Our Community: Development firm invests in people

A family-owned development company with a corporate ethos to reinvest in communities where it builds has set aside $1,000 from each residential sale of a local project toward programs in the community.

The proceeds come from sales of Bosa Properties’ Encore at Bayview Place, a 134-unit building under construction in Victoria West.

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Last week, the Bosa Family Foundation donated $20,000, to be split evenly between Living Edge and Victoria Cool Aid Society, to support projects addressing children, youth and food issues.

Upon its completion later this year, the sale of residences at Encore will see a total investment of $134,000 into the local community. The charitable program originated with Bosa’s first project in Victoria — the Promontory at Bayview Place. Between the two, the Bosa Family Foundation will have given more than $300,000 to local not-for-profit organizations in the Victoria area.

“Embedded in our family’s corporate mission, it is our commitment to reinvest a portion of the profits from each project into the community where we are building to ensure that our architectural footprint is mirrored by our recognition of the community’s broader needs,” said Colin Bosa, CEO of Bosa Properties and chairman of the Bosa Family Foundation.

The $20,000 donation announced last week will go to Living Edge, which operates a Neighbourhood Food Hub in the Quadra area and toward healthy meals and food-literacy programs run by Victoria Cool Aid Society.

For more information, go to bosaproperties.com.


Real-estate agencies join forces to help the hungry

Greater Victoria’s vulnerable citizens got a hearty and healthy start to every day in February, thanks to members of the Victoria Real Estate Board.

Three years ago, Bev Highton and Eric Charman, both former presidents of the board, challenged their fellow presidents to sponsor a breakfast for $500 at Our Place. The response was overwhelming, with the real-estate community joining to sponsor the whole month of February.

“It’s just fantastic to see the community of Realtors coming together like this to help the less fortunate,” says Don Evans, executive director of Our Place. “After Christmas, donations and support leave front-of-mind for a lot of people, so to receive this much-needed and generous help at such a crucial stage is a true blessing.”

Highton and Charman have been impressed by the work and welcomed the opportunity to become more involved.

“It was a natural fit for us,” said Charman. “Waking up in the cold with nothing to look forward to is about as depressing as it gets. If we can help make someone’s day just that little bit better, then it means the world to us.”

Some of the real-estate agencies participating are: Fisgard Asset Management Corporation; Bill and Gail Pettinger; Eric Charman; NAI Commercial; Holmes Realty; the Preferred Homes Team; RE/MAX Camosun — Realtors Who Care; Premier Network Group; Royal LePage; RE/MAX Alliance Victoria; The Neal Estate Team; Proline Management; Firm Management; Tony Zarsadias Personal Real Estate Group; the Breakfast Club; Jodie Farup, Century 21; Victoria Real Estate Board — Community Relations; DFH Real Estate Limited; the Mark Imhoff Group — Sotheby’s International Realty Canada; and Fair Realty.

Our Place is a downtown community centre serving Greater Victoria’s vulnerable people. It provides more than 200 transitional housing units, more than 2,000 meals per day, hot showers, free clothing, counselling and outreach services. For more information, go to ourplacesociety.com.


Fantastic music at lunchtime concerts

Pack your lunch and prepare to be entertained at the Music for a Sacred Season, the 2017 Lenten Series of noon-time concerts at St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Oak Bay, starting on Wednesday.

There will be six concerts, taking place every Wednesday until April 12.

Catherine Young, a longtime and respected professional musician, has used her background and knowledge of Victoria’s musical community to recruit professional and student musicians to perform at these concerts.

This week’s performance features prodigious pianists from the Victoria Conservatory of Music. The series concludes with Music for Holy Week.

Admission is by donation, with proceeds benefiting the Victoria Hospice Bereavement Fund. Past recipients include Our Place Society, B.C. Cancer Foundation, Women’s Transition House, the Alzheimer Society of B.C., Abbeyfield House and Women In Need.

People are encouraged to bring their own lunch — but coffee and tea will be provided. The concerts will take place between 12:10 and 12:50 p.m. every Wednesday until April 12 in the church, 1701 Elgin Rd. For more information, go to stmarysoakbay.ca or 250-598-2212.


Refugee project benefits from Spanish concert

Enjoy An Evening of Spanish Songs and Music, a benefit concert with proceeds to help refugees sponsored by the James Bay Refugee Initiative, March 25 at the Oak Bay United Church.

The concert features Victoria artists mezzo soprano Zhila Kashaninia, pianist Robert Holliston and violinist Gwen Thompson.

“I am so grateful to be able to do this concert with such amazing musicians who also believe in this great cause that is so close to my heart,” said Kashaninia, who is an immigrant from Iran.

A CD recording of Kashaninia and Holliston performing Spanish songs will also be available for sale.

All proceeds from ticket and CD sales will be donated to the James Bay Refugee Initiative. Started in 2015, it includes more than 100 people who have raised more than $25,000 through donations and fundraising events to sponsor refugees fleeing war and terrorism.

Tickets are $20 and are available from the Hillside location of Long & McQuade or at the door. Doors open at 7, with the concert starting at 8 p.m. March 25 at the Oak Bay United Church, 1355 Mitchell St.


Men’s talking circle comes to Cowichan Valley

Men in the Cowichan Valley can meet to examine and sort out their underlying personal issues at a men’s talking circle hosted by the Mankind Project, every Wednesday evening at the Hub at Cowichan Station.

People who have experienced abandonment, abuse or neglect as children grow up with hangups. The men’s talking circle is an opportunity to look at, and speak of, the personal challenges faced by many people.

At the talking circle, trained facilitators give men the opportunity to speak the truth and address their personal issues. People can voice their issues in a confidential and supportive atmosphere.

The Hub at Cowichan Station is a project of the Cowichan Station Area Association, a charitable organization whose mission is to bring neighbours together to enhance and protect the livability, sustainability and cultural heritage of the area.

Mankind Project meetings take place 7 to 9:30 p.m. every Wednesday in the gymnasium of the Hub, 2375 Koksilah Rd., Duncan.


March is Children’s Wish Month 

The province of British Columbia and the Yukon territory have both proclaimed March to be Children’s Wish Month for the second year in a row.

Children’s #WishMonth is dedicated to the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada for its efforts to grant wishes to children who are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

To mark Children’s Wish Month, Pacific Blue Cross will launch its Blue Wish Campaign in support.

During the month of March, text BLUEWISH to 80100 to donate $5, $10, or $20 to Children’s Wish, and Pacific Blue Cross will match the amount raised, up to a total of $10,000.

For 28 years, the Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans has provided travel insurance for every child and their family. They waive pre-existing restricting conditions, making it possible for children who would not otherwise be able to travel. To date, they have provided travel insurance to more than 13,000 wishes. For more information, go to textbluewish.ca or childrenswish.ca.


Jail fundraiser will build homes in Mexico

A group of 36 Oak Bay High School students is organizing Jail or Bail, a fundraiser to help defray costs for a trip to Vicente Guerrero, Baja, Mexico to participate in the Live Different program in 2018.

Live Different provides opportunities for high school students to participate in humanitarian-relief projects by bringing practical assistance to those living in extreme poverty.

The goal of the trip is to develop the students’ leadership skills, while allowing them to see first-hand how two-thirds of the world lives.

On this trip, the students will build two houses, with a total cost of $15,000 for supplies.

This fundraiser, their first, sees members of the community picked up by the Oak Bay Police Department and escorted to a jail at the Bay Centre. Each participant is allowed unlimited phone calls to raise their bail amount. The majority of the inmates pre-raise their bail amount and use the time in jail to enjoy the atmosphere and create some great memories and pictures.

The event will take place April 29 at the Bay Centre, 1150 Douglas St. For more information, contact Karlee Zaruk at karleezaruk@gmail.com or 250-896-4872.


Walk in the rain and support cancer services 

Join a walk under the rain (with umbrellas supplied) at the InspireHealth Rain Walk on Sunday, March 12 at Willows Park.

People can register as individuals or as part of a team with family, friends or coworkers. People can also donate or sponsor a Rain Walker.

The walk, the biggest fundraiser for the organization, celebrates the region’s abundant liquid sunshine as well as raising funds and awareness for the not-for-profit cancer-care organization.

The organization offers support of cancer rehabilitation services and education during and after cancer treatment. It also provides personalized exercise therapy, stress management, nutrition and counselling services.

Early bird $30 and Premium $50 registration includes a custom umbrella. People can register ahead or on the day of the event.

The event takes place between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. March 12. The route for the five-kilometre walk takes participants from Willows Park (the starting point) along Beach Drive, around Uplands Park, up Lansdowne Road, down Musgrave Street and back to the park at Cavendish Avenue.

To register, or for more information, go to inspirehealth.ca.


Student aids disadvantaged women

Isha Cheema, a high-school student, has started a fundraiser called Menstruation Love.

Homeless women, lacking access to basic sanitary items, die of toxic-shock syndrome every year. Her goal is to collect $200 to purchase sanitary napkins and tampons for women on the street.

Her hope is to one day also help women around the world.

Her Facebook page is facebook.com/Menstruation-LoveGirl-Power-periodswithoutshame-1578824615479898 or donate at gofundme.com/menstruation-love.


Two couples make music together

Four musical friends will make music together at Chamber Music With Friends, a special concert under the auspices of the Sooke Philharmonic, Friday at Holy Trinity Church.

One of the two couples performing include violinist David Stewart, concert master of the famed Bergen Philharmonic, and Paule Prèfontaine, who plays with the first violin section. They will be joined by Pamela Aloni, cellist of the Lafayette String Quartet, and her husband, Yariv Aloni, a violist and music director of the Victoria Chamber Orchestra, Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra and Galiano Ensemble.

The two couples met 20 years ago when they played together in the Courtenay Festival and have remained friends ever since.

They will play Schubert’s Quartettsatz, in C minor; Dvorák’s Miniatures, Op 75a, for Two Violins and Viola; Halvorsen’s Passacaglia on a theme by Handel, for violin and viola; and Mendelssohn’s Quartet in A minor, Op 13.

Admission to the concert is $20 at the door. The music starts at 7:30 p.m., March 10, at Holy Trinity Church, 1962 Murray Rd., Sooke. For more information, go to sookephil.ca.

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