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 … [Read more...]

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 of Victoria, in 2012. Conservation officers dismissed the sightings as mistaken identity. Perhaps a dog had been abandoned on the island? While coastal wolves have been known to … [Read more...]

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 idle in this dim room at the Royal BC Museum. Through the projection window, I can see a picture so clear that at first I don’t realize it’s a movie. Jordan … [Read more...]

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 pans, and, near the stove top, a bouquet of dandelions in a mason jar. Covering nearly everything: mouse droppings. A few meters back up the … [Read more...]

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, … [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 contracted Nanaimo's Rewild Homes to build their tiny house. Rewild specializes in custom-made, portable … [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 mid-winter hooded coats and leggings; one leans in to the other and says something, then the two get up to order in … [Read more...]

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 differences between life here and life where they are from; each brings a unique and often … [Read more...]

AbOut Tier 3

by Natalie Gates Walking through the bustling hallways of Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS), Brett Hancock offers easy smiles and fist pumps to almost every student he passes. Smirks form on their faces as they greet him back. “I learned a lot traveling, but I sure as hell didn’t learn much in high school,” he says. “The goal with these programs is to let them learn valuable things — like the acceptance of others, empathy, and respect.” Hancock wears pointy leather shoes with an … [Read more...]

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...]