Thursday, December 30, 2010

Congratulations, Caroline!

Quiet times here with the holidays and all (meaning too much work), but I wanted to take a moment to shout out a few loud huzzahs to Caroline Woodward, local writer and lightkeeper at Lennard Light (but currently at Pachena Point Light). Caroline had a whirlwind fall with the release of (and subsequent tour for) her book, Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny, and now she has a children's book out: Singing Away the Dark.

I had the pleasure of hearing Caroline read Singing Away the Dark earlier this year, when I went to the Tofino launch for Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny. I loved the story, the illustrations by Julie Morstad (one of my favourites and illustrator of one of my favourite children's books) and, of course, Caroline's own stories that inspired the book. I could relate more, but really, I want to send you here. For those of you not in the book world, getting a review in the School Library Journal and on The Fuse #8 Production blog is a BIG DEAL. The review is fabulous and is all you need to know and more. I sure hope the book is finally available in Tofino. I will report back once I've been to the bookstore.

I know that Caroline has been through a lot of angst with this book and its slowness in coming, but I hope this review makes up for it slightly. What would be even better though, is if we all go and find the book.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Congratulations, Hjalmer!

We've been doing a lot of fundraising these last few months — bottle drives, chocolate sales, raffle tickets, bake sales, Rolleramas and such, and the students have been clearing dishes, checking coats and helping out at all sorts of events. And then, there was our friend Hjalmer, who decided to carve a canoe. He's worked on it for the last five months and tonight his family is hosting a community supper where they will celebrate his hard work and draw the name of the person who won the canoe. Here is a story on Hjalmer and his canoe. Congratulations, Hjalmer!

The fundraising is for a high school trip to Quebec in the spring. Please consider attending the dinner and celebration if you have the time tonight. It is at the Seaplane Base in Ucluelet.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Books, Art, Crafts (and other holiday stuff)

There are a few fun community events this weekend you might want to take in.

First off, the Craft (er, Artisans') Fair this weekend. It's at a new venue — one that will be a bit cozier with better acoustics and fewer concrete blocks than our community hall — the Weigh West's Harbour Lounge. It runs over two days, Saturday 1 to 7 and Sunday 11 to 4. Marion and I will be there with our Postelsia Press table (and hopefully with a new book to show you. Yeah! Marion did a beautiful job of the design and as for my writing, well, that's up to you to decide). And make sure you check out the canned goodies from the Tofino Community Food Initiative. (And please leave some of Jen's chocolate and butterscotch sauces for me.)

Also on Saturday, I will be at Mermaid Tales with several other local writers — Ashley Little, Janice Lore, Joanna Streetly and Caroline Woodward. We'll be there with our books to sign for you, or just come by for a chat.

Have a great weekend and please remember the Hospice fundraiser today.

Above poster designed by the fabulous and talented Tofino artist, Marion Syme.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Show Your Heart, Tofino

There are, of course, many ways to help others at this time of year. There are many ways to help in Tofino as well and I will try to spread the word about some of them here.

First up, is the Pacific Rim Hospice Society fundraiser on December 10. That's this Friday. All day, Long Beach Radio will be holding a radiothon for the Society. You can find the details here.

To learn more about the work of the Hospice Society and how they helped one family in particular — The Burt Family — check out this "videocast" from Long Beach Radio.

This is part one. You can find the two other parts by searching on YouTube.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The First Christmas Card of the Season . . .

. . . came courtesy our garbage collector.

I am a bit of a grump when it comes to Christmas. I get very steamed when the decorations, Christmas music and stupid Santa hats on "sales associates" come out before December 1st. (Especially so when they appear November 1.) I even refuse to buy Mandarin oranges until December 1. Yes, I may be depriving my children of Vitamin C but SOMETHING has to still be special. (Shall I digress now with "When I was a kid we got one wooden crate (okay, maybe two) of oranges a year! And those oranges were so precious my mom marched back to the store with any ones that were rotten, demanding good ones in exchange.)

But, now that it is December 3rd, I am a kinder, gentler me. I do love Christmas music and although I haven't played any yet, the CDs are out of the attic. And we have one poinsettia and I am thinking I'd better get on those gifts I didn't quite finish making for last Christmas. (Sorry, Mom. One sock is almost done.) The girls are keen to make cookies and it is the Catholic church bazaar this weekend. There's even frost on the ground.

So, thanks Brady. I really do appreciate the card. It's beginning to feel a little bit like Christmas.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Jingle Into Christmas

Sorry for the silence, folks. Busy days in my purple office. If you're in Tofino tonight remember that it is Jingle Into Christmas. This is a chance to leave some of your hard-earned cash in town if you are so inclined to buy gifts at this time of year. It's a fun evening, too. Lots of the shops have, hmmm, how shall we say it . . . entertainment? . . . and things have been known to get a bit wild closer to midnight. If you want a bite before you head out, there is a turkey dinner being served at the legion. Dinner begins at 5 pm. I'm off to fight the snowy (probably slushy by now) wilds of the island's east coast so you'll have to have fun without me.

On another note, there is a new film about Emily Carr, called Winds of Heaven. This article mentions that the film includes mention of her visit to the west coast and some footage of Long Beach. If you are in Victoria, you can catch it at the Cinecenta tonight. Hopefully it can find a west coast venue.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Clayoquot Writers Hit the Road

The Clayoquot Writers' Group is off to Port Alberni next Wednesday, November 24, for an evening of readings.

Here is more information on the evening from the CWG web page.

Spread the word!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wait For Me, Daddy

This is a very famous photo in British Columbia and in Canada.

[It was taken by The Province photographer, Claude Dettloff, in October 1940.]

The photo has a strong connection to Tofino. It is on the wall of the Legion and St. Columba Church. You can read about it here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

John Vaillant is Coming to Tofino

Author John Vaillant will be in Tofino this weekend and there are many events to look forward to. I've heard great things about his latest book, The Tiger, and enjoyed The Golden Spruce very much. He did a masterful job of weaving together the mystery of the tree and the man who felled it. It's no surprise this book won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction. I'm so looking forward to meeting Vaillant and hearing the story behind The Tiger (and, of course, reading it myself!) and we're privileged to have him visit Tofino.

Here's a note from Dorothy Baert of Wildside Booksellers, who is sponsoring the event:

I couldn’t put the book down and feel a loss that it is read and over, but now I look forward to hearing the story and seeing the images presented by the author himself. His earlier book The Golden Spruce is one of my favorite books to recommend.

There are three engaging events with award winning author John Vaillant this weekend. Get your tickets early as they expect to sell out.

Writer’s Welcome Opening Reception
Friday, November 12th, 6:00-7:30pm
Driftwood Lounge, WIckaninnish Inn
Complimentary admission, beverages upon consumption
RSVP is appreciated

Book Reading and Slide Show
Saturday November 13th, 2pm
Clayoquot Community Theatre
Tickets $10. (includes book coupon) available at Tofino Sea Kayaking open Wed – Sun.
Phone 250-725-4222

Writer and Readers Brunch
Join a conversation with John in a private oceanfront setting
Sunday, November 14th, 9:00am
McDiarmid Cabin, Shell Beach
$55/person, including tax and gratuity. Alcohol upon consumption.
Reserve your place

Review of The Tiger by Simon Winchester, The Globe and Mail

I will spare the intrigued reader the outcome of the hunt, and of the details of the confrontation, the struggle, the collision of irresistible human firepower and immovable animal majesty – but let it simply be said that John Vaillant – whose previous book, The Golden Spruce, won the Governor-General’s Award for non-fiction – has told a tale of astonishing power and vigour, with enough brio and colour to have made it a near-certainty that Hollywood would want this to be offered up in double-quick time. This is a film that demands to be made with 3-D charges of stripes and rifle fire and Dolby-magnified thunder roars. (For what other creature, asks one character, roars back at storms, thus answering the Creator in his own language?)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Memorial for Jo-Ann and Ivan

[Photo by Priscilla Lockwood.]

Yesterday was quite a day. I've read estimates of just over 1000 to 2500 people attending. Regardless, Tofino's population more than doubled as emergency responders from the province, country and even the US, joined our community to honour Jo-Ann Fuller and Ivan Polivka. The procession stretched for blocks and the huge tent on the school field was close to full. The procession mustered in front of our house, so I do have pictures, but these and these are much better.

[Photo: Wayne Barnes, Tofino Photography]

The weather worked in our favour, with the march finishing without rain. It did start while the service was underway, but I found the sound of rain on the roof soothing, reminiscent of being in a small tent with my family. I guess in a way we were in a tent with our family, just an extended one.

I have some memories of the pair — Jo-Ann teaching First Aid to my Brownies for instance, and Ivan being a kind, caring and attentive waiter at the Wickaninnish Restaurant at Long Beach and just his polite smile when you'd see him on the street — but I will always remember the time they gave our communities. I've been thinking about the emergency responders in our community — ambulance, fire, search and rescue, police, park wardens not to mention the medical professionals — and wondering if I would have it in me to do one of these jobs. I don't think I do, but I think we all need to find a way to serve our community, from coaching soccer to volunteering at community events to being a caring neighbour to serving on council. Doing something, not just bitching about it. Jo-Ann and Ivan remind us of what being an active participant in a community means. They will be — and are — missed in so many ways.

For a news report showing some of yesterday's events, go here and here is a video of the procession as it goes down Campbell Street.

A few more photos, courtesy Wayne Barnes, Tofino Photography:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Remembering and Honouring

Tomorrow our town is expected to more than double in size as the community, paramedics and emergency responders from across North America gather to remember and honour Jo-Ann Fuller and Ivan Polivka. (More here.)

This morning I happened to be driving back home, over Highway 4 where the pair died. I could have driven home last night, but the rain, dark, my own fatigue, and the thought of what would be niggling away at me the entire time made me stop and spend the night on the other side of the island. We still don't know what happened to Jo-Ann and Ivan, but I don't think I'm alone in giving a lot of thought to when and under what conditions I travel that road. I did before, but now even more so. No doubt many of us can recall scary trips along the highway.

A highway memorial has started and no doubt will grow over the next few days.

It's been a tough year in Tough City, with the plane crash earlier in the year, this accident and many more personal tragedies. But although I never ever wish such sadness on anyone or any town, the way in which our town and its residents reacts to these events makes me love living here all that much more. Everyone is pitching in how they can, helping to remember Jo-Ann and Ivan, and supporting their friends, family and community.

This is how the field looked like as of this morning.

(And this is the process that got it there.) I will post a few more photos, if appropriate, in the next few days.

Here is information on a memorial fund in memory Ivan and Jo-Ann.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Launch of My Nature

Chris Lowther had a great launch for her new book of poetry, My Nature. There was a fun open mic with local writers, followed by Chris reading a selection of her poems with slides to accompany the poems.

Here are a few articles — here and here — about Chris and her latest project and Long Beach Radio's interview is here:

Chris has graciously allowed me to publish one of her poems here. You can find copies at local bookstores or through Leaf Press. Congratulations, Chris!

shore chant

The inlet shore must be an unfathomed parallel universe.
This is where a lichen gleans nutrients
from the breath of sea lions.
This is where some plants
need the tide to reproduce: sibilant sand,
coaxed by each tender surge,
massages the seeds, abrades them
into germination. This is where
bears graze on shore grass,
long strands like spinach linguine
hanging from black rhythmic mouths.
This is where hummingbirds zoom in
from their own space-time continuum,
riding the cracks between worlds
to sip from salal blossoms
overlooked by the bears.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tofino on Lonely Planet's Top 10 List

The marketing wizardry of the storm watching in Tofino has made inroads with Lonely Planet. Stormwatching is number 3 on their list of Top 10 Canadian Adventures. I suspect this model is being studied and taught in marketing courses everywhere — "How do we market the 'bad weather' to bring people here in the low season?"

I have to say that I like this list. How can you not when #8 is to visit the Narcisse garter snake dens?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why is Tofino Called Tough City?

The signs are everywhere . . .

So why does Tofino call itself, Tough (or Tuff) City?

I have heard two versions:

The first, is that for people in the outlying communities in Clayoquot Sound (so, Opitsah, Ahousat, etc.) it was a shortened form of Tofino — and a bit of a play on words. (e.g., "We're going to Tof.") This only works, of course, when you say Tofino as the locals do, as "Tuh-fino." We don't say "Toe-fino." (Well, not many of us at least.)

The second, is that at one time Tofino was much more of a tough town, especially when the fishing and logging industries were the main employers and the money flowed, especially after a good herring season. The Maquinna was notorious (as in bad) and brawls happened with regularity.

I'd like to hear from others. What do you think?

[UPDATE: Make sure you check out the comments for more thoughts on this. greg b. also contributed this on Facebook:

"The Tough City" moniker is all about urban street image, i always thought. We're so polar-opposite from urban culture that it's an ironic pun. It's also shorter than Milquetoast Small Town.

I call it Toff City, from the Brit slang "toff" -- "a mildly derogatory term for someone with an aristocratic background, particularly someone who exudes an air of superiority." (Wikipedia)]

And here's another update on the first use of Tough City in a business.

In the late 1980s, early 1990s, Anne Gauld designed clothing and had a local shop. She and her partner Crystal Heald first ran the shop out of a boat - The Boatique. Then, when they moved to land, it was Tough City Clothing. After that, of course, came Tough City Sushi, Inn, etc.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tofino Slide Show

CBC has just posted a slide show with audio about Tofino. (Well, it's mostly about surfing and Tofino.) I can't say I agree with everything — especially the statements that there is nothing else to do here in the winter and that surfers "rule the town" — but there are some great images. (I really hope no group thinks they "rule the town," but perhaps I am naive. There's a lot going on here besides surfing.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bagels and Beer in Tofino

Well, almost. The Tofino Bagel Company is up and running and open for business. I can't find a website, but you can find them in all their bagely goodness at 4th and Campbell (in the Wilson Building). We had a serious taste test around here the first week they were open and these were definitely the best bagels I've tasted in a long while and better than any I've tasted on the island.

And the Tofino Brewing Company is on its way. They're not open yet, but check their web site for updates.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Caroline Woodward's Book Launch

'Tis the month for book launches it seems. Next Friday, join Caroline Woodward to celebrate the launch of her book, Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny. The event is 7 pm at the Salal Room of the Wickaninnish Inn. After the launch, Caroline will collapse at her home, which is here.

Update! - Caroline tells me there is a launch on Saturday, 3 pm at Wild Heather Books. THEN she gets to go home and collapse.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Surf Comp. Photos

If you missed the surf competition (and even if you didn't) here are some great photos from the week, taken by photographer Kathleen Hinkel.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Benn, Pete and Sepp Move On

Congratulations to Tofino locals — Benn Murphy (an Aussie, but we'll claim him as he's calling Tofino home), Sepp Bruhwiler and Peter Devries have moved on in the O'Neill Coldwater Classic. Due to the order of their heats, Devries is into the third round while Bruhwiler and Murphy have advanced into the second. More on yesterday's news here and here and you can keep up on the latest here and on our community channel, Channel 3.

Update: Great pictures and live audio and video here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Murder at "You-clue-no" General Hospital

What a great community turn out for the murder myster gala and fundraiser for new equipment for the Tofino General Hospital. Local teacher and playwright, Gary Marks, put a huge amount of work into creating the play, the actors (most from the hospital) were fabulous despite their nerves, and a hard-working team of local women put together the gala (the Legion was transformed), prepared the food, sought donations for the silent auction and more. Congratulations to everyone who was involved.

Keven at The Westcoaster posted this article with photos that summarizes the event well.

I helped put together a Power Point presentation of old slides and other info. re. medical services in the area. Here's one of the photos of the original hospital,

and one of my favourite quotes comes from Dr. John Robertson who was the first doctor in the hospital shown in this photo. In 1937, a he wrote a story for The Canadian Hospital (now Dimensions in Health Services) about his time as a physician on the west coast in the early days. From Dr. Robertson:

When I came here a little over two years ago I found it necessary to do emergency appendectomies in the homes, with no running water and no means for safe sterilization.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tofino's Rollo-rama

I've said it before, but it always boggles my mind when people ask me, What do you do here? Almost every evening it seems — especially in the "off season" (i.e., not summer) — there are usually 2 or 3 things I could be doing outside the home. Movie nights, book clubs, all sorts of musical events, readings, public meetings on myriad topics, cooking classes, stitch and bitch events, potlucks with friends . . . the list goes on. But a few weeks ago (sorry, still a little behind) there was a new one on the agenda — roller skating!

The music started blasting late in the afternoon. It had been a beautiful fall day, school had just begun and finally the town was quieting down a bit. In short, it was a great time for a community event. The Rec Commission borrowed bins of skates and helmets from Ucluelet, fired up the bubble machine and opened the gates of the outdoor ball hockey rink. Of course, apropos to what I wrote above, I had already planned to go to a reading about this book, by raised-in-Ucluelet writer, Eric Tamm, so didn't have time to strap on the skates. Next time! As you'll see from a few of these photos, groovy pants and leggings were much encouraged! Hmmm, where is my neo-pink 80s Spandex when I need it?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Petosa Pottery

Sorry for these last minute notices, but if you are in Tofino today you should get yourself over to the Wickaninnish Inn for a showing of the fabulous pottery by Daniela Petosa. Visit the Inn's Salal Room between 10 and 6.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Garden Tour - Today!

Sorry for the late notice. I've been away. The 2nd Annual Garden Tour in Tofino is today. Go here for info. and a map. I'll be out in a bit with my clippers!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Summer Camp, Tofino style

One of the products from a very fun summer camp:

Flash Mob, Tofino from Kimberly Johnston on Vimeo.

Thanks, Tofino Rec. Commission. This camp was definitely a hit in our household.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August at Long Beach with George

As a blogger, you always wonder if anyone is out there actually reading all this stuff you fire into the cybersphere, so I was delighted to receive an email recently from Norway asking for more George Jackson. I am more than happy to oblige. Here is what he was up to in August, 1927. I've added some clarification in parentheses.

August 20, 1927
Fine and warm. Thornton came out with truck on way to camp at South Bay. [Likely a road camp, working on the Tofino-Ucluelet road.] I went with him but we only got to six mile post. That hill too slippery for truck to climb. Bridges all in and road graded fairly good to South Bay. [Near Tofino. Today's Maltby Slough.] Worked on cannery line all afternoon all clear now as far as Mill Creek. Had letter from Moode. [His daughter, Gertrude.]

August 21, 1927
Weather fine. Large picnic party out from Tofino for day. Went for walk in evening to burnt lands but saw no deer.

August 22, 1927
Weather continues fine. Worked all day on cannery line from Indian Island to Mill Creek.

August 23, 1927
More fog in morning but turned out a fine day. Went to landing for mail. [Landing would be where a boat from Tofino would come up the inlet, depositing people—and mail—on the mudflat side of the peninsula.] None there. Picked gooseberries in afternoon.

August 24, 1927
Fine weather. Fog in morning — worked cannery line. PIcked blackberries at Mill Creek. Some wild cattle in field this evening.

August 25, 1927
Fog all day. Mary passed down this a.m. [Steamship, Princess Mary.] Got some wood up and worked in garden.

August 26, 1927
Began raining just after midnight and continued for 14 hours. Will do a lot of good for garden and grass. Maquinna passed up about 3:30 pm. No mail at landing.

August 27, 1927
Fine weather. Rode to road camp this a.m. — truck going to Ucluelet — will bring order of provisions from Lee's this afternoon. Line down at 8 mile post — windfall. Fixed it all up ok. Runckle and wife came in from Tofino on the tide and brought our mail. They are camping for a week. Truck brought stuff from Lee's in evening.

August 28, 1927
Fine and clear — nothing doing today. Runckle and I took a walk in evening as far as crossroads did not see any deer.

August 29, 1927
Fine and clear. Dug some clams this a.m. Worked on cannery line all day got some blackberries at Wingen's. Went to Schooner Cove in evening. Saw one deer but too dark to shoot and did not get him. Big sailing ship off here this evening. Barkentine rig all sails set, quite a curiosity these days — she is beating down the coast. Charlie Hughes burned out yesterday. Nothing saved. [Hughes was an early settler, and quite a character. He later rebuilt.]

August 30, 1927
Heavy rain all day and still raining. Runckles came in to the house - too wet in the camp. Sleeping here tonight.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crowlogue, Round Two

If you missed the launch of Crowlogue last month in Tofino, then there's still a chance to celebrate with us. We're having a launch in Ucluelet this week. Join us Thursday, August 26 at Wild Heather Books. Doors at 7:30.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Chesterman Beach Anthology

If you live in Tofino, or have visited here, you've probably been to Chesterman Beach. Postelsia Press has a call for submissions out for stories, memories, poems and such on the theme of this iconic beach near Tofino. They are looking for a variety of stories and encourage people who are not professional writers to submit as well. Here is the notice:

Call for Submissions: The Chesterman Beach Anthology

Chesterman Beach is meaningful to many people and Postelsia Press wants to celebrate. We all have different ways to enjoy the beach—walking, surfing, exploring tidal pools, watching shorebirds, yoga at sunrise, parties until dawn. Chesterman Beach may be home or it may be a place you visit every day, every year, perhaps once in a lifetime. We’d love to hear your stories.

We are accepting submissions of poetry, short fiction and non-fiction (in all genres, including interviews, songs, history, essays, even recipes) for an upcoming anthology. The one thing all submissions must have is a strong connection to Chesterman Beach.

Submission Guidelines:

Deadline: December 15, 2010
Maximum length: 2500 words
Manuscript: Please include the page number, your last name and the work’s title on each page. The manuscript must be double-spaced in a 12-point font with NO formatting. Please include a cover page with your full name, contact information and the word count of your submission. (We will also consider hand-written submissions as long as they are legible.)
Payment: Contributors will receive one free copy of the anthology and a small remuneration.

Submit to (attachments are fine) or by regular mail to: Postelsia Press, Box 386, Tofino, BC, V0R 2Z0.

We will acknowledge receipt of your submission via email or regular mail. We will review all submissions, but only those authors accepted for inclusion in the anthology will be notified. Although we prefer original submissions, we will consider work that has been previously published.

For more information on Postelsia Press, please visit our website.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tofino Festival Fever

There are two great festivals coming up in Tofino. Mark your calendars for:

The 10th Annual Lantern Festival - one of my favourites. Held at the Tofino Botanical Gardens, this is a magical evening of twinkling lanterns in a beautiful setting, with music, costumes, bubbles and more. Tofino at its best. More info here and here.

And a new festival for this year that I'm very excited about - the Carving on the Edge Festival, which will run from September 16 to 26. It is a great idea; we have so many talented carvers in the area and, of course, with the First Nation carvers there is a long legacy of carving on the west coast. More info here and here's a poster with full details.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Common Loaf

I hear there was a disco ball in the Common Loaf Bake Shop last night. Who would've thunk? The Common Loaf is 30 years old. Congratulations to Maureen and all of the staff over those three decades who have made this place a Tofino institution. You can read more about the history here.

[If you're wondering about the name, Common Loaf, the inspiration came from the poem by Judy Grahn, which reads, in part, "a common woman is as common as a common loaf of bread . . . and will rise."]


See that photo? There are shadows in it. Forget Ground Hog Day. It's been a long time since we've seen our shadow around here, but things seemed to turn a corner on Friday, launching us straight in to summer. Yesterday it was 30 degrees C. I know, I know. For some of you, that's not HOT! But it is for us and I've already heard some whining. The plants in my greenhouse and garden must be wondering what's next, but we'll take it. Yes, we'll take it.

I have a new favourite Sunday morning. Rise earlier, putz about and make blueberry pancakes. More putzing. (Today, walk the sweet puppy we're puppy-sitting.) Ride my bike to yoga (very virtuous, no?) and then pick up a lemon-ginger freshie at Tacofino. That is one fine refreshing drink.

The exact combination of this new favourite Sunday morning will probably only happen a few times this season, but I plan to enjoy it (and that freshie, my book and the sun) while it's here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More About Those Seawalls...

They started popping up five years or so ago on Chesterman and they've been sparking controversy ever since. More recently they've appeared at Cox Bay. Here's a bit more. I'm not a big fan. The ocean takes, but it gives back given enough time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Good Manners on the MUP

Ah, our beloved MUP (multi-use path). It is a great thing — providing a fairly safe alternative to the highway for those wanting to walk or ride between town and the beach. But, at this time of year especially, it's getting mighty busy and can be downright dangerous, especially if you're travelling at night. And the obstacles aren't always what you expect. My daughter was riding home at night a few weeks ago (yes, with lights front and back AND a helmet) and she just about ran over someone passed out across the path. (It was 10 pm.)

Jackie over at Tofino Residents, has posted some guidelines put together by greg b., the aimless one. It's a great start. Take a read through and add your thoughts.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Days of Fogust

Well, the days of Fogust are upon us. Tourists are probably wonderful what's up, but really, get out there and walk the beaches. It won't be hot and sunny (at least not until the afternoon), but it is still pretty stunning with that mist swirling in and out. And who needs a sunburn anyhow? (And it may be foggy, but it has been very dry - we needed that little bit of rain we just got. Both for our water supply and our gardens.)

I've been very busy with guests and work and a bit of out-of-town time so posts (obviously) are scarce at the moment. I'll try to get back on track this week. And I'll haul the camera around too. I am really bummed I missed a photo of the bright (like, florescent) pink sun glowing through the fog the other evening. And I'm sorry I missed this, too. It looked like fun.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tofino Water

It's the time of year when people start to get a bit twitchy about water here. Days can be cool or foggy, which tricks people into thinking it's actually rained. Well, it hasn't for quite awhile now and we are now being asked to conserve water. The fact that we have to be asked is a tad pathetic, but people here, like everywhere, can be a little self-centered, forgetful, lackadaisical ... you decide on the adjective. I've written about water here before. As long as everyone — locals and visitors — behave by conserving water we'll be fine. Everyone has to step up as they have in the past.

But it isn't really about our water supply that I wanted to write about today, at least not directly. I really try to avoid judging what is in peoples' shopping carts (it can be hard, believe me), but I am really shocked by the cases of bottled water I see leaving the Co-op. I want to go up to each and every person lugging a case to the till and ask them if they've actually tasted the water. We have the most amazing water. We should be drinking it and thanking Meares Island and the west coast rainforest for every wonderful drop. (Our water is delivered via underwater pipe from Meares Island.)

You may find it ironic that I'm talking conservation on one hand and encouraging water to use it on the other, but there's no need to buy bottled water here. You can drink it, straight from the tap. Drink it, but appreciate it and conserve it, too. (And, if you're so inclined, you can donate the money you saved to any local conservation group, perhaps the Raincoast Education Society or the Friends of Clayoquot Sound, the group that got its start fighting for — yup — the best drinking water on Earth.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tofino Books: Road's End

Yesterday, when I was downtown with my daughter, a familiar laugh resounded from the corner of Campbell and First St. "Ah," Daughter P said, "Turtle's back in town." Laugh? Can we really call it a laugh? Whatever, once you hear "The Sound of Turtle" you will never forget it. Turtle is a Tofino character and it's timely that he is also tipping his hat on the cover of Shirley Langer's book, Road's End: Tales of Tofino. (It is also very timely to this post that Shirley is back in town for a bit. Welcome home, my dear!)

Shirley published this book last year and if you are looking for a read that delves into some of the quirkier characters of this place or looking for a local's perspective on life at the road's end, then look for this gem. You'll get an insight to the "coffee klatch" at the Common Loaf, the allure of glass balls, characters like Freedom (the dog), Fredy (the welder), Ravi (of the Tofino Herb Company or THC), and, of course, Turtle (the man), and much more. Here's a review from "the greg" and here's another one, too.

You can find Road's End at local bookstores, Mermaid Tales and Wildside Booksellers.

(And speaking of Mermaid Tales, someone posted this link to a recent post. Take a peek inside the bookstore and meet its owner, Mike.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Paris (and Tofino), je t'aime

Oooh, two of my favourite places in the world, sharing the love. Tomorrow night you can watch Paris, je t'aime under the stars at the Tofino Botanical Gardens. Show begins at dusk-ish.

Here's the trailer.

Dress warmly. Bring a blanket (and your sweetie). See you there!

Rare Tofino Birds

Tofino isn't all that known for its birding, but, really, it should be. We have some incredible birders here, most notably Adrian Dorst, who's been scoping the area for decades. We also have so many different habitats within an hour of town — mudflats, open ocean, long beaches, lake, streams, rainforest, swathes of alder, etc. Perhaps the filming of The Big Year will change this, but so will this sort of thing.

Here are a few more articles/links to birding: George Bradd's's Commando Birding article and, of course, George's web site gives lots of information for birding in the area. Both Adrian and George lead guided bird watching tours and the Raincoast Education Society offers an excellent series of birding workshops, usually during the winter months.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wasn't That a Party?

Wow, the launch of Crowlogue was so much fun. Thanks to everyone who attended (and especially to those who dressed up!). Here are a few photos from the evening. You can see more here.

As you can see, lots of crow-inspired clothing and artwork. (Thanks, Jan J. for the great crow sculpture that we hung above the readers.)

Crowlogue is available directly through the press's website, at Mermaid's Tales or visit our table at the Saturday Market. I'll let you know if it can be found at more west coast venues.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Eau de Long Beach

Now this is a new one! Bottling the scent of Long Beach. I wish computer technology included scratch and sniff!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Tofino Calendar

If you're coming to Tofino and looking for things to do with your children, arts and culture events, times for church or a yoga class, and more? Then you can probably find information here on Tofino Time's calendar on its website. And hard copies of Tofino Time are available throughout town.

Squid Jigging

Remember this? Here's more on the story.

Found primarily in the waters off the coast of Mexico, Humboldt squid have been migrating steadily northward in recent decades, first appearing off the coast of northern California and Oregon in the 1990s. Unheard of in Canadian waters before 2003, the voracious predators arrived in unprecedented numbers last summer, an invasion that was highlighted by the bizarre beaching of several Humboldt squid near Tofino in early August.

According to the DFO’s State of the Oceans report for 2009, released last month, there were “10 significant stranding events between August and October” on B.C.’s West Coast.

DFO officials, alarmed at the implications for B.C.’s marine ecosystem, handed Mr. Gillespie the task of determining why the creatures are migrating northward and assessing the potential impact on local fish populations.

“Humboldt squid are known to feed on Pacific hake,” the report notes. “Their impact on hake numbers (and perhaps other marine species in summer) in future years could be extensive.”

DFO scientists will be out next month sampling for squid, trying to get at the bottom of this mystery.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cover Love

Here's the cover of our latest offering from Postelsia Press. It's being launched on Tuesday evening and it's gearing up to be a fun evening. (I just received a shipment of black ribbon and feathers...)

If you're on the coast, we hope to see you there. Tuesday, July 6 at Darwin's Cafe in the Tofino Botanical Gardens. The event begins at 8 pm. Consider yourself invited.

Tofino's Conservation Kids

Check out this video from the Raincoast Education Society's Sustainable Living Program. Great job, Conservation Kids.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day, Tofino

I'll do a longer post later today, but for now, here are a few of the many things going on in town today: The annual Tuff City SK8 Competition is supposed to be on, but it's looking a tad drippy so I suspect it will be postponed until the course dries out. It's always fun to watch so hopefully things will dry up. There will be music, activities for family, the market, poi and hula hooping, a bbq, beer garden and fireworks in Tofino as well. (Most taking place at or near the Village Green.) Just wander around town — you'll find something to do.

Last night was the kick-off for the two-week-long Pacific Rim Summer Festival. Tomorrow is the first concert, with the Pacific Rim String Quartet. And the art show, Art on the Shore, runs every day through the festival and it is at The Shore, at street front in the commercial space.

Tonight DJ Murge is at the Legion. Doors open at 9pm. Tix $8.

More later. Have a great Canada Day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

From NatGeo News

I've been away for a bit so the posts have been slight. I'm back on it. For now, you might enjoy this retrospective of the Ethnobiology Conference — Talking to the Clouds, Listening to the Trees — written by David Braun, the News Editor for the National Geographic blog, NatGeo News Watch.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Save the Date (or Dates)!

Two upcoming dates to save if you are so inclined:

June 27 - there will be a Garden Tea in the gardens at 380 Gibson Street. This is a fundraiser for the Tofino Community Food Initiative, specifically for the Community Garden. Tix are $15 at the garden gate, $12 ahead of time, $5 for children (under 10 years). Sweet and savory treats, hot and cold teas, live music, garden games. Watch for posters in town or leave a comment here (or email me at toughcitywriter [at] gmail [dot] com) if you'd like more information. Here's the Facebook Page. (Of course you don't have to dress like this, but flouncy dresses, ascots, smoking jackets and ascots are encouraged.)

July 6 - Join us for a launch party for Postelsia Press's Crowlogue, a chapbook from the Clayoquot Writers' Group and the second book released by this new Tofino press. Darwin's Cafe in the evening. More details to follow.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tofino Food and Wine Festival

Sorry for the silence, folks. Last week was so crazy that the thought of camping with 10 little girls over the past weekend was beginning to look like it was going to be the most relaxing thing I'd do all week! (The long bath afterwards was, actually.)

This weekend is the annual Tofino Food and Wine Festival. How could I miss writing about that? Fabulous food and wine in a fabulous setting, for Saturday's main event — Grazing in the Garden. There are many events at various venues over the weekend, including wine tastings, winemaker's meals, even a cooking class and a lingerie show. No doubt there are still tickets, but you'd better get on it quickly. All the details here.

If you go, please take advantage of theshuttles by Tofino Bus.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Vote for Ms. Morris!

A few hours after I wrote my Vote for Jeremy and Pete post, I realize there is another vote you can take part in. Fabulous local elementary school teacher, Melanie Morris, is on the short-list for a Me-to-We honour for a teacher who has made a difference. Daughter P would absolutely agree. (As would I.) Ms Morris embodies the idea of a holistic education that includes the family and community. You can read more about Mel (and the contest) here. And if you'd like to vote, please do so here.

Clayoquot Days at Stubbs Island

Today is the last day to get over to Stubbs Island to wander through the beautiful gardens, forest trails, sand spit, and just to hang out on the lawn with a picnic or for a game of volleyball or croquet. Just in case you can't make it, here are a few pictures from yesterday. (For photos of the veggie gardens and greenhouse, go here.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Clayoquot Days!

Oooh, it's our favourite weekend of the year. It's the weekend of the open house over on Stubbs Island, where the village of Clayoquot once sat. The gardens are fabulous, so I'll be taking lots of snaps and getting green with envy. We'll probably be there most of the weekend, other than from 10-2 tomorrow when the first Tofino Village Green Market takes place. Well, actually my family will probably be over there becuase I need to be glued to my desk. Perhaps when I need a breather...

Boats leave the Whiskey Dock (bottom of 1st Street) at 12 each day. Everyone is voted off the island by 6. Bring a picnic, but leave your dogs at home.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vote for Pete and Jeremy!

Sorry for the quiet around here. I've been away (missing ALL of the action last week!) and now have my head down for a bit. For now, check out this news clip about local surfer, Pete Devries, and local photographer/videographer, Jeremy Koreski, — both who grew up here — who are trying to place in a competition that will boost them both to the next level in their careers. To watch and vote, go here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tofino Box Parade

Thank you, Jackie, for capturing this on film. I had to miss it (again) this year.

Too funny. The event is an annual celebration of a local woman's birthday. It started small and (obviously) is growing every year. The Box Parade ends with the traditional trashing of the costumes.

You can see more of Jackie's videos here.

Tofino's Big Week

Forget The Big Year, Tofino is gearing up for a Big Week (and a half or so). And, sadly, I am going to miss every one of these fabulous local events. Boo. Thank you to all of the volunteers who've been putting these events together. What a week of activity that will show Tofino at its very best.

Here is a round-up:

May 7-9, 2010 13th Tofino Shorebird Festival
Celebrate the annual arrival of migrating shorebirds with several interpretive programs — birding walks, children's programs, boating excursions and more. Most events are by donation. Check out the schedule here for complete details.

May 7 and 8, 2010 Annual Local Amusement for the Amusement of Locals Variety Show
A celebration of local talent as well as our ability to have fun as a community. Every time I leave this event I know why I live here and why I love it. Thank you Spencer and Judy for putting this annual (right? right?) event on.

May 9-14, 2010 12th International Congress of Ethnobiology
More than 350 scientists, academics, journalists, indigenous scholars and community activities from 50 different countries will be coming to town for this, our first big international conference. The congress will focus on the complex relationships between people and their environments. There are many, many event open to the public. Ooh, I am really bummed to be missing this one. For more information go to this site.

May 10-14, 2010 Tofino Indigenous Film Festival
This festival overlaps the Ethnobiology Congress. Some of the films are made by indigenous people and some with indigenous people but all highlight biocultural diversity issues in indigenous communities around the world. The theme for the festival is sacred spaces and evnrionmental conservation. Note that there are only 30 tickets available per show for people not registered in the conference, so snap up your tickets quickly. They're available at Mermaid Tales in Tofino. For more information, check out the schedule.

And then, of course, there is The Big Year, which will be filmed in town that week.

Good luck, everyone, It's going to be a busy one!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Clayoquot Summer of 1993

Perhaps you've heard of the Summer of 1993 here in Clayoquot Sound? It was a long, hot one and not in the temperature sense. I came across this post that has a very brief written summary, but more interesting to you may be the links to several videos at the bottom of the piece. Worth checking out, especially if you have no idea what I'm talking about!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RAATU And Earth Week Round Up

All of last week was RAATU (Random Acts of Art in Tofino and Ucluelet). I had my head down working hard for most of the week, but did manage to come across a few random acts. All along the MUP (the multi-use path) little bags of chalk had been hung off signs or trees and people did their chalk art on the path. The rains we had cleaned the slate fairly regularly but I did get out on a bike ride one day and enjoyed the art that had appeared that day. Fun, fun.

And then I came across this beauty on a downtown corner.

It turns out it was created by my little buddy Toby with her little buddy.

Great work, girls. Thanks for making me (and no doubt many others) stop, look and smile.

At the Earth Day breakfast on Sunday morning, there was a flash mob, where some oddly head-dressed people just started to dance (actually, that's not that odd in Tofino).

And then there were the other spontaneous dancers with a penchant for purple and pink.

This day was also the send off for one leg of the Get Out Migration with Cozy Lawson and her daughter Laterra beginning their walk to Victoria. The Get Out Migration is protesting fish farms in coastal waters and are making a stand to protect wild salmon, which are being hammered from all sides. It began with a blessing for a safe journey led by Levi Martin.

Cozy and Laterra were accompanied for awhile by the horses from Clayoquot Wilderness Resort.

Young walkers got a bit of help.

And many local people joined in for the first part of the walk.

Here is a news clip about the start of the Get Out Migration and some background behind it.