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A sporty performer built to impress on the road. Agile, muscular & beautiful, this is a driver’s soulmate. Opt for even more dynamics, even more exclusivity, even more individuality.

The 2018 BMW 4 Series from only $54,845*

The 2017 BMW 5 Series from only $64,195*

Meet the sportiest & most elegant sedan in its class, radiating confident style even when standing still.

BMW Victoria

The Ultimate Driving Experience.®

The quintessence of automotive individuality creates its own class. The 2017 BMW 2 Series from only $43,445*

The 2017 BMW 3 Series from only $43,685*

BMW Victoria

A Division of the GAIN Group

95 Esquimalt Road | 250.995.9250 | European models shown for illustration purposes only.*Starting from price of $64,195 / $54,845 / $43,895 / $43,445 based on the 2017 BMW 530i xDrive Sedan / 2018 BMW 430i XDrive Coupé / 2017 BMW 320i xDrive Sedan / 2017 BMW 230i xDrive Coupé with a MSRP of $ 61,500 / $52,150 / $40,990 / $40,750 and includes freight & PDI ($2,695). DOC fees ($395), tire levy ($20), environmental levies($100), license, taxes, insurance and registration and if applicable PPSA (up to $45.48) are extra. ©2017 BMW Canada Inc. “BMW”, the BMW logo, BMW model designations and all other BMW related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and/or trademarks of BMW AG, used under licence. See BMW Victoria for complete details. DL 10135 #31009

We are

There is no better place to celebrate this festive season than the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. Visit our website for a full list of dinner shows, movie nights, breakfast with Santa and spa specials.


LET IT SNOW! Create your own white Christmas dessert table, laden with fluffy cakes and drifts of ethereal meringues and marshmallows. BY CINDA CHAVICH


HOW TO HOST AN ELEGANT AND EASY HOLIDAY PARTY Welcome your favourite people into your home with a low-stress, high-impact cocktail party that sets the tone for the season. BY KARIN OLAFSON


YAM discovers that the most inspiring wisdom about joy often comes from people with the greatest burdens to carry. BY JODY PATERSON


DESTINATION STYLE For winter escapes when it’s chilly outside, choose a destination that makes staying in stylishly fascinating. BY CINDA CHAVICH, ATHENA McKENZIE & KARIN OLAFSON




THE TWELVE DAYS OF HOLIDAY FUN Give yourself the best of the season with these unique local adventures. BY ATHENA McKENZIE

s aY “ H e l l o ” to a beautiFul You.

botox coolsculpting laser Hair reMoVal lasers • Fillers u lt H e r a Venus legacY

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11 YAM CONFIDENTIAL An Oak Bay Beach Hotel giveaway, sparkling Style Watch tips and Instagram and Facebook highlights

15 H ERE & NOW


Green is having a moment, local workshops for DIY gifts, and our Design Insider



Aromatic conifers are delicious — and healthy — when infused into holiday dishes and drinks By Cinda Chavich


Statement lighting brings glitter and glam to your interior design By Kerry Slavens



This grand home embraces a modern take on historic luxury By Danielle Pope

80 STYLE WATCH Shine on

By Janine Metcalfe



A (sing-along) Messiah for the modern world By David Lennam


A Proust-style interview with magician Murray Hatfield By David Lennam




The Comfort Sleeper The Comfort Sleeper The Sleeper No Bars | NoComfort Springs | No Sagging | 15 Styles

No Bars | No Springs | No Sagging | 15 Styles No Bars | No Springs | No Sagging

1802 GOVERNMENT ST. | 250.386.3841 | SAGERS.CA | MON-SAT 9:30-5:30

1802 GOVERNMENT ST. | 250.386.3841 | SAGERS.CA | MON-SAT 9:30-5:30 1802 GOVERNMENT ST. | 250.386.3841 | SAGERS.CA | MON-SAT 9:30-5:30




File Name: YAM-3rd-9.58x2.39-VER-2017-layout.indd Trim: 2.39” (w) x 9.58” (h) (Exported in horizontal layout to be flipped to vertical position in magazine) Bleed: 0.125” x 0.125” Live: N/A Colours: 4C Studio: TL Notes: No crop marks for YAM Magazine exports.

AD #: YAM-3rd-9.58x2.39-VER-2017-newyearsoffer.pdf Client: Villa Eyrie Resort Publication: YAM Magazine Insert Date: NOV/DEC 2017

2546 Government Street, Victoria, BC, V8T 4P7 • T 778.406.1380 Ext 459

Studio Revisions



for details contact: 1.250.856.0188 or

A romantic evening celebration under the stars at an unforgettable place! Countdown to midnight with a romantic 6-course dinner, dancing, overnight stay in a beautiful suite, and breakfast brunch buffet.




ne of my favourite things to do when cooking for Christmas is to revisit my family’s heritage recipes, from Yorkshire pudding to Welsh cakes. I especially love following the recipes of my mom, who was an amazing cook. My mom gave handwritten books of her favourite recipes to each of her children and stepchildren on Kerry Slavens, Editor-in-Chief her last Christmas before she died. I’ve come to see that in giving us these recipes, she was gifting us with a very special and creative part of herself, and that in following her recipes, we would remember not just the food but the woman who prepared it. At Christmas, although I’m often tempted to try some trendy dressing for the turkey, I always end up following my mom’s recipe. The aroma of the celery, onion and parsley simmering on the stove brings her back to me, invisible to the eye but recognized by the heart. Sometimes my grandmothers are there too. I remember them when I stir with a wooden spoon that has probably seen the better part of a century or use the beautiful old kitchen knife with its hilt of elk antler. It’s almost like I’m in conversation with these special women as I knead the cubed bread for the dressing into a high-calorie concoction of chicken stock, butter and cream, or stir paprika into the mashed sweet potatoes, always sneaking a bite (or maybe three) of the caramelized topping. My mother would probably laugh at the thought of me writing about cooking, because I was definitely not a child who loved to cook. That would be my brother. In my teens, I saw cooking as something women were expected to do (and I’m glad more women are now embracing cooking for the love it, not just the duty of it). I’ve embraced cooking, but on my own terms. I’m a whimsical (and highmaintenance) cook who requires the right mood and right atmosphere to create. And I’m different from my mom. Whereas she would have kept her recipe books pristine, and cleaned the kitchen as she cooked, my recipe books reflect my messy creative process and I can’t even think about washing the pots as I use them. I do think my mother would be happy to know that I’ve deepened my appreciation of the culinary arts (there was a great deal of doubt!). I also think she would be happy that I’m finding my own way into cooking. (I’m currently in a phase where I add South Asian spices to practically everything, even her spaghetti sauce recipe.) Most of all, she would be pleased that I’ve come to understand that cooking is far more than a chore — it’s an act of giving. To you and yours, I wish you a happy holiday and bright wishes for 2018! /YAMmagazine



“I’ve come to see that in giving us these recipes, she was gifting us with a very special and creative part of herself.”

Email me at /YAMmagazine

@ yam_magazine


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



EDITORIAL DESIGNER Janice Hildybrant DEPUTY EDITOR Athena McKenzie ASSOCIATE EDITOR Karin Olafson PROOFREADER Vivian Sinclair CONTRIBUTING DESIGNER Jo-Ann Loro CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cinda Chavich, David Lennam, Lana Lounsbury, Danielle Pope, Jody Paterson CONTRIBUTING FASHION EDITOR Janine Metcalfe

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Dean Azim, Jeffrey Bosdet, Darrell LeCorre, Mackenzie Duncan, Joshua Lawrence

CONTRIBUTING AGENCIES ThinkStock p.8, 18, 78 Stocksy p.42, 43, 46, 47, 72, 73, 79 ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Vicki Clark, Sharon Davies, Cynthia Hanischuk


COVER Ruth & Dean’s snowy white coconut cake. Photo by Jeffrey Bosdet

Published by PAGE ONE PUBLISHING 580 Ardersier Road, Victoria, BC V8Z 1C7 T 250-595-7243

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 us at 250-5957243 or email




Win a one-night stay at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Luxury Staycation GIVEAWAY


Immerse yourself in the cozy elegance of this boutique property, overlooking the Juan de Fuca Strait. Lounge in the heated seaside mineral baths as you take in the breathtaking views of snowcapped Mount Baker in the distance. Visit for contest details and to enter. Contest ends December 14, 2017. Good luck!

The annual VIBE Awards for Vancouver Island will again showcase the finest builders and residential construction projects on the island in the Spring of 2018.

HOLI DAY DRAMA Looking for the luminous look seen in this issue’s Style Watch? Makeup artist Anya Ellis shares what NARS products she used to get that glow.

This event, put on by the Canadian Homebuilders Association – Vancouver Island, will be receiving entries in several categories beginning in November, 2017. Projects will be evaluated anonymously by a panel of industry professionals from outside Vancouver Island in February with winners announced at a grand Gala Event taking place April 20th, 2018 at the Nanaimo Conference Centre.

Start with Sheer Glow Foundation. Highlight and contour with Liquid Shine Illuminator in Copacabana; the Multiple in Luxor and Copacabana; Highlighting Blush in Albatross; and Bronzing Powder in Laguna. Apply Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Tarvos. Finish off with Supervixen lip gloss.

WHAT YOU SAID You loved reading about the authentic style of boutique owner Kari McLay. INSTAGRAM






We’re so thrilled to see Dance Victoria Board Director Kari McLay in the Sept/Oct issue!

For more information please visit our website





529 Swanwick Rd., Metchosin






529 Swanwick Rd., Metchosin

168 Wild Duck Rd., Bamfield

Retreat Island, Gulf Islands

BEDS: 6 BATHS: 7 10,700 SQ.FT.

Logan Wilson PREC Glynis MacLeod PREC & Brad Maclaren PREC


BEDS: 2 BATHS: 2 3,085 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 10 BATHS: 6 4,010 SQ.FT.

Stephen Foster PREC

Katherine Gray










1725 Texada Terrace, North Saanich

240 Superior St., Victoria

BEDS: 5 BATHS: 6 5,218 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 4 3,000 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 3 3,313 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 3 2,958 SQ.FT.

The Garman Group

Mark Imhoff PREC

Donald St. Germain PREC

Sophia Briggs


5162 Polson Terrace, Victoria

967 Seamist Rise, Saanich 250.883.1995










937 Step Moss Close, Langford

2002 Hannington Rd., Victoria

BEDS: 6 BATHS: 3.5 4,656 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 6 BATH: 5 3,660 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 5 BATHS: 5 4,063 SQ.FT.

Dean Boorman

Brett Cooper

Neal Carmichael

3565 McInnis Rise, Victoria

3990 Stirrup Pl., Metchosin

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 3 3,738 SQ.FT.

Donald St. Germain PREC








Andrew Maxwell


205 - 924 Esquimalt Rd., Victoria

101 - 190 Gorge Road, West, Saanich

BEDS: 1 BATHS: 1 676 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 1 BATHS: 1 952 SQ.FT.

Tanya Piekarski

Melissa Kurtz

VICTORIA 250.380.3933

Andy Stephenson



SALT SPRING 250.537.1778



VANCOUVER 604.632.3300

Mark Imhoff


CALGARY 403.254.5315


Melissa Kurtz

TORONTO 416.960.9995

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Independently Owned and Operated. E.&O.E.: This information is from sources which we deem reliable, but must be verified by prospective Purchasers and may be subject to change or withdrawal.


5403 - 2829 Arbutus Road, Saanich






2898 Mount Baker View Rd., Victoria

2269 Compass Point, Langford

4826 Spring Rd., Victoria

BEDS: 5 BATHS: 4.5 5,119 SQ.FT.


BEDS: 4 BATHS: 4.5 6,356 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 6 BATHS: 5 4,138 SQ.FT.

Lisa Williams PREC

Brad Maclaren PREC

Nancy Stratton

Victoria Cao



1820 Beach Dr., Victoria 250.857.5482






9406 Creekside Dr., Cowichan Valley BEDS: 4 BATHS: 2.5 2,714 SQ.FT.

Tom de Cosson



136 Clarence St., Victoria

2043 Hedgestone Lane, Bear Mountain

720 Piedmont Dr., Saanich, BC

BEDS: 3 BATH: 2.5 2,000 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 3 2,840 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 4 2,754 SQ.FT.

Bruce Sheldon

Andrew Maxwell

Christine Ryan

250.380.3933 « SINGLE FAMILY HOMES








365C Cotlow Road, Colwood

8697 West Coast Rd., Victoria

5403 - 2829 Arbutus Road, Saanich

2638 Shelbourne St., Victoria

BEDS: 4 BATHS: 3 1,850 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 2 BATHS: 2 1,393 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 2 BATHS: 2.5 2,575 SQ.FT.

BEDS: 3 BATHS: 4 1,789 SQ.FT.

The Garman Group

Rebecca Barritt

Andy Stephenson

Beth Hayhurst

Brad Maclaren

Mike Garman

WHITE ROCK 604.385.1840


Beth Hayhurst

Nancy Stratton


Brett Cooper

Neal Carmichael


Christine Ryan

Rebecca Barritt

WHISTLER 604.932.3388


Dean Boorman

Sophia Briggs

Donald St. Germain

Scott Garman

SUN PEAKS 250.578.7773



Glynis MacLeod

Katherine Gray

Lisa Williams

Logan Wilson

Stephen Foster

Tanya Piekarski

Tom de Cosson

Victoria Cao


KELOWNA 250.469.9547


MONTREAL 514.933.4777

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Independently Owned and Operated. E.&O.E.: This information is from sources which we deem reliable, but must be verified by prospective Purchasers and may be subject to change or withdrawal.




In the rush-rush of the holiday season, rituals of reflection connect us to what really matters. Decorating the tree is the perfect time to press pause and share soul-warming stories about special ornaments over steaming cups of hot apple cider or mulled wine.





green 1


Inspired by Greenery, Pantone’s colour of the year, the world of design has returned to nature — from fashion to interiors, there’s a glorious abundance of this verdant tone.



6 10




1 Iittalia’s Kastehelmi Dewdrop footed bowl, designed by iconic Finnish glassworker Olivia Toikka, features glass beads inspired by morning dewdrops. (Gabriel Ross, $63) // 2 Lucca velvet pillows are a plush, textural accessory in the bedroom or living room. (article. com, $99/set of two) // 3 Go for drama with Elk Accessories’ four-strand bauble necklace in loden green. (Visit elkaccessories. com for local retailers, $65) 4 The Edie bag comes in a variety of lush leathers. (Roots Canada, $98) // 5 The embellishment on the Kiara pumps makes them a holiday party showstopper (, $324) 6 Add a luxe green touch with the Lacuna emerald-green rug (Bespoke, $6,720) // 7 Oversized florals give the Hoxton bow tie a playful vibe. (Visit cursorandthread. com for local retailers, $59) 8 The La Scala sofa by Natuzzi is a modern reinterpretation of the classic Chester sofa. (Luxe Home Interiors, starting at $8,280) 9 The low profile of the Ruth dining chair gives it a mid-century modern feel. (Moe’s Home, $349) // 10 The green dial of the Rolex Submariner Date watch features hour markers fashioned from 18 Kt gold. (Lugaro, $10,350)

HOLIDAY GLITZ The maxim that the best gifts come in small packages is made truer when local jewelry makers create those coveted gifts. For Shannon Munro, each of her handmade pieces is inspired by her experience of love and romance. Working from her home studio in Victoria, Munro uses high-end metals and materials to fashion her original designs. “All of my jewelry is created from the heart in a quest to make unique and tangible narratives of love, positivity and adoration come to life,” says Munro, who will release a new line of pendants for the holiday season.



Sloan hoop earrings in bronze, $200

Sand & Silver — the jewelry line by sisters Caron and Michelle Somers of Two Blooms — showcases simple, geometric designs. “As passionate metalsmiths, we meticulously handcraft every piece in Victoria, where we are inspired daily by our island and the everchanging trends,” Caron says. “Our jewelry is minimalist yet bold with a geometric emphasis to match one’s uniqueness.”

14 Kt gold fill Balanc geometric necklace, from $65



Interior decorating is a powerful way to make the mood of a season what you need it to be — and in winter you want warmth. Here are some ideas for infusing your home with unhurried glamour this season.



STATEMENT FLOOR LAMP Lighting, and especially floor lamps, can really set the mood. But tall floor lamps tend to look awkward and can easily dominate the room if they’re too large or too ornate. For a perfectly balanced piece, check out the Beat floor lamp from Tom Dixon. The hand-beaten shade and matte-black frame pair simplicity with luxury — my favourite combination!

ESSENTIAL LEATHER CHAIR Every living room loves a one-of-a-kind armchair — and in the winter, there’s something especially cozy about a waxed, distressed-leather chair that makes you want to curl up with a good book. Four Hands updates the iconic club chair with square arms, distressed leather, nail heads and deep tufting. For even more comfort, pair leather with an ottoman covered in an antique textile. (Available at Sager’s Fine Furniture)

(Available at Gabriel Ross)

By Lana Lounsbury Registered interior designer, Lana Lounsbury Interiors


LAYERED RUGS We’re seeing layered rugs everywhere right now, but all of the looks boil down to two main techniques: the accent look and the patchwork look. The accent rug is a large, flat-weave rug with a textured smaller rug on top, like a flocati or faux skin; I like sisal or sea grass for the base. This rug should go under all of the furniture. The patchwork look is an overlapping layering of sizes, colours and textures to make up one large area. This is best achieved with a base colour that runs through all of the rugs.

Bringing the Outdoors In



iophilia Design Collective’s new shop is an unexpected burst of green in The Fort Common. The landscape design company’s retail space combines genres, bringing together curated home décor and accessories with indoor and outdoor plants — there’s even a potting station. The aim of owners Bianca Bodley and Lindsay Mitchell is to help Victorians connect with nature by bringing the outdoors in. “Visiting Biophilia Shop is not just about buying something pretty,” says Bodley. “Come and learn and ask questions. Stop by and you’ll learn about plants and also learn about beautiful building design.” Shoppers can buy plants, as well as design-forward planters and accessories made by West Coast artists. The shop also features workshops on plant care, kokedama (Japanese moss balls) and terrarium building.



HERE &NOW CREATIVE CLASS Look to expertly guided workshops to help you make truly original gifts and décor this holiday season.

Get Canada’s leading banks to compete for your mortgage. Jodie Kristian can help you get the best possible mortgage rate. It’s what she does best. Give her a call to find out how easy a professional mortgage broker can make your mortgage negotiations.


INSPIRED BY COMMUNITY From making greeting cards to holiday centrepieces, the workshops at the studio of Poppet Creative are designed to foster a creative community. “All of our teachers are working artists and they all love sharing their knowledge,” says Poppet’s founder, Andrea Soos. In addition to the seasonal workshops, the space will host a Mini Makers Market (a youth craft market) on November 25 and a Christmas Craft Exchange, with 18 makers trading homemade items for gifting, in December.

BEYOND THE BLANK CANVAS Along with its unique selection of original paintings, ceramics, jewelry, textiles and home décor — all by Vancouver Island artists and makers — Curate Gallery & Workshop offers painting workshops for all levels of experience, with all supplies included. This November and December will feature special two-hour winter and holiday-themed painting workshops. Owner Michelle Barkway also hosts private painting events for groups of four to seven people.  “These have been a big hit so far,” Barkway says. “Especially for nights out with girlfriends and family.”

MAKERS GONNA MAKE The Makehouse, Victoria’s one-of-a-kind sewing studio, has moved from Fort Street into a new, expansive space at 2950 Douglas Street. The lightfilled workshop has more space for classes, plus open-studio time so you can use the equipment to work on a personal project. “In the run up to the holidays, we do see a big [increase] in the number of people coming in to finish gifts,” says owner Jenny Ambrose. “We also run fun make-your-own-stocking or holiday-bunting workshops. A really popular one is for a group of friends to get together for our apronmaking class.”

LOCAL FLAVOUR With their lavish photography and inspirational recipes, it’s no secret cookbooks make the perfect presents for the foodies on your list. The books Italy and Greece by Emily Lycopolus — a co-owner of Victoria’s Olive the Senses — are the first in her new series that celebrates enticing dishes from around the world. The next installments, Spain and Syria will be out in 2018, with the latter raising funds for Syrian refugees in North America. Victoria is known as the brunch capital of Canada, and Rebecca Wellman’s First, We Brunch: Recipes and Stories from Victoria’s Best-Loved Breakfast Joints, is an exquisitely photographed guide to some of the city’s most celebrated spots. Best of all, it includes more than 60 recipes to help you recreate your favourite dishes at home.

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



Italy and Greece, TouchWood Editions (available at Olive the Senses and bookstores, $22 each); First, We Brunch, TouchWood Editions (available at bookstores, $30)


Get your investments on track

Five holiday markets around Victoria to shop this season

If you’ve ever wondered whether you’re on track to reach your financial goals, it’s time to consider a second opinion. Whatever your goals are, I can provide you with a customized financial plan to help reach your goals with confidence.


Benefit from my expertise in:

STRAWBERRY VALE CHRISTMAS CRAFT FAIR When: November 4 and 5 Where: Strawberry Vale and District Community Club This will be the Strawberry Vale Christmas Craft Fair’s 33rd year selling goods made by local artisans.

• Cash flow planning • Retirement planning

• Tax-efficient strategies • Investment planning

Knowing how busy life gets, I can provide you with advice when and where it’s convenient for you. Our office is your life. Contact me today for a complimentary financial review.


Jake Nemec, CFP


Scotiabank Investment Specialist

When: November 24 to 26 Where: The Victoria Conference Centre

Crafts, food, fashion, home décor and artwork created by B.C. artisans are for sale over the three-day fair.


37TH ANNUAL DICKENS FAIR When: December 2 Where: James Bay Community Centre


® Registered trademark of The Bank of Nova Scotia, used under licence. Scotiabank includes The Bank of Nova Scotia and its subsidiaries and affiliates, including Scotia Securities Inc. As used in this document, “Scotiabank Investment Specialist” refers to a Scotia Securities Inc. mutual fund representative or, in Quebec, a Group Savings Plan Dealer Representative. Scotia Securities Inc. is a member of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association. 3711-2017-0925 F1

3711-2017-0925 - IS SO Ad - Jake Nemec F1.indd 1

2017-10-02 3:43 PM

Find gifts made by Vancouver Island artisans for everyone on your list, and have lunch at The Dickens Café after you’ve finished shopping.


LAST CHANCE CHRISTMAS CRAFT FAIR When: December 9 and 10 Where: Mary Winspear Centre Make the drive to Sidney for this twoday Christmas craft market. If you like getting your Christmas shopping done early, there is also the First Chance Christmas Craft Fair at this venue on November 4 and 5.


BOREAL COLLECTIVE WINTER FAIR When: December 17 Where: The Hub at Cowichan Station A unique showcase of more than 30 makers and designers from around Vancouver Island, featuring two vendor halls, live music, creative workshops, food trucks and door prizes.



This season, celebrate local! THINK LOCAL WEEK is November 13 to 19. A small shift in your spending creates a big impact for our local economy! Keep your dollars where you live, support your community and build an economy that works for everyone by choosing local first!

Download our FREE app! Find local businesses, collect points and redeem them for discounts. App powered by We’re better together

We’re better together

We’re better together

Behind the scenes there is so much waiting to be discovered from Canada’s oldest brewpub — pioneering craft beers, craft ciders and committed to local farm-to-table island cuisine since 1984. spinnakers brewpub & guesthouse 308 Catherine Street Toll free: 1-877-838-2739 Restaurant reservations: 250-386-2739

Make your holiday memories farm fresh, dirt cheap and delicious, from your turkey to your tree to your trimmings; sourced from over 250 local and BC growers and makers. The Root Cellar Village Green Grocer Home to The Chop Shop Meat Market & The Potting Shed Garden Market. 1286 McKenzie Avenue

Buddies Toys, locally owned since 1989, takes pride in finding the right toys for the kids in your life. We aren’t about gimmicks, just real authentic play value.

Buying or selling a home is not a transaction — it’s a transition. We’ll guide you calmly, clearly and confidently through the steps. Real People. Real Real Estate. Real Local.


Ally and Dennis - DFH Real Estate

2494 Beacon Avenue, Sidney 250-655-7171 103-1831 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria 250-595-6501


Give the gift of ‘dining out’ this holiday season from the 10 Acres Family. Our three unique downtown restaurants offer something for everyone, serving local, sustainable and delicious food in friendly environments. Gift cards are available in any denomination.

Let’s make the season cosy! We carry slippers from around the world from quality makers like Garneau, Romika, Haflinger and Glerups. Lots of styles and colours for both men and women.

10 Acres Bistro, Kitchen + Commons 611 Courtney Street, 614 Humboldt + 620 Humboldt Street

We have everything you need to build a beautiful water feature! Ponds, waterfalls and fountains are valuable additions to any property. We provide expert advice, supply you with appropriate products with which to build your water feature, and tips on how to maintain it for years to come. WES-TECH Irrigation Systems Ltd. #5-625 Alpha Street 250-361-1573

A STABLE WAY OF LIFE Alembika Fall 2017

Sunday’s Snowflakes has been owned locally and independently for 37 years. Our fabulous fashions are sourced from all over the world but are totally suited to our laid back lifestyle on the west coast. Our boutique at Mattick’s Farm is the perfect place to shop local ... and look grand. SUNDAY’S SNOWFLAKES At Mattick’s Farm 5325 Cordova Bay Road 250-658-8499

At Mattick’s Farm 123-5325 Cordova Bay Road 250-658-3052

Express your heartfelt feelings with a gift from Poppies. Locally grown blooms and greenery abound in our holiday creations, each one custom made by our talented designers. Shop in person, by phone or on-line. Poppies Floral Art 800 Yates Street (inside The Atrium) 250-383-0743


CULINARY CONIFERS YAM goes foraging with the founders of Gather to discover the wild flavours of conifers, perfect for your Yuletide recipes.


By Cinda Chavich

Danielle Prohom Olson, pictured here, co-owns Gather, which offers foraging workshops, recipes and lots of information about gathering wild foods at

For details contact: 1.250.856.0188 or

Relax, while dinner is prepared by us. Spend the rest of your magical yuletide evening in our mountainside accommodations for you or your family.


CHEFS, CONIFERS AND COCKTAILS The local grand fir, with its citrusy notes, is also a favourite for A.J. Thalakkat, the creative executive pastry chef at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. It is infused with cream in his Grand Fir Crème Brûlée (recipe on page 25), WOMEN GO GATHERING an impressive presentation with its chocolate For Jennifer Aikman and Danielle Prohom twig and “reindeer moss” garnish. Olson, the women behind Gather, a local “That’s Vancouver Island on a plate,” says business focused on foraging and wild-food Thalakkat, who forages with his team to cuisine, collecting food in the wild connects uncover wild edibles for the sweets kitchen. them to the seasons and the earth, a spiritual “The fir gives it a lovely, subtle aroma of endeavour that “enhances personal and the forest.” planetary well-being.” In the waning days Conifers make great infusions for cocktails, of December, that means Yuletide Walks to syrups and even beer — think the “rainforest collect conifers. botanicals” that flavour Phillips’ STUMP Gin “The flavour of evergreens is really or the Foraged and Found cocktail on the beautiful,” says Aikman, menu at OLO, garnished guiding me through Wark with a sweetly pickled Street Commons and spruce tip. The People’s Apothecary, Pine and spruce tips public gathering are rich in vitamin C, and grounds where she fills First Nations taught early a basket with spruce explorers how to brew tips, elderberries and spruce beer to ward off dandelion greens. scurvy. The original recipe “Conifers are always is made with sugar, yeast great with cream and and spruce oil, and now sugar, or you can mince microbrewers are revisiting needles and combine the idea with spruce beer with salt or butter to rub made with molasses and on meat or salmon.” hops. At last year’s Yuletide At La Belle Patate, Walk, they set out to sweet spruce beer soda forage conifers, then (a traditional Frenchshared a Grand Fir Tea Canadian specialty) is Danielle Prohom Olson (L) and with spruce shortbread served alongside poutine. Jennifer Aikman of Gather and scones, and taught But you can take a page participants how to make fir-flavoured sugar, from early Canadian history and brew your spruce finishing salt, healthy winter tonics own at home too. and syrups. In his book The Deerholme Foraging Book Foraging in the city’s backyards, forests (TouchWood Editions), chef Bill Jones and designated “common ground” gardens, offers lots of tips for collecting and cooking these gleaners are committed to teaching with Douglas fir, grand fir and Sitka spruce, others that wild plants — many that we whether it’s his grand fir-infused honey, jelly consider invasive weeds — are a healthy (recipe page 26), salt, spruce-scented vodka or and sustainable alternative to commercial a conifer-flavoured chocolate hazelnut tart. crops. From nettles and lamb’s quarters to Edible conifer flavours range from citrusy dandelions, chickweed and those ever-present lemon and bitter grapefruit to herbaceous conifers, there’s much to eat beyond today’s rosemary and woodsy pine, Jones says. “depleted, domesticated foods.” “Grand fir needles were traditionally used “Many of these are the same plants eaten by West Coast First Nations as a flavour agent by our ancestors,” says Prohom Olson, noting for food and as a medicinal herb,” he adds. that candles, wreaths and greenery are part of “Traditional firepit cooking used fir boughs both Christian and ancient Celtic mid-winter to smoke and flavour a wide range of seafood celebrations. and meats, including salmon.” (Find a recipe Gather started with a solstice party to toast for smoked salmon on page 24.) the season with traditional foods and has Or you might consider making Éclade grown into a passion project, dedicated to de Moules — mussels cooked in smoking helping people put nature back in their lives, pine needles. It’s a historic dish that French especially at the table. explorer Samuel de Champlain first served “Ancestral food wisdom reconnects us to his men in 1605.


a vital truth; it sustains us,” says Aikman. “Gathering brings nature and magic back into everyday life.”

DECEMBER 24 & 25 2017


he aroma of freshly cut forest greenery around the house is a sure sign that the holidays are approaching. Wreaths and boughs of spruce and cedar, and a towering fir or pine draped in glittering lights and baubles, all help to make the season bright. But beyond their beauty, these aromatic evergreens are delicious — and healthy — when infused into holiday dishes and drinks.



The dramatic technique calls for arranging mussels tightly together, upright, on a tray or wet plank (hinges pointing up to keep the ash out), then burying them in a pile of dried needles that’s set alight (outdoors, of course) to simultaneously cook and smoke the shellfish.

COLLECTING AND COOKING While you must avoid all yew — ingesting it can be fatal — and cedar should only be eaten in small amounts, most conifers are perfectly safe to eat. It’s best to choose trees in your own backyard or from a wild forest for harvesting. Stay away from trees that might be sprayed (that includes those on parks and golf courses, and also avoid commercial Christmas trees or ornamental balsam from florists and garden centres). If you’re trying to identify your conifers, there’s a simple test — lightly grab a branch and run it through your fingers. Spiky spruce needles are hard and pokey, while friendly fir needles are softer. Pines usually have much longer needles and are easy to spot. Individual trees have unique flavours, so taste a few before harvesting. When the first electric green tips emerge in spring, they’re tender and citrusy, perfect to eat raw in salads or pickle for “Canadian capers” to garnish grilled salmon or cocktails. Later in the season, the needles are more intensely flavoured, sometimes even bitter, so they’re better for teas and infusions. Pick only the new growth (tips) and discard the stems. Finely chop needles in a blender or food processor to add to baked goods like shortbread and scones or to make finishing salts and scented sugar. You can vacuum-pack and freeze the needles and preserve the tender tips in vinegar. Salt also acts as a preservative. Steeping grand fir, Sitka spruce or pine needles in vodka for a week or two draws out the flavour and the emerald green colour. Dried needles can be powdered in a spice grinder to create medicinal tinctures. You can also use this technique to infuse vinegar and oils. Just strain and bottle for longer storage. Prohom Olson says fir and spruce powder, combined with rosehip and hawthorne berries in a honey syrup, makes a medicinal tonic to ward off winter colds, but can also be added to seasonal cocktails. “Its antimicrobial and antiviral — and it tastes like Christmas!”

SMOKED SALMON WITH HONEY AND GRAND FIR NEEDLES Chef Bill Jones says coastal people used fir needles to cure salmon before smoking it over alder and maple fires, a technique he borrows for his recipe for Smoked Salmon with Honey and Grand Fir Needles (The Deerholme Foraging Book, TouchWood Editions). “The effect is a unique combination of pine and citrus flavours that works well with all seafood,” he says. “It’s incredibly delicious with steamed clams or mussels too.” • 2 lb side of wild salmon (sockeye, chinook, pink or chum) • 2 tbsp honey • 2 tbsp sea salt • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper • 1/4 cup chopped fresh grand fir needles On a cutting board, place the salmon skin side down. Remove any pin bones and trim any fins or remains of bone. Make a small cut between the flesh and the skin. Holding the little bit of free skin, work the knife under the flesh. Slide the knife forward, removing the skin with as little flesh still attached as possible. Cut the salmon into two-inch strips. In a glass or stainless steel container, combine the salmon, honey, sea salt, black pepper and grand fir needles. Cover with plastic film and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Heat smoker, add soaked wood chips, and start to smoke chips. Transfer salmon to a rack, place in the smoker, and smoke for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a cedar plank in a barbecue (see Chef’s Tip). When cooking time has elapsed, test salmon with a fork. It should just begin to flake under light pressure, and small beads of fat will have formed on the surface of the fish. Serve warm. Serves 6 to 8.

Chef’s Tip: To cook salmon on the barbecue, soak a piece of cedar in water for at least one hour. Preheat barbecue to high. Place the salmon on the cedar plank and add directly to the barbecue rack. Close cover and cook for at least 20 minutes.

FOREST FLAVOURS Each conifer offers its own unique flavour, and the flavour may be milder or stronger depending on the time of year it is harvested.




Citrusy, with hints of grapefruit or tangerine

Bright and citrusy, with notes similar to its piney aroma


HEMLOCK Minty, often described as “tasting like Christmas”

SPRUCE Soft lemony flavour with a woodsy aftertaste


GRAND FIR CRÈME BRÛLÉE Pastry chef A.J. Thalakkat creates a citrusy, fir-infused crème brûlée for the Fairmont Empress Hotel and serves it in shallow dishes with crunchy caramelized sugar and a dark-chocolate twig on top, made with the signature Etenia chocolate he designed for the hotel at Cacao Barry in Paris. Thalakkat says the trick to his silky custard is to strain it well and cook it low and slow. • 3 cups, 5 tbsp heavy cream • 2 1/2 tbsp grand fir needles, bruised and chopped • 1 /4 vanilla bean pod • 1 /4-inch strip of lime rind • 1/4-inch strip of orange rind • 11 egg yolks • 15 tbsp sugar • Pinch of salt • White (caster) sugar to brûlée • Dark chocolate for twig garnish (see note)

Scald the cream, remove from heat and add the fir needles, vanilla bean, lime and orange rind. Cover and set aside to steep for 30 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar to combine well. Strain the infused cream to remove solids, then slowly whisk into the egg yolks to temper the mixture. Don’t add the hot cream too quickly — you risk cooking the eggs. Strain again to ensure a perfectly smooth custard, then divide among 6 or 8 shallow, heatproof dishes (1/2 to 3/4 inches deep). Set the dishes in a rimmed baking pan and add boiling water to create a bain-marie. Bake at 240˚F for 1 hour and 20 minutes, until custard is set. Remove from oven and chill. Brûlée the custards just before serving. Sprinkle each dish with a light layer of sugar and use a small propane torch to melt the sugar quickly. Add a second layer of sugar and brûlée until golden brown and crunchy on top. Makes 6 to 8 portions. Note: To make chocolate twigs to garnish this dessert, Chef Thalakkat melts the signature Etenia 70 per cent dark chocolate from the Empress and tempers it by stirring in some solid chocolate. It’s then artfully piped over a pan filled with ice cubes to create the freeform branches.

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Here’s another delicious recipe from Cowichan Valley chef Bill Jones. Of all the conifers he harvests, grand fir is a culinary favourite, electric green and packed with essential oils when harvested in spring. In the winter, they lose their bright green colour; flavour is similar but a little more intense. He advises you to remove the branches from the needles as the bark will contribute significant tannins to the jelly. The cicely or spinach leaves are added to the recipe to give the jelly a green hue and can be omitted (most commercial products add green food colouring). Makes a great holiday gift! • 2 cups water • 3 cups grand fir needles, washed and trimmed ( You can use 3 cups Douglas fir needles, hemlock fir needles, spruce needles, pine needles or cedar tips if you prefer) • 1 cup sweet cicely leaves (or spinach leaves) • 3 cups granulated sugar • Juice of 1 lemon • 2 pouches liquid pectin (such as Bernardin)

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Heat a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the fir needles and sweet cicely and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. Using a fine strainer, strain the juice from the mixture into a bowl. Swirl the mixture with the back of a ladle or spoon to extract all the juices from the needles. Measure the juice; you should have about 2 cups. Add to a clean heavy-bottom saucepan and add sugar. Bring to a boil and add the lemon juice and pectin. Bring back to a boil, remove from heat and skim off any foam. Ladle into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch of top of jar. Tap the jar to remove any air bubbles. Wipe jar rim, removing any jam residue, and place lid on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to gently tighten. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining jam. When canner is filled, make sure the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Cover canner and bring water to a full rolling boil, and process for a full 10 minutes. Turn stove off, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a cooling rack. Cool upright, undisturbed, for at least a day. Check each jar for a good seal. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use the jelly within one year. Any jars that have not sealed should be stored in the fridge. Makes about 4 cups.

tastes +trends

Amaro Sour from Brad Thomas Parsons’ book Amaro

By Cinda Chavich



o make a good martini, you need a good vermouth. I recall watching the dapper bartender at Dukes Bar, in the posh London hotel of the same name, pluck a bottle of the bittersweet liquor from his table-side trolley and ceremoniously swirl a few drops into an icy glass to make my perfect Plymouth gin martini. I don’t know what kind of vermouth went into that martini, only that the experience was a defining moment in my beverage education. I’ve since learned to appreciate vermouth in other classic cocktails, notably

the popular Negroni that combines equal parts of gin, vermouth and bittersweet Campari — or a Manhattan made with rye, vermouth and a dash of orange bitters. Like many other amari, vermouth has its roots in Italy as a popular afterdinner digestif made with fortified wine and a variety of bitter botanicals. First designed as medicinal tonics, these aromatic and bitter infusions were adopted by early 19th-century bartenders. Today, artisan makers are creating unique new versions, and bitter is back in style. As a new book on

the topic, Amaro: The Spirit World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons (Ten Speed Press), notes, “The European tradition of making bittersweet liqueur — called amari in Italian — has been around for centuries. But it is only recently that these herbaceous digestifs have moved from the dusty back bar to centre stage.” A good bartender knows about the power of these bitter liqueurs and has an appreciation for both classic amari and new artisan bitters.


The bittersweet appeal of vermouth

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“If dashable bitters are a bartender’s salt and pepper, then amari are a bartender’s aromatic herbs,” says bartender Shawn Soole, who helped craft the new smallbatch Naramaro from Legend Distilling in Naramata. Many traditional dry and sweet vermouths and other amari are produced in Italy and France — Cinzano and Noilly Prat are among the most widely distributed brands. Others, like Amaro Montenegro, Amaro Lucano or Sicilian Amaro Averna, are also popular. Cynar is an artichoke-based amaro. Fernet-Branca is known for its strong bitter character. But now local craft distillers like Vancouver’s Odd Society and Woods Spirit Co. are creating bold new local versions of this traditional drink. Odd Society Bittersweet Vermouth is Canada’s first homegrown vermouth. Named Best Vermouth at last year’s World Wine and Spirits Competition in New York, the bittersweet fortified B.C. Viognier is flavoured with local arbutus and cherry bark and aged in bourbon barrels. There are 25 different botanicals in the infusion, based on an old Italian recipe. At 18 per cent, Odd Society vermouth is lower in alcohol than some of the other amari on the market, with a rich amber colour and distinctive aroma of caramel, lavender, cloves and other sweet spices. Fortified with malted barley spirit, the flavour is bold, with bitter notes of wormwood and chinchona, citrus peel and burnt sugar. Creative new amari are popping up from other craft distillers too. Vancouver’s Long Table Distillery worked with the Apothecary Bitters Company to create its Linnaeus Amaro No. 1 liqueur, a 40 per cent spirit distilled from Merlot pomace, with bittersweet herbal, citrus and vanilla notes. And Woods Spirit Co. in North Vancouver is making a beautiful amber Amaro (28 per cent ABV), a grain-based liqueur with citrusy notes from the grand fir, tangy rhubarb and bitter botanicals foraged in the mountains and forests around the city. Soole says Legend Distilling’s new Naramaro is flavoured with dandelion root, anise, sumac, orange zest and sour cherries, and is a nod to the hard-to-find Amer Picon, a French amaro that’s integral in a classic Brooklyn cocktail. While inexpensive bottles of imported amaro can still be found on the shelves of Italian grocers, today’s artisan producers are taking amari up a notch, into gourmet territory. So if you like to share a spirited gift with friends and family during the holiday season, bring along a bottle of artisan amaro. After a big family dinner, there’s nothing as sweet as a bitter amaro!

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Glitter +Glam From traditional crystal chandeliers to art-deco inspired pendants, the right overhead statement lighting brings personal drama to your interior design scheme and adds the perfect finishing note of sophistication. And never underestimate the power of a pendant or chandelier as a seductive conversation starter. By Kerry Slavens



8 30




6 Get the look 1 Spiral SP01 pendant (, $2,329) // 2 Alma chandelier (Bois & Cuir, $549) 3 Starfire 18-light chandelier (Illuminations, $5,325) // 4 Sea Fan brass pendant (Chintz & Co., $605) 5 Jausten 7-light chandelier in antique bronze (Illuminations, $4,205) // 6 Bevilacqua chandelier, large (available through Luxe Home Interiors, $6,650) // 7 Jet Stream ceiling lamp (, $905) // 8 Mosaic 18-light crystal chandelier (Mclaren Lighting, starting at $12,414) // 9 Albertine pendant light (Luxe Home Interiors, $3,720) // 10 Kepler pendant lamp (Moe’s Home Victoria, $615) 11 Sterling 5-light chandelier in silver with clear heritage crystal (, price upon request) // 12 Slamp Italy “Crazy Diamond” suspended lamp (, $1,038)

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A G R A N D R E V I VA L A Saanich historical home revives its owners’ dreams with a modern take on historic luxury. By Danielle Pope // Photos by Joshua Lawrence


urray and Valerie Nunns had nearly given up their hope of finding a home on Vancouver Island when their realtor asked them to check out one last property as they prepared to go home to Vancouver. The two had been searching for months and, as another fruitless trip from the mainland proved disappointing, they pulled up the driveway to Saanich’s famed old Norfolk Lodge with interest piqued. The house was in a state of what Murray Nunns calls “demolition by neglect,” but the bones were solid and the property was spectacular. As perpetual collectors and heritage renovators, the two were no strangers to taking on a project. They had already restored three historic homes over the last 25 years, from Calgary to Vancouver. This one, however, would require a whole new level of work. “When you’ve been down this road before, you know a house like this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, and you ask: ‘Are you ready to climb the hill one more time?’” says Murray. Trepidation aside, months later the Nunns threw their bid into the auction ring and won the home “as is, where is.” Their goal was simple: return the old beauty to her original glory. “You have to get to know a place and let it speak to you before you can approach a job like this,” says Murray. “We spent months cleaning it out before construction began, but there was something about this place that was different for us — it felt like home.”

The 7,000-square-foot lodge, with belvedere views over the valley and forest, sits on over seven acres of land. Though the lodge once featured seven bedrooms and three and a half baths, it had since been transformed into a functional family home with four bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The great room, sun room and robust kitchen, designed in Tudor style, are complemented by a 40-foot outdoor pool, expansive rose garden, century-old trees, a stone bridge, 700-foot brick driveway and seven garages. There’s also a 12-foottall replica of the house on the property — a perfect playhouse for the grandkids.

THE BRITISH INFLUENCE The home wasn’t always so cohesive. With an estimated five owners and multiple renters over the last 109 years, the house fell victim to some unusual renovations, despite its classic style. Back in 1908, it was first conceived by John and Emma Oldfield, two settlers from Norfolk, England, who wanted to build a home that showcased good, modern and affluent British taste. Living in lavish mansion style, then on 350 acres, the couple and their grown children occupied the home for many years. In 1911 and 1914, the house underwent two substantial renovations by renowned B.C. architect Samuel Maclure. These modifications shifted the home into the formal Arts and Crafts style, popular then in Britain and the States. The style, which the Nunns aimed to revive, is reflected in the fine architectural detailing and grand proportions.

“Working on a project of this magnitude is really exciting, because our aim was to maintain the period accuracy of the house, but bring it into modern standards,” says Jackson Leidenfrost, project manager with Aryze Developments. “There’s a lot of history in buildings like this, and each one tells a story — bringing these homes back to life preserves the heritage of Victoria.”

A NEW LIFE Although the Nunns and the Aryze team anticipated the complexity of restoring the home, no one suspected the scope of damage they would be dealing with. A serious rat infestation had left the internal wiring and plumbing in dangerous disrepair, and though the foundations were solid, bringing the house up to code would prove an effort. Still, the end result has been as satisfying for Leidenfrost as it is for the Nunns, who have adorned the home with historic treasures they’ve collected through the decades. From its revitalized stone-clad basement and rose-themed stained-glass motifs to its modern heated tile flooring, the home today feels like it’s truly ready for another century. “This is the kind of home you could never be finished with, because there are always ways to bring it further into period,” says Murray. “At some point, though, you sit down by the wood-burning fire with a glass of wine and just marvel, no matter where it’s at. That’s part of the magic of a home like this.”

< This historic renovation is adorned with the antiques collected by Murray and Valerie Nunns over their lifetimes. The oversized painting of a shipwreck in the great room was created by an unknown Australian artist, around 1910, while the antler chandelier came with the house, made by a previous owner from locally shed antlers. The English leather armchairs, made in 1880, accent the regal nature of this room, and were recently purchased by the Nunns from an auction in England. With the enlarged brick wall fireplace, this room has become a favourite on rainy Victoria nights.





Left: The dining room is a showcase for Tiffany and Handel lamps, all from New York, circa 1900 to 1915. The Tiffany products enhance the stained glass motif found throughout the house and, combined with an array of classic candlesticks, offer an elegant twist to an early century look. The bronze sculpture on the window table takes special prominence in this room, as its Art Nouveau look parallels the Arts and Crafts period pieces found throughout the house, circa 1890 to 1915.

Above: The homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s library is a showcase of art and literature. The bump-out bay windows (there is another in the dining room) are original, as is the white oak and fir flooring. The raw stone fireplace is another original item, stripped down to offer a rough contrast with the fine artwork highlighted in this room. During the Arts and Crafts period, highquality and one-of-a-kind work was displayed prominently. The homeowners embrace this practice using unique items such as the mantled surfboard â&#x20AC;&#x201D; handcrafted by an indigenous Hawaiian artist.



Sunrooms were popular additions to houses of the Arts and Crafts period, and the Nunns wanted this room to be an internal reflection of the beauty of the grounds. With two walls made entirely of windows, this bright area captures views of the gardens, bridge and surrounding forests and fields, making it the perfect location for morning coffee or evening wine. The flooring is a heated porcelain tile from Island Floor Centre, made to look like textured wood in keeping with the rest of the home.




Above: The master ensuite was the most invasive renovation in the home, as the room had to be recreated out of a bedroom, kitchen and bath configuration. The cabinets are kept within the style of those in the kitchen, while the heated porcelain tile flooring mimics that in the sunroom. The stylized tub was originally found in another bathroom in the house and was paired with the modern glasswall shower.

Left: The pot lighting and coiffured ceilings in the master bedroom are new additions, but the refurbished white oak flooring and cream shades tie this room in with the rest of the home. This bedroom has its own entrance onto the grounds, allowing in generous amounts of light and views of the gardens. Additional Tiffany lamps and an antique desk and chair set keep this room within period.




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Above: The kitchen came together as a complete revision, with clean, stainless steel appliances contrasting bright cream shades and quartz countertops. The six stainedglass panels within the cupboards mimic the pattern found throughout the house, and the rose motif was essential in reflecting the English-antique theme. The glass was created by Edward Schaefer, a renowned Victoria glassworker who also completed restoration work for the Fairmont Empress. Right: The basement is one of the most unique spaces in this home, with a raw stone wall, exposed pipes and heated concrete flooring. Halogen lighting provides a loft look to this area, with the lower brickwork from the upstairs fireplaces giving this room a trendy feel. The space acts as part exercise studio, entertainment area and workspace, but the heated flooring keeps this level warm and accessible.








Together. Sophia Briggs and Nancy Stratton have formed an unbeatable team. Their wealth of talent, experience and passionate commitment to quality service is unsurpassed. The result is inevitable — a host of satisfied clients.

Developer: Aryze Development and Construction Construction manager: Jackson Leidenfrost Plumber: Vertex Plumbing Electrician: Pardell Electric Doors and hardware: All original Drywall: PR Wilson Interiors Tile: Island Floor Centre

WAS LISTED for $1,189,000 SOLD OVER ASKING 5162 Polson Terrace, Victoria, BC

WAS LISTED for $1,148,000 304 - 21 Dallas Road, Victoria, BC

Interior painting: Indelible Paint Works Exterior painting: The Painting Department Kitchen/bathroom millwork: Niche Kitchens, designed by clients Custom millwork: Niche Kitchens, designed by clients


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Finishing carpentry: Harrison Custom Carpentry Floor refinishing: Lawson Floors Glass: Mercer & Schaefer Glasstudio (custom stained glass at side entry and kitchen and restoration of original glass); B&E Glass (showers) Countertops: Stone Age Marble

LOCAL EXPERTISE, GLOBAL CONNECTIONS Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Independently Owned and Operated. E.&O.E.: This information is from sources which we deem reliable, but must be verified by prospective Purchasers and may be subject to change or withdrawal. Not intended to solicit properties already under agreement.

Engineers: RJC Engineering



HOW TO HOST ! y s a e AN ELEGANT & HOLIDAY PARTY Welcome your favourite people into your home with a low-stress, high-impact cocktail party that sets the tone for the season. BY KARIN OLAFSON


trings of holiday lights illuminate the Inner Harbour, carolers perform along downtown streets, and people bundle up for horse-drawn trolley rides. These are all seasonal signs that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to put your holiday party planning in high gear. This year, we bring you a host of great ideas to keep your event simple and elegant so you can enjoy your party as much as your guests do!

IT STARTS WITH INVITATIONS These days, getting a card in the mail is a rare joy. Instead of sending out an impersonal mass email or creating a Facebook event, visit Classic Stationers on Broughton Street and work with the staff there to create custom party invitations. Designed entirely in-house and made by letterpress printing, with foil stamping and embossing, this beautiful stationery is a luxurious way to begin your holiday party before the date arrives. No time for printed invitations? makes it easy to personalize and manage digital invitations.



THE STATEMENT ENTRYWAY On the day of your party, welcome your guests with festive sights, sounds and smells. Start at your entryway, with jingle bells tied to red ribbon around the doorknob and a homemade wreath hung on the door. Instead of a store-bought wreath, go the extra step and make an unconventionally festive one out of eucalyptus branches. It adds soft colour to your door and provides a fresh, subtle scent for arriving guests. For an accented pop of Christmas colour, add a red bow, poinsettia flowers or holly to the wreath. Enhance the holiday welcome by keeping a diffuser or scented candle lit on a console table, and choose seasonal scents like pine, orange and sandalwood or cinnamon and mandarin. FOR A FESTIVE FLOW Part of the art of creating the ideal party space is planning the flow â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the way you want people to experience the setting. Arrange your furnishings so there is easy access to the buffet table and drink stations. People tend to crowd around these stations, so leave plenty of room. To encourage guests to mingle and gather in certain areas of the room, Christine Smart of Smart Events recommends renting cruiser tables to place throughout your space. This will invite guests to fill the room and provide places for your standing guests to set their food and drinks. Tip: Consider renting a coat rack so all your guests can hang their winter jackets. CREATE A BEAUTIFUL BUFFET Make your dining station just as beautiful as the food is delicious with a simple redand-white layered look. For this, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need white linen, white pillar candles and white cake stands, all of varying heights, to display your appies and sweets. Then add in strategic hints of warm red with artful arrangements of pomegranates, dried cranberries and holly. For a fun twist, display red and white candy canes or bonbons in large apothecary jars.


Make a eucalyptus wreath

Materials: Eucalyptus branches of various sizes, grapevine wreath, florist wire, wire cutters Method: Snip individual stems of eucalyptus from the main stem as far down as possible. Insert each stem individually into the grapevine wreath, making sure the stems are always facing in the same direction. Keep going around the wreath until desired fullness is reached. Source:



Add a hint of whimsy by artfully hanging white battery-lit paper stars or snowflakes from the ceiling above the buffet table. For food offerings, mix traditional Christmas appetizers, such as sausage rolls and a baked Camembert, with more unique appies, such as griddled shrimp and baby leek skewers (recipe below). As well as being a tasty sweetand-sour appetizer that guests can easily help themselves to, this dish doesn’t require a lot of effort on your part, but looks impressive. Tip: Do offer a variety of foods to meet guests’ dietary restrictions, but don’t wait until the morning of your party to try cooking something new.

LIGHTING MATTERS The right lighting sets the holiday mood. Christine Smart says adjustable lights are best so that party guests can mingle under soft light. Purchasing low-wattage bulbs is a good alternative. “Uplighting, or bouncing light off the ceiling, can also be done so that there is less direct lighting in the room,” says Smart. For a bit of holiday whimsy, string fairy lights down a banister or add battery-powered

light-up branches of winter greenery to bouquets or arrangements. The mantel is also a great focal point, so decorate yours with white candles and wrap ribbon around the bottom for some texture. Another way to mix beautiful lighting with festive decorations is to fill tall, cylindrical glass jars with pine cones and battery-lit fairy lights. Tip: Put tape over your light switches and dimmer switches so guests don’t accidentally lean on them and turn the lights way up — and ruin the party ambience.

DECORATE WITH STYLE The ideal festive décor for your party should be inspired by the character and design of your house, says Smart. “Although contrasts in colour and era may be very effective with the right balance, consistency is key,” says Smart. “Don’t be afraid to edit down your own collection of decorations, because often less is more. And it’s always a treat to freshen up an old collection with some new finds.” Fresh, seasonal plants such as evergreen garlands, amaryllis and olive branches are a great addition to the ambiance of any


party, and mixing holiday classics such as coniferous sprigs and pine cones with chic, non-traditional ones like succulents is a good way to incorporate some unexpected elegance. Arrange them in red pots and decorate with ribbons.

SET THE BAR If you’re not hiring a bartender, keep the drinks simple by serving a house cocktail (having fun naming yours!) and a selection of craft beers and wines. For house cocktails, plan on two per guest. Instead of the usual eggnog-based drink or winter sangria, opt for a citrusy touch. Blood oranges, in season from December to May, bring an unexpected yet still festive flavour, so try Blood Orange and Rosemary Negronis and garnish with blood orange wedges and a sprig of fresh rosemary. Find the recipe on page 45. To avoid lineups for drinks, pre-stock your drink station with wine, beer and champagne. And make sure everything is ready to go, even for early birds: uncork the wine, put the beer in an ice bath, and pop the bubbly 30 minutes before your guests are due to arrive. If you want time to mingle instead of

Make an easy appy

GRIDDLED SHRIMP AND BABY LEEK SKEWERS WITH TAMARI LIME GLAZE From Party Food to Share by Kathy Kordalis (Ryland Peters & Small)

• 12 prawns/shrimp, cleaned and deveined •4  baby leeks or spring onions, cut into 2.5 cm pieces • 3 1/2 tbsp tamari • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated • 2 limes, 1 halved and 1 juiced • 1 fennel bulb, sliced lengthways • 2 tbsp olive oil Place the shrimp or prawns, leeks or spring onions, tamari, ginger and the juice from 1 lime into a bowl and allow to marinate overnight (or for a minimum of 30 minutes). Thread two shrimp or prawns and leeks or spring onions alternately on skewers. Heat the griddle and cook the shrimp or prawns for approximately three minutes on each side, basting with the tamari, ginger and lime glaze from the bowl. Arrange on a platter. Griddle the halved lime or serve fresh on the side of the platter. Brush the fennel slices with the olive oil, then griddle, turning once, until tender (approximately 2 minutes on each side). Add to the platter and serve.


Source: Party Food to Share by Kathy Kordalis





Make a citrusy cocktail

BLOOD ORANGE AND ROSEMARY NEGRONI • 2/3 cup Campari • 2/3 cup of sweet (rosso) vermouth • 1/2 cup gin • 3-4 blood oranges, cut into wedges • 8 sprigs of rosemary • Ice cubes CRISPY BLOOD ORANGES: • 1–2 blood oranges • 1 tbsp caster/granulated sugar Preheat the oven to 160°F or the lowest gas setting. Thinly slice the oranges (with the peel on) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle orange slices with sugar. Place in the oven, keeping the oven door slightly ajar, and dehydrate them until crispy and dry — this usually takes a few hours. Half-fill a large jug/pitcher with ice cubes. Add the Campari, vermouth and gin and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Add more ice and garnish with blood orange wedges and rosemary sprigs just before serving. Source: Party Food to Share by Kathy Kordalis

P U R I T Y. B A L A N C E . W I S D O M .


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playing bartender, hire a professional such as Victoria Event Services/Joe the Bartender. You’ll still need to provide all the liquor and mix, but that’s where your bartending responsibilities end. Want something a little more hands-on for your party? Joe the Bartender hosts mixology lessons where your guests will learn how to make four drinks and perfect pouring methods. Tip: The best time to buy ice is three hours before your party begins. Plan for one 10-pound bag of ice for every four guests.

PLAY IT UP When your guests walk through your front door, you want them to feel ready to unwind — and the music you choose will set the party mood. In the week before, spend some time listening to curated Christmas playlists on iTunes and Spotify. As well as upbeat playlists that encourage dancing, Apple has elegant Christmas playlists for sophisticated holiday parties. Choose playlists like Cozy Christmas or Very Acoustic Christmas, ideal for a party where the focus is on conversation rather than the dance moves. For a list that will last the entire duration of your party, pick Spotify’s 86song Christmas 2017 list. For a touch of elegance, hire a student or faculty performer from the Victoria Conservatory of Music. The soft sounds of a string quartet or flutist performing “Silent Night” in your living room will make for a personal and moving musical experience. Fill in an online form detailing your musical requests, pay a $35 connect fee, and the school will find a musician or group. You’ll finalize the details directly with the musician after that. Want to make your party interactive? Consider hiring a Slixer Talent Team to present either an improv comedy or murdermystery show. As long as there are at least 10 people at your party — and you have space to serve as a “green room” for the performers — Slixer can keep your guests laughing (or guessing, if you opt for a Christmas murdermystery show) throughout the evening. SET UP A PHOTO STATION For a fun and somewhat nostalgic feel, rent a Fujifilm Instax Mini instant camera (the 21stcentury version of a Polaroid camera) for the



night from Japan Camera Foto Source for your guests to use, and set up a stylish backdrop — strings of fairy lights draped down over a dark-coloured cloth or nice wrapping paper pinned to a well-lit wall are both minimalist, festive options. Encourage your guests to hang the photos afterward. Set up twine next to the photo booth and supply Christmas pins or clips for easily displaying the memory.

WIND DOWN WITH SOMETHING SWEET End the night with something naughty but nice. For the final hour of your party, use your bar cart as a hot chocolate station. Lay out different powdered hot chocolate options as well as glass containers filled with toppings such as marshmallows, chocolate shavings and mini candy canes — and don’t forget about the whipped cream. Stock the lower level of your bar cart with plenty of mugs and spoons. As a personal touch at the end of the evening, hand out a small gift to each guest as they leave. For a gift that is as elegant as the party you just threw, a great idea is to purchase customized mini terrariums containing pine cones, berry sprays and festive greenery from Fine Floral Design on Menzies Street, which you can pre-order for each guest. While downtown Victoria is brimming with holiday spirit, your holiday party, if planned right, can feel just as elegant and festive. With some planning and creativity, you can host a luxurious, seasonal get-together that guests will remember for holidays to come.




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Clockwise from top left: Coconut Cake by Susannah Ruth Bryan of Ruth & Dean; Sparkling White Chocolate Cranberry Cake and Peppermint Marshmallow Swirls by Kimberley Vy of The Inn at Laurel Point; and Holiday Marshmallow Sâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Mores and Candy Cane Meringues by Tom Moore of Crust Bakery.



LET IT SNOW! From coconut flurries to fluffy meringues, and icing as white as newly fallen snow, it’s the season for dreamy desserts. By Cinda Chavich // Photos by Jeffrey Bosdet


e don’t often see the white stuff outside in this part of the world. But this year, I’m dreaming of a snowy white Christmas, and planning a holiday dessert table that’s loaded with fluffy coconut and vanilla cakes, drifts of ethereal meringues and marshmallows, creamy eggnog and white chocolate. Of course, there will be room for traditional treats like my mom’s boozy dark fruitcake and her snappy Scottish shortbread, but I’m setting a frosty festive scene, an ode to the Great White North and our season of snow. Many old-fashioned favourites can morph into something stylish with a simple makeover — vanilla sponge in an updated Bûche de Noël or Marshmallow S’more Slice, a skiff of royal icing or a cloud of meringue topping a holiday tart or cupcake. I turned to some local pastry experts to ferret out the tips and tricks of the beautiful baking trade, so even in the darkest days of winter, your celebrations can be merry and bright. Here’s how:

drifts of meringue Pavlova may not immediately come to mind when you think about Christmas baking, but for Aussie transplant Tom Moore, the chef behind the breads and pastries at Crust Bakery, meringue is on the menu year-round, and especially at Christmastime. “We do a lot of meringues — meringue-topped tarts and large, fistsized meringues that are crisp on the

outside and chewy on the inside,” says Moore, touring me through the selection of beautiful pastries laid out in the front window of his busy downtown bakery. “There are three types of meringue, French, Italian and Swiss,” adds Moore, launching into an explanation of the pros and cons of each style. To make a classic Swiss meringue, Moore says you gently stir egg whites and sugar (2:1 by weight) together in a double boiler (a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water) until the mixture reaches 60˚C and feels hot to the touch. Then remove from heat and whip in an electric mixer until cooled and fluffy, adding a drop of vanilla. French meringue is even easier — just whipped egg whites and sugar — but it’s raw, unstable and must be used immediately, he says. Italian meringue is trickier, requiring that you slowly drizzle a boiling sugar syrup into the softly beaten egg whites while continuing to whip the mixture. Italian meringue is extremely stable, says Moore, and great for piping to decorate cakes or as a base for buttercream icing. “My favourite is the Swiss meringue — it’s cooked, very stable and always smooth and creamy,” he says. “We use Swiss meringue for everything, piped onto our tarts, then browned with a blowtorch.” Older eggs are best for meringue, he adds, “and they always whip better at room temperature, so leave your eggs out on the counter.” For the holidays Moore suggests

making large meringue “cookies” for gifts, flavoured with chopped chocolate, peppermint or candy canes, or creating a dacquoise cake by adding finely ground almonds or hazelnuts to the meringue mixture and piping rounds onto parchment-lined sheets to bake. The crunchy meringues can then be stacked into a pretty layer cake filled with whipped cream or white chocolate mousse. You might also consider making a large rectangular meringue by spreading the mixture over parchment in a sheet pan, then baking it until just cooked but still soft enough to roll into a cream-filled roulade. Or try Baked Alaska, its ice cream centre swathed in a thick layer of frothy baked meringue.

coconut flurries At Ruth & Dean, the tall coconut cake on the menu is a stunner and perfect for a winter-white dessert buffet. Pastry whiz Susannah Ruth Bryan also makes profiteroles dusted with powdered sugar and a Victoria Sponge layered with spiced cranberry compote for the holidays, but says her coconut cake is “snowy and light,” and popular yearround. Inspired by a famous cake long served at the Peninsula Grill in South Carolina, her Victoria version uses coconut milk in the filling to boost the flavour and a simple buttercream frosting. “I prefer unsweetened coconut,” she adds, “and I always buy medium shred. These days, coconut oil is touted for (continued on page 58)




FILLING: • 4 cups coconut milk

• 3 cups sugar

• 2 cups unsalted butter

• 6 large eggs, at room temperature

• 1/3 cup cornstarch

• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 tbsp vanilla

• 2 1/4 cups cake flour • 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder

• 8 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1 tbsp water

• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract • 1 tsp coconut extract • Simple syrup (1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, boiled together 5 minutes and cooled) FINISHING: • 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut and seasonal greenery



• 2 cups sugar

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM: • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature • 3 cups icing sugar • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste • 4 tbsp whipping cream • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Grease two deep, 10-inch round cake pans (or springform pans), and line with parchment paper. With an electric mixer, cream butter with sugar on high speed for 10 to 15 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the cream, vanilla and coconut extract. With mixer on low speed, add a portion of the flour mixture, alternating with cream mixture, and beat until all is incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, on the upper rack of the preheated oven, until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and springs back when lightly touched. Cool cakes on a wire rack for five minutes before removing from the pans. Invert cakes on cooling rack to cool completely. Chill cake overnight before trimming and filling. To make the filling, combine the coconut milk, sugar and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar and reduce heat to low. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of water. Add this slowly to the mixture in the saucepan, whisking to combine. Simmer until thickened, about 1 minute longer (when tasted there should be no “chalky” mouth-feel, with the spoon becoming more reluctant with every rotation). Remove from heat. In a food processor, pulse the coconut until finely chopped. Stir into the warm coconut milk mixture. Cool and chill for several hours. Before using to fill the cake, beat the filling with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. For the frosting, cream all the ingredients together in the bowl of your mixer, on medium, until very light and fluffy. This usually takes at least 10 minutes. To assemble the cake, use a serrated knife to trim and level tops of chilled cakes; discard trimmings. Cut each cake in half horizontally to create two even layers. Place strips of parchment paper over edges of serving plate or Lazy Susan. Place one layer of cake on the plate, cut side down. Brush with simple syrup and spread with one third of the coconut filling. Top with a second layer of cake and repeat process, ending with a cake layer. Spread frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake, using just enough to create a smooth surface. You can finish the cake with a snowy layer of shredded coconut, pressing handfuls of coconut into the top and sides to cover it completely, or simply use the coconut for a platter garnish and top with a sprig of greens and berries. Chill the cake for at least five hours (or up to three days) after filling and decorating. Bring to room temperature to slice and serve.

candy cane meringues TOM MOORE, THE CHEF/OWNER OF CRUST BAKERY, SAYS MERINGUES MAKE LOVELY GIFTS WHEN PACKAGED IN PRETTY CELLO BAGS. HERE’S A RED AND WHITE HOLIDAY VERSION OF THIS SIMPLE SWEET. • 1 cup egg whites • 2 cups white sugar • Pinch salt • 1 tsp vanilla • 2 tsp red liquid gel food colouring (Christmas red) • 1/3 cup crushed peppermint candy canes Preheat oven to 200°F. Use the Swiss meringue method for this crispy cookie. Place the egg whites and sugar in a glass or metal bowl and gently mix together, without whipping the whites. Place the bowl over simmering water in a pot and stir every couple of minutes to avoid the whites cooking in the bowl. Remove from heat when the egg mixture reaches approximately 70˚C (warm/hot to touch). Whip in a countertop machine on high for approximately 10 minutes or until the mixture has cooled back to room temperature and is thick and glossy. Continue to beat until mixture forms stiff peaks. Drizzle in the food colouring and add the crushed candy canes. Fold lightly, just to combine, leaving coloured streaks through the mixture. Line baking sheets with parchment and drop or pipe cookies onto the sheet, about an inch apart. Bake at 200°F for 2 1/2 hours, until meringues are crisp but still chewy inside. Makes about 20 medium-sized meringues.

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its medicinal properties — a highly saturated fat containing medium-chain triglycerides (MTCs) that some say helps the body burn fat, fight infections and fuel brain cells. It can be substituted for other fats, 1:1, when baking too. You can also find coconut sugar — a nutty, earthy brown sugar made from coconut nectar. I like to buy unsweetened shredded coconut in bulk at natural food stores, Bulk Barn or local grocers like Market on Yates or Root Cellar. You’ll find short or long shreds for baking and larger flakes for decorating cakes and pies. Toast coconut in a dry pan or in the oven. Though it won’t whip, coconut milk can be substituted for cream in many recipes.

snow-white chocolate For Kimberley Vy, pastry chef at the Inn at Laurel Point, creamy white chocolate is a favourite ingredient in her creative desserts, whether it’s shards of white chocolate to decorate a cake, white chocolate and graham cookie “Clodhopper” ice cream or a mug of creamy hot white chocolate topped with handmade marshmallows. When I asked her to describe a favourite light, white holiday dessert, Sparkling White Chocolate Cranberry Cake came to mind. “It’s based on a champagne white sponge cake that’s really light and airy,” says Vy as we taste our way through her dessert menu, displayed on beautiful deconstructed plates with bursts of flavourful compotes, mousses, curds and gelées. Using champagne in sponge cake adds a subtle flavour and sparkle, she says, and the white chocolate buttercream makes a rich counterpoint, along with a tart garnish of sugared fresh cranberries. White chocolate is actually just cocoa butter — chocolate with all of the dark cocoa mass removed. The finest white chocolate comes from Cacao Barry, she says, but you can also buy Callebaut white chocolate in bulk at local markets. Always use “real” white chocolate — not chocolate “coating” — and look for white chocolate with at least 30 per cent cocoa butter. Melt white chocolate on low heat until liquid, then combine with dried cranberries and/or pistachios for a quick holiday chocolate bark. Vy often colours her white chocolate with fruit, spices or green tea, or bakes it to caramelize the sugars and deepen the flavour.

marshmallow avalanche Homemade marshmallows were a holiday tradition in my family, cut into cubes and dusted with icing sugar or rolled in toasted coconut. Marshmallows make a simple treat or pretty gift and can be plain, flavoured with 58


(Continued on page 60)

sparkling white chocolate cranberry cake FROM KIMBERLEY VY, PASTRY CHEF AT THE INN AT LAUREL POINT, COMES THIS UNIQUE CHAMPAGNE SPONGE CAKE, LAYERED WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM AND GARNISHED WITH SUGAR-FROSTED CRANBERRIES. CRANBERRY CHAMPAGNE CAKE: • 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour • 2 cups sugar • 2 tsp baking powder • 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature • 6 egg whites • 2 tsp vanilla extract • 1 cup sour cream • 1 1/4 cups champagne • 1 tsp salt • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries WHITE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM: • 10 large egg whites • 2 1/4 cups sugar • 1/4 tsp salt • 3 cups unsalted butter, softened, cut into tablespoons • 12 oz quality white chocolate, melted and cooled Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with baking spray and parchment paper in the bottom of the pans. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add butter, egg whites, vanilla extract, sour cream and champagne and mix on medium speed until just smooth. Do not over mix. Gently stir in the cranberries. Spread the batter evenly between the three cake pans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove cakes from pans and finish cooling on a rack. For the buttercream, place egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof metal mixing bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, whisking, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 160˚F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes. Beat on mediumhigh speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy and cooled. Reduce speed to medium and beat in softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat in the cooled (but still liquid) white chocolate. Divide buttercream and use to fill and frost cake. Leftovers may be bagged and frozen for later use.

SUGARED CRANBERRIES: • 2 cups fresh cranberries • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided • 1 cup water In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of sugar and water to a simmer. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour simple syrup into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add cranberries and stir to coat. Refrigerate cranberries in syrup overnight, stirring a couple of times to coat with syrup. Remove cranberries from syrup and toss or roll in remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. You will need to roll them a few times to get a good layer of sugar on them. Set cranberries aside on a baking sheet in a single layer to dry for an hour or two before using to decorate the cake.



extracts like vanilla and peppermint, tinted in various colours or swirled with caramel. And they’re easy to make. Powdered gelatin is the secret ingredient in tender homemade marshmallows, whipped with a boiling mixture of sugar, water and corn syrup until fluffy. Some recipes also include egg whites — sort of a hybrid marshmallow/meringue mixture. Or you can create a vegan facsimile using rice flour, agar-agar and guar gum. Pastry chef Kimberley Vy says the trick to making marshmallows is working quickly — dust a greased pan with icing sugar and cornstarch, then spread the whipped mixture into a pan, using a well-oiled offset spatula to smooth the top. These days, chefs love to experiment with marshmallow flavours, from green tea to lavender and raspberry, but to keep your treats snowy white, opt for vanilla, lemon or even peppermint essences. Vy also swirls caramel or dulce de leche through her marshmallow treats. At Victoria’s Tout de Sweet Confections, the handmade organic marshmallows are fluffy and ethereal and offered in many flavours, from vanilla bean and strawberry to chocolate, lemon and chai. The shop on Fairfield Road also carries things to make your holiday desserts sparkle, whether you’re looking for colourful sprinkles or decorating sugars.




Great food Great drink all day long

• Butter for greasing pans • 1/3 cup powdered sugar • 2 1/2 tbsp unflavoured powdered gelatin • 1 cup cold water • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar • 1 cup white corn syrup • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 1 tsp pure peppermint extract • 8 to 10 drops red or wintergreen food colouring Generously grease the bottom and sides of an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish with butter; dust with 1 tbsp of powdered sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water to soften. Set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining 1/2 cup water over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium and heat to boiling, cooking without stirring for about 30 minutes, to 240˚F on candy thermometer or until a small amount of the mixture dropped into a cup of very cold water forms a ball that holds its shape but is pliable (soft ball stage). Remove from heat. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour the syrup into the gelatin mixture. Increase speed to high and beat for 8-10 minutes, or until the mixture has almost tripled in volume. Add the peppermint extract and beat on high speed for 1 minute. Pour into prepared baking dish, smoothing with a greased offset spatula. Drop food colouring randomly over marshmallow mixture and pull a table knife through to create a swirl pattern over top. Cool in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours before cutting. Dust cutting board with about 1 tbsp of powdered sugar. Place remaining powdered sugar into a small bowl. To remove marshmallow mixture from the pan, loosen the sides and gently lift in one piece onto the cutting board. Use a sharp knife, well greased with butter, to cut into one-inch squares (11 rows by 7 rows). Dust bottom and sides of each marshmallow by dipping into bowl of powdered sugar. Store in single layer, in an airtight container, at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. Makes 77 one-inch squares.

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MARSHMALLOW LAYER: • 1/2 cup cold water for soaking gelatin

• 1/3 cup melted butter

• 5 sheets gelatin (we use silver grade)

• 3 tbsp hot water

• 2/3 cup water

GANACHE: • 2/3 cup good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

• 2 cups granulated sugar • 1/2 cup white corn syrup • Pinch salt

• 2/3 cup whipping cream • 3 peppermint candy canes, crushed

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Start by spraying a bottomless terrine mould or springform pan with a removable base with canola spray. Place the mould on a flat tray lined with parchment paper or on a silicon mat. Combine the base ingredients and spread them into the mould. Press down gently and evenly. Refrigerate. For the ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl, bring the cream to a boil, and pour over the chocolate. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let the ganache cool to room temperature, then stir in the crushed peppermint candy canes. Pour ganache over the crumb crust in the mould and spread evenly. Refrigerate. For the marshmallow layer: In a shallow bowl, combine gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water and soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Combine all other ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 3 minutes. Add gelatin and extra soaking water and boil for a further 2 minutes — or until it rises. Remove from heat, transfer to an electric mixer and whip with a whisk attachment on high until the mixture has cooled to room temperature and is light and fluffy. Use immediately, spreading the marshmallow over the chilled ganache in the mould. Smooth top with an oiled offset spatula. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Remove the mould. Cut the s’mores into 12 squares using a hot, wet knife. With a small torch, brûlée the top of each square until lightly browned before serving. Makes one 6 x 12-inch mould (about 12 squares).

more holiday baking tips Vanilla beans and extracts Vanilla comes from beans grown in different parts of the world. Slender Bourbon (a.k.a. Madagascar) vanilla beans have the strongest flavour, while fatter Tahitian vanilla beans have a delicate floral flavour and more paste per bean. You may also find vanilla beans from Indonesia or China, often cheaper but of lesser quality. To use vanilla beans, cut them lengthwise and scrape out the paste, but don’t throw away the pods. Toss them into a jar of vodka or high-proof Everclear alcohol to steep. In a few months, you’ll have your own vanilla tincture/extract. Store vanilla beans in a cool, dark cupboard (not the refrigerator) or in a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar. When you buy vanilla extract, make sure it’s labeled “pure vanilla extract,” not “artificial vanilla extract” or flavouring. Victoria’s Vanillablossom Flavours imports vanilla beans from around the world to make quality vanilla extracts.


White Chocolate Christmas? Make that dream come true and treat your family and friends to this decadent White Chocolate Mandarin Orange Cake. Learn how to make this and many more tempting, holiday inspired favourites

Caramelized white chocolate Pastry chef Kimberley Vy loves to caramelize white chocolate. Simply chop chocolate, spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 250˚F for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until it’s a lovely caramel colour. Add a pinch of sea salt, if you like. The chocolate will be liquid at this point — pour into a bowl and use an immersion blender to smooth out any lumps. Spread caramelized chocolate on parchment to set for bars and brittle, or store in a jar and reheat to drizzle over cakes, swirl into ice cream or fill macarons.

Eggnog extras Eggnog is the classic bevvy at this time of year, but there’s more to eggnog than boozy milk punch, spiked with rum, brandy, bourbon and other dark spirits. Many cultures make this kind of eggy seasonal punch — think Puerto Rican ponche with coconut milk, Texas-style eggnog with tequila and sherry, and the Prohibition cider nog. In Peru it’s made with pisco (a local white brandy), and there’s even a recipe floating around for vegan eggless nog, made with soy milk and silken tofu (and rum, of course). Make a warm eggnog sauce to serve over a Christmas cranberry pudding, steam it up with espresso for eggnog lattes, or use eggnog instead of milk in holiday French toast or bread-pudding recipes.


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ON JOY Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the season of comfort and joy, but what does joy really mean? As YAM discovers, some of the most inspiring wisdom about joy comes from people who have seemingly had the greatest burdens to carry. By Jody Paterson // Photos by Jeffrey Bosdet

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Clockwise from top left: Debra Bell, Sam Jones, Mary Katharine Ross, Jeneece Edroff, Jacqueline McAdam, Pippa Blake and Michael James Cameron




nd they all lived happily ever after.” Wouldn’t it be something if that were true — if we all could wake up feeling joyous every single day, in a life without suffering? But any person grown beyond childhood — and even some still in it — know from their own experiences that joy is not a given, not a permanent state. It’s fleeting and mercurial, notoriously hard to hold onto as life’s ups and downs take their toll. Joy is elusive, even for those who appear to “have it all.” Yet somebody with a lifetime of struggle and barely a buck in their pocket can still be the most joyous person in the room. Someone who’s known nothing but setbacks can be relentlessly optimistic. How do people dealing with adversity find joy even while people with every reason to be happy bog down in their search for it? Victoria academic and entrepreneur Jacqueline McAdam asked herself the same question after extensive travel in Africa, where she met cheerful children and young people carrying on with their lives despite growing up in dire poverty and seeming hopelessness. She wrote her doctoral thesis, “More Than Luck,” a decade ago



on what she found out. “Joyful people know that it’s through other We spoke with McAdam for this piece and people that we grow, and so they take the also did a little crowdsourcing to ask Greater risk. Joyful people look for new experiences. Victorians who came to mind when they They overemphasize the positive while thought of someone they knew who sought underplaying the negative.” joy despite dealing with adversity. People That last finding in particular describes responded with dozens of names. each of the people sharing their stories here. The moving stories of the small selection A life transformed forever at age 12 by featured here echo many of McAdam’s a massive head injury. A single mom who findings in her studies of African children. finds herself in a wheelchair with multiple Their stories underline the points made sclerosis. A woman beset by childhood by Archbishop bullies, depression, Desmond Tutu and sexual assault and the Dalai Lama in now a fatal cancer. A their Book of Joy: recovering drug user Lasting Happiness who went through in a Changing World chemotherapy while (Random House) — living homeless on that joy comes most Victoria’s streets. readily to those who A young person Jacqueline McAdam feel connected to a who’s been fighting larger world; that it’s her way through a rooted in spirituality and the way we frame life-threatening illness from the time she was our experiences; that we are most joyous born. when helping others. All seemed surprised to hear that someone “People who experience joy give more had named them as a person notable for than they get,” says McAdam, a university their joy. All framed their adversities as instructor and owner of the social enterprise something that ultimately bettered them. Resilient Generations.

“People who experience joy give more than they get.”

Mount Everest base camp in 2007 were it not GAINING STRENGTH for developing MS. “I’m an ordinary person who has had some “All these things I do, I wouldn’t be doing things that the average person hasn’t had to if I weren’t in a wheelchair,” says Blake. “You deal with, but maybe that’s what makes me get to a stage where you say, ‘Why not?’ able to juggle stress,” says Sam Jones, owner Getting MS has opened so many doors for of 2% Jazz Coffee. His painful memories of being teased about me. It has made me a nicer person. I have time for people.” a speech impediment and his appearance — he has a still-undiagnosed genetic condition REFRAMING LIFE that causes tumour-like growths on the left People who find joy appear to reframe side of his face and neck — tainted his school the negative events of their lives in positive experience so much that he opted to homeways, says McAdam. Mary Katharine Ross, school his three children when the time communications officer with the Community came. Social Planning Council, exemplifies that, “It occurs to me that my adversity as a having embarked on a “year of forgiveness” child strengthens me, has made me who I am. as an adult to be able to forgive, among other Part of what I do is survive, and I think that things, the two men who raped her at 15. comes from working hard enough throughout “We are responsible for the hope we feel,” my life to get through the bad times.” says Ross. Pippa Blake, diagnosed with multiple “I am not responsible sclerosis as a young for being raped, but mother and in a I am responsible for wheelchair for the how I view it, how last 26 years, says she I incorporate that likely wouldn’t have experience into my life.” spent the years since If joy comes from then sky-diving, sailing, giving to others, Jeneece horseback riding and Mary Katharine Ross making her way to Edroff deserves to

“We are responsible for the hope we feel.”

be among the most joyous in town. Beset with lifelong severe health challenges from neurofibromatosis, the 23-year-old has a legendary drive to give back to her community that started when she was only seven. She has raised $1.25 million to date for local health charities. “To find joy, look at things with a different perspective,” advises Edroff. “Be around people. Smile and say hi. It’s the little things that can change a person’s attitude. Find a hobby that makes you happy.”

WELCOMING SUPPORT Joyous people know when to call on friends and family for help, notes McAdam. Michael James Cameron, who went through 20 hard years of substance use and suicidal thoughts from Grade 8 on after a ski accident at age 12 left him with a severe head injury, remembers his family as his “biggest fans” through it all. Now in recovery and a volunteer with the Victoria Brain Injury Society, Cameron can still recite every word of the Robert Service poem “The Quitter,” which “really resonated with me” when he came across it after his Grade 8 teacher assigned everyone to memorize a poem. By then, he was already



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“Joy for me is something that happens from the moment I wake up now.”

heading into drug and Mexico, having rejected alcohol issues, out of step dialysis and organ in a small Alberta town transplant as “not for where few knew anything me.” about brain injuries. She says given her “My advice: don’t give many health issues, up,” he says. “I remember she wouldn’t feel right this guy in high school about lining up for a new telling me, ‘Don’t let the kidney at this point when assholes beat you down.’” so many other younger, Sara McKerracher healthier people need Sara McKerracher also recalls her family as one. “amazing” through the “I still make plans, period in 2015 when she was living homeless just not long-term ones,” says Morgan. “My and addicted on the streets of Victoria, going advice? Don’t be afraid. We’re all going to through chemotherapy for Stage 4 lymphoma die. Figure out what matters and live every (now vanquished). The 28-year-old survived moment.” that hard experience determined to change SPIRITUAL SUPPORT her life. A number of those interviewed cited “Joy for me is something that happens spiritual practice as vital in their lives: faith, from the moment I wake up now,” says meditation, yoga, mindfulness. McAdam McKerracher. “I’m in a warm bed, waking up saw that among those she studied as well: in good health. I don’t ever want to forget the “Most people who are highly resilient have a things I went through, but I also don’t want to fundamental spirituality.” dwell on them.” Debra Bell has suffered one major life OPEN TO EXPERIENCE challenge after another, including the death Joyous people embrace new experiences, of her son Robbie from a heart condition says McAdam. They know how to live in the at age 10 and the diagnosis of her other moment. Sue Morgan, 67, is facing down endson, Riel, with schizophrenia at age 17. But stage kidney failure by packing her bag for connecting to her Bahá’i community and six more months in her beloved Guanajuato, faith never fails to bring her joy, says Bell.

Ross says A Course in Miracles — a spiritual thought system developed in 1975 by the Foundation for Inner Peace — is “my prayer book.” The Findhorn Foundation’s Game of Transformation is an integral part of her life. But just in case anyone is thinking that those who know how to seek joy never suffer again, best to let that one go. Bad things happen to good people, including everyone interviewed for this piece. That Jones never leaves his workplace without saying to his employees, “Be nice” didn’t protect him from being “totally and completely hosed,” as he puts it, in a business relationship a few years ago, costing him his business, his home and very nearly his marriage. Ross’s year of forgiveness didn’t spare her a diagnosis 18 months ago of multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer. Blake’s amazing adventures still haven’t replaced the feeling of a hike through the woods on her own strong legs. Edroff’s health challenges will never go away. “Our adversities change, but we’ll always have them,” says Jones. “It’s part of being human — hunting for food, climbing up a tree at night to stay safe. It makes us more human ... and humane. Maybe it’s actually positive that we have these adverse things happen to us.”

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Sidney A Town of Experiences

Dream a Little Dream… Holiday Happenings in Sidney! The holidays are just around the corner. So why not give yourself a head start and toss in a bit of holiday sparkle by enjoying the warm, welcoming Merchants Open House put on by Sidney businesses on Saturday, December 2 from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m.? During this annual event, merchants welcome shoppers not only with a wide selection of beautifully made goods and great service, but also with special holiday treats, tasty drinks and a chance to chat with friends and neighbours. Sidney looks spectacular at this time of year. Check out the beautiful shop windows, bright and sparkling. Merchants pull out all the stops at this special time of the year, so enjoy a bit of holiday magic as you stroll around town with a warm drink and friends or family. And take delight in the traditional carolers who will stroll the streets of Sidney during the Merchants Open House, capturing the warmth of a smalltown Christmas and singing seasonal favourites. Feel free to sing along! The carolers will also perform on Saturdays and Sundays, December 2 to 23, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Between 5:00 and 8:30 p.m. also during the Merchants Open House, you can take pleasure in a free carriage tour through downtown Sidney. Offered by Victoria Carriage Tours on a first come/first served basis, this is a charming way to begin the holiday season. The Carriage Tours also will be available on Saturdays and Sundays between December 3 and 23, from 12 to 4:00 p.m., at a minimal cost of only $30 per carriage. Each carriage seats up to six. The tours fill up quickly, so please book as soon as possible: 250-883-3651 (reservations highly recommended!) Adding to the holiday spirit, you can win a little magic, just by making a purchase at a participating Sidney merchant between December 2 and 23. The Sidney BIA is pleased to announce a special “scratch and win” promotion with outstanding prizes that include a night at the Pier Hotel, spa treatments, restaurant and cafe vouchers and many, many more. Yet another reason to enjoy the holiday season in Sidney! So dream a little dream in Sidney this holiday season, where there is truly something for everyone! Check out for additional details.

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“And then … She found her joy! That didn’t take long.”


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Holiday Fun







P r omenade on a sandy beach

You may think the season’s most appealing option is to cocoon indoors until drier and warmer weather returns, but the best way to fight those winter blahs is just the opposite: numerous studies tout the perks of outdoor activity, including reducing stress and boosting your energy levels. Round up a group of friends and head out to Witty’s Lagoon (pictured on the left), where you’ll find an easy network of trails. The Beach Trail passes the scenic Sitting Lady Falls before meandering through the trees to the shore. At the beach, low tide creates visible sand dunes, and the area is prime for birdwatching, year-round. Afterwards, nearby Glenrosa Farm Restaurant makes the perfect place for a mug up. The historic farm invites lingering, with its cozy fire, art and tea room. Look for special seasonal beverages on its happy-hour menu.


Happy hor ses

Visit Mary Rostad and her herd of beautiful horses at Mary’s Farm & Sanctuary. Here, near Goldstream Park, you’ll find time and space to slow down and “just be” in the peaceful presence of the horses. Rostad has over 25 years of insight and wisdom as a horsewoman, an educator and a mindfulness teacher. During your one-hour Natural Horsemanship session, staff will guide you through your personal interactive experience with the horses — sessions are one hour and are unique to each person and also unique to any given day. “The focus of [Natural Horsemanship] is to slow down and learn from the horses,” says Rachel Thornton, farm administrator. “They are great teachers.”




F rench baker s

Did you know that Bon Macaron Patisserie hosts hands-on macaron classes? Owners Yann Fougere and David Boetti — both native Frenchmen — show you everything from how to make the shells and fillings to different decorating techniques. The three-hour classes are held approximately twice a month, but private group classes can also be arranged. “Each participant chooses a different flavour to make when they arrive,” says Fougere. “At the end, everyone shares their flavours, so all participants leave with a big selection.” Bon Macaron offers 50 sweet flavours and along with standby favourites, such as Triple Chocolate and Crème Brûlée, seasonal flavours are available in December. Think Candy Cane, Gingerbread and Mulled Wine. Everyone leaves with 30 to 40 macarons in several different flavours — whether to eat or to gift is up to you.




Calling birds

Forget partridges and turtle doves — get yourself to The Raptors in Duncan for an interactive experience with a variety of birds of prey. You will get closer than you ever imagined to eagles, hawks, owls and falcons. Time your visit around the daily flying demonstrations, held at 1:30 p.m., Thursday thru Sunday, during November and December. The centre will also be running its popular Close Encouter experience, where you’ll get to hang out with several species of raptors on your glove. “It’s a great time of year to do it because the sessions aren’t as busy,” says operations manager Robyn Radcliffe.

Owls, such as Arktos the Great Horned Owl, are in the spotlight this fall and winter at The Raptors.


Golden lights

For some, the only real adventures happen when you hit the road. Drive up to Cedar for a late lunch at the Crow & Gate English Pub. This hidden gem — complete with pegged beam and plaster, and open stonework fireplaces — offers traditional nosh and pints. Do save room for the Christmas pudding with rum sauce. Time the trip back to see the Festival of Lights in Ladysmith. The six-week affair is in its 30th year and sees Ladysmith’s downtown sparkling with over 200,000 twinkling holiday lights. The Festival of Lights runs from November 30 until the first Sunday in January and its kick-off festivities, complete with a craft fair, spaghetti dinner, parade, fireworks and the official Light Up, is considered a destination event, drawing thousands from around the province.

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Heads a-puzzling

Do your holiday traditions include family downtime over a massive jigsaw puzzle? Consider upping the ante with an escape-room experience, a live game that utilizes puzzles, riddles and codes hidden throughout a locked room. You and your companions will be required to think creatively and cooperatively to solve the game, find the key and escape the room. Don’t worry about the scare factor: Epic Escape’s two puzzling scenarios (a small NY apartment or a Mississippi State Prison cell) are terror free and don’t use startle tactics. If board games are more your speed, do check out the Interactivy Board Game Cafe. With over 500 games, it’s a great spot to try a new one.


K ids a-skating

A common local lament this time of year is the rarity of snow and wintry activities. For a satisfying dose of chill outdoor fun — without having to give up our mild West Coast clime — head to one of the area’s

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The Butchart Garden skating rink, pictured here, with its twinkling lights, is open from December 1 to January 6. Bear Mountain also features a skating rink from November 25 to January 8.

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charming outdoor ice-skating rinks. Skate under the stars and twinkling lights at The Butchart Gardens, where you can also take in their Christmas light display. Bear Mountain’s outdoor rink is also bedecked for the holidays and offers a lovely panorama. (Don’t forget, your skating excursion isn’t complete without indulging in a hot chocolate.)


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Rocks a-sliding

Have you ever found yourself watching Olympic curling and thinking, “That looks easy!”? Well, here’s your chance to see how you’d actually fare. The Victoria Curling Club (VCC) will be hosting monthly drop-in Blender Nights, perfect for beginners or those who want to check the sport out. “It’s four ends of fun, beer and a live band playing upstairs,” says Paul Dixon, the club’s general manager. The VCC is also home to the BC Scotties this January, when the best women curlers in the province come to Victoria to compete for the right to represent B.C. at the Canadian Championships. The event is expected to inspire more locals to take up the sport, and Dixon says the rink will start a mini “Learn To Curl” program in mid-January.

The Cellar is nestled deep within The Westin Bear Mountain Resort and surrounded by over 2,000 bottles of the world’s finest wines. Experience a wine tasting with one of our knowledgeable Sommeliers or plan an exclusive holiday party for ten to forty people. Our award-winning culinary team will work with you to design the perfect meal and wine pairing for your most memorable occasions.

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Ladies dancing

If you’re looking to warm up those bones, get yourself to Red Hot Swing’s weekly Saturday-night social and strut your stuff on the dance floor in the Bert Richman Building at the Gordon Head Rec Centre. Each social includes a drop-in beginner lesson that will have you dancing in no time — no partner or experience required. (Organizers do recommend bringing your sense of humour.) Following the lesson, there’s jazz music for dancing the night away. A live band makes an appearance on the last Saturday of every month, and other weeks feature a DJ spinning toe-tapping tunes, perfect to show off your newfound skills in the Lindy hop, Charleston, Balboa and Collegiate Shag.


Winter ales

The Christmas Craft Beer Show (held at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on December 1 and 2) was established with the belief that beer should be enjoyed any time of the year — it’s not just about a cold glass of suds on a hot day. This hoppy celebration brings together all the fantastic local microbreweries to share their seasonal offerings, such as Hoyne’s Gratitude Winter Warmer and Vancouver Island Brewery’s Hermannator Ice Bock. Your admission ticket gets you a souvenir sample cup and lanyard, a program and a couple of beer tokens to get you started.




There is much to celebrate about Victoria’s new rep as a capital of cool (Vogue said so!) and a big part of that is its rich cocktail culture. Experience downtown’s holiday splendour by assembling your crew for a self-guided cocktail tour — to be undertaken in one night or over several; choose your speed. Start at the new kid on the block, Foxtrot Tango Whisky Bar, and soak up its speakeasy vibe as you imbibe an After School Snack, an Averna and rootbeer cocktail served in a vintage milk jug, with chocolate chip cookies and a comic in a vintage lunch box. Next up is the familiar comfort and elegance of Clive’s Classic Lounge. Warm up over a Zhivago’s Toddy, a hot concoction of brandy and Silk Road’s Jewel of India Black Tea. At Little Jumbo, cozy up and stay on season with a blended Scotch Corduroy and Cable Knit cocktail. Finish up with the impressive harbour views from the Q Bar, where the purplehued Empress Gin 1908 gives their 1908 cocktail a colourful makeover.


that cascades from the sheer cliff above. To make your firepit, set a circle of stones around a small, shallow pit in the sand and create a teepee of driftwood and logs around a centre of smaller twigs (and any starter material you may have, such as paper). When the party is over, be sure to douse the fire with water and cover all the ashes with sand. Whether it’s with your true love, your entire family, a group of local friends or visitors from out of town, pick your adventure and get out of the house this holiday season. Hey, it’s a long winter; why not try all 12?

Festive cocktails

Fires burning

The camaraderie and tranquility of a beach bonfire can be savoured year-round and is made even better in the winter by the lack of crowds. Pack a bag of marshmallows and a thermos of hot cider, put on your hiking shoes and head to Mystic Beach. This is considered one of the area’s most scenic beaches and even features a small waterfall

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STYLE WATCH Fashion Stylist: Janine Metcalfe Photos by Mackenzie Duncan

SHINE ON All that glitters is not gold â&#x20AC;&#x201D; festive fashions make a statement with shimmering metallics, iridescent textiles and the sparkle of sequin.

This page: Open-back silver sweater (KAI & KLO, $168); Matilda wrap skirt (KAI& KLO, $148); Silver choker (KAI & KLO, $15) Opposite page: Maxi Mermaid bamboo-jersey dress (, $135); Lamarque feather jacket (Frances Grey, $298): Jenny Bird Ariel earrings (Frances Grey, $75); Shellys London heels (She She Bags & Shoes, $188)

This page: La fée Maraboutée t-shirt (Frances Grey, $148); ONEXONE Teaspoon fauxfur coat (Frances Grey, $438); Suncoo pencil skirt (Frances Grey, $195); InWear pumps (Hughes Clothing, $239); Sarah Pacini earrings (Hughes Clothing, $100) Opposite page: Nikki Jones jacket (Barbara’s Boutique, $204); Lizzie Fortunato Jewels African Sky collar (Bernstein & Gold, $429)

This page: Intropia sequin pants (Bernstein & Gold, $349); Leisure blouse (Bernstein & Gold, $285); By Malene Birger camisole (Bernstein & Gold, $150); hoop earrings (Pom Pom Boutique, $20); Shoes the Bear loafers (She She Bags & Shoes, $200) Opposite page: Liviana Conti turtleneck (Hughes Clothing, $315); Alex Evenings pant (Barbaraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Boutique, $115); Jenny Bird Assym Ziggy earrings (Frances Grey, $65); 3 A.M. Forever clutch (Pom Pom Boutique, $69)

Model: Georgia Waters, Lizbell Agency Makeup: Anya Ellis, Lizbell Agency Hair: Mandy Rogers, Hunt & Gather Hair Company


For winter escapes, when it’s chilly outside, choose a hotel that makes staying in as stylishly fascinating as going out.



hen you live in a historic and tourism-centric city like Victoria, it can be easy to take even the most iconic local landmarks for granted. The sparkling lights of the Legislative Buildings and neighbouring Fairmont Empress Hotel define our cityscape for visitors from around the world, but can disappear into the landscape for locals. I’m as guilty as anyone in that regard, skirting the busy tourist zone in high season. But that also means missing out on what makes Victoria such a popular place. So we decided to focus in on the stylish destination our city has become, with a “staycation” in the jewel of the downtown crown, the newly refurbished Empress. Named for Queen Victoria, the Empress of India and the city’s namesake, the venerable hotel has anchored the Inner Harbour since 1908. It’s still an imposing structure — the Château-style facade no longer softened by a tangle of ivy, though otherwise unchanged. But you may not recognize the old girl when you step inside, thanks to a $60-million renovation that’s given her a much sexier, youthful look.



The grand refurbishing of Victoria’s Fairmont Empress Hotel looked to update its dated interiors while being careful to preserve some of its original Edwardian grandeur, such as the millwork of the coffered ceilings and the inlaid mahogany flooring.

Quiet River, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48



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Artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Reception: Sat, Nov 18 1:00-3:00pm 2184 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria, BC | 250-598-2184 |



The hotel was purchased by Vancouver developer Nat Bosa in 2014 and had a splashy grand reopening in June to showcase the changes, from its modern dining room and bar to the airy Lobby Lounge for afternoon tea to its stylishly appointed guest rooms.

SACROSANCT AND STYLISH The Empress owes its bones to famed British architect Francis Rattenbury, who also designed B.C.’s Legislature, and its new look to James KM Cheng Architects of Vancouver and the interior design firm of Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) of San Francisco. Modernizing a beloved heritage property and national historic site can be challenging, but the designers found a balance between what’s sacrosanct and stylish. There’s an understated glamour in the modern furnishings, a kind of Barbara Barry sleekness with art deco overtones. In the Q at the Empress, there are now low, tufted banquettes with satin brass accents, and poster-sized portraits of Queen Victoria in a regent, duotone lavender wash to match the sculptural purple resin front desk, while the original Edwardian millwork of the coffered ceilings and the inlaid mahogany floors remain. “Did you know [the woodwork] is made from horsehair?” the hostess tells us as we sit down to dinner, craning our necks to admire the elaborately “carved” beams above our

In the Q at the Empress, modern touches include the low, tufted banquettes with satin brass accents, pop-art style portraits of Queen Victoria and the sculptural purple resin front desk, a nod to the crown jewels.

heads while marveling at the giant sculpted cloud light fixtures floating below. The designers also carved out a sleek cocktail lounge in what was once underutilized space across the way, complete with a glowing quartzite horseshoe bar that makes a great perch for a drink while the sun sets beyond the wall of vintage leadedglass windows. Next door, the former Tea Lobby is now the Lobby Lounge, reimagined by the Puccini Group’s design team, with soft jewel-tone blue and fuchsia accents for soft furnishings, pulled from the traditional

Empress china pattern and set against the room’s creamy historic columns. Vintage brass chandeliers, dressed in contemporary shades, bridge old and new.

VINTAGE COMFORTS All of the 477 rooms were refurbished, and we head down the Gold Floor hallway, a dark grey-on-grey scheme with oversized patterns in the wallpaper and carpet giving it a unified, contemporary edge. Our room is a vintage corner space with two walls of towering, double-hung windows

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2017-08-18 10:14 AM

Top: In the Empress’s Gold Floor rooms, classic details such as the mouldings were restored and paired with modern furniture and jeweltone accessories. Bottom: The Empress 1908 gin gets its colour from with indigo butterfly pea blossom.

Barbara Adams, Victoria jeweller

overlooking the copper dome of the hotel lobby, offering glimpses of the 250,000 sparkling crystals in its new six-metre-wide contemporary chandelier. The palette is crisp and serene — the brushed brass accents and creamy faux marble side tables balanced by softly sculpted seablue carpets, raw silk and flocked velvet cushions, and platinum leather chairs.

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Group jewellery exhibition


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Fundraiser 2184 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria, BC | 250-598-2184 |

EXPERIENCING LOCAL One of the pleasures of staying at the Empress is easy access to the totally refurbished Willow Stream Spa, with its luxurious expanded lounge and a new 90-minute Salish Sea Vitality facial, featuring ultra-hydrating wild seaweed-based products from Seaflora in Sooke. As the piece de resistance to my stay at the Empress, I try the stunning mauve signature cocktail, a frothy flip made with the new royal purple Empress 1908 gin, created for the hotel by local Victoria Distillers, and infused with the same indigo butterfly pea blossoms that tint the Fairmont Empress Blend tea. After we indulge in herb-crusted halibut and tender seared sea scallops with local spot prawns, we try the crème brûlée followed by the chocolate and hazelnut Empress Torte. The latter is Pastry Chef A.J. Thalakkat’s signature piece, layered with cassis and airbrushed in gold leaf. Both are topped with the fruity signature chocolate he formulated during a trip to Paris — a miniature British crown on the layered torte, and a free-form branch artfully laid across the shallow dish of caramelized custard, scented with citrusy grand fir and garnished with a crisp pistachio sponge to mimic local reindeer moss. It’s just another of the stylish touches we’ve discovered during this gorgeous getaway, right in our own backyard. YAM MAGAZINE NOV/DEC 2017




At Seattle’s Kimpton Palladian, rooms feature a palette of black and white, layered with warm neutrals, including leather furniture, antique rugs and brass accessories. The lobby’s speakeasy vibe is achieved with dark walls and ceiling, tufted leather banquettes and custom lighting.


The Kimpton Palladian reimagines a historic hotel, melding old-world beauty and luxe design. By Athena McKenzie


t’s social hour at Seattle’s Kimpton Palladian Hotel, and front-desk manager Andy Spaulding is pouring complimentary Washington State whisky, cider and wine for the clusters of guests chatting in the embrace of the darkly masculine lobby. It’s the perfect urban reception, after the views of Seattle’s cityscape from our approach on the Clipper. As he tops up our drinks, Spaulding answers my questions about the space’s dramatic paintings which depict Seattle celebrities such as Bill Gates and Jimi Hendrix as Napoleonic heroes. “Each subject has a close connection to the city. Dave Matthews is the only one we know of who has actually seen his portrait,” 90


Spaulding says with a laugh. “Apparently, he just nodded at it and smiled.” The lobby, with leather banquettes, velvet upholstery and brass accents, evokes an upscale speakeasy. It’s entirely appropriate given the building’s basement once served as a Prohibition-era drinking spot. The Palladian — a Seattle landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places — was built in 1910 and originally operated as the Calhoun Hotel. Its recent transformation from apartments back to a hotel by San Francisco-based designer Nicole Hollis drew on Seattle itself for esthetic inspiration: “From timber to gold to sea trade, the history of Seattle is the story of raw natural elements and invention, nature and cuttingedge technology,” reads the design brief.

MODERN MEETS VINTAGE Our room, whose large windows look out at the Space Needle, sparks ideas for décor touches at home — primarily the palette of black and white layered with warm neutrals in brass, leather and textiles. A custom platform bed with a reclaimed-wood headboard is dressed in soft Frette linens. Its throw pillow bearing the stern visage of Michael Clarke Duncan made to look like a portrait of a Napoleonic general — similar to the portraits in the lobby — is a quirky touch. (Various celebrities, including Bill Murray and David Bowie, are depicted on pillows throughout the hotel, and they are so popular the hotel offers them to guests for sale.) One wall is adorned with a framed vintage city map, while the space above the desk acts

as a gallery wall for small, unique Northwestinspired prints. An antique area rug, a small collection of leather-bound books and an old-fashioned telephone add warmth and complement the historic setting. Favourite elements include the clean lines created by the way the television is set on a wooden artist’s easel and the slim profile of the Sit & Read leather sling chair.


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UPSCALE COMFORT FOOD Dinner at Shaker + Spear continues the immersion in urban elegance. The hotel’s restaurant is an intimate retreat of cast glass and weathered wood, designed by Seattle’s Graham Baba Architects. Exposed brick, tufted leather banquettes and smoked-glass pendant lights create a posh ambience — it’s also a prime spot for people watching, both inside and outside on the streets. Of course, the focus is on the food and Executive Chef Carolynn Spence specializes in a unique take on casual comfort food and oceanic fare. From the Scotch Olives (a play on Scotch Eggs) to the dramatically presented whole fried snapper, with its crispy skin and accents of basil and hot pepper, the entire meal is spent savouring the flawless melding of flavours. There’s also no resisting dessert, a warm salted pistachio crumble that leaves us wishing we had room for more. Before we head for a post-dinner cocktail at Pennyroyal, walking off dinner is a must. As the Palladian is located in the hip Belltown neighbourhood, it’s the ideal location from which to explore the city. Along with the usual suspects, including Pike Place Market and the Seattle Art Museum, the hotel is surrounded by some of the city’s best-hidden gems, such as live music venues, boutiques and cafés. It’s a heady blend of grittiness, urbanity and elegance, and it’s the ideal stylish escape to get a quick fix on big-city style, bringing together the nostalgic glam of Seattle’s fascinating past and more than hinting at its design-driven future.





The OPUS Hotel in Vancouver’s trendy Yaletown neighbourhood mixes local art with the sassy chic of bright colours and bold patterns. By Karin Olafson


he OPUS Hotel doesn’t do traditional. That much is made clear before we even walk through the glass doors of the seven-storey brick building in the heart of Vancouver’s hip neighbourhood Yaletown. There’s a mural by local painter Cathy High painted on its west-facing wall, unveiled this July in honour of the hotel’s 15th anniversary and Canada’s sesquicentennial, paying homage to Canada’s First Nations history. High’s piece was inspired by the Kakaso’Las totem pole carved by Ellen Neel for Woodward’s Department Store in 1955 (now displayed in Stanley Park). It depicts a Dzunukwa or Wild Woman of the Woods, confident and feminine, wearing bright red lipstick. Above her, a message: Love me. The mural is bold and sassy, something we’ll come to realize embodies the whole OPUS experience. The OPUS is a stylish, striking hotel that’s received some of the highest accolades in the business. It’s Vancouver’s only Forbes four-star boutique hotel, and it received the Gold List Award from Condé Nast Traveler in 2016 as “THE place to hang out, kick back and embrace the fashionable jetset lifestyle.” Having arrived in Vancouver by Helijet on a warm, cloudless day, we agree. Inside, we’re welcomed to a sophisticated yet playful space featuring large mosaics by the Vancouver- and New York-based artist Jason Dussault, and purple Herman Miller chairs in the lobby, where floor-to-ceiling windows shower the room with natural light. We feel like it’s the kind of stylish lobby where creative A-list celebrities would feel at home. Turns out, it is. At check-in, Nicholas Gandossi, the hotel’s general manager, explains that the OPUS has hosted the likes of Lady Gaga and Cher and, most recently, Johnny Depp.

THE DESIGN MUSES Open since 2002, the OPUS completed a full design refresh of its 96 guest rooms in 2013. Managed by Vancouver-based interior designer Robert Bailey, the design imagines five



Above: The lobby at the OPUS features minimalist elements such as the white marble floor and simple light fixtures, mixed with bright, unexpected colours and mosaic pillars. Below: The guest rooms are inspired by different fictitious muses, meaning each room has its own personality. From daring artwork and dramatic faux-fur fabrics to a yellow-and-orange colour scheme, guest rooms at the OPUS can be complete opposites.

comes to dinner options, but why leave when an award-winning restaurant is within the hotel walls? Dinner is at La Pentola, and while McCord’s Northern Italian menu with dishes like Tagliatelle Bolognese and Spaghetti Carbonara with house-made pasta is a hit, the room itself is also a star. Designed with input from both Bailey and Onni Group, La Pentola has a relaxed vibe where high style is still the focus, hence the hanging copperbowl feature above a horseshoe bar, and an assortment of plates hung tastefully on a wall next to large bay windows.

UNCONVENTIONALLY LUXE Instead of the conventional mint, the OPUS keeps things unexpected by leaving retro treats like Pez and Pop Rocks as bedtime snacks. Returning to our room, we find mini Mars Bars on our pillow. There’s nothing conventional about OPUS. The brick-and-glass building may not stand out like other towering buildings in Vancouver’s downtown, but for those in the know, this almost-hidden gem rewards guests with a trendy, cultured atmosphere that won’t be easily forgotten.

The OPUS’ adjoining Italian restaurant, La Pentola, has attention-grabbing style elements, like this assortment of plates hung on a wall.

fictitious muses. Each room is meant to embody a persona, so there are five different bold colour schemes, layouts and specially curated playlists to be listened to on the in-room iPad. Artwork by one of five local artists, such as Taizo Yamamoto and Mark Mizgala, is shown throughout the guest rooms, giving a peek into the Vancouver art scene. “Each room is different and it’s a personalized, unique experience. We wanted something that makes the stay memorable and that guests won’t get anywhere else,” says Gandossi. In our room, Vancouver street scenes painted by Tito Kerr hang on the walls and demand attention, even amidst the bold décor: the walls are a seductive raspberry, and there’s a loud L-shaped couch with a pinkand-orange looping pattern. We make the most of happy hour at the OPUS Bar, which runs daily and features appetizers by Travis McCord, chef of the hotel’s adjoining restaurant, La Pentola. We admire the brazenly glam design of the bar, redone in 2015 and also overseen by Bailey. There are blue mosaic pillars framing the bar, more local artwork on the walls — we were amused by Jason Dussault’s mosaic interpretation of Justin Trudeau — and furniture with geometric textures and patterns.

GOOD TASTE The Yaletown-Roundhouse stop on the SkyTrain’s Canada Line is directly across the road from the OPUS, meaning we had easy access to the plethora of restaurants, bars and cafés throughout the city. And Yaletown itself is home to more than 60 eateries — including Yaletown Brewing Company just one block from the hotel — as well as boutiques and galleries. We are spoiled for choice when it

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MESSIAH FOR THE MODERN MIND (AND VOICE) Handel’s Messiah has been called many things, but seldom has it been deemed a sing-along. That’s about to change. By David Lennam



igger must be better when it comes to that seasonal musical extravagance Messiah. Handel’s masterpiece (although he never thought it was) pretty much begs a massed chorus — the 18th-century equivalent of stadium-rock-concert sound. Messiah done live is row upon row of singers, stacked like towers of Marshall amps, flanking the band. And there are plenty of instances where choirs have been pumped up to involve the sonic overkill of thousands of voices. Well,



overkill or overjoy, depending on how you like to handle your Handel. You can be part of the experience by joining the Civic Orchestra of Victoria and some renowned vocal soloists for their 19th annual Sing-Along Messiah. Civic Orchestra music director Brian Wismath conducted his first sing-along last year, but will pass the baton to guest conductor (and Civic Orchestra regular) Hilary Coupland this time around. “It’s very powerful as a conductor

conducting something as historically significant as Messiah and, in addition, you have a few hundred people who want to sing along and sing their hearts out,” says Wismath, who got to lead the big sing last year and found it established an instant sense of community. “You could be standing next to someone on either side of you and you don’t know them, but in that moment you’re an ensemble. All those people become a choir.” Wismath is aware of how blending

“It’s a triumphant work, it’s a reflective work. I think it covers the span of a lot of human emotions.” Brian Wismath, Civic Orchestra music director

individual voices becomes this much greater sound stream. He was a singer for many years before becoming a conductor and still works with several local choral groups, including the Victoria Choral Society, Linden Singers and Vox Humana Chamber Choir, as well as teaching voice at the Conservatory of Music and working as music director at Lutheran Church of the Cross. Some of the best operatic voices in town join the orchestra to handle the bulk of Messiah (the tricky solos). The audience sings the choruses. Wismath explains that many great oratorios of that era had the audience/ chorus function as a response to what the soloists were doing. “For example, they’re the crowd that watches Jesus get taken up to the cross. And when you have such a large audience, it adds to the overall effect because there’s more people responding to the story.”

BRING YOUR VOICE When Messiah made its 1742 debut in Dublin it was, comparatively, a rather scaledback affair, featuring a chorus of only 20 or so singers. Then it started to balloon into a huge-scale oratorio tradition. In 1857, audiences of 20,000-strong listened to Messiah at London’s Crystal Palace, enjoying a chorus of more than 4,000 singers and an orchestra of 500 players. And the 300-strong Mormon Tabernacle Choir added an additional 2,000 voices in a 2016 performance via virtual video feeds of individuals who wanted to sing with them. But despite the sheer number of voices filling concert halls and church naves, for most of us Messiah remains something to be heard and not sung. It’s a complex work, and typically those who tackle it have joined a choir, shown up to weekly rehearsals and probably sung a bunch of songs they never wanted to hear again.

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“I never, ever get tired of it and I always notice something I never noticed before, even though Handel cranked it out in two weeks.” Catherine Clark, Civic Orchestra cellist

The Sing-Along Messiah is like a shortcut. “Musically, technically, it is difficult. I don’t know what it would be like for someone who’s never heard it before. I imagine they would be listening more than singing. It’s geared towards people who have experienced the work before.” The Civic Orchestra — an auditioned community, not amateur, orchestra, Wismath points out — is in its 34th year. The musicians, who take their craft very seriously, include former Victoria Symphony members, music teachers, accountants, lawyers, doctors and an abundance of government workers like Catherine Clark, who has been bowing the cello with the group for a dozen years. “Including rehearsals, I’ve played I don’t know how many Messiahs, but I never, ever get tired of it and I always notice something I never noticed before, even though Handel cranked it out in two weeks.” She recalls once watching the Civic Orchestra in a Messiah rehearsal and knowing she had to be part of that sound. “You almost feel it physically. The way the Alix Goolden [Hall] acoustics work when the singing audience is out there in the church pews and the orchestra’s facing them, it turns into this kind of a perfect storm.” Messiah isn’t the only seasonal concert the Civic Orchestra is playing. On December 9 they’re presenting a Festive Brass Christmas as a matinee at the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High School. The Festive Brass, a quartet of local musicians regularly performs at The Butchart Gardens and is renowned for its quirky arrangements of holiday classics and sense of humour. Sing-Along Messiah takes place December 20 at 7 p.m. at the Alix Goolden Hall. Bring your warbling soprano, your pancake-flat bass or your straining-to-be Jean Valjean tenor and sit, folded score in hand, as part of the audience with 500 others. (You may be surprised, though, to discover how many of those snugged in next to you can actually sing the notes like trained pros.) Visit for details.

CULTURE X3 By David Lennam





A MAN OF MANY WORDS Rarely in the modern era has a poet transcended pop culture the way Shane Koyczan has. Remember his startling performance at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics? Canada’s new voice of the people is relevant, fresh and daring. See him, hear him, get excited by him.


McPherson Playhouse | December 5



Michael Shamata’s for-the-ages adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol gets a well-deserved remount. This great ghost story, with all the trimmings, is finally becoming an annual staple for the season.

One of the best musical Christmas treats isn’t so much about the holiday season as it is a love-in of the hottest musicians in town assembled by educator/mentor/ gifted multi-instrumentalist Dan Lapp. It just gets better every year.

The Belfry | November 28-December 17

Alix Goolden Hall | December 15-16

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SECRETS OF A PROFESSIONAL SECRET KEEPER By David Lennam Photo by Joshua Lawrence


rowing up in Calgary, Murray Hatfield had conjured up his destiny by the time he was 10. It wasn’t rodeo rider or oil baron. It was being wowed by a local magician named John Kaplan. “Something clicked. I never recovered,” confesses the master illusionist who made Victoria home 11 years ago. He remembers seeing a show called Illusions: A Magic Spectacular at the old Stampede Corral in 1977, featuring Hollywood’s Chuck Jones. The rest, it can be truthfully said, was magic. A decade later, Hatfield was not only starring in Illusions, but was producing, directing and touring it as Magic ’n Miracles, raising millions for Canadian charities. Hatfield and stage and life partner Teresa perform internationally, and this summer appeared on Fool Us, a TV series in which magicians try to trick magiccomedy duo Penn & Teller. They didn’t fool them, but they did win the duo’s highest praise for their sophisticated take on Houdini’s Metamorphosis illusion.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Sitting on a beach in Tofino. Any beach. Any time. What is your greatest fear? Failing as a human. What is the quality you most admire in your friends? Generosity. Of time, spirit, knowledge, skills and friendship. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Fear. Not your general garden-variety types of fear (of spiders, public speaking or farting in a crowded elevator), but fear to do and be and go and try and love and live. That’s just a waste.



Which living person do you most admire? If I had to pick one, I’d say Barack Obama.

On what occasion do you lie? It’s my job ...

Which historical figure do you most admire? Harry Houdini. He created a new type of spectacle at a time when the world needed it. And became the biggest star on the planet in the process.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, who or what would you be? The reincarnation of my father. He was a wonderful human being and a great dad.

What’s your favourite movie about magicians? (Please say The Prestige; that’s my fave.) Sorry, Dave. It’s definitely the 1953 version of Houdini starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. Who is your favourite hero of fiction? Jason Bourne. (In my private world I’m a secret agent.)

What is your greatest achievement? Becoming a dad. Who (or what) is your greatest influence on your career? Doug Henning, David Copperfield and Chuck Jones. Which talent would you most like to have? Some people have a knack or talent for making other people feel instantly at ease and comfortable when they are around. I’d like that one.

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Company Artists in Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Photo © Darren Makoivichuk

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