CONTENTS Volume XXI, Issue 10, November 2011
We’re cursed! Why Victoria will stay a backwater By Keith Baldrey
Geneology 101 Learn how to go back, way back, with ease By Anna Kemp
Coats of many colours Welcome rain and snow with classic, fashionable outerwear
novem ber 26
HAWTHORN Families live wars, too By Tom Hawthorn
STATE OF THE ARTS Community is where the art is By Alisa Gordaneer
CREATIVE MINDS Getting to the root of Oliver Swain By Rick Gibbs
TRAVEL NEAR Hornby Island in the off-season By Vivian Smith
HOT PROPERTIES Beauty from the light and from the listening By Carolyn Heiman
TRAVEL FAR Into the swing of Scottsdale golf By Keith Baldrey
BOULEVARD BOOK CLUB Perennial favourites By Adrienne Dyer
FOOD & WINE Appetizers that won’t strain your waistline By Maryanne Carmack
COWICHAN This Chevy runs on thrills and chills By Alex Van Tol
HEALTH & WELLNESS Sign up to help shed light on cancer By Anne Mullens
WRY EYE The dogs of war, re-imagined By Murray Sager
FRONT ROW Oh Boy! Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story; An operatic Mary’s Wedding; plus Jitters, metalwork and more By Robert Moyes
SECRETS & LIVES Betty Waynne Allison hits the high notes By Shannon Moneo
CONTRIBUTORS Meet some of our writers
EDITOR’S LETTER Beyond Bowling Alone
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Helping readers reach out
SOCIAL CAPITAL Saying thank you on Remembrance Day By Deborah Wilson
TECHNOLOGIA Does watching a movie at home have to be hard? By Darryl Gittins HOT DESIGN Great green gifts
On our cover: Troon North Golf Club, Scottsdale AZ photo courtesy of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
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Do you sit on your front porch in the evening or drop a casserole to friends in need? Do you sing in a choir or volunteer for a charity? Do you take part in street parties, fall fairs, farmers’ markets, paint-ins, and civic meetings? If you do any of these things, and more, you are helping to build Victoria’s social capital. Social capital is a term that was coined in the late Victorian era to describe that community element, along with financial and human capital, that makes democracies stronger and cities more livable. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam’s writing about the decline of social capital in the 1990s and his 2000 book Bowling Alone brought the term to public prominence. You can think of social capital as the glue — the community cohesiveness or the bonds of fellowship — that holds our society together. Putnam described one indicator as being whether people in a community sat on their front porches and knew their neighbours. In that spirit of celebrating our Victoria community and what makes it strong and livable, this month we debut a department, Social Capital. It is both a nod to that important sociological element, and a play on our “capital” position. In our first article, Deborah Wilson rounds up Remembrance Day events, and tells the story behind the cenotaphs in our region. Columnist Alisa Gordaneer also touches on this important concept in her interview with Dutch professor Eugene van Erven, an expert in how community arts organizations enhance societal cohesiveness. He will speak in Victoria this month. Political commentator and TV journalist Keith Baldrey, in his story The Curse of the Capital, looks at the city’s political paralysis. Projects that might make our region an even better place to live never get off the ground because of our unique position as the provincial capital. But that is not all. We look into the past with a feature on geneaology and into the future with a story on the BC Generations Project. We gear up for the holiday season with some easy hors d’oeuvres and party wine suggestions, ogle winter coats, offer green gift ideas, and take you armchair travelling to Hornby Island and Arizona. You can sit back and read it all on your porch (perhaps wrapped in a blanket or new warm winter coat, if necessary). But try not to get so absorbed in this month’s offerings that you neglect to wave to the neighbours. VB Anne Mullens, Managing Editor
YOUR LETTERS Inspired by humane, co-operative surgeons Thank you for The Art of Surgery article in the September issue of Boulevard. We are very fortunate to have such wellrounded expertise in plastic surgery, with surgeons who are concerned not only for the physical but also the emotional well-being of their patients. I am a registered massage therapist here in Victoria doing post-mastectomy massage therapy to help women with some of the physical side effects of breast cancer, such as scar mobility, cording and shoulder restrictions. I feel inspired by such a humane, co-operative group of surgeons who ensure patients are their primary focus and I look forward to working with them. Jennifer Trettenero
Glad to have read the story While I generally read Boulevard cover-to-cover every month, when I noticed the title for the article on plastic surgery in the September issue, my first thought was to pass over it — until I read your editorial and discovered that your views largely parallel my own. I turned the page and read about these seven Victoria doctors; I’m glad I did. They have every right to be proud of the work they do. Mike Nelson Pedde
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Boulevard gets results I just came on board with Boulevard as an advertiser and am extremely happy with the results. We have had several new clients come in actually holding a copy of the magazine, several phone calls, and many comments from our regular clients. I am looking forward to a continuing relationship with your magazine. Cheryl Schultz, Cheryl’s Gourmet Pantry
Remembering Gertrude Bell I enjoyed the article about Gertrude Bell in the August Boulevard. It is several years since I read The Desert Queen but since then I’ve been spreading word about her accomplishments. One point I think that should be mentioned is that she was the sole woman at the 1921 Cairo Conference. My own copy of the book is currently on loan to one of my wife’s friends — she can’t remember which one — so I have to hope it finds its way home. Harry Jordan
In the October issue, a headline on the Hot Properties article erroneously located the Christopher Walker home in Langford. It is in View Royal. We apologize for the error. Boulevard welcomes your letters. Write to us at editor@ victoriaboulevard.com
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THE CURSE of the CAPITAL
Victoria will never be more than a beautiful backwater, opines a political correspondent By keith baldrey
ictoria is defined, for many, by its quaint loveliness, the stately Fairmont Empress Hotel, the majestic legislature buildings, the picturesque Inner Harbour. But Victoria has a dark side. I call it the Curse of the Capital. The evidence of the curse can be seen in the empty parking lots next to the legislature (officially called the Parliament Buildings) and overlooking the Inner Harbour, in the drab ferry terminal at the foot of Belleville Street, and in the forlorn Second World War-era buildings strung along Superior Street.
photography by gary mckinstry
Other signs are a dilapidated heritage building behind the legislature, the lack of a modern performing arts centre, and a Royal BC Museum that has outworn its premises. To build, upgrade or expand these sites would require huge amounts of money that can only come from the provincial government. But it never will. Thatâ€™s the curse, and the reasons for it, not surprisingly, are rooted in money, power and politics. For decades, provincial politicians have seen Victoria as a nice place to visit but not a great place to dole out money. Why spend big tax dollars here when they can be spent in the Greater Vancouver region, where each political buck elicits a bigger bang? The only dollars MLAs like to spend here are on their meals, it seems.
Victoria is relatively small, both in terms of geography and population. The capital may be home to scenic icons, but it is dwarfed by the needs of bigger neighbouring municipalities such as Saanich. It doesn’t help that Victoria municipal politicians have long appeared uninterested in working with the provincial government. This is partly explained by the fact we elect left-leaning city councils and the rest of the province usually elects right-leaning provincial governments. Finally, politicians hate being seen spending money on their own workplace, the legislature building and its environs. Bob Plecas, who served as a deputy minister to more than a dozen ministers over almost 30 years in provincial government, says Victoria’s size diminishes its ability to get any government’s ear. “We’re really a political backwater. We don’t have enough clout because we’re splintered into too many municipalities, and Victoria left on its own simply can’t stand out,” he says. He notes no premier has had a strong connection to Victoria. His old boss, Bill Bennett, made no effort to hide his disdain for the capital. “And (former premier) Gordon Campbell hated this place. Even when we had NDP administrations, Mike Harcourt didn’t really care about Victoria and Glen Clark sure as hell didn’t.” Clark came here so rarely as premier that a press gallery reporter once jokingly presented him with Victoria tourism brochures and told him to enjoy his time in the capital. Plecas also says provincial governments have a hard time relating to Victoria because it is not like the rest of much of the province. “We have no industry here. We have no head offices. We have no leverage to get anything.” The capital region’s reluctance to amalgamate saps its political clout as well, he says. “The unholy alliance between politicians who want to protect their turf and the public servants they employ doesn’t do us much good… as a result, we’re just not in the game.” Long-time Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard, however, says the refusal to amalgamate is not that big a problem. He says Victoria voters and the politicians they elect to the municipal level is a bigger issue. “Even Peter Pollen, who is as freeenterprise as they come, has as his legacy as mayor a bunch of empty parking lots around the legislature and very low density in James Bay, which slows any kind of development.” Another big issue, Leonard says, is that Victoria municipal politicians haven’t realized the need to put aside differences. “The City of Victoria tends to have a lot of critics running it, but not many who are interested in working with government,” Leonard says. He points out he ran against NDP MLA Andrew Petter in the 1996 election and lost, yet learned the importance of working with Petter (and colleagues such as Moe Sihota) in order to get things done for Saanich. “They were the go-to guys and I had a good working relationship with them,” he says. Saanich can point to
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achievements such as the Galloping Goose Trail and the Saanich Commonwealth Pool as proof. Leonard also notes that in recent years the province has developed a policy that says any large capital project must be a public-private partnership to lessen financial exposure to provincial taxpayers. Left-of-centre politicians generally oppose so-called P3s on ideological grounds. “The provincial government isn’t really interested in helping build anything unless it’s a P3 project,” Leonard says. “Look at the Blackball ferry terminal. Going the P3 route was the only way the provincial government would even become interested in participating. But Victoria just won’t go there, so nothing gets done.” Victoria hasn’t been shut out entirely. The Royal Jubilee Hospital has received a major expansion, and the NDP government restored St. Ann’s Academy back in the 1990s. But when it comes to such things as an imaginative redevelopment of the Inner Harbour, or replacing the Belleville terminal, the required participation of the provincial government seems unlikely. Former NDP MLA Bob Williams, a planner early in his career, outlined some visionary plans for the harbour area, including a trolley train service, during the 1990s, but his NDP colleagues were not interested. More recently, former Liberal MLA Olga Ilich, a developer before going into politics, came up with an ambitious plan to refurbish the legislature area.
Again, she hit a stone wall with her caucus colleagues. When she was tourism minister, Ilich also tried to get something done about the Belleville terminal but found herself dealing with infighting and turf wars on the local front. Ilich says she wanted to do more for Victoria, but found no enthusiasm “We have no for any action among her colleagues industry here. (aside from capital region MLAs). We have no head And she says she was like everyone offices. else when it came to feeling a lack of We have no connection to the capital. leverage to get “I saw a lot of the legislature anything,” says building, but I saw little of Victoria. You know we’d all drive in on a Bob Plecas. Sunday night or hop a plane over, and then as soon as the sitting ended on Thursday everyone was out of there as fast as possible.” And so we will go on being the pretty postcard city, where the politicians gather to pass laws and quickly get out of town, eager to go some place to throw real money around. The curse will remain unless we elect a government that realizes the capital is an asset to be coveted and improved, not ignored. I’m betting that will happen one day, and the curse will finally be exorcised. Keith Baldrey is chief political correspondent for Global BC. VB
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GENEALOGY for BEGINNERS: How to get at the roots of your own family tree By anna kemp
“Who knows only his own generation remains always a child.” ~ Cicero
have always been curious about my family name, Kemp. I inherited it from my father and passed it on to my son. But until recently, I knew nothing about the family it came from. When my father was very young, his parents were divorced and he never saw his father again. This mystery has always intrigued me. When my grandmother was alive, I often asked her about my blood grandfather, but she would deftly avoid my questions, swiftly turning to stories about her second husband, who had been a fine man and a loving stepfather. My father never chose to pursue the story, and when he learned 20 years ago of his father’s death, I think he put the question to rest. When my grandmother died three years ago, I thought my chance to solve the mystery had disappeared with her, and then I started to learn about genealogy. Turning to the Internet, I found a multitude of resources dedicated to genealogical research. Simply type “genealogy” into a search bar and countless sites, blogs and databases pop up, full of information, tools, and techniques to get you started. The first step, according to the “how to” sites, is to talk to your family. I called my father, asked him to dig up any documents he could find, and met him for lunch, toting a notebook and some prepared questions I’d pulled off a genealogy site question list. We had a fascinating chat and I wrote down everything he told me: names, dates and funny details about a childhood in England after the Second World War. About his father, he could only tell me his name, William Kemp, and that his birthplace may have been Oban, Scotland. He told me my grandmother’s full name, date and place of birth and together we came up with a rough date for her first marriage. We found my grandfather’s middle initials, J.L., on my father’s birth certificate. Once you have some facts, the next step is to back them up with documentation. The basic information you want to confirm for every individual of your family tree are date and place of birth, names of parents, date and place of marriage, names of children and date and
place of death. Documents to look for include certificates of births; deaths and marriages; census records; military records; court documents; parish registries; and ship passenger logs. The documents, especially certificates of births, deaths and marriages, can hold clues to take you another step. Before the Internet, finding these documents involved extensive letter-writing and long periods of waiting for replies. Today, you can find many documents with online genealogical resources, though navigating them can take some practice. I visited the Victoria Genealogy Society’s resource centre, where volunteer co-ordinator Diana Gaiger introduced me to Ancestry.com. The website is a paid subscription site ($11 a month) with a comprehensive collection of genealogical records like birth, death and marriage certificates and census data. The many free online resources include Rootsweb, MyHeritage and FamilySearch. Most sites focus on specific countries or ethnic backgrounds so you may need to explore a few to find what you need. With their names and an approximate year of marriage, it didn’t take long on Ancestry.com to find the record of my grandmother’s first marriage in 1941. From there, Gaiger guided me through Scotlandspeople, a government-run, pay-per-use site, where I found the record of the birth of my mysterious grandfather. Following the links, I easily ordered a copy of the actual certificate, which will include the district he was born in, the names of his parents and possibly their occupations. I could not believe how easy it had been to get this far — a life-long family secret starting to unravel with just half an hour at a computer. When I told my father, he was amazed to hear the birth certificate was on its way and intrigued to find out what it will reveal. The birth certificate, with the details it may contain, will help me start fleshing out a picture of my unknown grandfather’s life. Many people begin researching their genealogy, as I did, spurred on by a sense of unanswered questions. Gaiger was adopted and began researching her family tree when she found her birth family 30 years ago. “I never grew up with any family stories and I had a lot of questions about where I came from,” she says. Gaiger, who works in both the genealogy and adoption communities helping people find their families, describes researching family history as solving a puzzle. “Each time I find another piece, I get such a great feeling of accomplishment … and there is always one more answer to get.” Once you start collecting names and dates, you can begin to flesh out your understanding of your ancestors’ lives by researching where and when they lived. Although the Internet does make genealogy more accessible, many books and old newspapers are not available online. “I always hit the computer before I hit books,” says Gaiger, “But our members do me a great service by pointing out
useful books and insisting I read them … you can find a wealth of information, like town histories, family stories, and other specific local information.” Places to look include Family History Centres, run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, libraries, provincial archives, and historical associations. Another thing to consider is how to organize and record the data you collect. You could use folders or binders, sorted by family group, by era or by location. A common way is to organize by surname with a folder for each individual. The birth Gaiger uses genealogy software and certificate, says many excellent products are with the details available. Using software, you can easily produce a family tree chart or pedigree, it may contain, providing a quick visual picture of how will help me far you have gotten with your research. start fleshing Some websites, like Ancestry, offer out a picture online family tree functions, which may of my unknown be appealing, especially for sharing grandfather’s with relatives who live elsewhere. life. However, Gaiger suggests careful consideration before storing your information on an online site. “There are serious privacy concerns with publicly published genealogical information. I don’t want my personal information on a public family tree. You have to make choices about why you are doing this and who for. The family history is your creation, but also your responsibility to other members of the family.” Gaiger, who can trace some of her family’s lines back to the 1600s, says most of us can easily trace back to the 1800s and often earlier, depending on the family and where you are looking. Historical and social factors can affect the data. For example, in Scotland, there was a period of time where marriages were based on mutual consent, and not officially registered. A 1922 fire in Ireland’s central registry in Dublin destroyed centuries of public records. In regions of Eastern Europe ravaged by war and changing nationhood, records can be hard to find. Similarly, people with African roots sometimes cannot find exact data from areas where genealogy was an oral tradition. Nevertheless, when you lose a thread, you may be able to pick it up from another direction. Though I started this journey inspired by a family mystery, almost as soon as I began, another desire started to surface. My family immigrated to Canada when I was three and, growing up with little connection to extended family, I remember feeling envious of my friends with cousins, aunts and uncles nearby, their lives filled with a tumble of family relationships. When I think about creating a family tree, with my name at the bottom, and all the branches spreading out above me like an umbrella, I feel the possibility of finding a sense of meaning and connection beyond the immediate situation of my life. VB
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war changes an ordinary family
My father remembered hearing the news while playing on the street. The war was over. The Nazis were beaten. A parent he could barely remember would soon be home after years battling the enemy overseas. It was May 8, 1945. Throughout Canada, people took to the streets to mark V-E (Victory in Europe) Day. In overcrowded Halifax, drunken celebrants — servicemen, at first, soon after joined by civilians — smashed windows and looted shops. In most places, the explosion of pent-up exuberance cost no greater damage than a morning-after headache. My father wound up with his own souvenir. A six-year-old in short pants that day, he ran home to tell his mother the news and fell on gravel, skinning his knee. The scar was long a reminder of an otherwise joyful day. The reunion my father anticipated did not work out. His father returned unscathed, but the years away had altered the marriage. It did not turn out to be a happy homecoming, as the couple ended up living apart. When he came of age, my father followed his father’s example by enlisting. For a young man of limited financial means, the army offered an opportunity to see the world, even if that meant patrolling on the front lines of the Cold War in Europe. As it turned out, he met my mother, and the birth of two children 14 months apart put the kibosh on his
globetrotting ambitions. An early family photograph captures me wearing my dad’s cap sideways and grinning like a goof. My grandfather gave his name to my father, who in turn gave it to me, an inheritance from men who had little material wealth to pass on. Both had volunteered for military service, an option that held little attraction for me. My boyhood paralleled the Vietnam War era and ours was a household that opposed a war in which Canada, thankfully, was not engaged. Still, I grew up in apartments in which the cinder-blockand-plank shelves groaned with books about war history. The paperback edition of William L. Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, with its lurid swastika cover, especially looms in memory. I read it in middle school and later interviewed the war correspondent himself. At home, military history mattered. Yet the Hawthorn contribution to military service is not distinguished. My Scottish-born grandfather, a bootblack and shipyard labourer in Glasgow, served with Fort Garry Horse, which took part in the tough slog through occupied France, Belgium, Holland and on into Germany. He was a cook — I never heard a word about his culinary prowess — so it is possible he inflicted more harm on our troops than on the enemy. I’d like to know what my late father would have made of the news that the government is reinstating regal designations of two branches of the armed forces — the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Those names disappeared into the history books with the amalgamation of the armed forces in 1968, a move that at the time certainly outraged veterans and many serving members. But no one in uniform today has ever served under the old designations. My father served with the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), known for its kilts and bagpiping. Enlisting in the late 1950s, he saw no combat other than the occasional weekend dust-up with air force fly boys in their blue uniforms. His own army stories involved falling afoul of a toughminded sergeant. He was chewed out at morning parade for having a soiled uniform and warned not to repeat the infraction. He showed up the next day wearing impeccably polished boots and nothing else. “As you ordered, sir,” he told the sergeant. “Spotless, sir.” Military historian J.L. Granatstein argues convincingly that the regal designation is meaningless today. “The reality is that soldiers fight for their regiments and their comrades; sailors fight for their shipmates; airmen for their squadron,” he writes. But “royal” is not meaningless to a navy man I talked to at CFB Esquimalt. “Gives us pride,” he said. “Sounds better than Maritime Command, Maritime Operations Group 4.” Hard to know what my old man would have said. He liked tradition, but was a Canadian nationalist. I know one thing. On Remembrance Day, he paused to remember the veterans, his own father, who returned a changed man, and all the others who never made it home. VB 21
photo by gary McKinstry
TheArts by alisa gordaneer
arts town, but if you can’t afford tickets, you need community-driven arts We’ve got a great
Victoria is a pretty good city for the arts, I think. We have a thriving opera company, an excellent symphony and several professional theatre companies. We have a public art gallery with a tremendous collection, and a range of smaller galleries, both commercial and non-profit, that offer new and contemporary work. Add several art schools, a lively music scene that encompasses everything from fiddles to electronica, a literary community comprised of many of the country’s best writers, and a range of public art that, while occasionally controversial, decorates our city’s streets and buildings. I hope that visitors see Victoria as an arts-oriented city. The question is, though: do those of us who live here engage fully with the art that is at our fingertips? How can we, as citizens and audience members, connect with the arts in a way that makes us, the arts, and the region better for the interaction? That might be my ongoing question in this column, so in that pursuit I connected recently with Eugene van Erven, a professor at the Netherlands’ Utrecht University, who is a specialist in the connection between the arts and community. He will visit Victoria this month to talk about just that. According to van Erven, community arts connect with people regardless of demographic, and across all art forms. He explains that mainstream arts (such as professional companies) are crucial for a culturally vibrant city, but an exclusive focus on them tends to leave out many community members for whom those mainstream arts are too expensive, or too 22
exclusive, or otherwise inaccessible. “In my country, roughly 85 per cent of the population does not partake in this system,” he says. Victoria’s statistics are not available. He continues: “Looking at it hierarchically . . . under the mainstream you find all kinds of arts-related activities, like outreach, arts education, talent development. And then underneath that layer you find a vast area, which is larger than the others combined, with little or no arts activities.” In other words, larger “mainstream” arts organizations like opera companies and symphonies tend to be well-supported with funding, audiences and media attention, and that appeals to — and attracts — a solid audience. But most people don’t attend those performances, and therefore, a large part of society is less well-served by the mainstream. That’s where community arts come into play. By that I mean community theatre groups, open-mic reading series, jam nights for musicians to attend and try out their new material, even community arts spaces like the new Cedar Hill Recreation Centre gallery. According to van Erven, these are Jim loved to coach, not just because he loved all crucial for healthy cities. “They make cities dynamic from soccer, but because he believed sports could the bottom up, nourish local democracy and stretch our allteach important lessons. 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Include your favorite cause I’d argue that Victoria has a good chance of impressing van in yourhow. will or estate plan. Contact a charitable LEGACY™ Erven, but it’s always possible toLEAVE do better.ANot only do we program to learn organization, lawyer, financial advisor or local need to nurture the established arts, but we need to help www.leavealegacy.ca LEAVE A LEGACY™ program to learn how. community arts thrive. That task falls upon us, as members of the audience, because without audiences, those open-mic Make a Difference in the Lives that improv jam sessions can be a pretty dismal affair. But it also falls on our elected officials, who might keep this concept Make ainDifference in Follow the Lives that Follow Make a Difference the Lives that in mind as they prepare budgets for upcoming years. Van Erven suggests that to support community arts, a city can “invest in a small, multidisciplinary team of aartists, creativein the Lives that Follow Make Difference Make a Difference in the Lives that Follow producers and documentary/researchers, begin with a pilot in a particular part of town that is under-resourced in terms of artistic facilities, and take it from there.” Sounds simple, right? Of course, it’s not an instant fix. “Give this at least five years For more information about leaving a gift in your will to grow, from the bottom up,” he adds. But the result is better to your favourite charities, call Joy Spencer-Barry For more information about leavingata gift in your w than the sum of its parts: the community arts “bring creativity, 250-415-6089, or Natasha Benn at 250-721-6001, or to your favourite charities, call Joy Spencer-Barry colour, and positive energy in those places where these things visit www.leavealegacy.ca/vi. 250-415-6089, or Natasha Benn at 250-721-6001, are in short supply.” visit www.leavealegacy.ca/vi. For more information about leaving a gift in your will Hear, hear. For more information about leaving a gift in your will
Jim loved to coach, not just because soccer, but because he believed spor teach important lessons. To continue lessons, Jim placed a bequest to fun scholarships in his will.
Thanks to Coach Bindley, a few more reach their goals. Include your favorit in your will or estate plan. Contact a c organization, lawyer, financial adviso LEAVE A LEGACY™ program to lea
For more information about leaving a gif favourite call atJoy Spen to to youryour favourite charities, callcharities, Joy Spencer-Barry to your favourite charities, call Joy Spencer-Barry 250-415-6089, oratNatasha Benn at 250-721-6001, or 250-415-6089, or Natasha Benn at 250-7 Hear Eugene van Erven speak about community arts around 250-415-6089, or Natasha Benn at 250-721-6001, or visit www.leavealegacy.ca/vi. the world at 7:30 pm, November 24, at the Legacy Gallery, 630 visit www.leavealegacy.ca/vi. visit www.leavealegacy.ca/v Yates Street. Free. VB 23
magine: you decide you’re going to be a novelist. You sell your home, quit your job, and dive into your first story. Never written a lick of fiction in your life. You send it out to a woman who runs an online editing service, and she thinks it’s good. Really good. Good enough for her to make a few calls back to her old New York stomping grounds. And introduce you as a breakout novelist to your soon-to-be agent. It happened to 38-year-old author Chevy Stevens, whose first novel, Still Missing, landed her a three-book contract with St Martin’s Press a couple years back. To date, Still Missing has sold rights to 26 countries and counting. It hit bestseller lists in the US, UK and Germany, won International Thriller of the Year in the Best First Novel Category, and has been optioned for a movie. That’s an unheard-of success story for a first-time novelist, and catapults Stevens straight into the company of other best-selling writers like Joy Fielding, Giles Blunt and Louise Penny. Despite her dig that Still Missing “leans a little too heavily on American cop show clichés,” Quill & Quire reviewer Sarah Weinman assures readers that Stevens has what it takes to cut a wicked psychological suspense story. “The final twist will remain in the reader’s mind long after the book is finished,” writes
Shawnigan author Chevy Stevens hits the best-seller lists with her spine-tingling novels BY alex van tol photography by Chris Boar
Weinman. And it does. Stevens’ second book, Never Knowing, launched last July and is being gobbled up across the globe. Her third, Always Watching, due out sometime next year, has already sold in six countries before it’s even left her laptop. Anyone who’s read Stevens’ work will recognize Vancouver Island in her settings, be it a nameless mountain, Nanaimo, Shawnigan Lake or Victoria. Born Rene Unichewski, Stevens decided to publish under a pseudonym that was easier to recognize (and say): Chevy was her dad’s nickname in school, and Steven is her brother’s name. Raised on a ranch in Shawnigan, Stevens holds fond memories of hanging at Mason’s Beach, playing on the Kinsol Trestle and swimming in the Koksilah River. “There’s a river in all three of my books,” says Stevens. “I feel a strong affinity for it.” Although she enjoyed writing in high school, Stevens didn’t see herself writing novels. “I certainly daydreamed about it, but my intention was to go into Fine Arts,” she says. In her 20s (while grinding her way through said Fine Arts program, and then onward into a career in sales), she still thought idly about writing a book. But it wasn’t until 2005 that Stevens finally confided in her aunt: “I think I was meant to be a writer.” Over the following months, Stevens began dreaming in prose, seeing words “landing on the page in sentences,” and knew it was time to make the leap. After a break-up, Stevens took her dog (the now-deceased Annie, who’d been her companion for years) to Mudge Island. There, tea in hand, rain hammering on the aluminum roof and a fire crackling, she got to work. “I remember thinking, ‘This … this is how I want my life to look,’ ” she says. But upon her return to the real world, life and work intervened. She struggled along for half a year, balancing writing with working in real estate before finally selling her Nanaimo house and moving home to Shawnigan. “I look back on it and go, ‘freaky crazy!’ But I was only 32 at the time, I didn’t have kids, I wasn’t married, I wasn’t happy in my current job. It was, ‘if you’re going to do it, now’s the only time.’ ” Those years in real estate gave Stevens the experience and ideas that launched her first book into the stratosphere. “I got the idea for Still Missing at an open house and started playing with it,” she says. “I’m always a ‘what if’ kind of person, which is usually geared toward all the horrible things that could possibly happen.” While at the open house, Stevens wondered: what would happen if I didn’t come home? “I played with that idea and sat down and started writing.” If Lindsay Buziak comes to mind, you’re not alone. While the story runs along similar lines, Still Missing was already in draft form when the young Victoria real estate agent was murdered in 2008. “I see more of a connection with my story 27
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to (US kidnap victim) Jaycee Dugard or long-term abductions that have come back,” she says. “Other than a job, there wasn’t really a connection there. But it shows women in peril.” Ah, women in peril. This is Stevens’ thing. “I’m fascinated by human nature. Survival, human pain, emotions… the tragedies of life,” she says, noting that readers are startled to find that she’s quite cheerful and upbeat in person. Margaret Atwood once wrote that her readers wouldn’t believe it if she were to tell them that she’s quite homey and bakes fresh bread, as that’s most certainly not what she writes. Stevens agrees. “I can sit and have a really deep talk with somebody about serial killers, and I’ll watch Dateline and be fascinated. But I can also go watch a really funny movie. It’s just facets of your human nature.” Stevens finds her muse on long drives and walks, or while showering. “I’ll spend a lot of time staring at the wall in there working stuff out,” she says. Nanaimo-based writer and performer Cindy Shantz met Stevens at a writers’ conference in 2006. The two hit it off. “She’s the same age as my oldest daughter,” says Shantz, “but she feels like a sister to me.” Shantz admires Stevens’ discipline and her sheer moxie. She laughs as she recalls Stevens telling their “I’m fascinated by writing group she was going to pen human nature. a best-selling novel. “She’d written Survival, human nothing before that! But she said it pain, emotions… with such strength and power you the tragedies of knew she was going to do it.” life,” says Stevens Stevens is fearless with tackling the most terrifying subject matter, adds her writing partner, Ohio-based thriller novelist Carla Buckley. The two began exchanging emails when their first novels were coming out, and now act as each other’s sounding boards. Though they have different writing styles — Buckley tends to be more “lyrical,” whereas Stevens goes straight for the throat — Buckley says it’s exactly those differences that make it work. “She is absolutely brilliant at injecting suspense into every line, which I believe is due to her uncanny ability to see deeply into her characters and bring them fully to life.” Currently putting the finishing touches on Always Watching, Stevens now says there’s no such thing as an average day in a busy author’s life. “When your book comes out, you’re far more marketing and interview-driven,” she says. Unless she’s travelling, her morning is devoted to phone calls and emails, while late day is reserved for writing. “I didn’t realize how much the actual business component is,” she says. When she’s kicking back, Stevens and her husband, Connel Witzaney, spend time canoeing, hiking, swimming or hanging out with friends. Stevens rolls her eyes when she reflects on her old fantasy of the writing life: “It was often me wearing black, walking the windswept moors, thinking deep, writerly thoughts with a remote cabin somewhere and my faithful dog at my side.” Then she laughs. “Things changed a little bit.” VB
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OH BOY! With his endearingly dorky black-framed glasses, white sports coat, and innocent energy, clean-cut Buddy Holly was the antithesis of lewdly hip-swiveling Elvis Presley. It’s been just over a half-century since Holly perished in that terrible plane crash, and this king of the sock hop has morphed into one of the founding gods of rock ‘n’ roll. Catchy songs like Oh Boy and That’ll Be the Day retain an undiminished power to delight, while the man himself lives on too, courtesy of the immensely popular rock musical, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. The play was recently a huge hit for Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre, and the actor sporting those clunky glasses has been Parksville-raised Zachary Stevenson. A rising star on the Canadian musical theatre scene – he’s also earned acclaim for uncanny impersonations of Hank Williams and Phil Ochs – Stevenson was most recently seen here in Fire playing a Jerry Lee Lewis-style rock rebel. He returns to Victoria for a trio of Buddy performances, in a brief revival that is a fundraiser for Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre. Even after more than 250 performances as Buddy, Stevenson is still eager to grab an electric guitar and hit the stage. “I love the music, it’s so energizing and celebratory… and the character is a joy to play,” enthuses Stevenson. “Here’s this good Baptist boy from Lubbock, Texas who becomes such an unlikely rock ‘n’ roll pioneer . . . Buddy’s songs are so appealing because they’re honest and exuberant and they come out of a genuine love of music.” Running November 15, 8 pm and November 16, 2 and 8 pm, at the Royal Theatre. For tickets, call 250-386-6121.
Rising musical theatre star Zachary Stevenson plays Buddy Holly in three fundraising performances for the Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre, November 15th and 16th.
Mary’s Wedding MacPherson Playhouse
Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story Royal Theatre
First Nations Metal Works Alcheringa Gallery
Jitters Belfry Theatre
Alison MacTaggart AGGV
New Orford String Quartet First Metropolitan United Church
WHEN TWO WORLDS MEET A dozen Northwest Coast indigenous artists had a unique encounter with 2,500-year-old metalwork traditions from Eastern Europe, and the synergistic results are on display at Alcheringa Gallery. Bulgaria’s internationally renowned designer and silversmith Valentin Yotkov held a workshop this May in the ancient techniques of repoussé and chasing. Applied to malleable metals, these techniques allow for low-relief designs that become nearly sculptural. This approach combined brilliantly with the traditional design elements of First Nations metalwork, with results that feel timeless and also fresh. The show features such noted artists as Rande Cook, Edward Joe, and Dylan Thomas. Running from November 19 to December 31 at Alcheringa, 665 Fort St. For information, call 250-383-8224.
alex weimann / krzysztof jablonski / susan platts
aN all- sTaR liN Eu P OF s OlOisTs PE RFOR Ms w iT h ThE syMPhONy iN NOV EMB ER 13
Jablonski Plays Tchaikovsky Alain Trudel, conductor Krzysztof Jablonski, piano legacy series
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Margison, Mahler & Mozart Tania Miller, conductor Richard Margison, tenor Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano signature series
Right: Edward Joe’s Sun, Moon, and Thunderbird bracelet; Below
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Reserve your seats today 250.385.6515 or victoriasymphony.ca
WEDDING INVITATION Pacific Opera Victoria is throwing what it hopes will be the wedding of the decade, and more than just locals are on the invite list for the world premiere of the opera POV commissioned and helped create. Written as a play a decade ago, Mary’s Wedding depicts a first love that is blown apart by the brutal forces of the First World War. With a storyline shifting in time, and the setting toggling between the Alberta prairies and the horrors of trench warfare in Europe, Wedding had more than enough pathos and drama to make the jump into the rarefied realm of opera. “I wanted to start with something that we know works on stage and go from there,” says Timothy Vernon, POV’s artistic director. “The original play has a strong love story and evocative language that is affecting without being sentimental: it was a libretto in waiting.” The process began three years ago, with the original playwright, Stephen Massicotte, being hired as the librettist. For the composer, Vernon chose Andrew P. MacDonald, a gifted orchestrator with a proven knack for vocal writing. “The music is written in a modern idiom, but is polytonal and has melodies,” explains Vernon. “It’s a very singable score.” The play, a two-hander, has become more expansive as an opera, including a re-enactment of the famous battle of Moreuil Wood, the last cavalry charge of the Great War. “Although this is in some ways akin to chamber opera, there is some scale to the work, as well as a 20-person chorus,” adds Vernon. Opening night is pegged to Remembrance Day. It’s a reminder of how this war and its stories still resonate for millions of Canadians. Running November 10-20 at the McPherson Playhouse. For tickets, call 250-386-6121.
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In Her Own Words: Emily Carr, Katharine Maltwood and Myfanwy Pavelic Explore the authentic personal perspectives of these three remarkable women through their writing and artwork. November 19, 2011
Actor Kyle Jesperson plays a first-time playwright with a nightmarish case of nerves, in the Belfry’s Jitters, November 15 through to December 18.
In the small gallery: ‘ ‘ and the Professor: The Friendship of Henry Hunt and Peter Smart – Oct 8 to Nov 26 Kuluta The Emergence of Architectural Modernism in Victoria II – Nov 30 to Feb 26
FEARFULLY FUNNY Pioneering Canadian playwright David French was unimpressed at the end of David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre, convinced he could write a better play about the theatre world. He rushed home from New York and began making notes on what became Jitters, a behindthe-scenes portrait of an unusually fraught production that seems doomed from the start. The farce premiered in 1979 and has since been performed around the world and seen numerous revivals. French died almost a year ago, and that was part of the impetus for Belfry artistic director Michael Shamata to include the classic comedy in his current season. “I actually saw the original production at Tarragon Theatre and it’s always been on the to-do list here at the Belfry,” says Shamata. Jitters, as the name suggests, is all about fear: the actors, the novice playwright and the tyrannical stage manager have different agendas that put them at cross purposes; because they all have something to prove or to protect, their desperate machinations result in tasty farce. “The play works best if you’re not trying to be funny,” explains Shamata. “The characters are grounded in real needs and real psychology, so it’s very recognizable: it’s not just one-liners.” This performance is set in the late 1970s, so they may have to post a cautionary lobby card: Warning: tonight’s play contains bell bottoms, paisley, sideburns, and long pointy collars. “There are nine actors and two sets on a rotating stage, so this is a big play, one that really keeps the momentum moving,” adds Shamata. “It’s going to be a lot of fun for everyone.” Running at the Belfry Theatre from November 15 to December 18. For tickets, call 250-385-6815.
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INVENTING ART Alison MacTaggart got her training at Camosun College’s art program, and is remembered locally for a 2008 show at the Ministry of Casual Living. Now based in Vancouver, MacTaggart, a playful yet intellectually rigourous conceptual artist, is bringing her Promising Objects installation to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. MacTaggart looked for inspiration to the guide to patents from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for her current project, a group of quasi-musical instruments combining physical charm with unexpected interactive aspects. “These are beautiful objects that lure you in, only to reveal that there is a lot more there,” says Nicole Stanbridge, the AGGV’s associate curator of contemporary art. According to Stanbridge, MacTaggart elegantly straddles the realm between practical objects and conceptual art. “Alison is ‘playing’ inventor, but doing it seriously and thoughtfully,” she explains. “And the viewer becomes a participant in the full experience of the object.” As per the dictates of the patent office, each artwork must be “new” in some way, demonstrating novelty, utility, and ingenuity. The work hovers between domestic physicality and ideas about design and function, all while reveling in its own spirit of craftsmanship. “Even as she blurs the line between play and the real thing she wants to elicit a ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ response from the viewer,” says Stanbridge. Running from October 28 until January 2 at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. For information see aggv.ca.
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QUARTETTO MAGNIFICO Classical music fans will be delighted that violin prodigy Jonathan Crow is putting in an appearance at his old stomping grounds. Even more exciting, he’s performing with the New Orford String Quartet, making its Victoria debut with a program of Beethoven and Brahms. The Prince George-born Crow spent several years at the Victoria Conservatory of Music before launching a stellar career, which, among many accomplishments, saw him hired in Montreal as North America’s youngest-to-date symphony concertmaster. Just over two years ago Crow formed his current quartet and the acclaim was immediate. “There is a big buzz around this group,” says Arthur Rowe, himself an internationally renowned pianist and a professor at UVic’s School of Music. “The fact that the original Orford members (Canada’s most esteemed quartet, dating from the 1960s) agreed to pass on their name is a real mark of respect. It’s not something they would give away lightly.” Rowe will join the quartet in the second half for the Piano Quintet in 36
The New Orford String Quartet consists of, from left to right, Jonathan Crow, Andrew Wan, Brian Manker and Eric Nolin. They will play an evening of Brahms and Beethoven, November 26 at the First Metropolitan Church.
F minor by Brahms. “I’ve played with Jonathan before and he looks for colour and emotion and the ‘soul’ of the music he’s performing,” adds Rowe. “It’s not just mere virtuosity.” Crow will return to Victoria to join the Victoria Symphony on January 28 and 29, 2012, for a program of Bruckner, Mendelssohn and Brahms. Performing November 26, 8 pm, at First Metropolitan United Church, 932 Balmoral Rd. For information, call 250-385-8763 or see vsmf.org. 37
Oliver Swain: tall man, big voice, bottomless talent text BY RICK GIBBS photography by dean azim
Crunching on a hyper-healthy salad in the easy ambience of Mölé on Pandora, a curly-haired Oliver Swain, dressed in torn jeans, collared shirt, and tan vest, tells me he’s a walking oxymoron. But musical shape-shifter or artistic warrior might be a better way to describe this 35-year-old musician/singer/ songwriter, who has been a force on the Canadian roots music scene for years and has just secured a showcase performance
at the International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis in February. Probably best known for his work with Outlaw Social, the acclaimed Victoria roots group that is now disbanded, Swain was also a founding member of the Bill Hilly Band (now the Bills) before joining Winnipeg’s Scruj MacDuhk (now the Duhks). When Scruj broke up, he and lead singer Ruth Moody of
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Eclectic artist Oliver Swain plucks his 120-year-old goatskin banjo in his well-travelled van.
Wailinâ€™ Jennys fame joined forces with fiddling band mate Jeremy Penner, and together they hit the road as Moody, Penner and Swain. His musical transformations also include stints with The Red Stick Ramblers, a Cajun band from Louisiana; the Deep Downs, a soulful Victoria side project with jazz vocalist Emily Braden; and as a sideman on major tours with the likes of American singer/songwriter Toni Childs and Juno Award-
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winning country/folk artist Jenny Whiteley. He’s also the inaugural artistic director of FolkWest, Victoria’s new roots music festival that launched in August, and last year he birthed a new ensemble called Big Machine, which is garnering critical praise. Calgary-based folk festival organizer, music writer and broadcaster Kenna Burina, for instance, calls the band’s music “amazing” and mesmerizing. As well, Swain works in numerous side projects around town just for the sheer joy of getting his six-foot, four-inch frame on stage behind his well-traveled upright bass and 120-year-old goatskin banjo. He is a big stage presence and not just because of his height. While he’s a skilled musician, it’s his vocals that engage an audience. Victoria singer/guitarist Chris Frye, who played with Swain in The Bill Hilly Band, says back then Swain was a “largerthan-life, ripping, raw talent with a huge voice,” whose “trip” was to “close his eyes and really channel something spiritual and heavy,” a quality Frye feels he’s kept over the years while constantly honing his skills to become a “transcendent singer.” Even in a YouTube video, Swain’s vocal power is apparent. Load Take Me Up, recorded at Big Machine’s first concert, and you’ll be emotionally transported as Swain, He is a big stage presence and not just because of his accompanied by Adrian Dolan on viola, Quinn height. While he’s a skilled Bachand on guitar, musician, it’s his vocals and James Whittall on that engage an audience. mandolin, bows out a deep drone on his bass before bending his plaintive, Celtic-tinged voice into the uniquely phrased opening lyrics of his “alien” folk song: “I could go up to/ outer space/ above the clouds/ far above/ disgrace/and above the sounds/’cause I’ve had time for everything I’ve done/ and now there’s nowhere under/ the sun/ and so take me up…” Nearly eight minutes into the song, when the band reaches the joyful climax of what has become a celebratory sonic ride, Swain’s whole body is moving. His left hand sometimes leaves the bass strings altogether, expressively reaching up and twisting as he closes his eyes, tilts his head back, and opens his mouth wide to wail out his call to the aliens and (it would seem) the heavens. It’s a powerful performance that ends where it began with Swain’s droning bass, Dolan’s long notes on the viola, and atmospheric accents from the guitar and mandolin. A nine-minute experimental folk song about alien abduction with spiritual overtones? You may recall that earlier “walking oxymoron” remark. “Here I am a traditionalist who is motivated by the experimental nature of the traditions,” Swain explains, suggesting that maybe “juxtaposition” is a better word to describe his love of the old and the new.
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Musically he is the product of diverse influences. Growing up in Victoria, he listened to his dad’s extensive classic rock collection and his mom’s “incredibly mournful” and emotive voice when she would sing to him and his brother at night. He says he was “an average kid” who had a garage rock band at 16. “We’d get someone to boot for us, maybe smoke a joint or two, and then hang out in the jam spot and play blues rock for hours and hours.” He values those early musical experiences as he does the Esquimalt High School jazz program, which opened his mind to a whole other world. Jazz connected him with the blues and the vast realms of American roots music. He says it was like reaching for a book with a weird title on a library shelf. “You pull it down and this door opens.” The wilderness opened him up, too. Fond of solo camping trips, he once spent two weeks alone in Clayoquot Sound. “I basically sang the whole time… I listened to the sounds of the water and the sounds of the wind in the trees and the birds and just kind of let myself naturalize.” He says nature informs both his spiritual perspective and his approach to music. He’s also quick to credit other musicians for his development. He talks about surrounding himself throughout his life with people who were better than him at his interests and could inspire him down different paths. Percussionist Kelby MacNayr, who plays in Big Machine and has known Swain since high school, cites his ability to unite talented people around a common vision as one of his greatest strengths. He also calls him an enigmatic performer. Swain acknowledges the difficulty of being an independent artist in a world that values commerce and politics over art but says he’s made it work and is wide open to wherever his chosen path will take him. “I’ve just really believed in myself and believed in the music and in the importance of art. I still believe that the songs and the plays and the poems and the books are as important as the UN and the high commissions.” VB
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“Often, I provide a new design concept which marries with the style that people already have and love” says Paula Grypma, Window Covering Specialist and the owner of Fandango Design in Sidney. “I have amazing products and fabric options to compliment any taste and look.” That includes beautiful fabrics for upholstery, custom bedlinens and even innovative motorized or hand-operated window treatments, all crafted to exceed industry standards. “When I meet people in their homes,” Grypma says, “I can see what they like while we talk about what they want to change or add. “There are memories attached to furniture,” she explains. “It’s fun Fandango Design and practical to have seasonal slipcovers or new upholstery, for 250.889.4585 example, and you don’t have to give up your favourite chair.” Visit Fandango Design midweek between 11 and 3 or by appointment, or ask Paula Grypma to visit your home to discuss creating new life for your favourites or creating new favourites! fandango-design.ca Crowns and bridges are more attractive than ever, thanks to always-evolving technology. Now the new Lava™ Chairside Oral Scanner makes the restoration process easier too, with no more mucky trays and castings. Instead, the computer technology creates a model of your mouth. “The oral scanner is about the size and shape of a pen,” explains Victoria dentist Dr. Patrick Finnigan. “The tip Vancouver Island simply glides over the gums and teeth, Dental Lab Inc. capturing three-dimensional streaming 250.381.0400 digital data. It’s a straightforward, less invasive, and more efficient process.” Developed by 3M’s ESPE Dental Division, the computerized system is backed by 3M’s reputation for solid research and excellent products. “My patients are finding it comfortable, and the results are stellar,” says Dr. Finnigan, a family dentist with a special interest in all-porcelain crowns, bridges and veneers. The Lava™ scanner sends precise and accurate information straight from the patient’s mouth to sophisticated modeling software. Dentists do have “It was a most interesting mini-movie!” enthuses Victoria patient WJ Watts after a choice of materials with which to produce the viewing the scan on screen right in the dentist’s office. “Dr. Finnigan explained that framework for the new crowns and bridges, 3M these pictures would enable the dental lab to create a better fitting replacement ESPE Lava™ (super-strong, high-quality zirconium tooth with excellent colour matching.” oxide ceramic), Titanium and Gold Alloys. Just as And that’s exactly what he delivered. Dr. Finnigan thinks the Lava™ process is with our original teeth, which are created with easier and the results are outstanding – but more importantly, so do his patients. nature’s ceramic, Lava™ crowns and bridges have no For more information about how the Lava™ Chairside Oral Scanner can brighten metal backing to show through. The only thing that your smile, call Dr. Finnigan at 250-595-3444 or visit Vancouver Island Dental Lab, shines is your smile. Vancouver Island’s regional 3M ESPE Lava™ Milling Centre. Some patients even confess that they can’t always Find us at 4-416 Garbally Road. tell the difference between their new teeth and the originals! vidl.ca 43
On Cadboro Bay, a subtle beacon of light,
space and neighbourliness
Great listening skills are credited with the creation of a Cadboro Bay couple’s streamlined, light-filled retirement home that returned them to their Victoria roots. “Our architect really paid close attention to what we wanted,” said Laura Gage, looking at home on her deck overlooking a sandy beach with frolicking dogs, and beyond that, boats under sail with the Olympic Mountains a glistening backdrop. Laura and her husband Tony met Vancouver architect Joe Redmond through friends and their relationship incubated as Redmond probed how they envisioned using the home, how long they would live there, and a range of other questions right down to the colour palette that made them happy. Rather
than imprinting his own design sensibilities on their lives, he used them to translate the couple’s vision for their home. Occasionally he steered them clear of decisions he thought they might regret while respecting their own vision of home and place. “I initially thought the kitchen was way too big,” says Laura, now thrilled with her entertainment-friendly kitchen warmed by dark, oak-stained cabinetry. “You want to accommodate the needs of the owners; what do they want in terms of spaces and how do they live in the home,” says Redmond about what he strives for in designing a home. “During the process you try to listen as much as possible
Architect Joe Redmond saw the horizontal lines from the beach and nearby seawall as his
FAIRFIELD FIVE-PLE X
guide for this light-filled home.
This landmark character Five-Plex offers period style and charm with modern updates. Five separate revenue suites featuring rich wood floors, fireplaces, and options for a stunning owners suite. Annual Revenue of $108,000. Appraised at $2,220,000. Offered at $1,975,000.
J ordy H arris 250-385-2033 jordyharris.com
By carolyn hEIman photography by vince klassen
and account for that in terms of good designs,” adds the architect, who actually designs very few homes and has the exceptional luxury of only taking on clients who are friends or are people he meets through friends. For Laura, a visit to a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Arizona was inspirational but the couple wasn’t looking to copy. “I wanted the feel of that home, its lightness, spaciousness and the sense of blending in with the setting.” With that as a starting place Redmond sifted through the range of preferences articulated by the owners, finding larger themes and consensus among the contradictions to produce a home that works with the awkward triangular lot that has its widest part on the water 45
Above: Floor-to-ceiling windows along the water side of the home maximize the beach view. Left: An open, art-filled stairway to the second floor bedrooms and studio was built so that it could contain an elevator in the central shaft if someday needed. Below: The architect combined rock with other surface materials for â€œa sense of permanence of structure.â€?
but demands a big setback. “I felt the home needed to be horizontal. With the beach and the seawall there were these existing horizontal lines. But I also wanted some meat to it; some stucco and rock. Like a lighthouse on a rock. It needed a sense of permanence of structure,” said Redmond, whose most recent career title was president of the Whistler 2020 Development Corporation, which developed the athletes’ village. The result is a 4,500-square-foot angular home that is spacious without being ostentatious, classy without being stuffy, modern without being rigid, and serene without being sterile. Floor-to-ceiling paned windows maximize the killer views on the beach side. On the second floor, an open and skylit art studio is a muse for Laura’s sketching and painting she can now resume after having home creation her canvas. Adding to the design challenge was the discovery of a creek that ran through the property, which the Gages realized explained the spongy floor in the original older home demolished on the property. The surprise water feature and unstable sandy soil forced the construction of a basement steel containment wall. The main floor offers expansive ocean views and moves seamlessly through the media room, kitchen, dining and living room, the last of which gently angles away from the other spaces, adding asymmetrical interest. In addition to the studio, the upstairs has two bedrooms and bathrooms that are ample but not foolish in dimension. Speaking to the Gages’ generosity of spirit, the guest bedroom and its bath are roomiest and the area boasts the best beach views. The Gages purchased the property in the ‘90s, years before they were ready to start building. The property called to them for its location; it was less than a mile to the pub, university and the golf course, not to mention a village shopping centre. Adding to the convenience, Tony grew up in the neighbourhood, even playing in its Little League: it was appealing to him to return to his childhood roots and the friendly neighbourhood. Redmond got the message about the couple’s connection to the neighbourhood when it came to design ideas that were potentially rankling to some. “We want to live with our neighbours and move in as friends,” Redmond recalls his instructions from his clients, who migrated to consensus, not confrontation. Inside, Laura wanted to keep favourite furnishings that had sentimental value but came in teak, mahogany, rosewood, oak and burled walnut. The solution to making the pieces fit collectively was to mix surface materials: granite, white oak, bamboo and dark stained oak. Tony gently chides that he was only allowed to have input into the media room and the study, with the former ending up smaller than he wanted. But speaking seriously about its merits, Tony says he needed only a space big enough for
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Dark, oak-stained cabinetry warms the entertainment-friendly kitchen. The Gages originally thought the kitchen might be too large, but now find it perfect for gatherings with family and friends.
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comfortable furnishings and an average-size TV. Clean white oak cabinetry hides electronics that pipe surround-sound elsewhere in the fully wired home, including the outside decks. His roomy study, with the homeâ€™s second fireplace, sumptuous sitting areas and personalized bookshelves, exudes warmth. The Gages say they will live in the home for as long as possible and to that end the design envisions that one day someone may not have complete mobility. Hallways are wide and uncluttered. The bathroom off the guest room has handrails and is roomy enough to manoeuvre a wheelchair or walker. The homeâ€™s stairwell opening to three levels is not just an impressive entry statement; at the basement level, the necessary foundation for an elevator, should it ever be needed, has been poured. Encouraged by Tony to use her artistic sensibilities, Laura decorated, giving the home a deeply personal resonance while leaving a fabulous backdrop for the art collection worthy of the spacious wall areas and deep ceilings. The colour palette is restricted to two shades of taupe and off-white and those colours are deployed in a manner that factors angles and light conditions. Outside landscaping is time-freeing in its design and the terraced beds stepping down to the beach respect the seaside micro climate while still attracting an abundance of pollinating bees.
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Asked what he best likes about the house, Redmond matter-of-factly says: “The Gages like it. As a design person you want to design something that you’re proud of but you have to have the people living it like it. That’s the measure of a successful design.” VB Carolyn Heiman welcomes suggestions for homes to be profiled in Hot Properties. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
SUPPLIERS AND TRADES: A number of skilled professionals, trades and suppliers helped create this home. The homeowners wish to acknowledge the following contributors: Architect: Joe Redmond Almic Holdings Ltd.; Contractor/Builder: Citta Construction; Cabinetry: Citta Construction; Fireplaces and stonework: Brohm Ridge Grey Basalt; Countertops: Bordignon; Flooring: Creative Surfaces (tile), Mavyan and Westlake (rugs); Appliances: Y Franks, Vancouver; Plumbing fixtures: Kohler, Kindred, Grohe; Etched hummingbird window and yellow cedar carving at front door: Clarence Mills; Flowers: Oak Bay Florist
Throughout the house and grounds a sense of space, serenity and elegance prevails, including the master bath, top, the guest bedroom, right, and the expansive seaside patio.
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COMING SOON! STUNNING NEW CADBORO BAY RESIDENCE STUNNING LUXURY CONDO at fabulous Bayview Victoria! This 2 bedrm, 1700sqft unit has been completely upgraded and customized with incredible open floorplan and wall-to-wall windows that showcase spectacular views from the Empress Hotel & Inner Harbour to the snow-capped Olympic Mts & Sooke Hills. Enjoy full concierge service and gorgeous amenities from this very special award-winning building close to the heart of Victoria's vibrant downtown! $1,359,000
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SPECTACULAR MODERN 6100 sq.ft. residence on totally private 1.34ac property! You’ll love the dramatic Great rm, 10'14'5" ceilings, custom woodwork, glass 'walls', & gourmet chef's kitchen w/huge pantry & easy access to the infinity pool w/hot tub, & outdoor entertainment area! Each of the 5 bdrms has access to an ensuite, the master suite also boasting sitting area, FP & adjacent office. Huge games rm & home theatre, smart wiring, solar heat & so much more! Enjoy gorgeous views & sun all day with putting green & bocce court too! $1,875,000
CADBORO BAY BEACH just steps away from this gorgeous 4 bedrm family home! Totally renovated from top to bottom & 'like-new' inside & out w/beautiful HW flrs, gourmet kitchen, elegant living/dining rms, deluxe master w/spa bath, 3 gas FPs, massive deck off the kitchen, huge games rm, family room & office areas & more! Private gate access directly to Gyro park, tennis courts & the beach! Walk to Peppers grocery, Starbucks, shops and more! $1,228,000
ABSOLUTELY CHARMING!!! Tons of character throughout w/4 bedrooms, 2 bths, brand new kitchen, lovely HW flrs, new baths, new fixtures, thermo windows, bright fully finished lower level, fenced back yard w/new landscaping & irrigation system, lrg sunny deck off the kitchen, 200 amp service & so much more! Located on the quietest part of Windsor Road . . . and just a few blocks from Oak Bay Village restaurants, great schools, shops & amenities! $728,000
5 BEDRM ARBUTUS HOME! This expansive family home offers lots of space plus option for extra 'student accommodation' too! Features include a bright entry, bay windows, super kitchen w/granite countertops, great family rm off the kitchen, oversized master w/ large ensuite, 2 dining rm options, & covered patio area. Fantastic location just steps from beach access, parks . . . & a short walk from UVic, great schools & Cadboro Bay Village! $799,000
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FASHION & STYLE
Take winter by This seasonâ€™s stylish coats rebuff the chill
Rose Coat CoVelo Baden-Baden $489
Does the idea of spending another dark winter encased in Gortex make you sigh? Then save it for hiking. When in town, swathe yourself in a coat that pumps out heat not only from the fabric, whether wool, cashmere or a blend, but from its classic styling and unique details. Ladies and gentlemen, take your hues from us: Garment photography by vince klassen
FASHION & STYLE
Wool Car Coat Oliver Spencer Outlooks For Men $875
Cropped Sleeve Pea Coat Sfizio Scala Boutique $598
Topcoat Coppley W&J Wilson $1,095
AS SWEET AS A ROSE
MILITARY CHIC FOR MEN AND WOMEN
Colorado clothing designers CoVelo specializes in creative artistic style with special attention fun, unique details like its flirty and flouncy “Rose Coat” (previous page). With a detachable rose that can bloom (or not) at the neck and a long zipper detailing along the ruffled front, the 100% boiled wool coat, shown in purple, will not only keep out the winds but bring smiles. Baden Baden, $489.
UK clothing designer Oliver Spencer takes his inspiration from hunting and military themes and focuses on quality fabrics, modern fits and old-school construction — all found in its men’s wool pea coat. Outlooks for Men, $675. Italian designer Sfizio channels military chic in its light blue double-breasted wool women’s short coat, with three-quarterlength sleeves and empire-waist detailing. Scala Boutique, $598.
Tailored Overcoat Judith & Charles Scala Boutique $525
Brit Coat Burberry W&J Wilson $795
3/4 Trench Aquascutum W&J Wilson $825
CLASSIC TAILORED OVERCOATS
FOREVER ENTRENCHED IN STYLE
A traditional overcoat is never a wrong choice for men and women. Sleek and tailored, nicely offset with a colour scarf, the Coppley men’s single-breasted cashmere coat slips over a suit. W&J Wilson, $1,095. Women will look dashing in red in this Montreal-made 100% wool coat made by the high-end line Judith & Charles, Scala Boutique, $525.
Almost 100 years ago, the British War Office commissioned Burberry to design a coat for officers that would meet the demands of modern war. The trench coat was born. Burberry constantly updates its line with stylish options, like its grey cashmere/wool/nylon Brit coat. W&J Wilson, $795. Aquascutum’s history is even older than Burberry’s, and its short women’s trench a constant rival, W&J Wilson, $825.
Women’s Cinque turtleneck, Scala Boutique $215 | Men’s Nanibon turtleneck, Outlooks for Men, $155 | Mannequins courtesy of Pacifc Design Academy
are not just
good reads, they fuel great discussion By adrienne dyer
THE BOOKS: perennial book club favourites. Despite a steady supply of hot new bestsellers competing for attention, some older titles remain on the book club circuit year after year, sometimes for decades. What makes a book a perennial book club favourite? I think it’s fair to say that a little word of mouth goes a long way. But perennial book club favourites share one trait that transcends personal taste or genre: the ability to provoke intense discussion. Thank you to local booksellers, book clubs, colleagues, friends and family for sharing your top picks for must-read titles so that I may share them here, in no particular order: Reading Lolita in Tehran, A Memoir in Books: This book illustrates the cathartic force of literature on the lives of seven Iranian female students, who defied repressive Islamic rule by participating in a secret book club guided by their former teacher (Nafisi) to discuss the forbidden: the great works of Western literature. The Book of Negroes: Hill’s novel recounts the life of Aminata Diallo from childhood, when she is kidnapped from her West African tribe and sold into slavery, to the end of her life when she is finally a free woman living in London and writing down her story to help the abolitionists banish slavery. 62
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia: The title pretty much sums up the plot of Gilbert’s memoir of selfdiscovery following a divorce. Some, as I did, found Gilbert insufferably selfabsorbed, while others view her life journey as an admirable testimony of plucky courage. What about you?
The Alchemist: When Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy, embarks on a journey to Egypt in search of buried treasure, he discovers that “to realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.” A simple tale with a profound message about following one’s own calling, Coelho’s tale is one of the bestselling books of all time.
The Reader: What does it mean to love someone who is guilty of unspeakable crimes against humanity? When a 15-year-old boy falls into a love affair with a beautiful, older woman in postwar Germany, he has no idea that he will one day be confronted with her past as an Auschwitz prison guard. Does this acclaimed novel explore the struggle of postwar generations to understand the actions of their ancestors, or does it stir sympathy towards the people who committed great acts of evil?
The Great Gatsby: Fascinating to approach this book as an adult exercising my own literary free will, rather than as an adolescent hacking my way (sometimes resentfully) through a list of required reading. Set on glamorous Long Island during the Roaring ‘20s, the story is about self-made millionaire Jay Gatsby’s ill-fated pursuit of his old flame, the equally shallow Daisy Buchanan. The Great American Novel? You be the judge.
OTHER PERENNIAL FAVOURITES:
Girl with a Pearl Earring: The details of 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s life did not go down in history, nor do we know the identity of the girl who posed for one of his most famous paintings. Based on scant clues about Vermeer’s life, Chevalier has imagined a story centred on a 16-year-old narrator, Griet, who rises from servant girl to Vermeer’s assistant and eventually, becomes the model for the great painter’s famous work.
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker, 304 pgs. Pocket, c1990 (originally published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c1982). Love in the time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, 348 pgs. Penguin, c1989. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, 349 pgs. Penguin, c2007. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, 426 pgs. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd., c2006.
Book 1: Reading Lolita in Tehran Author: Azar Naffisi Publisher: Random House, c1975 Pages: 356 Book 2: The Book of Negroes Author: Lawrence Hill Publisher: Harper Collins, c2007 Pages: 504 Book 3: Eat Pray Love Author: Elizabeth Gilbert Publisher: Penguin, c2007 Pages: 352 Book 4: The Reader Author: Bernhard Schlink Publisher: Vintage, c2008 (orig 1998) Pages: 224 Book 5: Girl with a Pearl Earring Author: Tracy Chevalier Publisher: Plume, c2001 Pages: 240 Book 6: The Alchemist Author: Paulo Coelho Publisher: Harper Collins, c2006 Pages: 208 Book 7: The Great Gatsby Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald Publisher: Charles Scribner & Sons, c1925 Pages: 180
The Birth House by Ami McKay, 408 pgs. Vintage Canada, 12th edition, c2007. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, 288 pgs. The Dial Press, c2008. Still Alice by Lisa Genova, 292 pgs. Simon & Schuster Canada, c2008. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, 328 pgs. Little Brown, c2002. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, 536 pgs. Vintage Canada, c2004.
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My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, 432 pgs. Atria Books, c2004. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, 336 pgs. Penguin, c2003. VB Questions or comments? Want your book club featured in the magazine? Please email Adrienne Dyer at email@example.com for more information.
g HEALTH & WELLNESS
You could be part of a powerful cancer prevention tool:
The BC Generations Project
By anne mullens
ibli al s gic ? iolo have
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am sitting in a small room with a cancer researcher. For the past half hour she has put me through a host of medical tests and assessments — a bone density scan, blood pressure test, body mass index, height, grip strength and more. I’ve answered a highly detailed, 52-page medical questionnaire asking about my family medical history, my general health, and my lifestyle habits, such as how often I exercise. I’ve disclosed any possible exposure, at least that I know of, to confirmed carcinogens like second-hand tobacco smoke. Soon I will give a urine sample and provide six vials of blood to be frozen and stored in vats of liquid nitrogen for almost 50 years. No, thankfully, I don’t have cancer. In fact, I am perfectly healthy. I am not doing this extensive medical evaluation for me. I am taking an hour of my time for my children and for future generations. The data gleaned will be W ha t combined with that of 39,999 other people in BC ha is yo and some 300,000 people across Canada, and we i r ur n will be followed over time to see what happens co at lou ur to our health. r? al It is called the BC Generations Project, part of the largest cancer prevention study in Canadian history. Over the next three years it aims to recruit 40,000 adult British Columbians age 35 to 69. Called a prospective cohort study, it is one of the highest-quality research studies for seeing new patterns and associations at the population level, not biased by hindsight and subjects’ faulty recall. This large sample comprising adult Canadians will reveal powerful information about cancer risk, early detection and prevention, as well as prevention for other diseases. “A large cohort like this is what every population health scientist dreams of,” explains Marilyn Borugian, BC Generations program director. In fact, almost everything we know about disease er p? p risk factors comes from previous large prospective e rs sle cohort studies. The famous Framingham Heart Study, u ho ually for example, started in 1948 with 5,209 people in the y s Massachusetts town of Framingham and has followed an u m ou y three generations, revealing much of what we know about w Ho do diet, exercise, lifestyle and family history for the risk factors y and prevention of heart disease. The Nurses Health Study, da
which started in 1976 and expanded in 1989, has followed some 240,000 nurse-participants, leading to many new insights about women’s health, including risks and benefits of oral contraceptives. The Women’s Health Initiative, begun in the late 1990s, is following 160,000 older women, and so far has revealed the increased risk of breast cancer from hormone replacement therapy, radically changing the management of menopause. The BC Generations project, and the larger panCanadian study, called the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, will become part of this body of important population health studies. “This is the first time we have done a cohort study of this size in Canada and the expectation is that we will find significant new associations that can help reduce the risk of cancer or other important diseases,” said Greg Martyn, director of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, from its Toronto headquarters. The project may reveal regional differences for cancer risk factors. In Nova Scotia, for example, participants are already having toenail samples taken to test for heavy metal exposure, particularly arsenic, to search for any future cancer link. If you are 35 to 69, you could join in the BC project. The Generations team is visiting Victoria this month, hoping to recruit more than 1,500 men and women. In late October they set up four assessment stations in the
basement of the Esquimalt United Church. They will be there six days a week until the third week of November. Letters inviting people to participate were randomly sent to households in the region in early September but volunteers are still being sought, particularly men. Cindy Trytten, a 49-year-old Saanich health researcher, received the invitation letter and eagerly signed on. The chief administrative officer of Can-Med, a local company that helps co-ordinate and run clinical research trials, Trytten has worked for more than 20 years in the health research field and saw participating as a way to give back. “I am so excited to be part of it. We are part of the solution. We need good data collection and it is only by studies like this, with big numbers, that we really learn.” Trytten’s enthusiasm is such that she has singlehandedly recruited family members, including her spouse, as well as a few colleagues. “I find it really easy to convince anyone who understands research. Only good will come of it.” Architect David Wilkinson, who lives in Oak Bay, also received the letter. He and his wife Jennifer, in their early 50s, have signed on. “I think it appeals to the science nerd in all of us. I am fascinated by the whole concept, and to find out my baseline data and see what happens,” said David Wilkinson. So far across BC, almost 15,000 people have enrolled from more than 180 different communities. While most of the day-today operations are run out of the BC Cancer Research Centre,
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across the street from Vancouver General Hospital, the project has set up assessment clinics for about five weeks at a time in Kelowna, Prince George and Coquitlam, handling about 50 recruits a day. While in Victoria this month, they hope to expand to as many as 60 a day by extending their hours and operating six days a week. After Victoria, they will move to the Fraser Valley. The study is now recruiting about 1,000 people a month and at this rate will have reached its target capacity in about 18 months. All participants agree to be followed and to allow nonidentifying health data to be collected, such as how and when we use the health system, what prescriptions we may receive and what health conditions, particularly cancer, diabetes and heart disease, we may be diagnosed with. If, for example, a participant gets cancer, the stored blood and urine samples may be tested to see if there were any early biomarkers or genetic risk factors that might have lead to earlier detection. If any worrying indicators are found at baseline or during the study, the participants will be told to visit their family doctor. In future, participants will be contacted as needed. But, notes All participants agree to be followed Martyn and Borugian, the tissue samples and willing pool of and to allow nonparticipants will also serve as identifying health a potential resource for future data to be collected researchers with new questions such as how and to ask. For example, if a future when we use the research team wants to examine the emerging links between health system certain viruses or bacteria and and what health conditions we may be cancer, they can apply to the BC or the Canada-wide project for diagnosed with. access to the participants and the specimens. If the research project receives approval, those researchers would be able to contact the participants, asking them to undertake new questionnaires and allowing the stored specimens to be probed for potential microbial biomarkers. My hour in the assessment process was a fascinating exposure to science at work. I learned my bone density is very good, my grip strength could be better, and that my BMI, while still in the healthy range, has been creeping up like most North Americans. But most of all, I came away feeling more informed about my health and that I had made a small but important contribution to science.
The BC Generations Project will be at Esquimalt United Church, 500 Admirals Rd., until November 19. People age 35 to 69 are eligible, even those with a previous diagnosis of cancer. To participate and arrange an assessment, call 1-877-675-8221 or visit bcgenerationsproject.ca. VB 67
Unretouched photos of a LATISSE速 (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) 0.03% user at week 0 and week 16.
The onset of effect with LATISSE速 solution is gradual. In the clinical trial, the majority of LATISSE速 users saw significant improvement by 2 months.1 Individual results may vary.
If discontinued, lashes will gradually return to their previous appearance.
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Every night can be movie night with streaming services, but not all choices get two thumbs up By Darryl Gittins
Tuesday nights were the big TV event for me as a kid. It was critical to be home on time to catch Monty Python’s Flying Circus on KCTS. It was introduced by the same sponsor, Ivar’s Acres of Clams. I don’t recall ever welcoming a TV ad so much. To miss Python was social death on the school yard. The VCR introduced the ability to record shows to watch on your own schedule, but VCRs were clunky. Finding a specific show got pretty tedious. I remember endlessly scrolling back and forth through my boy’s Thomas the Tank Engine tapes to find the beginning of his favorite episode, Percy Puts an Eye Out, or whatever it was. DVDs improved the picture quality, but they couldn’t record. Now we have Personal Video Recorders (PVRs) and all manner of video streaming over the Internet. Computers with TV tuners, TiVos, or PVRs from the cable company will record anything based on any parameters. Tell it to record shows that feature Michael Palin, and it will happily scour the listings and record what it finds. Last year, Netflix arrived in Canada with its movie streaming service (but not its DVD delivery service with its superior selection). For a monthly flat fee of $8, you have an endless stack of virtual movies available. And unlike the traditional rental services, if the movie’s a stinker, you can flip to another one in less time than it takes to say “pass the popcorn.” Netflix also lets you watch shows on the iPad, iPhone, a few Android devices, and gaming consoles like the Wii. (See the Wii store to get the free Netflix app.) Netflix’s selection might be a little disappointing. They don’t have Grosse Pointe Blank, or Airplane! How could they not have Airplane!? They’re working to improve the Canadian selection, but for now, it’s nowhere nearly as good as their US site. To their credit, they answer the phone quickly, with virtually no wait. That’s impressive compared with ludicrous hold time from Telus. If you want to order Telus Optic TV, make sure the batteries in the cordless phone are fully charged. Shaw, at least has a call-back feature. Dozens of other supposedly free streaming options come up 70
on Google searches for TV shows and movies, such as Torrent sites or tv.blinkx.com, but be very careful. There are questions about the legitimacy of these sites. Many are illegal and you could be breaking copyright laws when you use some of them, and therefore you may be liable. Check out copyright issues at chillingeffects.org For now, Netflix appears to be the main legitimate contender as evidenced by the plethora of new Internet-connected “smart” TVs and Blu Ray players that offer direct access to the Netflix service. These eliminate much of the hassle factor connecting a streaming video device, such as a computer, to the TV. I bought a Samsung Blu Ray player from London Drugs for $130 and it was a snap to get it streaming Netflix to the TV. You do need to connect it to your router for Internet access (wired and wireless options are available). Shaw and Telus offer streaming movie packages that have a decent selection, but you need buy (roughly $200) or rent their digital boxes, plus there’s the monthly access fees, and the cost of the various individual plans. That could easily add up to over $100 a month, depending on the different options. And new releases are still not included. (Netflix also does not have new releases.) You pay as much as $8 to stream a new release compared with the $5 you’d pay at local rental shops like Pic A Flic in Cook Street Village. The convenience factor of instantly downloading a new release is killing the local video rental stores. That’s why Vancouver’s venerable Videomatica is closing its doors and why Blockbusters is busted. Fortunately, Pic A Flic has no intention of closing. They have the best selection in town, their staff is pleasantly helpful, and like browsing in a bookstore, there’s something special about selecting movies in person. And the Blu Ray disk is likely going to have a better picture than most streaming options. So if you are considering upgrading any part of the home entertainment system, get something that can stream Netflix. Otherwise, let me know if you’re interested in any old Thomas the Tank Engine video tapes.
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One remote to rule them all? A problem with all these home entertainment devices, is that each one has a remote to operate it. I lined up all our remotes and they measured just less than three metres — longer than both my kids end-to-end. A universal remote could help to herd all those cats. The cheap ones don’t work well though. They either don’t recognize all your devices, or they are impossible to set up. One I really like is the Logitech Harmony. There are several models ranging from $30 to $350. I have the $30 model and it’s terrific. To set it up, you connect it to your computer, and their website walks you through the steps. VB 71
Seed cards, like these hempbased versions, not only send seasonal good will, they sprout wildflowers when planted.
I’m dreaming of a
Why use paper
wrapping when local
turn wine bottles
Furochic fabric wrap
can jazz up any gift
cheese and canapé
— and be used again?
Photo by Veronique De Silva
’Tis the season, soon upon us, to give gifts and send cards, an exercise that often leads to decidedly unenvironmentally friendly excess. But creative green gifts and cards exist that can spread joy while still keeping to a small environmental footprint or promoting the three Rs of reduce, re-use, recycle. Boulevard was particularly taken with these locally-available options. WINE BOTTLE PLATTERS For more than five years now, Elizabeth Wellburn and her daughter Amy Hall, both glass artists in their own right, have collaborated as “Two Glassy Ladies” and produced eye-catching, irreverant platters out of recycled wine bottles as one of their popular glass products. “Some people rescue discarded animals, we rescue discarded glass and give it new life and new meaning,” says Wellburn, who also makes glass-on-glass mosaics, while Hall specializes in colourful, intricate glass beads. Their re-purposed wine bottles start at about $25 and make a great green gift as cheese trays or appetizer platters. They are created over 24 hours in a glass kiln in the basement of Wellburn’s Rockland character home. Found often at local craft fairs, the bottles are now also sold through a number of local stores, including She Said Gallery in Fernwood, The Country Gift Shoppe at Mattick’s Farm, and Side Street Studio on Oak Bay Avenue. For upcoming craft fair locations or more information see twoglassyladies.ca FUROCHIC FABRIC WRAP For centuries in Japan, squares of fabric have been used to wrap up everything from watermelons to saki bottles in a special artform called furoshiki. Local Victoria illustrator, graphic artist and fabric designer Jenn Playford was taken by the origami-like folding patterns and designed her own fabric squares of cloth, which she has marketed cross North America under the name Furochic. “I always hated throwing away all that wrapping paper every year. It felt so wasteful and unnecessary,” said Playford, an Oak Bay mother who set out to learn all she could about the art. She wrote a book, Wrapagami (St. Martin’s Press, 2009), that has now sold 15,000 copies worldwide. Playford’s colourful, re-usuable Furochic squares (69 x 69 cm) are sold at $10 each at Silk Road Teas on Government Street, or through Playford’s website, furochic.com. Playford is also giving workshops in wrapping at Silk Road on November 13 and December 1. See silkroadtea.com for more information. PLANTABLE SEED CARDS Seeds have been embedded in paper since the Middle Ages, but now whole lines of greeting cards are available that become plantable bouquets of wild flowers, herbs or edible sprouts. Many artisanal paper companies are now seeding their unique lines of hand-made paper. Find hemp seed cards at Hemp & Company’s two Victoria locations. See hempandcompany.com.
Do you ever suffer from energy ups and downs throughout the day? Get uncontrollable mid-afternoon or evening cravings? Feel moody? Lose concentration easily, or rely on caffeine to get you throughout the day? Why this and what is is the cause? The reality is these rollercoaster feelings can be traced back to your blood sugars and the timing and quality of the foods you eat. When you don’t eat every 3-4 hours, your blood sugar plummets causing undesirable feelings such as moodiness, loss of focus…or simply put, ends in a binging booby-trap with a strong a Venti Extra Bold coffee in one hand and a box of doughnut holes in the other! Sound familiar? Don’t worry you are not alone. Essentially one should be eating small meals every 3-4 hours to maintain their blood sugar and thus control these strong freakish feelings. This includes eating meals and snacks that incorporate a source of protein with a source of fibre-rich carbohydrates. The role of carbohydrates is to give you that boost of energy. The role of protein and fibre is to prevent your blood sugar from over-spiking (from the carbohydrate) and to satisfy your hunger gap. Carbohydrates are found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and even milk products. Protein sources are found in meat, fish, nuts, beans and milk and soy products. Examples of a protein/carbohydrate combination might be: cheese and whole-grain crackers, yogurt and fruit, or hummus and cut-up veggies. Control your energy, moods and cravings by paying attention to when and what you eat! Jessalyn O’Donnell, RD Thrifty Foods
ot a breath of wind stirs on this winter morning — perfect for a walk along the grassy cliffs of Helliwell Provincial Park on Hornby Island. As we hike to St. John’s Point, the most easterly strip of the park, we hear sea lions that have hauled themselves up on Flora Islet a few hundred metres out. They grunt and kibitz, marine mammal versions of the grizzled guys who idle away cold, grey mornings at the Ford’s Cove coffee shop a few kilometres away. Eagles watch from the treetops, soaring off one by one until only a huge, mottled juvenile remains perched just a few metres above. Our group is transfixed, cameras and iPhones madly clicking. This is Hornby Island in the off-season: pockets of locals and transients of various species — the flippered, the
feathered, the kids, the 50-plus crowd — huddling through winter, gathered in and hunkered down. The tourists won’t come in droves for another four or five months, mostly bound for the sweep and sand of Tribune Bay, one of the most gorgeous beaches in the province. (Divers also come to the above-mentioned islet in hopes of sighting six-gill sharks.) Many Hornby Islanders are away too, becoming tourists in warmer places. I’m here to house-sit for friends who are in Mexico, taking care of their dog and catching up on writing projects. The winter quiet is an ideal backdrop for computer work: so are the sea and snow-capped mountain views. I usually visit Hornby for a few days here and there throughout the year; this will be the first time I have spent a month in residence. The first few nights, sheeting rain on the skylights and the profoundly dark night sky over Tribune Bay are a tad unnerving, but I settle in. February forest noises
winter hours: Hiding out on spectacular Hornby Island in the off-season TEXT by vivian smith PHOTOgraphy BY lynn kennedy
The author and friends do a winter hike on the grassy cliffs of Hornby Island’s Helliwell Park.
Below, snapshots of a Hornby winter: Tribune Bay; model boat racing; a rare, deep snow fall. Next page, fossil hunting at low tide.
don’t bug Kipper the Wonderdog, so they won’t bug me. “Two islands out from another island means relative isolation at no matter what period of time,” write Elizabeth Smith and David Gerow in Hornby Island: The Ebb and Flow. They’re talking about how, to get to Hornby from Vancouver Island, you drive to Buckley Bay, 20 kilometres south of Courtney, and take the ferry to Denman Island, drive across Denman and then take another ferry to Hornby. The whole business sounds complicated, but it’s not really, and the trip from Victoria takes only about four or five hours, depending on your timing. But this location does make Hornby feel removed, and with that fact comes a deep appreciation of the community ties that hold its roughly 1,000 residents together through winter. I find that even after just a few days spent here, the community takes me in its fleece-clad embrace, welcoming me to take part in local activities: it would be just as easy, especially if you come for a weekend, not to do a thing except hike, read and dine in solitary glory. All the doings are listed in the Island Grapevine, a local newsletter. Monday morning, it’s Pilates at the New Horizons community centre. Tuesday I am on the centre’s floor with the rest of the gang, practicing yoga. Thursday at noon is the Literary Luncheon (which can’t be that literary, since I am asked to speak) and on Friday, about a dozen of us gather at Helliwell Park for another breathtaking shore walk in the sunshine. As it turns out, quite a few winter days are sunny. Mind you, a few days later, it snows like heck all day. But the stunning sight of greenery overlaid with crystal white was worth it. And the power did not even go out. On Saturday, it’s time to haul the blue box to the Hornby Recycling Depot, which is also a widely renowned used goods exchange and, in winter, a muddy town square. Once, my husband proudly emerged with a sewing machine in perfect working order. It cost nothing. He may sew, but I do not, so I don’t join the quilting group or the weavers. Instead it’s a companionable coffee at Jan’s 75
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Café, located in the retail “hub” of Hornby, known as the Co-op, which sells everything from groceries, hardware and gumboots to designer spices and dinnerware. Note: Park across the road at the gas station, and check out the “Winter Hours” signs for shops around the Co-op. You might want to pick up the Studio Guide brochure from the Hornby Island Arts Council, as many artists open their studios by appointment in winter. The Co-op is closed on Sundays, while the lovely little art gallery at Ford’s Cove is open Saturday and Sunday, for just a few hours. The magnificent outdoors, however, is always available to explore, from fossil-rich beaches (try Phipps Point) to steep, rainforest trails with names (for the mountain-bikers) like Spasm Chasm and Dead Aliens. Tribune and Whaling Station bays in winter are a walker’s paradise: the long, flat beaches are perfect for a windswept ramble. In early March, the Tribune water boils with a legendary herring run. That is still on my Hornby to-do list. Kipper and I walk the beaches daily: everyone knows her. She chases sticks happily and gets head pats, and I wheedle more of those Hornby coffee dates. Hornby Winter Specs: Getting there: Google BC Ferries for the sailing schedule — look under Northern Gulf Islands. The Denman and Hornby ferries take 15 minutes each and there is lots of time for the easy drive across Denman. In summer and winter, Hornby locals often board as foot passengers, and tap on car windows for a lift across Denman. This is a time-honoured custom, so please consider saying yes. Staying there: If you are not lucky enough to snag an ocean-front house-sit, go to hornbyisland. com for information about accommodation, winter rates and restaurant hours. VB
celebrate the season at
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M AG AZ I N E
M AG AZ I N E
THE SWING of THINGS in SCOTTSDALE By keith baldrey
Adjust your club choice and leave the raincoat at home: this
stand over my golf ball and contemplate my next shot. I’m 170 yards from the green, with a bunker behind it. I opt for a five iron to ensure I don’t go too far. I hit a nice, clean shot, but to my astonishment the ball flies about 20 yards past the green into the trap. How the heck did that happen? Then I realize the difference: here in the hot climes of Arizona, the dry air allows a little golf ball to fly a lot farther than in the thick, damp air of the Pacific Northwest. Welcome to desert golf. If I adjust my club choice, I think I could like it.
The desert is a magical place, even if you don’t golf. The heat, the light, the air, the landscape, the desert flora and fauna — all are distinctly different and delightful to a soggy Victorian. Every winter, when we on the Island are enveloped in cloudy, wet, cold weather, Arizona is typically hot and sunny (it claims 330 days of sunshine a year) with daytime winter temperature at 25 to 28 degrees C. And with the Canadian dollar strong and the Arizona economy soft, you can find great deals on tee-times, accommodation, and other non-golf activities this season. Plus, a controversial immigration law that
Clockwise from top: Boulders Resort is set among dramatic rock piles; the arid desert yields ancient saguaro cacti and delicate blooms; setting up a putt at Boulders Resort.
kept many away has now been blocked by the courts from coming into force. Last winter, my wife and I headed for five days of golf and sunshine in Scottsdale, which borders Phoenix. Scottsdale is continually ranked by golf magazines as one of the premier golf destinations in the world. The region boasts more than 200 courses, from affordable public courses to exclusive, expensive resorts. But Scottsdale can appeal to more than just the golfer with its hiking in the nearby Sonoran Desert or McDowell Mountains, a huge array of high-quality restaurants, shopping and hotels (almost all it seems with spas and outdoor pools), and colourful wild-west history. Each morning we did a short hike along desert trails, enjoying the dry air and snapping pictures of tiny flowers blooming in the hardscrabble landscape. We visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s fascinating Taliesin West home and architectural enclave. We even did a 10-hour round trip to the Grand Canyon, a foolish but memorable excursion. We took a short look, said a big “wow,” then turned around and drove back! But golf was our focus and our hardest decision was where to play. We opted for four courses in five days: one famed for its PGA history, two noted for their desert design, and one for its general accessibility. First, the PGA history. The Tournament Players Club Stadium Course is home to the PGA’s annual Phoenix Open tournament, which has the biggest attendance of any PGA event and is known for its raucous fans. A round in high www.tofinovr.com season is not cheap (some coveted tee-times can exceed $350 a person), but when you play the TPC Stadium, you almost feel that you’re in a PGA tournament. We were paired with two low-handicap buddies from California, who, like us, were there primarily to say they played the famed course. Each foursome is assigned a mandatory “forecaddie,” a young person dressed in white coveralls who keeps the game moving, directing each player when to hit, noting the location of balls and generally running the course and providing historic lore and advice. Our forecaddie, Kevin, 21, was an amiable, talented golfer who seemed to know every inch of the course. At first my wife, a novice, was nervous about the pressure of having a forecaddie, but Kevin kept her (and all of us actually) at ease, gave helpful tips about how to play a shot, helped with club selection and greatly increased her comfort and enjoyment. He told us about famous moments on the course, like the
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time a young Tiger Woods drove a hole-in-one on the 16th in 1997 and sent the crowd into a frenzy. He pointed out the famous boulder on the 13th hole, now emblazoned with a commemorative plaque, that fans moved in 1999 so Tiger could play his shot unimpeded. Another plaque shows the spot on the 18th hole where PGA pro J.B. Holmes landed a gargantuan 360-yard drive over water. Standing where he teed off, it was unimaginable that anyone could hit a ball that far. While the course’s chief attraction may be its history, when it comes to pure beauty, two desert courses we played stood out. The south course at the Boulders Resort and Spa was spectacular, with its prehistoric boulders the size of houses and green fairways surrounded by dramatic desert xeriscaping. The Boulders is famous, with a three-star restaurant, luxury casitas and an exclusive clientele, but anyone can sign up for a tee-time. It was our favourite. Second place went to the Troon North Club, linked to the Four Season’s Scottsdale resort and named by Golf Digest as one of the top 75 golf resorts in the world. Its Monument course winds through the Sonoran desert, with saguaro cacti towering high. As the course took us farther out into the rocky desert, our round took on a distinct feeling of remoteness. We played at twilight, for cheaper rates, and seemed to be alone. Troon limits the number of people and allows more time between golfers so you don’t feel pressured. We learned that desert golf is target golf — if you miss the
fairway, you are among stones and prickly plants. The desert is treated like a water hazard to discourage golfers from poking around the environmentally-sensitive desert floor looking for balls. Our final course was the Westin Kierland, which was a bit easier to play than the others. It wraps around the familyfriendly resort in the heart of Scottsdale, beside shopping malls and near Old Town Scottsdale, with its wild-west history. We took a chipping lesson in the morning from the resort pro, then for our afternoon round were teamed with another couple, who turned out to be Australian tennis pro Mark Woodforde (one of the “Woodies,” who, with Todd Woodbridge, won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles) and his wife Erin. It was a fun afternoon of more Wimbledon lore than golf tales on the Acacia course, one of three at Kierland. The course was a pleasant track, home to more trees than normally seen in a desert region course. We left Scottsdale hankering to play well-known courses like We-ko-pa, Greyhawk and Talking Stick — in short, 196 more courses to try — so we will be back. For information about the specific courses and resorts Google Boulders Resort, Troon North Four Seasons, TPC Scottsdale, and Westin Kierlands. For general information about Scottsdale, including package deals, information on golf courses and resorts, visit scottsdalecvb.com. VB
FOOD & WINE
holiday smoked salmon
Salted and Spiced Prawns
H oliday hors d’oeuvres
entice the palate without weighing you down text and photography By MARYANNE CARMACK
With so many events filling up the calendar at this time of year, eating healthily can seem nearly impossible. The good news is that some fantastic hors d’oeuvres are flavorful, simple and easy, and healthy, too. Cold hors d’oeuvres Dips, veggies, nuts, and patés are great options and easy. Even elegant dips, such as those made with sun-dried tomatoes, crabmeat or salmon, can be made a day or two ahead of time. Spreads, which are similar to dips but thicker, can also be made in advance; examples include olives, smoked fish, vegetable, and cheese spreads. Spiced nuts are another great option and can be made several days before the party and stored at room temperature in an airtight container. A crudité platter is a great hit at any party. While you should not prep the vegetables more than a day in advance, the dip can be made ahead of time. If your dip is thick, mound it into a hollowed-out squash. Dips with thinner consistencies look great in hollowed-out bell peppers.
celebrate the season at
Hot hors d’oeuvres Everyone loves cheese puffs, onion tarts, and oven-fried shrimp, for example. Usually, two or three different hot hors d’oeuvres suffice for a party. Pastry crusts, cheese crackers, and puffs can be made well ahead of time and frozen. Prebaked pastry cups can be purchased and filled with savories and heated, saving time. Yeast breads such as focaccia and brioche can be baked and frozen until the day of the party, then heated and served with spreads and dips. The following recipes are fresh, appetizing but not fussy. Cucumber Cups Cucumbers, with their crunchy texture and refreshing, mild flavor, are a great vitamin-rich option. Yield: 48 pieces. 2 seedless cucumbers (each 9 1/2 inches long) 1/2 cup of low-fat ricotta or cottage cheese Black lumpfish caviar to garnish Clover sprouts to garnish
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Slice cucumbers in half lengthwise; trim ends. Cut each half into 3/4-inch pieces. Scoop out the centre of each piece of cucumber with a melon baller and fill with about 1/2 teaspoon of cheese. Garnish with black lumpfish caviar and clover sprouts, and serve. Pan-Roasted Almonds Nuts like almonds, walnuts, or cashews in a pretty bowl, are nutritious and tasty, but do remember they are high in calories. 1/2 tbsp olive oil 9 oz shelled and peeled almonds 1-3 small dried red chilies 2 generous pinches of sea salt
Add the olive oil and almonds to a hot frying pan. Fry the almonds until golden brown, shaking the pan regularly to colour them evenly. Crumble in the chili to taste and add the sea salt. Toss and serve. Salted and Spiced Prawns Prawns and shrimps are a good source of protein, yet are very low in fat and calories. Serves six to eight. 2 lb small prawns, raw and whole 4 generous pinches of sea salt 6 pinches of mixed spices (fennel, coriander, cumin, chili) Capers to garnish
Leave the shells on the prawns, although you can remove the heads if you like. Heat a wok or large pan on high; add salt and spices. Toast and toss the spices for 30 seconds before adding the prawns. Shake vigorously. The salt and spices will stick and encrust themselves to the prawns. After a minute or two the prawns will have cooked and changed colour to pink. The prawn shells can be eaten if desired. Zucchini-Ricotta Fritters
Zucchini is an all-season vegetable favorite and can be used in many recipes from cakes to appetizers. Yields 20 fritters. 2 medium zucchini (7 oz each) coarsely shredded 2 garlic cloves very thinly sliced 3 large scallions, very thinly sliced 1/2 cup fresh sheep-milk ricotta cheese or regular ricotta 2 large eggs 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 3/4 cup all-purpose flour Olive oil, for frying Lemon zest for garnish, lemon wedges, for serving 85
In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, garlic, scallions, ricotta, eggs, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir well, and then stir in the flour until incorporated. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil until simmering. Working in batches, add two-tablespoon mounds of the zucchini batter to the hot oil, spreading them to form three-inch fritters. Fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, about three minutes. Drain the fritters on the paper towels and serve right away, with lemon wedges. Make ahead: the fritters can be kept at room temperature for up to two hours and re-crisped in a 325-degree oven. Holiday Smoked SALMON A perennial favourite at any event is smoked salmon and creamed cheese on your favourite cracker, garnished with dill. Add capers, finely diced onion and/or lemon, for extra oomph. Try other smoked fish like trout, tuna, or whitefish for a new twist, and use low fat cheese to make this healthy option even healthier.VB
WINE PAiRINGS from boulevard`s WINE EXPERT SHARON MCLEAN For parties, I like to serve a range of wines that will suit most tastes. If you are only serving wine (no beer or spirits) allow about a half-bottle per guest (enough for three glasses) for a three to four hour event. If you are buying for a group of 20, consider buying one bottle of sparkling, one rosé, three white and four red. At this volume, I would only buy one wine in each category, but with a bigger group, I would buy two different whites and reds. Sparkling wines and rosé are very food-friendly and versatile. The Cristalino Brut Nature from Spain is excellent value at only $12.99 and the 2010 Road 13, Honest John’s Rosé has lovely red fruit with a hint of citrus ($15.99 at BCLDB). For a white, look for a crisp, clean white such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio. The 2010 New Zealand Neudorf Sauvignon Blanc offers a crisp, clean palate of elderflowers and tropical fruit ($23.99 at BCLDB). If you are offering more than one white, consider a contrasting style such as a richer, more floral Albarino or Gewurztraminer, or a lightly oaked Chardonnay, like the 2009 Loron & Fils Montvallon, Bourgogne Blanc ($17.99 BCLDB). Lighter, less tannic reds tend to be more food friendly and Pinot Noirs, Tempranillos and many Italian reds are great options. The 2007 Bodegas Bilbainas, Vina Zaco from Rioja has sweet red fruit and a silky texture and is a great buy ($18.99 at BCLDB). Big, full-bodied reds are harder to pair with food, but they are hugely popular. To satisfy this crowd offer the 2009 Cameron Hughes Lot 244 (Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Carignan) at $22.99 at BCLDB. And remember, always provide plenty of non-alcoholic options for the designated drivers.
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On Sundays we walk up to the cliffs at Dallas Road and then along to Clover Point, and I get my “dog-fix.” This is what you need once a week at least after losing your dogs and downsizing, so other people’s mutts will have to fill in. There they are, in all their varieties of shape and colour and breed and temperament, running free and getting along together. It doesn’t seem to matter what size they are either. The little ones yapping and quivering with excitement as they bravely confront the big ones, who calmly have a look, a sniff and then lope off. They all manage to work it out amongst
themselves, just happy and full of exuberance at being able to do what they want at their own speed. There are no fights and no human intervention. That still amazes me, but what’s even more interesting is how the people all get along as well. Bring two dogs together, or even one dog and an old guy like me who likes to talk, and conversation and commonalities and goodwill appear miraculously. There are no exceptions to this. People are yakking away together along the cliffs while their pooches sniff bums and chase balls without even having seen each other before, let alone been introduced. Take the same crowd walking along Government Street, minus dogs, and not a word will be spoken. After a program of admittedly brief international examination, it looks as though Canadians may be unique in this behavior. Trying to say bonjour to un chien in Paris just gets you a quizzical look as you back away, trying to avoid the inevitable pavement deposits. I tried talking to a big grey wolf-hound in Budapest and retreated from that international gesture of goodwill with a hole in my glove. Then there are German dogs. Well-behaved as you might expect but distant! They are utterly fixated on their master or mistress and nothing will distract them from the task of going for their regulation walk. They don’t even pull at their leashes. They always have a little dip in it as they trot along. Waving the remains of your wurst doesn’t even break their stride. Then the speculation started. If this is one of those unique Canadian things, how could we use it? We’ve given up on peacekeeping recently and it hasn’t had truly happy results. But perhaps we should take another look at the tradition. Maybe if we could somehow transport the Dallas Road experience abroad we could use it as a peace-making tool, a way to get two sides together to talk. First, it should start with some grand UN resolution sponsored by Canada that, “herewith, all parties desirous of concluding cease-fire agreements must bring canines of friendly disposition to all negotiations …”, thinking that they’d all take a couple of days letting their dogs get to know each other while the delegates threw tennis balls and compared grooming costs. Only then, all now being buddies with common interests, would the negotiations start. Pretty clearly there were some problems with the first version of my grand plan. Way too long to implement, plus we’d be laughed out of the UN, but how about a Canadian Mediated Uniform Transitional Taskforce, or MUTTs, flying into hotspots with a team of happy golden retrievers? We have the gear: all those aging Hercules and Sea King helicopters just aren’t safe in a combat zone, but can you imagine them loaded with dogs and tennis balls and kibbles and little plastic bags, labeled: Canadian Retrievers Actualize Peace (or CRAP)? There is a fridge magnet that says: “Be the person your dog thinks you are.” Wouldn’t it be great if we could be the countries that dogs think we are, too? VB
EuroTek C A B I N E T S
SECRETS & LIVES
By shannon moneo
When you were growing up in Ladysmith, what role did music play? My father (Frank) can sing. There have always been bagpipes at my house and in school, it was very important for us to always take piano lessons and we always were in the band. I have one brother, William, and if he decided to become a singer, he’d be famous long before I would. He’s very talented but he stays away from singing, I think because it’s my thing and he wants me to succeed.
How do you preserve your good looks? I’m a personal trainer. If I don’t work out, I’m not happy. I need to make sure that I get out for my mental and physical health.
Where does the “Waynne” come from? My aunt was Betty Waynne Allison. Her aunt was Betty Waynne Allison. There’s no explanation why the two n’s but it’s a traditional name from my dad’s side of the family.
Where will your bachelor degrees in music and education, from UVic, take you? Singing will not last until retirement age. The voice doesn’t last that long. I’ll probably get my master’s in music, doesn’t matter where. Then I’ll get a big PhD somewhere so I can teach as a professor.
Your favourite composer? I love any of the Slavic composers, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff are my favourites but I’d have to include Strauss’s art songs. I have a richer (voice) quality that has that roundness that really suits the Slavic languages. It’s very passionate. It’s not as precise. You cover a wide variety of roles. Your favourite? I think I have a top three. Fiordiligi from Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Tatiana from Eugene Onegin, that’s Tchaikovsky. Dvorak’s Rusalka, in the role of Rusalka. This month you perform as Mary in the world premiere of Mary’s Wedding at Pacific Opera Victoria. How did you prepare? I had diction coaching to work on my British accent for it. Spending a lot of time at the piano. Reading the play. You read the play the first time and you cry and you well up, so the first thing is you’ve got to get through that. After that, you start looking at it like an actress, like a musician. What does singing in a Canadian-composed opera mean to you? Being patriotic. Protective of the piece and also, performing somebody’s work, who’s sitting in the room. If I messed up, I’d feel awful. I really feel Mary’s Wedding is different. It’s a Canadian story. My great-grandfather fought in World War One. It means a lot to my dad. The Toronto Sun’s John Coulbourn said you combine “voice, acting ability, presence and beauty, in one highly impressive package.” What’s your most vulnerable attribute? I’ve got lots. You read that quote and to me, it’s not true. You never think you’re pretty enough. You never think you’re good enough. You always have to battle your demons, feeling insecure and not good enough or not perfect for whatever you’re doing. I have a lot of confidence, but it’s not like it’s there every day.
Where is home? Ladysmith. We have a large hobby farm, so sheep and cows on 40 acres. It’s my grandpa’s farm. He clearcut it by hand right after World War Two. My dad grew up there. I grew up there. I plan on my family growing up there.
Tell us something about yourself that no one knows. The only thing that takes my breath away is a beautiful vista. The last one I remember was a sunset at a beach in Tofino. You just come out of the trees and you see it and it takes your breath away. There’s no music that can do that for me. How’s your love life? No one now. I’m always open to new things. It’s hard when you live on the road. I’m so focused when I’m working. VB
PHOTOgraphy BY GARY MCKINSTRY
Betty Waynne Allison, 29 SOPRANO
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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 Nov 1, 2011
BOULEVARD MAGAZINE is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Victoria by focusing on the Arts, People, Trends, Fo...