Our Community: Dinner celebrates Ukrainian Holy Night

You are invited to take part in a traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve Svyatay Vechir (Holy Night) dinner Jan. 5 at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre.

The event is a fundraiser of the Ukrainian Studies Society in support of post-secondary scholarships in Ukrainian studies.

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The celebration features a traditional meatless buffet dinner of 12 Ukrainian dishes. A moderator will also be on hand to explain the special features of this traditional Christmas Eve celebration.

The Luna Ensemble will play a medley of Ukrainian Christmas carols. A children’s surprise is also planned.

Tickets are $45 for adults, $20 for students and $8 for children six and under. The event starts at 6 p.m., Jan. 5 at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, 3277 Douglas St. Tickets are available at the centre noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday (except for New Year’s Day) and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. You can also call 250-475-2585 to reserve a ticket. For more information, go to uccvi.com.

Khalsa Aid delivers to shelters

Khalsa Aid Canada’s Victoria team delivered blankets, jackets, bedding, socks, mitts, hygiene and feminine hygiene products to Out of the Rain Shelter, Threshold Housing, Victoria Youth Empowerment Society and Foundry Victoria just before Christmas Day.

They served a curry meal at Our Place on Christmas Eve with more donation deliveries last week as part of their Youth At Risk winter drive. For more information, go to khalsaaid.org.

Join bell-ringers on New Year’s Eve

Ring in the New Year by joining the actual bell-ringers at Christ Church Cathedral on New Year’s Eve.

Every year, people are invited to climb 71 winding stairs up to the bell ringers’ loft to watch them perform this old ritual (people who don’t want to climb the stairs can watch the procedure downstairs on a large monitor inside the front door).

Tower Captain David Oliver hopes to have all 10 bells ringing. They will play a traditional form that resembles a funeral for the old year — followed by a proclamation of the new.

The ringing before midnight will be half-muffled, that is, alternate sequences will ring loud and soft. The muffles are then removed, and just before midnight, the tenor bell (the biggest and lowest note) will ring nine times (the Nine Tailors). At the stroke of midnight, the bells will ring 12 more times — like a clock.

At that time, the bells join the tenor to joyfully proclaim the new year.

The event is free to join. It runs 11:15 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 930 Burdett Ave.

For more information, go to christchurchcathedral.bc.ca.

Art gallery offers admission by donation

Celebrate the new year at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria with the first Admission by Donation Day of 2019 on New Year’s Day.

It is an opportunity to visit Remembering a Patron: Asian Art Donations from Dr. Judith Patt and Picturing the Giants: The Changing Landscapes of Emily Carr, before both exhibitions end on Jan. 6.

Admission is by donation. The gallery is open noon to 5 p.m. Jan. 1 at 1040 Moss St. For more information, go to aggv.ca.

Fundraiser looks back to 1930s Shanghai

The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society has started to sell tickets for Meet Me in Shanghai, a fundraising gala to celebrate its 25th anniversary, Feb. 9.

The theme of the gala is Shanghai in the 1930s. Guests will be transported back in time for a party with elevated Asian-inspired cuisine, a gambling den and live music.

The event, which coincides with the Chinese New Year, also features games, raffles and party-goers dressed in their best elegant Asian attire.

Tickets are $188. The event runs 7 p.m. to midnight, Feb. 9 at the Ocean Pointe Resort, 100 Harbour Rd. For more information, or for tickets, go to victoriadragonboat.com.

Tofino-area cleanup rescues habitat

Members of several organizations collaborated on a recent shoreline cleanup near Flores Island just north of Tofino.

The Ahousaht Community Revitalization Project brought together the Ahousaht First Nation, Tofino-based Coastal Restoration Society, salmon farmer Cermaq and several local companies to remove residential waste and restore juvenile salmon habitat in the harbour.

The project focused on the restoration of wild salmon habitat in estuaries, coastal watersheds, beaches, nearshore rearing areas and the like.

Over four weeks, the partners removed 125 vehicles, 30 boats, 500 appliances and 80 containers of debris.

For more information, go to coastrestore.com or Facebook.

Singer reminds us of people in need

International tenor Danny Daniels is hosting a fundraising concert to benefit the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank, Jan. 11 at St. Paul’s United Church.

With all the special giving to help families in need over Christmas, January is a time when there is still a great need — but donations are slower in coming forward.

The concert, featuring favourite songs from around the world, is meant to remind people of the continued need.

Admission by donation of non-perishable food, personal wellness items or cash to the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank. Donations of $25 or more are eligible for a tax receipt. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at St. Paul’s United Church, 2410 Malaview Ave., Sidney. For more information, contact Danny Daniels at 250-656-3669 or danmeister99@telus.net.

Site matches businesses with non-profits

A Victoria business has launched Brokers of Good, an online charitable marketplace that allows small to medium-sized businesses to connect with local non-profits in Vancouver and Victoria.

Heartpress PR calls the service — the creation of philanthropic collaborations between businesses and non-profits — the first of its kind in B.C.

Unlike other philanthropic sites, the platform allows businesses to donate in more ways than just writing a cheque.

Businesses are able to search opportunities from local non-profits to engage their employees in volunteer activities, pro bono services, in-kind donations and financial support through team fundraising opportunities and cash donations.

“Our philosophy is that businesses and individuals would be more philanthropic if they were given the information and tools to do so,” said Heartpress founder Lori Munoz Malcolm. “Our platform provides this information and is tailored to match the company’s specific philanthropic interests, values and goals.”

Heartpress is one of the startups in the Victoria Innovation Advanced Technology and Entrepreneural Council and B.C. New Ventures accelerator programs.

For more information, go to heartpress.ca.

Social procurement is new wave

A two-year contract has been awarded for the Coastal Communities Social Procurement Initiative.

The City of Victoria, on behalf of the initiative’s steering committee, has awarded a contract to Scale Collaborative, Vancouver Island Construction Association, Buy Social Canada and Presentations Plus to incubate a two-year Social Procurement Hub for the Coastal Communities Social Procurement Initiative.

Social procurement is a growing practice that seeks to better leverage tax dollars to achieve positive social outcomes aligned with community values and strategic objectives.

“With the awarding of this contract, we’re happy to see significant progress on this important initiative,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne, steering committee co-chairs, in a statement. “We look forward to working with our colleagues across Vancouver Island and coastal communities to strengthen our local economies and get good value for taxpayer dollars.”

The aim of the initiative is to develop a cohesive approach to social procurement in local governments across Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

The project enables individual communities to create their own strategic focus regarding community benefits. This project will seek to improve the health of communities and the strength of the economies by changing the culture of public-sector procurement.

The practice has been adopted around the world and is demonstrating positive results for taxpayers and the wider community.

The public platform for the initiative will launch in February.

For more information, go to victoria.ca.

Family sets aside forest area

Future generations can enjoy 0.56 hectares within the coastal Douglas-fir moist maritime biogeoclimatic zone in Central Saanich as a farming family who had owned the property for more than 80 years signs a conservation covenant to protect the acreage into perpetuity.

The Land Conservancy of B.C. and the District of Central Saanich recently announced the protection of the property, which will be known as the Pugh Covenant, named after Lorna and Alan Pugh.

The covenanted land has been in the Pugh family for two generations and was used for livestock grazing, among other farming activities.

While farming has left its mark on the land, the care taken by the family to ensure the land remained healthy is visible in the diversity of species and the functionality of the ecosystem, including a small, seasonal creek.

The waterway on the property was officially recognized as a creek as a result of Lorna’s efforts when nearby developments threatened its status. The creek remains today and is protected by Provincial Riparian Area Regulations.

Lorna was born in Brentwood Bay into a pioneer farming family. She died in 2017, at the age of 95. Her husband, who predeceased her in 2013, was raised in Jasper National Park. Their mutual love of wildlife and the outdoors has been instilled in their family.

Their four daughters, Frances, Winona, Gillian and Geraldine, wished to honour the legacy of their parents by ensuring the forested area of their family home remained protected in perpetuity.

The land is located close to Gore and Oak Haven Parks and just north of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, three parks that Lorna had a hand in creating.

“Our parents enjoyed watching the many animals and birds that increasingly used the wildlife corridor and sanctuary that the protected creek and forest area, rich in native flora, provides,” said Frances Pugh, Central Saanich grower and TLC board member. “The covenant also impacts the community into the future by strengthening the buffer around the parks and farm lands that are important to all of us. Moreover, it prevents the property from becoming another speculative venture [a view strongly held by our parents] and makes it slightly more affordable for those who seek to make this place their home.”

A covenant is a legal agreement between a landowner and a monitoring organization such as TLC or the District of Central Saanich.

Covenants are made on property title and stay with the property indefinitely, even as a property changes ownership.

The Land Conservancy of B.C.’s mission is to protect and restore the biological diversity of B.C. for present and future generations through the use of conservation covenants. Its covenant program holds more than 240 covenants, protecting more than 5,160 hectares throughout the province, which include streams, lakes, riparian areas, forests, greenbelts and rare and endangered species.

For more information, go to conservancy.bc.ca.

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