Passions Magazine - Summer 2018

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passions The

Toys of Summer

Fairwinder Jack Taylor’s Nasty ‘A’ shines at the annual Show & Shine


Summer 2018

FEATURING Robert Held Glass Blowing Ice Cream: The Scoop Super Models of Fairwinds

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Sea Lion near Hornby Island, BC



Summer has officially surrounded the Fairwinds community. Locals are spending more time outside on land and sea, the air is filled with the smells we have been longing for and our barbecuing skills and tastebuds are being put to the test. Summer also brings with it an abundance of colours, some of which are created by Mother Nature and some by humankind. In this issue we shed light on the colours of summer that were created by your friends and neighbours - from hot rods and adirondack chairs to model airplanes and ice cream. Of particular note is the “Super Models” article on page 20, in which Fairwinder Brian Coolican shares his passion for building and flying model airplanes.

The Toys of Summer


Shop Local: Robert Held Glass Blowing


Ice Cream - The Scoop


Whale Watching


Construction Update


Super Models of Fairwinds


The Ultimate Wing Man


Adirondack or Muskoka Chair?


The Intellect Page






We will also shed more light on the developments in your community that are sure to add even more colour to life at Fairwinds. The Westerly will soon rise above ground and the Timber Ridge site is prepped for construction to begin. Perhaps the most exciting development to behold is the evolution of Fairwinds Landing into the community gathering place it deserves to be. Once again, we sincerlely hope you have enjoyed reading Passions Magazine and welcome your feedback and input into coming issues at To date we have received some very positive feedback as well as some constructive criticism. Both make us better so please don’t be shy. Have an adventurous and colourful summer, Fairwinds Management





Debbie Bowman

of summer

You know how everyone turns to watch as a beautifully restored classic car drives by? Conversations stop, people point, and nostalgia creeps in as we’re reminded of earlier days when we may have had that exact car. Now multiply that by six hundred cars and with over 30,000 craning necks, sprinkle in some good food, good music, great atmosphere and some raffles and you’ll get an idea of what you’d experience at the Seaside Cruizers annual Show and Shine Father’s Day event in downtown Qualicum Beach.

was just on Main Street,” states Kevin Varey, President of the Seaside Cruizers, in a quick interview during the event. “That was our first year in downtown Qualicum. Before that, we would hold the event in various locations including the parking lot of the Rocking Horse Pub. But in 2001, the pub closed down, so we had to find a new venue. But it’s all worked out. It’s been a big deal for Qualicum. You won’t find a vacancy in any hotel, and some businesses say it’s the busiest day of the year for them.”

A few years ago, Oprah Winfrey named Qualicum Beach’s Show and Shine as one of the top ten things to do on Father’s Day in all of North America, so it’s a pretty big deal. This year’s event was blessed with uninterrupted sunshine, so it was busier than ever. Even so, there was more than enough room to leisurely walk and gawk at the rows upon rows of perfectly restored vehicles that stretch for several downtown blocks. So much bright shiny paint and chrome, so many chances to say ‘wow, look at that one!’ that it’s nearly impossible to choose a favourite.

It’s not just the businesses that benefit from this yearly event, as several non-profits also feel the love. “Really, the Seaside Cruizers are a service club disguised as a car club,” states Varey. “Every year we only keep what we need to run the event the following year and the rest is shared among several non-profits. Last year was a record year as we gave away over $35,000. Since 2006 our club has given away over $170,000. The non-profits really appreciate what we do every year. Some have grown to depend on it.“

From its humble beginnings back in 1996, it’s impressive to learn how the annual event has grown.“In 2001 the show 4 PASSIONS | SUMMER 2018

Speaking of appreciation, most people appreciate a well restored car. When we see such a car we may try to imagine what the world was like when the car was first on the road.

What did the driver see and experience when he drove down the road each day? What were his or her thoughts? How do they differ from what goes through our mind as we drive around today? We also appreciate the time it takes to restore a car. The hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of meticulous work to restore every centimetre of a car, every nook and cranny, even the corners we will never see. One could say that a beautifully restored car is a sort of homage to the passage of time, while also an appreciation for our present moment. Jack Taylor, a Fairwinder, knows what I mean. He’s been restoring cars for almost as long as he can remember. I had a chance to sit and interview Taylor in the two-storey storage unit he’s modified to be less storage unit and more garage/ man cave. We sat on some folding chairs, surrounded by trophies, plaques, and car paraphernalia as we talked about his love of cars. “I’ve always played with cars.” recalls Taylor, “My dad was a car guy. So I guess the appreciation of cars came from him.”

I was sixteen. That was my first car,” states Taylor. “I also attended auto shop in high school. By the way, that was a big deal back then, as having an automotive program was pretty cutting edge at the time.” While in high school, Taylor also joined a club of car enthusiasts called the El Caminos. He showed me a picture of the club members all lined up and wearing their James Dean jackets. Taylor has written the names of some of the members directly onto the photo. “I still keep in touch with some of these guys,” states Taylor as he points them out to me. “In fact, a lot of my high school chums are here this weekend for the Show & Shine.” He explains that the appreciation for cars has been the glue that’s kept him close to his high school buddies. “We’ve known each other for so long, but we’re all different people with different lifestyles. The car is the common denominator that’s kept us together over the years.”

Taylor began to learn about repairing cars when he was in high school. “Me and my dad worked on a 37 Dodge when PASSIONS | SUMMER 2018 5

Taylor’s current restoration project is a bright yellow 1931 Ford Roadster called the Nasty ‘A’. “The name is a play on words because I’m Canadian,” explains Taylor. “I’ve driven cars into the United States for car shows a few times and people would tease me for saying Eh. The letter A sounds like Eh, so there you go.”

The Nasty ‘A’ also has an interesting history “I had always wanted a full-fendered roadster like the one my dad had. This 1931 Ford was just perfect,” recalls Taylor. “I’d been trying to buy the car for several years. I knew the guy who had it, Tommy Shaw, a drag racer from way back who lived in Washington State. I’d call him every once and a while, but fairly regularly, asking if he was ready to sell the car - but he’d always say no. He’d had the car for 55 years and it was just sitting on blocks. Finally, one day, out of the blue, he said he’d sell it to me. I’m only the third owner.“

“ I’m never really finished with a car. It’s more the process instead of the destination. Really, it’s just a labour of love.” Jack Taylor

Unlike a lot of restored roadsters, the Nasty ‘A’ is pretty close to what you’d expect to see from an authentic roadster. “I haven’t raised it up or anything like that,” states Taylor. “She’s all steel with no fibreglass parts. I’ve kept it very close to what an original roadster would look like, except for where I’ve re-motored it.” The motor of the Nasty ‘A’ is worth mentioning because it’s pretty special. Firstly, it is a 1957 392 Chrysler Hemi - 750 Horsepower and supercharged. Most importantly, however, is the fact that it’s the actual motor that was used to power Tommy Shaw’s dragster at the Arlington speedway in 1967, when he was clocked at an impressive speed of 227.85 mph. Taylor has the actual certificate from the National Hot Rod Association, certifying the speed. While Taylor has enjoyed working on his current vehicle, he says he’s always looking for something else to restore. “I keep looking, but so far I can’t find anything with the same wow factor as the 31 Ford Roadster.” It’s not a big problem though, as Taylor is still busy working on the Nasty ‘A’. “I’m never really finished with a car. It’s more the process instead of the destination. Really, it’s just a labour of love, “states Taylor. “I’ve enjoyed this hobby. And I’ve been successful at it, winning lots of awards, etc. But that’s not what it’s about for me. It’s about enjoying life and being with the guys I grew up with. I’m 73 and still playing around with my cars and not about to stop anytime soon.”

Keep up with the Seaside Cruizers at:

photos by

Christian T W Photography



Amazing GLASS

tanding in front of the crucible, the glassmith takes the long metal pole and places it into the blindingly hot liquid glass. He gathers the glass by rotating and lifting the pole. He then steps back, and with one quick movement reverses away and out of the crucible, carefully balancing it, as it now has the fist sized gob of glass on the end. He pivots toward the bench and table which holds the tools of his trade - the jacks, blocks, puffers parchoffi, and paddles - and forms the piece to match his intention.

secrets. Glass blowing lessons are available throughout the year, at various times of the day, and are tailored to allow students to learn the basics of crafting with glass. Students can choose from a variety of objects to create and keep - paperweights, hollow blown glass balls, or a starfish - all which can be customized with a large variety of colours. Each session is one on one and will take as long as needed for the student to create their very own work of art, though most sessions take about an hour.

If learning to blow glass isn’t your style, you can always stop by The man described above is not from ancient times, even though the gallery to simply watch glass art being created. You’ll feel it may seem so. Instead, it is what one can see when they visit the heat and you’ll hear the sounds of the ancient craft as it the Robert Held Glass Studio in Parksville. Remarkably, the process happens. As a result, visiting Held’s gallery is described above could have taken place at any an interactive experience that is truly one of point between 2000 BC and today. In fact, a a kind and enjoyable for just about everyone. Roman-period glass worker could enter Robert “I love to see people’s reaction as they enter Held’s studio and find the tools with which he my gallery. Their mouths are open and their is familiar and, with little adjustment, begin to eyes are wide. It’s like a colour candy store,” create glass pieces. Glass is mesmerizing. It’s states Held. “And I believe my gallery is the like nothing else on earth. Glass is amorphous, only place in the area where you can come and meaning it is neither liquid nor solid. Instead, it see art glass as it’s being made. You can watch is described as a frozen liquid because it lacks a vase as it’s created, and if you like it, you can the ordered molecular structure of true solids, even purchase it and take it home - once it’s and yet its irregular structure is too rigid for it By Debbie Bowman cooled down, of course.” Although Held has to qualify as a liquid. now been working with glass for the better The glass art produced at Held’s studio is the part of his life, he is still fascinated with glass as an art medium. culmination of almost 45 years of production glass experience. “Glass is like a female,” muses Held with a chuckle. “If you treat it Held is inspired by the art of both contemporary and classic artists. right, gently and with respect, things can go very well. But if you Walking through the gallery, one will see pieces that are reminiscent don’t you can get burned.” Held continues, “It’s like a dance of Monet or Klimt - vases and goblets encircled with red poppies and between the glass and I. When we dance it’s not just me who decides rows of vessels dotted with gold - as well as strikingly beautiful what is happening, we have to work together. I have to be highly modern pieces such as glass spheres, lit from within, that remind respectful of the glass. I have to let it flow.” one of the planets of our galaxy. “I’m inspired by many artists Be sure to visit Robert Held’s upcoming art show called Monet - Jackson Pollock, Gorky, Kandinski,” states Held. “But when I visited ReVisited at the McMillan Arts Centre - 133 McMillan Street in Giverny in France, the summer home of Monet…I remember I was Parksville - from July 21 - September 1. This world class art show there, pretty much alone, early on a foggy morning, walking across will be wonderfully interactive and a three dimensional delight, the Japanese Bridge…it was a fantastically moving experience. That much like Robert Held himself. memory reinforced my love for Monet’s vision - to capture the essence of the atmosphere around us.” Although glass is a mysterious art medium, Held and his staff aremore than willing to part the curtain, if you will, and reveal its 8 PASSIONS | SUMMER 2018

To see more, visit:

Wondering Where You Can



Debbie Bowman

Billy Gruff Creamery 2310 Alberni Hwy. Coombs | 250 248 6272

The Billy Gruff Creamery has over sixty flavours of standard ice cream, from rum raisin (don’t knock it ‘till you try it) to tiger tail (ditto). However, most exciting is their house made gelato, a new addition to their offerings since they invited Italian experts to train staff how to properly make authentic gelato. They have 24 flavours of traditional gelato as well as six to eight dairy free and vegan offerings. They make gelato every day and are always experimenting with new flavours.

The Cone Zone 5790 Island Hwy. Qualicum Bay | 250 757 2003

The Cone Zone is an ice cream parlour that takes you back. Back 25 years, actually, as that’s how long cones have been passed across the counter here. At The Cone Zone you are able to choose from 40 flavours, including three that are non-dairy. The best part of getting ice cream here is stretching out on a red adirondack chair and taking in the uninterrupted view of the Salish Sea as you enjoy your cone. Even Fido can enjoy The Cone Zone. They have special doggy cone stands to hold the pup cones so your little friend can eat ice cream with ease. Now that’s doggone awesome!

Cold Front Gelato 306 - 60 Commercial St. Nanaimo | 250 519 7719

Ahhhh, Ice Cream Who doesn’t love this sweet, smooth treat?

It’s frozen deliciousness and sublime perfection, and it’s the taste of summer. The name alone conjures up memories of hot hazy days, lounging in the shade with a dripping cone.


Cold Front Gelato opened a mere five weeks ago, but it’s already got people talking. Why are they talking? Because Cold Front Gelato is the real deal. The owner actually travelled to Bologna, Italy to learn how to make gelato and she works hard to provide gelato that is never made from packaged ingredients. She only sources natural and whole ingredients, like fresh mint, local berries, honey and lavender, organic lemons, fair trade chocolate and coffee, as well as sustainably sourced vanilla beans from Madagascar. Even the waffle cones are fresh and local. They are made in house and you’ll smell their delicious aroma as soon as you enter the business. Cold Front Gelato is also conscious of the environment, so in-house tasting is from metal spoons and all the take-out cups, bowls and spoons are compostable. PASSIONS | SUMMER 2018 11

Love’s Ice Cream Various locations in downtown Cumberland.

From the moment you set eyes on the adorable robin’s egg blue and white Boler trailer, you are hooked - but then the ice cream reels you in. This is Love’s first season, and already they have quite the following. They only use organic, grass fed and local milk which has been supplemented with probiotics. They also have a very special machine called the Little Jem. This machine from New Zealand (currently there are only three in all of Canada) incorporates ice cream - either dairy or non-dairy - with fresh fruit, such as wild blueberries or organic raspberries, into a perfectly smooth soft serve. In addition to the soft serve, they have traditional scoop ice cream in amazing flavours such as London fog and salted caramel. Their house-made cones are both regular and gluten-free.

Blue Spruce Ice Cream 526 Cliffe Ave. Courtenay | 250 871 3221

I actually smelled the Blue Spruce Ice Cream shop before I even crossed the street. Turns out they were creating their gluten-free waffle cones at that moment. The owners of Blue Spruce Ice Cream are experimenting with some amazing flavours that are highly unusual - like spruce tips, wild rose, lavender, vodka strawberry, nettle and honey, and Krupnik caramel - made with Wayward Distillery’s spiced honey liqueur. Many ingredients are actually wild crafted, like the nettle, the wild roses, and the spruce tips. As a result, Blue Spruce Ice Cream plans to create flavours that change with the seasons, using ingredients such as salmon berries, plums, blackberries, apples and pears. Lastly, they offer dairy-free and vegan options as well as the aforementioned gluten-free cones, so everyone in your party will find a treat to suit them.

REACH YOUR GOALS. The importance of staying fit is paramount to a long, happy and pain-free life. From releasing endorphins to keeping us mobile, socially engaged and even warding off disease, exercise offers you countless benefits. To that end, our Personal Trainers have created realistic and sensible programs designed for success.

“It is very inspiring working with people to help them overcome obstacles and allow them to achieve what they may never have thought possible.” - Sharon Fleming, Personal Trainer -



Actually, your brain isn’t freezing, it just feels that way. Brain freeze - or sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, for the word nerds out there - is really just a short duration headache caused when something very cold touches the roof of your mouth. When this happens the blood vessels and nerves in the mouth react. Specifically, the two main blood vessels at the base of the brain expand and contract, which triggers pain receptors in the outer covering of your brain called the meninges. But we need not suffer for long. To fight off an ice cream headache, just push your tongue onto the roof of your mouth. Or you can sip some tepid water. The warmth will cause the pain to abate. Phew! That’s better. 12 PASSIONS | SUMMER 2018

The Fairwinds Wellness Centre is a full-service fitness facility that includes an indoor pool, weight rooms, gym, tennis and a pickle ball courts.

Learn more at


by J a m i e W i l l i a m s


There is a reason that a magnificent image of an orca chief greets international travels when they navigate Vancouver’s airport. Or that the image of an orca, or killer whale as it is commonly known, is emblazoned on the chests of the Vancouver Canucks. In fact, it’s tough to spend much of any time on the west coast and not come across a depiction of an orca in some shape or form.

to be fierce hunters, always moving in groups, but full of mutual-respect for humans and their environment. They represent longevity, family, balance and harmony. Legends say that the souls of dead fisherman are reincarnated as orca whales, and so an orca near the shore or near a boat was thought to be a human transformed, attempting to communicate with her family.

This is because the mammal holds a very special place in the culture of BC’s coastal First Nations peoples, and have shadowed the development of the coast every step of the way. Although varying from nation to nation, Orcas are thought

But whatever legend dictates, one thing is certain: these creatures are a part of Canada’s west coast as is the First Nations people, ocean, rainforest, and the mountains – and we’re fortunate to live amongst them.



WHALE-LIKE NEIGHBOURS “It’s pretty freaking exceptional here, considering you just have harbour seal watching operations elsewhere in the world,” says marine educator Jackie Hildering, aka The Marine Detective. Hildering is a Humpback Researcher and cofounder of the Marine Education and Research Society, based on Vancouver Island. I called her up to talk all-thingswhales here on the West Coast.

Ferries, are not “random.” They are indeed our neighbours. And yes, it explains why there is a good chance you can experience them with your own eyes.


101 Hildering is all for whale watching, but only if it’s done right. She has dedicated much of her professional life to educating the public about this very thing.

Nanoose Bay residents are lucky because they live in a place that snugly fits into the Strait of Georgia, where a cold current of rich waters attracts a vast array of our astounding whale-like neighbours – as Hildering describes them. A quick scan of the waters is known to reveal creatures like humpback whales, harbour porpoises, Dall’s porpoises, Pacific whiteside dolphins, California sea lions, and Pacific harbour seals, and even a sperm whale (it’s true: albeit extremely rare, the third biggest animal alive passed by Fairwinders’ doorsteps not so many years ago).

In essence, Hildering says you need to avoid feeding the “get-up-close-and-personal” monster that can consume operations of a lot of whale watching companies out there. Essentially, everyone should strive to see whales in the wild in a way that is as benign and natural as possible. “You’re to be 200 metres away from a whale at all times,” she says. “No touching, and definitely no swimming with.” That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t count ourselves as lucky and enjoy the privilege of being located in one of the greatest places on earth to experience marine life on such a scale.

Not to mention that British Columbia is one of the truly unique places on Earth where it’s known to have four overlapping populations of orcas (aka killer whales), including the endangered southern resident killer whales, of which only 76 remain. Interestingly, according to Hildering, none of them interbreed, all have different languages, communicate at different pitches and tones, which has ultimately allowed them to “preserve their distinctive cultures” – a culture that has worked for them longer than humans can understand. The work done on their DNA shows that one of the populations, the mammal-eating orca, separated from the others around 700,000 years ago. All of this is extra special because so many of these whales – including humpbacks – are at various levels of risk.

With this in mind, here’s Hildering’s points to consider in making a whale watching choice.

“It would have been right up to the 1970s that we thought there was only one kind of orca and it was in large numbers – and we had a hate on for them,” says Hildering. We thought they were eating all of our salmon, that they were in abundance, and killing them off had no larger effect on the ocean. But where we used to kill them, we are now researching and realizing they are key to our ocean survival. Take the “resident” orcas, which return to these waters during the salmon spawning season. Just like the salmon that spawn in the rivers and head to the ocean, bringing a richness of nutrients to the open seas, these orcas are part of an integral food chain, and are here for a reason, helping create balance in the ecosystem. The notion that these animals have lived here longer than us, and have called it home for so long, acts as a reminder that those sightings of orcas we get from our boats, in pictures, and from the BC

WHALE WATCHING 101 Points to Consider

1. Location. How long and fast will you need to travel? The slower and shorter, the better. 2. Crew. What’s their experience and qualifications? Find out how long they’ve been in operation. Inquire about their operators: do they provide information that goes beyond simply snagging a good photo? 3. The Vessel. How big is it? Remember: the bigger it is the more noise and the more fossil fuel footprint per person. 4. Ethics and Approach. Does the company contribute to marine conservation in any way? Is it holistic in reducing waste, using organic, energy-efficient and biodegradable products? Often their promotional images speak volumes: do they use language and images that are respectful of the marine wildlife guidelines for viewing them?




HUMANITY It’s Hildering’s – and others like her – top priority these days to increase awareness around the direct impact we humans have on the health of the ocean and the marine life within it. “Now, we need to understand that on land we have big impacts on these animals” says Hildering. By looking at blubber samples of orcas and other whales, we can see how contaminated our oceans are – and hence, correlate to our practices on land. For example, toxins of all levels can be found in various types of species, and usually how well a population is doing directly correlates with what we’re putting in the water or how we’re treating a particular population of animal. Take the remaining seventy-six southern resident orcas: they have four times higher toxins than their counterparts. “Our day-to-day demand on fossil fuels, the increased vessel traffic on the Coast – pipeline or not – are directly hurting our oceans. The most impactful thing you can do to help is to use your consumer and voting power to demand less reliance on fossil fuels.” All that said, Hildering reminds us that we’ve come a long way, and change is possible. “Whales are a positive reminder that human value systems can change. It used to be ‘damn those killer whales, they eat all of our salmon’. But now, the reality is much different. They are a reminder that we can change so quickly when knowledge replaces fear.”



“Ultimately, whales are incredibly good barometers of how we humans are doing when it comes to our values and understanding the ocean as a life-sustaining force on the planet.” To help you choose a whale watching company, search: “yelp whale watching nanaimo” Visit the Marine Detective at:



C O NS TRU C TIO N U PDAT E THE WESTERLY, THE LANDING, AND TIMBER RIDGE BY MYLES SAUER Summer’s in full swing, which means drinks on the patio, working on your golf swing on a sunny day, and enjoying the scenery on offer in the Fairwinds community. But it’s not all rest and relaxation, as construction crews are working around the clock this summer to bring a number of new and exciting developments to fruition. In the spring, construction crews were preparing a 22-foot-deep excavation for the building foundations and lower parking level slab for The Westerly, a 39-suite condo building set to open next to The Landing next summer. Many of the suites will offer a range of features that promote accessibility and adaptability for its residents. A Wolffkran 325 Sl tower crane, standing 134 feet from its base, was also brought in to start the building assembly at the beginning of June. The crane is now fully operational and the lower level foundations and perimeter walls are over halfway to completion. Take a walk in the area and you’re guaranteed to see the red machine hard at work! Approximately 20 workers are on site, and in mid-July, concrete was placed at the core footing, which acts as a foundation for the elevators and structural core of the building. “Many of the key subcontractors are on site working hard to make the progress what it is,”the Fairwinds Construction Manager says. “The progress is amazing”. Late last year, the 40,000 square foot building at The Landing was torn down to its bare scaffolding so it could be completely rebuilt. Crews are making huge strides on renovations to the building. The structural steel work on the roof is complete—though there is ongoing work inside of the building on both levels—and exterior concrete work on the lower level has just begun. The new dormers (rooftop windows) are also framed in, and the metal decking at the eastern end of the building is almost finished. There’s still some work to go, but once completed, the building will include a new restaurant and pub, a marina office, and an additional 11 townhouse-style residences. Renovations are expected to be finished in about 12 months. Last but certainly not least is Timber Ridge, a 35-unit townhome development sitting on 11 acres of land off Bonnington Drive. The development process for Timber Ridge is still in the early stages but it is moving along nicely. Work is expected to commence as early as this September, according to Seacliff Properties asset manager Georgia Desjardins. “More information about the release of these homes will be available soon,” she says. When all is said and done, the townhomes will range in size from approximately 1,400 to 1,800 square feet, and some will offer views of the Strait of Georgia and the Coastal Mountains. Residents will want to keep an eye on the progress for this one! More exciting still is that Fairwinds is moving forward with plans for a new single family home subdivision. While details are scarce right now, Desjardins says more information on this project will be available in the coming weeks and months. Whether it’s the The Landing, The Westerly, or Timber Ridge, there’s a lot going on in this neck of the woods. Each project promises something unique and exciting, adding to the vibrancy of the area. So the next time you’re walking about and enjoying the weather, take a closer look; you may see something new coming over the horizon.

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He has been a resident of Fairwinds for over fifteen years. He is also a pilot. And today he stands in a grassy field next to his plane: known as a “Sopwith Pup.” To those who care, it’s an English aircraft that dates back to about 1917 and was used to fight in the First World War. It’s a perfect replica, right down to the fuselage. The surface glimmers and the fin-stabilizers shine in the afternoon sun.

Coolican started this hobby – yes, his wife and Coolican himself label it as such – back when he was twelve-years-old. It first began with the small, toy ones. Then (minus a respite here and there during his career) his hobby gained momentum. Now retired at seventy-five-years-old, Coolican is president of a local flying club called PDQ Flyers, which has eighty members, all dedicated to flying various forms of these models. It’s one of dozens throughout the country. Indeed, there are over 10,000 registered members who fly model airplanes from coast to coast. So when Coolican tells me he has spent over sixty years of his life on this hobby (albeit some breaks in there), and has built around fifty to sixty of these things, I need to remind myself that he’s not alone. I ask him how much he figures he’s spent on this? I can hear the grimace over the phone. “Gee I hate to add it up,

Dozens of people linger about. Some of them are pilots as well, some of them engineers, all of them enthusiasts of flight and the planes that take advantage of it. Looking around, you’ll notice a similar number of aircraft populate the field: all poised for take off, some already in the air. But instead of stepping inside his plane, Coolican pulls out a remote control, fires up the diesel engine, exhaust bellows, and when the turbines buzz with

sufficient roar, the “model” takes off into the skies. It‘s a sight to see right here in the small Nanoose Bay community: nearly one-hundred people milling about, all with three-quarter scale model airplanes that are exact replicas of the original, soaring upwards 800 feet – equal to a seventy-storey skyscraper – and as fast as 115 km or so. To passersby, it’s easy to tell that these aren’t your average “model” airplanes.

YEARS IN THE MAKING There are two categories that define all model planes: those that fly and those that don’t. Not only do the ones Coolican make fly, they are some of the largest out there, with wings spanning ten feet and donning WWII diesel engines from the 1940s. These “models” are also exact-to-scale replicas of the originals. They’ve been meticulously pieced together by hand, often from scratch, by the hobbyists, who must source pieces from all over the region. This is done by going to meetups, ordering on the internet, driving south of the border, and referring to manuals and documents to bring it all together. Every single one of these “models” takes hundreds of hours to build – upwards of two years of the builder’s time.


you know,” Coolican says. “You usually got to put $2500 bucks into each. Some will be more. Some will be less.” $2500 times sixty. You do the math. Coolican continues, “And one of the liabilities of this so-called hobby is the fact that they tend to crash every now and then.” And he’s had his share of crashes. “I put it through a tree here the year before, and the wings tore right off of it. On a different occasion, my plane came back with part of the tree embedded into the wing – kind of looked like an eagle tearing twigs of pine in the sky when it hit the tree top.”And that’s not mentioning the time his buddy had his plane torn apart so badly (by what looked like an eagle) that it was unrepairable. “It is like losing a baby for the first little bit. Toughens you up after that.”

The Ultimate

Wing Man THE INVENTOR INSIDE US Talking to Coolican, though, he reminds me that it’s not about the money nor the time. It’s about tapping into your passions and making good on your interests. “A builder of these kind of model planes must harbour a sincere passion for things that fly,” Coolican says. You have to be good with your hands. You need electronics and motor knowledge to some degree, too. Don’t forget the drive and determination to figure it all out, like piecing together one big puzzle with various riddles along the way. The rest is artwork, patience and passion. But most importantly: the satisfaction you get from seeing something you build come to life. “The cool thing about it all is just how exhilarating it is to take something you built with your own hands and actually be able to fly it around.” And it’s the satisfaction of this feeling that has, ironically, made Coolican busier in his retirement than when he was deep in his career. “Even though I’m getting a little long in the tooth here, I will continue building one-totwo a year. Yes, I don’t get that many holidays anymore – I used to take them when I worked, you know. I used to watch TV, too. But as soon as I retired, I had no time to do anything.” For more information on flights, visit:

Eddie entertains Falconer Anne Murphy and Writer Jen Groundwater

Eddie, the handsome Canada goose-chasing bald eagle, answers fangirl questions, with a couple of interjections from his trainer, falconer Anne Murphy. Jen Groundwater: So, Eddie, what’s up with you these days? Eddie the Eagle: Well, I just recovered from surgery for a foot problem, and I put on a few pounds over the winter, so Anne had me on a diet this spring. Anne Murphy: Classic signs of middle age! What’s next? A Corvette? JG: Eddie, there were some rumours that you stepped out on Anne last summer after 16 years together. AM: It’s true. He’s had a lady eagle friend for the past two summers. She hangs around his pen for hours, and they call to each other. JG, swooning: Well, I can see the attraction. Eddie has the most beautiful feathers, and his eyes are just captivating. EE, preening: Thank you. I’m on a new diet these days – mostly fish. After moulting season, it will help me grow great new feathers. You should try it! JG: Have you tried any other ways of keeping your youthful good looks? Botox? Maybe colouring those lovely white feathers of yours? EE: Well, aside from that plastic surgery [on his foot], I haven’t had to go down that road yet. Of course, I went bald at about five years old and I think that look works well for me. JG: How do you stay in shape? EE: I like to fly daily – it’s great exercise… AM: You can see the sweat at the end of his beak when he finishes free-flying. EE: …and I really love to swim. AM: Eddie’s a very strong swimmer – all eagles are. He looks like ahuman doing the butterfly stroke.

EE: No way! Why would I retire? I only work a couple of hours a day, and I love what I do. I think I was born for this role. AM: Not to mention he gets tons of attention from his fans, he gets to eat all his favourite foods (which other people prepare for him), and he’s got a condo with an ocean view. EE: But seriously, I think our work really makes a difference around here. Not to brag, but since Anne and I arrived in 2009, we’ve reduced the resident goose population by 90%. AM: Don’t forget Murphy [Anne’s border collie] has had something to do with that, too. EE: Murphy’s fine. I just prefer to work alone. JG: What was your most embarrassing moment at work? EE: One time I was free-flying and there was a golfer waving a lure in the air as he walked down the fairway. Of course I swooped in and grabbed it from him – I’m trained to do that. How was I supposed to know it was a deer-shaped clubhead cover? AM: I had to buy the guy a new clubhead cover. JG: You get a lot of pestering from gulls and crows. And just now I saw a red-winged blackbird heckling you. Why don’t you just swat those smaller birds out of the air? EE: Sometimes I do. AM: Once a gull was harassing him, and he rolled onto his back in flight, grabbed the gull, and killed it. Then he put its body on a pole. JG: Wow. Good thing human celebrities don’t do that to their paparazzi. AM: Don’t forget, he doesn’t kill the geese, of course. Just scares them. JG: Well, they may not like getting up close and personal with Eddie, but I’ve really enjoyed it. He is one fine bird.

JG: You’re about halfway through your career as a goose patroller. Any plans for retirement yet? 22 PASSIONS | SUMMER 2018


Wood is good

You Say

“Adirondack” I Say

“ M usko ka”

things over the years, including Habs vs. Leafs, eating meat vs. vegetarianism, and Adirondack vs. Muskoka. So I was excited to put an end to at least one of these debates once and for all. I did some preliminary research for this story in the form of putting a photo of this iconic piece of furniture up on my Facebook page and asking my friends to identify it. The comments were swift, plentiful (about 75 people weighed in), and, in true Canadian fashion, respectful. I regret to report that there is a definite national divide on this important matter, a veritable two solitudes, if you will. The Ontarians in my friend list stubbornly call it a Muskoka chair, while just about everyone else says, “That’s an Adirondack chair.” Spellings were creative, to say the least. Oddly, my Kiwi friend calls this a Cape Cod chair, while the Irish know it as a Beara chair. It’s all very confusing. A few people opined that “Americans say Adirondack, and Canadians say Muskoka,” but I’m pretty sure they were all from Ontario.

And Vancouver Island has the best wood for these chairs: western red cedar, preferably old, because it’s straighter and has a tighter grain. “Its natural preservatives allow it to withstand our coastal weather,” explains Judy. “Like a totem pole, one of our chairs will last a very long time all by itself [without stain].” Judy’s husband, Brian, has been making chairs from western red cedar for over 30 years, and has always sourced his lumber from local, independent sawyers. The Tofino Cedar Furniture Company also uses western red cedar, but their wood is pulled from the sea by a group of salvors that proprietor and furniture-maker Daniel Lamarche describes as “the last of the Beachcombers.” In a wild area offshore from Tofino, logs are pulled from the ocean and cut into boards which are then shipped to Daniel’s shop, where they’re kiln-dried, then finely sanded, routed and predrilled to become pieces of Adirondack chairs which can be shipped all over the world.

by Jen Groundwater

My husband and I have disagreed about many

While you can pick up an Adirondack-style chair at any big-box store, it’s worth investing in one that will last a long time, and there’s no material more iconic than wood. “It’s from a living thing,” says Judy Bloomfield of Bloomfield Flats Custom Cedar Furniture in Courtenay. “Wood is comfort.”

Eventually I learned the truth: The chair was invented in Westport, New York. Which is in the Adirondack Mountains. (I think I win this one, honey…)

With friends like these… In the summer of 1903, one Thomas Lee spent his time tinkering with a new outdoor chair. Friends and family members tested various prototypes until the ideal combination was created: just the right height from the ground, with a deep, slanted seat and wide armrests. With no idea that the world would love these chairs as much as he and his family did, Lee allowed a carpenter friend, Harry Bunnell, to produce some for sale locally. Bunnell promptly applied for a patent on a “Westport chair,” claiming the idea—and the profits—for himself. We assume this move swiftly made him a former friend of Lee’s. However, no matter who deserves the credit, this chair has become an emblem of leisure, more summery than a garden party, more welcoming than a welcome mat.

While it’s hard to beat a chair hand-made of native wood on Vancouver Island, recycled plastic furniture is a surprisingly eco-friendly option. A company called Breezesta uses plastic made from recycled milk jugs and water bottles—which are ground up into pellets, melted and dyed—to make sturdy, colourful, almost fadeproof furniture. At Independent Marine Supply in Coombs, owner Cynthia Brown has been stocking this line for many years. (You have probably admired her colourful chairs en route to the Old Country Market.) Breezesta’s Shoreline Adirondack collection comes in 20 different colours, from “weatherwood” and a traditional cedar tone to bright red, turquoise, purple, and more and at 45 pounds, they won’t get tossed around in those Fairwinds breezes. There’s a whole range of places to park your patootie: traditional chairs, double swings, rockers, gliders and more. And you can order from a wide range of matching accessories, from footstools and tables to drink holders.

Some assembly required

s Brian, Judy, and Winnie of Bloomfield Flats

s According to Judy, this early 80’s prototype has always been outside with zero care for 30 plus years now and, like the guy sitting in it, is a bit grey and tired

Whether wood or plastic, Adirondack chairs require a little tool time. Chairs are usually sold partially assembled, with the back and seat already put together. Because you only need to attach the arms and legs, it should take only 15 minutes before you are chilling in your new chair. (Twenty minutes if you stop to make a G&T before you sit down.) Hint: to move right to relaxing, buy your chairs at Bloomfield Flats, who mostly sell fully assembled chairs, or pay Independent Marine Supply a small fee to assemble your chairs for you. s The craftsmanship of Bloomfield Flats


s The craftsmanship of Tofino Cedar Furniture Company

If you’re a diehard handyperson, the Tofino Cedar Furniture Company offers a kit where you get to assemble all the pieces. The benefit is cheaper shipping—and bragging rights. The online description includes ominous phrases like “if you are up for the task” and “98 stainless screws.” Daniel Lamarche says this kit should take two to three hours to assemble, and reassuringly claims, “The second one goes faster.” If you get a bunch, the sixth one will doubtless be a breeze.

T H E I N T E L L E C T PA G E “I go running when I have to. When the ice cream truck is doing sixty.” - Wendy Liebman -

High style. Low maintenance. BRAIN GAME:

Once assembled, Adirondack chairs can require almost no maintenance, especially if you like that silvery-grey, weathered wood look which the chairs will naturally acquire thanks to time and the elements. You can certainly opt to stain or paint your chairs to achieve a certain colour, but, as Daniel Lamarche warns, “Any finish you put on will not last as long as the chair. So it’s much easier if you don’t finish it [in the first place].” s Fairwinders’ sunrise seating

s Bloomfield’s East Coast Chair s West Coast Chair

Terri’s heirloom chairs Fairwinder Terri has two Muskoka chairs with a lovely inter-generational connection in her yard. Her father, who has since passed away from prostate cancer, made them for her and her husband way back in 1981. The chairs fell into disrepair a couple of years ago, but this past winter Terri’s daughter’s boyfriend (future son-in-law?) asked if he could rebuild these chairs—in Terri’s dad’s workshop. Now completely refinished, they will probably last many more decades. And Jax, as seen on page 3, loves them too.

A chair is born One day many years ago, Judy Bloomfield brought home a couple of old wooden chairs from a yard sale. Brian, her carpenter husband, tossed one into the fire pit right away, but he used the other as a model, refining the design into what they now call their East Coast chair. With its curved back, rolled seat, and rear vertical strut for stability, “It’s really a Muskoka style of chair,” says Judy, “but beefed up.” Eventually, Brian designed what they call the West Coast chair. “It’s more upright, easier to read in—it just seems to fit people nicely,” says Judy. Now they sell many more of this style, and they even make a taller version to suit longer legs. So, what’s the difference? At the Wood Mill of Muskoka, who know a thing or two about chairs (they even made some for Will and Kate a few years ago), they lightly say, “It’s just territory. If you live in Muskoka, you call it a Muskoka chair.” What seems clear, though, is that whether it’s an Adirondack, a Muskoka, or a uniquely Island creation, nothing says summer like one of these chairs. If we’ve inspired you to grab a cold drink, a steamy novel, and maybe a bowl of snacks—the wide armrests were designed exactly to hold all these necessities—and settle in for a lazy afternoon on the veranda or the dock, our work here is done. To purchase Adirondack (or Muskoka) chairs, visit:

Find the correct number which should replace the question mark.

4 What do you

THROW OUT when you need it but...










when you don’t?


Answer in next issue.


MONTH Previous issue Sudoku answer:

Did you know? In the Middle Ages, Italian glassblowers were sequestered on Murano. It’s rumored that they were removed to the nowfamous island to keep their advanced techniques a secret from the rest of the world, and protect the community from fires started by their furnaces.

s Fairwinders Max, Terri, and Gary PASSIONS | SUMMER 2018 27

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