Each quarter Kia Ora Vancouver will be featuring Kiwis who have made Vancouver their new home. For this profile, we feature Ben Lefler from Laughing Loggers
What’s your NZ Hometown? What do you miss?
Born and bred South Auckland, travelled South and worked in the Taire Plains before heading to Palmy to study at Massey. Finished up there headed to the Waikato and Bay of Plenty where I carried on with sales/marketing and finance.
Finally returned to Auckland where I worked in construction on Waiheke Island for several years before I made the move to Vancouver.
I think the thing I miss the most is the coast. Growing up in the Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf salt water runs through my veins. Pretty good chance I was conceived in the ocean. I miss the plentifulness of our waters and the accessibility to some of the most amazing recreational fishing and diving in the world!
Who do you do for work in Vancouver / BC?
I am now a full time lumberjack, if you could comprehend such a title. Owner operator of the LaughingLoggers, an entertainment production that provides all services that are ‘Good as Wood’, from live productions, group activities, kids programmes, wood carving, amateur and pro Loggersports competitions, and the all new mobile retail store ‘the AXEBOX’.
The LaughingLoggers began in Auckland NZ and the first appearance was on the pair in front of the Loaded Hog during the Americas Cup in 2002. 18 years since we have travel all over NZ performing, tapping into Australia and now residing in Vancouver, travelling the length of Canada. Heck, we even dropped some shows in PNG for a few laughs with the locals.
When did you first arrive in Canada/Vancouver and how long did you plan to stay?
I came to Canada the summer of 2002 to travel BC and compete in Loggersports. I had a month up my sleeve as I had left my role in Agribusiness and was about to start my construction company. A month was a joke and had to stretch it out to 2 months. I fell in love with BC, the sport, the people and my life took a monumental turn…life of a lumberjack!
What is your secret Vancouver spot?
I have many favourite spots in BC but if I was to narrow it down to one I have a soft spot for Bowen Island. We have been part of the Loggersports community there since they hosted their first show 6 years ago. The people, community spirit, coastal panorama, and its accessibility draw a tonne of nostalgia for me.
Pearl of wisdom for new arrivals to Vancouver / Canada?
For visitors that are coming to Vancouver, brace yourself for the ride of a life time. The grander of the ridge lines as you fly into YVR will set the tone of your experience. Your choices for adventure almost seem limitless, but go east or west the epic scenery as you cruise the sea to sky corridor or the incline of the Coquihalla will deliver you to one of the greatest outdoor play grounds on the planet! Not much of a city bloke nor one to sit on concrete and feel buzz of traffic and culture East Van might offer, for some this city can be a multicultural delight, I tend to head for the outdoors for the kicks and giggles…
Favourite ski hill / outdoor spot in BC? What makes it awesome?
I do love a little hit in Whistler over the winter months to try and convince myself I can ride the tray with the best of them, completely delusional of course but always a fun time had and Whistler village never disappoints, despite the Australian invasion. Got to love those furry little critters 😉
What’s your beverage of choice on a stunner spring day?
Spring warns me I am about to be blessed with some summer rays and my body comes alight again. I usually head for the tonic bottle, and am known to create, with out prejudice, the ultimate virgin G&T. With a hit of lemon and some mint, you can’t touch it!!!
I am blessed to be a kiwi and proud of our nation! – Ben Lefler