Born into a farming family in South Africa, Aubergine Specialty Foods owner Leon Zetler has always recognized the importance of knowing where your food comes from. Over the years, his passion for food has led him from his family farm to a career as an organic-produce specialist.
Now, at Aubergine Specialty Foods, Mr. Zetler visits local farms daily, and hand-selects the freshest produce from Saanich. For example, tomatoes and cucumbers hail from Sun Wing Farm, while strawberries come from Oldfield Orchard. He also roasts organic and fair-trade African coffee beans to order, and gently grinds them in a 110-year-old Elgin coffee grinder. And he imports a vast variety of organic, kosher, and fair-trade pantry staples and favorites from around the world, specifically Africa, such as biltong, boerewors, and Mrs. Balls Chutney.
Mr. Zetler is happy to guide newcomers around the small, cheerful store. In the event that customers can’t find what they’re looking for, he even takes requests for products they would like to see on the shelves.l
The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand—despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase—is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.
Whether paddling out on their own atop a rented board or within eyesight of a Paddle Canada–certified instructor, visitors to Epic Surf Co quickly lose themselves to the sound of seagulls and gently lapping waters. With the mist-covered mountains standing guard on the horizon, paddlers are regularly joined by the region’s natives such as eagles, river otters, and sea lions as they make their way past crescent-shaped beaches and coves.
Back on dry land, Epic Surf instructors sign guests up for lessons on the basics of stand-up paddleboarding, advanced skills, and SUP surfing. Techs within an on-site custom shop bring 23 years of experience to their board repair and artwork, and the surf shop showcases all the wares of their trade, including wetsuits and paddles that double as lances for on-the-water jousts.
Dennis Brady and his glass-blowing brood do more than supply Victoria with a steady stream of colourful crystalline pieces. They also impart the tricks of their trade in easy-to-understand classes, lectures, and workshops. Artists and curious common folk can take advantage of Victorian Art Glass's expansive art experience, which allows visitors to experience several different types and textures. The studio's many kilns for rent or other tools such as the sandblaster help produce intricate designs into smooth surfaces to practice for a new gig as Jack Frost. The glassomancers' educational programs emphasize the business end of artistry, with numerous classes aimed specifically at improving one's marketability.
At age 5, second-generation islander Johannes and his father paddled along San Juan Island, their kayaks crossing paths with troops of orca whales. This foray ignited the young adventurer’s twin passions for kayaking and stewardship. Now, Johannes’ team of outdoor enthusiasts deftly navigates the waters surrounding San Juan Island, imparting knowledge of marine wildlife to paddlers. Guides not only skim the region’s waterways, but lead expeditions across the islands during multiday tours. Groups may paddle along remote islands in search of seabirds and lost tugboat captains, and then hop on bicycles to pedal down rural back roads dotted with lavender and alpaca farms.
The team of framers and curators at Framing & Art Centre task themselves with keeping their customer’s walls well-adorned – be it with framed family heirlooms or a piece of art from the store’s own collection. Armed with conservation framing techniques, the framing team builds customized frames and shadow boxes from high quality materials – such as acid-free 100% cotton mats, and UV-coated glass – to keep valuable artworks safe.