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bastion WINTER 2017

Celebrating Nanaimo as a Lifestyle!


Function Drives FASHION

It's Winter! TIME TO GEAR UP!

Fact & Fiction



Wawa to Ha-Ha ALLISON CROWE 'Creating' pg 14 1

FALL 2017




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bastion WINTER 2017


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OK, so Nanaimo doesn’t have a ski hill. But slope style is still in fashion here. The Nanaimo News Bulletin presents its winter issue of Bastion magazine, our quarterly look at what’s trending in the Harbour City. We know there’s more to the season than Santa Claus parades and we’re offering up some stories on winter looks, good reads, good eats, a few laughs and some tunes. So stay warm and cozy or stay cool, or both, and best of the season to all our readers. To submit story ideas to Bastion magazine, e-mail



5 10 12 5 Function Drives Fashion 8 From Wawa to Ha-Ha 10 Local, Natural, Ethical, Delicious 12 Fact and Fiction 14 Allison Crowe 'Creating'



Function Drives Fashion on the Island's Snowy Slopes Advances in design and materials technology sets style trends for winter sports gear and outerwear BY CHRIS BUSH


unction dictates form and fashion when it comes to clothes and equipment on the slopes where snowboard and ski outerwear make fashion statements through new materials and hardware designs as much as in cut and colour.

Snowboarding and ski helmets, once considered uncool and something only kids wore, have gained popularity, thanks in part to people seeing professional athletes wearing the products. Modern protective headgear is lighter, better ventilated and fits better, the results of technological innovations, Today’s jackets, pants, boots, helmets and especially from goggle goggles and gloves are lighter, fit better and "Today’s jackets, pants, companies that are often designed as integrated systems, boots, helmets and now manufacture says Marc Ebdrup, owner of Alternative goggles and gloves are helmets. Groove, one of Nanaimo’s independently lighter, fit better and owned ski and snowboard shops. “One of the benefits are often designed as of that is a goggle integrated systems." “The fit and the garments do change – the company can make colours and stuff, they always change – a helmet fit exactly but as we’re seeing now, there’s a big push with the goggle,” toward function along with fashion,” Ebdrup said. “The Ebdrup said. “So the goggle function part of the garment is becoming more and and the helmet fit together. more important, so the waterproof, the breathability of the fabric – the Gortex type stuff. So there’s a big push to make the garments better, to make them warmer and dryer and keep the price down – and then, of course, the fashion part of that comes after.” Bib pants are popular again this winter. Bib designs keep the wearer warmer, are better than trousers at keeping out snow. Some designs add more pockets, making them more functional overall.



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Ski boots now incorporate the Boa and Speed Zone lacing systems, which have infiltrated heavily into snowboard and ski boots and helmets, allowing wearers to achieve a better fit and the ability to get in and out of boots quickly and easily.

The air vents all work properly together and it’s a one-piece program, so that the goggle and helmet together works really well.” Thermal plastics and foams now allow some brands of boots to be custom fitted to their wearer by simply heating them in a small oven – part of the fitting system – to warm them. As the boot material cools it form-fits to the wearer’s foot, eliminating pressure points and other causes of foot discomfort. “Now we have a customizable boot,” Ebdrup said. “It really makes a difference for people. That’s the kind of stuff where you used to ski the morning and your feet are so sore you can't ski in the afternoon. Well, now you’re skiing the whole day and that’s the kind of stuff that impacts the sport in a big way.”


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Snowboard and ski designs have also advanced to the point where a single board or pair of skis perform well over a wide range of snow conditions, eliminating for many riders and skiers the necessity and expense of owning multiple products tailored to specific conditions. Snowboard manufacturers Lib Tech, in Washington State, and Vancouver Island manufacturer Kindred are among companies that build them. Chris Leigh, owner of Island Riders board shop, specializes in snow and skate board equipment

and clothing and stocks products for all ages including children. In 20 years of representing outerwear lines, he’s seen fashions shift from a decade ago when snow fashion was heavily influenced by street wear styles of the time, to today’s higher-tech, multilayer materials and designs. Customers have also become more knowledgeable about what layers and kinds of materials to wear for the conditions. “It’s like, Gortex shell with mid layer, base layer,” Leigh said. “People are understanding now that you control the layers, especially when we live in a mild temperate, moist climate. So outerwear has become more tech and the frilly, fashiony silliness has kind of gone away … people are getting more educated now that they shouldn’t be wearing cotton underneath their outerwear.”

because everyone’s wearing dark greens or dark blacks, but I mean we’re on the Island, earth tones, black. Black is king,” Leigh said. Familiar outerwear brand names, such as Volcom, Air Blaster and Burton remain as popular as ever. “Air Blaster. That’s the cool company. It’s like a snowboarder-owned, smaller, grassroots company … but they just do their own thing and it’s like a really cool company,” Leigh said.

“Some people will want something like a colour that pops just so their kids can tell who they are in the lift lines."

Colours customers are choosing tend toward neutral greys, earth tones and black. Bright colours aren’t as sought, same with pompoms on toques, although cuffs on toques are in. “Some people will want something like a colour that pops just so their kids can tell who they are in the lift lines,




From Wawa to Ha-Ha Comic Pete Zedlacher coming to Nanaimo in the New Year with the Snowed In Comedy Tour BY KRISTIN FRONEMAN

Comedian Pete Zedlacher can call himself a Superior skier. Raised on the north shore of the largest of the Great Lakes, Zedlacher learned to ski in Wawa, Ont., a town most famed for its giant goose that sits at the junction of the Trans Canada Highway and Highway 101.

(and ski-snowboarding) tour has already played to a sold-out 1,400seat theatre in Victoria to two sold-out shows in Kamloops to a packed bar in Fernie, along with many other venues across B.C. The tour also winds its way to Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“We had a small ski hill in Wawa with one lift and three runs. I have some fond memories of skiing there,” said Zedlacher, who was taught to ski by his Austrian-born father. “Back in the ’80s there was some wear and tear on the lift and it would have cost too much to repair it so Wawa lost its ski hill.” Zedlacher has Zedlacher has come a long way from skiing Mount Wawa. The 44-year-old started his showbiz career in 1996 after leaving the swells of Lake Superior for the metropolises of New York and Toronto. He has since played at Montreal’s Just for Laughs and most of the major comedy festivals in Canada and abroad.

come a long way from skiing Mount Wawa.

“Then the next thing I know, I am at Lake Louise, Banff and Revelstoke. It’s a long way from Wawa,” he said. Zedlacher is referring to his threeyear stint as a member of the Snowed In Comedy Tour. Now in its ninth year, the once small Canadian comedy

Zedlacher is being joined on this leg by Snowed In founder Dan Quinn, MC Craig Campbell and Paul Myrehaug for a show at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre on Jan. 12. Zedlacher originally joined the tour when fellow comedian Arj Barker (of Flight of the Conchord s fame) had to leave suddenly.

“They asked me if I would fill in. I’ve known these guys my entire comedy career … It’s been a great fit,” said Zedlacher. “This is the only comedy tour where you have to physically train. This past year, I was thinking of all the skiing I had to do so I was hitting the gym constantly, getting my ski legs ready. We ski at least four-to-five days a week and do a show every night, but don’t think for a second that I’m complaining.” The equipment has also changed since Zedlacher’s ski days back in Wawa. “I’m on big, fat skis now and am also trying snowboarding. I am very bruised and was concerned that I was going to snap my wrists. You know you’re going to take a tumble or two, so you just have to learn how to fall.” The same could be said about getting up on stage to perform standup comedy. “I see that as a direct parallel to comedy,” said Zedlacher. “You go up there and take risks every night. You’re sometimes going to have a few falls, but if you don’t keep trying, you’re never going to get better.” Those tumbles and falls – both physically and metaphorically – have also provided some of the source material for the Snowed In tour. “We write about what we know. Comics have to find a unique



voice…” said Zedlacher. “We usually know what jokes we’re going to bring to the tour every year. But as the shows go on, all those jokes get polished and we tag onto each other’s jokes.” Zedlacher adds that he and his fellow comics have been bowled over by the amount of people coming to the shows this year. “We’ve had way more shows sold out than not. That what’s happening with this branding; it has become a main staple of comedy out here.”

Photo courtesy of Paul Myrehaug

s The Snowed In Comedy Tour is at the Port Theatre on

Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. For tickets, visit www.porttheatre. com or call 250-754-8550.




Local, Natural, Ethical, Delicious In this store,

everything is natural BY TAMARA CUNNINGHAM


eat Craft butcher Sean Austin plucks two thick slices of lightly-browned bacon glistening with fat, from the griddle. “Try this,” he says, handing over a napkin heavy and warm with the pickled Ayrshire bacon.  It’s crisp, but smooth enough to melt in your mouth — and like most meats in Meat Craft Island Butchery it’s from B.C. and all natural.  Nanaimo residents Austin and Kerry and Jamie Martini are behind the new store on Metral Drive, which opened in July. 

Co-owners of Meat Craft Island Butchery Sean Austin and Kerry Martini opened the new shop in July, offering B.C. sourced meats.

Ninety-nine per cent of their meat is from B.C., including Vancouver Island, the rest comes from Alberta and it’s natural and medication free, according to Kerry Martini. “There’s always an organic section in every store, always a natural section in every store; with our store everything is natural. You don’t have to ask, has this chicken been medicated? Nothing in this store has been medicated and that’s definitely what sets us apart…” she said.  Martini and her husband had been living in Coquitlam when the idea to open a butchery first struck. They were driving to West Vancouver for quality meat.  “There was just nothing we felt was up to our standards,” she said, adding they like to buy natural and were conscious of what they were eating with one child and another on the way.  Neither did she feel like she was being told the truth about where the meat they were buying came from.  They opened Meat Craft Urban Butchery in Port Moody to offer natural and locally sourced meats and with a mission to be as transparent as possible so no customer walked away not knowing what they were eating.  Along with Austin, the couple brought



the same concept to Nanaimo when they moved to the city last year. Not unlike the Martinis, Austin and his wife had started a push towards cleaner, more ethical eating four years prior with the birth of his daughter. 

“Knowing that there was better product out there, this turned out to be a pretty excellent avenue to pursue,” said Austin, who believes they offer a cleaner, healthier option. “The community has responded to us very well out here.” Austin and Martini go to farms and visit the farmers and have trained their staff to know where the meat comes from and what the animal ate, or didn't eat, was given or not given. For Martini, it's a matter of educating the people who want to be educated. People can also find food and condiments from across B.C and Vancouver Island, whether it’s beer mustard from the Cowichan Valley, cheese from Courtenay or perogies from Abbotsford. Martini said supporting local is important to her and she also finds products from small businesses and crafters don’t have preservatives, MSG and things that can’t be pronounced. “It’s just real stuff, just like what we’re doing. It’s all real food.”

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Fact and Fiction Authors tell Nanaimo's stories, imagined and otherwise BY JULIE CHADWICK


“I failed out of fashion design college when I was 20,” says Juby with a laugh. “So I have some experience, not successful experience, but I have some experience in what it is to study fashion design. And I’m interested in what fashion is and what it’s not, what the problems are with it, and what’s fun about it.” Set in a fictional Nanaimo-based high school that revisits the same venue as her 2015 young adult novel The Truth Commission, Juby says that most of her books are written for a teen audience, though that was not necessarily intentional.

“I never set out to write young adult books, I just set out to write about a particular character who happened to be a teenager and when it was time to be published people said it was ‘too old’ for their children’s lists and ‘too young’ for their adult lists,” says Juby. “So somebody said, ‘Why don’t you see about somebody who publishes teen fiction?’ And I was interested in the teen experience, it’s such a dramatic time of life, The tastes of readers and how to reach them so that’s really how it started.” "there will always be may be prone to change, but one thing writers – and these remains constant: there will always be writers Another Nanaimo-based writer getting – and these days Nanaimo has more than its attention is VIU creative writing student days Nanaimo has fair share of authors making a mark. Shanon Sinn, whose first book, The Haunting more than its fair share of Vancouver Island, was published this fall of authors making a This spring, Vancouver Island University by TouchWood Editions. mark." professor and author Susan Juby released her 11th book, The Fashion Committee: A Novel Taking an unusual journalistic approach, of Art, Crime, and Applied Design, which Sinn spent more than a decade investigating she describes as a story about two kids who local folklore and stories of haunted locations compete in a fashion design competition for a scholarship to to find the book’s 25 stories from around Vancouver Island a private art high school. – some infamous, some lesser-known. t’s a funny time to be a writer. Though sales of books have recently plateaued out into a relatively stable pace, the industry is eternally in a state of flux. As Canadian publishing grows ever more consolidated into fewer hands, it seems even the static image of the solitary, introverted, cottage-dwelling author must expand to include an imageboosting social media presence.

“When I realized that no one had written a book specifically on the folklore of Vancouver Island then I wanted to focus on that and when I looked at other books, they just seemed

“I never set out to write young adult books, I just set out to write about a particular character who happened to be a teenager..." SUSAN JUBY




Shanon Sinn's first book, The Haunting of Vancouver Island, was published this fall by TouchWood Editions.

Firehouse Grill restaurant, and another that explores the history of Nanaimo’s Beban House. Just prior to Halloween, a launch and storytelling at Chapter’s drew a large crowd eager hear a spooky stories. But coupled with his rigorous research, Sinn says the book also offers a look into Island history – and it’s a genre that is increasingly popular in B.C. Both Juby and Sinn are two of six writers who will read from their books at a mini authors’ festival at Well Read Books on 19 Commercial Street on March 29, 2018. Author and freelance writer Julie Chadwick works with the local non-profit Literacy Central Vancouver Island and her book The Man Who Carried Cash, about the relationship between Johnny Cash and his Canadian manager, was published by Dundurn in May.

so either childish or metaphysical, none of them looked at it like folklore. And none that I’m aware of in North America included First Nations content, which really bothered me,” says Sinn. “What I wanted to do was to have our geographical area, to include all people, and be a strong sample of our folklore – a snapshot of our time. Researching the roots of it, like, was there an actual murder? Was there any truth to the story?”

When there’s a will, there’s a way.

Nanaimo stories also feature in the book, with one chapter focused on the lore of the old Nanaimo firehall, now the

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'I Need to Keep Creating' BY JOSEF JACOBSON

Allison Crowe is at work on her 26th album, but the Nanaimo singer still finds time for her hometown


n 2005 Allison Crowe got engaged and moved across the country from Nanaimo to Corner Brook, N.L. with plans to marry. Those plans, however, did not pan out and soon the singer-songwriter found herself alone on an island 6,000 kilometres from home. "That's a long story, but the short version is: I was [engaged], and then I wasn't," Crowe said. "I came over here, basically, with a suitcase and had my mom ship out some things. The first month I lived here I didn't have a bed yet so I, like, made a fort." Crowe was able to find kinship in the local music scene and quickly befriending musicians and performers in her new community. After a few years passed and Crowe began to build a life for herself, she decided to stay in the small Newfoundland city. "There's a lot of great music out here as well, so I'm pretty lucky that I get to be from two places now that are pretty music heavy," she said.

While Crowe spends most of her time in either Newfoundland or on the road, she still makes it back home to Nanaimo at least once a year for her annual Tidings Christmas concert. This year's show takes place at St. Andrew's United Church on Dec. 23 and will feature her bandmate CĂŠline Sawchuk on cello as well as a number of young local musicians. Earlier in the week she'll be participating in the Light Up a Life community singalong fundraiser at Real Food in the Old City Quarter on Dec. 19. "I find playing in Nanaimo and playing in Corner Brook are nice because they're where all my friends are," she said. "And in Nanaimo, that's where my whole family is, so there's people that I don't get to see any other time of year other than even just a 10 minutes chat after the show."

"I find playing in Nanaimo and playing in Corner Brook are nice because they're where all my friends are."

Crowe got her start in music at an early age. She said there's always been a lot of music in her family and she recalls listening to jazz together at Christmastime. She was always eager to sing and at the age of five she was inspired to take classical piano lessons.

"One of my close family friends played piano and I always thought she was really cool, so I was like, 'I want to do that, too.'" she said, adding with a laugh, "I wanted to be cool when I was like five. I don't know if thats good or sad." It was when she was in high school that Crowe realized that music could become a career. She was a regular at open mike nights and on her 16th birthday she played her first professional gig, playing jazz at a venue that doesn't exist anymore. She said Nanaimo provided an encouraging environment for budding musicians. Around that time she enrolled in a summer music program at Vancouver Island University where she listened to and learned from "amazing musicians and instructors."



Nanaimo-born singer Allison Crowe is returning to her hometown for her regular Tidings Christmas concert. She'll be performing at St. Andrew's United Church on Saturday, Dec. 23. In the early 2000s Crowe, unwilling to take direction, founded her own record label, Rubenesque Records, and has been releasing her music independently since then. "I'm a control freak, I guess. And ... if something doesn't sit right me I have a hard time sleeping," she said. "I wasn't comfortable with changing how I write, especially, and the weird stuff about how you look, I'm not into that. I'd really rather just write what I want to write and play the music I want to play and be able to kind of progress naturally, rather than try and fit into whatever package."

"I'm not comfortable with the idea of just doing two albums and that's it, because what would I do the rest of the time?" she asked.

"In my mind, I need to keep creating... If I'm not writing something, it feels weird."

Crowe said "at last count" she's self-released 24 albums over that time and she has another pair of records on the go right now. She said last winter was a long one and she found herself doing a lot of writing. Soon enough she realized she had enough material for another album. "It's kind of like looking at a journal, in a way. It is just different pages of a journal," she said of her latest batch of tunes. "I write pretty personally, so that's kind of the place that everything's coming from." Crowe said her drive to keep writing and recording new music almost non-stop comes from the conviction that music is her purpose.

WHAT'S ON ... Allison Crowe's Tidings Christmas concert takes place at St. Andrew's United Church on Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Adult tickets are $20, students and seniors pay $20.

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Special Features - Nanaimo Bastion Magazine Winter 2017  


Special Features - Nanaimo Bastion Magazine Winter 2017