Our Community: Join Lioness Club for Chinese New Year

Join the Victoria Chinatown Lioness Club in welcoming Chinese New Year at their annual banquet, Feb. 1 at the Golden City Restaurant.

This is the 26th year of the event, the most important fundraiser of the year for the service club.

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The Year of the Rat officially starts on Jan. 25. The rat is the first animal in the Chinese zodiac, and individuals born under this sign possess strengths that make them brilliant business people. Rats are seen as outgoing, cheerful and sociable in character.

Proceeds from the event enable the Lionesses to make donations to local and international initiatives. Recipients of their most recent donations include the B.C. Children’s Hospital, CFAX Santa’s Anonymous and the new Chinatown Community Services Centre.

The banquet features an eight-course authentic Chinese dinner, raffle baskets and live and silent auctions.

Tickets are $50, or $500 for a banquet table of 10. The event starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at Golden City Restaurant, 721 Fisgard St. Tickets are available from Pat Hannah, 250-216-2705, Gayle Chong, 778-678-2773 or Amanda Mills, 250-727-0222 at 1161 Fort St. For more information, go to victoriachinatownlioness.com.

Scholarship honours music lover Tom Webb

The Victoria Conservatory of Music has announced the establishment of a Winds and Brass scholarship in memory of Orlando Thomas Webb, better known as Tom Webb, who passed away last year in Sidney at the age of 99.

Webb’s son, Michael, and his wife, Donna-Lee, have chosen to honour his memory by establishing an endowed scholarship, the O. Thomas Webb Memorial Scholarship in Winds and Brass at the conservatory.

Originally from Cornwall, U.K., Webb had a lifelong love of music. He and his wife, Patricia, retired to Sidney in 1975. He was a founding member of the Sidney Concert Band, a volunteer group that plays at community events and in seniors’ residences across Vancouver Island.

“My dad was an extraordinary man, a real character,” said Michael Webb. “Donna-Lee and I are pleased and proud to establish this scholarship in his memory and we are happy to be of assistance to the Victoria Conservatory of Music, which makes music accessible to everyone, of any age or ability. We are hoping that others will be inspired to give to the scholarship to help the fund grow.”

The recipient will be a student who shows promising musical talent for a wind or brass instrument. The goal is to encourage and facilitate their musical growth and education.

The Webbs have also given a one-time donation to the conservatory’s Operating Endowment Fund, to assist with ongoing operating costs of the organization in perpetuity.

To make a tax-deductible gift to the scholarship, contact Barbara Sutton, chief development officer, Victoria Conservatory of Music at 250-386-5311 or donate online at vcm.bc.ca.

St. John Ambulance raises funds for Australia relief

St. John Ambulance B.C. and Yukon hopes to raise $10,000 toward relief efforts for those affected by the Australian bushfires.

Money collected by the humanitarian organization will go to the Country Fire Authority and Brigades Donations Fund in Victoria, Australia, a volunteer and community-based fire and emergency services organization.

Donations will help support the more than 1,000 volunteer firefighters who have been deployed, including equipping them with the tools, vehicles and safety equipment they need to continue fighting the bushfires.

“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the tragedy of the Australia bushfires,” said Karen Macpherson, CEO of St. John Ambulance B.C. and Yukon. “We’re inspired by the passion and bravery of all the volunteer firefighters that are helping aid their communities and we hope everyone will join us in showing support for them and the victims of these fires.”

The catastrophic bushfires have been spreading across Australia for months — and show no signs of slowing down. More than a billion animals have been killed, millions of acres have burned and around 2,000 homes have been destroyed.

St. John Ambulance is a 900-year-old humanitarian organization. The charity has operated in B.C. since 1911, with a mission to improve people's health, safety and quality of life.

Donations can be made at supportsja.ca/australia.

Uplands Park friends tackle invasive plants

Join the Friends of Uplands Park to help remove invasive plants, such as English ivy, at their No Ivy League, a recurring event that takes place every Sunday until March 8 at Uplands Park.

Volunteers will be given tools, gloves and best-practices instruction.

Along with ivy, invasive carpet burweed will also be targeted.

The community event runs 1 to 3 p.m. every Sunday until March 8 at Uplands Park, Oak Bay (Event cancelled if weather is snowy, icy or really awful). Meet at the Beach Drive entrance to Cattle Point. For more information, contact Margaret Lidkea at 250-595-8084 or go to friendsofuplandspark.org.

Seniors invited to share memories

Victoria’s Artist in Residence is inviting seniors to participate in an intergenerational project.

Kathryn Calder, the City of Victoria’s Artist in Residence, is looking for seniors to join Grade 1 and 2 students from James Bay Community School to sing songs and answer questions about their lives — what has changed and what has stayed the same.

“This project is about creating the space for a conversation and the act of listening to those conversations,” said Calder. “Despite the many communication devices we have, we seem to make less time than ever for face-to-face conversations and experiences.”

She was inspired to start the project after losing both of her parents while in her late 20s and missing the conversations that connected her to her family history.

Refreshments will be served, with limited spaces available.

The intergenerational project will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday and March 11 in James Bay. For more details, or to register, call 250-361-0308.

For more information about the Artist in Residence program, go to victoria.ca/publicart.

Gingerbread Showcase a hit for Habitat

Habitat for Humanity Victoria received more than 17,000 votes and raised more than $102,000 at its 11th Gingerbread Showcase fundraiser, which concluded earlier in the month.

The event showcased 29 gingerbread creations by amateur and professional bakers, which people could view for free during the holiday season at the Parkside Hotel and Spa.

Visitors were encouraged to make a donation when voting for the People’s Choice Award.

The coveted award went to Selena Oliveira for her creation, Origins. The entry included a wide range of insects, birds, plants and small mammals, finished off with a fox sleeping on top of a tree stump.

“Each year, we continue to be amazed by the popularity of this event — it’s such a lovely outing for the whole family and multi-generations to share,” said Yolanda Meijer, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Victoria. “To raise more than $102,000 for our charity to build homes is just astonishing, and none of it would be possible without our wonderful hosts, the Parkside Hotel and Spa, our sponsors, including presenting sponsor Revera, and all of the talented bakers and amazing volunteers.”

In addition to the People’s Choice Award, judging for special-award categories took place in recognition of the many hours and efforts entrants put into their creations.

The recipients of the judged awards were:

• 1st place Amateur, Most Creative and Original and Kick Off Kudos: Origins by Selena Oliveira

• Best First Impression: Kung Hei Fat Choy! by Audrey Wang and Heather White

• Best Interpretation of the Theme: Monsters at Bay by Nando Castillo at Revera Parkwood Place

• Best Use of Skill and Technique: A Place to Call Home by Christine and Peter Cooper.

Photos of all the entries can be viewed at habitatvictoria.com/2019-gingerbread-creations.html.

Public invited to share thoughts on Victoria future

The City of Victoria is seeking public feedback to help shape its draft economic action plan, Victoria 3.0 — Pivoting to a Higher-Value Economy — 2020-2041.

Accompanying the city’s official community plan, the economic action plan has a vision for a sustainable, growing, influential city that creates high-value jobs now and for the future. The aim of the plan is to create a diverse, resilient, inclusive economy over the next two decades.

A section of the plan is dedicated to addressing the needs of small businesses, including a focus on youth, newcomer and Indigenous businesses.

The community is invited to read Victoria 3.0 and provide input by completing an online feedback form or emailing engage@victoria.ca by midnight on Thursday, Jan. 30.

Public feedback will help inform the draft plan that will be presented to city council for their consideration early this year. For more information, go to victoria.ca/prosperity.

Cycling club gives boost to Nature Trails Society

The Tripleshot Cycling Club earlier this month presented the South Vancouver Island Nature Trails Society with a $3,000 cheque from the proceeds of their fourth Tripleshot CrossFondo event.

The money will be used by the society to work with public and private landowners in support of the development of safe and active routes to Central Saanich schools.

“We would like to thank the Tripleshot Cycling Club and board members for all the hard work they do for the community behind the scenes, as well as the very generous donation to the Nature Trails Society this year,” said Daniel Cammiade, executive director of the society. “We look forward to working together with the Tripleshot Cycling Club and the Central Saanich Community Association on a joint trail-creation project and safe routes to school.”

The initiative will build upon the CRD’s Ready, Set, Roll active school travel planning that several Central Saanich schools are currently involved with.

The 2019 Tripleshot CrossFondo saw nearly 300 participants, who had fun, got dirty and supported youth at the same time.

The event is Victoria’s only mass-participation off-road cycling event. The annual event winds through pine-needle trails and hairpin turns, over hills, roots and rocks and churns through chunky peanut-butter mud and puddles.

The next event takes place Oct. 18, 2020 throughout the Highlands, Hartland Mountain Bike Park, Vancouver Island Tech Park, Francis King and Thetis Lake Regional parks. For more information, go to tripleshotcrossfondo.ca or naturetrailssociety.com.

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