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Our Community: Co-ops pitch in for 'learning garden'

The Co-op Community Spaces program has donated $56,000 to help build the Food Eco District Learning Garden at the Greater Victoria Public Library.

The Co-op Community Spaces program has donated $56,000 to help build the Food Eco District Learning Garden at the Greater Victoria Public Library.

The garden will be an outdoor classroom where you can learn how to save seeds, identify local plant species, discover First Nations plant uses and learn how to grow food in urban spaces.

The Co-op Community Spaces program invests in community projects throughout Western Canada. This year, it has given $2 million to 24 organizations. Since 2015, it has donated $6.5 million to 88 projects.

The program is administered by the Federated Co-operatives on behalf of more than 180 independent retail co-operatives, including Peninsula Co-op on Vancouver Island.

For more information, go to or

Group aims to restore Garry oak meadow

Everyone is invited to a community meeting hosted by the Peninsula Streams Society on plans to undertake the Lochside Garry Oak Meadow Restoration Project.

The society is partnering with Pollinator Partnership and Saanich Native Plants to embark upon the restoration of a 2,000-square-metre Garry oak meadow with native grasses and wildflowers.

The plan is to install split-rail fencing to limit disturbance of the site, undertake pollinator surveys and install interpretive signs.

The community is invited to help with planting plants that attractive native bees and other pollinators. Stewards, including students from nearby schools, will help in monitoring. Maintenance, mowing, weeding, watering and potential plantings will be undertaken over the next two years.

The meeting is from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6 beside the Lochside Trail, across from the George Tripp B.C. Hydro Substation, by 4050 Lochside Dr. (look for signs and tent). Parking is available. For more information, contact the Peninsula Streams Society at 250-363-6596 or or go to

Stay strong in spite of dementia

A conversation on living strong in spite of dementia will be held at a book reading at Bolen Books on Sept. 17.

Marjorie Moulton, leader of the We Rage We Weep Alzheimer Foundation, will read from We Rage We Weep, a memoir by her mother, June. In it, she shares her experience caring for her spouse with Alzheimer’s disease.

Janet Dunnett will read from her memoir, The Dwindling, a book about a daughter’s caregiving journey through dementia.

The reading takes place just days before World Alzheimer’s Day, Sept. 21. This is an evening for caregivers to share experiences of struggle and strength and perhaps feel less isolated in the face of a disease that can steal hope.

The event is free to attend, with books will be available for purchase. It begins at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at Bolen Books, 111-1644 Hillside Ave. (Hillside Centre). Attendees can RSVP to

For further information, call Janet Dunnett 250-752-7160 or email

Seniors’ group looking for volunteers

Seniors Serving Seniors is accepting applications for volunteers for its Return to Health Program and March training session.

The free program, with training funded by the United Way of Greater Victoria, provides companionship and support for frail seniors returning home after a stay in the hospital.

Going to the hospital can be a stressful and nerve-racking experience for many people. Facing the experience alone can be disempowering, depending on the outcome of the illness or surgery.

Volunteers visit clients and offer assistance to help them connect to services and regain self-confidence. Occasionally, friendships develop between the volunteer and client.

The goal of the program is to assist the client in re-socializing and making new friends at seniors’ social programs in the area. Clients also receive help connecting to services they might need following hospitalization.

Recruits receive a comprehensive two-day course followed by monthly two-hour support meetings throughout the year.

Topics covered include:

• Aging Process — The effects of aging physically and psychologically

• Community programs and resources, and how to access them

• Effective communication

• Nutrition — healthy eating for seniors

• Long-term care programs — understanding the health-care system

• Visiting skills for volunteers

The training takes place March 9 and 10, 2019.

For more information, call Jane at 250-382-4331 or go to

Try new music technology at conservatory

The Victoria Conservatory of Music is launching its new Music Technology Lab with six free introductory workshops starting in September.

The workshops will help Victoria-area students discover the possibilities in the marriage of music and technology.

“The new Music Technology Lab enables students to be more creative with music, in the areas of writing, recording and performing,” said Stephen Green, dean of the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

“It means VCM is able to provide a more relevant and essential pathway to learning about the newest advances in music technology as they relate to students learning music.

“It will connect them in a much broader way to the music industry of today and also better prepare them for a possible future career in this ever-expanding area.”

Workshop subjects include:

• Introduction to Recording: Using a Digital Audio Workstation

• Introduction to Writing Music using Digital Notation software

• Live performance using electronic, virtual music instruments and sequencing (Polyphonic Synth, Sequencer, explore new sounds, E-string instruments, and so on.)

• Introduction to Using the Computer as a Songwriting tool

Founded in 1964, the Victoria Conservatory of Music is one of Canada’s most innovative and progressive music schools. Its mission is to enrich lives through music in a thriving community accessible to all.

The workshops will be held 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays, starting Sept. 15 in the Music Technology Lab at the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s downtown campus, 900 Johnson St. For more information, or to register, go to

Walk at Willows for Grandparents’ Day

Mark International Grandparents’ Day — and celebrate the role of grandparents in our lives — by joining a walk from Willows Beach on Sept. 9.

Hosted by the Parent Support Services Society of B.C., the event is an opportunity to think about the growing number of grandparents and other relatives who take on the responsibility of parenting when the parents are unable.

This is the fourth year the society has marked Grandparents’ Day with events in Victoria, Nanaimo, the Lower Mainland and Prince George.

In British Columbia, more than 13,000 children are being raised full-time by their grandparents or other relatives because their parents are unable. Reasons include addiction, health issues or death.

The Parent Support Services Society of B.C. is a registered not-for-profit, volunteer-based charitable organization that provides parenting support, education, advocacy, research and resource development for all those in a parenting role.

The walk is free to join. It runs noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9 from Willows Beach, off Beach Drive in Oak Bay. For more information, go to

Singers seek altos and tenors

The Peninsula Singers are looking for altos and tenors for their annual ’Tis the Season Christmas Concert Series.

This 60-voice choir, under the direction of artistic director Lena Palermo, is looking for a few new members to join for the concert series.

This year, Palermo has chosen an eclectic array of songs, from the secular to the sacred, from the old — but with new arrangements — to the very new.

They are looking for people who can sing off book and do a bit of snazzy choreography.

Rehearsals start Sept. 11, off Mount Newton Cross Road in Saanich.

The show runs Dec. 7 to 9 at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney. Some proceeds from the concerts go to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Healthcare Foundation.

For more information, or to join, go to

Run by the sea in Sidney

The second annual Seaside Run takes place Sept. 23 with eight-kilometre, five-kilometre and one-kilometre kids’ races, from Beacon Park in Sidney.

The route, which takes runners through the downtown core and scenic streets, finishing on the ocean walkway, is flat.

“We are a vibrant and active waterfront community and we know how to throw a party,” said Barbara Fallot, Town of Sidney councillor. “We invite everyone to bring the whole family, join us for the run and stay for the fun.”

When registering, participants can donate to the official charity partner Inspire Health — Supportive Cancer Care.

The registration fee is $50 for the 8K, $40 for the 5K and $20 for the Kids 1K fun run. All participants receive a technical T-shirt and a finisher’s medal. For more information and to register, go to

For volunteer opportunities — from race-package pickup to helping on the course and at the finish line — email for more information.

Ovarian cancer Walk of Hope Sept. 9

Register today for the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope, the largest and most powerful event of its kind in the country, which takes place Sept. 9 at Royal Roads University.

Despite significant advances in the survival rates of other cancers, the survival rate for ovarian cancer remains low — and it hasn’t improved in decades.

Ovarian cancer is the ninth most commonly diagnosed cancer among Canadian women. It is the fifth most common cause of death from cancer among women and has the highest mortality rate of all cancers of the female reproductive system.

Ovarian Cancer Canada is the country’s only national charity dedicated to overcoming ovarian cancer. Money raised help women live fuller, better and longer lives.

You can join an existing team, start one of your own or just come out to join the hundreds of participants.

You can choose between a 2.5- or five-kilometre route. After the walk, you can stay for a free barbecue. On-site registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with opening ceremonies starting at 10:30 before the 11 a.m. walk on Sept. 9 at Royal Roads University. Follow the signs to the free parking near the waterfront. Go to to register or donate.

For more information, call 1-877-413-7970 x236 or email

Victoria gets another little free library

Mayor Lisa Helps will help cut the ribbon on Victoria’s 185th little free library at 10 a.m. today at the intersection of Rupert Terrace and Quadra Street.

The mayor will be joined by neighbours and members of the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network.

The little free library on Rupert Terrace is being installed on the initiative of Lori Dunn, a resident and local book lover.

“I love how these wee libraries can become a focal point for a community — and I hope the Rupert Terrace one does just that,” said Dunn, who is also the steward of the library at the Fisgard Street Forum.

The library was built by Barrett R. Blackwood using recycled and repurposed materials and designed to match the neighbourhood.

The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network launched its Pocket Places Project in August 2017 with the support of a City of Victoria My Great Neighbourhood Grant.

This project aims to support placemaking around the city, assisting members of the community in setting up their own pocket places. The project supports little free libraries — little book boxes that operate on the principle of “leave a book, take a book.”

“Little free libraries don’t just promote literacy and sharing, they transform the urban environment, serving as coral reefs for community,” said board member Teale Phelps Bondaroff.

“Little free libraries are an excellent example of how placemaking can help build community. If you would like help setting up a little free library in your community, our project has a couple of old newspaper boxes available. These can very easily be upcycled into a little library. If you are interested, please get in touch.”

There are 184 little libraries in the CRD, giving Victoria the distinction of having the highest density in Canada. The full map of libraries in Victoria can be found at

For more information, call Phelps Bondaroff at 778-678-8325 or

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