July 8, 2016 – The weather was warm today and it seemed like an excellent day to go get lost in the cool forest just two blocks from home. Capilano Regional Park, and the river and canyon it contains, is a jewel in our backyard. It is also home to the Capilano River Salmon Hatchery, a place I am lucky to call work. Or rather, one of the places I am lucky to call work. But this one is particularly near and dear to my heart.
When I was in my undergraduate program, I had the fortune to spend the summer of 1990 at the Bamfield Marine Station. As a component of one of the courses I was out there for, we went on a fantastic road trip to visit aquaculture facilities around Vancouver Island, Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, and down into Washington State. We visited salmon farms, oyster farms, clam farms, and salmon enhancement facilities. One of the sites we visited was this one, the Capilano River Salmon Hatchery. The facility is a federally owned site under the umbrella of the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s (DFO) Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP) and the hatchery produces predominantly coho and Chinook salmon, but also a small number of steelhead, pink, and chum some years.
I lived downtown, in the West End, at the time, and had never visited the hatchery before. The visit left a mark on me, and on one of my fellow students. Cheryl eventually ended up working there, and I’d visit her from time to time. Once she asked me if I’d like to come work there, and although the answer was definitely a yes, it was 1992 and I’d decided to embark upon my Master’s degree and so more university was on the horizon. During my Master’s years we moved to North Vancouver, inching closer to the mountains and the rivers that had caught my breath on moving here.
After the Master’s thesis was under my belt I did go to work at a DFO site, that was 1996, but it was a science research site in West Vancouver. I worked there for not quite two years before securing a scholarship that took me back to university to embark on a masochistic road called a PhD.
After I finished the PhD, I worked at a University-College on the Island, and then did some contract work to a few entities. And then a competition came up in DFO’s SEP program, and after a time I somehow clawed my way into the program that had caught my attention 20+ years earlier.
Three years ago we bought a new home, ironically, just a block down and a block over from the road that goes down to that same hatchery. I kept wishing I could work, at least part of the time, from the facility, but it wasn’t my facility to support and my manager was still trying to get me in permanently and wanted me to have presence at the regional office. Last year I was assigned to the site, finally.
A few months ago an office renovation was announced and it meant that I wouldn’t be able to keep my reference library or all the resources I need to do what I do. No accommodation was forthcoming and it’s been riddling me with anxiety and angst that the change will make me less productive given my introverted work habits. I have absolutely zero interest in working from home, so I had a conversation with the facility manager and he welcomed me and offered to carve out a little corner of space that I could use.
It’s been a soft move until this past week when there was no choice left but to pack up my resources and take them to the hatchery. So now, as of this year, I have a little corner to call my own in the facility that sparked my interest in SEP almost thirty years ago.
Funny how things come full circle sometimes.
Now that I will be downtown a little less, away from the temptation of expensive jewellery shops, bookstores, and my favourite shoe store, perhaps I will go for walks at lunchtime more often. Because…. it’s a pretty awesome place to go for a walk…and maybe I can undo some of the damage I’ve done to myself having been far more sedentary than I’d been before taking this job.
Time to move a bit more.