Who are we?
We are a diverse group of independent households, enthusiastically looking forward to developing our own multi-generational cohousing community in Sidney on the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island. We currently have 22 equity and 5 associate member households. Meet the members who make up Ravens Crossing Cohousing...
Tracy and Richard (Equity)
In 1993 the call of the West Coast sounded and its chord resonated with Tracy and Richard. They left their Edmonton homes to start anew on the Saanich Peninsula. Leaving behind the mosquito repellent, Richard’s luggage held his degrees in Physiotherapy and Dentistry, newly strung tennis rackets and steadfast golf clubs. Tracy’s luggage held her violin, Team Canada Volleyball uniforms, a degree in Business Administration, laser manufacturing experience, and mild apprehension at leaving family, friends and snow behind.
In 2015 a new chord sounded over the waves from Sooke: “cohousing”. Tracy was intrigued. After reading & discussing, workshops, visits to cohousing communities, and working alongside other members and our professional team, she found that it offered a balanced, empowering and efficient process that creates resilient, safe, connected all-age communities where privacy is honoured and people can thrive.
Over the years we’ve explored much of the island, enjoyed sunsets and fireworks, splashed around on the water, cried and rejoiced, worked and played, raised a family, and opened our eyes and our hearts to those around us and to this wonderful Peninsula we now call home.
Picture West Saanich Road, 4 acres, 3 raised up sons, camas, Garry oaks, and more. I feel at home on the Saanich Peninsula with the 3 small town centres, my indigenous neighbouring communities and all the land to roam. I also love that we are so close to Victoria, to health care, universities, the airport and nightlife, not in that order. I thank the Coast Salish people and am working to be a better neighbour.
While I am still associated with the University of Victoria where social justice and social issues were my passions, I am putting more energy back into my Saanich Peninsula community now, especially in the area of restorative justice and cohousing. I have had the good fortune of travelling and working in many different countries and see the need for community as a common denominator.
How does cohousing fit with all this? I am interested in both the idea of cohousing and the realities of creating a more vibrant, environmentally responsible community, with people of different ages and different interests. Having seen other communities in BC do this, I thought, like Tracy did “Why not?” and “Why not here?” Many people are interested in the idea of cohousing but you also need to be interested in joining together to make it happen. I know that a group of committed compassionate people will make this idea a reality. For that I am more than ready to move forward to Ravens Crossing Cohousing from my Garry Oak meadow.
Mark and Fiona (equity)
We are relative newcomers to Vancouver Island having met in Australia in 1989 while we were both studying environmental and resource management at university in New South Wales. We then spent the next 27 years in different countries around the world. Nearly always for work and often as not for pleasure. We’ve made our home everywhere from the tropical rain forests of South East Asia to the ancient wonders of modern Rome with sojourns in Africa and the Middle East.
Coming to such a beautiful spot as Vancouver Island once we’d ‘retired’ was a bit of a no-brainer for us. Our son lives in Victoria and we’ve family in the Cowichan Valley. Now with our two standard poodles – Kona and Blondie – we look forward to building an intentional community on the Saanich Peninsula. The concept of consciously committing to living as a community while retaining privacy and having the benefits of more sustainable living is something we are strongly attracted to. Fiona is a consultant in food security, nutrition and sustainability in developing countries and Mark works in a hardware/garden centre and volunteers teaching English to new Canadian residents. The balance of our time seems to be split between the development of our garden and throwing sticks for the dogs at our place in Shawnigan Lake.
griff and pat (equity)
Griff and Pat have been west coasters since 1989. They started in Ontario, then did stints in Northern Manitoba and in Winnipeg, had a short stay in Vancouver then found Vancouver Island and you won’t get them to leave.
Life has been kind, adventurous, interesting and rewarding. Griff obtained his Chemical Engineering B.Sc and a B.Ed. from Queen’s and an MBA from Western. This education has taken him from mining in Northern Manitoba to Real-Estate Development in Southern Ontario to Restaurant owner/regional partner with The Keg based out of Winnipeg to teaching Hospitality Management at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo. Pat graduated with her RN from Kingston General, her Public Health Nursing from Ottawa U. and Hospitality Management Diploma from Camosun. She has been an inveterate volunteer all her life and equally committed to being a great Mother and Grandmother.
With a surname name like ‘Tripp’ travel experiences have been a big part of their life. The most extensive travel being a year of travel with their 11 and 13 year old children along a fine line around the world. Retirement found them purchasing a small farm raising sheep and chickens and lots of good fruit and vegetables. Farming is a very grounding experience and puts one face to face with Mother Nature and the cycle of life. She does not hesitate to let you know you are servant not master.
Pat and Griff are ready to move to the next chapter in their life. The idea of an intentional community where people enjoy shared experiences, support each other, make decisions on a consensus basis and participate in caring for their environment is very appealing especially when you also have your own private dwelling. We enjoy reading, cooking, planning and executing events, being in nature, walking, working on projects and having the time to do so.
Nancy and Terence (equity)
Nancy and Terence were long-time colleagues as family violence counsellors in Calgary. We married nine years ago and moved to Victoria in 2011 after a year of backpacking in South-and South-East Asia. While overseas we did volunteer work with marginalized groups such as Tibetan ex-political prisoner, street children, and Burmese (Karen) refugee children, and child slaves.
We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and living as sustainably as possible. There are many social circles to which we belong in which we love to relate beyond the superficial. Music, dancing, and playing are important to us We believe that healthy communities best support healing and happiness, and hence our commitment to Ravens Crossing Cohousing.
I‘m an Island girl, always have been and probably always will be. Water has always drawn me, and I love feeling the rhythm of the earth “watching the tides roll in” like my favourite Otis Redding song. I am currently single, but thru the last four decades raised 4 wonderful kids and enjoy 4 grandkids.
I gained a strong work ethic from my father, who grew a small logging company into a large integrated forest company. During the 15 years that I worked in the family business, I experienced all the transitions as it grew to building a mill, purchasing Sikorsky 61 helicopters for heli-logging, then fire fighting with the Martin Mars Water Bombers. The newest additions are C130 Hercules, and 737’s that are currently being converted to fight fire around the world.
Being the only daughter (had 3 brothers) in a family of entrepreneurs, I dreamed of having my own company, so finally started an event company aptly named Fantastic Events and Party Rentals which specialized in weddings and corporate events. Though I never could say no to any event, so did everything from birthday parties, to funerals!
After selling that business, my youngest daughter and I bought an Equestrian Centre and have been operating it for the last 5 years and currently offer boarding, lessons, training, breeding and house 36 horses on site. That creates mountains of manure believe me!
I love music of all types, enjoy singing though I usually only know the chorus or the first line, am addicted to creativity and love to laugh and dance.
Now it is my time. Currently I am a gypsy, trying on different life styles from a motorhome, to house sitting and now are designing a tiny house being built in the forest on our 17 acres. I think its great practice for the future as we work toward making our dream of Cohousing a reality.
Margaret L. (equity)
I was born, raised and educated in Toronto, Ontario. I spent most of my adult life in Calgary. When we retired, Vancouver Island won our hearts.
I had three children and they were all raised and educated in Calgary until post secondary called from other locales. I also have 3 step children and between all of these I am the loving and fascinated grandmother of 6.
The major issues which drew my attention as an adult were education, mental health, care of children and the environment. These issues still live in my heart. The issues have not been solved but many changes have indicated that some success has been seen - more work to do!
I first thought about co-housing when I was about 50. It wasn’t called this at that time but I am excited to be part of the Ravens Crossing Cohousing project. A community of like-minded people, different backgrounds, different ages and stages but all working toward a common goal. The process continues to evolve and it is coming together in it’s own way.
Zeporah’s lived her first twenty five years in Ontario, followed by a year in the Middle East, then came to Vancouver to attend the MFA program in Creative Writing at UBC. Somehow, she found herself married and settled on the West Coast, career bound as a college instructor at VCC for the next few decades.
She still had lots of free time to travel the world, attend extensive meditation retreats, and have many wild adventures, so the wisest, boldest parts of herself braved white water rafting through the Grand Canyon, endured malarial infested mosquitoes and military coups in West Africa (while studying hand drumming), and trekked eighteen thousand feet, not without altitude sickness, up the Himalayas to Ladakh, dragging the less courageous parts of herself, kicking and screaming the whole way.
She also had opportunity to reinvent herself as a Feldenkrais teacher, ferrying back and forth for four years of professional training in glorious Oak Bay, so she is no stranger to Victoria, where for her, personally, good things tend to happen.
Now, recently retired from VCC, she is finally writing with less distraction, offering Feldenkrais lessons, doing her best to stay balanced on high heels in Flamenco class, and hanging out with her beloved dog, Moses.
After many engaged, happy years, in Vancouver, she is finding a missing link - living community and meaningful day to day connections with friends and neighbors. Cohousing has been calling loud and clear. Her wisest, boldest parts have answered the call to cross the great ocean; this time, those other parts (still alive and well) are not kicking and screaming quite so much.
I am a retired family physician. (No prizes for guesses about whether or not I like people!). I have lived and worked in BC, the US and Brazil. Cohousing, civic development and sustainable living have interested me since I was in my '20s. I am also very interested in home design, in particular in making smaller spaces work harder. I've designed two medical offices and a house using these concepts.
Now that my three children are mostly raised and I am more or less on my own, living in a mutually supportive community is even more important to me. Much of my childhood was spent on Vancouver Island and I have been trying to get back there for some years. So. . . Ravens Crossing holds great promise for me. I particularly like the concept of multi-generational housing as I feel strongly that each age group has much to offer within a community and I don’t want to lose my connection to the young.
David and Kathy (equity)
David & Kathy English have lived on the Saanich peninsula for 35 years, watching it shift from farms to a retirement and high tech haven. But, who wouldn’t be attracted to such a beautiful, temperate place to live? We originally came here to raise our two daughters and work – Dave as a hydrographer and Kathy as a social work researcher. We found this to be the perfect place to indulge in our favourite activities, namely long-distance running and cycling. Our family also kept chickens and ducks on our small farm as pets but enjoyed their eggs! Having downsized five years ago to Sidney, we believe co-housing is the ideal setting to share a green lifestyle with friendly, supportive and aware neighbours.
Laura and Karen (equity)
Laura (on right) and Karen married and moved to Sidney in 2016. In addition to loving the West Coast’s beautiful backyard, they have adventured together from the river at the bottom of the Grand Canyon (U.S.) to Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock to Himalaya passes in Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal.
Raised outside of New York City, Laura first pursued her business interests on a global scale with stints in agribusiness, banking and medical products. In Philadelphia (PA), her work shifted to positions supporting Quaker non-profits, inner city schools, entrepreneurial ventures, and food coops. Now with a Permanent Residency card in hand, she is eager to call BC home, settle into community and serve locally.
Karen, a prairie girl born in Calgary, Alberta, is an ordained minister in The United Church of Canada and has lived and worked in Whitehorse, Elmwood (ON), Toronto, and in Langley (BC). She is now enjoying settling into her new position as minister with St. John’s United Church in North Saanich.
We bring joyful as well as tearful stories from when we each have previously participated in starting, sustaining or changing intentional groups. We have navigated various leadership roles in non-hierarchical, consensus-based endeavors. Ravens Cohousing in particular invites and challenges us to live here now in accord with our values and aspirations.
Zosia and Bryan (equity)
Zosia and Bryan are island folk. Zosia was born and raised in Port Alberni while Bryan has been here many decades. We know this is our home especially after many amazing travels abroad. Our life here includes sailing, running, walking, biking, and enjoying the outdoors.
We're both creative but in different fields. Zosia enjoys painting, drawing, knitting, rug hooking and enjoys working with others on community projects. Bryan's creativity is expressed as he develops software. He likes to find what developers call "elegant solutions" to problems. In the past, Bryan created custom wooden furniture and before that he administered a non-profit dance company (and even was on stage). Bryan is currently learning Spanish. We both are beginning to learn how to play the ukulele.
We love travel and, in particular, we've walked the Camino de Santiago several times. We also enjoy exploring our inside coast by sailboat or by kayak.
We're members of a food cooperative where, as a group, we make bulk purchases of healthy food from a local natural food supplier. It takes work but the effort is worth it both in the money saved and the sense of community we feel.
We want to live lightly in this time of climate change and we want to contribute and help grow our local community. As members of Ravens Crossing we look forward to living in a energy efficient home within an intentional community, a community where know our neighbours will share similar intentions. We hope to live with a diverse range of people so we can experience many perspectives and that means we want to live with people of multiple generations, abilities and backgrounds. We look forward to sharing as part of our daily lives, yet we also will value our privacy too.
We look forward to many years with Ravens Crossing.
kay and Barry (Equity)
While attending university in California, Barry and Kay met and were married in 1970. They decided to leave the culture of California and look for a “place for us”. Returning to Canada with a sigh of relief they discovered Vancouver Island. They found a quite and safe place to bring up their children, Chris and Kim. Building and creating healthy community has been a major part of their lives. Between Kay and Barry, they have worked with Chicano (Mexican) itinerant farm workers in California, prison staff who were at war with each other and disadvantaged youth who needed a second chance. Barry has worked in a psychiatric hospital, a small city and a large computer manufacturing corporation.
They settled in Sidney where Barry worked with Children and Family Services and was the founding director of the Saanich Peninsula Guidance Association that later became Beacon Services. Kay and Barry worked with building community and teaching the fine art of child rearing.
Barry received his M.Th in 1984 and ordained as an Anglican priest. With parish work they continued working with communities on the Island also with people in trauma in Puerto Rico, Kosova refugees, a medical clinic in a small village in Kenya and abandoned children in Hondurus. Although they have been thinking and working with various community building initiatives since their early days together, there has always been a strong interest in co-housing. Following an information session in 2016 they waited until the Ravens were conceived and land was purchased.
Barry and Kay bring to Ravens varied knowledge and practice to the art of group process, meaningful discussions and community building. Both Kay and Barry are people persons and love the interactions that co-housing brings. They are look forward to the richness of life, caring and support that co-housing brings to all our lives as neighbours.
Bill and Eleanor (equity)
Eleanor and Bill met when they were teenagers. Eleanor was born in Vancouver and Bill moved with his family from Winnipeg to Vancouver, then Richmond, as a small child.
Eleanor graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Science and Bill also graduated from UBC, but with a Bachelor of Commerce. Bill has been helping clients with their real estate needs since 1984. Eleanor has had a variety of jobs, including testing water samples, working in a hospital lab, legal secretary, medical office assistant, taking in homeless autistic people, and caring for family.
We have lived and raised our two children in the Steveston area of Richmond for over 30 years. Sidney calls to us, as it has similar characteristics, such as a charming, relaxed atmosphere, location by the ocean and nearness to the ferries and airport, and a village feel while still being close to big city amenities.
We have often holidayed on Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands. Bill spent many a summer bombing around on Zodiac inflatable boats with his buddies and having hair-raising adventures in the waters of BC and Washington state. He has also done a lot of hiking and camping trips, most notably the West Coast Trail and Bowron Lakes. We hope to continue these activities in the embracing arms of the Ravens Crossing Cohousing community.
Carol and brian (equity)
Both Brian and Carol have had careers in art conservation. They met in England through a mutual friend, when Brian was studying archaeological artifact conservation at the University of London, and Carol was passing through the city on her way to a conference in Stockholm. After continuing to meet for a number of years at conferences in Europe and North America, they decided to get married and move to Italy when Brian was offered a position at an international conservation centre in Rome. To her surprise, Carol discovered that American museums were willing to bring her back to the U.S. to undertake special projects. That continued to be true when they returned to Great Britain, where Brian took a job in Edinburgh to evaluate the conservation needs of museum collections in Scotland. Since the late 1980’s Brian and Carol have been based in Baltimore, Maryland, working as self-employed art conservators.
Carol’s family lived in different parts of the U.S. when she was growing up. Brian grew up in Brantford, Ontario. In his early twenties he traveled to British Columbia during a cross-country road trip. Remembering the beauty of the province, he always thought he would like to return on a permanent basis. Participation in a recent cohousing workshop on Vancouver Island provided an introduction to the Ravens Crossing Cohousing community. Having been aware of the concept and benefits of cohousing for several years, we recognized that Ravens Crossing offers an ideal match for us. We are looking forward to living in Sidney and exploring our new surroundings, and being active participants in the community.
John and Kim (equity)
John first came to Vancouver Island to Bamfield to teach at the elementary school in that remote west coast community. After falling in love with living on the west coast but desiring a less remote life he moved to Ucluelet and eventually Tofino where he continued to teach. Meanwhile, Kim, an accountant, had moved to Tofino where she eventually met John. We fell in love and decided to make a life together. Although leaving Tofino was difficult, we chose to relocate to the Comox Valley, where Kim teaches at North Island College, which has been our home since 2004. Looking to plan for our future, we began to consider how important community was to us and where we could live to be closer to family. We also wanted to have a gentler environmental footprint. We were familiar with co-housing as there is a wonderful co-housing community in the Comox Valley where several of our friends live. When we discovered that a co-housing community was being planned in Sidney we realized that this opportunity was what we had been looking for. After meeting the members of the community, we just knew it was the right fit for us.
We love to travel, learn from others, dance on the grass at music festivals and spend time with friends and family. Hiking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter with our dog, Finn, are just some of the outdoor activities we enjoy. Past adventures have included spending time sailing, mainly in the Gulf and San Juan islands. Future adventures have us spending time camping in our updated 1973 Boler trailer. Whether at home or traveling, we seek out unique activities, delicious food, quality beer and good coffee. Our connections with our family and our friends are very important to us. We look forward to living with our new community at Ravens Crossing and discovering all there is to discover on the southern end of Vancouver Island.
Bill and Heather (Equity)
Bill and Heather presently live in Calgary with our new-to-us Yorkshire Terrier, Lewis. We're both working part-time and call ourselves "Semi Retired"; Heather with 33+ years nursing, now working at a Hospital Outpatient Clinic; Bill with 40+ years engineering in the Oil and Gas Industry, now working for a Surrey Engineering company, who needed a 'seasoned set of eyes' in their Calgary office.
Heather has enjoyed crocheting, quilting, swimming, canoeing and golfing with Bill, and doing big cooks and/or canning salsa with friends. Bill has a passion for music and plays guitar for a Choir and also in a Band with 3 brothers. We've made some great memories volunteering with different groups in Edmonton in the late 80's, then in Calgary and Guatemala.
We're blessed with four unique adult children, living in Calgary, Kelowna and Jasper and 3 active grandchildren. We've been looking into cohousing off and on, for around 10 years, not quite finding the right fit. We've always enjoyed visiting Sidney, where one of Bill's sister's and family lives. We're excited to now have all the pieces come together for us with Ravens Crossing Cohousing.
I haven’t lived on Vancouver Island since I was a young child and I still find it difficult to believe Sidney will become my home within the next year-and-a-half.
My adult life was spent in Alberta until moving to the small community of Eagle Bay, in the Shuswap region of British Columbia, in 2013. I have a beautiful home high on a hill overlooking Shuswap Lake, where I watch eagles and ospreys soar, deer introducing their fawns to my hostas (!), and ravens playing. Eagle Bay will always have a very special place in my heart, but Sidney is calling.
When looking for a new place to call home it wasn’t specifically Sidney that drew me, but the Ravens Crossing project. I have known about co-housing for about 5 years and was looking for a co-housing development in a location that appealed to me. Once I read about Ravens Crossing it didn’t take long to decide this was where I would like to be.
Travel has been an important part of my adult life and I have been fortunate to have explored many parts of our world, but it’s now time to start exploring places closer to home. I have a lovely little travel trailer called an Alto (her name is Soleil!) which I hope to use to explore Vancouver Island and coastal BC. When I’m not out-and-about with Soleil you will likely find me sitting at my loom weaving, curled up with a book, hiking a local trail or planning a dinner for friends. I am looking forward to many dinners with my new neighbours at Ravens Crossing!
Vicki and Barry (Equity)
Vicki and Barry are relatively new to cohousing, but they have previous experience in a variety of co-operative intentional communities in Ottawa. Their involvement in two cohousing projects before Ravens Crossing was not successful, due in no small part to the shortage of skills with which CDC has blessed the Ravens.
Vicki was born in West Vancouver (when there was still a toll on the Lions Gate Bridge) studied at UBC, became a librarian, and moved to Ontario to work in reference, art and, for a while, a library on co-ops. She has sisters, nieces and nephews in Vancouver and Salmon Arm. Since retiring, she has been leading a walking group, volunteering in an English conversation group for newcomers, supporting the community association and neighbourhood environmental group, trying to control invasive plants. She is a member of two book clubs.
Barry, originally from Peterborough, Ontario, studied at the University of Waterloo (mathematics) and Carleton (international affairs). He mostly worked on Canada-US energy, trade and economic issues, including with Global Affairs and Health Canada, with occasional forays into energy supply and demand modelling. He was on the board of the student co-op in Waterloo, a credit union in Ottawa, and a camp/retreat co-op in rural eastern Ontario. He has a sister in Sointula, and nieces and cousins in Ontario. He is a fitness instructor for (mostly) older adults, a cyclist, guitarist, and breadmaker.
Vicki and Barry have wintered in Victoria for the past eight years, and spent part of their summers in BC for much longer. Their time together in Ottawa included three kinds of shared living (once with a shared car; they are otherwise mostly self-powered) and they are excited to join the Ravens in flight on the Pacific coast. Their lives do not include their own children, pets, cars, or televisions.
Leo and Lynn
Lynn grew up on the slopes of West Vancouver and as a child in the summer ran wild on Cortes Island. After completing her BA in English she found love in the Arctic and then worked her way back to Vancouver where she completed a journalism degree. When Multiple Sclerosis made life difficult, she discovered travelling (where there’s a will there’s a way) and published a newsletter for fellow wheelchair travellers.
Enter Leo, an easterner computer geek who swept her off her wheels, and then later carried her kicking and screaming to Toronto, where winter and bad sidewalks, and roads from the 1500’s cramped her style. Leo, the eldest of seven, is looking forward to being part of a BIG family again. Recently retired from programming and system administration, he once built his own computer from chips and is more than capable of helping people set up computers and software — a geek yes, but Leo also loves using his hands. With the tricks he learned from his father he keeps Lynn’s wheelchair running, dabbles in electronics and anything else he can lay his hand to.
Lynn and Leo continue to travel and Lynn publishes her adventures as well as her latest interest, poetry. Ravens Crossing gives Leo a chance to return Lynn to her first love (the sea)) and to a much better climate for the wheelchair.
Margaret A. (Equity)
Growing up in a small farming community in Saskatchewan, I have always lived “in community “, learning that life is gentler, when we lend a hand, as able and take one, when needed. My career, as nurse/nurse educator took me to many communities across Canada. My all-time favourite was Bella Bella, a First Nations community, where I played a part in setting up a home care program for the elders and disabled. I learned so much about connection with one another and with our fellow creatures, the whales and wolves, the eagles and the ravens.
I have been blessed to have had 43 years with a loving and adventurous partner, (who died 5 years ago), three dear children and now six much loved grandchildren. These kids and grandkids and nine more adored, adopted grandkids, are central in my life. They teach me Presence and are constant reminders of the Awe, the Wonder and the Humour that surrounds us, in this crazy world. We bike and hike, plant gardens and travel, dance, sing, tell stories, laugh, cry and imagine together. With an elementary school across the street from our new home, in Sidney, I look forward to playing the grandma role for a long, long time. Maybe some little people will even move in with us.
Though I’ll be sad to say farewell to dear friends, a large garden, river walks and cross country skiing in Red Deer, Alberta, I welcome the opportunity to get to know my new neighbours, enjoy ocean walks and replace long winters with long springs!
Heather and John (Equity)
More information on Heather and John coming soon.
Associate Members of Ravens Crossing Cohousing
Roberta and Hugo
At this stage of the project, those who have attended a Ravens Crossing Cohousing Information Session may be considered for Associate Membership if they meet the other current criteria and if member resources are available. Please check out our Participate page to find out more.