Erik 'Ice Blue' Eriksson

Coffee with … Erik Eriksson

City councillor tickles the ivories

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

If you ask Erik Eriksson, the birthplace of the blues was not the Delta Mississippi but Iceland.

By his account, the crossroads where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson made his pact with the devil was at Portage and Main in Winnipeg.

“A lot of people don’t know this but he was leaving Gimli, Manitoba, and tired of the cold, he ended up in Winnipeg at the crossroads. Nobody knows what happened, but before, he was Icelandic Canadian, and after he left he was African American, and went down to New Orleans and the rest is history.”

The Courtenay councillor — known in some circles as The Big E (which he picked up in Tahsis) or Ice Blue (combination of Iceland and his favourite colour) — was born in Iceland, where his sister is a scientist. His brother is a retired diplomat living in India. At age five, Eriksson’s family left their homeland when his father secured a job as minister of the Icelandic Lutheran Church in Vancouver. While at university, Eriksson got his first taste of Vancouver Island when he landed a summer job in Tahsis on the west coast.

Ice Blue plays keyboards and sings in a band called New Mother Earth, which performed in the summer at the Nanaimo Blues Festival and locally during the Canada Day festivities. The group performs New Year’s Eve at Roy’s Towne Pub in Royston.

During the Christmas season at lunch hour, Eriksson can be heard playing piano outside Searle’s Shoes on Fifth Street.

The retired Eriksson is an electrician by trade who worked at the sawmill in Tahsis — where he also served on council — and later at the Field Sawmill in Courtenay. He eventually became a union rep.

Besides music, Eriksson is also into sports. He used to pitch in the local masters ball league, and continues to umpire baseball games in the B.C. Premier League. He also plays drop-in masters basketball at the base in Comox.

“I’m the second oldest guy on the basketball court,” said Eriksson, a father of three.

He also serves as a director with the Comox Valley Walk of Achievement, which recognizes people who have excelled in their field of endeavour, and who have made significant and lasting contributions in their professional or personal lives.

“We’re kind of proud of that,” Eriksson said. “We’re honouring people who have been recognized with awards outside the community.”

Walk of Achievement inductees include broadcaster Red Robinson, actress Kim Cattrall and numerous Olympic athletes.

 

Just Posted

Comox Valley Chamber looks back on recent achievements

Chamber of Commerce Week Feb. 18-22

What to do on Family Day in the Comox Valley

Looking for something to do this Family Day? Here are some suggestions:Courtenay… Continue reading

Deported Courtenay man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Highland Secondary student wins Horatio Alger scholarship

Jenna Leggett grew up on Read Island where there was no electricity and no roads to her home

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Most Read