LIFE AT ITS FINEST
tidings You CAN GIVE the GIFT of TIME For YOGA BLISS, try a tropical isle When OCEANS talk, Kate Moran listens HOT PROPERTies COOL meets CALM
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CONTENTS December 2012 Issue 12, Volume XXI
24 Holiday tourism goes online By Shannon Moneo
Kate moran Probing the ocean's mysteries By Adrien Sala
STATE OF THE ARTS A cynic relents By Alisa Gordaneer
40 PERSONAL FINANCE Give yourself a debt-free new year By Tess van Straaten
18 EDITOR’S LETTER
36 give a gift of time By Alisa Gordaneer
20 HAWTHORN Giving back By Tom Hawthorn
LETTERS Spies and spikes SOCIAL CAPITAL DIY gifts, made with friends By Jessica Woollard HOT PROPERTIES Order and harmony on Ten Mile Point By Carolyn Heiman DESIGN MATTERS Decorating, simplified By Sarah MacNeill CREATIVE MINDS Jeff Molloy’s art, free-spirited and glorious By Katherine Palmer Gordon
FRONT ROW Harmony for Christmas; Victoria Bach Ensemble; Mike Delamont live; and more By Robert Moyes HEALTH & WELLNESS Avoid the Christmas meltdown By Tess van Straaten LIVING LARGE The gift of bling By Kayleigh von Wittgenstein FOOD & WINE Three foods bearing gifts and fave 2012 wines By Pamela Durkin and Sharon McLean
56 84 TRAVEL FAR Yoga and diving on a tropical isle By Sonja Bjelland 94 TECHNOLOGIA To visit from afar, unwrap Skype By Darryl Gittins 96
WRY EYE A “no-stuff” Christmas? Stuff it! By Alisa Gordaneer
SECRETS & LIVES Ann Nightingale, Christmas Bird Count director By Shannon Moneo
On our cover: Eucalyptus sprig in a glass hurricane shade with concrete base, from Nest & Cradle. Photo by Sarah MacNeill.
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LIFE AT ITS FINEST
President John Simmons Vice President, Sales Geoff Wilcox Managing Editor Anne Mullens Associate Editor Vivian Smith Acting Art Director Sarah Reid Ad Production Jenn Playford Advertising Vicki Clark, Pat Montgomery-Brindle, Geoff Wilcox Marketplace Programs Scott Simmons Business Manager Janet Dessureault Administrative Coordinator Kayleigh von Wittgenstein
Contributing Writers Maryanne Carmack, Darryl Gittins, Pamela Durkin, Alisa Gordaneer, Tom Hawthorn, Carolyn Heiman, Anna Kemp, Lauren Kramer, Sarah MacNeill, Sharon McLean, Shannon Moneo, Katherine Palmer Gordon, Robert Moyes, John Threlfall, Tess van Straaten Contributing Photographers Dean Azim, Vince Klassen, Gary McKinstry, Leanna Rathkelly
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Alisa Gordaneer's favourite holiday tradition is to spend most of December in denial that the holidays are near, and then do a mad dash to prepare, along with everyone else who celebrates in the same last-minute way. This has led to rather haphazard holiday meals, and might be the real reason behind her no-stuff Christmas, which she writes about in this month’s Wry Eye. Writer and poet Gordaneer also wrote our services-as-gifts feature and her State of the Arts column. No wonder it takes her a while to get around to her festive to-do list!
is an awardwinning author based on Gabriola Island who likes to know what makes people like artist Jeff Molloy (Creative Minds), whom she profiles this month, tick. Her next book, We Are Born With the Songs Inside Us, profiles young First Nations men and women talking about their lives in 21st-century BC (to be published November 2013 by Harbour Publishing). Katherine Palmer Gordon
of Gabriola Island, is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in international publications including Rolling Stone, Premiere, Time, Paris Match, the New York Times and now Boulevard. His portraits have featured luminaries such as Cate Blanchett, Katharine Hepburn, Halle Berry, Robert Redford and the Dalai Lama. He has been the main unit stills photographer on more than 50 films. Gregory shoots Jeff Molloy this month. “I was given complete freedom to turn his studio upside down to create an authentic portrait of the man and the artist,” he says. See doanegregory.com. Raised in Victoria, Sarah MacNeill studied architecture at Dalhousie University and has worked for design firms in Vancouver and Victoria. Her earliest memory of the holiday season is tiptoeing down a dark hallway on Christmas Eve and believing she saw Santa about to eat a cookie. She exclaimed, “He’s HERE!” with such conviction that her mom was sure a burglar was stealing the loot. She now spends the holidays using “Santa’s watching” leverage to ensure her daughters’ good behaviour. In this month's Design Matters column, MacNeill shows how to create memorable holiday decorations. 16
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Ever since I learned to sew as a pre-teen, Christmas for most of my life meant hauling out my sewing machine and making presents, whether loved ones wanted them or not. Shirts, skirts, aprons, décor items, you name it, I likely sewed it as a present at some point in my life. For a decade, when my children were young, I hunkered down at my machine each December and focused on sewing Christmas paraphernalia — fabric wreaths, tree skirts, folksy snowmen, Christmas-y tea cozies and more. I chose one item each year and mass-produced it. Everyone on my list got the homemade gift. One fall, an aging, elegant aunt, a former Vogue model in the 1940s who was known for her frankness, sent a pre-emptive card: “Anne, this year, please, no more of your handicrafts!” I dare say even my late Aunt Jane would approve of some of the Do-It-Yourself gifts writer Jessica Natale Woollard suggests making with friends in this month’s Social Capital: jewelry, bath salts, soaps and fragrances, glass art, wine, and more. And I know for certain she’d go for writer Alisa Gordaneer’s gift suggestions of service or time — the personal concierge, the fitness coach, the chef who comes to your house to whip up a week of meals and the clutter-organizer who tackles that garage or basement. (Note to family: that last one for me, please.) We have other Christmas-focused stories this month. Design Matters writer Sarah MacNeill looks at unusual Christmas traditions, new and old, and has some innovative suggestions for interesting looks. Many thanks to Sylvia Main for letting us shoot our Design Matters photographs in her heritage B&B, Fairholme Manor Inn. We have a stunning, modern Hot Property, too, staged by Home Style Solutions for a calming Christmas, with décor items from Chintz & Company and Insideout Homestore. In case the build-up gets a little too hectic or intense, Tess van Straaten has tips for keeping holiday stress at bay and a second story, in personal finance, about tackling debt. Our stories about Kate Moran of Ocean Networks Canada and the profile of iconic Canadian artist Jeff Molloy will even take your mind off holiday-themed offerings and let you get to know two fascinating and accomplished individuals. I am not pulling out my sewing machine this year. These days my crafting impulses are being channelled almost exclusively into the creation of Boulevard along with our wonderful team. So from our gang to your home, the best of the season to you! VB Anne Mullens, Managing Editor
YOUR LETTERS Bearing apples and paintings This letter is prompted by your editor’s letter in October concerning Northern Spy apples and how much editor Anne Mullens once enjoyed them. They are indeed quite scarce in this vicinity but I have a Spy Apple tree on my Cadboro Bay property. They are perfect apples, juicy and colourful. They are a late apple, as you may know, and are just now ready to pick. As soon as we get some sunny weather I will harvest some and bring them to you. Sig Peterson Peterson, a local artist, did drop by with a big box of Northern Spy apples in mid-November, which were greatly appreciated. And it was discovered that a few years ago managing editor Anne Mullens had bought from him a pastoral oil painting of the Blenkinsop Valley at the Moss Street Paint-In. The painting hangs in a prominent spot on Mullens’ main-floor landing where she and her family enjoy it daily.
Closest to the Last Spike
In the article “Getting Stoked on Revelstoke” in your November issue the author states that Revelstoke is “also known as the place where the Last Spike was driven for the nation-building railway.” Unfortunately, the actual place was Craigellachie, almost 50 kilometres west of Revelstoke. Since the Last Spike is one of the most significant events in Canadian history, it is shocking that Adrienne Coburn could have made such an error. Equally shocking is that no one else at the magazine noticed it before publication. Rob Roy Thanks for the note. We should have been more precise in our wording. We do know that the Last Spike of that 9,000-kilometre long line was driven at Craigellachie, which the Revelstoke Railway Museum notes is 40 kilometres west of the town. We figured that since Craigellachie is now just a highway rest stop with historic marker and, in summer, a satellite interpretive centre and gift shop run by the Revelstoke museum, most people interested in that significant event in winter would visit Revelstoke and its well-regarded main museum. See railwaymuseum.com.
Missing asterisk in Butchart Gardens ad In the November gift guide advertisement for Butchart Gardens, we erred in not including an asterisk after “merchandise.” Our apologies. The error has been corrected in the December ad.
We welcome your letters: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us on Facebook, and on Twitter @BoulevardMag.
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By Tom Hawthorn
My GIFTS of charity are SMALL, but the IMPULSE lasts all YEAR A POT OF MULLED WINE simmered on the stove, cinnamon sticks floating like canoes amid bay-leaf lily pads. The aroma of mulled wine suffused the tidy Fairfield home. In the dining room, children gathered around a large wooden table. Before each of them were small toys of their own selection — cars, dolls and an assortment of palm-sized playthings. These were being wrapped in bright paper. The children were excited and the parents blissfully calm in what is too often a hectic time of the year. Our hosts had organized the weekend party as a chance for the kids to play and parents to mingle. Best of all, the wrapped gifts were to be presented later on to children at the Cridge Centre for the Family. Suffice to say, the recipients were unlikely to be enjoying as holly or as jolly a holiday as our happy scene. This is the time of year when giving is de rigueur. Churches step up their charitable programs. Bells ring on the street to coax coins from the purses and pockets of passersby. Around the world, newspapers launch annual appeals for the poor and destitute, from the Neediest Cases of the New York Times to the Province’s Empty Stocking Fund to the Times Colonist’s Christmas Fund. These programs include daily stories about the needy, an advent calendar of hardship. An ungenerous reporter might begin the assignment thinking about prisons and workhouses for the poor, but they invariably complete it as Ebenezer Scrooge did, filled with giddy joy. Delivering a hamper filled with toys and food to a family with children who would otherwise go without will do that to you.
A LOANED JACKET KICKED OFF MY CAREER My own experience on the receiving end of charity is, happily for me, limited. As a young man, I was loaned a suit jacket and a pair of mismatched black dress shoes — the right a wingtip brogue, the left a plain Oxford. Thus outfitted, I travelled from the West Coast to Ottawa to cover a political convention for a literary magazine. On my return, the clothes were recycled through the Catholic charity, the next recipient unaware the items had been next to a former prime minister (Joe Clark) and a future prime minister (Brian Mulroney). Later, when I had cash of my own, the charity received a modest donation in thanks for its help launching a journalism career. A guy like Gordy Dodd (Dodd’s Furniture) pays for holiday dinners for thousands of the poor and, the way he tells it, it is not entirely an act of selflessness. “The more we give to poor people,” he once told me, “the more God will give to us.” I’m filled with admiration for those people who make charitable work a regular part of their lives. I’m less engaged. For me, charity means being a soft touch for panhandlers and poppy peddlers and firemen holding boots and Girl Guides with their $5 boxes of cookies and freckled-faced students offering overpriced bars of chocolate (or, better yet, kettle corn) to finance an upcoming band trip. As well, once a year, I make a modest donation to support an old chum in Ontario who takes part in a walkathon to raise funds to fight Parkinson’s, the disease that claimed his father. DEPRIVATION KNOWS NO SEASON For a quarter-century, CBC Radio in this province has conducted an annual Food Bank Show to raise money to fill empty cupboards. I’m a sucker for appeals from the Mustard Seed Food Bank, who provide pasta and lentils, Weetabix and Kraft Dinners to hungry people. The sad truth is a belly can be just as empty in March as on the yuletide. One of those people who always seems to be doing good works is Jody Paterson, whose empathy for outcasts was described in these pages in September. She is in Honduras with her partner Paul Willcocks on a volunteer mission through Cuso International. While in Copan Ruinas, they came across El Hogar Angelitos Felices, a home for 40 orphans. Those children live harsh lives of deprivation. In three months, the couple raised $8,664. The orphanage is getting a tiled floor to replace dirt; a washing machine for the daily mountain of soiled clothes; extra food; art supplies; and a new mattress for every child. Twice a month, Paterson and Willcocks lead the children to a fancy hotel, where, after paying a fee, the children get to splash and play in a swimming pool, a luxury they never imagined being able to indulge. A simple act makes tough lives just a little easier. Tom Hawthorn is a freelance newspaper and magazine writer who lives in Victoria. Deadlines, a collection of his favourite obituaries for the Globe and Mail, was released by Harbour Publishing in October. VB 21
by alisa gordaneer
Why, oh why are
Christmas tr aditions
so, well, traditional?
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Every holiday season there’s some new little thing to get excited about, be it the latest style of outdoor lights or the next big gift-giving trend. Even so, for every zippy new holiday excitement, dozens more holiday traditions can’t be escaped. Whether it’s watching old holiday specials on TV, or trotting off to a production of the Nutcracker, never are we more hooked on tradition than in darkest December. Seriously. Talk about roasting old chestnuts... As Grinchy as it might make me seem, I have to confess, I don’t understand why traditions are so traditional. Maybe we’re just too worn out from all the seasonal activity to think of anything different to do? Could I be just too cynical about it? I asked Michael Shamata, the Belfry Theatre’s artistic director, about producing that most chestnutty of plays, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which runs until December 15. Turns out he’s the king of seasonal tradition: this is his ninth time doing A Christmas Carol, and not only that, it’s his own stage adaptation of the holiday classic. Here’s a guy who seriously loves the story of Scrooge and Bob Cratchit. ARE CHRISTMAS PASTS MY FUTURE? It’s not hard to catch a few versions of this classic at some point over the season. The CBC Radio-sponsored readings have been a tradition for more than two decades. Last year Theatre Inconnu did a production, and of course the classic black-and-white movie version airs at least a few times over the holiday season. But, Shamata quickly points out, “it’s never been done at the Belfry.”
He explains that this year’s Belfry version will be different from the movie version, in particular. Shamata likes to cast Scrooge as a smart, successful businessman, who’s simply been so wrapped up in his own ambitions that he has lost sight of what really matters. And, as Shamata points out, it’s a touching story of change and redemption, because in the end (do I really need to provide a spoiler alert?) Scrooge sees the error of his ways and learns to share his great wealth with those who need it. ”Every time I’ve done it, I’ve ended up leaving the rehearsal hall and going out to have a little sob somewhere,” Shamata says. So why do we, as audience members, keep spending every Christmas Present watching shows from Christmas Past? Maybe because there’s a deeper meaning behind the stories? WHY THEY’RE CALLED CROWD-PLEASERS “It’s a story that affects all of us,” says Shamata. “It’s more pertinent in 2012 than it was when it was written.” And the fact that Scrooge can achieve redemption simply by changing his attitude — and the knowledge that when it was first published in 1843, A Christmas Carol was considered an indictment of industrial capitalism at the time — sure does give hope in the dark season. Hmmm. Something to consider. Maybe events like the Victoria Symphony’s “Sentimental Christmas” concert series, taking place this December 7 through 9, are so popular because they get us into some kind of festive mood, which increases our tolerance level for shopping malls, eggnog and holiday guests What about the lighter shows, like The Sound of Music, that appear this time of year? How do they fuel our seasonal affectionate disorder for holiday favourites? Margaret Bowes, who’s producing The Sound of Music for the Victoria Operatic Society this month, had the answer for me — because at this time of year, families are spending time together, and shows like these appeal to everyone. “It’s something a family can go see as part of their Christmas package,” says Bowes. And Sound of Music, with familiar tunes that leave audiences literally singing as they leave the theatre, is “a real flagship piece for Christmas,” Bowes adds. “It’s nice, this time of year, to spend time with the family … Taking children out to the theatre is a big treat.” True enough. Perhaps it’s time I embraced those traditions of holidays past, and like Scrooge, learned to enjoy this time of year. Maybe I’ll even go again to the city’s annual Figgy Pudding Carolling Competition, which is quickly becoming yet another tradition to warm the chilly season. It takes place this year at Bastion Square during the afternoon on December 15. If I'm there, I'll be singing loudest of all. VB
Nutcracker runs December 1-3; Victoria Symphony’s “Sentimental Christmas” concerts are December 7, 8 and 9. A Christmas Carol runs until December 15; The Sound of Music runs December 7-16.
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holiday challenge: entice visitors here to spend seasonal dollars By SHANNON MONEO
ictoria, as most of us already know, is glorious in the summer. There are scenic views, the ocean, clean air, landmarks, festivals, cultural venues, great accommodation, restaurants and shopping. If a cruise ship has landed, the city can be packed with flocks of impressed visitors. Come December, Victoria’s attractions, decked out in Christmas finery, still appeal, but the biggest flocks seem to be the seagulls. This is when Victoria’s hotel occupancy rates, a good indication of tourist activity, drop by about 30 per cent. In December 2011, for instance, Victoria’s average room occupancy was 45 per cent compared to 78 per cent in July 2012, according to the Chemistry Consulting Group, which produces the monthly Victoria Tourism Bulletin. “The challenge is that people don’t think of us as a Christmas destination,” says Trina Mousseau, whose job as director of destination marketing at Tourism Victoria means she has got to change a lot of minds on the subject. In fact, she had to change her own mind first. Mousseau, who came here from a Vancouver marketing company almost two years ago, used to think that winter trips to Whistler were the norm. “I’d never think of going to Victoria,” she recalls. But once she set up residence in the Capital, Mousseau was festively surprised. Not only does Butchart Gardens put on a stunning Christmas display, downtown Victoria is a gift waiting to be opened. “It’s pretty magical,” Mousseau says of roaming carollers, Mr. and Mrs. Claus on street corners and one of North America’s best Christmas light displays at the parliament buildings.
SOCIAL SITES SPREAD THE WORD The other draw is the slower pace and how that translates into a less stressful Christmas shopping experience. Instead of beating back the hordes at Burnaby’s Metrotown, in Victoria, shoppers can amble through LoJo, Trounce Alley, Government Street or Oak Bay Village, Mousseau says. Her message: “Please come to Victoria, slow down and get into the Christmas spirit.” To bump up holiday visitor numbers this year, Mousseau and Tourism Victoria are using an old tradition in a new way. She has helped launch the first interactive Advent calendar on Tourism Victoria’s website, part of its “Christmas Is Here” campaign, which taps into social media to help spread the word. The calendar debuted Nov. 12 at
TourismVictoria.com/Christmas. Tourism Victoria is using what is called an “integrated content plan” to expand its marketing reach this year. What that means is that popular online social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube are used to stimulate conversations about the Christmas promotion. “It’s all about amplifying our reach,” Mousseau says. “If one person shares photos with friends, that could be 300 new reaches.” Using Facebook as an example, in April 2011, Tourism Victoria had 5,000 Facebook “likes.” By September, there were 17,000. To measure the success of this year’s Christmas campaign, Mousseau will look to online responses. Last year, the inaugural launch drew 5,000 visits to Tourism Victoria’s website. She spent $2,500 on the campaign. This season, with a “come to $50,000 budget, Mousseau is hoping Victoria, slow for 25,000 site visits. down, and The virtual Advent calendar get into the features 24 doors that reveal Christmas Spirit” Christmas experiences found only in Victoria. Viewers can open one each day or all at once. The calendar also has special offers from Victoria businesses or tourist attractions, such as a two-forone admission, useable by downloading a PDF coupon.
GETTING PAST GETTING HERE Another feature is the all-important transportation widget, which shows people how to make their way to Victoria. “People perceive us as difficult to get to. We want to make it easier,” Mousseau says. There’s also a “Book a Room” widget and a calendar of events. Mousseau hopes for a strong response from Vancouver, Washington State and Alberta residents, along with upIslanders, all of whom make up a good portion of Victoria’s visitors. The Butchart Gardens didn’t hesitate to get involved. “As one of the premiere Christmas destinations in Victoria, we want to make sure we promote Victoria and be right there with Tourism Victoria,” says Dale Ryan, Butchart’s public relations director. For the Advent calendar, Butchart is offering free admission to children when they’re accompanied by an adult from Dec. 1-8. From Dec. 1 to Jan. 6 is Butchart’s second busiest time of the year after summer, Ryan notes. The bulk of Christmas customers are locals, often with out-of-town guests in tow. The Fairmont Empress Festival of Trees, where local 25
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businesses decorate more than 50 Christmas trees as a fundraising event for BC Children’s Hospital, has become another tradition. “The mood is so beautiful,” says Angela Rafuse-Tahir, the Empress’ director of sales and marketing. “It’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle.” The arrival of the trees on Nov. 20 coincides with a rise in guests at the hotel, leading up to a busy Christmas. Taking part in the “Christmas is Here” campaign, the Empress is “really happy with what Tourism Victoria is doing. So much happens here. It’s great to share with the community and visitors,” Rafuse-Tahir says. The Grand Pacific is involved too, with its Bear Wear fundraiser for the Queen Alexandra Foundation, in which businesses dress bears and put them in scenes in the hotel lobby, to look like store windows of old. But how will Tourism Victoria know if all the hoped-for virtual traffic translates into actual visits? According to Frank Bourree, CEO of Chemistry Consulting, if Tourism Victoria can bring in a one-per-cent jump in hotel occupancy rates, that would indicate the Christmas campaign worked, and worked well. “The one per cent has a huge impact on the hotel, restaurant and even retail businesses,” says Bourree, who sits on Tourism Victoria’s board of directors.
C’MON CARROLL, Your KIDS WILL LOVE US! The average tourist in Victoria spends $250 per day, he says. An extra one per cent translates into about 460 more visitors
throughout the month. If they spend $250 daily, it adds roughly $115,000 to the local economy based on just a one-day stay for each of them. Longer stays add even more bucks. Bourree notes that when it comes to Christmas tourism, Victoria is vying with Vancouver and Whistler, as well as Canadians choosing to cross the border for cheaper prices. But the long tradition of snowbirds from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, who spend winter months in mostly snow-free Victoria, remains a reliable source of visitors, he adds. Edmonton resident Liz Carroll visits Victoria about four times a year, but not during winter. The divorced office manager stays at a downtown hotel, takes in plays, visits art galleries, tours Butchart Gardens, enjoys the city tours and loves downtown’s unique stores. “And I’m just happy to walk around,” she says. But Carroll hasn’t yet visited during the Christmas season, preferring to be with her two grown children at home in Edmonton. But there’s always the chance Carroll will log onto “Christmas is Here” and discover that maybe she and her kids can escape -25°C and get a Victoria-style chill during a Ghosts of Christmas Past walking tour. “I’ll put it out there and see what the kids say,” Carroll says. VB Shannon Moneo is a freelance journalist who graduated from the University of Regina’s School of Journalism in 1990. She’s lived in Sooke since 1992 with her family.
Kate Moran, president and CEO of Ocean Networks Canada, on the research vessel Thomas G. Thompson, with dogs Lucy (hers) and Tori (another Neptune scientistâ€™s).
Cutting-edge research at UVic pulls oceanographer Kate Moran away from Obama By ADRIEN SALA photography by dean azim
Last year, the University of Victoria landed a rather big fish to run Neptune Canada, “one of the most advanced ocean research programs in world,” according to the catch herself, Kate Moran. Before coming to Victoria, Moran was assistant director in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington, DC, advising the Obama administration on the oceans, the Arctic and global warming. She also served on the advisory committee that helped cap the oil well during the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster in 2010. But in 2011, as the end of her term approached, she began to consider whether Washington was really for her. When asked to sign on for another term, she hesitated. “I was going to stay because there’s still a lot to do there,” she says. “But from a timing perspective, nothing gets done. The work I did is advancing policy, but it’s all so slow.” So she looked west to UVic and the cuttingedge research being done at Neptune Canada, the underwater research network managed by Ocean Networks Canada, a non-profit agency funded by the Canadian and BC governments and operated through UVic. Here, Moran found an innovative program that is increasing scientific understanding of ocean activity globally
by providing constant, real-time data through a network of regional underwater laboratories. The acronym “Neptune” explains it all: NorthEast Pacific Time-series Undersea Networked Experiments. The data, shared freely around the world, will be vital to our understanding of seismic activity, sea-level rise and climate change itself. “One of the reasons I came here,” she says, “is because I can actually get things done.”
800 KILOMETRES OF “WIRED” OCEAN Now president and CEO of Ocean Networks Canada, Moran stands watch over more than 800 kilometres of fibre-optic cable that loops across the ocean floor off the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. A sister project, Venus (for Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea), monitors coastal waters. At six points on the loop, nodes — minivan-sized research pods — are fitted with instrumentation like research cameras, thermometers and seismographs that serve both the non-profit and private sectors. The tools of the not-for-profit Ocean Networks Canada are at her disposal, including a staff of about 70 and a budget in the millions and growing. (The annual budget was $16 million but just this October the program received a further grant of $41.7 million from the BC and federal 29
Kate Moran leads a team of more than 70, collecting and interpreting data from some 800 kilometres of fibre-optic cables along the ocean floor.
governments for operating costs.) Moran hopes to see the world’s oceans completely wired and to create a comprehensive monitoring system, similar to satellite systems in the atmosphere, that keeps tabs on ocean health. Last September, part of her vision came closer, as Ocean Networks installed a cabled observatory under the ice off Cambridge Bay in Nunavut that is similar (although smaller) to Neptune.
understanding the ocean, says Moran. Historically, most ocean science has been fragmented. “You can’t just drop a tool over the edge of a boat and collect data from one depth, in one location at one time,” she says, “yet that’s exactly what was happening.” The ocean is in constant flux, so “24/7 research capability that can monitor changes as they occur” is needed, and what Neptune provides.
MONITORING CHANGE AS IT OCCURS
Moran calls this “wiring the abyss” — connecting the Internet to the ocean so oceanographers worldwide can study shifting currents, ocean floor activity and even search for undiscovered life in multiple places at once. “Kate is a visionary,” says Neptune project co-ordinator Leslie Elliott. “We UVIC’S NEPTUNE CANADA feel lucky to have her.” IS “ONE OF THE MOST For John Delaney, a professor of oceanography at the University ADVANCED OCEAN RESEARCH PROGRAMS IN of Washington and the person who conceived of the underwater WORLD,” SAYS MORAN. network, the data is key to figuring out what happens in the ocean and may help scientists build predictive models for the future. “We can’t fix all the problems by looking at the ocean,” he says, “but if we start understanding more about the fundamental lifesupport system on the planet — the ocean — we’ve got a pretty good start.” Delaney is currently laying cables for an American iteration of the project off Washington State, which will
Sitting in front of four big screens in Neptune’s headquarters at UVic, Moran is excited about a video just in from a vehicle near one of the nodes. “You have to see it,” she says. “I couldn’t believe it when it happened!” The video shows a few crabs near a seam that separates two tectonic plates. One crab moves over the seam and does a slow-motion back flip. “We have methane hydrate [here],” Moran explains. “It forms in low temperature under high pressure, so most of it in the world is in the sea floor.” The methane hydrate, which expands dramatically as it rises, may have a serious impact on ocean temperature. It’s also invisible. When the team saw a crab using it as a crustacean trampoline, it proved a significant amount was being released. “A lot of groups seek to exploit the chemical as an energy source,” Moran warns. “But we don’t yet understand the environmental impacts of that.” Real-time monitoring is fundamental to 30
WIRING THE ABYSS
correspond with UVic’s. “We are very, very excited about the arrival of Kate,” he says, explaining that open communication among institutions is needed to build a comprehensive model of ocean activity. To him, Moran is one of the few people capable of fostering that development.
TOP-SECRET CLEARANCE Born in the small town of Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, 57-yearold Kathryn (Kate) Moran earned degrees in civil and marine engineering. Following her studies, she took a short-term position aboard the Canadian Coast Guard ship Hudson in 1980, where she was offered a job after five weeks and became a Canadian citizen five years later. That eventually caused trouble when she went to work in the White House. “The Secret Service seized my passport when I got top-secret clearance,” she laughs. “But they did give it back to me when I left.” Moran worked at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Halifax, doing offshore assessment for restraints to oil development, and studying potential environmental impacts, and later became a professor at the University of Rhode Island and its associate dean of oceanography. She also earned a PhD in civil engineering from Dalhousie in 1995. Moran co-chaired a first-of-its-kind research expedition to the Arctic that was a decade in the making, and led a team finding the source of the earthquake that caused the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
SPEAKING OUT ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE Moran has a history of skilled public speaking on climate change and has said publically that scientists should be more active in speaking out about their work. She has cultivated professional networks globally and intends to use her influence to promote data-sharing among scientists and institutions. Neptune already provides its data free to scientists and encourages sharing by engaging with the non-scientific community. At Brentwood College School in Mill Bay, for example, students monitor ocean fauna through Neptune networks, and on the website a “Digital Fishers” game allows users to review and report on the hundreds of hours of video footage collected — possibly the only chance one might have to discover a new species while sitting on the couch. Content for now to observe the ocean, Moran can see a time when she will return to the policy side. Once scientists better understand the ocean and the impacts of change — natural and human-caused — policy decisions for an array of development will be better informed, possibly even for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway project. “We’ll have some harder decisions to make,” she says of science’s impact on government and industry. “I understand the policy world though, so I’m interested in working on that.” VB Adrien Sala is a Victoria-based writer and journalist. Founder of The Gentlemen’s Kitchen, Adrien is developing a series of books, web content and a television show to help men get better in the kitchen to get the women they want. 31
Wilson’s has been part of Victoria’s gift giving for 150 years.
1221 Government St. 250.383.7177 Mon-Sat 9:30-5:30 Sun 11-4 1210 Newport Ave. 250.592.2821 Mon-Sat 10-5
Proof yet again that Vancouver Island is a jewel.
ROYAL OAK DRIVE in the Broadmead Village Shopping Centre 250-658-5578
SIDNEY at the foot of Beacon in the Sidney Pier Hotel 250-656-5506
Share more than Gifts
by JESSICA NATALE WOOLLARD
This Christmas season, the growing ‘DIY’ movement means more of us would like to craft a unique gift for mom, dad, and Great Aunt Gladys. But just because the trend is named “DoIt-Yourself” doesn’t mean you should do it by yourself. This holiday season, grab fellow DIY devotees and make it a social engagement at various “make it, take it” sessions around the capital. Here are Boulevard’s recommendations for fun, festive DIY projects to give with pride:
Surprise the jewelry lover on your list with hand-made bling. Using Swarovski crystals, antique beads, pearls or prisms, you can customize the project. Market Square’s Beadworld offers free instruction, plus use of their tools, for any bead project, including ornaments and window art. Bring your own beads to revamp an old piece or buy new ones in store. Visit victoriabeadworld.ca or call 250-386-5534. Skanda, at 1033 Fort St., also offers classes and supplies. See skanda.ca or call 250-475-2632.
Know someone who could benefit from a serene sabbatical but can’t get away? Give the gift of homemade spa products. Purchase take-home spa-making kits from Silk Road on Government, and get your friends together for an evening of making bath and massage oils, bath salts, tea-bath sachets, home spa facials, and eau de parfum, all infused with Silk Road’s aromatic essential oils. Visit silkroadtea. com for more information.
Baking Concoct clusters, cookies, cakes, and candied nuts; macaroons and marzipan; lava cakes and yule logs. Holiday-themed classes offered by Creating Occasions and The London Chef can render enough galettes to gift wrap and give as host thank-yous and tokens of appreciation. Enroll a few partners in crime, then divide the baking amongst yourselves for variety. See creatingoccasions.com and thelondonchef.com for details.
In the triumvirate of gold, silver and copper, copper is regarded as the least precious as far as modern, luxury jewelry-making goes. But thousands of years ago, the warm-coloured metal decorated divine rulers and their palaces. In the copper-etching classes of Roslyn van der Wal, artist, teacher, and owner of Life in Harmony, you could create a stunning cuff bracelet to rival any Cleopatra might have worn. Visit roslynvanderwal.wordpress.com for class information. Custom workshops are available on request.
A bar of soap wrapped in fine paper emits a luxurious, organic quality. Did you know you can make soap with everyday kitchen ingredients? The Good Planet Company on Fort will give you the recipe in their Soap Making 101 workshop. You and up to seven friends will learn the art of natural soap making, dating back to around 2800 BC. You’ll leave the workshop with three pounds of hand-made soap, featuring your own choice of essential oils, colours, and other additives. Trade bars with your friends for a variety of scents and colours. A workshop to make natural household cleaning products is also available. Visit goodplanet.com for more information.
Scrapbooking A box of beautiful cards makes a lovely gift, and can be meaningful if you make the cards yourself. Michaels craft stores offer classes to help you brush up on your scrapbooking skills: learn to use punches, add glitter, layer papers, and stamp like a pro. These $10 classes will help you develop or refine scrapbooking skills while using Michaels’ extensive tools. For more information, visit your local Michaels store.
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Wine-Making A $15-$18 bottle of wine costs around $6 when you make and bottle it yourself — plus, it’s a fun night out. Victoria has several drop-in wine-making shops, each offering a variety of options in terms of price, preference, and quality. Groups often come in to make several batches (around 30 bottles per batch), then, after a taste test or two, divide the bottles amongst themselves, says David Brockmann, owner of Oak Bay’s Village Winery, who cites decadent chocolate ports — Hazelnut Chocolate, Orange Chocolate, White Chocolate, and Strawberry Chocolate — as holiday favourites. You can order custom labels, too, to commemorate the vintage and a night out with friends. To make wine in time for the holidays, it’s best to start in early September to allow for the appropriate aging period. Mark your calendars for next year. Visit villagewinery.com for more information.
Purple coat Green envy 2 in stock
Fibre Arts Is this the year to venture beyond the simple scarf? Add a few purls, a lace border? Or try something altogether new? Small projects like mittens and socks can be knit or crocheted in the weeks leading up to the holidays and will warm more than the extremities of the lucky recipients. If you’re tackling a new project and need assistance, both the Beehive on Douglas and Knotty by Nature on Lillian Road in Fairfield offer sessions for $10 an hour. Call to book your time and bring your friends. Classes and workshops are also available. Visit beehivewoolshop.com and kbnfibres.ca for information.
Ceramics Fired Up! Paint Your Own Ceramics on Cedar Hill Cross Road offers pre-made pottery pieces (called bisque) waiting to be painted and transformed into objets d’art. The trusty coffee mug is their perennial best-seller, a favourite for the gift-giving season, says owner Janna Malo, but the choice is vast: platters, vases, teapots, tiles, and garden gnomes. The studio welcomes groups and is open late. No need to book a time; drop in at your leisure to paint. The staff will fire your piece in the kiln and have it ready to be gift-wrapped within a week. Visit firedupceramics.ca for information. Keen to try the pottery wheel? There are classes at Crafty School of Art, craftyvictoria.com.
Glass Art Dazzling glass ornaments, twinkling lights, luminous stained glass windows — glass art radiates the holiday esthetic. For centuries, this art has been an exclusive one, requiring specialty equipment and knowledge, but Victoria now has several studios that offer classes. Victorian Glass Art teaches a variety of workshops, including one on glass jewelry-making, from which you will take away several pendants and earring sets. Glass Smith and Company has classes on fused-glass pendants, stained glass, and ornament-making, and will customize any workshop for you and a group of friends. Visit glasscampus.com and glasssmith.ca. VB
1225 Government St. mnegrinvictoria Tokyo
the G gift of time
iving friends or family members a clock doesn’t quite translate into the gift of time; but with the help from service professionals, you can give the gift of a little more freedom for them to do what they like. Whether they’ve got everything and no time to organize it, or friends visiting and no time to cook, your loved ones’ lives can be more relaxed with a service-oriented gift. You can call any of these local companies and have it swoop to the rescue. Or present a gift certificate so the service can be booked when it’s needed most. Gift certificates aren’t too glamorous-looking, though, so I’ve provided a few wrapping suggestions as well.
comes from a well-timed service By ALISA GORDANEER
Pet projects a specialty Maybe your friends have everything, including a small dog or cat. Rachel Murray, owner of PetsWOW Mobile Pet Grooming, can stop by their home and bathe, groom and pamper their pet, in time for holiday celebrations or anytime. “A lot of my clients are seniors, and find it difficult to brush out their dogs,” says Murray, who adds that because she performs her services in a client’s own home, pets who hate travelling to a grooming salon, or owners who hate to drive with a nervous cat in tow, can relax knowing their pet is being groomed in familiar surroundings. The service is also much faster, says Murray, who can complete a full grooming in one to two hours. Murray offers gift certificates, which she can deliver when she’s on her rounds — she groups groomings by neighbourhood to reduce her eco-footprint — but she suggests letting the pet’s owner make the actual appointment, as they know best what kind of service their pet needs.
Suggested wrapping: Put the gift certificate into a bag of gourmet pet cookies, or tie it to a new collar or leash — Fluffy will look even cuter afterwards. Service fee: $65 and up for a full groom; dematting and à la carte services also available. See petswow.ca. 36
Taking care of details Maki Burdge, owner of Victoria Concierge, started her business in 2006 after moving from Toronto, where Big Smoke residents know the value of a handy go-to person who can take care of life’s little details, whether it’s sending out all those holiday cards so you can escape for your ski vacation, or filling the fridge and making sure the house is cleaned just before you return. “A lot of people have a busy life,” says Burdge, explaining that she, or her staff of contractors, can take care of anything from seasonal decorating, to gift shopping and wrapping, to picking up the laundry from the dry-cleaner or the houseguests from the airport. “We do anything the clients need.” They’ll even take care of sending your holiday cards, or thank-you notes after the season is done. The first one, of course, should presumably be addressed to the smart person who gives this gift.
Suggested wrapping: Slide this gift certificate into a calendar for the new year. Service fee: Starts at $40/hour, minimum two hours. See victoriaconcierge.com.
Organization first Autumn doesn’t tend to be the time most people choose to de-clutter, says professional organizer Jen Mason. What with kids back at school and life getting busier as the days grow shorter, people don’t often get around to a big clear-out. “By Christmas, it gets a bit more overwhelming,” says Mason. “You get all this stuff, and you also already have stuff.” Holiday preparations can also become an exercise in adding more mess to an already chaotic house. “Especially in Victoria, where people have such large homes,” Mason observes. “Who has time and who wants to do it?” A visit from a professional organizer can not only help tame crazy closets, but also get a garage, home office, or even photo collection into showworthy condition, which is especially helpful when houseguests come for the holidays. One popular service offered by Mason’s company, Chaos to Calm, is a kitchen overhaul, which sorts out the whole kitchen, from pantry and fridge to cupboards and counters. “Everything comes out when we’re there,” Mason says. The result is an organized, clean kitchen where it’s not just a pleasure to cook a holiday meal, but it’s actually possible to find Grandma’s old gravy boat when the turkey’s ready. And raise your hand if you’re guilty of tossing decorations into a tangled mess once the New Year rolls around. You’re not alone. Mason helps people put away their decorations in a way that makes sense — and keeps the chaos at bay next year, too.
Suggested wrapping: Try tucking this gift certificate into a new silverware organizer, or attaching it to a set of wooden hangers for your loved one’s freshly organized closet. Service fee: $75/hour, minimum three hours; includes a free initial consultation. See chaostocalm.ca.
The Lucius Room Divider by
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High Efficiency Natural Gas Fireplaces 37
A Boarding Kennel that loves your pets as much as you do.
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2918 Lamont Road, Saanichton 250-652-2301 puppylove.ca email: email@example.com Just minutes from Victoria Airport & BC Ferries Terminal
Tasty — and effortless — treats A microwaved or fast-food meal may not be the healthiest choice, but sometimes, especially around the holidays, it’s tempting to take the quick-and-easy route to meal preparation. That’s where personal chef Laura Moore’s in-home meal preparation service steps in to provide nutritious, quick meals that are, literally, home-cooked. The difference is that you, or your busy, incapacitated or otherwise occupied loved one, doesn’t have to do the cooking. Instead, Moore brings the groceries (or, after consulting with you about preferences, menus and food allergies, uses what you have on hand) to prepare batches of food, like her famous butter chicken, to eat right away, keep in the fridge or freeze for later. “To make food that’s incredibly delicious, and incredibly nutritious, that’s the sweet spot for me,” says Moore. Some of Moore’s clients use her services when they’re visiting from out of town for a few weeks, while others like to have her help with a special event or holiday meal. And she often provides services on behalf of friends and family members far away, who can’t be here to cook for their loved ones, which suggests that even if your gift recipient lives elsewhere, contacting a personal chef in his or her city is a great gift idea.
Suggested wrapping: Consider presenting this gift certificate tucked into a package of plastic food storage containers, because that’s the one thing Moore says her clients never have enough of — and since she’ll be filling them with tasty treats, they’ll be well used right away. Service fee: Starts at $159, plus groceries. Packages and customized ongoing service available. See wholefoodsvictoria.ca. VB
2500 rock bay avenue (at bay street) 250.384.2554 grShop.com
Alisa Gordaneer is a Victoria-based journalist, poet and communications consultant. She teaches writing at the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University.
Now Open 39
Boomers say “charge it” too much: how about leading the charge to reduce debt?
By TESS VAN STRAATEN
Something new is happening in Rod Dewar’s office at Island Savings Credit Union. Clients are coming in worried about debt levels and finally starting to do something about it. “In the last six to eight months we’ve really noticed a shift as people heed the warnings from the federal finance minister,” says the credit union CEO. “People are definitely more conscious about debt because of what they’re reading.” While some Victorians now understand that current low interest rates make it a good time to deal with their debt, others still rationalize that low rates make it easier to borrow and spend. And we are spending: On average, for every dollar we earn these days, we owe $1.52. “By any measure, our debt is at record highs,” says Central 1 Credit Union Chief Economist Helmut Pastrick. “But it really depends on what that debt is used for, because there’s good debt and there’s bad debt. If it’s for investment, and I consider a mortgage an investment, it’s not an issue — it’s desirable debt. But if you’re living off credit cards or using your home equity line of credit to go on vacation, it’s definitely problematic and not sustainable.” Boomers want instant gratification — they want it and they want it now, says Steve Bokor, a portfolio manager with PI Financial. “They’re not saving like they should and they think the merry-go-round is going to keep going around,” Bokor says. And with record low interest rates, easy-toget credit and more flexible loan options than ever before, experts say racking up debt can seem to be a pretty desirable option.
IT’S ALSO ABOUT THE KIDS But the increased debt isn’t just because boomers are spending their kids’ inheritance. In a down economy, many are still helping their kids with expenses, paying for education, or borrowing money so they don’t have to cash in investments that may have taken a big loss. “The length of time we’ve had low interest rates has really lulled people into being less sensitive about carrying debt,” explains Dewar, noting boomers have been used to a robust economy. “We’re finding in these tight economic times people are using debt a lot more to finance their lifestyle. The real risk is when interest rates go up,” he says. Most economists aren’t predicting a major interest rate rise immediately, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still cause for concern. “You have to be prudent about taking on debt — households have to make sure they can accommodate not only the debt they’re taking on but also unforeseen expenses that come along from time to time,” warns Pastrick. “We expect interest rates to be higher in the next three to five years and that will affect a lot of people.” That’s why Dewar is working with clients now at Island Savings Credit. “We’re counselling our members and customers to manage that debt now, when it’s in a low-interest rate condition, because there are more options now in a lowerinterest environment than there will be when interest rates are higher.” Whether you’re drowning in debt or just a little over-extended, the most important first step is to assess your spending. After all, if you don’t know how much you’re paying for coffees each week, clothing or dinners out, how can you possibly scale back?
A New Fund For The Current Times
LOCATE THE LEAKS, PLUG THEM
The best — and most accurate — way to track your spending is to count every receipt. It’s not easy, but it’s enlightening. I’ve been doing this for 10 years on a spreadsheet (I know how much I spent on cat food in 2003). We throw all our receipts into a basket in the kitchen. The monthly tally clearly shows where we’re over-spending. If that sounds like too much work, free websites like mint.com let you link your credit cards and bank cards to an online spending tracker. It won’t capture all your expenses, but it will give you a good idea where your money goes and help you make budgets and set financial goals. Put away the plastic for a month and decide how much cash to take out each week for incidental purchases. Running out of cash on a Get out of debt: Thursday can be an Track all receipts manually or important lesson. use a program like mint.com Once you’ve Set up and follow a budget identified where your money’s Put away the plastic, use cash going, get some Pay off high interest first free advice from Consider a low-interest your bank or credit consolidation union on how to Live within your means pay down your debt. That usually involves paying off the highest-interest debt, like credit-card debt, first. Depending on your situation, a low-interest consolidation loan might be the best option. Set budgets for Christmas spending. For economist Pastrick, the best advice is common sense: live within your means. “The old adage that you shouldn’t spend more than you make is an important one,” he says. VB Tess van Straaten is an award-winning journalist, television personality and fourth-generation Victorian.
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harmonious home calm order a
exudes a sense of spa-like and
by carolyn heiman photography by gary mckinstry
Inside and out, the natural world is present in a serene home perched on a rocky slope.
hen we enter spas, a confluence of design and sensory elements sends quieting signals to our brain, calming our thoughts and focusing our energy. These same elements arise approaching a new Ten Mile Point home anchored on a rocky knoll. The home beyond the arching driveway is modern but refrains from vaulting off its landscape, preferring to rest in harmony with the surrounding warm, grey rock and grizzled Garry oak trees. Approaching the giant vertical-grain fir and stainless steel door, the visitor is drawn by the gentle sound of falling water and classical music piped through outdoor speakers. Concrete-block stepping stones are architecturally placed and lighted to give the illusion of floating on the water. There is no jarring inside/outside transition. Instead, the outdoors remains visible through the ceiling-height glass walls at the front of the home, off in the distance in the kitchen, and from the living room. The overall sense of the inside space is that of a continuation of the warm natural overtones of the outdoors, along with the order and calm that drove the aspiration for the home’s owners, who are busy professionals, Alice Gelpke and Will Orrom. They value sharing their space with their two children, one a young adult and the other a teen. Nonetheless, “we lived in an open-concept house and realized that we were always going out when the kids had friends to visit. We wanted a home that enabled them to have their own space,” says Gelpke. The result is a harmonious home that accommodates comfortable communal areas along with places of retreat. As well, it fits in the family’s diverse interests with a home gym and a music room, where father and son jam. 43
two white "tree trunk" vases can instantly update a room's look with seasonal florals or greenery.
A dramatic floor-to-ceiling tiled fireplace adds textural interest to the living room, purposely scaled for easy conversing. 44
OPENNESS with SPACES to RETREAT When Garry Hermann, of Three Sixty Degree Construction Ltd, is asked what he likes about the project his company built, he lists it this way: “The big-picture thing, the whole harmony of the project, how well it is sited on the property, the attention to detail — there were very high-quality standards set for it and the house morphed into something bigger and better than our original conversations.” A finalist in the 2012 CARE Awards, it is a 4,500-square-foot home with modern openness and interior design by Nygaard Interior Design. It includes purpose-built spaces for retreating, including his and hers home offices; an ample media room that serves as a social hub for youthful guests; and a music room, where electric and acoustic guitars can be played with full abandon. The living room, while crisp and contemporary, offers everyday functionality by including a bonus hideaway television that electronically rises and lowers into custom cabinetry. Gelpke particularly likes this second television viewing option as it creates of a sense of occasion for big viewing events enjoyed with friends, such as the Academy Awards. The occasion became a hybrid of cocktail party and screening set in an area fit for the glamorous Hollywood event of the year, rather than in the lower-floor media room.
cUstom cabinetry hides tv!
Crisp angular lines
define this tidy kitchen
that includes a small prep area behind a door to keep visual clutter minimized while the owners entertain.
custom-designed dining room table easily fits large gatherings with its pedestal footing.
Christmas décor, white vases and Astier de
Villatte's Cube china, all from Chintz & Company, keep the mood fresh and contemporary.
Orderly, just like the owners This home is about order and Gelpke, by her own admission, says her friends quickly identified that this orderliness was a reflection of who she is as a person. They lightly note that Sandy Nygaard penned the term “sharp and pointy” as the theme words for the kitchen, where everything from drawer pulls to counter edges reflect those words. Keeping with current trends, there is no formal dining room. A large pantry with preparation counter space allows the messy clutter of dinner preparation to be tucked behind closed doors when they do entertain, seating guests at a custom wire-brushed granite table designed by Nygaard for that particular space.
How do YOU OPEN the FRIDGE? Nygaard, who happens to be Hermann’s partner, was brought early into the planning stage of the home, something she credits with being able to make an interior space truly custom. Together with the client, Nygaard researches the details of how a family lives in the home, such as what kind of furniture they want right now and how they cook. “[Clients] are usually quite surprised about the things they are asked about. When they bought a place lived in previously, the fridge door is already positioned a certain way. Now I am asking, ‘if you could have anything you wanted, what would it be?’ right down to which way the fridge opens.” Orrom credits Nygaard for making important and substantial changes early on in the design and introducing dropped ceilings in parts of the main-floor living space that create a critical sense of division between rooms, yet functionally hide mechanicals. Also important were large wall spaces. “I have always enjoyed visual art, especially paintings. Abstract art is a particularly personal experience,” says Orrom. “Seeing a beautiful painting brings me joy.” Together they worked on multiple iterations of the interior staircase before the right open approach resulted in a staircase that doesn’t
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The private space and
bedrooms are accessible by a floating stairway and a landing that also disappears from view.
The polished concrete
landing adds depth and interest, plus is hard-
wearing for a high traffic area.
The natural look
of three birch pillars
soften an area dominated 6
by glass, steel and concrete.
the landscaping eschews lawns and fences to continue the open, easycare feel. 5
A sculptural bench , from Chintz & Company is actually a tree trunk with an elegant upgrade and a high-gloss sliver finish.
HOLIDAY DECORATING TIPS
Consider ‘winterizing’ your home décor starting in the fall with a selection of pillows and throws appropriate for the season. In addition to being an inexpensive way to give a home a seasonal lift, it also allows one to gently enter into the Christmas season without offending those who prefer to keep the holiday confined to one or two weeks.
Pauline Dueck of Home Style Solution and her partners Melanie Henson and Diana Barton styled this home for our photo shoot with decorations and furnishings courtesy of Chintz & Company and Insideout Homestore. Dueck says homeowners can take the pressure off the intense Christmas decorating blitz by bringing small doses of winter styles into homes in late fall and gently turning up the dial the week before Christmas with the addition of some extra sparkle and colour added into the scene.
This year kelly green is a trending colour for the season and home décor accessories in the colour, such as the Tibetan lamb cushions and table dressings, are easily sourced.Accent colours, like vivid greens, harmonize well with more traditional silvers.
For this home Dueck focused on respecting the calm, zen-like atmosphere favoured by the owners and bringing the look of nature inside with accents such as ceramic birds, white amaryllis, green pepper berry balls on the dining table, and two tall white vases with birch trunk shapes, all from Chintz & Co.
custom homes | renovations | landscapes 250 381 8700 www.landeca.ca
Beautiful but functional vases with seasonal sprays of flowers or greenery are a great way to constantly keep the look fresh. “The vases so suited the house and will make it easy to seasonally shift the look. In the winter, a cedar branch in it will look great but come spring, stems of apple blossoms or forsythia will take the house into the next season.”
Thanks to the team from Home Style Solutions for their work, and to Chintz & Company and Insideout Homestore for materials used in styling the Orrom/Gelpke home for the photo shoot.
compete with the grand window alongside it. “It was about the window, not the staircase. Less was going to be better,” says Nygaard. The couple kept the landscape natural, even adding smooth spa-like stones to the rolled-on torched shed roofs and around drainage troughs on the patio area. A giant boulder near the house has been scrubbed to showcase its natural hues and makes the home appear carved into the terrain. Plant selection leans towards native, although a yellow locust tree adds a shimmering highlight to the forest floor. “We don’t want to add any fences or have lawns to care for,” Gelpke adds. This is, after all, a retreat. That means no unnecessary chores, leaving precious time for family and friends, working out, and just chilling.
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— Suppliers and Trades on page 51 — 49
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ProfessionalS, Suppliers and Trades:
Contractor/Builder: Three Sixty Degree Construction Ltd.; House designer: DB3 Studio/Dan Boot; Interior design: Sandy Nygaard, Nygaard Interior Design; Exterior/interior painting: Garden City Painting; Cabinetry: Cowichan Valley Millwork; Counters: Lexy Stone Countertops; Flooring: Karelia; Tile: Dave Campbell Store and Tile; Appliances: Trail Appliances; Plumbing fixtures: Ensuite and Oak Bay Speciality Hardware; Windows: Pella Windows and Doors; Lighting: Mclaren Lighting; Landscaping: Jonathan Craggs and Bricklok Surfacing and Landscaping; Staging: Home Style Solutions; Decorations: Chintz & Company, Insideout Homestore.
Cable-knit and Tibetan lamb pillows, along with a nubby throw — all from Insideout Homestore — winterize the master bedroom. Not seen is a full set of custom drawers behind the headboard. The adjoining master bath has a spa-like feel.
Carolyn Heiman explores beautiful Island homes each month for Boulevard. If you know of a gorgeous home you’d like to see profiled she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. VB 51
Fresh dÉcor simplified
text and photos By Sarah MacNeill
Friends of mine, known for their quirkiness, have been hanging their Christmas tree upside-down from the ceiling since 1999. The father devised a system of drill holes and ropes to suspend the tree after one of his daughters, on a college prank, phoned home with the proposition. The dad gamely took the bait. Supplies were purchased, the rigging installed, the family revelled in its novelty, and the tradition began. To me, it’s the departure from the ordinary that makes the season memorable. I prefer a “less is more” holiday approach. I love Scandinavian design and in winter months Nordic pieces and colour palettes suit any home beautifully. I like to mix a few key designer items with some handmade charm. While the ideas offered here aren’t exactly as eccentric as my friends’ upside-down tree, I hope they’ll inspire you to get creative with holiday décor.
A seasonal piece of art or a few selected pieces can transform a corner and serve as a focal point. The Bold & Noble heart print by the UK-based designers (boldandnoble.com, $63) captures holiday spirit without being explicitly “Christmas.” Its reindeer and subtle snowflake elements fit into wintry surroundings well. Cosy blankets add visual and practical warmth. You can find the striped one by Dwell Studio at Nest & Cradle for $169 and the grey knit design at Chintz & Co. for $100. The delicate wire bird is from Nest & Cradle ($25).
An antique Underwood typewriter keeps up-to-date when mixed with contemporary pieces. The versatile striped Danish-designed Kahler Omaggio ceramic vase ($60) looks attractive in any setting. It can be ordered through several online retailers like allmodern.com. The reindeer print by Vancouver-based designers Banquet Atelier comes framed at Emporia Boutique for $60.
Red dishes accompanied by whites, silvers and greys make an exquisite combo for a tabletop setting. Mateus ceramics, designed in Sweden and made in Portugal, are available locally at Emporia Boutique. The mugs, bowls, plates and tea light holders range in price from $22.50 to $36.50 a piece. Also from Emporia are the snowflake motif glassware ($20 each), Jonathan Adler bird salt & pepper shakers ($55) and Roost Silver Lantern ($30). The place mats ($20) are by Pehr Designs and available at Nest & Cradle. 53
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If you’re slightly handy, construct a simple tree out of lumber pieces. I used pieces of leftover cedar siding from my house. An imperfect coat of white paint gives a rustic look. You can string lights around it or through greenery below if placed on a mantle. Capital Iron sells strings of round white LED lights ($15) for something a little different.
For greenery, instead of reaching for the usual cedar boughs or holly branches, try fragrant eucalyptus to bring soft texture and colour to a tabletop or mantle. Dress up parcel paper by adding grosgrain ribbon or red and white twine (find it at The Papery on Fort Street). If you’re ambitious you can get creative with a paint brush or a homemade potato stamp. Simple designs like white stripes or dots, trees, bells or stars work best and will set your gift presentation apart from the rest. Glass hurricane with concrete base available at Nest & Cradle, $80. Red Berries, Chintz & Co., $12.98 per stem.
Felted wool balls and pinecones are an easy look anyone can pull off. Make the balls by repetitively poking wool batting with a felting needle. String the wool balls and pine cones on some embroidery or cotton perle thread and hang from a birch branch, around a tree or alongside stockings on a mantle. Knotty by Nature in Fairfield has a great selection of wool for felting. VB
Thanks to Fairholme Manor Inn for photoshoot location and to Erin Sabiston of Emporia for staging assistance.
creates true Canadian art, glorious and free By KATHERINE PALMER GORDON PHOTOGRAPHY BY Doane Gregory
“Experimentation, not technical skill, is at the core of creativit y,” says Jeff Molloy, adamantly. “In the art of creation, thought is the enemy. Artists should be explorers, and the world they live in should be a place without rules or boundaries.” We are perched on a stack of cardboard in Molloy’s rustic studio in the woods on Gabriola Island. Part gallery, part workshop, it is stuffed with canvasses, old blankets, wooden relics, tools, paint cans, and a collection of the artist’s Canadiana-inspired paintings and sculptures, all executed in his instantly recognizable style. Molloy is an encaustic artist: he uses an ancient technique of mixing hot beeswax into pigments and fixing them on the canvas, like an inlay, with heat. It’s cool out, and Molloy is wearing his trademark paint-splattered red plaid shirt and warm woollen pants. His long, narrow face is topped by another of his trademarks, a jaunty beret. His habitual broad smile is, however, temporarily absent as he expounds on his theme, absentmindedly tapping a rapid drumbeat on his work table with his left hand. “When you work as an artist,” he concludes emphatically, “you have to completely let go of intention or expectation.”
Molloy repeats this mantra daily in what has become a highly successful art career since graduating from the Victoria College of Art in 1999. His evocative pieces hang in galleries and homes across the country. Awards have started piling up. CBC Radio host Shelagh Rogers, an art aficionado and collector of Molloy’s works, describes him as “one of the most original artists at work in Canada today.” CULTURAL ICONS EVOKE EMOTION Molloy is fascinated with Canadian culture and history, seeing cultural artifacts like flags and canoes as powerful vehicles for evoking emotional responses. “Taking a well-known symbol and recreating it as art, making people re-examine it — that really intrigues me,” he says. Employing Canadian cultural emblems — canoes and paddles, moose and bison, old barns and farm gates, hockey sweaters and Hudson’s Bay Company blankets — Molloy tells stories of the country’s history in rugged, threedimensional imagery. Worn blankets become outsized canvasses draped in folds from worn antique yokes or paddles, then repainted with HBC colours. Old hockey sweaters also become
Left: Canadian artist Jeff Molloy in his Gabriola studio. Above, left to right: The Blanket, 38 x 86 inches. Mixed Media/Encaustic on Panel. Metis Spirit, 38 x 86 inches. Mixed Media/Encaustic Assemblage. Vanishing Buffalo, 48 x 60 inches. Mixed Media/Encaustic Assemblage.
both medium and painted image, hanging from the wall in rich, vibrant colours as if the players of yesteryear — Bobby Orr, George Armstrong, Maurice Richard — had taken them off just moments previously. Molloy wants to tell the whole Canadian story, not merely the sentimental side. Between the hockey sweaters and paddles hang scenes depicting the impact of colonization on First Nations, such as the legacy of the residential school system. Wanted for Fighting Back depicts Riel rebel Gabriel Dumont on a canvas poster, dripping in dried blood. “We live on First Nations’ land,” says Molloy, “and they got a bad deal, plain and simple. I relate to that story. That’s going to show up in my work alongside the other Canadian stories I want to tell.” Molloy was already 42 when he graduated from VCA. Although he had dabbled in art, he had never had the chance to try it seriously. Instead, after marrying his high school sweetheart Kathryn, Molloy had bounced around between construction jobs in Toronto, Edmonton and Europe, working to support his growing family.
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ART SCHOOL BECAME HIS TREATMENT For nearly two decades, his suppressed creativity manifested itself in addiction and episodes of depression. In 1995, when he finally realized how much his marriage and family were suffering, Molloy moved the family to Victoria and enrolled at art school. Equipped with a diploma and a toolkit of techniques that he believed were essential for a professional artist, he launched himself into his new career. “What I quickly discovered when it came to finding my own creativity — bringing my unique visual voice out to tell the stories I wanted to tell in my pieces — I realized that you simply can’t be taught what that takes,” says Molloy. School taught the burgeoning artist how to control his work. “But for me, the most important thing was learning to let go instead, to break all the rules and not be in control of what emerges. That’s what’s exciting. That’s what brings real impact and power to my work.” In 2007, the Molloys moved again, this time to settle on Gabriola. For the first time in his life, Molloy was able to devote himself full time to his art. But just two years later, a
terrifying brush with cancer threatened to put everything on hold again. Jeff Molloy is a hard guy to put down, however. Within weeks of emergency surgery to remove a tumour on his bile duct, the determined artist, barely able to stand, oversaw the opening of a show at the Campbell River Art Gallery. Three years later, he appears to have beaten the rap. “All the same, it was a carpe diem experience,” says Molloy sombrely. “I don’t put off doing anything I want to do now, whether it’s spending time with my family or working on a new show.” NEXT, SASKATCHEWAN INSPIRES Indeed, he isn’t wasting any time. After a highly successful show in Toronto last summer, Molloy’s next show, The Adventures of Jack Pine, will be at the Winchester Gallery in Oak Bay from December 6 to 19. He is also getting to work on his next project. En route to a show in Toronto this summer, Molloy and son Jules, a filmmaker, camped in a Saskatchewan farmer’s field full of ancient farm vehicles and derelict barns. Molloy fell in love with the imagery instantly. “I can see something there — a kind of ‘settling of the west’ concept is in my mind,” he says. “There’s a very profound sense of Canadian settlement history out there,” he continues. “There are these old yokes and sleighs lying around, but also Above left: The Spirit Remains. you can imagine Photo transfer onto a Buffalo skull. arrowheads in Above: Gathering Storm. 42 x 48 the earth and inches. Encaustic on Panel. hear the voices of the original inhabitants at the same time. There’s a story there waiting to be told.” Molloy has a faraway look in his eyes. The concept has already taken hold: what will emerge is a mystery that he can’t wait to discover. He knows it will come to him. All he has to do is stick to his mantra: “I just have to stop thinking and let go. That’s all.” VB Katherine Palmer Gordon is an award-winning author and freelance writer based on Gabriola Island.
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Linda Stanbridge’s Spanish Series #5, Cordoba; fired ceramic, aluminum armature, 29 x 21 inches. At Winchester Modern this month.
December by robert moyes
HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY OP-ART CHRISTMAS Scottish-born Linda Stanbridge has lived in Victoria for enough years now that this internationally-celebrated artist has long been claimed as one of our own. Fascinated by geometry and optics, Stanbridge creates works of crystalline purity whose hard-edged three-dimensionality creates a playful yet ravishing “op-art” quality in her ceramic pieces. Her new show, The Spanish Series, will be displayed at Winchester Galleries through December. “Linda is one of Victoria’s greatest artists of the last several decades,” says Peter Redpath, manager of Winchester Modern. Stanbridge will be sharing the spotlight with award-winning St. John’s painter Grant Boland. Lionized at an early age in his
Harmony for Christmas
Dec. 1, 7-8, 14-15, 23, 28-29 Oak Bay Beach Hotel
Christmas at Craigdarroch Castle
Dec. 1-Jan. 4 Craigdarroch Castle
Linda Stanbridge / Grant Boland
8-29 Winchester Modern
chantal kreviazuk with the
Mike Delamont Live
12 McPherson Playhouse
Victoria Bach Ensemble: Advent Concert
22 Church of St. John the Divine
saturday, december 15, 8 pm Royal Theatre
native Newfoundland, the 40-year-old Boland is a technically impeccable painter who works in the “high realism” style associated with other Maritime artists such as Mary Pratt and Alex Colville. His subjects range from still life to portraiture. “There is such depth and humanity to his work,” says Redpath. “It captures a sense of mystery and amazement.” Running from Dec. 8-29 at Winchester Modern, 758 Humboldt St. For information, call 250-386-2773.
Canadian superstar and classically trained pianist Chantal Kreviazuk performs her greatest hits surrounded by the symphonic splendour of the Victoria Symphony. This one-night-only special performance will sell out —get your tickets early!
250.385.6515 victoriasymphony.ca 61
The Harmony Singers, lead by writer/ composer Stan Davis, perform all month long at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.
SING A SONG OF CHRISTMAS After nearly a decade writing over 20 original musicals for Four Seasons Musical Theatre, Victoria’s Stan Davis is well known for his tuneful, well-crafted songs. He is possibly most famous for mounting two productions of Forever Plaid, the sweet doo-wop confection. His government day job has meant less time to write and perform, but this year Davis dusted off a Christmas CD he recorded three years ago and has spun it into a piece of seasonal musical theatre. Harmony for Christmas is family entertainment that provides classic Christmas tunes, lots of laughs, and an opportunity to think about Christmas traditions, says Davis, who drew inspiration from the oldtime radio shows by Jack Benny, in which the performers bantered in front of a live audience. “The between-song patter of the four singers is a chance for them to talk in a personal way about Christmas,” Davis adds. Harmony continues the tradition of dinner theatre from the old Oak Bay Beach Hotel to the new, but with the bonus that there’s now a dedicated performance venue, the David Foster Foundation Theatre. Continuing weekends throughout December, 6 pm, at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. For tickets, call 1-800-668-7758.
CHRISTMAS AT CRAIGDARROCH Although one suspects gloominess loomed about the place when Robert Dunsmuir built his castle in 1888, these days it’s one of the most delightful sites in all Victoria to experience the pleasures of the season. Along with period-specific festive decorations, the castle comes alive with dozens of musical performances, crafting workshops, and a visit with Father Christmas (once again performed by noted theatre veteran Ian Case, who also haunts Craigdarroch for Halloween). “There’s a real family focus,” says executive director John Hughes. Performances and workshops are free with the paid admission. The only ticketed exception is the return of their one-man A Christmas Carol, which sold out last year. “Whether it’s carols by the Linden Singers or the gorgeous antique toys that we get on loan, the castle takes on a very special mood in December,” says Hughes. “You can hear music all over the house.” Running from December 1 to January 4. For a full schedule see thecastle.ca or call 592-5323. 62
Get into the seasonal spirit with crafting workshops, musical performances and more at Craigdarroch Castle.
THE BEST SEATS AT THE BEST PRICE BUDDY - THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY Written by Alan Janes
Feb 22 – Apr 7
Adapted from Molière’s Scapin
Apr 26 – May 18
By the Other Guys Theatre Company
May 22 – Jun 1 Hometown funnyman Mike Delamont and his
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
many comic personas play Victoria’s
Screenplay by Betty Comden & Adolph Green Songs by Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed
McPherson Theatre this month.
Jun 14 – Aug 25 HAWKING HIS FUNNY “Hawking my funny” is how comedian Mike Delamont describes his life as a travelling comedian, which has recently seen this hometown hero make the jump to successful standup gigs in Manhattan and Las Vegas. Pretty impressive for someone who’s only 28 and never even wanted to be a comic — Delamont always dreamed of becoming a singer. That said, he memorized all of the legendary Rowan Atkinson Live! skits and used to perform at his high school. “It always went over well with the audience, but the school administration never cared for the profane nature of the material,” he says. Delamont was an early member of the local satirical troupe Atomic Vaudeville, where he created a half-dozen characters he now uses in his act. He’s best known for God Is a Scottish Drag Queen, a hilarious one-man show that sold out the Fringe Festival from coast to coast. All 22 of Delamont’s performances in Victoria had full houses over the past two years, but he’s still apprehensive about his upcoming gig at the 750-seat McPherson, the first local comic to book the large venue. “I have no problem being in front of an audience; it’s as close to home as I can get,” he says. “The only thing that ever makes me nervous is whether anyone is going to show up.” Performing December 12, 7:30 pm, at the McPherson Playhouse. For tickets, call 250-386-6121.
A PRETTY GIRL A SHAYNA MAIDEL By Barbara Lebow
Sep 13 – Sep 28
From the play by Hamilton Deane & John L. Balderston
Oct 11 – Nov 9
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
A Musical based on the Frank Capra Film and the Original Strory by Phillip Van Doren Stern Book, Music & Lyrics by Thomas M. Sharkey
Nov 22 – Dec 23
On Sale Now! 1.800.565.7738 | chemainustheatre.ca *Bonus Show
DO YOU WANT TO REGAIN YOUR PLEASURE IN DRIVING?
Ingrid Weighton offers regular driving lessons, and with eleven years experience as an instructor she’s proven how good she is. She’s finding, that more and more of her clients are already licensed drivers. They’re looking for a different kind of help. “I’m a driving coach, as well as an instructor,” she says. Her service is more like rehabilitation for men and women who want to drive, who often loved to, but who now find themselves jittery in traffic. “There can be many reasons that people are afraid,” Ingrid explains. “They’ve been in a crash, or someone they know has been in a crash. They might have been sick. Often the collision was not her client’s fault, But knowing that doesn’t make the feelings go away,” Ingrid explains. “It is how you feel about the crash, not how serious it was. Good therapists understand this, Ingrid’s clients are often referred by occupational therapists, psychologists,counsellors doctors, and lawyers. “I couldn’t drive in fear,” says one Island mother after two collisions. “My counselor suggested I see Ingrid. Working with her restored my confidence and gave me additional skills to help assess the road and be prepared. I am so grateful for all she has done for me and my family.“ “I help people understand their fears,” Ingrid explains. “We talk, we “INGRID GETS IT,” HE SAYS, drive, they figure out what they’re EXPLAINING THAT SHE TOOK afraid of and why, and we practice THE TIME TO UNDERSTAND skills so they can be confident, HIS MOTIVATIONS, FEARS AND comfortable drivers again.” STRENGTHS. A local businessman who was rear-ended says, “I suffered both physically and emotionally. It became difficult to drive for even routine needs”. He was also nervous about working with Ingrid but he knew he had to do something. “Ingrid took me step by step back through the basics of driving, quickly re-building my confidence,” he says. “Without doubt I credit this to Ingrid’s thoughtful guidance.” With three failed driving tests under his belt and a job dependent on getting his Class 7, one Vancouver man hopped on the ferry. “Ingrid gets it,” he says, explaining that she took the time to understand his motivations, fears and strengths. “Within three days, with great support and dedication from Ingrid, I passed the test! My job is secure.” This is driving therapy at its best — its most successful — and Ingrid has more than a decade of experience gearing sessions to the specific needs of drivers. She can help if you’re new to driving and you need an instructor. And she really shines if you’ve been rear-ended or witnessed a crash, been ill or suddenly find yourself nervous in traffic.
Call Victoria’s driving coach; talk to Ingrid Weighton and get your life back on the road. Ingrid Weighton’s Driver Education, Ltd. 250.388.6638 • drivingcoach.ca 64
THE BEAUTY OF BACH Nearly a decade ago the Victoria Bach Ensemble was formed, and with a few concerts per year since, it has been ably fulfilling its mandate to perform the works of J.S. Bach at a very high level. “We try to serve the music while making it interesting and vital,” says co-founder David Barss, an investment manager who leads a parallel existence as a trumpet soloist performing at sacred venues across the country. “We want the music to be perfect, but not robotic. We want to convey something beyond the notes,” he continues. The ensemble itself comprises A-list Victoria performers, mostly from the Symphony. This year’s all-Bach Advent Concert will include selections from the Christmas Oratorio, instrumentals from Art of the Fugue, a chorale prelude on trumpet, and the Alleluia from Cantata 51 featuring soprano Joanne Hounsell. “In our arrangements there is just one instrument or voice to a part, which makes for a cleaner sound,” explains Barss. “The idea is to make it easier for the audience to have a more intimate connection with this beautiful music.” His ensemble partner, Michael Drislane, is a superlative pianist who is frequently embarrassed by well-meaning comparisons to Glenn Gould. “It’s a joy to collaborate with him,” says Barss. Trumpeter David Barss and Tickets are just pianist Michael Drislane $15. “We pay lead the A-list Victoria Bach our musicians, Ensemble at St. John the but Michael and Divine December 22. I have never taken a penny for these shows,” adds Barss. “All we want is to share the music with a full house.” Performing December 22, 7:30 pm, Church of St. John the Divine, 1611 Quadra St. Tickets are available at the door. VB Victoria-born Robert Moyes is an author and freelance writer with a long-standing interest in the arts. He has written Front Row for the past three years.
GINGERBREAD SHOWCASE: Get inspired by these unique and edible works of art, created by amateur and professional chefs. Now to January 1, 10 am to 6 pm, Inn at Laurel Point, laurelpoint.com.
THE NUTCRACKER: Dance Victoria presents this opulent Christmas classic, with some 150 professional and local dancers. December 1-2, Royal Theatre, rmts.bc.ca. WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY: Back for a second year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 exhibit is on loan from the Natural History Museum of London. November 30 - April 1, Royal BC Museum, royalbcmuseum.bc.ca. CHRISTMAS ON THE MOUNTAIN: The 5th annual bluegrass concert, featuring John Reischman and The Jaybirds, and benefitting the homeless in Victoria. December 1, 8 pm, Oak Bay United Church, thejaybirds.com. JIM BYRNES: The blues legend from St. Louis with soulful intensity and special guest Babe Gurr. December 1, 7:30 pm, Mary Winspear Centre, jamestbyrnes.com. Journey: The rock giants play classic hits and new material from their latest album, Eclipse. December 4, 7 pm, Save on Foods Memorial Centre, saveonfoodsmemorialcentre.com. SOUND OF MUSIC: The Victoria Operatic Society presents the classic tale of Maria and the von Trapps. December 7-16, McPherson Theatre, rmts.bc.ca. WINTER HARP: Glorious music and song with festive carols and stories to warm your heart and wrap you in the Christmas spirit. Tickets: Munro’s & Ivy’s bookstores, Stampers!, The Shieling, and Heritage Cat Clinic. December 7, 7:30 pm, Alix Goolden Hall, winterharp.com. SONGS OF COMFORT AND JOY: St. Ann’s Academy presents two events this holiday season. The popular trio of Prevedoros, Golden & Joy plays December 6, 2 pm. Then enjoy the Sing-Along Celebration with the Casavant Organ, where musicians Greg and Josie Davidson perform. December 22, 2 pm, St. Ann’s Academy. THE GIFT OF PANDORA’S BOX: Ballet Victoria celebrates the holiday season with dance, humour, and Tchaikovsky music. December 27-30, Royal Theatre, rmts.bc.ca EL MUNDO: Grammy-nominated, San Francisco-based Baroque octet specializing in Latin American, Spanish and Italian early music, plays a program of Latinoinspired Christmas songs and dances. December 15, 8 pm. Alix Goolden Hall. 250-386-6121. sMALL WORKS EXHIBITION AND SALE: The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria offers up a diverse cross-section of small works by contemporary, local artists. Priced between $100 and $150. Now to January 8, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, aggv.ca.
Visit our website, victoriaboulevard.com, to submit event details online. Listings for the January issue must be received by December 9 to be considered for inclusion. 65
HEALTH & WELLNESS
deck someone? By Tess van Straaten
he holiday season is
supposed to be about spreading Christmas cheer. But all too often shoppers, coworkers and families are giving a sneer. It seems emotions are sky-rocketing as much as holiday spending, and psychologists aren’t surprised. “There’s this massive expectation around Christmas and what it’s supposed to mean and that can cause a lot of stress,” explains Lynn Keffer, a family therapist in Oak Bay. “For a lot of people the holidays actually bring sadness, loss and anxiety because the
perfect holiday stereotype they see on TV has nothing to do with their own experience.” Whether it’s due to divorce, the death of a loved one, being away from home, family tensions, bad memories or the pressure to make Christmas perfect, holiday stress can affect people in different ways. “I’ve seen turkeys thrown across the road in some of the calls I’ve gone to over the years,” says Sgt. Dean Jantzen of the Saanich Police. “It’s a stressful time of year and our call volume definitely goes up.”
NAUGHTY, NOT NICE “It’s so common we call them ‘turkey domestics,’” says Sgt. Jantzen. “Family disputes seem to spike at Christmas. You get people together you haven’t seen in a while or may not even want to spend time with, often there’s alcohol, and that can lead to issues.” Experts call it ‘holiday rage,’ confirming what many shoppers already know: crowded malls, traffic jams and the hustle and bustle of the season often make people naughty instead of nice. “Malls and parking lots really become a focal point of anger at this time of year,”
“We already live in a stressful world and adding all the expectations of Christmas onto that just increases the tension people have.” 66
Sgt. Jantzen adds. “A dispute over a parking spot or who was next in line can quickly escalate to a police matter.” I learned that the hard way a few years ago. I was in a mall parking lot with my newborn son when we became the target of another shopper’s holiday rage. A middle-aged woman was walking down the middle of the laneway with her back to me so I honked to let her know I was behind her. She turned around and started hitting my car with her purse. When I attempted to flee to the safety of the mall with my baby, she tried to punch me. Fortunately, we weren’t physically hurt, but I saw firsthand how the stress of pushing through crowds and waiting in long lines to get the perfect gift can spark major anger from a minor annoyance. But that anger isn’t just in public; police say far too many fights happen behind closed doors.
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SEPARATIONS ADD TO TOLL For Roxanne Derkson, a registered massage therapist with Vivi Therapy in Fernwood, the holidays bring a different set of challenges. With so much stress and tension, the massage business is booming this time of year. “We’re very busy during the holiday season — the couple weeks before Christmas through to mid-January are really busy,” Derkson says. “We already live in a stressful world and adding all the expectations of Christmas onto that just increases the tension people have.” It’s tension the single mom knows all too well. Her 11-year-old daughter spends every other RED U Christmas with her CE father in Australia. Identif y your own st Derkson’s If it ’s fin re s s t r iggers a n c ia l, set u always nam es p a bu , o r s et d g et limits o If it ’s lon accompanied n gif t c , or draw os t s . eliness su ch a , s et u p her daughter s visits alterna w tive ac it h frien If it ’s fam tivities on the long ds . il y t e n avoid t sion, li mit tim flight and ro e of alco ublesome to pics an together, hol ava kept busy d limit il able. If it ’s too amoun t m u ch t travelling ot h e r s or fore o do, delega t g e o th e t and visiting asks yo tasks to For all u do n st friends in ot enjo scale b resses, go ea y. ack ex sy on y p e c t at o u r Australia until s sleep a e lf io , n s , g nd exe rcise, a et enough it’s time to come nd laug h. home. But this year, she’s putting her daughter on the plane by herself for the first time. “I’ve tried not to think about it,” Derkson admits. “I’m putting my youngest child on a plane to go overseas for Christmas and I’m still going to be here. It just won’t be the same; it’s going to be really hard.” For most of us, though, the stress level spike over the
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holidays is from simply not having enough time to get everything done that we think we need to do.
SCALE BACK EXPECTATIONS “I think it really comes down to the expectations we put on ourselves, and to be fair, that’s mostly women,” says Keffer. “How many men get super stressed at Christmas time? I don’t have any men coming into my office who do — it’s mostly women who have these expectations of being ‘super mom’ or ‘super entertainer’ and making everything perfect.” I’m guilty as charged on that front. My super-mom moment turned into a super meltdown last Christmas as I tried to decorate a gingerbread house for a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser while baking eight dozen batches of shortbread for teacher and co-worker gifts the night before a flight to Florida. Covered in icing with tears streaming down my face, I sobbed, as my sons watched, because the licorice wouldn’t stick. “It’s important to have realistic expectations about what you can accomplish and what you actually want to do versus what you feel obligated to do,” advises Keffer. “People have trouble saying no because they don’t want to disappoint anyone, especially family, but don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Scale back and simplify things as much as you can.” Did I need to make eight dozen cookies? Probably not. Will I get overburdend again this year? Not a chance. I’m downsizing Christmas. My shortbread list just got a whole lot
shorter as I focus on what really matters to me: having a great holiday with my kids. But for some people, the best way to deal with Christmas stress is to escape the holiday hassle altogether by jetting off on a fabulous trip.
GIVE ’EM THE TURKEY AND SMILE Keffer says if going away works for you, that’s great. “But for other people I think it’s about reaching out — rather than avoiding — and connecting to people rather than being alone.” That’s exactly what Derkson plans to do, seeing friends and keeping busy while her daughter’s away. “I’ll be a lot more social this year going out and doing things that I probably wouldn’t do if my daughter were here,” she says. As for stressed-out shoppers, Keffer has this last bit of advice if someone steals your parking spot or tries to deck you over the last fresh turkey at Thrifty’s: “Stay calm and if you can, show some empathy because we’ve all been there.” So instead of getting annoyed and giving a sneer, spread some holiday cheer. Smile and let them have the turkey. Opt for ham or prime rib. After all, it’s just turkey. VB Tess van Straaten is an award-winning journalist, television personality and fourth-generation Victoria native.
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GLITTERS BY Kayleigh von Wittgenstein
Materials: White gold and 40.04 carats of diamonds Price: $78,000 Available through: Barclay’s Jewellers
t’s a classic Christmas conundrum:
they sell consistently, thanks to the
This necklace of white gold and 40.04
what do you get the woman who has
sophisticated tastes of his local and
carats of diamonds is made by Byrex
everything? Small jewelry pieces like
international clientele. In fact, Zebrowski
Gems, a gem-cutting and jewelry
rings and earrings are the most popular
is currently designing an early 20th-
design firm in Toronto. A few days are
gifts at Christmas, but an opulent
century style diamond necklace for a
needed to ship it by armed delivery
necklace can become a family heirloom.
well-off Vancouver client.
service to Victoria. As this necklace
A few shops in town like Francis
Though a necklace of the magnitude
and its matching $50,000 diamond
Jewellers, Paul Mara Jewellers, and
of the one featured here isn’t
bracelet are not part of a larger
Barclay’s Jewellers carry necklaces
immediately available in Victoria, if you
collection, this piece will be unique,
from $1,000 to $20,000. These prices
walk into Barclay’s Jewellers on Oak Bay
even among the Island’s elite. And that
may seem like a splurge, but Rafal
Avenue and ask for a necklace to end
bracelet would make one heck of a
Zebrowski of Francis Jewellers says
all necklaces, they can certainly oblige.
stocking stuffer. VB
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Unique, Eco-friendly Products • Collars, leashes & harnesses • Custom beds • Raincoats and sweaters • Goose down coats • Human grade food & treats Bark, Bath & Beyond Pet Boutique 2041 Oak Bay Ave. 250.590.2822
Come Visit Us In Our New Location! Traditional furnishings and decorative accessories enhance the contemporary home. We offer a large and varied selection of unique, thoughtful gift items in a wide price range. Faith Grant’s on the Avenue 1968 Oak Bay Ave. 250.383.0121 faithgrantantiques.com
MICHAL NEGRIN Jewelry & Fashion You just know there’s something unique and scrumptious inside a Michal Negrin gift box. 1225 Government St. 250.385.8400 www.facebook.com/MNEGRINVICTORIA
A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, don’t miss out on theatre that critics describe as “superbly directed,” “a masterful mosaic” and
IMAX Victoria Annual Pass The largest IMAX screen in BC is yours for the giving. Powerful surround sound and immense screen offer the gift of adventure. With IMAX — they won’t just see a movie, they will experience it! Valid for unlimited IMAX films all year round, limited quantities available. IMAX Victoria is located inside the world famous Royal BC Museum 250.480.4887 Ext #4 or #3 $46 www.imaxvictoria.com
Victoria Spirits Our premium spirits are handmade in small batches with a wood-fired still on the Saanich Peninsula. Award-winning Victoria Gin is now available across Canada. Our Oaken Gin sees Vic Gin aged in oak to add caramel and vanilla complexity. Left Coast Hemp Vodka is crisp and refreshing, with nuttiness from local, toasted hemp hearts. All are great in cocktails and fabulous naked. Learn more and meet the family behind it at www.victoriaspirits.com. Victoria Spirits 250.544.8217 $49.95 www.victoriaspirits.com
Give a Gift Certificate… Fabulous idea for Christmas! Alexis Yobbagy Photography is all about creative and imaginative portraits for all ages. Maybe your daughter has just had a baby? Maybe you’d like a family portrait or a timeless photo of the grandparents? Alexis is an Accredited and Award Winning Member of the Professional Photographers of Canada. “Seeing is Believing” Alexis Yobbagy Photography 250.380.1386 www.alexisyobbagy.com
Home for the Holidays With the weather outside turned chilly, bring some warmth to your loved ones table with this festive hand-tied bouquet of 100% locally grown flowers and winter greens. Richly-coloured red roses, elegant cymbidium orchid blooms, kermit button mums and football mums are intermingled with festive trim. Photo by Courtney Hawkins. Open and delivering every day. Brown’s The Florist Downtown - 757 Fort Street 250.388.5545 Sidney - 2499 Beacon Avenue 250.656.3313 www.brownsflorist.com
“Let’s get the party started!” Gourmet cupcakes, made from the finest ingredients, no additives. Rich butter cream toppings melt in your mouth. Victoria • 619 Broughton St. 250.590.8019 1391A Hillside Ave 250.385.0707 Westshore • 713 Goldstream Ave 250.478.0704 Sidney • 9774 Third St 250.656.0713 www.oohlalacupcakes.ca
Compact Pant Trolley Wheeled wood trolley with removable aromatic cedar rods holds ten pairs of pants. An additional 5 rods can be purchased to expand to 15 pairs of pants for a moveable storage solution. Fits well under your shirts in your closet or elsewhere if short of closet space. Unique practical gift ideas and storage accessories in our custom closet showroom and organizing store. All Organized Storage Ltd. 3370 Tennyson Ave. 250.590.6328 $95.00 www.allorganizedstorage.ca
Submarine Tea Strainer The adorable Submarine Tea Strainer (only $11.99) brings a smile to every sip of tea, whether you’re a kid or young at heart! You’ll find the perfect gift for everyone on your list at Silk Road. Shop online and have goods shipped, or stop by our store in Chinatown — we’re open 7 days a week. Silk Road Tea 1624 Government Street 250.704.2688 www.silkroadtea.com
Christmas at Bubby’s Bubby’s Kitchen serves a skillfully-presented, palate-pleasing dining experience in an environmentally-friendly atmosphere. We have developed a reputation for unpretentiousness in a neighbourhood setting that appeals to all ages, couples, singles, and families. Breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, we are open 7 days a week in beautiful Cook Street Village. Planning a Christmas Function? We can accomodate parties from 5 to 50. Call early to book! Bubby’s Kitchen 355 Cook Street 250.590.8915 www.bubbyskitchen.ca
SKN Spin & After Glow Transform your skin in just 8 minutes a week! The SKN Spin is a revolutionary skincare tool that will rejuvenate, exfoliate, and enhance product penetration. Rolling with the SKN Spin once a week can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, larges pores, crows feet and more! Complete your home rejuvenation program with the nutrient and antioxidant rich AfterGlow Replenishing Skin Oil — the perfect companion to the SKN Spin. www.sknspin.com
Adrienne’s Tea Garden Please join us for our Christmas High Tea daily in our restaurant during the Holiday season. Great stocking stuffers available. The restaurant is now open earlier for breakfast, daily at 8:30 am. The deli opens at 8 am. Our tea selection continues to grow, with more new teas coming. Book our restaurant for family get-togethers or meetings. For specials, menus and information visit: 5325 Cordova Bay Road 250.658.1535 www.adriennesteagarden.com
The Ladybug Boutique Christmas returns to the Ladybug as our little Scandinavian Elves spread their wares throughout the store! Look for table linens from Danica and Ekelund, Dansk Glassware and other European specialties. Pottery from Bowen Island, Cornucopia Glass ornaments and handmade jewelry from Victoria artisans add local flavour. And, of course, our wonderful Danish and German candles: Scentless, smokeless and dripless, as always! The Ladybug Boutique 117-5325 Cordova Bay Road 250.658.3807
Sunday’s Snowflakes Our boutique is stocked with such an array of fall fashions from all over the globe, you have to see it to believe it! We have the best of Sandwich, Boo Radley, Yest, Mallia and much more. Sunday’s Snowflakes at Mattick’s Farm 5325 Cordova Bay Road 250.658.8499 www.sundayssnowflakes.com
FOOD & WINE
comfort, joy and good health THREE WISE FOOD CHOICES offer
by PAMELA DURKIN photography by dean azim
Sweet & savoury nuts along with the 2004 Conde de Valdemar, Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa are perfect on a wintry night. Wine courtesy of Fort Street Liquor Store. Silver Roost bowl and red Mateus tea light both courtesy of Emporia Boutique.
ertain foods seem simply de rigueur during the holidays. Without the festive triad of sweet, easy-peeling mandarin oranges, warming spices and rich nutmeats, our holiday nibbling would be decidedly less enjoyable. The good news is that science has uncovered compelling reasons beyond even pleasure to indulge in these three wise, wonderful foods of Christmas.
Cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg form an aromatic quartet that strikes the dominant note in a host of festive favourites. In addition to enhancing food, scientists discovered, these spices confer health benefits. ❧ Cinnamon: Many studies suggest cinnamon can help kill virulent bacteria, stabilize blood-sugar, quell inflammation, and prevent blood platelets from clumping together. Its warm, sweet flavour imparts a comforting note to healthy desserts like fruit crumbles or baked apples topped with a smidgen of cream. ❧ Cloves: Used medicinally for millennia to treat a variety of ailments, cloves outrank even nutritional superstars like blueberries and pomegranates for antioxidant content. A teaspoon of clove powder contains 25 per cent more diseasefighting antioxidants than ½-cup of blueberries or a cup of pomegranate juice. Clove powder marries well with celery, apples and pecans to make a glorious stuffing. ❧ Ginger: Long heralded as a digestive aid, ginger may also be a valuable weapon against more serious problems like cancer and heart disease. Studies show gingerol, the spice’s “active” component, offers protection against colorectal and ovarian cancer. It also protects your heart by preventing blood clots. Ginger’s robust flavour pairs beautifully with winter fruit: try poaching pears in port and ginger for a light alternative to heavier desserts. ❧ Nutmeg: Current scientific evidence confirms nutmeg’s medicinal value, as it is saturated with antioxidants and contains compounds that can protect cells from radiation-induced DNA damage. Its aroma is as delicious as its taste and nutmeg enhances seasonal vegetables like squash and cauliflower.
Mandarins are a sweet treat to indulge in with impunity. Scientists have discovered the juice can lower your risk of liver cancer. Intriguingly, health benefits extend beyond their low-cal flesh. In traditional Chinese medicine, the peel is used for its healing properties; now Western medicine is validating this wisdom. According to a study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a class of compounds in mandarin peel may lower cholesterol and blood pressure as effectively as prescription drugs, without the side effects. The compounds may also inhibit growth of breast, colon, and lung cancer cells. During the holidays, a mandarin’s zesty peel and juicy flesh can be added to everything from cranberry sauce to stuffing.
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Once vilified as fattening, nuts are now heralded as super-foods. Certain varieties deliver an extra nutritional wallop. ❧ Almonds: The almond’s delicate taste belies its nutritional power, providing protection against heart disease and diabetes by helping to lower LDL cholesterol and regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. Studies indicate they may also help prevent skin and colon cancer. Adorn green beans with toasted almonds and mandarin zest. ❧ Pecans: Could anything as sinfully rich as pecans be healthy? Absolutely. Pecans contain several forms of Vitamin E and they reduce cholesterol, thanks to their plant sterols and fibre content. Emerging research indicates they may also help slow the progression of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s. Top your holiday ham with a honeypecan glaze and consider it brain food. ❧ Pistachios: These colourful little nuts are not enjoyed as often as they could be. That’s a shame because they not only help to lower cholesterol, but also protect against lung cancer and other malignancies and reduce blood pressure and inflammation at the cellular level.
Their slightly smoky crunchiness imparts a taste of the exotic and lends a festive note to grains like rice and quinoa. ❧ Walnuts: Unlike other nuts, walnuts are a rich source of beneficial omega-3 fatty-acids. These healthy fats
can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve cognitive function in the elderly, quell inflammation, and prevent osteoporosis. Try serving them with roasted beets, greens and goat cheese for the perfect winter salad. VB
Sweet- -Savoury Nuts (Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving Entertaining, by Lou Siebert Pappas, Simon and Schuster)
3 tbsp sugar 2 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp cardamom ½ tsp ground cloves ¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper 1 egg white 2 tsp grated mandarin zest 2 cups mixed nuts
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly butter the foil. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and spices. In another bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Add the sugar mixture and whisk to blend, then whisk in the mandarin zest. Add the nuts and stir until thoroughly coated. Spread them on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Bake about 30 minutes or until golden, loosening them every 10 minutes. 82
Ask Santa please for these,
By Sharon McLean
December brings all kinds of excuses to open special bottles. I suspect I’ll enjoy something red, something white and something sparkling throughout the holiday season. Meanwhile, here’s my list of the most special 10 bottles I enjoyed in 2012 — in the order in which I tried them this past year. You might like to gift-wrap one or try one sometime during 2013. Enjoy!
2004 Conde de Valdemar, Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa ($35.99). Ripe strawberries and hints of blackberries wrapped around vanilla, spice and a little saddle. A great wine to recover from seasonal excesses.
2010 Averill Creek Gewurztraminer ($18) shows beautiful rose and peach notes, all supported by refreshing acidity. Beats February blahs.
Bras, Panties, Cami’s, Cozy, Warm Nighties, Robes, and PJ’s Available at
2008 Almaviva, Maipo Valley ($145). A Chilean joint venture between Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Concha y Toro, this hugely structured Cabernet blend has ripe black currants and a core of espresso, cocoa and spices.
2006 Bruno Colin, Chassagne-Montrachet AC ($59.90 at Marquis Wine) shows lovely baked apples, spice, hazelnuts, white flowers and a core of minerality. Clear evidence why Burgundy is the benchmark for Chardonnays.
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At the All Canadian Wine Competition in May, I helped judge over 1,100 wines. BC took top spots in the competitions both for white wine — 2011 8th Generation, Riesling ($19.99) — and for red wine — 2008 Lake Breeze Tempest ($35). Sold out now, watch for the next releases.
2008 Domaine La Roquète, Châteauneuf-du-Pape AC ($59.99 at Everything Wine) is a supple Grenache blend with lots of plums, strawberries, spice and hints of leather.
For Champagne, the Varnier-Fannière, Cuvée St. Denis Grand Cru (around $80 at private wine sellers) is an absolute standout — it’s a muscular, powerful wine with a beautifully-nuanced palate.
The Okanagan’s Black Hills Estate, home to BC’s iconic Nota Bene, offers its 2010 Alibi ($24.99), Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend with beautiful grapefruit, lemon, floral notes with a touch of honey and refreshing acidity.
A hot-weather drink for non-beer drinkers is white port and tonic, served long with ice and an optional spearmint leaf. I discovered it during a visit to the Douro in Portugal. Try it with Taylor Fladgate’s Fine White Port ($21.99).
Treat yourself to a 2008 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia, Barbera d’Alba DOC ($64.99). While most Barberas are juicy and easy drinking, this one with its layers of fruit, dried flowers, spice and saddle, demands attention.
Lovely new items arriving...just in time for Christmas!
Next up? I plan to celebrate my birthday with a 2009 Vincent Girardin, Les Vieilles Vignes from Vosne-Romanée in Burgundy ($59.99), with notes of blackberries, licorice, cassis, fennel and forest floor.
Sharon McLean is a sommelier, wine instructor, wine judge and consultant who loves to travel, but is proud to call Victoria home. She is the wine writer for Boulevard.
Come in and find the perfect gift 2432 Beacon Ave., Sidney 250.656.7141 christinelaurentjewellers.com 83
Indonesia is made up of a string of Islands, including popular Bali, above. But the tiny island of Gili Trawangan, less than three kilometres wide, is worth a trip to find an Indonesia of yore.
A Victoria woman shares her yoga and free-diving bliss on a tiny Indonesian island By SONJA BJELLAND
fter a two-hour ride from the tourism hub of Bali, Indonesia, on a large speedboat called the Gili T, we land on white-sugar sand. I’m on the small Indonesian island of Gili Trawangan, one of three islands and just three kilometres across, off the more populous big island of Lombok. Workers unload the luggage while I keep my backpack and shorts from getting wet while walking to the beach. I am here for a few days to visit an old friend toward the end of seven months of solo travel. One of the first sites I notice as I disembark is a sign for yoga. With its grass-thatched roof, wooden floors and open to the air on three sides, all just steps away from the water, it is the picture of an idyllic Indonesian yoga retreat. Inside I meet Kate Middleton — no, not that Kate Middleton. This Kate Middleton, 24, is an ex-Victoria native who grew up in Cadboro Bay and graduated from Mount Douglas high school, leaving Victoria in 2006 for world travels and discovering the island of Gili T in 2008. She felt at home as soon as she popped off her flip-flops. She has been here ever since, helping her partner Mike Board, the founder of Gili Yoga and Freedive Gili, run the studio, and teaching yoga classes and free diving — the art of deep diving without any breathing or scuba gear. In fact, Board is a free-diving world champion, setting new records in 2011. Several times a year the pair combines yoga and free diving for multi-day retreats that are organized around the annual equinoxes or even an eclipse. This year they have added a
25-metre pool and six rooms to host people coming in for the courses.
MADE POPULAR BY EAT, PRAY, LOVE Since the release of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love and the subsequent 2010 movie, the Indonesian yoga retreat has become a hot item for adventurers seeking inner calm on a tropical isle. While the island of Bali, and its cities of Ubud and Ulu Watu, are becoming increasingly busy, Gili T harkens back to an Indonesia of yore. Roads are simply packed sand. Motorbikes or cars are not allowed. Children play as parents build concrete blocks by hand. The blocks are then delivered by horse and cart to resorts being built on the island. The clip-clop of horse hooves replaces the incessant hum of Bali’s motorbikes. Muslim women with headscarves walk among bikini-clad Swedes. Fresh-water showers are just arriving. Only a few photo credit SONJA BJELLAND accommodations and restaurants exist. Yet more and more, backpackers arrive for cheap snorkelling and the night life. In the past two years, Middleton says she has noticed many more visitors. Businesses are springing up to cater to them. “Life is great on Gili T,” says Middleton, who
The Indonesian yoga retreat has become the hot item for adventurers seeking inner calm on a tropical isle. Gili Yoga Shala, below, offers yoga and free diving.
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starts each day with a cup of tea, and then bikes to the yoga shala, where she does her yoga practice before teaching free diving all day and then yoga from 5:30 to 7 pm. Middleton calls free diving “under-water yoga.” Three times a year she holds special week-long yoga/free-diving retreats that take world travellers deep into their own minds through yoga and breathing control. I don’t free dive, but I take her yoga class. I wash the sand off my feet in a small bowl of water and relax on my mat, listening to the waves crash on the beach and the horses clop by.
Life just got fair.
MEDITATION HELPS THE FREE DIVER Middleton starts the retreat in that yoga shala. On land, breathing exercises and postures help create breath control but it’s the meditation side of yoga that does the most, she says. Watching how the mind wanders allows people to focus and stay in the moment, fundamentals for free diving. The retreat then allows the yoga practice to be tested in the water “The mind will offer every possible excuse to get you out of the dive,” she says. “The ego is always trying to control the dive with doubt and fear so you must learn to surrender, to accept and let go of the thoughts that keep you away from the natural, peaceful, pleasant sensations on a free dive.” Steps away from the yoga shala, the blue sea opens to a parade of tropical fish. Snorkelling off the beach, I watch dazzling colours float by and a sea turtle on its voyage. Despite my snorkelling sunburn, I borrow a bike from my hotel for a ride around the island before sunset. I stopped frequently to take photos of distant mountains and the moon rising. The sugary sand prevented any more pedalling so I pushed the bike to reach Karma Kayak (karmakayak.com) in time for a sunset sangria with tapas. Western influence on Gili T provides a variety of eats, from fresh fruit and granola at beachside stands to delicate grilled fish at Blue Marlin. That outside influence continues into night life, where reggae tunes offer a chill hang-out at Sama Sama. Tir na Nog (meaning land of the ever-young) has given this patch of sand the honour of being the smallest island with an Irish pub. It’s that combination of comfortable island life and natural beauty that keeps me dreaming of going back. VB
If you go Fly into Bali’s airport in Denpasar. A taxi can take you to the centre of Ubud or trendy Seminyak within an hour. Spend a few nights on Bali, where you’ll be able to make arrangements through your hotel or Perama, peramatour.com, to get to Gili T. For information about Gili Yoga Shala and its retreats see giliyoga.com. While accommodation is limited on the island, an increasing number of options are available. Middleton recommends the following: Budget – Aaliku Bungalows, aaliku. com, between $50 and $75 a night; Mid-range – The Trawangan, thetrawangan.com, single room $120 and villa $140; Luxury – Luce d’Alma Resort and Spa, lucedalmaresort.com, $145 to $255 a night for a cottage.
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$11,498,000 Lisa Williams 250-514-1966 lisawilliams.ca
Boulevard magazine supports Southern Vancouver Island's top Realtors representing the region's finest real estate. In our pages, we hope you will find your next home, whether it is in the listings of the Great Homes/Great Realtors or here in the Boulevard Luxury Real Estate listings. Both of these monthly advertising features bring you the finest selection of homes and condominiums Victoria has to offer. $7,900,000 Deedrie Ballard 250-744-3301 deedrieballard.com
$5,490,000 Bill Chudyk 250-477-5353 spencerwood.ca
World Class 4.94 acre Waterfront Estate; your own private Country Club! Exclusive Cordova Bay location w/ 8900sqft 6 bedroom/ 9 bath luxurious main residence w/ 5 car garage, guest house, tennis court, pool & cabana, gym, incredible manicured grounds & entertaining areas. Private access to sandy beach & so much more! Where elegance, high-class style, and family traditions blend together in a magical seaside setting!
Magnificent Uplands Waterfront home. Luxurious & elegant, this home has been completely updated & is situated on a spectacular secluded bay. Main floor with living room, library, dining room, kitchen with & family room - all with access to the expansive heated patio w/ fireplace that spans the length of the home. The upper floor features the master suite incl. powder room, walk in closet, sitting area including fireplace & balcony to enjoy the views.
•Artist hideaway on Coles Bay Ardmore on the North Saanich Peninsula. •Character one level retreat with art studio, over 480 feet of fabulous low bank pebble beachfront. •Sunny southwesterly outlook over Saanich inlet. •3.61 acres comprised of three separately deeded lots of over one acre each. •Renovate, redevelop, or simply immerse in the tranquility of this charming older home. •Boater’s paradise, prawning, or salmon fishing abound.
BOULEVARD LUXURY REAL ESTATE
$3,500,000 Terry Stockus 250-477-1100 century21.ca
Built in 2004, this incredible 3 acre property is a family haven for those looking for the ultimate experience in lakefront living. Crafted by local artisans, the 4,100 sq.ft log home exudes tremendous pride of workmanship. The property is complete with Guest Cottage, suite above garage, RV parking, tennis/ paddleball court and so much more! 3,000 sq.ft of deck and patio space lends itself to fabulous summer entertaining! An extra 2-car garage with 1 bed suite above is ideal for the nanny or young adult.
Unbeatable Location!! 360 Degree Ocean & Mountain Views. 4600sqft plus of tastefully fashioned & decorated home. 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 6 fireplaces 4 Jacuzzi tubs, Alder cabinets, Radiant heated Engineered Oak and Tile flooring, 9’-10’ ceilings, wood windows, wood trims, 1000sqft garage, 9 $1,599,900 Decks/Patio’s plus a 900sqft Roof Top Deck with hot & Kyle Kerr cold water, gas or electric for 250-590-1775 hot tub & BBQ. A custom homesalesvictoria.com home built in 2001 and ran as a B&B for 5 years. $125k of Furnishings are included.
$1,550,000 Leslee Farrell 250-388-5882 lesleefarrell.com
Situated at the end of a quiet byway in idyllic Ten Mile Point, this charming one level bungalow is situated on .55 acre of oceanfront enjoying world class views of Mt. Baker and the Gulf Islands beyond. Built circa 1970, the home offers a flexible floor plan with beautiful ocean side sunroom with skylights. The sunroom and master suite open on to the Oceanside deck which spans the entire front of the home.
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$2,885,000 Lynne Sager 250-744-3301 lynnesager.com Camosun
$1,595,000 Donald St. Germain 250-744-7136 1566hampshire.com
$1,299,000 Sandra Hoff 250-818-5775 sandrahoff.com
Ocean & Mt. Baker views from this 5100 sq ft. custom home. Stroll from your ocean side patio with gas fire pit, miles of sandy beach. Situated on a quiet lane, with elegant privacy gates, & intercom controlled entry. Heated Travertine floors, welcome you to a modern open floor plan. 10ft. ceilings, gourmet kitchen, two dishwashers, two fridges, and three ensuite bedrooms.
Elegant 1916 character family home nestled on private, quiet large lot only steps to the Oak Bay Village in this sought after neighbourhood. This 6 bed/4 bath 6,700+ sq ft. home offers traditional yet modern family living on 4 levels w/top quality workmanship. Main level features large grand room w/ fireplace & French doors, formal dining area, stunning kitchen w/ eat-in area overlooking the backyard, & sun room for morning coffee.
If you are looking for your dream home, look no further! Simply one of the finest properties on Texada Terr in an enclave of luxury homes, this extraordinary 4100 sq ft home is rich in class, detail, & elegance, with sweeping VIEWS of the Gulf & San Juan Islands and Mt Baker. A stunning 18ft grand entrance, porcelain tile entry, gourmet kitchen with butcher block island, black granite countertops & eating bar, perfect for entertaining or family gatherings! 1717texada.com
$1,250,000 Jordy Harris 250-385-2033 jordyharris.com
$1,100,000 George Papaloukas 250-888-5335 sothebysrealty.ca
$948,000 Cassie Kangas 250-477-7291 cassiekangas.com
Beautiful west facing, low bank waterfront in the desirable Ardmore area. Built in 1966, this .61 acre lot, has over 100 feet of stunning beach frontage. Nestled in a near perfect position, the home and property are situated to take advantage of the sun, views and sheltered bay. With incredible bones and a well laid out floorplan, it offers a great opportunity to renovate or build new to suit your lifestyle.
This new 4405 sq/ft, 5 bedroom home boasts quality workmanship and attention to detail - custom kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, quartz countertops, professional Electrolux appliances, 6 burner propane cook top, wall oven, Teak hardwood, heated tile floors and custom Pella windows with built in blinds, 3 fireplaces and pantry. Panoramic views of Victoria, the ocean and the mountains while sitting on the huge main level deck or in your sunken outdoor hot tub on the lower deck This home has it all!
This brand new 4/5 bedroom executive home is located on a private “no through street” in Gordon Head. 2955sq ft of quality construction & finishing, the house sits on a large lot with South facing back yard. Main floor has an open plan kitchen, dining & living room plus separate den and rec room with en-suite. 4 beds upstairs including a fabulous master suite with en-suite & walk in closet. Attached double garage. Close to buses, schools & parks
$1,200,000 Nancy Vieira 250-514-4750 nancyvieira.com
Worthy of being considered in a class by itself, extraordinary oceanfront private 3 acre estate zoned for two homes in exclusive Silver Spray Resort just west of Victoria. Most desirable waterfront lot in resort, coveted by the owner developer. More than 500 feet of private waterfront enjoy breathtaking sunsets and views to Juan de Fuca Straight and Olympic Mountains. Private pathway to an enchanting peninsula with a secluded pocket beach. Subdividable property.
Once in a lifetime WATERFRONT at MILL BAY!
$979,000 Margaret Leck 250-413-7171 margaretleck.com
Easy access beachfront! Easterly views of the ocean, Saanich Peninsula, Mt. Baker & Salt Spring Island. Only 30 minutes from Victoria, conveniently located to Mill Bay Shopping Center and exclusive private and public schools. Charming two storey BEACH HOUSE right on the beach, separate 17x11 studio and 1760 sq.ft main residence with established landscaping. MLS 305224.
OCEANFRONT Enjoy magnificent, everchanging views of Victoria Harbour, the ocean and Olympic Mountains from this south-facing 7th floor suite in sought after Swallows Landing. The unique floorplan offers 1774sf of high quality finishing, floor-to-ceiling $899,000 windows, ensuites in both bedrooms, 2 balconies, and Brian Andrew separate den. The Westsong 250-217-1048 Walkway to downtown is right brianjamesandrew.com at your doorstep. Condo living just doesn’t get any better than this.
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$889,000 Nancy Vieira 250-514-4750 nancyvieira.com
$868,000 Dallas Chapple PERSONAL REAL ESTATE CORPORATION.
Escape to East Sooke! Custom European home set on 3 plus water front acres, panoramic vistas of Sooke Basin surrounded by older forest. Enjoy views from your spacious entertainment sized deck over looking the lily pond. Home was built by old world schooled European Master wood craftsman. The feature fire place is the heart of the home. Area is nicely fenced off to protect your flourishing gardens from wild life.
This is a fabulous home for entertaining! An open floor plan with the kitchen & eating bar centrally located between the living & dining areas & the family room (with gas fireplace), cozy heated tile floor in kitchen, bathrooms & entrance. Granite & quartz counters in the kitchen with s/s appliances & gas range. A special feature of this C.A.R.E award-winning home is the private deck overlooking Feltham Park Trail. Mortgage helper downstairs.
$889,000 George Papaloukas 250-888-5335 sothebysrealty.ca
$849,900 Donald St. Germain 250-744-7136 1479lang.com
$788,000 Cassie Kangas 250-477-7291 cassiekangas.com
Beautiful heritage style 1/2 duplex completed in 2008. This home has 2400 sq ft of living over 3 floors. Main level features a large custom kitchen, a great room & dining room. Upstairs are two large bedrooms w/spa like ensuite. Walk out lower level w/huge laundry/wet bar, large media room/bedroom, ensuite bath & further living room. There is a fully fenced west facing rear garden with deck & lower covered patio. Separate detached garage.
$697,800 Ivan Delano P.R.E.C. 250-744-8506 ivandelano.com
This home is on the right side of the lake! This south facing property means all day sun, even in winter! Custom built in 2010, with approximately 2900 sq.ft. on 3 levels. This home has 4 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, and a lower level walkout to the lake. Granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, custom cabinetry, fir floors, and travertine tile within floor heating. Relax and enjoy the views of the lake from the deck, lakeside patio, or the new dock. This home is ready for you to move in and enjoy!
BRAND NEW 4 bed/ 4bath home in Cedar Hill area. Includes the HST! Philco Construction has created this 2820 sq ft beautiful home that includes a legal 1 bedroom self contained suite on it’s own hydro meter and superior soundproofing. Main floor features a 2 piece bath, an office, and an open concept kitchen/living area that features a large walk-in pantry, and gas fireplace. walkout backyard patio with BBQ natural gas connection, and modern granite countertops.
Beautiful NEW home on a private quiet cul-de-sac in a great neighbourhood, yet still in the middle of the city... Spacious Low maintenance Cottage style living with all the conveniences are featured in this custom built home with a great floor plan, lovely kitchen with bar eating area, dining space, living room with gas fireplace & a 3 piece bath off the generous den/office/ guest room. Upstairs you’ll find 3 more good bedrooms, laundry, 4 piece bath + a generous master with a walk-in closet & 5 piece bath w/heated floor.
It all starts here at The Finishing Store. With an extensive selection of floors, moldings, mantels, doors, stairs, closets and windows we’ve got your renos covered!
BOULEVARD LUXURY REAL ESTATE
$641,900 Craig Walters www.4on5th.ca 250-744-3301 Camosun
$619,900 Kevin Koetke 250-478-9600 kevinkoetke.com
A new & unique living concept 2 blocks from the boutique Town of Sidney & its seaside playground. NO STRATA FEES. 1 of 4 new townhomes with fee simple title: ownership without restrictions & fees associated with strata. Designer finishes, hardwood/ tile/wool carpet, granite/ quartz, SS appliances, gas fireplace, deck, privacy blinds, 3 beds/3 baths, attached double garage with workshop, flex-room. Downsizing dream. Ready for occupancy. Call today!
Immaculate 2006 Built 4 bed plus study, 3 bath home on a quiet tree street featuring a park with play structures just steps away. This Fernwood home offers an open concept floor plan on the main with gourmet kitchen, stainless appliances, pantry, large dining area, generous living room with gas fireplace and 3/4” hardwood floors throughout. Upstairs the large master bedroom offers a 4 piece en-suite bath, a jetted tub & corner shower.
Well thought out design in modern house is loaded with features:
$623,800 Peter Veri 250-920-6850 firstname.lastname@example.org
16X14 Master + Closet + Deluxe Ensuite, white kitchen; a refreshing break from the bland dark faux grain and drab honey browns so often seen, top line appliances, luminous bedrooms with great vistas, easy care yard, generous deck, heat pump. Come and see and use the complimentary Tim Hortons card to think it over when you’re done!
Atmosphere with upscale, modern feel. Open kitchen & dining w/electric fireplace, cherry wood cabinets, stainless appliances, granite countertops and island, & heated bath floor. Tasteful colour scheme, maple floor, wainscotting, & 9 ft ceilings. Artfully landscaped private garden. Great location on $549,500 one of Fernwood’s favourite streets, close to Fernwood Sharen Warde & Larry Sims Village, Hillside, UVic and 250-592-4422 Camosun. wardesims.com
$539,900 Shaunna Jones 250-888-4628 shaunnajones.com
Unique 4 bedroom 3 bath floor plan with exquisite master suite that gives the grown-ups the privacy they deserve! Enjoy a soak in the elegant tub & relax in front of the fire right in your own bedroom! Three other bedrooms make this a wonderful family home at a fantastic price.
$539,000 Julie Rust 250-477-1100 julierust.ca
Saanich Family Home, Ideal for an extended/ growing family. This Home features 5 bdrms/ 2 bthrms, 2 Kitchens, a Family & Living Room, Hardwood Floors, Renovated Inlaw Suite, upgraded Windows & Electrical System, and a Fenced Sunny Backyard Garden. Nestled in a Great Neighbourhood Pocket, and conveniently located near many schools & buses, Uptown & Tillicum Mall. www.546meredithcrescent.com
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“The Dream Lifestyle!” Living on the water, kayak tied up ready for you, summer BBQ’s, restaurants at the end of the dock your dream come true. This custom designed 2 bdrm, 2 bath home features propane stove & fireplace, wood floors, 9’ ceilings, Murphy Bed, instant hotwater, vacu$495,000 flo, a deck off the Master, a lovely deck off the Living Sharen Warde & Larry Sims Room and then a 25 x 19 250-592-4422 rooftop terrace plus a trap wardesims.com door for your own fishing hole.
$471,750 Tara Hearn 250-588-2852 www.tarahearn.com
$319,900 Shaunna Jones 250-888-4628 shaunnajones.com
One of the finest remaining oceanfront lots at Silver Spray Oceanfront Estates! This fabulous Ocean Park Place address offers full southern exposure, exceptional views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and snow-capped Olympic Mountains, and a trail down to your own private rocky shore. Set in a small cove the shore is protected from crashing surf. This gently sloping, low bank estate lot is ideal for your luxurious oceanfront dreamhome.
This gorgeous 2006 complex is centrally located. This bright & clean, newly painted 2 bdrm 2 bath unit is one of the best layouts in the building. Feat: A modern kitchen, in-suite laundry, secured underground parking, generous storage & more. So come BBQ on your large covered sunny balcony & walk your dog to the beautiful Gorge Waterway. Truly a place you’ll be proud to call home!
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Over Skype and through cyberspace
to Grandmother’s house we go! By DARRYL GITTINS
Watching Star Trek as a kid, I loved the big screen on the bridge that let Captain Kirk have a two-way video conversation with the alien ship’s captain. You could see what they were doing and they could see you. How cool was that? Of course now we have all manner of devices that let you do the same with programs like Skype or FaceTime. For families whose members are separated over Christmas, video visits can make a real difference, especially for kids. Imagine sharing present-opening or even singing carols together. Or why not read a book out loud together over Skype? Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales is a favourite in our family. You could just use a telephone to call distant relatives. Certainly Christmas is still a busy time of the year for POTS (that’s Plain Old Telephone Service for you non-geeks). But the phone can’t convey body language and nuances the way video chat can. You can’t see a smile over the phone. SKYPE RUNS ON ANY DEVICE My neighbour’s sister recently moved to Australia. Her whole family is fitted with iPads so that the kids can regularly see grandma and grandpa, and even take them for a virtual tour around the house to show off their new rooms, the yard 94
and swing set, just by pointing the iPad around. They use Apple’s FaceTime (99 cents in the iTunes store), which works very well, and as you’d expect for an Apple product, it’s easy to set up. However, it only works with other Apple devices that also run FaceTime, and you can’t call land lines (ordinary phones) with it. Skype, however, is universal. It runs on virtually any device. It does video calls and it calls land lines. If you want to call land lines, you have to buy credits, but the rates are reasonable. A pay-as-you-go plan costs about two cents per minute for local calls. Long-distance calls are a fraction of the cost of typical home phone service. For example, Telus calls to South Africa are $2 per minute, whereas a Skype call is only seven cents a minute. Skype-to-Skype calls are always free. Most current computing devices include the necessary hardware. Typically, you need a front-facing camera (or a webcam), speakers (or headphones), a microphone (which is typically built into a webcam), and an Internet connection. SKYPE CAN’T CALL 911 To get started, install the program from Skype.com. It will walk you through the steps of creating an account, and then configuring and testing your hardware. The voice and video quality will depend on many variables. You will get best results using a direct Internet connection instead of wireless. This means using a computer that has a cable connected directly to your Internet Service Provider’s modem or router. Also note that ISP upload speeds are much slower than download speeds. That means if Mom has a slow connection, the video signal she is uploading may not look so good when it reaches you. Similarly, the picture quality she sees will depend on your upload speed. To check your speed, go to Speedtest.net and run its test. To send a reasonable video, you should have a minimum upload speed of 1.5 Mbps. Call your ISP if you think the signal might not be fast enough. You might also be able to improve the signal by using a newer external webcam. Prices range from $30 to $80 for a good model from Microsoft or Logitech. They include a disk that walks you through the set-up process. Do you think you might like to receive Skype calls from land lines? That’s also possible: you can get a subscriptionbased online Skype phone number for $60 a year. One last point: Don’t toss your POTS system out yet. The Skype website emphasizes, “Skype is a not replacement for your ordinary telephone.” That’s because you can’t use Skype to call 911. You should always have an analog phone line available in case of emergencies. Merry Christmas! VB Darryl Gittins is a computer consultant who specializes in turning complex computer jargon into information that makes sense for real people. He lives in Victoria with his tech-savvy wife and kids.
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If you think a
“No-Stuff Christmas” would be cheap, think again
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I can't say my two kids were thrilled one November night when I proposed that we celebrate a No-Stuff Christmas. Visions of iPods and videogames danced in their heads: asking them to abandon hope of such treasures made me the least popular parent in the world. But I was unhappy with the thought of ignored toys and a fat pile of bills come January. Not having any Christmas presents seemed a perfect solution. The previous year had been a full-on, excessive-consumergoods Christmas, complete a with three-hour gift-opening marathon and Boxing Day sales chaser. In fact, by the time I had my stroke of No-Stuff genius, I’d already acquired a few treats for the kids — books, three each, and the obligatory chocolate oranges for their stockings. I realized it wouldn’t be possible to have an Absolutely-No-Stuff Christmas. Too young to mock me, the kids reluctantly agreed. I reassured them there would still be stockings. And Santa (the one that works at Amazon.ca) would certainly visit. “Is that all?” they asked, remembering years of abundance
past. “No other presents? Nothing?” Those teary, velvet-painting eyes got me. “Well,” I caved in. “Maybe presents. But they can’t be Stuff.” No Stuff. Just try and figure out what that means, let alone explain it to relatives determined to fill kids’ lives with batteryoperated cars. “What do they want, then?” the perplexed grandparents asked. “Do clothes count? How about pyjamas?” Right. Pyjamas. I’ve always used the holiday as an excuse to buy my kids jammies to wear on Christmas Eve. How could I let that tradition slip away? Pyjamas weren’t Stuff. They were Necessary. I set out for the fabric store, reasoning that if the jammies weren’t bought ready-made, they wouldn’t count as Stuff, even if the fabric and patterns cost twice as much. It took me a week to sew both pairs. Surely, I thought, they’ll appreciate this gift of my time. As the big day crept closer, and friends talked about the adorable dolls or amazing electronics they were buying for their kids, I had to give mine something to delight them on that most magical of mornings. I didn’t want to deny them Christmas. I just wanted to reduce all that Stuff. Then I had an epiphany: I could give them experiences! They could have Ideas, Sights! Inspired, I bought museum passes, folding the envelope into a fan shape, to make it look festive. I did the same with hockey tickets, complete with seats for Dad and Grandpa, just to prove how pleasant (if increasingly expensive) this No Stuff business could be. I discovered the IMAX passes online and on it went, credit card be damned. By Christmas Eve, I’d outspent last year’s holiday budget, and stuffed their stockings with a chocolate orange and three small paperbacks. Even combined with the envelopes of experiential treasures, it all looked paltry compared to the ghosts of abundance past. It was time to come up with more experiences. Fuelled by eggnog, I wracked my brain for experiences that would be as memorable as the joy of waking on Christmas morn to discover — what, a pony under the tree? Of course! Riding my seven-year-old daughter’s passion for horses, I wrote “Good for one week of horse camp” on a piece of holly-green cardstock, ignoring the fact that it would cost more than every toy horse she could have desired. My son, then 10, enjoys eating at restaurants, so another card got “One lunch out, with the parent of your choice.” I tied the cards to the Christmas tree, pleased by my clever thoughtfulness, and retired, anticipating the delight in my darlings’ eyes as they, clad in their ill-fitting, homemade jammies, ripped the envelopes open and read about their No Stuff gifts. It took all of five minutes to open their “presents.” The Salmon Kings lost the game. Horse camp was a week of long drives, carsickness, and allergies. The lunch date cost enough to blow even Santa’s expense account. And the grandparents’ remote-controlled cars got played with. A lot. VB 97
SECRETS & LIVES
By shannon moneo photo by gary mckinstry
Tell us about the Christmas Bird Count. It’s Dec. 15 for the Victoria area with counts in Sooke, Saanich Peninsula, Salt Spring Island and Duncan after Dec. 15. The count area is a standard circle, 15 miles in diameter, divided into 23 zones, each with a leader who has people cover as much area as possible. Victoria has the highest participation rate of any count in North America. Last year we had 220 people. I started participating in about 1997 and became co-ordinator in 2001. A turning point for me was discovering that the same birds come to my yard, year after year. Any Christmas Count excitement? Sometimes, when counters look for owls, police ask what we’re doing prowling neighbourhoods at 4 am on a cold winter morning with binoculars and spotting scopes. Do scientists use the statistics? The data is used by scientists all over North America, where there are over 2,000 counts. Statistics follow trends of different birds over years. The count is the longest-running citizen science project. It’s important to have the Christmas counts to compare and see if it’s just movement of birds to different ranges or if numbers are in decline.
What’s your day job? University administration. With a name like Nightingale, how do you handle birdbrain jesting? It works to my advantage. People remember it. Lots of others in the birding community have bird names. John Flicker is president of Canada’s Audubon Society. Dr. David Bird, a famous ornithologist from McGill, is moving to Victoria. What birds are threatened? Flourishing? Generally, bird populations are in serious decline. But each year we have a handful that set a new count record. Last year, Anna’s hummingbirds broke a thousand for the first time but rufous hummingbirds are fewer. Seabirds and birds that eagles prey upon are not doing well, like the great blue heron and even gulls. Smaller owls aren’t doing well because they’re caught by barred owls. This area is doing better than the continent as a whole for smaller birds. Are birders all old folks in Tilley hats? There certainly are old birders in Tilley hats and even young birders with Tilley hats, but the majority don’t fit the stereotype. We have children, families, people in their 90s, novices and pros. I don’t own a Tilley hat. How can people make their property more bird-friendly? Keep their cats indoors. Provide food. Plant berryproducing shrubs or have bird feeders.
It’s wrong to attract them [only] to be hunted by your cat. Windows are a problem, especially glass railings on balconies. To keep birds from hitting windows, put netting over them or keep them dirty. How did you get hooked on birding? I worked with an avid birder. He could identify all birds by their songs. It blew me away. I thought I’d never be able to do that but within a year, I could identify most of Victoria’s birds by their songs. I’ve been making up for lost time since. What bird would you like to see? I’m thrilled to see them all. Every new bird has the excitement of being a new bird. I’m a bit of a homebody so seeing the same old birds excites me too. Why are you a member of the Victoria Natural History Society and Rocky Point Bird Observatory? The society is a great place for people to learn about nature. They have four presentations a month and field trips every week. The observatory is a migration monitoring station, where we catch and band mostly songbirds and owls, do measurements, determine age. We recently caught more than 600 migrating Northern saw-whet owls in six weeks. You also do amazingly-detailed paper sculpture. How difficult is it? It’s not difficult. If you can make a knife stroke, you can do it. But it requires patience and care. You can’t go fast. Most of my life I’m hurrying, trying to get things done. It’s kind of nice every once in a while to go slow. VB This interview has been condensed and edited.
Ann Nightingale, 57 Christmas Bird Count Co-ordinator, Victoria Natural History Society Member, Folded Paper Artist
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Published on Nov 26, 2012
BOULEVARD MAGAZINE is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Victoria by focusing on the Arts, People, Trends, Fo...