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Brian Crumblehulme

Picture of Brian Crumblehulme

Brian has a host of interests and a number of passions. Food started about the age of six or seven. Cooking began a year or so later. Gardening was initiated when he was ten by a clump of March daffodils glowing gold after a long cold winter. By twelve he was puttering away in a tiny greenhouse. Architecture and aesthetics were developed in his late teens and social history a year or two later. In his early twenties he discovered dance, first with ballroom competitions, then country dance, followed by dance history, even some ballet. Theatre and literature came much later. Meanwhile in school, apart from hitting A's in science, he was bored. College led to diplomas in chemistry and medical technology followed by seventeen years in the lab including Influenza research, semi-permeable membrane development and a patent in electro-chemistry. This all started near Liverpool England, followed by a migration to Nanaimo in the mid sixties and finished up in a research lab in Vancouver. He married Mary in 1972 and between them discovered they loved the Gulf Islands. After weekending for two years they finally settled in 1980.

Making a living on the islands is a challenge, so in addition to a miscellaneous collection of odd jobs, he started a herb farm in 1981 and was one of the first to put fresh herbs on the shelves of Safeway and Thrifty's. In 1983 he designed and constructed a B&B that gradually assumed control of their lives as it steadily grew into a licensed country lodge achieving a four star rating by the early 90's. The lodge was sold in 2000 and Brian lapsed into semi-retirement and built his last house.

On other fronts: Brian and Mary took three trips to Nepal in the 1990's to design and help construct a school in a remote valley in the far west region. There were no roads, electricity, phone or direct access to any established services. The school was built using vernacular construction techniques by the local people. Mary was recruited to train teachers. Additional volunteer development trips included two years in Kazakhstan where he taught business development, university courses, and directed two conferences and the first ever festival of Kazakh art. Later he spent a month each in the Republic of Georgia and the Ukraine where, among other things, he was invited to teach a prison program. Brian also spent two years in Alberta as the Executive Director of a charity during which time he supervised the construction of a new social services centre.

On the side he took various courses including business management, tourism, writing, dance, fitness, and obtained graduate degrees from SFU and UBC concluding with a Graduate Fellowship for Research in the Humanities. In the late eighties Brian was invited to write and publish a compendium cook book, but has since focused on short essay writing and in 2007 was short listed for the CBC creative non-fiction award. Brian and Mary have always been involved in community affairs, founding and volunteering in over a dozen organizations. At various times Brian has been a firefighter, Islands Trust APC, Community Center Director, Health Director, Fitness trainer, has directed over thirty plays, taught dance and organized festivals. He now devotes most of his time to gardening, writing, dancing, food research, occasional construction and other necessary island activities.


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