Michael and Jenefer

Michael was born in north eastern Manitoba in a forest community and spent his spare time exploring lakes and rivers by canoe and on snowshoes. He went to university in New Brunswick and Manitoba, graduating from the University of Winnipeg, started in business with HBC and BMO and eventually went to the UK to work in the book and art trade.

Jenefer was raised in London, England, educated at James Allen’s Girls’ School. She worked her way up the career ladder to become Human Resources Manager at Daniel J. Edelman Public Relations. She was destined to remain an independent career woman until she met Michael on a train, returning to London from separate hiking/ climbing holidays in Scotland. Attracted to someone who loved outdoor activities as much as she the knot was tied and they had a son. Michael persuaded her life was better in Canada so in 1978 they re-settled here.

Winnipeg was quite a change for Jenefer so she has empathy with any newcomer experiencing such a transition. Gardening, which is part of her soul, had to be relearned and she adapted to the new sports of canoeing, sailing, skiing, encouraged by many friends. Michael went to work for HBC and Royal Doulton . A transfer moved us to Aurora, Ontario, our next domicile for 20 years, where Jenefer returned to an old hobby, pottery, joining Pine Tree Potters’ Guild. We formed our own tableware importing company in 1990.

As empty nesters we started our downsizing by moving to Pinawa, Manitoba, a small town on the Winnipeg River, where we enjoyed all our favourite outdoor pursuits as well as drama and pottery. Stewart married and settled in Sooke so, expecting grandchildren we decided in 2013 to move nearer and be part of the children’s lives. They now have 3. Michael has a son, daughter-in-law and grandchild in North Carolina.

Then we heard about West Wind Co-Housing and, feeling we wanted more companionship of like minded people and the opportunity to help build a sharing community, we attended an information session. Situated in a most gorgeous, peaceful part of central Sooke overlooking the sea and mountains, it couldn’t be more appealing. The camaraderie we have experienced attending project meetings has been amazing – it’s one big, happy, caring family.

We have been active volunteers in a variety of community organizations in other towns: working with Aurora Heritage, helping organize the International Envirothon Competition, Manitoba Triathlon, Pinawa Players Drama Society. Michael volunteered on the board of directors of the Model Forest organization involved in encouraging sustainable forest practices, educating First Nations youth in the use of forest resources, and the support of primary research of moose and caribou habitat.

We plan to continue volunteering in the West Wind community.