Tag Archives: Pender Islands

Tourism booming on friendly Penders, claim businesses

February 14, 2000

My experience with living on, visiting and housesitting on many of the Gulf Islands on the west coast Canada has made me realize that winter life and even winter lifestyle is quite different from summer life and a summer life style.

One thing, for sure, is Gulf Islanders experience lean economic times in the winters and, although they do not always welcome tourists in the summer, they do welcome tourism dollars:

Gulf Islands Driftwood – Pender Islands Edition

Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Tourism booming on friendly Penders, claim businesses

by Tanya Lester

Accommodations businesses report that tourism is busier than ever on the Penders this summer and they chalk it up to a strong American dollar, hospitable islanders and nicer weather.

At the Inn on Pender Island, owner Dave Dryer said he is “busy as a bird dog.” Last years was a decent year while this year is fantastic, he said, with July’s business surpassing that of last August which is traditionally the best month. July and September are usually the second best months.

Room bookings are up 40 per cent, Dryer said. He keeps thinking the bubble will burst but bookings are already looking good for September. Restaurant business is also good.

Dryer is checking in more people from farther away in the United States including California, North Carolina and Texas. There are more Albertans over last year while people form BC still make up the bulk of his guests. He always gets some Germans each year and there was also an Italian visitor this season.

The better weather earlier on in the summer was a factor as was the strong US dollar, Dryer said.

The only fly in the ointment has been some snags for tourists coming from Nanaimo who found they were out of luck if they did make a reservation for the ferry.

Penny Tomlin-Skillen of Sahhali Serenity Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast told the Penders Edition that 70 per cent of her guests are Americans this year. The strong US dollar is enticing them across the border and into the Gulf Islands.

Once here, Tomlin-Skillen said, the tourists appreciate the great food at local restaurants, the first-class kayaking and the “good-hearted people of Pender.”

Tomlim-Skillen has several stories about the residents going the extra mile for visitors. One man repaired a jeep’s roof rack, used for carrying a kayak, at no charge. Another rescued a man who in trouble in a kayak on the water.

American guests have the highest praise for local doctors when they require medical assistance, said Tomlin-Skillen.  They appreciate how effective and efficient the physicians are.

In another case, someone who experienced a stroke was impressed with the ambulance crew.

Several commented about how the work of local artisans has diversified, said Tomlin-Skillen.

She also felt another factor contributing to booming business is the warmer sunnier weather over last summer.

Barry Lynd at Beauty Rest by the Sea Bed and Breakfast also finds business is up over last year.

He said his bed and breakfast seems to attract retired and professional people including the man who owns and underwater motel in Florida. They spend a day looking around the islands and then tend to want to sit outdoors and relax, taking in the ocean traffic.

He said a lot of Albertans have visited this summer as well as tourists from the Lower Mainland and the Pacific Northwest.

Surprisingly, he has had a number of guests from Vancouver Island.

Lynd figures that after they pass by the Gulf Islands on the ferries to Vancouver a few times, they are enticed to come and visit.

Some of his visitors have bought property on the Penders, including a family from Singapore. Tomlin-Skillen has had the same experience with guests from England, Texas and Langley purchasing homes here.

Other businesses not specializing in accommodations are finding visitor impact not as significant.

Business is fair at the Galloping Moon Gallery according to Bob Culmer.

Culmer said the threat of BC Ferries workers going on strike earlier in the season put a damper on people’s plans to come to the islands.

Malcolm Armstrong of Armstrong Artists’ Studio indicated he is doing reasonably well. He said the studio, which he has operated for 13 years, used to do better before studio numbers increased on the Penders.

“There are probably more people coming to Pender but not in proportion with the studio numbers,” he said.

Shirley LePers of the Lions Club’s Visitor Info Centre estimates the number of tourists was up 25 per cent in July as compared to an-all time low last year which left figures at 30 per cent less than other years.

There is no question that 95 percent of visitors who seek information from the info centre kiosk are from other parts of BC, she said.

Next in numbers is Washington State followed by Alberta and then the Prairies, with a smattering from Europe and Asia.

They almost always want a map and want to know where the walking trails, beaches and craft stores are. LePers added that the Saturday markets are also popular.

Most come with accommodations already booked, said LePers.

The info cenre is volunteer-run with two students — one from May to September and another from July to August — employed there for the summer.


To read more posts on this blog of eclectic stories and other writings by and about Tanya, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya’s books are available in some library systems and Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew can be purchased from the author or on amazon.ca  Her other titles are Women Rights/Writes and Dreams and Tricksters.

Tanya now works as an intuitive counsellor who specializers in tea leaf reading, tarot, psychic channeling, gypsy card reading and mediumship. She is also a Reiki master and fulltime housesitter. For more on her services go to her website at teareading.wordpress.com   She also has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google and is an Align member. You can also contact her directly by texting or calling 2505380086 or emailing tealeaf.56@gmail.com




Pender fall fair — a blue ribbon event

December 29, 2017

Fall  fairs are an event right across Canada that rate up there with the excitement of Christmas for many, many children and even adults across this land.

Think about it. If you have raised an animal for the last year, carefully considered what and how you grew your garden or baked and baked again in order to win a ribbon at the fall fair then you are very excited when the judgement day finally arrives.

Here is my account on one Pender Islands fall fair:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Pender Islands Edition

Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Pender fall fair — a blue ribbon event

by Tanya Lester

Along with autumn, music was in the air as people from both on and off-island flocked to the community hall to share their expertise or enjoy the islands’ abundance Saturday at the Pender Islands Fall Fair. Over 2000 attended the annual event.

Held in and around the now completed community hall, the fair offered things and on explore at tables and displays scattered all over the outside grounds and on both levels inside the hall.

Tucked away in a corner next to the art exhibit on the second floor was the Nu-To-Yu Store display featuring some of the 18 entries in its competition this year.

To compete for the second-hand store’s prize ribbons, entrants had to purchase something from the store and remake it into something else, said convener Pamella Smith.

Judged by past presidents Muriel Wallace and Cecily Overall, the first prize went to Kathy Oram who remodeled an old suit into a beaded costume.

The second prize also kept in tune with the fair’s recycling theme. Carole Sheaves rescued lawn chairs that even the second hand store was ready to throw out and replaced the old material.

Third prize went to Jean MacDonald for her jean purse. It brought back nostalgic memories of the 1970s when the top of a pair of jeans was sewn into a purse to sling over the arm.

Into its second year offering this competition, the Nu-To-Yu has operated on the Penders for 15 years and has put back half a million dollars into worthwhile community projects.

Outside on the grounds one of the visitors was Jessie Anderson from the BC Women’s Institute in Cowichan Station on Vancouver Island. She attended the fair to discuss genetically modified or engineered food.

“Biotechnology has taken genes from a wide range of organisms including fish, pigs, bacteria, viruses, insects and even humans and transferred them into the foods we eat,” states a BC Women’s Institute pamphlet. “You may already be eating tomatoes containing fish genes or canola oil containing human genes.”

The brochure explains that the Women’s Institute began in Canada when Ontario founder Adelaide Hoodless “lost her baby because of impure milk.”

Anderson said the organization is 103 years old and now has branches in 70 countries around the world with nine and a half million women involved.

It is the only women’s organization that has a seat in the United Nations with world peace being one of its major goals, she added.

Women in more prosperous countries work with women and families in Third World countries through projects like Pennies for Friendship.

Anderson said she attended the fair with the idea of encouraging the formation of a Women’s Institute group on the Penders. She was optimistic this would happen by the afternoon’s end as some women had given her their names and phone numbers to contact later.

Near the beer garden, Pender Island Adventure Society members were celebrating their first-prize win for best float in the parade that kicked off the day.

Their float, whose size was described as being “half the parade,” featured a beach scene, guitars and empty tequila bottles. The membership, which fluctuates between 15 and 100, is made up of individuals who seem dedicated to having a good time.ti

Their inaugural event was a night of camping at Beaumont Marine Park as they welcomed in the New Millennium at the beginning of the year.

Others obviously intent on having a good time were the kids and adults busily creating something new out of recycled materials, not far from a book display on subjects like voluntary simplicity and recycling at home.

Books could also be found at the Farmers’ Institute Bookmobile, a large green wooden cart. People can continue to use the bookmobile from Friday through Sunday when it will be located on the community hall grounds.

Money can be donated to the project by dropping it in a slot on the cart. Books can be left at the Saturday Farmers’ Market or at the hall on other days.

As people dismantled their displays and took prize-winning fruit, vegetables, preserves, cake, pies and the like back to their vehicles, Mike Archer from St. John’s Ambulance ases of wawas pleased to report that his expertise was seldom called upon during the entire day.

He said exceptions were six cases of wasp stings and some minor cuts.

The service came from Victoria.


To read more posts in this eclectic blog of published newspapers articles and other writings, go to writinsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya has been working for over 2 decades as a psychic who specializes in tea leaf reading and tarot. She is also a reiki master and housesitter. Her web site is at teareading.wordpress.com   Or you can contact her directly by text or phone at 250-538-0086 or email: tealeaf.56@gmail.com

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew which can be purchased through amazon.ca or from the author. She also authored Women Rights/Writes and Dreams and Tricksters. These books are available in some library systems.




Woodies share the folk and art of hobby

April 13, 2017

At any given moment, I wonder how many men and women are slogging wearily away at their office desks in government jobs or selling retail or defending clients in court or standing up to speak in the House of Commons while a thought niggles at the backs of their minds.

I imagine it goes something like this:”When I leave this all behind, I can spend all the time I want every day woodworking in my garage.”

Suffice to say the Penders and other Gulf Islands has a sizable share of these dreamers who become the doers known as woodworkers:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Penders Edition

Wednesday, March 22, 2000

Woodies share the folk and art of hobby

by Tanya Lester

Their roots run through the community like those of the trees from which they glean their materials, yet the Pender Island Shop Craft Guild (SCG) members say there is always something new for them to learn about woodworking.

Close to a decade old and numbering 50 strong, the SCG’s reason for meeting monthly is the same as it was in the beginning.

“We started by saying we can learn from each other and why don’t we get together every once in awhile,” said Bill Bastendorf.

One of their first major projects saw 30 of them gather at Kevin Oke’s place for an old-fashioned barn-raising, which resulted in a studio and a major education in woodworking techniques for everyone involved.

Nowadays some of the more experienced members are teaching small groups of women to become dexterous in the art of woodworking. This is one reason why monthly meetings throughout the winter season often focus on basics such as measuring and use of both power and hand tools.

Bastendorf said that after being taught the basics, the women apprentices continued right on working — from getting plans and buying the lumber to make finished products that won them prizes.

The SCG is a resource to the Pender community in general and has worked on the beautiful community hall, and spruced things up at the Pender Island Golf and Country Club.

For some SCG members, woodworking has become an almost all-consuming hobby. John Fox will often spend eight hours a day on a project if it really interests him, turning his tools off at 4 p.m. only because he knows tiredness can cause an accident.

“The problem with being retired is you don’t get a day off,” joked Fox, who took up woodworking as therapy when he was a management consultant in Calgary.

“You never reach a point that you know it all; it’s a lot of fun and you lose yourself in it,” Bastendorf said.

The retired psychologist first got into woodworking when he was working on his doctorate in southern California. He found that when he needed something like a box to put things in between his front car seats that he would visit a neighbor handy with wood who insisted on teaching Bastendorf how to do it instead of doing it for him.

In the 1950s, this neighbor encouraged Bastendorf in the woodworking craft by selling him a whole set of tools for $100 when they were worth hundreds more.

In turn, Bastendorf loaned these tools to a friend when he went overseas for what was supposed to be a year but turned into 20. When he returned, he got them back.

Terry Bowyer believes his love for woodworking might be in the genes since his father did it before him. “It’s just a very pleasing thing to do,” he said.

Bowyer likes working with cherry wood, which is quite in vogue nowadays (as is walnut, although it used to be oak), but finds it tricky to work with as there are wood grains running “every which way.”

Some of his finest and most innovative work consists of pens made out of broom and bowls that show off natural wood designs for their artistic quality.

Woodworking, according to Fox, can be an art or it can be a folk piece. As an example, he uses two cabinets he has made. One is chunkier in nature, with the nails showing up as they don’t quite match the colour of the finished wood. Fox will somewhat carelessly put the cabinet in the back of his vehicle when taking it somewhere.

The other piece is a streamlined beauty and Fox treats it like the piece of art that it is, and he wraps it in towels before transporting it.

To work on a wood piece in this way takes time.

Fox’ next project is a diningroom set which will take him two years to complete.

If they were trying to make a living from woodwork, the profit would probably work out to 50 cents a piece, but with the hobby group’s support Fox knows he can ask any member’s advice if he gets stuck on some aspect of his creation.

Fox moved to Pender in 1993 and still numbers the “woodies” he first met in the SCG among his base of island friends.

The group’s monthly meetings have ranged from using the chainsaw to guitar making to stained glass and the fundamentals of blacksmithing. This is all available for the grand total of a $5 annual membership….


To read more posts in this blog of articles and other writing on many different topics, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya works as an intuitive reader who specializes in tea leaf reading, tarot and mediumship. Her web is teareading.wordpress.com and she has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. Or she can be reached directly by email at tealeaf.56@gmail.com  or text or call 250-538-0086.

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew sometimes available from the author and always available at amazon.com  She also penned Dreams and Tricksters besides Women Rights/Writes.  These books are all available in some public libraries.





‘Sunny’ group creates unique floral designs

January 29, 2017

“I got sunshine on a cloudy dayyyyy,” was how that 1970s pop song went.

Well, I think one of the best ways to conjure up sunshine from within is to be creative. And, it doesn’t have to be creating like Picasso did. e

Read the following:

Gulf Islands Driftwood – Penders Edition
Wednesday, March 29, 2000
‘Sunny’ group creates unique floral designs
by Tanya Lester

As I head up to Peter and Margaret Adamson’s second-floor garden room where the Floral Art Design Group meets once a week, I am told that the room is sunny even when the weather is miserable outside.

After spending some time with the women who are creating designs for the covers of cards out of a wide range of pressed flowers, grasses and even weeds, I realize that the “sunshine” exuding from each group member rivals the beams streaming through the room’s many windows.

The group has been creating this light since 1980 when it was launched with a New Horizonz grant.

The half-dozen or so group members seem to enjoy socializing with each other as much as they enjoy working with flowers.

“The magpies are back,” Annabel Cowie said as she made her way up the stairs to meet with her friends last Friday morning.

At times, the noise created by the chatter makes it difficult to be heard as I head around the circle of tables to ask the women how and why they do what some have been doing for many years.

Eunice Schmidt said that she creates floral designs because it is easy to do.

“For someone who never did anything artistic, if I can do it, anyone can do it,” she said.

The first step, according to Verlia Shannon, is to get the flowers. They can be gleaned from the garden or where they grow in the wild but should be picked in the afternoon of a dry day.

The “flowers” can include anything that is growing. “The things you see if you keep your nose on the ground,” said Celia Pemberton, her eyes glinting with delighted enthusiasm.

(Cowie is the resource person who always goes home to refer to her guide books when a flower no one in the group cam identify appears at the meeting.)

Once the flowers are gathered, group members say, the next step is to fold them in tissue paper and sandwich them between telephone books. There might be as many as four books pressing down on the harvested petals.

In a minimum of three weeks, the flowers are ready for pasting on cards in designs that are always unique from one another — as unique as the imagination of each woman who busily sifts through the blue, green, yellow, purple, pink and brown petals they carry to the meeting in Tupperware-style containers.

Pemberton is an avid proponent of using the imagination to ferret out pictures in the petals and leaves. Some turn out to be ducks in one of her cards. Tulip petals make up a girl’s doll buggy in another. A tree is designed from parsley. Little fairytale-like animals have Queen Anne’s lace for eyes. Here and there she draws in details, such as birds flying in the background.

Sharon Fox said she started out using bigger flowers and now finds she is more often drawn to island weeds that create a delicate, lacy effect on paper backing.

Group members often use the cards to extend birthday greetings to family and friends.

Bev Ostrom is busy on one for her granddaughter Jeanette’s first birthday.

“The price of cards is out of this world so it sure helps if you make them,” said Ostrom, pointing out a practical side to the art they enjoy so much.

At an annual membership fee of $10, the price it costs to be part of the group is also right.

Cowie works on her designs week after week, from September to June, simply because she loves flowers so much.

Her friends reap the benefits. “They save them or they frame them,” said Cowie. “Getting something handmade today means a lot to people.”

With Easter coming up, some of the group, which totals 19, according to president Lily Miles, are concentrating on cards for the Christian spring celebration.

They even learned to make the paper on which the flower designs are mounted. For this, paper is recycled along with many of their materials.

Everyone swaps materials and ideas before breaking for their bagged lunches somewhere around noon and then heading for home at about 1:30 pm.

“So wee all have our own talents and we share everything,” said Pemberton, “except our husbands and our wallets.”


Tanya does psychic readings — tea leaf reading and tarot, etc. She is also a reiki master which she infuses into her readings and a fulltime house sitter.
To access these services go to teareading.wordpress.com or her pages at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. Or contact her directly at tealeaf.56@gmail.com or at 250-538-0086 cell.

Fundraising begins for Gowlland purchase

January 22, 2017
I doubt if there is anyone living or visiting the Gulf Islands on Canada’s west coast who does not appreciate the glorious, natural beauty of these islands.

This is linked, of course, with the fund raising that goes on regularly to conserve and protect nature as its best.

Read on:
Gulf Islands Driftwood — Penders Edition
Wednesday, September 6, 2000
Fundraising begins for Gowlland purchase
by Tanya Lester

Gowlland Point, described as an attractive piece of South Pender woodland with probably the largest stand of rare chocolate lilies in the Gulf Islands, has been made available to The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) for $355,000

The point is recognizable for its lighthouse and beach. The conservancy will have to raise $100,000 in order for the Capital Regional District (CRD) to make money available for the purchase.

“It’s a wonderful addition to Brooks Point if it can be acquired,” said David Spalding, chairman of the Pender Islands Conservancy Association. Gowlland Point lies next to Brooks Point, now a CRD park, which was purchased early this year largely due to the efforts of local Friends of Brooks Points members. Their fundraising campaign to conserve the property spanned several years.

Because of that, Spalding said the Pender group would be “reluctant to mount a major campaign” so soon after the Brooks Point one has finally been completed.

TLC is taking the reins in the campaign and has scheduled two fundraising cruises. Each six-hour boat trip will start at Port of Sidney Marina, run through the Gulf Islands and tour Gowlland and Brooks points before anchoring in Bedwell Harbour. Van transportation is being provided for participants to view Gowlland Point from the land by Bedwell Harbour Resort and Marina, Pender Island Courier and Island Carriage and Taxi. They will then return to the boat for dinner at anchor.

Orca pods and porpoises have been spotted in this area often during the last few months. TLC communications director Alison Spriggs is optimistic but can make no promises that these ocean inhabitants will be part of the wildlife show during the fundraising voyages.

The cruise will cost $125 per person. A $50 tax receipt will be issued for each ticket…

…Spalding believes the Gulf Island National Park proposal has also heightened off-island people’s awareness of the area’s beauty. Spriggs defines the fundraising campaign as working towards a “conservation vision for the south end of Pender Island’s exceptional ecological values and beauty.”

Tanya does tea leaf reading, tarot and other types of psychic readings. She is also a reiki master and fulltime house sitter. To access her services go to her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google or to her website at teareading.wordpress.com Or contact her directly at tealeaf.56@gmail.com or her cell at 250-538-0086

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew (both can be purchased on amazon.com or from the author) as well as Dreams and Tricksters and Women Rights/Writes.

To read more of a wide variety of topics on this blog, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Volunteers propose to build Pender fire hall

March 13, 2016

I remember someone, who had lived on the Pender Islands in B.C.’s southern Gulf Islands for many years, telling me that just when she and her husband had decided they could not take anymore of island petty politics and untrue gossip for another day that something so special would happen, it made them decided to stay.

Probably this holds true on all of the Gulf Islands and maybe on islands everywhere. The pettiness gets under your skin and you stop witnessing what is extremely wonderful about living on a beautiful island. Then, you witness something or someone tells you something that reminds you of the up side of island living.

The following is one of these stories:

Gulf Islands Driftw00d — Pender Islands Edition

Wednesday, May 17, 2000

Volunteers propose to build Pender fire hall

by Tanya Lester

It would be an exaggeration to say that the North Pender Island Fire Protection Society has received an offer that is too good to be refused.

But a group of volunteers constructing Thieves Bay Marina has also expressed interest in building the new fire hall with volunteer labour, said fire protection society president Dave Wightman. The ideas is being seriously considered.

Ian Heslop, organizer for the marina construction currently being done by volunteers, has approached the fire society with the offer that could shave considerable dollars off the proposed $750,000 fire hall construction.

Heslop does not want the volunteer work to be done in conjunction with a contractor as he believes this takes away from the spirit of giving. He said he already has drywallers, a plumber, a roofer and carpenters lined up to contribute volunteer time.

An architect could oversee the work to ensure everything is up to standard, he said.

The fire protection board is examining how to utilize the offer based on a number of factors, while at the same time considering when to call a referendum for North Pender residents to vote on the proposal for a new fire hall.

At its meeting last Wednesday, the board decided it would cooperate with the Capital Regional District (CRD) Magic Lake Water and Sewer Subcommittee to hold a joint referendum if a late August or early September time frame can be agreed to.

“Fire protection is essential and a good water supply is essential for that,” said Wightman.

The fire protection president said the CRD subcommittee did not pinpoint its referendum date concerning Magic Lake repairs to the water system at its meeting last Friday.

According to Bruce Copeland, who is chairman of the water and sewer subcommittee, the decision was made via telephone discussions by subcommittee members late Sunday night, to hold its referendum in conjunction with the fire protection society referendum.

The referendum date must be approved by the CRD.

Meanwhile, the fire protection board has directed architect Mark Ostry from the Vancouver firm of Acton, Johnson and Ostry to come up with a revised fire hall plan based on the $750,000 proposal.

Wightman said that last Wednesday’s board meeting also determined he would write letters to any residents whose homes present restricted access for fire trucks responding to a call.

This could include any properties accessible only by water, such as Kathryn Curtis’ residence that can no longer be reached via Jack Neale’s property, as reported in the April 26 Penders Edition.

Wightman said fire truck response time is approximately 15 minutes, with a goal of 10, to an accessible residence.

He has also written a letter to Greg McDade, Pacific Marine Heritage Legacy (PMHL) special advisor, regarding the proposed Gulf Islands national park. IN the letter he reiterated fire protection society concerns that a rise in visitors to the Penders will increase the possibility of fires.

Wightman expressed the fire society’s wish to receive federal government grants in lieu of taxes now lost due to Parks Canada purchase of private properties.

At a May 6 public consultation on North Pender, McDade said grants would be provided to the fire society after a national part was given final government approval.


You can read other of the many variety posts on this blog by going to writingsmall.wordpress.com  and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya does intuitive readings (tea leaf, tarot, Russian gypsy card readings, medium and psychic channel), house sits and is a reiki master. For more information or to access these services, go to teareading.wordpress.com or to her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. Or contact her directly at tealeaf.56@gmail.com or call 250-538-0086

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (you can purchase this book from the author or at amazon.com), Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters and Women Rights/Writes. These books are available in some library systems and the last three are in the Provincial Library of Manitoba.