Life is never boring for CTV Vancouver Island videographer Gord Kurbis.
The native Comox Valley television video journalist travels and tells stories from every part of Vancouver Island – and beyond – daily, from the depths of Horne Lake Caves to flying over Nookta Island.
“There’s a lot of variety; it’s definitely not a job for people who like a regimented 9-to-5 schedule,” he explains. “The drawback is sometimes you don’t know what’s going to unfold, but there’s always the unexpected.”
In 1976 while flipping TV stations, Kurbis caught the credits of a wrap-up show on the local community cable station.
Still in high school at G.P. Vanier Secondary School, he recognized the names of many people, and went to down to the local station to volunteer.
“I was very interested in TV and I started as a volunteer filming concerts and TV shows in the studio.”
In 1981, Kurbis got his big break.
The station’s program director left with two days’ notice, and Kurbis, who was living on Texada Island getting ready to move to Victoria to attend Camosun College, took the job.
“Bronco (Moncrief) was the G.M. of Comox Valley Cablenet and he tracked me down – it was an unheard of position. Here I was at 18 years old and given the keys to a television station.”
Some of his favourite memories involve covering bands at The Loft in Comox: “every Friday and Saturday, that’s where I was.”
Moving to the Lower Mainland, Kurbis worked a variety of jobs in television and started his own production company. Following jobs at Rogers and CityTV, a job posting came up for the Chum-affiliated station on the Island (formerly The New VI/A Channel, now CTV2), and it was a natural fit.
He says some of the best parts of his job is the “detective work” required to cover a story.
“Sometimes you have limited info, and you have to follow a trail. You get to a scene and you have to figure out who’s involved, and follow clues to piece together the story.”
Kurbis’ natural detective sense fits well with his other passion – the paranormal. From haunted houses, UFOs and sasquatches, his fascination for ghostly figures led him to one of his spookiest stories when working at CityTV.
“I wanted to do some camerawork and pitched the idea of a series the week leading up to Halloween to find different haunted houses in the Lower Mainland. A paranormal investigative group invited me to look at an apartment complex in Vancouver.”
Armed with a night-vision camera, he set up pointing his camera into the bedroom, and waited for the ghost to be disturbed.
Afterwards in editing, he spotted something.
“It looked like an orb; it kept moving towards the camera. I was talking with one of the investigators and said ‘it almost looks like ….’, ” he explains excitedly.