Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Exceptional (Tofino) Eats

For a village of only 1500 or so people, Tofino has a wealth of fabulous places to eat. For you foodies — and I know you're out there — you may want to take part in EAT magazine's Fabulous Eats survey and contest. (I'll bet SoBo makes the list, but there are many other worthies.)

An Accordion on Chesterman

For your holiday viewing pleasure — this song from Natasha Enquist. Live ... from Chesterman Beach!

Holiday Cheer 2009!!! from Natasha Enquist on Vimeo.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day Trip: Freedom Cove

Quiet, relaxing days here at THOT, but I thought I'd pass on this little gem. A trip to Freedom Cove is definitely on my To Do list. A fabulous creation out in Clayoquot Sound. And oh what amazing gardens. You can grow food here, but it takes time, energy, and creativity. (A few greenhouses help too.) Enjoy!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Prepping for the Whales

The Whale Fest poster has been unveiled. What do you think?

Art by Ucluelet's Angie Roussin. (My apologies for getting your name wrong the first time, Angie!) More on the poster and the March whale-o-rama here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas With George

Thought you might be interested to know what Long Beach George was up to close to Christmas in 1927.

December 11
Everything white with snow this a.m. but got milder after daylight and the snow turned to rain and continued heavy downpour all day. Cleared off at sundown and is a clear star and moonlight night and no wind. Done some baking — pastry and a cake.

December 12
Everything froze this a.m. Fine clear day but did not thaw much and is frost again tonight. Clear but no wind. Cut some wood. Maquinna not leaving Victoria until tonight so I hear. Saw wild geese going south this evening.

December 13
Clear and cold. Sunshine all day but did not thaw much. Cut wood and put it in pile. Went along beach as far as point east. Pete came in tonight from Ucluelet — about midnight. Hunted on the way and got six "coons."

December 14
Fine clear morning, clouded in afternoon and began snowing about four o'clock and still snowing. Ground froze today. Pete went home this a.m. to stretch and dry his skins.

December 15
Snowfall during the night but turned to rain early in the morning and was a cold wet disagreeable day. Went out to the landing in evening to see if the mail was there but did not find any. Fine and clear tonight but frosty.

December 16
Clear, sunshine all day, ground froze and did not that much, frosty again tonight. Went over line east and found it all ok. Pressler working on his boat at landing, called this evening and had supper with me. Eight grouse feeding in yard with chickens when I got here this p.m.

December 17
Fine again today. Got my mail this a.m. Pressler got his boat up as far as the boathouse this morning. Pete H. and Mr. Thistle and Don McD came over from Ucluelet this forenoon, had dinner and supper with me and left here to return to Ucluelet about 7 p.m. Maquinna passed down tonight. Grouse was in the year again this afternoon.

December 18
Rained all day.

December 19
Rained all day again today. Hilderbrand came up this a.m. to get the Barney horse and try and if ok will buy him for one hundred dollars. I will go down to his place tomorrow and put him in the harness.

December 20
Frost last night but clear and was beautiful sun shining day and is still clear tonight. Went to Hilderbrands and tried out the horse was all ok so got the money from him. Have a bad foot after the fifteen mile walk.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In Season: Tracey's Panettone

'Tis the season for Sweet T's panettone. I usually pick up a loaf (or two) at the Christmas Craft Fair, but I've already gone through my stash. More is available at the bakery storefront. The store is actually in a building on Main St., but you access it from the alleyway behind. When you are at the Village Green, just look towards the water. You'll see a blue building and this sign. Enter to meet the very friendly Deb!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Children: The Heart of Any Community

I try not to get too political on this site — there are other blogs for that — but this is too important of an issue. Please consider taking a few moments to write a letter in support of education for our children.

Looks kind of ethereal and lonely doesn't it? Let's hope it isn't a reality one day.

(Originally posted on the blog, Tofino Residents.)

As a Christmas gift to our communities I’d like to encourage everyone to write a letter (or three) expressing your concern over the impending changes to education on the west coast. Even though we think Wickaninnish Community School may be “safe” for now, our children go to high school in Ucluelet and, more importantly, we all need to stick together on this. Changes to education on the west coast affect us all.

In rural towns, schools form the heart of communities. A quick glance through the small businesses in Tofino and it’s clear that young families are a huge part of the community’s fabric — SoBo, Breakers, Tony’s Pizza, LA Grocery, Pacific Earthworks, Stick in the Mud Landscaping, the Long Beach Golf Course, The Whale Centre, EcoEverything, Tofino Bus, and on and on — all of the people running these businesses and more have young children. It is already an incredible challenge to encourage young families to live here and any further cuts to our already crippled education system

The presentation given to communities by School District 70 is available here:

There is a Facebook site, too.

While cuts have been happening for years, things really ramped up this fall when the provincial Liberal government yanked $980,000 out from under School District 70. This money was already spent over the summer for work on facilities. (Yes, perhaps not prudent, but it was a grant received every year for 20 years and the work must be done in the summer while the schools are empty.) This loss of almost a million dollars has left the school district scrambling. This alone is a “talking point” especially in light of the money spent elsewhere by this government. Education is not a priority.

Options presented by SD 70 to make up for the short-fall include: reviewing all staffing levels, reviewing all service levels (transportation, custodial, maintenance), closing facilities, altering the school year, not replacing retiring administrators (e.g., principals), and exploring ways to increase enrolment and revenue (e.g., international students). What does this mean on the ground? Perhaps longer days and/or a compressed school week, amalgamation of the Ucluelet elementary and secondary schools into one facility, further cuts to staffing (teaching, administration and support), are just a few of the options being batted around.

I encourage everyone to educate themselves on this critical issue soon and make their voices heard. Writing letters is preferable to e-mail, but however you choose to help, please do so soon.

Letters should go to:

School District #70 (Alberni)
(Cam Pinkerton, Superintendent)
4690 Roger St.
Port Alberni, B.C.
V9Y 3Z4

BC Minister of Education – Hon. Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Education
Room 347
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4

Scott Fraser, MLA for Alberni-Pacific Rim
Room 201
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4

Robin Austin, MLA
Opposition Education Critic
Rm 201, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

Christmas Craft Fair

Hey, my 100th post!

I'm slow posting these photos from the fabulous craft fair held at the community hall last Sunday. My photos are not great, nor do they show the breadth of crafts and food available. 'Twas a fun day for all though. Daughter P tested the local market for gluten-free goodies and did quite well with Christmas treats, including gluten-free butter tarts.

(Kids were welcome, too.)

Speaking of butter tarts, the fair was organized again by Jen Scott, she of the fabulous butter tarts (and other amazing baking; so good that after dinner at her place last night I had to lay on the couch for an hour before I could even roll my way down the hall to bed). It's a huge job, but I think this was one of the best gatherings in years. Sometimes it's all jewellry or all food (or so it seems), but there was a wide range of crafts out this time. Plus, it's just a fun community gathering. Thanks, Jen!

(If anyone with keep pockets is still looking for a gift for me — that "goose bowl" of Adrian's is beautiful!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Latkes For the World

Yesterday a few Tofitians carried on the decade-old (or thereabouts; no one's quite sure) tradition of Latkes for the World. The event was started by one or the other (or both) of the Langer ladies — Shirley and daughter, Val — but since they're not here full-time any longer (but are here in spirit, I'm sure) the event fell to Tofino's self-proclaimed "Top Jew," Ron S with help from Nessa and a few hangers-on willing to give up a few hours on Friday night to grate potatoes, onions and garlic. Daughter P and I helped for a bit on Friday and serving the latkes on Saturday afternoon. It's a simple affair, but one that's been very popular and memorable — at least in our family — since the kids were young. Essentially the crew prepares and cooks latkes for the afternoon, as close to the first day of Hanukkah as possible. Then, people just drop into the Common Loaf Bakery for a free feed, a spin of the dreidl (Ron even put coins out for the kids) and to light the menorah. Thanks, Ron, Nessa, the Floodies, the Common Loaf staff and all the others who helped make it a very fun afternoon. It's the beginning of many wonderful, casual, relaxing holiday events in town, that makes me love staying home during the holidays.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Photos (Courtesy Jeremy Koreski)

Jeremy Koreski graciously sent me some photos several months ago now and I am very slow in getting them posted here. My apologies Jeremy. Please check out this homegrown Tofitian's work here and on his website. The surfers in these photos are Peter Devries and Raph Bruhwiler.

After watching the photographers in action during the O'Neill Coldwater Classic, I have an entirely new respect for how difficult (and bloody cold) it must be to take photos of surfers. Brrrr.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Music (and Musings) for the Mudflats

I blether on a fair bit about the Tofino Mudflats here, but they really are a stunning — and ecologically important — part of Clayoquot Sound. The Raincoast Education Society had a mini-flick contest last year where people submitted their short videos on the theme of mudflats. Enjoy these creative (and wonderfully wacky) Tofitians!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

No, It Doesn't Rain Here All the Time

Despite the reputation as being a place where it rains all the time we often have long stretches of high pressure, which equates to cold, clear, sunny skies. It lifts the spirits, no? Here are some pics of the sound from this morning, and of the pass from a few days ago.

On December 5 in 1927, George Jackson was experiencing similar weather:

December 5
Fine and clear this a.m. beautiful sunrise and like summer all day and ended with a glorious sunset. Went out to the landing for mail and stores this forenoon at high tide, but Grant was not in sight so I returned empty handed and then I cut wood. Tofino phoned in afternoon that Grant had been up late left my stuff, was then too late for tide so had to go and get stuff on the night tide. 10:30 - just got finished and everything in the house at midnight.

"The landing" is on the inlet side of the peninsula - Browning Passage - where the boat from Tofino would come up to deliver mail, supplies and people (who would then walk across the peninsula and on to Long Beach). "Grant" was Duncan Grant or one of his sons, probably Wallace or Bordie, who would deliver the supplies. Jackson's reference to "Tofino calling" relates to the fact that his house was on the telegraph line. Jackson's job was to maintain the telegraph line.

Friday, December 4, 2009

On the Mudflats with Margaret

Last week Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson visited the west coast and Tofino to promote their new books. The event was very well attended and quite fun. The FH was asked to introduce Graeme Gibson and he did very well, despite being incredibly nervous. He work on it for a week and had a lot of questions prepared, which, unfortunately, he didn't get an opportunity to ask on stage.

The presentations by both authors were thought-provoking and, at times, very funny (particularly Atwood). Greg, over at View from The Greg summarized the event well here. There was an article in The Westerly yesterday and even Ms. Atwood posted some pics from her trip on her Year of the Flood blog.

I made both daughters attend. Daughter A was attentive, but Daughter P a bit less so. Still, I told her that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and perhaps (perhaps) one day she can say, "When I was twelve, ...". Bob and I, with our friend Peter, also had a once-in-a-lifetime treat when we were asked to take the couple out birding. We had a lovely time on the mudflats talking about birds, predators, mud, the environment, even butter tarts.

(Thanks Jen from Sobo. They were delicious.)

It was a very enjoyable and memorable morning.

Despite how it looks, she is not recoiling from the eelgrass I'm holding. She was very interested and engaged in everything we talked about.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Designer Colours

Yellow and grey seem to be the colour of the fashionistas this year (or maybe it was last? I'm always a bit slow on the uptake). Regardless, I've been seeing this combo. a lot in design — home, fashion or otherwise. We see yellow and grey in combination all the time here:

You can see why they work.

Light postings this week so far, but I'm on the road. If you're in Tofino or Ucluelet, remember the meeting this evening — 4:30-6 pm in Tofino and 7-8:30 pm in Ucluelet. This article gives some important background.