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HOME to Stay

Cracking the code



Food stroll A TASTE OF OAK BAY

I N S I D E › P E O P L E › T R AV E L › F O O D › H I S T O R Y › A R T S


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TWEED Spring 2017

Volume 5 | Issue 1


10 Feature Story


Modernizing an Oak Bay Century home.




Oak Bay Insider


Historic Oak Bay

Christopher Causton revisits the road to the Oak Bay library.


Dogs on the Avenue

Photographer Don Denton captures the cute, the cuddly and the gangly in Oak Bay canines.


Tweed Magazine welcomes your Oak Bay suggestions for the next edition. So, do tell! Email editor Jennifer Blyth at:

Ivan Watson visits with Molly Morgan, a Bletchley Park codebreaker.


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Editor Jennifer Blyth chats with Victoria Golf Club’s Gina Hosie.

On the Cover: From our featured home of Kevin Murdoch and Elizabeth Swiggum. Photo by DON DENTON


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TALK of the TOWN ! We’re all about spring in this edition of Tweed, arguably one of the prettiest seasons here in Oak Bay. After what has been an unusually snowy winter, the blossom trees, tulips and flowering currants are a welcome sight indeed – and the camas can’t be far behind. Of course, spring also means there’s lots going on around town, so come enjoy! Oak Bay’s Live Music Series from Beaconridge Productions continues this spring in the Upstairs Lounge at Oak Bay Recreation Centre. From Juno Award-winner Dave Gunning to an exciting double bill featuring the folk/Celtic roots duo The Bombadils plus Evie Ladin and Keith Terry, who mingle clawhammer banjo, guitar, bass and percussive dance, the music will have toes tapping. See the schedule at Easter festivities come to the park behind municipal hall April 15, thanks to Tony Joe and the folks from the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association. Featuring treats, visits with the Easter

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Bunny, egg hunts for the kids and more, this is a real family-favourite. Gallery season opens with the 18th annual Oak Bay Artists Spring Studio Tour, April 22 and 23. Hosted by Oak Bay Parks, Recreation & Culture, the self-guided tour is a chance to visit an eclectic array of Oak Bay artists, from noon to 4:30 p.m. both days. The free, juried tour includes artists working in original watercolour, acrylic and oil paintings, plus fibre, photography, woodcuts, glass and pottery. Print a brochure with artist images, descriptions and a tour map at recreation. or pick one up at Cont. on page 9

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s we emerge from far too many wintery days – have we talked about anything but snow these last few months? – those first few blossoms of spring are oh, so welcome. Here at Tweed magazine, spring shows its colourful face throughout the pages, from the bold pop of red on our cover to the spring-inspired jewellery in our fashion feature to the bright, bold hues depicted in writer Ivan Watson’s visit to Cuba. From Havana to England’s Bletchley Park, Watson’s history tour takes us back to the Second World War, when the Allies were madly trying to decipher coded Nazi messages. Oak Bay’s own Molly Morgan was one of those industrious young codebreakers and through her story we revisit those remarkable efforts. We thank Kevin Murdoch and Elizabeth Swiggum for taking us on a tour of their beautifully renovated “century home,” built in 1912 and thoughtfully renovated by Maximillian Huxley. The award-winning renovation demonstrates how an older home can be transformed for today’s families while maintaining that link to the past. If spring takes you on a picnic to Oak Bay parks, be sure to take our food stroll first. Writer Angela Cowan ventures to some of our best-loved shops, along with a few newer destinations, to sample treats both sweet and savoury. Yes, spring in Oak Bay never looked – or tasted – so good! .


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See Victor Lotto’s Laurel Point in the Oak Bay Spring Studio Tour.

Cont. from page 6 Oak Bay recreation centres, municipal hall and library, local businesses and from participating artists. As we turn the corner on May, it’s time for both Mother’s Day and Victoria Day, and a whole host of activities those celebrations bring. May also means the Oak Bay Half-Marathon, weaving its way through local streets. A relay, 10K and kids’ 1K round out the event that attracts both locals and elite runners from farther afield. Lace up your sneakers or come cheer on the runners along the route, starting and finishing at Windsor Park May 28.

Publisher and advertising inquiries Janet Gairdner 250-480-3251

Editor Jennifer Blyth 250-480-3239

Group Publisher Penny Sakamoto

Creative Director Lily Chan

Advertising Janet Gairdner Sandy Henderson

Associate Editor Lia Crowe

Creative Services Lyn Quan Michelle Gjerde

Local Expertise with Global Connections.


Photo Supervisor Don Denton Distribution 250-480-3285 207A-2187 Oak Bay Ave. Victoria, BC V8R 1G1 Phone 250-598-4123

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.

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A nod to the

PAST Modernizing a century home By DEVON MACKENZIE Photos by DON DENTON

We wanted to do as much as possible to make use of that natural light. 10




home to grow into – that’s what Kevin Murdoch and Elizabeth Swiggum were looking for when they stumbled upon their King George Terrace home in 2005. “We had looked at a lot of homes,” explains Kevin, sitting on the counter in the bright, modern kitchen. “I actually came to see this one on my own, and I knew right away it held so much possibility. It was a solid house.” With its south-facing orientation overlooking McNeill Bay, one of the traits that drew the couple to the the 1912 home was the abundance of natural light. Thinking about how they would bring out the best in the century home, the two knew that in the renovation process light would feature heavily as one of the main themes. “The house had a very warm feeling to it from the beginning, and we wanted to do as much as possible to make use of that natural light,” says Elizabeth. As many century homes are, theirs had been renovated several times since its birth. “And not all of them were done well,” Kevin adds, laughing. Armed with ideas and help from several professionals, the two tackled the renovations in three steps. First, there was work to be done on the foundation and perimeter drains. “The basement actually flooded in the early days of us living here, so we had to tackle that first along with the foundation work. It was important to us that the bones of the house – everything you can’t see – were really good. I still feel that some of the best parts of this house are the parts you don’t even get to see,” Kevin laughs. Once the first wave of structural work was complete, the landscaping and general beautification of the outside of the home were completed, followed by the interior finishes. “We really wanted to modernize the space and have a more open floorplan, but we wanted to keep some of the original characteristics in order to give a nod to the traditional arts and crafts style of the home,” explains Kevin, motioning to the millwork in the dining room. “For us there was a fine line between keeping the traditional warmth of the home and it being too clean and modern (so) that it felt sterile, so we wanted to be careful,” he adds.







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Kevin Murdoch reflects on his recently renovated century home.

Knowing his experience and reputation for renovating heritage and century homes, the couple chose contractor Maximillian Huxley. “We removed the entire roof and second floor of the house and rebuilt it while maintaining a finished space in the basement,” Max explained. “The layout was opened up, new finishes and new mechanics were installed throughout. It has a fresh new look and is now very energy-efficient,” he added. But most importantly, Max said, the home still has some of its old character. “We rebuilt the original fireplace and chimney reusing all the same bricks, we refinished all the original radiators and saved and refinished all the millwork in the dining room. I’m very pleased how the new work integrated into the existing character of the house so you can’t tell where the new and existing come together,” he said. And pleased he should be. The home was awarded gold in the 2016 Construction Achievements and Renovations of Excellence (CARE) Award for best renovation between $500,000 and $1M as well as gold for best Traditional Kitchen under 200 square feet. Clean lines dominate the open space on the main floor, with plenty of white and grey to reflect as much light as possible. Another noteworthy feature of the home, although for the most part unseen, is the many discreet, built-in storage spaces. “When we moved in we didn’t have kids, but once we did


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I began to realize the need for out-of-view storage,” laughs Elizabeth. The wall behind the staircase to the top floor is given visual interest not by art, but by a built-in grid made out of moulding. “I was never big on having art on the staircase wall so this was a perfect solution for us thought It’s a century home up by our interior designer, Lisa and we’ve renovated Sinclair,” Kevin explains. it with the hopes it will The top floor features the last at least another home’s three large, bright bedrooms, including the master 100 years. which has an incredible water view. For Kevin, who works in the tech sector, bringing the home into the twenty-first century using the latest in smart home technology was also important. Built-in speakers in every room can be controlled independently by a smart phone or tablet, the six separate heating zones in the home can be controlled with the Nest thermostat, and the Nest fire and carbon monoxide protection can also be monitored from a handheld device. Future plans for the home include adding a Tesla Powerwall and solar panels. “This is a home our family has grown into and will continue to grow into,” says Kevin. “It’s a century home and we’ve renovated it with the hopes it will last at least another 100 years.”


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Oak Bay’s heart beats in its library

L Christopher Causton was mayor of Oak Bay for 15 years. He is now the Goodwill Ambassador and a captain with Victoria Harbour Ferries. He is the former owner of Jason’s and Rattenbury’s (Old Spaghetti Factory) and is a classically trained hotelier. A member of Harbourside Rotary for 32 years, he flies flags in his spare time.


ibraries are special places. In some villages you can tell a lot about a community from its town square. In some cities it’s the buildings that tell a story. In Oak Bay it’s the library where you can find a beating heart. Conceived as a centennial project in 1967, the original library was opened in December 1971 by Miss Margaret Clay. It was built as part of the Monterey Centre, designed by Claude Maurice. Soon after opening it saw more traffic and borrowings than practically any other library in the country, based on its size. It was a standing joke that only Saskatoon could beat us but they had the winter weather advantage! By the mid-nineties it was obvious the library had to expand and the children’s section, which was in the basement, had to be rethought. The major stumbling block to an expansion was the John H. Tonkin heritage house, behind the library, that a previous council had wisely bought and was now rented. The challenge was to expand the library to join the house without affecting the heritage integrity. And the mayor had to complicate matters. On one of my pre-design site visits, accompanied by library chair Neil Williams, it struck me that a good architect could design an expansion and keep some tenanted space. We would then have a revenue stream to pay for ongoing maintenance of the library. The municipal administrator scratched his head, council supported the idea, Warner James Architects was hired, and a budget was set. Dreams and reality often collide, and construction estimates were no exception. But a majority of council wanted to continue the project, so a committee was struck with instructions to cut costs. Ably chaired by Coun. Market & Take-Away



Frank Carson, assisted by Coun. Alan Cassidy (himself an architect) and Don Wagoner from Canpro Construction, they cut 15 per cent off the costs. Today you can’t detect those changes but, as an example, there are now four one-bedroom suites and one two-bedroom, as opposed to six one-bedroom suites. A fundraising drive brought generous donations reflected on ‘door knockers’ around the library. Next time you check out a book, look at the granite countertop. It was donated! Council also wanted art in the library and a competition brought the amazing stained glass window by Tom Mercer and Ed Schaefer. Next time you visit, look at all the books depicted in it. Lots of people, including children, were asked for their favourite book and you may spot yours. (Full disclosure – mine are Treasure Island and the Winnie-the-Pooh quote, “Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh. There’s always Pooh and me.” On Oct. 7, 1999 the library reopened. An incredible 4,457 items were borrowed in one day, and the six (now look how many) computers were busy the whole time. The children’s area was a big hit and quiet areas for reading could be found in the old restored house. The well-loved head librarian Henri Wetselaar was all smiles. The former children’s area downstairs is now the Granite Room, accessible off the parking lot. In 2000 it opened as a computer room and to this day hundreds of seniors have had their first introduction to computers here. Quoting from Elizabeth Renzetti about a saying by Maya Angelou, “the library helps you to see that not only are you not alone, but that you’re not really any different from everyone else.”

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Blouse ($68) by Gentle Fawn; blue agate lace earrings ($115), half moon necklace in black lip oyster shell ($118), labradorite and moonstone cuff ($185), all by Melanie Auld and from Nicholas Randall. Jeans and shoes model’s own.




Hand-crafted gold bangle in 14k yellow gold ($2,400), hammered circle necklace in 14k yellow gold ($2,500), hammered hoop earrings in 14k yellow gold ($400), all from the Ross Haynes collection and from Barclay’s Fine Jewellers. Sweater model’s own. 18



White dress ($180) by Elk from Tulipe Noire; diamond necklace 0.10ct total diamond weight in 14k yellow gold ($1,100), floral diamond ring 0.46ct total diamond weight in 14k yellow gold ($2,900), diamond hoop; “Huggie” earrings 0.10ct total diamond weight in 14k yellow gold $1,100 all from Barclay’s Fine Jewellers.


Cracking the


Oak Bay’s Molly Morgan was a Second World War codebreaker By IVAN WATSON Photos by DON DENTON


legantly dressed, cheerful and well-spoken, Molly Morgan remains a dynamic force at the age of 95. For the past 25 years, she has lived in Oak Bay, enjoying walks to the village and summer mornings on her balcony engrossed in a good book. A world away and a lifetime ago in wartime Britain, she was recruited to serve King and Country on a top-secret mission at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. Joining the most famous code-breaking team of the Second World War, she worked around the clock to decipher ‘unbreakable’ secret Nazi codes. Morgan was born in Yorkshire on Oct. 20, 1921. In 1934, her family relocated to London, where she attended South Hampstead High School. She excelled at both academics and sports, and served as captain of her gymnastics and netball teams. She was particularly adept at foreign languages including French, Latin and – crucially – German. In 1938, she participated in a school exchange with a family in Berlin for a month. “They were a pleasant family,” she recalls. “The only thing I did see once were SS men marching down the street in uniform. I didn’t realize what was coming of course. It was just a parade to me.” At the outbreak of war in 1939, Morgan was in the sixth form and anticipating attending university. “I got the best matriculation in the school and I was expected to win a scholarship to Cambridge.” Fate – and the Foreign Office – intervened. Cloak-and-dagger intrigue surrounds her recruitment to the Bletchley staff. “I don’t really know how I got there,” she says. “One day a man from the Foreign Office came to see my parents. And after that I was whisked off in an army truck with benches on each side to sit on. I didn’t know where I was going. My parents didn’t know where I was going. They weren’t told.”




The truck rumbled up the road to the stately manor house of Bletchley Park. “It was this great big house in its own grounds with a lovely lake. I didn’t know why I was there or what I was going to do.” Armed soldiers at the gate checked her papers. Upon arrival, Morgan signed the Official Secrets Act. For the next two years, Bletchley duties consumed her life. She never made it to Cambridge, where she had hoped to study languages. The government arranged accommodation and Morgan was billeted with a family who left her a salad to eat when she came off shift. “They had to give us one meal a day. But I had nothing whatever in common with them so I would sit alone in my bedroom. It was very cold. Nobody had heat in England in those days. It was lonely.” She soon settled into a focussed routine of work. “We were trying to decode the German naval messages. I was in Hut 8 with Alan Turing,” she says. “We worked in shifts for six hours at a time and sat in a cold hut. There was a little oil heater in the middle of the hut which didn’t make much difference. We sat there for six hours working on the Enigma machine, hoping something came out in German. It never did – not while I was there.” She looked forward to visits with her family. “Every three or four weeks we got 36 hours leave, and I used to hitchhike up to London whenever I got the chance. We were paid very little at Bletchley – not enough for fares.” Morgan recalls an eccentric cast of brilliant, yet absentminded ‘boffins’ who inhabited the Bletchley universe. Alan Turing – the famous pioneer of modern computing – was “rather grubby,” she says. “He wore the same dark green sweater every day. Somebody once asked him why and he said, ‘Because I never have to wash my vest underneath.’” Dilly Knox, the legendary code-breaker who had pioneered the profession during the First World War, was so engrossed in his work, he “used to stuff his pipe with his sandwiches, instead of his tobacco.” Another of the ‘boffins’ was known “to walk home in the rain to his digs with his briefcase on

Do you have a personal memory of Second World War service or of growing up in Oak Bay during the war years? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Email: / Tel: 250-418-0700 / Twitter @watsonivan

his head and his hat in his hand.” Morgan recalls their eccentricities with affection. “The lunatics were running the asylum at Bletchley. They were all so brilliant, but they couldn’t cope with ordinary life.” One day, she was allowed to see a prototype of the top secret Colossus, the ground-breaking machine built by the codebreakers that became the world’s first programmable computer. “We were escorted to see this Colossus which took up the whole wall of a hut,” says Morgan. “It was a wall of computers with At night, we listened to lights. People had to stand the Germans bombing there and feed it all the London and Coventry. time. We weren’t told any In the daytime, details about it, we were we listened to the just allowed to see it.” After two years, Morgan dogfights. was anxious for a change. “Nobody was allowed to leave Bletchley,” she says. “I’d heard of this job in the WRNS where they were doing similar stuff, but they were doing it on VHS radio, listening to the Germans. I thought that would be much more fun.” Gathering her courage, she approached the imposing Commander Edward Travis, the operational head of Bletchley. “We thought he had the power to send us to the Tower if he didn’t like us. After hours of talking to Travis, I was allowed to leave. I signed the Official Secrets Act again and said goodbye.” During her service in special duties with the WRNS (Women’s Royal Naval Service), she was posted to an intercept station at Beachy Head near Eastbourne to monitor ‘E-boat’ traffic in the Channel. “We’d twiddle VHF radios until we got a frequency with a German voice on it. There were several of us doing this with a controller at the end of the hut. When you got a German voice, you wrote it all down and told the controller immediately what they were saying and what channel it was.” Messages were quickly passed on to the Royal Air Force to launch timely counterattacks. At Beachy Head the horrors of war became apparent. “At night, we listened to the Germans bombing London and Coventry. In the daytime, we listened to the dogfights. The worst thing I remember was listening to the German fighter pilots when they were shot down. They were screaming for their mothers all the way down. I can still hear them. It was awful.”

Oak Bay Beach Hotel, by Victor Lotto

Molly Morgan with a photo of herself as a young codebreaker, working at Bletchley Park

In recent years, the Bletchley Park story has captured the public imagination with films like The Imitation Game depicting the heroic work of the codebreakers. Morgan decided against seeing the film or any other fictional adaptation. “I didn’t want to because I know what it was like and I’d rather remember it as it was.” SPRING 2017



Oak Bay holds a wealth of tasty treats, from the cheeses and import delicacies at Charelli’s to fresh seafood at Oak Bay Seafood, Kombucha at Red Barn and of course, Ottavio’s delicious gelato.

Food Stroll Oak Bay through



f there’s anyone in this world who loves food as much as I do, it’s my dad. Whether we’re wandering a market and indulging in caramelized onion-laden smokies, or sitting down for a table full of tapas, he dives in with just as much enthusiasm and yummy noises as me. So when I get the call from my editor to do a foodie stroll through my beloved Oak Bay, I grab my dad, pack up my six-month-old and we head out with appetites ready. Our first stop is the newly opened Oak Bay Seafood on the Avenue, owned by Gregg and Anne Best, who made the move last December from the Hudson Public Market downtown. “We were looking for a neighbourhood,” says Anne. We chat between the steady stream of customers that come strolling in looking for fresh sole, rockfish, prawns and all manner 22



of other goodies. “Everyone’s been so supportive. We really feel like we found our niche.” They work with local suppliers as much as possible, “businesses with a face,” as Anne puts it. And with over 40 years of experience fishing themselves, Anne and Gregg know good seafood, and still bring in all their own prawns and crab. The chalkboard menu to the side is what catches my eye though, with popcorn shrimp, salmon belly bites and a smattering of soups and salads, it’s an ideal spot to start our indulgence. Next up is just a door down at The Whole Beast, conveniently situated right beside ethical meat shop The Village Butcher. If you’re a carnivore, this is the place to be. Shelves of house-made salamis stimulate an almost Pavlovian response – the lemon and fennel, and Parmigiano grab my attention right away. “That, a baguette, some cheese from Ottavio’s and you’re done,” says owner Cory Pelan. He offers up some pepperoni,

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corner, Pelan recommends any of the in-house made burgers At Milgard, we stand behind every window and patio door we the staff puts together. And if there’s something you want build with Fulldoor Lifetime warranty tand behind every window andour patio we Warranty. build withOur ourwindow Full Lifetime that’s not on display? promises we repair will repair or replace anydefective defective window, window, window warranty promises that that we will or replace any “We candoor do pretty much anythingtheon demand here,” he orhomeowner—parts skylight free of cost toand original t free of cost to the original labor saysprofessionals with ahomeowner— smile. re to ask the at S B Windows for parts andAnd laborDoors included. Leaving the Avenue, our on. Be sure to ask the professionals at SB little trio ventures up Foul Windows And DoorsBay for more information. Shelves of houseroad to Charelli’s, a European import deli filled to the rafters made salamis with treasures to make your stimulate an almost mouth water. Pavlovian response – dows and Doors It takes me three steps inside Offer valid until November 27th, 2015. the lemon and fennel, d to fall utterly in love. Shelves Quality &&Durability Durability backedbacked Durability backed by a Full Lifetime Warranty and Parmigiano grabQuality &Quality upon shelves of Italian olive by a Full Lifetime Warranty by a Full Lifetime Warranty 46-9570 Quality & Durability backed At Milgard, we stand behind every window and patio my attention oils, handmade truffles, English At Milgard, we stand behind every window and patio doorWarranty. we door we build with our Full Lifetime Our build with Fulldoor Lifetime warranty At Milgard, we stand behind every window andour patio we Warranty. build withOur Full Lifetime right away. biscuits and one of the most by aanyanyourwindow Full Lifetime Warranty window promises that we will repair or promises we repair will repair or replace defective window, Warranty. Our window warranty promises that that wewarranty will or replace defective window, door orhomeowner—parts skylight free of cost toand the labor original door or skylight free of cost to the original comprehensive selections of replace any defective window, door or skylight free included. Be sure to ask the professionals at S B Windows for homeowner— parts andAnd laborDoors included. 9:30am - 5pm Friday more information. sure to to ask the the professionals athomeowner SB ofBe cost original — Monday parts and to labor crackers tempt peckish customWindows And Doors for more information. Atincluded. Milgard,Be wesure stand behind every window and patio door we build with our Full Lifetime to ask the professionals at 2000 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria ers. But it’s what’s hiding in Warranty. Our And window warranty promises that we will repair or replace any defective window, SB Windows Doors for more information. door or skylight free of cost to the original homeowner—parts and labor the display case that piques my interest. Up to $5500 on Install Rebates at S B Windows And Doors for SB Windows and Doors included. Be sure to ask the Your local window andprofessionals door specialist “We carry 200 to 300 cheeses, and none of the them 5276 Polkeyare Rd more information. 250-385-9570 labelled,” says Heather Johnston, who’s worked at (250) Charelli’s 746-9570 Quality & Durability backed Duncan Windows and Doors 9amby-250-385-9570 5:30pm to FridayWarranty a FullMonday Lifetime for close to three years. Instead, if you want a cheese, you 2000 9:30am Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria - 5pm Monday to Friday grab one of the highly knowledgeable employees, describe 2000 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria your ideal fromage, and prepare to be presented with a selecSB Windows and Doors tion to taste. 5276 Polkey Rd “We really pride ourselves on customer service,” says SB Windows and Doors (250) 746-9570 Heather. “We find out what (you’re) looking for, then you Duncan (250) 746-9570 get to taste a few cheeses to make sure you’re going home 5272 Boal Rd with the right one. You definitely have to spend some time V9L6W3 here.” As my lactose intolerance means my cheese choices are Saving Memories “no cows allowed,” I stick to the goat and sheep offerings. No surprise, I end up buying three: Drunken Goat, a red Afraid of losing all your precious family memories? wine-rubbed wheel with a gorgeous deep purple patina and a tang that sits on the back of your tongue; Bribiou, the creamiest brie I think I’ve ever eaten; and the cheese that makes mornings worth getting up for, Etorki. Silky and complexly flavoured, Etorki is made from the milk of the mountainous Manech black- or red-faced ewe, native to the Basque region of France. “It takes 48 ewes to make one wheel of cheese,” says Heather as she slips me a third “sample.” This one, I’m not sharing with anyone. We stop in at Slater’s Meats on Cadboro Bay road as we circle back to the Avenue, and chat with co-owner Geoff Martin. Don’t wait until your photos fade away, “We really try to have a community here. It’s not a family or get lost in a flood or fire. business anymore – Cameron (Doyle, co-owner) isn’t my Call us to preserve them for generations to come. brother or cousin – but it’s a tight-knit family feel,” he says, We come to you, and scan them in your driveway! as he hides behind a display and makes my son shriek with laughter at the game of peek-a-boo. Family style, indeed. Geoff’s got two little ones himself, and it feels like stopping 250-589-6203


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At The Whole Beast and Village Butcher, Cory Pelan offers many local and ethically raised meats.

to say hello to an old friend as the two of them get into their own little “conversation.” Established in 1954, the shop “strives to stay local with the highest of quality,” but Slater’s can also do the “zaniest of requests,” adds Geoff. Ostrich, alligator, Kobe beef. “The sky’s virtually the limit.” I make a mental note to come back for the tasty looking rib-eye steaks and the variety of flavoured sausages in the cooler, and we venture off in search of dessert. And where better to end our wanderings of Oak Bay than the famous Italian bakery, Ottavio’s. The sweets beneath the glass call my name and beg me to take them home. Lemon polenta, crackly and chocolatey morettis, thin and chewy oatmeal cookies, lavender shortbreads, the housemade gelatos (maybe this one time I won’t be lactose intolerant…). “I’m excited about how much effort goes into making the gelato,” says general manager Genevieve Laplante. Ottavio’s sources the fruit locally, then processes it and has it year-round to make the fruit-based gelatos. A bagful of cookies ends up coming home with me, as do a whole wheat twisted loaf and two containers of house-made olive tapenade, because how can you say no to that? Our cloth totes and arms are full. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than wandering the neighbourhood, stopping in at all the specialty shops, picking up the best of the best and chatting with the people behind it all. But for those times you’re in a hurry and looking for more of a one-stop-shop experience, the brand new Red Barn Market on the

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Avenue has settled right into the community, with their “Island Grown, Island Raised, Island Made” philosophy. The Oak Bay Avenue location is also the first Red Barn to offer fresh, locally made Kombucha on tap. Ambrosia Fine Foods and Deli has a charming basket display of local produce outside, and recently started carrying more Turkish and Mediterranean foods. And Fairway Market in Athlone Court stands always at the ready, one of Vancouver Island’s largest independently owned grocery stores. As for us, laden with bread, cheese, meats and sweets, it’s time for my dad and me to pack up my son and head home so we can eat!

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GINA HOSIE Elizabeth Smith CLAIM TO FAME IN OAK BAY:  Women’s Program Director at Victoria Golf Club and a musician – both a solo performer and lead singer with the local cover band Strangers.


Tweed editor Jennifer Blyth enjoys tea with Gina Hosie, Women’s Program Director at the Victoria Golf Club.

Where were you born and who is your family? I was born in Hertford, England, 20 miles northeast of London. I am the youngest of six kids. My dad, originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, was a family doctor (now retired) but also a strong athlete and a musician at heart. My mum, from Yorkshire, somehow survived raising six strong-minded children! I met my Canadian husband, Sandy, in England and that’s what brought me to Canada. We moved to Oak Bay in 2013. I have two step-children who live in Ontario and a six-year-old ‘step’ grandson, Kai, who is a little fireball!

What else have you been involved in? Music is a big part of my life and I was very happy to find my way in to the musical community here in Greater Victoria. I have been performing as a solo musician for over 10 years and continue to do that at local venues and private functions here in Victoria. I also joined a pop/rock cover band called Strangers last summer as their lead vocalist. We play weekends downtown at The Bard & Banker and Irish Times and I have an absolute blast doing it!

Tell us about your work and/or hobbies? I’m pretty lucky in that my hobby became my career when I joined the golf industry 17 years ago. I have worked at some great facilities in Ontario, in Scotland and now at the Victoria Golf Club, here in Oak Bay. Victoria Golf Club is just a stunningly beautiful place and I feel very fortunate to be part of the team there. My role is a mix of teaching, coaching, event planning and retail.

What brings you joy? Golf and music! There are so many things I love about the game of golf. Getting out and playing the game is certainly one of them but I am also passionate about teaching. We have a great junior program at Victoria GC and I get a big kick out of helping the next generations of golfers develop their love of the game. Many of my students are adults picking up the game for the first time and I find it incredibly rewarding helping them and seeing them develop their skills. Golf can be intimidating for new players and I take great pride

in helping them conquer those fears, mostly because I know how much it is worth it! I also love to sing, play guitar and piano. I can quite easily lose track of time playing or listening to music and it is big part of my life, everyday.

Who is your hero and why? I’ve had a lot of great role models in my career, in music and in life. Of course, like most people my parents are top of that list. However, seeing as golf is such a big part of my life it would make sense for me talk about one of my biggest golfing heroes, Jack Nicklaus. I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Nicklaus and his wife when I was working at the Loch Lomond Golf club in Scotland in 2001. I don’t know how many people he was introduced to that day or how many hands he shook but he looked every person in the eye and made them feel like he was genuinely interested in meeting them. That really stuck with me. He had an incredible career, was always a fierce competitor, but most importantly a gentleman and the consummate professional.

Who are some of the most interesting people you’ve met? I have met a number of ‘celebrities’ through golf over the years including Sean Connery, Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Alice Cooper, but I have also met interesting people since moving to Victoria. I recently had dinner with a lady who, with her husband, spent the last 32 years as lighthouse keepers on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. They have experienced life on the West Coast in ways most people can’t even imagine.

What do you see as your greatest accomplishment? Turning pro after playing golf for only three years. Most golf professionals learn the game as a kid, I learned as an adult. I worked hard on my game those first few years and put a lot of time in to it. Looking back. I am very glad I did.

Anything else you’d like us to know? I love Victoria! I didn’t quite know what to expect moving out here but have totally fallen in love with the Island and this community. Can’t imagine living anywhere else! SPRING 2017




Creative CONTRASTS Tweed’s Ivan Watson explores historic Havana, the city that always inspires





he rail carriage lurched forward along tracks overgrown with lush vegetation, while a hailstorm of sparks provided a miniature fireworks show overhead. I was aboard the famous “Hershey” electrified railway between Havana and the port city of Matanzas 90km to the east. Camera in hand, I leaned through a glassless window while dodging oncoming branches. The conductor kept the train going at a leisurely pace, skilfully navigating rusted remnants of a once-modern rail system that was the pride of Cuba when it opened a century ago. Cuba’s sunswept countryside opened up before me, and the experience felt more adventurous than the packaged beach vacations that dominate most Caribbean destinations. Out of the brush a horse appeared, galloping alongside our carriage for several minutes. Its athletic defiance caused the conductor to ease the train to a complete stop while the horse snorted noisily and trotted nonchalantly to the other side of the tracks. Such moments of thrilling serendipity are common in Cuba – a country whose emergence on the international scene has made its famous hand-rolled cigars, Havana Club rum, vintage cars, Che Guevara tee-shirts and intoxicating musical rhythms the newest focal points of cosmopolitan cool all around the world. After exploring the town of Hershey – built decades ago by the chocolate company as a model development, complete with massive factory complex now in ruins – I returned to Havana for sunset drinks on the rooftop bar of Hotel Ingleterra, overlooking the city’s Parque Central. I sipped a piña colada as a jazz trio serenaded me with classic Cuban tunes including hits of the Buena Vista Social Club and the ubiquitous Guantanamera – a song played so often it becomes part of every tourist’s vacation soundtrack. Relaxing on the terrace, it was easy to imagine Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway drinking mojitos decades ago. Inspired, I decided to seek out the best piña colada in Havana – a challenge that resulted in a proverbial embarrassment of riches. Havana’s bar scene is legendary, combining classic watering holes frequented by Hemingway (El Floridita and


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Vintage cars and colourful facades are common in Cuba. SPRING 2017



Classic American cars at Parque Central; Boarding the train to Hershey; View from the tower overlooking Plaza de la Catedral; and Sunshine and sand at Playas del Este.

La Bodeguita del Medio) with several emerging favourites a Victorian warehouse next to the cruise ship terminal. It of a new generation inspired by the streamlined cocktail contains hundreds of stalls selling jewellery, leather purses, lounges of New York. Floridita, located at the entrance to humidors and a dazzling art section with paintings that Havana’s trendy Obispo shopping street, features a life-sized could take pride of place in the world’s top art galleries. Hemingway statue that appears in selfies the world over. There, I met classically trained artist Carlos Pimentel whose Tropicana cabaret makes for an extravagant night out, paintings explore revolutionary iconography in playful ways. with hundreds of colourfully costumed His beautiful daughter Susel works at the stall acrobatic dancers who dazzle and thrill. A and serves as his muse and inspiration. In sevsimilar, more intimate show runs nightly at eral paintings, letters spelling out Cuba contort In Havana, I the Parisien Cabaret at the Hotel Nacional. into shapes highlighting Cuban themes such A walk around Havana’s hotspots like Calle as baseball, dance and musical expression. His discovered that work ‘Fidel-Cuba’ particularly fascinated me. 23 at night will usually lead the curious traveller to a great band playing at a half-hidden “It is a picture of dual meanings,” explained your next piña local bar. Pimentel, a graduate of Cuba’s prestigious Escolada – like your Havana’s newest attraction is Art Faccuela Nacional de Arte. “It represents a portrait tory, a vast cultural complex housed in a of my country as well as the most important next adventure – converted cooking oil factory in the city’s leader of our history. To me, all art is autobiotrendy Vedado neighbourhood. At night, it graphical and symbolic because it is created by is often the transforms into an open art space featuring the artist as well as being a portrait of the time best one. exhibits, avant-garde theatrical performances period in which he lives.” and a pulsating disco. I enjoyed dinner at Artists like Pimentel are highly esteemed in nearby El Cochinero, one of Havana’s best Cuba. Havana’s public spaces are infused with a creative spirit and Havana boasts world-class restaurants, featuring an open-air terrace and delicious food with an international take museums including Museum of the Revolution on local staples such as grilled lobster and stir-fried garlic and National Museum of Fine Arts which is split into two shrimp. They serve an award-worthy piña colada topped by nearby buildings: Palace of Fine Arts (Cuban art) and Palace cinnamon and a maraschino cherry. of the Asturian Centre (international art). Havana Veija (‘Old Havana’) is world-famous for its heriThe Malecón promenade runs 8km along the waterfront tage buildings, many of which have been lovingly restored. from the harbour in Havana Vieja to the Vedado residential Unfortunately, a far greater number exist as picturesque neighbourhood. In recent years, economic reforms have ruins, and walking the city’s side streets is a surreal journey allowed private businesses to open up and the Malecón’s into architectural history. Still, signs of creative revitalizapopularity is helping to spur a new era of growth for the tion are everywhere. Beyond the crumbling centre, thriving city. By night, it transforms into an open-air disco as thouneighbourhoods in Vedado, Miramar and Panamericano sands of locals create their own small parties with live music, demonstrate the government’s achievements at providing dancing, drinking and conversation. In Vedado, Plaza de safe and modern housing for its citizens. la Revolución is a communist masterpiece – a grand public For souvenirs, Almacenes San Jose market is housed in square dominated by the Jose Marti memorial tower and the 30



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monumental outline of Che Guevara. At 9 p.m. nightly, a cannon is fired over Havana harbour, continuing a tradition dating back to Spanish colonial times that signals the closure of the city gates. Today, the theatrical ceremony is performed by costumed actors who lead a procession into La Cabaña, an 18th century fortress that is part of a complex with the adjacent El Morro castle. Havana is the gateway to many exciting day trips. Beautiful beaches (Playas del Este) are only 20km east of the city and easily accessible by bus. Cojimar is a charming fishing village that inspired Hemingway’s novel The Old Man and the Sea. Finca Vigia – Hemingway’s former estate on the outskirts of Havana – is now a museum preserved exactly the way he left it, right down to the half-consumed bottles of rum gathering dust on a side table. An hour from the city, Las Terrazas is a UNESCO biosphere reserve with a model mountainside village. Further afield, Viñales valley features the world’s best tobacco and a charming town with colourful wood framed houses. Havana is often called a city frozen in time, but I believe it is more accurately a city of creative contrasts, a dynamic capital driven forward by the passionate hearts and creative ingenuity of its citizens. If New York is the city that never sleeps, then Havana is the city that always inspires. In Havana, I discovered that your next piña colada – like your next adventure – is often the best one.



250-590-3707 250-590-3707 1912 Richmond Road, Near Fort Street email:






Dogs [dawgs, dogs] 1. The best friend of men, women and children, bred in many sizes and shapes. The Avenue [thuh av-uh-nyoo, -noo] 1. A popular destination for those seeking funky eateries, awesome art galleries and trendy stores in Oak Bay.

This page, clockwise from top left: Ella, a 12-year-old Bernese mountain dog, Shih Tzus Jasper, 6, and Fife, 4; Django, a five-year-old Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever; Chloe, an eight-year-old daschund chihuahua mix; and Strudel, a 15-year-old daschund, Far page, Noosa, a six-year-old English retriever; Carmel, 10-year-old miniature poodle; Tobi, a nineyear-old poodle; Bucky, a five-year-old Rhodesian ridgeback and Cokie, 11-year-old Shih Tzu. Photos by Don Denton and Tweed readers.



Some say that Oak Bay loves dogs so much, that canines are actually considered honorary citizens. If you agree, tell Tweed! Send photographs of your “Dogs on the Avenue” to:

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Come home to a clean house.

MEET OUR ADVERTISERS MARC OWEN-FLOOD PREC – Marc is a long-time Oak Bay resident and an award winning realtor. As an Oak Bay specialist Marc enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with each new client who chooses to make Oak Bay their home. See ad on page 9.


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 our ad on page 29.


MILES TAKACS has called

We provide one-to-one direct volunteer support to individuals of all ages in Oak Bay. Drives, visits, repairs, etc. See ad on page 37.

Victoria home for more than 30 years. He knows the city well; from sought after waterfront luxury to quaint English charm he will find the right home for you. When time & money matter call Miles! See ad on page 15.


SAVE ON FOODS is open 7am

With her doctorate in audiology & 17 years’ experience, Dr. Wright is well suited to improve your hearing, even in the most difficult listening situations. See ad on page 8.

to 12 am 7 days a week and provides our neighbourhood with a full service food shopping experience. See ad on page 9.

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 & exciting hobby that everyone can enjoy. See our ad on page 32.


Gregg and Anne Best bring 40 years of experience in the fishing and seafood industry to Oak Bay Seafood. They are very pleased with the warm welcome and support they have received at their new fish store on the Avenue. See ad on page 15.

The island’s favourite destination for quality home furnishings and unique home decor items for over forty years. See ad on page 5.




Ted Hancock and his incredible team, design, manufacture and install quality built-in furniture, closet organizers and Euro doors in Victoria and area. See ad on page 3.


Celebrating 50 years in the community! See ad on page 40.


Raised in Oak Bay, Ian Mathieson is passionate about bringing families closer together. By converting old family photos to digital, families can enjoy them on their TV, computer or smartphone! See ad on page 23.


Your local neighbourhood pharmacy offering the best prices. Stop by, grab a coffee and meet our team: Kaeli, Kelsey, Hansdeep, Ali, Dipen and Vik. We’re here to serve you! See ad on page 31.


is a realtor at Newport Realty, born and raised in Victoria, and specializes in the Oak Bay, Victoria, Saanich Real Estate Market. If you are considering buying or selling, contact her for competent and trusted real estate service. See ad on page 4.


more than 25 years she’s successfully matched people and properties. Her commitment to friendly, personalized service has earned her the Lifetime Award of Excellence. See ad on page 8.



Canadian-owned and operated company offering property restoration, 24/7 emergency service and free hazardous material inspection. See ad on page 36,

Dr. Michael is passionate about giving people healthy, beautiful smiles with the use of innovative techniques and the latest technology and training. See ad on page 16.


Geoffrey Beattie, has owned

OAK BAY REAL ESTATE EXPERT who you can trust to

BARCLAYS carries a range of exclusive & fine pieces of beautiful jewellery as well as specializing in both creating custom pieces & re-designs. See ad on page 16.

As a lifetime resident of Oak Bay, I am your neighbour & an sell your home. See ad on page 6.

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selling musical instruments for over 30 years. We will buy or consign your better quality wind or brass instrument - saxophones, flutes, trumpets, clarinets, trombones, tubas. See ad on page 37.

Bryony Littler, owner of Chelsea Housekeeping Service provides with the highest quality of plumbing, tailor made housekeeping that takes heating and gas installations since eco-friendly domestic service to the 1996. See ad on page 11. highest level. Its all about clean living, 1950 B Oak Bay Ave. 250-361-9243 www.heatwave.meas our motto states; “A tidy house is a tidy mind.” See ad on page 9. 1950 B Oak Bay Ave. 250-361-9243

Engel & Völkers, a global company and lifestyle brand providing high quality services for those seeking to buy and sell real estate properties. See ad on page 2.

the designers to create the kitchen of your dreams. We are full of great ideas to inspire your kitchen or bath renovation. See ad on page 38-39.

Visit Our Showroom | High Efficiency Natural Gas Fireplaces

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JASON BINAB Understands

people and Real Estate. He enjoys working with his wife Amber at the Binab Group. Together they have two sons, Benson and Jamison and one dog Lily. Jason has lived in Oak Bay for over 25 years and specializes in Oak Bay. See ad on page 11.

FOUL BAY PHYSIOTHERAPY has been serving Oak Bay for over 25 years. The team includes Ian Catchpole & Gerry Illmayer with over 35 years combined experience, joined by Lisa, Terri & Jaymie. See ad on page 4.

TULIPE NOIRE Kari McLay, owner

of Tulipe Noire Clothing is proud to provide quality lifestyle apparel for women of all ages. Step inside and find premium denim, luscious cashmere, designer tees, classic dresses for day or evening … casual elegance for all occasions. See ad on page 13.







toration res

1 866 247 3658 +

Photo by Britt Swoveland

Parting Shot

SPRING SENSATIONS Few things say spring in Oak Bay like the fields of bright blue camas. While spotted in a variety of area gardens, this stunning image of a Garry oak meadow in bloom was captured by local photographer Britt Swoveland at Uplands Park. Parting Shot welcomes photo submissions of places, people and things in Oak Bay. We’ll consider all submissions

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110 – 2605 BRIDGE ST 110 – 2605 BRIDGE ST 250-388-4844 110 – 2605 BRIDGE ST 250-388-4844 250-388-4844 TUES TO SAT TO SAT TUES 10 AM TO – 5SPM AT TUES 10 AM – 5 PM 10 AM – 5 PM ...........................................................................

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We Buy & Sell Quality Used We Buy & Sell Quality Used We Buy&&Brass Sell Quality Used Wind Instruments Wind & Brass Instruments Wind & Brass Instruments ...........................................................................

for publication and invite you to “give us your best shot.” Contributors should keep in mind the seasonal aspect of this feature and be prepared to tell us a little about the photograph – the where, when, what and/or who. Please ensure the resolution is high enough for publication. Send your image to Tweed editor Jennifer Blyth at editor@ for consideration in a coming issue.

What Gives? We do • You do Find out more: 250-595-1034

........................................................................... W W W. B R A S S A N D W O O D W I N D . C A ........................................................................... W W W. B R A S S A N D W O O D W I N D . C A W W W. B R A S S A N D W O O D W I N D . C A

Oak Bay Volunteer Servces Tweed Magazine 3.5” x 2.175”




Urbana provides discerning homeowners with some of the finest cabinetry available.Whether you are building a new home or renovating, our team of creative designers can help you achieve the look you want for every style and budget. We offer a large selection of door styles and finishes, countertops and kitchen hardware. Our large showroom shows off the latest in design trends. Get the kitchen or bathroom you always wanted. Showroom at 1745 Blanshard Street and there is parking at the door.


Spring Means Fresh As one of the few true independents left, Pepper’s has the ability to form close ties with local farms and is committed to bringing you local produce as soon as it can be harvested. We have a beautiful selection of fresh flowers, an in-house butcher, the freshest produce and a full service deli. We proudly support local farmers and local food producers to bring the freshest, most unique island products to your table. Big store selection, intimate setting all at affordable pricing. Visit us today and see the difference local makes!

Same Day Home Delivery! 250-477-6513 Mon-Fri Excluding Holidays

Hours Mon–Fri 7am–9pm Sat–Sun 7am–7:30 pm

250-477-6513 • 3829 Cadboro Bay Road

Ask about our senior and student discounts!

/PeppersFoods @PeppersFoods

Special Features - Tweed Magazine - Spring 2017  


Special Features - Tweed Magazine - Spring 2017