Living/Working August 30, 2019

Living/Working

August 30, 2019

Tax-evasion crackdown runs into gauntlet of legal challenges

Years after Panama Papers leak, hurdles abound as lawsuits mount against CRA collection efforts to catch offshore tax evaders

Submitted

More associates of former Vancouver lawyer Fred Sharp are going to court to resist the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) efforts to gather financial information about them and their companies, claiming the agency is unconstitutionally using its civil audit powers for the “predominant purpose” of criminal tax-evasion investigations.

In three separate applications filed in the Federal Court of Canada in June and early July, Mike Veldhuis, Jackson Friesen and William Friesen claim their “perceived association” with Sharp put them on the radar of the CRA, which issued requirements for documents and information under the Income Tax Act.

“The applicants are being investigated by Canadian criminal law enforcement as a result of their perceived association with Frederick Sharp,” the applications state. “There is overwhelming evidence that Sharp is being investigated by Canadian and U.S. criminal law enforcement agencies and the respondent’s Criminal Investigations Program for the purpose of establishing criminal culpability.”

Sharp, a former lawyer, was revealed after the leak of the Panama Papers as the Vancouver point man for the Panamanian law firm at the centre of the leak, Mossack Fonseca, allegedly helping wealthy customers of his Corporate House firm to incorporate offshore entities to evade Canadian tax obligations.

Sharp and several others remain embroiled in their own legal battle with federal authorities on similar constitutional grounds, their next showdown scheduled in Federal Court for January 2020.

The latest applications do not detail the “perceived” links between the men, but private placement documents, for example, show that Jackson Friesen’s and Velduis’ companies were involved in a deal in 2009 where Fred Sharp’s brother, Tom Sharp, and his company, Quarry Bay Equity Inc., received a $44,000 finder’s fee.

Jackson Friesen’s application lists his firms Ardent Strategies Corp., Ferrous Capital Corp. and Pine Strategies Corp., and Veldhuis’ application concerns his companies Blackstone Capital Partners Inc. and RPC Strategies Inc., none of which have a substantial online presence. Veldhuis’ LinkedIn profile lists him as a managing partner of Venture Capital First LLC, and he has links to several public companies in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, Veldhuis is listed as “Diamond Match Maker” for a donation between $10,000 and $49,000 in 2015 to the Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland, and his brother, prominent economist and Fraser Institute president Niels Veldhuis, is married to a Big Sisters board member.

The trio’s lawyer, Joe Arvay of Arvay Finlay LLP, stated in an email to BIV that the firm “will not comment on the matter that is now before the court.”

Now facing more than a dozen such challenges in Federal Court, the CRA’s limited power in fighting offshore tax evasion has come into sharp focus as detailed earlier this summer in an update by the federal government’s Offshore Compliance Advisory Committee. Helmed by Western University law professor Colin Campbell, the committee sent the update to Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier detailing challenges faced by the CRA since the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers leaks.

“Taxpayers engaged in aggressive tax avoidance or evasion typically use complex or opaque structures which may make it difficult and time-consuming either to identify the ultimate beneficial owner or to identify the precise way in which the tax laws are being disregarded,” the update states. “Once a high-risk taxpayer has been identified, it is often necessary to obtain further information in the course of an audit to support an accurate reassessment. While CRA has broad powers to audit taxpayers and demand information, taxpayers have the right to challenge CRA demands for information in the courts and, while CRA may prevail in the end, the process uses scarce resources and produces delay.”

Campbell, reached by phone in Ontario in early August, told Business in Vancouver that the CRA’s powers to catch offshore tax evaders are limited, its hands tied by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, while the sheer volume of information in leaks like the Panama Papers makes it a herculean task for investigators to sift through and make solid cases.

In his years as the Liberal-appointed chairman of the Offshore Compliance Advisory Committee, Campbell said, he’s been left with a sense of “optimism tempered by realism,” hyper-aware of the difficulties faced by tax authorities the world over as they try to curb offshore and domestic tax evasion.

The CRA, he said, already receives a few million reports from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, while it also must contend with “many multiples” of that under the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s Common Reporting Standard.

“I think the CRA is making some very real efforts to come to grips with this. It’s very difficult to do,” he said. “You could expand CRA’s workforce from 50,000 to a million and you’d still have trouble going through every single piece of that. It’s just a mountain of information.”

Campbell added that public perception of the problem of offshore tax evasion is often misguided, because it’s easy to conflate illegal evasion with legal avoidance measures, while the country’s “tax gap” is much wider domestically than offshore.

“The biggest source of tax cheating in Canada is with the GST,” he said. “People would like to think that it’s mostly large-scale, offshore evaders that are costing the system tax money, but most of the money being lost is domestic.” 

 
Leading

Report on B.C. gas prices a 'painful portrait' with no close look at the role of taxes

In the hours before the long weekend, where big news is brought to be buried, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) painted a frustrating picture Friday of why our gas prices are North America’s highest. It will take much labour beyond Labour Day for the culprits to get the smell from their product off their hands.

The commission ran out of fingers to point, but the most distressing and unsolveable is a wholesale market that “is not competitive,“ an “oligopoly” among four firms with “elements of a natural monopoly.”

That said, that factor does not equate with a fault. Barriers to entry are formidable, refining is pretty much at capacity, and the report says it would take a lot of new infrastructure to transport, receive, store and distribute meaningfully to affect price.

One presumed suspect exonerated: While prices are “choreographed,” often several times a day, and while this properly frustrates (and, I might add, even raises suspicion among) consumers, the commission found “no evidence” of collusion or “cartel behaviour” among retailers.

There was one mystery the commission could not solve: why there is a nearly 13-cent wholesale price difference in Metro Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest. Neither “economic theory” nor “known factors in the market” can explain it. It’s some sort of Bermuda Triangle in which 13 cents magically disappears – ultimately that, and then some, from drivers.

There is also a non-mystery that the commission could not solve: the rationale and impact of government taxes that total more than one-third of the price at the pump. It was forbidden by the Horgan government to do so, even if it might be Exhibit A in a forensic exploration, even if the BC NDP didn’t necessarily create the issue.

The commission investigation was launched by the premier in May, when prices flirted with $1.60 a litre in Metro Vancouver. The report reiterates what we hear every year about the phenomenon of late-spring prices. It debunks the myth of the gas gouge. It is simply a matter of supply and demand, in which winter gasoline is switched at the refineries to summer gasoline, and summer gasoline is in greater demand.

The commission turns its attention in the report to some proposed next steps, and it is difficult to find much hope, especially anything short-term.

To start, we are driving a little less and will drive even less in the years to come, so the demand for gasoline will diminish.  But that’s hardly helpful today, tomorrow or soon.

If industry and government were to invest in greater refining capacity, the cumulative benefits of jobs, supply security, sectoral scale and export options could in turn drive down prices here. The commission says this has potential, but again, this is not going to happen before the Vancouver Canucks are Stanley Cup contenders.
Besides, even if terminal infrastructure were added, the commission concludes incumbent firms could drop their wholesale rack prices long enough “to prevent new participants from entering.”

Wholesale price regulation is a possibility, in that it could “smooth” the variations in prices. But in a very rare self-effacing moment for any government institution, the commission actually wonders if “a regulator will do a better job than is currently being done by the oil companies.”

As for retail price regulation, well, the commission is cooler to that idea. Sure, it could reduce retail margins – some of them justifiable because of the overhead that land value imposes on retailers – and make them more in line with the rest of the country. But it could also drive away low-cost providers. Thus, the commission concludes, the “reward” might be less than the “cost” of regulation.

What we got Friday was the painful portrait, somewhat understandable and somewhat a riddle, with no examination of government taxes in the mix.

Prices have come down since the furore in May, so it is hard to believe the province will view this as a priority when it will need the revenue for its program spending, for its climate action strategy, and to deal with any economic headwinds.

Drive safely, everyone, even if you don’t drive cheaply.

Kirk LaPointe is editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver and vice-president, editorial, of Glacier Media.

 
Spending

10 cool treats to try in Metro Vancouver before summer ends

Watermelon Ice Cream Sandwich at Milkcow |Instagram via @MilkCowCanada

Summer is sadly waning. It’s time to make the most of the season while the sun shines, and that includes getting in all those cool summer treats.

We’ve rounded up some sweet summer time treats that will help you cool off and soak up the last moments of the season in Metro Vancouver.

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Have you gotten your hands on our Ice Cream Sandwich yet? Only available until the end of the summer 🌞

A post shared by Lucky's Doughnuts (@luckysdoughnuts) on

Come on, what’s better than ice cream between a Lucky’s doughnut bun? This one is only around for summer, so don’t miss out.

Peach Sherbet Profiteroles at BETA5

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the end of is near so get your ice cream fix while you can // featuring one of our favourite end-of-summer fruits // 🍑🍑🍑peach sherbet profiteroles with refreshing peach sherbet & juicy okanagan peach compote in a mini cream puff shell // available daily all week long until we’re sold out!⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠

A post shared by BETA5 (@beta5chocolates) on

BETA5 gets behind summer in the most creative and whimsical ways possible. Right now they’ve got peak season peach cozying up to their airy profiteroles.

Address: 413 Industrial Ave, Vancouver

Watermelon Ice Cream Sandwich at Milkcow

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You are one in a melon 🍉 📸: - - - #igvancouver#vancouverfoodie #yvrfoodblogger #vancouverdessert

A post shared by Milkcow Canada (@milkcowcanada) on

Milkcow’s Insta-worthy watermelon meets soft serve creation made a triumphant return this summer, and this meld of fresh fruit and creamy coolness is a great taste of the season.

Address: 105-5668 Hollybridge Way, Richmond

Weekly Sundae Special at Glenburn Soda Fountain

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It’s National S’mores Day and we didn’t even know it! Luckily our current Sundae Specisl is the Campfire Blondie featuring our house-made blondie, chocolate ice cream, toasted marshmallow, chocolate covered marshmallows and grahams, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. So marshmallow-y! Limited quantities each day.

A post shared by Glenburn Soda Fountain (@glenburnsoda) on

Burnaby’s Glenburn Soda Fountain is a go-to all year long for amazing ice cream treats, but there seems to be some extra playful vibes there in the summer. They have a weekly sundae feature that’s always worth checking out, often inspired by the season, and have just wrapped up a few days of fun via their Crave the Heights Soda Jerk takeover, so you can count on them for something fun for sure.

Address: 4090 Hastings Street, Burnaby

Pink Lemonade Pie at The Pie Hole

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Hello PINK LEMONADE! Meet this new fruity and creamy treat! Layers of raspberry, lemon and flurry pink meringue are what summer dreams are made of! Launching in the shops tomorrow and all weekend long. Who wants a slice?! 🍋

A post shared by The Pie Hole (@thepiehole) on

Sweet dreams are made of this… Raspberry and lemon meet up in the most heavenly way at The Pie Hole. It’s been a Pink Lemonade summer for them, with this cool creamy pie, as well as mini pies (and even house-made Pink Lemonade pop tarts).

Address: Three locations in Metro Vancouver

Gelato at Passione Gelato

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|| OFFICIALLY THE BEST GELATO IN VANCOUVER 🍦Second time here at and my oh my, they’ve once again proven themselves to be the absolute finest in town. Their portions are so generous compared to other gelato shops, not to mention the top notch quality ingredients. — I discovered the most incredible combination this time - Bronte Pistachio & Fiore de Latte! For those of you who haven’t heard of Bronte Pistachio before… it’s Sicily’s 𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐝 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐠𝐞𝐦. These special pistachios are sourced from a small-scale farm in Italy; they’re so rare that they can only be harvested every other year. — Fiore de Latte, on the other hand, is a milky, creamy flavour that translates to “flower of milk”. The two flavours together make a sublime pairing. The subtle yet smooth Fiore de Latte gelato balances out the rich, buttery flavour of the pistachio. I’m literally drooling as I type this 🤤 — ⬇️ Tag your ice cream buddy! — 📍Passione (55 Smithe Street) 🍴: Bronte Pistachio & Fiore de Latte Gelato

A post shared by Melody Yip📍Vancouver Foodie (@blackholetummy) on

Okay, to be fair, there’s no time limit on enjoying gelato from Passione, but if you want to get your licks in at this super buzzworthy brand new scoop shop on the edge of Yaletown, what better time than summer?

Address: 55 Smithe St, Vancouver

Vancouver Is Awesome

 
Spending

Four new breweries open this week across B.C.

Copper Brewing opened this week in Kelowna | Contributed photo

Four new craft breweries opened their doors this week across the province, much to the delight of thirsty British Columbians everywhere: Slow Hand Beer (Vancouver), Copper Brewing (Kelowna), Rustic Reel Brewing (Kelowna) and New Tradition Brewing (Comox). Here’s everything you need to know about B.C.’s newest beer-makers.

Slow Hand Beer

Slow Hand has taken over the former Doan’s Craft Brewing and Powell Brewery space on Powell Street, where founders Kurtis Sheldan and Chris Charron have a unique mission: to create a brewery devoted to making nothing but great lager beers. Much like the brewery’s previous tenants, Slow Hand has a full lounge licence offering full pints and tasting paddles, as well as packaged product. No growler fills, unfortunately.

1830 Powell St., Vancouver • SlowHandBeer.com

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The Three Amigos right here... What’s Norwegian for “Amigo?” I guess that kinda gives away the secret of the next beer release... Limited draught heading to select accounts soon (stay tuned!) and 4-pack tall cans available at the tasting room when it opens! (Also stay tuned!!)

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Copper Brewing

This brewery on Kirshner Road in Kelowna’s Landmark neighbourhood features an immaculately-designed 110-seat lounge in a modern industrial space. The focus here is “approachable” beer styles with a full menu provided by next-door neighbor, montREALfood.

#102–1851 Kirschner Rd., Kelowna • CopperBrewingCo.com

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We’re open 12-8 today! In house snacks, plenty of beer and joining us at 3. . .

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Rustic Reel Brewing Co.

The brainchild of beer-loving German-born owner Susi Foerg, this massive, 8,000-sq.-ft. space in Kelowna’s North End features a full kitchen, a private event space, a local artisan marketplace called the Tackle Box and classic, approachable North American craft beer styles. If you couldn’t tell, there’s a strong fishing and outdoors theme to this brewery’s branding.

760 Vaughan Ave., Kelowna • RusticReel.com

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We are OPEN!!!! We can’t even believe it! It’s been years of hard work, lots of bruises, lots of tears, joyful moments, and frustrations. And yesterday we finally got to open our doors and welcome you to the space we are so proud of! Come visit us on this sunny Saturday and try our awesome beers! We are open 11 AM till 11 PM today! Cheers!

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New Tradition Brewing

Owner Pat Savard’s great-grandpa paved the way for a unique family legacy: bootlegging beer during the prohibition. Today, the family is carrying on that legacy with a “New” Tradition, by brewing and serving beer the legal way. New Tradition’s unique and comfortable tasting room was constructed with recycled materials and ecologically friendly techniques.

#11—215 Port Augusta St., Comox • NewTraditionBrewing.com

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Today finally arrived! August 24th, 2019 our GRAND OPENING!!! Russ Arnott, our town Mayor came to cut the ribbon as we welcomed our first thirsty friends inside. Thanks for all your support, we are so excited to be a real brewery! . . . .

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The Growler

 
Spending

Get on ‘island time’: Your travel guide to Quadra Island, B.C. (PHOTOS)

Cape Mudge Lighthouse | Photo: Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

We were parched and sweaty, our skin on the cusp of sunburnt and certainly damp. Inside Kameleon Food & Drink in Quathiaski Cove, the light was dim, a stark contrast to the last couple of hours we’d just spent easing our way down a root-gnarled hillside then gingerly picking our way across rock-studded shore to stand in the salty waters of Open Bay. We had whiled away our time approximating swimming as seals searched for their lunch nearby, as an anchored boat bobbed in the late morning sun.

After departing Quadra Island’s only sandy beach and making the drive down a gravel roadway, then the forested and mountainous twists of Hyacinth Road,  we were back “in town,” and ready for a quick lunch before heading back to our home base for the week at Taku Resort & Marina. It was a July Monday, and while there were only a handful of other diners in the restaurant, it soon became clear that lunch wasn’t going to be quick.

Panic set in. What if we couldn’t get out of there in the next 30 minutes? I flashed back to a parting conversation with the manager of Taku Resort as we’d headed out that morning, making a plan to meet up “after lunch” to collect the prawn traps we’d set the previous afternoon. What if “after lunch” crept into more “early afternoon” territory? I’d have to call to let him know we’d be late.

I glanced down at my phone. “No Service” read the top left corner, as it had for so much of our time so far on Quadra.

Then it dawned on me: He’s not pacing, wondering where we are. No one expects a phone call when there’s little to no cell service island-wide. I was being a true “city slicker,” and it was time to let go and just be.

We were on “island time.”

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Take some time to throw rock from Rebecca Spit. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

Island time is a state of mind, and for the most part, it’s the governing mode for being on Quadra Island. Located just across the water from Campbell River (a brief 10-minute ferry ride gets you there, with ferries running hourly and the fee only charged from the Campbell River port), Quadra is the gateway to the Discovery Islands, popular with boaters, adventurers, off-the-grid-ers, and anyone looking for some serious decompression in a spectacularly and ruggedly beautiful place.

Outdoor adventures and other explorations

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Catching a glimpse at local birdlife while out on a boat off Quadra Island. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

Quadra is a nature-lover’s paradise. Boaters often drop anchor here as a necessary last stock-up spot before setting course north into the Discovery Islands, as the island boasts a grocery store and other vital businesses. Kayaking, hiking, canoeing, biking, paddleboarding, camping, fishing, golfing – pretty much you name it and you can enjoy it on Quadra.

That said, one doesn’t have to be the full-on outdoorsy type to dip their toes into the natural wonders of Quadra. Novice kayakers can sign up for short outings and lessons, while there are plenty of scenic walks and hikes that aren’t expert-level climbs and hauls. Lakes and ocean provide plenty of opportunities to take a dip, and it takes zero skills or fitness to sit and drink in Quadra’s stunning sunrises and sunsets.

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Sunset on Rebecca Spit. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

Rebecca Spit is probably one of Quadra’s most treasured outdoor spaces, and you can get to this wooded jut of land on Heriot Bay on the island’s central east side via car, boat, or foot – the latter in particular if you’ve got your tent or RV set up there for a stay. Take a stroll around the spit, with or without your pup, throw some rocks, or check out the Trout and Trivet food truck parked on site when they’re up and running. (Sadly they were closed up during our visit due to catering obligations.) The Spit is the spot to do some serious beachcombing while on Quadra.

When it comes to trails and places to cool off in the water, there are a number of options – there are 200 kilometres of hiking trails on the island. We opted to take the advice and directions of a blogger who enjoyed their visit to Open Bay, and likewise, we found ourselves basking in the sunshine and salty waters of the beautiful little spot, while tiny crabs passed by our toes and an eagle watched from its perch high, high above the serene zone.

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A colourful sight along the path that leads you down to Open Bay. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

Other worthwhile spots to check out include the Cape Mudge Lighthouse, at the southern tip of Quadra. The heritage lighthouse is just over a century old, but remains an active military location, so you’ll have to check it out from the other side of the fence.

Here you can peer across the water at Campbell River (which looks dramatically urban compared to where you stand, I guarantee) and also enjoy the rocky shoreline and windy trail walks.

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Cape Mudge Lighthouse. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

Cape Mudge is a part of the territory of the Kwa’Kwa’Ka’ Wa’Kw Nation, whose history is there to discover at the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre. Also in the region are some outdoor spaces, including a garden and gathering space across the street from the museum that also includes an interactive video display.

The Cape Mudge area features many petroglyphs – ancient rock carvings – from the First Nations people indigenous to the area. These can be photographed, however rubbings are not permitted. There are nearly 100 petroglyphs on Quadra Island, scattered on 13 various sites.

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Ancient petroglyphs on Quadra can be found at about 13 sites. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

For a look at contemporary art and artisans, Quadra has a vivid community of painters, carvers, potters, and other visual artists and craftspeople. You can tour studios and workshops, many of which have beckoning roadside signs you’ll pass as you wind your way through town. Some of the shops in the plaza at Quathiaski Cove also sell wares created by local artists, too.

Where to eat

There are a number of restaurants on Quadra, with the majority easily classified as casual, though if you’re there more than a couple of days, you can expect to plan on bringing in supplies and/or hitting one of the two Tru Value Foods small grocery stores on the island – there’s one each at Heriot Bay and Quathiaski Cove.

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The busy kitchen at Java Bay Cafe. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

Inside the Heriot Bay Tru Value Foods’ building is a local gem for coffee and baked goods called the Java Bay Cafe. It’s basically a one-woman show, as the owner moves about what’s basically the equivalent of an apartment kitchen (with the regular ol’ kitchen stove to match) whipping up sweet and savoury scones, fresh fruit crisps, and heaps of other goodies along with a plethora of coffee and tea drinks. This cash-only spot is one place you can sign on to wifi on Quadra, and it can get pretty busy in the morning – but remember, you’re on “island time” so try not to sweat it.

Down in Quathiaski Cove, just up from where the ferry to and from Campbell River docks, there are a few eateries to check out. The aforementioned Kameleon Food & Drink is a great place for soups, sandwiches, and salads; their generous plates focus on fresh ingredients and global flavours.

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Reuben sandwich with salad at Kameleon Food 7 Drink. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

A couple of doors down is The Clove, a popular spot for pizza and drinks. They’ve got an ever-changing specials board for entrees and appetizers using seasonal and special ingredients, as well as lots of great share plates.

Look for inventive items like BBQ Duck Wings to nibble on before you tuck into their pan pizzas. Hang out here and check out the local art on the walls and play some board games while you wait, or order your eats to go.

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Hawaiian pizza at The Clove. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

Without a doubt one of the busiest and most storied spots on Quadra is Herons at the Heriot Bay Inn. This ever-so-slightly more upscale spot (which is still pretty buttoned down, all things considered) is coveted for their ample patio overlooking Heriot Bay, and on weekends in peak season, reservations are absolutely necessary. There’s a 19+ pub on site, too, at this haunted hotel where you can grab a drink and wait for a table, or get your bite to eat there.

You can get all sorts of bistro and west coast fare here, including dishes made with B.C. seafood – something that is ironically hard to get your hands on while on Quadra, so this is where you might want to get the seafood pasta or steamed clams or mussels, for sure.

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Waiting for our table to be ready at Herons at the Heriot Bay Inn. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

While fishing and shellfish harvesting are abundant on Quadra, the product is all sent to the mainland for processing by law, which means you won’t find a fish monger on the island that sells to the general public. Sawmill Bay, for example, harvests and sells oysters to restaurants and other clients, and while they have a storefront near Quathiaski Cove, it’s rarely open.

If you want to do your own fishing, be sure to adhere to all local regulations; fishing excursions can be arranged with the resorts on the island, too.

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Retrieving what was in our prawn traps set the day before. This modest catch became a dinner feast cooked up back at our suite. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

One spot to enjoy Quadra eats and one other locally-made product is at Southend Farm Winery. The island’s only winery is a very relaxed, no frills operation that produces small batches of a handful of varietals, sold in re-usable stopper bottles with paper tag labels.

You can try what’s on tap in the casual tasting room, or order up wines by the glass or bottle along with some charcuterie and picnic-style eats to enjoy on the patio, which overlooks the vineyard.

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Southend Farm Winery’s tasting room. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

There are a couple of other options for eats on Quadra, including Amped (a hybrid deli/juice bar/health food store); Q-Beans (for coffee and snacks at the ferry terminal); Coveside Seafood Eatery (fish & chips, chowder, and poutine at the ferry terminal); Yellow Dog (bulk food shop and ice cream scoop shop); and Café Aroma (a spot for coffee, baked goods, and breakfast).

Where to stay

You can set up camp at several spots on Quadra, or opt to stay at one of the island’s resort sites. We were guests at Taku Resort, a recently renovated site on the Heriot Bay side with a private dock, ample grounds, and several options for stays. There are beachfront A-frame cabins that can fit up to eight people, terrace-level suites in a variety of configurations, a treehouse suite for two, camping and RV sites, and a two-suite beach house.

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Breakfast on the balcony of the Upper Beach House at Taku Resort. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

We stayed in the beach house in the upper suite, which is the property’s prime spot (though we did get to check out the terrace suites and those are also very well-appointed and smartly laid-out, with everything you need for a few days by the shore in perfect creature comfort).

With two bedrooms each with its own en suite bathroom, a full open concept kitchen, dining, and living space, a side deck, and 180-degree waterfront views, this modern, airy suite is a real showstopper. Even though you’re on vacation, you’ll want to plan to be up to grab a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise from the deck or living room, and the kitchen is a dream for whipping up easy meals to enjoy in your own space and at your own pace.

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Sunrise view from the Upper Beach House suite at Taku Resort & Marina. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

On site you’ll find amenities like a hot tub, tennis courts, basketball courts, a bocce ball court, playground, swimming area, and of course the dock. The staff can help you arrange anything you need for your stay, from tips on spots to hike or explore, to board games you can borrow for your cabin or suite, or to get you set up on an excursion or experience. They’ve got wifi, but they’ll be the first to admit it is super spotty; that’s really just how it is on all of Quadra – you come here to unplug.

Quadra is really a very special place, and Taku can easily become the spot to which you return time and time again. It’s one that puts nature right up front, and relaxation and recreation a priority – both things that are the very essence of “island time.” Disconnect from tech and city life, and connect with the outdoors and the people you’re with.

Getting there

Quadra Island is easily accessed via BC Ferries, departing from Campbell River and in peak season running every hour during the day. This is a small ferry that you cannot reserve in advance, so be sure to factor in a likely one- to two- sailing wait to board for the 10-minute journey. Your fee is collected only from Campbell River; no fees are collected from Quadra Island. Once on island, you can get around easily via your car, by bicycle, or on foot, depending on the scope of your plans for the trip.

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Still exploring at sunset at Taku. Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

Want to see more of our trip to Quadra Island? Check out my Instagram Story Highlight “Quadra Island” for the whole trip in photos.

Thanks to Taku Resort & Marina and Destination BC for their assistance with facilitating portions of the this trip. All opinions and inclusions are those of the author’s and were not guided or influenced in any way by the facilitators. 

Vancouver Is Awesome

 
Exploring

What are we reading? August 29, 2019

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Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.

 

Kirk LaPointe, editor-in-chief:

General James “Mad Dog” Mattis opens up on why he had to leave as Donald Trump’s defence secretary. The story has a confirming quality. – The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/10/james-mattis-trump/596665/

 

The cultural war of Remains and Leaves is explored with lovely twists of phrase in this essay from Jonathan Freedland, the editorial page editor of The Guardian, given more space to tell the tale in a publication across the ocean. – The New York Review of Books

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/09/26/fools-rush-out-boris-johnson-brexit/

 

The Canadian writer, Adam Gopnik, examines the role of spies and wonder if in this age they are really worth the trouble. – The New Yorker

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/09/02/are-spies-more-trouble-than-theyre-worth

 

Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Inc. This Morning’s list of 2019’s 5,000 fastest growing companies in the United States offers an interesting cross-section of which sectors are hot and which are not. – Inc. This Morning

https://www.inc.com/inc5000/2019/top-private-companies-2019-inc5000.html

 

The latest stats on U.S. retail-sector e-commerce sales: onward and upward. – U.S. Census Bureau

https://census.gov/retail/mrts/www/data/pdf/ec_current.pdf

 

Insurance market taking a massive hit from wildfires, cyclones and other global disasters. This is not good for anyone's pocketbook in the long run. – Aon

http://thoughtleadership.aonbenfield.com/Documents/20190122-ab-if-annual-weather-climate-report-2018.pdf

 

Glen Korstrom, reporter:

With City of Vancouver staff analyzing feedback on the city’s potential future ban on carry-out plastic bags from retail stores, it was interesting to read this study that showed that in California, where such a ban has gone into effect, there has been a bump in retail sales for plastic garbage bags. – Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0095069618305291

 

I remember writing about the rise of food-delivery apps a few years ago and a restaurant owner told me that the apps were “making out like bandits,” because of commissions from restaurants, their own delivery fees and tips. Things are even worse in India, where restaurant owners are banding together to get off these apps, as well as ones that try to lure customers with two-for-one meals – New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/29/technology/india-restaurants-logout-delivery-zomato.html

 

Curious to see this evolution where Google is courting celebrities to post YouTube videos as a way to gain traffic to that platform. YouTube was once the domain of video producers who aimed to become famous not those who already are. It appears that this evolution is good not only for the platform but also for branding for established performers. – Vice

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/43kvvn/im-a-celebrity-get-me-on-youtube-jennifer-lopez-naomi-campbell-will-smith

 

Nelson Bennett, reporter:

Muslim scholars rule Ethereum cryptocurrency to be shariah compliant. Financing in the Muslim world can be tricky, due to the fact usury – charging interest – is considered haram (i.e. not compliant with shariah law.) Cryptocurrencies have been a particularly troublesome issue for them. But in a new whitepaper, Muslim scholars have determined at least one cryptocurrency, Ethereum, to be halal, depending on how it issued. – Decrypt

https://decrypt.co/8767/ethereum-is-halal-conclude-prominent-muslim-scholars

 

Why renewables can never replace fossil fuels. Green New Deal proponents cavalierly speak of phasing out fossil fuels and replacing them entirely with renewable energy within a generation, but without understanding the physical limitations of renewables. In a new paper for the Manhattan Institute, Mark Mills explains why it is physically impossible. Mills paper – The New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking – contains some sobering statistics, including this one: “The annual output of Tesla’s Gigafactory, the world’s largest battery factory, could store three minutes’ worth of annual U.S. electricity demand. It would require 1,000 years of production to make enough batteries for two days’ worth of U.S. electricity demand.” – Manhattan Institute

https://media4.manhattan-institute.org/sites/default/files/R-0319-MM.pdf

Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor: 

Parties to an international agreement on the trade of endangered species have agreed to place new limits on the sale of elephants caught in Zimbabwe and Botswana. – Agence France-Presse

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/08/conservationists-hail-global-agreement-to-limit-sales-of-african-elephants/

 

The demise of U.S. billionaire David Koch is an occasion for columnist Nathan Robinson to speak ill, compellingly, of the dead:

“It’s hard to describe just what a negative force the Koch brothers have been in United States politics over the past several decades. They have used every means at their disposal to subvert democracy.” – Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/28/the-koch-brothers-tried-to-build-a-plutocracy-in-the-name-of-freedom

 

Tyler Orton, reporter:

"How China Uses LinkedIn to Recruit Spies Abroad." – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/27/world/asia/china-linkedin-spies.html

 

"Which countries dominate the world’s dinner tables?” – The Economist

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/08/23/which-countries-dominate-the-worlds-dinner-tables

 

Hayley Woodin, reporter:

"China's Corporate Social Credit System is the most concerted attempt by any government to impose a self-regulating marketplace, and it could spell life or death for individual companies," says the president of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China. – Nikkei Asian Review

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-trends/China-s-social-rating-system-life-or-death-matter-for-foreign-businesses

 

But wait, there’s more. Scoring citizens’ behaviour isn’t just for China or Black Mirror. Silicon Valley is also experimenting with social credit to make business and user decisions. – Fast Company

https://www.fastcompany.com/90394048/uh-oh-silicon-valley-is-building-a-chinese-style-social-credit-system