Bear cubs in enclosure at North Island Wildlife Recovery Association

Cubs fans

By Reid Eccles A computer monitor flips between different angles on what might be a forest floor, if it weren't surrounded by cement blocks. There are logs, a pool of water, a wooden den. The screen flips again and a groggy black bear stands up, its motion having tripped the camera’s sensors. This video feed is the only interaction humans are allowed with these bears at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington, BC. Even when workers do have to enter the bear enclosures, no outside clothes are permitted and they wear hunting sprays to mask their scents. The cub and its sibling, who were orphaned in an incident that drew international attention, have been growing quickly at the Centre, where they were brought in July. … [Read More...]

Gottacon gaming convention

Gottacon plays on

By Michael Calvert An assembly of nations is coming to BC’s capital, Victoria, February 1st through 3rd. Five fervid subcultures will gather in the Pearkes Recreation Centre, each with its own jargon and essential accoutrements. They will come to fraternize, to glean new strategies, to prove their skills in tournaments, and, of course, to play. They are coming to GottaCon 2013, one of the largest gaming conventions in Canada. Now in its fifth year, GottaCon has steadily grown from its 2009 attendance of 600 to an anticipated 1800 for this year’s event. It attracts and unites lovers of role playing games (RPGs), trading card games (TCGs), miniature wargames, board games, and computer/video games. Many of the gamers are from … [Read More...]

Photo of Bill (Profile)

The Man in the Pictures

By Chelsea Mark “Hard to look at these, I miss him still.” My mother’s sad tone seeps through as I read these words in her e-mail, accompanied by photos of a man who wears the same smile that she often does. The build of his body is similar to that of my Aunt Joan – tall and lanky. The man sits surrounded by friends in the myriad of photos, drink in one hand, cigarette in the other. Family is a topic that sets off a range of emotions in individuals. When I ask my mother about her dad, as we loiter in her laundry room folding towels, I see pain and sadness in her eyes. But her voice is full of admiration and love as she chuckles and recalls that, as a child, she caught him pulling a bottle of gin from beneath the dishwasher late one … [Read More...]

gaming control in hands

Gaming Goes Indie

By Drew McLachlan Thirty years ago, if you wanted to create a video game, you started by clearing space in your garage. You had to make some room — for a couple Apple II's, a BBC Microcomputer (if you were lucky), or a Tandy TRS-80 (if you weren’t). You also needed a guy who could turn a six-colour, 280x192 resolution sprite into a convincing minotaur, another guy who could force the occasional beep-bip-beep out of a one-bit audio digitizer, and a 30-pound textbook on 6502, the programming language powering the Apple II, Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator series. Since then, the video game industry's garage band mentality has been shaved and scrubbed clean. Like Hollywood … [Read More...]

Glowing cigarette ash

Rising from the Ashes: My Journey to Quit Smoking

By Sarah Torgerson Nestled in the heart of Vancouver Island University's Nanaimo campus is one of about a dozen designated smoking areas, where you are likely to come across a handful of generally unhappy-looking smokers wreathed in plumes of grey. I’m often among them. This mecca for the stressed-out and nicotine-addicted is where I take my own study-and-smoke breaks. I started smoking on a beautifully humid evening in November, 2009, while I was living in Perth, Australia. I thought I could smoke recreationally. “Recreational smoking” ended when I lit my second cigarette — some may argue it ended when I lit my first. Who am I kidding? It was a downward spiral into addiction from the first puff. And of course, the problem isn’t … [Read More...]

Waterfall at Beach Estates

The Hidden Waterfalls of Nanaimo

Story and photos by Spenser Smith I moved to Nanaimo, British Columbia, a city full of winding streams and rivers, in 2013. It was a big change from my home province, Saskatchewan, which has its own beauty, but not generally of the wet kind. In fact, all of Vancouver Island was a revelation. One of my first ventures was to Little Qualicum Falls, 58 km. north of Nanaimo, and for the first time I witnessed the strange phenomenon of water flowing over a vertical drop. (Vertical drops are also not a common geological feature in Saskatchewan.) I became infatuated with everything about waterfalls, from the sheets of mist that sprinkled my face, to the peaceful strum of flowing water. And fortunately, it turned out that I didn’t have to … [Read More...]

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Stories recently posted on “Incline”:

The Hidden Waterfalls of Nanaimo

Story and photos by Spenser Smith I moved to Nanaimo, British Columbia, a city full of winding streams and rivers, in 2013. It was a big change from my home province, Saskatchewan, which has its own beauty, but not generally of the wet kind. In fact, all of Vancouver Island was a revelation. One of my […]

Searching for Staqeya

 By Shanon Fenske The 25-foot Amanda Anne plows through the frigid February waters of the Juan De Fuca Strait. Somewhere in the darkness ahead of us are islands inhabited by a wolf many in the Songhees First Nation believe is sacred. Campers were the first to report a lone wolf on Discovery Island, five km. east […]

Now Showing: The future

By Antony Stevens In the back corner of the projection booth at IMAX Victoria is a rack of 70mm film reels, each weighing between 250 and 500 pounds. The largest is Interstellar which, at eight-feet wide, touches the brim of the platter it rests on. There are nearly 30 of these films, collected over the span of 10 years, sitting […]

More Posts from this Category

The 401 (Stories written in CREW’s Long-Form Non-Fiction workshop):

Rising from the Ashes: My Journey to Quit Smoking

By Sarah Torgerson Nestled in the heart of Vancouver Island University's Nanaimo campus is one of about a dozen designated smoking areas, where you are likely to come across a handful of generally unhappy-looking smokers wreathed in plumes of grey. I’m often among them. This mecca for the stressed-out and nicotine-addicted is where I take my own study-and-smoke breaks. I started smoking on a beautifully humid evening in November, 2009, while I was living in Perth, Australia. I thought I … [Read More...]

Is Toque a Real Word?

By Chelsea Mark “Where are you headed, and how long?” “Pullman, Washington, a week.” “Pullman?” The customs agent looked at me confused. “Yes, Pullman, it’s right on the border of Idaho—“ “I know where it is. Why?” Anyone who knew anything about Pullman had reacted in the same way when I told them my travel plans. Apparently my vacay destinay wasn’t the exciting, bustling location of many peoples’ holiday dreams. But despite the lackluster destination, I was unbelievably … [Read More...]

More from The 401

Central Vancouver Island:

The Man in the Pictures

By Chelsea Mark “Hard to look at these, I miss him still.” My mother’s sad tone seeps through as I read these words in her e-mail, accompanied by photos of a man who wears the same smile that she often does. The build of his body is similar to that of my Aunt Joan – tall and lanky. The man sits surrounded by friends in the myriad of photos, drink in one hand, cigarette in the … [Read More...]

Living Small, Thinking Big

By Jessie Zhang In 1999, Jay Shafer, an American house designer, and owner of a 96 sq. foot home, published his first article on the merits of simple, compact living. Since then, the tiny home movement has spread throughout North America. Kate Beddows and Nico Rhodes are two of its Vancouver Island proponents. Video produced by Jessie Zhang and Reid Eccles The couple have … [Read More...]

Not Everyone Can Do It

By Molly Barrieau “Bonnie and Clyde?” “Honey and Bunny,” adds the other, laughing. Two women sit across from me in a bustling joint downtown, contemplating pseudonyms for the purpose of this article. I tell them I’ll make something up. Jordyn, 19, sports a new purple lipstick, while Erin, 22, wears burgundy-framed glasses around her kind blue eyes. Both are dressed in … [Read More...]

Around V.I.

Watchguards in the Walbran

By Rob Wilson “RESCIND 4424!” reads a hand-painted banner adorning the plywood wall of the camp’s kitchen and main shelter. It’s a crudely constructed building made of 2x4s, tarps, and ropes, standing a few metres from the Walbran River bridge. Inside are cluttered tables and counters piled with power tools, a 3,000 Watt power inverter, pots and […]

Pet Project

By Sarah Torgerson If it weren’t for all the signs hanging on the chain-link fence gracing the perimeter, one might mistake the building at 2200 Labieux Road in Nanaimo for just another time-worn house from the ‘70s (albeit one oddly located in a light industrial area). Inside, however, the crowded reception area is a bustling […]

In One Word: Vancouver Island

They come from Germany, Egypt, Greenland, Finland, the United States — you name it. International students from all over the world arrive to study on Vancouver Island, whether at Vancouver Island University, the University of Victoria, or other of the island’s post-secondary institutions. They each experience their new, if temporary, home in their own way. Their perceptions are often shaped by the huge […]