The Hornby Chronicles 2018-2019

I didn’t realize I has so many posts about Hornby Island so here they are all together.  I guess the next project should be a book??

Rocktober Hornby Island

Wildflowers of Hornby Island

Hornby rocks

Merry Christmas from Hornby Island

Hornby Island in pictures

Services around Hornby Island

Vancouver to Hornby -The Kindness of Friends

Facebook as City Hall

Pioneer Annie

My adventure with standup comedy.

A Leap of Faith

Tribune Beach Sylvia Shaw







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?


The quilt as metaphor for life on Hornby

Yesterday I sat the quilt. The person who sits the quilt sells tickets to the quilt lottery. It is such a cool job. I meet people from all over Canada and the US… Whitehorse, Washington, Toronto/Ottawa, Courtenay and Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. The quilt is a beautiful work of art by Hornby Artists. Some of the artists in the community have been contributing blocks to the quilt going back to at least 1980.   The quilt format has moved from traditional patterns to abstract forms and embellishment with embroidery. The quilt is more a piece of fabric art than a quilt.  The theme of the quilt was Activities which is keeping with the Room to Grow building which is the fundraising focus. Each square represents typical Hornby activities.

2019 Activites

Each person’s square captures of bit of their life on Hornby. The story of the quilt is so much richer by knowing who has done which parts. 


This square represents the music played by local musicians at the Community Arts Council and the square is done by Louise McMurray who is the Director of the Community Arts Council.

This square represents Room to Grow Building that will receive the funding from the quilt raffle.IMG_4790Room to Grow Marg Bennett

IMG_4793Polar Bear Swim Helen Onorah

One of the most whimsical squares is the Polar Bear Swim at Grassy Point that I attended as a spectator this year. Someone joked that one of the figures in the quilt square must be me.

The landscape on Hornby is one if its principal attractions, whether it is the sandy beach of Big Tribune, the cliffs of Helliwell Park or the sunsets of Grassy Point.  Other popular activities are mountain biking and birdwatching.. not at the same time, sailing, making music and reading.

Mountain Biking Peggy Kabush
Bird Watching Alpen Kelley
Quilt Show Pippa Moore

At least one person has made a square for the 2019 and the 1980 version… 39 years ago. Here is what the 1980 version looked like. I think this is drawings by children that were translated by quilters. The process of quilting has certainly changed in 39 years, becoming more fabric art than blocks of colour and patterns.  

1980 Children’s Version

And here is the 2020 interpretation in stained glass by Ted Godden.

Your help is needed to replace the gym on Hornby Island.

In Aug 2018 the Hornby Island school burned down. So far the provincial government has not committed to replacing the full size gym that was used for many activities on the Island. There is a meeting on Hornby on June 20 with the School Board so we need to forward as many letters as possible before then.  Are you willing to write letters or emails? A draft letter is attached below. Emails and/or letters can be sent to:

Scott Fraser MLA: Mail: Scott Fraser, Room 323 Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

Rob Fleming, Minister of Education: Mail: Room 124 Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

John Horgan, Premier: Mail: P.O. Box 9041 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, BC V8W 9E1

Please cc all emails to:


Dear Minister Fleming, MLA Scott Fraser and Premier John Horgan;

I am writing you to request your support for the replacement of the destroyed gym on Hornby Island with a full sized gym.

Hornby Island community suffered a devastating blow when the school was destroyed by fire in August 2018. I understand the Ministry of Education is the final stages of finalizing funding levels for the new school. The school was relocated to the Community Hall from Sept-Dec and currently functions out of 4 portables. It has come to my attention that the insurance for the gym replacement is only adequate to cover the cost of a gym the quarter of the size of the original full size gym. Hornby is apparently just below the threshold to qualify for full replacement funding. Hornby is a remote island with no alternate community recreation facilities. The existing buildings are often booked with other activities, do not have enough space or are in need of repairs or replacement of equipment. The one facility with some modest fitness equipment has just put out a call for donations of exercise bikes, treadmills etc.

The gym is the center for all in-school sports and after school programming, summer sports activity, emergency preparedness training, toddler and preschool gym, seniors exercise, all ages badminton, teen night, basketball, pickle ball, indoor soccer, tennis, plays and fairs.

There is evidence that people in rural areas have higher BMI compared to urban dwellers which has been a recent trend. (1). Forty percent of the population on Hornby is over 65 and needing regular physical activity all year round including facilities that are handicapped accessible. Regular physical activity helps prevent dementia, (2–5) (6), obesity (7), diabetes(8,9), hypertension, (10) cardiovascular disease(11–13), falls (14), cancer (15) and progression of osteoarthritis. (16) Physical activity also improves pregnancy outcomes (17) and helps maintain social networks. Strong evidence demonstrated that physical activity reduces the risk of fall-related injuries by 32% to 40%, including severe falls requiring medical care or hospitalization. (14). For every increase of 2000 steps per day over baseline, there was an 8% yearly reduction in cardiovascular event rate in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance. (18) In fact, the gym might be even more important for the rest of the population than the school kids. The gym also offered many special events that drew tourists and supported the local economy.

In addition to the gym, a small Natural History Centre was lost. The Centre was an interactive museum that offered learning opportunities for everyone in the community. In addition, it was an important summer tourist attraction that contributed to the sustainability of the economy.

I would appreciate your recommendation to the Ministry of Education for the full replacement of the gym and Natural History Center to their original size and function. The island has done considerable fundraising for a new art center and the appetite for additional fundraising is dwindling.

Your truly

As it turned out.. the school board had already done some scenarios about funding that includes enough sq. ft. to include a full size gym space. The Ministry of Education has a funding envelope that includes funding for emergencies which is going to be used to fund the replacement of the school. Lesson learned: don’t believe everything you hear or read on Facebook.


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  2. Kivimäki M, Luukkonen R, Batty GD, Ferrie JE, Pentti J, Nyberg ST, et al. Body mass index and risk of dementia: Analysis of individual-level data from 1.3 million individuals. Alzheimers Dement [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2019 Jun 17];14(5):601–9. Available from:
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  15. MCTIERNAN A, FRIEDENREICH CM, KATZMARZYK PT, POWELL KE, MACKO R, BUCHNER D, et al. Physical Activity in Cancer Prevention and Survival. Med Sci Sport Exerc [Internet]. 2019 Jun [cited 2019 Jun 17];51(6):1252–61. Available from:
  16. KRAUS VB, SPROW K, POWELL KE, BUCHNER D, BLOODGOOD B, PIERCY K, et al. Effects of Physical Activity in Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis. Med Sci Sport Exerc [Internet]. 2019 Jun [cited 2019 Jun 17];51(6):1324–39. Available from:
  17. DIPIETRO L, EVENSON KR, BLOODGOOD B, SPROW K, TROIANO RP, PIERCY KL, et al. Benefits of Physical Activity during Pregnancy and Postpartum. Med Sci Sport Exerc [Internet]. 2019 Jun [cited 2019 Jun 17];51(6):1292–302. Available from:
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