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Our Community: Point Ellice House reopens, Little Free Bingo, Gentleman's Ride

The Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens, one of Victoria’s oldest homes, is reopening its exhibit space and heritage gardens this weekend.

The Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens, one of Victoria’s oldest homes, is reopening its exhibit space and heritage gardens this weekend.

The feature exhibit, Springs and Scavengers: Waste and Water in Victoria, 1842-1915, uses images, stories and artifacts — including a collection of chamber pots — to tell a story of basic human needs and the struggle that early Victoria had in keeping up with them.

The house remains closed to the public, as it has been since the end of September, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Although we were able to open last summer with a new feature exhibit, reduced hours and admissions certainly made us question whether or not Point Ellice House would be able to reopen in 2021,” said executive director Kelly Black. “Luckily, emergency funding and a dedicated team of staff and volunteers allowed us to remain working and pivot to online engagement.”

Throughout the closure, staff made YouTube videos and digitized and transcribed historical documents, making the stories of the 1862 home and its occupants more accessible, Black said.

They were also able to complete the first phase of rehabilitation of the South Garden, which at one time provided food and year-round flowers for its owners, the O’Reilly family.

Admission to the exhibit is by appointment and donation. The site is open from noon to 4 p.m. today at 2616 Pleasant St. For more information, go to pointellicehouse.com.

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is hosting its Lived Experience weekly webinar series offering dementia patients (and their caregivers) practical tips on how to live with the disease, throughout the month of June.

The society says the series is an opportunity to hear directly from people living with dementia, and gain a deeper understanding of the issues they face.

Sessions include:

* 2 p.m. June 2: Living safely with dementia: Explore how people living with dementia and their families can live safely in the community.

* 10 a.m. June 9: Music and the brain: Guest speaker Chelsea Mackinnon explores the links between music, connection and communication, and how music may contribute to decreased risk of developing dementia.

* 2 p.m. June 16: Driving and dementia: Learn how dementia may affect a person’s driving abilities and strategies to ease the transition for driving cessation.

* 10 a.m. June 24: Lived experience: Strategies I wish I’d known: Dementia patients share tips and strategies for living well with dementia. Topics covered include problems with telling time, lack of initiative, resistance to hygiene, loss of abilities and more.

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is committed to ensuring that people affected by dementia have the confidence and skills to live the best life possible.

To register for any of these webinars, or to access free recorded webinars, go to alzbc.org/webinars.

A Saanich community art project where more than 1,000 hand-made hearts were created by residents of long-term care facilities, community service organizations and children and youth, then put on display in parks across the municipality, has earned an honorable mention from the 2021 B.C. Recreation and Parks Association Provincial Awards of Excellence.

The HeArts Together Community Art Project was created as a way to allow isolated and vulnerable community members to come together creatively, while still remaining close to home during the pandemic.

“We are thankful that the BCRPA has recognized our collaborative project to enhance the quality of life in our community,” said Brenda Weatherston, community arts specialist at the Cedar Hill Arts Centre. “This project has provided a heartwarming and positive community impact created out of a really challenging time.”

Fourteen organizations collaborated on the project, including the Garth Homer Society, which supports individuals with developmental disabilities.

The project continues with the completion and installation of remaining hearts in a dozen parks, including a large clay heart mosaic that will be installed outside the Cedar Hill Recreation and Arts Centre in June.

For more information, go to saanich.ca/heartstogether.

The City of Victoria is seeking input from residents, businesses and commuters as it plans the second phase of the 32-kilometre James Bay cycling network, now until June 11.

During the first phase of consultation in February and March, more than 600 people took part in surveys, mapping activities and virtual meetings.

Based on public input, designs have been modified and are now available for further feedback before recommendations are made to city council later this summer.

“We heard diverse public feedback during the first phase,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “We’ve sharpened our pencils and have refined the design concepts. Now we invite the public to come back and review what has changed and how we’ve responded to public input.”

Helps said the city, with a growing population, continues to invest in walking, cycling and public transit to support safe, healthy and affordable transportation options.

The final input is needed on designs and route options. Two north-south routes are planned for implementation in 2022: Government Street and Montreal Street.

Two east-west route options, Superior Street and Michigan Street, are also being considered. Review the modified designs and a summary video now until June 11 at engage.victoria.ca.

Visitors to the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network’s Little Free Libraries in the CRD can now turn it into a game of bingo.

Look inside one of the 450 little free libraries and you will find bingo cards featuring squares with things that someone is likely to encounter at a little free library, including books by specific or local authors, books about certain topics, books with certain images on the cover, etc.

There will be two card designs — one for a general audience and one for children. The children’s version is meant to be a family game that can foster a love of books and encourage children to become life-long readers.

You can play by line, cross or blackout as you find the various items. You can play on your own, as a family, or challenge a friend.

Additional card designs will be available on the GVPN website, and people are encouraged to come up with cards of their own.

Prizes include free books, and photographs of completed cards posted to Instagram or Twitter using #LFLBingo will also be entered into a draw for additional prizes.

The goal is to encourage people to explore the network and, in so doing, explore the region.

Little Free Libraries are little book boxes that operate on the principle of “take a book, leave a book” and are typically maintained by members of the community or community organizations.

For more information, go to victoriaplacemaking.ca.

Motorcyclists across Canada, including more than 40 from Victoria, will join fellow bike enthusiasts around the world for the 10th annual Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride today.

Once a year, owners of classic-style motorcycles go for a ride wearing their most eye-catching and dapper gear to celebrate their passion as well as raising funds for Movember, a men’s health charity.

More than 600 riders from 107 countries are expected to take part in the annual event this year.

This year’s event will look different due to the ongoing global pandemic. Instead of large group rides, participants will ride in small groups, appropriately distanced, as well as on their own.

The event has raised more than $1.7 million for Movember since the organization first came on board as the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride’s official charity partner in 2016.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was founded in Sydney, Australia in 2012.

Since then, more than 120,000 riders in more than 650 cities worldwide have dressed up in their finest gear astride their classic and vintage-style motorcycles to raise funds and awareness for men’s health — specifically prostate cancer and men’s mental health.

For more information, go to gentlemansride.com.