Monday, January 26, 2009

Say "cheese"

On a Tuesday night, Harvest Thyme drew in a group of over 20 Gabriola “foodies” to learn how to make cheese. The setting was very easy going and the instructors Robyn Klaassen and Tammy Waybull were interactive and a pleasure to learn from, sharing some of the minor mishaps that can occur in the kitchen, which seemed to just transform the cheese into another form. The key ingredient for both the Mozzarella and the Indian Paneer Cheese was a 4 litre jug of Milk, and a few minor supplies that are available at Harvest Thyme Whole Foods for a nominal cost. In just under 2 hours, we learned to make two types of cheeses, an impressive accomplishment that I’m sure I’ll be praised for at future dinner parties.

The new owners of Harvest Thyme and their staff seem to be taking off with a lot of energy and farm fresh ideas, to keep informed on what they have going on, you can subscribe to their newsletter at

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gabriola Garden Homes

The Gabriola Garden Homes provide an opportunity for seniors to continue living on the island without the up keep of a home & yard,a condominium style of living and a real sense of family.

It was a wonderful home for our Great Aunt Gudrun, who moved to the island at 90 years of age. She was so glad to have called this home, and wondered why she had waited so long to make the move!

Yesterday, we wanted to go and visit our old time neighbor who moved into the Garden Homes shortly after it opened in August of 2000. Hilda was one of the first occupants in this seniors housing project which has 24 units and some great common rooms.

We wanted to find out what some of the residents liked best about the Garden Homes, "there is still lots to keep you busy here, with soup lunches from Suzy’s, Saturday night movies, a workshop, garden areas and even an exercise group that meets three times a week." At 90 years old, Hilda sees her neighbours as family, they celebrate together, grieve together and support each other.

The building is wheel chair accessible and has a generator to keep a few lights on and the fridges plugged in if there is a power outage. The complex is situated on almost 10 acres, surrounded with trees, ponds, trails and beautiful gardens.

They have companionship here and a lot of laughs, the only catch is that one of you needs to be 60 to live here (that means I have 27 years to go).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gabriola Library…

On a recent trip down the board walk I made a detour into our library, of course this 5 minute escape out of the office lasted a little longer as I meandered through looking at the books available!

With “Valentines” being around the corner I settled on a small selection of books featuring the upcoming celebration. Love Ruby Valentine was among the girls & my favorites, it’s inspiring us to start making our Valentines cards already!

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed the friendly reception at Gabriola’s library, with lots of chit-chat especially over the books I’ve ordered – especially of the knitting variety. The librarians are great, holding me accountable for actually doing some of the projects in the books I’ve ordered by making me come and show the final results…

The Gabriola branch of the Vancouver Island Library has many events offered throughout the year, from kids story time to literacy contests! Next time your in the Village take a look in the window of the library to find out a bit more about some of the upcoming events...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Silver Lining

In the midst of a sunny Sunday afternoon feathers flutter as a flock of 29 homing pigeons leave their loft with wings that dance across the sky, replicating the silver lining of a cloud.

After witnessing this event several times with the kids in the car, I wanted to take a closer look, so I headed out with the kids and some friends to visit Kelly Waugh & Laura Marino at Island Ceremonial White Dove Releases ( at 1970 South Road, Gabriola. This is home to 130 beautiful birds that are well cared for and fed. The owners make a special feed for the birds by combining hard red wheat, peas, popcorn, safflower, milo, flax seed and barley. A tour around the property gives more insight, there are the white racer homing pigeons (a descendent of the rock dove) which can be taken to special events and released, getting home in incredible timing and creating a spectacular memory at weddings, memorials & special celebrations. The beautiful and alluring Indian fan tail pigeons, which can make a fantastic sight in the white heart shaped display case. The Birmingham rollers were fun to watch, the just seemed to fall from the sky spinning backward somersaults with amazing control and then in an instant they were back to regular flight. They also have Donek pigeons (a greek diving, spinning bird) and Oriental Rollers from Persia and Asia minor.

We learned quite a bit & have been busy since, my daughter was allowed to take an egg home so she's busy since making a nest and putting one of her stuffies on to see if it will hatch, Kelly of course knows it isn't possible but being mom I need to play along. Sumbitted by: Tina Lynch

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gabriola Island Studio Tour

The Gabriola Island Studio Tour is a yearly event held over three days on the Thanksgiving Weekend. In 2008 the tour had 60 artists working with various mediums open their homes & studios from 10-4 for the three consecutive days. You'll find a chest full of treasure and talent inside the doors of these homes with a wide range of media including : chalk, fibre arts, metalwork, mixed media, painting, photography, pottery, and glasswork. For a glimpse of the temptations you may see on the tour visit

If you've recently moved to the Island or would like the chance to put your home on the tour, you have just a few days left to pick up your form from Artworks and hand it in as the deadline for the 2009 tour is on January 21st. It's been 5 years since I've had my home on the tour and I really enjoyed the experience, at that time I had about 500 people come through during the three day event and enjoyed meeting the guests (& having a few sales too!). I am just in the process of filling out my studio tour application and would love to invite you to come to my home during the 2009 tour. Hope to see you on Thanksgiving!

Submitted by: Tina LYNCH

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gabriola Island Rentals…

Gabriola Island, has nearly a 0% vacancy rate, rentals are hard to come by, when it comes to year round rentals… However, in the past few months there has been an increase in the rentals currently available on the island - which is good news to tenants seeking rental accommodations on the island.

In comparison to Nanaimo, the rental rates on the island seem to offer far more for tenants, in the size of properties, potential for gardens, the wide variety of styles of homes, and the rental rates. For tenants seeking accommodations the best place to search for available homes is in the classified section of the Sounder, the Rental tab on , the bulletin boards around the island, as well as local islanders (who may know of some).

An example of a rental that is currently available on the island is… South end character home (wood floors & slate tile) of 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms. A detached studio ideal for artists, and detached garage. Walking distance to the beach & Degnen Bay. Fenced in garden area with raised beds. (No pets/no smokers), references required $1,000/mo.

For home owners, there are property management agencies available to hand the rental aspects of the property, should you not want to handle it on your own. Brenda Gilroy of Coast Realty offers property management services for Gabriola, and can be contacted through the Nanaimo office at #250-758-7653. The typical tenants for the island may include; young families, daily commuters to Nanaimo, Boat Building School students, & Timber Frame School students, Retirees, and trades people, to give some examples.

In regards to short term rentals, of less than 30 days, also known as Vacation rentals, these are permitted on Gabriola but only if a temporary use permit is obtained. The temporary use permit involves an application to the Islands Trust with a fair amount of information required and an $800.00 application fee. There is no guarantees that a permit will be granted. The islands trust also does due diligence in looking through the area of how many are already in existence, if there are concerns of any neighbors, septic, water capabilities, and so much more. Because of the time line for going through the full application process, one would not be able to make this a condition of purchase, so you would be purchasing a property with no guarantees of receiving the permit. Mostly the vacation rentals tend to be centered around waterfront properties & or properties with relatively easy beach accesses, although the companies sometimes take on other homes that fit additional criteria.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Gabriola Dance Classes - For Children & Adults

Gabriola has a new Dance instructor who is offering a variety of courses catering to both children & adults. The classes start this Saturday at the Agi Hall and this Saturdays classes are free! There is a variety of different classes listed below, including Pilates for teens & adults...

Adult classes on Sat. & Thursday.
Kids’ classes are on Saturdays and include a dress-up or storytelling session at the end for younger children.
In class recitals on last day. Young children should wear comfortable clothing. Girls over 5 should wear tights, leotard and ballet slippers if possible. Boys should wear black shorts and white shirt and slippers.

Parent and Tot- You are welcome to accompany your 2 ½ to 4 year old to this class. In this class Children play with music as they learn simple choreography and explore their own creations. Emphasis is on creativity, music appreciation and listening skills. An in class recital will be held on the last day. Saturday 9:15-9:45 $40.00

Creative Dance for pre-schoolers. In this class girls and boys will wiggle like spaghetti and leap like a dolphin while learning the fundamentals of dance technique. For even more fun, each class will conclude with dress-up or storytelling. An in class recital will be held on the last day. Saturday 11:30-12:30 $60

Kinderdance- Specially designed for your kindergartener, this class introduces the young dancer to their first real steps. Time will be spent both at the Barre and in the Centre. The dancer will begin to learn the artistic vocabulary associated with dance while they create their own choreography. For even more fun, each class will conclude with dress-up or storytelling. An in class recital will be held on the last day. Saturday 12:45-2 $65.00

Creative Dance-6-9years old- In this class, children will begin to explore the world of dance on a deeper level with the focus on fun! Barre and Centre work will focus on alignment and body awareness. Some basic anatomy will be taught as well. For even more fun, each class will conclude with dress-up or storytelling. An in class recital will be held on the last day. Saturday 2:15-3:30 $65

Creative Dance –10-12 years old- Dancers in this class will be taught at the Barre, in the Centre and across the floor with a focus on strong technique. An emphasis on artistry will be fostered through fun creative choreography, lyrical dance and storytelling. An in class recital will be held on the last day. Saturday 3:45-5 $65

Teen Ballates-This fun class is a combination of the core strengthening techniques of mat pilates and the artistry of ballet technique. Participants will develop a strong body and keen technical skills that will benefit them in any other dance form or sport. Contemporary and classical music will be used for centre choreography. Musical suggestions are welcome for the creative dance section which wraps up the class. Sunday afternoon at The Gathering Place 247-8020 for info

Pilates- Mara is a BCRPA certified pilates instructor. The beauty of Plates is that exercises are adaptable to suit seniors with medical concerns as well as to suit the most fit of atheletes. In this class, participants will learn the basics of Beginner Mat Pilates including correct breathing, pelvic, spinal, shoulder stabilization and how to strengthen the core and back muscles. The benefits of this practice include firm abdominals, realignment of posture, stronger back, increased strength & flexibility and the alleviation of aches and pains. Please bring a towel or mat. Saturday and/or Thursday 5-6 $70 for one class a week. Save 20% on your 2nd adult class, 30% on your 3rd class and 40% on your 4th class. Teens also welcome to register. Drop in’s welcome -$13

Adult Ballet – Don’t worry-it’s not scary! These lighthearted classes help the beginner and advanced dance student to explore the art of dance in a safe and challenging environment. Mara will guide you through a traditional floor warm up, ballet barre, centre and stretch emphasizing correct placement and encouraging flexibility, while building strength, coordination and musicality. While the execution of skills is the outwardly appearance of dance, a truly skilled dancer understands that dance is an art form. Mara infuses this philosophy into her classes so that dancers gain an understanding and appreciation of their relationships to dance. Saturday 10-11:30 and Thursday 7-8:30 $80 for one class a week. Save 20% on your 2nd adult class, 30% on your 3rd class and 40% on your 4th class. Teens also welcome to register. Drop in’s welcome-$15.

BIOGRAPHY: Miss Mara grew up in Montreal where she began to dance 30 years ago. After training in the Danish Ballet technique and teaching ballet for the City of Montreal she moved to Bowen Ialsnd where she has been a dancer, choreographer and ballet teacher for 10 years. Her view of ballet as an art form resonates with honesty and passion. Now living on Gabriola, she promises to create ballet and pilates programs for children, teens, adults and seniors that encourage the development of strong technique, body awareness, poise, and grace. It is her hope that students will be given opportunities to perform in community based events and eventually hold their own full scale productions. Dance is a joyful, kinetic experience that encourages skill building, focus, creative thought and an appreciation for one’s self and the arts. Mara’s classes are designed to provide an enriched dance experience in a supportive and safe environment, while also ensuring dancers of every age develop a love and appreciation for dance that lasts a lifetime.

Mara Brenner 250-247-8538

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Valentine's Day weekend writing workshop with Linda Solomon on Gabriola Island

Linda Solomon and Kathryn Molloy invite you. Relax into a structured, encouraging atmosphere, enjoying the guidance of an experienced mentor, while writing about love in any of its infinitely varied forms. There will be plenty of chocolate and amazing stories.

The workshop will take place at Kathryn's home, a short walk from the ocean. There are six spaces available at Kathryn's for out of town guests to stay for two nights free. These are available on a first come first serve basis. There are also a number of lovely bed and breakfast options near Kathryn's home for those who would like more privacy.

When: Begins Friday February 13 at 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Saturday February 14, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday February 15, 9:30 a.m. to noon
Cost: $125.00 per person
Experience Required to Attend: Life

Other Requirements: You must be mentally, physically and emotionally prepared to enjoy the experience of writing, listening to the stories of others, and reading out loud.
What to bring: A pen, a notebook, or your laptop computer. A sense of humour. Memory. Tears. Laughter. Willingness. A dash of bravery. Your truth. Your heart.

To reserve your space, please send your nonrefundable deposit of $60.00 to Linda Solomon by February 1.

Linda's mailing address:
1501-2628 Ash Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z4L2


Linda Solomon is editor-in-chief of The Vancouver Observer. She also writes for The Tyee. Linda has written for publications such as The International Herald Tribune and the LA Times. She has won awards for public service and investigative reporting from United Press International and has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She has received a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism and two of her newspaper series led to US senate hearings and legislative change. She was nominated for a CBC award last year in the short story category and her story on a Vancouver psychotherapist who was refused entry to the US was the inspiration for a Colbert report and was nominated by The Tyee for a Jack Webster journalism award in 2007. Linda's short stories have been published widely in North American literary magazines and she has a work of literary nonfiction coming out this spring in Geist.

Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Linda has lived and worked in Paris and Manhattan, where she was a web pioneer, co-founding and writing for one of the first web soap operas,, a serialized comedy about six New Yorkers in group therapy. The New York Daily News called "The New Yorker meets Rent in cyberspace." She taught journalism and creative writing at the Women's Institute for Continuing Education in Montparnasse in Paris and was a workshop leader at the Emerson College Writer's Retreat in Holland. Linda has produced stories for WBAI public radio in New York and written for magazines such as Yoga Journal, New Age Journal, Orion and The Utne Reader. She was the co-author of Hollyhock Cooks: Recipes For the Body, Mind and Soil, a BC bestseller.

Following 9/11, Linda immigrated to Cortes Island, where she lived for five years. In 2006, she moved to Vancouver with her two young sons and founded the Vancouver Observer.
Gifted at bringing forth the literary talents of others, Linda offers writing workshops through Hollyhock Workshop and Retreat Centre in Vancouver and on Cortes Island. Linda also offers hands-on editing and mentoring to new writers on a private basis. Through the Vancouver Observer, she works with interns from local universities to help launch their journalism careers.

Linda has an MFA from Vermont College and a BA in American Culture from Northwestern University. She studied French at the Sorbonne.

Linda Solomon

Monday, January 5, 2009

BC Assesment

It’s hard to believe that it’s 2009, and yes that time of the year when Assessment Notices find the way into property owners mailboxes. In light of the provincial Real Estate economic conditions, the government has made some changes to the assessments for the upcoming year.

Below is an excerpt, from the BC Assessment website which outlines some of the changes…
In addition to the changes this year, the 2009 assessment roll information is now available online, so you can check your assessment, and compare it with the neighboring homes. (Just a tip for Gabriola Island– we are considered part of Central Vancouver Island for the general area), in addition you can view the recent sales of comparable properties. These are posted online until February, and can be viewed at: .

2009 Assessment Roll

In light of recent global economic events, the provincial government has taken steps to provide new stability for homeowners concerned about fluctuating property values.For the 2009 Property Assessment Roll only, BC Assessment will be providing property owners with the market value of properties as of both July 1, 2007 and July 1, 2008. The lower of these two values will become the 2009 assessed value for most properties.

Why is the B.C. government doing this?

The B.C. government is taking additional steps to give property owners certainty and confidence in the property assessment system in response to the rapid downturn in the real estate market. This measure will allow markets to stabilize and assessments to reflect proper market values. This action builds on government’s steps to improve the province’s competitiveness in the wake of the global economic slowdown.

Why adjust the assessment roll?

The Assessment Act requires 2009 property assessments to reflect market value as of July 1, 2008. As July 1, 2008 was near the peak of B.C.’s real estate market, using this valuation date would mean that 2009 assessed values for most properties would increase from their 2008 assessment.

Through these measures, the 2009 values for property will produce a more accurate, fair and stable outcome for property owners during this highly volatile period for property valuations.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Checking the neighborhood fridge.

It’s the perfect place, just a short two minute walk down a quiet street the kids run to see if there are any fresh veggies growing in Dennis’s road side stand on Thompson Road. If you’re interested in the 100 mile diet, look in your own neighborhood to see what might be available. Dennis supplies many happy customers with kale, strawberries, raspberries, cucumber, zucchini and fresh greens, just to mention a few. I’m always delighted to see a fresh bouquet of Dahlia’s from the stand sitting on my table, for about $4.00 it’s definitely worth the warmth they bring into a home or the smile on a friend’s face.

The other neighborhood fridge, is literally everyone in the neighborhoods, it’s great when you run out of your essential grocery items to knock on a door and arrange a trade for that much needed milk for your morning pancakes, rather than driving in your car to go to the grocery store. We enjoy when this happens and when our friends and neighbors end up making good neighbor cookies, a compilation of eggs from one neighbor, flour from another and chocolate chips from the family at the end of the street, the trade off for this is usually a few freshly baked cookies & time talking to the people that surround you.

Friday, January 2, 2009


If money is tight or even if it’s not, one of our island’s favorite pastimes is visiting the GIRO (Gabriola Island Recycling Organization) at the end of Tin Can Alley (700 Tin Can Alley).

They have something for everyone, large clothing & shoe selection, seasonal items, bikes, sports equipment, lighting & building materials, kitchen supplies, craft items, kid’s toys and a great selection of books. If you find yourself sorting through & organizing yourself (with your New Years goal), with too much cardboard, glass or paper or items that you no longer need, then this is the place to go!

The hours are from 9:30-4 on Wed & Sat, it’s amazing the amount of pre-loved items you can purchase for just a few dollars.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Resolutions - Health & Fitness

Well it’s the New Year, and the first day of the resolutions that were made from last nights celebrations! Towards the top of my list (a rather lengthy one) for 2009 again, comes a personal fitness goal.

On Gabriola it’s great, in that there are many options available… A couple of the ones that I have explored an found as great options are;

Lesley Standerwicks classes & programs ranging from cross conditioning to her 8 week fat loss program. Lesley is an excellent instructor full of enthusiasm and has a Bachelor in Human Kinetics as well a being ACE certified, as a personal trainer. Programs start in the third week of January. Phone #250-619-9341 or email: , she also offers Personal Fitness training to help achieve your personal goals.

The Gym at Twin Beaches – open from Monday through Saturday the Gym offers a great mixture of equipment including; cardio, strength training, as well as balance. I’m looking forward in getting back to the gym, not only for the great equipment and space but the social atmosphere provided there! They also offer a variety of classes or workshops. Phone #250-247-8070.

There are many options including several Yoga, Creative Dance, Tai-Chi, & sporting options, and walking groups, trails, etc. Hopefully I’ll be seeing you at some of these in 2009!