I have had to go to Campbell River quite often due to my temporary full time job and it turns out it’s not a bad little town after all. It’s maligned because of it’s economic condition (the mills closed), but it is sweet-by-the-sea and it has a pretty decent strip mall Thai restaurant called Imagine Thai (the Tord Mun Moo is to die for). The Comox Valley doesn’t have a single good Thai restaurant and as a Thai food lover that is hard on me. Campbell River also has an vintage diner called Ideal Cafe that serves milkshakes, and it’s authentically retro—like, it’s been there and that way forever, a relic from another time.
I also went to Campbell River with Kevin Flesher, Comox Valley Poet Laureate, and his business partner Mark, because I was helping them make some promotional material for their new Legendary Tour company (I ended up not getting great pictures for their rack cards and they rejected the logo I made for them, so in the end I wasn’t much help after all. Onward.) But first Kevin’s alter-ego, Captain Thunderpants, had to do a show at the Campbell River Farmers’ Market, which I had been meaning to check out. It turns out it’s more of a craft market than a food type deal, at least at this time of year, but I did buy a giant bag of spinach from the culty farm-to-table restaurant people for a mere $3. I went on and on about how reasonable that was and later when I walked by their booth again I saw they had changed the price of giant bags of spinach to $4. Haha! I have eaten at their restaurant in Chilliwack a few times and once in Nelson but whenever I try to go to the one in Courtenay it is closed.
The Campbell River Farmers’ Market is at the foot of Discovery Pier which is T shaped and you can rent fishing poles and fish off the dock. It also has a tiny little aquarium you can have a tour of.
Captain Thunderpants is a good entertainer but maybe not the best at time management so the tour stops on the way home were rushed. We spent a little time at the Shelter Point Distillery which is an incredibly beautiful facility, with indoor water features and giant copper vats. The spirits were tasty, too! We also stopped at Coastal Black Estate Winery, but it was pretty much like every other vineyard I’ve been to, so while it was nice not a lot stood out about it. You can sit in their courtyard and look at birds in a big cage if you have more time than we did.
When I got home I took the little girls swimming at the lake and after I dropped them off I went to Puntledge river to join some Elevators decompressing after the Elevate the Arts summer festival. Step was heavily involved with Elevate as a board member and volunteer but due to my job all I did was some karaoke in the alley. Despite having the worst technical difficulties ever it went okay. It was the usual karaoke phenomenon where it was hard to get people to start and then hard to get them to stop. The rest of the festival was really enjoyable. There are vendors and entertainers on the street and there are inside venues as well. Everything is free admission because the mandate of the festival is to be accessible. I listened to Jon play his accordion while I made a collage at the collaging station (collage is really popular around these parts). To me it felt like the day when Cumberland came to Courtenay and hung out. The volunteer meals had a DJ and Projectionists, and there was Pop-Up art gallery show of Ed Varney‘s collection titled “The 80’s Called, They Want Their Art Back” which featured a lot of A Walk Is…artists like I. Braineater and ManWoman. (I had a solo show at A Walk Is…pretty much annually but there was none of my stuff, or Marta Pan’s, or Teresa Henri’s, but there was one Jan Wade piece so the show really had that genuine ’80’s feel to it). I enjoyed seeing art and artists I had maybe forgotten about like Mandad‘s crazy silicone animals and David Ostrem‘s whimsical comicesque paintings. The space felt like an ’80’s style gallery space too.
Even though I wasn’t really a driving force for Elevate this year I went with Step to the debriefing meeting. I was planning on being the BBQer but there was a lot of food left from Miners’ Memorial Weekend and BBQ wasn’t needed, so I just hung out on the beautiful beach with the beautiful people and felt beautiful. Elevate yo’self!