Vancouver Island Events Website

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April 17th, 2018

What is present everywhere...

...but is often invisible? What has a heart bigger than its hands? It provides comfort with its presence and change with its influence. It brings things together with its imagination and holds them together with its will. What leaves a legacy without even leaving its name?

A volunteer.

This week we celebrate National Volunteer Week, the perfect time to recognize those people all around us who give of themselves to make our communities more vibrant, healthy and caring places. So what can we give them in return? A hand.

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. ~ William Shakespeare

April 10th, 2018

I think that I shall never see...

a poem lovely as a tree. ~Joyce Kilmer

And that's probably true. But that doesn't mean we can't give it a try.

With carefully chosen words, a poem can describe, convey and evoke in a way that no other form can. The truth that it reveals is greater than the sum of its parts. April is National Poetry Month, a celebration of the profound power of the written word, and the wonderful work of many talented people in our communities who write it. Vancouver Island has a thriving literary scene, and you can get a taste of it yourself at one of THESE upcoming local events. Are you a poet? Do you know?

It's time to find out. As it happens, we've all been issued a poetic license...and this is the perfect month to use it. April 22nd is Earth Day. What could possibly be more thought-provoking than this great blue-green planet herself? Be inspired.

April 3rd, 2018

There's no place like home.

In the spring, does the sound of birdsong on the breeze trigger in you a primal instinct to open paint cans, don gardening gloves and climb ladders? Me too.

Wherever we've chosen to make our nest, it's time to throw open the windows and tidy up our living spaces. Maybe that home is in a downtown highrise. Maybe it's at the end of a country road, floating in a marina...or even nestled in a tree. We have all found our own place in the world, and it's the time for making decisions about how to best manage it.

Let's also keep that in mind as we prepare to celebrate Earth Week this month. After all, Mother Earth the home that we all share... and the equity invested in it is priceless.

March 27th, 2018

Have you seen this rabbit? 

He's 8" tall, has brown eyes, and was last seen sampling the tulips in my back yard. This week I was expecting to see a bunny alright...the one who drops off tasty treats. Instead of the one with the sweet tooth though, I got the rabbit with a passion for fresh food who likes to shop locally.

While you're on the trail for eggs this weekend and you've got your Easter basket handy, you might want to do some local food foraging yourself. Many of our local Farmers' Markets are open year round, and you'll find some great suggestions HERE. It's true...the season of Vancouver Island's lovingly grown and carefully picked produce has begun!

Also...if you happen to see my new friend while you're there, please tell him I'd like a word. And a chocolate egg.

March 20th, 2018

Head north, young man...and then a bit west.

I've seen quite a few people with great tans this week, and those of you who've been around all winter know that they sure didn't get them here at home. If the snowbirds are back from the south, it can only mean one thing: Spring is finally here!

And while we're on the topic of northbound traffic...another important group of snowbirds are also on their way home. The Grey whales are making their way up from the Baja right now, and you too can be there to wave them in at the Pacific Rim Whale Festival this week.

After swimming over 3,000 miles in the cold, I'm sure they'd appreciate seeing some bright and friendly faces.

March 13th, 2018

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back...and may the rains fall soft upon your fields. ~Irish Blessing

When I think of Ireland, I think of the lush green fields and the misty rains. And as Irish luck would have it, St. Patrick's Day happens to be placed right beside United Nations World Water Day. While we're raising a glass of green beer in celebration of all that's good and Irish, let's also lift a glass of crystal clean water in celebration of all that's good and green.

May your mountains always be heavy with snow in the winter and your rivers overflowing in the springtime. May all of your friends upstream be wise and gentle so that your friends downstream may be in good health. May your rivers and oceans be clean, so your plate won't ever be empty...

...and may your glass be ever full. Sláinte!

March 6th, 2018

I think there might be something funny going on here.

It's the universal antidote to stress. It can break the ice, break the tension and break the barriers between people. It can spread like an infection and heal a hurt.

The world is full of difficulty and the absurdity of life can be a hard pill to swallow. But as they say...laughter is the best medicine. There is uplifting lightness in a giggle, and a joyful laugh rings out with restorative power.

Some conditions still require a professional though, and you'll be pleased to know that some fantastic comedy is coming to the Island in the upcoming months. We've got some great ideas for you HERE. Take at least one this week...and I guarantee it'll make you feel better.

February 27th, 2018

On The March

The Old English word March was a topographic name referring to someone who lived on the border between two territories. Isn't that exactly where we are right now? The bleak and dark territory of winter is nearly behind us, and on the other side of that frosty borderline is the promise of spring, well within our sight.

March was also the first month of the year in the early Roman calendar, named after Mars, the Roman god of war. I don't think that it's a coincidence that Mars was also the god of agriculture, either. Warriors ourselves, we've certainly fought a tough battle with Old Man Winter this year, and are getting ready to celebrate our victory with the emergence of the first spring blossoms and the sowing of garden seeds. Doesn't it make good sense to mark the new year with the beginning of spring growth, instead of in the middle of winter as we do now?

To the victors come the spoils. Let's celebrate our victory as the Romans did...with a season of festivals! From nature to music and from art to ideas, there are great festival events coming up this month on Vancouver Island, and this month's High Five Video highlights some of the very best.

February 20th, 2018

Citius, Altius, Fortius. 

Thility, as the world's Olympic athletes demonstrate the pinnacle of human achievement in sport.

But speaking of things Swifter, Higher and Stronger...the humans aren't the only ones demonstrating feats of incredible skill and stamina right now. Have you noticed how many birds are on the move? Some of North America's great winged migrations are passing right over our heads in the upcoming weeks, and their annual journeys are also among the world's most spectacular displays of strength.

Whether you get outside with your binoculars or join your local naturalist club, be sure to watch for these incredible athletes in flight. The Brant Wildlife Festival is just around the corner, where you'll get out in the fresh air, experience the beauty of Vancouver Island...and find out more about its natural wonders from the experts. The tickets are no or low-cost, so let's all gather and cheer on those birds. Every single one that crosses the finish line and reaches its destination is a tremendous win for all of us.

February 13th, 2018

Where we love is home...

...home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts." ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Love is in the air. And love is a great many things, isn't it? Love can be both as vast as the sky and as small as a breath, a lifetime of moments between two people and equally a quiet moment of reflection alone. Wherever we find love, it is a place of warmth and safety in this uncertain world.

Valentine's Day may be February 14th, but did you know that here in Canada, February 24th is statistically the coldest day of the year? Maybe we celebrate love during the coldest month because of our need for connection when the days are dark. Or maybe it's because our minds turn to thoughts of love when the nights are long. Or maybe it's really because love is a flame that raises us to be our best self, and now is the time we all need that the most. Could there be a better way to celebrate your love then, than to register with your sweetheart for the Coldest Night of the Year Walk on February 24th? It's a nationwide fundraiser that supports hungry, homeless and hurting individuals and families in our local communities.

Take your warmth to the streets for those living without a home...because to give love is to stoke our home fire to warm another.

February 6th, 2018

They say that running away from your problems...

...is a race you'll never win.

But if the problem happens to be that strange jiggly shadow following behind me, then running away might actually be the perfect solution. After all, what could be more natural than running? It's nothing more than putting one foot in front of the other, isn't it?

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.

Anyone who runs knows that it's deceptively simple though, and never easy. Except for that time I ran into a bear on the West Coast Trail. That was really easy, and probably could have been an Olympic qualifier. So maybe it's just a matter of motivation, then.

Island runners are a special breed, training in a place where it really is uphill both ways. But could there be a more spectacular setting to inspire us? Look for some incredible running events HERE, where you just might find the motivation to set a personal best of your own, too.

January 30th, 2018

Unleash your inner mongrel.

The Lunar New Year is approaching and, according to Chinese astrology, 2018 is the Year of the Dog. Get ready to gather your pack! It is the year for loyalty and prudent action. It's a year of social awareness, with conditions ideal for those who want to make a difference and have the selfless generosity to make things happen.

The dog is a remarkable creature who quickly recognized the advantages of making man his best friend. Using only his brain, charm and irresistible good looks, he set about accomplishing this task thousands of years ago, and has held the prime spot in front of the fire ever since. He has an exuberance that comes from living twice as fully as his human companions in a life that's seven times shorter. He has a resourcefulness that comes from having everything to lose. And he lives the present moment in a way that we will never understand until we too find ourselves propelled by the nose and heart, instead of by the mind.

If we could somehow learn to do this, then we too would wake up each day demanding more of the wholly visceral, thoroughly satisfying parts of life. More walks, more friends, more squirrels. More runs on the beach, more laughs, more naps. More treats, more play... and more love.

Why not resolve to approach the new year with the heart of a dog? Just run right up to it, give it a sniff, and experience the unbridled joy that is life itself.

January 23rd, 2018

75% of the Earth's surface is covered in water.

So we're not alone, then.

When the days darken and the skies open up, it's tempting to either curl up or bug out. But before we pack up our watercars and sail away though, it might be worth stopping to consider the many hidden opportunities that these days of deluge offer. Opportunities to test out some brilliant water-collection schemes, for example. To get free dog washes. To invest in a roofing company. Opportunities to not tackle all those nagging garden chores. And to go for evening paddles without even leaving the yard.

Need to get out of the house? There are plenty of outdoor and indoor adventures just wading to be discovered, and hundreds of great things happening across the Island this week. You'll find buckets of event ideas on our online calendar...where more great event listings are flooding in every day!

January 16th, 2018

There is no sincerer love...

...than the love of food. ~George Bernard Shaw

I must admit though, that my love and I have been on a bit of a break after seeing way too much of one another over the holidays. They say that we have to put the past behind us, but the problem was that was exactly where all of that shortbread and gravy decided to stay. So, no matter how wonderful a relationship may be, isn't it always a good idea to spend a little time apart and make time for other friends? If you're anything like me, your good friends the running shoes were starting to feel pretty neglected.

But that's all just an elastic-waisted memory now, and there's no cure for love. It's time to rekindle our passion for fabulous local dining.

There are few better places to do it than Vancouver Island, where our romance with fresh and innovative food is part of our west coast culture. From special regional dining events featuring fixed-price multi-course menus to artful winemaker's dinner pairings, and from gourmet cooking workshops led by world class chefs to community tasting tours...you'll find everything you're looking for in our Culinary Events listings.

Here we are, starting a new year in one of the world's most romantic fresh food destinations. Why not celebrate by taking our palates on a date night?

January 9th, 2018

The year ahead is a blank white page. 

What will you write?

I opened a beautiful blank book this week and the satisfying crack of the binding was a starting signal for this fresh new year. Do you find the purity of a new page inspirational? Do you look at those pages of thin blue lines and see pathways to endless exciting journeys? Does the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil fill you with explosions of great ideas?

Apparently me neither. All I've got so far is a grocery list embellished with doodles and a cartoon of the dog.

Have you ever noticed though, that once you write something onto paper, you can't ever seem to erase it completely? What is written endures. Knowing this to be true, I really should have planned more carefully when I was writing down my New Years resolutions. While using a pen certainly did show formidable commitment...perhaps a pencil might have been a better tool for that particular job. If I look closely at the page, I can still see traces of them!

January 2nd, 2018

Starting the new year with resolve.

What are your resolutions for 2018? You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. ~CS Lewis

I've read that people who repeatedly have attempted to quit smoking have a greater chance of eventual success. Let's hope that this is true for all the other kinds of lifestyle improvement resolutions...because if that's the case then I'm definitely on the brink of serious fitness, financial freedom and complete personal organization.

This year one of our resolutions is to seek out even more fantastic Vancouver Island events to share with you. With all of the great wellness and recreation events, classes and workshops happening in the upcoming months... that might just take care of all the others, too!

December 26th, 2017

Starting the New Year with a splash.

Polar Bear Swims are a Boxing Day and New Year's Day tradition all across Vancouver Island, and you have to admire all of those brave souls who will be starting 2018 with an icy plunge.

Polar Bears can swim up to 10km per hour and have been known to swim up to 160km at a time. Did you know that they swim with their front feet and steer with the back? And that polar bear fur is oily and water repellent, allowing them to easily shake free water and any ice that forms on their bodies? Did you know that they've got a 10cm layer of fat under their skin that keeps them warm in the icy water?

The thing is, I don't. Despite the impressive layer of fat that I've put on this holiday season, I'm really more of a Grizzly Bear type.

Right now the grizzly is warm and snug in her den, dreaming bear dreams and ending the year with a snooze instead of a splash. Why not start the new year well rested?

December 19th, 2017

Comfort and Joy.

Find out where joy resides and give it a voice far beyond singing.
For to miss the joy is to miss all. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Where does your joy reside? What does its voice sound like?

For me, it is found in the silhouettes of the tall trees in the fragrant winter fog. It's in the frosted red glow of the rosehips and the smell of cedarwood smoke on the air. It's in a warm fresh egg and a cold crisp apple. It's in a smooth white blank sheet of paper. Its voice is the sound of the salmon as they hurtle up icy stream beds and the deep flutter of quail wings as they burst from the hedges in surprise. Joy sounds like the laugh of my dearest one. The jingle of dogs' tags in the silent forest. The crunch of leaves.

There is no joy without difficulty and no comfort without struggle. I'm sure that like mine, your year hasn't been without its challenges and disappointments. As we approach the darkest day of the year though, we have the opportunity to acknowledge those struggles and then turn our faces away to the new year ahead with hope. We leave them behind like the fallen leaves. Gather them up to nourish the spring garden. Burn them and let the smoke of our regrets rise up and out of sight.

What we take with us into 2018 is that which remains evergreen. It is the pleasure of seeing our efforts bloom into accomplishments. It is the warm glow of friendship and the loving support of family. It's our ability to find peace in the quiet parts of each day and hope in the turbulent ones. May you find the joy that exists in every moment...and the comfort in knowing that it is there, even in those moments when it can't be seen at all.

December 12th, 2017

Do you believe in Christmas magic?

Magic involves making impossible things possible.

The word itself comes from the same Latin root as magi - those biblical princes who brought gifts to the Christ child. Gift givers really are magicians, after all. They have the power to make wishes come true using nothing more than a simple gesture. They arrive unexpectedly in the darkness to honour the spirit of the recipient by providing what is needed.

This week there are plenty of opportunities to make magic in our communities, with a great number of inspired events happening that were designed to make life easier for those experiencing hardship. Be a seeker of everyday magic. Open up the growing list HERE, and then open your hands and your heart.

Watch carefully the magic that occurs when you give a person enough comfort to be themselves. ~Atticus

December 5th, 2017

O Christmas Tree.

This week, tree lots are open and beautifully decorated trees are lighting up windows across Vancouver Island. Did you know that this beloved tradition goes back centuries, long before Christmas was celebrated?

Evergreen plants were once considered to have special power because they mysteriously kept their colour when all of the others appeared to die. Ancient people brought evergreen boughs, ivy and holly inside their dwellings during the darkest and coldest time of the year as a way to keep that magically regenerative power close. The greenery was thought to offer protection, and it was a reminder that spring would come again and with it all of the life-giving aspects of nature that the people relied upon.

We still rely upon the trees. Did you know that no other organism on Earth lives as long as a tree? A 100 foot tall tree can absorb 50 pounds of carbon dioxide and produce 6,000 pounds of oxygen in a year. Did you know that a shade tree can help cool your home by as much as 20 degrees in the summer? That each person uses the equivalent of one 100 foot tall, 16 inch diameter tree every year for their paper and wood product needs? And that our planet now has 46 percent fewer trees than it did 12,000 years ago, when agriculture was in its infancy?

This year, why not begin a new holiday tradition? Take a walk deep into the woods, and stand quietly among the great trees of our very special coastal rainforest. Marvel at their beauty, lit by sunlight and decorated with a million crystal raindrops. These trees protect our lives in silent humility...and they hold secrets equal to their grandeur.

November 28th, 2017

Meanwhile, up at the North Pole...

Santa's putting the sleigh up on blocks and firing up his twin Evinrudes. Toy production has come to a standstill as the demand for rubber boots, rain slickers and umbrellas reaches an all-time high.

If this weather pattern continues, good old Saint Nick may have to park the reindeer and pull out his second line, lesser known team...the eight tiny rain deer. "On Dasher, on Splasher, on Sprinkle and Mizzle! On Raindrop! On Rainbow! On Downpour and Drizzle!"

And we'll hear him exclaim as he floats out of town: "Merry Christmas to all...now get up to high ground!"

November 21st, 2017

We walk a fine line.

This weekend we're heading into the busiest shopping time of the year, a time when patience and budgets are often stretched thin.

It's up to us each to draw our own line between the getting and the having and the giving and the helping. Where will one end and the other begin? It's never simple and straight, and our journey across it is determined by the things we've decided to fix the ends to... and how strongly our knots are tied.

It's a delicate balancing act, isn't it? One thing I've noticed, though: The more time I spend in shopping lines, the less time I seem to have for reading lines, for
fishing lines...and for conga lines. That's important to keep in mind, because there are hundreds of great holiday events coming up across Vancouver Island this week!

November 14th, 2017

A few good days of rain...

...and we've begun to turn into bears.

Are you finding yourself foraging for snacks, more than a little on the growly side, and looking for a comfortable place to hibernate?
Before we all go crazy queuing up our Netflix playlists and lining our dens with potato chips though, let's just put down the slippers and hold on a minute.

Premature Hibernation keeps many Canadians indoors and inactive. Snap out of that fall slumber by queuing up the other, more fun playlist of the season: The Participaction 150 Play List. Get outside, get moving, and try some interesting new things. The more fun activities you check off the list, the more chances you have to win great prizes.

It's way too early to turn in for the winter anyway....even the bears are still out there running around on the beaches!

November 7th, 2017

They say you can't truly know a thing's value...

until you've held it in your hand.

And this weekend we'll be gathering to reflect upon the many men and women who have themselves held lives in their hands as they've worked to carry peace to those who most desperately need it in this world.

Our hands can be weapons of violence or they can be instruments of peace. Every moment offers each one of us a choice. In the confusing complexity of politics and the frustrating intricacies of government systems, it can be so easy to forget that peace is fundamentally a hand made item, and each hand that has offered it has been an irreplaceable one.

October 31st, 2017

Falling back.

What are you wishing you had more of? There's Halloween candy. Puppies. Shoes. Winning lottery numbers. And time...definitely more time.

If you were suddenly given an extra hour, what would you do with it? Replay a spectacular sunset? Hit a bonus bucket of balls at the driving range? Maybe read a second bedtime story to your kids. Watch one more episode of Stranger Things. Study sixty extra minutes for that big exam on Monday morning. Or simply indulge in one more hour of blissful sleep.

Well this is the weekend to do it, as Daylight Savings Time ends at 2am on Sunday and we'll be getting one extra hour. It's a mulligan. A do-over. And a gift.

How will you use yours?

Whatever we choose to do, let's be sure to make it good...because soon, on a beautiful day in March, we'll all be asked to give it back.

October 24th, 2017

They say "Do one thing each day that scares you."

But why on earth would you want to spend every day afraid?

Fnd ourselves being chased by a hungry lion? In fact, we usually overuse fear and mistake the unknown for hungry lions. The lifesaving flood of fear biochemicals that speeds up our heart and breath can lead to serious health problems over time.

Did you know that lions will scare prey because, stiffened by fear, it becomes easier to catch? Avoiding fearful situations can prevent us from life-changing and amazing new experiences. From the growth that comes with living fully.

So the trick is to do those things that scare us, but in the spirit of curiosity rather than fear. With all of the fantastic Halloween Events happening across the Island, from the hilarious to the horrifying, there will be dozens of great opportunities to try it out for ourselves this week.

And remember, there really is truth in the saying that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Well that...and dentists, of course.

October 17th, 2017

Sign, sign...everywhere a sign. 

Do you ever get a feeling that the universe is trying to tell you something?

When I opened up my storage closet yesterday, the food dehydrator fell on my head. Clearly a sign. The world is full of all kinds of messages, but the problem is interpreting them properly. Am I supposed to be paying more attention to food security issues? Am I supposed to be eating more fruit? Maybe I'm supposed to be paying more attention to cleaning my closets.

Some signs are pretty clear, though. Last week's earthquake off Vancouver Island's west coast was a message that we all need to clean up our disaster preparedness plans. Why not join the 780,000 folks who have already registered for The Great BC Shakeout? On October 19th at 10:19am, we'll all drop, cover and hold on together...and it's the perfect time to make sure that our emergency kits are up to date, too.

Dried food would be perfect for an emergency kit. Right. Now I get it.

October 10th, 2017

The Fear of Falling

Fall has arrived, and its mighty mist is finally enveloping us in a great green embrace. The apples and pears from the highest parts of the trees are falling to the ground, and the leaves are beginning to gently show their golden intention to follow suit. We're standing on a wistfully glorious edge, knowing that we must move on too. With the brilliant colours of summer still clinging to every surface, we see them in a final backward glance as we prepare to let go and take that step forward.

I love the word fall. While autumn is just a season, hastily positioned between the two main events, fall implies action. It requires participation. Maybe the brilliant yellow leaves of the maples don't fall at all, but dive earthward, eager to carpet the forest floor with the food for next season's growth. Maybe those raindrops plunge towards us in a tearful longing to be reunited. And when the first snowflakes fall, maybe what we're witnessing is a selfless act of protection for the living breathing earth.

Are you looking back at a summer with regret? Towards a winter with dread? Then instead of stepping forward with your eyes closed, dive headfirst with them wide open. A fall is only a leap lacking intention.

October 3rd, 2017

Time for feeling full.

Many of us will be gathering around the table this weekend with family and friends, and we'll be full of turkey and gravy. We'll be full of stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. And we'll be full of conversation. This week, how can the discussion not turn to topics that make us feel wrathful and fearful?

But we are much more than the sum of our fears. So it's time to be mindful.

We sit at a long table in this world. As we serve our Thanksgiving meal, let's consider how every word and action serves our neighbours in this global community because it's a community that's starved of tenderness and desperately hungry for understanding and connection. No matter how full we may feel, there's always room to be more careful, more hopeful and more joyful with one another. And every moment of every day...more thankful.

September 26th, 2017

Food for thought.

If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him. The people who give you their food give you their heart. ~Cesar Chavez

It's about crowding together in the kitchen when there is much more comfortable furniture elsewhere. It's about recognizing life's milestones with a celebratory meal. It's about the offering of food when there's nothing you can say. It's about gathering in thankfulness.

Food brings people together.

As harvest time peaks, we've got some unique opportunities coming up to gather in the name of great local food. We've tossed together a handy list of them HERE, so you won't need to spend time foraging for information. Share that list with anyone who's ever told you it's wrong to play with your food. They've obviously never been to Vancouver Island in the fall!

September 19th, 2017

If food is the heart of good living...

then wine is it's soul.
If this is true, then there's plenty of heart and soul to go around. Grapes are hanging on the vines and luscious fruit is ripe for the picking all across Vancouver Island.

Whether you're a pie or a pinot lover, we're welcoming Fall this week... that beautiful bringer of bountiful things. This deserves a toast...so why not take a trip out to one of the Island's fantastic vineyards, meaderies and cideries, where you'll find all kinds of festive Island Wine Happenings.

The seasons may be changing, but let's choose to consider the glass half full. So that means we're not getting older. Like fine wine, we're simply becoming more complex!

September 12th, 2017

Shaking the tree.

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. ~Martin Luther

And there is plenty of reason to believe that the world is going to pieces. From political unrest to devastation caused by natural disasters, the news is filled with food for fear. But that doesn't mean that we have to eat it. After all, we are what we eat.

And the choices are in our hands. Cucumbers, tomatoes, plums and apples are plentiful, and the squash are ripening in the fields. Beehives are heavy with activity, and the fall vegetables are in the ground starting a new cycle of growing. There is a rightness to this process, and we all feel it at this time of year as we fill our baskets with fresh food.

In the garden, we're reminded that all of the wisdom that we need in life can be found there. We all need fertile ground to spread our roots, we all need clean water and nourishing food to grow, and we each will ripen and fall in time. These are the truths that bring us together; the things that make us realize that at the end of the day we all have everything in common with one another and with the land that we share.

So let's eat well, then. Let's take in the things that are good and helpful, grow things in life that nourish us and promote healing....and pass them around. Many of the seeds that we plant will be still growing fruit long after we are gone.

August 29th, 2017

Harvest time is the golden time.

It's that wonderful time of year when the shadows are getting longer...and so are the zucchini!

Vancouver Island has a rich agricultural heritage, and Islanders have gathered to celebrate the bounty of the harvest for more than a century. Award-winning produce, well-groomed livestock, tasty preserves and great entertainment are just some of the things that make a country fair so special. If you've never experienced the magic of a harvest celebration, make this the year to do it. You'll connect with the very roots of your community...and will quickly notice that some of the brightest ideas for our island's future are deeply grounded in its past.

A word of caution though: Don't try to sneak a cookie from a plate with a blue ribbon on it. Trust us on this.

August 22nd, 2017

On words to live by.

It's a pretty wordy world. People are busy, life is hectic, and sometimes the words of the day are "Just let me get through this one." In the midst of it all though, there are some really great words, ones worth hearing and repeating. They're the ones with the power to make our days meaningful and our world a better place.

What are the words you live by?

A couple of really good ones are Celebration and Participation, and this week there are more than 250 unique opportunities to get out and use them. Choose one HERE... and discover something new and exciting, interesting and significant, that's happening right in your very own community.

It's the most beautiful time of the year in one of the world's most amazing places. Let's treasure every moment...and strive to live a life worth talking about.

August 15th, 2017

Wanted...Dead Or Alive.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
If that's true, then wherever Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Elvis are right now...they must be sincerely flattered.

Did you know that there are at least 85,000 Elvis impersonators around the world today? There were only 170 when he died so, statistically speaking, one in three of the world's population will be swiveling their hips in the next decade. That's a lot of blue suede shoes.

Tribute artists consistently perform to sell-out audiences across Vancouver Island, and it isn't really because we love the wigs and sequins, is it? It's simply because we still want to hear the greatest pop music ever made, and we want to see it live, the way it was performed by the world's greatest pop stars. Although they may be gone, they're definitely not forgotten. Lucky for us, some of the most talented musical artists around feel the same way and will soon be bringing iconic music to life in one of the Island's many upcoming Tribute Concerts.

Your favourite band may have broken up a decade ago. Your ultimate diva might not tour any longer. And Elvis might be hiding out in suburban Saskatoon. But they're coming to a theater near you...and you don't want to miss it.

August 8th, 2017

Smoke on the water.

Fire in the sky.

There's an eerie stillness. The sky is dark and the sun a blood red pinpoint. Ash is falling and the birds are silent. The only sounds are the rumble of helicopters flying overhead, the hiss of hot wind and the crackle of trees as they fall.

It sounds like I'm beating the heat at a summer blockbuster action movie, doesn't it? Unfortunately this scene is a reality right now for thousands of BC residents.

There are at least 125 wildfires burning across the province this week, and the area that has been lost so far to fire is larger than the province of Prince Edward Island. What's even more shocking than the number of forest hectares disappearing every day is the number of new fires being started each day by human hands.

Take care. The only sparks we need to ignite this summer are those of inspiration and imagination.

August 1st, 2017

Ladies and gentlemen...start your engines.

The smell of split leather. The lustre of hand polished metallic paint. The deep growl of engine and the radiant glow of chrome. What is it about a car that makes the pulse quicken, anyway? After all, it's only a way of getting around. Or is it?

A fine car can be a work of art. A masterpiece of engineering. And a time machine.

Does the scent of engine oil, like a fine perfume, take you back to a time when the kids cruised the avenue and the boys greased their hair back? Or to a time of tie dyes and tape decks? Burgers and brake stands? Cars are the cultural emblems of our moments in time, from the first dates to the family road trips and from the hatchbacks of our first jobs to the convertibles of our retirement. And that's exactly why car shows are such fabulous and fascinating things, and a summer highlight on Vancouver Island.

Because whether you're waiting for your A&W root beer in a 1968 Camaro or waiting for your Starbucks latte in a 2017 Tesla...that car is your partner on the highway of life.

July 25, 2017

Golf. It's really just a little slice of life.

I've often heard that golf is an easy game to learn. I'm not convinced that it's actually a game, though.

There are life truths to be gleaned in the dimples of that tiny little ball: Power is nothing without precision. We learn more from the misses than the hits. There will always be people who play better than us. You can try too hard. And the more we practice, the luckier we tend to get.

With some of the best courses in the country right here on Vancouver Island, there's no better place to gather some golf wisdom of your own and no better time than now. Get out and have some fun. We play better when we're enjoying ourselves!

And if we don't... it's probably the clubs.

July 18, 2017

But tomorrow may rain...

so I'll follow the sun. ~Lennon–McCartney

Is there anything that embodies cheerful radiance more than the sunflower? A brilliant emblem of summer, it stands proudly with a strength and resilience that belies its impossibly thin and fragile frame.

Sunflowers are heliotropic, having the marvelous ability to turn their heads toward the sun, tracking the warm sunshine as it moves across the sky. The center of the sunflower is actually filled with hundreds of flowers growing individually, which can become other sunflowers if planted. They are also a natural decontaminator, and have been used to clean up soil at some of the world's biggest environmental disasters.

Thinking of choosing a personal emblem? Consider the sunflower. It's a reminder to stand tall. To be useful. To grow quickly. To enrich the world with the brilliance of simple happiness and know how to multiply it. And to be able to find the sunshine, wherever it may be, and reach toward it gracefully and with purpose.

July 11, 2017

Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue... 

And that somewhere is here.

It's summertime on Vancouver Island...and we're rejoicing in the fact that we get to partake in all the sun and fun without the busy campsites, ferry lineups or pricey RV rentals.

Why? Because we live here!

There's only one thing better than spending your summer holidays on the Island, and that's spending your summer holidays on the Island without ever having to go back home. It's time for us to get out there and be keen stay-cationers in our own communities. With so much happening this season in our region, we'll be carried away in a whirlwind of theatre, music, sports and outdoor adventure.

This week, close your eyes, tap your heels together three times and say those magic words...there's no place like home.

July 4, 2017

If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.

~Ayn Rand

And if some is good then more must be better, right? You'd think so. But red wine can be good for you...and remember what happened last time you had too much of that? The line between happy sufficiency and painful overindulgence can be a fine one.

We're at the apex of summer, and the sun is high in the sky. Exposure to sunlight produces Vitamin D, builds the immune system and helps us to heal. But over 85,000 new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year in Canada, and an estimated 1500 deaths will result. As much as we love the summer sun, we really can have too much of a good thing.

Another interesting statistic: 18% of people think that they look good in a hat. 100% of them actually do.

June 27, 2017

On Vancouver Island, summer is a glorious thing.

The sun-kissed beaches, charming seaside communities and roadside markets are classic parts of it. But what's an even more iconic part of our island summer? 

The Festivals! And this year, we're launched into festival season with incredible Canada 150 celebrations from coast to coast.

There'll be banners flying, red and white, as fireworks light up the night.
Painted faces and flying aces, ticket lines and local wines.
Classic tunes and bright balloons, midway rides and days outside.
Food trucks, fine art, local bands...

The best of summer in our hands.

June 20, 2017

Some of the best memories are made in flip flops.

A golden sun has set on the final day of spring, and winter couldn't possibly be further away.

The shadows are getting longer, and the pants shorter. It's time to put away the socks and get our pale feet into sandals. To throw off the wool hats and bring on the straw hats. To say goodbye to sweaters and hello to swimsuits. The only gloves I want to be wearing are gardening gloves and the only fleece I want to see is on adorable new lambs frolicking in the tall green grasses. The only umbrella I want to be under is the kind on a hot seaside patio...and the only frost I want to feel is the kind on an ice cold glass of beer.

It's official. Summer is here.

June 13, 2017

Carpe Diem.

Believe it or not, this week we're approaching the longest days of the year.

That means we'll have the most time possible on the water before the sun goes down. The most time on the trail. We'll be sneaking in one more round of golf and one more swim in the river. We'll have more hours in the garden than at any other time of the year, and the longest evenings on the beach.

This week, we'll be squeezing every drop of sunshine out of every day to remember when the nights are long, like a ripe red strawberry whose fragrant juices stain our fingers long after the last of the fruit is gone.

Seize the day.

And while you're doing that, seize the dad. This weekend we're celebrating Father's Day. There's nothing that dads want more than to seize those moments with the people he loves the most...and to savour those precious drops of sweetness together.

June 6, 2017

In one drop of water...

...are found all the secrets of all the oceans. ~Khalil Gibran
And all the drops of water that will ever be on this planet already are. Right now.

Did you know...
That half of all the oxygen we breathe is produced in the ocean? That the top ten feet of the ocean hold as much heat as our entire atmosphere? That the oceans provide 99 percent of the Earth's living space - the largest space in our universe known to be inhabited by living things? That for every species of marine life we know of, at least another three are yet to be discovered?

That each year, three times as much trash is dumped into the world's oceans as the weight of fish caught?

Thursday is World Oceans Day. Whether you're diving in it, paddling on it, or sitting on the shore...celebrate the power of our beautiful blue mystery. Our life depends on it.

May 31, 2017

The voyage of discovery...

is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. ~Marcel Proust

This is the season of discovery on Vancouver Island, and sometimes the beginning of a new adventure simply comes from looking at things from a new perspective.

Have you ever seen Victoria's rocky shores from the deck of a tall ship? What about the lights of downtown Nanaimo from the cockpit of a kayak? Have you ever witnessed otherworldly stone formations deep in a Vancouver Island cave? Seen a spectacular sunrise from the top of Mount Washington? Imagine what Salt Spring Island looks like from the bird's eye view of a seaplane. What our beautifully rugged coast line looks like from below the water.

Getting out of our comfort zone can be one of the most difficult things we can do, but the reward might just be one of the greatest moments of our life.

This summer, challenge your body in brave new ways, and your eyes will open wider, too. Move, and you'll be moved by the wonderful west coast like never before.

May 23, 2017

Ask and you shall receive.

Last week I was begging for summer sunshine, and like magic it appeared. The wellies have made way for watering cans, sweaters have been replaced with swimsuits, and the sweet smell of smoke in the air is finally from campfires instead of woodstoves.

The May long weekend is a kind of test run for the rest of the summer, and by the look of it, we're all going to need to learn to pace ourselves. This week I'm begging for aloe vera cream and an air conditioner.

Thankfully, summer theatre season has also begun. So when you're done playing outside...catch a play inside. Spending a few hours in a blissfully dark and cool theatre watching someone else's family drama is the perfect escape. This summer, the play's the thing! From comedy to tragedy and from musicals to satires, Vancouver Island theatre has everything you could ask for.

May 16, 2017

Living the vida local.

Don't you wish that there was a central place where people could gather and connect in a real and meaningful way?

It would be a place where you could stroll with your family and listen to great live music. Where you could chat with your neighbours and meet new people. Where you could invest in local business and grow your local economy. Where you could eat fantastic food. Where you could find all the basics for a fresh meal and have a conversation with the people who produced them.

Well guess what? That place is right around the corner from you...and looks suspiciously like your local Vancouver Island Farmers Market.

Looking for something fabulous to do this week? Get fresh. Get yourself to a market!

Read earlier posts:

There are things you'll just never hear a mother day - May 9, 2017

On the power of all things great and small - May 2, 2017

Want to drink from the fountain of youth? - April 25, 2017

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend - April 18, 2017

Put your bunny where your mouth is - April 11, 2017

This week's edition is brough to you by the number five - April 4, 2017

Paddles up, everyone. - March 28, 2017

I say spring, you say... - March 21, 2017

We're wearing green for Irish luck - March 14, 2017

Vancouver Island's beaches are legendary - March 7, 2017

A woman who cuts her hair - February 28, 2017

Never trust a rodent... that's what I always say - February 21, 2017

A discovery is an accident meeting a prepared mind - February 14, 2017

We are family. Get up everybody and sing. - February 7, 2017

All of life's big lessons can be learned in the garden - January 31, 2017

There's nothing more dramatic than real life - January 24, 2017

On making something worth crowing about - January 17, 2017

You've gotta ask yourself one question - January 10, 2017

You can't reach for anything new - January 3, 2017

Starting things off on the right foot - December 27, 2016

What's your special Christmas tradition? - December 20, 2016

On seasonal foolishness and seasonal silliness - December 13, 2016

It's the time for the Christmas wishes - December 6, 2016

Sometimes raising your voice is a good thing - November 29, 2016

Christmas is an illuminating time of year - November 22, 2016

A handmade gift is thoughtful - November 15, 2016

The fragile red petals of the poppy - November 8, 2016

Whoever said you can't buy happiness - November 1, 2016

The hard truth about autumn colours - October 25, 2016

Come on everybody...Let's Shake, Rattle and Roll! - October 18, 2016

It's a little known fact... - October 11, 2016

Thanksgiving - October 4, 2016

Talk about being under pressure - September 27, 2016

We have always lived on the river's edge - September 20, 2016

The winds of change - September 13, 2016

Great news from HarbourLiving.ca! - August 31, 2016

Thank you - August 23, 2016

We reap what we sow - August 16, 2016

They never forget - August 9, 2016

au-gust - August 2, 2016

The heat is on - July 26, 2016

Reality can be beaten...with enough imagination - July 19, 2016

Summer traffic stressing you out? - July 12, 2016

What's on your bucket list? - July 5, 2016

The whole is more than the sum of its parts - June 28, 2016

When the sun stands still  - June 21, 2016

Give A Man A Fish, And He Has Food For A Day - June 14, 2016

And Since All This Loveliness Cannot Be Heaven - June 7, 2016

Can Ye Fathom The Ocean, Dark and Deep - May 31, 2016

Tread Lightly...and Carry A Big Stick - May 24, 2016

Are We There Yet? - May 17, 2016

You've Got To Ask Yourself One Question - May 10, 2016

When Life Hands You Lebons - May 3, 2016

Say It In The Language Of Flowers - April 26, 2016

Nobody Can Do Everything...But Everybody Can Do Something - April 12, 2016

The Cure For Anything Is Salt Water - April 5, 2016

March, That Month Of Wind And Taxes - March 29, 2016

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective...Rabbits - March 22, 2016

May The Road Rise Up To Meet You - March 15, 2016

Home, Tweet Home - March 8, 2016

Ever Been Told That You Run Like A Girl? - March 1, 2016

So How Will You Be Spending Your Bonus? - February 23, 2016

Why Is This Man Wearing A Pink Shirt? - February 16, 2016

Can We Talk About The Birds And The Bees? - February 9, 2016

Is it Just Me, Or Is It Starting To Get Warm In Here? - February 2, 2016

It's The Day To Bake A Difference - January 26, 2016

How Exactly Does One Address A Haggis? - January 19, 2016

There's No Substitute for Hard Work - January 12, 2016

It's Good to Have An End To Journey Toward - January 5, 2016

Feel the Warmth of an Unexpected Gift - December 22, 2015

It's Beginning to Taste A Lot Like Christmas - December 15, 2015

Meanwhile...up at the North Pole - December 8, 2015

It's the Season of Giving - December 1, 2015 

 

 

 

 

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