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Our Community: Experience yoga by the lakeside

Join Sarah Meyer for Yoga by the Lake, a lunch-hour yoga session, Tuesday and Thursday at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.

Join Sarah Meyer for Yoga by the Lake, a lunch-hour yoga session, Tuesday and Thursday at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.

The sessions, geared to yoga enthusiasts of all abilities, are being put on to support the sanctuary’s Way Finding and Interpretive Signage Campaign.

Practising yoga connects you deeply with the elements and energy of the universe. Practising it in nature can deepen that connection all the more.

This unique outdoor yoga opportunity provides participants the chance to connect with the elements and energy of the universe and offers the added benefit of connecting you to the land and the lake and, to the environment around you as you relax, and breathe in nature.

“For some people, the reason they practice yoga can be complex and personal,” said Kathleen Burton, executive director of Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Society. “For others it can be remarkably simple and generalized. For me, it is about being present and being kind to myself. Slowing down, taking time to appreciate — me. Having the chance to combine this with my love of nature allows me to not only be present with myself but with Saanich, with the community and with Swan Lake, the heart of the city and with the beauty the sanctuary offers. It is a reminder to not only be kind to myself, but to steward the land, the lake and be kind to nature.”

Both programs offer the opportunity to learn beginner and advanced poses depending on your level of comfort, flexibility and skill level.

Joining in either date is by donation. The sessions run noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, 3873 Swan Lake Rd.

For more information, go to

Little Free Libraries hit a milestone

The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network has recently celebrated the placement of its 10,000th book to a Little Free Library.

There are 243 free libraries in the Capital Regional District, giving Victoria the distinction of having the highest density of free libraries in Canada.

The libraries typically consists of boxes — some simple, some elaborate — found on public and private properties. They operate on the “leave a book, take a book” principle.

Since August 2017, the network has been topping up the book collections at little free libraries around the Capital Regional District as part of the Pocket Places Project.

“I meet and speak with the most interesting people whenever I visit little free libraries around town,” said Teale Phelps Bondaroff, volunteer project lead. “Community and connections need space to flourish, and that’s what placemaking is all about. Little free libraries and placemaking bring people together and build community.”

Phelps Bondaroff has himself made 587 deliveries of books to individual libraries around the city by bike. He is part of a team of volunteers who distribute books in their neighbourhoods.

The Pocket Places Project was established with the support of a My Great Neighbourhood grant from the City of Victoria.

The GVPN is encouraging the public to visit a library near them, to drop off some books that they have already enjoyed and to discover something special.

For more information, go to

Oldest Island log church celebrates its heritage

Buy your tickets now for the 125th Anniversary Year Heritage Day at the St. Anne and St. Edmund Anglican Church in Parksville on Saturday, July 20.

The church, which celebrated its first service in 1894, is the oldest log church on Vancouver Island.

At the fundraising event you can listen to Pioneer Stories (1 to 3 p.m.) followed by a Strawberry Tea service.

There will be a Veterans and Legion ceremony at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15, available at the church office, 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday and Thursday, or purchased at the door on the day of the event. It runs 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the church, 407 Wembley Rd., Parksville.

For more information, go to

Arts grants benefit community organizations

The Capital Regional District Arts Commission has approved a total of $77,500 in project grants to 18 not-for-profit arts organizations in the capital region.

“The Arts Commission recognizes the positive impact these organizations have on the quality of life for residents,” says Jeremy Loveday, Arts Commission chair. “We are pleased to see first-time applications from organizations based in jurisdictions that have recently joined the CRD Arts and Culture Support Service. They will bring unique contributions to the region’s vibrant arts and culture sector.”

The grants support a range of cultural organizations and artistic disciplines.

Projects include the Campbell Bay Music Festival Society for their Indigenous Arts Program; India Canada Cultural Association of Victoria for the Victoria India Mela; Integrate Art Society for Feedback/Feedforward; Pender Island Arts Society for Le Petit Salon; Sing Your Joy for their 10th-anniversary season; the Sooke Philharmonic Society for community concerts; and the Veselka Ukrainian Dance Association to put on Ukrainian dance performances.

The City of Victoria and the municipalities of Oak Bay, Esquimalt, View Royal, Highlands, Metchosin, Sooke and the Southern Gulf Islands participate in the CRD Arts and Culture Support Service.

For more information, go to

Cathedral finds novel solution for donations

Christ Church Cathedral is a pioneer in changing the way churches receive donations in the 21st century.

Traditionally, churches passed around the collection plate at services and positioned a donation box next to the entrance.

Increasingly, regular parishioners are using automatic withdrawals to facilitate their donations, but the church grappled with a cashless donation system for visitors.

So they installed a freestanding kiosk designed for donations to charitable organizations.

“Many people don’t carry cash anymore,” said Ed Hayley, director of finance and facilities at Christ Church Cathedral. “Having an option to allow use of a debit or credit card is helpful for visitors during the week as we’re a tourist destination. It’s also a benefit for visitors to our Sunday services, enabling them to donate as they wish. I think we’re the only Anglican parish in Canada to have a donation kiosk.”

Since the cathedral installed it in May, Hayley has had calls from other churches asking about it.

The kiosk even runs a video clip from the cathedral’s website to attract attention.

“People want to help because they know that the church delivers important programs,” said Hayley. “This is a modern way to make a contribution.”

For more information, go to

Women Who Care aid Eldercare foundation

The Greater Victoria Eldercare Foundation has received $30,000 toward a medical-alert service program to assist low-income older adults who are at risk of falls, thanks to 100+ Women Who Care Victoria.

Among older adults, falls are the No. 1 cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence and injury deaths. Each year, 30 to 60 per cent of seniors suffer a fall, through accident or due to health conditions that leave them dizzy, lightheaded or with poor eyesight.

The average annual cost of a medical-alert service that activates after a fall is $700.

The $30,000 donation will provide 40 low-income older adults with service for one year.

Safe Lifeline is a program founded and funded by donations to Eldercare. It is a fall-monitoring service delivered in partnership with Philips Lifeline and Island Health.

Since the launch of the program in 2016, the foundation has helped more than 100 low-income, at-risk seniors remain safely in their own homes.

“We are so thrilled to finally be in a position to reduce our lengthy wait list for this important program,” said Lori McLeod, Eldercare’s executive director. “This incredible gift from 100+ Women Who Care Victoria means more people will be able to remain in their own homes longer without fear of being helpless and alone in the event of a fall.”

For more information, go to or

Museum’s studio aimed at Indigeous artists

The Royal B.C. Museum is hosting an Indigenous Summer Arts Studio, now until mid-September.

The 18-by-30-foot open-sided tent studio will be located next to Wawaditla — also known as the Mungo Martin House — in Thunderbird Park on the museum grounds.

The tent, on loan to the museum by Nuu-chah-nulth artist Hjalmer Wenstob, features a wooden house-front façade designed by Sarah Jim of the Tseycum First Nation.

It will be a place where Indigenous artists can create, share, learn, network with peers and meet guests from around the world. The studio will include both mentoring and emerging artists.

“With the new Studio program, the Royal B.C. Museum has created a temporary space where emerging artists can connect with senior artists and arts mentors,” said Lou-ann Neel, repatriation specialist at the museum. “For more than 50 years, this was an important function of the original carving studio, and artists at the consultations felt it was important to re-establish a space for urban Indigenous artists who might not otherwise have access to mentors.”

The studio can accommodate up to four artists at a time, representing and practising carving; painting; cedar-bark weaving; wool weaving; beadwork; drum-making; jewelry engraving; leather/hide work; singing; storytelling and textiles/sewing.

Artists will receive a honorarium for their time at the studio.

The studio will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Friday until mid-September, in Thunderbird Park of the Royal B.C. Museum, 675 Belleville St.

For more information, go to first-nations/Indigenous-collections-and-repatriation/ calltoIndigenousartists.

New leadership for capital region Rotary clubs

All 10 Victoria-area Rotary clubs recently announced leadership changes.

Gerald Pash is the new president of the 106-year-old Rotary Club of Victoria. Ian Morely will lead the Sidney Rotary club while the Saanich club will be led by Robert Nemish.

The presidents for 2019 to 2020 for the seven other clubs are Joan Firkins of Oak Bay, Peter Baillie of Victoria Harbourside, Ryan Windsor of Brentwood Bay, Sam Purdy of Sooke, Ian Brown of Sidney By the Sea, Lorne Olson of Westshore and Michael Brar of Downtown Victoria.

Joan Peggs of the Oak Bay club and Murray Tough of the Victoria Harbourside club have been appointed assistant district governors and will provide support to the 10 clubs.

The area clubs boast about 500 members.

For more information, go to