Find your dream car at Silver Arrow Cars
“The sheer joy of spending time with five-year-old Dylan just days before Christmas inspired me to write. My goal was to have the story published as a gift for his parents the following Christmas. Time would have turned any consequences for Dylan into laughter.” Sharon comes from Nova Scotia; however, she is spending her retirement living on Vancouver Island with her husband and two dogs. She loves to write short stories about ordinary life events—her favourite is humour. Sharon also enjoys history, and has taken a long journey into her family’s past while writing her first book due to be launched in 2023, Beach Moose & Amber: Claiming My Jewish History.
VICTORIA LIFE AT ITS FINEST DECEMBER 2022 | JANUARY 2023
BOULEVARD GROUP Mario Gedicke PUBLISHER 250.891.5627 email@example.com
MANAGING EDITOR Susan Lundy
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Lia Crowe
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Lily Chan
DESIGN Michelle Gjerde Tammy Robinson
ADVERTISING Mario Gedicke Vicki ClarkSARAH D’ARCEY STYLIST REJUVENATE
“Self-care is productive and now, more than ever, people are seeking experiences and embodiment practices that help them feel more alive. In fact, according to the most famous cold-dipper Wim Hoff, plunging into cold water builds resilience, and inner strength and boosts our immune system. For this fashion story, I took the plunge and curated the fashion pieces through shape, texture and style to express both the feelings and rituals one practices when retreating to the spa.” Sarah is a celebrity fashion stylist and style curator and is known for her exceptional creativity and attention to detail.
CONTRIBUTING Angela Cowan WRITERS Lia Crowe
Lauren Kramer Laura Langston
Suzanne Morphet Joanne Peters
Devon Paige Smith Tess van Straaten Jane Zatyln y
ILLUSTRATION Sierra Lundy CONTRIBUTING Lia Crowe PHOTOGRAPHERS Don Denton Jody Beck
CIRCULATION & Marilou Pasion DISTRIBUTION 604.542.7411
“Visiting Montana felt like stepping into the set for the miniseries Yellowstone. The sheer size of the landscape, with its rolling plains, forested hills and rushing rivers, is spellbinding. Ensconced in a hot tub beneath a star-filled night sky, I felt no nostalgia for the city whatsoever!” Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Lauren writes about travel and nature from the banks of the Fraser River in Richmond, BC.
Victoria Boulevard® is a registered trademark of Black Press Group Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. Ideas and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of Black Press Group Ltd. or its affiliates; no official endorsement should be inferred. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents, both implied or assumed, of any advertisement in this publication. Printed in Canada. Canada Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement #42109519.
Tel: 250.381.3484 Fax: 250.386.2624 firstname.lastname@example.org boulevardmagazines.com
Emerge and retreat
As my colleague Lia Crowe and I discussed potential themes for this edition of Boulevard, we took a moment to laugh at our former selves. In the summer of 2020, we chose the theme “emerge” for Boulevard’s sister publica tion Tweed. Lockdown was over and surely we’d be emerging from our homes and returning to our normal lives.
But now, as I considered all the travel-related “emerging” we’d done this past summer—culminating in more than a dozen overnight guests at our home—I mused, “We should call this one ‘retreat.’”
Because, as lovely as it was to visit with all our guests, when our home was finally empty, I jumped onto my pillow fortress on the couch and said, “Here’s where you’ll find me, eating popcorn and watching hockey, if you need me this winter.”
I was ready to retreat.
After two-plus years of no overnight guests, it was a shock to suddenly have a regular stream of people landing at our doorstep, suitcases in hand. There was the couple who’d only ever visited once before; the in-laws we hadn’t seen in close to three years; the never-met-before university buddy of Bruce’s; two sets of friends from Alberta. And it all culminated in early September with a family wedding party for 175 in the front yard. On that night, we had 23 people stay with us.
(How? Well, two slept in each of three bedrooms in the house, one on the living room couch. Two crashed in a cabin on the property. Three in a tent. Three set up beds in their cars. Two slept in our VW van, two in our Delica. Two hunkered down in a bed in the back of our friend’s pickup, while he and his wife slept in their tent trailer. And, to be honest, the “sleep” portion of the night wasn’t very long, anyway.)
At the first mention of overnight guests, I envision two things: first, I see my self at my work desk, following a too-late night, where I’ve consumed one-toomany glasses of wine. Second, I see the big tangle of sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers that will need to traverse the long journey from guest bedroom to washing machine, dryer or clothesline and back.
What’s a little laundry between friends? Well, we also run a B&B in our cabin, meaning that every few days the bedding from two beds and a sofa couch lands in a massive mound beside the washing machine. The pile of bedding is surpassed only by the mountain of bath towels, hand towels, dish towels, dishcloths and facecloths sitting next to it. And, sadly, those piles don’t get themselves in and out of the washing machine by themselves.
So, my desire to retreat this winter also stems from an onslaught of summer B&B guests all “emerging” this year. Ninety-nine per cent of our B&B guests are wonderful: respectful, appreciative and tidy. But there is always the exception. There was the couple who called us at 5 am, wondering if we had black-out curtains that we could come and install on the cabin windows. (I resisted the urge to direct them to the aisle at Pharmasave where they’d find sleep masks.)
There was the California-weird guy who pestered me to help him write a memoir about soulmates; and the couple who pranked us by sliding a book on tantric sex into the bookshelf next to a book on hiking trails. It took over a week for us to discover it, no doubt raising the eyebrows of our in-the-mean time guests (among them, two elderly sisters from Saskatchewan). There was the group who one night peppered us with weird requests, and upon their departure the next morning, left a half-consumed bag of magic mushrooms.
So as delightful as most of our guests are, the last day of the B&B season in October brought with it a big, beautiful exhale. Our house, now blessedly quiet, has become a place of retreat. I’m done with emerging. My couch beckons.Susan Lundy Managing Editor
Susan Lundy is a former journalist who now works as an editor, author and freelance writer. Her latest book, Home on the Strange, was published in 2021 via Heritage House Publishing.
Green dream inBy Janice Jefferson | Modhaus Designs
Simply put, hibernation means the ability to conserve energy to survive adverse weather. Green and its various shades are in and out of vogue, but currently it’s on fire. The best thing about greens is their ability to look fabulous together—just as they do in nature. Here are my top suggestions to hibernate in style and dream in green.
1. The Aether Suspended Fireplace Heat Savers Home Comfort Ltd. *contact for price estimate 2. Far Afield Georgie Cardigan in Altitude Still Life for Him, $288
Ray Portable Table Lamp in Dusty Green Hoxton Home, $290
Deco Hex Tile in Pattern or Solid Decora Tile, $13/square foot
Lilies Crew 6089 Footloose Shoes, $31
Fur City Boot GANNI Bernstein & Gold, $395
Movie Colony by Andrea Soos Gallery Merrick, $1,200
Wilkes Armchair by Herman Miller Gabriel Ross, $2,119
Oak Quilt Smoking Lily $590 to $625
Emerald Peacock Wallpaper by Rifle Paper Co. Design District *contact for pricing
Le Creuset Round French Oven in Artichoke Penna & Co. Kitchen and Giftwares *prices vary with size
Mint Drinking Chocolate Belle General, $32
Saga Cast Iron Tea Pot in Honeydew Public Mercantile, $80
life.style.etc.CURTIS PELLETIER, PERFORMANCE COACH WORDS + PHOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE
What gets Curtis Pelletier fired up in his work as a perfor mance coach?
"Seeing others succeed,” he answers. Curtis was a professional baseball player, whose career ended early due to injury. He moved straight into coaching at the age of 24.
“I have been a coach, GM and scout for multiple teams over the past 17 years in professional, collegiate and international baseball,” he says. “Working with high-performance athletes and teams has allowed me to transition seamlessly to working with high-performance professionals and businesses. The similarities between sport and business are fascinating to me and ones that I like to share with my clients.”
Since he is the father of three daughters, it’s no surprise that outside of work Curtis’s passion lies in his family: “My wife and daughters are my world,” he says.
But the best life lesson he has learned is self-care: “To love myself and take care of myself first. If I'm not right, no one in my life gets the best version of me.”
Good style to Curtis is whatever makes someone feel good, and asked to describe his personal style, he says quite simply, “Clean.”
STYLE INSPIRATIONS & LIFE
Style icon: David Beckham.
Favourite artist: Michael Levin.
Piece of art: "The Son of Man" by René Magritte.
Favourite fashion designer or brand: Tom Ford.
Favourite musician: The Tragically Hip.
Era of time that inspires your style: Today.
Film or TV show that inspires your style or that you just love the style of: Succession
Favourite local restaurant: Brasserie L’Ecole.
Album on current rotation: Dave Matthews Live in Central Park
Favourite city to visit: Austin, Texas.
Favourite hotel: Pacific Rim.
Favourite app: Slack.
Favourite place in the whole world: Wherever my girls are.
Uniform: Jeans, T-shirt, jacket.
Favourite denim, brand and cut: Denham skinny.
Current go-to clothing item: Shacket. Currently coveting: A leather jacket.
Favourite pair of shoes: Stan Smiths.
Best new purchase: Plaid pea coat. Accessory you spend the most money on: Watches.
Favourite work tool: iPad.
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban, Tom Ford, Persol. Scent: Tom Ford Ombre Leather.
Necessary indulgence: Nice pens. Favourite skincare product: SkinCeuticals. Favourite hair product: Victory Claymore.
Fave print magazine: Success and GQ
Coffee table book/photography book: Annie Leibovitz/Tom Ford.
Last great read: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
Book currently reading: The Big Book of Saban: The Philosophy, Strategy & Leadership Style of Nick Saban by Alex Kirby.
Favourite book of all time: Moneyball: The Art of Winning An Unfair Game by Michael Lewis.
Dina Stuehler is proof that casual conversa tions with friends over coffee can lead to successful and satisfying careers. Providing, that is, you have Dina’s dedication and drive.
“As a teen, I loved cafés,” Dina says. “I’d spend a lot of time in them drinking coffee with friends, and I’d always say, wouldn’t it be great to own a place like this.”
After eight years of working on cruise ships and travelling the world, Dina was ready to return to the island and turn her teenage dream into reality. So, in March 2018, she opened Ironworks Café and Crêperie in Ladysmith. That was quickly followed by her Dun can location in November of 2019, the Nanaimo Ironworks Café and Crêperie location in December 2020, and in January 2022, the Ironworks Café and Crêperie in Port Alberni.
Named in honour of the iron griddles on the crepe pan, all four Ironworks locations offer locally roasted, high-quality coffee and sweet or savoury crepes made from scratch, many of which can be tweaked to suit a variety of dietary preferences. Dina’s goal in opening her cafes was clear: to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere where people could come any time to enjoy coffee and crepes.
It was important to her that people feel as relaxed in her cafés as they would feel at home. This is key because Dina believes that offering delicious food and fantastic coffee is only part of creating a friendly and hospitable ambiance. She also recognizes quality ingre dients prepared with care are important too. And as a lover of both coffee and crepes, she wanted to offer the best of both.
“During my travels, I visited coffee plantations in Indonesia, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, and that deepened my appreciation for the work involved in producing a good cup of coffee,” she says. “But it was travelling through Italy that fine-tuned things for me because the Italians really know how to make a good cup of coffee.”
That influence led Dina to exclusively offer Caffé Umbria artisan coffee at all Ironworks locations.
“It’s an Italian medium roast, although we offer dark roast as an option,” she says. “We get a lot of compliments on our coffee.”
Because Dina grew up in a Dutch household where crepes were a weekend tradition, pairing crepes with coffee was a natural choice.
“As a kid, after my mother taught me how to make crepes, I took over the crepe-making tradition at home,” she explains. “I’d get crazy with a pile of different combinations, but almost always a fruit filling and maple syrup or something with Nutella.”
She laughs, “I was addicted to banana Nutella crepes.”
Even today, when asked to pick her favourite sweet crepe on the menu, Dina opts for the decadent Caribbean Dream—sliced bananas with Nutella topped with cream cheese icing and toasted coconut.
Ironically, it was only when Dina decided to open her creperie that she tasted a savoury crepe for the first time, subsequently devel oping an appreciation for them as well. Her current favourite on the savoury side is the spinach, artichoke and Brie crepe.
“It’s such a complement of flavours: the earthiness of the arti choke combined with the saltiness of the Brie and the fresh green of
Structural Engineers serving Greater Victoria & the Gulf Islands
the spinach, topped with a maple sauce and Parmesan cheese. It’s a real culinary experience of flavours.”
Having a culinary experience at Ironworks is easy, even for those with specific dietary needs or restrictions, because Dina strives to be inclusive.
“I’ll make as many different changes as necessary to accom modate as many people as possible,” she says. “I see it as an opportunity.”
For instance, when one of her team members started a keto diet, Dina created menu options for her, and took the opportunity to offer the same keto options to her customers. Today, patrons
“As a kid, after my mother taught me how to make crepes, I took over the crepemaking tradition at home.
I’d get crazy with a pile of different combinations, but almost always a fruit filling and maple syrup or something with Nutella.”
can choose from a variety of crepe batters (original Belgian; glu ten-free buckwheat; whole wheat vegan; or coconut almond keto) and many filling options too.
Many of the 13 sweet crepes on the menu can be made vegan with everything from a house-made vegan chocolate sauce to coconut whipping cream. The eight savoury crepes benefit from the same flexibility with various vegan cheese, yogurt and milk options.
Regardless of how Ironworks customers choose to tweak their crepes (or not!), the consistent top sellers across all four locations are the breakfast crepe, the Mexican breakfast crepe and the four-berry crepe. The monthly feature crepes are also popular, ranging from
sweet pumpkin spice crepe and savoury turkey dinner crepe in the fall to spring offerings like the savoury smoked salmon, shrimp and Swiss cheese crepe and the sweet fresh strawberry and tart lemon curd crepe.
While Dina is considering the possibility of franchising down the road, her primary goals centre on her existing locations.
“I’m working on a renovation in Ladysmith to increase the patio and overall size,” she says. “And most of all, I’m focusing on making each of my four locations the best they can be for our team members and for our customers. Above all, we want to create memorable experiences for everyone.”
Joy of food
Healing a broken relationshipWORDS KAISHA SCOFIELD
it’s that time again—the end of year holiday mania!
It starts with Thanksgiving, then Halloween, Hanukkah, Christ mas, New Year’s and so many more big cultural celebrations. Each holiday is more exciting than the next and packed full of elaborate celebrations, beautiful traditions and a veritable parade of stunning food.
This is also, however, the time of year where our social media feed fills up with guilt memes offering calculations on how many burpees equal a mini KitKat bar, how to “burn off” your Thanks giving turkey feast by running a half marathon, or even how to “hack” your way to the “perfect” fat-free gravy.
Yuck! Don’t get me wrong, I love a turkey-day marathon as much as the next person, but doesn’t the idea of having to burn off mini candy bars or feeling shame for enjoying aunt Betty’s mashed potatoes take all of the fun out of everything? And while we’re at it, I have questions for the mathematician who calculated the KitKat to burpee ratios.
Do the holidays always have to be fraught with guilt and pun ishment? The food-guilt-exercise trifecta isn’t new, but it is likely to continue as long as we keep falling for it. To be fair, it is a brilliant marketing tactic that ensures we are in a constant state of fear when it comes to food consumption. By the numbers, it makes
It is possible to break away from these challenging patterns and heal our relationship with food, liberating our digestion and mental health. All it takes is ignoring the damaging messaging from the diet industry and actually connecting to and appreciating your food.
perfect sense: as long as eating is demonized and categorized, we will continue to consume diet advice and products from the “experts,” as well as the companies who are doing the demoniz ing and categorizing.
I dare say, this billion-dollar industry has us figured out. By falling for this marketing, we are creating a two-fold problem. The guilt from “indulging” causes us, the consumer, to feel guilty about eating anything, which often leads to undernour ishment, and then leads to binging. The resulting post-binge guilt drives us immediately to diet products, cleanses and supplements. This activity can disrupt our digestive processes, causing bloating, indigestion, reflux, et cetera.
We often attribute digestive problems to the fact that we have just had a large, indulgent, “sinful” meal, which leads back to diet products, cleanses and supplements.
It’s a vicious cycle. Thanks to our twisted marketing system, eating has become controversial. Certain foods are “clean” and others are “junk.” Enjoying your food too much is gluttony, but not eating enough is also a red flag. Cultural food is okay but only if it fits into a certain macronutrient profile or can be remade in a “skinny” version.
If you are a woman, the rules are even more rigid. Basically, if you’re not eating an açai smoothie bowl perched on a yoga mat at the edge of a pristine sandy beach, you’re doing it all wrong.
The digestive process is complex to the point of being an almost magical bodily system. It involves a symphony of welltimed actions and a masterful mix of bodily chemistry. Even the simple act of thinking about or smelling food signals glands in our mouths to release salivary amylase, also known as saliva. This is the first step in the digestive process and it ensures that, as soon as food hits your tongue, it starts to digest. However, when a meal is consumed in a state of stress, anxiety, distraction or fear, the whole process is disrupted.
Because the digestive process is such a delicate and complex system, a dysfunction in one area can quickly set off a cascade of problems down the chain. For example, the insufficient
saliva due to stress can mean that food is improperly broken down before it reaches the stomach. When you chew your food it is mashed into what is called a bolus (not the sexiest name, I admit). If this bolus enters the stomach without being sufficiently mixed with the saliva during the chewing process, the acid in the stomach is unable to fully penetrate the particles of food before they are sent to the small intestine. This upsets the next phase of delicately balanced digestive chemistry, when it is passed on through the large intestine, and the nutrients in the food are sup posed to be absorbed and filtered through to the bloodstream.
This food, having been unsuccessfully broken down through out the previous digestive stages, resists the body’s attempts to fully extract the nutrients. Finally, whatever is left over is consid ered indigestible and sent to the end of the line. I think we’ll skip that part and just say, this too can be problematic.
So a seemingly small salivary disruption at the beginning of the process creates a chain reaction that, if repeated over time, can lead to a whole host of digestive issues, such dysbiosis as in the small intestine, leaky gut in the large intestine, nutrient deple tion from lack of absorption and even irritable bowel syndrome.
It is possible to break away from these challenging patterns and heal our relationship with food, liberating our digestion and mental health. All it takes is ignoring the damaging mes saging from the diet industry and actually connecting to and appreciating your food. This practice takes time and attention but eventually, by slowing down and respecting your food, the body is better able to respond to satiety signals, often leading to more appropriate meal sizes, better digestion and longer-lasting satisfaction.
Consider taking yourself out for a beautiful meal. Take your time to find exactly what you want instead of what you think you “should” have. Enjoy the aromas and colours of your food. Truly taste and savour each bite. Or, set yourself up at home with a beautiful plate of food that you have thoughtfully prepared. Light a candle, put on some music, connect with your meal and thank yourself for nourishing your body. Find joy in food again.
Creating content for content creators
Jared Vandermeer has amassed over a million followers in the past yearPHOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE
ull-time professional content creator”—it’s a title Jared Vandermeer is still getting used to. But it’s one that’s quite fitting after he spent the last year fully immersed in creat ing content for his social channels.
“It’s definitely been a whirlwind,” says Jared, who in the last year has gained over a million followers, posted over 700 videos and has a combined billion views across social media platforms—with much of that content filmed right here on Vancouver Island.
“Moving to the island was the best decision I made, I’ve never looked back,” Jared says. “Being here has been such a huge part of me getting to where I am today.”
Jared, who grew up in Edmonton and started a marketing agency there, had no plans on leaving Alberta—until the pan demic hit.
“COVID-19 was really the catalyst,” he explains. “Before the pandemic I spent most of my time working with clients at the agency and I had my day-to-day routine. When the pandemic hit, and a lot of my restaurant clients, in particular, really pulled back on a lot of their projects, I had time and space to refocus my creativity.”
After he made the move to southern Vancouver Island, and while COVID-19 was keeping most people close to home, Jared started exploring more content creation locally.
“At the beginning, more than anything, creating content for my social channels got me out walking, got me out of the house,” he laughs, adding that exploring local nooks and cran nies is what really got his creative juices flowing.
“I had the inspiration of the island right here in front of me. The water, the ocean, the forest. Just being able to go for walks every day and not having snow on the ground for five or six months, it was all new. There’s no interruption to the inspiration here.”
“I make sure I’m posting every day, at least once a day. That was a shift for me. I realized I really had to commit to it.”
And Jared has many favourite spots on the island to dial in his creativity.
“The inner harbour in downtown Victoria is great—it’s just so vibrant and there are so many different people down there, different types of architecture, great scenery. I also love getting out on trails, and down to beaches all over the island.”
And asked if he misses the snow, he laughs, as most islanders would: “Absolutely not.”
With a background and wealth of experience in marketing, it was no surprise that Jared’s content began to hone in on a specific subject matter and audience in the last year.
“My passion has become teaching people how to create content and create a brand without any major investment. My mission is to show other creators and businesses that they can be successful by creating content with only a phone or camera, some dedication and some creativity,” Jared explains. “I was tired of all the shortcuts and latest trends, and I wanted to focus on the things I knew really worked for me, and this is where I ended up.”
On his channels, much of his content relates to photography, and showing his followers tips and tricks for better and more creative picture-making on both digital SLR cameras and iPhones. He also shows his followers how to edit creative video content for Instagram and TikTok, and he gives his followers ideas for compelling product photography.
More than anything, Jared says, it’s the type of content he enjoys creating most.
“Showing people how to take cool photos and make neat videos is fun for me. And I know if I’m having fun, the content I’m creat ing does well.”
Jared believes that’s where a lot of burgeoning creators go wrong: “They feel like they have to jump on the latest trends or try to film content that’s popular but maybe isn’t of interest to them. And the audience can always tell if your heart isn’t in it. As long as you’re having fun creating, your niche and your audience will eventually evolve. It’s a natural process.”
Along with having fun, Jared attributes his growth over the last
“I had the inspiration of the island right here in front of me. The water, the ocean, the forest. Just being able to go for walks every day and not having snow on the ground for five or six months, it was all new. There’s no interruption to the inspiration here.”
year to seriously committing to content creation—to filming it, editing it and posting it.
“I make sure I’m posting every day, at least once a day. That was a shift for me. I realized I really had to commit to it. I also film and edit content almost every day. It’s more than a full-time job.”
So, what lies ahead for someone who is now a fulltime professional content creator?
“I’m going to stay true to the audience that’s gotten me to where I am today—that’s important to me. I want to bring my content to a new level while I contin ue to show people that content creation is accessible to everyone and that you can do some incredible things with just the phone in your hand.”
You can find Jared on Instagram @jared_vander meer, on TikTok @jared.vandermeer and on You Tube: JaredVanderMeer.
JARED’S SIMPLE TIPS FOR CONTENT CREATION SUCCESS:
• Commit—make time for content creation and take it seriously.
• Plan for quantity—post at least once a day, twice if you can.
• Take risks—post everything, even if you don’t think it will do well (often, that’s the content that ends up surprising you).
• Don’t overthink it—planning too much is a content killer, because the content starts to feel unauthentic. Hone in on an idea and run with it.
• Most of all, have fun with the content you’re creating. Your followers can tell.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” ~ Elf, Will Ferrell ...and Happy New Year from all of us at Trillium Communities.
Life enjoyed your way.WORDS JOANNE PETERS
histler Blackcomb is well known the world over for its epic, extensive terrain. The powdery winter playground makes skiers and snowboarders believe they really have reached seventh heaven. But there’s another side to the village of Whis tler, and the secret is starting to get out: with a vast menu of dining experiences, it has become as much a draw for food lovers as it has for powder-hounds.
Some of the earliest restaurants to open in Whistler are iconic today. There’s the upscale Rimrock Café, which has been specializing in fish and game since it opened in 1987, and Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar, a farm-to-table restaurant launched in 1981 by Jack Evrensel (who named it after his wife) that’s now owned by the Aquilini family’s Toptable Group.
Whether brand-new or well-established, upscale or casual, several other restaurants are elevating Whis tler’s culinary offerings to glacier-level heights.
The latest addition to the local scene is one of the most exciting and anticipated restaurants in all of BC. Wild Blue Restaurant + Bar comes from a team of industry superstars, including Evrensel, a BC
“With a vast menu of dining experiences, Whistler has become as much a draw for food lovers as it has for powder-hounds.”
Restaurant Hall of Fame inductee. At Wild Blue, he’s joined forces with classically trained chef Alex Chen, an Iron Chef Canada champion with numerous other honours to his name, and veteran restaurant director Neil Henderson.
The room is elegant but warm and comfortable, with a refined but approachable style that’s reflected on the menu. Executed at the highest level by executive chef Derek Bendig, the dishes favour substance and purity of flavours, not un recognizable ingredients or esoteric techniques.
Wild Blue’s focus is on food from the ocean—think oysters, geoduck and littleneck clams, kelp, seaweed, caviar, halibut, sablefish, salmon, prawns—and, to a lesser degree, the land, with items like foraged wild mushrooms, Pemberton organic produce, Alberta elk and Japanese A5 Wagyu beef. Bar manager Zack Lavoie’s cocktails are a draw (try the French 75-inspired Beretta, with limoncello, citron vodka, Italian herbs, lemon and Prosecco), while wine director Chris Edens offers thoughtful, playful pairings to make a meal a multilay ered experience.
“Experiential” is an apt descriptor for a visit to Bearfoot Bistro, a Whistler classic helmed by award-winning chef Melissa Craig. Discerning diners can order premium BC seafood and wild game, as well as discover coveted global ingredients ranging from Wagyu beef to Périgord truffles. This is also where guests can rest their glass of Champagne along a pewter bar’s rail of ice so it stays perfectly chilled, or try a hand at sabering a bottle of bubbles.
Then there’s the dazzling Ketel One Ice Room, where people can pop into sub-zero temperatures to sip on a flight of four vodkas. The walls are literally made of ice, and the bistro provides parkas to keep guests warm for the coolest tasting in town.
If there are chefs and then there are culinary artists, Nick Cassettari falls into the latter camp, coming up with daring, creative dishes at Alta Bistro. The menu is ever-changing, in keeping with its focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, but count on finding inventive takes on everything from elk tartare and tuna crudo to glorious boards of cheeses and cured meats. Winter visitors might find cassoulet and tourtière on the menu. Also making appearances when the time is right are spruce and fir tips, wood ear mushrooms, elderflower, and pickled everything.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler is a must-experience, with its unbeatable views and location at the base of Black comb Mountain, and its four on-site restaurants. The intimate Grill Room prioritizes chops, steak and seafood. The Wildflower offers refined family-friendly dining, offering everything from an alpine breakfast buffet to à la carte dinner entrees such as beeswax-aged Fraser Valley duck and crispy-skinned king salmon. The Mallard Lounge is quintessential Fairmont—sumptuous chairs, a soaring ceiling, a commanding fireplace, excellent cocktails and topnotch shareable plates. There’s a vast selection of Scotch, too.
Portobello’s casual counter-style service, meanwhile, belies one of the most well-executed menus in town, which stands out for a few reasons: there’s the decadent waffle selection (from berries to butter milk-fried chicken); meats cooked to juicy perfection in a rotisserie oven, including a hard-to-find, perfectly crackly, consistently excel lent porchetta; and house-made pastries, muffins and doughnuts.
Over at Four Seasons Whistler Resort and Residences, the newly renovated Sidecut Steakhouse, with its magnificent central fireplace, excels at premium, perfectly cooked meats and a level of superlative service for which the hotel name is known. Goa-born executive chef
Sajish Kumar Das has curated selections that range from Wagyu Black Label flat iron steak from Idaho’s Snake River Farms, to High River, Alberta’s Chateaubriand centre-cut tenderloin. Guests can enhance any of the steaks with one of Sidecut’s signature rubs, like the zesty Sergeant Pepper. A stop in at the adjacent Braidwood Tavern is where adults can enjoy spiked hot chocolates from around the world.
An altogether different culinary journey happens at the unfussy Barn Nork Aharn Thai. The newish restaurant is tiny, but takeout is an option, and it has quickly won over locals with items such as
Brand-new or well-established, upscale or casual, restaurants are elevating Whistler’s culinary offerings to glacier-level heights.
pad thai, beef massaman curry with roasted Pemberton potatoes, hand-made spring rolls, and gang kiew waan (spicy green curry with eggplant, Thai basil and bell pepper).
Sushi Village Japanese Restaurant has long been a Whistler favourite among locals and visitors alike. Opened in 1985, it’s a go-to spot for birthdays and a must-visit eatery for touring pro skiers and boarders. Udon, donburi and teriyaki dinners are all popular, and the restaurant has a section of the menu dedicated exclusively to tofu. We love the freshly made rolls, especially Pete’s Beet (with mango, cilantro, ginger, avocado and house-made
chili oil) and box-shaped sushi topped with flame-seared salmon, lemon, jalapeno and rare black tobiko (flying fish roe).
Whistler, finally, is home to Purebread. With locations in the village and at Function Junction, this is the place to find a huge, jaw-dropping assortment of freshly baked and simply but gorgeously decorated squares, loaves, cakes, bars, cookies, pies and other forms of baked goodness. Look for the lineups out the door. They’re worth it.
Bright, red and ready for love
Dramatic transformation melds mid-century modern and energy efficiencyWORDS ANGELA COWAN X PHOTOGRAPHY JODY BECK
There is a little house in the midst of Fernwood that has endeared itself to the neighbourhood and sparks joy in anyone who walks past. With its brilliantly red exterior and expertly designed surrounding landscaping, the 1951 single-family home underwent a dramatic transformation that included major energy-efficiency upgrades, improvements to the mid-century modern interior aesthetic, and the revelation of more than a few surprises within its walls.
Tony Hodge and Ingrid Taggart had pur chased the home several years earlier while still abroad, and had always planned on coming back to Victoria to renovate it, specifically to remove any toxic materials and to upgrade the seismic and safety aspects. The couple worked with Rus
Collins of Zebra Design to create a new floor plan that incorporated a legal suite, as well as a restructuring of the main house to use every inch of the small space to full advantage.
But what had been a moderate renovation planned on paper quickly swelled into a project of much bigger proportions.
“It was a complete gut,” says Martin Scaia, of Green Island Builders, who oversaw the immense undertaking. “We had to reframe the entire house, all the exterior and interior walls. It’s not uncommon for home renovations to become their own animal, and that one really threw out a whole bunch of wrenches.”
Opening up the interior walls revealed not only hazardous materials, but some questionable decisions that had been made when the house
was first built. Where there should have been solid two-byfours framing the insides of the walls, there were pieces of two-by-fours capped together with other pieces of twoby-fours. And then there was the burned, charred shiplap, which neighbours revealed had come from a local church that burned down just after the Second World War.
The property itself threw up some roadblocks as well, like the underground spring and heavy clay sediment that impacted excavating beneath the addition; the total replacement of the perimeter drains; and the higher-than-expected bedrock that needed to be worked around. But no matter what challenges popped up, Green Island Builders’ team adapted and kept working.
“The crew here is really solution-focused. They present possibilities rather than the issues,” says Martin. “[Lead carpenter] Oliver Scott was able to roll with the punches and really figure things out on the fly.”
Working from the studs up allowed the team to rebuild with energy efficiency, comfort and top quality in mind, resulting in the home winning this year’s Gold CARE Award for Best Renovation Under $1 Million. (Another of Green Island Builders’ projects was also nominated, and the company itself was nominated for Green Builder of the Year—Small Volume.)
The extensive upgrades included insulating the house to a high level, installing all brand-new triple-paned windows, heat pumps and hot water on demand for both the main house and the suite, and skylights to dramatically increase the natural light and solar gain within the home.
Inside, the aesthetic of the house came together flaw lessly, with a clean, uncluttered and bright mid-century vibe—something Ingrid felt especially drawn to after the couple’s time spent travelling through Scandinavia.
“A lot of the interiors were stripped back and simple,” explains Atarah Humphreys of Urbana Kitchens, who
The aesthetic of the house came together flawlessly, with a clean, uncluttered and bright midcentury vibe.
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offered invaluable advice and guidance through the design and finishing decisions.
Simple white quartz countertops and white super-matte laminate cabinetry provide a durable and bright finish, while being low-maintenance, and set up an elegant back drop to the rest of the house.
The same finishes flow through into the rest of the house, from the built-in wardrobe in the main bedroom to the counters and cabinets in the bathrooms and the finishes in the suite. Small design touches evoking a mid-century modern feel pop up occasionally, like the maple boomerang end cap on the eating bar in the kitchen, the light maple flooring and the polished nickel hardware and tap fixtures.
But while the interior was rebuilt clean, light and bright, the exterior was destined for something much bolder.
“I really wanted the red house!” laughs Ingrid.
And not just any red. Falu red. The couple had come across the colour while in Europe, and fell in love. The colour originated in Sweden, near a copper mine that operated from the 10th century until 1992. Centuries ago, someone mixed the oxidizing waste ore with linseed oil and rye flour and created the signature shade, which was also protective against the elements. Red paint fades quickly, though, and Ingrid and Tony wanted something low-main tenance. It was when groundwater issues pushed them to redo the perimeter drains and the entire exterior that Ideal Siding presented them with the perfect solution.
Rather than installing a new envelope of cedar shingles, Ideal Siding offered to bake falu red straight into a set of concrete siding, much to Tony and Ingrid’s delight.
“The original proportions have been preserved really well in that house, but it’s been modernized. All of the energy efficiency that went into it is a real win for home renovations and construction. It’s essentially a brandnew house.”
“They found a creative and technically demanding approach that saved us money, and their installation was of the highest quality,” says Tony, who notes they’ve been approached many times by people in the neighbourhood who love the red.
Complementing the eye-catching colour is the gorgeous landscaping, first designed by landscape architect Twyla Rusnak and then heavily modified and installed by Tony and Ingrid’s son, Daniel Taggart-Hodge. Stone patios, meandering walkways and rockeries frame a four-season garden designed by Terry LeBlanc to attract and feed birds, butter flies and bees, as well as focus on year-round food production.
Despite all the roadblocks and challenges encoun tered by this project—being mid-pandemic, the torrential rains in the fall of 2020, the unbelievable surprises in the walls and the ground—this little Fernwood home came out the other side beautifully, given “a new lease on life,” says Ingrid.
“I feel like the original proportions have been pre served really well in that house, but it’s been mod ernized,” says Martin. “All of the energy efficiency that went into it is a real win for home renovations and construction. It’s essentially a brand-new house.”
Shepherded by expert hands, the little red house is bright, modern and ready to be loved for many years to come.
Architect/Design: Zebra Design
Interior Design: Tony Hodge and Ingrid Taggart
Construction & Interior Finishing: Green Island Builders
Hazardous Materials Removal: Elemental Asbestos
Oil Tank Removal: Victoria Tank
Concrete Cutting: R & L Concrete Coring Ltd.
Specialty Concrete Supply & Pumping: Island Diversified Concrete, Coho Pumping Ltd.
Perimeter Drains: London Rooter
Roofing: Calvin Steeves Roofing
Solar Panels: Viridian Energy Group
Gutters: Best Gutters
Railings & Screens: Avilion Metalcraft
Interior Drywall: Devlin Wall Systems
Painting: Painter On Duty Plumbing, Gas Fireplaces, Water Heaters: Solid Plumbing & Gas Electrical: VIP Electric
Ducting & HVAC: Lewis Sheet Metal
Heat Pump: Coastal Heat Pumps
Insulation: Knights Insulation
Cabinetry & Millwork: Urbana Kitchens, Westwind
Tiling: T.I. Tiling
Doors: Pacific View Windows & Doors Windows: Pacific View Windows & Doors
Lighting: Mclaren Lighting, Gabriel Ross
Plumbing Fixtures: Ensuite, Splashes
Countertops: Colonial Countertops
Bathroom Glass: Builder’s Choice
Exterior Siding: Ideal Siding Stone Wall: CBS Masonry
Hardscaping, Architectural Concrete: Daniel Taggart-Hodge, Benson Excavating, Josh Leslie, Ben Arscot
Concrete Finishing: Mike McDonald Garden Design & Planting: Terry LeBlanc Irrigation: Island Waterwise Greenhouse: BC Greenhouses, A. Davis Construction Inc.
Feeling the heat
Josh Dupuis of Wildwood SaunasWORDS TESS VAN STRAATEN X PHOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE
Josh Dupuis has been building things since he was a child. He started working in construction at just 15 years old, but never thought he’d have a business building saunas.
“If someone had told me three years ago that I would be building and renting saunas right now, I would have laughed,” says Josh, the founder of Wildwood Saunas. “It was something that hadn’t crossed my mind until my wife, Amy, said she loved saunas.”
It all started in 2020 when Amy wanted to rent a sauna for Christmas. When they couldn’t find one, Josh decided to build one in the backyard.
“I thought it would be really cool to have one on a trailer because you could take it anywhere you want. Then I thought, ‘Let’s throw it on a trailer and rent it out!’” Josh explains. “You can bring the benefits to everybody and share such a cool thing. Show up at someone’s birthday party with a sauna and drop it off—it’s pretty cool. And we actually went camping with our barrel sauna.”
So Wildwood was born, and has since built up a business around custom sauna builds and mobile sauna rentals—in cluding weekly Saturday stints at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, where they do both drop-ins and pre-booking.
“Business is really good and everybody loves it,” Josh says. “It’s such a great thing to have. Our goal is community building, and at Willows, the groups come and do some cold dips and everyone hangs out. It’s really cool and there are big smiles all around. When you come out of the sauna, it’s
Wild & Free Organics was created by a mom with a dream wildandfreeorganics.com
“I was homeschooled and I didn’t do well with books, and I couldn’t sit still and I couldn’t stop building stuff, so I decided to just go build stuff. Buy
hard not to smile. We really enjoy doing it, because it’s such a nice thing to bring to the community and the health benefits are great.”
For Josh, who also owns Josh Dupuis Construction, the building bug started at a very young age.
“Being creative is definitely my passion,” he says. “When I was 11 years old, I built my first go-kart just by looking at a picture in a magazine. I bought a welder and learned how to weld. Doing that first go-kart and seeing it drive, that’s where it started. I thought, ‘What else can I build?’”
After struggling in school, Josh moved out on his own when he was just 15 years old and started in carpentry, build ing homes for five years.
“I wanted my freedom and I wasn’t very good at school,” he says. “I was home-schooled and I didn’t do well with books, and I couldn’t sit still and I couldn’t stop building stuff, so I decided to just go build stuff. I never thought I could own my own business because I was so terrible at school and math.”
But after getting into commercial refrigeration and obtain ing his Red Seal in HVAC-R, Josh realized he could do math and concentrate on things he was passionate about. He spent the next eight years building grocery stores all over Canada before quitting his job to start his own construction company in Victoria three years ago.
“I was building the Walmart in Langford and on my days off, I was going home to Edmonton, where I was living at the time. It was -50 C there and I was in a T-shirt here, so it made sense to move here,” says Josh, who grew up in New Brunswick. “The weather is great, there’s lots of construction, and Victoria is beautiful. All the hiking here is crazy!”
Josh grew up playing competitive sports, including baseball,
“I think people are really getting more aware of the health benefits. When I have pain from working hard all day, I’ll do a cold plunge and then a sauna and I just feel so relaxed after. It clears my brain and I find it puts me in a good mood.”
LOCALLY CRAFTED MODERN – TIMELESS
hockey, amateur boxing and skateboarding, and says the best advice he ever received was from a coach, who would say: “Mind your thoughts, because they become your words. Mind your words, because they become your actions. Mind your actions, because they become your character. Mind your character, because it becomes your fate.”
Keeping a positive mindset has been something he’s tried to do, even when faced with the challenges of the construc tion industry.
“Construction can be pretty challenging all the time,” Josh says. “The timelines, trying to get things done quickly and well at the same time, that’s probably the hardest thing. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to double-check prices on mate rials before sending the quote.”
Summer is also a challenging time for the sauna rental business, especially when the last two summers have seen several heat waves and record-breaking temperatures.
“It really slows down when it warms up,” Josh says. “When it’s 30 C it’s hard to rent a sauna, but we still had lots of peo ple at the beach. But now that it’s raining and not nice, we’re pretty busy because it’s a pretty unique way to warm up.”
Passionate about health and wellness, Josh says he thinks saunas are definitely making a comeback as people look for different ways to de-stress.
“I think people are really getting more aware of the health benefits,” Josh says. “When I have pain from working hard all day, I’ll do a cold plunge and then a sauna and I just feel so relaxed after. It clears my brain and I find it puts me in a good mood.”
Wildwood has two rental saunas right now and plans to build a third one soon. The company is also going to be designing cold-dip tubs next year, and is even considering
starting sauna boat tours. Josh says his dream is to have a whole fleet of saunas and to be doing custom builds full time.
“The biggest mistake I’ve made has been not starting this com pany sooner,” he says. “Not believing that I could be successful and not believing in myself enough. When things get hard, that’s when you’ve got to push through, and once you do, that’s what shapes you and makes you better. Don’t give up when things get hard. When you push through, that’s the game-changer.”
MAKING THE LEAP
Earning investment income in your corporation
Are you considering investing in your private corporation?
If you do not personally require the funds, you should consider retaining any after-tax surplus of cash in your corporation. In Canada, a corporation is taxed separately from an individual. That means by leaving after-tax business income in your corporation, you will be deferring the personal tax that applies when you receive the funds, and there will be more money for investing, than if you withdraw funds from your corporation in the year earned.
Common types of investment income
Canadian dividends – Canadian dividends received from Canadian corporations that are not connected are only subject to a refundable tax. No other tax applies to Canadian dividends received by a corporation.
Capital gains and losses – the non-taxable portion of capital gains can generally be distributed to the business owners as tax-free capital dividend.
For wealth management advice, please contact:
Jessica O’Brien Cameron, CIM, PFP Wealth Advisor, Portfolio Manager Wood Gundy 250 361-2272 email@example.com
Interest income and foreign dividends – from investments such as GICs and bonds and foreign securities. Generally, this is the least favourable due to higher tax rates.
Every type of investment is taxed differently, some more favourably than others. It’s important to speak with your financial and tax advisor for more information.
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A ritual to refresh, to relax and to revive a state of wellness. Find a place to retreat this winter wearing resort fashion and reminding yourself what it feels like to be fully in your body. Boulevard visits Ritual Nordic Spa, where wellness is practiced in the age-old tradition of moving between heat, cold, rest—and repeat. With dreamydraping and terracotta-coloured swimsuits, the season’s fashion emerges with a fresh perspective.STYLING SARAH D’ARCEY PHOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE
Quiltedcape by Simone Rocha ($3,035) from Nordstrom Canada.
Wide shoulder cutout corseted wrap jacket by MUGLER ($3,210) and underwire recycled nylon onepiece swimsuit by Totême ($275), both from Nordstrom Canada.
Taking the plunge
RITUAL: A hot spot with cold therapyWORDS DEVON PAIGE SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE
People from all over the capital region have been enjoying the benefits of hot and cold therapy thanks to Victoria’s first Nordic spa.
RITUAL Nordic Spa on Johnson Street opened in February 2022, and founder Marci Hotsenpiller says she has been blown away by the local support.
“We built RITUAL for locals first and tourists second, and that has worked out really well,” she explains. “After the initial flurry of sold-out weeks when we opened fully in the spring this year, we expected a downtick as the weather got nicer. Instead, through the summer, we saw the same number of locals coming through the door and becoming members as we did in spring. It’s been great.”
The spa, which is in the Harris Green area of Johnson Street, is tucked away in a private alley.
“Our location means people can plan a visit to RITUAL after a day of work, or alongside their downtown errands,” Marci explains. “And with so many new condo towers going up in our neighbourhood, it’s great to be able to offer our neighbours a true ‘third space’—meaning a space where people can meet to unwind, discuss and talk about things that matter to them, their neighbourhood and their community.”
Marci’s experience with cold therapy began at a young age. She grew up as part of an alpine skiing family, and her parents—who are in their 80s—both still ski.
“During one of my first trips to BC for a ski race, I learned that Vancouver Island is one of the few places in the world where you can ski and swim in the ocean on the same day. I was instantly hooked and have been here ever since,” Marci explains.
As she got older, and was living and working in Cumberland, Marci regularly found herself combining powder mornings at Mount Washington with afternoons at work, evenings unwinding in the sauna, and nighttime dips in the ocean.
“When you do hot and cold contrast therapy, you also challenge your body and mind to do something they don’t normally do.”
“Once I moved to Victoria, and I was running marathons, I was driving to the beach to stand in the ocean, then to the rec centre for a hot sauna, and then to a massage. That’s when it occurred to me that if I combined all three elements in one spot—plus offered a cold beer in a café—it could be a really good thing,” Marci laughs. And it’s been a good thing, indeed. Visits to the spa have been steadily growing and more and more locals are learning about con trast therapy. But the journey to fully building out a Nordic-style spa during the pandemic was met with some obstacles. “During COVID-19, I noticed how quickly people were getting
“Our goal was to create a space that was friendly, welcoming to all people, and delightfully unpretentious, like a ski lodge, where other guests welcome you inside on a cold winter day, even if they don’t know you or have never met you.” a division of Rogers Insurance
into cold plunge as a recovery practice for sports or dance. It went from being something people thought of as a bit strange to being an accepted thing. So, designing a modern space that had hot saunas, a cold plunge, steam room, massage and a café became my mission as we went into lockdown,” Marci recalls.
Her idea was met with mixed responses from the bank, mostly because of the pandemic.
“The first three bankers we met with said no way, this is too risky. It was a strange time—other businesses were closing and there we were asking for a startup loan. But it was an interesting journey,
because the next three banks we approached were totally on board and agreed that our idea for a Nordic-style spa was exactly what Victoria needed. So, we were very fortunate to have that support of our idea.”
As the months went on, Marci worked with contractors and local designer Michelle Matte, of Michelle Matte Interiors, to get the aesthetic of the space just right.
“I wanted people to feel like they had stepped into a spa in Helsin ki, Oslo or Stockholm, so many of the design elements were based on the streamlined Finnish design elements and fabric, the use of
wood and water and wool, and a Nordic palette that focuses on form and function, rather than frills,” Marci explains.
“Our goal was to create a space that was friendly, welcoming to all people, and delightfully unpretentious, like a ski lodge, where other guests welcome you inside on a cold winter day, even if they don’t know you or have never met you.”
RITUAL is also designed to be a digital- and phone-free space, with very few mirrors, to create a sense of freedom for all guests where they can take a break from the current selfie culture.
“As part of that same sentiment, we also practice body neutrality, which is based on the idea of your body as an instrument for moving through the world, rather than as an ornament for being seen,” ex plains Marci.
RITUAL’s main offering is the two-hour Nordic Circuit—a self-di rected journey through the elements of hot, cold and relax. Visitors decide how long to stay in each element, and can choose from a tra ditional Finnish sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool, Nordic bucket shower, Himalyan salt lounge, and outdoor patios to relax on.
Benefits of contrast therapy, Marci says, include increased circu lation, better sleep, reduced inflammation, hormonal regulation and more.
“When you do hot and cold contrast therapy, you also challenge your body and mind to do something they don’t normally do. By doing so, you can become more resilient to stress.”
And, says Marci, the social benefits of gathering are some of the most important.
“As humans we need social connections, especially in an urban world where we are separated by digital tools. The social and communal elements of sauna house culture promote connection with others who you might otherwise not cross paths with. And I’m happy that we can provide that space.”
You can find out more about Marci and RITUAL Nordic Spa at ritualnordicspa.com.
water, air + fire Revel in the elements at these nearby and faraway retreatsWORDS JANE ZATYLNY
Scrolling through my friends’ travel photos on Instagram, I can’t help but notice the throngs of tourists in the background. They’re there with them waiting for a gondola ride in Venice, in an unob structed view of the Eiffel Tower or a on walking tour of the Colosseum.
“We loved Rome,” my friends all said. “But the crowds were terrible.”
The fact is, post-pandemic travel is up—way up. According to Statistics Canada, more than seven times as many Canadians travelled to the US and Europe in June 2022 over June 2021.
Looking to avoid the crowds on your next trip? Here are eight retreat locations—both close by and far away—that are off the beaten track and inspired by the four elements: earth, water, air and fire..
Looking to avoid the crowds on your next trip? Here are eight retreat locations— both close by and far away—that are off the beaten trackPHOTO COURTESY BUBBLE HOTEL.
NEAR: Nk’Mip Cellars, Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre and Spirit Ridge Lake Resort, Osoyoos, BC
For tens of thousands of years, the desert lands near Osoyoos Lake have been the traditional territory of the Osoyoos peoples. Today, they are also home to Nk’Mip Cellars, an Indige nous-owned-and-operated winery and restaurant; Spirit Ridge Lake Resort, a Hyatt property; and Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre.
In addition to teaching guests about the lands, legends and people of this unique ecosystem, the cultural centre promotes conservation efforts for desert wildlife within an eco-friendly semi-underground rammed-earth building. Immerse yourself in the “Living Lands” outdoor exhibit and sculpture gallery, stop to smell the wild sage along the network of walking trails on the 50acre site or explore the living culture of the Osoyoos Indian Band at a reconstructed village. nkmipdesert.com
The five-acre property is a start-up coffee and tropical fruit farm at the temperate elevation of 366 metres above sea level, perched directly above Kealakekua Bay. Base your activities here, choosing from ocean-view rooms, a cottage or a luxury suite. Daily breakfast includes coffee and seasonal fruits from the plantation and local market. The plantation also cares for Mother Earth: 100 per cent of its operations are driven by solar power. kaawaloaplantation.com
FAR: Ka’awa Loa Plantation Bed and Breakfast, Kona, Hawaii
Few flavours are earthier than coffee grown in the rich volcanic soil of the Kona region on the Big Island of Hawaii. At the Ka’awa Loa Plantation bed and breakfast, located in the heart of the Kona Coffee Belt, you can absorb all the big-bean vibes.
NEAR: Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa, Royston, Vancouver Island
As ubiquitous as water is to Vancouver Island, Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa’s Pacific Mist Hydropath takes the benefits of hydrotherapy one step further. With this unique spa feature, you’ll follow an attendant through a re-created West Coast shoreline, complete with sandstone sculpted caves and pools. There you’ll experience eight unique elements, from a steam cave and a tidal bath—with the spa’s signature salt scrub—to a glacial water fall that offer remineralization, detoxification, relaxation and more.
Afterwards, cool down, rehydrate and reflect in the spa’s relax ation lounge, which overlooks the ocean, mountains and nearby islands. Total time to complete the experience is one hour, plus relaxation time in the spa lounge. kingfisherspa.com
FAR: Buubble Golden Circle Tour, Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland is, of course, also surrounded by water, and this tour perfectly fits our watery theme. For the overnight Golden Circle Tour, you’ll be picked up from a chosen location in the capital city of Reykjavik, and then taken to several scenic stops, including the Strokkur geyser hot spring, the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall and the Secret Lagoon natural hot spring at Fludir. Here, guests are invited to relax in a unique natural hot spring that is also Iceland’s oldest swimming pool, built in 1891.
The tour’s final stop is the Bubble Hotel, where up to nine guests will spend the night under the stars (and perhaps even view the Northern Lights) in transparent, igloo-like bubbles. Just turn out the lights for complete privacy. Checkout is the following morning at 8:30 with a transfer back to Reykjavik by 10:30 am. buubble.com
NEAR: Tyax Lodge and Heliskiing, Gold Bridge, BC
Soaring high into the sky by helicopter is an exhilarating way to travel—even more so when the destination is the peak of an un touched mountain range and the activity is heliskiing. Tyax Heliski ing near Gold Bridge (west of Lillooet, BC) offers about one million acres of terrain to explore, with more than 275 runs and elevations from 1,524 to 2,895 feet.
After a day on the slopes in this transition zone between the Coast Mountains and the Fraser Plateau in the South Chilcotin Mountains, come back down to earth at the Tyax Lodge, a recently renovated log cabin structure, or splurge on one of the company’s three fully catered private lodges. tyax.com
FAR: Mashpi Lodge Cloud Resort, Quito, Ecuador
Not so sure about heliskiing, but still great looking for a great lofty adventure? At 950 metres above sea level, Mashpi Lodge Cloud Resort in Ecuador has you covered. The rainforest nature lodge, which is situated on a picturesque plateau, offers panoramic views of the surrounding forested mountains through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
Situated on a reserve that ranges in altitude from 500 to 1,200 metres, Mashpi promises luxury in a very special natural environment. Here amid thun dering waterfalls and breathtak ing flora, you may encounter 400 species of birds, trees, frogs and species found nowhere else in the world. Take a nighttime hike or observe the forest canopy from the Dragonfly Gondola, “Sky Bike” or Observation Tower. mashpilodge.com
NEAR: Kananaskis Nordic Spa, Turner Valley, Alberta
Kananaskis Nordic Spa opened in 2018 as Alberta’s first Scandinavian wellness spa. Designed to offer 50,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor space, this Canadian version of the Scandi-spa experience was inspired by the elements of the great outdoors. Here, you can warm yourself in the eucalyptus steam room, cedar barrel sauna cabin or Finnish sauna, or just relax in a hammock before an outdoor fire pit.
The spa’s hydrotherapy pass includes access to all the indoor/ outdoor amenities. Operators recommend following a hydrotherapy cycle for three to four circuits using a combination of its hot and cold features for optimal wellness. knordicspa.com
FAR: Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch
Resort, Tucson, Arizona
With more than 350 days of sunshine per year, Tucson really delivers when it comes to warmth. Above the bustle of the city, Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort offers breathtaking moun tain, desert and city views, beautiful Moorish architecture and a storied history.
Built in 1929 as a ranch school for daughters of elite American families, this Sonoran Desert retreat was converted to a guest ranch in 1944, and it attracted stars like Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hep burn and Clark Gable.
You can unwind in one of the resort’s historic or new rooms and suites, meander through the lush botanical desert gardens, take a dip in the outdoor pool or enjoy the resort’s award-winning menu in one of its two outstanding restaurants. haciendadelsol.com
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!
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.
4351 Gordon Head Road
Saanich, BC $4,499,000
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.
1100 Lands End Road
North Saanich, BC $4,495,000
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.
735 Humboldt Street, Victoria BC, Canada V8W 1B1
The local real estate agent with the international network: vi.evcanada.com
Scott Piercy, Private Office Advisor
Personal Real Estate Corporation 250-686-7789 firstname.lastname@example.org www.luxurybchomes.com victoria.evcanada.com
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.
8338 West Saanich Road
Victoria, BC $14,900,000
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.
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.
1179 Clarke Road
Brentwood Bay, BC $1,299,000
Stunning custom built home with a legal suite in beautiful Brentwood Bay. Designer interior is bright with top of the line finishings throughout. Chef’s kitchen is appointed with premium appliances, dining/living room provides a refined space for entertaining. 2 beds/2 baths upstairs, with an additional 1 bed/1 bath suite with a private entrance. Enviable outdoor living with a spacious patio, landscaping and hot tub!
9809 Seaport Place
Sidney, BC $2,600,000
Stunning Ocean View Executive Suite in the highly desirable & award winning The Pier, in Sidney. This spacious 3 bed, 3 bath condo offers a designer interior, flooded with natural light. Large picture windows frame marina and seascape views from all principal rooms. High-end finishes, upscale appliances and plenty of room encourages entertaining with friends and family. Outside, a sun soaked balcony is covered for year round enjoyment.
2249 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria BC, Canada V8R 1G4
The local real estate agent with the international network: vi.evcanada.com
James LeBlanc, Private Office Advisor
Personal Real Estate Corporation 250-812-7212 email@example.com www.luxurybchomes.com victoria.evcanada.com
L isa Williams has developed an impeccable reputation as a top-selling real estate expert in Greater Victoria, representing buyers and sellers of over $90 Million* in real estate transactions in 2022.
A third generation Victorian with decades of experience, Lisa is deeply-rooted in the local community and passionate about connecting clients with the right real estate opportunities. Lisa provides an in-depth knowledge of the market, strategic insights based on current market conditions, and expertly negotiated transactions.
Whether it’s a condo or a waterfront estate, Lisa works tirelessly one-on-one throughout the buying or selling process with a commitment to exceed expectations.
First Realtor to reach over 1 Billion in real estate transactions
you to all my clients for your business and for making 2022 another record-setting year….I’m so grateful for the opportunities, challenges and successes shared and feel lucky to be able to say I truly love what I do!”
For those who seek the exceptional
We understand that family is at the heart of every home. Your home is where you experience life, connection and growth. We have built our business on delivering exemplary service backed by an all-encompassing marketing strategy, years of experience, and a personal touch to ensure our clients are taken care of from start to finish.
KRISTA V AND MARK G TEAM
The perfect family home with extra private space for up to 2 boarders! Three levels of living, a private courtyard and greenspace off the living room. This well run townhome complex is located near UVIC, Mt. Doug High, Cadboro Bay and shopping. Freshly painted and ready to move in!
4317 Houlihan Pl., Gordon Head $1,244,000
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 garden 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 with greenhouse and mature trees give plenty of privacy.
This trendy 3 bed, 2 bath, pet and kid friendly townhome is open, bright and airy with lots of natural light. Enjoy quality finishes such as oak floors white marble counter tops designer lighting and, 11ft. vaulted ceilings. Ultra efficient design with near passive en ergy efficiency, includes triple pane windows and heat recovery. Underground parking, secure bike storage, HOPR bike share, and Modo car share membership all add to the appeal. Rentals, kids and BBQ’s allowed! Fenced in grassy back yard and patio.
Krista V and Mark G are a mother-son team with a combined total of 17 years experience advising in the buying and selling of real estate in the Capital Region District. Krista and Mark pride themselves on their outstand ing 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 list ing in the best possible light to get as many buyers through the home as possible, living in a digital world the online pres ence of listings is so important to make a lasting first impres sion on buyers.
2249 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria, BC V8R 1G4 • Office +1 778-433-8885
Winter’s sweet treats past and presentWORDS ELLIE SHORTT X PHOTOGRAPHY DON DENTON
Unique, contemporary Canadian artworks in painting, sulpture and photography.
430 Campbell Street, Toﬁno (behind Rhino Coffee)
Unique, reﬁned, and artful vacation rental homes at Chesterman Beach, Toﬁno
430 Campbell Street, Toﬁno (behind Rhino Coffee)
it was a cold and blustery day. The beating rain quickly turned into slushy snow as a weary traveller fought his way through the looming darkness. The sun set so early now—both the nightfall and the storm caught him off guard. Protected by a thick cape, the traveller pulled the hood over his head, and wrapped the woolen fabric around him to cover a simple wooden box he carried under his arm.
The cobblestone streets were abuzz with activity. Other townsfolk seeking shelter scurried excitedly in a similar fashion, all carrying boxes, satchels and parcels containing precious goods.
The traveller arrived at his destination, a house of grey stone, and knocked on the heavy wooden door. The familiar smiles of loved ones welcomed him inside. He removed his cloak and children’s faces lit up as they saw the wooden box. They knew what was inside. It was the same treat their uncle brought every year: an assortment of cookies he had collected from some of the village’s best bakers. He set this prized package on a long table decorated with candles, wine, meats, cheeses, nuts and even some fruits from the late fall harvest.
The traveller and his kinsmen all sat down to feast, and toasted to life, death, natural cycles and the sun, which showed for the shortest amount of time of the year on this auspicious and important day.
Scenes like this would have been common during the 10th and 11th centuries, as folks from all over the world gathered to celebrate the winter solstice. Whether honoured with large village-wide festivities or in smaller circles of families and neighbours, it was a day to acknowledge the changing of seasons.
Most of the rituals revolved around food—gathering, sorting, storing and feasting—as people prepared for what was considered a time of famine. The wintry weather wasn’t ideal to grow crops or hunt, so people gathered to prepare their larders while sharing the last of the harvest throughout their communities.
Solstice often meant the arrival of the first frost, so livestock were killed and their meat tenderized for the winter, while fermented beverages like beer and wine, which had been brewed in the spring, were finally ready to drink.
By the Middle Ages, with the spread of Christianity, the Christ mas holiday took over traditional solstice rituals throughout much of Europe, but some of the older feasting traditions still remained, including the exchange of cookies, which were easily stored and transported, and then offered as gifts during various winter holi days.
It is thought that cookies as we recognize them today originated in ancient Persia, where, in the 7th century, sugar became relatively common. Cookies spread to Europe through the Umayyad con quest of Hispania, and soon thereafter were common in all levels of society throughout Europe, from royal cuisine to street vendors.
Refined wheat flour would have been reserved for more presti gious households, as it was time-consuming and costly to generate, so more accessible regional flours, such as those made from ground beans and nuts as well as rustic grains like oat and rye, were likely common ingredients, even if combined with finer wheat flour for special occasions. Other ingredients like honey were mixed in as well, to cut the cost of the then still scarce and pricey sugar.
Additional flavourings would have been localized and often included aromatic botanicals, berries, seeds, barks and roots of woodlands and fields, until seasonings like cinnamon, nutmeg,
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cardamom and clove became more prevalent due to exploration, expansion, colonization and trade.
In medieval Russia, for example, spiced honey cookies were given as good luck charms and fertility tokens, and during winter festivities and feasts they were gifted to family and friends, even the animals. These pryanik (stemming from the Old Russian word “pryany,” meaning “spicy”) were likely made with rye flour mixed with honey, herbs, dried berries or berry juice, and were possibly a forebearer to gingerbread men, which became popular in the following centuries, particularly in the Elizabethan court, where they were made to emulate visiting nobles.
Similar cookies to pryanik can be found throughout Europe, such as pernik in Czechia and Slovakia, pierniczki in Poland, and pfeffernüsse in Germany, which by the 17th century were linked to the Feast of Sinterklaas, celebrated every December 5 in the Neth erlands and December 6 in Germany and Belgium.
In medieval Scotland, farmers celebrated the winter solstice with blazing bonfires and made a simple cake of ground oats, butter and honey, in the shape of a sun with notches to represent the rays. Evolving to include refined wheat flour and sugar, we now recognize this beloved biscuit as modern-day shortbread, which, of course, can be found in almost every Christmas cookie exchange and festive treat box.
Another Yuletide staple is that of the Linzerkekse, which was first enjoyed as a larger tart with a lattice crust, and then later developed into a cookie made of a rich buttery dough accentuated by almond flour, lemon zest and spices, and traditionally filled with blackcur rant preserves, like its Linzertorte predecessor, which was first noted in 17th-century Austria.
Whether celebrating solstice, the Feast of Sinterklaas or Christmas as we know it now, the sharing of cookies has been a long-cherished tradition of wintry gift-giving across many cultures, religions and regions. With favourite recipes passed down through generations like treasured heirlooms, cookies—especially those en joyed during the winter months—are so much more than a dessert. They’re a mouthful of meaningful memories, a cosy comfort on a cold day, and a sweet treat to accompany a good book by a blazing fire, many flavours carrying stories and folklore of their own.
As you hunker down on these darker, colder days, gathering, sorting, storing and feasting, keep in your thoughts the image of the weary cloaked traveller, honour the long and worldly journey that cookies have taken to find a place so solidified in our contemporary traditions, and know that there are few greater gifts than that of a loving treat, made with kind hands and a generous heart.
“The sharing of cookies has been a long-cherished tradition of wintry gift-giving across many cultures, religions and regions.”
Lemon Blackcurrant Linzerkekse
250 g (about 1 cup) unsalted butter, softened and cubed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg yolk
1 ⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup fine almond flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting Blackcurrant jam, for filling
Using an electric mixer (either handheld or stand), beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes), scraping the bowl as needed. Add the yolk and lightly beat until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture until combined and smooth.
Divide the dough in half, and pat each half into a disc. Wrap discs individually and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).
Once cold, yet still malleable, remove one dough disc from the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll it out to about one-eighth-inch thick. Using a two-and-a-half-inchround cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Transfer rounds to a
parchment-lined baking sheet. Gather the scrap dough, roll it back into a disc and repeat. If at any time during this process the dough becomes sticky and hard to work with, simply refrigerate it for about 20 minutes, until firm.
Place the cut cookies (you should have 15) in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 350 F.
While the first half of the cookies chills, repeat the above process with the remaining dough disc to make 15 more rounds. Transfer to a parch ment-lined baking sheet and use your smallest cookie cutter to make a peekaboo cut-out in the centre of each. Place these cookies in the refrigera tor for 30 minutes to chill.
Once ready, bake all of the cookies for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to brown. Let them cool for 5 minutes on the sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
To fill the cookies, place the cookies with cut-out holes in them on a cookie sheet and sift confec tioners’ sugar over the top. Turn the remaining cookies flat side up and spoon one half of a tea spoon of blackcurrant jam into the centre of each, spreading it slightly. Top with the sugar-dusted cut-out cookies. You can store the filled cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.
Orange Clove Shortbread
200 g (about ¾ cup) unsalted butter, softened ⅓ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 large orange
1 ⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup fine oat flour 1 tsp sea salt ¼ tsp ground clove
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.
Using an electric mixer (either handheld or stand), beat the butter, sugar, honey, vanilla and orange zest until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes), scraping the bowl as needed.
In a separate bowl, combine the flours with the salt and clove, and slowly stir into the wet mixture until the dough starts to clump together.
Press the dough into the prepared springform pan so that the top is as smooth and even as possible. Using a fork, poke holes all around it, and then cut the dough into 12 segments.
Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until slightly brown and crispy on the edges. Halfway through baking, you may also want to redo your cuts and redefine your wedges (it will make for an easier cut/separation later).
Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly before carefully removing from the springform pan onto a cutting board or clean surface. Cut through the slices again while the shortbread is still a bit warm, and transfer the wedges to a rack to cool. Store for up to a week in an airtight container, or freeze for longer storage (the flavour improves as the shortbread ages).
Butter Rum Glazed Pryanik
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups rye flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice
1⁄8 tsp salt
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
½ cup butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup honey
⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp dark rum
1 tsp water
Allspice, cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, spices and salt, and set aside.
In a separate bowl, either using an electric mixer or by hand, beat together 1 whole egg, 2 egg yolks, melted butter, vanilla and honey.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, and stir until a smooth and solid mass of dough forms. Place the dough in the refrigerator to cool for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat your oven to 350 F and line one or two baking sheets (depending on how big your baking sheets/oven are) with parchment paper.
Using a small cookie scoop, portion out mounds of dough and roll them in your hands until they are completely smooth balls (there will be about 30 total). Place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. They will flatten out somewhat during baking, but still retain a domed shape.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until just golden, rotating the baking sheets halfway through for even baking. Remove from the oven and allow to sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes while you make the glaze (it needs to be brushed on while the cookies are still warm).
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter and rum until smooth. The glaze will thicken slightly if it sits, so stir through a little warm water if you need to—it should be the consistency of runny honey.
Transfer the slightly cooled (but still warm) cookies to a wire rack, then brush the glaze all over the cookies with a pastry brush and allow to cool completely. Sprinkle with fresh ground nutmeg, or a spice of your choosing, to garnish. The cookies should keep for up to five days in an airtight container.
It’s early morning and I’m sinking blissfully into the bubbles of a private hot tub on the back deck of my luxury timber home on a ranch in Montana.
The air carries the rich fragrance of pine from the forest that surrounds me. And nearby, where the forest opens up to vast rolling plains of meadows, the horses begin to stir, while the cattle and bison feed quietly in their pastures. I’m struck by the stillness in the air and by the sheer expanse of land that stretch es as far as the eye can see. A mist hangs over the meadows, and where they end, densely forested mountains rise out of the Blackfoot River valley.
I feel like I’ve stepped straight into “God’s country,” a place untouched by the march of time and immeasurably distant from the city life I’m so used to.
An all-season playground, the resort has an incredible array of wilderness adventures. There’s flyfishing, whitewater rafting, archery, clay shooting, a high ropes wilderness course, biking, hiking, a wide range of equestrian experiences—and that’s barely scratching the surface.
Montana is peppered with dude ranches where guests come to experience a touch of the “wild west.” This one, The Resort at Paws Up, stands head and shoulders above the rest. Forty-five minutes northeast of Missoula, it’s a working cattle, bison and horse ranch on 37,000 acres of land. For guests, it’s an experience distinguished by authenticity, an unrivalled level of luxury and an extraordinary selec tion of activities. This is where celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Yellowstone actor Luke Grimes come to hang their Stetsons when they need some downtime, and it’s easy to see why.
Guests stay in luxurious homes defined by Montana’s bold, woodsy décor and outfitted with an attention to detail second to none. Our home has heated floors, a kitchen stocked with com plimentary snacks, sodas and wine, and a crackling, wood-burn ing fireplace that’s irresistibly comforting on a cold night.
On arrival, we’re handed the keys to a new Lexus SUV to drive on the property, as well as reservations for inclusive fine dining meals at Trough and Pomp, two of the resort’s restaurants. Here, we’re treated to sumptuous, exquisitely presented cuisine in a relaxed, dress-code-free environment, where jeans are the choice outfit at any time of day.
An all-season playground, the resort has an incredible array of well-thought-out wilderness adventures that keep guests engaged throughout their stay. In summer and fall there’s flyfishing, white water rafting, archery, clay shooting, a high ropes wilderness course, biking, hiking, a wide range of equestrian experiences— and that’s barely scratching the surface.
It’s late fall when we visit Paws Up, and we sign up for a backcountry tour, settling into an off-road vehicle and venturing into the Garnet Mountain range nearby. The leaves are turning orange and yellow as we leave the burbling creek and climb to higher elevations, pausing to take in magnificent views of the steep terrain below.
Our destination is Garnet, a ghost town that was home to 1,000 back in 1898, when gold prospectors, drawn by the discov ery of nuggets in a nearby creek, arrived in droves. They built homes, a hotel, a school, a jail and a general store, but within seven years, they discovered that the rigours of gold extraction far outweighed the riches.
The ghost town that remains gives us a glimpse of their hopes and dreams. We step over cow dung to explore the old saloon, whose bar table sits intact, and the general store, whose tables are cluttered with old shoes, cans and dishes. Rusted bedframes linger in the hotel rooms, and an outhouse with room for three at a time sits empty beneath the tall pines.
We zoom back to the ranch grateful for our decadent creature comforts: a sophisticated dinner of wild sturgeon and Wagyu beef, a soothing hot tub beneath a starlit sky, and a deep sleep ensconced in fine linens.
As city slickers who’ve never held a shotgun, we sign up for clay shooting at the ranch, driving a few kilometres out to a small
hill overlooking a pit littered with gravel and clay shells. From the shooting stands, our instructor, Buddy Horton, teaches us to load shotguns with 20-gauge shells and anchor them into our shoulders to reduce the impact of recoil.
The range has six clay houses that eject clays into the air at different angles, and we spend the morning improving our aiming accuracy. At each crack of the barrel, a shot echoes through the Blackfoot Valley, sounding like the distant rumble of an airplane.
“We see coyotes and deer out here all the time,” says Buddy, look ing out over the grazing fields that stretch for miles before us.
In the afternoon, we test our aim further with archery, on a course where the targets are life-size rubber versions of animals indigenous to the region. We climb into small tree houses to shoot down below, aiming for fake animals large and small as we learn to handle a bow and arrow. As I become more adept with my aim, I realize this is my kind of hunting: the thrill of shooting an arrow in a danger-free environment with no cost to animal life.
The nights are turning cold in Montana by mid-October, and the first snow is just weeks away. At the ranch, that means a new range of activities becomes available, including fat-tire e-biking on
backcountry roads, dogsledding, snowmobiling, tubing, skiing and winter biathlon, where target shooting and cross-country skiing are combined. Equestrian activities like horse whispering, cow croquet, riding and team penning will move to the large indoor arena, and the meadows and treetops will be blanketed in a crisp white sheet of snow.
But in the last days of fall, we can still enjoy bike rides across the expansive property, hikes into the forest and slow drives down to the river. While we cross paths only with a solitary chipmunk and a few squirrels, we hear stories of bear sightings, cougars, mountain lions and the large herd of elk that roams the ranch. This is “God’s coun try,” after all, and while it’s a brief playground for us, this land belongs first and foremost to them.
On our last day at Paws Up, we spend a quiet afternoon on the porch, inhaling the sense of freedom that comes with a view of acre upon acre of untouched land. As we pack up for the trip back to the Pacific Northwest, we can’t help but wonder why anyone would choose to live in a city when this kind of living, beneath Montana’s big open sky, is still possible.
IF YOU GO:
Getting there: The Resort at Paws Up is a 45-min ute drive from Missoula, Montana, which is a 1.5-hour flight from Seattle, Washington.
Paws Up offers an array of accommodation options, including adults-only homes at the Green O, and several family-friendly options: glamping tents with slate showers on the banks of the Blackfoot River, Wilderness Estates, Big Timber Homes and Meadow Homes. Each accommodation is a self-contained, lavishly outfitted home decorated with Western flair. Accommodation is inclusive of airport transfers and meals and, with the exception of the glamping tents, includes a Lexus SUV for on-property use. Most activities are fee-based. For information and reservations, visit pawsup.com or call 1-877-580-6343.
Deep down you want to be together.
Ask about double depth burial.
There is a new cost eﬀective and environmentally responsible way to pre-plan funeral arrangements as a couple or family. Double depth burial plots allow for family members to be buried in a single deep plot, rather than individual plots, side by side. Further, our new double depth burial area is in one of the nicest areas of the park in a serene setting. Find out more today.
secrets and lives — AND THE 7 SINS WITH KRISTA LOUGHTON
MAKEUP BY ALEXANDRA LOUGHTON.
Krista Loughton was in her late teens when she first witnessed the extreme level of poverty which would shape her entire experience with the world.
“My dad worked in international development and I was in Zimbabwe to visit him,” she says. “I had never witnessed poverty like that. It really affected me. The idea that 80 per cent of the country was sleeping on dirt floors was something I couldn’t get my head around.”
She came back to Canada with a fierce determination to help, but the experience also opened her eyes to the hardships in her own community. Already pas sionate about filmmaking, Krista began to see a way to combine it with her drive to make a difference.
“I decided I didn’t need to go back overseas to help people. I just needed to go downtown,” says Krista, who’s been in Victoria since 1996. “So I started talking to homeless people and making friendships.”
It was the beginning of a storytelling journey that’s lasted well over a decade, and has included two short films focussing on the new location of Our Place and Reverend Al Tysick, and Us & Them, Krista’s first fea ture-length film that centred on four chronically home less people in Victoria, each struggling with addiction.
The film—powerfully empathetic and compassionate—pre miered at City Hall in Victoria and has screened thousands of times across North America, including an exclusive parliamentary showing for Canada’s MPs, hosted by the federal minister of health, Jean-Yves Duclos.
“Done well, films can be very powerful and they can influence people,” Krista says. “Filmmaking was part of how I wanted to help. I wanted to tell stories about the homelessness situation, to help others understand, or just to witness it.”
Shining a light on those four people and their struggles with homelessness and addiction humanized the issue for a lot of viewers, but it wasn’t enough for Krista.
“I was making films to try to influence politicians to think differently and develop new policies, but it wasn’t happen ing fast enough, so I decided it was time for me to step up,” she says.
This year, Krista dove into the realm of politics when she became a Victoria city councillor for the first time after campaigning on an intensive platform with major focuses on public safety, the housing crisis and supporting Indige nous relationships.
“It was a very powerful day,” she says of being inaugurat ed. “The Lekwungen dancers led us into council chambers. There was an address by the Esquimalt Chief Rob Thomas, the mayor did an address and we were all sworn in. It’s kind of surreal, to be honest. But it’s wonderful. I’m so excited.”
Following her lifelong passion, Krista is driven to address homelessness and housing as soon as possible from her new position.
“The sheltering issue is one of the first things we’re going to be looking at, and then the housing crisis,” she says. “Sheltering is really intertwined with public safety and we need to work on that issue. We can’t continue business as usual.”
As well as getting multiple partners at the table—includ ing service providers, advocates for the unhoused, the police and different levels of government—Krista adds, “I feel strongly that it’s important to have people with lived experi ence at the table, to make sure that what we’re proposing is going to work. They’re the experts.”
Looking forward to the next four years, Krista is excited and optimistic.
“We’re a fresh council. There’s lots of camaraderie, good conversations and positive feelings. And I’ve been unbeliev ably impressed with city staff in all the departments,” she says. “It’s inspiring and a privilege to be part of creating a well-functioning municipality.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
Jack Layton. Had Jack become Prime Minister, I don’t think we would have a homeless encampment crisis exploding across our country in 2022. In his early political days as a Toronto city councillor, he worked on the ground with the homeless and their advocates. He wrote an influential book called Homelessness: How To End The National Crisis and understood that social housing is like the roads and sewers—essential infrastructure for every town and city.
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
In the spirit of gluttony, I choose two. My grandma’s stuffing— partly because it’s delicious, but also because it connects me to family traditions. Followed closely by an endless dish of tiramisu.
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on? I would put a down payment on a multiplex so my mother can age in place and I can live beside her and help care for her.
Online warriors. People who talk a big game online but don’t show up to help with the problem.
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing? Thermëa Spa. However, I’d have to travel to Winnipeg to partake. We need one on the island. Someone reading this please look into opening one!
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
My dogged determination. My favourite quote is, “Now that all possibilities are exhausted, let’s get started.”
What makes your heart beat faster?
The idea that everyone in my community has a safe place to sleep at night. The possibility of leaving my community better than I found it makes my heart beat faster.
“I was making films to try to influence politicians to think differently and develop new policies, but it wasn’t happening fast enough, so I decided it was time for me to step up,
CHRISTMAS COOKIES, PUPS AND A LITTLE BOY
The day before Christmas Eve, I invited four-year-old Dylan, from up the street, over to bake Christmas cookies.
Cookie dough was made, rolling pin ready, a variety of Christmas cookie cutters set out, an assortment of trimmings to sprinkle, and a spick-and-span counter ready for action. My husband, Chuck, was in his workshop, planning a wood project for Dylan, as well.
As Dylan arrived, our two puppies, Hazel and Gracie, looked confused. Wasn’t Dylan a backyard friend? Why is he in the kitch en? They hovered.
I forgot what a four-year-old is like the day before Santa arrives. As I unwrapped the cookie dough, Dylan circled the living room, dining room and then back to the kitchen, chattering constantly. He touched everything. The puppies followed him.
Dylan saw the Santa candy dish. He grabbed the dish, turning it this way and that.
“Be careful,” I said quietly, not wanting to frighten him. “I bought that for my grandson when he was about your age! He’s 25 now.”
“I love it!” Dylan cried. Holding it tight, he ran for the stool at the counter and grabbed the sprinkles. “Can I put the sprinkles in the Santa bowl, pleeeease?”
I nodded at Dylan’s cute little face staring up at me. As quick as a wink, the boy had all the containers opened; he poured sprinkles into the bowl and mixed the concoction with his finger. Sprinkles fell to the floor, but the puppies didn’t rush in; they stood back, hovering and sniffing the air.
Dylan cut out a few cookies. I’d forgotten that little boys have almost no attention span, especially so close to Christmas. He spotted the basket of dog toys. Dylan jumped off the stool and ran for the basket.
“Here, Hazel! Here, Gracie! Play with me!”
Soft dog toys hurled past the puppies’ noses. They just sat there. The pups looked left as the toys flew by, and then turned their heads right, back to Dylan—again and again.
I cried out, “Dylan, no throwing toys at the dogs!”
He stopped and rushed back to the counter. Hazel, the larger of the two dogs, pushed herself between me and the counter, flat to the floor with her whole weight pressing on my feet. Gracie, the young er pup, rushed behind my legs. Both dogs peeked out and didn’t take their eyes off Dylan.
He pressed out a few more cookies. Talking so fast, he drooled a little, but it only fell on the counter and not on the cookies. Dylan jumped off the stool again and started to open kitchen cupboards and drawers, peeking in, looking around and moving on to the next. The dogs stared from their safe place—furry bodies on high alert.
“What’s Chuck doing?” Dylan asked.
“Go see,” I told him, as I slid the cookies into the oven.
Dylan sprinted away and then returned. The dogs squeezed into me tighter, one on each side, staring out at the boy. He held out a wooden race car that Chuck had made.
“Chuck’s making me wheels right now, but I want to paint it! Can I paint it?”
“You can, but Chuck has the paint. Go ask him.”
“I did—he told me he didn’t have any!”
“Liar!” I thought of my own husband. I put on a sad face. “I don’t have paint!”
“That’s okay,” he said, rushing to a kitchen cupboard, opening the door and grabbing a package of markers. “I’ll use these!”
Dylan quickly informed me that this was no longer a race car: it was Santa’s sled painted red, white and black.
On the move again, Dylan circled around the dining room. He discovered a pewter pig holding a bottle of wine.
“Why is the pig holding a bottle of wine with his legs?” he asked.
“Because it’s his job!”
“If the pig has the wine, what do you drink?”
“Why, water of course!”
As I leaned over the counter to check the cooling cookies, Dylan looked up and said, “Boy, you look bad!” Then—“Hey, are you a grandmother?”
“Yes, I am.”
“You lied to me,” Dylan cried. “You told me you were a moth er, but you look like a grandmother!”
I laughed and, saved, I saw Chuck was ready with the wheels. With the job completed, Dylan proudly showed off his Santa sled with wheels.
Back to the cookies, I spread the icing and Dylan sprinkled his decorations. The sprinkles made a pinging sound as they hit the hardwood floor, but the dogs remained frozen at my side.
The cookies were beautiful. We were almost done. Chuck came in from the workshop and I went into the pantry, dogs at my heels. I was only gone for a minute—maybe less—but when I returned, Chuck was on his hands and knees behind the dining room table and Dylan was pacing back and forth.
“It was an accident,” he cried out.
“Humph,” said Chuck. “What happened?” I walked around the table.
The large Christmas snow-globe mounted on an antique trav el-trailer was shattered all over the floor, the water with glitter-snow spreading and pooling under the table. I saw the tag still taped to the broken trailer: “Christmas, 2017, To my husband, thanks for the wonderful RVing adventures. With all my love. xxx”
Dylan looked up with those beautiful eyes, arms out, palms ex tended. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to make it snow!”
“I yelled at him to put it down,” Chuck grumbled. Ahh—I got the picture.
I smiled. “I know, buddy. Let’s get these cookies packed, it’s time to go home.”
As I helped Dylan pack up his cookies, I noticed his hand was bleeding. Panicking, I rushed him to the sink and washed his hands. Luckily, it was a small cut. Chuck carefully wrapped an adult-sized bandage on Dylan’s tiny finger. Man and boy stared at each other and smiled.
While we got ready to leave, I asked Dylan what he’d tell his mother about the bandage.
“I’ll tell her, ‘I forget,’” he said, and I fought back a laugh.
Dylan carried two Christmas gifts. I had the plate of cookies and Chuck carried the homemade wooden sled in one hand, with the pups on a leash in the other. Dylan’s father greeted us at the door.
As Chuck and I walked away, I realized I had just needed to say, “No touching,” and Dylan wouldn’t have touched anything.
I heard a ping—it was a text from Dylan’s mother: “Thanks so much and the cookies are delicious.”
I smile and text back.
“It was our pleasure and we’ll do it again next year.”
behind the story
Model Cecilia Hughes, photographed at Ritual Nordic Spa for the fashion story in this edition of Boulevard, gets the full spa experience, including a bucket of cold water dumped on her head. It’s easy to imagine the jolt to the system it creates, but the use of thermal therapy (healing with heat), hydrotherapy (healing through water) and contrast therapy (healing through hot and cold contrast) goes back centuries. Cold therapy can help with everything from anxiety and weight loss to boosting mood and strengthening the immune system. “When the body is exposed to cold, the sympathetic nervous system is activated,” said Chelsea Gronick, a Kelownabased naturopathic doctor, who was quoted in a 2021 Boulevard story on cold-water therapy. “That’s the fight-or-flight response. Hormones like adrenaline are released, the heart rate increases and blood vessels constrict, forcing blood to your core. Once the body regulates it switches to a rest/relax/restore or parasympathetic nervous system. This training of your nervous system is a way to teach your body how to regulate when faced with various stressors, not just cold water but things that come up in daily life.”
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