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ISSUE 67 JUL/AUG 2020

yammagazine.com

VICTORIA’S LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

Let’s celebrate summer!


What What are you waiting for? What Whatare are areyou you youwaiting waiting waitingfor? for? for? Down Down Down Down No No Payments Payments Until Until 2021 2021 $0 Payment Payment No NoPayments PaymentsUntil Until2021 2021 $0 $0 $0Payment Payment ++ ++

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CONTENTS summer issue

18

20 WAYS TO CELEBRATE SUMMER Staying close to home means you can savour the simple pleasures of the season.

10

E  DITOR’S NOTE

13

HERE + NOW

26

HOME + LIFESTYLE

56

By Kerry Slavens

YAM’s latest finds in home design and décor, fashion, lifestyle and food.

This architectural home in Cadboro Bay offers an oceanside escape from urban life. By Danielle Pope

SCENE Victoria’s Brett SmithDaniels — a virtuoso bluesrock guitarist and singer — is a man with a plan. By David Lennam

58 DO TELL

A Proust-style interview with dress designer Trista Smith. By Athena McKenzie

34

42

48

A GROWING CITY

MIND OVER MATTER

Fernwood‘s evolution into a stylishly creative hub.

Victoria’s edible landscape is thriving as urban gardening grows beyond a trend.

As told to Julia Dilworth

By Cinda Chavich

Meditation — the practice of gently focusing and quieting a busy mind — is having a moment in Victoria.

THE FERNWOOD FACTOR

By Linda Barnard

6

YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

52

TACOS: THE ULTIMATE SUMMER FARE There’s no food more deliciously suited for the season than tacos. By Cinda Chavich


10387 Allbay Rd., Victoria UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES »

« UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES RECENTLY SOLD

INTRODUCING

$4,500,000

$638,888

$984,900

1219-1221 Carlisle Ave, Esquimalt

$2,350,000 5101 Island Highway, Qualicum Beach

Riverside Rd., Cowichan Valley

0.6 ACRES 4-LOT LAND ASSEMBLY

BEDS: 8 BATHS: 8 7,788 SQ.FT.

9.40 ACRES

Tom de Cosson

Nico Grauer

Christine Ryan

250.858.5841

250.228.3858

789 Lily Ave., Saanich BUILD YOUR DREAM HOME - 7,178 SQ. FT. LOT

Natalie Zachary

778.533.3205

250.882.2966

S I N G L E FA M I LY H O M E S » INTRODUCING

$2,150,000

$1,999,000

$1,520,000

$1,998,000

255 Government St., Victoria

4591 Cordova Bay Rd., Victoria

10915 Deep Cove Rd., Victoria

1294 Eston Pl., Langford

BEDS: 3 BATHS: 3 2,479 SQ. FT.

BEDS: 3 BATHS: 2 2,951 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 5 3,452 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 3 4,860 SQ.FT.

Logan Wilson PREC

Brad Maclaren PREC

Brayden Klein

Andrew Maxwell

250.857.0609

S I N G L E FA M I LY H O M E S »

250.727.5448

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« CONDOS & TOWNHOMES »

INTRODUCING

250.213.2104 « CONDOS & TOWNHOMES

INTRODUCING

$679,900

$849,000

$969,900

$625,000

3338 Metchosin Rd., Victoria

904-630 Montreal St., Victoria

403 - 104 Dallas Rd., Victoria

104-3048 Washington Ave, Victoria

BEDS: 5 BATHS: 2 2,064 SQ. FT. 0.2 ACRES

BEDS: 2 + DEN BATHS: 2 1,730 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 2 BATHS: 2 1,581 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 3 BATHS: 3 1,441 SQ.FT.

Robyn Wildman

Christine Ryan

Brett Cooper

Andrew Maxwell

250.818.8522

778.533.3205

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250.213.2104

We are in this together.

Andy Stephenson

Andrew Maxwell

Beth Hayhurst

Brad Maclaren

Brayden Klein

Brett Cooper

Christine Ryan

Dean Innes

Don St. Germain

VICTORIA 250.380.3933

SALT SPRING 250.537.1778

VANCOUVER 604.632.3300

WEST VANCOUVER 604.922.6995

NORTH VANCOUVER 604.998.1623

WHITE ROCK 604.385.1840

WHISTLER 604.932.3388

SUN PEAKS 250.578.7773

KELOWNA 250.469.9547


4409 Moonlight Lane, Saanich S I N G L E FA M I LY H O M E S »

« S I N G L E FA M I LY H O M E S

INTRODUCING

$2,525,000

$2,250,000

$3,500,000 607 Beach Dr., Victoria

4409 Moonlight Lane, Saanich

10387 Allbay Rd., Victoria

1995 Marina Way, Victoria

BEDS: 6 BATHS: 3 4,367 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 5 BATHS: 5 6,155 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 4 2,512 SQ. FT.

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 5 4,699 SQ. FT.

Andy Stephenson

Victoria Cao PREC

Glynis MacLeod PREC

Kirsten MacLeod

$2,850,000

250.532.0888

250.891.8578

250.661.7232

250.686.3385 « S I N G L E FA M I LY H O M E S

$1,249,000

$1,498,000 1632 Yale St., Oak Bay

$899,900

$939,900

2290 Estevan Ave, Oak Bay

1675 Brousson Dr., Victoria

850 Coles St., Victoria

BEDS: 3 BATHS: 3 2,013 SQ. FT.

BEDS: 3 BATHS: 4 1,988 SQ. FT.

BEDS: 3 BATHS: 3 3,887 SQ. FT.

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 2 2,285 SQ. FT.

Lisa Williams PREC

Dean Innes

Glynis MacLeod PREC

Don St. Germain PREC

250.514.1966

250.686.0279

250.661.7232

Luxury Is An Experience, Not A Price Point

30M+

WE BELIEVE EVERY CLIENT DESERVES THE EXCEPTIONAL.

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Victoria Cao

SOTHEBYSREALTY.CA


EDITOR’S NOTE

GROW YOUR INVESTMENTS Managing business, family and personal wealth

Embracing Change

S

IAN STOCKDILL Portfolio Manager & Investment Advisor 250-953-8461 or 1-800-799-1175 ian.stockdill@nbc.ca www.ianstockdill.com

National Bank Financial Suite 700, 737 Yates St., Victoria National Bank Financial – Wealth Management (NBFWM) is a division of National Bank Financial Inc. (NBF), as well as a trademark owned by National Bank of Canada (NBC) that is used under licence by NBF. NBF is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), and is a whollyowned subsidiary of NBC, a public company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: NA).

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YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

ummer is here at last, and our city is beginning to open up again, ever so carefully. I celebrated my newfound freedom by meeting my friend Patricia at Vis-à-Vis Bouchon-Bar on Oak Bay Avenue. It was the perfect place to reconnect because it’s where we shared Kerry Slavens, Editor-in-Chief a bottle of wine back in March, on the night before the world shut down due to COVID-19. Also, vis à vis means face to face — and we were happy to be face to face again, albeit socially distanced. “The only way A great deal has changed in four months since that we can live is night. Many readers have told me that despite the fear surrounding COVID-19, the isolation period was a time if we grow. The to reconnect with people they cared about — and with only way that themselves. I spent many hours at my daughter’s home with her family. Having just come through a marital separation, I we can grow is also spent more hours on my own than at any other time in if we change ...” my life. I learned a great deal about myself, and was grateful, in an odd way, to cocoon away and regain strength and a sense of humour as I sorted out what I wanted my life to look like. During this time I found myself inspired by a quote from C. Joybell C., who wrote, “The only way we can live is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open.” I took that quote to heart. Since the cards of my life had already been tossed in the air, I decided a wholesale change would be good for me. I created a new wardrobe (thank you to the local retailers who allowed private appointments and online shopping and delivery!), signed up for a series of online courses, and put my condo on the market — and accepted the offer of a new job. That part was bittersweet as I have truly loved being YAM’s editor-in-chief for nine years. I’ve learned so much from my co-workers at Page One Publishing, and from you, our readers. And I’ve laughed a great deal, which is probably one of the best things you can say about a place of work. There’s so much joy and creativity at YAM, and that has always been reflected in the magazine itself. As I prepare to move to my new role as director of PR and engagement at the South Island Prosperity Partnership, I know YAM is in excellent hands. I’m so pleased that Athena McKenzie — who has been YAM’s deputy editor for eight years — will now take over as editor. I first met Athena when she was visiting from Toronto, looking for a job in Victoria. At that time, she was a features editor at Zoomer magazine, and a contributor to The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star and Elle Canada, but was hoping to relocate to Victoria to be with the love of her life. Luckily, we had a job opening, so serendipity was at play! I wish all good things for YAM and Athena, and for you, dear readers. I’ve loved your letters and meeting many of you in person over the years. You’ve shared so much with me and I’m grateful for your confidence and your readership. I plan to continue enjoying YAM for a long time — but from this point forward as a fan and a reader. Best wishes to you all,


VICTORIA’S LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

PUBLISHERS Lise Gyorkos, Georgina Camilleri

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kerry Slavens

MANAGING EDITOR Athena McKenzie

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Jeffrey Bosdet PRODUCTION MANAGER Jennifer Kühtz SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Amanda Wilson LEAD GRAPHIC DESIGNER Janice Hildybrant ASSOCIATE GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jo-Ann Loro ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Rebecca Juetten PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Belle White

ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Deana Brown, Cynthia Hanischuk, Gary Hollick

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Linda Barnard, Cinda Chavich, Julia Dilworth, David Lennam, Danielle Pope

CONTRIBUTING FASHION EDITOR Janine Metcalfe

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jeffrey Bosdet, Joshua Lawrence, Belle White

Come get your

PROOFREADER Paula Marchese CONTRIBUTING AGENCIES Getty Images pp. 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 40; Stocksy pp. 19, 24, 52

GENERAL INQUIRIES info@yammagazine.com LETTERS TO THE EDITOR letters@yammagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE TO YAM subscriptions@yammagazine.com ADVERTISING INQUIRIES sales@yammagazine.com ONLINE yammagazine.com FACEBOOK facebook.com/YAMmagazine TWITTER twitter.com/YAMmagazine INSTAGRAM @yam_magazine ON THE COVER Photographed on location in Beacon Hill Park. Wardrobe provided by Frances Grey. Styling by Janine Metcalfe. Photo by Jeffrey Bosdet.

Published by PAGE ONE PUBLISHING 580 Ardersier Road, Victoria, B.C. V8Z 1C7 T 250-595-7243 info@pageonepublishing.ca pageonepublishing.ca Printed in Canada by Transcontinental Printing. Ideas and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of Page One Publishing Inc. or its affiliates; no official endorsement should be inferred. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement, and any and all representations or warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not the publisher. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, in all or part, in any form — printed or electronic — without the express permission of the publisher. The publisher cannot be held responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement #41295544

1023 Fort Street, Victoria, BC 250.920.7653

ADVERTISE IN YAM MAGAZINE YAM is Victoria’s lifestyle magazine, connecting readers to the distinctive lifestyle and authentic luxury of the West Coast. For advertising info, please call 250-595-7243 or email sales@yammagazine.com.

M-Sat 10-6 | Sun 11-5 heartandsoleshoes.ca contact@heartandsoleshoes.ca

12

YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

BC


HERE + NOW

Get the Scoop

JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE

It’s not truly summer until you’ve engaged in that elaborate sunny-day ritual: the careful dance of eating your ice cream slowly enough to avoid the dreaded ice-cream headache, and quickly enough that it doesn’t melt down the cone. They say practice makes perfect and Victoria offers plenty of opportunities to work on your technique, with its many purveyors of frozen treats. A recent addition, Virtuous Pie serves up pints and housemade cones of vegan ice cream that come in tempting flavours like salted caramel-and-pretzel and cookies-and-cream.

Kendal and her daughter Amelia are in front of the mural by NASARIMBA on the side of the Rockslide Gallery.

YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

13


WALK THIS W AY We asked three top shoe experts from local boutiques to name their go-to pick for the perfect summer sandal.

1

The Etna Espadrille from Toni Pons “You absolutely must have an espadrille in your summer closet,” says Christina Georgeadis of Waterlily Shoes in Sidney. “Comfortable, fashionable and at a price point that means you can get more than one colour!” Available at Waterlily in red, yellow, white, black and navy leather.

MAKE IT DENIM

W

PHOTOS: BERKLEY VOPNFJÖRÐ

“We don’t use any new material — and even the buttons and pockets are reclaimed.”

hen stylist Mariel Aileen and photographer Berkley Vopnfjörð started thrifting and creating their own perfect pairs of jeans using second-hand denim, they realized they had a product that was in demand. “The vintage jeans look is something so many people want, but it’s so hard to find anything that actually fits properly,” Vopnfjörð says. The two friends started Today Denim out of a studio TODAY Denim’s custom-made jeans, Bucket Hat and Dune in Quadra Village. In the Bag (left) are all created from beginning, the pair worked reclaimed denim. one-on-one with clients to create perfectly fitting custom jeans from vintage, thrifted or second-hand denim. Now the pair is stepping back from fittings and rebuilds to focus on special collections recreated from recycled denim. “The fashion industry in general and denim are such pollutants to our environment,” Rotherham says. “And the quality of the vintage denim is amazing. This year we’re creating hats and bags out of all of our scraps. We don’t use any new material — and even the buttons and pockets are reclaimed.” todaydenim.com

14

YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

2

NIELS Sandal from Mephisto “This is my favourite sandal ever,” says Keith Gage-Cole of Heart & Sole Shoes on Fort Street. “This sandal is durable and so comfortable.”

3

The Heeled Slide from Hispanitas “I can’t resist this gorgeous slide from Spanish brand Hispanitas,” says Niomi Wood of Head Over Heels in the Atrium. “This easy yet sophisticated style is just as perfect with cuffed jeans as a long sundress!”


Joyful Accessories Cait Wind describes her jewelry as “wearable art.” The bold and whimsical pieces are inspired by Victoria — both its people and places — and some of her pieces contain Vancouver Island beach sand, infusing her connection to this place. “From seasonal blooms, to local craft beer labels, to that specific way the light hits the Olympic Mountains at sunset while you walk Dallas Road, I’m constantly influenced by the colour, movement and form that surrounds me,” Wind says. “I also prioritize wearability. I’ve chosen to work with polymer clay, as it’s incredibly durable and lightweight. Every piece is created by hand with an immense sense of delicacy, respect and care.” caitwind.com

Eloping at Home When Barb Walker of French Kiss Events and Shara Zimmerman of Bash Specialty initially created Elopement in a Box, it was for couples wanting an intimate, luxury elopement, in a Bonnie-Henry-approved way. “We quickly realized that the desire for a special dining experience at home is something many people are craving right now,” Walker says. “Whether it’s a wedding, anniversary, birthday, or just a regular ol’ Tuesday to celebrate, sometimes it’s worth elevating the experience.”

The Vibrant package from Elopement in a Box offers a bright floral palette, featuring seasonal local blooms, concrete plates and white and gold cutlery.

Their service offers four curated allinclusive options with distinctive styles. Each has unique florals, table designs and linens, as well as menu, cocktail and dessert choices. For non-wedding celebrations, there is an a la carte box where one can pick only the elements they want. “We’ve been thrown a massive curveball this year, and everyone is handling it with such grace,” Walker says. “Couples love that this allows them to have a magical experience. They also love that we are working with all local vendors and suppliers, meaning they continue to support their community as they celebrate their event.” elopementinabox.com

YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

15


Vintage charm with a modern twist

T

We the Free Fresh and New Hacci sweater from Free People, one of the lifestyle brands carried at Merchant Quarters.

he location “got the whole thing going” for the new modern general store, Merchant Quarters, in the Belmont Building at the corner of Government and Humboldt streets. “We’re long-time retailers from Whistler and thought that this corner was one of the best locations in Victoria,” says co-owner Sandy Black. “This space has such a wonderful history in Victoria. Huge 16-foot ceilings with expansive glazing really make the space, and we have added some general store touches like vintage ceiling fans, a turn-of-the-century baker’s table and an apothecary counter retrofitted for high-end sunglasses.” The shop focuses on beautiful and functional goods produced by socially responsible vendors with mindful and fair trade philosophies, and carries larger brands, such as Free People and Scotch & Soda alongside local artisans, such as Swallow Jewellery, Salt and Seaweed Apothecary and Island Wick Candle Co. “We have also teamed up with Sidney Scones and are really pleased to announce we will be the new downtown pickup location for their delicious scones!” merchantquarters.com

LOCAL FOOD FINDS

2

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YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

3

Canadian Movers and Cocktail Shakers By Cinda Chavich

Victoria barman Shawn Soole has a new book, Great Northern Cocktails, with inspirations from across the country. The Aussie — who put our city on the map with his passion for creating cocktails — explores G R E AT N O R T H E R N Canadian cocktail C O C K TA I L S culture beyond the ubiquitous Bloody Caesar, and profiles mixologists SHAWN SOOLE from coast to coast. Whether it’s the makers and shakers at your favourite local watering hole (think Veneto, Little Jumbo, Clive’s, Cenote) or the top big city bartenders in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, you will find lots of creative cocktail recipes in this collection. Shake up something for a summery happy hour. As for us, we’ll be on a patio sipping a Spilt Milk or The Red River Shopping Cart. HIDDEN in the vast northern reaches of North America, Canadian bartenders have been shaking, stirring, building, and throwing some of the finest drinks the world has ever savoured. Yes, there’s more to Canada’s mixed drink repertoire than its national beverage, the Bloody Caesar! Victoria barman and author Shawn Soole proudly presents the people and drinks that introduce readers to this widening scope of concepts and concoctions in Great Northern Cocktails.

S H A W N S O O L E

Talk about a hidden gem. Dumpling Drop now has a small physical location at 556A Pandora Avenue. The dumpling-delivery service — and pop-up favourite — has won a devoted following, with weekly drop-offs selling out quickly. Now fans can pick up classic shrimp and chive, veggie and kimchi or the local pork belly dumplings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the Chinatown location — owners Tarn and Toom are still offering regular delivery.

Who says nothing good ever came out of a can? Victoria Distillers, the makers of the awardwinning Empress 1908 Gin, have launched a line of tasty canned gin cocktails. The Strait & Narrow Pacific Coast Cocktails are lightly carbonated, made with custom, botanically distilled gins. Grapefruit Rosemary is made with a rosemary gin, Pear Rhubarb with rhubarb gin and Lemon Lavender with lavender gin. Keeping it hyper-local, the distiller is working with Ravenhill Herb Farm to source their rosemary and lavender, and with Fraser Valley rhubarb growers.

G R E AT N O R T H E R N C O C K TA I L S

1

Dumpling Divas

Portable Potables


COLOUR CRUSH Victoria maker Melissa Labelle of Wychbury Ave creates bath and body products that look good enough to eat.

“Colour brings me joy, and I see how much others are positively affected by colour,” Labelle says. “Creating a beautiful product fulfills my creative needs, and I love that it brings happiness to others too.” She handmakes all of Wychbury’s products in small batches, from scratch, using fair-trade and ethically sourced ingredients, and everything has plasticfree and refillable packaging. “Our soaps are our most popular product,” she says. “They’re bright and colourful, in lightly scented and unscented varieties, and are very creamy and moisturizing for even the most sensitive skin. We also donate 25 cents from each soap to organizations supporting women in need.” wychburyave.com

SERENE ISL AND ESCAPE YAM CONTEST ALERT!

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Nestled in a coastal forest on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island, the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa is the perfect place for the ultimate getaway. Our winner will receive two nights in a new Ocean Courtyard Room — and the Pacific Mist Hydropath experience for two. Contest closes September 4. Visit yammagazine.com to enter.

YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

17


20 ways to

celebrate summer Staying close to home means you can savour the simple pleasures of summer. Here, you’ll find an abundance of easy ideas for your “staycation” — from relishing the joy of blowing bubbles to mixing a sunset cocktail while you watch the nightfall — to help you make the most of the season. By Kerry Slavens

1

Beat the potential crowds and head to your favourite swimming hole for an early morning dip. Not only will you get a quiet moment in nature, but the invigorating chill of the water will give you an energy boost that will last all day. Great spots include Durrance Lake and Thetis Lake — or you could make it a day trip and jump in Shawnigan Lake, followed by a locally inspired meal at the recently opened The Lakehouse at Shawnigan.

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YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

CHRISTIAN TISDALE/STOCKSY

Go swim in a lake


2

Get bubbly

It doesn’t matter if you have kids to entertain — or you just want to indulge your inner child, bubbles are big-time backyard entertainment. Here’s a recipe to make great big, gloopy bubbles. And why not invite a few friends over and combine bubbles with some Island strawberries and bubbly sparkling wine from Blue Grouse? How to make bubbles • 1/2 cup corn starch • 6 cups water (distilled is best, but tap water is fine) • 1/2 cup ultra-concentrated dish detergent • 1 Tbsp baking powder • 1 Tbsp glycerine • Giant bubble wand (Buy a wand or use two drinking straws and a length of yarn six to eight times the length of one straw. Thread the yarn through the straws, tie a knot and make bubbles.) Dissolve cornstarch in water, stirring well, then stir in the

rest off the ingredients. (Don’t create a lot of froth.) Allow bubble mixture to sit for at least an hour, stirring occasionally when you see the cornstarch settling to the bottom. Pour into a large shallow baking pan or casserole dish. Note: Some of the cornstarch won’t dissolve completely; this won’t affect the quality of your bubbles. The more bubbles you make, the silkier the mixture gets.

Freeze your florals

For a cool way to bring colour to summer drinks, freeze edible flowers in ice cubes. Fill an ice-cube tray with extra-large compartments one quarter of the way with water. Then place edible flowers, such as pansies, snapdragons, nasturtiums face down in each compartment, then freeze. Once frozen, add more water to fill halfway, and freeze once more. Fill to the top, and freeze again.

JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE

3

Leah from Key Model Management is wearing the Z&L dress, available at Frances Grey. Styling by Janine Metcalfe.

TIP: For the

clearest ice cubes,

KIM LUCIAN/STOCKSY

use distilled water, boiled first, then cooled.

4

Create an outdoor oasis

Make your deck an outdoor getaway that offers a retreat from the daily grind (especially if you’re working from home). With a little creativity, you can transform an under-used patio or patch of grass into an inviting seasonal room. Of utmost importance is comfortable seating. Modular options can be combined to optimize the space. Add some low tables, an outdoor rug and some colourful throw pillows, and you’re set.

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VANCITYWILD

Follow the sun

Hang out in five-star style

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of staying at a local luxury hotel like the Fairmont Empress, Chateau Victoria, Oak Bay Beach Hotel or the Magnolia. This is the summer to do it as so many local hotels are offering up staycation deals.

Every staycation needs a playlist

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Missing outdoor music festivals? You may not be able to recreate the vibe, but you can still enjoy the tunes. Check out the September 2019: September Forever playlist on Spotify, created by local Victoria band, the Rocktographers. It brings together all the past artists that have played Rifflandia Festival over the past 11 years.

Give yourself the gift of a summer sunset from Walbran Park Lookout — one of the most scenic places to watch the sun slide below the horizon. Mix a mocktail, then head for Denison Road, just past the Gonzales Observatory, to see our region in a spectacular new way. Other great sunset spots: Mount Doug, Mount Tolmie, Ogden Point, Macaulay Point Park and most places along Dallas Road.

Victoria Pink Sunset Mocktail Combine: • 3 cups puréed watermelon • 5 cups sparkling water • 1 cup lime juice • 1/2 cup simple syrup Serve over ice and garnish with mint leaves.

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Hang out in a hammock There are few things better than lazing on a summer afternoon in a comfy hammock with a favourite beach read. Visit Capitol Iron or MEC — or try Granville Island’s The Hang Out Place (thehangoutplace.com), famous for its selection of hammocks from Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil, Ecuador and Indonesia, and its “Hang Out” hammock chair.

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Ethical, Dedicated, Reliable.

9

Rent a convertible

Every day your REALTOR ÂŽ goes to work for you.

Evoke that California vibe by going topdown on a sunny day. Rent a convertible, pack a picnic lunch in the cooler, plug in your summer playlist and head out along the West Coast to big-surf beaches like French Beach or China Beach.

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Hike the Marine Trail The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail traces the Pacific Ocean at the western edge of Vancouver Island. There are different trailheads, but hiking from China Beach to Botanical Beach makes for an epic multiday trek. Just make sure to stay up-to-date on tidal information as there are times of day when high tide can be dangerous for adventurers. More details about accessing the trailhead can be found at hikebiketravel.com.

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Go glamping at home

Pitch a big canvas tent in your backyard, light it up with fairy lights and fill it with big plush pillows, faux sheepskins, cozy furniture and an outdoor sound system. For more mood lighting, wrap battery-powered string lights around firewood or use battery-operated tea lights or votive candles (since you can’t have a fire in a tent!). If you plan to sleep outdoors, why not use palettes to create a bed base, then top it with foam or a futon. Spend your summer outside!

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Do the drive-in COVID-19 has taken away many of our summer socials, but the need for social distancing has also brought back the drive-in movie, thanks to the University of Victoria. Go online to reserve your spot for the Legacy Drive-In, pop some corn and head up to UVic’s Parking Lot 10 for some under-the-stars inthe-cars cinema, with classics like Dirty Dancing. Thursday to Saturday, 9:30 pm to 11 pm. Reserve your space at legacydrivein.com.

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Reach new heights This summer, when you are seeking new vistas, head for LÁU,WELNEW (Mount Newton) in John Dean Provincial Park, overlooking the Saanich Peninsula and the Gulf Islands. Known as “place of refuge,” the park features one of the last stands of old-growth Douglas firs and Garry oaks on the Peninsula. At the summit, watch the bald eagles and turkey vultures display their soaring techniques. It’s also a great place to watch sunsets. Of note: Saanich First Nations tell the story of the Great Flood, believed to have happened more than 10,000 years ago. They say LÁU,WELNEW was the “place of refuge” where their ancestors tied their boats to an arbutus tree at the summit of the mountain.

Live Life Incredibly WWW.INCREDIBLEHOME.CA

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CLOSETS • KITCHENS


BRUCE & LINDA HOLLAND/BRAKELIGHTFOTO

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Gather around the firepit Nothing says summer quite like evenings spent around the fire, sharing stories and songs. Today’s propane and gas firepits come in a sophisticated array of styles, which means there’s no need to worry about the mess of traditional wood campfires. Why not make this a nightly family ritual for the summer months? It may surprise you how the warmth and intimacy of fire has the magic to connect people. S’mores, anyone?

Should you contribute to your RRSP or your TFSA? The decision can be taxing. The best strategy might be to contribute to both. Learn more about the differences and benefits of each. Contact me to get started.

Brian Young, PFP Investment Specialist and Financial Planner

250-216-8159

brianjp.young@scotiabank.com

Registered trademark of The Bank of Nova Scotia, used under licence. Scotiabank includes The Bank of Nova Scotia and its subsidiaries and affiliates, including Scotia Securities Inc. As used in this document, “Investment Specialist and Financial Planner”, “Scotiabank Investment Specialist” and “Financial Planner and Investment Specialist” refers to a Scotia Securities Inc. mutual fund representative or, in Quebec, a Group Savings Plan Dealer Representative who is also registered in the category of Financial Planner. Scotia Securities Inc. is a member of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association. 5587-2020-0604 F1

EXOTICPEBBLESANDGLASS.COM

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Proud to be your community pharmacy

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Do yoga in the park Many yoga poses take their names from nature — imagine harnessing the stability of a tree while standing in Vrksasana. From literally reaching for the sky to awakening your senses in nature, there are plenty of reasons to take your yoga practice outside. The City of Victoria, with One Yoga Victoria, will be doing guided classes at Royal Athletic Park this summer; and Oak Bay Beach Hotel is offering oceanside sunrise yoga.

Broadmead Pharmasave is locally owned and operated, serving the community from our convenient Broadmead Village Shopping Centre location. In addition to our award-winning giftware department, come in to see us for our full-service pharmacy and compounding lab, cosmetics department, and post office. 

Find expertly curated gifts in store — like Salt Spring Island’s Cedar Mountain Studios’ art blocks

PHARMASAVE BROADMEAD Broadmead Village Shopping Centre 310-777 Royal Oak Drive 250-727-3505 pharmasavebroadmead.com

YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

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Picnic en plein air Picnics are an art form in France, so why not bring a bit of Parisian flair to your summer with a French-inspired picnic in the park? Find a spot under some Garry oaks (Playfair Park is ideal), spread out a blanket and share a simple lunch of hard and soft cheeses, fresh fruit, and a baguette with hummus, tapenade, jams and real butter. Finish with some pastries. To complete the Parisian feel, wear a light summery dress and a stylish straw hat. Embrace that joie de vivre!

TEGAN MCMARTIN

www.bodacious.ca

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PIETRO KARRAS/STOCKSY

fashions by

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Get a cool delivery Could anything be cooler than an ice cream delivery? How about a subscription that makes it happen once a month? With their Pint Club, 49 Below — which makes its ice cream in small batches, with all-natural ingredients — automatically delivers one unique monthly membership pint and one of their classic flavours each month. Past membership flavours have included Matcha, Rhubarb Cardamom Brittle, Strawberries and Cream and Honeycomb. Sign us up!

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Host a Great British Game Off A summer sunny afternoon is perfect to set up your backyard for a game of croquet followed by afternoon tea, English-style. Invest in a backyard croquet set, invite friends over for a socially distanced game, then serve a proper afternoon tea in the garden. And because COVID-19 has taken away many opportunities to celebrate, why not serve some bubbly? Cheers!

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Indulge in reading time

Remember the joys of the local library’s summer reading challenge? You might not get badges or prizes, but consider starting your own reading project. (The reduced screen time will be reward enough.) You could even start a book club with socially distanced meetups in a neighhourhood park. Why not start with a local read, such as Kathy Page’s Dear Evelyn, which won the most recent City of Victoria Butler Book Prize.

Breakfast in bed

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For many, a favourite vacation indulgence is a room service breakfast. So why not make that happen at home? The Village restaurants are doing local delivery, along with many of the city’s favourite brunch spots. Get your tray ready the night before (do add a fresh flower!) and just transfer the food to your best plates. Make sure your favourite book or magazine is at hand, and take your time — breakfast in bed is never to be rushed.

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YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

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HOME & LIFESTYLE

SEASCAPE IN THE CIT Y

A steep embankment in Cadboro Bay becomes the setting for this oceanside retreat from urban life. By Danielle Pope Photos by Joshua Lawrence

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W

hen architect Chris Foyd first saw the site of the house he would design above Cadboro Bay, he understood why the homeowners had purchased this lot sight unseen. High above the water with striking views of the bay, the 10,000-square-foot property was perched amongst its own trees, with private access to the water. It was also a property that reflected how rare a place like Victoria is — where people can escape the urban core in minutes without sacrificing city life. Yet this site came with an obvious challenge that explained why it had rested on the market for three years while a neighbourhood grew around it. Under the overgrowth, the property predominately occupied a jagged cliff, with a sharp drop toward the water. The build would need to be constructed at a complicated angle, all while keeping the legal setbacks in mind. Yet Foyd, a Canadian-educated, Danish-registered architect and the co-principal of 519 Design + Build, was confident the spot could work, and would be the ideal location for an athletic family relocating to the Island. That family was Kari Ericksen, Tom Wilson and their three children, who were moving to Victoria from Edmonton after their twin boys had been accepted into a prestigious lacrosse program. Ericksen says they needed to be centrally located — close to town and schools — but also wanted to be near the water.

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The kitchen is one-part modern work space, onepart gallery showroom. The family created this home to fill many purposes, but its design-forward esthetic is exemplified by the statement orange Kartell Spoon stools, which offset the natural tones of the custom white-oak cabinetry. Near the kitchen is one of homeowner Kari Ericksen’s favourite pieces: “Caitlin” from local artist Joe Coffey, originally found at Victoria’s Winchester Galleries.

D I S C O V E R

Breathtaking PAT I O

D I N I N G

I N

T H E

S K Y

Rated as having one of the best views in all of Canada, enjoy sweeping views overlooking Finlayson Arm and the Olympic Mountains while dining at Alpina Restaurant. Treat yourself to a world-class culinary experience featuring classic European dishes with a modern West Coast twist.

Located just 15 minutes north of Lang ford 600 Ebadora Lane, Malahat, BC | 250.856.0188 | villaeyrie.com | @ VillaEyrie

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This open-concept living area can be quickly transformed into a floor hockey rink — sometimes for as many as 15 kids. Other times it serves as a spot for family gatherings. The orange Ligne Roset Togo loungers add a pop of colour, visually linking this open area to the kitchen, and the European frameless glass gas-burning fireplace brings cozy ambience to any evening. The white oak staircase is a special feature of the home, with inset lighting highlighting the geometric architecture of its structure.

“THIS HOME HAS MANY INTRICATE DETAILS THAT SHOW A REAL ATTENTION TO FUNCTIONALITY FOR THIS FAMILY, AND IT’S GREAT TO SEE THOSE ELEMENTS COME TO LIFE.”


This spot was a perfect match. However, when she and Wilson realized the land was actually a steep embankment, they were a bit concerned. “Coming from the flatlands, it’s hard to imagine how you build a home on a steep hill,” says Ericksen. “I suspect if you’re from here, you wouldn’t think twice about it, but we were lucky to have Chris’s vision to guide us.” Another challenge Foyd and his team would face was that the house needed to be completed within 11 months to accommodate the move date, and had to incorporate a list of needs from the family — which included identical rooms for the twins, a personal gym, a two-car garage and a modern Scandinavian atmosphere, to name a few. That, along with building the house over a deep crevasse, would prove a formidable task. “The entire structure is really hanging above the water, so we created a floor plan that’s in reverse to your traditional multilevel home. You’re nearly eye-level with the roof from the road, then the levels fall away dramatically towards the water,” says Foyd. “We wanted to break up the journey you take through the home by creating interest along the way, and we found some creative ways to do that.” Foyd was able to achieve interest from the entryway with a wooden “bridge” over the chasm that connects the garage to the house. From there, elegant steps lead people up to the master level, or down through the home’s main landing and basement levels. The 4,000-squarefoot home hosts five bedrooms, including a separated master suite and twin rooms for the boys, as well as five bathrooms, a gym and media room in the lower level that overlooks the water, a walk-out spa area and a spacious two-car garage. An esplanade along the property hosts a small orchard of passion fruit trees, easily grown in this sunny, wind-sheltered, west-facing location. Much of the property’s landscape, designed by Demitasse Garden Design & Build, is, in fact, edible. “The house itself is very open, and it was wonderful to be able to work with Kari, who has a strong vision for her home and knows what she wants,” says Foyd. “This home has many intricate details that show a real attention to functionality for this family, and it’s great to see those elements come to life.” Al Southall, the primary contractor on the house, says with a project like this, the hardest part is the complexity of the worksite. “You meet every obstacle as it arises, and really that starts with the architect. We had an excellent team on this project, and even though we faced some real challenges with the site and that sharp drop-off, everything went pretty smoothly,” says Southall. “You can achieve just about

FROM CONCEPTUAL DESIGN TO FULL-SERVICE CONSTRUCTION

Design

After

250-880-1188 FLINTSTONESDESIGNBUILD.COM

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NATURAL MATERIALS, LIKE WOOD, STONE, CONCRETE AND GLASS BUILD A WEST COAST MOTIF THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE.

CHMS_YAM_Ad_June_2020_X1a.pdf

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With in-floor heating and private views, this master “wing” of the house offers a quiet reprieve from hectic days. The master ensuite features a special steam shower with Statuario marble walls, and a Kohler cast iron underground Tea-for-Two bathtub that enhances the spa quality of this room.


anything with the right planning.” One structural emergency turned into a boon when the neighbouring lot began caving in and a concrete retaining wall had to be created. That wall, with sand beneath it, turned into the perfect lacrosse practice area for the boys. “When we envisioned this house, we needed something that suited our lifestyle, so we went for durable elements like the concrete flooring,” says Ericksen. “There have been times when we’ve had 15 kids playing floor hockey in our living room, and nothing is bothered by it.” Ericksen brought her own passion for design to this project, and worked with Foyd and the contractor to create an environment that could showcase her love of contemporary art with broad gallery walls, as well as pay tribute to her bright, modern minimalist style. The open-concept kitchen and living area helps the family stay connected throughout the house, but separated floors — like the boys’ lower level — offer privacy and space for all. Natural materials, like wood, stone, concrete and glass build a West Coast motif throughout the house. The marble steam shower presents a special feature in the ensuite, and custom millwork by Jason Good Custom Cabinets creates a stylized look, including a custom bed with an integrated panel wall. Comfort is added through in-floor heating, windows with privacy views and an entryway custom designed with storage for a bustling family. That said, Ericksen says her favourite feature of the house is a spot nearly everyone gravitates toward: the window seat in dining room. “That seat is the place we all sit and visit. With the way it looks out over the water and opens into the kitchen, you feel like you’re connected and visiting with someone, even while they’re busy cooking,” says Ericksen. “It’s my favourite place for us to all be together.”

RESOURCES DESIGNER: Chris Foyd, BoForm (BA, MArch, Arkitekt MAA, Registered in Denmark) BUILDER: Al Southhall, Southall’s Construction MILLWORK: Jason Good Custom Cabinets COUNTERTOPS: Stone Age Marble

THE AGENCY WELCOMES BRIGGS & STRATTON AND ASSOCIATES

Sophia Briggs*, Nancy Stratton and Rebecca Barritt

*Personal Real Estate Corporation

w: briggsandstrattonrealtors.com p: 250.592.1042

WINDOWS: Starline Windows LANDSCAPING: Demitasse Garden Centre

2185 Theatre Lane, Oak Bay, Victoria, BC, V8R 6T1

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THE

fernwood FACTOR The heart of the Fernwood neighbourhood is the intersection of Gladstone Avenue and Fernwood Road, where the Belfry Theatre, Fernwood Inn, Little June Cafe and Luna Collective each occupy a corner. Below: David Listhaeghe, owner of Stage.

Once a downtrodden part of the inner city, Fernwood has become a stylishly creative urban hub, home to designer street fairs, renovated heritage homes next to modern builds, hip boutiques, design studios, busy eateries and some of Victoria’s most fascinating people. This is the story of the evolving neighbourhood — told by the neighbourhood. As told to Julia Dilworth

Danger, drama and a stabbing at the Belfry

“When The Belfry, then the Emmanuel Baptist Church, was first built in 1887, it was way out in the country, in what was known then as Spring Ridge ... Over the years the congregation grew, and it added a sanctuary, gymnasium and a dining hall before moving out in 1970. Then the building just sat there. Some enterprising folks decided they were going to open a youth hostel, which slowly transitioned into a homeless shelter.

JO-ANN RICHARDS

JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE

MARK DUSSEAULT, director of marketing and communications, The Belfry Theatre


Happily surrounded by weirdos AUTUMN MAXWELL, owner, Cold Comfort

JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE

“I wasn’t seeking a storefront for my ice cream when I saw the for lease sign on this place, but Fernwood is sort of my hood. The first place I moved to from my mom’s house in Brentwood Bay at age 18 was just above where Stage is now. I paid $200 a month for a room in this shared rooming house situation. I shared a kitchen and a bathroom with these weirdo artist people down the hall, who later turned out to be my friends — they’re actually responsible for these three characters I just had painted on the side of my shop. The other sort of ghoulish face mural on the wall is by artist Hans Fear. He was very well respected in the graffiti world. He’s no longer with us, but that piece of art over there, no one touches it. I’m guessing it’s been there for 20 to 30 years ... I’m just kind of adding to the wall in the hopes that it will develop and grow and be regarded one day as an untouchable collage of individual arts. I want my neighbourhood to be the kind of place that I want someone to fill me in on if I’m going to a new city, like, ‘You have to go to this area, and you have to go to this spot and see this thing.” BELLE WHITE/YAM MAGAZINE

JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE

If you want to consider any part of Victoria a rough part, this was the rougher part. Fernwood, for a long time, was kind of the dumping grounds for the city ... The Belfry Theatre started off as the Spring Ridge cultural centre in about 1974, and that was just a group of people who rented a space inside the homeless shelter. One night while a show was on, a guy got stabbed in the Fernwood Square outside and stumbled into our tiny makeshift lobby. Our box office manager called the ambulance, but meanwhile the man was bleeding all over the carpets. Paramedics came and he was taken to the hospital and was fine, but as the audience came out at intermission, we just had to say, ‘Somebody spilled red wine, watch out for the wine!’ In those early days, you weren’t taking your life into your hands, but you never knew what you were going to find when you showed up at the theatre.”

GLITTER poles And Terry the Bubble Man CATE WEBB, owner, Black Cat Tattoo

“Almost all of the business owners in this square are women, which is awesome.”

“I have lived in and out of Fernwood for the last seven or eight years. Currently, I live upstairs above the [former location of my tattoo shop]. This space used to be a throughway for horse carriages to get to the stables, you can still see the brick archway is cut in half. Before I took over, it was a methadone clinic. Almost all of the business owners in this square are women, which is awesome. The first time I ever saw Fernwood, I stumbled upon it by accident with some friends on a bike ride, and I was like, ‘What is this place?’ I had been living here for 12 years already and I remember thinking it just didn’t look like the rest of Victoria. I didn’t see it again until I started working in the Cornerstone coffee shop (now Little June) years later. What makes Fernwood super special is the people that find themselves here are very artsy people, very community-minded people, and there are a ton of characters around — like Terry, the bubble man. Terry is Fernwood. If Fernwood had a heart, it would be Terry. He is bizarre, but wonderful and kind. Every day he gets up and he goes and gets his espresso and he stands outside, rain or shine, and he blows bubbles for people. Not just children, but for people. The yearly pole painting is another thing you don’t really see in other neighbourhoods ... There’s this one on Pembroke Street. It’s a beautiful cream colour with glitter spread all over it — that’s the best one.”

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Preserving connections to the past

Welcome to a Gulf Island on the Island MIKE COLWILL, general manager and landlord, the Fernwood Inn “We bought the whole building 13 years ago, and the first thing I would do in the morning for the first year that we owned the place was walk around the property and sweep up needles. Sometimes two or three, sometimes a dozen. It was a restaurant previously, called the George & Dragon, a real dump. Our group that bought the building is made up of people who’ve grown up in Victoria, and we all saw the potential for the Fernwood Inn, and how we had an opportunity to turn this pub into a real cornerstone of the neighbourhood. You can bring your family in here, your sports team, grab food before a show at The Belfry, it’s young people, old people, all kind of meshed together. I think a lot of Fernwood’s cache comes down to how accepting everybody is of everybody else. Fernwood has its own culture that’s unique to Victoria, but it’s got a kind of laissez-faire, Gulf-Island vibe.”

“Fernwood’s a lot like a village. A lot of the faces that I see day-to-day are the same people I’ve been seeing for the last two decades. And it’s a place where, when my kids were younger, I always felt like if they did wander out of the yard, the first person they’d encounter would probably be someone they knew. There’s a neighbourly vibe where people are quick to help each other out. When it snowed in January, I went outside and my neighbour Paul was already shovelling my sidewalk. I think Fernwood’s really developed in a cool way where it hasn’t just been completely torn down and rebuilt. The Thompson family sold us this building when we really needed a home for our cafe, after we lost our lease in the last building, one street over. Stan built the building in 1970, and his son Steve had worked there his

entire life. He offered to sell it to us that day, and it was done over a handshake. Those kinds of connections are so important to us. The original sign for Stan Thompson’s Auto Upholstery is still out front. The building where our other cafe is, Little June, on the corner of Gladstone and Fernwood, is 114 years old. I lived on that block back when it was boarded up and the upstairs was a crackhouse. We got a tour when the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group took over, and if you hired the best Hollywood set designer and told them to make the craziest slum crack house you could, they could not have done better. Every square inch of the place was covered in graffiti inside. There was no furniture to speak of, no working bathrooms — it was pretty shocking. The NRG completely turned it around.” JAQUELINE DOWNEY

BELLE WHITE/YAM MAGAZINE

BEN CRAM, Fernwood resident and owner, Fernwood Coffee Company and Parsonage Cafe and co-owner, Little June

“Fernwood has its own culture that’s unique to Victoria...”

THE FERNWOOD OUTFIT? “The men are wearing full track suits, Adidas pants and hoodies. While the women are wearing what they’ve got going on at Luna Collective: kind of 70s vintage in earth tones with cool and funky locally made earrings.” — Emily Deslaurier, yoga teacher and Fernwood resident

A neighbourhood built for humans EMILY DESLAURIER, yoga teacher and Fernwood resident JESSICA JEFFERSON

“My first apartment here was a house with a group of girls on Denman Street; we called it the Denman Disco Den. I moved into my own studio space above the

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Fernwood Inn two years ago this May, and I love it. I feel like I’m on vacation in an Airbnb. I just walk down and get my coffee at Little June, like I’m in Europe and you get to look out onto this quaint little square. Here you have everything you need access to right in your vicinity. A good-vibes coffee spot to hang out; tacos, which you have at Mesa Familiar,

wine and fancy cocktails, if you want a nice spot for finedining-ish at Stage; the pub if you want to get a beer — and it’s all really walkable. There’s so much foot traffic, and it’s a place where people can stop and acknowledge each other. I feel like modern cities, since we invented cars, are so divided. It’s hard to actually have face-to-face

connections. Back in the day, people built things around the church, around the community, around hanging out in these public places, and so here it just feels right. It feels human. I’m shifting out of yoga, but inspired by the connectedness of Fernwood, I’m looking at other ways to bring wellness to the community.”


You’re never in Fernwood by accident

BUY LOCAL SUPPORT LOCAL RECOVER LOCAL

ERYN BEATTIE, owner, Luna Collective “I had no idea what I was doing, I didn’t save up a bunch of money. I just went for it, because this space in Fernwood became available. I took possession September 1, 2017, and I opened my shop Luna Collective 10 days later. My favourite thing about my space is that it’s in Fernwood. I love being here. I love this community — ­ the feeling of being in a neighbourhood. There’s a small part of me that feels I could use a bigger space, but I don’t want to leave Fernwood. Since opening, I’ve hosted a few workshops at the community centre, with Vic High students, teaching them about sustainability and upcycling clothing. There are a lot of younger people here who are really passionate about their community, and that has a big impact.

“I love this community — the feeling of being in a neighbourhood.”

BELLE WHITE/YAM MAGAZINE

BUYLOCALCOWICHAN.CA

Getting here, in terms of location, you’re not necessarily passing through Fernwood, so I feel like a lot of people who are in Fernwood are here because they want to be. I think people go out of their way for things that they love.”

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WIKIPEDIA

Multi-generational living in a spaceship house ANNE HEINL, Fernwood resident “My son and daughter-in-law bought a pre-1912 house on Walnut Street 13 years ago in Fernwood after years of living and renting in the neighbourhood — they loved that community feel. Prices were more affordable than other areas in Victoria too. When I retired from my job at UVic, my next job was looking after the grandkids, so I was coming down from Sidney in the morning, getting them off to school, picking them up and staying at their house. They had outgrown the small house and were going to renovate, but it was falling apart and couldn’t be fixed. My grandson said, ‘Well, we can move, but we can’t move more than six blocks from where the house is now.’ He was 12 at the time. So we thought, ‘OK, how can we solve this thing?’ They needed a bigger house. I was driving in every day and getting older, so we came up with the idea to tear the old house down and build a three-generation house, with a separate suite for my husband and I. The best thing about my house is the multi-generational living together and how my grandchildren can come over anytime they want ice cream. I also love the natural light: how the windows are placed, it catches

“Our home caused a lot of stir in the neighbourhood when it was built ... Although it’s different, it’s blending in.”

SAMA CANZIEN

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light from every angle. We had a tight budget, and Ryan Goodman and Matt Jardine at Aryze Developments were amazing. They’re not just builders who are building to make something beautiful or big, they’re looking at ways to build houses that are more energy efficient, and thinking of the neighbourhood, the impact. One little girl down the street found out where I lived and said, ‘Oh, you live in the spaceship house.’ Our home caused a lot of stir in the neighbourhood when it was built. Probably some people would say it’s too modern or too different, but now that it’s up, we get a lot of compliments on it. Although it’s different, it’s blending in.”

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When in Fernwood, do as the locals do It’s always a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, but here’s a list of what to see, do and taste to make the most of your next walk through Fernwood.

Leave a wish on the wish tree. You’ll know it when you see it, but locals have been covering one tree in Fernwood Square with handwritten paper wish tags for more than a decade. Past wishes include, “Powers,” “$100,000.00” and “More love, less fighting,” but the message is up to you. Watch the sunset at “Fernwood Beach.” Yes, the village is landlocked, but the locals don’t care. On a hot day you’ll find scads of residents sunning themselves on the expanse of white bleachers in front of the 19thcentury-era Vic High. The cement gets really warm, and it’s the best place in Fernwood to watch the sunset.

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Grab a wood-fired pie at Standard Pizza. “Standard Pizza is the best pizza in the city,” says Fernwood Coffee Company’s Ben Cram (with confidence). “It’s the perfect mix of down-to-earth when you read what the toppings are. It doesn’t sound like it’s trying to be too fancy, but then the quality is better than the fanciest Neapolitan pizza places.” Pick fruit from the community orchard. Don’t worry, it’s not brazen theft! Behind the Community Centre is the Fernwood Neighbourhood Orchard that’s open to all. You can harvest fruit or herbs to cook up in a garden-fresh meal that night. Get your hair did inside a heritage house. DesignHouse’s second eco-salon is in a commercially zoned 1905 heritage home right on Gladstone Avenue. Hair washing happens in the home’s kitchen sink, and upcycled touches match the original hardwood floors. Owners Chantelle Pasychny and Kurtis Brown offset their power with Bullfrog Power, recycle all their colour waste,

BELLE WHITE/YAM MAGAZINE

Try a next-level breakfast sandwich at The Parsonage Cafe. “It’s on a Mount Royal bagel, and they’re always fresh and squishy,” says Cold Comfort founder (and neighbour) Autumn Maxwell. “The Slater’s bacon is delicious, but it’s the creamed spinach — oh, my god. It’s so good, it makes you feel like you’re eating something healthy, but it’s so decadent.”

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foils and tubes — plus recycled hair actually gets converted into booms that soak up oil spills.

Find graffiti and tacos at Mesa Familiar. This family-owned authentic taco spot has a small daily features menu (written in chalk on the wall) and an even smaller profile (which just adds to the intimate cozy factor). The staff will treat you like family, and you’ll love the mango and hibiscus margaritas almost as much as writing messages on the bathrooms’ blackboard walls.

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Investing for Generations Enjoy an intimate meal at Stage. Starting this summer, new owner David Listhaeghe is serving a daily prix fixe menu in the cozy space behind the restaurant’s provisions shop. “It’s got a very European feel,” he says. “And whatever’s available, that’s what chef is cooking.” Splurge on cheese knives and locally made ceramics at Pigeonhole Home Store. You won’t find a more beautiful curated collection of precious home accessories in all of Victoria, plus owner Carey Salvador carries made-inVictoria goods like Wicked Wanda pottery, Korinne Vader linen cushions, Yoshiko Godo ceramics and Picot Collective Honey Tobacco candles and scents.

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A GROWING Victoria’s Edible Landscapes

Solara Goldwynn, of local landscaping company Hatchet & Seed, harvesting turnips and edible flowers in her family’s backyard garden. Hatchet & Seed specializes in small- and largescale edible landscapes.

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FROM THE FOOD ECO DISTRICT’S EXPERIMENTAL PLANT BOXES TO MASON STREET CITY FARM AND INDIVIDUAL HOMEOWNERS PLANTING FOOD, NOT GRASS, URBAN GARDENING HAS GROWN BEYOND A TREND IN VICTORIA. By Cinda Chavich

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GROW WHAT YOU EAT There’s no doubt growing your own food, even if it’s a pot of herbs on your balcony, makes for fresher flavours on the plate. Chefs have long known the value of the potager (kitchen garden), and more locals, especially those who love good food, are replacing their grass with greens.

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Above: Solara Goldwynn, of Hatchet & Seed, with her daughter Flora, harvesting peas in the family’s backyard garden. Right: Toni Desrosiers in her family’s garden, which is their primary source of produce from April until the end of October.

“I THINK FRONT YARDS NEED TO BE FRONT FARMS.”

KELLY BROWN

KELLY BROWN

F

amed for its florals, Victoria has long been known as the City of Gardens, but these days food may be edging out flowers in the urban landscape. Whether it’s an interest in eating healthy local food or doing their bit to fight climate change, Victorians are tapping into a budding urban agriculture movement. The City of Victoria encourages urban food production with its Growing in the City initiative, which sets out guidelines for everything from how and where to grow a boulevard garden and planting fruit trees in green spaces to how many bees or hens you can keep. There’s also an Urban Food Table food policy advisory group, which helps inform and guide City Council to make decisions which encourage food production, pollinators, community gardens, foodrelated celebrations and more. Which may be one reason why Victoria is such a hotbed of gardento-table green thumbs. A recent Urban Food Table survey found some 300 Victoria gardeners growing food on two acres of urban land. Most of them were new to the gardening game — gardening for less than five years — and yet they grew nearly 2,400 grocery bags full of food. And the City wants more urbanites to pick up shovels and get growing on public and private land, with a bunch of progressive policies to turn yards into gardens of eating.


“My yard is a project,” says Toni Desrosiers, who has been slowly turning a former flower garden into a very productive food garden. “We started in the back, replacing the ornamental grasses and rhodos with herbs and tomatoes and a raspberry patch,” she says, stepping around the tidy raised beds that run from the front door to the street. “Last year, we moved into the front yard, adding blueberries and strawberries, garlic, cucumbers, peas and carrots. I think front yards need to be front farms.” The mother and small business owner (Desrosiers is the founder and CEO of Abeego beeswax food wraps) says she’s busy, but gardening is “not as much work as people think.” It’s a hobby with benefits. “Last year we grew at least 40 pounds of tomatoes, 200 bulbs of garlic and I ate bowls of strawberries every day.” With trellises covered in scarlet runner beans and cucumbers, giant pumpkins and colourful chard, Desrosiers says her food garden is also a magnet for curious neighbours, a connection to her community and a way to teach her young daughter about the value of fresh, local food. “In summer we save a ton of money — we don’t buy produce,” she says. “The biggest challenge is using all of the food we grow.”

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IF THEY BUILD IT These Instagrammable gardens are part of the urban homesteading movement, a return to a self-sufficient, DIY lifestyle that includes backyard chickens, beekeeping, cheesemaking and food preservation. Desrosiers hired Hatchet & Seed to help her transform her city lot into a food farm. The company, run by Solara Goldwynn and her husband Tayler Krawczyk, specializes in both small- and large-scale edible landscapes, and has designed many such urban food gardens, including the productive pots and planters outside Nourish Kitchen & Cafe in James Bay. “Every garden is different,” Goldwynn says of both the process and the price. “We ask people to do a survey online to assess their goals, how much time they want to spend, what’s the esthetic — and we hear all kinds of different things.” Hatchet & Seed can construct stone rain gardens to capture and divert water, create permaculture landscapes and food forests and set up self-watering “wicking bed” planters to keep vegetables hydrated. Many of these sustainable ideas are showcased in their own home garden, a productive collection of raised beds filled with perennial and annual edibles, a compact greenhouse, a wriggling worm compost bin and a clever chicken coop that lets their hens recycle food scraps and garden waste on site. It’s a tidy, closed system that provides their small family with food for most of the year. But not all of their projects are entirely food focused. Goldwynn says edible landscapes can be both stylish spots to sit in on a summer day and productive places to grow healthy food.

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BELLE WHITE

L to R: Yates Street Community Garden turned an empty lot into downtown’s first community garden; The Market Garden grows organic produce in its backlot; TOPSOIL transformed a swath of Dockside Green’s undeveloped land into an urban farm.

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“A lot of people just want to spend more time in their yards,” she says, “and they want their gardens to feed them in different ways.” You can plant what you like to eat and things that you can’t easily buy, whether it’s an heirloom tomato, a rare fingerling potato or a unique wild edible. Desrosiers chooses vegetables “that don’t really taste good from the supermarket,” and Goldwynn cultivates unusual ingredients, including miner’s lettuce, nodding onions, goji berries and medicinal herbs. Working outdoors in a garden offers physical and mental benefits, but many gardeners are driven by larger issues. Growing your food is a way to fight global warming and to protect local food sovereignty, genetic biodiversity and bees. “Gardening is something tangible that people can do,” says Goldwynn. “A garden produces food but also inspires and feeds the spirit.”

THE BUSINESS OF URBAN GARDENS Growing food in the city is also a sustainable business model. Look up beyond the new lobby at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, and you’ll see a rooftop garden filled with healthy herbs and vegetables for the hotel chefs. Step behind The Market Garden, a stylish green grocer in Vic West, and you’ll find an organic vegetable plot that fills the store shelves with beautiful food. In Fernwood, there’s Mason Street City Farm, a longtime model of small-scale, urban agriculture in the inner city. It’s a quarter-acre Fernwood food farm and edible nursery that feeds a local CSA program and a number of local restaurants with a variety of fresh vegetables, herbs, greens and berries. It’s also a great source of vegetable transplants for home gardeners. TOPSOIL is another example of how urban farming can work. At his 20,000 square-foot Dockside Green garden, Chris Hildreth grows vegetables in portable, above-ground geotextile pots, for sale to city restaurants and at a seasonal market stand. Hildreth is now sharing his vision — hosting workshops to encourage

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Working outdoors in a garden offers physical and mental health benefits, but many gardeners are driven by larger issues. Growing your own food is a way to fight global warming and to protect local food sovereignty, genetic biodiversity and bees. commercial property owners to invest in his GARDEN-SAVVY CITY system for their own grow spaces, and training a Demand is fierce for urban gardening plots new generation of urban farmers at city schools. — many neighbourhood allotment gardens have Meanwhile, the non-profit Food Eco District waiting lists of up to 10 years. (FED) celebrates the city’s obsession with local, The City wants developers to build rooftop sustainable food purveyors with a collection gardens and green spaces, with the goal of of mini food gardens, many set up in front of doubling community garden space, but it’s all the green-certified restaurants under the FED voluntary. umbrella. Whether it’s “It’s a lofty idea but there’s native plants like sea thrift no mechanism, no way of and coastal sage, or herbs doing it,” Dumbarton admits, and vegetables more specific adding FED is working with to the restaurants that the City to map downtown to harvest them (think curry identify “the top 10 or 15 sites leaves, shiso, basil, garlic, for urban agriculture,” likely chives, beets and bok choy), on existing rooftops. the FED street-side garden Still, those in the gardening boxes are educational and trenches are hopeful. Leah showcase what can be Seltzer, LifeCycles’ Growing produced in a small space. Schools manager, ran a six“The community boxes week Seed the City project are for everyone to use,” last summer with TOPSOIL, says FED project manager teaching high school students Holly Dumbarton of the how to build and run a 31 planters that will soon successful urban food farm. have signage describing “This project gave these the edible plants being teenagers ideas about how you grown and how they can be can have a solution-oriented enjoyed. livelihood, and create the kind Food Eco District (FED) planters are Dumbarton says she’s of world you want to live in,” home to edible native species and hopeful locals will simply pollinator-friendly flowers. says Seltzer. “slow down for a moment” “Growing food — it gives to learn more about the food you hope. It’s an example of the that’s growing on the street, snip what they need difference you can make in the world.” for supper and be inspired. “It’s not meant to feed everyone,” she says, “but it’s just nice to see something growing in Find a list of resources to sharpen your the middle of the city, and hopefully get people gardening skills at yammagazine.com. hooked into growing their own food.”

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MIND OVER MATTER Meditation — the practice of gently focusing and quieting a busy mind — is definitely having a moment in Victoria. By Linda Barnard

I

n these stressful times, meditation is helping people deal with anxiety, uncertainty and disconnection. But it’s always had a home here in Victoria. Whether it’s a West-Coast thing, part of our Vancouver Island counterculture vibe or an offshoot of the growing self-care movement, we’re a city of meditators. Dozens of organizations, meditation centres and groups offer practices to ease self-judgment and encourage people to feel happier by living in the present — even if the present isn’t a comfortable place to be. Victoria meditators told YAM they do it to ease depression and feel calm and grounded. It has helped them accomplish goals from weight loss to boosting productivity. Confused about meditation versus mindfulness? Meditation is learning how to focus and still the mind. Mindfulness is the approach to living that happens as a result of that work.

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Thousands of years old, meditation takes different forms, depending on its tradition. Though rooted in religion, it doesn’t have to be spiritual. Today’s practices vary, from guided workplace meditation to Instagram feeds, video channel sessions and apps.

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MEDITATION During COVID, people embraced group meditation with video conferencing. It can be done solo while walking on a trail or at 30,000 feet with the Headspace in-flight audio channel on airlines, including Air Canada and WestJet. Try it at a free weekly drop-in at several Victoria meditation centres. Classes, courses and retreats are available at various prices. Even the province recognizes the positive impact meditation has on health and well-being. Courses taught through the non-profit British Columbia Association for Living Mindfully

(BCALM) may be covered by the provincial medical services plan (MSP). So, does meditation actually work? Olav Krigolson, associate director of the University of Victoria Centre for Biomedical Research and an associate professor of theoretical and applied neuroscience, says research shows meditating changes the brain. “There’s no doubt whatsoever the brain is in a different state with mindfulness,” he says. Different patterns in brain activity emerge when a person meditates. But what’s missing in the research is a causal link between brain states and benefits. Maybe that’s not so important. “Even if it is a placebo effect, if it works, who cares?” Krigolson says. He hears more questions today about the scientific validity of meditation than he did 10 years ago. Does that stem from a generation seeking more mindful lives?


“There’s no doubt whatsoever the [meditating] brain is in a different state with mindfulness.”

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daily 20-minute meditations helps her with consciousness and clarity. As meditation goes increasingly mainstream, it’s recognized as an effective way to ease stressrelated issues. Foster-Grimmett and her husband have taught TM to 30 Greater Victoria police officers, continuing to work with them to help ease stress around the job during the pandemic. Veterans Affairs Canada is funding TM programs for the Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative to help veterans and their families dealing with stress. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also funds TM classes for service members.

EVERYONE CAN MEDITATE

“There definitely seems to be a counter push. People are talking more and more and putting the phone down and paying attention,” he says. Meditation is nothing new in Victoria, which was the first Canadian city the Beatles’ Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi visited, says Helen Foster-Grimmett, director of the Transcendental Meditation Centre in Victoria. When the centre closed with the COVID-19 outbreak, she was surprised to see how well virtual TM group meditations worked. People said they felt a sense of connection by meditating in silence with people all over the world. Celebrities can be credited, in part, with meditation’s pop-culture influence. Oprah Winfrey, Katy Perry and even Howard Stern are regular Transcendental Meditation practitioners. “It’s not just for people that are famous,” says Foster-Grimmett, who began practicing Transcendental Meditation in 1970. Two

Who doesn’t want to inject some inner peace into their life? I always liked those moments of stillness at the end of a yoga practice, so I tried a YouTube meditation a few years ago. I wasn’t able to push those thought clouds aside and stop the endless brain loops of to-do lists. It’s all about the training, Foster-Grimmett explains. “Everyone can meditate,” she says reassuringly. “There is no type of meditation person.” Victoria author Moira Dann has a name for those ceaselessly scurrying thoughts I was unable to quell: “monkey mind.” “I have found the lockdown or self-isolation, very much like all-the-time meditation,” says Dann, who does some sitting and walking meditations each day. B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s reminders about staying calm were helpful, while meditation has also helped Dann with occasional sleeplessness. Dann has seen the perception of mediation change over the years, from being the butt of jokes, to something people take seriously. She researched which style was the best fit for her when she first considered meditation. Her mother suggested they try The World Community for Christian Meditation at the now-closed Benedictine Priory of Montreal monastery. But the closed-eye meditation wasn’t for Dann. Shambhala, the secular arm of Buddhism, uses open-eye meditation, with a low downward gaze. That suited Dann. So did the freedom to do walking meditations. If done right, she said, meditation results in feeling “incredibly relaxed and invigorated simultaneously.” It’s also healing. An eight-week Art of Living Mindfully course through BCALM helped “haul me out of a bout of depression,” Dann says. She enjoys group classes more than solo meditation and goes on the occasional retreat. Ikebana, the

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Japanese art of flower arrangement, is another form of meditation she uses.

FOCUS ON GOALS Lori Elder used meditation and mindfulness to successfully lose weight. She took an eightweek therapeutic choices course led by family physician Dr. Trish Snozyk to learn skills like body scanning and making healthy choices. She followed up with a second program with Snozyk that taught mindfulness and meditation and how it relates to food. “I never would have known to do this for myself before. I would have thought this was woo-woo and not for me,” says Elder, who runs the Victoria communications firm PR4Good. She lost a total of 63 pounds and although some of the weight came back, she’s using what she learned in the courses to get on track, including the key lesson that change requires patience and self-compassion. With lockdown seeing many of us turning to comfort eating, Elder says working from home meant more temptation. Meditation helped her focus on goals. It wasn’t easy to learn to meditate, she says.

Her thoughts kept straying. Gabriel Shaw “Some days are easier than others.” To continue her practice during the pandemic, she does daily YouTube meditations led by former monk Jay Shetty. “It’s helpful under normal circumstances, but especially so during times of added stress and uncertainty,” she says. Meditation isn’t always about sitting still with one’s eyes closed. Victoria kinesiologist and professional training coach Gabriel Shaw started meditating when he began martial arts training at age 13. As a yang tai chi instructor, the simple repetitive moves and focus on breathing make for a relaxing standing meditation, he says. Walking, gentle motion, lying down with eyes open or closed can all lead to the same place of relaxation and focus. He believes a search for secular spirituality in a modern world is also what’s drawing younger people to meditation — an opinion

that was shared by several people who talked to YAM for this story. “I think [meditation] is so much more at the front of the public discourse,” Shaw says. “In the last three to five years, companies, start-ups and tech companies have started getting tuned into the idea of meditation as performance improvement.”

URBAN MEDITATION That trend was evident when I settled into a cushion alongside 10 people from Victoria online booking company Checkfront at a downtown drop-in run by Here: Urban Meditation earlier this year. If Here Group CEO Eric Gerritsen had his way, every office would have a meditation room. Regular practice can mean ongoing benefits around decreasing stress and boosting productivity, he said. Yoga teacher and guided meditation instructor Sam Streeter led our 20-minute

JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE

Lori Elder, who runs the Victoria communications firm PR4Good, uses meditation to stay on track with her goals, embracing the key lesson that change requires patience and self-compassion.

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“I think people, consciously or unconsciously, are drawn to what they need.” practice. She calls meditation “a rebellious act of self-care” and says it’s useful at a time when people, especially millennials, tend to glorify being swamped with work. I discover I prefer group meditation over going it alone. It was easier for me to feel relaxed with an instructor and having others around me. But that preference may change with COVID, making me wary of even small groups. Family physician Dr. Mark Sherman is founder and executive director of the British Columbia Association for Living Mindfully (BCALM). He started developing courses in 2004 to help his patients reduce stress through mindfulness. He has meditated daily for 30 years. Since he started BCALM in 2013, more than 5,000 people have taken his Art of Living Mindfully courses, learning strategies to deal with stress. Courses may be covered by MSP with a doctor referral, or participants can pay a fee for the course. Meditation and mindfulness help people in times of uncertainty and fear, he says. Realizing there was “a thirst for this,” when BCALM shut down in-person sessions during COVID, the organization began offering free online drop-in meditation practices for people who had completed the Art of Living Mindfully series. “More people than ever are reaching out to virtual platforms, and I think with meditation as well,” said Dr. Sherman, who is seeing a renewed interest in contemplative practices since the pandemic began. “I think people, consciously or unconsciously, are drawn to what they need.” Online meditation sessions aren’t for everyone, Dr. Sherman said. BCALM hopes to resume in-person services in September. “There’s a certain critical mass of practice in Victoria that certainly uplifts everyone,” he says, but he underlines that “being present and kind” comes with practise. “My concern with the popularity of the ‘McMindfulness’ movement is that it is easy for these powerful teachings to get diluted and misused.” Hamish Tucker, head of practice and education of the Victoria Shambhala Centre, agreed that there is some cynicism about the mindfulness movement among long-time meditators. “It’s so incredibly simple, and, on the other hand, you do need an understanding of what you’re doing,” he says. While an app or a class is a good entry point, Sherman believes nothing can replace learning from an experienced teacher who respects the traditions.

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Tacos

the ultimate summer fare

Summer is all about easy living, outdoor dining and casual style — and there’s no food more deliciously suited for the season than tacos. By Cinda Chavich

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t

here’s something about tacos that evokes memories of sunny summer days. Maybe it’s that first crispy fish taco you tried under a shady palapa in a Mexican seaside town. Or our own Island-inspired versions, cooked up near the wild beaches of Tofino or served from a funky shipping container on a Victoria pier. Tacos are part of our coastal culinary landscape, and a taco feast is easy to enjoy at home too. A bit of grilled food, spicy salsa and crunchy vegetables wrapped in a corn or flour tortilla makes for a fun, portable and endlessly adaptable meal. It’s something to enjoy with a beer on the patio — whether you’re starting with seared steak and grilled peppers for a fajita feast, or simply folding a corn tortilla around leftover grilled chicken or pulled pork. A taco menu is easy on the cook too — just fire up the barbecue and grill your preferred protein, then provide tortillas, salsas and other toppings so diners can design their own dinner. For home-style fish tacos, dip some ling cod or halibut strips in milk and then dredge in seasoned flour, fry until crisp, and roll it up with spicy salsa and a shredded cabbage slaw. Or rub a pork shoulder with chilies, then smoke it to tender perfection (with tomatoes and onions) for an Al Pastor taco feast. Grilled steak, chicken and vegetables are always options, or cook up a pot of beans to top your vegetarian tacos. Just provide your guests with a stack of warm corn or flour tortillas and a variety of spicy salsas, creamy guacamole, crunchy cabbage slaw, shredded cheese and sour cream — and let the wrapping and rolling begin.

LET’S TALK TORTILLAS Tex-Mex-style tacos and flour tortillas are ubiquitous in North American restaurants, but flour is not commonly used to make tortillas in Mexico. Flour tortillas trace their roots to Mexican border towns and communities with large Hispanic populations in the American South. And though not traditional, a good flour tortilla makes a convenient wrap for your favourite fillings. Flour tortillas are also great for grilled quesadillas. For a high-fibre, whole grain wrap, try the Low Carb Whole Wheat Tortillas from La Tortilla Factory, made in California, and available at The Root Cellar. Corn tortillas are more delicate, better for small tacos and tostadas and add real Mexican flavour. Adriana’s The Whole Enchilada makes fresh corn tortillas in Saanichton and you’ll find them at several local grocers. Or look for Abuelo’s corn tortillas, made in the Comox Valley, in the freezer section of some grocery stores. Many supermarkets also sell imported corn and wheat flour tortillas, or buy a bag of masa harina (corn flour) and try making your own from scratch.

CORN, AVOCADO AND BLACK BEAN SALSA

CAMERON WHITMAN/STOCKSY

Make this chunky salsa when sweet fresh corn is in season, to scoop up with tortilla chips as a hearty taco party appetizer, or as a vegetarian taco filling. It also makes a portable summer salad to serve alongside any grilled meats. • 3 ears fresh sweet corn (about 1 1/2 cups/375 ml), or use thawed frozen or canned corn • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) fresh lime juice • 2 or 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped • 1 19-ounce (540-ml) can black beans, drained and rinsed • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced • 2 green onions, chopped • 4 Tbsp (60 ml) chopped cilantro • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) cumin • Salt

Make sure to start with very fresh sweet corn — picked the same day, if possible. To remove the kernels from the corn, first remove the husks and the silks and discard. Rinse the cobs well and cut the end off each cob. Stand a cob on a cutting board or in a large bowl, and using a sharp knife, start at the top and cut down to the base, removing a strip of kernels. Continue around the cob. Remove kernels from the other cobs. In a bowl, combine the corn, avocado cubes, lime juice, chopped tomatoes, beans, jalapeño pepper, green onions, cilantro, olive oil, cumin and salt, and mix gently to combine. Cover the salsa, and chill for several hours to meld the flavours. Makes about 4 cups (1 L).

YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

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But there’s a difference between a corn tortilla made with corn flour and the traditional Nixtamal tortilla, a more complex process that starts with whole heirloom corn.

NIXTAMAL TACOS

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Chef Israel Alvarez has made it his mission to introduce Canadian diners to the true, traditional Mexican tortilla, created by cooking, soaking and grinding a masa (dough) from whole kernel dried corn, then forming and grilling each toothsome tortilla to order. A recent transplant from Mexico City, Alvarez started his Canadian cooking journey in Edmonton, then brought his hand-made Nixtamal tortillas to Victoria diners, where they became legendary to regulars at Victoria’s Breakwater Grill and Tasting Room. Post pandemic, Alvarez will continue his authentic Mexican taco explorations with direct sales of his Nixtamal tortillas, and a series of pop-up dinners this summer and fall at local restaurants ranging from Nowhere, Saveur, Wild Mountain and Harvest Road, to Pluvio in Ucluelet. Though most diners, even in Mexico, now eat corn tortillas made with masa harina flour, Alvarez says this type of tortilla is a result of industrial farming and food processing, and bears little resemblance to a traditional tortilla made with non-GMO, landrace varieties of whole corn. Like the artisan breads from bakers who mill whole grains for their loaves, grinding whole, heirloom corn is the healthy way to make Mexico’s traditional daily bread, he says.

Chef Israel Alvarez (pictured in the Breakwater Tasting Room) uses handmade Nixtamal tortillas for his tacos.

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The nixtamalization process — cooking and soaking the whole corn in an alkaline (lime) solution before grinding it — also improves the flavour and nutritional value, a process developed by ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations. The flavour and texture of Alvarez’s Nixtamal tortilla is remarkable — a rustic flat disk that puffs on the hot griddle. It’s toothsome yet pliable enough to hold the kind of robust fillings featuring local ingredients that he likes to offer alongside — from bison short rib, braised with pasilla, ancho and morito chilies to tender duck confit carnitas flavoured with chilies and orange, or wild, foraged mushrooms and Island feta cheese. His own salsas add another dimension, whether it’s a creamy salsa verde or a smoky, charred tomato salsa, created from scratch.

THE SECRET SAUCE A good fresh salsa will elevate your tacos — the traditional pico de gallo of finely chopped tomatoes, white onion and jalapeños is a good place to start. Or make a green tomatillo or chimichurri sauce with plenty of garlic, cilantro and Italian parsley to brighten a fajita or wrap. The Root Cellar’s creamy Green Sauce or the Peruvian Green Sauce made in-house at Pepper’s grocery, both loaded with cilantro and green chilies, make great additions too. Then gather your friends, shake up the margaritas and soak up that summer sunshine!

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ROASTED SPICY SALSA Chef Israel Alvarez’s tomato salsa gets its charred, smoky notes notes from a traditional roasting technique.

•3  medium ripe whole tomatoes (350 grams) • 1 /4 pound green tomatillos whole, no husk, washed (100 grams) • 4 jalapeños peppers, stemmed • 1 or 2 habanero peppers, stemmed • 1 large white or yellow onion (150 grams) • 5 cloves garlic, peeled • 1 tsp. kosher salt • 1 fresh lime, juiced • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro Roast all of the vegetables on the barbecue or on a baking sheet lined with foil in a 450˚F oven for 10 minutes until lightly charred on all sides. Remove garlic and peppers when you see blistered and charred spots. Tomatoes and tomatillos will take longer — keep roasting them until they become soft. Combine roasted vegetables in a food processor (for a chunky texture) or in the blender (for a smooth texture) and blitz until the desired texture is achieved. Transfer the salsa to a bowl and stir in salt, lime juice and chopped cilantro. Serve salsa with tacos, quesadillas or tamales.

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For more recipes, visit yammagazine.com

YAM MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020

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SCENE

Blues-rock guitarist and singer Brett Smith-Daniels is charting his own course to success. By David Lennam Photo by Jeffrey Bosdet

Six Strings and a Plan S

light of frame and looking a bit like Harry Potter without the glasses (or scar!) — and, with his British accent, sounding even more like him — Victoria’s Brett Smith-Daniels is a man with a plan. Albeit a young man with a bold plan. A blueprint for the blues. Regarded as a virtuoso blues-rock guitarist and singer, the 23-year-old makes regular appearances at The Bard & Banker and Irish

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Times and pops up on just about every stage in town. He played nearly 230 gigs in 2019 while celebrating 10 years as a working musician. The quietly affable Smith-Daniels has done a lot in the time he’s held a guitar, bouncing back and forth between England and Canada. And he’s ridden that rock ’n’ roll roller coaster up and down the geography of peaks and valleys faster than Walter Trout’s fingers on a solo. Consider that when Smith-Daniels was 13,

he was leading the very young Victoria rock band Endurance. When he was 14, he played Massey Hall. When he was 15, he was pitching to CBC’s Dragons’ Den. When he was 19, he was playing to 4,500 people at a festival in Mexico City. He jammed with Rolling Stone Mick Taylor at 20 and was called the “future of rock and roll” by Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum. And, in 2015, the U.K. publication The Blues


Magazine praised his then-band The Villanovas as “THE band to watch.” But jammed tight between the highlights, Smith-Daniels has found himself on the streets, alone, busking for change, and thinking about starting over. “Suddenly you go to L.A. and people are blowing smoke up your arse,” he recalls, “and then you go to Mexico and you headline for a few thousand people, and then you’re working behind a bar, and then you’re busking, and then it’s snowing and you don’t have enough money to catch the train home, so you keep busking.… so by the time you get to making a living out of it, two or three years later, anything you can do to further that, you cling to it.” That’s why you have to have a plan. And because Tom Petty once said, “The rock ’n’ roll lifestyle does not encourage you to be responsible.” And because Matt Sorum told him to trust no one, stay independent and work only with a band that supports you and is playing for the music and not for themselves. And don’t give up. That part stuck. Smith-Daniels has watched musicians with gold records playing pubs 50 years later. “They’re not in any way jaded by that. It’s just the name of the game,” he understands. “But to the outsider, I suppose it looks like a solid slope up. It’s a game of small peaks, and then gradually your dips get higher. Music’s a very odd industry.”

friends in studios in London who I can send it to for masters for a couple of hundred dollars, and then you’re getting a label-quality product, but you don’t have to pay a label fee. So you’re putting the money out, and taking more of a risk, but then if you make money out of it, you’re making all of it, which I like the idea of.” The other part of it is not missing an opportunity. Like persuading Bob Geldof to help with a fundraiser, busking for Nickelback, or jamming with Micky Moody (Whitesnake), Robbie McIntosh (The Pretenders, Paul McCartney) and Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones) — or with local heroes like Tal Bachman and Jesse Roper. “Brett’s a stupendous guitar player,” says Roper, who was hesitant to bring the budding bluesman on stage with him for fear he’d outshine him. “I remember he clicked onto his wah pedal in one of his solos, and I felt my guts twist and my neck tighten,” he laughs. “It was killer. I’m cheering for him. Trends don’t make things easier for guys like him. Guitar shredding isn’t exactly as mainstream as it was in the 70s and 80s. Hopefully, he can find a crack in the rocks and push his way through.” Adds Bachman, “I’m not privy to the details of Brett’s business plan, but having a plan is always important, even if the plan is just ‘I must first write a hit.’ So if Brett’s business plan is along those lines, he’s in an elite category of musicians already, and his odds of large-scale success are already great.”

“It’s a game of small peaks, and then gradually your dips get higher. Music’s a very odd industry.”

THE INDEPENDENT PATH Smith-Daniels says he started thinking about how his favourite artists began making a living. Step one, become the house band at a club so you can jettison that day job. Think the Stones at the Crawdaddy Club, the Beatles at the Cavern Club. “They’re all cover gigs. But they got to the point where they were bringing in enough of an audience that it didn’t really matter whether they were playing their own music or covers. And that’s the kind of the thing I’m doing — start throwing a few of my own songs in there and transform my audience a bit.” Playing covers means you’re constantly learning new material and studying the songwriting of other musicians, so your own writing improves, explains Smith-Daniels, who works sometimes seven days a week and writes every day. Step two, buy recording equipment, start experimenting and own it yourself. Smith-Daniels can print CDs at home now for far less than CD Baby charges. And through Spotify, he can hire a recording engineer who may live on the other side of the planet. “So if I sit at home and record stems — the actual guitar parts, drum parts or whatever — I can send them off to a Grammy award-winning engineer for a few hundred dollars. I’ve got some

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OVERCOMING THE KID FACTOR Smith-Daniels recognizes how that potential was eagerly fed when he was growing up as a miniature six-string hero, hoping not to peak early. “It’s all well and good when you’re 15 and you cut a home demo, and a month later you’re filming a national show, because when you’re that age, those things just sort of happen, especially with parental support and, you know, the kid factor at that age.” But even at that age, his bandmates knew how much he wanted it. In a business that constantly rejects you. Or ejects you. Where you’re fired, fleeced, forgotten or never really gotten, all in the same week, it’s essential to keep playing. Trevor Kidd, who was part of the Endurance lineup eight years ago, agrees. “I’ve always been concerned that if Brett didn’t make it in music, he wouldn’t know how to do anything else. That drive has always been there and has never gone away. I think when you put all your eggs in one basket, it becomes a real makeor-break thing — it’s what you live and breathe. It’s survival. That’s what allows someone to become so good at what they do because there’s no other option. He’s definitely not half in.”

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DO TELL

Designing Joy Along with her romantic dresses, designer Trista Smith creates the world she wants to experience. By Athena McKenzie • Photo by Jeffrey Bosdet

D

esigner Trista Smith is constantly inspired by the beauty of this world. “I’m trying to be present in everything, and take it all in with grace, respect and gratitude,” she says. On a forested property in the Highlands, where she lives with her family, Smith and a team of designers create dreamy gowns and wedding dresses in her home studio. “When we create our gowns, we infuse them with so much intention and purpose,” she says of the pieces from her brand Reclamation Design Company. “I want the wearers of our pieces to feel something.” What is your idea of perfect happiness? I’m already living perfect happiness every single day. Happiness and joy live within each of us, and we can make the choice each day to release it out into the world. I choose joy in everything I do, and I choose to share that joy through creativity, my relationships, my thoughts and beliefs.

Which living person do you most admire? I greatly admire Michelle Obama. She’s an amazing woman who stands for everything I deem important.

What is your greatest extravagance? Plants. I’m an addict, and I have too many plant babies to even count. I love buying new containers for them and moving them around my house. My home and veranda are filled with trees and plants.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? I don’t think any virtue is overrated. We are who we are. I accept it all and enjoy the variety.

On what occasion do you lie? I try not to. I’m probably the most blunt, honest, say-what-I-mean person you’ll ever meet. I can find the good in anything, so I don’t usually have reason to lie. I like to create new and unique ways to present the truth.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I’ve always thought it would be fun to be a bald eagle. They’re so majestic and free.

What is your most treasured possession? I’ve collected books for about 15 years and I have hundreds. I reread them and I give them to friends. I love to flip through them and rediscover them. They make me insanely happy.

What do you most value in your friends?

Designer Trista Smith is wearing the Reclamation Endless Love Dress in macrame. Hair and make up by Erin Bradley.

Honesty, time, a great sense of humour ... I lost my best friend of over 15 years last June, and the ache it left in me is vast. At this point in my life, I’m about quality, not quantity. I feel like I measure friendship by the experience I had with my best friend Gabe. I love easy friendships that make me want to be a better person.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? My greatest achievement is realizing that I can create the reality I wish to experience.

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YAM magazine - July/August 2020  

The July/August 2020 issue of YAM magazine centers around what makes our region such an amazing place to live, work and play, so we can step...

YAM magazine - July/August 2020  

The July/August 2020 issue of YAM magazine centers around what makes our region such an amazing place to live, work and play, so we can step...

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