native species can thrive. Lidkea is also a co-founder of the Friends of Uplands Park, whose roots reach back to 2009, when Lidkea met Kathleen

Matthews at a Tree Appreciation Day event. The two were soon joined by others passionate about preserving this beautiful place. Donated to the municipality in 1946 by the Uplands Development Company, with the understanding that it be kept in a natural state in perpetuity, the 31-hectare Uplands Park ecosystems developed after the last ice age, suited to the dry summers and wet winters characteristic of this area’s climate. Garry oaks and arbutus are at home here, along with a variety of shrubs and spring flowers. Come spring, the park will burst with colour from the native bulbs — purple camas, which played a vital role in the diets of local First Nations — shooting stars and fawn lilies. Once the weather grows warmer, the park will buzz with a variety of insect pollinators. Understanding both native and invasive plants is essential, so volunteers work closely with expert botanists, the Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team (GOERT) and the Oak Bay Parks Department, to plan restoration efforts. Because of the nature of the landscape, much of the work must be done by hand, which, without the efforts of volunteers, would be impossible for parks staff. “We’re very appreciative of their efforts. Without these volunteers working in each of the groups, we would be nowhere near where we are,” says

Above: Volunteer Kathleen Matthews, left, stands with Margaret Lidkea, co-chair of the Friends of Uplands Park. Below: Carol Davies and Oregon grape (photo courtesy Jen Blyth).

Oak Bay Parks Manager Chris Hyde-Lay, pointing out that with the success the volunteer groups have enjoyed, “it’s an area the municipality would like to grow.” “It has to be the community that rallies around and we have been really blessed to be allowed to go in and do this,” says Lidkea, who also works with a number of volunteers at the 2.79-hectare Anderson Hill Park. “This has been a wonderful retirement opportunity for me,” she says. “Having a sense of place outside, making so many social connections, learning new things, educating other people, and being active helping the endangered Garry oak ecosystem is an excellent way to keep happy, healthy and inspired.” Carol Davies, a retired teacher and principal, who also holds a diploma in horticulture, was looking for a way to indulge her passion for plants once she moved to Oak Bay and into a condominium. First lending her talents to the Oak Bay Native Plant Garden, Davies and other local volunteers later joined Brigh-

ton Trail-area resident Rick Marshall, who was concerned about the overgrown state of the walkway. “I had been working in the Native Plant Garden and our group likes to go on little field trips. We had walked along this walkway and bemoaned the fact that it was so invaded,” Davies recalls. The trail, which runs from Foul Bay Road to the Windsor Park area, is regularly used by walkers and cyclists making their way around the municipality. But over the years it had become overgrown with ivy, blackberry and other invasive species. Once those were removed, “the native plants started coming back,” Davies says. “The Garry oak ecosystem is really unique — the big Garry oak trees — but associated with that are a large number of smaller trees, shrubs, plants, bulbs and little creatures and insects,” she notes. “It’s part of our heritage and it’s worth preserving. And, it’s very beautiful. Native plants have what I think of as a quiet beauty.” The groups work closely with Oak Bay SPRING 2014



Above: Carol Davies and volunteer Lynda Grant spread mulch on the Brighton Walkway between Roslyn and Hampshire roads.

Parks to develop a plan to restore the public spaces. These natural spaces are not gardens, Davies explains: “it’s a restoration back to an approximation of what probably was.” She adds: “We’ve had very positive responses from the majority of people who walk by. We make a point of visiting with people (and talking about the work).” It’s part of our The parks department has also supheritage and it’s plied sandwich boards highlighting the worth perserving… work under way, which helps start the conversation with passers-by. These Native plants have conversations have netted a few new what I think of as a volunteers, Davies notes. In addition, “the people along the quiet beauty. walkway have been super helpful,” even contributing coffee and cookies — carol davies on occasion, she says with a smile. Davies appreciates the opportunity to be active with a group of people who share the same appreciation for nature, and to contribute to her community. “It’s heavy work and a huge job but you get a lot of positive comments from people,” she says, encouraging others to come lend a hand. No garden experience is necessary, just a willingness to help. “It builds a sense of community working together and it’s nice to feel you’re contributing.”

How can you help? For information about joining the volunteers restoring Oak Bay’s natural spaces, contact the Oak Bay Parks Department at 250-592-7275, email Carol Davies at or visit the Friends of Uplands Park at 36



GNS. The classroom beyond.

GNS Student noun 1. A child educated through the IB programme synonyms: global citizen, learner for life Glenlyon Norfolk School is a top IB World School in Canada. • 250.370.6801 Do your best through truth and courage




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Traipsing through Turkey …and gallivanting in Greece By Jennifer Blyth Photos by Don Denton and courtesy Barrie Moen

W Above: Barrie Moen. At top: The marble paved roads of Ephesus 38



hile many travellers will pick up a guidebook or two and maybe a map before heading off on their next adventure, Oak Bay’s Barrie Moen took a slightly different approach. He had the guidebooks, to be sure, but as important to his pre-trip preparation was the pile of fiction titles on his bookshelf. Novels like Barbara Nadel’s Harem and Joseph Kanon’s Istanbul Passage set the scene for the avid reader and history buff before his October, 2012 trip to Greece and Turkey. “I had always wanted to go [there],”

Moen says. “I had read some novels involving Istanbul and I started to get fascinated by it, and then the Roman influence really interested me. There was so much to see that I had read about.” Travelling in October, the weather was ideal for the retired design technologist — sunny skies but not too warm. Part of an organized tour that connected with people from various other countries, Moen flew into Greece, spending a week exploring Athens and the more relaxed Mykonos Island before setting off for two weeks in Turkey. While the pollution around the Greek capital is notorious, the elimination of traffic in the old quarters makes exploring the ancient neighbourhoods — with their winding cobbled streets and centuries old

Bordeaux, Vineyards & Chateaux whitewashed buildings — a wonderful cultural experience. Moen’s wife, Marilyn, skipped this trip, but his sister, Vivian Billingham, from Oak Bay’s Athlone Travel, led the group as one of the tour organizers. The tour format took care of day-to-day necessities like flights, travel and hotels, but also allowed plenty of time for individual exploration. Relaxing at the Mykonos resort, which hosted two local weddings during their stay, Moen soaked in the music, dancing and food for which the Greeks are famous, experiencing the local customs first-hand. In fact, the food throughout the journey was delicious, he says: chicken and lamb, lots of olives, fresh vegetaI was amazed at how bles, “pita bread to die for” and in the well-preserved the Turkish market, a delectable version of places were… and the a cinnamon doughnut. The experience of dipping his toes in amount of Roman the Aegean Sea, at the sites described in architecture still Homer’s epic poems The Iliad and The prevalent.” Odyssey, was indescribable, he says, adding, “it was a place I had always wanted — barry moen to go, but life had taken me in different

directions.” From Greece, the group travelled to Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, long known as Constantinople, after the 4th century ruler, Constantine. In many ways a bridge between the Middle East and the West, Turkey shares its borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran to the east, in addition to the smaller Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. To the north sits the Black Sea, and to the west, Greece and the Mediterranean, where the country’s resort areas have become a popular destination for European holiday-goers looking for a warm-weather getaway. Though both Greece and Turkey are occasionally in the news for regional unrest, and soldiers are commonplace, safety was never a concern during Moen’s visit. “The Turkish people are very receptive to Western cultures,” he says, but notes that visitors must respect local customs, especially religious traditions. Women are required to don scarves before visiting Turkish mosques, for example, and both men and women remove their shoes before entering, as per the custom. “Everywhere we went, people made us comfortable.” The sheer age of the ancient cultures was palpable throughout

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Above: A Hittite stone carving near Anatolia.


the journey. The Anatolia area, which reminded Moen of the tree-dotted rolling hills of BC’s Okanagan, was likely first settled around 7,000 BC, but some 2,000 years ago became home to one of the region’s first Christian communities. Today, visitors can explore the elaborate cave systems that allowed those early Christians to live underground and avoid persecution. Many of the region’s mosques were first consecrated as Christian churches, and their original stained glass often remains intact. At Ephesus, the ruins reveal the remnants of the Roman town, complete with the famed Library of Ephesus, 2,000-year-old running water toilets and amphitheatres that continue to hold concerts today. The purported home of Mary Magdalene stands here, where the apostle Paul began teaching Christianity. “I was amazed at how well-preserved the places were, and how they’re still used, and the amount of Roman architecture still prevalent,” Moen reflects. On the shores of the Bosphorus, the 15th century Rumeli Hisarı guards the entrance to Istanbul, and while hastily constructed in 1452, the fortress remains a focal point of the city’s skyline. Other Istanbul highlights included grand waterfront houses and Ottoman palaces lining the shores of the Bosphorus

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Left: Moen at a roadside cafe on the roads through Antalya; Turkish town and rock formation. Previous page: Pammukale Hot Springs and Roman ruins.

— which can be viewed by public water taxi or private boat tours — and the 4th century Hippodrome, which once hosted chariot races and held up to 100,000 spectators. “Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace was probably my favourite experience — the mosque, the armoury . . . and the harem,” Moen adds with a laugh. Turkey’s historical importance is not relegated to ancient annals, of course. One of the most poignant memories of Moen’s journey comes from the site of the First World War’s ill-fated Gallipoli campaign, which ultimately cost more than 200,000 lives. “It’s the most heart-wrenching thing you’ll see in your life,” he says. An interpretive centre, original trenches and, of course, cemeteries, remain to honour the losses. All in all, Moen had a topnotch time: even better, it turns out, than fiction.

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Love my dog! Photos by sharon tiffin and william shepherd

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Clockwise from top: Paddy, submitted by Janet Fallis; Millie and Ginger; Saru, seen with Sarah Marie; Lola, submitted by Jonty Parker-Jervis and Chantal Laliberte; Oliver, seen with Steve and Liz Woods. Opposite: Billy Bong with Pamela Montjoy (top); and Charlie, seen with Meg Fyvie.




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Meet our Advertisers ATHLONE TRAVEL is a full

service locally owned travel agency – serving the community since 1986. Our experienced team would be delighted to assist with all of your travel needs. See ad on page 39


one direct volunteer support to individuals of all ages in Oak Bay. Drives, visits, repairs, etc. See ad on page 31

Sean Warren is a proud 3rd generation Victoria resident. Sean has been with the CAMPUS AUTO GROUP since 1999 and has earned a reputation for top quality service selling top quality products! He is an avid car enthusiast with a love of the outdoors and skiing. See ad on page 5

ZEBRA GROUP offers comprehensive residential design and construction services, including interior design, new custom homes, renovations and land use applications (rezonings, subdivisions, multifamily projects). See ad on page 13


JORDY HARRIS, raised in Victoria,

business specializing in taking care of your furry ones. We provide everything you need from grooming to foods and everything in between. See ad on page 43

is a consummate professional with a proven track record for results and first class customer service. Jordy welcomes the opportunity to discuss your real estate needs in person, and is grateful for the chance to earn your business. See ad on page 23



“Our award-winning home support services are customized to fit your needs at any time.” See ad on page 3

Tony Tucker has operated the store since 1985; he’s very appreciative of his amazing staff and the community of people in Oak Bay that make up his loyal customers. See ad on page 41


MATTICKS FARM is Victoria’s

premier re-upholstery, slipcover and draperies provider for nearly 40 years. Family owned and operated. See ad on page 6


BC’s top IB school and so much more! See ad on page 37

Gurmit Sandhu has owned and operated WEST COAST BREW SHOP for four years. He is happiest when he is helping his customers make award winning wines and beer and playing cricket with the Oak Bay Cricket Club. See ad on page 29

With her doctorate in audiology and 17 years’ experience, Dr. Wright is well suited to improve your hearing, even in the most difficult listening situations. See ad on page 12

premiere shopping destination with over 16 shops and boutiques to chose from. We can guarantee, you will find that one of a kind discovery, come and explore and see what we have to offer. See ad on page 29


Do you know that 44 gallons of blood gets washed by our kidneys every day! That’s almost 2 bathtubs full. See ad on page 29

PHILIP STIRTON Investment & Retirement Planning with RBC Financial Planning. Looking for Investment & Retirement Advice? Talk to me today (250) 882-9033 See ad on page 31

Ed Graham at GRAHAM KIA has been in the car business in Victoria for nearly 40 years. Visit the Kia franchise in Victoria; Family Owned, Family Operated, Family Values. See ad on page 22


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Originally from Calgary, Franchisee Richard Searle has been a proud Victorian resident since 2006. Stop on by the store and discover a vast array of mouth-watering foods to fill your fridge and freezer. See ad on page 28


small and unpretentious gallery where colour rules! Featuring contemporary, original art from award winning Canadian artists. Owners Bobb and Marion will help you find a work that will rejuvenate your living space. See ad on page 13

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Megan has many years of experience specializing in Segregated Funds. For personalized financial advice for retirement income planning call Megan. See ad on page 43


Dominion Securities has lived and worked in the Victoria area for the past 17 years. Jason enjoys the outdoors and spends most of his spare time with his wife Nancy and their nine year old son. See ad on page 27





been providing eye exams, glasses and contact lenses to the whole family for over twenty years. See ad on page 40

THE PENNY FARTHING PUB is Oak Bay’s community pub. Specializing in Food for the Body, Drink for the Spirit and Music for the Soul! See ad on page 32

Meet our Advertisers VALENTUS CLINICS helps optimize brain function through advanced, noninvasive technology helping the brain improve its balance. Resulting in improved sleep and memory, better focus, as well as helping with symptoms related to concussions, brain injuries, depression and anxiety. See ad on page 2 BOORMAN’S

We are family owned and operated providing Real Estate, Insurance and Property Management services. A Trusted Name…it takes generations to build a reputation! See ad on page 6

ART GALLERY OF GREATER VICTORIA With almost 18,000 works of art, the Gallery has the largest public collection in BC and is a vibrant and active part of Victoria’s arts community. See ad on page 15

With over 18 years investment experience, Paul Holmes and his pre-eminent wealth management team at HOLMES WEALTH MANAGEMENT GROUP deliver strong, risk-adjusted returns together with the highest level of personalized client service. See ad on page 47 Mandu Goebl has worked in the Victoria auto industry for over 10 years and is proud to raise his family here. He is delighted to offer quality vehicles to CAMPUS ACURA customers. See ad on page 7

JULIE RUST is a realtor at

Newport Realty, born and raised in Victoria, and specializes in the Oak Bay, Victoria, Saanich East Real Estate Market. If you are considering buying or selling, contact her for competent and trusted real estate service. See ad on page 13


After 10 years landscaping on the prairies, Katie and Merle Kroeker bring their award winning landscape design and construction skills to Victoria, where they are thrilled to be able to do what they love year round! See ad on page 36

JASON BINAB understands people and Real Estate. He enjoys working with his wife Amber at the Binab Property Group. Together they have a son, Benson and two dogs Lily and Wilbur. Jason has lived in Oak Bay for over 25 years and specializes in Oak Bay. See ad on page 24

Locally owned and operated by Michael Hansen, WINDSOR PLYWOOD Westshore strives to bring the most unique products to the market place. From Live Edge Mantels to hardwood floors we invite you to walk through our doors and walk on our floors. See ad on page 23

WHITE HEATHER TEA ROOM We live in Oak Bay – continuing White Heather’s long tradition of serving delicious lunches & Afternoon Teas to Oak Bay and surrounds. See ad on page 28

Don Wuest, owner at WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED, wants you to have the best bird feeding experience possible. After all, it’s the most relaxing, fulfilling, educational and exciting hobby that everyone can enjoy. See ad on page 43



has been serving Oak Bay for over 25 years. Ian Catchpole and Gerry Illmayer have over 35 years combined experience and are pleased to have joined Lisa and Terri at the clinic. See ad on page 28

eyeglass frames and lenses that are anything but ordinary from fun and funky to simple and sophisticated, we have eyewear for the whole family. Our Opticians have the experience to help you find eyewear that will have everyone saying I love your glasses! See ad on page 16


McLeod for the ultimate travel experience in cruises and so much more. See ad on page 40

To feature your business in the next edition of

Tweed CONTACT Dianne McKerrell

Oliver Sommer

Advertising Consultant

Director, Advertising Sales


250-480-3274 SPRING 2014



Photo by Sophie Rousseau

Parting Shot


A foggy mcneill bay vista

his moody photograph taken at McNeill Bay was submitted to Tweed’s Parting Shot section by Sophie Rousseau. Here is what she had to say about it: “We truly cherish living in Oak Bay (for eight years now). We can be part of all the action of a urban environment and yet be so close to nature. One of our favorite rituals is to witness the power of the elements when the weather is so present that you can’t ignore it, or only chat about it. You have to live it. So we keep our windows open at night to hear the fog horns. “The day [this photo was taken] we couldn’t even see the end of McNeill Bay. It was dizzying to just stare toward the sound of a ship’s horn but see nothing. Just floating in a cloud. Until a flock of baby ducks came out of the white. My daughter and son were mesmerized.” “Parting Shot” is a special photographic feature that runs in each edition of Tweed, and we want you — our readers — to 46



contribute. This spot is reserved for the best images we can find of places, people and things in Oak Bay. We’re inviting you to “give us your best shot.” We’ll consider all submissions for publication. Contributors should keep in mind the seasonal aspect of this feature, and be prepared to tell us a little bit about the photograph — where, when, what and/or who? Please ensure the resolution is high enough for publication. And don’t forget — this is all about Oak Bay. Submissions should express something about this vibrant and beautiful community. Do you have an Oak Bay image that may qualify as a “Parting Shot” photo? Tell Tweed! Send your image to Tweed editor Susan Lundy for consideration in an upcoming edition.

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Special Features - Tweed Magazine - Spring 2014