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villagevibe January 2008 : News and views from the heart of Fernwood

Photo: Keith Hoon

Photos: Bill McKechnie

u ve to yo o l d n a ! Peace ew year in t h e n

Freecycle or garbage? Sharing gardens >> by Trish Richards


ver notice that the boulevards in the ’hood are home to much more than seasonal vegetation. They are usually sprouting a range of things that their owners no longer have any use for. Everything from boxes of old clothes to sofas to toilets. What is going on here? There is a rather fine line between Freecycling and garbage dumping. Freecycling is a timehonoured tradition in Fernwood. Everyone knows that rather than mess about with a garage sale, you can put a couple of boxes out on the boulevard, mark it “Free” and much of it will be gone come morning. Another fine example of this is the unofficial Freecycle site below the gazebo in Fernwood Square. While some of us might prefer a tidier version, it actually works fairly well. The thing about Freecycling is that if no one takes your castoffs, the responsibility remains with you to find some way of disposing of them. If WIN, Saint Vincent de Paul or the Salvation Army won’t take them and they can’t be recycled, then they are probably destined for the landfill, and it is up to you to get them there. With larger items, the old mattresses, the sofas, the obsolete electronic equipment, the problem is of a different sort. These are items that the agencies won’t take, and generally, no one else wants either. Although you might be able to freecycle a sofa – in fact, just the other day I saw a couple of hardy souls hoofing a large sofa up Roseberry Hill – this is the exception. For the most part, boulevard sofas get left out in the rain for long enough to be of no use to anyone. Some provide seating for passersby in the night, sometimes just long enough for a stray cigarette to set them aflame. Like the one left in Kings Park last summer, the fire from which took half my neighbour’s fence along with it.

The City will pick up large boulevard leavings if someone calls to complain. However, City staff estimate the cost of ad hoc pickup to be $100,000 per year. It is an expense that they are none too happy about. Dumping is illegal and you can be fined up to $500 if you are caught at it. In November’s Village Vibe we published a letter that asked the City to work with the neighbourhood on the dumping problem. Now we need to look at some made-in-Fernwood solutions. One idea is to hold a Fernwood Freecycle day each year. We could designate a Saturday in April where throughout Fernwood anyone with stuff to get rid of could put it out and anyone who is looking could check it out. Then, on the Monday, the city crews could pick up the leavings. Another idea is to revive the Fernwood NRG spring and fall garage sales. We could encourage Fernwoodians to turn out by providing the option of disposing of unsold items to the agencies, Plastics Recycling, or the landfill. If you have other freecycling ideas, we want to hear them. Write to placemaking@ Tell us your idea and how you could help to make it happen. Lets work together to keep our boulevards clear enough to give the seasonal vegetation a fighting chance! Some things you can do right away before taking the boulevard route are: > Call the CRD Recycling Hotline at 360-3030 > Try the FREE postings on: - Used Victoria at - Freecycle at victoriafreecycle/

>> by R ainey Hopewell


atchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, find me a garden, catch me a... Pole bean? Beet? Potato? Introducing the Fernwood NRG Food Security Collective’s newest brainchild …“Sharing Gardens!” Are you a Fernwoodian or Oaklandish vegetable lover with a fallow garden space, or space for a new garden plot? Are you thinking you could grow food in that space, if only you had some help? Are you a thwarted urban vegetable-gardener with no access to garden space? Are you thinking you could grow the vegetables of your dreams, if only you had a plot? If you recognize yourself in either of these descriptions, the Fernwood NRG Food Security Collective’s “Sharing Gardens” program might be able to arrange a match for you. Here’s how it works: If you have a productive vegetable garden with which you need help, or a garden lying fallow, or space where a new garden plot could be created, register that information with the “Sharing Gardens” program by calling Rainey Hopewell at 380-5055. Someone will come to your space,

– continued on page 4

in this issue Armchair reads for a neighbourhood evolution Page 3 Feature: The all-ages scene Page 4 Fernwood floor hockey flying high Page 6

Looking back isn’t as much fun as looking forward. 2007 was a good year in Fernwood. What can we expect for 2008? Chickens will soon be running the streets. After the success of the Fernwood NRG Food Security Collective’s urban chicken-raising workshop held last fall, neighbours have already been plotting to get together and raise chickens between them. This summer, at the Fernwood Square market, there’ll be vendors selling eggs labeled “Product of Fernwood/Produit de Fernwood.” The multifaceted and talented gamut of Fernwood artists will flourish with the opening of the Collective Works Gallery this month. Fernwood artists now have a new home, a gathering place, and the true Fernwood Renaissance will begin. Currently dormant backyards will spring to life as neighbours dial up Rainey Hopewell at 380-5055 and begin to share backyard gardening spaces and gardening

declaration of principles and values

skills. Who knows, maybe there’ll even be an upswing of made in Fernwood romances as folks find their perfect match in the potato patch! The Fernwood Business Network, brainchild of the late Roger Colwill, will transform the lives of small business people in Fernwood and will stimulate an even more vibrant business community in the neighbourhood. Join other business people in Fernwood for an inaugural meeting, February 4th at 10:00am. Email ryan@ for details. Fernwood NRG’s Placemaking Troupe – which includes anyone interested in transforming Fernwood’s public spaces – will move from pinwheels to poetry cans, to Village Vibe boxes, to … whatever your heart desires. The action of neighbours coming together will accentuate the eclectic, eccentric, and funky character of our neighbourhood. All in all? It looks like a first-rate year!

Twenty minutes goes a long way >> By Kasper

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!

“There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life – happiness, freedom, and peace of mind – are always attained by giving them to someone else.” – Peyton Conway March On Saturday, October 20, 2007, you really could feel the love at the Cornerstone Café in the heart of Fernwood. The love was in appreciation of a worthy cause. It was for music and dance performed with conviction and grace. It was expressed in the camaraderie between musicians and the connection between performers and audience. It was the love of a community of people who filled the Café for ten straight hours to show their support and generously donated over $875 to the Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre (VWSAC), in honour of the Centre’s 25th anniversary. The event was called “20/20/20.” Twenty local artists performed twenty minutes each on the 20th day of October, hence the 10-hour marathon from 1:00 to 11:00pm. In opening “20/20/20,” Fernwood NRG Board Chair, Lisa Helps, welcomed the VWSAC and all the musicians to “our neighbourhood living room.” Long-time Fernwood resident and veteran of the Victoria music scene Mike Demers kicked off the event with a powerful punch of acoustic numbers. Demers was followed by the duo Palomitas De Maiz – belly dancing accompanied by conga percussion. Other artists who graced the Cornerstone stage included: Irene Jackson, Tom Sandford, Boxcar, Azul Salvaje, Gord Phillips, Chelsea Rich, The Flying Barista Brothers, Dana Waldman, Steven Del Rizzo, Pedro Java, Greg Wolfe, James Kasper, Nastassia Yard, Jennifer Louise Taylor, Char, Quinn, Hollydene, Stacie Black, Thomas P. Radcliffe, Caroline Spence, Adam Basterfield, and Pauline Edwards. The response to the call for performers for the benefit was so overwhelming that the 20 performer spots were not enough to accommodate everyone. So, surplus performers were squeezed in for single songs during transitions between official acts. “I experienced a wide range of emotions and continued to talk about it for many days after,” said Tracy Lubick, Resource Development Officer for VWSAC, who spoke at the event. “At times I found myself smiling and laughing, at other times I found myself moved to tears by the passion of the performer, the music itself, a voice, or an instrument.” Lubick commended the event’s participants for their “commitment to community” and added that by helping the

Page 2 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | January 2008

the Fernwood buzz The Fernwood NRG Placemaking Troupe met Wednesday December 12th in the Cornerstone Café for an evening of Zippy Action Projects. The event was a hybrid of show and tell, arts and crafts, and community building. Fernwood NRG’s Placemaking Troupe put forward several creative ZAP ideas. Tania Wegwitz introduced her handmade newspaper boxes for the Village Vibe. “If we get people painting and building Vibe boxes we will no longer need to use Canada Post,” Wegwitz said, standing beside her sky-blue polka-dotted box. A network of boxes throughout Fernwood will make the paper more accessible to all. Next in line was Cathy Martin, a coffee can in her hand. “This is not just an empty coffee can,” she said and explained how containers like these can be transformed into poetry cans. “A RAP ZAP,” one participant called out – Random Acts of Poetry. Cans will be painted and posted around Fernwood to provide a place for people to leave whimsical musings and notes for neighbours. Sean Newton’s brightly coloured pinwheel-topped un-traffic cones were the ZAP of the evening. Roberta Martell explained that the cones came out of the discussion around traffic calming measures along Fernwood Road. Under Newton’s direction, the Cornerstone Café became a craft studio humming with activity. Troupe members outlined, cut, folded, and stapled in assembly line fashion. Newton kept a close eye on the manufacturing of pinwheels. Elsewhere in the Café, manager Lenore Rankin got assistance moving furniture out of an alcove to make space for a placemaking centre. To find out more about the next Fernwood NRG Placemaking Troupe event contact

Photo: Pete Rockwell

Predictions for 2008

Photo: Pete Rockwell

editorial :

organization to raise awareness and funds, “20/20/20” will make a difference in the lives of many. Last year VWSCA provided services to over 2,800 people who have been affected by sexualized violence. Donations are used to provide counseling to survivors of sexual assault and abuse, training for volunteers on the Sexual Assault Response Team, and prevention education workshops for youth through a program called Project Respect. Thank-you to all who participated in the event and supported the cause.


What are your wishes or resolutions for the year to come? Views photos: Véronique da Silva

views from the street :

Laura Like most moms out there, I definitely need to find more time for myself this year! As for my worldly wishes – I am a bit cynical. I don’t think our North American bubble will change much this year, but if it were to change, I wish for individuals to realize that people are more important than belongings, and to make our world a better place.


Véronique and Sophia

I personally need to give myself more adult social time. My worldly wish is that more people make resolutions to live a greener and more environmentally sustainable life.

I wish for tolerance, understanding, respect and peace, both for myself, my family and for all other living creatures on this planet.

Armchair reads for a neighbourhood evolution Two recent books rethinking economics >> by Tania Wegwitz The recent media coverage of economic events like the spiraling US housing debt and the impacts of a soaring Canadian loonie has been a great illustrator of some of our current cultural quirks when it comes to money. Why are we folks who used to be referred to as “citizens” now almost exclusively referred to as “consumers?” How come very intangible and extremely theoretical events like a two-cent jump in the value of a currency provoke more comment and response than the very tangible, extremely concrete event of, say, a continental ice shelf sliding into the slushy Arctic? Two recent books explore these modern cultural tendencies when it comes to money and look at how we can make our economic systems work for and not against sustainable and democratic communities. In Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future (Times Books, 2007; GVPL Call #: 306.3 MCK), the answer to most of our current and future problems is to go local. Whether it’s for food, or entertainment, or goods and services, McKibben’s premise is that we can best support and protect our environmental and social networks by increasing the many and diverse exchanges that happen on the small scale. Written in a conversational and upbeat style, McKibben’s book is an easy and enjoyable read. He includes many examples of how different groups and individuals are reshaping and protecting their local assets


and economies, with quite a few stories drawn from his home state of Vermont. Fans of the Fernwood Tuesday Night Market take note: McKibben cites research that you will typically have ten times more conversations buying your veggies at a farmer’s market than at a grocery store, an important gain in a society where material goods are relatively plentiful but human interactions often scarce.

I found this book to be completely fascinating and inspiring. Anielski talks about the evolution of the meaning of “wealth” and the value systems of different cultures. He also shows how individual households, communities, and businesses can measure and monitor their well-being beyond simply monetary terms (and make the monetary measures they might still use more truly reflective of actual ecological impact).

Why are we folks who used to be referred to as ‘citizens’ now almost exclusively referred to as ‘consumers’? While this book reads much like the print-equivalent to having an amiable conversation with a like-minded friend, it doesn’t really delve into the complexities of rebuilding our economic systems. Deep Economy would be a good book choice if you were looking for a general introduction to – or a reaffirmation of – the positives side of going local and reducing your reliance on big corporations and goods from afar. Edmonton ecological economist Mark Anielski goes much more to the heart of the matter in The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth (New Society Publishers, 2007; GVPL Call #: 330.019 ANI). Anielski’s premise is that the first step to making our economic systems work for a sustainable future is to shift how we think about and keep track of wealth. Rather than focusing on meaningless and often destructive measures like Gross National Product (GNP), he argues that we need to consider “wealth” in its original meaning of “well-being” and measure the things that actually matter to most people, such as access to clean water, meaningful work, social inclusion and so on.

The sections that really stood out for me included his description of what monetary currency actually is and how it is created and his summary of the environmental impact of our relatively new obsession with charging interest on loans (usury). I also found important his discussion of how measures like the GNP often obscure the ways in which the accumulation of private profits destroy common natural resources and correlates more to rising societal debt than it does actual gains in well-being. From describing Inuit value systems and Bhutan’s “Gross National Happiness” index, to Salt Spring Island Dollars, to a section on Sweden’s JAK Members Bank (a 30,000 member financial institution that charges and pays no interest), The Economics of Happiness provides a diverse set of examples of how other citizens, communities, and business are charting a new economic path. One thing is for sure: whether Deep Economy or The Economics of Happiness is more your cup of locallybrewed tea, either book is a better read than yet another article on the credit-card-dazed glories of cross-border shopping. A copy of The Economics of Happiness has been donated to the Cornerstone Café to browse and share the next time you stop by.

January 2008 | | Page 3

The all-ages scene To being and becoming

feature :

>> by Natalie North


magine a city without music: no summer festivals, few affordable arena shows, and for the kids, a dwindling number of all-ages shows. The direction that live music in Victoria is headed can seem more like the sequel to a popular ’80s teen flick than reality. The first two situations aren’t great, but they’re livable; we’ll find other summer activities and when we can’t afford the $80 ticket price when a big act comes to town, we’ll read the review in the paper. But what are the young folks to do when fewer and fewer venues are willing to host all-ages shows, and a lack of underage activities ensues? It’s not like Kevin Bacon’s going to dance into town any time soon and save the day. Of the seven community centres around the greater Victoria area, only the James Bay Community Centre and the Fernwood Community Centre continue to host all-ages shows. Just about every venue downtown is either a licensed establishment, or costs far more than the budget for a small show allows. Without liquor sales, promoters of all-ages shows rely on ticket sales alone. When the cover charge is usually less than $10 a head, it’s easy to see

When the conversation turns to a violent incident that occurred outside the Fernwood Community Centre after an all-ages show in late October – perpetrated by teens from outside the neighbourhood, who weren’t at the show – Poncha echoes a sentiment that seems to be prevalent amongst most all-ages show-goers. “That’s the first thing like that I’ve seen happen at a show, and it wasn’t even related to the show,” he says. “It had nothing to do with the show, and it’s never happened before; it’s always really friendly. Everyone likes each other and has a good time. That was a complete freak accident.” Poncha, like the majority of music lovers that find their way down to these shows is far too interested in all the antics on stage to start any off the stage. All-ages shows are an integral part of the local music scene, for both the people who attend them and the bands that gain support from them. A rock show is a great place for escape and it’s also a positive avenue for the underage attendees to explore. It can also be a rite of passage. Some kids are naturally sports buffs and spend their afternoons on a field or in a gymnasium. Others grow up strumming out their first power chords or learning the ropes of a drum kit in their parents’ basements. The first all-ages shows are as necessary for these kids as the first sports tournaments are to the other demographic.

Not that making a profit is necessarily the goal of members of the all-ages scene. A passion isn’t usually measured in dollars. that putting on these shows isn’t exactly a lucrative business. It’s not much of a business at all – far more for pleasure. By the time the venue has been rented and all other costs have been covered, often the bands and /or the organizers aren’t making a cent. Not that making a profit is necessarily the goal of members of the all-ages scene. A passion isn’t usually measured in dollars. Come check out a couple of shows and it will be abundantly clear that “allages” is an all-encompassing term that really does mean just that. These shows aren’t just for the kids. They’re for anyone who enjoys experiencing a good night of entertainment, regardless of whether or not you’re able to hold a beer in your hand while doing so. Daniel Poncha, 18, a Vic High hairdressing student who comes to every show he can fit in, is quick to vocalize his love of the all-ages scene. “Counting Heartbeats is my favourite band because they’re all so stoked on life!” Poncha says excitedly. And just what is it about the scene that keeps him coming back, to show after show? The atmosphere. “Kids get pretty riled up,” he says, “they know the words and sing along.”

The premier experience with live music can be a powerful thing. These shows are crucial for the bands, too. Often many of the shows’ spectators are members of one of the bands on the bill or are friends there to support just one band. Over the course of the show, they’ll end up discovering another band that they otherwise wouldn’t have heard. Especially for bands just starting out, all-ages shows can be a vital networking tool. They’re a realistic stepping stone towards continued success. The main roadblock facing show organizers today seems to be wholly financial. Tyler Pantella, 20, host of a hardcore show on UVic’s CFUV and a supporter of the local hardcore scene, has organized a couple of shows and has been a part of the all-ages scene for years. He believes that the city isn’t supportive enough of all-ages shows, despite the fact that Victoria has a thriving arts community. “I think it’s already a big struggle for a kid like me trying to get the money together to put on a show without any support,” Pantella explains. “The city could help fund shows or step up – maybe help with promotion, help with advertising fees – that sort of thing. I know there’s lots of arts grants for more legitimate, more formal art forms.” Until that day, many all-ages shows depend on the continued support of the local community centres, like the Fernwood Community Centre. If these shows were to go, who knows what up-and-coming talent would be left

decide together whether a match has been made. If it’s a match you let us know so your names and information can meet you, see your site and add your needs to the “Sharing be taken out of active circulation on the database. If it’s not a match, you let us know so we can continue Gardens” database. our search for a match that works for you. If you’re looking for garden space, the process is the It’s that simple. Just call Rainey Hopewell at same; contact “Sharing Gardens” and let us know what 380-5055 for more information or to sign up for the you hope to find. We’ll add your information to our best dating service ever – matching vegetable gardens database, and let you know of potential matches. and vegetable gardeners – surely the most compelling The rest is up to you. Garden seekers and garden and magical match imaginable! owners meet, share relevant information concerning expectations around work issues and crop-sharing and


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Page 4 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | January 2008

Collective Works Artists Association Raffle 5 works donated by CWAA members Tickets $2 each : 1 in 500 chance to win 19+ to play Sales end on Jan.25, 2008 and draw is on Jan.26, 2008 at 5:00 pm at the Collective Works gallery, 1311 Gladstone Ave. (Members of CWAA may not enter the draw) Publication of winners names at the gallery Jan. 27, 2008 BC Gaming Event Licence #4692 “Know your limit, play within it” Problem Gambling HelpLine 1-888-795-6111


Photo: Kasper

behind, without a shot at success – which for some might just be the simple triumph of performing in front of an audience for the first time. Fortunately, Fernwood NRG’s Executive Director, Roberta Martell, spent years as a youth worker in North Vancouver where she was instrumental in creating the all-ages scene at Seylynn Hall. “The teens would pull together talent, make posters, and we’d rent equipment and every second week, we’d have a huge five bands for five bucks show,” says Martell. “There was a lot of talent,” she continues, “and the kids learned a tonne about business, art,

promotions, accounting, banking, and mostly about themselves.” Seylynn Hall hosted bands such as Pansy Division, the Queers, I Farm, DBS and even DOA. The shows would see up to 500 kids a night. “In all the years we ran them,” notes Martell, “we never had any serious incidents.” Martell says she’s committed to working with the all-ages scene to ensure a safe, affordable venue for creative youth expression. With Martell at the helm, the Fernwood Community Centre will continue to host all-ages shows and is in the final stages of working out a new security plan.

res his thoughts. violence on October 27th sha An observer of the post-show ity r was at the fernwood commun rs old, and my first show eve yea 14 , ago rs yea 4 ut abo k k roc that So my story is I got into pun Kincaide. It was wild to me, oes and a little band called Her ss mle Har was ing dlin hea friends center. I still remember it, n’t get out much, so when my out by Swartz Bay and I did live I ic! mus live , oria Vict in e there was something like this t. This changed my life, it mad got into hardcore through tha and s show to go to d inue cont . I about started a band I was jealous ia, it made me feel strongly trayed to me through the med por and me to told g bein t was me start to think about wha obably the best thing still does. Hardcore’s pr It e. enc fer dif a e mak t to d _something_ and made me wan peers and be doing coke an

, I could end up like my d try to that’s ever happened to me from drugs and am happy, an nt ne sti ab ly te ple com I’m r seen that’s it, but instead t is something that I’d neve pened at Fernwood last nigh hap t Wha . rld wo our make a difference in unassociated with anyone I’d e thugs who were completely

was som happen anywhere though, it nds, and before at a show. It could t. They threatened my frie to get drunk and start a figh re the e wer who , gone I’ve rs h the scene seen go to shows in the 4 yea represents anything to do wit I feel that this, in no way, m. the ed ack att y the t, lef and I’m eventually, just after I had generation. My name’s Sean who make me ashamed of my s igan hool g youn of case a s nks for or punk rock music at all. It’ anything at all I can do. Tha erta. Let me know if there’s Rob out you help to can I g more than willing to do anythin ) life. out my (albeit short thus far helped me out so much through t’s tha ne sce a for up g stickin

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Your voice in Ottawa January 2008 | | Page 5

gleanings :

Backyard bird watching be taken care of by the birds that will come into your yard to feed on them. Your garden will become an ecosystem; A great way to start the New Year is to invite the less you interfere with it, the better it will take care of birds into your yard. I love to watch birds gliding through itself. Birds that visit in the winter months are usually the trees and I especially enjoy watching them bathe in berry and seed eaters that will benefit from a bird feeder my little birdbath. Last winter we had a majestic Barred Owl sleeping for a few days on a branch of the plum tree with seeds. A good general feed is comprised of black in our back yard. We have a bird feeder hanging near the oiled sunflower seeds (not the ones we eat with the white living room window and enjoy watching the birds as they stripe), red millet, and black niger seeds. Corn is not feed, some waiting in nearby shrubs for their turn. When useful to birds here. A suet cage in the winter (peanut butter can be substituted) is a treat for birds. Again, I planted a large Mahonia media X ‘Charity’ outside the living room window, little did I know that the bright ensure their safety by placing the feeder where cats cannot reach them. Some birds are ground feeders that eat the yellow winter blooms would attract the wonderful tiny seed knocked off the feeder, so see if you can find a place hummingbirds that over-winter here. Bonus! that allows for safety underneath. Buy a feeder that is How can we attract these wonderfully entertaining squirrel proof and then hang it in such a way to prevent wild birds into our yards? First, provide a safe place for access from rodents. Try to find a spot out of the elements them to drink and bathe. It should be a shallow pan or too, especially wind and rain. Finally, place the feeder bowl with clean water (this may mean changing it daily so that it is either far away or else close to windows, to in the hot summer days, as birds love to bathe and they prevent aerial disasters as they land and take off. do get dirty!) If you have cats, find a way to place your In the winter, it is wise to not fill up a large feeder, as birdbath up high enough or, like mine, lodged between pots on a corner of the deck railing to prevent a cat from feed can go moldy. If your feed is not being eaten, it’s time to clean the feeder with a 10% bleach solution; then let pouncing on them. In winter if the water freezes, it’s important to thaw it out for your little feathered friends. it dry thoroughly. Hummingbirds should be fed a sugar solution of 1:4 of sugar to water. Lastly, leave some seeds, A bird feeder is more important in the winter than fruit, and berries on your shrubs, trees and perennials – in the summer. The birds that will visit your garden in don’t cut everything down in the fall and strip everything the summer are often not the same birds that will visit off of the branches – share a little. Try growing plants in the winter. Birds of summer tend to eat bugs and with berries, nuts and fruits for birds. worms. Toxic chemicals will either directly or indirectly harm birds when they eat insects that are contaminated. Remember that insects and birds are tiny and so even Resources and feeders Wild Birds Unlimited 595-3595; minute amounts can be fatal. If you refrain from using Swan Lake Sanctuary 479-0211; The Victoria Natural these toxic chemicals, then wildlife will return to your History Society;; garden. The bugs that you would like to get rid of will >> by Margaret Hantiuk

Floor hockey flying high >> By Kasper Sure, lacrosse is Canada’s official sport, but let’s face it, hockey is where it’s at for most Canadian sports fans. And Fernwood is no exception. The ball hockey program at Fernwood Community Centre has now been running year-round for four consecutive years. For the first three years, it ran twice per week. But the program was in such demand that, a year ago, a Saturday afternoon was added to the Tuesday and Thursday evening schedule. Two participants, John Bell and Dave Nilson, have been playing from the very beginning of the four-year run, rarely missing a session during that time and always spearheading the Fernwood teams in tournaments. “I actually started playing here right after I moved to Victoria,â€? Bell explains, “I didn’t know many people. Most of my friends in Victoria I met at this program.â€? When asked about highlights over the years, Bell and Nilson brought up the Fernwood vs. The Media game which took place during festivities for Vancouver Island Music Week in 2006. They describe how the game had a kind of “Harlem Globetrottersâ€? vibe to it. “There was one incident where I got hauled down on a breakaway,â€? Nilson recalls, “I took a dive, and the guy who hauled me down also took a dive.â€? “And they both got penalty shots,â€? Bell adds, “and one of the players’ moms took one of the penalty shots. They hauled her out of the crowd and gave her a stick ‌ Also, we counted a goal that someone scored on the basketball hoop.â€? Bell remembers a different tournament, one of the Victoria-wide, Fernwood-hosted Bell Cup Championships, in which something strange and humourous happened when he scored the tournament-winning goal. “The entire other team piled on top of me,â€? Bell laughs. Two other players, Ian Indridson and Henry Skey, added their own thoughts on the benefits of Fernwood’s ball hockey program. “It keeps me off the street,â€? Indridson jokes, “I don’t steal hubcaps anymore.â€? “He still does it,â€? Skey quips, before continuing, “the program encourages exercise and at the same time meeting a lot of new friends.â€? Skey, an Oak Bay resident but regular Fernwood hockey participant, summed up his thoughts on the Fernwood neighbourhood. “For a small neighbourhood, it does have a lot going on. There’s a good sense of community here, and it seems like people are putting in the effort to create that community.â€?


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Page 6 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | January 2008

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faces :

Fernwood filmmaker on the go

year break where I worked for the Victoria Film Producers Association (ViFPA). I started here as the equipment coordinator, and it’s just coming up on three years now since I’ve been the Executive Director.” The part of his job that drives him is his role in plotting the artistic and creative trajectory of the organization, a focal point for a variety of Victoria’s creative communities. At any time, 120-plus filmmakers, multimedia artists, writers, directors, actors, musicians, technicians, animators, and painters make up the Society’s membership. Given his roots, perhaps it’s not surprising to find Bryan drawn toward work in this kind of rich cultural space. Bryan grew up in Chilliwack. By the time he graduated from high school he was finding the Bible belt too tight. A committed lefty with an artistic vision, he attended the Vancouver Film School in ‘91 and started playing music before striking out abroad. He was living a greasy working-class dream, and was, >> by Aaron Ellingsen as he tells it, “flipping hamburgers near the train station If you don’t know Bryan Skinner, chances are in Oxford, England,” when a girl he had a crush on came through town. She invited him to move in with her and pretty good someone you know does. Bryan’s been on the some friends in Victoria. Sensing opportunity, he made the Fernwood scene since the early ‘90s. Whether you’ve seen trip. His senses were off – a story of “unrequited love.” him at the front of Shillelagh or another band, involved Bryan landed in Gordon Head, and he didn’t like it. in grass-roots activism, running for city council, playing soccer with Fernwood FC – a club he helped organize – or He returned to music, and before long he’d abandoned the UVic vicinity for Fernwood. “Those two things changed my running Cinevic-sponsored music, film, and multimedia events at venues around town, you’ve probably enjoyed the experience of Victoria vastly,” he says. “When I moved into Fernwood I got in touch with a real creative community. fruits of his creativity and hard work. Really, the early ‘90s in Fernwood were a pretty magic time. I was at a party a few months back, and I got talking There was this kind of confluence of a lot of musicians, and with a young Mexican filmmaker about his experience of also a real activist community. They had a lot of interaction, the local film scene. His enthusiasm leapt when he spoke and I was involved with both communities. about how much he’d learned through his involvement “I started making my living as a busker and living in with various projects – including Bryan’s most recent – at Fernwood. It made Victoria work for me. People always Victoria’s Cinevic Society of Independent Filmmakers. Bryan tells me about his work at the Society. “I’ve been think I was involved in music at that time. I would say I was more involved in the tourist industry – like many working at Cinevic since 2002,” he says, “although I had a

Victorians. That was how I paid my rent.” Bryan, with Shillelagh, was a mainstay of the busking scene for over a decade. I asked Bryan for his thoughts on the ‘wood in ’07, and he’s reflective: “You know, the only constant is change. I’ve been really pleased to see what’s been going on in Fernwood the last while. There are elements of it that I’m concerned about – with real estate prices as they are, who’s going to be here? How will the character of our neighbourhood change? “At the same time, what was happening in Fernwood beforehand – the closed shops and rampant vandalism, graffiti everywhere … it looked like shit. It wasn’t headed for a positive future. It’s been babysteps, but over the past four years it’s become an incredibly vibrant area again.” Bryan’s been making his living through various downtown and Fernwood artistic and creative endeavors for the last 14 years, and his commitment to Fernwood and the broader Victoria community hasn’t waned. He’s consistently involved with – and often ringleading in – local grass-roots political activism, music, sports and the arts. The one thing that somewhat slowed Bryan’s hectic schedule was the birth of his daughter Fiona last winter. Bryan and Helen, married for nine years, spend lots of time at home encouraging Fiona’s (auspicious?) early talent for dancing. Fernwood filmmaker/director Bryan Skinner debuts his 44minute burlesque mockumentary, Tumbling After, January 20 at the Roxy Classic Theatre, 2657 Quadra St. Tix five bucks. For trailer and info see Cinevic’s Film Slam, January 18 – 27th with a Slam Screening at 7:30 on January 27 at the Victoria Events Centre, 1415 Broad Street. Tix $7. For Cinevic membership or Slam info see

Wisdom council comes to Fernwood >> by Caspar Davis and George Sranko “The fabric of society is fraying in a variety of ways.” “The future is going to be more and more challenging if we don’t recognize the long-term implications of our actions today.” If these statements resonate with you, don’t be surprised. They are part of a unanimous statement composed by a randomly selected group of Victoria citizens. These groups, known as Wisdom Councils, are convened by Wise Democracy Victoria (WDV), a local non-partisan group of volunteers who are concerned about the state of democracy in Victoria, in BC, in Canada, and on the planet. WDV has already convened two successful Wisdom Councils in Victoria (sponsored by the World Federalist Movement-Canada, Victoria Branch) and would like to involve the Fernwood community in developing a third council, which will take place in the spring of 2008. The conveners’ group includes active members of the Fernwood community and several previous participants have also come from Fernwood. We believe that a council rooted in the already strong community spirit of Fernwood could potentially address important local issues in a way that complements the broad direction provided by the first two councils. The process involves randomly selecting eight to twelve people from the community and bringing them together for a day and a half in a professionally facilitated


session. Immediately afterwards they report to the whole community at a public meeting. The experience is exhilarating for both the participants and the conveners. Participants tend to rise above the divisive opinions that usually bind them and articulate views that elevate and enrich the public dialogue – out of which both community attitudes and public policy arise. Wisdom Councils have no set agenda and participants are free to discuss whatever they choose. The Councils generate a free, creative voice of the people. They are not one-off events, but part of an ongoing process that produces a feedback loop between the community as individuals and the community as a whole. Random selection means that over time the full range of voices in the community become heard. We face challenges of a scale and complexity that are unprecedented. We need to harness the wisdom and good will of all the people – not just experts and politicians – if we are going to develop meaningful, creative, and sustainable solutions. WDV believes that wise democracy involves: 1. Engaging citizens in building community by using tools that develop social cohesion and collaborative capacity (i.e. building our co-intelligence rather than our costupidity). 2. Developing processes that are self-generating, easily replicated and based in the spirit of community. 3. Articulating our collective wisdom, based on the legitimacy and authority of “the people.” After all,

Democracy means “rule by the people”, from the Greek demos, “people”, and kratos, “rule”. Other groups around the world, in New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Germany, and several North American cities, are watching our activities with great interest. We hope that you will consider joining us in this great adventure. For more information and to get involved, please see: Wise Democracy Information Session: You are invited to an information session on Wisdom Councils; January 28, 2008 in the Fernwood Inn, 7 - 9 pm. Everyone Welcome! Phone 598-0124 or 598-5917 for more info.

January 2008 | | Page 7

what’s on in Fernwood Jan 2008









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Arts, Theatre, and Entertainment Bohemian Open Mic at Cornerstone Café. Saturdays. 8-11pm. Saturday Spotlight performer at 10pm (Jan 5> the inimitable acoustic performer SHYNE. Jan 12> the lovely and talented ERIN TURK). 1301 Gladstone Ave. Hosted by James Kasper. Everyone welcome! FREE! Intrepid Theatre at the Metro Studio. FOUR HORSEMEN PROJECT. Jan 10-13. 8pm. 46 CIRCUS ACTS IN 45 MINUTES. Jan 18. 8pm. INSTRUCTIONS FOR MODERN LIVING. Jan 24-26. 8pm. 1411 Quadra St. (at Johnson St.). For info events.html#header. Belfry Theatre. THE TURN OF THE SCREW by Henry James, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher. Jan 15-Feb 17. 1291 Gladstone Ave. (at Fernwood Rd.). For info contact Belfry Box Office at 385-6815 or www.belfry. Debut screening – TUMBLING AFTER. Fernwood filmmaker Bryan Skinner debuts his latest film. Jan 20. Roxy Classic Theatre. 2657 Quadra St. $5. For info see The 30 Cent Players present...30 90 LIVE! SPECIAL 3RD ANNIVERSARY BENEFIT EDITION Sketch comedy/variety show featuring a ton of special guests. Fri, Feb 1. 7:30pm. The Downtown Activity Centre. 755 Pandora Ave. Tickets $5 students and underemployed/$10 adults – ticket proceeds to the Victoria Cool Aid Society. For info contact Mike Vardy at 891-0869 or Live Music at Fernwood Inn. 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. Victoria Folk Music Society. Sundays. 7:30pm Open Stage. 9pm Feature Performer. 1110 Hillside Ave. $5 feature performer nights/$3 all



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open stage night. For info see www. 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 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 NEW! Badminton. Drop-in Co-ed. Adult (18+). Saturdays 1-2:30pm. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. $3.** NEW! Basketball. Drop-in Co-ed. Adult (18+). Fridays 8:30-10pm. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. $3.** Floor Hockey. 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.** NEW! Youth Floor Hockey. Drop-in Co-ed. Ages 9-18 (Group 1/ages 9-13. Group 2/ages 14-18). Sundays 3:30-5pm, Fernwood Community Centre Gym. $3.** Indoor Soccer. Drop-in Co-ed. Adult (18+). Mondays 8:45-10:45pm. Fernwood Community Centre Gym. $3.** NEW! Volleyball. Drop-in Co-ed. Adult (18+). Fridays 7-






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8:30pm. 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! Three or four seniors (55+) needed to complete a small group exploring rhythm on Wednesdays. No musical training necessary. For info call Gillian in Fernwood: 592-2848. Ear Acupuncture. Treatments 15-20 min. Jan 2 and 16 (1st and 3rd Wednesdays every month). 2:30-4:30pm. Fernwood Community Centre MPR. By donation.








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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: Caspar Davis Margaret Hantiuk Rainey Hopewell Kasper Natalie North George Sranko Tania Wegwitz The views expressed in the Village Vibe do not necessarily reflect the views of the Fernwood NRG.

Special Events Fernwood NRG Food Security Collective. All welcome! Tues, Jan 8. 7-9pm Fernwood Community Centre MPR. Fernwood’s Outrageous Recycling Day. Bring your plastics, styrofoam packing and food trays, electronics and foillined coffee bags. PLEASE make sure it’s clean. Jan 12 (2nd Sat every month). 10am-1pm. Back of Fernwood Community Centre. By donation. Fernwood Placemaking Troupe. All Welcome! Bring your ideas for the square and the neighbourhood. Wed, Jan 16. 7:30pm. Cornerstone Café. FREE! Fernwood Business Network. Inaugural meeting! Mon, Feb 4. 10amnoon. Please rsvp Bruce and Ryan Rutley at Fernwood Pocket Market. Local organic produce and baked

goods. Tuesdays 2-6pm. Cornerstone Café 1301 Gladstone Fernwood Sharing Gardens. Have a garden but no time? Time but no garden? Contact Rainey at 380-5055 or Fernwood Community Kitchen. Cook nutritious, creative meals with your neighbours! For info contact Tracy at Green Drinks. An inclusive gathering of the sustainability minded for refreshments and conversation. Tues, Jan 8. 5-7pm. The Canoe Brewpub, Marina and Restaurant, 450 Swift St. If you have a workshop, program or special event idea for the Fernwood Community Centre or the Cornerstone Café email

Open For Lunch! From 11:30 Daily Check out our new Lunch Specials Under new ownership! Page 8 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | January 2008

1302 Gladstone



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