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CAROLINE: Music; Strings; Life

The MAC Arts Centre’s

Storied History


A Gathering Place

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Spring 2014

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Spring Edition


here’s something immensely gratifying about recollecting and sharing past adventures. I’ve found nothing quite gets a person as wide-eyed or thoughtful as digging into their past and telling stories from their childhood; some advantageous move or even a critical error.

An article in the New York Times last year quoted Dr. Sedikedes, a researcher in the United Kingdom, as saying, “Nostalgia makes us a bit more human.” The article states that nostalgia has been known to counter loneliness and anxiety, it gives people a stronger sense of belonging, it makes couples feel closer and on cold days nostalgia can literally make people feel warmer. While making this issue of Oasis those warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia were brought about in a number of our subjects. Come share the fruits of our labour as roots rocker WiL and his wife Caroline trudge back through their lively past; let Rob Bau at Arbutus Meadows take you back to his family’s early days at the prominent property; and long-time residents of the area can relive parts of the McMillan Arts Centre’s storied past. Those looking to create new memories in outdoor adventure will revel in a story about fly fishing and if it’s more the eating of local seafood that gets you going, check out the article on B.C. spot prawns, with a delectable recipe. If you’re yet to experience the local thriving music scene be prepared to be enlightened. And while you’ve got music on the mind, don’t miss an intriguing heart-to-heart with local jazz giant Phil Dwyer. Happy reading and make it a memorable Spring.

- Lissa Alexander



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Contributors Lissa Alexander


Originally from Qualicum Beach, she completed her journalism training in Calgary.

Spring Edition 2014

Stuff 2 Do

Great local Spring events around the community.

10 Arbutus Meadows

A gathering place for equestrian and other events.

Leigh Craig An artist, art director & designer.

15 WiL and Caroline

Linda MattesonReynolds

Her photojournalism career began while in Kuwait.

A local music icon and his talented wife share their story.

Linda Tenney

A local writer, editor, photographer and publisher.


22 Fly Fishing

An insider’s look at the popular sport from a local angle.

27 Loco 4 Local

Get ready for B.C. Spot Prawn season and enjoy a recipe.

Brenda Gough

A journalist for more than 30 years, she’s been in this area for 20 years.

29 Just Sayin’

Carrie PowellDavidson

A writer, local food advocate, event planner & tireless promoter.

Peter McCully

An outlook on life with Linda Tenney, the publisher of Eyes on BC Magazine.

30 The MAC

Susan Pederson A local journalist.

Photographer, Publisher & Broadcaster on both coasts.

Publisher Peter McCully Editor Lissa Alexander Advertising Steve Weldon Art Director Leigh Craig Circulation Laurie Fairbanks



Tracing the McMIllan Art Centre’s history from school to bustling art centre.


Question and Answer with Phil Dwyer, celebrated musician and future student.

Cover Photo Peter McCully



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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All Sprung Out Market: April 26 at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre. Local businesses sell a variety of artwork and hand-crafted items, plus educational workshops. 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Tour: May 10 and 11. This self-guided tour, put on by the Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society, will feature gardens between Qualicum Beach and Parksville. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Echo Players Theatre: Mrs. Reynolds and the Ruffian, a witty look at a relationship between lost youth and old age, is playing from April 24 through May 11. The North Island Zone Festival runs May 18 through 24. Village Theatre, Qualicum Beach.


Vancouver Island Opera Recitals: A recital series leading up to the full opera production in the fall. April 27, an afternoon of operatic arias, art songs and musicals. May 25, Pianist Nikolai Maloff and musical friends. McMillan Arts Centre, Parksville.


Nanoose Bay Studio Showcase: May 3 and 4 at Nanoose Place, 2925 Northwest Bay Road. The artists involved in the Nanoose Bay Studio Tour Guide, along with guest artists and artisans, come together to showcase their art. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Vancouver Island International Tribute Festival: May 23, 24, 25. Renowned tribute acts from around the world will descend upon the Parksville Community and Conference Centre.


Qualicum Beach Family Day: May 25. Shriners breakfast, community parade, and an afternoon of interactive games on the Civic Centre fields.


Father’s Day Show n’ Shine: June 13-15. A weekend of events culminating with the car show on Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.










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o the untrained eye, it’s poetry in motion. Horses with names like Ziggy Stardust, Mr. Dress-up and Dejah-Vu fly over man-made jumps with the precision of well-trained gymnasts, their grace and beauty palpable as their riders lead them through this powerful ballet.



To the judges, and those who lives are steeped in the world of equestrian riding, the Annual Island Classic Horse Show (July 10-13 this year) is wrought with the pressure of competition at its most challenging. With the preparation demands of elite athletes, they compete in what has become one of the most well-respected equestrian events of

Story By Susan Pederson, Photography by Linda Matteson-Reynolds, Greg Howard, SeaSide Studios and Rob Bau

the summer, right here in our community, at Arbutus Meadows Event and Equestrian Centre. Arbutus Meadows is a 120-acre oasis, located on the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay. Events like The Classic, which attracts over 150 hunter and jumper competitors from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, as well as the highly-successful RCMP Musical Ride, helped to put the facility on the proverbial map. However, it is clearly the heart and the stories infused within this family property that lend Arbutus Meadows its roots and soul.

Ladle on a heaping of entrepreneurial vision from General Manager Rob Bau, and Arbutus Meadows becomes a year-round gathering place that marries functionality, adaptability and community in a seemingly effortless venue transformation between seasons.

A VENUE FIT FOR ROYALTY First, there are the horse-related accruements, including the 60,000 sq. foot indoor show arena, grass fields, and sand rings. Horse digs include 19 pimped-up show barn stalls that feel worthy of royalty, as well as the working-horse accommodations, together accommodating over 125 >>>

horses at a time. And arrive they do, often after achieving glory in the fast lane. “Many of the jumping horses are thoroughbreds that have been race horses,” explains Rob, whose father, Samuel, a retired pediatrician, purchased the property in the early ‘90s. Rob is not a rider himself (his background is in sports). His father’s adoration for horses skipped a generation and landed on Bau’s daughter Emily, who competes in events like the ones born in her backyard. There are also dozens of trails to explore for those who favour a more sedate approach to riding, as well as a stocked fish pond. “It’s a great piece of property,” understates Rob. “There’s no facility like this on the Island.”

CELEBRITY TURF Fast-forward a few months after the Island Classic, and the indoor soccer field is teeming with young children, bumping, passing, and running until their lungs nearly burst. Arbutus Meadows is the official training facility for the Vancouver Island Whitecaps Academy for youth soccer prospects, as well as home to myriad soccer clubs that welcome the chance to take shelter from the rain during the winter months. A special removable 45,000 sq. foot artificial turf field system is set up from October to the end of March each year. But this isn’t just any artificial turf.

“World-class soccer players and teams have played on that very same turf,” says Rob. “B.C. Place was undergoing renovations, and the timing was perfect for us. We got a very highgrade field with many years left, for a fraction of the cost of a new field.” Parents who have cheered on their beloved BC Lions might also recognize the seats, which were also part of the deal with B.C. Place. “The 2010 Olympics was the best thing that could have happened to us,” says Rob. We even bought one of the ticket booths, which we use.” Everywhere you look, everywhere you step, history abounds. A stage coach barn, built in 1886 is part of the original property that Rob hopes will become a farmer’s market. Under the ambitious hands of the Bau family, there’s no doubt they will pull it off. >>>


That is largely due to Rob’s vision. From the moment the Bau family acquired the property

they have been developing it with the goal of hosting provincial and national-level competitions. Mission accomplished. But that was just the beginning. Now Rob is proud of his floor.


>>> “I would like to renovate it and have it set up as a marketplace,” he says. He’d also like to revive the barn dance in the adjacent barn, which features an open space upper loft and reception area downstairs.

But Rob knows the old adage of “build it and they will come” doesn’t quite cut it on Vancouver Island. You have to offer people more, and that’s where his wife Samantha’s expertise comes in. A special events planner and caterer, Samantha can transform the facility into a venue fit for just about anything their happy clients can dream of, which will be good news once the barn conversion is complete. “She really is an amazing host,” says Rob. “Hospitality is her gift. When we have an event here, she can put on the most amazing spread and make people feel really special.” SPRING 2014


Indeed, the entire property brims with a lovely, peaceful and palpable energy one can feel the moment you step foot on it >>>

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(even if Samantha hadn’t laid out a coffee tray nestled between two wicker chairs, overlooking the rolling green field, as if set for a queen on the day this writer arrived). Whether it’s horserelated shows, exhibitions, tournaments, trade shows, festivals, social gatherings or simply a visit to check out the property, it’s clear that the community is very fortunate to have Arbutus Meadows to call its own.

the ground won’t cut it. The footing is a blend of quality synthetic felt and fibers known for its ability to add just the right amount of “spring and cushioning” for galloping hooves. The right footing can make all the difference, not only in final results, but in the reduction of repetitive injuries for those delicate legs. Makers of the product even claim it gives the horse more confidence.


It takes a couple of days to convert the building from one where soccer families exchange fist-bumps and high-fives, to one deemed suitable for a sport known for its refined sensibility.

Changing a 45,000 square foot floor from one that withstands the rigors of humans in cleats to a horse-friendly competition ring is not as easy as you might think.

Clearly, spreading a few dozen yards of dirt on

Photos, pages 10-11: from left, an aerial view of Arbutus Meadows by Rob Bau, Emily Bau with her horse by Linda Matteson-Reynolds, (below, left) an Island Classic competitor by SeaSide Studios, the RCMP Musical Ride by Rob Bau. Pages 12-13: from left, Rob Bau, an Island Classic competitor by Greg Howard.

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“We have special stacking machinery for the turf to remove it,” says Rob. “For the horse footing we place down about 800 specialized mats on the concrete and then spread the footing, which is sand with a geo-textile additive that comes from California.”

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Story by Lissa Alexander, Photography by Peter McCully


f Caroline Mimnaugh declared herself a lesbian, a firefighter, a stripper, or any combination of the three, Wil Mimnaugh would still love and support her.

“I would be the first guy tossing loonies,” jokes the musician known as WiL, from his home outside Qualicum Beach. That’s because the two have been together for 25 years, married for 17 and have worked side-by-side in the music business for over a decade. Suffice it to say, they know each other inside and out.

Although the couple seems to live a steady and serene life on theirwoodsy property in Dashwood, life wasn’t always that way. >>>


In 2003 Caroline became her husband’s full time tour and administrative manager. “She’s ridiculously passionate and supportive of what I do, and, at times, I take it for granted,” he admits.

Since the early ‘90s WiL has been carving out a name for himself around the country. Known for his riveting live show, WiL’s been recognized for his raw and passionate music paired with an energetic style known to break countless guitar strings. And besides organizing all his shows, Caroline also collects his broken and used strings, makes stunning jewelry with it, and sells it at his performances.


SKATEBOARDS & STRONG WOMEN WiL was born in Quebec to musical parents who loved to host Friday night jams. “Music was part of our home,” he recalls. “It was constant. When my dad moved us all to Calgary when I was eight, it was tough. Music helped me cope. I listened to everything from Iron Maiden to Benny Goodman, even Boney M’s Christmas album. Even now I have to have music going on or it feels awkward.” WiL says he and his mom are “thick as thieves,” and his dad, who gave him his first guitar, passed away about six years ago. WiL’s dad was a huge influence on him, a strong supporter and WiL’s best friend. As a child, WiL loved the outdoors and was often out climbing trees, riding a bike or cruising on his skateboard. In fact he was clutching a skateboard when he stood on Caroline’s doorstep for the first time as a fiery 17-yearold. SPRING 2014


Caroline, the youngest of seven, was born and raised in a family oozing with artistic talent. Her grandfather was an incredible pen and ink illustrator and two of her sisters have be-

come established artists in Calgary. Caroline would later use her own artistic aptitude to launch a successful dinnerware company with her sister, Vanessa. When Caroline was 10 her father died and her world changed drastically. “I was with him when he died and it really messed me up,” she recalls. “And I became very withdrawn.” Caroline used to visit the horses near her home regularly and when one came up for sale, her mother and brother bought it for her and she was basically stuck to its back for years, she says. By the time she got to high school, Caroline’s mother’s health was failing. When WiL met Caroline, she was working two jobs, taking care of her mom and putting herself through university. “She was six years older and she was just a kick-ass woman,” he reveals. “I met her through my friend Pat, her nephew actually. She was sunbathing topless. I was 17. I was in love,” he laughs.

DISCOVERY, MERRIMENT AND BROKEN STRINGS When WiL was 22 he and Caroline broke up.

That heartache, coupled with being caught shoplifting, fueled WiL’s decision to pack up his ‘81 Celica and head West to Vancouver. “I was just sort of a mess, so I just hoofed it and left my parents a note with an IOU with the money I took from my dad.” It was an eyeopening experience for WiL, filled with new adventures, meaningful friendships, music and discovery. He and Caroline soon patched things up and the two lived together in Vancouver for about three years before they ran into some bad luck. “We walked into our house and all there was was an extension cord and a remote,” Caroline remembers. “We lost everything.” After this scenario played out a couple of times, they decided to head back to Calgary. One evening WiL took his guitar with him to the pub. After rocking out some tunes and infusing the place with uproarious merriment, the manager asked him to return regularly. And so began WiL’s long run of gigs at the pubs and clubs of Calgary. His first official album Both Hands came out in 2002 and sold 6,000 copies in the first year. That led to three Western Canadian >>>

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>>> Music Association nominations including ‘Producer’ and ‘Best Live Act’.

During this time Caroline had gone into business with her sister designing, crafting and hand-painting dinnerware. Within two years they had managed to get their pieces into 130 retail stores throughout North America. They worked seven days-a-week, 15 hoursa-day for seven years, until Caroline had a ski accident which confined her to crutches for more than a year. She and her sister sold the license connected to their popular western and wildlife designs (to home decor giant Big Sky Carvers) and Caroline turned a new chapter. WiL needed a manager and he couldn’t afford one, so Caroline stepped up to the plate. It was far from easy in the male dominated industry, she says.

Today she uses a mix of recycled and broken strings to create bracelets, earrings and necklaces, using nickel, brass or copper. She sources eye-catching beads from Jubu bead and gift in Parksville, as well as from Victoria and Calgary. The online web store is Caroline has now made over 10,000 pieces of jewelry and sometimes her sisters have to jump in to assist her. While electrifying the crowd at one of his jammed shows, a music agent took notice of WiL and the next thing he knew he was booked on a Western Canadian tour with Colin James. Soon after he was opening for the likes of Jim Cuddy, Xavier Rudd, and Matthew Good among others. Not long after he was signed to EMI and the touring continued.

THE REAL CURRENCY Eight years ago WiL and Caroline


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WiL consistently packed his shows, and besides turning heads with his undeniable talent, he became known as the enthusiastic dude who always broke strings (hence his website One day Caroline was cleaning up his basement

music studio when she discovered a garbage filled to the brim with broken strings. She plucked one out and held it around her wrist. She liked it.

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>>> decided

it was time to quit the noisy city life and head for the woods. “I guess I knew I needed to get sober and inspired. To grow up actually, to literally start to grow up at 35,” says WiL, now 43. After a couple more critically acclaimed albums, WiL’s fourth independent album Heart of Mine secured him a tour opening for Jann Arden and two nights at the legendary Massey Hall in Toronto. In 2011, five of WiL’s songs were chosen to accompany ads in Travel Alberta’s popular ad campaign Remember To Breathe. The video Alberta featuring his song Roam has since received over three million views online. That song will also be on the television series Degrassi while some of his other songs have been selected for movies and other ad campaigns.

Although WiL isn’t getting rich with his music, he finds his reward by standing in front of a crowd and moving them with his music, he says.

THAT IS THE REAL CURRENCY, IT AIN’T NO MONEY THING And although motivation has been known to elude him, he has now figured out how to stay positive and content in a tough industry. And it doesn’t hurt to have a loving and devoted woman by his side.

Photos: page 15 top, WiL recording at Poplar Sound Studio in Errington, below, WiL and Caroline in their living room in Dashwood. (WiL is drinking out of one of Caroline’s mugs.) Page 16-17: Caroline at her jewelry-making station at her home, her handmade jewelry made from broken and recycled strings. Page 18: WiL and Jayme Langen at Poplar Sound Studio, right, a ceramic statue of “WiL when he’s older” made by Caroline.


Having been down the big label path, WiL decided to become independent, signing a small label licensing deal, in order to retain artist control over his music and image. Currently he is recording and self producing his new album with Jayme Langen, owner/sound engineer of Poplar Sound Studio in Errington. The entire production cost of $8,500 was raised through a crowd-sourc-

ing site called “It’s been unbelievable,” WiL says. “Fans who believe in my music donated the entire amount in less than two weeks.”


C O A S TA L C A R V I N G S On May 23, 24 & 25, 2014 Jeremy & Darlene Humpherville warmly invite you to come and view a new collection of paintings and carvings along with our new gallery expansion.

Dorothy Jarvis’ art moves her audience. There is an eloquence in the way her impressionistic style conveys the emotions and feelings of the West Coast and its people, her people. With Dorothy as our interpreter we are connected with the voices of the past. The message truly matters to Dorothy, her paintings share the stories of the wonder, hardship and the gatherings of the first nations who called the land and villages of the West Coast home.

“Perhaps it is this spirit in our people that moves me the most. To over come the past and move on. To make our time here on earth matter.“ – Dorothy Jarvis The meaning is what matters, you can see this in Dorothy’s faithful portrayal of her culture throughout her pieces. An honest Voice comes through as she shares her stories even when it is a story of loss. Dorothy once said to me “the sky is not always blue” and she portrays this honestly with every brush stroke.



Dorothy will be sharing both a spoken and visual presentation, created from her trip to the Nass River area of Northern British Columbia in 2013. In the 1700’s a volcano erupted destroying villages and 2000 of the Nisga’a people. Today the small settlements of this valley endure. The strength of the people and the lava beds with their colourful plant life inspire this latest body of work titled “Beauty out of tragedy”.



riginal art created to the taste, design and wishes of each individual client.

Our goal is to have your piece fit in with both your home and lifestyle. It starts with an open discussion where we listen to your ideas, tailoring the hand rendered design to fit in with your thoughts. Through a group of talented artists and fine craftsmanship we create your unique piece. Every project is important and no commission is too large or too small. Our initial consults are free of charge and without a commitment. Please feel free to come by the gallery and view the projects that we have completed for past clients.




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FREQUENT FLYERS Story & Photography by Linda Matteson-Reynolds



Damsels and Dragons. Scuds and Sowbugs. Midges and Terrestrials. Ever since the first fly rod was cast, fishermen have sought to understand the cuisine of their quarry.

Observation is key in matching the food source to the fish.


There are few places in the world that can match what Vancouver Island has to offer for easy, accessible fresh and saltwater fishing. We can boast 3,500 kilometers of coastline, 700 freshwater lakes, 160 rivers and 890 streams. The natural surroundings are breathtaking and irresistible to the sports fisherman.

For the beginner fly-angler there are many resources available to familiarize yourself with the sport. Mid-Island Castaways Fly Fishing Club is a non-profit society that offers a unique opportunity to those would-be anglers in the Oceanside area wishing to explore the sport of flyfishing. Their “Art of Fly Fishing” courses/ workshops are aimed at both the beginner and experienced anglers.

To the fly-angler, selecting the right bait for the job is but the first step for a successful day on the water. However, even the most expertly tied lures won’t catch fish if the novice doesn’t understand how to read our many lakes and streams.

Club Past-President Al McLean states, “We are interested in helping people get started in fly-fishing and have developed a comprehensive educational program designed to assist men and women in exploring this sport and improving >>>

>>> their skills. We aim to maximize their enjoyment while encouraging responsible stewardship of our natural resources.”

Keith Hyett, owner of Coast Sportfish in Parksville, is a fly-fishing specialist. He lives and breathes fish. Not only an expert on gear, Hyett can direct you to the local fishing hot spots. He knows seasonally what areas are fishing best, with what flies and, posts up-to-date reports to his website. The shop is a haven for many anglers to just drop by and swap fishing adventures or seek Hyett’s advice on tying the right flies. Courses on Introductory Fly-Fishing that includes theory, a casting clinic, equipment, knots and a river outing are organized throughout the year.

a successful trip. Interested anglers will find local and vacation destination outfitters through website searches or fishing magazines available at local newsstands.

Vancouver Island has been recognized by Condé Nast Traveller magazine as the “Top North American Island” for seven years in a row, but it is also known worldwide for its saltwater and freshwater fishing. There are an abundance of local outfitters and sports fishing charters that will provide guides for hire.

Fly-fishing can be an expensive hobby and the gear is constantly evolving. There are many considerations to be made before diving in waders first: your budget, water type—be it saltwater or fresh—fish type and level of expertise.

Guides have an invaluable knowledge of the local waters and can assist you with your gear, offer helpful casting instruction and show you how to see and locate fish. More than just an aid for beginners, many people believe a good fly-fishing guide gives you the best chance for


Then there’s the extras: fishing vest, fish landing net, polarized sunglasses, fly boxes, rod and reel cases, a sun-protective hat, sunscreen and waterproof/fast drying apparel. The dollars can quickly add up and you may or may not adjust to the “sticker shock” of your newfound addiction. Many veteran fly-fishermen will >>>


Sage advice from the pros: find a fishing buddy or veteran and don’t be afraid to ask questions about technique and location. Much of the fun

to be had in this sport is the discovery of your own “special place” which rewards you with the sense of solitude and the anticipation-of-thecatch that so well defines fly-fishing. By staying close to home you are more apt to fish a system frequently and begin to unlock its mysteries.


>>> tell you, top of the line equipment certainly feels good, but it’s nice to have, not an essential. The bottom line here is, if you have a properly balanced outfit consisting of a rod, a reel and line, matched to the recommended line-weight of the rod, plus a handful of flies for both surface (dry fly) and below-surface (wet fly) fishing, you’re set to go.

Bugger, Muddler Minnow, Black Ghost, Lefty’s Deceiver and Rusty Spinner are just a few of the obscure labels and it has been said that many of the flies are tied to catch fishermen, not the fish. “There are some serious ‘fly-tiers’ in this area,” states Hyett. “Many clients who walk through my door are seeking guidance and advice about tying their own flies.”



The study of insects or aquatic entomology is one of the main focuses of fly-fishing. There are five basic groups: mayfly, stonefly, caddis fly, midge and terrestrial. The angler needs to take some time while fishing to notice these tasty morsels of insects and bugs. This could potentially be the best time spent learning you will ever experience and it will greatly help you as a fly-tier too. With this insight, you can tie flies that more resemble the local aquatic species.



“The fundamental secret is to match as accurately as possible, the features of the fishes’ diet with the artificial fly,” says Keith Hyett from Coast Sportfish. The titles given to the handcrafted flies are even more fascinating than the insects the fish feed upon. Wooly

The waters on and around Vancouver Island are so prolific that both the “Salmon Capital of the World” (Campbell River) and the “FlyFishing Capital of Canada” (Cowichan River) are found here. The most common and sought-after fish are in the salmonid family; Coho, Pinks, Chinooks (or Kings), Sockeye (or Reds), Chum and Steelhead. Trout also belong to salmonid species and these include Dolly Varden, Rainbows and Cutthroat. Vancouver Island is divided into three sections: south, mid-island and north, and each have excellent fishing opportunities depending on the time of year, the species and experience of the angler. From Port Hardy in the North to Victoria in the South, from the Pacific Rim commu-

nities in the West to Campbell River in the East, the fisherman will find Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s website to be a valuable resource. Anglers have a responsibility to become aware of the B.C. Freshwater and Tidal Waters Regulations before heading out. You must apply yearly for a license, and carry it on your person at all times. Fishing management decisions are made throughout the season regarding stream closures, size and limits, so check with Fisheries and Oceans for updates.

STEWARDSHIP Respecting the environment, removing your trash and leaving little impact on your location is common sense nowadays but stewardship is also about being responsible and managing our fish population. The Nile Creek Enhancement Society’s mission is to enhance and protect the fresh and marine waters that support salmonid and the habitats in which they live. To fulfill its mission, the society operates a volunteer salmon hatchery and engages in restoration of habitats supporting salmonid species. The group also actively participates in stream rehabilitation, kelp replantation, eelgrass mapping >>>

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The Big Qualicum River is a typical coastal stream. From its source at Horne Lake, the river flows approximately 11 km to the Strait of Georgia. The Big Qualicum Hatchery employs a number of natural and artificial enhancement techniques to increase populations of Pacific salmon and steelhead trout. It was the first of the modern enhancement projects to be undertaken in the province of B.C. and has provided a model for other developments. Research and assessment at this facility have increased the scientific data available on salmonid behaviour, life cycle and habitat requirements. Both of these facilities offer public tours and exceptionally well maintained walking trails from the dedicated efforts of their volunteers. Fly-fishing is a “green sport” that generally treads lightly on the environment. Al McLean from Mid-Island Castaways takes this idea a step further.

Defining success to a fly-fisherman is a difficult task as it’s a highly individualized concept and completely dependent upon each angler’s unique perspective. Considered a hobby by some and an art form by others, it’s really about cultivating friendships with total strangers while in pursuit of that beautiful but ever illusive fish. Fair skies and tight lines.

THE RIVER HOME - A book by Jerry Dennis: “Fishing teaches us to perform small acts with care. It humbles us. It enriches our friendships. It cultivates reverence for wild things and beautiful places. It makes us participants in nature instead of spectators.” Photos, pages 22-23: from left, a fly from Coast Sportfish, Keith Hyett of Coast Sportfish, a fly fisherman. Page 24-25: from left: a fly fisherman, fishing rods, Keith Hyett with his fishing rod.

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LOCO 4 LOCAL Garlic Butter B.C. Spot Prawns Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS 3-4 dozen prawns-heads off, shell on ¼ lb. butter 2-4 garlic, finely chopped 2 Tbsp. white wine fresh cracked pepper parsley, finely chopped

THE RECIPE Melt butter in frying pan and sauté garlic until translucent. Coat prawns with garlic butter and cook on both sides for 30 seconds. Add wine, toss and cover for 30 seconds. Top with parsley and use the cooking sauce for dipping. Story by Carrie Powell-Davidson

COOKING WITH PRAWNS Live prawns should be lively, almost translucent with a straight tail and firm head. Remove the heads immediately and keep the tails well chilled until use—no more than 3 days. Boil, steam or sautée, but never cook longer than 1-2 minutes. Carrie’s Garlic Butter B.C. Spot Prawns PHOTO:Lissa Alexander

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of eating industrially-produced prawns may include neurological damage from ingesting chemicals such as endosulfans, an allergic response to penicillin residues or infection by an antibiotic-resistant pathogen such as E-coli.” It’s enough to make you sick!

THE GOOD NEWS Because the wild B.C. Spot Prawn fishery is so well managed, it is one the most sustainable fisheries in the province. Part of that sustainable plan includes limiting the number of licenses and the length of the season. B.C. Spot Prawn season opens the first week in May and runs for about 6-8 weeks. During that time, buy them fresh and live, get your fill and don’t forget to put some in the freezer for local goodness throughout the year. Wild B.C. Spot Prawns, the largest of the seven commercial species found in our waters, are available in season at local grocery stores, French Creek Seafood or direct from the fisher folks. As recently as three years ago, about 90 per cent of our prawns headed to Asia, but

today, as more and more people discover this tasty treat right in our own backyards, access to local prawns is easier. “There has definitely been a shift,” says Tammy Molliet, Manager of French Creek Seafood. “We’re selling more prawns to our local restaurants and to our local consumers.” She adds that because the demand for Wild B.C. Spot Prawns has grown so substantially, the store has followed suit by increasing their frozen prawn section. While Asia may still be a big market for our Spot Prawns, the demand for our Sidestripe and Pink Shrimp is locally driven and that market is growing too. Russell Lloyd, a local shrimp fisherman and Captain of the Western Clipper, says the market here has really boomed, so he tries to keep a boat to sell shrimp down at French Creek Harbour most weekends. That’s great news for shrimp-lovers because shrimp season is generally open 10 months of the year! To learn more about our local prawns and shrimp, visit


t may come as a surprise that more than 65 per cent of British Columbia’s prawns come from the inside waters of Vancouver Island. People might also be surprised to learn that wild, local prawns and shrimp are amongst some of the tastiest and most sustainably harvested food in our oceans but beware…. not all seafood is created equal! One of the greatest benefits of local food is that we know where our food is coming from. For many of us, we might actually know who is growing that food and how they are growing it. Many countries do not have the same controls that we do here and that can result in toxic additives being used in production. This is not only harmful to consumers but also to the farmers and their environments—not to mention the overall health of our oceans as antibiotics and pesticides leak into the ecosystem. American lobby group ‘Food & Water Watch’ studied prawn farming for 10 years and issue the following warning, “The negative effects



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Take note, we love music!


ancouver Island has the nod as an arts mecca. It’s host to a mixed-bag of creative disciplines that delight and tickle each of our five senses. A welcoming home where painters, potters, photographers, writers, sculptors, weavers and carvers can seek and find their muse. But it’s the musicians who take centre stage in this article. Dozens of them!


Sunday Afternoon Jam each week and in the summer, throngs travel to the Vancouver Island Music Festival like bears to honey. It’s not hard to find music to satisfy your listening taste. Check event listings in local newspapers and monthly magazines. Browse the posters on community billboards. Window-shop on main street and you’ll likely see a poster or two. If you’re on Facebook, search for public entertainment ‘Groups’ where musicians and music lovers post performance information. House Concerts and Garage Jams are a recent rage with invitations offered directly by the host (if you know one), or through your musically tuned-in friends who will connect you. So there you have it, a basketful of suggestions to help you enjoy a tuneful season with no treble ... er ... trouble at all. We have a musically gifted community and the muses are dancing!

Just sayin’


Classical, jazz, Celtic, folk, bluegrass, country, and rock. Whether the performance is staged at a concert hall, pub, cafe or restaurant, there’s music playing for every taste and age on almost every day of the week. In addition to concerts and band events, popular ‘jam sessions’ draw large crowds on “Open Mic’ nights where an eclectic mix of musicians take the stage. The Shady Waterfront Pub and Restaurant in Qualicum Beach offers music on several nights during the week, as does nearby Deez Restaurant and Lounge. In Parksville, the

Pacific Brimm occasionally hosts a Friday night gig and special dinner menu in their quaint cafe setting. Megan Olson of Arbutus Events is setting the local music scene on fire by bringing top talents like Neil Osborne and The Lion The Bear The Fox to mid-Vancouver Island venues. Pub and restaurant owners and event coordinators have realized that we love music and want to hear lots of it! Out and about, you’ll see familiar solo performers like Dave Marco, Fred Saliani and Dave Hart at craft fairs, outdoor markets and special events in Parksville, Qualicum Beach and surrounding area. Monthly events like John and Joyce Beaton’s gathering of performers at QUAC is so popular that you practically have to offer up a substantial weight of gold to secure a ticket. In Qualicum Bay, guitarist Peter Mason plays to a full house on Friday nights at the Sandbar Cafe, and jammers entertain Bluegrass fans at the nearby Crown & Anchor Pub on Thursdays. Farther afield, the Fanny Bay Inn hosts a






Story by Lissa Alexander, Photography by Linda Matteson-Reynolds and Peter McCully

When Liz Holme went to school at the McMillan Arts Centre in the ‘50s, Parksville was a very different place.

workers, it wasn’t chaotic, Holme remembers. Although that could be chalked up to the role “the strap” played, she suggests.

with today, Holme explains. Everyone literally knew everyone and she still maintains contact with many of her former school mates.

“I was born in ’46 and we were the first of the baby boomers, so there was a great influx of population,” she recalls. “If you look at my Grade 1 class there was over 40 children in it.” Despite there being only one teacher per class, no teacher’s assistants and no support

Last year, the McMillan Arts Centre (the MAC) celebrated 100 years in the community, and for the centre’s centennial celebrations, Holme was in charge of collecting the memorabilia. Despite the influx of population in the ‘50s, Parksville was still very small compared

Known then as Parksville School, the MAC was completed in 1913 and formally opened April 24, 1914 as a two-room school (although only one classroom was used for the first few years). Holme attended Parksville School from ’52 to ’58, when the school >>>

housed Grades 1 through 6. It later became known as Parksville Superior School and finally Parksville McMillan School.


Holme remembers the school fondly, particularly playing sports and making forts in the field that now houses the B.C. Ambulance service station. She says when she talks to others about their time at the school everyone seems to remember one popular task. “The big thing was to be the monitor who got to ring the bell,” she says. “The actual bell.” The school closed in 1977 and the Oceanside Community Arts Council (OCAC), which was founded a year earlier, began renting the space from the school board. The B.C. Building Corporation took over the building shortly after and leased it to the OCAC for next to nothing.


In the early ‘80s the OCAC purchased the upper floor of the MAC while the District Association for Community Living (PDACL) took over the ground floor. The Parksville Ballet School leased the space at the centre from approximately 1982 to 1997 and during that time the OCAC held events mainly off premises. “Back in those days we were the only game in town for arts and culture,” says Thea Stavroff who is a former president of the OCAC. Before the Old School House Arts Centre opened its doors in Qualicum Beach in 1988, Stavroff remembers an OCAC series called “Touch of Classical” where visiting musical artists from all over the world came and performed about six times a year. Stavroff also recalls the popular Missoula Children’s Theatre which came to town to put on productions with local children after only one week of rehearsal. It was that program that planted the seed for Stavroff’s Summer Youth Theatre Workshop

where she invited local artists to create masks, music and costumes. Sponsored by the OCAC, the program is now in its 16th year. Another early program that continues today is the OCAC’s Youth Arts Summer program, which offers children morning instruction with a professional artist and afternoon recreation. It is now in its 20th year. The OCAC was in The NEWS last year after the entire board resigned due to personal differences with the council’s membership. But the OCAC released a statement shortly after the incident in October that the MAC was open for business and the new OCAC interim board was enthusiastic about pursuing people and groups in the community to collaborate with the OCAC and rent space at the MAC. The MAC has recently had renovation work completed, totalling $135,000, thanks largely to a provincial grant along with funds from the City of Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo. The exterior of the building has been painted and a new universal ramp was installed. Inside new hardwood flooring was put in, >>>


The OCAC is a non-profit registered charity chartered by the British Columbia Arts Council. Its mandate is to promote arts and culture in District 69 by providing programs

and a venue for cultural and artistic expression.


>>> a stage was installed, and windows were repaired and winterized. The centre also got a couple of vintage metal doors and new LED lights, among other work.




Today the centre is bustling with programs of all descriptions including Tales for the Telling, which brings in professional storytellers from across the country on the fourth Friday of every month. This program, aimed at adults, is run by Marva Blackmore who is vice president of the Storytellers of Canada and involved in other storytelling organizations. The Parksville resident has connections to professional tellers from around the country and often sells out the shows she holds at the MAC. Liz DeBarros performed at the MAC’s MACoustic Folk Club last March and became hooked on the centre.

“It was such a great atmosphere and such a safe and friendly place to start performing, that I started coming back,” says DeBarros. The MACoustic Folk Club happens on the third Friday of every month and includes open mic performances for the first half of the evening followed by a professional performance. DeBarros now hosts that event and helps run a Circle Jam at the MAC, where any musician of any ability can play with others. DeBarros has helped create a Youth Jam that is currently free to local youth thanks to a local grant, she runs a Ukulele Circle and takes part in the Parksville Ukulele Orchestra at the Centre. And that’s not all. “I’m treasurer of the OCAC,” she says, adding, “I’m taking art classes here now; I didn’t know I was an artist, but that’s unlocking a whole new world for me as well.” John Blackmore is an art instructor who uses

the MAC to teach a wet-on-wet oil painting method using techniques seen in Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting T.V. series. His workshops attract a wide range of people from around the Island. The MAC has a constant rotation of visual art exhibitions, it hosts a Jazz Series on the second Friday of each month and a Musical Revue series featuring a variety of musical styles on the third Sunday of every month. And amateurs and professionals of all ages can take classes and workshops throughout the year at the centre. Beyond holding arts classes, visual art exhibitions and musical series’ at the MAC, interim president Joe Straka says the OCAC is endeavouring to hold a variety of activities in other venues around District 69. “My vision is not just for the MAC but to raise the profile and awareness of arts and culture in the community,” he says.

“A Show Park For All Occasions” 2014 EVENT HIGHLIGHTS June 27-29 Mid Island CADORA Summer Dressage Festival July 10-13 Arbutus Meadows Island Classic (Show Jumping) August 16-17 Nanoose Family Day Classic Car Show September 20-21 Vancouver Island Gluten Free Show October to March Indoor Soccer

In the MAC’s long and storied history it has always been a place for learning, innovation and creativity. With a dedicated and passionate group of volunteers, the centre is on its way to becoming a hub for all members of the community and a destination for visitors. And perhaps in another 100 years it will still be a place where stories and meaningful connections begin to take root. The MAC is located at 133 McMillan Street in Parksville. For more information visit or call 250-248-8185.

TO BOOK YOUR EVENT AT ARBUTUS MEADOWS CALL ROB AT 250-951-1378 1515 Island Hwy East, Nanoose Bay

Photos by: SeasideStudios & Linda Matteson-Reynolds


Photos, pages 30-31: inset photos: top, the Parksville School circa 1915, the school in 1928, Liz Holme in front of the MAC and inside the MAC, both by Peter McCully. Pages 32-33: John Blackmore instructing at the MAC, top and bottom photos: inside the MAC today all by Matteson-Reynolds.


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the price. In this case, the rebate has already been claimed. If your home is worth more than $450,000, you are not entitled to a federal rebate, but you may be entitled to a provincial rebate if a portion of the construction took place while the HST was in effect. If your home is worth less than $450,000, you are entitled to both a federal rebate and a provincial rebate for the portion spent during the HST period. A new home built or renovated for yourself or for a family member’s primary place of residence qualifies if it was completed within the last two years. If the home’s value is more than $450,000, then the homeowner is only entitled to a rebate for money spent between July 1, 2010 and March 31, 2013. Canada’s Reno Rebate Inc. currently has representatives throughout the province who are happy to help clients with the forms that need to be signed and the brief questionnaire that needs to be filled out. If you live in an area where the company does not have a representative, or if you would prefer to download the forms from the comfort of your home, you can find everything on their website and use their courier service at no charge. The time involved is minimal and your rebate could be huge. Canada’s Reno Rebate Inc. also has a brief questionnaire on their website that allows you

to see if you qualify for the rebate and only takes 60 seconds. Or, give them a call and in just a few minutes, they can determine if you qualify. Everyone seems to know someone who has built a home or done a renovation, so if you know homeowners who might qualify for this rebate, make sure to let them know before they miss their deadline. Canada’s Reno Rebate Inc. handles all the paperwork and follows through with the government until you receive your cheque. Because Sean and his staff know the forms, the processes, and who to call, they efficiently and quickly collect the information and submit exactly what the government agencies need. The company charges no upfront fee and if you don’t receive a rebate, the application costs you nothing. “So give us a call or check out our website,” Sean says. “What have you got to lose?”


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ADVERTISERS’ INDEX ARBUTUS MEADOWS a showpark for all occasions. Page 33 BLACK AND WHITE PARTY RENTALS has been helping create special moments for over 20 years. Page 39 BMO NESBITT BURNS INVESTMENT ADVISORS are working on your behalf to offer a full range of advisory services. Page 18 CANADA’S RENO REBATE helping homeowners obtain the government HST & GST rebates they are entitled to. Page 34 CENTRAL BUILDERS HOME BUILDING CENTRE offers the products, expertise, total project management, and guaranteed installation you need, all in one place. Page 28 CLASSIC KITCHENS works with you at every stage of the process to create a kitchen of exceptional beauty. Page 37 CLOSE TO YOU is Parkville’s fabulous fashion boutique with over 4,000 sqft of fashion, lingerie and footwear. Page 25 COASTAL CARVINGS specializes in award winning fine art and custom home design to order. Pages 20-21 COOMBS JUNCTION FURNITURE offers the best selection of BC and Canadian made furniture and mattresses on the island. Page 5 GROTTO SPA TIGH-NA-MARA the #1 Spa in Western Canada, offering signature treatments and services. Page 35 HARRIS OCEANSIDE CHEVROLET GMC makes a great deal better everyday. Page 3 INDEPENDENT MARINE SUPPLY STORE distributor of Breezesta recycled patio furniture carries a wide array of marine products. Page 3 ISLAND SOAPSTONE is Vancouver Island’s first dedicated supplier and manufacturer of Soapstone surfaces. Page 18 continued on page 37>>>

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Hospice and Pallative Care provides physical, psychological, social, spiritual and practical support to people living with life-limiting illnesses, as well as their loved ones, caregivers and the bereaved.

JOE CUNNINGHAM FORD treats the needs of each individual customer with paramount concern. Page 4 JOHN DEREK DESIGNS AND CREATIONS, Internationally recognized his work has been received by the Royal Family. Page 3 LEFTY’S FRESH FOOD takes pride in two lasting philosophies: Fresh Food and Great People. Page 9 NIWRA is a non-profit world class wildlife rehabilitation facility that cares for the well being of wildlife and strives to educate the public. Page 5 OCEANSIDE HOSPICE provides community based hospice supports in a team setting with healthcare professionals. Page 37 PARKSVILLE DOWNTOWN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION is dedicated to the enhancement and promotion of Parksville’s downtown core. Page 4 PHARMASAVE – Parksville & Qualicum Beach are caring and knowledgeable. Experience the personal one-on-one service. Page 2 POPE & SONS REFRIGERATION installs high quality home comfort systems so clients will be happy and comfortable in their homes. Page 28 QUALITY FOODS – Parksville, Nanoose & Qualicum Beach is an award-winning leader in the Canadian grocery industry. Page 7 RAYMOND JAMES JIM GRANT FINANCIAL GROUP ensures that their clients’ investment experiences are positive and successful. Page 9 RIPTIDE GRAPHICS offers screenprinting, embroidery, sandblasting and other promotional products. Page 35 RE/MAX ANCHOR REALTY, Qualicum Beach and RE/MAX FIRST REALTY, Parksville - let one of the professional RE/MAX team members assist you with your real estate needs. Page 40 SALISH SEA MARKET where the powerful stories of art are created with “insight” of the Salish Sea - unfold. Page 17 SANITECH technicians are trained to provide a carpet cleaning experience that is second to none. Page 9 SAVE ON FOODS has been a part of the Parksville community since 1948. Everything you need at the low prices you want. Page 36 SCHOONER COVE YACHT CLUB is dedicated to the development of yachting and the science of sportsmanship, seamanship and navigation. Page 36 SMITHFORD’S COASTAL STYLE showcases the style and ambiance of art created by approximately 75 artisans. Page 5 SURFSIDE RV RESORT offers the security and privacy of a gated community surrounded by natural beauty. Page 18. THRIFTY FOODS PARKSVILLE is proud to maintain the traditions of exceptional service and products. Page 26 WALLPEPPER DESIGNS can work with your ideas to create company logos, sign layouts, unique artwork, and eyepopping displays. Page 35 WINDOW DRESSER has been providing first-class draperies and interior furnishing services for over 15 years. Page 13 ZELKOVA DESIGN provides experienced and creative designs from start to finish for every aspect of your home building or renovation. Page 36



PHIL DWYER Story and Photo by Brenda Gough


Jazz musician and future student

t 48 years old, Phil Dwyer is the lost employment opportunities and financial stability. darling of the Canadian jazz scene.

The Qualicum Beach resident has a number of Juno awards to his credit and last year he received one of our country’s highest civilian honours, The Order of Canada, for his contributions to jazz as a performer, composer and producer, and for increasing access to music education in his community.



If there is a stigma, a lot of the problems surrounding a lot of them are self-generated by the people that have the illness, because they are uncomfortable with having that kind of an illness. So even if there was no stigma coming from society, it is still an internal struggle that a lot of people deal with.

The accomplished saxophonist, composer, I have read that up to three quarters of people band leader and teacher is now preparing for that have a mental illness never seek treatment for it because they are concerned about how a new chapter in his life. In August he and his wife Theresa are moving they will be treated afterwards. I am not always to Fredericton, where Dwyer will study law at 100 per cent comfortable talking about it but on the other hand it is a journey that I have the University of New Brunswick. started. It was something that I felt comfortable Dwyer isn’t leaving music completely behind doing and it felt natural and as I started doing and he doesn’t know how things will pan out it. over the next four years, but his goal is to become a lawyer and a mental health advocate. Question: How did pursuing a degree in law come about? At a TEDx event in Powell River, which is featured on YouTube, he opened up about Answer: In the fall of 2011 I hashed over the his own struggles with mental illness and past idea of going to law school. I didn’t know anything about what it would take or if it was addictions. plausible because I didn’t have a previous Question: You have stated that you are degree. I asked a few friends, who were experts interested in mental health advocacy and you in the field, and they said it could probably be want to use your own experiences dealing with done but it was going to be a long shot. bipolar disease to make a difference for people who suffer with mental illness. Do you feel the So I started looking into it and I wrote the LSAT stigma surrounding mental health is subsiding? (Law School Administration Test). I wrote it twice. The first time I did well the second time I Answer: I know my personal experience has did quite well. I applied to five law schools and been so much more fortunate than most the University of New Brunswick accepted me. people. Most people don’t have as much I think the University of New Brunswick is the support as I have. best place for me in a lot of ways. It is a smaller A lot of people, when they have an encounter school and it might be easier to study there. It with a mental illness, at the end of it they might be easier to carve my own path there can potentially be in terrible shape, having rather than being at a huge law school.

Question: What are you going to miss most about your home and plot of land in Qualicum Beach? Answer: I will probably miss the vegetable garden the most. I spend a lot of time out there and I find it to be a rewarding time and therapeutic. I love getting fresh food out of the garden. Question: What was it like in the Dwyer household when you got your appointment to the order of Canada? Answer: We weren’t allowed to say anything. We had to keep it secret for about a month. It is the highest award you can get in Canada for doing something that people think is worthwhile. It is hard not to think of it as being pretty remarkable—to be thought of in that way. It is very flattering and extremely humbling at the same time. Knowing how I have felt about the other Order of Canada appointees, the thought of somebody else thinking of me in that way makes me want to make sure I am earning it. It has actually given me a lot of clarity about making sure that I try my best to live up to my own standards and really being clear about what that means. It’s great.



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Special Features - Oasis Life Spring 2014  


Special Features - Oasis Life Spring 2014