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art & soul Passion, creativity and a zest for life

point of view Saltair home is a masterpiece of contemporary living

boss babe Take charge in the office with bold, fiery fashion

Whether you’re staying up late with a good book, sleeping in ‘til noon or snuggling under the covers, do it in a bed you love.

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18 FEATURES 34 point of view

On the Cover Photo by Lia Crowe Model Dahlia Aldana, styling by Katherine Suna, makeup by Lea Christine Smith. Photographed at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. Painting is Satellite City by Robert Naish.



8  |


Beautiful Saltair home built with an eye to the sea

By Darcy Nybo


boss babe Take charge in the office with bold pattern mixing and fiery punches of red

By Katherine Suna

40 driving a greener future


Sjon Wyia takes the next step with Harbourview Volkswagen

Cowboy at heart, Andre Brosseau excels in the business world

By Toby Tannas

By Tess van Straaten

48 romancing the olive

66 Go Green

Mediterranean inspiration thrives on the West Coast

Chinese vegetables for good taste and good health

By Sean McIntyre

By Chef Heidi Fink





Top dogs and passionate people

By Susan Lundy

16 inspiredstyle

22 inspiredHEALTH


Modern Matcha

What’s on this month

By Pamela Durkin

By Sherry Conly

28 inspiredPEOPLE

94 secrets and lives

Danica Lundy

By Angela Cowan

Zest for Life Dr. Julian Hancock

By Sean McIntyre


Grand & Glorious Loire Valley

By Suzanne Morphet

Nenagh McCulloch

By Katherine Suna




Ian Blom The Old Firehouse Wine & Cocktail Bar

Right as Rain in “Renny” Port Renfrew

By Susan Lundy

By Susan Lundy

By Don Denton  |









page 86

page 18

Editor Susan Lundy

“Finding a selection of dynamic performances came easily this season. Vancouver Island is slowly waking up from a cosy winter slumber, and there’s a little bit of something for everyone this spring. Choose from eclectic dance, classic comedy, a historical play with plenty of heart, to timeless rock presented by one of Canada’s best-loved bands, the Stampeders.” Sherry is a graduate of Vancouver Island University. She works as a writer and editor for small businesses as well as various Canadian publications.

“Chef Ian Blom at the The Old Firehouse Wine & Cocktail Bar works in a small space without much elbow room. Yet it’s here that he creates a spectacular dish of Confit Wild Boar shoulder with fermented blackberry barbecue sauce, celeriac cream, fingerling potatoes and herb salad. It’s a dish that’s somehow both delicate and hearty, and certainly beautiful to the eye.” Don has photographed numerous high-profile events, including the Olympics, World Hockey Championships and a Royal wedding.

SPRING 201 8

Group Publisher Penny Sakamoto

PUBLISHER Mario Gedicke 250.891.5627

associate editor Lia Crowe

creative director Lily Chan

design Lorianne Koch Michelle Gjerde Advertising

Mario Gedicke Andrea Rosato-Taylor Vicki Clark Pat Brindle




WRITER: “The Ghost I Made You Be”


page 28

page 54


“I’ve been loosely following Danica’s work as an artist for years now, and it’s such a thrill to have witnessed her evolution and progress, and to see how wonderfully her work is being received.” Angela is a freelance writer and editor who contributes regularly to Boulevard and writes novels in her spare time. Find her on Twitter @ angela_m_cowan

“What to wear to work is a daily conundrum. It’s a fine balance of professional appearance mixed with style and it’s easy to get stale. This issue we explore spring workwear with personality that performs like a boss.” Lia is a stylist, creative director, photographer and writer with a long history of working in the fashion industry.

Contributing Sherry Conly, Angela Cowan, Writers Lia Crowe, Pamela Durkin, Heidi Fink, Sean McIntyre, Darcy Nybo, Suzanne Morphet, Katherine Suna, Toby Tannas, Tess van Straaten Contributing Lia Crowe, Don Denton, Photographers Geoff Hobson Izabel Kazenbroot-Guppy, Joshua Lawrence Circulation & Marilou Pasion distribution 604.542.7411



art & soul Passion, creativity and a zest for life

dummy CLOSED friday @ 3:56 pm

point of view Saltair home is a masterpiece of contemporary living

boss babe Take charge in the office with bold, fiery fashion.




PHOTOGRAPHER: point of view

page 66

page 34

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:

“I always love an excuse to tour a Chinese food market. I still get excited when I see new and interesting ingredients. I especially love how many beautiful vegetables are for sale in all months of the year.” Heidi Fink is a chef, food writer and culinary instructor, specializing in local foods and ethnic cuisines.

“This project was a true example of a West Coast contemporary home with sprawling, unobstructed ocean views from every room.” Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Geoff has developed his passion for architectural and outdoor photography over the last two decades.”

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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Izabel Kazenbroot -Guppy

Sean McIntyre




Zest for life


page 94

page 16 “For this assignment, we met Nenagh at her showroom in Duncan. The room was warm and inviting, with west coast decor that added a personal touch, and Nenagh met us in a look as equally put together as her decor. Her laughter and passion mirrored the warmth of the business, and we quickly felt like old friends.” Izabel is a freelance graphic designer, model and photographer from Nanaimo.

“Interviewing Dr. Julian Hancock was inspirational and refreshing, a reminder that one can never be too sure what (or how many) stories to expect when talking about the secrets and lives of Vancouver Islanders.” Sean is a freelance writer based on Salt Spring Island. He enjoys writing about the people, places and flavours of Canada’s West Coast.

“To be able to visit so many remarkable gardens in such relative proximity, each with its own personality, is something I’ve not experienced before and may simply not exist elsewhere.” Suzanne is a former CBC Radio News reporter who now focusses on having fun while writing and photographing destinations that deserve to be known and shared.

Katherine Suna

Darcy Nybo

STYLIST: Boss babe

WRITER: point of view

page 54

page 34

“For our fashion shoot for this spring issue, our team focussed on the entrepreneurial spirit of the career woman. We wanted to show options on what to wear to the office — beyond the typical pant suit. Model Amanda made a statement, sporting pops of colour, bold pattern mixing and shades of fiery red lips.” Katherine is a fashion stylist, occasional writer and a woman who takes charge in all aspects of her life.

“When you work and travel around the world, you collect a few things here and there. One couple decided to build a home around their global collection of antique furniture and art and the results were spectacular.” Darcy is a freelance writer, writing instructor and author. She loves meeting with people and hearing the story of how they created their dream homes.

Tess van Straaten


WRITER: Driving a greener future


page 42 “As someone who tries to do as much as possible to protect the planet — I’ve been known to fish cans, bottles and paper out of the garbage at work to make sure they get recycled and I have reusable shopping bags older than my teenage son — I was thrilled to interview Harbourview Volkswagen co-owner Sjon Wynia, who is committed to being the greenest dealership on Vancouver Island.” Tess is an award-winning journalist and television personality who has had the privilege of interviewing people for close to two decades.


page 76  |


page 60

“Andre Brosseau is a business leader with a knack for growing companies and the people within them. I enjoyed getting to know the man behind the success story...he’s a riot!” Toby is a former TV News Anchor. She now focuses on running her small fashion business, freelance media work & her beautiful daughters.

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Top dogs and passionate people By susan lundy

assessing himself next to Austen. He stopped wanting to burrow into our bed at night, choosing instead to sleep on a “big dog” pad. And now that he’s an only dog, he’s taken to riding in the backseat of the car rather than on a lap in the passenger seat. And Rollie — who is in no way selective when it comes to food — has always eaten banana. Austen, not so much. Once when Bruce handed each a piece of banana, Austen immediately spat his out. Rollie paused for a minute, eyed Austen and then spat out his piece as well. But ultimately, differences in the dogs prevailed and, as is often the norm, the little dog outlived the big one. It was a sad, sad day when we had Austen put down. But at least the memories prevail. There are no dogs, bananas or escape doors in this edition of Boulevard; however, Austen would have happily joined us on our winter getaway to the pet-friendly Wild Renfrew — this edition’s Travel Near piece — and he most certainly would have loved to dig a hole or two had he travelled with writer Suzanne Morphet to the glorious gardens in the Loire Valley (Travel Far). It’s unlikely he would have appreciated Chef Heidi Fink’s mouthwatering Chinese greens or Pamela Durkin’s matcha tea, but would have happily tucked into Chef Ian Blom’s Pecorino Gnocchi Romano. What this edition of Boulevard does serve up is a delectable mix of fashion, interior design, art and a host of people with passion. Enjoy reading stories on entrepreneurs Sjon Wyia and his ecoconscious Harbourview Volkswagen; Innov8 owner Andre Brosseau, who with his wife, Katia, aims to give back to the community; and Nenagh McCulloch, the style-savvy owner of Modern Coastal Furniture. A passion for olives has elevated Canada’s only olive grove owners — George and Sheri Braun — plus Laura and Will Levirs (of Olive This and More) to the next stage in their lives; while a passion for art has taken local artist Danica Lundy from here to New York and Milan. Tour a beautiful house, check out our office wear fashion story and discover what’s up-and-coming in the Central Island’s entertainment scene. Back at our house, Rollie remains slightly lost without his brawny cohort, and our plans to scatter Austen’s ashes have petered out, none of us quite yet able to bear the final goodbye. 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). photo by lia crowe


y boy Austen was an “only dog” until the final four of his 15 years, which — heartbreakingly — ended late last October. But in 2013, when Bruce and I packed up the part-time house in Calgary and settled permanently on the coast, Austen suddenly had a full-time doggy sibling: Rollie the Dachshund. The dogs actually shared a birthday, born within a few hours of each other back in 2002. But the similarity ended there. Austen, a wired-haired pointer, boxer, shepherd mix, who looked like a Wolfhound, had soaring legs that rose to meet a burly-chested, shaggy frame. Smooth-haired, chestnut-coloured Rollie boasts legs the height of Austen’s paws, and his entire body could probably have fit in Austen’s stomach. Austen loved to chase the ball, swim, dig holes the size of small ponds and go on long walks — at running speed — while Rollie favours food, sleep and as little movement as possible. Austen tipped the scales at 100 pounds; Rollie weighs in at 16. But the moment Rollie took possession of his new West Coast home, he ruled the roost. Soon after we arrived, we went on a forest walk with friends and their two German Shepherds. The four dogs bounded happily along the path until another dog approached. It was Rollie — not the big dogs — who burst like a bullet from the pack, snarling and barking and demonstrating a dominance that defied his size. Austen had a deep, threatening bark, but he was a gentle giant. If we didn’t keep an eye out while the boys ate their dinners, Rollie would gobble his up and then spring onto Austen’s plate. Once in awhile, Austen retaliated with a low growl, but mostly he backed off, seemingly saying, “Oh well, I guess the little guy’s hungry.” Same with Austen’s big sleeping pad. The moment Austen stepped off, Rollie would saunter over, flop onto it and fall straight to sleep. Austen would walk back into the room, stare at Rollie for a few minutes, hovering above him, and then plunk onto the floor beside the mat. Of the two dogs, Austen had the brawn and (I think) the beauty, but there was no doubt Rollie had the brains. Austen lived in this house since he was puppy — over a decade before Rollie arrived. But Rollie marched into the house and within days had discovered he could poke open an exterior wood door. It was too high on the outside for Rollie to risk jumping out, but Austen couldn’t believe his luck — an escape route he’d never knew existed. Occasionally something occurred that indicated Rollie was

What this edition of Boulevard does serve up is a delectable mix of fashion, interior design, art and a host of people with passion.

14  |



some light

on your creativity


601 Boleskine Rd. 250-384-9359


201-4300 Wellington Rd. 250-756-3614

The Brighter Side of Lighting



Nenagh McCulloch Owner of Modern Coastal Interiors

BY Katherine Suna | P H OTO BY I z abel K a z enbroot- G u ppy

Reading Material What do you read online for inspiration: Pinterest. Favourite style blog: Eliza Faulkner. Coffee table book:

Peanut Butter Dogs by Greg Murray. Last great read or currently reading: The Rosie

Project by Graeme Simsion. Favourite book of all time:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Style Inspirations

Style Icon: Mila Kunis. Favourite Artist: Linda Heslop — “The queen of coastal art.” Piece of art: Chili Thom’s — “For The Home (Kelp).” Favourite Fashion Brand:

Eliza Faulkner — Canadian designer!

16  |


Favourite Musician: Elton John. Era of Time that inspires your style: 1990s: “I love anything in denim!” Film or Movie that inspired your style: My Fair Lady.

Life Favourite local restaurant: Nha Trang Sushi.

“If you haven’t tried their dynamite roll you haven’t lived!” Favourite Drink: Bourbon Sour from Old Firehouse Wine Bar. Favourite Spotify Playlist: Best of House Sax. Favourite thing to do when you are not working: Go to the ocean! Favourite city to visit: Tofino. Favourite Hotel or place to travel: AirBnb anywhere I can! Favourite App: My Fitness Pal. Current Hobby: Kickboxing. Secret talent: I sing in a band. Beauty Necessary indulgence: Saltspring Soapworks Body Lavender Gelato — “If you haven’t tried it, it’s a must!” Moisturizer: La Roche Posay — UV Moisturizer. Scent: Sexual Fleur by Michel Germain. Musthave hair product: Loreal Paris Elnett Satin Mousse. Beauty secret: Hydration and sleep! Product you cannot live without:

La Roche Posay — UV Moisturizer.

Fashion Your Go-to outfit: Jeans, T-shirt with a blazer or cardigan. All-time favourite piece: Dex Black High

Waist Skinny Jeans from Wall Street. Currently coveting: Tall Hunter boots in olive green. Favourite pair of shoes: Black Girlfriend


ou can’t help but feel like you’re at home when walking into the Modern Coastal Interiors showroom. This was the vision sole owner Nenagh McCulloch had when she created the coastal-themed space. “I want my clients to instantly feel like they’re at home. When investing in quality furnishings, it’s something that’s going to be in your life for a long time. So having my clients envision that, and feel like they can nestle in, is exactly the feel I want for the showroom.” I sat down with Nenagh in what felt like a cosy living room. She was sporting a denim button-up top, black skinny jeans and fabulous nude pumps, which matched her sultry red curly hair. We chatted briefly about style and her simplicity in outfit choices. “I am quite a minimalist; however, the pieces I choose to wear are with purpose. Wearing something I can move in, and also be presentable to customers is a win.” Nenagh was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley, and never drifted too far from home and family. “I am such a homebody. My parents and partner are my rocks; my two siblings live out of town. My sister just had a baby boy, and I am finally a first-time ‘auntie!’ I am super excited.” Nenagh has coached youth sports, and was also very involved in the rugby community. She practically grew up on the sidelines of the rugby pitch. “My dad played, and my mom was our trainer. It was our weekend routine: we would go watch, and play in a couple of games. Afterwards we would have a beverage, and sing around the piano. It was really cool, and went hand-in-hand with family. It’s a massive community.” We chatted about her career working in retail, mainly a shoe boutique in Duncan called Cardino Shoes, and what she learned there about selling quality products.

Blundstones. “I can do anything in these boots.” Favourite purse: “Smallest bag possible! Usually my black cross-body bag.” Favourite jewellery designer: Sue Koch Atelier. Fashion obsession:

Quality undergarments. (“A hidden secret that packs a punch when it comes to confidence!”) Accessory you spend the most money on: Shoes, in particular my black coal boots by Freebird. Top 3 items found in your purse you use the most: Lipstick,

mints and hair tie.

“Owning a business has been something I’ve always wanted to do, and working with Jean at the boutique was a really big inspiration for that. Listening to customers and finding out what their unique tastes are, and maybe even help broaden their horizons, is my strength.” Nenagh had tremendous support from her family when she decided to jump into the furniture business. “I had everyone backing me up. My dad encouraged me to do it. He said, ‘This might not be your first business plan or your end-all deal, but right now it’s an opportunity, and if you want it, grab it!’ My dad and mom have been a huge part of this process by helping me and cheering me on.” Nenagh had one month to learn the job when she bought the furniture business. “There wasn’t any toe dipping into the water — it was all in,” she said. It was so great to see Nenagh get fired up about the design aspect of her job. “I love taking the clients’ very specific visions of their dream pieces, digging into that vision, and finding them their perfect piece. I also love that I can draw out my clients’ visions and custom-create pieces for them.” Nenagh is keeping her options open with the business, and is excited for growth.  |



inspired CHEFS inspired CHEFS

Ian Blom Executive Chef at The Old Firehouse Wine & Cocktail Bar in Duncan BY SUSAN LUNDY | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N

“Chefs in the Cowichan Valley are just starting to scratch the surface of what can be done with all these amazing products at our fingertips. I hope to be on the leading edge for our future culinary scene.”


Where were you born and where did you grow up?

was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley. I always took for granted how beautiful the Cowichan region is with its endless outdoor activities. We have multiple rivers, the ocean is a short drive in almost any direction, there are unbelievable trees and forests and a plethora of amazing organic farms, wineries, distilleries and artisan producers. As a chef I would not want to be anywhere else. Chefs in the Cowichan Valley are just starting to scratch the surface of what can be done with all these amazing products at our fingertips. I hope to be on the leading edge for our future culinary scene. Where did you train?

I attended Malaspina University in Nanaimo, straight out of high school, attempting to obtain a BA of Arts. Early on, I realized academics were not really piquing my interest. Instead of writing term papers and research projects, I was watching cooking tutorials and reading Escoffier and The French Laundry Cookbook. With encouragement from my family, I dropped out of university and enrolled in the culinary program at Vancouver Island University. I completed my two-year diploma program and wrote my red seal exam before I had actually spent a lot of time in real kitchens. My real training began when I moved to Calgary to work at River Café on Prince’s Island. River Café had just been voted best restaurant in the city and I was very excited to be learning and working with like-minded, passionate young cooks.

How long have you been at your current restaurant?

I have been working at the The Old Firehouse for three years. I was hired as the Chef de Cuisine my first year, and took over in year two.

Where before that? Most recently I worked at Unsworth Restaurant for a short time and was the executive chef at Merridale Ciderworks for a year or so. I also did a lot of training at Stage Wine Bar in Victoria’s Fernwood neighbourhood. We had a great team and

Chef Ian Blom at the Old Firehouse Wine & Cocktail Bar in Duncan prepared a dish of Confit Wild Boar shoulder with fermented blackberry barbecue sauce, celeriac cream, fingerling potatoes and herb salad.

great chef and it’s here that I learned the basis of how to run and operate a successful restaurant, as well as how to make charcuterie, etc. What are you best known for as a chef? I am still too early on my culinary story to really be known for one thing yet. I would love to be known as a chef that boosted the awareness of fine food and wine in the Cowichan Valley. Someone who has a tenacious work ethic and strives for perfection, while preparing dishes with the bounty of the Cowichan Valley in mind, and utilizing refined techniques and preparing dishes that are approachable and delicious to the average dinner. Flavour is everything to me. If it doesn’t taste great, don’t put it on the plate! What are the 10 or so most important ingredients in your pantry? Kosher salt, butter, ginger, shallots, garlic, sherry vinegar, fennel, chicken stock, wine, fresh herbs.  |



What’s your favourite dish to cook and eat on a cool winter day? I love making comfort food for my family. Beef cheeks or some sort of braised, cheap cut of beef are always favourites in our household. I like to mix up the flavour profile each time I cook them, so as to not get bored with the same dish. Sometimes it’s Malaysian Reng Deng. Other times it’s classic French red wine braised cheeks; either way it’s delicious. Cheeks can be one of the most luxurious ingredients if done right. What’s your go-to item when sampling other chefs’ fare? I will always search for something that is creative. If I haven’t thought of a dish or seen a dish like it, I am definitely going to try it. House-made charcuterie is always a great option as well. Hobbies? Would it be odd to say cooking? I love food! Also, although I don’t get much time for it anymore (having a toddler at home limits the opportunities), golfing is probably my secondary passion. I love being on the golf course. Spending time at home cooking for my wife, Kim, and son, David, would be my current hobby.

RECIPE Pecorino Gnocchi Romano 1 shallot, minced 1 Tbsp ginger, minced 4 cloves garlic, minced 250 ml chicken stock 250 ml 2% milk 250 ml semolina flour 1 Tbsp butter 250 ml grated Pecorino Romano cheese (parmesan would work as well). Sweat shallot, ginger and garlic down in butter until translucent. Add chicken stock and milk. Season with salt and cracked pepper. Bring liquid to simmer and whisk in semolina flour. Reduce heat to medium and stir mixture with wooden spoon for 5 to 10 minutes until it’s a thick, smooth paste. Finish gnocchi with grated cheese. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and lay cooked gnocchi mixture out in a 1-inch layer. Cover with more plastic wrap and place in fridge to set for 1 to 2 hours. Cut desired shape out of gnocchi and pan fry in a small amount of oil until both sides are golden brown and delicious. These gnocchi are delicious on their own or serve them with classic basil pesto or salsa verde. Salsa Verde 1 cup parsley 1 garlic, minced 1 shallot, minced 3 white anchovies, minced 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar 3 Tbsp vegetable oil

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inspired HEALTH



A bowl of matcha latte and a bamboo whisk called a chasen at JagaSilk Teabar.

Health benefits of the green tea queen BY Pamela Durkin | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N

22  |


Is your money

“Truly fresh matcha will have a bright, cool-green colour and a natural sweetness with just a hint of bitterness.”



pring is perhaps the most welcomed and delightful season of all as it ushers in a sense of renewal and all that is fresh and revitalizing. For green tea lovers worldwide, the season holds a particular delight —it heralds the annual harvest of their beloved matcha tea. Why would anyone be so passionate about something as “ordinary” as tea? The answer is simple. Matcha is anything but ordinary; it is the oldest and most celebrated variety of Japanese green tea for good reason. Since the 12th century, matcha tea has played an integral part in Japanese culture, and it is still used in the famous Chanoyu tea ceremony first introduced by ancient samurai warriors. What’s more, an overwhelming body of evidence suggests drinking this vibrantly hued brew is one of the healthiest habits you can adopt. Let’s take a closer look at the compelling reasons for matcha’s exalted status. Matcha, like all green (and black) teas, hails from the Camellia sinensis plant. What makes matcha unique is the way in which it is grown, processed and prepared. Matcha tea leaves are only harvested once a year, in spring, when the leaves are young, sweet and tender. A month before the annual harvest, the tea fields are covered with tarp-shading to block any light from reaching the leaves. The tea plants compensate for this loss of light by increasing their production of chlorophyll, certain amino acids and sugars, resulting in matcha’s emerald-green colour, nutrient density and enhanced taste. Only the best, hand-picked tea leaves are then steamed, dried and cut to remove veins and stems. These leaves are stoneground to make the fine, “talcum-like” powder that is matcha. When you drink a cup of matcha you are, in fact, drinking the whole tea leaf, which is not the case with a steeped cup of regular green tea. It is precisely this “whole-leaf goodness” and the abundance of chlorophyll and amino acids, that make matcha superior in taste and nutrition to other green teas. By now, most consumers are aware of the amazing health benefits of green teas in general. Countless studies over the years have established their ability to reduce the risk for cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and even neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Science has also revealed that regular consumption of green tea can help with healthy weight management and improved mental clarity. The nutrient responsible for most of this salubrious benefit is

Our members know that their deposits are reinvested locally to help make communities on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands stronger. We live here, work here, and all our decisions are made here. If you'd be proud to see your money put to work at home, we'd love to meet you. To learn more, visit us at any location, online at or call 1.888.741.1010.






Insurance services provided through Coastal Community Insurance Services (2007) Ltd. Financial planning and investment services provided through Coastal Community Financial Management Inc.  |



JagaSilk Teabar owner Jared Nyberg makes a bowl of matcha latte.

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EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate): an antioxidant scientists have hailed as an outstanding immune booster and cancer fighter. And here’s what’s amazing about matcha — studies show it contains 137 times more EGCG than regular leaf green tea. But that’s not all. Matcha also contains more L-theanine, an amino acid that can actually impart a meditative, blissful state by increasing alpha waves in the brain. Though matcha does contain caffeine, it does not induce the jitters like coffee, thanks in large part to the counteractive effect of L-theanine. So what else is in matcha? In addition to a plethora of disease-fighting flavonoids, it contains respectable amounts of vitamins A, C and E, plus B vitamins, minerals and nine times more beta carotene than spinach. To reap all of matcha’s outstanding health benefits and truly savour its refreshing, aromatic flavour, it’s essential to prepare it properly. “Matcha should never be prepared with boiling water,” advises Jared Nyberg, owner of Victoria’s JagaSilk Teabar and wholesale tea company. “The water should be boiled, then cooled down for two to three minutes (to 60°-70° C) to enhance the flavour profile and ensure nutrient retention.” Proper preparation doesn’t end there. Immediately after pouring the hot water over the matcha powder, it is traditional to break up the powder with a special bamboo whisk called a

chasen. The tea is then whisked briskly using a back-and-forth motion until the surface of the matcha becomes frothy. If you’re really after an authentic taste and texture, forget about using a wire whisk — it will not whip up the palate-pleasing froth that is the hallmark of the “matcha experience.” Special matcha bowls called chawan, with high vertical sides and rounded bottoms, are also required to produce an authentic brew. “You could just mix it with a spoon in a regular cup,” says Nyberg, “but the finished product will be entirely different, and nowhere near as pleasant in taste and texture.” Not surprisingly, Nyberg and his wife and business partner Miyuki Nyberg, are such stalwart proponents of authentic preparation that they offer an array of workshops on the technique and more through JagaSilk’s “Tea Academy” (noted by the venerable New York Times, no less). There is even a certification course designed for the more vocationally minded. If sipping tea isn’t your thing, don’t fret. You can still take full advantage of matcha’s healthful properties. The gem-coloured powder can also be used to make mouth-watering food. “In Japan, matcha is used almost more for baking and cooking than it is for making tea,” explains Japanese native Miyuki.

“You could just mix it with a spoon in a regular cup but the finished product will be entirely different, and nowhere near as pleasant in taste and texture.”

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To reap all of matcha’s outstanding health benefits and truly savour its refreshing, aromatic flavour, it’s essential to prepare it properly.

Indeed, the tea is extremely versatile. It is delicious sprinkled over vanilla ice cream, added to cookie and quick bread recipes, and as a feature ingredient in dressings and dips. It is actually au courant to also pair the tea with food. In fact, many gourmands use matcha like a small, mid-course amuse-bouche or palate-cleanser, creating a great flavour bridge from one course to the next. More importantly, when paired with a specific dish, matcha can help enhance its flavour. “Matcha pairs beautifully with white chocolate and seafood,” enthuses Daniela Cubelic, owner of Victoria’s renowned tea emporium, Silk Road Tea Company. “Actually, anything sweet seems to pair beautifully with matcha — the contrasting flavours enhance one another.” If you want to experiment with the tea at home, it’s important to know what to look for when purchasing matcha. Due to the increased demand for the healthful brew, some poor quality teas have crept onto the market. Remember, if the tea hasn’t been shade-grown, steamed, de-veined, de-stemmed and stone-ground, it isn’t matcha. So how can you tell? “Truly fresh matcha will have a bright, cool-green colour and a natural sweetness with just a hint of bitterness,” says Cubelic. “If your tea doesn’t look and taste like that, it probably isn’t authentic matcha.” Purchasing your matcha from a reputable supplier is the best way to go. A premium-quality matcha will list things like the harvest and grinding date on the label, in addition to the region where the tea was grown. Though premium brews are not inexpensive, they are worth every penny. Just think of them as an investment in good health.

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New York-based artist Danica Lundy grew up on Salt Spring Island.

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o m ai own an nt N dow

“The Ghost I Made You Be”

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Artist’s work explores contradictions, power structures and “painful, awkward moments” BY Angela Cowan | P H OTO BY L I A C R OW E


first met New York-based artist Danica Lundy when she was about 11 years old, and I accompanied my dad on one of his semi-regular trips to Salt Spring Island. The daughter of a friend of a friend, Danica was bright-eyed, competitive, feisty and a driven soccer player always sporting a bruised knee or two. But her creative talents shone through like a beacon even then. Fast forward 15 years, and the 26-year-old artist has a Master of Fine Arts from the New York Academy of Art and is a 2017/18 Chubb Fellow — the highest honour the school can bestow upon its graduates — and she is selling art and making a living as an artist in one of the world’s major arts centres. In February, she had a solo show of her ballpoint pen drawings in New York, while a month-long solo show of her paintings opened March 1 in Milan, Italy. For the last 10 days of April, she’ll be exhibiting back home on Salt Spring at Steffich Fine Art. These accomplishments are not surprising to anyone who’s ever been introduced to the artist. But as we sit and chat now, she says it all still seems a little surreal to her. “Getting into the school was a huge accomplishment,” she says, shaking her head. “I couldn’t even dream of it for a while. It felt closer to Hollywood, just a fantasy ... That place is full of people I admire.” •  |



Bonefire, oil on canvas, 60 x 72 inches.

“That dichotomy between repulsion and attraction is so important to me. I walk that line constantly. I want the viewer to feel uncomfortable, to wonder if maybe she shouldn’t be looking.”

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The April before her program started, Danica, along with a few other students, was invited to the prestigious Tribeca Ball, where she spent the evening surrounded by the glitz of celebrity and fashion and art. In New York for several days, she remembers finding herself in a tiny alley, watching a handful of leaves caught in the chaos of a ceaseless whirlwind. “There was this parallel feeling inside.” Once the masters program began, however, she was grounded, fast and hard. “Your first year is boot camp,” she says. “You’re in classes from nine to six, work until midnight, then you go home and work some more.” She smiles and a shrugs. “It’s stressful.” The summer between first and second years, she was chosen for a residency at the Leipzig International Art Programme, where she spent two months living and working on art in an old, repurposed cotton mill, before returning to school with a new sense of urgency. “Being in New York, it’s such an invigorating, visceral place. You can’t not be propelled by that.” Work on her thesis continued in earnest, as Danica laboured on painting after painting, as well as an eight-foot-wide ballpoint pen drawing. I ask her to tell me about her work, and she struggles a little articulating her process, stopping and starting until the words themselves hang above us. Danica’s hands fly in front of her as she tries to explain why she loves what she does, what she sees, how her work changed while in New York. She stopped painting from life and photographs, turning instead to the depths of her imagination, learned how to focus and “how to squish the spectrum of light into the spectrum of paint.” Her pieces explore the complexities of adolescence, of connection, of that feeling of being an outsider, those “painful, awkward moments that we all pivot off of.” “I love how in painting something can be two things at once,” she says. “It can fill you up. It can empty you. I don’t necessarily paint things I like.” Rather, she’s pulled to give a voice to things that hurt, or are jarring. Magnificent in their complexity, her canvases hold no playful poppies or soothing seashores to be displayed in a hotel lobby. Her work is visceral, complicated, physical, uncomfortable. She walks a line of contradictions with every stroke of colour: the sublime and the grotesque; intimacy pressed against voyeurism. “That dichotomy between repulsion and attraction is so important to me,” she says. “I walk that line constantly. I want the viewer to feel uncomfortable, to wonder if maybe she shouldn’t be looking.” Now as a Chubb Fellow at the school, Danica has the time and studio space to further explore those relationships and continue unearthing her own voice while mentoring incoming students. The latest development in Danica’s artistic evolution is her Italian debut at the C+N Canepaneri Gallery in Milan, Italy, running March 1 to April 6. The solo show, “The Ghost I Made You Be,” includes a significant number of her most recent works, the majority of which were created specifically for the exhibit. “The title…comes from a Leonard Cohen lyric from a song called ‘Treaty’ off his final album before he died last year,” she

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At eight feet wide, “De Capo” is a massive drawing made entirely in ballpoint pen.

©2014 Artez Photography Corporation

says. “The full line is ‘I’m sorry for the ghost I made you be/ only one of us was real and that was me.’ Leonard, a fellow Canadian, has occupied a spot close to my heart for a long time.

I think he was an exceptional poet who spent his whole life clawing at what it means to be human.” “This line struck me as incredibly poignant,” she continues. “To me, it relates to the power structures built in the space between people, and the slow unfolding of oneself into another person, and back. I think it relates to the work I’m doing right now.” The gallery — which has purchased two of Danica’s pieces already — describes the work succinctly, as representing all of us: “uncertain and fluctuating identities suspended between amusement and latent violence, pleasure and abuses, freedom and surveillance, frustration and unexpected poetical impulses, individualism and communion.” “I am grateful for their confidence in my work, and very much looking forward to this show,” adds Danica. Though still at the beginning of what is surely meant to become a significant and impactful artistic career, Danica has already honed in on a delicate balance of contradictions in her work, and she’s done it through endless hours of practice. “My process is probably brutal. I’m scrappy, like I am in sports,” she laughs, and I’m reminded of her “Bruise Bank,” a photographic collection of her battered body post-soccer games, which she ended up felting into “fuzzy badges.” Possessed of an incredible talent, kind-hearted, gorgeous, Danica has an otherworldly quality that shines through until it seems as though sparks should fly from her fingers as she talks about her passions. But there’s no mistaking, this woman has a core of iron. “It’s a bit of a battlefield,” she says of the art world, with an offhand smile. “But I’ve always been able to make it with drive and determination and work ethic.”

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ome people never move off of Vancouver Island. Others settle here from all over the world. Some people build a home and then furnish it. Others build a home around their furnishings. A Saltair couple belonging to the latter group spent a good deal of time deciding where to live once they retired. They travelled the world and lived in several exotic locales, collecting impressive antiques and artwork along the way. When they discovered an older home on a property with an ocean view in Saltair, they knew they’d found their retirement location. Methodical in their search, they went to and found three builders that piqued their interest. It was B.Gallant Homes that won their confidence … and the planning began. “It was their first time building a house,” said Byron Gallant. “Their original intent was to modify the existing home; however, it became apparent that what they wanted could not be done through a renovation. We realized starting from scratch was the best option.” The couple, at B.Gallant’s recommendation, used building designer Ryan Hoyt (Victoria) for the initial layout concept instead of an architect, and they spent nine months getting the plan “just right.” “It’s a team that builds a house,” said Gallant. “They took the concept of the home from the building designer, and once the structural plans were in place, they engaged Kara Hihn of Block Design in Parksville to finalize room layout and creative finishings.” The couple said they felt lucky to have Todd Rowland as the construction manager on this build. “He has an unbelievable attention to detail and his heart and soul goes into his work.” Gallant added that “Todd won’t do something that he doesn’t agree with. He will educate you on why it can’t or shouldn’t be done when you ask him. He was a perfect fit with the homeowners, who did a lot of research and asked the right questions. They knew exactly what they wanted and took their time to make the right decisions. They showed Kara what they preferred, and she found the product that was available.” Hihn and Gallant gave the homeowners valuable advice throughout the creation of the house, working out colours, wall length and room sizes so the couple’s international collection of antiques would fit perfectly. The result is a spectacular home with the owners’ personalities stamped all over it. It’s modern, comfortable, easy to live in and takes full advantage of the oceanfront setting. The flooring in this house is at once rustic and modern. The main floor is done in porcelain tile in a neutral colour with a faint undertone of green. The upstairs flooring is salvaged wood

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They knew exactly what they wanted and took their time to make the right decisions. from the original 1940s house that once sat on the property. The owner picked out each piece himself, ensuring they got exactly what they wanted. “We recommended Mid Island Cabinets and they did a great job,” said Gallant. “The owners showed their online-sourced ideas to Krystalyn who was able to match their concept. Bathroom and kitchen cabinets are cherry wood, which gives the home warmth. Much of the other woodwork, such as baseboards and interior doors are clear stained fir.” There are two main entrances to the house — one is from the two-car garage and through a spacious mudroom. The front entrance is impressive, opening up to ocean views as far as the eye can see. The open concept of the main floor gives a feeling of separate spaces with nine foot ceilings throughout, except for the main living area, which has a 12-foot ceiling. This keeps the sight lines wide open for people in the area chatting with friends and family. And of course, there are ocean views aplenty. The kitchen is as impressive as the view, boasting a substantial bookend island. The natural quartzite counter has Liesegang iron stain banding, which continues from the top down to both ends, creating a waterfall effect. To achieve this the owners bought two bookend slabs and had Colonial

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Countertops cut them precisely for pattern continuation from the top down the sides. The couple chose simple, low-back stools to complement the island without taking away from its natural beauty. The antique furniture in the dining and living area blend well with the modern architecture. “It’s an airtight home,” said Gallant, “with a high efficiency HRV system that ensures circulation of fresh air. When they want ocean air, they simply open their Westeck Lift and Slide windows and doors. It’s quite amazing how easily they open considering how large they are. They stack nicely so when they are open you can’t really see there are two units there.” The upper floor of this three-level home is comfortable with great ocean views from the master bedroom and office. On the lower floor sits a cosy family room, perfect for entertaining. There are also two bedrooms and a full bathroom on this level. Just outside the bathroom is a vestibule, with an additional sink area, leading to an outside door which accesses an external shower and a path to the ocean. The basement contains a wine cellar and workshop as well as the utility room, which houses the HRV unit, suspended by chains to minimize vibration. While the home is a work of art itself — and houses beautiful art and antiques — it’s what you don’t see that makes this house even more remarkable. “The owners wanted cost-effective energy efficiency,” said Gallant. “Like I said before, they researched everything. They learned about constantly evolving building technologies. They decided to focus on minimizing energy requirements and learned all about insulation, ‘tight’ building, HVAC systems, high-efficiency heating systems, water heating systems, LED

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lighting, etc. They wanted to balance cost versus reasonable payout compared to standard building practices.” This house meets those standards. It’s built with Structural Insulated Panels (SIP), and has a high-efficiency, gas-fired boiler, which services both in-floor heating and “on-demand” domestic hot water. “We have an amazing group of contractors here on the island,” said Gallant. “Westcore Electrical and Mechanical of Nanaimo put a lot of effort into electrical, heating and plumbing design. They did the lighting, which is LED with some incandescent. Justin Strattner of McLaren Lighting in Nanaimo was a great help as well.” At the end of the day, the owners got exactly what they

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Talking withtess

Driving a greener future

Sjon Wynia goes green with Harbourview Volkswagen BY Tess van Straaten | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N

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“I think Vancouver Island is the perfect place to have a green building, and with all the changes in the way the automotive industry is going with electric vehicles and reducing the impact on the environment, we’re trying to be a leader in that direction.”


or Sjon Wynia, being a professional hockey player and running an expanding car dealership have a lot more in common than one might think. “Dealing with all sorts of adversity is the thing I learned the most from my hockey experience,” explains Sjon, general manager and part owner of Harbourview Volkswagen in Nanaimo. “Being away in a new country and dealing with language barriers while having to compete at a high level was definitely a challenge. But all those things you learn in sports help you in business.” After four years of playing professional hockey in Holland, the right winger hung up his skates and returned to his hometown of Nanaimo about 15 years ago to join his dad in the family business. “I knew hockey wasn’t likely going to pay the bills forever so before I went to play pro hockey, I used a hockey scholarship and got my business degree,” the 42-year-old says. “Growing up, I always helped out around the business and I have a passion for cars. I was my dad’s right-hand man when he needed me, so it was a natural fit.” His father, John Wynia, started Harbourview in 1983 and remains a co-owner along with younger son, Josh. And as the dealership celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, Sjon is driving an ambitious transformation — building a brand new,

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Sjon Wynia, General Manager, Harbourview Volkswagen.

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state-of-the-art facility that aims to be the most environmentally friendly dealership on Vancouver Island. “I think Vancouver Island is the perfect place to have a green building, and with all the changes in the way the automotive industry is going with electric vehicles and reducing the impact on the environment, we’re trying to be a leader in that direction,” explains Sjon. The new building at the corner of Mostar and Wellington will be powered by the sun, with about 250 solar panels lining the room and generating 70 to 80 per cent of the dealership’s energy. “Some months, depending on the weather, the panels could fully power the building. So that’s pretty exciting,” Sjon says. There are already plans to add more solar panels and make it fully sustainable in the next five years. Sjon says all the lighting at the new dealership, inside and out, is LED to try and make it as energy efficient as possible and the design also includes lots of green space with outdoors lounges for customers. “We’re also going to provide loaner bikes so people can go grab a coffee somewhere or ride the trail behind our store while their vehicles are being serviced,” Sjon adds. In addition to the environmental benefits, the multi-million dollar expansion will also finally bring the sales and service departments together at the same location.

“We’ve always had a separate showroom for our parts and service department, and we’ve always wanted to have a facility where we’re all together,” says Sjon. “We’re all about family and togetherness and our small, twocar showroom just wasn’t going to be big enough for the longterm.” The project is on track for a late March/early April completion. But despite the big expansion and the challenges of running the dealership, you’ll still find Sjon washing cars from time to time. “I used to wash cars all the time as a kid and if I didn’t do it right, my dad made me do it again — he’d make me wash them all again,” says Sjon. “But I don’t mind washing cars and I still do it. My dad and I still wash cars and you’ll see us in the back doing that. I like to be part of it and involved in all parts of the business.” A father of two, Sjon now brings his 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son to the dealership. “They come here all the time,” he says. “They’re like the little mascots here sometimes and they check everything out and get candy from the salespeople. They know everyone!” And if they decide to go into the family business one day, Sjon will teach them what he learned from his dad and mentor. “The most important thing I’ve learned from my dad is that if you treat everybody really well — customers and staff — you have loyalty forever. We’re all about loyalty.”

“All those things you learn in sports help you in business.”

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the olive

Mediterranean inspiration thrives on the West Coast BY Sean McIntyre | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N 46  |



n the island of Mallorca, which rises from the Mediterranean Sea about halfway between Barcelona and Algiers, the narrow gauge Tren de Sóller electric railway cuts through an arid mountainous landscape.  Established more than 100 years ago to haul produce from rural areas into town, the train owes its modern-day existence to people like me — tourists with plenty of time to rattle through the hills and farmland.  Small, family-owned orchards resplendent with the gnarled trunks of ancient olive trees line the tracks minutes from the island’s bustling hub at Palma. Hot sunshine, bright blue skies and a steady breeze blowing inland from the coast create the quintessential Mediterranean experience.  Be it in Spain, France, Italy or Greece, this is the sensation  |



It was love at first sight, and the couple vowed to someday, somehow retire to an olive grove of their own. George and Sheri Braun walk through their grove of olive trees on their Salt Spring Island property.

that attracts millions of international visitors to the area every year. We hadn’t come for the olives, but it’s those tenacious trees that my wife and I still recall fondly many years after our trip. Such is the alluring romance of an olive orchard. Similarly, it was on a voyage through Spain as a young couple many decades ago that George and Sheri Braun experienced love at first sight. And the couple vowed to someday, somehow retire to an olive grove of their own. Despite the passage of time, successful careers, raising a family and becoming grandparents, the Brauns never forgot their dream. But unlike many successful retirees who long for the Mediterranean, the couple didn’t purchase a lush Tuscan villa or whitewashed casa in Andalusia. Wanting to remain close to their family, the Brauns have brought the Mediterranean spirit to Canada’s West Coast on Salt Spring Island. The couple began experimenting with cold-hardy varietals of olive trees a decade ago. About 1,000 trees have been planted and are now five years old. In late 2016, the couple oversaw the pressing of a modest crop that produced the first batch of 100 per cent authentic Canadian olive oil. The historic harvest netted 32 litres of emerald-coloured oil, much of which was promptly scooped up by restaurants and distributors at $75 for a 200 ml bottle. The oil was served at the Canada 150 Order of Canada Governor General’s dinner in Ottawa over the summer, and the Brauns still have a highly coveted personal reserve left for private consumption. They’ve also got plans to produce much, much more. On a recent tour of the 36-acre property overlooking Salt Spring’s 48  |


Burgoyne Valley, George points to a section of land prepped to receive another 2,500 young trees. His goal? To cover the farm in olive trees and produce up to 1,000 litres of oil annually. The appetite for high-quality, authentic extra virgin olive oil has experienced a sharp rise in recent years locally. Opportunities to learn about and explore products from traditional olive oil regions abound in Victoria as well as central Vancouver Island. Olive This and More owners Laura and Will Levirs stepped away from stable, management-level corporate retail jobs on a whim — and a sudden passion for fine olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Speaking moments after receiving a new shipment of fresh olive oil from Portugal, Laura recalls how her fate was sealed during an impromptu visit to an olive oil boutique in the Lower Mainland. She just happened to be riding along in the passenger seat while a friend made a quick stop, an errand to buy some oil for dinner. Laura nearly waited in the car, but there was something about her friend’s enthusiasm that encouraged her to step inside the shop to take a closer look. It was the first time she’d tried fresh olive oil, and the experience was enlightening. “The lights came on after our visit to that little olive oil shop,” she says. “I had goosebumps all over and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I realized we have nothing at all like this midisland, and the rest is history.” It’s a history that continues to evolve in ways Laura and Will never imagined. The couple had always wanted to start their






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own business and work for themselves. Opening the first Olive This and More branch on Nanaimo’s Metral Drive in 2014, the couple says, presented itself as the perfect blend between a project they were passionate about and something that had great business potential. “There really wasn’t anything quite like our concept,” Laura says. “The only place to buy olive oil and balsamic vinegar was at grocery stores and delis, but it was all bottled and there was nothing to try before you buy.” Flash forward four years and OT&M has expanded to branches in Qualicum Beach and Victoria. As is the case with the flagship Nanaimo location, each store offers visitors a chance to behold several dozen sparkling stainless steel containers containing only the freshest olive oils and highest-quality balsamic vinegars. Will points out that labels with the single green border represent flavoured olive oils. A blue line is for specialty oils, and the coveted double-green border represents the extra-virgin lineup. To be classified as extra virgin, olive oil must be processed without the addition of chemicals and have an absence of measurable properties that include mustiness, rancidity and fustiness, which can result from using overripe olives. Will says fruit must be pressed within 24 hours of being picked to receive the extra virgin distinction. His suppliers, he

adds, aim to get their olives pressed within six hours. During the past decade, several large-scale investigations in Europe and North America have revealed widespread falsehoods, deception and mislabelling among major producers in the lucrative olive oil trade. A predominant narrative among the surprisingly large number of online and print publications devoted to reporting on the olive oil industry is how a lack of enforcement and testing has led to a proliferation of low-cost inferior olive oils produced by some of the world’s biggest players. The result has made life difficult for high-quality producers. Given that there’s still no formally agreed-upon process to ensure extra virgin olive oils are the real deal, Laura and Will rely on the Ultra Premium certification, an international standard that relies on chemistry and freshness to ensure only the highest quality oils make it to their shelves. With well-over 75 varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegars to choose from, Laura concedes it can be hard to know where to begin. To help fight the intimidation factor, OT&M staff encourage visitors to sample various styles and share details about what they like to eat. “Everyone who walks in the door gets 100 per cent attention,” Laura says. “We start asking questions to get an idea of what they’re looking for.” The shops offer regular tastings and routinely host special

“I had goosebumps all over and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I realized we have nothing at all like this mid-island, and the rest is history.”


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events as diverse as book clubs and corporate gatherings. Each of the oils and vinegars are available in three sizes. Stores also stock a good variety of gourmet food items with an emphasis on local producers. When their busy schedules permit, Laura and Will also try to participate in Vancouver Island food and drink fairs. “We used to do everything and anything, but we didn’t expect growth to happen like it happened,” Laura says. These days, people stop by the OT&M stores to try something new, crank things up a notch in the kitchen or take advantage of olive oil’s health benefits, which include antiinflammatory properties, an ability to protect against heart disease, fight cancer, treat arthritis and reduce the chances of diabetes, according to some sources. Whatever reasons bring visitors into her stores, Laura says, the enthusiasm of returning customers is making it all worthwhile. “The nicest thing is seeing my customers have the same reaction I had when I walked into that very first store,” she says. “They’ll come in — and it’ll be men women, children and seniors — and they’ll have a big smile on their face.”

Laura and Will Levirs, owners of Olive This & More, have stores in Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach and Victoria.

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From new vines to great wines

When Unsworth Vineyards owner Tim Turyk rode his bike past his future vineyard, he had a vision for something truly special. As Unsworth Vineyards grew into an award-winning wine producer - adding a restaurant and tasting room in the process - Island Savings was right alongside to provide support. With products such as the $30 monthly Unlimited Chequing for Business®† account, numerous commercial lending options and cash management solutions, find out how we can help your business succeed. See the full story on video at

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Island Savings is thrilled to support a home-grown success story like Unsworth Vineyards. Unsworth not only makes handcrafted wines, but also brings a full vineyard experience to Vancouver Island, with a yearround tasting room, restaurant and production tours. people are often surprised to hear about some of the local businesses we support. here’s a few more best kept secrets about island savings: • Decisions are made locally by people who live and work in the same community as you do. We know the local market and can have senior decision-makers onsite at a business within hours. • We work with big businesses, too. As the third largest credit union in B.C. with $10 billion in assets, we think global but act local, helping businesses large and small. • We’re old. With more than 65 years experience serving Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, we have a long term commitment to helping our communities thrive. • We could potentially save your business $6,000 a year or more. Many businesses spend upwards of $500 per month on basic banking fees. We have Unlimited Chequing for Business®† for just $30/month or our $6/month BizSimple™ Business Account†. • The money we make goes back to the community. As a financial co-operative, our members come from our local communities and our profits go back into those same communities. In 2017, we donated $250,000 and 4,000 volunteer hours to more than 250 local community organizations.

• We give genuine advice. Our goal is to get you the best financial options, not upsell you on products you don’t need. • We have the ability to provide mezzanine financing. • We can offer leasing services for equipment and vehicles. • We are a one stop shop. Think we just lend money? We have everything your business needs to start, grow, mature or transition all under one roof. We can also help you insure, invest, manage cash flow and do business continuity planning. • Members walk in here like they own the place. That’s because they do!

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Take charge in the office this spring with bold pattern mixing and fiery punches of red. The Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo provides the backdrop to this selection of stunning work fashion, guaranteed to elevate your office style. Use bold, structured pants, power heels and printon-print to confidently build an empire with your own personality and style.

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Red Tinne top ($89) by InWear and black purse ($85) by David Jones, both from Sartorial Boutique; print dress pant ($125) by Joseph Ribkoff, and gold earrings ($20), from Shades Ladies Clothing; black satin kimono duster ($75) by HYFVE, gold bangle bracelet ($21) and stacked gold ring set ($25), all from Quintessential; black pumps with metallic detail ($225) by Ted Baker from Cardino Shoes.  |



Floral kimono duster ($95) by Dress Forum, stacked gold rings ($25), layered rose gold necklace ($32), rose gold bracelet ($18) and blush pink backpack with zipper detail ($79) by L.A. Brand, all from Quintessential; black gaucho jumpsuit with side pockets ($82) by Lovestitch from; blush pink pumps with metallic feature ($225) by Ted Baker from Cardino Shoes. Artwork: Satellite City by Robert Naish, acrylic on canvas, created in 2009. Purchased and donated to the City of Nanaimo Collection in 2013, courtesy of the estate of Ms Marlene Flater.

Colourful, multi-print pant ($142) by Joseph Ribkoff and gold stud earrings (25) by Canvas, all from Shades Ladies Clothing; striped, button-up blouse ($79) by Soyaconcept from Quintessential; Frankfurt red cross body purse ($98) by Bugatti.

Cacoon v-neck print blouse with tassel ties ($65) by Lovestitch from; geo print gold earrings ($24) by Canvas from Sartorial Boutique.

Black and white Constellation printed skort ($112), fiery red Lulu blouse ($120), both by Lisette L., and gold earrings ($20), all from Shades Ladies Clothing; gold bracelet ($21) and gold stacked ring set ($25), both from Quintessential. Model: Dahlia Aldana Makeup: Lea Christine Smith Photographed on location at the Nanaimo Conference Centre. A huge thank you to the staff for hosting our team for the day.

Talking withtoby

Head Honcho

Cowboy at heart, Andre Brosseau excels in business BY toby tannas | P H OTO S BY DA R R E N H U L L

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e calls himself the “Hi Tech Red Neck.” Andre Brosseau is perhaps more comfortable in a cowboy hat than business suit, but don’t let his country persona fool you. As president of Innov8 Digital Solutions Inc., Andre is a top dog in the world of digital office equipment. He’s a golden boy, with a knack for growing small companies into big players without sacrificing his commitment to customers and staff. “I’m not a boss, I’m a leader,” Andre explains. “A leader does things by example and setting examples for internal staff is absolutely key.” Andre has built his reputation on that principle. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a commerce degree. With no real career plan in place, he started selling office machines for a local dealer. Within a few years, at the age of 25, he was managing the company’s Red Deer operation with much success. However, Andre wasn’t content with being a manager. “Big corporate wasn’t for me because I knew I could do it so much better as an independent business,” he says. Andre bought into tiny firm called Digitex. It was the start of a technology shift in the industry and a big wake-up call for the young businessman. “Everyone said we were going to fail,” recalls Andre. “Even our suppliers at the time.” Determined to prove them wrong, Andre and his partners hit the pavement selling as if life depended on it. Even when the company did start making money, Andre didn’t abandon that work ethic; in fact, he took on farm jobs at night to make ends meet.

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“I was baling hay for $8 an hour and digging in the couch for quarters to buy milk, but all my suppliers were getting paid, all my employees were getting paid. I was the last one in line.” After several years of hard work, and landing some key deals, Digitex was flourishing as one of the largest office equipment businesses in the country. Andre, ready to focus more time on his young family, looked to exit the company and head west to BC. In 2013, he acquired a small office systems company in Kelowna. With 10 employees and 500 customers, Andre considered himself semi retired…for about six weeks. “I sort of thought it would be fun to keep it small, but it gets boring,” he chuckles. “I had so much to offer; I wasn’t done. I was only 44 years old.” Andre wanted to grow something again, to consolidate the small players and become a large regional dealer. Innov8 Digital Solutions was born and through numerous acquisitions between 2015 and 2017, now operates in Kelowna, Kamloops, Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtenay, Campbell River and Port Hardy. The business has grown more than 1,000 per cent in four years. Through it all, Andre has remained committed to the people who work for him. “The big thing is I respect people and their capability. That’s a key reason why Innov8 is successful — I make a point to learn who everybody is,” says Andre. “I realize we have to make money in business but it’s not the only thing. I want to be known as an excellent employer; I want to create a positive environment that people want to come to.” Andre and Katia Brosseau of Innov8 Digital Solutions.

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“If I’m going to do something I’m going to do it well or I’m not doing it at all.” Andre and wife Katia are also committed to making the communities in which they operate a better place. Innov8 acquired its Vancouver Island operations in late 2016 but already a number of charities are benefitting from generous donations. As Innov8’s Marketing Manager, Katia is in charge of delegating funds among a growing number of requests. She is looking forward to forming relationships with new charities in the Central Island area. “If we can help other people … if we can make something possible, then you can always count on Andre and me,” says Katia. Outside of the office, the two enjoy skiing and boating with their teenage children. For Andre, the real escape from the pressures of work can be found in extreme sports. “When I’m riding my bike down a real narrow path — one I could really get hurt on — all I can do is think about the moment. That’s escapism; my problems are gone.”

Andre’s success in business has earned him numerous accolades from suppliers and colleagues. “They believe in him,” says a proud Katia. “Sharp, Canon everyone is extremely supportive of Andre.” But it’s a compliment from his father that makes Andre emotional as he shares the conversation. “My dad is smart; he’s a good business man. I had dragged him along to my accountant’s office because he loves business. As we walked out he said, ‘Andre, I’m so proud of you. You have done all the things in your life that I was too scared to do.’” Andre maintains he’s far from fearless; rather, more of a calculated risk taker. “If I’m going to do something I’m going to do it well or I’m not doing it at all.” In the short term, that means focussing on growth in current markets. With a growing sales force Andre doesn’t get to knock on too many doors these days but admits he still loves the feeling of winning a new client. “I love going out and explaining to people what value Innov8 can bring to their organization.” When asked what his actual retirement might look like someday, Andre once again reveals that prairie spirit. “I always said I was going to drive a cattle truck when I retire. There’s a calling at the auction marts for guys when they buy cows to have someone deliver them. What a great gig. I can have my big one ton, my big aluminum trailer and I can just load up cows and deliver them. I like doing that stuff.”

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Island buIlders gear up for bIggest nIght of the year



xcitement and anticipation are building as The Canadian Home Builders’ Association of Vancouver Island prepares to announce the finalists and winners of the 2018 Vancouver Island Building Excellence (VIBE) Awards. The VIBE awards have come to be synonymous with distinction in the industry, as finalists and winners are honoured as the “extraordinary” in building, design and innovation on Vancouver Island. This is an island-wide celebration of building excellence, awarding industry professionals for their success. The VIBE awards represent Vancouver Island’s most prestigious housing awards program. Achievements in up to 30 categories will be announced on April 20, 2018   at a red carpet gala event held at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo. The judging panel is comprised of industry professionals, who excel in their field but are not located on Vancouver Island. 

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Upon entry to the VIBE Awards Gala, attendees will embark on a champagne-infused walk through the gallery of finalists. Each finalist’s project will be showcased, demonstrating the awe-inspiring calibre of structure and originality these entries embody. TV personality, actor and award-winning host Todd Talbot will be the Master of Ceremonies. He will be joined by the smooth sounds of Easy Street, featuring multi-instrumentalists Annie Handley and Dave Devindisch, who have teamed up to play music that embraces the 1940s era right up to the songs of today in their fun and jazzy style. The audience is sure to be captivated.  This will be Vancouver Island’s biggest night as the awards presentation honours the outstanding members of the building industry for their strength, excellence and professionalism.  For tickets to attend this trendy ceremony and to learn who will receive the highest honours in Vancouver Island building excellence,  visit

2017 VibE Award Winners Best Single Family Home between 3,000 – 4,500 sq.ft.


TS Williams Construction, Nanoose Bay for The Element with project partner KB Design

Best Single Family Kitchen Renovation over $75,000


Pheasant Hill Homes, Nanaimo for Heritage Enlightened


Best Single Family Bathroom Renovation over $30,000 MAC Renovations, Victoria for Serenity by the Sea

Best Interior Design Custom Residence New or Renovation The Interior Design Group, Nanaimo for Mariner Point

Best Environmental Initiative Pheasant Hill Homes, Nanaimo for Gulf Island Sanctuary with project partner BC Passive House


go green Chinese vegetables for good taste and good health BY CHEF HEIDI FINK | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N

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t’s that time of year when I crave green vegetables like nothing else. Maybe I’m lusting for spring just around the corner; maybe I need a break from heavy winter foods. All I know is that dark leafy greens bring a hit of colour and vitamins to my table when I need them most. Whether it’s for their bright flavours, their dense nutrients, or for their “lightness” at a dark and heavy time of year, leafy greens are a perfect food for the late winter months. We all know leafy green vegetables are good for us, but we might not know how many different vegetables fall into that category! I particularly love the variety and versatility of Chinese greens. A trip to a grocery store or Chinese market provides an abundance of options, from delicate leafy greens to hearty and robust cabbage varieties. Their flavours are wonderful as well, ranging from the fresh, sweet mineral taste of yin choy, to the nuttiness of sui choy, to the sharp mustard hint in gai lan or yu choy sum. Best yet, Chinese greens can be used in both Asian-inspired recipes or as a substitute for kale, broccoli and chard. As a quick introduction, I will go over some basic, commonly available Chinese green vegetables, and provide three of myyour favourite recipes (two at Asian, one Western) to Renew natural beauty use them in. Hopefully this will encourage us all to “eat our every age with physician-led greens.” laser and skincare treatments.

Bok choy

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With a mild cabbage flavour and robust crunchy texture, Located in Mill Bay, we’re here to this is one of the most popular and easily available of the renew your natural beauty with Chinese green vegetables. It comes in three handy sizes: physician-led laser and skincare regular, baby and ultra-tiny choy mue (which are so small they can be cooked whole, uncut). Bok choy is best treatments in stir-fries that will leave you and Thai curries, but if sliced thinly enough, can be steamed feeling more like yourself than ever. or cooked in broth. I prefer to cook the stems and leaves separately, unless using the tiny bok choy mue.

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Shanghai bok choy A pale green and more delicate version of its sister, bok choy, this comes in baby and choy mue sizes. Use the same way you would use regular bok choy.

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g r e e n s gui d e

Gai choy

Sui choy

Gai lan


Shanghai bok choy  |


Three sizes of bok choy

Yu choy with ginger

Yu choy, yu choy sum, choy sum This is one of the most popular greens in Chinese markets. Its leaves and stems are thinner and more delicate than bok choy, but it has a sharper and more intense flavour. Yu choy is versatile in the kitchen, a superstar in stir-fries, soups and platters of steamed greens. It’s a definite favourite of mine, especially the yu choy sum variation, in which the flowers are starting to emerge, making the flavour of these greens even stronger and more mustard-like.

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Gai choy Sometimes referred to as Chinese mustard cabbage, this pale green, crinkly-leafed vegetable tastes very much like a cross between cabbage and mustard greens. It comes in both baby and regular sizes. Baby gai choy has a mild, sweet flavour and more delicate texture and is excellent for use in soups and steamed vegetables. Bigger, older gai choy has a delicious sharp and rich flavour and tastes wonderful in stir-fries and braises. It pairs well with pork dishes.

Sui choy Very similar to Napa cabbage, this sweet and nutty cabbage variety can be served raw or cooked. Thinly shredded, sui choy makes a delicious coleslaw (although be sure to serve it right away because this choy gives off a lot of juice once it has been dressed). Sui choy tastes wonderful in a stir-fry and in a soup. One of my favourites, and it’s widely available to boot.

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Gai lan Also known as Chinese broccoli, this absolutely delicious, leafy green has a small broccoli floret at the top of every stalk, with an abundance of dark green leaves. Gai lan tastes remarkably like broccoli — if broccoli had a suave upscale cousin. Everything is edible on this plant: stalk, florets and leaves. Gai lan is as versatile as yu choy sum, and can be used in any preparation you can think of. It is normally “regular sized” but at this time of year, you can find baby gai lan at Chinese markets.

Ong choy Also known as Chinese water spinach, ong choy is the first green vegetable on this list that is not in the brassica family of vegetables. With hollow stems, a crunchy texture and a very mild flavour, this is a great vegetable to stir-fry with strong flavours: garlic, chilis or fermented soy paste.



Yin choy Available seasonally, yin choy is known as amaranth greens in English. These “greens” often grow with a bright, fuschia heart in the centre of their leaves, giving them a stunning look next to all the other greens in the market stall. Yin choy has a bright mineral flavour — mildly sweet — and a soft texture. Its fuchsia markings disappear when cooked, leaving the eater with a pile of delicious pure greens to eat.  |



until greens are tender and infused with garlic. If necessary, add a bit of water to the pan while the greens are cooking to prevent burning. Remove the lid in the last minute of cooking to evaporate some of the liquid. Serve the greens immediately or allow to cool to room temperature to be served as a kind of salad.

CHINESE GREENS IN SAVOURY BROTH Serves 4. A warming, savoury recipe to add to your repertoire, this simple bowl of noodles and greens is my go-to in the late winter. It’s reminiscent of popular ramen-style bowls.

Chinese greens in savoury broth.

STIR-FRIED GREENS WITH GARLIC Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish. An excellent way to get your family members to eat (and enjoy) their greens! Try this with any Chinese green vegetables you like, or with a mixture of greens. 1 to 1½ lbs Asian greens (try bok choy, gai lan, shanghai bok choy, ong choy or any other robust Asian green) ½ tsp soy sauce 1 to 1½ Tbsp salted soy beans, with liquid, crushed with the back of a spoon 1 Tbsp water 2 Tbsp vegetable, grapeseed or peanut oil 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced ½ tsp dried chili flakes, or 2 red Thai chilis, minced Prepare the greens. Wash well, then use a knife to separate the soft leaves from the stems. Slice the stems into ½-inch pieces, and cut the leaves into larger slices. Keep the stems and the leaves in separate bowls. In a small bowl, mash the salted soy beans as best you can. Add the soy sauce and water. Heat a large skillet over medium or medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the garlic and chilis and stir-fry vigorously for 30 to 40 seconds, until garlic is sticky and golden.   Now add the prepared stems to the pan to the pan and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add a little water to the pan if things seem to be burning. Now add the leaves or soft florets and stir several times. Add the salted soybean mixture, stir well, cover and cook 3 to 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally, 70  |


1 lb tender Chinese greens (sui choy, yin choy, baby gai choy, yu choy, spinach, baby bok choy, etc.) 1 Tbsp vegetable oil 4 green onions, sliced thinly (use both white and light green parts) 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 3 cm chunk of ginger, peeled and chopped finely 2 - 3 dried chilis, broken in half (optional)

4 cups chicken broth, homemade or store bought 1 Tbsp soy sauce ¾ lb noodles of your choice (thin Chinese egg noodles, soba, somen, udon, spaghettini, rice noodles, etc.) Optional: sesame oil, brown sugar, rice vinegar Garnish: sliced green onion, cilantro, crushed chilis or chili oil Prepare the greens by washing, shaking dry and removing any leaves with brown or yellow spots. Cut the greens into small pieces, using both stems and leaves. Set aside. Heat a large saucepan over medium or medium-high heat. Add oil, then the green onions, garlic, ginger and chilis. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant, then add the chicken broth and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer very gently for 8 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine sieve suspended over a large bowl. Pour the broth back into the saucepan and heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water and 1 tsp of salt to a boil in a large pot. Stir in the noodles of your choice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until done to your liking, anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes, depending on the type of noodle. While the noodles are cooking, add the greens to the pot of simmering broth. Time this so that greens are bright green and just barely cooked when the noodles are done. It’s best to do this when the noodles are very close to being done. When the noodles are done to your liking, drain them well and immediately drizzle them with a bit of toasted sesame oil. Divide the noodles into four soup bowls, ladle the brothy greens over the noodles, and garnish each bowl with sliced green onion, cilantro, crushed chilis or whatever you desire.

GREENS, GARLIC AND FETA WITH PASTA SHAPES Serves 4. A quick and simple recipe that turns an abundance of greens into a lip-smacking meal. This is a wonderful Western twist on Chinese gai lan. ½ pound dry pasta shapes, such as penne, fusilli, serpentini or orecchiette 1 large bunch gai lan 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided 6 cloves garlic, minced 2-5 anchovy fillets, minced (about 2 tsp) ¼ tsp crushed red chilis (optional) ½ tsp dried oregano ½ cup water ¼ tsp salt, or more, to taste 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped ¼ cup minced fresh parsley 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (preferably sheep feta)

Gai lan in oyster sauce.

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Stir-fried greens with garlic.

Prepare the gai lan by rinsing well in water. Then strip the leaves from the stems and chop the leaves into pieces or shreds no bigger than 1.5-inch squares. Cut the stems into small slices. Set your prepared greens aside. Bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add 1 tsp of salt and the pasta. Stir frequently in the first few minutes to keep pasta pieces separate. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, until done to your liking. Meanwhile, combine 2 Tbsp of the oil, anchovies, garlic, crushed chilis and oregano in a saucepan. Now turn the heat on to medium and heat gently, stirring almost constantly, until the anchovy has dissolved and the garlic is fragrant. Add half a cup of water, salt and the greens. Increase the heat to high, cover the pan and bring to a boil. Uncover, stir, reduce heat to low and re-cover pan. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until vegetables are bright green. Uncover and simmer 3 more minutes. Add tomatoes with a sprinkle more salt and continue to simmer until the pasta is done. When the pasta is finished, drain, reserving about a cup of the cooking water. Add pasta to the pan with the sauce, along with the parsley, the remaining Tbsp of olive oil and a bit of pasta water. Stir to combine, then simmer together to meld flavours, about 1 minute. Add more pasta water if the dish seems too dry. Stir in the cheese and serve.

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Lavish chateaux and lush gardens grace the Loire Valley



Château de Chenonceaux. At left, Chateau de Villandry.

BY Suzanne Morphet


atherine de Medici would have walked right here,” says Nicolas, our guide, as he leads us to the manicured edge of one of the first Renaissance gardens in France. Eight triangular lawns spread out before us, delineated by wide footpaths and flower beds that burst with spring blossoms. At the centre is the original fountain, now restored, as to when Catherine’s love rival, Diane De Poitiers, created this garden in the 16th century. I’m in the Loire Valley, where gorgeous gardens — and often titillating stories — are as plentiful as the chateaux they adorn. Behind us is the Chateau of Chenonceau, perhaps the most elegant of all the valley’s castles as it gracefully straddles the River Cher. What better place to be inspired to garden — and be captivated by the history and romance of the Renaissance — than in the valley that’s known both as The Garden of France and the Valley of Kings? Over several centuries, French royalty, nobility and the ordinary wealthy built hundreds of chateaux in this verdant valley. Their historic gardens

Chateau de Villandry.

Gardens may be our focus, but we can’t ignore the fact that the Loire Valley is also a major wineproducing region.

were a key reason for UNESCO recognizing a 280-km stretch of the Loire as a World Heritage Site in 2010. I’m spending a week visiting a variety of gardens, learning their stories and savouring their unique charms. Here at Chenonceau, for instance, we learn that it’s known for its bouquets of cut flowers, and that the head florist holds the title of “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” (Best Artisan in France). We also learn about the intriguing love triangle that played out here. King Henry II had given Chenonceau to Diane, his mistress. When Henry was killed in a jousting match, his wife became Queen. “She [Catherine] loved this castle,” explains Nicholas, “and was upset that the mistress had it.” So Catherine kicked out Diane and gave her another castle down the road. Perhaps most interesting of all, Catherine did not 76  |


destroy Diane’s garden in a fit of revenge. She simply created her own nearby, similar in style and size, but with a pond instead of a fountain. After a sumptuous lunch in Chenonceau’s glassed L’Orangerie, where tender citrus trees where once overwintered, we head to the chateau itself and wander from room to room admiring masterpiece paintings, floor-to-ceiling tapestries and ornately furnished rooms. Throughout, we’re dazzled by fresh floral arrangements, including towering urns of pink peonies and rustic baskets filled with mosses, tiny trees and — since it’s spring — bird eggs. Chenonceau is the most visited, privately owned castle in France, but if you’re looking for grandeur on the largest of scales, then city-sized Chambord is a must. Picture, if you can, all 20 arrondissements of Paris. That’s the size of Chambord, originally

I guess it’s a garden, but it’s so breathtaking in scope and so far from what I imagined, that it takes some time to digest. a weekend hunting retreat for Francois I, now a national historic monument. Surrounded by a game-filled forest, the castle is fascinating, especially its entwined double-spiral staircase, thought to have been inspired by Leonardo da Vinci (one of the artists Francis brought back from Italy after his battles there). However, I’m most interested in climbing to the top of one of Chambord’s turreted towers for the best view of the newly recreated formal French garden. After years of historical research — and the largesse of an American philanthropist to the tune of 3.5 million euros — the garden opened last spring, based on the original 18th century design. Stepping outside into the sunshine from the cold, dark interior (you’d never know this castle has more than 300 fireplaces!), we gaze out upon ... I guess it’s a garden, but it’s so breathtaking in scope and so far from what I imagined, that it takes some time to digest. “The Renaissance garden has flowers. The French garden has no flowers,” our guide tells us, as if reading our minds. However there are trees, more than 600, along with hundreds of shrubs and rosebushes, and four enormous fleurs-de-lis cut from the expansive lawns. The garden’s crushed gravel paths are wide enough to drive on, in tune with the enormity of the castle itself. After Chambord, we need a reality check, or at least a garden on a bit more of a human scale. We find it at Chateau Villandry, the last major chateau to be built in the valley. As with Chambord, its gardens are substantially changed from the original. At the start of the 20th century, a new owner decided to meticulously recreate the Renaissance gardens. Today, his great grandson, Henri Carvallo, watches over the realm. When we arrive early one morning, we have the place almost to ourselves; three levels of living art that include a renowned kitchen garden (imagine perfect rows of purple basil, blue leeks and green lettuce); an ornamental garden with themes of love and music (heart-shaped boxwood beds filled with red tulips, for example); a water garden that reflects the clouds and trees; and a contemporary garden where lilacs scent the air. Henri tells us his staff of 50 grow 110,000 annual vegetables and plants each year, all without pesticides or herbicides, adding, “It comes with effort.” Gardens may be our focus, but we can’t ignore the fact that the Loire Valley is also a major wine-producing region. The limestone that lends itself so well to castle construction is critical to growing grapes here. “It’s like a sponge,” winemaker Denis Retiveau tells us through an interpreter as we enjoy a wine-tasting cruise on a traditional riverboat near the village of Montsoreau. As we motor up the Vienne — a large tributary of the Loire — we try a variety of Retiveau’s white, red and rose wines  |



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while learning that grape roots will reach down 30 metres to find precious water stored in the limestone. At the nearby Fontevraud Abbey, one of the largest surviving monasteries from the Middle Ages, and where we’ll spend a night, nuns and monks once grew 1,000 hectares of grapes for wine. In the Middle Ages, “there were too many diseases to drink the water,” explains our guide. Interestingly, the monks of the abbey were allotted only a quarter litre per day while the women got half a litre — no doubt one of the benefits of having a woman run the place! At the end of our week we return to our garden theme with a stroll through the Oriental Park of Maulévrier, the largest Japanese garden in Europe, then head next door to Chateau Colbert, a 17th century gem. Perhaps it’s the golden light of late afternoon, or the sadness I always feel when something good is coming to an end, but it’s here, in the small potager of Chateau Colbert that I experience an unmistakable je ne sais quoi. The head gardener, who came here from the potager du Roi at Versailles, snips chives, digs up tiny red, white and pink radishes, and cuts open cloves of pungent garlic. In the greenhouse, we inhale the sweet scent of basil and chew on the leaves of mertensia maritima, a plant that tastes unmistakably like raw oysters. That night we eat in the chateau’s gilded dining room and sleep under its lofty ceilings, surrounded by paintings that celebrate the pleasures of a lucky few in bygone centuries. Fortunately, their gardens live on for all of us to enjoy. For more information about the region, see: Loire Valley tourist board – Pays de la Loire tourism – Atout France –

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Right as rain in “Renny” A wonderful winter escape to Port Renfrew BY SUSAN LUNDY | P H OTO S BY J O S H UA L AW R E N C E S T U D I O S I N C

“We arrived as the incoming tide crashed over the rocks below our deck, welcomed by the sight of a sea otter, lying on its back, happily riding the swells.” 80  |



t wasn’t difficult to pack for our winter getaway to Port Renfrew. The weather forecast predicted 100 per cent chance of rain for both days we planned to be there. No matter. I’m a true-blue West Coast baby and my closet contains a good pair of waterproof pants, a thick, warm raincoat and woolly socks. Good to go. Throw in a cooler containing a bottle of red, another of bubbly and a few snacks, plus a bag with a good book or two and … really good to go. I’d been counting down the days to this winter escape, planned for early January. The holiday season was a swirl of visiting adult children, dishwashing and cooking, not to mention work and ... oh ... throw in the fact I organized a New Years Eve event for 200 people. My husband, Bruce, was at my side the entire holiday season but it was all such a blur that by the time we headed to Port Renfrew, I hardly recalled his name. It was definitely time for a getaway.

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Wharf-side accommodations at Wild Renfrew. At right, outdoor fire pit.

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Enter Wild Renfrew, a resort with cottages that hug the dock at Snuggery Cove, right next to the Renfrew Pub (handy). Here you can choose from wharf-side accommodations for one to two people in cabins that open right onto the pier or — our choice — twobedroom beachfront cottages with decks overlooking a private beach, access to our own personal outdoor fire pit and a mesmerizing view of the Port of San Juan. As well, there’s a private, luxury penthouse option that sits higher up in the trees. (Wild Renfrew also owns Wild Coast Cottages, many of which are currently on the market. They were visible across a small bay, cliffside and adjacent to the newly constructed Pacific Gateway Marina.) We arrived as the incoming tide crashed over the rocks below our deck, welcomed by the sight of a sea otter, lying on its back, happily riding the swells. I confess that the concept of relaxing causes me a bit of stress. So many leisure opportunities … how to fit them all in? A cribbage board on the table beckoned, but so did the delightful-looking tub. There was also iPhone Scrabble … and we both brought notebooks to write in, books to read, the iPad for movies. On top of that — Port Renfrew boasts a bevy of nature to be explored, a town


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to discover … and then there’s the pub, just steps away. So, no time to waste when there’s leisure on the line! We buttoned and zipped into rain gear and strolled in the heavy mist up and along the main road as dusk gently turned to dark. Back at our cosy abode, we opened a bottle of Blue Grouse bubbly and set up a crib game. Tempted by the cottage’s large screen TV, we turned on the hockey game. However, watching the Canucks is too stressful to be considered leisure, so we kept the sound off. I “crushed” Bruce at cribbage (by two points), the Capitals crushed the Canucks (by 100 goals) and then we turned to Scrabble, where my three-point advantage again put me in the winner’s circle. (I felt really bad about that. Ha.) A delicious dinner at the pub finished up the day and we retired to the super comfy king bed, lulled to sleep by the sound of the wind and wake outside. The next day dawned with a downpour, but by 11 am, the heavenly taps turned off and we didn’t even need our rain gear as we made our way through twisting, curving trees to the beautiful Botanical Beach, where the breakers crashed on the shore and intriguing rock formations and tide pools sat underfoot. We watched a pair of bald eagles mess with a golden eagle as a seagull flapped quickly away, screeching “I’m outta here!” Later, we travelled back to “Renny” — as the locals apparently call it — where we stocked up on groceries with plans to cook our own feast in the cottage’s full kitchen. (Note: winter getaway lovers heading to Port Renfrew in early January might want to shop ahead of time. The Renfrew Pub was available for meals, but the town’s two restaurants were closed and while the

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general store does well in stocking a variety of items, gourmet cooks may be left wanting.) With a population of less than 200 residents, Port Renfrew is a small, friendly community built on fishing and logging industries. Recreational opportunities abound and while the summer here is exquisite — think fishing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking and lazing in the sun on myriad beaches — the winter months are just as fab. You can get to Port Renfrew from Duncan via the Pacific Marine Circle Route, which winds through pristine forests and by gleaming lakes on a now-fully-paved road. If you carry on to Victoria, the West Coast Road (Highway 14) is visually spectacular with high, ocean-view vistas and glistening rainforests. There are lots of opportunities to explore the pounding surf at French, China, Mystic and Sombrio beaches. Don’t miss stopping at Shirley Delicious Cafe (just before Sooke) and, if it’s open, nearby Sheringham Distillery (try the lavender gin). And the tiny surfing Mecca of Jordan River is always fun to drive through. Our second night, we were determined to light the outdoor fire pit and enjoy a glass of wine, flames crackling as we sat right on the water’s edge. Unfortunately the strike of the match somehow set off the rain and we retreated to a table and chairs on our covered deck. Here, with all the lights turned off, our senses revved up as we listened to the sound of the ocean and soft patter of rain, and breathed in the sweet and salty fresh air. We packed up the next morning, happy we’d met our leisure quota, but with the day’s exploration just beginning. First stop was Avatar Grove, a 15-minute drive from Wild Renfrew (along some serious potholes). This grove of old-growth

I could hardly speak, looking at these magnificent, giant trees. “Canada’s Gnarliest Tree” at Avatar Grove.

red cedars and Douglas-firs with lichen-draped branches, ferns and mossy outcrops absolutely took my breath away. I could hardly speak, looking at these magnificent, giant trees. We hiked the upper grove to “Canada’s Gnarliest Tree” — an enormous red cedar with a three-metre-wide burl — and then the lower grove as well. Bridges, wooden walkways and steps make these hikes fairly easy. The sun burst from the clouds and water droplets on the lichen glistened. Magic. While we’ve explored many of the beaches along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail — which traces the shoreline below Highway 14 between Port Renfrew and Jordan River — Sandcut Beach wasn’t among them, and so it demanded a stop. After an easy, 10-minute hike down to the beach (the 92 stairs are much more noticeable on the way up), Sandcut emerged in typical West Coast style with pounding waves, big round rocks and yet more interplay between golden and bald eagles. But its unique feature — a stunning waterfall right onto the beach — makes it a must-see spot, especially in the fall, winter and spring months. We arrived home satiated with experiences and the glow of discovery. Rain or shine — winter in Renny is a good place to be.


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A Front row seat to artsy events coming up in the Central island this spring. Choose from eclectic dance, classic comedy, a historical play with plenty of heart, to timeless rock presented by one of Canada’s best-loved bands.

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Modern Dance

Company Wayne McGregor’s Atomos March 14 Port Theatre, Nanaimo


rue to the Company Wayne McGregor style, Atomos is a performance guaranteed to wow the senses. Weaving together sound, light, video and movement, the choreography is designed to highlight the fluidity of the human form, while paying homage to McGregor’s lifelong interest in science and technology. Of the performance, The Guardian says, “Simply extraordinary. McGregor’s choreographic curiosity hasn’t lost the power to thrill.” In Atomos, 10 dancers perform, wearing costumes — or skins — inspired by their own emotional algorithms, using wearable technology. Atomos premiered in 2013 in London. It has also become a film, highlighting the work and the message behind this captivating performance. Wayne McGregor works as movement coach and movement director in Hollywood blockbusters and altrock music videos. He is often touted as a rule-breaker and history-maker as choreographer for well-known ballet companies, such as the Royal Ballet. See for more information.

Fun fundraiser Comedy for a Cause April 6 Port Theatre, Nanaimo

Iconic Canadian comedian Brent Butt will perform at the third annual Comedy for a Cause fundraiser for the Child Development Centre (CDC). Best known for his role on CBC Television’s Corner Gas, Butt is from the tiny town of Tisdale, SK. He started his comedy career at a club in Saskatoon, and later became the creator, director and star of popular sitcom Corner Gas, based on life in small town Saskatchewan. The purpose of Comedy for a Cause is to raise enough funds to continue to support as many families as possible through the many services provided by the CDC. “The whole family can benefit from it. We work with parents as well as the children because there’s a lot of extra support that’s needed when you have a child with special needs,” says Tracy Berg, fundraiser officer. “This particular type of fundraiser is all about having fun and enjoying yourself. It’s a fun cocktail hour and performance, with a VIP event at the end where you can meet Brent. It’ll be a wonderful event for a great cause,” she adds. The CDC provides assistance for 1,900 children and their families each year, with 345 families currently on the wait list. More information at, and tickets can be purchased at

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Stampeders Ride Again The Stampeders in Concert April 16 - 19

Never really about rebellion and outright rock and roll, Canada’s Stampeders reached fame in the 1970s with their classic rock blend, reminiscent of bands like CCR and the Eagles. The trio — Rich Dodson, Kim Berly and Ronnie King — received their first Juno award in 1971 for Sweet City Woman, a song that sparked a lifelong career. A band that provided a notable soundtracks to the ‘70s, the trio recorded nine albums and toured worldwide. After splitting in the late ‘70s, the three friends got back together at the Calgary Stampede in 1992, and have been performing ever since. “Basically it [touring] is just lots of fun. It’s still such a big part of who we are, and we’re so appreciative to fans coming out and supporting the band,” says Dodson. The secret to their success? “I wish I could pin it down. I guess it’s the songs that really mean a lot to our fan base. The music from that time period has really stood the test of time,” says Dodson, adding, “We have a lot of our older fans come out and bring the kids too.” The Stampeders will perform their greatest hits in Nanaimo, Duncan, Campbell River and Courtenay this April. For full schedule, visit

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Atomos runs March 14 in Nanaimo’s Port Theatre.

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Allanson art

Painter Harold Allanson in the Brown Gallery March 19 to April 14 The Old School House Arts Centre, Qualicum



Harold Allanson’s watercolour First Steps.

You don’t typically see Western-themed art in Vancouver Island galleries, but Harold Allanson is no typical artist. Born and bred in BC’s Chilcotin region, he’s got as much experience working ranches as he does fixing up his boat here on the West Coast. A long time BC resident, Allanson spent years as a truck driver, never quite forgetting his art education from earlier in life. When he retired in 1988, he took art up once again, settling on watercolour as his medium. He paints a wide variety of works, all inspired by real life people and events, from Times Square, to eye catching tattoos, to a family surfing on the coast. Some paintings are created from dozens of photographs, then carefully translated into a work of art. “I always ask permission first, but really, I’ll paint anything. If something catches my eye, I’ll paint it,” says Allanson. He adds, “The mechanics of composing everything, and building it into a piece of art is my favourite part.” Allanson and his wife recently moved from their acreage on Gabriola to a condo in Crofton, where they plan to open a family gallery. For now, works from the Rancher Collection will be on display at the Old School House in Qualicum Beach. Visit for more information.

Music with dramatic flair

Borealis String Quartet with Bergmann Piano Duo March 25 Cowichan Performing Arts Centre- Duncan 1.800.565.7738  |


Founded in Vancouver in 2000, Borealis String Quartet has toured throughout North America, Europe and Asia, receiving many awards and accolades along the way.

The BC-based musicians — Patricia Shih, violinist; Yuel Yawney, violinist; Nikita Pogrebnoy, violinist; and Sunyong Lim, cellist — are on faculty at Kwantlen Polytechnic as the resident quartet, and at the Langley Community Music School as well. Returning to Duncan for the first time in a decade, they will be playing with the Bergmann Piano Duo, featuring Elizabeth and Marcel Bergmann, for an exclusive performance. “The variety of the quartet plus the two pianos makes for something very special. It’s a great introduction to classical music — with a twist,” says Shih. Unlike with orchestras, the personality of each musician in a quartet or quintet is obvious, adding to the dramatic flair. “There’s lots of sound and excitement. You can see the personalities on stage, something that you can’t see when a large orchestra is on stage,” says Shih. For tickets, go to Borealis String Quartet.

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Bringing history to life

With Glowing Hearts — How Ordinary Women Worked Together to Change the World April 11 - 14 Theatre One, Nanaimo Originally inspired by a research paper, With Glowing Hearts — How Ordinary Women Worked Together to Change the World is the true story of women in 1940s Kirkland Lake, Ontario, who fought for years for safe working conditions and unionization of gold miners. Playwright Jennifer Wynne Webber was drawn in by their stories, and particularly by a photograph from a strike on a cold winter day. It was around -40 C, and upwards of 3,000 women and children stood in a line, defiant. Labour legislation in this country changed largely because of what the women of Kirkland Lake did,” says Webber. The characters are an amalgam of the original group in Kirkland Lake. “As these women became real in my mind, rooted in historical fact, I decided to fictionalize them to write what I surmise would have been the conversations they would have had,” says Webber. The play in its original form received Best of the Fest at the Saskatoon Fringe Festival. “In many ways, todays women’s marches and rallies for equality echo what this group did,” says Webber. “There is so much power in that, and so much relevance in seeing what one small group of people can do.” More information at

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“I endeavour to find a good balance between caring for my children, my patients, my lady harpist and my interests.”

Julian Hancock is Dr. Skin Laser. 94  |



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ome people simply have a knack for coming full circle, finding fresh starts and making the most of the surprising twists and turns that life can offer. Dr. Julian Hancock is one such person. He could never have guessed the islands of Canada’s West Coast — places he once sailed while a cruise-ship physician decades ago — would one day become his home. Back then, Julian’s young medical career had taken him around the world from his native England. He practiced in far-flung ports-of-call, and was on the front lines when a disease now known as AIDS began to surface in Zambia in 1978. On the exclusive, privately owned island of Mustique, located among the Windward Islands between St. Vincent and Grenada, Julian routinely checked up the local celebrities in between patching up injured locals on the amateur cricket pitch. Mick Jagger was known across the island for his lavish New Year’s Eve parties, while David Bowie made his mark with lavish birthday celebrations. “I was doctor to the stars,” he says. In an interview from his laser skin therapy clinic in Nanaimo’s north end, Julian jokingly says that his life had come to resemble a novel by Richard Gordon. The English author, who worked as a surgeon and anesthetist, penned dozens of thrilling tales for print and screen about doctors fuelled by wanderlust and a distinctively comic inclination. The serial novels had titles

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such as Doctor in the House, Doctor at Sea, Doctor in Love and Doctor in the Soup. It was on Mustique, perhaps after one too many of those celebrity bashes, that Julian met up with a visiting American physician. “I recall him asking if I planned to stay on Mustique forever,” he says. As tempting a prospect as that may have seemed for a spirited 30-something, the tête-à-tête prompted Julian to return to school and specialize in dermatology. He figures the odds of gaining admittance to the specialty program at that stage of his life were approximately 1,000 to one, but the call arrived, and soon Julian was bound for Canada’s West Coast. During his residency at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver in 1998, Julian grasped the consequences and significance of that little known disease he’d witnessed in Africa nearly two decades before. From there, it was off to northern British Columbia, where he worked as a dermatologist in the Terrace area. “What a wonderful place it is,” he says. The lure of Canada’s wild spaces encouraged Julian to stay in the country, and in 2001, he moved to Vancouver Island, where he had two children. He opened a practice in Nanaimo soon after moving to the island and started his first skin laser therapy clinic nearly two decades ago. Setting up his own state-of-the-art Skin Laser Clinic was always a dream, and Julian’s Nanaimo location was the first on Vancouver Island, outside of Victoria. He says continually searching for ways to improve his dermatology service is a

source of great professional satisfaction. His was the first clinic to introduce photodynamic therapy to prevent skin cancer, and he’s currently examining how herbal skin-care products can improve the lives of people with skin disorders. “We were particularly struck by the large number of excellent parks in Nanaimo, especially along Hammond Bay Road, where we lived in what became, after many renovations, my dream house, with south-facing views of Departure Bay,” he says. With his busy Dr. Skin Laser Clinic on Rutherford Road and another branch in Victoria’s Fairfield neighbourhood, one might think the doctor has moved beyond the adventures that marked his earlier years. But such an assumption would be a huge mistake. His children, now teenagers, and his first marriage now behind him, Julian commutes to England about six times a year to visit his partner, a professional harp player he met while still working as a ship’s physician years before his first marriage. His visits “back home” rarely exceed two weeks, but he makes sure to allot ample time for his involvement in numerous clubs. “In the United Kingdom,” he says, “I belong to Richmond Bridge Boat Club, Twickenham Yacht Club and the Thames Traditional Boat Society. I keep a small motor sailer in the UK as a ‘pied à mer,’ plus a couple of kayaks, rowing boats and bicycles for fun.” He adds, “I endeavour to find a good balance between caring for my children, my clinics, my lady harpist and my interests.” Sounds manageable enough, until you consider Julian’s other interests.

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A few years ago, he took free-diving lessons at the University of British Columbia. He’s able to dive 60 feet on a single breathe of air and soon plans to visit Hawaii, where he’ll aim to complete a 100-foot dive. Next year he’ll be off to scuba dive with his son in the Bahamas. When he isn’t holding his breath underwater, Julian is pushing his limits on the surface by participating in numerous international rowing races and events. He has competed in the Victoria Gorge Regatta, participated in the Queen’s Jubilee on the River Thames, and twice completed the Vogalonga, a 30-kilometre human-powered race through the canals of Venice. For his second go at the event, Julian rowed the course standing up, facing forward, gondolier style in a traditional Venetian gondola. Many of his medals and certificates from these races adorn the walls of the waiting room in his Nanaimo clinic. During the past two years, Julian has participated in the Vancouver Island Motor Gathering at the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit, raising funds for the David Foster Foundation, and Cowichan Hospital. He also has a replica of a 1935 SS100 Jaguar, which he has exhibited at various car shows and parades across the island over the years. Amidst all the action, Julian still finds time to return to Africa, albeit indirectly, through his fervent support for the Mercy Ships organization. “I love raising money for these guys, the work they do is superb; I hope to work on one of the mercy ships myself one day,” he says. Julian’s 2018 Mercy Ships fundraising challenges include a four-day bike ride from London to Paris in July and participating in the Great River Race in London, England this September. He’s currently hoping to organize a gala fundraising event for Mercy Ships Canada at a major Victoria hotel. Quite apart from all the globe-trotting and jet-setting, Julian says he considers himself exceedingly blessed to have been called to be a physician and make a difference in people’s lives, including those from all walks of life — Australian aborigines and African villagers to celebrities. “At the end of the day we are all but mortal humans, whatever our life story, and we all appreciate being helped by others,” he says. “Being a physician all these years, in all these countries, to all these different people, has been an immense privilege. I can only hope that, on balance, I have made a difference to many lives, and for the better. I often reflect that I have learned more from listening to my patients than my many lecturers.”

“Being a physician all these years, in all these countries, to all these different people, has been an immense privilege. I can only hope that, on balance, I have made a difference to many lives, and for the better.”  |




Walking into the convention centre, the Boulevard fashion team was immediately drawn to the vibrant colours of the painting Satellite City by Robert Naish, and even more so when we realized it was an a real view of Nanaimo. As described on the City of Nanaimo website, this piece was originally donated to the city in 2013 by the estate of Ms. Marlene Flater, an arts supporter who passed away in 2011. The artist used a variety of household objects to plot out spaces on the canvas, using a paint gun to overlap the shapes, and creating a layered effect that did not require the use of a paint brush. The painting is on display in the Ballroom Lobby of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.Â

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Seen here: stylist Katherine Suna, model Dahlia Aldana and photographer Lia Crowe. Photo by Don Denton

IngenuIty you can feel

2018 LincoLn MKX

3851 Shenton Road, Nanaimo I 250-758-7311 I HOURS OF OPERATION: MON-THURS: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM FRI-SAT: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM DEALER # 10401

versatility, reinvented.


LAIRD WHEATON 2590 BOWEN ROAD • NANAIMO • 1-800-810-7009

DL# 30960

Boulevard Magazine, Central Island Edition, Spring 2018  
Boulevard Magazine, Central Island Edition, Spring 2018