Explore: Earth Week, Law Week, pioneer fun and more

Enjoy an all-ages community event celebrating Earth Week at the Creatively United for the Planet Earth Week Festival, which runs this and next weekend.

This is the fifth year of the festival, which showcases sustainability in individuals, the community and globally. The vision of the event is to unite communities and inspire well-being for everyone.

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“It is the biggest Earth Week and sustainability showcase festival in North America,” said Frances Litman, founder of the event. “We have attracted up to 10,000 attendees in the last four years.”

For her efforts, Litman, a professional photographer, has won a Capital Regional District EcoStar Award for environmental achievement and a pair of Victoria Leadership Award nominations.

The event boasts more than 75 exhibitors and 30 talks, presentations and workshops over four days. There will also be food trucks, local musical acts, electric-assist bicycle test rides, electric vehicles, solar permaculture, displays and art.

While there will be a lot to see and do, Litman stresses the event is not your typical festival.

“This is not an event to sell you something,” she said. “It is an idea festival, where people come to celebrate innovation, to see who is doing what and be informed about ideas that they didn’t know existed.”

She said past events have created a lot of networking among a cross-section of open-hearted and open-minded people.

The festival runs Friday and Saturday this weekend and next, with the largest public participation component on Saturday. This weekend’s event is the first major community event hosted at the newly opened Royal Bay Secondary School in Colwood.

Tours will be held throughout the day to learn about the building’s innovative, Earth-friendly design.

Creatively United for the Planet is a registered not-for-profit society run entirely by volunteers.

The festival kicks off with a Farm-to-Table four-course dinner, $64.20, that takes place 6 to 10 p.m. Friday at Royal Bay Secondary, 3500 Ryder Hesjedal Way. People can come just for the dancing from 8:30 p.m. onward for $15.

Doors open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, with general admission $10 (free for children 16 and under). Price includes admission to all the talks, films and workshops.

The festival continues April 22 with artist/activator Franke James, the Victoria première of Sea Blind, a documentary, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Sarah Robertson, 7 to 10 p.m. at the Royal B.C. Museum, 675 Belleville St.

Franke James will lead a Hands-On Green Conscience Workshop, $43, between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. April 23 at the museum.

The last event of the festival is Hawaiian stories and songs at Aloha Culture and Earth Wisdom in Music, Dance and Word, $16.51, which runs 3 to 4:30 p.m. April 23 at the museum. For more information and a schedule, go to creativelyunited.org.

Law Week offers a taste of justice for all

Learn about the province’s justice system and get free legal advice during Law Week, with two events taking place on Saturday.

Law Week is an annual national event to celebrate the signing of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The week’s events are made possible through the efforts of hundreds of lawyers who donate thousands of hours of volunteer time to help educate the public. Law Day in Canada is today.

On Saturday, people can go to the Victoria Courthouse for a day of family-friendly fun, including a Star Wars-themed mock trial, courthouse open-house/tours, a Passport to Justice contest, a judges’ talk, community organization information booths and Victoria Police K9 demonstrations.

People can also call in to receive 15 minutes of free legal advice in nine areas of law — business, civil litigation, criminal, employment, family, immigration, taxation, torts and wills and estates.

The event is hosted by the Canadian Bar Association, B.C. Branch, with assistance by the Law Foundation of B.C., the Law Society of B.C., the Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C. and the Vancouver Bar Association.

The day's activities are free. The event at the courthouse and dial-a-lawyer program both run 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The courthouse is at 860 Burdett St.

Call 1-800-663-1919 for free legal advice.

For more information, go to cbabc.org.

Pioneer fun and fabulous tales

The Saanich Pioneer Society is hosting two events this weekend.

On Saturday, everybody is invited to the Spring Faire, with a garden shop, home baking, attic treasures, silent auction and children’s corner.

Free admission with sales proceeds to the society’s community outreach program. The event runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the St. Stephen’s Anglican Church hall, 7921 St. Stephen’s Rd. (off 1000 Mt. Newton Cross Rd.). The event is wheelchair accessible.

Hear tales of some of the more colourful characters in Saanich’s past as author Stephen Ruttan speaks at a Saanich Pioneer Society Talk and Tea on Sunday.

The topic for the night is Scoundrels, Eccentrics and Originals, with some stories based on a book of the same name written by Ruttan when he worked as a local history librarian with the Victoria Public Library.

Tea and goodies will be served after. Admission is $5 for members and $7 for non-members. The event starts at 2 p.m. at the Log Cabin Museum, 7910 Polo Park Cres., Saanichton, behind Thrifty Foods). For more information

on either event, go to saanichpioneersociety.com.

Gear up for two-wheel swing through Saanich

Get on your bike and explore what Saanich has to offer at the Saanich Cycling Festival on Sunday.

People can cycle to any of the eight Celebration Stations on a new family-friendly route that highlights the cycling and trail systems within the municipality.

Participants will be given a passport booklet to collect a stamp at each station they visit. At the end of the ride, they can cycle over to the main celebration station at the Saanich Hall and turn in the passport for a chance to win a variety of prizes.

Family-friendly activities include: a bike rodeo, stage entertainment, a cycling obstacle course and skills challenge, face-painting, giant game board, inflatable amusements, interactive information booths, a bike safety tent, food carts and

concessions.

Children 12 and under can participate in a Kids Decorated Bike Ride, which starts at 1 p.m. from Saanich Hall to Rainbow Park and back. Please arrive 15 minutes early to show off your bike.

The event is free and activities take place 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the main Celebration Site, located at the Saanich Municipal Hall, 770 Vernon Ave. For more information, and a map of locations of celebration stations, go to saanichcyclingfestival.ca.

Walks and talks on the wild side

Check out the hummingbirds in the air, but beware of the slugs on the ground as Mother Nature puts on a show at the Spring Fling, a celebration of all things wild at the Matson Lands Conservation Area on Saturday.

The family-friendly event, hosted by the Habitat Acquisition Trust, takes place in the last Garry Oak ecosystem remaining along Victoria’s harbour.

People can pull up their sleeves at the event to help with light restoration activities, such as helping control weedy exotic species including Scotch broom. Just show up in some comfy outdoor clothes, as tools, refreshments, training and gratitude will be in good supply. Bring your own loppers or work gloves, if you have some.

There will be nature walks and talks with local hummingbird expert Eric Pittman and slug expert Kristiina Ovaska.

People can attend a hands-on workshop on how to draw wildflowers, including demonstration of tips and techniques, with local artist Joanne Thomson.

The event is free and runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Matson Lands Conservation Area, adjacent to the Westsong Walkway. The native-plant-drawing workshop is by donation and requires advance registration. It runs 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, email hatmail@hat.bc.ca or 250-995-2428. For a map of the area, go to hat.bc.ca.

Cattle Point rocks — and geotour shows you how

Take a geotour of Cattle Point, one of Victoria’s stellar geological sites, at the Cattle Point Rocks event on Sunday.

Friends of Uplands Park has invited three geologists from the Geological Survey, B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines, to help people recognize signs of the ancient and not-so--ancient history of this area.

The park shows fascinating bedrock features and perfectly preserved traces of ice and meltwater streams from the last glaciation.

People are advised to dress for the weather, as the program takes place rain or shine. Cameras are welcome but please leave hammers at home.

The event is free but all donations appreciated. It runs 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the rocky foreshore of Uplands Park, off Beach Drive in Oak Bay. For more information, contact Margaret Lidkea, chair of the group, 250-595-8084 or go to friendsofuplandspark.org.

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