One Tree Exhibit

An initiative of Live Edge Design in coordination with the Robert Bateman Foundation

By the time you have taken a few steps inside your vacation getaway suite at UltimateBnB you will have recognized the obvious; your hosts have a deep affinity for wood. In particular, Maple. Wherever possible,Canadian maple. Because what could be more Canadian than a maple tree? The maple leaf has adorned our flag for nearly 50 years and our Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team(though somewhat beleaguered) is one of the most successful sports franchises on earth.

But I digress! Back at UltimateBnB the fireplace mantel is a beautiful slab of thick Western Maple, the cabinetry throughout is maple, floors in the bedroom and den are fine Canadian maple, the doors are maple, and yes, even the baseboards are maple. Even though the dresser, night stand, and cubby are from Wood Castle’s Calvin collection in Albany, OR, they are still made from solid maple!

So when we first read about the ‘One Tree’ exhibit at the Robert Bateman Centre we were more than a little interested. We were among the first to take the tour on opening day in early November, 2015.


For nearly 100 years this grand old maple stood next to the Cowichan Valley farmhouse. Generations of children climbed in it, swung from its branches and picniced in the welcome shade it provided. But in the end, it was determined the tree was in poor health and would need to be taken down to mitigate risk to the family home.


Rather than chop it up for firewood the family contacted Live Edge Design in hopes there might be a more noble use for it. From there, folks at the Robert Bateman Foundation became involved and the ‘idea seed’ was planted. What could be made from this tree? What was its true potential?

The answers are astounding! 42 artists from communities that span the continent went to work to see what they could do. Their enthusiasm and excitement on opening day was palpable. I spoke to some of the artists and they told of the creative process; of gazing at the block of wood (sometimes for weeks) waiting for it to ‘speak’ to them. Others knew instantly what their project would be. Either way, the eager anticipation amongst everyone who helped to bring this project to fruition was obvious as they talked about opening shipping crates in the days leading up to the exhibition. In the end, this potential firewood produced an amazing array of woodworking majesty that approached $175,000.00 when all was accounted for.

Concrete Bench_101

The One Tree Exhibition continues at the Robert Bateman Centre: 470 Belleville St., Victoria BC. through January 15, 2016.

Links: Robert Bateman Centre

Live Edge Design


Top 9 Reasons to Spend the Holidays in Victoria BC

There are many reasons to consider spending the Holiday Season on Vancouver Island…lovely mild weather, incredible scenery, and fun, friendly people to start. But there are plenty of themed events to take in as well. I’ve chosen 9 but there are many more!

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  • #9 – 24th Annual Festival of Trees in support of BC Children’s Hospital. Each year a variety of business leaders present their staff decorated Christmas trees to adorn the public spaces throughout The Bay Centre in downtown Victoria. Shoppers are encouraged to view the trees then donate to vote for their favourite. The 2015 campaign raised over $23,000 for a very worthy cause.
  • #8 – Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase – Another fundraiser for a great cause: Habitat for Humanity. Last year $38,102 was raised for “Building homes – Building Hope”. There are 2 categories: professional & home baker. Entries are judged during a kick-off gala evening at The Laurel Point Inn where they can be viewed until January 3rd, 2016. Tip: don’t take in this event when you’re hungry!
  • #7 – A Sentimental Christmas featuring soprano Eleanor McCainEleanor McCainDecember 11-13, 2015. Celebrate the season with the Victoria Symphony’s traditional concert of yuletide cheer featuring soprano Eleanor McCain. Maestra Tania Miller and the Victoria Symphony will be joined by choristers from the Victoria Choral Society for a concert full of Christmas favorites including an opportunity for the audience to join in with sing-a-long holiday carols.


  • #6 Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show – Tuesday, Dec. 15/15 – 7:30 PM. It has been 8 long years since this incomparable 5-time Grammy winning act has graced the stage in Victoria. They normally appear at the summer Jazz Fest so this special Holiday Season appearance promises to be a real treat.
  • #5 17th Annual Sing Along Messiah – December 16th, 2015 – 7 PM at Alix Gooldin Hall and presented by the Civic Orchestra of Victoria. This event is the perfect opportunity to give those vocal cords a workout on some of the most challenging Christmas music around.
  • #4 Magic of Christmas at world famous Butchart Gardens – from Dec. 1st, 2015 thru Jan. 6th, 2016. A tradition since 1987, the lighting crew works for 2 months preparing the hundreds of thousands of lights for the December 1st light-up ceremony. Throughout the festive season the ice skating rink in Waterwheel Square adds an extra experience to the lighting extravaganza. Each evening the Festive Brass and Traditional Carollers perform in the crisp night air.
  • # 3 Christmas with Holly Cole – December 19, 2015 – 8 PM15-16-Specials-Holly-Cole-1030x1030

  • Deck your holiday season with the sounds of Holly! Juno-winning Canadian singer/songwriter Holly Cole returns to the Victoria Symphony and will delight audiences with her versatile and distinctive voice. Mixing jazz, pop and your favourite holiday music, her unique interpretations and original music are applauded as being highly musical, intensely innovative, and refreshingly witty.
  • # 2 One Tree Exhibit – Nov 14, 2015 thru January 15, 2016. For almost a century this old growth Big-Leaf Maple from the Cowichan Valley stood witness to the events that shaped Vancouver Island. It needed to come down in October 2014 for health and safety reasons. Initially destined for the wood pile, the visionaries at Live Edge Design and the Robert Bateman Centre had a dream. Together they gathered 42 artists who, in turn, created nearly $175,000 worth of incredible art-work from this old, dying tree. Now the public is invited to celebrate this tree through an exhibit of the artist’s work showing at the Robert Bateman Centre. Come see this impressive community project that celebrates a 100-year-old-tree through the creations of 42 artists from Vancouver Island and across Canada.
  •  # 1 Grand Opening of Ultimate BnB“The best vacation rental suite we’ve ever seen” – T & P, Cochrane Alberta.  The number one reason to spend the Holiday Season in Victoria is the chance to be among the very first guests at our brand-new vacation rental. As an introductory offer we are keeping our rates at their current Low-Season levels throughout the month of December. Look for our listing on your favourite travel site:
  • VRBO

As your hosts at Ultimate BnB we wish everyone a truly delightful Holiday Season and the very best for 2016!




Michael Kaeshammer at “The Mac”

Friday, Nov. 27/15 – Blues & Boogie Woogie piano king returns to his roots…

When Michael Kaeshammer arrived in Victoria BC from Offenburg Germany in 1993 at age 16, he took this town by storm. He’d been playing piano for 10 years already. A friend encouraged me to get down to The Fernwood Inn and catch his Thursday night gig. Impressive would be an understatement.

Michael Kaeshammer – photographer unkown


After arriving in Canada, Michael set about building a career, and what a career it’s been. With 10 albums released to date, on Friday evening he kicks off a series of performances that take him from Fort Lauderdale to a performance at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

“He’s a showman. If you haven’t seen him live you haven’t really experienced him in his true element” – THE MONTREAL GAZETTE

As you can tell from watching this video we will be in for a treat on Friday evening during Michael’s performance at the McPherson Theatre in downtown Victoria.

I hope those of you who may be considering a stay with us at our Ultimate BnB will find this little snippet enjoyable. It’s representative of the calibre of entertainment you’ll find happening on any given night in this great town. Please check back often as I will be writing on people, places, and events that travellers may find both interesting and enticing…perhaps even enticing enough to ‘take the leap’ and come stay with us!