Exploring the islands of B.C.’s Nuchatlitz lagoon

From sublime beauty to mysteries of an unknown world tucked away at the edge of the Pacific ocean

Exploring the islands of B.C.’s Nuchatlitz lagoonNuchatlitz lagoon, framed by a formidable offshore wall of reefs and rocks, is sprinkled with small islands. Consulting the Canadian Hydrographic Service chart entitled Esperanza Inlet, one is quickly puzzled by their odd place names. While Nuchatlitz Provincial Park and four IRs (Indian reserves) are prominently badged, the entire flotilla of Nuchatlitz islands (I counted…

A B.C. coastal community orchestrates a new role in the global economy

Powell River's PRISMA on the Beach is part of a global movement of summer music festivals in towns that love to organize, fundraise and volunteer for the arts

A B.C. coastal community orchestrates a new role in the global economyA local history of volunteerism and love for the performing arts have given Powell River a cultural base for its second coming. Every year for the past five years, this community on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast has hosted the Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy – PRISMA. The whole experience is festival-like and runs for…

Curating kindness: the acts of humanity that inspire daily life

Amidst the turmoil, simple acts of kindness: feeding a homeless man, art classes for apartment kids, and Wood Camp with Steve

Curating kindness: the acts of humanity that inspire daily lifeMy wife and I had dinner with old friends last month. One continues to work in the final year of distinguished academic service as a professor; the other has recently retired from a career in planning and consulting. In these situations, I find that our conversation tends to focus on the partner who has made…

Creative class millennials revolutionize small-town life

Big cities were going to be nirvana for artists, designers and technology freaks. But high costs are leading them to happy lives in rural settings instead

Creative class millennials revolutionize small-town lifeWay back in 2003, urban planning guru Richard Florida was in Calgary to lecture on creative capital, the emerging millennial wave and the new cool concept of Bohemian index. Big cities like Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal were going to become the new nirvana as a wave of musicians, artists, designers, architects, writers and information technology freaks swarmed…

Where would you want to spend the apocalypse?

In the event the worst happens, the best place to weather a man-made disaster is probably far from crowded and chaotic urban centres

Where would you want to spend the apocalypse?Imagine you’re in the Vancouver area, waking up to a loud boom and flash, and then sirens and public mayhem outside your window. You turn on your radio to find emergency notices and counsel to stay put, while emergency services respond to the apparent detonation of an atomic bomb over Whatcom County, Wash., just south…

The things that we missed at home while on vacation

Returning to the bush after time away to find battling eagles, a new generation of ferries and the sad end to a magnificent sea lion bull

The things that we missed at home while on vacationWhen you live a long way from town, off the highway and down a long gravel road, there's no telling what novelties await when you return home after a trip out of the country. Over the years, you become somewhat inured to the potential surprises: fallen hemlock trees across the road, fallen alders and wild…

Earning the right to be considered a local

Fitting in to a small community requires loyalty, persistence, desire and a sense of the character – and characters – around you

Earning the right to be considered a localWhen you move from the city to a small town on the B.C. coast, you become the beneficiary of many gifts. Some take awhile to acknowledge and some are obvious straight away. To start with, everyone you do business with makes more of an effort than they do in the city, where retail anonymity rules.…

Home is where both the coffee and wifi are ever-ready

Unlike in large cities, you don’t really have a favourite coffee shop in small towns; your locale is based on whom you are going to meet

Home is where both the coffee and wifi are ever-readyWhere I live, the metropolis is a small town of about 20,000 folks. Those of us who live out in the country (locally referred to as ‘highway people’), have to go into town at least once a week to do errands and shop. When we do, we often have meetings in coffee shops. Unlike my…

The silver lining to the incessant grey clouds

A tall stack of books is slowly being winnowed down as the rain booms on the roof, and we read quietly to the crackling fire in the fireplace

The silver lining to the incessant grey cloudsUp the north end of the Sunshine Coast where I live, it’s been an uncharacteristically wet fall. Vancouver’s statistics are more faithfully tabulated than ours, and the big city has experienced record rainfall, about 25 per cent higher than normal for October and November, according to Environment Canada. Local oldtimers are saying it's wetter than…

Our ‘forest condo’ is filled with curious neighbours

Living in a forest house is to be constantly reminded by the terrestrial and avian neighbours of their presence

Our ‘forest condo’ is filled with curious neighboursLast September, I was looking out the kitchen window as a black bear casually walked up to the barbeque, snout outstretched, warily looking up to the house for signs of life. I opened the front door and went out on the porch, and we had a stare-off. Him. Me. Him. Me. “What do you think…