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Our Community: Oak Bay’s public pianos return

A vision to make Oak Bay a destination for arts and culture continues this summer with four new pianos in public spaces painted by local artists.

A vision to make Oak Bay a destination for arts and culture continues this summer with four new pianos in public spaces painted by local artists.

Oak Bay Parks, Recreation and Culture has announced the third year of installing colourful pianos outdoors for the public to play during the summer.

Artists Jonathan Gleed, Peter van Giesen, Dorothy Jarvis and Robert Amos painted the pianos that will be installed at Turkey Head, Loon Bay Park, Cattle Point and Estevan Village.

The pianos, unveiled on Canada Day, will remain outdoors until September. Anybody can play the pianos from 10 a.m. to dusk daily, when they will be covered for the night.

Each artist receives an honorarium of $500 and reimbursement for the supplies used. People can purchase one of the pianos for themselves, or donate one to a worthy cause, at the end of the summer.

The pianos are part of ArtsAlive, a temporary public-art program supported by Recreation Oak Bay. As part of the program, 13 art pieces, selected by the arts laureate and the public art committee, have been installed around Oak Bay for one year.

The public will be able to vote for their favourite art piece, which may be purchased by the municipality.

A public tour of the pianos will take place on Saturday, July 9. A bus is available for those who need transportation assistance on a first come, first served basis. It leaves Oak Bay Municipal Hall at 10:30 a.m. The bus is not wheelchair accessible, but can accommodate walkers. People can bike, bus or drive to the locations, where professional musicians will play for those in attendance. Printed maps will also be available at Oak Bay Recreation Centre and Oak Bay Municipal Hall.

For project details, sponsor and voting information, including a downloadable map of art installations and pianos, go to arts-culture/artsalive.

Golfers raise $50,000 for Community Living

Children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities are the beneficiaries of a recent charity golf tournament.

The fifth annual Vipond Golf Classic was held at the Royal Colwood Golf Club. Along with silent and live auctions, sponsorships and donations from members and the community at large, golfers teed up to help bring the total collected to more than $50,000 in support of Community Living Victoria. Since its inauguration, the golf tournament has raised $235,000.

Royal Colwood is one of six golf courses that take part in the Vipond Western Canadian Final. Other clubs include Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, Riverside Country Club in Saskatoon, St. Charles Country Club in Winnipeg, Kelowna Golf and Country Club, and the Earl Grey Country Club in Calgary.

Community Living Victoria provides homes, day programs, employment services, supported independent living, parent support and services for youth and adults with developmental disabilities. It has been operating in Victoria for more than 60 years.

For further information, go to

Co-ed soccer event builds reconciliation

The T-Bird Youth Soccer Club is hosting the Spirit of Reconciliation and Healing Through Sport, a fun community event offering non-competitive co-ed soccer games and children’s activities on Saturday.

The urban aboriginal youth club, which offers soccer to children aged five to 18 years old, is inviting families, and church and faith groups to join in the festivities in the spirit of reconciliation and healing.

“In the spirit of hope and one-ness, this day is like a rainbow, arcing over all the people,” said Alex Nelson, hereditary chief and head coach of the team. “This event brings families together to participate in sport and fun activities.”

The event begins with a grand parade of participants at 1 p.m. Everyone is invited to bring their flags, balloons, streamers and organization’s banners for a colourful parade around the soccer field.

The parade will be followed by an afternoon of non-competitive co-ed soccer games and children’s activities, with face painting, jewelry-making and games.

There will be a visit by the SuperHeroes of Victoria, CFB Esquimalt firefighters and Victoria Lapidary Society.

A feature soccer match at 3 p.m. will include club alumni and clergy. Teams include anyone who wishes to play, so teams are made up of youth, men and women, elders, who may be skilled or unskilled soccer players.

Members of the T-Birds Youth Soccer Club are mostly urban aboriginal youth and children. A men’s soccer club was started 42 years ago, and was soon joined by a women’s soccer club. While members are passionate about the sport, the club is founded on traditional First Nations values and strong community spirit.

The event is free. It runs 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Colville soccer field (corner of Admirals and Colville roads).

For more information, go to

Musicians play for a new piano

Hang out, have a drink and enjoy great piano music while hearing about efforts to raise money to purchase a piano at mini-Pianorama, a series of hour-long piano performances in July.

Pianorama is the first fundraising benefit concert for a year-long campaign for a concert piano at the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High.

The project, The Key(s) to Our Success, is a collaboration of Oak Bay High, Oak Bay High Alumni Association, Rotary Club of Oak Bay, Rotary Club of Oak Bay Foundation and community members.

They hope to raise $100,000.

The mini-Pianorama series, in advance of the fall fundraising event, begins Sunday, July 10 and features Jan Stirling. Brent Jarvis is featured at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel piano July 17 followed by Karel Roessingh July 24. These recitals are free to the public. The hour-long mini-Pianorama performances start at 6 p.m. at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, 1175 Beach Dr.

The actual fundraiser starts in September and will feature seven local pianists showcasing their passion for classical, gospel, ragtime, blues, traditional jazz, bebop and modern jazz styles. The lineup includes Louise Rose, Arthur Rowe, Toni Blodgett, Roessingh, Stirling, Jarvis and Oak Bay High student Julia Zhu.

Tickets for Pianorama in September are $30 in advance at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre and Scotiabank Oak Bay. The event runs 1 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 11.

Time to vote for young historians

There is still time to vote for two local students whose videos have made the finals of the Young Citizens program. A panel of judges will review all the videos and select 26 entrants based on the result of the vote and the quality of the videos.

Amy has created a video telling the story of the SS Moyle, the last operating passenger sternwheeler in North America. Taylor’s project is on Roger’s Farm, one of Victoria’s oldest farms, which supplied fresh milk to local residents for 75 years.

From First World War nursing sisters to Ganong chocolates, from the shameful racism of the Komagata Maru incident to the skill of sealskin sewing, our past is featured in videos by Canadian students.

The Young Citizens program is run by Canada’s History Society and showcases the work of students from national Heritage Fair exhibitions.

Students from Grade 4 to Grade 11 use video cameras to interpret the history that grabbed their attention, be it community heritage, family stories, famous Canadians, pivotal events and almost anything else you can imagine.

The resulting 200 videos — which are available for viewing online — range from simple but effective storytelling to full-blown costumed and edited re-enactments complete with music.

“Like all of us, students relate best to history through intriguing people and events. When they are free to explore those stories on video, they do amazing things,” said Janet Walker, president and CEO of Canada’s History Society. “Every year they astonish us with their passion and knowledge.”

Those who are chosen will receive a trip for two to Ottawa in the fall, where they will participate in a national youth forum.

There they will have an opportunity to meet and spend time with other contestants, exploring Ottawa with dedicated guides and learn about our country from each other.

“We believe in building strong relationships all over Canada, which is why we value the way the Young Citizens program fosters understanding about others and about our country,” said Jan Belanger, vice-president, community relations for Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life. “By telling the stories of our past, they are not only educating themselves and the rest of us, they are helping to show the way to an inclusive future.”

Heritage Fairs began as a pilot community project in Winnipeg in 1993 and have grown to involve more than 100,000 students each year in schools-based and regional exhibitions in more than 100 communities across Canada. The program receives funds from the Department of Canadian Heritage, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life.

Canadians can vote for their favourite video at until July 7.

EARTHx explores climate change 

Dr. Peter Carter, retired physician and full-time climate-change research presenter, and his colleagues are hosting EARTHx on Monday.

The program includes video screenings, entertainment and presentations on the climate and oceans emergency.

“Runaway climate change and ocean acidification are not future-tense events,” Carter said. “It is of the utmost urgency that we immediately act to abolish the burning of fossil fuels — or watch as fossil fuels abolish humanity.”

The talk runs 6 to 10 p.m. at the Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St.

Peninsula Co-op aids nature sanctuary 

Peninsula Co-op has donated $75,000 to Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary toward their Floating Boardwalk Revitalization Campaign.

The donation is part of the Community Spaces program administered by the Federated Co-op. They act on behalf of the more than 200 independent retail co-operatives, of which Peninsula Co-op is part.

“The Floating Boardwalk Campaign of $800,000 is needed to ensure a safer, environmentally friendly solution that will provide a better guest experience for the over 65,000 visitors to the sanctuary and over 10,000 students that participate in the programs,” said Kathleen Burton, executive director of the sanctuary. “The Community Spaces donation will go a long way to seeing the completion of the second phase.”

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is an urban nature reserve, home to native plants and wildlife. It is managed by a non-profit society and offers youth and adult programs throughout the year.

For more information, go to

Lawn bowling for CF starts Thursday

Hit the greens, have fun and raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Canada at their Lawn Summer Nights, starting Thursday.

The fun activity sees teams of four take part in four rounds of lawn bowling in July.

Men and women in their 20s and 30s have fun getting dressed up for the event.

They give themselves very “punny” lawn bowling team names — all the while raising funds for cystic fibrosis.

This year marks the fourth year the event will be held in Victoria. Some cities have been holding this event for seven years.

Events are also in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal.

Organizers hope to raise about $2 million.

Local teams include Gravity Lab, Lululemon, Media One, Metrics Chartered Accounting, Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., Redbrick Media and YTZ International.

The kickoff will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday and continue for the next three Thursdays at the Victoria Lawn Bowling Club green, Cook Street at Park Boulevard in Beacon Hill Park.

Teams sign-up is $500. Spectator tickets are $25 per week or $80 for all four games.

For more information, go to