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November 2008 issue
November 2008

>> This entire issue is available as a 30MB PDF download


Table of Contents

North Harbour important to seniors
Seniors needed to help children succeed
Blast from the past
Preserving Memories
Family Matters
Millennium Park Increases Property Values
From Italy to Powell River: The story of Anita Silvestrini
Art Walk on marine Nov. 21
Elder abuse
For Art’s Sake
Living Green: How Green is Your Ride?
Celebrate with the Festival of Trees
Business Connections
Point of VIU: Train that Brain
Faces of Education
Explore Powell River

Bonus web content:

Hiking from Squamish towards Powell River
Remembering those who served
A moment with Don MacGregor



North Harbour important to seniors
A sound harbour strengthens the economy
By Gary Grieco

If Westview is the heart of Powell River, then the North Harbour Marina must also be considered a vital organ. It’s not just a place where boats are kept, but an important part of the social fabric for a great many of Powell River’s seniors. A safe and secure marina helps to define a city, and can also be measured in economic terms by attracting businesses and people who choose to come and stay. This city-owned and operated marina is not a private club for the privileged. Rather, it is an integral part of the community that is open to all Powell River residents and a major attraction for many retirees who have their choice of where to live on the coast.

A third of marina members are retired folks like Dale and Marg McNeil, who love to live in close proximity to the sea, ‘messing around’ in boats. “Some retirees would rather have a boat instead of a trailer, tent, or cottage,” according to Dale. In the McNeil’s case, the sailboat they built named “Inscrutable”, is their choice as both home and cottage and stays moored in the North Harbour when they’re not out cruising the coast. The McNeils enjoy good health and get plenty of exercise in what many would consider an enviable lifestyle. But they are concerned about the future of the marina and the current state of the docks. “East wind gales have snapped off rotten pilings, and floats have come loose with boats attached,” according to Dale.

 “Reconstruction of the North Harbour is important to Powell River,” believes Marg, a retired Powell River teacher. “Communities like Powell River have to compete with other cities in providing amenities like good hiking trails, outdoor facilities, library, and a functioning harbour to attract the influx of new retirees coming to the coast.”

A part of the new economy for Powell River and many coastal communities is retirees and tourism. Powell River has traditionally relied on an abundance of natural resources used in fishing and forestry. But in these times of worldwide economic uncertainty, local mill downsizing or even outright closure, it is vital that Powell River make the best use of all its natural resources to maintain a viable economy and stable tax base for its citizens. An equivalent new tax base must replace any major tax base that we lose, or individual taxes will rise. Retirees attracted to Powell River in large numbers will be part of that new tax base.

People are drawn to Powell River by the relaxed lifestyle, friendly people, and lower housing costs in one of the most beautiful areas on the Sunshine Coast. They may come from the Prairies or the interior of BC, but one thing many seem to have in common is the desire to own a boat and live by the sea. It’s like a rite of passage, and they might by-pass this community if moorage is not available. Harbour Master Jim Parsons states, “I have a wait list of people from other areas preparing to retire to Powell River if they can get moorage for their boats. In some cases I have to recommend they look at other areas, like Campbell River.”

The North Harbour has been in a state of flux for many years, with repairs to the docks being one of the options. A new risk assessment prepared by Chris Small Marine Surveyors indicates the marina is at the end of its life, and poses a significant liability to the City of Powell River, with a worst case scenario being the marina closing and leaving hundreds of boaters high and dry.

The November 15th referendum will decide whether or not reconstruction of floats will be carried out in the near future under the City of Powell River’s plan. The funds are in place and have been earmarked and approved by the Province.

“The price tag for the reconstruction and reconfiguration of the North Harbour is not to exceed $6 million, and is an investment in Powell River’s economic future,” according to David Douglas, Powell River’s Chief Financial Officer. “The intent is that the borrowing for the North Harbour will not affect your taxes, but rather, the users of the marina will pay moorage fees that are sufficient to cover the annual debt payments and annual operating costs.” Moorage rates will be increased to $5.10 per foot from the 2007 rate of $3.20, but will still be on the low end compared to other marinas. One example is Campbell River’s 2007 rate of $6.08, which is under review for an increase.

Harbour Master Jim Parsons says, “An added benefit of a reconfigured North Harbour is that boats currently occupying space in the south harbour could be relocated to the new north harbour, opening up more moorage for visiting boaters, which adds tourist dollars to the local economy.”

How do you measure the economic benefits of a sound harbour to Powell River, or the effects of an enhanced social environment? Len Shelton, 74, and his wife Dorrie have been cruising BC’s waters for 51 years. They built their first boat in 1959 and kept it in the South Harbour, before becoming one of the North Harbour’s first members when it was completed in 1978. Len retired from the mill in 1979.  “The boat harbour has to be there for the next generation and their grandchildren,” he says. “The people I know down there are all retired and the boat harbour is important to them. Taxpayers have to understand that they do not have to pay for it.”

Another retiree who haunts the North Harbour docks is Dave Graham, a relative newcomer to Powell River. His passion is fishing. He spends summers and winters with a line trailing in the water from his 18-foot 1957 Sangster run-about. “I would hate to think about a Powell River without a harbour where I could moor my boat.”

Investment in their waterfronts by other coastal cities such as Nanaimo, Sidney, Comox, and Campbell River has paid great dividends for all their citizens, whether they own boats or not.

A new North Harbour is one of the most important building blocks in laying a foundation for the sustainability and future growth of Powell River. A sound harbour will strengthen the local economy by attracting new people with varied skills who will help diversify a commodity based economy and form part of the new tax base.

A waterfront facelift will contribute to Powell River emerging as one of the most desirable and liveable small cities in North America.



Seniors needed to help children succeed
Success by 6
By Heather Gordon

If we could paint pictures representing the brain activity surging inside a small child’s head, we would see the formation of intricate pathways, streams of silky reds, yellows, and blues pouring down the inside of the mind, flashes of electric brilliance rebounding behind the soft shell of a tiny forehead, shaping the way this small person will embrace the world.

From before birth to the age of six years old, miraculous things happen inside the human brain. Scientists are only beginning to understand the significance of these early years. When young children grow up in a healthy environment – when they feel safe; when they hear stories, voices and music; when they connect deeply with people they love and trust – the brain is free to develop and grow. Success By 6 works to give all children the best possible start in life.

Powell River Success By 6 is a gathering of community people who believe that children matter, not just to their parents but to all of us. We are a collection of ordinary people who give our time and energy to make our community a safe and happy place to grow up in. Under the direction of a volunteer Council of Partners (local business people, early childhood specialists, retired teachers, parents, church leaders, community development professionals, social workers, senior citizens, health professionals, community leaders) Success By 6 works to create better outcomes in Powell River for children 0-6 and their families.

In Powell River we have also been blessed with a growing community of retired folks. Through Success By 6 and the local research initiative Understanding the Early Years, we have come upon the growing trend of linking generations to create good outcomes for both children and seniors. The complicated phrase for this is Intergenerational Programming. Programs that find ways of bridging generations are springing up all across the country.

A hundred years ago, households made up of three generations were common. Each age group interacted with the others and every generation had meaning and purpose. With the Industrial Revolution came the shift from rural to urban to suburban lifestyles and the intergenerational household lost its significance. When it became increasingly common for both parents to work outside the home, childcare centers answered the needs of working parents and elder-care communities answered the needs of their aging grandparents. The attempt to meet the needs of every age group developed a more segregated society.

The positive blending of generations yields social benefits at every level. Children and young people develop stronger personal social skills; values, culture and information are preserved and shared; and individuals feel a greater sense of connectedness to the world.

During a recent training at the Macklin Intergenerational Institute in Ohio, we learned that isolated seniors often suffer from loneliness, helplessness and boredom. And children, particularly children 0-6, can benefit enormously from meaningful relationships with adults who have time for them. Young children thrive on individual attention and flourish through singing, reading and stimulating interactions. The Macklin Institute trains communities to begin local initiatives that build bridges between generations.

While many of our seniors in Powell River are active ‘young seniors’, they may be looking for ways to connect with the local community, building networks of extended ‘family’ locally, finding a way to give back to the community that is their home.

Success By 6 has developed the ORCA Bus (On the Road with Children’s Activities) which will create opportunities for generations to grow together. The bus will travel from Saltery Bay to Lund bringing fun, snacks, and resources for young children and their families.

The ORCA bus will be run by volunteers – seniors in particular! Volunteers are needed to read with children, to prepare snacks, to drive the bus and to be part of the fun. While the ORCA bus is under construction, volunteers are desperately needed to help us get the bus on the road. If you or someone you know would like to give us a hand for an hour or a week or would like to volunteer to be part of the ORCA team, please call Kim at 604-485-3090. Powell River’s children and families need you.



Blast from the past
By Gerry Gray

A series of events last year resulted in Geoff Warren, a relative newcomer to Powell River, receiving his uncle’s partially burned World War 2 parachute from two sisters living in a small village in Belgium.  Geoff’s journey up to that day lead him along a number of paths, one of which was to a former long time Powell River family. Here’s the story.

Not Forgotten: Geoff Warren with some of the memories and pieces of his uncle's lifeGeoff Warren, a retired RCMP officer, lost his uncle, George R.M. Warren, in August 1943 when his Halifax bomber was shot down by a German night fighter. His plane was on its way home to England after a bombing mission over Nuremburg.  George, an Ottawa boy, was the tail gunner, 19 years old, and the only member of the eight-man crew who did not survive the crash. His seven crewmates all safely parachuted from the bomber. One was soon captured and spent the remainder of the war in a German POW camp.  Six made it back to England through Belgium and France, over the Pyrenees, and on to Spain and Gibraltar. Their escape was only possible with the help of Belgian underground escape lines. Many ‘helpers’ were betrayed, identified to the Gestapo and suffered terrible torture; a number were executed.

The aircraft had crashed on a field in Belgium owned by the Fouquet family. A German military investigations team soon arrived at the crash site and moved, uninvited, into the Fouquet’s farmhouse. The family was not pleased with this arrangement but were powerless to keep them out. They decided to treat the intruders civilly and there was no trouble. At the end of the crash probe and just as they were about to leave, a German officer carrying George’s charred parachute came to the house and gave it to one of the sisters saying: “To a fallen comrade and a thank-you for treating us so civilly.”  The sisters were given the name of the dead flyer, his Squadron (10th RAF), and saved the relic for any Warren relative who might come to visit them and the crash site. The Fouquet sisters waited 64 years for a relative to visit – finally it happened last year.

While living and working in Holland in the early 2000s, Geoff Warren visited his Uncle George’s gravesite in Gosselies, Belgium. On the same trip he drove southwest to the gravesite of another uncle (his mother’s brother) buried in Normandy. Signalman William James McKay was buried with honour in Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery near Caen, France in July 1944.  At that time he knew little of their war history.

In 2002, Geoff and his wife moved to Powell River.  Geoff lost his father and mother in May 2005 and Jan. 2007 respectively.  After the loss of his mother, he decided it was time he “got off his butt” and did some family research. “It takes some people years to find this type of information but with much luck it only took me a couple of months,” he said. Perhaps his RCMP training had something to do with it; that and a lot of help from folks in Europe.

In February of 2007, Geoff made contact with David Mole, a resident of northern England and past-president of the RAF 10 Squadron Association. In an effort to find out more about his Uncle George, Geoff had placed requests for information on several British RAF related websites; David was the first to respond. “This man spends a great deal of time and effort researching WW2 Bomber Command crash sites and has helped many people around the world connect with former comrades and/or their family,” said Geoff. David had previously visited the crash site in Belgium where he met the Fouquet sisters who asked if he had any knowledge of the Warren family in Canada, and spoke of the parachute they wanted to pass on.

In April 2007, Geoff joined up with David. They visited George’s grave together, and then drove to the crash site to retrieve the parachute from the Fouquet sisters, Eva and Georgette. A civic presentation of the parachute was made in the Haulchin Town Hall.  Among those attending the ceremonies were former members of the Belgian underground/resistance, local people who had helped George’s crewmates hide following the crash, and uniformed Canadian and British Air Force officers stationed in Belgium. The Mayor presented Geoff with a pewter plaque of the town’s crest and has hopes of erecting a memorial where the plane crashed. David Mole presented Geoff with a painting of George in his RCAF uniform; as a model, the artist used a photograph taken in 1942 in Ottawa.  After the ceremonies and a special luncheon, a large group attended the crash site, placed crosses where the plane came down, and a bugler played the Last Post.  That evening a church service was held followed by a ceremony at the town cenotaph in honour of George and his crewmates.

Geoff stopped off in Ottawa on his way back to Powell River and gave his aunt - George’s last remaining sibling now 92 years old - a remnant of her youngest brother’s charred parachute and the painting of George.  When Geoff returned to Powell River he continued to help investigate what happened to the seven crewmembers who survived the crash.  It was already known that three did not survive WW2.  Of the remaining four, it has since been learned that one died 15 years ago in Australia.  Another, Victor Davies, is still alive and well in England where he lives with his wife, Vera.  Last month Victor’s daughter Cheryl replicated her father’s walk over the Pyrenees.  Geoff and his new friends in Europe carry on with the search for the two remaining crewmates.  Their names are:  John (Jock) McCallum, from Blantyre, Glasgow, Scotland and Norman Lawrence, from Highbury, London, England; both were born in 1921.  Geoff asks anyone knowing of these two (or with relatives in the UK who may wish to join the search) to please contact him at 604-485-8434.

The Powell River connection

During his search for information concerning his Uncle George’s war history, Geoff learned some details concerning David Mole’s father, who also flew with 10 RAF Squadron. He and his entire crew were killed in 1944 when their Halifax bomber was involved in a multi-plane collision over France. The bomb aimer on David’s father’s aircraft was William Leese from Powell River.

Geoff offered to help in the search for information on the families of the 32 airmen killed in the 1944 mid-air collision.  Because of the Powell River connection, he concentrated on the Leese family. He learned that the three sons of long time Powell River residents Robert and Mary Leese left Canada and served as airmen during the war; two did not survive, William and Robert (Robin). Both are memorialized on the Powell River cenotaph.

The third son, Richard (Dick) Leese, left Canada in 1937 to join the RAF, served with 95 (RAF) Squadron and was known to have survived the war.  It was recently discovered that Richard did not return to Canada after the war.  Rather, he had met and married a girl in Wales while posted there with 95 Squadron.  They stayed in Wales until the mid-60’s when Dick brought his wife and two daughters to Canada, but not to Powell River.  They settled in Prince George for a few years but then returned to Wales. Dick Leese passed away in 1999. Contact was just made with his daughter, Roma, who is quite interested in her Powell River ‘roots’ and it is hoped that one day she can visit Powell River to see the birthplace of her father, Dick.



Preserving Memories
News, stories and sweet mustard pickles
By Dawn Miller

As fall approaches, it brings back memories of cooking and preserving food with my Grandmother. She vividly remembered the depression, so every year she made sure that she “put down” lots of food for the winter.

Pitting cherries, plums and peaches was messy, sticky work. By the end of each canning session, we would all look like multi-coloured modern art masterpieces. Apples were sorted, with the best ones stored to be tucked into school lunches and the gnarled ones peeled, cored, and turned into pies, each carefully wrapped in aluminum foil, covered with plastic and labeled with masking tape recording the date.

Produce from the garden turned into crinkly beet pickles cut with a zigzag blade, dilled beans crunchy and green, and circles of bread and butter pickles to put on sandwiches. And then there were my favourites - sweet mustard pickles with onions and green tomato relish.

One of the best parts of the fall was when “the aunties” came to visit from Winnipeg, because then we would cook big batches of perogies to put in the freezer.  We made them with different fillings - potato and cottage cheese, sauerkraut and pork, and fruit perogies with plums and cherries inside. We had to pinch the edges very tightly so they wouldn’t split when they were boiled. Afterwards, we would fry the savoury ones with bacon and onions and serve them with sour cream. While we worked, the aunties filled Grandma in on all the news about people she knew back on the prairies and then told favourite family stories about when they were growing up.

At the time, I thought we were preserving food but now, looking back, I realize we were preserving memories.



Family Matters
By Isabelle Southcott

"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”
-Samuel Johnson 1709-1784

This quote was penned by the man who made his living as a journalist, poet, moralist, novelist, literary critical and editor. Many of us have heard it before but how many of us actually live by these words? How many times have we simply brushed someone off, walked away or pretended that they didn’t exist because they didn’t fit in with our world?

Most of us have at one time or another and if you are one of the few who has always reached out and helped someone in need, you are indeed a better person than I am.

If you’ve fallen short of the mark in the past, don’t give up. There will still be plenty of other opportunities in the future to make up for the past. You and I will be able stretch our hearts, to reach out, to help and touch not only those who are easy to love but also those who need it so much.

This lesson became abundantly apparent to me on November 25 last year. That date stands out in my mind for three reasons. One, it is exactly one month before Christmas; two it is my brother-in-law Gregg’s birthday and three, on that day my sister, Francesca, did something that I will never forget.

Francesca and Gregg live in a condo in Vancouver. They have good jobs and work hard. They’ve lived in the same condo for over 15 years and know who their neighbours are.

One of their neighbours, a man named Rich, is a homeless man. He sleeps in the overhang area in their building and had for over a year. He spreads his sleeping bag and his worldly possessions to the left of the back door late each night and packs his stuff up in the morning.

Like many other people who find themselves homeless, Rich struggles with demons; his is alcohol.

Shortly after Rich adopted her building, Francesca began talking to him. He was always polite and bit-by-bit she learned his story. It was a sad one. Rich was no longer just the homeless guy; he was Rich. He was their homeless guy.

Francesca and other folks in the condo began taking Rich under their wing. They gave him gift certificates for the Starbucks on the corner. They gave him food he could eat with his very bad teeth. They made a point of checking up on him without interfering, as Rich was a proud man and wanted to be left alone. He liked his corner and if another homeless person would try to set up camp on his territory he would chase them off.

I spoke to my sister on November 25 last year and asked her what she’d bought her husband for his birthday as they love each other very much and she loves nothing more than spoiling her husband.

“Oh, just a card this year,” she said.

“Just a card?” I said. She’d never given him just a card. I was dumbfounded. “Is there something wrong?” I asked.

 “Isabelle,” she said quietly. “Gregg has everything he needs. I didn’t get him a birthday gift this year. Instead of buying a gift for Gregg I went shopping and bought Rich new clothes and a new sleeping bag. I wrote Happy Birthday on Gregg’s card and told him that instead of a birthday gift this year we would be outfitting Rich for winter.”

I was silent as I thought about what my sister had done. Not only was I touched by her kindness and thoughtfulness but I was impressed by how she had noticed the need that existed in her own backyard and how, instead of turning away or leaving it to someone else to help, she had taken it on herself.

There are and always will be people who need our help. Sometimes it is just a kind word, a helping hand. Sometimes it is much, much more. Sometimes it is easy. Sometimes it is hard. What can you do to help someone else? More importantly, what will you do?



Millennium Park Increases Property Values
by. J. Michael Thoms and Janet Alred

What are you willing to pay to keep Millennium Park?   As we head to the polls for municipal elections, we’ll be asked to decide on the Park’s fate. The discussion will be split between two fundamental issues: personal costs in property taxes versus people’s ideas about forest benefits.

Millennium ParkThe two issues are not opposites or in conflict.  Studies found that a large area of preserved forest within a housing district positively affects property values by up to 20% across a community.  Accordingly, the preservation of Millennium Park will cost you money in taxes but add additional value to your home.

Out-of-town buyers assess whether a town projects a positive image and an urban forest is a much valued town benefit. Today, a key factor that creates a positive impression of a town is the presence of a large wooded space and a majority of buyers are willing to pay more for homes in a community that contains a preserved urban forest.  

A large wooded park creates more appreciable values than a scattering of small parks.  Also, the larger the park, the greater its contribution to property values.  Consider the positive impression that Stanley Park generates for Vancouver and how that park contributes to people’s desire to live in the city. 

We wanted to ensure that these findings were true of Powell River so Michael spoke to three local Realtors®, explained the studies that he had reviewed, and asked them if they felt the same facts apply to Millennium Park.  They all agreed without hesitation.  They told him how they take out-of-town buyers to the Park for a walk in order to increase their willingness to buy in Powell River. 

Even if you believe that you live too far from Millennium Park to realize any increase in the value of your home, one great attribute of Millennium Park is that its boundaries touch or come very close to the four communities that constitute Powell River.  An existing system of trails connects all of our communities to Millennium Park.  If a trail to the Park is within 20 minutes of your home, the preservation of the Park and the trail will positively affect the value of your home. 

Consumers ask their Realtors® if the wooded space in a prospective community is officially preserved.   Realtors® are required by their profession to answer questions honestly.  If the Park referendum fails, or if Millennium Park’s preservation status remains in limbo, property values may fall. 

On the other hand, the preservation of Millennium Park will increase the value of all properties in Powell River at rates higher than your personal taxation costs for its protection.

In writing this article, we have deliberately avoided any discussion of the health, clean air, recreational, and wilderness values associated with the preservation of Millennium Park.  Instead, we focused on the issue of costs.  Our conclusion is that the costs will be offset by the effect the Park will have on your property value.   We need not frame the upcoming referendum question as one of costs versus benefits.  Instead, we should consider the preservation of Millennium Park as an investment in our properties, lifestyle, values, and community.

A list of the studies read to research this article can be seen at www.sunshinecoast-trail.com.



From Italy to Powell River
The story of Anita Silvestrini
By Julie Groshak

As Anita Martinig lay in the grass in the mountains – watching the clouds go by in the blue sky - she would imagine another world where she would be able to wear nail polish like the grown up ladies she saw in the city the time she went there with her father. She knew in her heart she was destined for things beyond the hills of her tiny village of Rodda, in Italy (northeast of Venice). She was only 10 years old. In a few short years her life would change forever.

Anita SilvestriniBorn in 1938 the first of three children, Anita helped her father with his work. She felt happy when she overheard him saying that she was more reliable and trustworthy than anyone he knew. With his entrepreneurial spirit, her father struggled and saved until he could afford to purchase one of the few trucks in their area. This enabled him to purchase locally grown fruit and then transport it to the city market. There Anita and her father would work together to sell the fruit. They would then purchase items not available in their village and bring them back to sell. Anita feels those experiences developed her entrepreneurial spirit.

The early years had been difficult. When Anita was just two years old her parents and her father’s siblings had moved to North Africa in search of work. Libya had been recruiting large families with manpower to work and develop the area and they were given plots of land. But it was more difficult than they had anticipated as the terrain was barren. Her sister was born while they were there. They moved back to Italy, in time to witness the casualties of war.

Anita was five years old when the war broke out.  Her aunts would come to her town to hide from the Rebels because they would rape the women and young girls. Soldiers shot and took their family goose, leaving them without food.

She recalls their neighbor, who became scared when the soldiers came through their area and as he ran to hide, he was shot in the back and was left to die on a rock in his front yard.

When they would hear airplanes, they would panic and run for cover.

How did Anita come to Canada? Her father’s sister (Maria) moved to Canada in 1937 - her ‘husband to be’ had come to Canada and started a life here and then went back to Italy. He then met and married her aunt and moved his bride back to Canada with him. She was here almost 20 years before she sponsored her eight siblings and her parents to move here.

The Powell River Company had advertised for workers. They promised a better life. Anita’s father came to Canada alone and was here for one year, to obtain work and save money so that he could send for his wife and three children.

 It was the spring of 1952, and Anita was 14 years old. It was difficult leaving friends, family and their home in Italy. But it was so exciting to come to a new country!

They traveled by boat for eight days and landed in Halifax. The train took another eight days to cross Canada and it seemed to take forever. There was so much of nothing in between and it looked so different from Italy. It felt like they were going to end of the world.

Finally they arrived in Vancouver and they thought, “This is good!”  They were reunited with her father and then he said to them “Now we have to take a boat to Powell River.” (This was before the ferries.) So they landed at the mill, took a taxi through more bush than she had ever seen in her life and went up a hill. Her mom said “This has to be the end of the world.” They ended up in Wildwood, where there were lots of relatives and cousins and a whole Italian community. They never felt alone and that was important in those times.

Anita had to learn English and that wasn’t easy as she felt that she just didn’t fit in. She was older than most of the kids in her class at James Thompson School and she felt more mature than the kids her age. It was difficult.

The following summer she was offered a job and stayed there for four years. She worked to help support the family.

By the age of 18, she was in charge of looking after 40 people for all of their meals and accommodation at the Staff Quarters, three houses owned by the Powell River Company. It also housed the new doctors and nurses as there were no apartments.

Then life got easier; Anita married at age 19 and started a family.

In her 20s she had three children. In her 30s, while raising the family, she worked at the The Bay department store in Powell River and other retail stores over the years. She and her husband were asked to teach ballroom dancing for the college, and did so for many, many years.

She always dreamed of going back to Italy. In 1975 that dream came true and she and her husband loaded up their kids and traveled across Europe in a camper van.

In her 40s she purchased and operated her own retail business, a ladies clothing store called Exquisite Mode.

In her 50s she became a Grandma and retired from retail. She was successful at a network marketing business and learned about natural health alternatives. She learned about antioxidants and the importance of disease prevention in staying healthy. At the time, her two-year-old grandson had asthma and was on medication and a nebulizer – but with alternative help, he was healed. He is 17 and has been free from asthma ever since.

In her 60s, Anita and her husband opened their home as a Bed & Breakfast. Their European hospitality made them perfect for it. Their philosophy had always been, “When you are here, you are family.” Their guests come from all over the world. They arrive as strangers; they shake hands. But when they leave, they are friends and they give big hugs.

Last year when Anita entered her 70s, she knew it would be the next chapter of her life and that she could no longer run the B&B. She was getting tired and had chronic pain. Anita was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Without looking for it, her interest turned back to prevention and healing.

 Anita’s is grateful for the relief from pain she has finally found and she wants to serve others and help relieve their pain too.

From as early as Anita can remember, she has had a very strong faith and connection with God. She always wanted to follow the rules and do good things for other people, without expecting something in return.

Anita feels she is at the last stages of life and she wants to maintain her health so she can continue to be active and involved in her family and her community. To embrace each day with a passion and to know that she is here for God’s purpose. That’s all she wants.




Art Walk on marine Nov. 21

This month’s Art Walk will stimulate your senses, and provide a chance to perhaps get some of that holiday gift shopping out of the way.

Each year, at the beginning of the Christmas season, Artique hosts an annual open house. This year the gallery is inviting the other galleries on Marine Avenue to join in by opening their doors on Friday evening , November 21 to celebrate with an Art Walk, making it a stimulating and vibrant art event.

It will be  an opportunity to enjoy art, food, drinks, entertainment, and to meet and talk with the artists.

Artique is an art cooperative, a community of 24 visual artists within the larger community of artists in Powell River. There is an exciting variety of art on display here: painting, carving, pottery, wood turning, books, jewellery, fibre art, fabric collage, soap and candle works and art cards. This year they celebrate their fifth year in operation. Artique's operating principles are simple: each artist is an equal member who shares in keeping the gallery operating and thriving. The recent influx of established artists in Powell River is very exciting and has resulted in some of them seeking out Artique for gallery space to display their work. They now have a waiting list of artists who have been successfully juried but who they are not yet able to accommodate because of lack of display space for certain types of art. It’s a testament to how rapidly Powell River's arts community is growing.

Deborah Turney Zagwyn, one member, is an author and illustrator of 10 children's books, all available in the local library. It is somewhat unusual for an author to illustrate her own books. Deborah's watercolour illustrations are vibrant and true to the atmosphere of her delightful books.

Meghan Hildebrand, another member, creates stunning mixed media urban abstract paintings which are slowly giving way to elements of nature.




Elder abuse
Why you should get to know your neighbours
By Ron Koros

Eighty-one-year-old Mrs. G. didn’t know how she would be able to continue maintaining her home. It seemed like an ideal solution when her son, who had some financial difficulties, moved in with her. It also didn’t seem unreasonable when he began talking to her about power of attorney and how it would make it easier for him to help out with the maintenance of the house and paying bills.

Mrs. G’s hairdresser, who would make home visits, was concerned that Mrs. G’s son was taking the liberty of meeting her at the door and canceling Mrs. G’s hair appointments. On the one occasion that she did see Mrs. G, because her son had gone to town, the sight of a bruise worried her on her arm. Mrs. G nervously blamed it on an old lady’s clumsiness.

Next-door neighbour Bob noticed that the normally very well dressed Mrs. G, who loved nothing more than being out in her yard, rarely ventured out anymore and always looked unkempt.

As you read the story of Mrs. G you’ve likely picked up on all the warning signs of a potentially abusive situation. Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare occurrence. One in 10 seniors will be the victim of physical and/or emotional abuse, neglect or exploitation.

Hopefully most of us would recognize such warning signs, if we ever faced them, and would take appropriate actions, such as notifying police. The more important question is “What can we do to protect our senior citizens from being victimized in such a way?”

As we rush through our busy lives we tend to overlook, dismiss and possibly resent the objects, events and even people, that are moving at a slower pace than we are. One such group of people are the elders in our lives: our grandparents, elderly aunts and uncles, old friends of the family, aged neighbours and community acquaintances.

The elderly in our lives have done so much for us, and sacrificed in ways that we can’t even comprehend, that it would seem unthinkable to not honour and respect them on a daily basis. Once a year, on November 11th, we set aside some time to recognize the sacrifices of those who have served our country, many of whom are now elderly and many more that have passed away in recent years. But what happens the other 364 days of the year? Our love is never tested more than when someone we love becomes difficult to be with; sometimes simply because of the slow pace of their lives, or the overwhelming saga of chronic pain, or even the bitter resentment at getting older. There are many who have failed the challenge of staying connected with such people. The result of this failure is a community in which isolation and increased vulnerability is a fact of life for many elderly folks.

The past generation has been indoctrinated in the “no one has the right to tell me how to raise my children or care for my family” mentality. We used to know our neighbours and were not afraid to speak up when something didn’t look right. Now we can’t turn away fast enough and if our gaze lingers a little too long, we may be shouted at to “mind your own business”.

We’ve seen the result of that kind of community. It may not even be appropriate to call that a community. No one is advocating a busybody mentality; it just comes down to getting to know your neighbours, especially the elderly or other vulnerable people.

• Walk around your neighourhood regularly (multiple benefits).

• Say hi to people; introduce yourself and which part of the neighbourhood you’re from.

• Offer your neighbourly services, especially to the elderly, such as “if you ever need a hand,” “if you need a ride to an appointment” or “if anything ever worries you or makes you feel threatened, give me a call.”

• Talk with your neighbours about things they might need to be aware of, for example:

“Have you gotten any of those phone calls that tell you you’ve won a prize and instruct you to press a number? You know that’s a phone scam, right?”

“A few people have noticed some items going missing from their properties and garages so you might want to keep an extra close eye on things for a while.

Small steps can make a big difference. There’s an African proverb that says “It takes a village to raise a child.” It also takes a whole community to keep safe its most vulnerable members.

For more information on Elder Abuse or other issues facing older adults, contact the Seniors One Stop Information Line at 604-485-3310.




For Art's Sake
By Jessica Colasanto

If you’ve been in our local coffee shops, you’ve probably noticed free art postcards by the Alof!i group. These cards are a way to promote Powell River businesses and events, and Alof!i vows to use good design, eye-catching images or a dazzling one-liner to make promotion a joy for the eye and mind.

The Cranberry Art Collective has three paintings featured on the newest batch of postcards. The collective, housed in the Community Living Place on Artaban Street, began several years ago and has grown into a very successful program. Run by the Powell River Association of Community Living for adults with developmental disabilities, participants range in age from 19 to 55, and there are often as many as 12 working in the art room at one time.

Along with acrylic on canvas, the artists also craft wind chimes, candles, bead works, and are even beginning to delve into multi-media projects. The works are offered for sale at extremely reasonable prices. Finished pieces adorn the halls of the Community Living Place, which is open to the public weekdays from 9 to 3, and there are always works on the go in the art room.

SHIPPING OUT: Larry Romanovitch gets ready to ship his portrait of Roberto Luongo to a national exhibition in Ottawa.Larry Romanovitch, a member of the collective, was recently chosen as a finalist in the Pan Canadian Art Exhibition – Artists First! His entry, a black and white portrait of Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo, will hang in Ottawa from November 18-21. The exhibition celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian Association for Community Living, and gives artists with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to showcase their work in a professional artistic setting before an international audience.

Romanovitch also has a piece, A Friendly Game of Quidditch, featured on one of the Alof!i postcards. Annie McKone’s Blue Gekko is another, along with A Mind’s Eye by André Denis. Check them out, send them to friends, and visit the Community Living Place if you’d like to see more.

The Malaspina Art Society has a brand new calendar  available just in time for the holiday season. They make great gifts–local art and printed locally! For a preview and to place your order online, visit www.artpowellriver.ca. The calendars are $20 and proceeds will join funds for a dream of having a public art gallery here one day.

James LeClare is featured in this month’s Malaspina Art Society Exhibition at the Vancouver Island University campus on Selkirk Avenue. Stop by to view his oil paintings; the show hangs through November 26th. To view more of his work, visit www.lovingcreations.ca. November 28th brings us the opening reception of next month’s exhibition, the acrylics of Hana Louise Braun.



Living Green
How Green is Your Ride?
By Emma Levez Larocque

With seemingly endless hikes in the price of gasoline, and growing attention to environmental costs of gas-powered transportation many people are considering other options. Some are thinking about walking or biking more or even car-pooling. But cutting a vehicle from your life completely is a huge and often impractical step in today’s world.

The age of the car has had one of the most significant impacts on human civilization. With the freedom that cars bring we can work a long distance from where we live. Cars make life more convenient – forgot that key ingredient for dinner? No worries, just drive back into to town to pick it up.

But this fantastic flexibility does not come without a price tag. The environmental costs have been evident for some years: an increase in smog alerts every summer, air quality issues in cities, rising incidents of asthma – the list goes on. On an economic level there is a constant underlying threat of our deeply imbedded dependence on oil. According to an article from March 2006 on www.hybridcars.com, “oil provides 97% of the fuel used by America’s enormous fleet of trucks, trains, planes, ships, buses and cars.” What will happen when we run out, or it becomes too expensive for the average consumer? A bigger question than it’s possible to tackle here; for now let’s focus on the car.

Even if we cut down on the amount we use our cars, there will still be a big problem. It’s unlikely that people are going to stop using cars and take to the streets en masse on foot, bicycle or other forms of non-motorized transportation. It’s even impractical to imagine that everyone could get around with shared public transportation. If we are going to continue to be so dependent on the car, we need to look for alternatives. Car companies and innovators have been working on this issue for years, thankfully, and as a result a pretty long list of alternatives exists today, and more are coming. If you are looking to buy a new car, your job is going to be a little more complicated. Here is a run-down on what is available today – and coming in the near future:

Small Cars: In recent years smaller cars have been selling like hot potatoes. They are fuel-efficient yet practical, cute yet relatively inexpensive. They can fit into parking spaces that normal cars can’t, and they can turn on a dime. Today the Toyota Yaris is one of the most popular small cars getting about 32 miles per gallon (MPG) with a base price tag of about $12,600 CAD. Other popular small cars include the Smart ForTwo (efficient but underpowered and very small), the Mini Cooper, which gets 36 MPG and the Honda Fit at 31 MPG. Small cars are a good option for many people nervous about trying newer technologies – look for the Toyota IQ and the Volkswagon up! in the next couple of years.

Hybrid: Currently the greenest vehicle on the road, hybrids are fuel-efficient and reasonably priced (starting around $22,500). There are a variety of hybrids available, giving the consumer choices ranging from a mid-sized car like the Toyota Prius (46 MPG) to the GMC Yukon Hybrid truck (21 MPG). Despite initial consumer concerns about hybrid technology and batteries, these cars are proving themselves. They have been available in Japan since 1997, in the US since 2000, and reported cases of electric or battery problems have been rare (hybridcars.com). Most of the major car manufacturers are now producing at least one hybrid, and many more expected to hit the market over the next few years.

Plug-In Hybrid: This is the hybrid of the future, expected to hit the market around 2009. These hybrids will get a fantastic 100+MPG, and can be plugged into the electric grid. Those being pre-advertised range in price from $18,500 (the VentureOne) to $80,000 (Fisker Karma).

Diesel: Low emissions, high efficiency and superior performance are the trademarks of new generation diesel vehicles like the Volkswagen Jetta TDI (35 MPG). Biodiesel, an alternative fuel made from soybean or canola oil, can be used instead of petroleum-based diesel fuel which reduces hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide and particulate emissions drastically. On the other hand, because they rely on the production of food crops the environmental costs of production must be weighed, and the effect on the production of food for humans and animals considered.

E85 Ethanol: E85 vehicles can be difficult to find, but an increasing number of vehicles can run on an 85 per cent blend of ethanol. Some of those available now include the Chevrolet Impala E85 (22 MPG at $23,000) and the Ford F-150 E85 truck (11 MPG at $23,000). Similar to biodiesel ethanol is a renewable fuel that comes from agricultural feedstocks, so the true net pollution should be considered by the consumer before buying into Ethanol as a solution.

Hydrogen: Although a few hydrogen-powered cars may be available soon, those in the industry have expressed doubts that hydrogen cars will ever be affordable enough to be a mainstream reality. In any case, it’s unlikely that these vehicles will be readily available to the general public in the foreseeable future.

Electric: Vehicles that are powered by electricity offer a promising future. The technology has been improving for a number of years, and many of the electric cars that will be hitting the market in the next couple of years are rumoured to be affordable and reliable. Th!nk City, to be released in 2010 will start at under $30,000 and be completely highway capable. Electric cars have been around for longer than most of us know – check out the movie Who Killed the Electric Car  or www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar for more info. The time of the electric car seems to be here, and these vehicles should be widely available in the next few years.




Celebrate with the Festival of Trees
Catch the spirit and support PRACL
By Isabelle Southcott

There’s no better way to start the festive season than by visiting or participating in the Powell River Association for Community Living’s 13th annual Festival of Trees at the

Town Centre Hotel from November 25th to 30th.

The festival kicks off on Tuesday, November 25 at 7 pm with the Lighting of the Trees. The Community Choir will perform after the official opening and snacks and refreshments will be served.

There will be a craft night on November 27 beginning at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $20. “Come out and make a wreath or centerpiece for the holidays with the help of skilled crafters,” said festival coordinator Yvonne Boese noting that tickets to this popular event were sold out last year.

“We have 15 large trees and a good assortment of wreaths and children’s trees for viewing. This year we have a lot of new tree decorators and people are focusing on environmentally friendly products and green trees.”

The Santa Claus brunch on November 29 is a family favourite as it includes a picture with Santa and a special gift for the children. Boese says they have lots of great donations for the auction that will take place on Sunday, November 30 along with the Gala dinner, which is the closing event of the festival. “This is where the final bidding on trees and wreaths also takes place,” says Boese.

The Festival of Trees is always a highlight of the Christmas season and it is PRACL’s main fundraiser. Money raised is used for the wish fund, which helps provide PRACL’s clients with opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Many volunteers are needed to help with the festival. If you are interested in helping call Yvonne Boese at or 604-485-5663 or 604-223-0502 (local number). Event tickets are available at PRACL’s office on Marine Avenue or at the festival.



Business Connections
By Kim Miller

As of March, smoking was banned in all indoor public spaces with the exception of First Nation ceremonial tobacco use.  To help businesses comply with the BC Tobacco Control Act, free no smoking signs are available by calling the chamber. For more info visit www.health.gov.bc.ca/tobacco.

Shirt Disturbers is relocating south of town to 9832 Albion Road, corner of Hwy 101 and Victory Road. They will still be doing custom printed sportswear and clothing, engraving, photo transfers and signage. They can be reached at 604-487-0487 or shirtdisturbers@shaw.ca

Shirley Storey is the new office coordinator for Plutonic Power Corporation’s Powell River office at #104, 7385 Duncan Street.  Shirley has lived in Powell River for 21 years and raised three children here. She worked for the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society, Powell River Child, Youth and Family Services and Powell River Community Health.  Shirley looks forward to sharing information on Plutonic and the benefits of green energy.  She can be reached at 604 485-5486.

Jomichele Seidl is the new Assistant Chief Librarian at the Powell River Public Library.  She will oversee public access to library services, outreach programs and partnerships. "I love the natural beauty of Powell River, and the sense of being in a friendly, unpretentious community. I'm so lucky to be part of the industrious, service-oriented team that provides library service to this community.

Brenda Neall is a second generation Powell Riverite with deep roots here so it's not surprising that she has come 'home' after 38 years away.  Brenda owns a home- based pottery studio/showroom called Down to Earth Clayworks located in Lang Creek at 2107B Mahood Road. Brenda expects to have the studio/showroom open in mid-November. In addition to producing pottery, offering studio tours and demonstrations, she will also offer beginner pottery classes. You can reach Brenda at 604 487-0970.

David Parkinson, coordinator of the Literacy Now Implementation Project, encourages everyone to get involved with the activities of the Powell River Literacy Council. An exciting development is the new Powell River Adult Learning Initiative, which will start up in the next few months with a $30,000 grant from the BC Ministry of Advanced Education. This partnership between the PR Employment Program Society and Vancouver Island University, will be run out of the Community Resource Centre, and will provide one-on-one tutoring for adults seeking help with basic literacy skills, numeracy, computer literacy, upgrading and certification. For more info contact David at literacypr@prepsociety.org or 604 485-2004.

Do you have any changes within your business you want Powell River to know about? New managers, new owners or are you moving? Starting a new business? Call the Chamber office at 604-485-4051 and I will get your info into the next issue of Powell River Living.

If you would like to receive monthly updates and community event invites send me your email address and I will add you on our email list.



Point of VIU
Train that Brain
By Dawn McLean

Studies show that aging well could mean going back to school.  Dr. Robert Snowdon’s groundbreaking Nun Study showed that a study group of nuns had an astonishingly low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease compared to the average population.  Snowdon hit the jackpot when he discovered a filing cabinet in the basement of their residence containing the essays written by novices, nuns who are now in their 80s, 90s and 100s.  Snowdon found that there was a correlation among those who wrote word-dense essays and were optimistic in attitude:  these women were far less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.  Not only did these nuns follow a high folic diet, had spiritual and social connections, these women were teachers:  generally they were well educated.  Most continued to teach—and learn—long past the average age of retirement.  Does being a life-long learner stave off dementia?

Local Scott Glaspey, who teaches people the game of bridge is adamant about the mental payback of learning this game.  “Many studies show that brain sports fight Alzheimer’s.  Bridge is always mentioned in these studies. It is a brain sport!  It keeps the mind fit.” Along with the social benefits of joining a bridge group, a new or seasoned player is giving the brain a good workout.

Online versions of games such as Scrabble or Suduko are easily available for the cyber-savvy. Prefer a more personal approach? Vancouver Island University’s ElderCollege offers low-cost classes in Spanish, word processing, card-making, digital photography, and tracing your genealogy for people who are 55 and older. 

The public library also caters to seniors, offering audio and large print books.  For those who cannot get to the library, a books-on-wheels service is provided.  The library’s Valerie McKeen says that their computer tutorials are popular where they show folks how to set up an email account or surf the Internet.  The library carries many different newspapers and the reading area is popular with the regular patrons.  Check out the website, “Seniors Side, a guide to clubs, organizations and services available to Powell River's senior citizens” at www.powellriverlibrary.ca/seniors side.htm.

Here in Powell River, we are fortunate to have an extensive network that caters to seniors.  So eat your spinach, join a club, read a book, sign up for a class, and cheer up.  It’s good for your brain.

(To learn more about Dr. Snowdon’s Nun Study, go to www.nunstudy.org.  His book, Aging with Grace, is available at the public library or for ElderCollege members, the VIU library at the Powell River Campus).




Faces of Education
Long serving school trustee says farewell

After 18 years of serving as a school trustee Ted Cooper has decided it is time to retire.

His interest in education (combined with the fact that he is married to a teacher) first led him to put his name forward as a school trustee in 1990.

“I’m a life long learner and it turns my crank when that is one of the goals of education. It is very satisfying when you know how to go about learning and researching.”

One of the reasons Cooper has enjoyed being a school trustee is that “Everything we do goes through the filter of: ‘what is the best thing to do for the students.’ ”

Cooper describes himself as a bibliophile.” I love books, I can’t stop reading.” His wife Margaret chuckles and talks about his extensive library.

Cooper was first elected as a trustee for School District 47 in 1990. Cooper has sat on six boards but one board was short term.

Cooper spent a lot of time in post secondary institutions, which gave him a love for education in its broad sense. He attended Hobart Technical College, the University of Tasmania, the University of Melbourne, BC Institute of Technology, University of British Columbia, Regent College, and Simon Fraser University where he did his MBA.

Both Cooper and Pauline Galinski (who is also retiring) have been school trustees for many years but Cooper says that Galinski was still teaching when he was first elected in 1990. “Pauline and Margaret (Cooper’s wife) had been team teaching for years and I felt I knew Pauline because they were on the phone all the time.”

One of the biggest challenges that Cooper faced during his time as a school trustee was the issue of where to locate the new Brooks school. “I was in favour of putting Brooks at the Complex site because the population was shifting to Westview. The plan was to have a joint school/public library and we would have shared the theatre. But the democratic process won out and Brooks went to the Townsite.”

Cooper is proud of the fact that the school board operates as a corporate board. “We deal with everything as a whole - we do not have separate portfolios,” he explained. “We have one of the best school boards in the Province of British Columbia.”

He says part of this is because “we have one of the best superintendents in BC.”

The strength of the board lies in the fact that members are elected at large and represent the community as a whole. Many other school districts have boards that are elected by a ward system or political alliances which foster polarization.

Cooper was born in East York, Ontario, but he sounds every bit the Aussie. He moved to Tasmania at the age of 10 1/2 when his father, a papermaker, was recruited to start up the first mill to make newsprint from eucalyptus. Cooper spent 14 years in Tasmania and six years in the state of Victoria. He met Margaret, a teacher, at Melbourne University, and married.

The couple moved to Canada in 1964 and after moving around with MacMillan Bloedel they were transferred to Powell River in 1972. Cooper was the superintendent of stock preparation before retiring.

Cooper, who has studied the business enterprise for many years, says there are a number of differences between the corporate enterprise and a school administration. All school district administrators started in the classroom whereas mill management need not have worked on the shop floor. “That is what distinguishes it from a business.”

Cooper has enjoyed the challenges of being a school trustee, one of which was the idea of having a teaching kitchen associated with Brooks.

“We did not have the student population to qualify for a teaching kitchen but we lobbied on the fact that we were isolated.”

And so the teaching kitchen became a reality.

Although Cooper is saying goodbye, he will continue working with the Powell River Educational Services Society (PRESS), a not-for-profit arms length society that also provides opportunities for First Nations at Toba Inlet.  This is a joint venture signed between Klahoose First Nation, Kiewit, Plutonic and Powell River School District 47 back in January 2008.

Now that the camp at Toba is completed, the landmark culinary joint venture to provide food service at the site is up and running.  Students will receive trades and technical training with Kiewit and they will be supported by the school district at the Toba site.

Cooper observes that, in times of labour shortages, preparing students for the workforce is not even on the agenda, as employers will take them as they are and do the training themselves. But when there is a labour surplus they are clamouring to have students prepared.

“Our trades and academics programs are doing that, but I’m still an idealist in the sense that I believe the school system has to train the whole person, and academics and trades are not mutually exclusive. The system has to cater to all levels, and provide opportunities for those who are academically inclined and to those who are interested in pursuing a career in the trades.”

Cooper is proud of School District 47. “Our district is very innovative. It is right out in front with the trades programs and it’s environmental sustainably program at Rainbow Lodge.”

School District 47 has managed to operate within its budget and initiate projects that other districts say they can’t afford.

“And it’s because of the boards commitment to  Students and the skill of our Superintendent (Jay Yule) and  Secretary-Treasurer (Steve Hopkins),” says Cooper.





Explore Powell River


Casement Creek: Click to enlarge
November 2008
Casement Creek
Photos by Sean Percy



Hiking from Squamish towards Powell River
Treacherous river crossings, rain, cold and black flies
So why was this our associate publisher's best hike ever?
by Sean Percy

When we stepped off the end of the logging road and into the untracked wilderness of Sims Creek, I immediately began re-thinking the wisdom of agreeing to go on this trek.

We dropped into dense forest with an understory of devil's club. My friend Dave says the scientific name for this plant should be Satanus pokeuinthebuttus, but it's real scientific name is Oplopanax horridus. Either way, it has nasty brittle yellow spines that seem to leap off the plant and into your skin if you get too close. Fortunately the devil's club soon thinned out. But then the going got steep, and the brush got thick.

Three days later, I was huddled under a stump on a steep mountain slope as night and rain poured down, wondering if I would get out alive.

But let me fill in the blanks, before you get the wrong idea. It was a great hike.

One of my most trusted friends, Caleb Allen, asked me if I’d be interested in hiking part of the proposed route between Powell River and Squamish, starting from the Squamish side. The idea of such a road has been bandied about since long before I was born. As long as I can remember, Councillor Bob Astrope has propounded the virtues of such a road. Allen, a surveyor who has spent some time examining the route, wanted to see if building a road was really possible. It’s one thing to look at the maps and satellite images, but it’s something else to put your boots on the ground.

So, in my blissful ignorance, I agreed to join him. After that, I learned that a group had tried a similar route in August of 1970, planning seven days. After two weeks, they had bailed out at Queens Reach at the top of Jervis Inlet. By the end of our first day, it was pretty clear why. The brush is thick, the terrain is steep, and we had made only about five kilometers. Sticking roughly to the terrain a road would follow, however, we found that while the going was tough with no trail, nothing would physically prevent a trail or a road from being built.

Most critical to our trip (not counting wading up to our mountain oysters across the swift and frigid Sims Creek) was the pass below Casement Mountain, where we crossed over from the Squamish watershed into the Jervis watershed. For a road, it would be costly. That’s probably why Astrope and friends propose a much cheaper tunnel though the mountain to the south. For hikers, it proved even more challenging. Already behind schedule, we decided to try a shortcut down the slope to the west. The slope ended in drop-offs impassable without climbing gear. We spent our fourth night precariously bivouacked under the stump in the rain, wondering if we’d be able to get back up the rain-soaked slope in the morning. Already overdue, we decided to head back the way we came, rather than risk even further delays if we tried to find another route down. While our predicament illustrated the ruggedness of the country, it did not reflect on the viability of the proposed route, which wisely takes another tack on the opposite side of the valley.

The rain and the return direction of our trip dampened our spirits, but as we headed back down through the pass and looked back into the valley below Mount Casement, I couldn’t help but be reminded of spots I had visited in Jasper and Banff National Parks and Glacier National Park in Montana. It was stunningly beautiful, with mist pouring off the Tinniswood Glacier, across the flower-speckled meadows, and down the creek. Only a handful of people have seen it, and it’s a sight I’ll remember long after I forget the cold, the bugs and the devil’s club.

Photos from this hike [click here]
To download a route that will open in Google Earth [click here]
This link is a zipped kml (Keyhole Markup Language) file,
which will start Google Earth and fly you to the hike area.
Click here for detailed instructions on how to proceed.
Note that you'll need to have Google Earth installed.

Be sure to click on the waypoints in Google Earth to see links to photos.

Click here to download our Google Earth file




Remembering those who served

“Dad was assigned to the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War at the age of 19. He was sent to France where he ended up being gassed. He joined the Second World War in 1939 and wrote the following poem to Mom in Nova Scotia just before shipping out. I remember being at the railroad station in Winnipeg with mom and my five sisters when Dad was leaving to go overseas with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles. I was at Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg with him when he succumbed to war related illnesses in his 50th year.”
~ Donna French, daughter.


A Soldier’s Letter Home
By the late Sergeant Thomas McIlwraith

My own, my truly dear beloved wife,
Mother of the merry blue-eyed maids,
Fruits of the years, the happy years of life,
We spent together, ere the darkening shades,
Of war, brought duty’s call, and force us now to part.
I write to say again that which you know,
Wherever I may be, with you, Dear, stays in my heart;
And home and to the past o’er happy days my memories flow.

As fast we speed Eastward, and from you,
The miles multiply. Clearer comes to me,
The knowledge of the task, which you must stay to do.
Alone, no, not alone, alone you’ll never be
While joyful children’s voices you may hear
In rippling laughter, spring from merry thought.
Mayhap at times they pause, to wipe a tear
From your dear eyes, which poignant memories brought.
Then laughter fades, for loving you they all
Instinctively, have knowledge of the signs of grief
In Mother’s heart. When at the train recall
During our parting moments, all too brief
How baby’s small lips lisped that Mother cried
When letters came that told that I must go.
How firm in bonds of Love our lives are tied.
Within her pure young heart she seemed to know,
Bonds strong as steel, tempered by every hour
Of joys and sorrows shared, of hopes denied
Of obstacles surmounted, buoyed by the power
Of mutual understanding. Ever side by side
We met the trials of grim depression years,
By threatening illness we were closer drawn
And greater than the joy when gone the fears
As brighter shines the sun when storm clouds gone.

The larger spheres, world freedom and democracy
Remote, appearing permanent blessings ‘til the rule
Of Nazi gangsters woke us with a start,
To knowledge that the structure of the home
Of the nation’s structure forms an integral part
As of St. Paul’s cathedral, the dome.
That nations with the ideals of freedom similar
With totalitarian dictators clash
And compete in devastating bloody War
Which we must win, or democratic institutions crash
And with them take all rights of Liberty,
Foundation stones on which we built our home,
Our world, our happiness would crash and cease to be
As crashed the powers of ancient Greece and Rome.

Therefore, my dear, while great the sacrifice,
Though sharp the pains of parting that we feel
Neither could be content to have it otherwise.
We all must suffer for the common weal
And happiness can still be found, though parted,
In thinking of the happy days that were,
And those to come when war clouds have departed
And Peace and Right and Freedom reign once more.

Let thoughts of glad reunion bring elation
To dispel the numbing heartaches of today.
When crushed the threat of Nazi domination
And Freedom’s institutions here to stay.
All must now concentrate on the objective
To brutal despotisms wipe from earth.
Giving cheerfully of that which we yet may give
That a Utopian dead may be given birth
The satisfying knowledge that we’re helping
To give others hope, makes ours a fuller life
God grant, for all that future days again bring
The happiness of peace and home, dear wife.



A moment with Don MacGregor
By Cameron Reid

A number of residents gathered in the Powell River United Church on September 6 to say good-bye to Don MacGregor. On  August 4 at the age of 81, Don finished a life that was full of love and understanding for the many people that he touched. Don wanted to make the world a better place, remembering the disadvantaged and less fortunate; he rarely thought of himself.

Don MacGregor

The list is long, when it comes to naming the many organizations and the committees with which he was associated. It may have been the Santa Claus Parade, or the Hospital Foundation or the Powell River Regals or the Townsite Heritage Society, or Up With People – Don was involved.

Don was instrumental in encouraging others, including the Coast Guard and the RCMP, to erect a permanent cross on Dinner Rock. Not only does the cross remember the five who died in the 1947 grounding of the MV Gulf Stream, but it serves as a permanent reminder of the dangerous waters nearby.

Don’s father, Jock, received the Victory Cross and other awards for his service to his country during World War One. At some point, the medals went missing, and I wonder how many people know of the difficulties, the time, and the effort that went into securing them and seeing them safely housed in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Replicas are on display at the local Royal Canadian Legion.

One of the last times Don and his brother, Jim, were together was on April 10 of this year at the dedication of the memorial to Jock, placed by the Veterans of Canada in Cranberry Cemetery. It was likely the last time that Don Left Evergreen Extended Care. Jim died eleven days before Don in Victoria. It may be worth your while to stand at that spot, remembering the men and women who have sacrificed their lives at Vimy Ridge, Dieppe and even as recently as Afghanistan in the service of their country. Read Jock’s story in the book that Jim has written of their father.

A proud Canadian and a proud BC resident, perhaps it was fitting that Don died on BC Day.

Don MacGregor

At Don’s memorial the following words were said in conclusion:

“May your road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”


Don MacGregor Biography

Don was born in Powell River on March 5th 1927, to Ethel and Col. John MacGregor. He had an older brother James. He was raised on MacGregor Avenue in Cranberry, right next to Cranberry Lake.

He loved visits with his Auntie Nell, his Dad’s sister. Many of you had the pleasure of meeting her and experiencing her dry Scottish wit.

He enjoyed fishing from a very young age, and could often be found fishing at Cranberry Lake.

Don raised goats to help supply the family with milk during the 30's and 40's. In school once, the following announcement was made, “Don, you need to hurry up and get home because your goats are in heat.” The kids sure made fun of him, thinking he was the one who had to service the goats!

Don was very active and successful in sports during high school. At a basketball game one evening, where he was the star player, the Principal said to his Mother, "If Don was half this good at his school work he would be alright!" When he got home later that evening and was in bed, his Mother came in his room and whipped his behind!

Wanting to follow in his father's and brother's footsteps by serving in the war, but being a bit too young, he enlisted and lied about his age. Word soon got to his father and that was the end of that.

He met Carmen in 1950 at a dance at Wildwood Hall, which was organized in her honor after she spent 3 ½ years in the hospital with TB of the hip. That night he went home, after the dance, and told his Mother he had met the girl he was going to marry! While they were courting, when Don picked Carmen up in his truck, she had to sit in the back seat because his dog, JoJo, a big Airedale Terrier had to sit in the front seat with Don! People would chuckle as they drove around town! They were finally married in 1953, after Don postponed their wedding by a year to see the 1952 World Series. He couldn't miss seeing his Dodgers play the Yankees in Brooklyn.

They adopted Jaye in 1960, who is now married to Harvey and they have two daughters, Ashley and Megan.

Don worked at the MacGregor Concrete Plant, the family business he took over after his Dad passed away, and also was a logger, a realtor and a carpenter. He was also a volunteer Cranberry Firefighter.

Don gave his time generously to organizations such as The Lions and Elks Clubs, the Hospital Foundation, The Santa Claus Parade and Up with People. He was a lifetime member of both The Legion and the Regals Hockey Club. He was also an advocate for the Physically Challenged and their causes.

Don loved going up and down the coast on his boat, The Jaymac, and he loved to hunt and fish. He especially loved living at his home at Southview and spending time with his friends and family. He often brought people home for a meal or to give them a place to sleep, if needed, and usually without Carmen knowing ahead of time!

Don and Carmen celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in August of 1993, and in the spring of 1995, Carmen was diagnosed with lung cancer. Unfortunately the cancer spread and she passed away on January 10th, 1996, from a brain tumor.

After Carmen’s death, Don became involved in a few projects to pass his time. He was instrumental in placing a cross on Dinner Rock to honor those who had lost their lives in the Gulf Stream disaster. He also pursued his dream of returning his father’s war medals back to Canada where they are now safely kept at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

After being diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, and losing his mobility, Don lived at the Evergreen Extended Care for the past 7 years. For a man who waa so independent he made the best of living there and was often found being the one who was cheering others up when they went to visit him. He got along great with the staff and had a wonderful rapport with his nurses and caregivers. He told each of them that they were his favorite or the best looking of all! He had some male nurses over the years that he bonded especially well with, and they had their own private jokes that even Jaye didn’t understand when she went to visit her Dad.

Don on his 80th birthday

His brother, Jim, predeceased Don only 11 days earlier. The summer of 2008 brought to an end the final chapter in the lives of the MacGregor boys.

Don’s Celebration of Life took place on September 6, 2008, in Powell River. His ashes were spread out in the ocean at Southview, in front of his house, and on top of his beloved boat the Jaymac, which he sank about 15 years ago. He is now with the love of his life, Carmen. It was only fitting that after his ashes were placed in the ocean, an Eagle flew over. Don loved Eagles and for many years had fed them the remains of his salmon after he filleted them. One of the songs that Donna Beauchesne sang at his service was “On Eagle’s Wings.”