PASSIONS - Spring / Summer 2021

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A Season of Milestones














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22 Cover photo: Dr. Michael Kenyon, taken by Rae-Anne Guenther


PHOTO courtesy of Milner Gardens & Woodlands


THIS IS A SEASON OF RENEWAL, GROWTH AND POSSIBILITY, and the perfect time to thank those who have been there for all of us through a year of upheaval and uncertainty. When times are tough there are always people who step up to provide leadership, expertise, and care for the larger community. In this issue of Passions magazine, we pay tribute to them all by featuring two: Fairwinds resident, Dr. Michael Kenyon (Clinical Lead Physician at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit); and Arrowsmith Search & Rescue, an organization that answers the call when we need it most. In honour of the profusion of blossoms in our gardens, this issue explores the wonderful world of colour, and takes you on a tour of historic Milner Gardens & Woodlands, where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Philip once strolled. For the second instalment of “The Unlikely Adventurer,” Wendy Maurer, hunts for fossils, while our “Passionate Foodie” cracks on with that simple, yet delicious staple… the egg! Along the way, we’ll also catch you up on spring chores in the garden, and Hélène Delisle, Fairwinds Head of Golf Instruction, has tips on how to play it safe on the golf course! These sunny and warm days inspire us to safely emerge from the cocoon of our homes and step out into our gardens, parks, trails, and beaches. It is time to fully appreciate how fortunate we are to live where we do… so breathe deep, stay safe, and be well.

Julie Jaworski, PASSIONS Editor


Images Arrowsmith Search and Rescue training and rescue scenes. Note: some photos were taken prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.


At Your ServiceVolunteer Professionals by Jen Groundwater photos courtesy of Arrowsmith Search and Rescue

“Nobody goes off on a hike thinking, ‘Today I’m going to get lost,’ ” says Ken Peters, President of Arrowsmith Search and Rescue (ASAR), the search and rescue team that services Fairwinds and beyond. Yet last year, more people than ever before needed help from ASAR. The fact is, it can be easy to get lost in our rugged forest, coastal, and mountain wilderness playground. Luckily, if you run into trouble in the great outdoors between the Lantzville pedestrian overpass, the Port Alberni Hump, and Cook Creek—inland to Mount Arrowsmith and on the water as far as Jedediah or Lasqueti Islands—ASAR’s highly trained team will do its utmost to bring you home safely. Arrowsmith Search and Rescue originated in the early 1970s when members of the Parksville Fire Department began running a search and rescue team out of members’ homes, using an old school bus as a command vehicle. Today, ASAR has more than 50 skilled members ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s. Last year, the group participated in 53 rescue missions (“tasks”) totalling 3,565 person-hours. These included many ground search and rescue operations as well as rescues involving ropes, swift water, and, occasionally, helicopters, horses, or ATVs. 5 PASSIONS | SPRING-SUMMER 2021

Although these statistics are impressive, perhaps the most amazing fact is that these highly qualified people—on call 24/7 and prepared to risk their lives—are never paid for their time. Peters describes the ASAR team as “volunteer professionals.” They’re surely some of the most dedicated volunteers imaginable. Every ASAR member is committed to being as skilled and prepared as possible. To that end, they each must put in at least 50 hours of training time annually; some of the more skilled members may put in several hundred hours every year to keep their credentials and skills current. The organization is always looking for ways to improve efficiency and response times, and new technologies have certainly helped. Back in the school-bus command-centre days, Arrowsmith members relied on largescale physical maps and compasses. Now they use GPS and mapping systems that can operate on a phone; search managers can see the status and location of every team member in real time. “It gives us great situational awareness,” says Peters. In partnership with neighbouring SAR teams, the organization has applied for night-vision capability, which will greatly enhance their ability to conduct searches at night. They’ve also applied for class D fixed line rescue capability, which would allow members to work with Parksville-based Ascent Helicopters to provide very rapid response times for wilderness medical rescues. Medical innovations like PenthroxTM, an advanced painmanagement system relatively new to Canada, are helping ASAR administer better first aid. Recently, eight team members were certified in Penthrox use. It’s more effective and lasts longer than Entonox® (laughing gas), which means badly injured people will experience a less painful rescue from the wilderness. With the increase in annual callouts, a growing fleet of emergency vehicles, and the need for a centralized operations centre with training facilities, Arrowsmith SAR has outgrown its old hall on Alberni Highway. The organization is now 6 PASSIONS | SPRING-SUMMER 2021

building a state-of-the-art operations centre at Qualicum Beach Airport, where it will be able to house its entire inventory of emergency equipment and vehicles. This new, more central location will also shorten the team’s response time. They are currently working on finishing the interior in hopes of being able to move into the space in early fall 2021. Peters is quick to acknowledge the tremendous amount of community support that the group has received for this project, including individual donations, business in-kind services and equipment, and the Town of Qualicum Beach’s generous 40-year land lease at $1 per year. During COVID, the group experienced the unfortunate rise of building costs, but was able to secure a construction loan to complete the build. They’ve mounted a community fundraising campaign so they can retire that debt as soon as possible. While you might expect that local or provincial government covers 100% of funding for search and rescue organizations, the fact is that ASAR’s ability to deliver their essential service depends to a significant degree on donations. In December 2020, the team was called in to rescue a man clinging to a log near frigid Little Qualicum Falls. They hauled him up just before he was swept downriver into the churning white water. The rescue was captured on video which, briefly, went viral. Not all ASAR’s tasks are as dramatic as this one. Sometimes they’re helping a lost child or a person with dementia who has wandered off. A family who ran out of daylight on their hike. An ATV rider with equipment failure. An injured mountain biker who needs to be evacuated on a stretcher. Whatever the situation, it’s always cause for celebration when the volunteer professionals of Arrowsmith Search and Rescue bring a lost or injured person home safely. Follow Arrowsmith Search and Rescue on Facebook or Instagram, and/or visit to learn more. If you would like to contribute to the new Operations Centre or their ongoing operations, please visit

Help ASAR help you Be prepared when you head out on an adventure, even if it’s just a forest dogwalk. These free resources can help: Essential advice about the three Ts of excursion safety: Trip Planning, Training, and Taking the Essentials. Download the AdventureSmart app to create trip plans to share with others before you leave. If you’re lost, ASAR members can use this to connect quickly with your smartphone’s GPS to automatically determine your exact position. Project Lifesaver If a loved one is prone to wandering off because of a condition like dementia, autism, or Down syndrome, get them one of these tracking bracelets. It sends out a radio transmitter beacon every second so SAR can locate them quickly—usually in less than 30 minutes.


A Life Well-Practised by Sandra Jones



Growing up in South Africa as the great-grandson of a physician who qualified in the late 1800s at Edinburgh University alongside fellow student and future author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Kenyon knew from an early age that he wanted to be a doctor. “I graduated from high school two years early at age 16 and as a male in South Africa there were only two choices – go into the military or go to university. Being so young, I went right into university,” recalls Kenyon. His youth presented some professional challenges in a country in which the age of majority was 21. “When I was a junior intern, another doctor would have to sign my scheduled prescriptions because I wasn’t an adult,” laughs Kenyon. He continued to forge ahead, working for over a decade at Baragwanath, the largest hospital in South Africa and third largest in the world, and fulfilling his mandatory South African military service. “My entire training, outside of the military, was in Soweto, in the main black hospital in South Africa,” says Kenyon. “It was like being inside the civil war every day for 10 years.” A longing for a more peaceful existence led Kenyon and his wife Karen to emigrate to Canada, landing in St. Anthony, Newfoundland in 1991. “I was the only Internist in the area which meant travelling to other communities,” says Kenyon. “When my clinics were in Labrador, I’d even commute by dog sled.” After two years in Newfoundland, the couple moved to Saskatchewan, then Terrace, BC before moving to Fairwinds. Kenyon signed on at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in 2001, where he established the ICU Specialist Group and introduced tertiary level services such as continuous renal replacement therapy. The welcome sense of calm was short-lived. Kenyon served three tours with the Canadian military in Afghanistan at Kandahar Airfield as a civilian Intensivist. With sea containers as operating rooms, daily rocket attacks, and temperatures reaching +51 C, he was responsible for the ICU, providing resuscitation and life-support for critically-injured patients and training staff. He also lent his clinical expertise to the team to help plan for the expected arrival of the H1N1 influenza. Whether overseas or here in BC, Kenyon’s love of teaching shines through. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Medicine, past Governor of the BC Chapter of the American College of Physicians, and designated Founder of the Specialty of General Internal Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians of Canada. In addition to training fellows and residents at Nanaimo Hospital ICU, Kenyon works and teaches in Terrace for two out of every five weeks. He was instrumental in setting up the ICU/Internal Medicine Group in Terrace and ultimately trained the four internists who now work there with him. “Part of our job in ICU is teaching the rest of the hospital how to deal with things like cardiac arrest. Internal medicine focuses on people who have a difficult diagnosis or a difficult treatment and I

manage that part of it,” notes Kenyon. However, his ability to diagnose wasn’t overly tested when, in the midst of a remote area of northern BC, Kenyon had a severe heart attack. “I was out fishing in the wilderness in a blizzard by myself when I hooked into a big steelhead for over 70 minutes before it dragged me down the canyon. I got an intense chest pain like I’d been stabbed. I crawled out and got to the car about a kilometre away. There was no cell service so I drove 20 minutes to the hospital and got my own treatment started. The ambulance took me to Prince Rupert during the blizzard before the air ambulance was able to fly me to Vancouver for an angioplasty.” His recovery may be the only downtime this in-demand doctor has known in decades and it didn’t last long. “We knew COVID was coming in January 2020, which was well before people were getting very excited about it,” says Kenyon. Again, his experience with both viruses and crises stood him in good stead. “We took the protocols from SARS and our experience from the H1N1 pandemic, which had a lot of similarities, and we started planning and training for the worst.” Although mid-Vancouver Island has had its share of COVID cases and deaths, it was nowhere near the worst-case scenario. “I’m pretty used to dealing with crisis situations and limited resources. It could have gone a lot worse. I think the public saved us more than we saved them in that it was their good behaviour in following health guidelines that allowed us to manage. If we had the kind of COVID cases they had in the U.S., we would have been overwhelmed.” Now over a year into the pandemic, there are no ‘typical days’. Long days are the norm starting at 8 am and winding down around 9 pm or sometimes into the next day. He continues to divide his time between the ICU and the COVID ICU in Nanaimo as well as in Terrace. “It’s a team effort that keeps the sickest of our patients alive and we have a skilled team.” Kenyon’s career accomplishments are lengthy with colleagues joking that when they were creating the sign for his office door, there were too many letters after his name to fit on the sign. However, it’s the special combination of his expertise and passion that lead those around him to understand that being a doctor is not just what he does, but who he is. In 2020, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence in Rural Medicine. “I was humbled by the award and I love working as a team with my nursing and support staff in the ICU and Internal Medicine. But it’s the patients who keep me going. I get to share their lives and their stories. It’s like working your way through a big mystery with them and when you find something that helps it’s very gratifying. Sometimes you can’t fix them but you can take the journey with them and help them with the narrative of their lives. That’s a privilege.”’s the patients who keep me going. I get to share their lives and their stories. It’s like working your way through a big mystery with them and when you find something that helps it’s very gratifying.


Fairwinds Golf Resort

SEPTEMBER 1—30, 2021

It's back... so save the date! Proceeds in support of the new Intensive Care Unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital

For more information please visit us online at


The language of

colour by Sandy Robson

Rubidium spectrum. Nineteenth-century scientists, Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff discovered this element through spectroscopy, observing that the flame created by the burning of the new element created a unique spectrum.


hile some species do not discern much colour at all, and others like bees focus on ultraviolet and other spectrums, to our human eyes the world is indeed a colourful one. Collins Dictionary defines only 32 shades of blue, from aquamarine to Wedgewood, and over 40 shades of red, but the human eye is capable of distinguishing millions of different colours within the visible light spectrum. And yet colour is an illusion… a trick of the light, if you will. The white light that floods our world from the sun is actually a spectrum of visible light 10 PASSIONS | SPRING-SUMMER 2021

ranging from red through orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. We see a lemon as yellow because the outer peel absorbs all of the light that shines upon it, except for the yellow light, which reflects back to the viewer and that is translated by the intricate structures in our eyes and brain to become what we call yellow. The process is beautifully complex, and after heading down a rabbit hole of research including mind-bending science ideas from Michael Stevens (Google Vsauce on YouTube for some science-y fun.) I decided to leave well

enough alone and focus on why and how colour plays such an important role in the life of us humans. Colour is used to describe almost everything in our world, so “learning our colours” is one of the first tasks we are given as children. Colour gives us the cues we need to zero in on our surroundings. We pick up the red block and place it in a blue box; put on our green and yellow boots, watch for gramma’s purple car to arrive outside. From an early age we learn to love colour, and associate it with food, things, seasons, people, and activities.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published Theory of Colors in 1810.

How many of you recall fondly the beginning of each school year and the sight and smell of a new box of crayons? And the excitement of graduating from the 8-pack to 24, and eventually 96 colours? Ahh, the thrill of so many to choose from! We wear out our red and green crayons at Christmas time, and Hallowe’en takes a toll on the orange and black. And how often are we asked, “what is your favourite colour?” We all seem to have one, although it can change over time. According to Crayola, in a recent poll, blue was voted the most popular colour, followed by: red, violet, green,

carnation pink, black, turquoise blue, blue green, periwinkle and magenta (my girlhood favourite). Colour trends and forecasting for fashion, décor and the design of everything from automobiles and packaging, to toys and logos, is a big business, with professionals from around the world strategizing about how colour preferences are shifting, and developing colour palettes two or more years into the future. According to researcher J.A. King in “Colour trend forecasting and its influence on the fashion and textile

industry” (2011), colour forecasting involves “the systematic evaluation and synchronisation of past seasonal colour influences, socio-cultural and economic factors, fashion trends and the forecasters’ intuition, to create several colour palettes applicable to a variety of market sectors each season.” Researchers look at consumer trends, interests, purchasing patterns and cultural and political shifts to determine where we are moving in our collective preferences and attitudes toward colour. Forecasters conduct tests and 11 PASSIONS | SPRING-SUMMER 2021 11

surveys to gauge our global colour mood, and every year the “colour of the year” is declared by the global authority on colour, Pantone. For 2021, they actually selected two colours: Ultimate Gray (PMS 17-5104) and a bright yellow called Illuminating (PMS 13-0647). According to Pantone “this color combination’s ability to evoke positivity and optimism, at a time when we may need it the most, is a reason for the selection. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted… this is essential to the human spirit.” Colour has been studied for a very long time. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published his treatise Theory of Colours in 1810, one of the first formal explorations on the nature, function and psychology of colour and drew many conclusions. According to his studies, yellow for example, “in its highest purity always carries with it the nature of brightness, and has a serene, gay, softly exciting character.” Through the years and development of colour theory, yellow has kept that sunny meaning. Others such as red are associated with passion and love; green with new beginnings, abundance, and more recently both the term and the colour denote ecologically minded practices; purple is aligned

Natural colours in our surroundings often inform our colour choices. They feel most comfortable to us.


with creativity and wealth, while blue reflects serenity, and also sadness. Black has long been equated with darkness and evil, but also mystery and elegance; while gray is considered moody, formal and conservative. The light we receive from the sun and how it translates into colour is also particular to where we live on the planet. Ask any painter and they will tell you the natural colours and palette of Vancouver Island differs considerably from places that experience intense overhead sunlight. In the northern hemisphere the light from the sun hits us at a considerable angle, making our skies a paler shade of blue and almost silvery in winter months. There is an underlying grey undertone to colours here as well, something we become accustomed to and are comfortable with. If you head south, the direct sunlight and colour intensity increases as you move toward the equator, with the sky taking on a deeper turquoise hue. Natural light and how it effects colour perception impacts everything from clothing to the colours we use to paint the living room… and explains why that shirt you bought in Maui looked perfectly fine when you wore it there, but somehow looked out of place when you brought it back home. Some colours—the sky, water, trees and earth—naturally surround us, and often they inform the choices we

make for ourselves because they feel most comfortable to us. Anyone staging their home for sale knows the value of applying a neutral paint colour—a lovely grey or beige, perhaps— that won’t disturb potential buyers’ visual impression. Overall, we tend to pick quieter, calming tones for our home interiors that draw from our natural environment, but the range of paint colours available is vast and making a final selection can be a rather involved process employing paint swatches and sample boards and observing how the colour changes with the light throughout the day. And as a side note, I have always wanted the job of naming paint colours… how fun to conjure up Skipping Stones (beige), Sweet Innocence (pinkish), and Sunset in Italy (peachy)! When we are choosing colours for our homes, décor, phones, cars, clothing, and even garden plants, we do so hoping to find just the right shade to reflect our personality, style and mood. Colour trends come and go, and those who follow them may all busily paint their feature walls navy blue one year and pale mauve the next, but I believe that in the end, surrounding ourselves with colours that make us feel good, happy and at home is the right choice. We are always drawn to our favourites, because as Coco Chanel once advised… “The best colour in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.”




crashing, eagles soaring, gulls hovering in the air during a brisk wind. Some days the sun was beaming off the crests of huge waves with the frothy tops a brilliant white. Other days, the ocean was flat and long lines of birds skimmed the surface as they zipped past so close to the water it was a wonder they could fly that low. Then there was the magic of weather getting socked in as I watched. The sky was filled with layers of light and shadow that flowed and shifted. In five minutes, it would transition from sun to dense fog – from full colour to black and white – then shades of grey suddenly backlit by glowing light – then rainbows. Getting out of the house and into the cold turned out to be harder than I thought it would be. Yes, I procrastinated - lots of Facebook research by joining new groups specific to Vancouver Island outdoor activities. Then one day I walked outside, and it smelled like spring. It lifted my spirits and my renewal began. My husband tempted me out of the house to go for a bike ride and I was grateful, even though the tips of my fingers almost froze because bike gloves don’t have full length finger coverage – another lesson learned. There is a certain exhilaration and freedom when riding a bicycle because the bike carries most of the weight and if you ride an e-bike, the ondemand power assist really adds to the fun. I ventured out into the garden and found plants sprouting, some blooming and tons of birds all around. Then one day the quail came back. Spring for sure. Next, my husband and adventuring partner, Lotar and I decided to check out some backroads to find potential camping spots to reserve for this year. A bonus was an annual hunt for pussy willows. Every year since I was little, my mom would challenge us to be the first to find them in the spring and it made her so happy when we found them. Lotar and I keep up the tradition. Pussy willows are much harder to find now and when we hunted this year, we found them on an active logging road busy with loaded trucks so there was no stopping to pick any. The excitement was still there though and I’m sure Mom was smiling as we spotted them. One week we decided to hunt for a campsite we had seen from the water many years ago while taking a trip to Bamfield with Lady Rose Marine Services. 13 PASSIONS | SPRING-SUMMER 2021 13

LADY ROSE MARINE SERVICES Due to the pandemic, Lady Rose Marine Services is only running service for residents of Bamfield, Haggards Cove and Kildonan. No day trip or tourist passengers until further notice.

Port Alberni

In normal times, the day trips to Bamfield and Ucluelet with Lady Rose are a true joy and a great west coast experience. You get to travel the length of the Alberni Canal, then emerge into a multitude of islands, see rugged and wild places, witness the diversity of local landscapes and if you are lucky, you may see whales. It is advisable to dress in layers and take an umbrella just in case you want to sit outside for the whole day and the rain sneaks in.

Macktush Creek



We remembered that the campsite was along Alberni Canal and after a few false starts we found the right map. Maps don’t all agree and as we learned to say on a recent cross-Canada road trip, “there are no wrong turns, just alternate routes, so don’t panic and keep smiling.” Our campsite turned out to be as gorgeous as it looked from the canal. We found it in Macktush Creek Campground; it is one of the reservable semi-rugged sites managed by To get there however, we drove 24 km down a gravel road so full of deep potholes, it took over an hour each way and we hit some spots with snow. We thought several times about turning around but I reminded myself that attitude is everything. We were in a pickup truck, we had food, and no set timetable so I bit my tongue and we kept going. My stomach was in knots when we got back to paved highway. I hope for the sake of this year’s campers, the road will be graded. In addition to Macktush Creek, that day we also discovered some beautiful campsites and a day-use area right along Stamp River. Part of a provincial park, these facilities are well maintained and accessible via paved roads. To end the day, we treated ourselves to a stop at J&L Drive-in, in Port Alberni – yes, you still pull in and turn on your headlights for service and the food is great. Closer to home, rainbow season rewarded me many times as I tracked the herring spawn and whale sightings listed on the Nanoose Bay Whale Facebook page. This group is very active and one day after seeing a whale sighting post for near me, I ran upstairs to my spotting scope and was actually lucky enough to see whales passing. I had no idea there are so many sightings in this area. For the first time last year there were a few moments when I truly thought, “I feel old.” It was a shock, and each time it


happened, I administered some selftalk to dispute the notion. Nonetheless “old fossils” have been on my mind so it was appropriate that our first hike of the season was to Ammonite Falls near Nanaimo. I kept seeing posts about this trail online so I knew it would be best to do it after a few days of sun, to avoid mucky conditions. It turned out to be a great choice: interesting terrain, not too busy, easy parking and well marked. We even got to watch a small portable sawmill in operation as they cut fallen trees into timbers for a new sign. The most challenging section was at the falls where the bank is steep and ropes are in place to help hikers manage the slope. The bottom section is closed off due to erosion and it did look like you could get sucked right into the muck. We rappelled down the section where thankfully there were knots along the rope to help with control. And we were glad to have our walking poles for the elevation changes and the many roots and rocks on the path. We hiked 5.75 km round trip and felt great – until we went to get out of the car at home and found we had stiffened up a bit. Thank goodness for hot tubs! Again thinking of fossils, I decided (after many years of thinking about it), to go looking for Vancouver Island fossils in the wild. I have long admired Graham Beard’s collection at Qualicum Beach Museum. So, when a Facebook ad popped up offering guided tours along Trent and Puntledge River near Courtenay, I immediately booked an outing with Comox Valley Fossil Adventures. My guide, Russ, advised me to wear tall rubber boots for walking in the river and to be prepared to get wet and dirty. He would bring the hammers and the band-aids. I was a little nervous about walking through the river but the anticipation of finding something that nobody else had ever seen was pretty compelling.

Once at the river I spent an enjoyable few hours learning to look for concretions, those oval shaped rocks in shale beds where you may or may not find a fossil. Concretions come in all sizes from that of a walnut to several inches across, and larger. I learned how to safely use the rock hammer to crack them open – no band-aids needed after all. Inside, we discovered impressions of shells, crab claws and other creatures with Latin names I’ll never remember. The shale itself was fascinating, so fragile and amazing as it crumbles. It really helped to know where to go, how to stay safe, and what to look for. At one point Russ pointed out a thin, curved piece of rock just barely sticking out of some shale and after carefully excavating, it turned out to be an ammonite! It was thrilling to find all these treasures just walking up the river. I learned about responsible collecting and was given a sneak peak at a large turtle fossil. It had been reported by my guide and will soon to be excavated by Royal BC Museum staff... apparently, water levels will be critical for this exercise. The hike involved only one steep hill, an “interesting” ladder, rushing water, some slimy rocks, and the satisfaction that although the water came very close to going over the top of my boots, it didn’t. I was so caught up in the experience, I forgot to take many photos. On the way home my mind was racing, as I thought about which adventures I want to take on next. I’m no longer feeling old. It’s time for me to shortlist my adventure ideas and with the weather changing, I’m ditching the down and breaking out the Gortex. I’m also debating new hiking boots…

A primary draw to Qualicum Beach Museum centres around its paleontology exhibit, a collection assembled and curated by the internationally known fossil collector and researcher, Graham Beard, in conjunction with Vancouver Island Paleontology Museum Society. Vancouver Island is recognized as one of the best fossil collection areas in the world and Beard’s many years spent exploring these rich fossil beds has resulted in a vast collection of more than 20,000 pieces. The museum’s palaeontology exhibit is one of world-class stature, recognized by palaeontologists from all over the world. "Natural History," Qualicum Beach Museum.

opposite A steep section of the trail to Ammonite Falls with knotted ropes at the ready to help hikers. Map of Alberni Inlet Ammonite fossil. Ammonites were squid-like creatures with a hard, coiled shell. This species lived during the Jurassic period, approximately 150 million years ago and had a shell diameter of up to 1.4 m. this page from top left Visiting quail, a sure sign of spring Red currants for the hummingbirds Rock hammer



THE GOOD EGG by Sandra Jones

Is there any more perfect food than the egg? Scrambled, boiled, poached or fried, the sheer simplicity of cooking an egg is part of its enduring appeal. It also plays well with others as this sunny-side-up superstar is a go-to ingredient that adds volume to batter, thickens a sauce, emulsifies liquids and provides flavour.

DID YOU KNOW? Brown eggs and white eggs are equally nutritious. The eggshell colour depends on the breed of the hen.



From a nutritional standpoint,

two eggs contain 13 grams or the equivalent of one serving of high-quality protein. But this protein powerhouse hasn’t always received rave reviews. Decades ago, the egg was vilified for its cholesterol-laden yolk. Today Canada’s Food Guide recommends eggs as part of a well-balanced diet with a minimal impact on cholesterol levels. In fact, two-thirds of the egg yolk contains healthy fats as well as important fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, and E, and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. The healthy fats in the egg yolk actually help our bodies to absorb the yolk’s nutrients. So what goes into the making of a great egg? Ross Springford of Springford Farms in Nanoose Bay is an egg producer who believes, that in this case, the chicken definitely comes first. “All of our hens are free range which means they are conventionally fed with the opportunity to go outside and roam when weather permits. They eat a balanced ration,

formulated by nutritionists, and each chicken produces just over 300 eggs per year.” When it comes to nutrition, an egg is an egg, regardless of whether it’s free range or more traditionally raised. However, when it comes to taste, Springford says that freshness absolutely makes a difference. “When you buy eggs from our farm, they are only three or four days old. An egg is porous so if it’s been sitting in a commercial cooler for weeks, it may absorb some of the smells from that environment. Like picking lettuce from your own garden versus buying it at the grocery store, there’s just something about fresh that tastes better.” EGG-XACTLY RIGHT! If you’re looking to crack your way into the master class of home cooks, here are a few pointers from the food editors at Bon Appetit on how to scramble the perfect egg.

SCRAMBLED EGGS 1. Don’t be wimpy with your eggs. Whisk well and be vigorous about it—you want to add air and volume for fluffy eggs. And whisk the eggs right before adding to pan; don’t whisk and let mixture sit (it deflates). 2. Don’t add milk, cream, or water to the eggs. People think it will keep the eggs creamy while cooking, but in fact, the eggs and added liquid will separate during the cooking process creating wet, overcooked eggs. 3. Don’t use high heat. It’s all about patience to achieve the soft curd. Whether you want small curd (stirring often) or large curd (stirring less), you need to scramble eggs over mediumlow heat, pulling the pan off the heat if it gets too hot, until they set to desired doneness. 4. Don’t overcook them! Take them off the heat a little while before you think they are done. The carryover heat will keep cooking them for a minute or so. Also: Use a cast-iron or a non-stick skillet. If you don’t, there will be a rotten clean-up job in your future. 5. And last but not least, ditch that fork! Scramble your eggs with a heat-proof spatula, a flat-topped wooden spoon, or for the perfect curd, chopsticks. And if you really want to take your eggs to the next level, take a tip from Chef Bobby Flay who adds crème fraiche once the eggs are off the heat for the silkiest, creamiest scrambled eggs around.

Muffin Tin Frittatas with Salsa Recipe from the Egg Farmers of Canada Quick to prepare, this recipe makes a delicious on-the-go breakfast! 8 eggs ½ c (125 ml) milk ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) each salt and pepper

1 c (250 ml) shredded Monterey Jack cheese 2 green onions, thinly sliced ½ c (125 ml) salsa

Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C). Grease a 12-cup muffin tin; set aside. Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese and green onions; divide evenly among muffin cups. Bake until eggs are set, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Run thin knife around edge of each cup and remove frittatas. Let cool for 5 minutes or serve at room temperature. To serve, top with salsa.


Cocktails for Spring and Summer by Kim Krieger

Summer is here on the Island and we don’t know of a better way to celebrate all our beautiful seasonal plants and flowers than by toasting to them. This issue, we’re bringing you some old favourites as well as new ideas to inspire budding mixologists to leaf their cares behind and branch out. With recipes for a single cocktail, an infused spirit, a multi-serving pitcher, and even a virgin recipe, there’s a drink here for every warm-weather occasion. Cheers to flower power!

Aviation Cocktail

This beautifully balanced, fruity-meets-floral cocktail hearkens back to pre-prohibition times and it’s a wonderful way to showcase the delicate floral flavour of crème de violette. If you happen to have a patch of violets, float a freshly picked bloom on top as a garnish. If not, use a pansy instead, along with a little suspension of disbelief!

Spruce Tip Vodka

Spruce tips, the tender new growth found every spring at the end of spruce branches, have become very trendy flavour additions on countless upscale local menus. Tigh Na Mara’s Grotto Spa kitchen paired a spruce tip jelly with cedar plank salmon for an uplifting and satisfying tapas feature, and Blue Spruce Ice Cream in Courtenay offers spruce tip ice cream as one of their signature scoops. Make a spruce tip-infused spirit of your own, and use it in your favourite martini recipe, by following these simple instructions. The slow-infusion method described here results in a nuanced bright citrus flavour and a beautiful clear liquor.

Elderflower Sangria

One of the most universally adored floral-inspired flavours we know of is elderflower. Flirty, fun, and fizzy, this sangria is the perfect way to celebrate those first warm days outside. For a virgin alternative, pour half club soda and half elderflower sparkling water (available in tall green bottles at most grocery stores) over ice in a Collins glass. Garnish with cubed fruit and fresh mint leaves. Ahhh, delish!


INGREDIENTS/SUPPLIES Makes one cocktail 2 oz gin (Aviation brand gin is, unsurprisingly, a great choice here. Avoid juniper-heavy gins that will overwhelm the floral notes in this cocktail) ½ oz maraschino cherry liqueur ¾ oz lemon juice ½ oz crème de violette One fresh violet or pansy blossom, for garnish


1. Add all ingredients, except violet or pansy garnish, into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. 2. Shake until contents are well chilled. 3. Strain into a cocktail glass and carefully float a delicate blossom on the surface as a garnish. 18 PASSIONS | SPRING-SUMMER 2021

200-250 grams of freshly picked spruce tips 1 750 ml bottle vodka (premium vodka isn’t necessary, but do also avoid buying a bargain brand) 1 one-liter glass jar


1. Wash spruce tips with fresh, clean water. Spread gentle in single layer on a towel to dry. 2. Place whole spruce tips in clean glass jar, then pour entire contents of vodka bottle over them. Seal. 3. For the first week, give the jar a gentle shake once a day. 4. After the first week, place jar in a cool dark place. 5. Three weeks after your jar has been stored in cool darkness, the vodka will be flavoured and ready for use in your favourite cocktails!

Makes a pitcher yielding up to 10 servings 1-750 ml bottle of rosé wine 1 cup elderflower liqueur (St. Germain, for example) 1 ½ cups cubed watermelon 1 ½ cups cubed cantaloupe 10 fresh mint leaves, plus at least 10 additional for garnish 1 cup club soda 1 large piece of cheese cloth (doubled) for mint bundle, plus string for tying


1. In the centre of the cheese cloth, place 10 mint leaves and tie into a very loose bundle. Place bundle in a large pitcher and muddle to release the mint’s oils. 2. Pour both alcohols over the mint bundle. Place fruit in pitcher and stir gently, then chill for at least 8 hours. 3. Remove mint bundle from pitcher and add club soda. Pour into ice-filled Collins glasses and garnish with fresh mint leaves.


Season of

MILESTONES by Kait Burgan Photos courtesy of Milner Gardens & Woodlands


As June turns spring into summer, gardens all over Vancouver Island reveal the colourful miracle of their natural beauty and strength to knowledgeable horticulturists and novice admirers alike. For Milner Gardens & Woodland, peak season is also a time of milestones. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Milner estate being open to the public and the 25th anniversary of being gifted to Vancouver Island University (Malaspina University-College) by Veronica Milner. Thirty-five years ago, at about this time, Prince Charles and Lady Diana visited, and it’s been 90 years since the main house was completed. While there are many reasons to celebrate, the past year has been a challenge because of COVID-19. No doubt, history will mark these times as well, as a milestone of note—among all the others. Milner Gardens & Woodland is a 70-acre estate along the eastern shore of Vancouver Island in Qualicum Beach. An extensive network of trails meanders through old-growth Douglas firs and cedar trees, leading back in time to a waterfront house on a sprawling lawn that overlooks the Salish Sea. Veronica Milner was the wife of Horatio “Ray” Milner, a successful Albertan lawyer, philanthropist, and businessman who purchased the property in 1937. The estate was an escape from the busy-ness of life in Alberta that Veronica named Long Distance. “We called this house this name because it was so far away from my old home, and because the telephone was always ringing for him!”


Veronica was British and had royal family ties. She was also an accomplished horticulturist, active on many boards and societies, including the International Dendrology Society that aims “to promote the study of woody plants and shrubs, and to conserve and protect those that are rare and endangered.” Many of the trees and shrubs at Milner Gardens were brought back by Veronica from trips abroad. For more of the Milner story visit the website: For the first time since opening to the public in 2001, the gardens were closed for much of last year. Programs were suspended and re-evaluated, and the retirement of the head gardener led unexpectedly, to the head chefs of the on-site Camellia Tea Room, stepping in to fill the role. “They were so busy during the day,” says Geoff Ball, Executive Director at Milner Gardens & Woodland, of the pruner toting chefs, “there were large sections of the gardens they had never seen. They’ve been here for years but they began to get to know the gardens in a completely different way. They’re more connected and inspired now by the beauty they work around.” Geoff is the self-described “horticulture student that never left.” Back in 1995, he was working towards a career in forest seedling production

We called this house this name [Long Distance] because it was so far away from my old home, and because the telephone was always ringing for him.

Veronica Milner

and had some experience as a researcher when VIU needed someone for two months to help with its horticultural program and some research. He jumped at the opportunity. When the contract ended, he was offered another. After that, another. That was twenty-five years ago. Today, Geoff and his wife live on-site in the house that was built by the Milners 90 years ago. “I was in charge of the grounds in the last year that Veronica lived on-site,” says Geoff. “We know that she loved the wild garden. It is not meant to be highly manicured. The garden should feel like enhanced nature; things should spill and flow. We want to maintain the health, integrity, and usability of the garden, but we’re not locked into preserving it like a heritage building or heritage garden. We try to always keep to the style and approach that we feel she had.” There are more than 200 volunteers who dedicate their time and talents to Milner Gardens. They do everything from collecting and packaging seeds, operating the tearoom and

welcome centre, to designing and constructing buildings such as the pool house that is now the gift shop. Before COVID-19 hit, volunteers started building a brand new fence with an elaborate rock entranceway to replace the existing perimeter deer fence. Milner Gardens has strong ties to all five of the rhododendron societies on Vancouver Island and in 2014, volunteers began foundation and planning work on a new rhododendron garden. The area has been designed to host thirty to forty guests with circular walkways and a centre stage. This new garden has species from all around the world and adds to the existing collection of hybrids. “These are the ones that would be found naturally in the wild; the grandparents of the hybrids,” Geoff says, adding that interpretive signs will be installed. “I think at the end of the day, Veronica Milner would be happy,” Geoff says. “I think there are times that I made her roll, and she’ll have been wanting to scold us, but I do think that overall, she would be very, very happy with what’s happened here. I think she’d be very proud.” Milner Gardens & Woodland is now open—with COVID-19 protocols in place—Thursday through Sunday (April 29 September 5), from 11 am to 4:30 pm.



Warm weather brings the best to the mid-island! HERE ON THE ISLAND, IT’S EASY TO GET CARRIED AWAY WITH BRAGGING ABOUT LIFE IN CANADA’S BANANA BELT. We are the earliest in the country when it comes to waking up our gardens and starting seeds, the first to put away snow shovels and bags of salt (if we even get those things out at all), and the quickest out the door when it comes to adventuring. Feeling a little smug about our long growing season and mild climate comes with the territory of living here. But what, specifically, makes this time of year fabulous? We’re glad you asked. Here are our top-ten mid-island warm weather musts.


Islanders are known for their green thumbs, and by now, gardeners have been planting up a storm! Seedy Saturday events have come and gone with their heritage seeds and with the participation of like-minded gardeners. Many went online this year, but remember to check your local event listings to find an in-person one near you in Spring 2022.


If you’re anything like us, you’re a year-round ice cream fan. But nothing compares to the first al fresco cone on a sunny late-spring or early summer day, and there are so many great spots to enjoy it! Nanaimo’s Burnt Honey or Cold Front, Coombs Ice Cream Parlour, and Blue Spruce in Courtenay are just a few great choices.


Getting active outside regularly obviously has a host of health benefits, and there is something extra special about immersing oneself in the great outdoors when the warm weather arrives. The more often you do it, the more you notice the small changes that can happen so quickly: buds swelling and bursting into flower, shoots pushing their way through soil, and leaves unfurling. Magic!



For seafarers, nothing compares to getting out on the water on a brisk, sunny day. Whether you’re setting the first prawn traps of the season (be sure to check fishery regulations) or unfurling your main sail for a sun-warmed trip around local islets, the smell of the ocean is a welcome change from winter cabin fever.


We are lucky to have great bird watching opportunities year-round, but with the new season comes the return of winged favourites. For example, swallows are back and busily building their young families. The wonderful cacophony of a variety of bird calls is one of our favourite things about this seasonal shift.


In early spring, Fairwinds golfers were shown on CTV news wearing shorts, a fashion choice available to us lucky Islanders earlier than anywhere else in the country. One of the most exciting things about this time of year is being able to integrate shorter sleeves and hem lines into our daily wardrobe again... but don’t forget that sunscreen!

7 LONGER DAYS No warm-weather list of favourites is complete without mention of the shift to Daylight Savings in early spring. Sure, the adjustment may have been a little tough for some, but the extra time at the end of the day to work on projects in the garden, enjoy time in the fresh air with loved ones, or get some outdoor recreation in is worth its weight in gold. 8 ROOM TO SPREAD OUT

With such a long spring and summer, it makes sense for most Island homes to have outdoor space, in the form of a balcony, patio, or deck. And we take advantage of it! One of our favourite activities is getting that extra outdoor room ready for living. Shopping for pillows and patio décor, pressurewashing the deck and furniture, and laying out the all-season rug allows us to bring the comfort of indoors out.


The return of warm weather also means a return for weekly farmers’ markets, one of our favourite Island pastimes. We could spend an entire day enjoying local artisan food and crafts, wandering from stall to stall, and taking in the ambiance. So get out your cloth shopping bags and your floppy hats because, barring new public health prohibitions, we should be continuing to enjoy these community events into the summer and fall.


With overnight temperatures in the double digits, many Islanders start their yearly camping trips in the spring. In fact, springtime and early summer camping can be some of the best, without typical mid-summer hassles like fire bans and crowds. Something about the smell of the year’s first campfire smoke, the feeling of the fresh air on your skin, and the taste of a firecooked meal is simultaneously thrilling and hugely comforting. Happy camping! 23 PASSIONS | SPRING-SUMMER 2021

Play More. Play Preferred. Join the Fairwinds Players Club program for only $249 and experience a host of perks and benefits including: · Preferred green fee rates throughout the year · Two Complimentary golf round with power cart · Reduced cart and driving range pricing · 15 day advanced online booking privileges


Plus Tax Annual Fee

Contact the golf shop today for details or visit for information.


Play it Safe! The spring sunshine is here, summer is on its way and things are back in full swing at Fairwinds Golf Club, but is your game—and maybe your back—a little rusty? Hélène Delisle, our Head of Golf Instruction, has some words of wisdom to help prevent injuries that would keep you from enjoying your game.

the CHIP TIP...

Golf is a low-impact sport, but things can go wrong. It is our backs, shoulders and elbows that are most likely to sustain an injury due to the game, but happily most can be prevented. Poor flexibility is a leading cause of golf injury, so along with working on your putting, and spending time at the driving range, simple practices like developing a pre- and post-game stretching routine are must-do’s. According to “more than 80% of golfers spend less than 10 minutes warming up before a round. And those who did warm up had less than half the incidence of injuries of those who did not warm up before playing.”

Hélène Delisle Head of Instruction, Fairwinds Golf Club


"...more than 80% of golfers spend less than 10 minutes warming up before a round...”

SOME WAYS TO LOWER YOUR RISK OF INJURIES FROM GOLF Warm up prior to your game. If you are not

Lift and carry clubs carefully. Use your

comfortable doing so at the course, start your routine before you leave home.

legs, not your back, to heave that golf bag out of your vehicle.

Incorporate strength training into your

Be aware of the lay of the land to avoid

personal fitness program.

Stretch, stretch, stretch! Build up your endurance. Daily aerobic

activity will improve your health and your game. And luckily, we have some great hikes and biking in the Fairwinds area, along with a well-equipped fitness centre.

hitting objects—other than the ball—with your club as you swing.

Choose proper footwear. Wear golf

shoes with short cleats that are comfortable and provide support.

Beware of sun exposure. The rules are

the same as those for the beach… wear a hat, slap on sunscreen, and stay hydrated!

If you do not already have a golf fitness routine, there are many resources available to draw from including online videos and courses. You may also want to consider the services of a certified fitness trainer specializing in golf, who will assist in developing the fitness program, and pre- and post-game routine best suited to you. Most importantly, please remember that if you do injure yourself, make sure you give the site of the injury the care and attention it deserves! And see a healthcare professional if it is acute, or doesn’t improve with appropriate care, rest and time.

Healthy golfing everyone!

requires a few basic adjustments to your body and stance. With the help of a golf instructor and a little practice, you can perfect your chipping. Put your hands lower on the grip and your feet closer to the ball. Your ball position is best two inches behind the middle of your stance. Stand close enough to the ball so that when you raise the heel of your club, the toe is down. Use an accelerating swing by making a follow-through about 20% longer than your back swing, using a rhythmic, smooth and steady swing. Keep your wrists firm. Put more weight on your front foot (left for right handed golfers) and keep your hands in front of the club face. At the end of your swing you should be able to hold a glass of wine on your clubface. 25 PASSIONS | SPRING-SUMMER 2021


Bring It On! by Sandy Robson

Let’s just take a moment of gratitude for the returning of the sun and the lengthening of days! After over a year of dealing with the pandemic and what seems like a very long winter, it’s go-time for gardeners.

Soil in good condition, with good drainage, large population of microorganisms, sufficient (but not excessive) levels of essential nutrients, and low weed pressure supports root penetration, water availability and aeration.



t’s time to look after the needs of your soil, remove debris, and do a general tidy for the upcoming months of planting and growing. It’s never too late to look after the needs of your soil, remove debris, and do general tidying for the upcoming months of planting and growing. I like to top up my existing veggie beds and garden borders with a nice thick layer of mulchy goodness. You can bring in a load of sea soil as I do, but if you have your own garden compost ready to go, use that. On my empty veggie beds, I lightly dig in a six-inch layer. Around shrubs and perennials I add a thick covering in a circle around each plant making sure to avoid the trunks, stems and any emerging new growth. Compost will add essential organic matter and nutrients to your soil and encourage growth. It’s also time to consider the bigger picture in your garden… is this the year you widen the borders, add a raised vegetable bed, create a flagstone path in a high traffic area, or build a greenhouse? Perhaps you just want to perk up existing beds by dividing and moving some perennials, or by removing a shrub that is struggling. Before you start digging up plants, check on their particular needs—hey Google—to determine the best time for the procedure, but as a rule of thumb summer flowering perennials like astilbe and daisies can be divided up and replanted before they get into their big growth and flowering push; but leave off dividing spring flowering plants, such as irises, until after they have bloomed and had time to put some energy into their root system once the flowers die back in late summer. And right on cue I hear a mower start up nearby… I guess I will be playing catch up with my neighbour! It is definitely time to up your lawn care regimen. Start by raking the area to remove leaves, and other accumulated debris. Next up is aerating, which involves removing plugs of soil and grass to open up the underlying structure that can become compacted over time as the root system grows denser and foot traffic packs down the soil. We tend to aerate every few years and rent a machine for an afternoon to do so, but if DIY is not your thing there are many professional lawn care businesses in our area to help out. All plants need food, so applying a good quality lawn fertilizer now (and again in late summer-early fall) is a worthwhile investment. Now is also the time to sprinkle a little extra soil and to overseed areas, particularly where the grass has thinned. Remember to water grass seedlings well. A lush and green lawn takes some work, but your bare feet will thank you come summer. So much to do in the spring garden, but enjoy every moment… every daffodil, tulip, green leaf and emerging bud. Happy gardening! 27 PASSIONS | SPRING-SUMMER 2021

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