5 minutes – 5 questions

It’s still summer, as far as I’m concerned (until Labour Day) so in keeping with the summer theme that we started with this column last issue, I called Nancy Culver, Special Events and Volunteer Coordinator at Community Centre 55, and asked her our five summer-specific questions.
1. What is your favourite place in the Beach? – “On the sand… the sand at Ashbridges Bay. You really know you’re at Ashbridges Bay.”
2. What is your favourite summer meal? – “All kinds of salads, fresh fruit and vegetables in season. This is the best time to get the freshest in-season food.”
3. What are you reading this summer? – “Secret Daughter, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. It’s an excellent book.”
4. Are you planning, or have you taken any vacations this summer? – “I took two fabulous vacations this summer. I visited my daughter in England, and a friend in Parksville on Vancouver Island. I went half-way around the world, used lots of Air Miles.”
5. Canoe, motorboat, or sailboat? – “Sailboat. I don’t own one, but I’ve been on several. It’s like driving a standard, you have to be present.”

Many Beachers will remember a local contractor named Dave Bottoms. Circumstances have caused Dave to switch gears over the last few years, and now he is a professional photographer with an upcoming show at the Beacher Café.
1. What is your favourite place in the Beach? – “For me it’s the parkette at the foot of Fernwood Park Avenue. I grew up on Fernwood and have fond memories of my time there, especially in the spring when we used to fish for smelts off the Balsam Pier with nets and cook them on an open fire on the beach. You can’t get away with that in this day and age.”
2. What is your favourite summer meal? – “I’m mostly into sushi in the summer, often hitting the local spots on Queen Street East for my fix. Yumei is always a winner. I used to be a regular at Akane-Ya at Queen and Spruce Hill, but they’ve moved on now.”
3.What are you reading this summer? – “Non-fiction: Vivian Maier: Street Photographer. Her photography is simply amazing, but her story is even more incredible. She was a nanny living in Chicago who in her spare time took photos. She never did anything with them and passed away in obscurity. Eventually, a box of her negatives was auctioned off to a local historian, who upon developing them realized he’d hit a gold mine. She is now considered one of the most important photographers of the last century and the value of her work is estimated to be in the millions. A fascinating and somewhat sad tale. Fiction: The Elephant Vanishes (short stories) and Norwegian Wood (novel) by internationally acclaimed Japanese author, Haruki Murakami. The Elephant Vanishes is the second book of stories I’ve read by the author, the first being the outstanding Blind Willow and Sleeping Woman. The tales are often odd but always very accessible and believable. Although better known for his surreal and somewhat mysterious novels and short stories, Norwegian Wood, written in 1987, is a coming of age love story about a university student, set in 1960s Japan. It’s partly based on the author’s own experiences at the time. A great summer read.”
4. Are you planning, or have you taken any vacations this summer? – “Unfortunately not. I typically take my vacation in the spring and fall, since I’m not keen on the heat and humidity. But even then, I never go anywhere and instead use the time to complete chores around the house and other projects. Having two jobs leaves little time for travel.”
5. Canoe, motorboat, or sailboat? – “Well, being an ex-motorcyclist, I’ve always felt the need for speed so I’d have to say motorboat, but at the same time the calmness of a sailboat is appealing. When it comes to beach/lake photography I always like to get a sailboat or two in my shots.”

Beach realtor and volunteer extraordinaire Thomas Neal has just been named Beach Citizen of the Year for 2012. Although he has answered our 5 Questions previously, I thought that, in deference to his recent honour, we’d put our summer questions to him.
1. What is your favourite place in the Beach? – “Originally I said flooding the Glen Manor rink, but in the summer I prefer sitting on my dock at the cottage.”
2. What is your favourite summer meal? – “Barbecued sirloin steak, medium-rare, with a Red Baron Lime beer.”
3. What are you reading this summer? – “I’ve been reading a lot of coaching books, as well as lots of magazines…sports, news (I like to follow the US elections)…light reading.”
4. Are you planning, or have you taken any vacations this summer? – “Other than to the cottage, we took an 11-day trip to central and northern California. We flew out then rented a car…saw the redwoods, the Coast Highway, Monterey…”
5. Canoe, motorboat, or sailboat? – “We have a canoe, and a kayak, and I sometimes go sailing with my brother; we sailed together growing up. But I really like my 14-foot aluminum fishing boat with the 25 hp. I enjoy spending time fishing.”

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