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...]

Starboard spectacles

By Ben Chessor The ocean has always been an important part of Vancouver Islanders' livelihoods. It fuels local tourism — including the whale watching industry — and gives flavour to our best restaurants. An orca even appears on the logo of the province’s most popular sports franchise, the Vancouver Canucks. Because the ocean plays such a large part in the lives of Island residents, whenever some of the Salish Sea's most majestic inhabitants make an appearance, their neighbours are bound to … [Read more...]

Kid walks into a bar . . .

By Jessica Key When BC premier Christy Clark announced that the Liberal government was supporting a revamp of "antiquated licensing rules," the province's imbibers put down their pints and listened up. The 73 changes stemming from “The Liquor Policy Review" led by Parliamentary Secretary John Yap are already appearing in pubs and lounges, but it will be a while before you'll be able to buy a bottle of Pinot Grigio at your neighbourhood Thriftys or Save-On-Foods -- if ever. Allowing wine, … [Read more...]

In the Rough

By Ben Chessor The game of golf has been played for centuries, back to the days when the Scots knocked balls of sheep skin around with sticks. Today, it has changed greatly. Golfers now use finely made varieties of metal and steel clubs to hit multilayered balls around perfectly manicured courses. On Vancouver Island, however, golf has fallen on hard times. With tourism down because of a weak economy, courses all over the island sit empty. Some experts claim the industry will never … [Read more...]

The Youngest Ventriloquist in the World

By Alexandria Stuart The air in England’s West Midlands in 1907 was thick with the dust of coal fires. Once-white bedclothes, hung to dry, took on a shadowy tinge of grey. In a Birminghan home, in a spartan bedroom, the figure seated in a straight-back wooden chair towered over Ivy Johnson. The little girl stretched to reach her arm into the slit at the back of its shirt. Her small hand worked the lever, squeezing it to make the mouth move. Down the hall, her grandmother heard voices … [Read more...]

Moving day for VIU’s sturgeon

 By Alexandria Stuart  It’s a warm, sunny day and I’m taking a refreshing swim in Cameron Lake,  just outside of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, when something grazes my leg. It’s smooth but not scaly. Its texture is more like rows of firm, bony plates. I flash back to every horror movie I’ve ever seen that is set at the beach, and remember why I usually avoid swimming in deep water. It could be a giant eel or just a tree root. Or it could be a mammoth and prehistoric member of the … [Read more...]

My cob is my castle

By Meagan Dyer Out with the old, in with the alternative. That’s the sentiment of many Vancouver Islanders who have opted to build out-of-the-ordinary homes that suit their lifestyles and values. Alternative housing projects are growing in popularity across the West Coast. In an era of soaring real estate costs, exorbitant energy prices, and environmentally-conscious home owners, these projects are instigated from both desire and necessity. Whether it’s an individual earthen cottage … [Read more...]