December 16, 2015
Deep within Vancouver Island is Mount Washington, home to a trifecta of the truly remarkable for skiers and snowboarders: massive mountains, ancient forests and endless…
By Destination British Columbia August 24, 2015 #php comments_number('0 Comment', '1 Comment', '% Comments'); ?> #php echo wpb_get_post_views(get_the_ID()); ?>
People of the Wild is a blog series profiling residents of BC who have one thing in common: their love of the BC wild. This week we’re featuring Erica Bernardi, co-owner and operator of Vancouver’s Earnest Ice Cream. Originally from Hamilton by the way of Toronto, Erica has been living in Vancouver for five years and is enjoying the balance of city life and nature in her new adopted home.
What makes you proud to call BC home?
I guess there are lots of things actually, and some of them sort of surprise me, which is why I moved here initially. I wouldn’t have called myself outdoorsy before I moved here, but now I certainly would. I think it’s nice living in the city [with] the proximity to nature, that you can drive twenty minutes and be completely submersed in a magical kind of space, and that there are endless options. Even after a few years, I’m still finding things that are still just a 30 minute little trip outside the city that seems totally remote and untouched and it’s totally new to me. You get that balance of city life as well as nature.
I think too, speaking sort of outside of the city, but there seems to be a lot of localism, or a lot of pride in where they come from. I think people are really proud to be from BC and represent all the great things that happen here. And that also comes through with a lot of the producers. Of course, I love the food and all the possibilities that are here – there’s great wine produced, and great farming, and all that sort of stuff. And I love to see the community support that in the way that they do. It allows for that local economy to thrive. When people are looking to support local, it benefits everyone in so many ways. People are starting to learn a bit more about it, and all the benefits of it. They really stand behind local companies or local producers, and really identify with that, so I think it’s good.
How does BC’s wilderness and nature inspire you?
It is awe-inspiring in general. The beauty of it alone is pretty breathtaking in so many spaces that you go to. I find it inspiring because, for me, it’s a forced work-life balance and a refresh and a connection to nature. I do tend to work a lot, and we have busy, hectic lives, but as soon as you get out there [into nature], it’s easier to forget all that and let go – get in touch with nature, [enjoy the] fresh air, and get some exercise. When it’s just so present and there’s the ocean and lots of nature around, I think for myself – and I hope for other people too – it’s a good reminder of being aware of your footprint and your environmental impact. There is a lot of environmentalism here, and I wonder if there’s that correlation – people tend to interact with nature a bit more, and it’s just right there, you see it, so you think about it. You can actually see the effects that climate change can have, so it’s a good reminder that way. People take ownership of it because they use it, so they identify and connect with it, and so they want to protect it.
Describe your perfect day in BC.
That’s not a tough one actually, as there are so many things to do! I kind of like it as much when it’s raining as I do when it’s sunny. Depending on what you’re doing it can be kind of gloomy, but otherwise, if you can get outside, a hike on a rainy day is amazing – it’s just kind of moody and mysterious. Or getting away to a cabin… I almost prefer those rainy days because it gives you an excuse to hide inside and appreciate the view. But that being said, I am a beach girl, so it would definitely involve swimming in the ocean and being able to spend some time on the beach, probably going for a bike ride and/or a hike of some sort. And then I would say enjoying a meal that highlights some of the things that BC has to offer, from a producer perspective.
Is there somewhere in particular you like to go?
Well, I’ve been actually going to more cabins as of late, as kind of weekend escapes. I love Bowen Island – it’s pretty great. In 30 minutes you’re on this secret little island, and that’s lovely. And I also love the Sunshine Coast, particularly the inlets – it’s very peaceful and quiet there. As far as beach days go, I often kind of go toward Locarno. I do love Wreck Beach of course also, but you have to prepare yourself for the bike ride and the stairs – it’s a workout! Those are my two favourite local beaches. And then hikes – there are so many, I feel that I haven’t even done many of them multiple times. Dog Mountain [on Mount Seymour] is really great for a quick-and-easy [hike], and just spectacular views.
So you just gave us a bunch of perfect days in BC. For new visitors to BC, what’s the one place or one experience you’d suggest that they can’t miss this summer?
For somebody who’s never been here, the classic is to rent a bike and ride around the seawall [in Vancouver]. I think that’s a must do for everyone, especially if you’ve never been before. Otherwise, and this is BC-wide, just go for a hike. Bring some active wear and get outside of the city, if you’re coming to the city. Twenty minutes away, it’s so easily done, and it might be a view or a perspective that you wouldn’t have seen or you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.
What would you say is BC’s best-kept secret?
That’s so tough as there are so many things! The Okanagan I think is pretty fantastic. And I can’t say for sure, but I assume when people think about coming to BC, they think about coming to Vancouver specifically, but even outside of that, the Okanagan is amazing. Tofino is really great whether you surf or don’t surf, the views are fantastic, and it’s such an up-and-coming food scene.
What is it about the Okanagan that makes it so amazing?
Maybe coming from the coast, or any other part of Canada, it’s a different climate – it’s a desert. That alone is pretty wild. They produce some fantastic wine; so wine touring is quite nice. I think it is quite lovely to see, and there is a lot to do. I’m a fan of wine touring, and there’s some great food out there as well.
Any last words of advice to somebody thinking about visiting BC?
Think outside of Vancouver. Don’t just come for the city, and if you can, stay longer than you probably think you need to because there are so many day or overnight trips that you can visit Vancouver Island or any of the Gulf Islands, or go to the Sunshine Coast for a bit. Bring some running shoes and your hiking wear and try to get out into the mountains. And try the BC wine!
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