Go Nanaimo Blog Has Moved

The Go Nanaimo Blog has moved to a new internet address: blog.gonanaimo.com.

The archives of the old Go Nanaimo Blog at www.gonanaimo.com/blog used from December 9, 2006, to March 21, 2009, will be left online for reference but this address will no longer be updated. blog.gonanaimo.com is taking its place.

To allow greater control of what appears on my blog, I've switched from Blogger to the WordPress publishing platform. I happily used Blogger for over two years but Blogger is owned by Google and I felt it was better to diversify rather than having everything under one tent. I use the Firefox web browser rather than Internet Explorer for the same reason - a diversification away from Microsoft which provides the operating system on my computer.

Another difference between the old and new blogs is the use of categories and tags to allow users to more easily browse related content. This is nothing new in the blogosphere but I wasn't using tags previously.

User comments will now be allowed on the new Go Nanaimo Blog. I?ve choosen to moderate each individual comment to filter out spam and inappropriate remarks. I welcome intelligent observations or criticism but unrelated comments will not be approved. Feedback, suggestions, and event notices should be sent in using the Contact Us button found on each page.

I invite you to blog.gonanaimo.com.

Nanaimo Blogger Takes A Break

I'm going on holidays on Monday and I won't be in a position to resume regular posting on this blog until late April, 2009. While on the road I'll be posting brief updates on Twitter - see you there!

Lady Smith's Little Theatre

Lady Smith's Little TheatreLast night I saw The Gin Game at Lady Smith's Little Theatre and thoroughly enjoyed it. This production continues until April 4, 2009, with exact times and dates listed on the theatre's website. From April 23 to May 9, 2009, Lady Smith's Little Theatre with present The Cemetery Club with Ellen Paul, Joanne McIntosh, and Terry Whittaker. This funny, heartwarming production was to have run through October, 2008, but had to be canceled after McIntosh fell and broke her leg. Well, Joanne co-starred in The Gin Game, and I can tell you, she's back in fine form! Lady Smith's is different in that it operates as a dinner theatre on most evenings and the food is very good! The Little Theatre is housed in a former schoolhouse which has been tastefully redecorated in old English style. I highly recommend all of their shows: Call 250-245-0658 to reserve or book online. Lady Smith's Little Theatre is at 4985 Christie Road on the north side of Ladysmith. If driving south from Nanaimo, turn right onto Grouhel Road approximately two kilometers beyond the Husky Gas Station and A&W. Stay in the right lane of Grouhel Road and yield right onto Christie Road.

Song for Canada's Harp Seals

Senator Mac Harb Speaks Out

Senator Mac Harb - the first Canadian politician to openly speak out against the annual slaughter of seals. A truly historic event!

Spring 2009 Black Track Tour

Black Track TourTom Paterson, well-known historian, newspaper columnist and raconteur, will lead the first of two 2009 "Black Track" walking tours on Saturday, May 23, 2009. No date has yet been set for his September walk. Tickets will once again be $30.00 for one person, $25.00 each for two or more in a party. "Black Track" refers to those South Wellington area railway lines informally used by miners and residents as a "public thoroughfare" or walking track. Coal dust so thickly coated the lines that they became known locally as the "Black Track."

These historic walking tours have become much anticipated events with tickets selling out a few days after their tour date has been announced. Even if tickets have sold out, those interested may ask that their name be put on a waiting list for September or kept in mind for possible May cancellations. Please e-mail cchristo@shaw.ca or phone 250-714-0377 to reserve, to be put on waiting lists, or for any further information.

Proceeds of ticket sales will again go to support the Friends of the Morden Mine Society in their endeavor to bring about the preservation of Morden Colliery. Its splendid but rapidly deteriorating 1913 headframe and tipple, innovative at the time in their use of reinforced concrete, are the only such remaining above-ground structures on Vancouver Island. Tom, as usual, will be donating his time and his fund of historical mining stories.

The tour will assemble at 10 am at Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park in front of the headframe. Each participant is asked to bring water or juice, a packed lunch/snacks sufficient to sustain them for the length of the tour, typically ranging between five and six hours. Hats, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, and clothing to protect from possible brambles or wayward branches are also recommended. Transportation will be pooled to drive participants to various mine sites, but participants are asked to provide their own to and from the park. Participants are reminded that to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all tour members, they should refrain from wandering off by themselves or engage in conversations that impede the ability of others to hear the commentary. For a detailed description of the May 2008 "Black Track" tour see "Events/Meetings" at www.mordenmine.com

Tozan Cultural Society Show

Tozan PotteryThe Nanaimo Art Gallery, downtown at 150 Commercial Street, is presenting new pottery works by the Tozan Cultural Society. The tozan kiln, home of the fire-breathing dragon, was originally housed in Nanaimo in 1995 before being relocated and rebuilt by Tamagawa University. Because the kiln requires the co-operation of many people working in shifts, each potter depends on the other to maintain a successful firing. Wonderful new works by the Tozan Society will be on display at the downtown gallery from March 19 until March 28, 2009. For more information, call 250-754-1750.

Poetic Wax by Beverley McKeen

Beverley McKeenVancouver Island singer/songwriter Beverley McKeen will launch her second CD, Poetic Wax, at 8 pm on Saturday, April 18, 2009, at the Duncan Garage Showroom, 330 Duncan Street, Duncan. The Duncan Garage is an everyone welcome venue with incredible acoustics and very comfortable soft seating for around 85 people. It ranked among the top 20 venues in the CBC's recent contest for live entertainment spots in Canada. With so many great places to chose from, Vancouver Islanders can be proud that one of their own achieved this high ranking.

Poetic Wax was produced and mixed on Vancouver Island and mastered at Metalworks, Toronto. The sounds of many players are heard on this original 11-song album and an awesome band has been lined up for the launch. Joining Beverley will be Martyn Jones (Refugee, Michael Fury) on bass and guitars, Moritz Behm on violin and mandolin, and Thomas Kinzel on keyboard. Moritz just finished years of touring with Will Millar of the Irish Rovers and a submission from Thomas was in the top 10 for the new Hockey Night in Canada theme. Beverley herself has been playing music since she was a child, first the piano and then the guitar, which she picked up at age 17. She have been a songwriter for over 30 years and is also a published poet in the American Poetry Anthology of 1989. Recently she has performed with Art Napoleon.

McKeen sings about local issues as well as the bigger picture, and three songs on Poetic Wax could be considered social issue themed. One is about water and keeping it safe, clean, and free. David Suzuki really liked the song and sent Beverley a letter with ideas on how to use it. Another is about women elsewhere in the world, who are not nearly as free as they are in Canada. The third social justice song deals with the dangers of the mining industry. Says Beverley, "I was considering Joseph Mairs and Ginger Goodwin in the early stages of the songwriting process on that one. There's a lot of Vancouver Island history in it." The rest of the album is really cool, with varied songs and styles. Children of all ages just love her song about a cat that gets stuck up a tree for six days. Beverley McKeen often plays in Nanaimo, so watch for her.

Island On the Edge

Culinary Arts at Vancouver Island University has teamed up with Global Studies and Global Village Nanaimo to present the film Island On the Edge at 2:30 pm on Monday, March 23, 2009, in the VIU Theatre, Building 310, on campus. The film examines the history of food production on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. It asks, what would happen to our food supply if we were suddenly cut off from the rest of the world? Island On the Edge chronicles the efforts of several crusaders in the field of food production in our region and documents how people can get involved with supporting the local food movement. The screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Sandra Mark, co-founder of the Vancouver Island Heritage Foodservice Co-operative, a local farmer, members of the Solutions Network, and a culinary arts student. Nick Versteeg, the filmmaker, will also be on hand. Attendance is free, but seating is limited! For more information, contact Debbie Shore (Debbie.Shore@viu.ca) or Don Alexander (Don.Alexander@viu.ca).

Five Crucial Facts

Nanaimo elementary school teacher Michelle Martin has sent this letter to Prime Minister Harper and Fisheries Minister Shea:

Here are five crucial facts that you should seriously consider before you drop the axe (or the hakapik) on hundreds of baby seals' tiny heads in a couple of weeks' time.

1) Russia is implementing a ban on the killing of baby seals. Putin refers to this as a "bloody business" that should have ended long ago. Russia used to kill 30,000 baby seals per year and Canada between 200,000 and 330,000 per year. Canada now joins Namibia and a couple of other countries as the last hold-outs of a shameful and brutal industry that has no place in the modern world.

Vancouver 20102) Value of baby seal pelts: 2006: $105. 2008: $35.

3) Value of the seafood boycott against Canada in protest of the baby harp-seal massacre: approximately $750,000,000.

4) The boycott/protest movement against the upcoming Canadian Olympics will ensure that every last person on the planet knows that this Canadian atrocity was resurrected in 1996 and that it continues to target baby seals after they have shed their white coats at two weeks of age.

5) Contrary to the federal government's continued portrayal of Newfoundland as a have-not province, it is now actually the second wealthiest province in the nation. Proceeds from the seal slaughter (which operates at a huge deficit to Canadian taxpayers) barely register in their gross domestic product, and the fishermens' income from seal-killing constitutes less than 5% of their annual income.

Canadian Seal Hunt 2008

Visual Arts Graduating Show

Visual Arts GradsThe Nanaimo Art Gallery, campus location, 900 Fifth Street, building 330, will host the annual Visual Arts Minor Graduating Show from April 3 to April 11, 2009. The opening reception is on Friday, April 3, 2009, from 7 to 9 pm, and appetizers and drinks will be available. This show is the final graduating exhibit for the students in the four year visual arts minor program at Vancouver Island University. It's the culmination of their personal exploration into a large range of techniques, theory, and practice. The show will include painting and drawing, and may also include sculpture, ceramics, and printmaking. Some of the works are for sale at extremely reasonable prices and are wonderful additions to a personal collection or something to display in your home. Admission is by donation. Come out to support some up and coming local artists. For more information, contact the Nanaimo Art Gallery at 250-740-6350.

Nanaimo Anti-Sealing Demonstration

On Saturday, March 14, 2009, over a hundred Vancouver Island residents marched through Nanaimo to show their opposition to the Canadian commercial seal hunt. Bruce Foerster of the West Coast Anti-Sealing Coalition commented that it was the largest anti-sealing demonstration he had seen in British Columbia. Thanks Nanaimo!

Prissy the Rescued Racehorse

PrissyThe Greener Pastures Standardbred Adoption Society is seeking a home for Red Star Pristine, a rescued standardbred racehorse. "Prissy" was rescued from the track last year but Greener Pastures could not adopt her out right away because she was just too sore. She is seven years old and has raced since she was two. She doesn't have any specific injuries, just a sore body from being used and abused on the limestone racing track. Greener Pastures has provided her with full veterinary care and the vet prescribed her six months or more off to slowly recover.

But now Prissy's six months is up, she is still not adoptable as a riding horse at this point in time as she needs even more time to rest and recover. The program manager has to find a new for her to make space for the hundreds of other horses who need her spot, as they are facing slaughter. At this point the program manager is looking at euthanizing her within a months time if a new home cannot be found.

Prissy is not your typical ex racehorse, she is quite possibly the most quiet, well behaved horse on the planet. There is not a mean or excitable bone in her body. She would be safe around people of all ages and experience levels. Her temperament is nothing but, sweet, quiet, and loving. Prissy is trained to be ridden, but at this point she is just not comfortable enough and needs a place where she can rest, recover, and be loved. If you know of anyone who wants a special needs little girl horse, please contact Greener Pastures right away. The adoption fee is $500. Prissy has been a slave to the racing industry for her whole life and she deserves a second chance. She is only seven years old, which is young for a horse, and she has so many years of life left in her! For more information email vancouveranimaldefenseleague@live.ca

Gregory Ball in Haida Gwaii

Gregory BallVancouver Island University Visual Arts professor Gregory Ball has been selected to showcase his artwork in a solo exhibition at the Haida Heritage Centre in the village of Kay'llnagaay near Skidegate, Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands). When Ball visited Haida Gwaii with his 79-year-old father, he never expected to be returning a year later to display his artwork in a prestigious First Nations museum. Twelve of Ball's original drawings will be on display at the centre from April 17 to May 23, 2009. "This is a dream come true," said Ball. "I am really excited."

Last spring, the Haida Heritage Centre invited artists to submit exhibition proposals for the spring and fall of 2009. Ball was selected by a juried committee to exhibit graphite drawings from his series called "Transfigurations of the West Coast landscape" which he developed the work after his trip.

"When I returned, I went back into my studio and documented some of the things I had seen in Haida Gwaii," explained Ball. "I had noticed quite a lot of clear cutting. So I documented some of physical remnants found on sites extricated by logging in order to explore the persistent modern project of development and destruction that lies at the core of our ideas about the natural environment." The resulting drawings depict the landscapes, flora, and fauna of British Columbia "in an ephemeral, disquieting manner," said Ball.

In his drawings, solitary trees materialize out of minimized landscapes. The trees act as both a metaphor for the human form and a statement about the reduction of the natural environment. "My process includes stenciling and blocking out areas of the paper with a fine dust of powdered graphite," explained Ball. "The subjects in these drawings emerge from the background on which they have been placed and create deep pictorial space. They are frail and enduring, and are set against an increasingly desolate horizon, which makes their relationship to limbs and their human-like stature more apparent. There is a compelling sense of impermanence and a perpetual process of decay evoked in these works, which parallels both natural and unnatural cycles in the Queen Charlotte Islands."

For Ball, the exhibition is an opportunity to display his work in a location significant to its creation and concept. And he expects his return visit to Haida Gwaii will be even more meaningful. While visiting the community, he will make a presentation at the opening night of his exhibition, but he also hopes to "engage in conversations with the local community that inspired the work and the people that are affected directly by the social, political, environmental and cultural issues that arise from the themes presented in my work."

"To me, this trip to Haida Gwaii is about more than an art exhibition," he said. "I see it as a wonderful opportunity to make connections with the people in Haida Gwaii and forge a deeper and more meaningful understanding of their culture and their people."

The Haida Heritage Centre is dedicated to conserving and making accessible the human and natural history of Haida Gwaii through exhibitions, research, and public programs. The $26 million centre is a series of longhouses connected by interior walkways and fronted with six traditional totem poles representing each of the 14 clans. The feeling is of a traditional Haida seaside village, and a celebration of the living culture of the Haida people. Thousands of visitors from around the world have enjoyed visiting this new facility and its programs, in the beautiful natural setting that is Haida Gwaii.

2009 Hip Hop for Peace

Hip Hop for Peace Kia Kadiri

Nanaimo's Popular Participation Movement is presenting it's 4th annual Hip Hop for Peace from 2 to 5 pm on Sunday, March 22, 2009, at Diana Krall Plaza downtown. This rally and free concert marks the International Day of Protest Against the War in Iraq. There will be a breakdance showcase, peace poetry, graffiti, speakers, and special guest Kia Kadiri. Y'all come.

The Future of Food

There is a revolution going on in the farm fields and on the dinner tables of North America, a revolution that is transforming the very nature of the food we eat. The Future of Food offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. and Canadian grocery store shelves for the past decade.

Nanaimo Students Raise Over $2700

McGirr Elementary students, NanaimoJunior Achievement of British Columbia has announced that grade seven students from McGirr Elementary School, 6199 McGirr Road, Nanaimo, have won JA's A Business of Our Own Company of the Year. Team Animals at Large earned over $500 by selling hand made greeting cards that featured photos of their own pets. The group will receive a perpetual trophy and $500 cash that is to be combined with their net earnings and donated to the local SPCA.

Six other classes participated from the following schools in Nanaimo: Quarterway Elementary, McGirr Elementary, Frank J Ney Elementary, and Cilaire Elementary. The total amount of funds raised for local Nanaimo charities by the seven participating classes was over $2,700.00. The winning class was determined by total points awarded: 75 percent based upon judging results from February 21, 2009, and 25 percent from the total profit realized by each class. Special thanks to their teacher Mrs. Mark and to Junior Achievement volunteer advisor Henri van Amerongen of Dare 2beU Academy for helping to facilitate and coach this class of students.

The students, who have been participating in JABC's Business Basics — A Business of Our Own program since the beginning of January, created a retail business and sold their products at a special sales event in February. "Having the students in one location selling their wares showed their commitment to running a company and following a business plan," says JA Program Manager, Charlayne Jones, "The project taught them that a little hard work can bring them huge rewards, including raising money for charity."

Designed for students in grades 6-8, Business Basics - A Business of Our Own takes the traditional summertime lemonade stand to the next level. Delivered over a five week period, by community volunteers, students organize and operate their own retail stand and assess their business performance. By taking on leadership roles within a management team, they discover the importance of individual performance and the value of teamwork as they take a business idea and turn it into a reality.

"When I asked the kids if they would ever do this again..it was a resounding YES! And they would definitely recommend it to other classes", says JA Volunteer Jennifer Dayne, Account Manager at Island Saving Credit Union, "They had a blast and loved every minute of it. It was a great experience and it was sad to say good bye to them at our last class."

Junior Achievement (JA) is the world's largest not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating young people about business. With over 120 charters world wide, JA brings a diverse global view of business to local communities. Since 1955 Junior Achievement of British Columbia (JABC) has partnered with educators, donors and volunteers to bring a real world experience into the classroom. Our programs give students the confidence and skills they need to become the next generation of business and community leaders. For more information, contact Charlayne Jones, Program Manager, Junior Achievement of British Columbia, tel. 250-753-7578.

Nanaimo Walk for Seals

Nanaimo Walk for Seals

Demos in Nanaimo Courtenay Victoria

Three public demonstrations opposing the Canadian commercial seal hunt will take place on Vancouver Island this weekend. On Saturday, March 14, 2009, Nanaimo residents will gather at 1 pm at the Downtown Nanaimo Library on Commercial Street for a Walk for Seals. In Courtenay, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Citizen Support for Marine Mammal Protection (CSMMP) are organizing a "Not With Our Tax Dollars!" demonstration at Cliffe Avenue and the 17th Street Bridge at 2:30 pm on Saturday, March 14. The Victoria Walk for Seals on Sunday, March 15, will begin at noon on Centennial Square by City Hall and walk to the Legislature.

Hundreds of people will gather and take to the streets in Victoria, Nanaimo, and Courtenay this weekend to peacefully demonstrate, joining thousands of other compassionate people in over 40 countries around the world in solidarity against the senseless and barbaric slaughter of baby seals! Canada has now the distinction of being "the most protested country on earth" and the commercial seal slaughter is the one and only reason why! If you can, please come out this Saturday to show the world that there are Canadians who are extremely upset by this barbaric slaughter. We must never stop protesting until the Government of Canada comes to their senses and cancels the commercial seal hunt, relegating it to the very darkest pages of our history books forever!

Comox Valley Demo on Saturday

Harp SealOn Saturday, March 14, 2009, at 2:30 pm, Comox Valley residents will meet at the corner of Cliffe Avenue and the 17th Street Bridge in Courtenay for a demonstration of opposition to the federal government-sanctioned east coast commercial seal hunt. This event is a joint action of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Citizen Support for Marine Mammal Protection (CSMMP). Other gatherings of concerned citizens are scheduled to take place simultaneously from coast to coast and throughout the weekend to send a message of public will to Ottawa: "Not with Our Tax Dollars!"

"Senator Mac Harb made history on March 3rd by being the first Canadian politician to propose legislation that would put an end to the commercial seal hunt," says event co-coordinator, Mike Nestor. "There has never been a more crucial time for all Canadians of conscience to declare their support for an end to this largest remaining slaughter of marine mammals on the planet."

Harb's private member's bill was introduced in the Senate on the same day the European Parliament's internal market committee voted to strictly ban trade in seal fur and all related products. Exemptions would apply to traditional subsistence hunting for Inuit and other aboriginal communities, but the Canadian government has vowed to fight any successful European-wide ban.

"Our politicians continue to spend our tax dollars propping up this dying industry in spite of dwindling markets for fashion furs," says Nestor. "And in spite of international recognition that these defenseless animals sometimes suffer under extremely brutal conditions."

"It is misleading to suggest that encouraging a switch from the use of hakapiks to guns this year will ensure a reduction in suffering out on the ice flows," adds CSMMP founder Fireweed. "Legal hunt observers have documented seal pups not killed instantly by gunshot managing to escape in agony to open waters where they drown."

Canadian tax payers' dollars would be better spent on license buy-backs and retraining out-of-work fishers. CSMMP hopes people will rise to the occasion and come out to demonstrate on Saturday. For further information about the "Not With Our Tax Dollars!" campaign, contact CSMMP at 1-250-335-1209.