Join in the celebrations as the Year of the Horse arrives


Everyone is invited to join the celebrations as the Chinese community welcomes the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Horse this weekend with two cultural performances that showcase traditional Chinese music and dance. This year, Chinese New Year falls on Jan. 31.

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• The Victoria Chinese Students and Scholars Association at the University of Victoria, along with the Victoria Chinese Community Association, welcome the Year of the Horse with a celebration on Saturday.

The 2014 Chinese New Year Gala features both modern and traditional performances by Chinese community artists, societies, groups and individuals. Performances include dance, music, comedy, drama and magic. There will also be dancing demonstrations by other ethnic groups.

Pay parking is in effect, with evening rates at $2.50. Parking information and campus maps are at The university can be reached on B.C. Transit routes 26, 14 and 15.

The show is co-organized by the consulate-general of the People’s Republic of China, the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University.

Tickets are $10. The show is at

7 p.m. at the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium. Tickets are available in person, at the UVic ticket centre at 250-721-8480, or online at

• On Sunday, the Victoria Conservatory of Music holds A Harmonious Celebration, a colourful, family-friendly event filled with live music and dance.

“The event has been tremendously popular since it began three years ago,” said Jane Butler-McGregor, chief executive of the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

“It gives us tremendous joy to present this free event in honour of the Chinese community, who are an important part of the cultural fabric of the region.”

The program includes a traditional lion dance by the Wong Sheung Hung Fut Kung-Fu Club, a dance performance by the Victoria Chinese Culture Club Dancers, and traditional songs by the Victoria Society of Chinese Performing Arts.

The free, one-hour performance starts at 2:30 p.m. at the Alix Goolden Performance Hall,

907 Pandora Ave.

For more information, go to


Get close to nature with an expert guide


There are two opportunities to explore the outdoors with a seasoned naturalist as a guide on Saturday:

• A Winter Walk in Nature: Join guest naturalist Joe Percival on a wintry trail to reflect on the natural world. The walk takes place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park in Metchosin. Meet at the nature centre off Metchosin Road. Parking is available, but the park is also served by B.C. Transit routes 54 and 55.

• Winter Birds of Island View Beach: The park is one of the best places in the region to watch birds in the winter. Guest naturalist Geoffrey Newell will lead a quest to view hawks, owls, sea ducks, loons and more at this popular birding destination.

Dress warmly and bring binoculars.

The walk is recommended for people 12 and older and takes place between 9 and 11 a.m. at Island View Beach, Central Saanich. Meet at the grassy area next to the picnic shelter on Homathko Road, off Island View Road.

The walks are free. People are asked to arrive

10 minutes before the start of the program. Leave pets at home. For more information, go to


Literacy Week is full of fun


Family Literacy Week will see several activities at branches of the Greater Victoria Public Library.

• Lego building: For ages four and up. Playing as a family helps builds language and literacy skills, and with what better toy than Lego? Children can build Lego creations using the library’s Lego pieces during this drop-in session. Space is limited. No registration required.

The program runs

2:15 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Juan de Fuca branch,

1759 Island Hwy.

• Storytime on the trolley: For young children and their families (children under three must be accompanied by an adult). The 20-minute program features fun-filled stories, songs and rhymes, followed by a free 10-minute trolley ride. No registration required.

There are two program times: 1:30 to 2 p.m. and 3:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The event takes place on a Langford trolley parked in front of the Goudy branch, 119-755 Goldstream Ave.

• Make your own felt story: For young children and their families (children under three must be accompanied by an adult). Join library staff for storytime and to make a simple felt story to take home. Supplies provided. Registration required.

The program runs

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday at the Oak Bay branch, 1442 Monterey Ave., and 10:30 to

11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Nellie McClung branch,

3950 Cedar Hill Rd.

• Make a cloth book with Heather: Adults can join in a two-part hands-on workshop to learn how to design and construct a unique cloth book that will make a delightful addition to any child’s library. Local artist Heather Cosidetto will supply basic materials, tools and provide instructions. Fabric scissors will be provided, or bring your own. Techniques include hand sewing, fabric glue, fusible web and machine sewing. The program is suitable for beginner, intermediate and expert crafters.

The event runs from

6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Juan de Fuca branch,

1759 Island Hwy.

Registration is required, and closes Monday at noon.

To register or for more information, go to or call any branch of the library.


Burns’s birthday marked


Celebrate the life of Robert Burns, Scotland’s favourite son. There are three public events to mark Burns’s birthday, which falls on Saturday.

• Craigdarroch Castle was built by Scotsman Robert Dunsmuir. Robbie Burns Day has been marked at the castle for at least a decade, attracting about 100 people.

Some people might think Saturday’s celebration, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., is a tad early. “It’s never too early for haggis,” said John Hughes, executive director of the castle.

He expects a strong contingent of people with Scottish ancestry to attend. There will be live music and a Highland dance demonstration at

11:50 a.m.

The haggis will be piped up the main staircase into the dance hall at noon with Jim Lang addressing the haggis by reciting Burns’s Ode to a Haggis. The event is included in regular admission to the castle.

Afterward, there is a whisky-tasting. The first tasting is sold out but organizers will hold a second event if enough people show interest.

For more information, go to

• There are a few tickets left for the Greater Victoria Police Pipe Band’s annual Robbie Burns Dinner on Saturday. This is the 11th year the band has hosted the event.

The dinner is a fundraiser for the band.

Organizers have ordered almost 50 kilograms of haggis, as well as roast beef and chicken. There will be whisky tasting and a silent auction.

Tickets are $55. Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner is at 6 at the Mary Winspear Community Cultural Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave., Sidney. See or call Ron Morgan at


• The Victoria Joint Scottish Council is inviting people to celebrate Robbie Burns Day with a short ceremony followed by a concert and tea. At 2 p.m. Sunday, at the Burns Statue in Beacon Hill Park, there will be a poetry reading and bagpipes.

At 2:30 p.m. there will be tea and a performance of Scottish music and entertainment in Kirk Hall at the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 680 Courtney St. Admission is by donation. For more details, go to


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