Posted On November 30, 2018 By In Regulars With 31 Views

Stories from the Sky

by Jo Barnes – 

There are all kinds of “firsts” for travellers here at Arrivals. Some walking through the gate have just experienced their first airplane ride. Others are first time visitors to this particular airport. And some are visiting the west coast of Canada for the first time. 

Luggage at her feet, a young woman sits quietly finishing up a message on her phone.

“I’ve just flown in from Pearson. I live and work in Kingston,” says Taylor Fullerton. “I’m waiting for my friend Ali to pick me up here.” 

Taylor is a nurse and her friend Ali, also a nurse, has recently moved to Victoria. This visit is a first for Taylor.

“I haven’t been to the West Coast at all,” she says.

She shares that her friend Ali has been telling her all about Victoria and hopes she’ll maybe consider moving here.

“Ali loves it. She says to me ‘you’re going to fall in love with the place.'”

Taylor brims with excitement. The sparkle in her eyes and constant smile are a giveaway. 

“I’m looking forward to hiking, the food and the scenery too. We might go to Vancouver. My friend has a whole itinerary; it’s all a surprise! I’m probably going to be moving here too. I can just feel it,” she shares.

Ali arrives, and the pair head off happily through the doors. Taylor’s words “I’ll make plans to come back” linger in the air as she exits. For some travellers that first appearance at the Victoria gate will surely not be the last here.


He stands quietly waiting in the Arrivals area. He checks the flight board and, like many, watches passers-by. Unlike those in the room this day, however, he’s clad in a military uniform bearing his name and a beret atop his head. His vocation prompts his presence in the airport.

“I’m waiting for Antonio Gomez. He’s coming in from Halifax,” says Michael McShane. 

Both Michael and Antonio serve as pilots with the Canadian Air Force.  

“We fly the Cyclone, the new maritime helicopter. We have about nine of them right now, and there’ll be more delivered over the next couple of years,” shares Michael. “We’re training the West Coast air crew.” 

Michael speaks matter-of-factly. But as the interview progresses, his passion not only for flying but serving his country is clear.

“I’ve been flying since 1994. I think I’ve always been interested in flying. I enjoy teaching others; it’s a sense of accomplishment.”

His fellow pilots arrive and chat quickly ensues. The comradery among them is quite apparent. Their connection is one built on a commitment to serve Canada and to train others in that service. For Michael, perhaps you even could say his vocation is a calling.

“My father was with the air force for 30 years,” he shares.

The pilots head off down the hallway, but unlike many here at the gate, they will soon be back up in the air. For you see, flight is not just a means of travel but a life challenge and purpose.


As kids, we share our daily lives with our moms and dads. As teens, even though we’re intent on being cool, we still like to connect with our parents. And as adults, even though there may be many miles between us, we treasure that special relationship with them. 

A couple sit quietly chatting with each other. 

“I’m waiting for my mom, Marlene. She’s coming from Edmonton,” says Craig Richards. 

Craig sits with his wife Linda Petras; the enthusiasm shines in his eyes.

“My mom is 88 years old. She’s been out here once, and she said that would be the end of her travels,” he shares.

Craig and his wife don’t live in the local area but have travelled down the Island from Mill Bay. The miles they’ve put on the car, however, don’t matter because it’s an important day.

“This will probably be the last time my mom gets out here,” says Craig.

The family visit will undoubtedly include lots of opportunities to chat and share a meal, but Craig and Linda have also planned outings that will ensure unique experiences and memories for Craig’s mom.

“We might go to the Raptor Centre in Duncan. It has some great flight demonstrations; it will blow her mind. We might do a stop at Goldstream. The salmon might be beginning to run.” 

Mom arrives through the gate and hugs are shared. It may well be the last visit she makes here, but at this moment in time, it’s the beginning of a memorable week with loved ones. 

As kids, we share our daily lives with our moms and dads. As teens, even though we’re intent on being cool, we still like to connect with our parents. And as adults, even though there may be many miles between us, we treasure that special relationship with them. 

A couple sit quietly chatting with each other. 

“I’m waiting for my mom, Marlene. She’s coming from Edmonton,” says Craig Richards. 

Craig sits with his wife Linda Petras; the enthusiasm shines in his eyes.

“My mom is 88 years old. She’s been out here once, and she said that would be the end of her travels,” he shares.

Craig and his wife don’t live in the local area but have travelled down the Island from Mill Bay. The miles they’ve put on the car, however, don’t matter because it’s an important day.

“This will probably be the last time my mom gets out here,” says Craig.

The family visit will undoubtedly include lots of opportunities to chat and share a meal, but Craig and Linda have also planned outings that will ensure unique experiences and memories for Craig’s mom.

“We might go to the Raptor Centre in Duncan. It has some great flight demonstrations; it will blow her mind. We might do a stop at Goldstream. The salmon might be beginning to run.” 

Mom arrives through the gate and hugs are shared. It may well be the last visit she makes here, but at this moment in time, it’s the beginning of a memorable week with loved ones. 

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seaside

Your West Coast Culture. A magazine about the people and places that make the Saanich Peninsula the little piece of paradise we call home.

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