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Know More About Geoff

Geoff Stoneman was born in Victoria, B.C., but has always spent time in Nanaimo. Geoff has come to know this community well through his own experience and the stories told by his Mom, grandparents and great-grandma.Geoff’s parents have been living in Nanaimo for the past 20 years, he has been living here since 2006 and his brother and his family live locally as well in Harewood. Although Geoff hasn’t always lived in Nanaimo, this community has helped shape him into the individual he is today.

His mother’s family has deep roots here immigrating in the eighteenth century. As a child Geoff visited grandparents and great-grandmother often at their homes in the South End and at the cabin on Shack Island. His mother’s great-grandparents were married at St. Paul’s church in 1884. His great-great and great-grandfathers were miners and three distant uncles died in the1887 mine explosion. After the 1917 Protection Island fatalities Geoff’s great-great Grandfather designed a safety cage and was in the process of getting a patent when he died. In 1922, his great-Grandfather rescued two miners who were thrown overboard when scows collided in Nanaimo harbour. And was awarded the Canadian Humane Society medal for bravery. Geoff is extremely proud to share in Nanaimo’s history and to share his family’s story.

Geoff’s parents, grandparents and great-grandma provided him with examples of the value of hard work, commitment, community service, family loyalty and having fun. His maternal grandfather was an avid fisherman and summers were spent at their cabin on Shack Island involving hours of listening to stories while teaching Geoff and his cousins to fish. Meanwhile his grandma prepared meals and kept house without the benefit of electricity or running water.

Geoff’s parents took him fishing, camping, hiking, sailing and travelling while building a house, maintaining careers and volunteering on community Boards and committees. He is no stranger to the concept of work/life balance.

Geoff has lived in many Canadian cities and towns (Victoria, Vancouver, Yellowknife, Lake Louise, Ucluelet, Bridgewater and North Bay) growing up and as a young adult. He appreciates every community is different, but, these experiences have made him value that people everywhere want the means to provide shelter, food and necessities of life for their themselves and their family; to have clean air and water; to know they can rely on their neighbours; to feel they belong and to have a voice in how community decisions are made.

Geoff has lived in a small housing co-op in Vancouver as a child and then spent almost a decade living “off-the-grid” 20 miles outside of Yellowkinfe. The housing co-op was only 17 units and everyone contributed in some way (from maintenance projects to gardening, sharing meals or babysitting kids, to making decisions as part of the Board on behalf of the group). He learned that you don’t have to like someone to get along, but you do ​need to respect their right to participate and to express a point of view.

While living outside of Yellowkinfe his folks and three other families formed a co-operative to generated power and haul water from the frozen lake in winter. His family maintained a functioning septic field at 40 below temperatures so they could enjoy flush toilets. He acquired an appreciation for alternative energy sources and 12-volt systems. This taught him
not to take things like electricity, flush toilets and running water for granted. And also learned how to be an independent and self sufficient when necessary but also how to work with others for a common goal.

He grew up without a TV even before moving to the bush in Yellowknife. As a teenager Geoff listened to As It Happens on CBC during the week and completed school current affairs assignments by reading articles in the Globe & Mail. As a result, he was never reluctant to express a different point of view in class and was always prepared to confirm facts from numerous sources and this has not changed.

Geoff played many sports in school (soccer, basketball, volleyball and track). Team sports taught him the value of leadership, team dynamics and doing what’s best for the team while track allowed him to excel as an individual. Geoff competed as a member of the NWT volleyball team at the Canada Summer Games in 1996 and at the Arctic Winter Games in 1997. Geoff currently plays soccer on two Nanaimo teams and continues to enjoy team dynamics and the social aspect.

Outdoor pursuits have always been one of Geoff’s passions. He had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training (COLT) program at Strathcona Park Lodge in 1997. Also skied and snowboarded in the Canadian Rockies for three years following COLT. Geoff enjoys to surf, hike, ski, snowboard, canoe, kayak, backpack and camp as often as possible. Protecting the environment is personal for him, as it is critical to the enjoyment of these activities and sharing this passion with future generations.

Geoff has driven across Canada from coast to coast and has travelled in New Zealand, Australia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and the South Pacific. Travel has taught him that there are many different solutions to every problem and that research, discussion and debate will always lead to the best solution.

Geoff proudly lives in the South End of Nanaimo (near where his Mom, Grandpa and great-grandpa grew up) with his fiancé, son and daughter. He currently makes a living as a journeyman plumber and previously worked as a chef. He understands the concerns of middle-income Canadians because he is a middle-income Canadian.