J U N E 2014
VIC TOR IA LI F E AT ITS F I N E ST
COTTAGE KINSOL COTTAGES // TILAR MAZZEO AT THE RITZ // ART THAT ROCKS // CANADA’S TITANIC
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Issue 06, Volume XXIlI
DISASTER AT SEA By Stuart Eastwood
EDITOR’S LETTER Facing up to a hockey-less spring
STANDING STONE CIRCLE By Susan Lundy
FASHION FAVES Laura Harris By Lia Crowe
AT THE RITZ By Susan Lundy
HOT PROPERTIES It’s cottage time! By Carolyn Heiman
43 TRAVEL NEAR The Flight Path By Wendy Picken 48 TALKING WITH TESS Robert Bennett By Tess van Straaten
DESIGN MATTERS Flattering floors By Sarah Reid
32 HAWTHORN Baseball bliss in Victoria By Tom Hawthorn
GROUP PUBLISHER Penny Sakamoto EDITOR Susan Lundy CREATIVE Lily Chan Pip Knott ADVERTISING Pat Brindle Janet Gairdner ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Oliver Sommer ADVERTISING MANAGER Janet Gairdner EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Kevin Laird
FOOD & DRINK A passion for prawns By Cinda Chavich
51 FRONT ROW Sooke River Bluegrass Festival, Victoria Vice Tour and more By Robert Moyes
CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Bruce Hogarth CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cinda Chavich, Lia Crowe, Stuart Eastwood, Tom Hawthorn, Carolyn Heiman, Robert Moyes, Wendy Picken, Leanna Rathkelly, Sarah Reid, Tess van Straaten CONTRIBUTING David Borrowman, Cinda PHOTOGRAPHERS Chavich, Don Denton
SECRETS & LIVES Melanie Mahlman, VHF By Susan Lundy
e r: ov c on our View from one of the tiny Kinsol Cottages. Photographed by Leanna Rathkelly.
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PHOTO BY ARNOLD LIM
Facing up to a HOCKEY-LESS SPRING
WHEN BOTH OUR HOCKEY TEAMS tanked and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring, my partner and I said things like, “thank god hockey is over for the season; we’ll have more time to plant a garden,” and “life will be so relaxing — we sure won’t miss all that unhealthy playoff beer and stress.” We agreed hockey is a silly game, and what’s the point of watching the playoffs when there aren’t any Canucks or Leafs left. We would experience a hockey-less spring, and be much better for it. But then out came a play-off hockey pool and I covertly selected a team; then we both placed bets on the east-west final. Bruce pointed out that he really likes Crosby and the Pittsburgh crew so maybe we should catch a few of those games. I reminded him that back in the early 1930s, the Victoria hockey team was purchased by the fledgling Detroit Red Wings franchise … meaning Detroit is practically our home team. We’d need to watch that series too. Bruce murmured something about liking the Blackhawks’ uniform, and I remembered how much I wanted the Canucks-busting LA Kings and Boston Bruins to get smoked, so those games became imperative as well. Then we went to Toronto for a wedding and tried to become baseball fans by going to a Blue Jays game. It was fun! But next thing you know, we’ve taken a detour on Yonge Street, and slid into the underworld of the Hockey Hall of Fame. We placed praying hands on the Stanley Cup (please come to Vancouver, I implored) and everything went downhill from there. We purchased Leaf “merch” at the hockey store and spent the remaining nights at the bar watching the playoffs (except the night of the wedding, when we checked the games via our iPhones instead). Back home, the trend continued; the garden remained unplanted
and beer bottles collected in the recycling bin. For many people, spring means firing up the barbecue and scrubbing out the cottage (check out the story on Kinsol Cottages, page 14). But for hockey fans, it’s a whole other season. This edition of Boulevard offers lots of ideas about things to do in the spring other than watching hockey play-offs. There’s Cinda Chavich’s taste-teasing story on spot prawns (although they would be delicious with Corona and the Stanley Cup final); Sarah Reid’s piece on rugs and a visit to a monumental Salt Spring Island art sculpture. Also in this edition, meet New York Times bestselling author and new Victoria resident, Tilar Mazzeo (page 40). Or pull out a lawn chair and pick up Mazzeo’s new book The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death, And Betrayal At The Hôtel Ritz In Paris for an riveting read that has absolutely nothing to do with hockey. To definitively cast away play-off woes, read Stuart Eastman’s story (page 12) about the Empress of Ireland, also currently featured in an exhibit at the Maritime Museum of BC. And if none of this works, and you still feel as though you’ve missed out on something this season, you can always tune in to Victoria baseball action (read Hawthorn, page 32) or World Cup Soccer, which begins June 12 and runs for an entire month. Who needs a garden, anyway? Boulevard Buzz in June: For food lovers: The eighth annual BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival in Comox runs June 13 to 22. Yum! FMI: www.discovercomoxvalley.com For music lovers: JazzFest International’s 10-day festival takes place June 20-29, with jazz, blues and worldbeat music from over 300 musicians. FMI: www. jazzvictoria.ca For sports lovers: The Island Summer Games take place at Topaz Park, June 27-28, featuring myriad sports, food, beer and exhibits. Sounds like fun. FMI: www.islandsummergames.com WE LOVE HEARING FROM YOU We welcome your letters: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and links to featured stories and local events.
LIFE & STYLE LAURA HARRIS
Creator of really crazy big paintings
ARTIST LAURA HARRIS creates her art with an intense presence, always allowing for “beautiful mistakes.” She is fiercely independent and unapologetically awesome … let’s just say I hung on to her every word and took detailed notes! Laura heard Leonard Cohen say in an interview that he always knew he wanted to be paid for his work, not work for his pay. She took that little seed of self worth and grew her life from there. Over scones and coffee in her Cadboro Bay kitchen, she points to the back garden and says, “In that little 8x12 shack back there I paint really, really crazy big pieces.” On closer inspection, this little cottage reveals
PHOTO BY LIA CROWE
Print: Harpers Bazaar: “It always sparks something in me.” Online: www. whatkatieate.com Interiors: Kit Kemp, A Living Space. All time fave book: Shopgirl by Steve Martin. On bedside table: My Grape Escape by Laura Bradbury.
buckets of black brushes, and paint … everywhere. It leads my imagination to a visual of this beautiful woman, brush in hand, music blasting, wildly laying her emotions onto canvas. “The ‘Process’ is a bitch,” she tells me, “and if you don’t listen to her, things go sideways.” Born in 1969, the 4th generation Victorian never thought she would be an artist to make a living. That shifted when she saw a Jimmy Wright show in ’96ish: “I walked in and was absolutely floored. I have never been moved and stopped by a piece like that. It was crude and funny, big and bold. And I thought, that’s what I have in my head.”
BY LIA CROWE
“I jumped in with both feet. It was swift and, as they say, the net appeared. It’s been my full time gig and passion ever since.”
Life Fave Flower: White peony. Music: Laura says she always paints to music; her faves are Chet Faker, Ben Howard and even a little Led Zeppelin. Era: The 80s: “I rocked the 80s! I still love hairspray.” Artists: Jimmy Wright, Modigliani, Mark Rothko, “Blue, Green and Brown,” seen here. Film: Take This Waltz by Sarah Polley.
Uniform: Cashmere cardigan and T-shirt. Jean: Levi’s skinny leg. Fashion discovery: Pleated pants. Fave piece: Erin Templeton’s recycled leather “The Tank Tote” can become an ultra chic tote bag once you’re done with it as a tank top. Jewelry: Anna de Courcy’s re-worked antique (1880-1910) gold and silver pieces. Shoe: “Always heels” says Laura, her new faves are Camper’s heeled, slingback sandals. All time fave designer: Helmut Lang. Beauty Beauty secret: Aveda Botanical Kinetics Hydrating Lotion, over whole body, everyday. Face cream: DCL Moisturizer. Scent: Gypsy Water by Byredo. Hair Products: “I’m a Bumble and Bumble girl.” Who cuts your hair?: Laurie at Shampoo Hair Bar. 11
Chris Klausen with a piece of his collection of artifacts from the doomed Empress of Ireland.
OU HAVE SUNK MY ship,” accused Captain Henry George Kendall, who was yet to realize the scale of the unfolding disaster. In the early morning of May 29, 1914, Kendall’s ship, the Canadian Pacific liner Empress of Ireland, sank in just 14 minutes in the waters of the St. Lawrence. Despite ample capacity in her lifeboats, 840 passengers and 172 crew members lost their lives. To mark the centenary of this disaster, Victoria’s Maritime Museum of British Columbia is presenting a special exhibit called Empress of Ireland: Canada’s Titanic, running now until September 29, 2014. “For a number of reasons, the story of the Empress of Ireland has been largely lost to history,’’ says Anissa Paulsen, the museum’s director of exhibits and visitor engagement. “History needs to be democratized to show how events affected everyday people — and the loss of the Empress is the story of everyday people.’’
DISASTER AT SEA Empress of Ireland was Canada’s Titanic BY STUART EASTWOOD
PHOTO BY DON DENTON
INSIGHTS VIA ARTIFACTS North Saanich resident Chris Klausen has a collection of artifacts dedicated to the memory of the Empress of Ireland, which he keeps in a room at his home. Klausen’s interest in the Empress sprung from an initial curiosity about the Titanic disaster, which prompted further reading about shipwrecks. A book cataloguing accidents at sea referenced the Empress of Ireland tragedy. “I found her story compelling, and was surprised I’d not heard of the ship previously,’’ he said. A decade later, Klausen’s passion and knowledge has made him a respected authority on the subject, and his collection of artifacts recovered from the Empress of Ireland includes approximately 130 items.
The wound was fatal: 60,000 gallons of water per second poured into the ship
PHOTO BY DON DENTON
“We were captured by Chris Klausen’s enthusiasm,” said Paulsen, adding that the Maritime Museum worked closely with Klausen to present the story of the Empress of Ireland in a way that brings an immediacy and sense of scale to Canada’s worst maritime disaster. A timeline and other creative touches enhance the display of many of the artifacts in Klausen’s collection. Built in Scotland by the Fairfield Engineering Company, the Empress
of Ireland was a stylish and comfortable liner. The twinscrew, 14,000-ton liner served on the Liverpool to Quebec City run, completing the trip in about six days. In the late afternoon of May 28, 1914, under the command of Captain Kendall, the Empress of Ireland began her voyage to Liverpool. Further downriver, the Norwegian collier Storstadt was making her way to Montreal with a load of coal. Dropping her pilot at Father Point, near Rimouski, the Empress set course towards the open sea. Within minutes, her lookout reported a ship on the starboard (right) bow at a distance of approximately six miles. The Storstadt’s first The Empress of Ireland prior to her fateful journey of mate, Alfred Toftenes, was also May, 1914. alerted to the presence of a helping hand and was pulled onto the large ship, most likely a liner. port side of the ship. Once rescued The stage set, fate made its entrance — by from the water, he was taken aboard way of quickly developing fog. the Storstadt, where he set to work tending the injured. His efforts A FATAL COLLISION resulted in a nomination for the British At 1:55 a.m., the Storsadt’s reinforced, iceMedical Association Silver Medal for breaking bow sliced into the starboard side of Distinguished Merit. Dr. Grant eventually the Empress of Ireland, between the funnels, returned to Victoria, where he held crushing the watertight bulkhead between appointments with Royal Jubilee and St. the boiler rooms. The wound was fatal: 60,000 Joseph’s hospitals. Dr. Grant died in 1947, gallons of water per second poured into the and is interred at Ross Bay Cemetery. ship. As the ship began to list, yet more water The Official Inquiry into the loss of the entered through open portholes set low in Empress of Ireland placed responsibility the hull. The Empress fell onto her side, her upon the officers of the Storstadt, a funnels hitting the water, and after briefly conclusion that continues to be debated. raising her stern, she quickly sank. The Montreal Gazette suggested “If the Once rescued, Captain Kendall made evidence of the two officers was correct, his way to the bridge of the Storstadt, then the two vessels must have been lying where he found Captain Thomas about two miles apart, neither of them Andersen. moving, when they collided so violently.” “Are you the Master of this ship?” Kendall demanded. “You have sunk my The Maritime Museum of British ship. You were going full speed ahead, and Columbia’s Empress of Ireland: Canada’s in that dense fog!” Titanic runs April 29 to September 29, Captain Andersen predictably denied 2014 at 28 Bastion Square, Victoria, BC. the accusation. Telephone: 250.385.4222, http://mmbc.bc.ca. The Empress’ surgeon, Dr. James Grant, Chris Klausen: Empress of Ireland of Victoria, BC, escaped from the ship website: http://empress-of-irelandby forcing his way through a porthole. klausen.com Struggling to get free, he received a PHOTO COURTESY MARITIME MUSEUM OF BC
“I found my first pieces on eBay — a salt pot, a butter cup, and a small creamer, all from Third-class — for $78,’’ he recalled. The port side navigation light and the mast head light are particularly impressive. An interior light fixture, an egg boiler, bell, cutlery and crockery, offer a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of those on the ship. “The artifacts were collected during dives on the wreck between 1969 and 1971,” Klausen explained. The wreck has been protected since 1999, but the ship’s debris field remains open to exploration.
ďƒ Shabby chic and West Coast styles are comfortable neighbors at a co-operative cottage development.
BY CAROLYN HEIMAN PHOTOS BY LEANNA RATHKELLY
Tiny Kinsol Cottages near Duncan pack big getaway punch
T’S THE SEASON WHEN kids are restless at their school desks. Holiday plans intrude thoughts at the office. And those fortunate enough to have cottage or cabin retreats are sweeping away the pine needles from their decks and docks, and hanging hammocks in preparation for the first blast of heat. Just beyond the Malahat, the activity at a small recreational co-op development is ramping up even as the once-raging Koksilah River slows to a babble and sun-baked rocks and sandy bars emerge for use on lackadaisical days.
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Once a campground, the Kinsol Cottage co-op has 44 lots with more than half developed and still more sold. Mark and Kate Pagett were among the first to be smitten with it, purchasing almost the same day they first drove out to look at the area in 2009. “We wanted a cabin as a legacy for our kids,” says Kate, who was pregnant with their first child, Scarlett, when they bought. Since then, their second daughter, Ainsley, has arrived on the scene. “We were a little nervous at first, not knowing exactly what co-op meant.” But they quickly discovered the community has a sense of esprit and collegiality around social and work activities, yet makes room for as-wanted privacy for its members. The Pagetts use the cabin throughout the year, sometimes driving there for an evening campfire “ just to get away from the city” and not even staying overnight. It’s an easy destination for a “boys’ weekend” and, since it’s close to Victoria, the couple can commute for work should only one of them be on vacation.
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Clockwise from top left: Simple cabinetry selections and open beams keep construction costs down; communal meals are common among owners; and design tastes range from sleek (left) to funky (above). White washed walls and ceilings impart a sense of cottage life from yesteryear.
A splash of red enlivens the living area invitingly adorned with antiques and silver tea sets.
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Over the few short years, a strong sense of community has grown among the owners who share potluck meals, kids sport days, outdoor movies viewed on screens strung from towering firs, and evening fire pit chats. Folk singers, staying with friends, have offered impromptu concerts for all owners. Brad Burns is an Edmonton school principal and artist who grew up on Vancouver Island and purchased a lot with his wife, Tanja, to give them a toe-hold in an area he wants to spend his non-working time. “The place has now become something entirely unexpected,” says Tanja, referring to the relationships that have formed and their happiness in watching their daughter, Sophie, forge joyful friendships. (Several owners are former renters, demonstrating that the co-op sells itself.) Inie Graham, also a teacher from Edmonton, has two red Adirondack chairs in front of her cabin and says, “if I’m in one, there is always someone in the other.” But it’s also possible to
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seek quiet privacy on her deck overlooking the river and out of sight from the street. The area offers both summer and winter enjoyment, with swimming, hiking and biking right out the backdoor. The historic Kinsol Trestle is a 20-minute walk away. The region’s elevation ensures that summers are warmer than coastal areas, while winters often bring a few decent snowfalls for tobogganing and building snowmen. As the children get older Mark envisions getting a ski boat, which can be easily launched at nearby Shawnigan Lake.
COMMON SENSE RULES As a co-op development there are rules, with the most important geared to keeping the environment pristine and the costs low. “The main priority is to keep it as beautiful and rustic as possible,” says Kate. For example, to maintain their recreational property tax assessments, owners can only use
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ďƒĄ A cooling swimming hole offers a reprieve from the summer heat and is a gathering place for owners.
the properties for 26 weeks in any calendar year and there are some limitations on renting. A few owners have purchased second cabins, enabling them to stay more than the six months a year and provide additional accommodation for visiting family and friends. For example, Brad and Tanja bought the lot next to their cabin and they plan to build an art studio for Brad. The footprint of the cottages can only be 450 square feet. Originally there were restrictions on metal roofs and the use of hardy board, but the co-op board determined that these rules hindered choices that were maintenance free. The co-op, whose board meets once a year, collectively owns the land and facilities. Fees are $120 a month, covering taxes and enabling the board to tuck away money each year for maintenance items, such as improved visitor parking and new steps to the river. A caretaker, accommodated in a nearby trailer, looks after garbage and the septic system, and provides a presence for security when owners aren’t around. But there is rarely a time when no one is around. Indeed, the outwardly social Inie says she has sometimes hoped she would arrive when no one else was there, but that’s never happened and in the end she is always glad. Mark estimates owners’ investments range from approximately $105,000 to $250,000 — depending on construction and finishing costs — making the co-op an affordable choice for people wanting recreational property. Since it is a co-op, meaning the land is owned co-operatively, banks won’t provide mortgages. Owners must therefore find alternative ways of paying for the lots and buildings, which can include paying cash or taking out credit against a primary residence.
CABIN CONCEPTS Inside, the cabins are as diverse as the interests of their owners. Most have creatively developed loft bedrooms, and the interior decors range from condominium-style tidy and sleek, to fancifully eclectic and shabby chic. Mark and Kate’s cabin has strong West Coast influences with hefty fir beams and an impressive front entranceway designed by Macdonald &
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Lawrence Timber Framing Ltd. (the company which led restoration of the Kinsol Trestle). Inie, meanwhile, relies on antique heirlooms to impart a sense of historical reference and longevity to her place. (She’s bought a second cottage, where she plans to use a First Nations theme.) Brad and Tanja have a one-of-kind gem, artfully manufactured from salvaged bits of materials and art objects. While many of the items might have been relegated to the junk heap by others, left in their hands, the cumulative conceptual effect is one of pleasing originality. An old firehall bell box becomes a birdhouse. Hundred-year-old floor treads from a demolished Oak Bay house lend pleasing antiquity. A sheet of reclaimed copper makes an elegant countertop around a porcelain farm-style sink. Ship porthole windows provide the dishwasher with a view to the outside. The list of ingenuity is long. You have to see it to believe it. And so it is with all the unique and creative Kinsol Cottages — there, just waiting for those summer-andwintertime getaways. Carolyn Heiman explores beautiful Island homes each month for Boulevard. If you know of a gorgeous home you’d like to see profiled, she can be contacted at email@example.com. 24
WLISA WILLIAMS 4.94 AC OCEANFRONT ESTATE in Cordova Bay . . . your own personal country club! Exquisite 8900 sq.ft. home beautifully reno’d, 2 bedrm guest cottage, pool & fitness cabana, tennis court , fenced grounds . . . just steps to fabulous beach! $7,900,000
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SENSATIONAL WATERFRONT LIFESTYLE HOME, with steps to a sandy beach! Sweeping views of the ocean to San Juan Island & Mt. Baker. Pamela Charlesworth design with a $300,000 refurbishment. New kitchen with merlot cabinets, granite counters, stainless appliances. Adjoining family room with gas F.P. & custom built-ins. Formal dining room. Master with commanding view, and new ensuite. 2nd ensuite bdrm plus guest room up, plus 4th bdrm down. Great recreation room with F.P. plus office on lower. Private .33 acre lot with patio & hot tub. New roof, new windows. Dbl car garage. Walk to shops & Bistro pub. Incredible lifestyle! $1,698,000
A RARE OPPORTUNITY to purchase a waterfront building lot in much sought after Ten Mile Point. Sweeping southwestern exposure, including views of the Olympic Mountains, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, the Uplands lights at night, and the entire curve of Cadboro Bay’s golden sandy beach. Ideally located within strolling distance to Village shopping, pubs and restaurants. This gently sloping .24 acre lot has services available on the street and is set among impressive waterfront estate homes. $1,550,000
A PRESTIGIOUS .79 acre water view property on Newport Ave. The classic 1957 home offers one-level living with a gracious living room complete with F.P. and elegant built-ins, separate dining room, large kitchen with casual eating area, office or family room with F.P. Master with ensuite, plus two more bedrooms. Extensive use of Oak pegged flooring. There is also a studio situated on the large rear yard, double carport, and extra parking. Site preparation has been done for redevelopment, or bring your remodelling ideas to this private and commanding home. Minutes to the Oak Bay Golf Course, and seaside strolls on Beach Dr. $1,498,000
EXCEPTIONAL 5,330 sq.ft. luxury home w/ ocean views & distant views of Sidney. Stately stone detailing welcomes you to a gorgeous entry with wide-planked cherry flooring & 20’ ceilings. Formal living rm. with F.P. Great rm. with 20’ ceilings. Office on main. Gourmand’s dream kitchen, granite counter tops, eating bar, stainless appliances, formal dining, all with heated travertine floors & views over southfacing private yard. Private patio with garden. Two master bdrms with 5-pce. ens plus 3 more bdrms. Secure 3 car garage with f.p. $1,250,000
SPECTACULAR 90’X180’ south-facing waterfront on Esquimalt Lagoon with sweeping views of the Straits of Juan De Fuca & Olympic Mts. Recently refurbished with 3 bdrms up, spacious living room with hardwood floors, updated kitchen, sunroom, spacious deck, and rec. room. Legal self-contained suite down. 3 updated bathrooms. Massive RV garage (holds 4 cars) plus attached garage. Heat pump/air con., hook up for 2 gas f.p. Underground stream with licence for irrigation. 7 new appliances, pre-paid sewer levy for 25yrs! $889,000
PROUDLY SERVING VICTORIA FOR 30 YEARS PHONE 250.744.3301 • EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE www.lynnesager.com Get the results that you desire. Call Lynne for professional representation, when you wish to sell your home.
Dallas Sells Victoria/Oak Bay PERSONAL REAL ESTATE CORPORATION
“My goal is to find your dream home and ensure that the decision you make stands as a wise investment over the long term.”
LUXURY WATERFRONT CONDO
UPLANDS WATER VIEWS
BRENTWOOD WATER VIEWS
You will feel like you are in the bow of a yacht in this absolutely stunning waterfront penthouse! Completely renovated by Jenny Martin & her team, featuring new hardwood floors, quartz counters, s/s appliances, new custom cabinetry & lighting throughout & state of the art ensuite. Fly in to golf - only steps to the Victoria Golf Club. $1,750,000
Stunning ocean & mountain views are yours in this new 4 bedroom home. This ¼ acre property backs onto Anderson Park & is completely private. The chef’s “Urbana” kitchen features professional appliances & quartz counters & all bathrooms have heated floors. Great room with fireplace opens to 850 sq. ft. deck. $1,695,000
NEW PRICE! Wonderful water views, renovate or rebuild on .84 acre. Beautiful terraced gardens. 4 bdrms, 5 baths, 3 fireplaces, 4,719 sq. ft. Gorgeous gardens & former tennis court. This is your opportunity to build your waterview dream home! $1,585,000
Urban luxury in a pastoral environment! New but no GST! This spacious suite offers custom, upgraded hardwood floors, granite counters & backsplash, stainless appliances & gas cooktop with 2 bedrooms & separate bathrooms. Enjoy the ocean & mountain views. Infinity pool, marina expansion & dock restaurant planned. $449,900
Watch the cruise ships in the distance from your gorgeous completely remodelled 3 bdrm, 3 bath home. New kitchen with quartz counters & stainless appliances, gas range, 3 new bathrooms with heated tile floors, maple floors, new windows, metal roof, deck, patio & more! Beautiful valley & water views & Mt. Baker too! All on .31 ac. $739,900
One of the best 1 level suites in the complex, this townhome has exceptional water views. Quartz counters in kitchen, new tile backsplash & new appliances. Spacious master with views. Large deck, double garage & driveway too! Small pets OK. $499,900
Dallas Chapple RE/MAX Camosun • Tel: 250.744.3301 • Toll Free: 1.877.652.4880 www.dallaschapple.com • Email: email@example.com
BOULEVARD LUXURY REAL ESTATE
$16,998,000 Lisa Williams 250-514-1966 lisawilliams.ca
Boulevard magazine supports Southern Vancouver Island's top Realtors representing the region's finest real estate. In our pages, we hope you will find your next home, whether it is in the listings of the Great Homes/Great Realtors or here in the Boulevard Luxury Real Estate listings. Both of these monthly advertising features bring you the finest selection of homes and condominiums Victoria has to offer.
$6,480,000 Lisa Williams 250-514-1966 lisawilliams.ca
$1,698,000 Lynne Sager 250-744-3301 lynnesager.com Camosun
WORLD CLASS UPLANDS ESTATE showcasing sunny 2.5 acres and 1000’ of ocean frontage in Victoria’s most exclusive neighbourhood! The gracious 15,000 sq. ft. main residence boasts breathtaking views, private office suite with wall-towall windows overlooking the ocean, 5-car garage parking, large outdoor patios & seaside terrace w/ gazebo & firepit. Fully gated, private & secure with lawns leading right to the water’s edge, access to a quiet, sandy beach; truly spectacular!
PRIVATE WATERFRONT ESTATE on 5.8 pristine acres, with private deep water dock! The gracious & elegant residence was completely renovated to the highest standards w/ every modern luxury: expansive living & dining rms, oversized bdrms all w/ deluxe new ensuite baths, office/library, sunroom, games & entertainment rms, wine cellar, & elevator. Private guest quarters, 6-car garage parking, gorgeous landscaping, small stable w/pasture, & 50’ dock!
SUPERB PARKER AVE. WATERFRONT. Recently refurbished Pamela Charlesworth home will impress even the most discerning buyer. Gleaming Brazilian hardwood floors, soaring vaulted ceilings, & sweeping views of the Ocean to San Juan Island and Mt. Baker’s glowing glacier beyond. Fabulous new kitchen. 4 bedroom, master with commanding views. Private .33 acre lot with patio hot tub, to enjoy the views. Dbl car garage. 5255 Parker Ave., Cordova Bay
$889,000 Wayne & Cindy Garner 250-881-8111 cindygarner.ca
ELEGANT COUNTRY ESTATE with enchanting winding driveway, private 6.3 acres with a 5,600 sq. ft. home set up for extended family with two fabulous independent spaces. Very large rooms and sense of space with high vaulted ceilings, 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, den, workout area and two laundry rooms. Plenty of parking, plus room for an RV or boat as well. A must to see - call now!
SITUATED IN THE PEACEFUL Arbutus Residential District, you will find this 5 bdrm, 3 bath family home. Main floor offers 1-level with living & dining rooms, 3 bdrms, master with ensuite, laundry plus newly renovated kitchen & dining area/family room with private south facing deck & garden area– perfect for the upcoming $749,500 summer BBQ’s. The upper bonus room is very versatile and Sharen Warde & Larry Sims offers lots of options for offices/ play rooms/music/media. Lower 250-592-4422 level has suite potential & offers wardesims.com 2 bdrms, family room, 3 pc bath & storage. Nicely landscaped.
$409,900 Dallas Chapple PERSONAL REAL ESTATE CORPORATION
250-744-3301 dallaschapple.com Camosun
LOOKS LIKE A SHOW HOME! Beautiful, private and quiet town home. Lovely big modern eat-in kitchen, living room with gas fireplace and sliding doors to patio (with gas BBQ hook-up) and back yard. Upstairs are 3 large bedrooms, a beautiful main bath & spacious ensuite. Lots of storage and parking for 2 cars. Small pets OK. Very close to schools, shopping, buses. Small (8 unit) well selfmanaged complex.
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Stately shapes make this geometric gem refined, yet playful. DwellStudio // $869 // 8’x10’ Available at Nest&Cradle
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PHOTO BY VINCE KLASSEN
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BLISS ON THE BASEBALL FIELD THE FIERCE BUT SLEEPY HARBOURCAT is about to end a long slumber, the last creature still to emerge from winter hibernation. The magnificent beast awakens in June and will soon be found on a handful of tidily manicured lawns throughout the region. The HarbourCat appears in Victoria only 27 times a year, always in summer. Elusive, the HarbourCat travels in a pack. While it ranges as far afield as southern Oregon and the Okanagan, its home habitat in Victoria stretches along Caledonia Avenue between Cook and Vancouver streets. Royal Athletic Park is home to a baseball club with a name of dubious biological veracity. The HarbourCat is a mythological creature, but the team that plays by that name is worthy of dedicated observation. The ’Cats open their 2014 season this month, a sophomore season for a team in the West Coast League (a summer circuit for players from American colleges and universities). To maintain their amateur eligibility, the players receive no pay. No. Pay. Whenever the pampered stars of pro baseball get on your nerves, check out a HarbourCats game, where the fella slinging beer and the gal grilling hot dogs earn more than the players on the field. Some of the ’Cats will go on to major-league careers of their own and with that will come riches. Meanwhile, they play an exciting brand of old-fashioned baseball. They race to and from their positions in the field and they run hard on routine plays when the outcome is all but certain. Oh, and they boot ground balls and make poor throws and sometimes look as
lost on the base path as a prospector stricken with gold fever. That is baseball, a game in which the greatest hitters fail two of three times at bat. Few think of Victoria as a baseball town. It’s one of those rare pockets in the land where cricket is played and rugby survives. It’s a city home to world-class cyclists, triathletes, rowers and scullers. The great sport of lacrosse — Canada’s official summer sport by decree of Parliament — thrives here, while hockey, soccer, football and basketball all have solid roots. At Lambrick Park, or on the uneven greensward of Henderson Field, the youthful, high-school-aged players of the BC Premier Baseball League do battle. It is a training ground that has produced a handful of major leaguers from Vancouver Island, including Rich Harden, a hard-throwing pitcher whose success was limited by several injuries, and Michael Saunders, who today is a starting outfielder for the Seattle Mariners. I’m one of those fans who cannot pass by a game of ball without stopping to watch. I’m amused by Little Leaguers, some of whom play with the intensity of a pint-sized Pete Rose, while others kick at the dirt and dream of Xbox. I’ll grab a ballpark frank from the concession stand, operated by hard-pressed parents sweating over a hot grill to earn a few dollars for new uniforms. More often than not, I can be found on HarbourCat game days sitting along the first-base line at old Royal Athletic, my back aching (the park has new, as-yet-untested bucket seats), a Some of the ‘Cats pig brisket sandwich in one hand will go on to and a craft beer in the other, a pen squeezed between fingers as I major-league indulge in the venerable ritual of careers of scoring a game. their own. There is more foofaraw and canned music at the ballpark than I like, but I am an old fuddy-duddy and I’m glad such distractions seem to be appreciated by those less obsessed with baseball. In any case, a baseball epiphany can be experienced even amidst the hoopla. Let me set the scene. The ’Cats trailed 9-1 midway through a game last June and defeat seemed all but certain. The home side pecked away with a run here and another there, and by the bottom of the ninth inning the ’Cats trailed by a single run. With runners on base and two outs and two strikes on the batter, young Dylan LaVelle, who arrived to join the team earlier in the day, smacked the ball to the base of the outfield fence, bringing home the tying and winning runs. I screamed myself hoarse with the handful of faithful who stayed, laughing at the sight of players mobbing with joy a teammate most had not met and some did not even know by name. Baseball rewards the faithful.
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Some of the rock sculptures in the Standing Stone Circle rise to over 16 feet tall.
ART THAT ROCKS
Salt Spring’s monumental Standing Stone Circle TEXT BY SUSAN LUNDY
PHOTOS BY DAVID BORROWMAN
sun smart NEVER LOOKED SO
good The view from the Stonehouse B&B.
OMPARISONS TO STONEHENGE are inevitable. Rising up from a grassy field that overlooks a magnificent Gulf Islands ocean vista, the Standing Stone Circle is at once astounding and eerie. Thirteen stone figures tower above the landscape in a huge circle, some stretching over 16 feet high. Each is unique in shape and weirdly human in essence. Eight smaller structures, rising between five and eight feet tall, stand to one side. The sheer magnitude of the sculpture is awe-inspiring, with each figure built from three to four massive stones (weighing up to eight tons each). But it’s unnerving, too: the structures feel human, and yet they are so silent and so still. Comparisons to Stonehenge occur, but according to property owner John Lefebvre, who commissioned the piece, the Standing Stone Circle has no hidden meaning or purpose: it exists merely to evoke calmness and peace. Located on a pastoral four-acre Salt Spring Island property, the standing stones can be seen close up by guests staying at the ultra luxurious Stonehouse B&B. Nathalie Carles, who runs the B&B, says visitors’ “ jaws drop” at the sight of them. Glimpses of the standing stones are also possible from Salt Spring’s main highway, and people in the Victoria area can get a much-smaller-scale idea of them at Sidney’s waterfront sculpture walk. A piece called The Keeper, located at the very end of the walk, in view of the Anacortes ferry terminal, was created by Standing Stone Circle artist Ron Crawford. Like the other figures, The Keeper — constructed with two massive pieces of sandstone — is a shape-shifter, taking on different appearances from each direction.
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BRINGING THE VISION TO LIFE Crawford, a Salt Spring painter, sculptor and stonemason, is exuberant as he talks about the once-in-a-lifetime, 18-month
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The Standing Stone Circle sits at the edge of an ocean view hillside on Salt Spring Island.
venture that resulted in the Standing Stone Circle. “This became much bigger than anything to do with me,” he recalls. “It took on a life of its own … I feel more like I was ‘involved,’ than I created it.” Others “involved” included Terry Bieman, a stonemason, and Ron Smith, who was called in every few days with his excavator to move the stones. Property owner Lefebvre is passionate about standing stones, and after seeing one of Crawford’s sculptures at an art show, he
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approached him with the idea of creating something spectacular. The original concept envisioned 13 stone sculptures, standing 13 feet apart and rising 13 feet high. The result is not exact; for example, the two men paced off rather than measured the sculpture locations, and the structures range from 12.5 to 16.5 feet tall. The eight smaller pieces were created partly as a visual foil, says Crawford: they look slight compared to the others, but are in fact closer to human scale, ranging from five to 10 feet high. “If you stand in the middle, you become the ninth figure,” Crawford says. After the stones — all sandstone — were blasted at a Salt Spring quarry, Crawford selected the best 60 pieces and had them moved to the Lefebvre property. Each sculpture sits pinned to a reinforced cement base, buried under the earth. (Otherwise, to combat gravity, the standing stones would need to have one-third of their masses buried.) Smith and his excavator were called in once the men had three or four stones to lift. Crawford figures each stone was
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moved 12 times. Cutting and grinding required technical creativity as the men (specifically Bieman) sought to invent methods to shape the massive stones. Ultimately, cutting occurred sideways via a special, hydraulic saw. But to grind the stones, they had to construct Artist Ron Crawford. scaffolding, weld a grinder onto a ladder, and then grind downwards by slowly lowering the scaffolding. Each stone took approximately 16 hours to grind. But amid all the selecting, cutting and shaping came the artistry. Each figure looks different: for example, one appears to be leaning over and another — viewed from a certain angle — mimics a tree behind it. Some are definitely phallic in form. If it’s sunny, the stones cast long shadows; at sunrise the light hits the top of one first, and then the others, lighting them like candles. “It’s amazing at night,” says Carles. “Tiny lights [at the base] light them up. It’s very special.” A cardinal point patio and fire pit sit directly in the centre of the circle.
LAVISH ACCOMMODATION TO BOOT The B&B itself is absolutely spectacular — the epitome of luxury. Every detail has been considered in the four unique guestrooms that range in price from $285 to $435 (www. saltspringstonehouse.com). Amenities include a geothermal stone and tile hot tub that overlooks Georgia Strait, with views all the way to the Lower Mainland and Mt. Baker. “I adore this view, it changes all the time,” says Carles, who is Parisienne, and dishes up delectable breakfast spreads. (“Cooking is part of my culture,” she says. “Here in Canada you know how to skate; in France we know how to cook.”) The gleaming dining room and common area are stunning, and art from Lefebvre’s private collection graces every wall and corner of the entire B&B. “People come and don’t want to leave. They just want to stay by the hot tub and enjoy the view.” Of course, the pinnacle of that view is the Standing Stone Circle, which Crawford says “will look better and better, the older it gets:” the sandstone will fade and become more textured. He estimates the sculptures will last naturally (unsealed) at least 1,500 years before succumbing to erosion. For his part, Lefebvre is taken with the concept of the circle’s longevity, and he remains amused by what future archeologists might read into the meaning behind its creation. At that point, parallels to Stonehenge might be more just. 37
The spotlight is on spot prawns at this time of year.
FOOD & DRINK
a passion FOR PRAWNS Celebrating spot prawn season
T THIS TIME OF YEAR, we are passionate about prawns. The annual arrival of this unique Canadian crustacean is always cause for celebration, resulting in special spot prawn menus, festivals and a chance to buy the fresh, wriggling pink catch right off the fishing boats. Prawns are the most popular seafood in North America but, sadly, most of the millions of pounds we consume every year come from unsustainable sources, mainly in Asia where farming destroys coastal mangroves and trawling scars sea beds. But the Northern Pacific spot prawn (Pandalus platyceros) is a rare breed, a carnivorous creature that, like lobster or crab, is caught in a baited trap — a very environmentally sustainable form of
fishing — that gives it the Ocean Wise green light. Local spot prawns are definitely more expensive than those rings of imported shrimp you’ll find in the supermarket freezer. But once you taste these sweet indigenous beauties, you’ll wonder why anyone would bother with anything else. On the coast, buy prawns that are alive, direct from fishermen on the dock if you can, or from a local fish shop like Finest At Sea, near Fisherman’s Wharf, or Cowichan Bay Seafood at the Victoria Public Market. They should be lively, shiny and almost translucent. Clean your prawns as soon as you get them home. Remove the heads (this will keep the tails firm and fresh longer, since an enzyme in the heads can turn the meat to mush) but save them for making a speedy stock for soups and sauces later. Wear rubber gloves, as they tend to be spikey, then simply hold the head and twist the body away quickly to break in two. Then, you can peel the tails and sauté them, or skewer them on parallel pairs of bamboo skewers (one at the head end,
TEXT & PHOTOS BY CINDA CHAVICH
one through the tail) to keep them flat for flipping on the grill.
They should be lively, shiny and almost translucent They’re also delicious tossed into a cool tomato and cucumber gazpacho salad, flash fried in garlic butter and seasoned with fresh lemon juice or mixed with mayonnaise for shrimp salad sandwiches. But I like to feast on spot prawns straight up. I simply arrange the peeled prawns in a single layer in a steamer basket, steam them over boiling water for a brief minute or two (until they’re curled and pink), then plunge them immediately into ice water and serve chilled with a tomato and horseradish cocktail sauce. It’s the best way to appreciate their gorgeous sweet flavour and firm texture. Alternatively, take the rustic route and steam the prawns whole for a messy (but delicious) peel-and-eat feast. You can also successfully freeze your spot prawn catch. Just remove the heads
and pack the unpeeled tails in freezer containers or bags, cover with a saline solution to mimic sea water (about 2 teaspoons of sea salt dissolved in every 3 cups of water) and freeze — you’ll be serving perfect shrimp cocktails to your guests on New Year’s Eve! Like fresh strawberries or corn-on-the cob, local and seasonal is the only way to go when it comes to prawns. The commercial spot prawn fishing season is open for just a few short weeks. The season is now — fill your boots!
SPOT PRAWN PO’BOY
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PREP 15 mins COOK 2 mins SERVES 4 The recipe for this twist on the Cajun classic comes from Marisa Goodwin of Organic Fair in Cobble Hill. It makes the perfect picnic lunch or casual dinner with a cool one on the deck.
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1 cup all-purpose flour 1 tbsp Cow Bay Spice Blend (or Cajun spice) 1 pound spot prawns, shelled ½ cup mayonnaise 1 tbsp minced chives 1 teaspoon each, lemon zest and juice 1 baguette 3-4 butter lettuce leaves, sliced into strips 12 cherry tomatoes, halved ½ cup grape seed oil BLEND together the flour and spice and toss in the prawns, coating them well. Shake off any excess mixture. IN a small bowl, combine the mayo, chives, lemon juice and zest. Slice the bread in half, lengthwise. Drizzle both sides with the mayonnaise mixture. ARRANGE the tomatoes over one side of the baguette and top with lettuce. Set aside. IN a skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the prawns in a single layer and cook for about one minute per side, until golden brown and just cooked through. DRAIN on paper towel. Arrange the hot cooked prawns over the lettuce and cover with second piece of baguette. Press sandwich together and cut into portions. Serves four.
LIFE, LOVE, LUXURY AND THE LATEST BOOK FROM VICTORIA’S NEW RESIDENT WRITER BY SUSAN LUNDY
Tilar Mazzeo at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria
PHOTO BY DON DENTON
at the RITZ
ILAR MAZZEO SETTLES INTO an armchair in the lavish lobby of Victoria’s Fairmont Empress Hotel — the perfect setting for a writer promoting a new book on the scandalous, even steamy, war-time history of the Ritz Hotel in Paris. The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death, And Betrayal At The Hôtel Ritz In Paris opens the curtain on a riveting, mostly undocumented slice of World War II history, centered at the hotel where famous characters on both sides of the battle co-existed. Mazzeo, a New York Times bestselling author whose own jetsetting story reads a little like some of her famous characters, moved to Victoria in February. And although it’s been a “nutty spring” as she juggles the commute to Colby College in Maine, where she teaches poetry and creative writing, and a worldwide book tour, she’s looking forward to taking time off next year to immerse herself in Victoria culture. Interviewed against the backdrop of the opulent Empress, Mazzeo, 43, is relaxed, funny and articulate. She’s also a bit chilly, having misjudged the cool spring breeze blowing off the inner harbour. But adjusting to the Victoria weather is minor part of the culture shock she’s experiencing, having lived the last six years, mostly single, in the upper east side of Manhattan. “The upper east side has the highest concentration of professional single women in their 40s and 50s in all of the US,” she laughs: “It’s not quite Sex in the City.” Born in Florida, Mazzeo has lived on both sides of the US, including wine country in California, and Seattle, where she obtained her PhD from the University of Washington in the 1990s. Mazzeo’s move to Victoria sprung from her marriage last year to Robert Doyle Miles, professor and chair of the English department at UVic. The two, who are among a select group of a couple of hundred people in the world that specialize in British romantic literature, first met at a conference in Ontario 15 years ago. “We always carried a bit of a torch for each other, but the timing was never right,” Mazzeo says. However, when they ran into each other two years ago at the British Library, both were single and suddenly the timing was right. They married less than year later, and Mazzeo has a new place to call home. “I’ve never thought about borders before,” she muses, noting that from the dining room window of her home on Mt. Newton in Saanichton, she can see the American San Juan Islands. “I think a lot about the invisible line that runs somewhere between the two … Sometimes it doesn’t feel far, and on other days it
feels like an insurmountable distance, especially on US cultural holidays when Americans tend to get homesick, no matter where they are in the world.” Borders — or the lack of them — figure in Mazzeo’s book about the legendary Ritz, frequented since it opened in 1898 by films stars, playboys, heiresses and celebrity writers. As the only luxury hotel of its kind allowed in Nazi-occupied Paris by order of Hitler, it became an enclave of neutrality; simultaneously headquarters to high-ranking German officers, such as Hermann Göring, and home to exclusive patrons, like Coco Chanel. The book is factual, fascinating and informative, with a delicious gossipy edge as it chronicles illicit affairs and espionage, and introduces a dizzying cast of well-known figures from Ernest Hemmingway and Robert Capa to Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso. “It’s a different way of looking at World War II,” Mazzeo says. “It’s like looking at the city through the lens of the hotel.” While she doesn’t stay at the Ritz during her frequent trips to Paris (it’s 800 Euros per night for the least expensive room), she knows the bars there well, she laughs. The hotel, closed for renovations the last two years, is set to re-open this summer. She’s unsure of the hotel’s reaction to the book. “On the one hand, they are likely to be sensitive to being associated with Nazis. However, you can’t blame the Ritz for the fall of Paris.” The book, which took three years to research, involved some emotional interviews with relatives and days pouring through police files in Berlin. “Once you learn how to navigate the files, you start finding things,” she says. “Some of these files are being released now for the first time.”
It’s a different way of looking at World War II. It’s like looking at the city through the lens of the hotel.
Tilar Mazzeo’s latest book, The Hotel on Place Vendome, is a riveting read.
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This research also launched her current book project — Irena’s Children, the story of Holocaust heroine Irena Sendler, “the female Schindler.” “You end up with an intimate relationship with your characters. If you don’t fall in love with them, it can be hard to write about them,” she says, adding that “loving” Coco Chanel — the focus of her book The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate Story of the World’s Most Famous Perfume — was more challenging. Research for the Chanel book included a stint at perfume school where Mazzeo discovered she has a “good nose,” helpful in her other area of expertise: wine. She’s also the author of The Back Lane Wineries of Napa and The Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma. Coming soon is The Back Lane Wineries of the Pacific Northwest. One complicating factor of Mazzeo’s move to Canada, in fact, has been transport of her wine collection: “I had to photograph each bottle, and only take the really nice stuff that I can’t bear to part with.” Even that amounted to 15 cases. Mazzeo is currently taking a wine making course, and she and Miles dream of buying property and starting a vineyard here. “One of the things I love about Saanichton is that it’s Victoria’s wine country. It reminds me a lot of northern California, especially Sonoma. It feels like home in that way.” The two also enjoy sailing — they are members of the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club — and Mazzeo loves to cook. Mazzeo’s immersion into Victoria life will be aided by her new husband’s deep roots in Vancouver Island, where his family has lived since the 1880s. Miles’ great grandfather, Robert Parsell, was the steam engineer at the end of the C19 for Butchart Gardens, and the house he built is now Benevenuto B&B. Miles’ grandfather, Edgar Miles, was known as “fast Eddie” — the famed motorcycle terror of Saanich. He set a record in the 1930s for the fastest time driving a car from Victoria to Nanaimo. Mazzeo may not set any driving records, but between book tours and cross-country commuting, she’s familiar with whirlwind travel … and glamorous hotels. Sitting on a plush chair under a gleaming chandelier at the Empress, she’s a long way from the glitzy Ritz in Paris. But the walls of Victoria’s “Grand Old Dame” hold a few steamy secrets of their own. Maybe Mazzeo isn’t so far from home after all. Mazzeo is also the author of The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It. Visit her website at www. tilar-mazzeo.com. She teaches English as the Clara C. Piper Associate Professor of English at Colby.
almost AIRBORNE Soaring on Sidney’s Flight Path BY WENDY PICKEN
PHOTO BY DON DENTON
FFERING DAZZLING VIEWS and an opportunity for easy to moderate exercise, the Victoria International Airport’s newly completed Flight Path makes cycling on the Saanich Peninsula a soaring adventure. The path is a new, 9.3 kilometre, paved off-road piece of paradise created especially for walking and cycling around the fenced perimeter of the airport. It’s just minutes from downtown Sidney, 17 km north of Victoria, and — with an easy route and minimal grade — it’s designed to accommodate users of all ages. I love to travel and I love cycling. Sometimes on the Flight Path, I pedal as hard as I can — fast enough to imagine the powerful lift of take off. If bikes had wings, I muse, I could be airborne like the planes ascending overhead. The path has many access points, making it handy to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. Two popular entry points are West Saanich Road and Ocean Avenue, but today I start on Beacon and Willingdon avenues, just off the Patricia Bay Highway intersection opposite Lochside Trail. Heading west, or counter-clockwise, the path offers some of the most dramatic
scenery, and it’s the direction to go for a moderate workout on my cross trail bike. Along Mills Road the path is flat with a fantastic southern view of Mount Newton, home to BC’s oldest provincial park, John Dean Park. Viewing the mountain from this angle illuminates its full panoramic stretch across the heart of the peninsula, from Bazan Bay to Tod Inlet.
PHOTO BY DON DENTON
I’ve enjoyed watching eagles, hawks, ravens and osprey perform aerial displays. This upward grade of the path provides a gentle warm up before the short climb to the top of Hospital Hill, which overlooks the airport. Facing west is the Malahat. Today, the sky is clear and the view continues beyond Mill Bay, blending into the muted blue of the Cowichan Valley hills and the central island mountains. The Hospital Hill site provides benches and picnic tables and it’s a great spot to watch planes land and take off. A new water fountain has been installed, complete with a stainless steel doggie bowl for thirsty canine companions. I’m reluctant to leave this comfortable viewing site, but zipping down the next slope moments later, I feel like a young daredevil kid again — wheee!
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At the bottom of the hill the path turns a quick left around Holy Trinity Church and continues past the tree-lined historic cemetery grounds. I detour here to walk the circular Chartresstyle labyrinth that has been painted on the asphalt parking lot next to the church hall. This section of the path also intersects with West Saanich Road and leads to another lovely picnic area and walking path along the Patricia Bay shoreline. With so many picnic areas to sit and feast, I’m glad there are a variety of restaurants located near the route that offer tasty take out — from the Spit Fire Grill to Mary’s Bleu Moon Café, The Dakota at the Victoria Flying Club, The Catalina Cookhouse, or Belinda’s Biscotti just off the path near the Slegg Lumber yard. The multi-use Flight Path was the vision of former Airport Authority CEO Richard Pacquett, and construction started in 2008. When Pacquett retired, new CEO Geoff Dickson completed the plan to have the path encircle the airport in October last year. The path is well used. Depending on the weather, the route can be bustling on weekends with scooters, inline skaters, dog walkers, joggers and cyclists. If you cycle, I recommend using a bell to insure a safe experience. Past open fields near the helicopter hanger and the airport terminal, another delightful spot is the Dickson Woods, a familiar stand of trees to anyone who has ever driven out to the airport. The forest provides a shaded spot to rest while cycling in the
heat of summer. It’s also a great spot to watch birds, as the open grasslands around the airport house many species. I’ve enjoyed watching eagles, hawks, ravens and osprey perform aerial displays, and during an evening cycle on the path last fall, I watched as light from a full moon lit the swooping wings of a hunting owl. Further on, the route winds through urban areas and industrial sites. I ride through tall stands of poplar trees along the banks of Reay Creek near the Viking Air complex and the Victoria Flying Club, and I appreciate the interesting mix of natural and urban landscapes. In the distance, Salt Spring Island’s mystic Musgrave Landing blurs softly like a mirage. Here the path winds eastward and the view quickly changes again, transforming into the buildings of downtown Sidney. On clear days, Mount Baker’s peak stands on the horizon like a snow-covered beacon. This section of the path slopes mildly downhill, making it perfect for a little open racing. I pedal as fast as I can, again thinking of the powerful lift-off of the planes above me. But my soaring thoughts remain on terra firma, and I slow to a moderate speed and prepare to round the final curve before Beacon Avenue. The sunlight glows on the runway and the wide sky invites dreams of travel. Without racing or detouring for a picnic, the path takes about one hour to complete on bicycle. The end of this ride has arrived before I’m ready, but I know I’ll soon be back to cycle the Flight Path again.
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TALKING WITH TESSROBERT BENNETT featuring
BY TESS VAN STRAATEN YOU’D BE HARD PRESSED TO FIND ANYONE more plugged-in than Robert Bennett. A 35-year veteran of Greater Victoria’s high-tech community, Bennett has started three of his own companies and invested in three others. The affable entrepreneur is now using his first-hand experience to help other local technology companies succeed in the Capital Region’s red-hot tech sector. It’s the region’s number one industry, injecting billions of dollars into the economy, and Bennett believes the best is yet to come for “Tectoria.” Tess van Straaten sat down with the VIATec Program Director and technology champion to talk about what’s at stake and why being a nice guy pays off. What made you want to be an entrepreneur? I guess it was just a really strong desire to make a difference. I didn’t set out to form a company, but I saw a need when I was working for the CRD to provide better quality information to politicians to make decisions. I saw an opportunity to not just do that in the 48
CRD but in municipalities across North America. We started developing the first version while I was still an employee, and it ended up leading to the formation of a company. What’s the greatest challenge facing the tech sector today? There’s a big skills shortage right now, so I would say the biggest challenge is probably the need for experienced talent — both from a tech perspective but also from a management perspective. We need people who have the right skills to manage teams of people. What’s the biggest misconception regarding Victoria’s high tech sector? That it doesn’t exist! Even after all these years, most people still don’t understand the tech sector and the magnitude or importance of it to our local economy. A few years ago, direct spending was $2 billion and in-direct spending was $2.7 billion. We’re now estimating direct spending alone is up to $3 billion. Technology eclipsed tourism seven years ago and continues to grow. Lots of tech businesses are relocating here because of the lifestyle and the cultural environment. Everyone wants to come to Victoria, so
companies can leverage that to help recruit skilled workers. You do a lot of mentoring. What’s the first thing you tell a struggling start-up? I listen a lot and what I’m looking for is the underlying passion. I’m looking for how that person wants to make a difference. People can’t do it for money, they can’t do it for status — they need to do it for a higher reason. I’m looking for that higher reason because as an entrepreneur, you need an underlying drive to get you through those difficult months, years of struggle and lack of money. What’s the most common mistake start-ups make? Thinking that all they need is money and the rest is easy. They think once they get investment, it’s off to the races, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Money is almost never the problem. The hardest thing is actually baring your soul to strangers, saying, “I think this is a good idea,” and then going out and talking to customers, getting their honest feedback and acting on that feedback. A lot of people who have a good idea don’t want to subject that idea to anyone who feels it’s not a good idea. But you actually want to do that as soon as possible, and avoid spending time and money developing a product that nobody wants. What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given? That I should take my company public. That was probably the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. When you grow your business, you’re focused on your product and service to the customer. When you take the company public, all of a sudden your company is the product and you’ve got a different set of customers — the shareholders. It becomes a totally different style of operation. Unless you have a substantial operation, and most companies in Victoria and BC aren’t $500 million companies, you don’t have the resources to sell your products to actual customers and to shareholders. What do you consider your biggest win? Utilizing marketing effectively to reach a wide number of people at the same time. It took us 13 years to get our first 12 customers on Vancouver Island. Then we got involved in a marketing campaign that let us reach 1,800 municipalities across Canada and we landed 25 customers in the next six months. If we were to give $100,000 to invest right now, what would you do? I would want to sit down with a number of our local angel investors and talk to them about co-investing in the tech sector. There are at least half a dozen early-stage companies that are doing really well and showing real promise. We have a lot of companies doing some really interesting things. So could we see the next Microsoft here? We’re aiming for the next HootSuite, but you never know. There are a couple companies that might just do it. Tess van Straaten is an award-winning journalist, television personality and fourth–generation Victoria native. 49
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FRONT ROW BY ROBERT MOYES
TRAILER PARK BEAUTIES
Fiddle maestro Daniel Lapp (centre), Adam Dobres, Adrian Dolan
Point Drifters, Oliver Swain Trio, fiddle maestro Daniel Lapp, and Nanaimo’s Hub City Ramblers. “We’ve got a lot of great talent here,” declares Shaver. But to make things even more interesting, they’re bringing in some big names like Boston’s renowned Lonely Heartstring Band. Aside from offering music and workshops for guitarists and mandolin players, this affordable and family-friendly festival has fine food vendors and a superb setting at the Sooke River Campground. But the most popular event is always the square dance under the big top on Saturday night. “Last year the tent was packed,” says Shaver. “It’s a blast.” Running from June 13-15 at Sooke River Campground on Phillips Road. For information, see sookeriverbluegrass.com Tickets are available online and at the gate. PHOTO BY MARIE-REINE MATTERA
Many people may not profess a love for Winnebagos, but it’s a whole other matter when they’re talking about Airstream trailers — those iconic beauties with the polished aluminum skin and rounded Art Deco contours. Dating from as early as the 1930s, they are fetish objects to the many “Airstreamers” who go proudly gallivanting around the continent. They are equally attractive to Vancouver painter Taralee Guild, who makes a living Bambi (2014), acrylic on canvas, 35"x38" painting eye-popping “portraits” of these charismatic vehicles. Although her acrylic-oncanvas paintings are technically photorealistic — Guild attends Airstream rallies as far away as California, where she takes photos that she later uses in her Vancouver studio — there is an almost hallucinatory hyper-realism to her work, thanks to the way she captures the distorted images reflected by the mirror-like surfaces. This half-surreal quality is nicely undercut by the homey narrative built into the paintings via an open door showing the prosaic interior of the trailer, or maybe some chairs and a portable barbecue set up outside on the grass. “There’s a playfulness to the way the object and the background become one via those reflections,” says Eclectic Gallery’s John Taylor. He is debuting Guild’s work in Victoria, more or less by chance after she dropped in to see him. “We offered her a show in 15 minutes,” admits Taylor, who saw it as a great way to celebrate the start of summer. “Plus there’s a cultural resonance beneath the nostalgia and those bright colours,” he adds. “There’s an idea of freedom, of North American nomads pursuing a dream vacation.” Running from June 16 to July 19 at 2170 Oak Bay Avenue. For information, see Eclectic Gallery.
THAT HIGH, LONESOME SOUND
Even though bluegrass music isn’t indigenous to lower Vancouver Island, there are probably a dozen local bands putting out that high, lonesome sound with keening harmony voices and lots of picking and bowing on banjos, guitars and fiddles. And notwithstanding the frequent sessions at various venues in Victoria, the big show happens at the annual Sooke River Bluegrass Music Festival. Started in 2001, the festival is a closeto-the-ground event that makes do with local sponsors and private fundraising. “It’s a lot of work for the volunteers, but we’re self-contained and not at the whim of government funding,” says festival co-director Phil Shaver, better known as the guitarist in Four Chords of Wood. Expecting about 1,200 fans over the weekend, with half of those staying in on-site RVs or tents, the festival will showcase local and regional bands like the Clover
Internationally acclaimed countertenor, Daniel Taylor
HANDEL’S FAVOURITE ORATORIO
Although Handel is best known for The Messiah, his personal favourite oratorio was Theodora – which might be much better known had an earthquake not kept the taste-making nobility away from the premiere in 1750. Largely reclaimed from obscurity by a notable performance at England’s storied Glyndebourne in 1996, 51
this romantic tragedy gets its Victoria debut under the baton of Peter Butterfield, leader of the Victoria Philharmonic Choir. “It’s a universal love story, with understandable characters and music full of lovely melodies and harmonies,” says Butterfield, who had a brilliant musical career in Europe for many years before returning to his hometown. Theodora is set in Roman-occupied territory in the fourth century AD, when Christians were oppressed by their pagan masters. The two protagonists – Theodora, a captive princess, and a Roman soldier named Didymus, who is a Christian convert – are in love, and doomed to suffer for refusing to renounce their belief in God. “It’s a heartfelt, earthy story and not churchy at all,” Butterfield notes. “This is a very accomplished and dramatic work, with varied musical styles that reflect the different aspects of the story and dialogue.” The impressive lineup of soloists includes soprano Nancy Argenta and countertenor Daniel Taylor, both of whom are internationally acclaimed. “A couple of the arias are as beautiful as anything you’ll ever hear,” says Butterfield. “This is classic, mature Handel.” Theodora is performed June 7, 8 pm, at First Metropolitan United Church, 932 Balmoral. For ticket information see vpchoir.ca.
A HOUSEFUL OF ART
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Equally esteemed as a painter and as a writer about the visual arts, Robert Amos was asked to curate a show by Victoriaborn painter Rosemary James S.S. Master, Heritage Tugboat, oil on panel, Cross. A close 13" x 17" neighbour of Amos’ since the early 1980s, the elderly Cross now suffers from severe memory loss and has recently moved to Ross Place. Amos had the somber but fascinating task of sifting through the approximately 600 paintings stored in Cross’s Fairfield home, ultimately selecting the 50 that are currently hanging on the walls at Goward House. Many of her paintings represent local buildings, interiors, and gardens, done in a style reminiscent of both Van Gogh and E.J. Hughes. “Her paintings are charming, a bit off-kilter, and brightly coloured … they are realistic and observant but slightly Expressionistic,” says Amos. “She’s a real Victorian, and as an artist does her own thing. In that way she’s not too far from Emily Carr.” Cross was born in 1924, daughter of renowned architect P. Leonard James (she published an award-winning biography of her father in 2005). Cross lived all across the country, and was displaying her work in galleries by the early 1970s. After she returned to Victoria in 1980, she still painted prolifically but never showed locally. “She was one of the best of the ‘amateur’ painters in Victoria … a very dedicated artist,” adds Amos. “She hit some impressive high notes, especially her oil paintings, and this retrospective shows her off to her best advantage.” Running from May 30 to June 25 at 2495 Arbutus Road. For information, see gowardhouse.com.
AN UNCONVENTIONAL CONVENTION
There likely won’t be many fanboys dressed up like Spider-Man, but the Victoria Comic Book Expo is the place to be for anyone addicted to the colourful, action-packed stories purveyed by the likes of Marvel and DC. “There’ll be dealers at 30 tables, and thousands of comics for sale,” says event organizer Glen Jack, who started the Expo a decade ago. A poultry farmer with property in the Island View area, Jack has been a “serious” comic book collector since the early 1990s. “I like the artwork and the collectability factor of comics,” Jack says. “I’m not that interested in the superheroes … what attracts me are the offbeat stories with intriguing premises.” Over 300 people are expected to attend this free, family event, which draws longtime comic buffs and serious collectors — including an expanding female demographic that follows the new breed of female-focused comics. There will be everything from comics selling for a loonie all the way up to rare collectables worth thousands of dollars. Jack especially enjoys it when somebody hunting through a box of comics whoops upon finding one for which they’ve been hunting for a long time. “That’s the fun stuff for me,” he grins. Running June 15 at the Comfort Inn, 3020 Blanshard Street. For information, see Victoria Comic Book Expo.
BLOOD, BOOZE, BROTHELS … AND GHOSTS! Anyone who thinks the Maritime Museum is a bit on the staid side has clearly never taken a Victoria Vice Tour, an evening amble around Bastion Square that whisks you back to Gold Rush times. Sub-titled “Blood, Booze & Brothels,” the hour-long tour is a lurid compendium of historical anecdotes about prostitutes, murderers and other notorious ne’er-do-wells that made Victoria such a raunchy frontier town. “Victoria had a huge number of brothels and the authorities turned a blind eye,” says museum program coordinator Kelsey Wood-Hrynkiw. “A lot of ‘bride ships’ came during the Gold Rush, but many of the women realized they could make better money through prostitution.” And then there are the ghosts. The building that houses the museum was built in 1889, on land where the jail and courthouse used to be — and where prisoners sentenced to be hanged by legendary Judge Begbie were buried. Add in the four female skeletons unearthed when nearby Burns House — which used to be a brothel but latterly is a law office — was renovated in the 1970s and there are lots of uneasy spirits haunting the square. “We have enough ghostly activity that every tour could have a different spooky story,” declares Wood-Hrynkiw. Running Friday and Saturday nights from June 20 into August. For information, or to pre-register, please go online to the Maritime Museum.
BY SUSAN LUNDY
Nice to meet you, Melanie Mahlman. Where are you from and how did you get to Victoria? I grew up on the Sunshine Coast and came to Victoria from Lions Gate Hospital Foundation in North Vancouver, after being selected for my current role 20 years ago.
Who is your family? My 88-year-old amazing Mom, who is a cancer survivor and still lives on her own; an older sister who is a district principal on the Sunshine Coast, and a younger brother who is the Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of London Drugs. There’s also my nephew in fourth year engineering at UVic, my niece in second year nursing at Camosun and my youngest nephew, who graduates high school this year and just returned from Ecuador, where he helped build an elementary school. Finally, my little buddy, an eight- year old Scottish terrier.
What drew you to the Victoria Hospital Foundation? I had just finished my MBA at Simon Fraser University and had been at the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation for five years. I was ready for a new challenge. I wanted to work somewhere with a strong sense of community, and Victoria had that. Leading a foundation that raised funds for multiple hospital sites was something I wanted to learn more about, and the capital health region had an outstanding national reputation.
What do you love most about your work? I am empowered to practice values-based leadership. I am surrounded by people who are dedicated to caring for others, making a difference and being generous. It is an inspiring lens to see people through. I also get to learn about the fascinating complexity of delivering medical care. I am reminded every day about the importance of health, family and community, and come to work feeling like I will make a difference. It is remarkable work. 54
What do you love most about living in Victoria? The beauty, the fact the ocean is always close by — and the people. It’s a healthy and safe city, and I enjoy an incredible group of cherished friends, which make it home.
What do you do on a rainy day off? Work out, walk my dog, read, go to a movie, spend time with friends, cook.
How about a sunny day off? Take longer walks with my dog, work out, spend time with friends, get outside, cook.
What is one of your most significant childhood memories? I grew up in Gibsons Landing, so probably the sense of safety and freedom of small town coastal living — walking in the woods, having time at the beach, picking blackberries. It was simple. My parents taught us to give back at a very early age, which meant service-to-others goes back as far as I can remember. This meant helping elderly neighbours, cleaning the fire hall where my Dad volunteered, or getting involved with school activities.
Where do you turn for advice? To our board of directors and talented staff! Also, my family, of course, and I am very fortunate to have wise mentors and friends who I trust and admire. What books are you reading right now? Shannon Moroney, Through the Glass, and Alice Munro, My Best Stories.
PHOTO BY DON DENTON
SECRETS & LIVES
What has life taught you? To be grateful and fully present. To approach each day with grace, honesty and humour. That courage and hope inspire resilience. Is there anything else we should know about you? I have the best job in the world, and that Susan Cain’s book Quiet felt like it was written about me! This interview has been condensed and edited.
MELANIE MAHLMAN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VICTORIA HOSPITALS FOUNDATION
A SYMPHONY OF BLOUSES
Baden-Baden Boutique 2485 Beacon Ave. 250 655 7118 Barbara’s Boutique 2392 Beacon Ave. 250 655 0372 Barbara’s Showroom 104-9840 5th St. 250 655 0372 Sidney, BC available at Baden-Baden Boutique
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Published on May 29, 2014
Boulevard Magazine is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Vancouver Island by focusing on the Arts, People, Tr...