Brian’s Story

Brian’s story is really the story of others: those who make up the Seafield community – its past, present, and future. It’s this wonderful mix of people that makes the Seafield worth saving.

Bobby & Dana: Our newly expectant parents that we’re so excited for, because of another great addition to our Seafield family. We just hope that we still have our community to welcome the little guy (or girl!) into.

Donald & David: Our Seafiled event planners. OK, I can’t scream loud enough at these guy’s halloween set-ups, and get-ups. They always get full turn-outs to our numerous annual events. Let’s make sure that their next event isn’t an eviction party.

Kevin & Trina: Former caretakers and continuing Seafield residents (and exquisite gardeners). The Seafield WAS so impeccably maintained by these guys, that one could eat off the floors of the hallway,…. and somehow at one of our “hall-iday” parties, I think we just may have! Maintenance in the Seafield has since ceased, but this won’t stop our spirit. Kevin & Trina brought us alumni Wayne, Dezarae, Max & Cass.

Richard: Our former landlord, jovially stopping me in the hallway to share his theories on relationships, marriage, and real estate, he’d never let me get away without offering a colourful joke. Oh how we miss a landlord who cares for the Seafield and its tenants.

Wendy: Wendy is a 4th generation West Ender, and her daughter Christie (who is fully a part of our Seafield) is a 5th generation West Ender – what continuity! We recently welcomed Christie’s new husband Dave into the fold and hope he’ll share many future dinners and special events with us too. The Seafield community extends worldwide, with Wendy’s keen, varied and interesting students, who always somehow seem to fit in.

Melissa: HEY MELISSA WHY SO GLUM? (Go ahead, ask her this). Just after moving in, she’s told she’ll be evicted. All I need to say is that Melissa’s no dummy. “That’s right, Brian!” She knows to follow her nose to her g(n)eighbours for a friendly delicious meal (…and I can only take credit for the friendly part).

John: Our letter carrier. When John delivers our mail, I hear him open our boxes and I go out daily to greet him. We catch up on the neighbourhood news, and I accept letters and parcels for everyone in the building: I collect people’s mail when they’re away, so their letters don’t get smushed in their boxes, and so John doesn’t have to take their mail back to the depot. John lives in and manages the building across the lane, so he knows the “ins and outs” of a building. John doesn’t run into many communities that are this interconnected and trustworthy.

Mary & Rolly: Mary & Rolly have lived in the building for almost half a century. Their home is in the apartment above us. If we hear a bump, we run upstairs to see if everything’s alright. Usually it’s fine, but on occasion it’s not: once Mary, our 92 year old, fell and broke her arm, and we were right there to help. Rolly has a wonderful early morning ritual, which is to stroll downstairs and pick up everyone’s newspapers and drop them off at our doors. We always know if something’s wrong with Rolly, if our morning paper’s not at our door.

Jan: Jan’s suite is the most convenient to our “Rat’s tail”. Good thing Jan is “handy” – that is until our communal BBQ smokes him out of his suite. Jan is the only one of us Seafielders who’ve suffered through multiple evictions in the past. He definitely wants to end this trend.

Kevin: Forget my stories. Get Kevin to tell you a story, with his usual flare and panache. Ask him to tell you about any of the many colourful characters in the West End. Where can Kevin find this kind of Community? Only here – my dear. Only here.

Ron: Our former building manager was impressed when Ross & I “took down” some hoods that were trying to break into our Seafield’s front door in the wee hours. Later Ron handed me a very nice bottle of wine as token of appreciation, and mentioned that he was surprised that a tenant would be so concerned about the welfare of the building. I replied that ALL of us tenants watch out for the Seafiled as if it were our own. Ross & I never gave it a second thought: we’re just protecting our community.

Penny, Joe & Aedan: Always sunny and bright, Aedan’s smile is just like his parent’s disposition. Out our front window, I love watching their family pack themselves into their Van along with Aedan’s antics. I hope that they’ll not have to soon pack more than just their family into that van.

Gabby, Cam, Nikki, Jessie & Stephanie: Showing us that not only long term tenants make for a good community, but our shorter term residents here do as well. They’re just starting out in their careers with roommates that change, or they sublet then return after travels abroad, and are not only welcomed into our community with open arms, but return the warmth and become part of the Seafield. Even after moving on, they often return to say hi or partake in our annual events.

Mark & Christine: Just upstairs for a family dinner with old friends. Getting these two into the Seafiled took a while, but was worth the wait. We certainly don’t want to have to search for another apartment for them. Once here, they “built” a larger, stronger Seafiled community with the addition of “Bob the Builder” (aka Miles), their contractor-to-be son. Mark & Christine also brought us Glenn & Darcy that were here for one fun year: they’re saddened to hear that the best community they’ve ever experienced may come to a tragic end.

Maureen: Always up for a story and a laugh, Maureen keeps her ear to the ground. Maureen brought us Seafield Alumni Jay and Carrie, and she’s currently brought us Cynthia. Although temporarily away, let’s make sure Maureen actually has an apartment to come home to.

Smiley: The infamous grumpy groundskeeper of the church. It takes ALL types to make a wonderful community, and not all of them have to be wonderful people. Let’s just say that he gives us all something to laugh about. Too bad that Smiley isn’t the worst of our problems now.

Tim & Heather: From “shaming the Johns” in the alley in the 70’s, to recently chasing “perps” down the alley, or from the side passage. From dodging Smiley’s garden hose blitzes, to dodging spit balls from the Priest’s nephew, friendship’s never far away from a glass or a tasting…about as far away as down the hall. Let’s not make us have to go further than this.

Jerry & Ailish: Former Seafielders who lived in our suite before we moved in 15 years ago. Every time they return for a reunion, Jerry tells me how he hopes that we’re taking good care of “their” apartment, because they’ll be wanting it back one day! I’m more worried about keeping our apartment, than taking good care of it at this point.

Perry, Julia & Emma: Also former Seafielders, they return yearly for our annual Christmas party. Christmas was always a very special time for them here. We hope that they return again this year – that is of course if we manage to hold our Christmas party – if we’re not all scrambling to find a place to live over the holidays. [Merry Christmas, by the way, from our new landlords.]

Ross: Ross’ culinary delights have welcomed, entertained and created a social focus for years for those within and without the building, but all have become a part of the Seafield community. Our friends Sue & Glee, Marko & Maureen, Kevin & Chas,… and the list goes on and continues to expand…and we hope it continues…

Street life: I work from home, and out our front windows, I not only see Seafielders, but many other familiar faces from the West End. Not a day has gone by without me smiling and waving to someone coming up the front steps, or me throwing open the window to chat with a passerby on the sidewalk. This community isn’t only about those in our building, it’s about the larger fabric of the West End. Insensitive developer landlords systematically buy buildings to mass evict tenants under the guise of unnecessary renovations to double rents. This destroys communities – one by one – and will clearly be the demise of the West End.

Marie & Bernadette: Original tenants of the Seafield, the Doheny sisters moved into the newly completed Seafield Apartments in 1938 with their parents, into the very suite where Ross & I now live. The two sisters were central to the creation of the West End and the Seafield, and made these communities what they are today. Marie had wonderful stories of knowing Joe Fortes, life-guarding at the English Bay Baths, and helping veterans in need by taking them in. They told of how the West End was, like describing the stables that were part of the Rogers Mansion beside us. In her adult life, Marie was an executive assistant, founded Guardian Angels church next door, and started its daycare. Bernadette eventually married and moved to Seattle. Marie didn’t marry and lived with her parents here in the Seafiled. Their parents lived out their lives here and their mother died at age 102. Marie then moved across the hall to a smaller suite. To show how once you’re a part of the Seafield, you always return: after Bernadette’s husband died, she moved back here to live with her sister Marie. They lived many happy years here. We would see them approaching the building with their groceries and parcels, and would rush out to help them up the stairs. I would – on occasion – even need to help them find their glasses. When Marie died only a couple of years ago at the age of 93, family came from afar. Bernadette’s grandchildren described their coming to stay with their grandmas when they were kids. Marie’s funeral service was fittingly held at her church next door, and all of us Seafielders were there. The reception was – of course – at the Seafield. Their family told us that the sisters could never say enough positive things about the people in the building, what a wonderful community we all were, and how helpful to them we have always been. After Marie’s death, Bernadette moved to be with family in Seattle, but before she left, she gave us some photos of the two of them in our living room; “After all, Brian & Ross, these pictures were taken in your suite, so you should have them” (see Seafield pictures). Bernadette also gave us their family’s “root cellar”, which was a wooden box, that their father had built years ago for their kitchen, and since it was made to fit into our suite, Bernadette felt we should have it. To this day we still use the root cellar. Bernadette and her son manage to get back to the Seafiled once in a while, and when they do, they stay for dinner. Once one is a part of this community, one finds it difficult to leave it.

The Doheney sister’s were original Seafielders – they started this incredible connection between us and the continuity of this connection is their legacy. We miss them both dearly. We’ll carry their Seafield community onward – for them – for us – and for future generations.