CENTR AL ISL AND LIFE AT ITS FINEST
Gifts Season of the
FOLLOW THE SEA The best of beachside living
#SWEETSTAGRAM Desserts to savour and share
THE WISH LIST A guide to holiday giving
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On the Cover Photo by Lia Crowe Model Eden Weiss, photographed at Yellow Point Lodge. Styling by Katherine Suna and makeup by Lea Christine Smith.
MIST & MAGIC
26 DESIGNER WISH LIST
Gift ideas for everyone on your list
Picture-perfect desserts to savour and share
By Janice Jefferson
By Jane Zatylny
30 FOLLOW THE SEA
50 MIST & MAGIC
The best of beachside living at Saltair
By Sean McIntyre
Rugged meets refined with layered, rough wools and soft silk, elegant silver and raw gemstones.
40 BUILDING A DREAM
By Katherine Suna
Arlene McPherson of McPherson Cabinetry
56 IT’S A WRAP!
By Tess van Straaten
Lettuce cups are the perfect vehicle to carry fabulous appetizer flavours
By Chef Heidi Fink
DEPARTMENTS 12 OUR CONTRIBUTORS 16 EDITOR’S LETTER
The Gift of Togetherness
By Susan Lundy
By Katherine Suna
79 FRONT ROW
Mead for the Ages
What’s on this month
By Pamela Durkin
By Sherry Conly
68 TRAVEL FAR
Satisfaction! Saint Vincent and the Grenadines By Bruce Sach 74 TOP OF THE WORLD Whistler
Chef Phillipe Lavoie
By Angela Cowan
86 SECRETS AND LIVES
An Eye for the Extraordinary Brad Leith By Sean McIntyre
90 BEHIND THE STORY
By Don Denton
By Susan Lundy
C E N T R A L I S L A N D L I F E AT I T S F I N E S T
ANGELA COWAN WRITER: INSPIRED CHEF
“Juggling work and being a mom, I don’t always have time to put together more than the basics for supper, but Chef Philippe Lavoie’s roasted butternut squash is as easy as it is delicious and beautiful!” Angela Cowan is a freelance writer and editor who contributes regularly to Boulevard magazine. Find her on Twitter @angela_m_cowan
WINTER 201 8
GROUP PUBLISHER Penny Sakamoto
PUBLISHER Mario Gedicke 250.891.5627
EDITOR Susan Lundy
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Lia Crowe
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Lily Chan
DESIGN Lorianne Koch Michelle Gjerde
SHERRY CONLY WRITER: FRONT ROW
LIA CROWE PHOTOGRAPHER: MIST & MAGIC
“Without art in its many forms, life would be dull. This winter, sing, shop, gaze at art and create your own show-stopper. Finish holiday shopping and create a treasure at a winter market, and then treat a loved one to a night with ‘Ol Blue Eyes. In February, honour your New Year’s resolution to create something beautiful by participating in the annual Festival of Banners and then proudly watch for it around town.” A graduate of Vancouver Island University, Sherry works as a content writer and editor for businesses and Canadian publications.
“Yellow Point Lodge is one of those places that either you’ve never heard of, or, if you have, then you’re a die hard fan. I fall into the later category, and so I was thrilled to spend the day creating at such a magically charged place that’s special to my heart.” Lia is a stylist, creative director, photographer and writer with a long history of working in the fashion industry.
Mario Gedicke Andrea Rosato-Taylor Pat Brindle Vicki Clark
CONTRIBUTING Angela Cowan, Sherry Conley, WRITERS Lia Crowe, Pamela Durkin, Heidi Fink, Janice Jefferson, Sean McIntyre, Bruce Sach, Katherine Suna, Tess van Straaten, Jane Zatylny CONTRIBUTING Lia Crowe, Don Denton, PHOTOGRAPHERS Dirk Heydemann Izabel Kazenbroot-Guppy
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CENTR AL ISL AND LIFE AT ITS FINEST
Gifts season of the
DON DENTON PHOTOGRAPHER: IT’S A WRAP!
“Lettuce is one of the most basic foods we use — usually just a green leaf. Wrap it around a topping and it becomes so much more. This issue’s food shoot was an introduction to the many flavour possibilities of that simple leaf and a variety of fillings.” Don has photographed numerous highprofile events, including the Olympics, World Hockey Championships and a Royal wedding.
FOLLOW THE SEA The best of beachside living
#SWEETSTAGRAM Desserts to savour and share
THE WISH LIST A guide to holiday giving
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 email@example.com
HEIDI FINK WRITER: IT’S A WRAP!
“Surprisingly, my favourite thing about the story on lettuce wraps in this edition of Boulevard was the gourmet salad left over from the photo shoot. I ate it for days! An unexpected bonus, but so satisfying.” Heidi Fink is a chef, food writer and culinary instructor, specializing in local foods and ethnic cuisines.
Mailing Address: 818 Broughton Street, Victoria, BC, V8W 1E4 Tel: 250.381.3484 Fax: 250.386.2624 firstname.lastname@example.org boulevardmagazines.com
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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PHOTOGRAPHER: FOLLOW THE SEA
WRITER: DESIGNER WISH LIST
PAGE 28 “The stunning house by Pheasant Hill Homes in Saltair was such a pleasure and joy to photograph. The attention to detail in the work and the modern look immediately caught my attention. The raw timbers in the main living area provided a great frame in which to compose the images.” Dirk Heydemann has lived in Nanaimo since 1991, and established himself as one of the central island’s premier commercial and portrait photographers.
IZABEL KAZENBROOT -GUPPY PHOTOGRAPHER: INSPIRED STYLE
WRITER: AN EYE FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY
PAGE 16 “I had the pleasure of being able to shoot Miles Anderson as he worked, capturing his eye for styling and design.” Izabel is a photographer and graphic designer living in Nanaimo.
“It’s inspiring to interview folks who’ve chosen to follow their passions. Brad Leith of Impeccable Jewellery has turned a creative mind and a love of design into a career that’s helped him see some of the world’s most exotic places.” Sean is a freelance writer based on Salt Spring Island, where he now keeps a keen eye for the hidden gems and treasures in the natural world that surrounds him.
“My interest in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines began after my first trip to the Caribbean — to Grenada. My plan now is to research one Caribbean paradise at a time. To quote Frank Sinatra: ‘The best is yet to come!’” Bruce is a freelance writer who was born and raised on the Prairies.
TESS VAN STRAATEN
STYLIST: MIST & MAGIC
WRITER: BUILDING A DREAM
“This was my first time at Yellow Point Lodge, and it reflected exactly what we envisioned for our highlander theme. Layered knits, soft fabrics mixed with structured pieces all created that coastal winter feel we love so much. I wanted to create looks that had movement, illustrated a journey and perhaps captured modern notes of 17th century fashion in Scotland.” Katherine is a fashion stylist living in Nanaimo, and currently loves the show Outlander.
“As a designer, I love to give back to designers when I can and what better a time than the season of gift giving. For this issue I have curated a collection from local shops and designers for your enjoyment.” Janice is an interior designer who creates well-functioning spaces with an eye-catching mix of playfulness and refinement.
PAGE 40 “In the era of #MeToo, it’s refreshing to interview a woman who has worked in a male-dominated field for three decades and hasn’t experienced any issues. But Arlene McPherson was quick to point out that the ratio of women in the field hasn’t changed much in 30 years, so there’s a #girlpower goal to work on.” Tess is an award-winning journalist and television personality who has had the privilege of interviewing people for more than two decades.
“I recently decided to reduce my sugar intake, so I was a little concerned that an assignment about desserts might be a bit challenging for me. But my takeaway from my ‘research’ is that desserts made from the very best ingredients are well worth the occasional indulgence.” Jane Zatylny is a long-time writer, editor, and communications professional.
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The gift of togetherness BY SUSAN LUNDY
PHOTO BY LIA CROWE
WAS fine until a week before shopping, I have found joy in finding the Christmas when “mother guilt” perfect gift for those I love. And I really seeped in. This was the year had to grapple with the fact that “love” we decided that the giving of and “gift-giving” are not necessarily gifts at Christmas placed too intertwined. There are ways in which I can much pressure on our combined express my love without giving a gift. But it family that includes four 20-something was a tough one. offspring (and their partners), none of whom In the end, it all worked out. We set new could afford the money to buy gifts or the traditions — a long family walk during the time to create them. time we usually open gifts — and really Over the years, we’d tried many scenarios: revelled in each other’s company. We resecondhand gifts; handmade gifts; small gifts discovered the gift of togetherness, which is under $25. But nothing ever really worked. what the season is all about. Everyone still spent too much time stressing In this issue of Boulevard, you’ll find lots about presents. of ideas for the season, including gift-giving As for us — already bringing in two of our ideas, options for cooking up a seasonal kids from New York City amid Airline storm, things to do and see, and gorgeous Unappreciation Week and one each from fashion to wear. For those who need a Victoria and Vancouver, plus stocking the little nudge with gift ideas, designer Janice fridge and liquor cabinet in preparation for an Jefferson has gathered up a selection of influx of six or so young adults — by the time beautiful local items to set your mind in the holiday arrived, we’d already sprung a bit of pocket cash. So last gift-giving motion. Also check out the wares of all our wonderful year we decided to do a gift-less Christmas. advertisers throughout these pages for all things trendy and topnotch. “Let us know how that goes,” said a few of our friends, trying to Sweet, savoury and picture-perfect is another theme in this issue look skeptical instead of envious. of Boulevard. In our feature story — #sweetstagram — we present Our kids were relieved; I was relieved. But my husband was desserts so gorgeous, you’ll want to photograph and post before anxious. Bruce loves everything digging in. To counter all that sweet, I, on the other hand, dread about gift-giving, from browsing and Chef Heidi Fink offers ideas for lettucepurchasing, to walking around the any form of shopping — from wrapped appetizers, and Chef Phillipe city with bundles of bags. And after Lavoive provides a recipe for a simple groceries to socks — and my every shopping excursion, he happily winter treat: Honey and Lemon Roasted brings out rolls of wrapping paper and Butternut Squash. gift-wrapped parcels look as ribbon, carefully snipping and scotchFront Row has some ideas for though they’ve travelled from cultural escape — and speaking of taping precision-wrapped boxes, and then creatively decorating the parcel escapism, our Travel Far story takes China and been opened and tags. For him and for many people, this readers on a grand tour of the beautiful resealed at customs. is a joyous part of the season. and exclusive islands of Saint Vincent I, on the other hand, dread any and the Grenadines. In our Travel form of shopping — from groceries to socks — and my gift-wrapped Near story, discover the snow-capped peaks of Whistler, and on the parcels look as though they’ve travelled from China and been opened journey to better health, writer Pamela Durkin describes the benefits and resealed at customs. of drinking mead. I can’t really think of a better way to “get healthy.” But as December rolled along last year, we started to love the lack Looking for something to wear? The Boulevard fashion team has of holiday chaos in our lives. We discovered that with the extra time, you covered. Enjoy seasonal fashions, beautifully captured at Yellow it was easier to embrace the festive spirit. We went to seasonal shows; Point Lodge by photographer Lia Crowe. Finally, tour a beautiful we drove around and looked at holiday light displays. We drank mulled Saltair home and meet Miles Anderson, who may also provide some wine and hosted a party. We even worked at a food bank and helped answers to seasonal fashion questions. deliver holiday hampers to people in need. We wish our readers all the joy of the season and a wondrous And everything took place without the cloud of anxiety which (for journey into the next year. Our hope is that you find peace, love and me, anyway) hovers above holiday shopping expeditions. health — not to mention stress-free shopping excursions. However, about a week before the big day, I realized with growing anxiety that this would be the first time in my daughters’ lives that Susan Lundy has been writing stories since she was six years old. I hadn’t got them gifts at Christmastime. Even when I was singleShe has a degree in creative writing from the University of Victoria, mothering it with no dollars to spare, I scraped together gifts for my and after working for many years as an award-winning journalist, is girls. I felt a bit of sadness too because, despite my general dislike of now a magazine editor, author and freelance writer. 16
LIGHTING FOR ANY SETTING
V I C TO R I A
601 Boleskine Rd. 250-384-9359
2 0 1 - 4 3 0 0 We l l i n g t o n R d . 250-756-3614
The Brighter Side of Lighting
i l l u m i n at i o n s b c . c o m
MILES ANDERSON, OWNER OF OUTLOOKS MENSWEAR, DUNCAN
BY KATHERINE SUNA P H OTO BY I Z A B E L K A Z E N B R O OT- G U P P Y
YOUR GO-TO OUTFIT: Burgundy
suit by LIEF HORSENS. ALL-TIME FAVOURITE PIECE: Circle of Friends jeans. FAVOURITE PAIR OF SHOES: Shoe the Bear, double monk strap style. FASHION OBSESSION: Suits and blazers. A PIECE YOU SPENT THE MOST MONEY ON: Trapper leather jacket. SCENT: Dolce & Gabbana. MUST-HAVE PRODUCT TO TRAVEL WITH: iPad. FAVOURITE SOCK LINE: Marcoliani. FAVOURITE WATCH LINE: Momentum Watches.
ALKING into Outlooks Menswear in Duncan, I was immediately greeted by owner Miles Anderson, who took the time to educate me on some of the brands he carries in the store. “Most of the store is Europeanfocussed, and a lot of lines come from
Canada,” he explained. Miles was dressed in a cosy-yet-classy, layered fall ensemble, and he later explained that layering is an essential key to dressing well. “The rule of thumb is accessorizing. If a client wants to wear just a shirt and dress pant, I suggest adding a third piece — a sweater, blazer or vest. An extra piece to complement the whole outfit and pull it all together,” he said. “Retired” after working 35 years in young offenders correction in Alberta, as well as part-time at a local menswear store, Miles moved to Cobble Hill. His intentions were to retire, but he lasted just three months before getting antsy. “I had heard about Outlooks Menswear in Victoria, and found out they were opening a new location in Duncan in 2011.” Miles started working part-time at the Duncan location until he was offered a buy-in. “This is going to be my retirement gig. I love what I do, and I brought all those years of experience from Alberta into Outlooks Menswear. I was able to buy into the business more in 2014, and here we are today!”
Miles emphasized that he loves his clients, and that they are his main focus. “I value each and every customer that comes into the store, and I want to create a good experience for them.” We laughed about the fact many men do not enjoy shopping. “I know most men are a little bit uncomfortable, so it’s my job to make them feel at ease, and perhaps get them into something different — something that they haven’t tried on before — and teach them about ‘fit.’” Outside of work, Miles likes to hit the swimming pool for some laps before the store opens. He also enjoys immersing himself in a good book. “I love to read crime-focussed novels, which is no surprise [given] my previous career. I love anything by John Grisham, and I have his whole collection.” Miles emphasized that he loves spending time with his family — one of the reasons he moved to BC. “It’s so great to be closer to my grandkids,” he said, explaining that between his three children, he has seven grandchildren. Travelling is also on his to-do list, so Miles and his wife will be heading to Isla Mujeres, Mexico in the new year. “I am fortunate enough to be able to travel due to having incredible staff. Egypt and Israel are another two places we have be lucky enough to visit, and that was an amazing experience.”
READING MATERIAL WHAT DO YOU READ ONLINE FOR INSPIRATION: “I am a
Facebook and Instagram follower.” FAVOURITE PRINT MAGAZINE: GQ and Men’s Journal. COFFEE TABLE BOOK: Photos of recent trips to Egypt and Israel. BOOK CURRENTLY READING: Rule of Law. FAVOURITE BOOK OF ALL TIME: Anything by
STYLE INSPIRATION / LIFE
FAVOURITE PIECE OF ART: Anything abstract. FAVOURITE FASHION DESIGNER: Strellson. FAVOURITE LOCAL RESTAURANT: Bridgemans Bistro in Mill Bay. FAVOURITE WINE: Lunessence from the Okanagan. FAVOURITE BINGE-WATCHING TV SHOW: NCIS LA. FAVOURITE CITY TO VISIT: Seattle, Washington. FAVOURITE THING TO DO ON DAY OFF: Reading and spending time with family. FAVOURITE EXERCISE OR SPORTS: Swimming.
Prawns on Garlic Toast with a Lemon Aoli and a Balsamic Syrup prepared by Chef Philippe Lavoie at the Osborne Bay Pub.
Philippe Lavoie Chef at Osborne Bay Pub BY ANGELA COWAN | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N
Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, and grew up between the beautiful city of Montreal and the rustic towns of Senneterre and Lamacaza in the majestic mountains of Quebec.
What’s your go-to item when sampling other chefs’ fare? Cooking is very personal and I don’t judge others’ work. However, if I had to choose one item it would be simple pasta. Why pasta? It’s easy to do right and easy to do wrong.
Where did you train? My formal training occurred at Camosun College in Victoria. After all these years, I still remember the incredible group of culinary instructors there. Their enthusiasm really inspired and motivated me. As a result, I worked hard to hone my craft to the best it could be.
Hobbies? Open highway and two wheels. I clocked many kilometres this summer and struggled putting the bike away for the winter. Work, ride and life balance is important.
How long have you been at your current restaurant? I started at the Osborne last May. What are you best known for as a chef? As a chef, I would think I’m best known for being even-keeled, respectful and pragmatic. I have great respect for the foods we eat. I believe we must revere the plants and creatures that give life so we may live. What are the 10 or so most important ingredients in your pantry? Garlic, curry, ginger, chillies, butter, cream, olive oil and, of course, salt and pepper. What’s your favourite dish to cook and eat on a cold winter’s day? Lamb curry with a good kick to it.
Anything else we should know? I’m enjoying my work at Osborne Bay Pub and the business is doing extremely well. I’m part of a team dedicated to creating a fun working environment and that’s a big priority for me. Our new menu and live music scene has been very well received. Can you share a simple, seasonal recipe? .
HONEY AND LEMON ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH Ingredients: 1 butternut squash, sliced into wedges 1 Tbsp honey 1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil Salt Pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove the top and bottom of the squash with a sharp knife, and then remove skin from the squash with a peeler. Slice the squash in half, leaving the neck and bulbous bottom separate. Cut the bottom in half and remove pulp with soup spoon. Cut the top and bottom into uniform wedges to ensure pieces cook evenly. In a bowl, mix honey, lemon juice and olive oil, and then toss the squash wedges in the mixture. Place on a parchment-lined or sprayed baking sheet and add fresh cracked pepper and salt. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, turning squash halfway through to ensure uniform colour. Serve hot as a side for breakfast, lunch or dinner. boulevardmagazines.com |
Mead for the ages “Nectar of the Gods” is a healthy choice BY PAMELA DURKIN | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N
Mead’s history is as rich as its flavour, and savvy modern consumers seeking new taste sensations that are healthy and environmentally friendly have sparked a renewed interest in the age-old brew.
EAD IS the oldest alcoholic beverage known to humankind, predating both beer and wine. Throughout history it has been reputed to prolong life, enhance fertility and bestow strength. Also known as “honey-wine,” mead’s history is as rich as its flavour, and savvy modern consumers seeking new taste sensations that are healthy and environmentally friendly have sparked a renewed interest in the age-old brew.
History lesson As long as there have been bees and honey, there has been mead. In its basic form, mead is simply honey mixed with water and yeast. Historians believe humans were introduced to this intoxicating brew during the Stone Age when, by chance, wild yeast in the air settled into honey that was wet from rain, thereby fermenting the mixture. The drink was then replicated throughout the ages and cultures of the world. Mead’s vaulted status was indeed widespread and enduring.
The Greeks called it the “nectar of the Gods” and claimed it bestowed virility. In the Middle Ages, the Anglo Saxons were convinced it induced creativity. Remnants of mead’s mythology survive to this day. The term “honeymoon” comes from the ancient practice of plying newlyweds with mead for one month after their nuptials to ensure fertility and male progeny. Similarly the word “medicine” is derived from the term for spiced mead — Metheglin. Although Mead’s popularity waxed and waned after the Middle Ages, it is currently experiencing a renaissance. High quality meads are being produced at meaderies across Canada, and several have garnered international acclaim, including some sublime meads from BC. “It’s exciting to see BC meads making such a buzz,” enthuses Emily Vanderschee, co-owner of Kelowna’s Meadow Vista Honey Wines. “We have the most amazing honey here, with lovely fruity notes and a lightness that comes from the diverse plants and flora native to BC. It always helps to start with delicious honey.” Fine dining establishments have taken note of the “buzz,” and
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several of BC’s favourite foodie haunts — including Victoria’s BeLove, Sooke’s Harbour House and the Okanagan’s elegant Sparkling Hill Resort — now include mead on their menus. “Our guests are intrigued to try mead and pleasantly surprised by the sophistication it offers,” notes Sooke Harbour House sommelier Jess Howard. And it seems upscale diners aren’t the only ones getting acquainted with mead’s delightful flavour—according to the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, there has been a significant increase in the volume of mead sold in government liquor stores since 2014.
To your health There are some compelling reasons to give mead a try. Scientists have discovered that honey, mead’s main ingredient, is loaded with compounds that offer some amazing health benefits. For instance, recent research has shown that chrysin, a flavonoid found in abundance in honey, has the ability to inhibit the proliferation of (and induce apoptosis or “cell death”) in — cancer cells. Chrysin has also been shown to suppress neuroinflammation, which suggests it may be a protective agent for a group of neurodegenerative diseases caused by inflammation. Honey’s therapeutic edge doesn’t end there. Researchers have also found that the consumption of natural honey reduces cardiovascular risk factors, particularly in individuals who already have an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease. And for those who suffer from grape wine induced migraines, mead may be the perfect alternative. Many experts believe that it’s a substance in the grape skin that causes migraines in sensitive individuals. One caveat exists, however: mead is an alcoholic beverage, so moderate consumption is key.
GOOD COMPANY. GREAT FOOD.
Good for the world, too Mead is not only good for you — it’s good for the planet, too. Its production doesn’t require the cultivation of any land, minimizing its environmental impact. Furthermore, by drinking mead, you support bees and the beekeepers who are valiantly trying to keep a threatened honeybee population alive. “Every bottle of mead we sell supports the bees,” notes Vanderschee. Why is bee survival so critical? “We desperately need honeybees to sustain our agriculture,” explains Bob Liptrott, co-owner of Sooke’s award winning Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery. “One third of all the food we eat requires pollination by bees.”
Culinary pairings Because mead has been around so long and embraced by so many cultures, there are many different types of mead and methods of production. It can be sweet or dry, sparkling or still, fruity or spicy — or not. A basic mead made of honey, water and yeast is called “traditional.” Once a mead-maker begins adding other components, like fruits or herbs, it takes on a different character and variety name. Worldwide, there are so many varieties of mead it is impossible to make specific suggestions about pairing this beverage with food. The type of honey used to make mead will affect is flavour and aroma. A traditional mead made with buckwheat honey will taste completely different from one made with a milder honey such as orange-blossom or clover. A good rule of thumb is to ask the mead-maker — who knows the characteristics of his product — for pairing suggestions to
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MAKING YOU PROUD? create the perfect culinary marriage. In general, sweet meads pair beautifully with desserts and cheeses; light, crisp meads enhance salads, seafood and Asian cuisine. Heartier meads, such as Pyment or Metheglin, marry well with ethnic dishes, stews and meats. Of course, mead, like wine, is not just for drinking. Cooking with the brew imparts enticing flavours to both sweet and savoury dishes. “We love cooking with mead, and our website is chock-full of recipes that incorporate mead,” says Vanderschee. “Our Mabon Mead, which won an award at the recent World Wine Championships, is amazing for cooking the holiday turkey!” Chef Thomas Yesdresyski of the Sooke Harbour House also describes mead as a superb culinary muse, noting that he and his team use it in a variety of ways. Why not fill your kitchen with mead’s marvellous aroma and save a bee by incorporating mead into your culinary repertoire? To find a mead-maker in your area visit winesofcanada.com/ mead. COMMON MEAD VARIETIES Traditional: A basic mead made of honey, water and yeast. Varietal: Similar to traditional mead, but made from honey from a particular flower source (such as clover or blossom honey). Melomel: Made with the addition of a single fruit or blend of fruits. Pyment: Made specifically with the addition of grape juice. Cyser: Made specifically with the addition of apple juice (similar to apple cider). Metheglin: Made with herbs and spices. Sack or fortified: Has a higher alcohol content than other meads. (It also contains more honey.)
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“Everything is dealt with on a micro-level, but it’s only really at the very end, when you open the door for the first time, that you say: ‘Wow, this is amazing. So much more than we thought it would be.’” boulevardmagazines.com |
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“We wanted to hear the waves lap on the shore and see the mountains in the distance.”
TEP inside “Saltair Seaside” and behold the view over the Salish Sea towards the Lower Mainland’s north shore mountains. It’s easy to imagine oneself nestled in a remote pocket of coastal British Columbia. Fir trees are shrouded in a gentle mist, while eagles, seals and otters patrol the shoreline and a comforting silence hangs in the air. This wilderness scene from the three-bedroom, threebath Chemainus Road property in Saltair betrays the convenience of its surroundings. From the front door, the bustling Island Highway is fewer
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than 200 metres away, and it takes only a few minutes by car to reach the town of Ladysmith and its vibrant Main Street shops and services. “We joke that we’re closer to an airport here than when we lived in Victoria,” says one of the home’s new owners (who asked to remain unnamed). Located along the old Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway line, midway between Duncan and Nanaimo, the community of Saltair has a long pioneer history and tradition of attracting holidaymakers lured by the calm and relatively warm waters off its welcoming shoreline. And that’s precisely what attracted the new owners of Saltair Seaside, who are two of the community’s newest residents. There isn’t a wealth of undeveloped waterfront land left on the southeastern side of Vancouver Island, and the few lots that remain can easily swallow large parts of a prospective homeowner’s budget. So when the semi-retired couple spotted this waterfront lot while driving along Vancouver Island’s less- travelled roads, they immediately took notice. It was a smaller lot and required a dose of TLC, but the price was right, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Fast-forward four years, and the couple has celebrated their first full year in their new home. Built by Vancouver
Island-based Pheasant Hill Homes, the house was constructed with a careful eye to maximizing the available building area, while keeping the home discreetly aligned with its surrounding landscape. The house’s footprint occupies the width of the property’s buildable area, but its orientation is offset in such a way that neighbours on both sides of the lot are out of sight. The twolevel home is built into the side of a slope, which permits easy access to both levels from the outside. The merits of this design become obvious during a tour of the house, where views overlooking the sea continually change from room to room. In a cosy reading nook carved into the window frame of the master bedroom, the vista extends northwest towards Transfer Beach and Ladysmith Harbour. The sunlight, clouds and ocean present an ever-changing scene viewed from the couple’s shared office space. In the main living room and kitchen area, a sweeping panorama extends past Thetis Island to the Coast Range Mountains, ruled by the iconic Mount Garibaldi. Whereas most people aim to build their dream house, the couple says this project began with a dream property. “We wanted to hear the waves lap on the shore and see the mountains in the distance,” they say. Working with Pheasant Hill, they add, allowed them to boulevardmagazines.com |
develop the lot’s potential for what they’ve come to feel is a home that surpassed expectations. “You come into the house at various stages; the walls go up, the Gyproc is in place, but you don’t really know what you’re getting until it’s painted and the floors go down. So even up until about six weeks before we moved in, we were still wondering what it was going to be like to live here,” the couple explains. “When things get worked on in isolated pieces, we’re dealing with light fixtures or mock ups, working on the fireplace or the windows and counters. Everything is dealt with on a micro-level, but it’s only really at the very end when you open the door for the first time that you say: ‘Wow, this is amazing. So much more than we thought it would be.’” Inclusion of triple-glazed windows and environmentally friendly ICF insulation is a big reason for the overwhelming sense of calm and quiet that permeates the house. A contrast of metallic surfaces and wooden features exudes a sense of modern simplicity highlighted with West Coast warmth. The result is a sense of continuity between the home’s stunning natural surroundings and its attractive interior. “We had visited other Pheasant Hill homes and we liked their style. We liked their attitude to homes in the way that the inside and the outside relate to one another,” the homeowners say. They were equally impressed with the building process. It all began with the couple setting out some basic requirements: they enjoyed entertaining and had an
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extensive collection of books. After the builder got to know the couple and the site in more detail, he presented the clients with an 80-page package that outlined every element of the house, down to the very last nail. After receiving their guides, Pheasant Hill clients are encouraged to take a further look at the design and features in case they choose to make changes that suit budgets and preferences. In this way, any changes can be easily incorporated into the final plan prior to breaking ground. “Because of what we learned in doing this, we could easily do it again, and we’d do it again with Pheasant Hill,” they say. “But having said that, after building this house, we don’t need to do it again. We’re living in this house, we’re not interested in flipping it. We are making it a home.”
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“I know everything about cabinets — I’m really good at organizing and designing. But it’s the company culture and the personnel management that is my biggest growth area right now.”
DREAM Arlene McPherson of McPherson Cabinetry BY TESS VAN STRAATEN | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N
o m ai own an nt N dow
APLE Bay’s Arlene McPherson belongs to a rare group of people who can say they’ve lived on all three of Canada’s coasts. “Most people don’t know I lived in a small community called Arviat in the eastern Arctic for two years,” says the 60-year-old co-owner of McPherson Cabinetry. “So I’ve lived on all three coasts of the country — although one was frozen most of the time so I hardly ever got to see it!” Arlene, who grew up in Edmonton and has lived in Nova Scotia and Hay River, moved to Vancouver Island in 1995 with her family. They settled in the Comox Valley, where Arlene started her first business. “I’m a journeyman cabinetmaker and I’ve been a cabinetmaker for 30-odd years now,” she says. “It was a very small cabinet shop in Cumberland called She Saws Woodcraft. It was with just me and one or two helpers, and we built custom kitchens and furniture.” The mother of three moved to the Cowichan Valley a decade ago and worked at Gillingham Cabinets. But when the owner closed up shop in 2014, Arlene decided to venture out on her own again. With business partner Alister Frayling, she launched McPherson Cabinetry four years ago and hasn’t looked back. “The market has consistently gotten stronger and stronger. There have been a lot of organizational challenges and growth challenges because the construction industry has just been booming on the island,” Arlene explains. “We’ve been scrambling to keep up for four years.” With a buzzing business, they quickly outgrew their first shop in the first year, necessitating a move to a building that was double the size. The company now has 17 employees; with orders pouring in and a lot of repeat business, it moved to another new location in July of 2017. “We’re still growing but we’re definitely not going to move again!” says Arlene. “We’ve added a mezzanine space to our current building and we’re just trying to run things in a way that makes us very lean manufacturing. I’m putting more emphasis on the scheduling and we’re not building a lot of stuff ahead of time. I can make this space work for quite a long time as long as our scheduling is tight and efficient and organized.” Being an entrepreneur comes naturally to Arlene, whose first career was as a social worker. But she says she loves working with her hands, and making things is her passion. “I’ve always liked making things,” she says. ‘I grew up on a farm and so we were always building chicken coops and rabbit pens. I love building something and seeing a
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“I want this to be a positive business. I want to attract the best talent in the valley and that doesn’t just happen with money or wages.”
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finished product — something that I made. That gives me a lot of satisfaction.” As managing partner, Arlene is no longer building, but she says seeing the finished product go out the door to happy customers gives her the same satisfaction. She also relishes the challenge of running her own business. “I’m the oldest of seven children, so I’ve always been quite independent and enjoyed working on my own,” she says. “I’m very self-motivated and I’ve never been totally happy working for others.” But the biggest challenge for Arlene has been learning to manage staff and cultivating a company culture where employees are engaged and motivated. “The thing I learn every day is that managing the people to run your business is the biggest challenge and the biggest ‘make or break’ in business,” Arlene says. “You can organize all you want, you can have all the customers you want, but if your staff isn’t happy and motivated then you don’t have a business that’s moving forward.” Recognizing the importance of strong leadership, Arlene decided to start working with a business coach and she admits people management has been a big learning curve. “I know everything about cabinets — I’m really good at organizing and I’m really good at designing,” Arlene says. “But it’s the company culture and the personnel management that is my biggest growth area right now. I want this to be a positive business. I want people to want to work here and I want to attract the best talent in the valley and that doesn’t just happen with money or wages.” As for being a woman in such a male-dominated industry, Arlene says it hasn’t been an issue for her but she’s disappointed that more women haven’t gone into the trade. “I have two women in the shop working for me now and I try to hire women, but I’ve been in the business for 30 years and the proportion of women in trades doesn’t seem to have changed much,” she says. “One thing I would love to do when I have more time is to be more of a mentor to women who want to come into this kind of trade.” For now, Arlene is focussing on the continued growth of the business in Cowichan and Victoria as she builds her dream. “My biggest lesson is to always stay positive, to always look forward, to learn from your mistakes, to keep moving forward and to keep trying to get better and better.”
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#sweetstagram Desserts to savour and share BY JANE ZATYLNY | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N
Now Open! True Cowichan Valley cuisine using local ingredients made from scratch
HE SWEET season is upon us. It’s that time of year when croissants, tarts, muffins, macaroons, cakes and pies line bakery windows, inviting us into warm shop interiors for an indulgence or two. Paired with a robust Americano or aromatic cup of tea, it’s a sweet way to treat ourselves or the ones we love. With moderation in mind, choosing special, high quality desserts when I do indulge is my modus operandi. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to find desserts pretty enough to include on any Instagram account. So pick up your Smart Phone and your fork, and dig into five of my favourite Vancouver Island desserts — plates that are meant to be shared, savoured, even gifted to family and friends.
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Wee Cupcakery Nanaimo It may be wee, but Medina Mayes’s tiny bakery shop is my favourite mid-island destination for a specialty cupcake. Medina produces a beautiful selection of cupcakes, including a take on the Nanaimo Bar, Toasted Coconut, Vancouver Island Sea Salt, Rootbeer Float and Red Velvet. The selection is ever-changing and dependent on the availability of fresh ingredients and in-season fruits — as well as “the mood of the baker,” laughs Medina. One of the most exquisite choices at Wee Cupcakery is the Raspberry Rose cupcake. This vanilla-based cupcake is scented with rosewater and filled with lemon curd, then topped with buttercream icing and edible dried rose petals. “I just use a little rosewater,” says Medina. “It’s enough to be intriguing without being overly perfumed.” The artisan cupcake shop also sells petite cupcakes or “wee ones” and other specialty baked goods from its tiny Old City Quarter location, all made from fresh dairy products, eggs and specialty chocolate. Vegan and glutenfree options are also available daily. Good to know: Arrive early to avoid disappointment; these cupcakes often sell out. You can request a special order for a favourite type of cupcake or cake. Closed Sundays and Mondays, and after baked goods sell out. Info: 407 Fitzwilliam Street, Nanaimo; 250-591-0770.
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@ Old Town Bakery Ladysmith Veer off the highway at Ladysmith and head straight to Old Town Bakery on First Street for one (or more) of the establishment’s nine cinnamon buns. The full-service bakery offers breakfast, lunches, coffee, freshly baked breads, sausage rolls, pies and Cornish pasties, but the cinnamon buns are the real stars, displayed on numerous baking sheets near the cash register. “We make and sell more than 48 dozen every day,” says coowner Geoff Cram. Other flavours, like caramel apple, coconut pecan, peanut cream cheese and blueberry may tempt me, but my favourite is the traditional bun topped with sliced almonds. Airy, light, and so very flavourful, the recipe from Jeff’s wife and co-owner Katie Cram’s grandmother combines simple ingredients like brown sugar, butter and, of course, cinnamon, and then adds a delicious cream cheese icing. I like mine warmed with the icing on the side. The serving size is extra-extra-large, so bring a friend or two. Attain super-hero status by gifting someone special with a selection of buns for brunch. Good to know: Closed Sundays. Info: 510 1st Ave, Ladysmith; 250-245-2531
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@The Fairmont Empress Hotel Victoria I was understandably distracted when I sat down with Executive Chef Morgan Wilson to taste the hotel’s new Empress Torte. After all, there was a cake between us, and all I could smell was chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. While the scent was intoxicating, the flavour was divine. This gold-dusted hazelnut chocolate sponge torte features moist layers separated by cassis jam, Aiyana chocolate ganache and Etenia dark chocolate creameux. The chocolate was specially developed for the Empress in France by Executive Pastry Chef AJ Thalakkat. “It’s made with honey from our own garden, hazelnuts from Oregon and BC-grown blackcurrant,” says Morgan. Take this gluten-free showstopper to friends and family in its pretty cake box, inspired by the hotel’s china, or enjoy a single slice in the Lobby Lounge or Q at the Empress restaurant. My piece was plated on a deep burgundy swirl of raspberry coulis, garnished with freeze-dried raspberries and topped with a chocolate crown, a replica of the one worn by Queen Elizabeth II. Good to know: In its box, the torte can travel without refrigeration for up to four days. A full Empress torte will serve 10 people and is $100 plus tax. A single slice is $10, and you won’t want to share it. Info: 721 Government Street, Victoria; 250-389-2727 to order, or email email@example.com.
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Mist&M agiC BY KATHERINE SUNA | P H OTO S BY L I A C R OW E
Travel through time to a land of saltwater and stone. Here, rugged meets refined with layered, rough wools and soft silk, elegant silver and raw gemstones, rosy cheeks and tangled locks. Follow the wild shoreline to the cosy shelter of Yellow Point Lodge and discover winter fashion set against a landscape steeped in ancient magic and wonder.
Brown faux suede coat ($92) by Bella Amore from Shades Ladies Clothing; plaid scarf ($15), ivory mock neck sweater ($76) by Jana, houndstooth pull-up pant ($45) by DEX, all from Damsels Fashion Collections; brown drew belt ($69) by InWear, from Sartorial Boutique; tall brown Nevada calf boot ($315) by Gabor from Cardino Shoes; golden stone cocktail ring ($499), labradorite drop earrings ($399), all from Impeccable Jewellery.
Black printed and embroidered top ($149) by Desigual, grey cashmere blend knit skirt ($149) by InWear, black wool blend doublebreasted coat ($325) by YAYA, all from Fabrications; black leather lace-up boots ($279) by Ten Points from Cardino Shoes; silver bangles ($399 each), citrine rings ($149 each), tourmaline ring ($299), and citrine drop earrings ($349), all from Impeccable Jewellery.
Embroidered black dress ($60) by DEX, plaid blazer coat ($250) by ESPRIT, both from Damsels Fashion Collections; brown leather lace-up booties ($289) by Yuko Imanishi from Cardino Shoes; blue topaz earrings ($399), broque pearl cocktail ring ($699) and citrine pendant ($599), all from Impeccable Jewellery.
Green long-sleeved printed dress ($92) by Bella Amore, and grey knit blanket wrap ($82) by North American, both from Shades Ladies Clothing; Grey knit pullover sweater ($110) by Lyla + Luxe from Sartorial Boutique; black leather boots with metal detail ($475) by A.S.98, grey cable knit boot socks ($15) by Hue, and black leather crossbody purse ($200) by Hobo, all from Cardio Shoes; astropilite pendant ($799), 22â€? silver chain ($399), astropilite statement ring ($469) and golden stone statement ring ($499), all from Impeccable Jewellery.
Short-sleeved beaded gown ($410) by Adriana Papelle and grey Cemile wool coat ($168) by Kaffe, both from Damsels Fashion Collections; black leather lace-up boots ($279) by Ten Points from Cardino Shoes; white mabe pearl earrings ($379), and white mabe pearl bracelet ($599), both from Impeccable Jewellery.
Makeup and hair: Lea Christine Smith Model: Eden Weiss Assistant: Djuna Nagasaki Photographed on location at Yellow Point Lodge. A huge thank you for your hospitality.
Cut-out mousseline blouse ($110) and black vest ($210), by Velvet by Graham & Spencer from Sartorial Boutique; labradorite drop earrings ($399), astrophilite pendant ($799), labradorite with citrine stone cocktail ring ($329) and silver bracelets ($449 each), all from Impeccable Jewellery.
Itâ€™s a Wrap! Winter Dream.
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Delicate, fresh, crisp, almost calorie-free, lettuce of various kinds can hold toppings with beauty and pizzazz.
I Lettuce cups are the perfect vehicle to carry fabulous flavours BY CHEF HEIDI FINK | PHOTOS BY DON DENTON
Tâ€™S THAT time of year when the food and drink are flowing, and indulgences become everyday occurrences. I love this: the frequent holiday gatherings presenting opportunities to eat chocolate truffles and cheese-laden crostini. Far from trying to stay away from treats, my burning question is always: how can I taste more of these wonderful flavours without stuffing myself? So many foods this time of year involve bread, toast, crackers or other carb-heavy vehicles for conveying delicious appetizers to your mouth. I love bread, but I am much more interested in eating the delicious toppings like cheese, caramelized vegetables or smoked fish. Enter the lettuce cup: a perfect vehicle to carry fabulous flavours without filling us up too soon. Delicate, fresh, crisp, almost calorie-free, lettuce of various kinds can hold toppings with beauty and pizzazz. And switching to lettuce offers an unexpected bonus: it allows the flavours of the toppings to really shine. Bread and toast can be filling, and their blandness sometimes bogs down the topping flavours. With a delicate-tasting lettuce cup, the toppings dance like a party in your mouth.
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This is not to knock bread or crackers as a vehicle for delicious appetizers — they are often perfect — just a note of encouragement to branch out into something fresh, crisp, crunchy and light. With so many colours, flavours and textures to try, leaves are an appie platter winner. Chose from crisp, yellow-green romaine hearts, crunchy white endive, delicate butter lettuce and bitter burgundy radicchio, to name a few. I’ve shared some of my favourite recipes here, but consider these a springboard for the imagination! Create a beautiful, fresh-looking appetizer platter with a handful of crisp leaves and whichever toppings you choose. Serve and enjoy tasting without feeling so full…and leave room for more chocolate truffles. Happy holidays!
WINTER DREAM makes about 30 pieces This dreamy combination of sweet Medjool dates, salty bacon, tart roasted pear, creamy blue cheese and crunchy bitter endive hits all the flavour and texture points for a delicious, coldweather appetizer. If you really love blue cheese, you can serve these with your favourite blue cheese dressing. ¼ lb of your favourite bacon 6 to 8 Medjool dates 1 Tbsp maple syrup 1 whole pear, cored and chopped into small pieces 1 Tbsp bacon fat (leftover from cooking the bacon) 100 g creamy blue cheese (e.g. Cambozola) 3 heads of endive All of the ingredients can be prepared in advance and reheated briefly before assembly. The bits don’t have to served warm, but they should not be cold. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place strips of bacon on a parchmentlined baking sheet, making sure the pieces of bacon aren’t touching each other. Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway through cooking, until bacon is crisp but not over-crisp. You want nice pieces of bacon, not bacon crumbles. Meanwhile, cut the dates in half lengthwise and remove the pits. Chop each half into 4 or 5 pieces. Place them in a
parchment-lined pie pan and drizzle with maple syrup. Cut the pear into quarters and remove the cores. Cut pear quarters into small pieces (about the size of the date pieces). When the bacon has finished cooking, place it on a paper-towel-lined plate. Carefully pour off the bacon fat into a small jar, leaving approximately one tablespoon of fat on the tray. Place the cut pear on this tray and stir the pieces around until they are coated with bacon fat. Spread pear pieces out into one layer. Return tray to oven and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, until pears are softened slightly. As soon as the bacon is cool enough to touch, move to a cutting board and cut into 1-centimetre pieces. Place the dates in the oven for a few minutes to soften and absorb some maple flavour. On a clean cutting board, cut the cheese into pieces about the size of large peas — it’s difficult to do this with a soft cheese, so don’t worry if the pieces are misshapen or vary in size. Prepare the endive leaves last, because they go brown after sitting out for awhile. Cut the root end off of each head and separate the leaves. You may have to cut the root end again as you get closer to the centre. Use the small centre leaves whole, and the bigger outer leaves cut in half (lengthwise is better for presentation, but crosswise might be easier for assembly). In each leaf of endive, place a piece of bacon, a piece of maple-glazed date, a piece of roasted pear and a piece of creamy blue cheese. Arrange on a platter and serve.
VEGGIE FRESH BITES makes about 30 pieces The secret to this bright-tasting appetizer is in the delicious caper-lemon-Parmesan dressing — it’s a winner. Almost any colourful vegetable will work in the lettuce cup itself. This time, I chose cherry tomatoes, roasted sweet peppers, creamy avocado, and a generous amount of flat-leaf parsley. Try sweet corn, roasted green beans, roasted cauliflower, cubes of mild cheese, grilled zucchini — the options are limitless.
1 bulb garlic 4 Tbsp lemon juice zest of 1 lemon 1½ Tbsp capers 1 Tbsp caper juice 1½ Tbsp Dijon 2 Tbsp mayonnaise 1 clove raw garlic, peeled and chopped ½ tsp salt ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp sugar ⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese (grate your own) ½ cup extra virgin olive oil Preheat oven to 350 F. Wrap the bulb of garlic in foil and place in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes until soft. Remove from oven and let cool; cut the top off the head of garlic and
squeeze the roasted garlic pulp into a blender. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, capers, caper juice, Dijon, mayonnaise, raw garlic, salt, pepper and sugar. Blend until puréed. Add the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Blend again until everything is creamy and well mixed. Taste to see if more salt, sugar, lemon or caper juice is needed. This dressing can be made up to 5 days in advance. Refrigerate in mason jar until time to use.
2 yellow peppers 1 avocado 1 box cherry tomatoes ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley 2 bags romaine hearts Dressing (above)
Veggie Fresh Bites.
Roast the peppers. There are two methods for doing this. If you have a gas stove, turn one of the elements on high. Place the whole peppers directly on the flame. Wearing oven mitts, use a pair of tongs to flip the peppers over when they have charred and blackened on one side. You will have to flip each pepper several times. When their skin has turned
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black, move the peppers to a pot, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. If you have an electric stove, halve and seed the peppers. Flatten, place skin side up on a cookie sheet and broil them until their skins turn black. Once ready, put the peppers in a covered container and let sit for 15 minutes. Once the peppers have “rested,” peel off as much of their skin as possible without running them under water. Seed them if you have to, cut into small pieces and set aside. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half or quarters, depending on size. Pit and peel the avocado before cutting into small slices. Roughly chop the flat-leaf parsley, making sure you leave the pieces big enough to see the beautiful parsley leaf shape. Cut the root end off of each of the romaine hearts and separate the leaves. You may have to cut the root end again as you get closer to the centre. Use the small centre leaves whole, and cut down the bigger outer leaves a bit. To assemble the bites, place a piece of roasted pepper, a piece of avocado and a piece of cherry tomato on each romaine leaf. Drizzle each generously with the lemon-garlic-caper dressing and garnish with a generous sprinkle of parsley. Arrange on a platter and serve.
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THAI FLAVOUR EXPLOSIONS makes about 30 pieces This quintessential Thai street vendor snack is a not-to-bemissed culinary experience. Each bite is an explosion of flavours and textures: spicy, nutty, juicy, limy, sweet and crunchy, to name a few. An amazingly fresh and flavourful appie to enjoy during this season over-rich foods.
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Sauce ¼ cup minced fresh ginger ¼ cup minced fresh or frozen galangal (or use more ginger) ½ cup minced shallots 4 Tbsp fish sauce ¾ cup water ½ cup white or light brown sugar, or more, to taste salt, to taste Place the galangal, ginger, shallots, fish sauce and water in a blender. Purée as finely as possible. Transfer to a small saucepan and add the sugar. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes until it becomes a uniform texture and colour, and thickens to the texture of loose jam — thick, but still pourable. If you think it is getting too thick, reduce the heat, or add a bit more water to the pan. Taste to see if it needs more salt or sugar — the sauce should be quite sweet and salty. Transfer the sauce to a small bowl and set aside to cool. This sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for up to 2 months.
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Flavour Explosions 2 heads of butter lettuce ½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts Fresh ginger, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes 1 large shallot, peeled and cut into a small dice (about ¼-inch) One whole lime, with the skin still on, cut into ¼-inch cubes 2 to 4 Thai bird chilies, sliced thin 1 cup fresh local hand-peeled shrimp, cooked ¼ cup toasted unsweetened coconut Sauce (recipe above) Separate the leaves of lettuce. Wash them in cool water and pat dry. Use the smallest leaves from the centre of the lettuce heads for the best presentation. Bigger leaves can be torn into pieces a bit smaller than the size of the palm of your hand. Place prepared lettuce on a plate (you should have about 30 pieces). Place the remaining ingredients in separate piles on a platter. Place the sauce in a small bowl in the centre of the platter. I prefer to assemble these in advance, but you can let your guests make their own at the table. Either way, the method is the same. For each lettuce cup, place a piece of lettuce in the palm of your hand. Working your way around the platter, put one piece of each ingredient in the centre of your leaf: one peanut, one piece of ginger, one piece of shallot, one piece of lime (skin and all!), one piece of chili, one shrimp, a sprinkle of toasted coconut and about ¼ tsp of sauce. If you make these in advance, place them carefully on a serving platter. Have each guest pick up a lettuce cup and fold up the corners of their lettuce leaf to make a small parcel. These should be small enough to put in the mouth in one bite.
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Satisfaction! Revelling in the beauty and glamour of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines BY BRUCE SACH
When you need something, you put up your yellow flag, and when you’ve received it, up goes the green flag. Life couldn’t be better in a resort where staff outnumbers guests three to one.
UST THE name Saint Vincent and the Grenadines evokes visions of exotic, idyllic island life. Imagine an island chain in the heart of the Caribbean Sea, uncluttered by tourists, and offering white-sand beaches, sky-blue water gently lapping the shores and barely a soul around. Not surprisingly, this string of islands, which unfurls like tassels on the tail of a kite, attracts some of the most exclusive visitors and expats. Remember when the Concorde used to fly to Barbados? Its passengers’ ultimate destination was the secluded chain of islands in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The story began in 1958 when Lord Glenconner bought the Grenadine island of Mustique, and in a stroke of genius, gave Princess Margaret a 10-acre lot as a wedding gift on his newly developed island. Things took off from there. Queen Elizabeth has visited three times. David Bowie had a home here. Even rock star/photographer Bryan Adams — who famously photographed the Queen — is a regular visitor. The royal tradition continues, as Kate and William vacation here, and Tommy Hilfiger, Sir Mick Jagger and Elizabeth Hurley tout it as their second home. Why? The well-travelled and the well-heeled like it for its privacy, luxury and splendour. Unfortunately for visitors to Mustique, the royals, selfmade or hereditary, have created an island where only they are welcome, and where your visit is monitored, noted and just barely tolerated. During our visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the royals were rumoured to be there, so all contact with Mustique was “discouraged.” Our first glimpse of a Grenadine island occurred as our Twin Otter DNC – 6300 flew over the east coast of Bequia. It swooped back over the southern tip and landed at the James F. Mitchell airport, which is carved out of the mountain near Paget Farm, a settlement on Bequia’s south shore.
While our tiny 15-seater plane could easily cover the entire 72-kilometre length of the Grenadines and its 32 islands and cays in less than an hour, we ended up spending a full week on a private catamaran to cover the same distance. Bequia — and other islands with exotic names like Mayreau, Union Island and Petit Saint Vincent — were revealed to us, one step at a time. And from our room on the beach at the Bequia Beach Hotel, we had outstanding views of Friendship Bay and, far in the distance, Mustique. One of the draws to visiting Mustique was Basil’s Bar, which was advertising a jam that included seasonal resident Mick Jagger. However, the closer we got to planning a visit to Mustique, the more one of the classic Rolling Stone tunes came to mind: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want!” With the royals in residence and a further discovery that Basil’s Bar had burned down — we eventually abandoned the idea of visiting Mustique and set about finding an authentic way of exploring the archipelago. It turns out, TradeWinds Luxury Vacations offered a smart alternative. And so in Bequia, we boarded a 52-foot catamaran called Unity and discovered we had the best of both worlds — a sailing vessel that included a dinghy for trips to isolated shores, plus a crew of two who looked after everything. The differing shades of blue in the waters of the southern Grenadines between Union Island and Tobago Cays defies description. As we make our way to a tiny private island, Petit Saint Vincent, the water was so blue and the light so perfect, it was reflected on the white bellies of the Laughing Gulls that followed boats approaching the dock. I’d be laughing too if I lived in that habitat for my entire life! Guests at Petit Saint Vincent’s exclusive resort rent out villas with unrestricted views of the ocean and Tobago Cays. When you need something, you put up your yellow flag, and when you’ve received it, up goes the green. Life couldn’t be better in a resort where staff outnumbers guests three to one.
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One of the draws to visiting Mustique was Basil’s Bar, which was advertising a jam that included seasonal resident Mick Jagger. Back on the ocean we floated by two sandbars on tiny reefs called Mopion and Pinese. The former is famous for its only attraction, a bottle opener attached to a lone palm tree. Our captain went out of his way to remind us that its name translates to “pubic lice,” no doubt a legacy from pirating and salacious sailing days. From here, the tiny island of Petit Tabac, made famous as the location for the final scene of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, was almost within sight. Going ashore in another bay, we walked up to the Catholic Church of Mayreau (with even more outstanding views of Tabago Cays and the distant islands of Grenada) before making our way slowly through the tiny town of Station Hill. We conversed with folks along the way and got to know one local character called Righteous Robert. I decided that when I return to Mayreau, I will visit his Righteous Bar, reputed to never close! We eventually made our way to the other side of the town and visited the TradeWinds resort, set to open at the end of this year. Lucky visitors of the future will be able to include this high-end resort as part of catamaran trips to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Our two days and two nights at Tobago Cays was probably the highlight of the entire trip. Between Petit Bateau and Petit Rameau (two tiny cays, that appear as mere specks on a map), we saw stingrays, turtles and exotic fish. Moments away, on the other side of Petit Bateau, we moored in front of Baradal Cay, in what is known to be a favourite spot for turtles. Going out early in the morning before breakfast, we spotted many greenback turtles and the odd hawksbill. Moored in between Petit Rameau and Petit Bateau, my last memory of the night was seeing three anchored catamarans positioned in a formation that looked for all the world like giant turtles. Early next morning, all were gone. Our flight leaving from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines provided us one final, lovely, unforgettable surprise. In the end, our “direct” flight from Bequia to Barbados took us to Canouan and Union Island, affording us a visual recollection of our seven-day boat trip from the air. We could identify all the islands and cays we’d visited and relive moments from the catamaran trip. This trip was indeed the very definition of “Satisfaction” — to borrow one again from Sir Mick Jagger. www.trade-winds.com You may want to spend a few days before or after in Bequia, from where the catamaran excursion begins. Highly recommended: www.bequiabeachresort.com
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Seventh heaven and beyond at Whistler BY SUSAN LUNDY
The jeep tour has opened our eyes to the immensity of the mountain playground at Whistler Blackcomb, where snow buffs in the winter and hikers in the summer have access to more than 8,100 acres of hugely varied terrain.
E’RE definitely in “seventh heaven,” mesmerized by the 360-degree view of mountain peaks and valleys that stretches as far as we can see. It feels like the top of the world. The 7th Heaven Summit is perched at the top of Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler, at the highest lift-accessed point in BC’s Coast Mountain range. And although it’s taken us about 45 minutes to drive here in a jeep along some steep, winding roads, snow-lovers can make it via a series of lifts once the mountain opens November 22.
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The Canadian Wilderness Adventures jeep tour has opened 10-passenger gondola that was under construction but set to our eyes to the immensity of the mountain playground at open this winter. Whistler Blackcomb, where snow buffs in the winter and hikers The 7th Heaven Summit is part of Whistler Backcomb’s in the summer have access to more than 8,100 acres of hugely famous PEAK 2 PEAK experience, and we caught a good look varied terrain. It’s no wonder Whistler Blackcomb is consistently at the Blackcomb side of the gondola where it dips (terrifyingly) ranked the top ski resort in North America. The two side-byover the edge of the mountain. Spanning the distance side mountains are connected by a bustling pedestrian village between the two mountains, the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola is a and feature more than 200 trails, three glaciers, 37 lifts and 16 4.4-kilometre ride that takes 11 minutes. It is both the world’s alpine bowls. The mountains get an average of 1,181 centimetres highest lift of its kind at 436 metres above the valley floor, or 38.7 feet of snow annually — and part of the world’s longest We also checked out Pangea, and the town welcomes three continuous lift system. By million visitors each year. connecting the high alpine terrain Canada’s first-ever pod hotel, Our jeep ride, taken amid the of both Whistler and Blackcomb which opened in Whistler last shoulder season in October, mountains, it allows skiers was part of a quick getaway for and snowboarders to ride both August. It embraces the “chicone of my adult daughters and mountains’ best terrains on the shared” concept — a new trend me. We enjoyed a leisurely drive same day. along the breathtaking Sea to And it seems the Whistler in alternative accommodation, Sky Highway after meeting up mountain experience is designed for the solo traveller. in Vancouver. (And I do mean constantly being upgraded. This “leisurely” — Sierra is known year, some $66 million was for her stick-to-the-speed-limit driving, and I resisted the urge invested into three new lifts, including the gondola we saw under to help her find the accelerator with my own “heavier” driving construction, a new six-passenger, high-speed lift on Whistler foot.) and a new, four-passenger, high-speed chairlift on Blackcomb. The jeep ride, on the other hand, was less leisurely as we Food and accommodation options abound. There are six traversed a few heart-stopping, mountain-hugging roadways mountain restaurants on Whistler and five on Blackcomb, plus that became increasingly narrow as we wound our way up more than 90 in the village itself. And luckily for those millions to the 7th Heaven Summit. En route we passed the Whistler of annual visitors who land in this destination town of about Sliding Centre, home of the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton events 12,000 permanent residents, Whistler has a range of places to at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and a new stay.
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Sierra and I checked into a stunning, two-bedroom, twobathroom corner suite at the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, where, from one set of floor-to-ceiling windows, we overlooked the slopes of Whistler, and from the other, peered down upon the luxury hotel’s outdoor, year-round swimming pool and hot tubs (which became our post-dinner soaking spot). Located right in Whistler Village on Skiers’ Plaza, the hotel is the closest you can get to the mountain gondolas for a true ski-in, ski-out winter getaway. I loved the beautiful wood accents in our 800-square-foot suite that included a gas fireplace, private balconies, full-size kitchen and soaker tubs in the bathrooms. There’s also an inresort shuttle and slope-side valet ski/bike/golf storage. We enjoyed mulled wine on the patio of Black’s Pub, right next to the hotel, before dining on an excellent vegan meal at the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub, which is notable for the fact it was designed and built in Ireland and then transported piece by piece to the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside. It is now Whistler’s only Irish experience, and offers live Celtic music daily. We also checked out Pangea, Canada’s first-ever pod hotel, which opened in Whistler last August. It embraces the “chicshared” concept — a new trend in alternative accommodation, designed for the solo traveller. At $65 to $80 per night per person, it is a perfect landing spot for millennials like Sierra. The hotel is super snazzy in its decor, offering several public spaces — restaurant, bar and a gear storage area — and 88 sleeper pods divided into eight suites with shared bathroom facilities. We continued our vegan trend with an inspired meal at Pangea’s The Living Room restaurant. Our two days in Whistler included some strolling around
and admiring the many boutiques. We also wandered the Fitzsimmons Trail to the Upper Village (base of Blackcomb), where we sipped on white wine at the grand Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Sadly, we ran out of time to check out two highly recommended cultural/arts centres. The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is a celebration of two cultures — the Squamish Lil’wat nations — designed in the form of a Squamish longhouse and Lil’wat Istken earthen dwelling. It offers hourly guided tours, a large First Nations gift shop and The Thunderbird Café, serving Indigenous-inspired cuisine. The Audain Art Museum is BC’s largest purpose-built art museum, exhibiting close to 200 pieces of art from the personal collection of Vancouver builder Michael Audain and his wife, Yoshiko Karasawa. In addition to the permanent collection, there are galleries for temporary exhibitions of Canadian and international art. One activity we did manage to fit in on our (slow) drive back to the coast was the Sea to Sky Gondola in nearby Squamish. The gondola ride takes 10 minutes, but that’s only part of the adventure because there’s lots to do at the top. It was an absolutely glorious, sunny day and the views of the mountains and Howe Sound were spectacular. We crossed over the suspension bridge, checked out numerous viewing platforms, sat on a viewing bench and hiked one of the many trails before sitting on the outdoor patio with a bite to eat. After the gondola experience, it was time to come down from our seventh heaven getaway. But plans are already afoot for another trip to the top of the world.
FRONT ROW BY SHERRY CONLY
INSPIRING ART AND ENTERTAINMENT SET FOR THE WINTER MONTHS IN THE CENTRAL ISLAND. ENJOY SPECTACULAR SOUND, RIVETING THEATRE, BANNER ART, HAND-CRAFTED GOODS AND CHRISTMAS WITH SINATRA.
MATTHEW GOOD SOLO ACOUSTIC TOUR FEBRUARY 7 COWICHAN PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE
HE Cowichan Performing Arts Centre and Gee Dan Productions present a special matinee performance by Matthew Good, designed to highlight the artist’s unprecedented songwriting and iconic sound, stemming from his beginnings in the Canadian alt-rock
music world in 1995. With 16 albums, four Juno Awards and plenty of international acclaim, Good is a well-known Canadian icon and supporter of many causes, ranging from mental health awareness to human rights, with all proceeds from his OK hoodie line donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association. This is Good’s first solo run in Canada since his 2007 critically acclaimed acoustic tour. Fresh off the release of the newest album Something Like a Storm, which debuted in the top five in the country, and a 2018 tour with Canada’s Our Lady Peace, Good will be touring across Canada, with extra shows added to the 35-dates calendar by popular demand. See matthewgood.org/news for show dates in Campbell River and Nanaimo as well. 80
THE SOUND OF MUSIC FEB 15 - APR 6
THE FOREIGNER APR 18 - MAY 9
MAY 24 - AUG 31 Singersongwriter Matthew Good performs at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on February 7.
MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION SEP 13 - OCT 5
LITTLE WOMEN UNTIL DECEMBER 30 CHEMAINUS THEATRE
Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy are the four March sisters whose tales and adventures have been winning hearts for generations. Experience their story live at the Chemainus Theatre’s presentation of Little Women, running until December 30. Developed into a musical by artistic director Mark DuMez and Jim Hodgkinson, this take on the classic story by Louisa May Alcott will stir the senses and bring you back to a time when you were a child reading your own dog-eared copy of this classic novel. “This was an original Chemainus Theatre Festival musical adaptation from 2005, and we felt that the story lent itself well to a musical format. It allows for the sisters to sing in great harmonies, to highlight the Christmas scenes in the story and also to transport to the different locations through the score,” says DuMez. Enjoy a matinee or evening performance and make it a full experience with a gourmet buffet in the Playbill Dining Room. Buy your tickets at chemainustheatrefestival.ca
LUMBERJACKS IN LOVE OCT 18 - NOV 2
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Lindsay Skeans Substance Photography at the Vancouver Island Winter Market.
VANCOUVER ISLAND WINTER MARKET DECEMBER 14-16 NANAIMO NORTH TOWN CENTRE
Taking place at Nanaimo North Town Centre, the new Vancouver Island Winter Market will feature over 200 vendors and wares that range from wine, beer and spirits, to an incredible variety of handmade goods and artwork, educational workshops, food trucks and live entertainment and demonstrations. “We wanted to make a modern market that was for vendors and brought out a lot of shoppers. Our goal was to find unique local vendors with handmade goods only,” says coordinator Janice Roberts. Together with partner Mei Dunlop and Mei’s husband Frank, the three are creating a unique experience where visitors can see, hear, touch and taste the very best of handmade goods on Vancouver Island, as well as take part in a wide variety of workshops, from wood burning to hand leathering or distressed sign painting. “We seem to be taking a step back to DIY and handmade, and it’s incredible how many different art forms there are out there now,” says Kara Bussey, glassworker and co-owner of Glimpse Glass. Bussey and her parents produce gorgeous stained glass air plant terrariums and décor, and she loves to conceptualize new pieces that push the envelope. Her newest creation is the echeveria succulent, a stylish piece of greenery. Each succulent contains 50 pieces of glass and is hand-ground, cut, soldered and polished, taking around four hours to create. Ampersand Distilling is a vendor in the food and beverage category of the market, one of eight liquor and wine vendors on-site. Based in the Cowichan Valley, the four-person team creates award-winning craft gin and vodka. “It’s great to be able to sample and sell directly to our
customers and to meet new people on the island. We have seen a great response at local markets — once people try our spirits they can taste the quality for themselves and often continue to seek it out in their local stores and restaurants,” says co-owner Jessica Schacht. “People really appreciate that we make the spirit and here we are able to tell them exactly how we do it. I think our passion is a little contagious,” she adds. For workshop pre-registration and a list of vendors, visit vancouverislandmarket.com.
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THE POETICS OF SPACE UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2019 NANAIMO ART GALLERY
A touring exhibition from the Vancouver Art Gallery, The Poetics of Space examines the idea of space from a variety of perspectives, primarily drawn from artists like Emily Carr and Lawren Harris, as well as lesser-known artists like Beatrice Lennie and Maxwell Bates. Split into three sections with works by 25 artists, the exhibition contemplates space from optical perceptions to the experimental mapping of broader terrain. The Poetics of Space is the fourth exhibition in a year in which Nanaimo Art Gallery asks the question: “How can we speak differently?” “We are very excited to be able to share these highly significant works from the Vancouver Art Gallery’s collection with Vancouver Island audiences,” says Nanaimo Art Gallery’s curator Jesse Birch. Curated by Chief Curator Emerita Daina Augaitis and Emmy Lee Wall, assistant curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery, this exhibition is part of the Across the Province touring program, which is generously supported by the Killy Foundation. Go to nanaimogallery.ca for more information.
POWER! POWER! Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same GUEST ARTISTS:
Jeans N’ Classics Band
7:30 PM PORT THEATRE
Lead Singer Michael Shotton leads the way in a powerful symphonic tribute to the first and best of the heavy rock bands. Jeans N’ Classics pairs up with the VI Symphony performing classic rock staples such as “Dazed and Confused”, “Kashmir”, and of course the eternal “Stairway to Heaven”. Rock on!
Arabella Campbell, Untitled (Fishing Boundary Square), 2007, chromogenic print. On exhibit at The Poetics of Space.
HAPPINESS, LOVE, HOME, DISCOVERY INSPIRATION, POWER, INFINITY
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LEGENDS CONCERT SERIES: CHRISTMAS WITH SINATRA
DECEMBER 14 AND 16 PORT THEATRE, NANAIMO / TIDEMARK THEATRE, CAMPBELL RIVER Enjoy a night out on a sentimental journey back to Frank Sinatra’s heyday with a classic holiday theme. From the critically acclaimed Legends Concert Series, starring Canadian entertainer Dane Warren, this is sure to be a special show for audiences of any age. “Frank’s voice is distinctive. You could be anywhere in the world and hear one of his songs and know that it’s him. It alone is timeless. It’s nostalgic. It makes you want to fall in love,” says producer Anthony James. Sinatra’s Christmas tunes are synonymous with simpler times, romance and memories. “It not only takes the older audience back to a different time, but invites a younger audience to be introduced and explore the simplicity of the music and the strong messages it sends through the lyrics,” says James. For tickets, visit tidemarktheatre.com or porttheatre.com Canadian entertainer Dane Warren in Christmas with Sinatra.
FESTIVAL OF BANNERS
BEGINNING EARLY FEBRUARY 2019 NANAIMO NORTH TOWN CENTRE Starting early in February, would-be artists can create their own large-scale pieces of art to be displayed around town. For the past 31 years, the Nanaimo Arts Council has presented the Festival of Banners, open to all ages. This unique experience allows everyone, no matter their skill level, to take part in joining with the community while painting their own original piece of art. The theme for 2019 is Splendours of the Salish Sea, and participants are encouraged to develop their own piece of art that corresponds with the theme. “We at the Nanaimo Arts Council love the idea that anyone of any skill level from the age of eight and up can come together and paint. The community that has been built as a result has been wonderful and inspiring,” says Dan Appell, general manager at NAG. All participants need to do is create an original drawing based on the 2019 theme, submit the design with a $20 entry fee, and schedule times that work best for completing the painting. The design will be drawn onto the banner, and all materials are provided, making it a truly accessible, hands-on experience. Coordinator Brenda Peck is in her 29th year with the festival. For details and registration please visit nanaimoartscouncil.
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Brad Leith at Impeccable Jewellery in Duncan.
AN EYE FOR THE Cowichan Valley designer finds inspiration around the globe
BY SEAN MCINTYRE | P H OTO S BY D O N D E N TO N
SKED about his pastimes, Brad Leith speaks of hobbies in quotation marks. It’s inevitable, really, for someone who logs about 75,000 kilometres of air miles annually. “My ‘hobbies’ are associated with my day job,” says Brad, the designer at Duncan’s Impeccable Jewellery. “The process of our unique creations requires me to travel substantially and allows me to see locations most ‘tourists’ would never venture to.” Whereas many people preserve souvenirs from distant and exotic locales on shelves or walls in their homes, Bard’s treasures are displayed at Impeccable Jewellery’s downtown Duncan showroom. Step into the quaint Craig Street boutique to behold 70-million-year-old fossils or shards of volcanic rock that spewed through space following an eruption on the moon. In one display case are the remnants of a meteorite that collided into Eastern Europe nearly 15 million years ago. The emerald green rock was discovered in Bohemia (modern day Czech Republic) during the mid 18th century and has since become a valued stone among jewellery makers because of its distinctive translucence. Brad’s specimens are artfully arranged into eye-catching pendants, breathtaking necklaces and beautifully subtle earnings. Nearby is a find Brad discovered during a tour of European auction houses. Roman glass was commonly used for ceremonial and decorative purposes across much of Europe in ancient times. When Brad happened upon a lot that included intact pieces and an assortment of broken artifacts, he couldn’t resist placing a bid. He won, and the result is an historic treasure repurposed as stylishly modern accessories that conjure the earliest days of civilization. “My concept is that there aren’t many items that can’t be made into incredible and impeccable jewellery, and I find these items wherever I travel,” he says. Some discoveries emerge from extensive research, others are the product of chance. With time to spare between trade shows in Hong Kong and Bangkok, Brad once headed for Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, one of the world’s largest religious monuments. While travelling to his destination through
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April Shain displays a necklace from Impeccable Jewellery. It features a Mexican fire opal, an Iceland nuummite and a diamond. 88
northeastern Thailand, he found himself with a long wait for his next bus in a dusty and congested border town. He headed to a nearby beach, where he met an awe-inspiring sight. “I was literally the only person on that beach,” he recalls. “I walked its entire length, and the shells that I was pulling off the beach were magnificent. I’ve never seen shells in such abundance that were so magnificently beautiful.” Each of the shells contained a distinct collection of naturally formed crystals unlike anything he’d seen before. After Brad crossed into Cambodia and toured the sprawling temple complex at Angkor Wat, he found even more glorious artifacts to behold. It’s in places such as this, he says, amid timeless ruins and inspiring early architecture, that creativity emerges. “When I see these monuments of civilization, they give me the inspiration to fuel our design approach,” he says. “As a designer, you change as you have that emotional feeling.” Brad hasn’t always been an avid treasure hunter and globetrotting gem finder, but the Southern Ontario native has been travelling for much of his professional life. Prior to pursuing his creative tendencies, he worked as a jewellery wholesaler. He’d travel across the country, from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland and back, twice a year, selling products to 300 stores. Much of his time was spent supplying jewellers with a consistent and predictable product. While the quality was certainly consistent, Brad found little excitement in the homogeneity of the products he supplied. Electing to taking the giant leap into jewellery design about 20 years ago, he hasn’t looked back. With a fondness for Impressionism, Brad is drawn to subtle variations in colour. In a sense, every stone he selects will speak to him through its distinctive hue. His task is to work with the stone’s innate expression as he strives to create a masterpiece unlike any he has made before. “I’ve always tried to make the stone the star,” he says. “I think that when you make the designer the star, you often get
In a sense, every stone he selects will speak to him through its distinctive hue. His task is to work with the stone’s innate expression as he strives to create a masterpiece unlike any he has made before.
something that no one would wear. To me, what we design is wearable art. For us, to see the faces of people when we finish or recondition a product is what it’s all about. It’s always a thrill for me.” The shop in downtown Duncan has become the crowning achievement in a journey to make pieces that marry unique stones, inspired design and a craftsman’s eye for quality. “We design every piece, we pick every stone, import it and sell it. Lots of people do one of these or maybe even two, but very few do the whole process,” he says. “We do just about everything, and we do things that are different. We distinguish it from mass-produced product and get the opportunity to achieve some really interesting results.” Brad’s design work is complemented by custom projects for clients in addition to restoration and repair services undertaken at the downtown location, where Impeccable Jewellery has grown to become a familiar landmark in a vibrant downtown core that values friendliness and service. Brad says he’s thrilled to be part of downtown Duncan’s remarkable resurgence as a prime shopping destination. In a competitive marketplace, where small-town downtowns are in a constant battle with generic big box stores, Leith says, a personal touch and attention to detail is what has helped Duncan’s downtown thrive. “You have to get off the highway to get here, and I think that’s why this downtown has preserved a little of the old feeling,” he says. “This is the best downtown business association that I’ve ever been involved with. They work very hard at making the downtown successful. I think it’s a testament to them and a testament to the merchants that are down here. We all have the same mentality — we emphasize service over anything else.”
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