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WELCOME Welcome to the inaugural issue of Bear Mountain Life — an exquisite new way to share stories, images and experiences that we hope will engage you, your family and your friends. Bear Mountain is a wonderful community, and through this exciting new magazine we offer you insights into the intimate culture, fun and opportunities that start with a visit and often transition into a permanent lifestyle. At Bear Mountain, the focus is to create a family-oriented environment that is authentic to its core. Our commitment to excellence in sport — and hosting some of the world’s top athletes as they train in cycling, golf and tennis — always ensures that our facilities and instruction are world class. This is seeded in our child and youth programming, where proper training practices are the basis for our clinics. As home to Golf Canada and Cycling Canada, and with a strong working relationship with Tennis Canada, our programming is distinct and among the finest in North America.


Service and attention to detail for those who choose to visit or make Bear Mountain home is important to us. From reservations to lessons and outdoor pursuits, we can help manage your experiences through our Lifestyle Concierge, available to Bear Mountain guests, members and residents. We understand that your time is best spent with family and friends, so let us look after the details. You deserve to live in the moment while we work to facilitate the memories. Bear Mountain is a community like no other in Canada. And while we are selective about the timing and variety of our real estate offerings, one thing is certain: once you invest here, you have the benefit of a dedicated ownership group committed to the on-going growth of the many incredible amenities. This mandate will only add value to your residence. We recognize the cyclical nature of real estate — but demographic trends, product differentiation, superb location, investment in world-class amenities and vibrant programming will always underpin the overall value of properties at Bear Mountain. We sincerely appreciate the time you take to savour these pages and discover all we have to offer, from culinary opportunities to engaging stories of discerning residents who are the real assets of this community. To our residents and members — seize the day! And to our visitors, we hope that you enjoy your stay and one day, we would love to welcome you to your Bear Mountain Life. Warm regards,

Shannon Drew

Shannon Drew

Shannon Drew Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Community Initiatives Ecoasis Developments

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The following logo is classified as the main corporate logo. This logo is the prefered version for use in collateral material with a real estate focus and should be used when an advertisement appears out-of-market. When used out of market, this logo helps to more accurately identify Bear Mountain to the potential consumer.

PENNY SAKAMOTO | Group Publisher MARIO GEDICKE | Publisher VICKI CLARK | Account Manager SUSAN LUNDY | Managing Editor LIA CROWE | Associate Editor LILY CHAN | Creative Director

DAN MATTHEWS  | President and CEO, Ecoasis Developments SHANNON DREW | Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Community Initiatives, Ecoasis Developments

RUTHANNE DOYLE | Director of Real Estate


Sales and Marketing

BRIAN HARRINGTON | General Manager, Westin Bear B E A R M O U N TA I N G R A P H I C S TA N DA R D S

Mountain Golf Resort & Spa


View of the 15th hole on the Nicklaus Design Mountain Course. Photo by Rob Perry Photography

CONTRIBUTORS LIA CROWE, PHOTOGRAPHER “Spending so much time at Bear Mountain was a real treat, but the standout for me this issue was all the incredible people I met: both those I photographed for the magazine and the staff who worked with us behind the scenes to create these beautiful stories.” Lia Crowe is a photographer and stylist with a long history working in the international fashion and for print magazines.



“Chefs are busy people and pulling them from their myriad daily chores for a photo shoot can be a challenge. That was not the case with Chef Justin Weber. He let the photo team drag him to different locations and posed in a variety of situations — all with patience and a sense of humour.” Don Denton is a photographer for the Black Press’ magazine division that includes Boulevard, Pearl, Tweed and more.

“Keep it simple and sporty by being on point and on par with bright, stretch cotton pieces and fresh-face makeup! I had a wonderful time working with the fashion crew in the lovely Bear Mountain area.” Jen is a Victoria-based makeup artist and stylist with over 15 years of experience in the beauty industry.



“Frankly, I never realized how much there was to do in Cowichan until I explored it for my story. The waterfront views at Bridgeman’s Bistro were a revelation; viewing the hawks at Pacific Northwest Raptors was a thrill; and Westholme Tea was pure, magical relaxation.” Lucas is a Vancouver-based writer who contributes to the New York Times and National Geographic.

“Photographing Terry Johal’s contemporary architecture with its clean lines, contrasting dark kitchen accents, and the magnificent open living space created a ‘zen’ experience.” A Victoria native, photographer Vince Klassen received his first camera at the age of nine and has collaborated with Victoriabased magazines since the beginning of time.



“One of the most amazing things I learned about the Golf for Kids Charity Golf Classic was that not only is it run entirely by volunteers, but nearly half of them are under 20.” Angela Cowan is a freelance writer and editor who writes regularly for a number of magazines in and around Victoria.

“I loved exploring the amazing resources, views and residential opportunities at Bear Mountain, as well as the passionate individuals who make it all possible.” Richmond-based writer Lauren Kramer pens features on travel, food and aquaculture.

DARCY NYBO, WRITER “Bear Mountain is a neighbourhood that checks all the boxes, including stunning views and fabulous homes. Add to that amenities like golf, tennis and a community centre, plus a coffee shop, restaurant and more, and you’ve got a neighbourhood you’d be happy to live in.” Darcy Nybo is a freelance writer, writing coach, editor and writing instructor.


SUSAN LUNDY, EDITOR/WRITER “Working on this magazine really opened my eyes to the many wonderful aspects of life on Bear Mountain. And the Friday Night Flight event with sommelier Bipin Bhatt was definitely a highlight.” Susan Lundy is an award-winning writer, author and editor of several magazines in Victoria.


SUMME R 2019 4 WELCOME Letter from Bear Mountain 7 CONTRIBUTORS 10 NOTEWORTHY Here & Happening 14



MOUNTAIN SPIRIT A Modern Twist to an Old Fashioned



Flavour Fest

16 20




For the Love of Community

Dream House Rising

30 FAIRWAYS Creating Champions

34 22



On Par!


MOUNTAIN LIFE A Night to Remember



A Place to Call Home




Discovering the Charms of Cowichan

MOUNTAIN MOMENTS Snapshots of Mountain Living






B e ar Mo u nt ain L ife



Roger Sloan – Pro Golfer After three years away, professional golfer Roger Sloan is back on the prestigious PGA tour, representing Bear Mountain, enjoying the challenge and working hard to keep his game sharp. “It’s great. It’s always fun to be competing at the highest level with the best guys in the world,” he says. “I definitely felt more pressure the first time. Now I kind of know what to expect.” With the season going until August, Sloan needs to finish in the top 125 players to keep his PGA card for next season, and it’s looking good so far. “I’m 98 right now, so I’m inside that top 125 bubble,” he says. Sloan, who grew up in Merritt, BC, turned pro in 2009 after graduating college, and played on the Canadian Tour, winning in 2011. He won his first title in July 2014 at the Nova Scotia Open, and was approached soon after by Bear Mountain Resort to be a golf ambassador. “We’re extremely honoured to represent Bear Mountain everywhere we go throughout North America,” he says, adding that his Texas-born wife loves Vancouver Island as much as he does. “I spent plenty of time playing my junior and amateur tournaments on the island. It was a great fit for my wife and me.”


B e a r M o u n t a i n H o n ey With a growing focus on sustainability and supporting local products, the folks at Bear Mountain are excited to showcase their locally harvested honey. A recent addition to the shelves at the Mountain Market in the village core, Bear Mountain Honey is sourced from hives both on and off the property, and has included wildflower, clover and fireweed varieties. “The program was started by our former executive chef and it’s something we wanted to continue,” says Brian Harrington, the general manager at Bear Mountain.

“The overall importance of bees is something that I think we continue to learn about, and as a group we want to do our part to keep bees healthy and thriving,” says Brian.

Bear Mountain Whisky On August 11 this summer, Bear Mountain Resort will at last see the fruits of a three-year process as its first signature whisky will be bottled and ready to share. Bear Mountain partnered with Victoria Caledonian Distillery to design a whisky specifically for the resort, choosing the overall style and taste, and even the type of cask for aging. “We have had many of the top whiskies from around the world showcased in our dinners,” says Brian Harrington, general manager at Bear Mountain. “This gives our guests the chance to try something that is truly unique to the resort. We are consistently looking for ways to keep our guests, members and homeowners engaged in the resort, and creating experiences here that they cannot have elsewhere. To me, whisky is timeless and always will be. We chose to craft our own with the help of Victoria Caledonian to add another experience that you can only have here.”


The hives have been active for five years, with honey being used for amenities in the hotel, but it’s only been available to the public for about a year. It’s a favourite with locals and tourists alike, and it’s a feel-good purchase, knowing each jar sold continues to support the local bee population.


Wild and Free Organics When entrepreneur and mom Chantelle Bowden first thought about adding hand-poured candles to her line of natural home and beauty products, her top priority was making sure they were beautiful, clean and perfect. “Especially having children, I feel like it’s so important to know what you’re putting into your home and your body,” says Chantelle, who supplies Bear Mountain with candles. That homey and cosy feeling that comes from a delicious smelling candle needs to also be safe, and Chantelle’s soy-based, wooden-wicked creations are as sublime as they are environmentally and home-friendly. “You can buy soy candles, but they can still be filled with lead-dipped wicks and other chemicals,” she says. “I use pure, organic, undipped, untreated wood, very thinly sliced. There’s no black smoke, and when you pair the soy with a wooden wick, it burns three times as long. They’re as clean as I can make them.”


Currently, Chantelle supplies Bear Mountain with one signature scent — a warm and inviting smell, with tones of creamy Tahitian vanilla bean and finished with fruity, berry undertones — available only in the market or in the resort’s welcome gift baskets given to new homeowners in the community. Two more scents are in the works. For more information, visit wildandfreeorganics.com.

Golf for Kids Charity Golf Classic This September 7, the 21st annual Golf for Kids Charity Golf Classic will kick off on the Mountain Course at Bear Mountain, raising money and awareness for countless children in the local communities who are struggling with severe medical diagnoses, hardships and more. For the past 20 years, the event’s title charity has been Help Fill A Dream, which supports families from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands whose lives are suddenly changed due to a child’s severe medical diagnosis. And during the course of the year, co-chair Dale Douglas and others also reach out to up to 70 other charities and children’s trusts. The event hit a milestone in 2017 with $1 million raised in a single event, and that feat was repeated at last year’s golf classic. The hope is to make it three years in a row and reach that bar again. “That’s a lot of money to put back into the local community for the kids,” says Dale. “It’s very fulfilling to be able to help out.” “We have incredible support from Bear Mountain, right through the ownership to the entire Bear Mountain team. They really make a difference,” says Douglas. For more information, visit golfforkids.net.

Cindy Scott 250-514-5180 www.kccustomdesigns.ca



A Modern Twist to an OLD FASHIONED It ’s al l in th e w h i sk y


“ W hen we u s e d Nik k a , h i s f a c i a l exp re ssio n l e t me k now we’d fo u n d w h at w e w ere l o o k in g fo r! ”

Head to Masters Lounge — a comfortable space inside the Westin Bear Mountain Resort & Spa with large windows overlooking the golf course greens — and there’s a good chance you’ll see Brian Villeneuve behind the wood-panelled bar, preparing a signature Old Fashioned for one of his regular guests.

Brian, who is originally from Nova Scotia, says he chose bartending for the lifestyle.

The Old Fashioned cocktail, which dates back to the pre-Prohibition years, has enjoyed a new wave of popularity thanks to the television series Mad Men. As the signature drink of the advertising executives on the show, it seemed to spark a reminder in viewers to revisit the drink at the bar.

His first jobs behind the bar were in New Zealand and Australia, where he grew an appreciation of the history of wine and alcohol.

Brian makes his Old Fashioned with Japanese Nikka grain whisky, a variation that came about with some experimentation. “One of my regulars would come in and ask me for a cocktail, but he’d never be specific about what he wanted,” the longtime bartender at the Masters Lounge recalls. “Eventually, he narrowed it down to an Old Fashioned and we began experimenting with different kinds of whiskies. When we used Nikka, his facial expression let me know we’d found what we were looking for!” Brian started making this style of Old Fashioned for his bosses and other regular customers, and before he knew it, the cocktail experienced a huge rise in popularity.

“I like to be social, but I also like my days off to fly fish, surf, golf, snowboard and go hunting,” he says.

“You get to work with people’s life’s work when you’re behind the bar. As bartenders we deal with whiskies and wines that are being poured into glasses 50 years after they were first made — drinks that their manufacturer never saw because they aged in a barrel for so long. To me, that’s kind of romantic.” Bartending at the Westin Bear Mountain is a treat for many reasons, he adds. “I get a view of the mountains all day, and it’s superb, but I also get to interact with a really good member base with many regulars that come in and add to my day. Finally, I get to work with super high standards of alcohol that include an amazing wine cellar and some very expensive McCallum whiskies.”


Brian Villeneuve with his signature Old Fashioned.



E xe c u tiv e C h ef Ju stin Web er f av o u r s f re sh , home g row n in g re dient s a n d di sh e s w ith a t w i s t BY LAUREN KRAMER | PHOTOS BY DON DENTON

If there’s one thing Justin Weber knows for certain about food, it’s that a few quality ingredients are all you really need to showcase it. “If you’re cooking with quality local ingredients, the flavour will follow,” says Weber, 40, executive chef at the Westin Bear Mountain Resort & Spa. “You don’t have to hide anything.” Born and raised in Thompson, Manitoba, Justin learned his first lessons in the kitchen with his mother. The Czech and German cuisine that influenced her dishes still tugs at his heart, particularly evidenced by his fondness for perogies. “When I moved out west in 1999, I fell into cooking as a career,” the self-trained chef says. He learned on the job at the Chateau Whistler under Chef Vincent Stefano, where he worked in various kitchens for eight years building his culinary skills. After that, Justin challenged for his Canadian Red Seal, a chef certification that demands thousands of gruelling industry hours on the job, plus a practicum and written exam. Recruited to Bear Mountain Resort in 2015, Justin became the restaurant chef and by January 2019 had been promoted to executive chef. These days, he oversees banquets, food on the golf course, special events like the wine and cellar dinners, the Masters Lounge, the members’ lounge and Bella Restaurant.

“I never thought I’d be in this position,” he admits. “I’ve always been in the kitchen trenches, but when you’re an executive chef you have to step back a bit and have more faith in the people working for you.” Justin and his team are spoiled for choice when it comes to fresh, homegrown and local ingredients. They use herbs from the Westin herb garden, where oregano, tarragon, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary grow in abundance. Cheese is sourced from Halt Whistle cheesemakers in the Cowichan Valley and vegetables come from the fertile fields of Saanich. All the seafood served at the Westin is Oceanwise certified and sustainable, much of it from the shores of Vancouver Island, where sockeye salmon, ling cod, halibut and clams are caught. “I have suppliers knocking on my door and bringing me the freshest product so I can selectively pick and choose what I want,” he says. When it comes to building the menu, the goal is to make diners feel comfortable, he says. “We try to take local ingredients and build something that’s flavourful and familiar, but at the same time a little bit different so people will try new things.”


17 BEAR MOUNTAIN LIFE / SUMMER 2019 Executive Chef Justin Weber.


“ We tr y to t ake lo c a l i ng re d i e nt s a n d b u il d s o m e th i n g th at ’s f l av o u r f u l an d f a mi li a r, bu t at th e sam e tim e a l ittle bi t d i f fe re nt s o p e o p l e w il l tr y n e w th i n g s .”


In the Masters Lounge, for example, the Bear Burger, which features six ounces of fresh ground sirloin dressed with sherry caramelized onion, smoked mozzarella and crispy buttermilk onions, is not your typical burger. And the lamb dish at Bella Restaurant is served with a rosemary and goat cheese polenta and chimichurri sauce. No one ever stops learning in Justin’s kitchen, and it’s that learning process, coupled with the creativity required to keep pushing for more innovative, tasty cuisine, that gets him excited. “I love the energy my team brings to the kitchen,” he says. “There’s always a different position, a different dish or a different take on something.” While he often spends his days in meetings, scheduling deliveries and writing menus, Justin is active on the kitchen line two days a week. And anytime his team needs an extra hand, he’s there to help. “I don’t actively work a station now but I check the quality of anything we produce and rely heavily on my team to carry my culinary philosophy,” he says. When he’s not at work, Justin can be found enjoying the tennis courts, golf courses and mountain biking at Bear Mountain and teaching his young sons the secrets of nutritious cooking. “Being able to satisfy hunger, cook a meal for someone and make them happy with food is one of the biggest skills in life,” he reflects. “At the Westin Bear Mountain I get to do this with an incredible view, a talented culinary team and top-notch local ingredients.”



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For the Love of Community The S cott f amil y em b r a ce s l ife o n th e m o u nt a i n BY SUSAN LUNDY | PHOTO BY DON DENTON

Years ago, Cindy Scott, a home designer and builder, and Brad Scott, a firefighter with the Oak Bay Fire Department, built the first home on Bear Mountain. “There was nothing here — just the mountain. We bought our lot and then built our home. We were actually the first house on Bear Mountain to be finished.”

“We were initially drawn to the comprehensive plan for the area, the beauty and green space, and the sense of community that these things would bring,” says Cindy. “We have always been a busy, active family and have enjoyed having a dynamic community at our fingertips. We like making use of the amenities all year long.”

Ireland has also been active in the Bear Mountain lifestyle, using the gym, pool and hiking trails, as well as the fitness room for dance practices. She’s also attended swim, golf and summer camps on the mountain.

“ I h av e re al l y ap p re c i ate d li v i ng i n a co m mu n ity th at i s su p p o r t i ve . Th e re ’s j u st su ch a g re at g ro u p o f p e o p le h e re . I c an’t im a g in e l iv in g a ny w h e re el s e .”

The family has enjoyed use of the gym, pool, tennis, hiking trails, restaurants and proximity to the “beautiful” Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa.

While Cindy says there’s a lot to love about living on Bear Mountain, it’s probably the sense of community that’s her biggest draw.

“Lexie was married last August and the reception was held in the ballroom at the hotel,” Cindy says. “It was lovely to have the reception so close by, after hosting the rehearsal dinner and gift-opening at our home.”

“We get together often with our neighbours and enjoy seeing familiar faces when we’re having brunch or dinner at the hotel. Especially when the girls were younger, it was so comforting to know that neighbours and friends were close by — they do say it takes a village to raise your kids.”

She adds, “Both Lexie and Colton come from large families and The Westin was able to accommodate the numbers required. The pictures were taken around the mountain and the golf course, providing spectacular vistas.” The backdrop of the mountain has been a huge part of life for Lexie, who went to university in Alaska on a track scholarship, and spent years previous working out in Bear Mountain’s gym, hiking Mount Finlayson and running along the area’s trails. Both Lexie and Mackenzie have held summer jobs on the mountain, and Mackenzie currently works in the sales centre.

The Scott family, from left, include: Ireland, Cindy, Brad and Mackenzie on their back patio.

Over the years, Cindy’s company, KC Custom Designs, has worked with Ecoasis, Bear Mountain and others to create The Holiday Home Tour, which is held during the Christmas season and raises funds for the Goldstream Food Bank, Our Place and the Mustard Seed. The now annual event provides an opportunity to come together, in order to give back to the community in which they live and work. “I have really appreciated living in a community that is supportive,” Cindy says, adding, “There’s just such a great group of people here. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”


Today, the couple and their three daughters — Lexie, 24, Mackenzie, 21, and Ireland, 16 — have built and lived in several houses on Bear Mountain and, over the years, have truly embraced the lifestyle it offers.

“Mackenzie has loved working so close to home and might possibly know everyone on the mountain,” smiles Cindy. “We were fortunate to have homes backing onto the golf course, and one of the girls’ favourite activities was setting up lemonade stands and selling lemonade and golf balls to the golfers passing by.”  




Dream House


A co ntemp o ra r y S c a n din av i an - s t y le re t re at

When Jordan and Hayley first laid eyes on Bear Mountain in 2014, the couple fell hard for the views, the serenity and the sheer beauty of the rugged terrain. On a whim, they bought a small lot, hired a contractor to build a home, and started planning a relocation to the island from Richmond, where they were living at the time. “We were expecting our first child and the decision just felt right,” said Hayley. By April 2015 they had moved to Bear Mountain and were loving their new surroundings. “We really enjoy the laid-back lifestyle here, the friendliness of people in this community and the peacefulness of life in Victoria,” she reflected. While the environment was working its magic, the first house the couple built was falling short of their needs. As they explored the mountain, they found a piece of land in Cypress, an area under new development, and began picturing their dream home. “We wanted a yard, a larger garage, a gym inside the house and a playroom, since we knew we’d be expanding the family,” she explained. When the land lots went up for sale soon after, Jordan and Hayley were first in line.



ELEVATED LIVING The lot they chose is exquisitely positioned, overlooking Hole 4 of the Mountain Golf Course at Bear Mountain, and just alongside it, the steep valley shrouded in forest that descends sharply into Goldstream Park. Arbutus trees extend long naked trunks near the sheer bluffs, deer wander onto the property from the forest below, eagles and hawks soar on the thermals. And when the dark clouds roll in, the storm watching from this vantage point is breathtaking. Jordan and Hayley had heard rumours about the best builder in town long before they met Terry Johal. “He’s one of the most sought-after builders in Victoria and has won a long list of awards over the years,” Jordan said. “Even our previous builder had told us that Terry was building really amazing homes on the mountain.” Jordan grew up on Vancouver Island and always knew he’d be back. As they drove past the homes Terry had built, the couple discovered they were indeed standouts.

“Everything about them was different, from the quality of the materials they use to the rock base,” he added. “His attention to detail is second to none.” The couple hired Terry to build their dream home and began scouring the internet to find home designs they loved. Their style leaned towards Scandinavian chalets, with slanted rooflines, simple, minimalist interiors and a feeling of warmth created by textured, wood flooring. Terry, whose company has built 60 homes on the mountain, loved the idea from the moment he first pulled up at the site. “The fog was rolling in that day and I looked out at the view and thought, wow, this is the place,” he recalled. “The location of this home makes it one of the premier properties in the resort. And while this home is outside of the style we normally build, it just fits so well with the property.”




Over the next 18 months, Terry got to work on the couple’s modern mountain home, a 4,500-square-foot, open-plan residence where massive glazed windows connect the rugged exterior to the home’s immaculate, rustic-inspired interior. With its many geometric angles, the house design was challenging from a construction point of view, requiring the addition of hidden metal beams and innovative structural integrity to support its shape. Said Terry: “With a custom home of this calibre, you have the plans, but they’re almost secondary because the home evolved as we were building it and we made changes on the fly. It was a work in progress throughout.” A second-generation island builder, Terry worked alongside his father from the age of eight and started his own company in 2001. “I’ve worked with my trades for years and some of their fathers worked for my father,” he said.

The three-level home has an open-plan kitchen and family room with an L-shaped fireplace, textured oak flooring and striking art on the walls by Derek Overfield. Food preparation is done in the butler’s pantry, where a built-in coffee machine creates the gourmet beverages the couple loves. Matte black cabinetry by Southshore Cabinets gives the room a warm finish and requires little maintenance — a blessing in a home where small children and messy food frequently collide. The couple chose a large Miele gas stove and oven, a panel-ready Liebherr refrigerator and a mixture of quartz white countertops and Cambria black ones. Three eye-catching floor-to-ceiling wine panels store the couple’s favourite wines while doubling as a piece of art. Also close by on the main floor is the children’s playroom and Jordan’s study, making it easy for the family of four to occupy the same level in the home simultaneously — yet maintaining spaces of their own.


26 BEAR MOUNTAIN LIFE / SUMMER 2019 Downstairs, the space is adult-oriented, with an entertainment room featuring comfy chairs and a large screen for movies, a pool table and a bar. Closed glass doors separate the state-of-the-art gym from the recreation room, and through large windows the indoor, heated garage is visible; it’s a five-car space with built-in storage. Upstairs, the couple included many smart features in their new home. In the laundry room, the washer and dryer are concealed inside a cupboard; drawers in the room open to reveal a hidden ironing board and large bins for dirty laundry. Since everything has a place, the countertops are free of clutter and unless you started poking around, it would be difficult to discern that this is, indeed, the laundry area. Each of the home’s four bedrooms is spacious with large windows, dramatic artwork and high-end finishes. In the master bedroom, a television is concealed inside an oak cabinet, rising at the touch of a button, while remote controls manage the blinds over the large

floor-to-ceiling windows. Sliding barn doors conceal the bedroom’s walk-in closet with its quartz-countertop island that separates his side from hers, and the bathroom, where a steam shower and large bathtub create a decadently relaxing space. Outside, the family has maximized their love of the outdoors by including two fire pits — one on the far end of the property, overlooking Goldstream Park and the other just beyond the kitchen doors. Construction on an outdoor kitchen is almost complete and this summer Jordan, Hayley and their children are looking forward to watching the deer, eagles and woodpeckers up close from their spectacular mountain retreat. “We love this house so much,” Hayley admitted. “It’s far exceeded our expectations.”


Added Jordan: “When we built our first home on Bear Mountain we were planning our next build the moment we moved in. But with this home, building again hasn’t even crossed our minds. I don’t think we could find a better location than what we have here, and we could never have done it without Terry.”


28 BEAR MOUNTAIN LIFE / SUMMER 2019 BEAR MOUNTAIN LIFE Views from Pinehurst “Unparalleled beauty seen from Bear Mountain’s latest neighbourhood.” Photo by Jacob McNeil//PlatinumHD


CREATING CHAMPIONS Ro b er t R atcl if fe w o rk s h i s m a g ic w ith y o u n g go l f in g st ar s BY LAUREN KRAMER | PHOTOS BY LIA CROWE


The course on which he watches them grow is at The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort, one of the most beautiful and technically challenging in Canada.

A couple of years ago, Golf Canada made the decision to centralize the team at Bear Mountain. Now, from January through June each year, 10 highly talented teens — five boys and five girls ranging in age from 14 to 19 — make their way to the island to further their golf careers. They stay with billeted families on the mountain and have a modified schedule that requires morning school and afternoon golf training, while also embarking on excursions to play various events.

Ratcliffe, who is also director of instruction at Bear Mountain, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and relocated to England as a teen. It was there he started playing golf.

Many of the teens have had significant achievements over the years and gone on to make Canada proud. Corey Connors, winner of the PGA tour in March, was one of Robert’s team members.

“I played competitively as an amateur first and then turned professional in 1997, playing on the Mastercard Tour for a couple of years,” he says.

“It’s fun to see them develop but we definitely have our challenges,” he says. “Even though our national team is comprised of the best players in the country, there is still a gap between us and the best players in the world. My job is to try and close that gap. This is not a ladder where you ever reach the top. You’re always climbing.”

Robert Ratcliffe has the kind of job that other golf instructors dream of. As the men’s national junior team coach for Golf Canada, he works with the country’s most talented and promising young golfers, helping nurture their skills and perfect their performance.

The tour was the first step on the ladder to playing the European PGA tour; however, Robert chose the instructor route instead. He obtained instruction certification through the Professional Golfers Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1998 and, after a brief stint teaching in the UK, moved to Canada to teach in Vancouver. Vancouver Island lured him from the Lower Mainland in 2006, and that’s when he was recruited as the national junior boys team coach for Golf Canada. “The job kept me on the road a lot because the players on the team were not centralized — they were located all over the country,” he explained.

On a typical afternoon, Robert and the junior team congregate at 1 pm for a three-hour practice session, involving an hour on the range, an hour chipping and pitching and an hour on the putting green. They play golf on a course three days a week, and every third week they participate in a tournament. “Their progress is measurable but small because they come to me as good athletes,” he explains. “We look to make a one to two per cent difference in their skills — not a 20 per cent difference.” The team is privileged to be playing at Bear Mountain, he adds.


Robert Ratcliffe and Laurent Desmarchais, a member of Golf Canada’s 2019 National Junior Squad.

“Ev e n th ou g h ou r nation a l te am i s co mp r i s e d o f th e b e s t p l ay e rs i n the cou ntr y, there i s stil l a g ap b e tw e en u s a n d th e b e s t p l ay e rs i n the w orl d. My j ob i s to tr y a n d cl o s e th at g ap . Th i s i s n o t a l ad d e r where you e ver re a ch th e to p . Yo u’re al w ay s cl i mbi n g .”



Photo by Rob Perry Photography

“Not only do we have the practice facility at Bear Mountain, but we have two championship-style, well-thought-out golf courses, designed by Jack and Steve Nicklaus,” Robert points out, noting that the Valley course in particular is one of the most technically demanding in the province. This challenges the young athletes and forces them to get better.

“The standard for professional golfers these days is ridiculous. I feel like I’ve found something I enjoy and am fairly proficient at, so I’m happy where I am. I love the game of golf and for me that was my whole reason for getting into it in the first place. Because I’m able to do something I’m passionate about, it doesn’t feel like work to me.”

When he’s not coaching and mentoring the junior team, Robert is one of four golf instructors at Bear Mountain. His days are spent working on administration in the office and coaching children as young as four years old, including a mixture of guests and Bear Mountain Golf Club members. The performance centre runs a combination of golf schools, lesson programs and an elite junior academy for local kids.

Robert is more than “fairly proficient” at his work. His awards over the years include the 2009 PGA of BC Teacher of the Year Award, as well as the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2017 PGA of BC Coach of the Year Award. In 2013, the PGA of Canada recognized him with the Ben Kern Coach of the Year honour. Robert was the first golf professional in Canada to complete certification in the PGA of Canada’s NCCP CDC Coaching program, the first program worldwide recognizing the difference in training and competency between a golf instructor and a golf coach. This certification, along with prior experience, propelled him into the position of Olympic Coach for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China.

In the world of golf, Canada is up and coming, but the country’s biggest challenge is participation, says Robert. “We need more kids in the game,” he says, “but for the number of golfers we have actively playing and competing, Canada is doing really well.” As for taking the instructor route instead of being a professional golfer, he has no regrets.

When he’s not coaching, you’ll find Robert working handyman jobs around his house in Qualicum Beach and spending time with his wife, teenage boys and daughter.

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Sp or t ch ic f a sh io n h a s n e v er l o o ke d s o g o o d


Whether you’re on or off the course or court, look great and feel even better ser ving up fashion with athletic detailing , breathable fabrics and pops of game-day red. PHOTOS BY LIA CROWE | STYLING BY JEN CLARK


WARMING UP ON THE BEAR MOUNTAIN PUTTING GREEN Red T-shirt by Velvet ($68), white jeans by AG Jeans ($270), “Rise” hoop earrings by Jenny Bird ($95), and “Mara” cuff by Jenny Bird ($160), all from Tulipe Noire; black leather sneakers by Josef Seibel ($135) from Footloose Shoes.

CLAY PLAY AT THE BEAR MOUNTAIN TENNIS CENTRE Cotton dress with polo shirt collar by Harris Wilson ($175), “rise” hoop earrings by Jenny Bird ($95), and “Mara” cuff by Jenny Bird ($160), all from Tulipe Noire.


FEELING FINE ON THE FAIRWAY AT THE 14TH HOLE OF THE MOUNTAIN COURSE Red tank dress by Metalicus Clothing ($68), deep blues scarf by Moment by Moment ($88), “rise” hoop earrings by Jenny Bird ($95), all from Tulipe Noire.

Makeup: Jen Clark Model: Tessa Rae Hamelin Photographed on location at Bear Mountain.




A Night to Remember Fr id ay Nig ht F l ig ht s at The We stin B e a r Mo u nt a in G o l f Re s o r t & Sp a BY SUSAN LUNDY | PHOTOS BY DON DENTON

cluding some of the best vintages in the world. The eight wines on the tasting menu tonight include selections from the West Coast of Canada and the US as well as several from the Okanagan.

Indeed, as we leave the Friday Night Flights event at The Westin Bear Mountain, we’ve enjoyed generous pours of eight different vintages and feasted on several platters of food. Now, as we walk back towards the lobby, the golden evening sun is shining, the flowers radiate colour and the glorious vista of the golf greens spreads before us. Life is good. We are satiated…and perhaps a little tipsy.

I pull out a notebook and pen to document the event and a jokester in the crowd — there’s always one! — complains that if there’s a test, I have an unfair advantage. (However, if he could see the notes, he’d understand that what begins as perfectly legible writing, devolves drastically by evening’s end.)

Hosted by sommelier Bipin Bhatt in the resort’s beautifully appointed Cellar, the themed Friday Night Flights takes place weekly, beginning at 6 pm. Tickets start at $40 per person. Our evening starts in the resort’s lobby, where my husband, Bruce, my adult daughter, Sierra, and I meet Bipin, who gathers up the 10 other “flighters” and leads us down the stairs, outside and to a foliage-framed door, hidden away on the resort’s lower level. Through this door and down another few stairs, The Cellar is revealed. Passing through the private dining room — available for intimate dinner parties — we converge at the tasting area, a stand-up space beautifully lit by soft lights and candles, and surrounded by enticing layers of stacked wine bottles. As Bipin points out, this space is unique in Victoria, especially in hotels: “Modern hotels just don’t build rooms like this…It’s a nice place to enjoy a private setting.” The room is set at 14°C, allowing for the greatest longevity for most wines, Bipin says, adding, “The drawback is that it feels a little chilly…so it will help us to drink a little.” There are currently 3,800 bottles stocked in the Wine Cellar, in-

But no matter because Bipin is heading off to collect our first vintage — a 2015 Riesling from Martin’s Lane in the Okanagan — and a generously portioned charcuterie board has appeared. It features a variety of cheeses from Duncan’s Haltwhistle Cheese Co., salami and other small delicacies, including olives that seem to be coated in rosemary, and which I can’t stop eating. As Bipin pours the Riesling, he explains that the glassware used for tasting is too small for regular use, and it’s shaped specifically to magnify the aromatic qualities of the wine. No sooner has the flavour of the first wine — so crisp and fresh! — exploded on my tongue, and Bipin is already pouring the next: a 2012 Gewürztraminer from Averill Creek near Duncan. “This is great on its own or with an appy like fresh oysters,” Bipin says, as the tasty vintage is paired this evening with prawns dressed in lemon salsa and grapefruit. This dish also pairs well with our third tasting, a creamy Chardonnay from the Okanagan’s Mount Boucherie winery. “This Chardonnay tastes like velvety satin,” says our host, echoing my thoughts precisely. Several people in the room agree as Bipin points out that Chardonnay has taken a hit recently on the popularity scale; in fact, some


Considering the exquisite wine, delectable food and informative commentary, I have to agree with my husband when he says, “I think that’s the best wine-tasting we’ve ever done.”


say they never drink it at all. However, we concur, this one is quite divine. To compare, Bipin brings out a second Chardonnay. A 2012 vintage from Russian River Valley winery in California’s Sonoma County. It’s one of the best-known Chardonnays in the world, and we are all won over by this creamy, buttery vintage. Also, I realize, we’ve warmed up — the room isn’t chilly at all! Next, Bipin has us compare two pinot noirs, the first from a large California winery, Sterling Vineyards, and the second from Martin’s Lane, back in the Okanagan. Both are exquisite. Pair these with tomato-based dishes or pizza, Bipin suggests. He also acknowledges that the pinot noir was opened several hours earlier to maximize the flavour at tonight’s tasting. “I confess that I sampled it at noon,” Bipin says. He adds, “I love my job!”


And what’s not to love? Bipin has been working as the sommelier at Bear Mountain for two years. With a background in the beverage industry — he’s also worked as a mixologist — and jobs that have taken him around the world, he decided to become a sommelier to really delve into the complexities of wine. “You never know it until you study the details,” he says. “Each has many layers. I was excited to go into the breadth and depth of wines.” Next up in the tasting room — where we’ve all become good friends and the jokester is funnier than ever — is the “new-age rage,” a cab sav from the popular Quail’s Gate in Kelowna. This deeply rich and quite glorious 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is well paired with venison, says Bipin, who proceeds to pour a comparison cab sav from James Mitchell Wines in California’s Napa Valley. At some point amid the last few tastings, a tray of beef carpaccio with onions has started circling the room, as well platter of flaky pastry puffs filled with cheese. Since neither Sierra nor I eat meat or cheese, we decline the offerings. However, we do note the gusto with which Bruce enjoys them. Sierra chooses this point in the evening to grab my pen and helpfully add to my notes. However, no matter which way I examine them the next day, her writing remains incomprehensible — and I don’t think it’s the cold that is causing the problem here. Also, my husband, who is dutifully photographing everything for me, seems to go AWOL at this point, so I have no images of the final vintage. There are many photos, however, with us and all our new friends. As the event comes to a close, we all agree, this was a night to remember.



Sommelier Bipin Bhatt and Sierra Lundy in The Cellar.



A PLACE TO CALL HOME B e ar Mou nt ain : re s o r t- sty l e l iv in g in a n atu ra l s e tt i n g BY DARCY NYBO | PHOTOS BY JACOB MCNEIL//PLATINUMHD

Driving up Bear Mountain Parkway, it’s hard to believe the city is just a few minutes away. Suddenly immersed in a mountain, valley and tree-dotted setting, the impulse is to exhale — and then breathe in the beauty. The views here abound as the rolling greens of superlative golf courses dip into the distance and the valley — ringed by hills — glimmers in the sun. But looking closer, there’s a lot more to this resort-style community that is located literally just minutes from the City of Langford’s busy urban setting. Spanning the municipalities of Langford and the nature-permeated District of Highlands, the positioning of Bear Mountain seems to offer a bit of everything, from a natural environment to nearby amenities.

“This is resort living with a twist,” says Ruthanne Doyle, Bear Mountain’s director of real estate sales and marketing. “Unlike most resort properties, we are only 20 minutes from a major capital city — Victoria. We have the benefit of fabulous resort amenities all set within a beautifully rugged terrain. The majority of the homeowners who reside here live full time, work during the day and return home to enjoy a resort lifestyle.” With the onsite Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa, the community is rich in resort-type offerings; for example, there’s the Sante Spa, space for meetings and weddings, and a selection of dining options that range from the upscale Bella to The Pool Side Bar and Grill. There’s also a recreation centre with two gyms, a saltwater pool and a saltwater hot tub, myriad hiking and biking trails,


a market, Nicklaus Design golf and the Bear Mountain Tennis Centre — with a new 28,000-square-foot indoor bubble that covers four of the facility’s eight red clay courts during the winter season.

The first Canada Cup race of the year is held annually in March with the XCO MTB and Island Cup Enduro Series occurring as part of the Bear Mountain Bike Festival.

“It’s the largest indoor-outdoor red-clay tennis facility in Canada,” notes Ruthanne.

“About 30 per cent of our recent home buyers have actually come from Bear Mountain,” Ruthanne says. “They often move within the community to meet their changing needs. Some are upgrading or downsizing; others are travelling and in need of a ‘lock and leave’ home.”

Plans are underway for additional amenities onsite at Bear Mountain, such as a retail village, grocery store, niche-type shops as well as new food and beverage opportunities. “If you don’t want to leave, you don’t need to,” Ruthanne points out. The resulting neighbourhood atmosphere has families and individuals out and about walking their dogs, or biking on the paths and hiking the trails. “The hiking and biking trails were created for various skill levels,” says Ruthanne. “For those who prefer the sidelines when it comes to cycling, Bear Mountain is home to one of eight major competitions in the Canada Cup Series.”

Bear Mountain living also offers options for first-time homeowners, with condos starting at $300,000. From there, home prices vary, with custom family homes selling for as high as $3 million. “Our focus is to have something for everyone,” Ruthanne says. “We have staff who want to be able to work and live at Bear Mountain. We have first-time buyers and we also have executive buyers who understand the value here and want to provide their families a resort lifestyle.” Of course, there are those who travel here for a visit and then decide they want to invest in the real estate or find a place they can retire.


“If you don’t w ant to l e av e, y o u do n’t n e e d to .”



The community’s current real estate offerings each have special features:


Cypress Gates

E l eva t e

With 39 executive lots, ranging in size from 6,400 to 12,800 square feet and a one-of-a-kind special lot that’s over 30,000 square feet, Pinehurst is a perfect enclave for your dream home.

This “townhouse” development is nestled in a stunning, natural setting with views of Mount Finlayson, the third and fourth holes of the Mountain Golf Course and close to Goldstream Provincial Park.

A future development worth considering is the Elevate condo building.

“Pinehurst is absolutely amazing,” Ruthanne says. “The majority of the lots have southwest exposure and back onto Goldstream Provincial Park, so there’s nothing in your backyard but nature and sunsets. It will be a beautiful place to call home.”

“These are best described as ‘villas,’” Ruthanne says. “The location is private yet only minutes to Highway 1. There are four different styles, suited to the topography of each site. The finished product feels like you’re in a singlefamily home. And it’s a strata, so you get all the benefits of a three-bedroom, three-bathroom residence, without the yard work or upkeep.”

“The condos will be situated along the 18th hole of the Mountain Course, offering a wide range of units,” Ruthanne says. “Elevate will be an amenity-rich building with views of Mount Baker, the golf courses and the endless surrounding nature.”

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Discovering the Charms of

COWICHAN The re g ion ab o u n d s w ith su r pr i sin g w ay s to expl ore an d rel a x STORY BY LUCAS AYKROYD


In the not-so-distant past, Cowichan was known mostly for farming, golf and traditional Indigenous sweaters. Today, this picturesque region on southern Vancouver Island is staying true to its rural roots, but also expanding its array of stimulating outdoor activities and urban amenities. Are you ready for a taste of what makes Cowichan a great day trip or overnight getaway? Drive along the Trans-Canada Highway to the Kinsol Trestle near Shawnigan Lake. Originally completed as part of the Canadian National Railway in 1920, this free-standing, 187-metre-long timber structure stands 44 metres tall over the Koksilah River. It sat derelict since 1979, but a $7.4-million restoration project saw it reopen to hikers, joggers and dog-walkers in 2011. More than 100,000 visitors cross the Kinsol Trestle annually. It’s part of the Great Trail, which connects 15,000 Canadian communities along its 24,000-kilometre route. On a sunny, silent morning, surrounded by cedar and spruce trees, you truly feel in touch with Canada’s heritage. Feeling peckish after all that fresh air? A British fish and chips lunch at the nearby Village Chippery is just the ticket. Add authentic mushy peas, plus sea salt caramel ice cream for dessert. This friendly institution enhances its cosy ambience with Union Jacks, Beatles posters and other fun British kitsch. In Cobble Hill, the 1999-founded Merridale Cidery and Distillery serves beautifully presented smoked salmon salad and chicken pot pie on its glassed-in patio. It overlooks the orchard, which burgeons with English and French cider apples. Order a six-glass cider sampler, including the big, bold Scrumpy and the Merri Berri, augmented with black currant, cherry and raspberry juice. Producing more than 130,000 litres of cider a year, Merridale uses no additives in its beverages.

Photo courtesy Tourism Victoria


Thi s i s j u st th e st ar t . Fro m b ik in g an d k ay a k i ng to wh al e- w atch in g an d to tem p o l e- v i e w i n g , th i s char m in g re g io n o f fer s mu ch m o re to exp lo re .

GREAT GETAWAYS Photo courtesy Tourism Victoria

CLOCKWISE: Unsworth Vineyards, Cowichan Bay, Merridale Cidery and Distillery, Village Chippery, Pacific Northwest Raptors, Vancouver Island Motorsports Circuit. Lucas Akyroyd photos


“It’s more work, but I feel good about what we’re serving to people,” says co-owner Rick Pipes. Take a self-guided walking tour of the 20-acre farm, and buy a bottle of Stair’s Pear Brandy, aged for more than six years in French oak barrels.

Did you know that peregrine falcons dive at close to 300 km/hour when attacking? Duncan’s Pacific Northwest Raptors, dedicated to conservation since 2002, is an ideal venue for the entire family to learn about birds of prey. Don a falconry glove and have a trained staff member place an American kestrel or spectacle owl on your hand, or watch Harris hawks and bald eagles soaring across the rural property. It’s a fascinating exploration of avian culture.

Down the road, sparkling wine fans can’t miss Unsworth Vineyards, whose signature Charme de L’Ile offers delightful notes of green apple, pear and honey. Ovation is a spirited port-style dessert wine, best enjoyed with blue cheese or dark chocolate. The on-site restaurant’s seasonal menu includes smoked ling cod on toast and braised rabbit tortellini.

When you’re ready to mellow out, a short drive brings you to Westholme Tea, Canada’s first tea farm. Working their magic in a gorgeously renovated 1950s-built dairy barn, co-founders Victor Vesely and Margit Nellemann import, blend and grow Chinese Camellia sinensis teas.

Bridgeman’s Bistro offers another scintillating dinner alternative on the Mill Bay marina pier. Surrounded by glassy water, this contemporary space with floor-to-ceiling windows has excellent, solicitous service, and the Bistro Bigger Burger lavishly lives up to its name. For dessert, try the Chocolate Kahlua cake with pisco-macerated strawberries.

Sip one of their 100-plus varieties in a handmade ceramic cup while enjoying matcha cheesecake or raw chocolate brownies.

On Day Two, it’s time for more adrenalin-inducing activities. Car buffs will love the Vancouver Island Motorsports Circuit. Half an hour north of the Villa Eyrie, the 2.3-kilometre Tilke GmbH-designed course boasts 19 corners and over 90 feet of elevation changes per lap. Get behind the wheel yourself, or take a Circuit Taxi ride with a professional driver, hitting speeds of up to 180 km/hour in a Porsche, Mercedes or BMW. You can also hone your skills on the adjacent dynamic driving area, with activities ranging from slalom courses to emergency braking. In the swanky 15,000-square-foot clubhouse overlooking the track, lunch on savoury tomato bisque and a Cowichan greens salad before zooming to your next destination.

“We have a passion for tea culture — slowing down, enjoying it, taking it all in,” says Nellemann.

To round out your day before leaving Cowichan, dine at The Old Fork, a hidden gem just off the Trans-Canada Highway in Duncan. Blending hipster chic with down-home cooking, the restaurant makes its own Hollandaise sauce and hot sauce on site, and offers great craft beers, such as the local Midnight Umber Ale by Red Arrow. The coffee and ancho chile braised beef short rib is one highlight of this hearty menu. This is just the start. From biking and kayaking to whale-watching and totem pole-viewing, this charming region offers much more to explore. With Cowichan’s mild climate, magical scenery, and mouthwatering cuisine, you may find yourself returning over and over again.

vs. Forge FC Saturday July 13th

vs. York9 FC Wednesday September 11th

vs. HFX Wanderers FC Saturday July 20th

vs. FC Edmonton Saturday September 14th

vs. Valour FC Saturday August 24th

vs. HFX Wanderers FC Wednesday October 2nd

vs. Forge FC Wednesday September 4th

vs. Valour FC Saturday October 19th

“WHAT I LOVE about living at Bear Mountain is living in a beautiful, peaceful, safe community surrounded by nature, lots of trees, large green spaces and panoramic views. We especially enjoy the nearby hiking/ walking trails and having access to golf, tennis, a fitness centre, spa, coffee shop and restaurants and entertainment all right on our doorstep.


– Denise K.

“IT HAS BEEN TRULY AMAZING to work with Ecoasis to help create the eight unique, red clay courts at Bear Mountain.”

– Robert Bettauer

CEO Pacific Institute of Sport Excellence and Bear Mountain Tennis Member

“WHAT ISN’T THERE TO LOVE about living at Bear Mountain? We have two of the most challenging and beautiful golf courses in the world. We have several top-notch dining choices. We are only 15 minutes from the city but are surrounded by nature. We have one of the cleanest and most well-planned communities you will find anywhere. To top it all off, the staff at the Bear Mountain Resort are professional and friendly. We are living the dream!

– Linda D.

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Profile for Black Press Media Group

Magazines - Bear Mountain Life Magazine - Summer 2019  


Magazines - Bear Mountain Life Magazine - Summer 2019