Santa and reindeer support island bike paths

December 20, 2016

I like to walk. Some people have difficulty believing this. Why would someone want to walk if she or he could drive a car or bike instead?

Even though I no longer own a car, I do enjoy renting one occasionally, During last summer when I was housesitting and then staying a few days at Painted Turtle Guest House in Nanaimo, BC, I rented a car once and island hopped over to Gabriola Island. I enjoyed viewing the sand Buddha being created by a visiting monk there. Stopped and walked down to the gorgeous beach several times. Enjoyed the ferry ride there and back.

The second time I jumped into my rental car and spent an overnight at Yellow Point Lodge in Ladysmith, BC where people stay in rooms and rustic cabins right on the rock and sandy ocean beaches. I imbibed in scrumptious several course meals, chatted with Canadians and Americans doing the same, went for a sauna and hot tub soak once and swam in a salt water pool adjacent to the ocean twice.

I also rode a bike around. It was challenging but I did it. I have promised myself for a few years now to master the art of bike riding again but what gets in my way is a seat that is too high, a bar that is too high or brakes that do not work to my liking.

But when I walk, I am at one with the beauty of the earth. The more natural the location, the better. Things slow. I breathe. I celebrate the beautiful trees, birds, flowers, lake and ocean water, the sky, the sun and even the rain and snow. I am sure this has something to do with being a Capricorn, an earth sign in the Zodiac.

Island Pathways is a Salt Spring Island group (I assume it still exists) that raises money and awareness to build more bike paths on the island. I have always liked it because– guess what? bike paths can be used for walks, too. They also feature members and others who have gone on interesting and often challenging bike trips around the world. These I find extremely enjoyable because Travel is my middle name. Well, it isn’t really but you know what I mean.

Here is a short piece I did about a financial donation to Island Pathways back on the end of the last century:

Gulf Islands Driftwood

Wednesday, December 15, 1999

Santa and reindeer support island bike paths

Santa Claus touched down in his sleigh at Portlock Park last Friday to deliver a $5000 Christmas gift to Island Pathways.

Although Santa — a.k.a Telus engineer Bob Hope — and his reindeer were only make-believe, the money is real.

“We are so pleased that Telus supports our efforts to get this first section of bikeway rolling,” said Island Pathways president Claire Heffernan.

Heffernan and Island Pathways vice-president Wendy Webb composed an application letter and the necessary financial documentation after Webb became aware that Telus had donation money available for community projects.

Webb previously worked at B.C. Tel (now Telus) before relocating to Salt Spring from Victoria, and had remembered Hope dressed as Santa Claus at Christmas company parties in the past.

Fortunately, Island Pathways’ treasurer Margaretha Nordine was able to borrow a red and white suit from Fernwood School.

Antlers for the “reindeer” came from Greenwoods where both Nordine and Heffernan work.

Island Pathways also received $1,000 last week from Mary and Manson Toynbee, bringing total contributions to the Portlock Park bikeway up to $24,500.

Project donors to date include the Rotary Club, Salt Spring Foundation, Island Pathways, the Bicycle Bob Memorial Fund and the Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission.

According to Heffernan, the final contribution to the bikeway will come from the provincial Community Spirit Program early in 2000.


Tanya now works as a psychic doing tea leaf readings, tarot, etc.; practises reiki and is a fulltime house sitter. Find out more about her wonderfully unusual life at her web: or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter. Or contact her directly at or 250-538-0086 cell.

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (available from the author or from, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters and Women Rights/Writes.

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