Returning from a Camino

Saturday, October 22 (11:00 am) – Sunday, October 23 (3:00 pm)

Whether you’ve just returned from a Camino, or walked The Way years ago – or if you’re simply curious about what this is all about – join us for a weekend of stories and music and food, and be inspired by this ancient pilgrimage.

the wayIn the spring session, we offered series of practical sessions focusing on the “outer” journey … where to fly, what to pack… and there was talk, too, about the “inner” journey … meditative and spiritual aspects of the Camino that many experience.

It is the inner journey that will be the main focus of the fall session. What’s it like to return to the “real world” after experiencing the struggles and joys of a Camino? As with all of our Camino offerings, the weekend will be filled with Camino stories and recollections, and delicious Spanish-inspired food at every meal.

Learn more about the event here.

Beans, beans, beans!

beans There is no doubt that the drought has caused much wringing of hands and worry for us at Wintergreen. But, as usual, whatever the weather conditions are, something suffers and something thrives. This year it is the beans that are thriving. Just finished Frenching and blanching another batch, ready to serve at a Wintergreen event in the fall or winter.

beansWe’ll be sending out a newsletter soon with upcoming events and workshops. Meanwhile, mark your calendar for our Annual Fall Open House, in combination with the Natural Building Tour, which will take place on Sunday, October 2. This year’s event is supported in part by the Community Foundation of Ottawa. We’re delighted to have their support. We might even serve some of those garden beans!

Wintergreen Studios Press book – Finalist!

A few weeks ago, we announced, with great excitement, that Gail Sidonie Sobat’s book of poetry, How the Light is Spent, was selected as a semi-final entry for the Whistler Independent Book Awards. Well, it just keeps getting better! Gail’s heart-gripping meditation on love and loss, tempo and time, has now been chosen as one of three final entries. A great honour for Gail, and a thrill for our Press.

Wintergreen Studios PressYou can read more about Gail and her other writing on her websiteHow the Light is Spent is available from

Congratulations, Gail!

Whistler Nominee: How the Light is Spent

WhistlerWe’re thrilled to announce that Gail Sidonie Sobat’s book of poetry, How the Light is Spent, has been long-listed for the Whistler Independent Book Awards for 2016. How the Light is Spent is published by Wintergreen Studios Press.

How the Light is Spent is a meditation on love and loss, on time and tempo. From the Drumheller Badlands to Istanbul, Turkey and back to Canada, Gail Sidonie Sobat scores the light and the shadow of human relationships, composing an etude of how best to mark our allotted time. The first section, “Badlands,” constructs a narrative of a young couple in love who are eventually divided by war and tragedy, their story so poignant it never quite leaves the remaining pages. The middle collection of poems, entitled “Sailing to Byzantium,” sweeps readers across the ocean and drops them squarely into the heat and noise of an Istanbul market. A piercing impression of longing permeates this section, troubling the finality of the first narrative, as if the lover’s grief is embodied, restless. The third section, “How the Light is Spent,” replaces the exotic locale of the mid-section with more familiar scenes, at least for Canadian readers. The collection ends with a final cadence of poems revealing an almost familiar soul who attempts to “cheat autumn,” all the while dancing onwards with time. Gail Sidonie Sobat’s work has been variously described as “beautiful…and concise…at times sexy, and always quite human.”

Nominees for the Whistler Independent Book Awards have been selected because of the quality and publishing professionalism of their books in the fiction, non-fiction, crime fiction and poetry categories.

To recognize and support those writers whose books were also of high quality, the longlisting committee has decided to announce a WIBA “Honourable Mention” selection of Canadian self-published authors.

Longlisted nominees  for the Whistler Independent Book Awards are currently being judged by the Vancouver Branch of the Canadian Authors Association. Finalists will be announced on July 18, with the winners being announced at the Whistler Writers Festival, October 13–16.

Please join us in congratulating Gail – and click here to order a copy of her book from Amazon. It is an amazing collection, well worthy of the honour.

BioBlitz … Saturday June 4 and Sunday June 5

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 9.48.36 PMThe BioBlitz is this weekend! Come one, come all, rain or shine, to help us identify as many living organisms as possible in a 24-hour period. Experts and amateurs are all welcome to take part in this family-friendly free event.

Join us for a few hours, or stay for the whole event. In addition to the species ID and count, there will be workshops featuring wildflower identification, birds of prey, and reptiles and amphibians. Learn about our 20 x 20 metre biodiversity plot. Explore the trails. Feast on the food from the canteen. Enjoy a night of camping under the stars.

Read about all of the details here. And here’s a schedule of the events that will take place!

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An evening with Lorna Crozier

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 2.01.29 PMWe are thrilled to welcome Lorna Crozier once again at Wintergreen, and to experience her delightful and witty wisdom. Join us for what promises to be a memorable event on Thursday, May 19. The evening will begin with a gourmet dinner, followed by Lorna’s reading. Tickets available online.

Lorna Crozier has published 17 books of poetry which have garnered Canada’s top awards, including the Governor-General’s Award, two Pat Lowther Awards and the National Magazine Award’s Gold Medal for Poetry. She is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Victoria and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2005 she read at a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II.  In 2011 she was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada. She is a frequent guest on CBC radio and has read her poetry on every continent except Antarctica.  Her poems have been set to music, made into a film and used as themes in paintings and pottery. Her most recent collaboration with photographer Ian McAllister, The Wild in You, is #1 on the BC Bestseller list.

Come celebrate “the wild in you” on May 19 at Wintergreen.

Quick Sketches

The Wintergreen Sauna

With the buds becoming noticeable on the trees there is the usual feeling of expectation, wanting to get on with it, this wet and messy thing called Spring. But there is another part of me that laments the passing of winter; the walks on snow that make the woods so much more accessible, the way the shadows fall vivid blue on white in the late afternoon, the excuse to ignore all the work that is buried under the winter blanket, and the knowledge that the elegant lines of winter trees will soon become the solid shapes of summer foliage. Small things to offer in exchange for longer days washed with warm light and lush growth in the gardens I suppose, but now is the time to make quick sketches of what will change so quickly, so soon.

And look at the exciting workshops that also come with spring at Wintergreen! Really, there is so much to look forward to.



May 6-8: Buddhist Psychology for Turbulent Times

May 15-21: A Passion for Poetry with Lorna Crozier

May 28-29: Sketch Journal with John Wright

June 4-5: BioBlitz 2016

July 9-10, 23: Drum and Stick Making, Drum Awakening

July 16, 24: Drum Making and Drum Circle for Children

Sept 16-18: Wellness Weekend

Oct 29: On Dying


Preparing for a Camino

Preparing for a Camino
Camino Primitivo

Hundreds of thousands of people set out every year, making their way to Santiago de Compostela. Most walk the Camino, but some travel by bicycle or by horse or donkey! Some travel the Camino as a religious pilgrimage, and others hike the route for travel, for the physical challenge of walking a long distance, or for a break from our modern (and technology-driven) lives.

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Stopping for lunch on the Camino Primitivo

The oldest route to Santiago de Compostela, first taken in the 9th century, is referred to as the Original Way or Camino Primitivo, which starts in Oviedo. However, the most popular route is the French Way (Camino Francés). Common starting points are Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port , on the French side of the Pyrenees, and Roncesvalles on the Spanish side.  Another popular route is the Portuguese Way, which starts either at the cathedral in Lisbon or at the cathedral in Porto in the north of Portugal.

In April we will be offering a Camino weekend at Wintergreen, focusing on various aspects of preparing for a Camino. Some of you will know that this is the fourth Camino event offered at Wintergreen — it’s a topic that has had appeal for over a thousand years, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that it continues to have appeal at Wintergreen! The workshop takes place Saturday April 2 through to Sunday April 3.

This weekend is the first of two Camino weekends we will be offering in 2016. The April Camino weekend will highlight preparing for a Camino; the October Camino weekend will focus on what it’s like to return after completing the Camino de Santiago.

Whether you are planning your first Camino or have already made a pilgrimage (or two) and want to re-live the journey, join us and be inspired by The Way.



Workshops coming up in 2016

As we approach the shortest day of the year (can another year have passed already?), we at Wintergreen are turning our thoughts to workshops for 2016. There are some exciting programs coming up!

Some are already posted — Lorna Crozier will be spinning her spells on poets and prose writers in May, we’re planning a BioBlitz for June (free of charge to the public), there will be drum making workshops in July, and there will be two Camino weekends, one in April and another in October. We’ll announce details about all of these events when they get closer.workshops 2016

You can already sign up for Lorna’s workshop, for drum making, and for the BioBlitz.

What’s a BioBlitz, you ask? It’s a 24-hour “race” to locate as many living organisms and species as possible in a designated area — to raise interest and awareness of the land, and to provide a measure of species diversity. Learn more by clicking on the image below.workshops 2016









We look forward to seeing you in 2016, and wish all of our Wintergreen friends a safe and happy holiday.

Welcoming Diane Black

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Diane and Hayden in the Wintergreen kitchen

Many visitors to Wintergreen will already have met Diane Black, our new Operations and Facilities Manager. Diane has been volunteering and working in the kitchen since the spring, and has been gradually taking over the role that Karen Smereka has been in for the past five years. We’re thrilled to be adding Diane to the family of Wintergreen employees, and equally thrilled that Karen isn’t exactly leaving… just concentrating more on her very fine work at the Yoga Connection in Perth. So those of you who have already signed up for next year’s workshops can expect to see Karen and Diane in the kitchen and in the gardens, picking produce to prepare for your dining pleasure.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 10.42.11 AMWhen Diane is not at Wintergreen, she will likely be working away on the straw bale home that she started building this year, or creating beautiful work in her studio in Perth. Diane is an artist, specializing in sculpting with clay and iron. Diane also teaches adults and children through various workshop venues. Perhaps you will see her teaching at Wintergreen one day!