BE ACON THE IN THIS ISSUE 2397 Marine Drive West Vancouver, BC V7V 1K9 CHRISTYLANIADO.COM 604.349.0098 Christy@RoyalLePage.ca REALTOR® | Listing Specialist 2018 - 2019 2021 TALKATIVE TEEN PG 3 LIZ BYRD PG 4 FIT FELLAS LOOKING BACK PG 6 SENIORS’ CHRISTMAS PG 12 We are grateful to live and work on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples. No. 54 Shedding light on the communities from Lions Bay to Dundarave January/February 2023 BC Ferry emerging from the fog.
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What’s your soundtrack?
Iused to love making resolutions. I’d write them down, in glitter letters on fancy paper. But 365 days is a long time, and I seldom made it past January. I eventually got tired of failure. And the ensuing guilt. So, I stopped making them.
But a new year warrants some kind of ritual or tradition don’t you think? Something sparkly. Musical, maybe.
Life seems to demand that we be continually planning. Looking forward. No rearview mirror living. But Maya Angelou once said, “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.”
This is only one of the reasons I write. Writing necessitates looking back. Swimming around in nostalgia. It’s also the reason that I ask all my students and clients –at some point during our time together – to enter an imaginary movie theater.
“Choose your seat. In the VIP section. Sink into the cushions. Have popcorn if you want.” I invite them to close their eyes. Take a deep, relaxing breath. “Now watch your life as it rolls across the screen. In slow motion.”
They stay there, in the dark, with their life flickering across the screen. Looking back. Watching the twists and turns. Without judgement. Just noticing. The points after which their lives were never the same. And then I ask, quietly: “What is the soundtrack of this movie of your life?”
Music is never just music, is it? It’s heartache, joy, disappointment. And it accompanies so many rituals. Celebrations. Begin-
A few years ago, Spotify Wrapped arrived with a bang. It provided each subscriber a roundup of their top five musicians that year, and their most listened to songs. It was thrilling! My year in song! Finally – a year-end tradition with no resolutions (or cooking) required.
Since then, I have waited, with bated breath, every December, for my Spotify Wrapped list, trying to guess my most-listened to artist. I got it right this year. And last year. And the year before. All the same – George Michael.
I have always loved George. Even during his Wham! days. He is associated with so many of my firsts. Surprises. Mistakes. Joys. And love. Of course.
George and I shared a birth year. And for some reason this gave me hope as I aged. As I watched his transformation.
On Christmas Day, 2016, I arrived at Budapest International Airport, after visiting my mother and sister in South Africa. I flagged down a cab. I was going to spend the next ten days with my son, who was living in a small Hungarian town.
“Last Christmas” was playing on the radio as I slid into the back seat. I wished the driver a merry Christmas. He responded with, “He is dead.” It took me a few minutes before I understood. George Michael had died. He was just 53.
I cried all the way to the hotel.
All the way back to 1988. I was 24, alone in Amsterdam with my backpack, travel-
lers’ cheques, and tarot cards. It was the first time I’d left home – South Africa – and I decided a Contiki tour would be a good way to get acquainted with Europe.
I boarded a bus, along with 30 other exuberant twenty-somethings from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the U.S. I remember this: bites from giant mosquitoes in our campsite at Barcelona; buying a sombrero somewhere in Spain that I had to cart around with me for the next four months; vomiting on a rowboat in the Blue Grotto; being blinded by snow in Lauterbrunnen.
I don’t remember much else. Except for George.
We spent many hours every day on that bus. And during those hours, we listened to music. Loudly. Through surround-sound speakers. I’m sure we must have listened to many different artists, but it’s George I remember. His debut solo album, Faith, had hit the world with unprecedented force just months earlier. I think we all memorised the entire album during those three weeks of border crossings and cold pizza. Our soundtrack of 1988.
Thirty-five years later, it’s still George. What’s your soundtrack?
Send your 250-300 word story of the soundtrack of your life to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be published in The Beacon, and to win a gift card to Caulfeild Village’s newest coffee shop, Forecast.
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PAGE 2 January/February 2023
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Local Indigenous DJ makes waves on TikTok
TikTok is a popular social media and video creation app that has become widely enjoyed by people of all demographics. A reincarnation of the lip-syncing video app “Musical.ly,” TikTok has been steadily growing its vast user base since 2016, originating mostly as a platform for dancing content. However, the content on TikTok has evolved, now making space for creators of various backgrounds to educate and entertain. Within its various uses, TikTok has created an environment for asking questions and having fun while learning.
In 2021, TikTok Canada and the National Screen Institute ran their first cohort of the “TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators,” a six-week course for Indigenous
creators, educating a select group of 40 participants from across Canada on all-things TikTok and content creation.
This year, West Vancouver is represented among the 40 chosen: Afro-Indigenous DJ and motivational speaker Orene Askew, who is known to her fans and followers as DJ O Show, is a member of the Squamish nation, and a head on which many hats rest.
“I just try to dabble in everything.”
Askew is an expansively successful DJ, having DJ-ed at sports games for the Vancouver Canucks, the BC Lions, and the Whitecaps in 2022 alone. In addition to her DJ career, Askew is a former broadcast radio host, a business coach, motivational speaker, and po
Among her many talents, the path that led her to the accelerator program was that of her role with youth.
“I’m an auntie in my community, and the young folk – the nieces and nephews –kind of make fun of me because I don’t really know that much about TikTok,” she explained, chuckling. “I was just really naive about how powerful TikTok really is.”
Askew came upon the program after seeing it promoted online. In her application, she made a point to describe her intersec tionality as the two-spirited child of an Indigenous mother and Black father.
“I’m really glad I was accepted into the program.”
The program is led by popular Indigenous influencer Sherry McKay, who currently has over 500,000 fol lowers on the app. The sessions are taught by popular TikTokers, includ ing familiar Canadian faces like @ce linaspookyboo and @laframbuesaa.
“The guest speakers were so cool, and they all did something different with their content. It was interesting because we would all get different ad vice from different people – but that’s not always a bad thing – they would let us know what works for them on TikTok.”
Askew describes her experience in the TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Cre ators as a program in which a family unit was created and lifelong bonds were forged.
“I was blown away! I had no idea that we have our own people doing that stuff across the country. It was awesome to work alongside them,” she says. “We’re all going to keep in touch for a really long time.”
Follow her on TikTok at @djoshow143, and on Instagram at @djoshow.
Rose Lepin is a first-year student in the UBC Bachelor of Media Studies program. She has been a contributor to The Beacon for six years. When not writing articles or studying, she can be found singing in the
January/February 2023 PAGE 3
DJ O Show at a Vancouver Whitecaps event. Photo: courtesy of Orene Askew and Vancouver Whitecaps
Photo: courtesy of Belle Ancell Orene can be found on TikTok @djoshow143.
House as hide
It’s bitterly cold with a blustery wind, so I’m not inclined to venture outside for my daily dose of entertainment. No worries. From right here in the living room, I can keep an eye on the neighbourhood wildlife while I stay warm – and undetected. I often find that I’m closer to life in the garden when I’m not actually in the garden.
A large cedar stands near these windows, and earlier this morning I watched a scurry of squirrels spiral around its trunk in a thrilling display of agility. This high velocity hide-and-seek looked like play but for them it was serious business. I don’t know how many there were – they appeared and disappeared too quickly to count – but I do know that a female was the frontrunner. She was leading the males in the madcap race, whirling and streaking from tree to tree to test their fitness and their smarts before she awarded herself as the prize.
These dare-devil grey squirrels, who may also be black, are recent arrivals from the eastern States and come with dubious reputations. They are the monkeys of our jungle, jokers with tails as fluffy as feather boas, who scoot across a road with a motion as fluid as cursive script or sit immobile, as demurely as teapots. I admit I love to watch them. Until, that is, they eat my crocuses. Our native Douglas squirrels are far more trustworthy and are always welcome visitors to the garden. Here, close to Lighthouse Park, I may – or may not – have spotted a flying squirrel splayed for a moment against the trunk of the cedar one evening. I’m in no doubt,
however, about the identity of the raccoons who’ve scrambled up it, nor of the neighbourhood deer, a handsome young buck who has taken to bedding down at its foot.
A large native crab-apple tree grows beside the cedar and bears masses of tiny orange apples which help to feed some of the birds that are brave enough to overwinter with us. Today, the tree is alive with varied thrushes. While one or two perch and preen placidly, the others perform fluttery gymnastics to snatch fruit from the outermost twigs. They are shy creatures, and these windows provide me with such intimate views I feel slightly guilty for spying on their private lives like this. Two other red-breasted birds, our local towhees,
have joined the group. This pair is much tamer than the thrushes and often scuffle in the leaf litter nearby when I’m working in the garden. They seem a devoted couple. Today they may be gleaning fruit knocked off by the busy birds above or they may be taking advantage of many watchful eyes. Their fancy footwork reminds me of line dancing. Jump to the front, kick to the back, step to the front, shuffle to the back. I’d love to see them add the Flea Hop or the Mash Potato to their repertoire.
The living room windows are not the only ones to turn this house into a wildlife theatre. I’ve cheered as generations of chickadee families have fledged from the nest box outside my studio. A hummingbird feeder hangs by the kitchen window, and the feisty little birds are a constant distraction as we
Liz Byrd, a person for all seasons
BY Chris Stringer
West Vancouver has lost a visionary whose love, energy, and passion for the community is in evidence through the legacies she leaves. A founder of the Kay Meek Arts Centre and Collingwood School, Liz was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, Canadian Confederation Medal, and the West Vancouver Citizen of the Year Lifetime Achievement award (West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce).
Dame of the Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem and past West Vancouver councillor, Liz Byrd served on
sit at the table there. Once, as we ate our lunch, a great blue heron flapped from the sky, lowered its unwieldy landing gear, and settled on the deck rail beside us. Our soup grew cold as we watched, in awe, this unexpected visitation from the age of dinosaurs.
From the bedroom window one morning in the fall, I was surprised to see a large black overcoat dropped on the path below. I was even more surprised when it raised itself up and turned into a bear. The shameless animal then performed unmistakable muscular contractions that left us a large steaming gift before it waddled off down the road.
the Western Resident Association in the community she lived in for over 40 years.
Liz Byrd was a friend of the Beacon. We owe our existence to Liz’s initiative, guidance and sage advice during our beginnings, almost ten years ago. She shared her community connections and knowledge, contributed to topics, writers, and its featured community personalities.
Liz championed our successes and was our strongest critic. Thank you, Liz. We miss you. Rest in Peace.
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Illustrations: Elspeth Bradbury Grey squirrel and teacups. Two towhees line dancing.
Girls with Superpowers
BY Lindy Pfeil
The grade 6 and 7 girls in Cari Wilson’s coding club have superpowers. But instead of x-ray vision or super strength, the 30-plus students have a supernatural ability in coding apps. They demonstrated their super skills during a learning session at Apple Pacific Centre on December 7, during Computer Science Education Week.
The Girls with Superpowers coding club was launched last year by Wilson, Innovation and Technology Support Leader for the West Vancouver School District, and a grade 7 classroom teacher. With a master’s in educational technology, Cari has over 20 years of teaching experience. She is the lead educator supporting the WVSD Robotics club and continues to advocate for girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
Inspired to provide girls with the ability to learn essential skills in computer science, software development, and design, Wilson began hosting the free online club weekly on Tuesday nights.
“We need equal representation in tech and STEM for the simple reason that we need diverse perspectives,” says Wilson. “In order to make the world a better place, we need people who can problem solve, think creatively, have the skills of computational thinking and programming to manipulate the world around them.”
Wilson says her students enjoy learning to code, noting it encourages a desire to play and experiment and not be afraid to try new things. “Kids can easily see and manipulate code to make things move, jump and react in real time giving them that same excite-
ment an app developer has by manipulating full lines of code — it’s super powerful.”
The students took a field trip to the new Apple Pacific Centre on December 7 where they met Sarah Boland, the founder and CEO of Life Lapse, a stop motion app that makes it easy for anyone with an iPhone to create inspiring video. A former professional videographer, Boland had zero technical background when she started building Life Lapse.
“DSL cameras and post-production editing equipment is not accessible or financially available to all people. With your iPhone camera, I saw a huge opportunity to democratize creativity and put that power in the hands of anyone with an iPhone,” says Boland.
Launched in 2017, Life Lapse now has more than 2 million users and is available in 180 countries and nine languages. But Boland has had to find strength in failure.
“My most public failure was going on “Dragon’s Den” where I got completely destroyed. But I didn’t let that stop me. I let it fuel my passion. I focused on building a great product that people would love,” she says. When the episode aired, Boland rented the top floor of a pub and hosted more than 100 friends and family at the viewing party, celebrating the progress Life Lapse had made since filming the show.
Boland notes that only 2% of tech funding goes to female founders and that as part of a growing community of female tech founders she wants to help motivate the next generation. “We need more females in tech, because we need more diverse POVs and approaches to tech and problem-solving.”
The Girls with Superpowers also took part in a new coding class led by Apple Creative Pros, called Coding Lab for Kids: Code
Your First App. It encourages participants ages 10 and up to explore app development in a fun interactive way and is one of Apple’s free, daily, in-store sessions. The coding class launched December 5, in celebration of Computer Science Education Week, an
annual call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners in the field.
January/February 2023 PAGE 5 PETTIT AND COMPANY* TRIAL LAWYERS 301-2609 Westview Drive, North Vancouver P. 604.998.0901 | www.pettitandco.com * Services provided through a law corporation. Personal Injury | Property Disputes | Employment Law Construction Litigation | Human Rights | Disability Claims Family Law | Strata Litigation
Photo: courtesy of Evaan Kheraj Girls with Superpowers at Apple Pacific centre during Computer Science Education Week.
Girls with Superpowers were excited to meet Sarah Boland and learn to code. Photo: courtesy of Evaan Kheraj
BY Peter Black
In 1999 I was rushed to the Royal Columbian Hospital for unexpected openheart surgery. My life at the butcher shop carried on, but it was obvious changes would have to be made.
While walking on the seawall, I bumped into an old friend, Barrie Chapman, and his wife, Cherie. They told me about an exercise program for guys over 55 called Fit Fellas. I was never really into exercise, but I boldly showed up. It has become one of the most exciting parts of my life.
Fit Fellas was started in the early ‘70s and has grown from 8 members to 160. The youngest is 64 and the oldest is 100.
Fit Fellas is also involved in many com-
for serious exercising.
munity activities and has raised more than $700,000 over the past 10 years, in support of Lions Gate Hospital Foundation, as well as the West Vancouver Recreation Centre and the Seniors’ Centre.
The group is made up of many interest-
Part of the gang. Photo provided
ing retirees: lawyers, engineers, doctors, surgeons, telephone operators, a police officer, and of course, a meat consultant. A very special thanks to the “Lord of the Manor,” Barrie Chapman, as well as the other instructors.
Fit Fellas is not only about vigorous exercise; it’s also about the fun, laughs, and friendships that will last a lifetime.
When feeling is better than reasoning
Jake is a rational, careful thinker. On the job he is appreciated for his analytical strength. Never one to let emotion get in the way of his decisions, this has served him well in his work. His wife Madeleine, on the other hand, is a complete enigma to him. Their times together can be good but rarely a day goes by without an unresolvable logjam. They have been locked together in this unsatisfactory, though stable, pattern for 30 years.
Madeleine has always appeared resentful of his success and popularity. However,
she also admits that lack of confidence and poor self-image have dogged her from an early age. Try as Jake might to help her with logical advice, Maddy is the habitual naysayer and fault-finder.
Earlier in their marriage Maddy was the “power behind the throne” as her husband rose in his career. Now, her failure to achieve her dreams is being projected onto her husband. Attachment needs play a big role as intimate bonds include the strong longing for deficits to be healed by our partner.
Maddy is angry at his failure to help her
but her helplessness in the face of Jake’s advice is also an unconsciously motivated attempt to get him out of his head and into his heart. As in any “dance” both partners must do something different because even in dysfunction the partners coordinate their dance steps.
Jake has to stop trying to manage his wife’s missteps and she has to stop holding him responsible for them. But that will not work by itself. Jake is a manager; that’s what he does well and that is how he “supports” Maddy. He must learn a different support
language - not rational, but one focused on emotional needs. And Maddy must learn to speak that same emotional language to help him attune to her. Her criticism and resentment needs to be transformed into awareness of her grief, sorrow and loss, appealing to Jake to feel this with her and become a true emotional support.
Ian Macpherson is a psychologist who lives and practices in Caulfeild. More at www. westvancouvertherapist.com.
PAGE 6 January/February 2023
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The Horseshoe Bay Memorial Community Hall was named in remembrance of those from the area who served in WWII.
On January 22, 1945 Mr. D. Sewell (Dan Sewell Sr.) made a presentation to the West Vancouver mayor and council, on behalf of the Horseshoe Bay Progressive Association (HBPA), requesting permission to build a community hall in the bay. It would be either on the lot next to the firehall on Douglas Street (now the tennis courts) or on another suitable municipally owned lot nearby. He said that there were 178 adults and 77 children living year-round in the area with no recreational facilities.
Council liked the idea, but with so many tree stumps to be removed from the lot (now Mary Bayes Rain Garden) they reasoned that there must be a better location and negotiations continued. However, shortly after the original request from the HBPA for the site on Douglas Street, residents submitted a petition against that site.
Attention then moved to a site on the 6300 block of Bruce Street. At the April 29, 1946 council meeting the HBPA applied to build on the lot which, according to the meeting minutes, was then owned by the HBPA.
A week prior to this meeting a petition was circulated by a Mr. George W. Sharpe opposing the building. He pointed out it was a single-family zoned lot and not suitable for such noisy use. Mr. Sewell stated that “it was definitely not the intention of
the Association to conduct public dances in the hall.”
It was decided that the HBPA would have to appeal to the town planning board for permission to build on this lot. Permission was granted and construction took place between April 1946 and early 1947, with a great
tion room, a spacious stage with changing rooms and a well-equipped kitchen.”
While the ceremony went ahead the building was not fully finished. More funds were needed and at the council meeting of June 30, 1947 the association asked for financial assistance. This request for help from West Vancouver was the first of many that would follow. Once completed, the building was well used. It served as a polling station from 1947 to around 1967, and it hosted movie nights, bingo games, birthday parties, wedding receptions and dances, including tap-dancing contests.
The stage was perfect for live music and small stage productions. It was the heart of the community for many years before the St. Mathew’s and St. Monica’s halls were built.
While the word “memorial” was at some point dropped from common usage when referring to the hall, it was still proudly displayed on the metal sign on the roof until 1986 when it was placed into safe storage. But no one seems to remember where! So, what happened to the hall? Well, that’s a story for another issue of The Beacon.
Thank you to the West Vancouver Archives for their help with this story.
deal of donated materials and labour.
The Lions Gate Times of May 22, 1947 had a two-page spread covering the planned grand opening to be held two days later: “After three years of continued effort and setbacks the hopes of many community minded people will be realized on May 24 when Reeve T. J. Brown will officially open the Horseshoe Bay Memorial Community Hall.” The article included an overview of the building, and it praised the “job well done and in the minimum amount of time.” It incorporated “the latest features of modern construction” and “contained cloakrooms for men and women, a projec-
January/February 2023 PAGE 7
The Horseshoe Bay Community
CHRIS ADSHEAD LOOKING BACK
The Horseshoe Bay Memorial Hall in 1985.
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Horseshoe Bay Hall blueprint circa 1946. Photo provided
Why now is the perfect time for older adults to rent
Home ownership is top of mind for B.C. seniors. With instability in the real estate market, many feel stuck, wondering if this is the right time to sell – even if they know renting makes the most sense for their lifestyle.
Home prices and sales have cooled off from 2020 highs, partly due to rising interest rates. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in November decreased compared to the same period in 2021. Fortunately, heading into 2023, the REBGV also predicts the market is likely to trend toward historical averages and typical seasonal norms, due to consistent demand and limited supply.
Contrastingly, as interest rates increase, some homeowners may not be able to afford their mortgage payments and will put their houses up for sale. This will ultimately increase market inventory, pushing housing prices down. Additionally, if you live in a condo or townhouse, new government legislation has removed the restriction on rentals within the strata triggering increases in strata fees and insurance premiums.
What does all this mean for seniors, especially those who are mortgage-free? It’s a good time to sell.
Those against selling face a conundrum: how to manage the burden of home ownership as the cost-of-living soars. Even if your mortgage is long paid off, ownership comes with a host of costs and challenges: property taxes, repairs, seasonal maintenance, yard upkeep, safety concerns, isolation, and a lack of cash resources.
• Home maintenance is tougher than it used to be. Renting in a seniors’ community means all the repairs, chores and responsibilities are taken care of, with the building owner and operator footing the bill.
• You wish you had more time to spend with family and friends. Living in an independent seniors’ community gives you all that time back, so you’re freed up to travel with family or friends, relax, work out, read, or simply enjoy life with people you love.
• It’s harder to get around than it used to be. As we grow older, our needs shift. Renting offers the flexibility to choose a neighbourhood with easy access to amenities like grocery stores, medical offices, recreational opportunities, and green spaces.
• You’re spending more and more time alone. Older adults are at increased risk of social isolation because they face living alone, losing family or friends, chronic illness, and hearing loss. But renting in a purpose-built seniors’ community gives you access to like-minded people.
• You don’t feel as safe on your own: As we age, we may worry about a timely response to an unexpected health event, or how to protect ourselves from petty crime or fraud. Seniors’ residences offer 24-7 emergency response systems that can be activated either in your suite or via a portable device. Buildings also feature 24-7 staffing, safety fob entrances and security cameras.
• You wish you had more cash on hand. Selling a home can release all that equity you’ve had tied up in that investment for years. Now you can allocate resources to what matters most at this time of your life. Look for senior-living residences that offer secure yearly rental rates, so you can lock in an affordable payment.
Learn more about renting at PARC, the Lower Mainland’s best active living community for aging adults.
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PAGE 8 January/February 2023
HERE ARE SIX SIGNS RENTING IN A SENIORS’ COMMUNITY IS THE BEST MOVE IN 2023:
ANNE BAIRD ANNE’S CORNER
Up the mango tree
The studio is a sacred, dedicated space where an artist/writer works. Even if it’s only a space she has cleared in her mind.
It doesn’t have to be grand.
My first studio was a ramshackle perch in a mango tree in Trinidad, during WWII. I was around five years old. My big brother helped me build it.
The tree stood in the backyard of our bungalow on the edge of a jungle. Every day, I’d shuck my shoes and climb into my tree with pencils and paper. There, I could write and draw until ordered down for lunch, a bath, or bed.
The mangos fed me. The solitude focused me. This first studio established my life-long ground rules for creating words and pictures.
Aim high. Be fruitful.
Be in the world, but never fear being alone. You have to stand apart sometimes
to see what’s going on below, or in yourself.
Be open to whatever comes into your mind. No matter how weird it seems. Write it down. Draw it. Who knows where the breadcrumbs will lead? Do this every day. You might surprise yourself.
Since my time up the mango tree, my studios have varied wildly, depending on circumstances. I’ve written on my kitchen counter in half a Quonset hut in the Veteran’s housing complex at Yale. In a glorious office in a historic Regency house in London. In a windowless room in an electronics factory in Denver. At the breakfast table in a rental home in Santa Monica. And now, in a small 8th-floor office in an apartment in West Vancouver.
I’ve shared this beautiful space with my late husband Joe, with a lovely roommate, Janice, and now with my partner, James Hamish. We’ve shared the patio with an adopted avian family: Busby, the seagull;
Jasper and Coco, a crow couple who live in the giant spruce next door; and with three hummingbirds, Bobber, Fred, and Fancy. This is a no-pets building. But there are no rules, yet, about winged friends. They come and go as they please, leaving gifts of feathers for my new hat.
I love my latest office. It shares important qualities with my first. It’s high among the trees. It perches above the Burrard Inlet to the south, and below the mountains to the north. This gives me a bird’s eye view of the vibrant life of a great city unfolding below me. It inspires me to be fruitful. I can think about and create words and pictures every day.
Unless I have to fix a meal, do laundry, or take out the trash.
But that’s the stuff of life. It’s what we’re given to think and write about.
What more could any artist/writer want?
Now this is living
It’s not everyday you come across the perfect place to live. A place where refined comfort, convenience and stunning natural surroundings elevate the everyday.
Westerleigh PARC’s location is coveted for good reason. Just blocks from the ocean and mountains, and at the centre of a warm and vibrant neighbourhood, it’s the perfect place to call home.
Come for a tour and see for yourself why life is simply better at Westerleigh. 604.922.9888 parcliving.ca/westerleigh
January/February 2023 PAGE 9
Walking the West Coast Trail
On January 20, 1906, the SS Valencia, a 275-foot iron-hulled passenger steamer, sailed from San Francisco, bound for Seattle. On board were 108 passengers and a crew of 56 – too many for such a small ship. The weather was foul, a galeforce south westerly generating a vicious sea. Visibility was a mere few yards. Unable to rely on celestial observation, the captain was forced to navigate by dead reckoning.
After progressing north, his intention was to turn east, down the Strait of Juan de Fuca, after passing Cape Flattery. But the wind and a northerly current positioned the doomed ship 20 miles further north than the good captain had calculated.
He ran aground 11 miles south-east of the lighthouse at Cape Beale. The Valencia had hit Vancouver Island.
For three days the crew tried to get the
passengers ashore, but the relentless breakers pounded the ship on the rocks and the craft that tried to come to her rescue were unable to save more than a handful of survivors.
Out of 164 souls only 37 got off alive: two officers, 23 crew and 12 passengers, to the last one, all men. The women and children had chosen to stay aboard rather than risk the breakers. One by one they were all swept overboard.
This was the worst marine disaster on a coast that had seen over 70 wrecks in the 250 or so years since records were first kept in 1786. It is no wonder that the west coast of Vancouver Island earned the name of the Graveyard of the Pacific.
As a result of this calamity, the federal government authorized the construction of the lighthouse and a wireless telegraphy station at Pachena Point, 12 kilometres south of Bamfield, close by the wreck of the Valencia
The West Coast trail existed well before any Europeans settled the area. It runs 75 kilometres from Bamfield to Port Renfrew. Provoked into action by the wreck of the Valencia, the federal government made the trail more easily negotiated. The telephone line between the lighthouses at Cape Beale and Cape Carmanah was extended to run the entire length of the trail.
Shelters were constructed at eight-kilo metre intervals, each equipped with survival provisions, a telephone, and directions for navigating the trail. The objective was to make it easier for shipwrecked mariners to walk to safety or telegraph for help.
A lifeboat station was established at Bam field and equipped with the world’s first purpose-built motor lifeboat.
In 1973 the trail became part of the Pacific Rim National Park.
In the summer of 1977, my wife and I took it into our heads to take our four children and our two dogs on a hike down the trail. This was in the days before trekkers were required to book and you were not required to register.
It takes the best part of a week to go the whole distance, so you need to be equipped with camping facilities and food to last that long.
We spent a couple of weeks organizing the trip. We made two lists – equipment and
food – thinking this would make us well prepared hikers. We began to build two piles: food and equipment on the mud room floor. The food pile had to be relocated as the dogs evinced an unhealthy interest in it.
We consulted books on hiking, books on camping and The Curve of Time. We eventually winnowed down the oversupply of powdered food – the sachets of powder that you add to the saucepan of water boiling on the campfire, so that
choice. It was all pretty unappetizing, but then long-haul hikers such as we were, get fiercely hungry, so any food is guaranteed to be welcome.
We drove our grossly overloaded station wagon to Bamfield, parked, and embarked upon our adventure. The trail was uncommonly rough. It rains a lot on the west coast of the Island so most of the trail is pure mud – the sticky kind that pulls your boots off if they sink too deep in it.
Very much up and down, we soon realized why it takes a week to walk only 75 kilometres. Whenever possible, we walked along the beach. Our preference was to camp on
PAGE 10 July/August 2022
Photo: courtesy of Rick McCharles, A soggy day
S.S. Valencia wreckage remains.
Photo: courtesy of Atlas Obscura
S.S. Valencia circa 1900.
Photo: courtesy of the Vancouver Maritime museum S.S.
the beach, making sure to do so above the high tide mark. Making camp by late afternoon gave us the opportunity to have a leisurely meal and turn in at sundown.
We kitted out our malamute with a pair of panniers, filled with saucepans and dog food. She was a sled dog after all and bred to haul heavy loads. Unfortunately, although she was perfectly capable of carrying the pan-
FROM THE INKWELL
tered. There were signs of doomed ships all along the trail.
The government had erected wooden ladders to get hikers over the otherwise impassible portions of the trail. This caused trouble for our dogs. Each time we had to use a ladder the dogs were forced to find their own way through the forest.
Rivers were also a problem. Our German shepherd would swim without complaint, but swimming was not something a thick coated malamute was bred to do. She simply refused and had to be coaxed over the smaller streams and manhandled into the basket where possible.
We were finally stymied at Tsusiat Falls. The ladder was too steep to get her up. We could go no further.
And it rained.
Although it was only half-way through the morning, we pitched tents. We spent some time exploring the surrounding bush and the intertidal beach, which teemed with life. Mussels, clams, small fish in the pools left by the outgoing tide and a diversity of crabs. Lift a rock and a dozen crabs would scuttle away seeking a hiding place.
And it rained.
We spent that night at the Tsusiat Falls and the next morning set out back to Bamfield. It had taken us three days to get as far as we did and it took us the same amount of time to return.
She would lag behind and, when she thought we weren’t looking, would put her head down and shake the panniers off, cheerfully catching up with us without her assigned burden. One of us would have to take her back to the dropped panniers and saddle her up again.
There was a brief sort of camaraderie that existed between trekkers we met. One group alerted us to the prospect of the wreck of the Valencia, still visible at low tide. Now reduced to a rusty boiler and a few bits of hull strewn about the beach, the rest was under water.
This was not the only wreck we encoun-
On the last day we reached Pachena Point with the lighthouse built in the aftermath of the Valencia incident. This time we encountered the light-keeper. He was tending vegetables in his kitchen garden – a large, tidy plot of fertile looking soil, home to every imaginable kind of vegetable.
I remarked on the fact that his vegetable patch had no fence. How, I asked him did he keep the deer from feasting on his vegetables. He pointed to a hedge of dahlias surrounding the patch.
“Them dahlias keep the deer out,” he said. “Deer won’t cross a line of dahlias.” He saw the doubt on my face.
“Well,” he said. “It works.This crop proves it.”
We returned to Bamfield, piled our dogs and our baggage in the car and drove home, tired, wet, dirty, with a strange sense of achievement. We had, on our own terms and in our own way, negotiated the West Coast Trail.
July/August 2022 PAGE 11
McCharles, besthike.com on the Trail.
A trail staircase.
David and family, 1977. Back (L-R): Hewitt, David, Peter; Front (L-R): Bismarck (German shepherd), Kiffa, Kisk (malamute), Kate. Photo provided
“There were signs of doomed ships all along the trail.”
30th Annual Seniors’ Christmas luncheon
BY Chris Stringer
On Saturday, December 10, the Rotary Club of West Vancouver Sunrise, in partnership with the West Vancouver Seniors’ Centre and the Feed the Need Program of the West Vancouver Foundation, once again hosted one of our favourite community events—a three-course Christmas turkey lunch for shut-in or isolated seniors.
Students from West Vancouver and Rockridge Secondary Schools escorted guests on buses to and from the lunch and helped serve the meals. Newly elected Mayor, Mark Sager served as the MC for the event. West Vancouver councillors, MP Patrick Weiler, MLA Karin Kirkpatrick, Ralph Sultan, Bill Soprovich, Police Chief John Lo and Fire Chief Dave Clark all hosted tables.
Everyone was treated to Christmas entertainment and carols resonated throughout
the room. Funds were raised through raffle ticket sales and every senior went home with a poinsettia and a hand-crafted Christmas card from the students.
Congratulations to members of the Rotary Club for putting on this wonderful annual event to kick off the holiday season. It was enjoyed by everyone.
Pub quiz hotly contested
BY Chris Stringer
The sixth annual pub quiz night at Caulfeild Cove Hall, on November 19, sold out two weeks prior to the event and was, as usual, a competitive, fun-filled evening. The strategic, come-from-behind winner was Team Tiddly, pictured displaying their invaluable first-place gold medallions (being tested for legitimacy by Cormac).
A big thank you to the organizers, intrepid quizmaster Ian McBeath and gracious host, Marilyn McBeath and the extraordinary volunteers for the great pub grub and refreshments. It was a fabulous community event as usual. See you next year. Cheers!
Photo: courtesy of Sarah Andrusco “Team Tiddly” from L to R: Cathie Hurlburt, Mike Berton, Pippa Fry, Jane Grinell, Jay Fry, Kelly Dewar, Quizmaster Ian McBeath, Margot Williams, and Cormac O’Kieley.
PAGE 12 January/February 2023
Safeway is proud to support local farmers and producers. See our wide range of local products throughout the store.
MLA Karin Kirkpatrick, Vicki Haller, Councillor Sharon Thompson, Rotary President Karen Harrison, and Rotarian Chris Loat.
Gill Carder and Kathy Fox at the luncheon.
New year, new varietals
HIS Petit Verdot - Pirramimma
McLaren Vale 2019 $26.99
‘Tis the start of a new year and while chardonnay and cabernet are our good friends, there are some other outstanding wines out there that deserve attention too.
The first varietal that is worthy of a look is petit verdot. A red grape traditionally hailing from Bordeaux, France, it is now grown around the world in such places as Spain, Italy, Argentina, Chile, and of course the US and Canada. It is one of the most challenging grapes to grow which is why it isn’t as well-known as merlot or cabernet. If you are a Bordeaux drinker, then chances are you have had petit verdot as it is one of the traditional blending varietals. Its dense violet – almost black – appearance tells you this wine means business!
If you like big red wines, start with Pirramimma’s Petit Verdot from McLaren Vale in Australia. Smokey, dark berry, cedar, and vanilla flavours make this an excellent pairing with pretty much anything. Roast beef or lamb – perfect! Heavy cheeses, pizza, or Italian pasta dishes – bring it on. Heck, bring this one anywhere and your friends and family will love it. Alternatively, don’t share and keep it for your next night by the fire.
HERS We are very committed to Netflix, wine and warming up by the fire. I concur with Tim’s Pirramimma recommendation. We celebrated our university graduation with this wine. So rich and romantic and so not in our budget back then. Twentynine years later, we agree – this wine, like a strong relationship, has staying power.
HIS Summerhill - Ehrenfelser 2020 $19.99 Ehrenfelser is another varietal that is often used in blended white wines but is now seen more and more frequently on its own.
On the sweeter side, this grape is German in origin and comes from a crossbreeding of riesling and silvaner. It has become a staple of German-style winemaking but is not as well-travelled as petit verdot. One of the fastest growing regions for it is right here in BC due to it being a cold climatefriendly grape. There is even a conspiracy theory that it came from BC first and then traveled to Germany. It’s a fruit-driven wine that usually has a strong association with apricots and honey and is paired with cream-based pasta, salads, savoury bread and pastry. It goes well with spicy food. An excellent example is Summerhill’s 2020 Ehrenfelser. Pick up your favourite Thai or Sichuan or just sip this beauty on its own with crackers, cheese, and onion jam.
HERS Saltspring Kitchen
Onion & Thyme Savoury Spread
I was going to talk about how small our Canadian wine production is by comparison to
the big wine producers of the world (think France or Australia). But I got distracted by Tim’s recommendation of onion jam. This is a game changer on a charcuterie board and can be a secret weapon in the kitchen. To impress, serve the Ehrenfelser with some BC goat cheese and a dollop of onion jam on a neutral cracker. Need a quick and delicious appetizer for drop-in drinks? Mix some onion jam with your favourite hummus (ours is from Mitra’s in Ambleside) to take it to another level. And for a Top 10 pantry meal idea, add a generous spread to your grilled cheese sandwich. It takes the humble grilled cheese into gourmet territory.
Santé, Sue & Tim
Foodie travel-loving sailors, Tim and Sue live in West Vancouver but are constantly looking for the next authentic experience to feed their gastronomic and oenophile aspirations. In other words, they love to eat and drink!
January/February 2023 PAGE 13 CAYLEE SAMPSON, BA LICENSED REALTOR 604.353.2816 MARK BALLARD, BCOMM PERSONAL REAL ESTATE CORPORATION 604.341.3147 JAMES BARNES LICENSED REALTOR 604.360.7529 TIM AND SUE DES LAURIERS HIS & HERS
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Family fun at the West Vancouver Art Museum
BY Jini Park
It was a cold, rainy day and all I wanted to do was cozy up with a blanket, hot chocolate and a great movie. But, as the mother of a young child, this was not going to be possible.
As I dragged myself to the West Vancouver Art Museum (WVAM! Family Art Project), I regretted setting up a play date on a Saturday. Entering the museum, I reminded myself to pretend to be super excited about everything so that my daughter would have a good time.
A warm welcome from the friendly staff made me smile, and I was instantly captivated by the intriguing display of burned logs. I stopped myself from touching the exhibit
and joined the workshop on the second floor.
There, we created a structure with different types of wood, painted it with black charcoal and decorated it with fuzzy green plants. My daughter and I had a fantastic time. My attempt to create a square wooden house failed miserably, but my daughter created an amazing art piece titled Village of Natives.
West Vancouver Art Museum enriches our community with offerings like WVAM! Family Art Project. It takes place on the last Saturday of every month, and is suitable for all, especially children. Workshops are innovative, educational, imaginative, and free.
This month’s exhibit is Martha Sturdy: All Fall Down. The theme is climate change. For additional information, visit westvancouverartmuseum.ca/
January and February are for garden prepping
Key words for January are ‘be prepared.’ This month can be unpredictable as you may have to dash out to brush off a vulnerable shrub, in particular evergreen magnolias as their branches are prone to snapping off with heavy wet snow.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis) and forsythia will be blooming soon but why not cut a few branches now and force them to bloom inside? One of my favourite shrubs is Camellia ‘Yuletide’ with lovely red blossoms that dependably bloom in December and January.
As always, this is a good time to prune dormant shrubs,
ornamental trees, and fruit trees. Spray the fruit trees with dormant oil (from your nursery). Cut out dead, diseased or damaged branches first. Your hardy fuchsia and buddleia can be pruned hard as they bloom on this year’s new wood.
If you did not prune your roses in the fall, prune them later in February to just above a new shoot that may have appeared. After clearing debris at the base apply some wellrotted steer manure to give them energy when the warmer sunny days arrive.
With just a hint of spring in February, this is still a good time to divide larger perennials like hosta and ornamen-
tal grasses. Best done when the soil is moist from rainfall or by watering in. Hostas can be divided by hand on your workbench, but grasses may need a sharp spade. Set them in their new location and water in.
In late February, shear your sword ferns. They may still look great but you must shear to the base before the ‘fiddleheads’ poke up.
Generally though, it’s time to thoroughly clean out debris in your garden to be ready for lots of ‘action’ come spring!
PAGE 14 January/February 2023 Specializing in the accumulation, preservation & transition of wealth. CUSTOMPLAN Financial Advisors Inc. www.customplanfinancial.com “Largest independent planning firm in the GVRD” 604.687.7773
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McDonald tori@ torimcdonald.ca Micheline Varas michelinev@ customplanfinancial.com Real Estate Division
Village of First Nations, a beautiful piece of art created at the workshop.
Photo: Jini Park
Singing a new tune
BY Theresa Odishaw
St. Francis-in-the-Wood Anglican church, in Tiddly Cove, has a new music director. To many readers, her name will be familiar, as Karen Lee-Morlang has performed at many local venues.
Karen is a truly gifted musician. Collaborative Piano studies at UBC, the Royal Conservatory of Music and scholarships to Western Europe and the US enriched her natural talent. Her repertoire has included piano, vocal, and chamber music and lecture-recitals.
She has collaborated with many local choirs, arts organizations and CBC Radio. She comes with a wealth of experience and a love of music that is reflected in her well-attended and hugely successful per-
formances.You may have enjoyed her performances at the Chan Centre, Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Silk Purse Center and the Harmony Arts Festival here in West Vancouver, the Folk Festival, or at local health care sites.
Karen is passionate about caring for our elders and performs regularly at seniors’ facilities. She says she has found a home now, with St. Francis-in-the-Wood where the choir and community is already enjoying her vibrant, engaging style, and outstanding musical talent.
“I have been so very blessed to play and work with people from all walks of life and cultures,” Karen says. “No matter where I am, it seems that music is the ultimate language and the bridge to bring people together. A melody alone can impart a special message to each person, and a beautiful one can touch your soul.”
She goes on: “Imagine finding ways for a group of very different individuals to somehow come together, take these melodies and sing in harmony! The sheer positivity, hope and joy in sharing that experience together is good for the heart and soul.”
Karen believes strongly that music breaks barriers and is powerful enough to soften even the most burdened heart; it can comfort and heal those who are suffering and in pain. “I look forward to spending many more years of joyful music-making, lifting spirits and promoting harmony for all in West Vancouver.”
Karen exudes personality and brings a great energy to the music programme with music old and new. As we begin the new year, look for future “Music Interludes” at St. Francis. You will be swept up in the rich variety of music and outstanding direction of Karen Lee-Morlang.
Get your records in order
Ahusband, I’ll call Jack, passed away recently leaving his elderly wife, Jill, to deal with his estate. A clever fellow and a whiz at technology, he had managed all the family finances and record keeping on-line.
It was soon discovered, though, that Jack had rather unfortunately taken the on-line access details with him to the grave. Poor Jill had little idea of the family wealth, the type of assets held, the location of insurance papers, estate documents, and other helpful re-
cords. She expected this was all held in Jim’s laptop which stubbornly denied her access.
In the “old days” executors could look for the mail to gather information, but in this case there was no paper trail as the statements had been moved long ago to convenient on-line delivery, presumably to the resolutely silent laptop!
Any information about the assets Jill could guess at could not be verified by institutions citing account security and privacy. Only with the determined assistance of an
experienced financial planner, was she able eventually to discover a previously unknown online account at a virtual bank holding over $300,000. Precious time could have been saved if Jim had had an emergency information package set aside for his wife.
Winter is the perfect time to set up plans for your own critical information storage and access. Consider the life-boat drill. If something happens to you, how will your spouse, relative or other supporting person be able to access your information in order
to help you? Are your records, on-line, on a hard drive (hopefully backed up), or in paper form organized so that another person can make sense of them? As with earthquake preparation, consider an emergency file/ package that lists all critical assets, liabilities, business agreements, insurance policies, powers of attorney, and wills.
Michael Berton is a retired financial planner on the North Shore.
January/February 2023 PAGE 15
Photo: Chris Stringer
MICHAEL BERTON DOLLARS AND SENSE
PAGE 16 January/February 2023
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