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Our Community: Watch as totem pole takes shape

Brothers and master carvers Tom and Perry La Fortune of the Tsawout First Nation will be the first Coast Salish artists to carve a totem pole on the grounds of the Royal B.C. Museum starting on Monday and continuing until some time in October.

Brothers and master carvers Tom and Perry La Fortune of the Tsawout First Nation will be the first Coast Salish artists to carve a totem pole on the grounds of the Royal B.C. Museum starting on Monday and continuing until some time in October.

The public carving program is being hosted by the museum in partnership with the B.C. Ministry of Health and sponsored by TimberWest.

“It is a tremendous gift to receive such close and constant access to Indigenous artists at work on a complex project,” said Jack Lohman, Royal B.C. Museum CEO. “The Royal B.C. Museum is thrilled to invite the public to witness this act of artistic creation.”

Access to the carving station will be free and runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday until October in the outdoor plaza of the museum.

The La Fortune brothers will discuss their work and provide interpretation. Staff from the museum will be on hand to answer questions if the artists need to focus and are occupied with carving.

The public will also be able to track the progress of the pole carving over the summer at

Softball coach, mentor honoured for leadership

Stan McKinlay, a well-known name in softball on Vancouver Island, was recently presented with a Leadership Award at the Cowichan 2018 B.C. Summer Games.

The award recognizes those who have supported girls and/or women in participating more fully in physical activity or sport.

McKinlay has given hundreds of hours of his time to girls’ sports in the community. He has taken teams to the B.C. championships more than a dozen times, coached teams at the Canadian championship level and is the coach of the Zone 6 girls softball team at the B.C. Summer Games.

The softball community describes him as more than a coach; he is an advocate and an ambassador for girls in sport.

Although only one award could be given, the nomination committee also recognized two others for outstanding contributions to girls and women in sport: Dano Thorne and Chris Mann.

Thorne is a Cowichan Tribes member with a long connection to soccer who created the Native Indian Football Association in 2001.

Mann founded the Cowichan Women’s Football League in 1984 and continues to encourage girls, having recently started a new league introducing football to the younger divisions, girls ages 12 to 15.

The awards were presented by ProMotion Plus, a provincial non-profit organization that promotes access and opportunity for girls and women in sport, in partnership with the B.C. Games Society.

For more information, go to

Salvation Army offers aid in heat wave

Salvation Army centres in Victoria are ready to help vulnerable people during the current heat wave.

In response to Environment Canada’s heat warning, the charity’s two locations and its Hope Van will provide drinks, shelter and other cooling essentials for the vulnerable, including the elderly and those living on the streets.

“With temperatures on the rise, many of our locations are taking action to ensure the health and safety of people in our communities,” said spokeswoman Patricia Mamic.

“Many people living in crisis lack access to clean water, sun screen and other essentials. It is our responsibility to ensure that they stay safe.”

Outreach teams from the Addictions and Rehabilitation Centre, High Point Community Church, Victoria Citadel and West Shore Salvation Army will be roaming Victoria streets in the Hope Van handing out water bottles and sunscreen.

Those seeking relief are invited to drop by for a drink, air-conditioned cooling rest areas and sunscreen at:

• Salvation Army Addictions and Rehabilitation Centre, 525 Johnson St. The water fountain in the lobby is available 24 hours a day. There is also an air-conditioned rest area.

• Salvation Army Stan Hagen Centre for Families, 2695 Quadra St., with water, sunscreen, an air-conditioned cooling rest area. Open 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

The public can help with donations of sunscreen, hats and bottled water.

The Salvation Army offers practical support and emotional and spiritual care year-round. During extreme weather conditions, they work with community partners such as the Old Victoria Water Company to ensure all needs are met during these challenging times.

For more information, go to

Indigenous project gets legacy grant

An Indigenous interpretive project on Mayne Island can move forward thanks to funding from the Heritage Legacy Fund.

The Mayne Island Agricultural Society is receiving $7,500 to support its WSÁNEC Saltwater People interpretation/ relationship-building project at the island’s museum.

The Heritage Legacy Fund is the only provincial grant program that supports heritage conservation, awareness, planning and Indigenous partnership projects.

Guided by Tsartlip elders working in partnership with the Mayne Island Agricultural Society, the project is the first of its kind for the island.

“This project will help in working toward a better relationship with our people,” said Tsartlip Elder John Elliott. “New interpretive material will recognize our rich Indigenous history and culture on Mayne Island.”

The project will include outdoor interpretive panels and a new exhibit that recognizes and interprets Tsartlip traditional use and heritage on the island.

“The Heritage Legacy Fund Committee was impressed by the diversity of heritage project applications this year,” said Angie Bain, Heritage B.C. Director. “Successful applicants have demonstrated the significant, innovative and meaningful ways that local communities, repositories and organizations are embracing reconciliation and working to protect, promote and celebrate heritage on behalf of all British Columbians.”

Heritage B.C. is a not-for-profit supporting heritage conservation across British Columbia with funding through the Heritage Legacy Fund.

Since June 2005, the fund has supported heritage conservation in British Columbia with $1.8 million of project funding. The funds are made possible through a $5-million endowment established in 2003 by the province of British Columbia.

For more information, go to

Cyclists hit the road for 200 kilometres

If you are on the roads this weekend, be on the lookout for 85 cyclists taking part in the sixth annual Cycle of Life Tour.

The cyclists are travelling nearly 200 kilometres around Saanich Inlet, the Cowichan Valley and Salt Spring Island in support of eight Vancouver Island hospices.

The popular event sold out in 24 hours this year, and participants have raised a record $170,000 to date.

The cyclists were in Victoria, Brentwood Bay, Cowichan and Salt Spring Island on Saturday. After an overnight stay, they will be back on the road in Saanich and Victoria today.

Vancouver Island hospices rely heavily on community donations and fundraising events, such as the Cycle of Life Tour, to raise money and awareness.

For a route map, go to For more information, go to

CUPE treats families to barbecue

Last week, visitors to the Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre were treated to a free swim and barbecue, as CUPE Local 50 celebrated 100 years of representing workers and serving the community.

“CUPE Local 50 is proud to be celebrating 100 years of not only representing City of Victoria workers, but also 100 years of community involvement,” said president John Burrows. “We can’t think of a better way to celebrate this milestone than with a fun community-centred event at a popular public recreation facility.”

Admission to the Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre was free all day on Tuesday. A free community barbecue took place in Central Park. Union members supplied and served hot dogs and refreshments.

For more information, go to

30 Nanaimo kids to get bikes

Pinkbike’s Share the Ride program exceeded its fundraising goal, which means that 30 Nanaimo children will receive bikes, helmets and locks in August, thanks to the Stevie Smith Legacy Foundation’s partnership with Pinkbike, a mountain bike website.

“The Stevie Smith Legacy Foundation is excited to partner with Pinkbike again for Share the Ride this year to provide bikes to 30 children who may otherwise not have the opportunity to have a bicycle,” said Michelle Corfield, founder of the Stevie Smith Legacy Foundation.

In addition to promoting physical activity, wellness and environmental sustainability, the program strives to give kids their first taste of independence, raise their self-esteem and inspire them to believe that anything is possible.

The bike giveaway will take place on Aug. 4 during the intermission of the Red Bull Pump Track Qualifying Races at Stevie Smith Bike Park.

For more information, go to

Get active to fight kidney cancer

Run, walk, ride or donate to Move to Beat Cancer, a fundraising campaign that brings the community together to raise funds for patient-support programs and research at Kidney Cancer Canada.

To help the program get a head start, Bristol-Myers Squibb will match every dollar, up to $25,000, that is raised.

You can join as an individual, a team captain or a team member.

The event takes place Sept. 14 to 16. For more information, go to

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