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WINTER 2017/2018


HOLIDAY MAGIC Dramatic holiday fashion at Wild Renfrew Elegant, contemporary home renovation Great gift ideas from local experts

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On the Cover Photo by Cathie Ferguson Model Aisling Goodman, wearing fashion from Damsels Fashion Collections, photographed in Port Renfrew, styling by Katherine Suna, makeup by Jen Clark

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Sleek new reno adds contemporary, elegant feel to 1970s home

By Darcy Nybo




Trending now: great gift ideas for everyone

By Tess van Straaten


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Shou Sugi Ban flourishes amid new design colour play

By Chelsea Forman


Gorgeous holiday fashion in a wild, windswept oasis

By Katherine Suna


Versatile biscotti wraps up into the perfect gift

By Chef Heidi Fink






Flavours of the season

By Susan Lundy

16 inspiredSTYLE

22 inspiredHEALTH


Happy Days

What’s on this month

By Pamela Durkin

By Sherry Conly

26 inspiredPEOPLE


Arthur Vickers

By Angela Cowan

The Sound of Music Pierre Simard

By Sean McIntyre


Sarah Doyle

By Katherine Suna



Corbin Mathany Hudson’s on First


Festive Vancouver

By Susan Lundy

By Chelsea Forman

Serenity Now Harbour Island, Bahamas

By Bruce Sach


By Don Denton  |

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“For a little heat to melt away the postholiday blues, see ‘Soul Queen’ Dawn Pemberton in Courtenay. Hailing from Vancouver, Pemberton and her band are a jazzy, soulful combination of funk not often seen in the Valley. In Parksville, get your tickets to see the Organworx Series starring Jenny Vincent, who pushes the envelope with the organ, resulting in an intriguing swirl of classic and contemporary music.” Sherry is a graduate of Vancouver Island University. She works as a copywriter and journalist for various publications throughout BC.

“Artist Arthur Vickers appears to be one of the happiest guys on the planet. Getting photography subjects to look like they are enjoying themselves is usually a challenge, but not with Arthur, who always seems to have a smile on his face.” Don has photographed numerous high-profile events, including the Olympics, World Hockey Championships and a Royal wedding.





PAGE 26 “Talking to Arthur has to be one of my alltime favourite interviews. He’s a storyteller down to his bones, and I could have easily listened all day to him telling me about his art, the old-growth cedars he uses, the history of his grandfather and anything else he wanted to talk about!” Angela is a (fibre-obsessed) poet, writer and editor who contributes regularly to Boulevard. 

“I’ve long held the belief that both gratitude and playfulness are boons to our overall well-being. However, until I did this piece for Boulevard on “scientifically proven” ways to boost happiness, I had never given much thought to the idea that “buying time” could increase one’s life satisfaction. But after learning more about the concept, it’s one I can thoroughly get behind — with unbridled enthusiasm!” Pamela is a freelance health writer and nutritional consultant whose work has appeared in Boulevard, Eat, Reader’s Digest, Alive, Spa Business and more.







“I’ve always marvelled at the power of fire to transform. So for our story Black is So Hot, I loved seeing how it is used to preserve wood and create a visual statement.” Lia Crowe is a stylist, creative director, photographer and writer.

“Port Renfrew’s quintessential West Coast beauty is both majestic and inspiring. We truly lucked out with warm, full-sun days for our fashion shoot. The last shot of the day was at Botanical Beach, with a sunset I will not soon forget. Only the impending darkness drew us away from its spectacular beauty.” Cathie is a Victoriabased commercial and lifestyle photographer.

C E N T R A L I S L A N D L I F E AT I T S F I N E S T WINTER 2017/201 8


PUBLISHER Mario Gedicke 250.891.5627

EDITOR Susan Lundy



DESIGN Lorianne Koch Michelle Gjerde Claudia Gross ADVERTISING Mario Gedicke Andrea Rosato-Taylor Pat Brindle ASSOCIATE GROUP Oliver Sommer PUBLISHER CONTRIBUTING Angela Cowan, Lia Crowe WRITERS Pamela Durkin, Heidi Fink, Chelsea Forman, Sean McIntyre, Darcy Nybo, Bruce Sach, Katherine Suna, Tess van Straaten CONTRIBUTING Lia Crowe, Don Denton, PHOTOGRAPHERS Cathie Ferguson, Geoff Hobson Izabel Kazenbroot-Guppy

CIRCULATION & Marilou Pasion DISTRIBUTION 604.542.7411 WINTER 2017/2018


holiday magic Dramatic holiday fashion at Wild Renfrew Elegant, contemporary home renovation Great gift ideas from local experts

ADVERTISE Boulevard Magazine is British Columbia’s leading lifestyle magazine, celebrating 26 years of publishing. To advertise or to learn more about advertising opportunities please send us an email at Mailing Address: 818 Broughton Street, Victoria, BC, V8W 1E4 Tel: 250.381.3484 Fax: 250.386.2624

Victoria Boulevard ® is a registered trademark of Black Press Group Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. Ideas and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of Black Press Group Ltd. or its affiliates; no official endorsement should be inferred. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents, both implied or assumed, of any advertisement in this publication. Printed in Canada. Canada Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement #42109519.

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“I really enjoyed an afternoon spent making various biscotti for the photo shoot. Although we did the shoot on a warm day, I felt like it was a cozy winter afternoon and I was getting into the holiday spirit.” Heidi is a chef, food writer and culinary instructor, specializing in local foods and ethnic cuisines.

“Family tradition is one of my favourite parts of the holiday season. Every year my mom and I check into the enchanting Wedgewood Hotel & Spa in Vancouver, before setting out to explore the city’s seasonal festivities. From ice skating adventures to flying over Canada with Santa, we successfully uncover something for everyone.” Born and raised in BC, Chelsea has had the opportunity to build her career writing about the people and places that make this diverse province so special.






“Arriving at our shoot location of Shawnigan Lake School, we knew we were going to have an easy time getting our shots. Sarah gave us a warm welcome and a tour of the campus, showing us the most scenic backdrops. Even after getting our shots, it was hard to say goodbye to the campus and Sarah!” Izabel is a graphic designer and photographer.

“The rise of digital entertainment threatens live music like never before, but art is so much more than a downloadable file — it’s a relationship. Fortunately for all of us, Pierre Simard is just the guy to keep the friendship between Vancouver Islanders and their symphony vibrant and exciting.” Sean is a freelance writer based on Salt Spring Island. He enjoys writing about the people and places of Canada’s West Coast.


“Getting to Harbour Island was part of the fun, flying elbow to elbow with my fellow passengers on a 21-seater Beechcraft 1900C. Even the wings — at least in the video I took — appeared pink-coloured, foreshadowing the fab sand and Loyalist houses I’d see upon arrival.” Born and raised not too far from the Messiers’ home in Edmonton, Bruce never thought he’d end up meeting members of their clan, in, of all places, the Bahamas.

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DARCY NYBO WRITER: UPGRADE 2.0 PAGE 32 “The owners of this 1970s Nanaimo home needed a house that better matched their lifestyle and their location. With the help of Delinea Designs and Dogwood Mountain Homes they created an open, family friendly home, with a West Coast contemporary feel.” Darcy Nybo is a freelance writer, writing instructor and author. She loves meeting and chatting with people who have created their dream homes, and then telling their stories.







“From rock climbing, discovering giant mushrooms and balancing over tide pools, this ethereal shoot was the highlight of the year for me. Our talented team was able to showcase the exquisiteness of Port Renfrew through our fashion story. The silk, brocade and crinoline fabrics really gave off the forest princess vibe we were looking for.” Katherine is a fashion stylist and lover of the BC coastal waters.

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“This project captured everything that the West Coast has to offer — nestled in a wooded yard with a small creek in the back and sweeping views of the ocean and the ferries out the front. Bright artwork throughout the house added great colour to the home.” Born and raised in Victoria, Geoff has developed his passion for architectural and outdoor photography over the last two decades.

“From organic bedding and perfectlysized body pillows that can help you sleep better, to calming aromatherapy bracelets, luxurious oversized scarves, cool kitchen gadgets and the hot new foodie trend of balsamic pearls that explode in your mouth (yum!), the locally owned businesses we profiled have something for everyone this holiday season.” Tess is an award-winning journalist and television personality who has had the privilege of interviewing people for close to two decades.

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Flavours of the season BY SUSAN LUNDY

And so it is that the season evolves over time and each has its own flavour. For many, it’s magical, especially when viewed through the eyes of a child. But that flavour can be bitter for some and many people struggle during this season, fighting loneliness, spending beyond their means, juggling family tensions, or facing hunger and poverty. Hunger doesn’t magically disappear amid the magic of the season, and it’s important to remember this as we celebrate — perhaps with a gift to the food bank or other charity. You’ll find lots of flavour in this edition of Boulevard, starting with food writer Chef Heidi Fink, who presents a delicious, handmade gift idea. In “From my Kitchen to Yours … with Love,” she reveals the secrets behind easy-to-make, flavour-forward biscotti — perfect for the holiday season. Another flavour that’s ideal for cool, wintery days is “congee,” a popular Southeast Asian rice stew. Check out our Inspired Chefs section for a hearty congee recipe provided by Corbin Mathany, executive chef at Duncan’s Hudson’s on First. This edition of Boulevard also offers lots of great reads, stunning visuals and a chance to meet some of the people who make the mid-island tick — regardless of the season. One of those people is the music, art and history-loving Pierre Simard, music director and conductor with the Vancouver Island Symphony. Another is artist Arthur Vickers, whose beautiful artwork is intrinsically woven with his mesmerizing gift of storytelling. Colour also features in this edition of Boulevard, from the highly hued style choices of realtor Sarah Dolye to the hot new design trend that proves “black is so hot.” Health writer Pamela Durkin has some ideas on ways to flex the happy muscles, and our travel stories visit Vancouver, amid seasonal festivities, and Harbour Island in the Bahamas for a swanky, sunny escape. Our fashion story also embarks on a trip, revealing the latest in elegant party-wear set against the wild seascape of Port Renfrew. Whatever the flavour, the colour or the state of your gift-giving ideas this holiday season, we wish you all the very best. As for my holiday? Of one thing I’m certain: it won’t involve dressmaking. PHOTO BY LIA CROWE


IFT-GIVING can be a tricky part of the holiday season and my ex-husband and I had different views on it. Hence the following conversation one year as I happily snipped and taped, wrapping the bounty of gifts collected for our daughters, then aged six and eight. “Next year,” he asserted, “We should make all our gifts.” I tried to picture myself making gifts amid soccer practices and school meetings and work and house cleaning and Christmas plays and Christmas baking and Christmas shopping. “Time could be a factor there,” I said. “Oh, we can make time. The girls would love new dresses.” “I can’t sew and they don’t wear dresses.” “I’m sure they’d wear them if they knew you made them with love.” So I decided to put the question to them the next morning just before we opened presents. “Your dad thinks I should make you dresses for Christmas next year. I’d make them with love rather than skill. Would you wear them?” A battle raged in eight-year-old Danica’s eyes. She didn’t want to hurt my feelings: “Ah. Um. I’m not sure.” “Sierra?” “No way. Can we get on with the presents?” The practice of giving gifts during the holiday season can add a level of stress for those aiming to find the perfect match for the people they love. In this issue of Boulevard, we consult some top mid-island retailers, who offer a selection of ideas that cut the edge of trendy and cool. Readers will find a number of great, locally available ideas in our feature story “The Gift of Fab.” But gifts can take many forms — sometime it’s the gift of time or experience that resonates. In our family these days, the holiday season isn’t about gifts or decorations or anything other than being together. Between my current husband and I, we have four kids in their mid-20s, all away either at university or forging out on their own. So for us, the holiday season is about family; it’s the only time all of us are together. It’s about setting places at the table for at least six, not two; it’s about dinners, dominos, walks in the forest, storytelling and the house vibrating with youthful exuberance. It’s about hugging our kids — often for the first time in months. (It’s also about watching the fridge seemingly empty on its own and a witnessing a year-high run on liquor stocks— but that’s another story.)

So for us, the holiday season is about family; it’s the only time all of us are together.

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Boulevard editor Susan Lundy is a former journalist and two-time recipient of the prestigious Jack Webster Award. Her award-winning stories have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and she is also the author of Heritage Apples: A New Sensation (Touchwood Editions, 2013).



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Dove Dry Shampoo and my new MONAT product line. BEAUTY SECRET: “Dark eyes or dark lipstick — never both!”

STYLE INSPIRATIONS STYLE ICON: Marilyn Monroe. PIECE OF ART: “I have a lot of big

art pieces that I inherited from my mom, but sadly I’m not really into art.” FAVOURITE FASHION BRAND: Steve Madden. FAVOURITE MUSICIAN: Sarah McLaughlin. ERA OF TIME THAT INSPIRES YOUR STYLE: “I tend to just keep current and classy.” FILM OR MOVIE THAT INSPIRED YOUR STYLE: “I love how Meghan Markle dresses in SUITS (not that I watch it).” READING MATERIAL FAVOURITE PRINT MAGAZINE: InStyle or Style at Home. LAST GREAT READ: A House in the Sky, by Amanda Lindhout. FAVOURITE BOOK OF ALL TIME: The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.

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LIFE FAVOURITE LOCAL RESTAURANT: Bridgemans’ Bistro in Mill Bay. FAVOURITE DRINK/COCKTAIL/WINE: Whitehaven. ALBUM ON CURRENT ROTATION: “I like silence.” FAVOURITE THING TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING: “Hanging out with my kids and husband.” FAVOURITE CITY TO VISIT: “I’m from Vancouver, so I love going

back to feel the buzz and smell the city just for a few days, and then it’s great to get back to the island.” FAVOURITE HOTEL: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WHOLE WORLD: “If not home, then definitely my home away from home — Wales!”


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Skinny jeans and a fitted top. ALL-TIME FAVOURITE PIECE:

“I love the pink leather jacket that my husband bought me.” CURRENTLY COVETING: “Nothing really; I have sooo many clothes.” FAVOURITE PAIR OF SHOES: Navy blue wedge ankle boots. FAVOURITE JEWELLERY PIECE: “A pearl necklace that I found in my mom’s jewellery box after she passed away.” FAVOURITE PIECE TO WEAR TO WORK: Red Hunter boots. ACCESSORY YOU SPEND THE MOST MONEY ON: Shoes. TOP THREE ITEMS FOUND IN YOUR PURSE:

Bright lipstick, Tide stick and hair elastic.


T WAS a gorgeous, sunny fall day, the leaves were changing colour and the air was crisp as I drove to the Shawnigan Lake area, where I was to meet realtor Sarah Doyle, and chat about her booming career, colourful style and how she balances family life with work. Sarah, her gorgeous locks shining, greeted me with a contagious smile and a warm hug. It felt like she was an old friend, who I hadn’t seen in a long time. There was instant chemistry. “I am very much an open book,” Sarah explained. “I’m a sharer. I lost my mom just three years ago, and I think that you have to share part of yourself with people in order for them to share themselves back. That’s important in real estate as well; to be real, have fun and be authentic.” Sarah, now in her early 40s, feels like she’s finally come into her own. “I love working with people. Real estate is very emotional, and I find I can tap into those emotions easily. My background in advertising, PR, marketing, radio and TV are all contributing skills.” Asked what aspect of her work gets her jumping out of bed in the morning, Sarah said, “The whole thing! It’s psychology and relationship building. Who am I going to meet? What am I going chat about and what can I help my clients with? You put in what you want to get out of it.” As a mother of two young children, Sarah is very conscious of carving out time to be with her family, so I was curious to know where fashion and style fit into her life. Laughing, Sarah explained her style has definitely evolved over the years, and that being practical and comfortable is essential to what she wears to work. “I would love to wear beautiful high-heeled boots, but it’s just not practical running around in fields with clients, so I wear my red Hunter boots a lot.” Her love of bold colours matches her bubbly and confident personality. “I’m not afraid of colours — the more colour the better — and it also makes me feel happier. On a gray day, I like to put on my bright red boots, and they make me feel happy and confident. If not, then fake it till you make it!”

flying fish

...the joy of cooking, the art of living & the spirit of giving


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inspired CHEFS

Corbin Mathany Executive Chef at Hudson’s on First, Duncan BY SUSAN LUNDY | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N

Pan-seared Halibut cooked by Executive Chef Corbin Mathany at Hudson’s on First in Duncan.

Nice to meet you, Corbin. Where were you born and where did you grow up? was born in Dresden, Ontario, located about four hours southwest of Toronto. After high school I attended Brock University in St. Catharines, where I got a BA in English Literature. That whole area — the Niagara region — is packed with wineries and organic farms, as well as restaurants to service all that foodie tourism. It was really the cradle of the whole farm-to-table movement in that part of the country: a bit like the Cowichan Valley, but with really harsh winters. So that’s where I discovered good food. Unlike a lot of chefs, I fell in love with restaurants — with eating really good food — a long time before I fell in love with the whole culture of kitchens. Learning to cook was an economic necessity: I’d discovered all this amazing food, but I was a starving student. In order to enjoy this stuff as often as I wanted to, I’d have to learn to cook it myself.”


I’ve helmed, and I came on last June. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had cooking. The staff is small and dedicated, and I’m surrounded every day with supremely talented and knowledgeable colleagues — both in the front- and back-ofhouse. In a way, it feels like an extension of my time at SCS, as everybody is focussed on the same goal; we jive off each-other, bounce ideas off one another, learn from each other. It’s super collaborative and constructive. Did I mention how lucky I feel?” Where before that? “Most recently, I was working at a little brunch/lunch place in Victoria called Relish. I was there for two years. That place doesn’t get the love it deserves. Big flavours, scratch-cooking, fresh local ingredients, super-satisfying food. It’s just not the type of thing you commonly experience in a lunch joint, and the chef-owner Jamie Cummins is a pretty great person. Before Relish, I made my way through Ulla (now OLO) and Stage Wine Bar in Victoria. Previous to that, The Prune Restaurant in Stratford, Ontario.

“We have tater-tots on the menu. It’s a two-day process to make them, and they’re blow-yourmind delicious … but nobody’s going to be intimidated by a tater-tot.”

Where did you train? “I worked in kitchens for two years while I was still in university, which was enough time for me to realize that my passion was more for cooking than for literary criticism. With that realization, I moved to Stratford, Ontario immediately after graduating to attend the Stratford Chefs School. It’s an amazing, small, private program. Each graduating class has just 40 to 50 students, and the faculty is composed of working restaurant professionals supplemented by visiting chefs from all over the world. I got to meet some remarkable people, and to learn from serious luminaries in the world of food. I graduated in 2012, and I still think about how grateful I am for my time at SCS almost every day.”

How long at Hudson’s on First? “Hudson’s is the first kitchen

What are you best known for as a chef? Well, since I’ve only been a capital-C “Chef” since June, that story is still very much being written. I’d like to be known, though, as someone who takes fine dining and injects a little whimsy into it: makes it fun and provides something lighthearted and unexpected. I’m 30, and a lot of people my age are intimidated by the whole sit-down-full-service-fine-dining experience. I’d like to make food that’s more inviting and playful. We have tatertots on the menu, for example. It’s a two-day process to make them, and they’re blow-yourmind delicious … but nobody’s going to be intimidated by a tater-tot. I want to keep all the dedication to craft, ingredients, technique and presentation, but do it in a way that doesn’t make anybody feel as if they don’t belong.” What are the 10 or so most important ingredients in your pantry? “Kosher salt, potato starch, eggs, dried beans, hard  |

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cheese, sherry vinegar, maple syrup, white wine, chicken stock, butter, xanthan gum (weird, but it works magic) and a pressure cooker (I keep mine in the pantry; it’s not an ingredient, but I’m not sure I could live without it).” What’s your favourite dish to cook and eat on a cool winter day? “Each winter I have a go-to stew, with which I become enamoured. I make huge batches and pull them out of the freezer when I come home late and I need to feel cosy. Two winters ago, it was chili. Last winter it was congee until February, and then a series of curries until the weather warmed up. This year, I’m settling into a really comfortable cassoulet groove — I love cured meat and I love dried beans. Cassoulet is both wrapped up in one satisfying, comforting package.” What’s your go-to item when sampling other chefs’ fare? “If you tell me on your menu that you make your own charcuterie, I’m eating it every time.” Hobbies? “Almost every weekend, I’m culling something edible out of the wild. I’ve got a great crabbing spot about 100 metres from where I live, and a beach for clam-digging within a fiveminute drive. I’m not much of a fisherman, but I try. I love to get out in the forest as well, whether to forage for mushrooms and edible greens, or just be out in nature. Also, as a consequence of my job, I don’t eat as healthily as I’d like, so I play at least three or four hours of full-court basketball every week to keep myself from falling too far out of shape.” Can you share an easy, seasonal recipe for a quick bite in late fall? Congee is a rice stew that a lot of Southeast Asian

cultures claim as their own. I think it traces its roots back to Korea, but practically every country on the continent has its own version. It’s not something we serve at the restaurant, but it’s absolutely a dish we look forward to eating for our family meal on a chilly day. Congee couldn’t be easier to make, and you can customize it with an endless array of garnishes to suit your tastes. 250 ml jasmine rice 3 L chicken stock or fish stock 65 ml fish sauce 60 ml sesame oil A thumb-sized piece of ginger root (two if you have small thumbs or if you really love ginger), peeled and finely chopped Optional garnishes: Cilantro; green onions; chili oil; braised, shredded meat; poached eggs; cooked, white-fleshed fish, flaked (great way to use fish trim). Combine the rice and stock in a good-sized pot and bring to a simmer very slowly, stirring frequently. Simmer for one to one-and-a-half hours. You want lots of steam, but virtually no bubbles rising to the surface. You have to stir very frequently as the rice is very prone to sticking and scorching. Too much heat or too little stirring are the culprits. The rice will absorb all of the free liquid in the pot and will swell and break down. When it’s ready, you should have a thick, uniform porridge. It should be pourable, and you shouldn’t be able to stand a spoon in it, but there should be no liquid separating out from the porridge. Finish with fish sauce, sesame oil, and ginger. Ladle into bowls and garnish with anything you like. Enjoy. Experience the warming of your soul.

casual dining in a high end atmosphere

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3351 Douglas VictoriaStreet, Victoria Land Rover Victoria 250 3313 BC475 3351 Little, Douglas Street Sales Manager V8Z 3L4General Contact Ruben TelephoneVictoria - 250-475-3313 General Sales Manager BC - Ruben Little V8Z 3L4 Model Shown: 2017 Discovery HSE Luxury. European license plate shown. †Features are optional on certain models. ‡These systems are not a substitute for driving safely with due care and attention and will not Telephone - 250-475-3313 function under all circumstances, speeds, weather and road conditions, etc. Driver should not assume that these systems will correct errors of judgment in driving. Please consult the owner’s manual or your local Land2017 Rover Authorized retailer for more details. *Purchase a new 2017 {Land Rover Discovery} starting from $61,500. Price includes freight ($1,600), PDI ($495), AC Charge ($100), Tire Levy Sales Manager Little Model Shown: Discovery HSE Luxury. European license plate shown. Features are(in-stock) optional General on certain models. These systems are not-aRuben substitute for driving safely with due care and attention and will notAdmin function($595), under all circumstances, speeds, (uproad to $100) and etc. optional VLPP of other maywill apply depending on province. License, all applicable taxes extra. mayretailer not be as shown. Retailers may sell 2017 or lease weather and conditions, Driver should not$495 assume that charges these systems correct errors of judgment in driving. Pleaseinsurance consult theand owner’s manual or your localare Land RoverVehicle Authorized forexactly more details. *Purchase a new (in-stock) {Landfor Rover Discovery} startingvisit fromyour $61,500. includes ($1,600),retailer PDI ($495), ($595), AC Charge LevyCanada (up to $100) optional VLPPVictoria of $495 other charges may apply depending on province. License, insurance and all applicable taxes less. Please localPrice Land Roverfreight Authorized for Admin details. © 2017 Jaguar($100), LandTire Rover ULCand - Land Rover Dealer # 30479 †

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el Shown: 2017 Discovery HSE Luxury. European license plate shown. †Features are optional on certain models. ‡These systems are not a substitute for driving safely with due care and attention and will not function under all circumstances, speeds,

inspired HEALTH


DAYS Finding and flexing the happiness muscles

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“It seems money can buy happiness, if you use it to buy free time.”


Researchers have uncovered some surprisingly simple, yet APPY HOLIDAYS” is a profound ways we can all increase our “happiness factor.” commonly uttered It’s important to note that adopting these scientifically expression during the endorsed techniques won’t just boost your mood and festive season, but what overall life satisfaction — it will also enhance your health. does it mean to be truly It’s also important to understand that depression can be a happy at this — or any — serious medical condition that needs medical attention. time of year? And how But a wealth of studies indicates that our psychological many of us experience this sought-after state on a regular perspective has a profound effect on our physiology. basis? Evidence suggests that sadness can suppress the body’s Not many, it seems. According to the 2017 World immune system, leaving it vulnerable to autoimmune Happiness Report, Canada achieved its lowest ranking diseases and unable to ward off infections. Furthermore, since the “Happiness Index” began in 2013. And the researchers from Harvard University concluded that rest of the globe isn’t faring much better. Statistics persistent feelings of indicate one unhappiness can also in six people lead to the negative worldwide BY PAMELA DURKIN | P H OTO BY C AT H I E F E R G U S O N emotions frequently will develop associated with depression at substance abuse and some point eating disorders — behaviors that can have dire health in their lives and that by 2020 depression is predicted consequences. to become the second leading cause of disability after In sharp contrast, several studies have found that cardiovascular disease. happiness can enhance your immune function; reduce the Perhaps that explains why there are over 75 million risk for heart disease and even help reduce the risk for search results for the term “happy” on Google and over breast cancer. Clearly, there are compelling reasons to get 40,000 happiness-related books available for purchase working on your “happiness muscles.” on Amazon. Are we simply looking for happiness in all Here are just three of the ways science says you can the wrong places — can a formula for it be found in strengthen them. books or on the internet? Not according to hard science.  |

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Located in the seaside village of Cowichan Bay. The Arthur Vickers Gallery is a curated collection of the exceptional and the exquisite.

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“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw was right — somewhere between adulthood and childhood we stop playing, we take our lives too seriously and don’t make time to let our hair down and just have fun. That’s a shame. Rather than dismiss play as a frivolous waste of time, we should consider it an important investment in wellbeing. Health experts worldwide agree that play is a fun way to fuel our imaginations, creativity and problem solving skills. It also helps us relieve stress and connect with others. Career and life coach Julia James concurs. “The more fun things you do, the more likely you are to create a life that is full of vitality, one that energizes and inspires you,” she enthuses. Another plus, play induces laughter, a side effect with numerous health benefits. Research shows laughter can improve mood, decrease stress hormones, increase immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies and improve the function of blood vessels. So how can you get more playful? Instead of zoning out in front of the TV or Internet, change the scenario and release some “feel-good” endorphins by tossing a Frisbee in the backyard, building a snowman, throwing a costume party, playing charades or dancing. Do anything that brings out your playful side.  |

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Self-help gurus and celebrities like Oprah have long espoused the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal. It seems they have good reason. “Habitually focussing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life can help us become more optimistic and resilient,” says Amanda Poitras, a registered clinical counsellor and clinical director at Strength Counselling Services. “Our minds tend to focus on the negative. By intentionally focussing on the positive aspects of each day, we can begin to offset this imbalance and become more productive and joyful.” A plethora of studies confirm Poitras’ insights. In 2015 a study published in the Journal of Religion and Health concluded that those who were grateful for what they had in life were more hopeful and also


physically healthier than less grateful folk. Similar studies cited in Psychology Today have found that “the grateful” also report fewer aches and pains and are more likely to take care of their overall health. More affirmation of gratitude’s health benefits can be found in statements issued by psychologists from the University of Birmingham. They cite that being grateful on a regular basis can result in a better mood; more helpfulness towards others; raised self-confidence; less physical pain; improved sleep quality; enhanced learning; better work abilities; protection from stress and depression and improved health and longevity. Thankfully, practicing gratitude doesn’t involve rocket science. Simply write down five things you feel grateful for every day, and watch your happiness muscles grow.

“Money can’t buy happiness” is a familiar and widely held view. It turns out, however, the old refrain isn’t exactly true. It seems money can buy happiness, if you use it to buy free time. An intriguing new study, conducted by a team from UBC and Harvard Business School, found that individuals who use money to buy time-saving services — like hiring a cleaner, or a worker to care for the yard — reported greater life satisfaction and happiness than people who made material purchases. In the study, participants were given $40 and asked to spend the cash on either a material purchase, or on outsourcing a time-consuming chore (i.e. freeing up their Saturday by hiring someone else to do the weekly cleaning). The results are hardly surprising given the time famine we all experience in today’s hectic world. With seemingly ever-growing to-do lists, many of us have precious little time to spend with family and friends — the important social connections we all need to ensure our well-being. Studies indicate that having strong social connections and spending meaningful time with others can boost our mood, help reduce the risk for heart disease, make us less susceptible to viruses and increase longevity. What is surprising perhaps is that not many people use money money to help “cure” this current time-crunch epidemic. As UBC professor Elizabeth Dunn, part of the research team says, “Although buying time can serve as a buffer against the time pressures of daily life, few people are actually doing it, even when they can afford it.” So forget that new scarf; instead, buy yourself some happy time and make a date with your spouse or a good friend. You may also want to invest in Dunn’s book, Happy Money: the Science of Happier Spending.


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Arthur Vickers: Artist, technician and master storyteller BY ANGELA COWAN | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N

Artist Arthur Vickers in his Cowichan Bay boathouse, 2 6to his   | W I N T E R 2 0 1 7/ 1 8 next studio and gallery.

“I’m both the technician and the artist. That’s the how, but the why is so much more important.”


ITH THE sharp blue of a late autumn sky overhead and the gentle sound of ocean water on wooden hulls in the air, I step into Arthur Vickers’s gallery in the Cowichan Bay Shipyard buildings. His artistic home for the last nine years, its walls house a lifetime of experiences captured in ink, paint, gold dust and ancestor-cedar. My research has told me Arthur himself is a renowned First Nations artist, a recipient of the Order of British Columbia, a holder of several honorary doctorates and a philanthropist who through his art has helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for more than a dozen charities and organizations. But he doesn’t dwell on any of that. Instead, he greets me with a warm smile and sparkling eyes, and slips into the role of storyteller as soon as I compliment him on the space. “I love it,” he says, his face shining. Years ago, he’d been in the early process of trying to build a longhouse-style gallery in Cowichan Valley, and when it wasn’t working out, a friend suggested he look into the shipyards. “I went down the stairs. I put my face to the window, and I could smell the oakum and cedar, and it reminded me of being a little boy with my grandfather,” he says, the timbre of his voice bringing those memories to life as he goes back to that time to when he lived in Kitkatla, a small Tsimshian village southwest of Prince Rupert. “My grandfather was probably the biggest influence creatively,” says Arthur. He holds his hands wide. “He carved big ocean canoes. and would sketch his designs out beforehand on paper. It felt so real, like I could almost pick it up off the paper.”


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Arthur Vickers looks over a mask in his Cowichan Bay studio workshop.

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“Grandpa was sketching and carving, and I always wanted to be just like him,” he says. “I would hold my pencil just like him.” When Arthur moved away from Kitkatla at the age of seven, he was devastated to lose that daily interaction. “[Grandpa] stressed the importance of staying creative,” says Arthur, and so he continued to sketch and record what he saw and felt. Adolescence and young adulthood passed in Hazelton and then Victoria, and Arthur continued to sketch and paint and carve, and he grew into another passion as he trained to become a journeyman carpenter. “I found through the construction industry that I loved to build,” he says. “I loved working with my hands.” In 1985/86, he designed and built his brother Roy’s gallery in Tofino, in the fashion of a longhouse, and found the experience immensely gratifying. It was around the same time he was introduced to screen printing: “My paintbrush turned into a squeegee fairly early,” he says with a smile. It opened up a world of possibilities artistically, but the aspect that most entranced him was the ability to capture light. He motions for me to stand in front of the piece “Eternity” and moves to the light switches. As the overhead lights dim, so does the brilliance of the sun’s rays over the darkening hilltops in front of me. The shadow over the water grows until all that

remains is a silhouette. Arthur calls over to me to keep my gaze steady on the picture and raises the lights again slowly. The golds and burning oranges return to the sky, the details of the waves emerge as the shadows recede and I am left in awe at his artistry. I have seen a thousand ocean sunsets on this island, and it feels as though Arthur has discovered a way to capture the transience and splendour of each of them on canvas. “And every single one of them do it,” he says with a knowing smile. Except for several pieces created in low-relief 24-karat gold leafing — themselves an entirely new art-form Arthur developed years ago — they’re almost all screen prints. His process involves working with transparency to achieve the ephemeral quality of light that imbues each piece. Each layer of ink he pulls over the screen has to be so precise, just the right thickness to allow the light through the colour. “If I can see it, I’ve gone too far. You have to feel it, and just trust that it’s there.” he explains, adding that it’s an incredibly physically demanding process. Arthur does everything himself, starting with the line drawings, then hand-cutting all the stencils — one for every colour he uses — then mixing his ink and pulling the squeegee by hand. “I’m both the technician and the artist,” he says. “That’s the how, but the why is so much more important.” He points to a piece hanging nearby, “Mount Baker,” with an  |

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expansive blue sky that deepens in colour the higher it rises. I step to the side, looking slantwise at the piece, and the head and neck of a great eagle appear to float in the sky, impassive, noble and certain of her dominion. And then Arthur’s voice slows almost imperceptibly, his breathing evens, his grandfatherly eyebrows rise at all the right moments as he tells me the story. He’d been waiting just before sunrise at the lookout on the Malahat to get the perfect view of Mount Baker. Absorbed by the scene, he was startled when a wide-winged bald eagle swooped down directly in front of him and snapped off a dead branch from a tree. Realizing she was building her nest, Arthur turned and followed, crossing the highway and bushwhacking through the scrub until he finally came to rest at the base of an enormous hemlock. High above, the eagle’s nest consumed the uppermost branches of the tree, and he sat back, resting against the roughened bark, looking out at the mountain. “I thought, you sit here every morning, watching that sun rise, and waiting for your young to be born,” he says. It’s her sky, and so she took over the blue of the painting. Looking around at the pieces that fill the gallery’s walls, he says, “You may be affected by a certain place you’ve seen, or where you’ve been. In many of the cases, it’s where I’ve been.” Each image has a story behind it, but so too do Arthur’s other “Orca” by Arthur Vickers.

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works: his collection of bent-corner boxes. Made from single planks of ancient cedar using traditional methods, the boxes are a breathtaking tribute to both the centuries-old trees of which they are a part, and the familial and community histories Arthur captures within them. “I’ve never knowingly created anything in wood that was made with something that was cut by the hand of humanity,” he says seriously. All the wood he’s ever worked with has come from fallen old-growth, sometimes taking years before the pieces make it into his hands. The box that sits in its high place of honour in the gallery is engraved with a copper inlay, its sides and top polished to a silk-smoothness. Arthur lifts the lid and invites me to sniff the unfinished inside as he tells me each cedar has its own scent, like a person. Downstairs in his workshop, I stick my nose into three more boxes-in-progress: one is dusty as an autumn forest floor littered with decaying leaves, another is light and green and tangy like the hour after a rainstorm. The largest is all spice

and smooth edges and I can’t keep my fingertips from trailing the curved corners. It carries the majesty of the towering cedar it once was. Arthur is reverent as he walks a circuit around the wood. “Every single time I cut it, I’m terrified,” he says. “I love trees. They are so precious to me. I feel so blessed to work with these ancient pieces.” These days, he spends most of his time with cedar dust on his hands as he sands and smoothes down in the workshop. As the days grow ever shorter, he settles into an introspective hibernation, stretching his artistic boundaries, telling his stories. “Now is when I’m immersed in my work,” he says. “I record through my pieces, what I hear, see and feel. The only way I can effect change is by telling my stories, and passing them on to whoever connects with them.” Arthur pauses for a few moments. “My whole creative life has been the why, not the how. Ask me why and I can tell you a story.”

“I’ve never knowingly created anything in wood that was made with something that was cut by the hand of humanity.”

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Upgrade 2.0 Sleek new reno adds contemporary, elegant feel to 1970s house BY DARCY NYBO | P H OTO S BY G E O F F H O B S O N

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Renovations complete, the owners now have a home that works well for their active family, with several indoor and outdoor areas for entertaining and relaxing. 34  |

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Is your money

Quick Facts Sq. footage: 3,000 Bedrooms: now 3; was 4 Bathrooms: 2.5 Fireplace: gas Garage: 2-door, pull-through garage Amenities: Hot tub, built-in outdoor seating area, boat and RV pad, pergola Time for reno: 4 months



IMING TO meet the needs of their active family, and add space for relaxation and entertaining, the owners of a 1970s, Cilaire area home in Nanaimo decided it was time for an upgrade. Though they started the renovations themselves, they soon decided to bring in a professional design consultant, contacting Will Melville of Delinea Design Consultants, who worked to bring their ideas to life on paper. Will Melville brought in custom homebuilder Murray Briggs, construction manager and founder of Dogwood Mountain Homes, and four months later the owners had a completely updated home. Immediately adding a visual punch, Dogwood replaced the exterior of the house, giving it a more west coast appearance. “We removed the old roof, tore the garage roof off completely, and added additional space above the garage,” said Murray. “Now the owners have extra space for a walk-through office and a TV/lounge area.” They also added a nine-by-six-foot deck — made with concrete pavers elevated on pedestals — in an area off the lounge. A glass railing and aluminum top finishes off the deck, which now offers maximum exposure to gorgeous views of Departure Bay. The double garage doors were replaced, including the back, pull-through door. New, stamped concrete completes the RV/boat pad, located in the backyard just outside a pull-through door. The front entranceway also received a brand-new look. A lovely, stone retaining wall now extends a welcoming, natural aesthetic for those coming up the walkway. An additional stone wall located between the garage and the house, and another to the right of the front door also add a warm, earthy feel to the exterior. “We replaced the old siding with HardiePlank and clear cedar tongue and groove,” explained Murray. “The finishing touches are the fibreglass, windowed front door and the two new, contemporary garage doors, complete with side lights.” Other exterior renovations include the addition of a side

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door to the garage, as well as another window to the upstairs bathroom. Upon entering the home, one is immediately struck by the beautifully handcrafted, oak staircase, created by Wendel Korecki, Dogwood’s Master Craftsman. “I worked with the homeowners to make sure I knew exactly what they wanted,” said Wendel. “I did a few different mockups and they chose one they liked. We sourced the spindles from the Finishing Store; then it took about 100 hours to create the tread, risers and handrail from raw wood.” The staircase adds to the warmth created by the white oak flooring, which is installed throughout the house on both the upper and lower floors. One of the homeowners’ requirements was to create window seats so they could take advantage of the views. These also add a homey feel to the area. “We bumped the windows out two feet in the living and family rooms and created built-in window seats,” said Murray. “There’s plenty of storage underneath and the cushions are easy to remove.” During the renovation process, Dogwood upgraded all exterior windows and sliding glass doors to double-glazed,

energy efficient glass; installed a new HVAC system, including a forced air heat pump, to replace the baseboard heaters, and repainted the entire home, and removed the old textured ceiling, which was then finished with a smooth, contemporary look. To give the home a more open feel, a set of French doors, which divided the dining room from the living room, was removed. As you walk into the kitchen/ family room area, it’s easy to see why this will be a much-used space. Comfy and cosy, one can easily picture family and guests gathered in the room, framed by the beautiful view of Departure Bay. “The owner had completed the kitchen upgrades, and used quartz for the countertops and island,” Murray noted. The kitchen island seats four and has a built-in prep sink and stovetop.” Just off the kitchen sits the mudroom. “We matched the high-gloss wrapped cabinets in the kitchen to the cabinet in the mudroom, to give the home a contemporary feel,” Murray added. “We also opened up the mudroom and pushed it farther out. This is a very active family and it was important to have a space for them to store all their coats and sports gear. It is now one of the owners’ favourite rooms because it keeps the house tidier. The kids can now come through the

This is a very active family and it was important to have a space for them to store all their coats and sports gear.

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garage via the new garage side door. We changed the entrance from the garage into the mudroom to give it a more welcoming feeling. There are four personal closet areas, and several cubbies, custom-built for the house by Island Architectural Millwork.” Upstairs, there are three refinished bedrooms, including a master with a walk-in closet and en suite. “We took out the patio doors from the master and put in a large window instead,” said Murray. “The owner wanted a pergola off the living room, directly below the master bedroom. It is truly a work of art. It was made from fir from Canadian Bavarian Millwork, and it gives the seating area below it a welldefined space.” The family bathroom had an entire overhaul with the toilet and bathtub/shower now tucked behind a pocket door. This left the vanity area open for multi-person use. The laundry room was relocated from the lower floor to the upper level, and placed conveniently beside the family bathroom. The repurposed French doors from the dining room now sit at the top of the staircase as an invitation into the lounge beyond. It gives the area an elegant feel and is a welcoming entrance into the walk-through office section and TV/lounge area beyond. The entire space has great views of the bay. It’s the perfect room for relaxation and gathering family and friends.

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Renovations complete, the owners now have a home that works well for their active family, with several indoor and outdoor areas for entertaining and relaxing.

Suppliers List Design: Delinea Design Consultants Plumbing: Waywest Mechanical Ltd.    HVA: Waywest HVAC & Refrigeration Electrical: O R Wenner Electric Ltd.  Interior Paint: E N Painting Ltd. Exterior Paint: Aebig Painting & Fine Finishing Flooring / Handrails material supplier: The Finishing Store Stonework: Glenn Houle Custom Masonry Cement: Bedrock Redi-Mix Ltd.  Cement Finishing: Harbour City Concrete Works Siding & Timberframe: Canadian Bavarian Millwork & Lumber Interior Millwork: Island Architectural Millwork Ltd. Lumber and building materials: Slegg Lumber   Windows: Westeck Windows Mfg. Inc.


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Julia House — Maison 4 0Cookware  | & Bakeware

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The Gift of

Fab T

HEY HAVE decades of retail experience between them and they know what’s hot this holiday season. The four mid-Vancouver Island business owners and entrepreneurs you’re about to meet are on the front lines of shopping — from cookware and home stores to clothing and specialty foods. As experts in the retail industry, they’re passionate about what they do, and they want to help you find the perfect present. • Eric McLean is the big cheese — literally. The Glasgow native started McLean’s Specialty Foods in Nanaimo 25 years ago and was inducted into the Guilde des Fromagers, or cheese hall of fame, in 2014. He was named “retailer of the year” by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce this year.

New, trendy and hot: great gift ideas for everyone on your list BY TESS VAN STRAATEN P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N

• Carla Samson started in retail when she was just 18 years old. She opened her own store, Quintessential Fashions, in 2005. The unique boutique in downtown Nanaimo curates an eclectic mix of clothing, accessories and baby gifts. • Chris Manley has been working in retail for more than 25 years. Manley and his wife, Dawn Howlett, opened Resthouse in downtown Duncan four years ago. The sleep solutions store specializes in organic bedding and other products aimed at getting a good night’s sleep. • Julia House of Maison Cookware & Bakeware has also worked in retail for more than 25 years. She opened the aptlynamed Maison (house in French) with her husband, Daniel House. Billed as Nanaimo’s only gourmet kitchenware store, the business recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.

Julia House — Maison Cookware & Bakeware What’s trending right now? A huge trend that keeps growing is cooking sous-vide, which means “under a vacuum” and refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food in a bag and then cooking it to a very precise temperature in a water bath. Bread baking, from no-knead to “slow dough” and sourdough, and the art of home-baked bread, is experiencing a renaissance. And colour in the kitchen is big — whether it’s colourful silicone tools, richly enamelled cast iron pots, funky aprons or bubblegum-pink toasters, there are so many more options now than just stainless steel and white. What are some interesting gift ideas at your store? Swedish dishcloths are eco-friendly dishcloths that don’t get stinky; Smeg makes some fun and colourful Italian-designed appliances, and carbon steel fry pans are a chemical-free and durable alternative to non-stick pans. We’re also the only store on Vancouver Island to carry the Anova precision cooker, a sous-vide immersion circulator. What are you wishing for this year? A Smeg stand mixer and Breville oracle espresso machine are two things I want from our store. Really comfortable shoes, a spa day and an Apple Watch are also in my letter to Santa!  |

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Chris Manley — Resthouse .

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Chris Manley — Resthouse What are the hot new trends this holiday season? I’m seeing an interest in quality bedroom linens and furnishings. Natural bedding is making a comeback and these pieces have a classic design sense. With the interest in the Danish Hygge movement (the Danish way to live well and be happy), many people are looking for ways to make their bedrooms cosy, comfortable and filled with great design elements. What are some of the most unique gifts you have at your store? We recently started carrying local wool blankets. Made from local sheep’s wool and angora goat’s fleece, these classic, Canadian-style striped wool blankets are becoming popular again and are a great gift idea for both men and women. The spoonk mat has been a back-saver for me. With chronic back problems from an old car accident, I find this mat amazing for pain relief. It’s also excellent for anxiety since it has an incredible calming effect. Body pillows are also a great way to improve sleep. We have three different sizes so you can get the exact fit. And with natural fills and casings, these pillows smell divine and keep those who favour side-sleeping supported and comfortable for the whole night. What’s on your personal wish list? A safe bet for me is chocolate. And if you need another idea, chocolate works for me, too!

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Carla Samson — Quintessential Fashions .

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Carla Samson — Quintessential Fashions What’s popular right now? Hot new trends this holiday season are backpacks (full size or mini), chic drinking bottles, aromatherapy bracelets, necklaces and car diffusers along with essential oils made locally here in Nanaimo — and new to our store this year — snugly wraps and oversized scarves, stacking bracelets and creative and quirky graphic socks. Top gift-giving ideas? Make every sip sparkle with sleek and unique wine/water/coffee bottles by Corsickle or add a little bit of bling with stacking bracelets made from precious stones or beads. Here at Quintessential we’re all in love with our new collection of oversized scarves by Jackson Rowe and cosy slippers by Toms. And whether you like donuts or dogs, graphic socks by a small company called Santa Cruz are hot. If you’re struggling to find something for that woman who has everything, probably number one on any girl’s list is a Matt & Nat handbag, wallet or backpack. What tops your wish list this year? My personal wish-list this year includes a weekend away to one of our beautiful west coast hotels to be wined, dined and spa’d into oblivion!

celebrating 5 years

One of the Cowichan Valley’s many Treasures

Dress for the Occasion Simple elegant Carefree

For brunching lunching, cocktailing & Fine dining

On First

250-597-0666 163 First St. Duncan

fashion collections

250-754-7913 • 413 Fitzwilliam  |

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Luxury Experience Expertise Performance

250.753.0009 I 166 Selby Street, Nanaimo I

Choose the Mews this holiday when visiting the Old City Quarter

• • • • • • •


La Stella Trattoria Primal Communications Mobile Cellutions • Electric Umbrella Robert Stacey Law Office B. Clotheswise Uniforms Bistro Taiyo • Lobelias Lair Mad about Ewe • Real Foods  |

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321 Wesley Street

Eric McLean — McLean’s Specialty Foods.

Eric McLean — McLean’s Specialty Foods What’s hot right now? Trending right now are raw milk cheeses, as customers increasingly look for more natural products. Moroccan and Spanish foods have also finally come to the attention of Canadian foodies and we’re seeing increased demand for these items. One of the favourite foodie “must haves” are balsamic pearls. These are little pearls that look like caviar and you scatter them over salads, such as the Caprese salad of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. When you bite into them, they pop just like caviar, but instead release a spurt of 25-year-old balsamic vinegar. Wow!   What’s a unique item at your store? Our signature cider-marinated Camembert, which is based on an old Normandy recipe, is very special. As far as I know, no one else in Canada is producing this cheese and as a result, we get customers coming from Victoria and elsewhere to buy it.   What’s on your personal wish list? Many of my customers don’t know that I am an accomplished guitarist and co-founder of the Nanaimo Blues Festival, so having the opportunity to make some great music with all my musician friends is on my wish list.  |

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BLACK IS SO HOT Shou Sugi Ban flourishes amid new colour-play trend


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“It’s terrific — it raises the grain in a really pleasant way so that there is a very tactile quality to the wood. If you run your fingers along it you can feel all the delicate edges, the years and history of the wood.”


LACK IS a complex colour. It’s mysterious, seductive, elegant and powerful, but it can also allude to fear, grief, death and aggression — it’s a moody colour in the scheme of home design and it needs to handled with care. Black is also a member of the neutral colour palette, alongside its less polarized siblings: white, gray and taupe — a selection of colours which have been so prevalent in interior design for the last decade, it’s almost not surprising to see black arriving fashionably late to the party. Black has been used in interior design for centuries, but what makes its reemergence interesting is the extent of its use in design. Black colour-play has gotten much bolder in the home, and nothing illustrates this better than the emergence of Shou Sugi Ban, the ancient Japanese technique of charring wood black. A look at history helps understand the emergence of black in design. In the mid 1600s the renowned Dutch artist Rembrandt was experiencing a wave of commercial success, largely based in portrait work for display in private homes. Rembrandt was an expert in using dark backgrounds in order to contrast and accentuate the main subject of his work. The use of dark backgrounds successfully harmonized with light colours, creating a truly striking union. Today, we are seeing that same outstanding union on a much larger scale. Black walls, ceilings, floors and home exteriors are becoming prevalent and showcasing the colour’s better attributes as a sophisticated shade that we don’t need to fear. While broad use of black offers spaces a unique and revolutionary depth, the current design-era is rooted in texture and natural elements,

Quality that will floor floor you. you.

104-2520 Bowen Road, Nanaimo 250-758-4664 |  |

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Shou Sugi Ban, the traditional Japanese art of charring cedar, was used on this kitchen island design in Karen Smith’s Nanoose Bay home.

which is why Shou Sugi Ban has made an epic return to the scene. “It’s terrific — it raises the grain in a really pleasant way so that there is a very tactile quality to the wood. If you run your fingers along it you can feel all the delicate edges, the years and history of the wood,” says Karen Smith, realtor with Royal LePage Parksville-Qualicum Beach Realty. Karen and her husband David experimented with Shou Sugi Ban in several focal points in their home, including a beam at the front entrance and as part of a kitchen island. Shou Sugi Ban uses fire to char wood black. Centuries ago, Japanese carpenters scoured the coastline for driftwood to use in design, liking its distinctive finish and durability. (Driftwood undergoes an aggressive weathering process as it is thrashed about in the erratic oceanic elements.) Desire for driftwood flourished, ultimately depleting its availability in ancient-day Japan. So the Japanese experimented with the second most powerful natural weathering process: fire. The charring method acted as an effective preservative while enhancing the aesthetic character of the wood. “It preserves the wood without using chemicals — it’s an ecological alternative,” Karen explains. “We wanted to try a hand at that technique to see what sort of finish and colouration we could get on the wood. It feels more organic and alive than stained and sealed wood.”

The practice of Shou Sugi Ban gained popularity in Japan throughout the 1700s and remained common practice until 50 years ago, when it gave way to modern building materials. However, as is the somewhat predictable evolutionary process of fashion and interior design, everything that was once old becomes new again in the great circle of design life. The Japanese reintroduced Shou Sugi Ban and in our incredibly connected, global world, the technique gained momentum and spread like fire throughout Europe and North America. In early 2005, Kirk Van Ludwig was on an architectural tour in Big Sur where he was first introduced to Shou Sugi Ban. A renowned furniture designer, Kirk is owner of Victoria’s own Autonomous Furniture — now one of Vancouver Island’s most notable retailers of one-of-a-kind Shou Sugi Ban pieces. “We started torching our furniture from day one; it’s always been a staple for us. In 2016, there was a big shift towards black in all elements of the home, and the torched look has very much followed,” Kirk explains. Autonomous Furniture pieces are billed as the collision of natural elements presented with modern sophistication. Every piece of wood in the shop has a history and a story, and Kirk knows each of them. Kirk designs his furniture to feature the natural beauty and lifecycle of wood. “The approach in our furniture has always been to make the wood appear very natural — how you would find it in the forest. Forests light on fire and what’s left is torched wood. We

“It feels more organic and alive than stained and sealed wood.”

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Shou Sugi Ban uses the familiar warmth of wood to effectively control the moody nature of the colour black in design, while dramatically showcasing its more attractive qualities. Detail of wood created with Shou Sugi Ban at Karen Smith ‘s home.

don’t incorporate stains, everything is natural,” says Kirk. Self-taught in the art of designing and creating masterful furniture, Kirk is also self-taught in the art of Shou Sugi Ban. “I made my mistakes and now we have our proprietary method,” Kirk smiles, relinquishing neither his great methodology or the tales of things gone terribly wrong. What he does divulge, is that the wood is torched and washed repeatedly until it reaches the depth of black desired, and then natural oil is applied. Wood is introduced into the home in an effort to flush a space with that desirable, holistic, natural warmth. Shou Sugi Ban uses the familiar warmth of wood to effectively control the moody nature of the colour black in design, while dramatically showcasing its more attractive qualities. Shou Sugi Ban has returned, and is arguably the design element that will trail-blaze a path for black on its way to becoming this era’s monarch of interior design.

250.751.0922 200 - 4311 Boban Drive Nanaimo, BC 52  |

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Kirk Van Ludwig of Autonomous Furniture washing cedar slab.

Designing Kitchens for your Lifestyle

164 West Island Hwy, Parksville, BC

250.951.0509  |

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Ethereal Wilderness BY KATHERINE SUNA | P H OTO S BY C AT H I E F E R G U S O N

Welcome to Wild Renfrew in Port Renfrew where ancient forests, windswept beaches and jagged slate rock formations evoke drama and awaken our inner wildlings. Against the backdrop of a rugged coastline and the deep roots of the forest, we uncover gorgeous holiday fashion in delicate silks, exquisite embroidery, luscious faux fur and raw stone jewels.

Black dress with tulle ($365) by JS Collections from Damsels Fashion Collections; sheer floral socks ($20) by Bleuforêt from Fabrications; black Vocab heeled boots ($250) by Gerry Weber from Cardino Shoes; silver rectangle bracelet ($79.99), silver swirl design bracelet ($599.99), and Alaskan coral pendent ($1,799.99) with a 32� role chain ($690), all from Impeccable Jewellery.

Peasant draw-string blouse in navy ($255) and matching flared skirt ($245) by Velvet, from Fabrications; textured salt and pepper coat ($195) by Marcona from Damsels; smoky black onyx earrings ($199.99) and Malachite woven ring ($599.99), both from Impeccable Jewellery; black Danilo suede shoes ($235) by Wittner from Cardino Shoes.

Floral embroidered blouse ($169) by Desigual, faux fur trim cape ($139) by Parkhurst, embroidered Ayda necklace ($235) and Ayda earrings ($120) by Alayabar, all from Fabrications; black dress with tulle ($365) by JS Collections from Damsels; twig-wrapped tourmaline ring ($699.99) from Impeccable Jewellery; embroidered Poppy loafers ($210) by Miista from Cardino Shoes.

Embroidered metallic jacket ($139) by Peter Nygard, metallic paisley printed pants ($97.50) by Up!, black camisole ($24.99) by Nikibiki; faux fur band ($22) by Parkhurst, all from Close To You; Blister pearl chain bracelet ($599.99), silver swirl design bracelet ($599.99), Baroque pearl drop pendent ($999.99) with a 16-inch snake chain ($100), Tahitian Renaissance pearl ring ($899.99) and Moldavite studded teardrop earrings ($299.99) by Kibela, all from Impeccable Jewellery.

Black and silver brocade dress ($415) by JS Collections from Damsels Fashion Collections; teardrop Astrophilite pendent ($549.99) with a 32-inch role chain ($690) and Broque pearl ring ($699.99) from Impeccable Jewellery.

Makeup and hair: Jen Clark Model: Aisling Goodman represented by Coultish Management Styling and production assistant: Sierra Lundy Photographed on location at Wild Renfrew Seaside Cottages in Port Renfrew. A huge thank you to the entire staff there for a truly incredible time experiencing the wild west coast from cosy cabins.

429 Alpen Way


First time on the market is this well laid out 3 bed/3 bath half duplex in bustling South Nanaimo. The property comes with all appliances, fully fenced and freshly painted to feel as if your walking into it brand new. Extra features include fully landscaped/fenced, updated backsplash, RV parking and a sunny corner lot.

114 Kian Place

Personal Real Estate Corporation

250-618-6797  |


Well laid out brand new 5 bed / 3 bath home is in a new upscale subdivision of quality new homes. The massive open concept great room and kitchen is inviting to the entertainers and families looking to relax and unwind together. Attention to detail with coffered ceilings, gas fireplace and kitchen island. Two bedroom legal suite!

Jay Deleskie



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#402-10 Chapel Street $674,900 Sitting watching the sunset over Newcastle Channel from your luxurious 2 bed/2 bath open concept suite doesn’t get much better. The open European kitchen of mahogany wood veneer cabinets, heated marble floors, quartz counter tops/back splash and a $33K upgraded Miele appliance package. Fully Furnished!

Wishing you and your family a Happy Holiday and a Fabulous New Year!

Your key to a successful move. Sarah currently lives in Shawnigan Lake with her husband and 2 young girls, she is an expert in research, communication and marketing. Raised in Ladner and Tsawassen, she has lived abroad and traveled throughout Asia and Europe, providing her with an in-depth knowledge of people, places, and culture. Sarah is enthusiastic, motivated, and ethical in everything that she does and is excited to assist you, using the latest technologies, creative vision, and dedication. Sarah has received “Top 5 New Realtors” ranking as well as achieving numerous top monthly sales recognition. "Honestly, for me, real estate is all about relationships. It's a bit like Journalism in that, everyone has a story and I love finding out who they are and then finding the best way to navigate what can be a very stressful and emotional time!" Call me for your all your real estate needs.

1 877 946 8123

Pemberton Holmes – Duncan, 23 Queens Road


NOW SELLING The Wester ly

Located in the heart of the Fairwinds community and overlooking the Fairwinds Marina and Strait of Georgia, these 39 spacious suites will be just steps from the shops and services of Fairwinds Landing. This boutique collection of one and two bedroom homes will feature sophisticated interiors, large patios, expansive views and will be surrounded by the array of natural and man-made amenities that Fairwinds has to offer. Visit the Sales Centre at 3455 Fairwinds Drive between 10am and 4pm daily to learn more about the variety of homes available at The Westerly, priced from the low $400’s to just over $1.2m.


John McKenzie *Prec

* Personal Real Estate Corporation. This is not an offering for sale, any such offering must be made with a Disclosure Statement. E & OE


Traditional biscotti


Hazelnut biscotti with milk chocolate

Versatile biscotti wrap up into the perfect seasonal gift BY CHEF HEIDI FINK | P H OTO s BY D O N D E N TO N

Biscotti with pistachio, dark chocolate, and red chili 64  |

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ISCOTTI ARE a baker’s bestkept secret. With their unusual shape, long shelf life and variety of flavours, they seem very fancy, but are actually really easy to make. An average baker can turn out several dozen, in different flavours, in the course of an afternoon. This is excellent news at a time of year when everyone is searching for The Perfect Gift. What better gift than something edible? How about something edible, easy to bake, and designed specifically for dunking in both coffee and wine? Exactly. There’s no more of a perfect gift than a sophisticated, long-keeping, dunkable (for adults!) biscotti in a variety of flavours. The only thing biscotti needs is time. Biscotti means “twice-baked” and the second baking is low and slow, made to gently dry out the biscotti without burning them. Other than the time involved in their second baking, biscotti are very straightforward and unfussy — a quickly-mixed dough, no fancy cutting or fiddling around. Additionally, they can be varied to make any number of delicious flavours. I love that biscotti can be made well in advance and stored in airtight containers, with no loss in quality. In fact, their flavour often improves with time. I really love the fact that I can tailor biscotti flavours for my intended recipients: spicy gingerbread for the hot chocolate freak, chili-chocolate for the spice lover, anisealmond for the wine drinker and milk chocolate chip for the kids in my life Over the years, I have tried dozens of different flavour combinations; they almost always work out and are always a hit. Feel free to experiment with your own combinations of spices, nuts chocolate and dried fruit. I have included four different recipes to get you started. I love to package my gift biscotti in beautiful cellophane, available at any craft store or dollar store, and give them along with a bag of loose leaf tea or coffee beans — or, as is likely to happen in Italy, with a bottle of quaffable red wine. Years ago, I made biscotti for gifts because I had no money to buy “real” gifts. But when I could afford to stop making biscotti, my family members moped around Christmas morning looking bereft at their loss. I’ve since learned that there is no more real gift than a gift from your kitchen: it is heartfelt, delicious, homemade love. From my kitchen to yours, Happy holidays!  |

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HAZELNUT BISCOTTI WITH MILK CHOCOLATE Makes about 2½ dozen biscotti 1¼ cups hazelnuts 2½ cups flour ½ tsp salt 1¼ tsp baking powder 1 cup chopped milk chocolate (about 4 ounces) 5 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled 2 eggs 1 egg white ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup light brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla 1 Tbsp Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur), OR 1 additional tsp vanilla Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place hazelnuts on a rimmed cookie sheet, put in the oven and toast until skins have darkened and nuts are fragrant — about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and pour nuts into a mesh sieve. Use a clean dish towel to press the hazelnuts against the mesh and rub the skins off. Don’t worry if not all the skins come off. Just do

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the most you can. Remove hazelnuts from sieve, leaving skins behind. Roughly chop hazelnuts and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate, large bowl, beat eggs. Add sugars, vanilla, Frangelico, and butter. Whisk well to combine. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the flour mixture, the chopped hazelnuts and chopped chocolate. Stir until thoroughly blended. The dough will be sticky. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and place them about four inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. With well-floured hands, shape each dough piece into a smooth, flat-topped log — about three and a half inches wide and 16 inches long. Place sheet in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, until they feel firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes, or longer. Turn down the oven to 275 degrees F. Place cooled logs on a cutting board and slice on the diagonal into one-half-inch thick slices. Arrange the slices upright on two baking sheets, leaving room for air circulation, and bake them again for 20-30 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through baking. This second baking dries out the biscotti to give them their nice crunch and excellent keeping qualities. Let the biscotti cool on wire racks. They will last about a month if nobody eats them first!

How about something edible, easy to bake, and designed specifically for dunking in both coffee and wine?

Light, Airy and Serene... what does your dream kitchen look like? We LiSten. We BuiLd. You Love.

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Copyright © 2015 Joseph Ribkoff Inc. All rights reserved. Any reproduction and/or use of the Joseph Ribkoff logo for commercial or promotional purposes is forbidden without the written authorization of Joseph Ribkoff Inc.

Keep up to date with what’s new!

5184 Mearns Rd. duncan


250.246.3541 ✧ 2881 Mill Street, Chemainus  |

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TRADITIONAL BISCOTTI                                 Makes about 2½ dozen biscotti. The combination of lemon, almond and anise is one of the most traditional biscotti recipes. The flavour of these sophisticated biscotti will improve with storage. ¼ cup butter, melted 2¾ cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp baking soda ¼ tsp salt 1 Tbsp lightly crushed anise seeds 2 eggs 2 egg whites Zest of 2 lemons 1 cup white sugar ¼ tsp almond extract 1 cup chopped almonds Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Sift together the flour with the baking powder, soda and salt. Beat the eggs and egg whites until foamy. Add the sugar and beat until thick and creamy. Beat in the anise seeds, lemon zest, almond extract, melted butter and almonds. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing well. Divide the dough in two and place them about four inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Shape each half into a smooth, flat-topped log about three and a half inches in diameter and about 16 inches long. Place sheet in oven.

“Living in any retirement community is about PEOPLE.

PEOPLE who are caregivers and the PEOPLE who chose to make it their home – why not live with the best


6205 Oliver Road (at Uplands)


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Bake for about 25 minutes, until the biscotti logs feel firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes, or longer. Turn down the oven to 275 degrees F. Place logs on a cutting board and slice on the diagonal into half-inch slices. Arrange the slices on two baking sheets, leaving room for air circulation, and bake them again for 20-30 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through baking. Let the biscotti cool on wire racks. Their flavour will improve in a few days and they’ll last about a month.

BISCOTTI WITH PISTACHIO, DARK CHOCOLATE, AND RED CHILI Makes about 3 dozen biscotti. These biscotti with raw pistachio, chopped bittersweet chocolate, and freshly ground red chili are bursting with flavour, heat and complexity right from the first bite. They’re perfect for dipping in a steaming mug of hot cocoa, tea or coffee. 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp baking soda ¼ tsp salt 1 tsp ground chili (I use a milder chili, like Cascabel or New Mexico; if using a spicier chili, like cayenne, use half the amount) ¼ cup butter, melted 2 eggs

2 egg whites 1 cup white sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 1¼ cup raw, shelled pistachios 1 cup chopped dark chocolate (semisweet or bittersweet) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour with the baking powder, soda, salt and ground chili. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and egg whites until foamy. Add the sugar and beat until thick and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract, melted butter, pistachio, and dark chocolate. On low speed, stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing well to combine. Divide the dough in two and place them about four inches apart on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Shape each into a smooth, flat-topped log about three and a half inches wide and about 15 inches long. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until they feel firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes, or longer. Turn down the oven to 275 degrees F. Place logs on a cutting board and slice on the diagonal into half-inch slices. Arrange the slices upright on the baking sheets, leaving a bit of room around each for air circulation, and bake them again for 20-30 minutes. Let the biscotti cool on wire racks. Store in air-tight containers. Their flavour will improve in a few days and they will store for about a month.

You have unique goals for yourself, your family and your future. Coastal Community Private Wealth Group is committed to helping you achieve those goals, as we do for thousands of Vancouver Islanders and their families. Let’s talk about how we can protect and grow your wealth to serve you and your family’s needs. 1.800.806.2332 I Proud Season Sponsor of the Vancouver Island Symphony

Coastal Community Private Wealth Group is a division of Coastal Community Financial Management Inc.  |

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GINGERBREAD BISCOTTI Makes about 2 dozen biscotti. These taste particularly delicious dipped in a mug of rich hot chocolate. 1 tsp baking powder 2½ cup all-purpose flour ¼ tsp baking soda 2 tsp ground ginger 1-1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar 1 tsp ground cinnamon 3 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly ¼ tsp allspice 2 whole eggs ¼ tsp cloves 1 egg white ½ tsp salt Optional additions: 1 cup diced Australian crystallized ginger, 2 Tbsp orange zest Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, ground spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda until evenly mixed. In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs until the yolks and whites are combined. Add brown sugar and butter, whisking until well blended. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture into the egg mixture until mixed. The mixture will be sticky. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and place on a well-floured surface. Shape each into a smooth, flat-topped log about three and a half inches wide and about eight inches long. Place logs three inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes, until they feel firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Turn down the oven to 300 degrees F. Place cooled logs on a cutting board and slice on the diagonal into half-inchthick slices. Arrange the slices upright on two baking sheets, leaving room for air circulation, and bake them again for 20-30 minutes, rotating the trays half way through baking. Let the biscotti cool on wire racks. Their flavour will improve in a few days and they will last up to a month.

Celebrating 25 years •

A Food Lover’s Paradise • • #1-6332 Metral Drive, Nanaimo 250.933.1800

• •

Exotic Cheese and Chutneys Truffles, Olives and Pates Gourmet Oils and Vinegars British, European and South African Imported Foods Celebrating 25 years in business in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter. 250-754-0100 426 Fitzwilliam Street, Nanaimo the

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Gold coloured measuring spoons and serving utensil, linens, ceramics and glassware from Pigeonhole Home Store. Thank you to Laura Clegg for graciously hosting our photoshoot.

vancouve r is l and

250.984.7983 www.sartoricustomhomes.c a  |

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Serenity Now

Beauty and peace the old-fashioned way on the Bahamas’ Harbour Island BY BRUCE SACH

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Casual Fashion made Elegant

A2-418 Fitzwilliam St.

In the Old Quarter Nanaimo

250 753 0737

Join us for Prime Rib Friday & Saturday Night


T’S NOT HARD to pin down what makes the Bahama’s Harbour Island such a desirable destination. For those in the know, this tiny sliver of an island, which runs north to south just off the tip of Eleuthera, is truly one of the most beautiful Bahamian islands. Hockey great Mark Messier, who first came here on a fishing trip while playing for the New York Rangers, says that for one thing,“People like Harbour Island because of the effort it takes to get there.” Indeed, despite being so close to the coast of Florida (and officially part of North America, not the Caribbean), you can only fly as close as Eleuthera Island. Then you take a $5 cab ride and a $5 ferry ride to make your way to Dunmore Town, the only village on Harbour Island.

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refreshingly local™ COAST BASTION HOTEL 11 BASTION STREET, NANAIMO BC 250-824-0167 www.MINNOz.COM  |

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Winter Sale on Now! We design furniture for your space

BC made furniture

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Mark Messier flies down in his own plane. But many visitors arrive at Dunmore Town via their boats, essentially recreating the arrival of the original settlers — the famous Eleutheran Adventurers — colonists from Bermuda bent on seeking religious freedom. After they were shipwrecked nearby, they eventually made Dunmore Town Bahamas’ first capital. During the day, the beach action is on the eastern, Atlantic side of the island, where folks stroll for hours, almost alone along Pink Sand Beach – perennially voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The pink hue of the sand is as striking as it is subtle, but the texture is unforgettable: like baby power or thinly sifted flour. This fabulous sand gets its unique texture from bits of coral, broken shells and the microscopic remains of tiny marine invertebrates called Foraminifera, which live on the underside of the abundant reefs here. All the resorts in Harbour Island have access to the public beach where visitors and Bahamians alike enjoy the beauty of this most perfect place. Soft, easterly winds blow in with the waves and the beach is never far away. The odd jogger and person on horseback constituted the only action we saw from our accommodation at Runaway Hill Resort. Our host Jennifer Messier (Mark’s sister) is one of the most friendly and knowledgeable people I’ve met. At the same time visitors are shedding their Rolexes, Jennifer is accessing her incredible internal Rolodex that keeps tabs on everyone and everything on the island. (To boot, she is a fellow Canadian.) She and her family have owned and managed the Runaway Hill Resort for over 14 years and she speaks about her adopted home of Harbour Island (or Birland, as locals refer to it) with the genuine enthusiasm of a first-timer. Back in the 1990s, Mark Messier entered a fishing

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the unique boutique in downtown Nanaimo

what gifts are on your mind this holiday season? Holiday gift giving made easy! Great gifts starting at just $15! 250.753.1041 | 201–70 Commercial Street |

The beach action is on the eastern, Atlantic side of the island, where folks stroll for hours along Pink Sand Beach – perennially voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Your affordable to

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Futura Medium 2017.10.25

competition, blew a motor, and ended up spending six weeks on Harbour Island, where he fell in love with the beach and the friendliness of the people. “My brother, Mark, got hooked on fishing and the resort became a family affair,” explains Jennifer. All 11 rooms are named after family members and the resort closes occasionally allowing the entire family to reunite. This welcoming, familial feel is present at all times. You might meet Mark here (the hockey legend is winner of six Stanley Cups and was recently named officer of the Order of Canada), but Jennifer is the real star. Celebrities in the business world run amok on Harbour Island (to which the prices in restaurants seem to attest). But the common denominator is the electric golf cars, which everyone,  |

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even locals, use. So, you may have the Midas touch elsewhere, but you’re likely to putt around the streets of Dunmore Town at 20 kilometres an hour, driving on the left side like everyone else. I did not see one fancy car during my stay. Dunmore Town really started to develop under Governor Dunmore in the late 1700s and retains much of its colonial, Loyalist character. Many pastel-coloured clapboard houses from the era remain on Bay Street, often set behind white picket fences, festooned with morning glories and bougainvillea. These are flanked by narrow streets with names like Pitt, King and Princess. Churches from the 1800s are common. There are no theme parks on Harbour Island. In fact, a local stated it best, noting, “The area is not known for gambling, shopping or amusement parks. It’s known for its natural beauty and serenity.” In fact, one of the major attractions here is a lone tree. This tree, stuck in the sand off Bay Street, is a local landmark, placed there decades ago by fluke. It has become the focal point for hundreds of top fashion shots — think Victoria Secret, Sports Illustrated, etc. The charm of Harbour Island is in its tininess — you can stroll through the town in about 20 minutes. The beach is by far the biggest attraction, and at three miles long and 50 to 100 feet wide, it’s almost as big as the town on the other side. The beach is constantly splendid, though the nature of its beauty shifts hour to hour. Some say it can turn a salmon colour at sunset. Many repeat visitors come for the incredible relaxation, but sport fishermen and water enthusiasts love this place, too. Back at Runaway Hill Resort, Jennifer shows photos of guests with

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their big catches, yet, in her opinion, “Any day on the water is a perfect day, whether you make a big catch or not.” After enjoying a spectacularly calming afternoon on Harbour Island’s eastern side, which faces the daylong sun, we hopped into our golf cart and drove eight minutes to the appropriately named Sunset Café on the west coast. Here we enjoyed the end of the day overlooking boats at the Ramora Marina, while downing a few frozen Goombay Smash cocktails. From here, the view is one of yachts of differing sizes, whose owners may be well-off (think franchise kings, football team and restaurant empire owners from the United States and Canada), but are basically seeking the same thing as everyone else — peace and quiet in the old-fashioned way. One lucky fellow snags a bone fish right off the dock in front of us. Later, as I sit on the restaurant veranda at the Runaway Hill Resort, watching the full moon reflecting above the sea, I think about the Eleutheran Adventurers who were fleeing religious intolerance when they landed on Harbour Island area. This is why, when they got here, they chose their name from the Greek word Eleuthera, meaning freedom. I can only think: How utterly appropriate! For more information: The closest airport, the North Eleuthera Airport can be reached directly from Atlanta, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Nassau. We flew on a local Southern Air from Nassau to North Eleuthera – definitely a memorable, albeit cramped, flight!

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VANCOUVER Luxury and love stoke the fires of an annual tradition BY CHELSEA FORMAN

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Photo by Emma Schmidt



Friday, January 26, 2018 at 7:30pm Lulo Reinhardt • Calum Graham Marek Pasieczny • Michael Chapdelaine


Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 7:30pm

Photo by David Cooper



Book, music, and lyrics by Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille | Based on the poem by Pushkin and the opera by Tchaikovsky

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Music Moves 2017 | 2018


It seemed we had walked off the streets of a cosmopolitan hub into a different era — as if the royal blue awning of the Wedgewood was a point where the refined bygone years collided with the present.


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HE HOLIDAY SEASON comes with countless joys, and among them is tradition — sacred Yuletide bonds shared by loved ones, and practised annually with devout commitment. When I was seven years old, my mom and I started one of my favourite traditions. It was early December, and my mom planned a trip for the two of us to explore all of Vancouver’s holiday festivities. I vividly remember holding her hand as we dodged bustling shoppers on the thriving streets of downtown Vancouver. On that first trip, we ducked off the cool sidewalk underneath a royal blue awning and into the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa. I think of that first time now, as my mom and I return to Vancouver to stay at the Wedgewood and enjoy some seasonal cheer. The Wedgewood Hotel & Spa is a member of the esteemed Relais & Châteaux — an elite collection of the world’s finest hotels and restaurants. Founded in 1984 by Eleni Skalbania, the luxury-boutique hotel remains privately owned and managed by Eleni’s youngest daughter. The Wedgewood identifies as one of Vancouver’s greatest hidden gems, and is a well-kept secret among return guests. At seven years old, I stood in the lobby of the hotel struck by wonder. It seemed we had walked off the streets of a cosmopolitan hub into a different era — as if the royal blue awning of the Wedgewood was a point where the refined bygone years collided with the present. Now, as we stand admiring the classic holiday décor, the concierge tells us the traditional decorations have been decking the Wedgewood’s halls for 33 years. After checking in, we opt for a quick nightcap at the property’s exquisite Bacchus Restaurant & Piano Lounge. The Bacchus exudes luxury, with deep-maroon, velvet furniture and curtains, complemented by dark, cherry wood accents and

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Bacchus Restaurant and Lounge at the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa in Vancouver. Previous page, women walking across Capilano Suspension Bridge.

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Murano crystal fixtures. We fall into plush, oversized chairs by the roaring fire and fall into a comfortable silence. The venue itself is only outdone by the exquisite French cuisine that features fresh West Coast ingredients. On Christmas Day the Bacchus serves a proper feast, followed by a delectable brunch on Boxing Day. It may be tempting to bask in the numerous luxuries of the Wedgewood all day, but Vancouver is a city that so eagerly and expertly embraces the Yuletide season, the plethora of festivities simply can’t be missed. Upon waking, I bound out of bed with a skip in my step and a craving for sugarplums. Today is our first day in full-blown Christmas tradition, and my mom and I are rightfully excited. Exploring the winter wonders starts the moment we step outside the hotel and hang a quick left from the Wedgewood’s Hornby Street location onto Robson Street. Robson is a twinkling vision over the holidays, making Christmas shopping less stressful and more of an experience. From Nordstrom to the numerous chain and independent shops along Robson, you can spend a full day on this city stretch. We wrap up our time with a trip to Robson Square for a cup of hot chocolate and a twirl around the holiday ice rink. Returning to the Wedgewood at day’s end is a welcome retreat. The property is adorned with sophisticated finishes and rich, gem-tone colours, accentuated by the traditional holiday decorations ornamenting the property. The Wedgewood Hotel has a regal air that stretches beyond the lobby and into the 83 guestrooms. Each of luxury rooms and suites feature walk-out balconies, ultra-swank bedding and L’Occitane bath amenities.

The Wedgewood also offers several unprecedented services and amenities, including a seasonal, upon-request service of in-room decorations, complete with petite Christmas tree. On our second day in Vancouver, we hit my two favourite holiday activities. While located slightly farther away from the Wedgewood, both are within walking distance. The first is the FlyOver Canada Christmas edition at Canada Place. The experience has you suspended with feet dangling before a 20-metre spherical screen, while you visually soar on an exhilarating journey across Canada, helping Santa track down some missing elves. The sensation of flying is that much more realistic as a cool sea breeze and snowflakes brush your cheeks. FlyOver Canada is an absolute delight for families, or adults (like us) who just want a little nostalgia of that childlike-wonder that Santa evokes. The flight ends with a special trip to the North Pole. A quick walk from FlyOver Canada is the Vancouver Christmas Market, which has become a seasonal staple for all Vancouverites. Following in the traditional footsteps of the German Christkindlmarkt, the market features local artisans and festive regional refreshments — the Glühwein (mulled wine) is not to be missed. The Old World tradition of the Vancouver Christmas Market is apparent in the decorated pathways of the European-inspired Christmas village. Nestled beside the ocean, the open-air market rings with the sounds of live holiday music and festive cheer from the bundledup patrons. This Yuletide celebration has two preparatory requirements: dress warm and go hungry. The market is truly a foodie haven with an overwhelming expanse of the most delectable epicurean delights, and an impressive selection of

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Couple riding the Christmas Carousel at the Vancouver Christmas Market

German and Austrian traditional beers. Kids are sure to enjoy meeting Santa, riding the carousel and participating in a marketwide scavenger hunt. For visitors who are looking for superb evening outings, and who don’t mind slipping beyond the city limits, the Christmas lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge and the VanDusen Botanical Garden are superb. My mom and I have always enjoyed both charming activities, but each offers completely different experiences. The Capilano Suspension Bridge will have your heart racing — it leads across the Capilano River into the rainforest, complete with treetop walk, all dripping in sparkling

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lights. Here, you can see the world’s largest living Christmas tree. The VanDusen Botanical Garden Festival of Lights is a leisurely stroll through 15-acres of garden gleaming in over one million Christmas lights. At the end of a full day of exploring Vancouver’s holiday exposé, we anticipate returning to the warm and sedating luxury of the Wedgewood. Curling up fireside at Bacchus — sipping a warm drink — will give us time to unwind and reflect on the magic of the holiday season, and embrace the joy of our beloved Yuletide tradition.

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“Queen of Canadian Soul” Dawn Pemberton.




ERFORMING AT Courtenay’s Sid Williams Theatre as part of the Blue Circle Series highlighting professional talent, Canadian soul dynamo Dawn Pemberton will wow audiences with her soul groove and honeyed voice. Based in Vancouver, Pemberton has been hailed as “the new Queen of Canadian Soul” and she and her band will heat up the cold January night as she belts out favourites from her debut album Say Somethin’. Pemberton grew up surrounded by music, with a father who sang in a band, a mom who sang in choirs, and older siblings who got into everything from rock to punk. Combined with attendance at a music-centric high school and post-secondary studies in jazz, it was a natural progression for Pemberton to

develop a vibrant music career with roots in soul. “Soul music really comes out of a beautiful legacy. It’s music that was created by people who were denied their basic civil rights, and instead of shrinking, they created this awesome form of expression that encapsulated their struggles and triumphs, and expressed it through music that is thriving,” says Pemberton. Developing a second album, Pemberton wants to take a page from artists like the great Wayne Shorter, and use her music to provide inspiration for hope despite all the turmoil in the world. “Lately I’ve been thinking of the Nina Simone quote that an artists’ job is to reflect the times. I feel like that is so important and so potent,” says Pemberton.


ONEGIN FEBRUARY 13, 7:30 PM AT SID WILLIAMS THEATRE, COURTENAY FEBRUARY 14, 7:30 PM, PORT THEATRE, NANAIMO A mixed-modern take on a classic Russian love story, Onegin, presented by the Arts Club Theatre, will come to the stage in  |

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Scene from Onegin.

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Courtenay and Nanaimo this winter. By Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille, Onegin is the story of 18-year-old Tatyana Larin and the arrogant, charismatic Evgeni Onegin. Onegin is her unrequited love, who has a hard lesson to learn. Inspired by the opera by Tchaikovsky and the original novel in verse by Alexander Pushkin, Onegin takes the traditional and injects a hit of contemporary edge. “It’s a show about love and it’s right before Valentines’ Day, so what could be better?” says Tara Murphy, marketing director and coordinator for Sid Williams Theatre. If you’ve ever been in love, you’ll be able to relate to this production, with all of its immersive music and opulent costumes. Described by the Vancouver Sun as “breathtaking,” the rock musical received 10 awards at the 2016 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards in 2016. Also known as the “Jessies,” awards are given for outstanding achievement in the Vancouver Professional Theatre Community.

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BOREAL COLLECTIVE WINTER FAIR DECEMBER 16, 10 AM 2375 KOKSILAH ROAD, DUNCAN The Christmas season is notorious for craft fairs, bake sales and fundraisers, but Shannon Wilson of Cobble Hill is offering something unforgettable. The Boreal Collective Winter Fair offers locally created highend, curated art, jewellery and décor. The pieces are contemporary, stylish items created by potters, jewellers, graphic designers and more, and the overall aesthetic is inspired by current trends in New York, LA and Europe. Wilson limits vendor overlap and encourages artists to connect with visitors. “We really want the artist and customer to have a conversation, and for the customer to understand the artist’s process,” she says. Formerly known as Drift Winter Market, this one-day event was designed to showcase local art in a truly organic way. “The craft fair scene is really competitive and people only have so much money to spend, so we really wanted to create something special, one of a kind,” she says. Spread between two halls at the HUB at Cowichan Station, the goal is to offer a noteworthy shopping experience without the chaos of a traditional craft fair. In addition to incredible shopping opportunities, there will also be live music all day and fine cuisine offered up by the Long Table Series.


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Acclaimed organist Jenny Vincent is redefining common perceptions of the organ with the contemporary Knox OrganWorx series. “The organ appeals to people who are classically trained, who are into pop and rock music, even people who are not into music at all,” says Paul Vincent, one of the organizers of the series held at Parksville’s Knox United Church. The three-part series highlights a diversity of genres, ranging from Celtic, classical, contemporary and folk, all the way to the debut concert, which centred on music from contemporary pieces like 2001: a Space Odyssey. This premier concert featured a talk about the expanding universe by Bob McDonald, Canadian science journalist and host of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks, and created a stir among audience members. The second concert in the series will take place January 14, and feature collaborations with Vincent and harpist Janelle Nadeau, performing music by Canadian composer Rachelle Lauren. “So much of what is out there for organ and choir is all religious. One of my agendas is to get new music written for it and to show what this instrument can really do,” says Jenny Vincent. A resident of Nanoose Bay, Vincent is the music leader at

Knox United Church. She has been playing the organ since she was six years old and is now one of Canada’s finest organists. “Where most kids learn the piano, I learned the organ,” she says with a laugh.


This February, the hills are alive with the sound of awesome. Part of the Awesome All Winter Series, Winterfest is Vancouver Island’s biggest winter festival, bringing in thousands of islanders and visitors each year. It offers up a calendar packed with music and comedy acts, delicious food and “ski & stay” packages at Mount Washington and Courtenay resorts, which include a 50 per cent discount on lift tickets. Events take place in downtown Courtenay as well as at Mt. Washington Resort. Already home to some of the best festivals on the island, the fun doesn’t stop when the snow falls around the Comox Valley. Enjoy the outdoors, learn to skate at the outdoor rink in downtown Courtenay, take in an ice carving demo, take in a movie or enjoy some fine dining in and around the valley. There is something for winter lovers of all ages. Check for calendar updates.

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“We had 2,000 vinyl recordings but not a single one was classical,” Simard says in an interview over coffee in a bustling downtown Nanaimo cafe. Simard promptly followed the course of any self-respecting teenager. He rebelled, finding inspiration among the classical musicians and composers revealed to him through high school music classes. “This is where I discovered a brand new world,” he says. Those early glimpses into classical music led him to pursue the oboe, and he soon began composing and creating new music as a young conservatory student. Simard has been conducting the Vancouver Island Symphony since 2008. As a conductor, arranger and composer, he’s worked LAUDE DEBUSSY liked to stretch the with symphonies across North America and throughout Europe. musical rulebook. Wolfgang Amadeus His skill has been recognized by the Canada Council for the Arts Mozart enjoyed a carousing lifestyle. as well as the Quebec Council of Music. Undeterred by reaching It’s no secret that the classical music beyond expectations, Simard helped the VIS attract top talent, world hosts its fair share of rebels, and grow a diverse audience base and explore new creative outlets. Vancouver Island Symphony’s Artistic “I have to say I’m extremely proud of the artistic and musical Director Pierre Simard is no exception. level that we are featuring here,” As a boy growing up in he says. “It tells of the musicians’ Montreal, Simard had easy BY SEAN MCINTYRE | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N ability, of course, but it also tells access to an eclectic mix of of their commitment and sense musical styles. His father played of belonging — something you don’t necessarily find in larger in a local band and his mother sang in clubs to make ends meet. cities. The knife can become blunt with some big orchestras, Rock, blues and country music LPs featured prominently on the playing on a weekly basis.” family’s playlist.

Pierre Simard on conducting a cultural resurgence


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Pierre Simard, artistic director of the Vancouver Island Symphony , at Mon Petit Choux café in downtown Nanaimo.


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Having commuted between Nanaimo and Quebec to train and perform for the past 10 years, Simard finally moved to Vancouver Island with his family full-time in August. It’s a big move but not as rebellious a move as one might imagine. The decision to move out west was unanimous. Simard’s spouse, Nadya Blanchette, had already established strong connections in the region’s performing arts community, and the couple’s three children were attracted to the West Coast’s natural beauty and recreation opportunities. “The children were quite happy; they made [the decision] easy,” he says. “They danced when we asked them, they started jumping.” Back in Montreal, Simard jokes, he was morphing into a cellar dweller, always at work on new musical projects in his studio. A natural creator, Simard uses his downtime to create electronic music inspired by his classical roots. With two albums under his belt, Simard aspires to use his spellbinding sounds for film and video game soundtracks. At 48, Simard says he hopes exploring the region’s wild places will get him out of the studio to seek inspiration and more quality time with his family. Simard has just signed a five-year contract with the symphony and has embarked on a major campaign to let music lovers on Vancouver Island know the symphony is here to stay. The VIS’s current season offers a powerful suite of concerts for seasoned ears, and more opportunities than ever to welcome newcomers both young and old to the world of symphonic music. Preservation of live classical music has sadly become a more pressing priority in what Simard sees as a world filled with ever more distractions. When he arrived in Nanaimo in 2008, he says, the drive was to make the VIS significant in a region that hosts high-calibre symphonies in Victoria and Vancouver. These days, he’s not even thinking about the folks down the road or across the Strait of Georgia. “I’m thinking about survival in a context of Netflix and Spotify and Instagram and LinkedIn and Facebook,” he says. Simard worries the distractions, the temporality and the superficiality of the social media age are rapidly eroding our understanding of the world around us. Though we may have

“Art and music are central in teaching those lessons. Through a live concert, you can provide information.”

“It tells of the musicians’ ability, of course, but it also tells of their commitment and sense of belonging, something you don’t necessarily find in larger cities.” access to unprecedented levels of information, it’s getting harder to make sense of it all and understand what it all means. The tradeoff of our connected world, Simard says, is a distorted cultural life based on virtual connections and algorithm-based playlists. The result sacrifices the merits of a shared musical experience and a community’s cultural evolution. Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of history, Simard says. “I believe we live in a difficult and dangerous time for live music and culture in general,” he says. “We live in a violent world that doesn’t learn, on a global societal scale, from the lessons of history enough. Art and music are central in teaching those lessons. Through a live concert, you can provide information.” Days before our interview, Simard and the VIS launched the 2017-18 season with a presentation of works by Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev. The selection of such noteworthy composers naturally requires no excuse, but for Simard, timing is everything. This year’s performance coincided with the Russian Revolution’s centennial anniversary. Simard says the anniversary passed largely ignored by North American media, a fact he views as deeply unsettling since the revolution stands among the most significant events that shaped the politics of Europe and much of the world throughout the 21st century. In keeping with the historical theme, the opening concert featured Simard’s The Bastion, a piece inspired by a focal point of Nanaimo’s own often overlooked historical legacy. Events such as the Russian Revolution or even the settlement of Vancouver Island serve as great sources of wisdom which, Simard says, our society’s short-term memory tends to overlook. Art and music are the tools Simard uses to help listeners recall and learn from lessons of the past. “The audience heard the music and were in contact with this piece of history,” he says. “Of course, we don’t have any control on the impact, but doing it is important. Whenever we perform it needs to be eventful. “Should I create a lasting impact on even a single person, then I know I have successfully played my role as a musician.”  |

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During our visit to artist Arthur Vickers’ gallery and workshop in Cowichan Bay, Arthur brought out one of his beautiful, still-inprogress masks. As we marvelled at the way in which the grain of the wood complemented the intricate carving, Arthur encouraged Boulevard’s Lia Crowe to hold the mask up to her face. We were amazed at how it instantly became animated and alive.

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Boulevard Magazine, Central Island Edition, Winter 2017/18  
Boulevard Magazine, Central Island Edition, Winter 2017/18