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The Real Deal

HST Rebate Update. Even if you already sold your home… needed to move for various reasons such as economics, relocation for work or for personal family needs. This does not apply to those who built or renovated their homes with the intention of making a profit. “There is a misconception that if your home is worth more than $450,000, you are not entitled to any government rebates, but this is just not true,” says Sean. Canada’s Reno Rebate has teamed up with Builders, Trades, Designers, Mortgage Brokers and Realtors to share the good news about the potential rebate with their qualifying clients. “The number of contractors and Realtors who have been going through their files and calling everyone they helped to fix up or buy a house between July 1, 2010 and March 31, 2013 when the HST was repealed, has grown exponentially since last month.” he says. It comes down to this: if you built or purchased a new home or did a substantial renovation to an existing home for yourself or for rental during that period, you are entitled to a rebate for a portion of the provincial sales tax embedded within the HST. Canada’s Reno Rebate Inc. handles all the paperwork and follows through with the government until you receive your

cheque. Because Sean and his staff know the forms, the processes, and who to call, they efficiently and quickly collect the information and submit exactly what the government agencies need. The company charges no upfront fee, if you don’t receive a rebate, the application costs you nothing. Because all the required paperwork can be done via email and fax, “clients are coming to us from all over this great province,” says Sean. For those who live outside of Victoria, we have customer services representatives in other regions. “Handing people cheques for thousands of dollars that they had no idea they were entitled to is our goal,” Sean says. “We are happy to answer any questions that potential clients have, so give us a call. What have you got to lose?


778-433-7494 1-877-724-4624 1267 Fairfield Road, Victoria Web: Email:



ANADA’S RENO REBATE INC. continues to spread the word about government rebates for new-home purchases, owner built homes and substantial renovations to existing homes during the tenure of the HST. Happy clients are receiving up to $42,500, which is the upper limit a homeowner can receive for a project. Together with the Ontario-based company Rebate4U, Canada’s Reno Rebate Inc. has already helped homeowners apply for rebates totaling $8 million. Clients are receiving their cheques and spreading the word . Owners of large contracting companies are ecstatic about receiving their rebate cheques and are contacting their eligible clients. What beer way to show your clients that you care than informing them of Canada’s Reno Rebate’s services. Many clients hesitate on their way out of principal Sean Leitenberg’s Fairfield office, where they have just handed over a sheaf of paperwork and receipts for a major home renovation. “Is this for real?” they ask Sean. That’s the most common question Sean gets, and his answer is a firm, “Yes, this is real.” Sean understands the skepticism. He asked the same thing when his brotherin-law in Ontario called him and said, “You might be entitled to a rebate on the HST you paid when you did your reno.” This rebate has been available for the last three years and it’s about to disappear. It must be claimed within two years of the purchase of a new house or condo or completion of an owner built home or a major renovation. Even if you have sold your home you are still entitled to a rebate if your intention for the build or renovation was to keep the home. Canada’s Reno Rebate has started submiing applications for homes that were sold over the last three years for the previous owners. These clients planned on staying in their homes, but

CONTENTS December 2013 Issue 12, Volume XXIl














FASHION FAVES Trena Danbrook and Greg James, The Fabulous Find By Lia Crowe




HAWTHORN Raise a glass to Alice By Tom Hawthorn STATE OF THE ARTS Daniel Lapp’s seasonal togetherness music By Alisa Gordaneer

20 58



HOT PROPERTIES Angular home won’t box owners in By Carolyn Heiman SOCIAL CAPITAL Find new traditions By Jessica Natale Woollard


BEFORE & AFTER Staying bright on Galiano By Sarah MacNeill


SPECIAL PUBLICATION 2014 Victoria Business Development Guide 87


TRAVEL FAR No roads lead to Gimmelwald (perfect!) By Merna Forster


FOOD & WINE Create festive decadence By Cinda Chavich


TRAVEL NEAR Lighten up in Ladysmith By Katherine Palmer Gordon


HEALTH & WELLNESS No snow? Try Nordic pole walking By Margaret Boyes


FRONT ROW The Gift; Lighted Truck Convoy; Neverending Story; and more By Robert Moyes FINANCE Talking with Tess: Matt Phillips By Tess van Straaten


WRY EYE Howie Siegel, part-time angel By Mark Leiren-Young


SECRETS & LIVES Morgan Wilson, Fairmont Empress Hotel


c our



It’s time to celebrate with Champagne or local sparkling wine. Photo by Don Denton.



SPIRIT 5 ways to feel jolly this month


Take a ride on a ferris wheel. The Downtown Victoria Business Association ferris wheel is back! For $2, see Victoria from 65 feet up on Fridays through Sundays, now to December 22nd. Fridays 5–10 pm; Saturdays noon–10 pm; Sundays noon–8 pm.


Get creative in the kitchen. During Crafty Christmas Cooking at The London Chef, kids can roll out and decorate gingerbread and more. Ages 4 and up. December 21, $37.50.

At Creating Occasions, chef Lora Lonesberry offers Kids’ Christmas Cupcake class, December 8 ($45), and Kids’ Christmas Gingerbread Building, December 22 ($65). Ages 6-12.

For more ideas, see Social Capital on page 30.

Enjoy holiday theatre under the stars.


(Stars are weather permitting, of course.) The Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa presents its annual Christmas Starlight Cinema, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 6 pm. Admission is free, but donations to Santas Anonymous are appreciated. Bring lawn chairs and blankets; heaters are provided. 3rd — A Christmas Story 4th — White Christmas 10th — The Grinch with Jim Carrey 11th — Home Alone 17th — The Polar Express 18th — It’s a Wonderful Life

Eat out — and give back.


Mealshare, a non-profit new to Victoria, uses a buy one, give one format. When you eat out at a partner restaurant — Zambri’s, West Coast Waffles, Lido Bistro or Canoe Brewpub — and enjoy one of the specially marked menu items, Mealshare donates a meal to those less fortunate. Victoria diners support Our Place and Children’s Hunger Fund in this year-round program.

Make a festive wreath.

Join CRD Parks naturalists at Beaver/Elk lakes for a drop-in, all-ages wreath-making class. Bring your creativity — instructions and supplies will be provided. A suggested $10 donation or canned food will support a local food bank. Bring clippers if you have them, and a mug for hot cider! December 8, 11 am–3 pm, Beaver Lake Nature Centre.


Give the gift of Healthy Eating! Gift certificates available

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Margaret Boyes, Cinda Chavich, Lia Crowe, Merna Forster, Alisa Gordaneer, Tom Hawthorn, Carolyn Heiman, Mark LeirenYoung, Jessica Natale Woollard, Sarah MacNeill, Sharon McLean, Shannon Moneo, Robert Moyes, Katherine Palmer Gordon, Tess van Straaten Don Denton, Ilja Herb, Vince Klassen

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OUR CONTRIBUTORS MARGARET BOYES is a journalist and copywriter who also teaches ESL. Her writing credits include the Times Colonist, Canadian Parliamentary Review and Windspeaker. She belongs to the Victoria Writers’ Society. Recently, Boyes had so much fun at a Nordic pole walking Meetup group, organized by Linda Schaumleffel, she decided to write this month’s Health & Wellness article. She lives on the Victoria/Saanich border, close to lots of walking trails, deer and ducks. MERNA FORSTER is a Canadian heroines sleuth passionate about discovering forgoen faces in herstory. The author of 100 Canadian Heroines and 100 More Canadian Heroines, she’s also an adventurer who hiked the Chilkoot Trail, tackled Mt. Kilimanjaro and explored many mountain parks while working as a naturalist. Forster is now focusing on travel writing and photography, thanks to Boulevard’s travel seminar, which she took part in earlier this year. This month, she shares her stories about the Bernese Alps. MARK LEIREN-YOUNG wrote a Pagliacci’s song with his comedy duo, Local Anxiety, when they performed their Arts Club smash The Year in Revue at the McPherson Playhouse. Leiren-Young has won awards as a playwright, author, filmmaker and journalist but knew he’d arrived when his picture was hung on the wall at Pagliacci’s. His books include Never Shoot a Stampede Queen and his new comic memoir Free Magic Secrets Revealed. You can find him at SHARON MCLEAN is a certified sommelier, a senior wine instructor and a wine judge. She is a second-year Masters of Wine candidate — the only candidate on Vancouver Island and one of the few in Canada currently aempting wine’s most prestigious and rigorous academic honours. A recent trip to Champagne le her vowing to only drink well. She happily shares her discoveries in this issue.


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MANDARIN ORANGES, Walkers Shortbread (in the red tartan box), and paneone — that delicious yellow Italian sweet bread — make me think of Christmas. A few years ago, in an effort to beer connect with one of my favourite holiday foods, I decided to make my own paneone. I grabbed Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads (a wonderful tome that I’d been vowing to use more oen, anyway) and examined the paneone recipe, which made four loaves. Unlike the store-bought variety, these were round, hand-shaped loaves. They would make great gis, I thought. I set to work. Everything was going well, except I’d forgoen one thing: my house is cold — too cold to make bread rise in the wintertime. This was the first time I’d made bread in that house and I didn’t know the thermostat would be an issue. Eventually I decided the dough was as ready as it would ever be, and I cut an X into the tops, as instructed, and popped all four into the oven on baking trays. The recipe requested removing the loaves aer five minutes and plopping a tablespoon of buer in the centre of each X, which I did, despite sensing that was quite a lot of buer for my rather small loaves. Back in the oven they went. It didn’t take long for my kitchen to fill with smoke. Horrified, I discovered the buer had not melted gracefully into the X and down the sides of the bread in a golden glow, but rather fallen off into a pool that now was burning the boom of my loaves and smoking profusely on the baking pans. I desperately switched the paneone to new trays, but the remaining buer on top continued dripping and burning. Soon, the loaves were so burnt that I couldn’t bear to leave them in any longer, though I knew the centre would still be doughy. Needless to say, only my parents got a taste — with the boom cut off. A gluon for punishment, I tried again last year, with much greater success. (No more buer on top!) It seems I’ve started a tradition of my own — minus the burning, that is. This issue is full of ideas for traditions to add to your repertoire. Social Capital explores some of the lesser-known holiday events and activities around the South Island, while our Champagne feature explores the secrets behind the traditional New Year’s bubbly. Maybe you’ll be inspired by our exploration of adult music students and play a carol or two for your loved ones. And if the holidays make you dream of a vacation, you should consider the alpine village of Gimmelwald, this month’s Travel Far. Please think of me this month, when I’ll be making my infamous paneone, and know that all of us at Boulevard are thinking of you, too. All the best for the holiday season! Kate Lautens, Editor

YOUR LETTERS Readers Weigh in Online

Colleen Hack I find it moving and inspiring that this wonderful machine is being brought back to life by Victoria Air Maintenance Ltd. Thank you Boulevard magazine for this wonderful piece by Stuart Eastwood, inside and out. [“F for Freddie, the Wooden Wonder,” November]

@bryn_taylor26 @BoulevardMag my cat Chester Copperpot loves the November edition. @GarsideSigns Great article @BoulevardMag on 2nd World War Mosquito aircraft restoration. [We did the] hand lettering to match original. [“F for Freddie, the Wooden Wonder,” November] @JGHFineVehicles @BoulevardMag So important to remember and give thanks to all of our veterans. [Remembrance Day stories: Hawthorn, Travel Far and feature, November] @ARBosma Such a great read @BoulevardMag. Hard to believe it’s free. I’ve got mine on my lap right now. @leastreasures Oct. issue “cold chippy” was fantastic! I switched to baked chips and now eat much larger bags! @BoulevardMag #ilovechips [Wry Eye, October]

Correction The costume designers who drew the costumes for UVic’s The Skin of Our Teeth are Shayna Ward and Chelsea Graham. An incorrect credit appeared on page 83 of the November issue’s Front Row. WE LOVE HEARING FROM YOU

We welcome your letters: or visit us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and links to featured stories and local events.

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Raise a glass this holiday season


FOR AN HOUR OR SO, the world wondered: where is Alice Munro? The Swedish Academy had wonderful news to share. An officer made the official trans-Atlantic call. A telephone rang unanswered in a modest home in Clinton, Ont. Another call was placed. Again the phone went unanswered. At the tone, you may leave a message of historic importance. The Academy took to Twier to share its good-natured bemusement as to how to proceed. Soon, the whole world knew Alice Munro was the latest Nobel laureate in literature. The whole world, that is, except for the great writer herself. Turns out she was sleeping here in Victoria at the Royal Scot Hotel and Suites, a pleasant inn catering to the pennywise crowd. Neither the Empress nor the Grand Pacific for our thriy Scoish Presbyterian, a chronicler of the undercurrents in the lives of characters from her native Huron County. Reporters were also seeking the elusive writer, some calling her first husband, the bookseller Jim Munro, at his home in Victoria. His practiced response: “Alice doesn’t live here anymore.” In the end, her daughter awoke her before dawn with surely one of the best reasons to interrupt a sleep.

Saluting the short story master The writer has long wintered on Vancouver Island, maintaining a home in Comox with her second husband, Gerald Fremlin, who died earlier this year. Several of her stories are set in BC, where she raised her young family and joined Jim in launching their eponymous shop, which earlier this year celebrated a half-century of book mongering. Munro’s, now well established on Government Street, has 12

placed a book of congratulations at the till. At 82, her health does not permit her to travel to the awards ceremony in Stockholm later this month. A daughter will make the trek, an arduous journey no doubt made easier by pride in her mother’s achievement, not to mention the traditional banquet in the Blue Hall at city hall. A Nobel recognizes a life’s work. Munro is aptly being saluted as “the master of the contemporary short story.” She has issued 14 collections of breathtaking stories rich in detail and craed with precision. Like so many Canadians, I first came across her work in high school. That her insights into the interior lives of characters in rural Ontario could capture the interest of any us urban teenagers in Montreal was remarkable enough. Though not Munro is aptly much of a fiction reader, I have being saluted eagerly gobbled up her stories in The as “the New Yorker, faithfully purchased hardback editions, and rejoiced at her master of the Nobel, a triumph for her, yes, but also contemporary for Canadian leers. short story.” Munro struggled early as a writer, juggling responsibilities of motherhood while also dealing with the unapologetic sexism of the age. (A housewife who thinks she’s a writer. Good on you, lile lady.) Critics in the 1950s and early 1960s did not think Canada was even capable of a literature. So, it is appropriate literature’s 110th laureate (shockingly, only the 13th woman to be so honoured) will also receive a prize of 8 million Swedish kroner, which buys a lot of Ikea meatballs. (That’s about 1.27 million Canuck bucks.) It is a just reward.

A thriving writer community The Nobel news broke shortly aer I’d had coffee with Brian Preston, a local writer who has been called the King of You-Get-Paid-to-do-That?! Journalism. He has two books to his credit — Pot Planet and Me, Chi and Bruce Lee, both well received, and recently self-published a third, A Lady Under Siege, a romantic novel. In this age of technological revolution, when more reading material is available in more formats more easily accessible than ever before, Preston is finding it ever more difficult to aract a readership willing to pay. The same is true for so many other writers, whether journalists, novelists, poets, or nonfiction authors. We have so many in Victoria it is hard to keep up — from rockabilly rebel Yasuko Thanh (2009 Journey Prize winner) to take-no-prisoners foreign correspondent Terry Glavin to war chronicler Mark Zuehlke to short story writer Daniel Griffin, who, as it turns out, lives at the end of our block. I’m sure they join me in toasting Munro’s deserved good fortune with a glass of Vancouver Island wine — say, an Averill Creek pinot noir — as we dream of a future forecast of Champagne showers. 13



Playing a tune of

TOGETHERNESS JUST LIKE DÉCOR, FOOD OR SEASONAL shopping, gathering to sing holiday songs — whether devotedly or drunkenly — is a hallmark of the festive season, and something many of us feel compelled to do, even if we only hum in the shower the rest of the year. It’s like we’re compelled by some seasonal togetherness magic. It’s possible nobody understands music’s power to draw people together beer than Victoria musician Daniel Lapp. For the past decade and more, this fiddle and jazz trumpet virtuoso has gathered together approximately 130 ordinary Victoria citizens who meet weekly to sing and play music — just for the fun of it. Some have jokingly called Lapp’s three community ensembles — the gospel-influenced Joy of Life Choir, the youth-filled British Columbia Fiddle Orchestra (which celebrates its 20th anniversary this spring), and the funky acoustic hodgepodge of Folkestra (heavy on the stringed instruments, with some accordion and brass thrown in) — the “cult of Daniel Lapp.” Maybe it’s the 48-year-old Lapp’s trademark charisma that entices kids and adults alike to play music, or maybe he’s just tapped into the kind of musical community spirit that makes playing music with other people simply irresistible. Either way, he’s good at it: in November, Lapp received Folk Music Canada’s “Folk Innovator Award” for his work helping develop Victoria’s folk music community. Among other things, the prestigious recognizes that Lapp manages to encourage these 130 community musicians to participate in the annual Home for Christmas concert, a huge, professional-quality show held the week before Christmas — featuring tunes they’ve just learned, mostly by ear, in the last month or two. Lasha Reid, who sings in the choir and fiddles with Folkestra, says Lapp’s contagious energy creates “an environment that is safe, fun and emancipating.” Plus, she adds, “the way he brings it all together defies the natural law.” 14

Uniting generations Lapp says that the idea for the annual, and typically sold-out, Home for Christmas concert started when he heard of a European tradition of visiting friends every December 23, the night before Christmas is usually celebrated there. “There’s a sense of people coming back to Victoria for the holidays, so it’s a late-in-the-season event to look forward to,” Lapp says. Many of the participants represent multiple generations, and that’s kind of the point, as far as Lapp is concerned. If music brings people closer, it makes families stronger, too. As kids get involved in music, their parents realize it offers a place for them, as well, and they start to dust off that old fiddle or French horn le over from their own school days: “There’s an opportunity for them to follow the dreams they’ve forgoen about,” Lapp explains. I agree — I picked up my long-neglected fiddle when my daughter started playing, and we’ll both be on stage with Lapp this season. Lapp’s own childhood was filled with music, a tradition he’s instilling in his children as well, through nighime “pyjama jams” during which his two-year-old and seven-year-old “bang away” at whatever instrument they feel like. It’s an effort to recreate a more connected past. Lapp recalls, “Every night the family was together there was food, cards, music and dancing, prey much in that order.”

Connecting with the community Largely driven by his grandfather’s fiddle music and his mother’s piano and accordion, Lapp followed his grandfather’s passion for old-time Canadian fiddle tunes, which oen fuelled community dances in Prince George and now inspire the Victoria Fiddle Society’s popular series of community barn dances. “When you’re playing for a dance it’s very humbling, because it’s not about your ego, or your career,” Lapp says. “It’s about engaging people to mix in their community — to step outside their fears.” That’s crucial to a healthy society. “People yearn for connection,” he says. “It seems that as years go by, people are losing connections with other people in their community.” But when people come together, to listen, play, or dance to music, “you don’t feel so isolated in the world.” It’s more than just geing together for great tunes. As Tracy Stavdal, a parent of a fiddler in Lapp’s BC Fiddle Orchestra, puts it: “Audiences at Daniel’s shows have come to expect not only great music … but also delight in the anticipation of, ‘What’s he going to do this time?’” Over the years, Lapp’s Home for Christmas concert has included gospel trios, rock performances, singer-songwriters and music played on everything from a melodica to an empty propane tank. This year, the Balkan Babes choir guest stars. “The Home for Christmas concert traditionally closes with a sing-along,” Stavdal points out, “and truly, how can one not feel connected to your fellows when you’re singing together?” The 10th annual Home for Christmas concert, with special guests the Balkan Babes, takes place at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 680 Courtney St., on December 21 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm. 15


Trena Danbrook & Greg James Fantastically fashionable at The Fabulous Find J BY LIA CROWE FOUR YEARS AGO, Saskatchewan native Greg James and Vancouverite Trena Danbrook found themselves looking for a change. That notion inspired them to relocate their home and Mid-Century furniture business from Vancouver to Victoria, first opening The Fabulous Find on upper Douglas, followed by a recent move to their gorgeous space on Herald Street. Following the esthetic of Mid-Century, their personal style is steeped in simplicity and clean lines — but doed with incredible, envy-inducing vintage finds. I caught the couple of 13 years in the midst of assembling a ridiculously cool Christmas tree for their window display. However, aer our chat, I wished I had insisted on meeting at their Chinatown lo that apparently houses the crème de la crème of all their fabulous finds. And that space, Greg describes with a barely contained smile, “is prey awesome.”

Å Fashion Must have: When asked what every woman should ow Trena says, “a fabulous dress.” This classic black own, Val Valentino is her dress of choice. Go-to piece: The sta staple of Trena’s daily wardrobe is black straight-leg jea by Earnest Sewn. jeans


Æ Beauty Makeup: Juice Beauty’s facial highlighter. Scent: Nezza Naturals’ dark Sce amber perfume.

ÅÈ Accessories Bag: Erin Templeton’s Harvest Moon bag. Jewelry: Trena wears a red Bakelite ring, a great vintage find.

Å Style S Inspirations Katharine Hepburn, Kath “bec “because she brought in th the trouser, which is pretty pr cool.” Artist: Thomas Kakinuma’s Tho bird sculptures.

trena 16

Ç Fashion Greg likes things pretty simple. He loves vintage, western ’70s shirts and consistently buys Diesel’s dark jeans. Coveting: J. Lindeberg doublebreasted wool coat that he tried on at The Bay.


Å Greg & Trena

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Æ Grooming Products Greg tells me that if he had a full head of hair it would be coiffed à la Don Draper, all slicked back and sharp. However, without the full mop of hair, Greg relies on his vintage Remington shaver. Although he keeps it simple, every detail oozes style.

Ç Reading Material Magazine: Wallpaper. Photo Book: A Modern Life, Art and Design in British 5–1960, edited Columbia 1945–1960, hom and Alan Elder. by Ian Thom

ËÌ Style Inspirations spirations p Artist: Harry Bertoia Bertoia. Film: With an appreciation for all things vintage, Greg says the Mod era stands out. When it comes to his personal style, the film Quadrophenia (1979) pretty much sums it up. Character: Don Draper, Mad Men.



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all that bubbles is not



Christmas and New Year celebrations have many revellers reaching for a sparkling wine. Liquor store shelves are full of options, yet Champagne — produced in a small region in the north of France — remains one of the most coveted and distinctive.


HAMPAGNE’S INDIVIDUALITY STARTS with the method. Champagne, Spanish Cava and most serious sparkling wines are made by the “traditional method”: the wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bole that ends up on the shelf. Other sparkling wines, such as Proseccos, are made by the Charmat method, in which the second fermentation occurs in a tank. It’s an important differentiator because traditional method sparkling wines


have much more contact with the lees (dead yeast cells), adding distinctive yeasty, toasty, brioche notes. Traditional method sparklers are a unique group. The allure continues with the grapes. Champagnes are based on three varieties: Chardonnay for freshness and elegance; Pinot Noir for body and backbone; and Pinot Meunier for fruitiness and roundness. However, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are not unique to Champagne — they are mainstays of sparkling wines around the world — so on their own, they don’t account for the uniqueness of Champagne.

TASTING HISTORY — AND TERROIR — IN EACH GLASS Why does Champagne stand apart? Most Champagne producers will say “terroir” — the combined effect of natural factors that give wines a unique sense of place. Champagne is the most northern vineyard area in France, where the grapes oen struggle to ripen in the cold weather. Champagne’s primary soil is deep chalk, a special kind of limestone that emphasizes freshness and elegance. Other regions making sparkling wines don’t have this combination. Producers in California, Australia or South Africa oen plant in cooler sites, but the fruit is riper and the wines tend to be rounder and less taut than Champagnes. History also defines the character of Champagne. From Romans, to Franks, to the World Wars, this region is steeped in history. The impressive Reims Cathedral celebrated its 800th birthday in 2011 and was built on the site where Clovis, king of the Franks, was baptized in AD 496. Can you taste history in a glass of Champagne? Definitely. A network of cellars, dating back to when the Romans quarried the region for chalk, lies beneath Reims and Epernay. These chalk cellars, or crayères, are extensive — Moët & Chandon alone has over 28 kilometres. The cellars provide perfect and consistent temperature and humidity for the gentle maturation of the wines, critical because of the lengthy aging process. By regulation, non-vintage Champagnes must be kept on the lees for at least 15 months and vintage Champagnes for at least 36 months. Most houses easily surpass these minimums. It takes time to build an archetype and vision for any wine region. Many of the Champagne houses date back to the early 18th century, giving them the experience to articulate and maintain a clear, distinctive house style. Newer sparkling wine regions are just beginning to establish their own styles — and none have the natural conditions to replicate Champagne.

THE ADVANTAGE OF BLENDING Vintage conditions are highly variable and history has taught

the Champenois caution. Most Champagnes are a blend of vintages, the wines from multiple harvests blended to ensure the continuity of house style. The number and age of these “reserve wines” vary by producer, but the big houses can include some very old wines in the final blend, adding complexity and richness. The current release of Krug’s Grande Cuvée has 121 wines in the blend, the oldest from 1990. No other region comes close to this scale of blending. But don’t assume homogeneity; beyond the specific house style, decisions on blending, maturation and the final dosage (final sweetening) allow each producer to offer a range of Champagnes. De Venoge alone offers 11 Champagnes covering each major style. Additionally, while Champagne makes a perfect aperitif or toast, there is enough variety to enjoy Champagne throughout a meal. On a recent trip to Champagne, I enjoyed Louis Roederer Brut Rose 2008 with ris de veau; Taiinger 2005 Comtes de Champagne Rose with pigeon and foie gras; Thiénot Cuvée Garance (100% Pinot Noir) with wild boar; and Moët & Chandon Collection 1993 with poularde aux morilles. There’s also a tempting number of “sec” (strangely used to indicate a delicate, but appreciative sweetness) Champagnes that pair perfectly with dessert. Without a doubt, Champagne stands out from all other sparkling wines. It may be copied, but it is never truly replicated. Intriguingly, the variety within the category offers a long, interesting tasting journey.

SHARON’S BUBBLY PICKS Pierre Gimonnet, Cuis 1er Cru. Structured precision. A blanc de blancs (100% Chardonnay) pairing amazing purity of fruit — crisp apples and citrus notes — with great freshness. A perfect aperitif. Metro Liquor at Tuscany Village, $65.50.

Louis Roederer, Brut Premier. Discrete elegance. A beautifully textured wine, with baked apples, hazelnuts and brioche notes, supported by fresh acidity. The same house style is found in the prestige cuvée, Cristal. BCLDB, $68.

Taiinger, Nocturne. Smooth and balanced. A “sec” Champagne with discernible sweetness. Lovely ripe peaches, white flowers and a hint of spice. Ideal for the end of a meal, or for those who find dry Champagnes austere. Everything Wine, $82. Krug, Grande Cuvée. Charming power. A hugely layered Champagne with peaches, baked apples, nutmeg, smoke, toast, brioche and vanilla. Rich and complex. BCLDB, $256. 19

ĂŠ A creamy granite counter is a great place to have a drink and socialize while a meal is prepared. 20



A new life path emerges — with perfect views J BY CAROLYN HEIMAN J PHOTOGRAPHY BY VINCE KLASSEN


HE MICKELBERRYS HAD ONLY just put finishing touches on an extensive renovation of their longtime family home when Marilyn happened upon a house for sale on a street she had driven down “a million times” in the ever-diminishing hopes of finding the right place to buy. “You’ve got to come down here and see this place,” she told her husband.


The property didn’t look like much; it was wildly overgrown and the existing house permied waterfront gales to whistle through it. But the lot was extra wide and the low-bank waterfront boasted wraparound views. “Be damned if we didn’t buy it in four days,” says Ken. It was an event that sent the couple down an entirely different path for where they would spend the next chapter of their lives.

A CLOSE-KNIT TEAM They took their time designing a new home for the lot, working with home designer Keith Baker while they waited


for their son — Rob Mickelberry of Prodigy Developments Inc. and “the best builder in town” — to return from a sabbatical year of travelling throughout North America. They would also engage Nygaard Interior Design to add shine to the interior space, as owner Sandy Nygaard already proved a compatible partner for Rob’s other development projects. Today, the property has yielded to a modern, sleek cedar, aluminum reglet, and glass-sheathed home pointing out to a panoramic watery vista. This view — engulfing the visitor at the entryway and through the floor-to-ceiling windows

Ç Triple-glazed windows, lots of foam insulation, and two heat pumps ensure that the home, with expansive exposure to the ocean, remains comfortable in the summer and cozy during the stormy season. Æ The kitchen island doesn’t stop at the end of the wall, but angles around the corner into the dining room where it morphs into the top of a floating built-in buffet.


— makes this home paradoxically feel both spacious and cozy. As well, Baker took pains to maximize any southern exposure on the property by pushing the home itself to the northern property edge, leaving a sun-baked side yard for outdoor living. “It’s perfect for just the two of us but still wonderful for entertaining our family and friends,” Marilyn says. “I’ve always joked that my style is ‘smooth and sleek, and warm and cozy,’ and that’s exactly what we’ve got!” Rob says it was a pleasure to build his parents’ home, which went on to pick up silver in this year’s Construction Achievements and Renovations of Excellence (CARE) Awards. Like other client-builder relationships, “most of the conversations were about trying to save money,” Rob says. There was a difference, though; while he took the role of suggesting ways to cut costs, his parents rejected those, staying true to their focus of a dream home that didn’t come up short.

COLOUR ME WARM The main reason the home works is because it fits exactly what the Mickelberrys wanted. “I wanted to design and build a West Coast modern beach house. We worked closely with designer Keith Baker to get exactly what we wanted — an open house with high windows to let the light in from every direction,” Marilyn says. “I chose a dark, driwoodcoloured hardwood for the floors and with that to set the tone, Sandy Nygaard helped us select the rest. The result is a home that is not too big but feels spacious.” Predictably, the big ocean views are emotionally exhilarating in sunny times, but when the skies are grey and storms are raging, the feeling of what’s going on outdoors can easily inhibit the inside ambiance. From a mechanical perspective, “warm and cozy” is ensured by triple-glazed windows on the waterfront, lots of insulation, and two heat pumps that allow for even temperature control throughout the home. Moderating the interior temperature faces demanding extremes: both hot sun in the summer and cold windy blasts in the winter on the oceanfront side, and more average demands


Ë Dyed oak cabinetry consistently flows through every room, adding to the calming uniformity of the space.

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Ê Coloured concrete decks on both the ocean and southern exposures trap the sun’s warmth, creating comfortable outdoor rooms beyond the constructed square footage.


on the rear, street-facing side. The interior furnishings are drawn from the trademark Nygaard palee: warm, earthy brown tones, occasionally punched with a hot exclamation point — in this case, burnt orange side chairs. Traditional pleated floorto-ceiling drapes (controlled by remote) soly frame the view. Warm, chocolatey-taupe tones used throughout the home — in the flooring, cabinetry and countertop rounds — generate cocoon-like comfort. “I haven’t done drapes in a long time,” says Nygaard, adding that to fit this space she kept their tones “extremely monochromatic and with no bells and whistles. There are no finials or hooks. They needed to match the walls.”

Fine craftsmanship, precise budgeting,and streamlined scheduling are never compromised t: 250.818.6466 ANGLES AND LINES In the search for clean, modern lines, many homes can start to feel boxy. Stepping back and taking in the whole picture of this home, one sees there are angles everywhere: on the roofline, entering the master bedroom and bathroom, off the kitchen entering the casual eating area. Even the towering metal stove hood picks up the theme. The net effect creates dynamic geometry in a space that otherwise might be boxy. To overcome the challenge of irregularly shaped rooms and hallway spaces, tapered countertops create the illusion of rooms being squared off as well.

Winner of 7 2013 CARE Awards

“I’ve always joked that my style is ‘smooth and sleek, and warm and cozy,’ and that’s exactly what we’ve got!” Baker notes he is hardly the first or only designer to use these angular shapes in design. “It creates both drama and balance,” he says. In the Mickelberry home, he tipped the kitchen roof up and added sky-high windows to capture and direct light to the centre of home. When designing, Baker uses the rule of the golden ratio, a concept of proportion oen credited with providing pleasing esthetics to art and architecture.


SPACIOUS BUT COMFORTABLE FOR TWO The 3,600-square-foot home has two bedrooms and two offices. Individual offices give Ken and Marilyn both personal space to do their own activities — Marilyn has a place for beading and photography while Ken has room to carry on some remaining pieces of business. “We each wanted our own space,” Ken says. The space also contemplates flexibility over the years. The home is all on one level, hallways are extra-wide, and there are no barrier entryways. If required, years down the road, the home can be easily retrofied with grab bars and hand rails wherever needed.

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

Supply List Contractor/Builder: Prodigy Development Services Interior Designers: Nygaard Interior Design Exterior/Interior Painting: We Paint Inc. Cabinetry: Cowichan Valley Millworks Counters: Colonial Countertops Flooring: The Finishing Store, Island Floors Appliances: Coast Wholesale Appliances Plumbing: Specialized Plumbing and Gas Works Windows: Starline Windows Electrical: Vanderzweep Electric Inc. Lighting: Illuminations Lighting Solutions Landscaping: Glenwood Garden Works Stucco and Siding: H&R Exterior Finish Floral: Brown’s The Florist



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Finding new traditions

Make the season bright with holiday activities for all ages J BY JESSICA NATALE WOOLLARD

With only five White Christmases on record since 1965, Victoria magnifies its merriment with yuletide fun sans snow. Here are Boulevard’s selections for seasonal entertainment you might not have heard of that will set the stage for a green Christmas worth dreaming about — and help make traditions for years to come.

™ CHRISTMAS IN OLD VICTORIA WALKING TOURS Ebenezer Scrooge extolled the benefits of remembering Christmases past; local historians continue the tradition. Listen to heartwarming, humorous, and sometimes sad tales of Christmases in Victoria on these holiday walking tours through downtown and in two of the city’s oldest cemeteries. Discover the Past: Christmas in Old Victoria tours When: Saturdays at 2 pm and Sundays at 10:30 am in December Where: Bastion Square in front of the Maritime Museum Cost: $15 for adults; $13 for seniors/students; $8 children Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria: Christmas Cemetery tours Old Burying Ground (Pioneer Square) tour — When: December 1, 2 pm Where: Meet at 1:45 pm at the corner of Quadra Street and Rockland Avenue Ross Bay Cemetery tour — When: December 8, 2 pm Where: Meet at 1:45 pm in front of Oregano’s in Fairfield Plaza, 1544 Fairfield Road Cost: $5

™ SING-ALONG MESSIAH Have you ever fought the urge to belt out the Hallelujah Chorus at a performance of Handel’s Messiah? You won’t have to hold back at the Civic Orchestra of Victoria’s 15th annual sing-along performance of the baroque masterpiece — the audience, seated in vocal sections, makes up the chorus, guided by conductor Hilary Coupland and accompanied by the orchestra. Four Victoria-born soloists, including bass Trevor Bowes of the English National Opera Company, perform the arias and recitatives. Balcony seating is available for those who prefer to observe rather than participate. When: December 18, 7 pm Where: Alix Goolden Performance Hall, 900 Johnson Street Cost: $22 adults; $18 students/seniors 30

™ SEASONAL CHARITY RUNS Run for your health — and for your heart — in a seasonal fun run for charity. The Santa Shuffle, a fundraising run for The Salvation Army, helps local families in need. Held across North America, this run features a 5K Santa Shuffle for adults and a 1K Elf Walk for kids. Or, ring in the New Year with Runners of Compassion’s Run through Time. With options for a 5K, 3K or 1K, the event lets runners and walkers of all levels participate. Proceeds from the race support Shoes for Youth, YMCA-YWCA Camp Thunderbird, and University of Victoria Staff & Student Services. Santa Shuffle When: December 7, 10 am Where: Victoria West Community Centre, 521 Craigflower Road Registration: $30 adults; $20 youth under 12 Run through Time When: December 31, 6 pm Where: University of Victoria Registration: $15-$20 adults; $5-$10 child

™ CHRISTMAS IN THE VILLAGE AT HERITAGE ACRES Cross through the gates of Heritage Acres and enter a historical Christmas village — lighted displays among pioneerera buildings and farming equipment, a model train exhibit, music and entertainment, and a decorated boathouse fit for none other than Old St. Nick. Inside the century-old Saanich Schoolhouse, you can purchase hot food and drinks in support of Saanich Historical Artifacts Society. Weather permiing, moonlit train rides among Christmas lights will be available. When: December 6–8 and 13–15 from 5 pm–9 pm Where: 7321 Lochside Drive Admission: $10 per carload

™ TUBA CHRISTMAS Tuba players from around the Pacific Northwest travel to the capital for Tuba Christmas, a New York City tradition now carried out in more than 140 cities worldwide. Victoria’s Tuba Christmas is the oldest one operating continually in Canada; this cacophonous custom has been raling the girders of Market Square for 35 years. More than 70 tubas and other low brass instruments band together in an enormous and energizing ensemble to play Christmas carols arranged for the occasion. When: December 7, 1 pm Where: Market Square Free admission



Twinkling lights, cedar boughs, and red velvet ribbons — Christmas is a feast for the senses, made for the stage. Fill your heart — and tummy — with a holiday revue wrien and produced by Victorian Mahew Howe, featuring live music and a three-course meal. It’s Christmas at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel exudes the essence of the season: carols that gladden the spirit, stories that tug on heartstrings, and traditions that bring family and friends together. When: Select weekend dates until December 21 Where: Oak Bay Beach Hotel, 1175 Beach Drive Cost: $89

Salt Spring Island is a veritable Santa’s workshop, with myriad craers producing handmade gis including jewelry, soaps, chocolate, and cheese. For three days, the elf-like artisans wrap up their wares and travel (by ferry, not flying sleigh) to Saanich to bring a sample of Salt Spring to Vancouver Islanders. Over 230 exhibitors, including some from BC and Alberta, showcase their objets d’art, giving you infinite gi ideas for everyone on your list. When: December 6, 10 am–8 pm, and December 7 & 8, 10 am–5 pm Where: Panorama Recreation Centre, 1885 Forest Park Drive Cost: $5.00 for 3-day pass

™ CHRISTMAS EXPRESS AT THE BC FOREST MUSEUM Over the course of the 20th century, trains have choo-chooed their way into the holiday esthetic. You can experience the whimsy of a holiday train ride with a tour on the Christmas Express, a 1910 steam locomotive, at the BC Forest Museum. En route to visit Santa Claus, ride through the 100-acre outdoor museum, over a trestle bridge, and behold a decorated West Coast logging scene. Once at Santa’s workshop, warm up with hot drinks and dance to live music. When: December 6–8, 13–15, 20–23, 4–9 pm Where: 2892 Drinkwater Road, Duncan Admission: $8 adults/seniors/students; $6 children 2–12 years

™ DON’T MISS THESE POPULAR BY-DONATION FAVOURITES: FESTIVAL OF TREES The Fairmont Empress 721 Government Street November 21–January 7 Free admission. Vote for your favourite tree with a donation to BC Children’s Hospital.

CANADA’S NATIONAL GINGERBREAD SHOWCASE The Inn at Laurel Point 680 Montreal Street November 23–January 4 Free admission. Vote for your favourite creation with a donation to Habitat for Humanity Victoria.

BEAR WEAR Hotel Grand Pacific 463 Belleville Street November 26–January 2 Free admission. Vote to win your favourite bear with a donation to Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island.

™ HOLIDAY CLASSICS: The Royal BC Museum’s Christmas in Old Town: Christmas at Craigdarroch Castle: The Magic of Christmas at The Butchart Gardens: 31



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HEN JIM GIBSON WAS GROWING UP, his professional musician father Reg Gibson didn’t force his children to learn music. Musicians filled their Manitoba home — singers and players were always present. But Jim wasn’t a natural musician, so he never mastered an instrument. When his son and daughter became immersed in music, the University of Victoria psychology professor figured it was time for him to keep the family lineage noteworthy. About five years ago, while waiting for his children to finish their lessons at the Brentwood School of Music, Jim realized that Brentwood also offered adult lessons. Spurred by the need

for a bass player in his son’s band, Jim resurrected the music and soon was playing rock ’n’ roll alongside his son. “It’s been kind of like learning a language. Kids pick it up quicker. For adults, it’s harder,” said Jim, 55, who spends his days teaching young adults consumer and social psychology. “It’s hard on your self-esteem. You take something on and think you should have this ability.” But that hasn’t stopped Jim, who’s added guitar, voice and upright bass lessons to his repertoire and also plays in a bluegrass band. He spends about 300 hours each year practising just the bass. “There are so many demands on your time, but I try to practise as much as I can,” he says.


The pressure comes from within

The owner and principal teacher at the Brentwood School of Music is well acquainted with the demands — and joys — that music brings to adults. “They come and want to be perfect. Some get frustrated easily, and they get much more nervous than children,” says Carrie Dujela, 60, whose parents were music teachers and who, as a teenager, won a piano scholarship to the then-new Victoria Conservatory of Music. “But we make it fun. We tell them not to be hard on themselves.” At Dujela’s almost 40-year-old Brentwood School, learning choices include private, semi-private or group lessons in voice, theory or on a variety of instruments. Of the school’s roughly 500 students, about 100 are adults, Dujela says. About 60 per cent of those adults study piano, while most of the remainder, oen the younger ones, learn guitar — the guys want to be “rockers,” she says. One of the school’s oldest students was a 90-year-old woman. And there have been learners in wheelchairs. Some are the hard-on-themselves Type-A personalities, who bemoan how they could play the song so much beer at home, says Dujela, who first noticed the adult presence at her school about a decade ago. There are a lot of retired people in the area, many of them with enough money to spend on hobbies, she says. “They’d wander in and take lessons. We started to develop a real following. One would find out and then tell their friends.”

Focusing on manageable goals

It was also about 10 years ago when staff at the Victoria Conservatory of Music noticed more adult students. Today, of the Conservatory’s 1,800 students, about 600 are over 25 and of those, about 400 are new learners, says dean of music Stephen Green. Green, a skilled pianist who arrived in Victoria in 2012 from Toronto, says people in their 30s and 40s are usually busy with careers and families. By their fih decade, 36

they could be empty nesters or retired, and thus have a desire to learn or re-learn an instrument. He’s noticed that as people age, they can focus on more than one thing, something younger students cannot do. And adults already know how to learn. But there’s a flipside. “Adults tend to get bored far quicker if it’s focused on one thing. So we switch things up. We’ll learn the instrument and also go into the life of the composer,” Green explains. “We also have to manage expectations. They’ll say they want to learn a Beethoven concerto by Christmas. We have to help adults divide big goals into small goals.”

“Adults are much more motivated. They’re beyond rebellion,” says Glen Willows. “They want to be there.” Cognizant of the conservatory’s many adult musicians, the school offers programs for all ages and levels. In fact, in 2014, the conservatory will augment its classical and jazz instruction with contemporary music lessons, puing rock ’n’ roll and blues on the table.

Dedicated practice

Glen Willows wrote several Top 10 rock songs when he played lead guitar with Winnipeg-based band Harlequin in the 1970s and ’80s. He’s also taught adults via private lessons. “Adults are much more motivated. They’re beyond rebellion,” says Willows, who lives in Victoria and owns Artist Discovery and Development. “They want to be there, they want to do the homework.” Laura Dowhy has also noticed how her adult students are keen to get the utmost out of their lessons. “They have lots of questions. They want to integrate it all into one package,” she says. Dowhy, who has a diploma from The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto as well as an education degree from UBC,

Ê Although Jim Gibson grew up with a professional musician for a father, he didn’t master an instrument himself until his own children began taking lessons. Now, he plays bass in his son’s band.

has taught piano and voice in Sooke since 1984. About five years ago, adult students began showing up at her home studio. Today, seven of her 40 students are adults (six learning piano, one studying voice). Some are parents of her younger students. Others never had a chance when they were young but always wanted to master an instrument. A few have revisited lessons. When she sits down with her big students, they oen chit-chat a bit, unlike the kids, who get right to work. Yet adults advance quicker than some children because of their dedicated practice. “We very rarely stay on a piece long. Aer three to four weeks, we move on,” Dowhy said. Another adult asset is their larger hands. “They don’t have as much trouble reaching the triad chords,” she notes. Singing the praises of her senior students, Dowhy says, “I enjoy teaching adults a lot. It’s more social for me. It’s great, because they practice and I don’t have to nag, nag, nag. And adults are very appreciative.”


Music offers benefits from head to toe At the Brentwood School of Music, owner Carrie Dujela has had physicians as students. Their reasons for learning to play piano or violin are twofold: keep the brain working to ward off dementia and keep the hands moving to prevent or help with arthritis. The doctors also advise certain patients to take this musical remedy, says Dujela, whose own father taught music until he was 80. At the Victoria Conservatory of Music, dean of music Stephen Green notes the great benefits of singing, which demands excellent posture and conscientious breathing. He also says listening to and reading music requires active work by both sides of the brain, a valuable exercise. The benefit of having two hands doing entirely different things is a great mental exercise. Plus, playing certain instruments can be a true physical workout. Green also points to the proven value of the social interaction that comes when adults, and particularly seniors or shut-ins, play music. In Toronto, an outreach program delivered singing lessons for seniors. “It got them out of their rooms to sing. They also made social connections,” Green says. Another bonus was that there was an enormous drop in health-care costs when the seniors’ minds were occupied with something they enjoyed.



af ter b e f o r e an d


The exceptional view was taken advantage of — with expansive windows on three living room walls.

White wainscoting and slipcovers are iconic elements of coastal design.

150-year-old reclaimed hemlock flooring stretches throughout the 5,000-squarefoot home.

Simple décor and little clutter help a space remain timeless.

Jodi Foster's

Top 3 Design Rules 38

n Plan, plan, plan … and then plan some more. It is far less costly (in terms of both time and money) to make changes on paper than

while the concrete is being poured and the hammers are swinging!   o Great bones are essential. If a space is designed to function

well, it will always work, no matter the manner of “decoration” after the fact.  p Don’t forget about the Big Picture. Whether it

is establishing your company’s brand or defining who you are and how you want to live as a family, a space should reflect its occupants.

DREAMING OF SUMMERTIME A Galiano Island weekend retreat stays bright year round J TEXT BY SARAH MACNEILL J "AFTER" PHOTO BY EMA PETER PHOTOGRAPHY IT MAY SEEM SURPRISING THAT ANYONE would obstruct the world-class views offered from the rocky shores of the Gulf Islands, but that’s exactly what the previous owners of this Galiano Island waterfront property did when they sought to emulate their suburban Edmonton home with a misguided and out-of-context design several years ago. A bulky fireplace centred in the living room blocked the 270-degree ocean view, and low ceilings, a sunken floor level, and a clumsy brick guardrail wall that wrapped the home’s exterior all but severed the connection between the interior space and the surrounding natural environment. The property was sold to the current homeowners — a young family who immediately appreciated the natural beauty of the 10-acre site. They sought the talents of Victoria-based registered interior designer Jodi McKeown Foster to transform the dark and dated dwelling into a bright, airy and timeless weekend estate that coastal dreams are made of. “It’s beachy without being themey,” says Foster, who has more than 20 years of professional experience working on highprofile projects in New York, Toronto and Vancouver. In addition to doing an extensive demolition, they raised and vaulted the tongue and groove ceilings, maximized the window openings, and painted almost every wall white. Elements of natural wood and a wraparound veranda with many points of access enhance the balanced relationship between indoors and out.


Designer: Jodi Foster Interior Design & Planning Builder: Myron Sebelius Construction  Project Coordinator: Bob Waines Contracting Windows and Doors: Marvin Floors: Scott Landon Antiques Light Fixtures: Restoration Hardware, Rejuvenation Hardware Drapery and Blinds: Ruffell & Brown Custom Furniture: Archer’s Antiques, Farmhouse, Bloom


with Jodi Foster


A: As a child I used to spend hours using Lego, scrap wood from my father’s workshop, and an essential ingredient, the seat cushions from the 1950s shop sofa, to create buildings, spaces and “split level” floor plans (hey, it was the ’70s!). These early designs were complete with scaled occupants … this was the only use I ever found for Barbie and G.I. Joe dolls! Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT? 

A: Personally, I would love to work on my own “small West Coast mod” home from the ground up. But, as the saying goes, “The shoemaker’s daughter usually goes barefoot.” Professionally, I am eager to combine my background in healthcare design with my experience in residential work to help create much needed “age-in-place” dwellings and communities. Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD THING ABOUT INTERIOR DESIGN?

A: One of the biggest misconceptions is that the term “interior design” is interchangeable with “interior decoration.” The term and often self-proclaimed title “interior designer” is bandied about, especially with the help of many reality shows, which actually refer to decoration: colours, fabrics, furnishings and accessories. However, in addition to studying design fundamentals, professional interior designers are educated in building technology, ergonomics, environmental issues, as well as building and fire codes. We assess the “bones” of a raw interior, space planning the partitioning to reflect functional requirements. 39







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Our organization works closely with businesses, partner agencies, educational institutions, the community, and all levels of government. We focus on leveraging Greater Victoria’s abundant energy and innovative spirit to sustain economic growth.

Dallas Gislason Economic Development Officer 100 - 852 Fort Street Victoria BC, Canada V8W 1H8 1-888-573-8181

ON THE COVER: Research in action at the Vancouver Island Technology Park’s Proteomics Centre. Arnold Lim photo Business in Greater Victoria is published by BLVD Reports (a division of Black Press Group) 818 Broughton Street Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 1E4 250-381-3484 Group Publisher Penny Sakamoto Director, Sales and Advertising Oliver Sommer Editor Jennifer Blyth

The points of view or opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher of Business in Greater Victoria. The contents of Business in Greater Victoria magazine are protected by copyright, including the designed advertising. Reproduction is prohibited without written consent of the publisher.

The people here in the Capital Region admit to bringing a creative approach to business. Instead of looking outside the box, for example, we might very well be asking how can we make that box better? Or just what kind of box can we make here that no one else in the world is making. Oh...and we’ll do it really, really well. Victoria thrives on what we like to call the Imagination Economy. Living and working between the ocean and mountains, where fresh air and sunshine are part of the signing bonus, and gardens and golf are year-round perks, inspiration is everywhere. Just ask local businesses that have carved Imagine that! a niche on the international stage for their made-in-Victoria solutions – businesses • More than 18,000 businesses are like Straitline Components, which emerged operating in Greater Victoria; from machine and fabrication parent • Advanced technology is the leading company Straitline Precision Industries to economic generator, with annual revcreate high-end aftermarket mountain bike enues exceeding $1.95 billion and with a components – quickly becoming a brand of total economic impact of $3 billion. choice among top athletes. “Who is Strait• Greater Victoria’s tourism industry line?” the company asks on its website. has a regional impact of 1.9 billion, “We are a group of bike riders who started with 3.5 million overnight visitors and making our own gear, offered it to friends 500,000 cruise passengers. and decided to launch a brand.” In 1987, Marie Hutchinson and Harold Aune combined the worlds of sculling and rowing to create Whitehall Rowing & Sail. Adapting the famous Whitehall boat, renowned for safe, efficient rowing in wind and waves, with slide seat rowing systems usually found in a racing shell, the company has earned world-wide recognition among rowing and sailing enthusiasts. In 2010 the two opened Victoria’s Whitehall Spirit® Rowing Club, making this unique, “All Water” slide seat rowing available to the general public. While the vast majority of Whitehall’s boats are exported to buyers around the world, Aune appreciates the atmosphere and inspiration Victoria offers. “It’s a great place to have great ideas!”

CONTENTS 4 6 8 12 14



It’s all about the

location Don Denton photo

A natural setting, mild climate and access to key markets create stability, diversity and the foundation for economic success. Cycle the waterfront on your way to work, take a conference call to Silicon Valley, Toronto and Shanghai, then network on the golf course in the afternoon. Business can be this good. Located on Vancouver Island, the largest island off the West Coast of North America, Greater Victoria sits next to the mainland coast of British Columbia and just north of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. In fact, Victoria’s central location puts it right in the middle of the Pacific Northwest trading area, with its population of some

15.3 million, and just an hour by plane from Calgary and Edmonton. Diversity is key to the Capital Region’s economic stability. While renowned as one of the world’s finest holiday cities, welcoming 3.5 million tourists each year, Victoria is far more than a postcard-perfect visitor destination. The provincial capital, with a regional population of 375,823, Victoria has a large, stable, well-educated workforce, with an estimated 2013 unemployment rate of just 5.5 per cent. The region is home to Canada’s Pacific Naval Fleet and a busy


Why do business in Victoria? David Black, owner of Black Press “We are fortunate to live and work in such a beautiful small city. Victoria has big city amenities without the hassles of heavy traffic all the time and sky-high housing costs.” 4

Fueling this growth is Victoria’s reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, with a vibrant arts and cultural scene complemented by easy access to nature and year-round outdoor activities. A Mediterranean climate brings just-right summer temperatures and mild winters with much less rainfall than other Pacific Northwest cities, and virtually no snow. In fact, while those in Calgary, Toronto and New York are bundled up in January, the question here is often whether to golf or kayak! Average Monthly Temperatures January: 6.5°C (44°F) February: 8.4°C (47°F) March: 10.2°C (50°F) April: 12.9°C (55°F) May: 16.3°C (61°F) June: 19.3°C (67°F) Source: Tourism Victoria • 1-888-573-8181

July: 21.8°C (71°F) August: 21.8°C (71°F) September: 19.1°C (67°F) October: 14.1°C (57°F) November: 9.4°C (49°F) December: 6.8°C (45°F)

shipbuilding industry, while its acclaimed post-secondary institutions – the University of Victoria, Royal Roads University and Camosun College – attract dynamic minds from all over the world. In fact, the education sector alone is estimated to generate $2 billion annually in economic activity. The Capital Region is anchored by the historical core of the city circling the Inner Harbour, home to much of the region’s commerce, government and office space, along with significant retail and entertainment components. Beyond downtown, Victoria is surrounded by rich, productive agricultural land, industrial areas and commercial space, and some of Canada’s fastest-growing communities, supported by thriving construction and retail sectors.

EMPLOYEE ATTRACTION & RETENTION These same features are a boon to businesses looking to attract and retain skilled employees, whether in the hightech industry – Victoria’s largest industry at $2 billion annually – education, skilled trades or tourism. Here you can enjoy a world-class quality of life with a reasonable cost of living; a vibrant city large enough to host exciting activities and events, but small enough to offer largely congestion-free streets and short commutes. Pair that with easy access to other transportation options, such as the international airport, ferries and float planes, and proximity to Vancouver, Seattle, Calgary and San Francisco, and Island life makes a lot of sense.

These numerous attributes make Greater Victoria the choice for many looking to build a career and raise a family. With a median age of 44, a full half of Victoria’s population falls into the 18 to 54 year-old age bracket. Overall, the Capital Region’s population is expected to increase from its current 375,823 to 427,800 by 2026. The median household income is $79,350. Meeting this growth is a thriving retail community. Victoria recently welcomed the brand new Uptown, an award-winning mixed-use

HOUSING: Victoria’s diverse population is echoed in the diversity of its housing options, from hip urban condominiums perfect for vibrant, downtown living to planned suburban communities close to parks, beaches and recreation opportunities, to historic homes in the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. Regardless of where you live, you can typically still be downtown within 30 minutes. The appeal of the Capital Region across age groups and industries has resulted in a real estate market that has remained stable for homeowners and investors.

VALUE OF BUILDING PERMITS ($CDN) 900,000,000 12-YEAR AVERAGE: $711,282,134

800,000,000 700,000,000 600,000,000 500,000,000 400,000,000 300,000,000 200,000,000 100,000,000 0

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013* *2013 Projected Value

Average Housing Values ($CDN)

Multiple Listings Service (MLS) single-family home sales ($CDN): Year

Annual Average

Total Units

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

$603,298 $613,839 $629,925 $580,748 $583,701

2,907 3,069 3,236 4,117 3,355

Source: Victoria Real Estate Board

development that at completion will feature 830,000 square feet of sophisticated open-air shopping, Class A office space, restaurants and deluxe amenities. The suburban Hillside Shopping Centre is part-way through its massive $80-million expansion that will welcome such international names as Target and Marshalls. At the same time, the city is true to its creative roots with grown-in-Victoria success stories, like Sitka Boards and Apparel and Whitehall Rowing, sharing the best of the Island both at home and abroad.


Single-Family Homes

Multi-Family Homes

Oak Bay North Saanich Highlands Saanich Metchosin Victoria Central Saanich View Royal Sidney Esquimalt Colwood Langford Sooke

$885,304 $765,170 $665,689 $623,973 $593,377 $581,889 $560,836 $558,459 $507,031 $495,858 $495,299 $455,326 $379,308

$450,418 $310,389 n/a $349,865 n/a $353,612 $375,468 $350,491 $370,574 $318,703 $336,270 $290,916 $244,602

Source: Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, 2013.

EDUCATION A highly educated community, more than 60 per cent of the Victoria population has post-secondary education, whether in apprenticeships and trades, college diplomas or university degrees. The University of Victoria was named the No. 1 Comprehensive University by the 2013 Maclean’s university rankings, while Royal Roads University has earned numerous accolades for its international connections and business development programs. Camosun College welcomes 18,500 learners a year, leading the way in university transfer and applied degree programs, career and trades training and more.

Doing Business in Canada just makes sense • Canada has the world’s 10th-largest economy. It has the second-largest proven reserves of oil and is the third-largest producer of natural gas. • Canada is the best country for business in the G-20, according to Forbes Magazine’s November 2012 study. • For the fifth consecutive year, the World Economic Forum rates Canada’s banking system as the world’s soundest. • The International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development both forecast that Canada will remain among the leaders of the world’s major economies through at least 2013. • Canada’s economy was the first among G-7 nations to recoup the employment losses recorded during the global recession. • In addition to very favourable R&D tax credits and incentives, Canada’s appealing environment for leading-edge research is built upon several innovation-supporting policies: effective protection of intellectual-property rights; open competition in domestic market in the deployment of digital information and communications technologies and platforms; transparent government-procurement practices, and openness to high-skill immigration. • In 2011, the OECD ranked Canada No. 1 among G-7 countries for higher-education R&D expenditures as a percentage of GDP. • In the past five years, Canada concluded free-trade agreements with eight countries; negotiations are under way with 50 other countries and regions, including the European Union and India, while early discussions continue with other countries, such as Japan.

1-888-573-8181 •





A Transportation Link to the World While Island living on the farthest reaches of Canada’s West Coast may appear to take you away from it all, in fact, thanks to a central location and well-connected transportation system, you’re rarely far from where you need to be. The award-winning Victoria International Airport (YYJ) is Canada’s 10th busiest airport, serving more than 1.5 million passengers each year with expanding services, including frequent flights to Vancouver and Seattle, and direct flights to Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and San Francisco. Harbour-to-harbour floatplane service links downtown Victoria with both Seattle and Vancouver, while the Helijet offers helicopter service between downtown Victoria and Vancouver. Several ferry options provide regular connections to the B.C. Mainland and points in Washington State. The vast majority of ferry traffic travels via BC Ferries between Victoria and Vancouver. In fact, one of the largest ferry operators in the world, BC Ferries carries more than 20 million passengers and eight million vehicles each year. In addition to visitor and commuter traffic, the easy 95-minute route services numerous commercial trucks, making it easy to transport goods to and from the Island. Other ocean-going transportation includes the MV Coho, operated by the Black Ball Ferry Line between downtown Victoria and Port Angeles, Wash., and the Washington State Ferries’ Anacortes run, between Sidney, 25 minutes north of Victoria, and Anacortes, Wash. Meeting in Seattle? The Victoria Clipper provides

From Victoria’s busy International Airport to the BC Ferries, the Capital Region is well-connected to points across North America and around the world.

2 1/2-hour passenger ferry service between downtown Victoria and Seattle. Once on the South Island, compact, connected communities are simple to navigate and you’re rarely more than 20 to 30 minutes by car from your destination. The region’s comprehensive public transit system moves people easily and includes regular connections to the airport and ferries. Victoria’s bike-friendly infrastructure and mild climate make commuting by bike safe and simple. In fact, according to census statistics, Victoria has the highest percentage of bicycle commuters in Canada, a figure that continues to grow. Many more take advantage of the climate, scenery and trails to cycle for recreation, both on- and off-road. New infrastructure projects demonstrate a commitment to the future, including the refurbishment and replacement of bridges, roadworks, technology upgrades and airport improvements. The key is to keep people, goods and ideas moving easily between Victoria’s individual neighbourhoods and the world.

Why do business in Victoria? Tim Teh, CEO/Founder of KANO/Apps KANO/APPS does business in Victoria because we love the lifestyle and are actually able to run and grow a successful gaming company here. Founded in 2008, we have bootstrapped to a profitable company with 17 full-time employees, award-winning games and millions of players worldwide, and we aren’t headquartered in “The Bay.” Our employees have short commutes to work, enjoy all the urban amenities of a big city and yet are also able to enjoy outdoor activities year-round due to our mild West Coast climate. Couple that with a strong talent pool, tax benefits, a collaborative tech industry and direct flights to San Francisco and we have everything we require. Why would we ever want to leave?

6 • 1-888-573-8181

San Francisco

Las Vegas*







Honolulu * * Seasonal

Convenient non-stop or one-stop service to every major Canadian city and many US destinations. Victoria International Airport. Your gateway to Vancouver Island. 1-888-573-8181 •



Victoria International Airport - Connecting Vancouver Island’s Business to the World.


GROWING STRONG IN THE CAPITAL REGION Canada’s 15th largest metro region, Greater Victoria enjoys a diversity among both its population and its business that ensures its place as one of the country’s most stable economies. Victoria’s real gross domestic product rose by 2.1 per cent in 2010 and 1.4 per cent in 2011. Growth of 1.6 per cent is expected for 2013, increasing to 2.2 per cent for 2014 2017. Expect more from advanced technology – which grew a phenomenal 38 per cent from 2003 to 2008 – and ocean and marine space sectors, such as shipbuilding and research. Numbers from 2006 indicate more than three times as many people are employed in this sector relative to other B.C. regions; Victoria’s shipyards alone currently employ more than 700, with annual economic activity approaching $1 billion. Take a look at how the individual sectors are growing in the Capital Region:

Advanced technology and skilled trades thrive in many Victoria-area businesses.

a reputation for being eco-friendly, with businesses actively challenging each other to pursue green practices and operations.” Tourism Victoria puts the direct employment in the local tourism industry at 22,000 jobs, not counting those working in ancillary fields, such as hotel and restaurant suppliers. The economic impact of the region’s 3.5 millions overnight visitors, plus the 500,000 cruise ship visitors, is estimated at $1.9 billion.


As one of Canada’s highest-educated cities, Victoria has created an exceptional education system, from its quality public and private grade schools to ground-breaking TOURISM graduate-level research and development. While the traditional view of Victoria’s Maclean’s magazine has named the Unitourism industry has been of English tea versity of Victoria Canada’s No. 1 university and gardens – and these remain significant for 2014 in the comprehensive category, recattractions – today’s tourism industry has ognizing the significant research activity and tapped into so much more, from cultural wide range of programs at the undergraduopportunities to the growing area of advenate and graduate level, including profesture tourism. ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY sional degrees. In addition to recognition for Thanks to its location, climate, ameniVictoria’s advanced technology sector its business and law schools, UVic owns the ties and facilities, the region is an attractive continues to dominate much of the region’s Vancouver Island Technology Park, the hub destination for both the business and vacaeconomic discussions, with crossovers into of Greater Victoria’s technology community tion visitors. Tourism Victoria’s exit surveys manufacturing, education and other secwith emerging and established companies report ongoing high levels of satisfaction among visitors.“Victoria is known for the ac- tors. Its diverse membership shows how far working in areas such as life sciences, new media and alternative energy. UVic also tive lifestyles of its residents, and consistently into the community technology reaches, from, Carmanah Technololeads Ocean Networks Canada (formerly attracts visitors both young and old who gies and Vifor Pharma Aspreva to Schneiknown as the VENUS and NEPTUNE enjoy outdoor pursuits,” says Sarah Mitchell, der Electric, Viking Air and Scott Plastics. projects), creating new economic opportufrom AdrenaLine Zipline Adventure Tours, The industry’s growth has outpaced the nities in the marine technology sector. On which has grown its business by building provincial average, making Greater Victoria campus, UVic brings researchers together relationships with cruise ship lines, wholethe second largest technology sector in with industry to transform their ideas and salers and resellers, and creating a unique B.C. The Victoria Advanced Technology discoveries into commercially viable busiguest experience. “Our community also has Council (VIATeC) notes that the Greater nesses. Victoria tech sector has grown to more than 900 known technology companies, Imagine that! directly employing 13,000 people and genOne of the most celebrated cities in the world, erating in excess of $1.95 billion in annual here’s a sampling of Victoria’s recent accolades: revenues. Region-wide, the sector has an • Canada’s Second Most Creative City – economic impact of $3 billion. Dr. Richard Florida Leading the way are companies like • No. 1 Small City in the Americas – fDi Magazine Starfish Medical, named one of the fastest• Small City of the Future – Financial Times of growing companies in B.C. in 2013, proLondon • Best Small Airport in North America (2012) – viding design, development and manufacAirports Council International turing services for innovative companies to • No. 3, Top 5 Cities in Canada – 2013 Conde create breakthrough products for a number Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Survey of medical specialty areas. 8 • 1-888-573-8181


Shipbuilding is expected to NLULYH[LZPNUPÄJHU[LJVUVTPJ activity in the coming years. Photo courtesy IMTARC

Internationally, Asia, especially China, Maclean’s top comprehensive universities has contributed many of the new students, 1. Victoria (2) but it’s not the whole story: 60 countries 2. Simon Fraser (1) are represented among Royal Roads’ stu3. Waterloo (3) dent body. Looking forward, the school has 4. New Brunswick (4) adopted an aggressive five-year growth plan, *5. Guelph (5) with 12 to 15 new programs planned. *5. Memorial (*6) “Last year Royal Roads hosted 68 (Last year’s ranking in brackets; *indicates a tie) international delegations, which has a very strong impact on the local economy,” Royals Roads University, located at the McLeod says. With Royal Roads alone Hatley Park National Historic Site, offers a boasting 6,000 alumni around the world in unique delivery model particularly attractive positions of responsibility, the university is to mid-career learners who can undertake able to leverage those relationships to build their studies while balancing the demands links in other areas. For example, “through of family and career. The variety and quality the strong connections the university has of programs, such as the Master of Businow, this year we were able to arrange ness Administration and Masters of Global a mini trade mission for local business Management program, have earned national people.” and international recognition. Camosun College serves about 18,500 “We’ve had very successful growth both learners a year on two campuses, includin our domestic and international markets, ing more than 800 international students with 22 per cent in growth in our domestic from 40 different countries. More than market in the last three years,” plus 66-per160 innovative programs include univercent-growth in international numbers, says sity transfer and applied degree programs, Cyndi McLeod, Royal Roads University’s career and trades training, upgrading and Vice President, Marketing, Recruitment and preparatory programs and continuing Business Development.


education. In addition to training opportunities for local business, Camosun College provides research, innovation and prototyping services for industry, and co-op students for employers.

SHIPBUILDING Western Diversification Canada estimates the total economic activity in B.C.’s shipbuilding industry, primarily located in Vancouver and Victoria, is expected to grow from $450 million to $1.4 billion, with the number of jobs increasing from 3,000 to 5,000. During the same time, about 850 retirements are anticipated, accounting for further openings, most in the skilled trades with anticipated shortages in marine fitting, pipe fitting, welding, electrical and fabrication trades. To capitalize on these opportunities, the jointly funded Industrial Marine Training and Applied Research Centre (IMTARC) opened in 2013 in Esquimalt, offering entry-level training, working with postsecondary institutions and apprenticeship programs, and helping businesses adopt new technologies and processes.



6% 5%


4% 3% 2%


1% 0

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

1-888-573-8181 •



Industry growth is fueled by a significant increase in shipbuilding and ship repair activities in support of Canadian Coast Guard and Naval fleets, along with regular upgrades and servicing of existing vessels, along with those from BC Ferries, cruise ships and other commercial traffic, explains Alex Rueben, Executive Director for IMTARC. Greater Victoria will continue to be the hub for most ship repair, refit, modernization and in-service support activity in B.C., Ruben says. In addition to the region’s experienced workforce, the Esquimalt Graving Dock in Esquimalt harbour is the largest facility of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and allows all sizes and types of shipbuilding and repair enterprises to leverage the capabilities of the dock to attract and generate business. 2H[OSLLU.PSILY[=PJ[VYPH»ZÄSTJVTTPZZPVULY

AGRICULTURE The Capital Region has reaped the benefits of the organic, local food movement, with an increasing number of farms undertaking innovative ideas to boost the sustainability of local agriculture. The number of farms has grown slightly, as has the Capital Region’s Agricultural Land Reserve, which increased by 1,044 hectares between 2007 and 2012. The region’s grocery retailers, craft brewers, restaurateurs and related small businesses are supporting this trend, which has resulted in a new year-round public market downtown, multiple community markets, and entrepreneurs creating value-added products from local ingredients. The South Island is also home to a burgeoning wine sector that attracts accolades – and visitors – from around the world.

FILM INDUSTRY The Southern Vancouver Island film industry has generated more than $162 million in direct film spending in the region over the past decade, notes Kathleen Gilbert, Victoria’s film commissioner. “Add

to this amount the indirect spending of film dollars and this sector provides a substantial contribution to B.C.’s economy.” Boasting both a rural landscape and urban amenities suitable for a variety of film projects, plus a skilled, experienced labour force, Greater Victoria has been the location of choice for numerous productions, from television projects to major motion pictures. As added financial incentive for filming in Greater Victoria, the region is eligible for the 33 per cent Basic and the six per cent Regional Tax Credit intended to apply to the studio zone surrounding the City of Vancouver. The region also boasts more than 100 skilled crew working full-time on the southern Island, complemented by many more who work part-time and crew from Vancouver who can be called on when needed. Providing jobs and training, the Island film industry has created opportunities for a range of skilled jobs which are attractive to young people, providing a viable future and a reason to stay on the Island.


Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting Mining Utilities Construction Manufacturing Wholesale Trade Retail Trade Transportation & Warehousing Information Finance & Insurance Real Estate & Rental & Leasing Professional, Scientific & Technical Services Mgmt. of Companies & Enterprises Admin & Support & Waste Manage & Remed. Educational Services Health Care & Social Assistance Arts, Entertainment & Recreation Accommodation & Food Services Other Services (except Public Admin.) Public Administration 10 • 1-888-573-8181

# of businesses 2011

% 2011

# of businesses 2006

% 2006

105 14 8 2,056 995 600 2,879 457 403 561 477 2,203 21 1,040 685 2,473 544 1,555 2,115 506

0.5% 0.1% 0.0% 10.4% 5.1% 3.0% 14.6% 2.3% 2.0% 2.8% 2.4% 11.2% 0.1% 5.3% 3.5% 12.6% 2.8% 7.9% 10.7% 2.6%

77 18 6 1,568 956 664 2,957 481 407 570 429 2,015 N/A 1,013 673 2,075 481 1,643 1,988 421

0.4% 0.1% 0.0% 8.5% 5.2% 3.6% 16.0% 2.6% 2.2% 3.1% 2.3% 10.9% N/A 5.5% 3.6% 11.3% 2.6% 8.9% 10.8% 2.3%




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$15 BILLION Greater Victoria’s Real GDP (in 2007 $’s)

$3+ BILLION Advanced technology economic impact

% of Canada’s Olympic Athletes that live in Victoria




Major postsecondary institutions

Belgium – a comparable country to the size of Vancouver Island

3 375,823 The region’s population


Regional impact of tourism


the number of regional, provincial and federal parks in Greater Victoria

18,000+ the approximate number of businesses in Greater Victoria

ENERGY, BUZZ AND BOOM. Downtown Victoria is enjoying a renaissance as the place to live, work and play in the region. As more and more companies look at addressing challenges such as long commutes and the need to attract young urban professionals, they look to our downtown core. Come and be where the energy, the buzz and the building boom are all happening.

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Greater Victoria Resources & Connections: • Greater Victoria Development Agency – the region’s economic office leads competitiveness initiatives, business retention and expansion, and is the primary point of contact for in-bound investment inquiries and delegations. • University of Victoria, Royal Roads University and Camosun College – these are the three degree-granting institutions in the region, but the education sector also includes numerous others like the Academy of Learning, CDI College, Pacific Rim College, Q College, Sprott-Shaw College, Pearson College, among other private schools at both the secondary & postsecondary levels. • Victoria Advanced Technology Council (ViaTec) – one of Canada’s largest and most active high-tech associations is leading many projects that will grow and diversify the region’s burgeoning technology sector, including among many others a successful Tech Accelerator. • Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce – as the Province of British Columbia’s second largest business association with approximately 1,500 members, the chamber leads local advocacy on behalf of local businesses to all levels of government, and offers numerous programs that foster business networks, entrepreneurial development, business-management and leadership skills and more. • Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Westshore Chamber of Commerce, Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce, Sooke Chamber of Commerce and other networks like The Prodigy Group, Young Entrepreneur Society, and Entrepreneur Organization ensure business people are connected, and are upgrading their skills and resources on an on-going basis. • Vancouver Island Technology Park & Ocean Networks Canada – the University of Victoria’s research 14 • 1-888-573-8181

Russia Anadyr'

Vancouver Queen EIsland lizabeth

Point Hope

Bering Sea



Beaufort Sea


Victoria Ellesmere Island s

Prudhoe Bay


Galena Bethel

A l a s k a



Banks Island

Fort Yukon


` Greater Victoria has been consistently rated among the top best cities in the Americas by readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine.




` Greater Victoria was named Small City of the Future by Financial Times of London.

British Columbia

Arctic Ocean

Chukchi Bay

` Victoria’s central location puts it in the centre of the Pacific Northwest trading area, with a population of some 15.3 million.




Anchorage Kodiak Island

Walla Walla

Baffin f Island

Victoria Island



Yukon Norman Wells Territory

Gulf of Alaska


N u n a v u t

N o r t h w e s t T e r r i t o r i e s

Skagway Juneau


Labrador Sea


Prince Rupert Dawson Creek

Queen Charlotte Islands

Prince George

Grande Prairie

British Columbia




Vancouver Island

Labrador City Corner Brook Sept-iIes

C a n a d a


Prince Albert




O n t a r i o


Seattle Washington














Saint Paul

Sioux Falls



Sault Ste. Marie Michigan


Twin Falls


Sacramento Oakland Fresno California

Salt Lake City





Colorado Springs Las Vegas


San Diego





Pacific Ocean








Boston Massachusetts

Buffalo Hartford


Pittsburgh Ohio Columbus West




NJ New York Philadelphia DE



Cincinnati Saint Louis Lexington



Atlantic Ocean

Virginia Beach Durham Nashville Tulsa North Carolina Tennessee Charlotte Memphis Huntsville Oklahoma City South Atlanta Carolina Arkansas New Mexico Birmingham Charleston Mississippi Alabama Fort Worth Dallas Macon Jackson El Paso U n i t e d

Los Angeles


Nova Scotia

VT New York


Des Moines

Omaha Kansas City






Milwaukee Iowa

San Francisco








South Dakota



Thunder Bay

Grand Forks

North Dakota



New Brunswick

Selkirk Brandon Winnipeg



Glace Bay




St. John's

Q u e b e c




Newfoundland & Labrador

Hudson Bay Fort Mcmurray




S t a t e s

Santa Fe






Hermosillo Guaymas

Austin San Antonio Chihuahua


Orlando Florida

Saint Petersburg

Monterrey Reynosa



Nassau Miami

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Cayman Islands


Puerto Rico

Haiti Dom. Republic


Santo Domingo


Kingston Belmopan

Tuxtla Gutierrez

Belize City

Caribbean Sea


San Pedro Sula Guatemala

Guatemala City San Salvador



Netherlands Antilles


El Salvador


Managua San Jose Costa Rica


and technology infrastructure are significant economic drivers for the region and also include the Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization unit (RPKM) in the Office of Research Services (ORS), responsible for commercialization of UVic-led technologies and research conducted with industry partners. • Starting a business in Greater Victoria is easier with Business Victoria, a local non-profit organization offering coaching, financing, and other programs:


Camaguey Merida

Guanajuato Mexico City

Acapulco De Juarez

Turks & Caicos Islands


Pinar Del Rio

M e x i c o




Ciudad Victoria


North America

New Orleans

Corpus Christi

Los Mochis La Paz





Barranquilla Merida Colon Panama


Panama Medellin City

MOVING HERE: Learn more about living, working and immigrating to British Columbia at

DOING BUSINESS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: Learn more about BC laws, incentives, economic regions and driving sectors by visiting the primary business and investment portal:



innovation. Whitehall Rowing & Sail, founded by Harold Aune and Marie Hutchinson, has been pushing the evelope for clean recreational rowing and sailing since 1987. They began by refining the classic Whitehall rowboat into a line of boats perfect for beginners, and experienced rowers and sailors. in 2007 they developed an all new ultra-touch, high-tech all-water sculling boat line. Next a rowing club business opportunity. And most recently, a fit-on-top rowing unit for the exploding SUP market.

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Visit the Whitehall showroom at 85 Dallas Road, Victoria 1-888-573-8181 •




Question the answers. and yourself.

At Royal Roads University, students are challenged to question everything, especially themselves. Whether they’re learning to be more effective entrepreneurs, leaders, educators, or communicators, RRU brings out the best in students, while delivering content that’s immediately relevant in the workplace. After graduation, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve learned and accomplished, and also how you’ve changed and grown as an individual. When you’re ready, we’ll be waiting. Take the next step at








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Ç A view from above the village of Gimmelwald shows its remote location in the Swiss Alps.


After an alpine adventure, Gimmelwald offers home-cooked hospitality Æ TEXT AND PHOTOS BY MERNA FORSTER

IGH IN THE SWISS ALPS, surrounded by steep mountainous peaks, sits the tiny Swiss village of Gimmelwald, looking like the cover shot for a Heidi novel. And when I discovered that its hundred-odd residents had fought off a ski resort development by having their scenic site declared an avalanche zone, I knew this was my kind of retreat. With no roads leading to it, and accessible only by aerial tramway, Gimmelwald is a time-warped town, perched on a cliff overlooking the Lauterbrunnen Valley, about 73 kilometres from Bern. It is an ideal spot for exploring the spectacular mountains of the rugged Bernese Alps, hiking on the Schilthorn, and taking a cog train ride to the Jungfraujoch — the highest train station in Europe. My teenage son and I are travelling by train from Italy to the eventual destination of Paris. But we are keen for a change from the huge cities. From the lakeside town of Interlaken, we take a



short train ride to the town of Lauterbrunnen, gateway to a valley of the same name, known for its steep rock walls and 72 waterfalls. We ride a bus, then a cable car up to the village of Gimmelwald, at 1,400 metres, for a three-night stay. A small road runs through the town, but the only traffic seems to be hay trucks. Among the handful of places to stay (including a hostel and guest houses), we’ve reserved a room at the rickety Hotel Miaghorn, at the top of a steep path. Walter, the octogenarian who owns and operates the rustic hotel, leads us up a poorly lit stairway to our secondfloor room, consisting of simple twin beds with down comforters, and a funny coin-operated water closet. The modest room meets our needs and the view from its big windows is priceless: the valley, the cliffs of the Black Monk and its glaciers. Goats bleat nearby and Swiss cowbells tinkle in the distance.

MOUNTAINS, CHEESE AND FRESH AIR BEST ROMAN RUINS “It’s beer than Rome,” says the son who loved the Coliseum and the Sistine Chapel. And that was before we sampled Walter’s cooking. Signing up for supper is optional, but with only a couple places to eat in Gimmelwald, we decide to have our first meal at the hotel. Walter does all the cooking while his assistant Tim, a Brit who fell in love with parachuting off local cliffs (BASE jumping), serves the food. About 10 of us sit together at a long wooden table for lemon soup, veal stew, rice, carrots and peas, then a curious but delicious pudding with ice cream and pear. “How can Walter make such simple food taste so good?” my picky son asks. We sign up to eat all our evening meals at the Hotel Miaghorn, enjoying its breakfasts, too. Each morning, we share stories with other guests over fresh juice, creamy hot chocolate, Swiss cheese, and buer and jam with amazing slices of fresh bread. Gimmelwald and other villages in the Berner Oberland region are linked by a maze of mountain trains and aerial lis, referred to as either cable cars or gondolas, that carry summer hikers and winter skiers. Just a cable car stop away is Mürren, an all-season resort of about 450 people, where we bought souvenirs and stocked up on cash as well as groceries for our picnics.

THE SCHILTHORN AND 007 We could have spent days around Gimmelwald: admiring the scenery from wooden benches, taking pictures of window flower boxes, dropping by Erika’s hut to buy alp cheese or smoked sausages. But we get up early to catch the cable car


Ç The cogwheel railway to the Jungfrau runs through the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Å A colourful hut stands out on the road through Gimmelwald.


to the top of the nearby Schilthorn and aer a jaw-dropping 30-minute ride, we reach its summit, at 3,048 m. A buffet breakfast is served in the revolving restaurant of the Piz Gloria cable car station, made famous in the 1969 James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but we don’t want to miss any of the natural wonders on our blue-sky day in the Bernese Alps, so explore the summit, going crazy taking photos. Since the trails down are very steep, we take the cable car back to the Brig li station, then hike down to Mürren. Feeling like Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music, I run through lush, green meadows splashed with alpine flowers. We picnic on crusty rolls, Swiss cheese and chocolate.

JUNGFRAUJOCH, THE TOP OF EUROPE We also explore the other side of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, riding a cogwheel railway to the highest station in Europe: the Jungfraujoch, at 3,454 m. It’s a two-hour climb from Lauterbrunnen. Blessed with another bright day, we hang out the train windows as it meanders up the mountain past streams and waterfalls, and deep green pockets of forest and meadows. While we see no signs of the ibex, lynx and red deer that frequent the area, we’re excited to know we might. It took almost 20 years for Adolf Guyer-Zeller and his team to build this alpine railway, completed in 1912, blasting tunnels through Eiger and Mönch to the saddle below the summit of the Jungfrau. Over 100 years later, we’re still impressed by this engineering feat as we disembark into the crisp air at the Sphinx Observatory. The view is 360 degrees of awesome: peaks, valleys, snow and glaciers. We can see as far as the Black Forest in Germany and the Vosges in France. Below us is the Aletsch Glacier, the largest and longest in Europe at about 23 km long, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. We trek up a well-travelled path on the snow-covered ice towards a mountain hut, though at this high altitude I’m slogging in the sunshine. We pass up ziplining, skiing or sledding but check out the “ice palace,” a cavern with passageways and ice sculptures, before heading back. We could have spent many more days hiking and exploring the area, so when we sadly take the cable car down from Gimmelwald on our final morning, we are already ploing how to come back.

IF YOU GO É The cable car climbs to the summit of the Schilthorn, in the Bernese Alps.


For more information about Gimmelwald, see The Hotel Miaghorn is open April 1 to October 31 with rooms starting at $95 for two people, including breakfast; dinners are $16 per person. Google “Hotel Miaghorn.”

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Delectable TAKE YOUR HOLIDAY PARTY TO THE LUXE LEVEL The holiday season is a time to celebrate with food and drink that’s stylish, sumptuous — and sustainable. Pull out all the stops with caviar and smoked wild salmon, pop the cork on an organic bubbly, and indulge in your favourite duck or pork pâté, all sourced locally from ethical suppliers. It’s hospitality that comes straight from the heart.



ÉCold-smoked tuna on seaweed crackers is an easy appetizer that’s sure to impress.


TIS THE SEAFOOD SEASON Seafood is oen a star at holiday gatherings, and we’re surrounded by some of the freshest products you’ll find anywhere. Take the new Northern Divine Sturgeon Caviar from BC’s Sunshine Coast. Target Marine Hatcheries began raising white sturgeon in their large, land-based tanks near Sechelt in 2000, a sustainable farming operation that’s now producing both fish and caviar that rivals the endangered beluga sturgeon from the Caspian Sea. It’s all certified organic, Ocean Wise and recommended by groups like Sea Choice so, if you can afford the splurge (it’s $88 for a 30-g tin), try serving this glossy black roe with crème fraîche on potato blini at your next black-and-white soirée. Whether you hire someone to shuck fresh Fanny Bay oysters (a great station to put one of your teenagers to work), create a gravlax of wild sockeye salmon, or pick up a cold-smoked tuna loin at Victoria’s Finest at Sea, fish and seafood is perfect to pass around at a party or present on an appetizer buffet. Finest at Sea carries a wide variety of its own house-smoked and cured products. Pop in for one of their individual items or order a mixed smoked seafood plaer. Cold-smoked and sliced paper thin, their salmon lox is perfect to drape over a small square of dense rye bread or a slice of cucumber with cream cheese, and their hot smoked salmon or salmon candy nuggets can be chopped and mixed with cream cheese, sour cream and minced dill for an almost instant dip or festive cheese ball. I especially like their “loins” of cold-smoked albacore tuna — with a lile wasabi mayo, it’s a local product that makes an impressive appetizer.

CLASSY CHARCUTERIE Fine cheese is always welcome at a party. Choose one of the


lovely goat cheeses from Salt Spring Island Cheese (try a ripe, creamy Juliee blue) or snoop through the offerings at a wellstocked cheese shop like Charelli’s where you’ll find local cheeses for a beautiful cheese board or a classic fondue. Include something tart on your cheese plate to balance all of the richness — I like fresh or dried fruits (grapes, apricots, cranberries) or a lile quince paste — and something crunchy like toasted hazelnuts. Conscious consumption even extends to meat lovers — locally made charcuterie makes an almost instant appetizer. Start with a nice rustic baguee from Fol Epi, Fry’s, or the new French Oven in the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson, and something to slather on top. I’m partial to the creamy chicken liver parfait from the Whole Beast, but you could also create a plaer with chef Cory Pelan’s various artisan cured creations, from truffled salami to black pudding. Combine cheese and charcuterie with a trip to Choux Choux Charcuterie, where the ingredients for the house-made duck rillees and rustic French-style pâtés and terrines come from local farms where sustainable and humane practices are paramount — rabbit from Cobble Hill, duck from Yarrow Meadows Farm, pork from Sloping Hill Farm pigs. From spicy chorizo to vegetarian porcini mushroom pâté, most of their products are made from scratch every week. Spread the love and joy this holiday season with sustainable, local, and decadent choices. With a lile selective shopping, and a few of your own creations, you can design a party menu that’s very tasty, very elegant and very good for everyone.

TO DRINK Champagne and sparkling wine goes with caviar, so why not choose something local — and organic — like the classic Cipes Brut from Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna. Stellar’s Jay from Sumac Ridge is another great BC bubbly, or get your flutes filled on the Island with the pinot noir-based Brut Tradizionale from Vigneti Zanaa in the Cowichan Valley. Looking for true Champagne? Turn to “All that bubbles is not Champagne,” page 18. Or, shake up a martini with local Victoria Gin or the organic potato vodka from Schramm in Pemberton — the perfect cocktail to sip alongside caviar. A selection of BC wines and local cra brews makes a nice addition to your holiday bar — wine being the logical match with that local charcuterie or cheese plaer. It’s always nice to greet your guests with a special cocktail or holiday punch. Try building a batch of cocktails in a pitcher to save time. Make sure to include a punch or mocktail for the designated drivers.



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COLD-SMOKED TUNA ON SEAWEED CRACKERS PREP 10 mins This is an easy and impressive appetizer. Get the cold-smoked tuna from Finest at Sea and the rest at the supermarket. Finest at Sea cold-smoked tuna loin, sliced paper thin ¼ cup (60 ml) mayonnaise (I like Hellman’s reduced fat version) ½ tsp (8 ml) wasabi powder (or more to taste) Seaweed-flavoured rice crackers COMBINE the mayonnaise and wasabi powder to taste. Place a rolled slice of smoked tuna on each cracker, and top with a dollop of wasabi mayonnaise. Serve immediately.


POTATO BLINI & CAVIAR PREP 30 mins | COOK 10 mins Caviar is traditionally served on blini with a dollop of crème fraîche and other garnishes. Celebrity chef David Hawksworth, who serves Northern Divine Caviar at his eponymous restaurant in Vancouver, provides this recipe. Buy the caviar direct, online ( ¾ lb (310 g) Yukon gold potato, baked and passed through a fine sieve 2–3 tbsp (30-45 ml) crème fraîche 2 whole eggs 1 egg yolk ¼ cup (30 g) sifted flour Salt WHISK ingredients together and keep warm. PLACE mixture in a piping bag. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and pipe small disks into the pan, each about an inch (3 cm) across. Cook till golden. Turn over and brown second side. TO SERVE, set out small bowls of caviar and garnishes like crème fraîche, finely chopped chives and finely grated hard-boiled egg.

GRAVLAX PREP 10 mins | CURE 48 hrs | SERVING PREP 5 mins There may be nothing easier (or more elegant) than these translucent slices of cured wild salmon. Ask the fish store to scale and filet a small and very fresh wild salmon, removing any pin bones, then “cook” it for a few days in the refrigerator. From The Guy Can’t Cook by Cinda Chavich. 3-4 lb (1.4-1.8 kg) salmon, cut into two boneless fillets, skin on 2 cups (500 ml) chopped fresh baby dill ½ cup (125 ml) coarse sea salt ½ cup (125 ml) packed brown sugar 1 tsp (5 ml) white pepper ¼ cup (60 ml) aquavit, vodka or gin FIND a glass or ceramic dish just large enough to hold the fish. Sprinkle ½ cup of dill over boom of dish. Pat salmon fillets dry. COMBINE the salt, sugar and pepper and rub the flesh side of both salmon fillets with the mixture, the sprinkle each

with aquavit, vodka or gin. PLACE one fillet in the dish, flesh side up, and evenly top with half of the remaining dill. Lay the second fillet on top, flesh side down and in the opposite direction, to create an even thickness. Sprinkle with a lile more alcohol and remaining dill. PLACE a piece of plastic wrap over the dish, and then top with a board just large enough to cover. Place the dish in the refrigerator, with something heavy on top (cans or boles) to compress the fish. REFRIGERATE for 48 hours, basting with the salty juices that will accumulate in the dish. When the fish is properly cured, the flesh is opaque and slightly lighter in colour. TO SERVE, drain excess liquid and brush off dill and salt. Pat dry. Set fillet, skin-side down, on a serving plaer. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonal, paper-thin pieces of fish, releasing each from the skin as you slice. Serve gravlax with mustard mayonnaise on thin rye bread or corn cakes. Makes 3 lbs (1.4 kg).


$19,995,000 Lisa L Williams 250-514-1966 2 li

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.

$1,795,000 LLynne Sager 2 250-744-3301 ly

THIS SPECTACULAR UPLANDS property is truly in a league of its own; elegant & impressive 15,000 sq. ft. residence and 1,000 ft. of ocean frontage! Over 2.5 acres of manicured grounds extend to the ocean’s edge and provide the setting for this world-class gated estate. Incredible panoramic views are showcased from nearly every room, with dramatic architecture, custom detailing and sophisticated high-tech systems throughout. The property enjoys an abundance of sunshine and access to a secluded and quiet sandy beach with 5 car garage parking, gorgeous landscaping, seaside gazebo, de-salination system & much more!

SUPERB PARKER AVE. WATERFRONT. Recently refurbished Pamela Charlesworth home will impress even the most discerning buyer. Gleaming Brazilian hardwood floors, soaring vaulted ceilings, & sweeping views of the Ocean to San Juan Island and Mt. Baker’s glowing glacier beyond. Fabulous new kitchen. 4 bedroom, master with commanding views. Private .33 acre lot with patio hot tub, to enjoy the views. Dbl car garage. 5255 Parker Ave., Cordova Bay



250-744-3301 2 d Camosun

FABULOUS SUNSET and water views from every principal room of this architecturally stunning home! Completely renovated with high-end finishes. New kitchen with granite counters, heated slate floors, custom cabinetry, new lighting (throughout home) & high end appliances. New Merbau wood flooring throughout main, floor to ceiling windows in living room. Master retreat with two-way fireplace to ensuite. Small marine park in front. Moorage buoy included.


$1,100,000 M Margaret Leck 2 250-413-7171 m

SHOAL POINT a place you would be proud to call home! Spectacular harbour front residence with 9’ ceilings. Floor to ceiling windows capturing a panoramic inner harbour view. Covered 240 s.f. balcony to enjoy outdoor living all year. Gourmet kitchen for the chef in the family. 2 master suites for optimum privacy. Separate room with a view for a library, office, TV/family room or dining room.Exterior is surrounded by mature landscaping, waterfalls and a putting green.

STUNNING VIEWS from this 5 bedroom family home in Cordova Bay. Main floor living with the master and 2 bedrooms up and a full height, walk out, lower level, complete with in-law suite. Many updates over the years have transformed this home to a modern, open living space that’s great for $970,000 entertaining. Workshop, beautifully landscaped, Sharen Sh h Warde & Larry Sims additional parking and 250-592-4422 25 5 much, much more. w a MLS 326970

$949,000 W Wayne & Cindy Garner 2 250-881-8111

SIMPLY THE BEST house on the block! This 4 bedroom, 5 bathroom home with a one bedroom legal suite will impress from the moment you arrive. Start with the detached 2 car garage, big enough for toys and a workshop, walk up to a traditional veranda style front porch. Inside you’ll be impressed with the wood floors, high ceilings and terrific layout including a formal dining room and office.


250-744-3301 2 d

THIS ARCHITECTURALLY STUNNING home offers expansive views of the Sooke Hills from Royal Bay to the Observatory. Enjoy gorgeous sunsets on your south-west facing deck! 3 bdrms on the main floor & 3 baths. Beautiful hardwood floors, family room (with fireplace) off the kitchen. Newer sink, backsplash, countertops, dishwasher, w/d. Vaulted ceilings, new lighting, 4th bdrm & bath down. Oversized garage + hobby room. $100K in updates & landscaping.


$759,000 Margaret Leck M 250-413-7171 2 m

$739,900 Dan Juricic D 250-514-8261 2 d Camosun

SPECTACULAR VIEWS of Mt. Baker, Saanich Inlet and beyond. This home is walking distance to Mill Bay Centre and Brentwood College and is ideal for Victoria commuters. Easy care .43 acre private yard. Entry level rancher with walk out basement features 2 bedrooms on main both with walk in closets and ensuite baths. Lower level offers two bedrooms, media & games room with pool table. Energy efficient heat pump. MLS#329158

WATER VIEWS of Cadboro Bay...Steps away from Gyro Park, Cadboro Bay Village and minutes away from UVIC, this is the perfect location for your new home. Updates throughout the house include a stunning new bathroom with heated floors, double sinks & rain shower in the soaker tub. Refinished hardwood oak floors in living room and all 3 bedrooms. The lower level offers almost a 1,000 sq. ft. potential suite or rec room and storage area for the family. Quiet .26 acre lot on cul-de-sac. MLS 330094

Light IT UP



The bright lights of Ladysmith make a welcoming winter destination Æ TEXT BY KATHERINE PALMER GORDON Æ PHOTOS BY ILJA HERB


É This year is the 26th annual Festival of Lights, which draws visitors to Ladysmith for concerts, craft fairs and more.

EADING NORTH BACK HOME to Gabriola Island from one of my frequent trips to Victoria, the “Welcome to Ladysmith” sign at kilometre 89 on the Trans-Canada Highway brings with it the equally welcome knowledge that the ferry home is now just 20 minutes away. Arriving in Ladysmith always brings a smile to my face in any event. Perched on a tree-covered hillside just south of the 49th parallel, the historic lile town (population around 8,300) enjoys picturesque commercial frontage, a sparkling waterfront and expansive mountain views. For commuters like me passing by, it’s a familiar and charming interlude along the route. That’s true even on early winter evenings as I make my way home in the dark. From the last week of November every year until the following January, Ladysmith festoons itself from end to end in a fiesta of festive lighting. The prey scenery may be hidden in winter gloom, but the annual Festival of Lights is a sight guaranteed to warm up the dreariest of nights. It’s a seasonal celebration that draws locals and visitors alike into the heart of downtown to revel in the cheer, aend an outdoor concert, parade or cra fair, and enjoy dining aerwards at one of Ladysmith’s eating establishments. On an icy night, with the prospect of missing the next ferry and a freezing wait in the parking lot ahead of me, it doesn’t take

much for those blazing lights to lure me off the highway for a hot meal before heading for home.

A COMMUNITY FULL OF WINTER WARMTH I’m particularly partial to a heaped plate of spicy Indian food at the Royal Dar on Robert Street. Appetit, a tiny hole-in-the-wall café on 1st Avenue, is also a favourite. But whether it’s Indian, French, Italian or otherwise, the hot food, the golden glow of thousands of seasonal lights, and the warm sense of community spirit behind them combine to keep me feeling toasty the rest of the way home. If it’s earlier in the day when I’m passing by, I sometimes catch a lae and a muffin at In the Beantime café on First Avenue, stopping at Salamander Books on the way to see what’s new or popping into the Antique Mall on the Esplanade to browse through the vast and everchanging collection of collectibles and treasures. Ladysmith is more than just a highway stop for me, however. It’s also a must-visit destination whenever I have out-of-town visitors. In summer, a large waterfront park at Transfer Beach offers kids’ play areas, swimming, kayak rentals and picnic spots. Birders can look out for purple martins near the community marina docks, one of the few places in British Columbia the endangered birds can be seen, and golfers can enjoy a round on


Ladysmith’s nine-hole course. For the cooler and likely rainy winter days, an extensive art gallery tour map is available from the Chamber of Commerce, and the walkable Heritage Route through the town’s appealing historic core features tools and implements from the town’s industrial past, a metal and photographic collage depicting local history, as well as several heritage buildings.

A LONG, RICH HISTORY Ladysmith has been an aractive destination for visitors 72

for a long time. Stz’uminus First Nations people have used the area for thousands of years, establishing numerous seasonal camps on its sheltered beaches to gather seafood. Through collaborative environmental efforts with the municipality, Stz’uminus hope eventually to bring the local stocks of fish and shellfish back to their original state of abundance. The first European selers named the area Oyster Harbour. Coal magnate James Dunsmuir changed the name to its current version in recognition of the end of the famous siege of Ladysmith, South Africa, during the Boer War. With

the coal industry booming, the town rapidly grew. It was incorporated in 1904. By the 1940s, the main industry had changed from mining to logging and lumber milling, still a mainstay of the contemporary town’s economic base. Today Ladysmith enjoys a peaceful, semi-rural lifestyle and a vibrant community spirit that supports numerous annual events like the Festival of Lights. The locals are unashamedly proud of their town: log on to travel tips website tripadvisor. ca, and you’ll find numerous reviews by satisfied residents praising their

favourite neighbourhood spots. “Why,” asks one reviewer happily, “would I go anywhere else?” This year Ladysmith celebrates the 26th anniversary of the Festival of Lights. While the Light Up Ceremonies commenced at dusk on November 28, the festival runs nightly until January 4. Check out for the schedule of festival concerts, parades and cra fairs. I might even see you there. Katherine Palmer Gordon is an award-winning author and freelance writer based on Gabriola Island. 73


Nordic pole walking keeps you moving in any season J BY MARGARET BOYES

You may have seen them striding single file on a sunny aernoon. They’re moving their arms, legs and body almost as if they’re just out for a brisk walk — but they’re using ski poles. And this isn’t Mount Washington, it’s Elk Lake Park. There isn’t a snowflake in sight.



UPRIGHT, ELEGANT and flowing” is how Nordixx Pole Walking Canada Master Instructor and former Olympian Linda Schaumleffel describes Nordic pole walking (NPW). Klaus Schwanbeck, president of Nordixx Pole Walking Canada, which is based in Ontario but has instructors in Greater Victoria, says one reason NPW is so successful is because people actually like to do it. “It’s so convenient. You can use the poles anywhere, anytime.”

WHAT IS NORDIC POLE WALKING? NPW is an easy adaption of crosscountry skiing that you can do on sidewalks, dirt trails or grass. Finnish cross-country athletes started it 40 years ago for training in summer when there was no snow. Europeans of all ages have eagerly adopted it as an all-weather form of exercise and sport. Using poles gives resistance to upper body muscles and trains the body into beer postural alignment, de-stresses the neck and shoulders, and is gentle on hip, knee and foot joints. The poles can be adjusted to fit any height. If you can walk, you can pole walk. Ashley Balson, who works for BC’s Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, joined a volunteer lunch hour program to learn NPW. “I love it. It’s not like running where you need special gear and have to shower aerwards,” she says. “You can eat lunch for half an hour, then pole walk. It eases tension in my back and neck.” It’s also efficient. According to a 2001 study at the Cooper Institute in Texas, participants doing NPW had a 20 per cent increase in caloric expenditure and oxygen consumption over regular walking. In other words, 30 minutes of pole walking equals the caloric burn of 55 minutes of regular walking. Try doing it

three times a week for 30 minutes.

HEALTH BENEFITS Scientists from the United States and Europe confirm that Nordic pole walking is one of the best exercises around. Schwanbeck’s research shows that NPW improves type II diabetes metabolism and reduces insulin resistance and medication within three months. High blood pressure can be reduced by 18 mmHg within eight weeks. Bone density can also improve. NPW increases heart and cardiovascular training up to 25 per cent. According to a 1999 Finnish study, office workers who did regular NPW showed diminished neck and shoulder pain and increased upper body mobility. Participation also supports stress management and depression. Tim Kyle, sales and project manager at Matrix Marble and Stone, has a hip injury and can’t swim and bike like he used to. “I decided to try NPW because I can control my walk, and it’s a good way to get back into physical activity,” he says. In a two-year follow-up study of a voluntary staff NPW fitness program at Sunnybrook Sciences Centre in Ontario, participants rated convenience and enjoyability at 95 per cent, mental clarity at 94 per cent, and improved strength at 84 per cent. A staggering 71 per cent continued to participate voluntarily. Schwanbeck says that all scientific studies show the superior health benefits of NPW. In Germany, doctors prescribe NPW for some patients. German health insurance pays the cost of NPW lessons for all Germans by government policy.

GETTING STARTED It’s easy to start Nordic pole walking. You just need a pair of poles, decent walking shoes, and a nearby trail or sidewalk — all of which can be found in abundance in Victoria. According

to Schaumleffel, good quality poles and a couple of lessons will cost your under $150 and may be one of the best investments you make. “Geing off on the right foot makes it easy,” Schaumleffel says. You can buy poles and lessons locally from any certified instructor, like Schaumleffel and Tora Cameron, a seniors’ specialist, who came here from Norway 11 years ago. Several local stores, such as Mountain Equipment Co-op downtown, Valhalla Pure Outfiers in Langford, and Capital Iron, carry poles. It is important to choose poles that suit your needs and are adjusted to the appropriate length for you. For lessons and equipment, contact Linda Schaumleffel at Linda4success@ or Tora Cameron at

FIND A WALKING GROUP Any group who walks — and we have many in Victoria — welcomes Nordic pole walkers. Groups can be found through the Times Colonist’s Go Calendar, the Victoria Outdoor Club (, and the Sole Sisters community ( Or Google “walking groups in Victoria” and take your pick. This spring, Schaumleffel’s “PoleCats” NPW team returned ebullient from a 10 km fundraising event at Whistler for Osteoporosis Canada. They’re not a competitive team, but had lots of fun training with an Olympian before the event. Anyone in Victoria can join the PoleCats. Find more information about the PoleCats and other local NPW news at Instead of siing on your couch, seize the day and a pair of Nordic walking poles and get out there. You’ll sleep beer, look beer and be amazed at how easy it is to meet your exercise goals. 75


Shop Local This Holiday Season

Oaken Gin, Victoria Gin, Le Coast Hemp Vodka and Twisted & Bier aromatic biers Our spirits are handmade on the Island in small batches with a copper pot still. Among them you’ll find our mellow Oaken Gin, elegant Victoria Gin, silky Left Coast Hemp Vodka and Twisted & Bitter—aromatic bitters that add a steel-toed kick to cocktails and culinary creations. Our artisan process creates award-winning products that are full-bodied and complex. They make smashing cocktails and are delicious neat. Celebrate local with the ones you love. $15-60. Victoria Spirits | 6170 Old West Saanich Road, Victoria 250.544.8217

The Naron pump by Chie Mihara. The red suede Naron pump by Chie Mihara is the perfect shoe for the holiday season. Hand-made in Spain from the finest of leathers, Chie Mihara is stylish, easy-to-wear, and comfortable too! $255. Cardino Shoes | 165 Craig Street, Duncan 250.746.433

Macedon Poncho The Macedon Poncho from Emu Australia is made with 100% merino wool...perfect for a cosy Christmas evening curled up by the fire! Emu Poncho, $285 Fabrications Clothing 125 Kenneth Street, Duncan 250.746.4751



Holiday Gift Guide 2013 Hand Craed Canadian Jewellery Artina’s Jewellery showcases over 90 of Canada’s most talented artists including aboriginal West Coast carvers and contemporary Canadian jewellers. We pride ourselves in the small details which create life’s special moments, providing quality gift wrapping and specializing in keeping surprises! 1002 Government Street, Victoria, BC 250.386.7000

Lakefront hallstand Kiln-dried hardwood construction, available in two finishes: Antique Black or Antique White. A great piece for your entryway. Explore our warehouse stocked full of an ever-changing mix of quality Antique, Modern, Asian Fusion and French Country inspired furniture. We also source an extensive selection of decorative iron gates and fencing, artwork, mirrors and accessories from all around the world. We are sure you’ll find that something special, for that someone special on your Christmas list. Design Source Warehouse | 553 Hillside Avenue 250.721.5530

Everyone deserves a present under the tree! Come and see what Santa has in store this year. Unique, eco-friendly products: Collars, leashes & harnesses – Custom beds – Raincoats & sweaters – Human grade food & treats. Bark, Bath & Beyond Pet Boutique | 2041 Oak Bay Ave. 250.590.2822



mattick’s farm

BE READY FOR A UNIQUE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE! If you want shopping to be fabulous, visit our 15 shops at Mattick’s Farm. With our vibrant and diverse mix of shops and restaurants, this is a shopping destination that is totally unique and worth devoting a full day for exploration!

Red Barn’s Own Party Trays This holiday season choose one of our delicious Party Trays! From fresh fruits and veggies to our famous sandwiches and smoked meats, there over 14 trays to choose from. Have a creative idea of your own? We can customize a tray to fit your entertaining needs. With Red Barn Market’s focus on quality ingredients and fresh products, our trays are guaranteed to be the highlight of your next event. Red Barn Market is an island owned and island raised company. $14.99-$69.99. Red Barn Market #129-5325 Cordova Bay Road 250.658.2998

Georg Jensen Cobra Candle Sticks (set of 3) Local artists and distinctive jewelry. Home accessories by Martha Sturdy. The Gallery at Mattick’s Farm #109-5325 Cordova Bay Road 250.658.8333


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Swedish Angel Chimes Ring in a special Christmas season with the return of Swedish Angel Chimes! Revive childhood memories and pass on a tradition to the next generation ... The Ladybug is filled to the rafters with our Scandinavian specialties, our fabulous selection of unscented candles is restocked, and all of the locally made pottery, glass and jewelry is set to go, too! Call or email if you are searching for a special something and like us on Facebook to get a special treat! The Ladybug Boutique at Mattick’s Farm | #117-5325 Cordova Bay Rd. Facebook: theladybugboutiquevictoria 250.658.3807

Cozy up this holiday season in a glorious faux fur trimmed cape from Something More. Need a special gift? Look no further than the store that has something for every lady on your list; with sizes up to 24W. Talk about “Pick of the Glitter!”. Stop by to view our amazing collections reflecting the latest trends in fashion, accessories, and jewellery from leading designers. Something More | #1275325 Cordova Bay Road 250.389.0420

Find something for everyone 5325 Cordova Bay Road, next to Cordova Bay Golf Course



The Best of BC Wines ... Can be found at the VQA Wine Shop at Mattick’s Farm, all at Winery Direct prices. Here you will find limited release wines and wines from many of the smaller boutique wineries. Knowledgeable, friendly staff will help you choose just the right wine ... for yourself or for someone special! Check out our Wine Club, the gift that continues to give year round. VQA Wine Shop at Mattick’s Farm #133-5325 Cordova Bay Road 250.658.3116

Christmas High Tea Join us for Christmas High Tea daily in our restaurant during the holiday season. We have a new restaurant & catering menu for all your Christmas or New Year party needs. Discover our new pastries and savory items to eat in or take out. We offer great stocking stuffers for tea lovers, loose leave teas, tea infusers, tea pots and cozies, special orders are always welcome. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea from 8:30am to 4pm. The deli, bakery and ice cream parlour is open from 7:30am to 6pm. Book our sunroom for your family get together or special events. Adrienne’s Restaurant & Tea Garden at Mattick’s Farm | 5325 Cordova Bay Road 250.658.1535

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Elephant Flowers Floral Design Much more than just your average flower shop. Beautiful floral design combined with unique products. Treat yourself to a visit into our shop “out-back” at Mattick’s Farm. Find unexpected treasures and quirky pieces that will make your heart sing. Specializing in natural products and truly unique gifts items. Can’t make it to Pike Place in Seattle? Come and get your all natural Chukar Cherry products here. Elephant Flowers Floral Design | #113-5325 Cordova Bay Road 250.658.2455

For a practical quality gift that a loved one will truly appreciate, give Canadian-made Garneau sheepskin slippers or Haflinger boiled wool slippers made in Europe. We offer other fine brands for both men and women in a wide selection of colours and sizes. Please come and enjoy our eclectic offerings of fine footwear and fun dog, cat, and horsethemed, gift-giving goodies. Open daily from 10-5:30. We look forward to your visit. A Stable Way of Life 5325 Cordova Bay Road 250.658.3052

Simon Chang Sunday’s Snowflakes has the greatest selection of coats and jackets – from whimsical fun furs to timeless wool classics, and the best of all the rest! Sunday’s Snowflakes at Mattick’s Farm 5325 Cordova Bay Road 250.658.8499

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Ê Andrea Bayne and Robb Beresford dance in last year’s production of The Gift, which Ballet Victoria hopes will become an annual performance.


First presented last December, Ballet Victoria’s The Gift is an imaginative Christmas performance that takes Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker music and puts it to a very different storyline, one that is occasionally modern and even a bit cheeky. “There are certainly many Nutcracker references,” says Ballet Victoria artistic director Paul Destrooper. “But the story is about a girl who opens a Christmas present that she shouldn’t, and it becomes like Pandora’s box as things such as dragons and Avatar-like creatures escape into the world.” This being a family Christmas show, the power of hope is also released, and by the time the girl befriends all the creatures by dancing with them, a happy resolution is achieved. The Victoria Symphony will perform the music, which comprises most of the Nutcracker ballet score as well as Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien. “As for the dancing itself, this is traditional ballet, with the dancers en pointe and performing in the classical manner,” explains Destrooper, who is augmenting Ballet Victoria’s 10 dancers with another 14 drawn from Victoria’s dance community. Adding a touch of contemporary humour is a sequence of brief “character” dances where several of the creatures playfully execute everything from The Chicken Dance to Gangnam Style. “People were really enthusiastic about last year’s debut,” adds Destrooper. “They said it should become an annual show, and here it is.” Performing December 28 and 29 at the Royal Theatre. For tickets, call 250-386-6121 or see

SANTA’S 12-TON SLEIGHS Ever wondered what a cement mixer disguised as a 12-ton Fabergé egg would look like? Or a 16-wheeler flashing more glitter than a Vegas chorus girl? Find out on Saturday, December 7 when 80 “big rigs” festooned with eye-popping Christmas finery come roaring out of Ship Point in James Bay to begin a 35-kilometre cavalcade through Greater Victoria before culminating at Western Speedway. “It’s our 15th year,” says Laura Brewer, manager of the Island Equipment Owners Association, the small non-profit that runs the increasingly popular Lighted Truck Convoy (now called a “convoy” because the vehicles, under police escort, travel at regular speed to minimize traffic snarls). Up to 30,000 people are expected to line the roads to cheer on these gorgeous trucks, in a Christmas ritual whose real purpose is to solicit donations for the area’s many food banks. “It’s a real labour of love,” says Brewer. “Most of these are ‘working’ trucks and it takes two full days to wash and then decorate them. There are literally thousands of lights on some of the rigs.” The colourful procession is almost unique in North America, and attracts many visitors from the mainland and even the United States. “Out-oftowners call us to find out the date so that they can book a hotel for the weekend,” says Brewer. “We even get a bus tour up from Oregon every year.” When asked how much trouble it is to put on, Brewer just laughs. “We’ve got a dozen-member committee … it’s a lot of work,” she says. Running December 7, from 5:45 to 8:30 pm. For route and time information, see

È Some trucks in the annual Lighted Truck Convoy use thousands of lights and take days to decorate.


È Medieval music ensemble Winter Harp loves visiting Victoria, which performer Lori Pappajohn calls a “Christmas city.”


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A MEDIEVAL CHRISTMAS CLASSIC If you are getting emails early in August from fans fussing about the ticket details for your upcoming Christmas concert, it’s obvious you’re popular. And if you’re Lori Pappajohn, harpist and founder of medieval music ensemble Winter Harp, it’s almost inevitable yet another sold-out concert in Victoria is in the works. Very much the West Coast’s answer to Loreena McKennitt, Pappajohn is in her 20th year of touring with a sextet performing Christmas carols on antique instruments such as psalteries, an organistrum (an early form of hurdygurdy), tambourines, and temple bells — all while colourfully garbed in medieval clothing. “Our shows transport people away from the modern world to a magical place,” says Pappajohn. “It’s a combination of peace and joy and exuberance.” She is particularly excited that her ensemble has recently acquired Kim Robertson, a pioneer of the Celtic harp revival from the 1970s and widely considered one of the greatest players in the world. Pappajohn is giving 14 performances throughout December, a routine she loves. “We’ve had lots of people say, ‘Winter Harp is Christmas for us,’” says Pappajohn, who has attracted some fervent fans over the years. Thanks to CD sales over the Internet, people from as far away as Texas have asked about attending a live performance. “I always tell them to fly into Victoria and see us there because I think of Victoria as such a ‘Christmas’ city,” says Pappajohn. “And if the tour permits, we always try to stay here for two days because it’s such a favourite place.” Performing December 13, 7:30 pm, at Alix Goolden Performance Hall, 907 Pandora Ave. Tickets are on sale at Munro’s and Ivy’s Books, Stampers! on Quadra, and The Sheiling in Cadboro Bay. For information, see

WELL-ROUNDED CHILDREN’S THEATRE For four decades, Victoria’s Kaleidoscope Theatre has been producing top quality family entertainment (and has launched a few important careers along the way). Their newest production, Neverending Story, is being staged “in the round” at UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium and promises to be innovative in a number of ways. Neverending is a “hero’s journey” about a boy who, by reading a magical book, unexpectedly enters the parallel world of Fantastica. Once there, he gets drawn into the struggle to defeat the Nothing, a mysterious and destructive force. Probably most famous as a Hollywood movie that came out in 1984, it was just adapted for the stage by a Toronto children’s theatre company in 2010. “I’ve been waiting two years to get the rights to this production,” says Roderick Glanville, artistic director of Kaleidoscope. “We have the West Coast premiere.” Because the storyline involves an epic quest, Glanville is expanding the action from beyond the stage to include the lower seating area. “The audience will all be higher up,” explains Glanville. “And instead of elaborate sets, we’ll be using overhead projections, fabric art, and other visuals — it’s a more cinematic and imaginative approach.” Glanville is collaborating with noted visual artist Miles Lowry, and promises everything from purple buffalo to werewolves and other wild characters. There will be half a dozen professional actors mixed in with a cast of 30 school kids who are students of Kaleidoscope Theatre. “All those actors bring an energy to the space that you just don’t get with a smaller cast,” says Glanville. Public performances are December 14, 2 and 7 pm, and December 15, 2 pm, at UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium. For tickets, call 250-7218480.


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express yourself Ç Neverending Story, a 1984 Hollywood movie, was adapted for the stage in 2010; this month, it makes its West Coast premiere.

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ÌBlythe Scott’s Think Pink (mixed media watercolour) is one of approximately 30 pieces displayed in Small Works at The Gallery.

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Saturday, February 22, 2014 9am - 4:30pm — Garry Oak Room Fairfield Gonzales Community Association $269 per person* + gst *price includes lunch and two coffee breaks Space is limited. Register early. Please visit and click on Travel Writing Seminar or call 250.480.3254.


CAMERAS GONE WILD The world’s best nature photography returns to the Royal BC Museum via the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 tour. Considered the Oscars of nature photography, the tour is organized by the London Natural History Museum and features 100 contest winners drawn from 47,000 entries. The superbly presented images — which are over a metre square and transferred to backlit transparencies — are richly hued and offer amazing detail. There are 19 categories, with the photos ranging from animal portraiture to exquisite macro-photography and surrealism-tinged landscapes. “The photos are absolutely world class … some of the best images of wildlife I have ever seen,” says Mark Dickson, head of exhibitions at the RBCM. Dickson, who is a professional videographer, points out that no Photoshop is allowed. “That means you have to compose properly in the camera.” There are only a half-dozen museums included on the tour, which will be seen by over two million people. And Victoria is also lucky that, because of the RBCM’s elaborate infrastructure, it can present the photos in the backlit format instead of just hung on the wall. “Because the images are so large, they really have an impact,” adds Dickson. Running from November 29 to April 6, 2014. For information, see

A NEW DAWN AT MATTICK’S GALLERY For 13 years, Dawn Scott ran The Gallery at Mattick’s Farm before retiring in March of this year. Auspiciously, her replacement shares both her name and her passion for art and local artists. Dawn Casson had worked at the store for over a year when Scott unexpectedly asked her to take the reins. After thinking about the offer for a while, Casson said to herself, “I think I need to do this.” Nearly a year in, she has no regrets, only satisfaction at dealing with a stable of talented artists while “working in a store with such a beautiful location.” Her Christmas show, Small Works, will feature approximately 30 pieces by a dozen artists. There will be mostly paintings, as well as some sculpture and jewelry, with prices ranging up to $500. Casson is particularly excited to feature Joanna Drummond, whose whimsical “Village Series” of ceramic houses created a sold-out buzz at the Sooke Fine Arts Show. In keeping with tradition, the gallery will also feature Christmas ornaments made by their artists. “I can’t resist buying some of this art … but I really don’t have enough wall space,” admits Casson. “But I get to live with the art that’s at the gallery.” The show continues until January 2 at 109-5325 Cordova Bay Rd. For information, call 250-658-8333.

Ç Ellen Anon shot Ice Aurora over the icebergs of Iceland, and was one of 100 contest winners for the 2013 tour. 85



THE BASEMENT PANORAMAS: Victoria artist Sandra Meigs departs from her paintings of monochromatic, beguiling shapes to study the invisible foundations of buildings — basements and crawl spaces. Now until December 14, Tuesday–Saturday, noon–5 pm, Open Space, 250.383.8833, WINSPEAR FESTIVAL OF TREES: View a wonderland of Christmas trees decorated by local businesses, clubs and charities. Bring a donation or an unwrapped toy to vote for your favourite tree. Now until January 2, Mary Winspear Centre,

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Everyone loves George Bailey, but as he finds himself in crisis, alone and desperate on Christmas Eve, he wonders if things wouldn’t be better if he hadn’t been born at all. $25-65; evenings and matinees available. Now until December 31, Chemainus Theatre Festival, 1.800.565.7738,

CHRISTMAS IN THE JUNGLE: Experience the sights and sounds of the holiday season in a tropical jungle filled with flamingos, tortoises, turtles, ducks, fish, and 6,000 free-flying tropical butterflies. $15 adult; $10 senior/student; $5 child. December 1–31, 10 am–6 pm, Victoria Butterfly Gardens, 250.652.3822,

ALEXA GIBBS ART SHOW: Alexa Gibbs is an acrylic artist who also incorporates watercolour, pen and ink, and photography into her pieces. Opening party December 4 at 6 pm. December 4–February 4, Creole Jewellery Design, 250.381.1105,

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FIRE AND LIGHT: The Art Centre at Cedar Hill’s visual and ceramics studio will feature established and emerging artists who work within the Arts Centre’s shared studios in the first annual exhibition of their work. December 5–17, The Arts Centre at Cedar Hill, 250.475.5557, JINGLE BELL TEA AND CONCERT: Warm your spirits with Christmas sights and sounds, including tea and sweets, gift basket raffles, and a performance of holiday harmonies from The City of Gardens Chorus. $15 for 60+/under 12; $20 Adult. December 8, 1 pm and 3:30 pm, Langford Legion, 250.595.7810,

CHRISTMAS PANTO: The Peninsula Players presents King Arthur and the Knights of the Round-ish Table, containing humour, music, dancing and audience participation. Tickets $15-20; evenings and matinees available. December 13–15, Berwick Theatre; December 20–22 and 27–29, Mary Winspear Centre, A SENTIMENTAL CHRISTMAS: Conductor Brian Jackson and Canadian College of Performing Arts students present a tuneful tribute to the Christmas season. Tickets from $35. December 13 and 14, 8 pm; matinée December 15, 2 pm, Royal Theatre, 250.385.9771, Visit our website,, to submit arts and culture event details online. Listings for the January issue must be received by December 8 to be considered for inclusion.



Talking with Tess J BY TESS VAN STRAATEN

featuring Ma Phillips


T’S AN UNLIKELY SUCCESS STORY. A young beermaker was tired of toiling for others and wanted to open his own brewery to make the kind of innovative brews he was passionate about. But no one would loan Ma Phillips the money. So without any cash to start his first mash, Phillips paid for equipment on his line of credit and applied for as many credit cards as he could get. More than 10 years later, Phillips Brewery has 45 employees and is one of the most popular microbreweries on the West Coast. Tess van Straaten stopped by for a beer — and some business advice.


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Æ So that must have been terrifying — max out your credit cards and hope it works? I tried geing loans but it didn’t go so well. In hindsight, I can see why the banks didn’t lend me money. It just didn’t make sense in the context of what other breweries were doing at the time. It was a really small scale of what a brewery could be — a lot like many of the breweries opening now — with the idea of staying small and doing beers that are a lile esoteric. I’d wanted to open my own brewery for quite some time and in the late ’90s and early 2000s, there was a lot of equipment floating around (from failed breweries), so there was an opportunity to pick a lot of this stuff up inexpensively with my line of credit. Luckily, I didn’t have to totally max out my credit cards. Æ Why take such a big risk? I think I was young enough (26) not to know beer! I’m not sure I could do that now with a family. But the real reason I took a risk was because at a really early point in my career at a brewery, I was tasked with making a light beer. The way they made the light beers, the way the major breweries do it, was by taking a beer of higher alcohol and watering it down with carbonated water. It was kind of soul robbing because it was taking what was a really good beer and doing it a disservice by diluting it. I realized the only way to make beers I wanted to make and was happy to make was to do my own thing.



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Æ What’s been your biggest win, besides still being here more than a decade later? I think our focus on pale ales from the get-go is our biggest win because it’s really defined who we are, and being able to maintain that vision and stay true to who we are has been a big part of our success. Æ What’s been your biggest mistake? We’ve made a lot of mistakes! One that stands out is when we re-branded our India pale ale. We retired one IPA and brought in another. We were really excited about the new beer but because we didn’t do a good job of explaining why we were doing it, a lot of people were upset. It was a big lesson in communication. Despite being passionate about something, you still have to justify it, and we have an obligation to our customers to explain what we’re doing. Æ The holiday season’s a make-or-break time of year for retailers, and the competitive microbrewery market is no exception. How do you stay competitive? Christmas is the number 2 season behind summer. It’s a short, hard season

surrounded by November and January, a quiet and depressing time in the beer world. A lot of specialty beers come out at this time of year and we need to stay innovative because things change rapidly. In Victoria, retailers give cra beer a lot of shelf space. That said, it’s geing a lot tighter. There are a lot of new breweries opening and shelf space is becoming more and more difficult to find and retain. It comes down to quality and innovation. We have a really fun one this year — it’s an advent calendar, a two-four with one beer for every day in December up until Christmas. Æ What’s been your biggest money lesson in all of this? That it’s not everything. Money kind of held us back in the beginning but we still did it, and I think that’s allowed us to really focus on what we’re doing. We’re able to find ways to continue our growth without compromising on the fact we’re really focused on the beer, not the money. Æ Speaking of money, if I gave you $100,000 to invest in anything at all, how would you spend it? I’d buy new machinery and invest it back into the business. One of our big focuses is reducing our environmental footprint. Our CO2 emissions are down 40 per cent per six pack. We built a CO2 reclamation machine that we had to engineer from scratch because they don’t make them small enough for small breweries. We’ve really started to do things based solely on the environmental effects, so I would invest in more of those initiatives.


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Æ What’s the best advice you’ve been given? The importance of treating customers as friends and never forgeing that beer is fun — beer’s supposed to be fun. There are a lot of businesses that are hard to have fun in, but if you can’t have fun with beer, something’s wrong. Æ Any parting advice to other would-be entrepreneurs? If you’re passionate about it, it’s worth doing. If not, it would be tough to spend the time and effort and risk everything for a dream you’re not passionate about. But if you’re passionate, it’s more than a job, and I think that greatly increases the chances of success. This interview has been condensed and edited. Tess van Straaten is an award-winning journalist, television personality and fourth-generation Victoria native.


WRY EYE OWIE SIEGEL HAD SOMETHING for me that would change my life — and being Howie, he told me this very, very, very loudly. “I GOT SOMETHING THAT’LL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!” I believe in angels. I’m not sure about supernatural creatures with fluffy white wings who do TV commercials warning us about sinful snack foods, but I’m convinced there are people who show up in our lives exactly when we need them. One of my angels is a lile Jewish dynamo with a thick Brooklyn accent that gets a lile thicker every year he lives in Victoria. He’s an actor, a stand-up comic, runs my favourite restaurant on the planet, and appears at pivotal life moments like synchronicity has him on speed-dial.


An angelic beginning


I first got to know Howie when he agreed to let me stage a satirical revue at the Roxy Cinegog. He wasn’t sure the Roxy would work for live theatre, or that we’d get an audience, but he loved the idea of bringing in a show that bashed thenpremier Bill Vander Zalm. The show, Escape From Fantasy Gardens, was life-changing for me, and aer that, whenever something big was going right, or wrong, I’d run into Howie — sometimes at his restaurant, sometimes elsewhere in Victoria, sometimes on the mainland.

For the love of cooking.






A few years aer my show I was at Pagliacci’s, and before I saw Howie, I heard him scream, “This is beautiful!” His hand plucked my keys from the table. I had a huge keychain, a fake silver theatre ticket. “Just beyooteeful.” “Thanks,” I said. “I like big keychains. They make it harder for me to lose my keys.” He laughed, then le to greet his other guests. I didn’t realize Howie was my guardian angel until I was in the middle of a controversy over something I’d wrien that looked like it might derail my career. Pag’s was packed, but Howie spoed me in line and invited me to join him at his private table upstairs. He asked what was wrong, listened quietly, then told me in very so spoken, measured tones that he had a lile bit of advice for me. I waited for his words of wisdom. “NOT EVERYONE’S GONNA LOVE YOU!” he proclaimed in full rock-the-Bronx volume. I laughed for what seemed like the first time in weeks. “I just saved you tens of thousands of dollars in therapy!” he said. Then he told me I had to join him while he ran errands and he’d get me a present, “something that’ll change your life.” We spent the aernoon driving around the city as Howie picked up restaurant supplies, kibitzed with friends and kept reassuring me that any second now I’d be geing my life-changing gi.

Good omens at Pag’s

I can rale off a dozen occasions where seeing Howie was such an accurate harbinger of change his baing average would freak out the Oracle of Delphi. He appeared when I was celebrating my graduation from UVic. The day before I was set to propose marriage, Howie (who had no clue what I was up to) insisted I join his family to celebrate Passover New York style — with Matzoh and baseball. And once, Howie declared that the restaurant was so busy I had to share a table with a stranger. I spent lunch trying to talk the stranger out of aempting suicide. A few months ago, I was on tour with a new stage show and my friends and I were running errands in downtown Victoria, but there was no time for lunch if we wanted to make our ferry. Naturally, one of our stops was next door to Pag’s. Howie was at the outside table and invited us to join him. I declared it a good omen and we pulled up a few chairs. On the race to our sailing (which we made) I told them the story of Howie’s gi. Aer several hours of errand running, Howie had pulled up at a hardware store, ran inside and returned with something that he presented with all the solemnity of a groom-to-be offering an engagement ring. I looked at the lile metal box in the palm of his hand and … had no clue what it was. “It’s for keys,” he said. “It’s got a magnet. Put your spare keys in it, leave it under your car and you’ll never get locked out again. It’ll change your life.” That was over 20 years ago. I’m not sure the lile box changed my life — maybe because I never did put it under my car — but knowing Howie the angel has.
















family learning COMES FIRST

Sprouting a preschool in Saanich

A childcare hub — that’s the ultimate goal for Saanich Neighbourhood Place (SNP), which has been supporting families with children since 1993. Located in Pearkes Recreation Centre, SNP helps parents provide the best they can for their kids, says Colleen Hobson, SNP’s executive director, who’s been with the organization for nearly 20 years. This family resource centre offers a variety of programs that allow families to connect and nurture: Best Babies offers prenatal classes; parent education programs allow parents to learn and converse; and community kitchens help families learn to plan meals and cook together. “What we’re trying to do is create a one-stop shop,” Hobson says.




FILLING THE CHILDCARE GAP But SNP didn’t have amenities for the preschool age group, and the municipality of Saanich encouraged Hobson to take over its preschool programs. Hobson knew that having enough quality childcare spaces was an issue in the community — as it is across the country. The organization decided to undertake a feasibility study to determine how best they could undertake this. “We needed to have a collaborative process where we brought people together to find out what they thought was a good fit, where it should be, and what was needed in the community,” Hobson says. Thanks to an $18,800 grant in 2010 from the Victoria Foundation, SNP could get started. “I knew that the Victoria Foundation had highlighted childcare as a priority in their Vital Signs,” Hobson says. “They were really supportive. We couldn’t have done it without them.”






“We needed to have a collaborative process where we brought people together to find out what they thought was a good fit.” It took a year and a half to put together the plan and get the drawings done, Hobson says. After determining that a program through SNP at Pearkes Recreation Centre was the best route, SNP received an additional $42,500 grant from the Victoria Foundation in 2012 for implementation. Some of that funding helped staff undertake the real legwork — working with policies, licensing, hiring the staff and developing the curriculum — while some has also contributed

to classroom upgrades, staff training and promotion. Today, at the new Full o’Beans Preschool, eager learners spend a lot of time out in the woods behind Pearkes Recreation Centre at Colquitz Creek, often for up to an hour at a time. “I think the parents really like that part,” says Hobson. “They pick up their tired kids at the end of the day.” Despite only just opening their doors in September, the preschool has shown promising results in less than half a school year. Full o’Beans sets itself apart due to its location in the rec centre, a community hub, and also in “the flexibility that we’re trying to provide for parents,” Hobson says. Children can come in two to five days per week for either two-and-a-half or four hours. “We’re finding that’s what families really need — that’s what supports them in their day-to-day lives.” For Hobson and her team at Saanich Neighbourhood Place, the next step is to spread awareness about the program and the additional funding needed for renovations that will move the program ahead to offering full-day preschool. Now, SNP is able to do it all, “providing a continuum of service for families,” Hobson says. “They can start out by coming to the parent-tot drop-in and then their kids can go into full-time care or preschool without ever leaving the building.” Hobson would definitely recommend the Victoria Foundation to other organizations looking for grants. “They follow up, they’re strategic in their thinking, they do their homework, and they invest in their community in a strategic way, which I think has a real impact,” she says.

42K+ To learn about granting and review eligibility, visit







Who are you, Morgan Wilson? I’ve spent 28 years in the kitchen in Vancouver, Whistler, Melbourne, Sydney, Berlin and Toronto prior to Victoria. I represented Canada at the culinary competition Bocuse d’Or in 2005, achieving the highest non-European chef placement for that year. I’m married to my wonderful wife Tracy and we have two beautiful daughters.

If you weren’t working as a chef, what would you be doing? Something that was creative, perhaps around architectural design.

What holiday movie character are you most like? Clark Griswold [National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation], 100 per cent.

seem to be looking for the next weird thing to cook. A new one is insects. I think this is less about creating a great dish and more about getting publicity.

If you could make a meal for anyone, living or dead, who would it be and what would you make? Julia Child, and it would have to be beef bourguignon!

How do you spend your spare time? What’s the most interesting part of your work at the Empress so far?

With my wife and kids, every spare minute!

What is your biggest goal for 2014?

Getting to know all my colleagues. I love the history here in the building and with so many colleagues, there are a lot of great stories.

What is one of your most significant childhood memories?

I’d like to continue to explore the great bounty that is available on Vancouver Island and find ways to use it in our cuisine at the Fairmont Empress.

Your most coveted kitchen gadget? I have an old silver spoon that I have used for years when plating.

Your favourite and least favourite holiday dish? I’ve never been partial to Christmas cake — I’m more of a chocolate cake sort of guy. 94

Christmas mornings. There is just something magical about the tree with presents underneath it.

Your life motto? Live long and prosper.

What is your most compulsive habit? I just got a Blackberry for the first time, so it’s just recently become checking emails!

What popular trend baffles you? I call it shock-rock cooking. Some chefs

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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Profile for Boulevard Magazine

Boulevard Magazine - December 2013 Issue  

Boulevard Magazine is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Vancouver Island by focusing on the Arts, People, Tr...

Boulevard Magazine - December 2013 Issue  

Boulevard Magazine is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Vancouver Island by focusing on the Arts, People, Tr...