Welcome to the Strathcona Collective

Words by Alison Bell
Photo by Erin Wallis

Welcome to the Strathcona Collective, a lifestyle magazine showcasing local art, culture, business, innovation, adventure, and the natural environment in the Strathcona region.

Our mandate is to publish a beautiful and informative magazine driven by excellence and a desire to promote creativity, play, and exploration.

My name is Alison Bell and I’m co-publishing the Strathcona Collective alongside my husband Jos and the CV Collective’s founders, Jenn Dykstra and Ian Adams. I grew up in Campbell River and like many, have recently returned home after years away to raise a family and reconnect with the relaxed pace of life that this part of the island inspires.

I love this place I call home. As I write this, I glance out towards the snowcapped peaks of Sutton Range dazzling in the bright sunlight like they’re cut out of metallic paper, so clearly defined on the warm, pink skyline. I turn around to face east and the Coast Mountains seem to drop right into the ocean, a horizon dotted with the deep greens of the islands superimposed across the Discovery Passage.

Jos grew up in England and after over a decade of building a life on Vancouver Island, this past summer he took his oath and became a Canadian citizen! To celebrate, I decided to treat him to a scenic helicopter tour over Strathcona Park and the Comox Glacier – I couldn’t think of a more Canadian experience. Seeing the vastness and beauty of this spectacular region through his eyes was a reminder of just how special this place really is.

And it’s not just the landscape that deserves recognition, but also the people that make this the warm and welcoming community it is. Strathcona is filled with passionate people doing incredible things. The seekers of adventure, the givers of time, the makers of beautiful things, and the layers of history that make up these communities are what inspire me to create, play, and explore in my surroundings. Jos and I live a full life here with our young daughter, Amelia, and energetic dog, Lexy. We walk the beaches and forest trails, volunteer with community initiatives, play and coach sports, entertain friends and family, take in events at local arts organizations, and on the whole, try to be part of what makes this place home.

I’ve been reading the CV Collective for many years now and always thought it was such a beautiful magazine. For someone who spends her workday primarily in a digital space, I have a deep appreciation for well-constructed print publications and the people who make them. Jenn and Ian have used the CVC as a platform to foster creativity and collaboration in the Comox Valley very successfully over the past five years. At our very first meeting to talk about a sister publication for the Strathcona Region, Jenn said to Jos and me that this was something they had wanted to bring to the North Island for quite some time. She felt they had finally found the right people to make it happen and, for me and Jos, this magazine has become a passion project that I am so grateful to lead. Ian grew up in Black Creek, and like Jos, Jenn moved here in adulthood. Our guest editor, Laurel Sliskovic, has called Campbell River home for seven years. As a collective, our experiences in the Strathcona Region differ greatly, and it’s those experiences that have brought us to the launch of our first issue of the Strathcona Collective and I am so happy with the stories that have come together here.

If you’ve read the CV Collective (which I recommend you do), you’ll notice that as a sister publication, the Strathcona Collective is modelled after it. We feature content from both professional and amateur writers and artists, giving readers a unique snapshot of the community as a whole. Our vision for the magazine is to recognize and share the stories of what makes this place truly beautiful. We hope the Strathcona Collective encourages you to see this region in a new light, learn more about our community, and appreciate your surroundings. Create, play, and explore here. As we move forward, please connect with us so you too can share your voice and be a part of our growing Collective.