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  • Writer's pictureMarc S. Tremblay

Meet Adam and Amy: the creative couple behind "The 44"

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

"The 44" is a fabled property on Mayne Island, one that's as mysterious as it is legendary.

"Mysterious" because folklore says it was developed as a kind of a Utopian community by its original owners, and "legendary" for how it attracted the Island's youth for clandestine parties and escapades.

For Margaux and Katharine from Mayne Island's Cove Candle Co., The 44 was a place to enjoy Halloween bonfires, escape and dance all night in the "shop", which is now the "studio." The 44 was so impactful, the candle-makers developed a scent and named one of their best-selling candles after it!

So, why is it called "The 44"? Simple... it's a 44-acre property.

Today, The 44 is enjoying a renaissance - a rebirth...

The property was purchased by Adam Myhill and Amy Zimmerman in 2020, and through their vision and hard work, it's become a community hub, a place to gather, share, and appreciate the couple's passion for music and a more balanced, thriving ecosystem.

Here's a virtual fireside chat with Amy and Adam to provide more insights on the when, what and why they share The 44 with Mayne Island's residents and visitors.

"Amy Zimmerman" and "Adam Myhill"
Amy and Adam, behind the sound board

Where are you two from originally?

Adam: I’m from Vancouver, Tsawwassen, so very nearby.

Amy: St. Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia.

When and how did you discover Mayne Island?

Amy: Adam has visited the gulf islands since he was a kid and I used to daydream about living on a tiny island out west, where the orcas lived. Then on a stormy sailing trip in 2013, we sailed by the island and thought “this is where we belong”. We had actually never set foot on Mayne, but when we came to the island to look at a house, we both knew this was home. Sounds cheesy but it’s true!

How long have you been on Mayne Island?

Amy: We bought our house, after only being on Mayne for all of 12 hours, in 2016.

Was your vision for The 44, with alpacas and the studio and concerts, clear from the start, or did that evolve over time?

John Reischman and the Jaybirds
John Reischman & the Jaybirds

Adam: It’s a constantly evolving experiment. We heard of the land because of the infamous parties up at The 44. One day we snuck up there to check it out. It was in pretty rough shape and some areas are still quite damaged by rogue logging, but the beauty and diversity of the land really resonated with us so we started to dream about how we could make it happen.

The studio unfolded organically. I had a bunch of sound equipment from being in bands and doing recordings here and there over the years. My work is in tech and audio has always been a huge component of every project. There was this pile of equipment I’ve been lugging around since forever, which helped to get things started. I think all that stuff just manifested The 44 on its own so it would finally have a proper home for itself.

I’ll let Amy explain how the alpacas came to be…

Amy: I have an unhealthy obsession with nature and animals, and had a goal of creating a little farm on a barren spot at The 44 someday. But it was a longer-term goal. Then suddenly, two baby alpacas were looking for a home, and we found ourselves building a farm in 6 weeks to accommodate them. Nothing was planned, everything was chaotic, and I couldn't love the farm more. We call it The Wild Life Farm, ‘cause life can be such a wild adventure!

About the alpacas, what are their names, and do you have plans to harvest and produce wool?

Amy: The alpacas are Georgie, William and Felix. They're sheared every spring (this year we opted for mullet & mohawk haircuts). Our plans are to sell the fibre and make a line of 44 Alpaca socks!

Why do you do it? For yourself - for your passion for music, for the artists, or for the community and greater good?

Amy: I care deeply about these Islands and want to do what I can to protect their ecosystems. For me, The 44 is all about protecting the land, bringing it back to life and offering a thriving space (for humans and nature!), long term. An environmental legacy perhaps.

Adam: It’s fun, I love working on projects with people, it’s really rewarding to help produce creative things with pals. The community aspect is a huge bonus. I’m a big audio geek and it’s been super fun working out how to get the best live sound possible. We spent ages building cedar sound-diffusing walls in the studio, hanging bass traps, experimenting with different microphones and PA systems. I want to give a huge shout out to Jacob and Dom for their endless help here.

What’s the best part of The 44 for you?

Amy: growing food and flowers with friends, when Georgie the alpaca is grumpy and the angry hummingbird that keeps watch over the farm.

Adam: Having a space to build, create and do cool projects with people. It’s always so rewarding to have someone say how they love coming to shows at The 44.

Have you found any weird items left over in or on the land - any buried treasure?

Adam: Initially there were quite a few truckloads of garbage to be removed… There’s a giant - huge - metal boiler thing which was used as an incinerator. Amy wants to paint it like a Warhol Campbell’s soup can, which is a fantastic idea. That thing has some stories to tell. Lots of old boat parts and bent propellers have been found when digging around. Archaeological evidence suggests that garbage removal wasn’t always available on Mayne. It also suggests that previous inhabitants were partial to Lucky Lager and Tostitos chips.

Amy: The abandoned pool was a highlight. So creepy and delightful.

How do you find and attract musical talent?

Adam: This boggles my mind, but we have yet to ask anyone to play at The 44. It’s not that this is a policy or anything, but so far, we’ve just had everyone reach out to us first. “Would you be interested in John Reichman playing The 44?” Um YES! “Hawksley Workman is int…” Absolutely YES!

We do have some plans brewing though, of reaching out to people who are waaay too big to play The 44, sort of as a joke, but in a yes-we’re-kidding-but-sort-of-not-kidding kind of way. We want to lure them to Mayne Island around their Vancouver show dates as a stop to decompress and play this venue as a laugh, go kayaking, recharge, etc. This plan is definitely a long shot, but who knows?

How many volunteers help you set up and take down the equipment, chairs, etc.?

Adam: We try to pay everyone who helps us with events at The 44. It’s important to note that The 44 was built and created with the help of many good friends. We had many folks who worked to build the deck, the farm, the studio, who have volunteered at the shows, who have given their time, energy and advice to help it evolve.

How can the community support you more in your efforts?

Adam: Come to the shows!

Amy: The audiences and guests that come to The 44 are SO KIND, supportive and so respectful– keep doing that.

You set up glamping tents on the land. What’s the plan with those - for artists, friends and family?

Amy: We have 7 glamping tents at The 44, originally used for a tech retreat we hosted in 2022. Now they are used to host guests, and hopefully future retreats for yoga, entrepreneurs, tech geeks, etc.

Adam: That tech retreat we did last year had people come from all around the world and we got into the ethics of AI and Machine Learning. It was really fun to hold it in those tents and be in the forest, etc. I want to do future retreats where we focus on the intersection of technology and for-good, each member pitching a project and we all pick one to execute on for the next year.

What will The 44 Collective be like in 5 years, 10+ years?

Amy: In 5 years I'd love to see more trees planted and growing, regular yoga retreats and classes, a healthy food production farm and more animals! (sorry, Adam). In 10 years, I would like to see the forests rehabilitated and lush again, a sanctuary for island wildlife.

Adam: 5 years… more water collection. We’re 100% rainwater up there and could harvest more. Finishing the endless projects we already have on the go. Recurring key events like the tech and yoga retreats would be fun to establish. 10 years: rehabilitation of the damaged land.

Adam, you're like a cross between Johnny Bravo and Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery. Are you still working, retired, what is it that you do?

Adam: Haha! I won't comment on retirement, but I design technology and have worked as a director of photography on films and on videogames as an art director. I founded a tech company which made an artificial intelligence camera system called Cinemachine. It won a technical Emmy which was a complete surprise. Currently I advise others and I am part owner of a company working on how we’re going to interface with AI systems.

Amy is too modest to talk about her stuff, but one of her huge accomplishments is she designed and wrote an augmented reality experience about the effects of ocean noise on the Southern Resident Orcas - a huge multi-projector installation - that resided at The Smithsonian Institution for almost 2 years. It was one of their most popular exhibits.

End of interview

Having attended four concerts at The 44, and counting, I'd like to thank Adam and Amy for their generous and community-minded spirit - you are true community champions!

If you're interested in visiting The 44 and catching the next concerts, join the Live at The 44's Facebook page... Bring snacks, refreshments, maybe a blanket or a chair, and enjoy!

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