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Our Community: Government House gardens makes top-100 list; sculpture unveiled at The Summit

The gardens at Government House have been named one of 100 “Garden Moments in Canada.”

To celebrate Canada’s Year of the Garden, the Canadian Garden Council identified 100 gardens that have contributed to the development of Canada’s garden culture and its ornamental horticulture sector.

Designed by G.K. Maclean — a landscape architect from Vancouver — and created in 1911, the gardens at Government House are maintained and supported by more than 400 members of the Friends of Government House Gardens Society.

Along with two rose gardens, multiple mature trees and a wide variety of perennials, the 14.5-hectare grounds feature a nine-hectare native Garry oak ecosystem, known as the Woodlands.

In a statement, Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin called the gardens at Government House a “wonderful treasure that I am delighted to share with visitors locally and from all over the world.”

“I am grateful for the recognition from the Canadian Garden Council of the significance of our gardens, thanks largely to the extraordinary stewardship from the Friends of Government House Gardens Society volunteers, whose dedication enhances the magic of this beautiful landscape.”

The gardens were dedicated in 1994 by the Queen during a visit to Government House.

In 2002, the property was designated a National Historic Site.

Volunteers work in the gardens, support the Government House archives and run Rudi’s Tea Room and the onsite costume museum.

The grounds are open to the public daily from dawn to dusk. Food, refreshments and picnics are available for purchase at Rudi’s Tea Room, located onsite in the Cary Castle Mews.

For more information, go to

Dr. Tom Bailey honoured with sculpture

The Eldercare Foundation recently unveiled Circle of Life, a bronze sculpture in the courtyard garden of the Summit at Quadra Village to honour a longtime Langford doctor who died in 2019.

The sculpture, created by Saanich artist Steve Milroy, depicts Dr. Tom Bailey in nature with a young boy atop his shoulders, representing patients Bailey helped throughout his career. The age difference between the two highlights the theme of the sculpture, as one is just starting out on his journey, while the other is nearing its end.

“Dr. Bailey was very excited for the seniors moving into the new Summit at Quadra Village long-term care residence,” said Lori McLeod, executive director for the Eldercare Foundation. “We are thrilled to celebrate his contributions and memorialize his legacy.”

At the unveiling, held July 20, the Eldercare Foundation also announced the creation of a Tom Bailey Memorial Bursary, to be awarded by Camosun College annually to students in its health care assistant, practical nursing, and licensed practical nursing programs.

Bailey, who died in October 2019, ran a family practice in Langford for 40 years. He developed an interest in long-term care starting in 1984, and served on numerous committees and boards in various roles, including the B.C. College of Family Physicians of Canada and the B.C. Association of Geriatic Care Physicians.

He also served as a clinical associate professor in the Department of Family Practice at UBC and as an associate professor in the Division of Medical Sciences at the University of Victoria.

The Eldercare Foundation is a registered charity that raises and manages funds dedicated to supporting enhanced quality of life for older adults.

Island Savings fund makes charitable grants

The First West Foundation, which manages the Island Savings Community Endowment fund, is granting more than $199,000 to charities this year, including some on Pender and Salt Spring Island.

The 26-year foundation says it has shifted its grantmaking approach to align with trust-based philanthropy principles, which aim to reduce barriers in the grant-application process. The funds granted this year are unrestricted, so recipients can determine where grant dollars are most needed — whether in innovation, emergent action or support for operational expenses.

“Trust-based philanthropy is an approach to granting that seeks to shift power inequities between funders, charities and the communities they serve to create a healthier, more equitable sector for all,” said Susan Byrom, executive director of the foundation. “By listening to the feedback of our charitable partners, we have reduced barriers in the grant application process, freeing up their valuable time and resources to help them do what they do best — help our communities thrive.”

Since 2016, the Island Savings Community Endowment has provided 109 grants totalling $745,500 in funding.

Beer named for non-profit

A local brewery has created a new beer named for a non-profit that aims to protect the marine environment from pollution, with part of the proceeds going to the group.

Vancouver Island Brewing’s Surfrider Tropical IPA is named for the Surfrider Foundation, which was established in Malibu, California in 1984 after a group of surfers became concerned about the environmental threats posed by escalating coastal development at their favourite surfing spot, Surfrider Beach.

The organization has a network of 84 chapters and 40 clubs in the U.S and Canada. International affiliates can be found in Argentina, Australia, Europe, Japan and Senegal.

Surfrider Foundation Canada was announced as an international affiliate in March, and has three local chapters: Pacific Rim, Vancouver Island and Vancouver. It’s been operating as a hybrid affiliate since 2006.

“Surfrider Foundation Canada is thrilled to be partnering with Vancouver Island Brewing on the Tidal Series: Surfrider Tropical IPA, a summer quencher to enjoy following any of your coastal and ocean adventures — from beach cleans to surf sessions,” said Lilly Woodbury, regional co-ordinator for Surfrider Foundation Canada.

As part of the initiative, the brewery is sponsoring beach cleanups in Greater Victoria and Tofino this summer.

In Greater Victoria, the next cleanup is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 14 at Willows Beach. The Pacific Rim affiliate offers a Washed Up Wednesdays program that everybody can join throughout July and August, with a different location every week.

Some of the waste collected is measured and recorded using a survey method developed by the National and Atmospheric Association to help identify some of the main types of pollution found on local beaches.

For more information on beach cleanups, go to To volunteer, go to

To launch the new beer, the brewery is hosting BBQ and Beers for Beaches, 4 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5 at Vancouver Island Brewing, 2330 Government St. At the event, $1 from every Surfrider Tropical IPA pint, sleeve, four-pack and growler sold will be donated to Surfrider Foundation Canada. The event includes a performance by Victoria-based country-pop artist Jaimey Hamilton between 6 and 7 p.m.

Bicycles collected for programs in Africa

The Victoria chapter of Bicycles for Humanity has collected 450 used bicycles and spare parts for humanitarian programs in Africa — enough to fill its 13th container destined for that continent.

With shipping costs almost doubling in the last two years, one of Bicycles for Humanity’s supporters, One Love Africa, has organized a fundraising campaign to raise $10,000 to ship three containers carrying close to 2,000 bikes to three registered charities and non-governmental organizations in East Africa. Besides shipping costs, the money will help for duty, taxes and transportation in Tanzania, the fundraising page says.

To donate, go to

Make pledges for Book Bash!

Pick up a book this summer, set a reading target and obtain pledges from friends and family for every 100 pages you read for Book Bash!, which runs Aug. 1 to 31.

Hosted by the Victoria Literacy Connection Society, Book Bash! challenges readers of all ages to set a reading target, pick a theme (or not) and challenge others to match or exceed their target.

Those who send their collected pledges by Sept. 30 will be eligible for prizes that include a gift bag containing books, gift certificates and other items donated by supporting merchants.

Proceeds from the event will be used to support the society’s free literacy programs for children, youth and adults in Greater Victoria.

For more information, to register or download a reading log, go to The Victoria Literacy Connection Society is also on Facebook.