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Claire Martin

Claire Martin

Stuart McLean – by Claire Martin

Getty Images: Bernard Weil

Everyone has a story.

Stuart McLean has more than one.
Stuart McLean wrote, and voiced books, that spoke to us all.  Spoke to us about a simpler, easier, more honest time.
Long before “fake news” and “alternative facts” were commonplace, Stuart McLean was entertaining us with funny, genuinely sweet, stories of small town family life.
They were all so very true, so very Canadian.
My favourite Vinyl Cafe story is not a podcast.
It was the late ’90’s and I was driving to Vancouver with my best friend Susan. She had never been to the west coast and we were going to have a road-trip and an adventure together. She had bought “Home from the Vinyl Cafe” to read en route. She was reading out loud in the car as we came towards Kamloops – and had started the story “Road Trip – Cat In The Car”.
We laughed so hard as Susan was reading, we had to pull over on the side of the road. About half a kilometer coming into Kamloops – here we were – two fully grown women, pulled over on the highway, out of the car, laughing so hard that we were both bent over, crossed legs, laughing at each other. Susan was practically yelling her way through the last piece of the story. It took us close to 15 minutes to compose ourselves and drive into Kamloops.
It is one of my most favourite memories of our road trip.
I first met Stuart at a CBC promotional event. He was, as always, utterly understated – and sidled up to me and said: “You and Peter are pretty funny you know”! I was stunned – I had no idea that someone of Stuart’s ilk would watch “The National” let alone even enjoy the late night banter that Peter and I shared.
He was, as his stories are, genuine and honest and sweet.
But that’s not the point of this note.
Stuart McLean was battling melanoma. I had been informed late last year as to his diagnosis. I had sent him a brief note of well-wishes.
I can not comprehend that the disease that has given me just a few scars has silenced such a great man.
It is a reminder that life is short and sweet and to be enjoyed.
RIP Stuart.
Dave and Morley will live on.
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Claire Martin

Activating Your Belief System – by Claire.

Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT an activist.

In fact, I am rarely “fervent” about anything, actually.

But on Jan 21, 2017 my inner civil-protestor rose up!

Here’s the backstory.

I woke up on Saturday 21st ready to “march”.. very unaware of what was happening around the world. I expected – maybe – 5000 in Vancouver. I expected to see “familiar faces”.

The Seabus was packed. The feeling was jovial.

I am lucky enough to know someone who works on the route, so we sat and chatted. Just this year she had written .. a personal vision statement. She read it to me as we crossed the inlet, and as she sat reading, surrounded by strangers,  I realized that “something” was happening. She echoed a sentiment, an ache we all feel.. to be connected to be a bigger, better “thing”.

I was already goose-bumpy by the time I disembarked.

A few minutes later I stood in Jack Poole Plaza – surrounded by very very normal, nondescript people.

We listened to music, we heard speeches.. we yelled in agreement to the calls for action, and we agreed that we would pick up the garbage en route.

So with “the” people, some in pink hats, most in comfortable shoes, I realized that American call “we, the people” means something else to all of us. It means that “we” stand up in a dignified way when the need arises; that “we” stand together as one; that “we” is inclusive; that “we” is incredibly powerful when pulling together; that “we”, no matter what the issue, will rise above adversity.

I walked and silently wept.

I am so proud of all the activists and non-activists that walked in Vancouver on Jan 21, 2017.

Apparently there were 10, 000+ of us.


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Claire Martin

Christmas Communications – by Claire

So far this year I’ve received just 10 Christmas Cards, and 3 of those are signed-sincerely-by-the-office “corporate” cards. And I’m kinda bummed.
Let me back up here.
My annual Christmas routine USED to include 2-3 evening weekends, in late November and early December, spent diligently writing close to 200 Christmas cards. I always added a personal note. I always added a Christmas letter. Though it was a pain in the arse to physically write and sign all these cards – I loved the routine. And just as importantly, I loved the cards that I got back. I loved the connection I felt, to friends and family spread literally around the world.
There’s still something quintessentially delightfully “old fashioned” about getting hand written mail.
I kept 3 pages of lists of names of people (family and friends) that were annually added -or sadly dropped off- the Christmas card list. Don’t get me wrong. It was a chore. But it was a rewarding, ultimately “connecting” chore.
That all said – Christmas card sending is going the way of pennies, lamplighters and Blockbusters! There’s simply no need to send a paper card via snail mail when you can send an e-mail and connect (virtually) instantly.
So why am I a little sad at all this?
I mean, the cost alone is prohibitive. A single stamp to England is $2.50 – and I have all my family, everyone, in the “old country”. And I understand that it’s not particularly “Green” of me to have trees cut down for such a frivolous use.
But I am a little sad.
I loved the notes. I loved the family updates. I loved the cards.
But wait.. there’s a happy end to all this (it is Christmas after all!). My seriously technically challenged family has managed to jump on an App (yes a mobile phone App) that can connect us all. And this year (for the second year in a row) have decided that all of us must send the whole group a Christmas-related photo every day for the entire month of December.
My cousins live in Norway – the scenery is breathtaking;
My brother is in London – his shots of my city twinkling and sparkling make me smile and a little homesick;
My mother – who doesn’t understand the task nor the App, sends strange shots while shopping!
I love it when my phone chimes.. and I glance down and see another new “card”.
It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year!
– Claire
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Claire Martin

Brolly Brawling – by Claire


Photo credit: Domo-Domo-kun

I do not own an umbrella!


Most of you right now are laughing at me, some are shocked, and some are simply dumbfounded..

The question is: How can I live on the WET west coast, on the fringe of a rain forest no less, and not own an umbrella?

Here’s my thinking:

  1. I have had bad relationships with umbrellas in the past. I had one beautiful, bright flowery brolly – but it would just not close properly. Right there, always on the bus, always surrounded by my cordial commuting cohorts, who all carefully cloistered their brollies lest they drip on seats etc., right then and there this wretched apparatus would spring open. WHOMPF.


  1. I have owned cheap-ass, poorly constructed umbrellas that simply don’t do the job. They barely cover me, they don’t stay fully open and I look like I’ve got a poorly constructed plastic mini-tent over my head. Not cool!

So – I have yet to find a great umbrella. So I have given up!

Furthermore, umbrella etiquette seems to be missing on the streets of Vancouver.

Please, people – leave the golf umbrella for the golf course.

Also .. I’m “petite” (read: short) so even with a suitably sized umbrella, some maneuvering is going to be necessary on a crowded Georgia Street sidewalk. Taller people (I beg you) please raise your brolly when approaching us littl’ns. As my Granny would say “eyes can be lost with a careless use of knives and brollies”!

Finally – the real reason that I’ve given up on owning a brolly – have you tried texting, or holding a coffee with a brolly in your same hand? It’s impossible!

So I walk the soggy streets of Vancouver in Gortex.

Forgo the brolly.

It’s actually quite liberating!



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Claire Martin

Inspiration – by Claire


Photo courtesy: UNBC

It’s funny where you find inspiration.

Because I just found it, this past week, in Prince George.

Let me back up.

We all know that for many of us, the past two weeks, since the evening of November 8, 2016, have been a time of much hand-wringing, some self-recrimination, and a lot of “what-went-wrong” discussions. I know because I have taken part in all of that (and more!).

I have felt beaten for over two weeks now. And there has been little in the news to make me feel any better.

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Claire Martin

Migraines – by Claire

img_5169suffer from migraines and yesterday was a bad day for me.

Now, there are many of us out there who suffer from these type of headaches, and if you do, you’re going to recognize the moments in this story. If you don’t – here’s the way it usually goes for me ..

I have got very good at recognizing the day-before-pre-migraine symptoms: usually a slight headache, a feeling of “warmth” gently pulsing behind my eyes, and a very, very slight sensitivity to light.

If I’m on top of it.. I wait – Continue Reading

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Claire Martin

Google You – by Claire


Image: Tamara Volodina

The other night I found myself watching CNN, and caught the latest Jeanne Moos piece. She’s a great reporter, working the “off-beat” stories with a casual, irreverent usually humorous style. Her last story started with the question – “Have you ever “Googled” yourself?”

Most of us have. Of course I have, but it’s been a while. So of course, I had to have another go..

Here’s the results when I put “Claire Martin” into the search bar:




The first 2 results I know about, the 3rd – WHOA!

It’s a spoof.. but holy cow.. at 10 pm it jolted me out of my bed (safely sans Mr Mansbridge, I might add!). I had no idea.. and of course I had to click and enter the rabbit hole that can often be the internet.

Wide awake now I decided to check out my Twitter name – and did a search of accounts with the name “Claire Martin”.

Of the top 6 results, I personally know 3!

The great jazz singer – Claire Martin – and I have actually chatted about occasionally being mistaken for one another. My father is a huge fan of hers; I have most of her CD’s and quite frankly, she’s much better looking than I, so the mistake is often to my advantage. In fact in the early 2000’s I was put on a BBC List of “top 100 entertainers to watch” – I’m convinced to this day that the radio executive that constructed the list actually had me mistaken for her!

The 4th Claire MARTIN is also a lovely woman! She lives and works in Paris, France – and we were introduced at a function about 10 years ago at car show and have often had to direct misguided requests for each other back to the other!

So – is it really a small world? Is my name really that common? Or is there maybe more going on here?

What really floors me is that the other 3 “Claire Martins” in the top 6 twitter accounts – are all journalists. I’m going to reach out to all three and see if they’ll write a piece for us on #mybackyard.

See, Jeanne Moos – that’s what happens when you Google yourself!

Claire Martin – aka The meteorologist/former broadcaster Claire Martin

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Claire Martin

Paris Agreement – by Claire

img_4871For those of you wondering, here’s the Coleman’s notes version on the about-to-be-ratified Paris Agreement:

The Paris Agreement (French: Accord de Paris) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaption and finance starting in the year 2020.

The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries (including Canada – see photo) at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris (aka COP21) and was adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015.

In the Paris Agreement, countries agree to try to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and do their best to keep it below 1.5 degrees C, compared with pre-industrial times.

It was decided at COP21 that the agreement would only come into legal force after 55 countries representing 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions sanctioned it, and signed on the dotted line.

So in October, after the European Union ratified the agreement, there were enough countries that had formally recognized it, for the agreement to enter into force.

The agreement will take effect on 4 November 2016.

Believe it or not, agreeing to the rules laid out in the agreement, was the easy part. Achieving the goals will be much harder.

The Paris deal calls for countries to review their individual emissions targets every five years, to see if they can find ways to achieve deeper cuts as renewable energy technologies become better and cheaper.

The first review is set for 2018 – just a scant two years from now.


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