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villagevibe Illustration: Sean Newton

December 2007 : News and views from the heart of Fernwood

Childcare in B.C. Starving for solutions

Collective Works Gallery

>> by Lisa Helps

>> by Miriam Mulhall



childhood educators there simply aren’t enough people going into the profession. At $6500 for a one t 5:00pm on Tuesday October 30th, to two year training program and between $13.00Fernwood NRG Executive Director $15.00 per hour in wages upon completion, this is Roberta Martell climbed onto the roof of hardly a surprise. the Society’s Infant and Toddler Centre and began Fernwood’s Infant and Toddler Centre is a four-day camp out and hunger strike. She was subject to the provincial Childcare and Community protesting the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s Facilities Licensing Act, which sets ratios of certified (VIHA) most recent denial of staffing certification staff to children in each facility. A licensing officer exemptions, which put the Centre at risk of closure. is responsible for ensuring that workers hold the The Centre was adorned with signs from supporters appropriate certification. In July when Infant and who gathered below while Roberta ascended the Toddler supervisor Judy Smith went on holidays, wobbly aluminum ladder that barely cleared the VIHA granted an exemption so the Centre could edge of the flat roof. “Implement a national childcare continue to operate while Judy was away. The Centre strategy,” one proclaimed. Another read, “Maintain was left in a lurch when Judy decided not to return existing spaces.” And Roberta’s innovation: “Childcare from her holidays. In late September, the Centre in B.C.: Starving for Solutions.” reapplied for the same exemptions they’d been Up on the roof was a simple set up of tent and running with since earlier in the summer and these camping chair. A teddy bear nodded off against one were denied. of the tent’s nylon walls. A witch’s hat stood near the “Our conference call with licensing officers came chair. It was almost Halloween after all. up with that potential solutions: that we closed for Roberta explained the current dilemma. “They’re half the day so that less staff were required, that we not closing us down,” she said. “They’re just not closed half the facility or that if we closed completely helping us to be in compliance. So in essence they’re as of the year end, we’d be allowed to stay open until killing us with a borrowed knife. There’s no avenue for then! Everything involved closure,” Roberta explained. us to go on. Our only option, as I see it at this point, By Friday afternoon, VIHA had finally taken is to close down or to stay open in non-compliance, notice of the situation. Roberta came down off the facing fines of up to $10,000 a day.” roof to a room full of supporters. Among those At issue is the lack of availability of certified present was Victoria MP, NDP Denise Savoie whose Early Childhood Education and Infant and Toddler Early Learning and Child Care private members staff. And there’s a shortage province-wide. Because bill since passed its second reading in on November of Liberal government cuts to training for early 21st. As Roberta was slurping soup, her first meal

– continued on page 6

n December 1st another exciting, made-inFernwood initiative opens in the Cornerstone Building. 1311 Gladstone is the new home of the Collective Works Gallery. The Gallery is the inspiration of a dedicated group of Fernwood artists, the Collective Works Artists, who have come together to spearhead this innovative, community-based, artist-run gallery. The inspiration for Collective Works began with a chance meeting over coffee in the Cornerstone Café. This initial meeting developed into an ongoing conversation, which revealed the number of Fernwood artists looking for a home. Commitment deepened as the level of enthusiasm for creating that home in Fernwood was revealed. The availability of space at 1311 Gladstone and the fact that the Cornerstone is a neighbourhood-owned building has enabled the Collective to make their dream a reality.

– continued on page 6

in this issue Community kitchens Page 2 Feature: Literature and lattés Page 4 Fall clean up in the garden Page 6

A recent Monday article alleged that Fernwood NRG was “$150,301 in the hole” and that the Society had “lost almost $6,000 running the Cornerstone Café.” A letter to the editor the following week proclaimed that the Society was “sinking in a sea of red ink.” I have only 232 words for my editorial this month because Fernwood NRG’s Food Security Collective has been so busy, they need the whole page. Flip to page 1 … the Fernwood Artist’s Collective Works Gallery has leased the last Cornerstone space. Check page 3 for a report from the Fernwood NRG-hosted placemaking event. Turn to pages 4 and 5 and you’ll read about a Fernwood NRG-supported literary series in the Cornerstone Café. Fernwood NRG is committed to resident-powered neighbourhood evolution. Come with an idea, enthusiasm and a group of committed neighbours, and we’ll find the resources to support you. Neither the Society nor the Cornerstone is in financial peril. Are we “in the hole” from renovating the Cornerstone? Slightly, and working our way out. But would the neighbourhood rather see the building still boarded up? Did we spend more money than we made in the first few months of operating the Café? Perhaps, but the value of the connections people make there is incalculable. Fernwood NRG thanks its supporters. Our continued hope is that those who find the time to attack us would play nice or get off the field.

declaration of principles and 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 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!

Food security alive in Fernwood: In the kitchen and in the coop In the past two months, Fernwood NRG hosted three community kitchens and sponsored a workshop on raising chickens in the urban environment. Photo: Keith Hoon


Cooking in Community >> Betsy Nuse I had heard the words “community kitchen,” before but it wasn’t until I arrived in the basement kitchen of the Fernwood Community Centre the evening of November 1st that I experienced the miraculous meaning of those words. Five of us assembled that night around 6:30pm: myself, Fernwood NRG’s indefatigable Food Not Lawns co-ordinator Susi Porter-Bopp, Caitlyn Vernon, Sarah Thornton, and Tracy Veldhuis. Tracy has coordinated kitchens in other parts of Canada and volunteered to get Fernwood’s project up and running. She was already in the kitchen getting organized when I arrived. In the gym outside the kitchen, inline skaters gave way to floor hockey practice, so we closed the door between us and got down to work. Tracy had chosen five simple vegetarian recipes for us to prepare. Susi rounded up an armload of winter squash and set out to make squash soup. Sarah put red lentils on the stove, the first step towards making veggie burgers. Caitlyn began chopping onions and carrots for a groundnut stew, and yours truly set a big box of apples and pears harvested by LifeCycles’ Fruit Tree Project at her feet and began peeling fruit for pear-apple crisps. Time flies, and work flows easily in a community kitchen. When others had a moment between steps in their own recipes, they peeled and chopped a few apples for the crisps. Tracy chopped carrots for the stew and burgers. We stood and sat and talked about the kinds of foods we’d like to prepare in future kitchens as Tracy told us about things that had worked well in kitchens she had organized before. We even had time to enjoy a cup of tea together. Community kitchens offer participants good fellowship as well as an opportunity to stock our fridges and freezers with surprisingly large quantities of tasty food. When the cooking was done, Tracy calculated the costs of all the materials and divided it by five. We each reimbursed her $10.50 for the groceries she had bought. Then we set out the containers we had brought to take food home and began to divide everything up. At 10:00pm, each of us left the kitchen with one 9x9 pan of fruit crisp, 4 generous

Community Kitchens >> Jennifer Freeman Thanks to funding from the Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance, Fernwood NRG was able to host two fully loaded community kitchens in October. Both kitchens were designed to increase skills and knowledge about how to prepare food in a healthy and affordable way. The first, held on October 20th and hosted by Jennifer Freeman was centered around how to use the bounty of foods that are grown in this area. Ten Fernwood women chopped and peeled basic local veggies – healthy potatoes, carrots, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, apples and squash – and made them into meals to be tucked away in the

‘Community kitchen’ now means to me a fun gathering of neighbours who create a culinary miracle together. servings of squash soup, 3 servings of groundnut stew and 6 veggie burgers. At my house, we’re still eating our share of this group effort! “Community kitchen” now means to me a fun gathering of neighbours who create a culinary miracle together. I’d recommend the experience to anyone who appreciates food, companionship and economy. To participate in a future Fernwood NRG community kitchen, please e-mail Tracy at Photos this page (top): Fernwood NRG’s Food Security Collective coordinator makes nice with neighbourhood chickens at Fernwood NRG’s urban chicken workshop on Saturday October 20th. (bottom): Hard at work and at play in the community kitchen

Page 2 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | December 2007

freezer. Making foods from scratch is time consuming, but community kitchens make the chore less tedious and way more fun. Even when things don’t turn out exactly as planned. (Imagine vegetable patties with eight times the amount of flour that was originally called for!) Community kitchens allow for friendship and merry making around a common practical daily chore! Allison Power hosted the second community kitchen a week later for participants of the Victoria Best Babies program. Her kitchen focused on creative yet simple ways to increase nutrition in an affordable way when a timeand cash-strapped mother goes to cook her supper. Babies abounded in this kitchen, and the moms benefited from the comradery and support of cooking with others. Both kitchens enabled participants to go home with 30 servings of food at a cost of less than 50 cents/serving. Both these community kitchens directly supported local farmers.


How do you typically spend the holiday season? Views photos: Veronique da Silva

views from the street :

John with daughter Sofia “I like to take my daughter door to door and sing Christmas carols. I also like to enjoy malt wine by the fireplace dressed up as Santa. I do enjoy spending the holidays with the people I love.”

Medardo (a.k.a. Mario) “I usually travel with my family over the holiday season. This year we are headed to La Manzanilla, Mexico. A typical Christmas for us involves lots of music, fireworks, color, food, family and friends and a great atmosphere. Oh yes, and lots of hugs!”

Scott “The holiday season for us is centered around spending time with family and the ones you love, typically around the tree singing Christmas Carols, and of course enjoying turkey and pastries.”

Placemaking and painting daisies >> by Joseph Avi Lambert and Lisa Helps On the night of November 14th Fernwood residents transformed the Cornerstone Café into a movie theatre and lively community hall. More than fifty people filled the room for the Claiming Space and Making Place workshop organized by Fernwood NRG’s Placemaking Troupe. Neighbours gathered to watch a screening of Mark Lakeman’s, “The City Repair Project: Transforming Space into Place” and to discuss ideas for resident-driven solutions for the centre of our neighbourhood. The movie was a brilliant introduction for the uninitiated. It provided perspective on placemaking and laid the groundwork for the evening. “The City Repair Project” gave the crowd food for the intellect as it detailed how the centuries-old grid-based system alienates people at the expense of the automobile. It presented realistic nubs of inspiration in interviews with city councilors and activists. The short flick also showed vivid examples of placemaking in action: cob benches, strategic plantings and the painting of intricate mandalas in the middle of intersections. All of this was fodder for the discussion that followed.

Moving the group from discussion to action, Vining Street resident Rae Abbott burst out at one point, “Are we talking about painting daisies [in the streets]?” Event facilitator, Roberta Martell took the opportunity to reaffirm placemaking principle number one. “It’s not as much about the daisies,” she said, “as the importance of getting people together.” Placemaking is not about aesthetics, cob pizza ovens, pony-shaped tea party art-cars, or painting daisies; it’s about the dialogue. And before starting any project it’s vital to talk to your neighbours. Fernwood NRG has defined two types of placemaking actions: MAPS (Major Action Projects) and ZAPS (Zippy Action Projects). A ZAP is a transformative project that can be organized in a week or less, completed in one day or less, with a group of 5 people or less, for $500 or less. It may be permanent, or ephemeral. The purpose of a ZAP is to quickly make a minor improvement to public or semi-public space that solves a design problem or is just plain beautiful and contributes to creating a whole neighbourhood. A MAP is a transformative project that is, in at least some dimension, larger in scale than a ZAP. By

definition, a MAP requires additional time, a larger group (which may need to be formally organized) or a larger budget. It may also involve more planning depending on what it is and where it takes place (e.g. it may involve obtaining permits or permissions in advance, building partnerships with other groups, etc.). Before the night was out, the group had its first ZAP. In the closing round, people shared their placemaking wishes. Haultain St. resident, Tessa Helweg-Larsen, who runs the FoodRoots Tuesday night market in Fernwood said that with the Collective Works Gallery moving into the empty Cornerstone suite, FoodRoots needed a new place to sell produce to Fernwoodians. Cornerstone Café manager Lenore Rankin immediately volunteered the front alcove and doorway of the Café on Tuesday afternoons for just that purpose! The next ZAPS and MAPS in the neighbourhood are up to you. Join the Placemaking Troupe. Come to our next gathering, an evening of ZAPS, on Wednesday, December 12 at the Cornerstone. Or, email with your contact information and placemaking wishes.

After the movie, the audience broke into groups and gravitated around four different maps, sections of our neighborhood that had been drawn up in the last placemaking session. People wrote their placemaking ideas on stickies and placed them on the corresponding location on the map. The passion in the room was palpable. Upon reassembling, each group read out and explained their sticky note ideas to the larger crowd. Safe spaces for children to play in car-free streets, more trees in the square to temper the wind that whistles through it, increased pedestrian safety at Fernwood and Gladstone, and revealing stories about the old bones of Fernwood’s buildings were all thrown on the table.


Photos: Pete Rockwell

Placemaking is not about aesthetics, it’s about the dialogue.

December 2007 | | Page 3

feature :



rocrastinating writers, lonely late night readers and seekers of community and carrot cake, unite—The Cornerstone Café, with bookstore and publisher offers a new option

>> by Christine Matte


he artistic spirit of the West Coast is alive in many ways – from galleries, to theatres to literary magazines and writing schools. Victoria and the Gulf Islands are home to amazing talent and resources, and yet the presence of a writing community is questionable. The new literary reading series at the Cornerstone Café will hopefully be part of changing that. We have vibrant community fellowship when it comes to fitness, food security and other fine arts, but when it comes to reading and appreciating our writers, are we a bunch of couch potatoes? Local publishers TouchWood Editions and Brindle & Glass, with the book sales support of Cadboro Bay Books, have organized the Cornerstone Literary Series in Fernwood with the hope of changing that perception. Since 2002, TouchWood Editions (formerly Horsdal and Schubart) has been publishing non-fiction that celebrates food, life, and the wild of the West Coast. Publications include the book version of Briony Penn’s popular column A Year on the Wild Side, and the photographic tribute to environmental researcher and scientist Alexandra Morton, Beyond the Whales. New associate publisher Ruth Linka moved her family and her literary press Brindle & Glass from Edmonton to Victoria, and the prospects were both inspiring and alarming. Linka had lived in Vancouver years before, but reaching out to the Victoria community of readers, writers and general lovers of ideas appeared daunting.

“I have long known of and heard about the vibrant arts scene in Victoria and on the islands. I was looking forward to discovering it. There are a number of authors here who I’ve read and admired, and I was looking forward to meeting them at events in and around Victoria,” she said. Emboldened by the enthusiastic support of Cornerstone Café manager Lenore Rankin and Fernwood neighbours and Fernwood NRG supporters, Linka and crew set up the Cornerstone Literary Series featuring new authors and a new theme or genre one evening a month at the café. “Fernwood is already a hub for the arts – the Belfry, the businesses in the square, the merchants that come to market, and above all, the people who live in Fernwood,” says Linka. While readings are good fun for authors they also bring together like minds from all those other hubs of activity. The first evening was a pre-Halloween celebration of local mystery and crime fiction. Appearing that evening were authors Stanley Evans, Ron Chudley, Kay Stewart and Chris Bullock. Evans read dressed as Silas Seaweed, the Coast Salish investigator threaded throughout his series of books, Seaweed on the Street, Seaweed on Ice and now Seaweed Under Water (all three with TouchWood Editions). Chudley discussed the differences between his career as an actor and his writing. Kay Stewart and Chris Bullock, co-authors of Deadly Little List (Newest Press 2006), read dialogue together that illustrated important techniques of mystery writing. The gathered crowd had an opportunity to ask questions, meet the authors and purchase copies of their books, thanks to the participation of Cadboro Bay Books. “Readings can be so boring, unless the author is so well known that he has a following of groupies,” says Evans. “I wanted to offer something different.” Added Chudley, “As a writer, I write. That’s what I do best. But I am always grateful for the opportunity to come out and meet readers and discuss new works.” The November event featured fiction writer Curtis Gillespie from Edmonton, reading with UVic faculty member and author Lorna Jackson. Both Gillespie and Jackson have the experience and credibility that make them charming guest-readers, as well as an inspiring presence for emerging writers in the Fernwood community.

Has the fall chill made its way to your bones? Want a hot drink to warm you up?

The Cornerstone Café is now open until 6 pm Warm up and chat with your neighbours. Every penny of profit from the Café goes directly back into neighbourhood programs and services.

Page 4 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | December 2007


Photos: Christine Matte

and lattés

Gillespie has won three National Magazine Awards, and recently published his first novel Crown Shyness through Brindle & Glass. Jackson’s work has been featured across the pantheon of literary magazine, and her new book Cold-Cocked: On Hockey (Biblioasis) explores a more organic, and feminine perspective on fanaticism than the existing tributes to our national sport. It was recently long-listed for the BC Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the most substantial non-fiction prize in Canada.

experience a book more fully before buying it. You may get a recommendation for your next read. You may meet someone struggling at the same stage of their own set of poems. You may be able to swap publisher-pitching tips. Most importantly, whether you’re usually curled up on dark winter nights with a book, or a pen and blank sheet of paper, the Cornerstone Literary Series offers some reprieve. Who can say no to a steam-swirled latté, and the rich company of like minds?

Having the opportunity to meet successful, working writers can be a burst of motivation for those toiling away in solitude, and it allows readers to

Christine Matte is a freelance writer whose love of words is only rivaled by her love of community

If one night a month isn’t enough, here are just a few available alternatives, on which the Cornerstone Literary Series is building it’s purpose.

The One-Legged Snail Poetry group workshops

The Malahat Review publishes emerging and

and reads in Fernwood and is active on

established writers quarterly in several genres


from creative non-fiction to poetry to literary criticism. Until June 1, they are accepting

Venture out to Solstice Cafe for Café Philosophy Bolen Books hosts frequent readings and

or for Tongues of Fire, the poetry slam night they

signings from their store in Hillside Mall (one

hold regularly.

internationally recognized authors.

The Victoria Arts Connection is preparing for

chapter of the Periodical Writers Association of

the second annual Pacific Festival of the Book

Canada (PWAC) is the third-largest chapter in

that celebrates publishers, authors and all the

the country, and helps wordsmiths of all kinds

Just across the street, the Black Stilt Coffee

creative elements that go into their production in

Lounge hosts Planet Earth poetry every Friday


night, an opportunity to read or listen to the poetic pulse of Victoria, often hosted by Patrick Lane.

issue. Looking for professional support? The Victoria

of the few remaining independent bookstores of its size and scope), with both local and

submissions for their fall Green Imagination

through professional development workshops, reference materials, and website postings to

Helping writers hone their craft are Victoria

help them gain freelance clients. http://www.

School of Writing, and the UVic and Camosun

writing programs all with award-winning, dedicated instructors. http://vswblog., and

Fernwood NRG’s 1st Annual Winter Craft Fair & Bake Sale Saturday December 1st 11am – 3pm All donations go to Fernwood’s Parent & Tot Program


Denise Savoie, MP A Voice for Victoria in Ottawa 970 Blanshard Street 363-3600

December 2007 | | Page 5

gleanings :

Fall clean up the easy way >> by Margaret Hantiuk


| from page 1

in four days, and being swarmed by the very kids who she’d camped out to support, VIHA’s Regional Licensing Officer, Kim MacDonald contacted Board Chair Lisa Helps to set up a meeting and reconsider the exemptions. As the Village Vibe goes to press, Fernwood NRG’s Infant and Toddler Centre is developing a new staffing plan and implementing both short and long term solutions, which VIHA has agreed to consider. The real solution, however, rests with the federal and provincial governments, both of which must invest in the future by investing in children and families. With files from Pete Rockwell.


I used to stress out when fall rolled around: there is so much to do to get the garden ready for winter. So you can imagine my relief when I discovered that a lot of the work that I thought needed doing was not really necessary and was, in fact, not good ecology. Rather it was my idea of how a well-tended garden should look: tidy. Not so in reality‌ Where I used to rake up all of the fallen leaves to throw onto my leaf compost pile, I now only rake up the leaves on my lawn, walks, steps, deck and driveway. This is important as wet leaves can slowly kill a lawn, and they are unsafe where we walk because they’re so slippery when they decompose. It is also important to shake the leaves off of your evergreen shrubs, trees and perennials so that their leaves and needles don’t rot and die. Let the leaves nestle around the trunks and stems of your plants to protect them from the sub-zero temperatures and occasional arctic outflow winds we experience here in Victoria during our winter. The best part of leaving leaf litter on your beds is that it will decompose a fair bit by spring and will actually add a tremendous fertility to the underlying soil in two ways. First, leaves are rich in the nutrients that plants need – they give back what is taken as plants grow. Second, the microorganisms and beneficial insects that are an essential part of healthy, living soil need this humus layer to feed. They also need it for protection as they go about doing their job aerating the soil, adding nutrients and assisting plant roots in absorbing nutrients. If your soil is rich in humus it will not need extra chemical fertilizers. Your plants will be healthier with

better immune systems and so will be able to resist disease and pests – this means herbicides and pesticides will not be required. Victoria City Council is presently considering a ban on pesticide use in Victoria gardens, so we need to understand how to continually build up our soils so that our plants will be healthy. Leaves and compost add many more nutrients than chemical fertilizers (most of which only contain three). Use organic and natural fertilizers if you must. This leaf mulch over compost (your own or purchased) adds nutrients, moderates ground temperature, keeps moisture in and builds good structure. Speaking of soil structures, this is another reason to not step into your beds: in the wet weather, our weight can really compact soil. It is wise to stay out of our beds so that the soil can be as light and open as possible – plant roots do actually need oxygen. A good idea is to put a few bricks, stones or pavers into your beds here and there to stand on as you work in them. Let nature build the soil as only it knows how. When a plant is diseased and has blackspot, mildew, viruses or an insect infestation, for example, it is best to remove leaves from our gardens. In this case the leaves should be bagged and thrown into the garbage, not the compost. Another situation in which to remove leaves is if the leaves are very large. (The large-leafed maples come to mind.) Large leaves can suffocate perennials below them like a large wet blanket. These can be composted. The dry leaf layer should not exceed half a foot. Any excess should be composted. So really, when you think about it, there’s not much left to do in your fall garden but to enjoy the gorgeous colours, perhaps plant a few spring bulbs ‌ and plan your improvements and new plantings for the coming year.

| from page 1

The Collective Works Gallery will function as a non-profit society providing a contemporary exhibition space. The gallery will afford working artists a venue in which to exhibit work, collaborate and exchange ideas. The intention of Collective Works is to promote quality artwork and cultivate community interest in the arts and to nurture, challenge and sustain emerging and experienced artists alike in their work. In addition, the Gallery will support a variety of workshops, artist talks, films, seminars and special events, which will run concurrently with exhibitions. Collective Works will also release a quarterly newsletter intended to facilitate a cultural exchange of ideas and dialogue. Gallery artists will also create an online presence. The Collective aims to be self-sustaining. Revenue to cover operational expenses will be drawn from membership fees, fundraising events and sponsorship. Collective Works welcomes donations in kind or funds from individuals or other sources. Neighbours are encouraged to come by and check out the progress over the coming month, as Collective members transform 1131 Gladstone. The Collective Works Gallery will officially open early in the New Year, and plans are in hand for an opening gala. Watch the Village Vibe for Fernwood’s invitation to celebrate this exciting addition to our neighbourhood. Fernwood, with its many unique assets, is well placed to become a dynamic and vibrant centre for the arts.


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Page 6 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | December 2007


faces :

Penny farthings on Princess Avenue

>> by Aaron Ellingsen I first met Jack and Joan before I moved into Fernwood: I couldn’t miss Jack in his solarium or the steady flow of cyclists and walkers passing the Leonards’ Princess Ave. home to wave greetings. The Leonards have been around here awhile. For over 55 years they’ve seen the neighbourhood change and grow, and they continue to keep an interested eye on goings-on in our little corner of the world. Jack’s parents, William and Elsie, arrived in Fernwood in the late 1910s, moving into a house at 1135 Kings Rd. with their son, Bill. Jack, their second child, was born

shortly after their arrival. Of William and Elsie’s five children, four still live in the neighbourhood. Jack and his siblings went to George Jay and Vic High. George Jay was a little smaller in those days – only the Chambers-facing part of the school existed – while Vic High was pretty much as it is now. Joan grew up an only child in Oxted, England. She was a young factory-worker (building Spitfire fighter planes) during the early days of the Second World War when she met Jack, a dispatch rider in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Jack and Joan’s wedding was splendid. The service was held in a centuries-old chapel in Oxted, the bride

and groom aglow, and Joan’s mother and neighbours managed, despite rationing, to collect the ingredients for a gorgeous three-tiered cake, a good supply of booze and a barrel of beer. Wartime marriage meant Joan and Jack were together only when he was on leave. To make sure he showed up whenever possible, Joan lent Jack money to buy an old BSA motorcycle. The bike was a blessing for Joan, Jack, and his brother Bill, who was excited at the opportunity the vehicle provided to escape his Aldershot barracks stores-room. Bill remembers a pilgrimage to St. Andrew’s golf course and a fair amount of general tomfoolery. Bill says he never knew for sure, but he figures BSA probably stands for “bloody sore ass.” He says it, though, as if the adventures were well worth the pain. It seems the bike was a bit of a sore spot for Joan, too, as Jack neglected to repay her until their 50th anniversary. But she did like to have him around. After the war the couple returned to Victoria, two young children in tow. Their first home was in family housing at Gordon Head camp, a military camp situated where the UVic campus is now. While living there, Jack built a house for the family on Prior St., where they lived until their current home in the 1200 block of Princess was built in the early 1950s. The Princess house has been home ever since. Joan and Jack raised seven children on a block chock full of young families. Joan remembers 30 children on the one block, and describes a troop of them trailing Bill, now the neighbourhood’s postman, from house to house. Joan and Jack’s eldest went to Spring Ridge School (where the Spring Ridge Commons now stand) before it closed, and then, with the other Leonard children, on through George Jay and Vic High. Jack transferred to the Canadian Scottish Regiment (the Princess Mary’s), stationed at the Bay Street Armoury, where he remained active as a Staff Sergeant and as a pool lifeguard. He also worked for the Victoria Fire Department, and eventually started his own chimney sweeping business. Jack wasn’t able to bring his BSA motorcycle back from England with him, but he did bring home a lifelong passion for two-wheeled machines. Jack relished building and fixing bikes for his and other neighbourhood kids, and soon began to appear in events around Victoria riding penny farthing bikes. He rode his antique-style bikes in the Victoria Day parade every May for over 50 years, and took part in the Oak Bay Tea Party parade for over 55. The Penny Farthing Pub in Oak Bay credits Jack as inspiring the name, and one of his penny farthing bikes can be seen on display there. Jack’s been part of the community here in Fernwood and around Victoria for almost nine decades. For several years now Jack has been struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, which leaves him worn out, and with few and fleeting memories. Joan and Jack lead a quietish sort of existence except for a steady stream of friends, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and dogs – and of course the regular parade of cyclists and walkers passing by to wave. And so it goes: Jack and Joan bringing people together. Jack doesn’t ride bikes any more, but he still likes to watch them go by. And he’s pretty much always good for a returned wave and a still-boyish grin. Do you know someone who should be a Fernwood face? Drop us a line at with your suggestion.


December 2007 | | Page 7

what’s on in Fernwood Dec 2007




















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Art, Theatre, and Entertainment Bohemian Open Mic at Cornerstone Café. Saturdays. 8-11pm. Saturday Spotlight performer at 10pm (Dec 1> progressive folk - Steven Del Rizzo. Dec 8> like nothing you’ve ever seen - The Flying Barista Brothers. Dec 15>Bohemian Christmas Open Mic - break out your holiday tunes and enjoy an eggnog latte!) 1301 Gladstone Ave. Hosted by James Kasper. Everyone welcome! FREE. Live Music at Fernwood Inn. 5 nights per week, including Open Mic Thursdays. 8:30-11:30pm. 1302 Gladstone Ave. FREE. Live Music at Logan’s Pub. 1821 Cook St. For listings: www. Victoria Bluegrass Association Jam. Tuesdays. 7:30-10:30pm. Orange Hall. 1620 Fernwood Rd. $2 to play. FREE to listen. Belfry Theatre. GLORIOUS by Peter Quilter. Held over to Dec16. Season tickets still on sale. 1291 Gladstone Ave. (at Fernwood Rd.). For info contact Belfry Box Office at 385-6815 or Theatre Inconnu. DIARY OF A MADMAN by Nikolai Gogol and THE DREAM OF A RIDICULOUS MAN by Fyodor Dostoyevsky Dec 12-30. 8pm. 1923 Fernwood Rd. For info Metro Theatre. Company C presents: LAUGHTER ON THE 23rd FLOOR by Neil Simon Dec 7 and 8. 2 and 8pm. VCOM Opera Studio Finale Performance. Dec13-15. 7pm. 1411 Quadra St. (at Johnson St.). For info html#header. Call for Fernwood Artists. Seeking Artists with studios in Fernwood for the 1st annual FERNWOOD ART STUDIO TOUR. (planning for June 2008). For info contact Deryk Houston or Anne Hoban

Kids and Families Community Family Day. Family-directed and facilitated






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programming. Mondays 9:30-11:30am. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. FREE! Parent and Tot Playgroup. Snacks/Crafts/Circle Time. Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30-11:30am. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. $1 per family. Rhythm Circle Time. Tuesdays 3-4pm. Fernwood Community Centre MPR. Drop in. FREE! Mother Goose. Songs, rhymes and stories. Tuesdays 1-2:30pm, Fernwood Community Centre MPR. 10 weeks per session. To register call 381-1552 ext 22. FREE! ($2 for songbook).

Youth, Adults and Seniors Floorhockey. Drop-in Co-ed Adult (18+). Tuesdays and Thursdays 7-9:30pm. Saturdays 2-4:30pm. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. $4, or get a punchcard: $40/11 sessions.** Youth Floor Hockey. Drop-in Co-ed. Ages 9-18 (Group 1/ages 9-13. Group 2/ages 14-18). Sundays 3-5pm, Fernwood Community Centre Gym, $3.** Indoor Soccer. Drop-in Co-ed Adult (18+). Mondays 8:45-10:45pm. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. $3.** **We accept Sports Trader Bucks and Canadian Tire Money at face value! Internet and Computer Access. Complete your one-time registration and then get online through the Community Access Program. Monday to Friday 9:30am-5pm. Fernwood Community Centre Community Room. FREE! Falun Gong. Peaceful meditation practice. All welcome! Wednesdays 5-7pm. Fernwood Community Centre MPR. FREE! Fernwood Autumn Glow. 55+. Gentle exercise, lunch and activities. Monthly special guest speaker. Fridays 11am. Fernwood Community Centre MPR. $5.50 for lunch. Seniors Wanted! 3 or 4 seniors needed to complete a small group exploring rhythm on




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Wednesdays. No musical training necessary! For info call Gillian in Fernwood: 592-2848. Ear Acupuncture. Treatments 15-20 min. Dec 5 and 19 (1st and 3rd Wednesdays every month). 2:30-4:30pm. Fernwood Community Centre MPR. By donation.

Special Events Fernwood Pocket Market. Local organic produce and baked goods. Tuesdays 2-6pm. Cornerstone Café 1301 Gladstone Fernwood’s Outrageous Recycling Day. Bring your plastics, styrofoam packing and food trays, electronics and foil-lined coffee bags. PLEASE make sure it’s clean. Dec 8 (2nd Sat every month). 10am-1pm. Back of Fernwood Community Centre. By donation. Green Drinks. An inclusive gathering of the sustainability minded for refreshments and conversation. Tues, Dec 11. 57pm. The Canoe Brewpub, Marina and Restaurant, 450 Swift St. Fernwood NRG Placemaking Troupe. A ZAP night! Come join us for an action-filled evening! Such fun! Wed, Dec 12. 7pm. Cornerstone Café, 1310 Gladstone Ave. Fernwood NRG Food Security Collective. All welcome! No meeting in Dec. Next meeting Tues Jan 8. 7-9pm Fernwood Community Centre MPR. Fernwood Community Kitchen. Cook nutritious, creative meals with your neighbours! For info contact Tracy at Fernwood Sharing Gardens. Have a garden but no time? Time but no garden? Contact Rainey at 380-5055 or foodsecurity@ Fernwood NRG’s 1st Annual Winter Craft Fair and Bake Sale. Sat, Dec 1. 11am-3pm. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. Admission by donation (donations go to Fernwood’s Parent and Tot Program). For info or to book a table contact Shelley at 381-1552 ext 132 or shelley@



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villagevibe Published by Fernwood NRG (Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group) 1240 Gladstone Street Victoria, BC V8T 1G6 T 250.381.1552 F 250.381.1509 villagevibe@fernwood Editor: Lisa Helps Assistant Editors: Aaron Ellingsen Trish Richards Photographer: Veronique da Silva Contributors: Maureen Foxgord Jennifer Freeman Margaret Hantiuk Joseph Avi Lambert Christine Matte Miriam Mulhall Betsy Nuse The views expressed in the Village Vibe do not necessarily reflect the views of the Fernwood NRG.

Poetry Reading at Chez Beau Soleil. Six local poets followed by an open mic. All welcome. BYOB. Friday Dec 7. 8pm. 1317 Camosun St. at Johnson. FREE. Christmas Spirit Community Dinner. All welcome to a FREE hot turkey feast with all the fixings! Dec 25. 3 sittings: noon, 2:30 and 5pm, Glad Tidings Pentecostal Church 1800 Quadra St. (at Caledonia). Please register by calling Christina at 472-1040 or Call for Volunteers for 17th Annual Christmas Spirit Community Dinner. Contact Christina at 472-1040 or Christmas in the Square. Come and celebrate the Holidays with your neighbours at Fernwood Village Business Open House, Music and Market, Fernwood Square. Thurs, Dec 6 5-8pm.

Christmas is Coming! Book Your Staff or Family Functions with us in our private Dining Room. Custom menus and Entertainment Available. Children Welcome

Under new ownership! Page 8 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | December 2007

1302 Gladstone



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‘Community kitchen’ now means to me a fun gathering of neighbours who create a culinary miracle together. We are committed to governing our...