Our Community: Exhibit celebrates how far we've come

Members of the India Canada Cultural Association of Victoria unveiled an exhibit on Thursday to help people understand intolerance the past so that they can be vigilant to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The Echoes of Courage: Komagata Maru exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of Canada turning away a ship carrying 376 hopeful migrants from India.

A century ago, the Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver harbour with passengers from India holding British passports, looking for a better life. They didn’t find a warm welcome waiting for them — they were not allowed off the boat. After two months stuck on board, the ship returned to India, becoming the first migrant-carrying ship to be turned away from Canadian shores.

article continues below

A century later, members of the Indo-Canadian community gathered in the lobby of Saanich Commonwealth Centre not so much to dredge up the past, but to commend Canada for how far it has come.

“I feel so proud to call Canada my home,” said Gordy Dodd, local businessman and president of the India Canada Cultural Association. “It is a welcoming and tolerant country today. This exhibit will help people understand what happened in the past and ensure this type of intolerance never happens again.”

Awareness around the injustice to the ship’s passengers gave rise to changes in Canada’s immigration policy over time.

“How far we have come,” said Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard. “Now, all are welcome and accepted.”

The exhibit, which includes photographs a copy of a Canada Post stamp and archival maternal, is open to the public during normal opening hours until Thursday at the Saanich Commonwealth Centre, 4636 Elk Lake Dr. For more information on other events surrounding the anniversary, go to komagatamaru100.com.


Canstruction builds food bank’s reserves

In a week’s time, the Mustard Seed food bank’s shelves will groan under the weight of up to 25,000 cans of food, thanks to an innovative fundraising concept introduced by a new not-for-profit organization.

Christopher Mavrikos, founder and executive director of the Dahlia Society, a Victoria based not-for-profit organization that is introducing “Canstruction” to Victoria. The friendly competition features eight teams of 10 building a structure out of cans of food.

There is no limit to the number of cans a team can use to create their structure, except that it has to fit in a 10 by 10-foot space.

While the competitors have fun and the public gets to vote for their favourites, the biggest excitement is reserved for the end of the event, when three 5-ton moving vans deliver the building materials to the food bank.

“Typically, this is their quietest time of the year and the shelves are bare,” said Mavrikos, who has previously raised more than $150,000 for breast cancer research. “The donation means the food bank will have a core of staples to draw from for awhile. Money saved can be used to purchase fresh produce instead.”

Teams are expected to use up to 3,000 cans of food to construct their structures. Every team are required to have a designer and architect to ensure they are structurally stable. People can vote for the People’s Choice Award through a donation of either $2 or two non-perishable food items.

Once taken apart, all of the food used for the structures, in addition to cans donated throughout the event, will be donated to the Mustard Seed. Canstruction events are held annually in over 150 cities around the world.

The public can view the build process, which runs 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The structures will remain up until next Sunday at the Mayfair Shopping Centre, 3147 Douglas St.


Bateman to speak at hospital fundraiser

Robert Bateman is the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for a hospital in Africa on Thursday. An African Evening features an African dinner, crafts from that country, a raffle, auction and a presentation by Bateman.

The event is the main fundraiser of The Friends of Mengo Hospital Canada, a charity that raises money to support sustainable health care services at the hospital, located in Kampala, Uganda. Opened in 1897, it was the first western hospital in east Africa.

The charity was founded by Dr. Jim Sparling, a Victoria respirologist who has travelled to the hospital annually for the past 20 years.

While the hospital’s specialty is towards treating people with AIDS and tuberculosis, the charity also has provided funds for other initiatives including: a dental care laboratory, nutritional support for children, bursaries for nursing students, a microcredit loan program as well as funds to supply AIDS orphans with shoes, uniforms and school supplies.

Bateman has also donated a print of one of his paintings to be auctioned off to benefit the charitable group.

Tickets are $75 ($40 tax receipt). The event starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Pacific Fleet Club at CFB Esquimalt, 1587 Lyall St. For more information, go to mengofriends.ca or call 250-208-9452.


Workshops tackle home design

A quartet of workshops presented by The Associates of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria will likely inspire homeowners to roll up their sleeves to transform their homes into show homes.

The Let’s Talk Design workshops are a series of two-hour interactive presentations hosted by renowned home designers and experts in the field.

• West Coast Design Today features a panel of renowned designers discussing the evolution of the signature West Coast style, the idea of true sustainability and their personal sources of inspiration. The panel includes Meror Krayenhoff, an award-winning inventor; garden designer Bianca Bodley; local eco-designer JC Scott and reclaimed-wood furniture maker John Lore. Designer Ann Squires Ferguson will moderate the discussion.

The event starts at 7 p.m. Thursday.

• Smart Homes for Life is an informative session looking at how smart design, planning and building can result in a long-term home that offers a functional space that is beautiful, saves money, reduces the risk of injury at home and adapts to changing needs. The event features interior designer Jodi McKeown Foster and developer David Coulson.

The event starts at 7 p.m. Friday.

• The Cook and the Kitchen discussed how good design merges form and function in the kitchen. Leanne McKeachie, of Leanne McKeachie Design, and Dan Hayes, the chef and owner of The London Chef, will discuss movement within the kitchen, how to maximize efficiency, creative organizational solutions, current trends, and how to personalize a kitchen.

The event starts at 10 a.m. Saturday.

• Nest or Invest? Designer vs Realtor looks at whether our homes should be a financial investment or a reflection of our personal taste and lifestyle. Kyla Bidgood of Kyla Bidgood Interior Design and real estate agent Christina Stack, co-owner of OnlyHuman, will talk about the most-asked questions in renovations: Do you keep it pleasing to the masses, appeal to a future buyer, or do you cater to your personal taste and make it uniquely yours? The two will give people varying perspectives to ponder and as well as provide tips on how to design a home for both lifestyle and resale.

The event starts at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Proceeds from the event support art gallery exhibitions and programming.

Tickets are $20 per lecture. There are only 75 tickets are available for each presentation. A limited number of student tickets are available at $15. Get four lectures for the price of three if you purchase before Thursday. The workshops take place at the art gallery, 1040 Moss St. For more information, go to aggv.ca.


Boat for Hope aids special-needs kids

Run for your lives! Victoria is about to be overrun by an army of pint-sized pirates intent on a day of fun. On Saturday, 85 children who have special needs and their families set sail for a day of pirate-themed adventure and fun. Variety — The Children’s Charity’s annual Boat for Hope event, is made possible with the support of HMCS Malahat and local sponsors. Skippers ferry the new pirates around the Inner Harbour in a quest for treasure and then land to take in a carnival near the wharf.

The event gives children with mobility and developmental challenges with a unique experience in a safe ¶and unique environment.

“My whole family loves helping out with this event,” says Brett Soberg of Eagle Wing Tours. “It’s so great to be able to put a smile on someone’s face. Life suddenly simplifies and you really enjoy the moments that we often take for granted.”

Since its inception, Boat for Hope has raised $1.2 million for children with special needs.

Pharmasave is once again supporting Boat for Hope with its province-wide Scan and Donate program. To help Variety help children, please visit your local Pharmasave location or donate online at variety.bc.ca.


Casino night benefits Rotary

The Sidney by the Sea Rotary is holding their Monte Carlo gala fundraiser on Saturday. This is the fourth annual James Bond-themed fundraising evening with casino games such as blackjack, poker and roulette.

Unlike 007, people who belly up to the martini bar can have their drinks shaken or stirred. They can enjoy their cocktails to the music by three separate jazz ensembles or nibbling at the various food stations stocked with succulent local fare. Those inclined can also kick up their heels on the dance floor.

Those lucky at the tables can spend their winnings on more than 75 silent and live auction items donated by Sidney/North Saanich artists, retailers and professionals.

Tickets are $75. The event starts at 7 p.m. at the Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave. Sidney. For more information, go to sidneybythesearotary.ca/fundraiser.html.


Cancer society hosts Relay for Life

The Canadian Cancer Society is hosting two special Victoria Relay for Life events in June. People are invited to participate as an individual, a team or as a survivor.

On Saturday, the Fernwood Relay for Life takes place from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Victoria High School.

On June 13th, the overnight Relay for Life takes place from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next day at Westhills Stadium in Langford.

The money raised through both events goes to the Canadian Cancer Society and supports a variety of initiatives on Vancouver Island. Programs supported include the Vancouver Island Lodge, a transportation program in partnership with the Grand Lodge of the Freemasons of B.C., and CancerConnection a peer support program.

At both events there will be games, music, activities and special ceremonies to celebrate those who have beat cancer, remember those we have lost and a pledge to fight back against this terrible disease. The events start off with a celebratory first lap of cancer survivors.

To sign up or for more information, go to relaybc.ca.

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist


NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Times Colonist welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular

Find out what's happening in your community.