This article is from the May 2015 Issue of Forever Young

 2015 may villa le tori buffet

The welcome Tuscan buffet is included and is not to be missed on your Saturday arrival.

Just the name conjures up thoughts of rolling hills, cypress trees, olive groves, and of course, Italian wine!

For us, though, it means fond memories of our Villa Le Torri, just a 25 minute drive by car from Florence, center of Renaissance art. In fact, some friends from Kamloops are staying at the Villa as this is being written --- so it is with real envy that this is being composed.

Because Villa Le Torri was our first venture to Italy, and a good part of our fondness for the whole region comes from the wonderful hospitality offered by the owners of this 13th century Tuscan stone farmhouse which was renovated in the 18th century. Every detail was taken into consideration. Today it has been transformed into a marvelous vacation get-away, with nine apartments --- for 2 to 4 guests. (Four apartments are two bedroom/two bathroom; five are one bedroom/one bathroom, each with full kitchen and living room.)

Each apartment has lots of space and is well set-up for a self-catering holiday. Our one bedroom apartment had terra-cotta floors, exposed oak beams and was nicely furnished. The kitchen had everything one needs to prepare wonderful meals, especially after spending time at a local open air market and returning with fresh everything! One day we came home with a chunk of gorgonzola that cost five euros and it was so large that at the end of the week I was spooning it out of the package, not willing to leave any behind. We had a large bedroom with an ensuite shower, complete with bidet --- very European. Our windows looked out over the countryside, complete with a view to a couple of wineries, which were just walking distance away.

The owner, Gabriele, welcomed us and his warmth radiated through the whole of our stay. He cannot do enough to make your visit everything imaginable. Indeed, even down to little details like providing you on line with a shopping list for basics, in case you arrive too late to do your own shopping. Done with no additional charge for the service; just the cost of the provisions. Every morning we would be greeted by “Where are you headed today?” “Lucca? Let me get you a map to show you where to park.” Having Gabry on hand is like having your own personal concierge at a five star hotel looking after your every desire!

This article is from the April 2015 Issue of Forever Young

 april2015 book review


Completely revised and updated with 40 new breweries!

At the launch for the first edition of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries in 2013, Joe Wiebe had to admit that his book was already out of date. The revolution had taken hold, and craft breweries were opening up at an unprecedented rate. That year, nine new ones opened their doors. The pace picked up in 2014, when another twenty-one breweries emerged on the scene. With ten more starting up in early 2015, the number of breweries profiled in the second edition of Craft Beer Revolution has grown to ninety --- compared to fifty in the first edition. The province’s craft beer industry has almost doubled in size in only two years!

The book has gotten much thicker, to say the least.

The second edition of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries is a fascinating tour of British Columbia’s flourishing craft beer industry, with Joe Wiebe --- one of Canada’s best-known beer writers --- as a guide. This new edition contains an up-to-date and entertaining history of craft beer in the province as well as profiles of the people behind the kegs and casks. It is filled to the brim with recommendations for beer tasting tours, lists of the best brews that B.C. has to offer, and entertaining trivia that will make beer geeks pop their tops.

This article is from the March 2015 Issue of Forever Young

 2015 march tollercranston

Ice Show, 1976

…might have surprised younger Canadians for whom this flamboyant performer was best known by a recitation of his titles – seven times Canadian men’s singles champion, Olympic and world bronze medallist.

But among former champions, there is no doubt Cranston stood alone in the pantheon as a man of aching artistry, of fierce individualism. The biographies and obituaries have adequately covered the elements of his life milestones but beyond that, for those who knew him closely, there was profound mourning for loss of a one-of-a-kind friend.

Regular FYI contributor Barbara Kingstone has never been a huge figure skating authority and only got to know Cranston a decade after his amateur skating career ended in 1976. She writes:

“I met Toller when I was writing fashion for the Globe. I thought his costumes were fabulous. This was in the eighties and we continued what turned into a great friendship to the point that we travelled together to Halifax and to New York City when he turned on the Xmas tree lights at Rockefeller Center. We had caviar after at a famed restaurant. He was always loved the grand lifestyle. And there was more fun and frenzy at his parties.

“Toller and I were very close and when he moved to San Miguel (de Allende, Mexico, a haven for Canadian artists), I visited him there for 10 days. He was exotic, extravagant, witty, mad as a hatter on some days, and went on wild shopping sprees buying everything in sight.

“Once he made me a judge at the Cricket Club at a skating competition, something I knew nothing about, and felt it was unfair to the skaters. But Toller insisted. Nobody could say no to a charming Toller.  I was grateful to have him as a friend.”

Among the eulogies in the media, one from Steve Milton of the Hamilton Spectator was particularly evocative.

Here is Milton’s tribute, in part:

We often said of Toller Cranston that he was a puree of creativity and sport, blending figure skating with art.

But, in hindsight, we were selling him short; Toller Cranston transcended both figure skating and art.

He excelled at both, but was owned by neither. Cranston, born in Hamilton, but raised in Kirkland Lake and Montreal, was a seven-time national figure skating champion, Olympic and world bronze medallist.

He was painter of some 70,000 canvases, which sold well around the world, the pilot light of creative inspiration to three - and counting - generations of figure skaters.

A true outlier. And now he is dead, the body which he once pelted with drugs, surrendering at the age of 65 sometime Friday night in Mexico, far too soon for his rascally spirit which had vowed to never yield.

Cranston never won the big championships, Worlds or Olympics, but he won the legacy race by a mile.

There may have been seven world and Olympic men’s champions during the 1970s, but the one who wasn’t crowned will always have the most enduring impact on the sport.

That impact survived a hard-fought, almost lifelong battle, during which he suffered from depression and, for years, substance abuse, was scorned by the sport’s European-based establishment, and was hijacked by the coldly prejudiced as the human symbol of “effete” skating.

But he touched something deep inside figure skating and its legion of devotees. He awakened a sleeping connection reaching back a full century to Jackson Haines, the inventor of “fancy skating,” who was scorned in his native U.S. and idolized in artistically modern Vienna.

Cranston, though frustrated, saddened and habitually angered, never wavered in what he thought was right for his sport. And by the end, wielding his avant-garde skating like a hammer, he built a safe place in men’s skating for innovative artistry.

This article is from the February 2015 Issue of Forever Young

 feb2015 golftournament

Keeping the “fun” in fundraising in the North Okanagan during last year’s charity golf tournament.

by Glenna Turnbull

From golfing to galas, the citizens of the North Okanagan are doing all they can to keep the “fun” in fundraising in hopes of opening the top two floors of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital by this time next year.

Sue Beaudry, Director of Development for the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation said they’ve had two major projects on the go – one of which was for purchasing a digital mammography machine. “We raised about $500,000 thanks to a whole lot of commitment from different groups and individuals,” she said, and as such that two-year campaign was completed in only 18 month.

Generosity came in many forms. A $50,000 donation came in from the Coldstream Women’s Institute who had recently sold their property. Through the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation BC/Yukon, the Wine, Women and Woods golf tournament played a large part in helping VJH Foundation achieve its goal early, bringing in over $200,000. Because a lot of the organizing committee members are down south for the winter (“golfing,” no doubt, joked Beaudry), the official opening of the mammography clinic won’t be until April after they’ve returned. “That’s been such a wonderful good news story for our community,” she said.

As for the second big project, that involves raising $2.5 million to open the last remaining section of the new Polson Tower at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. “When they built the tower, (completed in September 2011) the top two floors were shelled in,” said Beaudry, and now it’s time to finish the job.

Because residents of the North Okanagan have already raised nearly $7 million since the Polson Tower project began, Beaudry noted, “This is a project the community has invested heavily in. The five floors that are open have been amazing and people are so pleased with the improvement to local healthcare. We launched phase II of this campaign in November 2013 and the Foundation is pleased to announce that the campaign is nearing the $2 million level. We hope to complete this campaign in the fall”

Fundraising events continue to raise awareness and dollars for completing this project. The Vernon Jubilee Hospital Charity Classic Golf Tournament has netted over $750,000 since its inception. VJH Foundation and sponsors TELUS and Predator Ridge will be hosting, their next big fundraising tournament May 24 at Predator Ridge. “Also, the Junior Chamber International Vernon are planning an ‘Evening in Paris’ gala for April 18,” said Beaudry, adding, “We’re very lucky to have so much of the community involved in so many different ways.”

This article is from the January 2015 Issue of Forever Young

 2015 Jan Hidden Beach

If you think you’re done with Mexico, think again – and prepare to see, do, eat and learn things you’ve likely never imagined!

by AJ Williams

Mexico’s newest resort area, this state is located north of Jalisco (where you’ll find Puerto Vallarta), and while the two areas may share an airport, there’s a unique world awaiting you when you venture north of PV.

This area hugs a spectacular area of Mexico’s Pacific coastline, and there’s very little on or near the water you couldn’t do there!

Spend a day in Sayulita, a quaint town with shops & a magical square that comes alive each evening. During the daytime, however, it’s all about surfing! Have lunch at Don Pedros on the beach – the shrimp tacos are heavenly! Every level of surfing is there, and lessons are easy to find on the beach. Hippy-dippy surfers (or wannabes) rejoice! Sayulita even has live music on the beach – it’s unspoiled and special.

Want to dial back even more, San Francisco (San Pancho to the locals) is nearby too. An almost spiritual place, filled with solitude and reflection, you’ll find accommodations that are more modest & less expensive than the resort areas, but quaint, clean and all about the warm hospitality of the people who call this place home. Here it’s all about organic, sustainable, and really making a difference in the world. Stay at the Hotel Cielo Rojo, a fabulous little boutique hotel on a cobblestoned street where they offer local olive oil and cheeses, a house-brand Tequila, and local honey.