Featured artist Pat Martin Bates holds the first edition of Tweed at the magazine launch party in December 2012. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)

Featured artist Pat Martin Bates holds the first edition of Tweed at the magazine launch party in December 2012. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)

10 years of Tweed

Celebrating a decade in Oak Bay

Susan Lundy, Don Denton and Lia Crowe/Tweed

From conception to printing, the first issue of Tweed unfolded in a six-week whirlwind. But the result, published in December 2012, was stellar.

Under the direction of then-Black Press Group Publisher Penny Sakamoto, with photographers Don Denton, Arnold Lim and Ken Sakamoto, a host of writers and the Black Press design team, we produced a 56-page glossy that truly captured a moment in Oak Bay history.

The feature stories in that inaugural edition? What a wealth of coverage!

The main feature story documented the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, which had just been re-opened in all its glory by longtime owners the Walker family. Our “Oak Bay Homes” section took a peek inside the sleek and artful rooftop home of the late Jim Kirk, who lived in a loft setting on Oak Bay Avenue. The history story—to this date one of my favourites—covered the 1925 Stanley Cup final when the victorious Victoria Cougars hoisted the cup in Oak Bay’s Patrick Arena.

In a section called “Romancing the Stove,” then-food writer Pam Grant sat down with Morning Bay Wine Company owners Keith Watt and Barbara Reid, who had recently moved to Oak Bay. A travel piece told the story of the Selas family’s war-history trip to Belgium and France; a gardening section looked at George Heffelfinger’s bonsai trees.

Pat Martin Bates—practically Oak Bay royalty—was our featured artist; and writer/theatre personality Prudence Emery held the first tea cup in our Tea With section. As the “Oak Bay Insider” former mayor Christopher Causton wrote about Christmas, Oak Bay style. There were two and a half pages of Don’s Dogs on the Avenue images.

In my editor’s letter, “Back to the future in Oak Bay,” I wrote about my love for this community:

“Rediscovering Oak Bay via Tweed has somersaulted me back to my childhood because—even though I grew up in the Ten Mile Point area—Oak Bay sets the backdrop for so much of my past. It’s been like digging into a treasure box of memories.”

Ten years later, this holds true. And as I look back on the riches of stories I’ve written for Tweed, so many stand out, it’s hard to name a few favourites. But I’ll take a stab at it.

In my story “Schooling history” (Spring 2013), I toured Glenlyon Norfolk and took a deep dive into its history as the former home of renowned architect Francis Rattenbury.

One of my favourite Tea With visits occurred in the Fall 2014 issue, when I met and interviewed the delightful Marion Cummings at her beautiful Oak Bay home.

And much more recently, in the Summer 2020 issue, my husband and I emerged from pandemic lockdown, met up with my daughter and her partner and explored a bit of history by following the Oak Bay Walking Trails pamphlet’s “Stroll Through the Original John Tod Property” route. Walking, talking and revelling in history was the perfect antidote to the stress of the time.

In celebration of Tweed’s 10th anniversary, photographers Don Denton and Lia Crowe have also identified a few highlights of their time with Tweed over the last decade.

DON DENTON: “We may know a neighbourhood because a friend lives there, a cafe because we enjoy the style of food it serves, a certain park because we once took our children for a playdate there or a personality because their profile is large enough to intrude on our consciousness.

Journalism, in this case Tweed magazine, has allowed me to explore many neighbourhoods, cafes and parks, as well as meet people and more throughout the municipality of Oak Bay.

I’ve been privileged to be invited into private homes and business offices and to wander through public spaces. Here are some of my best memories:

• I’ve photographed a pair of mayors over the past 10 years—Nils Jensen and Kevin Murdoch—and one former mayor, Christopher Causton.

• I was shown the mysteries of Oak Bay’s unique alleys, by both Christopher and photographer Kate Seaborne.

• I’ve met and photographed so many amazing local writers, painters, sculptors, chefs and other artists.

• I’ve seen the beauty in local gardens and the decor, decoration and renovations in private homes.

• I’ve watched the sun rise and the sun set from many areas on the Oak Bay waterfront.

• I’ve been to most (maybe not all) restaurants and cafes in the community, some still here, others sadly closed.

• I’ve photographed manholes, apartment signs and the knots people use when tying up their boats.

• Last, but not leashed (sorry, a very bad pet pun), I’ve been so lucky to be jumped on, drooled on, licked and barked at by so many of Oak Bay’s canine residents, shooting for our back of the magazine feature Dogs on the Avenue. Too many breeds to remember and not a single bite in a decade.”

LIA CROWE: “I have had the pleasure of doing the fashion stories for Tweed for a number of years and the best part about it for me is that we use local Oak Bay people as models. Because of that, the feature has become a real celebration of the people who live and work in Oak Bay. It shines a spotlight on the people you may run into at the grocery story or see working in your favourite Oak Bay boutique—but elevated to their most gorgeous selves with the help of makeup artist Jen Clark and stylist Jen Evans.

Every single person I have photographed for this feature has been a joy to work with, and so many stick out in my mind. Considering just the realm of Oak Bay Avenue boutiques, I’ve had the pleasure of photographing Rebecca Burrows and Craig Williams of Hughes Clothing, Kari McLay of Tulipe Noire, Ben Brannen of Bespoke Design, Émilie Hamel and Ženija Esmits of House of Savoy, and Kande Whitehouse of Kande Global Hair Couturiere.

However, if I had to pick just one favourite, one shoot that was extra special, one experience that surpasses the rest, there’s no contest. I had the pleasure of photographing Oak Bay resident Nancy Douglas for the Summer 2020 issue on Willows Beach. It was a gorgeous evening, she’s a beautiful woman, the fashion was lovely and…she happens to be my mom.”


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

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