Volunteer Spotlight: Tom Nesbit

This month’s VIFF Year Round Volunteer Spotlight is on Tom Nesbit. Give it up for Tom!

PO’B – Hi Tom. Let’s start with your country of origin because I believe I detected a slight Scottish accent just now. Am I right?

TN – Close. I’m actually from North-eastern England, just spitting distance from Scotland. Though having lived in Canada for nearly 30 years, my accent has probably softened a little.

PO’B – What brought you to Vancouver?

TN – I came here to study at UBC. After completing my PhD in Adult Education, luckily I got a decent job and decided to stay. I’ve never regretted it once.

PO’B – Since we’re conducting this interview on a weekday afternoon, I assume you are retired like me. What did you work at before retirement?

TN – You’re right, I’ve been retired for over 6 years now, and absolutely love the freedom. Although I enjoyed my work too: I was the Director of Continuing Studies at SFU for 18 years.

PO’B – Have you been a volunteer with VIFF long?

TN – Not too long, compared with some folks. Perhaps 5 years as a year-round volunteer and several more years before that as a Festival volunteer. I enjoy volunteering, especially at local festivals, and regularly volunteer at the Jazz, Folk, and Writers’ festivals among others. Although I got my start by volunteering at the Film Festival in Santa Barbara in California.

PO’B – I understand that you’re an avid cyclist and hiker. Any particular trips that stand out?

TN – The hiking trails of the North Shore mountains are hard to beat. And, one of my favourite biking trips is the Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Canal towpath, a 350-mile trail from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. It’s such a wonderful and scenic ride. I’ve also enjoyed cycling along the Loire Valley in France, through the archipelago of Western Finland, and several times across and around Denmark.

PO’B – You live in one my favourite buildings in Vancouver. Could you tell me what it’s like?

TN – I live in the Killarney Manor Apartments at the junction of Bayswater and Point Grey Road in Kitsilano. You can’t miss it: it’s a 4-storey white neo-classical building on spacious grounds surrounded by a stone wall. It was built in the 1950s on the site of Killarney Manor, the 1908 home of John and Jessie Hall (the daughter of one of Vancouver’s first white settlers). The developers of the Apartments have retained much of the grandeur of the original manor.

PO’B – Sounds fabulous! I’d move in today if the building allowed dogs. And now for my standard final question – do you have one or more favourite movies?

TN – A touch choice. I’ll have to go with Seven Samurai, Battleship Potemkin, Battle of Algiers and most movies directed by Ken Loach.

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