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Explore: Belly up to craft-beer festival, head to Metchosin Day

If you love beer and enjoy drinking with a crowd of people happily doing the same, you’re going to love the Great Canadian Beer Festival, Friday and Saturday.
Crowds pack the Great Canadian Beer Festival, set for Friday and Saturday at Royal Athletic Park.

If you love beer and enjoy drinking with a crowd of people happily doing the same, you’re going to love the Great Canadian Beer Festival, Friday and Saturday. Taste different styles of beer from 64 micro-breweries — from wheat to sours, fruit beer, kolschs, ales and 40 variations on the ever-popular India pale ale. There is also one cidery at the event.

While the majority of the suds flow from breweries from across B.C., the festival now welcomes brewers from across Canada for the first time since it began in 1993.

“Our mandate is to promote the fantastic craft beers Canada has to offer — and there are more great Canadian breweries to feature this year than ever before,” said Gerry Hieter, festival chairman. “We are excited to bring some very new breweries to the craft beer consumer.”

This year’s event features 12 newcomers, including Bad Tattoo Brewing, Bridge Brewing Company, Category 12, Cumberland Brewing Co., Doan’s Craft Brewing, Gladstone Brewing, Loghouse Brewpub, Moody Ales, Red Arrow Brewing Co., Sherwood Mountain Brewhouse, Strange Fellows Brewing Company and Dieu Du Ciel.

Only eight or nine out-of-province brewers, from as far away as Quebec and Whitehorse, are represented. Hieter says that at some point, the festival may only feature B.C. companies.

The micro-brewery industry is robust in B.C., with close to 100 companies. That’s a far cry from when the first festival was held 23 years ago, when there were only 12 to 15 companies in the whole province.

Back then, the festival had to fill in the gaps with U.S. products. Now, there are no U.S. companies and there is a waiting list of new B.C. brewers who would like to participate.

Hieter attributes the festival’s success to the fact that there is something for everyone.

“From the connoisseur making tasting notes to the music fans and the friends seeing old friends, people are here for more than just the beer.” There will also be six food vendors on site.

Profits from the event will go toward CFAX Santas Anonymous. The festival donates between $10,000 to $20,000 every year.

Only 8,500 tickets will be sold in total. Saturday is sold out, but a limited number of tickets is still available for Friday.

Tickets are $40 per day, with beer tokens $1.50 each. The event runs from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Royal Athletic Park, 1014 Caledonia Ave. For more information or tickets, go to

Metchosin Day a last blast of summer

Summer just isn’t over until Metchosin Day, a free community celebration always held on the first Sunday after Labour Day.

Enjoy a lazy day shopping at the Metchosin Farmer’s Market, watching wool-spinning demonstrations or checking out the wares of more than 100 vendors, from pottery to produce, dog treats, soaps, plants, herbs, balloons, fashions, honey, aprons, baked goods, flowers, natural wood products, jams, body art and more.

The day starts with a five-kilometre run /walk at 8 a.m., followed by a pancake breakfast at the Scouts tent. Animal lovers can bring their furry and fuzzy friends to the 11 a.m. pet contest, followed by children’s games at noon.

Enjoy watching a blacksmith at work, sheep-shearing and wool-spinning demonstrations, a dunk tank and backhoe and hay rides for the children.

New this year is a Yikes Bikes Extravaganza for people with decorated bikes, followed by a motorcycle demonstration by Victoria Motorcycle Club. The motor sport involves riding over obstacles, some manmade, others natural. These riders will be riding their bikes over logs, walls and giant triangles.

An astral show features a Space Bus with models of the solar system and an Ecliptic Calendar setup across the field. Sharing the field will be the Project Germani, a historical re-enactment of the first century B.C. to the first century A.D.

The Metchosin Equestrian Society has several events planned, including the Manestream Vaulters performing gymnastics on horseback. Breakfast and lunch will be served from a concession under the grandstand.

Those who like to kick up their heels can take part in the Metchosin Day Kick-Off Dance on Friday, an ’80s-themed dance with live music in the Community Hall. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance from the Metchosin Community House.

Admission to Metchosin Day is free. The event runs 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the Metchosin Municipal Grounds, behind the fire hall, at 4450 Happy Valley Rd. Free vehicle parking is next to the Village Green. Enter off Happy Valley Road and exit onto Rocky Point Road. Free bicycle parking is just beyond the handicapped parking. To get to the site from Victoria by bike, take the Galloping Goose Trail to kilometre 251⁄2 and turn left on Rocky Point Road to Happy Valley Road, then right on Happy Valley. Pets welcome. For details, go to


Block party takes over school plaza

The annual Vining Street party on Sunday has outgrown its humble block-party roots, with a stage, professional musicians, entertainers, longer hours and a bigger venue.

This is the eighth year of the neighbourhood event, which attracted more than 1,500 people from all around Greater Victoria last year. It’s also a fundraiser, raising $8,000 for charity in 2014.

This year, proceeds from the event will benefit the Learning Disabilities Association of South Vancouver Island and Puppets for Peace.

Now held at the plaza of Victoria High School, the nine-hour event includes a Puppets for Peace parade at 1:45 p.m., Festiva Latina Folklore Dancers, performances by children’s entertainer Rick Scott and live bands such as the Yiddish Columbia State Orchestra, Victoria High Rhythm and Blues Band, the New Groovement and the New Souls.

Family-friendly activities include puppet-craft workshops, clowns, games, bean-bag launchers and hula hoops.

There will be 55 vendors, and people can bid on 450 silent-auction items.

Members of the NDP, Green and Liberal parties will serve as hosts at some events.

Admission is free. The event runs from noon to 9 p.m. in the Victoria High School Plaza, 1260 Grant St., with a grand opening at 1:30 p.m. by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

For more information, go to Facebook or contact Laurie or 250-995-2696.


Victoria Conservatory hosts an open house

Hum a tune, sing a song, listen to music or play an instrument at the Victoria Conservatory of Music open house on Saturday.

The music school has an entertaining day planned, with live musical performances, tasty treats, musical goody bags and inflatable amusements.

Children will be able to try creating different sounds with instruments ranging from drums to violins, trumpets and keyboards at an instrument petting zoo. They can also take fun mini-lessons.

One of the highlights of the event will be Music with Marnie, a free family concert. Marnie Grey is a well-known children’s performer and winner of three West Coast Family Magazine Readers Choice Gold Awards.

Children (and adults) can dance to disc jockeys spinning at the Music Plaza while being entertained by the Vibestreet Dance Crew. There will also be live performances from the faculty of the School of Contemporary Music.

Classical music lovers will hang on every lovely note of music performed by faculty and students of the School of Classical Music.

Admission is free. The open house runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The free concert is set for 1:30 p.m. in the Alix Goolden Performance Hall at the school, 900 Johnson St. For details, go to


Pull invasive plants from Rithet’s Bog

Help remove invasive non-native Narrow Leaf and Hybrid Cattails from Rithet’s Bog on Saturday.

The goal of the Rithet’s Bog Restoration event is to improve the habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds by reclaiming areas of open water and mudflat that have been overgrown by non-native cattails. That will allow native cattail species, an important part of the marsh ecology, to flourish.

Rithet’s Bog includes an original peat bog that was drained for farming, then restored to bog marsh again. The peat understory has been rebuilt, but the balance of original and invasive plants needs management.

The original peat bog marsh is the only one left of seven once established on Vancouver Island. It’s similar to Burns Bog on the mainland, but smaller.

The urban wetland attracts hawks, owls, herons, swans, ducks, mink and butterflies. Walking trails and view spots are available for those wishing to view wildlife.

For Saturday’s event, volunteers are asked to bring gloves, water, rain/sun gear, rubber boots or sturdy footwear. No previous experience is required. Refreshments and on-site instruction will be provided.

The event is co-hosted by the Saanich Peninsula Committee of Ducks Unlimited, Saanich Parks, Saanich Pulling Together Volunteers and the Rithet’s Bog Conservation Society.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with part-day participation welcomed. Meet on Chatterton Way (near the intersection with Quadra Street). Limited parking is available in the adjacent shopping centre or Dalewood Lane. For details, contact Barbara Schubert of Ducks Unlimited Saanich Committee at or 250-381-0855.


Lecture series marks Finnerty Gardens’ 40th

The University of Victoria is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Finnerty Gardens with four lectures of interest to gardeners, landscape designers and gardening enthusiasts, starting Sept. 17.

The four sessions are: Pursuing the Wild: The Sichuan Botanical Expedition, Gardening with Colour, History of Finnerty Gardens and a Rhododendron Propagation Workshop.

The focal presentation for most people will be the Pursuing the Wild botanical expedition presented by Kelly Dodson and Sue Milliken of Far Reaches Farms, Port Townsend. The two are funny and very entertaining speakers.

Proceeds from the lecture series will go toward the long-term maintenance of the mature garden, located on the University of Victoria campus.

The presentations are $20 each and people need to pre-register as tickets are not available at the door. The first lecture runs 7 to 8:30 p.m. next Thursday in the MacLaurin Building, University of Victoria. Other lectures take place Sept. 25, Oct. 3 and Oct. 24. People can register online or call 250-472-4747.

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