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Our Community: Sidney church welcomes woman rector, Victoria offers grants for festivals

St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Sidney is inviting the community to attend the induction service for Rev. Kelly Duncan, its 18th rector
Rev. Kelly Duncan will be the first female rector of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Sidney since the church was founded in 1910. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Sidney church welcomes first woman rector

St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Sidney is inviting the community to attend the induction service for Rev. Kelly Duncan, its 18th rector and the first woman to occupy the position since the church was founded in 1910.

The event will be held at the church at 9691 Fourth St. on Nov. 25

Duncan, formerly the rector of the Parish of St. George in Fort Langley, has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC and Master of Divinity degree from the Vancouver School of Theology. She was ordained a priest in 2008.

The induction service will be led by the Right ­Reverend Anna Greenwood-Lee, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Islands and Inlets.

The service begins at 2 p.m. on Nov. 25 and will be followed by a reception.

St. Andrew’s is one of 46 Anglican churches in the diocese.

Barry Gough launches book, with help from museum

The Maritime Museum is helping historian and author Barry Gough launch his new book, The Curious Passage of Richard Blanshard, First Governor of Vancouver, with a book signing at the museum gallery on Nov. 24.

The book is a biography of Blanshard, with ­intriguing details about the early days of settlement in the province.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and ­students, $5 for youth and free for children.

The event runs 3:30 to 5 p.m. Nov. 24 at the museum, 744 Douglas St.

• For more information, go to

For 25th year, Victoria offers grants for festivals

The City of Victoria is accepting applications for its Festival Investment Grant program, with more than $350,000 available to help fund festivals and other ­celebrations in 2024.

The program will fund up to 25 per cent of the total project cost.

Mayor Marianne Alto noted that the festival grant program marks its 25th year next year, and has ­provided more than $4 million in funding to date.

“Festivals not only contribute to the city’s arts, culture and music scene, they stimulate Victoria’s ­economic growth and foster a sense of togetherness and well-being,” she said in a statement.

The goal is to foster “free and accessible” arts and cultural events for the community, the city said, ­adding the grants are aimed at supporting the development of new festivals and celebrations or improving or ­expanding existing events.

The grant program has supported 173 events over the past five years, the city said.

An online information session on the grant program is set for 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30. Pre‑registration is required. To sign up, or for more information, go to ­

The city said a recording of the session will be made available on its website.

The city is also hosting two drop-in sessions at 720 Douglas St. — adjacent to the main entrance to the Victoria Conference Centre — to assist individuals who require help to complete their application packages. The sessions are set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 4, and on Jan. 5, 2024.

The Festival Investment Grant program application deadline is 11:59 p.m., Jan. 16, 2024.

Stigma-Free Society seeks votes in charities contest

A B.C. mental-health charity advocating is ­appealing for votes in a national philanthropic contest that’s ­offering up to $100,000 in donations to charities.

Stigma-Free Society, which teaches students about stigma with a focus on mental health and offers a rural mental wellness program, is one of the 12 finalists in the Quebec City-based iA Financial Group’s national philanthropic contest.

Four charities will each be awarded $100,000, while the remaining eight finalists will each receive a $10,000 donation.

The public is asked to view the 12 charities and cast their votes for the submission they find most inspiring, within each market, among the finalists.

“The transformative power of this potential ­donation is immeasurable,” said Andrea Paquette, president of Stigma-Free Society. “For a modest charity like ­Stigma-Free Society, this support could redefine the scope of mental health education across Canada, ­transforming young lives and communities on an unprecedented scale.”

The contest results will be unveiled in December.

The deadline for voting is Nov. 30. To vote, go to

• For information about the work of the society, go to

St. Ceilia’s Christmas Market opens on festive note

Mark the beginning of the festive season at St. Cecilia’s Christmas Market, with an all-day musical open house at Christ Church Cathedral on Nov. 25.

The holiday market features a variety of local ­artisans and vendors, offering jewelry, candles, ­clothing and cideries.

What sets the event apart is the wall-to-wall free ­concerts, with performances by the thundering pipe organ, a choral service featuring more than 80 singers and a roomful of accordions.

“I look forward to our musical open house every year,” said Jeannine Friesen, the cathedral’s priest in charge. “But this year is going to be even more ­wonderful than usual, since we have partnered with the Greater Victoria Festival Society to create this ­fantastic market. I look forward to experiencing an inclusive bustling market scene in and around the cathedral.”

The event is free to join. It runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 25 at Christ Church Cathedral, 930 Burdett Ave. For more information, go to

Malahat and Ditidaht First Nations to receive funds

Two Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island will receive up to $82,500 in accessibility improvement funds and training under the Rick Hansen Foundation B.C. Accessibility Grants Program.

The Malahat Nation, Ditidaht First Nation, along with the ­Seabird Island Band in the Fraser Valley, will all receive funding under the program.

At the Malahat Nation, the funds will go to make three buildings more accessible — the community ­cultural centre, the multipurpose building and ­administrative building.

“Malahat Nation wants to ensure all our ­community members, from children to elders, can safely access community services, and having inclusive ­administrative buildings that prioritizes accessibility is an important part in ensuring this,” said Chief Gordon Harry.

The Ditidaht First Nation says it will use the grant to make its community hall, community services health clinic and Asabuus Daycare more accessible.

“First off, I’d like to thank the Rick Hansen ­Foundation, and everyone involved in this program for reaching out and giving us this opportunity to ­participate in this program,” said Chris Barker of ­Ditidaht First Nation.

“Accessibility issues are often overlooked, and I think this is the perfect opportunity to gain as much knowledge as possible to help improve ­accessibility in our community. We look forward to taking the ­necessary steps to improve access in our community buildings.”

The provincial government provides funding for the program.

• For more information, go to

Spencer Middle School given funds to buy books

Spencer Middle School received more than $5,000 from the Adopt a School fundraiser by Indigo Love of ­Reading Foundation — which means the library will be able to buy at least one new book per student, says teacher-librarian Lisa Therrien.

“We are beyond grateful to our community for the support they showed us through this fundraiser,” ­Therrien said.

The Langford school library’s non-fiction section was about 20 years old and the school wanted new voices — including more Indigenous authors — to better represent its diversity.

Spencer Middle School was the lone Greater Victoria site to be part of this year’s Adopt a School fundraiser.

The foundation was created in 2004 to help schools with high needs obtain new books and educational materials for their libraries. More than 3,000 schools have received funding since it began.

• For more information, go to

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