Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tofino: Through Luc's Lens

Things have been quiet here at THofT. I took a short holiday last week and again have my head down for the final push on this book project, which I will one day finally reveal. For today though, please enjoy these stunning photos taken by my friend Luc Hoogenstein. Luc and his family, Lianne, Hannah, and Dirk, visited us earlier this summer from Holland. We had a wonderful visit -- it was so great to reconnect with Lianne, who lived with us, oh, can it really be 16 or so years ago?! I also learned the best word from Dirk: knuffelen, which means hug.

Luc came home from Canada with 6000 photos, here are just a few. Visit his website for more.

(And don't forget to book Sunday night for the Lantern Festival. A Tofino event not to be missed. There are lantern making workshops all week.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Farewell, Norma

People from the west coast (present and past) gathered yesterday to remember Norma Baillie. Although she would probably hate to hear anyone say it, Norma was a legend on the west coast. She was an independent free-spirit, an entrepreneur, a dear friend and confident to so many, and so curious and fascinated about life and the world around her. She first arrived on the coast when she was in her early 20s, which, if my calculations and the article in the paper is correct would have been in the 1940s. She came on the Uchuck from Port Alberni with her sister and their bikes -- rather unheard of for those days! A local police officer met them at the boat and eventually took them out to Wreck Bay where they stayed for awhile in an old cabin from the gold mining days. She came again later in 1960 when her youngest child (of three) was only two months old. Again they stayed at Wreck Bay. The family returned each summer and stayed at Wreck Bay. What fabulous memories they must have from that time.

In 1967 she moved here permanently, taught at the high school, and eventually opened a shop she called The Wreckage. This shop was first in a small plaza, but eventually, with the expertise of builder Bruce Atkey, built The Wreckage we know and love today. Maybe you've seen it?

(If you go to this blog, and scroll about half way down, you can see what the inside looks like. There's more about Bruce and The Wreckage in the book Builders of the Pacific Coast by Lloyd Kahn.)

There were some wonderful stories told at the memorial yesterday about Norma's mixed emotions about the tourists that would come in to her shop. She needed them to buy the things she had for sale, but would often close the shop and go read for a bit if it got too busy. As well, many of the things in the shop weren't even for sale. And I'd forgotten about the wonderful sign on the door: Hours By Chance.

I didn't know Norma well; she was an old friend of the FH's though and I was introduced through him. She was always kind to me whenever we did meet though and I will always treasure the few visits we had in her floating shop at Hotsprings Cove and the lovely pottery casserole dish she just gave us when she found out we'd been married. That was almost 19 years ago now. (And I will never forget the fabulous selection of books in that floating store. She moved there when she was 60 and stayed for 8 years or so.) I regret not visiting her more often, but even more, not having my daughter's spend time with her. She was an inspiration and will be missed by so many.

(I wish I had a photo to show you or even a link. The article that was in the local paper seems to be off-line now. I'll post one if I can find it.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cellular Zucchinis & Green Soul

So Saturday about noon, I was paying for my groceries at the Co-op (which we refer to as "The Coop" — no hyphen) when I saw lovely Martha, all dressed in bright orange walking across the street talking on her phone. And then, I spied Janice across the street, also having an earnest discussion on her phone. Then my brain did the disconnect — these gals aren't the type of have earnest calls in the middle of town on cell phones. I doubt they even have cell phones. I scan back to Martha and see she's talking on a yellow zucchini. Janice is on a banana. Across the street, Judy has a leek to her ear, Spencer a green zucchini and Sue, some weird sort of root vegetable I don't recognize. Kitty-corner to us Jan is on his banana. He passes it to Joe C., who has a brief conversation on it and then switches to the can of Lucky in his other hand. Oh how I love Tofino. We were being flash mobbed. I took a few pictures, which I now find were actually movies that I can't seem to up-load. Bah. I was probably distracted when my banana-phone rang.

In lieu of great photos of the flash mob, I bring you Green Soul Organics. I primarily am posting this as a service to those who are gluten-free and need to find a spot to shop in Tofino. You'll find a good selection of pastas, g-f flours, bread, cereal, etc. here. Of course, there is also a wide selection of produce, much of it as local as possible. Yesterday, the first chanterelles of the season appears. Yum, yum, double yum. There is a hard-working gal at the heart of Green Soul. She's trying to make a go of running a shop that is notoriously difficult to do so please pay her a visit. She's in the heart of town, in the Cedar Corner building, 4th and Campbell.

I'm going to have my head down this week, madly working on a book deadline. I am trying to have few distractions so my posts may be scattered and infrequent for a bit. For now, this is for you. Taken by daughter P on the beach yesterday. Just found it when I downloaded my camera. Sweet girl.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


and creepy-som.

Cool, huh? You never know what's going to wash in on local beaches. This Humboldt squid, and about 200 of its friends, washed up on Chesterman Beach on Monday. They were in various stages of life, death, & decay, when they hit the beach, but this one was a real beauty.

They are about 2 feet in length. My daughter wouldn't volunteer to lie down beside one to show the scale so I had to sacrifice myself.

[Notice that I am coincidentally wearing my Eik Street Tree Tee. There is still a few more days before the next draw, which is Friday. Still time to make your comments.]

The current theory as to why they were washing up is that they were feeding at night (as they are wont to do) on feed fish (piltchards perhaps) and they followed the prey up to the surface waters. They may have become stranded on the sand flats or swept into a different current. You can read more here and here if you want.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ah, It's Fogust

If you are somewhere else in BC, which is currently breaking all records for heat (or even burning), then I'll whisk you a moment to the west coast, where it is officially Fogust.

Driving from Port Alberni (where it hit 39 last week) last Thursday after sweltering in the Cowichan Valley for the weekend, we recorded the change in temperature the closer we got to the coast. (Yes, we have nerdish tendencies.) In Port Alberni at 6 pm (yes, 6 pm!) it was 38. By Sutton Pass it was 32. At the River Bend, where all the tourists stop for a looky-loo, it was 29. At the precipitous cliff where you look out over Kennedy Lake (and temporarily lose your Sirius connection) it was 27. The junction it was 24, Long Beach was 21 and then it rose slightly to 22 in Tofino. Ah, just perfect don't you think?

All that cool moist air hitting the warmish water (it holds the heat, plus the water is unusually warm at the moment) creates a band of fog at this time of year. It's not very deep — just a margin along the coastline — and you can be assured that it will be gone when you're about 500 metres from the coastline, or by noon or so, when it finally burns off. If you're looking for heat and sun-tanning opportunities this may not be the place for you, but at least you can sleep at night.