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Take a Peek Inside this Week...

Photo — Kathy O'Reilly

Rose Kochan’s grandson Tyler Howard is understandably a big fan of her crochet work that was for sale at the Port Hardy Farmers’ and Artisans Market June 27.

Port Hardy pet shop under new ownership

By Kathy O'Reilly, North Island Eagle, May 13 2022

Tails are wagging around Port Hardy because the community will continue to have a pet store.

Little Critters Pet Shop is under new ownership, but with familiar faces at the helm.

Husband and wife team, Cara and Mike Strasdine, took over the shop May 1.

“I have loved animals my whole entire life and if I couldn’t work in a zoo, why not work in a pet shop,” said Cara of the couple’s decision to buy the store. 

When they heard the owner had passed away, Cara and Mike wanted to make sure there was still a spot for North Island pet owners to get what they needed and began the process to purchase the store.

“It’s a great little town and I wouldn’t want to see the pet store disappear from here,” she said. 

With the new ownership will come a new name – Chasing Tail Pet Supply.

In the short period of time since they took over, Cara and Mike have been busy re-organizing and will be surveying customers to find out what they need and would like to see in the shop. 

In the future, the couple would like to redo the flooring, get some paint up on the walls to brighten the space, and replace the lighting to create a bigger, airier atmosphere.

Cara was born on the Sunshine Coast in Sechelt and spent time here growing up.

“My parents lived here in the early 90s. My stepdad ran a mill here for years. They moved away 10 years ago,” she said.

Cara and Mike moved back to Port Hardy about 17 years ago.

“I had a hair salon – Blonde Ambition - for many years and my body broke down and I couldn’t really do that anymore,” Cara said.

The shop currently carries pet essentials such as dog, cat, fish, bird, and rabbit food as well as accessories.

“You name it, we’ve got it and if we don’t have it, we will bring it in for you,” she said, adding they “do plan on bringing in some lizards and things like that.”

“Obviously we’re not PetSmart, but we’re pretty well stocked,” she said with a grin.

The couple is splitting duties.

“I’m floor manager Cara. My husband is office manager Mike” who will be taking care of “all the stuff that I don’t want to,” she laughs.


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Photo — Submitted

Cara and Mike Strasdine are the new owners of Little Critters Pet Shop in Port Hardy. The couple took over the store, to be be renamed  Chasing Tail Pet Supply, May 1.

Arts groups receive grants for equipment

North Island Eagle, May 13 2022

Two local arts organizations are receiving Arts Infrastructure grants to purchase new specialized equipment. 

The BC Movement Arts Society in Sointula will receive $4,800 and the Gate House Theatre Community Association in Port McNeill will receive $17,650.

“Artists bring so much to our communities, entertaining and inspiring both visitors and year-round residents,” said Michele Babchuk, MLA for North Island. “With this infrastructure funding for new equipment, we’re supporting artists of all ages and the long-term success of our local arts scene.”

Through the Arts Infrastructure Program a total of 84 arts and cultural organizations will share in $4 million in grant funding. The program provides grants to arts and cultural organizations to develop and enhance spaces that support BC’s arts and cultural practitioners. Eligible activities include planning and consultation and capital improvements, such as improving safety features; increasing accessibility; or purchasing specialized equipment.

In April, the BC Arts Council introduced its Extending Foundations: Action Plan 2022-2024 which marked a shift in focus in the way the council provides funding to respond to calls to action for reconciliation, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

In alignment with these commitments, 50 per cent of grants in this recent round of Arts infrastructure funding was distributed to organizations from rural or remote communities or those led by, or rooted in, Indigenous and equity-deserving communities.


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Photo — Kathy O'Reilly

The Gate House Theatre Community Association in Port McNeill will receive $17,650 in funding from the provincial government.