16 Trueworthy Road, Saturna Island BC, a Waterfront Home for Real Living

Getting away from it all

The 6/49 TV ads from BC Lotto are a frequent reminder of how great it is to be all by yourself with some good friends in beautiful places.  The British Columbia provincial motto, the most beautiful place on earth, suggests that whatever you might wish will be found here somewhere in the province..  Indeed that is true.  There are many contenders.  However if you wish to get away then Saturna Island, the second largest and least populated of the Gulf Islands, would be a strong choice.
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Earth Day in Langley BC

Earth Day In The United States

This is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, which started in Ohio and has now spread around the world.  President Obama’s Earth Day message emphasizes that it is not about laws, it is about every individual.

President Obama issued an Earth Day message with a challenge: He wants you to take action. While Washington has its place, Obama argues that the environmental movement is not about the laws that are passed, but about citizens coming together to make demands for the Earth.  It can be as simple as riding the bus or the subway to work, making your home more energy efficient, or organizing your neighbors to clean up a nearby park.

You can see this message in the following video:

Americans are encouraged to sign the Earth Day 2010 Climate Declaration to demand a comprehensive climate bill from Congress.  Arts for the Earth is reaching out to artists worldwide to raise environmental awareness through the medium of art.

Earth Day in Canada

earth day canada

Earth Day Canada is a national environmental communications organization mandated to improve the state of the environment by empowering Canadians to achieve local solutions.  Local organizers are provided with resources to help arrange activities and events that will raise awareness.

Earth Day in Langley, British Columbia

One local activity that will use the medium of art to heighten environmental awareness is a poetry reading on earth goddesses and climate change that will take place on Earth Day itself, that’s Thursday April 22.

susan falk poster

Local poet Susan McCaslin and Ontario poet Penn Kemp will be giving readings to celebrate Earth Day and National Poetry Month. This will be held in the Fort Gallery, 9048 Glover Rd., Fort Langley, from 7 to 9 pm.

The artist, Susan J. Falk, whose exhibition, Equine Persuasion, continues at the Fort Gallery until April 25, will also be present.  Posters of the exhibition are on sale and partial proceeds of the exhibition are being donated to Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association, a local charity that provides therapeutic riding to special needs children.  It should be an evening not to be missed.

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A Little Knowledge Is Great

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing: at least that is the conventional wisdom from the Book of Proverbs, I believe.  Perhaps it is time to update that phrase.

I would not go as far as Ron Shevlin who suggested that A Little Knowledge Is Great Marketing

In 2007,  American Banker reported that Bank of America launched an online and in-branch advertising campaign called “A little knowledge is a powerful thing” to educate consumers about banking and credit card fees. The article calls the campaign “ironic” since more than half of BofA’s revenue comes from non-interest income.

Certainly it is not in tune with more recent headlines on credit cards and fees:

Cuomo reaches $4.4M agreement with Chase over credit card fees

Chase Bank USA will stop charging a $10 a month service charge that it added to more than 184,000 credit card accounts, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said.  Chase Bank, which is the credit card-card issuing subsidiary of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., will also refund consumers more than $4.4 million.

MasterCard Settles EU Antitrust Case on Payment Fees

MasterCard Inc., the world’s second- largest electronic payments network, agreed to reduce a transaction fee paid by retailers and drop an additional levy imposed last year to settle a European Union antitrust case.  The settlement allows the company to avoid a daily penalty of as much as 3.5 percent of sales, the European Commission said in a statement today in Brussels.

Clearly a little knowledge continues to be somewhat dangerous in the banking field.


In the field of television, it is a somewhat different story.  As Miro Cernetig points out, With new focus from new boss, B.C.’s tiny public broadcaster works.  That tiny public broadcaster is of course the Knowledge Network, the provincial broadcaster. That little Knowledge is clearly going against the trend:

National networks are laying off journalists, local stations are going off the air, programming is being cut and the Internet continues to rock the TV landscape. Even the mighty CBC is redefining itself as a public broadcaster.

As he points out a few weeks ago, Knowledge scored its highest rating — a 5.3 share, which means it’s creeping up on the bigger networks. Knowledge’s list of subscribers — 26,000 households donated a total of $2.2 million last year — is also growing,

.. and why is the tiny Knowledge Network, with its meagre annual budget of $10 million, prospering, while the CBC, with its $1-billion-plus public subsidy, is so clearly foundering? The answer is Rudy Buttignol, the  CEO of Knowledge, who is a major figure in Canada’s TV and film world. The Vancouver Sun article spells out some of the exciting things he has done and has in mind.

If you haven’t tuned in to Knowledge yet, check it out.  It is on Channel 5 on Shaw Cable.  Go spread the word: a little Knowledge is great.

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British Columbia or Upper Cascadia

british columbia flag

Upper  Cascadia: is that a place you would like to visit?  What picture does it bring to mind?  Both parts of the name evoke positive sensations.  The views are presumably better in Upper rather than Lower Cascadia.  The name Cascadia would seem to imply cascades or waterfalls. 

If you were starting from scratch to develop a name for the province, you might be hard-pressed to find a better one.  This is the question that Douglas Todd has raised in an article in the Vancouver Sun.  Since the province touts itself as the best place on earth, what should it best be called?

As Todd pointed out, the existing name, British Columbia, has been there a long time and is much loved by many residents.  Nevertheless it is a name that almost invites confusion.  Why British?  Why Columbia? 

British Columbians could think about re-working the name that Queen Victoria gave us in the mid-1800s. She wanted to highlight the Columbia River, but not confuse us with South America’s Colombia.

You can read Douglas Todd’s article for detailed reasons why the present provincial name is not very satisfactory. There may have been good reasons when the province was established, but they do not carry the same weight now.  If we are keen on increasing the number of visitors then what counts is how well the name may help us do that rather than how it is viewed by those living in the province.

In marketing terms, the name can be one of the strongest selling agents for the province.  Changing the name may have a major influence on the attractiveness of the place to someone who has never visited before. It is very likely that the name will change at some time in the future.  If so, why not now so that we can gain whatever benefits the name change may produce.

Whenever that contest takes place, I wish to nominate the name Upper Cascadia.  I think it has a lot going for it.

If the word Cascadia takes your fancy, perhaps you may wish to check out books on Cascadia and understand what that word offers.

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Fort Langley November 19, 1858

british columbi flag

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Birth of British Columbia.  On that date, the inauguration of the Crown Colony of British Columbia took place.  The event took place in the Big House at Fort Langley on November 19, 1858, when Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, the newly appointed Chief Justice, swore in James Douglas as the first Governor of the Crown Colony of British Columbia.

With a little time in the afternoon, Viv and I decided we should pop over to Fort Langley to see what was still going on.  Fort Langley is a charming village that is well worth a visit. In some ways it is reminiscent of the village of Hudson to the west of Montreal, although on a somewhat larger scale.  There is also a National Historic Site where you can see a restored version of the fort and settlement set up by the fur trade organization called the Hudson’s Bay Company to trade with the First Nations of the West Coast.  Although most of the festivities took place over the previous weekend, there were still cameras and lights very evident to record this momentous day.

Given the British feeling engendered by such a visit, a cuppa tea seemed called for.  As we wandered towards the quieter southern end of the main street (Glover Road), we were delighted and very surprised to spot the Yorkshire Tea Shoppe a little set back to the east of the street. It has only been open a short while but it will certainly do well.  The lady proprietor, Claire, hails from Hull in England and does indeed provide an authentic taste of Britain.  You can even get hot scones, Devon cream and jam!  It’s a place to be highly recommended and we’ll certainly be back.

Some Relevant Books

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Happy 150th Birthday, British Columbia

Happy Birthday, British Columbia, the Vancouver Sun proclaims today.  Today British Columbia is officially 150 years old. Sincere congratulations to all in B.C. as they commemorate this important anniversary. It is an incredibly beautiful and resource-rich land.


The Sun salutes some of this city’s oldest companies that have adapted and grown with B.C.  The oldest is The Oppenheimer Group, which is as old as the Province.  In 1858, four Oppenheimer brothers followed the gold rush to British Columbia and founded Oppenheimer Bros. & Co. in Victoria, to provide food and supplies to thousands of fortune seekers.

They are now one of North America’s top fresh produce companies bringing in and delivering over 100 varieties of produce from more than 20 different countries. The  business is managed by a team of professionals located in over a dozen offices throughout North and South America.

marketplace iga

The multibillion-dollar H.Y. Louie Co. Ltd. started in 1903 and now has flowered into an energetic family business.  Today, Brandt Louie, the grandson of the founder, heads a $4-billion empire, employing 8,000 people in four different businesses: food wholesaling, the IGA food chain, London Drugs and an import-export division.

purdys chocolates

Vancouver’s most famous chocolate company, Purdy’s, has also been around for more than 100 years. It began in 1907, when Richard Carmen Purdy began selling chocolates he made in his own kitchen from his Robson Street store. He quickly attracted a loyal following from chocolate lovers who passed on their taste for Purdy’s Chocolates from generation to generation.

These three are only a small fraction of the companies that have prospered and grown throughout British Columbia’s 150 year history.  With the 2010 Olympics the future is certainly even more promising.

Related Books:

Raise-a-Reader Day 2008

Raise-a-Reader Day is Today – Wednesday, September 24th!


The Canwest Raise-a-Reader program has excellent momentum and this year, on the morning of Wednesday, September 24th, newspapers in 28 communities will host Raise-a-Reader Day activities on city streets from Victoria to St. John’s. Thousands of volunteers and local celebrities will exchange special Raise-a-Reader edition newspapers for donations to literacy. Since its inception in 2002, Canwest and its partner newspapers throughout the country have raised more than $10 million dollars.

Canwest announced today that the iconic American singer-songwriter, author, and poet Bob Dylan will join the growing line-up of Raise-a-Reader Concert Series artists. Partial proceeds from ticket sales of Dylan’s upcoming Canadian tour will be donated to Canwest Raise-a-Reader in support of local literacy groups in communities across the country. Current Canadian stops include: Victoria, Vancouver, Kamloops, Calgary, Lethbridge, Regina, and Winnipeg.

Residents of British Columbia can be particularly proud as they get involved. As the Vancouver Sun tells us:

  • Every cent you give goes directly to literacy initiatives. Not a penny of your gift is diverted to administrative costs, because those are borne by The Vancouver Sun and the other Canwest papers supporting this initiative.
  • You double your money: Every cent you give is matched by the province of British Columbia.
  • B.C. is the star of Raise-a-Reader: The initiative was born here in 1997, and $1.8 million of the $2.4 million raised last year came from the generosity of British Columbians.

So make sure that today you do something that helps to Raise-a-Reader.

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BC Wine Tops The World

Mission Hill icewine 2006

British Colombia has many fine wines, many of which are entirely consumed within the province. Those which are available outside the province are getting increasing attention. For example, B.C.’s Mission Hill Winery 2006 Reserve Riesling icewine has been named the world’s No. 1 icewine by the International Wine & Spirit Competition judges.

Mission Hill owner, Anthony von Mandl, received the International Icewine Trophy at a ceremony in London attended by 800 members of the international wine community. Dan Zepponi, Mission Hill president, commented, “This really puts the Okanagan and the Canadian wine industry on the world map.”

The comments of Jamie Goode, one of the attendees who certainly knows his wines, are typical of the accolades it received:

Very, very sweet and grapey with aromatic grapey, raisiny notes. Massively concentrated, viscous palate is supersweet, rounded and full. A huge wine that’s still in balance, if even a little overpowering.

Although it was always a pleasure to live in Qubec with its cheeses that received world renown, it is even more pleasurable to live in a province where such fine wine is available.

Some Relevant Books

B.C. Sport Fishing Online

BC Salmon, Halibut – great eating and sport

Sport Fishing represents one of the “big five” activities that draws international visitors to B.C. — along with skiing, golf, wine and food, and outdoor adventure, according to a report in the Vancouver Sun. British Columbia generates about $1.2-billion in revenues from the recreational fishing sector, so this is really big business.

Currently the average participant’s age is close to 50, according to Don Peterson, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. president. So industry and government are working to attract more young people to the sport. As Peterson says, “It’s definitely a challenge to get more young people into the sport. Urbanization, the electronic age and the popularity of videogames mean that young people are just not getting exposed to these outdoor experiences any more.

The Society now has a a new website — www.discoverfishingbc.ca — where experienced or newbie anglers alike can get the information they need to prepare for a fishing trip anywhere in B.C. The website offers online fishing licence purchases, along with information like fishing basics, where to fish, where to learn, and what you need to get started. Experienced fishers can use the site to stay abreast of fish stocking reports, hot spots, fishing clubs, special events, and provincials statistics and regulations.

For more information to help you get that salmon or halibut, you may also find the references below useful:
Fishing BC Online
Game Fish Species of British Columbia
BC Recreational Freshwater Fishing
BC Outdoors magazine
British Columbia Online Fishing Magazine

Some Books You May Like

Canadian Business – Changed Perspectives

True North, strong and free.

For over twenty-five years, the ‘other bloke’ has been involved in and observed Canadian business from a Montreal base. For at least the last ten of those years, the physical location has become less and less important to businesses and the online presence plays a much bigger role in what identifies a company. This is complemented by the staggering advances in Information Technology (IT) and in telecommunications. For so many businesses, they can if they wish participate in a global economy and enjoy the global opportunities. Whether they wish it or not, they are also subject to global competition.

These deep reflections are triggered by the fact that the ‘other bloke’ has now moved from Montreal and will be living in Langley, BC. That in no way affects the bloke’s online presence. Strategic Marketing Montreal will continue to function as before and its North American customers will see few changes apart from some e-mail addresses that will change. Montreal has a big footprint in the online world and there is much to observe and comment on. Standing back ‘a little’ will allow a more dispassionate view of what is going on. It can also be better seen in a pan-Canadian context.

Moving from Montreal to Langley, BC, we followed the TransCanada Highway all the way with a U-Haul trailer containing our treasured belongings. Following that highway is an experience that no Canadian should miss. It’s the only way to fully experience the size, grandeur and the beauty to be found in Canada. Although the journey was fairly rapid, it also gave an opportunity to meet folk along the way and get brief glimpses of what’s important to them in their very different communities.

Now we’re settled in Langley, which is a most welcoming community surrounded by the natural beauty of the Fraser Valley. It’s a very different physical location, but we’re back to that same online world with even greater opportunities to be aware of the evolving scene. We hope our faithful readers will find that the Other Bloke’s Blog continues to improve as we observe Canadian business online.

Some Relevant Books