Why do city planners put bicycles ahead of people?

People who don’t have yards or nearby open spaces should come before bicyclists

Why do city planners put bicycles ahead of people?Vancouver city council is considering a motion this week to turn sections of Granville Street and Commercial Drive into European-style pedestrian-friendly malls by reducing or eliminating automobile access. This is described as putting people over cars. Reducing car traffic leads to cleaner air and quieter neighbourhoods – good things. Some local businesses will benefit. But…

Self-discovery, one shovelful of snow at a time

Snow throws a lot at us. Our response to it can be seen in how we navigate the challenges of building a business, writing a book or tackling a project

Self-discovery, one shovelful of snow at a timeThe sun is shining, even if the air is still frigid, so I’ll take it. After several days of digging out my huge driveway – 100 metres, to be exact – and coping with drifting snow, even my most optimistic “Shovelling is a great full-body workout strategy” is feeling less than enthusiastic. I love the…

Approaching the end of fall on the Sunshine Coast

The days are increasingly short and grey, but nature is on full display everywhere we look

Approaching the end of fall on the Sunshine CoastI’m looking out of our living room window on a predominantly grey sea and landscape. The eye first trips over some close-in treetops before it encompasses five km of Jervis Inlet, leading to Scotch Fir Point in the mid-distance. The bulk of Texada Island beckons in the further background, hiding whatever it wishes behind its…

A whale of a shift in seasons on the West Coast

Blackberries, figs, grey and humpback whales, and spawning salmon all herald the arrival of autumn

A whale of a shift in seasons on the West CoastAs August turns the corner to September, some notable and familiar signs of change occur at Skelhp, which is known as “The place where the ancients dropped down from the heavens and taught us how to make canoe paddles out of yew wood.” The blackberries that have been thriving over the past three weeks start…

Spring semester begins at Skelhp

Some familiar buzzes, croaks and tweets and a new cat-like cry as the turning of the seasons teaches anew

Spring semester begins at SkelhpMy British Museum 2019 Diary proclaims the vernal equinox arrived on March 20 this year, with a cryptic little note: “Spring begins.” At Skelhp, we already knew. In fact, I think spring began on Sunday, March 10, when we descended artfully on the deer-fenced garden with pruning clippers to shape some apple and cherry trees.…

Sitting on the dock of the bay, watching an idle ferry

The Canadian response to being stranded for 11 hours on a BC ferry? Free food, cheers and applause!

Sitting on the dock of the bay, watching an idle ferry“Please be advised that the next sailing from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay has been delayed by at least four hours. Those passengers wishing instead to return to Powell River, please pull over to the right-hand side as you exit the ferry, and you will be guaranteed a return trip. …” “Hmmmmm. What’s that all about?”…

Sitting on the dock of the bay, watching an idle ferry

The Canadian response to being stranded for 11 hours on a BC ferry? Free food, cheers and applause!

Sitting on the dock of the bay, watching an idle ferry“Please be advised that the next sailing from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay has been delayed by at least four hours. Those passengers wishing instead to return to Powell River, please pull over to the right-hand side as you exit the ferry, and you will be guaranteed a return trip. …” “Hmmmmm. What’s that all about?”…

You never really know what’s following you until it snows

I’ve adjusted my solo walk schedule and try to be alert to the possibility that a cougar is lurking

You never really know what’s following you until it snowsWe joke in our family about my living a city-mouse/country-mouse existence. Part of the time, I live in a 600-square-foot Vancouver condo and part of the time I live with the land at Skelhp on the Sunshine coast. In Vancouver, I’m visually connected to pigeons, seagulls, and the 4 p.m. return flight of northwestern crows,…

We’ll be warm for the winter, thanks to the Wood Camp boys

The camaraderie of splitting and stacking your winter wood with pals, and the payoff through the cold months

We’ll be warm for the winter, thanks to the Wood Camp boysDo you still burn wood in a fireplace? For most of us, fireplaces are becoming ornamental. We heat homes with natural gas flares emitted from faux metal logs, or carefully machined wood pellets bought in bags at Canadian Tire or plastic-wrapped bundles of kindling and fire logs purchased at gas stations for $9.99. The whole…

Swinging and sipping in the South Okanagan

In the Osoyoos region, there’s an authentic, unpretentious aura that’s impossible not to appreciate

Swinging and sipping in the South OkanaganThe sting of a messy double-bogey on the first hole at the Osoyoos Golf Club doesn't last long. After traipsing up to the second tee, I grab my big bad driver and survey the scene. Below me a sweet, serpentine fairway careens toward a beautiful sand-guarded green that hangs high above the lake. In all…

‘There’s a bat in the house!’

Falling asleep with bat gear ready, you don't know what to expect. You just have that Boy Scout sense that you’re prepared

‘There’s a bat in the house!’“There’s a bat in the house!” shouted our daughter, fresh off the plane from London, just as she was preparing for a restful night in her parents’ country house. My wife and I were prepared, to tell the truth. The previous night we had heard the telltale swish of batwings in our bedroom and in…

Adrift and perilously close to abandoning ship

After more than a little high-seas misadventure, the Frankie finally proves seaworthy – and sanitary

Adrift and perilously close to abandoning shipBack in 2012, we had a dreamboat, an 18-foot Hourston Glascraft. It was brand-new, had a magnificent 150-horsepower Yamaha four-stroke outboard, and quickly became the envy of the Skelhp government wharf. We paid monthly wharfage dues all summer and used it to fish and cruise. We christened her the Francine, after my then 90-year-old Mom.…

Keeping a father and son tradition afloat

Putting the Frankie back in the water signals the coming of summer adventures. But first we must perform the ritual launch dance

Keeping a father and son tradition afloatThe day we put the Frankie back in the water and moor her at the community marina is a day of ritual celebration at our house. The day symbolizes a return to some of our family’s favourite activities – cruising in the local waters of the Salish Sea, fishing for wild salmon, and swimming in…

Powell River celebrates its progressive roots

Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring to be performed at PRISMA. In 1913, the ballet unleashed a mad torrent of modernity on the members of Parisienne high society

Powell River celebrates its progressive rootsOn the May 29, 1913, the Paris premiere of The Rite of Spring took place at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. The Russian ballet’s choreographer was Vaslav Nijinsky and the symphony’s composer was Igor Stravinsky. Together that night, almost exactly 105 years ago, they unleashed a mad torrent of modernity on the members of Parisienne high…

Spring surprises at Skelhp: red tide and Cuddles

Fir pollen on the water (perhaps), black bears on the prowl. All part of a spring visit to Skelhp

Spring surprises at Skelhp: red tide and CuddlesI recently made the trip up the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver to Skelhp under sunny skies with spring projects in mind. It’s still a month before the vegetable garden needs to be seeded, but it’s time to rake in some fireplace ash and turn the soil in the rows. The raspberry canes need pruning, and…