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Our Community: Can you help identify loyalist group members in 1939 photo?

The United Empire Loyalists’ ­Association of Canada is ­hoping people recognize some of its members from a picture that appeared in the Daily Colonist on Dec. 2, 1939, so they can be identified. The Victoria branch of the association, the first west of Ontario, celebrates its centennial in 2027.

The United Empire Loyalists’ ­Association of Canada is appealing for the public’s assistance in identifying some of its members from a picture that appeared in the Victoria Daily Colonist on Dec. 2, 1939.

The historical and genealogical ­association is dedicated to fostering public awareness of Canadian history, especially the contributions of the United Empire Loyalists, who sought refuge in what would eventually become Canada during and after the American Revolution in the 18th century.

Some members of the association trace their ancestry back to the loyalists.

The Victoria branch, founded in 1927, was the first branch established west of Ontario.

As part of preparations for its ­centennial in 2027, the group wants to identify and celebrate its early members, some of whom remain a mystery.

“We are highlighting local history and engaging readers to recognize people of their grandparents and great ­grandparents’ generations,” said Mike Woodcock, president of the Victoria branch. “Taken at the very early stages of World War Two, the photo may also capture the sadness, anxiety and ­hel­plessness your readers are feeling these days with the conflict in Ukraine.”

• If you have any information, contact the branch at­

>>> Fletcher’s Challenge returns in Nanaimo

After a two-year hiatus due to the ­pandemic, Fletcher’s Challenge, a ­16-kilometre mystery-trail race in Nanaimo, is set to return on April 15.

Hosted by the Nanaimo Chapter of Runners of Compassion, the event is staged in memory of late Times Colonist sports editor Gavin Fletcher.

This year’s event, which takes place on Good Friday, also features a six-kilometre family walk/run around Westwood Lake and an Easter-egg hunt.

“We hope that you will again come out and show your strong support for this event as you have done in the past,” said Greg Scott, Fletcher’s Challenge race director.

Proceeds from the event will go toward helping underprivileged youth access sports in the Nanaimo area.

Registration is open until April 14.

• For more information, go to ­

• To register, go to

>>> Grants for arts organizations

This spring, 18 non-profit arts organizations in the region will receive $120,000 in grants for arts projects through the CRD Arts and Culture Support Service.

The Project, Series and Extended Programming Grant will support events and festivals such as the Victoria Ska and Reggae festival and Victoria Festival of Authors, as well as extended programming for organizations such as Fifty Fifty Arts Collective and Suddenly Dance Theatre.

“It is exciting to receive so many applications this year,” said Jeremy Loveday, chairman of the Arts Commission. “After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, there is clearly enthusiasm and demand for arts programming in our communities, and this funding will help local arts organizations bring these events to life.”

Twenty-six eligible applications were received, up from 17 applications in 2021. Total requests were over double the available amount of funding. However the Arts Commission was able to fund two new recipients: Arts on View and La Société francophone de Victoria.

The second and final deadline for 2022 project grants is 4:30 p.m. April 21.

The CRD Arts & Culture Support Service is supported by Saanich, Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, View Royal, Highlands, Metchosin, Sooke and Southern Gulf Islands. For more information, go to

After a pandemic-forced pause, the Step Up Community Build Program, hosted by Horizon Pacific Contracting, is resuming and accepting applications until June 30.

The program offers free home renovations for families where at least one member is facing life challenges. Typical renovations include modifications such as a wheelchair ramp, accessible bathroom or the addition of aging-in-place features.

“One thing the pandemic did was highlight how important the functionality of the home space is,” said Tim Agar, owner of Horizon Pacific Contracting. “This is especially acute for a family member whose mobility or other challenges are made worse by unsuitable aspects in the home.”

Launched in 2018, the program was originally aimed at youth and their families. Since then, criteria have been widened to include any family that includes a member living in the home who is facing a challenge.

“There are many families providing support and they often don’t have the resources to make even small changes in the home. But those small changes can make a huge difference every day,” said Samantha Agar, program manager. “We want to reach those who don’t have access to other assistance.”

The home must be located in the Greater Victoria area and the family cannot be currently receiving charitable assistance from another non-government organization. Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee. The evaluation process includes a visit to the applicant’s home.

Applications are evaluated based on how much of a difference the renovation will make in their daily life, and how the renovation will contribute to the applicant’s overall well being and ability to enjoy a fuller life. It also takes into account how the renovation will allow the applicant to live more independently or more easily in the home.

Selected projects will be announced in July with work to begin later in the year. The deadline for applications is midnight on June 30. For more information, go to

>>> Alzheimer Society of B.C. resumes in-person sessions

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. has begun to offer many of the in-person sessions that were put on pause since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The society plans to continue to offer online programming options as well, so clients can access the support they need in ways that work best for them.

The society’s new hybrid program options include education workshops, support groups for caregivers and people living with early-stage dementia, as well as a fitness and social program that allows people living with early-stage dementia to stay active and connect with others.

“It’s exciting to see people interact face to face again and participate in activities to stay active and reconnect with others. You can see their smiles behind the masks,” said Celia Kowch, Minds in Motion co-ordinator at the Alzheimer Society of B.C. “While many people have decided to return to in-person programs, we know they’re not for everyone. Others may prefer to connect to programming online from home, especially if they live in remote areas or are not ready to travel to physical events.”

According to a survey conducted by the the society during the pandemic, 58 per cent of caregivers and 62 per cent of people living with dementia agreed the pandemic had increased their overall stress due to a variety of factors, including prolonged social isolation.

For more information on in-person or online programs, go to For more information on upcoming webinars, go to