Victoria teens to get medal for environmental activism

Three Victoria residents are among 18 people from around B.C. announced as recipients of the province’s 2019 Medal of Good Citizenship in recognition of their commitment to helping others.

Victoria teens Charlotte Brady and Anastasia Castro have worked on environmental issues for years.

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Patricia Roy, who spent 40 years teaching history at the University of Victoria, has written extensively about B.C. history, including racism experienced by Chinese and Japanese people in the province.

Brady and Castrol joined the group Fin Free Victoria in 2012 as part of the effort to let people know about endangered shark populations and the push for regulating the sale of shark fins.

The pair spent hours gathering signatures and talking to the public, an effort that helped lead to the end of shark-fin sales at local restaurants. They also talked to federal politicians during the tabling of a bill that has led to Canada becoming the first G20 country to ban the import and export of shark fins.

Brady and Castro have taken on the issue of plastics in the ocean, as well. They made presentations to area municipal councils about banning plastic bags and spoke at schools.

They are currently working on a plan to rid all B.C. schools of single-use plastics.

Roy has published eight books, including a biography of Richard McBride, B.C. premier from 1903 to 1915, and a commissioned official history of the Royal B.C. Museum and Archives.

Her efforts have included extensive volunteering to promote interest in B.C. history.

She has been involved with several boards and was president of the Victoria Historical Society and the Friends of the B.C. Archives, and is both a past president and past honorary president of the B.C. Historical Federation.

Other Island recipients are Jack Hutton of Duncan and Courtenay’s Bruce Curtis.

Hutton was the first director of the Duncan Mental Health Centre and has been involved in establishing many nonprofit societies around youth and mental health support. His greatest legacy is Providence Farm, which uses horticulture as therapy for those with mental health issues.

Curtis has been involved with the Community Justice Centre for the Comox Valley since 1996, leading the centre’s team to resolve up to 150 cases annually.

Since 2007, Curtis has developed and led more than 30 projects focused on combating racism, hatred and homophobia. He is also behind the Campagnolo Lectures in Restorative Justice, which attract hundreds of people each year.

The citizenship medal was first given out in 2015 to honour people who make outstanding contributions to their communities while showing generosity, service and selflessness.

“Your inspiring contributions to the well-being of your communities inspire us all,” Premier John Horgan said in a statement. “The generous gifts of your time and support make a difference in people’s lives and help build a stronger province for everyone.”

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