›› Brett Gaylor

Over the last 20 years, Rik Leaf has ­produced CDs, TV shows, short films, a travel series, podcasts & worked on ­productions for Metallica, Bryan Adams, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Whose Line is it Anyway?. He is the Creative Director for Tribe of One and the author of Four Homeless Millionaires – How One Family Found Riches By Leaving Everything Behind. A hilarious adventure of the year he and his wife sold their house and traveled the world with our two kids. He is currently producing a video series for The ­Entertaining World of Wine.

Tell us 3 things about yourself, one that is a lie.
1. Professional Dancer
2. Professional Recording Artist
3. Professional Sommelier

Why do you choose to live in Fernwood?
I wanted to live in a neighbourhood where the people walking down the street screaming at 2:00am waking me up out of a sound sleep really felt like they had something to say. And had an explosively profane way to say it… and honestly, ­Fernwood really came through for me on that one.

What has changed in Fernwood since you’ve been here?
Beyond COVID and the Vic High reno dorking up the community hang out vibe… I’d have to say surprisingly little. It’s just little things. Like we used to walk three blocks to Wellburns and now we walk four blocks to Save On. The pandemic seemed to ­invigorate a lot of folks to try their hand at growing food in backyard and ­boulevards—our household as well. Hopefully, our neighbours fared better than we did. At the end of the season, we were pretty much just guilty of crimes against raised beds.

What has most surprised you during the pandemic?
I was surprised how often walking my dog through the neighbourhood involves stopping to talk with folks. I hadn’t really appreciated that before. Fernwood’s a pretty friendly place. The pandemic exposed how natural it is to connect with people… or was. Now stopping to chat has everyone ­fumbling with masks shuffling around awkwardly trying to social distance while our dogs do the leash-weaving ‘sniff & spin’.

What have you missed most about pre-Covid times?
Hanging out. Giving and getting hugs. FernFest. Backyard parties and BBQs. Lately, the best conversations I’ve had have been screaming out the window at 2:00am to the guy walking down the street ­swearing at the raccoons.

What will you miss most in post-Covid times?
There is an unfiltered honesty on the street right now that I’m appreciating. People feel free to admit things aren’t great when someone asks, “How’s it going?” It’s like we’re all in this s#% time together. There’s something bonding about that in a weird way. Also, I really like the vibe of the tables and chairs on the street outside the pub. I’ll miss that if they disappear.

What is your hope for Fernwood in 10 years?
I hope I’m still living here. I hope it’s still a friendly, relaxed neighbourhood where people stop to chat when they’re walking their dogs. And I hope the power poles are still covered in art. And the Belfry is still producing fantastic shows.


Faces of Fernwood is a new series at the Village Vibe where we meet some of the neighbours that make our community great. Have someone in mind? Drop us a line! Email villagevibe@fernwoodnrg.ca.