The birth of the Comox Valley Collective.




As we go into our 10th year of publishing this magazine, I am stepping out of my comfort zone. It’s often assumed that owning a magazine makes you an amazing writer. Sad to say, I’m not: I’m far more at ease behind a camera. That said, I’m extremely passionate about what we’ve created—and the community that supports us. I’ve taken a lot of time to reflect, asking myself what sparked my interest in starting a magazine, and how it affects my perception of both myself and my community.

I went to the Western Academy of Photography in Victoria in the late ’90s because I’ve always loved photography. It’s in my blood. Both my grandfathers were avid photographers, as was my dad. The seed was planted early on: I grew up with collections of National Geographic covering the walls of our house.

People told me I was crazy for wanting to start a print publication in this day and age. I disagreed. I researched the idea for about a year and weighed the pros and cons. Then—as with most things I do—I took a chance. I asked my friend Sean, a talented graphic designer, for his advice, and he immediately told me I should get in touch with Ian Adams. Ian had grown up in the Valley and had recently moved back from the mainland with his wife. He wanted to build something that fulfilled his creative passions. The more I got to know Ian, and the more we discussed our goals and values, I knew he was the right person to partner with and make this project a reality.

We launched the first issue in December 2014 with a celebration at the White Whale. We had pulled together 48 pages filled with local stories and images—and enough amazing businesses jumped on board as advertisers that we broke even. (As luck would have it, I also spent the night talking to a guy who’d donated images for the issue. He would eventually become the father of my children. It was a big night!)

Over the years, I have loved seeing what the magazine has turned into: a community that holds space within our region. A place that inspires, that creates awareness, and that builds relationships. I love hearing about how articles have connected people, and I love watching photographers’ reactions to seeing their work published for the first time. With every issue, new writers, photographers, illustrators, and businesses join the Collective family. We celebrate each magazine with those new to our community and those who’ve been supporting us since the first issue.

Our recreational stories focus on the abundance of opportunities for adventure that surround us from the mountains to the ocean. Our historical stories honour our past to help us understand our present and plan for a better future.

We share stories about makers and creators, performers and teachers. We share stories about delicious food and beverage sources and opportunities. We share stories of our youth, and we share stories of our elders.

Thanks to those of you who have shared your words and images in our pages. Thanks to all the businesses whose support makes this project successful.

And thanks to all of you who read our stories.