Tag Archives: Victoria

Tower Power

I work with a lovely lady named Athena, who grew up in a lighthouse. Her grandfather was a lighthouse keeper, her father was a lighthouse keeper, and she and her husband were lighthouse keepers. This all took place on the west coast of Vancouver Island near Tofino, and later on near Victoria. They lived in a cottage beside the tower, although granddad had lived in the actual lighthouse itself.

I find this really interesting. How often do you meet someone who grew up in a lighthouse? How often do you even see a lighthouse?

There’s work to be done at these places with the definitive ocean view. Along with the obvious beacon thing, the lawns on the property have to be cut and trimmed often because it’s government land and needs to taken care of in fine fashion. A lighthouse keeper also keeps in contact with the coast guard regarding the weather and sea conditions. Athena’s father and grandfather had to radio in the weather situation every two hours around the clock, so the nightly sleeps must have sucked.

She and her husband only had to do this every twelve hours, though, which to me is being spoiled beyond belief.

She told me her father also had to sometimes take pumps and fuel and come to the rescue of boats and people in peril out on the seas. I wouldn’t be good at this. I get nervous in the bathtub. And they only got one television channel – CBC – which meant they probably saw every episode of Front Page Challenge.

Wages nowadays are in the mid-thirty thousand range, with the cottage being rent-free, which I think is pretty good if you want this kind of lifestyle. How often would a lighthouse keeper shake, rattle, and roll when the weather report has to be radioed in every two hours?

Athena and her husband  live down by the ferry now, about 30 km. outside of Powell River, with only dial-up internet in their area, which drives them crazy. But I think they like the peace and quiet and the ocean nearby. There might be just as many bears and deer as there are people in her neighborhood. She’s also an excellent co-worker and shows much more enthusiasm than I do. I think her only complaint is the dial-up internet.

Maybe that’s what lighthouses do for you.

And this, regarding lighthouse keepers, from Blue Bayou –



Cheer Up, Canucks’ Fans. Someday, Maybe. Probably Not, But Stranger Things Have Happened

Although it’s sad for Vancouver Canucks’ fans that their team has never won a Stanley Cup, they just have to remind themselves that someday, somehow, it could happen. Meanwhile, I’ll try to cheer them up by telling them about the time the Canucks’ great-grandfathers, the Vancouver Millionaires, did hoist the big old mug.


In 1915, the Millionaires, led by flashy forward Cyclone Taylor who had come out to Vancouver, liked it and stayed, clobbered the Portland Rosebuds 11-3 to clinch the Pacific Coast League title. Back east, the Ottawa Senators were doing the same thing to the Montreal Wanderers, beating them 4-1 to win the National Hockey Association championship.


So it was Ottawa against Vancouver, in Vancouver, for the first Stanley Cup series ever staged in Western Canada.


As the Senators made their way across the country by train, the Millionaires went to Portland to play a couple of games to keep them sharp for the big series. While there, captain Si Griffis twisted his ankle. And the guy the team hired for five bucks to sit in the dressing room and watch their valuables made off with all their money, Griffis’ gold watch, and goalie Hugh Lehman’s diamond stickpin. (I once had Hugh Lehman’s autograph on a small scrap of paper and sold it for 500 bucks on ebay.)


The big Stanley Cup series was a five-game series, and it was decided that each member of the winning team would receive $300. Big sell-outs were predicted at the old Denman Arena, which would eventually burn to the ground 21 years later. And in an unbelievable outpouring of generosity, each member of the Ottawa team was presented with a free streetcar pass by BC Electric.


The three big games were, somewhat surprising, less than sold out, but the Millionaires, all seven of them, clobbered those eastern lads in three straight games by a whopping 28-6 margin. And back then, players played the entire games without substitution.


The Millionaires collected their $300 and probably bought new fedoras, and maybe Easter bonnets for the little ladies. It’s not known if the Ottawa players ever got to use their free streetcar passes.


The Millionaires came close in other years but never saw the team’s name on the Stanley Cup again. However, in 1925 the Victoria Cougars won an east-west series with the Montreal Maroons to join the Millionaires as western Canada Stanley Cup champions. It’s possible that Millionaires’ fans did a slow, jealous burn about this.


Anyway, that was then, but this is now. The Canucks are now starting their 38th year and still no Cup in sight. The modern day Canucks may be millionaires, but they’re no Millionaires.


Not until they finally get the big job done.

Powell Riverite Comes Up With Cool ‘Hockey Night In Canada’ Theme

Okay, so it’s the only one I’ve heard. But I like it. And it’s from a former Powell Riverite, Tobin Stokes, now living in Victoria. Don’t forget, we get to decide on the new ‘Hockey Night In Canada’ theme for CBC. The old one went away because business is business, and that’s fine. We’ll just find a nice, happy, new song, like this one.

Just click on the link, enjoy the song, and vote by logging in, then clicking on the fifth circle of five circles. But only if you like it.

Hey, it’s better than any of the others I’ve heard! Hope you like it. I don’t know the guy, but I’m sure he’s a fine fellow.

Oh, and let me know in the comments what you think about it.

And, here’s what Tobin Stokes has to say…

Hey Canada! Here’s my demo – try to imagine it with all real instruments and professionally produced. CBC could keep the soloist at the beginning or surprise us each week with the intro sung (yelled?) by a minor hockey team , a mob of fans, a choir, the Governor General, etc. If you like it, please vote. It just takes a minute to invent your own user name and password if you haven’t already, then click on button number FIVE and then (of course) copy and email the link to everyone you’ve ever met! I’d like to thank Ildiko for singing a great solo and then inviting me to her 10th birthday party! And I’d like to thank my son Vaughn for his great guitar work, as always. Darn fine for 16, sonny boy. OK CBC and fellow hocky fans, here you go – it is catchy, easy to arrange, shorten or lengthen, great for visuals, versatile, fun, and IT ROCKS!

250 598 7664

Like A Good Boomerang, Fascinating Facts Keeps Coming Back!

Fascinating Fact #1.  I asked my wife who the most handsome player in the NHL is, and she said it’s a tie between Jose Theodore and Sheldon Souray. She also said, however, that Max from Dancing With The Stars beats everybody. Everybody but me, I think she said.

 Fascinating Fact #2.   Babe Ruth transcends all sports, so he gets in Fascinating Facts.  Ruth was notorous for not paying attention to the fringe players on his team, the Yankees. One day Tony Lazzeri introduced, for fun, a relief pitcher to Ruth who had been with the team for four years already, only Lazzeri said this was a new player just out of Princeton. Ruth was impressed about the Princeton part and welcomed the “new” player with open arms.

 Fascinating Fact #3.    In the early 1910’s, Lester and Frank Patrick pioneered professional hockey on Canada’s west coast, and the first two artificial rinks built in Canada were in Victoria and Vancouver.

 Fascinating Fact #4.     Defenceman Noel Price, an important member of the early and mid-1960’s Montreal Canadiens, now lives in Ottawa. He was one shy of playing 500 games, and is also a member of the American Hockey League Hall of Fame. Price won a Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1966.

 Fascinating Fact #5.    Toe Blake, a man of great words, once said, “if my son ever decides to become a goalie, I’m going to hit him over the head with a goalie stick.”

 Fascinating Fact # 6.    My midget coach was a man named Jack Dyte. In 1943 he played 27 games with the Chicago Blackhawks, and that was it for his NHL career. He managed one goal and no assists during this stint. But the thing was, he chewed tobacco at our practices and spit the juice on the ice. So the surface had dozens of brown spots all over it. I always wondered how he got away with that.