Tree blood… sweet, sweet tree blood.

I know, it is not tree blood, but maple tree sap. But, tree blood sounds so cool and hip and vampire-y.

For the last couple of years my family and I make the trek to Duncan to check out the BC Forest Discovery Centre’s Bigleaf Maple Syrup Festival. We try to get there early, because we LOVE tasting the award-winning maple syrups. We sip and collectively decide on the bottle of goodness we will purchase and take home. We do this early, because the elixirs have been known to sell out.

Once we decide on the maple syrup we love, we check out everything else. On site, there are workshops led by experienced maple syrup producers, walk and talk tapping demonstrations (we enjoy learning how it is done, temperatures needed, right trees to choose etc) presentations, and displays.  There will also be some cooking featuring local maple syrup. Oh… I just remembered… the maple syrup fudge. It will be a sweet day for sure!

tofino 063

tofino 050

Bigleaf Maple Syrup Festival Schedule:

10:00 am – 4:30 pm

Tapping Demonstrations:  


Maple Syrup Presentations


Taste Local Maple Syrup
Train Rides  
10:30 pm – 3:30 pm every half hour

Special Admission Price:

$7 adult/seniors/student/youth

$5 per child (2-12 years)

children under 2 are free





Back…. by Popular Demand: Ken Lavigne



A number of years ago in a TV studio in Vancouver, I met Ken Lavigne. Having lived in Nanaimo for a few years, I had of course heard of this Vancouver Island man and his talent for singing. I had yet to meet him. The day in the green room at this TV station, I had a OMG Celebrity Moment. I had the great pleasure to chat with him about his life on Island, his kids and his upcoming Carnegie Hall date. He was excited about it all. He was gracious, kind and interested.

Ken is one of the Islands treasures! His voice, writing and passion for music is top-notch. He has a couple performance dates coming up and I really encourage you to come hear/meet this man. He is more classically trained, but do not let that put you off. His voice and variety of music will put you at ease. I am so excited to see him perform… like giddy excited. I hope you can come out and hear him too.

Ken Lavigne, is Back By Popular Demand – with the Vancouver Island Symphony. Two shows – Saturday, February 9th at 7:30 pm at Qualicum Civic Centre (tickets at Mulberry Bookstores in Parksville and Qualicum Beach or call the Symphony office at 250-754-0177) and at Port Theatre in Nanaimo on Sunday, February 10th at 2pm (Tickets: 250-754-8550

Here is the press release about the shows:
Romancing with Ken Lavigne


When it comes to Valentine’s Day, Chemainus tenor Ken Lavigne, a popular charmer, storyteller, songwriter and humorist says; “I think Valentine’s Day is one of those days that strikes terror in men to be ultra romantic.” Then he paused while thinking about his upcoming Back… by popular demand concerts with Pierre Simard and the Vancouver Island Symphony at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo on Sunday, February 10 at 2 p.m.  “You can only give so many cards and chocolates. If you want to be creative, don’t give your loved one ‘things’, give them an experience, like this concert!”

He’s quite the salesman, a tenor who obviously believes passionately in his art and performance.  “I’ll be singing a lot of romantic tenor love songs through the ages – love songs with a symphony orchestra – definitely stirring! There will be romance from around the world – French, Italian, German, Scottish… and of course there will be surprises!”

Lavigne has been working on not doing the same-old, same-old. “We are crafting the show to use the VI Symphony to its greatest ability, and to highlight the songs and time of year. Pierre is an absolute dream of a conductor. We have such a wonderful time together on stage.”

It’s been a busy year: Lavigne has added to his list of great easy-listening recordings with Show Time, released in June. “It was inspired by the desire to finally record some of my favourite musical theatre ballads. I love these songs and each one is special to me. Keep Holding On is doing well. The title song was chosen to represent the mission of the Salvation Army and was used to kick off their media campaign for their annual Christmas Kettle drive.”

Back to shows and opera: In 2012 Lavigne performed in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Chemainus Theatre Festival, Fallujah for City Opera Vancouver, and Rattenbury with the Other Guys Theatre Company in Victoria. “When getting back on stage in my own show it’s a much more relaxing environment; it’s second nature to me to sing a few songs and spin a few stories.”

A romantic journey: Lavigne’s choice of song and often hilarious unscripted stories embrace the audience as he takes them on an inspiring journey of life, love, dreams, hope and parenting. That’s real entertainment, warm and fuzzy style with the rapturous sounds of a full orchestra. “In any kind of romance you have to build trust,” he explains. “The first two or three songs of any concert are about building a trust with the audience so they can go on a journey with you for the next two hours knowing they are in good hands.” That’s romance, Ken Lavigne style! With Lavigne the audience will indeed be in good hands on a cozy, exciting and amorous musical journey.

For tickets call 250-754-8550.

For more information visit Keeping Music LIVE!

For information and formal biography of Ken Lavigne visit: