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Our Community: A Spring Soirée to remember

Get out your most magnificent outfit to attend a splendid Spring Soirée to launch Ballet Victoria’s 16th season, Saturday at Riffington Manor.

Get out your most magnificent outfit to attend a splendid Spring Soirée to launch Ballet Victoria’s 16th season, Saturday at Riffington Manor.

The fundraising event, in support of new ballet creations, is an opportunity to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, libations, entertainment and an auction inside one of Victoria’s most famous and historic waterfront estates.

Guests will have an opportunity to bid for auction items, including: round trip for two to Vancouver by Helijet and one night accommodation at the Westin Grand Hotel, with a total value of $1,800; a Winter Storm Watching or Spring Season Getaway for two at Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, with use of a Lexus vehicle for three days, which has a total value of $1,700; a Cowichan Valley Wine Tour, donated by LA Limousines, with a total value of $850; a three-course dinner for six people by Toque Catering with chef and server, with wine pairing by Sandhill Wines. Total value: $830.

Tickets are $100. The event starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at Riffington Manor, on Beach Drive. To purchase your ticket or to make a donation if you are unable to attend, go to, email or call 250-380-6063.

Inspiring elder earns national award

Evelyn Voyageur has received the 2018 Indspire Award for outstanding career achievement, one of the highest honours within the Indigenous community.

She is the elder-in-residence at North Island College in Courtenay.

The national award recognizes her 50-year career practising and advocating for a holistic view of health that integrates spiritual, emotional, physical and mental well-being in hospitals and communities across British Columbia and Alberta.

“When I began nursing, we were only taught to look after the dominant society, but we’re not all the same,” said Voyageur. “When I saw how our people were treated, I became very vocal in fighting for equality.”

Voyageur grew up in the residential school system, which separated her from her family and limited her education to Grade 8.

Undeterred, as a young mother with three children, she returned to school to upgrade and pursue a nursing career, starting as a licensed practical nurse in 1979 and going on to earn a PhD.

After a long career as a nurse, she turned her passion for advocacy toward teaching.

In her role as elder-in-residence, she has been instrumental in guiding curriculum at North Island College, mentoring students and bringing First Nations ways of knowing into classrooms across the province.

In addition to her role as elder-in-residence, Voyageur is active in the Vancouver Island Health Authority Aboriginal Working Group, the New Hospital Projects Aboriginal Advisory Committee, the Ministry of Children and Families Aboriginal Advisory Group, the Canadians Seeking Solutions and Innovations to Overcome Chronic Kidney Disease network and more.

The 2018 Indspire Awards ceremony will be shown on APTN and CBC in the near future. For more information, go to View Voyageur’s full profile at

Join the Surfriders to clean up beach

Celebrate Earth Day by joining the Surfrider Foundation — Vancouver Island Chapter in a beach cleanup today at Clover Point Park.

The event, a partnership with the Zone radio station, is meant to raise awareness about the impact of single-use plastics on our coastlines and the marine environment. It builds momentum for the group’s effort to have municipalties ban single-use bags, as well as its new Straws Suck campaign.

The foundation will also be holding a bag drive during the event. Bring your extra reusable bags and they will find new homes for them.

The Surfrider Foundation’s mission is to protect our oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.

The event is free to join. It runs 1 to 3 p.m. today at Clover Point Park.

For more information, go to

Poems will celebrate Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day with free poetry readings, at Poems for the Planet, today in Centennial Square.

The event is hosted by the City of Victoria with the support of the League of Canadian Poets and organized by the city’s poet laureate, Yvonne Blomer.

At today’s event, Blomer and guest poets will express their climate-change concerns through poetry for Southern Vancouver Island and the Pacific Ocean.

Featured poets include Marilyn Bowering, Stephen Collis, Marlene Grand Maitre, Heidi Greco, Anne Hopkinson, Tim Lilburn, Garth Martens, Wendy Morton, Kyeren Regher, Chris Smart and Christine Walde.

Dancers Nikko Snow and Dyana Sonik-Henderson will perform in response to Bruce Cockburn’s False River, a poem commissioned by Blomer.

The event is free to attend. It runs 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in Centennial Square.

For more information, go to

Nanaimo attacks invasive species

Nanaimo residents are invited to pull together at invasive-species work parties, held throughout April and May.

This is the sixth year the city is raising awareness of invasive plants and their effects on parks and natural areas. The city will organize invasive-plant work parties and drop zones, where residents can safely dispose of invasive plants removed from their own property.

Invasive plants, such as English ivy, Scotch broom and Himalayan blackberry are well established in Nanaimo, while others, such as knotweed and giant hogweed, are spreading.

“We are working on many different strategies to manage invasive plants in our parks,” said Rob Lawrance, parks and open-space planner, City of Nanaimo. “With such great support from stewardship groups and community volunteers, we get a few steps closer to controlling the spread of these plants.”

The work parties will focus on the removal of invasive species at various locations, including Linley Point Gyro Park, Beban Park and Pipers Lagoon Park.

Residents can join any of the work parties by registering through the city website at or by calling 250-756-5200.

• Residents can drop off invasive plants they have removed from their property between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. today at the Drop Zone, at the Wall Street entrance of Bowen Park in Nanaimo.

RCMP Torch Run goes today

The Comox Valley RCMP will be hosting their annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics today at Simms Park, Courtenay.

People can choose between a one-kilometre, two-km or five-km run or walk.

This year marks the 32nd anniversary of Special Olympics in the Comox Valley. Proceeds from the event will support five local athletes competing at the Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island this summer.

“Join us and be inspired as Special Olympics athletes run/walk with law enforcement members,” said Const. Rob Gardner, Comox Valley RCMP media relations officer. “This Law Enforcement Torch Run event is fun for all and raises funds and awareness for Special Olympics B.C.”

The event will be followed by a barbecue, by donation, at Simms Park.

Cost of registration is $20, which includes a Dri-Fit T-shirt. Registration starts at 9 a.m. at the Simms Park Gazebo, Courtenay. For more information, go to

Contractors rebuild family’s home

Construction is underway for Horizon Pacific Contracting’s first Step Up Community Build Program family.

Horizon Pacific Contracting launched the program in 2017. Created for youth and their families who don’t fall into existing program criteria, the goal is to improve the at-home environment — so families can focus on their children reaching their full potential.

Renovations are provided at no cost to the family and are tailored to meet their unique needs and situation.

The first family to benefit from the Step Up Program is the Millers, a family of six living in a four-bedroom townhouse in a B.C. Housing complex.

Corvin Miller, a 16-year-old boy, has tuberous sclerosis and grand mal seizure disorder. His disorder impairs his ability to walk, and he is unable to manage stairs.

The family’s main living room has been serving as Corvin’s bedroom, and the only bathroom is on the second level, requiring his parents to carry him up the stairs for toileting and bathing.

When it became apparent that the requested renovations weren’t possible in the family’s existing townhouse, B.C. Housing located an alternative residence that could accommodate the family’s needs with the requested renovations.

“We selected this family, as it was apparent that this renovation would make a huge amount of difference to the entire family,” said Samantha Agar, program manager. “We are so excited that B.C. Housing has jumped on board and is in full support of the program.”

For the first time, Corvin will have his own bedroom on the main floor of the house, as well as access to an ensuite bathroom.

The family will also have a shared living space on the main floor, so they will continue to be able to enjoy time together as a family.

“Our future home is really well-suited to what we need as a family. And it is closer to Corvin’s school, which is a huge benefit,” said Allison Miller, his mother. “It was a big decision to move, but the benefit is that we will be able to focus more on other aspects rather than managing our home environment.”

Renovations on the home are expected to be completed in early June.

Horizon Pacific Contracting is a general contractor specializing in high-quality renovations and custom homes in Greater Victoria. For more information, go to

They partied like Maritimers

More than 300 people turned up for a good time — and a good cause — at an East Coast Kitchen Party with West Coast Heart, held this month.

People turned up at the main hall at Saanich Fairgrounds for lively entertainment and to bid on a wide variety of silent and live auction items — all to raise more than $20,000 for the ALS Society of B.C.

ALS is a motor-neuron disease that has no cure and attacks healthy individuals with no rhyme or reason.

All the funds raised will go to the ALS Society of B.C., with 60 per cent to fund the society’s Patient Services Program, and 40 per cent toward ALS research.

For more information, go to

Lieutenant-governor's song winners announced

Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon has announced the winners for the Lieutenant Governor’s 2018 Sing Me a Song program, with two of the three from Vancouver Island.

Each year, schools, community choirs and amateur musical groups are invited to write and sing an original song in the lead-up to 2021, celebrating the 150th anniversary of British Columbia’s entry into Confederation.

“This year’s entries were wonderfully enthusiastic in sharing what they love about British Columbia,” said Guichon. “Congratulations to all who entered. It is inspiring, year after year, to hear the quality of musical talent in our province.”

The winners are:

  • Under 11 category: Where I Wanna Be! by Campus View Elementary.
  • Under 18 category: The Heart of Beautiful B.C. by Fraser Valley Children’s Chorus in the Fraser Valley.
  • Open category: A Proud Canadian Province by the Gardens Choir in Qualicum Beach.

Entries were scored on musicality, spirit and originality by a panel of musicians. All submissions had to have a minimum of eight voices, be original content and be inspired by the theme of what British Columbia means to them.

The awards are sponsored by Wayne Strandlund and Elena Markos of Victoria and the Government House Foundation.

For more information, go to

Hockey challenge for Cops for Cancer

Come on out and cheer for your favourites at the inaugural Oak Bay First Responders Cops for Cancer Hockey Challenge Cup, Monday at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre.

The game will feature Oak Bay High students against an Oak Bay First Responders team made up of Oak Bay police officers, firefighters, Oak Bay Bikes employees and staff from the recreation centre.

This family-oriented community event is hosted by the Oak Bay Police in support of Cops for Cancer and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Admission is by donation. The game starts at 2 p.m. Monday at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre, 1975 Bee St. For more information, go to

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