YAM Magazine - March/April 2020

Page 1




A beachfront condo reno creates space for a new beginning


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home issue



THE NEXT CHAPTER A 1970s condo gets a new lease on life with an inspiring renovation. By Danielle Pope


INSIDE DESIGN By gathering the best interior design resources from around the world, Design District Access is Victoria’s hub for home inspiration.








Victoria’s creatives share their favourite spaces to think, create and live.

Former city-dwellers Lindsay and Jason Dault embrace the rural life at Country Bee Honey Farm.

How local chefs and fishermen are working to revive B.C.’s fishing scene.

YAM brings you fresh ideas to make spring cleaning (without harming the environment) a breeze.

By Athena McKenzie

By Kerry Slavens & Nessa Pullman




By Susan Hollis

By Cinda Chavich

By Julia Dilworth

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

Cultivating beauty with Christin Geall. By Linda Barnard


HOME + LIFESTYLE A 1970s beachfront condo gets a modern makeover. By Danielle Pope


STYLE WATCH Art in fashion. Styled by Janine Metcalfe

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SCENE Magician Jason Verners brings a no-top-hat-andcape take to his shows. By David Lennam


A Proust-style interview with Kurva Design’s Mike Randall. By Susan Hollis


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GROW YOUR INVESTMENTS Managing business, family and personal wealth

Spring Cleaning for the Soul


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).



pring reminds us that resilience is just a season away,” writes blogger Angie Weiland-Crosby. That’s especially true for me this year after a wintry season of personal change. But now that spring is within touching distance, I feel myself taking my cue from the resilience of nature. On my walk through Rockland the other day, I noticed tiny purple buds pushing up where there had only been trampled mud Kerry Slavens, Editor-in-Chief the week before. As the light returns, so too does strength, optimism and that mysterious force called spring fever that inspires people to become light-hearted, fall in love and take up spring cleaning and clutter clearing. I was diligent about clearing clutter when I moved from a As the light large heritage flat to a compact urban condo, so I don’t need to returns, so too “Marie Kondo” my home this year. Instead, I’m clearing mental does strength, clutter following the end of a long-term relationship. Sweeping out cobwebs and creating internal space to invite good things optimism and into my life. that mysterious “Without internal space, it’s hard to hear the whispers that force called spring guide and direct us in life,” writes Dr. Christina Hibbert in her book This is How We Grow. fever that inspires Here’s some wisdom friends and experts have shared with people to become me that may also inspire you: light-hearted, fall Set the stage. One of the best ways to do this is meditation because it’s almost impossible to clear space in your mind in love and take up when your head is cluttered with thoughts of the past and spring cleaning and anxiety about the future. With its focus on being in the clutter clearing. moment, meditation improves focus and helps wipe away stressful, irrelevant mind chatter. Clear out outmoded goals. In our society we’re often told “never give up on a dream.” But what if the dream isn’t serving you anymore and your inability to achieve it is causing you to feel inadequate or guilty? It’s time to make a “keep” or “throw away” pile and get honest about what actually serves you. Deal with what you’ve been avoiding. “Every time we avoid doing something we know is good for us, we chip away at our self-esteem,” says Haley Melikian on the DEN Meditation blog, “and every time we make the decision to tackle something we don’t feel like doing, we make giant strides for our courage and confidence. You will feel such a sense of ease and accomplishment that it will make up for any initial discomfort.” Sweep out unhealthy relationships. Do you have people in your life who are negative, emotionally absent or demanding? Or maybe you just have nothing in common anymore. Ask yourself: Do I really want to give them time from my “one precious life”? In this, I take inspiration from Virgina Woolf, who saltily said, “Spring has arrived — and I owe nobody nothing.” Change routines. Outmoded routines are clutter. So give yourself permission to switch from coffee to tea or vice versa, pick a new shade of lipstick, tune into an audiobook instead of CNN, switch up the exercise routine you hate. Make your own rules, fueled by the new energy of spring. Change can be everything from painful to uncomfortable to exhilarating, but it’s a part of the cycle of life, just as the seasons are. We can’t stop it but we can turn it to our advantage and start fresh. I don’t know who said it, but it’s true — spring really is a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can truly be.

You can email me at kslavens @ pageonepublishing.ca

MODERN MID-CENTURY “This intriguing mid-century room is modernized by a mix of materials and flexible furnishings to create a day dreamy lived-in feel. And that view calls for a good book and a cappuccino please!” — ELAINE BALKWILL, LUXE DESIGNER

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ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Deana Brown, Cynthia Hanischuk, Gary Hollick

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Linda Barnard, Cinda Chavich, Julia Dilworth, Susan Hollis, David Lennam, Danielle Pope, Nessa Pullman


CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jeffrey Bosdet, Joshua Lawrence, Sarah MacNeill, Belle White

PROOFREADER Paula Marchese


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 A 1970s condo gets a striking modern makeover. Photo by Sarah MacNeill.

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

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.

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HERE + NOW The Spherical Arts There’s something implicitly joyful about the seating from She’s Got Balls. The round chairs elicit much touching and rolling — people even bounce on them. “I think people react the way they do because they don’t know what they are,” says Jessye Calvert, who cofounded the company with her mother Chantal Meagher. The pair work directly with a family-run factory in Northern Thailand to create the covered exercise balls, whose customizable coverings are made from garment factory scraps. “We use [the balls] for everything,” Meagher says. “They add interest to our living room. I use one as an office chair, and, when we have more guests than chairs, they provide extra seating. Most fun of all, when the nieces, nephews and grandchildren are visiting, they are a favourite toy!”






INTO YOUR KITCHEN Give the hardest-working room in your house a style upgrade with a splash of pattern.


SMEG Dolce & Gabbana Electric Kettle The Italian appliance maker recently teamed up with Dolce & Gabbana to create the Sicily Is My Love collection, a series of products finished with classic Sicilian icons and images. Find retailers at smeg.com


Cole & Son Wallpaper Mediterranean citrus fruits create a striking repeat pattern, bursting with bold colours on this Arance Fornasetti Senza Tempo wallpaper. Find stockists at cole-and-son.com




fter years as a hairstylist and salon owner, Ila Meens wanted to create something she couldn’t find in the industry — a female-owned hair-care line that catered to creatively driven artists. “I wanted to make something that was curated and beautiful that you can put on display,” she says. “It needed to be artistic, as well as beautiful and useful and purposeful.” Barber & Fritz is made right here in Victoria, in a production space under its new retail store and hair co-op in the Paper Box Arcade, which Meens opened with Paul Da Costa. The small-batch, hand-bottled hair-care line is having some big international moments, garnering a cult following by professionals working in the arts and the film industry. It was used by the hairstylists at New York Fashion Week, as well as for television shows, such as Schitt’s Creek and Saturday Night Live, and movies, such as the upcoming Sofia Coppola project On the Rocks. “A lot of these [hair] artists find us through social media and Instagram and contact me to request a kit,” Meens says. “Being part of the Sofia Coppola project was absolutely my favourite because I have loved her probably since Godfather III. I love what she does, so to be part of anything on that set was really cool.” barberandfritz.com




Now Designs Botanica Willow Veneer Round Tray It’s spring all the time with this colourful floral tray. Line carried at Whisk Kitchen Supplies and Fan Tan Home & Style


Hidraulik Floor Mat A contemporary take on the iconic Mediterranean tiles found throughout Europe, these vinyl mats are waterproof and can be cleaned with a quick wipe. Available through Penna & Co.


Danica Imports Placemats These fun cork-backed placemats feature flamingos and fronds for some tropical flair. Line carried at Whisk Kitchen Supplies and Fan Tan Home & Style

Present yourself well.


In fifty years we have created more than

In fifty years we have created more than

three hundred shoe families and thousands footwear. Each year, I start a new sketchbook.

of different shoe styles. That’s a lot of funky

I come up with the initial sketch, the feeling

footwear. Each year, I start a new sketchbook.

of the season. My ideas are like a clear, pure

I come up with the initial sketch, the feeling

stream that trickles down a mountain and

of the season. My ideas are like a clear, pure


across the desert floor. Then the design

stream that trickles down a mountain and

team gathers that stream of ideas and makes them into shoes. I also write the messages—


them into shoes. I also write the messages—

Having blind faith to move forward when we don’t see the future is a necessary part of life. Without a little faith we would be immobilized. It seems like the more risks we take the more we are rewarded. Even if the risks we take fail we are always better off to have tried than not. Step out and trust your sole.

messages that are the essence of the brand.


Keep pushi west and beyond you imaginatio

Sometimes things just ju head. I was on the I-5 hea Seattle from Vancouver, this shoe with a design te on the phone. When they we should call it, I looked saw the Bellevue exit jus downtown Seattle. And t this shoe was named. The picture: I had a vision give of an American Western the mid-1850s with all th characters—the blacksmi cowboy, the hustlers, the girls—and named these s famous saloon girls. Follo visions has been a good i


Let the dance begin. Let life take you out for a dance. You move, it moves; life moves, you move. It’s about working in community with the world around us, listening to the beat of the world and dancing with it. It’s a dance of love.




A display of shoes at the Ottawa store, just steps away from the centre of government





Fully half the retail sales of the

staff teams give a pair of socks

was with Fogo Island Inn. Fogo

$339 shoe went to Shorefast. Not

to the homeless for every pair of

is this beautiful, wild, windswept

only that, but the shoe was made in

socks we sell.

island off the northeast coast of

Portugal, which has been a fishing

Newfoundland. Its main revenue

trading partner to Fogo Island.

you do all this business and you

comes from fishing, which means

I thought that was pretty cool.

work like a madman and on certain

that it’s been through some

You know, at the end of the day,

days you get fed up with life. But

pretty tough times over the years.

charity initiatives we’ve been

when you invest in something like

The hotel is an incredible work of

involved in over the years. I don’t

this, you can go: At least I did this.

contemporary architecture that’s

generally like to talk about it too

I made a difference.

inspired by the traditional fisher-

much. It’s tooting your own horn,

men’s houses on the island. More

which feels a little gross. But lately

a force for raising money

than that, though, it has a mission

I’ve been thinking that it’s import-

and awareness. It just sort of

to contribute to its community

ant to tell these stories so they

happened. And as it evolved,

in every way, from serving local

might inspire other brands to do

I saw what a good business move

produce in the restaurant to decor-

the same thing, and they let our

it was. If there was one piece

ating the guest rooms with furniture

staff and customers know what

of advice I’d want to pass on

and quilts made by local artisans.

else their shoes are a part of.

to other brands, this is the one

In 2017, we collaborated with

At the Amsterdam store, Enneagrams in all their colourful glory

That’s only one of many, many

My wife, Ruth, oversees most

We didn’t set out to become

thing I’d want to share: Invest in

the inn on a limited-edition Fogo

of the charity work we do.

your community. Support those

Island shoe to raise money for the

Most of it is at the store level,

in need. You don’t have to follow

Shorefast Foundation, a registered

especially at our Canadian stores,

our model. There are plenty

Canadian charity that builds cultural

and is often something that is

of ways to give back and there

and economic resilience on Fogo

close to home in the market.

are plenty of causes that need

Island. The shoe, a cute round-

Mostly, though, the staff at each

help and support. Helping them

toed lace-up with a medium heel,

store comes up with their own

makes you feel good. And it’s

features the colours of the lichen

ideas, runs them past me and

good for business, too.

on the island’s rocky shores—

Ruth, and then takes it from there.

purple, orange, brown, pink, blue—

We’re also working on catching

you want people to think well when

and has a special stamped sole.

up and confirming that our real-life

they think of you.

More than anything, for a brand,




Ariel Hudnall e: ariel@zgcommunications.com t: +1 604 336 3822 m: +1 778 697 2716 At the Amsterdam store, Enneagrams in all their colourful glory



Life Alfresco

There’s something about creating for the outdoors that especially appeals to Dutch-born Ariel designer Dieuwertje Hudnall e: ariel@zg von Aesch of Victoria Wood Studio.

t: +1 604 336 3822 m: +

“There’s an artistic side to it, and I can really, really have fun with the design,” von Aesch says. “It’s really about combining nature — like bringing the birds into it, with my birdhouses — with that little bit of art, to give a project a feeling. I want a sense of presence. That’s really what I love about the outdoor stuff.” While von Aesch specializes in landscaping features, such as arbours Victoria Wood and boardwalks, and unique furniture Studio bird houses created and built for the outdoors, many of her furniture designs are stylish enough to use indoors. Each piece is built to order in her studio. In the past, her work was done primarily with yellow or red cedar, such as this gate in Oak Bay (left) which was made from naturally aged red cedar. Recent projects have incorporated construction lumber. “I will be designing a new lounging chair in the spring,” she says. “The chair I have now is more of a dining chair. It might also be done in construction lumber. I’m playing around with the design and prototyping it.” victoriawoodstudio.com JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE




th a sketch, like would join the m Boom, Bellevue, ram families.

and put them on some of the shoes. It’s these

A display of shoes at the Ottawa store, just steps away from the centre of government

You need it to see where you are going.

The name Balthazar—which means “one who protects the king”—is commonly attributed to one of the three Wise Men who followed the stars and studied ancient prophetic writings to bring gifts to the stable where Jesus was born. I liked the idea of following prophetic words. I also liked the idea of bringing gifts to the party! These messages might look odd and out of sync, but I believe that one day they will be considered forward-thinking. You could say I was following my own star.

I call them “the thoughts of the season”—

messages that are the essence of the brand.


Your uniqueness is your strength. These shoes are about being powerful because you are secure in who you are. You are bold because you like yourself. You are strong because you are 100 percent OK with who you are. You need no changes. No mistake was made. When you walk into a room you are OK with being noticed because you are OK with how you were made. Need to improve and grow? Sure, but don’t change who you basically are. You stand out in a crowd and so you should. You are amazing and wondrous.

A mystic traveller, following a star, bearing gifts from afar.

team gathers that stream of ideas and makes

and put them on some of the shoes. It’s these

ush photography and hand-drawn illustrations give behind-the-scenes insight into Canadian footwear designer John Fluevog’s creative process in his recent book FLUEVOG: 50 Years of Unique Soles for Unique Souls. The Vancouverbased designer, who founded his eponymous shoe brand in 1970, is known for creating “unique soles for unique souls,” and his creations have been seen everywhere from the feet of Madonna and Jack White to the runways of high fashion. Echoing the eclectic style of his brand’s whimsical zine-style catalogues, the book features Fluevog’s own design sketches and handwritten messages, blended with stories, graphics and previously unpublished photographs from the Fluevog archives.


across the desert floor. Then the design

I call them “the thoughts of the season”—


This shoe is part of my anti–fast fashion state of mind. We like to say, “Buy better, buy less.” I love the idea that one wears something for years. I like to think of fashion as an expression of where we are on a continuum of time. We take things from the past and the future. I think time is not necessarily in a straight line. I believe these shoes could be brought out seventy-five years from now and be relevant. They are not a current short trend. They have their roots in our fashion DNA. One can walk in our history and our future in these shoes.

three hundred shoe families and thousands

of different shoe styles. That’s a lot of funky


There’s no fashion like old fashion.

in the bag Shelagh Macartney of She She Bags shares her top three handbag trends for Spring 2020.


footloose and hands free

“These allow you to be on the go with the freedom to embrace every moment,” Macartney says of this style, which includes cross-body bags and belt bags. “People are wearing belt bags differently, in a more stylish way, lower down on their hips.”

Belt bag by The Trend.


the backpack is here to stay

An extension of the hands-free trend, backpacks are now a style staple. “Knapsacks are back in and it’s not the ones people used to use to backpack around Europe,” Macartney says. “They can be a stylish choice as a work bag or even a diaper bag. You can wear as a regular backpack or even slung over one arm.” JULY backpack by Matt & Nat.



a pop of colour Cadence convertible crossbody bag by Hobo Bags.

“Leathers are moving away from the safer, traditional hues,” Macartney says. “For the first time in a long time, there is going to be an explosion of bright colours. It’s the citrus tones, kelly green, bright yellow and oranges, but also ocean blue. Use the 80/20 rule, where your outfit is 80-per-cent neutral with 20-per-cent pop. And the bag can be your pop. If you don’t want a big bag in colour, just get a little one.”

An ancient tea traditionally used almost exclusively in Japanese tea ceremonies is finding a passionate local audience thanks to JagaSilk.






ared Nyberg was importing and selling Japanesemade kimono bags with his wife Miyuki Nyberg when a customer asked if he would consider importing another Japanese product — maccha, a tea made from powdered green tea leaves. During his research, Jared discovered the many reported health benefits of maccha, including its ability to boost concentration and cognition, and to nourish the body with its rich offering of antioxidants. Convinced of maccha’s benefits, in 2005 the couple began selling JagaSilk tea wholesale out of their Greater Victoria home. “We had people coming to our door and saying ‘Have you seen JagaSilk?’ and we were like, ’This is it, it’s just there’s no sign and we’re just operating out of our living room.’” With such a high level of interest, the couple opened the JagaSilk TeaBar in 2009 in Nootka Court, where they’ve been operating a wholesale business and tea academy ever since. Along with their flagship maccha tea, JagaSilk also sells chai, loose leaf tea, tea lattes, kombucha and tea-making supplies. At JagaSilk, tea is not just a product but an experience for customers who can enjoy seeing a tea ground into a powder, then served right off the mill, something that brings an added level of freshness to JagaSilk’s maccha.

On March 14, from noon to 5:00 p.m., JagaSilk will host the fifth annual Victoria Tea Festival Revival at its location in Nootka Court, bringing together tea makers to teach about how tea is created, and hold tastings with teas from around the world.


the future is waste free


hen Paula and Nairn McPhee started their own personal journey to reduce the amount of waste they were creating at home, they found it difficult to achieve a low-waste lifestyle, given the limited resources in Victoria. After realizing they weren’t the only people with the goal of reducing waste, they created a resource page with all the places that allowed customers to bring their own containers, and launched their own online store. The strong community support and interest led to the launch of Zero Waste Emporium on Douglas Street. “We wanted to create a one-stop shop for people to get all of their groceries, package-free,” says Paula. “We are constantly bringing in new products based on customer requests — on average we have brought in three new products a week since we opened. We are proud to have a few exclusive items that you can’t find anywhere else in Victoria without packaging, such as tofu, tempeh, vegan cheeses, dairy milk from the Island and locally made yogurt on tap, condiments on tap and local frozen berries in bulk, just to name a few.”











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From left to right: Corkcicle Canteen; Umbra Tesora Jewelry Box; Kikkerland Design iBED Lap Desk; Umbra Magnetter Entryway Organizer; Joseph Joseph CupboardStore UnderShelf Spice Rack; Secrid Cardprotector


OUTLOOKSDESIGN.COM 101-9818 Third Street, Sidney






A New Classic The colour gurus at Pantone named Classic Blue as the Colour of the Year for 2020, calling it “a timeless and enduring hue, elegant in its simplicity. Suggestive of the sky at dusk, Classic Blue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation from which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.” Who couldn’t use a little more classic elegance in their life?


1 Sinatra Suspension Lamp by DelightFULL Unique Lamps (available through lightform.ca); 2 Kai vase by Kravet (available through Design District Access); 3 Private commission by artist Lauren Mycroft (inquire through laurenmycroft.com); 4 Kone kettle by Le Creuset (line carried at Penna & Co. and Whisk Kitchen Supplies); 5 Aogashima Tommy Bahama mosaic glass tile by Lunada Bay Tile (line available through Island Floor Centre); 6 Amiata free-standing bathtub by Victoria + Albert (available through Victoria Speciality Hardware & Plumbing); 7 Hilary Chair from the Gus* Modern Collection (available through Chester Fields); 8 Petrouchka Mariinsky damask wallpaper by Cole & Son (find stockists at cole-and-son.com).












250.380.2600 | rosenthalclinic.ca


Return of the Roast A weekly roast feast on Sunday night is a great Canadian tradition. But many families just don’t have the time these days to procure a big roast and cook it — along with all of the trimmings. By Cinda Chavich


nter the latest trend in restaurant roasts and familystyle Sunday dinners popping up around town. The ultimate roast experience happens every Sunday at the Fairmont Empress Hotel with their Sunday Roast dinner at Q at the Empress. Carved tableside by a restaurant chef, the roasts change weekly, and include Prime Rib with Yorkshire Puddings, Rack of Lamb with grainy mustard and brioche crust and Crown Roast of Pork with caramelized apples and cider jus. Reserve a table for Sunday Roast dinner at Q at the Empress, in the Fairmont Empress Hotel.


There’s a new “alt gin” from local Sheringham Distillery, makers of the awardwinning Seaside Gin. Lumette! is a homegrown version of the U.K.’s Seedlip, and Canada’s first zero-proof distilled spirit, says Sheringham founder Alayne MacIsaac. Infused with seven botanicals — from juniper, orange and grand fir to grapefruit and mint — it’s meant to be mixed with soda or tonic for an alcohol-free tipple. “I love cocktails, and with Lumette! you get the complex flavours and aromas you expect from an aromatic spirit — just without the alcohol,” MacIsaac says. Look for the alt gin at private liquor stores and on bar and restaurant menus where mocktails are gaining new fans.




ZERO PROOF SOUTHSIDE • 60 ml Lumette! • 22.5 ml lime juice • 15 ml simple syrup • 6 mint sprigs, clapped Shake and double strain. Serve in a coupe glass. Enjoy!

Tea As it Should Be

With tea touted as one of the world’s healthiest beverages, it’s disconcerting to learn that many tea bags are leaching microplastics into their daily cuppa. According to a recent study by a research team at McGill University, premium teas, packaged in fancy silk-like bags, release billions of tiny plastic particles when steeped in hot water. It may be enough to put you off your organic Earl Grey, but there’s good news for local tea lovers. When Silk Road tea master Daniela Cubelic set out to find the perfect tea bag for her premium loose black, green and herbal teas, she wanted something natural, 100-per-cent compostable, chemical free and able to draw the most flavour from the tea it enclosed. No such tea bag existed in the market, so Cubelic spent a decade in research, eventually settling on a pyramid-shaped bag, made from plant fibre, the first such tea bag in North America. She worked with a Japanese company to develop equipment to bag teas without damaging the leaves. Always one to go the extra mile, Cubelic also ensured none of Silk Road’s tea bag packaging contains plastic. It’s all compostable, including the outer wrap, (made of cellulose with water-based inks), the tea bag and the string for plastic-free tea time.



Alt Gin

the family between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. and dig in. The Courtney Room at the Magnolia Hotel & Spa serves casual Sunday long-table dinners with a seasonal theme. It’s a chance for chefs Brian Tesolin and Chris Klassen to stretch their culinary creativity and to prepare a variety of dishes for diners to share. The idea is to bring people together on Sundays for a communal, multi-course — and affordable — meal in the brasserie, while testing out new dishes in a family dinner format, says Tesolin, who hosts their Sunday Dinner with Klassen. Whether you’re a single person or a group, you can join their family-style feast for just $49 per person. Meanwhile, you’ll find classic roast beef dinners at other city establishments, from the Sunday Wood-Fired Roast at 5th Street Wood Fired Rotisserie, and the slow-cooked Angus Beef with Yorkshire pudding for Sunday Family Roast Night at Christie’s Carriage House Pub, the Roast Beef and Yorkie special every Sunday at the Ross Bay Pub or the roast beef or porchetta, sliced to take home, from Roast in the Victoria Public Market. It’s a great way to sit down together for a classic Sunday roast meal. No dishes, no stress.


Virtuous Eating

The trend to vegetarian, vegan and vegetable-forward dining continues, whether for ethical, environmental or health reasons, or just because vegetables are delicious. Now an outpost of Vancouver’s Virtuous Pie has entered the Victoria food scene with handcrafted pizzas topped with house-made nut- and soy-based cheeses, Italian-inspired small plates and vegan “ice cream” by the cone or the pint (salted caramel fans won’t be disappointed). From classic Margherita pizza with tomato, basil and cashew mozzarella to a spicy cauliflower pie, featuring crispy floret “wings” and “blue cheese” sauce, there’s lots to try. Roasted Brussels sprouts are topped with plant-based Parmesan, and warm potato salad is served with tiny tomatoes, arugula and a slab of their convincing tofu-based feta. Virtuous Pie even created a vegan cocktail list. Its creamy Shaft, designed in honour of the classic Victoria drink, combines boozy coffee flavours with creamy nut and coconut milks.




CULTIVATING BEAUTY Christin Geall expresses her passion for the natural world with her artful floral arrangements and photography.

Flower grower, floral designer, writer and photographer Christin Geall at home with her golden retriever Christopher.




By Linda Barnard


sk Victoria flower grower, floral designer, writer and photographer Christin Geall to name her favourite bloom and she doesn’t hesitate: tulips. “They move with the light. Everyone knows that. So they’re a dynamic flower,” she says. “They do interesting things. They bend and they swerve and they come in so many colours, so many styles.” Geall seems to have much in common with her beloved tulips. A morning spent with her over a mug of herbal tea in her robin’s egg-blue kitchen reveals someone always in motion and often seeking. Undeniably interesting and colourful, she’s a Renaissance woman familiar with reinvention and at ease with change. She’s internationally known for her artful floral photography of the naturalistic arrangements she creates, mostly from B.C.-grown flowers and plants, including those cultivated on the one-third acre around her Oak Bay home. Geall’s book Cultivated: The Christin Geall’s new Elements of Floral book Cultivated: The Style (Princeton Elements of Floral Style Architectural Press) is now hitting the shelves. In it, she shares stories and lessons about her approach to growing, working with and photographing plants, along with deep dives into colour theory and art history. Her fans will be delighted — and she has many of them.


GROWING THE GARDEN Geall’s photographs, typically accompanied by thought-provoking mini-essays, have netted her more than 92,000 Instagram followers — and growing. People come from as far away as South Korea to take a $950 one-day private floral class with Geall in the garden classroom housed in a converted white garage overlooking the garden. She also runs still-life workshops, group classes and floral design demonstrations. From April to October, she sells bouquets of flowers grown in her urban garden. You can find them at Demitasse, a café and garden centre in Oak Bay. Meanwhile, Geall is “upping my still-life game” to dovetail with her book launch, selling poster-size, fine-art prints of her floral photography. “I do often feel like a jack of all trades, master of none,” she says. “But at the same time, I’ve always been interdisciplinary. I’ve never been able to settle entirely into one thing and don’t like to be too clearly defined.” Geall started her business after attending one of Washington State farmer-florist Erin


2 50.4 12 .8 012 | 52 8 5 WEST SAANICH RO AD VICTO RIA , BC | W W W. M A C R E N O . C O M





“Floral design is about using what you have to the best of your ability, within your time constraints, and the limitations of the plants before you.”

Benzakein’s Floret Farm flower design workshops in 2015. There, she found a link to a large community of primarily young women enthusiastic about sharing stories of their gardens and floral photography on social media. She immediately joined Instagram, launching her Cultivated website and blog the same spring. Floral design workshops followed in 2016 and 2017. Geall also became serious about photography as a way to showcase her work and inspire others. She’s very good at it. The photos of her informally artful arrangements have the velvety inner light and rich shadows of Dutch Golden Age paintings. “The photography certainly changed a lot of what I’m looking for in flowers. It’s deepened my relationship to plants,” she says.

Geall is unable to resist stopping to putter as we walk through the garden that wraps around three sides of the house that she shares with husband Kyle Hunker, a freelance tech sector CFO. Her pastel pink office is in a part of the house that doesn’t overlook the garden. She explains she’d never get anything done inside if she could see what needs doing outside. “Floral design is about using what you have to the best of your ability, within your time constraints, and the limitations of the





plants before you,” Geall writes in Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style. “It’s about not knowing where you will end up.” And the same could be said for Geall. At age 24, she ended up solo homesteading on a piece of land she purchased for $45,000 on isolated Savary Island. After taking environmental studies and ethno-botany at UVic, she had wanted to go back to the land. She used an inheritance from her late mother, moving into a cabin on a waterfront sand bluff on an island with about 100 full-time residents. “I developed this huge garden and fixed up the house. I wanted to acquire skills, you know, not just mental skills but bodily skills, like learning how to do things with my hands,” she says. She sold salad greens from her garden and worked the land to improve it. She also had her son, Leif. Now 21, he works in investment banking in London. What lessons did she learn during her five years on Savary? “I think one of the greatest lessons is that you can make soil, no matter where you are. It was so sandy and the project of soil-making became of great interest to me,” she says of mixing sand, leaves, wood ash and other natural materials, allowing them to break down and become the growing medium for her garden. Although she grew up with “a healthy dose of respect for the natural world,” Geall

isn’t someone whose childhood memories compelled her to pick up a trowel. She fell for gardening when she was 19, a passion that grew when working for an herbalist in her gardens in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Drawn in by stories of the plants, their uses and people’s relationships with them, gardening slotted in with her passion for history and writing. Later, she interned in England at the famed Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the herbaceous department. Geall moved to Oak Bay 10 years ago and grew what she knew best in her garden: greens. “I’d never considered flower farming. I was growing a lot of salad greens here,” she says. Eventually, she switched to flowers and plants and started writing a gardening column for Oak Bay News, which later provided content for her Cultivated blog. It sounds corny but it’s true: Geall’s garden grew a brand. The impact of that growth can be seen in a massive print on one wall of her living room. It’s one of Geall’s photos, a study in yellow and rusty orange with creamy white dogwood, narcissus, tiny orchids and showy tulips, all from her garden or grown in B.C. These fine art prints, as large as 40 x 60 inches, will be sold on her website. Her photography is also being used on notecards.

LOCAL LOVE Geall’s workshops are part of that evolving brand. People learn about colour, history and principles of design. Some take her courses to create images to populate their Instagram feeds. She also leads a workshop that doubles as a vacation spot in Scotland for attendees, and recently started offering a workshop in France — which is already sold out. She’s also an activist, part of the “movement to remake forestry in a sustainable way.” Geall wants people to stop relying on imported flowers, to use what grows locally to minimize the carbon footprint of shipping, like the mass influx of red roses for Valentine’s Day. She refuses to use the green flower foam blocks that are typically the bases for arrangements and encourages others, especially commercial florists, to follow suit. “It is a major waste product and there’s no responsible way to get rid of it,” Geall says, likening the material to the microbeads banned in face scrubs in Canada. “[The packaging] might say it biodegrades, but it just ends up as particulate matter in waterways.” Instead, she uses a spiked disc — called a flower frog — or chicken wire to hold stems in place, going back to the 1930s and 40s for her design techniques. So why did Geall want to publish a book? “Ego,” she replies with a smile. “Yeah, that’s very true. There’ll be an opportunity for me to do speaking and lecture events and so on. People said it’s a giant business card. I’d like to have another book to write because I don’t have enough writing going on right now.” As usual, it’s on to the next thing for Christin Geall.


3D renderings, conceptual planning and permit drawings


Full-service construction








A waterfront condo renovation creates space for a simply stylish new beginning. By Danielle Pope | Photos by Sarah MacNeill


erry Vatrt says she’s always been a person prepared to evolve. Living on the Prairies for much of her life, change came often. When her family downsized from their large Winnipeg home to move out west, it sparked a massive clearing. However, it wasn’t until recently that Vatrt was pushed to turn her shedding into something deeper. Now divorced and with her son at college, this was the first time in years she was on her own. It was her chance to start living the life she truly wanted. “I realized it was time to step into my own life,” says Vatrt. “I wanted to be able to create and curate my space, and experience that feeling you get when you’re on vacation — having what you need, but only just.” Vatrt wanted her next home to welcome this phase of her life. She craved a modern, clean white space that would surround her with art, joy and provide room for those she loved — all with a backdrop of freedom. When Vatrt found the condo along Victoria’s waterfront drive, she loved its location. And despite its dark palette,

Mid-century minimalism, a soothing coastal palette and natural materials — including oak slab cabinetry, oak plank flooring, stone and marble — reflect Terry Vatrt’s desire for a vacation feel in her home. A David Blackwood etching adorns the left wall; a relief print from Icelandic artist Inga Torfadóttir is on the right.



Finish with style.

• • • • • • • • • •





4128 Mostar Road Nanaimo, BC V9T 6C9 (250) 756-1231

486 Cecelia Road Victoria, BC V8T 4T5 (250) 384-3013

780 Topaz Avenue Victoria, BC V8T 2M1 (250) 384-3013



closed-off walls and dated kitchen, she could see potential in its sheltered patios and spacious layout. She walked away at first, but when she consulted the team she’d worked with on her previous home, they agreed: this could be the perfect restart. “I so appreciated where Terry was in her life, and I wanted to give her the best shot at entering her next chapter in a place she loved,” says designer Raubyn Rothschild, principal of Rothschild West Design + Planning. “I know from working on other condo renovations that what you end up with doesn’t have to look anything like what’s there. I see it as clay from the beginning.” The concrete and steel building made it possible for the team to gut the inside, removing entire walls to open the space. Rothschild added function to the 1,460-square-foot home by placing inset displays and storage nooks in every cavity and floor-to-ceiling glossy white cabinets in the hall. The spare room doubles as a guest room and art studio, and Vatrt’s two patios (one for sunny mornings and one for windy afternoons) highlight versatility. Mid-century modern furniture meshes with Vatrt’s laid-back, beach-getaway vibe.

Each item in Vatrt’s home is curated to reflect the life she wants to live. She surrounds herself with treasures — many from local artists and friends — including the landscape painting from Winnipeg artist Ewa Tarsia in the kitchen. Practicality was an essential part of this home, however. The kitchen peninsula, with moody soapstone countertops, was crafted with hidden built-in storage specifically for Vatrt’s robust collection of CDs: something she’s not yet willing to give up for digital copies.



Creating an open, bright space was key to redesigning this garden-level condo. White gloss IKEA Pax wardrobes, modified by Renex Custom Builders, line the hallways and provide hidden storage, illumination and an illusion of height, despite the low ceilings. The home relies on clean lines, but the Herman Miller Bubble pendant in the dining area adds artistic interest. Dualpurpose elements, like the floating bench in the entry, offer expressive comfort — a spot to tie shoes or create displays.





Soothing colours and oak and marble find their place throughout the home. While it isn’t exactly feminine, says Rothschild, it’s inviting without being fussy. Everything has a place and, in true form, leaves room for the new. Builder Blaine Rust, owner of Renex Custom Builders, added some special details — from hidden cabling to accent lighting. Understanding Vatrt’s love of art, Rust recommended placing the light switches nearly a foot below typical height to create clean gallery walls. “I often say, you tell us what you’d really like and we’ll come up with the solution,” says Rust. “Maybe we can’t change a condo’s eight-foot ceilings, but we can play with floor space, sight lines and how you use your home.” The kitchen is the focal point of the space and went through an evolution — starting as a white open-concept and transforming into an atmospheric centrepiece.

• ½ cup all purpose flour • 1 tsp salt • ½ tsp paprika • 1 egg • 2 tbsp milk • 6 chicken thighs • 4 tbsp butter • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced • ¼ cup chopped onion • 1 cup chicken broth • ½ cup white wine • 2 tbsp lemon juice • 1 tbsp cornstarch • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a shallow dish or bowl, mix flour, salt and paprika. In a separate dish or bowl, mix egg and milk. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then in seasoned flour. In a large skillet, melt butter on wood stove top, with medium to high fire. Sauté chicken until golden brown. Add mushrooms and onion, continue to sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the broth, wine, lemon juice and cornstarch. Mix and pour over chicken, mushrooms and onions. Wood stove should be turned down to low now. Let skillet simmer for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with your favourite side dishes, rice and salad or grilled veggies and pasta.

The best in wood and gas heating appliances

160 East Burnside Road, Victoria | 250-382-5421






RESOURCES DESIGNER: Rothschild West Design + Planning

PAINTING: Hughes Painting


KITCHEN/BATHROOM MILLWORK: Victoria Millwork & Joinery

PLUMBER: Nexgen Plumbing & Heating

CUSTOM MILLWORK: Victoria Millwork & Joinery and Renex Custom Builders

ELECTRICIAN: Ian Sparks Electric DOORS: Custom oak c/o Renex Custom Builders

FINISHING CARPENTRY: Renex Custom Builders

HARDWARE: EMCO c/o Victoria Specialty Hardware and Richelieu Hardware

GLASS: A & D Glass Co.

DRYWALL: Renex Custom Builders Inc.


TILE: Island Floor Centre

FLOOR: Island Floor Centre COUNTERTOPS: Abstract Stone

Ethical, Dedicated, Reliable. Above: The bathroom was one of the home’s largest renos and involved creating a barrier-free shower crafted from largeformat porcelain tiles. It features its own inset display, and is complemented by marble counters, oak shelving and a round mirror.

Every day your REALTOR ® goes to work for you.

Left: Recessed shelving makes clever use of this hallway, allowing Vatrt extra room for presenting her cherished items while keeping flow and movement open in the limited space. Natural oak motifs build continuity throughout the house’s design, and the modern sliding barn door adds privacy and dimension to the room. A pastel work by Canadian artist Doug Smith frames this area.

“At first we were recreating what Terry had in her old home, but she needed something more sophisticated now,” says Rothschild. “Terry was changing, and we wanted the space to elevate that.” One kitchen wall was removed and replaced with an oversized peninsula to add storage and a sitting area. Dramatic, textured soapstone created statement counters and a glass cabinet framed in black aluminum offered a functional showcase. “Part of my process was coming to terms with the question: what is my vision for the life I want to lead?” says Vatrt. “I’ve discovered a function of letting go is knowing that what you need will come to you when you need it. You have to make space for what’s really important.”



“We want to be all-encompassing. When you’re designing an entire home, you need to have all of the products.” — Danisha Drury, founder of Design District Access



By gathering the best interior design resources from around the world, Design District Access is Victoria’s hub for home inspiration.

Inside Design By Kerry Slavens with files from Nessa Pullman Photos by Jeffrey Bosdet


anisha Dury enters the showroom at Design District Access (DDA) looking every bit the style influencer she is. In her black turtleneck and grey skirt, holding Lily, her newly groomed Maltese, she exudes creativity as she stands in a “library” featuring thousands of samples of the best and latest in tile, flooring, fabric, hardware, wallpaper, lighting and more. It’s a dream space for homeowners, most of whom have never visited a design showroom, and for whom interior design remains a mysterious world behind mood boards. But thanks to DDA’s 2,300-square-foot showroom, with its high ceilings and exposed pipes, architectural concrete floors and racks full of design samples, homeowners are given a unique look behind the curtains of Oz. Design showrooms used to be exclusive to designers, “but we broke the mould on that,” says Drury, noting that DDA is open not only to designers and their clients, but to the public as well. “The industry is moving more toward that, and I support it because it’s pretty pretentious to say, ‘You can come, but you can’t.’ Victoria is a small market, and we wanted to be open to designers, installers, designers’ clients and the public. It’s been well-received.” Along with opening up the world of design to homeowners in a new way, DDA’s showroom on Pembroke Street in Victoria’s Design District remains an essential resource for designers. As a one-stop design resource, it saves designers time, gives them access to leading brand suppliers (in a space where they can actually see and feel samples) and provides professional development opportunities in everything from vintage flooring to the latest colour trends. “Having a business that provides the public and designers a wide variety of products all in one place is extremely convenient,” says Mari O’Meara of Mari Kushino Design.

Designer Picks YAM sat down with local interior designers Jenny Martin from Jenny Martin Design, Mari O’Meara from Mari Kushino Design and Danisha Drury from Design District Access to get an inside scoop on which products they are excited about using in 2020. Mari O’Meara is incorporating sleek wallpapers and dynamic tiles this year. Top of her list? The Harmony Herringbone collection of wallpapers from Phillip Jeffries. “It’s my favourite collection at the Herringbone moment,” says wallpaper O’Meara, “because it’s soft and subtle yet masculine.” “And I love the blend of colours and the timelessness of marble,” says O’Meara. Marble tiles She’ll be using the Fonte Natural Stone series from Daltile. “These shapes are a classic take with a contemporary twist.”




Peace of mind that comes from working with an advisor who knows your story For women, retirees, and couples about to retire Personalized strategies for your financial needs Wealth management you can understand

Joanne Vesprini, BA (Econ.) Investment Advisor 250-356-4679 | joanne.vesprini@rbc.com

RBC WMFS is licensed as a financial services firm in the province of Quebec. RBC Dominion Securities Inc., RBC WMFS and Royal Bank of Canada are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. *Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. RBC Dominion Securities Inc. and RBC WMFS are member companies of RBC Wealth Management, a business segment of Royal Bank of Canada. ® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. © 2018 RBC Dominion Securities Inc. All rights reserved.

Plan your visit to our boutique spa, with over 6,000 square feet dedicated to supporting your wellness. We are an exceptional 2-storey facility that is earthy and warm. Our welcoming team is dedicated to providing a grounding space for rejuvenation and renewal.

When will you begin that long journey into yourself? – RUMI

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With a builder father and a realtor mother, Drury came by her interest in homes naturally. “As a teenager, I made my own wallpaper,” she says, “and in my bedroom everything had to be symmetrical.” But she didn’t start out as a designer. Entrepreneurial by nature, she opened her own cappuccino bar and later several winemaking businesses, before an injury led her to rethink her career direction. After studying at Royal Roads University and Camosun, she embarked on a career in interior design in 2007, but soon discovered Victoria had very limited access to supplies and resources for interior designers. “I think a big part of that is being on an island,” she says. Combining her design and entrepreneurial skills, she embarked on a mission to expand the options for local designers. Three years later, she launched DDA to give the design community access to a huge range of products, both global and local. That means Victoria designers can more easily access the most contemporary finishes and products, expanding the scope of their design possibilities. The time and investment needed to fill a resource centre and keep it up to date is significant, but Drury’s vision was clear, and she was driven. “When I first opened, people said to me, ‘Designers don’t even speak to each other, how do you think you’re going to build a community?’ ” Drury says with a laugh. “And look at us now, hosting events, having lunch together; I feel like we totally broke new ground in that regard.”

Designer Picks This year, Jenny Martin is using furniture for versatility while reviving a classic material. “I love to Swivel chairs incorporate swivel chairs,” says Martin. “They can transform large social living room groupings into an intimate ocean view setting with the swivel of a chair.” For this look, she chose the Gigi Skirted Full Swivel Chair from Mitchell Gold Linens with + Bob Williams. neutral undertones “And I love natural linens for their neutral undertones, understated elegance and texture they add to classic interiors,” says Martin. Romo’s Alana Glacier collection is her go-to selection this year.

There’s more to retirement planning than just RRSPs.

“It truly takes a whole community to pull a project together, and I think that’s important to honour.”

To reach your retirement goals, you need a comprehensive plan that looks at the big picture – from housing and health care to education and beyond. Contact me to start building your customized retirement plan.

Jake Nemec, CFP

Investment Specialist and Financial Planner 250-217-8862 jake.nemec@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.

5368-2020-0120 F1

(L to R) Mari O’Meara from Mari Kushino Design, Danisha Drury from Design District Access and Jenny Martin from Jenny Martin Design

DESIGN CENTRAL Today, DDA is a central gathering place where many members of the design community collaborate, learn, and access high-quality materials. “I love being able to see what projects everyone is working on in the city,” says Drury. “People often say that because I’m an interior designer that this showroom is for me. I have to tell them that no, I built it for the community. We leave our egos at the door — it’s really only about supporting each other.” “It’s wonderful having access to a local trade showroom specializing in unique materials,” says Jenny Martin of Jenny Martin Design. “It’s something larger cities have many of.” In fact, design resource centres are a staple in many North American cities. LA Mart in Los Angeles features over half a million square feet of home, furniture and lifestyle brands. “But we pack a lot of punch into our 2,300 square feet of space here in Victoria,” says Drury, noting that DDA focuses on premier brands like Harlequin and Cole & Son, known for designer wall coverings, and Richelieu Hardware and Vintage Hardwood. As passionate as Drury is about DDA, she’s also passionate about her own design business, which employs a team of five to nine and takes on everything from residential projects to commercial ones like the renovation of Abigail’s, the famous boutique hotel in Fairfield, voted one of Canada’s most romantic places to stay.



Designer Picks This year, Danisha Drury is sourcing more local and getting creative with conventional materials. “Supporting the environment and the Canadian market is more important now than ever,” says Drury. She’s been using Black Walnut from Black Walnut the Smooth hardwood collection of hardwood floors from Vintage Flooring. “This company is completely green and the manufacturing and quality of these products are the very best in the marketplace.” Drury is also using FloForm’s Porcelain countertop slabs. “Having porcelain come in a wide variety of finishes and thicknesses is great,” says Drury. “It means we can get creative with them — which is every designer’s dream.”

Planning a renovation? Check for asbestos and other hazards before you start:

• • •

Porcelain countertop slabs

Plan ahead and protect yourself Learn how to dispose of your waste Get pre-approved for disposal


Sitting in DDA’s light-filled board room with its massive wall of silver metallic wallpaper in diamond geometrics, Drury’s passion for design is evident as she reaches across the boardroom table and pulls out a tile sample from Maya Romanoff. The Flexi Mother-of-Pearl tile, made from actual capiz shells, is one of her current favourites, she says. She’s also in love with Harlequin’s Limosa wallpaper, which features finely drawn feathers in an array of colours. “I love design and the world of design,” she says, adding that she’s fascinated to see design and the appreciation of great design flourish in Victoria in recent years. For her, it’s not about going it alone. Success means everyone wins. “I’ve always supported the community because it’s all we have. The more we build each other up the greater we all become.”

www.selenahandbags.com YAM MAGAZINE MAR/APR 2020


A Symphony for the Senses

HIKING, SIGHTING & BIKING Hiking and walking opportunities abound, not just in Sidney, but in nearby provincial parks, along the waterfront, the beaches, and in other scenic locations.

A GASTRONOMICAL WONDER! When you want to get out of town but not venture far, Sidney is within easy reach. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway with your girlfriends or a one-day family adventure, this picturesque little town has everything you need for a mini spring holiday. But let’s not start our adventure on an empty stomach. Sidney’s culinary scene is a gastronomical wonder. In fact, you could theme your weekend getaway entirely around the bounty grown, harvested, brewed and crafted right here on the Peninsula. Sidney is packed with restaurants, pubs and cafes that serve up dishes crafted around ingredients from the sea and local farms. There are international flavours too; including Thai, Indian, Greek, Chinese, Mexican and French.

LOOKING FOR A GREAT FOODIE EVENT? The Taste of Spring in Sidney takes place March 14 to 27. Kick-off your weekend with a special launch event between 11am & 2pm on Saturday, March 14 with special features, spring giveaways, culinary events and more. Continuing through the month of March enjoy exclusive menu options at participating


restaurants and featured products throughout all of your favourite Sidney shops! Sidney really is a symphony for the senses. Come see for yourself; just bring a hearty appetite! For an events calendar and full description of businesses and other amenities, be sure to visit sidneybia.ca.



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Gwen Howey Ceramicist



A Room of One’s Own

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Victoria’s creatives share their favourite spaces to think, create and live. By Athena McKenzie | Photos by Jeffrey Bosdet

Certain spaces reflect their owners like mirrors. From the elements of design and layout to the contents and the purpose, these rooms are as unique as the people who live and work in them. When asked about their favourite rooms, these creatives had a myriad of responses, from the space’s connection to nature and family to the way they feel when they enter the space.

A SPACE IN NATURE During the day, natural light floods Gwen Howey’s greenhouse studio, its generous black-framed windows forming the walls and ceiling of the small structure. Splatters of white clay turn the black wooden slats of the wall adjoining the house into a striking monochromatic work of art. It’s a small space, but it contains almost everything Howey needs to create her minimalist and functional ceramics. “We upgraded it last year — we double-glazed it and poured a concrete floor — but I didn’t want any more space,” she says. “I like having a small space that’s really organized.” When Howey first took a pottery class 20 years ago with friend Malene Foyd, both knew immediately that it was something they wanted to do forever. “I felt I just needed to do it and self-learn, so I bought a wheel right away and went in with Malene on a secondhand kiln — and we just took off,” Howey says. The greenhouse was a natural fit for her studio, with the kiln across the yard in a converted shed. Howey can Gwen Howey on her studio: sit at her wheel, taking in her little pond and bamboo tree, and all the birds. When she’s in town, she’s in the “There is a kind studio every day, clad in merino layers in the winter. of legacy. A lot of “I like that the kitchen window goes directly into the greenhouse because I love to cook,” she says. Japanese potters “So I can put something on the stove and leave the work in a very indoorwindow open. It’s very connected with my domestic life.” outdoor kind of space. Sometimes her husband, architect Franc D’Ambrosio, brings her buckets of local clay from his building sites. In the summer, both The clay often contains bits of seashells and brings the of the greenhouse’s smell of the ocean into the small space. The constant doors are open, so I’m connection to nature that the studio provides is vital for Howey and her practice. essentially outside “The creative process is very interior and I love the with just a bit of focus,” Howey says. “When I’m [shaping the clay], the shelter and the roof.” rest of the world is absolutely gone. Even my thoughts are gone. It’s meditation. It’s just you and the clay — then at some point physics rears its head.” Her favourite part of the process is when a pot is freshly thrown, when it’s wet and transitional. “I could go like that,” Howey mimes flattening something with her hand, “and it would be gone. “I love that delicacy, that vulnerability it has and its freshness of just existing.”

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THE DESIGNER SHOWPIECE Before you even enter the studio, while you’re still climbing the steep stairs off Government Street, you get a sense of what’s to come. The air itself smells sophisticated, carrying the warm notes of rosewood, amber and vetiver. “I’m trying to create an experience for my clients and visitors,” says Iván Meade of his interior design studio. “When someone opens the door here, I want them to feel like they’ve arrived somewhere. It doesn’t feel like you’re in Victoria.” Visitors are greeted by a soaring ceiling, a dramatic mid-century modern chandelier and an intriguing mix of furniture and art, from an antique upholstered chair and Edwardian bookcases to vintage Knoll Warren Platner armchairs. “When I design something, I want it to be in style for at least 10 years,” Meade says. “A timeless design is not easy to achieve, but I think it’s possible when you do have an interesting mix. That was the idea for this space — to create something with the juxtaposition of different styles. It’s a more European feel, and Victoria has the architecture to do that.”

Iván Meade’s on his studio:

“One reason I put so much effort into this room is because I spend half of my life here — I wanted it to be an extension of my house.”

When Meade found the space 12 years ago, he wanted to play with the heritage building’s character, which had been stripped away. He added back tall baseboards and played up the high ceilings. While it is his work studio, it is a very personal space. “I wanted to have references to my family home in Mexico,” he says. “The upholstered chair and that chinoiserie table are very similar to items I used to have in the house where I grew up.” Particularly striking is the large round mirror over the long table, where Meade holds his client meetings. The bottom is painted in grey swirling clouds with bolts of gold. It’s one of Meade’s own creations. “It represents a life experience,” Meade says. “Ten years ago I went through a very bad period in my life when I had cancer. I was reading about this Japanese technique, Kintsugi, where if they break a bowl, they built it again by filling the cracks with gold. I wanted to tell the story that while I went through something really bad, now I’m getting back. Finally, I feel like I’m getting back.”


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Esi Edugyan Novelist

Steven Price Poet & novelist



A ROOM OF POSSIBILITIES Overnight guests at Esi Edugyan’s and Steven Price’s oceanview home in Colwood get to “sleep among the books” — on a pullout in their cozy library, which houses more than 5,000 titles. “You’ll often find guests have become interested in the library and have created a stack beside their bed,” says Edugyan, with a soft laugh. While the space is an occasional guest room, it is primarily used to house the family’s ever-growing book collection. It has been intentionally designed to be a homey and welcoming space, with its wood-burning stove — and all those books. “The room feels different depending on what time of day you’re in there and also what season it is,” Edugyan says. “Depending on the quality of light filtering in through the windows in the fall, it can feel a little bit elegiac.”

Steven Price on the family library:

“It may seem crazy, but every time we go down and stand in front of a bookshelf, there’s these possible futures branching off and books that you could read. There’s a deep, deep pleasure to be able to inhabit that curiosity — all that potential, all that unexplored delight.”

Price calls the room the centrepiece of the house. “I don’t mean a showpiece, but it’s one of the gathering places,” he explains. “The kids get some TV on Sunday nights, so they get to go down there, and we’re down there at various points throughout the day. Even though it’s a working library for us, for two writers, it also feels like a family space.” The simple IKEA shelves are transformed by their contents. Weekly additions from Munro’s Books means the collection is expanding and Price keeps it all organized, with separate alphabetized sections for fiction, poetry and literary criticism. “We believe in having books around and available to our kids — even though they’re far too young to be reading them,” Price says. “I think it’s creating something that’s inviting for them to grow — grow into different kinds of books.”




Trish Tacoma Smoking Lily founder



KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL When Trish Tacoma bought her 1970s-era Fernwood area home 16 years ago, the kitchen had been upgraded — to the 1980s. “The cabinets were in that orangey heavy oak and it had the worst layout, so it was like a corral when two people were trying to work in there — it was awful,” Tacoma says, with a laugh. “It had a border of duck wallpaper around the very top.” The wallpaper and the upper cabinets came out right away, but the room didn’t get a serious overhaul until two years ago, when Tacoma decided it was time: “I was just getting so frustrated with that kitchen and trying to do anything in it,” she says.


Trish Tacoma on her kitchen:

“I feel like it’s like a breath of fresh air walking in there now. My kitchen is up on the second floor, and there are big windows, so you’re up in the trees.” Working with designer Janice Jefferson, Tacoma set out to create her dream kitchen. Existing windows were dropped to counter height to let in more light, which makes the new white cabinetry, with its soft brass pulls, glow. And they added an island to increase mobility through the space. “We can actually eat in the kitchen, which is a wonderful feature,” Tacoma says. “And it’s great for parties because, like all parties, everyone ends up in the kitchen — the way it was before, everybody would be trapped. Now there’s a better flow with the rest of the house, and people actually mingle in all the other rooms too.” A favoured element is the patterned tile floor, which Tacoma choose to go with the 1970s feel of the rest of the house. It draws the eye, and she considers it the statement piece of the room. There are also personal touches that add colour and character. “It always takes me the longest time to hang anything up on the walls — like, years,” Tacoma says. “But I finally put up my mother’s embroidery, and it adds a really warming touch.”

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ART IN FASHION When fashion designers seek inspiration, they often turn to the world of art. This spring is testament to that with its palette of bright colours and multi patterns and canvas of texture and more texture. Fashion Stylist: Janine Metcalfe Photography: Jeffrey Bosdet



Red cotton blouse by XíRENA and white trousers by Malene Birger (both available at Bernstein & Gold); coral leather bag by Trend (She She Bags); earrings (Frances Grey); black skinny scarf (model’s own) White blazer by Malene Birger available (Bernstein & Gold); silk print blouse and coral plush jeans by Luisa Cerano (Bagheera Boutique); coral plush jeans by Luisa Cerano (Bagheera Boutique); Priscilla black fanny pack by Trend (She She Bags); silk print scarf by Luisa Cerano (Bagheera Boutique); cuff bracelet in silver by Jenny Bird (Frances Grey)

Orange RIBEA jacket by Soaked in Luxury (Frances Grey) and Dijon Loppa earrings by Elk (Moden Boutique)

Alecia slim fit jeans by Part Two, Aggie cardigan by Part Two, Forsa top by Elk (all available at Moden Boutique); hoop earrings in two tone by Jenny Bird and bone necklace by Bullets & Bones (Frances Grey); Sheila cinnabar leather bag by Hobo (She She Bags)

Magical Rain Print dress by Grizas and Handmade In Thailand necklace by Zsiska (both available Sunday Snowflakes) Contents page: Collette jacket by Ebra Ziron, Kym pant by Ebra Ziron and cream embroidered blouse by Magnolia Pearl (all available at Shabby Rabbit Clothing); silver sandals by Fly London (Waterlily Shoes)

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A Life With


In search of a new rural life on the Island, Lindsay and Jason Dault packed up their three kids and moved from the Mainland to Lindsay’s childhood neighbourhood on the Saanich Peninsula. Today, they run Country Bee Honey Farm, a mixed-use farm and retail centre with a heavy focus on the sweet stuff. By Susan Hollis | Photos by Belle White




hen Lindsay Dault gets her morning coffee, it’s with the swift, sure determination that governs all her decisions — whether it’s moving to the Island to build a new business from scratch or choosing the type of honey she’s going to sweeten her java with that day. Walking through her Western-style, bee-everything retail store on West Saanich Road, Lindsay is the epitome of an entrepreneur who has hit her stride. She bounces numbers and inventory questions off her assistant manager, Jordanna Reid, while surveying the scores of bee-related merchandise lining shelves she built by hand with her husband, Jason Dault. Bees — specifically honeybees — are a long-time passion of both Daults, and selling their honey and all things bee-inspired makes a lot of sense to a family who has been involved in the apiary trade for decades. “I’ve had 42 jobs in my life — I’ve literally done every job under the sun,” says Lindsay, “from snowmobile and ATV guiding to hairdressing to running a chocolate shop. I love cafés. I love hanging out and talking to people, so this works, but I’ve always loved bees. “Jay’s grandfather kept bees, so [Jay] got hives when we first met, and I started helping him. When we decided to start doing it as a

business, I realized I’d better learn what goes on with them.” Lindsay’s ability to dive into the deep end could be why the type of business she and Jason decided to pursue with Country Bee Honey Farm (formerly Urban Bee Honey Farm) has been well-received. A beekeeper since childhood, Jason introduced Lindsay to the art of apiaries, but the two had a hard time getting supplies while living in Tsawwassen. To meet their own — and others’ — needs, they started a small beekeeping supply store, Urban Bee Supplies, out of a backyard shed in 2009 — just as they were expecting their first baby. “I was like, ‘I’m about to have a kid — I’m going to have so much free time on my hands. I’m going to be bored,’ ” laughs Lindsay. To round out the supply side and meet the educational demands stemming from the rise of the urban apiary trend in Metro Vancouver, Lindsay started teaching classes on beekeeping and fell deeply in love with bees in the process. She started dreaming of living in a place where she could combine her skills to create the perfect business, namely a honey farm with a strong eco-tourism bent and a merchandise branch. Her childhood hometown of Saanich seemed like the perfect fit. Jason, however, was locked into a corporate job as director of operations with a recycling

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company that required his presence on the mainland. But with the arrival of the couple’s twins, Lindsay began itching to have more space and a place to grow both her kids and her ideas. “I just wanted to be home. I wanted to go to the grocery store and run into people I know, that sort of thing,” she says. “Jason was reluctant to move at first, but all he did [on the mainland] was drive. He was always stuck in traffic, and it was super stressful, so he finally said, ‘Let’s do it.’”


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In 2015, the Daults purchased an 11-acre property on West Saanich Road that had all the potential to create their honey farm. The gently sloping lot had a farmhouse set back on the land and a swath of swampy land next to the road that they would eventually transform into a rustic, western-themed retail store and outbuildings for their menagerie of animals. They managed the bulk of the work themselves with the help of family and friends and even their kids, while planning short-, medium- and long-term goals for the property as they went along. Any trees they cleared were milled on site and turned into tables, seating and display cases for the shop,

“It’s definitely a lot of work — always it’s work — but it has been really great to do, especially with our children — they’re outside all the time, always playing or feeding the animals.” and the discovery of a natural aquifer led to the creation of a large, lush pond in the midst of the pollinating gardens that front the property. “It’s definitely a lot of work — always it’s work — but it has been really great to do, especially with our children — they’re outside all the time, always playing or feeding the animals,” says Jason. “For me and Linds to

Coming Soon... A new Food & Beverage experience. express our creativity together is pretty awesome too.” Though the Daults initially held onto their first venture, Urban Bee Supplies in Vancouver, they recently sold it to focus on Country Bee Honey Farm and have moved away from the beekeeping supply realm to expand into other honey and bee-related products. Sales at the store run the gamut — honey in a multitude of flavours is sold in ounces up to 300-pound orders and the shelves are filled with products from local vendors who make everything from encaustic beeswax art, jewelry, tea, health supplements, elixirs and raw honeycomb. While the Daults still operate a number of hives that pollinate blueberry and blackberry crops on the mainland, they also have 80 hives spread throughout the backyards of friends and family across the Saanich Peninsula, guaranteeing a steady supply of organic, carefully curated honey named after the streets the hives are stationed on. “I think a lot of the way people keep their bees is how they keep themselves. If you’re not healthy and don’t understand the relationship between

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nutrition and your personal health, your bees might not do so well,” says Lindsay of her thriving hives. “Our bees are spread all over the Peninsula so they have lots of different food options, and we don’t condense them into one area where they are fighting for food — and they are doing so well.”




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Though the Daults have a number of hives on-site at Country Bee Honey Farm as well, the main attraction beside the store are the charming outbuildings that are home to a number of goats and fowl, which Lindsay is quick to admit is not her bag. “It was my husband’s way and excuse of getting animals on the property,” says Lindsay. “He was like, ‘If we build this western town we have to put animals in it, and then we get to have animals and people will love them, and they’ll draw people in,’ so he comes up with all these reasons why we have to do these things, just so he gets to have the animals.” Jason’s love of animals means the Daults share their land with Nigerian Dwarf sheep, babydoll sheep, peacocks, pheasants, chickens, ducks, guinea fowl and quail. Their care is primarily the responsibility of the children, who feed and water them before and after school. The kids are also in charge of weeding a bucket a day from the pollinating and herb gardens. According to Lindsay, the kids are also constantly dreaming up new ways to make money. “They’re little entrepreneurs; they come up with all these ideas,” she laughs. “I’m like, ‘You’re not selling that at the store!’ but they keep coming up with new plans.” The life they’ve built on the Island isn’t far off the Daults’ vision of a perfect childhood for their kids, not to mention one that closely mirrors Jason’s own youthful enterprises in rural Ontario. As a 12-year-old, Jason was breeding

rabbits, guinea pigs and gerbils and would call into the local radio station to promote his livestock sales, so watching his kids take care of their own animals, as well as dream up myriad ways to make their own money, gives him the quiet satisfaction that moving from the mainland was the right decision. To supplement the farm’s retail income, the Daults planted 900 Christmas trees on the property in 2015. The trees will be ready for harvesting — U-pick style — in around two years. They’ve also been capitalizing on new friendships in the region, having recently hosted their first long-table dinner featuring Indian cuisine from Sutra Foods, with plans to host more in the future. The 2020 summer season will see the establishment of self-guided walking tours through their pollination fields, showcasing the range of plants ideal for bees and other pollinators. Their hope is that the tours will appeal to tourists and locals, and will inspire people who live on the Island to establish best planting practices to support bees, butterflies and other pollinating local wildlife. “It’s pretty amazing when you walk in our fields,” says Jason. “The whole place has a hum to it, and there are butterflies and bumblebees and honeybees everywhere — it’s really cool.”

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THE FUTURE OF FISH On World Fisheries Day, a group of chefs and young fishermen gathered in Victoria to convince provincial MLAs to revive B.C.’s local fishing scene — and the food scene that goes with it. By Cinda Chavich


hen I arrived in Victoria several years ago, I had one culinary goal in mind — to cook and eat more fresh B.C. fish. My food writer fantasy went something like this: Wake up in the morning, stroll down to the dock, chat with a local fisherman (a term even the many women working in the industry prefer) about the catch of the day and take home some glistening specimen — whether it’s salmon or halibut, prawns, oysters, cod or anchovies — to toss into a hot pan or onto the grill for supper. Needless to say, I’ve yet to find that dock or meet that fisherman because, for the most part, that scenario no longer really exists on Vancouver Island or in most communities along the B.C. coast. There are many reasons why this has happened, but the owner-operators I spoke with say it’s because regulations around licensing and quotas have conspired to push smaller-scale, independent fishermen out of the business over the last 30 years. Add consolidation of markets, processors and farmed fish that keeps the price (especially for salmon) low, and today’s fishing families struggle to make a living. Unless you’re a fisherman or a policy wonk, diving into the murky waters of fisheries management can be pretty boring stuff. But before you glaze over like a salmon frozen at sea, hear me out. You need to understand how the whole messy business works to see why the current system favours big processors and corporate owners over smaller operators and young fishermen and what that means to the fish you’ll find on your plate in the future.

Who Owns What? Though there are many issues at play, the biggest is access to fish — that is, who owns and controls the fishing licenses and quotas, the right to go out and catch fish in any given fishery. Those rights were gifted to working fishermen in the 1970s and 80s as a way to monitor stocks and control harvests. But over the years, as fishermen retired, the quotas went to the highest bidders. Today, most fishing families can’t afford to buy quota and must lease the right to fish, often from the fish processors who also set the price for their catch. It’s been described as a modern-day feudal system. Fishermen get just a small portion of the value of the catch (as little as 20 per cent). The lion’s share goes to the quota owners. That’s forced many off the water. There are now only 5,000 fishermen in B.C., compared with 20,000 a generation ago, which is one reason why it’s so difficult to buy fish from a local fisherman. Young fishermen say the inequality of the situation may soon end the owner-operated fishing businesses and our direct access to B.C. fish forever, in essence privatizing a natural resource, selling it to international interests and threatening future local food security and coastal culture. It’s why the coastal towns that once relied on commercial fishing have slowly morphed into the kind of places where people move to build homes overlooking the ocean, but where they can’t buy fish for their tables.

Making Waves The good news is that a new generation of fishermen has organized Save Our BC Fisheries (SOBCF), a loose coalition of independent fish harvesters,

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non-governmental organizations, fish retailers and chefs, working to highlight the problems and push for solutions. Last year, young fishermen travelled to Ottawa to testify before the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans as it considered changes to the Fisheries Act. And it seems like the committee was listening. It tabled a report in 2019 recommending sweeping changes to B.C.’s fishing regulations to create a “more equitable sharing of risks and benefits,” wrestling valuable fishing licenses and quotas away from corporate owners and armchair fishermen and returning them to those who fish. Fishermen are hopeful that the new fisheries minister will adopt the committee’s 20 recommendations immediately. At a recent event for MLAs in Victoria, chefs cooked up B.C. fish and young fishermen spoke, urging B.C. politicians to press their federal counterparts for new licensing, quota banks, succession planning and mentorship programs, to restore local access to local fish, and make fishing communities viable again in B.C. A cornerstone of the solution is “fleet separation” — a system that’s already in place in Atlantic Canada and Alaska — which requires that anyone who owns quotas and licenses must be on a boat, fishing. In the Maritimes, a fleet separation policy has reduced costs for fishermen and dramatically increased their incomes to levels that sustain both fishing families and fishing communities. It won’t be easy to get quotas back from corporate interests and investors and into the hands of fishermen. But advocates say it could be accomplished within three to five years and would be a game changer for small owner-operators today and in the future.

Rich McBride, a fishmonger at Finest at Sea Ocean Products, aboard the Dovre B, one of 15 vessels this local and sustainable company owns.


How You Can Help Those of us who love to eat fish can do our part to support local fishermen. Make your opinions known to local politicians — and vote with your wallet. Both saveourbcfisheries.info and the national Slow Fish program offer information and calls to action. The young fishermen I spoke with urged diners and shoppers to always ask where the fish they’re buying comes from — who caught it, when and where. Try to adopt the 52/12 rule — resolve to eat local fish once a week, and every month try something you’ve never tried before. And learn a few mother recipes that work well with whatever local fish is in season, which helps to sustain both fishermen and fish. Whether it’s a simple rub, sauce, chowder, stew, fish cake or pie, fish is fast to cook, delicious and nutritious. I recently had a chance to try some sole from our Pacific waters, and I also discovered a Vancouver Island fishery for lovely pink swimming scallops, caught by a fishing family near Comox. The ocean around the Island is teeming with herring and anchovies, and there is local ling cod, skate, hake, octopus, clams, oysters and sweet humpback shrimp to discover. If you shop at small fishmongers like Finest at Sea in Victoria or Oak Bay Seafood, they can tell you exactly where and when the fish they are selling was harvested, often even including information about the fisherman and the boat.



Or connect directly with a local fisherman through a Community Supported Fishery (CSF), paying upfront for a portion of the seafood landed in a given season. The Michelle Rose CSF, run by Guy Johnston out of Cowichan Bay, offers buyers a share of its prawns, shrimp and salmon catch for an annual preseason payment. Shellfish are delivered in early summer, salmon in late summer; both are sushi-standard seafood that are sustainably fished and frozen at sea. There’s often bycatch too, including ling cod, octopus and rockfish. Johnston, who has been fishing for more than 40 years, says the CSF has literally allowed him to stay afloat. “A community-supported fishery is one way for me, as an independent fisherman, to remain viable, feed my family and reduce the carbon footprint of my catch,” he says. The money stays in the local community, and buying from a small owner-operator is better for the environment, he says, because “it is the smaller, long-term, independent fishermen who care most about ocean stewardship and maintaining a healthy and sustainable fishery.” The Vancouver-based Skipper Otto CSF is a larger program, originally started in 2008 by Shaun and Sonia Strobel to sell Shaun’s father Otto’s catch directly to consumers. Now there are 30 independent fishermen fishing under the Skipper Otto banner, serving 2,800 members. Simply sign up and buy a share, then use your credit to shop from their online store as the catch is landed, with monthly

“It is the smaller, long-term, independent fishermen who care most about ocean stewardship and maintaining a healthy and sustainable fishery.” deliveries to pick-up points in participating retail stores across the country. “You’re getting total traceability — the fisherman’s face, bio, name of boat, how the fish was caught — plus absolute premium quality,” says Sonia of the wild Ocean Wise seafood she sells, all harvested from small-scale boats in B.C. “Not to say you can’t find cheaper fish, but you’re not paying an enormous premium either.” The value of a CSF goes both ways — consumers get top quality, traceable, B.C. fish, while fishermen get a fair price and the satisfaction of seeing their own fish sold to appreciative buyers. The value stays with fishers and their communities, so they support other fishing-related businesses and keep the coastal culture alive.

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Melissa Collier from the BC Young Fishermen’s Network fishing for spot prawns.

Calmer Waters The complex web of fisheries licensing issues may be tempting to ignore, but consumers do so at their peril. Untangling the lines will be difficult. Not everyone wants these regulatory reforms, but without them the business of fishing in Canadian waters will surely continue to be concentrated in larger corporate and global hands. Young fishermen say if small owner-operator fishers disappear on the West Coast, so will our access to our favourite fish and generations of local knowledge. They point out that much of the catch already goes to processors offshore, and as this continues, there will be less B.C. fish for your plate. “We want to share our own experiences, working as fishermen,” adds Chelsey Ellis, a

member of the BC Young Fishermen’s Network. “We want legislators to hear the message from small-scale fishermen — helping us succeed, and thinking into the future to see how we can pass the business onto our kids, and how that benefits fishing communities and the entire culture of our coast.” I don’t pretend to understand all of the intricacies of our complex Canadian fisheries policies, but many people I spoke to say it boils down to this: fisheries management in B.C. is not meeting the needs of fishers, with too much of the profit of harvesting our local seafood going to big corporations, fish processors and offshore entities. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to fisheries regulation, but those that do it best create opportunities for small owner-operators to thrive. I’m looking forward to a time when I can meet my local fisherman and when the economic benefits of harvesting this Canadian resource goes to the people doing the hard work of fishing.

Cooking the Catch


hefs who work directly with local fishermen and small local processors are helping to swing the pendulum back toward truly sustainable local seafood through programs like Ocean Wise, which ensures chefs that the fish they serve is harvested sustainably, and Slow Fish, which goes a step further to make locally harvested fish a priority. Here on Vancouver Island, that can include salmon, halibut, tuna, sablefish and prawns, along with lesser-known ling cod, skate, sardines, geoduck, octopus and sea urchins. The following recipes were served on World Fisheries Day (November 21) at an event hosted at the Inn at Laurel Point. All recipes were cooked by chefs who were there to talk to B.C. MLAs about sustainable seafood and the issues facing B.C. fisheries.

Seared Halibut with Harissa, Quinoa and Chermoula Salad Ross Derrick is the chef behind The Table Café in Kelowna, a collaboration with his friend and neighbouring business owner Jon Crofts of Codfathers Market. The chef and fishmonger share a commitment to 100-per-cent sustainable and local seafood, and can tell customers where, when and how every fish on the menu was caught. Derrick serves a variety of species, whether it’s prime B.C. halibut or the more unusual hake, herring or bycatch available throughout the local fishing season. Harissa sauce: • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds • 1 red pepper, diced • 1 red onion, diced • 4 cloves of garlic, whole • 2 Tbsp red chili flakes • 1 small can diced tomatoes • 1 lemon, zested and juiced • salt Halibut: • 4 to 6 oz portions halibut fillet (1 1/2 inches thick) • 1/2 recipe of harissa sauce (above) Chermoula: • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds • 3 cloves garlic • 1 cup olive oil • 1 tsp paprika • 1 tsp kosher salt • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes • 2 lemons, zest and juice • 1 bunch parsley, including tender stems • 1 bunch mint • 1 bunch cilantro, including tender stems Quinoa: • 1 cup organic quinoa • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

Salad: • 1 pint small tomatoes, sliced in half • 1 cucumber, diced • mixed greens • 2 cups cooked quinoa (above) • 1/4 cup chermoula (above) To make the harissa sauce, in a large skillet combine half of the olive oil with coriander, cumin and caraway seeds, pepper, onion, garlic and chili flakes. Sauté over medium heat until light brown. Add diced tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the remaining olive oil, lemon zest and juice and salt to taste. Purée. Cool. Divide into two equal portions. To marinate the halibut, place the fish in a zippered plastic bag with half of the harissa sauce and refrigerate for two to three hours. Meanwhile, make the chermoula. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a little oil in a hot sauté pan for two minutes. Remove from heat, cool slightly, then transfer to a blender with the remaining ingredients. Purée for one minute, until the mixture looks like a pesto. Set aside. Rinse the quinoa in water until clear. Combine stock and quinoa in a heavy-bottomed pot and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from pot and fluff with a fork. Cool. To cook the fish, remove from marinade and pat dry. Sear halibut in a lightly oiled pan over medium-high heat for four minutes, and flip over and cook for another four minutes. To serve, combine tomatoes and cucumbers, quinoa, greens and 1/4 cup of the chermoula. Mix well and divide among four plates. Top with seared halibut. Pass remaining chermoula and harissa sauce at the table. Serves 4.

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Steamed Swimming Scallops with Soy Yuzu Butter Sauce Chef Takashi Ito of the Inn at Laurel Point served pretty pink swimming scallops from fishers Joel and Melissa Collier of West Coast Wild Scallops in Courtenay. These local scallops are sustainably fished using a butterfly trawl — the scallops literally swim up into the net. You can eat the entire scallop, including the roe. Chef Ito simply steamed them in a Chinese steamer, then passed them around on the half shell, drizzled with a citrusy soy and butter sauce. He says the sauce works well with steamed local clams and mussels too.

Fourth-generation fisherman Joel Collier of West Coast Wild Scallops with a full trawl of scallops.

• 2 Tbsp gluten-free tamari soy sauce • 2 Tbsp sake • 1/2 tsp yuzu juice (available at Asian grocery stores) • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted • 2 pounds frozen swimming scallops, in the shell In a small saucepan, whisk together the tamari, sake, yuzu and melted butter to combine. Set over low heat to keep warm, whisking if the sauce separates. Place the scallops in a steamer basket and steam just until the scallops open, about four to five minutes (from frozen). Don’t overcook; they will get rubbery. Remove the top shells and drizzle each with a half teaspoon of sauce to serve.


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Maple Miso-Glazed Black Cod Chef Dai Fukasaku of Fukasaku in Prince Rupert served a tuna sushi platter with tuna tataki and his signature dish, Maple Miso-Glazed Black Cod (a.k.a. sablefish). It’s made with sake kasu, the lees from making sake, sourced from the Artisan SakeMaker on Granville Island. You can find this kasu in Victoria at Fujiya market. It’s an ingredient that’s nourishing, tasty and used to tenderize fish, meat and chicken and for soups and dressings. Dai says the technique of “pickling” fish in sake lees is a Japanese tradition and one he uses for black cod, though says it also works well with salmon, halibut, yelloweye rockfish, scallops and the collars or belly meat from all of these fish. Get creative! • 2.5 to 3 pounds sablefish fillet (Chef Fukasaku used Finest at Sea, Ocean Wise-approved, troll-caught black cod) • salt (Fukasaku used local salt from Vancouver Island Salt Co.) 2020-01-23 11:42 PM



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To prepare the sablefish, wipe off the fillet and place on a big tray, flesh side up. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the fillet. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Tilt the pan slightly, so any liquid that’s drawn from the fish will drain away from the fillet. The purpose of this step is to remove extra moisture from the fish. To prepare the miso marinade, place the sake in a pot and heat over medium low heat, just until the liquid is bubbling. Whisk in the miso, maple syrup, tamari and sake kasu, stirring until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add a little more sake. Season with the pepper powder. Place the mixture into a container and refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the fish from the fridge and wipe to dry. Cut fish into six portions. Rub the miso mixture over both sides of the fish to coat well, then put the fish into a zippered plastic bag, removing as much air as possible. Marinate in the refrigerator for seven days. When ready to cook the fish, scrape off the miso mixture. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and arrange the fish fillets on the paper. Preheat the broiler to 400°F and broil the fish for 12 to 15 minutes, until just cooked through. Serves 6.

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Miso Mix: • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) cooking sake • 1/2 cup (125 g) white miso • 1/4 cup (40 ml) maple syrup • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) • 1 cup (250 g) sake kasu (Fukasaku used sake kasu from Artisan SakeMaker on Granville Island) • pinch red pepper powder

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Grilled Anchovies on Toast with Fennel and Red Onion Slaw Chef Rob Clark of The Fish Counter in Vancouver, who first championed the idea of sustainable seafood with the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program, served B.C. anchovies, pickled and broiled, atop garlicky toast with red onion and fennel salad. He challenges chefs and consumers to try local anchovies, sardines and green sea urchins — quality seafood that’s prized around the world but not appreciated at home. The anchovies he used came from Finest At Sea. You can substitute other small local fish like herring or sardines. • 1 dozen medium-sized (fresh or frozen and thawed) Pacific anchovies • sea salt Marinade: • 1 Tbsp honey • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard • 1/2 tsp dried oregano • minced zest and juice of two lemons • 1 cup olive oil Fennel and red onion slaw: • 1 fennel bulb • 1 small red onion • 1/2 teaspoon sugar • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt • 1 tsp lemon juice • 1 tsp olive oil


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Toast: • sliced baguette • olive oil • garlic cloves, halved To prepare the anchovies, cut off the heads and tails, cut the bellies open with scissors, pull out the entrails and rinse under cold running water. Place each fish, flesh side down, on your work surface and press with your hand to flatten, pushing the entire backbone flat. Turn the fish over and pull the backbone out, from the tail end. Cut into two fillets and trim the edges along the belly to remove pin bones and to create small, tidy fillets. Place the fillets in a shallow glass dish and sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and drain any excess liquid (this step firms the flesh). Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour over the fish. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. To make the slaw, trim fennel bulb, halve lengthwise and cut into very thin slivers. Halve the onion and thinly slice. Combine in a bowl with sugar and sea salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain, mix with lemon juice and olive oil. Drain the excess marinade from the anchovies. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, skin side up. Preheat the broiler to high heat. Place the top oven rack about four to six inches below the broiler, and broil the anchovies for three to four minutes, until just browned and crisp, and cooked through. To make the toast, brush bread lightly with olive oil, arrange on a baking sheet and broil under the preheated broiler for one to two minutes, until golden brown. Rub each toast with raw garlic. To assemble, top each toast with a little fennel slaw and an anchovy fillet.

B.C. Coho Poke Cooking at 1909 Kitchen in Tofino, sous chef Tyrone Tutt says the world is his oyster. Fishermen arrive there with fresh salmon, halibut, prawns, sea urchins, clams, sea cucumbers and gooseneck barnacles, and 1909’s Cook Your Catch program lets guests bring in the fish they have caught for the chefs to cook. Tutt says his poke recipe was originally designed for tuna, but worked perfectly with the freshly caught coho salmon that arrived from local fishermen in Bella Bella for the event. He served his poke with a drizzle of pineapple consommé as an individual appetizer, but it’s just as good piled on crackers for a casual starter. Easy and “cooked” in the vinaigrette in just over an hour.



Poke vinaigrette: • 1 /2 cup finely diced shallots • 1 /4 cup finely chopped green onions • 1 /4 cup grated fresh ginger • 1 /2 cup shiro dashi (or tamari) • 1 Tbsp sesame oil • 1 /2 tsp crushed red chili flakes Pineapple consommé: • 1 large can pineapple juice (46 oz.) • 1 /4 cup white rum • 1 /3 cup fresh lemon juice • 1 /4 cup tarragon leaves • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro • 1 /4 tsp black pepper •s alt and sugar to taste •3 Tbsp mirin • 1 pound (500 g) salmon or tuna, cut in 1/4 inch dice • t oasted macadamia nuts and microgreens for garnish Combine the vinaigrette ingredients and reserve. To make the pineapple consommé, combine all of the ingredients and refrigerate for the flavours to infuse, at least two to three hours. Strain and reserve. For the poke, combine the diced fish in a bowl with just enough of the vinaigrette to coat it well. Set aside in the refrigerator to marinate for one hour and 20 minutes. (Chef Tutt says this produces the perfect texture for salmon, though you can marinate other fish longer, up to tree hours.) To serve, mound portions of poke in individual soup plates using about 60 to 75 grams per person. (Tutt uses a square mould for the poke, set in a round dish.) Garnish with macadamia nuts and microgreens, then drizzle some of the pineapple consommé around the edge of the plate. Serves 6. TIP: Any leftover poke vinaigrette and pineapple consommé can be kept in a covered container in the refrigerator for two weeks. Chef Tutt says the vinaigrette can be used in salad dressings or to marinate other proteins, while the pineapple consommé makes a nice addition to a rum-based cocktail.



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Spring Home





Spring is the perfect time to refresh your home. YAM brings you fresh ideas to make spring cleaning (without harming the environment) a breeze. Plus, uplifting ideas for you, your home and lifestyle for spring. By Julia Dilworth



icture your job, your daily routines, your hobbies, your family and responsibilities all stacked vertically on top of one another, and at the base of this is your home, a place that should offer pleasure but can sometimes be overwhelmed by stuff. “People are busy,” says professional organizer and counsellor Maggie Megenbir. “Having a strong foundation is a launch pad to live your life out in the greater world.” With her business, Calm, Cool & Uncluttered, Megenbir has seen first-hand how important it is to have a solid foundation — a home that is calm and welcoming and functions well on a day-to-day basis, so you can better handle carpool, work challenges, sick kids, fencing practice and whatever else life throws at you. Spring is the perfect time to review your space and begin building the vision of the home you want — and lightening the load is the best place to start. The Great Purge can be daunting, but organizer and home stager Jaclynn Soet of The Happy Nest recommends reviewing items by category to identify what you can live without. “When you see it all together, you can easily spot what your favourite is and what you can let go of,” she says, adding that it’s helpful to start the easiest categories first, like clothing or kitchenware. “This way you can work your way up and strengthen that muscle for letting go,” she says. Books you never read, patterns, duplicates, broken things, abandoned projects — identify and bid them adieu.

We asked professional organizer Maggie Megenbir of Calm, Cool & Uncluttered to shed light on common stumbling blocks standing in the way of achieving an organized home.

1 Inherited items Usually one sibling in the family becomes the keeper of family heirlooms and history. This can be a huge burden because it all takes up space and they’re left with having to make all decisions about what to keep.

2 Cluttered horizontal surfaces This usually happens when you lack a good paper system. Think flow, not just filing. When paper comes into your home, what path does it take? How do you get it from the door to where it needs to go? Often, it just lands on the kitchen counter and dies there. If that’s where you’re naturally inclined to put paperwork, why not set something up right there?


3 Rooms of deferred decisions Garages, spare bedrooms, basements — things get tossed in there with an “I’ll deal with you later” shrug, and then it accumulates over the years until people find they have these rooms they just can’t use. Real estate and rent are far too expensive to not use and fully enjoy your space.

4 Toy overload


The weight is already lifting; can you feel it? Now Megenbir says you’ll have a more accurate picture of what’s in your home and can assess if what you’re left with can realistically fit. Deciding on the volume for each category of belongings can really help if you get stuck, she says. “For example, if you have one bookshelf in your home and that’s the only one you’re going to have, then work to declutter, so that all your books fit on that bookshelf.” Downsizing is key for emotional objects as well. If your grandmother’s teacups are all stored in bins, Megenbir suggests slimming the collection down to just a couple to enjoy in your space. “There’s a sense that you’re honouring your grandmother and her memory, but on a smaller scale.” When setting up an organizational system, Soet says one of her top tips is creating labels for what goes where. “Type it in there and it’s like the word of God. You’ll never be in a situation again where you don’t know where something goes.” And for anyone who has a partner who struggles to put things back: “The label does the nagging for you,” she says. Clear containers are a boon to storage spaces (everything can be accessed instead of forgotten). Soet feels it’s crucial to find storage bins and accessories that are esthetically pleasing as well. “The more beautiful it is, the When your storage space is esthetically more likely you are to commit to pleasing, you have a tendency to want to reduce clutter and keep things organized. maintaining that function.”


When children have far too many toys, parents might consider asking family members to give the kids experiences rather than stuff. When kids have too much, they can become overwhelmed, just like adults.

5 Quick-fix purchases When we’re busy or stressed, we may buy items we think will make our lives easier. “Wow, this treadmill will help me exercise more and make me healthier!” But when the novelty wears off, we’re left with a lot of things we paid good money for that aren’t being used. The cost of hanging onto these things is high. When we hang on to the idea that our future will change and be better because we have this stuff, it keeps us from living fully today.



Everyone has at least one item bought with good intentions that now sits gathering dust. Whether it’s a sequined blouse, a newfangled rowing machine or a full-wall magnetic spice rack, Megenbir cautions against holding onto things for future potential or a future home, unless there’s a strong likelihood you’re going to actually use it. “It’s a bit of a trap. It’s living in the future more than living in today. Learn to live comfortably in the space you have.” In general, imposing new behaviours on yourself or your family members (from exercise to organization) is a tough sell. That’s why, says Megenbir, it’s important to seek out intuitive solutions they’ll naturally want to use. For example, if you do all of your paperwork in the kitchen, then an office down the hall probably isn’t going to work for you. If the kitchen is your habitual spot, find a drawer, find a solution, something, so that you’re more inclined to do it. “As a friend of mine very wisely said, ‘Easy maintenance is regular maintenance.’ ” Creating a home vision board or Pinterest board can inspire you and help you follow through with your spring refresh, but do let go of any notion that everything has to be perfect. Your front foyer is not a fair or accurate preview to the world of how successful or awesome you are as a person. Having all coats and boots tucked away in the front closet isn’t always realistic.

Your front foyer is not a fair or accurate preview to the world of how successful or awesome you are as a person. “If people aren’t using [that closet], then put hooks on a wall. Do whatever you need to do to get stuff off the floor — and work with how the people in your family function,” says Megenbir. Stop buying. Period. “If a person is determined to get a handle on their home, then put a stop to spending and bringing new things in,” says Megenbir. “Stop buying. Just back up the bus.” Both Megenbir and Soet recommend enlisting the help of an objective observer when you declutter. An extra person can be a sounding board for your decisions. “It’s so much easier to help other people than yourself,” says Soet. “And it’s much faster to collaborate.”

Finally, Megenbir says people need to follow through with actually getting things out of their home. Often, we want to sell an item to recoup the cost, but what it really comes down to is priorities. “If reducing stress is a priority, unless something is going to bring you quite a bit of money, just let it go,” she says. If money is a priority, ask if you’ve got the time and the ability to sell it.

ROME WASN’T CLUTTERED IN A DAY “If people are at a point where they’d like to do things differently and turn their living space around, or their office space around, just remember that it didn’t get to this place overnight,” says Megenbir. So be patient with yourself, stop the constant inflow of stuff and start to gradually let things go. Once you do this, you’ll begin to notice a shift. “Any forward motion is moving forward,” Megenbir adds. After many years in the organizing business, Soet says she never gets tired of the difference she sees in her clients once their homes have been decluttered. “I love the physical transformation of the space, but also of the people,” she says. “They were in a very stagnant place, and as you help them take back their space, the way they perceive themselves and their outlook just changes — it’s like watching someone bloom.”





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Spring design tips

This living room combines two big trends for spring 2020: coastal textures and a colour scheme that welcomes the outdoors in.

for your home refresh Once the spring sun is shining through your windows, you may notice your faux fur throws and thick-knit pillows are looking a little too Game of Thrones. (“Winter is coming.”) When that happens, a spring refresh is in order to wake up tired interiors. We ask interior designer Jenny Martin of Jenny Martin Design to share her favourite tips. “Spring is a great time to purge unnecessary things that weigh us down,” Martin says. “I’d start there, then look for a few new pieces to inject positive energy — things that feel like the new season.” Fresh off a buying trip to North Carolina’s High Point Market, Martin returned home with an insider preview into home trends for 2020. “Some new spring trends include lots of beach textures, a great fit for our coastal location,” she says. Think large-scale rattan light fixtures and jute rugs. Speaking of rugs, layering a few different ones is a trend to watch, she adds. ”Picture a classic handknotted wool area rug layered over a textured jute one.” “Stoneware and pottery with a handmade esthetic will add a warm connection to your spaces,” says Martin. (Opting for pieces crafted using natural, sustainable materials

lift a dark or heavy-feeling space. And don’t shy away from colour. “Bringing in a single pop of colour into a key piece is a fun way to add some spring fun in an otherwise neutral palette,” says Martin. Do take colour inspiration from the flora and fauna outside — consider this a wake-up call for a grey, white or beige palette.


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To make fast work of your spring clean — while going easy on the planet — Nezza Naturals co-owner Sasha Prior shares her expert advice on natural ingredients and how to make ecofriendly, do-it-yourself products.

Why go natural? Natural products come from natural sources, aren’t created from chemicals and the majority are plant-based, explains Prior. There are a lot of conventional ingredients in household cleaning products that you don’t need, and a lot of times they’re toxic (think parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals and artificial colours). “Fragrance oils will often be added to a lot of products out in the world, but they’re added just for that smell that people are after, and they can be quite toxic,” says Prior. “Ultimately it’s about our health and the health of the environment. And it is creating a large effect, even though it’s such a small choice.”

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One cleaner to rule them all “In our society we’re kind of encouraged to buy products that are for every single aspect of our lives,” says Prior. “In terms of cleaning products, you could look in your cabinet and probably eliminate more than half.” Instead of individualized toilet bowl cleaner, bathtub cleaner and glass cleaner, the Nezza Naturals co-owner says you could cut that down to one or two multi-use products. Natural products are so versatile that one natural cleaner can work for the bathroom, the kitchen and the floors. “Castile soap is something you can use on your body, you can use it on the floor, for washing your clothes — you can even bring it camping because it’s biodegradable.”

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The ease of essential oils Not only can you add a pleasant smell to your natural and/or homemade cleaning products, but essential oils are antibacterial, antimicrobial and have therapeutic benefits, explains Prior. Plus, essential oils are gentle on you and your skin. Sweet orange essential oil is in a lot of Nezza Naturals’ cleaning products. “Citruses can be really good for cleaning, they have a fresh smell, but they also clean grease and grime really well,” she says.

DIY cleaners

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Castile soap is the main ingredient you need for do-it-yourself cleaning products because it works on grease, dirt and stains. “Even water and Castile soap makes a great scrub,” says Prior. And there are plenty of simple cleaners you could use that you probably already have in your house, like salt, baking soda, white vinegar and olive oil. One great multi-purpose cleaner could include vinegar, Castile soap, some essential oil and maybe a little alcohol (the active ingredient in hand sanitizer), if you want to kill bacteria. “We’ll often use baking soda as an abrasive, like a bathroom scrub,” says Prior. “So you could mix baking soda with water or with a natural multi-purpose cleaner and it makes a paste, which will clean stainless steel and other surfaces.”


Disinfecting Spray


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Courtesy of Nezza Naturals Mix the following ingredients in a glass spray bottle and shake well: • 3/4 cup water •3 Tbsp white vinegar • 1 0 drops eucalyptus essential oil • 1 0 drops peppermint essential oil • 1 0 drops orange essential oil Spray and wipe off any surface you would like to disinfect. Works great for baby change tables, benches, kitchen surfaces — anywhere really!

To inspire your spring clean If you want to diffuse an essential oil while you’re cleaning, the Nezza Naturals co-owner is a big fan of tree oils: Western red cedar needle and black spruce, even eucalyptus, just brings the outdoors in. “It smells so clean and fresh, almost like an invigorating spa, and it can energize you a bit too,” she says. Lavender is a great scent for pillows and sheets. For towels, try lemon grass for an energy boost, fresh out of the shower.

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Scented laundry tip If people are doing laundry and they want their clothes to smell like essential oils, rather than putting oils in the wash, just add a few drops on a dryer ball or a dishcloth. Toss it in the dryer and everything will come out smelling like that essential oil, more so than if you put it in the wash and rinsed it all away.

Develop your own cleaning routine “Be task-focused, rather than room-focused, because then you can set all your supplies up, and it’s a little bit more efficient,” says Prior. “So you get to focus on your floors, focus on your counters all at once, rather than change, change, change. Personally, I love to clean counters and sinks every day — anywhere that tends to get a lot of use.”

Clean where the action is “If you spend a lot of time in your living room, then just focus on that first, because you’re going to enjoy it the most,” she says. “For me, it’s the kitchen and the living room. Even if it’s keeping your coffee table clear, I like that. Keeping well-used spaces organized and clear is helpful for our minds.”

Reduce and refill Everyone can cut back on their plastic use and output by buying glass when possible and refilling products when you run out instead of buying new. FYI: Nezza Naturals refills everything from shampoo to Castile soap to coconut oil.


Joseph Ribkoff, Fenini, Kokomarina, Grizas, and so much more! PLUS SIZED FASHIONS — CELEBRATING 20 YEARS! 2-1113 Langley Street (behind Murchies), Victoria, BC 250-385-8169 | www.bodacious.ca




Now You See Him With rising star magician Jason Verners, what you see is not what you get — and his audiences love it and his contemporary, no-top-hat-and-cape take on magic shows. By David Lennam | Photos by Jeffrey Bosdet




o not invite Jason Verners over to play cards. The young Victoria magician is a master of prestidigitation, with uncanny powers over a deck, manipulating a blackjack with every hand. Or revealing, sequentially, what the next card will be … and the next … and so on. But hoodwinking dupes at the poker table isn’t even what the 21-year-old aspires to do, although, I suggest, it could be a lucrative sideline. What Verners is about is sleight of hand. Skillful deception through practised dexterity. True magic. Not the Harry Potter stuff. Refining and refining and refining the trick. Painstakingly. Then tarting it up with the abracadabra of showmanship until it’s irresistible, head-shakingingly-I-cannothave-just-seen-that.

“I wasn’t any good at sports. I thought magic could be that thing for me.” THE PRESTIGE PLAY Jason Verners has become one of the best on the Island, according to veteran Victoria magician Murray Hatfield. “His growth has been amazing — and fast! He has learned so much and improved so much in the last few years. I know he’s going to make a mark in the entertainment world.” When Verners was 11 or 12, he met Hatfield through a local group of magicians, the Victoria

Magic Circle. Within four years they were sharing a stage and more recently touring the province in the BC Shriners Variety Show. “It went from helping [Murray] load gear in and being like a stage hand,” says Verners. “[He] really taught me how to work in a theatre.” Hatfield was both mentor and reality check when Verners was young and full of himself, thinking, as Verners says, “That I really was the shit.”

MAGIC’S THE THING An only child without a lot of friends, Verners grew up flipping cards with his fingertips, hoping his early forays into conjuring, coupled with an easy manner, would help him stand above the pack. “I wasn’t any good at sports. I thought magic could be that thing for me.” As lunchroom monitor he’d entertain the brown-bag set with some calculated manipulations, done with the flair of a budding maestro. “I’d do little shows at Christmas for my family, and my uncle would throw me 20 bucks at the end.” And then, suddenly … presto. Cue the magical ascent.

COMING OF AGE “It all happened really fast, you’ve got to realize,” he says. “I went from lunchroom monitor and four Christmas shows for my dad’s friend’s companies to the Youth Magic Championships in Las Vegas (he placed third, representing Canada) in a year and a half. It was a school talent show one day; flying to Vegas the next. “And that gave me the confidence I think, even though the act wasn’t that good,” he says. Like wine, some cheeses and David Copperfield’s eyebrows, Verners has improved with age. Or, more specifically, he simply matured. “Everything changed when I turned 21. I’m not a cute kid anymore,” Verners says. “I have a moustache I can’t get rid of. The only reason anyone booked me before was because I was a kid, and when you’re a kid you can do an act that’s subpar and everyone will say it’s good because you’re a kid.” Now, he’s stepping up to the challenge of what he jokes could be a quarter-life crisis. “I’m on that ground where I’m trying to figure out who I am as a character. It’s cool to be at the place now where everything is really clicking.”

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“[Magic is] an emotion, something different for everyone who experiences it. It’s not a trick. It’s almost more related to the sense of wonder.”

“Murray’s really cool because he’s like the tough older brother when I was growing up.” When his grade school peers were fawning all over Verners and his bag of tricks, Hatfield, already an established illusionist, would offer only honest assessments of the kid. And Verners recalls Hatfield’s assessments were less than glowing. “It was really cool to have him say I wasn’t great. I knew he didn’t like my act for a long time, but the fact is now when he helps me to dial it in, it works. It’s grown so much.”

COOKING UP NEW TRICKS For a guy making a living doing card tricks, and especially if that guy is a terrible cook, it’s surprising to find out how much the world’s top chefs provide Verners with inspiration. “I grew up watching Criss Angel when he first started coming up, so when I was a kid I wanted to be him. But now I [don’t watch] magicians. I really like chefs.” It’s envelope-pushers like chefs Grant Achatz and David Chang, with obsessiveness and total immersion into their cooking, who have become Verners’s muses. “Their quest for perfection is the key and how I can relate that to what I do.” His craft today, all that close-up, it’ll-disappear-




right-under-your-nose legerdemain, is a search for originality, what the next guy with a top hat and cape isn’t doing. (OK, clarification. Verners doesn’t perform in a top hat and cape, nor with meticulously groomed facial hair, though mention of the latter gets him talking about his moustache again — more of a shadow, a suggestion of facial hair.) “I feel like, as a magician, though, if I had a moustache I’d look instantly creepier,” he says.

So what defines magic? For Verners, perhaps it’s the gut. It’s amazing how often he talks about food. “I think it’s an emotion, something different for everyone who experiences it. It’s not a trick. It’s almost more related to the sense of wonder. I find magic when I eat something really good. When I go to Uchida eatery, their rice is, like, different from every other rice I’ve ever had. That provokes the same emotion.”


Let’s go to camp! May 5-7, 2020 And by camp, we mean Social Media Camp. Join us for three days of learning, networking and inspiring conversation.


YAM’S top picks for what’s new in music, on stage and in art


Growing Beautiful The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV) Associates lecture series Gardens as Art: Aesthetic Journeys Around the World, features four art historians. Moderated by Daniel Mato, the lecture series takes you to famous gardens in France, Italy, Egypt and Japan, all at the AGGV for four Sundays in March, featuring: Japan in Giverny, Monet’s Impressionist Garden with Melissa Berry; Botanical Art, Cairo’s Matarea Garden with Marcus Milwright; Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden in Tuscany with Betsy Tumasonis; and Shibusa Aesthetics, Spontaneity in Japanese Gardens with David Young.





AGGV | March 1 to 29 | aggv.ca




Nice, Nice, Very Nice




Dan Mangan brings his folksy-meetsexperimental sound to Victoria on his cross-Canada tour, celebrating the 10th anniversary of his album Nice, Nice, Very Nice. The Vancouver-based musician, winner of two JUNO awards and two Polaris Music Prizes, has been gaining popularity in Canada and worldwide — including a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in April 2019 — and will perform for one night only in Victoria. Royal Theatre | April 21 | rmts.bc.ca


Measuring Stars Langham Court Theatre will showcase Silent Sky, the true story of Henrietta Leavitt, a 19th century astronomer who worked in the Harvard College Observatory at a time when women’s ideas were dismissed. This drama by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Zelda Dean focuses on Leavitt’s discoveries that are still vital today and asks the question: How can we measure our lives against the beauty of the universe? Langham Court Theatre | April 15 to May 2 langhamtheatre.ca

Featured Speakers Jillian Harris

Founder of Jillian Harris Design and co-host of HGTV's Love it or List it Vancouver

Mark Cohon

Chair Juno Awards and Toronto Global

Nicole Smith

Founder/CEO Flytographer





A Light Touch


urva Design’s Mike Randall gleaned his minimalistic approach to design from years of living and working on boats where tight spaces demanded a thoughtful layout. It’s a style that put his furniture and lighting creations on the map as a regular at the Interior Design Show in Vancouver and earned him a finalist designation in the Architizer A+Awards decorative lighting category. A graduate of Camosun’s fine furniture program, Randall began Kurva in 2012 with the goal of creating wall-and-ceiling fixtures that take advantage of light-emitting diode (LED) technologies, namely flexible strip lighting that can hug and hide in wooden curves. “I discovered the mid-century modernists, and because I don’t do the small, easy things I got into bending big wood,” he says. “That’s where the lighting really lends itself to the new LED technologies in creating sculptural pieces.” That kurva means bend in Swedish was no afterthought — Randall takes on sweeping lighting design projects for clients across North America.

Kurva Design’s Mike Randall has a simple ethos — if it’s not needed, it’s not there. By Susan Hollis Photo by Jeffrey Bosdet

Where are you happiest? Getting away with my family, travelling, which we don’t do enough, but I love it. If there’s an ocean involved, I’m golden.

Whose style do you most admire and why? Probably Charles and Ray Eames. They were among the first makers to really push wood bending to extremes.

Who has been most influential on your approach? Brent Comber [of Brent Comber Originals] and Judson Beaumont [of Straight Line Designs] — mainly for their outlook on running a business and how they design. Brent’s work is instantly recognizable, which brands him, and that’s something that I strive to achieve. And Jud has an excellent work ethic and is well-known for thinking outside the box and having fun with projects. He has a very free and artistic approach and is not afraid to push the limits on materials — that I really appreciate.


If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

Which living person do you most admire?

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

An orca. I spent years working with them and watching them with various whalewatching companies and on research vessels. They’re amazing animals with a highly complex, developed social system.

I’ve always really admired David Attenborough and his work on the environment. I admire people who are caring and put their energies into making the world a better place.

Getting to where I am today and being able to follow my passion. I’m dyslexic and partially deaf. No one recognized I was dyslexic until I was a teenager. I spent most of my early years in English boarding schools struggling academically, being belittled and put down. It’s taken me many, many years to build the courage and confidence to recognize my strengths and pursue my goals. I also love being a parent. Having my kids in my life feels like one of my greatest achievements. I think they are amazing people, and I feel very lucky to have them in my life.

What’s your greatest fear?

What’s your greatest extravagance?

Letting people down. My wife has really made it possible for me to do what I do, and my biggest fear is it not working — I lose a lot of sleep over it.

Probably food with friends. We love cooking for people and hosting gettogethers. Craft beer has to be on that list, too, along with a nice single malt.

What do you admire most in your friends?

On what occasion do you lie?

Being community-minded and caring. We have a very strong community of friends who are like family in our neighbourhood. All of our kids have grown up together and know they are part of a very special clan.

What trait do you most deplore in others? Selfishness.


Probably when something goes wrong in the shop — if there’s a loud bang and something hits the wall and I’m bleeding, it’s like “I’m fine!”

What’s your most treasured possession? Maybe the gold pendants I’ve worn on a chain since I was a kid. They were given to me by my mum and my abuelita [grandmother]. I’m not religious, but they’re very sentimental to me.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Dolphins are pretty cool. They’re social, gregarious and on top of the food chain.

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Tania Pérez-Salas Compañía de Danza




Direct from Mexico City!



Tania Pérez-Salas Compañía de Danza in Ex-Stasis. Photo © Andrea López.


“…imagery that stays with the viewer long after the movement fades.”



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