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boule ard THE MAGAZINE OF URBAN LIVING

THE ARTS PEOPLE FOOD HOMES

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER

2010

PAINTER ADAM NOONAN finds the light fantastic ADVENTURES IN ORNITHOLOGY at the annual Christmas Bird Count CASA MEXICANA Buying a home in Mexico

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contents boulevard

VOLUME XXI ISSUE 1 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010

features

16. FOR THE BIRDS Our avian buddies count on us to count them in By Heather Reid

16

26. GIVE OF YOURSELF Island blood banks need you at Christmas By Stephanie Holmes

30. WORKING ABROAD Let the world be your occupational oyster By Rachel Goldsworthy

34

34. CASA MEXICANA Reality check on buying Mexican realty By Deborah Wilson

54

40. ADAM NOONAN The artist is quiet, his art sings out loud By Denise Rudnicki

78 114

departments 12. EDITOR’S LETTER Light therapy 13. LETTERS to the EDITOR Gifts from the mailbox 14. CONTRIBUTORS A few of our talented writers

70. FRONT ROW An acclaimed Nutcracker is unveiled; comedian Billy Connolly leaves no topic unmocked; Pacific Opera Victoria offers a Baroque Rodelinda; Winter Harp returns; and many more festive offerings By Robert Moyes 78. HOT PROPERTIES Uplands’ Belgian opulence By Denise Rudnicki

110. BOULEVARD BOOK CLUB The Double intrigues By Adrienne Dyer 114. TRAVEL NEAR Which winter resort will suit you best? By Jennifer Gray 118. TRAVEL FAR Exploring Vietnam By Jody Paterson 122. LIBATIONS Port, sherry and Madeira come out of the parlour By Sharon McLean 124. DINING IN Take a gander at cooking a goose By Maryanne Carmack

96 54. COWICHAN HOLLY Welcome to Canada’s largest holly farm By Keith Norbury

96. HOT DESIGN Glass artists are bewitched by the play of light By Jennifer Gray

130. JUST WHAT I WANTED! Local experts propose gifts to delight food lovers By Maryanne Carmack

64. CREATIVE MINDS The man behind Lúz brings photo arts into focus By Gayle Mavor

105. TECHNOLOGIA Darryl runs wild in the tech gift aisles By Darryl Gittins

132. DINING OUT Let somebody else cook the holiday feast By Stephanie Holmes

138. SECRETS AND LIES A sentimental journey with conductor Brian Jackson

columns 22. HAWTHORN In praise of the marvel of the printed page By Tom Hawthorn 52. STATE of the ARTS So you wanna buy art as a gift? Talk to me first By Alisa Gordaneer 136. WRY EYE In fact, our hero learns, you can go home again By Ed Bain

ON OUR COVER:  Detail of Adam Noonan’s oil painting At McMorran’s Beach. See page 40.


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FROM OUR

As the days shorten and our skies turn that West Coast, socked-in grey, I often think of the poem November by British humorist and poet Thomas Hood. It is composed of line after line of alliterative “no’s” — No sun, no moon, no morn, no noon, no dawn, no dusk, no proper time of day . . . (and on it goes, ending with, naturally) . . . November! Written in 1844, the mood Hood captured would be labelled seasonal affective disorder. And the modern treatment? Light therapy. In this issue of Boulevard, we bring you the light. Painter Adam Noonan captures light and shadows in his stunning oils, one of which graces this month’s cover. In our Hot Design story, Vancouver Island’s talented glass artists reflect and refract light in creative and unusual ways, creating unique functional pieces like room dividers and back splashes as well as glass art. In our Creative Minds profile, Lúz Gallery owner Quinton Gordon says he was mesmerized by light from an early age, leading him into his photography career and eventually to opening his gallery for the photographic arts, whose name means “light” in Spanish. Writer Deborah Wilson takes us to the warm light of Mexico, where we live vicariously through the experiences of other Victorians who have bought property there. If that is not enough light therapy, then embrace these days as columnists Sharon McLean and Tom Hawthorn suggest: pour a glass of fortified wine, find something good to read (maybe The Double from our Book Club selection or this issue of Boulevard) and curl up by the bright fire. Anne Mullens Managing Editor CORRECTIONS: Apologies to artist Kumiko Fujinami for misspelling her last name in the article on the Vancouver Island School of Art in our September/October issue; also note, one-year certificates and three-year diploma programs are $5,200 per year or $2,600 per semester. Part-time options are also available. Apologies, too, for neglecting to credit Abstract Development’s ‘Montebello’ home for the door on that issue’s cover. Boulevard welcomes your letters at editor@victoriaboulevard.com or by mail. Submissions may be edited. VB

12 victoriaboulevard.com


Boyd_Boulevard_Mar10_b

letters

YOUR

O Canada! Re: Tom Hawthorn’s article (July/August 2010 issue). I have not always loved my country. My first venture across BC’s borders was a high school band trip. Our uniforms were nondescript and affordable.  Compared to the ornate and elegant uniforms of the Americans we were to stand beside, I felt ashamed. In the 30 years since I can say I have solemnly declared my love for my country. We are unique, even in our excessive use of “thank you” and unnecessary apologies. Strength can be demonstrated in many ways, the most unseen and unnoticed often the most powerful.  As for our band’s performance, united we stood in our white denim and royal blue v-neck sweaters playing in such a manner to earn the respect and admiration of our somewhat less musical American hosts. Karen Thompson New paper a hit WOW! Upgrading from newsprint to magazine quality paper is a huge step up for Boulevard. Why even the print is clearer. Being very visually challenged and ancient, but not believing either, I find Boulevard through its timely articles brings me much pleasure. Even the adverts are perused. I spent a very pleasant evening, comfortable on my sofa, propped up with pillows,

magnifier in one hand and Boulevard firm in the other, chewing Werther’s Originals and so enjoying the read. Beat that! Elizabeth Levinson’s article on solo cooking, eating and menu planning was very apropos and fit my lifestyle to a “T” as I love to cook. Now it just takes longer. It is raining and chilly outside and curry sounds just right. Thanks Elizabeth. Shirley Doak Kudos for Boulevard Boulevard is a fabulous magazine — a real cross of information. Every page is worth reading, much different from so many magazines these days. I am in my mid 40’s and so many of my friends all comment and look forward to receiving/picking up each issue of Boulevard. Charlene Burles Top Marks Thanks to Tom Hawthorn for writing about University 101 (September/October) and the great joy in learning it brings to people who are otherwise unable to come to UVic. Making our story better known is crucial to keep the program alive and to make a difference in the lives of citizens whose thirst for knowledge is far greater than their means. Professor Annalee Lepp University 101 Steering Committee and Instructor University of Victoria

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10:40 AM

Page 2

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BOULEVARD THE MAGAZINE OF URBAN LIVING the arts people food homes

President John Simmons Vice President & Publisher Peter Baillie VP Finance Melissa Sands Associate Publisher Linda Hensellek Managing Editor Anne Mullens Associate Editor Vivian Smith Art Director Jaki Jefferson Production Jaki Graphics, Kelli Brunton Principal Photographers Gary McKinstry, Vince Klassen Advertising Linda Hensellek, Alicia Cormier Pat Montgomery-Brindle Administration Coordinator Janet Dessureault Pre-press Kelli Brunton Printing Teldon Print Media 46,000 copies of Victoria Boulevard ® are published bimonthly by Boulevard Lifestyles Inc. Mailing address:1845B Fort Street, Victoria, BC V8R 1J6. Tel: 250-598-8111. Fax: 250-598-3183.  E:  info@victoriaboulevard.com W: victoriaboulevard.com Victoria Boulevard ® is a registered trademark of Boulevard Lifestyles Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. Printed in Canada.

MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER OVER THE LAST YEAR we at Boulevard have been bringing you new writers, new topics and new paper to enhance your reading experience. This month we are excited about releasing a new product, The Boulevard Home Design Annual, an elegant and informative hardcover coffee table book that is the ultimate ideas book for everything “home” on Southern Vancouver Island. Full of good advice and photographic inspiration, featuring local professionals, suppliers and vendors, the book is a must have for anyone interested in building, renovating, or sprucing up their home. Plus, it makes a great Christmas gift. Get your copy from local bookstores or participating advertisers and be sure to enter our contest for a chance to win a $20,000 shopping spree. For more details see page 103 of this month’s issue or go to boulevardhome.ca. Sincerely, Peter Baillie, Publisher

OURCONTRIBUTORS HEATHER REID discovered the lure of the avian

world while completing a degree in marine biology at UVic. She’s interested in how ecosystems function and how creatures like birds and whales interact. In Christmas for the Birds, she explores the Victoria version of the longest-running citizen science project in the world — the Christmas Bird Count. Reid’s writing and photography appears in local and national magazines and newspapers. DEBORAH WILSON is a journalist with CBC Radio’s

On the Island morning show with a weakness for warm weather, Latin American culture and run-down houses with lots of “potential”. Those elements came together when she bought a century-old house in Mexico. In this issue she explores the experiences of Victoria residents who have also followed their dreams to find a place of their own south of the Rio Grande. MARYANNE CARMACK is a local writer/

photographer who has immersed herself in the food culture of Victoria and has worked more than 10 years working with well-known chefs and food artisans internationally. In this issue she both writes and photographs stories about cooking a goose for Christmas and about hot food-related gifts for the cooks and gourmands in your life.


Christmas Bird Count 111 Volunteers keep tabs on their avian friends in the name of science BIRDS AND CHRISTMAS go together like, well, turkey and stuffing. Just hum through the Twelve Days of Christmas in which half the gifts have feathers. Aside from eating or giving a bird for the holidays, it’s also time to count them. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count turns 111 this year. Researchers rely on the data to monitor long-term trends in North American bird populations. It started as an alternative to an old Christmas tradition of shooting wild birds while on the hunt for a fowl to feast on. In 1900, 27 people at 25 sites in Canada and the United States decided to count rather than kill. Last year, more than 55,000 participants at 2,000 sites in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean tallied more than 50 million birds.

On December 18 somewhere between 150 and 200 birders of all levels will spot and tally every bird they see in 23 zones around the Capital Regional District. They will be joined by neighbouring counts in Sooke, Saanich, Sidney, Saltspring Island and Duncan. “We often have the Canadian record,” says Ann Nightingale, co-ordinator of the count in Victoria. (And yes, she knows how appropriate her name is, thank you for noticing.) In 2004 they pulled out all the stops to break the diversity record with 154 different species for the 60th anniversary of the Victoria Natural History Society, which organizes the local count. Bird Studies Canada runs the national event for Audubon. Each year, Victoria competes with Ladner for the most species.

DARK-EYED JUNCO

HARLEQUIN DUCK

RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH

STELLER’S JAY

CALIFORNIA QUAIL

COMMON GOLDENEYE

HOODED MERGANSER

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BY HEATHER REID

BIRD PHOTOS BY GLENN BARTLEY

The home team is two for 10 since 1999. The highest total came in 1994 with 125,518 birds. Last year, counters found just over 74,000. Victoria consistently ranks in the top five for participation among all North American cities too, but Nightingale says she can always use more hands — and eyes. Rare species generate excitement, but information on the usual suspects is often more telling. The list toppers in Canada include the European starling (introduced), the American crow (adapted to living in urban settings) and the Canada goose (the eastern variant introduced to the West for winter hunting that is now widely viewed as a pest because it no longer migrates). Still, it’s those rare

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birds that are talked about all year long. “There are several species that have only been seen once or twice,” Nightingale says. In 2008, she got a call from a man claiming to have 24 western bluebirds in his back yard. “I thought it would be Steller’s jays,” she says. “Then he said the magic words that all of us love to hear; ‘I have photographs’.” That was the bird’s first appearance since 1964. Once plentiful, the azure bird got pushed out of its habitat by the proliferation of houses and malls. A successful reintroduction and nesting program has bird counters hoping The numbers tell to spy more in the coming years. David Stirling, 89, started the local a variety of count with a group of bird-crazy friends as the Victoria Bird Circle in stories. Some 1959. It became part of the official birds recover Audubon count the following year. He remembers recording the first from near trumpeter swan on Victoria’s list in the extinction, others early 1960s. The graceful birds were nearly extinct. Only a few hundred change their remained in the world at that time. ranges; rare Today, Victoria routinely records more than 300 each count. birds become The count gets families out for fresh more common air and green time together. David Newell has been taking his sons out, and common armed with notebooks and binoculars, birds disappear. for the last seven years. He says it’s akin to collecting stamps or baseball cards. “It’s the same idea. They want to get every single bird,” he explains. His son Geoffrey, now 14, is something of a birding prodigy. Nightingale says other birders were amazed, that at age eight, Geoffrey could recite wingspan lengths of birds he’d memorized in his trusty Peterson Field Guide. Stirling also started birding at a young age on the Athabasca River north of Edmonton in the days before field books existed. He remembers using bird cards painted by Okanagan ornithologist and artist Allan Brooks to identify what he saw: they came in his father’s Imperial Tobacco tins. The boy was hooked. Chasing birds became his life and he shared his enthusiasm as a nature interpreter for BC Parks. Recently he wrote a book called Birds, Beasts and a Bike about his adventures birding by motorcycle across Australia and New Zealand in the 1950s. Such birding luminaries shouldn’t daunt newcomers; however, novices get paired with experienced birders on count day. Participants work in 24-kilometre circular zones in groups, with some spotting and others recording the information. The weather and the number of people counting affect the results, and researchers factor that in when using the data.


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“We usually have it pretty nice here compared to other parts of Canada,” says David Fraser. Fraser hasn’t missed a Christmas Bird Count since 1975. He missed one Victoria count, because he was on vacation in Costa Rica. He joined the count there. As co-ordinator of the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre and a member of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, he knows how vital the information is. “For some birds it’s the only data we’ve got,” he says. The numbers inform scientists about the two big challenges facing all wildlife — climate change and habitat loss — and have led to the publication of countless studies in peer-reviewed science journals. The information allows scientists to do research that would not otherwise be feasible because they couldn’t afford to collect the data, according to an editorial in the journal Nature. The first U.S. State of the Birds: 2010 Report on Climate Change rested entirely on the 110 years of data. The complete record is available free to anyone online at birds.audubon.org. Volunteers, for their part, get the satisfaction of defending the environment while learning how science is done in the field. The numbers tell a variety of stories. Some birds recover from near extinction, others change their ranges; rare birds become more common and common birds disappear. In this region, barred owls have increased while smaller owls, like the western screech owl, can’t be found. “They’re gone,” Fraser says. Anna’s hummingbirds, first spotted here in the 1960s, have moved north from California. They winter in BC now and more than 500 made the count last year. Widespread and highly visible, birds are excellent indicators of global and local ecosystem functioning. “The birds sort of fit in with the environment. They’re part of the whole system or scheme of nature,” Stirling says. Recent data shows a pattern of decline, but it’s not doom and gloom as the crowds fan out on count day. “I have to say it is lots of fun,” says Nightingale, who takes part in at least four separate counts after organizing the whole shebang and before compiling the data. After the day in the field, the volunteers gather to swap tales and nibble on Christmas goodies. Spotters share their rare sightings and the trials of the day. “There’s something about the struggle that appeals to some people. It’s a good story to tell,” says Stirling. For many, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the count. “It’s the most sane day of the whole Christmas season,” Fraser says. He has fond memories from his 35 years of counting. Once he watched a golden eagle lift off with a farmer’s turkey clutched in its talons. “Everybody likes turkey at Christmas,” he says. To register for the Christmas Bird Count visit the Victoria Natural History Society website at vicnhs.bc.ca/cbc/. VB


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CATHY SORENSEN opened her eponymous shop on Cook Street as an expression of faith. She believes in a product for which many are predicting imminent demise. She sells units of varied price in which quantities of unlinkable type and undownloadable image are pressed between the product of dead trees. Her fate depends on the public retaining affection for a text-delivery mechanism pioneered by Gutenberg. Earlier this year, to mark the fifth anniversary of opening her doors, Sorensen celebrated with friends and customers by sipping wine amid shelves filled with fine books. She has carved a niche as a purveyor of new volumes by local authors, as well as used and rare books, not to mention ephemera. She has thrived, even opening a sun-dappled room dedicated to volumes on transportation. Her success has demanded sacrifice. When she started, she placed for sale her personal collection of Leonard Cohen first editions. When I moved to Victoria 13 years ago, the city was a haven for bibliomaniacs. It seemed to have more bookshops


than coffee shops. Those days are gone, as doors closed because of high rents and retirements. I recall the names like those of old buddies — Wells, Hawthorne, Poor Richard’s, Renaissance, among others. When Rex Murphy came to town, he could be spotted haunting downtown streets, his arms loaded with treasures. The bricks-and-mortar stores that remain are worthy of pilgrimage. I think of the town near the airport not as Sidney but as Booktown. Russell Books on Fort Street has an upstairs floor and a downstairs floor, but the two can only be navigated by going onto the sidewalk. (They have a basement outlet a block away.) Every visit to the store’s groaning shelves reminds me of my late father, who took me as a boy to the original Russell Books in Montreal. Reg Russell helped his daughter open a branch in Victoria back in 1991. When I find a special volume in their stock, it feels as if the family moved westward just for my benefit. The move to the Internet, where proprietors avoid expensive retail space, was made easier by a company founded in Victoria. Cathy Waters was a bookseller who found it difficult to fulfill customer orders for hard-to-find volumes. She checked advertisements in a trade journal, posted letters of inquiry, awaited a deluge of return mail. Surely, she thought, there must be an easier way. The end result was Advanced Book Exchange, through which dealers list their stock. Instead of haunting bookstores, always on the hunt for a rare volume by such New Yorker writers as A.J. Liebling and Joseph Mitchell, I simply type the author’s name, or a book’s title in an abebooks.com search engine and, presto, I have a choice of volumes from dealers around the globe. The thrill of the long safari is replaced by the short-lived pleasures of instant gratification. After transforming the world of used bookselling, Waters sold her interest, using the money to purchase — you guessed it — a second-hand bookstore. She has since sold Grafton Books, which remains a pleasant stop in the Oak Bay Village. If the move to online selling means fewer physical bookstores, the move to e-books is supposed to herald the final demise of a half-century-old technology. These newfangled thingamajigs come in versions called Kobo and Kindle, nook (with lower-case letters) and SonyReader (with no space). There’s the iPad, the iPapyrus, and the iLiad, which is a spelling even Homer would consider iNappropriate. The e-book reader offers a library in one hand. Acres of forest need no longer be sacrificed for each semester’s production of text books. Sorensen believes the old-fashioned book will remain in demand.

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“A lot of people work all day on computers,” she said. “At night, when winding down, they don’t want to look at another screen.” Amen, sister. The e-book is a marvel, but an author will never sign one. One of the special delights of collecting books is to own a volume signed by a favourite author. A volume from their personal library is better yet. Trolling the shelves of local stores I have stumbled across a few gems. A 1964 anthology of short stories by master storyteller Mavis Gallant includes her signature. A garish red dust My copy of A Canadian jacket for a biography of Briton Hadden, the Tragedy, which details the lesser-known co-founder of Time magazine, whose case of wife-murderer early death led to his being overshadowed by Colin Thatcher, was Henry Luce, once caught owned by the judge who my eye. The red framing echoed that used by the handled the pair’s divorce. magazine. A sucker for journalist biographies, I lifted the slight volume from a pile. On the front end paper, the proprietor’s familiar pencil mark indicated the price. Ten dollars. This was an extraordinary volume, for the same page included an ink inscription in a speedy cursive hand. “Stuart Keate, New York City, May 3/49.” It read like poetry. Keate was a British Columbia newspapering legend, who worked for Time. He must have purchased the volume on a visit to Gotham at a time when he was employed by Time as Montreal bureau chief. Less than a year after signing his name, he became publisher of the Victoria Times. He encouraged marathon swims across the Juan de Fuca Strait and hired Sid Barron as a cartoonist. Keate published the daily paper for 14 years. A volume that gives me chills is a well-thumbed paperback edition of Maggie Siggins’ riveting A Canadian Tragedy, detailing Colin Thatcher’s murder of his wife. The book includes a scene in which the judge who presided over the couple’s acrimonious divorce learns of JoAnn Thatcher’s brutal slaying. The judge retrieved an ancient rifle and sat in the living room of his home, anticipating that the killer, about whose identity he had no doubt, might come for him next. The copy I own is the judge’s own, his name written on the inside fly leaf. I bought it for a pittance as the owners of a Fort Street shop were holding a sale before leaving the city. The store’s helpful manager at the time was a young woman who would soon go into business for herself as Sorensen Books. VB


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LIFE Could “blood donation” become part of your new holiday to-do list?

FOR MOST PEOPLE, Christmas giving means presents and bows, charitable donations and maybe, in these ecosensitive times, handing out fewer parcels. But one gift — that of blood to desperately ill or injured people — is not on the radar at this time of year. Although lots of people in the Victoria area make being a blood donor an important year-round commitment, many are understandably too busy during the holiday rush. British Columbians donate an average of 10,000 units of blood per month, but during Christmas holidays, numbers can dip well below the average. If you consider that one person can only give six units a year (one every 56 days), and a victim of a bad car crash can need up to 50 units of blood, it’s clear why there’s never enough. Most people link blood transfusions to car accidents and gunshot wounds and are unaware that large amounts are needed for cancer patients, burn victims or those suffering from shock, says Chris Barron, a community development coordinator for Canadian Blood Services on Vancouver Island. “A cancer patient undergoing procedures usually uses about eight units a week,” he says. Because the blood is separated into different components, one donation can help up to three people: red blood cells are reserved for acute trauma victims, platelets go to cancer victims and plasma is for burn or shock victims. With 90,000 new donors needed across the country, Canadian Blood Services is actively recruiting teenagers 17 and over to become life-long donors. Teens make up about nine per cent of Canada’s 423,000 donors; about 3,000 (5.7 per cent) of BC donors are teens. This province has 50,000 active donors right now, who represent fewer than 3 per cent of all British Columbians who are eligible to donate. Students at Victoria’s Claremont Secondary School were moved to donate blood when their social studies teacher,


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Aaron Macri, was diagnosed with leukemia in June, 2007. Fellow mathematics teacher Jim Spoor had already organized a blood challenge at Claremont, connecting students to donor clinics through the school, when they got the word about their popular teacher. “Mr. Macri and I were quite close. He was my curling coach for a few years,” says 18-year-old former Claremont student Joe Lehre, who started donating in Grade 12. “If you could put yourself in [the recipient’s] situation in the hospital, needing something from someone, I don’t know about you, but I would want someone to help me get through. It’s not a hard process,” he says. “A lot of people donate because it has affected them somehow; their mother or father needed blood, or someone they know has been in a car accident. Other people do it because they think it’s the right thing to do; it’s their way of giving back to Canada, to the community,” says Barron. The use of blood products has become such a routine part of our lives that people forget that transfusions are a relatively recent medical breakthrough, says Barron. It wasn’t until Austrian scientist Karl Landsteiner and his colleagues figured out in the early 1900s that there were four main blood groups — A, B, AB and O — that transfusions became viable. We now know that people with blood group AB positive are universal recipients, meaning their bodies will not reject any type of blood, and people with blood group O negative are universal donors, meaning their blood can be given to anyone without being rejected. About eight per cent of people in North America are O negative. You don’t need to know your blood type if you want to donate but there is “always a call out for O negative blood,” says Barron. “If there’s an emergency, if someone does come in from a car accident and they don’t have time to type that person to make sure they have the proper blood for them, they’ll start with the O negative.” Canadian Dr. Norman Bethune introduced the concept of mobile blood transfusion units to save lives on site, inspiring the development of American MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Units), made famous by the movie and television show of the same name. In the Spanish Civil War, Bethune sent refrigerated trucks to the front containing dressings, supplies, and bottles of chilled blood to perform

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transfusions on wounded soldiers who normally would have bled to death before getting to a hospital. If you decide you would like to become a blood donor, Canadian Blood Services asks that you call 1-888-2 DONATE (the number is listed on their website at blood.ca) to find out when the next clinic is scheduled in your neighborhood and set

and an interview. Attendants will take your temperature, blood pressure and hemoglobin count to make sure you’re not anemic. If it all checks out, they’ll take your blood right then. From check-in to check-out, your first visit takes about an hour, and when you’re done, you get cookies, juice, milk and other snacks. Even if your blood is ineligible for traditional transfusion uses,

People donate blood because of some personal experience; their mother or father needed blood, or someone they know has been in an accident. Others do it because it’s their way of giving back. up an appointment. There is only one permanent clinic on Vancouver Island, located at 3449 Saanich Road in Victoria. The rest are mobile. To donate, you must be between 17 and 71 years old. If you’re over 61 and have never donated, you need a letter of authorization from your doctor; if you’re over 71, you are eligible only if you are a previous donor and also have a doctor’s authorization, says Barron. Recent tattoos, travel to a place with malaria or false reactive test results will also render you ineligible. If you’re just getting over a cold or the flu and are unsure of whether or not you’ve recovered enough to donate on a given day, go to the website and check the list of disqualifying symptoms. Once at the clinic, you’ll be screened through a questionnaire

it’s still valuable, says Barron. Current research underway by Canadian Blood Services intent on finding new ways to store platelets uses donations of ineligible blood for the study. To donate only plasma or only platelets, you must go to the mainland. It’s a longer, more complex procedure requiring separate clinics, none of which are located on Vancouver Island, says Barron. If giving blood isn’t for you, there are other ways to help. Clinics need volunteers to act as helpers and guides. The website is full of information on how to organize your own blood drive and you can also get information and directives at the clinics themselves. If you want to donate bone marrow, you can register at any blood donor clinic or online through the OneMatch program. VB

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Shake up your perspective and broaden your horizons by working abroad BY RACHEL GOLDSWORTHY

PETER WALTON’S DAUGHTER was in Grade 6 when her teacher announced that the class would be learning about the rainforest. “Great!” Walton thought. “We can go down to the river and count crocodiles.” He meant it. At the time, the Waltons were living in Guyana where Walton worked for two and a half years as a consultant on rainforest conservation and development. “[Living abroad] takes you out of the things you’re accustomed to,” he says from his home base in Victoria. “It shakes you up, gives you a new perspective.” Walton is just one of many islanders who enjoy the excitement and challenge of working outside Canada. “It was spectacular to be launched out of our world,” agrees Dr. Leah Norgrove, a family physician and medical director of the palliative care unit at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. In 2008, she and her husband Dr. Ambrose Marsh, also a family doctor and the chief of staff at SPH, moved to Muheza in Tanzania. For six months they worked with

local doctors and nurses to expand and improve end-of-life care in two area hospitals. The decision to go can be the easy part. Making it all happen is a different story. It’s pretty simple at 20 when the world is your oyster. Student work abroad programs abound, bars always need tenders, and governments line up to offer internships to bright young things. For people who are older and no longer willing to live in a hostel or dorm, job options abroad are a little less obvious. But they’re out there. Some people request transfers by Victoria employers such as Schneider Electric or Lafarge, international companies with overseas offices. Others, like Peter Walton, work on specific projects for groups such as the Canadian International Development Agency, and the World Health Organization. Norgrove and Marsh, though, made their own jobs. They were inspired partly by Stephen Lewis, who spoke at a family physician conference about HIV/AIDS in Africa and the tremendous need for retraining an entire


generation health-care providers. With their extensive history in palliative care, Norgrove and Marsh figured they had something to offer. “We chose to create a placement ourselves because we had strong beliefs on how we wanted to work,” says Norgrove. They wanted to leave skills behind; not temporarily fill a need. Some of the challenges they faced are common. Do you rent your house or sell it? Will you have a job when you come back or have to start fresh? Their decision to forsake placement with an established organization meant they had a slate of extra chores, like scouting for the right location, house and school for their sons. “It was like another full-time job to plan it all,” says Norgrove. They wrote a letter outlining their skills and what they hoped to achieve, and sent it to a slew of healthcare agencies working in the field and region they thought were the best fit. “And given the time frame we have in Africa is quite short,” they wrote, “we are looking for a setting where there is already some local hospice/palliative care service provision. We hope this setting would welcome Western physicians to help provide additional training and service in palliative care and perhaps help with program development . . .” From the responses to their letter, they made a shortlist of four places that looked likely and at the beginning of 2008, Marsh travelled to Africa to check them out. They chose to live in the town of Muheza and worked in the small hospital there and at Bombo Regional Hospital in the nearby city of Tanga, Tanzania. It was like living in Saanichton and working at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Victoria General, they explain. Only not. In the last two decades in Victoria, for example, they’ve seen very few HIV/AIDS patients in palliative care thanks to anti-retroviral medication, but in Tanzania HIV infection is still a death sentence. On the other hand, with only an occasional newspaper and no television, their daily lives were almost untouched by the global economic crisis. “We got a completely different vantage point,” Norgrove says. Peter Walton agrees that working abroad can change your perception. “You see yourself and your world through a different lens,” says the consultant on governance, community development and environmental issues who, with his wife and two daughters, has lived for up to three years at a time in India, Indonesia and Guyana.

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The first time he worked abroad, in the early 1990s, he was recruited by the Canadian International Development Agency on the recommendation of a friend already working for it. He and his wife had travelled extensively in Asia and loved it, so when CIDA offered him a three-year position working on energy conservation and water management in India, they were happy to rent out their house and go. In 1999, after three years back in Victoria, Walton saw an intriguing ad in The Economist and applied to work on a multi-agency pilot project on rainforest conservation and development in Guyana. Above: Leah Norgrove, husband Ambrose Marsh and sons Griffin And despite the and Simon in Zanzibar, 2008. occasional run-in with poisonous snakes, it was Below: Peter Walton was field manager for the Canada-Aceh local an experience he wouldn’t government assistance program have missed. (Calgap) following the 2004 tsunami. “It’s a chance to experience other cultures,” he says. “You’re living and working in them so you see more of how other people see the world.” On 9/11 he was in Guyana. His secretary was Muslim. “She had a different perspective,” he says. “She prayed every day for Osama bin Laden.” He and his family have also lived in Indonesia, but when he got a position in Sumatra after the 2004 tsunami, he went alone. He says his children’s education is a priority and they would have had to go to school hundreds of miles away, in Jakarta. His wife pointed out that it would be like him living in Winnipeg while they lived in Toronto, so she and the girls stayed in Victoria and he commuted for a year. Walton says he would be off again in a heartbeat if the right job came up. “You have to be a little open-minded, adventurous. Open to the opportunities and learning. It’s going to be different!” he explains. “It’s the adrenaline and the excitement. It’s very intriguing. We love coming back to Victoria, but . . .” But he wouldn’t want to miss out on those crocodiles.

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IT CAN START WITH a vacation. The city of Merida, Mexico was well off the beaten track when I first saw it in the early 1980s. A sense of torpor and graceful decay pervaded all. Horse-drawn calesas clip-clopped along empty streets. An old man slowly mopped tiles under the grand arches of our ancient hotel. A quarter-century later, returning for a family vacation, we saw that Merida had changed. Public squares thrummed at night with live music and dance. Colonnaded buildings and private homes had been restored to their original grandeur. Odd details stick in your mind: The grace of an elderly

couple dancing to music in the square; a particular shade of blue on the walls; the riotous noise of birds in the trees at dusk. Back home, you search the online real estate listings and lurk on forums where expatriates share tips about scorpions and septic systems. You realize you can buy a house in a nice neighborhood there for as little as the price of a kitchen renovation here. That’s how I ended up earlier this year holding the keys to our own — slightly dilapidated — century-old casa Mexicana. Along the way I learned that a lot of Canadians and Americans are doing the same thing. Some are from Victoria. A million Americans live in Mexico. Canada does

Michael Cullin’s B&B Villa Victoria in the lakeside town of Patzcuaro.


BY DEBORAH WILSON

PHOTOS BY MIKE CULLIN

not keep tabs on emigrants, but a recent study by the Asia Pacific Foundation estimated that more than 5,000 Canadians have moved permanently below the Rio Grande. Many more Canadians are snowbirds, spending winters in the south and heading home for summer. (Canadians who stay out of the country more than six months risk losing their provincial health-care coverage.) Around the time I was bumping around Mexico in the 80s, Evelyn Butler, now 61, discovered La Manzanilla. She was looking for a winter vacation spot with more culture and less development than she encountered on holidays in Hawaii. She found it a short drive south of Puerta Vallarta on the west coast, in a small fishing village with a wide, unspoiled beach. Every year after, she’d return, renting a room for $5 per night in the only hotel in town. Meanwhile, at home in Victoria, she became founder and publisher of Boulevard for 20 years. After 16 years of visiting La Manzanilla, Butler decided to buy her own bit of paradise. On the final day of her vacation, she climbed into a pickup truck to look at a lot with the owner. “We were going into the jungle down this rut track and I thought, ‘Oh, my God, where are we going?’ ” The owner hit the brakes at a corner and jumped out of the truck with a machete. Without explanation, he started hacking fiercely at the undergrowth, before inviting Butler to inspect the property. She agreed to buy it for $7,000, racing to a nearby town with a bank machine to withdraw the $400 deposit. Ten years later, her pretty house with stone walls, tile floors and a terra-cotta roof stands on a steep lot surrounded by palms, fruit trees and exotic flowering vines. Mansions climb the hills behind her house where untamed jungle grew just a few years ago. Some of those houses were built by another Victorian, Michael Cullin. Aside from a childhood glimpse of Tijuana, Cullin, now 65, had never been to Mexico before being asked eight years ago to design a house for a Victoria couple in La Manzanilla. Cullin understood building in the tropics, though, having lived in Barbados. He knew the need for

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shade and cross-ventilation, resistance to hurricanes and imperviousness to rainy-season downpours. He designed the house for his first Victoria clients, then several more houses in the village, including one for his sister and one for himself. In 2005, a road trip led to the lakeside town of Patzcuaro, high in the mountains of central Mexico. He was enchanted by the wide, shady central square, the historic buildings painted a vibrant red and white, and the evening scent of pinewood fires. On a later visit, he stayed at a 19th-century adobe villa near the square. Its original details were gone, replaced with glue-chip marble floors and concrete columns. When he learned it was for sale, he bought it in collaboration with another couple from Victoria, Ross and Joanne Kipp. Back home, Cullin clicks through photos of the villa. In tribute to his hometown the inn is named Villa Victoria. It’s now a highly-rated B&B, restored to its original magnificence and filled with art and antiques, as well as the extraordinary works of local craftsmen, including ironsmiths and carvers. Eventually, Cullin wants to live in Mexico nine months a year. While Cullin and Butler divide their time between two lands, Juanita Stein, 55, and her husband, Jan Zak, 60, cashed out of Victoria and made a permanent move. They bought a 2,500-square-foot house in a working-class neighborhood, not far from the lively Plaza Grande in Merida, a city of about one million on the Yucatan Peninsula. It cost less

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In its current state, with its flaking walls, grungy pink bathroom and missing fixtures, our own Merida house is hard to picture as a tranquil wintertime retreat. It does have a few of the coveted character details: original pasta tile floors, tall limestone walls enclosing a private patio, and spacious rooms with high ceilings. We have months of dust and renovations ahead of us. But the neighbors are welcoming and when the owner of the corner store learns I am Canadian he informs me we have many paysanos (countrymen) here. Some buyers do come to wish it had never happened. Butler says she sees people who come on vacation and buy on impulse. A year or so later, paradise has lost its lustre, and they may find it hard to sell, especially a million-dollarplus property. “The biggest mistake they make is they really didn’t understand the culture. You’re going to become part of the culture, part of the country.” I notice that Butler, Stein and Cullin talk a lot about the Mexicans who are their friends and neighbors, contractors and collaborators. They Limestone walls enclose Wilson’s patio. emphasize the importance of speaking Spanish. (Note to self: more lessons!) I’m encouraged by the happiness of those who followed their dreams to Mexico. At times I wondered if I was making a terrible mistake, house-hunting on my own in unfamiliar neighborhoods. I fretted that my house would flood from the rains while no one was watching over it, or that unscrupulous people would overcharge for bad renovations. (Rip-offs are an occasional thread on the online expatriate forums). None of this has happened so far, touch wood. It’s getting cool in the afternoon shade on Butler’s Victoria deck and she pulls a soft cotton shawl from Patzcuaro around her shoulders. I try to pay close attention to her helpful advice: Spray for scorpions every couple of months and cover the drains to keep the cockroaches out. Don’t invest more than you can afford to risk. In Mexico, there are no guarantees. Don’t expect everything to go according to plan. Don’t be ostentatious. Most importantly, “know it’s going to be different. Be respectful. Just be really respectful.” VB

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ADAM NOONAN BY DENISE RUDNICKI PHOTO BY VINCE KLASSEN


N

The artist may be still and quiet, but his paintings vibrate with colour

THE PAINTING on the easel in Adam Noonan’s outdoor studio grabs the eye the way sudden movement does. It fairly vibrates with colour. The subject matter is typical Noonan — an out building with a roof the colour of fire on a sundappled driveway. You can almost taste the summer heat. I’ve come here to find out where Noonan gets his creative spark. What was it about this driving shed on this road on this day that made him want to preserve it in oils? I wait for the answer, wondering what deep insights he’ll share. After a long, contemplative pause, Noonan says, “I like the colour.” This is, as I come to learn over the next few days, pure Noonan. He loathes art-speak, is reticent to talk about what makes him creative, and is so self-effacing I almost expect him to scrub his toe into the dust and say “shucks.”

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Yet he has, through hard work over 30 years, taken his place on the Canadian art scene. His paintings sell for between $1,000 and $6,000. He is collected around the world by people who admire his talent with light and shadows. He is constantly compared to painters such as Tom Thomson and Lawren Harris. An American art-lover has only Group of Seven and Adam Noonan in his collection. Noonan likes the comparison to Harris and admires him more than any other painter. “His early stuff prior to 1918 — his early houses in Toronto. That’s hard to beat,” says Noonan. He points to a nice blob of paint on the piece he’s working on. “Harris used to be able to get some tremendous hunks of paint on there.” Clockwise from top left: Compact Living, Early Snow and Red Roof capture Noonan’s skill with sunlight and shadows.

Gunter Heinrich owns Winchester Galleries, where Noonan has exhibited since 1994, and whose latest show opens December 2nd. Heinrich says he particularly likes Noonan’s “big juicy brushwork.” Noonan laughs in a way that actually sounds like ha-ha, and says “Well . . . liberal with the paint and conservative with the bullshit.” Seventy-year-old Noonan did not start painting until he was in his 40s. He was a photographer in Toronto, sold antiques for awhile, and was in the brokerage business when he started taking painting lessons nights and weekends at the Toronto School of Art. Noonan is famous for his paintings of shops, houses, out-buildings and other Victoria-area structures. How does he choose? “I get my ideas from real life,” he says. “If I’m driving around in my car and I see something that looks attractive then I’ll back up and have another look.” What catches his eye is light. Light and shadows. “I just love it when the sun hits something. I love the warm colours.” Iola Scott, Noonan’s wife, is also a painter. They met in 1997 when they took ballroom dancing lessons in Victoria. “I remember him saying years ago that he loved to see the light shining at the side of a building. That’s really what inspires him. Adam seems to find the sun wherever he goes.” Noonan has a unique way of capturing what he sees on his drives through the city and


countryside. Unlike many painters this former professional photographer does not take pictures at the scene. Instead he paints in his Chrysler Sebring convertible. He has a device on the side of the steering wheel for a palette and another over the wheel that serves as an easel. He will complete a small oil sketch this way in about two hours. The sketch provides all he needs for the larger painting, which he finishes in his outdoor studio in the backyard of his Cedar Hill home. That process takes three to four hours. Noonan doesn’t use canvas. He doesn’t like the way it moves when he paints, so he goes to Windsor Plywood and buys 1/8-inch medium-density fibreboard. That is then cut to size. Noonan covers it with a sealer, then gesso, then paints it all over with an orangey wash. That orange colour creates the warm base that he and his many fans love. “Adam is a disciplined painter,” says Winchester’s Gunter Heinrich. “A lot of artists will do a show and stop. You have to encourage them to get back to it. Adam is always at it.” Except when he isn’t. Noonan says he does not paint all the time, that it ebbs and flows. “If I don’t feel like it, I don’t do it. I might not paint for a month and then go crazy and paint every day for three months.” And what causes such a painting frenzy? “It’s “People are kind of self-fulfilling. If you do a too serious couple that you like, it’s like having a drink. You want another one.” about art. A few days after our first meeting, It has to make Noonan is on the patio in front of you feel good,” Winchester Galleries on Humboldt, participating in a paint-out. This is a says Noonan. chance for the public to watch painters and speak to them about their work. I’m curious to see how this reluctant talker will get on with people. He’s brought the painting of the driving shed and stands before his easel, dabbing at it. A woman approaches him and tells him she has one of his paintings. So far, she’s doing all the talking. She hung the painting at the top of a dark staircase, hoping to give it a shot of light and colour. “Every time I go up those stairs I see that painting and it makes me feel good.” When Noonan hears this, he comes to life and fairly beams. “Oh! That makes me feel good.” It’s a brief, virtually one-sided exchange but I’ve not seen him this animated or happy in our short time together. The woman wanders away and Noonan keeps dabbing at his painting. He stops. “Boy, that makes me feel good that it makes her happy. People are too serious about art. It has to make you feel good,” he says, adding that her comments are as good as “green feedback” (buying a painting). If Noonan were a colour right now, he’d be orange. VB

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ring ting-a-ling . . . ring ting-a-ling . . . ’tis

the season

CELEBRATE THIS HOLIDAY of magic, surprizes and good cheer . . . these many fine business offer fabulous ideas to help you find that special gift that will delight and inspire. We invite you to have a leisurely browse . . . enjoy!

View Art Gallery presents Snow, eh? At View Art Gallery this season we are presenting a selection of work by 20 gallery artists. We offer a wide variety of contemporary art, from painting to sculpture, ceramics, prints and gift cards at prices that will fit your holiday budget. You can visit our website to view all of the work available by all of our artists.

VIEW ART GALLERY 860 View St. 250.213.1162, viewartgallery.ca Winter Clothes painting by Amy Rice

➤ Have dress will party! From Sympli’s fabulous contemporary line, made in Vancouver to Tangerine Jill’s elegant silks and silk velvets, Aurea offers fashion you can dress up or down. Create your own jewellery masterpiece with an amazing selection of beads and findings or possess a distinctive piece by Karyn Chopik and other artistic designers. Great instruction classes, gift certificates, Trollbeads and more. AUREA ESSENTIAL LUXURIES 614 Johnson St., 250.381.6260 aureagems.com

➤ You’re invited to our Holiday Open House Thursday, November 25, 5-8pm. Celebrate the best of the Holidays with 10% off the most stylish gifts from Market Square boutiques. An evening of music, merriment and terrific prize giveaways! Visit marketsquare.ca for details. MARKET SQUARE, 560 Johnson St.

Let your tea cup bloom. Inspired by a flower pot, this ingenious tea infuser is practical and adorable. Makes the perfect gift for any tea lover, and is just one of the many, one-of-a-kind tea gadgets found only at Silk Road. Shop online or visit in person.

SILK ROAD TEA 1624 Government St. Victoria Chinatown 250.704.2688 silkroadtea.com

Come in and see our newly expanded space! We’ve been busy filling the store with more kitchen lines like Emile Henry plus a great selection of kitchen essentials. We also carry our tried and true lines of French glassware and soaps, linen tea towels from Russia, jewellery, womens accessories and one of the best selections of cards in the area. THE BUNGALOW, 2525 Estevan Ave., 250.595.6193 bungalowgift.ca


Have an artful Christmas. At Island Blue's Art Store you'll find unique and creative gifts for every artist on your list. From wooden art boxes, painting kits, coloured pencil boxes, red oak or bamboo studio easels, to designer roller ball pens, graphite sculptures, leather art journals and much more. Visit us this season and become inspired!

ISLAND BLUE DOWNTOWN, 905 Fort St., 250.385.9786 ISLAND BLUE SIDNEY, 2411 Beacon Ave., Sidney, 250.656.1233 islandblue.com

➤ Need a great coat this season? Distinctive Spanishdesigned coats & clothing by Desigual make a statement. Wrap up and take yourself out in weather conscious coats from Lolë and 2Expose, add Khrio Italian leather boots to finish the outfit. Perennial fashion with a twist at:

The renowned Cape Cod Screwball bracelet utilizes a unique hidden clasp designed by John Carey. Carey’s grandson Alexander handcrafts and custom fits each bracelet in his downtown gallery. The gallery showcases original Carey family designs and unique pieces by local artists. ADORE JEWELLERY, 539 Pandora St., 250.383.7722 adorejewellery.ca

DIDI’S BOUTIQUE 523 Pandora Ave. (Market Square), 250.381.6144 didisboutique.ca

Pure Merino . . . the perfect gift for him and her. Icebreaker’s pure New Zealand merino clothing and accessories are ideal for active adventurers and urban travellers alike. 100% natural merino cools in the heat and warms in the cool. Comfortable, fashionable and ethical . . . a gift you can feel as good about giving as receiving! Available at Ocean River Sports, Western Canada’s largest Icebreaker dealer.

OCEAN RIVER SPORTS, 1824 Store St. 250.381.4233, oceanriver.com

Give gifts that truly make a difference this holiday season. Ten Thousand Villages works with artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed. Shop Fair Trade at TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES stores located at 330-777 Royal Oak Dr., 250.727.7281 and 1976 Oak Bay Ave., 250.598.8183


ring ting-a-ling . . . ring ting-a-ling . . . ’tis

the season

BC’s premiere wood gallery is now introducing hand-carved wood kitchens and islands by Don Bastian. Specializing in Wow! West Coast Wood Designs hosts 80 Vancouver Island artists, with something for everyone on your Christmas list and beautifully crafted stocking stuffers, in every price range, for Santa’s helpers.

Kids and parents alike can experience amazing outdoor adventures at WildPlay Element Parks. Climb, swing and zip through the trees on Monkido, offering fun and challenging games like tightropes, swinging logs and scramble nets all suspended six and 60 feet off the ground. Give them adventure with a WildPlay gift certificate.

WILDPLAY WEST SHORE VICTORIA, 1767 Island Highway 250.590.7529, wildplay.com

WEST COAST WOOD DESIGNS, 9851 Seaport Pl., beside Sidney Pier Hotel 250.665.7646, westcoastwooddesigns.com

It’s a really big gift! The IMAX annual pass. Do you know an IMAX fan, one who loves to explore the world, one who wants to mith see each and every film, sometimes more Ja n e S , 2010 31 er b than once? That person is the perfect em ate : Dec E xpir y D candidate for a really big gift! IMAX Annual Pass holders see all the films they want, as many times as they want, at one low price. A limited number of annual pass gift certificates are available in mid-November. For prices and more information, visit imaxvictoria.com.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IMAX THEATRE, located inside the Royal BC Museum 250.480.4887 Ext. #4 or #3

DOG ABOUT THE HOUSE HOME ACCENTS 634 Yates St. 250.388.5Dog (5364) dogaboutthehouse@shaw.ca

Treat yourself and treat your guests! Deliciously addictive and the perfect addition for all of your holiday events! Gift cards available.

➤ Pooch Inspired Home Accents. Pillows, throws, unique hand made wire dogs, jewelry and art. An earthy and elegant selection of items brought together for the love of dogs and the enjoyment of home.

OOH LA LA CUPCAKES 1391 Hillside Ave., Victoria 250.385.0707 2042 Mills Rd. W., Sidney 250.656.0706 oohlalacupcakes.ca


ring ting-a-ling . . . ring ting-a-ling . . .

’tis the season on Salt Spring Island

GATHER YOUR FAMILY, hop on a ferry or seaplane and enjoy a magical and relaxing Christmas experience — Island style. Experience the full warmth and joy of the festive season with an array of local culinary delights, great art galleries and craft studios, as well as world-class accommodations and wellness retreats. Celebrate the season with a vibrant music and performing arts scene or enjoy Salt Spring’s natural beauty and island tranquility. Holiday events include Winter Craft at Mahon Hall, ssartscouncil.com and Craft Fair December 4-6. saltspringcommunity.com

➤ Li Read Invites you to live, boat or swim on Canada’s beautiful West Coast Gulf Islands! Call Li Read, Managing Broker, Sea to Sky Premier Properties, (Salt Spring), an affiliate of Christie’s Great Estates. Li offers you wise advice on all real estate matters, and will help you find your dream home! Visit LiRead.com to learn more about the islands, and to view Li’s extensive selection of fine properties! Why keep the islands waiting? 250.537.8763, LiRead33@gmail.com LiRead.com

➤ Newly opened, Starfish Gallery offers regular exhibitions of fine art, sculpture and photography by local artists Briony Penn, Stefanie Denz, Birgit Bateman, Anais La Rue and Andrea Collins. Tues-Sat 11am-4pm. STARFISH GALLERY & STUDIO 115 Fulford Ganges Rd. Grace Point Square 250.537.4425 starfishgalleryandstudio.com

➤ Gloria Valencia, an accomplished west coast silversmith, incorporates unique, often rare turquoise and other gemstones into her handcrafted silverwork. Born and raised in New Mexico, Gloria draws upon her Native American and Spanish heritage for the design and creation of her exquisite jewellery. Featured is a striking silver eagle feather bracelet. RED EARTH SPIRIT, 250.653.2046, redearth@telus.net, redearthspirit.ca

Gallery 8 (Formerly the J. Mitchell Gallery). Join us for the Random 8 Christmas Exhibition from December 3rd to December 31st. Exhibiting artists: Lynn Demers, Dennice Stambuck, Jerry Davidson, Jan Sharkey Thomas, Bly Kaye, Ian Thomas, Janet Cameron and Janis Woode. Mon-Sat: 10am-5pm, Sun: 11am-4pm. ➤

GALLERY 8, 115 Fulford Ganges Rd., Grace Point Square 1-866-537-8822, 250-537-8822, gallery8saltspring.com


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’tis the season in Oak Bay Village For the joy of culinary Splendid inspiration andKitchenware creation . . . • Splendid kitchenware and & Accessories accessories • Gift registry • Culinary concepts Gift Registry • Demonstrations and Italian cooking classes

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Like a snowflake her beauty is unique. And with that comes the desire for a unique gift. At Serenity Esthetics you’ll find beauty therapies from microdermabrasion to waxing, from manicures to pedicures, and body treatments to facials. This boutique spa focuses on the utmost in personal attention to meet her unique needs. With over 20 years of experience in the art of beauty, Paulette and her staff can easily help you incorporate Serenity Esthetics into her beauty routine.

LACulinary TAVOLA Concepts Kitchenware Boutique 2039 Oak Bay Ave. Demonstrations 250.590.4868 latavolakitchenware.com

SERENITY ESTHETICS, 2250 Oak Bay Ave. 250.595.0017. Gift certificates available.

This is the perfect pet boutique if you want to treat your dog to a spa day or find the ultimate gift for that special pet or owner. We offer a wide variety of unique and eco-friendly products from collars and leashes, beds, raincoats and home accessories to human-grade food and treats. BARK, BATH & BEYOND PET BOUTIQUE 2041 Oak Bay Ave., 250.590.2822, barkpetboutique.com

Introducing Tea Collection at Finn & Izzy Kids . . . Stylish children’s clothing offering modern designs inspired from cultures around the world. Mix and match options for multiple wardrobe crossovers. Available in sizes newborn - 12 years. Mon-Fri 10am-5:30pm and Sat 10am-5pm

FINN & IZZY KIDS 2259 Oak Bay Ave. 250.592.8168 finnandizzy.com

A de’lish Christmas. Let de’lish indulge you with a Christmas feast, cater for that special cocktail party and provide take-home dinners and desserts. Simple yet succulent food that is cooked with heart and our best Christmas wishes. de’lish, 677 St. Patrick St., 250.598.5614 delish@delishcateringoakbay.ca


DISCOVER THE MAGIC of an old fashioned Christmas in Oak Bay Village. Buildings, trees and lampposts are adorned with thousands of Christmas lights, shops are specially decorated and even a few Christmas surprises are waiting to be discovered. Oak Bay’s Christmas Festival begins with Light Up on November 28 when music, street entertainment, roasted chestnuts and a visit from Santa Claus celebrate the beginning of the lighted festival. Join us December 2 for our Gallery Walk and evening shopping, featuring music and treats throughout the evening. Fill all your Christmas wishes in our independent bookstores, jewellery stores, antique shops, art galleries, clothing boutiques, gift shops and more. Find our complete Christmas events list and directory at oakbaybia.ca

➤ Check out Barclay’s Fine Custom Jewellers extensive line of PANDORA® customizable jewellery. Give PANDORA® as a gift and life’s special moments become unforgettable. Add to their jewellery with charms starting at $25 as new memories are created. With hundreds of unique charms to choose from, the jewellery you create will be as unique as the person who receives it. BARCLAY’S FINE CUSTOM JEWELLERS, 2187 Oak Bay Ave., 250.592.1100 barclaysjewellers.com

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Abracadabra. Like magic, these ingenious vases bring out your creative talent. Fill them with whatever inspires you: cranberries, holly, shiny balls, or pinecones. Add candles, and Presto! — an original centerpiece to light up the season. Just one of the many unique gifts you’ll find at Dig This. DIG THIS Victoria - Oak Bay - Broadmead - Sidney Nanaimo. digthis.com

Side Street Studio is one of BC’s largest arts & crafts retailers who, for over 26 years, has been representing work by more than 300 local BC artists. Unique and original pottery, jewellery, glass-art, wood turnings, sculptures, textiles and West Coast art; all handcrafted and one-of-a-kind. Our website is the largest of its kind in Canada. SIDE STREET STUDIO, 2250 Oak Bay Ave. 250.592.1262, sidestreetstudio.com

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Visit us for a great selection of Christmas gifts, including children’s books, calendars, notebooks and diaries. Located in the heart of Oak Bay Village for 45 years, we are your neighbourhood bookstore. “Do give books for Christmas; they’re never fattening, seldom sinful and permanently personal.” IVY’S BOOKSHOP, 2188 Oak Bay Ave., 250.598.2713

Give the gift of art this season. Choose from a special collection of limited edition prints by Victoria artist, J. Fenwick Lansdowne. Internationally renowned, his work has been acclaimed by art critics and naturalists and has been presented to members of the British Royal Family by the Government of Canada. THE OAK BAY GALLERY 2223 Oak Bay Ave. 250.598.9890

Audubon Warbler


ring ting-a-ling . . . ring ting-a-ling . . .

’tis the season in Sidney By-the-Sea Warm and cosy towels from now on! Free-standing towel warmer, an energy efficient, affordable way to dry towels & keep bathrooms warm & mildewfree. Made of premium quality stainless steel. Now available at a special introductory price of $299.99 until Dec. 31st. at

The joy of reading. Gift giving is made easy at TANNER’S where you’ll find all the hot new releases & bestsellers, along with our carefully chosen selection of over 18,000 book titles. We also have an outstanding selection of magazines, maps, calendars and much more. Our friendly, knowledgeable booksellers are happy to recommend the perfect gift or place a special order. Open daily 8am – 9pm.

FLUSH BATHROOM ESSENTIALS 2537 Beacon Ave. (in the Cannery Building) 250.655.7732, flushbath.ca

TANNER’S BOOKS, Beacon Ave. & Fourth St., 250.656.2345

Wrap yourself in contemporary European fashions from Atticus this holiday season. Offering exclusive collections from Masai (Denmark), as well as Sandwich and JAG Jeans, plus accessories including jewellery, belts and exquisite scarves. Our friendly staff will help you look great for any occasion!

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It’s our favourite time of year at Cameron Rose Gifts. Whether you’re shopping for a funky new handbag, a beautiful piece of jewellery, hilarious stocking stuffers or one of our incredible Christmas ornaments, we have the perfect gift for the person on your naughty or nice list. Be sure to stop by and get in the Christmas spirit at our friendly and unique store. CAMERON ROSE GIFTS, 2447 Beacon Ave. 250.656.8782, cameronrose.ca

ATTICUS 2495 Beacon Ave. 250.656.7621


THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE and there are so many ways to get into the spirit in Sidney By-the-Sea. Discover the magic of enchanting events, sparkling street decorations and great shopping at over 120 unique and locally owned shops from bookstores, to art galleries, apparel and retail shops. This quaint seaside wonderland promises fun and entertainment for the whole family, and it’s worth the drive! Celebrate with the Santa’s Parade and the ever popular Sail Past — November 27th. For more information call 250.656.4365 or visit peninsulacelebrations.ca

From unwanted . . . to unforgettable. Treat yourself or a loved one to a stunning, custom designed piece by Jaylyn Jewellers. Bring in your unwanted jewellery, sit down with one of our skilled designers and turn your old gold into something that’s truly unforgettable. Visit us Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm.

➤ Fun, Flirty, Fabulous Fashion! We have a fun mix of classic, casual and sparkly clothes to make you look fabulous and flirty throughout the Christmas season. And fellas, we have great gift ideas for your mom, sister, or that special lady in your life! MARMALADE TART BOUTIQUE 2378 Beacon Ave., 778.426.3356

JAYLYN JEWELLERS Corner of Bevan Ave. & Second St. 250.656.5556 jaylynjewellers.com

Boulevard HOME Design Annual. The ultimate ideas book for everything “home” on Southern Vancouver Island. This elegant book will be available at Tanner’s books in Sidney, and other fine bookstores including Bolen Books, Munro’s Books, Chapters (Victoria) and participating advertisers the week of November 22. An ideal gift for the “home” enthusiasts on your list! Also features a $20,000 contest! For details go to boulevardhome.ca

WATERLILY SHOES, 2537 Beacon Ave. (in the Cannery Building) 250.656.5606

SHAW OCEAN DISCOVERY CENTRE, 9811 Seaport Pl. 250.665.7511, oceandiscovery.ca

Edgy . . . trendy . . . classic . . . It’s all here! Footwear, bags and accessories. We carry the latest must-have labels such as Nine West, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Fly London, Frye Boots, the eco-conscious El Naturalista and the delightful style and comfort of Naot, Dansko and Alegria. Awarded Best New Business of 2010. Great gift ideas for all the fashionistas in your life!

➤ DISCOVER YOUR OCEAN FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR. Give the gift of an annual pass to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre! It’s a world class aquarium where you can explore the boundless life of the Salish Sea, experience hands on/hands wet learning and discover something new on every visit . . . all year long. Annual passes are just $16.00 for kids aged 7 to 17 and $22.00 for adults.


PHOTO BY GARY MCKINSTRY

State of

TheArts BY ALISA GORDANEER

Giving a present of original art will not only please the recipient and the artist, but it even provides a very classy re-gifting option

SINCE IT’S THE GIVING SEASON, and since it’s always nice to give gifts that won’t end up at next spring’s garage sales, I’d like to suggest the perfect gift for that person who’s got just about everything: Art. Of course, tickets to the opera, symphony or a theatre season are perfect stocking-stuffers, and should be lavished upon everyone. But to make a grand impression, there’s nothing like unveiling a piece of original artwork. Not only could a well-chosen painting or sculpture provide its recipient with something more interesting for their home than that framed Matisse print from their university days, but it might also help an artist, or even, someday, a cultural institution. Building an art collection, or contributing to someone else’s, doesn’t have to be a daunting task. If someone on your holiday giving list already has a favourite artist, you just need to make a few phone calls or Internet searches to find out

where that artist’s work is available for sale. Or, if you don’t know who that favourite artist is, you could go the cheeky route, and peek at the signatures on your friend’s existing art collection while they’re in the other room refreshing the cocktails. Of course, there’s always the possibility that your taste in art doesn’t match theirs, or vice versa. Kimberley Bryant, an associate at Victoria’s Mercurio Gallery, suggests the following strategy: “Think about the person’s taste and style, not your own. For example, if they seem to have a fondness for Inuit pieces, or glass blown items, take your cue from that. Remember, taste is subjective; there is no right or wrong.” And, she adds, gift-giving is an opportunity to learn more about the other person’s interests as well as expand your own knowledge. If you still aren’t sure what resonates with your loved one’s aesthetic sense, try taking them for an afternoon of gallery visiting. Listen to their comments, ask them about their favourites, and if they really like — or hate — a particular artist’s work, make note. “I would say that the most important thing to consider when beginning a collection is defining its purpose; whether it be monetary, emotional, personal interest, etcetera. Usually it is a combination of many of these things,” says Bryant. It’s always a good idea to choose artwork that resonates with the recipient and their aesthetic values, regardless of the investment potential of a piece. As Bryant observes, “I like it when collections reflect more the personality of the individual, rather than featuring a who’s who of name artists.” The best-case scenario about giving art as a gift, especially if it sparks a new interest in collecting, is that you won’t have to wonder what to give that person, possibly ever again, because you can keep adding to their growing collection. “The best way to acquire a well-rounded collection is to spend many years doing it,” says Bryant. “Talking to gallery owners, people in the arts community, other collectors, doing research on your own, and travelling can give a collection substance and originality.” Choosing work that will make someone happy is still the best course of action — you don’t want to give the kind of gift that the recipient will scramble to remove from storage and put on display only when they know you’re dropping by. On the other hand, even if you’ve chosen carefully, there’s always the chance that they simply can’t find a spot on the wall or in the garden for yet another piece. Even so, original artwork is still a great gift choice. As Martin Segger, director of the University of Victoria’s Maltwood Gallery,


points out, it’s become the norm for cultural institutions to build their collections with the help of private individuals. That’s right — it can become something for re-gifting in the classiest way possible. “It’s very common [for cultural institutions] to rely on working with individuals who do that,” says Segger. “Quite often they will develop their own collections with a view to culling them, or with a view to a legacy or bequest.” However, Segger says, “We don’t encourage surprises of that kind. . . . The worst thing that can happen is we get a call from a lawyer, saying ‘can you bring your truck over,’ and it’s material we have no interest in.” That’s because not every piece of art, no matter how much it costs, fits with any given collection. “Our collection interests are primarily driven by the research and teaching interests of the university,” Segger Whether it’s First says, explaining that UVic is focusing on West Coast ceramics Nations carvings, and First Nations art for its aboriginal print collection. Clearly, handcrafted if you’re thinking of giving art to a cultural institution, check with ceramics or, sure, them first to make sure it’s going even velvet Elvis to the right place. Just as buying art can help an paintings, buy it artist earn an income, and giving art can bring pleasure to a friend, for the recipient’s giving part or all of your art collection to a public gallery or enjoyment. university collection helps you, too, as the assessed value of the artwork can be claimed against your income tax as a charitable donation. However, says Segger, it can create a problem for the institution receiving it. “It may be an economic advantage for you, to transfer an asset — but we see it as a transfer of liability.” That’s because art collections cost a lot of money to house, maintain, catalogue, restore and display. The bigger the collection, the more it costs. “Now we’re encouraging donors who give art to consider establishing research fellowships, or curatorial scholarships as well,” says Segger. Regardless of the art you choose to give — and no matter what the significance of any piece of artwork — “When you invest in art, the first purpose for doing so should be what engages you,” says Segger. If it’s the kind of thing you or your friends like to display at home, whether it’s First Nations carvings, handcrafted ceramics or, sure, even velvet Elvis paintings, buy it for enjoyment first. And if you spot that original Picasso at your friend’s yard sale next spring? Give me a call. VB

“It’s All About Me!” Cathy, Derma Spa Client

Cathy wanted her outside to reflect her inside ‘glow’ as she celebrated a milestone birthday and prepared for her wedding. “The staff at Derma Spa were so knowledgeable and friendly. They helped me decide on Botox Cosmetic ®, Glycolic Peels and Laser Genesis treatments. I couldn’t be happier with my results.”

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Give a Gift That’s All About Them! victoriaboulevard.com 53


Welcome to the busiest season at Amblecote, Canada’s largest holly farm

COWICHAN

BY KEITH NORBURY PHOTOS BY PHIL IVES


RED BARN MARKET

FABULOUS HOLIDAY SHOPPING..... YOU’LL FIND EVERYTHING FROM SHOES TO CARROTS !

THE GALLERY

Brings Christmas Home To You

SECRET GARDEN

MATTICK’S FARM

With over 15 shops to choose from. Christmas magic really happens. Make gift giving special this holiday season! Live Christmas Choir and visits with Santa in December. Customer Appreciation - December 16 until 9 pm Check website for additional details at: www.matticksfarm.com

SUNDAY’S SNOWFLAKES

ART KNAPP GARDEN CENTRE

COUNTRY GOOSE CLOTHING COMPANY

LADYBUG CANDLES & GIFTS

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walnut trees — crowd the narrow driveway, their bulging roots buckling the pavement. The driveway ends at an 1880s-era farmhouse. Behind it is a weathered barn that looks just as ancient. More than six hectares of pasture, bordered by a few fruit trees, separate the buildings from Quamichan Lake to the east. To the west of the houses, though, is the main attraction of this nine-hectare property. It’s a three-hectare orchard of upwards of 1,200 holly trees, many of them over a century old. Welcome to Amblecote Holly Farm, the largest in Canada and the oldest on Vancouver Island, the holly capital of the country. The farm does almost all its business at Christmastime, shipping the iconic seasonal symbol across North America, to as far away as the Yukon, the Prairies, the Maritimes, and even Florida. But holly is not as popular as it once was for Christmas decorating, so many other area holly farms have faded away. “These groves just go on and on,” Rick Taylor says as he leads a visitor through the orchard. Taylor and his partner, Sue Johnston, took over the farm on the edge of Duncan in January 2009 after buying it from Helma and Gaylord Stewart, whose grandfather built the farmhouse and established the holly orchard about 120 years ago. Johnston and Taylor had been looking to buy a farm, although not necessarily a holly farm. But when Taylor, a Victoria lawyer, saw Amblecote, he fell in love with the place and figured that holly farming might make a good seasonal business. He soon learned that tending 1,200 holly trees is a lot of work. “We’re both city slickers,” says Johnston, a retired teacher. “We both had to learn to drive the tractor.” “Two weekends ago, I spent about 10 to 12 hours just cutting the grass between the rows of holly,” Taylor adds, sitting in the living room of the renovated farmhouse. “You’ve got to cut that grass from April through July several times, otherwise it gets too tall and you can’t get in there.” And they need to get in there for some unanticipated reasons. “Every once in awhile we haul a dead deer out of here,” he says. The busiest time is from October to mid-December, when the holly is picked, dipped in a special solution to keep it fresh, and packed for market. That requires up to eight seasonal workers to climb orchard ladders to reach

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the tops of the trees, as high as six metres (about 20 feet), and then pack the holly in the comfort of the barn heated by a wood-fired stove. Inserting the prickly holly into the plastic bags requires a “cunning gadget,” as Johnston calls the sheet-metal device that gently compresses the holly, enabling a plunger to push it into The most labourthe package. Several of the gadgets are scattered upon the intensive time is workbenches, while behind them from October to are stacked dozens of the ice chest-sized rectangular baskets mid-December, for carrying the holly from the orchard to the barn. Judging from when the holly the rust specks on the chicken is picked, dipped wire mesh and the graying wooden frames, most of the in a special baskets have survived scores of solution to keep holly seasons. Most of the holly is packed in it fresh, and plastic bags that are placed into cardboard boxes destined for packed for market. wholesalers in Eastern Canada. Johnston also oversees the packaging of hundreds of gift boxes that are shipped by express mail, at a cost of $20 or more a box, to Florida, the Yukon and other distant locales. “We sell some locally and we have a certain amount of drop by,” Taylor says. “Because the business has been here for so long, people will come by.” Being a holly farmer has meant a steep learning curve, Taylor says. He soon discovered that the trees had to be hand-fertilized — “I thought this would be a mechanized system” — and that the fertilizer alone cost about $2,000 a year. “But like anything, you get sort of pulled into and do it. We asked a lot of questions and read some literature on it.” One person Taylor questions frequently is John MacArthur, who with his wife Lindy operates MacArthur Holly Farm in Saanich. “He’s an expert,” says Taylor, 61, about MacArthur, 63, whom he has known since they played Little League together in Oak Bay half a century ago. “There used to be 35, maybe 40, holly farms on lower Vancouver Island,” MacArthur says. Other holly farms in the Cowichan area have also either withered away or curtailed production. Baldar Sran says he has about 50 holly trees on his Gibbins Road farm, but he hasn’t bothered to harvest any for the last five years. “Nobody buys it,” he says. Shelagh John had about 300 holly trees on five hectares

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continued from page 57

at Cowichan Bay that she sold in 2005. “It was kind of derelict when I left,” she says. At Abby Lane Farm in North Cowichan, Catharine Young didn’t harvest any holly from her dozen or so trees last year. That’s because a dry spring and a lack of bees prevented the trees from bearing any berries. This year, she expects the crop to rebound. “It’s just a side thing for the winter,” she says. After the Second World War, holly became a popular crop from the Oregon coast to southwestern BC, says Metchosin holly producer Tom Henry, who grew up in the Cowichan Valley and is now the editor of Small Farm Canada magazine. “What is really cool about it is it’s a cash crop at a time when most farms are pretty dormant,” Henry says. Henry received a crash course in holly management about five years ago from Gaylord Stewart when he still owned Amblecote, where Henry’s father once worked in the 1970s. Stewart’s maternal grandfather, Gaylord Hadwen, founded Amblecote in 1887 and a short time later planted the first trees, Stewart says. About the time Stewart was born 67 years ago, new trees, affectionately known as “the teenagers,” were added to the orchard. Stewart’s father, Alan, took over the farm on Hadwen’s death in 1952 and moved there permanently in 1957. The younger Stewart succeeded his father in 1987.

‘Tis the Season at . . .

“I took it over because my dad got like me,” says Stewart, who had been practising law in Campbell River. “He got so he couldn’t do the work and so I decided to give up law and come down.” His grandfather originally imported the holly from Holland, although it is actually called English holly, Ilex aquifolium. That’s “the prickly stuff with the nice red berries,” says John Harris, a Metchosin holly farmer. There are hundreds of holly varieties, but Holly is a cash crop English is the choice of holly farms. Amblecote, like most, also at a time when most produces variegated holly. That’s a farms are dormant. genetic mutation that deprives the leaf edges of chlorophyll, resulting in two-tone colouring. In packing Amblecote’s gift boxes, Johnston often includes sprigs of variegated holly as well as cedar boughs and pine cones that come from the property. Years ago, when holly was more popular, Amblecote employed as many as 20 people — 10 pickers and 10 packers — during holly season. “They thought it was going to be a major thing,” Stewart says of holly’s heyday in his grandfather’s time. “It’s gone down but it will never die out.” VB

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For Quinton Gordon, Lúz brings together his love of photography, family and teaching

THE NAME of his enterprise means “light” in Spanish: but for Quinton Gordon, handling the growth of Lúz Gallery for the Photographic Arts is a bit like developing an image in a darkroom. The result is still unknown, but the process captures the photographer’s imagination at every step. What Gordon hopes will develop, he says, is “an established gallery with sales into the international collector market and a fantastic destination for week-long workshops.” As he talks about how his 15-year-old dream is proceeding, light streams into Lúz’s warm, white-washed rooms on Oak Bay Avenue, where it has moved from a smaller Fort Street location. The large windows project the latest exhibit into the street, piquing Daughter Molly the curiosity of passersby. runs circles In just one year, Gordon, 43, and his partner Diana Millar, 33, (they met four around Quinton years ago at the downtown Muffet and Gordon and Louisa store that Millar managed) have Diana Millar in created a hub for all things photographic their Lúz Gallery. in Victoria. Lúz is more than the city’s

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only dedicated fine art photography gallery. It offers workshops for adults and teens by acclaimed Canadian photographers, Ted Grant, Vikky Alexander, Donald Weber, Allan Mandell, along with book sales, fine art printing, an online store and a budding, like-minded community. Here at Lúz, seasoned photography pros mix with emerging artists and eager enthusiasts. For 20 years, the youthful — and bordering on unassuming — Gordon has been a commercial photographer, shooting editorial and documentary projects for magazines and corporate clients. A “seed of an idea” that began 15 years ago, then rekindled when he was artist-in-residence at the Manuel Álvarez Bravo Centre for Photography in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2005 now wraps all his loves into one: photography, teaching, his partner as the gallery’s director and curator, and even Molly, their almost 3-year-old daughter, has her own Canon waterproof camera. The eclectic nature of the gallery’s first exhibits, says Gordon, was strategic. They ranged from Ted Grant’s operating room photos to pinhole cameras and Eric Klemm’s portraits of North American Indians to Allan Mandell’s flowers in Sensing Spirit. Here is Grant’s famous 1968 photo of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, arms flung wide for balance, sliding down a banister at Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier; it’s just one of 280,000 of Grant’s images housed by Canada’s National Archives. There’s Vikky Alexander’s Paris Showrooms. She’s associated

with Vancouver’s School of Photo Conceptualism (along with Jeff Wall, Roy Arden and Rodney Graham). Donald Weber, another acclaimed Canadian, spent three years photographing Bastard Eden, Our Chernobyl. “People are always pressing for photographic exhibitions,” At 15, Gordon says Greater Victoria Art Gallery director borrowed his dad’s Jon Tupper. “They’ve [Lúz] put together a really strong stable of artists.” Konika SLR and But it can’t solely be a gallery or never gave workshops, Gordon says, so they have added large-format photographic printing it back. “That services, book sales and research, film camera taught me screenings and lectures, fee-based portfolio critiques, and mentoring. A photography . . . street photography workshop (held in I learned to see Portland, Oregon) with Joni Kabana and and to understand Gordon teaching, filled in less than a week. “We’ve learned that a market exists light with it.” outside of Victoria,” said Millar, the business strategist. But locals who are serious about purchasing can take works home to try them out. Most customers are buying in the $500 range. Last summer, with Victoria Hospitals Foundation as the client, students took photos at the hospital. In exchange, the foundation

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received images for marketing and communications they couldn’t typically afford to buy. At the gallery’s relocation party, 200 people packed the new Oak Bay space. Haunting portraits of villagers in Ghana that were taken by Devin Tepleski peered down on the crowd. Gordon recalls the day Tepleski came with a single 8-by-10 photograph in hand. The young artist had his subjects (the villagers were about to be displaced by a hydroelectric dam) stand in the river that would flood their homes. While not a recommended way to submit work, Gordon “took one look and just knew.” He seeks meaning in the photos and “artists who are making photographs about something, not just of something.” Gordon grew up north-east of Toronto in the BobcaygeonFenelon Falls area, and recalls the first time he picked up a Kodak instamatic camera at 10. At 12, he started a small graphic design business (logos and signage) for clients of his dad’s print shop. Describing his interests then as “rocks and culture,” he read a lot and discovered that photography was a way of exploring ideas. At 15, on a trip to Vancouver Island from Ontario, he borrowed his dad’s old Konica SLR and never gave it back. “That camera taught me photography — one lens, no light meter. I learned to see and to understand light with it. I still have it.”

He has been hired by governments, NGOs, private businesses and magazines, including Canadian and New Zealand Geographic, BC Business, Cottage Life and more. September saw him travelling BC shooting documentary-style for a project on multiculturalism. His first paid shoot was for a big ad agency, which bought some of his images from a school project. “When they asked for an invoice, I had no idea what to do. I walked out of their office on Toronto’s Yonge Street straight into Grand & Toy to buy an invoice book.” He still recalls the shock of so much money for images that would only be used once. In 1990, he graduated from Ryerson University in Toronto with a BA in photographic arts and technology. From 1996 to 2000, he taught in the School of Design at New Zealand’s Massey University and after a return to Victoria via Mexico and Toronto, he taught at the Western Academy of Photography for eight years. “Everything Diana and I do — gallery, education, strategic collaborations — drives us to think as creatively as possible,” he says. “Lúz connects us to the local community and a larger international community of creative minds that typically we’d find only in larger cities. “It’s about having a global view, sharing our passions and choosing where we want to live.” VB

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Why hire an interior designer? Creators of unique and beautiful homes gathered for a wide-ranging roundtable discussion about everything Interior Design. Lively and informative conversation covered how and when to engage a designer, when to follow trends and when not to, along with other exciting creative design ideas. Highlights of these conversations will be featured on an ongoing basis, and in our new book Boulevard Home Design Annual.

Jeff Smith

Lorin Turner

Teresa Ryback

BOULEVARD : Why should people who

are building or renovating a home use the services of an interior designer? Heather Draper: Interior designers orchestrate their decisions with the big picture in mind, so clients don’t get lost in the details. Cheryl DeMerchant: Interior designers create a master game plan right down to the door hinges and ensure a sense of continuity in the overall design. Jeff Smith: We actually save the client money because we prevent mistakes from being made. We pay attention to things you may not have thought of. Jenny Martin: We communicate with the trades to ensure thermostats, outlets and light switches aren’t located in the centre of feature walls. Lorin Turner: Or things like window height or window placement. Teresa Ryback: We consider sight lines and identify potential challenges before the construction phase.

Jenny Martin

Heather Draper

Cheryl DeMerchant

Smith: Designers visually walk through the plans to help present mistakes, and take advantage of every opportunity to optimize your dollar and give you that ‘awe’ space. Martin: Ideally we should be contacted at the blueprint stage before the first nail gets pounded. That gives the clients plenty of time to work through their options, so they don’t feel pressured and stressed. BOULEVARD : What are the ways that a client

can really help in the process?

Ryback: Having a good idea of the budget and being honest and open about it. We can work within almost any budget but we need to know the scope of the project and the expectations.

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Smith: Another way to really help is for the client to have spent some time on a “look book” of pictures they are drawn to. That saves money right off the bat because the interior designer gets information about the client’s preferences. You start talking the same language. Turner: The book of pictures is important. They can have chosen very different looks but you can ask, why do you like that, what caught your eye? Martin: It’s important to feel comfortable with your designer, so express how you honestly feel. They’re working for you to help you realize your dream.

Turner: Everyone has a budget, but it has got to make sense for the project and then they have to trust us to present good choices and suggestions within that budget.

Ryback: Sometimes people come with an inspiration book that is not congruent with the architecture of the home they are building. It is our job to educate them on options that elevate architecture while incorporating their design style.

DeMerchant: Knowing the budget allows for trade-offs. That flooring that you love might be obtainable if we choose a less expensive tile in the master ensuite or reduce the lighting budget.

Draper: Educating clients about how to achieve their desired look is a lot of what we do. So it helps if clients listen and are open to that. If they do, they will always be happy with the results.

Advertorial


FRONTROW

Lori Pappajohn and the seven-person ensemble Winter Harp enchant audiences each Christmas season with their haunting medieval melodies.

BY ROBERT MOYES


WINTER HARP Many people have a list of favourite Christmas activities, whether it’s attending a performance of The Messiah or piling the family into the mini-van for a Christmas lights tour. Then there are the several hundred folk who wouldn’t miss the annual appearance by Winter Harp, the enchanting medieval-Celtic ensemble whose repertoire of traditional and popular carols mixes musical charm and exotic presentation. Started nearly 20 years ago by harpist Lori Pappajohn — the West Coast’s answer to Loreena McKennitt — Winter Harp is a seven-piece ensemble that performs mostly medieval and Baroque music, complete with candles, costumes, and a dash of “world music” flair. Aside from a lineup of Celtic and classical harps, flutes, and percussion, the ensemble includes unusual antique instruments such as a bass psaltery and a hurdygurdy-like organistrum. This last, a replica handmade by an awardwinning Vancouver luthier, is one of only six in existence. “I love the ‘old sounds’ of these instruments,” says Pappajohn. “Pianos and trumpets are relatively modern, but a harp or a psaltery hasn’t changed in 3,000 years and the sound touches you in a different place,” she continues. “If museums allow you to see old things, then our band is a chance to hear something ancient.” Alluring and unusual, the rich aural tapestry of Winter Harp is a unique experience. Appearing December 10 at 7:30 pm at Alix Goolden Hall (Pandora at Quadra). Google “Winter Harp” for ticket information.

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AN ACCLAIMED NEW NUTCRACKER TOURS FOR THE FIRST TIME Notwithstanding Alberta Ballet’s gorgeous new version of The Nutcracker ballet that had its world debut here in 2008, Dance Victoria is presenting a different — and similarly well-regarded — adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s Christmas classic. Developed over three years by Vancouver’s Goh Ballet, this interpretation is set in a Victorian England handsomely evoked with resplendent costumes and lavish sets. There is brand new choreography by Anna-Marie Holmes, a leading authority on 19th century Russian ballet, whose impressive career includes dancing with the Royal Winnipeg and Kirov

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ballets before becoming the artistic director of several American ballet companies. As well as live music from the Victoria Symphony, the ballet features two guest principal dancers: Mara Vinson (formerly of Pacific Northwest Ballet) and Karel Cruz (Pacific Northwest Ballet). After premiering in Vancouver in 2009 to sold-out houses and great acclaim, this $750,000 production is touring for the first time. “There are surprises and magic and just the right balance between tradition and invention,” says Dance Victoria producer Stephen White. “I think audiences are really going to fall


in love with this Nutcracker.” Performances are Nov. 26 and 27 at 7:30 pm and Nov. 27 and 28 at 2 pm, at the Royal Theatre. For tickets, call 250-386-6121. AN APPEALING BAROQUE HEROINE Eight years ago, Pacific Opera Victoria (POV) staged its first Baroque opera, Handel’s Julius Caesar, and the production, with technically demanding singing featuring two countertenors, was both a tour de force and a popular success. Thus encouraged, POV continues to delve occasionally into Baroque repertoire for its programming, and this season presents its third Handel opera, Rodelinda. This dark, nuanced, and moving drama about Machiavellian political scheming in 7th century Milan has an appealing heroine in Queen Rodelinda, who, suddenly widowed and fearful for her son, finds the courage to confront the tyrant who has stolen the Lombardy throne and is trying to claim her as his bride. Hugely successful in its day, Rodelinda has an unusually strong and seamless storyline (not often the case with Baroque opera), sympathetic characters, and two compelling villains – thus guaranteeing a few thrilling confrontation scenes. “This is a wonderfully intense work, and the music is inspired . . . utterly marvelous,” asserts Timothy Vernon, POV’s artistic director. “There is an emotional richness to Rodelinda, and great singing parts for everyone,” he adds. “It’s a good example of why Handel was Beethoven’s favourite composer.” At the Royal Theatre from November 11 to 20 at 8 pm, plus a 3 pm matinee on November 13. For tickets, call 250-386-6121. FLORAL ART GUILD SHOW Although flower arranging has traditionally been regarded as little more than a pretty pastime, the hundred members of the Victoria Flower Arrangers Guild beg to differ. According to the guild’s Joel Fair, flower arranging began a sea-change about a decade ago, when its creative boundaries were pushed — in some cases, dramatically — and the new medium of Floral Art/Design began to be acknowledged. Now the subject of international shows and boasting its own glossy magazines, the new crop of floral art embraces everything from large outdoor “Land Art” installations employing various found objects that are embellished with flowers and plant materials, to using tweezers in the design of elegant miniatures. There’s also jewellery such as bracelets, necklaces, and brooches, where an underlying structure of coloured aluminum wire supports feathers, beads, and, as its centerpiece, a longlived flower such as an orchid. Fair is still exhilarated after making a floral bracelet for the Empress of Japan when she

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elements

A collective exhibition featuring the works of our sculptors, ceramicists and glass artisans.

Exhibition and Sale November 14 - 27, 2010 Opening and artist’s reception – November 14th 12 - 4

2184 OAK BAY AVENUE, VICTORIA 250-598-2184 www.theavenuegallery.com

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visited Victoria last July. “It was a great honour, especially when you consider that flower arranging in Japan is not only part of their culture but an art form there for many centuries,” explains Fair, who first took a few flower arranging classes 20 years ago but became much more deeply involved when she retired from nursing in 2000. “Our guild is having its 20th biennial Christmas Floral Fantasy show this November,” she adds. “It will be a great opportunity to see the kind of creativity our members are capable of.” The guild’s show runs November 5, noon to 8 pm and November 6, 10 am to 5 pm at Cadboro Bay United Church, 2625 Arbutus Road. For information, call 250-655-1524.

Rach 2

december 6, 8 pm royal theatre Tania Miller, conductor Alain Lefevre, piano

My Funny Christmastime

december 10 & 11, 8 pm december 12, 2 pm royal theatre

Brian Jackson, conductor Mary Lou Fallis, soprano comedienne

Handel’s Messiah

december 17, 8 pm december 19, 2:30 pm uvic centre Tania Miller, conductor Victoria Choral Society and soloists

Christmas with the Canadian Tenors

PHOTO BY TONY LYON

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december 18, 8 pm royal theatre

Giuseppe Pietraroia, conductor Canadian Tenors

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in the world by his British fans, Billy Connolly performs November 23rd at the Royal Theatre.

UNCOMMONLY FUNNY Twice voted the funniest comic in the world by British TV polls, Glasgow-raised Billy Connolly is so relaxed and genial on stage that his raunchy quips, F-bombs, and rudely hilarious anecdotes can seem more like poetry than


profanity. After apprenticing as a boilermaker in the shipyards in the 1960s, Connolly escaped that grind by becoming a folk singer whose comedic persona gradually led him into a career as a stand-up comic (and, later, part-time actor). His first of what have become over 30 albums was released in 1972. Three years later he got his first big wave of fame — make that notoriety — on a prime-time TV show when he unleashed a signature joke about a man who murdered his wife then buried her bottom-up in the backyard — all so he’d have somewhere to park his bike. By the 1980s Connolly had become internationally celebrated for his frequently outrageous and idiosyncratic observations about sex, religion, and all forms of human foolishness. These days, the 67-year-old comic has incorporated a lot of material about aging into his act, so anyone who’s squeamish about colonoscopies has been warned! Performing 8 pm, November 23 at the Royal Theatre. For tickets, call 250-386-6121. A SPANISH TRAGEDY Although Fascist Spain may seem distant in time and place, the Phoenix Theatre’s Warwick Dobson thinks that a play by famed Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca has contemporary resonance. Written in 1934, shortly before Lorca was assassinated by pro-government forces in the Spanish Civil War, Yerma is a tragic portrait of a young, newly married woman who is desperate for motherhood because that is the social norm in her conservative rural village. Yerma, whose name means “barren,” is ultimately driven to commit a shocking crime, and the play simultaneously depicts the plight of this passionate and frustrated woman while exploring themes of jealousy and the oppressive morality of the Catholic Church. “Lorca is a Symbolist and you can’t do this play naturalistically,” explains Dobson, who has been chair of UVic’s Theatre Department for three years. Although the stylized production will have a chorus, it’s not presented as a Greek tragedy. It includes voices from the village community itself and a flamenco guitarist, says Dobson, who sees this personal domestic tragedy as partially representing the harshness of 1930s Spain under General Franco. Running from November 11 to 27 at 8 pm at the Phoenix Theatre. For tickets, call 250-721-8000.

c e l e b r at i n g s m a l l V i Exhibition and Sale December 4th - 20th Preview day December 3th 10:00 am - 5:30 pm Opens December 4th - 10:00 am sharp!

2184 OAK BAY AVENUE, VICTORIA 250-598-2184 www.theavenuegallery.com

NEW SPACE FOR ART Open for less than six months, Madrona Gallery is clearly in the hands of ambitious and talented owners, as evidenced by its two November shows. First up is a retrospective of Cape Dorset Inuit art, both stone carvings and those signature stone-cut prints and lithographs. Timed victoriaboulevard.com 75


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to honour the 50th anniversary of the famed Kinngait Studio at Cape Dorset on Baffin Island, this show features approximately 50 artworks, both historical pieces by the likes of Mayoreak Ashoona and Kenojuak Ashevak as well as modern works by the newest generation of Inuit artists. Cape Dorset has long been the capital of Inuit art, largely due to the success of Kinngait Studio, an artists’ collective. Gallery director Michael Warren, who used longstanding contacts to get access to these rare, valuable pieces, organized this show. The geographical focus then shifts from the Far North to Central Ontario for Algonquin Highlands, featuring 25 paintings by John Lennard, a veteran landscape painter whose luminous oil canvasses acknowledge the


Evening River by landscape painter John Lennard, oil on canvas, 30 in x 40 in, 2010.

Group of Seven legacy while staking their own territory. These are meditations inspired by the rugged Canadian Shield, where Lennard keeps a remote studio in “cottage country.” He has a bold colour palette, great design sense, and a sensitivity to light, all captivating viewers while drawing them into the serene beauty depicted on canvas. “His paintings convey a huge amount of information and feeling,” says Warren. “He captures that perfect moment of being alone in nature.” Cape Dorset Retrospective runs November 6 to 19, with John Lennard following from November 20 to December 4, both at 606 View Street. For gallery hours and information, call 250-380-4660. VB victoriaboulevard.com 77


Uplands MEETS ANTWERP An art-smart owner brings historic Belgian opulence to the Uplands

VAL PATTEE CALLS IT HIS DREAM JOB. Chief of

Intelligence for NATO Europe at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, based in Belgium. This was in the mid-1980s, before the Berlin Wall came down, while the Baader-Meinhof gang was active, when Chernobyl blew; a volatile time near the end of the Cold War.


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Above: The couple’s living room reflects their life of travel, including over two dozen rugs collected from Persia, Turkey, Germany and Belgium. This magnificent hearth is just one of the home’s five fireplaces. Right: A crystal Schonbek chandelier dominates the foyer. It is lowered on an Aladdin Light Lift for cleaning and bulb replacement.

“Every day something would come across my desk and I’d say ‘Oooh, what a story,’ ” says the retired Major-General. Eventually, Val wrote a self-published spy novel informed by his experiences, The Onion Files. While Val was busy with the intelligence biz, his wife Joan was scouring the Belgian countryside, searching for antiques and in particular, crystal chandeliers. “My job,” says Val, “was to paw through the bins in junk shops, looking for the dangles.” He tells this story as we stand in the dining room of their Uplands home, looking at the Val St. Lambert blown crystal chandelier that Joan found in a Brussels antique shop. It is one of several European chandeliers adorning this house that was designed and built to look like the houses Joan admired as they drove through the Belgian countryside all those years ago.

I have come to the house on a lovely day. A fountain is the dominant front-yard feature, while box hedges pull the eye to a massive front door, book-ended by tall casement windows, trimmed in black and set into a stucco exterior the colour of Belgian milk chocolate. The vivid European mood is smudged only by several of Victoria’s suburban deer bouncing up the street. Uplands meets Antwerp. Joan takes me up the wire-brushed ash stairs. Holding onto the artfully unfinished wrought-iron banister, Joan says, “We really never use the second floor but I don’t like the look of bungalows.” A 1950s bungalow was on the quarter-hectare (.61-acre) lot when the Pattees bought it. That was removed to make room for their dream home, which they moved into in November 2009.


Fine Cabinetry, Builts-Ins and Furniture

The lavishness and luxury of this house are evident in every one of its 4,600 square feet. The rooms were designed to house the antiques Joan collected from her years in Europe — pine chests from England, a bed from a Brussels auction house, a French Art Nouveau chair — every piece found in Joan’s European shopping expeditions. “I never pay much attention to provenance,” says Joan. “I just choose for the beauty; the visuals.” The art for art’s sake aesthetic reigns supreme. All objects are valued for their beauty, rather than their historical value or even utility. A large, inlaid brass treaty table, designed in the Chinoiserie style, dominates the front foyer. The owners bought it in Europe and while uncertain of its history, love its visual impact as a black, gold and brass table for the white orchids. Val credits Joan for every detail in their home. “Every bit of crown moulding, every tap, every door knob. She spared no expense when it came to her attention to detail,” says Val.

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The kitchen is Joan’s favourite room. It shows her attention to detail. She handpicked every faucet, tap, knob and appliance.

And so when Joan came to designer Bruce Wilson, it was only to perfect the design she already knew she wanted. “It’s true,” says Wilson. “All I really did was tweak plans and elevations and lay out the kitchen.” The kitchen is Joan’s favourite room. An enormous Welsh sideboard dominates one wall. While the

owners are uncertain of the sideboard’s age, there was no doubt it would take pride of place here. “That wall was built for that piece,” says Joan. But it is also home to a collection of copper plates and Indian Tree china. Two chairs sit in front of one of the house’s five limestone fireplaces with their


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adjustable, programmable gas flames. The kitchen was Joan’s design. “I’m happiest when I am creating,” says Joan. “And house design is really satisfying.” Even though the home is opulent, designer Bruce Wilson says Joan was dollar-conscious throughout the project. “Joan knows what she wants and how to get it,”

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Clockwise from above: The main floor master bedroom opens to a sunny stone patio with a view of the garden. The master bathroom features marble floors and wall tiling. The guest bedroom’s duvet, cushions and drapes are designed by Dominique Primeau, who did all the custom upholstery in the home. The guest bath runs between the secondfloor guest bedroom and Joan’s small art studio, which overlooks the backyard garden.

says Wilson. “She bargained her way throughout the building process and ended up with her great finished product.” The owners delight in telling stories about their eye for a good deal. In 1959, while in France, they came across a glass factory that had been bombed during the war. They bought crystal glasses for one dollar each. Today, a large built-in cabinet in the dining room displays the collection — from liqueur glasses to wine


flutes — some now worth $250 each. In this house, bargain-hunting and opulence have made a happy marriage. There are marble floors and tiling in all four bathrooms, where alabaster sinks and soaker tubs cohabit with glassed-in showers. Heat comes from a Convectair system that the Pattees appreciate for quiet, even, radiant heat. The 2,400-square-foot main floor is open and airy. The master bedroom is on this level, with a shared walk-in closet made with dark alder cabinetry. The

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bedroom, kitchen and living room all have French doors that open to a large outdoor patio with above-head radiant heat. The art throughout the house — copper enamels, watercolours and acrylics — is mostly by Joan, who has a Fine Arts degree from Concordia University. Sharing wall space with her own work is a gift from one of her instructors in Montreal, a print by Arthur Lismer. Twentyfour area rugs — Turkish, Persian, German, Belgian — are scattered throughout the main floor rooms, which are lavishly complemented by throw cushions, upholstery and ceiling-to-floor silk draperies designed by Dominique The kitchen was Primeau. Primeau describes Joan’s taste as timeless and designed by artistic echoes Bruce Wilson’s comments about merely channelling Joan’s owner Joan Pattee. design ideas. “Joan is very knowledgeable,” says Primeau. “I’m happiest when “She knows what she wants and relies on me to help her fulfill I am creating,” she her vision.” The Pattees have renovated says, “and house four houses and built one in their 20 years in Victoria. “You design is really have to have something in retirement,” says Val, who is satisfying.” working on his second spy book. “Our projects have been the houses we’ve done.” Joan says their friends ask them if this is their final house. “Maybe. But as one of our friends says, ‘I wouldn’t count her out!’ ” SUPPLIERS AND TRADES: Designers: Joan and Val Pattee, with Bruce Wilson Design; Contractor/builder/woodwork: Horizon Pacific Contracting Inc.; Electrical: Sheffield Electrical Ltd.; Plumbing: Pete Radtke; Cabinetry: Splinters Millworks Inc.; Counters: Simply Stones Inc., Vancouver; Tiles: Master Tile; Appliances: Midland Appliance, Vancouver; Flooring: The Finishing Store; Window fashions, soft coverings and lighting: Dominique Primeau Décor, North Vancouver; Furnishings: owner; Fireplace surrounds: Dynasty Fireplaces, Richmond; Glass showers: First Response Glass Ltd.; Doors: Slegg Lumber; Stair rail/ironwork: The

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GREATHOMES GREATREALTORS Boulevard Magazine’s Real Estate Advertising Section November/December 2010

PRESENTING THE ROSS ESTATE, an outstanding landmark on Beach Drive. Truly a “best in class” oceanfront property, on 2.9 acres, this 1912 elegant stone manor has been owned for decades by the founders of Butchart Gardens. The grounds are befitting of the founders and the home is an architectural masterpiece! Contact Leslee Farrell, Macdonald Realty Victoria Inc. HEATH MOFFAT PHOTOGRAPHY


WELCOME to Boulevard ’s Great Homes, Great Realtors. This advertising section, showcasing prominent Victoria realtors and a hand-picked selection of currently available property listings, appears in each issue of the magazine. We hope that you will enjoy it!

PHOTO BY ROB D’ESTRUBÉ

LESLEE FARRELL - MACDONALD REALTY VICTORIA INC. I have enjoyed over 30 years in real estate in Victoria, after moving from Vancouver. I am a Simon Fraser University graduate with a degree in education and psychology. This background combined with my love of helping people, has made my career very successful and one that I enjoy as much today as I did on Day one. I believe in giving back to my community and have volunteered for decades in Health and the Arts. My focused expertise is in luxury and waterfront marketing, supported by a top ranking internet site connecting me to local and international clients. My goal is to provide the ultimate real estate service to each and every client. I embrace the importance of communication and support each transaction with full concierge service. lesleefarrell.com

DEEDRIE BALLARD - RE/MAX CAMOSUN

MARGARET LECK - RE/MAX CAMOSUN

During my 17 year career in Real Estate, I have been listing homes in Greater Victoria. Diversification and knowledge combined with personalized service has made me one of Victoria’s Top Realtors. Giving back to my community has been a vital part of my life, having served on many boards over the past 35 years. When you work with Deedrie Ballard; Expect Excellence. deedrieballard.com

A professional career in banking precedes my 27 year career in real estate. Sincerity, passion for life and love of people is apparent in everything I do. I bring a strong work ethic and willingness to spend the extra time and energy to meet my client’s needs. This forms a bond of trust, turning business into life-long friendships. margaretleck.com

LYNNE SAGER - RE/MAX CAMOSUN

SCOTT GARMAN - MACDONALD REALTY VICTORIA INC.

I’ve been selling unique and waterfront homes in Victoria for 25 years and offer knowledge in construction and interior design from my family business. I’ve been a member of the Education Committee for VREB for four years and am presently on the Community Relations Committee. I pride myself on keeping my negotiating skills and personal contacts current. lynnesager.com

My unique breadth of knowledge and experience in real estate, finance and business, backed by my BCom, MBA and CA, ensures attainment of my goal of protecting and contributing to my clients’ wealth. I provide my clients with practical guidance and advice every step of the way ensuring a sound real estate decision is made. The best is the least I can do . . . scottgarman.ca

DALLAS CHAPPLE - RE/MAX CAMOSUN

LISA WILLIAMS - CENTURY 21 QUEENSWOOD REALTY LTD.

Named after my father, bandleader Dal Richards, I have a Mass Communications degree from the Sorbonne in Paris. I’ve been a Victoria realtor for 18 years specializing in Oak Bay and have consistently placed in the top 100 of RE/MAX’s 6,000 agents in Western Canada. My goal is to help clients find their dream home and ensure their decisions are wise, long-term investments. dallaschapple.com

A third generation Victorian, my passions are architecture, design and our fabulous West Coast lifestyle. Working in Victoria since 1990, I specialize in waterfront, unique and luxury properties and have sold many of Victoria’s highest priced homes. My mission is to exceed expectations, rise to every challenge and to always look for innovative ways to connect buyers and sellers! LisaWilliams.ca

PHOTOS BY BULLOCK & KIRSTEIN PHOTOGRAPHY


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If you desire magical lakefront living on Shawnigan Lake, this property will fit the dreams of the most discerning buyer. The tastefully renovated A-frame home is situated on 1.4 acres with 200’ of shoreline & 2 docks; ideal for your ski boats or swimming. A separate garage with guest suite above, adds parking for 3 cars plus 2. Designed to entertain! Offered at $2,450,000. MLS#283174

Situated in one of Victoria’s finest waterfront buildings, the Harbourside, this sophisticated lower penthouse is elegantly appointed & lifestyle ready! Over 1,900 sq.ft. Enjoy 3 separate view decks allowing one to watch the ever changing marine activity in the Harbour, the Cruise ships at night & the western vista to Sooke & the Olympics beyond. Offered at $1,495,000. MLS#283691

Swallows’ Landing is Victoria’s newest waterfront luxury condominium, winning many awards with the finest of construction. We have one penthouse and 3 sub-penthouses available in the west building, ready for the owner who wishes to design their own interiors, prices from $1,725,000 to $3,500,000. Don’t miss this opportunity to personalize your dream home!

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sun drenched, south-facing gardens. 5100 sq.ft., 4 bdrms, 6 baths, one acre, securely fenced. Please contact the listing team of Bill Pettinger and Deedrie Ballard at RE/MAX Camosun for a private showing. $3,200,000

Expect Excellence PHONE

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Samuel Maclure 2-storey Tudor style mansion on 7 acres in the Oldfield Valley 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms Gr and living in 8,909 sq.ft. home.

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Dallas Sells Victoria/Oak Bay

“My goal, as your realtor, is to find your dream home, and ensure the decision you make stands as a wise investment over the long term.”

SOuTh OAk BAy! The Goodacre house is one of the turn-of-the-century beauties in Oak Bay! 6 bedrooms up, 4 bathrooms, spacious living room, family sized dining room, large recreation room. The .33 acre garden is stunning! $1,375,000

OAk BAy BORDER! NEW pRiCE! Spacious condo near Jubilee Hospital! Like a treehouse, this 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom top floor condo with skylights is in a magical setting. Eat-in kitchen, spacious master bedroom & living room with gas fireplace. $379,900

BRENTWOOD OCEAN ViEWS RANChER! Gorgeous ocean views from the living & dining rooms of this beautiful 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom home. Level entry with suite or storage down. Enjoy dinner on the west facing deck overlooking Saanich Inlet. $699,900

FABulOuS OCEAN ViEWS! JAMES BAy! Beautifully renovated 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite, with new tile, bamboo flooring, paint, carpets, counters, lighting, soaker tub, & fixtures in both bathrooms.Roof top deck for barbecuing. $529,900

A hORSE OWNER’S DElighT! Spacious living room with vaulted ceiling, bright kitchen, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths with suite. Newly built deck overlooks the shelters, paddock and riding ring. Fenced yard. $549,900

gEORgiAN STylE ENgliSh MANOR iNSiDE ThE uplANDS gATES! This gorgeous 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home is completely renovated with a beautiful new kitchen, granite counters & marble bathrooms. The sunroom overlooks the stunning .35 ac. private English garden. $1,475,000

ON MCkENziE ClOSE TO uViC! Immaculate 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom corner suite with 2 enclosed balconies overlooking the gardens. Renovated kitchen & new appliances! $239,900

pROVENCE iN OAk BAy! This charming Oak Bay 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom cottage will transport you to France the minute you enter. Beautiful fir floors in the bright living room lead to the dining room with French doors overlooking the garden. Ocean glimpses too! $814,000

ClOSE TO uViC! This spacious garden suite has a 19 ft. living room which leads to the open patio garden. 2 bedrooms and 2 renovated bathrooms, new kitchen counter and tile too! In suite laundry. Close to buses and shopping. $269,900

Dallas Chapple, RE/MAX Camosun • Tel: 250.744.3301 • Toll Free: 1.877.652.4880 • www.dallaschapple.com 4440 Chatterton Way • Oak Bay Office: 2239 Oak Bay Ave • Email: dallas@dallaschapple.com GREATHOMESGREATREALTORS


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LISA WILLIAMS SPECTACULAR 4.8 ACRE GATED ESTATE w/stunning 5-6 bedrm, 7 bth, 6990 sq.ft. 'Whistler' hm — gorgeous S-facing views across Elk Lake to the Olympics, total privacy, 50' lap pool w/hot tub, incredible luxury inside & out and just 17 mins. from downtown Victoria in an upscale enclave of million dollar estates! $2,995,000

UPSCALE WATERFRONT property w/fully renovated 3300 sq.ft. hm, in a private & peaceful setting! Enjoy spectacular views & luxury living w/4-5 bedrms incl. a private 787 sq.ft. master 'retreat'! Sunny, open design, hi-ceilings, HW flrs, PLUS 1 bedrm in-law suite too . . . Make an offer today! $1,885,000

LUXURIOUS 10 MILE POINT 'CAPE COD' EXECUTIVE w/stunning outdoor terraces & pool, sunny S/W exposure, gorgeous Bruce Wilson design w/incredible finishing, 4 bedrms, 4 bths, a fabulous 'nautical' feel, exceptionally private & quiet, & steps from the ocean! $2,595,000

FANTASTIC UPLANDS OPPORTUNITY! Enjoy gorgeous, panoramic views from this super .44 acre property with frontage on Beach Drive! Build your new dream house or renovate the 4 bedrm '57 blt home . . . lots of options! $1,498,000

STUNNING NEW OAK BAY Fantastic family home in quiet Oak Bay location just steps from the ocean & Victoria Golf course w/6100 sq.ft., 5 bedrms, 5 bths & exquisite quality inside & out! Sunny, open design plus gorgeous terrace & outdoor FP! $2,948,000

SPACIOUS GORDON POINT EXECUTIVE HOME w/excellent ocean views & steps to waterfront access! Boasting 5200 sq.ft., 6 bedrms, 7 bths, granite flrs, hi-ceilings, in-floor heating, & super nanny or in-law accom. possible too! $1,498,000

PREMIER 5.17 ACRE QUEENSWOOD property, one of the area's largest holdings! 'Twin Coves' boasts incredible privacy & low bank waterfront access, park-like property, world-class views, 4700 sq.ft. main house & separate guest cottage . . . an amazing opportunity! $6,290,000

NATURE LOVERS WATERFRONT PARADISE of 4.4 acres in peaceful & quiet Sooke location w/lots of options to build or develop & over 1000' of sunny south-facing water frontage! Held by same family for over 35 yrs . . . now here's a chance to build your dream home & get back to nature! $1,395,000

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10439 ALLBAY ROAD Stunning lowbank waterfront beautifully situated on Roberts Bay. Extensively renovated over the last year to exacting standards, this 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom contemporary home of almost 2,200 sq.ft. takes full advantage of the unobstructed views

404 - 820 SHORT STREET Nicest unit in the building, two parking spots! Bright and contemporary 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom top floor south-facing loft. Open floor plan, large windows, electric fireplace, oak hardwood floors and 19’ ceilings! Spacious kitchen with maple cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Large master bedroom in loft with private ensuite and laundry. Close to the new Uptown Shopping Centre! $449,000 MLS 279335

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1044 QUEENS AVENUE A rare find indeed! An affordable, bright, attractively updated, centrally located, three bedroom duplex. Showcasing charming character features, ceramic and warm wood floors, feature gas fireplace, huge flexible master bedroom area, good storage space, and a secluded south facing garden/patio area. Close to downtown, schools, shopping, and entertainment. A perfect townhome/condo alternative with no costly strata fees! Bonus - no adjoining walls between the duplexes for maximum privacy and quietness! $449,000 MLS 279330

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3924 ONYX PLACE An extensively renovated 4-5 bedroom home, with a mortgage helper, on a quiet cul-de-sac close to UVic. Spacious living room opening to a dining room & kitchen. Down you will find a 1-2 bedroom large self-contained suite. Numerous upgrades include: refinished hardwood floors, thermal windows, roof, deck, re-stuccoed, upgraded to 200 Amp, newer appliances, electric furnace, and more! $649,000 MLS 282452

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New York Loft penthouse in Victoria! Professionally redesigned, fully furnished condo with mountain, city and inner harbour views! Main level features an open floor plan with formal dining area, family room w/adjoining designer kitchen, cozy living room w/gas fireplace, master w/ensuite, & spacious deck. Upper level has a 2nd master and separate living room. Wall to wall, floor to ceiling windows and vaulted ceilings. $3,100,000. MLS#280583

High-end Live/Work ground floor space in award-winning Shoal Point. Tremendous exposure, walking distance to cruise ships, Helijet and downtown Victoria. Loads of potential for either 4 private offices or a 3 bed/2 bath home. Features: Gas fireplace, custom built-ins, 2 entrances, designer kitchen, air-conditioned and secured underground parking. Immediate occupancy. $575,000. MLS#284328

Affordable 1 bed + den at Reflections! Amazing kitchen is extremely spacious and boasts granite countertops, double under mount sinks, stainless steel appliances and separate eating area. Electric fireplace, laminate flooring, double shower & raised sink with granite countertop in bathroom. Relax and enjoy barbecues on the deck! Pets okay! Perfect for the first time home buyer! $255,000. MLS#281895

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HOTdesign

BY JENNIFER GRAY PHOTO BY VINCE KLASSEN

the Light Chasers A love of landscape and the play of light inspire Victoria’s glass artists


Apoapsis by Charles Gabriel. The name refers to the point of greatest distance of the elliptical orbit of a celestial body from its centre of attraction.

WHILE CRAFTED GLASS objects have

beguiled us for centuries, it has only been since the 1960s that advances in technology have taken the modern manipulation of glass beyond factories and back into the studios of artists and designers. For glass artists currently working in the Victoria area, creativity comes from wanting to capture different qualities of light as well as to see the local landscape reflected through, and in, their work. For some, salvaging glass to help save our natural environment is also crucial to the art. With these motives in mind, designers and artisans are incorporating glass into everything from dramatic foyer doors and windows to custom light fixtures and restoration projects. victoriaboulevard.com 97


“I remember being seven years old and being mesmerized by how the light played in the cracks of my uncle’s broken windshield,” remembers glass artist Rick Silas. “I just stared at it for hours and I’ve spent my lifetime chasing light.” Even the forest path to Silas’ studio is devoted to the play of light: dotted along it are etchings in panes of glass supported by knee-high tree stumps. As the light changes throughout the day, each sculpture is illuminated in turn, revealing its etching. Silas is considered a pioneer of glass art, having carved out a career over the past 30 years through his creations in a patented technique called Cold Bent Shattered Glass — manipulating glass inside special sealants without using costly heat.

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The complex process has made Silas well-known for his signature image on black granite dining tables. He has also won a by Rose Leonard and number of commercial Alana Brownlee of commissions across the country, Silhouette Glass. as well as local installations for the Photo © Silhouette Glass Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre and Dockside Green. Silas now etches images of BC trees into plates of glass and incorporates the structures into exterior spaces as demand for outdoor glass sculpture increases. He is also exploring the application of shattered glass coatings on metal, ceramic tile, brick, wood, and stone. Most of his customers ask for tables, but his small sculptures are available for as little as $20. His installations can fetch $100,000. To be more environmentally responsible, Silas uses only tempered glass waste. He’ll receive “mistakes” made in glass — one of the casualties of the building industry — and transform them into masterpieces. He calculates that five Backsplash mirrored

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years of errors elicit approximately eight tonnes of glass that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. He even uses chips of broken glass to create small sculptures he calls Nite Ice. Silas also recycles glass from landmark buildings: the pieces surrounding his outdoor studio are courtesy of the Expo 86 Cuban Pavilion. Charles Gabriel at Charles Gabriel Glassworks, meanwhile, specializes in sand-blasting, a technique that involves spraying sand at high velocities over glass, giving it a translucent surface. He explains the process as combining seasoned skill with the mystery of experimentation. He begins by creating the design or artwork and then covers the area that is to remain transparent with a rubber or vinyl glass resist. The depth and degree of the translucency will vary with the force and type of sand used. For smaller detail, he would use less pressure, where a finer sand Gabriel says his grit would elicit a smoother finish. design aesthetic Gabriel says his design aesthetic is inspired by grids of technology contrasted with is inspired by the fluidity of nature. His commissions for residential and grids of technology commercial interiors can incorporate colours or frit contrasted with (crushed glass) and the use of a kiln, which provides a highfired finish. One of his favourite the fluidity of nature. pieces is an installation that he did for a couple in Victoria: “This couple leads a very dynamic lifestyle . . . they’re triathletes and I wanted to create something that moves. The result is a railing that features ever-expanding circles overlapping with other people’s circles. It looks like them and they are thrilled,” he says. Gabriel has also been collaborating with First Nations artists, including Marianne Nicholson and Randi Cook. Rose Leonard and Alana Brownlee of Silhouette Glass also use sand-blasting. “Our work is not considered only art per se; it crosses the boundaries of product and art and so there is a constant demand for our work . . . we follow the construction trade really,” says Brownlee. The self-taught artists met at an art show 14 years ago. Leonard draws and carves out the designs with tiny penknives and Brownlee handles the technical side, carving out images through a stream of sand. After 22 years of study, Brownlee has a first-hand appreciation for the medium’s element of the unknown. “Glass is unforgiving; if you make a mistake, the entire piece is gone. It’s a process where you need perfection.”

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The two work with clients from the initial consultation through to installation. Their designs tend to avoid colour and are inspired by the artists’ love of the local natural environment, with images ranging from birds and kelp to sea creatures and motifs inspired by First Nations culture. Increasingly, the pair is collaborating on 3-D creations. They find this the most challenging process: using a stream of sand, they carve to different depths, one design element at a time. As each depth is exposed, sand erodes the surface to give it just the right finish. Most customers ask for items that provide a degree of privacy and artistic texture. Others want to make a strong impression through incorporating glass art into their entrance ways or alongside door frames. The artists also do commissions for kitchen backsplashes, shower stalls, feature walls and mirrors in bathrooms. Art that captures the spirit of the land is also captured within the mosaic creations of Metchosin-based artist Jennifer Kivari. “We have peacocks on our farm and once

I started to weave this into my stained glass creations, the window shot at dusk mosaics took on a whole new by Rose Leonard and direction,” she says. She also Alana Brownlee of started to weave in found objects Silhouette Glass. and recycling materials when she Photo © Silhouette Glass became disgruntled by the amount of waste she saw around her. For instance, the breasts on her Sassy Mermaid creation, which graces Sooke Harbour House, are made out of two canister lids from Kivari’s kitchen. Kivari will also weave in personal items of importance to her clients. And she has found inspiration as Silas did, when as a child he loved how light played on that wrecked windshield. Kivari loves working with the tempered, broken auto glass: “It’s like fine cracked porcelain that you can see through,” she says. VB Close-up of exterior

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T E C H NO LOG I A

TEXT/PHOTO BY DARRYL GITTINS

Our gadget guy has a field day, finding tech presents for young and old, geeks and regular folks: wait ‘til you hear about label makers!

THERE’S NOTHING I LIKE BETTER than playing with the latest technology. I’ve bought some junk, but I’ve also found some wonderful gizmos. So here’s my seasonal gift guide for some of my favourite tech toys. If you happen to be shopping for a book lover, you’re in luck. The hottest gadget of the year is the e-book reader, or e-reader. A price war is happening over these, and they’re flying off the shelves faster than the manufacturers can supply them. They can store hundreds of books and many titles, particularly the classics, which are in the public domain and so free on the Internet. The “Ink” technology is fabulous. It doesn’t use a backlight (like a laptop), which means you need a light to read by, but also, you can read the screen in the brightest sunlight, just like a real book. So take it to the beach. (Just don’t get it wet.) victoriaboulevard.com 105


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There are many brands of e-readers to choose from. Check out the e-book article on Wikipedia for the compendium of features. The big ones are the Amazon Kindle, the Sony Reader, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook. To manage an e-book library, get the free Calibre software from calibre-ebook.com. It supports practically any device and book format, and will even convert the e-book to the right format for your e-reader. You can load just about anything from your computer, including Word or PDF documents, or offline Web pages. Some e-reader models don’t need a computer, as they connect to the Internet The Optex 200x to download books, or even newspapers and periodicals. Digital Magnifier is Think of the trees they save (at $150 -$500). How about a digital a cross between a camera? I’m amazed at how cheap and good they are webcam and a now. For a couple of hundred dollars, you can get microscope that lets a model that supports face recognition (it automatically finds and focuses on faces), you zoom in on all high definition (HD) video, image stabilization, and more sorts of cool things. megapixels than I have toes. I took my waterproof Fuji XD to Maui recently and was thrilled at the shots I took while snorkeling. The technology is so good, and the competition is fierce, so it’s hard to find a camera that doesn’t take great pictures. Once you have the camera, you can take as many pictures as you want for free. You only pay for the prints you like, and with digital, it’s easy to share your best shots. Here’s a gift idea for the kids big and small: an Optex 200x Digital Magnifier ($119.98 at London Drugs). It’s a cross between a webcam and a microscope. It easily connects to your computer’s USB port, (Mac or PC), and then the picture appears on the computer screen. You can zoom in on all sorts of cool things that don’t fit under a microscope, such as rocks, coins, flowers and so on, as there is no need for slides. You can even (gently) put a live bug under it, and then zoom in on legs, eyes and wings. You can capture photos of the subject with a click of a button. You’ll be amazed at what your eyes are missing. (My boy says the bugs look like giant robots under it.) Do you know someone who doesn’t have an MP3 player? They make great gifts, and range from $20 to several hundred dollars, depending on the storage ability.

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The iPod is the granddaddy of players, but personally, I prefer to use a unit that does not require proprietary software. You can use the fantastic MediaMonkey music manager (MediaMonkey. com) instead of iTunes to load music to the iPod; however, you still have to actually install iTunes to get the driver. Some MP3 players appear as a removable drive on your computer. You can therefore drag and drop music files onto the drive, and then the MP3 player can play those files. SanDisk and Creative MP3 players typically work this way, though of course you can use a music manager like MediaMonkey to load music to them. I have two suggestions for the commuter. How would you like to have your entire music collection available to play in your car? Modern car stereos typically support MP3. You can either copy MP3 music files to a CD (they hold about 10 albums), or with some models, you can copy the MP3s to a USB thumb drive (AKA memory stick) that potentially could store many hundreds of albums. No more flipping through stacks of scratched up CDs, or fast-forwarding through cassettes. If you haven’t discovered the world of MP3 yet, don’t let that stop you. Search Google for “how to rip a CD” to find some great tutorials. Once you’ve done one, it’s easy to do dozens more. Another wonder of modern automotive technology is the GPS. Even if you only drive around town, these gizmos

($150-$200) can save you time, gas and frustration. They remove the guesswork and let you relax and enjoy the ride while they provide the turn-by-turn directions. They let you store favorite locations, so you easily find that magical, out-of-the-way beach again next summer. Get one with a good-sized screen, and text-to-speech capabilities, and a security password option (in case it’s stolen). Additional features that let you view pictures or play music are probably unnecessary. Something for the organizer? How about a label maker? There are handheld units ($30) that create 9- or 12-mm plastic tape labels, and advanced label printers that connect to your computer and print full-sized (30 mm) paper labels. They are great for labeling storage jars, identifying portable electronics, addressing letters, or printing instructions onto remote controls. A last crazy suggestion for the Dad who played drums in high school: electronic drum sets have plummeted in price ($700-$1,200). For less money than a basic acoustic set you can get a Yamaha DTXPL that lets you switch among dozens of drum kit styles. It has a line input so you can play along to an external music player, and best of all, a head phone jack so you can bash away without driving the neighbours buggy. VB

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BOULEVARDBOOKCLUB

BY ADRIENNE DYER PHOTO BY GARY MCKINSTRY

The Double has stylistic challenges, but its themes are deemed worth the trouble The Book: The Double, Fiction Author: José Saramago Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, First Edition, c2004 Length: 336 pages This Issue’s Book Club: The Eclectics (also jokingly known as The Regina Monologues)

THE CLUB: I was five minutes late arriving at Vera Costain’s lovely Maplewood home. The Eclectics had a chair and a glass of wine waiting for me on the patio in the backyard, where they’d gathered ‘round an umbrella table perfectly suited to nine or so guests. As soon as we dispensed with the introductions, they launched into the book discussion, which went on for about an hour until the mosquitoes became a nuisance and drove us indoors.

The Eclectics discuss the work of the Nobel prizewinning novelist, the late José Saramago.

It was just as well, for Costain had a delicious appetizer buffet waiting for us. After a quick chair shuffle around the dining table, we filled our plates and finished the discussion just in time for tea and perhaps the best poppy-seed cake I have ever tasted. Alas, good manners prevented me from taking a second helping. I still regret it.


The Eclectics jokingly call themselves the Regina Monologues because, by coincidence, more than half the members once lived in or have some connection to that prairie city. The name is also a clever reference to the play The Vagina Monologues, which they went to see together some time ago, with the idea of doing something a little different for their meeting. (They did not care for the show.) Started by a handful of social workers, the club comprises members ranging in age from their late 50s to middle 70s who have been together as a club and supportive group of friends for 12 years. THE AUTHOR: José Saramago’s late-blooming literary career was both brilliant and controversial, reaping for him, among other accolades, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. He was also a Communist, atheist and an exile from his Portugal homeland. After the Portuguese government removed his novel The Gospel According to Jesus Christ as a short-listed entry for the European Literary Prize in 1992, Saramago cried censorship and moved to the Canary Islands, where he remained until his death in June of this year. He was 87. Despite Saramago’s troubled relationship with his own country, Portugal observed two days of mourning in honour of his achievements. THE PLOT: High-school history teacher Tertuliano Máximo Afonso watches a movie starring an actor who looks exactly like him and becomes obsessed with tracking down the man. When they finally agree to meet, Afonso and his double, António Claro, discover they are physically identical right down to every mole and scar. They even share the same birthday. Claro is so upset by Afonso’s existence that his own life falls apart and he develops an obsessive desire to exact revenge. What follows is a bizarre game of charades, whereby Claro forces Afonso to trade lives (and spouses) with disastrous consequences. DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS: “You won’t believe this, but I saw your twin the other day! No kidding, she looks exactly like you.” Has anyone ever said this to you? And did your spine prickle with the unpleasant realization that you might not be quite as unique as you believed? “Ironically, this just happened to me the other day,” said one member as we discussed the hostility the depressed Afonso and egotistical Claro exhibit toward one another throughout the book and the obsessive way they go about destroying one another’s lives. “I met a woman who insisted she knew me, yet I’d never met her in my life. They say we victoriaboulevard.com 111


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all have a double, but there’s such disquiet about the idea.” “Doubles are used throughout literature to examine the sense of self,” said another, who originally read this book four years ago and enjoyed it just as much then as now. “We all have a certain identity that we think is firmly set. Yet really, our identities can change in an instant. It’s very unnerving to realize this.” “I never expected the book to turn out quite as it did,” said one member, citing the book’s surrealistic ending and trying to decide what to make of the fact that Afonso and Claro were, apart from their personalities, pretty much carbon copies of each other. Were they clones? Or merely symbolic representations of the different sides of a single man’s personality? A look at how one man might have turned out had his life followed this path or that? There was also some talk about how the book illustrates the human tendency toward self-loathing. “We are always our own worst critics, and in a way, our own worst enemies,” said one member. Perhaps the hostility between Afonso and Claro illustrates human self-destructive tendencies and the unforgiving way we treat ourselves. Members pointed out the irony of Claro being an actor. “He can play all sorts of roles — assume any number of identities, but can’t handle a confrontation with his own self.” Also intriguing is Saramago’s famously peculiar use of language. Paragraphs extend for a page or longer, dialogue ignores conventional punctuation and the author often switches from first to third person and back again, leaving the reader confused as to who exactly the narrator is. “I loved the language. The author’s choice of words was often unusual and beautiful,” said one member, who thoroughly enjoyed the book. Another member found the characters and their actions frustrating, unbelievable and ridiculous and thought such lofty language made the author sound “full of himself.”

Questions or comments? Want your book club featured in the magazine? Please email Adrienne Dyer at adyer@telus.net for more information. VB

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CLUB VERDICT: Apparently it’s my fault many of the members read The Double. The first 100 pages or so were so slow going that several members were loath to finish the book. Still, they wanted to treat me to a great discussion, so they persisted. They were glad they did (and so was I). Though The Double is by no means an easy or necessarily pleasurable read, the Eclectics found it intellectually stimulating and thus, recommend it. Even if it puts you to sleep each night, you’ll be glad you got to the last page.

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TRAVELNEAR

   BY JENNIFER GRAY

Photos courtesy of Tourism BC

Find your winter sport sweet spot, from up-Island to across the province BRITISH COLUMBIA IS KNOWN internationally for some of the best winter sports destinations in the world. So for those of us lucky enough to live here, options abound for great places to play in the snow. Here are some of Boulevard’s suggestions for skiing, snowboarding and general winter fun. It’s not a definitive list — after all, BC has more than 70 resorts for downhill skiing alone, not to mention all the heli-skiing, cat- skiing and cross-country skiing choices. We’ve highlighted a few for their unique charms and provided basic information. Just Google the ones that interest you for more information on accommodations, package deals and reservations, and then grab your tuque and go! Lift ticket prices do not include the HST. Some programs offered are eligible for the children’s fitness tax credit, so ask. BEST UNKNOWN SPOT ON THE ISLAND That would be Mount Cain, BC’s only community-owned and operated ski hill, located north of Campbell River, in Schoen Lake Regional Park, about five hours from Victoria. Open just on weekends and Mondays, it has 18 runs, with two T-bars and grooming only on the bottom for the novice skiing set. You can ski powder all weekend; what falls during the

week is still untouched on Saturday morning. Not as crowded as other resorts, its vibe is low-key and authentic. Great powder, fantastic back-country skiing. One-day adult lift ticket is just $42. VICTORIA’S “GO-TO” PLAYGROUND Mount Washington, of course, the resort that just keeps growing. Now with 60 alpine runs and a top elevation of 1,500 metres, it also has a snowboard terrain park, a tubing park and 55 kilometres of Nordic trails. A one-day lift ticket is $64. While the three-hour plus drive to Strathcona Park, south of Courtenay, can be tiring for a day trip, you can always ride one of the three daily direct buses from Victoria (Smith Transportation, Wilson’s Transportation and Greyhound.) Reason to go: it has breathtaking mountain and ocean views, deep snowpack and something-for-everyone packages, including a new ladies’ week in February. And no ferry line-ups. BEST SPOT FOR AFTER-WORK SCHUSSING Vancouver’s three North Shore Mountain resorts — Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain, and Mount Seymour — are all less than 20 minutes from the city’s downtown core. You can meet with Vancouver clients all day and still get in a good five hours


From left: Downhill skiing on Blackcomb Mountain at Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort. Downhill skier in fresh

TONY RADOMI PHOTO

powder at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.

of night skiing (or snowshoeing, tubing, or cross-country) all while watching the twinkling lights of the metropolis below. Even if you haven’t brought your gear, all three mountains’ rental shops can equip you with everything you need down to coats, pants, gloves, and goggles. Choose Cypress for the most run selection, Grouse for the better food and amenities, and Seymour for the homey rustic feel. Seymour’s night rate is $33.50; Grouse and Cypress (last year) $45. THE BEAUTIFUL BEHEMOTH Sure, Whistler-Blackcomb gets enough ink that we don’t need to tell you about it, but it is still one of the best alpine resorts in the world. Locals stayed away during the Olympic year, but now is the time to go back and revel in its more than 200 trails, three glaciers, 38 lifts and 12 alpine bowls. And thanks to the Games, the Sea-to-Sky Highway is now a relative breeze. (Remember the road in the early 1980s ?) Plus, the resort has launched a run-ofriver project that it says produces enough energy to match its total annual energy consumption. One-day adult lift ticket is $93.

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THE PLACE FOR SUN That would be Sun Peaks Resort, with over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year. Just over a four-hour drive from Vancouver, near Kamloops, it’s the second-largest ski area in BC with 1,488 hectares of terrain and 122 trails. Plus it regularly wins kudos for the best grooming around. A one-day pass is $73. In January, the resort will offer a Winter Festival of Wine package. Ski first, drink after. CHAMPAGNE POWDER At Big White Ski Resort, the white stuff comes light and fluffy. About 50 kilometres southeast of Kelowna, about a five-hour drive from Vancouver, it has 118 runs on 16 lifts within the 3,000-hectare resort area. Besides the runs, alpine bowls and a tubing park, there’s the après ski: Beyond Wrapture Day Spa offers healing, grape-based therapies. (Isn’t that effect usually found in a bottle of wine?) This year, climb a new ice tower built with four telephone poles cross-braced together. Also new: Slower (including senior) skiers and snowboarders can enjoy rotating runs designated daily for reduced-speed skiing and riding. One-day lift ticket is $71. FAMILY-FRIENDLY FUN Silver Star Mountain Resort, just outside Vernon, competes with Big White for the destination ski crowd, but for families with young children, Silver Star is the more popular place to go. (Kids new to skiing can’t get enough of the “Peanut Trail.”) It’s got a quaint, storybook village inspired by a 19th-century BC mining town with Victorian architecture as well as 1,240 skiable hectares and 115 marked trails. New this year: Nordic tickets are also available to Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre, offering over 100 km of trails. Festive events during the Twelve Days of Christmas at Snowbird Lodge start December 14 and run to Christmas Day. Adult day pass is $71.

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THE PLACE FOR SOLITUDE AND STILLNESS Mount Baldy is located on the mountaintops of the Okanagan-Similkameen and Boundary-Kootenay regions, near Oliver, Osoyoos and Penticton. It’s about a five-and-a-half hour drive from Vancouver. With one of the highest base elevations in BC at 1,727 metres, the mountain promises consistent skiing conditions and an annual snowfall of over six metres. The ski area includes a new quad chair that rises 226 vertical metres, opening up additional beginner and intermediate ski trails. Mount Baldy is a virtually undiscovered mountain retreat. To locals it is known for untracked powder, and superb tree skiing and boarding. A one-day adult pass is $44-$48, depending on the day. VB victoriaboulevard.com 117


TRAVELFAR

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY JODY PATERSON

EXPERIENCING VIETNAM BY BUS AND TRAIN: a cheap and friendly feast for the senses THE TELEPHONE WIRES were the first sign that I was a long way from home. We’d barely begun the taxi ride from the airport into Ho Chi Minh City when I glimpsed a crazy, knotted snarl of wires dangling barely above street level. I cursed myself for not being fast enough to snap a photo from the taxi window. No worries, as it turned out. The massive wire tangles were everywhere. That’s just what telecommunications look like in Vietnam. We travelled down the coast from Hanoi to the Mekong Delta this spring and I would go back in a flash and happily stay much, much longer. I like my travel with just a little bit of an edge — exciting but not dangerous, challenging but not overwhelming. I like big cities, different cultures, quiet beaches and scenic vistas. Vietnam was a perfect fit on all fronts. It was the first trip to Asia for my partner and me, six weeks travelling in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. The longest leg was in Vietnam and certainly that’s the country that has stayed with me upon my return to the land of tidy telephone wires. From Ho Chi Minh City, we went north to Hanoi. For the next three and a half weeks, we worked our way down the coast by train and bus. We’re Lonely Planet travellers with an appreciation for TripAdvisor’s online travellers’ forums and we’d used both to map a plan that would take us through six regions. As with any

country, the feel of the place changes from region to region. I was glad for the time to sample so much. Having endured the ravages of Western military might and civil war in the 1960s and 70s, Vietnam then went straight into a war with Cambodia’s now-vanquished Pol Pot regime. The country has only been at peace since 1989. But human beings carry on and these days, the West comes to Vietnam to get clothes and electronics made and the streets bustle. It’s still a poor country, but all those scooters have to mean there’s at least enough prosperity to put a $2,000 scooter within reach of the average family. The scooters — oh, you won’t soon forget them. Crossing the street in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City was like looking death straight in the eye until I got the hang of things. Give up any dreams of a safer crossing just down the road, because there isn’t one. You’ll quickly learn to flow like water when crossing a Vietnamese street: slow and steady, no stopping, no eye contact with the scooters and cars brushing past you. (Embedding yourself in big bunches of other nervous pedestrians also helps.) A scooter is a delivery truck, taxi, family van and freight-carrier all in one. Hanoi has six million people and four million scooters. We gaped at the most extraordinary loads. A hundred bags of floating goldfish en route to a pet store.


Left to right: A boy sells fresh fruit at the Mekong Delta’s floating markets. Tangles of telephone wires, like these in Ho Chi Minh City, are common. Buddhist pilgrims to Hanoi’s Perfume Pagoda overload a water taxi.

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Two queen-size mattresses with box springs. Mom, dad, grandma and two little babies darting in and out of rushhour traffic on a tippy-looking scooter, stylish helmets hanging from the handlebars. The food was terrific. It always unsettles me when poor countries have fresher, tastier food than we do in the West, but that’s certainly the case in Vietnam. A thriving network of one-person distribution companies moves that morning’s crusty breads (a nice legacy from the French period), shrimp, squid, cilantro, and mangos from field to sidewalk market to plate. We ate well, spent very little money doing it and slimmed down to boot. We’re not usually big on organized tours, priding ourselves on finding our own way for less. But we took my well-travelled cousin’s advice and booked tours more often in Vietnam, for side trips to Halong Bay, the Mekong Delta and the Cham ruins outside of Hoi An. There was a helpful clerk in every hotel we passed through and a vast selection of cheap tours readily available. Credit cards are by and large useless here, at least at the two-star level where my partner and I travel. Ironically, the U.S. dollar is the currency of choice at many businesses: next time I’d definitely travel with more of those to pay for

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hotel bills and tours. You’ll find lots of ATMs, but any big purchases will have you running from machine to machine to try to collect enough cash. Most ATMs allow no more than a two- or three-million-dong withdrawal per day — about $160 CDN. Must-sees: Halong Bay. (Trust me, book two nights on the junk boat, not one. You’ll thank me.) Hoi An, for its heritage old town, fabulous silk tailor shops and 15-cent beer. The evening kite-flying at Whenever I need a Nha Trang. Snorkelling off Mun Island. The war remnants reminder that the museum at Ho Chi Minh City, a heartbreaking reminder of all world is a beautiful that was lost in the Vietnam War. place, I picture the The photogenic floating markets little boy and my and community life of the Mekong Delta. partner singing And the Vietnamese people. The Hokey Pokey Tourists still aren’t that common, as we rock through so there’s no keeping a low profile in a country where you’re the Vietnamese considerably taller, paler and less Asian than everyone else. But we countryside. found that people were welcoming and curious for the most part. We loved that the many groups of school children on outings always bellowed out an enthusiastic “Hello!” to us as they passed. (“Sin jow!” we would call back.) One little boy got even bolder on our train ride into Ho Chi Minh City, approaching us with questions in halting English about where we were from, what we did for work, what our names were. Whenever I need a reminder that the world is a beautiful place, I close my eyes and picture that boy and my 58-year-old partner singing The Hokey Pokey as we rocked through the Vietnamese countryside. GETTING THERE We looked online for flight bargains but found the best deal through Air Canada at $1,500 per person round trip, taxes included. We wanted to spend time in Thailand first, so we flew from Victoria to Bangkok and then home from Ho Chi Minh City. Shop online for travel inside Asia at Vietnam Air, Asia Air and Malaysia Air Web sites, which all offer inexpensive fares to Asian destinations in the range of $30 to $60. Two people sharing a hotel room can travel comfortably on $35 a day in Vietnam, spending $20 or so a night on two-star accommodation, which usually includes breakfast, and another $15 for lunch and dinner. Some helpful sites: tripadvisor.com (register and then search the forums for tips from other travellers); vietnamonline.com; and the government’s own site, vietnamtourism.com. VB

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LIBATIONS The

BY SHARON MCLEAN PHOTO BY DARRYL GITTINS Fortified wines courtesy of Fort Street Liquor Store

long evenings draw nigh: fortify yourself with a port, sherry or Madeira

THE PROMISE OF CHRISTMAS helps to see me though the dreary month of November. While we wait, there’s nothing like a glass of fortified wine — especially, port, sherry or Madeira — to warm the soul on those drizzly nights. Fortified wines are often tucked away with the spirits and liqueurs, and poor old Madeira and Marsala relegated to the pantry as cooking ingredients. But these noble wines are capable of huge complexity. “Fortification” refers to the strengthening of the wine by the addition of a spirit, usually brandy. Fortification dates back to when the Moors brought distillation methods to Spain in the 8th century, but the practice took off in the 16th and 17th centuries, when European wines were routinely shipped. The addition of brandy helped to stabilize wine for the rigours of long sea journeys. When you add a spirit to a wine, you increase the alcohol level (usually to 15 to 21 per cent) and stop fermentation. Adding it during fermentation, as is done with ports, means that sugars have not yet been converted to alcohol and the wine is sweet. If you add the spirit at the end of fermentation, as is done with sherries, there is no residual sugar and the wines start life dry. Any sweetness has to be added later. Fortified wines come from a rich, colourful family. There is Madeira, Australian Muscat and Hungarian Tokay, vin doux naturel, Marsala, and other examples from all over the world. We’re going to focus on sherries and ports, with a quick note on Madeiras. These offer a huge style range and set the global standard for fortified wines. Under the hot sun of southern Spain, the Jerez region produces sherry, one of the oldest wines in the world and probably one of the most underrated. It was not always so. The English had a long love affair with sherry, with the likes of Pepys and Shakespeare being noted adherents. Things went awry at the end of the 19th century, when Victorians eschewed sherry

because of reports (spurious) that it was bad for their health. Things improved and there was a new peak in the late 1970s, but the 1980s saw the market flooded with cheap sherry and a vicious pricecutting cycle began. The result is a deep-rooted image of sherry as a sweet, relatively simple drink, typically enjoyed by old ladies before supper. Yet sherry is the product of a complex process and hugely diverse: it ranges from the super-dry, almost salty Fino to the rich, unctuous Pedro Ximenez (PX). There are two main styles of sherries: Finos and Olorosos. Both are made from the Palomino grape and start life as dry wines. The difference lies in how they are aged. The Fino family (Finos, Manzanillas and Amontillados) are aged under a thick film called flor. This protects the wine from oxygen and produces the lightest and driest of the sherries with a pungent, salty, almost briny tang. Finos are usually around 15 per cent alcohol, which is comparable with, if not lower than, many red wines. Don’t shortchange yourself — use full-sized wine glasses. Flor doesn’t form in Olorosos and the wines are aged in the presence of oxygen. Usually we try to protect our wines from oxygen, but here the prolonged contact creates magic. The best Olorosos are aged for many decades and are full-bodied, dry, dark and nutty. The sweet smell is followed by a dry taste. It can be quite a surprise.  Palo Cortado is a hybrid. It starts life as a Fino, but then the flor dies off and it becomes more like an Oloroso. It is generally dry, nutty and fabulously complex — one of my favourites. Sweetness can be added to any of these sherries and that’s when we see pale cream, medium and cream sherries. One other sweet sherry, Pedro Ximenez (PX), is made with the PX grape and is incredibly sweet, raisin-y and unctuous. Traditionally, it was used to sweeten the other sherries, but


now some very old (over 100 years), decidedly decadent versions are on the market. Port arrived much later. It was “discovered” in 1678 by two Englishmen who were searching Portugal for wines to import. They found powerful, full-bodied wines in the Upper Douro and the English love affair with “blackstrap” (because of its concentration) started. Port will always be sweet, and, like sherry, there are two families: those that have been aged in huge casks (called pipes) and those aged in casks followed by a period in bottles. Those aged in casks have significantly more contact with oxygen, and mature quicker and develop nutty characteristics. These include ruby, reserve ruby, and tawny ports. Ruby ports are the simplest. Reserve rubies are a step up and show nice concentration of ripe black fruit. Tawny ports are aged for at least seven years and often much longer. This causes them to lose their ruby colour and take on their typical tawny mantles. Look for wine aged 10, 20, or 30 years, as all have a wonderful nuttiness. A final note on the magic of Madeiras. Two things that we avoid with table wines are oxygen contact and extreme heat. Madeiras are subjected to both — the “cooking” replicates what used to happen when the wines sailed back and forth over the equator. The wines are amazing and indestructible. You will find dry, medium and sweet versions. Look for the distinct burnt toffee, caramel, roasted nut flavours. And here’s hoping for a long, dark, drizzly November!

At home with a Jotul Connoisseur

RECOMMENDATIONS: SHERRY: Lustau, Oloroso Dry, Don Nuno Solera Reserve. Try with game dishes or very mature cheeses ($19.96) Lustau, Palo Cortado Peninsula. Try with Spanish Jamon Iberico or roasted nuts. ($36.94) William & Humbert, 20 years Don Guido Pedro Ximenez. Pour over vanilla ice cream! ($25.95) PORT: Smith Woodhouse, Late Bottled Vintage. Try with dark chocolate or, of course, Stilton. ($37.99) Warre, Otima, 10 Year Old Tawny. Pair with nutty desserts, or desserts with caramel and toffee. ($29.99) MADEIRA: Blandy’s, Duke of Clarence. Perfect on its own by the fire, or with mince pies. ($27.49) VB

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EATINGIN

TEXT AND PHOTO BY MARYANNE CARMACK

PANDER to the Gander If your goose is cooked this Christmas, that’s a good thing


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North Americans tend to complain that goose meat is greasy and doesn’t bear as much meat as turkey. While it is true that the meat-to-carcass ratio on a goose is lower than it is on a turkey, goose meat is darker (including the breast) and richer, and it is higher in protein. Although it has a higher fat content, most of it melts away during cooking. The extra fat collected makes wonderful roast potatoes. Unlike turkey, roast goose can be served without a sauce, as the meat is so moist. Once you have tasted a well-roasted goose, the contrast between its intense flavour and the blandness of turkey may make a convert of you for many Christmas dinners to come. Geese are available throughout the Victoria area. Slater’s First Class Meats stocks both fresh and frozen geese during the holiday season, but you have to special order them. Thrifty Foods will order in a frozen goose for you if you call a few weeks ahead of time. Red Barn Country Market, too, will special order frozen birds if you call a few days in advance. Brothers Fraser and Stewart of Ronald Orr & Sons Family Butcher in Brentwood Bay bring in fresh geese during the holidays from the Fraser Valley. You have to special order them. All their geese are non-medicated and grain fed and they range from 4.5 to 5.5 kilograms (10 to 12 pounds). For tips on how to cook a goose, we consulted chef Dan Hayes, owner and operator of The London Chef, who brought his culinary talents to Victoria from the United Kingdom two years ago. Hayes has more than 12 years of experience cooking all over the world and has always been fascinated by the interplay of nature, animals, and the food on our plates. This interest heavily influences his culinary ethos; a marriage between modern creative and rustic Mediterranean fare, coupled, of course, with a love of traditional British food. His favorite goose plate is below. Visit thelondonchef.com for more information. ROAST CHRISTMAS GOOSE 4- to 5-kg. domestic goose or two wild geese (for two geese, divide remaining ingredients and repeat all steps or both birds) 4 lemons 3 tbsp soft butter 2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder small handful each of parsley sprigs, thyme, sage, and rosemary 2 tsp each fine sea salt and ground black pepper 3 tbsp pure maple syrup

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the gravy. Or, if the goose is ready-trussed, then loosen the string and pull out the legs and wings a little to help the bird cook better. Using the tip of a sharp knife, lightly score the breast and leg skin with Xs in order to help the fat render down more quickly during roasting. Grate the lemon zest, being careful not to include the bitter white pith. Add the zest to the fine sea salt, five-spice powder and ground black pepper. Rub the zest mix If you cut into your well into the skin and goose, turkey, chicken sprinkle some inside the cavity. Stuff the herb sprigs or any roasted meat inside the bird and set aside for at least one hour. This can and lots of steam be done up to a day ahead comes out, it is a sure and kept refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator one hour sign the bird is not before cooking to allow the properly rested and bird to come to room temperature. you will end up having Heat oven to 240° C or 460° F. Brush the bird very to eat dry meat. lightly with the butter and maple syrup and cook for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 190° C or 375° F for 25 minutes per kg for the bird to be medium-done — this is the ideal way to serve it. Baste the bird about every 30 minutes with the juices from the pan, and when it is done, pour off the fat through a sieve into a large, heatproof bowl. Do not discard this wonderful fat: it should be used for cooking potatoes and vegetables. Leave the bird to rest for at least 30 minutes, covered loosely with foil. This helps retain moisture, making the goose much more flavorful and easier to carve.

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Learn to prepare delicious holiday treats and feasts plus, how to craft your own gifts and decorations. Attend a class yourself or purchase a gift certificate as the perfect gift for someone on your list.

Note: If you cut into your goose, turkey, chicken or any roasted meat and lots of steam comes out, the meat is not properly rested and will be dry. How to carve: Goose breasts are not very deep and require delicate carving. Take a sharp, long, thin-bladed knife at about 90 degrees to the breastbone, carving from the neck end. Then detach the legs and slice off the thigh meat. Leftovers: Goose meat leftovers are very good. The carcass, including the herbs from inside and any additional bone, meat and gravy scraps, can be boiled into a beautiful broth. Leftover pieces of fat and skin are delicious if fried until crispy with sea salt as a snack, and, as mentioned, leftover liquid fat can be used when cooking potatoes and vegetables. VB

Visit thriftyfoods.com/lifestyle for a list of upcoming classes and on-line registration or call 250 483 1222 Spaces limited, reserve your seat today

victoriaboulevard.com 129


owner,

Wade Larsen  ckd, would like

FOODIEgifts TEXT AND PHOTOS BY MARYANNE CARMACK

to announce that after 26 years of successfully serving the Victoria market, Lazlo Rossini has closed effective Aug.16. Wade is excited to move forward and join the design team at

Urbana (urbanakitchens.ca) and would like to invite

all of his clients; past, present & future, to come visit him at

The Urbana Showroom located at 1745 Blanshard St. (near the Save-On Memorial Arena).

Wade will still be offering the same outstanding design style and service with the added attraction of having a skilled team of professionals behind him and a gorgeous 3500 sq.ft. showroom to call “home”.

Feel free to contact Wade at

Urbana 250-383-2635

or email: wlarsen@urbanakitchens.ca.

Straight from the pros, gift ideas to thrill the “foodies” on your Christmas list It can be daunting to come up with a great gift for the food fanatic on your Christmas list. So Boulevard decided to speak to local food professionals — a sommelier, butcher, bartender, and chefs — to find out what they are hoping for under their own trees. What would delight these experts is sure to thrill any food enthusiast on your list. Here is who they are, what they like, what it costs, and where to buy it. Josh Clark, certified sommelier, writes a wine blog called Modern Palate Wine Advice and conducts monthly wine tastings. Clark can also be found moonlighting as a senior server/sommelier at Il Terrazzo restaurant. Item: Ravi, an instant wine chiller, for $50. Ravi is based on the concept of cooling wine at the moment it is served. The wine is cooled rather than the bottle. With an internal tube made from the same stainless steel used for fermentation tanks, Ravi maintains the wine’s characteristics and doesn’t alter the taste. Available at: Haute Cuisine Cookware and other specialty wine stores. Geoff Martin is part owner and manager of Slater’s First Class Meats. Item: Maverick ET-72 Redi-Chek Remote Cooking Thermometer for $50. This is a programmable radio frequency food thermometer and timer that is perfect for cooking meat in the oven or on the grill. With the temperature needle in the meat you can simply sit back and wait for your portable receiver to tell you when the meat has reached the internal temperature you want. Available at: Home Outfitters.

130 victoriaboulevard.com


Christabel Padmore and Patrick Simpson are chefs/ owners of “The Little Piggy . . .…went to Fernwood,” a licensed café in Fernwood Square, Little Piggy Catering and the exclusive caterer to The English Inn in Esquimalt. Item: Crab trap for $40 to $100. You can drop a crab trap off the side of a boat or dock and within a few hours you will have a delicious dinner. You can use fish heads or bones for bait — ask your local fishmongers or grocery store for scraps. Don’t forget a fishing license, which is available at your local hardware store. Available at: Trotac Marine Ltd. Brad Williams has been a pastry chef for six years and is the owner of B-Red Bakery, specializing in European breads and pastries. You can find him at Bastion Square Market and Moss Street Market. Item: Cast iron pan for $25 to $52. Cast iron cookware has been used for hundreds of years. Its ability to withstand and maintain very high cooking temperatures makes it a common choice for searing or frying. Available at: Capital Iron and other department or kitchen stores.

VIE

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Shawn Soole is “executive bar keep” at Clive’s Classic Lounge and a freelance writer who writes about the bartending business. Item: A bottle of Okanagan Taboo Absinthe for $55 and spoon set (used to add sugar) for $39. Absinthe is a seriously misunderstood spirit, says Soole. It is a perfect apéritif or digestif. Available at: Fort St. BC Liquor Store (absinthe), Bernstein & Gold (spoons). VB

victoriaboulevard.com 131


DININGOUT

BY STEPHANIE HOLMES PHOTO BY GARY MCKINSTRY


A CHRISTMAS TRADITION SINCE 1894

Special blend Christmas tea &coffee

1110 GOVERNMENT STREET 250.383.3112 WWW.MURCHIES.COM

TEA TRAVEL MUGS •

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cheer the spirit

E

very year I look for a festive place to enjoy Christmas dinner with my young son. As a single mother with a far-flung family whose schedules make it impossible for us to have Christmas together, I am grateful for places that offer a friendly or family-like atmosphere. High on my list is ambiance — it’s got to be cheerful, charming and busy. A close second is the food ­— homey is great, elegant is a bonus, meagre is a serious no-no. The Fairmont Empress’ three restaurants (the Crystal Ballroom, the Empress Room and the Bengal Lounge) are open Christmas Day. The Crystal Ballroom offers a buffet and festive seating, meaning if you reserve for a small party you’ll be seated with other guests at a larger table. It’s “absolutely lovely” for people who are far from home or feeling alone and “a perfect spot for children,” according to Theresa Dickinson, the hotel’s food and beverage manager. The buffet, which includes traditional fare and many other options, is $99 for adults and $65 for children.

book your holiday dinner or lunch party before it's too late

621 Courtney St. [Magnolia Hotel]

250 386 2010

check out our menu online!

www.primesteak.ca

victoriaboulevard.com 133


The Oswego Xmas Ad - Boulevard Mag Ad Size: 4.0” (w) x 4.625” (h) • Final REV • Sept 16/10

Experience the joy of the festive season and leave the planning and details to us! The O Bistro & Lounge, and The Oswego Hotel offer the ideal setting for your office party or holiday gathering this season. Book your festive lunch, dinner, or cocktail reception for up to 90 people, and then take the elevator home to your luxurious Suite, from $89 per night. Includes one night stay and late check-out so you can shop or snooze. The Oswego Hotel 500 Oswego Street, Victoria, BC V8V 5C1 250-294-7500 • reservations@oswegovictoria.com

The

Gift that keeps

giving back to the

Community

134 victoriaboulevard.com

This Christmas, give a gift of community support to the people you care about. Find out how: 250-480-4006 ext 203 www.womeninneed.ca/donate

The Empress Room is more formal, with a five-course, sit-down dinner starting at 4:15 pm. The cost is $160 per person and there is also a children’s menu. Both rooms feature strolling carolers, pianists and harpists and their elaborate menus are available online; reservations are a must for both. The Bengal Lounge is open from 11:30 am to midnight on Christmas, offering its usual menu. Lure Restaurant and Lounge at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa offers lunch and dinner on Christmas Day. The lunch seatings are 12 pm and 2 pm, and the evening seatings are 5 pm and 7:30-8 pm. For $55 (kids half-price) award-winning chef Mike Weaver serves an imaginative take on traditional Christmas dinner that includes hazelnut Everyone is goat cheese fritter, poached pear and frizee salad, Pacific halibut welcome to the and dark chocolate pumpkin pie. The restaurant is perched over the harbour and offers 20th Annual spectacular views. Family-run Samuel’s Restaurant Christmas Spirit has been open for Christmas dinner for 30 years, says manager Community Dinner Jessica Chan. The restaurant used to offer live music and dancing at Glad Tidings along with Christmas dinner but the demand for the dinner got Church, which so high they couldn’t afford the space. There is only one thing includes music, toys on the menu on Christmas night, a traditional, sit-down turkey and Secret Santas. dinner (but call ahead if you want a vegetarian option). Reservations are needed; they tend to be booked up by the end of November. The cost is under $50 and they ask that people call closer to Christmas for seating times. The Victoria Harbour House Restaurant offers formal dining, with wait staff who wear tuxedos. “We dress up so you don’t have to,” says owner Chris Rounis. There are three Christmas dinner seatings — 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm — and reservations are a must. The $54 fixed price includes soup, house salad, a choice of salmon, New York steak or turkey with all the trimmings, and a traditional dessert. The decorations at Butchart Gardens are a Christmaslover’s dream. In addition to the Twelve Days of Christmasinspired lighting scheme woven throughout the gardens, there’s an ice skating rink and a carousel. The Dining Room restaurant, located in the original Butchart family residence, starts seating at 3 pm on Christmas Day and serves a set five-course Christmas dinner at $75 per person


for adults and $30 for kids. Just like at home, “if you want more turkey, we’ll gladly serve you more,” no charge, says food services director Bob Parrotta. The cafeteria-style Blue Poppy, also at the Gardens, opens at 4 pm, and serves their regular menu plus a $19.95 turkey dinner. You’ll have to pay admission to the grounds to access either of the restaurants, but a stroll, a skate and dinner make for a lovely day, says Parrotta. Reservations are required for the Dining Room but the Blue Poppy is first-come, first-served. The Blethering Place is a beloved Oak Bay landmark open from 8 am to around 9 pm on Christmas Day. It’s hard not to feel homey in the genteel, Tudor-style building in which the owner lives upstairs. On Christmas morning, the Blethering Place reaches out to people who are alone or have little money, offering breakfast starting at 8 am, then from 9:30 on a traditional Christmas turkey meal until around 3:30 pm. “It’s not a money thing for a lot of people. They just need to go out where there’s some people and friendliness and that sort of thing on Christmas Day,” says owner Ken Agate. For paying customers, the daytime Christmas meal is $19.95. In the evening, at around 5 pm, a larger traditional Christmas turkey meal is served for $35; reservations are a must. If you are looking for a way to be busy, Agate says he’s always looking for help on Christmas Day. Everyone is welcome to the 20th Annual Christmas Spirit Community Dinner at Glad Tidings Church that feeds 700, and

includes music, toys, Secret Santas and huge bags of leftover turkey to take home. About 200 volunteers work for months to pull it together, some arriving at the church at 7 am Christmas morning to start cooking. Lots of people are without family or food at this time of year and they are all welcome, says founder Christina Parkhurst. She and what she calls her “mighty elves” have made this a stand-out volunteer event in Victoria with activities for kids, live music, and a free Christmas dinner for all helpers. There is no cost but registration is a must. They are always looking for volunteers and the friendly, bustling atmosphere is guaranteed to bring out the Christmas spirit. VB The Fairmont Empress, 721 Government St., 250-384-8111 The Harbour House Restaurant, 607 Oswego St., 250- 386-1244 Lure Restaurant and Lounge at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resorts and Spa, 45 Songhees Rd., 250-360-5873 Samuel’s Restaurant, 655 Douglas St., 250-388-4488 The Butchart Gardens, 800 Benvenuto Ave. Brentwood Bay, 250-652-4422 The Blethering Place, 2250 Oak Bay Ave., 250-598-1413 Glad Tidings Church, 1800 Quadra St. To register, call 250-472-1040 or email xmasdins@telus.net. For more information about volunteering or attending, see ChristmasSpiritDinner.ca

victoriaboulevard.com 135


PHOTO BY GARY MCKINSTRY

There’s a Way to write your own legacy.

For more information you can go online at www.uwgv.ca or contact Trudy L. Farrell, Legacy & Major Gifts Manager at 250-220-7381 to arrange a private appointment.

____________

Change the future 136 victoriaboulevard.com

The

Eye BY ED BAIN

They are plain wrong, you can go home again: and have I got the VISA bill to prove it! “Hi Ed,” the voice on the phone said. “It’s Sandy from the Mayor’s office in Castor.” Uh-oh. Why on Earth is my home town tracking me down? Surely they’re not still mad at me for peeing in the pool all those years ago? (Granted it was from the high diving board — but come on!) “How are you?” she says. “Um, great thanks.” “Ed, we’re wondering, would you come back and emcee the 100th anniversary of the town?” Emcee! Phew. Well, how could I refuse that? Obviously they think I’ve had some kind of success in broadcasting and could easily handle a microphone in front of 750 people — either that or the town bingo caller/auctioneer died. My mom still lives in this small Alberta town about 300 kilometres northeast of Calgary, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to bring my family home for a visit. And with the anniversary celebrations this time at least there should be something other than a fight going on outside the bar on Main Street. (Although that can be pretty entertaining, some of those women can really throw ‘em.) My wife and I have a 19-year-old son. If you remember that age, you know that going with your parents to a town of 750 people, where Soap on a Rope is considered jewellery, is akin to two root canals with no freezing. But ironically it was our son who saved us from missing the trip altogether. Had he not asked on Wednesday what time we were flying to Calgary on Friday, I would never have noticed that I had booked the wrong time. Gee, I wonder how difficult changing a flight a day and half away from takeoff will be. The airline rep sounded optimistic, “OK, Mr. Bain let’s see what we can do.” “I can’t believe I did this,” I said, hoping he’d sense my


embarrassment and give me a break. “Oh, this is going to be huge. Looks like just over $900.” “Well, it’s my own stupid fault so I guess I’ll cough up the $900. After all it is family and we have to be there.” “That’s per person, by the way.” “What??!!” I had to put him on hold to recite George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on television. It took most of the morning but I finally managed to sort it out. I re-booked at a mere $1,200 extra, putting this flight to Calgary just slightly under the price of return to Cancun for three. Fortunately, my motor home rental in Calgary was booked correctly so I didn’t have to pay more than the agreed to $1,000 for the weekend. But given car rental companies, I could be wrong about that. Driving a motor home for the first time was certainly an interesting experience. And I had forgotten how different driving on the Prairies is compared to Vancouver Island. The road was so straight that I was almost an hour into the trip before I realized I still had “The Club” on. As the trip went on, I became more and more confident at the wheel of that Winnipeg-sized machine (I called it the Winnipego). I managed to “keep ‘er between the ditches” and by 5 pm Friday night I was backing four metres of aluminum luxury into the RV park in majestic Castor. The Homecoming celebration turned out to be a huge success. I found myself on Main Street brimming with pride as I welcomed over 5,000 back to a town that peaked at 1,250 in population in the 1960s. One of the old-timers told me the population always stayed about the same because “every time someone got pregnant some guy had to leave town.” As I looked down Main Street I thought back to some of the businesses that once flourished here that sadly now have closed, including the old jewellery store. A lot of us guys bought plenty of shiny things there, all for the same girl. It was not all bad news. A new restaurant, “Soup in a Boot,” has opened that seemed to be busy. And at least you don’t have to pay the HST. However, the famous Alberta mosquitoes do provide a similar experience. The weekend was great. We spent some time with my mom, I connected with family and friends and I felt good about growing up in a special place. All I had to do now was drive the Winnipego back to Calgary, pay the $30 charge for not washing it, explain the stain on the ceiling, plead ignorance to the propane refilling clause in the contract, and kiss most of my damage deposit goodbye. They say you can’t put a price on family and they’re right. But if you could, mine would be just shy of $4,000 for a weekend. And worth every penny. VB

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250.382.9979 victoriaboulevard.com 137


BRIAN JACKSON 66, VICTORIA SYMPHONY PRINCIPAL POPS CONDUCTOR You were born in Penzance, England, one day after Christmas in 1943. What’s your first memory of the festive season? That I didn’t get a separate present. I was about four. Capricorns all suffer the same fate. You were dubbed a child prodigy, do you believe you were one? I certainly wasn’t a Mozart, who was a genius. I play music by ear. By the age of nine, I tried a position at Westminster Abbey. I couldn’t read music. Then I learned to read music . . . very fast. What was your earliest theatrical experience? I acted with John Cleese when I was 13. I played a damsel in distress. He was a Cyclops. He was four years older. When Life of Brian came out, everyone asked if it was modeled on me. You came of age in England during Beatlemania. How did that influence your affinity for pop? I like The Beatles. They were revolutionary. I did not like The Rolling Stones. I found it noise, not music. I do have respect for Mick Jagger though. He’s intelligent.

How many piano keys can your hands stretch? My hands now stretch 10 keys but at age 15 eight keys (an octave) was unreliable. Thus my concert pianist hopes were dashed and I turned to concert organist.

at the O’Keefe Centre. He never played a wrong note. He got to the heart of the music. At age 15, he was playing symphonies. I created the Liberace show as one way to play all kinds of pieces, arranging it myself and throwing in a few glitzy jackets.

At age 25 you immigrated to Canada. First impressions of the colony? We never say colony! I came by ship — no job to come to. Very daring. After Oxford, I went to the BBC. When I watched a conductor, an idiot, I realized I was on the wrong side of the glass. When I arrived in Canada, doors just opened. I earned more playing one service a week than I got for 40 hours of work at the BBC.

Any pre-performance rituals or superstitions? I eat a banana. It has betablockers. It controls the nerves. Sweetness and energy without the crash.

How many records/CDs do you own? I’m not a fan of the CD sound. The top is not as clear. Vinyl, nearly 1,000. IPod, I don’t use it. I don’t listen to music that much because I’m making music all the time.

Secrets

You perform a “Tribute to Liberace” pops show. Why Liberace? He was a pianist that played both classical and popular music. Liberace was on television a lot in England. The Royal Family just loved him. I saw him twice in one week in Toronto. I sat very close

&LIES

BY SHANNON MONEO

What would be worse for you, losing your sight or hearing? Good question. I think losing my sight. I can look at a score and hear it. You perform the Christmas Pops. What’s your favourite piece of Christmas music? I’m very sentimental. We performed The Charlie Brown Christmas, I loved it. Also, O’ Holy Night. It’s corny but it works. Least favourite: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, rubbish.


FAMILIAR FACES, FAMILIAR PLACES

THIS IS ROBERT

REIERSON, FOUNDER, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF TRADEX FOODS WITH HIS

Robert started his commercial fishing career at age

PHOTOGRAPHED AT WILLOWS BEACH BY GARY MCKINSTRY

16 working in a seafood processing facility in Ucluelet.

2011 LEXUS RX 350

make us proud to carry their Sinbad Platinum brand.” Tradex knows that care in quality translates into great

In 1991 he founded Tradex Foods, which has now grown

business relationships. And that`s why Robert chose a

into a global company known by seafood lovers in Victoria

Lexus RX 350, a sport luxury vehicle from Metro Lexus.

primarily through its Sinbad Platinum brand. Says Dave

A car company and a dealership that share the same

Sherwood, Manager of Seafood Operations for Thrifty

values. “Metro is so good to work with. I am delighted by

Foods, “Tradex is a great supplier who truly cares about the

my RX 350. It’s the second time in a row I have gone to

quality of their product and its sustainability. These two facts

them for a new car. A great catch!”

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Boulevard Magazine - November/December 2010 Issue