Boulevard Magazine - September 2014 Issue

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Issue 09, Volume XXIlI


44 DESIGN MATTERS Divine desks By Sarah Reid


12 28 21 GROUP PUBLISHER Penny Sakamoto


40 THEATRE ALIVE By Angela Cowan

39 HAWTHORN Fermented Happiness By Tom Hawthorn DEPARTMENTS 8

EDITOR’S LETTER Celebrating girls


FASHION FAVES Monique Salez By Lia Crowe


HOT PROPERTIES Let there be light: a Ten Mile Point reno By Carolyn Heiman

EDITOR Susan Lundy CREATIVE Lily Chan Pip Knott ADVERTISING Janet Gairdner Pat Brindle

66 TALKING WITH TESS Mike Miller By Tess van Straaten


CIRCULATION Miki Speirs COORDINATOR 250-480-3277

56 TRAVEL NEAR Mt. Arrowsmith By Cathie Marakoff 62 TRAVEL FAR Haida Gwaii By Merna Forster

46 STAGE SETTERS By Robert Moyes

50 FOOD & DRINK Curry for a queen By Cinda Chavich


FRONT ROW Eric Bibb, VCM concert The Rez Sisters and more. By Robert Moyes

74 SECRETS & LIVES John Green, Commodore, Royal Victoria Yacht Club By Susan Lundy

Interior of Victoria’s Royal Theatre (see Theatre Alive, page 40). Photo by Arnold Lim.

ADVERTISE Boulevard Magazine is Victoria’s leading lifestyle magazine, celebrating 24 years of publishing in Greater Victoria. To advertise or to learn more about advertising opportunities please send

CONTRIBUTING Cinda Chavich, Angela WRITERS Cowan, Lia Crowe, Merna Forster, Tom Hawthorn, Carolyn Heiman, Cathie Marakoff, Robert Moyes, Sarah Reid, Tess van Straaten

us an email at Mailing Address: 818 Broughton Street, Victoria, BC, V8W 1E4 Tel: 250.381.3484 Fax: 250.386.2624



CONTRIBUTING Don Denton, Merna PHOTOGRAPHERS Forster, Vince Klassen, Arnold Lim, Cathie Marakoff, Leanna Rathkelly

Victoria Boulevard ® is a registered trademark of Black Press Group Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. Ideas and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of Black Press Group Ltd. or its affiliates; no official endorsement should be inferred. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents, both implied or assumed, of any advertisement in this publication. Printed in Canada. Canada Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement #42109519.






“I’VE GOT THE MARGARITA MIX,” announced one young woman happily. I wondered if I should add, “And it all went downhill from there.” The scene? A sandy beach near our home, the first of three locations for my wedding “stagette,” organized by my daughters, aged 21 and 23. Behind the scenes? A few days of nagging worry — after all, my age-50ish friends and I have moved well beyond the 20-somethings’ penchant for shooters — and 24 hours of preparation: lots of water, full meals, even a vitamin mixture that promised to reduce hangovers. To get to this beach, I’d been blindfolded, placed in a car and then a boat. I had a tiara attached to my head and a bright pink extension piece clipped to my hair. I carried a bell that read, “Ring for a kiss.” Once in the boat, I’d tentatively tasted my very first Jell-O shooter (“Don’t worry, Mom, it’s not very strong”), and then, of course, came the margarita mix. Over the next eight hours, the plot developed. Ten women — five young, five “old” — laughed, ate, played games, drank ... and ultimately defied any boundaries of age. The absolute best part was blending my friends, my daughters and three other young women into one big night of seamless interaction and fun. We were all just “girls.” (And no hangovers to boot.) Perhaps this was bubbling about in my head as I took in the 8

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s Girls exhibit. It seemed serendipitous to take my own “girls,” who are both artists; however, only my elder daughter could join me that day. Danica has a degree in fine arts and works in oils. Many of her paintings are of girls, most predominantly her sister (who hangs on almost every wall of our house), so it was intriguing to view Girls through her eyes. We weren’t the only mother-daughter team touring the exhibit; a multi-age crew of females meandered in and out as Danica gave me a running commentary on the techniques used to create the various pieces as well as their historical relevance. The small exhibit, which involves pieces from the gallery’s permanent collection, takes its cue from contemporary literary fiction and television, specifically the 1988 Margaret Atwood novel Cat’s Eye and Lena Denham’s HBO show Girls. It includes a mix of formal and informal portraits and character studies, ranging from George Morland’s late 18th or early 19th century Portrait of a Young Girl — which, in its round frame, almost acts as a portal to the show — to the more contemporary Bedtime, by Walter J. Phillips, a 1952 engraving on paper, and Yoshitaka Nakao’s wood cut on paper, Girl. Ironically, Danica, who once painted a series of massive, five-byfour-foot portraits, was most intrigued by a collection of oil-on-ivory miniatures, like Eleanor Izards’ 1927 Portrait of a Young Woman in a Headscarf. (Girls runs until Oct. 5.) Of course, visiting one exhibit is merely a launching point to explore the gallery’s various other exhibits, as well as the spectacular building in which it’s all housed. It marked another excellent “girls” day, but this time, without the margarita mix. (FMI: and Art is at the centre of this edition of Boulevard, although the medium is dramatic, rather than visual. Victoria boasts a thriving theatre community, from those who support it financially like Paddy Stewart (Behind the Belfry, page 28) to those who create theatrical magic via props (Stage Setters, page 46). This happens to be the year Victoria’s grand Royal Theatre celebrates its 100th anniversary (Theatre Alive, page 40), and we’ve also put together a round-up of upcoming theatrical happenings (Curtain Call, page 59). As well as taking readers to the theatre, this edition of


 Eleanor Izards’ 1927 miniature oilon-ivory Portrait of a Young Woman in a Headscarf is one of several paintings featured at the Art Gallery of Greater Vicoria’s exhibit Girls.

Boulevard climbs Mt. Arrowsmith (Travel Near, page 56), visits Hadai Gwaii (Travel Far, page 62), and tours a Ten Mile Point reno (Hot Properties, page 12). Oh, and there’s curry and beer too! Welcome to September. Boulevard Buzz: Here are some things to do this September in and around Victoria:  For music lovers: Rifflandia transforms the city into one giant, musical smorgasbord, with over 100 acts on 10 stages. Runs Sept. 11-14.  For festival lovers: The Victoria International Chalk Festival celebrates the unique medium of chalk art, created by local and international artists, including several works by local First Nations. Runs at various venues, Sept. 13-14.  For sports lovers: The Family Caregivers Network Society stages its sixth annual charity golf tournament. Takes place at the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort, Sept. 19.  For car lovers: Rods and Rides Car Show runs Sept. 13 in the parking lot of Archie Browning Sports Centre as part of the Esquimalt Ribfest (Sept. 12-14).  For fringe lovers: Fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe, My Rabbi is a comedic drama presented in its Canadian premiere by Puente Theatre at Belfry Studio A. Runs Sept. 16-18. FMI: WE LOVE HEARING FROM YOU We welcome your letters: or visit us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and links to featured stories and local events.

BoulevardMagazine @BoulevardMag

My goal is to help you reach yours.

Looking for timely market insights? Consider a complimentary subscription to my monthly Letter to Clients. Roderick MacMillan, B.Comm (Hons) FSCI, CSWP Investment Advisor TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice 1070 Douglas Street, 5th Floor Victoria, B.C. 250-356-4148 TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice is a division of TD Waterhouse Canada Inc., a subsidiary of The Toronto Dominion Bank. TD Waterhouse Canada Inc. – Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. The TD logo and other trademarks are the property of the Toronto Dominion Bank, as a wholly-owned subsidiary in Canada and/or other countries.







Powerhouse flamenco performer, choreographer, teacher, and owner and artistic director of Raino Dance, Monique Salez walks the walk of a true artist: technically obsessed, and heart wide open.

 BY LIA CROWE WE MET IN HER STUDIO, Raino Dance, when it was empty and quiet. The atoms of yet-uncreated masterpieces hung thick in the air between the brick walls, mirrors and large windows that look out onto Yates Street. And then the fun began. I asked Monique to get up on the window ledge and dance. Without skipping a beat, she hopped up and grooved away to an imaginary rhythm, the fringe of her shirt flying. I wasn’t surprised 10

by her quick willingness as I clicked away at the photos: Monique is a performer. I was surprised, however, when I asked her to think about her current flamenco work in progress. I was struck by the incredible amount of vulnerability that surfaced as she spoke about the process of creating. “Is it a really difficult piece?” I wondered. “It’s not just about the steps, it’s about being a conduit for an energy that’s coming through. The container needs to have integrity, meaning the technique needs to be solid. But if I can disappear and allow the energy of the piece to come through, that’s a good performance.” Born on the banks of the Yukon River in Whitehorse, the 43-year-old has taught and performed for 15 years.

Two years ago, she added studio owner and artistic director to her path after buying the studio from Lynda Raino. “I feel like I’ve been given the keys to be the caretaker for an incredible 37-year-old business and an amazing community. It’s an honour. I really see the power it has in people’s lives.” She adds: “All kinds of people dance at Raino, starting at age 18 all the way to (right now) age 71. We have business owners, deputy ministers, performers and university professors. Everyone drops their identity when they walk into the studio, and onto a level playing field.” What’s the most important aspect of performing and creating? “You have to bring your soul to it. Same with life, you gotta bring your whole self into the game.”

Reading Material

Print Magazine: Vanity Fair: “Always.” Last great read: Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden. Resident book on bedside table: The Essential Rumi and Hafiz, a Sufi poet. Coffee table book: Hand to Earth by Andy Goldsworthy.


Current go-to item: American Apparel Cotton Spandex Jersey Harem Pant. All time fav: Rag & Bone black skinny jeans. Best new purchase: The “Priscilla” leather jacket by Rudsak. Coveting: Any dress from Michal Negrin. Fav shoe: Burgundy ankle boots by Gentle Souls: “They give good ankle cleavage.”


Scent: Hugo Red by Hugo Boss. Necessary indulgence: "My nails” by Lala at Deco De Mode and eyebrow threading by Miriam at Nomi Salon. Makeup: “Keep it simple, lip gloss and mascara.” Beauty Secret: ”Sweat everyday.”

Style Inspirations

Iconic Celebrity who inspires your style: Sophia Loren. Film: The Big Blue. Era: “I love the recklessness of the 20s. The long cigarettes, all the fringe and the little purses.” Piece of art: Guernica by Picasso.


Song you sing loudly to in the car: “Drive-in Movies” by Ray LaMontagne. Local Restaurant: Zambri’s Cocktail: Aperol Spritz. Flower: Coral gladiolus. Favourite place in the whole world: “Swimming outside in any body of water with my dog, preferably nude.” App: Sound Hound.





Opening up a Ten Mile Point rancher



ďƒĽ Ginny Glover and David Stuart sought a relaxed country look, with lots of light and ample room to display Ginny’s art as they took on renovation of their new Victoria home.


 A simple, open room with well-designed storage creates a functional space for maximum creativity.

 Warm travertine tiles set a country casual tone to the kitchen, which is open to the dining and living area, reflective of the couple’s casual entertaining style.


IKE STARS IN Love It or List It, David Stuart and Ginny Glover are staying put in their renovated Ten Mile Point home even though they purchased it sight unseen, and then see-sawed back and forth for several years — all the while looking at different homes to purchase — before renovating it. It’s not a scenario that should lead to deep house attachment. But Glover grew up in the neighbourhood — in the house next door, as a matter of fact. No matter what other house they checked out, it never matched the idyllic, rural-like setting they coveted for their retirement, planned for post Calgary-based and globe-trotting careers. Stuart worked for Petro Canada and was posted in Libya, where he headed up a fund for social and economic development. His projects included training and sponsoring Libyan men and women to study overseas in areas that were in high demand in the country. Meanwhile, Glover taught English to Libyan students in Tripoli and continued sculpting after her career as a Calgary art teacher. Looking back, they tell a story that describes a house purchase driven by dreams, not logic. Throughout all their global travels, they kept tabs via the internet on Victoria real estate listings. But the small, one-floor rancher on a property large enough for a separate art studio seemed elusive. Then one night, Glover dreamed there was a house for sale on Ten Mile Point. After dreaming about it again


 French doors opening onto a private terrace add dimension to an intimate master bedroom.

“My work has been influenced by the travels we have done, the time I have spent living in North Africa and my love of the human form.”  The couple’s retirement dream was to find a small, one-floor rancher on a property large enough for a separate art studio.

 Crisp white on white tones in the master bathroom seems to expand the space. A deep soaker tub is bathed in natural light.

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 Artist Ginny Glover has been influenced by her world travels and in particular the time she and her husband lived in North Africa. Her elongated sculptures speak to the strength of the human spirit.

the next night, she dispatched her mother to have a look at a new listing in the area. Her mother pronounced it as perfect, and they purchased it sight unseen. Perfect may have been a bit of an overstatement. It was in the location they wanted. But the yard was overgrown and the house was dark. Nothing had been updated since it was built in the 1960s, including the surprise discovery that it was on a septic system that hadn’t been connected to the sewer system. With careers still in play, the couple rented out the home for a few years, while continuing to look for alternatives.


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In late 2010, the eve of full-out revolution in Muammar Gaddafi-led Libya, Glover and Stuart returned to Canada. They left behind a country that Glover describes as incredibly beautiful, with “fabulous white sand beaches, the spectacular rolling desert sand dunes of the Sahara, quaint medinas, white washed desert towns and incredible Roman ruins.” She adds, “The people were delightful — so friendly, warm and welcoming. It was truly an amazing experience and my heart breaks for all our Libyan friends that are trying to cope with the chaos and turmoil that the country now faces.” In 2012, safe in Victoria and with the next chapter of their lives ahead, they hired designer Jodi McKeown Foster to map out a new vision for the house. Even with plans

f Winner o & ld o g multiple 3 1 0 2 silver ards CARE aw

drafted, they held off renovating while they continued looking for a home. Finally in 2013, with nothing better on the horizon, they embarked on the renovation with perhaps more resignation than enthusiasm. The project goals were fairly straightforward. Get more light into the house and build an art studio at the back of the property where Glover could continue producing the elegant and powerful figurative sculptures, which she creates in clay, metal, resin, bronze, wood and hydrastone. For McKeown Foster, a registered interior designer with more than 25 years of experience, the project was really about space planning. “If it works from a functional standpoint it doesn’t matter what kind of coat of paint you put on it.” From this standpoint, however, the rancher left much to be desired: “It was very chopped up … There was limited connection from interior to exterior. The kitchen was closed off from the dining room and you had to walk through the dining room to the master bedroom. There was poor separation of private and public spaces,” recalls McKeown Foster. And meanwhile, the owners “didn’t need the house to be bigger, just better.”


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McKeown Foster re-ordered the main floor, switching the den on one end of the house for the master bedroom on the other. The result ensured that the public patio area


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is now appropriately connected to the dining and kitchen area, and also created a restful and private outdoor space off the master bedroom. A former front deck area is now incorporated into the living room area, enhancing the home’s interior to 2,000 square feet, and allowing for a light-boosting skylight to span the living area and infuse the home with natural wattage. Inside there are plenty of pot, track, and pendulum lights. “We initially thought we had gone overboard,” says Stuart. But after their first grey Victoria winter, they were grateful for the additional illumination inside the home. Because the house is compact, rooms are pressed into

double duty. The second bedroom has a sleek Murphy bed with a comfortable mattress for visiting family and friends. With the bed tucked away, the room is big enough for yoga workouts and, with small deck off the front, feels more like day living space than a private area. The back entryway is now a mudroom, laundry room and dog room, with an inviting Dutch door that lets a warm breeze wash through the home during summer. Throughout it all, McKeown Foster says, she was conscious of ensuring that the space had ample areas to showcase Glover’s artwork and art objects the couple had collected on their world travels. Says Glover: “We have always loved to travel and have been to England and Italy numerous times. We have spent time in New Zealand, Australia, the Cook Islands and have loved taking our kids on trips to Mexico, Cuba, Hawaii and Europe, as well as on outdoor adventures like the West Coast Trail and many backcountry trips in the Rockies.” Libya was a hub from where they took in Kenya, Jordan, Tunisia, Malta, Greece and Holland. Glover says in working out the design with McKeown Foster, and subsequently using her art background to create the finishing touches, they sought a relaxed country look. “We’re not super formal people and we wanted the home to be natural, organic and comfortable.” Moreover, the home had to be a bit rough and tumble as they have a dog and three grandchildren visiting frequently. Carolyn Heiman explores beautiful Victoria-area homes each month for Boulevard Magazine. Let her know about a gorgeous home you’d like to see profiled by contacting her at

SUPPLY LIST Contractor/Builder: Bob Aitken Liddell Contracting Interior Designers: Jodi Foster design + planning Exterior/Interior Painting: Black Dog Cabinetry: Harbour City Kitchens Counters: Floform Countertops Appliances: Sears Canada Plumbing fixtures: The Ensuite Bath and Kitchen Showroom Windows: Slegg Lumber Lighting: Pine Lighting Blinds, Generator, Heat Pump: Home Depot Landscape Design: Louise Boutin Tiles: Decora Tile 19

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OVEN, KNIT AND QUILTED, tweeds, wool and suede: the rich, decisive textures of autumn are made modern when layered. But worn simply, they have enough depth to stand on their own and hit squarely on our innate tactile nature. On a picturesque horse farm in Saanich, with a little magic and alchemy in the air, Boulevard set out to shoot the new textures of fall fashion via a newly revived antique photography process, which is currently drawing popular attention. Quinton Gordon and Diana Millar of Luz Studios are on the forefront of this photography renaissance with their collective expertise in large-format images that use the historic Wet Plate Collodion process. They are currently sharing this magical medium in the form of portrait sessions and photography workshops. “It’s about a physical connection to making images,” says Quinton. “[It’s] a connection that invests me creatively and intellectually in photography as well as the simple pleasures derived from the process itself.” Quinton and Diana’s tintype image came alive not in front of a computer, but in front of our eyes as it emerged from a portable darkroom, outside, on a warm late summer evening. Here, we all turned our attention to creating one image, and from our collective, connected attention emerged an item of beauty that also satisfied our deep-rooted, tactile nature. New technologies in photography and fashion are wonderful, but we will always be attracted to the depth and texture of these timeless processes. Whether it is hand weaving or large format photography, when a craft requires focus and attention, the results become imbued with the required connection, and contain the irreplicable and beautiful imperfections of the handmade. For workshop and portrait information go to 22

“Sinclair” cardigan/coat by Line, $499 at Bernstein & Gold; “Milah” dress by Eliza Faulkner, elizafaulkner. com; The “York” heel by Pour La Victoire, $268 at Bernstein & Gold.


Stretch tweed with piping detail dress by InWear, $189 at Hughes; “Lynx” bracelet in howlite by Lisbeth Jewelry, $61 at Violette. 24

Tweed “Bibi” coat and “Winnie” skirt by Eliza Faulkner,


Graphic “Jaquard” dress by Graham & Spencer, $315 at Bernstein & Gold; The “Sherpa bouclé” jacket by Graham & Spencer, $278 at Bernstein & Gold; Handwoven black broad stripe scarf, 10” by 80,” $125 by Domestic Lin,, at Citizen clothing.


Khaki jacket by Gat Rimon, $325 at Nest & Cradle; linen jersey, lace tank by C&C California, $82 at Nest & Cradle; “Hoxton� high rise skinny jeans by Paige, $285 at Bernstein & Gold; Brown suede boots by Semler, at Cardino shoes in Duncan; Handwoven scarf made during a Saori weaving workshop facilitated by weaver and designer Terri Bibby of SAORI Salt Spring, www.


Photos by Luz Studios; hair and makeup by Vanessa Rolland; modelling by the lovely and talented fashion designer Eliza Faulkner; shot on location in Saanich. Special thanks to Demetri and Judy for graciously hosting our crew on their gorgeous farm.


“I had a very privileged life and I was taught to tithe and give back to the community … If I was going to live a lifestyle I wanted, I had to give back.” 28

Behind Belfry THE

As he likes it, Paddy Stewart stays true to script  TEXT BY CAROLYN HEIMAN PHOTOS BY VINCE KLASSEN


VOICEMAIL MESSAGE CAN SAY a lot about a person. There’s the perfunctory dispatch —“Leave a message at the beep” — or the more long-winded discourse. Then there are the regularly updated rants that Paddy Stewart leaves for his callers. These soliloquies are legendary. Nothing is sacred. Callers get an earful about Stewart’s latest peeve, be it Toronto mayor Rob Ford, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mike Duffy, or resigned Alberta premier Allison Redford. Word about the latest bombastic message spreads like wildfire among friends and many call Stewart’s number just for the entertainment. “He gets a lot of hang-ups,” says Mark Dusseault, publicist for the Belfry Theatre, an institution that Stewart helped incubate in the 1970s under the banner of Springfield Cultural Centre. Stewart has been described as “bracingly outspoken.” “We’re all a bit careful about what we say, but what I love about Paddy is that he is fearlessly passionate and committed,” says Glynis Leyshon, former artistic director and close friend of Stewart. And Dusseault easily shrugs off the tirades as “that’s just Paddy … Paddy is loud and brash, but the other side

of him is the most generous individual you’ll ever come across.” Born “with a silver spoon,” he shows his generosity in big and small ways, routinely turning over the keys to his Victoria home and cars, and frequently housing out-oftown actors. “He is very generous with his possessions and his time,” says Leyshon. In a large way, Victoria’s theatre scene — and particularly the Belfry — owes much to Stewart. The Belfry was kick-started in 1977 by Stewart, who, along with three other backers, chipped in around a $1,000 each to mount what proved to be an enormously successful Irving Berlin music revue, Puttin’ on the Ritz. The play was sassy and fun. (Stewart and his partners — self-described as the drunk, quack, bum and dwarf — made enough money to prompt mounting other productions, but it was some time before the bottom line was in the black.) With the raunchy cowboy at the helm of the board for more than three decades, the Belfry emerged as “the bad boy of Victoria society … we were the dirty kids on the block. We swore,” laughs Dusseault. A generational shift emerged in the local theatre scene, with the Belfry 29


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focusing on new and Canadian plays, and thus opening the door to new audiences. Nonetheless, the revolution wasn’t enough to push the theatre into the black. In the 1980s, Stewart personally guaranteed a quarter-million-dollar line of credit for the financially troubled theatre. Over the decades, it’s estimated he’s put close to a half a million of his own money into the organization. Why? “Because he can,” might be the simplest answer. “Altruism is not a huge part of my life,” Stewart says matter-of-factly. “I had a very privileged life and I was taught to tithe and give back to the community … If I was going to live a lifestyle I wanted, I had to give back.”

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Stewart is an heir to the Canada Packers Ltd. fortune. (A spin-off of the fortune is the $40 million Mclean Foundation, which gives out more than a million dollars each year to arts, welfare, education, community, health and conservation organizations.) With considerable means, Stewart only dabbled at paid work; early on he had a job at Duthies Books. He also

 Paddy Stewart: “loud and brash” and one of the most generous individuals you’ll ever meet.

worked for a short time as an English instructor at Royal Roads Military College before a now-legendary booze-up at the mess put a mutually agreeable end to that role. His grandmother introduced a 10-year-old Stewart to the theatre, taking him to School for Scandal at Toronto’s Crest Theatre. His uncle was board chairman and “angel,” adds Stewart, noting he also got an introductory education in philanthropy and family expectation. Summers at Stratford followed. The allure of literature and theatre became stronger at UBC when he discovered that his original pursuit— agriculture with a dose of chemistry — wasn’t his calling. A girlfriend in the drama department immersed him in theatre, which turned out to be much more fun than the lab. Ultimately, he completed a degree in classical studies and English. Like the actors on the Belfry stage, Stewart sticks tightly to his personal script when talking about his life, re-telling stories that have become part of the “Paddy” mythology. During an interview at his Uplands home, which he opens every spring for a Belfry party fundraiser, he shows a photo album with pictures of all the Standardbred racing 31

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horses he has owned with a Calgary partner. With harness racing in decline, he now has ownership in just one mare, Exotic Sparkles. However, at 72 years old, he no longer warms up his horse with jogs around the track. Stewart doesn’t ride any longer either, but for decades he was as comfortable on a horse as he was in a theatre seat. From the age of 17, he worked on the family cattle ranch — a 250,000-acre spread (including Crown leased land) called Chataway outside of Ashcroft, where he had upward of 14 working horses. The family ranch has since been sold, but Stewart, never wanting to be too far away from the range, keeps an acreage near Princeton, where he also sponsors the annual rodeo. He glances over past relationships with women and allows that he is on good terms with his wife, Judy, with whom he had two children, now grown. At home he displays his considerable collection of art, which includes pieces by artists at the forefront of Canadian art. In many cases, Stewart owned their works years before their notoriety, evidence of his critical eye: Wayne Ngan, Grant Leier, Nixie Barton, Phyllis Serota, Joseph Plaskett, Joe Fafard, David Milne, Bruno Bobak, David Hockney Jeremy Borsos, Brad Pasutti — the list goes on.



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Now holding the position of Belfry’s Chair Emeritus, Stewart is no longer active on the Belfry board, but the “Paddy principle” still rules meetings, says board member Sherri Bird. The principle dictates that the board never interferes with the theatre’s artistic director and play selection. That’s not to say that Stewart’s renowned shrewd assessment of what makes a great play doesn’t influence what’s on stage. When he sees a great play elsewhere, Stewart buys the script for the artistic director to consider. And his personal friendship with actor Rod Beatty was instrumental in the Belfry securing Wingfield premieres, which helped build a base of loyal subscribers. Stewart still reads all the scripts of every play in advance of seeing them. This year he is particularly revved up about Thomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters about seven women who leave the reservation looking for a bingo jackpot, and David Ives’ Venus in Fur, adapted from Leopold von Sacher’s classic erotic novel. “It’ll be too risqué for some people but that’s their problem,” he offers. Looking back, Stewart notes that if he had based his continued involvement in the theatre on dismal, early financial outcomes, he would likely never have continued. But theatre life “gave me great solace and I could afford to do it.” And what’s on his mind now? Just check out his voicemail.






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Sensational WATERFRONT LIFESTYLE HOME, WITH STEPS TO A SANDY BEACH! Sweeping views of the Ocean to San Juan Island & Mt. Baker beyond. Pamela Charlesworth design with a $300,000 refurbishment making this home feel like new. Gorgeous new kitchen with Merlot cabinets, granite counters, stainless appliances. Adjoining new family room with gas F.P. & custom built-ins. Formal dining Room, energy efficient F.P. in luxurious living room. Master with commanding view, and new ensuite. 2nd ensuite bedroom plus guest room up, plus 4th bedroom down. Great recreation room with F.P. plus office on lower. Private .33 acre lot with patio & hot tub, to enjoy the views. $1,698,000

A REMARKABLE SOUTHWEST facing waterfront property with a dock, located 15 minutes to downtown Victoria! This 2007 built unique Westcoast design offers 9’ ceilings, plus panoramic waterviews from all principal rooms. Elegance & style are reflected in the quality finishes. Grand formal living room with energy efficient F.P. Gorgeous kitchen with wood beamed vaulted ceilings, Centre Island, Kitchenaide stainless appliances, & pantry. Ajoining spacious family room, also with vaulted ceilings, and electric skylights. Sumptous master with 5 pce ens. (5 bedrooms total) media/in-law down. See L.S. re: dock. $1,750,000

SPECTACULAR 90’X180’ south-facing waterfront on Esquimalt Lagoon with sweeping views of the Straits of Juan de Fuca & Olympic Mts. Recently refurbished with 3 bedrooms up, spacious Living room with hardwood floors, updated kitchen, sunroom, spacious deck, and rec room. Legal self-contained 1 bdrm. suite down. Three updated 4 pce bathrooms. Hot tub room and workshop. Massive RV garage plus attached garage. Commanding views of the park-like mature garden, complete with feature pond. Heat pump/air conditioning, hook up for 2 gas F.P. Underground stream with licence for irrigation. 7 new appliances, prepaid sewer levy for 25yrs! Duplex zoned. $875,000

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$6,899,000 Lisa Williams 250-514-1966

Boulevard magazine supports Southern Vancouver Island's top Realtors representing the region's finest real estate. In our pages, we hope you will find your next home, whether it is in the listings of the Great Homes/Great Realtors or here in the Boulevard Luxury Real Estate listings. Both of these monthly advertising features bring you the finest selection of homes and condominiums Victoria has to offer.

THIS EXCEPTIONAL waterfront property is located on a private cul-de-sac in Victoria’s most exclusive neighbourhood! The 6,000 sq.ft. home has been beautifully renovated & upgraded over the years with 4-5 bdrms, 6 bths, expansive living, dining, family & sitting rooms all on the main level, expansive kitchen, recreation/media room, office, crafts rm & more. Plus seaside cabana, gated & manicured property & incredible low bank frontage with amazing views & sun all day!

ELEGANT ROCKLAND Avenue home with contemporary updates and a lovely sun-filled, secluded rear courtyard. One of the first exclusive neighbourhoods in Victoria, Rockland features architecturally-designed homes by both Maclure and Rattenbury and encompasses the Art Gallery of Victoria, $1,219,000 Craigdarroch Castle, Langham Court Theatre and Government Susanna Crofton House. Walk to Cook Street Cell: 250-888-6648 village and downtown Victoria! Office: 250-370-7788 For more information and photos: MLS 338615

A SPARKLING SHORELINE, kayaks, ferry boats & seaplanes are just a sample of what you will be watching from this corner waterfront condo home in “The Royal Quay”. This spacious 1,900 sq. ft. suite features 2 bedrooms and a family room/den. The living room is ideally suited for furniture arrangements and the dining room will accommodate a $619,900 large gathering. Ideal location to amenities – walk into town, Sharen Warde & Larry Sims the Westside Village for your 250-592-4422 groceries or catch the Harbour Ferry taxi. Secure underground parking and extra storage. Small pet welcome.


$6,480,000 Lisa Williams 250-514-1966

WELCOME TO PENTHOUSE 6 at the Legacy Building. Over 1,900 sq. ft. with 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms plus den. Each spacious bedroom has an ensuite. Doublesided gas fireplace, fantastic gourmet kitchen, bar, dining area and deck. This unit has over 1,300 sq. ft. of deck space that is south facing $1,300,000 with exceptional views of the ocean, Olympic Mountains, Jason Binab cruise ships and more. Three Cell: 250-589-2466 parking spaces are included. Macdonald Realty Ltd. MLS #339894.

WELCOME TO VICTORIA’S premier condo development. This Shoal Point condo features 2 bedroom plus den, 2 bathrooms with views of the Olympic Mountains, cruise ships, breakwater & courtyard. New hardwood floors, dining room, gas FP, kitchen with beautiful wood cabinetry, stainless $1,150,000 appliances & eating area that opens onto deck. Master Jason Binab bedroom with a large seating Cell: 250-589-2466 area; closet has beautiful Macdonald Realty Ltd. cabinetry & ensuite with heated floors, double sinks, tub & shower. MLS #337781

SET ON A SUNNY, flat acre this charming brick-faced home in Metchosin is reminiscent of the English countryside. Established yet delightfully informal country garden blends natural plantings with espaliered fruit trees, ornamental shrubs, clematis and roses. Cobbled paths meander past raised beds, $629,000 pretty lawns, chicken coop & an amazing, whimsical garden Susanna Crofton shed with loft. Detached Cell: 250-888-6648 garage with studio above. For Office: 250-370-7788 more information and photos: MLS 335887.

THIS BRIGHT SUITE is one of the largest 1 bedroom plus den suites in The Falls. Resort lifestyle with outdoor heated pool, hot tub, and fitness centre. Walk or bike to work. Across from the Inner Harbour. Beautiful Italian granite Schiffini kitchen, stainless steel appliances, marble bathroom with double sinks. Spa-like ensuite with separate walk-in shower and cast iron tub. Hardwood in the living/dining room, air conditioning. Pets and rentals OK.

BEAUTIFUL BRENTWOOD Bay Village! Top floor corner condo of over 1,000 sq. ft. 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 PARKING STALLS! Skylights bathe this home with light. Features include: laminate flooring, master suite with walk-in closet PLUS another double closet and in-suite laundry. Remediated in 2008. $254,900 Sparkling clean! Walk to pubs, shops, cultural centre and Susanna Crofton library. Minutes to Butchart Cell: 250-888-6648 Gardens. For more information Office: 250-370-7788 and photos: MLS 339894.


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PRIVATE WATERFRONT ESTATE on 5.8 pristine acres, with private deep water dock! The gracious & elegant residence was completely renovated to the highest standards w/ every modern luxury: expansive living & dining rms, oversized bdrms all w/ deluxe new ensuite baths, office/library, sunroom, games & entertainment rms, wine cellar, & elevator. Private guest quarters, 6-car garage parking, gorgeous landscaping, small stable w/pasture, & 50’ dock!

spotlight on ADVERTISERS COMBINING AN EDUCATION in arts and design, and with over three decades of experience building custom homes, David Dare has a unique perspective when helping clients create and build fine quality homes. “I realized early on that I had a strong interest in building. I started off as a labourer for a framing contractor and eventually started my own company in 1980. Then I spent a decade managing high-end builds for an architectural firm, and with that, I’ve earned an excellent reputation for doing quality work.” Dare feels fortunate to be a builder in Greater Victoria, noting, “We have the opportunity to build dream homes for people from all over Canada and beyond on some of the most spectacular properties in the world. We are fortunate to get to know the many very private and secluded areas that most people don’t get the opportunity to see.” A Boulevard advertiser for 15 years, Dare says, “If I can have the opportunity to sit down with a potential client, my knowledge and David Dare experience along with my ability to work well with clients and the of Road’sEnd trades will often give a them the confidence they need to make Contracting Road’sEnd their builder of choice.” Road’sEnd Contracting | 250 883 5763 | FROM MASTECTOMY FORMS to a selection of bras for all women, Just You Boutique is Greater Victoria’s bra specialist. Located in Oak Bay, it’s is one of Canada’s largest boutiques specializing in fitting breast cancer victims for prosthesis and mastectomy bras. The store also carries a full line of breast prostheses, mastectomy and lumpectomy forms and enhancers. Clients can choose from the finest medical-grade breast forms as well as less-expensive, non-medical and foam forms, explains owner Judy Dobson. After working in the same field in Swift Current, Sask., Dobson purchased Just You Boutique in early 2004. “With my knowledge and background, I knew that I would love to be part of this here in Victoria,” she notes. More recently, Just You Boutique expanded to also offer clients a wide range of regular bras, including beautiful bras in hard-to-find sizes — from 32AA to 46H — and lovely camisoles. As a Boulevard supporter for several years, Dobson Judy Dobson appreciates the opportunity to meet and help people in the boutique. “I enjoy of Just You helping people — this makes my life’s work very rewarding to me,” she reflects. Boutique “And I enjoy meeting so many interesting people from so many walks of life.” Just You Boutique | 250 384 1791

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Fermented happiness

VICTORIA’S CRAFT BEER REVOLUTION BY DAY, JOE WIEBE IS THE DAD of an active preschooler. By evening, he is the Thirsty Writer. Wiebe is the author of Craft Beer Revolution, a handy insider’s guide to the most exciting thing to happen to drinking in Victoria since the end of Prohibition. He writes about beer for a living, and one cannot help but admire someone smarter than, for example, me. On this summer afternoon, Wiebe is catching up with some work by turning a booth at a Government Street taphouse into a temporary office. (Told you he was clever.) The Churchill, located in the lobby of the Bedford Regency Hotel on the site of a former coffee shop, boasts 50 taps, each just one pull away from delivering fermented happiness. The venerable Garrick’s Head, a sister pub in the same hotel, has 56 taps, a total of 106 different beers, making me dizzy even before the first sip. Since Wiebe is the expert, I let him choose. Like the best sommelier, he needs more information. What beer do I usually drink? (Pale ale.) Feeling adventurous, or thirsty? (Parched.) Local, or foreign? (A craft beer from Victoria.) Soon, a pint of Farmhand is on the table. I take a gulp. Then another. The third is a revelation. “Peppery spiciness,” Wiebe says. This refreshing glass is a “saison,” a farmhouse ale made from a strain of yeast from Belgium to which the crafty brewmasters at Driftwood in the Rock Bay neighbourhood add freshly ground black pepper. It pairs with walnuts, venison and root vegetables,

but on this afternoon its only task is to refresh and lubricate a hard-working magazine writer. Wiebe orders a Dageraad Blonde, another Belgian beer, brewed in Burnaby. The revolution Wiebe chronicles began in Horseshoe Bay in 1982, a short-lived experiment in producing real ale for a pub across the street. Two years later, Spinnakers and Island Pacific Brewing (now Vancouver Island Brewery) in Victoria began producing batches of authentic beer. The city now counts 10 craft brewers, microbreweries and brewpubs, offering a wide selection of ales and lagers. These are not your father’s mass-produced, watery suds; these are your great grandfather’s tasty, full-bodied homages to the ancient brewing craft. The first commercial brewer in this city was Germanborn William Steinberger, who came to Victoria on his way to the Fraser River Gold Rush. Instead, he found his gold in the amber liquid peddled to thirsty prospectors. He opened Victoria Brewery at Swan Lake in 1858, four years before the trading post became a city. Within a year, he moved to a new location, the lake’s murky waters replaced by the crystalline flow from a spring on a ridge to the northeast of the harbour. The cool, refreshing waters led other breweries to establish in an area we now know as Fernwood. “These are not Two big events are coming your father’s up on the calendar for beer mass-produced, lovers. The Great Canadian Beer Festival is being held at watery suds; Royal Athletic Park on Sept. 5 these are and 6. More than 50 brewers your great from across the land will grandfather’s offer libations, some tapping casks of special brews saved tasty, fullfor the occasion. Some of the bodied homages offerings from local brewers include longtime favourite Blue to the ancient Buck (from Phillips Brewing), brewing craft.” Beachcomber Summer Wheat Ale (Vancouver Island Brewery) and Tour de Victoria Kolsch (from Spinnakers Brewpub, with partial proceeds financing Ryder Hesjedel’s local bicycle race). Other offerings include Coconut Porter (from Swans Buckerfield’s Brewery), Cherry Chocolate Stout (from Moon Under Water) and Blackberry Black Saison (from Lighthouse Brewing with blackberries from Gabriola Island). That’s a beer list that reads more like a dessert menu. Imbibers will barely have recovered before the arrival of October, which happens to be BC Craft Beer Month. No wonder our Thirsty Writer says business is good, though more can be done to promote the local scene to tourists. Wiebe expects more taphouses to open and he thinks local brewers would be wise to follow the Vancouver trend by opening tasting lounges within the breweries. He insists we’ve yet to reach Peak Beer. I’ll drink to that. 39


 The unsupported balcony in Victoria’s century-old Royal Theatre is an architectural marvel.  The theatre boasts many intricate interior details.


Century-old Royal is a grand survivor of history  TEXT BY ANGELA COWAN PHOTOS BY ARNOLD LIM


ITHOUT THE BODY HEAT and expectant breath of a thousand people waiting for the curtain to rise, the still air in the Royal Theatre is chilly enough to pebble my forearms and neck. Standing centre stage, the wooden planks creaking softly underfoot, the walls of the century-old building seem to emanate the theatre’s personality. It’s like seeing one of the great stage actors up close: powerful, proud and with an undeniable — slightly intimidating — presence. “This theatre has always worked for a living,” says Lloyd Fitzsimonds, executive director for the past 15 years. “It’s never been closed, and it’s never had a lot of money.” Debris of routine maintenance litters the

stage, validation of the theatre’s constant use and work ethic. The stage floor in the wings gleams dully under the house lights, its matte black surface freshly repainted, the roller and tray waiting for the dawn of another workday. Fitzsimonds leans out to flick a light switch, avoiding the spotless wooden planks. “No way am I going to be the first one to put footprints on it,” he laughs. Gesturing to the walls, Fitzsimonds says the building was cloned on the Orpheum in Seattle. The American counterpart was torn down in 1967, making the Royal the only record of its splendour. It was built over a period of just six months in 1913, and architect William D’Oyly Rochfort made the bold choice of installing strictly electric lighting, eschewing 41

 Lloyd Fitzsimonds, executive director of the Royal and MacPherson theatres, is fascinated by the 100-year history of the Royal.

the gas fixtures of the time. The decision likely saved the Royal from burning down like many of its counterparts. As we face straight out from the stage, the unsupported balcony swoops out over the lower audience towards us, an architectural marvel in itself. I can almost hear the bellowing cry of King Lear — “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!” — and goosebumps rise again. “When it was built in 1913, it was the largest cantilevered object in Canada,” says Fitzsimonds, breaking the spell. “It’s almost impossible to find a theatre this big without posts holding up the balcony.” Hand-painted canvas murals once served as elaborate wallpaper. They are seen now only on the edges of old photographs, as they were taken down in the mid-40s in the interest of “modern design.” The Royal officially opened December 30, 1913, in the midst of an affluent and culture-loving city. Then disaster struck. “Six months after it opened, the First World War started,” says Fitzsimonds. “And the whole world changed.” The words fall to the stage between us and there’s a hush in the already silent theatre. One hundred years ago, boys were forced into men, families shattered apart. “None of the board of directors really survived the war,” he continues. “None of the powers that built the building were here.” 42

The catastrophe could have easily put the theatre into ruin was it not for a single man: Clifford Dean. As the Royal’s general manager from 1914 to 1965, Dean kept it open through two world wars, the Depression, a seemingly never-ending economic slump and multiple bankruptcies. “Clifford’s my hero,” says Fitzsimonds. “He went through nine owners, and none of those owners gave it up willingly.” Over the years, Dean saw it change hands eight times through bankruptcy. Good news occurred in 1943 when the Victoria Symphony, formed three years prior, moved into the theatre, but it wasn’t enough to keep it afloat. Then Famous Players entered the scene, purchasing it in 1946. “It went from being ‘legitimate’ theatre to vaudeville, then from vaudeville to movies,” says Fitzsimonds. “Clifford made it work in a time when theatres were failing. He figured out that he could lower a screen in front of the stage and have chairs set up behind for the symphony.” This back-and-forth between classical tastes and moving pictures kept the theatre alive for nearly three decades, until 1972, when Famous Players decided to move on to a bigger and newer building down the street, and left the symphony behind. The Royal was once again up for sale. Terrified the theatre would be torn down and the

symphony left homeless, the municipalities of Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria pooled their resources and snatched it up. “The single driving force was the symphony,” says Fitzsimonds. “Where could they have gone?” Saved from an unknown fate, the Victoria Symphony kept a roof over its head, and “has lived almost its entire life in this building,” he says. The theatre stayed relatively quiet until the late 1990s, when the Pacific Opera outgrew Victoria’s MacPherson Theatre and made the move to the Royal. “Opera and I moved in at the same time,” laughs Fitzsimonds, who also once worked at the Royal as a stagehand in 1982.


“What makes it important is the community it serves.” Around the same time, the trio of municipalities sold the building to the Capital Regional District, and the Royal and MacPherson Society was created to manage both theatres. Today, the two theatres work so closely together, Fitzsimonds says, it’s not uncommon to have staff shuffle back and forth between the two during the course of a day. The symphony and opera take first priority over stage time, says Fitzsimonds, followed by dance groups; but after that, it’s open to whoever wants to rent the building. In the last few decades, everyone seems to have played at the Royal. Rock groups Trooper and Nazareth, Crosby, Stills and Nash, as well as Tony Bennett twice in the last 10 years; Broadway shows Mamma Mia and Beauty and the Beast, international dance companies and comedic acts like Danny Bhoy have all taken the stage to enthusiastic applause. Much like when hero Clifford Dean juggled entertainment acts, the Royal has adopted an eclectic show schedule that has something for everyone. “What makes it important is the community it serves,” says Fitzsimonds. “Shakespeare’s theatre served the culture he lived in. Today (the Royal) still reflects the community. It’s not a museum piece.” The spectre of a thousand lines spoken, of a thousand notes sung in harmony and drawn from strings and brass hangs in the cool air. We descend the stage and turn off the lights, our footsteps muffled by the carpet lining the aisles. As Fitzsimonds pulls open the door, the theatre exhales, as though sighing after a long day, and the shift in air rushes past us into the foyer. Change is inescapable and time may traipse on unforgivingly, but the Royal, like the great stage presence it will always be, will continue to evolve, and be ready for whatever role may yet come its way. Fitzsimonds, for one, is looking forward to it. “Let’s see what the next hundred years brings.”

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Stage Setters Finding furniture to firearms, props masters help the show go on


HEN THE YOUNG MICKEY Rooney cried out, “Hey, let’s put on a show!” nobody immediately chimed in with, “Yeah, and I’ll do the props.” But even though a stirring performance by Patrick Stewart might be the highlight of a night on Broadway, it was likely a stageful of props that propelled him into character and allowed the audience to suspend its disbelief. In Victoria, various masters of props deploy numerous skills — from scavenger hunting to blacksmithing — in order to to create theatrical magic. Defined as anything an actor carries or handles, props typically include set dressings such as furniture, wall sconces and the like. On every stage sit several dozen objects assembled expressly to enable the director to best bring the playwright’s vision to life. And with plays set anywhere from classical Greece to a 19th century Chekhovian farmhouse, a


theatre’s props master is expected to be a knowledgeable social historian. Most theatres have a props room that functions akin to a library. Downstairs at Victoria’s Langham Court, for example, a locked door opens up to reveal long shelves brimming with plastic flowers, fake food, plates and glassware, antique typewriters, radios and telephones from all eras, vintage newspapers and magazines, fake rocks, sports gear, lanterns, weaponry and a whole lot more. “It’s like a condensed Value Village,” chuckles Ned Lemley, long-time costume manager at Langham Court. If exactly what’s needed isn’t in storage, a scavenger hunt ensues. Victoria’s second hand stores are worth a peek, but there’s not as many as there once were, and lots of buying is now done online. “Thank god for eBay,” declares Maureen Mackintosh, head of props at Pacific Opera Victoria for the last 25 years.



 Columns with fake rivet heads made from gumballs help set the stage for Belfry Theatre’s production of Brilliant!

But these enablers of theatrical magic aren’t just canny shoppers. They are highly trained artists with the ability to fabricate objects of all types and sizes, both real and illusory. “As you build things you learn about blacksmithing, rope work, wood-turning ... you need to develop a large skill set,” says UVic’s Bryn Finer. Aside from being the props coordinator at Phoenix Theatre for the last decade, Finer has had

contracts as diverse as creating props for Disney World and being the armourer for Hollywood’s medieval epic 13th Warrior. Mackintosh, who graduated from Sheridan College’s school of design, adds that making props is frequently about repurposing found objects. “Think of it as problem solving — it’s often about transforming an existing object into exactly what

the director has asked for,” says Mackintosh. There is the perfect before-andafter example in the props room at the POV workshop: a sturdy-but-plain chair sits beside what used to be an exact duplicate ... until Mackintosh bought a huge mirror and cut up its rococo frame, sections of which helped alter an ordinary chair into something ornate enough for a palace. Props making can be as simple as 47

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“As you build things you learn about blacksmithing, rope work, woodturning … you need to develop a large skill set.”  Sword fights, such as that seen here in the Belfry’s Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), present their own challenges to prop masters.

attaching a fancy brass doorknob onto the top of an ordinary walking stick, or as expressive as creating the ass’s head for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It can also involve projects as grandiose as constructing the giant, movable plane that is the climactic centrepiece of the musical The Drowsy Chaperone. Over at The Belfry, head of props Peter Pokorny remembers a challenge presented by Brilliant!, a drama about Thomas Edison’s rival Nikola Tesla, where the imposing set included four massive “steel” columns. “We needed several hundred rivets to complete the look of the columns, so we bought two giant boxes of gumballs, cut them in half, spray-painted them, and then hot-glued them to the posts,” recalls the European-trained Pokorny. “The shop smelled like a candy factory when we were finished.” The Belfry features a lot of modern theatre in its repertoire, which means that most furniture is purposebuilt for its shows. Langham Court had the opposite problem for its production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, when local artist Bill Adams (who has often done sets for Langham) had to create a fleet of antique school desks, which he “stressed” to make them seem used. “He did such a good job that they’re now out at the historic Craigflower Schoolhouse,” says Lemley. Props sometimes merge into the realm of stage effects, for example when one of the yuppie characters in the black comedy God of Carnage has to suddenly vomit copiously all over a coffee table. “I had to rely on a knowledge of plumbing and pneumatics,” says Belfry technical director Greg Smith,

who gleefully describes that memorable coup de theatre as a career highlight. “Later we rented it to Theatre Calgary for their production,” he adds. And that redoubtable theatre convention, the sword fight, has its own back-story. When swords aren’t merely decorative and the clash of steel must ring out, safety becomes a priority. Aside from requiring supervision by a fight director from Actors Equity, there is the problem of metal fatigue. “We check our swords every night,” explains Finer. “And if we’re on a three-week run, we’ll replace the blades three times, just in case there might be a problem.” Whole books have been written on the subject of theatrical disasters, ranging from famously muffed lines to a technical rehearsal of Phantom of the Opera in Toronto when they let fly with the chandelier, only to have the whole thing crash onto the stage in a deafening explosion of light bulbs. Unsurprisingly, props have a starring role in this rich history — it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what could possibly go wrong with giant statues made out of Styrofoam. Misfiring guns are a chapter unto themselves, and Langham Court’s Lemley recalls a droll moment during one of its blood-and-thunder thrillers when the villain pointed a revolver at his intended victim and pulled the trigger ... only to have it misfire. Well, the murder must go on, so the bad guy pulled the trigger a second time, only to meet with similarly silent non-results. At which point the obliging victim, a bold improviser, yelled, “Bang!” and fell down dead. Which, come to think of it, suggests that in the world of the theatre, actors and props both deserve top billing. 49

 Executive sous chef Michael Pagnacco shows off his lamb curry as the Fairmont Empress’s Bengal Lounge celebrates 60 years.


Victoria’s curry flavour


For despite its deep British roots, it’s not as easy as you might imagine, finding authentic Indian food in this city … Thankfully, that situation is improving. 50


OUNGING IN A RATTAN CHAISE beneath the toothy glare of a mounted Bengal tiger, Pimms in hand, it’s easy to imagine I’m in Bombay, across the table from the Empress of India herself. While Queen Victoria never actually visited her namesake hotel in her namesake city, she might have felt right at home here in the Bengal Lounge, with the punka fans whirring softly overhead and the aroma of fine curry in the air. Victoria truly loved India and all things Indian. She even learned the Hindu language and

 Authentic Indian food is easier to find in Victoria now, with the opening of new spots like Saaz and chef Vikram Vij’s Sutra.

insured that an authentic curry was on the menu for every Sunday lunch. When it opened in 1954, some 60 years ago, the Fairmont Empress Hotel’s lounge was the first establishment in Victoria to receive a liquor license. Today, with its elaborate colonial architecture and daily curry buffet, it’s still a popular place for locals and tourists alike to try creamy butter chicken, coriander chutney and papadams, or tender coconut lamb curry. For many years, this was the only place in Victoria to have a decent curry. For despite its deep British roots, it’s not as easy as you might imagine to find authentic Indian food in this city. Thankfully, that situation is improving, with new Indian spots like Saaz and chef Vikram Vij’s Sutra opening this year, along with some neighbourhood haunts of note. Saaz is Jay Mannava’s cozy Yates Street restaurant that’s winning fans for his unique specialty, the masala dosa. This crispy lentil crepe, filled with spiced potatoes and served with sambal on the side, is a popular dish from southern India and makes a perfect lunch. Beyond other south Indian traditions, from goat curry to Hyderabadistyle coconut curries and lamb biryanis, Mannava also offers his own creative dishes and a daily lunch buffet. For curry in a hurry, you can also stop at Sutra at the Victoria Public Market in the Hudson. Sit down at the big communal table and order from the counter — wild salmon pakoras, cassava fries with meat gravy, navy bean curry with kale, mango lassi — or just take out a selection of celebrity chef Vikram Vij’s ready-to-heat frozen foods

from the wall of freezers. It’s a smaller satellite shop, similar to Rangoli in Vancouver, with meat curries, vegetarian dishes, daal, naan and even Vij’s tamarind and date chutney to take away. There’s also a small selection of Vij’s freshly roasted and ground spices and masalas to spice your own curries at home. Or, look for Indian spices and other ingredients at B&V Market (on Quadra at Tolmie) and find fresh curry leaves, chilies and other unusual vegetables at the Root Cellar. And speaking of home cooking, you won’t find any better than the take-out at a little corner grocery in Oak Bay, the Willows Park Grocery. This neighbourhood store on Eastdowne has been selling groceries for more than a century, but since Sarge Tiwana and his family arrived from England a few years ago, there’s a new British import section and a regular menu of house-made Indian take-out food that rivals any in town. The menu changes daily, and you can follow what’s fresh on their website or Facebook page to pick up and reheat at home. They offer a great meal deal for two every Wednesday and Friday for $30, including three dishes, rice, naan bread and dessert. If it’s not fresh, it’s in the freezer, so you can always get your tasty lentil daal, roasted eggplant, chickpea masala or butter chicken fix, whether its 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. The charming shop also carries a good selection of Monsoon Coast spices and fresh local ingredients for creating your own curry feasts. The Empress of India would be happily amused, indeed. 51

BENGAL LOUNGE LAMB CURRY PREP 20 mins COOK TIME 2 hours SERVES 4-6 Always on the lunch and dinner buffet, this south Indian classic combination is rich with spices and coconut milk. Michael Pagnacco, executive sous chef at the Fairmont Empress, shares the recipe.

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SAUCE: ¼ cup ghee (clarified butter) 3 whole cloves 2 bay leaves 1 cinnamon stick 3 whole cardamom pods 4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger 4 teaspoons minced fresh garlic 1 large onion, diced 2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons ground coriander 1 teaspoon hot Kashmiri chili powder (or cayenne) 1 pound Roma tomatoes, chopped 2 cups tomato puree ½ cup cashew paste (boil raw cashews 10 minutes then puree, or use commercial cashew butter) 1¼ cups coconut milk salt and pepper LAMB: 2 pounds boneless lamb leg, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 teaspoon garam masala powder 4 teaspoons ghee 4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro For the sauce, heat the ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the clove, bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamon. Cook until fragrant, a couple of minutes, then add the ginger and garlic and sauté until golden. Stir in the onion and cook until translucent, then add the cumin, coriander and chili powder. Sauté together five minutes. Add the diced Roma tomato and the canned tomato puree and cashew paste. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer one hour, adding a little water if necessary to maintain a sauce consistency. Add the coconut milk and simmer to finish the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. For the lamb, rub the cubed lamb with the garam masala powder and set aside to marinate. In another saucepan, heat the ghee over medium high heat and sauté the lamb in batches, until nicely browned on all sides. Add the curry sauce to the lamb, bring to a boil,

then reduce heat to low and simmer until the lamb is tender and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Finish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve with basmati rice.

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PREP 20 mins COOK TIME 30 mins SERVES 4 Vancouver chef Vikram Vij demonstrated this homestyle recipe at a cooking class hosted by Victoria’s London Chef. He says all curries benefit from being made in advance and reheated, giving the flavours and spices time to blend. ¼ cup canola oil or ghee 1 ½ cups finely chopped onion 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon minced ginger 1 teaspoon salt 2 cloves ¼ teaspoon black pepper 2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons ground coriander 2 teaspoons garam masala ½-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1½ cups chopped tomatoes (or 1 small can) 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces ½ teaspoon turmeric ½ cup sour cream 1 cup water 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

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TO SERVE: Hot cooked basmati rice In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until very brown, about 10 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook together 1 minute. Have all of the spices measured in advance and add them now. Stir for a minute to toast the spices and release their aromas, then add the tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium low, add the chicken and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the turmeric, sour cream and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes to finish cooking the chicken (it should be tender and no longer pink). Remove the lid and cook to thicken the curry slightly, then stir in cilantro and serve over hot basmati rice. C






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WHITE – 2012 EHLERS ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC One hundred per cent of proceeds from the sale of Ehlers Estate wines go directly to the Leducq Foundation to support international cardiovascular research. A delicious and ripe organic Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley, aged six months sur lie. Citrus and tropical fruits abound in the glass, tied together with crisp acidity, creamy texture and a reasonable alcohol level, making it a wine you can savour without feeling satiated. It has tremendous intensity of flavour with a long finish, and graces Greek salad, grilled white fish and roast chicken with elegance and style. It received 93 points from Wine Enthusiast ($45 in private wine stores).

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A fundraising journey up Mount Arrowsmith  BY CATHIE MAKAROFF


OUND IT!” I HOLLERED triumphantly into the thick fog, as a battered, rolled up notebook slid out of the PVC tube. The Mt. Arrowsmith summit registry was hard to find, but I was determined to have our alpine conquest recorded. Despite hands rigid with cold, I signed my name with the comment: “We’ll be back again to see the view.” Just a few hours earlier, the September sun shone warm as our group of seven hikers aged 20 to 50 stretched our limbs after a dawn departure from Victoria. The sunny, two-and-a-half-hour drive north on Highway 19 and west on Highway 4 had inspired hope that the forecast of heavy cloud and rain was wrong. Now, the peak stood stark against a clear blue sky.


We chose this hike as a church fundraiser for single moms in Zambia. We sought a physical challenge that would generate sponsors, yet be simple to execute. We hit on Mount Arrowsmith. At 1,819 metres, the mountain is the tallest on southern Vancouver Island and dominates the skyline west of Nanaimo. Its sheer spires appear more daunting than reality, as the northwest side of the mountain offers the “Judges’ Route,” which, though steep, is a straightforward, non-technical climb and can be accessed part way up by vehicle. Even so, good hiking shoes, water, high-energy foods and warm clothing are still a must. We were almost fooled by the warm morning into leaving extra layers behind, but took them just in case. And thankfully so: the


summit conditions proved surprisingly harsh. The route to the trailhead leaves highway 4 at Loon Lake Main, 10 kilometres past Cathedral Grove, and carries on to an old logging road off Cameron Main. We parked and started up the initial wide, sloping trail leading to the point where it takes a sharp left turn into the forest and up the mountainside. Here it narrowed to a steep switchback path. We kept a good pace, picking our way through massive fir and hemlock trees. The older hikers among us panted, while the younger ones chatted easily as they kept pace. Aside from some assertive whiskey jacks that stole our loosely held granola bars, we saw little wildlife. However, the mountain is home to elk, deer, wolf, bear, cougar and dozens of bird species, including the rare white-tailed ptarmigan. The woods thinned out abruptly, the mossy forest floor giving way to open rock and stumpy, crooked trees, which

 The expansive view from the summit of Mt. Arrowsmith — seen on a clear day.


“At 1,819 metres, the mountain is the tallest on southern Vancouver Island and dominates the skyline west of Nanaimo.”

 The Judges’ Route is a steep, but non-technical climb up the northwest side of the mountain.

revealed vistas to the south and west, where we could see Sproat Lake shimmering in the distance. Arrowsmith overlooks the entire south island with little obstruction. We were looking forward to the summit, which promised 360 degree views: east over Georgia Strait to the coast range mountains, west to the Pacific Ocean, north to the mountains of Strathcona Park and south-west to some smaller interior peaks. As we ascended, soon we were out of the trees and clambering up rocky faces and crevices. Although this section was a bit steep and not for the vertigo-inclined, it was very doable without ropes or extra equipment. My husband and I attempted it in early July, but had to turn back short of the summit due to snowy treacherous paths and no equipment to safely navigate them. In late summer and fall, the Judges’ Route is 57

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an easy-to-moderate “scramble,” readily climbed with a good set of shoes and a healthy pair of lungs. This time, a successful summit seemed guaranteed and the views grew more spectacular with each metre of ascent. Just as we neared the last rise, a wall of cloud came rolling over the peak. We found ourselves immersed in a freezing fog combined with cold winds. What timing! Out came the layers tucked in at the last moment. In just 20 minutes the temperature plummeted from 15 Celsius to nearly freezing, and visibility was reduced to a few metres. Wandering through the whiteout, surrounded by a few UFO-like radio towers, we summited. Out there, somewhere was a spectacular view. We huddled in the mist and took surreal group photos. We waited for it to clear for as long as our rapidly chilling, sweaty bodies could manage, but eventually had to begin the descent. On the way down we passed people still coming up the trail; a youth group, some very fit looking seniors and a couple of overnight back-packers. We wished them happy trails, and better luck with the views. The descent was easier on the lungs, but harder on the knees and, at about two hours, it was an hour shorter than the three hours we’d taken to reach the summit. About half way down, the bank of cloud blew away, leaving clear views for the late afternoon hikers. “We’ll be back,” we vowed. Thankfully, the mountain will be accessible to hikers for years to come. Containing numerous rare and vulnerable plant and animal species, Mt. Arrowsmith Massif is part of a UNESCO biosphere reserve and has been a protected regional park since 2008. By late afternoon we were back on the road to Victoria. Over a hearty ale and meal at the picturesque Crow and Gate Pub, outside the town of Cedar, we calculated the funds generated by our day’s labour. We’d raised $3,000; enough to feed, house and educate two Zambian families for one year.

IF YOU GO: While we did this as a day hike, an excursion to Arrowsmith is worthy of an entire weekend. A beautiful, rustic campground at Little Qualicum Falls is a 40-minute drive east from Mt. Arrowsmith on Highway 4. For a more luxurious stay, try the Crown Mansion Boutique Hotel at Qualicum Beach, which offers ocean view rooms and fine dining. See the Summit Post website for precise driving and trail details for Mount Arrowsmith, mt-arrowsmith/189455 Cathie Makaroff is an elementary school teacher, mother and outdoor adventure addict. The next hike for Zambia is now in the planning.

CURTAIN CALL A peek at this season’s local theatre scene  BY SUSAN LUNDY


HE FALL AND WINTER MAY mean the arrival of cooler weather, but Victoria and area residents should fear not when it comes to entertainment. Live theatre companies in Victoria and Chemainus promise lots of great options for a host of diverse offerings over the next few months and into 2015. Read on for a round up of what’s occurring on stage this year from various local theatre companies:

BELFRY THEATRE  THE REZ SISTERS, SEPT. 16 TO OCT. 19 A rich, magical journey of redemption by celebrated First Nations writer Tomson Highway. Seven women — all related — leave their reservation on a road trip to Toronto, heading to the “Biggest Bingo in the World,” each hoping to win the jackpot and change their lives forever.  SPRING AWAKENING, OCT. 21 TO NOV. 2 Winner of the 2007 Tony Award for Best Musical, Spring Awakening is a rock musical based on the controversial 19th century German play by Frank Wedekind. This musical is a daring mix of rebellion, poignancy and passion, as a group of teens wrestle with their emerging sexuality and their place in the world.  VENUS IN FUR, NOV. 1 TO DEC. 14 Before Fifty Shades of Grey, there was Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s classic erotic novel Venus in Furs. In this Tony Award nominated adaptation, the tables are turned as a young actress tangles with a director, who is increasingly intrigued by her. Funny and stimulating, this play weaves sex and power into an exhilarating game of cat and mouse.  COMING UP IN 2015: The Best Brothers / How to Disappear Completely / SPARK Festival / Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

 The Pacific Opera Victoria’s Lucia di Lammermoor.

BLUEBRIDGE REPERTORY THEATRE  GASLIGHT, OCT. 22 TO NOV. 2 Set in fog-bound London in 1880, Bella Manningham is slowly losing her mind. Or is she being driven into madness by her handsome and ambitious husband, Jack? This is an elegantly structured morality tale that has thrilled audiences around the world since its premier in 1938.  ALICE VS WONDERLAND, NOV. 25 TO DEC. 14 Lewis Carroll meets Lady Gaga in this psychedelic update of the classic tale. An entrancingly surreal portrait of a teenage identity crisis, this is Alice as you’ve never seen her before.  COMING UP IN 2015: Waiting for Godot / Macbeth / Pal Joey

CHEMAINUS THEATRE  LES MISERABLES UNTIL SEPTEMBER 7 This musical phenomenon sweeps its audience through an epic tale of passion and destruction in 19th century 59

France. Discover a nation in the grip of revolution as convict Jean Valjean, on the run and in a fight for his life, sacrifices everything to protect the people he loves.  OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS, OCT. 3 TO NOV. 8 Meet Nick — a single Italian-American from New Jersey — and both sets of his meddling grandparents over a series of Sunday dinners, as they try to sort out his love life and their destiny through pasta and wisecracks. This heartwarming and hilarious family comedy plays with old world values, new family traditions and the differences between the generations.  SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE CHRISTMAS CAROL, NOV. 21 TO DEC. 22 After being presumed dead for three years, a hardened Sherlock Holmes resurfaces, turning his back on the people who need him most. Three unexpected callers arrive on Christmas Eve, uncovering clues from the detective’s past, present and future. Can they save Holmes and his world from a devastating conclusion all in one night?

INTREPID THEATRE: THE YOU SHOW  KID PSYCHIC (AND SHYFACE), OCT. 4 TO 7 What’s the most memorable thing you learned in school? Is it mathematical algorithms — or your first crush? Join third grader Sam, the Kid Psychic, and her best friend Shyface, on their quest to start a conversation about what school is teaching them about the “real world.”

Addams Family is a devilish delight for all ages. Come meet the family. We’ll leave the lights off for you.

LANGHAM COURT THEATRE  PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, OCT. 2 TO 18 Can Elizabeth overcome her pride and Darcy overcome his prejudice? Victoria’s own Janet Munsil has beautifully crafted the characters so that this beloved tale, set in Regency England, is more accessible, fresher and sparkling.  THE SMALL ROOM AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, NOV. 20 TO DEC.6 Grace’s new husband has only one rule: do not go into the small room at the top of the stairs. She is irresistibly drawn to the mystery behind the door and his secret life in this open-ended parable.  COMING UP IN 2015: People / The Mystery of Edmund Drood / August: Osage County / Humble Boy

PACIFIC OPERA VICTORIA  DAS RHEINGOLD, OCT. 16 TO 24 (MATINÉE OCT. 26) The first opera in Wagner’s monumental Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold sets in motion the conflicts that will ultimately destroy the gods. Here is a world of giants and river


 THE “F” WORDS, NOV. 1 Fierce, funny and fearless: follow Frannie and friends on this fun-filled frolic. Experience her unrelenting compulsion to explore The “F” Words and what it means to be Fat, Forty, Forgotten and F**cked.  T CRATCHIT INC., DEC. 6 What legacy did Tiny Tim Cratchit inherit from his second father, the reformed Ebenezer Scrooge? This continuation of Dickens’ classic Christmas story rediscovers the lad in the new world, a tycoon at the heart of a nation-building empire of steel and steam.

KALEIDOSCOPE THEATRE  THE ADDAMS FAMILY: A NEW MUSICAL COMEDY (MACPHERSON PLAYHOUSE), OCT. 31 TO NOV.2 They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky. Everyone’s favourite family comes to spooky and spectacular life in an all new story, based on the bizarre and beloved characters created by Charles Addams. The 60

 Kaitlin Williams as Lucy Pevensie, remembering Narnia adventures in the wardrobe.

nymphs, of dwarves that toil beneath the earth, and gods that rule from the mountaintop hall of Valhalla.  CAMELOT IN CONCERT, NOV. 22 TO 23 Pacific Opera Victoria and the Victoria Symphony present a great classic musical. Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot is the magical tale of the court of King Arthur and the forbidden love of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere.  COMING UP IN 2015: Lucia di Lammermoor / Madama Butterfly

PHOENIX THEATRE  THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, OCT. 9 TO 18 Adapted from the novel by C.S. Lewis, featuring UVic alumni Kaitlin Williams (BFA ’09) and Mack Gordon (BFA’ 08).  A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, NOV. 6 TO 22 Love and illusion collide in Shakespeare’s most poetic and magical play.  COMING UP IN 2015: Lion in the Streets / Amadeus

THEATRE SKAM  SKAM POP-UP THEATRE, THIS FALL An intimate performance space on the back of the SKAM pick-up truck, the prototype theatre experience will present short shows for small audiences around Victoria.  FASHION MACHINE, OCT. AND NOV. SKAM takes Fashion Machine — where kids redesign and completely alter various audience members’ clothes — on the road to Victoria schools.  COMING UP IN 2015: 20th Birthday Bash / Runaway / Bike Ride Festival / Shop Talk / Joan


THEATRE INCONNU  BABY WITH BATHWATER, OCT. 2 TO 18 Two parents who are completely unprepared for parenthood bring home their newborn baby. The two cannot seem to name the baby. John thinks the baby is a boy, but Helen says the doctors said they could decide later. To their rescue comes Nanny – who enters their apartment as if by magic, and is full of abrupt mood swings.

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 Stellar sea lions at a rookery on Garcin Rocks.


 Poles carved by the Haida on SGang Gwaay.  The channel at Burnaby Narrows is a great place for exploring tidepools.


HE HAIDA WATCHMEN WAIT for us on the rocky beach, at the edge of the rainforest. Unlike their ancestors who were on the lookout for enemy intruders, these modern Watchmen welcome visitors and protect long-abandoned villages on Haida Gwaii. As many as 20,000 Haida once prospered on this chain of islands, located off the west coast of the BC mainland. “My grandmother Giidaahlgudsliiay was born here in K’uuna in 1862 and died at 109,” says a beaming Leora, from the Raven clan. Her ancestor was one of fewer than 600 who survived diseases introduced by Europeans, and lived to see the rebirth of the Haida Nation. I’m on a nine-day exploration of Haida Gwaii, along with seven other travellers who’ve joined a tour with Maple Leaf Adventures. For most of the trip, we’ll be cruising on the Maple Leaf, a 92-foot schooner. But we begin our adventure on land.

ISLANDS ON THE EDGE Haida Gwaii includes more than 400 islands and islets, perched on the western edge of the continent of North America. In less than a twohour flight from Vancouver (or a longer trip on BC Ferries from Port Hardy or Prince Rupert), one arrives in another world. We land in Masset on Graham Island, most northerly of the two largest islands; the other is Moresby Island, where we’ll board the Maple Leaf. Andrew Merrilees, the energetic guide for Haida Gwaii Adventures and mayor of Masset, tours us around Graham Island. We’re soon hiking through Naikoon Park and settling into comfortable rooms at the Alaska View Lodge, where we actually do glimpse Alaska through the mist. As we dine on local salmon at the lodge that evening, our hosts Neil and Ben explain that this area (including nearby Langara Island) attracts anglers lured by the best salmon fishing in the world — not to mention

300-pound halibut. Andrew drives us to the Haida Heritage Centre at Skidegate, a worldclass facility celebrating ancient and contemporary Haida culture. It’s a showplace with carved totem poles and art, weaving, cedar canoes and paddling tours. I’m intrigued to hear about a 96-year-old Haida chief who became the oldest man in the world to complete high school and the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program, in order to teach the Haida language.


 A pod of orcas, as many as 16, are spotted from the deck of the Maple Leaf.


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In the southern half of Haida Gwaii, it’s challenging to explore the windswept islands now preserved in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site. From mountaintop to ocean floor, most of the area is protected from development. The easiest way to explore this rugged wilderness region is by sea, and the Maple Leaf is the ideal home away from home. After boarding the ship off Moresby Island, we head south with an exceptional captain and crew. We’re soon surrounded by a pod of orcas, as many as 16 splashing and diving in the setting sun. Other days we’re in humpback bliss, amazed at the acrobatics of 40-ton whales breaching around the schooner. In the first seven days of the trip we spot only one other vessel, and sight more wildlife than boats and humans during our cruise. We often anchor near points of interest, then zoom to protected bays in the ship’s inflatables and wade on shore with rubber boots. Whether captain Greg, first mate Nick, or deckhand Skye and chef James are reeling in fish for our supper, pointing out a black bear or a puffin in flight, or showing us bat stars and moon jellyfish in the incredibly rich tide pools at Burnaby Narrows, there is always laughter. And we all share the infectious thrill of discovery. In choppy seas, we leave navigation and logistics to captain Greg and photograph more Stellar sea lions and whales, or savour another gourmet meal prepared by our innovative cook. He convinces us to try local specialties, like nettles. But I prefer his prawn soup or surf and turf


FAIRFIELD SKIN CLINIC (made with prawns just pulled up in a trap), or fish and chips cooked with freshly caught lingcod. We often eat breakfast and snacks on deck while watching the misty isles. Captain Greg manages to get us to all the major Haida village sites, including the amazing World Heritage Site at SGang Gwaay (Ninstints): standing and fallen poles, and the moss-covered remains of massive longhouses. Every day brings new wonders from land or sea or James’ galley. But it is the Haida themselves who leave the greatest impression, including Watchmen Walter and Mary who are based at Tanu. Mary jokes with us about nettles restoring her hair after an accident with dye made her bald, but is more serious when talking about the future of her daughter, Raven. “I hope she’ll become a Watchman,” says Mary. As we motor away from Tanu, we look back to see Walter and Mary walking up the beach towards their cabin, each holding a small hand as Raven toddles between them.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Destination British Columbia: Maple Leaf Adventures: The writer was a guest of Maple Leaf Adventures, with travel assistance from Northern BC Tourism. Merna Forster is a writer, photographer, historian and former park naturalist who loves to travel. She’s the author of the books 100 Canadian Heroines and 100 More Canadian Heroines.





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IT’S BEEN AN UNLIKELY ROAD to success for Mike Miller, president and founder of Abstract Developments. The well-known builder started his career in the kitchen, training as a chef, before moving into auto bodywork. But after he bought his first house at the age of 20, the Alberta native got hooked on development by doing his own renovations. Now, after designing and building more than 60 properties in Greater Victoria, Miller’s latest project — the $8 million Village Walk development on the Oak Bay border —will be completed this month. Tess van Straaten sat down with this down-to-earth dad to talk about his development passion. It’s quite the success story: you started from nothing, you’re a self-made man. Did you ever think you’d be building multi-million dollar developments? It’s strange because when I was younger, I said I might 66


be a builder. But a friend said, “No, I think you’ll be a developer.” And I didn’t know what that really meant. I thought a developer was a guy in a suit who just came in and then took away the land and built something the community didn’t really want — all that stigma. But I’m proud to say I’m a community builder in Victoria. How do you stay competitive? It goes in cycles, so sometimes we feel like we have great days and we’re on top of the world. Other times, especially in the last few years, it’s been tough. But we are relentless about the details, the construction quality, the design and the floor plans, and that helps us stay competitive Abstract’s focus has shifted a bit from single-family homes to more multi-family developments like Village Walk. Why is that? We still run the custom home division but I think the expansion of multi-family really speaks to a demographic change. People are downsizing or adding second homes

and they want to be able to walk to amenities, parks and the ocean, so that’s where we’re really focusing our core business. Lifestyle is really driving people’s decisions. They want something low-maintenance, while at the same time something that allows them to have some money in the bank so they can travel or afford kids’ education. What’s been your most important money lesson? Don’t do your job for money, do it because you love it! Find your passion because I believe you will get what you need in life if you work hard doing something you’re passionate about. That could mean living in a studio apartment and painting. There are many different measures of success. You’ve certainly had a lot of success but what’s been your biggest mistake? I call them “learning experiences” because a mistake is something you make twice. The first time you do something wrong, it’s a great learning experience, and for me it was the growing pains we experienced. I went from working out of my own home office six years ago to where we are now, so I lost a bit of that edge in the market from having my ear to the ground. But we’ve learned from that and we’re really letting the buyer, the customer, drive all our decisions. What’s the most common mistake, or “learning experience,” homeowners make when they jump into a reno? People aren’t always honest with themselves about what they really want. If you’re doing a kitchen, you might try to use old appliances, but once everything else is new, you probably won’t be happy with those appliances. People also get caught up in all the details and upgrades, and a $20,000 kitchen reno ends up costing $50,000, especially if they’re making emotional decisions that don’t always make sense for the budget or resale. Speaking of resale, what reno gives you the most bang for your buck? Hands down, it’s the kitchen. But it’s not just cabinets or appliances. It’s really about getting an open space because open spaces are what most people want now. If it means taking out the wall between your kitchen and dinning room, that’s probably the biggest impact you can make. Anything else you’d like to tell us? We live in a great city but a city is like a business, and if it doesn’t grow and expand, it will die off. I understand the concerns about development, but development is really community building. You can’t covet the city and then not want to do anything to improve it. Allowing reasonable density is what will make Victoria successful; it will help struggling local businesses and it will bring people back to the downtown. Tess van Straaten is an award-winning journalist, television personality and fourth–generation Victoria native. 67



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The West End Gallery was opened in Victoria in 1994 in the heart of downtown, on the corners of View and Broad Streets. From the outset the gallery has striven to showcase the works of leading Canadian artists, featuring painters and glass artists. Artwork styles represented include high realism, abstract, figurative and landscape. Many of the internationally recognized artists are important additions to any collection. 1203 Broad Street 250-388-0009 Open daily

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 Floral oil painting by Eyan Higgins Jones, part of a September exhibit at Couch Gallery.

ART OF THE NEW After getting a fine arts degree, Tanya Horn found herself “distracted” by five years in Europe, before returning to Canada and taking a sharp left turn into registered nursing. Four children and 17 years later, the Metchosin-based Horn finally felt ready to return to the art world. Lacking the driving passion needed to create serious art, Horn quickly realized that starting a gallery played to her interests and her strengths. She opened Couch Gallery on April 4 and has been keeping more than busy. “I’m interested in very contemporary art, and a lot of what I show is local because I tend to go with personal connections,” says Horn. That said, Horn’s business and life partner, Ian Scanlan, is an airline pilot — and with access to cheap flights, Horn has made lots of international connections too. One of her coups is Devonbased sculptor Heather Jansch (widow of renowned Scottish folk musician Bert Jansch), whose large bronze sculptures — cast from driftwood models — are both

beautiful and technically marvellous. Horn is very excited about her show for September, which features the largescale animal-head portraits of San Francisco artist Eyan Higgins Jones. His paintings are made from oil paint, painstakingly air-brushed onto seven-by-eight-foot canvases. “The work that goes into one of these canvases is monumental,” says Horn. She will also be showing some of his smaller, brilliantly coloured floral works. “His flowers have an erotic, Georgia O’Keeffe quality,” she adds. “I think some Victorians will find this show a bit provocative.” Running September 12-October 3 at 1010 Broad Street. For information, see Couch Gallery.

A CLASS ACT The Victoria Conservatory of Music turned 50 this year, and there is much to celebrate. The financial catastrophe that almost sank it several years ago has been mitigated, the school is well regarded across the country, enrolment has increased to a robust 4,500 students 69

played. According to Green, Schumann was particularly celebrated for his song cycles; he is excited that Attrot will be performing the superlative Liederkreis, based on the poetry of Joseph Eichendorff. “The work was written for his soon-to-be-wife Clara,” explains Green. “They shared a passion and spiritual enthusiasm for his poems.” Other works to be played include Carnaval for solo piano, Märchenbilder (“Fairy Tale Pictures”) for viola and piano, and some chamber music works that will be performed with extra musicians. Performing September 27 at Alix Goolden Hall, 900 Johnson Street. For tickets and information, either visit them online or call 250-386-5311.

PIPING HOT  Soprano and VCM faculty head Ingrid Attrot.

— and that doesn’t include the just-opened School of Contemporary Music under artistic director Daniel Lapp. In acknowledgement of the school’s multiple good fortunes, the VCM has scheduled five celebratory concerts, the second of which occurs this month. The Jubilee Faculty Concert showcases three of the Conservatory’s most respected faculty heads: violist Michael van der Sloot, soprano Ingrid Attrot and pianist Robert Holliston. They will be performing an all-Schumann program, one that offers a wide range of repertoire from one of the 19th century’s most revered musical figures. “This concert is an appreciation for the art of a complex Romantic composer,” says VCM dean Stephen Green. As a bonus, Robert Holliston, wellknown as an inspired musical lecturer, will introduce the works to be

 Galician bagpiper Carlos Núñez is set to play with the Victoria Symphony this month.


The Victoria Symphony looks to Spain for its latest Pops concert, showcasing revered Galician bagpiper Carlos Núñez, who has been compared to both John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix for his virtuosity and modern sensibility. He played with The Chieftains on several occasions, and was featured on their Grammy-winning CD Santiago, which explored the musical heritage of Galicia in northwestern Spain. “Núñez is world-class, absolutely,” declares local musician Rod McCrimmon, a multi-instrumentalist who is also the DJ on Eclectic Music, a long-running show on CFUV. “Galician piping has sparked an increasing amount of interest in the last decade.” Núñez performs on the gaita, which is smaller than the better-known highland

bagpipes. “The gaita is more flexible and allows the player to bend notes and be very expressive,” adds McCrimmon. “There’s the hint of an oboe … it’s a really neat sound and is compatible with many different musical styles.” Aside from collaborating with numerous traditional Celtic bands, Núñez has also been invited into the recording studio by the likes of Ry Cooder and Sinéad O’Connor. His playlist is equally diverse, ranging from tunes by electronica pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto to award-winning contemporary composer Alejandro Amenábar. He will also perform Rodrigo’s famed Concierto De Aranjuez, thus putting the symphony on more traditional territory. Although it’s risky bringing in a little-known performer for three shows, the sexy Spaniard should be an easy sell. “He’s sure a good looking guy,” admits VS director of marketing Jill Smillie with a grin. Performing September 26-28. For tickets, see

NO RESERVATIONS Nearly 30 years ago, the Canadian theatre world got a remarkable jolt when Cree author Tomson Highway debuted The Rez Sisters, a two-act play featuring seven women on a remote reservation. Mired in poverty, the women believe their lives will be turned around if they can just raise enough money to travel to Toronto and become

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Bernhard Gueller, conductor Terence Tam, violin  Tantoo Cardinal stars in The Rez Sisters.

winners at “the biggest bingo game in the world.” With its mix of gritty naturalism, dark humour, and aboriginal spirituality, Rez provided an unforgettable look into a harsh world. “I feel very privileged to be directing this production,” says Ontario-based Peter Hinton. “We live in a colonized country and it is important for us to confront that history.” Hinton, a theatre veteran who recently stepped down after seven years at the National Art Centre, has seen Rez four times — including its debut in 1986. “It had a huge impact on Canadian theatre,” he recalls. “It goes from low comedy to high tragedy, from realism to the heights of myth … it has it all.” Aside from a solitary male in the role of a Trickster, the play has an all-female,

The Victoria Symphony Signature Series opens with beloved Concertmaster Terence Tam captivating audiences in Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. The concert concludes with Principal Guest Conductor Bernhard Gueller leading Brahms’ thrilling masterpiece, Symphony No. 4.

coming soon with the vs: Rachmaninov 3rd with Fedorova September 22 Spectacular Spanish Bagpipes September 26–28 71

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 Scene from last year’s Brewery & The Beast.

all-aboriginal cast … including legendary actor Tantoo Cardinal, probably best known for her work in films such as Dances With Wolves. “In a sense this play is really for First Nations audiences,” explains Hinton. “But we need to know the story of the peoples whose land we live on,” he adds. “Tomson confronts us with a ferocious optimism, and I hope the audiences will go along on this journey.” Running from September 16 to October 19 at the Belfry. For information, see Belfry Theatre.

A BLAST OF BARBECUE “Meat is murder — delicious, delicious murder,” read those flip T-shirts sometimes sported by witty butchers. That carnivore-positive attitude will be front and centre at the third annual Brewery & The Beast, a juicy pairing of barbecue and beer held in “the backyard” at Phillips Brewery. This beastly bacchanal is the brainchild of foodindustry veteran Scott Gurney. “It’s a festival of meat, and features only premium products that have been naturally and ethically raised,” explains Gurney. Offerings range from house-made sausages and charcuterie to classic barbecue and a pig roasting on a spit; lucky patrons, given a wooden plank as a plate, are encouraged to load up as often as they like. “There are 40 vendors, including Veneto Tapa Lounge, The Whole Beast, Prima Strada, and Choux Choux,” Gurney says. “These are among the city’s top chefs, and some of them will start smoking at three in the morning.” For its part, Phillips will be pouring a full range of beers as well as homemade sodas and specialty coffees. “We expect to have 1,100 happy people wandering around enjoying savoury bites and interesting food-and-

beer pairings,” says Matt Lockhart of Phillips Brewery. “It’s so much fun to try new things.” September 21 at 2010 Government Street. For information, see Brewery & the Beast, Victoria.

A LIFE IN THE BLUES Edmonton’s widely respected Stony Plain Records is a boutique label specializing in the blues, and it only puts out a few titles a year. One of its recent releases showcases Eric Bibb, who plays Hermann’s this month. An acoustic musician, he blends different strands of blues and folk into songs with a social conscience. If that approach sounds familiar, it should: we’re talking about the son of Leon Bibb, the iconic New York folk musician who was friends with such legends as Odetta, Pete Seeger and Paul Robeson (who was also Eric’s godfather). Of course, it’s all well and good to have a great lineage, but you also need to have the goods — something that Eric Bibb has to a very great degree. With an impressive discography and an ability to connect with his audience, this vocalist-guitarist has long been a respected force on the international blues scene. And for this tour he is working with the marvellously skilled multiinstrumentalist Michael Jerome Browne. “Eric reveals a

 Eric Bibb plays Hermann’s, Sept. 19-20.

deep passion for traditional music, while putting his own modern twist on it,” says Holger Petersen, veteran blues DJ and president of Stony Plain. “His live performances are totally engaging and uplifting … this will be a show not to be missed.” September 19-20 at Hermann’s, 753 View Street. Tickets on sale at Lyle’s Place and Ditch Records. 73


JOHN GREEN, 68 COMMODORE, ROYAL VICTORIA YACHT CLUB Nice to meet you, John Green. Where are you from and how did you get to Victoria? I’m a third generation Canadian and grew up in Ontario in many small towns. After university, my wife Marg and I moved to New Zealand to intern, and loved the climate there. On our return to Canada it did not take long to realize that Victoria was the closest thing to NZ in climate and culture, so we have been here since 1977.

Who is your family? My family is comprised of my wife Marg (46 years this July) and three grown-up children.

How did you become commodore at RVYC? A major attraction in moving to Victoria from Ottawa was the sailing culture here. We bought a boat before a house and in 1987 joined RVYC for the camaraderie and fellowship of people with similar interests. The club depends on volunteerism, and it did not take long to get on the train and move up the chain of command.

(early 1970s) anesthesiology was a young specialty and I chose it for the technical and academic demands that it entailed. It crossed the many boundaries of intensive care, pediatrics, cardiology and respirology, and I fell in love with this complexity. I always thought of it as clinical pharmacology and applied physiology. It was fun!

What do you love most about living in Victoria? Like many others here, having the best climate in Canada is a major draw.

What do you on a rainy day off? How about a sunny day off? On a rainy day I will usually try to get caught up on the administrative component of my position. Sunny days, I often do the same, but most love getting out on our boat for total relaxation.

Where do you turn for advice? I am fortunate at RVYC to have a number of Past Commodores who have “been there and done that.” They are a great source of corporate memory and advice. Our executive is also a source of advice as the talent library there is

extensive. I have no hesitation seeking council from this group.

What book are you reading right now? I am reading a book written by a club member David Scott called Smelling Land. It is about climate change and how to prevent a catastrophe in the years ahead. I find it slow-going as the topic is very academic, but the concepts and knowledge are irrefutable.

What has life taught you? This is a tough question, but I would have to say that most of the important lessons I learned were in kindergarten. Don’t throw sand, be nice, clean up your own mess. I also believe in the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Is there anything else we should know about you? Not much except to say that I have a really long bucket list. There is so much to get done and so many places yet to go. Try not to waste any time. This interview has been condensed and edited.

What does this entail? What are your duties? Being Commodore is a

You were an anesthesiologist in Victoria until retiring in 2011. How did you come to choose this profession? I had been a family physician prior to specializing, and found my greatest area of interest was the operating room. At that time 74


busy job. I am considered the CEO of the organization and oversee most aspects of operations. I am also seen as the “face” of the club at public events and interclub meetings.


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The Urquharts previously owned a 2009 LS 460, so when it came time for something new, there was no doubt they’d stick with the brand they knew and loved. Moving up to the RX, or “radiant crossover,” provided the comfort and luxury they wanted, and offered more than enough room for their four-legged travelling companion, Taber, who’s thrilled to now be included on family road trips. “The car really appealed to us; it’s the right size and has features we appreciate, like an easy-to-use navigation system, voice-activated Bluetooth connectivity and blind spot monitor,” Karen notes. After a considering other vehicles, the couple also liked that the RX 350 runs on regular fuel, rather than premium, and offered excellent night-driving visibility. In fact, from the bold styling to the sophisticated, intuitively designed interior, nothing is left wanting. “This one by far beats them all,” Emmett says.

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