The Laneway, 22 Months, and The Tree House Cafe

The public laneway adjacent to the Tree House (aka Manson Rd) is within the core of our downtown, where we as community and tourists alike gather to share 111+ consecutive nights of great live music while dining under the stars, year after year, every summer. That all changes this year. It appears that the music will be silent and dinner will be absent from the Tree House Cafe several nights a week, every week, throughout this coming summer season. This must be the result of nearly two years of bureaucratic run-around and the ongoing lack of resolution to the 2014 July 1 Canada Day notice that the harbour authority served to the Tree House demanding that they cease alcohol sales to the cafe's outdoor tables. The harbour authority's notice also stated that they would no longer permit the cafe to place any tables at all outside along the walkway once the summer 2014 summer season concluded. Had the Tree House been forced to comply with this ludicrous seating demand, surely we wou…
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2016 Film Festival: Debris

The following article was written by Robert McTavish as part of a series of articles about filmmakers coming to the Salt Spring Film Festival on March 4-6, 2016. Filmmaker John Bolton will be attending the festival and leading a discussion about the film following the screening. The Filmmaker series is sponsored by Stonehouse Bed and Breakfast. Debris It's not every coastal dweller who keeps an organized library of flotsam and jetsam. But over the years Tofino parks worker Pete Clarkson has seen alot come in and tucked it away for use in his often fun and irreverent artwork. Then, near the end of 2011, something new began washing up on shore. It was debris, and it had crossed the Pacific ocean from the Tōhoku area of Japan, where in March of that year, a 9.0 earthquake and the resulting tsunami killed thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands. When Clarkson mentioned the estimated 1.5 million tonnes of incoming marine debris in a talk at the Vancouver Aquari…
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2016 Film Festival: Ninth Floor

The following article was written by Robert McTavish as part of a series of articles about filmmakers coming to the Salt Spring Film Festival on March 4-6, 2016. Filmmaker Selwyn Jacob will be attending the festival and leading a discussion about the film following the screening. The Filmmaker series is sponsored by Stonehouse Bed and Breakfast. Ninth Floor At the time of the 1969 riot at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia) in Montreal, Selwyn Jacob was fresh from his Caribbean home attending university in Alberta. He, like the rest of Canada, watched it unfold on the news. Protesting students had occupied a ninth floor computer lab, angry with a full year of university inaction to racism charges against one of its professors. The images echoed those familiar south of the border: riot police, vandalism, fire and racial violence. "Remember, this was the Montreal of Expo '67," says Jacob of Canada's squeaky clean image and how the riot changed that both at home a…
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2016 Film Festival: For Our Daughters

The following article was written by Robert McTavish as part of a series of articles about filmmakers coming to the Salt Spring Film Festival on March 4-6, 2016. Filmmaker Daniel Pierce will be attending the festival and leading a discussion about the film following the screening. The Filmmaker series is sponsored by Stonehouse Bed and Breakfast. For Our Daughters The long dusty road to northern Ghana was a good thing for Daniel Pierce. The SFU grad had recently directed his first documentary, about Vancouver's famed "Hollow Tree" in Stanley Park, and had signed on to do sound and production work for a documentary about four teenaged Ghanaian women about to embark on a Canadian speaking tour. But just before the flight to western Africa, the director bowed out. Now Pierce and the associated charity's founder, Shannen O'Brian, were to be co-directors. The slow-going drive offered lots of time to talk it out and Pierce was, as good documentary demands, adaptable: "I gues…
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2016 Salt Spring Film Festival: Elder in the Making

The following article was written by Robert McTavish as part of a series of articles about filmmakers coming to the Salt Spring Film Festival on March 4-6, 2016. Filmmaker Chris Hsiung and film subject Cowboy Smithx will be attending the festival and leading a discussion about the film. Elder in the Making Filmmaker Chris Hsiung walked away from a career as a successful software engineer seeking a deeper connection with the world around him. He soon found that, for him, film became one way to make that connection, and the camera "was an interesting tool to share stories people can't experience on their own." But when he finished his first feature documentary, about a consciousness-raising road trip with a young Blackfoot "elder in the making," would the experience translate on screen? Hsiung's parents, emigrants from Taiwan, supplied his answer. As cultural newcomers to urban Alberta, they had no previous contact with the rural indigenous peoples and were now thr…
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Linda's List: Starting Yams and Seedy Tips

The days are getting longer and brighter! I can already feel it (despite the snow covering everything at my house this morning)....which brings thoughts of gardening, seed orders, and new plans for the best garden yet. If you want to start sweet potatoes (AKA "yams") from a tuber, now is the time to get started. Get small or medium-sized tubers of any kind you like to eat from the grocery store or use one of your own tubers if you grew a crop last summer. One root usually produces 5-10 (or even more) slips. Because, sometimes grocery store tubers won't grow, I suggest starting 2 tubers from 2 different sources to make sure you get one that sprouts. I used to recommend only buying organic tubers--until I had a bag of those that wouldn't grow at all (?). Unlike Irish potatoes, which only sprout from eyes, sweet potatoes can produce roots and shoots from anywhere on the tuber. Prop a tuber upright in a jar and fill with water, half-way up the tuber. Or lay a tuber on its side i…
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Salt Spring Reads: The Freedom of Jenny

Salt Spring Reads is an online blend of book review and book club sharing the stories of books with Salt Spring Island roots, and to discuss them with the community. My first choice for this new feature is a book labeled YA (Young Adult) but really is a book anyone here would enjoy, regardless of age. Of course, the book is available in local bookstores and the library. The Freedom of Jenny by Julie Burtinshaw When I first read this book, I was enthralled. Not only by the well written story of an African American family who buy their own freedom and travel west on the pioneer trail. But specifically by the fact that Jenny ultimately settles right here on Salt Spring Island. Jenny Estes shares her father's dream of freedom. But for Jenny, who was born into slavery in Missouri in the 1840's, freedom seems an impossible dream. She toils alongside her mother in the steaming kitchen of the Leopold plantation, trying her best to be humble and obedient so that Mrs. Leopol…
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Local Recipe: Salt Spring Scone

March is such a fantastic time on Salt Spring, daylight becomes noticeably longer, flowers are blooming and frogs are croaking around the lakes, the buzz of spring is in the air! There is a sense of renewed life that is so prevalent at this time of year when our mild winter transitions to spring. The mornings at the café are some of my favorite times there; enjoying the calm before the storm, watching the sun rise over the distant islands and our beautiful harbour and getting ready for another busy day. For the better part of the last decade, my work day has begun with baking scones. When Lis and I opened Auntie Pesto’s Café in 2004 the competition for morning trade was fierce! Well established locations had the lock down on the morning muffin and we knew it would be a great challenge to crack that nut. No matter how you pronounce them, our scones have become a morning staple at the café for many of you. With a cup of our exceptional coffee, they may very well be the perfect…
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Film Festival 2015: The Price We Pay

The following article was written by Robert McTavish as part of a series of articles about filmmakers coming to the Salt Spring Film Festival on March 6-8, 2015. Filmmaker Harold Crooks will be attending the festival and lead a discussion about the film. The filmmaker series is sponsored by Harbour House. _________________________________ The Price We Pay At first glance, it seems an unusual career path. Harold Crooks went from McGill University to a fellowship at the Delhi School of Economics before making the jump to the London Film School. In Delhi he studied under the then-head of the Planning Board of India, a mentor with decidedly socialist leanings. But, says Crooks, “it dawned on me that that was not the direction the world was heading in. So I thought I would be more useful in documentary.” That path now makes perfect sense, with his subsequent cinematic output making a strong case for filmmakers steeped in other disciplines. As a producer, writer and dire…
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Film Festival 2015: Coastal Tarsands: Journey to Deleted Islands

The following article was written by Robert McTavish as part of a series of articles about filmmakers coming to the Salt Spring Film Festival on March 6-8, 2015. Filmmaker Dennis Allen will be attending the festival and lead a discussion about the film. The filmmaker series is sponsored by Harbour House. ----------------------------- Coastal Tarsands: Journey to Deleted Islands Filmmaker Richard Boyce could have made a documentary about the dubious geographical claims of the Enbridge Corporation without paddling his own kayak in from BC’s northwest coast towards the port of Kitimat. “All the films dear to my heart came from first-hand accounts,” he says, pointing out that this way he could meet the locals and experience the actual natural environments that face the pending onslaught of oil supertankers. “My passion really awakened,” he continues, “I mean, I knew there were whales out there, but it’s different having one bump into my kayak. Being there made it much more…
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Film Festival 2015: The Pristine Coast

The following article was written by Robert McTavish as part of a series of articles about filmmakers coming to the Salt Spring Film Festival on March 6-8, 2015. Filmmaker Dennis Allen will be attending the festival and lead a discussion about the film. The filmmaker series is sponsored by Harbour House. ----------------------------- The Pristine Coast Scott Renyard trained as a scientist before becoming a filmmaker, and it’s evident in the thorough nature of his new documentary. Yet combing through the complex layers of the fish farming industry he acts the detective as well, revealing a dark undercurrent off British Columbia’s so-called “pristine” coast. The shocking results made him worry: “Are the conclusions I’m drawing correct?” Cue the years connecting the dots between countless research papers and government documents, because he soon found “every time I thought it was over, I would find something new.” It all began modestly enough while fishing on the Ved…
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Salt Spring Film Festival Guide and Schedule

The 16th Salt Spring Film Festival - March 6 - 8, 2015 (presented by Country Grocer) Welcome to your annual film festival feast! After many months of the selection process, the 16th Salt Spring Film Festival is ready to showcase the best of international and Canadian documentary films. From the Yukon wilderness to the slums of Mumbai. From a whistleblower holed up in Hong Kong to a teenager on a solo round-the-world voyage. From Indonesian street musicians to Canadian politicians fighting for their dignity. Let the Salt Spring Film Festival bring the world - and more - to your doorstep. Program Guide Program Schedule
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Film Festival 2015: All The Time In The World

The following article was written by Robert McTavish as part of a series of articles about filmmakers coming to the Salt Spring Film Festival on March 6-8, 2015. Filmmaker Suzanne Crocker will be attending the festival and lead a discussion about the film. The filmmaker series is sponsored by Harbour House. ----------------------------- It wasn't supposed to be a film at all. But when Suzanne Crocker told friends and relatives down south what she was planning - a nine month sojourn with her husband and three young children deep into the wilderness beyond her Dawson City home - they were incredulous. In the bush her family had the chance to unplug and reconnect. Her Yukon neighbours said "way to go!" The southern city folk said "Film it!" Thank the documentary gods that she did, because the end result, All The Time In The World has met with standing ovations, festival awards, and countless fans such as David Suzuki grateful for the experiment. "As a filmmaker your go…
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Local Recipe: Crab Cake Eggs Benedict

It’s February again, the middle of winter, the time of year we Salt Springers like to boast about our gorgeous weather and how grateful we are to not live anywhere else in Canada. While the rest of Canada deals with snow and sub-zero temperatures, here it feels like Spring is in the air and we know it’s close because the daffodils and tulips are pushing through. One of the many wonderful things about living on the west coast is the abundance of local food available year round, there may not be much in the garden right now, but there are crabs in the ocean, and the chickens are still laying eggs, so why not indulge in a crab cake? My fresh, Dungeness Crab cake recipe is always a hit with both locals and visitors alike. Its versatility lends itself well to a variety of ways to serve up. I like them for Sunday Brunch with a perfectly poached egg on top and a creamy hollandaise from scratch but if the poached eggs and hollandaise create too rich a combination for you to digest, …
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Video: Salt Spring Cheese

This has to be one of our favourite places on the island and one of the top destinations of many visitors to Salt Spring, especially at Easter. Check out this new video piece about our very own Salt Spring Island Cheese.
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