Boulevard Magazine, Victoria, December/January 2020-21

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home for the holidays

Love of latkes Building excellence Rainbow daydreams



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VICTORIA 661 McCallum Rd 250.475.2233




On the Cover Photo by Lia Crowe. Rus Collins (left), lead designer at Zebra Design & Interiors Group, and Louis Horvat, building technologist/CAD technician, seen at Zebra’s Maison de Lee project.






West Coast vibe with a splash of drama

Cosy kitchens with soul

By Angela Cowan

By Jen Evans


Bold fashion that doesn’t shy away from showing up

By Jen Evans and Lia Crowe




Three ways to enjoy this classic Hanukkah treat

By Ellie Shortt



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By Lia Crowe and Sean McIntyre











Whistler: the other side of the mountain

Out of the Northwest Passage

Certainty in uncertain times

By Susan Lundy

By Susan Lundy



Pure joy

By Janice Jefferson


Edward Michael Geric

By Lia Crowe


Spice up the season with Aman Dosanj

By Gail Johnson


Putting a lid on the sugar jar

By Kaisha Scofield


A 1970s photo op: Ellen Lyons

By Don Denton


Fashion forward Moden Boutique

By Tess van Straaten

By Suzanne Morphet

108 SECRETS AND LIVES Rus Collins By Angela Cowan


Angels in the middle of nowhere

By Barbara Barry

114 BEHIND THE STORY By Lia Crowe  |

DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


contributors V I C T O R I A L I F E AT I T S F I N E S T



"Like many of our generation my husband and I spend our retirement travelling as much as we can. We visit friends and family, interesting parts of the world, and tick some entries off our bucket lists, which can sometimes lead us to the middle of nowhere. Here, I have written about one of our most moving and memorable experiences.” Barbara Barry graduated from McGill University in the 1960s, started a career as a computer programmer, and took some time off to wander around the world. She returned with a love of travelling and a decision to follow her passion— books and reading—working in bookstores and libraries. Today, she spends time reading, volunteering in the library at BC Cancer, walking and enjoying the city.

DE C E MB E R | J ANU ARY 2 0 20 / 21


BOULEVARD GROUP Mario Gedicke PUBLISHER 250.891.5627




DESIGN Michelle Gjerde Tammy Robinson

PAGE 110

“When asked to write a piece on how to




create a cosy kitchen, I realized it would be a great opportunity to reflect on my process. Growing up, I was incredibly fortunate to live on a street where our neighbours on all sides were our best friends; their doors were always open and every home was filled with art, artifacts and layers of eclectic personality. Each home had its own unique and inviting style and each space and family had a profound impact on me. Now, when I’m styling or designing a space, I’ll travel through those homes in my mind trying to recreate elements from each. To this day, I still feel the warmth from my childhood home and those cosy, family kitchens that surrounded me.” Jen Evans is a freelance, fashion, prop and interior stylist and regular contributor to Boulevard

ADVERTISING Mario Gedicke Vicki Clark CONTRIBUTING Barbara Barry WRITERS Angela Cowan

Lia Crowe Don Denton Jen Evans Janice Jefferson Susan Lundy Suzanne Morphet Kaisha Scofield Ellie Shortt Tess van Straaten ILLUSTRATION Sierra Lundy CONTRIBUTING Jody Beck PHOTOGRAPHERS Lia Crowe


“Food is culture—this is what I love most




about writing about chefs, cooking, and cuisines. After I was assigned to cover Edible Adventures by the Paisley Notebook for Boulevard, I knew it was going to be the kind of story that leaves a lasting impression. Aman Dosanj is a locavore, a true champion of BC’s bounty, but she’s also firmly rooted in and fiercely proud of the culture of her native India. Through the spices she imports to make her small-batch blends, she’s sharing her heritage—while at the same time chipping away at the effects of colonization on it. I also love how she encourages people to get in the kitchen, no matter how much or little they may know about Indian spices. It all makes for a delicious journey.” Gail Johnson is a Vancouverbased journalist and co-founder of Stir.

View Boulevard’s Fashion Friday Any device. Any time.

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. Tel: 250.381.3484 Fax: 250.386.2624

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certainty in uncertain times

As the holiday season beckons, only uncertainty is certain. It’s going to look a lot different from other seasons. Holiday feasts via Zoom? COVID-themed ornaments on the tree? Visits with Santa via smartphones and tablets? There’s even a new spin for those used to travelling at this time of year. In some countries, flights to nowhere have become popular. According to the New York Times, “People who miss flying are rushing to buy tickets for flights that land in the same place they depart from.” And Air New Zealand is offering “Mystery Breaks,” where travellers pay a flat fee to book an entire vacation package and don’t find out their destination until two days before they leave. However, luckily for holiday consumers, shopping, which took a strange turn during last spring’s lockdown, has sorted itself out. From crazy purchases to stalled deliveries, early pandemic shopping was fraught with problems. My first COVID-times shopping experience took place on March 11, when I took a hysterical call from my daughter in the pandemic-epicentre of New York City. Here in Canada, we were still a few days away from lockdown, although people were rushing to buy toilet paper. My daughter was entering the disinfect-groceries-and-sanitize-everything phase and there was not a bottle of hand sanitizer left in New York (or in BC). Even Amazon was out of it, she panicked. Well, I said calmly, I live in Canada—and, sure enough, had lots of hand sanitizer. I spent $75 on 12 little bottles and promised to mail them to her as soon as they arrived. Problem solved! However. That was March and when they still hadn’t arrived in June, I requested and received a refund and, like everyone else by then, happily continued washing my hands with soap and water. But mid-August? Surprise! A package arrived from China filled with 12 little bottles of a gooey something. Thankfully the sanitizer craze had passed—no need to send them to New York—and just as well because I’m really not sure what is in those bottles. Mask-wearing started out slowly, but it was apparent even in the early part of lockdown that they would become essential. At this point, there weren’t a lot of options, but I found some heavy-duty masks on Instagram. They were a bit pricey, but a portion of proceeds was being donated to a good cause, and so, on April 21, I ordered two. Once again, June rolled around, and no masks. Tracking showed they were coming from China (something the small print hadn’t mentioned), but they hadn’t moved in weeks. A couple of email refund requests went unanswered, the website went down and angry comments flourished on the Instagram page. By this time, I’d purchased several BC-made masks (good lesson, here) and resigned myself to the loss. But wait! Just a short time after the sanitizer arrived, so too did the masks. I think this scenario must have played out all over the world. Bruce similarly ordered some iPhone accessories—suddenly important for all that FaceTiming and Zooming—and they also eventually arrived months later. Shopping these days has definitely evolved, and so despite the many questions around how the next few months will unfold, one question can be answered definitively: if you’re in gift-buying mode, shop local. Whether it’s in person or online, support local businesses. That’s the answer to “where to buy.” The answer to “what to buy” is less clear—imagine last holiday season if we’d known that toilet paper, hand sanitizer, masks and iPhone accessories were the gifts we coveted. This edition of Boulevard offers idea for locally made gifts, tips for tradition-rich cuisine and recommendations for cosying up your kitchen. We may not be able to add any certainty to an uncertain season, but we can at least add some comfort, flavour and festivity—and let’s just forget the hand sanitizer from China.

Susan Lundy Editor 10  |



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everyone’s talking about …



Dance Victoria is bringing the magic of the holiday classic Nutcracker with the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers, featuring guest artists from the Kyiv Ballet of the National Opera of Ukraine. The show runs online December 10 to 13. Dance Victoria hopes to give disadvantaged children and families equal opportunity to see this presentation. To this end, Dance Victoria has partnered with Victoria Women’s Transition House and other agencies through the Nutcracker Kids program. Each $65 donation is matched with free access to the online Nutcracker package. See to donate.


A new online restaurant reservation platform has launched in Victoria. First Table allows users to book the “first table” of the night to receive 50 per cent off their food bill for parties of two to four. The platform—which made its North American debut in Vancouver last fall—gives patrons an opportunity to support their favourite establishments by filling a table and providing revenue during quieter service times. “Despite a tumultuous start to the year, we’re pleased to expand First Table to Victoria, only our second city in North America,” said Mat Weir, founder and managing director of First Table. More info at



The Oak Bay Beach Hotel has introduced FARO Lane, an extension of FARO Handcrafted Pizza and Tasting Room’s outdoor patio, brought indoors. The hotel has reinvented the patio space by transforming the hotel’s Conservatory into FARO Lane, a “pop-up” indoor patio. Working with local companies Platinum Floral Designs and Designer Weddings, FARO Lane’s décor has been curated with dried hop bines from micro hop grower Cobble Hill Hops, Edison lights, an abundance of indoor plants and a feature hedge surrounded by locally sourced pampas grass, faux tropical plants and dried florals.


Visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria during the holiday season to celebrate local artists, find the perfect gift or enjoy a Private Engagement Tour with people in your bubble. The AGGV’s annual Winter Small Works Show & Sale is now online and on display at the Massey Sales Gallery. The show features a diverse range of local original fine art. All works are available for browsing on the AGGV website and are available for online purchase, as well as in-person (appointments recommended). The show and sale runs until January 31, 2021. For more information, visit

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design notes

PURE JOY This year, as we strive to keep our communities vibrant and alive, let’s do our best to support local retailers and businesses. This locally inspired gift guide should spark the imagination and help carve out a little joy. Look no further than Vancouver Island for these great gift ideas. Treat someone special—or buy it for yourself ! BY JANICE JEFFERSON

Heart Warming

Velvetopia Heart Cushion Cover Smoking Lily $42

Chocolate Heart Denman Island Chocolate $3

Heart Shield Medal in bronze with navy/gold $198

18K Yelloe Gold and Platinum Alexandrite Pendant Francis Jewellers $7,100

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Merry Metal

Vera Chain by Jenny Bird Frances Grey $160

Malachite Ring Stones Jewellery $747

Cuddle Bug

Mohair Ankle Socks Footloose Shoes $24

Self-Care Kit ASH Refillery & Co. $30

InWear Leannah Coat Hughes Clothing $379

Le Bonnet in Pink Bernstein & Gold $105

1318 Blanshard Street | 250.384.4175 |   | DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY CLIENT: MAYCOCK EYECARE


2 0 20 - 21


Creature Comforts

Jazzy Pouf in Chartreuse Moe’s Home *call for pricing

Tofino Towel Company’s Bungalow Throw and Bungalow Pillow Merchant Quarters General Store $110 / $60 Boho Felted Wool Stool in Cream Monarch Furnishings $299 Birkenstock Arizona Shearling Footloose Shoes $190


residential * commercial * renovations * additions * custom

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Child at Heart

Luna High-Back Chair Scan Designs $888

Country Diary: Winter Cobble Hill Puzzles $20

Usborne History of Science in 100 Pictures Bolen Books $15.95

Brio Little Forest Train Set Kaboodles $40

STAY COZY FOR THE HOLIDAYS pillows| duvets | covers | sheets

GREAT SELECTION OF Daniadown, Revelle, Brunelli, Laundress, Cuddle Down & more


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DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


The Curator The Simple Joy of Plants—2021 Calendar KristenJohnsArt on $30

1968 Mercedes Benz 280SL Silver Arrow Cars * call for pricing

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In Our Time, Randy Cook Alcheringa Gallery $450

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Live Life Incredibly


I catch up with Ed at the Tresah Presentation Centre in Mayfair Mall to chat life, style and a few things in between. I am met with a charismatic, well-put-together man, who is excited to tell me about his current project, the Tresah condo development, set to come to life across the street from Mayfair Mall. With a background working a chartered accountant and CPA, Ed joined the family business (Mike Geric Construction Ltd.) full time in 1995, took control in 2002 and changed the direction of the company from focussing on single-family homes to multifamily residential projects. “I’ve always had a passion for development. I love all the aspects of it, to the extent that I do not consider it work—it is me and what I do,” says Ed, when asked what fires him up about his work. “It is the initial creativity of seeing the potential of a piece of property. How does it blend in with the neighbourhood? Dealing with the architects and communicating my vision. I am convinced the future of development is multi-generational, and how can I make that happen in every development I do?” As a single father of four “amazing” kids, Ed says outside of work he’s passionate about family and community. “On weekends I like to wash my car and weed the garden. I love giving back to the community, and I’m the owner of the Saanich Predators junior hockey team.” Asked what’s the best life lesson he’s learned in the last five years, Ed says, “Always try your best. Focus on what you are best at. Take lots of pictures every day.” When it comes to style, Ed’s personal aesthetic can best be described as classy with an edge. To him, good style is “classic straight lines that last through all trends.” Ed is excited about Victoria’s growth potential in the next 25 years: “I don’t think we all realize that Victoria and Vancouver Island are just being discovered. The growth will be amazing and I am passionate about how we all work together to make it happen. Let’s embrace the growth. You can do it all in Victoria, that’s what I love.” He jokes that “even though I mostly work, I hear there is a good lifestyle balance in Victoria.” Asked what adopted daily practice has 20  |


led to his success, he says, “I get up very early every day and commit those first two hours to myself. It’s time to think, plan, meditate and exercise. I get to work early (remember, it’s not work to me), visit job sites before they open and work harder than anyone else.”

CLOTHES/GROOMING Uniform: Tailored suit by day and night, collared button shirt, usually no tie. Favourite denim, brand and cut: Paige slim-fit jeans. Current go-to clothing item: Dark, midnight-black tailored suit. Favourite pair of shoes: Prada lace-up boots. Best new purchase: Canada Goose Black Label bomber jacket. Favourite day-bag: Louis Vuitton, Porte-Documents Business. Accessory you spend the most money on: Belts and watches. Favourite work tool: Framing hammer. Sunglasses: Gucci. Scent: Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani. Necessary indulgence: Really good red wine. Favourite skincare product: Ones that make me look younger.


CONGRATULATIONS! Jessica O’Brien Cameron, Associate Investment Advisor with CIBC Wood Gundy Victoria Branch has recently been awarded the prestigious title of Portfolio Manager. The Portfolio Manager title is awarded to professionals who have achieved superior knowledge and experience and demonstrate the highest ethical value. They are recognized by their peers and management teams as leaders in the industry.

STYLE INSPIRATIONS & LIFE Style Icon: James Bond. Favourite artist: Zoë Pawlak from Vancouver, BC. Piece of art: Vessels by Zoë Pawlak. Favourite fashion designer or brand: Gucci and Tom Ford. Era of time that inspires your style: ‘50s. Film or TV show that inspires your style or that you just love the style of: Harvey Specter from Suits. Favourite local restaurant: Fireside Grill, Fonbo and Med Grill. Favourite cocktail or wine: Manhattan made with bourbon and light on the bitters; for wine, Screaming Eagle Cab Sauv 2002/2012. Book currently reading: Anything by Grisham. Favourite city to visit: Vancouver and Montreal. Favourite hotel: Right now, Hotel Anywhere. Favourite app: Skip the Dishes. Favourite place in the whole world: North Kaanapali Beach.

Jessica O’Brien Cameron, CIM, PFP, B.Comm. Portfolio Manager, Associate Investment Advisor

250 361-2295 CIBC Private Wealth Management consists of services provided by CIBC and certain of its subsidiaries, including CIBC Wood Gundy, a division of CIBC World Markets Inc. “CIBC Private Wealth Management” is a registered trademark of CIBC, used under license. “Wood Gundy” is a registered trademark of CIBC World Markets Inc. If you are currently a CIBC Wood Gundy client, please contact your Investment Advisor.  |

DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


Spice up the season High on chai and other spicy goodness with Aman Dosanj WORDS GAIL JOHNSON

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2536 Beacon Avenue, Sidney 250.656.5676

BEAUTIFUL SOMETIMES COMES IN A BOTTLE Intimately seductive, purely natural, botanical fragrances.

Wild Coast Perfumery Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island Artisans Blended, Aged & Bottled On Vancouver Island.  |

photo credit @Henhouse Photo Co.

man Dosanj loves good food— meaning food that’s fresh, flavourful, sustainable, seasonal and local, grown or raised by farmers she knows by name. However, there are some ingredients that the Kelowna-based chef and slow-food champion sources from beyond BC’s borders, and those are spices. Aman is the founder of the Paisley Notebook, which hosts inventive pop-up dinners at farms, wineries, orchards and unconventional locations throughout the Okanagan Valley. With cooler weather coming (meaning physically distanced events will entail more strategizing to hold indoors as opposed to out) and the pandemic driving more people to stay home to cook, she is turning her attention to her line of spice blends, Edible Adventures by the Paisley Notebook. The self-taught chef imports non-GMO spices from India. She roasts and grinds them for her small-batch blends, recipes for which she developed herself. As her mom taught her, “your food is only as good as your spices.” And her mother should know: the family used to operate a farm-to-table contemporary Indian restaurant called Pappadoms in Kelowna, having moved to the area from Southampton, England in 2008. There’s more to Edible Adventures than the blends’ fragrances and flavours. Through the products, Aman also wants to help decolonize Indian spices and change people’s perceptions of Indian food. Take jars of “curry powder” you find at your nearest chain grocery store, for example. “People think that curry powder is an Indian thing, when it’s in fact a British thing,” Aman says. “The English colonized India for the spice trade. It’s way too yellow. You shouldn’t ever taste the turmeric—there’s way too much. “I want to make Indian spices less intimidating and more fun,” she adds. To that end, Aman has created several different types of blends, which she encourages people to cook with alongside local foods sourced from farmers markets or small producers. Adhai Spice, with fennel, coriander, cumin and a smidge of chili, goes well with West Coast seafood, roasted vegetables and sautéed mushrooms. Rooted in nobility, Royal Spice consists of expensive goods, like black and green cardamom, star anise, mace and peppercorns. Add it to burger mince or to steak. Malabar is a sweet-and-savoury blend inspired by Kerala, a southwestern state on the Arabian Sea. Ingredients such as star anise, cinnamon and fennel make it a good match for veggies, chicken, pork and fish. Edible Adventures also has Chai Baking Spice. It’s meant to be sprinkled into baked goods or atop fruit and yogurt and can be used in syrups for creative cocktails. The spice blends can be ordered via the Paisley Notebook website or through Vancouver venues such as Como Taperia, Legends Haul and Broadway Wine Shop. One per cent of sales is directed to anti-racism organizations.

@wildcoastperfumery DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


out what to do. There are no rules as long as it’s delicious.” Here are two recipes certain to spice up the season.

Chai-Spiced Sticky Toffee Pudding By Aman Dosanj 5-8 servings


200 g Medjool dates (pitted) 2 fair-trade black tea bags (steeping in 200 ml hot water) 50 g BC unsalted butter (room temperature) 75 g golden sugar 75 g muscovado brown sugar 2 organic or free-range BC eggs 170 g Anita’s Organic All-Purpose Flour (sifted + more for the pan after greasing) ½ tsp aluminum-free baking powder ¼ tsp baking soda 1 ½ tsp The Paisley Notebook’s Chai Baking Spice A pinch of West Coast sea salt Aman shares suggestions for how to cook with the various blends on her website but avoids being prescriptive. Her “recipes” are not lists with strict measurements but rather doodles with loose guidelines, the hope being that people will get the hang of different tastes and combinations by experimenting. She also encourages people to bring the spices camping or on outdoor adventures with them to lift so-so food to the next level. “Whatever is in your kitchen or camp kit, you can transform it,” Aman says. “Keep on tasting and tweaking and tasting again. I don’t want to give people all the answers; I want to get them cooking. “Use your instinct,” she says. “Use your palate to try to figure


125 g BC butter (cubed) 100 g sugar (50 g golden and 50 g brown) 150 ml D Dutchmen Dairy Whipping Cream Method: Pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Boil hot water, and let steep with tea bags for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the dates to a blender, pouring in the tea, minus the tea bags, on top. Leave for 8 to 10 minutes to soften up, and then coarsely blend—it’ll become thick and fudge-y with little gooey bits. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and

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sugars until pale. Crack in one egg at a time, whisking well in between. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and fold in. Add in the puréed date mix. Sprinkle in the Chai Baking Spice and a pinch of salt. Pour into a greased, oven-proof pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. For the sauce: In a medium-to-large-sized pan, add the sugars and cubed butter. Let the sugars dissolve on medium heat. Carefully bubble until golden brown, making sure it doesn’t burn. Add the cream and swirl—the cream will bubble up, so be careful. Cook until thick and a lush caramel colour. To serve: Divide the re-heated pudding. Pour over the heated toffee sauce. Serve with a local ice cream or gelato of your choice. Garnish with toasted Okanagan nuts (optional) and mint leaves.

High on Chai By Harry Dosanj

2 oz Wiseacre Farm Distillery gin 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice ½ oz The Paisley Notebook Chai Baking Spice Simple Syrup (heat ½ cup organic cane sugar with ½ cup water and ½ tsp The Paisley Notebook’s Chai Baking Spice in a pot until dissolved, leave to cool and keep in the fridge until needed) 3 bar spoons apple maple butter (add one peeled and sliced organic BC apple to a blender with a drizzle of Sugar Moon maple syrup and blend until smooth) Method: In a cocktail shaker, add the gin, lemon juice, chai simple syrup and apple butter with a lot of ice. Shake well until cold. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. To garnish, sprinkle with The Paisley Notebook’s Chai Baking Spice for a touch more aromatics.

Where service and quality exceed expectation. 102-6660 Butler Crescent, Saanichton BC 778.351.3390 •  |

DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21



The other side of the mountain Whistler is more than a snow lover’s playground Scandinave Spa in Whistler.

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t’s a wintery Monday morning and each of my five senses zings with life as I move between warm, cold and relax cycles at the outdoor Scandinave Spa in Whistler. Sitting in the hot pool, I feel a brush of breeze on my face and hear a whisper of wind in the spruce trees above me. Moving indoors, and now relaxing on a cushiony recliner, I take in the beauty of lush foliage seen through floor-to-ceiling windows. And the moment after I run through an icy cold waterfall, my skin tingles with an electric-like buzz. There’s the heat of a firepit, the cosy embrace of a blanket, the sound of a running stream, the scent of essential oils and the sensation of steam and sweat lingering on my skin. Most important—the experience of every sense is heightened due to the mandatory silence. People move between the various stations without a word. And I understand completely: silence is golden. This is our last stop before my husband and I head home, and as I revel in the all-encompassing sensory experience, my mind wanders back over the past few days. I realize that beyond everything else, I’m surprised by the diversity of our Whistler adventure. The mountains themselves, Whistler and Blackcomb, have loomed large in my other trips here: I’ve ridden the slightly terrifying Peak 2 Peak Gondola, zoomed up Blackcomb in exhilarating jeep ride; I’ve zip-lined and I’ve explored off-road on an ATV. But on this weekend getaway, we hiked, played, feasted, learned about local First Nations culture…we’ve had a wealth of experience that hasn’t involved the mountain playground. Arriving mid-day Saturday, our Whistler adventure begins with a stop at Function Junction, an industrial neighbourhood 10 minutes south of Whistler’s main villages. With a totally different vibe than Whistler main, Function Junction emerges like the beer-drinking sister to the more coiffed, upscale villages. After tucking into a delicious vegan lunch at the highly recommended The Green Moustache, which has two locations in Whistler, we sample beer at Coast Mountain Brewing and Whistler Brewing, and then land at Montis Distilling, Whistler’s only craft spirit maker. A tasting reveals a flourish of local flavours and, although we purchase a bottle of Winter Spirit, the distillery’s answer to young whiskey, we could easily have chosen one of their tasty gins or super-smooth vodka. Checking into the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, we’re immediately welcomed by the warm staff and our luxurious-yet-cosy room. We take advantage of in-room service for dinner (the resort also offers midnight feasts,

Life is short. Dress accordingly. 2418 Beacon Ave, Sidney 250.655.0774 @boutiquemoden |  |

DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.

early-bird espressos and chilled Champagne at any hour), but the ultimate crown on the experience occurs the next morning, with the hotel’s signature, year-round Balcony Breakfast: a multi-tiered tower stacked with savoury and sweet breakfast treats—pastries, avocado toast, sausage, bacon, pancakes with warm maple syrup. This is a must-do: everything from the perfectly poached eggs and fluffy pancakes unfolds like a dreamy taste adventure, and it all occurs overlooking a misty-morning valley of snow-tipped trees. This resort is truly a destination in itself.

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Satiated, we head out to explore on foot this remarkably walkable community. Located near the Four Seasons is the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, offering a chance to explore local First Nations, view a spectacular exhibit by Lil’wat artist Ed Archie NoiseCat, step into a replica longhouse and wander along a forested educational trail. This is also where, from May to October, you’ll find a Sunday farmer’s market. From the upper village, we follow the connecter path to the lower village, grab coffees and wander around the pedestrian-friendly village. Eventually, we pick up a snowy forest trail that takes us back to the hotel. But there’s no time to rest! For our next adventure, we meet up with our daughter, also visiting Whistler, and embark on a new-to-us-all escape room experience. After choosing one of Escape! Whistler’s six escape room options, we arrive, get a quick briefing, and set to work solving a series of riddles and puzzles in order to escape a cottage buried in snow. This is a lot of fun! Next, dinner at Il Caminetto, with its extraordinary Italian cuisine and excellent service, marks the perfect segue to our nighttime Whistler experience—one which surpasses all of our expectations. After driving 10 minutes north of the village, we turn off the highway, drive up an obscure road…and re-emerge in another world. Vallea Lumina is a stunning, immersive multimedia show that is truly spectacular. We cap our evening with warm apple cider, sitting outside around a firepit. And so it is the next day that cocooned in the pools at Scandinave Spa, I come to an easy conclusion. Whistler and Blackcomb mountains—with their combined 8,171 acres of terrain and abundant annual snowfall—are indeed a wicked winter destination for snow enthusiasts. But there’s a lot more going on, and visitors should definitely check out the other side of the mountain.





Vallea Lumina is an absolute must-do on any visit to Whistler, but it’s best not to know too much ahead of time. This dazzling multimedia experience invites guests into an enchanted universe, inspired by Whistler’s natural beauty. Expect to have your breath taken away around each corner on this mesmerizing forest walk. Created by Montreal-based Moment Factory and brought to life by The Adventure Group in Whistler, Vallea Lumina offers two experiences—one in the winter months (bundle up!) and one in the summer.

Escape! Whistler presents a real-life gaming experience, where patrons are given puzzles, riddles and clues to solve within 45 minutes in order to “escape” their situation. We choose the Buried Cabin experience—one of Escape! Whistler’s six escape rooms— and, although we don’t quite solve it in time, we’re close, and have so much fun trying. Another must-do Whistler experience is Scandinave Spa. Moving through the hot, cold and relax cycles promises to soothe tired muscles, eliminate toxins and improve circulation. escapewhistler. com, whistler



eat. Located directly on Whistler’s Village Stroll, Il Caminetto is the spot in Whistler for an upscale Italian il pasto. Renowned Executive Chef James Walt offers an inspired menu that features mouthwatering Italian and local products. A 41-page wine list creates a major conundrum but, no matter, the sommelier swiftly leads us to a divine Amarone. Its silky smooth flavour provides the perfect complement to my husband’s rigatoni Bolognese, and my seared tuna and roasted cauliflower. The food, the ambiance, the service and the wine are the ingredients for a spectacular dining experience.

sleep. The Four Seasons Resort Whistler is one of North America’s top yearround mountain resorts. Following a sweeping renovation, it combines sleek, contemporary design with the warmth of a classic chalet. This winter, the resort is premiering two new culinary options: the all-new Braidwood Tavern and the re-imagined SIDECUT restaurant. In addition to the must-do Balcony Breakfast offering, the resort has launched another feature through the Four Seasons app, where patrons can order ahead to have a homey, crockpot meal awaiting in-room. Resort recreation includes a full-service spa, a fitness centre, an all-season outdoor pool with three heated whirlpools. Other winter specials and packages can be found online.

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DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


well and good

Putting a lid on the sugar jar — and why it’s necessary WORDS KAISHA SCOFIELD

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! Depending on who is reading this, those exclamation marks can either signal excitement or terror, or maybe some combination of the two. Holidays can be filled with magic and love, warmth and generosity, but they can also be a time of overwhelm. Panicked to get the perfect gift, hustling to plan (socially distant) activities, cooking the perfect meal, holidays are stressful! It also happens to be the time of year when every surface is covered with our favourite stress buster, sugar. Candy canes at the bank, boxes of chocolate in the office,

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pumpkin pie and ice cream at dinner, indulgence is around every corner. We are on sugar overload from October to December and when January hits, we are full of regrets. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. We are a society oversaturated with sugar; it is added to so much of our food that we often aren’t even aware we’re eating it. But we are eating it and in huge quantities. We receive, on average, one quarter of our daily calories from sugar. It is estimated that Canadians consume 26 teaspoons of sugar per day, adding to 88 pounds annually! For perspective,

As with many things that fall into the category of too good to be true, sugar, when consumed in such large quantities, is very harmful to the body. the highly addictive magical beverage coffee was only consumed at a rate of 15 pounds per person (measured in bean form) last year. Even cheese consumption is averaged at only 39 pounds annually. Bread, arguably the most popular food item in the world, is only at 71 pounds consumed, on average, each year. I think you get the idea: sugar is king. But sugar is so delicious! Why can’t we keep eating it? Well, as with many things that fall into the category of too good to be true, sugar, when consumed in such large quantities, is very harmful to the body. When we eat sugar and refined carbohydrates, they are immediately turned into glucose in the body, which is then used as an energy source. However, if there is leftover glucose that the body can’t use right away, it is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. When these and other body cells are saturated with glycogen, the excess is converted to fat and is stored as adipose tissue. Simply put, excess sugar equals excess fat. Excess sugar is also responsible for the development of advanced glycation end products or AGEs. AGEs are created when proteins and/or fats become glycated as a result of exposure to sugars. AGEs cause damage through a process called cross-linking that leads to cellular damage and apoptosis (cell death). AGEs are a bio-marker implicated in aging and the development, or worsening, of many degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, chronic kidney disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Scary stuff! How do we resist something so delicious and dangerous? If you’re having sugar cravings, you might want to have a talk with your hormones and look at your stress levels. One of the easiest ways to negatively disrupt your hunger signals, trigger cravings and eat junk food is through stress. Stress is directly linked to hormone balance, which is directly linked to hunger cravings, specifically cravings of hyper-flavourful foods and instant calories (think Doritos with a side of Slurpee). Stress causes the body to release cortisol which triggers the parasympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). Our brain is essentially channeling the evolutionary part of our body system that would react to, for example, running away from an elephant. The body perceives this as a need for instant fuel to deal with the high-level stressor, the elephant, or in today’s world, an angry email from your boss. In hunter-gatherer times, the body would dip into stored glucose. In our times, we can reach for a Snickers bar to get a hit of 250 calories and 27 grams of sugar, enough energy to run for 30 minutes. That elephant is long gone but your boss’s email is still in your inbox.



250.412 .8012 | 5285 WEST SAANICH ROAD VICTORIA , BC | W W W. M A C R E N O . C O M



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Instead of running, however, we are more likely to return to our desk and continue on with the day. Once the glucose has been used for fuel, it is stored in the body and glucose levels return to normal. By now, however, our cortisol stores are tapped out, which causes fatigue. As the day continues and we are faced with varying degrees of stress, the cycle repeats itself. Over time this cycle creates a number of deficiencies. Cortisol can take days to regenerate and since it is interacting with the nervous system it is also working in conjunction with other essential hormones in the body. When cortisol is depleted, other hormone systems are affected, ultimately throwing the whole delicate system out of balance. Nutrient balance is another finely balanced system that is affected by the stress and sugar cycle. Sugar processing requires a large number of vital nutrients. In order to metabolize sugar, the body requires high levels of magnesium (tissue support), thiamine (nervous system), riboflavin (oxygenation) and niacin (digestive support). When these are used to convert sugars in the body, they are diverted from other important areas. Add to this the reality that most sugar-laden foods are highly processed and devoid of nutrients, and it is no surprise that the body is quickly faced with nutrient deficiencies and overall depletion. The most immediate symptom of a depleted and overburdened system is fatigue and mental fog, which often leads to—you guessed it—an inability to properly process stress. The cycle is now on repeat. It is important to note that eating sugar during times of stress is not about willpower and instead has everything to do with mental health and wellness support. We have a tendency to put a value judgment on food abstinence: we are good if we only eat health foods or bad if we eat food that is deemed unhealthy. This thought process once again feeds into the negative cycle by increasing stress and anxiety. Limiting sugar in the diet is important, not because eating it is fundamentally bad, but because it compromises physical and mental health. Making the decision to simply stop eating “bad” foods is not sustainable. Instead, try recognizing and preparing for times of overwhelm and stress by making more nourishing options available. In this way, those candy canes and boxes of chocolates can be approached in times of celebration instead of desperation.

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250.217.3080 | 32  |


in studio … WITH ELLEN LYONS

A 1970s Photo Op Island woman was at the forefront of the photo-as-art trend WORDS DON DENTON

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tanding in her front room near Nanaimo, light spilling in from the large deck windows, Ellen Lyons opens a box and begins pulling out photo prints. These are clearly not family snapshots. They are black-and-white prints, 11 x 14 inches and larger, printed on thick, high-quality photo paper. These images are art, created by some of the biggest names in mid-20th-century photography. She looks over an image, talks about who created it and how it came to be in her hands. This one is by English photographer Bill Brandt, displaying his typical high-contrast black-and-white imagery. Another is by the troubled American genius of photography W. Eugene Smith, noted for his printing skills and documentary subjects. There’s an Aaron Siskind. A Lewis Hine. The gems keep coming. She talks about the appeal of a black-and-white print, saying, “Reading a composition is reading values, reading graphic values is fun but, in a colour, photographing the colour obscures the values.” Ellen and Bill Lyons met in their freshman year of art school at the Pratt Institute in New York. Planning careers as artists, they hoped to use teaching as a way to subsidize their artistic goals. Ellen worked as well as an illustrator, drawing images for everything from books to magazine pages, while Bill worked on his photography. The pair, interested in art in general, developed a passion for photographic prints, buying their first image in 1970, a Barbara Morgan dance photograph. Photographs, as artwork, in the1970s were still suspect, but that attitude was changing. As their interest in collecting photography grew, so did a feeling that they weren’t alone in their passion, and this led the pair to open their own art gallery, dealing in photography. Photography was a new art form and an art form that seemed American to them; as they themselves were young and American, they felt that connection spoke to them directly. They needed work to exhibit and set out in true DIY fashion to find and collect it. Travelling across the US in a home-made van conversion, young daughter Hilary in tow, they sought out photographers and cajoled them into lending them prints to sell, or bought the prints outright. As New York residents, they felt the city was, for its time, overrepresented by galleries dealing with photography, and decided to strike out for virgin territory—one with available interest and money— eventually opening the William Lyons Gallery of Photography in Coral Gables, Florida, with a first exhibition in late 1979. If they thought photography in New York was a tough sell, Florida in the early ‘80s was even more challenging. The gallery only lasted a few years, but in that time the pair exhibited the cream of the photographic art world. Art Rogers was among their photographers. Noted as a chronicler of his Point Reyes Station, California home and for his group portraits, Art remembers not only exhibiting at the Lyons Gallery, but recalls his portrait sessions with the Lyons and a group portrait

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As their interest in collecting photography grew, so did a feeling that they weren’t alone in their passion, and this led the pair to open their own art gallery, dealing in photography. taken inside the gallery with the entire opening night crowd. Amazingly organized, Art was able—during a recent conversation—to access his files and pull out the invoices for the portrait prints he created for the Lyons. The Lyons Gallery also showed Barbara Morgan, notorious New York paparazzo Ron Galella, landscape photographer William Clift, Neal Slavin and pioneering documentarian Lewis Hine, among others. Despite the photographic firepower, sales didn’t follow and the Lyons were forced to move on and reinvent themselves. After the gallery closed, Bill moved into the world of stockbroking and Ellen went back to school, eventually becoming a lawyer. They

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spent time on both US coasts before finding their way to Canada and Vancouver Island, where they bought property, built a house, then built a bigger and better dream home and filled it with art, paintings, photographs, carvings and more. Bill Lyons passed away a few years ago, but Ellen remains eager to talk about their gallery time and their collection of photographs, which amounts to more than just memories: these are their favourites. Some adorn the walls of the house; some reside in portfolio cases ready to be taken out and looked over. In the front room hangs a print by famed landscape photographer Ansel Adams. In the office sits a Danny Lyon image—one from his famed biker series. Asked if she has a favourite photo, Ellen mentions two: one by her late husband, an image of the parachute jump ride in New York’s Coney Island; and the other by Brett Weston, son of the famous photographer Edward Weston, a landscape of trees in Belgium. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV)’s director, Jon Tupper, met Ellen as a volunteer for a gallery event and discovered her collection. After looking over the images, he said, “As a collection that is focussed in one particular area, it is very well put together. I’ve always liked the work of photographers like Les Krims and Aaron Siskind, which she has in her collection, and she also has a remarkable photograph by Imogen Cunningham, which I was unfamiliar with. Vancouver Island has some remarkable private collections and Ellen’s is certainly one of them.” Ellen is an active member of the AGGV’s Art + Fare Committee, setting up fundraising events for the gallery. She has been a donor of artwork to both the AGGV and UVic’s Legacy Gallery and served on a panel about collecting art. She hopes that a selection of her photographs, perhaps 40 to 50 images, will end up as a donation to the AGGV, creating a strong base for a new collection at the gallery that everyone can enjoy.

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DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


business class

fashion forward Moden Boutique and the keys to success WORDS TESS VAN STRAATEN

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evon Bird never thought of herself as an entrepreneur, but after launching a successful clothing store in Sidney two years ago, she’s now preparing to open another boutique next door—and she couldn’t be happier. “Building this business and being connected with what I love to do—it’s not a job,” says the 31-year-old owner of Moden Boutique. “It’s entirely consuming in the best possible way. I’m doing exactly what I want and what I should be doing.” Devon started working in retail when she was just 16 years old—it was her first job—but despite her love of fashion, she didn’t think it would be her career. “I always worked in retail because I liked the discount, and it was somewhere I felt comfortable,” she says. “I got my degree in sociology with a concentration in health and aging, and I thought I was going to run an assisted living facility for independent seniors.” But after getting into merchandising a few years ago, Devon found her passion and decided to push herself out of her comfort zone. She packed up her life in Vancouver and moved back to her hometown of Victoria to open up Moden, which means “mature” in Norwegian (a nod to her grandmother who came to Canada after the Second World War and had a unique fashion sense). “It’s not an age to me, it’s a mental space,” Devon explains. “I don’t really relate to my millennial generation much, so mature was a state of being, a state of mind, a comfort in oneself—a mature place to be. You know who you are and you’re living that truth and that’s what Moden meant to me.” That philosophy, of being true to oneself, is also how Devon is running her business. But it’s a lesson she had to learn the hard way. “When you start a business, you don’t have somebody telling you what’s right or wrong, and I think I started trying to be everything to all people,” she admits. “After I opened, people would say, ‘Oh, the store is too empty’ or ‘You need to carry this’ or ‘You need to carry that’ or ‘Why don’t you carry skirts?’ and I would think, ‘Oh gosh, I need to carry more skirts and dresses, I need to do more evening stuff,’ and it started to impact the vision I had for the store, which is everyday comfortable dressing.” Devon felt like she was being pulled in too many directions and had to stop, re-evaluate, and learn to trust her gut. “You can’t let people tell you who you are,” she says. “You need to know what your business is about. And it’s a reflection of you, so you have to be true to that, and everything—from


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“You can’t let people tell you who you are. You need to know what your business is about. And it’s a ref lection of you, so you have to be true to that, and everything— from how you decorate to what you have in the store—has to come from that vision.”

523 Fisgard Street 250-590-6637 @moeshomevic

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how you decorate to what you have in the store—has to come from that vision, or the message is totally lost.” For Devon, who says she always thought she’d make a better employee than employer, learning to run a business has come with a steep learning curve. But she says the key is not being afraid to ask questions. “I think what you learn is that you have to be quite shameless and ask questions and not be afraid to look silly,” she advises. “I had to really get over not looking qualified, which was a very humbling experience. But it was also encouraging to see how willing people are to help you when you do ask.” The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic just 15 months after she opened the store posed an unexpected and unique challenge—one that many new businesses struggled to survive. But it’s also been a valuable learning experience. “It’s made us more nimble and one of the positives out of COVID-19 is that people’s habits are broken up,” she says. “Nobody wants to go to a big mall full of people now, so they’re looking for their outdoor shopping centres; they’re looking for their local, independent boutiques. I’ve been so encouraged to see people coming back, people really worried about my business and buying gift cards or shopping online for the first time just to support me.” Devon’s so encouraged, she’s planning to expand and open a new store— Moden Essentials, which will carry lingerie, loungewear and basics—in March. “Opening a business at anytime is a risk, but you mitigate that risk by being really clear,” she says. “Are you offering something that people need? I want to continue to do what Moden did, which is offer what’s missing and I think the next space that could really be elevated is lingerie and lounge.” It all comes back to Devon’s approach to business and life—knowing who you are and being authentic. ”If you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, you’re using your skills and your heart is in it. So it’s really difficult to fail because you’re using all of your strengths and putting that out there,” Devon says. “That’s really the key to success.”


DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


hot properties

Into the light A Central Saanich home with a West Coast vibe and a splash of drama WORDS ANGELA COWAN X PHOTOGRAPHY JODY BECK

quick facts: 3,980 square feet, plus mechanical room and two-car garage 4 bedrooms 2 full baths, 2 half baths in-home gym/dance studio  |

DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


“I love the stair tower. It gives this height, and you can see into the house a little bit. I think it has a very striking exterior. It’s very dramatic.”

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hen Jarrod and Lisa Burton decided to come back to Vancouver Island after spending 15 years in Calgary, they sought a home that reflected the West Coast style they’d been missing while living in the prairies. “Coming from Alberta, a lot of the homes are cookie-cutter houses,” says Jarrod, adding that often your neighbour’s house isn’t much more than an arm’s length away. “We wanted to get back to the West Coast style, and we wanted that feeling of living in nature.” Armed with detailed sketches, they teamed up with Mike Dunsmuir of Step One Design to flesh out buildable plans to suit their 2.5-acre lot. “Part of my job is to listen really well,” says Mike. “Jarrod spent a lot of time drafting up these floor plans and they gave them to me, trusting that I could make them work.” And work they did. The house—situated off West Saanich Road in Saanichton with an “ocean glimpse” off the back of the property—strikes an impressive silhouette from the bottom of its inclining driveway. Intricate rooflines intersect and rise away from the midpoint of the house, leading the eye into the thicker forested areas beyond the yard. Heavy wooden beams and stonework lend a sense of solidity to the soaring front entrance, while an abundance of glass brings a modern edge to the West Coast wood. Sitting in a prominent position is a spectacular stair tower, illuminated from the inside. “I love the stair tower. It gives this height, and you can see into the house a little bit,” says Mike. “I think it has a very striking exterior. It’s very dramatic.” Inside, the details of the stair tower become clearer, as Jarrod explains that the whole column is suspended from the ceiling to avoid having a post obstructing the tower’s open view. There’s a single steel stringer supporting the open treads, all designed to keep sight lines unobstructed. And indeed, the entire floor plan was designed to be as open as possible to allow views in all directions, no matter where you’re standing. The semi-formal dining area is accessible around a short partition, while the front foyer blends into the cathedral-height great room and kitchen with its expansive island. Overhead, a glassed catwalk lets light stretch across even the far reaches of the high ceilings. “I think like most people, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen, which is why we wanted it so spacious and open,” says Lisa. There’s plenty of room for Jarrod and Lisa to be cooking up supper while their girls do homework, or for the family to sit together in front of the fireplace. And if the girls want a tucked-away spot to play and watch movies, a cosy family room sits just around the corner from the main area, separated by a rolling barn door. Another aspect that was top of mind while designing the house was the integration of indoor and outdoor living space. It’s a little chilly at this time of year to open up the patio for long, but Jarrod shows me how the patio doors fold and open completely; he then reveals something I’ve yet to see during a house tour: a pass-



250.412 .8012 | 5285 WEST SAANICH ROAD VICTORIA , BC | W W W. M A C R E N O . C O M



DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


through window—just one of a number of small alterations brought in by the professionals. To my amazement, Jarrod unlatches a large square window to the side of the kitchen sink and gives it a gentle push, and the window swings up toward the patio roof. I’m instantly reminded of a Mediterranean villa and envision friends passing trays of snacks and drinks outside direct from the kitchen. “We came up with the perfect solution to extend the kitchen into the patio area. It really brings the outside in,” says Laurie Melis of Upward Elements, who built the home with his business partner Ryan Ward. “Their attention to detail was amazing,” says Jarrod, referring to Upward Elements. “With their extensive experience on the tools, they understood how to build from the ground up, and there were quite a few things that Laurie had insight into, which made for a smooth process. It was a very cohesive building experience.” The colour palette can be included in this synopsis. Initially, Jarrod and Lisa had a number of colours in mind, but after discussing the options with their team, they decided to stick with calming and neutral hues—with accent walls and colours in the bedrooms—to allow the main architectural features to stand out. Upstairs, the master suite embraces the concept of unbroken sight lines as well, with the en suite only partially separated from the main bedroom area, and the bed tucked behind a half wall. “We wanted to maintain the flow of the bedroom, and I wanted to capitalize on the views, so we had to position our bed in a way that took advantage,” says Jarrod. “The bedrooms have the best views!” Leading to their daughters’ bedrooms on the other side, the catwalk—with gorgeous views out towards the ocean—bleeds into a long hallway that’s punctuated with long rectangular windows, which serve to break up the space and allow a huge amount of natural light in. And with so much forest visible, it feels a little bit like being tucked away in a tree house.

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“We wanted to get back to the West Coast style, and we wanted that feeling of living in nature.”

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The house definitely presented its challenges in both the design and build stages. “It was an amazing piece of property, and there was quite a bit of change in the ground level as you went around the house,” says Mike. “We really had to look at the elevation, and at getting the topography to match the floor elevations, so it was only three storeys at the back.” Amid heavy blasting to ready the lot, they also had to build up the back end more than 20 feet and set in retaining walls so the house wasn’t backing onto a cliff. With so many trees and the goal of getting that ocean glimpse from the upper rooms, finding the exact spot to place the house was tricky as well. But with the team’s combined expertise, talent and a little luck, it all fell into place. “We not only designed a great house, we made it really work on the lot,” adds Mike, who’s quick to share the spotlight with Laurie and Ryan from Upward Elements. “They did an amazing job building the house. They executed it perfectly.” “And right down to the guys laying the floor, each trade shared the same attention to detail as Upward Elements,” adds Jarrod. “We’re forever grateful to Laurie and Ryan for their building expertise and for providing the trades they did.” Even through the challenges of heavy blasting, working through the winter, and particularly when the big snowstorm hit last year, the result is an attractive, solidly built West Coast home that Jarrod and Lisa are thrilled with.

supplier list Architect/Design: Step One Design Structural Engineering: Skyline Engineering Builder: Upward Elements Contracting Inc. Timber Beams: Longhouse Forest Products Interior Drywall: Definitive Drywall Electrical: Pardell Electric Inc. Plumbing: Edge Plumbing & Gas Ltd. Cabinetry & Millwork: South Shore Cabinetry Ltd.

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RAINBOW Daydream Change the mood, enliven the conversation, elaborate with playfulness. Colour your world this winter in bold fashion that doesn’t shy away from showing up.


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Odette Dress by Ulla Johnson, $855, brown Bex Boot by Shoe the Bear, $270, both from Bernstein & Gold; walnut Pulse belt bag by Hobo, $178, from Cardino Shoes; yellow woven pouch by Lusher Co., $227, from; fancy mask by Collina Strada x Tomihiro Kono, $200 USD,

Green camisole by Laurel, $350, green forest flower blouse by InWear, $139, Carlota pant by judith & charles, $450, all from Hughes Clothing; green turban, $50, by Maria Curcic Millinery from; green woven pouch, $220, by Lusher Co. from Bernstein & Gold.

Brooches ($50-$75 each) by Maria Curcic Millinery from mariacurcic. com; tank dress, $7, orange quilted Lululemon jacket, $150, both from Turnabout Luxury; Face-up accessories by Jen Clark @thevioletyard.

Brown turtleneck sweater by Part Two, $119, gold cardigan by des petits hauts, $399, brown cords by White Stuff, $179, all from Fabrications; walnut Pulse belt bag by Hobo, $178 from Cardino Shoes; sculpted brown wool and feather headpiece, $150, by Maria Curcic Millinery from; the Rome necklace by Lizzie Fortunato, $295, from Bernstein & Gold.

Feel Good sweater by Brax, $248, Brown Sugar down jacket by Part Two, $199, Suzy Skirt by des petits hauts, $195, all from Bagheera; woven belt by Ralph Lauren, $22, white sunglasses by Carrera, $170, yellow leather purse, $90, all from Turnabout Luxury; Vici Shoe by Minx, $210, from Cardino Shoes.

Papaya mohair sweater by Nile, $179, Joni blouse by Ulla Johnson, $308, high-waisted pant by Smythe, $395, all from Bernstein & Gold; Pink Always woven shoulder bag, $387, and Pink Movement duffle bag, $473, both by Lusher Co. from; Suamy 2 Boots by David Tyler, $275, from Cardino Shoes; Red Circles sculpted headpiece, $155, by Maria Curcic Millinery from

Dragonfly necklace in yellow gold, $12,995, quartz and yellow gold ring, $5,995, both from Idar; Smythe blazer, $330, Babaton dress, $50, both from Turnabout Luxury; green Victoria Bucket bag, $353, by Lusher Co from; Faceup accessories by Jen Clark @thevioletyard

Makeup and hair: Jen Clark Model: Lola Calder Williams Photo assistant: Blair Hansen Mural seen on page 53 by Shawn Shepherd, mural seen on page 57by Tasha Diamant






Heart of the Home Cosy kitchens with soul WORDS JEN EVANS

58  |










hese days, the kitchen is the most lived in and central room in the home. It’s where we tend to spend the most time and where everyone naturally gathers. The kitchen is not the utilitarian space it used to be and it’s become the number one room to renovate when adding value to your home. But so many kitchens are cookie-cutter designs, and lack personality, often leaving the space feeling cold. Since we spend so much time in our kitchen, it should have soul! And this is exactly why you should look to the living room when you want to create a cosy, inviting, character-filled kitchen. When I’m styling or designing a kitchen, I do my best to make it feel personal, curated, loved, lived in and more like the living room because, after all, the kitchen is the true heart of the home. Here are my 10 tips for creating a cosy kitchen:

ACCENTS Add decorative objects, unconventional decor and/or personal items from your travels to make your kitchen feel intimate. This could include a few one-of-a-kind accents like a beautiful candleholder, sculpture, woven basket or handmade pottery; it can change your kitchen from feeling utilitarian to curated and lived in. PAINT


ART Take art and mirrors from around your house and move them into your kitchen. Art and mirrors belong in kitchens just as much as they belong in living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms. Use a few pieces to create a focal point such as an art wall, or lean them against your counter. They’ll infuse much-needed texture, visual depth and personality to your new favourite room.  |

DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


Get even with your bra with Amoena BAlAnce Shapers

now oPen

by appointment only

2250 Oak Bay Ave, Suite 210, Victoria | 250 384 1791 | (Corner of Oak Bay & Monterey, behind Oaks Restaurant) Amoena is a registered trademark of Amoena Medizin-Orthopädie-Technik GmbH.

PAINT Switch from white to a dark, warm paint colour for your cabinets, walls or backsplash. Farrow and Ball’s Black Blue and Inchyra Blue (used on my cabinets and pantry backsplash) are warm and inviting options that will add a deep sense of warmth and cosiness to any kitchen.

METALS Create inviting kitchens by adding warm metals such as copper, bronze, brass and gold. Updating your lighting, faucets, knobs and accessories to a warm or tarnished metal is an easy way to balance out those slick and cold stainless appliances.

VINTAGE Mix vintage and new, handmade with machine-made to give a homey, lived-in feeling. There’s often a sense of nostalgia associated with a space that’s mixed with vintage and repurposed pieces, especially when added to a kitchen that can often feel sterile and impersonal. Choose anything that speaks to you and showcases your own personal style: from heirloom figurines to vintage bakeware and kitschy finds (like my llama figure) to handmade pottery. Adding personality adds warmth. 60  |


TEXTILES Adding warm, colourful textiles ups the cosy factor in any kitchen. Incorporating woven rugs and runners to your space adds comfort and visual interest. Buy a plush linen or waffle tea towel to add texture for a multi-dimensional space that feels cosy and layered, or place a sheepskin on a kitchen stool or bench to hearken to that sense of cosy contentment associated with hygge (a Danish word describing a mood of cosiness combined with feelings of wellness and contentment).

Attention Restaurants! Losing patio seating due to the weather?

PLANTS Natural materials bring an authenticity and earthiness to kitchens. Add organic elements such as plants, branches and dried flowers (hydrangeas, palm leaves, pampas grass, ruscus and bunny tail grass). Plant life and organic decor will balance out all hard lines in the kitchen and make a space feel more earthy and soft.

Extend your patio season with our StruXure Louvered Pergola or a Retractable Roof System. Options to add heaters, drop down screens and lighting for a true four season!

Homeowners -

Your backyard misses you!

Serving Vancouver Island since 1991

250.361.4714 | Visit Our Showroom M-F, 9:00am-4:30pm 2745 Bridge Street, Victoria, BC We are Vancouver Island’s Largest Retailer of Awnings, Rollshutters, Louvered Pergolas and Retractable Roof Systems.  |

DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


LIGHTING Overhead, high voltage lighting can feel harsh and clinical. Add extra lower-level and indirect lighting such as wall sconces or even a plug-in lamp to your counter or kitchen island for a soft warm glow. Switch out your metal and glass pendant for a fabric or woven basket light to add a natural, warm eclectic feel.

WINDOW TREATMENTS Window treatments are often overlooked in kitchens. Roman shades bring a softness and charm that’s great for any style of kitchen, and have the added value of creating privacy. Adding a woven wood or bamboo shade to your kitchen effortlessly adds character and warmth. A patterned fabric shade can really elevate your windows and add a hit of personality to boot.

DISPLAY Display—don’t put everything away. While most newly built kitchens attempt to hide everything away, this can create a cookie-cutter, stale vibe. Hanging pots and pans overhead can be efficient and stylish. Creating a pantry with display jars of bulk items, “decorating” with canisters of utensils, wooden cutting boards and bowls of produce will give your kitchen a level of visual depth, while creating a sense of home.





This season, whether you’re cooking, socializing or simply going about your daily routine, grab some candles from your living room and light them in your kitchen...the simple act of lighting a few candles could make a huge difference in creating a kitchen that feels cosy, warm and inviting.

Your Quartz and Granite Countertop Specialists



250 380 0610 | 411 Hillside Avenue



618 Broughton Street I 778 406 1600 I

Live your best life, the Berwick way. At Berwick, we strive to change the perception of retirement living by empowering our residents to live their best life with us. We think of it as inspired retirement living. Join one of our vibrant communities today and enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle with some new friends.





2365 Tryon Road North Saanich, BC $2,795,000 Private gated waterfront estate with south facing ocean vistas. Designer interior showcases an open floor plan with floor to ceiling windows. Chef’s kitchen is equipped with top of the line appliances which opens to an expansive living room and statement fireplace. Outside, an outdoor kitchen and easy care yard. Launch your paddle board and explore the surrounding Coastline!

2002 - 83 Saghalie Road Victoria, BC $3,995,000 Sprawling luxury sub-Penthouse perched high above Victoria’s inner harbour. In a striking concrete, steel and glass building, with over 3000+ square feet of living space. A showpiece kitchen, perfect for entertaining, opens into the spacious dining and living rooms. Luxurious master suite, with 3 additional bedrooms for family and guests. Outside, private balconies completely surround this exquisite property.

735 Humboldt Street, Victoria BC, Canada V8W 1B1

The local real estate agent with the international network: Scott Piercy, Private Office Advisor Personal Real Estate Corporation 250-686-7789

8080 McPhail - Lot 2

4810 Prospect Lake Road

637 Transit Road

Saanichton, BC $3,250,000

Saanich, BC $3,395,000

Oak Bay, BC $2,150,000

Exclusive waterfront 5 acre parcel in Saanichton, BC. Sitting in scenic Thompson Cove, this southwest facing lot has potential for protected deep water moorage, enhancing this exceptional property by providing a launch point for your yacht, paddle board or kayak. This prestigious location affords a luxury lifestyle, hidden away in the unrivaled beauty of the West Coast.

Custom designed estate on 16 acres, with sweeping views of Prospect Lake. Commissioned to an elite standard, this home offers top of the line finishings, stunning architectural design and breathtaking views from all the principal rooms. With 8 bedrooms and 7 baths, this resort-like home can be enjoyed by family and guests alike. Expansive patios and balconies allow year round enjoyment.

Beautifully updated character home in prestigious South Oak Bay. Interior features gleaming hardwood floors, large picture windows, chef’s kitchen with high end appliances, 6 bedrooms including a luxurious master retreat. Additional space in detached finished garage. Nearly Ÿ acre of private parklike outdoor living space surrounded by trees and gardens.

5006 Hilarie Place

403 - 1765 Oak Bay Avenue

201 - 5316 Sayward Hill

Victoria, BC $2,150,000

Victoria, BC $1,099,000

Cordova Bay, BC $1,299,000

Exquisite family home with stunning ocean views! Just steps from the ocean, floor to ceiling windows frame dynamic, water views. Showpiece kitchen featuring top of the line appliances, spacious living and dining rooms are perfect for entertaining. Large sundeck overlooks this tranquil 0.69 acre property. Spectacular Cordova Bay location!

Stunning Oak Bay Penthouse by award winning Abstract Developments. Desirable open plan is flooded with natural light from large picture windows & skylights. 10 ft high ceilings, a showpiece kitchen, and a large covered balcony are welcome additions to this beautiful 2 bed 2 bath condo. Prime location with exceptional walkability!

Enjoy breathtaking, unobstructed ocean, mountain and golf course views from this spacious 2,110 sq ft, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom + media room condo. Recently updated with hardwood floors, carpeting, quartz counter tops and high end appliances, this unit offers fantastic open space with floor to ceiling windows. A must see!

2249 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria BC, Canada V8R 1G4

The local real estate agent with the international network: James LeBlanc, Private Office Advisor Personal Real Estate Corporation 250-812-7212

exclusive luxury listings

3777 WARING PLACE | SE CADBORO BAY 4 BEDS | 4 BATHS | 860613 | $6,750,000

629 SENANUS DRIVE | CS INLET 4 BEDS | 5 BATHS | 857166 | $5,750,000

329 0 B E AC H D R I V E | O B U PL A N D S 5 B E D S | 5 BAT H S | 8 4 0553 | $3, 580,0 0 0

3605 C A D B O R O BAY R OA D | O B U PL A N D S 5 B E D S | 7 BAT H S | 859502 | $3, 50 0,0 0 0

758 M O U N TJ OY AV E N U E | O B S O U T H OA K BAY 3 B E D S | 4 BAT H S | 857223 | $3, 50 0,0 0 0

3250 E X E T E R R OA D | O B U PL A N D S 4 B E D S | 6 BAT H S | 850227 | $3,450,0 0 0

2802 A R B U T U S R OA D | S E T E N M I L E P O I N T 3 B E D S | 4 BAT H S | 850 662 | $3,050,0 0 0

454 4 D UA R T R OA D | S E G O R D O N H E A D 4 B E D S | 3 BAT H S | 851679 | $3,0 4 0,0 0 0

4705 K E R RY V I E W D R I V E | S W PR O S PE C T L A K E 3 B E D S | 3 BAT H S | 854562 | $2,750,0 0 0

52 M AQ U I N N A S T R E E T | O B G O N Z A L E S 3 B E D S | 3 BAT H S | 856971 | $2,176,0 0 0

830 -21 DA L L A S R OA D | V I JA M E S BAY 2 B E D S | 3 BAT H | 860 4 85 | $1, 875,0 0 0




exclusive luxury listings

4200 BLENKINSOP ROAD | SE BLENKINSOP 6 BEDS | 7 BATHS | 860144 | $3,850,000

127 BARKLEY TERRACE | OB GONZALES 4 BEDS | 3 BATHS | 857775 | $3,800,000

5156 SA N TA C L A R A AV E N U E | S E CO R D OVA BAY 4 B E D S | 3 BAT H S | 860557 | $1,789,0 0 0

2188 BA R T L E T T AV E N U E | O B S O U T H OA K BAY 5 B E D S | 4 BAT H S | 858 4 0 0 | $1,650,0 0 0

68 G OV E R N M E N T S T R E E T | V I JA M E S BAY 5 B E D S | 4 BAT H S | 858163 | $1,650,0 0 0

4 -14 47 S T. DAV I D S T R E E T | O B S O U T H OA K BAY 2 B E D S | 2 BAT H S | 860216 | $799,9 0 0

435-770 FI S G A R D S T R E E T | V I D O W N TO W N 2 B E D S | 2 BAT H S | 855262 | $625,0 0 0

414 -14 0 0 LY N B U R N E S T R E E T | L A B E A R M O U N TA I N 2 B E D S | 2 BAT H S | 85616 4 | $589,9 0 0



2450 L A N S D O W N E R OA D | O B U PL A N D S 4 B E D S | 4 BAT H S | 8 43931 | $3,980,0 0 0

586 O L I V E R S T R E E T | O B S O U T H OA K BAY 5 B E D S | 4 BAT H S | 8 4 4559 | $2, 80 0,0 0 0


1234 T R A N I S T R OA D | O B S O U T H OA K BAY 3 B E D S | 3 BAT H S | 856769 | $2,0 0 0,0 0 0


629 Senanus Drive CENTR AL SA ANICH | $5,750,000 4 BEDS | 5 BATHS | 9,305 SQ . F T. | 2 ACRES


Jason.Binab@THE AGENCYRE.COM 250.589.2466 *Personal Real Estate Corporation


Ryan.Cochrane@THE AGENCYRE.COM 250.661.2743

3777 Waring Place CADBORO BAY | $ 6,750,000 4 BEDS | 4 BATHS | 3,787 SQ . F T. | 9,148 SQ . F T. LOT


Jason.Binab@THE AGENCYRE.COM 250.589.2466 *Personal Real Estate Corporation






Your Negotiating Advantage!


DIRECT * Pe r s o n a l R e a l E s t a t e C o r p o r a t i o n

Elevated Broadmead 4712 Hillwood Road


Enjoy ocean, island and Mt. Baker peeks from this sunny 3,200 sq. ft. family home which includes all the design elements which make these architectural gems appealing; exposed trusses, vaulted ceilings, granite feature walls & floor-to-ceiling windows. Main floor living includes a den & primary suite. The lower level accesses the garden & has a family room plus two bedrooms.

Launch your Kayak 10383 Allbay Road

Beyond the Extraordinary $2,495,000 396 Ocean Spring Terrace

Stunning contemporary oceanfront home, with walk-on access front & centre on sheltered Roberts Bay with extraordinary views to Mt. Baker & Islands. Ready to go with superb finishes, deluxe kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances & luxury blinds in 2,584 sq. ft of West Coast living. High-end construction with the remainder of a new home warranty plus no GST.

Magical Oceanfront Estate

$5,895,000 1126 Gillespie Road

An inspirational masterpiece completed in 2017 with 3 levels of steel & concrete imbedded in the rocky hillside to maximize spectacular views across the Juan de Fuca Straits towards the Olympic Mountains. This home offers a multi-functional layout which includes a main level 2 bedroom suite + garage storage for a car collector. Walls of glass retract to enable the natural flow outdoors.


Waterfall Cove offers a total of 150 pristine, sub-dividable acres with 50 acres on the sheltered shores of Sooke Basin and 100 acres dissected by Gillespie and Mt. Matheson Roads. An artisan-created double A-frame home straddles the 2,000 ft of ocean frontage where a sheltered dock provides year-round moorage for a seaplane or boat. A breath of fresh air!

“We believe every home is a mansion regardless of size, location or price”


Kirsten MacLeod



Personal Real Estate Corporation

Sales Associate M AC L EO D - G ROUP.COM


Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Independently Owned and Operated. E.&O.E.: This information is from sources which we deem reliable, but must be verified by prospective Purchasers and may be subject to change or withdrawal. Not intended to solicit properties already under agreement.

1017-21 Dallas Road | $7,800,000.00 In the very best location on Victoria’s Inner Harbour, this unique penthouse suite is best described as a single family home situated on the top floor of phase III at the iconic Shoal Point development. Sharing no common walls and featuring almost 3900 square feet on one floor, this incomparable 3 bed/3bath sky-home features large Palladian windows throughout, affording stunning views from every principal room. Surrounded by 3500 square feet of

Marble laden deck, this offering comprises nearly 7400 square feet of indoor/outdoor living. Its unique position affords nearly 360 degrees of dynamic views of Victoria’s breathtaking inner/ outer harbour and beyond. Moor your yacht steps from your front door in Fisherman’s Wharf, enjoy evenings sitting around the outdoor fire pit, in the private outdoor hot tub, or just get lost in the ever-changing views and activity of beautiful Victoria, BC

Lot A-1918 Crescent Road $1,599,000.00 Offered here is a rare, newly registered south facing ocean view lot which sits directly across the street from one of Victoria’s best sandy beaches! This 11,216 sqft Oak Bay lot enjoys an elevated position which affords expansive views of Gonzales bay, the Salish Sea and beyond to the Olympic mountain range. Once your dream home is built, you’ll be enjoying the easy seaside lifestyle on Gonzales beach. Just minutes to Fairfield Plaza, excellent schools of all levels and Oak Bay Village are just a few things that make this location so special. Walk across the street with your paddle board or kayak or just enjoy dinner on the sand! Zoned RS-5 so there are lots of construction possibilities!

IAN BROWN Personal Real Estate Corporation

O: 250.385.2033 C: 250.686.2700





Nancy Stratton REALTOR®


Rebecca Barritt

BRIGGS & 250.514.9024 STRATTON Wishing you, and yours, AND ASSOCIATES a joyous holiday season! REALTOR®



1903-707 Courtney St., Victoria $2,946,000


1091 Moss Street, Victoria $1,075,000

587 Meldram Drive $1,180,500

Here to help you take the next step. Visit today!

Andrew Wade Mortgage Broker 250 886 1959






$4,500,000 556 Meldram Drive, North Saanich

exclusive listing


# 860520

$1,150,000 8846 Forest Park Drive, North Saanich


# 860011


# 843046


# 860523


$2,995,000 553 Senanus Drive, Central Saanich

3565 Beach Drive, Victoria

9458 Ardmore Drive, North Saanich

$1,225,000 mls®

# 855711

10965 Madrona Drive, North Saanich

Krista Voitchovsky, Real Estate Advisor 250-888-3256 |

Mark Gutknecht, Real Estate Advisor 250-880-1000 |

LD EK SO WE 1 in



317-21 Dallas Road James Bay $1,299,000

4381 Wildflower Lane Broadmead $1,499,000

4-2530 Windsor Road Oak Bay $359,000

306-4536 Viewmont Avenue Royal Oak $469,000

Large, bright kitchen complete with an island, granite counter tops and lots of cupboard and pantry space. The living/dining features a gas fireplace. A large master bedroom offers room for a king bed, has a 5 piece ensuite, walk -in closet, a cozy gas fireplace, and sunny deck.

This bright, spacious home has 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, triple garage with a level II EV charger and is located on a quiet cul-desac. The main level has vaulted ceilings in the dining & living rooms, and a kitchen w/ eating area open to the large family room. The master bedroom has a 5 pce ensuite & deck.

Location, charm & affordable! This 2 bedroom, 1 bath top floor Co-op condo is located in the St. Denis, a 3 story, 45+ walk up. Located across from Windsor Park, 1 block to the ocean & 3 blocks to Oak Bay Marina. With a coffee shop next door and walkability to Oak Bay Village, it doesn’t get any better! This one won’t last!

This lovely, 2 bedroom 2 bath condo located in a 55+ building sold in a week! Fantastic SW views and location walking distance to shopping , restaurants, and Commonwealth Rec Centre added to the desirability.’







9-21 Dallas Road James Bay $529,000

324-21 Dallas Road James Bay $899,000

606-21 Dallas Road James Bay $999,000

10-21 Dallas Road James Bay $610,000

This lovely south facing 1 bedroom, 2 bathroom live/work unit is move in ready! Hardwood floors and floor to ceiling windows add to this bright condo. A gas fireplace provides atmosphere and will keep you warm and cosy. The large South facing patio gives you lots of room for gardening, entertaining or relaxing. Located close to downtown, Dallas Road ocean walkway, restaurants & library and a park next door.

Inner harbour views from your 750 sqft. deck! This 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo is perfect for watching all the activities on the inner harbour. This elegant condo has 2 bedrooms each with their own ensuite and a powder room. Our clients love the location as it is around the corner from the elevator to the pool/ fitness area. Some Shoal Point amenities: 25m lap pool, fitness centre, concierge, bike/kayak storage, guest suites & workshop.

Bright & sunny ocean view with Southern exposure, this condo is a delight! This 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom has a lovely open concept layout and good separation between the bedrooms. Some highlights are new light Maple flooring throughout , gas fireplace, A/C, ocean view den, extra space for a piano or seating and a semi private deck.

Enjoy working from home with access to your 312 sqft patio from your office. Lovely open living/dining area has gas fireplace and 9 foot ceilings. Large master bedroom with an ensuite , a second bedroom or den/office and a three piece bathroom complete this lovely condo. One parking spot and a storage locker. Enjoy the wonderful amenities such as a 25m lap pool, gym, sauna, steam, jacuzzi, concierge service and more!

Strata fees for 2020 will be paid!

2249 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria, BC V8R 1G4 • Office +1 778-433-8885

2249 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria, BC

*Over $100 Million Sold In 2020 Five Out Of The Top Ten Sales (Oak Bay) Leading Sales In The Uplands Since 2016

CALLAGHAN O’CONNOR P E R S O N A L R E A L E S TAT E C O R P O R AT I O N 250.888.4579 / *Dollar Volume Based On Listing Prices

Sarah West, Personal Real Estate Corporation, and Bill Ethier

The Real Estate Team You Trust for Life | 250.920.7000 |




218-40 Gorge Road W 2 Bedrooms 2 Bathrooms $449,000

3139 Bowkett Place 3 Bedrooms 4 Bathrooms $1,295,000 + GST

206-1545 Pandora Avenue 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom $379,000  |

DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


Happy New Year Here’s to a Peaceful Holiday Season and a Brighter, Healthier New Year Ahead. It’s been a year like no other –

Thank you for trusting me to help establish new homes & foundations amid the uncertainty.


Gautam Arora

Licenced Realtor, Pemberton Holmes Gautam Arora Personal Realestate Corporation

250.384.8124 |

Established 1887

NICOLE BURGESS 250-384-8124

Oceanfront Acreage featuring Modern Scandinavian Loghome and guest apartment. Port McNeill, North Island | 6030 MINE Rd., $2,156,000 4 Beds | 4 Baths | 4547 Sq. Ft. | Built 2009 This spectacular 2.5 acre oceanfront home is a stunning example of what makes BC one of the most desirable places in the world to live. With the pristine waters of the Queen Charlotte Strait at your doorstep, enjoy a breathtaking view of the awe-inspiring coastline in luxurious comfort from your modern Scandinavian inspired log home. A multitude of recent updates/expansions have modernized the interior, exterior & landscaping which exemplify world class design and impeccable craftsmanship. Updates include ext. stonework, sleep cocoon, dream ensuite, radiant heat marble floors, sunroom, in-floor lighting, live edge wood, granite chef’s kitchen w/Bosh appliances, decks w/hot tub. List of recent upgrades available upon request. Arrive from Vancouver by plane or heli in less than 90min.

Megan Centrone 962 Shoppers Row Campbell River BC V9W 2C5 80  |

250 213 5380 | DECEMBER/JANUARY 202 0- 2 1

exclusive luxury listings







Your Dream… Your Life… My Passion!





Distinctive Vancouver Island Homes

Linda has been successfully selling Real Estate since 2007 and is a multiple MLS & Master award winner. As a Member of the Luxury Home Marketing “Million Dollar Guild”, a designation of “Master Certified Negotiation Expert” as well as being a “Home Staging Expert” Certified with the Canadian Home Staging Association, Linda can get you where you want to be, as a highly skilled agent. Linda also has a record of community leadership as a founding member and director of the popular “Rock 4 A Reason Charitable Society” which has raised over $134,000.00 for the BC Cancer Foundation here in Victoria.

Better Marketing. Better Service. Better Results.


Licensed Realtor & Certified Home Stager

cell 250-213-7194 | Office 250-744-3301 | | 4440 Chatterton Way | RE/MAX Camosun  |

DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21




THE CARE AWARDS: THE BEST OF VICTORIA HOME BUILDING CARE Awards finalists are selected by a panel of industry professionals who consider criteria such as architectural design, quality workmanship, creative use of space and energy efficiency. The finalists represent Canada’s leaders in West Coast design and construction, showcasing the very best in new homes and renovations. BY S EAN M CI NT YR E | P O R T R A I T S BY LIA CR OW E


MACMINN CONTRACTING Award nomination(s): Best Renovation or Restoration // Best Contemporary Kitchen > 250 sq. ft. // Best Contemporary Bathroom // Best Interior Residential < 2500 sq. ft. // Best Outdoor Space // Best Innovative Feature // Best Heritage Project // Project of the Year: Single Family

Project: Ross Bay >> This classic Edwardian house in Fairfield was gutted inside and out. Only the original custom millwork in the hallway, stairs and area around the fireplace were preserved. In a signature move, MacMinn Contracting introduced a strikingly modern kitchen and high-end bathrooms to juxtapose with the historic elements in this 110-year-old home. A massive curtain wall window stretches across the back of the kitchen, creating a seamless connection with the expansive patio and gardens beyond. A truly one-of-a-kind residence. 778-587-3312 /

Alan MacMinn, Founder, Principal


GT MANN CONTRACTING LTD. Award nomination(s): Best Contemporary Bathroom // Best Interior – Residential // Best Single Family Detached Home > $2,000,000 // Best Outdoor Space // Best Traditional Kitchen > 250 sq. ft

Project: Urban Retreat > The outdoor living is unparalleled. The indoor-outdoor living is seamless in its design. The result creates a functional and effortless flow. All the elements were carefully and thoughtfully selected to accent one another. The site presented many challenges due to blasting and topography, but the GT Mann team flipped a large volume of land to create the front yard and allowing the back yard to be filled and flat. An ideal urban retreat. 250-857-5349 / Graeme Mann, Principal Luis Ambriz-Gomez, Site Supervisor


SOUTH SHORE CABINETRY LTD. Award nomination(s): Best Contemporary Kitchen > 250 sq. ft. Project: Ocean Vista >> One of the unique features of this project is the "secret entrance" to the pantry. We used fold-away hardware on two custom-stained oak veneer panels to conceal the doorway and preserve the sleek style of the surrounding slab fronts. The other standout is the custom, backlit, above-island ceiling panel, which acts as both a support for the pendant lights and an accent feature. We made sure that both features maintained the style, finish and profile of the kitchen as a whole. 250-920-2003 /

Korey Sandsmark, Operations Manager Tara Bushby, Interior Designer / Manager

Award nomination(s): Best Single Family Detached Custom Home < $1,000,000 // Best Entry Level Market Home // Best Traditional Kitchen < 250 sq. ft. // Best Contemporary Bathroom

Project: The Jade >> Communication is key to making sure a developer can deliver the clients’ vision of the perfect living space. We work closely with homeowners throughout the building process to envision, adapt and create the precise elements they have in mind. With The Jade project, we listened to our clients’ goals and produced a living room focused around custom bookshelves, fireplace and lighting. The warmth is accentuated by elegant windows and harmonica doors that streamline the transition between the property's indoor and outdoor spaces. 250-884-2047 /

Sunny Kahlon,




PATRIOT HOMES Award nomination(s): Best Single Family Detached Custom Home < $1,000,000 // Best Single Family Detached Spec Home // Best Single Family Detached Home $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 // Best Multi-Family Townhouse Project // Best Outdoor Space

Project: Escape >> A work of art does not come without its challenges. In the case of Patriot Homes’ Escape project, an autumn start date meant battles with heavy rainfalls and snow. The 14-foot grade differential from the property's front to back required use of retaining walls to fit the site and municipal specifications. The site was also very narrow so access was a challenge, especially given the project's many intricate features such as a full-size tennis court, swimming pool and outdoor kitchen. 250-217-3080 /

Aman Gill, Principal

Photo: Jacob McNeil of PlatinumHD

Award nomination(s): Best Single Family Detached $1,000,000 - $2,000,000 // Best New Home Design // Best Interior Residential > 2500 sq. ft. // Project of the Year - Single Family // Best Heritage Project Project: Maison de Lee >> Designed in a timeless French Colonial Revival style, the Maison de Lee possesses elegant proportions, a white-painted brick exterior with authentic details such as shutters, copper scuppers, gutters and downspouts, and a subtly curved roof profile. A trio of distinctive arched-top dormers at the front of the home, along with carefully sized windows and doors, contribute precision to the simple and symmetrical design. The home gracefully resides a few steps above the sidewalk at the front, but is nestled into a gently sloping rear yard, allowing easy walk-out access. A perfect blend of modern amenities and old-world charm. 250-360-2144 /

Rus Collins, Lead Designer Louis Horvat, Building Technologist/CAD Technician


Award nomination(s): Project of the Year, Best Multi-Family Development, Green Builder of the Year, Best Innovative Feature, Best Outdoor Space, Award for Environmental Achievement, Best Condo Unit, Customer Service, Best Website Project: Travino Gardens >> Travino Gardens is the last phase of the Travino community, an award-winning condominium development in Royal Oak. Travino Gardens comprises 80 homes, including many with larger floor plans. A tiered design provides opportunities for “top-floor living” throughout the building, as well as a gorgeous rooftop patio. Groundfloor suites with extra-large walkout patios open onto Travino’s lush courtyard, with walking trails, a gazebo, scenic seating areas and water features. It’s all designed with innovative and sustainable features and amenities throughout. 250-590-3666 /

Edward Geric, President



JENNY MARTIN DESIGN Award nomination(s): Best Single Family Detached Home $1,000,000 - $2,000,000 // Best New Home Design // Best Residential Reno or Restoration // Best Traditional Kitchen < 250 sq.ft. // Best Traditional Kitchen > 250 sq. ft. // Best Contemporary Kitchen > 250 sq. ft. // Best Master Suite // Best Residential Interior > 2500 sq. ft. // Best Custom Millwork // Project of the Year - Single Family

Project: Maison de Lee >> When the clients of the Maison de Lee emailed the Jenny Martin Design team from Paris to tell them they wanted the project infused with all the charm and character of a Parisian home, they dove deep into the details. From balancing intricate mouldings to introducing herringbone flooring patterns, they filled the house with bespoke details. The made-in-France La Canche range, traditional fireplace mantel and unlacquered brass accents were all hand selected to play their part in bringing the home to life. The result is tout simplement fantastique! 250-383-8206 /

Julia Estey, Senior Designer Jenny Martin, Principal Designer

food and feast

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for the love of

Latkes Three ways to enjoy this classic Hanukkah treat




When you hear the word “latke” what comes to mind? For many it’s some sort of potato pancake, perhaps the base of a funky benny at a hip brunch spot or it might be just an awkwardly spelled word that provides potential ambiguity in pronunciation (I personally say lat-kah, not lat-kee for the record). For me, what comes immediately to mind is the playful glow of candlelight dancing on the walls, and the smell of hot oil lingering in the house. It’s a timeless swirl of sweet, savoury and creamy, as applesauce, sour cream and crispy-fried potatoes layer together in each perfect bite. It’s also family time, deep-belly laugher, festive songs and sore thumbs from spinning dreidels for hours. Truly, Hanukkah touches all senses, the most important of all, a special feeling of nostalgia in my heart. I’m transported to a vision of my brothers and me in a sort of family assembly line of peeling, grating and mixing, ski-goggles on to help diminish the teary effects of chopping through  |

DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


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pounds of onions. The windows are all wide open in a feeble attempt to diminish that inevitable oily smog, all of us bundled in sweaters and jackets as the cool December air filters in. It’s funny how a humble potato pancake can conjure up so many memories, so much emotion and so much sensory association. But perhaps that’s the beauty of classic comforts and nostalgic nosh—it’s often less about the food itself and more so how it makes one feel and what it represents. Originating in Eastern Europe sometime around the Middle Ages, the word latke gets its start (via Yiddish) from the East Slavic word oladka, a diminutive from oladya, or “small pancake,” and that Slavic word is derived from the ancient Greek diminutive of “olive oil” or “oily substance.” The use of potatoes and onion is obvious—two classic ingredients in Eastern European cuisine —but what’s the obsession over all the oil? Well, in short, Hanukkah celebrates the victory of a small group of Jewish rebels over an oppressive Seleucid monarchy, and commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Once the temple was rededicated, the Jewish people were eager to relight their ritual candelabrum, called a menorah, but only had one day’s worth of oil. This small amount of oil miraculously burned for eight days, which is the reason Jewish people light the special Hanukkah menorah (hanukkiah) for eight days. Jewish people also honour the miracle of the oil by eating oily foods, including of course, latkes. So these unassuming little latkes really represent triumph over evil, freedom from oppression, hope and salvation, and unexpected miracles—things we could all sink our teeth into these days especially. I always make a batch of latkes on the first night of Hanukkah. As a pragmatic adult with a heavy reliance on kitchen tools, I use the grating function on my food processor for both the potatoes and the onions, thus saving time and diminishing the need for the ski-goggle fashion statement of my youth. Windows are still wide open of course (because that oily aroma is intense and unavoidable), but I also implement hood vents, essential oil diffusions and an air purifier to expedite the de-odourizing process. With an adventurous palate and unquenchable desire to experiment with as many alternative ingredients as possible (or, more accurately, what just so happens to be in my fridge at the time), I also often deviate from the tried-and-true potato-only approach. Root veggies, colourful tubers, leafy greens—I’ve found great delight in exploring the many ways to make a savoury pancake, still drawing upon the basics of grated, egg-mixed and flour-bound patties, although my choice of flour varies significantly. Yes, cultural and nostalgic customs still live strong in our household around Hanukkah, but the evolution of that traditional base is ever-expanding. So today, I share three of my favourite iterations of the latke—a Moroccan-inspired, spiced-root vegetable option for the more adventurous; a green-goodness and low-starch take for the health-focused; and a classic, simple and winning recipe of the basic potato latke for the traditionalists. Try the one that resonates with you the most, or perhaps all three for a fun and festive latke party and see how this once seemingly insignificant little fritter conjures up whole new meanings and sensory associations next time you hear the word latke.


Classic Potato Latkes

Makes about 12 large or 24 small latkes

Ingredients 3 lb. russet potatoes (about 4–6 large/medium) 1 lb. onions (about 2 medium) ¼ cup flour (I usually just use all-purpose, but breadcrumbs also work well) 2 tsp baking powder 94  |


Latkes are served here with Avalon Dairy organic sour cream, smoked salmon and dill.

2-3 tsp sea salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 3 large eggs Oil as needed (I like to use olive oil for this recipe) Directions Preheat your oven to 325 F and top a baking sheet with a wired cooling rack. Lay out some thick layers of paper towel on another baking sheet or even your kitchen counter near your stovetop. Peel the potatoes and onions, and using the large holes of a box grater or the grater disk on a food processor, grate the potatoes and onions. *Option: if you want your latkes to be extra crispy, transfer the grated potatoes and onion to a large kitchen towel, gather the ends of the towel, twist over your sink and squeeze firmly to wring out as much liquid as possible before transferring to a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, pepper and eggs until smooth. Add the potato-onion mixture and mix until well coated (the latke mixture should be wet and thick, but not soupy. You can also mix in another egg if you’re finding it too dry). In a large frying pan, heat 2 to 4 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Drop a small amount of latke mixture into the pan—if the oil sizzles around the edges, it’s ready (do not let the oil smoke though). Working in batches and adding more oil to the skillet as needed to maintain about 1/8 inch of oil, drop large spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan, pressing gently with the back of a spoon or spatula to flatten slightly (if the mixture becomes watery between batches, mix to incorporate, but do not drain at this point). Cook the latkes until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side (if you’re noticing small pieces of latke mixture floating in the oil start to burn, carefully strain or wipe out). Transfer the latkes to the paper towel to drain, and then transfer them to the prepared wire rack. Place the wire-rack-topped baking sheet with latkes in the oven to keep warm and crisp while cooking the remaining latkes.  |

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Renovations + Custom Homes 250-217-8011

Structural Engineers for the 2019 CARE Awards Project of the Year

FOR THE HEALTH NUT: Kale and Zucchini Latkes Makes about 24 latkes

Ingredients 2 lb. zucchini (about 2 medium) 1 lb. kale (about 1 big bunch) 1 lb. onions (about 2 medium) ½ cup flour (I like to use almond flour for this recipe) 2 tsp baking powder 2-3 tsp sea salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 Tbsp fresh chives, minced 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced 3 large eggs Oil as needed (I like to use avocado oil for this recipe)

Pictured: ELEMENTS, 2019 CARE Awards Project of the Year – Single Family

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Directions Preheat your oven to 325 F and top a baking sheet with a wired cooling rack. Lay out some thick layers of paper towel on another baking sheet or even your kitchen counter near your stovetop. Peel the onions, trim the zucchini and trim/finely chop the kale. Using the large holes of a box grater or the grater disk on a food processor, grate the zucchini and onions. *Option: if you want your latkes to be extra crispy, transfer the grated kale, zucchini and onion to a large kitchen towel, gather the ends of the towel, twist over your sink, and squeeze firmly to wring out as much liquid as possible before transferring to a bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, pepper and eggs until smooth. Add the veggie-onion mixture as well as the diced herbs, and mix until well coated (the latke mixture should be

Latkes are served here with chopped chives and a creamy avocado-chive whip.

wet and thick, but not soupy. You can also mix in another egg if you’re finding it too dry). In a large frying pan, heat 2 to 4 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Drop a small amount of latke mixture into the pan—if the oil sizzles around the edges, it’s ready (do not let the oil smoke, though). Working in batches and adding more oil to the skillet as needed to maintain about 1/8 inch of oil, drop large spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan, pressing gently with the back of a spoon or spatula to flatten slightly. Cook the latkes until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side (if you’re noticing small pieces of veggie floating in the oil start to burn, carefully strain or wipe out). Transfer the latkes to the paper towel to drain, and then transfer them to the prepared wire rack. Place the wire-rack-topped baking sheet with latkes in the oven to keep warm and crisp while cooking the remaining latkes.

Creamy Avocado Chive Whip Ingredients 1 ripe avocado 1 Tbsp fresh chives, diced ½ tsp sea salt ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper Water as needed (about 2 Tbsp) Directions In a small blender, combine all the ingredients, including 1 Tbsp of water, and blend until smooth. Continue to add water as needed until light and creamy (like the texture of sour cream or yogurt).


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DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21


So these unassuming little latkes really represent triumph over evil, freedom from oppression, hope and salvation, and unexpected miracles—things we could all sink our teeth into these days especially.


FOR THE ADVENTURIST: Spiced Root Veggies Latkes Makes about 12 large or 24 small latkes Ingredients 1 lb. yam or sweet potato (about 1 medium) 1 lb. carrot (about 2 large/medium) 1 lb. parsnip (about 2 large/medium) 1 lb. onions (about 2 medium) ¼ cup flour (I like to use coconut flour for this recipe) 2 tsp baking powder 2-3 tsp sea salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp turmeric ½ tsp ginger ¼ tsp allspice 4 large eggs Oil as needed (I like to use coconut oil for this recipe) Directions Preheat your oven to 325 F and top a baking sheet with a wired cooling rack. Lay out some thick layers of paper towel on another baking sheet or even your kitchen counter near your stovetop. Peel sweet potato/yam, carrot, parsnip and onions, and using the large holes of a box grater or the grater disk on a food processor, grate sweet potato/yam, carrot, parsnip and onions. *Note: you definitely do not have to strain the vegetables in this recipe as they’re more dry than the other options (plus the coconut flour is more absorbent if you’re using that as a flour).

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Latkes are served here with Tree Island Greek Yogurt and cinnamon-spiced applesauce, and topped with thyme and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, pepper, spices and eggs until smooth. Add the veggie-onion mixture, and mix until well coated (the latke mixture should be wet and thick, but not soupy. You can also mix in another egg if you’re finding it too dry). In a large frying pan, heat 2-4 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Drop a small amount of latke mixture into the pan—if the oil sizzles around the edges, it’s ready (do not let the oil smoke, though). Working in batches and adding more oil to the skillet as needed to maintain about 1⁄8 inch of oil, drop large spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan, pressing gently with the back of a spoon or spatula to flatten slightly. Cook the latkes until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side (if you’re noticing small pieces of latke mixture floating in the oil start to burn, carefully strain or wipe out). Transfer the latkes to the paper towel to drain, and then transfer them to the prepared wire rack. Place the wire-rack-topped baking sheet with latkes in the oven to keep warm and crisp while cooking the remaining latkes.


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Out of the NORTHWEST PASSAGE A true Canadian adventure WORDS SUZANNE MORPHET


have a little bit of good news and some terrible news,” announces our expedition leader as we gather anxiously in the ship’s lounge. It’s only the third day of our voyage through the Northwest Passage with Adventure Canada and we don’t know what to expect. “We’ve had to cancel Gjoa Haven,” says Jason Edmunds, explaining that the 50-knot winds won’t allow us to land at one of our most highly anticipated stops. Not only is Gjoa Haven famous for its Inuit carvings, but it’s also an historic hotspot. Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen overwintered here twice on his historic first sailing of the Northwest Passage. And it’s the closest settlement to the underwater wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror from Sir John Franklin’s tragic 19th-century expedition. But in the Arctic, itineraries mean nothing. Even in early September—the sweet spot between last year’s ice melting and this year’s ice forming—the weather rules. “We can’t go straight into the swells, so we’re zigzagging,” Jason continues, “and avoiding a lot of icebergs.” Adventure Canada’s comfortable 137-metre Ocean Endeavour has an ice-strengthened hull but it’s not an icebreaker. While 153 of us groan in disappointment, one of the Inuit cultural interpreters aboard simply says “Ayurnamat. It can’t be helped.” And to be honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Part of the thrill of this voyage is precisely because it’s not predictable. Our journey begins in Kugluktuk, the westernmost community in Nunavut, where the tundra is a burnt orange and the temperature hovers just above freezing. For the next 17 days we’ll push steadily northeast before sailing down the west coast of Greenland to Kangerlussuaq. Along the way, we’ll stop to watch polar bears playing on icefloes and get up in the middle of the night to catch the northern lights. We’ll receive warm welcomes and curious looks when we go ashore at several Inuit communities. One night, when we pass within kilometres of Franklin’s sunken ships, a few of us crawl out of bed at 3 am to go on deck and raise a toast. When the weather turns, we lurch through hallways, sit through back-to-back lectures and eat too many cookies. Unless we’re seasick, of course, and then we don’t eat anything at all. For a couple nights we sleep fitfully, rolling in our beds with the waves, the clanking of metal keeping us awake. Venturing outside one morning, I grip handrails that are sheathed in ice. For a moment it feels like I’ve stepped into one of those artist’s renderings of a godforsaken, 19thcentury expedition where the ship becomes trapped in ice. Entering Bellot Strait at the northernmost tip of the North

Along the way, we’ll stop to watch polar bears playing on icef loes and get up in the middle of the night to catch the northern lights. American continent, our ship slows to squeeze through the narrow passage. Further along, we visit Fort Ross—the last Hudson’s Bay Company trading post. Built in 1937, the store and manager’s house are still here, paint peeling from the walls and snow drifting across the floor and furniture. Back on board, ice becomes an issue. Plans to anchor overnight in Erebus and Terror Bay off Beechey Island are scuttled. “It would be unlikely we would get trapped in there, but we’re not going to take the chance,” Jason tells us during a weather briefing, pointing to “red ice” on the latest chart, indicating a dangerous amount of year-old ice that’s moving with the wind and currents. Instead, we anchor outside the bay and motor in by Zodiac. Trudging through the deep snow in single file, I imagine we must look a little like Franklin’s men out for a walk when they overwintered here in 1845-46. Before leaving, we pay our respects at the graves of the three who succumbed to pneumonia and tuberculosis. Even on days when we stay aboard, our schedules are full, whether it’s listening to a lecture (“You have tears for polar bears, but walrus—they’re the ones that are really in trouble,” says naturalist George Sirk, while discussing climate change), watching a documentary (Vanishing Point by Stephen A. Smith and Julia Szucs, who are both onboard, is riveting) or curling up with a timely book

(I’m savouring The Man Who Ate His Boots by Anthony Brandt). After dinner one night, we celebrate our favourite figures in Canadian history and—to our great hilarity—Newfoundland author and crew member Michael Crummey dresses up as Margaret Atwood (who herself has been on four Adventure Canada expeditions through the Northwest Passage). But it’s the dramatic seascapes that keep me mesmerized for hours. Crossing Baffin Bay, distant clouds and mountains create a black-and-white tapestry and I recall another Inuktitut word we’ve been taught: Katjaarnaqtuq. It’s beautiful. Half a dozen King Eider ducks herald our arrival at Upernavik, a town of colourful houses overlooking Davis Strait. Further south, we visit Ilulissat, where a few of us rent bikes from the ship and cycle to the Ilulissat ice fjord, the source of 90 per cent of the icebergs that travel down the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Every time I come here it blows my mind,” says David Reid, one of the ship’s crew and the last Scotsman recruited to Canada by the Hudson’s Bay Company, as we admire the slowly advancing glacier. That evening, we cruise by Zodiac amongst the towering icebergs floating freely in the bay. We’re dwarfed by their enormous size, awed by their frozen majesty. As if on cue, three humpback whales break the surface, their noisy exhalations like misty exclamation marks.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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If nothing else, this voyage has taught us “upiguhungniq,” or respect. Respect for the Arctic, its Indigenous people and our Adventure Canada crew, who guided us through one of the harshest landscapes on earth and brought us safely home.


If you go:

Adventure Canada will sail the Northwest Passage twice in 2021: August 16 to September 1 and September 1 to 17. For more information:

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fter nearly 30 years at the helm of Zebra Group, designer Rus Collins is as energized as ever by the creative process that sees ideas transformed into reality. And that enthusiasm and energy has only increased since launching Zebra Construction in 2004 with his business partner Martin Whitehead. “We couldn’t possibly build all the houses we design, but every one that we get to do, it’s satisfying and rewarding to see how the vision we all had at the beginning is fully realized at the end,” says Rus, adding, “I get most excited about working on infill projects. Whether it’s tearing an old house down, or


“It’s satisfying and rewarding to see how the vision we all had at the beginning is fully realized at the end.” having it picked up and taken away on a barge, you’re left with a blank lot. Starting from scratch in an established neighbourhood—for me I find it challenging.” With the trend in design still leaning modern, it adds another layer of complexity to fitting those puzzle pieces together, especially when the neighbourhood is full of older, traditional homes. “I like modern homes,” Rus says, “and I like them to fit wherever they’re put.” One of the most satisfying moments came recently when Rus decided to take a detour by a modern house Zebra Group had done in Oak Bay for a repeat client, and learned that very often, passersby would stop and just look at the house, complimenting its design and feel. “I hadn’t seen it since the lot was vacant and we designed the house,” says Rus. “And that’s really fulfilling to hear that kind of feedback. I want it to be something people look at because they’re interested and intrigued by it, but also because it does fit in as part of that streetscape.” He adds: “I’m hoping that for a lot of our designs—once the landscaping is mature—you don’t know if the house is 10 or 50 years old.” Outside of the office, Rus feeds his creativity with cooking, art and painting, among other pursuits. “I love to cook. Ever since the COVID pandemic started, I’ve been baking bread and making sauerkraut, and making pickles and other neat, fermented things,” he says. “And I also like to paint. I find that what I do for a living is so exact—when you draw houses and floor plans, it’s so technical—so when I go to paint, I want the opposite. I want to be freer with the brush.” He’s drawn to abstracts, and since getting “seriously” into painting in 2007, has sold some pieces. “There’s definitely a parallel between painting and art and architecture,” he says. “A painting is supposed to capture your interest, and lead you through it. [A paintings is] like a house. To me, a house needs to draw you in. When you open the front door, you don’t want to run to the back of the house to look at the view. If you draw them in, and lead them through it, then maybe they’re experiencing your artwork, or some architectural feature, and then when they get to the view, it’s a completely different experience.”

The 7 Sins ENVY:

Whose shoes would you like to walk in? I’m actually quite comfortable walking in my own shoes. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that no matter how appealing someone else’s life may look from the outside, every one of us carries our own demons.


What is the food you could eat over and over again? Sashimi and sushi. And did I mention I like to drink red wine? Oh, and pizza...


You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on? After COVID, I’d buy two first-class tickets to travel around the world until I run out of money.


Pet peeves? Political correctness has gone too far, and there are too many rules that control how we live.


Where would you spend a long time doing nothing? Anywhere in the world that is warm, with a beautiful beach and a good selection of wine. Hawaii, Barcelona, Nice, to name a few!


What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of ? My business, with my hard-working partners and staff that always show their strong work ethic and integrity, plus the amazing clients who have helped us be successful.

LUST: What makes your heart beat faster? A warm, sunny day, driving my car with the top down and the right music playing on the stereo, next to my girl, and on a road trip adventure to somewhere we’ve never been.  |

DE C E MB E R/ J ANU ARY 2 0 20 - 21





ANGELS IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE I am pretty sure the term “bucket list” is a creation of the Baby Boomer generation. I know my parents never mentioned a bucket list in their retirement. They were happy to be paying the bills and going south for the winter. But, among my Boomer peers, the phrase “that’s on my bucket list” is heard often in our conversations. And so, in the summer of 2019, my husband and I decided to tick a few items off our lists. His choice was fairly easy. Being an avid golfer he had always wanted to attend a British Open golf tournament and that summer it was

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held at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland—his birthplace. Apart from having to purchase the tickets a year in advance, we were able to put the trip together easily. However, the item on my list was years coming to fruition. It started with hearing stories of my family history and included attending Remembrance Day ceremonies that always moved me to tears, especially seeing the Silver Cross Mothers. Over the years, I became determined to lay flowers on the grave of my uncle, James Frank Steer, my father’s eldest sibling, killed in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme, at

DOES HE age 20, and buried somewhere in the middle of France. No one in my family had ever visited. After our time in Northern Ireland, we arrived in Paris at the height of a very hot tourist season. We studied maps and investigated train routes, trying to zero in on the small Regina Trench Cemetery, which was not on the regular war monument tours. We discovered it was in the area of three small villages north of Paris and Amiens—Courcelette, Grandcourt and Miraumont— located 1.5 kilometres off the main road, up a single-track lane not accessible by car. One would need to get a taxi to the site. Early one beautiful, very hot morning we took the one-hour train trip north from Paris to the town of Amiens. From there, we caught another train to Miraumont, arriving midday, and getting off at a spot where there was no station—just a small dirt path down to a street. There was an eerie quiet in the village and no people in sight. I stopped a solitary villager and asked for a taxi in my lapsed French. He seemed confused, so we wandered the streets, eventually finding a pharmacy that was open. We explained to a customer why we were there and she said, “There are no taxis here; this is the middle of nowhere.” My stress and disappointment must have been visible because immediately a staff member started going through some phone directories to see if there might be taxis available in neighbouring villages—but with no luck. At the same time, another checked Google Maps and found the cemetery, but said it would be a few hours away on foot. We were speechless, imagining a walk in the heat of the day both there and back. That is when an “angel” appeared in the disguise of a young man picking up a prescription. With a glance at the map, he said he knew the cemetery because it was near his village, and he offered to drive us there. He was in his 20s, neatly dressed and well groomed, and must have taken pity on this old couple who were obviously frantic. We did not hesitate and hopped in his car. It was a pleasant drive and we were enjoying the scenery when he made a sudden stop and pointed to some trees in a distant field. We were thrilled and offered him some monetary compensation, which he declined. But eventually we made a deal—even with our language problems—and he agreed to accept payment and return later to drive us back to the station. With our euros in pocket, he drove off, and we realized we were in the middle of nowhere and we might never see him again. As I started my walk up the rugged dirt path to the farmer’s field, I realized that in the chaos and stress I had forgotten flowers. But there were some bright orange wild poppies at the side of the track and I began to pick them. The Regina Trench Cemetery is small, compact and beautiful, an oasis in an empty landscape that was once riddled with violence, despair and death. The grass is a verdant green and neatly mowed, and perennials, trees and bushes grow among the graves. I entered the gate to a monument with the inscription “Their Names Liveth For Evermore,” and started my search for Plot #1, Row G, Grave #2, with a simple map found online. Suddenly, there it was! The stone with my family name engraved on it, J. F. STEER, AGE 20, with a maple leaf on the heading and his regiment details and date of death. I broke down weeping and repeating the words “thank you” over and over again. My




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My visit was the least I could do for him, for my family and for those buried alongside him. husband joined in as well. I placed my wilted poppies on the plants already there, sat, touched his name and was overcome with grief. I thought about what his final days must have included. I wondered if he had made friends with other soldiers and maybe did not die alone. I hoped some of them were buried here beside him in the middle of nowhere in France. I spent some time with him, this man I had never known, and began to feel some peace after the anxieties of the day. But there were also thoughts of the futility of war, so many lives lost, so many Silver Cross Mothers. Eventually, we knew we should leave, thinking of the trip ahead of us. We discovered a guest book at the entrance gate, which I signed, and I was surprised to see there were two other entries for that week, someone from Stockholm and another from Oregon. I wondered what their stories might be. Then, scanning the distance, we could see that our “angel” had returned. Not only did he take us to the train station, but he had checked online for time of the next train to Amiens. As we sat waiting for the train and reflecting on the events of the day, an elderly gentleman arrived. After explaining why we were there, he told us in broken English that one of his friends volunteered as a gardener at the cemetery. I was astounded to think that someone, in the middle of nowhere, with no connection to those

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buried there, would give so unselfishly of his time. There must be more “angels” in the world. He asked for the name on the grave, so perhaps my Uncle Frank will have another visitor some day. Upon hearing my story, some people have pointed out that I never knew James Frank Steer. True. But I knew his parents—my grandparents who lost their eldest son. I knew his five siblings, all now deceased, none of whom had the privilege of visiting his final resting place. I am the youngest of the four remaining nieces and nephews. And I have slowly learned of the horrors of a war that I never had to live through. I know, like so many, he must have died a lonely, violent death. He never got to come home. My visit was the least I could do for him, for my family and for those buried alongside him. My “bucket” is empty now. I hope to continue to travel, but this will be the most important trip I have ever taken. After receiving my email of the events of that long day, my daughter was appalled that I would get in a car with a total stranger, in the middle of nowhere in France. But I never considered him anything but an “angel.” And I will always remember a quiet visit, with someone I wish I had known, on a beautiful, peaceful day. It was a privilege to have visited the final resting place of those who fought so bravely and gave us their most precious gift—their lives.

From our homes to yours, we wish you a Christmas season filled with love and wonder – your Christmas story for the ages. Locally Owned & Operated | 250.383.6509 | TRILLIUMCOMMUNITIES.COM

behind the story



nspired by the rich hues of the city, the Boulevard fashion team enjoyed seeking out colourful backdrops, like these murals by artist Shawn Shepherd (right) and Tasha Diamant. Shepherd’s mural is part of his garden series, which references the Night Garden Transformation series by BC painter Jack Shadbolt. Shepherd began painting small-format garden imagery in 2004; this series blossomed into an 8-by-40-foot drawing exhibited at the Comox Valley Art Gallery, and eventually a 24-foot-high, 235-foot-long mural on Mason Street in Victoria. The graphic mural seen in this issue was a private commission for the interior of a Victoria residence. Shepherd has stated, “The history of painting is filled with valuable garden imagery and artists have often found subject matter in their gardens. I’ve

approached the garden with a focus on the abstract nature of foliage forms, both the sensuous and the angular lines, and how light plays upon them. Light is colour and as an artist I apply colour to reflect light, to touch the nervous system.” Diamant is a longtime performance artist (participating in numerous Victoria Fringe shows since 2010) and visual artist. In both practices, Diamant improvises or channels or trusts her instincts. Diamant painted the mural on Cormorant Street freehand, without a plan, and with only a semiconscious desire to create an undersea-ish atmosphere. As a painter, and in addition to allowing her intuition to reign, Diamant’s specialty is colour.

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Fall in love with our Winter collection

WINTER 2020 – new arrivals Visit us at our new home 104-2187 oak bay ave victoria bc 250-381-4405

The Forget-Me-Not Bracelet A superb piece of hand-crafted jewellery is very special. The care, thought, and craftsmanship that goes into an idar piece makes the final creation incredibly personal and beautiful. That is exactly what Idar Jewellers has been doing for more than 45 years.

The Calla Lily Ring

Idar’s vision is to create distinctive lines of jewellery that are exceptionally designed and made by hand, using time-honoured techniques and intended for a lifetime of everyday use. That original idea and inspiration lives on in every piece he produces. To ensure you are purchasing an original work of art, Idar’s signature bee trademark is stamped on the inside of each piece. At Idar, the piece of jewellery you buy today becomes the heirloom of tomorrow one to be treasured for years to come.

Located in the heart of Fort Street in Victoria, idar serves as the retail showcase and working studio of award-winning master goldsmith and nationally renowned jeweller Idar Bergseth.

INTERNATIONAL AWARD WINNING JEWELLERY DESIGNERS • SINCE 1972 250-383-3414 • We’ve moved next door to 950 Fort St, Victoria, BC

Jewellery Designs © 1972 - 2020 IDAR

The Summer Series

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