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PORT RENFREW OUTPOST OF COOL
Getting cozy at Wild Renfrew’s Seaside Cottages
HIGH-SPEED THRILLS AT THE ISLAND’S NEW MOTORSPORT CIRCUIT LI FESTYLE
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R E A L E S TAT E
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Telegraph Cove. dIScoveR the beSt kept SecRet on noRtheRn vancouveR ISland.
Nature Calls See a whale. In the wIld.
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Close totoVictoria, nearnear the marina, and 5 minutes from Close Victoria, the marina, and 5 minutes from picturesque Sidney, British Columbia. picturesque Sidney, British Columbia. You can have the life you want here at Regatta Park, in these spacious new condominiums built within a parkland setting, marina adjacent, and just 5 minutes from Sidney and 30 minutes from Victoria BC. Pre-sales start Fall 2016. Learn more and live large, today.
THIS NOT OFFERING FORANY SALE. ANY SUCH OFFERINGS ONLY MADE WITH A DISCLOSURE THIS ISISNOT ANAN OFFERING FOR SALE. SUCH OFFERINGS MAY ONLY BEMAY MADE WITHBE A DISCLOSURE STATEMENT, E & 0.E. STATEMENT, E & 0.E.
CONTENTS • FALL/WINTER 2016
A dramatic mountaintop home that draws its design inspiration from the elements of nature — and a long-cherished photograph. BY CAROLYN HEIMAN
Island Culture Tips and trends from around the Island, including what to see, where to go, and what to shop for, as well as activities to get you out and about. BY CAROLYN CAMILLERI
36 Speed Island
Canada’s first motorsport country club offers the thrill of high-performance driving in the heart of the Cowichan Valley. BY ATHENA McKENZIE
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Port Renfrew: Outpost of Cool Rumours that this will be the next Tofino have been drawing attention to this wild and wonderous West Coast community. BY KERRY SLAVENS
You make a lot of friends when you’re in boarding because you live with hem. I just love the landscape and nature here, with the ocean and the mountains. It never gets boring around here. It’s kind of been a dream ince I was a child. SMUS has given me the experience of university. You can hare your culture with others. My favourite thing about boarding at SMUS s the community. I think, actually, if I wasn’t in boarding I would always be procrastinating. It’s kind of a second home. It’s a special experience, really iving with someone you’ve never known before, and getting used to each other. There’s someone there for you all the time. I love house games. I eaches you a lot about who you are. It’s nice that you can just walk down o the common room and you can hang out with everyone. I really, really ike all my houseparents. Last year I went on an eight-day sea kayaking rip with a group of my close friends to Telegraph Cove, that was really fun To be treated like I can handle things my own has been a nice change. I like giving back to my boarding house because it’s given me a lot, and I like being nvolved in the school. Having so many choices, there’s always something o eat. After coming to boarding, I’ve become more self-disciplined and AMAZING HIGH discovered how to manage my time. I love competing with other people
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being close to Mount Doug or being close to downtown or being able to walk BOARDING SCHOLARSHIP o Hillside Mall. I wanted to do it for myself, and have a good experience
gain a sense of independence. When I arrived here people were helping me and now I’m the person who helps other people. Joining SMUS’s boarding ommunity has helped me step out of my comfort zone, develop my
Friday and Saturday nights are perfect for just chilling out with your friends
CONTENTS • FALL/WINTER 2016
Fat Cat Cruising
The debate rages about which is better: a catamaran or a monohull. Here are some considerations to help you decide which platform is best for you.
ON THE M ENU All Hail Humboldt Squid BY CINDA CHAVICH
BY ALEX VAN TOL
CRE ATIVE WORKS Island Inspired BY CAROLYN CAMILLERI
HOM E DESIGN A New Elegance BY ATHENA McKENZIE
RE AL ESTATE Home, Beautiful Home BY SHANNON MONEO
SPECIAL PL ACES Nanaimo: From Coal Barons to Cruise Ships BY MIKE WICKS
BOATING Fat Cat Cruising BY ALEX VAN TOL
IN EVERY ISSUE
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10 YOUR VIEW 12 ISLAND CULTURE 58 LOCAL FAVOURITE
EDITOR’S NOTE BY CAROLYN CAMILLERI
PUBLISHERS Lise Gyorkos, Georgina Camilleri EDITORIAL
EDITOR Carolyn Camilleri
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Jeffrey Bosdet
PRODUCTION MANAGER Jennifer Kühtz EDITORIAL DESIGNER Janice Hildybrant
CONTRIBUTING DESIGNER Jo-Ann Loro
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kerry Slavens
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Athena McKenzie
I RECENTLY READ an advance copy of The Killer Whale Who Changed the World by Mark Leiren-Young. You may recognize him as a Vancouver journalist and the awardwinning author of Never Shoot a Stampede Queen, which won the Stephen Leacock Medal for humour in 2009. But as funny as Leiren-Young can be, he is very serious about killer whales, and I learned much from his book that completely astounded me. It made me think about my own experiences with the Island’s beloved killer whales, aka orcas. The first time I saw orcas in their natural habitat was 1996. It was a tour on a Zodiac, one of those fast-moving inflatable vessels that leave from Victoria’s Inner Harbour. I don’t remember how far we travelled, but we slowed right down as we got closer to a small gathering of boats. It wasn’t long before an orca surfaced in the distance — and then another and another and another. Their glossy, black-and-white beauty was such a stunning contrast to the blue water and sky. Much to everyone’s delight, two young orcas started leaping and playing in the water. It was beyond thrilling. Before that day, I had seen film footage of orcas and dozens of photos, and I had even been to SeaWorld in the 70s and saw Shamu (who, as it turns out, was likely from the South Island’s very own J Pod). But none of that compared to seeing them in the wild. The orcas were clearly aware of our presence. It was as if they knew what we wanted to see and had made a conscious decision to give us a show. We were very lucky that day and saw at least 10 whales from J Pod. Tour companies do their best to give people a good look at the orcas, and success rates are high but obviously hard to guarantee. After all, it is ultimately up to the orcas — and they are very intelligent mammals. Just how intelligent is one of the many fascinating things discussed in Leiren-Young’s book. But the book’s biggest surprise for me was a story I had never heard. Vancouver Island’s collective love for orcas can be traced back to one young killer whale. Moby Doll was captured in 1964 off Saturna Island and died after just two months in captivity. In that short time, he changed everything anyone ever thought about killer whales. It seems unbelievable now, but until Moby Doll, killer whales were universally feared as bloodthirsty monsters. Killing them was not only acceptable but also encouraged. But people fell in love with Moby Doll, and his legacy sparked a sea change in thinking that lives on today in our love for the orcas, our worries about their habitat, and our absolute delight in seeing them free and in the wild. Carolyn Camilleri email@example.com Connect with Salt magazine on Facebook Facebook.com/SaltMag
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Cinda Chavich, Carolyn Heiman Athena McKenzie, Shannon Moneo, Kerry Slavens, Alex Van Tol, Mike Wicks
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Renfrew’s Seaside Cottages COVER Wild in Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island Photo by Joshua Lawrence
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That vibe When patios buzz with laughter, conversation, and the clink of glasses. Lights sparkle and those wonderful outdoor heaters make sitting outside comfortable well past summer. It's so easy to gather friends for evenings like this. We all want to be here.
Pictured: The Tapa Bar in Victoriaâ€™s Trounce Alley
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FOOD DRINK MUSIC ART OUTDOORS HISTORY ACTIVITIES
It’s amazing how traditions can blend to become something new and exciting. This Nuu-chah-nulth ancestor mask is embellished with Viking carving. The artist is Christen Dokk Smith, a Norwegian carver who came to Tofino in 2012 to study with First Nations artists. And he stayed. christendokksmith.com
TRUE ISLAND DESIGN
ISL AND CULTURE
FOR THE LOVE OF WOOD Live Edge Design salvages trees brought down by big storms and left behind by forestry and construction and turns them into stunning furniture that lives on for generations. With all of its inner beauty on display, this maple coffee table measures 61" x 21" x 16.5" and has a glass inlay and brushed nickel legs. liveedgedesign.com
The Island’s fame as a haven for fashion design is growing. Versatile, ontrend jackets, hoodies, and coats from Dangerfield are designed to last, physically and aesthetically. Womenswear by Leisure, like this gorgeous dress by designer Jessica Kerr, brings a contemporary twist to elegant essentials. dangerfield.ca leisure-thebrand.com
JEFFREY BOSDET/SALT MAGAZINE
Local jazz scene turns 20 Although, technically, Hermann’s Jazz Club goes back some 35 years, the present View Street Victoria location is celebrating two decades. Founded by Hermann Nieweler, who passed away in June 2015, this place has been the hub of the city’s jazz scene since it opened. Some of the biggest names in jazz and blues have played here, including local favourites like David Vest, the Tom Vickery Trio, and Dixieland Express. hermannsjazz.com Maple Blues Award winner David Vest
JEFFREY BOSDET/SALT MAGAZINE
E V E RYONE IS TAL KING A BO U T T HE O AK B AY BE AC H HOT E L !
“ “ “
ALL AROUND 1ST CLASS EXPERIENCE
~ TripAdvisor Review
~ TripAdvisor Review
ALL YOU CAN WISH FOR
JEFFREY BOSDET/SALT MAGAZINE
~ TripAdvisor Review
Coffee with a kick What happens when you age whole-bean, single-origin coffee in casks that were previously used to age fine wines and spirits? You get coffee on a whole new level. The casks impart a “history of flavour” to the beans, for example bourbon barrel-aged Sumatra and white wine barrel-aged Guatemala. The coffee beans can be ground and used like any other beans. caskcoffeecompany.com
Experience luxury and relax on a beautiful island in the Pacific Ocean with the ones you love. Come see why everyone is talking about Victoria’s Oak Bay Beach Hotel, a boutique seaside resort and spa carefully designed for one thing in mind... your personal wellness. This Fall and Winter, quote the promo code “WELLNESS” to access special rates.
Hotel In Canada
NO STORE LIKE IT Anything you need for Island life, you can probably find at Capital Iron. Gumboots, crab traps and pots, rain capes, outdoor kitchens, patio sets, mason jars, garden tools, camping gear, boating equipment, umbrellas. It’s like taking a trip back in time to the days of general stores, but one that is perfectly attuned to Island life. And after more than 80 years at this location, they have a pretty good handle on what we need.
OAKBAYBEACHHOTEL.COM FACEBOOK.COM/OAKBAYBEACHHOTEL TWITTER.COM/OAKBAYBEACH 1.800.668.7758 | 1175 BEACH DRIVE - VICTORIA, BC
capitaliron.net SALT 15
ISL AND CULTURE
JEFFREY BOSDET/SALT MAGAZINE
Who needs the drive-thru when there are artisan bakeries all over the Island offering tasty sandwiches, snacks, and treats? Try the pizza at Wild Culture Bakery in Qualicum Beach or the sandwiches at Foi Epi in Victoria or match some Hilary’s Cheese with True Grain Bread in the Cowichan Valley. / wildculturebakery.com, folepi.ca, truegrain.ca
Fol Epi's beef brisket and sauerkraut sandwich
Ruth + Dean = Divine
OSD EY B
E T / SA LT M A G A Z
Susannah Ruth Bryan of Ruth & Dean Baked Goods makes incredibly beautiful cakes and luscious pies. From their little luncheonette in Victoria, they offer sweet treats that are almost too pretty to eat — but too tempting not to! Because, really, who can say no to apple pie with caramel or lavender cake with vanilla buttercream? ruthanddean.com
Ruth & Dean’s 12-layer Neapolitan cake, with vanilla and chocolate layers, strawberry compote, and strawberry buttercream.
JEFFREY BOSDET/SALT MAGAZINE
Distilleries have been popping up all over the Island in recent years and are making some fine gin, vodka, and whisky. Ampersand Distilling Company in the Cowichan, Arbutus Distilling in Nanaimo, Wayward Distillation House in the Comox Valley, and Shelter Point Distillery in Campbell River are just a few on a growing list. The Victoria Caledonian Brewery and Distillery is the newest entry and is making whisky from Canadian ingredients, as well as “guest whiskies” and craft beer. / victoriacaledonian.com
NO PROHIBITION HERE
The cheese underground David Asher calls himself a “guerilla cheesemaker” because he teaches people how to make cheese from raw, unpasteurised milk. Yes, illegal milk. In his classes and from his new book, The Art of Natural Cheesemaking, you, too, can learn to make cheese using his step-by-step methods, as well as make your own culture and blue cheese mold and even how to harvest rennet. / theblacksheepschool.com
1 De Vine Vineyards is a
Saanich Peninsula property owned by John and Kathy Windsor. They started clearing fields for grape-growing in 2007, intending to supply other wineries. Two years later, they were making their own vintages and now produce about 2,000 cases of organic wine each year. Recently, they started making gin, vodka, brandy,
and rum. The beautiful tasting room is open daily.
Blue Grouse Estate Winery
devinevineyards.ca 2 Muse Winery and
Bistro on the Saanich Peninsula is the dream child of Jane and Peter Ellman, who bought the property in 2008 and turned it into one of the South Island’s favourite escapes. Tour the winery, sample the wine, browse the gift shop, and, in the summer, enjoy lunch on the terrace. musewinery.ca 3 Unsworth Vineyards in the Cowichan Valley is where you can sample and buy the Turyk family’s award-winning artisanal wines. It’s also the location of a raved-about restaurant. In the restored 1900s farmhouse overlooking the vineyards, enjoy a beautiful selection of locally focused dishes that perfectly match their wines. Reserve ahead. unsworthvineyards.com
4 Blue Grouse Estate Winery in the Cowichan Valley is one of the Island’s oldest wineries. The property was used as a test site for grape growing back in the 70s. The Kiltz family discovered the vines and, in the 90s, started making wine. In 2012, the Brunner family fell in love with the property and bought it.
bluegrouse.ca 5 Blue Moon Winery and
Ciderworx in the Comox Valley makes award-winning fruit wines, ciders, and ports from organic fruit. Proprietors George Ehrler and Marla Limousin also offer homemade jams and fresh flowers. Cooking classes, tasting parties, and dining events have made this a favourite spot for celebrations. bluemoonwinery.ca
MUST-VISIT ISLAND WINERIES
FRESH, ORGANIC, EXQUISITE
THE BAG! SILK ROAD TEAS are now available in a revolutionary teabag that is a first for North America. Designed to seal in freshness, offer a higher release of antioxidants and deliver superior flavour. Enjoy the convenience of a teabag without compromise. The only things that should be in your tea are fresh, organic and all natural ingredients. NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURS, COLOURS, SWEETENERS, DAIRY OR SOY. GLUTEN-FREE.
fresh, organic tea = more antioxidants + better taste
Happy fish and lush veggies It’s called aquaponics: a fusion of soil-less agriculture and sustainable aquaculture, and it’s practised by people who think fish deserve healthy environments — people like Daniel Adelman and Courtney Edwards, who grow herbs and vegetables and raise steelhead trout all year round at their Cowichan farm. / bluerootsfarm.com
VICTORIA CHINATOWN & VICTORIA PUBLIC MARKET NOW OPEN IN VANCOUVER 2066 WEST 4TH AVE IN KITSILANO JOB #SR-18878 CLIENT: SILK ROAD TEA PUBLICATION: SALT MAGAZINE
ON THE GO ISL AND CULTURE Built to hold your laptop and a cup of coffee!
I want to ride my bicycle If you’re thinking of joining the ranks of the Island’s cycling community, the first thing you need is a good bike and a reliable shop for maintenance. PitStop Bikes on Cook Street is fast becoming a Victoria favourite (they carry the Hudson 3-speed by Lochside Cycles pictured here). Oak Bay Bikes is another top spot that’s been around since 1934. Cycle Therapy in Duncan and Arrowsmith Bikes in Nanaimo are two more. / pitstopbikesvictoria.com, oakbaybikes.com, cycletherapy.ca, arrowsmithbikes.com
JEFFREY BOSDET/SALT MAGAZINE
FOR THE BIRDS
GO CLIMB A ... WALL CragX Climbing Centre has brought urban cliff culture to downtown Victoria. The new centre means people can hone their climbing skills indoors in any season. You can even stop in just to give it a try without signing up to a commitment of lessons. If you like it, the 2.5-hour beginner lesson will get you officially started, and the 7.5-hour course will give you the complete introduction. / cragx.ca
DID YOU KNOW?
ON THE RUN Goldstream Park is considered one of the best and easiest places on the Island to see salmon swimming upstream to spawn and then die. Eagles, gulls, and even bears take care of the cleanup. TIP: Mid-October to early December is peak time for the salmon run, which lasts for about nine weeks. 18 SALT
Bird watchers come to the Island from all over the world to get a glimpse of our fine feathered friends. More than 220 bird species are spotted here, especially in coastal areas and at lakes, marshes, and rivers. While sightings increase considerably during spring and fall migrations, it really is a year-round activity. Top bird-watching areas include Swan Lake, Esquimalt Lagoon, and Goldstream Park in the Victoria area, Somenos Marsh Wildlife Refuge near Duncan, Nanaimo River Estuary, and the Courtenay River Estuary. Pacific Northwest Raptors in Duncan is a must see for bird lovers Vancouver Island bird and aims to raise awareness and sightings can include (from promote conservation for birds top) herons, flycatchers, and barred owls, oh my! of prey. / pnwraptors.com
Winter on the Wild West Coast Storm watching is a huge draw to the West Coast of the Island. From November through February, storm watchers descend upon Tofino and Ucluelet hoping to see Mother Nature at her most furious. Massive waves, gale-force winds, and deafening surf blast away the winter blahs, while luxurious hotels and spas and fine dining provide therapeutic balance.
TOP ISLAND HIKES
1 Cape Scott Provincial Park, North Coast Trail > An epic backpacking hike for experienced hikers, this six-to-eight day hike allows you to see Vancouver Island at its wildest and most pristine. Plan carefully for self-sufficiency and leave your dog at home; there are wolves and bears.
Cape Scott Provincial Park
ARTISAN FAIR November 25-27 Friday 10-9 Sat 10-6, Sun 10-4:30
Crystal Garden 713 Douglas Street
Fine Crafts • Artisan Food • Designer Fashion 2 Strathcona Provincial Park, Courtenay/Campbell River
Within this 250,000-hectare park, Buttle Lake and Forbidden Plateau are the most developed areas. Trail maps are available. Routes range from 20 minutes to several days.
Your Island. Your Newspaper.
3 Englishman River Regional Park,
Parksville > This park is loved for so many reasons: swimming, mountain biking, horseback riding, salmon viewing, and hiking. The trails add up to just three kilometres, but they are very pretty and lead through the forest to two beautiful waterfalls.
4 Stamp River Provincial Park, Port
Alberni > Two kilometres of easy walking trails are located within the park, as well as a 7.5-kilometre route that starts from the park and follows the river. This is a salmon river, which means bears in the fall.
out of the ordinary
5 Kinsol Trestle, Cowichan Valley Trail First built in1920, this is the largest of eight trestles along the Cowichan Valley Trail, a cycling and hiking route that’s part of the Trans-Canada Trail. There are a number of access points with parking.
LANDON SVEINSON/ TOURISM VANCOUVER ISLAND
The Botanical Series INTERNATIONAL AWARD WINNING JEWELLERY DESIGNERS • SINCE 1972 946 Fort St, Victoria • 250-383-3414 • www.idar.com
ON THE MENU BY CINDA CHAVICH
ALL HAIL HUMBOLDT SQUID: Delicious Monster of the Deep
Squid Salad with Roasted Rice (Recipe from Ocean Wise Cookbook 2 by Jane Mundy, Whitecap Books, 2016)
ecently I made a trip to the wild western edge of Vancouver Island, ostensibly for a holiday, but mostly to taste the Humboldt squid at Wolf in the Fog yet again. Charred on a hot grill, sliced thin, and surprisingly tender, it’s a simple dish, but one that embodies chef Nick Nutting’s love of Tofino’s remote coastal terroir. And, like the crunchy seaweed salad or the rare gooseneck barnacles he serves, this unusual 20 SALT
squid tastes fresh and clean, the essence of the ocean. The Humboldt squid is a relative newcomer to B.C. waters, first pushed north from California and points south on warm El Niño currents. Unlike the ubiquitous baby squid imported from Asia, the Pacific Humboldt squid fishery is ecofriendly and “green-lighted” by Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program. This darling of sustainability-minded chefs is
popping up on menus across the country. I’ve tasted Humboldt squid at Bishop’s in Vancouver alongside Quadra Island scallops, leek hearts, and octopus. At Calgary’s Model Milk, it’s cut into fingers like chunky pasta and tossed with ovenroasted tomatoes, electric-green soy beans, and guanciale. At Fish Hook in Victoria, chef Kunal Ghose is using it in many creative ways, from his crispy chickpeaand-cornflour Humboldt squid pakoras to
DINING WITH THE DEVIL
The Humboldt squid or jumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas) first appeared on our culinary radar in 2009, an El Niño year that saw large numbers of the big squid in the waters off the Island. There was even a bizarre “beaching” of dozens of them on Long Beach in Tofino. Locals described it as an “alien invasion.” A Humboldt squid is just one of more than 200 species of this cephalopod, and though it looks just like the whole baby squid you buy from the supermarket, it’s a real giant of its kind — the largest specimens can weigh 100 pounds. University of Victoria Environmental Studies professor John Volpe says it can be a dangerous exercise to try to land one of these squid, and though they have been encountered by fishers trolling for salmon or tuna over the last decade, it’s unlikely you’ll see one. They live in deep water and scientists agree these seasonal migrants only rarely travel from the tropics to our Pacific
coast. Some suggest the species is moving north as a result of global warming, but Volpe says there’s no real evidence. Squid are not well understood, says Teddie Geach, seafood specialist for Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program. “There are large booms in the population, followed by declines, and it’s not clear if that’s a typical trend or due to overfishing. “Most common calamari is coming from China and India, where typically a bottom trawler drags the ocean floor, hauling up a lot of different species,” she adds. “For Humboldt squid, it’s a different scenario. The typical range is from Peru to the California coastline, and it’s jig-caught with a lure on a line, so there’s virtually no bycatch.” There’s no commercial fishery in B.C. targeting this squid, though local deep-water tuna boats land enough for a small supply. In Tofino, Nutting says it comes to him through West Pacific Seafoods. Victoria’s Finest At Sea sells locally caught Humboldt squid when available, but it’s rare. COOKING JUMBO SQUID
Baby squid rings are notorious for becoming chewy like rubber bands when overcooked, so I imagined that the Humboldt squid would be India-rubberball tough. But that’s not the case at all. Mechanical tenderizing or marinating is unnecessary for tender results. There are some membranes to peel away but then quick cooking or slow braising is simple. Most chefs say the big Humboldt may be more forgiving as a result of its size. “For our calamari, we just cut it into thin strips, dip it in buttermilk, and fry it,” says Keenliside. Most chefs score or cross-hatch the tubes (the body) before cooking the squid. “We take the tubes, remove the skin and membrane, score it one way, then score in the opposite direction, slicing through into strips,” says Ghose. “Then it’s pan seared and flash-roasted, three and a half minutes. I’m all about quick service.” So take a chance if you see this super squid for sale at your fishmonger’s, or simply try it at a local restaurant. “It took me a while to figure it out, but now when I’m asked what I recommend, it’s the squid,” says Ghose. “I haven’t had an ingredient excite me as much in a long time!” S
DELICIOUS UP-ISLAND DINING EXPERIENCES Great food is on offer everywhere on the Island. Add these to your list. Alderlea Farm and Café in Duncan is the perfect stop for lunch or an early dinner of pizza, roast chicken, burgers, and salads. Most ingredients come from right there on the farm, including the beef and sausage. Open Thursday to Sunday. alderleafarm.com
Mahle House, just south of Nanaimo, offers elegant fine dining in a 1904 heritage home surrounded by an English-style garden. A special-occasion kind of place that has a five-course tasting menu on Wednesdays. mahlehouse.ca
Pacific Prime Restaurant at the Beach Club Resort has a beautiful beachfront patio, an award-winning wine list, and a menu starring B.C.-raised beef and Ocean Wise seafood. beachclubbc.com
Union Street Grill and Grotto
in Courtenay has a casual fullservice dining room on one side and a quick-serve counter on the other. Both sides offer plenty of seafood on the menu, as well as lots of gluten-free and vegetarian options. unionstreetgrill.ca The Pointe Restaurant in the Wickininnish Inn has been a longtime favourite, both for its meticulously prepared fresh West Coast cuisine and for its stunning 240-degree ocean views. wickinn.com
Sablefish, The Pointe Restaurant
MAKITO INOMATA/WICKANINNISH INN
flash-roasted Tandoori Humboldt squid and even in coconut curried seafood biryani. “Finally, I can serve squid again,” says Ghose who serves only Ocean Wisecertified seafood. “I haven’t been able to serve regular calamari because it’s not considered sustainable, but Humboldt Squid is fished along the west coast from Mexico to Alaska, and there’s no worry about overfishing.” Jeff Keenliside, executive chef for the Oak Bay Marine Group, serves this sustainable squid on his Ocean Wise menus, too. From the chunky buttermilk-fried calamari and the shawarma-spiced grilled Humboldt squid at the Marina Restaurant to the saltand-pepper squid served on the Canadian Princess in Ucluelet, it takes to both simple and exotic preparations. “We use it a lot — it’s so much easier to use than baby squid, there’s such a high percentage yield and no waste,” says Keenliside. And it’s delicious. That’s why you’ll see it served in a crispy squid and bacon clubhouse wrap or a smoky grilled-squid entree at Vista 18, flash-fried with shaved fennel and roasted shishito peppers at Canoe, or offered up as calamari strips with roasted tomatocaper aioli at the Six Mile Pub.
C R E AT I V E WO R K S BY CAROLYN CAMILLERI
Island Inspired It is well known that the Island is home to a rich, diverse community of creative people. Whether born here or drawn here, artists of all kinds create works that find homes all over the world. Here are three locals who have caught the attention of art lovers from far and wide.
Following the light
After a successful career as a graphic designer, Lis Bailly has refocused her attention on creative work — or should we say, even more creative work. “An intuitive explorer of the natural environment, fascinated by colour — for me, it is about following the light. I am interested in the convergence of photography and traditional painterly approaches, a creative process that goes beyond common appearances to play with illusion, abstraction, and transformation.” The Paper Series is Bailly’s most recent work, which she says “just kind of came out of nowhere.” She was working with some big brushes, ink, and rolls of Japanese paper. At one point, she crumpled up a piece of paper and threw it on the floor. When the sun came in the windows, it created shadows on the crumpled paper that caught her attention, and she started photographing. The photographs became the starting point for a process she describes as being very much like making an abstract painting — from concept to folding, photographing, and colourizing. The richly textured abstracts are then printed on matte Epson hot press cotton paper and hung simply as banners. “Sometimes it is a quick response to a texture or composition that captures my attention — finding something interesting in an everyday place,” she says. “Often it is about the convergence of more painterly approaches while working with digital imagery to find new perspective.” Bailly recently launched ArtStrata, an online art gallery to showcase new work by West Coast artists, photographers, and makers. “Most of these artists I have known for years. They tend to be artists who don’t necessarily have gallery representation. These are people who are in the studios all the time, very seriously pursuing their art and not necessarily their art careers.”
Top: Spirit of Inquiry, 18" x 35"; bottom: Impromptu, 18" x 18" Opposite page: Topography, 18" x 24"
lisbailly.com / artstrata.com
Canadianisms on canvas
For the past five years, Brandy Saturley’s gaze has been fixated on Canada. A prolific painter of Canadian contemporary realism, Saturley has concentrated on three bodies of work celebrating Canadian culture and working towards a retrospective exhibition for Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. “Canada is a pretty special place to call home, and I feel gratitude every day for the life I have created for myself here in this beautiful country,” she says. She even coined the term #iconiccanuck. “I always tell people I meet or spend time with that they are likely to end up in one of my paintings, literally or figuratively.” < Golden Ram, 36" x 36"
“In the act of creating, I am seeking knowledge. When the piece is finished, I am seeking connection with others.” < Let Your Backbone Rise, 36" x 36"
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For Saturley, art is a means of communication but also a way of gaining knowledge. “I have always found I could say things through my art that I couldn’t through any other expression,” she says. “In the moment, I want to get something inside of me out. In the act of creating, I am seeking knowledge. When the piece is finished, I am seeking connection with others. I want to share my knowledge and help others move forward.” At the same time, there is a wish for permanence. “My ego is seeking a place in history, amongst those who inspired and informed my work,” she says. But above all, Saturley loves what she does and it shows. “We seem to be so focused on how to inspire or be inspired, rather than on just doing what completes us and makes us smile inside. When you are doing something that you would suffocate without, that internal smile radiates out, and this is addictive. It’s passion.”
Art and the power of creativity
Kent Laforme has loved stones since he was child. He even illustrated a story called “The Travels of a Metamorphic Rock” — at age seven. “Skipping rocks, mountain ranges, Roman ruins, Easter Island, the paintings on the stonewall of a cave ... I’m inspired by all of it, in particular, the forces that bring civilizations into the world then take them out,” he says. “The inspiration is what’s left behind. Weathered sculptures and monuments that serve as both artifacts and facts of art of what was and will be.” He also loves the challenge stone presents and says he follows his own process and dialogue. “The process is Zen as every moment matters,” says Laforme. “If it breaks, it is broken.” He describes his art as a continual challenge that feeds his fascination with stone. “I do what I do because it’s what I’ve always done, and I’ve come to learn that what we do isn’t always about choice. Being a sculptor chose me as much as I chose it.”
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LOCAL EXPERTISE, GLOBAL CONNECTIONS Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Independently Owned and Operated. E.&O.E.: This information is from sources which we deem reliable, but must be verified by prospective Purchasers and may be subject to change or withdrawal. Not intended to solicit properties already under agreement.
DESIGN & BUILD
“The process is Zen as every moment matters. If it breaks, it is broken.”
FOUR-TIME WINNERS 2016 Vancouver Island Building Excellence Awards Single Family Builder of the Year
FortisBC Award for Excellence in Energy Efficiency in New Residential Construction Best Single Family Home between 1,500–3,000 sq.ft. Best Single Family Kitchen – New under $50,000
Peekaboo, 60" x 14" x 12" Bardiglio Imperiale Marble, 2016
Laforme’s work has been exhibited and commissioned across the country and around the world, in places like New York, Hong Kong, Korea, and Italy. In Victoria, you can see his art at the Oswego Hotel. “I want my sculpture to contribute to the continuum of stone sculpture that bridges the ancient with the modern and the traditional to the contemporary,” he says. Laforme’s work will be part of Sculpture Splash in Victoria (September 17-18) and at the Elliot Louis Gallery in Vancouver (October-November), as well as at Vancouver Island Sculptor’s Guild events and exhibitions. / kentlaforme.com 26 SALT
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THIS EXCLUSIVE OFFER INCLUDES: Two-night stay at the Villa Eyrie Resort Two days of member experiences on the Island Circuit under the guidance of our team of instructors $500 gift card for a West Coast-inspired farm-to-table dining experience $350 gift card for a therapeutic drivers massage at the Tuscan Spa for the utmost comfort and luxury
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/islandcircuit 4063 Cowichan Valley Hwy, Cowichan BC V9L 6K4
ISL AND HOMES BY CAROLYN HEIMAN PHOTOS BY LANCE SULLIVAN/CONCEPT PHOTOGRAPHY
ELEMENTS OF STYLE THIS DRAMATIC MOUNTAINTOP HOME DRAWS ITS DESIGN INSPIRATION FROM THE ELEMENTS OF NATURE.
picture is worth a thousand words, and for Debbie Austen, it is also a powerful inspirational tool for making her home an authentic reflection of who she is. Austen and her husband purchased a turquoise-splashed Peter Lik photograph called Tahoe Jetty (Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, California) on a family holiday — years before the home they were dreaming about was even designed. The 59-inch-wide print stayed boxed while they juggled raising a family, careers, and caring for elderly parents. But the image remained in Debbie’s mind’s eye both for its colours and the way it represented their evolving lifestyle as it shifted from the cautious family-raising years to a new chapter.
With its multi-angled sloped roofs, the home sits like a crown on the top of the mountain. Its exterior — with its mix of materials, including Iron Mountain acrylic stucco, corrugated metal, and wood accents — is dramatic without conflicting with the natural world.
“IT WAS TIME for us to enter into a new phase of our life,” says Debbie. That included fulfilling their long-anticipated dream of designing a home on a lot she and her husband had owned for years, which was situated on one of the highest points in the West Shore and boasted panoramic views in every direction. Indeed the views — over to the Olympic Mountains, Mount Baker, and Mill Hill — make art in the home almost superfluous, and by design, Debbie has limited the art to pieces with a meaningful narrative, such as the Lik photograph. “Even on a bleak day, the view is ever changing,” says Debbie. “Today we are still getting a lot of contrast from the snow on the mountains.” Other days, owls, eagles, and turkey vultures fly past the window, while cruise ships and floatplanes jockey for their place in the Inner Harbour. Before signing design and building contracts, they had a pretty good idea they wanted to replace their traditional home with a modern one. They spent hours on the site to better understand the light and conditions they needed to consider for placement. The couple turned to Wil Peereboom at Victoria Design Group to put on paper their ideas for the home. “I had a dream of how the house would be, but he made it even better,” says Debbie, adding that he urged them to relocate the kitchen for even better views. Meanwhile, GT Mann Contracting executed those plans into reality. Graeme Mann, one of two brothers who run the contracting company, says job number one was prepping the site with a masonry wall approximately 200 feet long and 16 feet at its highest point, creating a secure patio area for the home set on a cliff. The result is an outdoor space that flows seamlessly from the interior and effectively eliminates yardwork for the Austens. The oversize front fir door was also Mann’s idea. Measuring five feet by nine feet on a pivot hinge, it makes a grand statement for a grand house. The interior has Debbie’s full imprint, and it is a look that has lovingly evolved from thoughts she recorded over time in a small notebook with a particularly apt Carl Sandburg quote on its cover: Nothing happens unless first a dream. She kept front and foremost her guiding principles for all decision making: • easy to clean — less is more • form meets function
• fuse furniture with its environment and bring the outdoors in; and
• create a sense of movement and transition from one space to another 30 SALT
The home is a calming oasis swathed in a gentle, neutral palette but with bursts of energizing colour in strategic places. The rule of three is employed for wall colours (Benjamin Mooreâ€™s Metropolis, Thunder, and Balboa Mist with the ever-popular Cloud White on trim and ceilings). The kitchen, at the heart of the home, is anchored to the earth by dark cabinets and a cream-gray-silverspeckled quartz countertop. Continuity is maintained through the open space with complementary cabinetry set against whitewashed wide-plank oak flooring. The glass-fronted cabinet in the hallway, full of wine, sherry, and water goblets, is one of the places where the owner has held on to pieces from her past. All together, the collection feels like a piece of art.
The entrywayâ€™s extra-wide fir door grounds the space and provides a visual contrast to the lightness and airiness of the numerous windows and floating staircase. While the home is thoroughly modern, the owner mixes, to good effect, a few sentimental pieces of furniture.
The owners didnâ€™t want to give up the views from anywhere in the home, which created challenges in the master bathroom. Pleated window coverings that raise from the bottom permit maximum light and views in the bathroom while providing privacy.
Recently retired as an elementaryschool visual arts teacher, Debbie tapped into that energy reserve to decorate the home. Lessons in the elements of colour that served in the classroom have now been deployed at home. She also turned to elements of nature — earth, air, fire, water — believing these elements, used effectively, have the power to impart characteristics such as stability, action, mental power, and happiness. A photograph steered the design direction of the Austens’ home, and a story involving some serendipity and that same image reveals that the home turned out the way it was meant to be. The Lik photograph came with a bonus of four small images, none of which the Austens had seen. When the large shipping crate was finally unpacked, the four mystery prints called Elements of Nature revealed themselves, each depicting the photographer’s stylistic sense of earth, air, fire, and water. Just like the way the Austens’ home turned out, it was meant to be. S
< A frosted window in the roomy shower emits natural light to an area that otherwise can be dark. Floating cabinets, all with under-lighting, creates fluidity and a sense of spaciousness.
RESOURCES Builder GT Mann Contracting Home Designer Wil Peereboom at Victoria Design Group Flooring Hourigan’s Flooring Kitchen and bathrooms Harbour City Kitchens Counters Colonial Countertops Appliances Trail Appliances Plumbing Specialized Plumbing and Gas Works Heating and cooling South Island Sheet Metal Electric Rob Jones Electric Windows Ply Gem Windows Doors Slegg Building Materials Finishings Ground Up Custom Carpentry Audio Grohovac Installations Landscaping Listco Landscape and Irrigation SALT 35
SPEED ISLAND 36 SALT
EXPERIENCE THE THRILLS OF HIGHPERFORMANCE DRIVING AT CANADA’S FIRST MOTORSPORT COUNTRY CLUB, RIGHT IN THE HEART OF VANCOUVER ISLAND’S SCENIC COWICHAN VALLEY. BY ATHENA McKENZIE
t’s a gorgeous, sunny day in the Cowichan Valley, so there’s no need to worry about water on the asphalt as I ease the Subaru BRZ around a hairpin turn and hit the gas. The sporty blue car shoots forward on the straightaway with a satisfying roar, but I brake a little too sharply for the next turn, so the tires squeal and the back-end drifts over the rumble strip. On the Trans-Canada, this would definitely qualify as reckless driving, but this is the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit — the first motorsport-themed country club in Canada — and I’m learning that when you take away speed limits and other concerns of the highway, driving is a hell of a lot more fun. It’s a discovery that Peter Trzewik, partner at GAIN, the Vancouver Island-based luxury dealer group behind the motorsport development, is hoping other drivers will make. “This is where people can find out what a car is really built for,” Trzewik says. “Many people who buy our cars have no opportunity to test that car’s true performance capabilities — and really shouldn’t on public roads.” GAIN, previously called the German Auto Import Network, started with one store, Three Point Motors Mercedes-Benz in Victoria in 2008, but now has nine Island dealerships, which represent 11 distinct brands. As part of the circuit’s regular operations, each of GAIN’s dealerships will have access for client days and performance training. When I arrive for one of the motorsport circuit’s media days prior to its official opening, an impressive sampling of the cars available from the dealerships is waiting, including an Alfa 4C Spider, an Audi S3, BMW Z4, a Mercedes C63, and a 2017 Porsche 911Carrera S.
SHARP TURNS AHEAD
While motorsport “country clubs” have been popular in Europe for some time, they are only recently catching on in North America. Vancouver Island’s offering joins a growing number of clubs popping up in the United States, including facilities in New York, Virginia, California, and Nevada. The heart of the club is the curving 2.3-kilometre track, designed by Tilke GmbH of Germany. Headed by engineer and former auto racer Hermann Tilke, the company is considered “the brand name in track design,” having built almost all of the new Formula One (F1) circuits since 1999. The Vancouver Island Motor Sport Circuit was Tilke GmbH’s first private Canadian project. SALT 37
“THIS IS WHERE PEOPLE CAN FIND OUT WHAT A CAR IS REALLY BUILT FOR.”
“I’m a Formula One fan and nobody else has Tilke’s history or their record, considering the tracks they have built in the last 20 years,” Trzewik says. “I never imagined we would be able to work with the best in the world.” To build its “year-round playground for drivers,” GAIN studied the clubs in Europe and drew heavily on the experience of Tilke, which has worked on motorsport country clubs in Georgia and Colorado in the U.S., as well as clubs in Spain, Norway, Germany, Kazakhstan, and Bahrain. In designing the Vancouver Island circuit, Hermann Tilke’s business partner, architect Peter Wahl, and Tilke’s director for the Americas, engineer Christian Epp, made several trips to the club’s site in the Cowichan Valley. “It is wonderful when we get to work with a piece of land like this,” Wahl says, referring to the changes of elevation found on the site. “As a designer, you can play with this topography. It reminds me of the project in Austria where we did the A1 Ring for Formula One. We had the opportunity to put in some interesting features because of the hills. This makes racing a bit like a roller-coaster ride, which is fun and challenging for the driver.” SKILLS FOCUSED
Roller-coaster seems an apropos description for the track, as drivers experience over 55 metres of elevation change over the course of a lap, as well as 19 turns carved into its 2.3-kilometre length. “Roller-coaster,” is also how Dr. Sunny Tatra describes his exhilarating experiences driving this “technical track.” Tatra, a local dentist and sponsor of GAIN’s annual Vancouver Island Motor Gathering charity event, is an avowed car aficionado and has been a client of GAIN since 2006. He was one of the first Vancouver Island residents to purchase a 25-year membership. His interest in the membership developed through GAIN’s driver-education program. Trzewik explains. “If you buy a car from us and you have an interest in performance driving, then we’ll invite you into our school system,” he says. “After several levels of instruction on the track, you’ll become a relatively good driver and may discover it’s a passion and get a membership. Whatever you decide, you end up really understanding your car’s capabilities and why you bought your BMW or Mercedes, or whatever car you bought.” Tatra has always been keen on GAIN’s driver-training program. Even before the motor circuit 38 SALT
The 2.3-kilometre track was designed by Tilke GmbH of Germany, considered the “brand name in track design.” Headed by engineer and former auto racer Hermann Tilke, the company has built almost all of the new Formula One (F1) circuits since 1999. This is Tilke GmbH’s first private Canadian project.
was built, he travelled with the dealer group to tracks in Las Vegas and Ontario, as well as attending local events. While initially drawn to the “fun factor” of handling high-performance cars at high speeds, Tatra is now a vocal proponent of the safety outcomes and credits the training he received for his reaction when another car did a U-turn at 100 kilometres per hour on the highway out of Drumheller, Alberta. His family, including his two young children, were in the car. “We walked away but the occupants of the other car weren’t so lucky,” Tatra says. “That had to do with the high-speed manoeuvres and high-speed training I received on a track. How often on a street do you hit speeds of 110 kilometres per hour and then bury the brake pedal? How do you know how a car responds as the load shifts from the rear tires to the front tires in terms of making a manoeuvre to avoid an accident? When that happened, I don’t think I even thought about it. I just responded because I’d done it around four or five times before.”
JEFFREY BOSDET/SALT MAGAZINE
STATE OF THE ART
COWICHAN DAY TRIPS The Cowichan offers plenty of activities — whatever your speed. Duncan Meadows Golf Club is just down the road from the circuit, or take the 50-minute drive to Bear Mountain Resort for golf or to ride its mountain-bike trails with their incredible West Coast views or to spend a relaxing couple hours at the spa. The area’s protected inlets make for some of the best kayaking in the province, so head into Cowichan Bay Village for a guided tour with Cowichan Bay Kayaks. For an even more leisurely pace, consider a wine and culinary tour: Blue Grouse, Cherry Point Estate, and Unsworth are just some of the awardwinning wineries in the area. Bear Mountain Resort
My day at the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit also includes time in the state-of-the-art clubhouse, the highlight of which is the control room; with its multitude of screens and boards, it’s not unlike air-traffic control. The room houses all the monitors for the on-track cameras, as well as the feeds for the Racelogic software that members can use to record lap times and track their progress. This spot is also integral to track safety, and from here, all track activity can be stopped and dispatches can be made to 911, if ever necessary. The club also features a four-acre driving dynamics area with its wet/dry skid pad, and there is a one-kilometre off-roading circuit under construction that will have 10 different elements, including a water obstacle. Plans are also underway for phase two of the track itself, which will feature a long run through the trees, offering a uniquely West Coast quality. PRIME SETTING
The track’s location, just northwest of Duncan, makes it easily accessible for members arriving from Victoria or Nanaimo. Even closer is the partner hotel, the Villa Eyrie Resort (formerly the Aerie Resort and Spa). The renovated luxury facility reopened this past August with 40 suites, a restaurant, and spa, along with a clubhouse for motor circuit members. Not only for hosting members, Trzewik hopes the resort will also become the perfect retreat for locals and visitors to the Cowichan Valley. Bailey Williamson, winemaker at the nearby Blue Grouse Winery, believes the area is poised to make a big splash with all of the exciting developments that are happening. The winery itself recently underwent a major three-year renovation after a change in ownership. The stunning new tasting room, with soaring curved ceilings and glass walls affording sweeping views of the vineyards, is the perfect setting for an introduction to Island wine. “The [circuit] is going to bring some really interesting people to the area,” says Bailey. “The spouses aren’t going to want to sit around while their partners are driving loops around the track. They’re going to be out doing things. “Like wine tastings,” he adds, laughing. As for Trzewik, he sees Villa Eyrie’s location on a scenic Malahat property as the perfect starting point to access all the varied activities of the Cowichan, from wine tasting, golfing, and fishing to ziplines and its most recent addition, highThe clubhouse, where all performance driving. the action is monitored from the control room Sitting on the deck of my room at the Villa Eyrie, taking in the incredible views over the Finlayson Arm and the Coast Mountains, it could be argued that it is the perfect spot for a staycation. Why would anyone want to leave? Then I remember the feel of the Subaru on that last turn on the circuit and start planning my next drive. S SALT 39
PORT RENFREW: OUTPOST OF COOL WILD AND WONDROUS PORT RENFREW SURROUNDS YOU WITH FOREST, SEA, AND SERENITY. By Kerry Slavens // Photos By Joshua Lawrence
ort Renfrew’s soundtrack is waves. On calm days, they strum the fretted shoreline, home to the Pacheedaht First Nation, who call themselves People of the Sea Foam. On stormy days, the waves drumroll their arrival, tossing trees against jagged rocks like toothpicks. They are the rhythm of life in this Pacific outpost, located miles beyond cell reception, and a siren song to people like us, seeking serenity off the beaten track. Truthfully, for years Port Renfrew wasn’t on our radar. My husband Chris and I aren’t hikers, so its locale at the West Coast Trail’s southern trailhead wasn’t a draw. Nor are we fishers, so its rep as one of the world’s best places for ocean and freshwater fishing wasn’t a lure. Yet we are drawn to the 40 SALT
promise of wild beauty, so we began to listen up when this tiny community (population: 200-ish) began emitting a Tofino-esque hum or “the rumour of forests and waves,” to quote Flaubert. MAGIC OF THE WILD COAST
We leave Victoria on a clear morning for our two-hour drive along the twisting ribbon of West Coast Highway to Port Renfrew. Our first stop is the seaside slip of a village, Jordan River, where we order pizza flatbread at the funky Cold Shoulder Café then cross the road to watch surfers in wetsuits paddling out like seals. Jordan River is a Canadian surfing sweet spot for those willing to brave cold water, especially in winter when those big, frosty swells roll in.
Back on the road, we pass a poetic roll call of signs for French Beach, China Beach, Mystic, and Sombrio. Soon, cell reception is lost and there’s every sense we’re going to the back of beyond. At some point, fields and forest give way to clear-cut swathes. It’s not pretty, but neither is it the whole story of Port Renfrew and the San Juan Valley. There’s a big reason Port Renfrew is home to the annual Tall Tree Music Festival — it has very, very big trees. Arrival in Port Renfrew is a bit of a surprise, as in “surprise, there’s no main street.” What qualifies as a main drag is the scenic wooden pier flanked by the cedarsided Renfrew Pub and Wild Renfrew’s Seaside Cottages, log cabins that promise rustic luxury and coastal charm.
ARRIVAL IN PORT RENFREW IS A BIT OF A SURPRISE, AS IN “SURPRISE, THERE’S NO MAIN STREET.” Too early for check-in, we decide to make the most of the sunshine and head 20 minutes up a dirt road to one of Port Renfrew’s natural calling cards, Avatar Grove. This verdant temple, 50plus hectares of soaring Douglas fir and cedar, was saved from logging by the efforts of the Ancient Forest Alliance. Parking roadside, we take the upper trail in search of the giant Western red cedar, “Canada’s Gnarliest Tree.” For half an hour we hike over spongy, pungent earth and slick roots, across windfalls and a fast-flowing stream, until we arrive at the base of the icon. Some hikers gather there, silently taking in the tree’s almost facelike bulbous burls and gnarls. We spend some quiet time in the shadow of the cedar, then head for the Renfrew Pub patio for cold pints of Salt Spring beer, calamari, and halibut. Sated and sleepy, we clomp down the pier to check into our two-bedroom “penthouse” at Wild Renfrew’s Seaside Cottages. With a view across the waves to the misty shores of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, our elevated cottage is log-cabin living at its luxurious best. Later, we discover this cottage was once a jailhouse, thus its nickname “Alcatraz.” Fortunately, we feel nothing but freedom. My husband lights the gas fire-pit on the huge patio and sinks into a lounge chair, covering himself with a fleece blanket and falling asleep to the sound of waves. I stroll down the pier, past totems Wild Renfrew has commissioned from Pacheedaht artists. Alongside the pier, a wind- and wavecarved geological formation known as a sea stack juts out of the water. On pilings, cormorants pose, holding their wings out in crucifix postures called “wing-drying.”
“Canada's Gnarliest Tree”
Renfrew Pub patio
Wild Renfrew’s Seaside Cottages
Botanical Beach at low tide
As the sun sets, we head to the Renfrew Pub’s vaulted dining room for a long-table spring dinner prepared by Chef Kevin Loewen, whose offerings play with the terroir of this outpost and could compete in any restaurant, anywhere. Our hosts are Jack Julseth of Three Point Properties and his business partner, his son-in-law Ian Laing, and their family. In 2015, the family purchased the pub, 11 waterfront cabins, now Seaside Cottages, and the land for the Wild Coast Cottages, spectacular vacation cottages on a bluff overlooking the sea, from Richard Bonnycastle, former owner of Harlequin Romance. It’s clear both Jack and Ian have a connection to Port Renfrew that goes deeper than the business opportunity. Jack has fished here for years and loves it. Ian spends time here with his young family, often leaving Victoria on a Friday and spending weekends here. Port Renfrew’s unofficial mayor and a friendly fixture at the Renfrew Hotel is Johnny “Mac” McDonald, an archer who competed in the Seoul Olympics. A former Victoria shipyard worker, Johnny is famous for lending a helping hand with everything 42 SALT
WE’RE ALONE HERE, YET NOT. THE PLACE HAS PALPABLE PRESENCE.
Wild Coast Cottages
from auctioning off his beard in support of the Tall Tree Make Music Program to supplying jerrycans of gas to tourists who didn’t “get” that Port Renfrew has no gas station, though Ian and Jack tell me one is opening this summer. Also imminent is the long-awaited marina with 60 moorage slips, a heli-pad, gas and diesel sales, and a rock breakwater for year-round moorage protection. TAKING THE SEA CURE
Sunday morning brings in surly, big waves that crash and grind against the shore. After breakfast, we storm watch from our deck. A blue heron flies by, a Jurassic outline against a slate sky. A bald eagle rides air currents. By afternoon, we’re excited to catch low tide at Botanical Beach. I’ve waited so long to visit this epic coastal destination, I worry it won’t live up to its promise. I needn’t have worried. After 15 minutes of hiking an easy forest trail, my pulse quickens as I hear the pounding surf. Suddenly, the ocean is before us, surging toward a vast beach pockmarked with tidal pools, crisscrossed with driftwood, scarred with striations in black basalt, and marked with sandstone sculptures carved by nature. We’re alone here, yet not. The place has palpable presence. The intertidal air is briny, primordial. Isak Dinesen once said, “The cure for anything is salt water — sweat, tears, or the sea.” I breathe deeply and taste salt on the mist. I feel small here and it feels good. My problems, too, are small here. I stare into the tidal pools which, though they lack a summer richness of starfish, gooseneck barnacles, snails, and anemones, do yield a few mussels and a leathery brick-hued gumboot chiton. As the day darkens, we head back up the trail. We should have left earlier but it was hard to pull ourselves away from the wild beauty. Halfway up the trail, Chris says, “Imagine if you were a cougar and had to hunt every time you wanted to eat.” I think of the cougar and bear signs at the trailhead and pick up my pace. Later, over a pub dinner of superbly tender ribs, we’re grateful we don’t have to hunt like cougars for our next meal. We’re also grateful to have finally “discovered” Port Renfrew, outpost of the kind of cool you can’t make up — an authentic cool that comes from people who know they’re onto a great thing. S
Personal Real Estate Corporation
www.ingridjarisz.com SALT 43
BY ATHENA McKENZIE | PHOTOS BY SIMON DESROCHERS | HOME STAGING BY THE HOUSSE
A NEW ELEGANCE Eco-design meets antique décor when a spectacular renovation transforms a cramped 1970s cottage into the elegant pinnacle of sustainable living.
uests entering Frank and Tammy Arnold’s house in Victoria’s Gonzales neighbourhood feel a true sense of arrival. Towering arched doors open into an airy twostorey foyer with vaulted ceilings and a gorgeous blackand-white Vancouver Island marble-tiled floor. One’s eyes are immediately drawn to a distinctive antique Italian marble chest under an oversized gilt-framed mirror. The space is inviting, elegant, and traditional, and it’s all part of a recent eco-renovation by home designer JC Scott that transformed a 1970s Tudor-style stucco cottage. “You can see elements of the original, but it’s like a completely new house,” Frank says. “In terms of how the renovation was done, we wanted to do it as greenly and as eco-friendly as possible. We reused whatever we could and all of our finishes and systems had eco considerations built in. That’s why we went with JC.” The couple, who have been collecting antiques for almost 20 years, and who bought the house in 2008, wanted their home to feel more like some of the older, more traditional houses around Oak Bay and Fairfield. “Something we both loved about the older houses was the way they made you feel welcome when they had a grand entranceway,” Tammy says. She found JC after attending a couple of the lectures on ecorenovating through the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s Let’s Talk Design series. The couple was drawn to JC’s commitment to eco-design and the fact that “he seemed to really know his stuff,” Tammy says. The designer calls his design philosophy 100-Mile Design. “That means I’m going to look locally first for a product that meets my sustainability goals,” he says. “I’m not going to use a local product if it’s toxic. But if I can find a local product that is sustainable, non-toxic, and of equal or better quality than something I can import, then I would choose that. Local marble doesn’t come in every colour, but it comes in black, white, and grey, and that was enough for me with this project. And it’s timeless, so perfect for people who collect antiques.” JC believes that renovation is usually the preferred route forward as opposed to tearing down and starting over, because with the amount of embedded carbon in a home, if it can be saved, then it is the right thing to do ecologically. “With this project, we made a small house bigger with the same footprint. That’s the kind of renovation I believe is worthwhile, because without having to do any foundation work, we were able to increase the usable square footage of the house substantially.” The project started by addressing the family needs. The Arnolds have two young children and wanted to move the
The house was originally built in 1974. Its new, grander facade required an impressive entrance, and these antique Italian doors, circa 1880, were sourced from California, “as you wouldn’t find anything like this around here,” Scott says.
Above: According to JC Scott, this is the coolest fridge he’s ever used. “A fridge can dominate the kitchen like a garage can dominate the entrance to a home. This one complements the room’s style.”
Left: The fireplace epitomizes the way the home blends modern comforts with eco considerations. It is an energy-efficient Valor gas fireplace made from a traditional casting. Frank Arnold, the homeowner, found the antique mahogany surround, and JC Scott, the home designer, added the marble insert, using Vancouver Island marble.
master bedroom, which was originally on the main level, to the top floor, so all the bedrooms would be on the same level. This meant raising the roof and opening up the stairwell, which also resulted in the impressive two-storey entry. The basement level, which walks out to the family pool, was converted from mostly storage into recreational space by adding a media room, hobby room, gym, and guest suite. The kitchen also got a major overhaul. Along with low VOC paints, Roxul insulation — which JC calls the healthiest 46 SALT
and most ecological — new doors, and Milgard window frames to increase the EnerGuide rating, major environmental features include the heat pumps combined with under-floor radiant hot-water heating. “It’s the safest, most healthy form of heat,” JC says. “Because they are ecologically minded people and parents, they wanted to make sure they were creating a healthy home.” It’s also a warm, inviting home. The Arnolds have hosted several fundraisers for groups, mostly ecologically minded, such
as the Sierra Club of B.C. and the Land Trust Alliance of B.C. “People tell us that it’s beautiful but they don’t feel like they can’t sit down or touch anything,” Tammy says. “We’ve had a number of compliments along that line.” Frank adds, “When JC first came to one of our parties after we moved back in, he said he felt the house strikes a great balance between being elegant but still comfortable and family friendly. And that sums up perfectly how we feel about our home.” S
RESOURCES HOME DESIGNER JC Scott Eco Design Associates MARBLE FLOORS & COUNTERS Matrix Marble and Stone WOOD FLOORS Woodland Wideplank Flooring MILLWORK & FRIDGE KWB Cabinets COPPER OVEN HOOD St Clair Custom Stainless Steel and Copper MILGARD WINDOW FRAMES Slegg Building Supplies ANTIQUES Applewood Antiques, Kilshaw’s Auctioneers, Lunds Auctioneers and Appraisers PAINTING Gulnar Jamal Painting EXTERIOR STONE K2 Stone
LO C A L LY H A N D C R A F T E D D E S I G N E R K I TC H E N S
DREAM KITCHENS REALLY DO COME TRUE
JOB # JGOF-15756 CLIENT: JASON GOOD CUSTOM CABINETS
R E A L E S TAT E BY SHANNON MONEO
THE EXPRESSION “BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER” DOESN’T REALLY APPLY ON VANCOUVER ISLAND. IT’S PRETTY WELL AGREED THAT BEAUTIFUL HOMES IN GORGEOUS SETTINGS SHINE ALL OVER THE ISLAND. AND IF YOUR GEM HOME CAN’T BE FOUND, ISLAND BUILDERS AND DESIGNERS CAN CONJURE ONE.
Home, beautiful home SUPERNATURAL SPIRIT BAY
“It’s all about creating,” says the man who built Victoria’s stunning waterfront Shoal Point condo/commercial project, then set his sights south to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, where he built the Loreto Bay resort. Now, David Butterfield is bringing sustainable development to the Beecher Bay (Scia’new) Band, as they work together on Spirit Bay, a mixed-use development of 400 to 500 houses to be built over the next 10 years on 40 hectares of oceanfront land. Butterfield likens Spirit Bay to an artist’s canvas. “If I were a painter, I would go to my studio and paint. I don’t paint. I build beautiful buildings instead,” he says. At Spirit Bay, about a 40-minute drive west of Victoria, Butterfield and the Scia’new, who own 51 per cent of the project (with the Butterfield family owning the remainder), carved out a vision for the Band’s 85 members. “One 48 SALT
of the first things the Band asked me about was if we can do a 100-year plan,” says Butterfield, who’s vowed to raise the Scia’new out of poverty and into the middle class over the next decade. In the coming years, a village will rise along rocky shores and forest openings with plans calling for a town centre, complete with a bakery, grocery store, gas station, and retail businesses. The existing 350-boat marina will stay, as will access to hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor pursuits. Spirit Bay’s narrow roads encourage walking or cycling instead of driving. Buyers can choose from 10 home styles, ranging from 644 to 1,805 square feet. Prices start at about $350,000 for a two-bedroom cottage and go up to $1 million for a waterfront lot. All properties are on Scia’new land and purchased through a long-term, prepaid lease. Built to last, the homes feature
metal roofs and a distributed heating system that removes heat from ocean water, providing consistent energy. A carpenter turned builder/developer, the U.S.-born Butterfield is also chairman of Hummingbird Energy, which turns separated organic waste into green fuel, a process he intends to use at Spirit Bay. To complement the canvas, Spirit Bay will have a $50-million spa. “We’ll be using thalassotherapy, hot and cold salt water in pools, leading down to the ocean,” Butterfield explains. After a plunge into icy Pacific water, a hot sauna will beckon. With several dozen homes already sold, roughly half to people from Greater Victoria and the remainder primarily to Vancouver and Calgary residents, Butterfield says Spirit Bay isn’t taking on a resort feel. “People want to live here full time,” he says. “They want to live in a beautiful place.”
Zebra Group’s Hampton Beach won gold in three categories at the 2013 CARE Awards.
ZEBRA GROUP RUNS STRONG
When Rus Collins launched his design/build company 23 years ago, he wanted a memorable name and logo, something simple but strong that would stand out and be noticed. Thus, Zebra Group was born. In the years that followed, the company proceeded to make its mark across Greater Victoria, winning many respected design and homebuilding awards. “What makes us really good at design? We spend the time to make functional, really good-to-live-in spaces. We don’t waste space,” says Collins, Zebra’s principal designer. “We create exciting places to live, timeless exteriors. We’re not a budget place. We don’t pump out designs.” Collins loves to work with all types of architecture, from traditional to modern, and the challenge of a renovation really gets his creative juices flowing. “I love taking something that’s tired and breathing new life into a place. Take a before-and-after picture and people can see it,” he says. His grand passion is mid-century, one-level homes. Zebra prides itself on custom home builds, interior overhauls, small-lot rezoning, and townhouse projects and has earned its stripes in everything from the renovation of a 1908-built house to construction and design of a high-end West Coast modern home. The construction division accounts for about 10 per cent of the company’s work, with design work for the remainder. Busy, with much of the work generated via word-of-mouth references from customers, builders, and realtors, Collins employs roughly 16 people in Zebra’s three arms. Clientele are split between Greater Victoria residents and a sizeable number from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ontario. SALT 49
PHEASANT HILL HOMES FLY HIGH
At Nanaimo’s Pheasant Hill Homes, it’s about a 50/50 split between renovation and new home builds, all enhanced by their focus on energy-efficient and sustainable building practices. “One of the great things is being able to work with the owner to find the best solutions, whether it’s a renovation or new house,” says Pheasant Hill co-owner and construction manager Jason Schmidt. Since 1999, Pheasant Hill has been building its presence in the region from Chemainus to Qualicum, earning numerous awards along the way. In 2016 alone, Pheasant Hill collected Vancouver Island Building Excellence Awards in the Single Family Builder of the Year category as well as for best kitchen and best single family home. There was also a FortisBC Award for Excellence in Energy Efficiency in New Residential Construction. Key to the company’s success is that its staff of 25 have been carefully hired. “We’re not looking for bodies,” says Schmidt, a Saskatchewan native who joined Pheasant Hill in 2007. “We’re looking for people who are committed to professional service.” As well, the company is very cognizant of keeping “the wet coast,” at bay. “We deal with a lot of water ingress,” Schmidt 50 SALT
says. Such problems start with the building envelope. After many years of doing renovations, the company has seen how shortcuts and incorrect construction methods lead to building disasters. Pheasant Hill’s staff know how to keep a home dry and energy efficient, be it with passive housing (building methods that result in 8090 per cent less energy use than a traditional home) or net-zero construction (where solar and other installations produce a home where the total energy used each year is equal to the amount of renewable energy created at the home). Renovations run the gamut from whole home makeovers, kitchen/ bathroom/great room facelifts to single room fixes and exterior work. “And we work in a wide variety of architectural styles, from craftsman to modern,” Schmidt says.
Increasingly, customers from the Prairies and Ontario have been settling in the Nanaimo region, along with Islanders contemplating renovating or building new. “Our most successful projects are when we’re involved early on,” Schmidt says. “It can be scary and daunting for people to take on a major renovation or build a new house. We don’t take it lightly.” If you are like so many homebuyers who are putting down roots on Vancouver Island, you want your new home to be your dream home and your very own version of beautiful. S
S P EC I A L P L AC E S BY MIKE WICKS
NANAIMO From Coal Barons to Cruise Ships
anaimo has always held a fascination for me. It was the very first place I visited on Canada’s West Coast in early 1992. It was serendipitous. I was on business in Toronto with a few days to kill and decided to fly across the country to visit my brother, who had arrived in Nanaimo from England several years earlier. Before I realized it, I was completely sold on making Vancouver Island my family’s permanent home. By December, my wife and I and our two young children were in Nanaimo — living the dream! Subsequent job offers enticed us to Victoria, but I have fond memories of living in Nanaimo. I mention this because it gives me a unique perspective on the city. In 1992, Nanaimo was a down-to-earth, hardworking, authentic, blue-collar town surrounded by incredible natural scenic beauty; it wasn’t known for its culture or its culinary experience, except for those wonderful Nanaimo bars and backyard salmon barbecues. There were plenty of shopping malls on the outskirts of town, but the downtown core had tumbleweed blowing in the streets. Okay, an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
LANDON SVEINSON/TOURISM VANCOUVER ISLAND
THE HARBOUR CITY HAS ONE OF THE LONGEST AND MOST PICTURESQUE SHORELINES IN CANADA. BIRTHPLACE OF DIANA KRALL AND BLUES ARTIST DAVID GOGO, THIS ONCE BLUE-COLLAR CITY HAS MORPHED INTO A CULTURAL CAPITAL.
Malaspina College. It’s interesting to note that VIU’s roots date back as far as 1936 and lie in vocational training; fast forward to today, and it’s a dynamic, internationally known university with over 16,000 full-time students and more than 2,000 faculty and staff. Tourism Nanaimo’s destination marketing officer, Chelsea Barr, creator of the Nanaimo Bar trail (her Twitter handle is @NanaimoBarr), was quick to remind me that the Harbour City has plenty of outdoor attractions. When asked to reveal a few local “secrets” she came up with some fascinating places to visit. Ammonite Falls, in the foothills of Mount Benson (if seeing primordial fossils in the riverbed and behind the waterfall excites you, this is for you). The Abyss, a real-life 16-inch-wide earthquake fissure. Cable Bay Trail LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION leading to Dodd Narrows, a great walk ending Jim Stewart, long-time resident and presidentwith spectacular views overlooking Gabriola elect of the B.C. Real Estate Association, has Island. One of my personal favourites is Malaspina endless enthusiasm for the city. He loves the Galleries, where surf and weather have eroded the climate (it’s ranked number one in Canada for sandstone bank into a giant wave, frozen in time; clearest skies in summer and second for mildest this natural wonder requires a trip to Gabriola, but winters), its central location (especially how it’s well worth it! easily he can get to Vancouver by floatplane for The Nanaimo of the early 1990s no longer meetings), and the amazing lifestyle exists. In its place is a vibrant, it affords. Of course, as a realtor, changing, growing community. The GETTING he couldn’t miss mentioning the Harbour City is attracting people TO & FRO affordability of real estate. from across Canada: entrepreneurs With the benchmark price starting hi-tech companies, micro13 for a single-family house a tad breweries, even an artisan distillery; Harbour Air flights over $400,000, people struggling to Vancouver daily young people wanting to be close (more on weekends) to buy a home in Vancouver are to the great outdoors; early retirees “discovering” Nanaimo. Kim with their kayaks, hiking boots, and 10 Smythe, president and CEO of freedom to experience; and those BC Ferry sailings daily Nanaimo Chamber, calls them (more on weekends “affordable refugees” escaping high and public holidays) “affordability refugees” and says housing prices elsewhere. property here is one-third to oneThe one thing they won’t find is 3 quarter the price of Vancouver and Helijet flights daily tumbleweed on Commercial Street. one-third to one-half of Victoria. Nanaimo is, without doubt, blessed by a lot of things, not least among them the central location. Nowhere is very far away. Victoria and Campbell River are both just 90 minutes by car, the Island’s wild west coast is about three hours, and Courtenay and Comox are a little over an hour. Downtown Vancouver is 20 minutes by floatplane or a couple of hours with BC Ferries, and there’s a fast, passenger-only ferry in the works for 2017. LIFESTYLE
Nanaimo has more going for it than a stunning harbour front, vibrant downtown core, world-class theatre, and major conference centre. Stewart and Smythe both talk of a burgeoning hi-tech sector and great schools, including Vancouver Island University (VIU), formerly
FOODIE HEAVEN One of the big growth areas in Nanaimo is its culinary diversity. In spite of fluctuating economic times, lots of new restaurants have sprung up to excite foodies like me. Three standouts are The Nest Bistro, downtown with a French/Italian slant; Hilltop Bistro at the north end of Nanaimo offering casual and unpretentious fine-dining; and just a little further north in Lantzville, Riso, an Italian restaurant featuring wood-fired pizza and entrées such as Vodka Prawn Linguine using locally distilled vodka.
CINNABAR VISTA PRODUCTIONS
Nanaimo’s character and personality are different today. The city has become a nationally acclaimed cultural centre with outstanding restaurants. Above all, it’s a hip, funky place to live, shop, go to school, and do business. The resident population is growing quickly, tourists are beginning to hang around a while, and over 14,000 passengers from six cruise ships will walk ashore this year. An amazing metamorphosis has taken place since I first visited. And it’s not one thing, one strategy, or even a rebranding that’s responsible. It’s a bunch of initiatives, a changing demographic, and something almost indefinable that has simply given Nanaimo more heart and soul, more life, more urgency.
Nanaimo walkabout THE HARBOURFRONT WALKWAY
One thing I promised myself on this visit was a walk on the Harbourfront Walkway. I start at the bottom of Museum Way, near the Port Theatre. Although not a fan of highrises, the 27-story Cameron Island condo building and its two seven-story siblings seem to set the right tone for people arriving by boat, seaplane, and cruise ship. After all, Nanaimo is no longer Colviletown, its name back in 1852 when the Hudson’s Bay Company began mining coal here. At the waterfront, the Protection Island passenger ferry has docked. Protection Island is home to about 350 people yearround and had an active coal mine until 1938. These days, it’s famous for the iconic Dinghy Dock Pub, Canada’s only registered floating pub. Incidentally, it was my brother, now retired, who, shortly after he arrived in Nanaimo, built it with a business partner. Nearby, the aroma of food wafts from two other floating restaurants: the colourful Penny’s Palapa, with its terracotta walls and patio where fresh fish tacos are served; and Trollers Fish and Chips, serving local, wild-caught seafood. I'm tempted, but the walkway beckons. Every few steps, I feel compelled to stop and take in the view: in the distance, there's the Sunshine Coast on the mainland; close in, Newcastle and Protection Islands; and just a little farther off, Gabriola Island, my favourite Gulf Island. Closer to the Harbour Air seaplane terminal and the Lighthouse Bistro, a cluster of interesting stores sell specialty teas, ice 54 SALT
ALL PHOTOS THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE: CINNABAR VISTA PRODUCTIONS
cream, and gifts, as well as a café where DOWNTOWN I can get my latté fix. The pier is a good place to leave the It’s not long before I hear the familiar walkway and head downtown. In a few drone of a floatplane, and soon, I see it minutes, I'm on Commercial Street, my banking hard, levelling off, and skimming 1992 tumbleweed street. It still has a the surface, bringing people from Vancouver heritage feel, but now it’s a pleasant mix of — one of 13 flights today, I'm told. new and old. Buskers are playing music and After another 10 minutes, I am at the there’s an eclectic mix of locals, tourists, and Newcastle Island ferry dock, just past Mafeo businesspeople. Not a chain store in sight. Sutton Park. Newcastle Island is part of Flying Fish, a personal favourite, is Snuneymuxw First Nation traditional housed in a century-old building and sells territory and has a provincial marine park kitchenware, home décor, and lots of funky very popular with families, especially in the stuff you don’t see anywhere else. I can’t resist summer. Bastion Jewellers either; In the other direction, a it’s like stepping back in pedestrian bridge crosses time to when jewellers Swy-a-Lana Lagoon, a custom-made and repaired pretty man-made swimming jewellery on site. At area and a favourite spot for Perkins coffee shop, I stop sunbathing and as a backdrop to enjoy its warm, funky for graduation photographs, a atmosphere, along with a rite of passage undertaken by Spirit Bear coffee and a almost all Nanaimo’s highhouse-made pastry. school graduates, including my Downtown is not only great nephews and nieces. about independent retail A short detour takes me to therapy; it’s also home to IT’S NO WONDER the end of the public fishing the much-acclaimed Port that the number of pier to watch people haul crab Theatre, which opened in cruise ships visiting nets full of supper from the 1998. In 2015, the theatre, Nanaimo’s new $22 depths. Mouth watering as I with 804 seats, welcomed million terminal is think of fresh crab salad, I look 113,000 patrons to 269 growing. Travellers are back to shore and see the aquaevents, which spanned increasingly looking blue glass of the Pacifica condo everything from Ballet BC for authenticity, and Nanaimo offers real and townhouse building and to the Bollywood Masala small-town interaction, imagine the stunning views its Orchestra and Dancers of not a tourist-tailored residents must enjoy everyday India. experience. — lucky devils! Spring 2008 saw the
GOOD TO KNOW
Nanaimo Regional District population
Average family home price
Average condominium price
opening of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in the Port of Nanaimo Centre, which is also home to the Nanaimo Museum and Shaw Auditorium. OLD CITY QUARTER
From the north end of Commercial Street, it’s a seven-minute stroll over the bridge on Bastion Street to Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter, where many buildings date back to the late 1800s. It’s well worth the short walk to visit this eclectic mix of stores, restaurants, and coffee shops. One
of them is the brightly painted GEM Gates and Gifts, which sells everything from spiral staircases to gardening items and unusual gifts. The other must-visit is McLeans Specialty Foods; owners Eric and Sandy McLean stock one of the largest selections of cheeses on the Island, as well as products from all over Europe, Scandinavia, and South Africa. It is amazing how much Nanaimo has grown and how vibrant and dynamic it has become — certainly good reasons for me to make this trip more often. S
B OAT I N G BY ALEX VAN TOL
Being out on the water off Vancouver Island is a different existence entirely. As you cruise away from the dock, you leave all your worries on land.
FAT CAT CRUISING MONOHULLS VS. MULTIHULLS
The debate rages about which is better: the catamaran or the monohull. The more salient question, though, is which platform will offer you the most comfort for cruising? Steve Dolling and his wife wanted a larger boat for extended cruises to Mexico or New Zealand — one big enough for their friends to come along. “It was between a larger monohull or a cat,” says Dolling, who works in technology. “We love catamarans; they’re nice platforms. You’re not heeled over. You can be in big ocean swells and your wine bottle won’t fall over.” The two boat types are very different from a systems standpoint. A cruising catamaran has two engines and one sail 56 SALT
drive; a monohull has one engine and a shaft for propulsion. There’s a level of redundancy built in but also a level of cost. “We have a 40-foot catamaran, and to have everything in a monohull that we have in the catamaran, it’d be over 50 feet in length,” says Dolling. A catamaran is generally shorter, wider, and more expensive. “You get a lot more boat for the same amount of length,” says Dolling. Because of their two pontoons, catamarans give you better clearance over rocky areas. In some boats, you can just sail them straight onto the beach, then wait for high tide to take you back out again. If you’ve got deep rudders, though, you’re a little more limited. Creature comforts abound on a catamaran
THE MAGIC TRIANGLE Boating folk sometimes refer to a triangular diagram that encapsulates the trade-offs when choosing the comfort, performance, and economy of your catamaran. Move toward the performance corner and you lose some comfort — and another chunk of change. Shift toward greater economy and you lose a bit of both performance and comfort. A yacht broker can help you determine your needs along these continuums.
The popular Leopard 40 from Leopard Catamarans is a good example of just how spacious and luxurious a catamaran can be. In some cases, these beauties have more room than a condo.
in a way a monohull just can’t offer. “They are much more suited to enjoying the boating lifestyle and sharing time with friends,” says Dolling. “You won’t be cramped. It’s so much better for what you do with a boat 90 per cent of the time.” Other versions offer a spacious main cabin in one entire hull and two smaller cabins in the second hull, while a charter cat typically comes with the four small cabins. Unless you’re buying a performance catamaran, you’ll find it slower and less exciting to sail than a monohull. A comfortable cruising catamaran is more like a motorhome, whereas the speed of a quick, slick racing cat is akin to that of a performance car. And of course, you don’t have to have sails if you don’t want to — you can get the same comfort with a motor cat. LEARNING THE ROPES
If you don’t sail but want to get into sailing cats, it’s recommended to learn on a monohull first. “You get to know the shifts in wind and how the boat will respond,” explains yacht broker Simon Cox as he tours me around a brand new Nautitech Open 40 at Yacht Sales West (a cool $750k). “You learn to steer and manoeuver; it’s the same basic physics on a catamaran.” While you don’t need specialized skills to sail a catamaran, you should know that it requires somewhat quicker response times than a monohull. “You don’t have the same free rein to ignore things and get away with it,” says Nick Banks, who races catamarans in Swiftsure and elsewhere. TIPS FOR BOAT SHOPPING
Think about the kind of sailing you want to do. If you’re in it for the speed, a performance cat is your best option. Chances are, though, you’re looking for a
comfortable way to stretch out and enjoy the blue Island waters on those warm days. Plan accordingly. Buying a new catamaran is like going to the tailor: you can choose your colours, fabrics, and deck gear just the way you want it. Leave about 10 months from ordering to delivery. “They are expensive,” admits Banks. “There is no cheap route to a catamaran. If you want one that’s good, then you’ve got to know that a ton of engineering and expensive building went into it to make it as light as possible.” TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Most sailing schools don’t offer programs
with catamarans because they’re such stable platforms, so there aren’t many ways to experience it unless you charter it. Catamarans are popular with charter fleets because they allow large groups of people to sail together. If you love the experience and want to buy your own cat, you will easily be able to put it into charter if you choose. This lets you enjoy the sailing experience, while simultaneously taking the maintenance headache off your hands and generating a bit of income. A boat like the Open 40 would charter for about $3,500 to $4,500 a week, depending on the time of year. Cooper Boating in Sidney is a great place to start. S SALT 57
JEFFREY BOSDET/SALT MAGAZINE
When your fishing reel has been handcrafted from brass and mahogany, it’s not just a fishing reel anymore — it’s a piece of art. So it has been since 1925 at Peetz Outdoors, one of the world’s oldest continuous makers of quality fishing reels, rods, and tackle. If you really want to step it up, you can get a limited-edition reel hand-carved by First Nations artist Jason Henry Hunt. Will all of this make you a better fisher? Well, of course, it will! peetzoutdoors.com S
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