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Winter 2011/12

People | Arts | Homes | Food | Gardens | getaways | History

When Art Rocks

Sculptor Don Watson works in stone and fibreglass

Treasure in Our Midst Geocaches are hidden everywhere; even under our noses!

Anything but Ordinary Hip industrial home is mix of eclectic artifacts and contemporary design

Fabulous Fresh Trees A live Christmas tree is a tradition you can enjoy for years to come

Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 1


Sh op, Enjoy, Disco ver… Gibsons LandinG Add some style in the way of silver jewelry, a chandelier or a lamp s L an on

ng di

ast year at this time the Hapi folks at Holy Crap had just appeared on the Dragons Den CBC TV show. Corin and Brian Mullins were getting a slight hint of just how much their lives were about to change. Arguably two of the nicest business people you’d ever want to meet — fame and fortune doesn’t appear to have gone to their heads or their hearts — the Mullins are thriving. What could you possibly say about two people who plan to take their entire staff to Hawaii at the end of the year, except wow! They really have the edge on decency (and cereal). Read Christina Symons’ terrific article to get all the poop. Whether the weather is frightful or nice who wouldn’t want to curl up with 60-odd years of old Coast newspapers? That’s exactly what the stellar scholars at the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives want us to be able to do. And thanks to a grant, they’re going to capture our history digitally. If you’ve never had the pleasure of tripping down memory lane, plan to do so after April 2012 when the Coast News will be available online. Watch for the announcement they’re up and running in, where else? The newspaper. Remember when you thought marauding pirates with a patch over one eye and a giant hook for a hand were the only creatures that planted or dug up treasure? Welcome to the 21st century where even the pirates are into technology. If you combine Captain Hook, Steve Jobs and curious travellers you’ll get geocaching. In his untiring quest for coolness Neville Judd — along with his daughter and her friends who really are cool — tries out the latest and greatest version of the treasure hunt. Speaking of cool, whenever I read about Christina Symon’s latest foray into a glamour house, I see green, not in the sustainable way, but as in sheer envy. This edition is no exception. Here she tells us all about the swanky couple, Wallace Carlson and Maneesha Trippell. No ordinary recyclers or artists, this pair will fascinate you. This is a great story of people doing what they love and making it pay. We should all be so lucky. What would an issue of Coast Life be without Howard White’s wit to sustain us? In this issue Howard takes us on a trip to Scotland that no slick travel brochure will ever be able to copy. Who knew we had so much in common with the Highlanders? As usual he hits the wee nail on the head. One of the best things about winter is the scent of all things fresh. Many of us, when we hark back to days of yore, recall the crisp smell of snow, the tantalizing scent of a mandarin orange or best of all, the whiff of a just-felled tree. John Gillespie brings back that magic in his story about Christmas trees. As always he puts a new spin on a dearly loved tradition. If you’re open to new ideas about an old tradition read on. In this magazine Jan DeGrass introduces us to an unusual artist. Her tantalizing tale of Don Watson and his partner and promoter, Birgit Breuer will have you itching to own one of Watson’s creative masterpieces. This too is a feel-good yarn about a local artist whose friendship with Zimbabwean woman began a new venture into African art. It’s an amazing story. Finally prepare for a world exclusive — we have an interview with Santa. Don’t believe anything you may have previously read about the jolly old elf. We have the straight goods. Happy New Year, stay warm, stay healthy and above all keep reading. —Cathie Roy

Gib s

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Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 3

Contents Coast Artists: When Art Rocks by Jan DeGrass Sculptor Don Watson works in stone and fibreglass, page 9 Outdoor Adventure: Treasure in Our Midst by Neville Judd Geocaches are hidden everywhere, page 13 Homes: Anything but Ordinary by Christina Symons Home is a mix of artifacts and contemporary design, page 18 Gardening: Fabulous Fresh Trees by John Gillespie Enjoy a live Christmas tree for years to come, page 23

Editor’s Message, page 3

Coast Happenings, page 5 Tidewater Topics with Howard White, page 7 A Backwards Glance, by Matt Cavers, page 29 Q&A with Santa Claus, page 30

Food & Drink: Hapi to Be Here! by Christina Symons The phenomenal success story of Holy Crap cereal, page 25

Editor Cathie Roy Art Director Shelley Ackerman

Account Representative Joe James Sunshine Coast Life is published quarterly by

Publisher Peter Kvarnstrom Associate Publisher Cathie Roy Sales and Advertising Manager BJ Doyle


Editor Ian Jacques Distribution Barbara Holt Matt Cavers is a graduate student in geography at UBC, a proud resident of Gibsons, and a long-time friend of the Sunshine Coast Museum & Archives. He's just begun working on a doctoral thesis about the 1970s back-to-the-land movement in British Columbia. When he's not up to his eyes in books and articles, he stays in the back-tothe-land mood by growing garlic, baking sourdough bread, and brewing fine ale in the kitchen.

Jan DeGrass: In her 20-year career as an award-winning writer, Jan DeGrass has written on every subject imaginable: from articles about credit union policy to travel yarns about Russia. She has also written her own cookbook, Take Potluck! 101 Tasty, Simple Dishes for Your Potluck Party, but she is at her happiest when writing about the arts. The Sunshine Coast always provides her with rich and varied material.

Page 4 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12

John Gillespie is a master arborist and journeyman horticulturalist with a passion for sustainable design and development. His private practice, Landwise Consultants ( provides progressive land planning, landscape design and installation services. His first book, Everyday Eden (Harbour) was released this spring.

NEVILLE JUDD quit his commute to the city to become a freelance writer, editor and crab fisherman for hire. His travel features have appeared in North American and UK daily newspapers, and he is a former winner of the Canadian Newspaper Association's sports writer of the year award. He has been working on a 30-day novel for the last 20 years.

Christina Symons is a freelance writer and photographer based in Roberts Creek. She specializes in lifestyle topics including home and garden, food and travel. Her work has been widely published nationally and locally in Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, GardenWise, Style at Home, TVWeek and Coast Reporter. Her first book, Everyday Eden (Harbour) was released this spring. Follow the blog at

Coast Reporter Box 1388, 5485 Wharf Road, Sechelt, B.C. V0N 3A0 Phone: 604-885-4811 Fax: 604-885-4818 Printed in Canada on recyclable paper. Copyright 2008 by Coast Reporter. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any article, photograph, or artwork without written permission of the publisher is strictly forbidden. The publisher can assume no responsibility for unsolicited material.

Cover photo by Christina Symons: Decorating a tree in the garden for wildlife.


Coast happeninGs - a taste of Sunshine Coast events Hook (there will be a community bonfire here), and up to Tuwanek for a quick turnaround and a second pass.

Sat, Dec 10

St Mary's Pre-Christmas Sale 10am-2pm Gibsons Public Art Gallery

Dec 17-18

Sat, Dec 17

Seasonal Sale at Sa Boothroyd Gallery

11am-4pm Pender Harbour Cultural Centre, Madeira Park

Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm Gov't wharf, Gibsons

Harbour Gallery Christmas Show & Sale

Sat, Dec 17

Dec 17-18

Christmas Carol Cruise 6pm-8pm Sechelt Inlet The Annual Christmas Carol Cruise departs from marinas in Porpoise Bay to join up in front of The Lighthouse Pub –lit from stem to stern with Christmas lights! The boats travel up Sechelt Inlet past The Blue Heron Restaurant, Porpoise Bay Park Beach, 'the spit' in Sandy

RA Janzen Gallery Xmas Painting Sale 10am-5pm 879 Agnes Rd, Roberts Creek

Sun, Jan 15

Sun, Dec 18

The Sojourners

Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker 1pm Raven’s Cry Theatre, Sechelt Drosselmeyer, a timeless magician, was once employed in a royal palace where he invented a trap that killed off half the mouse population. In revenge the wicked Queen of the Mice cast a spell over Drosselmeyer’s nephew, which transformed him into an ugly Nutcracker Doll. The only way to break the spell was for the Nutcracker to slay the Mouse King, and for a young girl to love him in spite of his awful appearance. Sun, Jan 1, 2012

To Dec 24

Lighting the Memories

Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 11am-4pm Sunnycrest Mall, Gibsons

2pm Snickett Park, Sechelt An annual event offering the public an opportunity to remember a loved one.

Woods Showcase Christmas Shoppe

2pm School of Music, Madeira Park Pender Harbour Music Society Seriously spiritual gospel singers. Sun, Jan 22

Pentaèdre Wind Ensemble 2:30pm The Raven's Cry Theatre The Coast Recital Society presents the award-winning quintet players, celebrated for talent, technique, precision and colour. Sun, Mar 4

The Good Lovelies 2pm School of Music, Madeira Park Pender Harbour Music Society Funny and upbeat, with a pinch of sass, the Good Lovelies have enlivened the folk music landscape. For more events & info, see

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Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 5

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Page 6 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12

Tidewater Topics: Howard White

A Coaster Discovers Scotland


Howard White, a lifelong Sunshine Coaster, is publisher of Harbour Publishing in Madeira Park. His book, The Sunshine Coast, is essential reading for anyone hoping to fathom the mysteries of Coast life.

hen my niece Kathleen announced she was getting married a couple months ago and not only that, she was going to do it in Scotland, Mary and I surprised everybody by going along. We would have been forgiven for begging off because of the distance but Kathleen is our favourite niece, and not just because she’s the only one in a batch of five boys. She used to be such a shy little violet I cringed at the thought of her ever facing the cold, cruel world on her own. Now here she was a confident, accomplished young beauty with enough moxie to marry a guy from a country where the men talk funny and wear skirts, and we wanted to show our support. Besides, we had never been to Scotland. We’d been to a lot of other places like Italy and France and Cuba with fewer ancestral ties and better weather but Scotland had never topped the list of places to go for a good time. My mental image of it was austere and grey, like my Scottish grandmothers. But thanks to our adventurous niece, we finally made it, and are glad we did. Scotland isn’t formidable at all. It has a well-developed inferiority complex, thanks to its domineering southern neighbour, which makes a Canadian feel right at home. There is something familiar about the way they make much of local athletes who place an honourable fourth at Wimbledon and writers who are shortlisted for the Booker Award but don’t actually win it. There is much grumbling in Edinburgh’s countless pubs about the revenue from Scotland’s oilfields flowing south and never coming back. I admit to having felt a bit of Scotch over-exposure at times with all our pipe bands and Robbie Burns nights, but the good news is that Scots have a reciprocal interest in things Canadian. This is possibly the one foreign country you can go to where Canada is not thought of as a pimple on the U.S. backside. When a Scot asks you where you’re from and you say Canada, you might be surprised by the reply, “Aye, a ken tha, but wha province like?” More than once when the conversation drilled down as far as actually mentioning the Sunshine Coast I was amazed to hear something like, “Aye, a bonnie place. Me brrrother lives in Sechelt and we go therrre often.” (They do still talk like that.) Wherever we went, we found the general knowledge of things Canadian excellent; certainly far better than in the U.S. On the other hand, we had the damndest time getting Scots to tell us anything useful about their own country. They’re intensely proud of it, yes, but in a theoretical way that apparently doesn’t require them to move around in it

much. We grew accustomed to hearing Glaswegians say, “Off ta Edinburgh are ye? Haven’t ben there since a was a wee bairn.” (It’s just under an hour’s drive.) When we mentioned we planned to take a drive through the Highlands, our host said, “Why?” Inverness, the pretty Highland hub closer to Edinburgh than Kelowna is to Vancouver, might be the dark side of the moon for all the Lowlanders who’d gone there. It put me in mind of the Sunshine Coast’s own one-way migration pattern where northerners make regular trips south to shop and travel but southerners can grow up and grow old without visiting their neighbours an hour’s drive north. Too bad, the home-bound Lowlanders miss vast vistas of Elphinstone-sized mountains covered in nothing but a solid pink blanket of heather. Just like the pricey little nursery-bought sprigs that keep dying out in my rockery back home, but millions of acres of it growing wild, making the whole landscape seem like a shrub garden. And of course broom. My first impulse upon driving through miles of the stuff was to think, they should do something about this before it takes over. Same with thistles. The weed has the run of the place, like cattle in India. When one with a head the size of a cabbage spiked me near the Highland shrine on Culloden moor I forgot for a moment that it is Scotland’s sacred national symbol and stomped it flat. From the glares I got, you’d think I’d peed on the stone of Scone. After careening around the country on the wrong side of the road for a week I was left to wonder why I’d never realized that Scotland is a carbon copy of B.C., at least the Highland part. I guess it was the language barrier. When I read all that Walter Scott and Robbie Burns palaver about bens, firths, glens and lochs I somehow missed that they were just talking about plain old B.C.-style mountains, inlets, valleys and lakes. It’s no wonder Scots pioneers found this country such a good fit and came here in such numbers. Not only were they used to year-round rain, they were expert loggers and fishermen. In fact their forest industry is still employing 40,000 workers and their fishing industry is still supplying 60 per cent of Great Britain’s seafood. Remote communities like Ullapool, Oban, Lerwick and Anstruther are not only postcard-pretty, they’re thriving. It’s enough to make you wish those old Scots pioneers brought a little more of their old-world planning smarts with them when they set up over here. We thought two weeks would be more than enough to do such a small country but it just whetted our appetite. Thanks to Kathleen and our renewed Scottish ties, we will be going back. CL Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 7


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“Made by Hand 2011” continues in the gallery thru to January 08, 2012

FibreWorks Gallery will be closed January 09 thru to April 5th, 2012. FibreWorks Studio will be FibreWorks Studio & Gallery open by appointment only 12887-12889 Sunshine Coast Hwy. during this time. Madeira Park, BC / 604-883-2380 Visit for gallery and workshop information. email:

Open: Wednesday to Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and by appointment.

Page 8 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12

Coast Artists

When Art Rocks

Photo: Jan DeGrass

Gibsons sculptor Don Watson works in stone and, atypically, fibreglass


Story by Jan DeGrass

f you ask sculptor Don Watson what it’s like to shape stone, he might modestly say, “Oh, I just hack away,” and then smile. The offhand description makes his partner and promoter Birgit Breuer frown because she knows how much skill goes into his work. On further discussion, Watson, whose Rock’N Art Gallery is situated just outside of Gibsons, will reveal much more about his 38 years of experience in carving and also talk about a creative medium not often considered, fibreglass. Watson began wood carving as a child with his grandfather, an accomplished craftsman. He also painted and made art his career, switching to stone carving in the early 1990s. His pieces often represent nature: eagles, birds, and one of his latest pieces, a spiralling seashell. He’s not a detail artist — you won’t see every feather on the eagle. Instead, Watson prefers to stylize his figures, bringing an abstract quality to the image and allowing him to polish the shiny surfaces that grab the light and dazzle the eye. “I like life and movement. I’m more interested in shape and Above: Don Watson with Protection. Right: The Catch.

form,” he says. Thus the Thunderbird, a magnificent piece in black chlorite, is slimmed down to essential lines. Watson wants us to see the power in the bird. Although birds are his favourite, Watson has turned his hand tools to a variety of commissions: a dramatic orca fin carved for producer Jake Eberts at the opening of the nature movie Oceans, a lion’s head trophy for Shawnigan Lake School on ➤

Photo: Jan DeGrass

Vancouver Island and a sculpted dog sled trophy for the Alaskan Iditarod Race winner. “I try to find a piece of stone to fit my idea,” says Watson, “and as I begin to work on it the stone changes my idea.” He likes to work with the challenge of alabaster, particularly the golden stone found in Ontario that can appear almost translucent when carved, or the black and white alabaster from Colorado that can produce a mottled effect on a bird’s plumage. Black chlorite from the Rockies is another popular choice because its surface can be polished smooth and it’s easy to lose oneself staring into its dark pool. “Black is classy, and the shine is stunning,” says Breuer. Watson does not use soft, easier-to-carve soapstone, except when teaching workshops. The couple hosted several sculpting workshops last summer including a July series for adults and kids that was a great hit with locals, particularly as they involved two African guests who brought their own cultural tradition. Patrick Sephani, born into the second generation of artists in his family, and Passmore Mupindiko, a graduate of an African Arts Community, learned to carve in their native Zimbabwe where many

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types of stone are quarried, an industry that supports the country’s economy. “We exchanged lots of ideas during the workshops,” Watson said. “I learned how their styles evolved; they have very different techniques.” Along with Watson’s work in the 81 square metre Rock’NArt Gallery, the couple also show a variety of indigenous art from Zimbabwe. They had become acquainted with a Zimbabwean woman in Canada who imported world art for her store in West Vancouver. This friendship sparked the African connection that makes Rock’NArt unique on the Coast. In among Watson’s birds and whales, visitors can find African work: stone elephants and guinea fowl as well as representations of the all-important African family unit. Not all artists consider fibreglass a medium but Watson is excited by it. “Building moulds is absolutely an art form,” he says. “It’s a mix of science and art.” When working at one of his jobs — fibreglassing boats — he uses gel coat and paint to do the repair work. The design and colour selections must be bang on or the repair job sticks out. In Calgary in 1999, a herd of fibreglass cows took over the city, with whimsical paint jobs applied by local artists, and the cows were

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Page 10 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12


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10x10 cabins to 20x30 studios. Everything between and beyond. Photos courtesy Birgit Breuer

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Left page: Sculptor Don Watson prefers to work outside using hand tools to shape his favourite stone, alabaster, into a variety of images. This page, top: A spiralling seashell and its natural model are on display at the Rock'N Art Gallery. Left: Honey Alabaster Eagle. Right: Orca Dorsal Award. Below: Mrs. Speckles, a fibreglass snail who lives in Shirley Macey Park. later auctioned for charity. The original cow design mould was created by Watson. After this involvement he moved into the artistic world of fibreglass mould building, and, among other projects, he built fibreglass and foam creatures for a playground in Gibsons’ Shirley Macey Park. Mrs. Speckles, the snail, is beloved of local children. “It’s great when kids come in to the gallery and recognize a photo of her,” Watson says. “’Hey, I’ve played with that’!” The creative couple, Watson and Breuer, would like to organize something big using Breuer’s experience with international music promotion— on a project like the Calgary cows or one that would involve collaboration with other artists. Some prospects are on the horizon. Meanwhile, teaching others the art is high on the agenda. They will host a stone sculpting workshop at the gallery, 127 Clark Road in Gibsons, on the weekend of January 28/29 for adult beginners and intermediates. Sign up at 604886-6591 or read more at www. CL

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Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 11

Discover the Taste of the World RQ 2012

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Prime rib is back at sirens – every sunday For all catering needs on and off site contact Chris – nothing is too small or too big 4748 Sunshine Coast Highway, Davis Bay Call for reservations 604.740.3700

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Pool construction & Maintenance Page 12 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12

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Outdoor adventure

Treasure in Our Midst Geocaches are hidden everywhere, often right under our noses!


here’s one atop Mount Steele and there’s one in Smuggler Cove. There are lots in Porpoise Bay, about 20 in Roberts Creek, several in Davis Bay and plenty down in Gibsons. Some are wheelchair accessible, one on Jedediah Island requires climbing equipment, and you’ll need scuba gear for the one submerged in Saltery Bay. Geocaches are everywhere on the Sunshine Coast, and chances are you’ve walked past many without realizing. For every geocache there’s a geocacher seeking their next find, or plotting their next concealment. Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game. Using a GPS (global positioning system) device, players navigate via coordinates to locate hidden containers, called geocaches. Then, in relative anonymity thanks to made-up user names, they share their experiences. Story and photos by “In a small community you get to know who’s who,” AfternoonNeville Judd shift tells me over hot chocolate in Davis Bay. Afternoonshift is the user name for a semi-retired couple from Sechelt. “We’re not morning people,” the female half of Afternoonshift tells me, when I ask about the user name. “We started in 2006 and now, anywhere we go, we research the caches en route and try and find them,” she says. ➤

Above: At least two geocaches are concealed along the Davis Bay waterfront. Do you know where they are?

Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 13

Young geocachers Emma Judd, Talia Sweet, Ariana Harder and Aubryn Bell share their find on the beach near Camp Byng.

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Page 14 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12



Food & Drink

“It takes us where the tourists usually don’t go.” So when Afternoonshift drove their RV to Muncie, Indiana, this summer, they first visited, logged some of the caches en route, and set out to find as many as they could — more than 100, as it turned out. They did the same when their son got married in Cancun, hiring a taxi driver one day and bagging four Mexican caches. That’s the same 35-yearold son who Afternoonshift sent up a tree in Langley to find a cache. “Actually, he had to climb it twice before he found it,” she says. At last count, Afternoonshift had found 1,383 caches, encompassing three countries and 18 U.S. states — a respectable total, but one that only scratches the surface of what’s out there. Over 1.5 million active geocaches are concealed in more than 100 countries and seven continents. (Yes, that includes Antarctica.) And five million geocachers worldwide are in hot pursuit. The Sunshine Coast is home to between 200 and 300 caches, with names like “The Crow’s Nest,” “Whisper, the Firs might hear,” and “Gnome for the Holidays”. (The latter was hidden by ShyBuddha in December 2001, and is the oldest geocache on the Coast.) After five years, Afternoonshift have found most of them. They’ve also concealed a few — 47 to be exact. “Piering over the Bay” is one of them, a cache hidden at Davis Bay pier by Afternoonshift on April 8, 2006. I’ve downloaded a free, 30-day trial of CacheSense on my BlackBerry, which allows me to view information on caches in my vicinity. The same information is available free at, but the BlackBerry, any smartphone, or GPS device displays your proximity in metres to the cache. As part of my geocache crash course, Afternoonshift and I stroll along the Davis Bay seawall to the pier. My radar indicates I’m within five metres of “Piering over the Bay” and there’s a helpful clue. “When you’re this close, it’s best just to put away your GPS and ask yourself, ‘Where would I hide this cache?’” advises Afternoonshift. It’s good advice. Within minutes, I find the cache, a small magnetic key case containing a log book to sign. Just as I’m duty-bound to conceal Afternoonshift’s true identity, I’m not about to reveal the exact location of “Piering over the Bay”. But it strikes me how cool it is that for five years, thousands of people have literally walked right past this cache unaware of its presence. Back on the seawall, the same thought occurs minutes later after I find “Wheeling Around The Bay”. It’s a wheelchair-accessible cache hidden by Sir Vayor, an active geocacher since Feb. 16, 2002, with 822 finds to his name. The coordinates lead me to some picnic tables. Mindful that the wheelchair-friendly cache must be somewhere within arm’s reach of the footpath, the search takes a little longer. The hiding place is ingenious! Aside from the mental agility involved in geocaching, it’s also a great excuse to get outside, says Afternoonshift. “It’s something everyone can do,” agrees jacalathecroc, a man with first-hand experience of introducing geocaching to both young and old. Jacalathecroc named himself after Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle

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Go geocache: Rookie geocachers will find everything they need to know at It also includes information about trackables — another popular geocaching game involving special coins that feature unique tracking ID and can be passed from cache to cache. Tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 10, marks the 10th anniversary celebration of the Coast’s oldest active cache, “Gnome for the Holidays”. Anyone wanting to learn more about geocaching is invited to the meet and greet at 10 a.m. on Saturday, at Mission Point Park in Davis Bay.

SBC CONSTRUCTION Page 16 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12

Book character. By phone, he tells me he’s been involved with Scouts locally for 26 years, and has seen the popularity of geocaching among kids. “They’d lose interest in a compass and a map, but give them a device that might take you or I ages to figure out, and they’ll latch onto it right away,” he says. He’s seen similar interest at the other end of the age spectrum. “I took my 91-year-old mother geocaching in Maple Grove Park in Vancouver, and she has a walker,” he says. Jacalathecroc has hidden 22 geocaches, one of them an elaborate multi-stage geocache. It directs geocachers through five different locations on the Coast before ending at an extremely well camouflaged geocache that requires a “mechanical” trick to retrieve it. He has also used geocaching as a community service beyond just scouting. Last spring he organized a community clean-up in Pender Harbour, known as a CITO — Cache In, Trash Out — that saw geocachers clean up garbage on the Suncoaster Trail, opposite the high school. Jacalathecroc’s comments about kids sprang to mind when I finally went out geocaching in my own neighbourhood. I’d learned of a geocache on the beach, in front of the Camp Byng sign, in

Roberts Creek. BlackBerry in hand, I was heading for the door when my daughter Emma and her girlfriends asked me where I was going. “There’s a geocache hidden on the beach with trinkets inside — it’s like a treasure hunt.” It might have been the words “treasure” or “trinket,” or the sight of the BlackBerry, but Emma and her friends had their shoes on before I did. It’s unlikely that “Let’s go for a hike, girls” would have prompted the same response. We walked down Gulf Road and the trail to the beach. Near the Camp Byng sign, the girls began attacking the foliage, looking for a small, plastic olive container, said to be hidden at the base of a small cedar and fir. I’m unsure what the radar indicated because Emma had long since taken my BlackBerry and was directing the search. Within minutes, they’d recovered the container and were examining the contents — a bead necklace, a toy dinosaur, a pencil and notebook. I signed it “CoastLifer” on their behalf. Walking back up the beach, I studied the details of the cache, named “Capt. George … Byng there, done that.” Someone with the user name Az the crow flyz had hidden it there Feb. 19, 2004. I must have walked past it a hundred times. CL


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Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 17

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Anything but Ordinary

Story and photos by Christina Symons

Page 18 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12

Left: Wallace Carlson sets a festive party mood. Below, clockwise from top left: Maneesha and Wallace chill out on the salvaged sofa; A original prototype for a bench by Wallace, upturned as a TV console; A feature wall in orange kicks thing up in the kitchen; For special occasions, the motorcycle is lit — Wallace’s chair prototype is in the foreground


Wallace Carlson’s hip industrial home is a mix of eclectic artifacts and contemporary design

he first time I walked into Gibsons furniture designer Wallace Carlson’s place, a cocktail party was in full swing. Everyone was having a blast and the white-on-white space and its inhabitants were collectively so cool looking, I thought I’d landed on another planet. But no, the partygoers were local and the place is for real, albeit totally unique. The space is comprised of a series of former storage lockers, morphed into a hybrid loftindustrial-pad, the interiors of which had been designed with a talented ex-girlfriend/design partner, Wallace explained to me, mid-swagger, in between dance moves. Then next time I walked into Wallace’s place, preparations for a similarly hip holiday cocktail party were underway. This time design partner Maneesha C. Trippell was in the house and the white walls had recently been punctuated by a bold lick of orange paint. “It warms up the white,” explains Maneesha. “Wallace and I both have a tendency to be minimal, extremely minimal. But we’re in a different place now and we’re not quite as controlled about our environments as we used to be — so now everything has that orange glow of fire or something.” Arriving just before dusk also meant witnessing the natural light show as the low winter sun moved through the moodily-lit space. The design duo explained they are huge fans of shadow, worth celebrating as moving art. The apartment itself is a welledited collection of eclectic artifacts juxtaposed next to handmade items ➤

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and Wallace’s original contemporary furniture. Most of their belongings are second hand, passed on, salvaged or hand made. “That was my aunt’s table and chairs,” notes Wallace pointing to the dining set. “I blasted the finish myself and built a new tabletop.” Maneesha and Wallace moved into the space as a couple three years ago. Today, the situation between them is a bit more fluid, but equally, or even more so, creative. “We’ve got a lot of love between us, but we don’t have a conventional relationship,” explains Maneesha who has worked as a realtor, wardrobe stylist and recently returned from Osho International Meditation Resort in India. At present they are exploring the potential of doing more interiors and design projects together. Not surprisingly, they are looking for projects that are outside the box. “There’s so much you can do on the cheap, with a bit of ingenuity,” says Maneesha. “And a lot of elbow grease,” adds Wallace. As an example, the sofa is a pull-down Flexform, a high-end import from Italy. Wallace found it at a scrap yard nearby. “I paid five bucks for that thing and then spent a few days cleaning it,” he says. Now it would look perfectly at home in an upscale design magazine. And his original bentwood chairs and benches (one of which is upturned into a TV console at the moment) would intermingle seamlessly. From the flooring to the kitchen to the closet fittings, there are examples of creative ways to elevate basic, inexpensive materials, all obtainable on the Coast. In fact the entire place has been put together on a shoestring by these excellent conceptualists (and scavengers to boot). “We’ve always been able to see the potential in places and things,” notes Wallace, who found this space through a friend who has a studio downstairs. When the couple arrived there was bad carpeting, no closet or place to hang clothes and the far end (where the wall painting and office is now) was an active storage locker. After imagining what

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Page 20 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12

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Left: Found, salvaged, art and vintage objects enliven the space. Right: A typical cluster lamp. Wallace took the lights out and re-strung them with extensions and exposed bulbs. Then he painted out the brass fittings to white.

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could be, the duo rolled up their sleeves and expanded the space. Artworks by Wallace and Maneesha, along with found and local art by Todd Clark, Ben Tour and Paul Clancy animate the space. A small abstract painting on fabric turns out to be a piece of Maneesha’s work pants, the ones she wore when she first painted the place white. “I was going to chuck out her pants and I couldn’t do it so I made a piece of art out of them,” Wallace says simply. Such attention to life’s small details serves Wallace well in his business, Mode Fine Finishes, through which he provides high end finishing for custom made furniture and millwork. In synch with this line of work is his goal to continue building his furniture design business. “I’m test marketing prototypes and working on product development,” he explains. Can the Coast sustain such an eye for high and modern design? According to Wallace and Maneesha, in terms of inspiration and lifestyle, absolutely yes. “There’s an easy vibe about the Coast and it’s becoming more diversified. There’s a lot of artistic people here so I’m meeting people who are like minded,” notes Wallace. “Operational costs are fairly low so we can do production here and market elsewhere.” Right now, every spare moment is spent conceptualizing or building more furniture prototypes in the inspiring space or at Wallace’s nearby workshop. In the past, this type of pursuit had to take a backseat to making a living, he says. “Now I am making a living doing what I absolutely love (spray finishing) that is also relative to my long term goal in furniture,” he explains. Wallace and Maneesha are also planning more collaborative projects. “We’ve always worked on our own environments, but now we’d love to help people with theirs,” says Maneesha, who along with Wallace, happily shared in detail how each look and piece in their space had been achieved. CL


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Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 21

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Fabulous Fresh Trees

A live Christmas tree is a tradition you can enjoy for years to come


Story by John Gillespie photos by Christina Symons

he first year we lived on the Coast we witnessed a Christmas tree thievery. We were driving up the highway in mid December, well past Secret Cove when a guy darted out of the forest, saw in hand, hauling a classic Charlie-Brown-style Christmas tree over his shoulder. It was early morning and traffic was next to nil. When he saw our headlights coming towards him, he sheepishly dove back into the forest, tree, saw and all. We laughed as he peeked out at us, in between cedar boughs. Only recently did I discover that Sunshine Coast residents can apply for a Christmas tree permit from the Ministry of Forests (you can apply online, or at the local Forest District office). Any resident of BC who is 19 years or older is allowed to cut their own Christmas tree, free of charge from Crown lands with the permission of a forest officer. Given his demeanour, it’s likely that the guy we saw didn’t have a permit in his pocket! A fresh cut tree from the nursery, tree farm or seasonal tree

supplier is another great way to set an old fashioned tone for the holidays. Selecting the perfect (or not so perfect) tree is a wonderful family tradition if viewed as an opportunity, not another chore or item on a rushed holiday to-do list. You can’t beat the fragrance of a fresh-cut tree. There is simply no comparison to the snap-together artificial-madein-China boxed tree. The cut option allows us to support local farmers, retailers and growers. Once chosen you can simply strap your tree onto your car roof and bring it home. Got a bicycle or prefer to stroll? Just pick a smaller tree. Keep your fresh-cut tree well watered and located in a cool space in your home. At the end of the holidays, you can chip and compost your tree at a local chipping site and create some beautiful mulch or compost for other local gardeners and parks. Increasingly, people on the Coast are also looking at live tree options for the holidays. A live tree is a gift for the future, a tree for wildlife, a welcome addition to your garden and an easy way to enhance the environment. Reusing the same beautiful tree for many years is also a great option to consider. ➤

Here are five great trees to choose from.

➤ Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 23


Simply start by selecting a tree on the small side (boTo advertise call Joe at 604-885-4811 ext. 233 nus, they’re less expensive) and enjoy it each year for free, as it grows taller. Keep your multi-year tree in a pot and plan to use it seasonally until it gets too big and heavy to bring in through the front door (you may have to repot it several times). Once it gets too big, plant your tree in the ground. At that time you can begin decorating it with what security means to you. edible treats for the birds. This is a unique holiday A fresh tree (live or cut) is a fragrant and popular option When it comes to your investment portfolio, tradition my own family has DAGMAR SCHULZE Diplom Finanzwirtin When’s the best time on the Coast. enjoyed for generations. how do you define security? DAGMAR SCHULZE Diplom Finanzwirtin to think about RRSPs? Consultant Wondering which live tree Consultant 3 Guarantees that protect your to investment? Dagmar Schulze what security means you. to choose? The best live trees for our Coastal gardens include many of Dipl. Finanzwirtin 3 Reliable income flow? (604) 741-0582Consultant 3 Guarantees that protect your investment? the traditional holiday tree favourites such as noble, balsam, Fraser and With RRSPs, time literally is money. We can help you DAGMAR (604) 741-0582 SCHULZE Diplom Finanzwirtin 3 Reliable income 3 The expectation of flow? future gains? get time on your side. Call for our free Special Report Douglas fir as well as Scottish pine. But because you are likely to get your 3 The expectation of future gains? (604) 741-0582 In pursuit of success: RRSP planning for life and get Consultant live tree from a nursery your options will be endless. TalkRRSP to us today how Talk to usfor today about how financial tips allabout the times of financial your life. #205-5760 Teredo St, Sechelt alternatives like Investors Group Guaranteed You could consider a statement sequoia for something a little different alternatives likeout Investors Guaranteed (entrance beside Subway) Call us to find how TheGroup Plan™ can help (604) 741-0582 Investment Funds provide a measure of you (it has a perfect holiday tree shape and balanced foliage). Another viable prosper now… andprovide over time. Investment Funds a measure certainty for your investment portfolio.of option is the incense cedar, a beautiful specimen tree known for its fracertainty for your investment portfolio. ™Trademark owned by IGM Financial Inc. and licensed to its subsidiary grant foliage. Japanese cedar, mountain hemlock, Serbian spruce, yellow ™Trademarks corporations.owned by IGM Financial Inc. and licensed to its subsidiary corporations. Investors Group Guaranteed Investment Funds are segregated fund policies Investors Group Financial Services Inc. issued by The Great-West Life Assurance Company. cedar and numerous types of pines and spruce will fit the bill and make I.G. Insurance Services Inc. MP1112 (02/2008) MP1104 (01/2011) excellent garden specimens. Keep an eye out for Vanderwolf pyramidal pine, Fat Albert spruce, proven Colorado blue spruce and for those who Withit RRSPs, time literally is money. We can When comes to portfolio, wince at the idea of planting ayour giantinvestment redwood in the garden, look for the ™Trademark owned by IGM Financial Inc. and licensed to its subsidiary corporations. help get time on yourforside. Calldeck for or our Investors Group Guaranteed Investment Funds are segregated fund policies issued by well-known dwarf Alberta spruce (perfect any patio, rockery). IG Insurance Services Inc. how do you you define security? The Great-West Life Assurance Company. Live trees are pretty resilient in our mild winter climate, but be free Special Report In pursuit of success: sure to treat yours well, before, during and after theget holidays. Plantips to bring 3 RRSP Guarantees thatfor protect your investment? planning life and RRSP for your live tree inside for just a few days and transition your tree by placing it in 3 all Reliable income flow? the times of your life. When’s the best time to think about RRSPs? a carport, unheated garage or patio for a few days before bringing it inDAGMAR SC 3 Call The expectation of future gains? side. Provide your live with lotshow of water, using a traycan of waterDAGMAR under SCHULZE us totree find out The Plan™ what securityStress-Free means toComputer you. Solutions the pot ashelp addedyou measure. Keep itnow… in a cooland spot,over away from heatConsultant sources Consultant prosper time. Talk to us today about how financial Sales and Service dagmar.schulz dagmar.schulze@invest such as fireplaces and be sure to turn off any decorations and lights at DAGMAR SCHULZE Diplom Finanzwirtin DAGMAR SCHULZE Diplom Finanzwirtin With RRSPs, time literally is money. We can When it comes to your investment portfolio, night. After Christmas, move it back outside as quickly as possible. alternatives like Investors Group Guaranteed (604) 741-0582 help get time on security? your Visit side. Call our free and join our newsletter how you do you define ourforwebsite Consultant (604) 741-0582 Consultant Special Report In pursuit of success: RRSP When your tree is back outdoors check containerofsize and peri3 Guarantees that protect your investment? for tips yourforchance a laptop Investment Funds provide a the measure planning for life and get RRSP all the to win odically re-pot it into a container that is a little larger to allow for future 3 Reliable income flow? times of your life. (604) 741-0582 (604) 741-0582 for your portfolio. 3 The expectation of future gains? growthcertainty and good health. As isinvestment the case for all containerized plants be Call us to find out how The Plan™ can help you sure to apply periodic fertilizer and lots of water, especially in the sumprosper now… and over how Talk to us today about alternatives like Investors Group Guaranteed mer, as well as providing protection from extreme weather year round. Investment Funds provide a measure of And if you don’t like the look of a potted tree, try sinking the container certainty for your investment portfolio. into the ground, perhaps in the garden location where it will eventually SHINE COAST SUN be permanently planted. Fire Another place to look for a small live tree to pot up or cut is a potential ™Trademark owned ™Trademark owned by IGM Financial Inc. and licensed to its subsidiary corporations. ctFinancial ionInc. and licensed to its otbyeIGM subsidiaryr corporations. P Investors Group Guaranteed Investment site. Funds are segregated fund policiesof issued by construction or development Ask permission course and most IG Insurance Investors Group Guaranteed Investment Funds are segregated fund I.G. Insurance Services Inc. The Great-West Life Assurance Company. policies issued by The LifeInc. Assurance Company. ™Trademarks owned by Great-West IGM Financial and licensed to its Investors Group Financial Services Inc. ™Trademarks owned by IGM Financial Inc. and licensed towill its subsidiary corporations. subsidiary corporations. owners will allow you to salvage a tree that otherwise be wasted. A Investor MP1104 (01/2011) MP1104 (01/2011) MP1112 (02/2008) MP1112 (02/2008) small pull pruning saw and/or a shovel are all the tools you need. When you get home, store the cut tree in a cool, shady spot in water until it is time to move indoors. Pot the live tree up with the best possible potting soil and compost. And take pride in the fact that you salvaged (saved) it. A fresh and fragrant holiday season is a Coast tradition. Enjoy it! CL

Time... to think about

Time… to think about


Time... to think about

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what security means to you.

MP1104 (01/2011)

Time… to think about Now.


Page 24 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12

When’s the to think ab


Food & Drink

Hapi to Be Here!~ The phenomenal success story of Corin & Brian Mullins’ Holy Crap cereal


oly crap. Two simple words that have rewritten the trajectory, rather unconventionally for one couple on the Sunshine Coast, Hapi Foods Group founders, Corin and Brian Mullins. The story goes like this. In 2009, Corin and Brian had an idea for a simple cereal that Brian, who was sensitive to wheat and gluten, could eat. That cereal, by their fledgling Hapi Foods Group company was also loosely based on the concept of developing a survival food. After testing and selling the initial products at famers’ markets for a few weeks, someone wrote to them and said, “Holy crap, this is amazing!” In what was a classic ah-ha moment, Brian thought that Holy Crap might be a fun name, so three weeks later, they changed the cereal’s moniker, partly in jest, and went on to sell over $65,000 worth of product in just over fifty days. And that was before being featured on CBC television’s hit entrepreneur show, Dragons’ Den. The Mullins were invited to pitch their product for investment on an episode that aired in November, 2010. That pitch and a

Wild berries with yogurt and Holy Crap.

simple taste test of Holy Crap had an unprecedented effect on the Dragons’ Den Jim Treliving of Boston Pizza fame who said, “I love it. I want to buy it.” He then went on to offer them exactly what they were asking for: $120,000 for 20 percent of the company. After the show aired, Holy Crap’s online sales were off the charts, increasing from 100 units a month (online) to over 2,000 units a day, selling over $1,000,000 worth of product in the first three months after the episode aired. But in the end, by “mutual agreement” according to the Mullins, a final deal was not reached between Dragons’ Den and Hapi Foods Group for Holy Crap; a deal which likely would have meant moving operations off Coast, something Corin and Brian simply couldn’t do. “We live here, our families are here, we love it here,” says Corin. “Why would we leave?” Today, on their own, sales continue to boom with new distribution deals on the horizon. They also credit old fashioned, on-the-road sales or “pressing the flesh” of customers across Canada with the success of their simple cereal with the clever name. “People often buy it because of the name,

they have a laugh, or buy it as a gift,” says Corin. “Then they start eating it, they enjoy it, their body is eliminating regularly, and they feel great.” Their two main products, Holy Crap and Skinny B cereals are based around a few key ingredients (all organic): chia seeds, hulled hemp seed hearts and buckwheat. In addition to this base, Holy Crap also contains organic raisins, organic cranberries and organic dried apple bits, plus a dash of organic cinnamon. Either cereal may be eaten on its own in a raw state (mixed first with soy, almond, rice or dairy milk or yogurt), or added to smoothies, oatmeal, etc. Skinny B also lends itself to enhancing baking, stews and other cooked foods, particularly when the cereal is mixed with water Story & into a thickening gel. photos by Nutritionally, the cereChristina als’ main claim to fame is Symons that teeny tiny black chia seed. Chia is considered to be a super food, a complete protein, containing the highest plant source of Omega 3 oils available and rich in antioxidants. Both cereals, and particularly Skinny B, are low on the glycemic index, ➤ Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 25

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suitable for people who are sensitive to sugar intake, such as diabetics or those who are hypoglycemic. The cereal ingredients are also non-GMO, vegan, salt-free, wheat-free, lactose-free and glutenfree. And not to overstate the obvious, but Holy Crap and Skinny B are really high in fibre (over 20 per cent of daily requirements in a single serving) which makes regular consumers “go” regularly. Keeping the company Brian and Corin Mullins, founders of Hapi Foods Group and manufacturing facility and Holy Crap. local has meant measurable benefits to the community, including providing full-time employment for 14, plus two parttime employees. Advocating local food security, instituting fair wages, revenue sharing, comprehensive health care and training opportunities have become tenets of the growing company. “I do for people what I would want done for me,” says Corin, adding that providing a little bit extra for their employees to cover eyeglasses or dental is something they do because they care and because they can. “We want our team to be so happy that they’ll never leave.” Not surprisingly, for her business spirit and success, Corin has been honoured as a finalist in Chatelaine Magazine’s Canada’s Women of the Year 2011 in the category of Top Entrepreneur. And earlier this year the company won Small Business BC’s Successful You Award for Best Concept. Both Corin and Brian humbly credit their success to the “confluence of events” and community support that has led them to so quickly evolve from a local mom and pop market vendor, into a million-dollar company with a heart of gold. “It’s the energy of the place,” says Brian, about the Sunshine Coast, their suppliers, financial backers, staff and operations adding that everyone who works at Hapi Foods is overqualified, yet excited to be here, making cereal. “We’re so lucky to have evolved this way, to have this and to be here,” he adds, noting that a lot of what they do actually goes against conventional business-school wisdom. “Some say don’t work with family, don’t work with your spouse and grind your employees’ salaries down,” notes Brian. “But where does all that end?” Instead, Brian and Corin are taking their employees to Hawaii for teambuilding at the end of the year. Why? Because they don’t want to lie on a beach while everyone else is back home working, says Brian. “You can’t put happiness on hold,” adds Corin, referring to their approach to business and to life in general. “You have to do it now, while you can.” CL Holy Crap and Skinny B are available in over 300 stores across Canada and worldwide, online. From their base warehouse in Gibsons, Brian and Corin have also recently been in talks with key distributors in the EU, and elsewhere around the world.

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Moonwater Wellness Centre

Colon HydrotHerapy is now available on tHe sunsHine Coast Gentle detoxification • Peaceful Roberts Creek location


Natasha Sára and Roger Maidens, Colon Hydrotherapist & Cranio Sacral Therapist “The state of health in the colon almost always affects health in other areas of the body”. DR NoRMaN WalkeR (liveD to 109 yeaRS)

• Community pain relief clinic • Registered professional health services


• Chinese medicine herbs and supplements • Health promotion workshops and classes

Wild berries and yogurt with Holy Crap 2 Tbs. of Holy Crap or Skinny B cereal 4 Tbs. of yogurt (dairy, soy, goat) 2 Tbs. of fresh or frozen wild berries (we used local blackberries) Mix and let sit for about 10 minutes. Stir, top with more berries and enjoy. This mixture can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a quick and satisfying breakfast, snack or lunch.

Skinny B gel Place 1 Tablespoon of Skinny B and 1 cup of lukewarm water in a glass jar. Shake well and let sit for an hour or so to thicken up. Keep this mixture in the fridge to add as a gluten-free thickener to sauces, pancake and muffin recipes. Skinny B gel will keep for about 10 days in the fridge.

Skinny B Blueberry Pancakes 1 cup of regular or gluten-free pancake mix (Coyote mix is pictured) 3/4 cup of water 1 egg or egg substitute 1 Tbs. of oil 2 Tbs. of Skinny B gel (see above) 1/4 – 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries Mix first 5 ingredients until there are no lumps, Stir in blueberries. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto a preheated, lightly oiled griddle (medium-low heat) or 175° for electric griddle. When the bubbles have burst on the pancake surface they are ready to flip. Serve immediately. Extra pancakes can be cooled, wrapped and frozen. To reheat, remove wrapping and microwave wrapped in a paper towel until hot. Yield: 6 or 7 pancakes

604.885.9527 • • 5699 Dolphin St., Sechelt

Self Realization Meditation Healing Centre

A place for all to unwind, relax and find inner peace · · · · · · · ·

Tailor-made personal retreats Introductory Pure Meditation class In-depth Pure Meditation course Healing & Counselling sessions Animal Healing Transformation Hatha & Aqua Yoga Energy Care workshops Workplace & school-based wellness programs

For upcoming events and programmes: 604.740.0898 •

Gibsons Dental Centre Dr. Evangelo Papoutsis MEMbEr of thE IntErnatIonal acaDEMy of oral MEDIcInE anD toxIcology

Mercury-free Dentistry biocompatible restorative Dentistry 817 gibsons Way, gibsons


Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 27

Friday, May 20, 2011 • Coast Reporter • x 5485 Wharf Road, Sechelt

“We have the tools to market your home and we are willing to invest the time, the money and the resources to do so.” To view all of our listings, visit

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Access able Stay in the home you love, there is no need to move when you can have safe access to any part of your home with Bruno stairlifts.

Your first choice in foods for over 60 years

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Page 28 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12

Sechelt 5674 Cowrie St (604) 885-2734 1-888-393-5577

This holiday season, our deli, bakery, and produce departments can arrange party platters to suit your needs. Trail Bay CenTre, SeChelT 604-885-2025

A Backwards Glance

Old news and new media Technology will soon enable the public free access to the old Coast News


n the last, oh, half-century, just about everything about life on the Sunshine Coast has changed in one way or another. We know about the biggest changes because we’ve heard old-timers talk about them — or because we read local history books and newspaper columns. You know, car ferries launched and highways paved; power lines strung and telephones installed in every home; shopping malls built and high schools burnt down. Those are the changes you can put a date to. And then there’s everything else that makes life in 2011 different from life in the decades gone by. It’s harder to gauge because nobody can see it happening, but it happens anyway. These are the kind of changes you can only really see in hindsight, like when you pick up a newspaper from decades ago. That’s exactly why your local museum’s collection includes every copy of the Sunshine Coast News ever printed, from its first issue in 1945 to its last one in 1995. Published every week for fifty years, the Coast News is a fascinating source for anyone interested in local politics, gossip, culture, and the odds and ends of historical detail. And the collection has been well used by museum visitors, who’ve consulted the newspapers for all kinds of reasons over the years. The trouble is, they’ve been used too well. “About two years ago we had to cut off public access to the oldest newspapers in the collection,” explains curator Kimiko Hawkes. “The paper in some of the issues was becoming so brittle that it was in danger of falling apart.” Since then, museum staff have conducted newspaper research on the public’s behalf, taking care not to By Matt Cavers further damage these valuable materials. But thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at the University of British Columbia, the museum’s newspaper collection will soon be opened up once again — and this time, it will be more accessible than ever. The grant, awarded under the Centre’s British Columbia History Digitization Program, will enable the museum to scan its oldest and most vulnerable copies of the Coast News — 1945 to 1976, and 1983 to 1987. Once scanned, the newspapers will be freely available for the public to view online, beginning in April 2012. It’s a major step toward making the history of the Sunshine Coast more accessible, and it won’t be the last one, according to Hawkes, who plans to have the remaining issues of the Coast News, as well as Sechelt’s Peninsula Times, digitized in the future. “This is just phase one,” she says. But even if it’s a first step, it’s a

Caption: The very first issue of the Coast News, published July 11, 1945 in Halfmoon Bay, showing obvious signs of wear. Readers will soon be able to access decades of the Coast News online thanks to the SCMA’s newspaper digitization project. giant leap for students and researchers looking for a better grasp of the busy last half-century we’ve just been through. Collectively, the newspapers tell the story of the changing Sunshine Coast — from a collection of small, isolated villages on the far side of Howe Sound to a growing, vibrant community close to — but just far enough from — a major city. Leafing through old newspapers from a place you know well is a strange mixture of the familiar and the strange — sometimes more the latter than the former. At Christmas sixty-five years ago in 1946, the businesses who took out “Merry Christmas” ads are long-gone — the Wakefield Inn, the Lester and Hassan General Store in Pender Harbour, Sunset Hardware in Gibsons. There’s a Bible lesson on the front page. At Christmas fifty years ago, in 1961, there are just as many surprises. You read that “an attack warning siren has been placed high up at the south-east corner of South Fletcher Road and School Road by the Department of National Defense.” A bit of filler text informs you that “carbonated soft drinks may be used to baste meats” and that “they can also be used as an ‘extender’ in mayonnaise, fruit and vegetable juice cocktails, and punch.” Port Mellon was having a New Year’s Eve cabaret (“doors open 11 — dancing 12:01 to 4 — $6 per couple, breakfast included”). Even twenty-five years ago, in 1986, the Christmas ads are for businesses that no longer exist and the clothes people wear in the photographs are boxy and out-of-date. And, really, twenty-five years isn’t very long ago. Flipping through the yellowing pages reminds you how much can change in a short time. Soon, thanks to this generous grant, the whole Sunshine Coast community will be able to explore the surprising details of their not-so-distant past. CL

Sunshine Coast Museum & Archives 716 Winn Road, Gibsons, 604-886-8232 Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 29

Q&A with Santa Claus

A Word with the Jolly Old Elf, Himself INTERVIEW By Cathie Roy

Every year boys, girls and (come on, confess) adults eagerly await the Christmas visit from the jolliest of elves, Santa Claus. Coast Life managed to score an interview with our favourite North Pole resident earlier this fall before his Toy Shop went into full production. CL. Santa what is the biggest change you’ve seen in Christmas wish lists over the year? SC. Ho, ho, ho. Funny you ask that, Mrs. Claus and I were just talking about that the other day. The biggest change by far is the number of people wanting electronic gifts. If we were to sort the wishes alphabetically the “i’s” would take it — iPods, iPhones, iPads. It seems we all have our eyes on an ipresent. CL. How did you get into the Christmas business? SC. Well my dear, it’s a long story. I was an accountant in a past life but then I started putting on a little weight and first thing you know I’m growing a beard, starting a reindeer ranch and buying a little toy store in the Far North. CL. Is it difficult getting help this far off the beaten track? SC. Well the biggest problem I had was with the Civil Liberties folks — they were pretty irate when I advertised for the elves. The word went out that I was practicing discriminatory hiring and they darn near shut me down. Fortunately I had a little-person lawyer volunteer to argue my Page 30 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12

case before the tribunal and he managed to get me off on a technicality — the reindeer are too small to have ordinary sized people ride them. CL. Do you still accept snail mail from eager little boys and girls in this age of email? SC. We’re so lucky the generous volunteers and employees at Canada Post go out of their way to help Mrs. Santa and me answer those many letters every year. Before they got involved I had to have carpal tunnel surgery. I plum wore out my right wrist answering all those Noel notes. CL. Where should the writers send their missives? SC. They can write to Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada HOH OHO. Those helpful Canada Post people will make sure I get every letter. CL. What’s your favourite gift to give, Santa? SC. Well I just love it when some lovely little boy or girl writes and asks me to give something nice to someone who might be having a tough time financially. I forward those letters directly to the Elves Club in Gibsons. Although none of the people in the club are elf-sized, it’s only because there wouldn’t be room for their big hearts in a little body. CL. What’s your favourite gift? SC. Mrs. Claus. I couldn’t imagine life without her. CL. Do you have a message for the folks on the Sunshine Coast? SC. Cherish the peace, practice the true message of Christmas — love your neighbour — and above all keep believing. Ho, ho, ho! CL

Timber Frame

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Winter 2011/12 – Coast Life – Page 31

Page 32 – Coast Life – Winter 2011/12

Profile for Shelley Ackerman

Coast Life Winter 11/12  

Sunshine Coast BC lifestyles magazine

Coast Life Winter 11/12  

Sunshine Coast BC lifestyles magazine

Profile for shelleroo