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...]

Deadly cocktail

By Benjamin Everett Over 40 fentanyl-related overdoses have been reported in Victoria and Nanaimo since December 20, 2015, 12 of them fatal. The victims have come from all walks of life, but Paul Hasselback, Medical Health Officer for Central Vancouver Island, says that “it’s the younger ones that are the most tragic.” Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate analgesic, most often compared to morphine, though its effects are over 50 times more potent. Typically used to treat severe pain, or to … [Read more...]

Prettynormal Activity

By Drew McLachlan “I could feel . . . something — like I was being watched.” Willow Friday opened Iron Oxide, an arts supply store in Nanaimo, on January 6th. It wasn’t her first business -- she has operated the House of Indigo Boutique since 2002 -- but she was nonetheless excited to see a second dream come true. So when she first received the keys to the building last May, she invited a group of friends to come see it and help her make plans. “One of my friends instantly had this untoward … [Read more...]

What the hell was I thinking?

Editor's note: This powerful account of an alcoholic binge contains graphic images and language that may be disturbing to some readers. For some, it may also provide inspiration to change. The author's name is a pseudonym. By Jack Craig Believing even a little that I’m just like those fun people I‘ve seen drinking in television commercials is like masturbating: I’m only fucking myself. Watching a movie on Netflix would be much easier than writing this piece, but it’s time to fess-up. … [Read more...]

Serious Business

By Maggie Rich A lot more laughter has been spilling from Vancouver Island restaurants and bars lately, as business owners offer up their establishments to local comedians. It’s proven a win-win: Comedians' careers are launched, customers love the entertainment, and the bars and restaurants fill. Stand-up comedy on Vancouver Island has its roots in Victoria -- namely, the comedy bar Hecklers. But lately -- maybe it's all the rainy weather, maybe it's just the way laughter works -- it's … [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...]

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 … [Read more...]