December 2011 Village Vibe

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December 2011

villagevibe News and views from the heart of Fernwood

Good Food for Fernwoodians Homegrown Good Food Society serves up affordable local produce

›› Sushil Saini


ou don’t need a silver spoon to eat good food,” reasons legendary chef and gourmand Paul Prudhomme but sometimes it feels like you need a platinum credit card to afford it. I have been working in food security for fifteen years—from chef to advocate to author and academic. But three years ago I started working for the Good Food Box program based here in Fernwood. The crisis to our food system—regionally and globally—is such a complex issue with the loci of power held by so many factions that creating any sense of how to solve it can be overwhelming and depressing. Which is exactly why I work for the Box: it is the most beautifully simple yet fundamentally radical method of addressing food security and social justice I have yet come across. The core problem with food production and distribution today is commodification—food is seen as a forprofit commodity, not the gorgeous life giving source of well-being that it is. Instead the bottom line value of food is a mechanism to make corporations a profit; not nutritional integrity, not the environment, and certainly not fair access.

This medium size good food box has 9 different kinds of local/regional organic and/or spray-free fresh produce for only $12. Also available are small & large good food boxes, as well as, snacking boxes, all fruit boxes and 100% organic fruit and veggie boxes. Illustration: Mila Czemerys.

unteer labour and rented community space to pack the boxes and we require no profit. The result is fresher, better food that is at least 50% cheaper than what you would purchase in a grocery store—not that you could find the fresh local produce we source at a chain grocery store. There are dozens of such programs across Canada but the Fernwood based Good Food Box run by the Capital Region Good Food Society ups the ante by ensuring we buy a majority of sustainably grown local and regional produce. When having to purchase outside our region we insure that produce is certified organic. November’s box, for example, featured 90% local sustainably grown fresh fruit and veggies with certified organic fruit like pomegranates and avocados rounding out the fruit boxes. Last month we put approximately $3,000 into the local farm economy in one day! This in turn created 370 boxes of food.

We offer six types of boxes that run anywhere from $6 to $18. Our most popular is the large fruit and veggie box at $18 which this month featured 11 different types of produce, 90% local and spray-free or organic; and sourced direct from three different local farms and two local purveyors. To purchase the items in our box yourself would take several hours of driving to shop at local farms and some specialty produce stores and still the price would be at least $28 for the same amount of produce. Moreover, our produce is picked within a few days of packing for maximum nutritional integrity and it does not need to be sprayed to maintain freshness on long journeys. It’s so elegant—remove the profit motive and replace it with a triple bottom line valuing of nutritional integrity, economic justice, and ecological sustainability. And the beauty is that it actually works; so well



Artist’s Aside

Survive winter by bike page 2

60 years of Fairey Tech page 4-5

New gallery (1580) in town page 6

“You don’t need a silver spoon to eat good food.” Good Food Box programs take the forprofit mentality out of food distribution. In effect we create an alternative distribution system for produce outside of corporate food ownership. A grocery store has expensive overheads like buildings, staff wages, insurance, advertising plus a comfortable profit. The Good Food Box, however, purchases bulk produce at wholesale prices direct from local farmers and local purveyors to create fruit and veggie boxes. We use vol-

in fact that the program is going bi-weekly as of January and a new online ordering system will launch that same month. So when old colleagues asked me in their polite yet confused tone why I withdrew from my higher profile advocacy work to run a small non-profit I tell them that you can never underestimate the seductive power of effecting a positive response to a seemingly impossible problem. The Good Food Box is a non-profit alternative distribution system for sustainably produced fruits and vegetables including local, regional, unsprayed, transitional, and organic produce. Find more information and an order/pick up schedule at Like us at www.facebook/goodfoodbox and order a box from the Fernwood Community Centre at 1240 Gladstone Avenue, (250) 381-1552. The next ordering date is December 14th with pick up (or home delivery) on December 21st.

in this issue To get the Vibe digitally, sign up at



Inhabit Victoria

Published by Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group Editorial Committee

Lee Herrin Mila Czemerys Azelia Serjeantson Matt Takach Founding Editor Lisa Helps Contributors

Sushil Saini Adele Woodyard Patrick Pouponneau Emily Grav Kellan Mckeen

Lee Herrin Steve Parr John Gower Lilian Sue Jenelle M Pasiechnik

Margaret Hantiuk Art

Mila Czemerys David Cooper Maggie Cole

Emily Grav Vic High Archives Jenelle M Pasiechnik

Production Mila Czemerys Contact us

1313 Gladstone Avenue Victoria, BC V8R 1R9 T 778.410.2497 F 250.381.1509 To enquire about advertising in the Village Vibe, please contact 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 neighbourhood control or ownership of neighbourhood institutions and assets;


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,

Winter By Bike Ask any proud Fernwoodian their top ten reasons are for living in this cold, dreary city and in no time you are bound to hear, “Well, we live in the cycling capital of Canada!” Right, so what does that really mean? We all ride year round, rain or shine; when we’re running late, just for fun or are we a bunch of fair weather peddlers? No need to confess. What is behind us is behind us and today is the first day of the rest of your winter-riding-and-loving-it life. Not sure how? Here are five tips to making it at least one step easier. Stay Warm

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

Not too warm though. Is less more or is more less? Both are true. It’s all about extremities on this one. No need to throw an extra insulating layer onto the machine that’s about to crank up the heat and whip you up Fernwood hill. If you are thinking of buffing up your cold weather gear this season, then give those fingers and toes some love. Warm, perhaps even water-proof, gloves, wool socks and a thin hat to fit under the helmet are recommended. Need I say more?

and diversity;


We are committed to creating neighbourhood places that are vibrant, beautiful, healthy, and alive;


us by carefully engineered supply chains. We do not know how to live in this land in the way that true inhabitants would (and did, and do). Those of us who remember the great blizzard of 1996 know just how precarious our island existence is once the ferries stop running. The Times-Colonist (the Colonist, no less) suggested that the protest “evolve.” “Perhaps the Occupiers will decide to continue meet-


and initiatives;


We do not know how to live in this land in the way that true inhabitants would...

ing weekly to come up with a coherent plan for effective action. Perhaps some will leave, content that a point has been made and ready to influence electoral politics, or organize in their communities. And perhaps some will choose arrest as a matter of principle,” the editorial speculated, careful to draw a clear distinction between the “Occupiers” and everyone else. Here’s another option: what if we became inhabitants? What if we resolved to reduce our dependence on energy and resources from afar, and to build our local dependence (what some would call resilience)? Of course, this is just calling the dog when it’s already coming. The great overhang of debt in our society, combined with the fact that world oil production has reached a peak (notwithstanding record high prices which should theoretically stimulate more supply), are already reducing our horizons. Going forward, we simply will not be able to command as much from afar—and if we mean to continue, we’ll have to become more self-reliant, more adapted to living in a particular place. In a few generations, we will all be inhabitants.

our resources prudently self-reliant;


In case you missed how the Occupy Victoria movement morphed into the People’s Assembly of Victoria, it had to do with the word “occupy”. On November 7th, a resolution was passed recognizing that the word “occupy” caused some to feel “excluded by the colonialist language of occupation used to name this movement.” As such, the resolution continued, the group would now “meet under the name: The Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.” A long list of resolutions concluded: “Extending an open hand of humility and friendship, The Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria respectfully recognizes the protocol breach of not approaching Lekwungen before convening this assembly on their land. We take this opportunity to ask for permission now.” Don’t worry PAOV, you’re in good company: the Province didn’t start working on treaties until more than a hundred years after the real occupation began. This is the obvious sense in which this is true—most of us in Victoria live on unceded territory, and as such, we are occupiers. However,

there is a more profound sense, pointed out to me by a friend last week, in which we are all occupiers. Some of us may not live in tents (I don’t), and some of us may not even be harboring a grievance against “the system” (I will confess to having a few of those), but we do live as an occupying army, reliant on tremendous inputs of energy and resources brought to

›› Adele Woodyard

We are committed to using and to becoming financially


›› Lee Herrin

and, most of all, We are committed to having fun!

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Stay Dry

An unfortunate truth we know all too well is that riding in the rain means water coming at you from all directions. It’s raining; water is streaming through the cracks in your helmet down the back of your neck and fully saturating the tops of

December 2011

Be prepared for anything Mother Nature throws at you with this step-by-step guide to all-season bike riding. Photo: Mila Czemerys.

your knees. And there’s more, the front tire sprays water up from the road and the back tire does the same behind you: top, bottom, front, back, check. This is serious. Fenders; the solution closest to the source of getting wet. Rain Gear; the “you can’t fight it, might as well embrace it” solution. Two other pieces to think of here are your feet and your bag. Don’t have a pair of waterproof shoes to ride in? Bring a dry pair with you to wear at work all day. Be Seen

Don’t be a bike ninja. Get some lights! Use reflective tape, reflective clothing, something, anything, please. And also get some lights. Save The Bike!

The worst has now come. While it’s raining at you from all directions, you have gloves, your rain gear, a set of fenders,

waterproof shoes, a waterproof bag; the whole nine-yards. You’re ready, you’re dialed, expect for one last detail: the bike. With every splash of water coming up off the road a handful of dirt, grit, sand, etc. comes with it. Give your bike a fighting chance in the battle this winter and keep her clean. Degreaser will help remove the old grit; a toothbrush is a great tool for scrubbing and rags work well, too. Once you’ve finished, let it dry and put some oil back on your chain, preferably one made for wet conditions. Have Fun!

Not yet convinced it’s worth the effort? Come out and meet those who embrace the long dark nights on a Midnight Mystery Ride on the second Friday of every month at Centennial Square. Riders meet in the Square at 10pm and leave at 11pm.

News and views from the heart of Fernwood

The Birth of Fernwood University Fernwood U opens first campus in Cornerstone Cafe

›› Steve Parr

& Patrick Pouponneau

The concept of university is awesome. For generations, it has been a sacred place dedicated to exploring and expanding important ideas. Yet, in modern times, with massive loans, industrial size lecture halls and bureaucracy ad nauseam, maybe something important is being missed. Could it be different? What if university was… free? And, what’s more: no commute, no exams, no stress. And what if school grew our capacity to dream together and take action to make those dreams a reality in your own neighbourhood? Is it possible? YES! Gentle Fernwoodians, your educational utopia has arrived! Join us at the Cornerstone Cafe, every Tuesday evening starting January 17th, 2012, where we will be holding classes,

which will cover a variety of topics centered on successful community building. We’ve crafted an inspiring syllabus based on Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group’s Values and Principles and have a plethora of knowledgeable speakers ready to share their expertise and engage you in constructive discussion afterwards. Fernwood University is your chance to connect with the bright and engaged minds, hearts, and souls of your neighbours. FERNWOOD you are incredible and we need your keen intellect, creativity, positivity and huge smiles to make this neighbourhood everything we’ve ever dreamed of! As with everything Fernwood-related, Fernwood University is a collaboration. We welcome any suggestions, comments or concerns you may have. Please get in touch with Patrick at or drop by the Cornerstone to chat. Feel free to let us know how we can make your University something spectacular. See you at Fernwood U with your paper and pens, ready to listen, learn, think and share.

Fernwood University Syllabus Tuesdays, 7:30pm at the Cornerstone Cafe

lesson 1: Urban Sustainability How to create a socially, environmentally, and

economically sustainable neighbourhood. (Jan 17th, 2012)

LESSON 2: Neighbourhood Power How to ensure neighbourhood control or ownership of neighbourhood institutions and assets. (Jan 24th, 2012)

LESSON 3: Financial Self-reliance How to use resources prudently and

become financially self-reliant. (Jan 31st, 2012)

LESSON 4: Jobs for the People How to create and support of neighbourhood

employment. (Feb 7th, 2012)

LESSON 5: Come Together How to engage the dreams, resources, and talents of our neighbours and foster new links between them. (Feb 14th, 2012)

LESSON 6: Making it Happen! How to take action in response to neighbourhood

issues, ideas and initiatives. (Feb 21st, 2012)

LESSON 7: Neighbourhood Democracy How to govern an organization

and serve our neighbourhood democratically with a maximum of openness, inclusivity and kindness. (Feb 28th, 2012)

LESSON 8: Building Capacity How to develop the skills, capacity, self-worth and excellence of our neighbours and ourselves. (Mar 6th, 2012)

LESSON 9: Heritage and Diversity How to focus on the future while preserving

our neighbourhood`s heritage and diversity. (Mar 13th, 2012)

LESSON 10: Vibrant Space How to create neighbourhood places that are vibrant, beautiful, healthy and alive. (Mar 20th, 2012)

LESSON 11: CELEBRATION! How to have fun. (Mar 27th, 2012)

mark your calendar:

Reading list, speakers list and information will soon be available at

buzz: st

Fernwood Fantasy wins 1 place ›› John Gower

& Emily Grav

It’s called Fernwood Fantasy and its creators—local business owners Emily Grav of the Paint Box and residential designer John Gower—are sure there will be nothing else like it at this year’s Habitat for Humanity Gingerbread competition. “We love Fernwood Square for its beautiful buildings, interesting street life and entrepreneurial spirit, and when we were thinking of a theme for our entry it was a natural choice,” say the artists. However, their gingerbread creation shows our neighbourhood like it’s never been seen before. The project is a collaboration of their unique talents. Building designer John started the process by drafting out the plans and elevations of the buildings around the

square and then used his model-building skills to construct the basic forms in gingerbread. “Gingerbread is a wonderful medium to work with—it can be molded and cut to specific dimensions and the leftover pieces are delicious!” he says. Emily took over from there, using the gingerbread forms as a canvas for exuberant and colourful painting in the style of wellknow masters, using icing as paint and fondant to build up sculptural layers. Her students at the Paint Box helped out by creating small edible people to populate the square. “It’s a great opportunity to celebrate our very special neighbourhood, raise money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity, promote our businesses a bit, and have great creative fun at the same time,” says Emily.

Fernwood Fantasy - in all its gingerbread glory - won 1st place at this years Gingerbread Showcase. Emily and John’s winning creation can be viewed at the Laurel Point Inn, 680 Montreal Street in James Bay from Nov 25th to Jan 2nd. Photo: Emily Grav.

December 2011


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A New Beginning for Vic High:

Built on the

›› Lilian Sue The grand opening of Victoria High School’s new technical shop building in September 2011, which included the autobody, metalwork and woodwork shops, marked the end of an era. For sixty-two years, Fairey Tech was the home of Vic High’s multi-disciplinary “manual” and electronic specialty courses. From auto mechanics and industrial design to wood working and jewelry, Fairey Tech had a long history of educating members of the Canadian military as well as the many students who walked its hallways. Francis T. Fairey, 1887 - 1971. Photo: Courtesy

The History of Fairey Tech

“Manual” training, as it was known in the early 20th century, was designed for older boys in provincial elementary schools to develop dexterity and practical skills. The curriculum also had a larger purpose: to promote positive attitudes towards work, manual employment and popularize industrial life. Led by J.W. Robertson, a Dominion agricultural commissioner and educational reformer, and Sir William MacDonald, the Montreal tobacco magnate, manual training centres were equipped with the proper machinery and instructors were hired for a three-year period beginning in 1900. MacDonald, himself, paid for the equipment and supplied the instructors’ salaries for the first three years. In 1903, at the end of demonstration period, he offered to turn all the equipment and supplies over

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of the Vic High Archives. The Victoria High School Metal shop built by soldiers classes. Photo: Courtesy of the Vic High Archives.

to the participating school board, on the condition that they paid the instructors for an additional year. The school boards of Victoria and Vancouver were first to accept his offer. New Westminster, Nanaimo, North Vancouver, Saanich and South Vancouver followed suit within the next ten years. The Public School Act changed in 1905 to give manual training teachers the same status as other certified teachers. As a result manual training as a discipline entered into mainstream provincial public school curriculum. It would, however, take thirty years before shops were built at Vic High in 1935. Technical subjects were introduced some fifteen years before

December 2011

in 1920 but there were no shops at Vic High where students could build projects. The proposed bylaw to build a technical school encompassing practical and technical work was defeated on three separate occasions in 1928. Fairey Tech played a crucial role during the Second World Wa, as the building was built by actual soldier trainees as a facility for servicemen to be trained in carpentry, bricklaying, metalwork and other trades. Instructional and material costs were paid for by the War Emergency Training Programme and the city of Victoria. The Metalwork and Machine shop served double duty as a training ground for the soldiers as well as the students. The facility

opened for training by Mayor Andrew McGavin on Wednesday February 10th, 1943. After the war ended a decision was made in 1946 to add new industrial arts facilities to the army-built unit and classes in the new addition started in September 1949. Although MacDonald and Robertson were strong advocates of manual training in BC public schools and their contributions played a large part in shaping the province’s education system, it was Colonel “Frank” Fairey, the man who inspired the name of Vic High’s technical unit and whose influence on BC’s educational system that is still being felt today.

News and views from the heart of Fernwood

History of Fairey Tech and Colonel Francis Thrower Fairey About Colonel Francis Thrower Fairey

Francis Thrower Fairey was born in Liverpool, England in 1887, the 5th of twelve children. He arrived in Canada in 1907 at the age of twenty to join his older brothers who were working as bricklayers in Victoria. Due to his credentials, Frank obtained a temporary teaching certificate and traveled by rail to his first teaching assignment in Quesnel. Later, he returned to Victoria to teach at Corrig College, a private boys’ school. Fairey’s long career in technical and vocational education started in 1910 when he was apprenticed to W.H. Binns, BC’s Supervisor of Manual Training. In 1912, he moved to Vancouver to teach manual training courses at several schools, including Lord Nelson School in Vancouver’s West End. In the preceding years before the Second World War, he enlisted in the Canadian Army and rose to the rank of Corporal and then became Vice-Principal at Vancouver Technical School in the 1920s. Following the retirement of the province’s long-serving Director of Technical Education in 1938, Fairey became BC’s Director of Technical Education. When World War II began he became the Regional Director of the Canadian Vocational Training Program on top of his position as the province’s Director of Industrial and Technical Education. In the early days of the war, Frank was in charge of teaching vocational classes for the unemployed in both Vancouver and Victoria and he was

tuesdays wednesdays thursdays fridays

also responsible for the Vancouver School of Navigation. Four years after the end of the war, in November 1949 the new F.T. Fairey Technical Unit at Vic High School officially opened and remained open until the summer of 2011. The closing of Fairey Tech marks the end of an important landmark in BC’s educational landscape and it provides the new technical addition at Vic High with the crucial historical foundation upon which to build on its own legacy of technical expertise. About the New Technical Unit and Green Initiatives

In 2004, the province’s Ministry of Education commissioned a seismic study to gauge the earthquake readiness of BC’s public schools. The end result of the report, done by Victoria-based firm CEI Architecture, was the recommendation that Vic High’s Fairey Tech be replaced in order to comply with the province’s mandate of seismic upgrades. The Ministry of Education presented the report to the Greater Victoria School Board in 2008 and the project to create a new technical unit for Vic High was given the green light. Of the many challenges of building the new technical unit, debris and scheduling proved to be the two largest obstacles. The old Fairey Technical Unit and Vic High sites had not been excavated in over sixty years. There was excessive debris that required extra time to clear before construction could begin. Also challenging was coordinating the manufacturing and shipping

schedules of the Vancouver-made steel beams and the glulam—glue-laminated timber from Oregon—to coincide with the accelerated timeline of the school year as the addition needed to be open by the fall of 2011. Minor seismic upgrading to the existing Vic High building was also completed during the summer in order to accommodate the relocation of a number of classrooms. The new technical unit has the distinction of incorporating several green initiatives never before seen at Vic High. Previously, hot water was fed to Fairey Tech from the high school’s diesel fuel boiler. But now the new technical unit is connected to a natural gas boiler which has the capacity to accommodate pumps on the roof that draw heat from the air should Vic High decide to re-configure their heating system in the future. The new windows and doors are energy

efficient; all the windows are doublepaned and argon-filled with a low E (emissivity) coating that prevents heat loss. In addition, the windows on the west side of the building are tinted to prevent the building from overheating. The new addition is open and operational. The final cleanup and touch-ups are expected to be completed by Christmas. With the new upgraded and green addition, the future looks bright for Vic High to continue its legacy of technical expertise for years to come. Special thanks to the Vic High Archives for their help and to Dr. Randall Fairey, Ken Roueche, Denis Johnston and Peter L. Smith for use of their research. The Vic High Archives are open to the public on Tuesdays between 9am and noon. They are located in the basement of Vic High. Check out more photos of the Vic High technical program on the back page.

The new technical unit is getting its final touches and will soon be complete. This marks the beginning of a new era for Vic High’s renowned technical program. Photo: Mila Czemerys

Fernwood University starting January 17th

Bluegrass Pickin’ Parlor Live Music Open Mic

1301 Gladstone Avenue

December 2011


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The Belfry presents…Jitters ›› Kellan Mckeen Fernwood’s own Belfry Theatre is happy to present Jitters, a classic comedy written by prolific Canadian playwright David French who passed away in 2010. This play within a play, which has been called French’s love letter to Canadian actors, had its Belfry audience in hysterics from the get-go on opening night, November 17th. Originally written in 1979, Jitters is said to be inspired by French’s own first play, which premiered at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto in 1972. It showcases the trials and tribulations of a small production company as they approach opening night and face a visit from a big-shot Broadway producer. What makes this play so funny are the unique characters. There’s Jessica, the fading diva actress who made it big in New York. She is in a constant attention battle

with the egotistical and whisky-drinking Patrick despite the two playing lovers in the play. Then there’s Phil, who frets and complains about his pants and shoe sizes and can never remember his lines. The timid and worrisome playwright, nervous new actors, a fascistic stage manager and coquettish seamstress must all be reined in by the director as they face various disasters. The cast of Jitters perform brilliantly and brings justice to French’s backstage comedic masterpiece. This play is a tribute to Canadian theatre, Canadian actors and celebrates David French’s career as a playwright. It is absolutely guaranteed to make you laugh. Jitters runs from November 15th to December 18th, 2011 at the Belfry Theatre. For scheduling and ticket information visit

Laurie Paton and Dean Paul Gibson in Jitters by David French. Photo: David Cooper.

artist’s aside:

Space for Art: 1580 Artists’ Gallery Now Open ›› Jenelle M Pasiechnik The recently opened 1580 Artists’ Gallery on Pandora and Cook is another diamond in Fernwood’s satchel. The building shares the parking lot with Wellburn’s Market and was an accounting firm for years. It was a dance hall during the fifties where all the kids gathered to boogie and socialize on the weekends. A group of artists are bringing a renewed vibrancy to the building with openness to creativity and life that is inspiring. Maggie Cole, Lynda McKewan and Irma Argyriou all had a passion for art from early in their lives, but each had a career to which they were previously dedicated. The time is now ripe for them to direct their energy fully toward their lives’ passion: art. In the words of Irma, “the engines are revving up, they may need an oil change once in a while, but they are good as ever.” This wonderful and youthful phrase encapsulates their great energy and charisma. The gallery is run collectively by the three women with Richard Pawley and

Left: Transformation #5, a painting by Maggie Cole. Right: Gallery 1580 inhabits this space in the parking lot of Wellburn’s Grocery. Photos: Maggie Cole & Jenelle M Pasiechnik.

offers a wonderful array of abstract art. Cole’s work engages with the ever-present dichotomy of beauty and ugliness in the world around us, often employing found materials that add texture and dimension

to her canvases. The canvases of Lynda McKewan focus on the effect of color, and the push and pull created through the use of different hues in abstract fields. Irma Argyriou addresses energy and spirituality

through expressionistic canvases with geometric interjections, informed by a classical background. Each of the artist’s approaches her craft in a unique manner, using the wealth of knowledge and past experiences they have accrued to inform their style. The women met as mature individuals while pursuing arts degrees through a shared mentor. The variation in styles and backgrounds of the artists are a testament to the rich diversity that is produced from similar schools of thought and training. The gallery is a shared space where they can create as well as exhibit their work. Members of the community are welcome and artists are encouraged to rent the space and show their own work. I was warmly welcomed by the gallery mascot Schnitzel, the Daschund, and engaged in the most stimulating conversation on art and life. I will be drawn back by the regularly shifting exhibit, and their rich content. I encourage any who haven’t visited Gallery 1580 to accept another of Victoria’s fine artistic challenges.

Calling Fernwood Artists

We are planning next June’s Fernwood Art Stroll. If you live or have a studio in Fernwood, would like to host visitors to your studio to show and sell your work, are willing to help plan, organize & pay $50 for pr costs,

call/email Margaret:


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December 2011

News and views from the heart of Fernwood

garden gleanings:

Meadow or Lawn? ›› Margaret Hantiuk Creating a meadow to replace a traditional lawn is a wise choice if you want a natural habitat for insects, bees, birds and butterflies; if you value a look that is more natural and lovely; and if you want to throw out your noisy lawnmower and weed whacker. Meadows need less care, less fertilizer, less watering and less weed killer. They are sensual and pleasurable and create movement and texture. While most lawns use non-native turf grasses designed to be constantly mowed, watered and fertilized, meadows use grasses bred from hardy and drought tolerant natives that once covered the continent and provided habitat for all kinds of wildlife. A true meadow is a mixed ecosystem of wildflowers and native grasses enclosed with shrubs and trees. To be sustainable, the direction your yard faces will dictate what kind of meadow works best: a north side mostly in shade or under trees will be best planted as a woodland glade. A sunny exposure can be planted as a wildflower meadow. To start your meadow clean out all weeds and invasives and cover the area with a couple of inches of good loam or screened compost. If you would like naturalized bulbs in your meadow now

is the time to put them in. Choose from species crocus, Narcissus, species tulip, Allium, Crocosmia, Camas, Triteleia, Scilla, Muscari, Ipheion, and snowdrops. Species iris may also be used. Then choose one or two species from the following tidy, coolseason groundcover type grasses as your base: Bouteloua gracilis, Bromus benekenii, Sesleria, Carex, Festuca mairei, Leymus triticoides or Pennisetum spathiolatum. Add a few of the spectacular grasses to define edges, transitions and screens (these need room, and cannot be placed adjacent to a drive or walk): the Miscanthus varieties, Muhlenbergia, Panicum virgatum, Sporobolus wrightii or Neyraudia. ‘Filler’ grasses can be added to the mix for a little variety: Acorus, Agrostis, Anthoxanthum odoratum, Brizia media, Festucas or Leoleria macrantha. Ornamental grasses are divided into two main groups: warm season (dormant in winter) and cool season (longer lasting, evergreen but can go dormant in dry summers). They are also grouped as clumpers, creepers and runners. Runners should not be planted in small areas or near property lines. Some (generally creepers) are good for walking on. Clumpers are often planted en mass with a path of gravel, wood chips, pavers or stone set in for a walk. There are very tall grasses that can be

planted as screens and hedges (bamboo is a grass) and for dramatic effect. Some grasses are glorious in fall: Andropogon, Japanese bloodgrass, Miscanthus, Molinia, Panicum, Pennisetum, Schizachyrium, Sporobolus and Themeda to name a few. Check with all of these grasses to see which are best for your site in regards to shade and sun; your soil type and its drainage; grades; and then your height and space requirements. A sunny site can have hardy, easy wildflower perennials in with the grasses: Achillea (yarrows), daisies, Liatris, Aster, Chrysanthemum, Verbena, Astrantia, Echinacea, Erigeron, Helenium, Helianthus, Rudbeckia, Solidago, Salvia, and Nepeta. Shadier sites can be interplanted with ferns, Heuchera, Ajuga, daylilies, Japanese Anemone, Columbines, Thalictrum (meadow rue), Cimicifuga (snakeroot), Actaea, Hepatica, and Epimedium. The main idea is to cover the ground so that weeds can’t get a toehold. Water well the first season or two and thereafter in prolonged droughts. Mulch well (don’t cover the ‘crown’ of plants, or they will rot) and keep weeding until all ground is covered. The grasses and perennials should be cut back in late winter (early March) to at least a third.

George & Linda Szasz, nurturing Victorians for over 12 years.

Zamian Sells Fernwood For more information on buying and selling real estate in Fernwood please visit

250.514.1533 (direct)

Not just a Wine Bar

Open 7 nights 5pm | midnight Tues - Sat 5pm | 10pm Sun-Mon 250.388.4222 1307 Gladstone Avenue, Victoria


December 2011


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Scene in Fernwood : Farewell Fairey Tech

Photos: Courtesy of the Vic High Archives.