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GREEN WEST CONSTRUCTION
QUARTZ, GRANITE AND MARBLE FABRICATION AND INSTALLATION COMPANY
Unsurpassed collision repair for the world’s finest automobiles
A brand-new, luxury car repair facility opened last month in downtown Vancouver. This new 30,000-square-foot center is just one of five in the No. 1 Collision Group family, a 50-year-old company renowned for its excellence in repairing high-end automobiles, and for its factory-certified technicians who specialize in luxury vehicle repair.
It feels like you’ve stepped into a bougie hotel lobby
The facility itself is worthy of a spread in Architecture Digest or its own HGTV special—it’s that unique. It feels like you’ve stepped into a bougie hotel lobby rather than auto-repair facility. The reception area is furnished with leather chairs and couches created by Danish designer Fritz Hansen and worthy of your favourite Pinterest board. Additionally, the space is lit by beautiful Bocci lights by famous Vancouver artist Omer Arbel. And with the goal of making your visit as seamless and fast as possible, No. 1 Collision Group has a valet service and over 300 underground parking spots.
All luxury brands, including BMW, Porsche and Tesla, plus a dedicated Mercedes-Benz facility
No. 1 Collision Group doesn’t just provide an interior designer’s dream space, valet, and expert services, but factory-certified professionals for all luxury brands including BMW, Porsche, and Tesla to name a few, plus it has a dedicated Mercedes-Benz facility. The newest location at Vernon Drive and Parker Street offers carbon fibre repair, vehicle detailing, courtesy rental cars, onsite estimates and everything you need to ensure that your vehicle is fully restored to its original, factory condition. It even has a lavish rooftop lounge. Now that’s something you don’t typically see at your average collision center.
60 F INGER ON THE PULSE
Hometown Heroes Lottery helps f und cutting-edge research
B y Lisa Manfield
76 TRANSPORT YOUR TA STE BUDS
Travel the world without leaving your kitchen
B y Ellie Shortt
84 BILLOWING SAILS AND P IRATE TALES
Luxury cruising in the Caribbean
B y Robin Esrock
26 GOOD TASTE
Taste of Greece: Grandpa J’s Seasonings
B y Joanne Peters
Element of the unexpected: Nanoose Bay
B y Susan Lundy
48 BUSINESS CLASS
It’s all about the experience: Ab del Karim Awwad
B y Lauren Kramer
66 SPACES WE LOVE HAVAN Awards
B y Dawn Sondergaard
90 SECRETS AND LIVES
B y Chloe Sjuberg
92 NARRATIVE Sandhill cranes and a photographer
B y Thelma Fayle
98 BEHIND THE STORY
B y Lia Crowe
“Having reported on “bucket list” experiences from over 100 countries on seven continents, I loved the idea of sailing in the footsteps of Caribbean pirates. I set out to find the perfect combination of adventure, history, beauty, and relaxation. The Star Flyer was definitely a case of X marking the spot.” A proud South Afri-Canadian, Robin is the author of numerous bestselling travel books, a popular speaker, and a former National Geographic and OLN television host. He lives in Vancouver with his young family, and continues to explore unique experiences both near and far.
“After I undertook 50 interviews with the late Ted Grant in preparation for a book I wrote in 2013, the well-loved Canadian photojournalist introduced me to his dear old friend and colleague, Bil Lingard, a man I chatted with for just two hours, but a person who made a huge impression on me—mostly for his genuine, rare and uplifting humility. I couldn’t resist writing about a pinnacle career event the long-deceased elder described to me, involving the ancient and lovely sandhill cranes.” Thelma Fayle is a Victoria writer working on her MFA at UKings School of Journalism (Dalhousie) as a celebration of turning 65. She is also working on her second book, Letters to Obasama: Undressing Stereotypes. thelmafayle.com
BOULEVARD GROUP PUBLISHER
Harry van Hemmen
Lia Crowe, Sarah D’Arcey, Robin Esrock, Jen Evans, Thelma Fayle, Laura Goldstein, Lauren Kramer, Susan Lundy, Lisa Manfield, Joanne Peters, Kaisha Scofield, Ellie Shortt, Chloe Sjuberg, Dawn Sondergaard
Lily Chan, Michelle Gjerde, Tammy Robinson, Crea Zhang
Mike Bradley Visuals, Lia Crowe, Don Denton, Sheila Say
CHLOE SJUBERG WRITER
SECRETS AND LIVES
“I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Irene Barlas-Rimar, president of COIT Cleaning and Restoration Services BC and owner of Rex Cox Menswear. I was inspired by the infectious passion and sense of humour she brings to her (many!) personal and professional pursuits, and I wanted to make sure those qualities came through in this piece.” Chloe is a Vancouver-based writer and editor, originally from Salt Spring Island, who has worked in communications for industries spanning arts, media, health care and academia, most recently at SFU Public Square. She is a regular contributor to Boulevard and other Black Press publications.
Upstyle your home with the Italian craftsmanship excellence of Natuzzi Italia collections.
THE NEW FACE OF POWER &
Embarking on a journey to the other side of the world throws your body into time-travelling confusion, sometimes with surprising results like the occasion I flew home from Indonesia with an overnight stop in Hong Kong and somehow—through this rabbit hole of time—managed to have my birthday twice.
But sleep is the true victim of time travel. My go-to, sleep-solution travel method involves taking the long-haul portion of a flight to Europe overnight, packing a sleep mask, earplugs and sleeping pill, snoozing for seven hours and waking up refreshed and all time-acclimatized in Europe. It’s a good theory, anyway. But last November, when I travelled to Europe to meet up with my friend Sandra and attend a few of my musician daughter’s gigs, I merely dozed periodically during the flight and my timetravelling confusion never seemed to abate the entire trip.
For Sandra, sleep had become a nightly battle since her partner’s death a year earlier, and she regularly awoke after just four or five hours of slumber. But at the beginning of this trip, it seemed she’d sorted it out. At the urging of a friend who travelled frequently between Europe and North America, Sandra determinedly stayed awake until 8 pm on her first night in Paris.
“If you can make it to 8 o’clock, and then sleep through the night, you’ll be golden,” the friend had advised.
So, Sandra fought her heavy lids until precisely 8 pm, shut down her computer and crawled with relief into bed. It was a glorious sleep. Deep. Dreamless. She woke, surprisingly refreshed at 9 o’clock, marvelling at how well her friend’s advice had worked. She showered, dressed, put on her makeup, went to the window and pulled back the curtains.
“Huh,” she mused. “Mornings are quite dark here in Paris.”
Of course, it was dark. It was 9 pm, not 9 am. She’d slept deep and heavy—for one hour.
She relayed this story to me as we sat in a cute restaurant, where we had already committed two Parisian gaffes. First, it was about 6 pm—about an hour before we needed to be at the music venue—and chi-chi-looking Paris people everywhere had sat down outside at tiny, street-facing tables, dressed in the latest fashion, elegantly sipping glasses of wine and enjoying life in the mindfulness sort of in-the-moment French way. At first, we also sat on outside chairs. However, it was November and we do cold often enough at home. The server, one of the few people we encountered in Paris who didn’t speak English, seemed perplexed to find us seated inside, but nevertheless he presented us with a multi-page wine list.
When I—in prudent deference to the long night ahead—ordered a small glass of wine, Sandra shook her head with authority. She’d been in Paris a week by now: small glasses of wine were just that—very small, she said. So, we ordered large glasses, white for her, red for me…but our jaws dropped when they arrived. Remember when you could “supersize” your order at fast food restaurants? It appeared we’d supersized our wine order. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such large glasses of wine.
Our next un-Parisian moment came when we asked for food menus amid what was obviously wine-drinking time and not dinner-eating time. But in the end, it was a blessing our server didn’t speak English. When my daughter texted from the venue, asking if we could find her a cup for the throat-soothing tea she likes to have on stage, Sandra took charge.
“Excusez-moi,” she said, beckoning the waiter. “Do you have any to-go cups…?” He looked bewildered. “Cups to take with us? Umm….” She held up her glass of wine and pantomimed pouring it into another cup.
All good, except that she had less than a centimetre of wine at the bottom of the glass, so it suddenly appeared she wanted to take this last sip of wine to go. We realized this in the same instant and absolutely dissolved into giggles. Another Parisian gaffe, I’m sure. But thanks in part to that very large glass of wine, Sandra did finally get a good sleep that night.
This issue of Boulevard has lots of stories and images to get you in the mood for travel. Enjoy!Susan Lundy Managing Editor
Susan Lundy is a former journalist who now works as an editor, author and freelance writer. Her latest book, Home on the Strange, was published in 2021 via Heritage House Publishing.
life.style.etc.LENA LUTSENKO, INTERIOR DESIGN AND DECORATION CONSULTANT WORDS + PHOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE
“Elegant and classy” is how Lena describes her personal style. She adds, “Good style for me is the style which represents you, your energy, your soul…I know what works for me and what doesn’t; and it gives me extra pride when I pull off a look that I created.”
Originally from Ukraine, Lena moved to Canada in 2008. She has degrees in economics and business management, but after years of experience in fashion she was inspired to embrace her passion for interior design and interior decoration.
What fires Lena up the most about her work?
“My goal is to help my clients to express themselves,” she says. “With my travel experience, I have collected many exciting and different approaches to interior looks, practicalities and colour combinations. I love to create rooms where my client feels happy and balanced. I love the moment when I can offer my clients something unique and personalized.”
Asked what practices have led to her success, Lena says, “I am open-minded to the experience and the people. I’m not afraid to try something new and explore. I believe you should never make a big decision without sleeping on it.”
And what is the best life lesson she has recently learned?
“Nothing is permanent. Everything in our life can change very quickly. Enjoy every moment of it today and be in the present.”
STYLE INSPIRATIONS & LIFE:
Style icon: Anna Wintour and Yolanda Hadid.
Favourite artist: Gustav Klimt.
Piece of art: The Kiss
Favourite fashion designer or brand: Max Mara, Brunello Cucinelli.
Favourite musician: The Rolling Stones, Toni Braxton.
Favourite cocktail or wine: Negroni; Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon.
Album on current rotation: Evolution by Anastacia.
Favourite flower: Peonies, tulips.
Fav app: Pinterest.
Favourite city to visit: Florence, Italy and Kyiv, Ukraine.
FASHION & BEAUTY
Uniform: Denim, sweater, sneakers. All-time favourite piece: Fitted leather motorcycle jacket.
Currently coveting: Patek Philippe white gold watch and Max Mara Icon Coat.
Favourite pair of shoes: Valentino Garavani Atelier sneakers, Stuart Weitzman high boots.
Favourite day-bag: Alexander Wang belt bag and Fendi Sunshine Bag.
Moisturizer: Clarins Extra; Biologique Recherche.
Scent: Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel; Versace Yellow Diamond. Must-have hair product: milk_shake blow-dry primer. Beauty secret: face at night.
Favourite place in the whole world: Vancouver, Cannes, South France. One thing that consistently lifts your spirits during hard times: Everything has its beginning and end. Hard times will end at some point and will be a time for a new beginning. The best practice for me when it’s a hard time is to focus on the small things and do my routine and small tasks and projects.
Fave print magazine: Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar
Fave style blog: Mia Mia Mine. Fave interior design blog: Home Bunch.
Coffee table book/photography book: The best coffee table books for me are the big books with fashion design or interior design content: For the Love of White: The White and Neutral Home, by Chrissie Rucker; MOOD: Interiors & Inspiration, by Anne Hepfer; Pacific Natural at Home, by Jenni Kayne.
Last great read: The Art of Choosing, by Sheena Iyengar.
Favourite book of all time: The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.
Several years ago, my mother spent a month in Myanmar (Burma), where she participated in a silent meditation retreat. She spent 30 days eating, sleeping, walking, bathing, engaging in all of life’s activities, without making a sound.
At the time, when I was young and carefree with very little responsibility, I couldn’t begin to understand why she would choose such an activity. Now that I am older—working, existing, raising young children, and constantly searching for morsels of space and peace to fit into my already congested brain—the idea of spending an entire month learning how to streamline my thoughts and actions sounds pretty fantastic.
Meditation has been practised since sometime near the dawn of civilization. The most recognizable figure associated with meditation is Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, who founded Buddhism around the sixth century BCE. It is said that after a journey of self-reflection, he attained enlightenment sitting under the Bodhi tree, a sacred fig tree in what is now Bodh Gaya in northeastern India.
In every religion throughout history, meditation has been practised through things like prayer, selfreflection and chanting. There is no singular description of what meditation is, but it has been described as a cessation of the thought waves in the mind. In other words, it is the practice of focusing on the mind and allowing thoughts to pass through without engagement, bringing about mental clarity and peace. This can be achieved using a variety of techniques and tools: silently and without movement; with the repetition of a phrase or mantra; through breathing techniques; using prayer beads that are individually passed through the fingers; or with a guide.
So, is it as easy as grabbing some prayer beads, finding an old tree and closing your eyes? Not exactly. Despite the seemingly unanimous agreement that meditation is good for you, the overwhelming promotion of meditation in media, and the mountain of research confirming that meditation improves mood,
sleep, mental function, emotional stability, perspective and more, only six per cent of the global population considers themselves dedicated meditators.
It sounds nice enough to sit with your eyes closed in a quiet room or walk silently in a meditative forest, but most of us can’t get past the idea of dedicating concentrated time to what feels like inaction.
One of the biggest barriers to meditation is that it takes time and commitment while offering only a vague landmark for success. Internal reflection can also bring up unwanted emotional responses or thoughts that we would rather leave untouched. For these reasons, despite their best intentions, people tend to perpetually put off meditation.
We can get stuck in a loop of needing meditation to help with our overwhelm, yet being too overwhelmed to meditate. But people also seem to get stuck on the definition of meditation. There is no one way to meditate, and maybe because it has been practised for such a long time, through so many cultures and by such a wide variety of people, its meaning depends on the individual.
After all, maybe the lack of definition is because the practice takes place within the mind and is ultimately an internal and unique experience, so the best way to practise meditation is whatever way the practitioner finds most useful.
We are therefore able to look beyond the traditional practices of meditation and engage in whatever method suits our needs and availability. Some meditative practices could include sitting in the sun and listening to birds chirp; running without headphones and tuning into your breathing; laying in bed and listening to raindrops; getting up early and sitting in your quiet home; or going for a walk and listening to a meditative sound bath. All of these activities share a focus on peace and mental relaxation.
If you need something more intentional, why not try a meditation app? There are many highly rated apps that encourage breathwork, mindfulness and self-reflection.
Headspace is generally regarded as the best meditation app. It costs around $70 annually, or $12.99 per month, which can be a barrier, but it boasts the largest variety of meditation styles and practices, along with tools and courses that can be
used to work through anything from grief to writer’s block. You can opt for daily meditation, sleep meditation, stress relief, productivity training, and even “mindful fitness and cardio.”
Calm is another paid meditation app, geared more toward the seasoned meditator. There is less structure to its programs, but it offers a deeper and more immersive experience. It is $70 annually and has won several awards for its effectiveness. An interesting feature of this app is its Sleep Stories, read by celebrities like Matthew McConaughey, Stephen Fry and Bob Ross.
Mindshift is a free app developed by Anxiety Canada that combines mindfulness with cognitive behavioural therapy specifically designed to combat anxiety. It works similarly to the other apps, but because it focuses specifically on anxiety management, it can provide a bit more of a targeted approach.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is an aligned meditative practice with very similar internal messaging as it promotes the release of belief systems that can trigger anxious feelings. For many people, especially in our current political and environmental landscape, a large barrier to meditation can be simply calming the mind enough to approach a relaxed meditative state. The concept of meditation can feel so outside of our generally anxious existence that it seems almost out of reach.
Starting with an app like Mindshift can be a necessary stepping stone to bring the mind toward a more manageable level of anxiety before attempting something more involved like Calm or Headspace.
The most important thing to remember when approaching a meditation practice is that it is designed to improve happiness and wellbeing. If you find yourself crammed into a cross-legged position on the floor every morning, chanting “Om” through gritted teeth, about ready to throw your mala beads across the room, you may want to unfurl, step back and consider trying something different. Maybe going for a walk, downloading a mindfulness app, or simply laying on the floor and listening to a sound bath will be a better fit for you.
There is no one way to meditate, and maybe because it has been practised for such a long time, through so many cultures and by such a wide variety of people, its meaning depends on the individual.
Taste of Greece
Vancouver sisters turn to their roots to spice up the seasoning industry
Sisters Nora Iliakis and Jenny Siormanolakis have shared a love of food for as long as they can remember. When they weren’t cooking by their parents’ sides while growing up, they were helping out at their family’s Greek restaurant. Time and again, customers and friends would ask them, “What is it that makes Greek lemon potatoes so good?” If you’ve ever been to Greece or dined at a taverna, you’ve likely had the deeply flavourful dish of citrusy-garlicky golden-roasted spuds.
Greek lemon potatoes are so delicious because they soak up all the juicy flavours of the aromatic broth in which they’re cooked. They’re not especially hard to make, but home cooks often simply don’t have the time or the knowhow. But Nora and Jenny are making it easier for people to whip up the dish that’s as much a part of their culinary roots as tzatziki, souvlaki and moussaka. The two form the entrepreneurial duo behind Grandpa J’s Seasonings, a Vancouverbased company that crafts a line of fine seasoning blends.
Greko Lemon Roast Potatoes Seasoning is Grandpa J’s signature item. All it takes for people to make the namesake dish at home is to dissolve some of the seasoning in a mix of olive oil and water, pour the liquid over chopped potatoes in a pan, and bake. It’s foolproof.
And the seasoning salt essentially saved the company from falling prey to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic was our silver lining,” Nora says. Here’s the back story. The women’s parents hail from
Veroia, Imathias in northern Greece and came to Canada with strong connections to their culture, including its cuisine. The family ran their Greek restaurant for some 40 years, selling it in 2014. In 2004, the two women were given the chance to take over Grandpa J’s Seasonings Inc., which was founded by Jim Voulides, their late Uncle Jimmy. A former master chef with more than three decades’ experience at steakhouses across Canada and the US, he was a visionary at the time, having been the first locally to make a versatile, wholesale no-MSG-added seasoning, launching the company in 1995.
At the time, Grandpa J’s consisted of a single product: the original All-Purpose Seasoning Salt. The all-natural product can be used prior to grilling or roasting and to flavour sauces, dressings, marinades, soups, stews and more; it can be sprinkled on French fries or potato wedges. The OG seasoning was and still is a hit: it’s the company’s bestseller.
The pandemic, however, upended everything. Prior to the spring of 2020, Grandpa J’s was primarily a wholesale business. The then-unfathomable era of lockdowns and isolation meant the team had to pivot, quickly, to retail to survive. While stores were keen to carry Grandpa J’s, they needed more than a single item. That’s when the women—both working moms—turned to the dish they know so well and love.
“All of a sudden it hit me,” Jenny says. “I said, ‘We need to do Greek lemon potatoes.’ But because the flavour comes
The blends are in more than 125 stores in Metro Vancouver and the Okanagan, without any distributor on board—and that’s just through the two women’s efforts. Next up is Vancouver Island, and then, who knows? Grandpa J’s may make its way all across Canada.
from soaking up the juice, I thought, ‘It can’t just be a seasoning you shake on. It’s got to dissolve in water and olive oil to make the juice, then you pour it over and bake.’ I still have the piece of paper that I wrote my notes down on that say, ‘It has to have tang’ and ‘It has to be the perfect colour.’ That was the aha moment. I told my sister: ‘This is a winner.’
“It’s turned into so much more than a seasoning for potatoes,” she adds. “You can cook your proteins with it; you can add it to prawns. You can add it to one-pan meals. You can use it for chicken breasts or lamb or tofu. I’ve used it to fill samosas. I’ve mashed the potatoes with it; I’ve done savoury pie tarts. My mom adds it to hummus. You can do rice… You name it.”
The product is also a boon to people who follow plant-based diets because—while conventional Greek lemon potatoes are made with chicken stock—Grandpa J’s seasoning is suitable for vegans.
The also team created Vancity Grind, a coarse rub perfect for steak and other grilled foods, as well as an excellent rim for Caesar cocktails.
The launch of the product line exceeded the women’s expectations, initially being stocked in 30 stores.
“The momentum didn’t stop until 90,” Nora says.
Now, the blends are in more than 125 stores in Metro Vancouver and the Okanagan, without any distributor on
board—and that’s just through the two women’s efforts. Next up is Vancouver Island, and then: who knows? Grandpa J’s may make its way all across Canada. The 100 per cent female owned- and -operated business is also reinvigorating its wholesale division, with many restaurants adding it to their pantries.
“Our seasonings are always in season,” Jenny says.
Grandpa J’s Greko Lemon Roast Potatoes Seasoning was a top-10 finalist for BC Food and Beverage’s 2022 Product of the Year. Another fan of the blend is Michael Varga, Chopped Canada winner and MasterChef Canada finalist.
The company has received other high praise.
“Ryan Reynolds posted our Vancity Grind to his Instagram,” Jenny says. “He posted a picture of the Vancity Grind with a little caption that said, ‘If this wasn’t so good, I’d be upset about the name.’….I felt like I had won the lottery. It was insane. Stores sold out immediately.”
Adds Nora: “Ryan Reynolds sent people into 125 small businesses, because that’s where we’re mostly stocked. That’s what matters most.”
Then there are so many everyday cooks who have fallen in love with the products.
“We get a lot of potato pictures sent to us,” Jenny says. “It’s such a compliment to us. We love it. We’re honoured when people share what they’ve made with us.”
Element of the unexpected
Revelling in surprises during a Nanoose Bay getawayBY SUSAN LUNDY X PHOTOS COURTESY FAIRWINDS
Wrapped in blankets and tucked into an L-shaped couch beside a gas-powered fire bowl, my daughter and I sit outside on the deck of our “home for the night” at Fairwinds Residences in Nanoose Bay. Glasses of wine in hand, we chat cosily and enjoy the view of a moon-lit sky that casts a gentle glow on Fairwinds Marina, sitting directly before us. It’s the same spot we sat a few hours ago as evening-shade pastel colours crawled across the sky and a distant mountain range glowed in white.
But as we discuss our day, our conversation is peppered with the word “surprise”—it seems it’s the element of the unexpected that has highlighted our experiences.
This beautiful, airy two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite with a full kitchen, comfortable sitting area and expansive floor-to-ceiling windows—all within touching distance of the ocean—was our first surprise. Who knew this shore-hugging collection of suites even existed, let alone offered this exquisite touch of luxury and comfort?
Nanoose Bay is located just south of Parksville on Vancouver Island. After driving north through Nanaimo, take a right off Highway 1 and enter an unexpected haven of rural farmland, parks, ocean views, forested trails and the Fairwinds development that includes upscale homes, a sprawling golf course—and a few surprises.
After checking in to our suite, we drove back down the road to the members-only Fairwinds Wellness Centre, which is available to all Fairwinds Residences guests for $40 a week.
Like our suite, the centre revealed some surprises. Set against an outcropping of steep rock, trees and trails, it exudes a peaceful ambiance with its beautiful high-ceilinged spaces and floor-to-ceiling windows that open directly onto the natural setting outside and bathe the space in natural light. Here, you can find two weight rooms, a yoga or stretching room, a billiards/games room with an adjoining reading room, a kitchen, a 20-metre pool, hot tub and dry sauna, an outdoor tennis court, and a massive gym area for pickleball and other racket sports. This approximately 20-year-old structure also has lots of outdoor seating areas, and even space for live music. To top it off, various classes here are available to Fairwind guests.
So, this was a bit of a surprise.
Neither my daughter nor I are golfers. However, as we drove through Fairwinds’ lush-looking, rolling golf course, we were almost tempted to give it a try. Literature for the 18-hole course describes scenery as spectacular, with “150-year-old Douglas firs, sculpted driftwood, dramatic shorelines, wildlife and breathtaking views.” The course has two large practice greens with a year-round driving range, covered and heated stalls and a short-game practice area. Certified PGA of Canada professionals provide lessons, camps and clinics for golfers of all ages and abilities.
But instead of picking up golf clubs, we decided to check out the trail network, and encountered yet another unexpected experience. The hiking trails here are extensive and accessible, with marked levels of ease (easy, intermediate, difficult), and the paths wind through forest and wetlands, and past large ponds and lakes. On this day the woods were dappled in sunlight. Notch Hill is one popular hiking spot in the area, but we took the trails to Enos Lake, which suddenly appeared before us in glassy-surfaced perfection, just calling out for summertime swimming and picnics at the water’s edge.
A few hours later, we set out for dinner at Seascape restaurant, which adjoins the Fairwinds Residences at Fairwinds Landing. Here we discovered a menu heavy on delectablelooking seafood dishes, a renowned AAA sirloin steak, and several plant-based options. And the view from our seaside window table was unrivalled. (As it turned out, this was one of the last dinner services at Seascape before it switched ownership. Now we’re excited to come back and experience another surprise when it reopens.)
And so, after a nightcap of wine on our suite’s moon-lit deck, we crawled into our comfy beds satiated…and, well, surprised.
The next day, the hits just kept coming. Back at the Wellness Centre, we rented electric bikes (mountain bikes were also available) and set out to explore the area and reward our “hard biking work” with lunch at a pub. E-bikes are the way to go! It’s been years since I’ve cycled, but these e-bikes were straightforward and easy to ride, and it made me so happy each time I hit a hilly incline and the bike’s “assist” kicked in. We took a circle route, gliding down the main roads first and riding the more-enjoyable back roads on the return. The main roads, we discovered, were quite busy with gravelly shoulders not completely conducive to cycling. But speeding along on a bike, taking in the sights on a more up-close level is a wonderful way to travel and I felt practically giddy with the experience.
And then—surprise! The Rocking Horse Pub. Following signs to the pub, we arrived at what appeared a residential horse farm only to be transported through the doors into a rich, warm and inviting old-Englishstyle pub. A wood fire danced in the fireplace and the interior setting welcomed us with its array of charming antiques and quaint details. There’s a patio in the park-like area outside, and the pub itself is split into two areas—the dining room and a more casual bar area. We tucked into a platter of nachos, and while we were surprised to discover this place, we were not surprised to learn that it is super popular.
After returning the bikes to the Wellness Centre, and still filled with exuberance from the bike ride and pub discovery, we jumped back in the car and drove around a bit, further exploring the area. Among other spots, our drive took us to Moorecroft Regional Park, which has a long beach and views across the water plus a beautiful wetland area and trail network.
Now, on our way back to the highway, one final surprise remained: the Rusted Rake Brewery.
A quick stop here revealed a beautiful building— from the massive tree columns at the entranceway to a natural-light interior and patio at the back that’s set against a grassy farmland backdrop—as well as an excellent food and drinks menu.
Placing the Rusted Rake Brewery on our must-do list, we turned onto the highway and headed home— still talking about our surprise-rich getaway.
And so, after a nightcap of wine on our suite’s moonlit deck, we crawled into our comfy beds satiated…and, well, surprised.
• 4,000-square-foot plantation-style main house
• 600-square-foot lanai (veranda) off the great room
• 3 bedrooms in main house, each with its own en suite
• Master has entrance to private outdoor shower off en suite
• Self-contained 400-squarefoot ohana apartment for parents or friends
• Swimming pool
• Storage for windsurfers, hydrofoils, surfboards
A North Vancouver interior designer’s multigenerational Maui getawayWORDS LAURA GOLDSTEIN PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY HB DESIGNS
Flying above the frothy swells like some wild tropical bird on Maui’s North Shore, Jennifer Heffel is learning to wing foil. Standing on a hydrofoil board, she holds the colourful sail to get lift out of the ocean.
“It’s the most exhilarating feeling—you really feel like you’re flying,” she explains enthusiastically.
Accomplished surfers and windsurfers, both Jennifer and her husband Robert have been going to Maui for 29 years: “Since my daughter was 18 months old,” says Jennifer, co-founder and principal of North Vancouver’s HB Design.
So, when it came time to build a holiday home in Maui, she had two criteria: it must be close to the beach where wind and wave conditions are at their peak on the North Shore, which is the windsurfing capital of the world, and the property must reflect a generational family gathering place.
“My parents had a cottage at Lake of the Woods on the border of Manitoba and Ontario, and I come from a family of four sisters, so we all gathered there as kids and later with our own children and friends,” Jennifer explains.
That wonderful time of family get-togethers inspired her dream to build a home in Maui that would elicit those same fond memories and hopefully stay in the family for generations to come.
With the property located in residential Spreckelsville near the quaint town of Paia, it was pure serendipity to have an architect as a neighbour.
“In 2008 it was the perfect storm of good timing,” says Jennifer. “We purchased the property on a cul-de-sac, and we hired architect Jeffrey Lundahl and local builders who could bring my vision to fruition in 2010. Two years later we built an adorable 400-square-foot self-contained ohana (meaning “family” in Hawaiian) apartment on the property for my parents to stay in while visiting.”
With trade winds gusting at times up to 80 kilometres
per hour in the area, the 4,000-square-foot main house plus 600-square-foot “lanai” (like a veranda), is specifically designed in a U-shape around the swimming pool and courtyard to block the wind and any whirling sand.
For the house, Jennifer envisioned a traditional home based on a plantation style that originated in the early 1900s as pineapple and sugarcane homesteads in Hawaii. These homes are characterized by wide roofs, beamed ceilings, white-washed interiors and languidly spinning ceiling fans that blend seamlessly with the Maui landscape.
“I wanted the house’s interior to feel like a beachy plantation home that feels comfortable with just my small family of three, or 16 people visiting,” she explains. “That meant that I chose light-coloured floors so if someone came in with sand on their feet, who cares? You wouldn’t notice. Most of the
“I wanted the house’s interior to feel like a beachy plantation home that feels comfortable with just my small family of three, or 16 people visiting.”
furniture is slip-covered. In fact, I used a lot of beautiful indoor-outdoor fabrics so if someone spilled a drink or sat down in a wet bathing suit, no problem.”
Entering the Heffels’ home through the courtyard’s floor-to-ceiling glass doors, one immediately recognizes that it’s a stunning continuation of the vibrant exterior landscape. In considering the colours, Jennifer had gone down to the beach to photograph the ocean, sand, driftwood, shells and hibiscus flowers to give her interior palette a tropical punch of pinks and oranges from Hawaiian gardens, combined with the blues, chartreuse and aqua of the ocean and sea life.
A 30-foot-long abstract runner of swirling koi fish captures those hues along the breezeway that leads into the main house. Created by Burritt Bros. Carpet & Floors in Vancouver, it was made in Nepal and shipped directly to Maui. The other end of the breezeway is anchored by an Edward Burtynsky shipyard series photograph from Heffel Fine Art Auction House (where Robert is vice president).
Like many of the bespoke interiors Jennifer designs for clients, her vacation home reflects an airy elegance
Like many of the bespoke interiors Jennifer designs for clients, her vacation home reflects an airy elegance that is inviting rather than ostentatious.
EVERY SUNDAY AT COAST
Chef Fernando is bringing a taste of his home in Spain with Lobster Paella every Sunday at Coast. Treat yourself to this classic showstopper with lobster, calamari, prawns, mussels, and clams nestled in a bed of sa ron rice.
that is inviting rather than ostentatious. It’s no surprise that the Heffels love to cook and entertain here. The kitchen is defined by Shaker-style cabinetry with stainless steel hardware that she brought in from Spain.
“I wanted the look to be simple and fresh and I didn’t want any upper cabinets anywhere,” she says. “I have that great pantry off the kitchen for storage. The island has the same cabinetry, and we put this sort of sea-foam-blue wash on the fir. And those pull-up bar stools are like tractor seats that are molded to your behind and are really comfortable.”
Jennifer loves textured fabrics and draperies (even the high ceilings between the home’s beams are wallpapered in grasscloth). Her choice of the unusual Justine Stripe sheers, woven in Belgium by Opuzen, alternate from semi-transparent to solid. Hung in the dining area and great room, they perfectly frame the view looking out to the exterior pool and lanai.
“Yes, it was expensive, but it doesn’t fade or yellow under the intense heat here and it’s frankly one of the best investments of fabric I’ve ever made,” she says.
When Jennifer was working with the architect on the design of the house, she really wanted a dining area in which a table could accommodate up to 16 people.
The resulting choice “has breadboard ends so it can be extended—we’ve had a lot of really fun dinners there! The eight rattan chairs are from Crate & Barrel and the two wing chairs at either end are upholstered in leafy-patterned slipcov-
ers, so if someone spills something, I just take them off to the dry cleaners,” she adds.
The great room that overlooks the spacious lanai is where the Heffel family congregates to watch films, sing along with the karaoke machine, and play board games in the evenings. Built-in light cabinetry and cosy slip-covered sofas exude a calming vibe, making it the perfect sanctuary to flop down and relax after a long day of beach sports. Pass the popcorn!
While the active couple heads down to the ocean daily to swim and windsurf, Jennifer says, “We really debated about putting in a pool because of the maintenance. But we realized that not everyone is a beach person. For instance, my parents who are in their 80s really like to just lounge and relax around the pool.”
The three bedrooms in the main house all have their own en suites and riff off the same beachy palette as the principal rooms, with striped fabric on the custom beds and headboards. Jennifer used a pebbled tile around the mirrors, backsplash and under the tubs and the floors of the walk-in showers. Off the master bedroom is a door leading to a private, heavenly outdoor shower.
“I’ve got tiki masks on the walls and big lava stones inside and what’s really funny is that we have never used the indoor shower once,” she laughs.
“We refer to our Maui vacation home as ‘our happy place,’ a legacy we hope our grandchildren will continue to enjoy.”
Boulevard visits the British Columbia Aviation Museum to celebrate the history of aviation in our province alongside spring fashion that gives a nod to a glamorous bygone era. Bomber jackets, travel suits and 1940s glamour will propel you into the season of open horizons and adventures.
STYLING JEN EVANS X P HOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE
It’s all about the experience
Abdel Karim Awwad is a master of etiquette, protocol and the creation of unrivalled customer experiencesWORDS LAUREN KRAMER X P HOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE
As sales and marketing manager for Brian Jessel BMW, Abdel Karim Awwad is at the forefront of the customer experience and in charge of brand marketing, events and public relations. That’s no small job at a BMW dealership that’s been number one in the country for the past 19 years. Last year alone, 42-year-old Abdel put on 64 events. His specialty is creating a customer experience defined by luxury, powerful messaging and exceptional details.
Born in Kuwait, he completed high school in Jordan and studied hospitality management at Jordan’s Jerusalem College. His father was CEO of a large company, and Abdel knew from an early age that he would work in customer experience.
“I come from a very sophisticated family that places a lot of emphasis on etiquette and how it is reflected in your life, from dining skills to dress code, meeting and greeting guests to presenting yourself in public,” he reflects. “It was important that we excelled at this because of my father’s work and his association with others in important positions. That required us children to have certain skills, and those skills shaped my personality.”
Fascinated with etiquette and international protocols, Abdel began his career working at an array of prestigious Middle Eastern hotels. He achieved several diplomas in etiquette and international protocols and opened a consulting firm and training academy called Protocol Lab. In that role he educated CEOs, dignitaries, government officials and corporate executives about the protocols in using private jets, yachts, technology, hotel selection, restaurant venues, events and international business relations.
“That is what differentiates you from the crowd,” he ex-
plains. “Protocol is the principle of any person’s lifestyle when it comes to presenting themselves in public in a proper way, and when you’re a public figure in the community, any mistake will be used against you, so you have to be especially careful.”
Part of his consulting work involved projects with royal family members across the Middle East, for whom Abdel helped organize weddings and international conferences attended by presidents and dignitaries worldwide. His consulting work also took him to India, China and the United Kingdom.
Abdel wanted his three daughters to receive a Western education, a decision that propelled him to relocate to Vancouver in 2020. As someone who had traveled to 62 countries around the world, he was humbled by the beauty of Vancouver when he first visited in 2004. With brothers already living in the city, the decision to join them in BC was an easy one.
Abdel had worked with BMW in Doha, Qatar from 2003, rising through the ranks to general manager and dealer principal. So, when he was offered the position of heading up sales and marketing at Brian Jessel BMW, he jumped at the opportunity.
“It wasn’t hard to adapt to the Canadian market after having worked in larger scale, metropolitan cities,” he says.
The family settled in Surrey’s Fleetwood neighbourhood and Abdel loves his daily commute to and from Vancouver in his BMW X7, a far cry from his first car ever, a 1972 Land Rover Defender.
“The BMW X7 meets my personality because at 6’4,” I’m a big guy. The vehicle is a six-seater, which accommodates my family needs, and I feel like it presents power, elegance and luxury.”
His favourite event last year was the wedding he arranged for the CEO and managing partner at Brian Jessel BMW in October.
“I brought my experience from the larger-scale weddings I’d arranged for royal families in the Middle East,” he recalls. “That keeps you thinking of how to create something unique and different.”
Abdel also helped engineer the largest worldwide launch event for the BMW 7 Series last year. “The car is made with a lot of crystals, in partnership with the Swarovski brand, so I designed the entire event around crystal shapes,” he explains.
He knew he’d done good work when other dealers from the Middle East started calling, asking if they could use the same concept for their events.
Etiquette and protocols remain a top priority for Abdel, particularly when it comes to elevating the customer experience at Brian Jessel BMW, and to ensuring his daughters know how to present themselves. In the latter respect, he confesses, “things are getting very challenging with technology.”
“The younger generation is building virtual friendships but is very isolated in real life. So, it requires parents to spend a lot of time trying to educate their kids on behaviour and etiquette,” he reflects.
“Customer experience is crucial wherever you go in the world, and the way to distinguish yourself as a brand or as a company is by setting standards. For me, it’s about setting the benchmark on customer experience—and that is my number one focus.”
Part of his consulting work involved projects with royal family members across the Middle East, for whom Abdel helped organize weddings and international conferences attended by presidents and dignitaries worldwide.
Gear up for travel time
Function, fashion and design team up in these cool travel accessoriesWORDS LAURA GOLDSTEIN
Travel is back with a force. Whether your journey involves planes, trains or automobiles, planning a trip is lots of fun. Add in these travel accessories to create a stylish and less frenetic experience. And then? Get packing!
GET ROLLIN’ WITH KID-FRIENDLY CARRY-ONS
In a galaxy not too far away, kids can travel with Grogu (Baby Yoda).
Samsonite Canada, a 100-year-old company that owns American Tourister, sparks imagination with its PVC-free American Tourister Star Wars Kids 18” Upright carryon.
Always the gold standard for reliability and sturdiness, the luggage company entered the competitive kids’ travel market in 2015.
“Our American Tourister Disney Kids Luggage was built to be fun for kids, but also durable to handle real travel,” says Samsonite brand manager Erin Reynolds, from the company’s headquarters in Stratford, Ontario. “It goes through the same testing as our regular adult luggage. We kept the inside simple with a mesh pocket and cross straps, so it is easy to keep track of items inside, but also stays lightweight.”
It’s big enough to hold toys, clothes and a small light saber.
This kids’ carry-on costs $145.
WATERPROOF PONCHOS: WHO CAN RESIST A ‘KISS’ IN THE RAIN?
When Dutch entrepreneurs Wessel Buis and his wife Juliska Kiss travelled to Bali, they had to contend with heavy downpours and cheap disposable plastic ponchos to shield them from the rain. That’s when the Rainkiss brand was born.
“The entire concept is to blend sustainable [certified recycled] materials with ethical manufacturing, fashion inspired prints and most of all—fun,” says marketing manager Shane Lakatos, from the Rainkiss studio in Amsterdam. “Our inhouse designers are focused on product development, and they consistently challenge manufacturers with new ways to improve our materials and processes,” he explains.
Originating in Latin America, the poncho is basically a square or rectangle of cloth with a hole cut out in the middle for the head.
“A hood, colourful graphic patterns and sleeves were natural additions to the Rainkiss poncho. As we are based in Amsterdam, the cycling capital of the world, it is an essential part of staying dry in the city,” says Lakatos (incidentally, a Canadian born in Ontario).
Recycled PET bottles are flaked, heated and spooled into fabric to create vivid unisex prints for adults and kids that are 100 per cent waterproof. From designs sporting gigantic black polka dots and pink panther animal prints, and names ranging from Disco Dream and Japanese Blossom to Digi Spring Camo, these ponchos might even make people hope for rain. When dry, they fold up into their own convenient carrying case for easy packing.
With a price tag of $86, they ship free to Canada. RAINKISS.COM
A TRAVEL TOOTHBRUSH THAT GIVES YOU SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT
Can a toothbrush be sustainable and still have a cool design? That’s a resounding “yes” from Saskia Coleman Foley, the CEO and president of oral care company RADIUS.
Originally founded in 1983 by her architect father, the company is now run by this exuberant product designer, who is on a mission to create toothbrushes that don’t pollute the environment.
“Billions of toothbrushes made of various plastics are thrown away every year and go straight into landfills,” says Coleman Foley from her manufacturing company in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. “All of our toothbrushes are made from up-cycled materials like wood-based resin, coconut shell, hemp and more.”
The 2-in-1 Tour Travel Brush is an ingenious wide, eco-friendly, vegetablederived-bristles toothbrush with replaceable brush heads that flips easily into its own transparent plant-based travel case. The collapsible design comes in a variety of colours, and tiny holes drain away any water from the bristles.
At $9.95, find them at RADIUS and All Things Being Eco, Chilliwack, BC. ALLTHINGSBEINGECO.CA / MADEBYRADIUS.COM
APPLE AIRTAG SOS (SAVE OUR SUITCASE)
Who can forget the airport chaos last summer when the whole world seemingly rushed to travel at the same time? The result: hundreds of pieces of luggage sat marooned in overwhelmed airports.
Apple AirTag to the rescue! Whether attached to a handbag, keychain, backpack, bicycle or another item, AirTag taps into the vast, global Find My app network and can help locate a lost item like luggage, all the while keeping location data private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption.
Small and lightweight, it even has a built-in speaker that plays a sound to locate it. (Or you can ask Siri.) That’s especially helpful for users who are blind or have poor vision. Apple does not suggest attaching AirTag to pets.
It’s available in a variety of colourful accessories, and fashionistas will also be pleased to know that Hermès has partnered with Apple to create an exclusive AirTag Hermès travel tag Bag Charm and Key Ring in Barenia leather. Made in France, it’s etched with the iconic equestrian Hermès Clou de Selle signature.
The AirTag starts at $39. Hermès accessories $449 to $879.
NANOPRESSO: BARISTA ON THE GO
So, you’re climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and suddenly you think, wouldn’t an espresso just hit the spot? Or maybe you’re camping with the family and a shot of espresso is your usual morning wake-up call. You’ll be so glad you packed the Nanopresso, designed by Wacaco.
Built around a patented pumping system, the ergonomic espresso maker is only 6.14 inches tall and weighs just 336 grams. It comes with its own cup, filter basket, brush, carrying pouch, warranty and multi-language instruction book. Easy to use, it works best with finely ground, carefully tamped down coffee. Holding it with two hands, just press to pump.
One caveat: it doesn’t heat water, so you need to find hot water to add to it. After each shot, Nanopresso easily separates for deep cleaning. Don’t forget to pack the biscotti!
Nanopresso costs $99.90. WACACO.COM
THE PARLIAMENT WALLET: THE SMART TRAVEL WALLET FOR MEN
Those savvy Dutch designers have done it again. Ekster, based in Amsterdam, has created a collection of men’s wallets, bags and travel gear in vegan, recycled leather made from car windshields or environmentally certified leather.
The Parliament Wallet, available in a variety of sleek colours, holds one to 12 cards and bills, and boasts a patented ejection mechanism that allows credit cards to be fanned out at a touch of a button to protect against skimming.
Every Ekster accessory can be paired with a solar-powered tracking tech card (extra), allowing for two-way ringing to call your wallet from your phone or vice-versa.
Cost is $90.
On Karen: Area
Swarovski crystal embellished set and Sophia Webster bow shoes, both from Turnabout Luxury Resale; earrings by Chanel.
On Sebastian: Alexander McQueen wool wide-leg pants and Alexander McQueen watercolour graffiti-printed jacket, both from Holt Renfrew; Swarovski crystal embellished derby shoes from Dolce & Gabbana.PHOTO BY LIA CROWE Hometown Heroes Lottery spokespeople Karen Khunkhun and Sebastian Sevallo.
Finger on the pulseWORDS LISA MANFIELD X P HOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY SHEILA SAY PHOTOGRAPHY + MIKE BRADLEY VISUALS STYLING SARAH D’ARCEY HAIR AND MAKEUP ARTIST HEATHER NIGHTINGALE, USING MISMACK CLEAN COSMETICS
If the image of an older man clutching his chest in pain is what comes to mind when you picture a heart attack, you’ve likely been exposed to popular media and medical dramas. The problem? These stereotypical depictions are inaccurate for women experiencing heart disease and cardiac arrest. And this has led to decades of miseducation and misdiagnosis.
The rate of heart disease has been rising among women—and it’s affecting more younger women than ever.
According to the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre, a woman dies of heart disease in Canada every 22 minutes. But it’s not always due to artery-clogging cholesterol.
Women’s instances of heart disease have a broader range of causes—from genetic predispositions to hormone changes. And the most effective treatment methods are often different, too.
“I deal with women presenting with heart attacks, and I’ve seen women turned away,” says Dr. Jacqueline Saw, an
interventional cardiologist at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC). “Typically, what affects men are cholesterol blockages, but in women it’s often caused by spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). The artery walls split, and blood can pool, which then compresses the main channels,” she says. “About a quarter to a third of heart attacks in women under age 60 involve this tearing.”
The world-leading authority on SCAD, Dr. Saw is on a mission to change how we understand and manage women’s heart disease.
“As a medical student I was always taught that SCAD is really rare,” she says. “But in 2011 I saw three women in two weeks who all had SCAD. That is not rare; we’d just done a poor job of recognizing this disease for decades. Now we need to educate the frontline positions because the proper way of managing this is quite different.”
BC’s frontline workers are striving to advance research, treatment and patient care, and the Hometown Heroes Lottery provides a win-win way to support their efforts
Beating the odds
For over 10 years, Dr. Saw has worked to improve the odds for women with SCAD—raising awareness and funds for VGH and UBC’s world-leading research.
“We obtained grants to enroll patients in 22 sites throughout North America—people who were presenting at hospitals with a heart attack,” she says. “We were looking to understand the incidence of recurrent heart attacks and recurrent tears.”
In 2018 she helped to launch the Vancouver SCAD conference to educate patients, families and medical practitioners about this condition. “We run the confer-
ence every year and work with the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, which helps to support our SCAD research registry.”
Dr. Saw says there is a tremendous need for research funding in this area, not only to catch up on decades of misdiagnosis, but also due to pandemic-related funding losses.
“There’s so much more we need to learn about this condition—we’re only at the tip of the iceberg,” she says. “But being at the forefront of this research has allowed us to educate other physicians in how to manage and diagnose this condition. It’s inspiring and satisfying.”
“There’s so much more we need to learn about this condition—we’re only at the tip of the iceberg. But being at the forefront of this research has allowed us to educate other physicians in how to manage and diagnose this condition. It’s inspiring and satisfying.”PHOTO CONTRIBUTED Dr. Jacqueline Saw.
A pristine respite in a community that offers the best of life right at your doorstep, this luxury home includes a chef’s kitchen, large walk-in pantry, quartz countertops and open-concept living space.
Supporting burn survivors
The BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund also benefits from proceeds of the Hometown Heroes Lottery. And Vancouver firefighter Sebastian Sevallo says funds are needed now more than ever.
“With an ever-growing population comes a greater risk of fires,” he says, “which in turn increases the risk of burn victims province-wide. There’s a never-ending need for support.”
Sebastian experienced this need firsthand this past year as one of his coworkers was severely burned in a fire he was attempting to put out while off-duty.
“He was fighting a car fire that happened outside his home,” Sebastian says. “The car exploded while he was hosing down an adjacent home to keep it from catching fire, and he unfortunately received significant burn injuries from the explosion.”
Sebastian’s colleague spent a significant part of his recovery receiving treatment in the Burn Unit at VGH. He has made a solid recovery that has enabled him to return to the fire truck and do what he loves.
“But visiting him at VGH and seeing his injuries firsthand was a pretty visceral reminder of why we do what we do with the lottery—and how the Burn Fund is directly helping burn survivors,” Sebastian says. “It’s an honour to be part of an organization that cares so much about the well-being of others.”
A true win-win
Purchasing a ticket to this year’s Hometown Heroes Lottery supports both the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation as well as the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. And one of the stunning prizes on the roster this year is this three-bedroom, three-bathroom house constructed by Crown Isle Homes Ltd. and located in the RISE development within Crown Isle Resort & Golf Community in Courtenay on Vancouver Island.
A pristine respite in a community that offers the best of life right at your doorstep, this 2,900-square-foot luxury home includes a chef’s kitchen, large walk-in pantry, quartz countertops, open-concept living space, cosy fireplace with custom cabinets, plus over 5,100 square feet of custom-landscaped lot outside with a covered patio, irrigation and barbeque hookup.
“Our Vancouver Island Crown Isle package is a staple in the Hometown Heroes Lottery, and this two-level family-oriented home is perfect for a family that needs more space,” says Jason Andrew, director of real estate at Crown Isle.
One of nine incredible prize packages, this one, worth $2.4 million, also comes with $925,000 cash, a $50,000 furniture package from Design Therapy, a 2023 VW electric SUV vehicle, a $25,000 Travel Best Bets gift card and more!
“The Crown Isle community was purpose-designed for residents to enjoy in all stages of life,” Jason says. “From ease of travel to dayto-day amenities, new health care facilities and recreational outlets, it’s all about the lifestyle.”
He adds: “This cause hits everybody, no matter what walk of life. That’s why we made a conscious decision to be a big part of the lotteries. There’s never a time we’re going to stop raising money for the foundation.”
You can get your ticket to the Hometown Heroes Lottery at heroeslottery.com.
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Pavers & Flagstone
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Celebrating the homebuilding industry
HAVAN AWARDS FOR HOUSING EXCELLENCE: 2023 FINALISTS ANNOUNCEDWORDS DAWN SONDERGAARD
Finalists of the Homebuilders Association Vancouver (HAVAN) Awards for Housing Excellence 2023, presented by FortisBC, were announced on March 9 at Vancouver’s iconic Hollywood Theatre.
The classic Art Deco theatre, reminiscent of the 1920s Jazz Age, evoked the glamour and elegance of that period, and created the perfect stage to announce Metro Vancouver’s best new-home construction, renovation and design nominees for 2023.
Showcasing awe-inspiring custom-built homes, production homes and whole-home renovations—complete with state-of-the-art automation, luxurious master suites and breathtaking kitchens and outdoor spaces—the HAVAN Awards offer homeowners inspiration and resources to design, build and buy the perfect home.
This year, 101 builders and designers are vying for wins in 54 award categories. A premier industry-recognized awards program, now in its 14th year, the competition
selects finalists through a rigorous judging process overseen by a peer-reviewed panel of award-winning builders, renovators and designers from across the country.
Finalists and winners proudly showcase the awards symbol, making it easy for homeowners to identify trusted local builders and designers, and providing an added layer of confidence.
Some 300 guests attended the exclusive industry finalist reveal reception with the anticipation of receiving a coveted nomination. Treated to a night of delicious canapes and beverages, guests revelled in the celebratory mood as nominations were announced throughout the evening.
The 2023 winners of the HAVAN Awards for Housing Excellence will be announced at the HAVAN Awards for Housing Excellence Gala on Saturday, April 22 at the JW Marriott Parq Hotel in Vancouver.
Here are some of the highlights. A full list of finalists and photos of the projects are available at havan.ca/ awards/finalists.
Builder: Glenmark Homes Ltd.
Finalist: Best Custom Home: $1.5 Million–Under $2 Million; Best Interior Design Custom Residence
A French-castle-inspired architecture with an Art Deco twist is the theme for this awardfinalist home. The grand entrance with glass and wrought-iron detail framed by 12-foot matching columns creates an elegance and grandeur of a bygone era.
778.896.1778 / firstname.lastname@example.org
After more than 15 years designing client kitchens–especially so many white ones–choosing warm woods and matte black in her own was a welcome detour for Katerina Vastardis. Vastardis, owner of Vancouver’s Designs by KS, designed the kitchen, along with the rest of her family’s 2,600-square-foot new build, completed in 2021.
She took cues from the restaurant industry when planning the layout. This meant designing commercial-style functionality into every corner, with work “stations” for cooking, food storage, prep and cleaning. On the esthetic side, she went with plenty of warm, welcoming wood. “We used walnut on the cabinets themselves…. I think that it’s rich and beautiful and timeless,” she says.
Rift-cut white oak ceiling slats–one of Vastardis’s “folder” ideas–and Rove Concept wishbone stools play off oak flooring. “And all of that wood is cooled down by the black in the cabinets, hood fan area and appliances. The countertops are a quartz, but it’s honed, so it looks a little bit more rugged and concrete-like,” Vastardis says.
The sub-175-square-foot space packs an impressive fleet of appliances for its size, including a standalone fridge, freezer and wine fridge, plus a Wolf gas range, steam oven and wall oven. For the “cleanup station” in the island, Vastardis added a five-foot-long sink and two dishwashers, one standard-style Miele and one Fisher Paykel drawer-style model, handy for smaller loads and keeping mess off the counter.
Was it harrowing to design her own kitchen after working for so many years with clients? “I always joke around that my client was my husband,” she says. “When you work on your own project, there’s a little bit more emotion involved. So that was interesting. But nevertheless, it was very rewarding.”
Builder: Brickhouse Building Ltd.
Designer: Christophe Vaissade Designs Inc.
Finalist: Best Custom Home: $2 Million–
Under $3 Million
This grand home maintains an inviting ambiance with high-end materials and a carefully curated design, featuring vaulted ceilings and a majestic open stairway with direct sight lines to the back outdoor patio and surrounding countryside.
Inspired by travel, nature, fashion, literature and art, Interior Designer Shima Javan has created outstanding interiors redolent of luxury and harmony since relocating to Vancouver 6 years ago. Her sophisticated sense of design has left its signature on prestigious projects such as multiple condominiums at Vancouver House and Three Harbour Green, as well as glamorous celebrity dwellings in the Greater Vancouver area.
The spirit of full collaboration prevails in all her projects. Whether commercial or residential, clients’ distinctive personalities and lifestyle needs are paramount in the process, resulting in interiors that reflect their goals, identity and individual needs. Call Shima Javan today for a consultation that can lead to a design experience that’s both delightfully unexpected and truly exceptional.
Builder: Adisa Homes Ltd.
Finalist: Best Custom Home: $3 Million and Over
The Yield House gives you the full experience of a dream home with 360-degree views of Vancouver, the North Shore mountains and English Bay. Some 1,700 square feet of custom windows span wall to wall and floor to ceiling. Lower floor cladding is red cedar with a brilliant white stain, while the upper floor contrasts in colour and texture with black Swiss pearl cladding.
JAMIE BANFIELD DESIGN INC.
From a studio with a breath-taking view of the Port Moody inlet, Principal Designer Jamie Banfield oversees a talented team of designers and architectural technologists passionate about creating efficient and functional residential projects. Jamie Banfield Design Inc. crafts a wide range of residential projects for every kind of family and tailor-makes them to fit their unique needs and lifestyles. As an award-winning residential design firm, they cover projects such as custom homes, renovations, interior, and exterior designs across Canada.
It starts from a complimentary consultation, dubbed a “Meet + Inspire,” where Banfield builds a rapport with clients to gain an understanding of their needs, inspirations, and lifestyle. With this knowledge in hand, Banfield provides the client with an in-depth scope-of-work and a fixed-fee service package which outlines the detailed process from vision to completion to ensure the client is never blindsided by unanticipated fees.
Banfield and his team believe that a well-thought-out design should be approached with a creative and proactive process. Throughout the experience, maintaining communication and collaboration with clients and the build team is a priority. A unique combination of skill sets and experience provides the team with an understanding of all the different disciplines that go into crafting a home. As part of their dedication to sustainable and approachable design, a part of this education includes being certified Passive House designers. From conceptual vision, throughout the design development process, to creating high-quality construction-ready drawings, they are mindful of all parties involved to ensure that the process runs smoothly and on budget.
Since moving to the Pacific Northwest from Wales, Banfield felt inspired by his new surroundings and implements its features in his work. His background in construction and millwork provided him
“West Coast style is all about taking inspiration from our surroundings. When I was 11, I fell in love with my new home after moving here from Wales. I aim to incorporate natural textures, colours, and the general feel of the West Coast into my designs by harmonizing tactile elements like real stone or real wood with modern functionality and space-planning.”
“We ask the ‘why nots’ and the ‘how to’s’ to ensure we are always exploring efficiency and function for the projects our clients call
with insider knowledge of the construction process. To pay homage to the West Coast scenery and to limit the environmental impact construction causes, Banfield often works with reclaimed materials. Banfield has collaborated with families from all lots of life. He and his team craft projects for all lifestyles and their expertise can accurately predict changes to the future of the family home. With their combined skillsets and experiences, they understand how to tailor deliverables to fit all the families who entrust Jamie Banfield Design Inc and its approach.
2729 Clarke Street, Port Moody, BC
Banfield and his team believe that a well-thought-out design should be approached with a creative and proactive process.Jamie Banfield Principal Designer, Jamie Banfield Design Inc. Photo credit: Lia Crowe Photo credit: Janis Nicolay
Builder: Kindred Construction Ltd.
Finalist: Best Custom Home:
$3 Million and Over
Designed by renowned architect John Patkau, Eagles Nest is a 4,000-square-foot, two-storey wood-frame, single-family home built on a concrete foundation at the foot of a cliff on Bowen Island. Boasting a 1,000-square-foot cantilevered deck overhanging the cliffs and ocean below, the views and daydream opportunities are endless.
Builder: Artiman Design + Build
Designer: Dell Anno Home Design
Finalist: Best New Custom Kitchen: $200,000 and Over; Best
Primary Suite: Renovated or Custom Home; Best New Bathroom;
Best Special Feature: New or Renovated; Best Outdoor Living Space: New or Renovated Home; Best Interior Design Custom Residence; Excellence in Building Products and Technology
This uber-modern kitchen delivers with horizontal orientation, natural woods and black-metal accents to create that “wow” factor, while paying a subtle homage to this West Vancouver home’s mountain and forest setting.
COAL HARBOUR CLASS
Builder: VictorEric Design+Build
Finalist: Best Townhouse/Condominium
Renovation: Under $500,000; Best Primary Suite: Renovated or Custom Home
Joining a walk-in closet and bathroom, this renovation transforms two spaces into one magnificent upscale master en suite, featuring dark marble floors, Zebrano wood, champagne metal accents and bronze smoked glass. Luxurious ambiance, fit for royalty!
Three years ago, the world seemed to stop turning. Planet Earth was, of course, still spinning steadfastly around, but life as we knew it ceased and, along with it, the global movement of our species. All travel deemed non-essential was prohibited and even as airports slowly started to open up again, many folks were hesitant to hop on a plane. During this time, I wrote a piece entitled “Great Escapes,” whereby I longingly recalled favourite past trips, and some tastes and gastronomic experiences that helped shape those adventures. Two years have since passed, and I have been on a couple of little family getaways, eagerly mind-mapping more adventures to come.
One of my greatest travel delights is in the planning. I tirelessly research the best hidden gems and secret sweet spots, and make sure to include the tried-andtrue mainstays amid spontaneous discoveries. I curate detailed master lists of must-sees, must-dos…and, of course, must-eats. And in the process, I’m given the gift of getting to know my destination a little better before I humbly step foot in these new spaces.
One of the greatest ways to familiarize oneself with places, people and cultures is through cuisine. I am a big advocate of snacking, sipping, dining and tasting one’s way through a town via the most loved local haunts. Prior to a trip, I find it fascinating and fun to look up cherished recipes, enjoying loosely themed meals as I plan, prep and count down to takeoff.
The following recipes represent three places I’ve yet to visit that are at the top of my travel bucket list, and perhaps are on yours too. Even if you’re not visiting any of these countries, the flavours will transport your taste buds as you dine your way around the world without even leaving your kitchen.
Spicy Mezcal Margarita
The word mezcal comes from the Nahuatl word “mexcalli,” which means “oven-cooked agave” and is distinguished by a smoky flavour. Nine Mexican states are particularly popular for the making of mezcal: Durango, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Puebla and San Luis Potosí, and each of these regions produces mezcal with slightly different profiles. While I would be delighted to visit any of these regions, I feel a particular draw to Puebla City for its fascinating cultural landscape and rich culinary history. With that said, a good margarita can be found all across this bright and beautiful country, as can good mezcal. I mix the smoky with spicy by infusing the mezcal with jalapeño, and swap the more commonly used triple sec with fresh-squeezed orange juice. This was first introduced to me by a Mexican chef, and I haven’t gone back to an orange-flavoured liqueur since.
Prep time: 5 minutes (plus infusion time)
Makes 2 margaritas
1 jalapeño, sliced and deseeded
4 oz mezcal
1-2 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz agave syrup
1 lime wedge, with a shallow slice down the middle for rimming the glass
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp chili powder
Optional garnishes of lime and deseeded jalapeño slices
In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the mezcal, orange juice, lime juice, agave syrup and jalapeño slices. Close the lid and give it a good shake. Store this mix in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours (or less time if you don’t like it too spicy). When ready to enjoy, mix the salt and chili powder and spread it out on a plate. Glide the lime wedge around the rim of two rocks glasses and dip the rims in the salt mix to coat. Fill the glasses halfway with ice cubes, give the mezcal mixture another good shake in the sealed jar, remove the lid, pour it evenly between the two glasses and enjoy!
Santorini Fava Bean Dip with Honey Spelt Flatbread
Santorini, and the Greek Islands in general, encompass my ideal vacation spot, either as a romantic getaway or family-friendly trip. The warmth (both temperature and hospitality), the beaches, the winding villages and mindblowing Mediterranean meals all call to my body, heart and soul. When I’ve spoken to friends who’ve been there and read articles on visiting this region, an enthusiastic “you must order the fava bean dip wherever you go!” seems to be a commonly emphatic statement. Accessing these beans is a touch trifling, so it’s often recommended to make the dip with yellow split peas when Santorini fava aren’t available. Taste-wise, Santorini fava beans are known for having a velvety texture, are sweeter than other fava beans, but are like a yellow split pea. The slow-cooking process with onion and thyme gives this creamy-yet-light dip its depth, especially when dolloped on top of some fresh flatbread, made here with the ancient grain of spelt and honey, both of which would have been choice ingredients of breadmaking in the Mediterranean prior to the global popularization of refined flour and sugar.
For the bean dip:
Prep time: about 5 minutes
Cook time: about an hour
Makes about 2 cups of dip (roughly 4 to 6 servings)
1 cup yellow split peas (or Santorini fava beans if you can get them)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 large thyme sprigs
2 ½ cups water
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
The juice of 1 large lemon
Extra virgin olive oil (about ¼ cup)
Optional garnishes: shown here with chopped capers, sun dried tomatoes, mint, parsley, feta cheese, and a sprinkling of paprika.
Soak the peas/beans in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.
Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until translucent, then add the garlic and continue sautéing until fragrant and slightly golden. Add the soaked peas/beans, thyme, water, about a teaspoon of sea salt and about one quarter of a teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Continue to simmer for 45 minutes or until the peas/beans are tender and all the water has been absorbed. Remove all the thyme twigs and transfer the cooked mix to a blender. Add the lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Puree until smooth, seasoning with more salt and pepper to taste as you go. If you’re finding that it’s not blending well, you can add a little bit of lukewarm water (or even some more olive oil) as needed. Once smooth and
creamy, transfer to a bowl, smooth out the top, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with toppings of choice.
*Note: The dip can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week. You may notice that once cool it stiffens a bit. To make it smooth and creamy again, transfer back to a blender and mix with small amounts of warm water until you’re happy with the consistency again.
For the flatbread:
Prep time: about 5 minutes + resting time (about an hour total)
Cooking time: about 2 minutes per flatbread
Makes about 6 to 8 flatbreads
2 tsp active dry yeast
½ tsp honey
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus 1 ½ cup spelt flour, mixed together (you may also need a little extra all-purpose flour for dusting)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for frying)
In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup of lukewarm water and whisk in the yeast and honey until dissolved, followed by half a cup of the flour blend. Set aside, uncovered, until it begins to bubble slightly (about 15 minutes). Once bubbling, add the salt, olive oil and 2 cups of flour, and stir until all the flour is integrated, and then knead gently for a minute or two. If you’re noticing that the dough is still quite sticky, add small amounts of flour as you knead, until it’s somewhat moist but springy, and can be formed into a very soft ball. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set it aside for 30 to 45 minutes. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 pieces and form them into smooth balls. On a lightly dusted surface (you can also do it between two pieces of parchment paper), roll out each ball to 5 inches in diameter and a quarter-inch thick (it helps to lift and turn the dough frequently as you roll so that dough doesn’t stick to your counter too much, and to give it a more even shape).
While rolling out the flatbread, heat a frying pan to medium heat and coat the bottom with a small amount of olive oil. Working with one flatbread at a time, lay a rolled-out flatbread on the pan and fry for 30 seconds, until a couple bubbles start to form. Flip the flatbread over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Flip again and cook another 1 to 2 minutes to toast the other side. Transfer to a plate and gently wrap with a kitchen towel to keep warm. Repeat until all the flatbreads are cooked. Enjoy warm or at room temperature, and to reheat, place back on a medium-heated pan for 30 seconds on each side.
Moroccan Lamb Tagine
I have long dreamed of getting lost in the bustling marketplaces of Marrakesh, soul searching in the Atlas Mountains, immersing myself in the buzz of Essaouira, and winding my way through the Jardin Majorelle. The breathtaking architecture, cultural eclecticism, rich and dynamic history, and of course mind-blowing, lifechanging food, all make the entire country of Morocco a dream destination. And while I fantasy-plan a trip, I will continue to make this staple dish in our weeknight dinner rotation, as the warming aromas transport me to this wondrous part of the world.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 2 to 3 hours
Makes about 4 to 6 servings
About 2 lbs cubed lamb shoulder (roughly 2-inch chunks)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
800 ml diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground ginger
½ tbsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper (plus more to taste)
1 loose cup dried apricots, cut in half
1 loose cup prunes, cut in half
2 cups broth
2 tbsp honey
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro and/or parsley to garnish
¼ cup of sliced almonds to garnish
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large ceramic pot with a fitted lid (like a Dutch oven) and brown the lamb. Transfer the browned lamb to a plate, and add the onions, as well as a bit more olive oil. Sauté the onions until translucent, then add all the spices and garlic. Continue to cook over a gentle heat for a few more minutes, being mindful not to let the onion or garlic overly brown or burn.
Add in the diced tomatoes and cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring throughout. Add the lamb back to the pot, as well as the broth, apricots, prunes and honey. Give it a good stir, and as soon as you notice a low boil, turn off the heat, cover with a fitted lid, place in the oven, and cook for 2.5 hours or until the meat is melt-in-yourmouth tender. Place the lamb in a tagine or large serving dish and sprinkle on the chopped herbs and sliced almonds. Serve with rice and/or flatbread.
Enjoy hot or chilled
300g spring salmon, cut into 2” cubes
8 spot prawn tails
1 ½ L Finest at Sea fish stock
1 Tbsp butter
1 small bundle of finely chopped Lacinato kale
1 cup shelled peas
1 cup each finely sliced snap peas, asparagus, zucchini, spring onions or any other seasonal veg that you love.
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
Zest from 1 lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup canned white beans (we have a great marinated Greek bean at Finest at Sea)
Method: Mix lemon zest and olive oil together and set aside. In a medium sauce pot over medium heat melt your butter. Add the spring onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add kale and cook for 1 minute until its volume is reduced by half. Add remaining veggies and beans and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add salt and stock and bring to a gentle simmer. When the stock comes to a simmer add the salmon and cook for 1 minute, add the prawns and cook 2 minutes longer. Pour soup into bowls and garnish with dill and a drizzle of lemon zest oil.
Southeast Asian Mango Sticky Rice
Although I have been beyond fortunate to visit many amazing places, I have regrettably never travelled to any country in Southeast Asia. My husband, whose father is Vietnamese, sadly hasn’t either, so at the tip-top of our to-do list is a big adventure throughout this stunning and special part of the world, including (but not limited to) Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Many associate mango sticky rice with Thailand (known there as Khao Niew Mamuang) as it’s a popular dessert and street-food snack throughout the region. This recipe (as well as all offered today) is my own interpretation, an easy home-cooking version, and meant to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own abode as you plan, prep and dream of adventures in far-off places.
1 ½ cups uncooked rice (it works best with sticky or “glutinous” rice, but if you can’t find it, use regular short grain white rice)
1 1⁄3 cup of well stirred coconut milk (full fat)
1⁄3 cup plus 3 tbsp coconut palm sugar (you can use regular sugar, but coconut palm sugar is widely used in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia and gives it the most exquisitely rich flavour and colour)
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted lightly
1 large mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into thin slices
Cook rice as per the instructions on the package. While the rice is cooking, bring 1 cup of coconut milk, 1⁄3 cup of sugar and the salt to a low boil in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat but keep this mixture warm. Transfer the cooked rice to a bowl and stir in the coconut milk mixture.
Let the rice stand, covered, for 30 minutes or until the coconut milk mixture is fully absorbed (you want it to have a sticky, creamy, yet slightly stiff consistency that would hold shape when formed). Note that the rice may be prepared a couple hours ahead and kept covered at room temperature.
While the rice is standing, use the same small saucepan to slowly boil the remaining one-third cup coconut milk with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, stirring occasionally until it starts to thicken. Remove from the heat, keep uncovered and let it cool until you get the consistency of caramel sauce. To serve, mold one-half-cup servings of rice onto a plate and artfully arrange the mango beside it. Drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and enjoy!
Billowing sails and pirate tales
Luxury sailing in the Caribbean
Affluent residents of St. Barts are accustomed to welcoming mega yachts of the rich and famous. Unless you happen to know a billionaire, it’s highly unlikely you’d ever get close to one of these vessels, much less find yourself on the most beautiful boat in the bay.
It’s a topic that comes up repeatedly among the passengers of the SPV Star Flyer, a striking, 16-sail clipper with four towering masts, polished teak trims and enormous white sails. Turning heads from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, it looks like a pirate ship sailed through an eighteenth-century wormhole.WORDS + PHOTOGRAPHY ROBIN ESROCK
Sailing with the breeze in high comfort is on many a bucket list, especially romantics with a pinch of salt in their veins. When I first board the Star Flyer late afternoon in St. Maarten, it takes my breath away. One of three tall ships owned and operated by Sweden’s Star Clippers, my week-long itinerary in the Lesser Antilles promises an adventure both familiar and exotic.
Well-appointed rooms, friendly international staff and a fine buffet are common on most cruise ships. Sallying forth under sail, chasing pirate lore and dropping anchor at small island communities are not.
Born and raised in a landlocked city, salt runs in my blood like integrity in politics. I can’t tell a jib from a topsail, a schooner from a sloop or the spanker from the anchor. Regardless of one’s prior knowledge and appreciation for sailing, everyone goose-bumped when the crew hoisted the sails at sunset. With speakers booming an epic soundtrack of Vangelis’s Conquest of Paradise, the wind thrust us forward in search of rich Caribbean bounty.
The 166-passenger Star Flyer is 115 metres long with a 15-metre-wide beam, and it’s not even the biggest ship in the Star Clipper fleet. The 227-passenger, 42-sail Royal Clipper holds the Guinness World Record as the largest square rigger in service. Both ships rely on the breeze to do the heavy lifting, with low-emission gas used for internal power, port docking and maneuvering through idle doldrums. Fortunately, the wind in the Caribbean from December to April is so reliable you can bank on it, hence, the trade winds. It’s the perfect time to make up the leeway, learn your sailing lingo and discover wild legends among the beaches and coconut trees.
Calling into Anguilla, St. Kitts, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and St. Barts, I’m sailing into a domain of buried treasure, mythical pirates and sloop battles. Borrowing books from the ship’s library, I dive into the Golden Age of Piracy, when motley crews of men—and occasionally women—plundered trade and war ships, all the while swearing impressive oaths of loyalty, democracy and non-discrimination, welcoming all who could be useful, and evenly distributing the spoils. The intrigue of pirates has long hijacked our popular imagination, the Black Flag inspiring countless legends in the Caribbean, including that of a buried treasure hidden deep inside the coastal caves of the uninhabited Norman Island.
Here, the Star Flyer dropped anchor so passengers could snorkel into the same caves that inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. The more I read about Henry Morgan and Calico Jack, Anne Bonny and the infamous Blackbeard, the more I get swept up in the region’s history, and the thrill of sailing under wind.
Operating a tall ship is both an art and a skill. Experienced passengers on board constantly debate our Polish captain’s decisions, analyzing the different sails in use, and the impact of the prevailing winds. With 3,344 square metres of sail, utilizing all four masts could easily blow us halfway around the world. The captain tells me that he often sails up and down during the night, providing invaluable experience for his navigation and ship crew, and using just 15 per cent of the fuel typically needed for a ship of this size. Cruising anywhere in modern luxury is a decadent affair, but with its comparatively low carbon footprint, large passenger sailboats like the Star Flyer suggest a more viable and sustainable cruising alternative.
When we dock in St. Kitts, I see a lineup of massive cruise ships docked outside a duty-free shopping mall. It’s the only time our vastly different cruise experiences meet, and it feels like we’re visiting from a different planet.
Occasionally, the wind howls over 25 knots, creating large swells that rock and roll the ship, stabilizers be damned. Sometimes, I reach for the Gravol or need to retreat to my comfortable cabin on the Commodore Deck, watching sea water rinse my cabin window. More often, the sea is as calm
Well-appointed rooms, friendly international staff and a fine buffet are common on most cruise ships. Sallying forth under sail, chasing pirate lore and dropping anchor at small island communities are not.
as a mirror, but sailing will always be an adventure, especially for landlubbers lacking sea legs.
Seventy-three international staff and crew operate efficiently under any conditions, spotlessly cleaning our rooms and preparing fantastic meals, cocktails and evening entertainment. There’s pirate parties and trivia nights, disco dancing and interpretive talks. Daily activities include swimming and snorkelling, various water sports, an on-board spa and opportunities to explore the history and culture of different islands.
Tenders deposit us on quiet beaches that are home to some of the Caribbean’s legendary sailing bars, like Soper’s Hole on Tortola and the Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke. My personal highlight is a visit to Virgin Gorda’s The Baths—a series of rock pools, beaches and cave swims in the turquoise water of your dreams. Being on a smaller vessel with a minimal footprint means we can visit and interact with beaches and communities beyond the reach of giant cruise ships. My dining mates, a couple from Toronto, are cruise veterans with dozens of voyages under their belt. Both agree the tall ship had exceeded their expectations, with just the right combination of adventure and comfort.
Embracing the warm sea breeze, I stretch my arms towards a pod of dolphins cresting a few metres beneath me. I’m lying on the netted bowsprit at the fore of the ship, my favourite spot on the Flyer to soak it all in. It’s a giant hammock, of sorts, meeting the sea breeze and ocean spray head-on. I often lie back on the thick net to admire the clouds, or zone out staring at the waves. That’s when the dolphins appeared, gliding playfully in front of the bow, providing another singular moment of joy in a week of many.
Admittedly, not all passengers have the nerve to hang out
at the bowsprit, much less take up the ship’s offer to scale the mainmast. Securely kitted with a safety harness, I climbed the rope ladder to a viewing platform 18 metres above the sparkling water. It provides a priceless and occasionally kneeshaking, bird’s-eye view of the ship, sea, islands and sparkling horizon.
Although travelling alone, I quickly find my crew of fellow bowspritters and mast-climbers. Spanning six decades of age, I gathered with my group to enjoy fine cocktails, fun company and tall tales at the Tropical Bar. No matter what boat you sail in, it’s the people you meet who create the paradise you find.
Reliably gorgeous sunsets and epic sail-aways are greeted each evening with champagne, cocktails and quirky maritime toasts suggested in the daily program.
An unannounced wedding takes place on the sun deck one evening, and the entire ship celebrates. Small ships just have that kind of vibe.
Later, we’re invited to follow the cruise tradition of dressing in white to sail the warm breeze under the spotlight of a full moon. Naturally recalibrating my balance with one hand steadied on the ship, I’d found my sea legs at last.
Everything moves a little slower under sail. Although the internet is available at the bar, it is pricey and limited. Most passengers agree that screens can wait. Sailing on a tall ship is about reading and resting, conversations and stargazing, staring into the distance, and wondering why it took you so long.
When we anchored in St. Barts, it was a thrill to find ourselves on the most impressive ship in the harbour, and nobody needed a personal invitation from a billionaire either. Any way the wind blows, it’s reassuring to know we can all find our own swashbuckling sailing adventure.
EnjoYable Golf for EverYone
EnjoYable Golf for EverYone
Golf Burnaby, with its facilities nestled within the heart and spectacular natural beauty of the Lower Mainland, offers many of the luxuries experienced within a private club setting.
Burnaby Mountain Golf Course & Driving Range in North Burnaby
This popular golf course boasts natural tree lined and gentle rolling terrain offers blend of charm, character and serenity.
Riverway Golf Course & Driving Range in South Burnaby
One of the premier golf courses in the area. With imaginatively designed links-style fairways, lined by sweeping mounds of wild fescue, this course has an array of white tan bunkers and water hazards that are strategically placed to make every shot exciting.
secrets and lives —
AND THE 7 SINS with IRENE BARLAS-RIMAR
With her trademark sense of humour and boundless enthusiasm, Irene Barlas-Rimar has forged a path to success in not one but two traditionally male-dominated industries. She is the president of COIT Cleaning and Restoration Services BC, and she and her husband Les Rimar recently became the owners of Rex Cox Men’s Wear in Mission.
Both companies are staples in the Lower Mainland. COIT has been in business for 70 years, 53 of those in BC, and Rex Cox was established 98 years ago. And Irene is proud to continue their legacies of exceptional service.
“We seek to provide that wow-factor, nostalgic type of customer service where you feel like a friend, not just a customer or stranger.”
Irene discovered her entrepreneurial spirit early—“at the ripe age of seven!”—working in her parents’ pizza parlours in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
“It spurred this ambition of mine to always be busy making great things happen, not just for me but for anyone who is willing to work with me and do amazing things together. Because let’s be clear, one can’t do it on one’s own. I am no one-woman show! It takes a village to keep me excited and succeeding.”
This is a key philosophy for Irene, who is quick to credit the support of her parents, husband and daughters, her COIT business partners Brent Pullan and Brian Wener, and her colleagues at both of her workplaces.
Irene started a part-time job as a telemarketer while pursuing a law degree. Her love for business superseded her interest in law, and she started working full-time with what was then the Eaton’s/Woodward’s cleaning company.
“I loved providing customers with an opportunity to freshen up their home or business. I love everything to look and feel clean, so it was easy for me to talk cleaning,” she laughs.
In 1998, she joined COIT Cleaning and Restoration Services as a com-
mercial account manager, taking on challenges in various roles over the years. In 2017 she accepted the opportunity to become a shareholder and partner in the business, and in November 2021, she became COIT’s president.
Around that time, Irene had picked back up a longtime hobby of designing and making clothing. Soon enough, she was wondering how she was going to get out all the orders she was receiving.
“I suggested to my husband that we buy a store where I could sell my stuff. He has been a rock for me and a huge supporter of my goals and aspirations, so he said, ‘Okay, well, if you want a store, go find us a store!’”
With that, the search was on. The high cost of leasing space in the Vancouver area was proving a challenge, until the day Irene noticed a little shop in Mission with a red awning called Rex Cox Men’s Wear.
“Everything I found out about this retro-nouveau little store intrigued me, and I knew we had to go see it. When we met the owners, who were wanting to retire, we hit it off at ‘hello.’ We just knew Rex Cox was everything we wanted our small clothing business to be, with a ton of potential to introduce even more.”
In January 2022, Irene and Les took over the reins at Rex Cox, which specializes in both formal and casual men’s wear. For now, it’s a “work away from work” project for the couple. They mainly spend time in the store on weekends, with the support of a great team that keeps the business running smoothly.
At both COIT and Rex Cox, the foundation of Irene’s work is her dedication to making people happy.
“I love to put smiles on people’s faces, whether it’s through offering fantastic cleaning services, or dressing up the distinguished gentleman or the guy next door. If it makes you happy, my work is done, and a big smile is on my face too!”
Irene also loves to sketch, read, dance, travel and cook (“It’s the Greek in me!”). And it should come as no surprise that she has more big plans in store.
“I’m not done just yet. Who knows what my next endeavour will be? I just might write a book. Stay tuned!”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
Coco Chanel or Calvin Klein, my favourite designers. Both had/have an eclectic passion for fashion that has always intrigued me. Their stories and journeys are inspirational and exciting, and I love their forwardthinking ways. They have allowed many people to look and feel absolutely amazing, including me!
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
Oh my goodness...there are a few, but I have to say chicken wings. I might have to change up the flavour, but salt and pepper chicken wings all day, all night works for me!
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?
I would purchase a beautiful villa in Santorini or Lefkada, Greece. We could vacation there any time, especially when we embark upon our retirement years. It would be wonderful for our daughters and grandchildren to enjoy too. I would love to sit by my very own villa bay windows, overlooking the blue-green waters, and be mesmerized by the beauty in front of me.
Well, this is easy for me. I don’t like wrinkled clothes! They make me feel sad and not dressed for success. Procrastinators are another pet peeve of mine. I love making things happen, and I don’t like hearing the words “I don’t have time” or “there’s no time.” There is always time if you put your mind to it and book the time for it. Lastly, anything crooked! No matter where I see it—a picture on the wall, a bunch of paperwork on your desk, books in a library—I will stop what I’m doing, apologize and ask for permission to fix it!
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
This might be hard for me! But I could do it somewhere warm, not too hot, near beautiful water, relaxing at my vintage cabin with my sketchbook or a fabulous Harlequin in hand… yes, I’m a hopeless romantic.
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
My zest for life and my entrepreneurial spirit. I have a “dream it, live it,” never-give-up attitude with everything I do.
What makes your heart beat faster?
Next to seeing our girls thriving, it’s the adrenaline I feel when a goal is achieved, the impossible becoming possible, and seeing and making people happy. When cool, big things happen I just love it. Such a rush!
SANDHILL CRANES AND A PHOTOGRAPHER
As a way of coping through the pandemic, I enrolled in an online biology course with the University of Victoria and learned there are 10,000 species of birds. Charmed by a description of the adaptable sandhill crane, one of the oldest living bird species in the world, I remembered a story I had heard a few years earlier.
Bil Lingard told me he knew early on that he wanted to be a photographer. Under the guidance of a favourite uncle, he was developing film in a “pudding dish” at eight years old.
“In my 60 years of professional photography, I have only one shot that completely pleases me from the perspective of subject, composition and the cooperation of the subject—a pair of sandhill cranes standing almost eye to eye with me.”
Bil spoke with the intensity of a 12-year-old boy having fun. He placed a postcard-sized image on the coffee table and told me about a pair of sandhill cranes he photographed at a tidal brook near his home in Florida. He described the painstaking process of capturing his perfect image.
“Two sandhill cranes came down the creek by my house every day for several months. From a distance, I watched in awe without a thought of shooting. The magnificent wading birds did their elegant and ancient dance and I listened to their powerful bugle-ish calls.”
Bil thought through his plan carefully. He knew that much was out of his control.
“I sat, impossibly still, in the marshy landscape so that they could get used to my presence. As I watched their long spindly black legs, grey-brown bodies, white throats, long sharp bills and red crowns, I was mesmerized by the graceful, bouncing hops as the gangly birds landed. I could understand why some birders see a synchronized and sensual tango in their movements.
“I decided I had to shoot late in the afternoon for ideal lighting.
“Each day, moving in a barely discernible way, I inched closer. I could easily fathom how sandhill cranes were once considered good eating. Those birds are almost five feet tall.”
In the 1850s, sandhill cranes were sold in San Francisco for $20 as a turkey substitute. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1916 stopped the practice due to overhunting.
“When the day came, and the lighting and background were perfect, I collected my camera and made my way to the planned spot. I waited a long time without making a sound; and then, when it felt just right, when they were close enough, I stomped my foot and startled one of them. He lifted both of his wings in an aggressive display, and I got the shot.”
Ornithology-wise, Bil’s picture shows all characteristics of the birds. Both sides, male and female, broad wings outstretched and wings down.
“That picture pleases me terrifically,” he said. “Looking at it feels like a ‘moment of truth.’ I couldn’t have done that picture with a digital camera. When you print to that size, the process would bleed colors.”
While Bil’s description of stomping his foot to get a reaction from the bird was honest, I have learned that it is not in keeping with the ethical practices of wildlife photography today—which are to not disturb subjects or provoke behaviours that they don’t do on their own.
Three years after he took the shot, Bil told me, he went back to the site and the stream had dried up. Development took over the area and there were no more wondrous flying vertebrates with their lightweight skeletons of hollow bones full of airspace. The sandhill cranes, some of the last remaining ancestors of the dinosaurs, and creatures more evolved than mammals, had disappeared from Bil’s neighbourhood. The natural feeding environment and wetland home to the magnificent birds had been paved over; built on; gone forever.
Bil decided not to publish the best photograph of his work-
“In my 60 years of professional photography, I have only one shot that completely pleases me from the perspective of subject, composition and the cooperation of the subject—a pair of sandhill cranes standing almost eye to eye with me.”
ing life. He made 24- by 30-inch prints and a postcard-size version as gifts for family and friends.
I wrote to Bil’s daughter in Florida and told her the story her father had told me many years ago. She kindly offered to send the related photograph. I wondered what I might discover in studying the never-commercially-published image.
When the print arrived from its pandemically-delayed, fourweek-long, 5,200-kilometre journey, rolled in a postal tube, I had it solidly mounted and propped up on my desk, two feet from my face.
While the world was sinking into despair with daily reports of the mounting tally of COVID-19 losses and continued devastating news coverage on the scientific findings on climate change, I decided to stare at Bil’s work while reading about sandhill cranes from a stash of carefully selected library books. I wanted to try to understand why this image captivated the photographer; why it was so close to his professional heart.
To my non-birder, non-photographer eyes, at first it was just a big picture of a couple of big birds. The National Geographic Field Guide for Photographing Birds helped me begin to discern Bil’s work.
Were the birds well-suited old mates? Courting youth?
Feeding for their nearby young? Did the unique sandhill crane gait capture Bil? Was it the verdant Eden-esque landscape? Or the preternatural lighting? The more I observed his work, the more too-late questions I had for the late photographer.
I can’t tell you about the camera or the lenses or the F-stops he used, but I can tell you that the photograph was taken by
a person with a strong moral compass. I only met the elderly man once for a couple of hours at a friend’s house in Victoria, when he told me this:
“I don’t want to be at the wheel of my car when I drop dead. My reactions are not quick enough. So, I volunteered to give up my driver’s license. It would be terrible to kill someone at my age because my reflexes have slowed.”
You just know a person like that will have a thoughtful reason for the way they approach their photography.
As I learned in my biology course, gruiform birds have the best fossil records of any avian order and stretch back over 80 million years. Despite that glorious history, only 15 species of sandhill cranes are left in the world today—two in North America.
Sandhill cranes are known for being wary, always raising their heads to look around while feeding. But apparently not wary enough. Even their highly evolved lifelong pair bonding, a characteristic behaviour that likely added to their tenacious and staggering survival history, will not help them in 2022. Recently, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology noted that three billion birds have disappeared since 1970.
In my pandemically-inspired biology course—thanks to the UVic continuing education program—I learned that birds are very old, and humans, a much younger species, are wiping them out. Bil Lingard’s hauntingly beautiful still image depicts a microcosmic reminder of humanity’s terrible loss. There may not be many beautiful Bil Lingards left either.
ervices throughout the Greater Vancouver ince 2004. Working with a select group of premium dealerships to provide lending solutions to clientele who may not be able to obtain regular financing or who may need assistance in securing rare or limited-edition vehicles. The clientele includes affluent new immigrants, international students, and wealthy business owners. Solution developed a unique to leasing that focuses on flexible lending terms not commonly offered by traditional leasing companies. As of
BRITISH COLUMBIA 2004 CALGARY 2019
A Unique Approach to Leasing
Solution Financial (TSX: SFI) has provided luxury vehicle leasing and sourcing services throughout the Greater Vancouver since 2004. Working with a select group of premium dealerships to provide lending solutions to clientele who may not be able to obtain regular financing or who may need assistance in securing rare or limited-edition vehicles. The clientele includes affluent new immigrants, international students, and wealthy business owners. Solution developed a unique approach to leasing that focuses on flexible lending terms not commonly offered by traditional leasing companies. As of 2022, the company has expanded and now operates in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.
Solution Financial's strong board of directors and top executives specialize in financial services, strategic management, debt & equity financing, mergers & acquisitions, corporate & security law, insurance & risk management, and growth & expansion strategies. This has allowed the company to expand and replicate services from British Columbia to Alberta in 2019, and Ontario in 2021. September 2022 marked a major milestone in Solution Financial's expansion strategy with the acquisition of a $15m bank facility to be used towards strengthening and growing the lease portfolio.
What to Expect in 2023
Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)
The new year ahead for Solution Financial represent large opportunities for expansion and portfolio growth. Opening offices in the midst of the pandemic allowed the company to gain deep understanding of the marketplace and to formulate strategies as the economy recovers. In the first month of 2023, Solution Financial established a securitization facility up to $35 million with Sun Life. This will allow the company to raise capital at relatively more affordable rates and support the expansion strategy.
As the world move towards a more environmentally conscious future, luxury automotive companies are under pressure to reduce their carbon footprint in order to prioritize sustainability and their environmental footprint. Many luxury car buyers now look for environmentally friendly vehicle options, which has led to an increase in electric and hybrid luxury vehicles.
In addition, more opportunities will emerge, as Canada was named one of the most welcoming countries in the world and exceeded expectations with recordbreaking results in 2022 for immigration. The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) also forecasted study permit holder numbers will rise to over 750,000 in 2023. Solution Financial is well positioned to support these immigration government policies and offer its leasing services.
Solution Financial promotes sustainability by encouraging the use of electric and hybrid vehicles among our clientele. Electric and hybrid vehicles produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than traditional gas-powered cars, which helps to reduce carbon footprints and protect the environment. By promoting the use of electric and hybrid vehicles, luxury car leasing companies can help clients reduce their environmental impact and promote sustainability.
invest in safe & steady profits
invest in safe & steady profits
Environmental Social Governance
Environmental Social Governance
establishing initiatives to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, and contributing to local communities through charitable campaigns. The company is committed to responsible material sourcing, fair labor practices, and transparent corporate governance. By prioritizing ESG factors, Solution Financial aims to appeal to customers who share its values and are looking for opportunities to create a positive impact on society and the environment, thereby fostering customer loyalty.
Solution Financial will continue its effort in creating value for investors, business partners, clients and the community. Along with ESG practices, the company also holds high standards in risk management, safeguarding assets, and fostering long-term relationships for continuous growth.
Boulevard’s fashion team members were like kids in a candy store as they delved into the incredible collection of aircraft and artifacts at the BC Aviation Museum, located on the grounds of the Victoria International Airport at 1910 Norseman Road. Treated to a backdrop of beautifully restored candy-red and bumblebeeyellow aircraft, the team also had the opportunity to view a collection of aviation-related clothing and uniforms, including a First World War air force jacket belonging to a former Victoria high school student, Second World War jackets and flight suits, vintage stewardess uniforms from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, and a plethora of retro pillbox hats, helmets, leather caps and vintage goggles. As lovers of fashion, the team could have spent a whole day “oohing” and “aahing” over these pieces, which are under the care of Michelle Harris, a museum volunteer tasked with preserving this incredible collection. Each beloved aircraft has a story, a past and a purpose. It was an honour to photograph our feature among some of BC’s most treasured history.