Boulevard Magazine Central Island - Spring 2022

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ME, MYSELF AND I Do a double take on men’s outerwear


Growing sustainability in the floral industry


Embark on a smoothiemaking adventure


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COQUITLAM 1400 United Blvd 604.524.3443

LANGLEY 20429 Langley Bypass 604.530.9458


KELOWNA 1912 Spall Rd 250.860.7603

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elcome the newest entry to our growing SUVW family, the all-new 2022 Volkswagen Taos. Our smallest compact SUV is more than big enough for all your adventures, with precise Germanengineered performance and a wide range of distinctive features. Like you, no matter what life brings, Taos is always game. Now in stock at Harbourview VW in every trim level and color! Come in for a test drive today!

4931 Wellington Road Nanaimo | 250-751-1221




On the Cover Photo by Dirk Heydemann Interior of a stunning Nanoose Bay oasis, built by Pheasant Hill Homes.


Story by Angela Cowan


Embark on a smoothiemaking adventure

By Angela Cowan

By Ellie Shortt


By Sara D’Arcey & Lia Crowe



SLOW FLOWERS Growing sustainability in the floral industry By Jane Zatylny

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A beach-house vibe in Nanoose Bay

A double take on men’s outerwear HOT PROPERTIES



FLORIDA TRIPLEHEADER Hockey, baseball and hospitality By Bruce Cameron









Love local: John Stratton, Seascape

Wrap it up

By Susan Lundy

By Susan Lundy






Mountain Love

Debra Schulze

By Lia Crowe

By Lauren Kramer



WELL & GOOD Are we confused yet? By Kaisha Scofield


IN STUDIO Out of the woods: the Sager brothers


BUSINESS CLASS Pull up a chair: Josh Cole, The Wickertree By Sean McIntyre


SECRETS AND LIVES Terry Doyle By Angela Cowan


NARRATIVE What’s a little rain? By Sharon Goldston-Easton

By Sean McIntyre



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contributors “Strangers’ kindness motivated me


to write about the night we were stranded during November’s torrential rain. I knew it the moment someone tapped on our car window to ask if we wanted a hot drink.” Sharon Goldston-Easton has been writing stories since childhood. Until this year she has never shared her writings outside her inner circles. Sharon’s first book, a memoir, Breaking the Silence: Reclaiming My Family’s Jewish History, is due to launch this spring. Her newest project is seeking out and writing community-inspired short stories.




DESIGN Michelle Gjerde Tammy Robinson Kelsey Boorman


“Working with the award-winning

team at Pheasant Hill Homes always produces great results. Not only are they great fun to work with, the houses they build are exceptional and always photograph beautifully. It’s always a good day working with them.” Dirk Heydemann of HA Photography is an award-winning commercial and portrait photographer, working, living and playing on beautiful Vancouver Island.


ADVERTISING Mario Gedicke Vicki Clark Andrea Rosato-Taylor CONTRIBUTING Bruce Cameron WRITERS Angela Cowan

Lia Crowe Sarah D’Arcey Sharon Goldston-Easton Janice Jefferson Lauren Kramer Sean McIntyre Kaisha Scofield Ellie Shortt Jane Zatylny CONTRIBUTING Lia Crowe PHOTOGRAPHERS Don Denton


Sean Fenzel Dirk Heydemann

“‘Be yourself; nobody is more


qualified’ is a great piece of fortune-cookie philosophy. The wise words couldn’t be more appropriate for brothers Matt and Steve Sager. What began as an eccentric hobby of rescuing and restoring abandoned vehicles from the wilds of northern Canada has morphed into a fun side-hustle and national television series. Their story is a timely reminder to never let the naysayers win the day.” Sean McIntyre is a freelance writer who lives on Salt Spring Island. He enjoys writing about the people, places, sounds and flavours of BC for Boulevard.


ILLUSTRATION Sierra Lundy CIRCULATION & Marilou Pasion DISTRIBUTION 604.542.7411

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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Fashion for Guys on the Move, Qualicum Beach

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Wrap it up

It was a sign. I mean, it actually was a sign. When “Delicious,” our 2000 Delica—a unique, Japanese-imported van with right-hand drive—shuddered and died in the middle of a small BC town last summer, I looked across the street, where a Tim Hortons sign rose above the buildings: “Wrap up Delicious,” it said. Indeed, when we bought this vehicle last spring, our decision-making process went like this: Yes! No! No! Maybe? But as we rolled to a dead stop in Clearwater— just as a heatwave and smoke from a blazing forest fire rolled in—I thought, “Yes. It’s time to wrap up life with Delicious.” Hence, the start to 2022 has included the search for a new vehicle. When we decided to take Delicious on “just one road trip,” we were in the no-to-maybe part of deciding whether or not to keep her. To be honest, the vehicle was growing on us. A higher-end and more powerful version of the oft-dilapidated Delicas seen chugging around the coast, Delicious had a super comfortable interior. I liked the way the seats fold down into a bed, and initially I saw her as a more reliable (ha!) replacement for our aging VW bus. My husband Bruce was enamoured from the moment he drove it. He liked the four-wheel drive, the capacity for seven passengers and the way the seats move around, opening up space for his drums (something to think about if you’re considering a relationship with a drummer). So, this was all part of the Yes! decision. However, as soon as we decided to buy it, my super-alarmed daughter Danica sent me links from all corners of the internet revealing the dangers of right-handdrive vehicles. I followed her down this rabbit hole and, of course, I went even further, eventually googling VW bus crash tests as well, something I would not recommend to anyone who owns one. So, already aghast after this internet deep dive, I had my first ride in Delicious—a terrifying experience, wherein I sat in Danica’s death seat and hurtled down the centre of the road towards oncoming traffic, with no control of the steering wheel or the ability to swerve out of the way. My new-found No! to Delicious got a boost from the mechanic who did a pre-purchase review and said it needed significant dollars spent on the frame. By the time we got this news and decided not to purchase her, however, the owner had moved to Quebec and offered her to us for a hugely reduced price. Fine, we’d get the frame fixed (read six of those “thousands”) and then sell it. But, why not take it on one little road trip first?! She was a good ride and had lots of pluses. No! was edging to Maybe! We were on a media trip at the time, heading that morning to Sun Peaks, where a five-star hotel awaited us and a full-body massage awaited me. As we turned off the road to pick up coffee before hitting the highway, Delicious stalled, chugged and died. To her credit, I suppose, she gave up the ghost directly in front of an auto shop. But she needed a new battery and an alternator—and these are not easily replaced in a Delica. Thankfully, my newly crowned favourite mechanic owns T N T Transmission and Automotive and he called all over the world (it seemed), looking for parts. Once found, ordered and en route, he even agreed to work on a Saturday to get it fixed. But in the meantime, we were stuck in Clearwater with a dog, sky-high temperatures, thick smoke and no vehicle. Happily, we found a dog-friendly roadside motel with air-conditioning, where, once settled, we opened a bottle of wine that cost about the same as the room, and soon got over the fact there would be no five-star hotel or full-body massage in our imminent future. Our adventures with Delicious continued the next day and included a heart-stopping bill from the mechanic followed by a heart-racing drive through the heat and smoke to catch a ferry at Tsawwassen. But that’s another story. For now, I needed no additional sign. It was time to wrap up Delicious.

Susan Lundy Editor Susan Lundy is a former journalist who now works as an editor, author and freelance writer. Her latest book, Home on the Strange, was released earlier this year via Heritage House Publishing.

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VICTORIA Design Center

Unit 3, 1010 Yates Street,Victoria BC, V8V 3M6






Interior designer Debra Schulze recently traded a 25-year career in high-end furniture sales and interior design in Edmonton for a move to Duncan, where she now owns and operates Khaya Home Décor. The small gift and furnishings shop dates back 17-plus years and when Debra visited family in the area last July, she saw it, made an offer and began a whole new chapter of her life. At Finesse Home Living in Edmonton, she catered to clients who owned large, luxurious homes, helping them to furnish and decorate spaces ranging in size from 3,000 to 13,000 square feet. “It was a large store that had the best of everything, so it was easy to help my customers make choices,” she recalls. But a life change was coming. Debra had always dreamed of having her own little storefront, and when both of her children relocated to British Columbia, the Alberta native knew she wanted to be closer to family. So in August 2021, she moved to Duncan, renovated the store and reopened for business. Today, Khaya Home Décor includes a collection of beautiful pieces, including one-ofa-kind gifts, works by Canadian artists, home decor and furnishings. A style aficionado, Debra leans towards simplicity and elegance. “My personal style is a combination of classic pieces and contemporary art, drama created by light, colour, texture and form,” she explains. These days she is adjusting to running the store as a one-woman show, working on everything from display and inventory to customer relationships and sourcing new products. “Members of the Duncan community and other store owners have been so warm and welcoming to me, and although any transition is challenging, this is giving me an opportunity to create something new on my own, with my own vision,” she says. “I’d been thinking of doing this for a long time, and when the opportunity came up, I realized, the time was now. It takes tremendous energy to build a new life, but I’m deeply encouraged by the help and support I’ve received from my family as well as so many others. I could never have done this alone.”

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CLOTHING/GROOMING Uniform: Casual professional pieces. All-time favourite piece: A classic tailored jacket. Currently coveting: A great leather jacket! Favourite pair of shoes: Theory Sport Flat. Favourite day-bag: My Guess tote for everyday use, but if I were to choose something from my store, I would pick from the Darling line: the GS599 Nautical Tote or the GS788 Houndstooth tote. Favourite jewellery piece or designer: David Yurman. Fashion obsession: Things I can’t afford! Accessory you spend the most money on: Jackets. Necessary indulgence for either fashion or beauty: Hair care. Moisturizer: Neutrogena. Scent: I never wear it. Must-have hair product: Since moving to the West Coast: Joico Moisture Control. Beauty secret: Sleep, diet and exercise.

STYLE INSPIRATIONS & LIFE Style icon: Audrey Hepburn. Favourite fashion designer or brand: Classic Givenchy. Favourite artist: I love many genres. I love some Alberto Giacometti sculpture and modern pieces by artists like Waldemar Smolarek, as well as classic art. Era of time that inspires your style: 1920s. Fave print magazine: Architectural Digest. Fave style blog: Decorilla.

Last great read: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Book currently reading: The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. Favourite cocktail or wine: Full-bodied red wine. Favourite flower: Orchid. Favourite city to visit: Montreal or New York. Favourite app: Spotify. Favourite place in the whole world: Wherever my family is.

250-586-1111 | 5-220 Island Hwy W, Parksville |

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well and good

are we confused yet? Deciphering nutrient density WORDS KAISHA SCOFIELD

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f you walk into any grocery store, you are bound to find someone standing in an aisle, staring at the side of a box, trying to decipher the cryptic nutrition label. Surely a label with all those numbers is important, but can anyone actually make sense of it? We have so many questions. Who are those percentages for? Is a serving the same for an adult male and a small child? How are those nutrients measured? Figuring out nutritional information can be confusing and frustrating, leading many of us to ignore it altogether.

Nutrition, in general, is the most challenging area of personal care. When compared to personal hygiene, physical exercise, sleep habits, et cetera, nutrition can be baffling. This is partially because nutritional guidelines are constantly changing. Fat was bad, now it’s good—but not too much and only certain types. Carbohydrates are going to kill us; we should only be eating vegetables, but vegetables are carbohydrates. Eat more fruit instead of sugary treats to avoid glucose spikes, but fruit has fructose, which is a type of glucose.


The reason that general nutritional guidelines don’t work is because there is nothing general about nutrition. Every single person on this planet has different nutritional needs. We are all biologically and socially individual, from the diversity of our digestive development, genetics and gut microbiome, to our differences in lifestyle, history and stress levels. To top it off, our dietary needs change drastically throughout our lives; the macronutrient requirements for a baby are much different from those of a middle-aged man. The varying dietary needs of children versus adults may seem obvious, and yet there is resistance to recognizing the diverse needs of the individual within any cohort or demographic. Perhaps this is because we don’t like to feel different from one another, or because dietary choices are often open to ridicule. In the end, general dietary recommendations are largely ineffective because it is impossible to make effective nutritional recommendations that are applicable to the individual on, say, a little nutritional label on the side of a cereal box.


We need a diet rich in nutrient density because we are made up almost entirely of elements—11 to be exact: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, sodium, chlorine and magnesium. All of these elements are found in the food we eat, to varying degrees. Taking the time to learn about the various nutrients we find in our foods can be incredibly beneficial to building a nutrient-rich diet.


The most effective way to have a nutrient-dense diet is to eat a variety of different foods. It is easy to become stuck in a food cycle, and even if you are eating nutrient-dense foods, you can still be depleted, if the foods you consume are always the same. To mix things up, challenge yourself while grocery shopping to buy things you have never heard of, like cool-looking mushrooms or a fancy seafood that you’ve never tried.


Choose foods that make you feel good digestively, energetically and emotionally. Yes, our emotional connection to food is important because it affects how your body receives it. A stressed eater leads to a stressed digester. If you aren’t sure how food makes you feel, keep a journal or notes about your meals. Your body can give you signals when certain foods don’t feel good, and you just have to learn how to recognize them. Hint: these signals are usually conveyed through bloating, gas and irritable bowels. |

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The reason that general nutritional guidelines don’t work is because there is nothing general about nutrition. LET YOUR BODY DO THE TALKING

The digestive system is also very efficient at telling the brain what nutrients it needs through cravings. Craving pickles? You could be low in electrolytes. Have a hankering for chocolate during PMS? You could be working through a magnesium deficiency. Foggy in the afternoon? Try hydrating. The brain is, however, also very good at remembering foods that spike energy and serotonin levels, like refined sugar and hyper-palatable packaged treats, food that is delicious but nutritionally vacuous. Our brain signalling system isn’t perfect, so it’s up to us to decipher the cravings.


Sugar (in all processed forms) is the most notorious nutrient vampire, but many food additives, including nitrates, gums and acids, either deplete nutrients in your body or overfeed harmful gut microbes, bacterias and yeasts. This leads to nutritional depletion and an unbalanced digestive system. Your body can handle a certain amount of these additives, but a diet high in processed foods and



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Perhaps the most important way to absorb your nutrients is to make your system happy and ready to receive your nutrients. Sometimes it can feel like no matter how much nutritious food you eat, you are still feeling depleted. The answer isn’t always in the food: when the body is in a stressed or generally depleted state, all systems function poorly. Body system stress can easily transfer from physical stress, from over-training or lack of sleep to emotional or mental stress caused by overwork, or simply by not taking the necessary time to decompress. These stressors extend to the digestive and hormonal systems in the body, which leads to imbalances and cravings for immediate energy. And where does the brain think that immediate energy is going to come from? You guessed it, foods that are hyper-palatable and high in sugar, the very foods that deplete us.



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If you find yourself feeling depleted, don’t be afraid to add supplements to your regimen. Some vitamins and minerals need a boost, and while it is always best to get your nutrients from food, the occasional supplemental boost can help can help get things back on track. Most of us need a bit more of the following nutrients available as supplements: vitamin D; vitamin B complex; calcium, magnesium and zinc; essential fatty acids; and probiotics. There are other individual vitamins and minerals that many of us are deficient in (I’m looking at you, iron), but these ranges will be different for everyone and should be assessed by a professional. Not all supplements are created equal, so be diligent in your research and talk to the experts wherever you buy your supplements.







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Love local: John Stratton, executive chef of Seascape WORDS SUSAN LUNDY





Described as a “modern Canadian tavern,” Seascape is a new waterfront dining destination in Nanoose Bay’s Fairwinds community. Located in Fairwinds Landing, Seascape offers spectacular ocean and marina views, an ambiance that’s relaxed and inviting, and a menu that highlights comfort food with a modern twist, and built around locally sourced products from the land and the sea. Boulevard reached out to Seascape’s executive chef John Stratton for more information about his background and the philosophy behind Seascape.

It’s nestled into Schooner Cove, overlooking Fairwinds Marina and the Winchelsea Islands, and yet it’s surrounded by dense forests and just minutes from local producers.

Everything we create is 100% gluten free

Where were you born, and where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Oakville, Ontario, where I discovered a passion for cuisine. As a teenager, I worked as a busboy and dishwasher in a seafood restaurant and I found myself excited about the process of producing and working with food. After graduating from the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at George Brown College, I decided to hit the road. Being half Australian, I spent several years there in my early 20s, exploring my roots and gaining many experiences. I did everything from farming produce and pigs to cooking in luxurious island resorts.

Where did you work before Seascape?

Arriving at Fairwinds from the Okanagan in the new year, I was previously the executive chef at Sparkling Hill Resort. Before that, I spent 2016 attempting to hike as many national parks as I could across North America, starting in Utah and winding up in British Columbia.

Why did you decide to become a chef ?

I don’t think it was a so much a “decision”—it just happened! Between part-time jobs as a youngster, the mentors I was lucky to have, a curiosity for the industry, and the opportunity to be creative and never stop learning, it just worked! What else was I going to do?

How does the menu at Seascape reflect the restaurant’s theme or brand?

Trick question! As a brand-new restaurant, we are still finding our footing and determining what works for our customers and us. Seascape’s location has a strong influence on our culinary decisions. It’s nestled into Schooner Cove, overlooking Fairwinds Marina and the Winchelsea Islands, and yet it’s surrounded by dense forests and just minutes from local producers: our menu reflects all the incredible ingredients Central Vancouver Island has to offer.

What’s the one ingredient you can’t live without?

I don’t think there is a singular ingredient I could not live without, but I could not handle living without access to fresh local products. It does not get any better than looking out the |

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window and seeing the ocean where we get our seafood or visiting the farms and people who produce the incredible products that we all have access to.

hot properties

What would your last meal be like?

Hard to say. I don’t have any favourite foods and cravings change with my mood. Maybe a spicy curry, some fresh sushi or a greasy burger.

What is the best recent food trend?

I don’t really follow trends; I can’t say that I ever have. But from what I gather, low-waste foods are trending right now, and that concept has always resonated with me. Making hyper-local and eco-conscious purchasing decisions means reducing unnecessary packaging and emissions. Also, repurposing food scraps that may have previously ended up in the bin (like broccoli stems, carrot tops and potato peels) increases sustainability and reduces waste. There are so many ways we can do a better job to protect our planet and support local producers, and any trend stepping in this direction is one I can get behind.

What is a good simple piece of advice for

pairing wine and food?

When done right, wine and food pairings can create a religious experience, but don’t feel like you are somehow bound to the rules of white and red combinations. Don’t be afraid to break the rules when thinking about wine. Even though sablefish and Chardonnay are a classic combination, sometimes Pinot Noir, or maybe even a light and fresh Syrah to cleanse the palate, would be even better. Above all, I think it is essential to drink what you like!

Come see what’s


We have a huge selection of plants, patio, garden and home décor.

Find us south of Duncan just off the Trans-Canada Hwy. at 5174 Francis St. or online at 20 |


What is your favourite cuisine to cook?

Brazing, smoking, anything slow. On the off chance I have an afternoon to enjoy making a meal, I want to take my time, enjoy a nice bottle of wine, while I putter in the kitchen and build the anticipation for a delicious meal. Cooking at home is the opposite of cooking in a busy restaurant and I like to savour the experience.

When are you happiest at work?

When I am working in a busy service, shoulder to shoulder with my team; the energy and the camaraderie is infectious.

When are you happiest outside of work?

When I am outside with my girl Aurora (a rambunctious Airedale terrier), hiking, foraging and beachcombing. I am so thrilled to be here in Fairwinds and Nanoose Bay; it is an outdoor wonderland that I can’t wait to explore even more.



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1400 United Blvd 604.524.3444


12551 Bridgeport Rd 604.273.2971




1711 Bowen Rd 250.753.6361


20429 Langley Bypass





1912 Spall Rd 250.860.7603


661 McCallum Rd 250.475.2233




Photo of Lia Crowe by Peter Zambri.

Mountain love Playtime on the Powder Highway WORDS + PHOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE

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Outside is nothing but acres and acres of snow-covered alpine forest, and as the flakes start falling silently from the sky and the day turns to the deep blue of dusk, the words “trip of a lifetime” come to mind.


n true romantic style, befitting the moment, Peter and I intertwine arms for the first sip of our sparkling wine, cold and crisp, as our deliciously exhausted, post-ski bodies cuddle in front of a glowing orange wood stove. With the exception of Jack, our host at the Constella cabins, tucked high in the soaring hills of RED Mountain Resort, we feel like we might be the only people for miles. Outside there is nothing but acres and acres of snow-covered alpine forest. And as the flakes start falling silently from the sky and the day turns to the deep blue of dusk, the words “trip if a lifetime” come to mind. Newbies to the Kootenay Rockies area—also known as the home of the Powder Highway due to its numerous adventurepacked ski resorts—we arrived a day earlier with a smooth touchdown at Trail airport, followed by a picturesque drive through the historical town of Rossland, as we made our way to RED Mountain Resort. Expecting funky, down-home, Kootenay-vibe accommodations, we were thoroughly surprised as we pulled up to the grand entrance of The Josie Hotel with its chic decor and sophisticated atmosphere. Up in our room, a corner suite beautifully furnished and wrapped with mountain views, we settled in for an experience like no other. The Josie Hotel (Autograph Collection) merges highend luxury with all the charm of a boutique hotel. It has true skiin, ski-out access, cedar barrel saunas, a ski concierge who takes care of all your equipment, vibrant dining and a stylish apres-ski lounge, where I had one of the best gin martinis of my life. Soon seated in The Josie’s buzzing Velvet Restaurant, we feasted on melt-in-your-mouth pork belly and truffle risotto, which we washed down with the dark, rustic, raspberry freshness of a Lambrusco—the pairing recommended by executive chef Derek Bendig. The Velvet’s menu highlights local meats, including a to-die-for Kootenay Bison Tartare on roasted bone marrow with cured egg yolk and brioche. We sampled buttery Steelhead Trout Rillettes, Squash and

Welcome to your new favourite dining experience! Boasting spectacular ocean and marina views, we’ve crafted a menu that’s just as compelling as our setting.


@seascapedining 3521 DOLPHIN DR, NANOOSE BAY (250) 468 0780 |

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Stationery, Furniture, Technology, Printers, Interiors, Décor, Desks, Installations, Managed IT Services, Planning, Educational, Printing, Copying, Art & Framing. We have grown and changed with the We support you in what today and tomorrow bring.

Creditable, Creative, Collaborative. Burrata Salad, Crispy Spiced Potatoes and a delicious dessert of perfectly puffy madeleines, all offered with wine pairings that even impressed, my food-and-wine-connoisseur partner, Peter. The next day, suited up in ski gear expertly selected—based on our ability and preferences—by the friendly staff at the RED Mountain High-Performance Rental Centre, we were ready for first day of skiing, and this is the moment Dieter came into our story. A fit-looking, moustached man in his 70s, Dieter is a “snowhost” at RED Mountain, a volunteer who guides skiers around the mountain and someone who will remain a highlight of our trip. With 3,850 acres of pristine skiing (placing the resort in the top 10 size-wise and number one for the most acres per skier in North America) and 110 runs spread across three mountains, RED is all about its terrain, which is vast and varied—hence my appreciation for our guide. Dieter glided and delicately carved down the slopes and after a couple tips like, “put your weight into your big toe on the downhill side,” Peter and I, intermediate skiers already, are gliding right along behind him as he shows us why after skiing at 100 different resorts Red is the mountain he’s chosen as his home. RED, he said, has a culture of respectful, high-quality skiers and snowboarders, gorgeous groomed runs, loads of powder, long and winding traverses and magical, tree-skiing runs that are even suitable for intermediates like us. At the end of the day, Dieter dropped us off at the Paradise Basin, high on Granite Mountain, to experience the Constella cabins and clubhouse for the night: RED’s newest bucket-list experience. Our time spent here, which included a fondue dinner prepared by our host, was truly memorable. After a few days of skiing and working up an appetite, we ventured off RED Mountain into the nearby town of Rossland, where the main street is lined with historical buildings that house

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The lobby of The Josie Hotel at RED Mountain Ski Resort .


New world. New challenges. New learning. |

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cute shops, cafes, bakeries and specialty food and wine shops. The Rossland Beer Company glowed and buzzed with warmth and activities as we wandered by en route to a local favourite, Gabriella’s Restaurant. Here, we enjoyed a six-course “trip around Italy” dinner created by chef, owner and native of Italy, Gabriella Pelli-Lapointe. With each course, our server showed us on a map of Italy the place in which each course was inspired; she described the region, gave a little history and explained why Gabriella chose it. Prosciutto-wrapped dates served over arancini (which are crispy fried risotto balls), inspired by the city of Bologna, and a creamy smoked salmon fettuccine, inspired by the island of Sardinia, were a few of the courses which were all perfectly paired with wines. By now Peter and I, fully bitten by the ski bug, were ready to round out our Kootenay visit with a day at the next stop on the Powder Highway— Whitewater Ski Resort near Nelson—and we lucked out with a “bluebird day” of cloudless skies and jawdropping views. Whitewater offers a welcoming, down-to-earth community vibe, uncrowded slopes and the day lodge’s famous Fresh Tracks Café, which is consistently referred to as the best mountain food in North America. As we ravenously enjoyed the Glory Bowl and Thai Bowl, we began to see why. As we fly back to Vancouver Island, feeling supercharged by the mountain air, Peter and I recap the high points of our trip. We concur that this includes experiencing the luxurious Josie, sleeping in a sexy

little Constella cabin, gliding at high speeds down perfect, uncrowded runs, enjoying so much good food, and snowshoeing at Strawberry Pass. However, we agree that if we had to choose one highlight, it was most definitely the welcoming vibe and the friendly culture. We were treated so well by everyone we encountered, people who all share a deep love of where they live and work. And as the mountains drop away behind us and the ocean comes into view, our conversation turns to… when are we going back?!?

Designing Kitchens for your Lifestyle

5144 Metral Drive, Nanaimo 164 West Island Hwy, Parksville 250-585-5059

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Peter Zambri on the ski lift at Whitewater Ski Resort.






Take a break from the fast pace of downhill skiing and enjoy the landscape with a day of snowshoeing. Strawberry Pass, located about 15 minutes from RED Mountain Resort, is a quintessential Kootenay gem. Built by locals on crown land, Strawberry Pass is a network of trails dotted with funky day-use cabins, each with a wood stove and firewood. Pack a bagged lunch to enjoy by a fire and work up a sweat while surrounded by a winter wonderland reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’s Whoville.

The town of Rossland is a small, picture-perfect, historic BC town. We enjoyed walking up and down the main street, looking into shops and learning a bit of the history. There is a historical walk you can do, and lots of shops and eateries to enjoy, but keep your camera handy because when the clouds drop away and the sun cuts through, you’ll want to capture that postcard moment.



sleep. The Constella cabins are RED’s new collection of six overnight cabins and central clubhouse. These cabins are perfectly situated in the aptly named Paradise Basin on Granite Mountain, providing direct, skiable access first thing in the morning to the Paradise chairlift. Snag a reservation on these ecofriendly gems, and the clear Kootenay night sky will be up, above and all around you.

eat/drink. When you spend your days skiing, good food becomes vitally important and Rossberry Hill Bistro is a must-visit at RED Mountain. A newer addition to the resort village by owner Donald Haddad, Rossberry Hill has a mouth-watering menu and a chill, welcoming vibe. After days of skiing, the loaded breakfast sandwich and perfectly crispy hash browns certainly hit the spot.



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Matt Sager.

Out of the woods Mill Bay brothers turn high-flying hobby into primetime TV series WORDS SEAN MCINTYRE

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A pair of brothers from Mill Bay, Matt and Steve Sager, probably never imagined their extreme hobby could become a steady source of income and get them a national television series. Yet that’s exactly what happened when the pair’s new show, Lost Car Rescue, debuted earlier this year on History Canada. The show follows a team of “car hunters” who fly over the wilds of northern Canada in search of abandoned vehicles left to decay in the bush. Once a potential find is identified, team members set about planning the extrication and return of the vehicle to civilization, where it is fully restored. “Everything we do is an uphill battle,” Matt says. “We are typically by ourselves way in the north and there isn’t a lot of help.” Take, for example, the 1931 Desoto Coupe. The car had all but disappeared, only visible from the air and mostly submerged in a lake under high water levels. To perform the extrication, the team went in during winter, and first cut a hole in the ice to extract the

air. Using a crane to hoist the vehicle onto the frozen lake, the team was then able to haul the car to shore. “I fell through the ice briefly, so I won’t forget that one, but we got the car,” Matt recalls. “My mother was not happy.” The idea came to him while commuting by small plane to and from job sites in the north, where Matt and Steve operated a heavy machinery company. Matt, who is also a trained pilot, began to notice an amazing number of abandoned vehicles dotting the landscape below, and he started to think up ways of extracting the forgotten vehicles. He soon found himself heading out every weekend in search of new finds—and a hobby was born. “Once we sold our company up north we figured, ‘why stop now?’ So we grabbed the gear and made it more of an extreme hobby for a few months a year instead of just the weekends.” Prime car hunting season runs from the time that winter weather begins to ease up in March and runs until May, when foliage and tree cover grow and limit visibility. Matt estimates his team has found upwards of 9,000 vehicles in the past 10 years. Although finding a vintage car amid the vast expanse of Canada’s sparsely populated northern forests sounds a whole lot like finding a needle in a haystack, Matt says spotting the cars isn’t as tricky as one might think. Team members rely on careful research and word of mouth to locate potential sites, which can include forgotten communities, abandoned mine sites and expansive acreages. Many of the sites are former boom towns that went bust, or farms, where sending an old car to the back 40 was more practical than hauling it to the scrapyard hundreds of kilometres away. “The first thing I do is scan the car visually and I can usually tell within a few seconds what year, make and model it is,” Matt says. “You can kind of get a quick judgment call on what it’s worth as far as its history and its value.” He adds: “It’s like being a kid on opening day at the theme park, or like gambling with an adrenaline rush. The reason you buy a lottery ticket is because you want that anticipation right before the numbers come out. When you’re looking out the window of the plane every second is like that anticipation. It’s addictive.” Once the team determines where to look, it usually isn’t too long before a few low-altitude flyovers of an area reveal their prey. When the team finds something from the air it gets them in the door and talking to locals: the sight of the team’s 1948 Stinson 108 light aircraft landing on a remote northern driveway or dusty rural road has left plenty of locals scratching their heads and heading out to ask what the heck is going on. That’s when trust begins to form and tips from neighbours and friends start flowing in. “So it’s a combination of searching history, aerial reconnaissance, local tips and leads on the ground,” Matt says. Some cars sell locally while others make their way to the lucrative US auction market, where the vehicles can sell for upwards of $20,000. As much as Matt enjoys the process of finding and retrieving a forgotten vehicle, it is seeing the team’s finds “make it” that really gets him excited; it’s a sign that all the effort was worthwhile. The brothers aren’t getting rich with their hobby-turned-job, especially given the high cost and time required to rescue the vehicles, but their extreme and eccentric hobby slowly became

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“It’s like being a kid on opening day at the theme park… When you’re looking out the window of the plane every second is like that anticipation. It’s addictive.”

The crew of Lost Car Rescue.

more than self-sustaining. As the brothers’ collection quickly expanded and word of the team began to spark interest across northern communities, Matt realized his newfound hobby might just make for some great television. “We were doing this already as a group anyway, and I thought it would be interesting if the world could see what we did, since there’s nobody else that hunts cars the way we do,” he says. “I got in touch with a production company out east, and we instantly formed a close relationship. Three years later, we were out there filming.” The show’s first season comprises six episodes filmed mainly around Dawson Creek and British Columbia’s Peace Country as well as on the prairie surrounding North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Episodes air on History Canada and can also be streamed in their entirety on Amazon Prime’s STACKTV channel. Steve Sager.

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Paradise found

Extensive renovation creates a beach-house vibe in Nanoose Bay oasis WORDS ANGELA COWAN





Kitchen relocated to south side Office opened up to a semi-formal dining room Entirely new fir and aluminum staircase Master suite wall replaced with windows to open view |



hen Fiona and Mike Mitchell bought their seaside Nanoose home, they knew they’d fallen in love with the lot, but the house itself needed some updating. Originally built in 2004, it was full of naturally finished woods, ranging from the tongue-in-groove ceilings to the beams, support posts and more, and gave off a closed-concept mountain cottage kind of vibe. 250 715 7220

“From the beginning, we always thought there were some things we wanted to do differently,” says Fiona. “Particularly with the master bedroom—it had a very small closet—and we wanted to modernize the bathrooms. And we’d always lived in an open plan, so we were always throwing around ideas about how we could open things up.” The couple held onto the house for about five years, debating designs and ideas, and then decided to bring in some professional help.

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“To be able to wake up in the morning and raise the blinds and see out over the water, I love that.”


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“Luckily, very luckily, we found Pheasant Hill Homes, and they came in and started to shape the ideas,” Fiona adds. The couple knew they wanted to remove the loft, describing it as “an interesting space, but not very usable,” but as the plans developed, a number of other significant structural changes emerged as well. The kitchen moved from the front entrance to the back side of the house under a newly revealed cathedral ceiling, the main-floor office space was converted to a semi-formal dining room, the bottom-floor sauna became a redone laundry room and an entirely new addition was built into the side of the top-floor master suite to accommodate a bright and roomy walk-in closet. The renovation, which was completed last summer, took just over a year and transformed the house into a bright and open space with a decidedly “beach house” aesthetic. The front entrance now opens into a foyer dominated by a glass-enclosed wine cellar, which displays the couple’s extensive collection while preserving the spectacular ocean views beyond. “I love the wine cellar as an art piece,” says Fiona, who spent hours researching various cases and working with Serena Nichol, Pheasant Hill’s interior designer. An office sits tucked away to the right of the entrance, while around the corner to the left is the mudroom. Straight ahead is a south-facing view of Nanoose Bay that expands to the full length of the house as you emerge into the great room. Accordion doors bracket a wall of windows, opening up the space for outdoor entertaining or relaxation on warmer days, and the space is absolutely saturated with natural light. Here, the relocated kitchen is one of the biggest stars of this entire renovation. Situated beneath the now-removed loft, it


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fills the space beautifully, framed by the angled ceiling above and lit by a large sectioned window. Stepping back and looking at the kitchen straight on, it’s reminiscent of the horizon outside. A dark blue finish on the island cabinetry echoes the ever-changing sea, the soft textured grey of the backsplash tiles calls to mind the low-hanging clouds of seaside winters, while the upper cabinetry imitates the bright white of the overstuffed cumulus cotton balls of summer. “We kept the kitchen light, but incorporated the blue island, the dark floors and the lighting to ground the space,” adds Serena. Opposite the kitchen is the great room where the double-sided fireplace soars up to the cathedral ceiling, creating a boundary between the main living area and the semi-formal dining room behind. Done in Venetian plaster, it also acts as a subtle centrepiece of the main floor design. “It gives you that little bit of a stone feel,” says Jamie Kuhn, owner of Pheasant Hill Homes. “The texture on it and the way it captures light are quite striking.” Over on the north side of the house, a brand new staircase done in fir treads and a single aluminum stringer leads to the master suite on the top floor. Where before the room had been closed in, now the front wall of the bedroom is floor-to-ceiling glass panels, dressed with remote control blinds. “To be able to wake up in the morning and raise the blinds and see out over the water, I love that,” says Fiona. The walk-in closet—spacious, bright, perfectly designed—was the biggest and most intensive change to the entire house. Entirely new, the dormer addition pushes out from the angled roof and was a non-negotiable for Fiona from the very beginnings of the renovation plans. Inside the closet, a triangular window offers a glimpse of the evergreen trees outside, while the angles minimize direct sunlight.

“We kept the kitchen light, but incorporated the blue island, the dark floors and the lighting to ground the space.”


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His-and-hers shelving is built in on either side, and an island in the centre provides more storage and somewhere convenient to lay out clothes or jewellery. Touring the space, it’s not just the big, structural changes that have made this renovation shine. It’s the smaller details, like the unobtrusive cupboard door in the kitchen that opens to a dumbwaiter, which leads to the downstairs kitchenette on the hot tub level, perfect for when the couple are entertaining in the summertime. A laundry chute connects the master suite with the lower-floor laundry room, with an access point in the kitchen pantry as well. The media room downstairs was fitted with sound panels and dark walls to create an ideal movie-night atmosphere. Motion sensors beneath the cabinets in the bathrooms turn on low lighting when you walk in, and all the toilets are wallhung for easy cleaning. “The bathrooms in this house are absolutely incredible,” adds Jamie. “I love the different textures of tiles.” With the bright palette and natural accents grounding the overall design, this Nanoose home fully transformed into the ideal beach house, and Fiona and Mike are thrilled with it. “It’s a stunning spot to have some se-

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renity,” adds Fiona, who grew up in Victoria before spending many years travelling and living abroad. “You feel like you’re in your own little oasis. I love the beach. I love being able to look out and see seals and fish off the deck. There’s just no place like being on Vancouver Island. And this was definitely the dream home.”

SUPPLIERS LIST: Architect/Design: Saturna Studios Interior Design: Pheasant Hill Homes Construction & Interior Finishing: Pheasant Hill Homes Interior Drywall: Yellowpoint Drywall Painting: Bristol Bros Cabinetry and Millwork: Oakhills Woodcraft Flooring: United Floors Tiling: BE Tile Doors: Existing doors painted; several new from Trimlite Front Exterior Doors: Fenstur Windows and Doors Exterior Doors on Deck and Patio: EuroLine Windows Windows: Starline Windows

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business class

Pull up a chair Familiar Cowichan Valley business keeps up with the times WORDS SEAN MCINTYRE

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very summer when I was a kid, my family would pack up the car and travel through the mountains from the Lower Mainland to the Okanagan to visit my grandparents. The lake was warm, the cherries plentiful and the good times spent with family proved priceless. Amid these idyllic childhood moments is the memory of hours—or was it days?— devoted to swinging in a pod-like rattan chair hung from the ceiling above my grandparents’ deck. Come to think of it, my grandparents must have had a special fondness for wicker furniture, since I can also remember some woven stools, a love seat, chairs and a matching coffee table, maybe even a bed. As nostalgic as the memories may be, the style of my grandparents’ West Kelowna furnishings would be kindly described as classic by today’s standards. Fast-forward 40 years, however, and Josh Cole, owner of The Wickertree Patio Plus, wants to make sure those woven wicker furnishings aren’t left to linger in the pages of family albums. “It’s not just your grandma’s store anymore, it’s everyone’s store,” he says. Josh took over The Wickertree Patio Plus in the Cowichan Valley in early 2020 as a kind of mid-life career shift. Having grown over-stressed and all too tired of a life travelling the world working in the film industry on visual effects, he sought more time with his family closer to home. “I didn’t know this industry, but I jumped in with both feet at the opportunity,” he says. The Wickertree is a familiar site on the east side of the Island Highway, south of Duncan. The store’s bright yellow frontage stands out amid a diverse array of small locally owned businesses. The Wickertree’s current building once housed a Chinese restaurant, which the property’s original owners had moved there in the 1970s, piece by piece, from Duncan’s once-booming Chinatown District. Adjacent buildings were brought to the site from elsewhere in the valley and even from as far away as Sooke. Josh says the iconic property was once a popular tourist attraction, luring visitors with its colourful heritage buildings, quirky shops and eccentric collection of vintage household appliances. When the Island Highway was upgraded, however, changes to the roadway complicated access and the number of visitors dropped dramatically. Adversity breeds adaptation. Rather than pack up his goods to relocate, or call it a day, the Wickertree’s former owner shifted the store’s focus to higher-end indoor and outdoor furniture—and this is the direction that Josh has maintained. These days, Josh says, he can tell the story of his typical customer. The individual, he says, walks through the front door with a look of resigned frustration. He has a problem. For years, he’s been buying typical patio furniture only to watch |

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“I kept the classic look of the store, but I took out all the items that were duplicates, and in their place I brought in younger styles. Still the same quality and still the same manufacturer, but with a more contemporary feel.” it warp, wobble and end up in the dump. After several rounds on this cycle of patio furniture disappointment, the customer finally decides to visit The Wickertree and speak with Josh. “I want to show them this store because we can fix that problem,” he says. “This is high-end furniture, and you get what you pay for. Families have shopped here for generations because the furniture lasts for so long.” Josh encourages people to bring their ideas and visit the showroom. Sitting in and getting a feel for what’s available is an essential part of the furniture-buying experience, he adds. Josh can also help plan and design the ideal living space, whether it happens to be inside or outside of the home. “It’s more about finding the style and the comfort that you like. Comfort is a big deal. Every piece has different cushions; every piece has a different depth to it; every piece has a different height to it,” he says. “You have to sit in furniture in order to know what it is that you want. If you’re just ordering furniture and you’re not sitting in it first, good luck.” These days, Josh says, outdoor furniture accounts for about 80 per cent of the store’s inventory. The remaining 20 per cent is mainly indoor furnishings. Since taking on the business, Josh has

added a wide array of fun and stylish accessories to liven up living spaces. “When I came in—and because of the industry [film] that I once worked in—I know there is a market of young people looking for high-end furniture, and sometimes it’s hard to find,” he says. “So I kept the classic look of the store, but I took out all the items that were duplicates, and in their place I brought in younger styles. Still the same quality and still the same manufacturer, but with a more contemporary feel.” Josh has brought in high-BTU fire pits, cantilevered patio umbrellas that can be operated effortlessly with a single hand, and state-of-the-art propane, gas and electric heaters—including George, a robot who greets customers at the store’s entrance— along with lighting options designed to extend usage of outdoor space throughout the year. A big part of Josh’s motivation, he says, is to give people more reasons to spend more time outside. “I want to get everybody outdoors,” he says. “I grew up in the era when every kid grew up outdoors. If I can eat outdoors, I’m out there. Whatever I can do outdoors, I’m out there. It’s just a better way of living.”

Our storefront is moving... We’re celebrating with weekly specials and giveaways to honour our loyal supporters. Come see us in Victoria at Uptown this May. Pickups will still be available at our Duncan warehouse.




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Livin La Vida Local in Downtown Duncan. It’s crazy good here.


owntown Duncan, in the heart of the Cowichan Valley, is where you can find a wide selection of unique boutique offerings, tasty meals, and delicious drinks from amazing local shops and restaurants. From craft beer, to spicy curry, Hawaiian poke bowls, and caesar flights, there is a dining experience for every taste - and lots of shops to visit after lunch, before dinner, or while on a totem tour! What truly makes downtown Duncan worth a visit, though, is the people behind the experience. When you visit Downtown Duncan, you’re supporting independent, small businesses, the backbone of our Canadian economy. Enjoying a Cowichan-made craft beer at Craig Street Brew Pub means you are also supporting a couple who built a brewery and raised their family here. Picking up a brightly coloured, unique swimsuit from Cowitan Tanning Emporium is championing a young couple who realized their dream of opening a tanning salon during the pandemic! In the past few years, our community has grown, becoming even more exciting. Classic shops like Cardino Shoes, Fabrications, Shades Ladies Clothing, and Volume One bookstore are neighboured by exciting new retailers like Goldstone Consignment Boutique, restaurants like Urban Forest and Aloha Bowls, and even a game space, The Fort, where vegan milkshakes are served on the same menu as Merridale cider while you play vintage video and board games! Recently, our town also added cool new features like our Hul’q’umi’num’ / English street signage (complete with QR Codes to hear the correct pronunciation of the place-names) and expanded outdoor dining space in the 85 Station Street park.

This is an eclectic small town, and we welcome everyone. As the signs on our doors read: Tth’i’hwum ‘i’ mi nuwilum - huy ch q’u. Please come in, thank you! For more information, visit or @downtown.duncan on Instagram

Three Sisters photography

LITTLE BIRD Celebrating the birds & the bees & the flowers for your spring gift giving needs! High Quality Greeting Cards, Rogers’ Chocolates, Art & Gifts @ Little Bird

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REFRESH COWICHAN MARKETPLACE Small grocery store offering zero waste pantry staples, fresh produce, organic dairy, local meat and other grocery essentials, as well as a line of homemade frozen meals, soups and desserts.

Carefully selects one of a kind vintage pieces and quality used furnishings throughout the shop. If you’re searching for a statement piece for your home, you’ll likely find it here.

Mon-Fri 10am-5pm & Sat 10am-3pm 360 Duncan Street, Duncan | 250 748 8506

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Me, myself and I Do a double take on this season’s menswear coats, which stand out with creative details and Crayola-style colours. Create looks purely to delight yourself because it has never been a better time to make friends with the self and revel in one’s own company. PHOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE STYLING SARAH D’ARCEY


Jacket: Comme des Garçons, $4,500. Pants: Valentino Neon Camo track pants, $1,955.

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Jacket: Valentino Neon Camo puffer jacket, $2,960. Pants: Valentino Neon Camo track pants, $1,955. Mesh top: stylist’s own.

Jacket: Balenciaga ultra marine coat, $3,800. Pants: JW Anderson tapered strawberry fleece joggers, $770. Hat: Granville Island Hat Shop, $60.

Jacket: Balenciaga logo collar leather jacket with genuine shearling lining, $6,590. Background: Balenciaga black and red hooded blanket coat, $2,290.

Vest: Amiri hooded down puffer vest, $1,937. Shorts: Amiri heart-printed swim trunks, $570. Shoes: Vans, $99. Socks: Hugo Boss. Bucket hat: Le 31 from Maison Simons, $19.

Bottega Veneta packable oversize down puffer jacket, $4,270.

Makeup and hair: Jen Clark Model: Zen May All fashion from Nordstrom Canada unless otherwise noted.

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Julie Rémy, owner and lead designer of Fleuris Studio & Blooms.

Slow flowers Growing ustainability in the floral industry WORDS JANE ZATYLNY PHOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE


he slow-food movement awakened us to the benefits of eating local, seasonal food. Now the same passion is sweeping through the floral industry, and it’s based on a similar principle: sustainability. “Given the climate change crisis, as well as global social and environmental justice issues, sustainability is here to last—and not just in floristry—but in all aspects of our daily lives,” says Becky Feasby, Canadian ambassador for the Sustainable Floristry Network, a global organization dedicated to sustainable floristry practices. You may wonder how flowers could possibly be harmful to the environment. After all, aren’t they organic by nature? Well, yes and no. Consider the last floral arrangement that was delivered to your door: more than likely it arrived in a box, with the flowers themselves planted upright in a large block of green floral foam and shielded by layers of cellophane and tissue paper. In all that excess packaging, those foam bricks are by far the most controversial by-product of traditional floral design. Not only is it non-compostable, the foam is also known to contribute to micro-bead pollution. Then, of course, there are the cellophane and other packaging materials to contend with. In addition, the flowers in many arrangements, as beautiful as they may be, are sometimes far from carbon neutral. They may have been sprayed with fungicides, imported from South America, flown to Holland and then Seattle, and driven by refrigerated truck to a wholesaler in Vancouver. “When I worked at a flower shop at the beginning of my career, I saw for myself how much waste was created,” says Kamila Alikhani, owner and creative director of Bloomiér, a zero-waste flower studio in West Vancouver. “Florists are under a great deal of pressure to keep their stock filled and fresh. If customers don’t see a lot of variety, they



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might feel that a store’s flowers aren’t fresh. The result is that many flowers are just thrown away.” Today, Kamila lives and breathes sustainability in her work, purchasing most of her flowers locally, particularly from River and Sea Flowers, an organic specialty flower farm in Delta. “I am very cautiously hopeful that there is a trend for local flowers,” she says. “I’m hopeful because we’re starting to see more local flower farmers.” Julie Rémy has seen that growth close-up. She is a local flower grower as well as the owner and lead designer of Fleuris Studio & Blooms, a small floral design studio in Victoria. Julie is also a member of the Island Flower Growers, a cooperative that offers a wholesale flower market and distribution hub for local florists and floral designers. The cooperative recently expanded to include eight sustainable specialty cut-flower growers and a few casual growers. “Quite frankly, growing flowers is a lot of work, especially when we also design them,” Julie says. “But knowing that I’m doing something good and I’m giving back to the environment is a great reward.” As it turns out, even the pandemic has contributed to the demand for locally grown flowers, says Becky. “It’s provided an increased sense of seasonal relativity for both flowers and food. Climate pressures in the global south have also created supply chain issues, which makes locally grown flowers more attractive for many florists.”

Nine ways to go slow and sustainable with your next floral purchase


The number one thing that all consumers should do is ask for their floral arrangements to be made without floral foam, says Becky. “The planet will thank you.” Floral arrangements can be created instead with bundled chicken wire, old-fashioned pin or glass “frogs” or Agra Wool, a new product resembling floral foam made from biodegradable basalt and sucrose. Using chicken wire allows for more gracious, garden-inspired arrangements, says Julie: “It allows the flowers to dance a lot more.”

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Be brave, and say no to wasteful packaging like clear cellophane wrapping, says Kamila. Opt instead for kraft paper or tissue paper and fabric ribbons to wrap bouquets. “Being sustainable doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful or luxurious,” she stresses. “For instance, we had our own tissue paper printed up with beautiful poems.”

Flowers are about bringing nature into people’s lives: “They’re about celebrating nature and helping the bees and the butterflies and the birds and the environment as much as we can.”


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Local flowers are typically available from April through October in BC, although there are many BC flower growers who use heated and precisely lit greenhouses to extend the season, says Julie. “We have sustainable flowers available the rest of the year to a certain degree, but just a few varieties here and there, and not necessarily in the abundance required to create amazing bouquets and arrangements without having to rely on unsustainably grown flowers, local or not.” By buying in season, we can learn to anticipate them much like local produce. “There is a season for each of them, which makes you appreciate them that much more. We don’t have dahlias in the spring, but we do have ranunculus,” says Julie, adding that it’s like buying farmgrown fresh strawberries, for example. “You know at the end of the season that you’ll have to wait until next year.”

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Flower subscriptions are a great way to bring flowers into your life in a very sustainable way. Florists typically provide you with the vase for your first order and often offer or sell pin or glass frogs. “A monthly, bi-weekly and weekly flower service allows us to source the flowers needed for each set of arrangements. And, with no extra stock on hand, there are no unused flowers to throw away,” says Kamila.


Ask where your flowers are coming from, advises Becky. “Florists should know the place of origin for all of their flowers and should be able to convey this information to their customers.”

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Trendy bleached and dyed flowers are often portrayed as sustainable but are anything but, says Kamila. “Once you bleach the natural stem and dye the flowers, they cannot be composted,” she explains. “When you don’t want them anymore, they have to be thrown away.” Dried flowers, however, can be an important part of slow floristry, says Julie. “It is a great way to extend the season sustainably. Some flowers dry beautifully and retain vibrant colours while others can be ‘bleached’ naturally by the sun, instead of using harmful chemicals. Properly dried flowers can add a beautiful texture or pop of colour in a holiday wreath, for example, just when local sustainably grown flowers are harder to come by.”


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Flowers that have been grown locally by a smaller grower who is interested in sustainability have a lot more movement and grace to them, says Julie. “They’re fresher; they haven’t been shipped all around the world before they came here. They may be more delicate, but they have this amazing romantic look. The stems are freer; it’s not all been standardized for the wholesalers.”


Florists know what flowers are in season and how to work with your style. “I like to understand a bit about who my clients are and how these flowers will make their lives more beautiful,” says Julie. “For one client, everything should be white. Another may be going for a memory or a feeling; for example, they want to recall a trip to Mexico with a bold-coloured arrangement.” Kamila agrees: “My clients trust me to choose flowers for them. They just say, ‘You choose. They’re all beautiful.’”


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Flowers are about bringing nature into people’s lives, concludes Julie. “They’re about celebrating nature and helping the bees and the butterflies and the birds and the environment as much as we can… Flowers are one of the best ways we can do that.”


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Smooth move

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Embark on a smoothie-making adventure to create a glass of goodness



reakfast in a bottle? Over-hyped health fad? An excuse to drink a grown-up milkshake? What, you might be asking, is the purpose of a smoothie? And why, you might be wondering, did I dedicate an entire story to this? Good questions and valid thoughts, especially if you’re someone who hasn’t yet dabbled in the subtle art of smoothie making. For those who are well-practiced in this culinary offshoot, you already know the most obvious answer: you can pack a number of nutritious ingredients, boosters and other accoutrements into one vibrant glass of goodness—nutrients that you might otherwise not so readily sprinkle on your dinner. But just as importantly, they can (and should) be a delicious treat to enjoy whenever the mood strikes, whether it’s looking for a super-powered start to your day, a satisfying slurp-able snack, or even a decadent yet nutrient-dense dessert. As both a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and a recipe developer, it is of the utmost importance to me that food tastes as good as it makes you feel. And that goes for body, mind and soul. You’re not going to drink more smoothies if they taste like swamp water, and you’ll likely better assimilate the nutrients if you ingest them with a smile. So let me take the stress out of smoothie assembly, and offer some of my top tips for making—and enjoying— more blended beverages (and bowls) in your day-to-day experience.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED To start your smoothie-making adventure you’ll need a really good blender. You can use a low-powered blender, but the frustration you’ll experience and the limitations you’ll run into will almost assuredly make this a short-lived endeavour. It is marvellously satisfying to push a button and watch a half dozen widely differing

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ingredients whir together in swirling synchronicity and within minutes present as the perfect puree. If your blender is low-powered or the blades are dull, this will take many tries and more steps to get the desired outcome. It can be an investment, but a good quality blender is also a fantastic kitchen tool in general for making sauces, soups and even your own nut milks. Of course, the crown jewel is the Vitamix, although I have a KitchenAid. I’ve had it for years and it has stood by my side through nearly daily smoothies, almost weekly soups and dozens of cooking class demonstrations.



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There is no right or wrong way to make a smoothie. In fact, if you ever see a smoothie “recipe” (like the ones presented here) use it as a loose guideline, take as much creative license as pleases, and work with what you already have in the kitchen. For a well-balanced smoothie, I like incorporating something earthy or spicy, something creamy or smooth and, of course, something sweet to take the edge off. Earthy/spicy could be fresh ginger, ground cinnamon, kale, spinach, mint, cilantro, beet or carrot. Creamy/smooth is avocado (it also works for earthy), tropical fruits like banana, mango, and papaya (they also work for sweet), thick coconut cream, yogurt, chia seeds (which gelatinize when mixed with moisture), etc. For sweet, I usually let fruit do the heavy lifting (berries, cherries, apple, peach, pear, etc.), but on occasion will rely on some soft Medjool dates or even some raw honey to help out a bit. Depending on the flavour profile you’re working with, it’s likely you’ll want to include something acidic to balance it out: something like orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit or pineapple. And then, of course, your liquid of choice will either be cold water, juice or milk (coconut, almond, cow, goat, etc.). Exactly how much liquid to use is difficult to say, and it will partially depend on whether you’re enjoying the smoothie in a cup or bowl (more on that later). The great thing is, you can start with a modest amount of moisture, and keep adding more in until you’re happy with the viscosity.


Now that you have the basics, let your smoothie work a bit harder for you with some nutrient-dense boosters. Spirulina, acai and camu camu powder are some of my personal favourites for additional immune support and antioxidant boosts. I also enjoy tossing in some flax seeds and psyllium husk for a little extra fibre. A good quality protein powder is key if you’re wanting more satiating substance. I personally stick to a neutral flavoured simple collagen powder as there aren’t any additional ingredients to mess with the taste, or my body. Not only is one scoop equal to about 13 grams of protein, but multiple studies show that dietary collagen is important for healthy hair, skin and nail growth, and may even improve digestive function as well. If you’d really like your smoothie to stay with you a little longer, I suggest trying a stick-to-your-ribs “smoothie bowl.” Take whatever recipe (guideline) you’re working with, and add a bit more of the creamy and a lot less of the liquid, until you have a pudding-like consistency. Transfer this thick mix to a bowl, and top with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, fresh berries, your favourite granola, a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of honey—the sky’s the limit. Bonus points for artful assembly, which always seems to get extra “likes” on social media—the internet loves a good smoothie bowl! And that’s the basic anatomy, assembly and art of making a smoothie. My final tip? Try not to slurp it up too fast or you’ll be left with a potential brain-freeze or bloated belly.

Good Morning Sunshine One sip of this tropically inspired treat, and you’ll feel like the sun’s golden rays are radiating out of you. Bursting with vitamin C and probiotics, each golden gulp makes your immune system smile, while fresh ginger and papaya soothe and nourish your digestive tract. If you’re sensitive to dairy, try a plain fermented coconut yogurt—my personal favourite is by the brand Yoggu based in Vancouver. Ingredients ½ heaping cup mango, peeled and cubed ½ heaping cup papaya, peeled and cubed 2 tbsp ginger, peeled and chopped Juice of 1 lime ½ cup plain yogurt ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (about two minutes). *Note: to make it a smoothie bowl, leave out the orange juice and, if you wish, add in another half a cup of yogurt to make it extra thick. |

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Purple Power Introducing your antioxidant artillery! The regal hue of this magenta marvel is no doubt pleasing to the eye, but the super-powered ingredients within are also pleasing to your immune system, digestive function and even sleep. Plants pigmented with deep reds, purples and blues are often rich in something called anthocyanins and another phytochemical called quercetin, found to help slow cancer growth and aid in liver repair. Cherries, specifically, contain natural melatonin, assisting in restful sleep, as well as diminishment of systemic inflammation and associated oxidative stress. Not only do the chia seeds provide a hearty thickness to this smoothie, but they’re rich in anti-inflammatory fatty acids, are full of fibre and have been shown in some cases to improve digestive function. Ingredients ½ heaping cup red beets, peeled and chopped 1 heaping cup cherries (frozen works best here) 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) 1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened) 2 tbsp chia seeds Directions Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend for a minute or two until smooth. Let sit for a few minutes as the chia seeds expand and gelatinize, and then blend again for a minute or two more. *Note: to make it a smoothie bowl, substitute the coconut milk for plain coconut yogurt, or the thick coconut cream that you find on the top of a can after separation.

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So Fresh and So Green An apple a day may not necessarily keep the doctor away, but if you add in folate-rich kale, digestively soothing mint and immune-boosting pineapple, your odds are likely increased. Not to mention the fact that avocado is packed with calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium zinc, vitamins C, B6, B12, A, D, K, E, and are a great source of dietary fibre. Shall I go on, or are you ready to try this gorgeous green glass of goodness yet? Ingredients 1 medium green apple, cut and cored 2 cups loose baby kale ½ cup loose fresh mint leaves ½ cup pineapple, trimmed, cored and cubed ½ avocado 1 ½ cups cold water Directions Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (about two minutes). *Note: to make it a smoothie bowl, leave out the water and, if you want, add in another half avocado to make it extra thick.

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CocoNana Once you try this decadent dream, you won’t believe that it’s good for you. Without even touching on the nutritional bounty of bananas, almond butter and cinnamon, the raw cocoa is full of magnesium and antioxidant-rich flavonoids and, when consumed, may improve blood flow, reduce plaque buildup on artery walls, and potentially diminish the effects of oxidative damage (cancer, aging, degenerative diseases). In fact, a study from Cornell University found that raw cacao powder contains nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea! Note that I keep saying and suggesting “raw” cocoa powder. While Dutch-processed is ideal for baking, it’s alkalinized, leaving you with a smooth-tasting ingredient, but one that doesn’t pack as much of a punch nutritionally speaking. Ingredients 2 heaping tbsp raw almond butter 4 heaping tbsp raw cocoa powder 1 banana, peeled and roughly chopped 1 tbsp cinnamon 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (about one minute). *Note: to make it a smoothie bowl, leave out the almond milk, and you can even add in another half banana to make it extra thick.

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in nature and nestled amongst thriving bushes this time of year. There is fresh glacial water available, an abundance of berries, plenty of space for a garden, driftwood galore & instant access to some of the worlds best saltwater fishing. Dreams of creating a lodge retreat? This would be the perfect rec group purchase or pose as an opportunity to acquire a private oasis of your own. Access is by boat & 3/4 of the way up the Inlet. $388,000 MLS® 892225 |

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travel travel

Ybor City is a historic CubanAmerican neighborhood in Tampa. Cigars and coffee and the Columbia Restaurant have been icons here for more than 100 years. PHOTO COURTESY VISIT FLORIDA.

Florida triple-header

May 5 – 29 2022



Hockey, baseball and hospitality combine for the win in spring travel

Award of Excellence, Wilma Millette, 2021


f you’re a sports fan, a visit to Florida in March scores big time, with options for a doubleheader vacation that can take you from the wintery arena to the spring ball field in a matter of hours. Add in some genuine Florida hospitality— and you’ve got a triple-header experience. My brother’s February birthday provided the perfect opportunity for the sports-crazed Cameron clan—me and my brothers Jim and Craig—to leave our winter-chilled homes in Canada to meet in Tampa Bay for an NHL hockey game, and then travel together to Dunedin for Blue Jays spring training in what’s called the “Grapefruit League.” The week-long trip provided the perfect mix of sports-watching and brother-bonding—especially considering that it took place in late February 2020 and, as it turned out, would mark the last time in years that we could meet in person. My brothers and I set out initially for the baseball—the Toronto Blue Jays had recently opened a great new spring training stadium, TD Ballpark. The fact that our hockey team (the Toronto Maple Leafs, sorry, Canucks fans) happened to be playing the Tampa Bay Lightning was pure, wonderful happenstance. Why go to spring training, you ask? For anyone who is a diehard baseball fan, spring training is like a sneak preview of the upcoming season. It includes a series of practices and exhibition games, a chance to watch new players try out for rosters and position spots, and a season-first look at established players getting ready for competitive play. The atmosphere is lighthearted and fun, the crowds are much smaller and intimate than in regular season play; the event draws numerous media personalties—we chatted with renowned Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez—and generally allows for an up-close and personal look at the team. So, we knew the sports-watching would be great. But as it turned out, we became captivated by so many other things the Tampa Bay and Dunedin regions had to offer.

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Being Canadians, the prospect of being in a place where we could once again wear shorts and T-shirts, while watching two of our favourite sports teams play, was reason enough to venture down from the frozen north. I had further to travel, from here on the west coast (a 14-hour journey, including a brief stop at Toronto Pearson Airport), and my two Toronto-based brothers met me there and we ventured forth together to sample Florida’s hospitality. Our first stop was in Tampa itself, where the downtown area near Amalie Arena—home base for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning— has undergone a rapid transformation over the past decade. Our hotel was on the trolley line and across from the elegant Marriott Hotel, which has a lovely outside lounge, where patrons can keep an eye on their yachts tied up along the harbour wall. The lobby has a Roman feel, with its faux marble columns and soaring ceilings. The trolley line just outside the hotel extends all the way up to Ybor City, a fascinating enclave of Hispanic and Italian culture, complete with a New Orleans-like architectural feel, and shops where seasoned workers hand roll cigars in the windows. Most shops and restaurants tolerate and some even encourage cigar smoking, a strangely foreign thing to Canadians accustomed to stringent anti-smoking laws. The history of Ybor City, like much of Florida, has an unbroken link you can trace back to the time when Spain, not America, ruled this land. Yet Ybor City has a more American sensibility, derived from the various types of taverns, shops and restaurants found here. And the presence of Italian churches and shops that first sprang up in the 1800s is a reminder of all the waves of immigration that ultimately built America. For hockey lovers seeking sunshine, there are bars and restaurants to get ready for the game. One such watering hole is a hockey-themed American tavern called Hattricks, located not far from

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the arena, and where you can expect to find signed framed jerseys and a lot of local Tampa Bay Lightning hockey fans. More impressive was the surprise we received after the game, when we accepted an invitation from a few local fans we befriended, and joined them on an expansive outdoor patio which wraps around the outside of Amelie Arena. Here, those in the know can have a beer or two after the game rather than fight the exiting crowds. Head west from Tampa toward the Gulf Coast and you encounter dozens of shallow bays and towns that cater to water sports, fishing, dining and drinking. Because this area is so flat, it may eventually be vulnerable to climate-caused sea rise, but for now it is perfect for walking, and most communities along this coastline have excellent walking and cycling trails. Perhaps the best-known of these is the Pinellas Trail, which extends from the high-rise hotels, white sand and beach-front restaurants of Clearwater in the south, through Dunedin to the interesting town of Tarpon Springs in the north. This Greek community holds fast to its culinary traditions and its history as the sponge capital of America—and it’s a great place to visit. Make time in Tarpon Springs to dine in one of the many authentic Greek restaurants and walk along the waterfront, where working sponge boats still ply their trade. You can even take a cruise with divers, who collect the sponges just off the coast. Along the trail through Pinellas County, which we traversed twice on rental bikes, there is an assortment of shops, restaurants and bars to explore. In downtown Dunedin itself, the choice of restaurants and shopping is impressive, from the stately Fenway Hotel, which offers breathtaking views of the sunset, to more informal spots like Rosie’s Tavern of Dunedin (named after the owner’s dog—Dunedin is a very dog friendly place for those thinking of travelling with their pets). |

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The atmosphere is lighthearted and fun, the [ baseball] crowds are much smaller and intimate than in regular season play; the event draws numerous media personalties and generally allows for an up-close and personal look at the team.

A vintage trolley line connects Tampa’s downtown with the Channelside district, which includes Amalie Arena and and Ybor City.

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For a refined dining experience, make a reservation at Parts of Paris Bistro & Bar in Safety Harbor, between Tampa and Dunedin. Exquisite French cuisine and an excellent wine cellar make this spot worth the detour. While in Safety Harbour, you can visit the spa and pools of the Safety Harbor Resort, a sprawling complex of buildings and rooms with a strange-but-compelling history as a sanatorium in the early part of the last century. For night owls, the entertainment spots and bars in Dunedin are quite welcoming of Canadians. The businesses operate on slightly different schedules, seemingly rotating so each can get a share of the business. Our favourite spot was definitely the Dunedin Brewery, Florida’s oldest micro-brewery, which serves up a casual vibe, friendly staff, great beer and a fantastic live music scene. To top it off, Dunedin Brewery proudly embraces its Scottish heritage, which was just perfect for the three Cameron brothers from Canada. We headed back to Canada, pleased that the triple combination of ice hockey, Grapefruit League baseball and a warm and welcoming hospitality made for a winning sports vacation.


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When Terry Doyle moved to Qualicum Beach with his wife in 2018, it was with the idea that they could slowly step back from their international architectural interior design practice in Vancouver, and begin to enjoy a life of semi-retirement. Instead, Terry opened a men’s clothing boutique called Open Collar and brought a lifeline of European fashions into the small community. “I’m not one to sit still,” admits Terry, who’s taken a break from repainting Open Collar’s fitting rooms to chat, and adds with a laugh, “I’d like to learn how to do that one day!”

Terry was exposed to the business from a young age. His father was a long-time pillar in the menswear industry in Toronto, in an era where dressing sharply was a sign of respect. “After living in Qualicum Beach for a couple of weeks, I realized there was no outlet for menswear here, and nothing in Parksville either,” he says. “I entertained the idea of opening a men’s fashion boutique and researched sourcing some European fashions that I could bring to the community.” Fate stepped in when one of his suppliers in Vancouver mentioned she was leaving to get back into the apparel industry, and put Terry in touch with all the right people. “Everything just kind of fell into place. It was meant to be,” he says. Open Collar opened its doors at the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020, but despite the challenges, the community was most welcoming; the boutique has filled a real need for the community. As for that semi-retirement plan? Island living has satisfied the urge to slow down. “This was a big lifestyle change, but I’m just loving it,” says Terry. “The people are so friendly, and it’s just refreshing.”

The 7 Sins ENVY:

Whose shoes would you like to walk in?

I’m really quite comfortable in my own shoes. There isn’t an individual that I really envy, but rather people that I admire. I aspire to be a Newfoundlander. They are the kindest, most genuine, selfless, unpretentious, humorous people in Canada, and perhaps on the planet. I would like to walk in their shoes. They know how to live and how to love.


What is the food you could eat over and over again?

That’s easy. I could dine on Italian food every day, especially if served family style, where you get to taste everything the chef or the Italian Mama prepared.


You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?

Hmm...Thinking. I might hire a private jet to fly to New Zealand to spend days touring vineyards and sampling wines of the Marlborough region.


Pet peeves?

Don’t get me started on this one! People who cannot put their electronic devices down long enough to interact with another live, breathing human being face to face. This is the real plague of modern society: addiction to technology.


Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?

This is tough for me as I can’t sit still very long without getting antsy. I would like more time to be at the beach when the tide is way out, and play with my best pup friend, Lily, who was labelled “the happiest dog I’ve ever seen” by a passerby. She really gets me to chill out.


What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of ?

I started a new business in a new town with no experience because I thought the community craved it. Unlikely as it was to succeed, having started at the onset of the greatest pandemic in a century and when naysayers claimed everyone shops online, I forged ahead on gut instinct and built a bricks-and-mortar store. I am proud of the way the community embraced my idea and made me feel so welcome, paving the path to a very successful, thriving business. The fringe benefit is that I have made so many new friends here.


What makes your heart beat faster?

Ancient European architecture still does it for me. I can’t get enough of it. When you see what our ancestors built with no power tools, no electric lights and, hell, not one damned computer! That is real, raw human talent, vision and dedication. We cannot lose sight of that. Modern society with all of its technology can’t come close to the creations built centuries ago. |

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hat’s a little rain?” my husband asks as we pack our suitcases. We’re leaving Nanaimo on Vancouver Island for my birthday weekend in Victoria. The COVID-19 pandemic stopped all our earlier travel plans, so I’m anxious to get away. It’s a wonderful weekend. We love meeting up with old friends and wandering the city, checking out coffee shops and restaurants and even doing a little shopping—a rarity during our off-and-on lockdowns. Chuck upgrades our room at the Grand Pacific Hotel to a beautiful suite. We’re booked to leave on Monday morning, November 15. This is the day of the torrential rainstorm that will cause chaos and damage on BC highways. Seeing the pounding rain from our patio suite, we linger a bit hoping it will stop. Check-out time is 11 am and we’re packed and at the front desk by 10:59 am. We’re pleased with our timing because the rain has stopped by the time we get into our car. Instead of listening to the weather reports, we play my newest ABBA CD. We stop quickly at my favourite bakery, and then make a last-minute decision to get a pizza that will serve as brunch. As we make our way out of town and head for Nanaimo, my husband turns on the news. The rain is bad on the mountainous Malahat Drive; in fact, the highway is flooded. We’re not far out of town when we get caught in heavy traffic. Soon we’re bumper-to-bumper and we’re not moving! It’s 1:30 pm. I know we’re in for the long haul when I notice people up ahead running to the side of the highway looking for a private place to relieve themselves. We discover the Malahat is not only flooded, but damaged too. At 4:30 pm the traffic starts to move. “Finally,” we sigh with relief. We move forward slowly but steadily and we believe the problems are fixed. We’ll be home for a late dinner. However, by 5 pm we realize the police are moving the traffic up to a turnaround point and sending everyone back into Victoria! We call our friends and they invite us over for dinner. By the time we arrive, I’m concerned about making my medical appointment in Nanaimo the next morning at 9:30 am. Our friends suggest we take the ferry to Tsawwassen, avoiding the chaos on the island. We could then drive to Horseshoe Bay, and take the last ferry to Nanaimo. We quickly check the ferry schedules, realize we can make the connections, and run out the front door, yelling our “good-byes” as we jump in the car. We arrive at the ferry terminal at 6:30 pm hoping for the 7 pm boat. As we’re about to pay for the tickets, I ask the cashier to confirm that we’ll be on the next ferry. As she reaches for my husband’s Visa card, she says, “Yes, you’ll get on the ferry, but they’re all two hours late!” He quickly pulls back his card. The Vancouver plan is off the table that fast. We turn the car around and the radio informs us the Brentwood Bay ferry service is offering round-trip crossings every hour and 10 minutes throughout the night. We head for the Brentwood Bay ferry terminal and arrive around 7:30 pm in the dark and cold. I use my GPS to check the distance from our car in the lineup to the terminal—we’re 1.3 kilometres away. It has already been a long day, and it’s going to be longer!

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About an hour later, a young family comes up to our car window towing a wagon lit up with tiny white lights; they’re offering homemade cookies and hot chocolate. Thinking of their kindness brings tears to my eyes. Next comes a woman with water, then a couple with more water and snacks. We hear that the community centre is opened, equipped with drinks, snacks and pleasant smiles. Time passes and we discover washrooms are open at the top and bottom of the Brentwood Bay hill. The hikes up and down the hill feel good. A police officer is walking towards us and we call out to her, “Do you know what’s happening?” “There are a hundred cars and large trucks ahead of you. The ferry capacity is 20 vehicles tops so you’re here for another five or six hours, maybe more.” We’re prepared. We watch movies on Netflix via cellphone, we eat half a loaf of fresh sourdough bread, which is stored in the backseat, and share the remains of a chocolate bar found in my purse. We have our e-readers and a few magazines, and I have my knitting. We had tossed a number of coats for every type of weather into the backseat, along with hats and mitts, which keep us toasty warm. Around 2 am, a woman comes by with McDonald’s burgers and extra water. An emergency team is going from car to car confirming that we’re all OK, asking if we need anything and offering us warm blankets. There is no time to sleep—we have to move our car forward every 45 minutes. But we are well taken care of by all these generous volunteers. The 6:30 am ferry arrives and we’re close to the front of the line. Two women drive off the ferry with Tim Hortons hot coffee. We are thrilled! But I feel sorry for the long lineup of vehicle lining up the Brentwood Bay hill, and extending beyond several corners, much further than the 1.3 kilometres we have just endured.

I call the medical office and leave a message: I have to cancel. Minutes later, the office calls back to say they’ve heard about the troubles on the Malahat and have fit me in for next week. At 9:30 am, Tuesday morning, we’re on the Brentwood Bay ferry bypassing the dangerous Malahat. We stop at the Garage Café in Duncan for coffee and the best breakfast sandwich ever. We arrive home, safe and sound, at 11:30 am—24.5 hours after we left the hotel; 24.5 hours living in the car! Normally, we would have been home in one and a half or two hours. But there is no time to recoup. Our grandson, Josh, calls to say, “If you need any grocery supplies or fuel for the vehicle, go now because we hear they’re selling out on the island.” We don’t believe in stockpiling, but we do need several things and a few extras are likely wise. Later that day, a bath, hot homemade soup from our freezer with fresh bread and cheese, the last bit of my birthday cake and a Christmas movie in front of the fireplace conclude my beautiful weekend celebration. Thank-you to all the volunteers, businesses and BC ferry staff who worked throughout the night of November 15. And an extra warm and loving thank-you to the Brentwood Bay residents who came out to offer their caring hospitality. We never once felt alone, sad, hungry or cold. Despite the horrors on the late-night news broadcasts, there is still so much kindness and so many wonderful people in this world. Do you have a good story to tell—and the ability to write it? Boulevard readers are invited to submit stories for consideration and publication in the Narrative section. Stories should be 800 to 1,200 words long and sent to managing editor Susan Lundy at Please place the word “Narrative” in the subject line.

Cancer is deeply personal. From the patient receiving a diagnosis, to the researcher on the cusp of the next breakthrough, cancer is a disease that propels us to action. Each of us has our reasons to end cancer in the Vancouver Island community. And we can. Give today at

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Mill Bay Centre

We have it all – and more!

250-743-5500 | 2720 Mill Bay Road, Mill Bay |

behind the story

This edition of Boulevard features a unique fashion story that uses double exposures. Boulevard photographer Lia Crowe describes the story behind the shoot: “As 2022 approached and we were facing another wave of increased COVID-19 cases and further restrictions on social gatherings, I decided to explore the idea of time spent alone, and the notion of finding companionship in ourselves. So I went out with my colleague, fellow Black Press photographer Don Denton, ahead of our fashion shoot to test out different ways to illustrate this idea with photography. Using a mix of double exposures, splicing images together and shooting through a kaleidoscope, we came up with some fun ways to tell this story. Playing with the lighter side of solitude, our fashion team reflected on what it means to get to know ourselves better and have some fun with the constant companion we find in ourselves.”

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2022 Lincoln Nautilus



Experience Lincoln with a unique and personalized extended drive. Discover personalized services to make ownership truly effortless, including Pick up and Delivery, 24 hour Lincoln Concierge and the Lincoln Way App. Scan the QR Code to book online or call the Concierge directly at (250) 824-0816.

3851 Shenton Road, Nanaimo I 250-824-0816 I HOURS OF OPERATION: MON-THURS: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM FRI-SAT: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM DEALER # 10401