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CITY ISSUE people • food • style • culture

Maserati of Victoria OPMaserati E N I N G Mof AYVictoria 18 , 2 018 OP E N I N G M AY 18 , 2 018 740 Roderick Street | 250.590.2888 | maserativictoria.com Maserati Levante featured above.above. Š2018Š2018 Maserati S.p.A. S.p.A. All rights Maserati (logo or(logo word) theand Trident are registered trademarks of Maserati S.p.A.,S.p.A., used with DLC6429. #40252#40252 20182018 Maserati Levante GranLusso featured Maserati All reserved. rights reserved. Maserati or and word) the Trident are registered trademarks of Maserati usedpermission. with permission. DLC6429.


FIFTY REASONS TO LOVE VICTORIA With so much to celebrate in our city, YAM looks beyond the usual suspects to focus on the unsung, the unusual and the underrated. BY KERRY SLAVENS & THE YAM TEAM

50 56 62 LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT Public art enhances its surroundings, but it can also create controversy. YAM takes an in-depth look at Victoria’s public art.

PUFF PIECE Already considered a mecca of cannabis culture, Victoria’s future is looking a trendy green.

A Cook Street Village resident shares his immersive experience of the engaged village life.







76 THE CYNICALLY HOPEFUL VICTORIA HIT LIST What we love, what we want to see and what we’re so “over” about Victoria. BY KERRY SLAVENS




One of the largest selections of bar and counter stools on Vancouver Island — starting at $119.


A Rock the Shores giveaway, plus a behind-the-scenes look at our downtown Style Watch shoot.

15 H ERE & NOW

Victoria’s not-so-hidden gem and some intriguing local options to pamper yourself and your loved ones.


All about mole, a traditional Mexican mother sauce. By Cinda Chavich



Artful nostalgia meets contemporary style in a Rock Bay industrial reno. By Gillie Easdon


on the cover

Victoria street style. By Janine Metcalfe

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Neil Osborne of 54-40 is a rock star — but he’s Victoria’s rock star. By David Lennam


The flossy force known as Rosie Bitts. By Gillie Easdon


STATEMENT LIVING Hudson Place One – the landmark of Victoria’s beautiful harbour skyline, will shine as a beacon of sophistication and luxury. Boasting the highest elevated views in the downtown core, these intelligently-designed, well-appointed residences with over 11,000 sf of indoor and outdoor amenities offer much more than just a premier lifestyle in a vibrant and energetic urban setting. They are undeniably statement making.


Sales and Marketing by Townline Marketing Inc. The developer reserves the right to make changes, modifications or substitutions to the building design, specifications and floor plans should they be necessary. Sizes are approximate and actual square footage may vary from the final survey and architectural drawings. All information contained herein is subject to change at any time, without notice. This is not an offering for sale. Any such offering may only be made with a Disclosure Statement. E.&O.E.


HERE IS WHO I AM Eileen Fisher Michael Kors White + Warren DL 1961 Cut Loose Velvet A-G Denim Beautycounter

“When you give yourself to places, they give you yourself back.” When I first read that quote by American essayist Rebecca Solnit, I thought of two places: my beloved Elk Valley where I was born, and Victoria, the city where I’ve chosen to live for the past 30 years. I’ve often tried to pinpoint what draws me to Victoria. Yes, all the usual things: the endless flowers, the graceful character homes, the sea. But I think the closest I ever come to defining it is this: I not only chose Victoria; it Kerry Slavens, Editor-in-Chief chose me. I laid eyes on Victoria for the first time when I was 16. I had been allowed to visit my boyfriend and his family, and I recall being thrilled to be in charge of my destiny, if only temporarily, and to get away from the Interior pulp-mill town where I’d never felt at home. In contrast, Victoria felt intriguingly exotic. I was captivated by the old buildings, mysterious alleyways, the sound of foghorns, the ever-present scent of salt and woodsmoke — and the people, who seemed far more free and creative than any I had known before. There were poets and painters here and they talked about their city as if they were connected to it and could shape it in some way with their art and ideas. Still, Victoria might have remained just a lovely tourist stop for me if I hadn’t ended up at Dallas Road, walking through the tall yellow grass to those rugged cliffs. The day was brilliantly clear, but a light mist hung over the Strait, and I could see the ghostly outlines of white sails on the water. As the mist moved, the Olympic Mountains seemed to be magically there and not there. “I am going to live here,” I said to my then-boyfriend. I knew that more powerfully than I had ever known anything. Five years later, I packed my bags and moved to Victoria, all by myself. It’s still hard to define why the need to move here was so potent, but I think some magic happened for me that day on the Dallas Road cliffs, with the skyline of a genteel city at my back and the wildness of the Pacific before me. Somehow, I instinctively knew that this was a city that would nurture me with its beauty and arts and culture, yet it would never constrain me — because beyond its groomed gardens, a wildness still existed that would always inspire me. I still believe, as Rebecca Solnit said, that I gave myself to Victoria that day, and it gave me myself back — not the shy and somewhat angry, dissatisfied teenager that I was, but a braver, more creative and more determined version of myself. Victoria changed me — I’m as sculpted by its winds as the trees along those cliffs, and even though I’ve left several times, I always feel called back. It’s as novelist Azar Nafisi wrote, “You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.” Indeed, it’s largely a Western construct that our personalities remain unaltered by place. In other parts of the world, a home isn’t just where you live — it’s who you are. And so I live in Victoria. This is who I am.

I think the closest I can come to defining why I live here is this: I not only chose Victoria; it chose me.

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PUBLISHERS Lise Gyorkos, Georgina Camilleri EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kerry Slavens





PROOFREADER Renée Layberry CONTRIBUTING DESIGNER Jo-Ann Loro CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Nicole Chaland, Cinda Chavich, Moira Dann, Gillie Easdon, David Lennam, Lana Lounsbury CONTRIBUTING FASHION EDITOR Janine Metcalfe

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Dean Azim, Jeffrey Bosdet, Joshua Lawrence, Jo-Ann Loro

CONTRIBUTING AGENCIES ThinkStock pp. 19, 24, 38, 39, 43, 76 ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Deana Brown, Sharon Davies, Cynthia Hanischuk

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 From the Style Watch shoot, model Darya Kosilova on Yates Street in downtown Victoria.

Photo by Jeffrey Bosdet

Published by PAGE ONE PUBLISHING 580 Ardersier Road, Victoria, BC 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.




Rebecca Barritt realtor®

Rock the City GIVEAWAY


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This world-class music festival features 25-plus dynamic bands and artists, including Brian Wilson, Social Distortion and X Ambassadors — in one unforgettable experience. Visit yammagazine.com for contest details and to enter. Contest ends June 15, 2018. Good luck!

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Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Independently Owned and Operated.

Style Watch on the street

2018 Exhibition of Ceramic Art

hen YAM’s Style Watch fashion team hit the streets of downtown Victoria recently for an urban-inspired fashion shoot for our City Issue, we met so many locals who told us how excited they are about Victoria’s flourishing style scene. We were thrilled to meet them — and to bring downtown Victoria into the photoshoot in a big way. Historic buildings on Lower Johnson, Yates and Broad played a starring role, along with the classic black entry to Brasserie L’Ecole on Government Street and the stunning Pantheon-inspired Church of Christ, Scientist on Pandora and Chambers streets. Check out Style Watch on page 70. Pictured here: Model Darya Kosilova taking a time out for some fun on Lower Johnson.




Friday, May 25, 6-9pm EXHIBITION CONTINUES:

Sat-Sun, May 26-27, 10am-5pm

FASHION & FLOWERS YAM celebrated the beginning of spring at Couture for a Cause, a fabulous fashion fundraiser for VIDEA, an organization supporting human rights, gender equality and social justice. Pictured (L to R) at Bayview Place: Deana Brown, Kerry Slavens, Amanda Wilson, Athena McKenzie and Georgina Camilleri.

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150 Barkley Terrace, Victoria

815 Pemberton Rd., Victoria

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BEDS: 4 BATHS: 5 3,781 SQ.FT.

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BEDS: 4 BATHS: 4 4,290 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 3.5 BATHS: 3 2,430 SQ.FT.

Andrew Maxwell

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price upon request


238 Bellamy St., Langford

4192 Bremerton St., Victoria, BC

901 - 630 Montreal St., Victoria

105 - 365 Waterfront, Victoria

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 4 2,322 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 3 BATHS: 3 2170 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 2 BATHS: 2 1,599 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 2 BATHS: 2 1,506 SQ. FT.

Brett Cooper

Dean Boorman

Christine Ryan

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1 - 501 Pandora St., Victoria

$12,888,000 529 Swanwick Rd., Metchosin

2530 Queenswood Dr., Victoria

3145 Weald Rd., Oak Bay


BEDS: 6 BATHS: 7 10,700 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 5 BATHS: 5.5 6,103 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 5 BATHS: 4 5,137 SQ.FT.

Melissa Kurtz

Logan Wilson

Glynis Macleod PREC

Lisa Williams PREC






250.514.1966 « S I N G L E FA M I LY H O M E S






3918 Orchard Lane, Victoria

621 Woodcreek Dr., Victoria

2002 Hannington Rd., Victoria

BEDS: 3 BATHS: 3 3,288 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 5 BATHS: 3 2,564 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 5 BATHS: 5 4,063 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 2 BATHS: 2 2,126 SQ.FT.

Nancy Stratton

Melissa Kurtz

Neal Carmichael

Mark Imhoff PREC




3991 Bel Nor Pl., Saanich 250.883.1995 « CONDOS & TOWNHOMES RECENTLY SOLD





B1004-379 Tyee, Victoria

27-3650 Citadel Pl., Colwood

A - 113 Superior St., Victoria

308 - 1351 Esquimalt Rd., Esquimalt

BEDS: 2 BATHS: 2 1,253 SQ. FT.

BEDS: 3 BATHS: 3 2,174 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 2 BATHS: 3 1,306 SQ.FT.

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Donald St. Germain PREC 250.744.7136

Mark Imhoff PREC

Tom de Cosson




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Andrew Maxwell

Brad Maclaren

Brett Cooper

Christine Ryan

Dean Boorman

Donald St. Germain

Glynis MacLeod

Katherine Gray

Lisa Williams

Logan Wilson

Mark Imhoff

Matthew Traynor

Melissa Kurtz

Nancy Stratton

Neal Carmichael

Rebecca Barritt

Robyn Wildman

Sophia Briggs

Tanya Piekarski

Tom de Cosson

Victoria Cao








Canadian Owned and Operated. E.&O.E.: This information is from sources which we deem reliable, but must be verified by prospective Purchasers and may be subject to change or withdrawal. PREC is Personal Real Estate Corporation.



2018 Subaru Impreza WELL-EQUIPPED FROM






*Pricing applies to a 2018 Subaru Impreza with price of $21,620 including Freight & PDI ($1,625). Documentation fee ($395), tire levy ($25), air conditioning fee ($100), taxes, license, registration, and insurance are extra. Offer is subject to change or cancellation at any time without notice. Vehicle shown solely for purpose of illustration and may not be equipped as shown. See Jim Pattison Subaru Victoria for complete details. Dealer #40319.

JPSubaruVictoria.com | 1784 Island Highway, Victoria, BC | 250-474-2211






Dallas Road has one of the best — and certainly most scenic — dog parks in the country. Daily walks and regularly scheduled “play dates” make the picturesque waterfront trail and the leash-optional area vibrant social hubs for Victoria’s dog owners (and local dog-less dog lovers looking to get some puppy time).




Get intergalactic with ELK’s Andromeda Collection 22 Light Pendant. (Pine Lighting Victoria, $4,485)

Are you ready for the “Jelly” upholstery in Knoll’s classic Eero Saarinen Womb Chair and Ottoman? (Gabriel Ross, $4,739)

ur the colo iolet as . V t n a r e lt m gU mo oclaimin ple is having a to n e p r r n u a p P , 8 h 2 01 Wit ear for of the y Embrace monochromatic with this Luisa Cerano dress. (Line carried locally at Bagheera Boutique)

The Good Wallet from Smoking Lily is made with recylced suede. (Smoking Lily, $110)

See the world through violet-coloured glasses with Coach’s thin metal round sunglasses. (Coach at Mayfair, $185)

The distinctive finish of Pier One’s crackle glassware is achieved by dipping molten glass in cold water. (Pier One, $8/each)

Fluevog’s gender bending Ace Face is a classic lace-up derby that boasts plenty of style. (John Fluevog Shoes, $299)

Ascaso’s Dream espresso machine combines a retro look with state-of-the-art technology (moralatrading.com, $749)

scents & sensibilities To fully understand the West Coast appeal of Cowichan Bay’s Wild Coast Perfumery’s scents, consider that each perfume is made with a wild Island component. Perfumer Laurie Arbuthnot blends plant-based essential oils with tinctures made from needles, leaves,



flowers, lichen, fungi and moss harvested from Island forests. Each authentically local, synthetic-free, artisan fragrance is inspired by a British Columbia location as Arbuthnot conjures a sense of place using scent. “Our Sunshine Coast eau de parfum is inspired by the

beauty and wildness of the Sunshine Coast’s shoreline,” Arbuthnot says. “Green and citrus top notes of neroli, tangerine, geranium and bergamot, dry down to the more woodsy and earth notes of vetiver, amyris and cedar.” wildcoastperfumes.com


Jewelers Idar Bergseth (foreground) and Erkki Mursula, of Idar Jewellers, won a design award for their Pirouette ring (below).

Not-so-hidden gem Ask Victoria jeweler Idar Bergseth why his work draws from nature and he’ll tell you it wasn’t always that way. “When I first started in the 60s, everything was very organic, like the Seaweed ring, but after that I went through a cubist period, when the jewelry was very structural and clean,” Idar says. “Then I had the idea of doing a Calla Lily ring and things evolved from that. We do a lot of florals now.” This includes his popular Summer Series, which celebrates West Coast flora and fauna. Idar’s signature bumblebee trademark — designed by daughter Lara Bergseth — is stamped on the inside of each hand-forged piece and is inlaid in the sidewalk outside the store. “The rings with the critters are always popular,” Lara says. “Bees, ladybugs, dragonflies and the flowers. They are lower-profile, and while they’re not glitzy, they’re spectacular.” Since opening in 1972 (first on Broad Street then moving to the iconic Fort Street location), Idar has seen demand for styles shift to a simpler esthetic. Stacking rings with delicate gemstones are ultrapopular right now. “People don’t want big,” he explains. “They want the everyday piece that they don’t have to worry about. But some of these stones, like the pink diamonds, are very rare and costly, even though they are tiny. It’s understated. We call it stealth wealth.”

Get Canada’s leading banks to compete for your mortgage. Whether you are purchasing, renewing or refinancing, Jodie can help you find the best terms and conditions. It’s what she does best. Give her a call to find out how easy a professional mortgage broker can make your mortgage negotiations.

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Calla lilies, roses and periwinkle, along with summer creatures such as ladybugs and dragonflies, inspire Idar’s Summer Series. Idar Jewellers’ Pirouette ring, which won an Award of Excellence from Canadian Jeweller Magazine, is handmade in platinum and set with naturally pink diamonds.

DLC - Modern Mortgage Group 207-3531 Uptown Blvd. Victoria, BC V8Z 0B9



The Modern Stockist Migration — the boutique that is home to over 65 local artists and designers — migrates into stylish new digs at 1223 Government Street.


From housewares by Blackbird Studios to accessories by Flight Path Designs to its own inhouse fashion, Migration is adored for its focus on British Columbia-made goods with an urban flair. “The creativity of the local artisans has always been a point of inspiration for me,” says owner Sara Patterson. “I believe that buyers have a choice when it comes to purchasing products for their store … they can choose to seek out talented individuals and make sure they receive a fair wage for their work.”


By Lana Lounsbury

Outdoor entertaining is all about low maintenance for 2018, with pieces that look good and feel good, so you can just kick back in comfort with your friends over dinner or drinks while the kids or pets run wild.

Registered interior designer, Lana Lounsbury Interiors

Step on it: AREA RUGS

If your patio isn’t as gorgeous as you’d like, you can always disguise that boring decking, concrete or even gravel with an area rug. They’re economical, easy to clean and compact to store in the winter. Polypropylene is the most common material, but I prefer PET rugs, which are made from recycled water bottles and can themselves be recycled. Durable, soft and landfill friendly, they’re perfect for adding a cozy yet stylish touch to the outdoors.

Fab fabric:

DRAPERY AU NATUREL Nothing is more luxurious and freeing for outdoor spaces than gauzy draperies that seem to dance in the wind. With so many outdoor fabric and hardware choices available, any pergola, tent pole or gazebo can be a vacation retreat. Drapery is also practical when it comes to shade and privacy, and it’s prettier than slat screens or roller blinds. Choose whites for a spa getaway, bold jewel tones for a beach-party zone or muted patterns for a Bohemian lair.

Dash & Albert Lexington eco-friendly outdoor rugs come in sizes up to 10' x 14.'

Trend alert:

OUTDOOR SECTIONALS Sectionals have been trending big-time in family rooms for years, and now we’re seeing that trend go outdoors with multi-piece sofas. I recommend choosing metal-frame sectionals as they’re lighter to move around and don’t require as much maintenance as woven resin or wood, especially in our damp climate. I love the Le Rêve sectional. It’s so light, airy, versatile and pretty. All you need is someone to fan you with a giant palm leaf!



The stylish gold CB2 Le Reve sectional comes with ten throw cushions.

The JF Fabrics Wisp line features 100% acrylic drapery.

Pamper & primp HAIR APPARENT Get local with your haircare with Lure Products, created by Donna Dyer, owner of Fish Hair Salon. Containing shea butter, aloe and peppermint, these salon-quality, small-batch products are good for all hair types. “You’re meant to layer them to achieve the look you want,” Dyer says. “And they’re as natural as possible, without synthetic fragrances.” lureproducts.com



Urban farming isn’t all about greens for your salad. City Fields Flower Farm harvests their stunning floral bounty from neighbourhood backyards across the city. Their bouquet subscription service is available for the months of July, August and September — when flowers are at their peak and urban fields are overflowing with blooms. Pick between weekly or biweekly delivery, or get in touch to order a custom arrangement. cityfieldsflowerfarm.com

Victoria designer Iván Meade has collaborated with local perfumer Angela-Marie L’Heureux to launch APAPACHO, his new line of luxury candles. The candles come in two fragrances, CË (white amber and vetiver) and OMË (oak moss and rosewood). The word APAPACHO comes from Nahuatl, the official language of the ancient Aztec empire, and is roughly translated as “embrace of the soul.” ivanmeade.com

SWEET TOOTH Considered the ultimate candy boutique for grown-ups, Sugarfina is known for its fun luxury confections packaged in stylish clear boxes. Now, these coveted candies can be found exclusively on the Island at Pharmasave Broadmead. Go with an upgraded favourite (champagne gummies, anyone?) or create Candy Bento Boxes of various flavours, from dark chocolate sea salt caramels to Parisian pineapples. pharmasavebroadmead.com

EXPERT Trust your eyelids to the expert. Dr. Stephen Baker is an Ophthalmologist specializing in Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery. His creative approach and meticulous attention to detail provide exceptional and natural looking results. Turn your gaze to Vancouver Island’s leading eyelid specialist. P: 250.382.0392 A: 302-1625 Oak Bay Avenue W: bakerrejuvenation.com DR. STEPHEN BAKER MD, FRCSC




FOOD&DRINK By Cinda Chavich // Photos by Jeffrey Bosdet

The Mother Sauce

La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop on Fort Street uses a traditional Mexican recipe for its Pollo Con Mole tacos.




he little jar that Marcela Ramirez hands to me is an intimate piece of her personal culture — a bit of spicy mole (pronounced mo-lay) sauce she can trace all the way back to her grandmother’s kitchen. “We always keep a little mole and add it to the next batch,” she says, explaining how the sauce passed from her grandmother to her mother and finally to her own pantry to share with her daughter Andrea. It’s the authentic flavour lucky diners at Vancouver’s Cacao restaurant taste when they order the wild mushrooms in mole sauce. Ramirez says holding back a bit of mole sauce is a tradition she brought to Canada from her home in Mexico’s state of Veracruz. The older mole intensifies as it ages, she says, adding a boost of flavour and umami to the next pot. So it’s with this “secret sauce” that I embark on my own mole-making adventure. Though it’s not something I make often, I fell in love with Mole Negra, a traditional black


mole, redolent with sweet ancho chilies and chocolate, on a food trip to Oaxaca. There, you’ll find piles of dark, intense mole paste in the markets, ready to add to your meat and poultry dishes, and little restaurants where the tradition of making this classic mole goes back generations. Mole translates as “sauce” in Mexico, but the word often points to the famous chili sauces of Oaxaca and Puebla, made with dark dried ancho, pasilla and mulato chilies and Mexican chocolate. With mole paste in the fridge or freezer, you always have a flavourful base for braising chicken for filling tacos, tamales and enchiladas, or thinning with broth to drizzle over grilled meats. Because mole is considered a “mother sauce,” passed from mothers to daughters, it seems only fitting to talk about it in May, the month we celebrate both Mother’s Day and Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo (May 5). My mole recipe, based on what I learned in Oaxaca, is darker and more intense than Chef Ramirez’s fruitier chocolate-

laced sauce, so I added puréed prunes, a banana and a little more Mexican chocolate to half of my mole recipe to create a version closer to the Veracruz-style mole she shared with me. I also saved a little of my own mole this time. It’s waiting in the freezer to use for our next Mexican meal. It’s a tradition that can add depth and continuity to your sauce — now my mole will always have a touch of a Mexican grandmother in its DNA, the soul of the real Mexican kitchen.

A NEW MEXICAN REVOLUTION It’s just not just mole that is enjoying popularity here in Canada. Mexican cuisine is increasingly popular, with Mexican-inspired eateries popping up all around town. La Tortilla Mexicana has expanded its operations with a new family restaurant downtown. At the reimagined Café Mexico, there’s a massive tequila and mescal collection behind the bar, and a modern Mexican menu that runs from crispy Chicken Tinga Taquitos to Skirt

I tasted several black moles on a food trip to Oaxaca, Mexico and learned how to make this Mole Negra from Donia Yolanda Geminiano at her La Capilla restaurant in Zaachila. My version uses the dried chilies I found at Mexican House of Spice and The Root Cellar in Victoria. This makes a very intense, spicy paste. To give it a fruity Veracruz twist, add a cup of prunes and an extra ripe plantain (or banana) to the mix. Braise some chicken thighs with this spicy sauce for a tasty Pollo con Mole to serve with fresh corn tortillas, as they do at spots like La Taqueria and La Tortilla Mexicana in Victoria.

• 4 mulato chilies • 4 pasilla chilies • 4 ancho chilies • 1 small chipotle chili (dried or canned) • 2 whole cloves • 1 tsp cinnamon • 3/4 tsp black peppercorns • 1/2 tsp thyme • 3/4 tsp oregano • 1/4 cup sesame seeds • 1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds • 1/4 cup raw almonds • 1 slice of white bread (or corn tortilla) • 2 tbsp raisins • 1/2 very ripe plantain, sliced •4  Roma tomatoes (or two cups canned tomatoes, puréed) • 4 tbsp canola oil • 4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole • 1 white onion, sliced • 2 oz Mexican chocolate, chopped • 2 tbsp brown sugar • 1/2 tsp salt •3  to 4 cups chicken or turkey broth (homemade, if possible)

You can prepare and serve a mole in one day, but the flavours really improve if you let it rest overnight (or even for a couple of days) in the refrigerator. Remove the veins and seeds from the chilies; reserve the seeds. Toast chilies on a hot, dry pan until puffed and softened, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Be careful not to burn them. Place chilies in a bowl, cover with hot water or broth, and soak for 30 minutes. You should have about 4 to 5 cups of chilies. Drain, reserving liquid. If you like, put on the exhaust fan, and toast a handful of the chili seeds until they’re completely blackened. Adding this chili “charcoal” to the sauce is traditional and adds to the black colour. In the same hot pan, toast the spices over medium-high heat until they are aromatic (just a minute or less), then pour into a bowl to cool. In a spice mill or mortar, grind the spices. Heat oven to 425°F and toast the seeds, nuts and bread on a sheet pan until browned, about

10 minutes. Cool and set aside. On another sheet pan, drizzle the onion slices and garlic with a tablespoon of the canola oil and, with the tomatoes, roast in the oven until brown, about 45 minutes. Cool. In a blender or food processor, grind the toasted nuts and seeds, then add the bread and pulse to form crumbs. Add the spices and pulse to grind, then add the hydrated chilies, raisins, plantain and about 1 cup of the reserved soaking liquid. Blend until very smooth. Scrape out and set aside. Don’t clean the blender, but add the roasted onion, garlic and tomatoes. Blend until smooth. Add a little broth if necessary. In a large Dutch oven, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat and add the tomato purée to the hot pan. Cook, stirring, until it’s a thick, dark paste, about 10 minutes. Add the nut and spice purée, the chopped chocolate, half the sugar and the salt. Continue cooking, and stirring for 10 to 15 minutes, until you have a very dark, thick,

almost black mass. This is your mole paste — chill overnight or for up to 2 days to allow flavours to marry (you will have about 6 cups of mole paste — use half for this chicken dish and freeze the rest).

Pollo Con Mole The next day, continue with the sauce. For every 3 cups of mole paste, add about 3 cups of chicken broth. Slowly whisk broth into the mole paste and bring to a boil. For a chicken and mole stew, add two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved, to the sauce; cover and simmer for 1 hour until tender and thick, adding more broth if necessary. You can shred the tender chicken in mole sauce to fill corn tortillas for tacos or enchiladas, along with avocado, tomato and fresh cheese. Otherwise, simply serve the mole sauce over grilled chicken or fish, with rice on the side. It’s traditional to sprinkle a few toasted sesame seeds over top to garnish.



Steak Taco Boards. If you want fast Mexican takeout, there’s Rica Salsa, Cocina Pequeña (from the Hernandez family) and Adriana’s The Whole Enchilada in Saanichton. And at Mesa Familiar in Fernwood, Neil Davis offers a casual Mexican-inspired menu, from tender pork ribs to green chili, tomato and mushroom chilaquilas, homestyle enchiladas and Yucatan Roast Pork with Pumpkin Seed Mole. Vancouver is also seeing inventive Latin fare from top chefs — whether it’s the new Fayuca Mexican restaurant in Yaletown or the progressive Latin cuisine at Cacao, where Ramirez works alongside Venezuelan chef Jefferson Alvarez, creating dishes like traditional ceviche or smoked elk tartare with arepa crisps, baked swimming scallops in Cuban mojo, and guanabana cake with soursop foam.

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TASTE AND TACOS Tacos are certainly in the spotlight here in B.C. As one Vancouver food writer said, “tacos are the new sushi” in that city. From flank steak asada to chicken in mole sauce and shredded pork carnitas, a fresh corn or flour tortilla is the perfect vehicle for tasty toppings — and a fast snack. Tacos are a big deal in Victoria too. In fact, the Tacofino brand, which started in a surfside bus in Tofino, has grown to include several Vancouver locations and a popular taco shop in downtown Victoria. It’s at the nucleus of what’s been dubbed the Taco District, with two other taco shops, La Taquisa and La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop, just steps away. The latest entrance into the meaty taco tradition is Taco Stand al Pastor, a sister of the popular Roast sandwich shop, in the Victoria Public Market. They specialize in al pastor pork marinated in adobada sauce, then slowly spit-roasted, sliced and served with roasted pineapple on corn tortillas (or in a flour tortilla burrito or rice bowl). Additional taco toppings include steak, crispy battered fish and a tasty vegetarian combination of flame-grilled nopal cactus with fried cheese, zucchini and salsa verde. Fish tacos are especially popular in Victoria eateries, from tiny takeout spots like Red Fish, Blue Fish to local pubs. At Spinnakers, dry-rubbed wild Pacific salmon, halibut and smoked tuna are served on crisp tostadas with crunchy cabbage, pickled jalapeno peppers and a drizzle of citrusy sauce. Chef Nigel Taylor says it’s a contrast in textures, and it’s the perfect way to use up fish in their zero-waste kitchen. From mole sauce to fish tacos, Mexican cusine is worth celebrating, so why not create your own mole sauce for Mother’s Day — or host a Cinco de Mayo taco night? Or head out on the town for and explore Mexican eateries and the fabulous flavours they bring to the local food scene.

SPINNAKERS’ SPICY FISH TOSTADAS At Spinnakers, dry-rubbed wild Pacific salmon, halibut and smoked tuna are served on Adriana’s chia tortillas with crunchy cabbage, chilies and a drizzle of citrusy sauce. Chef Nigel Taylor’s recipe — inspired by frequent family trips to Mexico — makes the perfect shareable starter to serve with Spinnakers’ Cervesa Reposada, a slow beer aged in Mexican tequila barrels. You can use all three types of fish, as they do at Spinnakers, or use a pound of fresh halibut or salmon.

SPICE MIX: • 1 tbsp each ground cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander, sea salt, black pepper, mustard powder

CITRUS CREAM: • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice • 1/3 cup sour cream

FILLING: •2  oz boneless halibut fillet, cubed • 3 oz smoked tuna fillet, cubed • 1 /4 lb boneless salmon fillet, cubed • 1 to 2 tbsp spice mix (above) • 12 corn tortillas • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided • 1/4 cup minced red onion • 1 1/2 cups finely sliced red cabbage • 1 /3 cup thinly sliced pickled jalapeno peppers


• cilantro leaves to garnish

Combine the spice mixture and set aside (you can save any extra for seasoning any fish dish). Whisk the lime juice into the sour cream to combine, then refrigerate (you can transfer to a squeeze bottle, if desired). In a sauté pan, shallow-fry the tortillas in olive oil over medium-high heat, turning once, until crisp. Keep warm in a 200°F oven while you fry the remaining tortillas, adding more oil as necessary. Add a few additional tablespoons of oil to the pan, reduce heat to medium, and sauté the fish until almost cooked through, about 2 minutes, then sprinkle with seasoning and toss to complete cooking the fish and toast the spices. To serve, place three tortillas on each serving dish. Top each with sliced cabbage and some of the sautéed fish. Garnish each tostada with some sliced jalapeno and red onion, then drizzle with citrus cream and sprinkle with cilantro.

Makes 12 tostadas and serves four.




WHERE TO SHOP FOR LATIN INGREDIENTS Whether you’re looking for dry or fresh chilies, tomatillos or fresh cilantro, you can get Mexican ingredients in local supermarkets and achiote specialty shops.

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My go-to spot for dried chilies is the Mexican House of Spice on Douglas Street, a shop owned by a Guatemalan family. It’s also a great place to find other spices, epazote, achiote, masa, Mexican chocolate, frozen tortillas and corn husks for tamales. The Root Cellar often has a selection of dried chilies, and sells big bunches of fresh cilantro and seasonal fresh ingredients like tomatillos. For fresh tortillas, Adriana’s The Whole Enchilada is a great source. She makes fresh tortillas (and corn chips) daily in her shop in Saanichton — white corn, yellow corn or yellow with added chia and flax seed. Buy direct from her deli or from various supermarkets around the city. She also has daily lunch specials and a catering menu.


dried chilies corn husks

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tastes + trends By Cinda Chavich

Have Your Cake ... Bakeries are back in a big way as the city’s sweetest spots for meetups — for business or for pleasure.


he tradition of bakers offering their pastries and confections alongside coffee and conversation has deep roots in this city. And whether you opt for a downtown patisserie or a neighbourhood haunt, you can actually try a different bakery café — ­­ with a different specialty — every day of the week, and come home with dessert for dinner too.

La Roux Patisserie

SWEETNESS IN THE CITY CORE If you’re looking for pretty French pastries, La Roux Patisserie in Chinatown is a sweet destination. Emily Hatelid and Rebecca Godin have fashioned their menu and space after the Paris cafés where Hatelid honed her baking skills. Whether it’s buttery croissants, lemony tarte citron, macaron or Paris-Brest pastries filled with praline cream, it’s an elegant little spot to indulge.

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YAM love s

The ginger and black pepper layer cake from Ruth & Dean

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For a beautiful slice of old-fashioned layer cake, Ruth & Dean café on Douglas Street near Yates is a popular spot. Baker Susannah Ruth Bryan creates spectacular celebration cakes, and there’s a different cake every day on the counter of her little luncheonette, along with other baked treats like Nanaimo bars, cupcakes, rustic deep-dish pies and big savoury breakfast scones filled with chimichurri, avocado, egg and cheese. Another classic downtown bakery café is The Dutch Bakery, run by the Schaddelee family since the 1950s. At this nostalgic little cake and coffee shop, take a trip down memory lane with the old-fashioned goodies on offer in the bakery, or stop in at the lunch counter for a burger and a piece of their famed vanilla slice. Bubby Rose’s Bakery Café on Cook Street draws regulars for hearty lunches, fresh

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breads, carrot cake muffins, flaky fruit pies and giant cinnamon rolls. Some bakery cafés, like Fol Epi Patisserie and Wildfire Bakery, are connected with some of the city’s best artisan bread bakers. Both are famed for their house-milled flour and rustic loaves, but you can also sit down for a pain au chocolat or slice of seasonal fruit pastry or pie.

… AND IN THE NEIGHBOURHOODS There are popular bakery cafés to explore in the city’s neighbourhoods too. DeLish is a tiny neighbourhood haunt worth visiting. Located just a block from the ocean on a residential street in Oak Bay, this bakery and catering kitchen has a few tables inside and more on the leafy patio. There are sweets and savouries in the case, fresh breads, muffins, scones, squares and breakfast frittatas — it’s a destination for locals hungry for mini pavlovas, chocolate hazelnut macaroons, take-out meals and party food. Another busy community bakery café is Pure Vanilla near Estevan Village. It’s a neighbourhood gathering place, whether you come for lunch, order a cake, or grab a coffee and one of their legendary muffins. It’s a similar scene at Ottavio Italian Bakery, Delicatessen & Cafe on Oak Bay Avenue, where you can pick up a loaf of freshly baked bread or have a panini for lunch, with great coffee and house-made Italian pastries and gelato on the patio. If you’re travelling farther afield, you’ll find rural bakery cafés like Mosi Bakery and Gelateria on West Saanich Road, with its popular panini, pizzas, croissants and chunky “compost cookies.” It’s all part of Victoria’s lively artisan food scene and casual café culture, where the bakers behind the counter deliver your daily bread, cakes and pastries, fresh from their ovens.


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A 14-foot-long island in a Monolith concrete composite with cupboards in a dark grey bamboo veneer is the centrepiece of this great room. In the background is a unique circular Heat & Glo Solaris fireplace. Its LED lighting and mirrored glass create the illusion of flames moving into infinity, viewable from both sides of the fireplace.



Stephen bought these decorative carved columns of solid rubber wood from Capital Iron years ago. They contrast with the graphic starkness of the stairway, with its white railing and black carpet, designed by Charlotte to suggest “a column of light.�




t first glance, the building at 455 Gorge Road East is a nondescript semi-industrial warehouse surrounded by a handful of parking spots and flanked by fast-food outlets and a corner store. There is seemingly nothing unique about it. But then there was nothing remarkable about the rabbit hole until Alice fell down it, and there was nothing unique about that train station until Harry Potter came along.

But with this particular building, there were early hints something interesting was afoot inside. Had you glanced at the building after new owners purchased it in 2015, you may have spotted Monty, the gargoyle made of found objects and papier-mâché, on his commanding rooftop perch. And, if your timing was right, you might have seen a shiny vintage Silver Cloud Rolls Royce 30


emerging from the garage. And you might have wondered about the wrought-iron gates framing a sign that simply said: Studio 455. In fact, this formerly run-down building on the edge of Victoria’s Rock Bay district hides one of Victoria’s most striking, inspiring renovations. Not only is it one of the city’s hippest places to hold everything from cocktail parties to live-music shows, it’s a vintage-car garage, art studio and the home of two people who made a conscious decision to live creatively. While the building is in an area zoned heavy industrial, the new owners were able to also make it work as a home because their living space is officially considered a caretaker suite.

QUEST FOR THE UNUSUAL This four-storey-plus masterpiece is the creation of artist and architectural designer Charlotte Hale and retired military and commercial pilot Stephen Hale. The couple admits they spent a good deal of time exploring the city in search of a home that could satisfy Stephen’s need for a space for his vintage cars and Charlotte’s need for studio space for her design practice as well as for her paintings and sculptures. As if that wasn’t enough, Charlotte also wanted to create an event space for vibrant events, from discos to glam cocktail parties and speak-easy nights. “I wanted to shake things up, bring something new and provide a venue for

creative expression,” she says. They looked at everything from houses to commercial buildings to undeveloped properties, but nothing seemed right until, in 2015, they set foot in the building on Gorge Road East. “It all made sense,” says Charlotte. “It was familiar, like a vision.” But it was not without challenges. “You would have needed X-ray vision [to see its potential], there was so much to remove from the building,” Stephen laughs. In fact, it took 77 Ford Ranger loads to the dump to clear out the building, which, in its most recent incarnation, held an auto-rack sales and installation company. Before that, it was home to a gambling circuit and an illegal satellite dish. There was a tremendous amount of work to do, including knocking down walls, building floors and removing scoop after scoop of raccoon feces. “But it was the most exciting space,” says Charlotte, and so the couple jumped right in, living on their boat for six months while they worked on the space every single day. Charlotte drew up floor plans and designs and the couple brought in VDA Architecture, the same firm that had designed the building more than two decades before. The reno was all consuming. The project

Opposite page: Colour and ecclectism rule in this living space dominated by R.Ward’s oil painting Portofino and a carved Chinese daybed. Above a vintage grey leather La-Z-Boy sofa is a painting by Canadian artist Susan Valyi. The Mid-Century Modern recliner in the corner is also vintage La-Z-Boy (Charlotte was a designer for the company.) This page: Charlotte wanted a semiindustrial look for the kitchen, from the janitorial faucet to the stainlesssteel appliances and skirtless hood fan. The floor is ecofriendly Marmoleum in four colours, with the stripes echoing the striping of the plexiglass backsplash.



became their baby. So committed were they to this space that they also held their wedding amidst the drywall, with warning tape everywhere. “It was like a New York City warehouse, but more dangerous,” Charlotte reflects.

From design to installation




STYLISHLY SURREAL From the moment you enter the building, you are transported into the superlative. The front entrance is “all about tall and big,” says Charlotte. Stark white and stretching way up, the entry stairwell draws the eyes skyward, past Charlotte’s sculpture of a winged figure, to the light of the main living space. Guests may choose to climb the stairs or take the elevator Charlotte and Stephen installed for friends, for their future aging selves, and, of course, for carrying up groceries. At 3,000 square feet, the area that makes up most of the couple’s private living space is an entrancing mixture of salvaged nostalgia and high-end contemporary. In the open-space kitchen and dining area, there’s a massive island with a skirtless hood “so we don’t block the view,” over the gas stove and stools for the inevitable kitchen parties. Thick stripes of copper, marigold and black marmoleum flooring (made from linseed and wood chips) unfurl along the floor and the colours carry on up the walls to draw and direct the eye. Beside the island, and separating the dining area from a living room, is a twoway Heat & Glo Solaris fireplace that gives the impression of depth through its mesmerizing use of LED lighting and mirrors. There are only a few of these in existence Canada-wide. On the other side of the island, a pair of large hand-carved wood Corinthian pillars from Thailand frame a rusted-out boiler that was wrestled off a beach on Thetis Island and repurposed as a table accessorized by a skull and an orchid. Charlotte says this table arrangement is “probably the most accurate depiction” of the meshing of both her and Stephen’s sensibilities. “Castle Hale” is a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures, posters, books and curios. It’s the eclectic expression of the dynamic couple who created it, and it’s full of things that shouldn’t go together but somehow do: an antique table pairs with Plexiglas chairs, and a circular LED modern art piece. And everything has been placed exactly where it should be. There is nothing haphazard, and nothing contrary to the couple’s nature. When Charlotte and Stephen took possession, there was very little light in the space and they had to put in a number of large windows, which revealed an astonishing and rare vista of the Olympics and of Victoria’s industrial district.

A vintage mirror-grained walnut dining table is paired with plexiglass IKEA chairs to add seating without increasing visual clutter. In the foreground is Charlotte’s handforged and welded “Horn of Plenty” sculpture. In the corner is a bronze Peter MacElwan sculpture called “Roamin Duck.”


Above: This Art Deco bathroom, inspired by its chinoiserie screen, features a vintage vanity-turned-washstand with a vessel sink and black fixtures. A free-standing tub with black fixtures is flanked by periwinkle porcelain tiles and a Beardsley Art Deco light fixture (Chicago, circa 1930). Colourful floor tiles from Italy create a faux bath mat. Below and right: An eclectic art wall leads to the master bedroom with its original Art Deco lamps that were broken into hundreds of pieces during shipping and had to be painstakingly reassembled by Charlotte and Stephen.

LIVE VICTORIA Look for us and our new video series, premiering April 2018. Discover useful insider tips on Instagram and Facebook. SOPHIA BRIGGS 250.418.5569 Personal Real Estate Corporation


strattonandbriggs.com Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Independently Owned and Operated. E.&O.E.: Not intended to solicit properties already under agreement.



THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES There is so much to talk about in this home, we could fill a book, but suffice to say, there are notable highlights. The home’s main bathroom, for instance, embraces the Art Deco era, from the luxurious refurbished buffet-turned-sink to the 1930s-era chandelier from Chicago that sparkles above the elegant free-standing curved black bathtub to the dressing table with its Hollywood-style vanity lights. (“Proper lighting!” Charlotte swoons.) Inlaid in the floor are exquisite pastoral tiles from Rome. Radiant heating extends into the shower with its two black showerheads that are somehow reminiscent of jet engines. Undercutting the taste and grandeur of the room is the Korean toilet in the water closet. It plays convivial music and offers different water options by way of a remote control for those nether regions. On the second floor is a cinema whose entrance is guarded by a wood and resin sarcophagus of Ankhesenamun, the great royal queen of King Tutankhamun, and a Herman Miller Egyptian cat, circa 1956. In this deep red, womblike theatre you’ll find old movie posters, like the one from Tank Girl, a popcorn maker, a subwoofer and old movie theatre seats along with modern media-room sofas that are cushy and heated. The carpet is seconds from a casino in the U.S. Mannequins populate the cinema, but they are also used as set pieces during event rentals. “I love them,” Charlotte confides. “They are my dolls.” UPSTAIRS-DOWNSTAIRS Climb up another level from the main three-bedroom living quarters and you’ll discover a rooftop patio with a rare view of the Gorge-Douglas area, its vistas extending all the way to the Olympics. A hot tub was a natural progression to enhance an impossibly gorgeous view. Downstairs from the living space is the big garage that is home to a collection of cars, including a vintage Jaguar, a new Jag, a vintage Norton motorcycle and Charlotte’s Karmann Ghia. There’s also a chauffeured 1960 Silver Cloud Rolls Royce, which Stephen rents as a stand-alone service or in tandem with event rentals. And then there’s the 2,500-square-foot Studio 455 event space itself on the main floor. While it may look much like an empty garage, it is in fact both Charlotte’s art studio and a blank slate that magically transforms for almost any occasion, from art receptions to DJ dance parties to burlesque entertainment nights to a cocktail enclave. The space is accessible, with 120 capacity, a full sound system and modular stages. And in the basement, just down the stairs from the event space, is a funky subterranean lounge, perfect for a breakout space or intimate gathering and workshops. Charlotte and Stephen confess that it took

evoke drama

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250-384-4175 1318 Blanshard Street



A spectacular rooftop view was what ultimately convinced Charlotte and Stephen to purchase their home. Creating the rooftop patio meant putting in 12 new roof trusses. Opposite page: Repurposed leather seats from a Mercedes contribute to the luxurious comfort of the master bedroom. The Art Decoesque fireplace surround, wooden carvings, along with black carpet and a feature wall in purples and maroons gives the room a plush sophistication.




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some time to adjust to the live/work nature of their home, especially the event business. “It was a little invasive, and although the space is soundproof to the outside, it was not for us [on the inside],” says Charlotte. “But it is happening, and that is amazing. People are so happy.”

HAPPY TOGETHER Many couples wouldn’t subject their relationship to this level of chaos and financial and physical stress, outside of, say, having children. What was it that made this work? Did it work? Was it worth it? When asked the questions, Stephen, thoughtful, precise, conservative, looks straight ahead, like an arrow. Charlotte, radical, artsy, tilts her head up to the skies. “We are different enough but similar in the right areas to have a shared need to get things through to fruition,” she says. “Don’t compromise,” Stephen advises, and Charlotte nods. “You can always spot the compromise.” For instance, he says, he had resisted removing the textured ceilings, but “Charlotte was right. It makes a huge difference.” This consciously crafted “no compromise” philosophy also extends to finding just the right piece of furniture or art. When two Art Deco lamps they had ordered from Texas on eBay arrived smashed into hundreds of pieces, Charlotte and Stephen spent months reassembling them, piece by piece. In search of the perfect TV-watching seats for the sitting area in the couple’s bedroom, Stephen came up with the idea of reclining car seats — and not just any seats would do. He procured two Mercedes Benz seats and wired them up to recline and heat up. “No compromises” may be time consuming, but it all pays off in the creature comforts and the tale to be told. And the big question for this creative couple is: Now what? With Studio 455 fully functioning as one of the city’s most amazing places to live and run a business, Charlotte and Stephen joke that their family is worried about what they will do without a big project. “That was my art,” says Charlotte. “Now I will create other art.” As for Stephen, “I will try to do nothing. Absolutely nothing,” he says with a smile. They keep busy responding to queries from potential customers who want to know about booking the event space or renting the chauffeured Rolls Royce — and responding to emails from the fan base of Monty the gargoyle, who sat up on the roof before suffering an injury in a windstorm, and is now awaiting repair. And, ultimately, what they have created is a work of art that is home. “We don’t really ever want to leave,” says Charlotte. “If we go away, we can’t wait to get back.”

Woodstove Chocolate Hazelnut French Toast 1 large loaf of challah or dense bread, cut into 2" cubes



6 eggs

1 cup coconut milk 1 cup milk

¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut 3 tbsp chocolate hazelnut spread Vanilla to taste

Garnish: 2 tbsp sweetened shredded coconut 3 tbsp chocolate hazelnut spread

½ cup raspberries Place bread cubes in pot. Whisk together eggs, coconut milk, milk, coconut, and chocolate hazelnut spread in a large bowl until combined. Pour over bread cubes and toss to coat. Place on woodstove in pot and cook for 6 hours. French toast will be moist and will have risen. To garnish, place chocolate hazelnut spread in small pot on woodstove until melted. Drizzle over French toast, sprinkle with coconut and garnish with raspberries.

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






50 43



REASONS TO VICTORIA With hundreds — or even thousands — of reasons to love Victoria, it was no easy task for the YAM team to narrow it down to our top 50. We went beyond the obvious favourites (yes, we still love Craigdarroch Castle!) to focus on the unsung, unusual and underrated. By Kerry Slavens and the YAM Team

Photos: Dean Azim: #21; Luke Connor: #9; Hélène Cyr: #38; Jordan Insley: #26; Lotus Johnson: #29; Jo-Ann Loro/YAM magazine: #2, 3, 5, 7, 16, 23, 35, 41, 43, 47; Kathleen Matthews: #48




33 36



11 23






22 49

31 21 29


2 41





1 Little Free Libraries

Victoria is a big fan of pocket libraries, those adorable homemade book exchange boxes in front of homes, schools and businesses throughout the region. In fact, here are 160 of them. Find a map at victoriaplacemaking.ca — and remember, take a book, leave a book!

2 Pickle Pub Crawls 3 The Peacocks

There have been peacocks in Beacon Hill Park since 1891 and they still wander freely, their mating-season cries as much a Victoria tradition as the distant sound of foghorns (albeit more piercing). Find them near the fabulous Children’s Farm — or sashaying throughout the park, waiting to be admired.

4 Beacon Drive-In

A burger and shake joint in mid-century mod style, Beacon Drive-In has been a comfortfood stop since 1968, with fries, shakes, floats and arguably the city’s best soft ice cream. On weekends, it’s a prime people- and dogwatching spot.

5 Victoria Pride

With its joyful party of a parade, its Big Gay Dog Walk and its Annual Memorial Dragball


Ferry captains are the designated drivers on these pickle boat pub crawls from Victoria Harbour Ferry. Revel in four “hops” at participating pubs where you can sip and nibble — each stop includes a free appetizer — to your heart’s content before hitting the water for a new destination. victoriaharbourferry.com


Game, Victoria Pride (July 1-8) does this city proud with its powerful message of inclusion underlined by some serious fun and style.

6 Thanking Bus Drivers

In a time when rudeness is on the rise, Victorians regularly buck the trend by calling out thanks to city transit bus drivers. It’s the sign of a kinder, gentler city — and it’s so ubiquitous here, we call it a Victoria tradition.

7 The Stone Angel

She’s called the Pooley Angel, but most of us know her as Ross Bay Cemetery’s sweetfaced Stone Angel. Over the years, nasty vandals lopped off her hand and spraypainted her blue, but her beauty remains. Find her at the grave of MLA Charles Edward Pooley in Block T, Plot 75 E 45.

8 Trounce Alley

From Fan Tan to Dragon Alley, Victoria is full of hip historic alleys. One of these charmers is Euro-vibey Trounce Alley with its tapas, boutiques and galleries. Stroll under strands of lights and the glow of authentic antique gaslights. This is a rebel’s alley: naughty architect Thomas Trounce carved out Trounce in 1859 when the government refused to extend View Street to the waterfront.

9 Rifflandia

This four-day, full-on cool annual music festival is like a heartbeat of the city, attracting some big acts in the past, like Flaming Lips and A Tribe Called Red. This year, expect music, more music and dancing at over 15 venues, from September 14 to 17. Stay tuned to find out this year’s list of performers.

10 Finest at Sea Food Truck This city loves food trucks and wild, sustainably caught seafood. Find both at Finest at Sea’s Food Truck on Erie Street near Fisherman’s Wharf. From the salmon burgers to wild-smoked tuna tacos and B.C. ling cod fritters, it’s a reminder that we’re a maritime city with access to wild, delicious bounty.


11 Tweed Ride 40


Billed as a stylish ride for the smart set, this annual genteel event invites cyclists to dandy up for the day and wheel around town in their stylish biking best. This year’s Tweed Ride is set for May 26.

12 Benji’s Pub Quiz Night at Northern Quarter Shenanigans abound at this pub quiz night with quiz master Benji Duke. It’s a smartly nerdy night of strange trivia and hilarity in one of the city’s best drink/nosh/nightlife venues. Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. Get there early-early — or reserve.

13 Interactive Art

Who says we’re a shy city? From Monkey C Interactive’s gigantic, glowing Think Cubes at Dockside Green to their Musical Staircase at the Yates Street Parkade, to Limbic Media’s Innovation Tree that responds to sound by lighting up, this city clearly loves a great light and sound show.

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14 Purple Sidewalk Prisms You know those purple glass squares on downtown sidewalks? Victoria has over 11,000 of them, and they’re more than decorative. Back when merchants needed space under the street for storage, these blocks of reinforced glass redirected light from above to spaces below. Find them all over downtown, but especially around the Yarrow Building on Fort, Broad and Broughton.

15 Community Gardens

Victoria is a city of gardens, but not everyone knows about the wonderful community gardens. From James Bay to Royal Oak, these gardens transform public or once-abandoned lands into volunteer-run gardens where locals can raise fruits, vegetables and flowers and grow relationships to nature and to each other.

16 The Sidewalk Tattoo

The white-inked sidewalk tattoo at the intersection of Fort and Blanshard seems to be as loved as the Douglas/Yates jigsaw crosswalk was loathed. Designed by tattoo artist Gerry Kramer of Tattoo Zoo, the crosswalk’s sunflower design brings some well-placed whimsy to Fort, the city’s oldest commercial street.

17 The Dandies

There are some dapper men in this town — and then there’s a subculture of men who take their dressing to new highs with their refined and often vintage attire. Think waistcoats,

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pocket watches, bow ties and fedoras. And did we mention the kilt craze? We know the Scots own it, but, hey, we wear it well in this city.

18 The Ghosts

By all accounts, we’re one of Canada’s most haunted cities, from the ghosts of those hanged in Bastion Square to the spectre of Doris Gravlin, said to be strangled at Victoria Golf Course by her husband in 1936. But don’t take our word for it. Take a hair-raising tour with the historians and raconteurs at discoverthepast.com.

19 Fernwood Square

Flanked by the Belfry Theatre in an old gabled church, the faux Tudor Fernwood Pub and other buildings of historic vintage, this square is one of the city’s funkiest. Find artisan shops, indie eateries, a cherry tree (recently hung with paper wishes), bubble blowers, musicians, artists (don’t miss Fernwood’s painted telephone poles) and the occasional cat sneaking through. See the Square at its liveliest at Fernfest, June 22 and 23.

20 Raino Dance

From floor barre fusion to flamenco, Raino Dance is the gem of Victoria’s vibrant dance culture. Launched by Lynda Raino in 1982 and now owned by dancer/choreographer Monique Salez, Raino Dance is more than a studio — it’s a culture of the creative. Its annual show, this year at the Royal Theatre on June 16, is a must-see of dance, from ballet to e-funk.

21 Gone to the Dogs!

When City Hall talked about fencing the dog area on Dallas Road, the public bark was epic. “Leave those dogs alone,” people said. Victoria loves its canines. We put bowls of water on sidewalks for thirsty mutts and even challenged bylaws so that Cody, the shop dog at Charmaine’s Past & Present, could continue to lounge outside the shop door on Fort. (A sweet soul; may Cody rest in peace.)

22 Chinatown’s Red and Gold Lanterns Strung above Fisgard Street, these lanterns in lucky gold and red, symbolizing vitality and good fortune, were installed as part of the city’s Heavenly Lights Project in 2010. At night, they glow like crimson and yellow


Raino Dance

moons against Chinatown’s neon. They’re the crowning touch of Canada’s oldest Chinatown, a National Historic Site.

23 Car Free YYJ

Close part of Douglas Street for the day, let 40,000-plus people take over the road — and what you get is Victoria’s biggest street fair and party, with bands, booths, eats and the enjoyment that comes from conversation without cars. This year’s Car Free YYJ is on June 17.

24 The Vic Theatre

So far it’s Victoria’s only licensed movie theatre, so you’ve got to love that. But it’s also tops for indie and festival fave films, don’tbreak-the-bank popcorn and even those oldstyle theatre seats that may numb your bum but will give you a reasonably retro thrill.

25 Blackberries!

Whether they’re of the Himalayan or trailing variety, there’s no doubt blackberries are one of Victoria’s best tastes. Picking wild ones when they come ripe in the summer is one of the city’s tastiest free things to do. Most people have their favourite patches, but if you’re still

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searching, know that blackberries love the sun and can be found along roadsides, paths, meadows and woods region wide. Perfect with local artisan ice cream.

26 Alix Goolden Hall

Salman Rushdie spoke here, Daniel Lanois played here, and musician Emmylou Harris called it a jewel box of a building. In a city of great halls, Alix Goolden Hall is much-loved for its acoustics and its beauty — from the stained-glass windows to the filigree iron railings and carved wooden pews.

27Dallas Road

Few cities in the world have left so much of their prime waterfronts undeveloped, but Victoria’s Dallas Road is for the people (and the dogs, with its oceanside dog play area). Meandering paths, fields of orchard and velvet grasses, wind-sculpted trees, epic cliffs and pebbled beaches — this beauty of a public space is a scenic magnet for everyone from kite surfers and kite afficionados to sunbathers and runners.

28 The Bookstores

We’re apparently Canada’s writer capital, so it’s only natural we’re also a city of readers. True to form, you’re never far from a bookstore here, from Munro’s (ranked thirdbest bookstore in the world by National Geographic) to Chronicles of Crime (a world-class mystery bookshop). There are dozens more, each with their own ethos and eccentricities. Read on!

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(or Almost-Tallest)

At the corner of Moss and Richardson streets stands a giant sequoia tree, which, at more than 48 metres tall, is amongst the city’s tallest trees. Brought here as a seedling in 1854 as a gift from the state of California, it has, ironically, outlived the city’s tallest natural species, which have been cut down or fallen to disease. Do take time to salute this hardy immigrant when you pass by.

31 The Mosaic

The façade of the Mosaic Building (circa 1963) is a defining feature of Upper Fort Street, an area fittingly known as Mosaic Village. On a building designed by architect John Di Castri, the massive mosaic stands out with its historic scenes and depictions of B.C. industry. It is the work of Mexican artist Andres Salgo, a contemporary of muralist Diego Rivera.

32 The Goose

With nearly 60 kilometres of walking and biking trails running over trestles, along old rail lines and through urban areas, forests and fields, the Galloping Goose Trail is loved by locals and visitors alike. A highlight is the restored Selkirk Trestle across the scenic Gorge.

33 Heritage Homes

Let’s be honest — Victoria just wouldn’t be Victoria without its heritage homes, from the Gothic and Tudor revivals to the Arts and Crafts bungalows to the Queen Anne beauties and Italianate icons. Visit victoriaheritagefoundation.ca for maps and self-guided walking tours. You can also buy


29 Victoria’s Tree Tallest

books from the This Old House: Victoria’s Heritage Neighbourhoods series to learn more about the houses on your tour.

30 Pagliacci’s

When a restaurant has lineups at the door for 40 years, you know it’s exceptional. At Pagliacci’s (or Pag’s, as locals say), Italian home kitchen meets kitsch. The pastas have personality (the bread baskets alone are worth a trip), and the live music, from jazz to klezmer, is a constant draw in an eatery that claims, “No restaurant in Canada has had live free music this long.”

34 Urban Farm Markets From Moss Street and James Bay and Oaklands to Oak Bay, Victoria’s farm markets bring the fields to the streets, creating community hubs centred around fresh displays of heirloom tomatoes, earthy root vegetables and spring greens. These markets are where neighbourhoods really show what they’re made of — meet your neighbours, sip some kombucha, listen to local musicians and admire the painted faces of the kids. Heck, get your own face painted.

35 Magnolia Blossoms

Yes, we like to brag about our cherry blossoms to friends back east, but what about the underrated but lush magnolias lining our streets and yards? Every spring they explode into bloom, some with petals like teacups and some like stars. Find them anywhere in Victoria, but especially throughout Fairfield and Rockland.

36 Empress Gin

This concoction from Victoria Distillery is like the mood ring of gins. Its infusion of the vibrantly tinted butterfly pea blossom gives this gin its moody indigo blue shade. Add a little tonic or citrus and, abracadabra, it transforms into a rose pink. Plus it tastes like heaven, especially when sipped under artsy prints of Queen Victoria at the Q Bar at The Empress, overlooking the lights of the harbour.

YYJ MIX TAPE YAM magazine staff share their top Victoria tracks for our ultimate summer playlist. Dust & Bones by The Fortune Killers (formerly Isobel Trigger). “Being a writer, I love great lyrics. With its catchy and slightly psychedelic vibe, this song is poetry with a melody.” —KERRY // P Stands for Paddy by Black Angus. “To bring a little West Coast Celtic to the mix.” —GEORGINA Bandages by Hot Hot Heat. “An oldie but a goodie, this tune is playful and more than a little unhinged.” —JANICE // Runner by Jon and Roy. “It’s impossible to pick one favourite track from these guys. There is rarely a situation that their music doesn’t improve. They celebrate living on the West Coast and their songs are riddled with references to our city.” —JEFFREY // Long Way From Home by Carmanah. “As an East Coast



transplant who moved here for love, I can relate to the lyrics.” —ATHENA I Should Be Born by Jets Overhead. “It’s smooth and hypnotic, and it reminds me of PJ Harvey’s Down by the Water, in an odd sort of way.” —JO-ANN // Too Cold by Current Swell. “I saw them a few years ago down at Ogden Point and danced outside and just loved this song.” — JANINE // Heading for Nowhere by Jets Overhead. “I really like this group and I love this song! It’s a great tune and very catchy.” —SHARON Red Hot by Bill Johnson. “Johnson is well known on the island’s blues circuit. I’ve seen him a few times at Blues Bash here and in Nanaimo — and also up close at a house concert.” —DEANA

37 Backyard Chickens

Cluck, cluck ... there’s something so endearing about a city that (mostly) values backyard chickens. It speaks to our citizens’ mindfulness about food. Plus, chickens are adorable … and so are the occasional neighbourhood chicken searches for our escaping feathered friends.


38 Gonzales Hill Observatory Built in 1914, this Art Deco beauty was Victoria’s weather station for 75 years. Now it’s the crown jewel of Gonzales Hill Regional park, a perfect picnic and sunset spot with amazing views of the city, the Strait and the Olympics. Discover rare wildflowers, quail and surreal stands of Garry oaks.

39 Breakwater Diving

Who doesn’t love the Breakwater (especially now, with its murals of Indigenous art)? Many locals don’t realize the waters around the breakwater are a designated marine sanctuary and one of the world’s best

dive destinations where you’ll find painted anemones, decorated warbonnets, wolfeels, giant sculpins and more. Dive courses abound, so jump on in.

40 The Lights on the Legislature There are about 3,300 lights tracing the elegant lines of B.C.’s most famous building (designed by architect Francis Rattenbury, who also designed The Empress and was later murdered by his wife’s lover). These lights make the capital feel that much more special. Need something to do? Bring a blanket, recline on the Leg lawn and start counting them.

41 Walkable Victoria

The website WalkScore.com called downtown Victoria a walker’s paradise and scores it an impressive 99 out of 100. Indeed, the entire region is threaded with walkable streets, urban forest hikes and mountain climbs. Do a day walk from Oak Bay to Gonzales to Ogden Point (complete with a beachside picnic). Feeling more adventurous? Visit victoriatrails.com for the region’s best hikes, complete with distances and difficulty ratings.

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42 The Roundhouse

The trip from downtown to Esquimalt would not be the same without passing by the red-brick beauty of a building that was once home to the E&N Railway’s Roundhouse. The E&N is sadly gone, but the Roundhouse remains as one of the most intact examples of B.C.’s industrial heritage railway architecture — and will one day (fingers crossed) become a market and community hub for Vic West, as developer Bayview envisions.

43 The Old Customs House She’s the grande dame of Victoria’s harbour, she’s a National Historic Site and she’s a rare surviving example of a 19th-century Second Empire-style federal building. With her distinct pink paint, mansard roof and hooded dormers, she is decidedly a showoff — and rightly so.

44 Saxe Point Park

Quieter than the city-side parks, Saxe Point is seven and a half acres of beach, gardens, green space and well-tended trails amongst mature Douglas and Grand fir trees. Perfect for picnics, meditative strolls and outdoor yoga.

45 Fort Commons

The revitalized brick carriage courtyard has become downtown’s inner sanctum. Grab a coffee at Discovery or some great eats from one of the eateries in Victoria’s Food Eco-district, including bordering Be Love, Yalla or Chorizo and Co., and revel in the off-street vibe in one of the city’s most creative courtyards. 46


46 Christ Church Cathedral Bells

One of this city’s delights is the sound of the cathedral bells. At Christ Church, there are 10 of them tuned in the diatonic scale of D flat. On Sunday mornings and on Tuesdays at 7 p.m., climb the 71-step tower to see the “change ringers” practicing their ancient art.

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47 Secrets Codes on Broad Street

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Next time you’re on Broad, seek out Morse code messages carved in the sidewalk street-name markers. You’ll find words like “bemused” and “an opera” from Michael Kenyon’s poem Broad Street Blues, written for the street’s 1998 to 2000 revitalization. The full poem, however, with talk of the sex trade and drugs, was deemed too colourful (some would say honest). Thus, the Morse code.

48 Cattle Point

Perfect for super-moon sightings, Oak Bay’s Cattle Point (where cattle once swam to shore from ships) is a Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Urban Star Park, part of a global network of Dark Sky Preserves designed to save the night sky for astronomical observation. Adjacent Uplands Park is 76 stunning acres of woodland trails, rocky outcroppings and Garry oak meadows.

49 Lawn Bowling

It was once forbidden by monarchs like Richard II (who feared its impact on archery), but lawn bowling is alive and thriving in Victoria, where you can play it at least nine clubs, including Beacon Hill Park’s Victoria Lawn Bowling Club, now in its 109th year. Not just for seniors, it’s now attracting the martini and millennial set too.

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50 Blenkinsop Valley

It’s rare to find farming so close to a city. That’s just one reason Blenkinsop Valley is considered the region’s emerald. Not only is it home to one of the most peacefully scenic parts of The Goose, it’s a symbol of the need to protect Island farmlands. An autumn must is the six-acre corn maze on Galey’s Farm, a working family farm. YAM MAGAZINE MAY/JUN 2018


South Island

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s soon as you arrive in Sidney by the Sea, the fresh ocean breeze and charming ambiance of the town will energize and prepare you for a wonderful experience. Welcome to our spectacular little town set on the edge of the Salish Sea! Once you’re in town, you will see how welcome you are made to feel; Sidney has all the amenities of a big city with the comfort and friendly convenience of a small town. The stars of the town centre are the independently owned boutiques where you will discover unique treasures for you or your home. The clothing and shoe shops for both men and women are exceptional, but did you know that you can also furnish your home or garden, purchase beautiful original artwork

or find advice on remodeling a room? All this within a few short blocks! Shopping is fun but tiring, so don’t forget to take time for a delicious refreshment and house-made treat from one of the many cafés, or meet friends for lunch at one of several excellent restaurants, many of them on the waterfront. If shopping isn’t your thing, what better than to enjoy a spa day or visit to a salon? Perhaps you will enjoy Sidney so much that you stay a day or two in one of the luxurious hotels or inns so you have more time to explore! Learn about the romantic history of Sidney on an historic walking tour, or bask in the beauty of Sidney’s waterfront while you

stroll the Sculpture Walk. Perhaps even take in a concert at the Mary Winspear Centre or a film at the Star Cinema. Whichever way you choose to enjoy Sidney, you will be warmly welcomed, so plan your visit soon!

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Peering at public art in Victoria






recently had the following conversation with a friend while we were walking toward Beacon Hill Park along Douglas Street, just past Belleville. It started when my friend asked: What’s that thing? It’s a mattress, an art ing, Day Night is for Sleep mattress made of concrete, on its wry Baden Mo , ng is for Resti edge. With a wooden ledge for sitting. Um, what’s it for? It’s part of an art installation, a sculpture; Day is for Resting, Night is for Sleeping, I think it’s called. Oh, I drive by those signs every day. I didn’t get what they meant. Well, that’s it. The signs. The mattress. And the sit-upon thing. Do you know what it means? I think it’s this: It’s best if you sleep at night, but it’s still important to chill during the day. Did you look that up? I know you know my “I’m-saying-no-soyou’ll-think-I’m-smart face.” So, yes. You talk about it like you get it. Sometimes I think I do. But not always. Public art civilizes its surroundings and makes being alive in the world worthwhile, but it always, always creates controversy if it’s doing its job. Public art is primo proof of the saying: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And chacun a son goût. Public art is fraught. To come clean before I spout off, I must tell you that I was on the committee behind the commissioning and installation of Our Emily, the statue of artist Emily Carr at the corner of Government and Belleville, on a corner of the Fairmont Empress hotel’s property. It was unveiled in October 2010 and garnered both praise and criticism. Some didn’t like that, even though Emily is shown contemplating the harbour view of her hometown and preparing to sketch (or write?), the choice had been made to depict an older, more (some would say) eccentric Emily, with her monkey, Woo, on her shoulder and her dog, Billie, at her feet. I’ve heard what critics have to say and I’ve watched people engage with Our Emily: little kids climbing aboard Billie as though the little dog were a horse and rubbing its bronze-brown body to a shiny gold patina; babes-in-arms pointing up at Woo and laughing; adults rubbing the toe of Emily’s boot for luck and reading the plaque to learn about who this woman was (and is). I’ve never seen anyone just walk on by. And I think that’s great.

But that’s me. I’ll bet there are plenty who wonder who decided the Mowry Baden sculpture Night is for Sleeping, Day is for Resting sculpture I chatted about with my friend was just “that thing” adjacent to the Q apartments on Douglas. It is public art, privately owned but is was a “rezoning amenity,” which means a deal was negotiated with the city by a developer. That’s also the kind of deal that was negotiated for Tap Route, the most recent bit of public art to draw fire. It’s a large aluminum piece by Illarion Gallant on the front of 819 Yates Street, a Chard Development residential building. I love Tap Route. It reminds me of a human skeleton: a ribcage with Our Emily, n Barbara Paterso


By Moira Dann

“I’ve never seen anyone just walk on by. And I think that’s great.”



“I LOVE tap route. it reminds me of a human skeleton ...”

Tap Route, Illarion Gallant


metal limbs reaching both up (to the sky) and down, to be grounded, rooted in the earth. I didn’t know until I looked it up that Gallant was also the artist behind other disparate public art pieces in Victoria: the mosaic in the sidewalk near Vancouver Street in Harris Green, the big stone avocados outside the Hotel Grand Pacific, the swoopy stone box with the manhole covers, and the drinking fountain on Douglas near Yates, and most particularly, the sculpture in Bastion Square. Speaking of Gallant’s Bastion Square art, it’s a bit perplexing when you first approach it, but you’re drawn inexorably because of the bright red … thingies (nascent blooms? seed pods?) atop tall, green stems. It’s all so bright against either a grey Victoria sky or a blue Victoria sky, and the 12-metre (36-foot) height forces your eye up, away from the boring old beauty of the harbour and the water. And then you realize the long vessel halfway up the stem, holding more red buds, is a CANOE! How perfect for this harbour on the continent’s west coast, this nexus of transportation and trade. And the title — Commerce Canoe — also perfect.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE? Victoria is too young to have a surfeit of what I call “Great Man” statuary, such as Captain James Cook (which I like; he’s so stoic about the pigeons on his head) by Derek and Patricia Freeborn on the Upper Causeway. There’s also

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a monument to Scotia’s immortal bard Robbie Burns, which was “erected by his admirers” in Beacon Hill Park early in the 20th century, but the bronze of Burns (along with Highland Mary) is a quandary of scale: it’s atop such a high stone plinth, it makes me wonder if his admirers ran out of money. The bronze statue marking the 25th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope is another question of scale that confounds me. Located near Mile Zero at Douglas Street and Dallas Road, the Fox statue is often surrounded by tourists and ringed with floral bouquets, but its placement at the site, and its size relative to the location, make it seem as though it’s in the wrong place. Just metres away, next to the Harrison Yacht Pond, is a delightfully playful sculpture called Glass Half Full, by Tyler Hodgins.

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LOVE, LIKE, LOATHE The worst reaction most public art in Victoria elicits from me is a “Hmph,” and a confused cock of the head. I appreciate what the artists are trying to do and I understand the work and the imagination that goes into each creation. I know that the piece has already succeeded if it’s engaged me long enough to think about it; I don’t have to love it or even like it. The only piece I actively dislike, even as I love the setting and the sentiment (if not the sentimentality) is the privately funded Inner Harbour sculpture by Nathan Scott (who also created the Terry Fox sculpture) called The Homecoming. The reason it gets up my nose is a detail I can’t buy: the little girl running


Beauty comes from being yourself.

It offers the impression of two glasses of water, one with a red straw, the other with a blue. Both appear half full (or half empty, depending on your mindset). It’s a climbable kinetic sculpture that twirls, and I remember it used to have spangly sounding chimes (although it didn’t make any noise when I recently visited and whirled it around).

“... I’m sorry, but if I’m a wee girl who hasn’t seen her daddy in ages, I’m running toward him with arms stretched out in front of me ...” toward her returning sailor father has her little arms flying behind her. I’m sorry, but if I’m a wee girl who hasn’t seen her daddy in ages, I’m running toward him with arms stretched out in front of me, ready to grab him around the neck in a killer-diller hug. Many have tried to disabuse me of my hugging-mechanics belief that ruins The Homecoming for me, but so far, no dice. Other people like it, so there’s that chacun a son goût idea again. I also love the Unity Wall mural at the Ogden Point breakwater, particularly for the contributions of young artists working under the mentorship of revered First Nations artists Butch Dick and Darlene Gait. It has been great to see it emerge slowly and

(Nah’Tsa’Maht), Unity Wall Mural Darlene Butch Dick and s tor en s/m ist art s ist art uth yo tions Gait and First Na




beautifully, in stages, and to know it is visible to those at sea as well as those on land. So while it can always do better, Victoria is executing its public art requirements admirably. Money is committed long term to the artistic process, its creations, and their maintenance. Not too many permanent “great man” statues, not too much work that is too transient. A reasonable mix of artistic modes, yet with room still for some risk taking. I would like to see more work by women artists, younger artists and people who aren’t in the mainstream. Even occasionally artists from outside Victoria, outside B.C., outside Canada even, to get a sense of how we’re perceived by outsiders. If that teeny statue of Robert Burns could talk, it might remind us (with a Scottish accent) what a providential gift it would be to “… see ourselves as others see us.” And that is the great gift of public art.

o if you have a brilliant idea for some public art you’d like to see, or create, or have grace a public space in your neighbourhood, where do you start? Search out the Public Art Opportunities page on the City of Victoria website victoria.ca. Here you’ll find relevant links to public art policy documents (bit of a snore to read, but essential), an inventory of Victoria’s public art, current public art opportunities and calls to artists (with guidelines for specific projects), as well as a contact link to the decision-making Art in Public Places committee. The committee is made up of five members appointed by council who have “experience and/or be trained in aspects of visual art. A minimum of two committee members must be visual artists.” Projects are ultimately green-lighted by the Art in Public Places Selection Panel, composed of an APP committee member, an architect, an urban design professional and two representatives from the community. Get yourself on the artist contact list by sending your name to culture@ victoria.ca and keep yourself in the loop about the city’s artistic initiatives.

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Farm was Victoria’s first cannabis dispensary to be licensed. Their Hillside location serves up to 800-plus medical cannabis users each day, and a new location at Douglas and Johnson is expected to open this spring.

ith Vogue regularly publishing features on stylish cannabisrelated activities, products and accessories, it’s safe to say the stigma around this controversial plant is fading. Forget reefer madness — there’s now a wellness angle with weedfueled yoga, gourmet aspirations in edibles and Instagram-friendly bud, like Candence’s pre-rolls packaged in keepsake-style Hermès orange boxes. Vogue, a harbinger of the cultural zeitgeist, recently declared Bloom Farms’ Highlighter (a vaping pen), “sleek and subtle … with a substantive, rose gold sheen that wouldn’t look out of place peeking out of a Prada clutch.” While West-Coast-cool Victorians are more likely to go for a Matt & Nat clutch or an Erin Templeton boxcar bag over Prada, our city does have a long history of cannabis as a social norm. One could say we’re enlightened — trendsetters, if you will. And with federal legalization of recreational cannabis use looming on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how our cannabis culture will evolve. And other cities in the country will be watching to see how it’s done. “Victoria and Vancouver are generally considered the mecca for cannabis in Canada,” says Brandon Wright, founder of Baked Edibles, the longest-running commercial medical cannabis bakery in the country. “The West Coast has always been in a little bit of a bubble out here and that has helped foster innovation and better products … The fact that it is being legalized will foster another explosion of innovation. Cannabis is going to be delivered in ways that we can’t know now but that will surprise us. We can’t know what’s coming because it hasn’t come yet.” Baked Edibles might be tucked into a discreet, unmarked building in Rock Bay, but its location is no secret — nor is it meant to be. Wright says everyone from the neighbours to the City to the police to Island Health (Vancouver Island Health Authority) know the bakery is there and what it makes. Along with cookies, brownies and snack bars produced in the main commercial kitchen, the confectionary kitchen — aptly called “Willow’s wonky chocolate factory” after one of their chocolatiers — creates infused treats, from chocolate peanut-butter cups to a Mile-High Mint Cannabar. YAM MAGAZINE MAY/JUN 2018



What’s better than peanut butter and chocolate? Willow, a chocolatier at Baked Edibles’s Rock Bay facility, puts the final touches on a batch of Peanut Butter Cups infused with cannabis THC extract.

But don’t plan on starting your dinner parties with a passed tray of infused gummies just yet. (For those waiting for legalization, that is — cannabis has been a Victoria party norm in many forms for decades.) While edibles are approved for medicinal use, last year Island Health prohibited their sale in local dispensaries, citing that the Food and Drugs Act does not recognize cannabis as a food ingredient. And federal legislation for recreational use won’t include edibles until at least next year. “Edibles are less a part of cannabis culture in Victoria than it used to be, specifically because the dispensaries have been forced to stop carrying them or risk losing their licences,” says Wright, who sells his product to online dispensaries. “Without a doubt there is still an underground edible scene, and for a lot of people it’s their favourite method of consumption. I think in the future they will be a much bigger part than they already are. I really believe that the social model of the cannabis cafés, like those in Amsterdam, will ultimately come in in the next five years.”

HEY, BUDTENDER! Despite the ban on edibles, local dispensaries are another area where Victoria is ahead of the cannabis curve. Two years ago, city council put a process in place for business

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licensing and zoning for dispensaries. “Victoria and Vancouver have the most progressive and well-developed regimes in terms of the regulatory process,” says Mayor Lisa Helps, who doesn’t see legalization changing the culture much in Victoria. “How it could look is very much how it does look now.” What does it actually look like now? On a late Tuesday afternoon in March, there’s constant traffic through the doors of Farm Dispensary on Hillside, the customers ranging from a grandfatherly gentleman in a Tilley hat to a suitclad millennial who appears to have run in after work. It’s a very different vibe than a deal going down in Centennial Square. With its live-edge counters and industrialchic esthetic, Farm feels a little bit like a wellappointed Starbucks, except the display cases contain varietals of dried flower buds — albeit with names like Blue Lime Pie — Phoenix Tears concentrates and cannabis-infused lip balm and bath soaks. “Those are somewhat of a novelty item,” says Allan Lingwood, Farm’s chief compliance officer, pointing to the lip balm. “But I’ve heard the bath salts can be a really relaxing experience.” The inviting vibe at Farm is intentional and cultivated. The founders wanted an environment in which anyone would feel comfortable. A testament to their success is being named to Leafy’s North American-wide

list of the best dispensaries to take your mom to. So, there’s one summer outing already planned. Farm (formally Farmacy) was created as a space for the medicinal cannabis user to comfortably access the drug. Trained “budtenders” work the counters with an “advise not prescribe” approach. With legalization, Farm, as a dispensary licensed by the City, will transition into the recreational model. “We do feel that a lot of people will be using cannabis as a recreational drug on a beautiful sunny day on the beach,” Lingwood says. “With our current membership, of the 24,000, half are truly medicinal users. The other half does need it for medicinal purposes but also like to get high.” Lingwood says that Farm hopes it will continue to be able to serve the medicinal user and to continue its medical cannabis education program — Cannabis 101, one could call it. They also worried there could be a period of excess immediately following legalization. “We were considering a half-page ad somewhere to remind everyone to use responsibly,” Lingwood says. “While we’re all very excited, let’s not get carried away.” To his mind, it should be treated like wine in France, where there is not a huge amount of alcoholism because alcohol’s use is prevalent in the culture and people consume a little bit each day. “As opposed to this idea of prohibition and then when it’s available,

Pot Primer Strains of cannabis are commonly broken up into three groups: indica, sativa, and hybrid. Indica plants are short with bushy stems and fat leaves, and have short flowering cycles. Indica and indica-dominant hybrid strains are often used for their relaxing and calming effect, due to their high level of mellowing CBD. Sativa plants are tall with slender bright green leaves. Because of its high ratio of stimulating THC, sativas can evoke an energetic and uplifted sensation. Hybrids, as may be clear, contain a mix of sativa and indica genetics and can take on characteristics from both.

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The Roll Out As of April 2018, this is B.C.’s plan for legalization. Retail therapy: Cannabis will be sold in public and private stores, but not where liquor or tobacco are sold. Personal stash: Possession of non-medicinal marijuana for people who are at least 19 will be limited to 30 grams. What’s that smell? Marijuana smoking will be allowed in public places where tobacco smoking or vaping is permitted, but not in parks or beaches where children would go.

people get so excited it can be taken a bit too far,” he explains. Given his background as a sommelier, it seems an appropriate analogy. One could also imagine fragrant dried bud replacing a bottle of wine as a hostess gift. Also much like wine, cannabis has a breadth of varietals, and minutiae, such as growth conditions, tasting notes and the overall experience, which Lingwood says provides a lot of opportunities to “nerd out.” Forget wine cellars and cigars — the next luxury collectible could eventually be cannabis, depending on how the everevolving experiment that is cannabis legalization proceeds.

Garden party: Adults will be permitted to grow up to four plants per household — but landlords are allowed to prohibit cultivation. Riding high: A 90-day driving ban will apply to anyone caught driving while drug-impaired, and the province will increase training for law enforcement officers to recognize impairment. cosm10142_2pg Horz_Be Skin Smart_X1a.pdf

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A LEAFY DESTINATION One thing on everyone’s priority list is addressing the question of where to consume. While to many, the skunky scent of a lit joint is as emblematic of Victoria as cherry blossoms, things could change with legalization, when smoking locations will be limited. Cities like Seattle, where cannabis has been legal for a couple of years, have run into the quandary of renters and visitors being able to purchase cannabis but not being able to smoke their wares. While Lingwood and Wright advise newbies and first-time users to set themselves up “in a comfortable place in their homes, to take a low dose and to go slow,” they both acknowledge that not everyone has the option of their own space. “There does need to be some public spaces for consumption because if people can’t smoke in their apartments, they can’t smoke outside, where can they smoke?” agrees Mayor Helps. “I think it is a big question. It’s something the CRD will be grappling with.” Another fascinating development in the U.S. states that have legalized cannabis is the “bloom” in weed-related tourism. There are airport pickup services that allow passengers to indulge in the vehicle; crafting classes that combine pot and pottery; chef-led cannabis-infused menu tastings; craft-beer and edible pairings; and spas that offer

High Society Prepare for cannabis to be the next trending ingredient in beauty and skincare.

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Infused with comfrey, calendula and cannabis, MJ Creams’ soothing skincare formula is used to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.

Lovebud’s Puff Puff Past Eye Cream combines natural anti-aging oils extracted from the cannabis plant with other natural anti-inflammatory oils to reduce the appearance of under-eye puffiness.

marijuana-infused massages. Denver’s “Mile High” moniker now has little to do with its mountainous environs. At this point, it’s not clear if the same opportunities will ever be available in Victoria and B.C. While Tourism Victoria says it will not be exploring any options while recreational cannabis is still illegal, that doesn’t prevent some in the industry from engaging in a little blue-sky thinking. One of Baked Edibles’ inventive offerings is its infused massage oil, which according to Wright, has received rave reviews from massage therapists who have used it on clients. It seems a touch of THC makes for the ultimate in muscle relaxation. “I think that topicals and edibles will be part of packages for vacations, such as spas,” Wright says. “It will be certainly possible that someone could enjoy a small edible and a cannabis-infused massage. It would be a relaxing experience and better than it would have been without.” YAM MAGAZINE MAY/JUN 2018


IT TAKES A VILLAGE (Cook Street Village, that is)

The hub of Fairfield’s Cook Street Village is a tree-lined five-block promenade of boutiques, eateries and, yes, coffee shops. A compelling blend of trendy and earthy, it’s the hangout spot for a historic neighbourhood in the midst of change. YAM asked David Lennam, one of the village’s engaged residents, to give us a view to village life. By David Lennam, with Nicole Chaland

The converted barn is just steps from Cook Street Village, but acts as a quietly secluded refuge from the city. Opposite: David and Molly on one of their several-times-a-day walks through the Village.





icole told me she always dreamed of living in a barn. But when I suggested we should open this story with that line her face did not return a generous look. “Don’t start it like that,” she said. “It’s hokey.” But it’s true. She wanted to live in a barn. I wanted to live in a barn. We live in a barn. A converted little barn, just over 900 sq. ft., in the heart of the Cook Street Village. And it’s that Village, and Fairfield, and the way of life we found living here, both of us, for years actually, that made us want to buy this red barn with the old hay hook still sticking out, and be part of a leafy little corner of Victoria that seemed a bit stuck in time. But we’ll begin this story another way. A neighbour recently remarked that he loves living in an urban environment where his children can see the stars. Our barn sits back against one of those all-too-rare laneways, devoid of streetlights, porch lights or the glare of commercial signage. Look up on a clear night and the constellations seem so close you could crane a neck and be one among them. It’s rare to live within walking distance of everything a city can offer and still see the stars. It’s one of the things that makes Cook Street Village special. Nicole likes to say, “A good measure of quality of life is whether or not you can sleep with the window open.” It’s something a friend named Irwin Henderson mentioned and it got them talking about how all the new condo developments seem to be built right to the property line, not leaving room for trees to grow or people to hang out.



“When 100-year-old Douglas firs are replaced with condos, it means you don’t wake up to the sound of birdsong anymore. You wake up to the sound of traffic and garbage trucks.” But that kind of talk, out of context, is for selfish NIMBYs and privileged elites. Noise pollution, light pollution, safety — they’re concerns when a city grows and densifies. How you best manage it determines whether a neighbourhood, or the whole town, is great or merely just OK. The Cook Street Village is great. Right now. Our barn dates to the latter part of the 19th century, though there’s no determining its year of construction. I like to tell people that Robert Service once bedded down here, just like everyone who lives in Vancouver’s West End claims to reside in the same apartment where swashbuckling Errol Flynn died. The city’s drawings for our barn are minimal, consisting of a rectangle with two lines not quite bisecting it into thirds. Three horse stalls. Whose horses we’ve no idea because our barn predates the other house on the lot, a cute and cozy 1908 “doll’s house.” And that’s why we moved here. Because this property consisted of two separate homes. Both exceedingly modest, but together the sort of arrangement Victoria is wanting to move towards: garden suites, laneway housing, house-plexes. My mother, who was aging into Alzheimer’s, needed our care. Neither Nicole nor I knew what that would entail, but we embarked on a seven-year journey of discovery — Mum in the



It’s all local artists in this barn, like a Danny Everett Stewart acrylic of flowers (left) hanging below whitewashed ceiling joists exposed in the reno. Lyle Schultz’s Prey 1 (below) has a place of prominence in the kitchen.

little doll’s house in front, us in the barn in the back. We shared a garden, a dog and the assurance that Cook Street Village would share in the care plan. We wanted to give Mum the most possible amount of freedom, without worry. The only way that independence was possible was to have the Village keep an eye on her. With her illness, there’s simply nowhere else in the city she could have walked around freely. The Village became like one of those purpose-built dementia villages the Dutch have — and Langley is getting. It was where she walked every day, at first to shop and then, when those abilities left her, just to be. The neighbourhood would look out for her if she got lost. And she did. But she was always found and returned. Half a dozen of the businesses kept dog biscuits, and Mum, with her little terrier, Molly, pulling her along, would get dragged in for treats. The business owners got to know Mum and care about her, and that made us feel she was safe out there, even though she could no longer spell her name or tell anyone her address. Complete strangers brought her home (with the dog) when she couldn’t remember how to get back. Isn’t that the sort of place in which we all want to live?

RAZING — AND RAISING — THE BARN We call our modest barn The Carriage House, with an emphasis on the “The,” given it’s the only one on the block — one of a very few existing anywhere in Victoria — and because we like to acknowledge its unique personality. The building itself has been horse barn, garage for a Buick, storage shed, home and who knows what else in 130-plus years. When Nicole and I bought it in 2010, the structure had been converted into a cramped two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartment, beds on the ground floor, kitchen and living room upstairs. Nicole immediately saw the potential for an open-concept, ultra-green, condo-sized space. A space for modern urban efficient living. Sledgehammers and crowbars were handed out to friends and, in a weekend, the barn was gutted, torn back to some planks and beams. Within two months, and numerous on-the-fly alterations, the interior was reassembled. Kitchen, dining, living in one airy space down, one large bedroom and bath up. We made an effort to do it sustainably: the kitchen countertops are wood from old bowling lanes in Nanaimo, the floors extralong recycled planks made from glulam (a structural composite made from dimensional lumber that’s glued together), the original kitchen table, all nine feet of it, was milled

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(Clockwise from top left) The original hay hook remains; close inspection will reveal a Participation Award of Excellence; paintings by Nicole decorate the stairs next to her office nook; Molly on the bed (again!); David at work downstairs. The large moose is a Timothy Wilson Hoey, Gerry Cheevers is by Roy Green, Nicole’s cynical portrait of Peter McKay is behind the couch, and chair with raven is from Surroundings in the Village.



from beams in the old Walmart. Zero VOC paint. Extra insulation to reduce heating. “The truth is,” admits Nicole, “I always dreamed of living in a converted barn, I just never thought it was possible. I love the rustic feeling of a farmhouse, and the lifestyle of small-house living appeals to me. I like shopping each day for food. Fewer countertops means fewer places to clean and collect clutter. I think there are a lot of people who can’t imagine living so efficiently, but when you can walk two minutes to buy fresh bread or salamis, you don’t need a lot of room for food storage. When that same walk takes you to village life with ample sidewalk patios and public space, where you’re bound to bump into friends and neighbours, the street becomes your living room.” It’s all a bit European. Quiet streets where no two houses look the same. Streets named after dubious characters (Trutch, Sutlej) where the locals understand that we have the power to change those symbols of a sorry colonial past. Grassy boulevards. A canopy of mature trees. A sense that, whatever is happening elsewhere, all is calm here. I know, I know, we’re describing Cook Street Village like it’s some sort of urban nirvana. But in the most Buddhist sense of the highest state one can attain — one of enlightenment where personal suffering goes away — the Village certainly punches above its weight. It has a vibe that’s at once funky and weird and chic and cool. The chief amenity of this corner of Victoria is every realtor’s favourite closing line: location. Two hundred acres of Beacon Hill Park, with enough blooms to make Butchart blush, is across the street. The stroll of Dallas Road and the beach, 10 minutes at an ambling clip. Downtown, a 15-minute stroll.

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A CHANGE IS GONNA COME … VISION OF A VILLAGE The City of Victoria has embarked on a 25-year neighbourhood plan that will “incentivize” new developments. Their approach seems narrowly focused on expensive condos without serious study on how that would impact residents or businesses. Take our place, for instance. A laneway house. One of a handful. The City sees it as a non-conforming secondary suite. Nicole says it’s the type of housing — small, efficient, ground-oriented multi-family housing — that should be encouraged, especially if we want to accommodate more people without sacrificing the way that people look out for each other. “It was a fluke finding it, and this type of housing is technically not allowed,” she says. “There’s a real fear that there’ll be no one left here like us.” YAM MAGAZINE MAY/JUN 2018




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Many dread the wrecking ball of change will leave torn-down houses like grave markers to a forgotten Fairfield, but the city has recently agreed to collaborate with the neighbourhood on co-creating a gentle density program for infill housing and a vision for a much safer and slower Cook Street Village. As Nicole puts it, “It’s very important to most everyone that lives in Cook Street Village that we have a sharp distinction between downtown and the Village.” This is done by having a greener, more natural environment, more trees, more grass and a less aggressive built environment. Cook Street Village is, in planning-speak, a “complete neighbourhood.” That just means you can safely and easily walk to get your daily goods and services. For residents, there’s a butcher, baker, post office, notary public, dentist, liquor store and several places to buy groceries. All the things you need in a day. It means we can have smaller kitchens since we don’t need to store a week’s worth of food and we can leave the car at home and shop on foot or on bike. Visitors love it too because it’s the place in the city you can enjoy ‘patio culture.’ Everyone loves eating outside at sidewalk cafés, but the options are surprisingly few in Victoria. Except in Cook Street Village. There’s outdoor seating at three coffee shops, a pub and four restaurants — and that’s in a compact two-block strip. If there was a portal we could gaze into and see the Village 10, 20, 50 years from now, it could be a national demonstration site for affordability, sustainability, friendliness, neighbourliness and culture, held strong by local independent businesses. But we do have to look at its evolution through a lens of what we currently have … perhaps one little barn at a time.

SOMETIMES IT JUST TAKES A WALK It’s not common knowledge, but most of the square footage of our community is owned jointly by the people who live here, says Lorne Daniel of the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network. “We co-own all parks, streets and boulevards. It’s not some government that’s responsible for this park, corner or street. It’s ours, so what do we want this street to look like?” Daniel is explaining placemaking, a process through which people work together to shape and create public spaces. One idea is to revamp two or three blocks of Cook Street into a sort of shared street that gives pedestrians priority over cars and gets rid of designated crosswalks in favour of a system that allows people to criss-cross the street all over the place. Hard curbs would be removed; all sides of the street would be equally accessible by foot or mobility scooter. “It would take cars an extra minute, at most, to get through the Village, but we’re designing it for a community and not as a thoroughfare to get people to Dallas Road,” he says.

A NEW VIEW Daniel is taking part in public neighbourhood walks around Cook Street Village and area, co-organized with the Cook Street Village Residents Network to show what assets exist and how they can be used for everyone. “With these walks,” he says, “we’ve found the best community planning happens with people walking side-byside in the space you’re talking about. Getting people out of meeting rooms ... into the real space so we really look at things like trees and the height of buildings in relation to the trees.” Collaboration, he says, goes a long way toward creating spaces people want to live in, even if that means changing the way it looks and operates. “We tend to accept a status quo — this is the way this street has been for the last 20 years and this is the way it’s always going to be. [But] Cook Street Village used to be a low, marshy natural area and has evolved, in a relatively short time, into what it is today.” For info on the walks, visit csvrn.com.

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STYLE WATCH Fashion Stylist: Janine Metcalfe Photos: Jeffrey Bosdet




Yates | On the cover: Schyia leather jacket ($598) and B-Black studded belt ($198), both available at Bagheera Boutique. Optimista tank top ($42), available at pureoptimists.com. Neon Blonde studded jeans ($148); Le Grande lle silver necklace ($258); Spike silver bangle ($96) Large icon hoop earrings ($85); and Spike silver bangle ($96), all available at Frances Grey Boutique. Caroline Abram Widana sunglasses ($458), available at Maycock Eyecare. Pandora | Opposite: Cinque blazer ($450) and trousers ($235); Brax t-shirt ($168), all available at Bagheera Boutique. The Trend pink leather backpack ($225), available at She She Bags. Johnson | This page: C’est Moi flowered dress ($105) available at Tulipe Noire.

Trounce | This page: Foxcroft striped blouse ($150); and Joseph Ribkoff striped pants ($135); both available at Barbara’s Boutique. Broughton | Opposite: Malene Birger Philanfi dress ($625); Lizzie Fortunato Tahitian Tassle earrings ($275); both available at Bernstein & Gold. Fluevog Petula silver boot ($300), available at John Fluevog Shoes.

Wharf | This page: Petra striped wrap dress ($229) and Hark horn collar ($265); both available at Frances Grey. Fluevog Maier contrast ankle strap heel ($369) available at John Fluevog Shoes. Aqua Kiki tote ($280), available at Heart & Sole shoes. Government | Opposite: In Wear tunic top ($179) and trousers ($159); and Sarah Pacini hoop earrings ($70); all available at Hughes Clothing.

Shot on location in downtown Victoria. Model: Darya Kosilova, Lizbell Agency Hair & makeup: Anya Ellis, Lizbell Agency, using Charlotte Tilbury makeup and KMS hair products.


Cynically Hopeful Victoria Hit List

Legend Things we’re done with What we love

OK, Victoria is a city that has a lot of love — and love it we do. But there are a few tweaks we’d like to make when it comes to urbanism, fashion, food and culture. Here’s what we’re so “over,” what we love and what we would love to see.

What we want  to see more of

By Kerry Slavens

Bike-lane bellyaching


Climate change is a fact, thousands more people are moving to Greater Victoria and there’s no room for all those cars. Can we just try, people? Innovative bike-lane business spinoffs like Dobosala Cantina and Ride-Thru, a new Indo-Pacific eatery on Pandora, geared to cyclists and foot traffic. More stylish cycle wear, less spandex. Think Amsterdam, where cycling doesn’t require special gear, it’s just a faster version of walking.



Douglas Street doldrums Douglas is the gateway street into the city; can we spend some time beautifying it already? The jigsaw puzzle crosswalk didn’t work, but it was a step in the right direction. Douglas desperately needs some streetscaping, more decorative lighting, building beautification (can we talk about paint?) and a downtown plan that creates a sense of arrival as soon as you hit Hillside.



Being called the city for the “newlywed and nearly dead.” Victoria’s new reputation as a destination for coastal cool — as reported in Vogue and New York magazine. More nightlife for all ages and more diversity in food, arts and cultural events.

People who take forever to order their coffee. Think extra-large, half-whole milk, one quarter 1%, one quarter non-fat, extra-hot, no foam latte, with whip, one sugar in the raw, a touch of vanilla syrup and three sprinkles of cinnamon. Customers who order ahead if their drinks are complex. A dedicated fast lane for people who just need a strong morning joe.


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People who are addicted to their smart phones. Politeness: let’s just all put our phones away when people are trying to have face-to-face conversations with us. More mobile-free zones in restaurants and coffee shops.

Plastic shopping bags Victoria banned them, now how about Saanich, Langford and the rest of Greater Victoria? Independent businesses creating custom and stylish eco-friendly totes. Community bag-share boxes.


Man buns and unkempt beards. Deep-fried everything on Victoria starter menus. When you’re deep-frying your lettuce and kale, you’ve probably run out of ideas.

— so beautiful but a little cliché.

Victoria’s stylishly masculine salons that celebrate the art of barbering.

Foods that are actually improved by deep frying, like brussels sprouts, for instance — much better deep fried.



More organic freshness for appie time, and allowing flavour, not deep-fried fat, to take a starring role.

Let’s give topknots and bushy beards a rest in favour of stylish hair and clean shaves — or beards that don’t swamp a man’s face.

Mid-century modern (MCM) OK, we do love MCM, but it’s a bit overdone. Are you really cooler just because you finally got that knock-off Eames lounge chair? Homes that showcase uniqueness instead of trying to stick to a template for a certain era.

! Over it

There are other houseplants, and we love them all (except for perhaps the leftover poinsettias from the holidays that drop their leaves and seldom flower again). Don’t destroy those succulents, but do add some sophisticated softness to your greenery with Chinese money plants (Pilea peperomioides), loved by designers for their decorative pancake-shaped leaves.

Downtown’s waterfront parking lots. What kind of city does this to its prime downtown real estate anyway? The idea of turning our waterfront into an exciting and beautiful destination that can be enjoyed by locals and tourists. Moving forward with the City’s Ship Point Master Plan to beautify our downtown waterfront, from Belleville to Wharf, with a grand staircase, an urban beach, a festival space for community culture and more retail.

Ugly architecture We’re not naming names here, but suffice to say, there have been some pretty hideous office buildings built here since the 1960s.

Developers who go the extra mile to try and save the heritage features of buildings in tasteful ways. Kudos to the Union and the Janion and the Era.

nt Succudle-in n a st

More esthetic thought put into new building construction. Victoria has a reputation for beauty — let’s not monkey with that.

Yoga wear, everywhere. Lulus are great for hikes and lounging and yoga, of course. But on opening nights or for upscale dining?

LED street lights that dim the night sky and destroy the city’s evening ambience with their cold, blue-white gleam.

Let’s get beyond the coast-casual clothing curse. For inspiration, search out Parisian street style. You won’t find yoga wear anywhere but at the gym and we love that.

We love that LEDs are more eco-friendly, but has city hall really checked out the effects on our health, neighbourhood esthetics and the impact on night-sky visibility?

A city that loves its casual chic, but takes the opportunity to dress up when the occasion suggests it. It’s time to shine a little, Victoria!

More conscious protection of the beauty of our night sky, following the example of Dark Sky communities like Ketchum, Idaho and Sedona, Arizona; choosing LED street lights with less glare and a warmer-hued output.




And the next Mayor of Victoria is… 54-40’s Neil Osborne?

Neil Osborne of 54-40 is a rock star, but he’s Victoria’s rock star, and that makes all the down-toearth difference. On the eve of the release of 5440’s new album, Keep on Walking, YAM chats with Osborne about everything from running for mayor to spandex cycling shorts. By David Lennam


eil Osborne might be considered the prototypical Victoria guy. Clichés about yoga, the de rigueur NDP membership and venti chai lattes aside, Osborne is at home in his home of 13 years, as settled-in comfy as he is leading the luminary Canadian rock band 54-40 for the past 38 years, ever since meeting up with bass player Brad Merritt in high school in Tsawwassen. Home and band fit like stretchy biking shorts (more on that later), or the legendary crunch from that vintage Marshall amp. Osborne resides in a heritage house, cycles for exercise and likes to wander downtown to 78


check out live music in the pubs — less fullblown rock star and more guy next door in a Canadian Tire commercial. “That’s my morning. Get up, let the dog out, get my paper, make the coffee and turn on The Current. I sometimes listen to sports too. I like the hockey talk. I’m a Canucks fan and an Oilers fan, unfortunately [laughs]. I’m having a tough time. I’m pretty much Canadian teams first and there’s an order and the Leafs are last. Calgary’s second last. It’s basically enemies of Canucks.” That from a guy with platinum albums, anthemic sing-along hits, and induction into

more than one Hall of Fame. Everything Osborne wants is in Victoria. “When I get off the airplane and I walk outside, this ‘thing’ goes off my shoulders and I go, ‘Ahhhh, I’m home,’ and it’s just this relaxing feeling.” But he shares the concern of many that the town is beginning to lose its charm. Growth, unchecked development, and the replacement of our signature gentleness with a greedy disconnect from what makes this city so livable. “I get tired of going away for three weeks and coming back and not recognizing what

I’m seeing down the street. You know how you go away and let somebody take care of your house? You come back and they’ve decided to rearrange all the furniture and you go, ‘I asked you not to touch anything. Could you please not do that?’” Osborne could live anywhere, but chose Victoria. One of the feature attractions is leafy, walkable neighbourhoods, where no two houses look the same and the silhouette of downtown doesn’t hide the Sooke Hills. “You take that away,” he says, “it’s just going to be another blah.” He sees anxiety and tension in neighbours who are frustrated their input into civic affairs isn’t heard. “You think you have some say and think you have some rights and think you have a vote in some of these processes, but you really don’t and it’s become quite a shock to me that that’s the case.”

HELLO, YOUR WORSHIP? With the recent release of 54-40’s new studio album, Keep On Walking, the band’s 14th, and a touring schedule that’s pretty hectic for a guy in his mid-50s, Osborne is still on top of his game, musically ... and politically. Tongue-planted-not-quite-firmly-in-cheek, he’s musing about running for mayor. “I have a very simple platform and I don’t need to have a lot of qualifications because of my platform, which is DO NOTHING. The bureaucracy will run itself. My promise to you is to vote no on everything. No exceptions. No new permits, no rezoning, no nothing. Let’s everybody just take a deep breath for three or four years and by then everybody should know what they want. But my wife’s like, ‘don’t you dare’.” Osborne’s longtime marriage to Geanine Robey has produced two daughters, Kandle and Coral, who had a short run together in the noir pop trio The Blue Violets. It’s Kandle who has continued to follow her father’s path, finding solo success in Montreal with her debut album In Flames, with a second album coming out this spring. “I never pushed it on them or trained them or made them take lessons,” says Osborne. “Kandle has a real knack for melody and words, and it’s the only world she knows. She was backstage before she ever had to stand in line to see a concert.” Celebrated Victoria multi-instrumentalist Daniel Lapp, a big part of 54-40’s 2015 album La Difference, an acoustic re-imagining of their hits and the ongoing unplugged touring of soft-seaters, suggests Osborne’s decidedly un-rock star life has kept his feet on the ground. “He’s iconic in the Canadian rock world, but just a guy who’s always up for messing around and playing. You never see that look in his eye when he’s asked to do something where he’s thinking, ‘I wonder how this will

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be perceived.’ He never seems to give a shit about anything like that.” Lapp says leading a modest lifestyle, having a strong family, and getting involved in community is what keeps guys like Osborne humble and unpretentious. “He’s always serious about his career, but something I admire is he knows what he does and doesn’t pretend to do anything other than that. [Osborne] isn’t trying to expand into jazz or electronica. He doesn’t care about fads. He’s like Springsteen. He’s like, ‘I’ll just sing my songs. Why I learned that diminished chord, I’ll never understand that,” says Lapp with a grin.

GETTING POLITICAL With a catalogue of late 80s and early 90s hits — “I Go Blind,” “Baby Ran,” “Ocean Pearl” — Osborne has earned some time on the couch (between tours and albums and all that armchair ‘mayoring’). He knows he’s fronting a beloved band where no one’s expecting him to be the angry young man behind the mic in the Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret. But asked whether the political/activist/punk edge of music has softened, Osborne is quick to pounce. “There’s probably more to rail against than there ever was. We think we have all

these liberties and this freedom of choice, but it’s all been homogenized. It’s down to Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple. That’s the new Big Brother. The new threat. And it’s extremely real. I don’t even know how we’re going to deal with that because it’s like we’re all hypnotized. I actually suspended my Facebook account because it’s like hearing other people’s thoughts. I just don’t want to

FIVE (and a half) QUESTIONS FOR NEIL OSBORNE Is it easier holding a family together than a band? “Without really thinking about it too much, they’re kind of similar. In both cases it’s a lot to do with trust, getting to know each other and relying on each other.” How has the way we enjoy music changed? “Music isn’t as significant to culture as it used to be, although it’s omnipresent. You can’t go into any

do it anymore. I liked my time before it … “And then you’ve got the globalization, or what we’ve been referring to in this city — this arrogance, it seems, by mayor, council and developers to do whatever they feel like without really caring what the voters think. So there’s a lot to rail against; it just doesn’t seem like music is the place to put it. Nobody seems to take music seriously like they used to.”

venue, anywhere, whether you’re buying a chocolate bar or underwear, and not hear music. But that’s what it’s kind of become, a background in many cases.” Does [54-40 drummer] Matt Johnson ever smile? He always looks so serious in photographs. [Laughing] I dunno. Believe me, I’ve heard that before. He’s a super-nice guy. Did anyone ever say you look like Mike Myers? [Nonchalantly] Oh yeah.

This Toronto magazine had a thing called lookalike and they had me and Mike Myers with baseball hats. It was pretty close. You’re an avid cyclist. Do you ride in full spandex? “Yeah, I’m one of those guys. Sad to say. I’m not hardcore, though, like some guys.” So you’re not doping? “No, and I don’t race. I like to be able to look around when I’m riding, take in the sights.”

Ask our residents:

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Working 9 to 5 Longing for some weirdly nostalgic music of the Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin variety? The Victoria Operatic Society’s performance of 9 to 5 about female coworkers plotting to get even with their sexist, egotistical bigot of a boss might be your ticket.

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May 4 to 13, McPherson Playhouse

Celebrate a milestone –or– treat yourself SPIN & WISH Meditation Rings precious metals

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2017 winner in the Photography category: Moss Chair (2016) by Natasha Lavdovsky

create calm



Art Now at the Atrium It’s the city’s most varied art show. Art Now Victoria, the 4th annual Victoria Arts Council juried show, is paintings, photographs, sculptures, mixed media — pretty much anything you’d call art from emerging talent and seasoned pros. And the 75 or so pieces (from 700 submissions) are competing for cash prizes as well as being for sale.

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May 25 to 28, The Atrium Building


Victoria: Don’t miss these guys live! The sleeper act at this year’s TD JazzFest, June 22 to 21, has to be St. Paul & The Broken Bones, a high-voltage gospel band that’s like James Brown, the Family Stone and Otis Redding, sung by a former bank teller who looks like the guy kicked out of the Barenaked Ladies.

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Love & Tassels By Gillie Easdon // Photo by Dean Azim


he captivates audiences with her wit, brash sauciness, and bump and grind appeal. She’s the flossy force known as Rosie Bitts, a performer, producer, author and one of the pioneers who brought the art form of burlesque to Vancouver Island. And when she’s not taking her lovable brand of burlesque to audiences across North America, she’s teaching Tantra and her “Learn to Love Your Jiggly Bitts” classes and workshops, which are exhortations and invitations to revel in your body and life through dance, heels and, yes, tassels. And because she’s versed in both destitution and the sumptuous life, it’s little wonder that “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou is her favourite poem: It’s in the reach of my arms/The span of my hips/The stride of my step/The curl of my lips/ I’m a woman/Phenomenally/Phenomenal woman …

What’s your idea of perfect happiness? It’s twofold: knowing everyone is happy, healthy and well so I can immerse myself in my art, and having my partner give me loving touch and loving massage. What’s your greatest fear? That my children will suffer beyond normal human suffering, or that they will die before me. What do you admire most in your friends? Their compassion, creativity and ability to love me unconditionally, even through all my imperfections. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Cruelty — when people are purposefully cruel to one another. What is your greatest extravagance? I’m an extravagant person, but here are my top three: 1) beauty: manis, pedis, facials, fancy creams — I have always loved all of this; 2) costumes: I have a $1,500 boa; what kind of bullshit is that? 3) food: I love eating out, and I love good-quality, beautiful food. On what occasions do you lie? I’m a shitty liar, so I don’t do it often, but when I do lie, it’s to save feelings ... I do, however, embellish a lot. Does that count? When and where were you happiest? Consistently throughout my life, I’m the happiest when I’m on stage.



If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would be less serious. Let things go more easily. Be more easily joyful. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Having kept myself and two humans alive, and having awesome relationships with them. What historical or mythical figure do you most identify with? The goddess of creation and destruction, Kali, and any and every female in history who got burnt at the stake or who was unabashedly herself. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? The first female reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, or a house cat (less interesting, but a perfect life). What’s your guilty pleasure? I love the drive through the Prairies with a cream soda/cola Slurpee. In an alternate reality, what would your profession be? A doula or a midwife. What do you do in your downtime? With the little time I have, I like to spend it in bed. I bring everything in my bed. I eat in bed, visit with friends in bed, read in bed, all of it.

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November 16 + 17, 2018


February 1 + 2, 2019


April 12 + 13, 2019 PLUS


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November 30 – December 2, 2018

MAN Direct from Norway!

January 25, 2019 • McPherson Playhouse


BJM dancers Kennedy Kraeling and Benjamin Mitchell. Photo © Marc Montplaisir


March 15 + 16, 2019

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