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Our Community: New van for Humane Society, Gingerbread Showcase, Sip and Sparkle

Christmas has come early for the Victoria Humane Society in the form of a shiny new rescue vehicle.
Penny Stone, left, with Bruno Roti and Theresa Roti of Bosley’s with the Victoria Humane Society’s new van. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Christmas has come early for the Victoria Humane Society in the form of a shiny new rescue vehicle.

Acquiring the new 2020 Ford Transit cargo van with a high roof and all-wheel drive was made possible thanks to a $50,000 grant from Bosley’s by Pet Valu.

The new vehicle will allow the society to safely transport animals in need from rural and remote communities.

“This vehicle is a real game-changer for us,” said Penny Stone, executive director of the animal rescue group, adding having a safe, reliable vehicle will enable the society to drive farther across B.C. and into other provinces to help more animals.

“It is possible that we may be able to help close to a thousand more animals than previous years.”

The group’s previous vehicle was more than 15 years old and unreliable, breaking down frequently, she said.

The society was able to customize the new vehicle to suit its needs, with a raised roof.

The addition of all-wheel drive will allow travel to northern regions, remote areas and to other provinces that have harsher and more unpredictable climates.

The vehicle has been busy since it arrived in Victoria, transporting 18 puppies and three adult dogs on one call and 33 kittens and cats in another. Next week, volunteers will travel to Regina to bring home three dogs and 13 puppies that were rescued from rural communities.

The goal is to find the animals homes in Victoria and surrounding communities.

Rose Ferrante, vice-president of marketing for Pet Valu Canada, said each year, the company provides grants for mobile wellness clinics and transfer vehicles to worthy animal rescues. “Victoria Humane Society does such important work — we are delighted to support it with this new rescue transportation.”

For more information, go to

Gingerbread Showcase spread out in 12th year from Victoria to Sidney

The Gingerbread Showcase is back for its 12th year, raising money for Habitat for Humanity Victoria, but it looks a little different this time because of the pandemic.

The holiday event features 33 unique creations designed around the theme of Coastal Living, but instead of being all in one place, as in past years, they’re spread out through Victoria and Sidney.

You can take a tour through downtown Victoria and Sidney to view the edible creations, or just check them out online from home.

Vote for your favourite creation by volunteer bakers competing for the People’s Choice Award.

“Despite everything else that has been going on in the world, we really wanted to be able to continue to create some seasonal magic for families in a safe and meaningful way,” said Yolanda Meijer, CEO for Habitat for Humanity Victoria. “We are so excited to be working again this year with the Parkside Hotel and Spa as well as nine new hosts in Downtown Victoria and Sidney to bring the showcase into the community for outdoor viewing.”

Hosts include The Parkside Hotel and Spa, Tre Fantastico at The Parkside, The Chateau Victoria, The Marriott Inner Harbour, The DoubleTree and Vintage Spirits Downtown and Sidney Pier Hotel and Spa, Flush Bathroom and Travel Essentials, Seawards Gifts and Apparel and Peninsula Gallery in Sidney.

Funds raised from the event will go towards the construction of 10 new affordable homes for local families currently being built by Habitat Victoria in North Saanich.

The Gingerbread Showcase is free to view. It runs now until Jan. 3.

A tour guide showing the locations of the various creations can be picked up at any of the host partners or from any Habitat ReStore, or download it at

Scouts' Christmas tree sale benefits Camp Barnard

Scouts Canada is hosting its Christmas Tree Sale again this year, with proceeds going to support Camp Barnard, now until Dec. 24.

The tree lot will feature freshly cut Douglas Fir and Grand Fir trees in a variety of sizes — all grown in the Cowichan Valley.

The lot will be open 4 to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Garden Centre of the View Royal Canadian Tire, 1519 Admirals Rd. until all the trees are sold, or Dec. 24, whichever comes first. Cash or cheques only. Please wear a face mask and respect all safety protocols.

Braefoot association holding photo scavenger hunt until Dec. 6

The Braefoot Community Association is hosting The Great Adventure, a COVID-safe photo scavenger hunt, now until Dec. 6.

The goal of the event is to get people outside and doing something fun while keeping safely within their core COVID bubble, says the association, adding many people are feeling isolated during the pandemic.

Up to six people form teams to participate in the scavenger hunt, and it’s strongly recommend that groups consist of only those who are bubbled together.

Registration is required. Instructions will be sent to everyone who is registered, including all photo locations, as well as a couple of chances at bonus points.

For each location, there will be one or more photos described. The more photos you take, the more points you will receive.

The recommended donation to join is $50 per family. The event runs from 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27 until 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, with a virtual awards presentation beginning at 7 p.m.

For more information, go to

Jewelry created by boutiques supports Victoria Hospice

Purchase a piece of wearable art created by boutique jewellers in Canada and support Victoria Hospice at All That Glitters, Dec. 1 to Dec. 24 at The Avenue Gallery.

This is the eighth year for the jewelry exhibition and fundraising event.

A percentage from the sale of each jewelry item sold during the exhibition will benefit Victoria Hospice.

The exhibition is free to view. It runs during regular business hours Dec. 1-24 at The Avenue Gallery, 2184 Oak Bay Ave. For more information, go to

Sip and Sparkle virtual party to warm seniors with More than Meals

United Way Greater Victoria is hosting a Sip and Sparkle Soirée, billed as Greater Victoria’s largest virtual holiday office party, on Dec. 9.

All funds raised will warm isolated seniors’ bellies and their hearts through United Way’s More than Meals program.

Participants will receive a do-it-yourself holiday kit complete with a 100 ml bottle of Devine Honey Amber Shine rum (mocktail options are available), cocktail ingredients, sweet treats from the Fairmont Empress and an auction booklet. Mixologist Soren Schepkowski, head bartender at Wind Cries Mary, will show guests how to make two festive holiday drinks.

Participants will be encouraged to deck their rooms for Zoom, with the winner of the Deck Your Halls contest receiving a $100 gift card from Peninsula Co-op.

“This holiday season will obviously be very different due to COVID-19, but the desire and spirit to come together with friends and family in a safe and fun manner is highly appealing, so we came up with the idea to host a virtual holiday office party like no other,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO of United Way Greater Victoria. “It’s a win-win-win for all — the ticket price helps feed isolated seniors in our community, celebrates local businesses, and provides people with a venue to get their sparkle on for the season with friends, family and/or co-workers.”

The event is a partnership between the United Way Greater Victoria, the Fairmont Empress, Devine Distillery and Winery and various local artisans.

The event is sponsored by the Times Colonist, OCEAN 98.5 and CHEK News.

Tickets are $50 each or $250 for a group of six (tax receipt available for a portion of ticket price). The event runs 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 9 via Zoom

Tickets can be purchased at

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