Summer Reading on Hornby Island

Summer on Hornby is too busy for reading or blogging.  Since the rare rainy day has occurred, it is time to refresh my blog.  My reading of the past year has been trapped in the world of grade 7 fantasy books for on online book club for 9 students in Ontario.  This was a spin off from my reaching English as a Second Language online.  I ended the semester with The Handmaids Tale which did not go over well.  Although we had done several dystopian novels, The Handmaids Tale did not rank up there with the Hunger Games or Heartless.  My personal favourite from the book club was Heartless by Marissa Meyer.  It was a prequel to Alice and Wonderland. It has a good plot, good character development and kept the action moving.  Unfortunately, none of these grade 7 students had read Alice in Wonderland so they missed some of the literary allusions.   Sad commentary on children’s reading but there are so many books to choose from it’s hard to pick recommended reads.  I found it challenging to pick books for the book club. Many libraries have lists, Amazon and Goodreads have lists, there are so many lists, I had to make a spread sheet of the lists.  Their favourites were:

  • Little Brother
  • Replica
  • Rebel of the sands
  • Heartless
  • Maze Runner
  • Divergent
  • Hunger Games

The downside to the book club was that I spent my time reading grade 7 books and not my own picks. So I was pleased to have been introduced to some adult reading over the summer.

The first book I was introduced to was Adventures in Solitude by Grant Lawrence at a reading on Hornby Island.  Grant has had a pod cast on CBC about some characters he knew from spending summers in Desolation Sound, north of Powell River and only accessible by boat.  His stories brought back memories of a sailing trip I had to Desolation Sound in 1985.  I could imagine the scenes in his stories.   Grant wrote about the loss of people’s mental health from extended periods of time in the wilderness.  I sometimes wonder if the strange hats people wear on Hornby might be an early warning sign.

The next reading I went to was by Amanda Hale.  I was not familiar with her work but was intrigued by her fictionalized memoir of her father’s internment in England during WWII.  After the long drought of adult reading I welcomed The Mad Hatter.  I couldn’t put it down.  The reference to the mad hatter is indirectly related to Alice and Wonderland and you might think this is my theme for today.  Amanda’s book is being published in Sept 2019.

My third read was picked from the annual Hornby Island book sale.  It was a mystery set in Ireland called The Likeness by Tana French.  She has written a series around a group of Irish detectives.  I enjoyed the Likeness, it kept me reading late at night.  I did however find some inconsistencies in the story line.  I’m interested in reading more of her series. The story has an oddly similar theme to the Replica.

The next reading I went to by Dr Gabor Mate who also lives part-time on Hornby.  I haven’t read any of his books and his reading was from a book he is writing.  The reading was a sell out which is a measure of the wide spread interest in his topic of personal development and spirituality.  In keeping with the mad hatter theme, he did talk about the use of Iowaska, the drug used in Peru to generate deep personal experiences.

I feel fortunate to have attended the wide variety of readings here.  It only takes me 5 min to get there and I don’t have to find or pay for parking for which I also feel grateful.

Links to my reads on Amazon.

Grade 7 reads

My reads

Gabor Mate books on Amazon

 

What have been your summer reads?

 

Transportation to Hornby

Many people on Hornby have summer visitors and it’s complicated getting here.  This might help a few people to navigate the transportation system to get here.  My recommendation is the float plane from Vancouver float plane terminal at Coal Harbour to Hornby for about $200 one way.  See details below.

Public transit.

Getting to and from Hornby Island is a lengthy process. Here is a typical schedule for a trip as a foot passenger from Vancouver to Hornby Island. If you are coming as a foot passenger there is an express bus from Downtown Vancouver at Granville and West Georgia to Horseshoe Bay. Check Google Maps for times.   The Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay at Nanaimo is about 1 hr 40 min.   Then you can pick up the Island link shuttle from Departure Bay to Buckley Bay.  Advance booking for the Island Link is necessary and can be done online.  From Buckley Bay you get the ferry to Denman Island. Then you have a 20 min drive to the ferry on the other side of Denman Island to pick up the ferry to Hornby Island. Each crossing is about 10 min. People travelling as foot passengers on the Denman ferry often approach travelers with cars to hitch a ride across Denman Island.  Seniors with a BC ID are free on Mon-Thurs but you still have to pay for your car.  The ferry fare on Hornby/Denman includes the return fare.

One should check the BC Ferries website up to an hour before leaving as ferries have been known to break down and not be replaced due to lack of availability of replacement ferries.  The Denman and Hornby Island operate on a schedule but will increase sailings if line-ups occur.

Here is a typical schedule for a walk on passenger from Vancouver.   Times can vary so check the schedules of Translink, BC Ferries and Island Link.   Taking your car requires advance booking on BC Ferries to ensure a spot on the ferry at your desired departure time. The ferry schedule for Denman/Hornby is different on some days of the week so close scrutiny of the schedule is warranted.

Vancouver-Hornby

Return from Hornby to Vancouver

departDepart timearriveArrival time
Ferry Hornby -Denman10:00Denman Island10:10
Ferry Denman-Vancouver Island10:40Buckley Bay10:50
Buckley Bay Island link11:20Departure Bay12:30
Departure Bay BC Ferries1:15Horseshoe Bay2:55
Granville and West Georgia downtown Vancouver bus 2573:15Georgia and Granville downtown Vancouver3:45

*free for seniors Mon-Thur. Total travel time one way 6 hours

 Depart timeArrival locationArrival timefares one way 2019Return fare comments
Granville and West Georgia downtown Vancouver bus 2509:56Horseshoe Bay10:30$1.85  
Horseshoe Bay BC Ferries11:00Nanaimo Departure Bay $ 17.20 person*

 

$57.50 car

  
Departure Bay -Island Link Shuttle Bus1:05Buckley Bay2:10$28.99  
Ferry Buckley bay-Denman Island3:00Denman3:10$8.90 person*

 

$ 20.65 car

 discount with Experience Card
Ferry Denman-Hornby Island3:40Hornby3:500  
Total without car   $56.94*$104.98* 
Total with car   $135.09$240.63 

Denman -Hornby

Buckley Bay -Denman Island

 Fares

 Denman/HornbyHorseshoe Bay/Nanaimo
  Experience card 
adult8.905.1517.20
Car20.6512.3557.50
BC SeniorFree Mon-Thurs. Free Mon-Thurs.

Flying

via Comox

Flying from Coal Harbour in Vancouver into Comox Airport with Harbour Air is an option. Prices range from $ 132-$ 199 depending on the day. This would require ground transport or water taxi from Comox to Hornby.   A site called Rome2rio.com gives a number of ground and water options to get to Hornby from Comox with the shortest being a 2 hour trip using a car from Comox Airport. Public transit via the Courtenay Bus system is available to Buckley Bay.

Hornby Direct

There is a seaplane that goes from the seaplane terminal at Coal Harbour in Vancouver directly to Hornby and is the quickest way to get to Hornby for about @ $ 200 one way. The plane lands on a beach by the ferry terminal. https://www.vancityseaplanes.com/routcosts

Nanaimo Airport

The Island Link shuttle will stop on the highway next to the Nanaimo Airport. It is a 5 -10 min walk from the bus stop to the departure terminal.

Water Taxis

Water taxi service is available to/from Hornby, Buckley Bay and Comox Harbour as well as other destinations. Comox Water Taxi advertises Hornby to Comox in 35 min. Hornby Island Adventures also offers water taxi for $ 220 for one person from Comox to Hornby.

Further travel details to Hornby

Facebook as City Hall

My thoughts about Facebook communication on Hornby Island

Current Situation

There are some novel communication methods on Hornby Island. One of the traditional methods is a weekly printed newsletter called the First Edition sold at one the two stores. Quaint is the adjective that comes to mind. It is printed in a style and font that is reminiscent of yesteryear.  I suspect the font is done intentionally as it and the name The First Edition hark back to the time of the printing press. Articles include gardening to spiritual life and updates from local committees and events. There is some advertising. Communication to and from the many non profit groups on Hornby exists through email, FB, signage, word of mouth and the COOP radio station which does not reach the west side of the island.

In recent years, Facebook groups pertaining to Hornby Island have come and gone with various foci including s events, ferry updates, calls for assistance, buy and sell, housing pleas, job offers, and discussion of hot topics such as funding for different projects and causes. Among the hot topics that have emerged in the FB groups are a proposed center of the arts, seniors housing and funding for a bus.   In other places these items would come to city council but on Hornby there is no city council as there is no municipal government. Hornby and other Gulf Island come under the governance of the Islands Trust and the Comox Valley Regional District. There are elected reps to the IT and to CVRD.

Residents of Hornby can express their needs and concerns to their elected reps who are active in the FB groups and are accessible via email.   However, the FB groups appear to act as a public form to either garner support or raise concerns about proposed changes. FB groups act as combination of letter to the editor and town hall meetings.  According to the Economist, 30 % of the world is on Facebook. Outside of Hornby, some places have set up citizen panels to advise on issues via surveys and/or public meetings. (West Van and Vancouver).

Island Trust Survey Results

The IT conducted a survey in 2016 by phone, had a 2% response rate and concluded they needed to do more on island in person polling. Fifty-six percent of respondents were over 65. Most respondents prefer to receive information from their local government through local newspapers (63%) and email (55%). 2-in-5 respondents prefer to receive information via Canada Post (39%). This is only 3 years ago. It is striking the lack of interest/use in online information.

There is an interesting snap shot from the survey showing the challenges on the islands with the biggest challenges being transportation (ferries) followed by housing. The issues of access to WIFI appears to not have been included in the challenges list. Nevertheless, it is an issue of concern on Hornby, Gambier and Thetis.

challenges2.png

 

survey2

The pros of using Facebook as a city hall are:

  1. There is active participation by those who are engaged in Facebook. There were about 1000 members of a recently closed HI FB group.   With a resident population of 900, this would represent more people that who actually live on Hornby but many people are only part time residents.
  2. New ideas are generated.
  3. Incorrect information flagged
  4. Residents are informed about issues
  5. It is easy to use by those people who use Facebook
  6. Facebook has emerged as a vehicle to build and foster special interest groups and in some cases has become a tool for social change. To a small degree, that same function occurs in the HI Facebook groups.   It has been a good tool to see which way the wind is blowing on a variety of issues. Although one cannot say the sample is representative. It is like a mini Gallup Poll.

Cons

  1. Membership in the Groups is closed and, in some cases, limited to people who live on the island but no strict criteria for membership is used.
  2. Some people on the Island are older and either not computer savvy or chose not to be computer savvy or can’t afford computer access. As the survey below shows, most people prefer mail or newspapers.
  3. Posting on the FB groups is at the discretion of the group admin.
  4. Some postings can sometimes lead to emotional reactions that are not well received. This can result in people being labeled as rebels or outcasts and could have negative repercussions on individuals or the community.
  5. Facebook postings are limited in length and do not lend themselves to a coherent or thorough examination of complex issues, in much the same way as email can lead to misunderstandings.
  6. Its really hard to follow the train of the discussions on FB.
  7. The discussions have no way to be captured and communicated to the governing bodies.
  8. If discussions go nowhere, FB users may increase their level of irritation resulting in uncivil level of discourse.
  9. If there is no record of the discussions on FB, the governing bodies lose the rich material generated by the discussions.
  10. Facebook is changing with more and more advertising which may lead to a fall off in readership.

Questions about Facebook City Hall.

  1. How are the FB group working for HI residents?
  2. How can non-residents become involved? Should they be involved?
  3. How can the FB groups be used by the IT/CVRD?
  4. Is the community input to IT/CVRD adequate?
  5. Are staff of the IT/CVRD members of the groups?

img_1512-1

Possible Goals of Communication Systems on Hornby

Visitors and HI residents will:

  1. have timely input into discussions at the IT/CVRD/HIRRA
  2. be more informed about issues
  3. Have input valued regardless of which side of the issue they are on.
  4. have greater confidence in the capability of governance entities.

So what would an ideal communication tool look like on Hornby?

  1. Accessible to people with or without a computer. Some people choose not to use computers and rely solely on a land line phone or mail to communicate with others.
  2. People without computers can use the mail and a 1-800 #. Maybe have a free drop box at the COOP might work. The existing free mail at the CO-OP is messy and not secure and would benefit from an improved mail box structure. In time these mail boxes will probably become obsolete.
  3. Priories and annual work plan of the IT/CVRD/HIRRA would be combined into one document and be reviewed each year in a community forum and clearly posted on web sites. It would be ideal to have one meeting annually that would include the three entities.
  4. Information/participation should be accessible to people who visit HI or who can’t attend meetings in person.
  5. All this work would be done by staff at IT/CVRD/HIRRA.
  6. All business meetings would have a min 30 min for networking.
  7. IT/CVRD/HIRRA report on community feedback.
  8. Information be summarized in the following brief way, posted on line and paper copies be made available by mail:
    1. Executive summary including recommendations 2 pages
    2. Content of report
    3. Environment scan within the Gulf Island and perhaps the San Juans.
    4. Options considered
      1. Pros and Cons
      2. Costs and benefits
    5. Summary
    6. References/links

Limitations

  • The day will come when all residents of HI will be computer users. How far in the future? 5-10 years?
  • 100+ committees on Hornby (truth or rural myth?) could be involved in the communications systems and processes. How many?   Phase in over time?

Recommendations about communications on HI with governing organizations.

The three governing organizations Islands Trusts, Comox Valley Regional District and the Hornby Island Residents and Rates Payers Association will facilitate the development of:

  1. a formal FB group for feedback into policy decisions on HI. Staff of the 3 entities to monitor FB group discussions.
  2. an annual schedule of open meetings of Governance Entities posted on all websites and FB
  3. a process to attend meetings through audio conferencing..
  4. email lists and address lists for distribution of related information and meeting notices.
  5. notice of meetings distributed by mail and First Edition until uptake is adequate via email.
  6. substantive networking time at all business meetings.
  7. brief power point presentations to summarize issues at meetings
  8. annual open calls for volunteers for each governance entity with clear roles and responsibilities, qualifications needed, job description posted on websites and recruitment through FB group and websites.

img_1531

 

 

 

 

Pioneer Annie

When I decided to stay on Hornby for the winter I had no idea what challenges were ahead of me.

I was having lunch with another blogger a few weeks ago telling her my Hornby story. She said “ you should write a book, you have such an interesting story and you tell it so well. I wish I had such an interesting life” and I said to her.. “ I wish I had you stable life. I don’t want all this moving around”.   She told me about a  mommy blogger who wrote a book.   I am not aspiring to write a book so in the meantime I will update my retirement blog. Mommy bloggers are a bird of another feather.

It’s been a rough winter with about five 24 hour power failures since November due to wind storms and f trees falling on power lines. BC Hydro has been pretty diligent in sending over crews on the first ferry in the morning and fixing things by the evening.   I had two nights in the dark, one with a friend who kept me company and one on the sofa in front of the wood stove. Fortunately by the time the first power failure had occurred I had mastered the wood stove and was able to keep a fire going and make cowboy coffee in the morning. That is thanks to Hornby friends who gave me several demos on how to build a fire and instructions on cowboy coffee… “boil water on the wood stove and add some coffee”. It was pretty good. Morning without coffee is not a pleasant experience. Shortly after my landlady left for Mexico for 2 months, the basement flooded, and despite the attempts of her son to adjust the sump pump ( what ever that is) it remained flooded for most of the next two months.   My landlady had promised someone would come by to put some Plexiglas over the sky lights but that did not happen until she came back 2 months later when she had someone install the Plexiglass, fix the sump pumb, reinstall the propane tank I had incorrectly connected and fix the leak in the dryer hose. Turns out the propane stove was not working and still isn’t fixed as of Feb 28 and one of my space heaters was loaned to a neighbour while I was away.  And over all this time the Satellite TV was down because the wind storms changed the positioning of the satellite.  I had already developed a bad cold and decided to rent a condo of a friend in Courteny while he was travelling around the world. Then I discovered I had pneumonia but the clinic on Hornby had given me antibiotics so all I had to do was lie low in Courtenay and fight the side effects of the antibiotics. While I was lying low on a massage table in Courtney my massage therapist had a similar story about her new house outside of Qualicum Beach.   The week before when the snow had hit she could not get her 100 ft driveway plowed. Her neighbour came to her aid. And she was without power for 5 days!!! This was her first year on Vancouver Island and she said she has had a pretty steep learning curve.

Two of my Toronto families on Hornby were hit but the snowmageddon without snow tires or four wheel drive and also had to rely on the kindness of friends. It’s been a rough winter all the way around on Vancouver Island. Next year I think it will be Mexico for me. 

I had another pioneer experience while teaching my 7 year old student online in Shanghai. The lesson was on Wild Horses in the US and I followed that up with a lesson about Annie Oakley. I felt the material was quite foreign to her but it made me think about my pioneer experience on Hornby Island. I was pretty naïve about what to expect but my friends have come to my aid as needed. I will go back next week and hope the snow and the power failures are over for this year. This wasn’t my retirement plan but my friends keep telling me they are enjoying hearing about my adventures even if I am not enjoying experiencing them.  Apparently while I was away there was a septic tank blockage due to toilet paper and now I have to my bag toilet paper and take it to the dump. I guess this is material for my next comedy routine.

My new favourite place is the The Second Page used book store in Courtenay. This is a rare Main Coon Cat who seems interested in Quincy Jones.  He reminds me of a Cheshire Cat from Alice and Wonderland. 

My other Courtenay Favourites

Acreview Dental- thorough, courteous

FYIdoctors -opticians- thorough, courteous

Walmart Medical Clinic- max about 30 mn wait and very knowledgeable doctors

The new hospital-

The Atlas Café

Mudshark Café

Union Street Grill

Fabricland.

And the Trumpeter Swans of Courtenay

Services around Hornby Island 2020

As a result of Covid19, some of the inflation here is not up to date. One of the biggest challenges to living on the island is that most things are only open a couple of days a week and/or part of the day and there is no universal closing days or times. This can result in wasted trips. I take pictures on my phone of the sign on the door. There are not many websites with opening and closing times. Times can vary by season with longer opening hours in the summer. There is a map that you receive on the Ferry or on the porch of the Coop with a list of services with location and hours. However a universal website would be of benefit to summer visitors. That said, because cell coverage and WIFI is variable across the island, people tend to rely on word of mouth and posters on roads. I have included links to some of the services that are available.

The master site for Hornby Island is http://hornbyisland.com/ includes links to accommodation, arts, events and transportation.

Accommodation

The range of accommodation is wide in terms of size and modern conveniences. Some cottages are without TV, laundry etc.   Some people rent out space on their properties for RVs and tents. Some rentals are done by word of mouth.  Many accommodations are posted on the Hornby Island Site with few listing on Airbnb. Booking is done by contacting the individuals listed as contact for the accommodation. Starting rentals are around $ 1500 a week to sleep 4-6 people over the summer months.   An availability calendar is available on the site but it is not kept up to date. Booking in May for July/Aug is wise. Wind and Waves also has listings from May-Sept. Camping sites are at a premium. There is a beautiful campsite site at Heron Rocks under management of the Heron Rocks Camping Cooperative which is open to members and then non-members if space available. Phone: (250) 335-2670 as no website was found. This may be closed due to Covid19 according to Google Maps.

Services on Hornby

The location of most of the services are on the visitor map you receive on the ferry or at the Coop porch.

Laundry & Showers. Joe King Park Laundry takes 2 or 3 loonies per load. Water is cold unless you opt for the $ 3 loonie wash.  You can buy a membership. Details are posted in the laundry room. A meal service is available M/W/F by donation.

Computer access center Mon-Friday 10-4 in Ringside offers WIFi and printing but the WIFI coverage was intermittent when I used it.

Credit union Hornby Island Branch 2115 Sollans Rd      250.335-2326 Tue, Wed, Fri 9:30 to 3:00. These is an ATM outside the building.

Co-op Store. You can find most things you need here both groceries and hardware. The website includes hours of the COOP, the  gas bar and  businesses in the same location as the COOP and the Gas Bar.  There is an ATM there.

The Cove Store Has some groceries, marina, camping and cottages. 7:30 am ~ 9:30 pm everyday July and August  8 am ~ 8 pm everyday September to June.

Medical Care Monday to Friday     9:30 am – noon and 1:30 – 4 pm

 The Library offers free computer access and wifi

Sun/Mon Closed
Tue 10am-12pm & 1pm-5pm
Wed 4pm-8pm
Thu 10am-12pm & 1pm-5pm
Fri 1pm-5pm
Sat 10am-12pm & 1pm-5pm

There was a summer bus but it has been discontinued.

Farmers Market Wed and Sat 11am -2 pm

Recycling/Free store the Free store is now closed. The recycling depot is open from 9-1 Thursday to Sun (summer)  for vehicles but you can walk up the driveway to access the services during other hours.

The free store was the place to find anything you forgot to bring with you. I have accessed warm clothes, scissors, a frying pan and ice cube trays. There is a great selection of books.  A friend recently scored a couple of Persian rugs and a radio in excellent condition.

Bank Machines are available at the COOP and the Thatch during opening hours. Many merchants only accept cash.

Cell phone coverage is variable but seems to be good around the library and the gas bar.

Arts/Entertainment

http://hornbyisland.com lists many events including concerts and movies. Most have been cancelled for 2020 due to COVID19.

Art Gallery shows and events: https://hornbyislandartscouncil.wordpress.com/

One of the major events on Hornby is a music festival Aug 1-10. www.hornbyfestival.com

Hornby Island Community Radio 96.55. The community radio station is one of the treasures of Hornby Island. The sad part is that it does not transmit beyond Hornby Island. However you can enjoy it while you are there. Multiple DJs have wide ranging tastes in music and deep knowledge of the artists and genres. You can support the station with an online membership.

Hornby Island has a unique natural history including rocks, marine life, fossils and birds. The natural history museum is no longer open.

Fitness

https://www.sundooryoga.com/

New Horizons offered yoga and other activities for seniors but is closed.

Cycling rentals- 250-335-0448 lucielemay@yahoo.com

Hiking and Mountain Biking. A map of the mountain biking and walking trails in Mt Geoffrey Park can be purchased at the bike shop beside the CO-OP.

Hornby Ocean Kayaks

Denman Hornby Canoe &Kayaks

Walking trails are shown on the visitor’s maps you receive on the ferry.

Diving

General Information

There are a number of Facebook groups related to Hornby interests: Hornby Helps,  Word of Mouth, Hornby Island Buy and Sell and Hornby Island Community Connections.

Meals – check hours on websites or Facebook

Seabreeze

Hornby Island Pizza, across from the coop

Fords Cove. fish and chips summer only

The Thatch at the ferry

Ringside- Forage, Vorizo, Sizzle.

LaRena vineyard.

Vancouver to Hornby -The Kindness of Friends

VaMoving out of Vancouver had never crossed my mind when I came to Hornby Island for a few days to attend the BluesFest in May 2018. In fact it was the farthest thing from my mind. But I caught the magic of Hornby Island.

Last night at a movie at the community center, a gentleman came up to me apologise for shouting at me when I backed into his car in the parking lot last week. The incident was so out of character for people on Hornby Island that it really threw me off-balance. Everyone has been so kind and friendly here, it is a startling contrast to Vancouver. I feel like I have gone to a different country or planet. It is like a dream. I went for walk today and everyone says good morning or HI. Try that in Vancouver!

When I come over for the BluesFest in May I was struck by how many baby boomers there were here. So many people had gray hair and were of my generation. The island residents are a mix of hippies from the 60’s and 70’s, people from Vancouver with summer cottages, artists and summer visitors. Some have lived here all their life or a large part of it. I have met more people here than I have in 40 years in Vancouver. The friendliness is on a par with what I experienced as a child in the Maritimes.   I have been touched so many times.

The first week I arrived here I met a fellow blogger living Parksville that I had not met before. She moved to Parksville 2 years ago from Beijing where she had worked as a school administrator. We had many things to talk about. Her experience in China was interesting to me as I am teaching English online to students in China. We shared our blogging experiences and her experience with relocating and retiring. We had so much to talk about we arranged for a follow up lunch at her place.

Another fascinating person I met is the woman across the street teaching English as a second language online to students in Taiwan. She has been doing this for about 10 years… really before on-line teaching took off in a big way. Her business targets adult s, many of whom are still her students 10 years later. She teaches students early in the morning due to the time zone differences while I teach children in the evening. She was interested in my use of technology and my rates of pay! And I found a walking partner who lives across the street in Hornby and near me in Vancouver!

I was also invited the a Womens’ Wednesday cocktail hour, a fundraising event and have enjoyed the movies at the community center which are similar in calibre to the Vancouver International Film Festival. One of the most memorable events I attended was the one man show by singer and story-teller John Mclaughlan who did a personal look back at his life on Hornby.

I had a struggle to find a place with a good wi-fi connection for using the teaching software for online teaching. But here again 5 people stepped up and offered me their home for a 3 1/2 hr session 3 x a week. Finally I found an office with good wi-fi where I could settle down and do my online teaching. Many thanks to the people who offered their spaces and to the business center that offered their space on an ongoing basis.

All this spirit of good will has caused me to reflect on my life in Vancouver and how unsatisfying it feels. It is not something I was conscious of until I got out-of-town. I lived in Ottawa for a couple of years and I felt the difference there as well. So as I have spent time here, I wonder about moving out of Vancouver. I recall a recent story about the differences in happiness by geography in Canada. However the survey found that variables affecting life satisfaction were not specific to geography but to gender, income, education, health status and to whether you knew your neighbours. Clearly knowing your neighbours is about the only modifiable variable at this point in my life. Vancouver ranked at the bottom on the life satisfaction scale but this would seem to be a function of the demographics of the population, with slightly lower life satisfaction among immigrants. So if one is to move to improve life satisfaction, the one variable that might have an impact is moving to a place where you are likely to know your neighbours.   Clearly Donna from RetirementReflections found a place where she knows her neighbours in Parksville and seems pretty happy with her choice. She joined a Newcomers group that appeared to make the transition easier.

Clearly knowing your neighbours in Hornby is easier than in Vancouver. And probably easier in any small place in Canada.   But statistics don’t capture the personal, emotional and financial aspects of moving.

Much has been written about moving in retirement.. pros and cons, how to, where to, best cities. More fundamental is why more? Why pull up stakes were you are living to move someplace else? Lots of people have family reasons. e.g. to be closer to children or aging parents. For some people it offers a chance to cash in on real estate or downsize. A recent article in the Vancouver Sun reported on the Exodus of Vancouverites to the promised land driving up prices on Vancouver Island. And it is not just retirees moving but young couple with families. Clearly one can make a business case for moving out of Vancouver.

While Vancouver is spectacular, Hornby is more spectacular. Hiking trails and beaches are a five-minute drive from just about anywhere.   I am loving the lack of traffic, free parking and the COOP radio. Others have compared the cost of living in rural vs urban areas but that is related to circumstances. There are differences in the cost of living in cities in BC with Vancouver being the most expensive and Abbotsford the least expensive with Nanaimo in the middle. The major downside of Hornby is that it is a 2 hour commute to the nearest city via 2 ferries that sometimes have line ups in the summer so you can’t always be guaranteed a spot on the boat when you want it.

So the question dear readers is.. move out of Vancouver? to Hornby?

My next post will include details about day-to-day life on Hornby.