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Our Community: New mural reflects a region in motion

Artist Luke Ramsey has begun work on the Bowker Creek Mural. The new painting will be on the wall overlooking the Jack Wallace Track at Oak Bay High School and is expected to take at least one full month to complete.

Artist Luke Ramsey has begun work on the Bowker Creek Mural.

The new painting will be on the wall overlooking the Jack Wallace Track at Oak Bay High School and is expected to take at least one full month to complete.

Ramsey said he wants the mural to reflect a parade of athletes and musical characters, part of a community moving forward in unison.

The mural has been made possible with the support of the estate of Maria and Paul Sarvari, Capital Regional District Arts Development, Oak Bay Community Artists and Dulux Paints.

UVic researchers honoured by Royal Society

Four UVic researchers who work in social sciences and humanities have been recognized by the Royal Society of Canada.

Recognition by the 137-year-old Royal Society of Canada is a top academic honour for the researchers and the University of Victoria.

Those recognized are:

• Prof. Robert Gifford (psychology and environmental studies) is a new fellow of the society for his work on why people don’t do more to mitigate climate change.

• Prof. James Tanaka (psychology) is a new fellow for his work in facial recognition and how people on the autism spectrum process the information.

• Prof. Rachel Cleves (history) has been admitted as a new member to the college for her research work often dedicated to promoting diversity and equity.

• Assoc. Prof. Chris Darimont (geography), who doubles as science director for the non-profit Raincoast Conservation Foundation, is a new member for his interdisciplinary examination of human beings as predators and their effect on global ecology.

Local woman, 66, off to teach English in Laos

A 66-year-old Victoria woman leaves for Southeast Asia this month embarking on an adventure usually associated with new university graduates.

Pippa Turney, now single and mother of two grown sons, will leave her townhouse in Victoria later this month and head to Laos to teach English and elementary computer skills as part of Cuso International. It’s an ambition Turney traces all the way back to childhood.

“Back in the 1960s, I remember my mother telling me: ‘Well, when you finish university you could always go and volunteer with CUSO,’” said Turney in a telephone interview. “So, at the back of my mind there was always ‘CUSO, CUSO, CUSO.’”

Cuso International is the up-to-date version of the organization dating back to 1961. Early on, it was CUSO, for Canadian University Service Overseas. It relied on university students who would commit to a two-year, overseas development role.

Now Cuso International’s recruitment has expanded. Working people whose employers allow them to take a sabbatical, or retired folk, can apply. Commitments now vary usually from six months to a year. Turney’s placement ends in the spring.

She was born in Vancouver and completed university in Toronto. After graduation, she travelled to Europe and ended up becoming a mother in Italy, where she also taught English. Now back in Victoria, however, she has surprised even herself with the Laos plan.

“Not everyone can do this and not everyone wants to,” she said. “But the more I think about it, ‘Thank you, yes’ seems like the right reaction.”

Island in the lead for myeloma fundraising

Vancouver Island is now the No. 1 fundraising locale for Myeloma Canada and its mission to pay for research and provide support to patients.

The Island Myeloma March, Sept. 2 in Nanaimo, brought out 200 walkers who raised over $30,000. Other Canadian events are planned, and some might prove more successful, but for now organizers of the Vancouver Island event are strutting their stuff.

“Right now we are in the lead,” said march organizer Susan McLean, a 64-year-old retired high-school English teacher and mother of three grown children now celebrating her third grandchild. McLean is also a myeloma survivor.

Myeloma is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. These unhealthy cells can accumulate in a patient’s bone marrow and crowd out healthy cells. The disease is incurable. But patients have been successfully treated with bone marrow treatments, and prognosis is variable.

McLean was diagnosed at 62. The disease led to a number of compression fractures in her back, first showing up while she and her husband, Alistair, were on vacation in Tahiti.

Always fit and always health-conscious, she said was still confused when her doctor gave her the diagnosis.

“I thought he meant melanoma and I said: ‘What, I have skin cancer?’”

New sponsor added to GoodLife marathon

The GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon is welcoming Peninsula Co-op as one of its newest sponsors supporting the Oct. 13 event.

Peninsula Co-op has offered to be title sponsor for the marathon’s volunteer program, kitting out the event’s 1,600-odd volunteers in shirt and toques.

This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the marathon.

In addition to the traditional marathon race, the event also features a half-marathon, an 8K Turkey Trot and the Thrifty Foods Kids Run.

For more information on the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon, including how to register as a participant or how to become a volunteer, go online to

Book recalls history of HMCS Trentonian, crew

For naval historian Roger Litwiller, the life of a warship is more than steel, guns and dates of actions. It’s the sum of the human experiences of its crew.

Litwiller’s new book, White Ensign Flying, a history of the ship HMCS Trentonian sunk by a U-boat’s torpedo on Feb. 22, 1945, contains all the standard archival facts and figures. But it also has observations and anecdotes gleaned from 30 surviving members of Trentonian’s crew.

“It [the personal recollections] changes the book,” said Litwiller in an interview. “It goes from a history book to a book with some history in it.”

The one-time Canadian Navy officer, longtime reservist and career paramedic, now retired at 55, will be at CFB Esquimalt on Wednesday to deliver a talk he calls Voices of our Sailors Past, based on his interviews with survivors of the Trentonian.

HMCS Trentonian, a corvette, was built at a shipyard in Kingston, Ont., and commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy Dec. 1, 1943. The vessel and crew were part of the Battle of the Atlantic and the naval element of the Normandy invasion. When she was sunk, six of her 90-member complement died.

Since writing the book, Litwiller has sensed an upsurge of interest in stories such as the Trentonian’s. He ascribes it to a growing realization that Canada’s remaining veterans are dying off.

Litwiller speaks Wednesday, Sept. 18, 10:30 a.m. to noon, at the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum.

Admission is free, but donations to the museum are welcomed. Access to the Naden side of the base is off Admirals Road. Visitors are required to show a government issued photo ID, such as a driver’s licence, passport or Medical Services Card.

Grants will make your neighbourhood better

Could your Victoria neighbourhood use a little sparkle, some little extra to perk up the collective life of your ’hood?

The City of Victoria is inviting its citizens to apply for My Great Neighbourhood Grants. This fall, a total of $63,000 has been set aside.

Grants of up to $5,000 will be made available for installations and up to $1,000 for activities. Past awards have gone to interpretive signs for a local creek and historical storytelling in the Inner Harbour.

Since 2016, a total of $389,680 has been distributed to 127 community projects under My Great Neighbourhood.

For more information and to apply, go online to Deadline for applications is Oct. 15.

Pyjama party will help feed hungry students

When kids come for breakfast, the dress code is always bedtime semi-formal: full pyjamas, tops and bottoms, with housecoat and slippers optional.

So on Sunday, Sept. 22, in honour of kids and PJs at the morning table, 20 Victoria restaurants will be part of the second annual #YYJPajamaParty, inviting patrons to enjoy brunch in their best night attire.

But #YYJPajamaParty has a serious side. It’s a recognition of the number of children in Victoria who don’t get proper breakfasts and come to school hungry.

So the participating restaurants will donate 25 per cent of the day’s profits to help fund school breakfasts at 10 Victoria schools.

The #YYJPajamaParty was originally organized by four people with a history of raising money for music and culture. They now call themselves Breakfast2Music. The “YYJ” in the name has nothing to the with the Victoria International Airport, however. Organizers just think it “sounds cool.”

With a background in music, it shouldn’t be a surprise #YYJPajamaParty will have a music component. From noon to 2 p.m., there will be a concert at the Government House bandshell.

For a complete list of the 20 restaurants participating in #YYJPajamaParty, go online to