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CONTENTS Volume XXI, Issue 8, September 2011
More than SKIN DEEP Victoria’s plastic surgery scene By Anne Mullens
CLASSES that COOK Back to school, with an apron By Elizabeth Levinson
Hit the wall Climb your way to fitness at any age By Rick Gibbs
HAWTHORN I was a teenage tabloid hack By Tom Hawthorn
STATE OF THE ARTS Will ebooks destroy publishing? By Alisa Gordaneer
HOT PROPERTIES More than just an accessible home in Fairfield By Carolyn Heiman
TRAVEL FAR Drink in the autumn colours of Charlevoix, Quebec By Suzanne Morphet
HOT DESIGN Office chairs get personal By Carolyn Heiman
FOOD & WINE Sweet corn, every which way By Maryanne Carmack
COWICHAN Wheels of recycling go ‘round By Linda Wilkinson
HEALTH & FITNESS How to fall for fitness By Amanda Farrell-Low
FRONT ROW Rifflandia’s back with 150 bands; walking art in James Bay; cocktails for charity; and more By Robert Moyes
WRY EYE “Ed” isn’t short for “Education” By Ed Bain
SECRETS & LIVES Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi, Indigenous Affairs director By Shannon Moneo
CONTRIBUTORS Meet some of our writers
EDITOR’S LETTER Under the knife
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR A talented parrot and more
CREATIVE MINDS Touch Phoebe Dunbar’s art: it may touch you back By Shannon Moneo
TECHNOLOGIA Up, up in the computing cloud By Darryl Gittins
BOULEVARD BOOK CLUB A night out with literary men By Adrienne Dyer
TRAVEL NEAR Travel so near you can walk to it By Rick Gibbs
On our cover: The open-concept dining room and living room of the March-Lawless house in Fairfield. Photo by Gary McKinstry.
lIFE AT ITS FINEST
President John Simmons Vice President & Publisher Peter Baillie Associate Publisher Linda Hensellek Managing Editor Anne Mullens Associate Editor Vivian Smith Art Director Beth Campbell Business Manager Janet Dessureault Production Assistant Melissa Cross Printing Central Web Advertising Linda Hensellek, Alicia Cormier Pat Montgomery-Brindle, Geoff Wilcox
Amanda Farrell-Low is a Victoria-based arts and culture writer. Growing up in Watson Lake, Yukon, she moved to the Island 11 years ago to attend university and just never left. She spent nearly five years as the arts editor for Monday magazine, and was on the grand jury for the 2010 Polaris Music Prize. After writing about establishing a fitness regime for this issue of Boulevard, she’s still working hard to try and stick to her own. She’s taking it day by day. Rick Gibbs’ passions of music and travel frequently drive his writing. His stories have appeared in local and national publications, and he recently produced a one-hour documentary on Canadian guitar builder Linda Manzer and her 30-year creative relationship with guitarist Pat Metheny for CBC Radio. An avid walker, he gets re-inspired every time he steps out his Fairfield-Gonzales front door.
is a Toronto-born photographer who until recently was based in New York City. She is now happy to embrace a slower pace of life in Victoria with her husband and young son. Her images have been published in The New York Times, Time and Marie Claire, and she is a contributing photographer to Getty Images. The seven doctors featured in the article on plastic surgery are highly skilled and dynamic and Rubincam hopes they know that she wouldn’t get up at 5 am for just anyone.
is a transplanted Albertan and freelance writer now living in Duncan. She loves the beauty of the Cowichan Valley and the fascinating people who live there. Two of those people, Aaron Bichard and Katie Harris, inspired her to write this month’s Cowichan piece. “The first time I saw the Cowichan Recyclists riding through Duncan hauling recyclable garbage I knew there was a story to tell,” says Wilkinson. “What I wasn’t expecting, however, is the extent of their community involvement. Bichard and Harris embody Gandhi’s quote, ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’ ”
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Let me confess to a deep ambivalence about cosmetic plastic surgery. I worry, and you may too, about the increasing number of women wanting breast implants, a trend that seems to find the female body inadequate unless it comes with a perky C-cup. I lament Hollywood excesses — the starlets whose aging faces are now frozen masks, or the sad show of the late, ever-morphing Michael Jackson. Yet I have friends and acquaintances whose judicious use of a little help makes them look fresh and fantastic or frees the beauty within. And there are times, I admit, when I stand before a mirror and pull back a softening jaw line to see what a little intervention might do, vowing to face the ravages of age with grace and acceptance while reserving the right to change my mind if my neck gets too damn wobbly. I do know, however, that should I or a loved one have a disfiguring injury, I want a skilled plastic surgeon at our side. Researching and writing this month’s story on Victoria’s cadre of plastic surgeons showed me just how accomplished and talented our local surgeons are and the amazing array of reconstructive and cosmetic work they do — like the facial reconstruction that Vanessa Wheeler had after being mauled by a pit bull at age 12. We are lucky, Victoria, to have such a collaborative group of surgeons. They even got together at 5:45 am in an operating room on a holiday weekend to enable our group photo — prime evidence of that co-operative sensibility. The doctors here told me they spend as much time convincing people they won’t be helped by plastic surgery, usually because the person is not a good candidate, or has unrealistic expectations of the result, or has an underlying issue (i.e. failing marriage) that cosmetic surgery will not fix. Saying no, they said, was sometimes the best medical care they could give. Too bad some Hollywood celebrities don’t have access to this type of holistic care. Read on, then, for an inside look at this remarkable group. And enjoy other engaging Boulevard fare this month, such as tantalizing corn recipes, getting started on a fitness routine, the pleasures of local walks, and more. One note: special thanks to hairstylist Nicole Collingridge and makeup artist Hollie Brown (see nicoleandco.com) for help with Vanessa Wheeler’s photoshoot. VB Anne Mullens, Managing Editor
YOUR LETTERS Don’t forget Café Marrakesh on Quadra Thank you for the delightful reminder by Jennifer Gurney-Bowles in the July issue about the international food opportunities available to us on Quadra Street. I want to highlight one of my very favourite gems that was unfortunately omitted by the writer: Café Marrakesh, 2551 Quadra, (near Kings), 250-412-0774. The selections of chicken, fish, lamb, in Moroccan cuisine, provide aromas that are tantalizing, and tastes that are divine. The proprietor, Salim Errhouni, provides a comforting mint tea and a gentle, truly welcoming personal manner. I would highly recommend this Café for a casual, hearty dinner. Shirley Grosser
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An avian fan of our magazine I have a little parrot named Luigi who has been crazy for shredding paper for years. Lots of birds shred paper but Luigi is particularly good at it. He is an avian artisan. I take his shredding and make collages. Together we create free range, interspecies folk art for greeting cards! Here is the link to our website if you want to have a laugh and even see Luigi shred in a video, handandbeak.com. Luigi mostly shreds plain paper but once a week or so I let him shred a bit of a magazine—usually yours! He likes the texture! Here’s an example (the “candles” were shredded with no direction from me). Mary McQueen
Well hello to Nova Scotia… Each month I pick up a copy of Boulevard. I clip out articles to send to my sister who lives as an artist on a remote island off of Nova Scotia. She likes to keep up with what is happening in Victoria. This month, August 2011, I am sending the whole magazine. What an excellent read! I found the articles interesting, engaging and wellwritten. I especially enjoyed the article featuring poet Garth Martens. Thank you for making such a dignified magazine available to the people of Victoria, free! Colleen Cavanagh
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Erratum: In the August issue, a photo credit for Sean Bushby (see bushbyphotography.blogspot.com) was missed on his Cowichan Lake shower. Apologies Sean. We welcome your letters: email@example.com 11
THE ART of SURGERY This “Group of Seven” builds skills by doing both cosmetic and reconstructive work BY ANNE MULLENS
R. CHRIS TAYLOR sits on a stool in Operating Room No. 10 at the Royal Jubilee Hospital peering through an operating microscope while his hands deftly place tiny microsurgical sutures in a woman’s chest. A team — nurses, a general surgeon, an anaesthesiologist — works around him, assisting in the complex operation. The patient, 54, has had a recurrence of her breast cancer. Taylor, a plastic surgeon specializing in post-cancer microsurgical reconstruction, is giving her new breasts after
photo BY liz rubincam
a double mastectomy earlier that day. He has been operating non-stop for more than seven hours, first dissecting two fist-sized flaps of skin, fat, and blood vessels from her lower abdomen. Now he has moved those flaps up to her chest, and is hooking up the harvested tissue’s main blood vessel to the internal mammary artery, fashioning the transplanted flesh into natural-looking and feeling breasts in the cavities created by her double mastectomy. “It is a big operation,” says Taylor about the reconstructive procedure — in fact, the operation will take almost 10 hours from start to finish with Taylor never taking a minute’s break.
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“I get so involved I don’t notice the time,” he says. The operation’s benefit over breast implants, notes Taylor, is that since it is the woman’s own tissue, “it won’t be rejected by her. It will gain and lose weight with her, feel more natural to her.” After coming through the trials of cancer (lumpectomy, radiation, chemotherapy, double mastectomy), for a woman once more to have naturallooking and feeling breasts can provide a physical and emotional advantage to her healing. Taylor is one of seven plastic surgeons on southern Vancouver Island, five men and now two women: Drs.
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Slobodan Djurickovic, Jason Gray, David Naysmith, Kenneth Smith, Chris Taylor, Rebecca Morley and Jennifer Robinson. Both women arrived this summer after the retirement of two male surgeons. Members of this local “Group of Seven” are each surgical artists in their own right and in the often competitive field of plastic surgery, a remarkably collegial and co-operative group. They share on-call duties and cover the region’s congenital, trauma and reconstructive surgical needs, while doing private cosmetic operations on the side. These days, when you say “plastic surgery” most people think nose jobs, breast augmentations, face-lifts and liposuction, with the “plastic” almost a synonym for “fake.” But the name “plastic” actually comes from the Greek, plasticos, for the act of moulding and moving tissue. Arising out of the attempts to repair the devastating wounds of the First World War, the specialty has an almost 100-year history of restoring form, function and aesthetic appearance to individuals who have come through trauma, birth defects or disfiguring disease. The cosmetic side has become the profitable subset of the profession’s advancing skills and now, at least in the public mind, often dominates what most of us think the profession does. In some large cities, a stark division can arise between the plastic surgeons who do the medically necessary cases in public hospitals, paid for by health insurance, and those who do solely cosmetic procedures, paid for by the patient, for thousands of dollars, and done in private clinics. But in Victoria, the seven surgeons do a mix of public and private cases. They all say keeping a mix of both is good for local patient care: the cosmetic side helps translate into better results in the reconstruction side, and vice-versa. So in short, if you or a loved one has a serious accident or disfiguring disease here on Vancouver Island, you can be thankful your good result is more assured because the plastic surgeons here do cosmetic surgery, too. And if you are considering a face-lift or tummy-tuck, you may owe the naturalness of your new refreshed look in part to the cougar maulings, car accidents and burn cases your surgeon repaired here before you. Vanessa Wheeler, 23, is one of those trauma patients who has experienced that cross-fertilization first hand. At age 12 she was playing with a girlfriend in Braefoot Park, when an unleashed pit bull bit her face, ripping open the left side from her eye socket down to her chin. Smith operated for more than four hours to save her eye and restore her facial muscle, blood vessels, and skin. He has now done six surgeries in total on Wheeler. “Considering what happened to me, the outcome is phenomenal,” says Wheeler, who now works as a massage therapist and is training to be a paramedic, a career goal inspired by her trauma experience. She is happy with her results, except for some scarring affecting her left eye, which may be able to be fixed in a seventh operation. Until then, she
is thankful Smith had the skills to repair such a devastating attack. “All my friends think for all my operations I had to go to Vancouver or Toronto but I say, “No, I had it right here.” Notes Smith: “When I get a severe facial trauma I know I can mobilize a flap of skin in such a way because I have done it in a face-lift.” Shawn Clement, 33, had his left arm completely severed in a sawmill accident in Gold River in 2008 and was flown down to Victoria with his amputated arm on ice. He awoke the next day, after 14 hours of surgery with Smith, amazed to see his arm re-attached. “I was sure it was gone forever,” he said. Smith makes the analogy of the reconstruction process as akin to a home reno: “First you do the framing, the bone, sometimes using plates and screws to get the stable structure. Then you do the plumbing — the blood vessels; then the electrical, hooking up the nerves. Once that’s connected you do the drywall — the muscles and soft tissue. And then it is the final finish — mobilizing skin flaps or skin grafts.” Plastic surgeons note, however, that the general public and even other medical professionals often misunderstand what they do, frequently dismissing the cosmetic side as frivolous. “The aesthetic side sometimes gets pooh-poohed, even by other doctors,” says Robinson, Victoria’s newest plastic surgeon. Robinson moved here last month from a fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and joins Taylor in specializing in microsurgical postcancer reconstruction — with a bit of cosmetic surgery on the side. Robinson said she was drawn to establish her practice here because of the region’s unique Vanessa Wheeler: “Considering what happened to me, the results are phenomenal.” Photo by Gary McKinstry mix of a large array of cases, its huge referral base from the entire Island, and its academic links to the University of British Columbia. “But above all, I was attracted by the group of surgeons: they’re wonderful.” Robinson was specializing in neurosurgery until she did a rotation in plastic surgery and was “blown away.” She fell in love with it for two reasons: “The patients were leaving our hands better than when they came to us. In neurosurgery they often leave with deficits but in plastic surgery I really felt I was restoring their form and function. And, second, it is the most technically challenging and stimulating surgery.” 15
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Ask any of the plastic surgeons here what drew them first to the profession and almost all describe a “wow” moment watching a mentor do a complex skill with a beautiful result. Dr. David Naysmith is that senior mentor in Victoria’s group who speaks each year to the UBC medical students about why they might consider the specialty. He shows them a PowerPoint presentation complete with patient beforeand-after pictures — gun-shot repairs, burns, amputations, childhood trauma and birth defects — that astonish and move many to tears. He shows “You cannot be a good how operations have cosmetic surgeon transformed individuals’ until you are a good devastating deformities, reconstructive surgeon.” given them a life back. Naysmith and Gray have been the two doctors in the region who specialize in pediatric cases, such as cleft lip and palates. Now Naysmith is passing his pediatric role to Morley. Each year, however, Naysmith volunteers with the Canadian surgical charity Operation Rainbow, flying to some remote or poverty-stricken region of the world with a team of medical staff and dozens of boxes of surgical equipment to do two- and three-week blitzes of operations for those who’ve never had access to such surgery. They set up a clinic to examine hundreds of people who come from the surrounding countryside, often families with children and teens with unrepaired cleft palates, serious burns or other deformities that have left them ostracized and isolated from society. Naysmith this past spring led a team of 23, including Morley, to Baru Sahib in northern India, and in three weeks did 128 procedures on 58 patients. Talking through a translator to a father post-operatively about his five-year-old son’s successful cleft palate surgery, Naysmith was perplexed when the father solemnly leaned down, tears in his eyes, and touched his hands to the surgeon’s knees. Explained the translator: “He is saying, ‘I kiss your feet.’ ” For Naysmith it confirmed once more how such surgery transforms lives. Cosmetically, Naysmith now specializes in the complex removal of excess skin from individuals who have undergone extreme weight lost. Such weight loss can reverse Type II diabetes, arthritis and other disabilities, but the individual is left with “festoons” of skin that never shrink. On the right patient, cosmetic removal of the skin can leave patients healthier, happier, more confident and “extremely grateful,” he says. “They are very inspiring patients.” Naysmith admits that for years, he, too, put a much higher value on his reconstructive work. “I did not want to do the cosmetic stuff — I had no interest in it… but I am now convinced you cannot be a good cosmetic surgeon until you are a good reconstructive surgeon. And as a reconstructive surgeon you are even better if you have the skills of the cosmetic side.” VB
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hawthorn By Tom Hawthorn
tabloid hack, but I had my standards; The Murdoch crew would do anything, it seems, to increase newspaper profits
I was a
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THE ACE reporter had a wire-service story about a doctor reporting an odd injury. A teenage girl suffered an infection after too much finger snapping while dancing to disco music. The newshound summoned me and a buddy — the youngest reporters on staff — to his desk. The ace, a refugee from the London tabloids, told us about Disco Finger and asked: What other disco ailments might exist? My cub reporter colleague took the bait. “There’s disco toe,” he said, tapping a foot. “From too much of this.” “Disco hip from too much swaying,” I added helpfully. “And disco nose from snorting too much cocaine.” We were dismissed. The next morning our nonsense was in the newspaper attributed to an unnamed local doctor. That’s when the truth dawned: I was a teenage tabloid hack. Back then, a tabloid hack was someone who’d write a fact story about the late Elvis eating burritos at the 7-Eleven. The description has a more ominous connotation today, as it has been revealed British journalists hacked telephones and stole information. We had a bit of fun. They engaged in appalling criminal behaviour. The Courier, a short-lived Vancouver daily, hired many failed Fleet Streeters. The Courier sought to build an audience with zippy stories about Nazis, swimsuit fashions, and abuse at nursing homes. (The ultimate story would have featured
an aged Nazi in a bikini!) The debut issue highlighted an overweight striptease artist billed as Big Fanny Annie. My own contributions included stories about the likelihood of the Skylab space station falling on our heads and a boy who had (purported) plaster casts of Sasquatch’s footprints. But I had my standards. All quotations were as spoken, by the people named, and were (more or less) accurate. I was not about to manufacture facts for stories under my byline. But my standards proved surprisingly malleable when ordered by editors to pose for photographs. I was pressed into posing as a junky shooting up heroin; a newsboy peddling newspapers downtown; as a romantic gay man holding hands with another while walking along railway tracks. Sometimes, being a reporter means bending the rules to get the story. One of my contemporaries who had been barred from a union meeting got the story by sneaking beneath a podium to eavesdrop on the proceedings. The romantic lure of the job includes stories of bribing telegraph operators, cutting telephone lines, and stealing photographs of the deceased and/or the newsworthy. My friend, Global TV reporter Keith Baldrey, once got an exclusive interview with Colombian stowaways being held in Victoria on immigration charges. Police had kept the men away from reporters, but when Baldrey, then working for the Vancouver Sun, learned the men were to be flown to Vancouver on a regular commercial flight, he bought all three remaining seats on the float plane. As the plane began loading, other reporters raised a ruckus about being excluded. Baldrey triumphantly waved his tickets in the air and was the only one to get the interview. That same ambition for scoops is what fuels the best of the newspaper movies from the screwball comedy His Girl Friday (based on the play The Front Page) to All the President’s Men, a fictional account of the true story — “Torn from today’s headlines!” — of two young reporters bringing down a criminal president. In chasing down the Watergate scandal, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein interviewed grand jury members and accessed private telephone logs, both of questionable ethical acceptance. At least they were uncovering malfeasance in the White House. The motive behind the outrages committed by the News of the World staff in Britain was no more principled than to increase sales — and profits — for News Corporation, the global media enterprise founded by Rupert Murdoch. The News of the World reporters went well beyond clever ruses — they broke the law and violated every ethical rule. They even planted a cell phone with the mother of a murdered little girl so as to better eavesdrop on her conversations. The revelation of sinister misdeeds has led to demands for regulation of the press (a bad idea), or a licensing of journalists (an even worse idea). The antidote for bad reporting is good reporting: the wrongdoing by the Murdoch crew was exposed by a dogged reporter for the Guardian, a rival British newspaper. VB
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Ebooks are changing everything: but is that so bad for writers and readers?
BOOKSTORE AISLES packed with shoppers, shelves emptying rapidly, cashiers pointing out a masking tape line on the floor to keep the crowds in control. Sounds like the successful launch of a blockbuster book, but alas, the scene was a close out sale of the Borders flagship store in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was replayed across the United States as the mega-bookseller shut down its 399 locations. Bankrupt. Closed. Finished, victims of the economy, of online book distributors, and of that new publishing scourge, the ebook. Yes, ebooks, those digital tomes read with an electronic gadget (either a Kindle, a Kobo, an iPad or even a computer), have been blamed for the demise of the traditional bookstore. I’m not going to debate that. But I’m also big on silver linings, so I figured someone had to be winning with ebooks. And as it turns out, those winners might just be readers — and the writers themselves. As a reader who spent much of the summer travelling, I love my ebooks. I admit to buying a stack of clearance-priced tomes at the doomed Borders, and I felt a little ill knowing that I’d rather download the titles than stuff them in my luggage. So to try to make sense of it all, I sought the opinions of two writers who are at the vanguard of ebook publishing. Lorne Daniel is a recently transplanted-from-Calgary writer and blogger who’s speaking in Victoria this month on the 20
future of ebook publishing. He believes ebooks won’t ever replace paper, but they’re so popular, it makes sense for writers to join in. “My first ebook comes out this year… simultaneously with the hard-copy edition. I expect that more copies of the ebook will be in circulation than hard copies and I’m really looking forward to readers of my blog, my followers on Twitter, and other readers scattered around the world being able to immediately buy and download the book,” says Daniel. “You discover a writer whose work you like and moments later you are reading their book, rather than waiting to visit a bookstore or ordering a copy online,” says Daniel. Plus, with a “cover” price of anywhere from 99 cents to not usually more than $10, ebooks are an affordable option for those who read a lot — and a profitable option for writers, who typically get between 40 and 70 per cent of the list price rather than the traditional 10 per cent of royalties for print publications. Removing the traditional print publisher and bookstore, it seems, puts writers in control, and lets readers connect more immediately and interactively with writers. “As a writer, I love the fact that my online readers fire me comments about my work,” says Daniel. “It’s a different world than the old industry where one wrote, waited years for publication, then waited many months for reviews, and had minimal feedback directly from readers.” One Victoria writer who decided to follow the ebook route is Laurie Elmquist, an English instructor at Camosun College who recently became her own publisher when she used Amazon’s ebook platform to release two short non-fiction works about growing up with parents who left the city for a back-to-the-land existence. “It’s a thrill to have people email and tell me they’re reading my stories,” says Elmquist, adding, “It’s not a get-rich scheme. For me, it’s more like a business card, a sample of my writing. I’m writing novels, too, and the idea is that one day readers who stumbled upon the memoir might also pick up my novels.” Whether those novels will be ebooks or print books is yet to be determined. One thing’s certain, says Elmquist, the face of the publishing industry is changing. There is still the traditional models, like Random House, but agents are now putting clients’ books up for sale as ebooks. Or Bev’s Editions, is an ebook distributor who is also an indie publisher. “It’s an exciting time for writers and publishers.” So perhaps ebooks might not be great for bookstores and traditional publishers, although I’d like to think they’ll innovate into new content, new formats and new ideas. However, it’s clear ebooks are great for those who produce and consume the written word. Just don’t try to read an ebook in the tub. Lorne Daniel speaks at the Federation of BC Writers’ Wired Words symposium on September 10 at the Maritime Museum of BC. See wiredwords.org for more information. VB 21
London Chef Dan Hayes spoons out a red pepper passata over grilled local eggplant and asparagus.
PERSPECTIVE Get schooled in the culinary arts in Victoriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cooking classes BY ELIZABETH LEVINSON Photos by Gary Mckinstry
HESE DAYS many people are rediscovering the joys of cooking and entertaining at home. And Victoria’s cooking schools are geared to help customers become accomplished home chefs. I set out around town myself with nothing more than a clean apron and a willingness to learn and soon mastered making a smooth Mornay sauce, roasting a chicken to perfection and turning vegetables à la française (paring vegetables into identical sizes, usually ovals with seven sides). I had fun, met new people, ate very well and became increasingly confident in my ability to rustle up delicious, healthy and even decadent meals. Whether you’re an experienced or aspiring home cook, or simply want to expand your menu repertoire, the following list can help guide you to the culinary back-to-school experience that best fits your needs. For cooking newbies or for those wanting to hone basic skills, Camosun College’s Culinary Arts program offers the quintessential “Cooking ABCs.” Taught by certified chef de cuisine Erik Andersen at the Interurban campus, this hands-on, six-part course (three-hour evening classes every Wednesday) will have you cooking in the college’s professional kitchens. It costs $260. Another popular class covering every element of Thanksgiving dinner, including deboning a turkey, takes place October 1 from 9 am to 4 pm for $95. See camosun.ca/ce/foodbeverage. Local recreation and community centres offer both hands-on and demonstration cooking classes close to home. From Juan de Fuca, Panorama and Monterey recreation centres to Fairfield Community Place, you’ll find a cornucopia of classes, including vegetarian, ethnic, Indian, Mexican, raw food and gluten-free. Most classes run for three hours on one night. Book by phone or online and learn from experienced local chefs such as Heidi Fink, Dan Hayes and Sonja Limberger. Costs: $25 to $175. Check out what is on the menu at the many private cooking schools. In addition to catering for everything from meetings to weddings, The London Chef ’s Dan and Micayla Hayes dish up friendly, informative cooking classes in big-city, chic surrounds. Drop into their gleaming state-of-the-art kitchen on Fort Street for a Lunch and Learn class; leave with a full belly along with the inspiration, recipes and skills to make your family a fabulous dinner. A fish curry demonstration began with deboning the undervalued but eminently tasty local dog fish, then adding it to a sublime sauce liberally doused with chef Dan’s British charm. After class, you can sip a cool glass of citrus water in the in-house pantry and shop for freshly baked scones and two-bite croissants, sandwiches, salads and a cornucopia of stocks, soups and sauces. This is a great spot to pick up a work day lunch or dinner fixings. One-hour and three-hour classes cost from $25 to $90. See thelondonchef.com. At Jed Grieve’s and Tina Athena’s Cook Culture cookware shop and school in the Atrium building, you’ll find many
Chef Hayes gives step-by-step instruction and wows the class with his sauté skills.
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local chefs in the teaching kitchen, including Jason MacIsaac (vegan gourmet), Mara Jernigan (culinary boot camp), Bill Jones (noodles!) and Don Genova (sustainable seafood). In French Bistro Basics, chef Geneviève LaPlante makes sure her students’ hands are busy from the get-go. While we chopped, peeled and sautéed, LaPlante regaled us with her sound views on sustainable farming and demonstrated her un-fussy cooking techniques. Though traditionally trained, she is “not a snob about it” and recognizes that it’s sometimes practical to use purchased chicken stock — although her farm upbringing insists the stock be organic. By class end, the group was one big happy family supping together on Croque Monsieur (“the fanciest grilled cheese sandwich ever”), frisée salad with lardons and poached egg and coq au vin. A big plus here is the opportunity to test drive the shop’s high-end cookware before investing in your own. One-hour and three-hour classes are from $40 to $85, cookculture.com. The French Mint, run by Cordon Bleu chef Denise Marchessault, feels like a cosy Provençal kitchen. Featured in the May issue of Boulevard, Marchessault caters to “passionate foodies of all levels of experience who really want to nail classical techniques and have fun doing it.” Fun was definitely on the menu when participants gathered in the demonstration kitchen to watch David Mincey, chef and coowner of Camille’s Fine West Coast Dining, cook from locally sourced produce. As he whipped up a wildly creative halibut ceviche incorporating puréed rhubarb, limes, tomatoes, chive blossoms, ginger, salt and sugar, I looked around the room and saw 10 other people who couldn’t wait to emulate it for their next dinner party. Three-hour classes, $75, frenchmint.ca. At the Fairmont Empress Hotel, you can be an apprentice pastry chef under the tutelage of award-winning pastry chef D’oyen Christie. With separate classes for adults and children, participants don chef’s hats and personalized aprons and are thrown into the “real life, real drama” of a major hotel pastry
kitchen. With professional staff going about their business all around you, chef Christie leads a hands-on class of sweet wonders, including the famous Queen’s Dessert, chocolate boxes and Battenberg-style cookies. The two-hour class is $120. Google “epicurean journeys Fairmont Empress.” More sweet classes tempt at Creating Occasions, from cake decorating to crème brûlée, jelly roll and chocolate making. Owner Lora Lonesberry worked in the Empress pastry kitchen for 20 years before buying Victoria’s only baking school. She loves “watching the lights go on” as students learn to master the techniques and understand the food chemistry of baking. Lonesberry credits The Food Network with showing viewers how much fun they could be having in their own kitchens. One of her offerings is a garnish class, where participants learn to plate and finish their desserts just like those TV chefs. Three-hour classes are $50 to $225, creatingoccasions.com. Italian Chef Mario Guidetti has taught nearly 200 classes since he and wife Barbara opened Oak Bay’s La Tavola kitchenware boutique on Oak Bay Avenue 18 months ago. A full meal such as bruschetta, grilled salmon over greens, penne arrabiata, filet mignon with a balsamic reduction and sabayon is demonstrated by chef Guidetti and then enjoyed by six students. The secret is to sign up early and arrive to class hungry! The two-hour class is $47.50, latavolakitchenware.com. But you don’t have to go out to attend a cooking class. Your Thai-ness Cooking Academy, run by Thai-trained chefs Brant Bady and Pitchanan Thinnakorn, offers a thorough classic Thai class in your own home. You will learn to balance the five flavours of the cuisine, make authentic Tom Yum Goong soup, salad, red curry with pork and bamboo shoots and stirfry basil chicken. Watch for the couple’s upcoming food tours of Thailand. The four-hour class is $65. 250-744-6775. VB
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Salad Season is here. (lettuce explain)
The fish curry with shrimp at The London Chef is fresh, local and delicious.
At Aubergine, summer is known as salad season. And with salad season, comes the grand opening of our very first Garden and Produce Centre. We are pleased to offer you a fresh selection of locally grown Saanich produce, everything from Basil to Zucchini. As well as a bounty of Okanagan produce. And if growing your own is tempting, you’ll find we have a great assortment of starter plants and herbs. Happy salads everyone.
1308 Gladstone Avenue,Victoria, British Columbia. 250.590.1031
cOWICHAN COUPLE RECYCLES BY BIKE BY LINDA WILKINSON
photos by dean azim
Aaron Bichard and Katie Harris use green leg power to divert tonnes of recyclable material from the landfill each year.
HEN THE winter rainy season begins on Vancouver Island, most Cowichan Valley residents store their bikes and drive their cars. Everyone, that is, except for cycling enthusiasts like Aaron Bichard and Katie Harris. They have a special reason: as owners and operators of Cowichan Recyclists, they ride their bikes in the wind, rain and even snow to ensure that the Duncan business community has a recycling service. Attached to their bikes are custom-made trailers that hold up to 20 large containers of plastic, paper and cardboard. Larger cardboard pieces and extra plastic bags of recyclables are stacked on top of the containers and are often covered with tarps to keep the load dry. It is not unusual to see Bichard carting a two-metre-long trailer — with a load up to nearly three metres high — and another trailer behind it more than a metre long. “We are such a visual business. There aren’t many bikes and trailers as big as ours,” Bichard says with a smile. “Our business brings a new aspect, a new type of character to the downtown Duncan area. Not many communities can say, ‘Hey, we’re so green that we have bicycle recycling.’ ” Bichard, 34, cycles 30 hours per week collecting recyclable garbage from businesses. Harris, 35, is involved in the business only a few hours per week since she focuses most of her time on freelance radio production and voice-over work. So it is Bichard who people have become accustomed to, as he rides his bike with trailer in tow up to 40 kilometres per day. But few people realize that Bichard and Harris have an unusual shared philosophy and a depth of commitment to the downtown community. Until September 2007, award-winning journalist Bichard worked for the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial, and Harris worked as an announcer and commercial producer at Duncan’s SUN FM radio station. It appeared they were rising stars in the world of journalism, but they wanted something more. They wanted to spend time together making a difference in their community. “I would make all these connections with the community and talk to people who were making a difference — making a real social and environmental difference — by doing volunteer work or just doing amazing things in the community. It got to the point where I didn’t want to be the objective journalist who would write about these issues. I wanted to act instead of just recording.” So they quit their jobs to focus on freelance work, start their recycling business and devote their free time to connecting with the community. “We wanted to do this as part of our lifestyle. We thought it would be fun — an adventure. When you work for someone else for years and years, you miss out on quality time you 29
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Bichard unloads cleaned cans and other recyclable metals picked up from various Duncan offices.
could be spending with your family and doing what you’re passionate about. It is not about being rich,” says Bichard. Cowichan Recyclists began as a business enterprise in September 2007. Because Bichard and Harris live downtown, they noticed that there was no recycling service for commercial businesses. In addition, they discovered that a bylaw prohibited the disposal of 58 items, half of which are recyclable. Bichard and Harris surveyed downtown businesses to find out if they would pay for a recycling service. “There was definitely a need,” says Bichard. “There were enough people that we thought we’d try and get it going. Right away we met with people who said it probably wasn’t going to work, but they were willing to give it a try. It made sense — emission-free recycling.” They started with six clients: as word spread about their
service, the number grew steadily until they had 100, which is about half the businesses in downtown Duncan. While some clients were already recycling and began using the service mainly to save time, some businesses drastically changed their recycling habits. For example, Shirley McGuinness at the Station Street Gallery & Frame Shop started recycling glass, paper and plastic. “The city stopped their recycling service just before Cowichan Recyclists started so it was good timing,” says McGuinness. The couple shares a passion “We thought we for a greener community. would try to get it Harris gained respect for the going. Right away environment while completing we met with people a degree in geography at Simon who said it probably Fraser University. wasn’t going to “The setting — including the work, but they were people I surrounded myself with — all gave me an environmental willing to give it a awareness,” explains Harris. try. It made sense For Bichard, the “green” — emission-free conscience goes back to a time recycling.” when he would go hiking and camping in remote areas. “We would go to these places out in the middle of nowhere and there would be absolutely beautiful waterfalls, but there was a candy wrapper sitting there. I would think, ‘Wow, that’s really horrible that we’re having this effect.’ ” The couple are also co-presidents of the Jubilee Community Gardens, founding members of Cycle Cowichan and organizers of Cowichan Community Trailers, which is a project that provides trailers for residents to use on shopping trips. Bichard is on the board of directors for Cowichan BioDiesel Co-op and a board member for Byte Camp, which is a non-profit organization that teaches computer skills to children after school. It is not surprising that two of the organizations involve cycling: Bichard and Harris see cycling as a way life — a fast, easy, pollution-free means of getting around. And with the Cowichan Community Trailers, a free service for Cowichan Valley residents, others have an opportunity to experience what Bichard calls “a personal sense of accomplishment.” Bichard and Harris also support the community by providing recycling pick-up free of charge for non-profit organizations, such as Cowichan Valley Basket Society and Cowichan Bio-Diesel Co-op. Plus any money they make from refundable bottles is donated to charity. Last year they raised $500 for the Terry Fox Foundation. “One of the goals of Cowichan Recyclists is that we want to be a social enterprise — to be able to show part of why we are doing this is to support the community. If it wasn’t for community, we wouldn’t live in such an amazing place,” says Bichard. VB
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Vancouver Island University Cowichan Campus Now Open!
Check out the new Vancouver Island University, Cowichan Campus, now open in Duncan at 2011 University Way. Students enjoy CTF Amadeus CMYK Ad (Boulevard)_CTF Amadeus CMYK Ad (Boulevard) 11-08-05 2
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By Robert Moyes
MIXING IT UP Since watching her parents host cocktail parties and then ordering that first, wickedly delicious Manhattan at the tender age of 18, the Victoria Film Festival’s Kathy Kay has loved elegant libations. So when it came time to plan a fundraising event for the VFF, it didn’t take long for the idea of a swank celebration of all things cocktail to come frothing to the surface. Thus The Art of the Cocktail made its debut in 2009, just when so-called artisan cocktails were becoming trendy. “Our event is modelled after some of the big bar shows in New Orleans and Las Vegas,” says Kay. “But those ones are mostly pitched for industry, while a lot of ours are meant for the general public.” There are workshops and also a competition for budding mixologists, and a Best Bartender in the Pacific Northwest Competition. But the showcase is the Saturday night Grand Tasting, which Kay expects will draw 600 thirsty participants eager to sample mini-cocktails from 40 stations manned by “brand ambassadors” for companies like Grand Marnier as well as by local restaurants and bars with serious cocktail aspirations. “And if you want to meet girls, this is the place to do it,” she laughs. “It’s that whole Sex in the City thing, with everyone really dolled up and feeling glamorous.” Although poor Kay doesn’t get to drink at her own event, at least she knows several places in town where the sipping is divine: “When you taste a great cocktail, you really sit up and pay attention.” Running from October 1 to 3 at various venues (with the Grand Tasting at the Crystal Garden, 713 Douglas St.). For information, artofthecocktail.ca.
Expect new twists on classic cocktails, like this Pisco Sour with melon garnish, at The Art of the Cocktail, Oct. 1 to 3.
17 - 18
22 - 25
27 - 28
16 - Oct 1
Oct 1 - 3
Alix Goolden Hall
James Bay venues
The Art of the Cocktail
GHOSTLY THEATRE Although Graham McDonald would rather spend most of his time writing plays, a fella’s got to make a living and so he can often be found earning a stipend in the director’s chair at Theatre Inconnu, where he has worked for the past six years. McDonald directs about half of the Inconnu season, and his latest project is Shining City by renowned Irish playwright Conor McPherson, whose works are performed on Broadway and in London’s West End. “McPherson is one of the great modern playwrights and nobody has done his plays around here,” says McDonald. “I read as many plays as I can and when I find something that really grabs me I just have to do it.” You quickly realize that McDonald chooses works not just on their merit but also because he simply wants to see them performed live. McDonald, a big Harold Pinter fan, thinks that McPherson has a similar ability to craft dialogue that allows for the plot to turn without giving too much away, or going over the top. “We haven’t seen that kind of writing from the Brits in the last decade,” he says. Shining City explores the relationships that an ex-priest-turned-psychiatrist has with a few people, with the main themes being ones of guilt and regret set within a context of social dislocation. “This is an Irish ghost story, but the ghost is more psychological than real,” explains McDonald. “The play looks at the ghosts of relationships, of communication, and of home and our idea of home.” Running from September 16 to October 1 at Theatre Inconnu, 1923 Fernwood Rd. For information, theatreinconnu. com or phone 250-360-0234.
A new season begins!
Opening Night with Da Costa
september 12, 8pm royal theatre Tania Miller, conductor Alexandre da Costa, violin
Music of the Silver Screen
september 15, 2pm september 16 & 17, 8pm royal theatre Sean O’Loughlin, conductor
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Vivaldi Four Seasons september 24, 8pm september 25, 2:30 pm royal theatre
Giuseppe Pietraroia, conductor Terence Tam, leader, violin
250.385.6515 victoriasymphony.ca terence tam
PORTRAIT OF 15 STUDIOS James Bay is an attractive and eclectic neighbourhood, one whose bohemian spirit is reflected in the array of artists who open their studios for the annual James Bay Art Walk. Now entering its seventh go-round, this year’s walk features 15 artists who are lucky enough — or stubborn enough — to make a living sitting in front of an easel, a loom, or a potter’s wheel. “The studios tend to get visits by around 500 people over the two days,” says organizer Donna Eichel. “The walk has become a tradition, and is very popular,” she continues. “It’s informal, and there’s often a very lively interaction with the artists.” That you don’t need a car is part of the charm, plus there is the fun of wandering through historic James Bay and discovering some side streets you never knew existed. This year’s participants include Donna Eichel, David and Laurie Ladmore, Daniel Sali, Aurafidélité Arindam and Janice Beiles. Aside from the opportunity of snooping around artist studios, people can get on emailing lists and possibly buy a memorable piece of art. Eichel, whose compelling but raw and organiclooking paintings often have textures such as plaster and rust incorporated into them, sold about $9,000 worth of art during one Art Walk. “Mind you, sales like that could represent two years worth of work,” she says. The walk covers about 10 square blocks bounded by Beacon Hill Park, Dallas Rd, Oswego St. and Michigan St.
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Running September 17 and 18, 11 am to 5 pm. For information and a downloadable map, Google “James Bay Art Walk 2011.” Maps are available at Serious Coffee, 103-225 Menzies St.; Emily Carr House, 207 Government St.; and James Bay Community School Centre, 140 Oswego St.
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The National Ballet of Canada performs at the Royal Theatre, September 27 and 28. Noted mezzoSurfacing and Landscaping
soprano Susan Platts sings Mahler, Strauss, Vaughn Williams and more, Sept. 10 at Alix Goolden Hall.
FOR LOVE OF LIEDER Fans of lieder and classical “art song” will be delighted to know that Susan Platts recently moved back to Victoria and has lost no time in setting up a recital. An internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano, the Victoria-raised Platts has performed from Paris to the Kennedy Center and in 2004 was chosen to become the protégée of legendary soprano Jessye Norman. Praised for her “alluringly dusky voice” by The New York Times, Platts is a gorgeous singer who is often heard on the CBC. “It’s a big anniversary for Mahler, so I’m doing a lot of his songs, then an all-English second half,” says Platts, who is dedicating that part of the show to the memory of contralto Kathleen Ferrier, who is synonymous with much English repertoire, both classical and folk songs. Performing September 10, 8 pm, at Alix Goolden Hall, 907 Pandora Ave. Tickets available at Munro’s, Ivy’s, and Cadboro Bay Book Co.
NATIONAL DANCE In what amounts to a double birthday, Dance Victoria is opening its 15th season with a performance by the National Ballet of Canada, itself turning a venerable 60 this year. The program includes the 20-year-old The Second Detail by iconic choreographer William Forsythe, who created the work on commission for the National Ballet. Forsythe, a master of modern ballet who now has his own company, had spent two decades with the renowned Ballett Frankfurt. It was
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during this period that Victoria’s own Crystal Pite danced for him for seven years. Now an award-winning choreographer of international stature, Pite will be represented by the very contemporary Emergence, a large-scale work featuring 38 dancers. Concluding the program is a 1976 work by Jerome Robbins, the famed George Balanchine collaborator most famous for choreographing Broadway hits such as West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof. His intimate Other Dances is an exquisite duet danced to Chopin piano music, played live. According to Dance Victoria producer Stephen White, this will be an exciting night of mixed repertoire showcasing an energized National Ballet. “Under James Kudelka the National was a choreographer’s company, but after five years with Karen Kain as artistic director it is more about the dancing,” explains White. “Kain has reinvigorated the National and raised it to new levels.” Appearing September 27 and 28, 7:30 pm at the Royal Theatre. For tickets, call 250-386-6121.
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RIFFLANDIA KEEPS GROWING With a name that evokes a mystical land of music, Rifflandia is a made-in-Victoria success story with a national profile. Heading into its fourth season, the increasingly popular music festival will present 150 bands over its four-day run. Although it started out programming mostly indie-rock, these days it showcases everything from intelligent pop-folk to hip-hop, electronica, and even gospel. “The one thing we’re not is a rock festival,” says co-promoter Nick Blasko. “I like to borrow a description I heard of an American festival, which somebody characterized 40
as ‘the Sundance Festival of music festivals,’ ” he adds. Blasko, who runs Atomique Productions and puts on up to 175 shows a year in Victoria, is both delighted and daunted by the success of Rifflandia. “The festival gets a lot of respect these days, and many agents send us emails on the acts they have prioritized for consideration for Rifflandia,” notes Blasko. “Across the country we’re definitely seen as an important West Coast event, one that attracts big name acts as well as up-andcomers.” Although this year’s headliners include Ra Ra Riot, Broken Social Scene, De La Soul, and City and Colour (a.k.a. the folky alter ego of Alexisonfire’s Dallas Green), Blasko seems to get even more pleasure out of booking bands that are maybe just on the cusp of breaking big. “People have a good feeling about the festival and are happy to check out bands they’ve never heard of,” he says. Originally sited in a half-dozen downtown venues, Rifflandia is expanding to include what is essentially a separate three-day festival at Royal Athletic Park. This is expected to double attendance to 7,000, which will be great news to the many frustrated people who have tried and failed to get into various sold-out Rifflandia concerts in years past. And Blasko says the outdoor venue offers a lot more than just music. As well as the usual food venues and a beer garden powered by Phillips Brewing, there will be two art shows and a “cinema tent” where people can snack on a pulled-pork bun as they watch music-themed programming (while listening over headphones or iPods as they do at socalled silent raves). “It’s about loving the music and the experience,” Blasko says. Running September 22 to 25 at various venues. For information, rifflandia.com VB
Above left: The Rifflandia Festival rocked the crowd last year at Market Square, among one of many venues. This year Royal Athletic Park is the main site for the three-day event. Above: Broken Social Scene is one headliner sure to draw a crowd. 41
Phoebe Dunbar carves a life full of art, nature and community
Growing up, and even into her adult years, Sooke’s Phoebe Dunbar decided to be different from sister Mary, her identical twin. Phoebe earned a social work degree while Mary, with a fine arts degree, became a theatre designer. One worked with the troubled, the other with performers. This ensured no competition between the tousle-haired dynamos, whose pedigree includes aunt Jean Coulthard Evans, one of
BC’s most renowned composers; grandfather Reginald Brock, one of the founders of UBC and a leading geologist; and father David Brock, a popular Vancouver broadcaster and writer. “Our whole milieu of growing up was very artistic,” says Dunbar, 67, recalling days spent along the ocean in a then still-wild West Vancouver, where mother Babs taught Phoebe, Mary and two brothers how to sketch and dad Dave instilled
CRAFT AND DESIGN IN CANADA 1940 - 1980
CELEBRATE THE DESIGNS YOU GREW UP ON
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Phoebe Dunbar lovingly carves a burl in her Sooke studio.
BY SHANNON MONEO
photos by justin eckersall
the fine art of creating art from beachcombed treasures. But after a decade immersed in social work throughout BC, Dunbar’s early roots resurfaced in the 1980s, not long after she and husband Bob Dunbar moved to Sooke. “I got into art… it liberated me.” Pottery came first but Dunbar soon began carving, using knives to fashion paddles when she and her sister were on one 43
Dunbar brands all her burl creations with a specialized burn mark while the entrance to her Sooke studio speaks to her eclectic style.
of their many West Coast canoe or kayak trips. One summer, the paddlers forgot to bring plates so Dunbar whittled some up. Driftwood was transformed into salmon. In 1998, Dunbar retired from her job in Sooke as the community school co-ordinator. A couple of years later, while recuperating from surgery to fix arthritic knees that had carried her on innumerable outdoor adventures, she picked up power tools to ease the boredom. It was like Dylan going electric. Her material of choice? Burls, the mysterious exterior growths that occur on perhaps one out of 10,000 coastal trees. Smaller than a teacup or bigger than a Smart car, burls have become Dunbar’s calling card. Today, her Phoebewood carvings of bowls, trays, spoons, cradles, love seats and candelabras are shipped around the world to people craving a chip off Canada’s West Coast block. Her many treks deep into the Island’s woods meant she was familiar with burls, an item that can’t be bought at the lumberyard or Home Depot. Instead, Dunbar and chainsawtoting friends scour the forests, seeking the elusive object. Or else she deals with “burl brokers,” men of the forest who’ve discovered the value in what’s left in the wilderness. Burls cost as little as $20, up to $300 for a big, red cedar, bird’s-eye piece. If Dunbar’s lucky, she’ll acquire 15 burls a year, which resettle in her woodshed/carving shed, once Bob’s workshop, where she gets “lost in the reverence of wood.” 44
“It is my place where I sit out of the rain or cold or heat of summer to smell the cedar, select the raw wood, pay attention to the commissions in my notebook or receive a visitor to help them choose a raw burl. Most customers want something with flaws and shapes that are alive and will be animated when finished. They love old, gnarly yew, old red cedar heartwood, wood with distinct features, the smell and colour of yellow cedar.” Using everything from simple hand tools up to her $1,500, Swiss-made LogMaster, Dunbar shapes the burl to what’s in her mind’s eye. But often, as she carves, and the wood’s grain, flaws, colouring or special features become apparent, her original vision changes. “I’ll conform more to the evolving possibilities as they emerge under my eyes and hand.” In the past eight years or so, Dunbar has made about 400 bowls and other wood pieces. Two hours of work produces a fish platter that sells for $40. Her most expensive piece was an $8,500, two-seater bench made from a yellow cedar burl. While her creations can be found at craft shows, fairs, galleries, restaurants and via her website (phoebewood.com), Dunbar is selective. She refused sales to absentee offshore clients wanting West Coast art and a Vancouver stockbroker merely seeking an addition to his portfolio. “I want to meet my customers. The relationship is important,” she says. “I’m not a mail-order catalogue.” Evonne Black has witnessed the impact of Dunbar’s work.
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Black co-ordinated the well-respected juried art show, Sooke Fine Arts, for five years and whenever a Phoebewood piece made it into the show, Dunbar instructed it include a label saying, “You are allowed to touch.” “Phoebe’s bowls have an immediate tactile aura with the warm, rich colours. She feels it’s important to connect to her work by touching,” Black explains. Black helped organize Sooke’s presence at the Richmond O Zone during the 2010 Olympics, where one of Dunbar’s bowls held business cards. International visitors couldn’t keep their hands off it, Black recalls. Dunbar’s work is emblematic of Vancouver Island. “It shows who we are, what we do here, working with native wood. It’s what people expect from Sooke,” Black says. Sooke’s Mayor Janet Evans is well-acquainted with Dunbar and her “beautiful woodwork,” but their relationship is precarving. In the early 1980s, they met rowing longboats, one of many Sooke programs that Dunbar had an oar in. “Phoebe brought many contributions to Sooke,” Evans says. “She’s always there, ready to contribute. And she’s so infectious with her energy.” In 1989, Dunbar was a director of the Sooke Festival of History Society, which built two Spanish longboats, organized wooden-boat festivals and competitions. The same year she co-founded the popular Kludahk Outdoors Club, which raised money to build six cabins on the San Juan Ridge. In her job as the first community school co-ordinator, from 1987 to 1998, at Sooke’s Edward Milne high school, Dunbar transformed the institution. A theatre, whale skeleton installation and maritime programs were some of her legacies. She may have retired from paid work in 1998, but in between burl sculpting, kayak adventures, San Juan Ridge hikes or winter holidays in Mexico with Bob in their motor home, Dunbar’s social work past lived on. In 2000, she was a founding director of Sooke’s CASA, a facility housing eight agencies for families, youth and children. Her co-creation of CASA’s healing garden and community vegetable garden likely planted the seed for the Sooke Region Food Chi Society, of which Dunbar is a founder. The Chi’s biggest achievement is the popular Sun River Community Allotment Gardens, where she raised thousands of dollars to create a splendid garden for over 100 growers. “I don’t know where she gets the time,” Evans says. Granted, the couple has no children. When she wakes each morning, the day’s slate is relatively clean. Operating without digital devices, she looks at a calendar hanging in her kitchen to see how her day is mapped. “The biggest thing I strive for is balance,” she says. For Dunbar, that means friendships, maybe a walk by the ocean, sizing up a burl and that all-important contemplative time at the end of the day. “I need time to clear my head, learn how to sit.” VB 47
American architect Philip Johnson made the Glass House famous. But the collaboration between a Victoria designer and his clients made one Fairfield glass house liveable â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and very private. Unlike the modernist architectural shrine splayed in the centre of a rambling Connecticut estate, this Fairfield home sits on a regularsize lot, with neighbouring houses pressed to the edges. When contemplating what to build on the site, its owners put in an order for the maximum amount of glass possible within the rules of city setbacks. In every direction, including the roof, which is peaked
This stunning 1910 Samuel Maclure character mansion has been meticulously upgraded to include an incredible 3600 s/f owner's floor plus 5 separate revenue suites. A truly rare offering at $2,800,000.
J ordy H arris 250-385-2033 jordyharris.com
By carolyn hEIman photos by gary mckinstry
This Fairfield home has the maximum allotment of glass yet is still private. A folding glass “NanaWall” connects the open concept main floor with the outdoor patio. Polished concrete floors, plus a slab concrete dining table are both hard wearing and attractive. A trio of giant globe lights plummet from the 20-ft high ceiling.
Clockwise: The second-storey loft functions as the library and media room, holding the wall-to-wall bookcase for the ownersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; book collection. A cantilevered staircase floats up to a second storey loft, also reachable by elevator. The master bath has two sinks at different heights to accommodate the needs of both husband and wife.
glass in some parts, large spans of glass bring the out-of-doors inside. Paradoxically the home feels like a private enclave, in part from the careful placement of windows and accidental afterthought — corrugated metal fencing around the property that picks up on a material theme on its exterior. Three other top items on the wish list for owners Peter Lawless and Karen March were a folding glass wall (called a NanaWall) that psychologically doubles the size of the ground floor by connecting it directly to the backyard patio; a wallto-wall bookcase for Lawless’s collection; and a “wall of fire” which is how March terms their EcoSmart fireplace, which uses bioethanol and doesn’t require venting. The couple worked closely with designer Keith Baker, of KB Design, continually refining ideas and incorporating modernist ideas that March was gleaning in her role as “Google Queen.” March was into her third home design project, with earlier ones leaning toward traditional. She spent the first few cuts at the design of this home pushing her professional collaborators into making it more and more modern. “Once they were there with me they were off and running,” March says about the process. The result is an open-concept home unfurled once past the 24-foot cathedral ceiling entrance with a cantilevered staircase floating up to the second floor loft. Kitchen, dining and living rooms are comfortably nested together and beyond that the backyard beckons for further space expansion. A trio of giant globed lights plummets from the 20-foot high ceiling, architecturally defining the dining space and artistically adding texture to the soft grey interior. Sleek, black-stained maple kitchen cabinetry is accented with stainless steel. A rolling appliance garage covers clutter and maintains a tidy uptown aesthetic. Throughout, March has combined high-end designs of BC artist Martha Sturdy, everyday IKEA and her own self designs (a concrete slabbed dining table) into one cohesive look. Did we mention the home is designed to be wheelchairaccessible for March, a Paralympic athlete who is the reigning world title-holder for the H1 class in paracycling? March shuns the label “accessible.” “It’s a custom home. If you’re building a custom home, you’re building a custom home for a particular set of clients.” Lawless, who is March’s coach, is quick to back her up. “The point is not that the home is for a person in a wheelchair. The point is that it is for Karen and Peter.” In their case, custom has to fit the six-foot, three-inch Lawless and March, who has been a quadriplegic with limitations in her hand strength and mobility after being in a motor vehicle accident when she was 20. Lawless’s master bath sink is installed higher than hers. He works in the kitchen in an area of the counter where the dishwasher is installed, which by design has to be higher. In other areas of the house counters are lower but the modern style easily lends itself to the shifting counter heights.
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The open concept living room displays the couple’s art collection and features a “wall of fire” that is an EcoSmart fireplace using bioethanol fuel that doesn’t need venting. The kitchen cabinetry is black-stained maple with steel accents and its modern style lends itself to shifting counter heights.
Nothing about this home signals “a person in a wheelchair lives here.” Yes, hallways are wider. So are doorways. But all of this fits naturally in the context of the spacious, modern, open floor plan. The custommade floating bed is recognizable as being a little lower than normal only after the feature is pointed out. Walk-in closets have different rod heights but the design seems as much about space saving as it is functional for the two people who live there. The front-loading washer and dryer are on a platform, but that’s a feature now offered by most manufacturers. Door and patio access is seamless, yet building-code conforming, with the addition of tiles that are installed to the lip but still allow water to drain away. “To do this design I really had to try to imagine myself living in this home from [March’s] perspective: lower eye level, dealing with door swings, room to manoeuvre and access storage, sinks, closets, drawers and especially accessing the flush patio out the NanaWall doors at the rear of the living room,” says Baker. A second-floor loft, reached from either an elevator or the staircase, has a second bedroom and reading area with a pull-out couch for occasions when guests spill over the home’s two bedrooms. The couple briefly discussed not installing the $20,000 elevator, but Lawless jokes that March couldn’t stand the idea of him having an off-limits space that he didn’t have to keep to March’s 53
design. build. inspire.
meticulous standards. “Yes, I threatened that I would pull myself up the stairs to the top to check that it wasn’t a mess,” March jokes. While the home is custom to their needs, March was cognizant that one day it might have other owners. It doesn’t, for instance have a bathtub in the master bath as she’s not a fan. But hidden under a dressing divan, where March likes to paint her nails and dress, is roughed-in plumbing for one. Outside, not a blade of grass grows in the minimalist garden, which suits the couple just fine. “Peter doesn’t want to mow it and I don’t want to wheel on it,” says March. Instead green accents come from bamboo, a lush privacy cedar hedge and fountain grasses. In the back corner a workout cottage is designed to accommodate March’s cycling and strengthtraining regimes. Indeed, every part of the home and yard is about accommodation. Says Baker: “For many reasons Karen and Peter’s home will always remain one of my all-time favourite homes that I designed. I came away from the experience with a deep appreciation of the importance of how a home must serve its occupants.” VB
NOMINATED FOR 3 GOLD CARE AWARDS 2010
christopherdevelopments.com PREPARED FOR: CHRISTOPHER DEVELOPMENTS PUBLICATION: BOULEVARD INSERTION DATE: SEPTEMBER 2011
SUPPLIERS AND TRADES: A number of skilled professionals, trades and suppliers helped create the March-Lawless home. The homeowners wish to acknowledge the following contributions:
volcanic limestone baths
House design: Keith Baker: KB Design; Custom Cabinetry: Swiftsure Woodworkers Ltd.; Counters: Island Stainless and Aluminum Design; Flooring: Tru-Glaze Ltd. (concrete), Houriganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (carpet and hardwood); Appliances: Coast Wholesale Appliances; Plumbing fixtures:Â Cantu Bathrooms and Hardware Ltd.; Lighting: McLaren Lighting; Fireplace: Vancouver Gas Fireplace Co. (EcoSmart); Elevator: Accessibility Group; Electrical: Gridline Systems; Tile: Decora Tile; Landscaping: Bricklok Surfacing & Landscaping Ltd.
The master bedroom has a custom made floating bed and seamlessly flows to the outside.
LYNNE SAGER - RE/MAX CAMOSUN 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
DALLAS CHAPPLE - RE/MAX CAMOSUN 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
LISA WILLIAMS CADBORO BAY BEACH just steps away from this gorgeous 4 bedrm family home! Totally renovated from top to bottom & 'like-new' inside & out w/beautiful HW flrs, gourmet kitchen, elegant living/dining rms, deluxe master w/spa bath, 3 gas FPs, massive deck off the kitchen, huge games rm, family room & office areas & more! Private gate access directly to Gyro park, tennis courts & the beach! Walk to Peppers grocery, Starbucks, shops and more! $1,389,000
sPECTACULAR OCEANFRONT W/155’ FRONTAGE! This exceptional property enjoys tons of privacy & sunshine, breathtaking views & low-bank beach access with elegant 4 bedrm/4 bth home upgraded inside & out! Beautiful HW flrs, gourmet kitchen, open, bright design, stone FP, expansive master suite & huge patios that are perfect for summer entertaining! $1,998,000
DRAMATIC CUsTOM OCEANvIEW HOME . . . incredibly special with a huge ‘WOW’ factor throughout! Dramatic hi-ceilings, 3 bdrms plus media & office rms, award-winning kitchen, huge windows, luxurious main flr master, private & fully fenced W-facing patio/gardens & so much more, on quiet & exclusive ‘Shore Way’ in Gordon Head, just a stone’s throw from the ocean! $1,535,000
IMMACULATE 2-3 BEDRM RANCHER across from the ocean in a peaceful Central Saanich neighbourhood! This attractive hm has been lovingly cared for by long-term owners, featuring spacious formal living & dining rms, large family rm off kitchen, updated appliances, HW floors, & great views to the ocean! Flat & completely usable .27ac property boasts a sunny W-facing patio & raised flower beds! $655,000
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 with options to sub-divide! Close to Cadboro Bay Village, UVic and just 12 mins from downtown! $5,975,000
FABULOUs CUsTOM HOME ON 2 ACREs in sunny Central Saanich location! The beautiful, 2600 sq.ft. no-step home boats high-end finishing, gorgeous woodwork, high ceilings, 3 bedrms/3 baths, gourmet kitchen, luxurious master & fantastic covered & open patios! Enjoy beautiful valley views & a peaceful, quiet location with paddocks, a new riding ring and accommodation for your horses too! $1,388,000
UNIQUE BEACH DR. OPPORTUNITY! This 1920 sq.ft. hm boasts amazing ocean views! In the same family for decades, the original hm was taken down to the studs & re-built by a local contractor creating a modern, hm that could be the ultimate ‘couple’s retreat’ w/wall-to-wall windows, huge living rm, open gourmet kitchen space & 3 bedrms w/2 master options. The house has been drywalled & primed and is being sold ‘AS IS’. . . ready for you to finish to your liking! $998,000
INCREDIBLE vIEWs from this 7th floor, 2 bdrm unit at Laurel Point! Sunny, corner unit boasts new paint & carpeting, with views from the Empress Hotel to the Inner Harbour, Sooke Hills and south to the snowcapped Olympic Mts.! Spacious and open 1436 sq.ft. floorplan with flexible spaces and lots of room for entertaining . . . just steps from everything! $698,000
sPACIOUs & AFFORDABLE 3 bedrm, 2 bath half duplex in popular Colwood neighbourhood close to schools, parks & all amenities! Lots of updates including laminate floors, newer kitchen, new paint & more. Large .25ac property is flat, fully usable & great for the kids! Detached garage and lots of extra parking for RV or extra cars. $389,000
Lisa Williams offers professional & personalized service combined with the BEST INTERNATIONAL MARKETING STRATEGY and a commitment to achieving the BEST RESULTS FOR YOU
250•514•1966 Direct www.LisaWilliams.ca Century 21 Queenswood r ealty ltd.
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ELEGANT SOUTHWEST FACING WATERFRONT IN TEN MILE POINT 5 BEDROOMS, 8 BATHROOMS, 6,551 S.F. SEASIDE DINGHY DOCK
595 BROOKLEIGH ROAD - $1,450,000
BORDERING ELK LAKE, 1.78 ACRES. SPECTACULAR GEORGIAN REVIVAL CHARACTER 5 BEDROOMS, 5 BATHROOMS, BUILT 1956 5,816 S.F.
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Get the results that you desire. Call Lynne for professional representation, when you wish to sell your home.
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“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 COnDO What a great location. Just across the street from the beach, & yet close to shopping and buses. 1 bedroom, 1 bath, new flooring, paint throughout. Ocean views from balcony. $310,000
ARBuTuS This 3 bedroom plus den rancher is close to Houlihan Park & UVic. New laminate floors, marble kitchen counters, private .23 acre garden. Double garage & extra parking. $679,000
VIEWS OF BEAR MOunTAIn This 2005 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom home features a living room with loft ceiling & gas fireplace. Looks like a designer show home! Plus rec room & media room down! $534,900
SOuTh OAk BAy Looking for a contemporary rancher in Oak Bay? This beautiful home has 3 bedrooms on the main & a bonus room up, stunning alder floors in the Griffin Design kitchen & family room & an easy care lot with back lane. $849,900
CAMOSun This home has retained its charming character through-out with re-finished fir floors on the main floor, coved ceilings & fireplace in livingroom. 3 bedrooms on main & 1 down: it is perfect for students going to Camosun or UVic. South – facing deck and nice yard. $499,900
Stunning, south facing suite with its own garden, trees, gas fire pit & gas barbecue hook-up! Built 2009, this 1 bdrm/1 bath condo features: an Italian Schiffini kitchen, floor to ceiling windows w/privacy shades and European stainless steel appliances. 1 parking spot, rentals & pets $429,000 allowed. Gorgeous pool & hot tub!
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: email@example.com
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Kart Nesting Chair by Coalesse $674, Graphic Office
Teknion Contessa Task Chair from $1,000, Heritage Office Furnishings
Herman Miller EmbodyÂŽ Chair Executive
The new office chair: itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s becoming a personal thing By carolyn heiman
Zody chair by Haworth from $600, Liesch Office Interiors
Buttercup chair by Blu Dot $879, Only Human Modern Furniture
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OLDILOCKS WOULD be pleased with what’s happening to office chair design. While offices themselves are moving away from personal enclaves to more open collaborative zones, the chair is becoming deeply personal and often custom fit to suit an individual’s angles and curves. Brenda DeWynter of Liesch Office Interiors ideally likes to take a few key body measurements before recommending a chair. Leg and back length, shoulder and elbow angles, and lumbar placement are top on her list. Her 15-minute assessment will also factor how a person works. For example, do they lean back a lot? How much leg room? Increasingly employees take their chair from office to office, and in some cases chair ownership is built into contracts, she adds. Also becoming commonplace is companies offering employees their corporate discount, enabling them to have their made-for-them chair at home as well.
Style Ideas Mesh Overstuffed exec chairs are passé. A less bulky look is fashionable and mesh, as well as being breathable, creates a chair that visually takes up less space. “Those oldfashioned large banker chairs tend to make you look small and inefficient,” says Laura Harlos, an interior designer with Graphic Office Interiors. Black is still an option but a colour rainbow is available for anyone wanting to punch it up a notch or fit into a particular home décor. “We are seeing an infusion of white and bright orange as well as fabric with unique patterns,” says DeWynter. This colour range makes it easier for the office chair to find a place at home, where, by the way, dedicated office space is giving way to the notion that work can be done anywhere now that laptop is reigning king. “In most people’s home there is no designated office space. They are working on laptops in front of the TV or in the kitchen… they are where the action is in the home,” says Harlos. Fabric and foam chairs are still the norm in large institutions, and in some settings mesh isn’t suitable, notes DeWynter. It can be harder on clothing and, if you’re in an occupation where you carry equipment on a belt (policing comes to mind) it’s not ideal.
Testing the Limits of Comfort While a bum test is always a good idea, Harlos says that might be dangerous. You may be used to a chair that’s not a great fit but have yet to experience its health impact. You have to have someone looking at you objectively to see how your arms and legs are aligning, she says. The right chair may not be comfortable right away.
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Are you sitting down to hear this? Expect to pay $500 to $1,000 for a well-made chair that can adjust to your own body type. A good-quality chair will last years, while a big-box special may be tossed in a few years, says Harlos, who likes to buy chairs as graduation and officewarming presents.
Dolf Hengelmolen, environmental health and safety advisor and ergonomics expert at Simon Fraser University, makes recommendations for chair comfort and safety: 1. Chairs should have five casters; any less and they tip easily. Chairs on hard floors should have soft casters to prevent rolling too fast. Those on carpet should have carpet casters, which are harder and ease back strain. 2. Good chairs can be adjusted in a number of ways including height, lumbar support placement, arm height and spread, seat pan, depth and tilt. 3. Think in terms of 90 to 110 degree angles. When you’re seated, knees should be angled between 90 and 110 degrees. Less than this can cause back problems. More and the front of the seat pan can restrict blood circulation in the legs. 4. A properly fitted seat pan will allow two to three fingers of room between the back of your legs and the front of the seat pan. If there is no space, the seat pan is likely too big and the chair won’t provide proper back support. Too much space indicates that the seat pan is too small. 5. Adjust the lumbar support of the backrest so it rests in the lower back area that naturally curves when standing. 6. Adjust arm rests so elbows form an angle in the range of 90 to 110 degrees. Too high and they will push shoulders up, causing musculoskeletal and neck injury. Too low and wrists may be harmed.
For Every Rule There Is an Exception Dave Craig, a partner at Devon Properties, hasn’t used a chair in his office for 13 years and there won’t be one in there any time soon. Standing while working has increased his energy, streamlined his telephone calls and maximized meeting efficiency. After all, who wants to linger in a meeting where you’re standing? “I do it because I find my energy levels are a lot higher when I work standing up,” says Craig, who adopted the practice after back surgery. Standing around while working burns about 20 per cent more calories, says Wade Neilson from Graphic Office.
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Others swear by sitting on an exercise ball. Yet Hengelmolen thinks using an exercise ball for a chair is a “crazy idea… they are designed for exercise.” Yet anecdotally he recognizes some people are sold on using a ball. “Maybe for 30 minutes it’s okay. But to sit for eight hours on a ball like that. I don’t know. Maybe if you are a yoga master. Some people can handle it but most people will develop some type of back injury… having said that there are always exceptions.” Before he champions the idea he wants to see more study looking at outcomes after a longer period of time.
Dave Craig of Devon Properties eschews the office chair. He adopted standing at work after back surgery and finds the practice increases his energy levels. Standing also burns about 20 per cent more calories.
Chairs Designers Love Zody by Michigan manufacturer Haworth is DeWynter’s top choice. “The level of adjustability is fantastic. I can fit everyone in that chair and the design is beautiful. It is an all-round fantastic product.” The manufacturer adds a sustainability promise; 98 per cent of the chair is recyclable and Haworth offers a buyback program. The Embody® office chair by über-trendy Herman Miller would be in Amber Leask’s dream office. “It’s very ergonomic and super comfortable to sit in,” says the Gabriel Ross designer. The chair’s technology shows like a badge of honour. There are pricier chairs but Graphic Office’s Wade Neilson picks Leap by Steelcase as his favourite. “It’s our most popular chair. There are lots of chairs that fit that 90th percentile of the population.” Leap is a foam and fabric chair developed after four years of research involving 732 test participants. Like the Embody, the chair’s back, seat and arms move as you move. People with horrible posture often “hate it the first week but the second week they love it.” VB
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Can you commit — and stick — to a fall workout regime? By AMANDA FARRELL-LOW photos by justin eckersall
Summer is on the way out, taking with it the many welcomed deviations from the routines we tend to adopt in the colder months. Sure, we could lament that the days of lakeside vacations and backyard barbecues are coming to a close, or we could see a return to the grind as an opportunity to start a healthy habit: establishing a regular fitness regime. But how does one go about finding a good exercise routine — and then stick with it? Some exercises are definitely better than others. Recent research from McMaster University’s kinesiology department points to high-intensity interval training, in the form of stair climbing or bike riding, as an efficient and effective way of getting in shape. This training was recently cited in a New York Times fitness article alongside things like squats and brisk walking as some of the “best” exercises around but the reality is there’s no magic bullet when it comes to fitness. Factors such as availability, whether people prefer to exercise in a group or by themselves, and personal fitness goals are important to consider, says Randy Wood, fitness program supervisor for the Victoria YMCA. Cost is also a concern: you can pay anywhere from under $10 per session for rec centre group classes to upwards of $75 an hour for a one-on-one personal trainer. Says Wood: “My big thing, that I always ask my clients, is what can you realistically commit to?” “Everybody’s individual availability also plays a huge role. It is best to come in at least three to five times a week,” says Wood. “But I can’t force someone
Certified personal trainer Rhonda Jarmuth, of Victoria Wellness Professionals, demonstrates the four components of a good workout routine: warmup (with a medicine ball, previous page) and, from left to right, strength training (here with weights), aerobic conditioning (here by turning heavy ropes) and stretching (here with a pole) to increase flexibility.
to come in if they are not going to do it.” Another important factor is finding a routine with the right balance of strength-training, cardio and stretching. “You can’t really do one without the other,” says Narina Prokosch, a registered nurse and certified personal trainer who founded Victoria Wellness Professionals, a personalized fitness facility, in 2001. Her facility largely deals with the over-35 crowd, an age when the body starts to lose flexibility in muscles and joints. “When you’re starting to put a fitness program together, especially if you’re going to get into strength training, which I think everybody should be doing, you need to have mobility in the joints and flexibility in the muscles to perform the exercises.” This might sound complicated, but Prokosch says it can take as little as five to six minutes at the beginning and end of an hour-long workout to address these issues. Prokosch says that identifying problem areas, such as ankle joints, hips and the thoracic spine, and warming them up with five to six minutes of mobility drills and then ensuring proper stretching at the end of the workout, can help to build flexibility and make the overall routine more effective and balanced. “It’s actually really, really simple,” she says. “It’s just that people aren’t used to it; they just kind of go into the gym and go at it.” Naturally, both she and Wood recommend seeking advice from someone who knows what they’re doing. “I think the best investment people can make is some time with a good trainer,” says Prokosch. Wood says an hour-long program would contain a fiveminute warm-up on equipment like an elliptical trainer or rowing machine that uses your whole body, followed by 20 to 25 minutes of cardio, 25 to 30 minutes of weights and five to 10 minutes of stretching. “An hour can be split up into whatever the client wants to focus on most, whether it be strength, cardio or flexibility,” he says. “If the person wants to focus more on weights, of course you would boost that time up and shorten the others and vice versa if they want to focus more on cardio or flexibility.” Cardio exercises can include using machines such as treadmills, bikes or stair-masters, partaking in a group class like aerobics or spin or even swimming, biking or running. When it comes to strength activities, Wood says those are more difficult to duplicate outdoors, but boot camps can be a good option. “Indoors you will find every type of equipment available at many gyms including leg press machines, chest press machines, lat pull down and seated row machines for the back.” He also suggests medicine balls and dumbbells as well as group strength-training classes. Facilities such as Victoria Wellness Professionals offer an indepth pre-screening session, regular appointments with trainers and a focus on well-balanced resistance training. The YMCA also offers free orientation sessions to its members,
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where paid staff or volunteers show members around the facility, get them to set fitness goals and design a basic workout program. “It’s simple, but it’s individual and it’s created for them,” says Wood. “We follow up every two months to make sure that they’re happy and we give the opportunity to try something different, shred that program up or just revamp it a little bit.” If developing your own program or working with a trainer isn’t up your alley, Wood suggests taking a class, most of which have a cardio, strength and stretching component built right into them. “Classes are great, because you don’t have to think,” he says. “You can just go and follow the leader, literally, and you’re good to go.” The YMCA offers a variety of fitness classes, including popular spin classes on stationary bikes and a group strength-training class, which has been growing in popularity because it combines the social aspect of a group environment with learning how to weight train properly. As for sticking with a regime, paying money can be a good incentive, says Wood, as can having a workout partner. While having a well-rounded fitness routine that you enjoy is important, the key to sticking New research is with regular exercise, even if it showing even is only twice a week, is that you breaking up fitness have to see it as a long-term commitment. into smaller time “You have to see it as a allotments works. priority, like anything else Can’t fit in even in your life,” says Wood. 30 minutes a day? “Sometimes that’s hard to do. Try three 10 minute When you ask a smoker to quit sessions. smoking, they know that’s the right idea, but if it’s not the right time or the place, it’s not going to work.” New research is showing, however, even breaking up fitness into smaller time allotments works. Can’t fit in even 30 minutes a day? Try three 10 minute sessions. Research is also showing that excercising on vibrating plates recruits more muscle fibres and requires just a 15 minute session to build muscle. The technology, along with a personal trainer, is offered locally by Vibes Fitness. The McMaster research found high-intensity interval training was one of the fastest ways to fitness and was adaptable to almost any activity. Essentially you do the activity (run, cycle, stair climb) at a level that is uncomfortable for you for 60 seconds, then do it at a leisurely pace for another 60 seconds, repeating the process 10 times, or 20 minutes in all. Sprinting up stairs builds leg muscle and cardiovascular fitness. Fortunately for us, Victoria has a lot of scenic stairs. VB
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Darryl looks at “cloud computing” from both sides now By Darryl Gittins
When I first heard the term “cloud computing” I summarily dismissed it as a concept of little significance for real people, and that it would go the way of the eight-track and Betamax. I was wrong. The cloud is here to stay, and good or bad, it’s having a big effect on how we do things. First the bad. When the Internet connection goes wobbly, the cloud becomes a wisp and your data disappears along with it. This was driven home for me when an online publishing system was introduced at a large software company where I write. Instead of working on an article that I saved on my hard disk, I was now expected to write in a web browser, and everything was saved on a server in Timbuktu. That’s a nice idea except web browsers tend to crash fairly often, and when they do, your work is lost. A mere mention of this spiffy new system to my otherwise congenial and well-mannered editors sends them into apoplectic fits. Similar cloud-based systems are being introduced by some newspapers, and the systems are loathed by the writers and editors who are forced to use them, typically because they are considered unreliable. Now the good. Plenty of awesome cloud-based tools can help make your Internet experience not only easier and more fun, but also safer, even if you don’t do any mobile computing. Office suites like Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365 let you access email, calendars and contacts from all your Internet devices. They let you run powerful features on a very basic 76
device because the processing and storage is all done on the server. You don’t have to install a massive software package, and you don’t have to worry about updating the software. Even ebook sites like Kobo or Kindle make use of the cloud by letting you access any of your purchased books from any of your devices. Some even save your page for you when you open a book using a different reader. If you do rely on mobile computing with a tablet or a smartphone, you may already be using Dropbox or Evernote to store information on the cloud. These are must-have tools. Dropbox in particular solves so many problems, not the least of which is that challenge of how to share files between a Mac and a PC. The cloud is an excellent back-up option. Of course it’s important to back up to an external drive or another computer, but what if you lost both the computer and the back-up device at the same time? I hate to mention words like fire or flood or burglary, but really to have a safe back-up system, also copy your important files to the cloud. Most online storage providers offer a free basic account, and then require paid subscriptions if you need more space. Check out CrashPlan.com, skydrive.com, dropbox.com or sugarsync.com. Storing your passwords in the cloud may at first seem risky. However, the big risk is using “easy-to-remember” passwords, and then using the same passwords for many sites. Not just “other people” have their identity hacked. People you know do, and could easily become you. It’s important that you use unique and strong passwords for any website that requires authentication. The conundrum is, do you remember and organize all those “hard-to-remember” passwords? One solution I like is a free cloud-based password system called Lastpass from lastpass.com. It works as an add-in to most browsers, remembers all the complex passwords for you and then fills information in for you on websites. It’s all stored and safely encrypted on the cloud. You only have to remember one master password, which you can use to access everything on almost any Internet-connected device. Note that to use the add-in with mobile devices, you need the premium service for $1/month, which is reasonable if it lets you access your bank’s website on your Blackberry without causing you to lose sleep. As with everything Internet, remember that nothing is secure. Some things belong in your bank’s safety deposit box, and some things should not be stored online. Recently, a Dropbox failure took out its password system. For several hours, anyone could access any Dropbox folder without knowing the password. Security is always a tradeoff, usually between convenience and safety. For me, a password manager like Lastpass offers easy, effective credential management without too much risk of the system being compromised, but I realize that it’s still a roll of the dice. One last mention of what is likely the biggest, most ubiquitous cloud-based system to date: Facebook. Maybe you’ve heard of it? VB
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Three authors and three books honour men in the modern, metaphoric trenches
By adrienne dyer
THE EVENT: The Mic Fiction Night, founded by Ruth Linka, founder of Brindle & Glass Publishing. Held in the Fort Street Café, this monthly event brings readers and authors together to chat over a pint or cuppa. Long, narrow, and dimly lit, the café is dominated by a no-frills bar backlit by fluorescent lighting from the kitchen. A handful of round tables and black leather sofas held the 20 or so folks who showed up. One look around and I found myself picturing chaps in turtlenecks and corduroy caps reciting poetry into a room clouded by cigarette smoke. Instead, we got three middleaged intellects with three very different senses of humour and, in my view, an inimate look at the inner workings of the male mind. THE AUTHORS AND THEIR BOOKS: Dennis E. Bolen, Anticipated Results: Bolen is an editor, journalist, former creative writing teacher at UBC, and author of seven works of fiction with the first published way back in 1975. Raised after the Second World War, Bolen says Anticipated Results is a book about his generation, particularly those (men) “who did not take advantage of the vast opportunities that opened up after the war.” His collection of connected short stories is, he says, a
sort of “love song to the losers, the unsuccessful, the drunkards, the numb,” who stumble across the pages, littering the way with failure both funny and poignant. It’s a departure from his previous works. George Szanto, The Tartarus House on Crab: Szanto is a crime writer with several published novels and national awards under his belt and an international following. Szanto’s latest work veers literary, with a plot that sorts out one man’s sense of family loss as he attempts to tear down the family house on the fictional West Coast island of Crab. Szanto says the entire novel is based on a snippet of an overheard conversation that began: “Yes, and then he returned home to his father’s house to tear it down board by board… ” John Gould, Seven Reasons Not to be Good: Gould is a University of Victoria writing teacher and editorial board member of The Malahat Review whose second book of short stories was a finalist for the Giller Prize. Seven Reasons Not to be Good is Gould’s first novel and depicts how when Matt’s friend Zane decides to let himself die of HIV for ethical reasons, Matt sends a series of seven bombshell postcard messages hoping to convince his friend to seek medical treatment; all the “reasons not to be good.”
DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS: Each author read an excerpt from his book. Bolen, with sardonic wit and a hint of resentment toward the Eastern publishing establishment, introduced us to his “chronic underachievers,” characters who seem educated and philosophical — like an intellectual version of the cast of the sitcom Cheers — yet have allowed their lives to dwindle into stagnation. One character has the talents of a gourmet chef, yet drones through life as a taxi cab driver by day and a drunk by night. I was intrigued by his comic voice and wondered why the author sympathizes so much with these lost Baby Boomer souls. I’ll read the novel to find out. Quirky and warm, Szanto read several pages from the beginning of The Tartarus House on Crab in which Jack, the troubled protagonist, first attacks the house, described in such slow detail that the reader knows this is going to be a long, painful process for him. And that his healing is going to evolve against his will. Enter a woman hell-bent on stopping Jack (she actually bites him on the wrist!). Szanto sets up sufficient conflict and mystery to hook me. Gould, with wit and charm, tantalized the audience by reading only the first line: “The airport’s automatic door goes shhht, and Matt steps out into
Book 1: Anticipated Results Author: Dennis E. Bolen Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press c1975 Length: 239 pages Book 2: The Tartarus House on Crab Author: George Szanto Publisher: Brindle & Glass Publishing Ltd., 2011 Length: 280 Book 3: Seven Reasons Not to be Good Author: John Gould Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd., 2010 Length: 348 pages
the held breath of midsummer in Toronto. Yeck.” He had me at “Yeck.” Not surprising, for Gould also writes short stories, he has mastered the art of making every word count. The story premise also caught my imagination. How would such a funny guy handle the sombre subject matter in his book? Gould wrote Seven Reasons to honour a close friend who died of AIDS in the years before treatment was available. He notes “friendship is often under-represented in literature,” and says that as middle age hits, men develop “a new sense of tenderness for other men.” I bought the books for my husband but I think I’ll give them a try, too, and see if the authors’ funny voices come through in their writing. I might even learn something more about the male mind. VB
Questions or comments? Want your book club featured in the magazine? Please email Adrienne Dyer at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. 79
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still remember the exhilaration and fear of my first rock climb. It was a short route up a rocky crag perhaps 10 metres high. A double safety system was in place and so I knew I wouldn’t fall. But it didn’t matter. My legs shook and my heart pounded as I pushed and pulled my way up the sharp-edged rocks. But then came the rush when I reached the top and again when I stepped backwards off the ledge and was lowered to the ground, body trembling but spirit soaring. From that day forth, I was hooked on the sheer joy of the experience. A few years later, after I’d started climbing regularly, I watched a local elite athlete struggle her way up her first climb. Here I was, a 50-something high school teacher, watching one of the top athletes in the world burn out on a physical problem that I could now handle easily. I tell that story not to brag but to point out that you don’t have to be a flexible kid, hyper-fit athlete, or thrill-seeking adventurer to enjoy and benefit from climbing. In fact, rock climbing, despite its reputation as a somewhat dangerous sport practised only by the young and fearless, is ideal for the middle-aged and cautious, particularly if you practise the indoor variety. Southern Vancouver Island has two excellent indoor climbing facilities and for those wanting to progress to the great outdoors, options exist here and on the Mainland. Wander into Crag X, Victoria’s first climbing gym, on a typical weeknight and you’ll see a lively, happy group of climbers of all ages and experience levels at play. Some are belaying (operating the rope-based safety systems) for partners ascending the 10-metre-high walls. Others are unroped, moving horizontally just off the ground in an activity called bouldering. And some are just talking
Indoor climbing offers a way to stay fit, friendly and fearless at any age by rick gibbs photo by gary mckinstry
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and laughing. There’s a good feeling — a vital, vibrant, upbeat buzz that I’ve never seen in any other kind of fitness facility. The average age is probably 30, although it fluctuates, depending on the particular mix. You’ll see climbers in their teens and 20s but you’ll also notice them in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s. Tattoos and grey hair mingle happily in the friendly and supportive atmosphere. On one such night I chat with Radko Lamac, 43, a local investment advisor. He started climbing seven years ago but has been away from it for Here I was, a 50-something a time and has brought a group of friends down for high school teacher, an introductory course. It’s watching one of the top a refresher for him and a athletes in the world completely new experience burn out on a physical for his friends. He’s full of problem that I could now excitement when I ask him handle easily. what he likes about climbing. “Just being here… just the workout… just the challenge… it’s like a puzzle… how can you not love it!” he exclaims. He says climbing engages his mind and body and is a great outlet after sitting in an office all day. Alison Buchanan, 37, an operations manager for a major retailer, is one of the newbies in Lamac’s group and is equally enthusiastic. She, too, likes the mental aspect and the focus required to solve the problem of a particular climb. (Indoor climbers follow graded routes marked with coloured tape, from 1:59:18 PM relatively easy to extremely hard.) Buchanan enjoys the staff, too, saying they are polite, helpful, and friendly. She particularly appreciates the way Joe Hall, her 26-year-old instructor, explains everything clearly and patiently. Buchanan has a bad knee — the result of a volleyball injury — and so I ask her how she’s doing with it. She says
surprisingly there’s no pain unless she moves it too far in a particular direction. A long walk still makes it ache six months after a major operation to repair the damage, but so far climbing isn’t a problem. Drew Lauder, 42, a certified climbing instructor and personal trainer who doubles as the general manager at Crag X, says that climbing produces a wide range of physical benefits. It works the majority of the muscle groups, builds power and endurance, encourages a broad range of motion, creates healthy joints and develops the cardiovascular system, all without subjecting the body to injuries from repetitive or jarring movements associated with other sports. Consequently, it’s good for kids whose bodies are still developing or adults who may have limited movement or chronic injuries. He’s even seen people with arthritis benefit, and he postulates that as a weight-bearing exercise that can replace weight training, it would be good for anyone at risk of developing osteoporosis. Lauder says it’s an ideal exercise, particularly when combined with a flexibility program like yoga. In fact, it has a lot in common with yoga. While climbers do move dynamically at times, the movements are generally slow, smooth, and deliberate. To get yourself up a challenging route, you have to focus mentally and stay centred as you plan your moves and strive to flow rather than lurch or lunge your way up the wall. With height involved, climbing is also emotionally engaging. It doesn’t matter how burly you are, chances are good that when you first step into a climbing harness, tie into a rope, and make those initial hesitant moves, even if it’s indoors and not very high, your legs will do a pretty convincing imitation of a sewing machine and your heart will pound. With experience, though, the fear subsides as you learn to trust your feet, your partner, and the safety system designed to catch you should you fall. And with experience, too, comes the realization that this deeply engaging activity can be a lifelong passion. I started climbing regularly when I was nearly 50, eventually becoming an outdoor climber as well. Now, with one foot set in my 60s, and assuming I can hold on in other ways, I plan to keep on moving up. Crag X in Victoria, The Boulders at Stelly’s School in Saanich, The Romper Room in Nanaimo, The Alternative in Tofino, and On the Rocks in Campbell River offer introductory courses to new climbers aged 12 and up. The cost is around $45 for adults. Visit their websites for details. While some indoor skills are transferable, outdoor climbing should be learned separately from qualified outdoor instructors. Island Alpine Guides, Squamish Rock Guides, and Canada West Mountain School offer rock climbing courses in the spring and summer. VB 83
Walk right in a great travel experience AWAITS outside your own front door TEXT AND PHOTOS BY rick gibbs photo (this page) by justin eckersall
The trails at Thetis Lake offer satisfying nature walks.
merican naturalist and preservationist John Muir urged: “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” If we can’t climb distant mountains, we can tread nearby walkways, paths, and trails, a pleasure-filled exercise that restores body, mind, and spirit. Here are three local favourites and some tips for making your own discoveries.
Gonzales Loop Where else can you stroll one of Victoria’s loveliest beaches, absorb the serenity of an historic Chinese cemetery, explore three undeveloped natural parks and a heritage observatory, and take in breathtaking views of ocean, hills, mountains, and urban landscapes from not one but four spectacular lookouts? And all in a compact loop that can be completed in about an hour? Using parts of the Centennial Trail, this urban walk must be one of the best in the world.
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The Route Starting at the western end of Gonzales Bay, stroll the sandy beach to the far (eastern) end and climb the last staircase to Crescent Road. Turn right and follow Crescent to the ocean and the Chinese Cemetery. Walk the perimeter of the cemetery (enter at the beach end) and exit by the wooden gate onto Penzance Road. Cross Penzance and follow the path to Maquinna Street, which takes you to the base of Trafalgar Park at Lorne Crescent and the dirt trail that climbs the gorse-covered hillside to the King George Terrace lookout. Descend King George Terrace, heading east. At the bottom of the hill, cross the road to Sunny Lane and take the path leading to the Walbran Park stairway (marked by a white sign obscured by a large evergreen). Climb the 110 steps to Denison Road, where you can enjoy two more viewpoints, one atop a Second World War lookout. Head north on Denison to the Gonzales Hill Observatory. Return by taking the path on the west side of the parking area to Fairfield Place, Fairfield Road and Foul Bay Road. Note: This is a fairly vigorous walk with steeper hills and stair climbing, but you can moderate it a bit by using adjacent roads rather than the trails and stairs. 85
Thetis Lake Loop
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Even with the heavy use and recent trail restoration that have altered its character somewhat, Thetis Lake still offers one of the most accessible and satisfying nature walks in our region, hugging, as it does, the shoreline of two gleaming lakes and following a path replete with the entrancing sights, sounds, and scents of a mixed Douglas fir forest. Established as Canada’s first nature sanctuary in 1958, the area can be reached by car or even bike (along the Galloping Goose trail), from most parts of Victoria in 20 minutes, making it all the more desirable. The trick is to go early in the morning or late in the day when it’s not busy. Thetis Main Route Drive Highway 1 to the Colwood exit and follow the signs to Six Mile Road and the Thetis Lake parking lot. Take the well-marked trail around the Lower Lake (45 minutes) or both lakes (90 minutes). The route is most scenic on the eastern side of the Lower Lake, where you’ll find several beautiful viewpoints as the trail climbs and descends the hilly terrain. Alternative Routes The park offers other trails that will get you away from the well-travelled main route and that can be combined with adjacent trails like those found in the nearby Francis King Regional Park to create a longer hike. Consult a reliable map or guidebook.
West Bay Walkway (aka Westsong Way) This six-kilometre, 90-minute (return), wheelchairaccessible, shoreline walk connects downtown Victoria (Johnson Street Bridge) with the West Bay Marina (Head Street in Esquimalt). Used by commuters, shoppers, runners, and weekend walkers, it can get as busy as Dallas Road on a sunny day but it’s well worth the visit, since you’ll get a unique perspective of the Inner Harbour, enjoy various features like an enormous overhanging arbutus tree and the boardwalk, and — once you are past the rather sterile (but still scenic) Songhees condo section — experience a slightly
funkier side of Victoria, both en route (the wacky wooden beach sculpture) and at the marina (the float homes). Note: Be sure to climb the long metal stairway at Swallow’s Landing, where you’ll get a good leg and lung stretch and an amazing view of the Inner Harbour. The Route Unless you are already downtown, it’s probably best to start on the Esquimalt side of the blue bridge since free parking can be found on side streets around the Songhees development and near Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub off Catherine Street. Head to the water and turn right.
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Other Suggestions Try the Lochside Regional Trail, Ten Mile Point, East Sooke Park (Iron Mine Bay route), and the Cedar Hill Golf Course for other superb routes. Resources The walking and hiking possibilities in our region are endless. Often just picking a neighbourhood and setting out on foot is all you need to discover an interesting route, but if you’d like a little more direction or some company, an Internet search like “walking and hiking routes in Victoria” will yield various online resources, from a brochure of neighbourhood walks published by the city of Esquimalt to architectural walking tours offered in the summer by the Architectural Institute of BC. There’s a Facebook group for family friendly walking in Victoria, a downtown walk and run map available from the Capital Bike and Walk Society, and links to groups like Club Tread and The Victoria Y Volkssport Club. The Capital Regional District lists free guided walks and hikes on its website, as does Saanich Parks and Recreation. The Vancouver Island Trails Information Society publishes Hiking Trails I, an excellent guidebook to hiking in and around Victoria. Enjoy! VB
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Drink in the colour from forests and artists on a fall tour of
By suzanne morphet
magine a 15-billion-tonne meteorite slamming into Earth. The landscape would be changed forever after it gouges a crater 56 kilometres across and more than a kilometre deep. But over time Earth would heal itself, the edges of the crater would soften and the raw scar would fade. After a while, you might not even know that a meteorite had hit. That’s essentially what happened on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, about 100 kilometres east of Quebec City. A giant meteorite carved a crater roughly the size of our Capital Regional District. Some of the ground rebounded immediately, creating a plateau flanked by deep gorges. Fast forward 350 million years — et voilà — an enchanting
landscape of mountains and valleys, rivers, lakes and forests. All around is the inhospitable Canadian Shield. But inside the crater, moose, deer and caribou graze. The valleys are fertile ground for farming. This region, called Charlevoix, was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1989, partly because of its rich natural diversity. We visited in September at the tail end of a trip to Quebec City. We arrived on a golden afternoon when the maple trees were just beginning to turn the hillsides red. Travelling on Highway 138, known as the King’s Road, we stopped at the top of the crater to get our bearings. In truth, the crater isn’t obvious, or at least nothing like, say, Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater, which has a distinctive rim. But the view
Scenic Charlevoix on the north shore of Quebec’s St. Lawrence River has been drawing tourists for more than a century, who come to see fall colours. Many stay at the famous Le Manoir
Richelieu and come home with goodies like foie gras. Inset photos by Suzanne Morphet.
is spectacular nonetheless. The heavily forested slopes of the Laurentians drop sharply into the St. Lawrence River, which stretches languorously into the distance. It’s easy to see why locals call the river La Mer. It’s 16 kilometres wide at the town of La Malbaie, where we’re heading and where steamships arrived each summer in the early 20th century, carrying well-heeled tourists and early movie stars, including Charlie Chaplin and Jean Harlow. Former American president William Howard Taft owned a home here and a street in the small village of 9,000 year-round residents still bears his name. We’re staying at Le Manoir Richelieu, the 405-room “castle on the cliff” built in 1929 after a smaller hotel burned down. The property is now in the Fairmont chain, similar to Victoria’s Empress, with ivy-covered walls outside and stately rooms with inviting fireplaces inside. Marie-Line Olivier and her partner were passing through Charlevoix in 2004 from a town near Montreal when they were smitten with the area and a wood house from 1860. “The house was facing a lake and the St. Lawrence River,” said Olivier, who is now sales manager of the Fairmont hotel and speaks fluent English, as did most of the locals we met. “How can we not fall in love with this place? The calm of the region and the landscapes convinced us to buy it.” Walking along La Malbaie’s curving streets, we see a tidy town but little evidence of its storied past. Large estates are hidden behind hedges, out of sight of nosy tourists like me. But by luck, we’ve arrived during the 19th annual Rêves d’automne, Festival of Landscapes in Painting in BaieSaint-Paul, at the bottom of the crater. It coincides with the changing colours, making fall one of the best times to visit. The narrow streets are lined with several dozen artists from around the province to paint en plein air. (This year’s festival runs from September 23 to October 2.) Four art galleries offer more visual feasts. Oil paintings of villages, sunflower fields and the omnipresent river adorn the walls. There’s modern art too, but it’s the landscapes that draw me in. Outside, a plaque credits A.Y. Jackson of the Group of Seven for introducing many artists to Charlevoix. In the winter of 1923 he visited Baie-Saint-Paul and snowshoed into the countryside for inspiration. For lunch we walk to Le Saint Pub, the largest microbrewery outside Montreal, and wash down smoked barbecue chicken with a quartet of beer samplers. Fortified,
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we head to the river for a couple hours of kayaking. “There’s only two months of the year we don’t use these,” says our guide from Katabatik as he fishes wool toques from a waterproof bag. September is obviously not one of them. Out on the water a windsurfer streaks past our bow while a singleengine plane releases a glider overhead. Three more gliders circle silently over a nearby ridge like hawks on a thermal. Along the shore we spot half a dozen snow geese, the first of the million to migrate through. On our last day we hit the flavour trail, a collection of fromageries, chocolateries, even a duck farm. At Laiterie Charlevoix, we taste cheese from the milk of les Canadians, a breed of cattle introduced from France in 1608. After a quick tour of the cheese museum it’s on to La Maison d’affinage Maurice Dufour, a smaller-scale cheese maker with a smorgasbord of soft and hard cheeses to sample. At La Ferme Basque de Charlevoix we see the Mulard ducks (a cross between Muscovy and Pekin) that will soon be on the menu at Le Manoir Richelieu (the hotel manager owns the farm with his wife) and learn about the process of fattening their livers for foie gras. Starting on September 9, there’s another reason and another way to visit Charlevoix: aboard a new train from Quebec City to La Malbaie. It’s part of a grand plan to redevelop Le Massif de Charlevoix, the ski resort with the highest vertical drop east of the Rockies, as an all-season resort. Think Rocky Mountaineer with its refurbished train cars and gourmet food. Given the beauty and history of Charlevoix, the new train should fit right in. Overnight in Quebec City at the sophisticated Chateau Bonne Entente (chateaubonneentente.com). In La Malbaie, Le Manoir Richelieu is a must. See fairmont.com/richelieu/. Reserve the train at 1-877-536-2774. VB A local artist paints outside a gallery in Baie-Saint-Paul. Photo by Suzanne Morphet.
FOOD & WINE
SEASONAL CORNucopia Boiled, grilled, steamed or stripped off the cob, corn makes a sweet feast text and photos By MARYANNE CARMACK
Corn & Zucchini Tacos Bacon-Wrapped Corn Summer Corn Salad Corn Chowder
RESH CORN season is in full swing. Local farms are selling white, golden and sweet hybrids at their stands, farmers’ markets and in supermarkets. My favourite places to pick up fresh corn include Silver Rill, Sluggett Farm, Madrona Farm and The Root Cellar. Choose husks that are bright green and fit the corn ears snugly. Peel the husk back to look for milky, plump, kernels in tight rows. Boiling is traditional. Use a pot large enough to cover the corn with water. Bring cold water to a rolling boil and add a pinch of salt. Place corn stripped of husk and silk in the boiling water and cover. While many debate how long to boil it, I prefer five minutes maximum. Steaming leaves the corn pure and perfect. Place the cleaned corn on a steaming rack over boiling water and steam covered for 10 to 15 minutes. You can microwave it, too. Soak cleaned corn in water for 15 minutes then microwave for seven to eight minutes. Grilling manages the seemingly impossible; it makes the corn taste even better. The fire imparts a smoky flavour and intensifies sweetness. You can either grill the corn in its husk or stripped bare. Grill aficionados argue that the husk keeps the corn moist and juicy, protecting the delicate kernels from being scorched. Proponents of husk-off grilling contend that it brings out sweetness by caramelizing the corn’s natural sugars and opening up the corn to smoke, giving it powerful flavour. Corn without its husk needs a quick brush of olive oil or butter to keep it moist before popping it on the grill. In the husk, remove loose husks and any silk hanging out. The corn needs to be soaked in water for 15 minutes before grilling to keep the green leaves from catching fire. Once the grill is ready, place the corn on the grill and turn the corn every five minutes to avoid charring. Remove when the ears have turned brown. Peel off the husks and serve. If you should tire of straight corn on the cob, try these tantalizing corn-based recipes for a delicious change.
Charred Corn and Zucchini Tacos for Four 3 tbsp vegetable oil 4 ears fresh corn, kernels removed (about 3 cups kernels) 1 medium onion, finely diced 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced 2 cloves garlic, grated 2 cups zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 3 limes Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 24 corn tortillas, lightly charred in a skillet and kept warm Garnish with crumbled cotija, feta, or romano cheese, salsa and sour cream for serving
Heat half of the oil in a 12-inch stainless steel skillet over high heat until smoking. Add corn, toss once or twice, and
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cook without moving until charred on one side, about two minutes. Toss corn, stir, and repeat until charred on second side, about two minutes longer. Continue tossing and charring until well charred all over, about 10 minutes total. Add onions and jalape単o and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally until softened. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant. Transfer corn to a clean bowl. Rinse out pan. Dry pan carefully and return to high heat. Add remaining oil and heat until smoking. Add zucchini and cook without moving until well charred, about two minutes. Toss zucchini and char on a second side, about two minutes longer. Transfer wellcharred zucchini to bowl with corn. Fold in cilantro and the juice of one lime. Season with salt and pepper. Slice remaining limes into eight wedges each. Serve corn immediately with warm tortillas, salsa, cheese, sour cream, and lime wedges.
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Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Corn on the Cob 5 ears corn, husked and cleaned Kosher salt and black pepper 1 package of sliced bacon 10 12x8-inch sheets aluminum foil
Preheat your outdoor grill to high heat. Sprinkle each ear of corn with salt and pepper, and wrap each ear with two slices of bacon, covering the ear as completely as possible. Wrap the ears in aluminum foil, twisting the ends tightly to seal. Place the wrapped corn on the preheated grill, and grill on high heat until the corn is hot, about 10 minutes per side. Turn the heat to low, and grill the corn until the bacon is cooked and the corn is tender, about 20 minutes. Summer Corn Salad
6 ears corn, husked 3 large tomatoes, diced 1 large red onion, diced 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tbsp white vinegar Salt and pepper to taste
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Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook corn in boiling water for 4:10:10 AM five minutes, or until desired tenderness. Drain, cool, and cut kernels off the cob. In a large bowl, toss together the corn, tomatoes, onion, basil, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Chill until serving. Corn Chowder 4 ears sweet corn, husked 3 slices bacon, in 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup) 1 medium potato, 1/3-inch dice (1 1/2 cups) 1 cup milk 1 spring fresh thyme Coarse salt Cut kernels from cobs; set aside. Break cobs into thirds, and place in a medium saucepan. Add three cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes to make a corn stock. Strain, discarding cobs; you should have about two cups. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a small bowl; set aside. Pour off all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat. To the pan, add the onion, and cook until translucent, about five minutes. Add the potato, corn kernels, two cups corn stock, milk, thyme, and one teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, skimming foam as necessary, until potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. Sprinkle with reserved bacon. Makes five cups. VB
WINE PAiRINGS from boulevard`s WINE EXPERT SHARON MCLEAN On its own corn is relatively sweet, and that can limit wine choices, but the real character of each of this months’ dishes comes from the other ingredients. That’s what we need to consider when looking for pairings. The Charred Corn and Zucchini Tacos are going to have a smoky, slightly vegetal characteristic and a light red wine from Dolcetto, Tempranillo or Sangiovese would work well. Try the 2009 Santa Cristina, Chianti Superiore, DOCG ($18.99); its sweet red cherries, leather, spice and herbal notes make it a great pairing. For the Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Corn on the Cob look for a Pinot Gris or an Albarinho. The 2008 Zinck, Pinot Gris from Alsace is great value at $18.99. Its notes of honey, ripe peaches and a hint of spice — plus just a little residual sugar — will complement the sweetness of the corn and contrast the saltiness of the bacon. For the Summer Corn Salad, match the acidity of the dressing with a clean, bright wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chenin Blanc or a Gruner Veltliner. One of my perennial favourites is the Quail’s Gate, Chenin Blanc ($18.99). The 2010 is fresh and vibrant with lovely citrus and peach notes. And for those who simply slather on the butter, try a moderately oaked Chardonnay. The 2010 Cupcakes from Central Coast California has ripe fruit notes and a buttery, creamy profile, a fabulous value at $14.95. All wines this month are available at BCLDB.
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Ed does not claim to be
A student of anything, but don’t blame the nuns
by ed bain ILLUSTRATION SHELLEY DAVIES
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MOST OF the time, I love newspaper flyers. For me there’s nothing like checking out incredible deals while enjoying the mindless entertainment of flipping through every colourful page. While my wife prefers the hard-news sections, I’m more than content to stare at that 40 per cent off shopvac ad (making sure she doesn’t catch me stopping a little too long on the lingerie page). I also enjoy my ritual of yelling “what? The Brick is having a sale?” I’ve been getting the same double eye-roll from my wife on that one for years. At this time of year, however — back-to-school season — I
find the flyers depressing. Even though I’ve been out of high school for what seems like 100 years (I actually shared a desk with Absorbine Senior) I still have that sad, summer’sover feeling with every Laurentian Crayon box ad I see. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t exactly a model student. I got by, but that’s about it. My oldest sister was an intellectual superstar, winning all kinds of awards and finishing up as the class valedictorian, so it was a mystery to my teachers why I could barely add. I attended a small-town Catholic school, where most of the teachers were nuns. They were known as the Daughters of Wisdom and after a few years teaching guys like me I knew that name would never change to the Daughters of Patience. I’m not proud of this, but I was solely responsible for two of them uttering their first curse words; not awful ones but pretty rough by nun standards I’m sure. Our school was named after Saint Theresa, but for me and a few buddies it felt more like Saint Tyson — some of those nuns could really throw a punch! I don’t recall everything, but I do remember it coming to a head one day in science class. I was asked if I knew what a ratchet was and I said “you mean like when a garbage can is all kicked to ratchet?” Things weren’t good after that. The main thing is they got the job done and frankly if it had not been for them I never would have learned how to ask properly for forgiveness, a wonderful skill that I’ve applied over 25 years of marriage. I hate to sound like one of those “back in my day” guys, but it seems to me that school was a little more open than it is now. I don’t mean in an “understanding” way: I mean “open” for business. When my son was attending school he seemed to have more days off than folks in the Senate. The nuns weren’t big on having fun (let’s face it, you don’t sign up for that vocation expecting to feel like you’re at the fair every day… however I’m sure it may have felt like being at the circus for the ones who taught us) so knocking off a little early or giving us a day off for good behaviour was not an option. I grew up in a small Prairie town where even a minus 40 Celsius blizzard was never deemed serious enough to close the school. I’m not sure what kind of natural disaster it would take to shut that joint down, but clearly frozen birds dropping out of the sky was no reason to think kids couldn’t walk a mile or two to school. So if your kids are dragging their lips around these days and you can’t understand why, think back and chances are you’ll get it. Oh, and if any of my former teachers happen to read this, I’d like you to know that I’ve been in the work force for over 35 years and haven’t had to know the square root of anything yet! VB 97
SECRETS & LIVES
By shannon moneo
What do you prefer: First Nations? Indigenous peoples? Aboriginal? I grew up calling myself a native: in my adulthood, as First Nations. I realize through my own journey that these titles have been imposed by legislation and government involvement. I identify myself as being Kwakiutl and Quatsino. What do you love about the First Peoples House on UVic’s campus? We can provide indigenous students with a “home away from home.” I’ve even heard it described as a place of refuge, a sacred place. Visitors are asked to show respect and dignity when they visit the First Peoples House. What does that mean? To acknowledge whose territory you are on. We as indigenous people are taught that from very young. When we visit other communities, we are visitors. There are certain protocols one must abide by. I am honoured to be on Coast Salish-Strait Salish territory. What progress have you made since your appointment in January 2007? Considerable strides have been made in community outreach and partnership-building, in providing holistic and balanced programming and services for students in the First Peoples House that include academic support as well as traditional foods and cooking, drum-making, and workshops. We have been able to garner corporate support. We have excellent indigenous faculty, close to 20. You left school in grade 9, became a mother, and returned to school at 27. Why? My husband was the catalyst in my first steps returning to school in that he was very encouraging. I still don’t have Grade 12. I went back to school and upgraded for a year. There are so many women and men in the same position as I was, and they need to realize that there are many avenues to higher education. You and (husband) Marc Jinnouchi owned a tourist-focused boat rental/kayak business. What did it teach you? That was a native cultural kayak tour. I learned that experiential education opportunities speak louder than words, in that paddling through Quatsino Sound with the clients, we were able to demonstrate by doing and singing and passing the feather at night and reflecting. We would hear from the paddlers: “Now it makes sense to me why the land is so important to native peoples. All I ever knew about the land issue was from the news.” As former Chief of the Quatsino First Nation, you said the experience was like a “PhD in one year.” How? It certainly was an eye-opener at the layers of responsibilities that our leaders have within our communities, from social development to health needs, land issues to economic development, budgets to human resources. You and your husband own Evedar’s Bistro in Langford. What do you do there? I am a server or hostess most nights of the week. I help my husband in whatever way possible. We have music on Friday and Saturday nights and we created a music scholarship for a Belmont student entering music here at UVic. If you were an animal, what would it be? Could I be a bird? I’d much prefer to be a hummingbird. There’s something powerful about such a little bird and what it does. It can be a reminder that every small step combined creates something bigger, much bigger. VB Interview has been condensed and edited
Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi, 51 Director of the University of Victoria’s Office of Indigenous Affairs PHOTO BY GARY MCKINSTRY
Photograph by Mark DeVries
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