Volume 6 • 2019 • Issue 8

21 Issue 8 | 2019 | I ssues and P eople “It’s a fabulous piece of geography,” says Dr. Walford, and his story can’t be told without also telling the story of the islands and their small communities—Hornby Island is about 30 square kilometers and has 960 year-round residents, while Denman Island is about 50 square kilometers and has a population of 1,000. “You are leaving behind Tim Horton’s and the rest of manufactured, urban reality. The kind of people who choose the islands have the will and the capacity to manifest their own vision of how their lives can be. People here are inventive and independent.” Born in Quebec, Dr. Walford spent his early years searching for his own version of the good life. “I had a lost youth,” he says of four years he spent in personnel management for the federal government. “I was miserable and realized that I wouldn’t be happy in a corporate structure, where the parameters of my work were set by someone else.” His father, Dr. Wallace “Wally” Walford of Montreal, was a periodontist “with a spring in his step,” which inspired Dr. Walford to go to dental school. The senior Dr. Walford taught at McGill for 25 years, including being department head for many years, and was the founding president of the Canadian Academy of Periodontics in 1955. Dr. Walford lived, for a time, on a boat in False Creek in Vancouver while working as an associate and teaching at the University of British Columbia. Indeed, he did several associateships before buying a practice in the small town of Duncan, which he discovered on a H umpback whales have returned to the Salish sea, says Dr. Peter Walford. Their huge, shining bodies skim the surface of the salt water that carries the ferry between Hornby and Denman Islands, which Dr. Walford rides with his mobile dental clinic once every two weeks. He’s been making the trip for more than 30 years; he’s familiar with the gradations of blue as the water gets deeper, how the mist burns off with the rising sun. The Island Dentist Dr. Peter Walford Practises in a Custom-Built Bus Above, an aerial view of Hornby Island. Inset, Dr. Walford and his wife, Robin, outside the mobile clinic .