Our Community: Library founder to be honoured

Bruce Parisian, the recently retired executive director of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, will be honoured when the centre’s library is named after him at a ceremony on Friday.

The library began approximately 10 years ago, when Parisian purchased some books with Indigenous content from local First Nations bookseller Remi Paul.

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It is the only lending library in any of the 118 friendship centres in Canada.

The collection boasts approximately 6,000 items, including fiction and non-fiction books for children, youth and adults, with 70 per cent of the items authored by First Nations, Inuit or Métis writers or about Indigenous issues. There is also a collection of audio-visual materials, the majority of which are Aboriginal documentaries.

This library has received support from the University of Victoria Libraries, which has helped with cataloguing of items that can now be found on the University of Victoria online catalogue.

The Greater Victoria Public Library has helped with equipment, shelving, furniture and advice from staff members.

The event runs 1 to 3 p.m., March 9 at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, 231 Regina Ave. RSVP by March 6 to library@vnfc.ca or 250-384-3211, ext. 2292.

Antique fire truck returning home

A Lantzville-based antique fire truck is returning to the American city that first purchased it more than 80 years ago.

Some time this month, representatives from the city of Alameda, California, will take possession of a 1935 Seagrave pumper truck from the Lantzville Volunteer Firefighters Association.

“We’re really going to miss her,” said former Lantzville Fire Rescue chief Tom Whipps. “She’s served our community with distinction for 39 years, but now it’s time for her to go home.”

ln 1978, two Lantzville firefighters on a hunting trip to Alaska discovered the truck rusting away under trees at a private residence near Ketchikan.

The fire hall purchased it and embarked on a 15-year restoration. Once finished, the fire truck became a common sight around Vancouver lsland, making appearances from Victoria to Parksville.

Along with many parades, the truck would also be called upon to carry many retiring Seaview Elementary School teachers to school for their last day of teaching. Students would line the drive to say goodbye as the Seagrave brought them to the door.

The association decided to sell the Seagrave after having recently acquired Lantzville’s own original fire truck, a 1956 Chevrolet.

The Seagrave will return to California, where it will keep company with two other vintage Alameda fire trucks.

The firefighters have attached a small plaque on the dash that reads: “We honour this apparatus for the property it has protected and the lives it has saved over its long life. May it honour the City of Alameda for many years to come.”For more information, go to viffa.org/lantzville.

Mark Commonwealth Day with lunch

Join Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon for lunch and meet athletes at the Royal Commonwealth Society Vancouver Island’s Commonwealth Luncheon on Commonwealth Day, March 12.

Dine on a three-course lunch, listen to the Queen’s Commonwealth message and meet athletes at the event. Guest speaker at the event will be John MacMillan, president and CEO of 94Forward, the Legacy Fund of the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games.

Tickets are $70 on Eventbrite. Doors open at 11:45 a.m. The luncheon runs noon to 3 p.m., March 12 at Government House, 1401 Rockland Ave.

For more information, go to rcs.ca/rcs_vancouver_island.html.

Canadians honoured for service in Malaya

Sally Jennings is trying to trace the families of Canadians who served in the Malayan Volunteer Forces or the Malayan Campaign Civil Defence in the Second World War.

Civilians typically travelled to Malaya before 1942 for employment, mainly with the Malayan government. They worked in mining, the rubber industry, teaching/lecturing, city planning, horticulture/ fertilizer industries, forestry and banking.

Of the Canadian volunteers, seven were captured by the Japanese in 1942 and later died in prisoner-of-war camps. The rest (except for two who went to England) returned to Canada after the war. They are all dead now.

Jennings is interested in tracing the families, to include their names with the Malayan Volunteers Group at the wreath-laying ceremony in Ontario on Remembrance Day.

Please contact Sally Jennings at 250-381-8650 or sally.malayan.vol.group@gmail.com

Cold feet need socks

All 10 Rotary Clubs in Greater Victoria are collecting socks for the needy this week during their Socks for the Feet of the Street project.

The campaign poster reads: “Every Rotarian can afford a pair of socks. Every community has a population that needs them.”

Socks collected during the drive will be distributed on Friday to the vulnerable population in the 10 communities the local clubs serve.

People can help by donating socks to a Rotary Club in their area. For more information, go to contact@rotaryvictoria.org.

Volunteers attack invasive species

Members of the public took part in an attack on the invasive plant species that have overtaken Nymph Point Park in North Saanich on Saturday.

Local residents joined Friends of North Saanich Parks, members of the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club and the Oak Bay Marine Group to tackle the invasive plants in what is also a historical/archeological site.

For more information, or when the next event will take place, go to fnsp.ca.

Tampon Tuesday looking for donations

Your help is needed. Period. Monthly menstruation is a fact of life for many women. Unfortunately, many women living in poverty or experiencing homelessness can’t afford the items they need to maintain their personal hygiene and dignity.

United Way Greater Victoria is joining the Tampon Tuesday movement this year by collecting menstrual products to help people in need.

The product drive is being conducted in partnership with the Victoria Labour Council and United Way Greater Victoria’s Labour Committee.

Aside from financial barriers, menstruation and menstrual products are topics that aren’t often discussed. For some, the topic can be embarrassing.

Tampon Tuesday started in Ontario in 2009, leading up to International Women’s Day. United Way of the Lower Mainland adopted the initiative in 2017. This is the first year the event will be held in Victoria. Other local partners include Period Posse, Hillside Centre and B.C. Transit.

People are asked to drop off unopened packages of tampons, pads and other menstrual products, which will then be distributed to United Way-funded agencies that help women and youth on Tuesday. For a list of locations, go to uwgv.ca/tampontuesday.

Author Jan Wong speaks in Victoria

The Victoria Chinatown Lioness Club is hosting an evening with author Jan Wong at the group’s annual author dinner, Saturday at Golden City Restaurant.

The annual event features authors who are either Chinese or who have written on Chinese history or culture. This is the group’s way of sharing some of their Chinese culture and history with the community.

Wong is the author of five non-fiction bestsellers and a professor of journalism at St. Thomas University. Wong is the eldest daughter of a prominent Montreal restaurateur.

She will be sharing thoughts of her new book, Apron Strings.

Tickets are either $40 with an eight-course dinner or $60 with dinner and a book. The event starts at 6 p.m., March 10 at the Golden City Restaurant, 721 Fisgard St. For more information, contact Pei Mei Chia at 250-514-1928 (call or text) or chiapm@shaw.ca.

Local vet picked as Woman of Worth

Local veterinarian Jane Vermeulen will be honoured as a Woman of Worth at a gala with award-winning actor and humanitarian Helen Mirren, in Toronto on Thursday, International Women’s Day.

Vermeulen founded Vets for Pets, a not-for-profit organization that provides free veterinary care to more than 60 pets a month for homeless and low-income pet owners.

Women of Worth is the signature philanthropic program of L’Oreal Paris. It elevates and celebrates inspirational Canadian women who have volunteered their time to improve the lives of people in their community, province or country.

Vermeulen will receive a $10,000 charitable grant toward her organization.

This is Children’s Wish Month

Cities and provinces across Canada have officially proclaimed March to be Children’s Wish Month. In celebration, sponsor Blue Cross will share many inspiring stories throughout the month and offer people a chance to win a dream vacation.

During March, London Drugs stores across B.C. will be accepting donations on behalf of Children’s Wish. Simply ask your cashier at the time of purchase to make your gift.

People are encouraged to mark Wish Month in their own way. Spread the word about the importance of wish-granting online with #ChildrensWishMonth and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information, go to www.childrenswish.ca.

Secret Marathon celebrates courage

Women and their male supporters across Canada can run in the inaugural Secret Marathon 3K run/walk on Wednesday, the eve of International Women’s Day, at a Running Room store in their community, including Victoria.

After filming a documentary in Afghanistan about that country’s first official marathon, Canadians Kate McKenzie and Martin Parnell were inspired to make a difference in their own country when they realized there are those in Canada who don’t feel safe to go for a run or walk at night.

This run/walk is being hosted together with the Running Room and national charity Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.

The event is named after the documentary about the Marathon of Afghanistan, where the route is kept secret to avoid violent attacks. In honour of that, the 3K route will also be secret until just before the event.

The Secret Marathon celebrates everyone’s right to be free to run. People are invited to follow the example set by the brave runners in Afghanistan and unite for freedom, gender equality and safe space for all.

The event will allow the story of Afghan girls and women running for freedom to be shared across Canada through the film, which is scheduled to be released in fall 2018.

Money raised will go toward Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, a charity that has been working in Afghanistan for 20 years to advance education and educational opportunities for Afghan women and their families.

Registration is $15. The run starts at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 7 from the Running Room, 1234 Government St. For more information, go to thesecretmarathon.com/3krace.

Flowers aid epilepsy fund

Buy an Island-grown floral arrangement from a local grocer to support people living with epilepsy as part of Purple Month.

March is Epilepsy awareness month. Between March 9 and 22, for every special bouquet of flowers Country Grocer sells, it will donate $2 to HeadWay Victoria Epilepsy and Parkinson’s Centre.

Epilepsy is a common neurological disease that can affect anyone at any time. In Canada, one in 100 people have epilepsy, with an average of 42 learning they have the disease every day. For half of those diagnosed, the cause is unknown.

The bouquets will be available at all seven Country Grocer locations on Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island.

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

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