Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Most Beautiful Cemetery

If you read this blog on occasion you'll know that I'm very interested in local history. Although I am, of course, most interested in the local history of our region, I'm also drawn to the local history of places I visit. (So, less interested in the "big stories" we learned about in high school, primarily war and politics, but more in the stories of the people who actually did the day-to-day living in a place.) During my travels I am often drawn to cemeteries. Not only are they peaceful, and often quite beautiful, they also have many stories to tell. (While I'm talking about local history, I know some of you have been waiting for the walking tour book for awhile now. It's coming, it's coming. With only two of us running Postelsia Press, and it not being much of a money maker yet, it means we have to keep up with other work. Here is a sneak peek of the cover though!)

We have two cemeteries in Tofino. The newer one is on the outskirts of town. If you have never visited, you should. It is a beautiful spot. But my favourite is the original cemetery, which is on Morpheus Island. A road out of town wasn't really in place until the 1940s (and the road to Port Alberni wasn't through to the coast until 1959) so the ocean was the highway. The crew of the Lifeboat Station (predecessor to the Coast Guard) often carried the coffin (and dug the grave) and a flotilla of boats would follow with family and friends. The Morpheus Island Cemetery is a gem. Thanks to the people who helped do a bit of clearing over the Earth Week — an event sponsored by Tofino Sea Kayaking. Tofino Photography had some questions about one of the gravestones and sent me a few images. Here is a taste of what is over there. There are more images on Tofino Photography's website (just click on the tab for Morpheus).

Fred Tibbs and Rowland Brinckman were two Tofino characters. I wish I'd met them both. Tibbs originally came to the coast in his early 20s and pre-empted land at Long Beach where he was created Tidal Wave Ranch. Well, there wasn't much of a ranch, but he did have a little house near today's Greenpoint Campground. He eventually moved into Tofino, purchased an island (now Arnet Island), where he cut every tree but one. He built a wooden "castle" and then build a scaffolding around the single tree, which he often climbed to the top of and would play his cornet. Can you see why I would have liked to meet him?

Brinckman, or "Brinky", also seemed to be a wonderful character. Most of what I've heard of him is that he created wonderful plays and stage shows, and he would get the entire community involved. Here's a bit about Brinky from Anthony Guppy's Tofino Kid:

"I remember Mr. Brinkman, the night watchman at the lifeboat station. He organized a dramatic society, arranging with the village council and the school board to put on stage plays for special occasions. Mr. Brinkman had an unusually wry sense of humor. No matter what he was putting on, whether a war story or something from Shakespeare, he always gave it a special twist. His plays always filled the Legion and community halls for repeat performances. He would do everything himself, from designing the sets and painting the backdrops, to auditioning actor, to directing the entire production. He had a gift for costuming his cast of actors and would often call on my mother to dig into the trunk full of costumes she's saved for masquerades. He helped put on the school's Christmas plays."

When you are next in the Village Office, check out the hand drawn map on the wall. It was drawn by Brinckman.

Both of these men died young. Tibbs was tending a harbour light when his boat slipped away. He swam after it and managed to make it to Stubbs Island, but died shortly after. Brinckman died of pneumonia when he was 42. At the time he was planning to leave for work in Ottawa. He was packed and ready to go, but never made it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fun Fair and Box Parade - TODAY!

I've had my head down with no time for blogging. (The 30-Day Yoga Challenge has been wonderful, but it's been that and work for the month!) So, sorry for the late notice, but most of you probably know of two annual and much-loved events in Tofino:

The Fun Fair at Wickaninnish Elementary School from 4:30 to 7:30. There will be a dunk tank - a new event this year. Rumour has it they're trying to get Ralph T. on the block...

And the Annual Box Parade. Meet at Arnet and 1st at 6 pm. No idea what I'm talking about? Look here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tofino Photographer - Chris Pouget

You MUST check out photographer Chris Pouget's blog. Do it every day because he is adding a photo every day for a year. If he does a person every day then you'll have "met" over a fifth of Tofino's population by next year. Once you've cruised the blog, check out the rest of his website. Grab a coffee and settle in because you'll need some time to scroll through all of the fabulous images.

[A little Thursday update. Chris has graciously allowed me to post a few of the photos from his blog here. But this is just a taste so get yourself over to the real thing and take a look.]

Stefan from Aftanis Design.

Natalie of Pacific Elements Yoga.

Matt from Crab Apple Floral.

Low Tide in Tofino - 3

While we're thinking about Tonquin Beach and the Lighthouse Trail here's the third in my little "found art" series. All from Tonquin Beach. About 90 percent of the garbage in the ocean is plastic. It wasn't too bad at Tonquin, but it's the little bits that hurt wildlife the most.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tofino's Lighthouse Trail

Finally found the photos that had gone AWOL. A couple days a week I start my day with a walk with a dear friend. I don't have a ton of time, so we usually take a quick jaunt to Tonquin Beach. Now, with the construction of Tofino's very own version of the Wild Pacific Trail, we have options and can do loops instead of backtracking. Yeah! A lot of locals are loving this trail. Eventually it will go through to Middle Beach. For now, you can access the trail from Tonquin Beach or from the corner where Leighton Way turns into Peterson Drive. Here are a few peeks.

Monday, April 18, 2011

More Storm Creations from Struthers

Here is another time-lapse of an Andrew Struther's design for Storm Surf:

And here's a link to another recent design. (Babies surfing!)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Earth Week in Tofino!

I had a whack of photos to post, but they seem to have disappeared from my camera. While I search, remember that today is the second day of Earth Week in Tofino. And it's looking like a beautiful day to get out there and "be with the Earth" however you choose. You can start at the 8th annual pancake breakfast at the Village Green. It runs from 9 until 12. And then this afternoon there is a paddle over to Morpheus Island, the site of our original cemetery. This is a real treat — it's a beautiful day, it looks as if the water will be calm, and Morpheus Island is a gem few people get to visit. Call Tofino Sea Kayaking if you're keen.

I rode my bike on the MUP yesterday. Thanks to everyone who was out there cleaning!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Low Tide in Tofino - 2

Here's a second instalment in my Low Tide in Tofino series." These bits are from Chesterman Beach.

Fresh Veggies for the West Coast

In the last few years the options for fresh, seasonal, local(ish), organic produce have been on the rise on the west coast. Green Soul seems to be thriving, which is a great thing, and Bobby Lax and the TUCG are ferreting out some amazing products for us. For years, several of us have been part of Nanoose Edibles' CSA program, which sees a delivery of a box of organic produce once a week from mid-May to mid-October. It is time to sign up for that program again. I've posted a letter from the farm below. (There is still time to sign up for the spring boxes, but they need to know asap.) Please contact the farm if you want more information, or you can also contact me and I can send you contact forms and more information.

Dear Friends and Customers,

This is a letter to all our valued customers of the CSA Box Program. Firstly we wish to extend our thanks for all your support last year! Your commitment provides the farm with a stable income enabling us to pay our staff and take care of the up-front costs of running the farm.

In order to provide our customers with flexibility around when they receive our veggie boxes and to also spread the costs over the entire growing cycle, we have split the program into three seasons. Hopefully you will be onboard with us for all three seasons; that would be great! For those of you who may be away for part of the year, or grow your own garden, or like to take in the farmers markets, we have given you some choices.

Sign up for 1, 2 or 3 seasons (spring, summer and fall). Each season lasts for eight weeks and you will receive one box per week. The spring season starts the week of May 15th (weather and growing conditions permitting) and will take you through to the first week of July when school ends and the summer holidays begin. The summer season starts the week of July 10th, ideal for customers who aren’t going away and don’t have a garden of their own. The week of September 5th marks the start of the fall season, which will take you through to mid November. Summer would be a great time for a farm visit, but you can come by any time to pick up some extra goodies from our year round farm market and have a break and walk about the farm.

This year we have a feast of new gourmet treats. We are introducing a new range of greens mixes; heritage varieties of sweet and hot peppers; a host of heritage tomatoes in all colours and sizes; six or more varieties of sweet summer onions; good winter keeper squash and sweet melons.
Let us know what you like and fill in the attached produce survey and either email it or send it back with your registration/payment form.

The cost remains $40 per box, a total of $320 for each of the three seasons, paid in advance of each season. There will be no additional charge for West Coast customers; however minor alterations in volume of product to offset the cost of containers and freight may occur.

The farm requires a minimum number of members for each season. Please help us to get the word out. Print the attachments for distribution or email them to family, friends, or community groups. To continue our customer service there will be a telephone feedback opportunity in the coming weeks, we hope you will participate.

Once again many thanks for your continued support. We look forward to providing our produce to you throughout the seasons and for many seasons to come!
Kind Regards from All at the Farm

Lorne & Barbara Ebell
Nanoose Edibles Farm

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thanks, Tofino!

Thanks, Tofino! We had a wonderful evening on Sunday. I think about 140 people showed up, we had a fabulous meal together, and we raised $2105 for Japan. There was lots of spirit and good will in the hall that night and lots of wonderful moments, like the one of my sweet friend Toby emptying the contents of her piggy bank (nicely rolled, thank you!) in the donation bowl.

I have more to report on the evening, but I need to get a bit of work out of the way first.

Poetry Night in Tofino

Well, actually, it's poetry month in Canada, but I thought that had a nice ring to it especially given that the season at the moment is not really "spring," it's "hockey."

There is a local event on Saturday, April 9 from 3 to 4 at the Tofino Public Library. Local poet, Chris Lowther, will be reading, as will other west coast writers.

As a teaser, here is a poem from Chris's most recent book, My Nature.

Just another jaunt to Tonquin

After a long day under the curse of the thin-skinned,
I took my seat and pulled the door closed;
you started the ignition, familiar whine of your electric truck.
A flubbed sentence sounded like an old joke of ours,
unintended reference to some past hilarity and we erupted,
the tension departing our shoulders like lava.
You had to set the brake again.
At the park, falling sunlight fired up the forest
a rich green-gold, we could have drunk it dripping like honey mead
from all the bright branches.
And through that light, through those trees, smooth sand stretched
free of footprints, the expanding freedom of low tide.

The creek fanned out to cover most of the beach,
so shallow it was no longer a stream
but barely moving veins of shining wet sand.

You declared the close-packed mussels to be like wedding bouquets,
those tightly crammed arrays of firm unopened rosebuds.

Who started the colour show? - sunset-tinted seastars on rocky outcrops
blazed against the grey, and suddenly the sky spilled
amaranth and coral. One moment the pale barnacles
remained ivory and passive, the next they shouted with sunset.
They couldn't help taking some of that on,
so much colour it must be shared, spreading
like the creek, seeping into stone and shell and skin. You looked
sunburnt, gazing at a tidepool where mermaid's hair seaweed streamed
that crazy, effulgent green. When I looked up
from it, the sky had flamed, setting our hair alight.

Been coming here eighteen years, yet here I was exclaiming
over everything and there you were showing no sign
of being tired of any of it: sunsets, mussels, barnacles,
same old trees, same old jokes, my rhapsodizing, me.

And since we're speaking of local writers, Jackie Windh did a nice post here that profiles some of us.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Creating "Babies Surfing"

Are you a fan of the t-shirts from Storm Surf? Here is a great video of the creation of the latest design by ex-pat Tofitian (we still claim him), Andrew Struthers.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Picturing the Unimaginable

Tonight our community is gathering to do something — small, but still something — to help those in Japan. After the earthquake in Haiti, we did a similar thing. There was a community spaghetti dinner and the money raised went to Haiti. I remember that dinner because it brought such a cross-section of the community together. This can be a fractious place at times, so I hope this will do a little good for us as well as a little good for those across the water. As a friend said the other evening, the one thing we all have in common is that we all want to be here. Very few people are forced to live in Tofino.

I found this article from NPR where photojournalists have posted photos of Japan and Haiti side-by-side. Picturing the Unimaginable indeed.

Hope to see you tonight.