villagevibe August 2011
News and views from the heart of Fernwood
FernFest & Fernwood Bites = smashing success! ›› Joshua Schmidt
ow. If you happened to stop by the square this past June 24th to 26th you’ll know why words escape me. On those memorable dates, FernFest 2011 and the 2nd annual Fernwood Bites graced our fair square, transforming it into an incredible playground for people of all ages and tastes! And have no doubt, 2011 has been our best year yet. With the support of the incredible people and businesses within our neighbourhood, we smashed all the records and showed that Fernwood really is the funkiest place around! Friday night at FernFest was absolutely ridiculous. If you were there you know what I’m talking about. A swarm of people came to party down in the square, way more than we had anticipated, setting the tone for the weekend. Although we had purchased BBQ and beer supplies for the entire weekend, both ran out Friday night forcing an emergency re-stock. FernFest had arrived. As the electronic beats raised to a crescendo, a trio of fire dancers surprised us with their incredible talents, twirling and breathing flames high into the night sky. Saturday was no small affair either, with twelve plus hours of (mostly) family friendly performances, Above: A selection of ‘Bites’ from Fernwood Bites 2011. If this doesn’t make your mouth water then nothing will. Left: Live music filling Fernwood Square during the 16th annual FernFest. Photos: Alexandra Stephanson
for FernFest, and nearly 100 performers! And then there was Bites. Ah Fernwood Bites... a more delectable day could not be found. Funny enough, this was my first time attending a big food tasting event and it was the one I organized. With thirty-five of the best restaurants and drink establishments in Victoria and Fernwood showing off their array of taste sensations, it was the best Sunday dinner I’ve had in some time! The smooth jazz played by Kariba Surprise for their debut performance in Victoria accentuated the meal perfectly. While only the second year running, we
once again sold out all our tickets and have firmly cemented Fernwood Bites as the food tasting event to be at. Big props go out to all the businesses that came to show off their delectable food and sips, we couldn’t have done it without you! Finally, thanks to all those who contributed to make this event happen. That’s right I’m talking about our local businesses we know and love that generously sponsored both events. Your support allowed us to have the best events to date. Thank you to Darband Tea House, Phillips Brewery,
Mark Your Calendar
Persia comes to Fernwood Square page 2
`A pretty little public place` page 4
Vining Street Block Party page 7
activities and fun. My favourite for Saturday was joining Rocky Mountain Rebel Music in their debut of the Fernwood NRG song, playing to a pulsating crowd wrapping around the 360 degree stage as light effects played across the square. In the end, we had over 4,000 people come through
Zamian Parsons and Pemberton Holmes, Studio 1284, Inoui Design Collective Inc., Fernwood Urban Village, Fernwood Inn, Belfry Theatre, Kulu, Gower Design Group, Soma Active Health, Aubergine
Specialty Foods, Stage Small Plates Wine Bar, Discovery Coffee, The Parsonage Cafe, and Mermaid Moon . Thanks to
all our volunteers who contributed their time and energy. Thank you so much to the C ornerstone Cafe staff and Fiona, for keeping us stocked up and superbly handling the massive influx of people. Thanks to Kayla Quan, Patrick Pouponneau, and Liz Hallet, who went above and beyond to tackle any issues and worked tirelessly behind the scenes. Finally, thanks to everyone who participated and attended! Planning FernFest and Fernwood Bites has been a wonderful experience, and the people of Fernwood have been nothing but supportive. You guys rock! I ♥ Fernwood.
in this issue To get the Vibe digitally, sign up at fernwoodnrg.ca
villagevibe Published by Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group Editorial Committee
Lee Herrin Matt Takach
Mila Czemerys Kellan Mckeen
Founding Editor Lisa Helps Contributors
Joshua Schmidt Patrick Pouponneau Mila Czemerys Aubrey Burke Margaret Hantiuk Sammie Gough
Lee Herrin Allan Antliff David Segal Julie Gennai Laurie Rubin
Mila Czemerys Barbara Pedrick Derek Ford Willie Li Alexandra Stephanson Ed Sum Contact us
1313 Gladstone Avenue Victoria, BC V8R 1R9 T 778.410.2497 F 250.381.1509 email@example.com www.villagevibe.ca To enquire about advertising in the Village Vibe, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org The views expressed in the Village Vibe do not necessarily reflect the views of Fernwood NRG.
declaration of principles & values ›› We are committed to creating a socially, environmentally,
and economically sustainable neighbourhood;
We are committed to ensuring
Fernwood Square voted in top 100 public spaces in Canada ›› Lee Herrin Spacing, a magazine dedicated to “Understanding Canada’s Urban Landscape,” recently published their first national issue exploring the “100 best public spaces in Canadian cities.” Fernwood Square was ranked #4 in Victoria. Here’s the write up: “In the shadow of the Belfry Theatre, Fernwood Square is the neighbourhood’s living room with benches, potted plants, and easy access to snacks courtesy of adjacent restaurants. True to form, this popular gathering place hosts events and festivals throughout the year, not to mention spontaneous jam sessions at all hours.” There’s a lot more that could be said, but heck, we’re glad to be mentioned even in the same breath as such spaces as the Seawall (Vancouver), Kensington Market (Toronto), Mount Royal (Montreal), or the Rideau Canal (Ottawa). Anyone who attended last month’s FernFest or Fernwood Bites would surely agree that the square is a pretty amazing amenity in our neighbourhood. Several panellists at a session dedicated to the topic on July 5th noted that no other neighbourhood in the City has a public square as a focal point. In most other neighbourhoods, the largest open space is a parking lot (and even that may not be public). So, let’s wear this distinction with pride, but try not to
gloat when visiting friends in James Bay or Fairfield (Beacon Hill Park was #1 and the Dallas Road Waterfront was #5). All in all, we’re pretty lucky here in Fernwood. But it wasn’t always this way. The square was an amenity that was fought for by neighbourhood residents in the late 1970s, and defended against those who didn’t see its value several times over the past three decades (see this month’s feature: “A short history of Fernwood’s ‘pretty little public place’”). Although there’s a lot more that can be done to make the square more functional as a public space, it’s worth taking a little time to acknowledge for ourselves what is increasingly widely recognized by others— that Fernwood Square is the heart of a fantastic neighbourhood. So, if the sun ever
Let’s wear this distinction with pride, but try not to gloat when visiting friends in James Bay or Fairfield. shines, maybe take a book down to the square and enjoy some quiet time in the sun. Or take a guitar and play a song for your neighbours. Or some sidewalk chalk to write a little poem, or a blanket to have a picnic, or whatever you need to be happy and comfortable. The square is at its best when we love it and live in it.
Separating the fertile from the flammable in 10 words or less —
successful struggling healthy dysfunctional friendly unsafe recognized underappreciated spontaneous oppressive
neighbourhood control or ownership of neighbourhood institutions and assets;
We are committed to using our resources prudently and to becoming financially self-reliant;
We are committed to the creation and support of neighbourhood employment;
We are committed to engaging the dreams, resources, and talents of our neighbours and to fostering new links between them;
We are committed to taking action in response to neighbourhood issues, ideas, and initiatives;
We are committed to governing our organization and serving our neighbourhood democratically with a maximum of openness, inclusivity and kindness;
We are committed to developing the skills, capacity, self‑worth, and excellence of our neighbours and ourselves;
We are committed to focusing on the future while preserving our neighbourhood’s heritage and diversity;
We are committed to creating neighbourhood places that are vibrant, beautiful, healthy, and alive;
and, most of all, We are committed to having fun!
Persia comes to Fernwood Square ›› Patrick Pouponneau
Shahab Bakhtiar comes from a very interesting place. His homeland was seat of three empires that stretch over hundreds of years. And the culture that has d eveloped over time has been nothing less than extraordinary. Mesopotamia, Persia, and now Iran, has always prided itself on its hospitality and warmth. So, not surprisingly, when Shahab decided to open a business, he kept these values at the forefront. He decided to bring a little bit of Iran to Victoria by opening a traditional Persian Hookah lounge. However, there were some very serious obstacles he had to overcome first. The Vancouver Island Health Authority has incredibly stringent regulations regarding smoking. And for those who aren’t familiar with Hookah, it is a middle eastern water pipe used to smoke flavoured tobacco. So, in order to see his dream realized, Shahab imported a non-tobacco, molasses based substitute in a over 25 different flavours, worked with city hall tirelessly, met with law makers, and finally, after 3 years, obtained a business license to operate in this fair city. But where in Victoria could Shahab find a community diverse, open minded, and laid back enough to understand the beauty of a Hookah lounge? He landed in Fern-
page 2 villagevibe August 2011
Mila & Linley relaxing at Shahab Bakhtiar’s new tea house and hooka lounge. It is the first of it’s kind on Vancouver Island and it’s right here in Fernwood. Photo: Willie Li
wood, and quite understandably, fell in love. Operating out of Fernwood Square, he became a major sponsor of Fernfest, and during the same epic weekend, Darband Tea House opened its doors. He named the lounge after the Darband area outside of Tehran. This is a renown area where all sorts of bohemia converge over Hookahs, to indulge in each others company and discuss matters of creativity, academia, and relaxation.
Darband Tea House is open all week long, from 5pm until 12am, and from 5pm until 3am on Friday and Saturday. Darband serves traditional Persian tea, Turkish coffee, a wide variety of Persian sweets, as well as cheesecake. There’s also a backgammon board for rent, and of course, Hookahs. Come down to the square and experience authentic Persian style and hospitality for yourself. I’ll see you there.
News and views from the heart of Fernwood
Did you Ride the Cyclone? Bowie would be proud.
their inevitable death, create a powerful and hysterical performance propelling the viewer alongside the ups and downs of the story. Next time this show comes to town, make sure to get a ticket and buckle your seat belt for creative hilarity as you are introduced to a winged Karl Marx, giant bass playing rat, the Amazing Karnak, a Ukrainian ballet rapper, and a swinging space age bachelor man. There is sex, there is love, there are lights, and there are cats. All the necessary ingredients for a good time. This show lit up Fernwood. Magnificent indeed.
He’s not the only one.
›› David Segal &
Mila Czemerys Victoria’s Atomic Vaudeville and their c elebrated musical Ride the Cyclone “swooshed” through Fernwood from July 5th-17th at the Belfry Theater. In their award winning style, they left their crowds with an insatiable thirst for more left field delights, vocal massages, and stellar recorder solos. This Victoria born show, starring a motley crew of talented local performers is now traveling across Canada on their fall tour with stops in Vancouver, Whitehorse, and Toronto. We predict their circus will continue to woo crowds across the board. According to the Belfry, it is “a comedy, tragedy musical ride as a teenage chamber choir from Uranium, Saskatchewan die in a roller coaster accident at a traveling
The Belfry is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to producing contemporary plays,
Atomic Vaudeville’s uber-talented cast from Ride the Cyclone. Photo: Barbara Pedrick
with an emphasis on Canadian work, and to
fair.” How is a plot about dying children not 90 minutes of sadness you ask? Well, much more than a tragic tale is shared. These teens are given a chance to express themselves to the world after death, and
through their final recitals reveal their unique v ulnerabilities, beckoning the a udience to celebrate and honor their own true selves. These wacky and creative gestures, overlapped with the suspense of
promoting artistic, cultural, and educational events in Victoria. Upcoming plays: Mom’s the Word – Remixed playing from Aug 3rd to 21st or And Slowly Beauty... playing from Sept 20th to Oct 23rd. Find more information at belfry.bc.ca
mark your calendar:
Zamian Sells International Book Fair Fernwood in the Neighbourhood ›› Allan Antliff This year, the Victoria Anarchist Bookfair will be holding its sixth annual bookfair at the Fernwood Community Centre on September 10th and 11th. Founded in 2006, the bookfair has grown into an international event attracting visitors from as far away as Brazil, Japan, and Germany. In 2009 the bookfair won Monday Magazine’s M Award for Best Literary Event in Victoria. In addition to a week-long series of workshops, art and music events leading up to the bookfair weekend, this year’s celebration kicks off on Friday evening with a feature screening of “Capitalism Is the Crisis: Radical Politics in the Age of Austerity” directed by Dr. Michael Truscello (University of Mount Royal, Calgary). The film examines the imposition of ‘austerity’ measures by G20 countries in the wake of the 2008 bank bailouts in the United States and the consequences of the banking crisis for all of us. Michael Truscello
interviews authors Chris Hedges, and Derrick Jensen, and academics Michael Hardt, Ajamu Nangwaya, and others. The director will be on hand for the Victoria screening, which is being held at Camas Books, 2590 Quadra Street. At the Fernwood Community Centre, the bookfair opens its doors on Saturday, 11am to 6pm and on S unday from 11am to 5pm. Participating tablers include AK Press (San Francisco), the JustSeeds Art Collective (New York City), Microcosm Publishing (Portland, Oregon), and B lackPowder Press (Santa Cruz, C alifornia) as well as local v endors such as Fernwood’s Black Raven Records, the Olio Artists & Workers Cooperative, Mohawk author Janet Marie Rogers, and many new faces. The bookfair offers child minding, free food, and a plethora of workshops (to be announced) on a variety of topics, both practical and theoretical. Admission is free and donations and volunteer support are welcomed.
250.514.1533 (direct) FERNWOOD’S REAL ESTATE EXPERT
the home yoga and acupuncture
Looking for a GOOD TIME ? Volunteer with Fernwood NRG email@example.com || 250.381.1552
For more information on buying and selling real estate in Fernwood please visit ZamianSellsFernwood.com
Got Pain? Try Us! hemma community acupuncture affordable and effective
FREE First session with this ad Exp. 30/09/11 Reg. Price $15-40
1274 May Street
villagevibe page 3
A short history of Fernwood’s
Fernwood Square has just received an honour.
t was recognized as Victoria’s fourth best public space as voted by a panel of judges for Spacing magazine. The write-up is brief, but acknowledges aspects of the square we all know: “In the shadow of the Belfry Theatre, Fernwood Square is the neighbourhood’s living room with benches, potted plants, and easy access to snacks courtesy of adjacent restaurants. True to form, this popular gathering place hosts events and festivals throughout the year, not to mention spontaneous jam sessions at all hours.” Indeed, in the past three months alone, the square has played host to a bubble mob, the Fernwood Pole Painting Project, FernFest and Fernwood Bites, as well as a Canada Day dance and numerous other spontaneous and impromptu events, gatherings and sessions. It is a lively place. The square wasn’t always there—up to the 1970s, it was just Gladstone Avenue. Using funds from the Neighbourhood Improvement Project (NIP, as it was called, was a Trudeau-era federal infrastructure program that was much more community determined than such programs are now), the square was built in the same era that the Community Association building (1921-23 Fernwood Road) was purchased for community use and the Community Centre (1240 Gladstone Avenue) was built. Funds from this project also were used to create Haegert and Gower parks (in effect street closures at Grant and Chambers and Fernwood and Pembroke respectively). Unfor-
tunately, I do not have documentation of these decisions and the rationale at the time, but it has been explained to me that these projects were undertaken in order to restrict the east-west flow of traffic, as well as to cut down on “racing” by Vic High students to and from school and on breaks. I want to pick up the story in the 1990s, with the creation of the Fernwood Neighbourhood Plan by City staff and residents. The Background Report (1993) describes the Square in unflattering terms: “The square is ‘dysfunctional’ and does not seem to be designed for ‘anything in particular’; it
“True to form, this popular gathering place hosts events and festivals throughout the year, not to mention spontaneous jam sessions at all hours.” is felt that this space has more potential than current use indicates and ‘should be the location for community events’…; while participants did not want to necessarily ‘lose’ the square, it is considered to have more negative impacts on traffic and parking which seem to outweigh its current benefit to the Neighbourhood; the square
Need Body Work? • Tune Ups • Maintenance • Pain Relief • Joint Mobility Local therapist with experience to focus on your needs. • Registered Massage Therapy • Craniosacral Therapy • Feldenkrais Method® Private Sessions & Weekly Classes (Tuesdays) Learn More and Book Online at: www.vivitherapy.com Roxanne Derkson RMT GCFP Accepted 1608 Camosun Street | P 250.298.4484 | E firstname.lastname@example.org
page 4 villagevibe August 2011
is one important cause of heavy traffic on Chambers and on other residential streets such as Ridge and Centre, it impedes convenient access to the Community Centre and acts as a barrier to the use of Victoria High parking by Belfry patrons which puts parking pressure on the residential streets.” In fact, there was some pressure from some residents and businesses to get rid of the Square completely: “participants were divided as to whether this closure should be maintained because of its negative traffic impact on Chambers Street, as parking is so limited to serve the commercial area and because the square has such limited use currently; suggestion that the closure should be relocated to Chambers & Gladstone was well received, as was the suggestion that the closure be removed altogether and that both Pembroke and Gladstone made one way streets…”. However, in a survey conducted as part of the planning process, 67% were in favour of keeping “Fernwood Village Mall” (as it was referred to in the study), versus 18% who wished to see it re-opened and 15% who “did not know.” In fact, similar results were found for all of the street closures that had been created in the NIP era. And so, the ultimate recommendation in the Neighbourhood Plan (1994) was that the City would conduct a Neighbourhood Transportation Management Plan, but that the square would stay. There were other recommendations in the plan that related to the “Heart of the Neighbourhood”. The objective was “to enhance the heart of the Fernwood Neighbourhood through improved planning of site interrelationships between Neighbourhood commercial, recreation, park, school and community services and the accessibility and quality of these features, and to emphasize the site’s historic values.” And if you could manage that mouthful, the recommended action was “To prepare an integrated site plan…with an emphasis on the following activities: • creating a community-based Committee to oversee the complete project • developing a Revitalization Strategy for Fernwood Village • developing a site plan for Victoria High School • undertaking a local Transportation
Management Plan. Now, for those of you scoring at home (and as any starry-eyed idealist ought to learn from this example), when the culmination of your “plan” is to call for the creation of a committee, the development of a strategy, and work on two further plans, you can be certain that next to nothing will ever happen to any of it. In reality, by the time the Neighbourhood Plan was finished, residents and bureaucrats were already tired of each others’ company; the Steering Committee drifted apart, City Staff moved on, and with nobody beating the drum for action, very little was done. The square remained, but there was little or no additional investment. By 1998, though, change was afoot. A group of neighbourhood residents had taken over the Board of Directors of the Fernwood Community Centre Society and was calling for increased investment in the civic facility. In 1999, in consultation with neighbourhood residents, the City called for proposals for a “Fernwood Neighbourhood Strategic Plan and Facilities Planning Study.” The firm of de Hoog + D’Ambrosio architects was the successful proponent, and they began a nine month review of the neighbourhood and its facilities. However, the study’s authors were not content to restrict the scope of the study to the neighbourhood’s facilities. They also made comments and recommendations about the Square: “Fernwood Square, while in some respects appears a pretty little public place, lacks any reference to the Community Centre that is a short distance to the west. The Square also falls short of its potential to be a more heterogeneous and active urban space….The following is a partial list of these issues and problems: • The Belfry side of the square lacks sufficient activity-generating uses and is therefore [sic] is not visibly overseen and publically appropriated • The relatively small open area is cluttered and lacks focus • The gazebo has no seating and occupies too much space • Lack of people moving through the square perpetuates its isolation The conditions described above contribute to the easy domination of the square by certain groups of people at certain
News and views from the heart of Fernwood
“pretty little public place”
This photo of Fernwood Square is used by the City of Victoria in the 2011-2012 Corporate S trategic Plan as indicative of quality of life in the city.
time which tends to exclude use by others through both intentional and non-intentional intimidation by one group Businesses currently in the square o [sic] the northside are inaccessible to wheelchairs, strollers and other rolling devices.” The ultimate recommendation (which,
in fairness, was related to improving the flow of traffic toward the Community Centre) was: “Treating the Gladstone Street Right-of-Way as a ‘Vonerf ’ (meaning; ‘Street as community living room’. This strategy includes a shared right-of-way that is not dominated by peoples’ use of their
cars. Improvements could include vehicle guiding and limiting devices, decorative/ pedestrian-scaled paving and lighting, seating, parking for local residents, street trees and generally improved landscaping….It is recognized that as in all recommendations that could result in action and change, this is a controversial one. However, it is intended to provoke serious consideration of a shared-street and traffic-calming approach to access, circulation and safety in an around the village centre of Fernwood.” The author was right in recognizing this recommendation was controversial—neighbourhood residents were vocal in expressing their insistence that re-opening Gladstone Avenue (as a “Vonerf” or any other kind of vehicle right-of-way) never happen. There were heated public meetings (the square wasn’t the only contentious issue raised in the report) and eventually, this report too, was shelved. The conclusion of the study and the year or so that followed marked the zenith of the neighbourhood in that period. For the next few years, the heroin trade and its sidekicks, petty crime, violence and vandalism, overtook the neighbourhood. The economic base declined, the Cornerstone Building was boarded up, and the square came to be seen as a dangerous and undesirable place. In 2003, the Fernwood Community Association Community Economic Development Committee became active and began a broad-based consultation as to “what to do.” The square was one focus of their activities. In the spring of 2004, the minutes of the committee indicate there was a walkabout attended by 25 people including 8 city staff “to get a sense of what type of improvements
›› Lee Herrin would be acceptable to the City.” However, there was no consensus as to what the committee wanted, notwithstanding a looming funding deadline. The committee continued through the summer and the fall. They did obtain some funds, and my recollection is that the graffiti-proof benches, garbage cans and additional bike racks were the outcome of that work. These were welcome, albeit modest improvements, but certainly nothing that would reverse the fortunes of a failing neighbourhood and its commercial core. Anyhow, we all know how the story ends. Depressed properties changed hands in 2005, investment returned, the neighbourhood slowly lifted itself back up and life returned to the core. Along with the people, businesses returned as well. It’s been a number of years, but the square is now a success, and that success has been recognized formally in Spacing magazine’s recent issue. But the success is also evident in less obvious ways. For instance, the City of Victoria’s Corporate Strategic Plan has a photo of the square opposite its declaration: “Celebrating our history. Engaging our Community. Building our Future.” The square is far from perfect, but it’s much more than a “pretty little public place.” It’s the heart of our neighbourhood, and it’s now recognized nationally as part of the best of Victoria. The square works when we use it, whether as a stage for our great festivals, or as a quiet place to enjoy the sun. I hope this history has revealed that the surest defense of the square is to inhabit it, and to make it suit our purposes more and more, so that future generations will continue to enjoy what is certainly a prize among neighbourhoods.
Top Grade Arabica Coffees Roasted In The Shop. ~
n Now i RIA VICTO
Coffee, Tea & Honey #5-1046 Mason Street (Just off Cook Street) 250-384-0905
www.yokascoffee.com • Hand sorted for premium quality • Full selection of exotic teas
• B.C. Honey and Belgian chocolates WE'RE ON YOUR WALK, CYCLE, AND SKATEBOARD ROUTE TO DOWNTOWN, OPPOSITE THE CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND
villagevibe page 5
We are MoCL...We Come In Peace! ›› Aubrey Burke &
Many people have often stopped to wonder about the weird and wacky art space that has found a home within the everlovely Haultain Corners for over a decade now. We often get people asking what we are up to, and who’s running the place anyway!? We thought we would respond with an open letter…Trust us, we aren’t aliens! For those of you who don’t know, the Ministry of Casual Living is a non-profit artist-run centre that operates out of a small window-front gallery at 1442 H aultain Street. We serve as a space devoted to the brave new frontier of art-making. The space, as the name implies, is undoubtedly casual—our goal is to avoid letting bureaucracy or stringent application writing get in the way of making an art gallery happen. Traditionally, MOCL has functioned pre-
Committed to Supporting Community Associations Community Office
1084 Fort Street Victoria P: (250) 952-4211 F: (250) 952-4214 email@example.com www.opposition.bc.ca
Carole James, MLA Victoria • Beacon Hill
MARGARET HANTIUK GARDEN DESIGN SUSTAINABLE GARDENING:
Designs. Consulting. Handwork. Installs.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 250.595.1684 Cell: 250.882.1929
‘Ministers’ Julie Gennai and A ubrey Burke showing some love. Photo: Mila Czemerys
dominately as a visual arts space, hosting new art work every week. Recently, we have also branched out into hosting music shows, poetry nights, film screenings, and
community discussions. The Ministry is held together by a small group of artists, each who have spent a term as “The Minister” or resident gallery curator. Yes, someone lives behind the wall of the gallery, making it one of Victoria’s only artist residency positions. Instead of relying on government funding (which, we assure you, we do not receive), the sheer perseverance of the current minister who foots the bill for the rent of the space is what keeps the MOCL’s legacy alive. These brave souls who have confronted the meagre living space and have taken on the rather large commitment of keeping the place organized, gain only the experience of being responsible for running a nationally recognized artist-run centre. There is no compensation for running the joint. So where do we go from here? The crystal ball of the future is exciting for the Ministry. This year we organized the OFF
THE GRID Art Crawl, our city’s biggest visual arts open house event. This year the art crawl included over 30 local art galleries and venues, the most ambitious art crawl in Victoria yet (offthegridart.ca). We’re also celebrating some other exciting news. Recently, the Ministry of Casual Living was selected by the Foundation for Arts Sustainability in Victoria with their Legacy Award—including a grant for further programming and to help our organization grow. Naturally, we are excited about future projects to run out of the Ministry, including a community recording studio, a Fernwood marching band, children’s shows and activities, as well as regular music events. We hope you can join us! We look forward to engaging with the community and helping to build an independent art movement in Victoria—from the heart of Fernwood. ministryofcasualliving.com
›› Margaret Hantiuk
Our awareness of invasive plants is rapidly growing. At one time, unwanted plants were simply called ‘weeds’, but now that we are a global society with massive traffic from all over (in terms of people, animals and plants) the introduction of ‘alien’ plants is increasing too. With our new understanding of how ecosystems exist and operate, and what the native plants of our own Garry Oak ecosystem are and how they support our native bugs, birds, bees and butterflies, scientists are alarmed with how many aggressive plants are smothering our neighbouring woodlands and wild areas. The problem is that many of these vigorous and hardy invasives have no checks or natural restraints, are impervious to disease and either seed profusely or rampantly spread underground. Some of these invaders are weeds, and some are ornamentals that have crossed the line and are out of control. Many nurseries have agreed to discontinue the sale of the worst offenders. As gardeners, it is urgent that we not purchase or accept plants that are too difficult to control. Some can be controlled carefully, by growing in contain-
ers, removing seed heads, or growing in beds surrounded by concrete. Get to know these plants. Beware of plants that are called ‘easy to grow groundcovers’ or ‘selfseeding’. While there are many plants that are not dangerous and can be described thus, you will forever regret planting the worst of these, and years can be spent trying to eradicate them. Instead go for either native plants that feed our native birds and bees or the many well-behaved plants that are available. It is worth noting that there are sterile cultivars of some common thug species that are safe to use in your garden, and some plants become more dangerous if grown in favourable conditions. Keep all of the following away from woodlands, wetlands, or property lines. These are the worst offenders. Check them out online to see what they look like at invasiveplantcouncilbc.ca or noxious weeds at agf.gov.bc.ca (Note the alert for garlic mustard and giant hogweed). The Worst—do not plant or give away, and get rid of them as soon as you can, if you can: Scotch broom, common Eng-
lish ivy (Hedera helix), goutweed (Aegopodium), giant hogweed, morning glory, Himalayan blackberry, purple loosestrife,
Japanese knotweed. Okay if strictly kept to containers: running bamboos, mints, Arundo donax grass, yellow flag irises (I. pseudocorus). Okay if not allowed to seed, and kept in check with concrete or regular removal:
periwinkle (Vinca), Buddleia davidii, ribbon grass (Phalarus arundinacea), perennial knapweed (Centaurea montana), Pampas grass, lily of the valley, fennel, forget-me-not, marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), Joe Pye weed (Eupatoria), Ajuga reptans, creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides), sea holly, Japanese anemone, sweet woodruff, lemon balm, yellow archangel (Lamium galeobdolon), grape hyacinth (Muscari), Spanish bluebells, tansy, comfrey species, Clematis terniflora, buckthorn, Japanese honeysuckle, holly, common mullein, spurge daphne (D. laureola), Oriental bittersweet, Himalayan balsalm or impatience, ladies mantle (Alchemilla mollis), Welsh poppies, Norway maples, Japanese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensis), some cranesbill species (hardy geraniums), wood sorrel (Oxalis oregana), Berberis species, Italian arum, fig buttercup (celandine), Baby’s breath, saltcedar (Tamarix).
the GOWER DESIGN GROUP
- sustainable new homes & renovations - garden suite feasibility and design - energy retrofit consultations
Suite B2-1284 Gladstone Avenue www.gowerdesigngroup.com Call for a free initial consultation page 6 villagevibe August 2011
250 381 6666
News and views from the heart of Fernwood
mark your calendar:
4th Annual Vining Street Block Party Left: Crowd of V ining S t re e t B l o c k P a r t y goers enjoying last years performances. Photo: Ed Sum
›› Laurie Rubin Fernwoodians! Get Ready for a Party! Get ready for free fun for the whole family. Mark this date in your calendars: unday, September 11th. Join us as we S celebrate our vibrant community! Invite your neighbours and friends as we open the day’s c elebrations with our MEGA GARAGE SALE 9-12pm. Discover treasures as you tour heritage streets of South Fernwood (Walnut, Denman, Pembroke Gladstone, Vining, Grant and Balmoral, from Fernwood Road to Stanley, Belmont, Begbie and Shelbourne. Then get ready to dance to live entertainment at our BLOCK PARTY 1pm to dusk at the intersection of Vining & Stanley. Feast on
food, beverages, & desserts at our community barbeque. Indulge in a giant silent auction 2-6 pm. Enjoy exhibits, children’s acts, puppets, face painting, and clowns. Feature acts booked to date include: Party on High Street (Rock), Rocky Mountain Rebel Music (Reggae), Cynthia Davis (Jazz & Blues) and Twisted Strings (Rock). Support this year’s Community Initiative, the youth program of Theatre Inconnu, 1923 Fernwood Road (Little Fernwood Hall). To donate items, volunteer or perform please contact VSB Party Coordinator Laurie Rubin at (250) 995-2696 or email email@example.com. Please remember we are solely financed through your generous donations, 15% of garage sales and proceeds from the silent auction.
mark your calendar:
On the Fringe
FERNWOOD NRG SUMMER PROGR AMS AU G U S T – O C TO B E R 20 11 MONDAY
(Reg) Registration Required
(DI) Drop In
Life Ring (DI) Ongoing, 6:45pm – 8:00pm Nuu Chah Nulth Drumming (DI) Ongoing, 7:30pm – 10:00pm
TUESDAY Parent and Tot Play Group (DI) Ongoing, 9:30am – 11:30pm Help I Have Kids Parenting Information Group (DI) Ongoing, 12:30pm – 2:30pm Iyengar Yoga (Reg/DI) Sep 13th – Oct 11th, 5:30pm – 6:30pm Guitar Star (Reg) Sep 6th – Oct 25th, 6:00pm – 7:00pm Floor Hockey (DI) Ongoing, 6:45pm – 9:45 pm Okinawan Karate (Reg) Sep 6th – Dec 20th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm Guitar for Adults (Reg) Sep 6th – Oct 25th, 7:15pm – 8:15pm
WEDNESDAY Parent and Baby Play Group (DI) Ongoing, 9:30am – 11:30pm Best Babies (Reg) Ongoing, 12:00pm – 3:00pm Good Food Box Pickup, every third Wednesday, 1:00pm – 5:30pm Floorball (Closed Group) Sep – Dec, 5:30pm – 6:30pm Soccer (Closed Group) Sep – Dec, 7:00pm – 9:00pm Okinawan Karate (Reg) Aug 3 – Aug 30th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
THURSDAY Mother Goose (Reg) Sep 1st – Oct 20th, 9:30am – 10:30am Parent and Tot Playgroup (DI) Ongoing, 9:30am – 11:30pm Best Babies (Reg) Ongoing, 12:00pm – 3:00pm Crafty Kids (Closed Group) Sep – Dec, 3:45pm – 5:00pm Art & Tots Gym (Reg) Sep 8th – Oct 27th, 3:45pm – 4:30pm Laughter Yoga (DI/Reg) Sept 6th – Dec 22nd, 7:00pm – 8:00pm Okinawan Karate (Reg) Sep 1st – Dec 22rd 7:00pm – 9:00pm Victoria Sport & Social Club (Closed Group) Aug 4th – Sept 1st, 7:30pm – 9:30pm
FRIDAY Autumn Glow Seniors Group (DI) Ongoing, 12:00pm – 3:00pm Youth Drop-In (DI) Ongoing, 6:30pm – 9:00pm
SUNDAY Art Buffet Munch & Learn (Reg) Sep 18 – Oct 23rd, 3:45pm – 4:30pm Fit Kids (Reg) Sep 18th – Oct 23rd, 4:40pm – 5:40pm Cartooning/Illustration/Claymation (Reg) Sep 18th – Oct 23rd, 5:45pm – 6:30pm Canine Freestyle Dance (Reg) Sep 11th – Oct 23rd, 7:00pm – 8:00pm Canine Dressage & Freestyle Dance Sep 11th – Dec 18th, 8:00pm – 9:00pm No classes will be held on August 1st (BC Day), September 5th (Labour Day), October 10th (Thanksgiving Day), & November 11th (Remembrance Day)
Fernwood NRG 1240 Gladstone Avenue Victoria, BC V8T 1G6 (250) 381-1552 firstname.lastname@example.org www.fernwoodnrg.ca
SPECIAL EVENTS Book Fair Sept 10th & 11th Fall Fox Fair Sept 30th & Oct 1st Owl Designer Fair Dec 2nd & 3rd
›› Sammie Gough
The Victoria Fringe Festival will kick off
on August 25 with no less than 72 comedy, drama, spoken word, dance and physical theatre shows from around the world. There are shows from Mexico, Korea, New York City, Australia, alongside some great local theatre offerings, including Love Letters for Georgia, a dark comedy from Fernwood dwellers Darlene Arseneault and Lisa Preston. This show combines a wonderful mix of myth, beauty and snarky humour and runs from August 25th to September 4th at Langham Court Theatre during this year’s Fringe Festival. This year the Fringe celebrates a quarter of a century of alternative theatre with four nights of free special events in Centennial Square, running August 23rd to 26th. Catch a Luminara parade, live bands, the Fringe Eve Preview, an 80’s Prom Dance Party, spectacular aerial dance performances and more—all 100% free!
Teaser from Love Letters for Georgia, one of the many Fernwood born plays. Photo: Derek Ford
For tickets and info visit victoriafringe.com or call (250) 590-6291.
Room Rentals @ The Fernwood Community Center
Stay up with us. Open until 10 pm Monday to Saturday
Thusday - Live Music Friday - Open Mic Night
at the corner of Fernwood and Gladstone
Great for private functions; events; anniversaries; birthdays; holiday celebrations; fundraisers; workshops; group meetings; sports; craft and other fairs; exercise, music, or art classes
Gym: 167 person capacity Studio: 25 person capacity Multi-purpose Room: 30 person capacity Contact us for availability and pricing!
ph: 381-1552 // email: email@example.com
villagevibe page 7
Scene in Fernwood : Midsummer Merrymaking