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RED HOUSE, BLUE HOUSE Colour makes a splash in sleek Uplands reno


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Grizzly viewing here and there

MISERY To MASTERY Behind the scenes of a theatrical triumph

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Issue 09, Volume XXIlII





MISERY TO MASTERY 30 DESIGN MATTERS Sultry scents Behind the scenes of a By Sarah Reid VOS production By Thelma Fayle 32 FASHION FAVES Kylee Weber 26 THE PRINCESS AND By Lia Crowe THE SUPERHERO Children’s bedroom decor 50 TRAVEL NEAR By Amy McGeachy Bear watch By Susan Lundy 34 FOLK REVIVAL Freewheeling and 52 FRONT ROW fun fashion Cirque du Peking, By Lia Crowe Theatre Inconnu, Chalk Festival and more 43 KRAUT TO KIMCHI By Robert Moyes Secrets of fermented food By Cinda Chavich 58 SECRETS & LIVES Carollyne Yardley COLUMNS By Susan Lundy 42 HAWTHORN Oak Bay High rising By Tom Hawthorn DEPARTMENTS 8

50 GROUP PUBLISHER Penny Sakamoto EDITOR Susan Lundy CREATIVE Lily Chan Lorianne Koch ADVERTISING Mario Gedicke Pat Brindle


EDITOR’S LETTER The joys of the journey

10 HOT PROPERTIES Red house, blue house By Carolyn Heiman 18

TALKING WITH TESS Michael Shamata By Tess van Straaten

CIRCULATION & Miki Speirs DISTRIBUTION 250.480.3277 CONTRIBUTING Cinda Chavich, Lia Crowe, WRITERS Thelma Fayle, Tom Hawthorn, Carolyn Heiman, Amy McGeachy, Robert Moyes, Sarah Reid, Tess van Straaten

Lia Crowe wears white top ($270) and black leggings ($390) by Marc Cain and available at W&J Wilson; “Zandra” vintage purse by Hobo Bags ($227) at Bernstein & Gold; handcrafted, real Arizona turquoise set in sterling silver rings and bracelet available at Vivah Jewelry. Photo by Cathie Ferguson.

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



CONTRIBUTING Paula Brown, Lia Crowe, Don PHOTOGRAPHERS Denton, Cathie Ferguson, Leia Vik

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.



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Recounting the joys of the journey  BY SUSAN LUNDY



HIS PAST JULY, we pulled out from the Last Chance Saloon in the heart of Alberta’s Badlands, and turned right towards Calgary, set to traverse a highway that included a Very Important cable ferry across the Bow River. “It’s so cool!” enthused Bruce. “We have to check out!” When the gas warning light lit up the truck’s dashboard, we didn’t think much of it … we’d driven 75 km once before with the light on, and how far could it be to the next gas station? By the time we reached the cable ferry (yes, yes, very cool), we’d driven 65 km, and the ferry guy said the nearest gas station was an hour away. So began an adrenalin-laced journey through the middle of nowhere, as we hopefully identified small towns on the map and then, deflated, passed through mere clusters of farmhouses. (Adding to my personal discomfort was the Last Chance Saloon beer now hitting my bladder ....) As we drove, angry black clouds formed in the distance over Calgary. Soon the “distance” arrived and in addition to watching the clock, the kilometres and our frustratingly slow progression along the map, we were suddenly — kaboom! — slammed by wind, hail and torrential rain. We looked at each other and laughed and laughed. Ultimately, the truck died four kilometres from a gas station. We called for service and a tow truck “hero” arrived with $5 worth of gas and an $80 bill for his fourkilometre trouble. But the point of all this is that none of it mattered. We laughed. It was fun. I thought of this again as we drove out to Sooke for an anniversary sojourn to Point No Point. Our journey was slow: one stop took longer than anticipated; there was a lengthy work call … but again, it didn’t matter because the

journey itself was just as important as the destination. We were together; we enjoy each other’s company. All was good. In this issue of Boulevard our feature story documents the joys (and tribulations) of “the journey” as writer Thelma Fayle describes the pre-production months of Les Misérables, Victoria Operatic Society’s triumphant spring presentation (page 20). The piece is informative, fun and eye opening. And while the destination received kudos across the board, the journey itself also became the story. Food writer Cinda Chavich takes us on a journey too as she shows us how to ferment foods for a destination that’s both tasty and healthy (page 44). In Hot Properties, writer Carolyn Hieman explores the path to a vibrant and explosively colourful Uplands home renovation (page 10), while columnist Tom Hawthorn tours the new Oak Bay High School (page 42). Of course, destinations are great too, and I invite you to travel with me to Bella Coola for a bear-watching excursion (page 50), and a promise of things to come — a little closer to home. This is not to say that journeys can’t be fraught with a few twists and turns. As we trekked back from Sooke via the scenic circle route through Port Renfrew and Cowichan Lake, I recalled our pre-trip assertion: why worry about rain; it hasn’t rained here in months. In fact, the heavens unleashed a torrent of rain as we puttered along in our trusty, ‘78 VW van, which was all set for the season except for the small matter of windshield wipers ... which didn’t work at all. On this occasion, our destination — home — felt pretty darn good. We hope you enjoy your travels through these pages of Boulevard.





“I have seen Les Misérables in Japanese in Tokyo, in French in Montreal, and in English in Vancouver, Chemainus and now Victoria. I love Victor Hugo’s writing and was inspired by the integrity of the VOS production. There is nothing quite like watching volunteers who genuinely love what they are doing!” Thelma Fayle is the author of Ted Grant: Sixty Years of Legendary Photojournalism.

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“‘It must be so much fun to do your job.’ That’s a common refrain I hear. And writing home profiles for Boulevard magazine is that. But it is made so much more fun when talking to people like Sarah Bowder and Fiona Hamilton who have boldly gone where few others do when it comes to colour. Just look at their home and try Carolyn Heiman not to smile.” Carolyn has been WRITER, writing about Hot Properties for HOT PROPERTIES, PAGE 8 over four years.

Boulevard Buzz

For music lovers: Seven-time CCMA award nominee, plus JUNO and CCMA winner (and BC boy) Dean Brody kicks off his 22-city Canadian tour on Sept. 24 with Lindi Ortega at Save On Memorial Arena. For wine lovers: The Victoria International Wine Festival takes place Sept. 25-26 at Parkside Hotel & Spa, featuring over 350 wines from 100 international and local wineries. For golf lovers: The 3rd Annual BC Hospitality Foundation Victoria Golf Tournament, presented by Tourism Victoria, takes place Sept. 21 at The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa. For tea lovers: On September 12, the public is invited to garden party at Government House celebrating Queen Elizabeth II as Canada’s longest-reigning monarch (surpassing her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria). The Lieutenant Governor will welcome members of the public to enjoy music and tea service. Hats and gloves are encouraged. 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.


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MAGINE A HOUSE decorated with an almost Dr. Seussinspired wackiness — an unfettered exploration of playfulness and all the primary colours. This is how it feels stepping into a recently renovated Uplands home, which imparts joy and tugs at one’s inner child. This sense of whimsy begins right at the vaulted entryway, where a playful space saucer wall sculpture — created by Vancouver artist 12 Midnite — commands attention. In an adjacent room, a square mantel around the fireplace is painted a glowing orange and on it hangs a brightly coloured surfboard with a Marimekko-like flower pattern. The powder room is tomato red. Brilliant sunshine yellow is splashed over the laundry room walls, guaranteeing that “you can’t be grumpy when doing laundry,” muses Sarah Bowder, who with her partner, Fiona Hamilton, has boldly transformed the ubiquitous 1960s rancher into a vibrant home, inviting fun, relaxation and happy times. The two easily found their own style after living in other homes, some of which they renovated. They quickly discovered that taupe and other neutrals — a common colour template for many — does not suit them in the least. Hamilton says, “I grew up in a house like this — mostly white and primary colours. Wherever Sarah and I saw an opportunity to inject colour, we did.” 11


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Adds Bowder: “We wanted this fun house for kids to come over and play.” And the 3,000-square-foot home with a saltwater swimming pool in the backyard has more than delivered on that front based on the gaggle of boys who had just departed. While some might tire of the commanding look, it feels right to the couple whose lifestyle is focused on balanced living and raising their 13-year-old son in an environment that is ready-made for playing games, friends dropping by and an active lifestyle. “We didn’t want an old and stodgy living room where kids are not allowed,” says Bowder. So this house no longer has a living room. Instead, the space has been turned over to the pool table, which, rarely used when it sat in the basement, now sees regular action. On the wall overhead, double television monitors are tuned into duelling sports channels so that no big team play, or golf champion, is missed. The two, who still have career connections to Calgary, purchased the home sight unseen, knowing from the listing photos that it met key criteria: the right location, the right southeast sun exposure, the “bones” of good construction and a ranch-style layout that easily lent itself to an update. It got bonus points for its two supersized garages that can fit six cars — with one garage now assigned to housing their myriad sporting equipment. As a further bonus, the house is spitting distance from the Uplands Golf Course, increasing play frequency and the likelihood of improved games. “This house is so perfect for our family. Everyone has their own space but we are never very far away from each other,” says Hamilton. The L-shaped rancher, which includes a lengthy private wing with three bedrooms (one is used as an office), now has at its heart a generous great room featuring a gleaming blue and white kitchen, bookended by a dramatic red-faced fireplace. At its centre, sits a bright red kitchen table that is more likely to be ground zero for epic games of Risk, or be covered with puzzle pieces and craft items, than dressed up with dinner napkins and cutlery. Bowder credits CSD Design with adding the polish to the room. “The work on the cabinetry in the kitchen

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and bedroom closets and the built-in in the great room was done impeccably, on time and with incredible integrity and care. We were extremely impressed with the work from CSD Design.” This part of the home is the showstopper, although it didn’t start that way. When they purchased the house, the space presented the biggest renovation challenge. Chopped into three spaces — a smallish kitchen, an atrium with a leaking sunroof, and a family room — the ceilings were just under eight feet tall, making it feel especially cramped. The couple imagined they would open up the space horizontally, but the leaking skylight forced discussion with their builder and designer regarding more significant changes, and Hamilton and Bowder are forever grateful. Tim Agar, principle owner of Horizon Pacific Contracting, recalls the discussions. Originally, he says, the couple only wanted a light renovation touch. Just update the kitchen, update the bathrooms — but don’t get involved with relocating rooms or other costly renovations. “This home had a great footprint with its wrap-around the pool design,” but the low ceilings really dated it, he said. Meanwhile, it was apparent that any changes would have to meet modern seismic performance requirements. “There was a lot of consideration around how best to accomplish both those changes at a reasonable cost. Once

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we vaulted the ceilings [and removed lowered ceilings in the living room and dining room area] it completely revolutionized how they felt about the home,” says Agar. The end result is a room that has a dynamic ceiling with architecturally interesting bulkheads, beams, skylights and vaulting angles. Hamilton credits Bowder for recognizing the potential for a vaulted ceiling, and Horizon Pacific Contracting and designer Tonia D’Introno for working out the details — including new structural beams — that made it a success. “When we started, we debated ‘do we need a designer, yes or no?’” says Hamilton, adding they already knew what colours they wanted. As well, from searching, flipping through Dwell magazine, and bringing forward design features that worked in previous homes, they were certain about many design details they wanted — right down to the fumed European wide plank oak floors. But ultimately, the designer “paid dividends” in working out many hard-to-imagine details. For example, D’Introno added small floating shelves where the kitchen cabinetry ended instead of leaving the space blank. The kitchen cabinetry and counters also wrap around a wall into the dining room, creating harmonious cohesion between the two areas and providing super amounts of storage. Bowder also credits D’Introno with translating their vision and “ensuring that the look stayed consistent.” But perhaps the big narrative about the renovation is what it says about the Greater Victoria region, says Agar.

The L-shaped rancher now has at its heart a generous great room featuring a gleaming kitchen and a dramatic red-faced fireplace. 1950 B Oak Bay Ave. 250-361-9243

“We see a ton of people coming in from out of town to Victoria and they are often very frustrated by the lack of housing inventory in the central areas. But there are great opportunities to renovate older housing stock. This house shows that Victoria is a city that is constantly reinventing itself.” Carolyn Heiman writes about gorgeous Victoria-area homes for Boulevard Magazine. You can contact her at


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MICHAEL MIKE SHAMATA TOM BENSON BLACK Belfry Theatre Co-founder and CEO (Chief Capital Iron CEO Artistic Experience Officer) ofDirector WildPlay Element Parks 18



T A TIME WHEN many theatres are struggling or have closed down, Victoria’s Belfry Theatre is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month. People at the iconic playhouse haven’t been afraid to take risks and for artistic director Michael Shamata, the key to the Belfry’s success is simple. “First and foremost, it’s our audience — we have a remarkable audience here in Victoria,” he says. “Secondly, the Belfry’s had a very clear mandate. It’s contemporary, it’s fun, it’s smart entertainment at its core, and it’s always had a kind of quirkiness that I think our patrons respond to.” Shamata should know — he’s worked in theatre for more than four decades all across Canada. The experienced director, who wrote his first play when he was in the first grade, says he always knew theatre was his passion. “There’s something amazing about words being shared live between actors and an audience,” Shamata explains. “There’s something that happens — that exchange of emotion and energy, it goes back to the basics of storytelling. A great play can float ideas in a way that doesn’t happen in film and television, which are passive mediums.” Yet in our high-tech world, where tablets and smart phone screens are getting more and more of our attention, making a go of theatre isn’t easy. First, there’s the cost of mounting a production — the basic cost for the Belfry is roughly around $200,000, not including marketing and administrative expenses — and then there’s making sure people still come out. “There’s definitely a fear right now and it’s a big topic of conversation in our business, but I have to believe a good story well-told will hold people, and that the novelty of what we do — versus the quick sound bites of 140 characters — makes us different and makes us interesting,” Shamata says. “It seems like theatre has always been looked upon as an endangered art form but it’s lasted since people sat around fires and shared stories. And while the form it takes and the way it exists may change, I think theatre will always survive.” Key to theatre’s survival, Shamata says, is making sure it’s relevant. And with an annual operating budget of $2.5 million for the Belfry, there’s a lot of pressure to pick the right plays and put on a successful season. “When you’re putting together a season of plays it’s

always a tricky balance,” he admits. “When I’m starting to plot a season it definitely keeps me up at night because I want to make sure I find the right balance.” It’s a lesson Shamata learned the hard way a few years ago, when he says he went “too far, too fast” one season. The result? What he still refers to as a dark season. “It was a badly put-together season and while I stand behind the pieces we did, the combination of them together is something I regret. But I think our audiences have forgiven me,” Shamata says.

“I HAVE TO BELIEVE A GOOD STORY WELL-TOLD WILL HOLD PEOPLE, AND THAT THE NOVELTY OF WHAT WE DO … MAKES US INTERESTING.” For Shamata, who’s never looked back after dropping out of university to go on tour with the Shaw Festival, one of the biggest lessons in theatre has been making sure plays are chosen for the right reasons. “I learned the value of doing the work I believe in and not pandering, because an audience doesn’t want to be pandered to,” he says. “It’s very easy to let other voices get in the way — what will colleagues think, what will granting bodies think, what will sponsors think? But you have to be clear on your mandate.” And while trying to attract new patrons is always a goal, Shamata says, one needs to put a season together based on the audience that already exists. “The biggest money lesson for me is to try not to put on theatre for people who don’t go to plays. There’s this myth that if you pick the right plays all these other people will come to the theatre. But the truth is there’s people who come to the theatre and people who aren’t interested in coming and I need to program for the people who come.” Looking back on his career, Shamata says he’s been very lucky. But it’s also taken a lot of hard work and an openness to feedback, both good and bad. “It’s a funny business because once you start directing, colleagues stop giving you feedback on your work. I see so many talented young directors who are full of potential but their work doesn’t move forward the way that it should,” Shamata says. “You have to solicit feedback and you have to be a good person — in theatre that’s all we have to work with.” Tess van Straaten is an award-winning journalist, television personality and fourth–generation Victorian.

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F YOU TELL PEOPLE what to do, they will remember it for a short time,” Matthew Howe says, “but they are likely to forget quickly because they did not have a hand in creating the moment.” Four months prior to Victoria Operatic Society’s monumental community theatre production of Les Misérables in Victoria last May, esteemed director Howe gathers 39 actors — selected from a pool of 170 auditions — to begin work on Victor Hugo’s 153-year-old story.


 Matthew Howe, director, and Heather Burns, music director, transform individual talents into a mesmerizing collective in Victoria Operatic Society’s Les Misérables.



Howe and the actors band together for the first time in a cavernous warehouse in Esquimalt. Rehearsals for the next four months, from 6:30 until 9:30, three nights a week, will be the demanding regimen for the volunteer actors who have jobs and families and responsibilities. A production crew will also use the space to build a functioning bridge that will be dismantled and moved to the Macpherson Playhouse, where it will be reassembled for the show.


 cutline goes here

Scene from the triumphant and dramatic VOS production of Les Misérables.

“Everything happens here, until a week before opening night,” explains Patrick Heath, co-producer and 22-year VOS volunteer. At one of the early rehearsals, music director Heather Burn mentors a group of 12 men on their first take of the song: “Do You Hear the People Sing.” “Focus on maintaining a connection as an ensemble as opposed to individual voices,” Burns calls out as she plays the piano and shouts instructions for each vocal group. “Sing from your core, not your limbs.” Actors straggle out to the costume designer to get measured as Burns carries on. With a Masters degree in piano performance and accompaniment, she quickly breaks down the musical number, doles out advice and then asks all to stand for a rendition. In less than 30 minutes, the song is transformed from discordant beginnings. Janet Hender, stage manager, and her assistant, Rob McDonald, observe all rehearsals, take notes and calculate the timing for every physical movement that shapes the production. They add 400 directional cues to the pages of script dialogue. 21




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 In last spring’s VOS production, Marius survives the violence of the barricades to reap “a heart full of love” with his beloved Cosette.

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THREE MONTHS TO OPENING NIGHT Howe has the actors read the script aloud and together. The exercise forces the actors to step back from their usual roles as accomplished singers and begin to feel the heartbeat of the characters. As the group speaks the lyrics, “join in the right to be free,” Howe stops to ask if they feel inspired by the words. “No,” someone says of the reading that is becoming rote after 10 minutes. The question and the answer shift the actors’ focus to think about how “a right to be free” might feel. “To bring audiences to their feet,” Howe explains, “they must be moved by how the actors create the horror of battles and the despair of the characters’ dramatic losses. An audience can easily see the difference between actors who are feeling joy and actors who are simply smiling.” One night, after a practice of the song “I Dreamed a Dream,” Howe asks all present to think of a personal loss while the actor is singing. “Think of a lost child, family member, or friend,” he says. With the strengthened support around her, the actor sings with a stronger presence. With the perceptible intensity of an alpha timber wolf,

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Howe never takes his eyes from the actions of the actors. He continuously prods with comments and questions, and announces that he wants the audience to be “stunned by the end of Act One.” “As a director, you have to make strategic decisions about where you get on and off the stage or where the scenery flies in,” explains Howe. “But that takes less time than people think. And it is less important in the overall storytelling of the piece. The process of investigating the truth of the story will always work, regardless of style of show.”

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TWO MONTHS TO OPENING NIGHT Chris Stusek good-naturedly promises that “the costumes will be completed on time, and no one will be naked onstage.” Stusek is volunteering on her fourth show and appreciates a dozen helpers who stitch under her guidance. Albert Gillespie, one of the cast members, is a physics teacher at Stelly’s Secondary School. Gillespie’s daughter Emma persuaded him to audition with her for two of the ensemble roles. It is his first theatre experience since longago high school days. They are one of several parent-child combinations in the cast. Burns and Howe maintain intensity and keep the cast present through every line and scene. 23

 Actors sing with passion in Les Misérables.

Says Burns: “The challenge with four months of rehearsals can be in keeping volunteers engaged in the process, “unlike working with professionals for four weeks to cover the same material.”

ONE MONTH TO OPENING NIGHT “I see wandering eyes and little risk-taking, ” Howe cautions after a two-hour rehearsal of the wedding dance. Like a demanding metronome, Howe maintains pressure and a fast pace with all steps to brusque counts of six. The actors have the dance moves fixed in their muscle memory but they are tired. Shoulders sag. Howe acknowledges their hard work and continues to push. John Britt, Guy Chester, and a crew of carpenters have built the stunning set designed by Bill Adams. Britt, with 45 years of experience building sets for the VOS, wordlessly discloses his love of wood in a workshop tour. With only days to go, co-producers anxiously sort over logistics of a challenging plan to share 28 house mics with 39 actors. 24




And at the end of a long, last rehearsal, Burns announces, “Musically we are in good shape, please continue to give 100 per cent.”

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PREVIEW NIGHT The theatre is full with media and guests of cast and crew. Costumes, lighting, and orchestra transform the ambience from the warehouse setting to full-out theatre mode. At the end of the production, the audience gives a long, standing-ovation. After two rehearsed bows, the actors remain on stage. They stare at the audience and look puzzled. They have been focused on their task for four months and do not know what their work looks like from the outside. They perform with a brilliant, coalesced integrity. “I always had the feeling I was supposed to do this kind of work,” Howe says after the performance. “It is amazing to watch actors find their roles.” After decades of hard work, Howe is still nourished by the practice of his craft.

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HILDREN HAVE THE MOST amazing imaginations — constantly pretending, and thrilled to try something new and different. They love discovering all that our world has to offer and happily believe they can easily be a princess or super hero. Tea time still occurs every day, and, yes, you can wear a cape or a tiara to the grocery store .... Children’s bedroom decor can help them express themselves, and encourage a life of imagination and creative play. It’s not just a place to sleep, it’s also the home of dress-up clothes or multiple action figurines. Creating a bedroom or nursery for your child is a place where your imagination can also run wild. It is an opportunity for you to create a world of fantasy, while adding those special touches that make it unique to your child.

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We definitely know that many little girls love princesses, and boys often want to be Spiderman or Batman. However, you don’t necessarily have to create a gender specific room. Creating a neutral base with soft grays, beiges or off white paint and flooring choices, and then accenting with a colourful range of accessories and toys will allow you to easily change up the room with the changing interests of your child. Don’t forget to add fun lighting to the room, like a crystal chandelier or large drum shade. Even a retro ball light can help pull the look together.


Don’t feel that you have to run out and purchase all of the specific nursery furniture pieces. Many of my friends and clients have found it’s a real advantage to be able to use nursery furniture elsewhere after their babies have grown. A low, wide dresser can start as a changing table, and then provide lots of storage space. A neutral-accent rocking chair can move out to the living room once the baby no longer requires it in his or her room. And most cribs now also convert to youth beds, increasing their lifespan.


Add family photos, personal messages and unique nameplates to your child’s room for that special touch. Growth charts, furniture pieces, mobiles and even floor cushions, are all things you can try creating yourself to add to the room’s theme. Kids love having their own art, or creations hanging on the walls. Place them in interesting frames to create an art collage. Use chalkboard paint to create a wall surface that kids can draw on, and wash off.


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Storage is key in a child’s room. Everything needs a home to ensure clean-up time runs smoothly. Bookshelves are great for a large collection of picture books and games, while drawers are ideal for organizing craft supplies and small toys. A child size set of table and chairs can serve as their own art centre, or be the serving centre for afternoon tea parties with their friends.


Remember to secure all large pieces of furniture to the wall, and avoid items that have sharp corners. Toy boxes should have safety hinges that don’t slam shut on little fingers.

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HE START OF 2015 MARKED THE END of an era for Kylee with the sale of her boutique, Suasion, co-owned with her “retail soul mate” Tiffiny Dobson. Suasion was one of the original, core downtown clothing boutiques responsible for turning lower Johnson Street into a hot shopping destination (now called “LoJo”). This September, the month of new beginnings and fresh starts, opens with the launch of her new business and solo project, Meraki Boutique, at Uptown Shopping Centre. “I feel like I’ve reached that top step. It’s a big, beautiful space; it’s 32


When Kylee opened a clothing store 14 years ago, she was fuelled by a love of good fashion. But as time went by, her passion for business grew. This year marks the end of downtown boutique ownership for Kylee and a fresh start on new soil. Our downtown girl grows up. And by up, I mean “up town.”

a little more grown up and it feels really good.” Best life lesson learned since 40? “I know my strengths and weaknesses. If I could pass anything on to my [two] boys it’s to do something you love. I’ve always done what I love and I’ve always had the unconditional support of my parents —bless their hearts. I’ve never not loved going into work. What I love is a combo: the great people I work with and the business side. You’re always learning; it’s always changing and bringing new challenges. You can’t ever really put your feet up.” Kylee describes her style as

classic. “I like clean, minimal, monochrome (greys, creams and blacks) with a bit of an edge, a slight twist, something a little off that makes it unique.” Meraki is a Greek word that means doing something with soul, creativity or love — putting “something of you” into it. To this end, Meraki Boutique may be a visual reflection of “Kylee-ness:” her innate lightness and sense of fun; classic, clean, minimal fashion aesthetic; a well-earned maturity and overflowing with the contagious energy and inspiration that comes from doing what you love.

Fashion / Beauty

Uniform: “Black skinny jeans, a good pair of boots and a leather jacket.” Fav Jeans: Citizens of Humanity, “Rocket” high-rise skinny. All time favourite piece: Mackage black leather jacket. Day bag: Mackage leather backpack. “It’s so nice to be hands free.” Jewelry designer: Fiona Morrison of Wolf Circus. Coveting: Holy Stone leather boots in black, handmade in Australia. Favourite Shoes: “Flip flops,” Kylee laughs, “because I’m with my kids all summer. But if not those then maybe my Sam Edelman sandals.” Necessary indulgence: “Chap Stick, Nivea?” says Kylee laughing again, “I’m sorry, that’s so boring. I’m just not really a beauty product person.” Moisturizer: La Roche Posy face cream and Tizo sunscreen. Hair: Redken All Soft shampoo and Bumble and bumble curl cream. Beauty secret: “Exercise, running. If I don’t have a really good sweat every three days I feel it.” Scent: Noble by MCMC Fragrances.

Style Inspirations / Life

Celebrity who inspires your style: “Angelina Jolie. She’s always classic, wears a lot of black and doesn’t really follow trends. And I love the work that she does.” Favourite Blog: “It’s all black white and grey, so classic, so beautiful.” Musician: “I used to like David Bowie and Duran Duran but now I listen to a lot of R&B.” Film: Top Gun. Era: “I’ve never been a fan of the 80s, every time it comes back I still don’t like it. I like the natural feeling of the 90s but no, I think I’ve always liked the same look, I’ve never veered off what I like.” Favourite local restaurant: Brasserie l’Ecole. Album on current rotation: Songza R&B playlist. Last great read: Room by Emma Donoghue. “But the last book I read was The Maze Runner [by James Dashner]. I tend to read Young Adult, what my son reads, so we can chat about it.” Favourite city to visit: “I love New York but I’m not a city person, I would go to Tofino any day over New York.” Fav App: Instagram. Favourite flower: White tulip. Favourite place in the whole world: “Thailand. I love the language, the people, the climate and the beaches.”




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COOL ELEGANCE “Zoe” dress in Hunter green by Diane von Furstenberg ($485) at Bernstein & Gold; “Tiller” hat by Brixton ($80) at Still Life for Her; “Bali Beautiful” handcrafted, sterling silver rings, pendants, bangles and cuff all available at Vivah Jewelry.

ON THE FRINGE “Sofiya” blouse ($310), “Margaux” skirt in Bordeaux ($285), fringed clutch ($285) and chain fringe necklace ($123) by BCBGMAXAZRIA and available at BCBGMAXAZRIA Uptown.

THE NEW BOHEMIAN “Dayne” dress ($478) and “Hannover” vest ($479) by ELIZABETH and JAMES at Bernstein & Gold; “Rosetta” pendant necklace by Lizzie Fortunato ($525) and labradorite beaded bracelet with tassels by Augustine ($95) at Bernstein & Gold; black lace-up shoes by BCBGMAXAZRIA and available at BCBGMAXAZRIA Uptown.

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This fabulous 6 bdrm home was built by Award Winning Windcrest Developments using the finest materials & craftmanship. Main level offers a spacious bright open floor plan with Walls of Windows, 10 ft vaulted ceilings,gleaming hardwoods, gorgeous kitchen with two eating bars, granite and cherry wood cabinets, stainless hi end appliances. Master suite with his and her walk in closets, spa like en suite. Lower level has 2 bdrm self contained in-law/nanny suite. Indoor lap pool, media room, exercise area, wine cellar and wine room. Enjoy sun all day from this exceptional private property. Beautiful pool area with pool house & outdoor kitchen. Vineyard, fruit trees & koi pond. Triple attached garage. Huge 5 stall Workshop. Priced at $2,680,000

Tucked away no thru street in CORDOVA BAY! Sweeping Panoramic views of Salish Sea, Mt Baker and San Juan Islands from all principal rooms. A Tuscan Gate welcomes you to this sun soaked west facing courtyard with incredible landscaping and pond. This lovely home offers generous use of windows & exquisite finishing details. Flexible floorplan with option for Master bdrm on Main or upper level. Additional Nanny/inlaw suite with separate entry. Easy and gradual pathway and stairs that lead you to the waters edge. This gorgeous 4 bedroom home offers complete privacy with the convenience of Matticks Farm, Lochside Trail and Cordova Bay Golf Course at your door. ML#354493 Offered at $1,780,000

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FANTASTIC FAMILY HOME is located on one of Victoria’s most treasured streets. Despard is sought after for its country lane feel, large trees & charm. Bright sunny split level home offers 4 bdr, 4 bth w/ 3 bdr on upper level. Amazing 837 sq foot DETACHED studio is Jason Binab delightful & grt for many Cell: 250-589-2466 options or mortgage helper. Engel & Völkers® 1536 Despard Ave MLS 349358 BINAB GROUP



EXCELLENT INVESTMENT and superb location in this 5 unit strata titled townhouse complex. Built in 2010 with excellent quality materials and workmanship. There are 3 units containing 3 beds plus a den and 2 units containing 2 beds plus a den. All have garages and a balcony or patio and in suite laundry. 3 baths, $2,750,000 6 appliances and reinforced concrete foundation. Walk to Sidney shops and restaurants. Karol Power Located on the corner of 250-886-2537 Third and Malaview and on bus route. All units are rented between $1,700-$1,800.


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BEAUTIFUL OCEAN VIEWS from this stunning residence in an exclusive enclave of homes. Open living rm w/oak floors & a 2 way fireplace to the family rm. The elegant kitchen has been professionally renovated w/ granite counters, black tile & black appl. Amazing guest bathroom. Master bdrm, also with ocean views, is on the main flr. Luxurious ensuite beautifully renovated w/jet tub, walk-in shower & heated flrs. Huge storage room off garage.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS. 1900 sq. ft on the main level offering a master bedroom with 5 pc ensuite & great closet space. Open plan living room and dining rooms for your formal entertaining. The kitchen overlooks the eating area & family room & out to the back garden. BBQ’ing is made easy with kitchen access to the tiered $850,000 back deck. Open, very bright, lots of south facing windows, Sharen Warde & Larry Sims skylights, coved ceilings, wood 250-592-4422 floors, two wood burning fireplaces. This home has nice features and could use your decorating ideas. MLS# 354355


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NLY A FOOL WILLINGLY goes to school in the summertime, so there I was on a sunny July lunch hour obediently answering a summons from the vice principal. Garrett Brisdon marched me up and down corridors, pointed out details, tried to get me to think critically about what we observed. My homework assignment: 700 words on the new École Secondaire Oak Bay High School. The start of the school year has always seemed to be a time of renewal, with the evenings in September holding a hint of the fall soon to come. When an anticipated 1,270 (or more) Oak Bay students arrive for the first day of classes on the Tuesday following Labour Day, they will enter a sparkling, state-of-the-art facility that will be a community landmark for decades. The building boasts a 420seat theatre, two gymnasiums with sprung floors, an auto and metal shop with two car lifts, a high-tech room for robotics and 3D printing, a woodworking shop, a photography darkroom, arts rooms, food labs, chemistry labs, biology labs, an aboriginal nations education centre, and several bright classrooms. Computer labs can be found on each of the new building’s three floors. The entire structure has been built to the highest environmental standards (lights switch on and off automatically when one enters and exits a room). As well, it is designed to withstand an earthquake and will be a designated gathering place for Oak Bay should the Big One strike. The vice principal’s tour came on a day that workers scurried from classroom to classroom to complete the project. Brisdon, who is entering his 39th year as an educator, knows playing a part in the building of a new school like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “This is an absolute privilege,” he said. Even as we explored the site, including arts rooms in which sliding garage-like doors opened to the outdoors, we

could hear a rumble coming from elsewhere on campus. The demolition of the old science wing, where Brisdon taught, was nearly complete. How did that feel? “Strange,” he acknowledged. “A little sad. The old Oak Bay High has been here many, many decades. It has meant a lot to many kids, who are now adults, and it has meant a lot to many generations.” In time, the remnants of the old school, opened in 1929, will be torn down to make way for a new rugby pitch. It’s a fair trade, as the new school was built on the site of the old rugby pitch. The 151,000 square-foot facility cost $54 million, most of it covered by School District No. 61. The municipality kicked in $1 million as a contribution to the theatre, which, like much of the building, will be available for public use in evenings, on weekends and in summer. The school is left to raise a final $1.7 million to complete the theatre, place a technology package (digital projector, screen, Apple TV, speakers and laptop) in each of the 40 classrooms, and to furbish a fitness centre, as well as for turf and lighting for an outdoor soccer field. While on tour, we took a pause before a row of squat lockers with extra wide doors outside a classroom. The vice principal quizzed me on their purpose. I hazarded a few guesses, all wrong. Turns out these will be for band students, who will be able to store tubas, French horns and other instruments too wide for ordinary lockers. The new band room includes a separate choir room and a recording studio. It replaces a ramshackle temporary building known as The Band Shack, which was located across the field from the old school. With all the excitement about a new building for a new school year, there is also sadness. Colin Campbell, the school’s longtime music teacher and bandmaster, was killed in a motorcycle accident this summer. He was a dynamic figure and his loss is a reminder that it is teachers who influence generations of students. It can only be for the better that his colleagues can now try do so with the best tools available.





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 Fermented water kefir in a large jar, front, and hot sauces at Nourish Kitchen & Café on Quebec Street.




VE ALWAYS SAID I could easily survive on fermented foods. There’s beer and wine, of course, with bread and cheese, perhaps a slice of salami. Pile some sauerkraut on that sourdough, and add some pickled beets and cornichon on the side (or fiery kimchi, if you’re feeling adventurous), and you’ve got most of the food groups covered. Coffee and tea, chocolate and yogurt, miso and soy


sauce, are fermented, too — all the result of millennia of human experimentation with preparing and preserving the local harvest. And while all of this is literally ancient history, fermentation is finding new fans in the slow food world of chefs and others interested in healthy, seasonal and sustainable eating. By putting up what’s fresh and local now, we can avoid relying on imports later.

But all pickled, salted and preserved foods are not created equally. In fact, in today’s era of processed, pasteurized, shrink-wrapped and sanitized food, you may be hard-pressed to find many pure, fermented products, at least any that still have their bubbly probiotic bacteria intact. The good news is that you can ferment simple sauerkraut or dill pickles with a mason jar and a handful of sea salt in a few days on your kitchen counter. And there are more people, both at home and in professional kitchens, who are doing just that.



PROBIOTIC PIONEERS Sandor Katz is the self-described “fermentation revivalist” who most people turn to for expert advice. His books, Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation, are the bibles of fermented food, with recipes for everything from classic sauerkraut and kimchi to fish sauce and miso. Acolytes of fermentation can travel to his communal farm in Tennessee for a bit of a bacterial bootcamp — an immersion in all things fermented. Which is exactly what Todd Graham of Hand Taste Ferments did to hone his fermentation skills. The former Victoria musician and craft brewer now teaches fermenting workshops and hosts pop-up monthly fermentation dinners in Vancouver. Graham is also the “official fermentor” for Vancouver’s Forage restaurant, working with chef Chris Whittaker to ferment everything from sauerkraut, natural ketchup and rhubarb kimchi, to fish sauce (using Quadra Island herring) and miso made with locally grown chickpeas, barley and lentils. Fermented foods are on the menu at Nourish Kitchen & Café in Victoria, too. At the restaurant’s new downtown location, owner Hayley Rosenberg has set up her own “fermentorium,” producing a variety of fermented vegetables for the café’s whole food menu, from curling strands of beet “pasta” to creamy fermented cashew “cheese.” There’s even a daily batch of bubbly kefir water — flavoured with seasonal fruits and herbs — on tap. And at OLO, you can see chef Brad Holmes’ colorful ferments, from pickled vegetables to vinegars, displayed on an open shelf in the dining room, and try them in dishes like pork and perogies with kimchi and cultured cream. Melanie Furman, founder of Culturalive on Salt Spring Island was a student of Katz, too. Furman — also known as The Sauerkraut Lady — sells her inventive versions of fermented cabbage and other vegetables in jars at farmers’ markets and in city shops including Niagara Grocery, Fairfield Market, Lifestyle Markets

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and Ingredients Café and Community Market. What began as a way to cure her own digestive ills, is now a booming business. “I’m fermenting 200 to 350 pounds of vegetables a week,” says Furman from her island farm, where she also grows much of the cabbage, beets, fennel and onions that go into her jars of Curry Kraut, Kimchi, Radiant Roots and other seasonal combinations.

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Plus, unlike vinegar pickles that are heat processed and pasteurized, your fermented food will have healthy probiotics — the “good” bacteria for a healthy digestive tract and strong immune system. Some studies suggest fermented foods can help you lose weight, prevent heart disease and diabetes, even generate serotonin that can elevate your mood. Fermented cabbage and other vegetables — whether plain sauerkraut, spicy kimchi or combinations with other vegetables — is great alongside any rich meat or charcuterie, rolled into sandwich wraps with cheese, or piled onto a grilled sausage. Furman recommends her sauerkraut on salads, in tacos, rolled into sushi, even simply eating a few tablespoons before bed to cure insomnia. “Live fermented foods offer way better digestion, help the nervous system relax, are anti-inflammatory and even help the brain function better,” says Furman. If you cook your kraut, say in a soup or a traditional Alsatian choucroute, you lose the probiotic benefits, but not the flavour that comes with fermentation — another gourmet benefit of this traditional preservation process.

 Fermented Swiss chard in a large jar at Nourish Kitchen & Café.

FERMENTING 101 Natural ferments are easy to do but involve some trial and error. Rosenberg says it’s a process, akin to baking naturally leavened breads, and success requires practice. Water kefir — probiotic soda — is a simple place to start. You can buy the kefir grains at Nourish and ferment a fizzy probiotic lemonade in just two or three days. Cabbage is quick and easy to ferment at home, which is likely why sauerkraut and kimchi are so common in European and Asian cuisines. It’s important to choose pristine produce (nothing soft or moldy). Use filtered or non-chlorinated water and sea salt (not iodized table salt). If the food isn’t submerged in the salt brine, it will become moldy, and that’s a signal to throw out the batch. Otherwise, there are no food safety issues, she says — the lactobacillus that results from natural fermentation actually creates an environment that’s unfriendly for bad bacteria, both in your fermenting crock, and your gut.

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For more practical information about fermentation, go to Katz’s website, or look for local fermentation workshops at Nourish and the Compost Education Centre this fall.

SIMPLE SAUERKRAUT Cabbage Sea salt Optional Carrots, onions and ginger, hot peppers or fennel, daikon radishes and ginger, or green onion tops Fermenting cabbage is really a no-brainer. Simply shred the clean cabbage into a big bowl, massage in a tablespoon of sea salt until the cabbage is limp and giving up its juices, then pack it into a clean, wide-mouthed Mason jar. Press it down until the liquid rises above the solids in the jar. To keep the contents submerged, use a small canning jar or bowl that just fits inside the mouth of the jar. Cover loosely, set in a pan (to catch any overflow), place it in a cool place and wait. Fermentation will begin almost immediately and you can slow it down anytime by covering the jar and putting it into the fridge. It will bubble and there may be some foam or even white mold to scrape off the top, but that’s okay, as long as the cabbage stays submerged beneath the liquid. Taste it from time to time, and when it’s sour enough for you, it’s time to put it in the fridge. This process can take a week or up to a month. If it’s too hot, the sauerkraut will ferment too fast and tends to get soft (and spoil), so find a place that’s about 65˚F for fermenting. If you’re feeling adventurous, flavour your cabbage kraut with shredded carrots, onions and ginger, add hot peppers or fennel, daikon radishes and ginger (for kimchi), or green onion tops. Refrigerated, the sauerkraut can keep for a year or more.

PROBIOTIC PICKLES Small pickling cucumbers Sea salt Flowering dill Garlic Black peppercorns Optional Grape, oak or bay leaves Though pickles are more finicky than sauerkraut, I’m taking the plunge with the recipe for fermented Sour Pickles from Sandor Katz’s book.

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 Fermented cultured cashew cheese with seedy bread (buckwheat and seeds), and currant and blueberry water kefir from Nourish Kitchen & Café.

I picked up a $10 bag of small pickling cucumbers from a local farm market, washed them well to remove bits of soil, snipped off the stems and blossom ends, and then chilled them well in ice water. I mixed six tablespoons of sea salt in two litres of water, brought it to a boil and cooled it to create a brine. You can ferment in a crock or in canning jars — divide four heads of flowering dill, four to eight cloves of peeled garlic, and a few black peppercorns, between four widemouth, quart sealers or use a ceramic crock. If you’re using fermenting jars, pack the cucumbers in tightly, standing them upright in one or two layers, then pour brine over top, making sure they are completely submerged and there’s an inch of “head space” above the brine to allow it to bubble up. Screw lids on loosely, and open to release the gas inside every day (called “burping”). In a crock, use a plate, weighted with a plastic bag of brine, to keep the vegetables submerged. Melanie Furman (of Culturalive) suggests topping the crock or jar with clean grape leaves — the tannins in the leaves keep the pickles crunchy while they ferment. Oak leaves or bay leaves work, too. Check the pickles daily and skim off any mold or white scum. You want to see fermentation in action — fizz or bubbling in your crock or jars. It’s perfectly natural for the brine to become cloudy. If there’s not enough brine at any time, add more (1 tablespoon of salt per cup of water). Taste the pickles after a week — pickles require one to four weeks to sour —but it’s up to your taste. Refrigeration slows fermentation. Fermented pickles can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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expanded six years ago to included grizzly viewing in the summer and fall, there are several bear watching companies throughout BC. Closer to home in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, bearviewing wannabes have several options, from tours in areas such as Tofino, Ucluelet and Port Hardy, sailing excursions (some leave from Victoria) and at least two lodge offerings, the closest being Painter’s Lodge/April Point Resort & Spa in Campbell River — just three hours from Victoria — which has launched a bear watching component this year. The daily grizzly tours there run until October 12, and include a two-hour boat ride to Orford River in Bute Inlet and then three hours on viewing platforms, which are another great way to see bears. Unlike Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, which has a one large viewing platform complementing its river tours, the Painter’s Lodge excursion offers guests a series of small platforms, just six feet above ground, stationed along the river. Guides lead bear watchers to the two or three platforms that have the most activity that day. Painter’s Lodge already offers wilderness tours, fishing and whale watching, and so is poised for success with its new venture. Both Tweedmuir Park Lodge and Painter’s Lodge were built in 1929 — Painter’s as a fishing lodge, and Tweedsmuir as a hunting lodge. The original Painter’s Lodge burned down in 1985. The property was purchased by the Victoria based Oak Bay Marine Group in 1987; a



IVE OF US SAT in a large rowboat on a river, hushed into silence. The only sound breaking the October air was the crunch of bone, as a grizzly, standing on the shoreline a few metres away, carefully stripped the skin off a dead salmon and ate the flesh underneath. The sight of the bear was intoxicating; its proximity, slightly unnerving. But our guide from Tweedsmuir Park Lodge in Bella Coola said the bears ignore the people in the rowboats, understanding, it seems, that we pose no threat. This was our second day at the lodge, which is located 40 minutes from the Bella Coola airport, or six hours from Williams Lake in the Cariboo region of BC. Our first bear sighting occurred within hours of our arrival, when, thrilled, we watched a mother bear and two cubs meander through a field below the lodge. We’d also seen a few bears in the distance on an earlier float — and searched unsuccessfully in the bush with a guide — but this was definitely the closest we’d been. I could toss a salmon to this grizzly — and I can’t throw very far. Grizzly bear viewing occurs throughout BC in the summer months, but late September and early October is often the best time to plan a trip as the salmon return in massive numbers to spawn and eventually die in various rivers. Although I’m a guest of Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, which runs a heli-skiing operation in the winter and

 Bears on the lawn in front of Tweedmuir Park Lodge. 51

new lodge was constructed, and it reopened two years later. It sits on the edge of Discovery Passage, right at the doorstep of vast, open wilderness and a short water taxi ride across the narrows to its sister resort at April Point on Quadra Island. Fishing remains a huge draw and when I was there this past summer, I met a group of 10 men, representing three generations, who had travelled there from Chicago, for five days of fishing. Tweedsmuir Park Lodge has been transformed from a

“I COULD TOSS A SALMON TO THIS GRIZZLY — AND I CAN’T THROW VERY FAR.” hunting lodge into a place accommodating those seeking more eco-friendly adventures. It’s quietly elegant: tasteful, subtle and cheerfully warm, especially when there’s a fire crackling in the fireplace. The lodge sits in a valley beneath a towering rock face and snow-tipped mountains amid 60 acres of wilderness, including 600 metres of frontage on the Atnarko River. Immediately upon arrival at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, we checked out the observation platform. There were no bears, but we watched a mesmerizing fleet of salmon, wiggling, splashing and leaping out of the water. As one of our guides later pointed out, these salmon sit at the very root of the ecosystem, providing nourishment for everything from maggots to grizzlies. Just below the platform, we got out first “bear” sighting — a massive claw footprint carved in the sand right next to a decomposing salmon. It was a sign of things to come, and by the end of our visit, we’d seen many, many bears, including some from the platform. But the trip highlight was definitely the “floats” down the Atnarko and Bella Coola rivers. These occurred in nonmotorized McKenzie drift boats, led by informative and


 Professional photographers use a viewing platform to capture bear images.

interesting guides. All the guides are excellent oarsmen, know the area well, and have extensive experience on the rivers. But the real heroes of the day were the bears: massive and potentially fierce; yet seen here in their element, passively lumbering along the riverside, crunching on dead salmon.


 Colour and drama at Cirque du Peking.

CIRQUE DU PEKING More than 800 jaws dropped about a year ago when the National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China made their debut performance at UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium. According to venue manager Ian Case, the return engagement of the award-winning troupe will be even more spectacular. “What we saw in 2014 were ‘moreso’ acrobats in training … this is going to be the ‘A Team,’” says Case. “These are performers at their physical peak, doing unbelievable stunts.” Coming directly from Beijing, the 40-plus performers of the National Circus will present Peking Dreams, which was featured at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and has since been performed for more than 400,000 people throughout Asia and Europe. Combining elements of acrobatics, circus and Chinese Opera, this is a window

into a unique artistic and cultural tradition going back centuries. Unlike Cirque du Soleil shows, which feature a magical storyline and a lot of technology, China’s National Circus is a more like an old-fashioned vaudeville performance: a showcase of traditional acrobatics as well as dramatic stunts involving unicycles, platter spinning and umbrella juggling done with the feet. Throw in the extravagantly colourful costumes and stylized performances of martial arts and this becomes a truly exotic experience. “In terms of technical ability, their acrobats are on par with those from Cirque,” says Case. “But because the focus isn’t the story but rather what the performer can do, in some ways the effect is even more amazing. It’s quite incredible what they can accomplish on our stage.” Performing September 5 at UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium. For tickets, call 250-721-8480. 53


COMING SOON Watch for the 10th anniversary edition of Victoria’s Vital Signs coming in October

Although actor-director Wendy Merk is usually associated with Shakespearean comedies and the musicals of Gilbert and Sullivan, her excellent direction of Margaret Atwood’s often-savage Penelopiad last year certainly bodes well for the upcoming If We Were Birds. An award-winning play by Erin Shields, Birds is a disturbing and often shocking examination of the atrocities of war and its aftermath — particularly how women become collateral damage during any brutal conflict. Although based on an ancient Greek myth by Ovid that recounts a woman’s rape and her horrifying revenge, the play contains numerous modern-day references to atrocities in Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Nanking. “The theme is very, very powerful and my job will be to present it clearly to the audience,” says Merk, who is planning on taking a somewhat stylized approach to this classical-modern hybrid where the spoken language is contemporary but the actors sometimes declaim directly to the audience. “It’s tricky, but you’re not trapped into just one style of theatre,” she adds. Merk feels great compassion for what she calls the invisible victims of war. “They suffer terribly and are usually never acknowledged,” she says, adding, “And it’s even possible to see the play as protesting violence against Mother Nature … and we’re all guilty of that.” When asked to take on this challenging project for Theatre Inconnu, Merk hesitated awhile before realizing she simply had to do it. “If We Were Birds created quite a sensation in Toronto when it debuted,” she adds. “It’s strong and passionate … but it’s not a comfortable play.” Running from September 29-October 17 at 1923 Fernwood. For information, see Theatre Inconnu.

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With a half-dozen independent bookstores and the nickname Booktown, it’s a wonder that well-read Sidney waited until 2013 to have its first Sidney & Peninsula Literary Festival. Well, that inaugural event was such a doozy that the planners took a year off before tackling the sequel. And this year’s festival is bigger and better than ever, with 20 well-known authors such as Lorna Crozier and Steven Galloway inked in on the roster. “The first one was mostly local writers,” says publicist Gillian Crowley. “This time we’ve got a lot from Vancouver and Sechelt, and our farthest-flung author will be Calgary’s Fred Stenson.” After opening ceremonies on Friday night, the festival gets going on Saturday with seven hour-long paired readings throughout the day, followed by the Saturday night gala at the Mary Winspear Centre, which includes readings and a sure-to-be-lively question-and-answer session. And fans who are, well, hungry for some intimacy with their favourite writers can buy tickets for the Author Breakfast, where tables

of eight get to nosh and chat with the likes of gardening guru Des Kennedy, First Nations author and journalist Richard Wagamese, and Vancouver novelist Janie Chang. About 600 people are expected in total, with some events likely to sell out — consider buying a weekend pass for $115 or advance tickets for specific events at Tanner’s or Munro’s. “We’ve been getting really good support from the community,” adds Crowley, who cites everything from a

Coming up

 Writer Steven Galloway

Jeeves Intervenes

P.G. Wodehouse Margaret Raether

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Grace & Glorie Tom Zeigler By

Oct 16 - Nov 7

Book by

Music by

Elf The Musical Thomas Meehan Bob Martin

Matthew Skar


Lyrics by

Chad Beguelin

Nov 20 - Dec 31

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Harvest Dinner Thursday, September 24, 5 to 9 p.m. Celebrate summer’s harvest at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse. Enjoy a four-course seasonal dinner prepared by Food For Thought Catering paired with award-winning cider.

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fundraiser at the Star Cinema to a few ardent fans who are paying appearance fees and travel costs for writers they particularly cherish. Running from October 2-4 at various venues in Sidney. For information, see Sidney & Peninsula Literary Festival.

NOSTALGIA ON WHEELS If the sight of a well-aged British fellow kitted out in Harris tweeds as he tootles down the road in a vintage Morgan sports car makes you smile — with maybe a touch of envy smiting your soul — then consider attending the English Car Affair in the Park. The Victoria chapter of the Old English Car Club is having its 21st annual celebration out at Fort Rodd Hill and approximately 150 cars — and their proud owners — will be arrayed in the open meadow. Expect everything from a 1927 Austin 7 to present-day MINIs, with an emphasis on British classics such as Jaguars, Triumphs, Hillmans, Austin Healeys … and the occasional Rolls Royce. “This is big-time nostalgia,” admits Wayne Watkins, publicist for the OECC. “Most of the attendees are in their 60s and 70s and they are people who grew up with these cars,” he says. “They used to sell a ton of British autos in Victoria decades ago — for many, it was their first car.” According to Watkins, the owners of what he refers to as “rolling art” are delighted to tell visitors the stories of how they purchased their car and the years spent restoring it. “Usually, come 3:00 p.m., we have to nudge people to leave as they’re too busy chatting to realize the event is over,” chuckles Watkins. While a classic Jaguar E-Type can cost up to $200,000, a mere $4,000 will buy you a drivable auto, according to Watkins. “Many owners only use their vintage cars on the weekend,” he adds. “It’s a fun hobby.” Running September 13 at Fort Rodd Hill. For information, see

CHALK UP ANOTHER ONE With 20,000 visitors expected over its two-day run, the Victoria International Chalk Art Festival has become the largest such event in the country. “It’s just in its fourth year and has become a very successful, family-friendly event,” says executive director John Vickers proudly. The event happens along the “heritage” stretch of Government Street, with several dozen eight-foot by 10-foot paintings sprouting up where the pavement has been prepped with a layer of black tempera paint. There will be 10 professional chalkers, 25 from First Nations, and about 35 local artists. And several hundred kids are expected to participate in the Kid Zone (free chalk provided!). The centrepiece of the festival is the 20-by-20-foot 3D painting that will come to life in the lower level of the Bay Centre. “This year it’s being done by an amazing brother-sister team from Mexico,” says Vickers. “They were among the top artists at the Sarasota Chalk Festival, the largest in North America.” With Government

 Solomon Islander Jerard Ake’s The Messenger is among the art featured at at Alcheringa Gallery. Photo by Claire Beauchamp

Street closed to traffic, the area is transformed into a pedestrian-focused outdoor art gallery that creates a sense of wonder in visitors. “You’re watching art being created in the moment,” adds Vickers. “And the First Nations component makes it a very rich cultural experience.” Happening September 12-13 on the “old town” stretch of Government Street. For information, see Victoria Chalk Festival.

REINVENTING THE TRADITION Alcheringa Gallery is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a brand new venue and a fascinating show. Specialists in indigenous artwork from the Pacific Rim, Alcheringa moved just one block west on Fort Street, and ended up in a great space with 18-foot ceilings and gorgeous natural light. This will be ideal to show off Form and Function Reconstructed, which focuses on artists using traditional methods such as weaving, beading and carving to create new forms. Haida/Tlingit artist Paul LaPier covers canoe paddles with a sheath of elegantly woven cedar bark. Alison Bremner, also Tlingit, creates serigraphs that look very traditional but include mischievous modern elements (her Malibu Raven shows the iconic bird subtly sporting a pair of sunglasses). The Dene Nation’s Catherine Blackburn uses traditional beading techniques to make intricately fashioned earrings, while Tlingit artist Mark Preston decorates bentwood boxes with abstractions of traditional design. Jerard Ake, a Solomon Islander, is helping revive his culture’s art traditions with superb black-ink linocut prints. And Papua New Guinea’s Florence Jaukae transforms the humble bilum — ubiquitous string bags made from so-called bush fiber — into funky, high-fashion clothing that is developing international cachet. Running from September 10 to October 8 at 621 Fort Street. For information, see Alcheringa Gallery.



design professionals was born. So immediately after graduation, I co-founded a software application and web development company, acting as its creative director for over 15 years. My current work in traditional fine art is a return to Plan A. Professionally speaking, I’ve never done anything other than invent, create and build stuff.

What is “Squirrealism?” Squirrealism describes my signature style of fine artwork using squirrel masks in paintings and photographs to create strange, transgene characters, living in wonderful worlds. For me, the “mask” has become a symbol describing misfits, hiding behind animated personas, odd and beautifully unusual.




What events are you involved with in Victoria? My most interesting event experience was when I was disguised as Lady Gaga riding a swan float during the Oak Bay Tea Party Parade. But I’ve been fortunate enough to be included as a participating artist for several fundraising events: ArtBeat, Take a Seat for Habitat (for Humanity), CNIB Eye Appeal, Visions Gala (Victoria Hospitals Foundation), TD Art Gallery Paint-In, Festival of Trees (BC Children’s Hospital), Tip a Fool (Greater Victoria Citizens’ Counselling Centre). I’ve also been a guest speaker at PechaKucha, Saanich Peninsula Arts and Crafts Society, YoUnlimited, Studio 30, and the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria.

What are your hobbies? Travelling to visit artist studios, art fairs, art museums and galleries. Reading contemporary art news, dancing and whisky connoisseurship.

What do you love most about living in Victoria? Meeting someone new and spending three minutes in conversation to reveal the inevitable “one degree of separation.”  BY SUSAN LUNDY

Nice to meet you, Carollyne Yardley. Where are you from and how did you get to Victoria? I was strapped into a car seat by my parents, and transported here from Alberta in a champagne green 1968 Oldsmobile Delta Custom.

You are an accomplished artist, represented in Victoria by Winchester Galleries. What drew you to world of art? I have always been a creative, and imaginative person. I gravitate towards environments where my natural traits can be best expressed. Immediately out of high school, I attended the Visual Arts Department at the University of Victoria, and graduated with a degree in art history. “TimBL” invented the World Wide Web circa 1990; and a new platform for creative 58

Where do you turn to for advice? For art world advice, I turn to anyone gifted with pattern recognition skills, or an episodic memory. Closet comedians. Philosophers. Eccentrics. Art world professionals. Artists who have both commercial success and critical acclaim. Respected gallery owners who have been in the business a long time. Art collectors who have a passion for the visual arts, and risk takers who invest early in an artist’s career.

What has life taught you? Nothing is absurd in a world bereft of judgment. (Samuel Beckett)

Is there anything else we should know about Carollyne Yardley? I’m all teeth and hair. The squirrels say I’m super rad.

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First class in the 2015 lexus es350 Susanna Crofton freely admits that she’s never been a “car person,” but with the recent purchase of her Lexus ES350, she is an absolute convert. “Cars in the past have been utility vehicles, but now it’s about business and pleasure,” she says. Crofton, a realtor for RE/MAX Camosun-Oak Bay, says the ES350 satisfies her every driving need, and ensures her clients are well taken care of and comfortable as well. “I love the technology package; it’s totally hands-free for making calls, which is great because I spend a lot of time in the car,” she says. “The sound system is amazing. And when you look out the front window, it’s a sporty looking car, but it also has an expansive front view.”

And while the ES350 is a treat to drive, the fully customizable and heated front seats, and the roomy and ultra comfortable back make riding in it just as pleasurable. Her purchasing experience at Jim Pattison Lexus Victoria was just as enjoyable. “They were very knowledgeable,” says Crofton, who drove her ES350 off the lot three months ago. “They’ve called more than once just to check on me. It was exceptional service.” Having traded up from her “mom car” to the luxurious ES350, Crofton says she’s never going back. “It’s like travelling in first class.”

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Profile for Boulevard Magazine

Boulevard Magazine - September 2015 Issue  

Boulevard Magazine is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Vancouver Island by focusing on the Arts, People, Tr...

Boulevard Magazine - September 2015 Issue  

Boulevard Magazine is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Vancouver Island by focusing on the Arts, People, Tr...