On the Cover Photo by Lia Crowe Model Émilie Hamel sits in a B&B Italia Series Up 2000 lounge chair, designed by Gaetano Pesce, from Gabriel Ross Inc. The chair is a metaphor for a large comfortable womb and recalls ancient statues of fertility goddesses. Émilie wears a red silk chiffon dress by N 21 ($179) from Turnabout Luxury Resale; florals are by Fleuris Studio & Blooms. Styling by Jen Evans, and makeup by Jen Clark.
ALL ABOUT APPIES
WHERE CULTURE AND A DVENTURE COLLIDE
ICING ON THE
“Struck by the utter silence and rugged beauty of the Cariboo, I found the peacefulness of my time at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa exhilarating. The ranch activities were unique, educational and really well thought-out, particularly the survival course and the tour of the Fraser Canyon.” An award-winning travel writer born in Cape Town, South Africa, Lauren pens stories on food, travel, aquaculture and interesting personalities from her home in Richmond.
INHALING THE STILL BEAUTY OF THE
TIMELESS, CLASSIC AND ROMANTIC
“Ivy House Design, Carsa Construction and everyone involved in the Tudor project hit this one out of the park. The way the light hits every room, the lines, the modern-yet-classy details and the way the home sits perfectly in the landscape all made the job of capturing the home that much more enjoyable.” Jacob has been photographing custom homes in Victoria for a little over 13 years and his approach to every home remains the same: simple yet polished. He aims to create natural-looking images that tell the story of every space he photographs.
“When I first saw one of Origen Air’s innovative units housing “magic plants” in the newsroom at the CHEK Media Centre, I was struck by how sleekly pretty it was. It instantly brightened the room and became a bit of a focal point. It’s easy to see why Origen’s co-founders are hoping it will become the water cooler of our time.” Tess van Straaten is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience in broadcast and print journalism, who’s interviewed prime ministers, rock stars, and royalty but might be best-known for cuddling puppies on CHEK News’ popular Pet CHEK segment.
BOULEVARD GROUP Mario Gedicke
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MANAGING EDITOR Susan Lundy
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CONTRIBUTING Barbara Barry WRITERS Angela Cowan
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CONTRIBUTING Lia Crowe PHOTOGRAPHERS Don Denton Jacob McNeil
CIRCULATION & Marilou Pasion
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While my second wedding to Bruce in 2014 went without a hitch, the same can’t be said for my first hitching back in 1990. And all the wedding talk in this edition of Boulevard has stirred up a few memories.
The fun started the morning of the big day at the in-laws’ house, the designated meeting place for the wedding party, and where everyone gathered to collect and admire bouquets, take photographs and prepare for the journey to the beach, where the ceremony was set to occur.
This beach—a gorgeous bit of privately owned sand and gently lapping ocean that had been shut down to the public—was originally a nudist beach, causing an immediate hush, I’m sure, for those receiving the invitation. But despite the nudist designation, the bridal party and guests wore classy clothes, and the women wob bled through the sand in heels. I wore a calf-length, white dress with a flowered bodice and kept my feet bare. (I liked to pretend that I disdained wedding shoes to aid creation of a beachy-Bohemian vibe, but in fact, I merely didn’t like shoe shopping.)
Derrick, the groom, and his best man slipped down to the beach in the early morning before the wedding and covered the logs and sand with buckets of flowers. A slight misty-drizzle at dawn cleared up and the sun appeared, gently licking the beach for the first time in weeks..
But back at the in-laws’ house, the hour of the main event approached and everyone started leaving for the beach. Each departing group had a designated car. The vehicle deemed nicest was reserved for the three of us in the bridal party and my dad. In this family of rusty station wagons and dusty pick-up trucks, the “nicest” car was a rental belonging to one of Derrick’s visiting brothers. We even decorated it for the journey.
Finally, everyone departed and it was time for the bride to hit the road. Unfor tunately, the one remaining, decorated vehicle was locked, the driver (now happily at the beach) had the keys in his pocket, and common use of cell phones was a decade away.
After much drama and a few less than appropriate words from the bride, we managed to catch a ride when the minister happened by. We all squeezed into his four-seater—but the musicians at the beach had to extend their repertoire signifi cantly as we arrived 20 minutes late.
And that wasn’t the only hitch in the hitching. The same brother-in-law offered to videotape the event, and did so with great in-your-face enthusiasm. Unfortu nately, he wasn’t familiar with the camera and for most of the filming confused the on and off buttons. The resulting movie featured lots of foot footage as the camera swung at his side, supposedly off. At one point in the film, the viewer can watch a wide shot of sand, shoe and log, while listening to Terry ask, “Say, does anyone know how to work this thing?”
a hitch in the hitching Susan Lundy Editor
There was also the exchanging of the vows, where Derrick got so tangled in the words, he finally threw up his hands in defeat. (That, of course, is the instant most of the guests captured on their cameras.)
Today, the wedding is a blur (especially if I watch the video). But my favourite photo at the reception was taken while Derrick gave the groom’s response to his father’s toast to the bride. In the photo, I have my hands folded in what appears to be prayer and I’m looking down. Please, don’t let him say anything stupid
Years later, my mom and I came across a box of slides taken at her wedding. With an eyebrow lifted and a small smirk on her face, she passed me a slide, at which I stared disbelievingly. There was the same photo! My mother sitting at a wedding table laden with fancy square desserts, my dad standing next to her making a speech, mom’s head bent, hands folded in prayer: Please, don’t let him say anything stupid.
And while some things don’t change, the wedding landscape itself has definitely evolved. Read on to discover how.
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.
Savour the delightful colours of fall amid cosy wedding nuptials. I love these hits of a 1970s fall wedding, with long flowing sleeves, luxurious velvet and an abundance of floral patterns. (I’m sure there is some sort of Jell-O dessert at the buffet table, and we are definitely throwing rice!)
HEATHER NIGHTINGALE, MAKEUP ARTIST & EDUCATOR WORDS + PHOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE
“Trust your instincts and intuition, follow your passion, go get what you want in life. Just do something new that is not comfortable—step out do what you want!”
These are the best life lessons that internationally acclaimed makeup artist Heather Nightingale has learned in her more than 20-year career.
After studying art at Alberta University of the Arts and Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, Heather transferred her art, skills and knowledge to enhancing the natural beauty of the human face, using skin as her canvas.
“A few years later, I elevated my performance of artistry by going to Paris to study with Dany Sanz—the world-renowned creator of the brand Make Up For Ever. This is when I bloomed!”
Asked what fires her up the most in her work, she says, “I get fired up when I get to create and enhance the skin and meet the most incredible people. Nothing beats being an artist when your canvas is alive with energy and passion.”
When it comes to good style, Heather believes the most important aspect is understanding yourself.
“What feels good? What excites you? What makes you feel vibrant and exuberant?”
STYLE INSPIRATIONS & LIFE
Style icon: Coco Chanel.
Favourite artist: Dany Sanz. Piece of art: "The Kiss," Gustav Klimt. Favourite fashion designer or brand: Dior. Favourite cocktail: Caesar. Favourite musician: Bob Marley. Favourite city to visit: New York City. Film that inspires love of style: The Devil Wears Prada
Favourite album: ACDC’s Back in Black Favourite place in the world: Maui. Favourite flower: Bird of Paradise.
One thing that consistently lifts your spirits during hard times: Having good friends by my side.
FASHION & BEAUTY
All-time favourite piece: Vintage tuxedo jacket. Currently coveting: Dior bag. Favourite shoes: Prada boots. Accessories you spend the most money on: Jewellery. Fashion obsession: Cos brand. Favourite work tool: My collection of makeup brushes from around the world.
Fashion obsession right now: A zebra print cast mini dress with draping by Dolce & Gabbana. Favourite moisturizer: Whipped Sunday Moisturizer by MisMacK Clean Cosmetics. Scent: Havana Cologne by Geo. F. Trumper. Beauty secret: Sleeping on a silk pillowcase and wearing a silk mask at night. Sleep!
Necessary indulgence: Spanks bodywear. Favourite Hair Product: Drybar Mr. Incredible styling mousse.
Favourite print magazine: Vogue Favourite style blog: glamlifeblog.com. Coffee table book: Pursuit 365 by Shelly Lynn Hughes. Favourite author of all time: Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Serving it right
Truffles Catering brings delicious, local and sustainable food to the tableWORDS DEVON PAIGE SMITH X PHOTOGRAPHY DON DENTON Truffles Catering’ chef de cuisine Greg Caspersen.
he Truffles Group, started by Don Calveley over 30 years ago, has become somewhat of a household name on Vancouver Island. Between Cascadia Liquor, Habitat Café, Flight Cannabis and Victoria Butterfly Gardens, it’s hard to miss the locally owned and operated conglomerate when you’re out and about.
However, it’s Truffles Catering that is often top of mind for people come event and wedding season. As the largest catering company in the area, it’s often found serving up fresh, local and delicious food at popular venues around the city.
“No day is ever the same as the last, or the next, that’s for sure,” laughs Heidi Jones, director of sales and marketing for Truffles Catering, who took time out after a busy day during the last weeks of wedding season to speak to Boulevard
“In order to do what we do, we need a big team, a lot of experience and big-picture thinking,” she says.
The experience Heidi refers to includes general manager Alistair Eason, executive chef JP Green, chef de cuisine Greg Caspersen and operations manager Jess Howard, all of whom have varied backgrounds in the hospitality industry. The four of them lead a large operations team and culinary team, and Heidi and three catering managers handle the inquiries and bookings.
“The team this summer was just amazing. We are fortunate to have a great culture here and we have a lot of fun,” says Heidi, reflecting on the 2022 wedding season, which was one of their busiest in recent years. The full team includes on-site managers, event chefs, servers, bartenders—the list goes on.
“We get a lot of large weddings and events where full service is required, and maybe there isn’t the infrastructure there to support it. We have the ability to come in and set up a full kitchen, complete with ovens and a bar and all the things that go along with that scenario,” she explains, add ing that along with weddings, corporate events are another large-scale part of their business.
Their offerings run the gamut from small picnic boxes (called Grazing Boxes), available for pickup at their Brentwood Bay headquarters, to catering conference groups. And whether it’s charcuterie-style picnic boxes or a full service for 300 people, the trend so far this year is common—sharing.
“For both weddings and corporate events, family style has risen in popularity and is undoubtedly the most common service style we’re seeing requested,” Heidi says.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, family style generally involves platters of food being passed around and shared at tables, with guests serving themselves. It’s a departure from the classic buffet style that dominated the events industry for years, yet not quite as formal as a plated dinner, says Heidi.
“It’s more personal and welcoming, and I think people are feeling that desire to share close connections with peo ple after the last couple of years,” she adds.
At the centre of the family-style service, of course, are the delicious creations of executive chef JP.
“Being based out in Brentwood Bay,” Heidi explains, “we really have so many connections to beautiful, local ingre dients within a couple of kilometres. So everything we can
source locally, we do. We have great relationships with many of the local growers and suppliers around, like TOPSOIL, Sunwing Farms, Level Ground Coffee, Metchosin lamb, as well as local breweries and wineries.”
And the team at Truffles Catering takes sustainability seriously.
“We minimize our output of garbage by sorting everything we collect at an event,” explains Heidi. “We compost and recycle, and only throw out what we absolutely have to.”
Their efforts have paid off: Truffles Group is Vancouver Island Green Business certified, as well as Surfrider accredited, meaning they demonstrate their commitment to reducing use of plastics and protecting our oceans.
“It’s important to Don and it’s important to us. The whole focus for Truffles Group has always been around supporting local and staying as sustainable as possible, because we know we need the environment to be healthy to produce the amazing local food we enjoy serving people.”
Heidi and the team are already looking forward to the next busy
“We generally have a little bit of a slower time mid-fall, but then we ramp right up again for the holiday season, so it keeps us on our toes,” she notes.
With many bookings in place now for the 2023 wedding season, the Truffles Catering team is already working with clients, helping them decide the right type of service.
“We strive to understand the unique needs of every potential client and their event, so we like to make sure we have a phone call once we understand their vision. That gives us the ability to give them an accurate picture of what we can offer, and an accurate quote for their consideration,” explains Heidi.
“Once we have a menu created and an event plan in place, we tour the venue prior to the event if we’re unfamiliar with it, so we know exactly what we’re working with. It’s important to us to make sure our operations team is prepared, but we’re also experts at being flexible and creative because as with any event, you really never know what can happen on the day of.”
“The whole focus for Truffles Group has always been around supporting local and staying as sustainable as possible, because we know we need the environment to be healthy to produce the amazing local food we enjoy serving people.”
well and good
All things adaptogen
Tools to help battle stress, anxiety, depression and more
WORDS KAISHA SCOFIELD
if there’s one thing we are all tired of talking about, it’s stress. Because talking about stress is, well, stressful!
Yes, we know there is too much stress in our lives and, yes, we know that meditating, doing yoga, going for walks and deep breathing will melt that stress away. But let’s be honest, when life is stressful, the idea of deep breathing makes most of us want to scream. The hustle is real and, for most people, finding time to de-stress is the most stressful task of all.
A close second stressor is the knowledge that stress is really det rimental to our overall health and wellness. There are seemingly endless studies coming out about the brutal effects stress can have on our mental and physical health, with some suggesting that too much stress can even shorten lifespan.
Unfortunately, dealing with stress is one of those situations where it can get worse before it gets better. The act of de-stress ing is only possible when the body and mind feel supported enough to tackle extra challenges. Sometimes a vacation, an unplugged weekend or even a spa day can offer just enough peace to face stress head on.
However, acts of self-care are usually initiated only after the stress has become unbearable, and often the last thing I want to do with newfound vacation peace is deal with my stress.
It might be time to call in reinforcements.
You may have seen some strange new products pop up in your local coffee shop, like mushroom coffee, ginseng elixirs and turmeric lattes. If you’re a follower of Gwyneth Paltrow, you may have heard her GOOPies drop words like reishi, ashwagandha, rhodiola or schisandra. No, this isn’t an exclusive new GOOP language, they are talking about adaptogens, the latest hack in wellness town. Adaptogens are not new. They are derived from plants that have the ability to aid the body in adapting to daily stressors and/or improving body function. They have been used around the world and studied extensively by non-western medi cine for centuries.
Ginseng, for example, was mentioned in Chinese medical texts as early as 196 AD. Turmeric was found in tombs on the Indian subcontinent dating back to 2500 BCE. In the 1980s, Russian scientists put great effort into studying adaptogens in hopes that they could be used to support military efforts.
Today, adaptogens have reached peak popularity in the mainstream wellness industry and, as a result, we are seeing them pop up on coffee shop menus, and in juice bars and cookbooks. Because they are derived from natural plant sources, people find them less intimidating than supplementation. One of the biggest appeals of adaptogens is that they can be paired and customized to the specific needs of the user.
As with any product that promises health and wellness, it is wise to be as informed as possible about what you are consuming. Issues can arise if adaptogens are taken incorrectly. For example, they can be ineffective, can cause stimulation while the desired result is relaxation, or even interfere with medications and hor mone balance.
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Here are some of the more popular adaptogens and what they are more commonly used for: ginseng increases brain function, reflexes and immune function, while decreasing stress and creating a sense of calm; ashwagandha relaxes and reduces stress and anxiety. It is also anti-inflammatory and helps with blood sugar regulation. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, while boosting brain function and combating depression; rhodiola rosea stimulates and combats fatigue while improving brain function, and it is said to elevate exercise performance; schisandra is stimulating and increases brain performance, capacity and endurance, and supports fitness; reishi mushroom aids in sleep health and reduces stress.
This is just a sample; there are many more adaptogens on the market, including a whole host of adaptogenic mushrooms, mojo-boosting maca, stress-reducing tulsi basil and stimulating astragalus.
One of the most promising areas of adaptogen research is in countering the undesirable effects of perimenopause and full meno pause. For example, rhodiola can help to balance the hormones that cause mood swings, anxiety and hot flashes, while schisandra has been shown to stimulate the central nervous system, improve cognition and balance neurotransmitters.
This all sounds pretty good, right? Brain-boosting, stress-reducing, anti-inflammation—yes, to all of that!
So how do we go about taking these magical elixirs? An import ant first step is to be clear on what symptom you are most interested
in tackling and plan accordingly. Some adaptogens are calming and others stimulating, so while it is okay to combine them, you want to be sure to time your consumption accordingly. For exam ple, don’t take a large dose of rhodiola with your evening meal unless you want to pull an all-nighter, on account of its stimulating effects.
Dosage is also a consideration, as is duration of consumption. Most adaptogens build up in your system over time so there is a benefit to sustained use. However, some can become less effective over time, so it is advisable to cycle your use accordingly.
The most important step to taking adaptogens to is to do your research, keep track of what you are taking and what effect (if any) it is having on whatever symptom you are hoping to improve. It is this nutritionist’s hope that adaptogens are used as a tool to create the space needed to tackle the stresses of life, to clear them out and ultimately make room for activities in life that bring joy and well ness. As tempting as it is, they should not be used to take on more work and further compound the stressors of life.
Adaptogens will not make you a superhero but they might make you super enough to clear out some of your more overwhelming tasks and projects.
Note: if the stress in your life feels overwhelming to the point of altering your ability to enjoy activities that you have enjoyed in the past and is causing depression or anxiety, please couple your adaptogen use with help from a mental health professional.
Animal kingdomin studio WITH JOE COFFEY
The realistically surreal creatures of Joe Coffey
oe Coffey strives to get to know his subjects before setting his brush to canvas. Though this might be a commonplace approach among artists, compli cating Joe’s task is that his subjects are most often fourlegged members of the animal kingdom.
The Victoria-based artist usually begins by looking through countless reference photos. Scrolling through images of creatures both domestic and wild, Joe awaits a spark of inspiration.
“The expression is always key for me and something inside me thinks I can tease it out more and work with it into a painting,” he says. “And then, once I get started, it feels like an excavation of sorts. That might sound strange, but I feel like I am actually looking for some kind of personality to appear, and when that happens, I always have this voice in my head that says, ‘Ah, there you are, nice to meet you.’”
Working in a studio that slowly evolved in his apart ment’s living room, Joe brings his animals to life with a realistic style that is in sharp contrast to the abstract backgrounds or settings within which they are cast.
Joe’s paintings incorporate a tangible sense of drama, brought about by his intentional positioning of his subjects. In many of his works characters are looking “off screen” towards something unknown and unseen by the viewer. Sometimes his backgrounds allude to a larger scene. It’s also very rare to see an entire animal pictured on his canvas, adding further intrigue to the imagining of what could lie just beyond the edge.
“I have never been interested in depicting my subjects in what you might think of as their normal environment. I find removing them from that height ens them somehow, setting them in this very simple background with perhaps an abstract element,” he says. “[My subjects] well and truly are actors and models for me, and I create what I like to think of as theatrical tableaux. Freezing them in such a way that there is a hint of a narrative happening, or even just a visceral feeling when you look at it, is what I am trying to do,” Joe says.
“I keep working at a painting until I have that feeling I just de scribed within myself; it is a feeling more than a distinct complicated conceptual idea. Once I get that, I know I am on the right track, and then I send it out into the world and hope others respond in the same way.”
Though he spent much of his late teens and early adult life in urban environments, Joe grew up with agrarian roots on a farm in Southern Ontario.
The lure of rural life saw him settle on Pender Island in the 1990s, and it was during his time in the Gulf Islands that Joe found inspiration from local artists and chose to fully commit to life as a painter. Eventually, he began exhibiting works at Victoria’s Fran Willis Gallery, and the increasing frequency of commutes eventually convinced him to relocate permanently to Victoria.
“It was hard to leave Pender, but I really do love living in this city,” he says.
He started working in a home studio two decades ago as a way to keep costs low, but it has since morphed into his permanent work space, which he shares with his two studio cats, one of which, Finn the Abyssinian, has been featured in Joe’s work. The convenience of working from home is something Joe discovered long before man dated quarantines and workplace shutdowns occurred.
“I have become so used to having my work in my living room, and being able to contemplate it close at hand, whether that be at the beginning of the day with my morning coffee or in the evening after a good hard slog of it with a glass of wine,” he says. “It almost feels self-indulgent, but I love having it here so much.”
“an achingly funny black comedy.”
“I’m worried about your health… it seems to be improving.”
Joe most often has three pieces on the go at any given time. He says this is a sweet spot that allows enough time for the paint to dry between sessions and provides a chance to return to his work with a fresh pair of eyes.
“Any more than three, and I find my brain gets too scattered. Each painting for me requires such intense focus, and so to give each one its due attention, three it is,” he says.
“I tend to have an initial vision of how it will work, but then the magic happens when I come up against things that might not be working when I see it on the canvas, and so I have to adjust and make things up as I go to keep the painting moving forward.
“It is often really interesting when I look at the finished result compared to my initial idea. I even admit to patting myself on my own back when I see it is so much stronger than my initial idea,” he adds with a chuckle.
In addition to doing commissions, which include both animal and human subjects, Joe has an ever-expanding body of work that you can see through his website (joecof feyfineart.com).
Here in Victoria he is represented by Madrona Gallery, where some of his work is currently exhibited. He is also working towards a solo show for that gallery that will occur in early 2024. Closer at hand is his participation in the annual Deck the Walls group art show, also with Madrona, which opens in early December.
“I’m quite excited about the ideas I have for them and, as usual, a bit daunted about the execution. Always good, that feeling,” he says, adding with a smile, “It keeps me honest in my effort.”
Inhaling the still beauty of the CaribooEcho Valley Ranch & Spa WORDS LAUREN KRAMER PHOTOGRAPHY MICHAEL BEDNAR, COURTESY ECHO VALLEY RANCH
rrive at Echo Valley Ranch and Spa in BC’s Cariboo country and the silence is deafening. But for the gentle rustle of the light breeze in the trees and the bubbling of the nearby creek, there’s complete and utter stillness. It’s a silence that invites you to calm your mind, absorb the peaceful ness and rid yourself of the restless energy that’s so contagious in the city.
To reach the ranch we drove two hours northwest of Kamloops to Clinton, taking a winding dirt road for the last 34 miles and just barely avoiding a flooded beaver pond. Located on a crest, Echo Valley overlooks sweeping views of Cariboo grasslands skirted by thick swaths of boreal forest. Hillsides descend into a creek surrounded by lush greenery, and between the Marble Mountains in the distance and the Fraser Canyon nearby, it’s a breathtaking location.
It instantly captured the hearts of Norm and Nan Dove when they first visited the area back in 1994.
The couple bought the 160-acre property on a whim and turned it from a small homestead into a luxurious boutique ranch defined by log cabin-style accommodations. They built an airplane runway, a gym, an indoor swimming pool and a stable, and over the years created a range of innovative activ ities that married their interests of wilderness pursuits in the Cariboo coupled with Thai-based spa treatments and gentle yoga.
Tour the property and their love, respect and reverence for the Cariboo is evident at every turn. The Doves invited First Nations artists Michael Blackstock to carve living faces on the trees and Theo Mahood to carve intricate wooden murals on the exterior of their Lookout Lodge. The art is a symbol of their deep respect for the area’s Indigenous stewardship and a recognition of the distinct spirituality that pervades Echo Valley.
This is wildlife country. Bear sightings are common. Cougar tracks have been spotted. Bighorn sheep still roam the canyon and a marmot feeds nearby the lodge at dusk, almost com pletely unafraid. The ranch is home to three border collies, six cats, 19 horses and a massive pet swine called Lucky, who, unlike his late companion, avoided a deadly bear encounter,
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thus earning his name. A verdant vegetable garden and hothouse supply farm-fresh veggies and herbs at mealtimes, while eggs come straight from the chicken coop and pas ture-raised ranch cattle are harvested for the beef.
Activities, personalized to individual guests, are delivered one on one. On my first evening on the ranch, I try fly fishing with Darrel Nippard, learning how to cast a line on land before we head to two ponds writhing with rainbow trout. Dusk is settling in and swallows swirl overhead as I cast and pull in with the clumsiness of a newbie, repeatedly catching my hook in the weeds. With saint-like patience Darrel untangles the line, repeats the instructions and watches quietly until eventually I nab a fish, wrestling briefly with it before it breaks free and disappears beneath the surface.
Darrel is also the ranch’s archery and shooting instructor, canyon guide and survivalist expert. Time with him is peppered with fascinating anecdotes of his two years in the early 2000s living in a hideout on the Cariboo’s Poison Mountain, where he kept himself alive by hunting, fishing and harvesting wild onions, mushrooms and berries.
It’s the stillness that stays with you at Echo Valley, a ranch where luxury accommodations, an insightful selection of activities, a deep respect for the environment and an astoundingly beautiful natural arena merge effortlessly.
He takes me on a canyon tour, driving a road that’s full of switchbacks and sheer, vertical drops to Cougar Point, a 3,800-foot precipice overlooking the Fraser River Canyon. The mountain range, scorched by fire in 2009, is beginning to rejuvenate with fresh foliage growth. And as he recounts the history of gold panning on the river, Darrel stops to taste wild raspberries, black currants and crabapples grow ing by the roadside.
We walk to an overlook where he gestures at the handful of farms on the slopes alongside the river below.
“Almost everyone out here lives off grid, farming cattle and using wind turbines for energy,” he notes.
The landscape is magnificent in its rawness, one full of wildlife but equally full of harsh weather and unforgiving conditions. Most of the area farmers are seniors now, Dar rel says sadly. How will a younger, city-raised generation of farmers ever manage to fill their shoes?
Darrel lives and breathes this land and knows it well. On our survivalist excursion he points out krinikini, a plant fa voured for Indian tobacco; yarrow, a natural antihistamine; willow (“you boil it to treat headaches”) and mullein, whose soft leaves make a great substitute for toilet paper.
“This is a great survival food,” he says, grabbing reindeer moss off a tree.
“Boil it and though it doesn’t taste good, it’s full of starch,” he says.
I taste bitter, tiny soap berries filled with vitamin C and learn their boiled leaves are a natural laxative. Before we head back to the ranch Darrel shows me the juniper berry, which, chewed, will stave off thirst if you’re lost in the bush.
“Your brain is your worst enemy if you ever get lost be
cause it can set you in panic mode,” he cautions. “Always calm down until you can control your mind. Then, and only then, consider your supplies.”
You don’t have to think much about supplies at Echo Valley Ranch, because the cost of accommodation includes all meals prepared and presented white-tablecloth-style by an expert chef, alcohol, transfers from Kamloops airport, as well as activities, spa treatments and use of the facilities. Upon arrival, guests are presented with activity options, and a daily itinerary is carefully curated on their behalf.
That’s how I come to spend a delicious afternoon in the spa, sur rendering to the capable hands of a Thai masseuse who leaves me in a floating state of utter relaxation. I explore the boreal forest on a guided e-bike ride, careening effortlessly along the trails and inhaling
He takes me on a canyon tour, driving a road that’s full of switchbacks and sheer, vertical drops to Cougar Point, a 3,800-foot precipice overlooking the Fraser River Canyon. The mountain range, scorched by fire in 2009, is beginning to rejuvenate with fresh foliage growth.
the sweet fragrance of pine trees. I hike down to the creek for a dip in the icy, fresh mountain water and I spend a morning on horseback with Mike Christensen, ranch wrangler and general manager, meandering on a gentle walk through Crown Land.
Before heading out on any guest ride, Mike leads a “horse acquaintance” session, explaining how to use pressure and release to establish leadership with a horse.
“Horses are living, breathing animals and we believe that any ride needs to start with a relationship—it’s not like hopping on a bike,” he says.
My session with Monty, a 19-year-old gelding, begins with exercises in trust and connection. Only when we’ve nailed that can we head onto the trail.
We cross a creek, heading uphill on a forest carpeted in moss. A grouse startles and flutters away with a heavy beat of wings and a woodpecker chatters in the distance. Apart from this and the breath of our horses, the forest is still and the air thick with the hot, dry heat of August in the Cariboo.
It’s the stillness that stays with you at Echo Valley, a ranch where luxury accommodations, an insightful selection of activ ities, a deep respect for the environment and an astoundingly beautiful natural arena merge effortlessly. Visit this unique destination and you get to savour the beauty, learn new skills and leave with awe and respect for BC’s untamed Cariboo.
IF YOU GO:
Echo Valley Ranch is a four-hour drive from Whistler, BC, and 2.5-hour drive from Kamloops. Open year-round, Echo Valley Ranch visits include car transfer from Kamloops, meals, alcohol, access to all activities and spa treatments. Visit evranch. com or call (800) 253-8831 for details.
Timeless, classic and romantic
A heart-and-soul effort is behind this gorgeous Ten Mile Point homeWORDS ANGELA COWAN X PHOTOGRAPHY JACOB MCNEIL
hen Eli Nanos took on the task of designing her family’s home from the ground up, she knew exactly what kind of vibe she wanted, and she spent hours on the details to get it just right.
“We wanted to have a timeless and classic style of home. Something traditional that would stand the test of time,” she says. “And I’m super monochromatic. I love neutral colours, but I love textures and patterns.”
Eli—one of two founders of Victoria’s boutique design firm Ivyhouse—gravitated toward the classic styles found in Cape Cod and the Hamptons; she also has a soft spot for old-world romanticism, and the end result is a warm and welcoming traditional home in Ten Mile Point.
Although they hadn’t planned on building from scratch, when Eli and her husband, Drew, moved back to Victoria from Cobble Hill in 2019, they fell in love with this two-acre property.
“We loved how much space we could get,” says Eli. The couple enjoyed the privacy of their Cobble Hill home but wanted to be closer to town, and the new property was wild and secluded enough to get the best of both worlds.
Besides the new build, the exterior landscape underwent a dramatic transformation, with a long, winding driveway, a waterfall of stairs leading down to the front entrance and a hugely altered backyard.
“The site was full of bedrock,” says Cody Arsens, owner of Carsa Construction. “We actually brought in more than 100 dump truck loads of fill to level out the backyard enough for a grass lawn.”
From the outside, the home has all the trappings you’d expect with a Hampton-inspired design: cedar-shingle siding, peaked rooflines and arched dormer windows. Inside, Eli brought in a few more modern-leaning elements.
“There are more open spaces, cleaner lines and a little more contemporary furniture, leaning heavily into a beachy vibe,” she says.
Taken as a whole, the impression is of bright tones with lots of natural light and open spaces. Large sections of walls were planned out in the early stages to showcase the couple’s extensive art collection, and the eclectic mix of paintings and sculptures adds another level of visual interest to the overall design. But as you move through the house, it’s the wealth of smaller details that become more and more captivating.
Many design details contribute to a rich, homey feeling, such as the seasonal silk flower arrangements on the front foyer table that the couple commissioned from a local florist. Or the multitude of textures in the sun-drenched den—tongue-in-groove ceilings and beadboard and textured wallpaper—along with the slouchy Roman linen shades, that together create a cosy, welcoming space. There is also the semi-gloss finish on the white tongue-in-groove ceiling that runs throughout the house.
“It’s a very traditional finish, and that little bit of reflection adds a lot of light and life,” says Eli.
Stepping into the kitchen, the deep thought process behind the design becomes more obvious the longer you look. It takes a mo ment to pinpoint what feels different, but there are no upper cabi nets. Instead, the space along the exterior wall is full of windows.
“I always wanted to design a kitchen without upper cabinets,” explains Eli. “I didn’t want it to feel like a classic kitchen, just like a gorgeous, elegant room.”
Having that extra wall space also allows for more art placement and gives some of the other features a chance to stand out in the quieter aesthetic.
Unsurprisingly, the appliances are all deftly hidden behind pan els to preserve the clean lines, but the naturally finished cabinets are more than they appear. Eli wanted something with a strong textural grain. As an example, she gestures to the century-old Af rican dough bowl that sits atop the dining table and explains she’d taken it to Dave Sheridan at Splinters Millworks as inspiration for the perfect finish, and it took at least 30 samples before Dave hit on the perfect texture that would reflect ancient, worn wood.
Venetian plaster by Salt Spring Island-based master plasterer Edward McKeever graces the adjacent wall, coating the hood fan and the walls above the quartz backsplash behind the stovetop. Mixed with real marble dust, the Venetian plaster gives a finish that’s subtly pearlescent and catches the diffused natural light from the opposite windows.
“At night, having the sconces on reflecting over the Venetian plaster, it gives it this beautiful, old-world romantic vibe,” adds Eli.
Moving through the arched doorway to the pantry and mudroom that old-world feeling comes again full-force with the herringbone stone tiles leading to the side door. Eli specifically requested a much wider grout than usual—a whopping 5 millime tres, or three spacers—and the result is a vividly textured floor that evokes an old farmhouse in the French countryside.
Upstairs, a set of charming narrow French doors leads into a small vestibule in the main bedroom suite. With arched doorways on either side, it leads to a walk-in closet and the bedroom. Grass cloth on the walls reinforces that old-world European vibe, while the peaked roof and balcony overlooking the changing blues of
Cadboro Bay lend a feeling of space and seclusion. The en suite sits just beyond a rolling barn door, itself as calming and indulgent as any exclusive spa.
Everything about the design has an element of quiet, of pausing, so that wherever you turn, the world doesn’t follow you in from outside. Right from the waterfall stairs outside to each room you enter, whether it be gentle partitions of French doors or sliding barn doors, or right angles that slow you down, there are
elements everywhere that divide the open concept into delin eated rooms without losing the free flow and long sight lines.
But as beautiful and expertly designed as it is, it’s also—un deniably—a home. Every corner, every detail is thought out and built with care.
“I put my heart and soul into this,” says Eli, looking around her home, a smile lingering on her lips. “I created it for my family.”
“At night, having the sconces on reflecting over the Venetian plaster, it gives it this beautiful, old-world romantic vibe.”
Architect/Design: Eli Nanos with Ivyhouse Design
Interior Design: Eli Nanos with Ivyhouse Design
Interior Finishing: Amberwood
Interior Drywall: Alister MacKenzie Drywall
Painting: Word of Mouth Painting
Cabinetry and Millwork: Splinters Millworks Inc.
Ceiling Beams: Woodbeam Company Inc.
Flooring: Island Floor Centre (supplies), Pristine Hardwood & Stone (install)
Tiling: Pristine Hardwood & Stone
Doors: Prestige Joinery Ltd.
Lighting: Restoration Hardware, Visual Comfort
Plumbing Fixtures: Brizo, Restoration Hardware, DXV
Fireplace Hearth/Stonework: Dreamcast
Appliances: Wolf Landscaping: Listco Landscape & Irrigation
Exterior Siding: Victoria Exteriors
A breath of fresh air
erial entrepreneur Andrew Crawford is pas sionate about plants, but the origin of his latest venture—Origen Air—came after an unlikely discovery.
“Origen Air was born out of an unfortunate truth,” explains Andrew, Origen’s co-founder and chief development officer. “I’d started a living-wall company in Victoria with the intention of delivering the cleanest, greenest and most stunning plant-based installations for my clients. Over the years we completed some great projects, but kind of like when you buy a puppy for your kids and you’re initially the hero, within a few months, you start to become the only person that wants to take care of the dog.”
Andrew says the same thing happened with the living walls— after all the excitement wore off, it was just a living thing on the wall that nobody wanted to take care of.
“It was this emergent pain point that drove my desire to develop a more sustainable business model that delivered more than just green aesthetics,” Andrew says.
Determined to make things healthier and happier indoors using plants, Andrew started digging into scientific research data hoping to prove his belief about the restorative power of plants.
“I was raised by an accountant, so numbers need to talk, and I quickly learned that a normal plant growing inside a pot doesn’t really do much of anything for improving the overall air quality,” he says.
But that disappointing discovery quickly led Andrew to the University of Washington (UW), where Dr. Stuart Strand had developed a tropical houseplant that had been scientifically proven to remove man-made toxins from indoor air. Calling it a “watershed moment,” Andrew contacted Dr. Strand to see if he could secure the distribution rights for the so-called “magic plants” capable of removing airborne toxins 80,000 times smaller than the best HEPA filters.
“So it’s streamlined, automated nature that makes the plants feel as though they’re growing up a tree in Costa Rica as opposed to being deployed in a corporate accounting office in downtown Vancouver.”
“At that point, I realized I needed to get very serious, very quickly, on a level that I was not qualified for,” says the 45-yearold father of two. “Luckily, I‘d already found my soulmate and life partner, Susan, and I asked her if she wanted to launch a cleantech company with me.”
Origen co-founder and CEO Susan Blanchet picks up the story here, saying, “I was still practicing as legal counsel for the Prov ince of BC, although I have always been very into environmental causes. I have a degree in environmental studies and I’d done a lot of contaminated site litigation, but over the years, I just found I wasn’t doing the things that I loved, and the pursuit of litigation wasn’t the fastest way to make a change.”
An expert at negotiating legal contracts, and born with an en trepreneurial spirit of her own, Susan was able to obtain the rights to UW’s genetically-modified plants and Origen Air—which uses the plants for indoor air purification—was founded in 2019.
It didn’t take long for Susan to leave her secure government job to become the CEO and co-founder of the company. But a few months later, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything.
“COVID slammed us, yet it also put us on a different path,” recalls the 48-year-old mother of three. “At the time, we had no intention of building the units ourselves. But we realized there was no way we could build them with someone else quickly enough, so we said to our engineers, ‘Just build it!’ and we did—in our 1,500-square-foot office!”
“I think the pandemic really galvanized us as a company and escalated our ‘why?’” Andrew adds. “The reason we left all of our offices and ran home was that a significant airborne threat was now present in our shared airspaces. This invisible virus suddenly forced the world to scrutinize the health and safety of our indoor environments.”
Origen’s original team of two has now grown to 16 and the company has installed around 20 units—from KPMG in Vancou ver and CHEK Media and the Bay Centre in Victoria to office buildings in Toronto. Production is ramping up and 200 units are under construction now, with another 200 planned for Ontario early next year.
“We’re breathing life back into buildings. We want to welcome
“I am inspired by a future vision of flying into a city, looking down at the urban metropolis below and seeing our lush green canopies capping the tops of buildings.”
Introducing the PHI Society
people back to their offices and collaborative workspaces,” An drew says. “You breathe 18,000 litres of air every single day. If the air you inhale isn’t good, it’s going to have a compounding effect on your health.”
Looking toward the future, Origen Air is planning the devel opment of a smaller, living air purification unit for the home market. The current flagship model, known as The Pinnacle, has been designed, built and priced to serve larger commercial and institutional spaces.
“Our systems represent the divine intersection of biotech, engineering and modern design. It is as alive as the people it protects,” says Susan.
“On the tech start-up road, it was a steep uphill climb,” she adds. “Everything I applied for was a ‘no,’ and there were a lot of sleepless nights, and a lot of tough decisions. We had to stay afloat on small grants, subsidies and our personal bank accounts. Maybe my mistake was thinking it would move faster, but I kept holding strong and making sure we had a plan to stay alive.”
“Giving while living” is an important motto to the couple. They have mandated for every 10 units that a single company buys, one brand new Pinnacle unit will be donated to a non-profit such as Ronald McDonald House or Habitat for Humanity. And, in true entrepreneurial fashion, they also have another moon-shot goal on their to-do list.
“We’re working over the next 12 to 18 months to produce a building integrated version. This nature-based solution, dubbed The Canopy, will take existing green-roof technology and amplify both health and energy efficiency benefits by an exponential margin for building owners and occupants. If you imagine a gigantic greenhouse on top of a building filled with tropical plants, you get the basic idea behind this energy effi ciency-driven project.
“I am inspired by a future vision of flying into a city, looking down at the urban metropolis below and seeing our lush green canopies capping the tops of buildings. It’s a grand vision, and one that keeps me inspired and thrilled to be a part of this company,” Andrew says.
“Nature always wins,” he smiles.
Bold bouquets and brightly coloured bridal attire. Boulevard explores a new trend in nuptials, where brides are throwing out the rule book and daring to be different. Here’s a chance to create with colour, be inspired by texture and accent with blooms that are sustainable, seasonal and locally grown. Created by Julie Rémy, of Fleuris Studio & Blooms, each floral piece here reinvents wedding ideals with bouquets that highlight individual uniqueness and personality, and show different approaches to the wedding dress, with versions of complexity and simplicity. Photographed at Gabriel Ross in Victoria.
Angelica dress in goldenrod by Ulla Johnson ($1,038) from Bernstein & Gold; floral belt from Fleuris Studio & Blooms.
Poppy blazer by Smythe ($795), Poppy pant by Smythe ($450), both from Bernstein & Gold; silk camisole (stylist’s own); “West Boot” in celery green by Alohas ($328) from Footloose Shoes; greenery by Fleuris Studio & Blooms.
Metallic crop jacket by French Connection ($65), from House of Savoy; evergreen skirt by Fleuris Studio & Blooms; gold metallic shoes ($135) by Chinese Laundry from The Bay.
Headpiece by Fleuris Studio & Blooms; vintage fur coat by Kristina Eberts ($625) from House of Savoy; silk camisole (stylist’s own).
Blue strapless dress by Frock! by Tracy Reese ($68), blue satin shoes by Stuart Weitzman for Browns ($125), blue sequin glasses by Dolce & Gabbana ($250), vintage blue bracelet ($28), all from House of Savoy; “Margot” earrings by Avu Jewelry ($65), blue opaque tights by Narasocks ($19), both from Footloose Shoes; florals by Fleuris Studio & Blooms.
Peach gown by KABU International ($375), cut glass and gold earrings ($68), both from House of Savoy; floral ice cream cone by Fleuris Studio & Blooms.
Model: Émilie Hamel
Makeup and hair: Jen Clark Production assistant: Christina Compton
Photographed on location at Gabriel Ross. A huge thank-you to Gabriel Ross for hosting our team.
The icing on the cake
It’s a new era in the world of weddingsWORDS JANE ZATYLNY LIA CROWE
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many facets of our lives, but couples trying to tie the knot have faced particularly difficult challenges. In the first year of the pandemic, in particular, weddings were postponed, often multiple times, and uncertainty ruled the day.
Jane Carson and her husband Tyler Leblanc were engaged in 2019 and set to marry in September 2020.
“When the pandemic started in March, we thought we would be in the clear for September, but obviously we were not,” says Jane.
“We kept trying to make the best out of a bad situation, but with the ever-changing restrictions, we found it very stressful to try to plan a wedding.”
Jane and Tyler had several small celebratory events along the way to the altar, including a party to celebrate the anniversary of their original wedding date with immediate family. Finally, on their third attempt, in August 2022, the Victoria couple married on the beach in Tofino.
“It turned out to be everything we wanted,” says Jane. Cristina Fazio and Sam Powell, also from Victoria, became en gaged in the summer of 2021. They’d seen friends forced to cancel and rebook their weddings, but they were hopeful that, with the first year of the pandemic over, they could keep their summer 2022 wedding date.
“We’d always intended to have a good-sized wedding, so we gam bled that COVID would let us go through with our plans,” says Sam.
The couple tried to remain flexible and not to get too invested in what they were planning.
“If we couldn’t have had a larger wedding, we would have still kept the date,” adds Cristina.
Fortunately, they were able to proceed as planned with their August wedding.
“Couples now have so much appreciation that they can actually get married,” says Diane Hall, former president and publisher of Weddingbells and senior editor of WeddingWire Canada: “When they plan their weddings, they aren’t taking anything for granted.”
Here’s a look at wedding trends that will likely persist even after the pandemic is well and truly—we hope—in our rear-view mirrors.
HIGHLY PERSONALIZED WEDDINGS
Prior to 2020, wedding styles were heavily influenced by celebri ties and influencers, says Diane.
Not as much today: “Couples are personalizing their weddings to a much greater extent and are far more intentional with their wedding spending, whether that takes the form of hiring a diverse wedding vendor team, supporting local suppliers and charities, or reducing their carbon footprint.”
We’re also seeing more “relaxed formal” weddings, she says: “Couples remain interested in stylish weddings, and using Insta gram-worthy photography to document their wedding style remains a very important part of the day.”
“Couples now have so much appreciation that they can actually get married…When they plan their weddings, they aren’t taking anything for granted.”
For personal advice, please contact:
What is a Tax-Free Savings Account?
The Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is a powerful tool to help Canadians save, tax-free. Often times, the name of this account can be misleading as it is not simply a ‘savings’ account as you can also hold investments like stocks in a TFSA.
Why hold investments in a TFSA?
Your investments can grow tax-free and you will not pay any tax on capital gains, dividends, interest income or withdrawals (so long as the TFSA rules are followed). A TFSA can be an integral part of your financial plan regardless of your stage of investing. Whether you are saving for an upcoming expense or considering estate planning, a TFSA can be beneficial.
Should you invest in a TFSA or an RRSP?
TFSA contributions are not tax deductible, so they will not lead to a refund like you might receive with a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contribution. On the other hand, you pay no tax when you withdraw funds from your TFSA.
The best case scenario is that you can afford to maximize savings in both an RRSP and a TFSA. However, the reality is that many Canadians simply don’t have enough cash available. So which account should take priority?
The answer to this question is unique to every investor however, generally speaking, a TFSA will provide more after-tax income if your tax rate is lower when you make the contribution versus at the time of withdrawal. As always, it’s important for you to speak with your tax advisor about your particular situation.
“CIBC Private Wealth” consists of services provided by CIBC and certain of its subsidiaries, through CIBC Private Banking; CIBC Private Investment Counsel, a division of CIBC Asset Management Inc. (“CAM”); CIBC Trust Corporation; and CIBC Wood Gundy, a division of CIBC World Markets Inc. (“WMI”). CIBC Private Banking provides solutions from CIBC Investor Services Inc. (“ISI”), CAM and credit products. CIBC World Markets Inc. and ISI are both Members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. CIBC Private Wealth services are available to qualified individuals. The CIBC logo and “CIBC Private Wealth” are trademarks of CIBC, used under license. This information, including any opinion, is based on various sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy cannot be guaranteed and is subject to change. CIBC and CIBC World Markets Inc., their affiliates, directors, officers and employees may buy, sell, or hold a position in securities of a company mentioned herein, its affiliates or subsidiaries, and may also perform financial advisory services, investment banking or other services for, or have lending or other credit relationships with the same. CIBC World Markets Inc. and its representatives will receive sales commissions and/or a spread between bid and ask prices if you purchase, sell or hold the securities referred to above. © CIBC World Markets Inc. 2022. Clients are advised to seek advice regarding their particular circumstances from their personal tax and legal advisors. If you are currently a CIBC Wood Gundy client, please contact your Investment Advisor.
WHY EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE A TAX-FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNT –THEY MAY EVEN BE BETTER THAN AN RRSP
SMALLER GUEST LISTS
While a mandated requirement during the most serious days of the pandemic, smaller guest lists have remained popular with many couples, says Jessica Minnie, owner and creative director of Vancou ver’s Petite Pearl Events.
“As people witnessed beautiful, intimate celebrations, they became more comfortable making that decision for themselves.”
Smaller guest lists also allow couples to create a more luxurious wedding experience for themselves and their guests.
HIRING PROFESSIONAL HELP
Hiring a wedding planner is always a wise investment, even more so during uncertain times.
“With this decision, you will have experience in your pocket every step of the way and be able to enjoy the planning journey, as well as the weeks leading up to your wedding day and of course the wedding day itself,” says Jessica.
Wedding planners also help couples demystify vendor contracts and make sure cancellation policies are in place.
Wedding vendors have learned to build more contingency plans into their recommendations, knowing that things could change. For instance, that beautiful custom floral arch can now be used indoors or outdoors and moved around, says Diane.
“It may have been an altar first, but also can be positioned behind a wedding table or used as a backdrop for a photo booth.”
THE RETURN OF ELOPEMENTS
Sara Laking, photographer/owner with Sara Spectrum in Tofino, has seen continued growth of elopements, or “mini-monies,” where it’s typically just the couple, the photographer, perhaps a wedding planner, and an officiant in attendance for the ceremony, and a party is held at a later time.
“There’s no distraction and they’re really able to relax,” she says. “It creates a very authentic experience.”
Jessica has seen more couples getting legally married before or after the actual ceremony.
“We encourage couples to make it legal during their rehearsal or privately immediately following the ceremony for a very special moment together, toasting a drink and getting some beautiful cap tures of this huge moment in their lives,” she says.
MORE OUTDOOR WEDDINGS
At WeddingWire Canada, Diane has noticed that the outdoor setting remains very important to Canadian couples—and not just to pre vent possible COVID-19 transmission.
“Outdoor weddings allow for a lot more creativity around decor, tent rentals and other details,” she explains. “Couples can have food trucks and mobile bars in old vintage trailers to create a festival vibe.”
Outdoor weddings also open up the possibility for aerial photog raphy.
“It’s about really using Mother Nature to create that beautiful environment,” adds Diane.
custom millwork and single family detached home
Carefully crafted in Sidney, BC
Travel bans originally led to this trend, but hybrid weddings appear to be here to stay, especially in cases where travel costs would be prohibi tive for the guests.
“They also give the couple per mission to have more of a luxury experience for their in-person event,” says Diane, adding that the virtual coverage can be quite elaborate and inclusive. “Couples can also create a signature cocktail and send their virtual guests a recipe for it or a gift package with a mini bottle of bubbly, wedding cake and party favour so they can feel part of the celebration.”
IT’S PARTY TIME
After the isolation of the first two years of the pandemic, couples and their guests are ready to let their hair down.
“This generation still really wants to get married,” says Diane. “While the onus is now more on the couple as to the safety measures they take, everyone wants to really celebrate.”
Cheers to that!
THE CARE AWARDS 2022: THE BEST OF VICTORIA HOME BUILDING
CARE Awards finalists are selected by a panel of award-winning, industry professionals using criteria such as architectural design, quality workmanship, creative use of space, and energy efficiency.
These outstanding CARE Awards finalists are members of VRBA, representing Canada’s leaders in West Coast home design and construction, showcasing the very best in new homes and renovations.BY SEAN MCINTYRE | PORTRAITS BY DON DENTON
JENNY MARTIN DESIGN
Best Custom Millwork (Adelaide) // Best Interior (Adelaide) // Best Contemporary Bathroom (Adelaide) // Best Contemporary Kitchen Over 250 sq. ft. (Adelaide) // Best Single Family Detached Home Over $2 Million (Adelaide) // Best Condominium Unit (Blackstone) // Best Contemporary Kitchen Under 250 sq. ft. (Blackstone)
>> Humbled to be represented among such a talented group of designers, architects and trades alike, the team of Jenny Martin Design is very much looking forward to seeing their work showcased alongside the industry’s best at the upcoming CARE Awards. Most notably featured is their project Adelaide, which strikes a masterful balance of intrigue, sophistication and restraint. The embodiment of elevated luxury, Adelaide features 10-foot ceilings throughout, while ambient lighting, marble-slab features, a custom theatre/games room, and concealed pantry show an unparallelled attention to detail. 250-383-8206 / jennymartindesign.comMaria Alvarez, Senior Designer Jenny Martin, Principal/Designer
Project: Falu Rote (left)
>> Falu Rote is a highly energy-efficient retrofit of a vernacular home in the Fernwood neighbourhood. This heritage home has been completely rebuilt and includes ultra-energy-efficient mechanical systems, windows, doors, insulation, electrical system and a solar array. Excess electrical energy produced is metered back to the electrical grid. Achieving this high level of efficiency meant rebuilding almost the entire house, including re-engineering the exterior walls and ceilings while keeping them in place. The bright and airy interior along with the home's striking exterior help this home stand out on the street.
Project: English Country Revival (above)
>> Space was at a premium in this cottage, and our approach was to rebuild it in stages so the homeowners could minimize their time away. For the master bedroom and en suite addition, we chose a modern exterior design to juxtapose with the traditional cottage structure. The effect of this building contrast creates a stunning space that immediately captures your interest. The interior space has been completely rebuilt with a “universal-design” principle that will provide the homeowners with ease of access as they age in place.
Green Builder of the Year // Best Custom Home Under $1 Million (Viewscape) // Best Custom Home $1 - 1.2 Million (Quamichan Net Zero) // Best New Home Design Under 4,000 sq. ft. (Quamichan Net Zero) // Best Interior Residential Under 3,500 sq. ft. (Viewscape) // Best Interior Residential Under 3,500 sq. ft. (Quamichan Net Zero)
Best Traditional Kitchen Under 250 sq. ft. (Viewscape)
Best Contemporary Kitchen Over 250 sq. ft. (Quamichan Net Zero)
Project: Quamichan Net Zero
Our Quamichan Net Zero Home is the first fully certified Net Zero Home built in the Cowichan Valley. We are proud that it is also built to the highest tier (Step 5) of the BC Step Code. This was difficult to achieve while keeping in line with our client’s design goals, fitting within a tight subdivision lot and employing large windows to maximize the beautiful lake-front views. Thanks to the first-time use of some Canadian and BC products, this custom home is 80-plus per cent more energy-efficient than typical new homes.
Best Single-Family Detached Custom Home $1.2 - $2 Million (Ardmore Bay) // Best Traditional Kitchen Under 250 sq. ft. (Ardmore Bay) // Best Single-Family Detached Custom Home Over $2.4 Million (Lands End Muse) // Best Outdoor Space (Lands End Muse) // Best New Home Design Over 4,000 sq. ft. (Lands End Muse)// Best Innovative Feature (Lands End Muse) // Best Traditional Kitchen Over 250 sq. ft. (Lands End Muse) // Best Master Suite Over 500 sq. ft. (Lands End Muse) // Best Residential Interior 3,500 - 5,000 sq. ft. (Lands End Muse) // Best Custom Millwork Under 3,500 sq. ft. (Lands End Muse) // Project of the Year - Single Family (Lands End Muse)
Project: Lands End Muse
>> Another successful collaborative effort between Christopher Developments, Blackline Home Design and Zebra Interiors, this Project of the Year finalist is a stunning Cape Cod-styled waterfront home featuring curved dormers, round nautical windows and exquisite detailing throughout. A vanishing edge pool and an outdoor kitchen with commanding views over Salt Spring Island encapsulate the finest aspects of West Coast living. In the words of homeowners Jane and Peter Ellmann, “Our expectations were exceeded and we pinch ourselves everyday that we live in such a beautiful home.” 250-882-1895 / christopherdevelopments.com
Lorin Turner — Zebra Interiors, Lead Interior Designer Christopher Walker — Christopher Developments, Principal/Builder Jeff Causton — Blackline Home Design, Principal/Designer
across Haro Strait towards the
exclusive Ten Mile Point
out the yard into a series of tiered
complex site required plenty of advanced
the homeowners’ vision. Sandhaven
from the French design tradition while the
interior features custom millwork throughout
with a starry night ceiling that
a home that is truly
SAMANTHA WEEKS DESIGN GROUP
Best Single-Family Detached Home $1.2 - 2 Million (The Nancy) // Best New Home Design Under 4,000 sq. ft. (The Nancy) // Best Home Design-Concept (Allbay) // Best Traditional Kitchen Under 250 sq. ft. (The Nancy) // Best Contemporary Kitchen Under 250 sq. ft. (The Frank) // Best Master Suite Under 500 sq. ft. (The Frank) (The Nancy) // Best Interior - Residential Under 3,500 sq. ft. (The Frank) (The Nancy) // Best Custom Millwork Under 3,500 sq. ft. (The Frank) (The Nancy)// Project of the Year - Single Family (The Nancy)
Project: The Nancy/The Frank >> Samantha Weeks Design Group is a residential, commercial interior design and architectural firm. Our experience runs the gamut from modern to traditional projects. We work closely with our clients and have the experience, knowledge and tools to create their vision. Our firm accomplishes this by ensuring design plans work cohesively with the specific site, local zoning rules and contractors. 250-388-0578 / samanthaweeksdesigngroup.caSamantha Weeks, Principal
Single Family Detached Home Over $2.4 Million (Seaview)
Best Outdoor Space (Seaview)
Home Design Over 4,000 sq. ft. (Seaview)
Kitchen Over 250 sq. ft. (Seaview)
Master Suite Under 500 sq. ft. (Seaview)
Over 5,000 Sq. Ft. (Seaview)
Custom Millwork Over 5,000 sq. ft. (Seaview)
We built Seaview with a growing family in mind.
homeowners sought a modern space that also had a warm and inviting feel. We used accents of warm walnut wood and built-in slat features, including custom wood-slat art featured throughout the home.
design features are found in all areas, such
the eye-catching chevron pattern repeated in the
entry flooring and dining room ceiling.
area included an unsightly support beam directly above the dining room table.
solution: a custom light-feature ceiling drop that, like the rest of this exquisite home, is out of this world.
Best Single-Family Detached Home $2 - 2.4 Million (Driftwood) // Best Traditional Kitchen Over 250 sq. ft. (Driftwood) // Best New Home Design Under 4,000 sq. ft. (Driftwood) // Best Custom Millwork 3,500 - 5,000 sq. ft. (Driftwood) // Best Interior - Residential (Driftwood) // Best Master Suite over 500 sq. ft. (Driftwood) // Best Outdoor Space (Driftwood) // Project of the Year - Single Family (Driftwood)
>> Driftwood is nestled on two beautifully landscaped acres of land. From the stone pillar gate entry you travel down a meandering, 340-foot-long herringbone brick driveway. All stonework is built from stone recovered during site preparations. The siding and roof are made from cedar shingles cut and milled on Vancouver Island. (We try to use local resources and products whenever we can.) This Cape Cod-style home has a cool, understated elegance that makes it approachable and sophisticated. The exterior finesse carries throughout the interior of the home. Inside and out, no detail was overlooked for this exciting project.
250-516-1353 / carsaconstruction.caCody Arsens, Principal
Best Single-Family Detached Custom Home Under $1 Million (La Vie est Belle) // Best Single-Family Detached Home $1 - 1.2 Million (Happy Acres) // Best Contemporary Kitchen Over 250 sq. ft. (La Vie est Belle)
Project: La Vie est Belle
>> From its modern exterior to a traditional-meets-minimalist interior, this home stands the test of time. We worked hand in hand with the homeowners to ensure their unique tastes were met. Clean lines and warm features set the interior bedrooms and bathrooms apart. Curved arches flow through the house and eye-catching design details abound. The modern kitchen design combines the homeowners’ sense of function with a pleasingly clean aesthetic. The long marble shelf, spanning the entire kitchen wall as it lights the room against the dark cabinets, truly sets this home apart from the rest. 250-884-2047 / kahlondevelopments.caSunny Kahlon, Principal
Consign with Silver Arrow Cars
5957 Sooke Road
Sooke, BC $2,750,000
Stunning Oceanside estate on a 1 acre lot, offering complete peace & privacy! Extensive garden beds, patios and deep water dock make for the perfect West Coast retreat. Interior is flooded with natural light from large picture windows framing tranquil ocean & mountain views. This 5 bed, 3 bath home features a gourmet kitchen, living and dining rooms with patio access and a hot tub on a private deck off the primary bedroom. Sooke living at its finest!
4351 Gordon Head Road
Saanich, BC $4,900,000
Prime opportunity to own a custom built oceanfront estate! Sweeping 270 degree water views set the stage for this prestigious home in Gordon Head. Currently under construction, it offers the opportunity to customize finishes and personalize to your style. A truly masterful design showcases the stunning views of the Olympic Mountains, active marine waterways and Mt Baker in all principle rooms. Desirable open concept living inside, set on a stunning 1.5 acre south facing lot.
596 Towner Road
Deep Cove, BC $1,995,000
Architectural masterpiece with a West Coast design in Deep Cove. Set on a quiet cul-de-sac, only steps from the ocean, surrounded by mature trees ensuring complete privacy. Nestled in the acreages & estates of Towner Park, this is an exceptional 4 bed, 4 bath rancher style home. Above the detached garage there is a bedroom & 2pc bath, ideal for guests. Enviable outdoor living space with multiple patio areas, manicured gardens throughout & a stunning courtyard.
1100 Lands End Road
North Saanich, BC $4,750,000
Stunning oceanside home in prestigious Lands End. Perched on nearly a full acre lot, offering sweeping ocean and mountain views. Mature trees and a long winding drive provide a calm and private oasis. This 6 bed, 7 bath estate showcases a designer interior with large windows framing the gorgeous water views. Outside, a large patio, gazebo, stairs to the beach and stunning gardens.
605 Senanus Drive
Victoria, BC $17,775,000
A masterpiece of architecture, offering resort-style living year round! This incredible, south facing waterfront estate sits on 5+ acres in the Saanich Peninsula. Sweeping water views grace all principle rooms. The park like property is gated, private and delightfully peaceful. Exceptional outdoor living spaces throughout the property, including a swimming pool, plenty of patio spaces, plus meandering trails and manicured landscaping covers the scenic property. Explore the surrounding waters and rugged coastline from your yacht or pleasure craft, with the convenience of a boathouse.
8338 West Saanich Road
Victoria, BC $15,900,000
The setting at Ocean Enclave between the sculptured gardens and the sparkling sea, transmits a sense of peace & tranquility. This low bank oceanfront property encompasses 6.8 acres and captivates at every glance. This exquisite custom built home and guest cottage are a masterful work of West Coast Architecture that incorporate natural building materials throughout. This expansive property offers resort-style living year round, including multiple oceanfront patios, a 60 foot dock, helicopter pad, walking trails, gardens and spectacular sunsets year round.
242 Beach Drive
Victoria, BC $3,750,000
Beautifully updated South Oak Bay estate with unobstructed ocean views. Designer interior completely re-imagined with some original features retained & refinished The home provides a great deal of living and entertaining flexibility over three levels. Outside, the yard is fully fenced and was professionally landscaped by Manon Tremblay & features a raised deck, on-grade patio, five-person hot tub, and a covered Tiki bar that can sit eight people. Combined with the lush landscaping, it is a private oasis perfect for entertaining. Prime location steps to the beach.
249 King George Terrace Oak Bay, BC $8,999,000
‘Muir Haven’, a refuge by the sea! Sweeping water & mountain views from this architectural gem in Oak Bay. Panoramic water views from all principal rooms. With over 14,000 sq ft of designer living space, 5 beds, 10 baths, and a separate guest suite, there is ample room for friends and family to enjoy this stunning property. True resort style living, with a rec room, billiards room, movie theatre, gym, sauna and an outdoor pool, extensive patios, and beach access.
18 ACRE WATERFRONT ESTATE – METCHOSIN
EXQUISITE UPLANDS RESIDENCE
9324 Glenelg Avenue
NS Ardmore - $1,599,000
Potential and privacy in exclusive Ardmore! Set on a west-facing 1.03acre parcel that slopes towards the sea, privacy is unmatched in this lo cation just a block from the shore line of the Saanich Inlet.
4601 Seawood Terrace
SE Gordon Head - $1,955,000
Executive west coast contempo rary home in Gordon Head with stunning ocean views. Originally designed in the 1970’s this 6 bed room home has been renovated to a contemporary standard.
1455 Clifford Street
VI Fairfield West - $2,465,000
A stunning contemporary home in the heart of Fairfield. This bright and luxurious 2019 built modern farm house sits proudly on a quiet treelined street in one of Victoria’s most walkable communities.
18-2229 Graduation Place
SE Arbutus - $1,050,000
The perfect downsize option in one of Saanich’s most welcoming sea side communities. This well main tained townhome offers one level living in a quiet and well-maintained culdesac of contemporary homes.
8680 Lochside Drive
NS Bazan Bay - $925,000
A welcoming mid-century home on a 0.62-acre parcel with ocean views in North Saanich! Minutes from Sid ney, the property offers incredible upside whether you are looking for an investment or great value.
4040 Haro Road
SE Arbutus - $1,785,000
Tucked away between Cadboro Bay and Finnerty Cove, the charm of yes teryear has been brought forward into a complete package in one of Saanich’s most serene environments.
785 Murphy Place
SE Cordova Bay - $2,099,000
An expansive executive home on a private cul-de-sac in Cordova Bay. 785 Murphy Place has room for the whole family and designer finishes throughout.
2533 Margate Avenue
OB South Oak Bay - $1,349,000
Opportunity abounds in South Oak Bay. Set in one of its most advan tageous sections, 2533 Margate is equidistant from Windsor Park, Oak Bay Marina, and VGC.
4317 Houlihan Pl., Gordon Head $1,349,000
5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
This spacious Gordon Head home awaits your design ideas! Situated on a 12800sqft lot, this main-level entry home has opportunities for a secondary suite or gar den suite! With driveway access to the backyard, this home is ideal for a 2 level 1000sqft footprint carriage house. Home features a large glass enclosed sunroom with exterior overhead motorized sun shades. The large backyard w/ greenhouse & mature trees give plenty of privacy.
684 Frayne Rd., Mill Bay $1,099,000
3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Bright,lovely & immaculate rancher with amazing OCEAN VIEWS!
Beautiful landscaping surrounds the home and there is a new patio in the private, fenced back yard. The primary bedroom has a W/I closet, and a 4 pce ensuite. A tastefully updated kitchen that is open to the family room has a bright eating area and access to an expansive deck with ocean views. A cosy, but elegant living/dining room also has ocean views. Hardwood floors, 2 gas fireplaces and skylights add to the ambiance.
5-230 Wilson St., Vic West $500,000
1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, condo
This almost new patio level flat is bright, sunny and has ev erything you need! Enjoy quality finishes such as polished concrete floors, white marble counter tops, and stainless steel appliances. A modern kitchen is open to the living, din ing room with South facing windows looking out to the large patio. Quality finishes continue in the 4-piece bathroom with granite counters, low flow toilet and tiled shower/tub combo. A South facing, good size patio adds to your living space. Pets, BBQ’s and rentals allowed!
Krista V and Mark G are a motherson team with a combined total of 17 years experience advising in the buying and selling of real es tate in the Capital Region District. Krista and Mark pride themselves on their outstanding customer service and client communication, providing the highest standard of service to their clients regardless of price point. Every listing is treated with premium services, high quality photography, video or 3D tour, and and high quality glossy brochures. The goal of the team is to put every listing in the best possible light to get as many buyers through the home as possible, living in a digital world the online presence of listings
so important to make a lasting first impression on buyers.
All about appies
Nosh and nibble while you mix and mingleWORDS ELLIE SHORTT X PHOTOGRAPHY DON DENTON
The world is opening up again. After a two-year slumber, we are rubbing weary eyes and opening them to bright and sparkling merriments filled with family, friends and food. We are once again embracing loved ones at jubilant gatherings and clinking glasses at long-awaited celebrations. Birthdays, baby showers, engagement parties and weddings are finally finding space in our social calendars. You may, in fact, as the benefactor of one of these festivities, be feeling a wee bit rusty following such a lengthy hosting hiatus. What to wear? How to decorate? How to have natural-feel ing and normal-sounding conversations
fellow humans again?
Unique, contemporary Canadian artworks Painting Sculpture Photography
130 - 430 Campbell Street, Toﬁno www.ToﬁnoGalleryofContemporaryArt.com
Three unique, artful vacation rental homes at Chesterman Beach.
130 - 430 Campbell Street, Toﬁno www.ToﬁnoBeachCollective.com
While I can’t help you with any of those quandaries, I do have some suggestions on my personal favourite part of a party—the food!
Depending on the venue, vibe, guest list and goals, you might be considering a sit-down dinner or a more casual cocktail-style soiree. Today I’m here to make a case for the latter. If planned optimally and prepped appropriately, a finger-food affair can offer greater ease for the host, and a more manageable mix-and-mingle environment for the guests.
You can take many of your most loved dishes and craftily convert them to bite-sized offerings, which will rest beautifully on a platter, waiting dutifully for guests to help themselves. A stack of napkins and perhaps a few aesthetically pleasing buckets in which to discard used vessels are all you really need by their side, and after all your hard work in the days prior, you—dare I say it— can actually enjoy the party yourself (gasp!). Make as much as you can ahead of time and save any necessary last-minute assembly for day-of duties. If it doesn’t feel too fussy (or confusing for guests), I may even suggest labelling your discard buckets if you’re wanting faster cleanup and easier sorting of food scraps, recyclables and dishware.
Speaking of dishware: I find when serving appies, it can be frustrating for guests if the dishes are too messy. No one wants to scoop up some slop with the palm of their hand, frantically slurp it up, dumping dribble all down their silk dress or nice white shirt. No one! And yes, I speak from embarrassing experience. Instead, a neat, tidy and inventive vessel can not only provide a safe serving option, but an aesthetically pleasing!
PUT IT IN A BUN
Everything tastes better wrapped in carbs. Fact. And a fluffy little bun is no exception! Slider buns are easy enough to find, but if you’re feeling particularly unstoppable you can make your own. Personally, when hosting an event I want to minimize the busy work (you have enough to do already) and recommend sourcing slider buns from your grocery store, or even contacting your favourite local baker to see what they have on offer. Either way, you’ll want some thing light and soft (think brioche texture) for maximum eating ease.
Some of my favourite things to serve in a bun include pulled pork sliders with creamy crunchy coleslaw, crispy fried chicken sliders with homemade spicy pickles, or even just classic beef burgers with aged cheddar and bacon jam.
PUT IT ON A STICK
One of my favourite party tricks is taking my most beloved salad-du-jour and putting it on a skewer. Pear, brie and baby kale on a skewer is always a crowd pleaser; fig, prosciutto and arugula is an elegant and eye-catching choice; or simply go with the ultimate classic of cherry tomatoes, bocconcini and basil for a deconstructed caprese. All of which, I might add, go wonderfully with a balsamic reduction drizzle.
PUT IT IN A CUP
Take some soup. Put it in a very small mug. Place something bready across the rim. I promise your guests will thank you. It’s cute, Pinterest-able and Insta-worthy, but also just really delicious and satisfying. I mean, who doesn’t love a warming shot of soup and a hearty something to dip in it?
And of course, if you’re hosting a party in the summer months, you can easily do this with a chilled soup like zucchini gazpacho with some focaccia. For something a bit more fall and winter ap propriate, I suggest a classic butternut squash soup with some rustic sourdough or a soul-soothing tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich slice.
PUT IT IN A SPOON
Something meaty or hearty on something saucy or creamy. It’s a good starting point for constructing your stuff-on-spoon creation. Think Greek-style lamb meatballs on tzatziki, pan-seared scallops on minty smashed peas or crispy roast cauliflower on baba ganoush. Then give it some a colourful zip with a garnish of fresh herbs or microgreens.
PUT IT IN A TART SHELL
Everything and anything can go in a tart shell and taste delicious. Sweet, savoury, rustic or elegant, there’s nowhere you can’t go (and no one you can’t please) with stuff in a flaky crust. Most of all, it can be completely and entirely make-ahead friendly, whereby all you really need to do is warm it (if need be), plate it, add garnish and serve. No mess. No fuss. No extra dishes to wash. Just bite-sized brilliance!
And don’t overthink it. A micro quiche with caramelized onion and goat cheese is always a winner, as is a classic herb and mush room tartlet. Even beloved pies like pumpkin or apple lend well to the mini-tart-shell option.
Of course these are simply a few of many suggestions. Jars, cones (both paper and edible), wraps and even shot glasses all lend well to a mix, mingle, nibble and nosh sort of do. When in doubt, think of some favourite foods and imagine how you could make them mini, bite-sized, finger-friendly or hand-held and hopefully not too messy. And if guests leave with sauced dribbled down their chins and onto their outfits?
Well, like wine spills on a tablecloth, I say it’s a sign of a good time.
If planned optimally and prepped appropriately, a fingerfood affair can offer greater ease for the host, and a more manageable mix-andmingle environment for the guests.
Licenced Realtor, Pemberton Holmes Gautam Arora Personal
Pan-Seared Scallops with Minty Pea Puree
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes 12 canape spoons
12 medium-sized scallops
¼ to 1⁄3 cup unsalted butter, divided 2 cups water
2 cups frozen peas, defrosted ¼ cup fresh mint leaves (plus extra for garnish) Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Add the water to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add the peas, fresh mint and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat and simmer until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the peas and mint in a colander. Transfer to a food processor, add about 3-4 tbsp of butter and purée. Slowly add the olive oil until you’ve reached your desired texture, either chunky or a smooth paste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside, or transfer to an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to one week.
When you’re ready to serve, heat a large pan on high and melt 1-2 tbsp of butter. Turn the heat down
to medium and place as many scallops as can fit (you may need to do this in batches), flat side down, allowing for some space between them. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and flip to the other flat side once one side is just beginning to get golden brown. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper and cook for a couple more minutes until slightly golden brown on both sides and cooked through.
Transfer to a plate to cool. When ready to plate, smear a small amount (1 tbsp) of pea puree into a deep canape spoon. Place a scallop on top, garnish with mint and serve.
Maple Balsamic Bacon Jam
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Makes about 1 cup of bacon jam
g thick cut bacon
large sweet onion, chopped
cup maple syrup
cup strong brewed coffee (I used decaf espresso)
tbsp balsamic vinegar
Cut the bacon into half-inch slices and add to a large frying pan (don’t worry if the bacon pieces stick together; they will come apart as they cook). Sauté on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the bacon is cooked but still chewy (a few crispy bits are okay). Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan. Pour out all but 1 tbsp of the bacon drippings. Add the onions to the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes, and then reduce the heat to low. Add the maple syrup and continue to sauté until the onions have caramelized, about 20 minutes.
Add the reserved bacon and coffee and increase the heat to me dium. Continue to cook, stirring about every five minutes, until it’s thick and jam-like (about 30 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the balsamic. Taste for seasoning and salt, if necessary.
Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. Bring back to room temperature before serving (there will be little spots of white fat when you take it out of the fridge, but as the jam comes to room temperature, these will disappear).
here served in beef sliders made with mini brioche buns, aioli, arugula, and aged cheddar.
1 cup balsamic vinegar
Add the vinegar to a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often, until thick and re duced, about 15 minutes. The timing will depend on your desired thickness (the balsamic will also thicken as it cools). Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.
Comprehensive Aesthetic Care,
Herb and Mushroom Tartlets
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes about 24 tartlets
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large leeks, trimmed/peeled and thinly sliced
1 lb mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
½ cup Parmesan, grated
1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed as per instructions
Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occa sionally until soft. Stir in the mushrooms, add a bit of salt (about 1/4 tsp) and pepper (about 1/8 tsp), and cook together until the mushrooms are soft (5 minutes). Stir in the herbs and cook together until fragrant (2 more minutes). Turn off the heat and set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry until it is about doubled in size. Using a 2- or 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut the pastry into rounds, and fit them gently into a non-stick mini muffin pan. Repeat with a second pan if needed.
In a medium bowl combine the egg, Parmesan and mushroom mixture. Spoon it into the prepared pastry. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan and then serve immediately.
*Note: While best served immediately, store tartlets in an airtight container in the fridge and reheat in a 350 F oven for 5-7 minutes.
Roasted Tomato Soup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Makes 6-12 mini mugs (depending on their size)
3 pounds tomatoes (e.g. roma or plum), cut in half or quarters 6 cloves garlic, peeled 3 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
¼ cup olive oil, divided 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced ½ cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 tbsp fresh oregano (or 1-2 tsp dried) ½ cup broth, depending on how thick you like it *Note: you can also use cream (e.g. coconut, regular heavy cream) for a richer flavour. I personally like to do half broth, half cream. Optional garnishes include fresh basil, oregano, grated Parmesan, chili flakes, etc.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place tomatoes and garlic cloves on the baking sheet and drizzle liberally with olive oil (about 2 tbsp). Generously season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
While the tomatoes are roasting, heat a large pan on medium and add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally and checking every few minutes until it is translucent and golden (20 minutes). Once tomatoes and garlic are done roasting, allow them to cool slightly before combining them in a food processor
with the basil, oregano, onions and broth/cream. Blend on high until smooth. Transfer back to the pot, turn to medium-low heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Where culture and adventure collide
the rich and wonderful Chiapas, Mexico
We’ve made our way along the river by jumping off ledges and letting the current carry us from one rocky outcropping to the next, where we climb out and joyfully jump in again.
The more daring among us jump or dive from the tops of water falls as high as seven metres into the frothy water below.
Now, we follow Ángel’s instructions and hold hands to keep our balance as the current pushes against our legs. When Ángel tells us to open our eyes, we let out a collective gasp.
We’re standing near the brink of a spectacular waterfall. Just metres away, water surges over a wide limestone lip and plunges 60 metres, replenishing the natural turquoise pools below.
This tour with Las 3 Tzimoleras takes place on just the second day of our week-long adventure in Chiapas, but I’m already en thralled with a state that’s so different from the picture of Mexico I carry in my head.
Instead of basking on beaches, listening to canned music and hearing mostly English spoken at a resort favoured by foreigners, I’ll be exploring rivers, listening to live music and practising my mini mal Spanish with locals in some of the oldest towns in Mexico.
And because we’re here in December, we also get to see how Mexicans in Chiapas celebrate Christmas.
Our first evening we’re in Comitán, a pueblo magico close to Mexico’s border with Guatemala. The town square is ablaze with colour. People arrive on foot, walking under an archway of stars and pausing to have their photos taken next to rearing reindeer or from inside enormous baubles.
A large Christmas tree wrapped in red ribbons dominates one corner of the square while the Spanish colonial town hall sparkles with columns of light. A marimba orchestra—with trumpets, drums and, of course, a marimba (a type of xylophone) —plays Cum bia-style music, a genre quintessential to Mexico.
The marimba is thought to have been brought to the new world from Africa by slaves. Today, it’s heard throughout southern Mexico, but Chiapas is known for its ensembles that combine two or three marimbas with other instruments.
Instead of basking on beaches, listening to canned music and hearing mostly English spoken at a resort favoured by foreigners, I’ll be exploring rivers, listening to live music and practising my minimal Spanish with locals in some of the oldest towns in Mexico.
We stop to watch as couples dance to “Cómo te voy a olvidar” (How can I forget you?), a peppy piece that makes me want to join them.
And so our week unfolds, as we explore a different landscape each day, enjoying distinctive Chiapan culture each night.
Because the geography is so varied, our adventures range from a relaxing boat ride through the Sumidero Canyon—where vertical walls soar a thousand metres overhead—to a walk that takes us to Zinacantán, a Tzotzil Mayan village in the highlands, where we lunch with a family and watch women weave at traditional looms.
One day, we ride horseback to the town of San Juan Chamula, another Tzotzil community, where the church of St. John the Baptist resembles a Mayan temple. Inside, thousands of candles flicker in the dark and incense perfumes the air. People sit on the floor—there are no pews—and perform various rituals, including animal sacrifice.
We watch in astonishment as a young woman silently strangles a chicken, its legs twitching from the top of a bag she’s holding it in, while her children sit beside her drinking from a bottle of Coca-Cola.
“They come to the temple when they have a problem,” our guide, Ramses Borraz Balinas, explained later. “It could be some one is sick, your sheep are sick, maybe you have a bad neighbour.”
Drinking coke, which causes burping, facilitates the release of evil spirits, he added.
If San Juan Chamula feels a little dark and oppressive, the town of Chiapa de Corzo is bright and joyful. Christmas celebrations begin the evening we arrive with the lighting of the tree in the main square. Afterwards, the crowd gathers around an orchestra including a couple of marimbas, each played by four men using long-handled mallets.
Two special guests stand head and shoulders above everyone
Oceanfront Resort Sooke
else in the crowd. They’re mojigangas—giant puppets with expressive faces on heads made from papier-mâché. One is a buxom brunette in a skirt, the other a man wearing a red checked shirt and black pants. They bounce to the beat of the music, their cloth arms swinging freely. Mojigangas were brought from Spain by colonizers in the 17th century or earlier.
Back at our hotel, La Ceiba, more entertainment awaits. The owner wants to give us a taste of the Great Feast, a festival held every year from January 4 to 23. It recalls the legend of a wealthy Spanish woman who arrived in the 17th century in search of a cure for her sick son. Local men dressed up as pale-faced Spaniards and danced “para el chico” (for the boy). Miraculously, the boy was healed.
Today, male dancers—parachicos—wear wooden masks with blue or green eyes and bristly blonde wigs along with striped ponchos. Accompanied by musicians, they shake chinchines (maracas) and dance in honour of three Roman Catholic saints. Women are even more colourfully dressed, wearing full, flouncy skirts and blouses made from satin and embroidered with flowers.
Over dinner, which includes soup flavoured with chipilin, a wild herb that’s popular in Chiapas, we’re treated to an authentic musical performance. In 2010, UNESCO recognized the dance of the parachicos as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Even though you can see men dressed as parachicos elsewhere in Chiapas, the Great Feast is held only here.
And that’s the thing about traveling off the beaten track. You never know what you’re going to find, but whatever it is, it’ll be like nowhere else.
For more information, go to visitchiapas.com/en
secrets and lives — AND THE 7 SINS WITH JESSICA ERION
hen Jessica Erion opened Laser Vantage Skin Solutions in the summer of 2016, she was driven by three values: beauty, compassion and independence.
Living with polycystic ovarian disease, Jessica struggled with acne, scarring and unwanted hair for years, and the first time she was intro duced to laser therapy through a girlfriend in her early 20s, it was a life-altering revelation.
“It changed my life,” she says. “It gave me my confidence back.”
She came back to laser therapy religiously over the years as she worked in the retail and service sectors, travelled extensively for a decade, and graduated from the International Academy of Design & Technology in Montreal. But it was while she was on maternity leave with her first child that Jessica undertook a huge transformation.
“During my first pregnancy, I felt the need to take stock of my life, to be ruthlessly honest inwardly and outwardly,” she explains.
Reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic inspired her and gave her permission to rethink her entire life, and she began creating her dream career.
“I’d always thought if I ever redid my life, I would come back as a laser tech,” she says. “My mom really encouraged me when I had my time off. She sent me books, and told me, ‘You can do anything. You can reinvent yourself.’”
Jessica spent the latter half of her leave training and becoming certified as a laser technician, and with the help of her partner, transformed a part of their house into a private medical aesthetic laser clinic. Having her clinic in her home allowed her to offer her services at a more affordable rate than most laser clinics, and it gave her the freedom and flexibility to be at home with her two young boys when she needed it the most.
Laser Vantage Skin Solutions now has seven laser platforms, including some of the most cutting-edge technology in the industry, and Jessica is able to help clients with a wide range of cosmetic and medical challenges. And with her growing practice, she’s looking to expand in the new year to better help a wider range of clients.
“I feel like I won the lottery having these coveted treatments at my fingertips. On a daily
basis, I meet people who inspire me and are grateful for the ser vices I provide,” she says. “I wouldn’t change a thing, thanks to all those who have supported and continue to support me. This path leads to a happier, more fulfilling and magical way of life.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
I have a client who is selfless in her approach to life. She is sponsoring a whole family from Ukraine to live in a house as refugees. I admire her for putting others’ needs before her own, and I aspire to have the same generosity of spirit.
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
My absolute favourite meal—surf and turf! Paired with a beautiful patio and view, exceptional wine and fun company.
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?
If I had a million to blow, I would buy a full Louis Vuitton luggage set, followed by a designer wardrobe starting with Saint Laurent, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana, and more. Then I would plan a worldwide trip, looking good and feeling like a million bucks!
WRATH: Pet peeves?
Lack of integrity and entitled people. They make me feel exhausted, less effective and they steal my joy. Anger is an emotion I’m trying to transform into something constructive by being courageous enough to forgive and see things from their perspective.
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
A tropical beach destination with fancy drinks and stunning views, with an epic day spa to get pampered and rejuvenated. The full works: massage, facials and nails with my girlfriends and my mom!
I also love the local music festivals, and I’m excited this year for Rifflandia!
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
Hosting a great party! Planning the menu and the cocktails. We have a great backyard for entertaining! I always seem to go a little over the top.
What makes your heart beat faster?
A good shopping spree! Appreciating great design! Feeling confident and sexy after my favourite laser treatments! Real love, reckless, gritty, dangerous, justice-seeking love!
hen I got married, I naturally believed there would be children and grandchildren, even though my future hus band and I never had a serious discussion about the subject.
But there were some strong intimations. My prospective motherin-law was a faithful Irish Catholic who had given birth to eight children. And also, as I once read, the Irish have many children, not because of their religion, but because they sincerely love children.
I had definitely seen signs of this love and enchantment in my husband-to-be during our courtship. If there was a child in the room, he was down on the floor playing and engaging with him or her. On the other hand, being the youngest in both my extended families, I had little experience with babies. I did babysit but I was usually relieved if the children were in bed. What would the future bring?
After a few years of marriage, we were blessed with two children, first a boy and then a girl. We headed out on the journey of parent hood, with all its stresses and strains, good times and bad, frighten ing illnesses and the usual, varied catastrophes of family life.
But, oh, what joy, love and laughter and wonderful memories came along with us. At times, it seemed like an arduous trek with little thought of the future. But eventually, our offspring grew up and began pursuing their own hopes and dreams. We found ourselves in a new phase of family life, widely referred to as “empty nesters.”
We noticed that discussions of grandchildren entered into con versations with our peers. We started considering what our legacy would be if we were blessed with a grandchild. I enjoyed writing and had already been making attempts at a family memoir. I won dered what it would be like to hold a child of my child in my arms. But we also knew that the people in the next generation were marry ing later, if at all. Their work experiences were more diversified and it was increasingly difficult for them to afford a home. As the years passed and the biological clocks kept ticking, we tried to accept that being grandparents might not be part of our future.
One evening, as we visited with our son and his wife, they announced over dinner that they were going to have a baby. Tears welled up in our eyes and at the same time smiles appeared. Every body was hugging and crying and my husband and I ignored them when they said, “It is early days yet.”
Suddenly, our world and our future had changed. Our life had more meaning and plans had to be made. I would have to get busy on that memoir. We returned home and I started browsing for baby clothes. I parcelled up our son’s first baby gift, a cloth book, and sent it off to them because they are both book lovers. In my card I wrote, “I know it is early days but we are just so thrilled!”
At the time, a pandemic started raging across the country, and on nice days we liked to take long walks around our beautiful harbour. It was on one of these walks that our cell phone suddenly rang, and it appeared to be our son calling, which is always a welcome occurrence.
But my husband’s smile started to disappear and immediately I knew the reason for the call. “No! No!” I started sobbing with no thought to the people around me.
The call ended and we continued our walk with broken hearts and a conversation that included words like hospital, leg pain, blood clots, bleeding and ultrasounds that confirmed the terrible outcome. The words “it is early days yet” suddenly haunted us.
We returned home, poured some glasses of wine, and sat on our balcony. It was a lovely day, but our mood was mournful we as sat speechless and reflected on the new reality. We were shattered.
Suddenly, a delicate white butterfly appeared dancing in the sun like a ballerina. I’d never seen one on our balcony before. It flew around us and then alighted on my leg for a time. Eventually it fluttered off over the railing and into the distance. I imagined and then believed that this was my grandchild coming to say good -bye, and I started to gain some comfort that I had met my first grandchild. I told no one, but continued to feel some lessening of my grief.
I have recently read in reference to a different tragedy that “but terflies are said to tell us that a loved one is fine.” So even though our loved one could not stay with us, he or she will watch over us and always be part of our heart and soul. I felt at peace. My first grandchild was truly loved from the minute he/she became a part of my life.
One day, on a quiet, solitary walk I again spied a white butterfly. It flitted around me and then flew off. This happened again and I knew I was sharing my walks with my first grandchild! A feeling of serenity overcame me and I smiled.
A year has passed since that grief-stricken day and we have been blessed with our second grandchild, a beautiful baby boy, and our hearts are full of amazement and love. We are totally enthralled with this little person and spend hours cuddling, feeding, burping, rocking and sometimes just staring at this small and overwhelming miracle.
The weather is warm and sunny and one of our favourite activi ties is to take our grandson for a walk. When we return one day, I sit outside on the patio with my grandson sleeping soundly. His mother joins me to get some needed rest and enjoy the sunshine.
As I sit, basking in this peace, I am so grateful for the happiness that surrounds us. And then, I see it. In the garden not far from us, a small perfect white butterfly dancing in the fall flowers. Can it be? Our first grandchild has joined us to meet the newest member of our family. Eventually, the lovely white butterfly leaves us to our thoughts. I think about sharing my story with my daughter-in-law but do not want to break the spell. I know that one day our grand son will be playing in this garden and he will be joined in his games by a delicate white butterfly that will enchant him and fill his world with joy.
I felt at peace. My first grandchild was truly loved from the minute he/she became a part of my life.
behind the story
For Boulevard’s current “bride reimagined” fashion story, we worked with floral designer Julie Rémy, owner of Fleuris Stu dio & Blooms, who brought us the idea and concept of an unconventional bridal shoot. Her approach to the florals— in this shoot as well as in her business–is about thinking outside the box and designing with flowers in an artistic way to dare to transcend who you are. All the flowers and green ery were either grown directly in Julie’s flower garden or sourced locally from trusted growers, since she works with sustainable floral ingredients and design techniques. In planning the shoot, Julie wanted to show, playfully, how to get creative with per sonal wedding flowers, asking, “What would happen if you could reinvent your wedding florals?
Julie says, “I love when I get to create something that hasn’t been thought of before and figure out how to do it. Flowers to the floral artist are what paints are to a painter— exciting creative ingredients. When we go back to our core, our main limitations, but also our strengths and uniqueness, are our imaginations and the fragile and ephemeral nature of the flowers we work with.
Flowers come in almost in finite colours, striking shapes and lines, perfumes and tex tures to create something big, heartfelt and meaningful: a universal art form offered by nature to celebrate love and connections.”PHOTO BY LIA CROWE
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