Boulevard Magazine Victoria, 2023 ISSUE 2

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LIFE AT ITS FINEST 2023 ISSUE 2 AMERICANA, AVEC STYLE A classic farmhouse with a rural French flavour TRANSPORT YOUR TASTE BUDS Travel the world without leaving your kitchen GEAR UP FOR TRAVEL TIME Cool new travel accessories

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On the Cover

62 108



Family home embodies the classic farmhouse with rural French flavour

B y Sean McIntyre


B omber jackets, travel suits and 1940s glamour give a nod to the season of open horizons and adventure.

B y Lia Crowe + Jen Evans


Travel the globe without leaving your kitchen

B y Ellie Shortt


Luxury sailing in the Caribbean

B y Robin Esrock



Form, fashion and design team up in these cool travel accessories

B y Laura Goldstein

Photo by Lia Crowe Model Dani Parkinson shot on location at the BC Aviation Museum. Vintage fur and leather bomber jacket ($195) from House of Savoy; cream skirt by The Row ($800) and Black Velvet Mule Shoes by Eileen Fisher ($95), both from Turnabout Luxury Resale; vintage flying goggles and cap provided by the BC Aviation Museum; handbag and scarf from Magic Friend-Maker (insta@magic.friend.maker). Styling by Jen Evans; makeup by Jen Clark.


Photo by Lia Crowe

21 DEPARTMENTS 22 CONTRIBUTORS 24 EDITOR’S LETTER T ime travellers B y Susan Lundy 26 DESIGN NOTES Travel bug B y Janice Jefferson 28 LIFE.STYLE.ETC. Shelley Clarke B y Lia Crowe 30 WELL AND GOOD Meditative matters B y Kaisha Scofield 34 GOOD TASTE It’s wine o’clock in the C owichan Valley B y Jane Zatylny 40 IN STUDIO
fired up: potter Mary Fox B y Jane Zatylny 44 WEEKENDER Element of the unexpected: Nanoose Bay B y Susan Lundy 50 SPOTLIGHT T he perfect habitat: Scott Dutchak B y Sean McIntyre
is the only constant:”
Megson FitzPatrick B y Sean McIntyre 114
Rebecca Burrows B y Angela Cowan 116
Sandhill cranes and a photographer B y Thelma Fayle 120
114 94 54




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“Having reported on ‘Bucket List’ experiences from over 100 countries on seven continents, I loved the idea of sailing in the footsteps of Caribbean pirates. I set out to find the perfect combination of adventure, history, beauty and relaxation. The Star Flyer was definitely a case of X marking the spot.” A proud South Afri-Canadian, Robin is the author of numerous bestselling travel books, a popular speaker and a former National Geographic and OLN television host. He lives in Vancouver with his young family, and continues to explore unique experiences both near and far.


BOULEVARD GROUP Mario Gedicke PUBLISHER 250.891.5627




DESIGN Michelle Gjerde

Tammy Robinson

Nel Pallay

Crea Zhang


Vicki Clark


“I was thrilled to sit down for a chat with Scott Dutchak, the relatively new Habitat for Humanity Victoria CEO. Not only did he share parts of his fascinating personal story, he described how this housing-based charitable organization is investigating new ways of partnering with the community to get even more families started on owning a home.” Don is a born-and-raised Victorian and a semi-retired, long-time journalist and editor with Black Press Media community newspapers. He continues to feel privileged to tell people’s stories.







PAGE 116

“After I undertook 50 interviews with the late Ted Grant in preparation for a book I wrote in 2013, the well-loved Canadian photojournalist introduced me to his dear old friend and colleague, Bil Lingard, a man I chatted with for just two hours, but a person who made a huge impression on me—mostly for his genuine, rare and uplifting humility. I couldn’t resist writing about a pinnacle career event the long-deceased elder described to me, involving the ancient and lovely sandhill cranes.” Thelma Fayle is a Victoria writer working on her MFA at UKings School of Journalism (Dalhousie) as a celebration of turning 65. She is also working on her second book, Letters to Obasama: Undressing Stereotypes.

Don Descoteau

Robin Esrock

Jen Evans

Thelma Fayle

Laura Goldstein

Janice Jefferson

Laura Langston

Susan Lundy

Sean McIntyre

Kaisha Scofield

Ellie Shortt

Tess van Straaten

Jane Zatyln y




Don Denton

CIRCULATION & Marilou Pasion DISTRIBUTION 604.542.7411

Victoria Boulevard® is a registered trademark of Black Press Group Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. Ideas and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of Black Press Group Ltd. or its affiliates; no official endorsement should be inferred. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents, both implied or assumed, of any advertisement in this publication. Printed in Canada. Canada Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement #42109519.

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Time travellers

Embarking on a journey to the other side of the world throws your body into time-travelling confusion, sometimes with surprising results like the occasion I flew home from Indonesia with an overnight stop in Hong Kong and somehow—through this rabbit hole of time—managed to have my birthday twice.

But sleep is the true victim of time travel. My go-to, sleep-solution travel method involves taking the long-haul portion of a flight to Europe overnight, packing a sleep mask, earplugs and sleeping pill, snoozing for seven hours and waking up refreshed and all time-acclimatized in Europe. It’s a good theory, anyway. But last November, when I travelled to Europe to meet up with my friend Sandra and attend a few of my musician daughter’s gigs, I merely dozed periodically during the flight and my time-travelling confusion never seemed to abate the entire trip.

For Sandra, sleep had become a nightly battle since her partner’s death a year earlier, and she regularly awoke after just four or five hours of slumber. But at the beginning of this trip, it seemed she’d sorted it out. At the urging of a friend who travelled frequently between Europe and North America, Sandra determinedly stayed awake until 8 pm on her first night in Paris.

“If you can make it to 8 o’clock, and then sleep through the night, you’ll be golden,” the friend had advised.

So, Sandra fought her heavy lids until precisely 8 pm, shut down her computer and crawled with relief into bed. It was a glorious sleep. Deep. Dreamless. She woke, surprisingly refreshed at 9 o’clock, marvelling at how well her friend’s advice had worked. She showered, dressed, put on her makeup, went to the window and pulled back the curtains.

“Huh,” she mused. “Mornings are quite dark here in Paris.”

Of course, it was dark. It was 9 pm, not 9 am. She’d slept deep and heavy—for one hour.

She relayed this story to me as we sat in a cute restaurant, where we had already committed two Parisian gaffes. First, it was about 6 pm—about an hour before we needed to be at the music venue—and chi-chi-looking Paris people everywhere had sat down outside at tiny, street-facing tables, dressed in the latest fashion, elegantly sipping glasses of wine and enjoying life in the mindfulness sort of in-the-moment French way. At first, we also sat on outside chairs. However, it was November and we do cold often enough at home. The server, one of the few people we encountered in Paris who didn’t speak English, seemed perplexed to find us seated inside, but nevertheless he presented us with a multi-page wine list.

When I—in prudent deference to the long night ahead—ordered a small glass of wine, Sandra shook her head with authority. She’d been in Paris a week by now: small glasses of wine were just that—very small, she said. So, we ordered large glasses, white for her, red for me…but our jaws dropped when they arrived. Remember when you could “supersize” your order at fast food restaurants? It appeared we’d supersized our wine order. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such large glasses of wine. Our next un-Parisian moment came when we asked for food menus amid what was obviously wine-drinking time and not dinner-eating time. But in the end, it was a blessing our server didn’t speak English. When my daughter texted from the venue, asking if we could find her a cup for the throat-soothing tea she likes to have on stage, Sandra took charge.

“Excusez-moi,” she said, beckoning the waiter. “Do you have any to-go cups…?” He looked bewildered. “Cups to take with us? Umm….” She held up her glass of wine and pantomimed pouring it into another cup.

All good, except that she had less than a centimetre of wine at the bottom of the glass, so it suddenly appeared she wanted to take this last sip of wine to go. We realized this in the same instant and absolutely dissolved into giggles. Another Parisian gaffe, I’m sure. But thanks in part to that very large glass of wine, Sandra did finally get a good sleep that night.

This issue of Boulevard has lots of stories and images to get you in the mood for travel. Enjoy!

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.

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Over two decades ago, Shelley’s career took a turn while she worked a night shift at Victoria General Hospital on the neuro ward.

“My co-worker, Pam, suggested I apply for a position at a cosmetic dermatologist’s clinic,” Shelley tells me. “Medical aesthetics was at its inception, and completely by chance I got in on the ground floor, learning about the skin, lasers, Botox and fillers.”

She adds: “I’ve worked with and been mentored by the three specialists who pioneered medical aesthetics in Victoria— Dr. Lupin, Dr. Hollis and Dr. Smith—and I’m grateful they shared their expertise with me. As a nurse injector, I continually strive to learn, hone my skills, develop trusting relationships and work together with my patients to achieve their aesthetic goals.”

Shelley credits her success to good organizational skills. And asked what her best life lesson is, she says, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”

For Shelley good style is all about attention to detail: “Colour, shape, textures, accessories all working together to create a unique expression and extension of oneself to others.”

She describes her own personal style as “modern classic.”



Style icon: Jackie Kennedy.

Favourite artist: Andy Warhol. Piece of art: My Venetian glass sculpture.

Favourite fashion designer or brand: Diane von Furstenberg, Gucci, Christian Louboutin.

Favourite musician: The Tragically Hip. Era of time that inspires your style: ‘60s and ‘70s.

Film or TV show that inspires your style or that you just love the style of: The Great Gatsby (1974).

Favourite cocktail or wine: Pinot Noir. Album on current rotation: Hotel California by The Eagles.

Favourite flowers: Roses, tulips and peonies.

Favourite city to visit: Florence, Italy.

Favourite app: Instagram.

Favourite place in the whole world: Victoria. One thing that consistently lifts your spirits during hard times: My Mom.


Uniform: Dress.

All-time favourite piece: My first designer purchase: a black Gucci D-Ring hobo bag.

Favourite pair of shoes: Louboutin

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Favourite day-bag: Gucci Soho Disco Bag in rose and beige.

Favourite work tool: Botox.

Favourite jewellery piece or designer: Tiffany. Fashion obsession: Shoes are functional pieces of art and I love to collect them.

Accessory you spend the most money on: Shoes.

Necessary indulgence for either fashion or beauty: ZO Skin Health Medical Grade Skincare.

Moisturizer: ZO Skin Health Power Defence.

Scent: Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche-

Must have hair product: OLAPLEX shampoo and conditioner.

Beauty secrets: Sunscreen and Botox.


What you read online for style: Vogue

Fave print magazine: Vanity Fair.

Fave style blog: Tracy Richardson @ tracyrichardsonstyles.

Last great read: The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion.

Book currently reading: Love, Pamela, by Pamela Anderson.

Favourite book of all time: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Meditative matters

Several years ago, my mother spent a month in Myanmar (Burma), where she participated in a silent meditation retreat. She spent 30 days eating, sleeping, walking, bathing, engaging in all of life’s activities, without making a sound.

At the time, when I was young and carefree with very little responsibility, I couldn’t begin to understand why she would choose such an activity. Now that I am older—working, existing, raising young children, and constantly searching for morsels of space and peace to fit into my already congested brain—the idea of spending an entire month learning how to streamline my thoughts and actions sounds pretty fantastic.

30 well + good

Meditation has been practised since sometime near the dawn of civilization. The most recognizable figure associated with meditation is Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, who founded Buddhism around the sixth century BCE. It is said that after a journey of self-reflection, he attained enlightenment sitting under the Bodhi tree, a sacred fig tree in what is now Bodh Gaya in northeastern India.

In every religion throughout history, meditation has been practised through things like prayer, self-reflection and chanting. There is no singular description of what meditation is, but it has been described as a cessation of the thought waves in the mind. In other words, it is the practice of focusing on the mind and allowing thoughts to pass through without engagement, bringing about mental clarity and peace. This can be achieved using a variety of techniques and tools: silently and without movement; with the repetition of a phrase or mantra; through breathing techniques; using prayer beads that are individually passed through the fingers; or with a guide.

So, is it as easy as grabbing some prayer beads, finding an old tree and closing your eyes? Not exactly. Despite the seemingly unanimous agreement that meditation is good for you, the overwhelming promotion of meditation in media, and the mountain of research confirming that meditation improves mood, sleep, mental function, emotional stability, perspective and more, only six per cent of the global population considers themselves dedicated meditators.

It sounds nice enough to sit with your eyes closed in a quiet room or walk silently in a meditative forest, but most of us can’t get past the idea of dedicating concentrated time to what feels like inaction.

One of the biggest barriers to meditation is that it takes time and commitment while offering only a vague landmark for suc cess. Internal reflection can also bring up unwanted emotional responses or thoughts that we would rather leave untouched. For these reasons, despite their best intentions, people tend to perpetually put off meditation.

We can get stuck in a loop of needing meditation to help with our overwhelm, yet being too overwhelmed to meditate. But people also seem to get stuck on the definition of meditation. There is no one way to meditate, and maybe because it has been practised for such a long time, through so many cultures and by such a wide variety of people, its meaning depends on the individual.

After all, maybe the lack of definition is because the practice takes place within the mind and is ultimately an internal and unique experience, so the best way to practise meditation is whatever way the practitioner finds most useful.

We are therefore able to look beyond the traditional practices of meditation and engage in whatever method suits our needs and availability. Some meditative practices could include sitting in the sun and listening to birds chirp; running without headphones and tuning into your breathing; laying in bed and listening to raindrops; getting up early and sitting in your quiet home; or going for a walk and listening to a meditative sound bath. All of these activities share a focus on peace and mental relaxation.

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If you need something more intentional, why not try a meditation app? There are many highly rated apps that encourage breathwork, mindfulness and self-reflection.

Headspace is generally regarded as the best meditation app. It costs around $70 annually, or $12.99 per month, which can be a barrier, but it boasts the largest variety of meditation styles and practices, along with tools and courses that can be used to work through anything from grief to writer’s block. You can opt for daily meditation, sleep meditation, stress relief, productivity training, and even “mindful fitness and cardio.”

Calm is another paid meditation app, geared more toward the seasoned meditator. There is less structure to its programs, but it offers a deeper and more immersive experience. It is $70 annually and has won several awards for its effectiveness. An interesting feature of this app is its Sleep Stories, read by celebrities like Matthew McConaughey, Stephen Fry and Bob Ross.

Mindshift is a free app developed by Anxiety Canada that combines mindfulness with cognitive behavioural therapy specifically designed to combat anxiety. It works similarly to the other apps, but because it focuses specifically on anxiety management, it can provide a bit more of a targeted approach.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is an aligned meditative practice with very similar internal messaging as it promotes the release of belief systems that can trigger anxious feelings. For many people, especially in our current political and environmental landscape, a large barrier to meditation can be simply calming the mind enough to approach a relaxed meditative state. The concept of meditation can feel so outside of our generally anxious existence that it seems almost out of reach.

Starting with an app like Mindshift can be a necessary stepping stone to bring the mind toward a more manageable level of anxiety before attempting something more involved like Calm or Headspace.

The most important thing to remember when approaching a meditation practice is that it is designed to improve happiness and wellbeing. If you find yourself crammed into a cross-legged position on the floor every morning, chanting “Om” through gritted teeth, about ready to throw your mala beads across the room, you may want to unfurl, step back and consider trying something different. Maybe going for a walk, downloading a mindfulness app, or simply laying on the floor and listening to a sound bath will be a better fit for you.

There is no one way to meditate, and maybe because it has been practised for such a long time, through so many cultures and by such a wide variety of people, its meaning depends on the individual.
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It’s wine o’clock in the Cowichan Valley

With its award-winning wines and new sub-GI status, this wine region is trending up

good taste
WORDS LAURA LANGSTON X PHOTOGRAPHY DON DENTON Winemaker Bailey Williamson at Blue Grouse Estate Winery.

Driving through the Cowichan Valley on a hot summer day, it’s easy to understand why this picturesque wine-growing region was originally named The Warm Lands by Indigenous peoples. In truth, the Cowichan Valley is classed as a cool climate region, but it has a long growing season that’s ideal for grape cultivation.

“Our strength is our climate,” says Bailey Williamson, winemaker at Blue Grouse Estate Winery, where some of the oldest vines on Vancouver Island can be found. “That shift from cool nights to warm days gives our grapes a natural acidity that ages wine well and helps it pair beautifully with food.”

That’s one of the advantages of the Cowichan Valley wine region; there’s a wine for virtually every course. Over a dozen regional wineries are producing award-winning wines—everything from sparkling wines and roses to Ortegas, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noirs and rich, hybrid reds—which are eagerly consumed and often sell out. And that demand will only continue to grow since the Cowichan Valley was recently granted sub-GI status. A sub-geographical indication is an official and protected term used to help people identify local wine origins. Wines labelled with this new sub-GI indicator let consumers know that the wine was made with at least 95 per cent grapes grown in Cowichan. It’s the first such designation in BC outside of the Okanagan.

“The designation means we have a map and a delineated area for production—and that’s a fundamental key to establishing a wine region,” explains Chris Turyk, director of sales and marketing for Unsworth Vineyards.

“We’re heading in the right direction,” he adds. “We’re trending up.”

That sentiment is echoed by the folks at Zanatta Winery.

“The sub-GI designation gives the industry the credentials it deserves,” says Jim Moody, winemaker and co-owner of Zanatta, “and it publicly identifies the Cowichan Valley as distinct from anywhere in the world.”

Dennis Zanatta—the father of current co-owner Loretta Zanatta—was largely responsible for pioneering the wine industry on Vancouver Island. In the early 1980s, Dennis volunteered an acre of his Glenora farm to the BC Land Commission as a test site for grapes. Known as The Duncan Project, it tested more than 100 varieties before the BC government withdrew funding. However, Zanatta carried on, officially opening the family winery in 1992 and selling Vancouver Island’s first sparkling wine, Glenora Fantasia, a traditionally crafted and aged bubbly with a bouquet of green apples. Now

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celebrating 30 years in business, Zanatta is recognized as one of Canada’s premium producers of sparkling wines. The winery’s elegant Tradizionale Brut, known for its rich, toasty notes and delicate bubbles, recently won gold at the National Wine Awards of Canada.

Over time and seeing a gap in the sparkling market, Unsworth Vineyards and Averill Creek Vineyard joined up to create Charme de l’Ile, a vibrant blend of mainly Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir grapes that’s made in the Charmat method of sparkling wine production.

“Charme de l’Ile is fruit-forward and refreshing with ample flavour,” says Kali Philp, sales and marketing manager for Averill Creek. “It’s an easy-going wine that’s meant to be enjoyed young.”

The market is trending toward lighter and lower-alcohol wines, which Chris at Unsworth says plays well to the strengths of the Cowichan Valley.

“You won’t find heavy, hot climate, oak-driven wines produced here because the grape sugars don’t accumulate as they do elsewhere,” he says. “At Unsworth, we’re making lighter, fresher, more

The new sub-GI indicator lets consumers know that the wine was made with at least 95 per cent grapes grown in Cowichan.
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vibrant styles of wines that are often more mineral-driven.”

A consistent seller at multiple wineries and one that often garners awards is zesty Pinot Gris, which pairs well with fresh vegetables, fish and shellfish, and lighter meals generally. Another island white that’s growing in popularity is Ortega.

“We make great Ortega,” says Bailey at Blue Grouse.

His comment is echoed by Lorin Inglis, general manager of Enrico Winery.

“Ortega is still an underrated grape,” Lorin says. “And I think it could be the signature grape of the island.”

Enrico’s award-winning Ortega is their number-one seller. It’s clean and crisp with a light floral note and fruity flavour, making it a great patio sipper. Another award winner from Enrico is its Red Dragon rosé, a refreshing and smooth wine with hints of straw-

Above, Blue Grouse Estate Winery; below, Averill Creek Vineyards.

berries that won gold at the BC Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards in 2021.

Any discussion of Cowichan Valley wines would be remiss if it didn’t mention Pinot Noir, which is becoming something of a signature grape for the region. Increasingly prized locally as well as further afield, a number of wineries, including Blue Grouse, Unsworth and Averill Creek, have won awards for their Pinot Noirs. The valley’s rich, gravelly soil combined with just the right climate makes the area a natural fit for growing the notoriously tricky Pinot Noir grape. Pinots from Cowichan are more Burgundian in style but with a definitive nod to “place.”

“There’s no question our pinots are more delicate here,” Chris says. “They taste of those young, first-of-the-season cherries, but there’s always an undercurrent of a coastal forest note that sets us apart from any other growing region.”

So, what’s new for the Cowichan Valley region, and what can consumers expect in the future? More consistently good wines with even more variety. The folks at Enrico Winery are experimenting with hybrid grapes, which Lorin believes have a lot of potential because they’re relatively disease-resistant and are bred specifically with the valley climate in mind. Enrico’s herbaceous and earthy Braveheart Cabernet Libre, which is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, is an award winner, as is their white Petit Milo, which is made from an early ripening hybrid pink grape.

Jim, Chris and Bailey all say the Cowichan Valley wine region is at an exciting point in its evolution, and Lorin agrees, saying, “I compare it to a six-foot step ladder—we’re barely off the ground. The growing power the valley has is unbelievable. We have great soil, great growing conditions and fantastic winemakers here in the valley. We’re vibrant, and we’re growing.”

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All fired up

Potter Mary Fox creates a special place for the young ceramic artists of tomorrow

40 in studio

Whether you walk across the threshold of Mary Fox Pottery in Ladysmith or open the book Mary Fox: My Life as a Potter, prepare to be immersed in a world of colour, beauty and imagination. And pots. Lots of pots.

A pretty winter garden leads into a renovated miner’s cabin on a quiet Ladysmith side street. Inside the shop, your eye is drawn to a large selection of pots, tableware, bowls and vessels. Beautiful, impossibly tall pots. Voluptuous oversized vessels. Blown glass and ceramic chalices, mounted in rock. Glazes and textures beyond one’s wildest imagination.

Behind the gallery, apprentice Sarah Wilson attaches a clay handle to a mug in the Creation Room. Shelves upon shelves of pots and vessels await firing in Mary’s massive Blaauw kiln at the back of the house.

Upstairs, in Mary’s private quarters, there are more pots to admire, on low floating shelves under large windows and on higher shelves on the walls. And on her kitchen counter, there are vintage Torquay motto-ware pottery pieces, including her precious childhood egg cup.

Mary uses an adjacent room as a photography studio, and it is here that she has arranged some of her most impressive pieces on wall-mounted shelves, including a rotund saggar-fired pot with the most incredible surface. Made from a mixture of sawdust, copper, and seaweed from the Ladysmith Harbour, it is a prime example of Mary’s artistic ingenuity.

“Ladysmith used to be a coal mining town, so there’s a bit of coal attached to the seaweed, which gives it these red tones,” she says.

The pot looks ancient, very much like it could have been part of an archaeological dig.

“I want people to have that sense of unearthed beauty with my work,” says Mary. “I want them to look and wonder, ‘Is it glass? Is it clay? Is it metal?’”

It’s hard to imagine, looking around, that Mary’s life as a potter almost didn’t happen.

“Ceramics was the only elective left open to me at Central Junior High School in Victoria,” Mary says. “I was positive I couldn’t take the class because I wasn’t artistic; I was a bookworm and a beachcomber.” But take it she did.

“It was love at first touch,” she said.

That elective led to more high school classes, much experimentation and the acceptance of her work at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria gift shop and other Victoria galleries when she was still in her teens.



“It was love at first touch.”

Mary was ambitious and completely obsessed with pottery. At 18, she planned to apprentice with British potter Michael Leach in Devon. But fate intervened once again.

“I borrowed a friend’s car to deliver some pots to a gallery and had a car accident,” she said. “There was no collision insurance on the car, so that took all my coin and I couldn’t go.”

As a self-taught ceramic artist, Mary has faced numerous personal and professional hurdles, including a devastating autoimmune disease that affected her and her late wife, Heather Vaughan. She persisted through it all, establishing homes and studios in different cities, exploring new methods and materials in her work, and making a living as a potter.

Now 63, she is at the top of her profession and able to look back with perspective on her life as a potter.

“About 20 years ago, Heather asked me what would have made it

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easier for me as a potter starting out,” she says. “I told her: a lowcost, equipped studio where I could sell what I was creating.”

This conversation marked the beginning of the Mary Fox Legacy Project Society. Mary created an endowment fund through the Vancouver Foundation and the Craft Council of BC, and an apprenticeship program to support young ceramic artists. Today, this project is her focus.

“The world we live in is very different from the world I grew up in,” she says. “It is increasingly important to me to help the youth of tomorrow.”

When she finished writing her book and started putting the Legacy Project together, she realized that she would no longer have the energy to both exhibit her own work and work on the Legacy Project. But that is all right, she says.

“I’ve succeeded in my main life goal of creating pottery and earning my living by my craft. Now it’s time to help the young people— and what better way to do that than by introducing a traditional apprenticeship and an endowment to help future generations of potters?”



Stories and Techniques

Part memoir, part instructional how-to book for ceramicists, this beautifully designed and illustrated hardcover book offers an inspiring story of love, loss, artistic growth and friendship that every student, collector or individual who appreciates the ceramic arts should read.

In Part I, Mary shares her development as an artist and the highs and lows of her personal life, including the loss of her wife, Heather, in 2007. She also tells readers about her vision for the Mary Fox Legacy Project.

In Part II, Mary offers valuable technical notes, including “things I wish I’d known,” glaze techniques, marketing ideas, and detailed information about her creative process.

“Baring my soul to the world was not on my ‘must-do list,’” Mary admits. “But inspiring and sharing knowledge was, so I shared it all.”

All proceeds from Mary Fox: My Life as a Potter (2020, Harbour Publishing) support the Mary Fox Legacy Project. Find it at, Munro’s Books in Victoria or via Amazon or Indigo.

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Element of the unexpected

Revelling in surprises during a Nanoose Bay getaway


Wrapped in blankets and tucked into an L-shaped couch beside a gas-powered fire bowl, my daughter and I sit outside on the deck of our “home for the night” at Fairwinds Residences in Nanoose Bay. Glasses of wine in hand, we chat cosily and enjoy the view of a moonlit sky that casts a gentle glow on Fairwinds Marina, sitting directly before us. It’s the same spot we sat a few hours ago as evening-shade pastel colours crawled across the sky and a distant mountain range glowed in white.

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But as we discuss our day, our conversation is peppered with the word “surprise”—it seems it’s the element of the unexpected that has highlighted our experiences.

This beautiful, airy two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite with a full kitchen, comfortable sitting area and expansive floor-to-ceiling windows—all within touching distance of the ocean—was our first surprise. Who knew this shore-hugging collection of suites even existed, let alone offered this exquisite touch of luxury and comfort?

Nanoose Bay is located just south of Parksville on Vancouver Island. After driving north through Nanaimo, take a right off Highway 1 and enter an unexpected haven of rural farmland,

parks, ocean views, forested trails and the Fairwinds development that includes upscale homes, a sprawling golf course—and a few surprises.

After checking in to our suite, we drove back down the road to the members-only Fairwinds Wellness Centre, which is available to all Fairwinds Residences guests for $40 a week.

Like our suite, the centre revealed some surprises. Set against an outcropping of steep rock, trees and trails, it exudes a peaceful ambiance with its beautiful high-ceilinged spaces and floor-to-ceiling windows that open directly onto the natural setting outside and bathe the space in natural light. Here, you can find two weight rooms, a yoga or stretching room, a billiards/games room with an adjoining


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reading room, a kitchen, a 20-metre pool, hot tub and dry sauna, an outdoor tennis court, and a massive gym area for pickleball and other racket sports. This approximately 20-year-old structure also has lots of outdoor seating areas, and even space for live music. To top it off, various classes here are available to Fairwind guests.

So, this was a bit of a surprise.

Neither my daughter nor I are golfers. However, as we drove through Fairwinds’ lush-looking, rolling golf course, we were almost tempted to give it a try. Literature for the 18-hole course describes scenery as spectacular, with “150-year-old Douglas firs, sculpted driftwood, dramatic shorelines, wildlife and breathtaking views.” The course has two large practice greens with a year-round driving

range, covered and heated stalls and a short-game practice area. Certified PGA of Canada professionals provide lessons, camps and clinics for golfers of all ages and abilities.

But instead of picking up golf clubs, we decided to check out the trail network, and encountered yet another unexpected experience. The hiking trails here are extensive and accessible, with marked levels of ease (easy, intermediate, difficult), and the paths wind through forest and wetlands, and past large ponds and lakes. On this day the woods were dappled in sunlight. Notch Hill is one popular hiking spot in the area, but we took the trails to Enos Lake, which suddenly appeared before us in glassy-surfaced perfection, just calling out for summertime swimming and picnics at the water’s edge.

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A few hours later, we set out for dinner at Seascape restaurant, which adjoins the Fairwinds Residences at Fairwinds Landing. Here we discovered a menu heavy on delectable-looking seafood dishes, a renowned AAA sirloin steak, and several plant-based options. And the view from our seaside window table was unrivalled. (As it turned out, this was one of the last dinner services at Seascape before it switched ownership. Now we’re excited to come back and experience another surprise when it reopens.)

And so, after a nightcap of wine on our suite’s moon-lit deck, we crawled into our comfy beds satiated…and, well, surprised.

The next day, the hits just kept coming. Back at the Wellness Centre, we rented electric bikes (mountain bikes were also available) and set out to explore the area and reward our “hard biking work” with lunch at a pub. E-bikes are the way to go! It’s been years since I’ve cycled, but these e-bikes were straightforward and easy to ride, and it made me so happy each time I hit a hilly incline and the bike’s “assist” kicked in. We took a circle route, gliding down the main roads first and riding the more-enjoyable back roads on the return. The main roads, we discovered, were quite busy with gravelly shoulders not completely conducive to cycling. But speeding along on a bike, taking in the sights on a more upclose level is a wonderful way to travel and I felt practically giddy with the experience.

And then—surprise! The Rocking Horse Pub. Following signs to the pub, we arrived at what appeared a residential horse farm only to be transported through the doors into a rich, warm and inviting old-English-style pub. A wood fire danced in the fireplace and the interior setting welcomed us with its array of charming antiques and quaint details. There’s a patio in the park-like area outside, and the pub itself is split into two areas—the dining room and a more casual bar area. We tucked into a platter of nachos, and while we were surprised to discover this place, we were not surprised to learn that it is super popular.

After returning the bikes to the Wellness Centre, and still filled with exuberance from the bike ride and pub discovery, we jumped back in the car and drove around a bit, further exploring the area. Among other spots, our drive took us to Moorecroft Regional Park, which has a long beach and views across the water plus a beautiful wetland area and trail network.

Now, on our way back to the highway, one final surprise remained: the Rusted Rake Brewery.

A quick stop here revealed a beautiful building—from the massive tree columns at the entranceway to a natural-light interior and patio at the back that’s set against a grassy farmland backdrop—as well as an excellent food and drinks menu.

Placing the Rusted Rake Brewery on our must-do list, we turned onto the highway and headed home—still talking about our surprise-rich getaway.

And so, after a nightcap of wine on our suite’s moon-lit deck, we crawled into our comfy beds satiated… and, well, surprised.
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The perfect habitat

Scott Dutchak wants to make a difference


Making an impact in his community is a role Scott Dutchak takes seriously.

Appointed CEO of Habitat for Humanity Victoria last fall, this former corporate real estate and development executive relishes overseeing an organization that connects with lower-income families at the grassroots level, works with them toward purchasing their own home, and helps alleviate the region’s housing crunch.

Compared to his previous state-of-the-art workplaces, Scott’s current digs are modest: his office sits above the Habitat ReStore in Langford, where on this day a steady stream of customers seeking discount home-renovation supplies come and go.

As he considered taking the job with Habitat last year, he recognized its goal to provide affordable homes via creatively funded, cooperative residential building projects dovetailed nicely with his belief that broadening the field of prospective home-buyers was of critical importance to society.

“Habitat has not given up on the dream, for many people, of actually owning your own home,” he says. “The fact there is still this glimmer of hope for homeownership really attracted me, and I think it’s really compelling for all Canadians to still have a bit of that dream. So, I said, ‘I can help make a difference,’ and jumped in with both feet.”

Drawing on his development experience, Scott has called for removal of municipal red tape—including limiting public consultation—as a way to streamline the process, reduce the cost of residential construction and make housing more affordable. He likes the so-called “missing middle” strategy, where neighbourhood infill projects make more efficient use of precious land.

While Habitat is between home-building projects, Scott is pursuing partnerships with municipalities, other non-profits, faith organizations and First Nations to find land on which to develop affordable home projects. He also encourages the public to consider legacy giving of property as another way to support Habitat initiatives.

Born in Newmarket, Ontario, the 50-year-old CEO comes from a family of civil engineers. He recalls how early conversations about highway and road construction got him interested in how cities grow, how people live together, travel, work and play.

He considered studying architecture but selected urban and regional planning.

“I think it was the right choice because urban planning really allowed me to explore both architecture and engineering, and think about urban systems and how people live together.”

The planning degree gave him three logical career paths—work for a municipal planning department, or become a consultant or developer. He chose the latter, feeling it presented the best option for him to make an impact in the community.

During his years in the development field, Scott liaised with municipal councils, residents and other community members, which afforded many opportunities to listen to others’ concerns and help find solutions. That role was particularly in focus during his recent stint as vice president of corporate real estate, sustainability and development for Telus.

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“The fact there is still this glimmer of hope for homeownership really attracted me, and I think it’s really compelling for all Canadians to still have a bit of that dream. So, I said, ‘I can help make a difference,’ and jumped in with both feet.”

Not surprisingly the $100-million Telus Ocean project, which he guided through to approval by Victoria council last December, stands out for him among his career accomplishments. The multipurpose office and retail centre, set to transform the high-profile corner of Humboldt and Douglas streets, was designed as a downtown hub for tech and innovation, a new home for Telus Victoria and a visible, practical and sustainably built boost to the city’s brand.

“As a citizen of Victoria keenly interested in the financial success and reputation of the city, I felt that it could make a huge difference,” Scott says.

So why step away from a successful development career to take on the top job with a non-profit?

Scott experienced what he calls a “been there, done that” moment as his work on Telus Ocean was winding down, and he wondered how else he could use his skills to have an impact in the community.

He was also tiring of the frequent back-and-forth travel to the mainland and wanted to spend more time with his active family.

He has enjoyed watching his 21-year-old daughter compete in heptathlon for UBC and shares a passion for motorcycling with his 19-year-old son, who currently studies at Vancouver Island University. Scott’s youngest son, 16, is an avid rower attending Claremont Secondary School.

As a member of the District of Saanich’s Housing Strategy Task Force in 2020-21, Scott became

acutely aware of how the crisis of unaffordability is crushing the hopes of many area residents to buy a home. He worries about the possibility for his own children to one day attain homeownership.

With many homeowners in established neighbourhoods ardently clinging to the status quo—critics call them NIMBYs (“not in my backyard”)—Scott expects councils elected on housing promises will soon have tough decisions to make on development applications that push traditional limits around such factors as density, traffic impacts and tree preservation.

“Especially when we have this housing crisis, if we have a single person living in a single-family lot where you could otherwise accommodate six families, for example, what should win? I don’t know.”

Habitat for Humanity Victoria has developed such infill housing in the past and continues to seek similar opportunities around the capital region.

Despite being a registered charity, Scott points out Habitat does not receive any government funding and relies on public donations of cash, land, labour and materials to do its good works.

“We have a backlog of interest in our program,” he says of the applications for housing. “At the end of the day we want to do more and we have huge demand.”

Scott welcomes input and ideas for increasing the housing stock in Greater Victoria. He can be reached at Or visit for more information.

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Americana, avec style

Family home embodies the classic farmhouse and rural French flavour

hot properties

alking up the front steps of the main house at Rough Hawk Ridge Farm can feel a little otherworldly, akin to getting dropped into the middle of Grant Wood’s American Gothic or some French classical novel penned by Victor Hugo or Emile Zola. Though two very distinct places and epochs, I soon learn the feeling of duality is entirely intentional.

“The house is meant to be an amalgamation of American farmhouse and French country maison,” says the homeowner—who wished to remain anonymous—on a tour of the property. The decision to infuse her home with such distinct architectural styles reflects the affinity she and her husband have for travels to California’s wine country as well as the south of France.

Many furnishings and accessories found throughout the house were, in fact, collected by the homeowner on trips to antiques importers, brocante fairs and aging châteaux dotted across the French countryside. Some of these, like a massive solid wood armoire from Chateau Noel dating from the 1800s, and elegant, six-foot-tall 19th-century mirrors, are still en route in shipping containers, headed this way across the Atlantic.

That a property designed to fuse such distinct locales in a West Coast setting actually works says a lot about the homeowner’s vision and the team she assembled to make it all happen. Architect Christine Lintott brought structure and shape to the homeowner’s vision, while designer Lindsay Smart added style and form. General contractor Phil Wilson, owner of Philco Construction, had the task of putting all the elements together.

“It’s about the challenge,” he says, as I admire the home’s 20-foot-high gambrel-style roof and elaborate crown moldings. “I don’t want to build stuff unless it’s fun.”

The good times really got underway about three years ago, although the vision for the 10-acre lot came into focus years before when the homeowners and their two young children rolled up to the property for the very first time.

“We’d just sold our house on the water, and we’d been looking at a lot of farms. And what sold us on this place was the driveway,” says the homeowner with a laugh. “We knew what we were looking for, and when we drove in it was just this beautiful winding driveway that greeted us. We put in an offer within 20 minutes.”

The driveway through a Garry oak meadow leads to a gatehouse—itself restored and expanded by Phil prior to the main house construction—whereupon visitors are greeted with an embodiment of rural chic expression. The charmingly sophisticated principal residence is nestled amid a hillside of lavender and overlooks a small orchard and vegetable garden. A pathway leading through terraced boulders passes the traditional wrap-around porch and hot tub terrace on its way to an outdoor pool that overlooks the property, offering glimpses of nearby Prospect Lake.


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The homeowner, who candidly admits she’d never grown any thing prior to moving in, recalls how excited the family was when the gardens began producing.

“In the immortal words of Jeremy Clarkson, of Clarkson’s Farm fame: ‘I grew a thing!’ So, I just kept going,” she says. “I just take the approach that if it works, I’ll keep doing it; if it doesn’t work, I try something else. This land never fails to amaze in what it can produce, especially given my lack of experience!”

Though the property’s former owners had developed an extensive hobby farm, the homeowners soon realized ample sunshine offered by the site’s southern exposure mixed with an exceptionally hot and dry microclimate made the garden a perfect place for lavender and citrus trees, which they began to plant soon after they moved in. Now well-established, much of the property is blanketed with purple flowers in late spring and blessed with dozens of pounds of fresh yuzu fruit by early winter.

One of the goals in moving from the waterfront to a farm property was to give the homeowners’ kids a connection to the land: a

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place where they could interact with and watch their environment flourish; a place to run around and have fun as they themselves grow up. Rural life, however, didn’t mean roughing it in the bush, and this home includes everything one needs to live in comfort and to entertain in style.

The result is a celebration of contrasts: elegance and eclecticism, sophistication with rural charm, high-end practicality.

The original plan was to rejuvenate the property’s existing home and outbuildings. The homeowners and their team devoted eight months and proceeded through 15 iterations before concluding that the vision wasn’t going to fit the existing structure.

“It just didn’t have the ceiling height, and we couldn’t make it grand,” says Phil.

Walking through the home now that it’s complete, it’s clear to see what the owners had in mind when it came to creating something grand. The sheer scale of the construction hits visitors before they even get through the front door, which is more than nine feet tall, and over four feet wide and four inches thick.

Black iron hinges, handles and ornaments, distressed solid wood and a massive hatch that swings open in lieu of a peephole offer a sense that one is stepping into a medieval manor.

The homeowners had hoped to import an antique door from France, but the outbreak of the pandemic made logistics challenging

and sent costs through the roof. As a self-confessed “door nerd,” the woman spent weeks tracking down and working with Art Factory, a 110-year-old company in Arizona which specializes in historical door manufacturing, using authentic materials and techniques to replicate antique doors.

“I’ve never had to sign off on a door so many times in my life,” Phil recalls. “It was asking, ‘Are you sure?’ and then ‘Are you still sure?’”

The grand entry sets the tone for things to come. Stepping inside reveals a cantilevered staircase extending upwards to the main room’s 20-foot-high gambrel ceilings. Modelled on the staircase in Victoria’s grand Fairmont Empress Hotel, this attention-grabbing feature embodies much of the special details and finishing touches that are to be discovered as we walk through the house.

“We had a few things that we said definitely had to be included in the build: the big porch, elegant trims on everything, and great traditional style such as chair rails and wainscotting,” the homeowner says. “I’ve built larger houses than this one, but they were very modern and more simple. It’s just so much more difficult to build something like this. You really need to know what you’re doing, and you need to be incredibly well-informed because every single piece relates closely to the next.”

Each of the staircase’s 13 newel posts, for example, are made by

BMO Private Wealth is a brand name for a business group consisting of Bank of Montreal and certain of its affiliates in providing private wealth management products and services. Not all products and services are offered by all legal entities within BMO Private Wealth. Banking services are offered through Bank of Montreal. Investment management, wealth planning, tax planning, philanthropy planning services are offered through BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. and BMO Private Investment Counsel Inc. Estate, trust, and custodial services are offered through BMO Trust Company. BMO Private Wealth legal entities do not offer tax advice. BMO Trust Company and BMO Bank of Montreal are Members of CDIC. ® Registered trademark of Bank of Montreal, used under license. BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. is a Member - Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada Helping you make better investment decisions. Dwayne Dyson, B.Sc. Econ, FCSI, Senior Wealth Advisor Tel: 250-361-2413 | Austin Louden, B. Sc, Associate Investment Advisor Tel: 250-361-2483 | Work with an Advisory Team that listens, understands and offers clear solutions. BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., 10th Floor – 730 View Street, Victoria, BC V8W 3Y7
The result is a celebration of contrasts: elegance and eclecticism, sophistication with rural charm, high-end practicality.

combining 27 individually crafted pieces of wood. Each post is oneof-a-kind. All were manufactured by a local specialty CNC router, then painstakingly assembled by AP Woodworks in the pop-up wood shop in the basement of the home, and then expertly painted by Tri City Finishing.

“We really wanted this to be the focal point when you come through the door,” the homeowner says. “The statement staircase was at the heart of our brief to our architects, who did a marvelous job. And the level of detail and expertise required to execute this? We were so impressed with Philco and their team.”

Upstairs we find the home’s master bedroom and en suite, while stepping to the left brings us to the living room, where more grand surprises await. Wall panels swing open to reveal a glittering silver hidden bar, a television rises from inside a half wall, those 20-foot ceilings soar overhead and a stone hearth, fabricated by a Chicago-based company specializing in classic stonework, towers above us.

As my gaze shifts skyward in the homey-but-elegant kitchen, the homeowner says, “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that kind of detailing on a ceiling. It’s pretty ambitious, but we love it because it’s meant to be disciplined yet have a relaxed vibe to it.”

Candle wall lights along the hallway leading out of the living and dining areas evoke an ancient castle passageway. Never has the trip to a powder room, home office and back-door mud room been so intriguing: hidden alcoves—containing extra pantry space, a washbasin, a desk, a piece of art—add to the sense of curiosity as we walk through this part of the house.

“We didn’t want a ton of wide-open spaces,” the homeowner says. “We wanted a lot of detail. We wanted to add a lot of character-filled nooks and crannies to it. Our previous house on the water was beautiful but so wide open and cold-feeling. This is way more cosy. People who visit say this house, this property has the best energy. It’s welcoming.”

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Builders of Fine Custom Homes


Architect: Christine Lintott

Interior design: Lindsay Smart Interiors

Structural engineer: GC Engineering

Contractor: Philco Construction

Windows: Starline Windows

Exterior doors: Calibre Doors and Millwork Ltd.

Front door:

Cabinetry: South Shore + Benson Cabinetry & Millwork

Plumbing: Good Grade Plumbing and Gas Co.

HAVC: RedBlue Heating and Refrigeration

Electrical: A. Slater Electrical Systems

Masonry: Rob Tournour Masonry Ltd.

Mantle: CRAFT

Roofing and Siding: Parker Johnston

Drywall: Malibu Drywall

Interior finishing: AP Woodworks

Timbers: Island TimberFrame

Paint: Tri City Finishing

Countertops: Stone Age Marble Ltd.

Light fixtures: Mclaren Lighting,

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Plumbing fixtures: Bartle and Gibson

Hardwood flooring: Hourigan’s Flooring

Tile supply: Island Floors Centre Ltd.

Tile install: True Tile and Forefront Tile

Hardscape: Bricklok Surfacing & Landscaping


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Take Flight

Boulevard visits the British Columbia Aviation Museum to celebrate the history of aviation in our province alongside spring fashion that gives a nod to a glamorous bygone era. Bomber jackets, travel suits and 1940s glamour will propel you into the season of open horizons and adventures.


Cap-sleeve, wide-leg jumpsuit in bone, by Iris Setlakwe ($495) from Bernstein & Gold; brown sweater vest by Benetton ($68) and vintage leather messenger bag ($58), both from House of Savoy; brown linen jacket by Circolo 1901 ($515) from Bagheera Boutique; Alex loafer shoe in cognac by Vagabond ($230) from Footloose Shoes and scarf and leather suitcase from Magic Friend-Maker (insta @magic.friend.maker). Knit dress in “Nero” by Lui Jo ($475) from Bernstein & Gold; scarf from Magic Friend-Maker (insta @magic. friend.maker). Vintage leather pants with suspenders, cap and boots provided by the BC Aviation Museum; top from Magic Friend-Maker (insta @magic.friend.maker). Gold dress by Roland Mouret ($490) and cream and gold watch by Michael Kors ($115), both from Turnabout Luxury Resale. Dress by Zara ($85) from House of Savoy ; trench coat by Part Two ($399) from Bagheera Boutique; emerald green shoes by Miz Mooz ($220) and “Jo" earrings in sage by Avu, both from Footloose Shoes; vintage travel bags from Magic Friend-Maker (insta @magic.friend. maker). Makeup and hair by Jen Clark Model Dani Parkinson Photographed on location at the BC Aviation Museum. A huge thank you to the museum for graciously hosting our team for the day and introducing us to such a treasure trove of BC history. Vintage flight suit and boots provided by the BC Aviation Museum; vintage aviator sunglasses ($98) from House of Savoy; scarf from Magic FriendMaker (insta @ magic.friend. maker).
“Change is the only constant”
Laura Bolster and Luke Mills embrace the dynamic winds of change at Megson FitzPatrick

hen Laura Bolster started working at an insurance office in her hometown at just 19 years old, she never expected it would lead to a successful, decades-long career in the insurance industry—let alone an opportunity to lead one of Vancouver Island’s top firms.

“I was right out of high school in Powell River and I had no post-secondary education,” says Laura, the partner, president and COO of Megson FitzPatrick Insurance Services. “I worked there for a couple of years and then I decided to come to the big city of Victoria. Megson FitzPatrick hired me and I got all the education I needed here. But if someone had said, ‘you’re going to be here when you’re 53, and you’ll be president and a shareholder,’ I wouldn’t have believed them. It’s crazy to reflect sometimes!”

“It’s really such an inspiring story,” adds Luke Mills, Megson FitzPatrick partner, risk advisor and commercial account executive. “I think for the team to see you walking around every day, as a shining example of what you can achieve, it’s just amazing.”

Luke also never planned on a career in the insurance industry, despite working for his mother’s insurance brokerage in Toronto.

“I worked there for a little bit in the early ‘90s and didn’t think insurance was for me,” the 52-year-old father of two explains. “I was casting around, trying to decide what to do, and I kind of ran off to the Caribbean, to Dominica, and opened a restaurant. And against all odds, it actually worked.”

But after five years, Luke says, he and his wife needed a change and moved back to Canada.

“Everyone thought we would go back to Toronto, but we hopped in the car and drove to Victoria.”

Luke’s mother had met David FitzPatrick, one of the founders of Megson FitzPatrick, and was impressed. Luke was also impressed when he met David, but the company didn’t have any openings.

“I just got such a good vibe and David was very generous with his time, so I got licensed. I had some other job offers elsewhere but, ultimately, I waited,” Luke explains. “This was where I wanted to work and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Culture has been a big part of that, and Luke and Laura say working for a growing and evolving company has also kept things interesting.

69 instagram @lilypadlingerie facebook @lilypadvictoria Open 7 days a week 250-590-8032 113-5325 Cordova Bay Rd, Victoria Shop lingerie, sleepwear, loungewear and activewear at Lily Pad Lingerie. Everyday Elegance
“We had to completely change how we conducted business, and she’s led us through what’s probably the most dynamic growth the company’s ever seen... The steady hand that Laura had, and her extensive knowledge, really made a difference.”

“There’s been lots of change, so I think that’s what’s kind of kept it exciting for me,” says Laura, who took over as president just two weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“We had to completely change how we conducted business, and she’s led us through what’s probably the most dynamic growth the company’s ever seen—which is quite something,” Luke adds. “The steady hand that Laura had, and her extensive knowledge, really made a difference.”

Sending everyone home and pivoting to remote work in the early days of the pandemic also opened up new opportunities for the company, and has helped with staff retention and recruitment.

“It really just opened up our eyes to what is doable, and we’ve taken a lot of the good that came out of COVID-19 and put it into our day-to-day business practices,” Laura explains. “Before, when someone asked to work from home, I said, ‘No. We’re a retail organization, we’re open to the public, and you have to come in every day.’ And now it’s just completely different.”

“We just didn’t conceive of the fact that you can do your job elsewhere, and if someone left the community, we had to part ways,” Luke says. “Now, we have employees across Canada in PEI, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. We’ve been able to attract new, experienced people who want that flexibility; we’ve been able to keep people who moved away, and we’ve actually had a lot of people come back who had left us before COVID-19.”

Fostering a strong culture while teams were fragmented was one of the biggest challenges of the pandemic period. And now, with about 45 of Megson FitzPatrick’s 100-plus employees either permanently remote or working in a hybrid model, finding ways to keep people connected is one of Laura’s top priorities.

“For me, culture is everything,” Laura says. “Building a hardworking and fun culture keeps people engaged and makes people

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happier. It makes us all want to perform and do well every day.”

“Our industry, like [many industries], is going through a very challenging labour market and what sets you apart—if people are being compensated appropriately—is culture,” Luke adds. “We learned from our founders, who had an open-door policy, and we want people to know that they’re heard and that their feedback is important.”

Megson FitzPatrick also has an employee share-ownership program and close to 30 team members, including Luke and Laura, are now shareholders.

“As our founders were retiring a few years ago, this was a big goal for us in our succession plan. So we partnered with Rogers Insurance out of Calgary as they had a complete share-ownership program in place,” Luke explains.

Last fall, Rogers merged with CapriCMW, forming a new company called Acera Insurance, and Megson FitzPatrick is now part of this.

“CapriCMW was also an employee-owned Canadian company, so that was really exciting for us as we’re still heavily into being an independent,” Laura says. “The plan is to do some co-branding

(Megson and Acera) because those in our group of companies have strong local brands,” Laura says. “We’ve been on Vancouver Island for 50-plus years, so we want to be really cognizant of the brand recognition.”

The merger also helps Megson FitzPatrick diversify outside of the BC South Coast, where the earthquake risk is high.

“They say every year we don’t have an earthquake, we’re probably closer to one and it’s not just Victoria and the Lower Mainland that are exposed, but Seattle all the way down to Portland, so the risk becomes enormous,” Luke explains. “Actuaries are saying the financial exposure to potentially a single event is incredible, so they have to go buy insurance—which is called reinsurance—and what we’re experiencing now is that the reinsurance market has really pulled back because they’re worried they’re overexposed.”

It’s just one of the challenges insurance companies are facing. But after more than 30 years in the industry, Laura has learned that change is the only constant.

“It’s been a great ride and Megson FitzPatrick is a great organization,” she says. “I’m super grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me over the years.”

“For me, culture is everything,” Laura says. “Building a hardworking and fun culture keeps people engaged and makes people happier. It makes us all want to perform and do well every day.”
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CUSTOM BLINDS, SHADES, DRAPERIES, MOTORIZATION & MORE 250.384.1230 I Main Showroom: 2745 Bridge St, Victoria, BC Satellite Showroom: 101-9818 Third St, Sidney, BC Showroom: 2745 Bridge St, Victoria, BC AWNINGS, PATIO COVERS, LOUVERED PERGOLAS, RETRACTABLE SCREENS AND MORE 250.361.4714 I IDEAS FOR EVERY WINDOW Modern Precious Metals® Aluminum Blinds SimpleLift™, Wand Tilt Designer Screen Shades with PowerView® Automation OUTDOOR SPACES FOR ALL SEASONS We've Got You Covered Inside and Out The PowerView® App is required for programmed operation. ©2023 Hunter Douglas. All rights reserved. All trademarks used herein are the property of Hunter Douglas or their respective owners.

Gear up for travel time

Function, fashion and design team up in these cool travel accessories

Travel is back with a force. Whether your journey involves planes, trains or automobiles, planning a trip is lots of fun. Add in these travel accessories to create a stylish and less frenetic experience. And then? Get packing!


In a galaxy not too far away, kids can travel with Grogu (Baby Yoda).

Samsonite Canada, a 100-year-old company that owns American Tourister, sparks imagination with its PVC-free American Tourister Star Wars Kids 18” Upright carry-on.

Always the gold standard for reliability and sturdiness, the luggage company entered the competitive kids’ travel market in 2015.

“Our American Tourister Disney Kids Luggage was built to be fun for kids, but also durable to handle real travel,” says Samsonite brand manager Erin Reynolds, from the company’s headquarters in Stratford, Ontario. “It goes through the same testing as our regular adult luggage. We kept the inside simple with a mesh pocket and cross straps, so it is easy to keep track of items inside, but also stays lightweight.”

It’s big enough to hold toys, clothes and a small light saber.

This kids’ carry-on costs $145. SAMSONITE.CA/EN/KIDS-LUGGAGE/

75 lifestyles


When Dutch entrepreneurs Wessel Buis and his wife Juliska Kiss travelled to Bali, they had to contend with heavy downpours and cheap disposable plastic ponchos to shield them from the rain. That’s when the Rainkiss brand was born.

“The entire concept is to blend sustainable [certified recycled] materials with ethical manufacturing, fashion inspired prints and most of all—fun,” says marketing manager Shane Lakatos, from the Rainkiss studio in Amsterdam. “Our in-house designers are focused on product development, and they consistently challenge manufacturers with new ways to improve our materials and processes,” he explains.

Originating in Latin America, the poncho is basically a square or rectangle of cloth with a hole cut out in the middle for the head.

“A hood, colourful graphic patterns and sleeves were natural additions to the Rainkiss poncho. As we are based in Amsterdam, the cycling capital of the world, it is an essential part of staying dry in the city,” says Lakatos (incidentally, a Canadian born in Ontario).

Recycled PET bottles are flaked, heated and spooled into fabric to create vivid unisex prints for adults and kids that are 100 per cent waterproof. From designs sporting gigantic black polka dots and pink panther animal prints, and names ranging from Disco Dream and Japanese Blossom to Digi Spring Camo, these ponchos might even make people hope for rain. When dry, they fold up into their own convenient carrying case for easy packing.

With a price tag of $86, they ship free to Canada.

RAINKISS.COM Get even with your bra Amoena’s PiaTop with built-in shelf bra 2250 Oak Bay Ave, Suite 210, Victoria | 250 384 1791 | (Corner of Oak Bay & Monterey, behind Oaks Restaurant) Amoena is a registered trademark of Amoena Medizin-Orthopädie-Technik GmbH. Your own personal retreat whenever you need it | 250.466.5275 Relax • Refresh • Renew Wildwood
offers rental of a mobile authentic woodfired sauna to share with your friends and family. $ 399 Full Weekend Rental


Who can forget the airport chaos last summer when the whole world seemingly rushed to travel at the same time? The result: hundreds of pieces of luggage sat marooned in overwhelmed airports.

Apple AirTag to the rescue! Whether attached to a handbag, keychain, backpack, bicycle or another item, AirTag taps into the vast, global Find My app network and can help locate a lost item like luggage, all the while keeping location data private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption.

Small and lightweight, it even has a built-in speaker that plays a sound to locate it. (Or you can ask Siri.) That’s especially helpful for users who are blind or have poor vision. Apple does not suggest attaching AirTag to pets.

It’s available in a variety of colourful accessories, and fashionistas will also be pleased to know that Hermès has partnered with Apple to create an exclusive AirTag Hermès travel tag Bag Charm and Key Ring in Barenia leather. Made in France, it’s etched with the iconic equestrian Hermès Clou de Selle signature.

The AirTag starts at $39. Hermès accessories $449



Can a toothbrush be sustainable and still have a cool design? That’s a resounding “yes” from Saskia Coleman Foley, the CEO and president of oral care company RADIUS.

Originally founded in 1983 by her architect father, the company is now run by this exuberant product designer, who is on a mission to create toothbrushes that don’t pollute the environment.

“Billions of toothbrushes made of various plastics are thrown away every year and go straight into landfills,” says Coleman Foley from her manufacturing company in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. “All of our toothbrushes are made from up-cycled materials like wood-based resin, coconut shell, hemp and more.”

The 2-in-1 Tour Travel Brush is an ingenious wide, eco-friendly, vegetable-derived-bristles toothbrush with replaceable brush heads that flips easily into its own transparent plant-based travel case. The collapsible design comes in a variety of colours, and tiny holes drain away any water from the bristles.

At $9.95, find them at RADIUS and All Things Being Eco, Chilliwack, BC.


QUALITY | STYLE | PERFORMANCE 250.248.5959 | 1.888.842.5959 1-452 Island Highway East, Parksville


So, you’re climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and suddenly you think, wouldn’t an espresso just hit the spot? Or maybe you’re camping with the family and a shot of espresso is your usual morning wake-up call. You’ll be so glad you packed the Nanopresso, designed by Wacaco.

Built around a patented pumping system, the ergonomic espresso maker is only 6.14 inches tall and weighs just 336 grams. It comes with its own cup, filter basket, brush, carrying pouch, warranty and multi-language instruction book. Easy to use, it works best with finely ground, carefully tamped down coffee. Holding it with two hands, just press to pump.

One caveat: it doesn’t heat water, so you need to find hot water to add to it. After each shot, Nanopresso easily separates for deep cleaning. Don’t forget to pack the biscotti!

Nanopresso costs $99.90. WACACO.COM

Eileen Fisher

Eliza Faulkner

White + Warren

AG Denim

Eileen Fisher

DL1961 Denim

White + Warren

Fidelity Denim

Elk Australia

Van Kukil Cashmere


Indie & Cold

Naïf Montreal

Velvet by G & S

Harly Jae



Grace & Mila

Kut Denim

Cut Loose

Naïf Montreal

LAB Collective LINE

A–G Denim


Mink Pink

7 For All Mankind

Repeat Cashmere



Casual Luxury Clothing

Three Locations

1887 Oak Bay Ave. - Victoria

2227 Oak Bay Ave. - Oak Bay

102 Craig St. - Downtown Duncan



Those savvy Dutch designers have done it again. Ekster, based in Amsterdam, has created a collection of men’s wallets, bags and travel gear in vegan, recycled leather made from car windshields or environmentally certified leather.

The Parliament Wallet, available in a variety of sleek colours, holds one to 12 cards and bills, and boasts a patented ejection mechanism that allows credit cards to be fanned out at a touch of a button to protect against skimming.

Every Ekster accessory can be paired with a solar-powered tracking tech card (extra), allowing for two-way ringing to call your wallet from your phone or vice-versa.

Cost is $90.


Italian-Designed Leather Handbags

Canadian-Made Leather Jackets

Wool & 100% Cashmeres ~ Outerwear

Located inside the Fairmont Empress Hotel SHOPS AT THE EMPRESS

Founded by Jess and Jay Velikovsky, The Shoppe believes your home is a reflection of who you are and what you love.

Your home is where your stories are made and our team is here to help ensure it will be your sanctuary for all life’s moments, filled with expressive elements, calming vibes and undeniable character.

Great design begins with a fresh and clean palette, quality furnishings, artisan textiles, layered neutrals and nature-inspired accessories. You’ll find all that and more at the Shoppe on Uptown Blvd. We can’t wait to meet you.

Shop Victoria’s newest Furniture & Home Decor Store at Uptown Blvd.
Locally Owned & Operated | 250.383.6509 | We offer 12 senior living communities with care that is personalized to each resident’s unique needs and preferences. As unique as you.



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.

8433 Lochside Drive

Victoria, BC $4,350,000

The moment you enter the gates of this Saanich Peninsula waterfront acreage, panoramic views of the Cordova Straits greet you. This oceanfront estate rests beautifully amongst tastefully landscaped grounds and expansive waterfront patios. Featuring stunning ocean views from virtually every room, this sprawling 5,000+ sq ft home offers 6 bedrooms, 5 baths, incredible interior/exterior spaces perfect for entertaining, a 4 car garage & separate studio suite.

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.

Humboldt Street, Victoria BC, Canada V8W 1B1 The local real estate agent with the international network: Scott Piercy, Private Office Advisor Personal Real Estate Corporation 250-686-7789

242 Beach Drive Victoria, BC $3,495,000

Updated South Oak Bay estate with unobstructed ocean views. Designer interior completely re-imagined with some original features retained & refinished. 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.

2575 Lansdowne Road

Oak Bay, BC $3,299,000

Attractive family home, extensively modernized yet retaining traditional features including good sized rooms & floor plan. Set in prestigious Uplands, Oak Bay, on a private S facing ½ acre lot. This 4 bed, 3 bath home, offers spacious rooms for entertaining friends and family, and stunning patios overlooking the park-like yard with mature planting and large lawn. A true Oak Bay gem!

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. Oceanfront property encompasses 6.8 acres and captivates at every glance. Exquisite custom built home and guest cottage are a masterful work of West Coast Architecture. 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 $7,999,000

‘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!

702 9809 Seaport Place

Sidney, BC $2,550,000

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:
LeBlanc, Private Office Advisor
Personal Real Estate Corporation
FEATURED LISTINGS 10 ACRE LOT READY FOR BUILDING IDEAS 5 BED | 5 BATH | 6,336 SQ FT | 10.01 ACRE LOT 5 BED | 6 BATH | 5,250 SQ. FT. | 13.88 ACRE LOT 5 BED | 5 BATH | 3,672 SQ FT | 7,050 SQ FT LOT 6 BED | 4 BATH | 3,576 SQ. FT. | 10,045 SQ. FT. LOT 5 BED | 4 BATH | 3,800 SQ. FT. | 10,144 SQ. FT. LOT 679 TAYLOR WAY | HIGHLANDS | $915,000 4871 EXCELSIOR RD | PROSPECT LAKE | $4,500,000 5919 CASSINO RD | DUNCAN | $3,250,000 10441 ALLBAY RD | SIDNEY | $3,749,000 2576 ARBUTUS RD | ARBUTUS | $3,290,000724 BOSSI PL | CORDOVA BAY | $2,895,000 2 BED | 3 BATH | 2,170 SQ FT 6 BEDS | 7 BATHS | 5,422 SQ. FT. | 19.67 ACRE LOT 402-1280 NEWPORT AVE | OAK BAY | $2,299,000 4573 PROSPECT LAKE RD | PROSPECT LAKE | $4,500,000

Lisa Williams has developed an impeccable reputation as a top-selling expert in Greater Victoria, representing buyers and sellers of well over a Billion $ in real estate transactions, and over $100 Million in 2022*

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.

PT Gorgeous, bright like-new 4 bed/3 bath homeexceptional quality throughout, fantastic ocean views from multiple patios/decks & just steps to beach access.
* Personal Real Estate Corporation / *MLS and Exclusive transactions
2911 MT. BAKER VIEW ROAD $3,180,000 WHITE ROCK STREET $2,190,000 DALLAS ROAD $1,349,000 UPLANDS Private and sunny .62 acre property adjoining Uplands Park and just steps from the ocean and Willows Beach. A rare opportunity in this special upscale neighbourhood! 10 MILE 10 MILE PT Spectacular .16 acre oceanfront property with incredible ocean and Mt. Baker views - the perfect setting for your new waterfront home in this quiet, and sunny location! SHOAL POINT Spacious & sunny with lovely ocean views & large balcony, this 1245sqft 2 bed/2 bath fully renovated condo enjoys a S/W exposure, AC & terrific amenities!

Arts and Crafts Grande Dame

1952 Runnymede Avenue $2,500,000

‘Wynyates’ is a heritage home originally built in 1912 and gracefully ushered into the 21st century, with a sympathetic remodel completed in 2016. Enjoy this walkable location on the Oak Bay border with Demitasse cafe, the Abkhazi Garden, excellent schools and Gonzales Beach just a short stroll away!

Incredible Oceanfront Opportunity

15-2600 Ferguson Road $825,000

This oceanfront, one-level unit at Waters Edge enjoys the premier location in the complex with a SE ocean view exposure and access to the waterfront walkway. Near clubhouse with pool & guest suite.

210-9840 Fifth Street $525,000

Just one block north of Sidney’s main street, this pristine condo offers an excellent walk score with easy access to the shops, restaurants and walkways of this seaside town.

5105 & 5109 Cordova Bay Road $5,500,000

An exceptional location front and centre on one of Victoria’s most desirable beaches. Two side-by-side properties, one residential and one commercial, with uninterrupted marine vistas.

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Independently Owned and Operated. E.&O.E.: This information is from sources which we deem reliable, but must be verified by prospective Purchasers and may be subject to change or withdrawal.
Immaculate Condo
“We believe every home is a mansion regardless of size, location or price.”
Kirsten MacLeod Sales Associate 250.686.3385 Shaelyn Mattix Sales Associate 250.908.0184 Glynis MacLeod Personal Real Estate Corporation 250.661.7232 Tremendous Townhome

1 bedroom 1 bathroom

Wonderful Shoal Point!

This designer Shoal Point home exudes elegance and warmth. Featuring beautiful Red Oak wood floors, Wengewood stained wall trim, and glass panel doors. The living room boasts a gas fireplace framed with tile, wood trim and faux croc leather wall covering. A large book shelf adjoins the den/eating area and deck access with SW ocean views and gas bbq/heater connection. The kitchen, with quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances (incl. gas cook top), is separated from the living room by a bar counter w/ quartz to the floor. The bedroom has a beautiful built-in bed with under-lit floating shelves, side lamps, leather wrapped head-board, and storage drawers. Seagrass wallpaper, built-in closet, and deck access complete the bedroom. The bathroom has under-lit floating vanity w/ wall faucet, bathtub with rain water shower and heat regulator, and a new washer/dryer.

No other complex in Victoria offers the same lifestyle with all the amenities of this beautiful building! The recreation area includes a 25m lap pool, fitness room, steam room, dry sauna, cold plunge pool, hot tub/jacuzzi, men’s and women’s change rooms with showers and an outdoor putting green. Bike and kayak storage, a well equipped workshop, library, car wash, 2 guest suites, security, common room with bar and kitchen and the wonderful services of the concierge complete the amenities. The community is very social with Friday night Happy Hour, weekly full body exercise class, walking and hiking groups, and a beer appreciation club, to name a few. At Shoal Point you are not just buying a home, you are buying a lifestyle!

Contact us to learn more about Shoal Point! We are your Shoal Point Experts.*

*Our history with Shoal Point dates back to 2018 when a Realtor who originally sold the development, Margaret Leck, retired. Upon Margaret’s retirement, not only did she share her extensive knowledge of Shoal Point with us, but introduced her Shoal Point clients to us. Since 2018, our team has bought and sold over 31% of the listings in Shoal Point!

In 2022 our Mother-Son team sold 3 of the 13 Shoal Point MLS listings, plus 3 off-market listings for a total of 6 (38%).

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

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 outstanding customer service and client communication, providing the highest standard of service to their clients regardless of price point. Every listing is treated with premium services, high quality photography, video or 3D tour, and and high quality glossy brochures. The goal of the team is to put every listing in the best possible light to get as many buyers through the home as possible, living in a digital world the online presence of listings is so important to make a lasting first impression on buyers.

626-21 Dallas Road, James Bay | $699,000,
Chace Whitson REAL ESTATE GROUP cel · 250 818 9338 tel · 778 426 2262 6575 Central Saanich Rd, Central Saanich mls # 926454 11665 Jupata Way, North Saanich mls # 924927 11353 Hummingbird Place, North Saanich mls # 925029 10890 Greenpark Drive, North Saanich mls # 924622 +GST +GST Chace Whitson REAL ESTATE GROUP cel · 250 818 9338 tel · 778 426 2262 6575 Central Saanich Rd, Central Saanich mls # 926454 11665 Jupata Way, North Saanich mls # 924927 11353 Hummingbird Place, North Saanich mls # 925029 10890 Greenpark Drive, North Saanich mls # 924622 Helping you make the right decision. 10433 Allbay Road, Sidney mls # 922508 2518 Shoreacres Road, Sidney mls # 921394 $3,600,000 $8,500,000 $2,950,000 $1,825,000+GST $1,799,000 $2,349,000+GST FEATURED LISTINGS Leslee Farrell, Associate Broker 250.514.9899 Kristel Walker, Realtor® 250.888.1503 OCEANFRONT OASIS CURTEIS POINT | NORTH SAANICH Macdonald Realty Ltd. 755 Humboldt Street, Victoria, BC V8W 1B1 250.388.5882 VIDEO
BRIGGSANDSTRATTONREALTORS.COM 250.592.1042 2185 THEATRE LANE, VICTORIA, BC V8R 1G3 AN INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED FRANCHISEE Use our QR code with keyword FREECMA to get your current market evaluation and check out our latest videos by Platinum HD REWRITING THE REAL ESTATE RULEBOOK GET IN TOUCH TODAY Luxury isn’t a price. It’s an experience. Briggs & Stratton and Associates has rekindled the lost art of white-glove service at every price point.
the globe without leaving your kitchen
Transport your taste buds Travel
95 NICOLE BURGESS 250-384-8124 We want you to your home! Your home is more important than ever… l ove Established 1887 Gautam Arora Licenced Realtor, Pemberton Holmes Gautam Arora Personal Realestate Corporation 250.384.8124 | RESIDENTIAL/COMMERCIAL

Instagram: @TofinoGalleryofContemporaryArt

Three years ago, the world seemed to stop turning. Planet Earth was, of course, still spinning steadfastly around, but life as we knew it ceased and, along with it, the global movement of our species. All travel deemed non-essential was prohibited and even as airports slowly started to open up again, many folks were hesitant to hop on a plane. During this time, I wrote a piece entitled “Great Escapes,” whereby I longingly recalled favourite past trips, and some tastes and gastronomic experiences that helped shape those adventures. Two years have since passed, and I have been on a couple of little family getaways, eagerly mind-mapping more adventures to come.

One of my greatest travel delights is in the planning. I tirelessly research the best hidden gems and secret sweet spots, and make sure to include the tried-and-true mainstays amid spontaneous discoveries. I curate detailed master lists of must-sees, must-dos…and, of course, must-eats. And in the process, I’m given the gift of getting to know my destination a little better before I humbly step foot in these new spaces.

One of the greatest ways to familiarize oneself with places, people and cultures is through cuisine. I am a big advocate of snacking, sipping, dining and tasting one’s way through a town via the most loved local haunts. Prior to a trip, I find it fascinating and fun to look up cherished recipes, enjoying loosely themed meals as I plan, prep and count down to takeoff.

The following recipes represent three places I’ve yet to visit that are at the top of my travel bucket list, and perhaps are on yours too. Even if you’re not visiting any of these countries, the flavours will transport your taste buds as you dine your way around the world without even leaving your kitchen.

Instagram @TofinoBeachCollective

Our boutique collective offers unique, elegant and artfully curated Vacation Rental Homes at Chesterman Beach, Tofino.
430 Campbell Street, Tofino (behind Rhino Coffee) 430 Campbell Street, Tofino (behind Rhino Coffee) Artwork: Ben Fox, ʻImaginary Beach 12ʼ Photo: Owen Perry TOFINO GALLERY of CONTEMPORARY ART Unique, contemporary Canadian artworks in painting, sulpture and photography.

hot or chilled

Spicy Mezcal Margarita

The word mezcal comes from the Nahuatl word “mexcalli,” which means “oven-cooked agave” and is distinguished by a smoky flavour. Nine Mexican states are particularly popular for the making of mezcal: Durango, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Puebla and San Luis Potosí, and each of these regions produces mezcal with slightly different profiles. While I would be delighted to visit any of these regions, I feel a particular draw to Puebla City for its fascinating cultural landscape and rich culinary history. With that said, a good margarita can be found all across this bright and beautiful country, as can good mezcal. I mix the smoky with spicy by infusing the mezcal with jalapeño, and swap the more commonly used triple sec with fresh-squeezed orange juice. This was first introduced to me by a Mexican chef, and I haven’t gone back to an orange-flavoured liqueur since.

Prep time: 5 minutes (plus infusion time)

Makes 2 margaritas


1 jalapeño, sliced and deseeded

4 oz mezcal

1-2 oz fresh squeezed orange juice

2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

1 oz agave syrup

1 lime wedge, with a shallow slice down the middle for rimming the glass

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp chili powder

Optional garnishes of lime and deseeded jalapeño slices


In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the mezcal, orange juice, lime juice, agave syrup and jalapeño slices. Close the lid and give it a good shake. Store this mix in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours (or less time if you don’t like it too spicy). When ready to enjoy, mix the salt and chili powder and spread it out on a plate. Glide the lime wedge around the rim of two rocks glasses and dip the rims in the salt mix to coat. Fill the glasses halfway with ice cubes, give the mezcal mixture another good shake in the sealed jar, remove the lid, pour it evenly between the two glasses and enjoy!

Serves 4


300g spring salmon, cut into 2” cubes

8 spot prawn tails

1 ½ L Finest at Sea fish stock

1 Tbsp butter

1 small bundle of finely chopped Lacinato kale

1 cup shelled peas

1 cup each finely sliced snap peas, asparagus, zucchini, spring onions or any other seasonal veg that you love.

1 clove garlic, finely sliced

2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

Zest from 1 lemon

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp kosher salt


Method: Mix lemon zest and olive oil together and set aside. In a medium sauce pot over medium heat melt your butter. Add the spring onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add kale and cook for 1 minute until its volume is reduced by half. Add remaining veggies and beans and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add salt and stock and bring to a gentle simmer. When the stock comes to a simmer add the salmon and cook for 1 minute, add the prawns and cook 2 minutes longer. Pour soup into bowls and garnish with dill and a drizzle of lemon zest oil.

1 cup canned white beans (we have a great marinated Greek bean at Finest at Sea) our website for more great seafood recipes
Easy Summer Seafood Minestrone Enjoy

Moroccan Lamb Tagine

I have long dreamed of getting lost in the bustling marketplaces of Marrakesh, soul searching in the Atlas Mountains, immersing myself in the buzz of Essaouira, and winding my way through the Jardin Majorelle. The breathtaking architecture, cultural eclecticism, rich and dynamic history, and of course mind-blowing, life-changing food, all make the entire country of Morocco a dream destination. And while I fantasy-plan a trip, I will continue to make this staple dish in our weeknight dinner rotation, as the warming aromas transport me to this wondrous part of the world.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 2 to 3 hours

Makes about 4 to 6 servings

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About 2 lbs cubed lamb shoulder (roughly 2-inch chunks)

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

800 ml diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)

1 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp ground ginger

½ tbsp turmeric

2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)

1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper (plus more to taste)

1 loose cup dried apricots, cut in half

1 loose cup prunes, cut in half

2 cups broth

2 tbsp honey

¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro and/or parsley to garnish

¼ cup of sliced almonds to garnish


Preheat the oven to 300 F. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large ceramic pot with a fitted lid (like a Dutch oven) and brown the lamb. Transfer the browned lamb to a plate, and add the onions, as well as a bit more olive oil. Sauté the onions until translucent, then add all the spices and garlic. Continue to cook over a gentle heat for a few more minutes, being mindful not to let the onion or garlic overly brown or burn.

Add in the diced tomatoes and cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring throughout. Add the lamb back to the pot, as well as the broth, apricots, prunes and honey. Give it a good stir, and as soon as you notice a low boil, turn off the heat, cover with a fitted lid, place in the oven, and cook for 2.5 hours or until the meat is melt-in-yourmouth tender. Place the lamb in a tagine or large serving dish and sprinkle on the chopped herbs and sliced almonds. Serve with rice and/or flatbread. Beautiful

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Santorini Fava Bean Dip with Honey Spelt Flatbread

Santorini, and the Greek Islands in general, encompass my ideal vacation spot, either as a romantic getaway or family-friendly trip. The warmth (both temperature and hospitality), the beaches, the winding villages and mind-blowing Mediterranean meals all call to my body, heart and soul. When I’ve spoken to friends who’ve been there and read articles on visiting this region, an enthusiastic “you must order the fava bean dip wherever you go!” seems to be a commonly emphatic statement. Accessing these beans is a touch trifling, so it’s often recommended to make the dip with yellow split peas when Santorini fava aren’t available. Taste-wise, Santorini fava beans are known for having a velvety texture, are sweeter than other fava beans, but are like a yellow split pea. The slow-cooking process with onion and thyme gives this creamy-yet-light dip its depth, especially when dolloped on top of some fresh flatbread, made here with the ancient grain of spelt and honey, both of which would have been choice ingredients of breadmaking in the Mediterranean prior to the global popularization of refined flour and sugar.


For the bean dip:

Prep time: about 5 minutes

Cook time: about an hour

Makes about 2 cups of dip (roughly 4 to 6 servings)


1 cup yellow split peas (or Santorini fava beans if you can get them)

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

5 large thyme sprigs

2 ½ cups water

Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

The juice of 1 large lemon

Extra virgin olive oil (about ¼ cup)

Optional garnishes: shown here with chopped capers, sun dried tomatoes, mint, parsley, feta cheese, and a sprinkling of paprika.


Soak the peas/beans in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.

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Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until translucent, then add the garlic and continue sautéing until fragrant and slightly golden. Add the soaked peas/beans, thyme, water, about a teaspoon of sea salt and about one quarter of a teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Continue to simmer for 45 minutes or until the peas/beans are tender and all the water has been absorbed. Remove all the thyme twigs and transfer the cooked mix to a blender. Add the lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Puree until smooth, seasoning with more salt and pepper to taste as you go. If you’re finding that it’s not blending well, you can add a little bit of lukewarm water (or even some more olive oil) as needed. Once smooth and creamy, transfer to a bowl, smooth out the top, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with toppings of choice.

*Note: The dip can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week. You may notice that once cool it stiffens a bit. To make it smooth and creamy again, transfer back to a blender and mix with small amounts of warm water until you’re happy with the consistency again.

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For the flatbread:

Prep time: about 5 minutes + resting time (about an hour total)

Cooking time: about 2 minutes per flatbread

Makes about 6 to 8 flatbreads



2 tsp active dry yeast

½ tsp honey

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus 1 ½ cup spelt flour, mixed together (you may also need a little extra all-purpose flour for dusting)

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for frying)


In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup of lukewarm water and whisk in the yeast and honey until dissolved, followed by half a cup of the flour blend. Set aside, uncovered, until it begins to bubble slightly (about 15 minutes). Once bubbling, add the salt, olive oil and 2 cups of flour, and stir until all the flour is integrated, and then knead gently for a minute or two. If you’re noticing that the dough is still quite

sticky, add small amounts of flour as you knead, until it’s somewhat moist but springy, and can be formed into a very soft ball. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set it aside for 30 to 45 minutes. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 pieces and form them into smooth balls. On a lightly dusted surface (you can also do it between two pieces of parchment paper), roll out each ball to 5 inches in diameter and a quarter-inch thick (it helps to lift and turn the dough frequently as you roll so that dough doesn’t stick to your counter too much, and to give it a more even shape).

While rolling out the flatbread, heat a frying pan to medium heat and coat the bottom with a small amount of olive oil. Working with one flatbread at a time, lay a rolled-out flatbread on the pan and fry for 30 seconds, until a couple bubbles start to form. Flip the flatbread over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Flip again and cook another 1 to 2 minutes to toast the other side. Transfer to a plate and gently wrap with a kitchen towel to keep warm. Repeat until all the flatbreads are cooked. Enjoy warm or at room temperature, and to reheat, place back on a medium-heated pan for 30 seconds on each side.

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Southeast Asian Mango Sticky Rice

Although I have been beyond fortunate to visit many amazing places, I have regrettably never travelled to any country in Southeast Asia. My husband, whose father is Vietnamese, sadly hasn’t either, so at the tip-top of our to-do list is a big adventure throughout this stunning and special part of the world, including (but not limited to) Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Many associate mango sticky rice with Thailand (known there as Khao Niew Mamuang) as it’s a popular dessert and street-food snack throughout the region. This recipe (as well as all offered today) is my own interpretation, an easy home-cooking version, and meant to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own abode as you plan, prep and dream of adventures in faroff places.

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1 ½ cups uncooked rice (it works best with sticky or “glutinous” rice, but if you can’t find it, use regular short grain white rice)

1 1⁄3 cup of well stirred coconut milk (full fat)

1⁄3 cup plus 3 tbsp coconut palm sugar (you can use regular sugar, but coconut palm sugar is widely used in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia and gives it the most exquisitely rich flavour and colour)

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted lightly

1 large mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into thin slices


Cook rice as per the instructions on the package. While the rice is cooking, bring 1 cup of coconut milk, 1⁄3 cup of sugar and the salt to a low boil in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat but keep this mixture warm. Transfer the cooked rice to a bowl and stir in the coconut milk mixture.

Let the rice stand, covered, for 30 minutes or until the coconut milk mixture is fully absorbed (you want it to have a sticky, creamy, yet slightly stiff consistency that would hold shape when formed). Note that the rice may be prepared a couple hours ahead and kept covered at room temperature.

While the rice is standing, use the same small saucepan to slowly boil the remaining one-third cup coconut milk with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, stirring occasionally until it starts to thicken. Remove from the heat, keep uncovered and let it cool until you get the consistency of caramel sauce. To serve, mold one-half-cup servings of rice onto a plate and artfully arrange the mango beside it. Drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and enjoy!

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Olive Fertility Centre Victoria Welcoming Vancouver Island Patients

Our new state-of-the-art IVF clinic opening in Victoria’s James Bay Capital Park offers Vancouver Island patients world-class fertility care close to home.

We provide comprehensive fertility care for those with primary or secondary infertility, LGBTQ2SIA+ persons, donor sperm, donor egg, surrogacy, egg freezing and beyond
Dr. James Graham MD FRCSC Dr. Ginevra Mills MD FRCSC

You come first at Olive. Always.

Fertility FAQs with Dr James Graham

Dr. Graham MD FRCSC, GREI is a fertility specialist and clinical director at Olive Fertility Centre Victoria. He is also Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UBC.

So many celebrities are talking about their fertility struggles. Is infertility getting more common?

We know that infertility (defined as trying to conceive for 1 year) has doubled in Canada over the last 20 years. Of all couples trying to have a baby, 1 in 6 will have trouble conceiving. There are multiple reasons for this. The most significant is that women are having their first child later in life.

When should you get your fertility checked?

For most women under the age of 35, we recommend trying for one-year of regular unprotected intercourse prior to having a fertility evaluation. For women over 35 we recommend that you should have a fertility evaluation after 6 months. If you are over 40 or have any health issues like PCOS, irregular periods or endometriosis you should talk to your doctor right away.

What treatments are available?

It really depends on the cause of infertility. Many treatments used to help a couple conceive are fairly simple and involve minimal or no expense. Often, medications or just counseling can help solve the problem. In some cases the solution requires more advanced technology such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF). The good news is that we are able to help most couples achieve their dream of having a family.

Are there any recent advances in fertility treatment?

PGT-A is an exciting technology used in IVF that screens embryos for the ‘right’ number of chromosomes. This is helping to significantly increase pregnancy rates with IVF (up to 78%) and decrease miscarriage rates as we are able to choose the healthiest embryos.

Do patients in BC have to pay for fertility testing and treatment?

Many people hesitate to go to a fertility specialist because they are worried about the cost. Fortunately, in British Columbia your consultations with a fertility specialist as well as most fertility testing is covered by our provincial health plan with a referral from your family doctor or a walk-in or virtual clinic like Telus Health MyCare. Depending on the specific scenario, most surgeries are also covered for patients. However, fertility treatments like IVF are not covered in BC.

IVF centre opening 2023 The

With clinics in Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna, Olive Fertility Centre is one of Canada’s leading fertility clinics, offering an award-winning IVF lab, personal care teams and innovative programs including IVF, PGT-A, donor sperm, donor eggs, surrogacy and egg freezing.

The Olive Difference
Photo credit Jen Steele Photography
We are currently seeing patients at our temporary clinic Suite 214 – 911 Yates Street, Victoria
250-410-1664 Learn more:
only IVF centre on Vancouver Island

Billowing sails and pirate tales

108 travel
Luxury sailing in the Caribbean WORDS + PHOTOGRAPHY ROBIN ESROCK

Affluent residents of St. Barts are accustomed to welcoming mega yachts of the rich and famous. Unless you happen to know a billionaire, it’s highly unlikely you’d ever get close to one of these vessels, much less find yourself on the most beautiful boat in the bay.

It’s a topic that comes up repeatedly among the passengers of the SPV Star Flyer, a striking, 16-sail clipper with four towering masts, polished teak trims and enormous white sails. Turning heads from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, it looks like a pirate ship sailed through an eighteenth-century wormhole.

Sailing with the breeze in high comfort is on many a bucket list, especially romantics with a pinch of salt in their veins. When I first board the Star Flyer late afternoon in St. Maarten, it

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takes my breath away. One of three tall ships owned and operated by Sweden’s Star Clippers, my week-long itinerary in the Lesser Antilles promises an adventure both familiar and exotic.

Well-appointed rooms, friendly international staff and a fine buffet are common on most cruise ships. Sallying forth under sail, chasing pirate lore and dropping anchor at small island communities are not.

Born and raised in a landlocked city, salt runs in my blood like integrity in politics. I can’t tell a jib from a topsail, a schooner from a sloop or the spanker from the anchor. Regardless of one’s prior knowledge and appreciation for sailing, everyone goose-bumped when the crew hoisted the sails at sunset. With speakers booming an epic soundtrack of Vangelis’s Conquest of Paradise, the wind thrust us forward in search of rich Caribbean bounty.

The 166-passenger Star Flyer is 115 metres long with a 15-metre-wide beam, and it’s not even the biggest ship in the Star Clipper fleet. The 227-passenger, 42-sail Royal Clipper holds the Guinness World Record as the largest square rigger in service. Both ships rely on the breeze to do the heavy lifting, with low-emission gas used for internal power, port docking and maneuvering through idle doldrums. Fortunately, the wind in the Caribbean from December to April is so reliable you can bank on it, hence, the trade winds. It’s the perfect time to make up the leeway, learn your sailing lingo and discover wild legends among the beaches and coconut trees.

Calling into Anguilla, St. Kitts, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and St. Barts, I’m sailing into a domain of buried treasure, mythical pirates and sloop battles. Borrowing books from the ship’s library, I dive into the Golden Age of Piracy, when motley crews of

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men—and occasionally women—plundered trade and war ships, all the while swearing impressive oaths of loyalty, democracy and non-discrimination, welcoming all who could be useful, and evenly distributing the spoils. The intrigue of pirates has long hijacked our popular imagination, the Black Flag inspiring countless legends in the Caribbean, including that of a buried treasure hidden deep inside the coastal caves of the uninhabited Norman Island.

Here, the Star Flyer dropped anchor so passengers could snorkel into the same caves that inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. The more I read about Henry Morgan and Calico Jack, Anne Bonny and the infamous Blackbeard, the more I get swept up in the region’s history, and the thrill of sailing under wind.

Operating a tall ship is both an art and a skill. Experienced passengers on board constantly debate our Polish captain’s decisions, analyzing the different sails in use, and the impact of the prevailing winds. With 3,344 square metres of sail, utilizing all four masts could easily blow us halfway around the world. The captain tells me that he often sails up and down during the night, providing invaluable experience for his navigation and ship crew, and using just 15 per cent of the fuel typically needed for a ship of this size. Cruising anywhere in modern luxury is a decadent affair, but with its comparatively low carbon footprint, large passenger sailboats like the Star Flyer suggest a more viable and sustainable cruising alternative.

When we dock in St. Kitts, I see a lineup of massive cruise ships docked outside a duty-free shopping mall. It’s the only time our vastly different cruise experiences meet, and it feels like we’re visiting from a different planet.


Occasionally, the wind howls over 25 knots, creating large swells that rock and roll the ship, stabilizers be damned. Sometimes, I reach for the Gravol or need to retreat to my comfortable cabin on the Commodore Deck, watching sea water rinse my cabin window. More often, the sea is as calm as a mirror, but sailing will always be an adventure, especially for landlubbers lacking sea legs.

Seventy-three international staff and crew operate efficiently under any conditions, spotlessly cleaning our rooms and preparing fantastic meals, cocktails and evening entertainment. There’s pirate parties and trivia nights, disco dancing and interpretive talks. Daily activities include swimming and snorkelling, various water sports, an on-board spa and opportunities to explore the history and culture of different islands.

Tenders deposit us on quiet beaches that are home to some of the Caribbean’s legendary sailing bars, like Soper’s Hole on Tortola and the Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke. My personal highlight is a visit to Virgin Gorda’s The Baths—a series of rock pools, beaches and cave swims in the turquoise water of your dreams. Being on a smaller vessel with a minimal footprint means we can visit and interact with beaches and communities beyond the reach of giant cruise ships. My dining mates, a couple from Toronto, are cruise veterans with dozens of voyages under their belt. Both agree the tall ship had exceeded their expectations, with just the right combination of adventure and comfort.

Embracing the warm sea breeze, I stretch my arms towards a pod of dolphins cresting a few metres beneath me. I’m lying on the netted bowsprit at the fore of the ship, my favourite spot on the Flyer to soak it all in. It’s a giant hammock, of sorts, meeting the sea breeze and ocean

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spray head-on. I often lie back on the thick net to admire the clouds, or zone out staring at the waves. That’s when the dolphins appeared, gliding playfully in front of the bow, providing another singular moment of joy in a week of many.

Admittedly, not all passengers have the nerve to hang out at the bowsprit, much less take up the ship’s offer to scale the mainmast. Securely kitted with a safety harness, I climbed the rope ladder to a viewing platform 18 metres above the sparkling water. It provides a priceless and occasionally knee-shaking, bird’s-eye view of the ship, sea, islands and sparkling horizon.

Although travelling alone, I quickly find my crew of fellow bowspritters and mast-climbers. Spanning six decades of age, I gathered with my group to enjoy fine cocktails, fun company and tall tales at the Tropical Bar. No matter what boat you sail in, it’s the people you meet who create the paradise you find.

Reliably gorgeous sunsets and epic sail-aways are greeted each evening with champagne, cocktails and quirky maritime toasts suggested in the daily program.

An unannounced wedding takes place on the sun deck one evening, and the entire ship celebrates. Small ships just have that kind of vibe.

Later, we’re invited to follow the cruise tradition of dressing in white to sail the warm breeze under the spotlight of a full moon. Naturally recalibrating my balance with one hand steadied on the ship, I’d found my sea legs at last.

Everything moves a little slower under sail. Although the internet is available at the bar, it is pricey and limited. Most passengers agree that screens can wait. Sailing on a tall ship is about reading and resting, conversations and stargazing, staring into the distance, and wondering why it took you so long.

When we anchored in St. Barts, it was a thrill to find ourselves on the most impressive ship in the harbour, and nobody needed a personal invitation from a billionaire either. Any way the wind blows, it’s reassuring to know we can all find our own swashbuckling sailing adventure.

Well-appointed rooms, friendly international staff and a fine buffet are common on most cruise ships. Sallying forth under sail, chasing pirate lore and dropping anchor at small island communities are not.
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hen Rebecca Burrows purchased Victoria’s long-time favourite store, Hughes Clothing, in 2018, it realized a dream she’d carried since she was five years old.

“I just had this obsession with fashion and jewellery,” she says, remembering a day in kindergarten where all the kids were asked to draw what they wanted to be when they grew up. “There are people drawing doctors and firemen and everything, and I just drew a big ring,” she laughs. “I had this obsession with Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and I wanted to work at Tiffany’s.”

While she didn’t make it to New York in her teens, Rebecca did work for a jewellery designer in Winnipeg who sold many pieces to Hughes Clothing. And when Rebecca and her parents moved out to the island, she popped into the shop with her resume. Then-owner Donna Anderson hired her almost immediately, and Rebecca worked there for more than a decade before stepping back to raise her family. But she didn’t stay out of the game for long.

“Business has always been a part of my life,” she says, adding that she’d always wanted to step into the owner/ entrepreneurial role. “But Donna was just not ready to retire at that time.”

Rebecca ended up buying both the Bleue Coyote Pub in Brentwood and the Rod and Gun Bar and Grill in Parksville (although she has since sold them), while staying closely connected with Hughes. And when the opportunity came to take the reins from Donna, Rebecca knew it was absolutely meant to be. Just two years later in 2020, she helmed the shop’s move from downtown Victoria to Athlone Court in Oak Bay with enormous success. And now, business is steady, foot traffic is abundant and her customers are thrilled, echoing the joy Rebecca has found in her own life.

“I’ve been in times of my life—years—where it just felt like I was a salmon swimming upstream, and not doing what was making me happy, and not realizing it,” she says. Now, surrounded by family and friends, a career that she loves, heartfelt relationships with her clients and a new Uptown location that just opened at the end of March, Rebecca is immensely grateful every day for where life has brought her.

“It’s completely come to fruition for me. I’m doing exactly what I’m meant to do,” she says. “I am so comfortable in my own skin, and I’m just loving my life. With business I always think about my dad. He’s been my driving force. He tells me all the time, ‘You can do anything you want to do.’”

Thinking back to those kindergarten goals, Rebecca laughs.

“I definitely think the little Rebecca is beaming on the inside,” she says. “She’s happy.”

The 7 Sins


Whose shoes would you like to walk in?

Audrey Hepburn. I dreamed of being her when I was a child. In her role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, she exuded style and grace like no other. I remember walking around my house all dressed in black pretending I was in New York City.


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

Pasta. I love pasta. I swear I should be Italian. Nothing fancy though. Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and all the parmigiano.


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

Selfishly, I would move my parents closer. Mind you, they only live in Sidney and we’re in Oak Bay, but now with four stores and always expanding, I would love to have them next door to me. I’m such a daddy’s girl. I truly have everything I could ever want—purses, clothes, cars, jewellery— but having daddy next door, that would take the cake.


Pet peeves?

People who say they “can’t.” There’s no such thing as “I can’t.” “No” is not in my vocabulary. If someone says that I cannot do something, it just makes me want it even more. Setting my sights on building more stores and pushing through is how I keep going. Everything in my life gets taken to the next step. I’m constantly growing and levelling up my goals.


Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?

Easy, Maui. Though my idea of doing nothing is a 12-kilometre morning beach walk followed by a round of golf at the Plantation Golf Course in Kapalua with my husband.


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

Oh man...secretly? Hmm. My heart. I love to give. That’s never changed, even when I’ve been burned. Yep, my heart. Oh jeez, now I’m crying.


What makes your heart beat faster?

My dogs. My kids. My husband. My parents. My life. My community. My businesses. Everyone and everything around me. I am so, so, so grateful for this life of mine.



116 narrative WORDS

As a way of coping through the pandemic, I enrolled in an online biology course with the University of Victoria and learned there are 10,000 species of birds. Charmed by a description of the adaptable sandhill crane, one of the oldest living bird species in the world, I remembered a story I had heard a few years earlier.

Bil Lingard told me he knew early on that he wanted to be a photographer. Under the guidance of a favourite uncle, he was developing film in a “pudding dish” at eight years old.

“In my 60 years of professional photography, I have only one shot that completely pleases me from the perspective of subject, composition and the cooperation of the subject—a pair of sandhill cranes standing almost eye to eye with me.”

Bil spoke with the intensity of a 12-year-old boy having fun. He placed a postcard-sized image on the coffee table and told me about a pair of sandhill cranes he photographed at a tidal brook near his home in Florida. He described the painstaking process of capturing his perfect image.

“Two sandhill cranes came down the creek by my house every day for several months. From a distance, I watched in awe without a thought of shooting. The magnificent wading birds did their elegant and ancient dance and I listened to their powerful bugle-ish calls.”

Bil thought through his plan carefully. He knew that much was out of his control.

“I sat, impossibly still, in the marshy landscape so that they could get used to my presence. As I watched their long spindly black legs, grey-brown bodies, white throats, long sharp bills and red crowns, I was mesmerized by the graceful, bouncing hops as the gangly birds landed. I could understand why some birders

see a synchronized and sensual tango in their movements. “I decided I had to shoot late in the afternoon for ideal lighting. “Each day, moving in a barely discernible way, I inched closer. I could easily fathom how sandhill cranes were once considered good eating. Those birds are almost five feet tall.”

In the 1850s, sandhill cranes were sold in San Francisco for $20 as a turkey substitute. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1916 stopped the practice due to overhunting.

“When the day came, and the lighting and background were perfect, I collected my camera and made my way to the planned spot. I waited a long time without making a sound; and then, when it felt just right, when they were close enough, I stomped my foot and startled one of them. He lifted both of his wings in an aggressive display, and I got the shot.”

Ornithology-wise, Bil’s picture shows all characteristics of the birds. Both sides, male and female, broad wings outstretched and wings down.

“That picture pleases me terrifically,” he said. “Looking at it feels like a ‘moment of truth.’ I couldn’t have done that picture with a digital camera. When you print to that size, the process would bleed colors.”

While Bil’s description of stomping his foot to get a reaction from the bird was honest, I have learned that it is not in keeping with the ethical practices of wildlife photography today—which are to not disturb subjects or provoke behaviours that they don’t do on their own.

Three years after he took the shot, Bil told me, he went back to the site and the stream had dried up. Development took over the area and there were no more wondrous flying vertebrates with their lightweight skeletons of hollow bones full of airspace. The

“In my 60 years of professional photography, I have only one shot that completely pleases me from the perspective of subject, composition and the cooperation of the subject—a pair of sandhill cranes standing almost eye to eye with me.”

sandhill cranes, some of the last remaining ancestors of the dinosaurs, and creatures more evolved than mammals, had disappeared from Bil’s neighbourhood. The natural feeding environment and wetland home to the magnificent birds had been paved over; built on; gone forever.

Bil decided not to publish the best photograph of his working life. He made 24- by 30-inch prints and a postcard-size version as gifts for family and friends.

I wrote to Bil’s daughter in Florida and told her the story her father had told me many years ago. She kindly offered to send the related photograph. I wondered what I might discover in studying the never-commercially-published image.

When the print arrived from its pandemically-delayed, fourweek-long, 5,200-kilometre journey, rolled in a postal tube, I had it solidly mounted and propped up on my desk, two feet from my face.

While the world was sinking into despair with daily reports of the mounting tally of COVID-19 losses and continued devastating news coverage on the scientific findings on climate change, I decided to stare at Bil’s work while reading about sandhill cranes from a stash of carefully selected library books. I wanted to try to understand why this image captivated the photographer; why it was so close to his professional heart.

To my non-birder, non-photographer eyes, at first it was just a big picture of a couple of big birds. The National Geographic Field Guide for Photographing Birds helped me begin to discern Bil’s work. Were the birds well-suited old mates? Courting youth? Feeding for their nearby young? Did the unique sandhill crane gait capture Bil? Was it the verdant Eden-esque landscape? Or the preternatural lighting? The more I observed his work, the more too-late

questions I had for the late photographer.

I can’t tell you about the camera or the lenses or the F-stops he used, but I can tell you that the photograph was taken by a person with a strong moral compass. I only met the elderly man once for a couple of hours at a friend’s house in Victoria, when he told me this:

“I don’t want to be at the wheel of my car when I drop dead. My reactions are not quick enough. So, I volunteered to give up my driver’s license. It would be terrible to kill someone at my age because my reflexes have slowed.”

You just know a person like that will have a thoughtful reason for the way they approach their photography.

As I learned in my biology course, gruiform birds have the best fossil records of any avian order and stretch back over 80 million years. Despite that glorious history, only 15 species of sandhill cranes are left in the world today—two in North America.

Sandhill cranes are known for being wary, always raising their heads to look around while feeding. But apparently not wary enough. Even their highly evolved lifelong pair bonding, a characteristic behaviour that likely added to their tenacious and staggering survival history, will not help them in 2022. Recently, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology noted that three billion birds have disappeared since 1970.

In my pandemically-inspired biology course—thanks to the UVic continuing education program—I learned that birds are very old, and humans, a much younger species, are wiping them out. Bil Lingard’s hauntingly beautiful still image depicts a microcosmic reminder of humanity’s terrible loss. There may not be many beautiful Bil Lingards left either.

118 COQUITLAM 1400 United Blvd 604.524.3443 LANGLEY 20429 Langley Bypass 604.530.9458 VICTORIA 661 McCallum Rd 250.474.3433 NANAIMO 1711 Bowen Rd 250.753.8900 KELOWNA 1912 Spall Rd 250.860.7603 ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ESHA SECTIONAL DOUGLAS SECTIONAL FEATHERSOFT SEMI-ANILINE LEATHER Movie Night Sofas Visit us 661 McCallum Rd. Victoria SEE IN-STORE FOR LOTS MORE COLLECTIONS

Boulevard’s fashion team members were like kids in a candy store as they delved into the incredible collection of aircraft and artifacts at the BC Aviation Museum, located on the grounds of the Victoria International Airport at 1910 Norseman Road. Treated to a backdrop of beautifully restored candy-red and bumblebeeyellow aircraft, the team also had the opportunity to view a collection of aviation-related clothing and uniforms, including a First World War air force jacket belonging to a former Victoria high school student, Second World War jackets and flight suits, vintage stewardess uniforms from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, and a plethora of retro pillbox hats, helmets, leather caps and vintage goggles. As lovers of fashion, the team could have spent a whole day “oohing” and “aahing” over these pieces, which are under the care of Michelle Harris, a museum volunteer tasked with preserving this incredible collection. Each beloved aircraft has a story, a past and a purpose. It was an honour to photograph our feature among some of BC’s most treasured history.

behind the story

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Photos by Brittany Carey Photography