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The seventh generation of the iconic Porsche 911
s we prepare to launch the seventh generation of the “Porsche 911”, it’s essential to highlight the importance of where this particular vehicle originated from and what the company behind it calls “the Porsche Principle”.
Porsche is a truly unique company with strong ideals. Our values and our philosophies permeate through everything we do to ensure that we always remain true to our principles. As a result, despite what others may be doing, we at Porsche actively seek to stretch boundaries and are committed to continual improvement. It’s thanks to our tireless dedication to quality that more than 70% of all Porsche cars ever built are still on the road today. Our vehicles are not only remarkable – they are also designed to last. This is because they meet our exacting standards in terms of quality and safety. The result: high performance meets outstanding everyday practicality and breathtaking dynamics are coupled with exceptional occupant comfort and safety. Based on the principle of achieving maximum output from minimum input, this race-inspired philosophy is integral to each and every one of our cars. We call this “Porsche Intelligent Performance.” Where better to start a tour of our model range than with the Porsche 911? It has been dubbed as an ‘icon’, a ‘legend’ and a ‘benchmark’ by the motoring press. A successful formula for more than 45 years, the 911 combines engineering precision with exemplary everyday practicality and all the performance you’d expect from a Porsche. Every new generation brings innovation allowing the 911 to remain timeless and unique.
True to the Porsche Principle, however, we maintain a balanced approach. The design of the 911 has evolved with sensitivity and restraint because we remain wholeheartedly committed to its overall character. The engines are more efficient than ever before, featuring advanced technologies such as direct fuel injection (DFI). The result: greater output with reduced fuel consumption and emissions. The breadth of vehicles within the 911-model range ensures that each driver can find their perfect match. The car is available with two-wheel drive or four, two engine sizes, naturally aspirated or turbocharged, manual gearbox or Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) double-clutch transmission and as a Coupé, Cabriolet or Targa. Whichever combination, it is always a 911. A vital element of the Porsche Principle originated with Ferry Porsche, who said: “In the beginning I looked around and could not find the car I dreamed of. So I decided to build it myself.” At Porsche, this quote represents our key motivation for always giving our best. On behalf of us all at Porsche Centre Victoria, we are pleased to have the honour of saying that our employees are proud to work, live and breathe Porsche. The appeal of our products is the driving force that encourages each and every individual within our company to constantly seek for improvement, regular testing and optimize structures and processes. The world of Porsche is diverse and exciting and we strive to achieve excellence in performance, not only with our cars, but in everything we do. For your chance to attend the launch event of the all-new 2012 Porsche 911 in March, please RSVP your request to email@example.com by February 24, 2012. advertising
Lights, Camera, Ca-ching How the film biz fills our coffers By Robert Moyes and Tess van Straaten Pick of the flicks Film buffs choose their faves By Robert Moyes My Furry Valentine Will you pamper your pet this year? By Tess van Straaten
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President John Simmons Vice President & Publisher Peter Baillie Managing Editor Anne Mullens Associate Editor Vivian Smith Art Director Beth Campbell Business Manager Janet Dessureault Production Assistant Melissa Cross Administrative Coordinator Kayleigh von Wittgenstein Printing Central Web Advertising Peter Baillie, Pat Montgomery-Brindle, Geoff Wilcox Contributing Writers Maryanne Carmack, Adrienne Dyer, Rick Gibbs, Darryl Gittins, Alisa Gordaneer, Tom Hawthorn, Carolyn Heiman, Sarah MacNeill, Sharon McLean, Shannon Moneo, Robert Moyes, Alex Van Tol Contributing Photographers Vince Klassen, Gary McKinstry
is a Victoria-based photographer, photojournalist and videographer who focuses on portraiture, lifestyle, commercial and human-interest works. Azim, who travels the world to take photos, recently started Cinder Bloc Studio with Antonio LaFauci to collaborate with other creative people to realize projects that include promotion, film, publication and more. This month, Azim took our photos of Esi Edugyan.
our art director, gets a special call-out this month. Campbell has just gone off on a year’s maternity leave. She doesn’t like the spotlight so we decided to sneak her into the contributors’ list. She has more than a decade of experience in design and digital media, a Fine Arts degree from UVic and is an artistic and technical whiz. Her work over the past year has given Boulevard a fresh new look, which she says would not be possible without her hard-working and talented photographic and design support team. Everyone at the magazine wishes Beth and her family a wonderful year of growing together.
who wrote this month’s Health & Wellness article on nutritious food pairing, is a Victoriabased freelance writer and registered nutritional consultant. Her writing focuses on nutrition and health, as well as travel. Durkin’s work has appeared in both regional and national publications and she is a regular contributor to one of Canada’s leading health magazines, Alive. She also contributes recipes and spa reviews to a spa website. When not writing about the virtues of healthy foods, she can be found helping clients optimize their diets. She can also frequently be found spooning copious amounts of local honey into Greek yogurt — her fave food combo.
Evelyn C. White is the American-born author of Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone: A Photo Narrative of Black Heritage on Salt Spring Island with photographs by Joanne Bealy. A resident of Salt Spring for a decade, she is also the author of the acclaimed biography Alice Walker: A Life. Her articles, essays and reviews appear in numerous publications, such as The San Francisco Chronicle. This month, White pens our profile of celebrated Victoria writer Esi Edugyan. “Esi exudes the quiet confidence that I felt when interviewing Aretha Franklin and civil rights heroine Rosa Parks,” she says.
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This Valentine’s Day a very important member of my family, Teddy, won’t get any special treatment. Okay, I might give him some roasted salmon skin — he loves that — but I certainly won’t buy him special outfits, cards, or cookies. He is a dog after all, even if an adored one. We had a procession of pets before Teddy came into our lives 10 years ago: fish, gerbils, hamsters, backyard chickens who acted like pets, and a few dogs who belonged to tenants in our basement suite. One year we were a host family for Piper, a black Lab puppy who was a guide dog in training. He had the Lab’s voracious appetite and even though he was by my side almost constantly he still managed to chew or devour an inordinate number of items: Barbie dolls, chair and table legs, washcloths, socks, shoes, boots, and a butter dish. He left us just when he became a settled, well-trained dog. Letting him go was hard. And so we got Teddy. Teddy, a Shiba Inu, is a character. He is exceedingly handsome but almost impossible to train (like training a cat). He won’t come or stay. His only trick is waiting patiently for our “Okay” before eating. He talks all the time in weird Shiba Inu vocalizations that sound like he is muttering. He has the distinctive Shiba Inu “scream” (google it), a piercing sound that he reserves for the vet or if we try to bathe him. He sheds constantly. We love him madly. As Tess van Straaten tells us in her article, Love Unleashed, Victorians are huge pet lovers, some even lavishing Valentine’s gifts on their four-legged friends or treating them like children or their significant other. Is this a good trend? You judge. Another love affair we have is with the movies. February is both Oscar month and the annual Victoria Film Festival so we take a look at the film industry’s impact on Victoria’s economy and consult some film buffs for their favourite stay-at-home DVD or Netflix picks. Other stories this month include travel to Machu Picchu and Port Townsend, what to do on a date-night out, and a look at some funky, functional rain gear. With movies a strong theme, popcorn is our food offering this month, with a few tasty toppings to try. My family loves the flax oil topping, even Teddy. He will happily sit on the couch beside me watching a chick flick if there is the slightest chance a piece of flax-coated popcorn might fall his way, and I say, “Okay.” VB Anne Mullens, Managing Editor
YOUR LETTERS Winner of Five 2011 Gold CARE Awards United Way focuses on more than poverty I’d like to congratulate Boulevard on profiling Sandy Richardson and the Victoria Foundation, an important charity partner in the region. I would, however, like to expand on the information provided about the United Way of Greater Victoria. While the United Way is concerned about homelessness and poverty reduction we do much more. Our mission is to improve the lives of the people in this region who are most vulnerable. We focus our investments in “all that kids can be,” “healthy people and strong communities,” and from “poverty to possibility.” Last year United Way funded 174 programs that supported 128,000 people in the region. By the way, in 2012 the United Way is celebrating our 75th year helping make positive changes to people’s lives. Linda Hughes CEO, United Way of Greater Victoria
You DreaM it - we BuilD it.
Wanting a follow up on City Council Thanks for a really good January edition. But could you get Tom Hawthorn to follow up his excellent review of Victoria Council’s “newbies” with an article turning his spotlight on each of the individual “oldies?” Question could be: Will the new councillors’ energy, enthusiasm and community connections help the old ones raise their game? Also really liked Ross Crockford’s story on the talented football brothers. Irwin Henderson
Design Matters Sarah MacNeill a great addition I am so pleased that you have brought someone of Sarah MacNeill’s talents onto your team [as the new Design Matters columist starting in January]. I think that many people, in fact almost everybody, understands and instantly gets the appeal of great design. However, it is the job of a great communicator to articulate why we are attracted to spaces of beauty. Doug Makaroff
We are not amused I have always enjoyed your magazine. I find it of very high quality both in content and style. I can always count on reading inspirational and positive stories which are close to home. But why, of all the good stories in town, did you choose the [Wry Eye] article “When I am old I will resume smoking” and glorify smoking that has killed and is still killing millions of people? Why perpetuate the myth that smoking is anything but a disgusting and fatal addiction? Dr. Hua Lin
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earnsin l y r t s u lm indven thrive – fi s ’ a i Victorapt – and ess reality to ad ew busine s moye b e rt th e n By Ro
From left to right: May Street Productions uses a crane shot during the filming of Croon at the Legislature. The New Girl film crew at Clover Point. The documentary Mr. Right is Stuck in Traffic films at the Victoria Airport. Oak Bay High School was a location for The Seven Deadly Sins. May Street crew with rabbits up at UVic for the documentary Gone Wild. Photo credits: May Street Productions and Don Denton, Black Press.
his city has always traded on its “little bit of Olde England” shtick, and it paid off nicely a year ago when a movie company doing a biopic of author J.K. Rowling turned a section of Government Street into a little bit of 1990s London. Munro’s Books became the stand-in for where the fledgling author of what would become the Harry Potter phenomenon gave her first, poorly attended reading. “About 75 people were involved in the shoot … you just don’t realize how big these things are,” recalls Jim Munro, avuncular patriarch of the bookshop that bears his name. “They started filming at 6:30 in the morning so they wouldn’t interfere with our regular business hours, but of course it ran late and lots of customers were mingling amongst the actors,” continues Munro. “The store was overrun with cables,
cameras, and reflectors. It was pretty exciting for a March morning in the book business,” he chuckles. “And the movie crew loved our shop,” adds Munro. “We certainly did some business with them.” Although Munro got a $2,500 cheque for renting out his store, he seems more pleased that several of his staff earned extra money helping out with the shoot. This is just one recent example of how Victoria has had many starring roles in movies big and small. Away back in 1942 the war flick Commandos Strike at Dawn was filmed here, with Saanich Inlet becoming a Norway fishing village whose heroic inhabitants resisted the Nazis. More recently, our city has provided settings for Hollywood films such as Bird on a Wire, Little Women, and Intersection. Just a few months ago, Chinatown and the Fairmont Empress hosted Big Time Movie. Different movies, same ritual: long rows of identical white trucks take over whole blocks, thick electrical cables snake everywhere, and a massive camera rig rises up on a crane to film the same shot, over and over, as several dozen crew members put in 12- to 15-hour days. Despite the tedium,
crowds of rubber-neckers invariably throng to these shoots. After the call for “quiet on the set!” you can faintly hear the sound of cash registers ringing all over town. Making movies is a good way to make money, and over the years it has become an important part of Victoria’s economy. The heyday was a decade ago, when the film business poured $20-million annually into local coffers. But even with the severe economic downturn since 2008, revenues climbed back to a respectable $7-million last year. “And that’s ‘direct spend,’ money that producers bring in their wallets,” explains Kathleen Gilbert, current boss of the Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission. “The film industry is extremely important in terms of its economic impact here,” agrees Bruce Carter, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. “For every dollar spent, there’s at least double that in economic spin-off and probably more,” he says. “And a film like X-Men really helps highlight Victoria as a destination. The long-term effects are impossible to quantify, but they are certainly significant.” Gilbert, an industry veteran who has been a location manager for TV and film shoots in Victoria since 1990, has seen the industry go through a lot of changes in the past two decades. “Years ago, almost all decisions (about where to shoot a film) were location-driven,” says Gilbert. “Now, they come looking for tax incentives and a strong crew base. Even the big Hollywood productions are looking for bargains these days,” she adds. Victoria has lots to offer international filmmakers, whether they’re looking for varied scenery, a castle or two, or heritage buildings (the exterior of Market Square was readily transformed into a Paris bistro for the horrifying climax to Final Destination 2). And Victoria also boasts a pool of about 120 talented film technicians. “We have some very experienced pros, and they’re really enthusiastic because, frankly, they’re thankful to be working,” says Gilbert. The trick is attracting business here in the first place. To do that, Gilbert makes trips to Los Angeles to attend trade shows and get face time with producers. Her major sales tool is a “location photo package” showing digital images of Victoria locations. This can either be made to order if a producer is seeking location specifics tied to a script, or sent as an unsolicited calling card. Although most everyone recalls when the X-Men ruled Hatley Castle at Royal Roads University, it’s the less glamorous movies of the week (MOWs) that have become Victoria’s bread and butter. “About 80 per cent of our income now comes from the MOWs,” says Gilbert. “Plus we also support various documentaries, independent films, TV commercials, and reality shows like Cupcake Girls.”
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Victoria’s local film scene is also relatively strong. Producers and directors work on heartfelt personal projects, especially documentaries. “These get screened on TV networks in North America and even Europe,” explains Sandy Mayzell, a veteran filmmaker long associated with May Street Productions. Mayzell is one of about 50 members of the Victoria Independent Film Producers Association, which comprises about 10 companies. Although the association doesn’t get the “Everybody’s coverage that out-of-town movie shoots scrambling, sure, do, its members have won dozens of awards. They also contribute several but we’ll adapt million dollars annually to the local and survive,” economy. says Victoria Mayzell, who has travelled as far as documentary Cannes to pitch projects in hopes filmmaker Sandy of luring development money, is Mayzell. concerned about how business has dried up. “Not only are we spending more and more time just trying to get funding, but most of the broadcasting sources on channels like CHUM and Bravo! don’t have slots available anymore,” explains Mayzell. “Five years
Ah, the glamour of the movie extra life: Lots of eating, and even more waiting By Tess van Straaten
It started innocently enough with an email looking for a “real reporter” for a movie shooting in Victoria. With “be in a movie” on my bucket list, I couldn’t resist. I showed up at the casting call beside real actors, both aspiring and experienced, to wait for my turn to audition. Faster than you could say, “lights, camera, action!” the director asked me to read for another, much larger role in Bond of Silence, staring Kim Raver (Grey’s Anatomy, Third Watch) and some veteran Canadian actors. You can imagine my surprise: I got the part. And with that, I was introduced to the high-budget world of movie making, with a crew of hundreds, individual trailers for the actors (including me), early morning hair and make-up calls and the joys of on-set catering. From vitamins and candy to fresh fruit, cookies, gourmet lunches and 10 kinds of herbal tea,
ago, 10 docs a year would get made locally. Now I don’t know of a single one that’s under way.” Instead, many are shooting short instructional films for corporations, universities, or nonprofit groups. Others, including Mayzell herself, are working on “webisodes,” essentially, a series that is broadcast over the Internet. These days, social media can help a filmmaker find an audience. “Everybody’s scrambling, sure, but we’ll adapt and survive,” says Mayzell. She points to CHEK TV’s recent decision to start airing local films via Docs from the Edge, whose Saturday slot from 4 to 5 pm attracts a big audience. “The goal is to get eyeballs to see your work,” says Mayzell. So whether it’s a crazy comedy with Robin Williams or a thoughtful documentary about the Métis experience in Canada, usually some filmmaking is going on in Victoria. When next you see those rows of white trucks and maybe a street that has been blocked off, be happy and not frustrated: the Victoria economy is getting a boost from an industry that’s “green” in more ways than one. Instead of leaving a pollution footprint, it leaves behind lots of green cash in restaurants, hotels, and many other local businesses. VB
the catering (called “kraft services”) was almost as good as the pay. My little taste of Hollywood North was so much fun (in all seriousness, I was getting paid nearly $1,000 a day to read magazines in my trailer between short stints on set); I decided to get an agent and see where it took me. A year, a couple of (unsuccessful) auditions and one commercial later, I was asked if I’d like to be an extra in a movie spin-off of the popular Nickelodeon TV show Big Time Rush about a boy band. I’d never heard of it, but my 8-year-old says it’s “huge.” The pay wasn’t great, but because I’d earned enough credits in my previous speaking role to join the BC actors’ union, it was a lot more than the minimum wage the other extras were getting. The filming happened to coincide with my days off from CHEK News, so I thought, why not? The answer to that question became clear during my first 13-hour day on set — without a trailer. Dozens of us were packed into a holding area for “background” (the industry term for extras). Our call time was 5:30 am and we were told to bring three changes of clothes: nothing too dark, nothing
white, no crazy prints and no logos. The look was “upscale casual" and the wardrobe people checked us over, rifling through what we had and either giving us a pass or asking if we had anything else. I passed inspection, zipped through hair and make-up and was given breakfast. (They feed you well on movie sets.) It was time to “hurry up and wait.” And wait. And wait. We were on standby, called to the set as needed. I’d neglected to bring a book, so had lots of time to chat with other extras. For many, it was their first movie experience and they had no idea how much sitting around was involved. But there were also regulars, retired folk who do it to keep busy, professionals and students who moonlight, and local actors who need work between real roles. Since Victoria doesn’t get a lot of productions, work is hard to come by. Local agents have long waiting lists even for background jobs and there aren’t many open auditions. When I finally hit the set, I did a lot of walking back and forth. Then it was back to holding to hurry up and wait and wait some more.
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DESERT ISLAND DVDs Three film buffs list their 10 favourite movies: just sit back, press play and enjoy. By Robert Moyes What should you watch with your popcorn on a cold February night, snuggled with your sweetie or your beloved pet? Between Netflix and a galaxy of free-floating DVDs, way too many movies demand your attention. Which ones will best reward a two-hour investment of your precious at-home time? We’ve asked three local film aficionados to select 10 favourites, ones they’d watch over and over again, either as inspiration or cinematic comfort food. Each film lists its director, and a brief reason why our expert loves it. Kathy Kay, director of the Victoria Film Festival, the Free B Film Festival, SingCinema, and FilmCan:
The Sweet Smell of Success, Alexander Mackendrick. Screenwriter Clifford Odets offers us the best dialogue ever! 12 Monkeys, because Terry Gilliam is a genius and the film is smart and scary.
The Good Thief, Neil Jordan. Love the music, the sexy vibe … it’s all too cool.
Chinatown, Roman Polanski. Everything works. It’s smart. Welldirected, acted, photographed, designed, written, and scored.
Nobody will know . . . Everybody will notice
Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, Lone Scherfig. I love Scherfig’s movies, even though this one is in English. The best black humour.
Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Guy Ritchie. His first and his best.
North by Northwest, Alfred Hitchcock. I think I have a thing for film noir.
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There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson. Capitalism and religion duke it out to an appropriate conclusion. Homo Faber (Voyager), Volker Schlondorff. Wonderful subtext, it’s quiet and literate, plus Sam Shepard stars, sigh. Casino Royale, Martin Campbell. Sly play on iconic Bond. Daniel Craig looks like a killer. Plus Mads Mikkelsen is in it. Rob Nesbitt, co-owner of Pic A Flic Video for 16 years:
Jerry Maguire, Cameron Crowe. The greatest film Frank Capra never made.
Apocalypse Now, Francis Coppola. My all-time favourite, every viewing is an epic, forbidding physical and spiritual journey. The Sound of Music, Robert Wise. Julie Andrews’ voice puts me in touch with the best of what being human is.
The Who: The Kids Are Alright, Jeff Stein. The performance of the song Sparks gives me chills every time. Man on Fire, Tony Scott. Chances are, if I'm stuck on a desert island, the strange mix of romanticism and brutality in this will help me get out some aggression. Band of Brothers, various directors. It's a TV show, but please, please, can I have this one? Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steven Spielberg. Flawed, certainly, but still infused with indelible moments of stunning imagination and beauty.
Dumb & Dumber, Peter Farrelly. Nothing has ever made me laugh harder and upon repeated viewings the gags, though totally expected, still deliver.
Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater. I'm a sucker for nostalgia. This makes me remember my youth not as it was but as it almost was: pregnant with promise, full of adventure.
The New World, Terrence Malick. Malick is the master of the visual poem. This reminds me of the power of love and nature and how my place in the universe is but a brief flicker. Michael Hoppe, programmer at UVic’s Cinecenta since 1994:
All About My Mother, Pedro Almodóvar. Spanish maverick Almodóvar takes tragedy and transforms it into something playful and very life-affirming. A visual knockout to boot. The Birds, Alfred Hitchcock. Not the greatest Hitchcock by any means, but the film that freaked me out more than any other when I was a kid, thus creating a life-long fascination. Black Orpheus, Marcel Camus. The unforgettable music by Luiz Bonfa and Antonio Carlos Jobim, the dazzling colour, the shimmering dance: ancient myth meets Carnival in Rio!
Cabaret, Bob Fosse. The Bob Fosse choreography spawned many an imitator, but nobody has done it better.
Last Tango in Paris, Bernardo Bertolucci. It had as profound an impact on me as it did on critic Pauline Kael, who wrote it “altered the face of an art form.” Loved, Erin Dignam. A rarely-seen drama with William Hurt and Robin Wright (in her most extraordinary performance) as a woman who has the freedom within to love the unlovable. Persona, Ingmar Bergman. His most cinematic film, the meaning of which lies just beyond conscious comprehension, which makes it endlessly intriguing. Stop Making Sense, Jonathan Demme. My favourite concert film is Demme's brilliant capture of a Talking Heads show I actually saw live. Euphoric! Jules and Jim, François Truffaut. The only film that I first fell madly in love with, then saw again years later and disliked … then years later watched again and fell back in love.
The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick. His metaphysical masterpiece may be flawed, but at times watching it is like seeing through God's eyes.
Forget about long-stemmed roses and boxes of chocolate: the hot new Valentine’s Day presents are collars and leashes. But it’s not what you think. These gifts are for pets, not people. In the age of high divorce rates and serial monogamy, perhaps it’s no wonder people choose to lavish their love on a companion who will always be loyal. “We all want love and attention. Animals give that to us,” says dog owner Bernie MacDonald. “They get into your heart, they really do.” MacDonald found that out four years ago when his wife wanted to get a dog. After he reluctantly agreed, it didn’t take long before the retired Oak Bay resident was spending all his time with Tito, a Havanese. He now can’t imagine life without his little sidekick.
Humanization of pets is a growing trend, but it stops short of actually giving them scotch! Thanks to Munro, a mixed breed, for posing for the concept.
“I took over the walking because my wife’s still working and Tito ended up being my companion,” MacDonald says. “He keeps me company. He thinks it’s his job to watch out for me.” Our four-legged friends are now a multi-billion-dollar business. Along with premium pet foods with the finest ingredients, there are dog spas, doggie day cares, pet hotels, and jewel-encrusted outfits and accessories. “People are dressing up pets in sweaters and Halloween costumes; most animals have their own Christmas stocking now and we get lots of requests for (pet) birthday cakes,” says Karen Turgeun of A Pet’s Life in Oak Bay. And now, it seems one of the most commercial holidays of the year, Valentine’s Day, has become big business, with animal-friendly Victoria being no exception. “We’ve really seen it grow over the last few years,” says Lisa Nitkin, owner of Pets West in Broadmead Village. “In the beginning, we’d just make a few heart-shaped dog cookies but now we bring in a whole bunch of special Valentine’s-themed items. We also sell a ton of cards for pets to give and receive.” From pink and red toys and treats to heart-shaped beds, Valentine’s clothing, fancy collars, bows and hair clips, most of the items are for pampered pooches and fussed-over felines. Pet food company Merrick even puts out speciality dog and cat food this time of year. It’s the same food for the same price, but it comes in Valentine’s-themed packaging. Not counting food, retailers say, the typical Valentine’s Day spending is around $20, mostly on toys and treats, but some animal lovers take it to the extreme. “Some people dye their pets red and pink and you’ll get people having dog weddings, so they’ll buy bride and groom costumes for that.” Nitkin notes that the trend in Victoria is not as strong as in other locales. “Victoria hasn’t gone totally nuts — that’s more a California thing — but we still get requests for pet-friendly dye and we do sell wedding dresses and tuxedos.” But not everyone who has a well-loved pet supports this pampering trend. At a time when BC’s povery rate is 16.9 per cent and climbing and food banks are clamouring for donations, for many who love their animals it can seem perverse to lavish pets with such attention. MacDonald, for example, who figures he spends about 18 hours a day with Tito, has no plans to pamper his pup for Valentine’s Day. “When we got Tito, I made it clear he’s a dog first. He lives with four feet on the ground and he’s not a pretend person,” MacDonald says. “He’s not a substitute child and he doesn’t fill a big psychological gap.” In fact, a number of pet owners contacted for this story were reluctant to be part of it. Is pet pampering a love that dares not speak its name? “I’ll buy my dog a special cookie treat for Valentine’s Day, I may even give him an extra hug and kiss, but don’t quote me on it,” one reticent Fairfield pet owner said. “I don’t want to look like one of those people!” In 2004, when the first yoga studio for dogs to obtain their
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inner calm opened up in the UK, the Independent said it was proof positive, people were going “barking mad.” But perhaps some of it is a good trend. Passionate about animals, a 95-year-old Oak Bay woman recently donated her entire estate to the Victoria SPCA — all $3.5-million of it. Gladys Cavaghan inherited the money from a neighbour but never spent it, giving it instead to help animals. Will more people be leaving money to their pets or splurging on them like on children? A recent US survey found one in five people surveyed admitted to preferring time spent with their pets over their partners on Valentine’s Day. There are even greeting cards that say: “Roses are red, violets are blue, and I’d rather spend time with Fido than you.” “The biggest trend we’ve seen over the years is the humanization of pets,” says Nitkin. “It’s amazing what people will forgive their pets for doing, the behaviour they’ll ignore that they probably wouldn’t for their partner. We definitely have much higher expectations for our partners.” Turgeun agrees: “I think we treat them more like our children than we ever used to.” According to relationship experts, it’s because pet love is a special kind of affection. “There’s a bond between people and animals that contains a purity of heart,” explains Victoria psychotherapist Dr. Corrinne Allyson. “It’s a connection that allows us to give and receive love in an uncluttered,
unconditional way with none of the history and baggage we have with people — and without rejection — and often buying our pets things is our way of expressing that love.” Animal lover Janis La Couvée of Victoria admits her dog Solo, a terrier-papillon, always won out over the guy in past relationships. “You can tell a lot about someone by how they treat animals,” La Couvée says. Now happily married to a man whose 15-year-old cat, Cosmo, was part of the package, she’s pretty sure she’ll get most of the love on Valentine’s Day. “Given that it’s a new relationship, I’d be seriously worried if my husband wanted to spend more time with the cat than me,” laughs La Couvée. A Guardian Gear yellow rain “Still, there’s that niggling little slicker and black and feeling and when the cat isn’t burgundy plaid collar and as friendly with me, it reminds leash set from Woofles me there are 15 years of a Barking Boutique. relationship there.” VB
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THE BRISK ringing of a mechanical school bell interrupted the afternoon quiet. The bell was soon answered by the happy squeals of children at play. Freed from a day’s drudgery in class, kids gamboled on the concrete of the schoolyard. It was 3 pm, time to retrieve my daughter, then aged eight, who stood quietly while kids darted around her. Beside her was Madame, a stern, no-nonsense teacher. Madame had her arms folded and stood with her left foot slightly forward. She was tapping her toe. Uh-oh. She was cross. She had with her my daughter’s exercise book in which could be seen the faint outline of a pencilled message rubbed out with an eraser. The teacher explained that she had written a note in the book about my daughter talking in class. The original crime had been trumped by my daughter’s scandalous defiance of a teacher’s authority. It was clear my parental duty was to impress upon my daughter the gravity of her misconduct. I bent down, my back to Madame, and, rolling my eyes, made a, “Boy, are we ever in trouble” face. My daughter’s face flashed relief for this parental pardon. We’d discuss the matter at home, we said. Wink. Everyone has a story about a teacher. They inspire and infuriate. Some are indifferent presences in students’ lives. Some change lives for the better. (An infinitesimal number are monsters, but they get all the publicity.) My family’s own two-decade experience with BC’s public schools comes to an end in a few short months when our 22
daughter graduates from Victoria High. It seems only yesterday we dropped her off for her first day of kindergarten in the French immersion program at Margaret Jenkins Elementary. “But, Daddy,” she wailed, “I can’t speak Frennnnch!” Not yet, you can’t, I thought. Over the years, the teachers to whom we entrusted our son and daughter showed dedication to the task. They worked long hours at the school and then more for extra-curricular activities. A teacher’s job these days goes beyond teaching, as the best of them also do unpaid double duty as counsellors and social workers — all while maintaining order in the classroom. Having seen my share of chaotic pre-adolescent birthday parties and that special craziness of post-pubescent gatherings, it is a wonder any teacher gets through the day. For the most part, our experiences with the public system have been satisfying. But we have bumped across indifferent teachers and one or two real duds. Dear friends of ours pulled their daughter from her graduating class to avoid an inept teacher, placing her in a private school for Grade 12. Some of her classmates opted for homeschooling. That was a troubling development. If the school system is incapable of dealing with a problem teacher, then the public schools will lose students whose parents have the means to afford other options. The system is the poorer for their absence. I’m a believer in the public system. Give children the tools to learn and they will succeed as young adults, depending less on social services while contributing to the pot of pension funds for their aging parents and grandparents. The cost of a failed public school system can be seen in some American states, where an abhorrence of taxes starves schools and leads to one social problem after another. When a public California, which once had such system stagnates brilliant prospects, looks more like a dystopia with each passing year. or becomes Over the past four decades, the dysfunctional in a bitter war, the public system in BC has become a battleground between teachers and casualties are the provincial government. On one obvious. side is a teachers’ union ever more militant in the face of an employer it perceives as an enemy; on the other is a government whose dedication to providing quality education seems a secondary concern to putting the boots to its employees. They fight in the courts and at the bargaining table, where, not surprisingly, the intractable meets the unmovable. They circle like a pair of schoolyard bullies in an ugly dance of mutual intransigence. The division threatens to worsen. What we need is political leadership to acknowledge the mess and seek to reconcile the partners. When a public system stagnates or becomes dysfunctional in a bitter war, the casualties are obvious. Students and parents are always caught in the crossfire. VB 23
photo by gary McKinstry
who doesn't love a big musical, theatrical extravaganza? I sure do, and this season’s offerings from Pacific Opera Victoria have, so far, scored two for two with The Flying Dutchman back in October, and Mary’s Wedding, which had its world premier here in November. This month, Victoria audiences will have the chance to see a new presentation of Georges Bizet’s Carmen, with Allyson McHardy in the title role, and a sexy sizzle in the production values — just the thing to heat up a chilly February night or put a song in the heart of your favourite Valentine. And in April, we’ll get dueling sopranos in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, which is already drawing the attention of opera fans from across the continent. Clearly, Victoria is blessed with opera abundance. Along with weekly simulcasts from New York’s Metropolitan Opera, which let us see a wide range of productions at movie-theatre prices, we have a renowned professional opera company that offers uncompromisingly lavish live productions that audiences can feel satisfied with regardless of the ticket price. They pull these off for less than a million bucks or so per production, too, and that’s not even an exaggeration. But times in the arts are tough, and if that news seems to be repeated as often as the familiar strains of Carmen’s famous Habanera, well, it’s because it rings as true. I recently spoke with Suzanne Dube, POV’s director of development, and Ian Rye, POV’s director of artistic administration, because I’d noticed that their new drive for donations points to hard times hitting the opera company as well. Hard times — or possibly just the new reality for arts 24
organizations all over the country. In a climate of government cutbacks that can yank the stage out from under many companies, arts organizations are having to develop a new business model, says Rye. It’s one that relies on the kindness of strangers, or more typically, the kindness of corporate and individual donors, to make up the shortfalls that happen when gaming grants and other government subsidies vanish. Two years ago, POV lost $100,000 in gaming funds. “It happened so suddenly,” says Dube. The deficit left the company with no choice but to dip into its piggybank for funding for the rest of last season and for the current one. Now, the Pacific Opera Foundation, the charitable organization that fundraises for the company, has posed a challenge: if the opera company can raise $300,000 by June, the foundation will match it, creating a total of $600,000 to add to the company’s coffers. And that money needs to come from somewhere, if we want to keep on enjoying the kinds of performances to which we’ve grown accustomed. As it stands, POV has had to reduce next year’s season from four operas to three — Macbeth, Albert Herring and Tosca — a step backwards that comes, says Rye, from being unwilling to make more difficult choices. “In any business, you have to make the choice, to reduce quantity, or reduce quality.” He explains that if they were trying to stretch the company’s $3.75-million annual budget to cover four operas, they’d have to perhaps make the choice of scaling back the size of the productions, or “be more flexible with choosing artists,” says Rye. “By restricting ourselves to three main-stage operas, we can maintain and continue to grow. This way we have no artistic compromises.” The only problem with this decision is that audiences won’t get to see as many operas next season, a fact that Rye says “is disappointing.” We really have nothing to sing tragic arias about here in Victoria, though. Just look to Ottawa, where the Opera Lyra company has gone from four productions two years ago, to three last year, to just two this season, cancelling its remaining productions suddenly last November due to “a lack of financial resources,” representatives said in a statement. “This is not the story in Victoria,” says Rye. “This is an incredibly well-supported opera company.” But ticket sales only account for 40 per cent of POV’s revenue, and dwindling government support takes care of another 20 per cent. The rest, a full 40 per cent, comes from individual and business donors who recognize the value of a company that gives audiences the chance, several times a year, to indulge in an evening of spectacular singing and spectacle. “It’s about quality of life,” says Dube. If quality of life means supporting shows as passionately as the famed Carmen sings, I couldn’t agree more. Pacific Opera’s 2012-2013 season is Macbeth, Albert Herring and Tosca. Visit pov.bc.ca for details on the three upcoming productions. VB 25
BITTEN BY the love bug? Surprise your sweetheart by planning a special date night, and not necessarily with creditcard heartbreak. Whether you sizzle, stretch, spin or snuggle this Valentineâ€™s Day (or thereabouts), youâ€™re sure to escape the old chocolates-and-flowers routine. And who knows? You might discover something about your love, too. Let Boulevard help you to let the romance begin!
Providence Farm in Cowichan has recently started the Loom Room, a program that helps adults and seniors with disabilities explore their creative side.
At providence farm in the Cowichan Valley, the first building visitors see is Providence House, a 90-year-old restored school, complete with a blackboard, fir-panelled wainscotting and double sash windows. It’s easy to imagine children scrambling up the front steps as the school bell rings. The school, orginally founded in 1864 by the Sisters of St. Ann, is still a place of creative learning, but today adults with social, physical or mental health needs carefully climb the steep wooden stairs to the second floor and make their way down a corridor to a special classroom called the Loom Room. Inside, four floor looms — affectionately called Daisy,
Talitha, Margaret Louise and Jean Claude — are grouped together at the far side and three table looms line a shelf at the back. Two sewing machines sit at the front; multiple spools of colourful yarn are shelved along another wall, and in a place of honour above the acrylics hang strands of black, grey, white and brown hand-spun yarn. Raw wool is bundled in bags at the back, awaiting the next spin-in, which is a monthly gathering of spinners at their wheels. Nearby is a comfy chair with a basket of yarn beside it. Textile items — a scarf, a handcrafted doll, a knitted bag — are displayed around the room for inspiration.
The largest collection of garden pottery
Anne Morrison, David Thomson u SeaShine Design u David Cooper Photography
The Loom Room is one of 13 programs available to participants at Providence Farm, a 186-hectare therapeutic community at the foot of Mount Tzouhalem just outside Duncan. Operating since 1979 by the Vancouver Island Providence Community Association, the farm’s mission is to serve adults and seniors who have intellectual or development disabilities and/or mental health issues, providing them a place to belong and contribute. At first, participants took part mainly through the Greenways program, which includes horticultural therapy and training at the farm’s greenhouses, nursery and market garden. The programs have expanded to include vocational training at the furniture shop, a small engine repair shop, a farm store, kitchen and Sister Frieda’s Free Store. A program for developmentally disabled men helps participants learn animal husbandry and grounds maintenance; and at St. Ann’s Garden Club, seniors with mental health issues tend plants and prepare jams and jellies. In the Art Studio and most recently the Loom Room, participants get to explore their creative side. The Loom Room grew from part-time employee Betty Worthy’s desire to find a place where one of the participants could crochet. At the same time, in January of 2010, Worthy was learning to weave — that was her New Year’s resolution — in Leola Witt-McNie’s studio at Cowichan’s Whippletree Junction. After discovering four looms in storage, she got the go-ahead to create a room where participants could learn skills such as weaving, sewing, crocheting, hand-stitching and rug-hooking while enjoying the ambiance of the room. “Betty went out to the community and said ‘we are doing this and we would be interested if you have old sewing machines or looms …’ And it was an overwhelming response,” says executive director Karen Bittner. Worthy says participants like the calm atmosphere in the Loom Room and those who are not up to more physical work in the fields or gardens have found their niche there. “These people can sit down and do their hand-stitching or sewing,” says Worthy, now the program co-cordinator. One woman in the program has a brain injury and can remember very little, so staff were amazed when she saw a sewing machine and immediately knew how to operate it. Like other activities at Providence Farm, the Loom Room follows the organization’s motto, which is “people caring for the soil, and the soil nurturing the people.” In the case of the Loom Room, this happens via the farm’s animal husbandry program. In the spring, New Zealand-trained Pieter DeMooy, who is a native Victorian and has shorn over 300,000 sheep, sheers the farm’s flock. The wool is then sent to Qualicum Bay Fibre Works and to Alberta (the only part of the process to leave the Island) to be washed and carded. When the raw wool is brought back, a local spinning group spins it into yarn. Worthy saves this yarn for special projects such as the twice-woven rugs, which feature sheep and alpaca wool with a rag-rug base. These are popular at the Christmas craft sales.
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The Loom Room’s participants and volunteers produce other crafts using materials donated to Sister Frieda’s Free Store. Worthy gets one of the participants who “just loves to rip” to tear old sheets into strips, which are sorted by colour and woven into rag rugs. Some of the crafts are displayed at the General Store alongside other creations such as wooden bowls from the furniture shop, jams and jellies from the garden The Loom Room club, and industrial art from the project grew out welding shop. The proceeds from the of Betty Worthy’s sales of the farm’s bounty amount resolution to to about 40 per cent of the revenue. While this is significant, Worthy puts learn to weave it into perspective. and a Providence “Selling things is always a Farm participant’s consideration because we’re a nondesire to crochet profit. But having people happy at their work is more important than the money. We always try to make sure that everybody is feeling good about what they are doing. I am not going to be running a sweat shop,” Worthy says with a chuckle. The General Store at Providence Farm is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm in winter, selling items from many of the programs, including the Loom Room, welding shop and furniture shop. For more information about the farm see providence.bc.ca. VB Betty Worthy, above, started the program out of a New Year’s resolution to learn to weave. Below, skeens of wool ready for the loom. The wool comes from the farm’s sheep.
By Robert Moyes
COURT APPOINTMENT Victoria’s ever-delightful Palm Court Orchestra is wrapping up its 25th anniversary season with a tribute to Mario Lanza, the handsome opera-singer-turnedmovie-star whose lush vocal stylings led to his reputation as America’s greatest tenor. Tragically, the boldly romantic Lanza died in 1959, at age 38. But he will live on this Valentine’s courtesy of celebrated local singer Ken Lavigne, whose gorgeous — albeit lighter — tenor will be heard in a program of signature songs such as Because You’re Mine and Be My Love. “I have quite a fascination with Lanza,” admits Charles Job, the founder and conductor of Palm Court. “The upperartsy world tended to malign him as ‘cheesy’ because he was
too popular,” he says. “But Mario actually had the goods … he was a great tenor.” The hard-working Job is synonymous with the world of Palm Court music, those light-classical popular songs and dance tunes that were performed live at teas during the Edwardian era. His 26-member orchestra is probably the only “dedicated” Palm Court-style ensemble left in the world and offers a rare opportunity to hear these songs of remarkable charm and innocence. Performing Feb. 11, 7:30 pm, at UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium (250-721-8480); Feb. 12, 2:30 pm, at Duncan’s Quw’utsun’ Cultural and Conference Centre (250-746-8119); and Feb. 14, 2:30 pm, at Sidney’s Charlie White Theatre (250-656-0275).
MUSIC FOR THE SUN KING For its eighth annual outing, the Victoria Baroque Festival explores the musical legacy of King Louis XIV, an extraordinary cultural patron responsible for the French Baroque of Lully, Rameau and Couperin. “Louis XIV wanted to show Europe that his court was strong, and he did that by cultivating an artistic legacy and not by drafting a bigger army,” explains Marc Destrubé, artistic director of the festival and an internationally celebrated violinist. According to Destrubé, the so-called Sun King was an expert dancer and he encouraged court composers like Lully to integrate dance and music. The resulting body of work, much of it for lavish ballet and opera productions, was enormously influential across Europe. There will be five concerts, most featuring the 14-member Pacific Baroque Orchestra. The Victoria Children’s Choir is making a welcome return. A festival highlight is Paolo Pandolfo, a surpassingly gifted master of the viola da gamba, a six-stringed member of the viol family. This Italian virtuoso will perform several times, in both ensemble and solo recitals. Even though Destrubé has lived in Vancouver for the past 25 years, he’s Paolo Pandolfo Photo: Evy Ottermans happy to spend the large number of hours required to pull off an event of this scale for his hometown. “It’s hard work but it’s also fun,” says Destrubé. “The wonderful thing about a festival is that both musicians and the audience can discover absolutely wonderful music that they likely would never hear otherwise.” Running February 9-12, at various venues. For information, google “pacbaroque.”
From Beethoven to the Barra MacNeils!
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 february 19 uvic centre
Tania Miller, conductor Michelle Mares, piano
A Celtic Celebration with the Barra MacNeils march 1, 2 & 3 royal theatre michelle mares
Giuseppe Pietraroia, conductor The Barra MacNeils
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Julian Kuerti, conductor Anton Kuerti, piano
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INAUGURATING A LITERARY FESTIVAL Salt Spring Island’s first-ever literary festival, Words Without Borders, is inspired by Freedom to Read Week. “We’re focusing as much on the ‘freedom’ as the ‘read’ part of that heading,” explains festival co-ordinator Chris Oke, a part-time farmer who’s also getting a master’s degree in creative writing at UBC. Investigative journalist Stevie Cameron will read from her new book on the notorious missing women’s case in Vancouver; while Charles Foran, current president of PEN Canada, will address freedom of expression. Other headliners include Esi Edugyan, Giller Prize winner for Half-Blood Blues, and poet Susan Musgrave. Bigger events are at the ArtSpring community arts centre in Ganges, with more local writers appearing in nearby cafés. “There will be readings and then a discussion with the audience,” says Oke. “People can come and hear some great readings, but it will also be thought-provoking.” Running February 24-26 on Salt Spring Island. For information, see saltspringfestival.com.
ARDENTLY SHARING HER FAVES While most Canadians may remember Jann Arden for such hits as Insensitive and Could I Be Your Girl, her latest album is all about this feisty and funny Canadian chanteuse sharing her favourite pop songs. Uncover Me 2 is Arden’s second album of cover songs, this time featuring the likes of the Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac and the Smiths. Her 17 city tour promoting the album kicks off in Victoria for two nights. “These are all songs that people can relate to. I hope people find a little bit of themselves listening to it. I hope they recall an old memory,” Arden says on her website. Performing February 19 and 20 at the McPherson Playhouse. For tickets, see rmts.bc.ca ~ by Karolina Karas
Clockwise: Charles Foran, Stevie Cameron, and Susan Musgrave all appear at Salt Spring’s Words Without Borders.
THE SOUL OF VALENTINE’S You certainly don’t have to be a churchgoer to become a true believer where The Sojourners are concerned. This award-winning gospel trio from Vancouver started out as ad hoc back-up singers for celebrated West Coast bluesman Jim Byrnes when he was making his 2009 House of Refuge CD (which went on to win a Juno). This Valentine’s Day give your darlin’ Asked to tour with some champagne, chocolate, and the Byrnes, they were sweet gospel groove of Vancouver encouraged to crank recording artists The Sojourners. out their own CD to have something to sell on the road. And sell it did, due to the gorgeous harmonies and captivating stage presence of these smooth and charismatic practitioners of what they call “roots gospel.” According to group co-founder Will Saunders, their sound — a mellifluous mix of doo-wop, soul, R&B and gospel — is influenced by such ensembles as the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Golden Gate Quartet, and especially The Impressions, which launched Curtis Mayfield into a huge mainstream
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career. Currently finishing their third CD, The Sojourners are putting on a Valentine’s show at UVic that will go perfectly with chocolates and roses. “We’ll be doing our straight-ahead gospel repertoire with maybe two to three secular songs,” explains Saunders, whose voice still bears traces of his Louisiana heritage. Providing some righteous rhythm will be their trio of back-up musicians with Paul Pigat on guitar. With their richly textured blend of grit and uplift, beauty and soul, The Sojourners will take the audience on a unique musical voyage. Performing February 14, 8 pm, at UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium. For tickets, call 250-721-8480 or visit auditorium.uvic.ca.
OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM What is 18 years old, offers 150 chances to view something you’ve never seen before, and attracts an audience of 24,000? If you guessed the Victoria Film Festival, odds are you’re already a fan of this long-running celebration of non-mainstream cinema. Run since the beginning by Kathy Kay, the VFF offers a lively mix of non-Hollywood features, documentaries, and short films. This year, Kay is particularly pleased to be offering five docs covering the little-known but profound impact of Switzerland on the world of international design. One is a biopic of Herbert Matter, a pioneer of poster art from the 1920s to the ‘40s who influenced such legendary painters as Jackson Pollock. Another features the Swiss architects who created the extraordinary Bird’s Nest stadium for the Beijing Olympics. From another world entirely comes The Redemption of General Butt Naked, a provocative documentary about a murderous warlord in Liberia who killed thousands during his country’s 14-year civil war and then re-invented himself as an evangelical Christian trying to atone for his past. “But is he for real, or just conning people in order to maintain power?” asks Kay. “This film asks challenging questions about forgiveness and human nature.” Culled from over 1,000 entries — as well as from lots of Visine-powered research at film festivals in Toronto, Seattle, Calgary and Vancouver — the VFF has lots to offer all but the terminally unimaginative. Or, as the ebullient Kay puts it, “It will be fabulous!” Running February 3-12 at various venues. Program guides are widely available (VFF office is at 1215 Blanshard St.). tickets available at festival office,1215 blanshard st • 250 389 0444 • www.victoriafilmfestival.com
Deryk Houston's Standing Around Talking; 24"X30" framed acrylic on canvas. And below, Houston's Gonzalez Bay; 11"X14" framed acrylic on canvas.
ART THERAPY Victoria-based artist Deryk Houston has two divergent practices: as a painter of rural landscapes and as an installation artist whose large-scale “ground art” pieces are overtly political in nature and focus on the impact that war has on the innocent and the disenfranchised, particularly children. His work has been featured in an NFB documentary and he’s done oneman exhibitions in Russia and Iraq. Most recently, Houston did an installation at the Nanaimo Public Art Gallery portraying his response after visiting the Ameriyah bomb shelter in Baghdad that was destroyed by missiles. “It was Deryk’s own efforts that got him to Russia and Iraq,” explains John Taylor, co-owner of Eclectic Gallery. “And experiencing the devastation of these conflict zones would have been truly gut-wrenching.” Taylor is moved by Houston’s commitment to this aspect of his art-making, and speculates that the peaceful act of painting represents a muchneeded healing process. It’s this side of the artist that’s represented at his Eclectic show, featuring about 20 rural landscapes of Victoria. Originally from Scotland, Houston has lived here for 22 years and clearly has abundant affection for the area’s farmland and coastline. “There’s a real depth to his paintings,” says Taylor. “There are clear elements of Impressionism, and a rawness, intensity, and immediacy … there is a lot of Van Gogh in his boldly coloured work.” From the earthy vigour of fruit-laden apple trees at Merridale Cidery to a tractor in a field promising fecundity and springtime renewal, these paintings convey surprising hopefulness for an artist who has often seen the worst that humans can do. Running from February 27 to March 31 at Eclectic Gallery, 2170 Oak Bay Ave. For information, call 250-590-8095 or see eclecticgallery.ca.
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REVERED AS the Shakespeare of Harlem, poet Langston Hughes captures the frustration of generations of blacks in a line from his famed work Mother to Son: “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” Victoria writer Esi Edugyan’s life stands as a stunning counter to the kind of hardships Hughes describes, those which blacks throughout the African Diaspora have endured and struggled against for centuries. Born in Calgary 34 years ago to Ghanaian parents, Edugyan inspires with her confident, free-to-be-me attitude and her sheer love of language. Last November, an image of an ebullient Edugyan was published on the front page of every major
newspaper in the land. With her second novel Half-Blood Blues, Edugyan bested publishing powerhouses such as Michael Ondaatje to win the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize, the first black woman to do so. The prize confirms not only her talent, but the enduring value of that independent spirit: her new resolve to write “what I want, when I want,” is on solid ground. As one who recalls the venom spewed at blacks and whites who dared to share a sandwich, let alone a kiss during the fiery 1960s in the US, I am awed by Edugyan’s no-limits approach to life. Where I hear in my head the voices of previous generations, the enslaved blacks who would have rejoiced at scrubbing floors for “Massa” instead of chopping cotton in the fields, Edugyan does not speak of racism as a defining issue in her own life. Indeed, she revels in her interracial marriage to poet and novelist Steven Price. The couple recently celebrated the birth of their first child, a daughter. Over tea at the Superior Café in James Bay, she describes being a shy, but happy child of Ghanaian parents who emigrated in the 1970s. This may help explain her adult perspective: “I had a fine childhood jumping in the snow. There were other … Ghanaians in the community, so I attended lots of dinners, weddings and banquets. My life was not fraught with racial strife,” she recalls. As she grew, Edugyan, one of three children, could not have seen many accomplishments beyond her grasp: she studied piano, classical guitar and cello, and considered law as a career. She thought of journalism too, but felt she might be too shy to do interviews. “I’d always loved reading as a child, so I guess I was fated to become a writer,” says the graduate of writing programs at UVic, where she met her husband, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Edugyan counts Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, Michael Ondaatje, George Elliott, and Tolstoy (“the greatest novelist who ever lived”) as influences on her craft. “They’re all about developing vibrant characters,” she notes. “And that’s where I start.” Racial and musical themes do come together in her awardwinning work: Edugyan traces the beginnings of Half-Blood Blues, which details the disappearance of an Afro-German trumpet player during the Nazi era, to a writing residency she spent near Stuttgart in 2005. “I enjoy writing about people and take real pleasure in playing with language,” she says. “There hasn’t been much written about the experiences of blacks during the Third Reich. Driven by my own curiosity, I began to research and write.” Edugyan returned to Victoria with a first draft that she happily relinquished to her husband. “Steve’s a brilliant writer and editor,” she says, her face beaming. “He’s the first and last person to read my work.” She also solicited feedback from Saskatchewan-raised novelist Jacqueline Baker, author of The Horseman’s Graves 41
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and a cherished friend. “We were at UVic together and have stayed in touch,” Edugyan says. As we talk, another element in her literary triumph comes to my mind. By winning Canada’s premier literary award, Edugyan has defied the so-called “sophomore slump” in which the second offering of a creative artist is received with less enthusiasm than her or his successful debut. Her first release, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne (2004) was widely hailed. Given the aim routinely trained on second novels, HalfBlood Blues might have joined the ranks of rebuked works such as The Autograph Man (“abstract and pompous,” sneered The New York Times) by Zadie Smith, author of the smash debut White Teeth. Instead, Edugyan’s novel garnered rave reviews and was short-listed for other awards (including the lofty Man Booker) before she won the prize named in honour of journalist Doris Giller, who died in 1993. “It’s so easy for good books to get lost,” Edugyan says about her landmark achievement. “I’m grateful that more readers might be interested in my writing because of the Giller.” A detectable pique pierces Edugyan’s otherwise upbeat demeanor when she discusses the collapse of Key Porter Books (the original Canadian publisher of Half-Blood Blues). She says that she received word that the company had folded “I’m grateful that from her editor Jane Warren, more readers might who was blindsided with the be interested in my news earlier in the day. writing because of “We were told at about 2 pm the Giller.” that we were out of a job as of that afternoon,” says Warren, now an editor at HarperCollins. “I contacted Esi shortly thereafter. I don’t know if anyone else was in touch with her, but I did hear from other authors that no one ever contacted them personally.” Ditto for Edugyan who says that top brass at Key Porter never informed her that the manuscript she’d laboured on for five years had been abandoned. “It was all very hazy and disappointing,” she recalls, with a sigh. “I still don’t know exactly went wrong.” Luckily, Thomas Allen Publishers picked up the novel and released it just before the 2011 literary awards season began. Edugyan credits the “weird and crazy sequence” of being dropped by Key Porter, securing a new book contract and scoring the Giller with strengthening her resolve to write about whatever moves her to do so. With this, I’m reminded of the Alice Walker poem pointedly titled, Be Nobody’s Darling. “I’ve gone through so much in the industry that I’ve really matured in the process,” Edugyan says. “I was a bit green when I started but now I’m more clear. I don’t feel any pressure to meet anyone else’s standards as a writer. I won’t be distracted by the publishing buzz when I get back to my desk.” VB
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like many Canadians closing in on retirement, Shafik and Jenny Nasser saw the light and settled on Victoria after holidaying in the area on and off over 30 years. They love the proximity of the ocean and the city’s gentle pace. “And there are lots of old people like me, and no ice and winter,” Shafik lightly jests. But “getting the light” was another matter. The couple, who
originally came to Canada from sun-drenched Tanzania, knew they would miss Calgary’s 2,400 hours of sunshine each year, the most of any major Canadian city and 200 more hours than Victoria typically receives. Moreover, Calgary’s sunny days tend to be spread evenly throughout the year, unlike Victoria, where summer’s endless sun is a marked contrast to the gloomy winter months. This vexing meteorological matter
Quality millwork & innovative designs
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The fireplace hearth reaches to the vaulted ceiling while built in niches create a space for treasured family objects. Floors of tough doussie, a wood found in Africa and Asia, will withstand years of wear while harmonizing with the Douglas fir architectural elements and cabinetry.
explains why their newly constructed Oak Bay home features 20 skylights and double the interior illuminations as would be typical of similar-sized homes. The couple have owned the property, close to Oak Bay Avenueâ€™s compact village, since the 1990s and originally thought of renovating the existing 1950s character home once retirement was on the near horizon. They abandoned that idea when cost estimates outstripped demolition and starting from scratch. Nor would renovation achieve the level of energy
efficiency, earthquake resiliency, and aging-in-place design as a new home. With that knowledge they set a goal of creating a home that fit into the neighborhood. The structure sits low on the lot, and unlike many infill homes in established neighbourhoods, isnâ€™t elbowing adjacent homes aside with its mass. Its golden-wheat-stuccoed exterior is low maintenance and in keeping with the surrounding colour palettes. The deeply-pitched charcoal roof, while eyecatching because of its various angles, esthetically harmonizes
with existing styles. And, for a house with 26 windows, there is no sense of it being a glass-wall monolith. Indeed one has to study the home carefully to appreciate the care taken to position windows and skylights in a manner that draws every lumen into the interior with open arms. Turning on a light switch is rarely needed during daytime hours, says Shafik. Indeed some days the couple wake up thinking they have left a light on overnight only to find the main living area of the home bathed in the morning sun. 47
Above: While curved millwork adds costs to construction, the Nassers placed a priority on adding a few softening features throughout the house, including the ledges under each niche created for art objects. Below: A bank of windows facing south on the upper storey provides passive solar heat in the winter but in the summer towering Garry oaks ensure that the light coming inside is filtered and dappled. Of the 20 skylights in the home, some pour light into the spacious hallway.
Architect Brian Morris says the skylight placement in the rafted ceiling transitioning the living room and kitchen was designed to manage how light was brought into the space. “It is not just about throwing in skylights. It is diligently thought out in terms of where they are placed and how it relates to a particular space … .” Without those considerations the light “would have been glaring at some points of the day.” Morris worked closely with the Nassers, asking them questions about their lifestyle and taking them to see other homes so they could clearly identify elements they liked. This is a process Morris especially enjoys. The Victoria architect specializes in residential design because he likes the intimacy created from working closely with one or two people over a year or two, which contrasts to the large number of relationships required in commercial projects. “I like the small-scale aspect of residential design. I like getting to know the people and coming up with a solution that works for them. There is a real sense of reward when someone says that the house works for them and they are so happy to be there,” says Morris, who typically spends 10 to 15 hours with clients just getting to know them before putting pen to paper. This relationship becomes his de facto muse for the end product. “That’s where I get my inspiration.” The Nassers couldn’t be happier with the result, adding that after interviewing four prospective architects “most of them said what they could do for us, but Brian spent two days with us, asking questions about our lifestyle and what do we want the house to be like.” In addition to placing top priority on lighting, the Nassers wanted a home where they could age in place and could showcase the collection of art and objects they have amassed over a lifetime of travel, much of it to exotic places. Extra-wide doors and hallways, a main-floor master bedroom, and blocking inside walls on either side of the toilets and showers to make the installation of grab bars simple, are aimed at making the home liveable for the Nassers well into the future. The home itself is only inches from grade level and to ensure the single step inside is not a major obstacle for future adaptations, the exterior walkway is set in sand should it have to be raised later to accommodate a wheelchair or other walking assists. Lovely, well-lit niches with sculptures and paintings await visitors entering the home and as they pass through a generous hall to the back, where the living room and adjacent dining room are the home’s nerve centre. Nothing is happenstance about the placement of the niches. Each of the five has been carefully aligned with other features, whether that be a doorway or group of windows. Morris describes the home as a blending of traditional architecture with details that are more in keeping with a modern, stripped-down aesthetic. “It has crisp detailing” that is timeless, allowing the couple’s furniture, many pieces which they designed and had custom made, to be at ease in the setting. 49
Wall spaces are adorned with treasures from Syria, Hong Kong, Vienna and other places from around the world, creating an intimate gallery effect while also telling the owners’ personal narrative. “It’s just junk we have collected on our travels,” Shafik says dismissively, but then goes on to tell the stories about each object, demonstrating the sentimental importance of the pieces now serving as historical references for trips taken either together or with their two daughters. The overall effect is one of calm. The placement of lights, objects, features and furniture “makes your brain feel more relaxed because there is a sense of order. Your brain is not trying to make sense of things that aren’t in order,” said Morris. VB
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Carolyn Heiman loves talking to homeowners, designers and architects about what makes a home a home. She writes about these special properties each month. Contact her at email@example.com.
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SUPPLIERS AND TRADES: A number of skilled professionals, trades and suppliers helped create this home. The homeowners wish to acknowledge the following contributors: Architect: Brian Morris Architect; Contractor/Builder: Derby Brothers Construction; Cabinet Maker: Chris Meade; Cabinetry Design: Brian Morris Architect; Counters: Matrix Marble & Stone; Flooring: European Flooring; Appliances: The Bay;Â Plumbing fixtures: Andrew Sheret; Windows and doors: Northwest Window and Door; Window covering: Ruffell & Brown; Lighting: Illuminations Lighting Solutions; Bright Designs; Landscaping: Susanne Osmond Garden Design
Douglas fir cross beams placed between the living room and kitchen area create a natural, muscular transition for the open space. The skylights have been carefully placed to modulate the light coming into the space. The master ensuite is calming in its simplicity.
The Fulton umbrella and the Marmot Minimalist jacket will both keep you dry. The Aigle Malouine rain boot in a Liberty London print brightens any wet day; and ebooks, cellphones and other electronics can be protected in a SeaLine E-case.
esign is all around us, whether we’re conscious of it or not. It’s in the structures we occupy, it’s in the everyday objects we interact with, it’s in the vehicles we drive and the roads we drive them on. Design is our clothing, our smart phone, our toothbrush. For me, good design exists only when form follows function, a fundamental principle that transcends design disciplines. Does that teapot, attractive as it may be, spill when it pours? Is that double-height grandiose entry foyer an efficient use of space, heating and lighting? Does that logo communicate an idea or brand regardless of any text accompanying it? In our rainy climate, we have a special consideration when it comes to the design of our outdoor accoutrements: will they keep us dry without sacrificing style? Personally, I don’t want to look like a walking garbage bag, nor do I want to feel like a drowned rat. So how does practicality meet fashion? “Here on the West Coast, it might snow, it might get cold, but it will rain,” says Gayle Robinson, owner of Robinson’s Outdoor Store on Broad Street, where I began my quest to find local, stylish and functional waterproof clothing and apparel. It turns out, there are things to look for in a rain shell that I had never considered before. For example, just because a fabric is waterproof, that doesn’t mean the jacket is, unless it features seams sealed with a hot glue tape. Seam-sealing is crucial in the waterproof functionality of outdoor apparel. The Marmot Minimalist is a leader in this category of high-performance rain shells. The Minimalist ($250) has a flattering silhouette but is still roomy enough to wear layers underneath. What I like about it is that it’s not too busy or over-designed. It comes in several colours, but all zippers, pockets and straps are tonal and discreet. While red and blue stand out boldly, improving visibility on our sometimes dull Vancouver Island days, the black option is as understated and sophisticated as it gets for a rain shell — as wearable and reliable on a commute to work as it is hiking the West Coast Trail. The price reflects the Gore-Tex fabric, which provides both weather protection and breathability, a first in outerwear when the laminate technology was introduced to garments in the 1980s. Nothing is as synonymous with rain gear as a good pair of rain boots, and a glance downtown on a wet day will undoubtedly demonstrate that the old-fashioned rubber boot is making strides in both variety and style, with a big range in price and function, too. For example, my husband prefers a pair of utilitarian insulated Baffin boots from Capital Iron (about $60) for working around the yard in any season. Hunter boots (the original UK wellington) are everywhere but are now being mass produced in China. So for those wanting something a little more fashionable in a women’s boot, yet still comfortable and dry, here’s a welly that really stands out in a mud puddle: The Aigle Malouine in a Liberty London floral print exclusively for the spring 2012 season. The French company has been
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hand-crafting boots using natural rubber since 1853, when the process of vulcanization was discovered (a chemical process using steam and pressure that converts rubber into a more durable substance). No gluing is involved in the making of these boots, and 4,000 pairs are handmade in France every day. It takes 24 months of training just to learn how to construct them, and these boots are made for walking, really. Aigle boots are subject to a high degree of quality control and waterproof testing before gracing the feet of any puddle jumper. At $102, these blossoming boots are available in Victoria at Head Over Heels on Blanshard, in the Atrium Building. What about something to protect our gadgets? My electronic devices have become like an extension of my body, so perhaps it’s fair to classify the SeaLine E-case as “apparel.” The E-case comes in three sizes and is available in green, grey and orange. Its simplified design is waterproof (you can even drop it in the lake for half an hour) with a Ziploclike closure and cutouts in the sealed perimeter that make it easy to attach to a clip or cord on a larger bag. But the characteristic that truly speaks to functionality is its nearly full-size urethane window that allows complete use of a touch screen for any device stowed within. In other words, you can check your iPhone’s weather app for a break in the clouds while standing unsheltered in the middle of a downpour. Starting at $21.95, the E-Case can be found at Ocean River Sports, on Store Street. Finally, no rainy day is complete without a parapluie (which happens to be my favourite word in the French language, and much more cheerful sounding than “umbrella”). Here are my three general complaints with this accessory: pinched fingers, poked eyes, and weak ribs that buckle in strong winds. So I set out to find an umbrella that met my criteria: ease of use, manageable yet adequate size, strength and of course aesthetic appeal. Newly opened Rainbird Boutique in Cook Street Village is Victoria’s first store solely devoted to rain apparel for adults and children, with plenty of boots, jackets and more. Of course, it carries a plentiful selection of quality men’s and women’s umbrellas, too. Owner Kelsie Tougas showed me several styles,
but the $33 Fulton Birdcage gets my vote. The fibreglass frame gives it superior strength, its transparent dome shape makes it less of a hazard when walking on a crowded sidewalk, and a patented easy-glide device located halfway up the shaft safely opens and closes the umbrella, pinch-free. Fulton umbrellas come in a variety of playful designs, using colour and prints to liven up this typically shadowy grey sky accessory. With the cherry blossoms soon to bloom and the promise of sunny days just around the corner, it’s a sure bet that spring is on its way. But experience tells me that our coast always has some rain leftover for what is often a lingering winter, and we will no doubt find ourselves in need of some wet weather gear before the season is through. So stay dry and comfortable with these functional finds, and remember we wouldn’t be “wetcoasters” if we let a little rain stop us from doing anything we want to do. VB The Marmot Minimalist jacket, left, has a sleek silhouette and sealed seams. The Fulton Birdcage umbrella has a fibreglass frame for superior strength and a whimsical design in its transparent dome that makes it both fun and functional.
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The Book: Here On Earth: A Natural History of the Planet, Non-Fiction Author: Tim Flannery Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., Canadian hardcover edition, 2011 Pages: 316
THE CLUB: I’ve been searching for a men’s book club (or even a co-ed one) since the launch of this column. When I finally found one in Nanoose Bay, I didn’t hesitate to make the long journey to the home of poet and magazine publisher David Fraser, where eight of the 11 members of The Non-Fiction Book Club gathered to discuss Tim Flannery’s latest book. The two-year-old club includes two nuclear scientists, a couple of bankers, a UBC professor, a chemical engineer, an insurance broker, an architect, a literary author, a previous marketing VP for Fairmont Hotels, and a former Mulroney cabinet minister. THE AUTHOR: Australian author Tim Flannery is an internationally acclaimed scientist and environmental activist whose best-selling books on global climate change have elevated him to hero status around the world. Critics say his message, however, is sometimes undermined by factual errors and questionable information. From a background in palaeontology (he studied kangaroo evolution for his doctoral thesis) Flannery went on to 60
focus on human impact on climate, land ecology and animal species. Currently a university professor in Sydney and head of the Australian government’s Climate Change Commission, Flannery was also named Australian of the Year in 2007. THE PLOT: Here on Earth chronicles Earth’s evolution from the Big Bang through the earliest evidence of life to the appearance of humans and the impact of civilization on the Earth. It culminates in the question: will we be able to preserve our own existence, or will we continue to knock the Earth’s systems so out of balance that we bring about our own extinction? Flannery believes the choice is ours to make and presents a future where it is possible to make the right choice and restore the Earth to balance. THE DISCUSSION: While many reviewers, including those for The Guardian and The Globe and Mail have given rave reviews for this book, poor Flannery didn’t stand a chance against the critical brain-power in this room. Conversation about Here
on Earth seemed more a scientific debunking and pointing out Flannery’s inconsistencies than literary discussion. True, agrees this club, we all need to heed Flannery’s clear warnings about human environmental impact to prevent further damage. We must bring corporate greed and capitalism under control and find new ways to distribute wealth. But to these men, who researched Flannery’s facts and figures and were already wellversed in many of the theories Flannery incorporates (Darwinism, Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene, and James Lovelock’s Gaia theory that the Earth is a single, giant self-regulating system), Flannery’s message gets a little lost amidst factual errors, contradictory information, blanket statements, illogical theories and misrepresentations of the theories of other well-known scientists. Take, for example, Flannery’s doomsday predictions about entire coastlines submerging as great ice sheets collapse. In the same paragraph, he first states “climate science is so advanced” that we can predict such catastrophic events; then says that a “gargantuan ice sheet” will suddenly collapse without
warning, sending London, Shanghai and New York the way of Atlantis. And how long will this destruction take? Weeks, Flannery warns. Or maybe decades. Well, okay, he admits, it could take centuries. “This is future babble,” said one member. “People who predict things based on grand theories are always wrong.” Many of Flannery’s past predictions, claims one member, have already turned out wrong. Unsubstantiated claims include Flannery’s statement that the ocean floor is littered with at least 17 nuclear vessels. “The US lost two nuclear subs, Russia lost five, and we know where they are,” said one of the nuclear scientists, who could find no evidence to support Flannery’s figure.
Some of the discussion centred around Flannery’s take on the Gaia theory. “This whole notion that the Earth is alive and protects itself; there’s absolutely no proof of that,” said one member, going back to the definition of a living thing as something that can reproduce. “If the Gaia theory is true, what does that say about the rest of the universe? Is it self-regulating too? How do you prove that?” There was some talk about Flannery’s claims that humans have pillaged Earth’s resources since the beginning, hunting mega fauna like mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers to extinction. “But how could a few million people world wide do that much damage?” One cited research presented in the November 2004 issue of Science magazine, which blamed climate/environmental changes as major factors in the demise of such animals. Whatever today’s climate fluctuations,
they are nowhere near as severe as the volcanoes and earthquakes that ravaged a younger Earth or the wild temperature fluctuations between previous glacial and interglacial periods — all before humans were around to blame for the changes. CLUB VERDICT: Here on Earth contains important messages we should heed, but contains enough errors and inconsistencies in logic that it falls short of the author’s reputation. Never believe anything you read without checking the facts for yourself. While the book generated a good, heated discussion about important topics, the club in the end did not recommend it. VB
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trawberries and cream, peanut butter and jelly — some foods seem made for each other. But these days culinary pairings are about more than taste. A new branch of food science is looking into the phenomenon of “food synergy,” the idea that certain foods, when paired, are even more nutritious than when they are eaten separately. Here are just a few of the healthy power pairs researchers have uncovered. Turmeric and Black Pepper Turmeric, a gnarly-looking spice that is the chief ingredient in curry and gives mustard its bright yellow colour, is the current darling of nutritional research. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart disease and arthritis. It does this in part by inhibiting an enzyme called Cox 2. Elevated levels of Cox 2 are associated with the pain and inflammation of arthritis and have been found in cancerous tissues. Unfortunately, when consumed on its own, turmeric has low bio-availability — meaning your body doesn’t absorb much of the curcumin it contains. It turns out the solution is also found on the spice rack. Scientists have discovered that when turmeric is combined with black pepper, the bio-availability of curcumin increases immensely. So next time you’re preparing a curry, get liberal with the pepper mill. Honey and Yogurt Honey’s reputation as a sweetener with little nutritional value is undeserved. It teems with healthy antioxidants and minerals and really steps into the nutritional spotlight when paired with yogurt or milk. Research conducted at Michigan State University has shown that adding honey to yogurt enhances the growth, activity and viability of Bifidobacteria, a group of bacteria that is important to the health and proper functioning of the gastro-intestinal tract. In a somewhat similar study, researchers at Purdue University discovered that adding honey to dairy products enhanced calcium uptake. Seems Biblical lore was right to laud lands of milk and honey: you’ll do your bones and tummy a favour by indulging in this dynamic duo together. Green Tea and Lemon Scientists now say regular consumption of green tea can
help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even osteoporosis. The compound thought to be responsible is a catechin called ECGC. The problem is catechins are relatively unstable in non-acidic environments such as the intestines, and less than 20 per cent of the total remains in the body after digestion. That means you have to drink a lot of green tea to reap its health benefits. Unless, it seems, you add lemon. Researchers at Purdue University recently discovered that when lemon juice is added to green tea 80 per cent of the tea’s catechins remain in the body. To reap the full benefits of this liquid marriage, Daniela Cubelic of Victoria’s Silk Road Aromatherapy and Tea Co. suggests “only fresh lemon should be used and added after the tea has been properly brewed, not beforehand.” High-Fat and High Calcium The next time you eat a meal high in saturated fat, like a burger, combine it with a high calcium veggie or follow it with a calcium-rich drink or dessert. Skim milk or low-fat yogurt is perfect. A study published in the December, 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that calcium aids in fat oxidation (burning). In the study, normal weight women were randomly assigned to a low-calcium (less than 800 mg) or a high-calcium (1,0001,400 mg per day) diet for one year and the rate at which their bodies burned fat after a meal was assessed at the beginning and end of the study. After one year, fat oxidation was 20 times higher in the woman eating the high-calcium diet compared to those in the low-calcium control group. The results have 63
now been repeated in a number of studies. Calcium-rich foods also include tofu, bok choy, turnip greens, broccoli, white beans, and low-fat yogurt. Cinnamon and Carbs We’ve all heard the bad news about simple, but sometimes undeniably delicious, high glycemic-index carbs such as white bread, potatoes and white rice. They raise your blood sugar and impair your body’s response to insulin. Carb-loving foodies need not despair. Seasoning a high-carb food with cinnamon can help lessen its impact on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-tumour, cholesterol-lowering, and immune-strengthening effects. But now it has been shown to slow the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating. Dozens of studies have demonstrated this fact. Researchers say as little as ¼ to ½ tsp of ground cinnamon is all that is needed to achieve beneficial effects. It is not enough benefit to eat cinnamon buns with impunity, but adding more cinnamon to your diet could improve blood glucose levels. Grilled Meats and Rosemary When meats are grilled they release substances called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) — dangerous compounds that are known carcinogens. Now, several studies have demonstrated that rosemary has the ability to significantly lower the amount of HCAs that are produced when meat is grilled. Scientists believe two of the spice’s anti-oxidants, rosmarinic and carnosic acid, deliver a powerful KO punch to HCAs. The most expedient way to savour this tasty duo is to make a marinade for your meat that includes a few sprigs of rosemary. Just make sure to brush on an additional layer of marinade after cooking, as high temperatures can destroy as much as 70 per cent of the spice’s anti-oxidants. (After cooking, don’t use marinade that the raw meat was soaked in as you may transfer bacteria to your food. Use fresh marinade.) Broccoli and Tomatoes Both of these nutritional superstars can stand alone as healthy additions to any meal. But when combined, they are a match made in health heaven. In a study first published in the December, 2004 issue of the Journal of Nutrition and now repeated by others, prostate tumours grew much less in rats that were fed tomatoes and broccoli than in rats who ate diets containing broccoli or tomatoes alone. It is the real foods that seem to make the difference as eating supplements of the cancer-fighting compounds isolated from tomatoes or broccoli did not have the same impact. The take-home message is that this culinary marriage is one of nature’s most successful synergies. Enjoy it often. VB 64
you don’t have to go looking for trouble on the Internet. It’s easy enough to find by accident. A simple typo in a web address can land you on a dangerous “squatter” site that can show offensive content or even infect your computer with malware, which is short for malicious software. As a parent, I find this particularly troublesome. I’d like to let my kids explore more freely, but it’s too easy to step into something nasty. I’ve taken steps in my house to dramatically reduce these risks for them (and for mom and dad). Here are four main strategies that I use to help prevent my computers from landing on bad sites: 1. Use a safe DNS Instead of the DNS (domain name system) supplied by your Internet provider such as Shaw or Telus, OpenDNS.com provides free alternates that block access to known bad sites. Two free options exist for Mac or PC. OpenDNS FamilyShield is preconfigured to block adult content, while OpenDNS Home is customizable, but more complicated to set up. I use the easier FamilyShield option, and I never find that anything I need is blocked. If you do find that the blanket protection is too much, the OpenDNS Home option lets you specify the categories of content to block. The installation steps for either are nicely explained here: http://www.opendns.com/ home-solutions/parental-controls/. That webpage will ask if you want to set up FamilyShield on your router or on your computer. The difference is if you apply it to your router, all computers that connect to the router are protected. If you apply it to your computer, only your computer is protected — no other computers in the house are protected. Tip: If you have a laptop, I’d recommend you apply it there, too, so that your laptop is protected while away from your router. 2. Use a safe “Hosts” file The hosts file is a system file that is on all computers and used by any web browser. It can be used to block websites. A “safe hosts” file contains a pre-populated list of known bad sites. Along with the OpenDNS FamilyShield, I also use “HostsMan” from abelhadigital.com/Hostsman to create and maintain the hosts file on my PC computers. Install and run the program, 66
click “Check for updates” on the “Options” menu, and then click “Update” to get the latest list from “MVPS Hosts.” (You should then update this occasionally.) While some redundancy exists between safe DNS servers and safe hosts, most computer techs like me run both. If you are using a Mac, you can use “Gas Mask” from macupdate.com/app/mac/29949/gas-mask to do the same thing. 3. Use an account with limited permissions It’s much safer to surf when logged onto the computer with a “Limited” account instead of an “Administrator” account, especially if you are using an older operating system such as Windows XP. Open “Control Panel” and then open “User Accounts.” Click “Create a new account,” and then follow the steps. In the “Pick an account type” screen, choose the “Limited” option (instead of “Administrator”) for your children. Create passwords for all accounts, and then log into the new limited account for day-today browsing. (Make sure you leave at least one existing Administrator account with a password so that you don’t lock yourself out of the system since you can’t access system configurations when you are logged in as a limited user.) 4. Parental controls On the computer my kids use, I run the free Windows Live Family Safety 2011 (WLFS). It is clunky, requires establishing a Hotmail account, but effective. It uses a white-list, meaning only approved websites are accessible for the Windows accounts that you choose to restrict: 1. Create (limited) Windows user accounts (with passwords) for each kid (see above). 2. Install WLFS from here: Familysafety.live.com. 3. Run the program: it will walk you through the setup. 4. Restart the computer and then log on to Windows by clicking the icon for your child’s account on the Welcome screen. Now, when your child tries to access an un-approved site, you see two option buttons: a. Email your request: This sends an email request to your Hotmail account. You can approve the request from inside the email. Or b. Ask in person: This lets you type your Hotmail credentials to approve access to the site directly. I recommend you google “Protecting your kids with Family Safety” for the Microsoft article that explains the program further, as it can be a little frustrating to get WLFS up and running to the point where it’s no longer obtrusive. These four steps will make web browsing safer for you and the kids, but sadly, it’s not yet possible to make the Internet “safe.” It’s still possible for a smart kid to bypass these safety mechanisms, and it’s still possible to blunder across nasty content. For web-surfing savvy kids, there’s no substitute for active parental monitoring. Be safe! VB
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limbing the half-dozen steps to the imposing entryway of the Jefferson County Courthouse, this thought crosses my mind: I’m in a different country for sure, but I could be in a different century as well. Solid wood and glass doors slide open as we step onto the threshold of this massive, red-brick building that watches over Port Townsend, Washington, with its turrets and 30-metre clock tower. Inside, courthouse employees go about their business as we walk the tiled hallways and peer into wood-panelled offices. They’re used to visitors who come to marvel at a wonderfully preserved Victorian-era building in one of the most Victorian of American towns.
a great seaside getaway for shoppers, maritime buffs and market-goers By Suzanne Morphet Photography by Beth Campbell
Find historic homes and heritage buildings, seaside views, and good food in Port Townsend.
Port Townsend is on the other side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, just a short ferry ride from Victoria (about 90 minutes on the MV Coho) plus an hour’s drive east from Port Angeles. It was founded just eight years after the Hudson’s Bay Company built Fort Victoria in 1843. But instead of becoming the New York of the West Coast, as anticipated, the town shriveled up when Tacoma/Seattle was chosen as the terminus for the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1890. Maybe it was for the best. Today, Port Townsend is an upbeat seaside getaway where you can sense the collective willpower of its small but determined populace (only 8,500 people) pulling the city into yet another century. Our fun begins when we check into the elegantly restored Bishop Victorian Hotel (rainshadowproperties.com) with its William Morris-themed floral wallpapers and a replica of the Titanic’s first-class cabins in the lobby. Ironically, the Bishop was completed almost to the day the highly anticipated railway announced it would by-pass the town. From here my group of friends splits up: Julie and I to shop and sightsee; Doug heads to the Boat Haven shipyard to oogle sailboats; and Shawn hits
the second-hand stores for cutlery for his jewellery-making business. Port Townsend’s downtown is a few short, tree-lined blocks along the water and down some side streets, but serious shoppers could spend hours here. Stunning window displays of fashions, pottery, even bathroom accessories stop us in our tracks. Excellent restaurants abound. We try on colourful felt hats at The Clothes Horse. At the well-stocked consignment shop, Fancy Feathers, I realize I’m wearing the very jeans I bought here last time I visited. Art is everywhere, from a driftwood log on the beach carved into a family of seals, to paintings, weavings, glasswork and more at the Port Townsend Gallery, a co-operative that hosts a walk the first Saturday of every month. At lunchtime we squeeze into a booth at the Blue Moose Café, whose homestyle fare is a favourite of workers from the shipyard (cash only). Then we’re ready to explore Uptown. Back in the early days “there was a tavern for every 75 people in downtown,” Bill Tennent, director of the Jefferson County Historical Society, told me on a previous visit. You can drive to Uptown in a couple minutes from downtown, but it’s more fun to climb the staircase at Haller Fountain and enjoy the views over Water Street, the ocean and Whidbey Island in the distance. Uptown features quiet residential streets and historic homes. Many are still private; others have been turned into B & Bs or inns, such as the Ann Starrett Mansion, a pink and turquoise head-turner from 1889. Uptown is also the place to be on Saturdays and Wednesdays most months of the year for a farmers’ market with 70 food, produce and crafts vendors, music, and more. The market was named Best Farmers’ Market in all the state in 2011. The next day, Julie and I bike some four kilometres to Fort Worden State Park, almost all uphill. It’s worth it when we crest the top and fly down the home stretch to the Point Wilson lighthouse on the north-east tip of the Olympic Peninsula. Fort Worden was one of three forts guarding the entrance to Puget Sound at the end of the 19th century. Today, its gleaming white barracks and stately officers’ homes provide a unique place to stay, hold a family reunion, or film a movie. (An Officer and A Gentleman was shot here.) Workshops and performances are often scheduled here. As we pull out of town, I spot another Victorian-era building I want to photograph. It’s the Kelly Building, home to Vintage Hardware. As I crouch down to get it in the frame, I see the building’s date: 2004. Count on Port Townsend to surprise you. Many activities take place in February, including the annual Red Wine and Chocolate Tour, Feb. 11-12 and Feb. 1820. The 16th annual Playwright’s Festival runs Feb. 11-27. The 21st annual Shipwrights’ Regatta is Feb 25. The Chamber Music Festival takes place Feb. 19 at Fort Worden State Park. For more information on accommodations, restaurants and visitor attractions, see EnjoyPT.com or call 360-385-2722. VB
A hundred years after the ruins of Machu Picchu were discovered, it remains a bucket list destination. Get there by train or hike, and take in the Inca culture,
ix am draws nearer and the sun begins to shine through the cloudy Peruvian sky. After an hour of hiking to reach the entrance to Machu Picchu, the altitude leaves me short of breath as I force myself up the final steps. At last I arrive at the entrance gate to the Lost City, a large concrete square crammed with hundreds of tourists. I gaze down onto an endless series of mountain ranges, some covered with snow and others bursting with green. We have all come here for different reasons, the adrenaline rush, the spiritual enlightenment, the historical significance or even just to check it off a bucket list. Within an hour, the gates open. As the morning clouds disappear, the sacred Incan city is exposed, suspended in the middle of the Peruvian cloud forest at 2,430 metres. The air is filled by the scent of orchids, fruit and fern trees and the sound of the Urubamba River flowing below. Hummingbirds and butterflies dance through the swarms of tourists, adding to the already mystical feeling emanating from the site. Last summer, Peruvians celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the rediscovery of this special place. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of World
history and crafts.
â€” an updated version of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World â€” the event was commemorated worldwide. But there is no substitute for being here on this glorious morning. The site itself is divided into two parts, the agricultural terraces and the urban centre, which are both built along the Eastern slope of the mountain range. The agricultural terraces were used for growing crops and preventing erosion. Due to frequent rainfall and humidity, there was no need for irrigation. The urban area includes the main square, stairs to and from the temples, water fountains, a guard house, the home of the Inca King and the homes of the other community members. The stone masonry remains meticulous, aside from a few cracking stone walls that are being restored. The roofs are tied together with llama skins, while the many sacred rocks remain in perfect shape though hundreds of touristsâ€™ hands hover above them. On July 24, 1911, Hiram Bingham, a professor of South American history from Yale University, was the first to discover the two Incan sites of Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu. After meeting with a local Peruvian farmer, Melchor Arteaga, who
told him of the wondrous Incan city, Bingham began his trek into the depths of the Peruvian jungle. Arteaga eventually left Bingham with a local child to continue the hike towards the city, and it was with this child that Bingham first glimpsed the Incan stone walls and vegetation sites of the now famous city. The 15th-century Incan site was abandoned due to a smallpox outbreak and to avoid discovery by the Spanish colonizers. The city is said to be the estate of Incan Emperor Pachacuti and housed his family, servants, agricultural labourers and soldiers. Though Bingham discovered heaps of bronze, metals, wood, stone and human remains, much of its history remains a mystery. Many historians deem Machu Picchu a sacred religious space. The Incans built here because of the positioning between the mountains and the sacred river. At the highest point of Machu Picchu is the Sacred Plaza, which houses the priests’ quarters, the Temple of Three Windows and the Temple of Sacrifice. The Temple of Three Windows frames the mountains from which the Incans originated. In the Temple of Sacrifice alpacas and llamas were sacrificed and their blood offered to the Pachamama, the Inca’s Mother Universe. Only when a natural disaster would strike would the Incas sacrifice humans, typically 13- to-15-year-old girls in order to offer virgin blood to the Pachamama. The girls would drink Ayahuasca, a traditional medicine drink still widely used throughout Peru, in order to enter into a hallucinatory state of connectedness with the Pachamama. Today, it’s the connection with ancient mystery that brings so many visitors to the site. The day before visiting Machu Picchu itself, most travellers sleep in Aguas Calientes, the village in the valley below. Here, the most important things to do are buy your Machu Picchu entrance ticket (only 2,500 people are allowed in per day) and pack food (food at the site is very overpriced). Aguas Calientes has fine dining, five star hotels, high-end spas, souvenir shops, botanical gardens and cafes. You can fly direct from Vancouver to Cusco. Then take a short taxi ride from the airport to the central plaza. Travellers can wander the beautiful colonial city in search of travel packages to Machu Picchu. There are 177 registered tourism agencies here and the prices are always negotiable. The easisest way to the Lost City is by a combination of train from Cusco and bus from Aguas Calientes, but the most popular way is to do the Inca Trail Hike, a 43 km trip at altitudes up to 4,200 metres. It takes four days and must be booked three months in advance. Cost: about $400. I took a group trek to Machu Picchu, which entails two to five days of hiking, biking and bussing from Cusco. About $200 US, it can be booked the day before departure. It is very physically demanding — three in our group of 12 dropped out from exhaustion — but a rewarding and beautiful trek. For more information google Machu Picchu for websites on the historic site and how to get there. VB 75
FOOD & WINE
flax attack Scarborough Fare sugar & spice Pecan Caramel Corn
holiday smoked salmon
Popcorn is a blank slate that can be adorned with many toppings, including flax oil, herbs and caramel flavour.
This month in Boulevard, we celebrate Victoria’s moviemaking scene. And what goes with the movies? Popcorn, of course. Alas, these days eating movie theatre popcorn is about as healthy as eating a high-fat, fast-food meal. Popped in coconut oil and then smothered in fake butter, theatre popcorn is full of trans fats, saturated fats, and calories. Even without the liquid topping, your salt intake still soars. While movie-house popcorn can be the occasional decadent indulgence, watching movies at home is a chance to enjoy home-made popcorn, which in its natural state is a high-fibre, low-calorie treat that contains protein, iron, thiamine, and riboflavin. When air-popped it contains only 31 calories a cup and when popped in oil, just 55 calories a cup. Of course, no one eats popcorn unadorned — that’s as appetizing as eating Styrofoam — but it’s your choice whether you want to slather it in butter and salt, coat it in sugars, or garnish it with more healthy toppings. Popcorn is an ancient grain with a long, noble history dating back thousands of years to the indigenous people of North America. Popped kernels estimated to be more than 6,000 years old have been found in a cave in New Mexico. Early Spanish conquistadors recorded Aztec ceremonies in which popcorn adorned headdresses or was made into garlands and ornaments, or presented as a gift to the gods. It was an important indigenous food, too. Some accounts even have the native guests at the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving bringing popcorn as their offering. Early settlers used it as breakfast food, serving it with milk and sugar. For years my comfort food has been popcorn. I fondly remember cooking popcorn at my grandmother’s as a special treat, putting the kernels in a wire basket that we shook over the open fire in her fireplace. It was a fine art to remove it just when all the kernels were popped but none yet burned. In university I lived on the stuff — as a go-to-snack, like the pioneers as breakfast with milk and sugar, and even as a dinner on occasion. 77
In recent years, I have experimented with various toppings. A family favourite is a mix of flax oil, Worcestershire sauce and parmesan cheese. We now prefer this healthy version over butter and it is a great way to get flax oil into our diet and increase our intake of omega 3 oils. Google “popcorn recipes” and a gazillion recipes come up — versions with bacon and cheddar cheese; tossed with iced tea powder or hot chocolate powder; seasoned with nori paper and soy sauce, Chinese five spice powder, or Cajun, Indian, or Mexican spices. In fact, popcorn is a blank slate that can be adorned in hundreds of ways. (Note, popcorn kernels pop in a one to four ratio, so 1/2 cup of kernels makes about two cups popped.) Here are a few of my favourites. While the first two are pretty healthy and the third a nice spicy twist, the pecan caramel corn is a sinfully delicious calorie splurge — but if you are going to indulge, go big time: Flax attack 1/2 cup popcorn kernels 1/4 cup plain flax oil (or chili garlic flavoured flax oil) 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp fine parmesan cheese Pepper to taste Air pop popcorn. Mix the Worcestershire sauce into the flax oil until it emulsifies and drizzle it over the popcorn. Dust with parmesan. Add pepper to taste. Scarborough Fare (Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme popcorn) 1/2 cup popcorn kernels 2 tbsp butter 1/4 tsp crushed dried parsley flakes Pinch of powdered sage 1/8 tsp crushed dried rosemary leaves 1/4 tsp crushed dried thyme leaves 1/4 tsp lemon juice Salt to taste Air pop popcorn. Melt the butter, stir in the herbs and lemon juice. Drizzle over the popcorn. Add salt to taste.
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Sugar and Spice 1/2 cup popcorn kernels 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar 3/4 tsp salt 1 tsp garam masala 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 2 tbsp vegetable oil Pop the popcorn in the oil in a pot over the stove and when fully popped, pour out into large serving bowl. Combine the spice ingredients and toss over the hot popcorn, stirring until coated.
Pecan Caramel Corn 20 cups popped popcorn (about five cups unpopped) 1 cup butter 2 cups brown sugar 1/2 cup corn syrup 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup chopped pecans Preheat oven to 250°F and place popcorn and pecans in large bowl. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter, stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for four minutes. Remove from heat, stir in soda and vanilla. Drizzle over popcorn and pecans, stirring to coat all pieces. Place in two large, shallow baking dishes and bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool completely before breaking popcorn into pieces. VB
WINE PAiRINGS from boulevard`s WINE EXPERT SHARON MCLEAN The mere mention of popcorn has me reaching for an oaky Chardonnay — but that is when it’s dripping in butter. The flax-oil topping needs a wine that has a distinct savoury, earthy profile and enough acidity to cut through the flax oil. Try the 2009 Tommasi Valpolicella ($18.99 at BC LDB). Light-to-medium bodied, with bright cherry fruit and herbal and leathery notes, its slightly bitter finish is a perfect foil to that Worcestershire sauce. The Scarborough Fare topping screams, “Verdicchio,” a grape variety that hails most commonly from Italy's Marche region (east central coast). The wines are dry and crisp with mineral and herbal notes and a slightly bitter twist at the end. The 2009 Marotti Campi, Luzano, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Superiore DOC ($19.99 and BC LDB and Everything Wine) has a creamy body and notes of fennel, apricots and white pepper. “Gewurz” means spice in German and a just off-dry Gewurztraminer is hugely aromatic with pronounced notes of lychees, roses and spices. It pairs well with Asian and mild curries so complements the Sugar and Spice popcorn. Try the 2010 Cedar Creek, Gewurtzraminer from the Okanagan ($17.90). One of the pairing rules that I observe is matching sweetness levels, because pairing a dry wine with a sweet dish makes the wine seem thin and astringent. The Pecan Caramel Corn would partner well with the sweet, nutty and orange notes of the Oloroso Nutty Solera sherry from Gonzales Byass ($16.99 at BC LDB). Or try a Tawny Port with its nutty, dried fruit profile. Warre’s, Otima, 10 Year Old Tawny ($29.99/500ml at BC LDB) has beautiful marzipan, caramel and floral notes. If you do fall back on butter, feel free to reach for an oaky Chardonnay. They truly are made for each other!
ILLUSTRATION SHELLEY DAVIES
when i was growing up in Deep Cove in the late 1980s, meal times at our house were a routine process. But when you’re not a part of it and left to your own devices, the process can take on its own wonderful meaning, where boredom leads to imagination, and imagination in turn leads to chaos. While my younger sister would help my mother chop vegetables, I was trusted with some lighter tasks, such as setting the table and entertaining the dog with our own trusted routine of Find the Cat. The kitchen was an open design, with two parallel counters providing an unrestricted view of everything going on. Adjacent to the counters was a set of bar stools. I would often sit there as the stools allowed me to overlook my mother and sister while they worked. I sat slumped, my head resting in my hands, feet kicking together. I felt left out. It was like I was the lone audience member for a community cooking show. One evening, when I was 10 years old, my mother and sister, who would have been 8, were making lasagna. I was in my usual spot, rooting through a basket on the counter, when I found a box of staples. The phone rang and my mother ran for it, my sister chasing behind as she’d previously mandated to the entire family she was the official “Answerer of the 80
Telephone.” Briefly alone, I stared at the uncooked lasagna sitting in the casserole dish. If you’ve seen any cooking shows you’ve likely seen the star chef grab a sprig of fresh herbs from a wicker basket and hold them up to the camera while explaining the many fine subtleties of its properties. Then the chef will break up the sprig, take a whiff, and say something like, “Now that’s fresh rosemary!” It must have looked something like that as I extracted the stiff bar of rigid staples, and, with wonder, swiftly crumbled them into my hand. As children we observe our parents closely. I’d seen my mother sprinkle parmesan or salt on meals numerous times. And with complete satisfaction I showered the lasagna with my handful of “freshly picked staples.” Having finally contributed to a family meal I watched as they slowly sank into the sauce. The dog as my only witness, you could foresee her commenting in that Brian-from-Family-Guykind-of-way, “Well, that will hold the meal together.” My mother, in a hurry after the phone call to keep dinner on time, raced back into the kitchen, where she quickly added the top layer of mozzarella and threw the lasagna into the oven. Later, when we finally sat down to eat, I told everyone that I had added a few ingredients of my own. My parents shot me stern glances; I’d never done anything more than pour milk into cereal. Then I proudly told them I had added staples to the lasagna. My father reacted with outrage, calling me a ding-aling and a doorknob. My mother looked on the verge of tears, and my sister, caught up in the excitement, starting pointing and shouting at me, “I’m getting your TV time!!!” Maybe it was some sort of internalized guilt that forced me to mention my “staple” meal contribution, or I intuitively knew that eating staples could ruin our intestines. Or maybe it was a cry for attention, a desire to be included. It’s not like I was ever truly excluded from things, but maybe I wanted a starring role in the “Family Cooking Show” and not a bit part. Possibly it’s why I’m such an avid cook today, often making elaborate dinners for my friends. I’m not sure. But all that is irrelevant to what the meal would eventually mean to us as a family. My father went to his toolbox and grabbed a large, circular magnet. Each of us, plated with a piece of lasagna, took turns with the magnet hovering over it. It didn’t really work as a tiny staple wasn’t going to be pulled through mounds of melted cheese. But it was hilarious and we were in hysterics. We chewed each slice slowly, making outrageous faces at each other. We did recover several of the staples and no one ended up knowingly eating any, and, if they did, nothing serious happened, other than we didn’t eat lasagna for years after that. But it’s had a lasting effect. The memory bonds the family. To this day, someone, inevitably, at a family dinner will say, “Can you please pass me the magnet?” VB
SECRETS & LIVES
By shannon moneo
What’s the hardest part of building a hockey team? The most satisfying? The hardest is bringing the junior hockey league mentality back to Victoria after 20 years. Seeing people enjoy the product is most satisfying. The kids are living the dream. They’ll make mistakes. That’s what leads to the excitement. You’ve spent time on many rinks. How does Victoria's rank? It’s a great junior hockey facility. Sometimes you may be in a facility that holds 20,000 and there’s only six in there and it feels empty. You get six in here and it’s still a nice atmosphere. What makes a good hockey town and does Victoria qualify? Victoria is a good hockey town. They understand the game. They’ve really rallied around the kids and that makes a big difference when the kids feel that support. You’re a Saskatchewan farm boy who got a pair of second-hand skates when you were three. Did you start on a frozen pond? Yep. I loved the game. Back then, we had one channel and black and white TV. You went outside and you had to find things to entertain you. In winter there wasn’t much other than strapping on skates and just playing hockey. Nowadays, they have Xboxes and PlayStations and cell phones. Is it better to have your players fear you or like you? I think respect is the most important. Coaching is like being a parent. You don’t let your kids eat chocolate bars for breakfast. You’ve done it all, including playing in the 1988 Olympics, head coach of Canada’s 2003 World Junior team that won silver, 15 seasons in the NHL and WHL, the first person in Canadian hockey to both play and coach for the National World Junior team. What was the most rewarding? Just the experiences.
PHOTOgraphy BY GARY MCKINSTRY
Winning is obviously important but when you win it’s the struggles to win you remember most. I’m not going to end up in the Hall of Fame but I’ve had experiences that a lot of people didn’t have. Do you still play any hockey or skate? I should skate for fitness but I don’t. I have arthritis, old injuries. I don’t do anything to keep fit. I’ve had many people say I should but I just don’t. If anyone knows of any new excuses I could use, please let me know. Give Boulevard readers one good reason why they should attend a Royals game. Because they’ll enjoy the experience. The players try hard. You can’t predict the finish. Even though football and rugby are contact sports, fights are rare; so why so many hockey fisticuffs? There’s emotion and players gotta have a release. In football, the play runs for five seconds and then you get a break. It breaks things up. In hockey, play goes a lot longer.
You’ve travelled a lot. Your favourite place? I was able to go behind the Iron Curtain at the height of the Cold War and see Moscow, East Berlin and Poland. Lots of KGB. We were with Team Canada and the Soviets were always wanting to beat Team Canada so to see how that played out was interesting. What do you do in the off-season? I have a little ranch back in Saskatchewan that gets me back to where I come from. It’s a good outlet. Why did your parents choose Canada when they emigrated from Luxembourg? My Dad wanted to start a new life for him, his wife and his future family. He had an uncle in Saskatchewan. So he came over to farm in Saskatchewan. He had farmed in Luxembourg. How many teeth are you missing? None. VB This interview has been condensed and edited.
What’s your attitude on fighting, concussions? The game is evolving. Eventually fighting will be out. When? I don’t know. What are the challenges of coaching your son Zach, 19, a Royals’ defenceman? It’s great to see him develop and help him develop but there are some pros and cons. But in the end the rest of the players see that when he needs a pat on the back or a kick in the rear end, he gets that. They know that what I’m doing is for him and it helps things more.
Marc Habscheid, 48 Head Coach/General Manager of the WHL’s Victoria Royals
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BOULEVARD MAGAZINE is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Victoria by focusing on the Arts, People, Trends, Fo...
Published on Jan 31, 2012
BOULEVARD MAGAZINE is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Victoria by focusing on the Arts, People, Trends, Fo...