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Our Community: Park to be named for Hannah Day, Read Locally Book Fair

A Sooke playground has been named in honour of Hannah Day, a nine-year-old who captured Greater Victoria residents’ hearts before succumbing to cancer in 2019.
Hannah Day, then 5, plays on the swings on her first day of kindergarten at Happy Valley School in 2014. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

A Sooke playground has been named in honour of ­Hannah Day, a nine-year-old who captured Greater ­Victoria residents’ hearts before succumbing to cancer in 2019.

On March 31, a new park sign and a new swing for the park will be unveiled in a special ceremony.

Day’s mother, Brooke Ervin, and Sooke Mayor Maja Tait will speak before the sign is unveiled and a ribbon is cut at 1 p.m. at the park at 2368 Sunriver Way. Hot dogs and drinks will be served by the Sooke Lions.

Day was a Sunriver resident for most of her life. Her seven-year battle against cancer inspired thousands of people to register as stem cell donors.

Parking is limited at the site and will be reserved for Day’s family and event volunteers. Community ­members wishing to attend are encouraged to walk or bike to the park, or make use of parking at the nearby Sunriver Allotment Gardens or SEAPARC Leisure ­Complex, 2168 Phillips Rd.

>>> Read Locally Book Fair

Meet local independent writers and publishers at the Read Locally Book Fair in the First Metropolitan United Church hall, March 18.

The inaugural event brings together more than 40 writers and five publishers under a single roof. Book lovers and readers will have a chance to meet local authors and publishers or pick up some books, ­including crime and mystery books, biographies, ­historical fiction, poetry and children’s books.

The Greater Victoria Public Library features more than 200 titles in its Emerging Local Authors 2022 collection. The book fair is an opportunity for readers of these authors to expand their collection.

Admission is by donation. The event runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 18, in the First Metropolitan United Church hall, 932 Balmoral Rd.

>>> Applications for grants

The Victoria Foundation is accepting applications from registered charities and other qualified ­recipients whose work benefits community wellbeing in the ­capital region for its 2023 Community Grants Program.

The goal of this year’s program is to strengthen the non-profit sector and support local organizations with flexible, general and operating funding.

“As we heard in the 2022 Vital Signs report, there are a lot of people and causes that need our support to improve the conditions or sustain what is working. The Community Grants Program is one opportunity to respond,” said Sandra Richardson, Victoria ­Foundation CEO. “Our community grants program is helping us strengthen community wellbeing by investing in ­people, opportunities, and solutions to improve the ­capital region.”

The foundation provides support across the ­nonprofit world — from the housing and homelessness sector to arts and culture, the environment, youth and seniors’ services.

The grants program has two grant streams, ­including the Vital Stream (requests up to $30,000) and the Collaboration Stream (variable request amounts).

Last year, the program distributed more than $4.32 million and helped 191 organizations. The Community Grants Program is only part of the Victoria ­Foundation’s overall granting strategy. In 2022, the foundation provided more than $25 million in grants to organizations.

The deadline for applications is April 4.

• For more information, go to ­

>>> Mental health campaign

United Way Southern Vancouver Island has launched United for Mental Health, a campaign to raise funds to support youth mental health, with proceeds to be used for counselling, outreach, group therapy and peer ­support.

Youth are facing unprecedented mental-health ­challenges in the wake of the pandemic, with one in three facing worse or much worse mental health than pre-pandemic, the organization says.

“Suicide is a leading cause of death in young people, so early intervention is crucial in giving young people the support and skills to navigate challenges before they become severe,” said Erika Stenson, executive director of United Way Southern Vancouver Island.

“While many mental health conditions can be ­effectively treated at relatively low cost, there is a gap in services that our young people can access. We call on our community to unite for mental health. Together, we can make sure that young people access the help they need, where they need it, and when they need it most.”

From now through March 31, donations to the United for Mental Health Fund will be matched by Island ­Savings, a corporate partner.

• For more information or to donate, go to

>>> Boost for festivals

The City of Victoria will support 46 festivals and ­celebrations through this year’s Festival Investment Grants.

The city is providing close to $390,500 in ­funding for five community celebrations, seven new or ­emerging festivals, 30 established festivals, three ­signature ­festivals and one community-led Canada Day ­celebration by local non-profit organizations.

The Canada Day event, hosted by Penmar ­Community Arts Society, consists of a large-scale Inner Harbour celebration with live entertainment and ­family-friendly activities.

Mayor Marianne Alto said the Festival Investment Grant program saw a record number of applications from local non-profit organizations this year.

“I’m thrilled to see the exciting lineup of diverse, inclusive, family-friendly events, from dance and ­theatre to music and community performance. This ­signals Victoria’s return to a strong festival season, which we are all very much anticipating.”

Coming festivals include Victoria Pride Week, ­Outstages Festival, African and Caribbean Cultural Week, Khalsa Day Parade, Folktoria Multicultural ­Festival, Festival Mexicano, One Wave Gathering, ­Rendez-vous Victoria and the Victoria Highland Games.

The festival program, now in its 24th year, has ­distributed more than $4 million in grants to annual ­festivals and celebrations since its inception.

• For more information, go to

>>> Float the Boat

The Maritime Museum of B.C. has launched its Float the Boat fundraising campaign, with the goal of raising $25,000 between now and April 30.

This is the third year of the annual campaign, which marks its milestones by filling a tank with water to float a toy boat higher and higher.

“This year’s campaign will help support our ­ongoing operations as we continue to offer new programs, exhibits and events for the public, while caring for our vast collection,” said Brittany Vis, executive director of the museum.

A registered charity and non-profit, the museum offers a variety of public programming and ­engagement initiatives with the goal of promoting and preserving B.C.’s maritime heritage and culture.

Proceeds from fundraising campaigns, grants and private donations help keep the programming and exhibit rates accessible to the public.

• For more about the museum, go to

• To donate, go to

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