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Our Community: Dodd's Furniture Thanksgiving dinners, nature awards

Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress plans to serve hot Thanksgiving dinners to Vancouver Island’s most vulnerable at three locations this year.
This year is the 23rd for Dodd’s Furniture and ­Mattress’s Thanksgiving dinners for people in need in Victoria, Nanaimo and Campbell River. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress plans to serve hot Thanksgiving dinners to Vancouver Island’s most vulnerable at three locations this year.

It’s the 23rd year of the annual event, which offers free Thanksgiving meals to the needy in Victoria, Nanaimo and Campbell River.

The 44-year-old furniture store is ­partnering with Our Place Society in Victoria, the 7/10 Club in Nanaimo and Salvation Army Ocean Crest Community Ministries in Campbell River for this year’s event.

The first dinner takes place 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. Paul’s Anglican Church at 100 Chapel St. in Nanaimo. The meal will be served by volunteers from the 7/10 Club and the Jr. A Timbermen Lacrosse team.

The second dinner is set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Campbell River’s Salvation Army Lighthouse Centre, 1381 Cedar St. Clients will be served by Captain Violet Hopkins’ team.

The final dinner takes place 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday at Our Place Society, 919 Pandora Ave.

A Victoria teenager, a conservation filmmaker and photographer and a community group are finalists in the Canadian Museum of Nature’s national Nature Inspiration Awards.

The awards, now in their eighth year, recognize Canadians who show leadership and innovation in connecting Canadians with nature.

Margaret Krawciw, a recent graduate of Mount Douglas Secondary School, was cited for her leadership in co-founding an ocean plastics-reduction group and co-ordinating surveys, ocean cleanups, workshops and webinars, working with local businesses, and even linking with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States. She also earned a silver medal at the Canada-Wide Science Fair with a project focused on the impact of plastics on marine algae.

The Victoria Compost and Education Centre was cited in the Community Action category, primarily for its Healing Soils Project. The project featured environmental science students — in collaboration with Royal Roads University — studying the health of soils in the Victoria region. The society was also cited for its outreach programs related to composting, food security and climate-change action.

Cheryl Alexander was cited for her Takaya’s Legacy Project, a story of a wolf that survived for years alone on Discovery Island. Her film Takaya: Lone Wolf won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary and was nominated for international awards.

For more information, go to

A group of entrepreneurial immigrant women enrolled in a Camosun College business program has been recognized with the Canadian Western Bank’s Women Makers and Creators award for Best Business Implementation.

Mosaic Tastes is a group of immigrant women who study and work with a team of instructors and mentors in the college’s Markets as Incubators program, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The group created three spice blends — Baharat and Za’atar from the Middle East and Sazón from Latin America — to sell at local markets, and developed a free online cookbook.

“We’re so proud to win this award,” said Amal, a course participant. “We have worked very hard this year to develop our business during COVID. We first met in January and now have created friendships and a business that we believe in.”

The Market as Incubators program builds on the wealth of knowledge and experience that participants bring to the table.

“For me, the most important part was to be able to participate in a real experience,” said Maya, who emigrated from Korea. “We created our products from the start and then brought them to the market. We were able to make friends and connections with a network of other international students and supporters.”

On this project Camosun College partnered with local community members, including the Inter-cultural Association of Greater Victoria, B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets and individual market managers and vendors.

“The program offers direct contact with valuable Canadian resources: citizens, markets and farms. It’s an incubator of cultures, introduces the world of commerce, and increases our vocabulary, pronunciation and fluency,” said Leticia, originally from Baja, Mexico.

The award includes a prize of $1,000 that Mosaic Tastes will use to grow their business.

The second cohort of the Markets as Incubators program will begin in January 2022 and recruitment of eligible participants will begin shortly.

For more information, go to

HeroWork will soon be starting a “radical renovation” to the Indigenous Perspectives Society’s training facility in Langford. It will revamp the facility to accommodate 50 participants, including new breakout rooms.

Washrooms and offices will be added, along with improvement to the lighting, soundproofing and air flow.

The renovation will involve an overall redesign of the interior, exterior and landscaping, anchored in Indigenous people’s connection with the natural world, culture, values and lifestyles.

For more information, go to

The City of Victoria is rehabilitating two rain gardens on Hillside Avenue on the 10th year anniversary of the Bowker Creek Blueprint, a 100-year action plan that guides the restoration of the Bowker Creek watershed.

The rain gardens will receive new soil, trees and a mix of native and climate-adaptive plants to help the gardens clean and absorb water runoff from the road and reduce the volume of stormwater flowing to the creek.

“Rehabilitating rain gardens is an important step to improve the quality and quantity of stormwater reaching Bowker Creek and reaffirms our decade-long commitment to improving the health of the watershed,” said Coun. Jeremy Loveday, council liaison to Oaklands. “Thanks to leadership from local residents and our Bowker Creek Initiative partners, significant strides have been made to restore the ecological health of this natural amenity for our communities and wildlife to enjoy for decades to come.”

Bowker Creek is about eight kilometres in length, originating at the University of Victoria and flowing through Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay before discharging into the ocean. The Bowker Creek Blueprint is an initiative endorsed by all three municipalities.

In addition to the rain garden rehabilitation, the City of Victoria has established a Rainwater Rewards program to encourage stormwater management by homeowners.

The program provides incentives for residents to install features such as rain gardens and permeable pavers to improve the quality of stormwater reaching the creek and help restore the health of the watershed.

For more information, go to