Remembering my time at Beach Metro

Time.  It’s so true that the older one gets, the shorter years seem.  I can only wonder what else is in store but that’s the great thing about life: it’s a mystery beyond imagination.

Truthfully, when I applied for the position of photographer/editorial assistant at Ward 9 News (as it was known until 1988), it was a lark. I didn’t expect to win out over more educated and credentialed candidates. Yet when I was granted the position, I saw it as an excellent opportunity and an achievement in an otherwise uneventful life. (My mother was proud of me, more so than she had ever been, in my opinion).

The Beach was where I felt most at home and I am proud I had an opportunity to represent the community through my work at Beach Metro News.  Prior to joining the paper, I wasn’t too concerned or aware of what was happening in the community but that changed quickly and I’m glad for the experiences.

The Jazz Festival, the recycling program, a tour of the sewage treatment plant, hobnobbing with politicians and  Gene Domagala!  What a time!

Then there were the little moments that didn’t  have anything to do with the job but nevertheless left a huge impression. One memory that stands out was a gift of a camera from a barber across the street from the Kingston Road office.  As a thank you, I photographed the man, who was a stranger. Within a month, he died. To this day I don’t remember his name but the camera he gave me – I’ll never part with.

I have fond memories of slopping around a makeshift darkroom in a tiny janitor’s closet in the hall of the office on Kingston Road. Oh if only digital photography had come along sooner, I might have stayed in the game, but the chemicals didn’t agree with me and that is one of the reasons I chose another path in life.

I remember the transition to desktop publishing and working with Apple computers. Learning the new technology while trying to maintain a publishing schedule was quite trying and stressful, but we managed. I couldn’t imagine life now without computers. How times change. How lucky we are to have  tools that help us create so easily.

It was a hard decision to leave the paper after so many interesting years but I felt at the time that I needed more autonomy. Also, I am terrible with deadlines. Procrastination is my nemesis!

I went on to try my hand at freelance photography but that proved futile. To stay in the game, I founded the Beach Photo Club, still a going concern.

Later I became involved with Habitat for Humanity, serving briefly as manager of the ReStore on Bermondsey Avenue, a fundraiser for the charity. I found I have innate managerial potential yet I don’t like trying to motivate others to do work they may not like. My career as a manager was short but meaningful.

Bennett Guinn at home on Vancouver Island.

Today I live in  beautiful Victoria, B.C., continuing a line of work more conducive with my natural aptitude and skill set.  I have built a successful handyman business and though some days are frustrating, generally I feel content  and can only wonder what other adventures I’ll get up to. There’s lots to see and do here on the ‘rock’ so I imagine the years ahead will be full of exploration.
My stint at Beach Metro was one of the best experiences of my life and I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.  I wish everyone on the staff all the best and look forward to seeing what the paper does in the coming years. Good work everyone!

Bennett Guinn worked at Ward 9 News from 1985 to 1989. He now lives in Victoria, B.C. He runs two blogs: bgpwestcoast.blogspot.com and onegoodhandyman.blogspot.com.


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