Unveiling and grand opening of Centennial Square’s Spirit Square artwork

July 22, 2009 at 9:06 am (Community, public_art) ()

The City of Victoria invites residents to the grand opening, tomorrow at 11 am, of the new Spirit Square public art installation at Centennial Square next to City Hall.

The artworks are totem poles, “carved by Butch and Clarence Dick (Songhees Nation father and son) . The ceremony begins with dancers and drumming at 11 and the poles will be unveiled at about 11:20 a.m. with speeches and other entertainment to follow. We will also have a kid’s tent with facepainting and some yummy food. So please pass this on and try to attend.” (source: City of Victoria mail-out)

Spirit Square announcement


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Agency Research’s Green Action Survey

April 11, 2009 at 1:59 pm (Community) (, )

We recently received heads-up from Kim Nuernberger at Victoria-based Agency Research Consultants that they have a new Green Action Survey for Victoria residents to take. From Kim’s email:

We feel there is a need for the collection and dissemination of local opinions and local voices on topics of importance to our communities. In order to fill this need, and promote what we love to do, we have created a series of local issues surveys. The information gathered through these surveys is shared with our survey participants, members of the local media, and made accessible through our website at http://www.agencyresearch.ca. I can assure you that we are not funded to do this research and that the information we collect is for research purposes only. We follow all federal and provincial privacy regulations and protect the confidentiality of those who participate in our surveys.

Our latest survey is our Green Action Survey. This brief survey takes about 5 minutes to complete and explores local opinions and actions on the environment.

Since their research seems like a good way to help the community figure out our priorities and interests, we wanted to pass their information along and encourage users of MetroCascade and all Victoria residents to take a look at the site and perhaps take a survey.

(Posted by Yule)

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UVic hosts Environmental Justice workshop, 4/2/09

March 31, 2009 at 2:45 pm (Community, workshops) (, )

UVic’s Office of Community Based Research just sent this announcement:

Please spread the word through UVic and your community connections!!!

Everyone welcome!

Thursday April 2nd

Community Based Legal Research and Environmental Justice Workshop

9am-12noon @University of Victoria Cornett Building B108

Presenters: Dr. Stephanie Farquhar – Portland State University Fulbright Scholar and Calvin Sandborn, Legal Director of UVic’s Environmental Law Centre, http://www.elc.uvic.ca.

Learn about the environmental justice movement around the world and how universities like Portland State and the University of Victoria’s Law school students and faculty are engaged in community mobilization, research and legal support with community, environmental, and First Nations groups.

Share your own research ideas, questions and insights.

Everyone Welcome!!! – A great learning and networking opportunity

Register through the Office of Community Based Research at UVIC – ocbr@uvic.ca

Info: 250-472-4171. This workshop is free.

(posted by Yule)

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Do you live in Downtown Victoria?

March 29, 2009 at 9:58 am (Community, open house) (, , )

If you live downtown, you might want to join the Downtown Residents’ Association for a free special event, On The Front Lines: Community Solutions for Homelessness and Social Issues. Event is free, no pre-registration required, presented by the Victoria Downtown Residents’ Association.

When? Monday, March 30, 7 p.m – 9 p.m.

Where? City Hall Antechamber, Centennial Square (map)

What? A meeting for residents of Downtown/Harris Green to hear about some ground-breaking solutions for homelessness, crime, safety and other social issues that concern us all. We’ve gathered the experts who will be able to answer your questions. Join us for Silk Road Tea and snacks and an evening of informative discussion.

Introduction by Robert Randall, DRA
Victoria Police Department Chief Jamie Graham and Inspector Jamie Pearce on Downtown Security
Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe on the Mayor’s Task Force (link opens a PDF) and our homeless population
Jill Clement of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness on the Coalition, its goals and achievements
Ken Kelly of the Downtown Victoria Business Association on the Clean and Safe Team, Con Air and the Community Court Program

Question and answer session follows

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Dining out for life, March 12

March 9, 2009 at 8:55 pm (Community) ()

Via AIDS Vancouver Island / AVI:

On Thursday, March 12, 2009 thousands will fill their plates to fight AIDS.

Generous restaurants from across Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands will join the fight against AIDS by donating 25 percent of their food revenue from meals sold during this important event.

Also, Stella Artois will donate 1$ from every Stella sold in participating restaurants to AVI’s programs.

For a complete list of participating restaurants, please click here.

All money raised will go to AIDS Vancouver Island programs in your community.

If you aren’t able to join us but would like to make a donation, please click Donate Now!

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The Victoria Truth Centre celebrates anniversary

March 5, 2009 at 12:00 pm (Community)

The Victoria Truth Centre, 1201 Fort Street, is holding a 75th anniversary celebration at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 8th, open to the public. Victoria Truth Centre’s library of books and photographs reflect a rich history of Victoria and its peoples over the past 75 years.

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2009 Annual Regional Food Forum

March 3, 2009 at 10:52 am (Community) ()

This is coming up fast: March 13th. See Community Council, details posted in PDF here:

Friday March 13, 2009
2:00 – 7:00 pm

Burnside Gorge Community Centre
471 Cecelia Road, Victoria

Parking available at the old Burnside Elementary School on Jutland Avenue

Registration – $15 cash or cheque only

Subsidies available upon request

RSVP by Monday March 9th to info@communitycouncil.ca or tel. 250-383-6166

2:00 – 4:00pm

Simultaneous afternoon workshops (please RSVP for your choice in advance)

* Year round public markets in BC’s Capital Region

1. Plans for North Saanich
2. FoodRoots expansion
3. Possibilities for a downtown market

* Increasing access to food for households living on low income – two models of food distribution.
Brent Palmer, Mustard Seed Food Bank
* Hooking up! Potential in community-university partnerships on food issues


Welcome – Alice Finall, Mayor of North Saanich, on behalf of the CRD Board of Directors

Keynote speakers

* Tom Henry, Metchosin farmer and author
* Cheryl Bryce, traditional foods and land stewardship
* Diane Bernard, The Seaweed Lady


* Getting to know you – speed dating for Foodies and Friends – Bring your business cards!
* Highlights of regional food security happenings – Thanks for submitting your photos!
* Pot luck supper – We’ll provide the soup and salad; your favourite local dish adds to the flavour and fun
* 2009 Food Security Champions Awards – presentations by Lana Popham. Remember to submit your nominations by March 5th

Don’t forget to bring:

* A dish to share (optional), and
* Some business cards

There will be space for displays – contact info@communitycouncil.ca or 250-383-6166 if your group is interested so we know how many tables to set up.

Funding support provided through:
Financial support for this project provided by Vancouver Island Health Authority’s “Community Food Action Initiative” through ActNow BC – the government of BC’s investment in promoting healthy choices through a partnership-based, community-focused approach to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and reduce tobacco use.

(Aside: When will organizations and publishers and civic groups finally learn not to publish their information solely in PDF??)

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Local arts organization protest funding cuts

February 25, 2009 at 4:32 pm (Community) ()

Just received this emailed newsletter via Victoria Film Festival:

Arts Organizations Warn Against Provincial Budget Cuts

Victoria – Arts organizations are calling on the provincial government to reverse its decision to dramatically reduce support to the BC Arts Council.  Despite repeated recommendations from industry leaders and the Standing Committee on Finance, the government announced severe cuts in funding to the Council in the 2009 budget.

Finance Minister Colin Hansen referenced the importance of the Arts in his budget speech when he announced an immediate one-time investment of $15-million dollars, the details of which are still not entirely clear.

While it appears that this one time investment may maintain the 2009/10 BC Arts Council budget at the current level, the budget projections for the following years reduce funding for the Arts to less than 50% of the current level.

The concern in the arts sector is palpable”, notes David Shefsiek, President of ProArt Alliance of Greater Victoria.  “The long range projections suggest that despite a strong service plan from the Ministry, the Government still does not fully recognize the role the sector plays in the cultural and economic vitality of our region.  The funding levels simply do not match the plan. With this lack of investment, the stability of our Arts infrastructure will be threatened in communities large and small, and the province’s creative potential will not be realized.”

Funding the Arts is an investment. The Arts have proven to be a growth industry in British Columbia, growing at a faster pace than provincial GDP, contributing $5.2-billion to the provincial economy, and accounting for 117,000 jobs, according to Statistics Canada.  Arts organizations have proven themselves to be experts at leveraging provincial support into funding from other levels of government, private and corporate sources, and admission fees.  Funding to the Arts has proven to be a wise return on investment for the province over the years, producing tax revenue far greater than government investment; even if that $5.2-billion industry returns a conservative 7% in tax revenue, the province is receiving hundreds of millions of dollars for a small, but vital, outlay – amounting to one-twentieth of a cent for every dollar in the provincial budget.  A reduction in funding will ultimately contract Provincial tax revenues in far larger amounts than any immediate saving.

BC has the highest concentration of artists in the country.  Many of those artists live close to the poverty line: the average income for an artist in Canada is $22,700 – less than two-thirds the Canadian average.  A reduction in funding – especially in a recessionary period when other sources of revenue are in flux – will mean fewer performances, fewer concerts, fewer showings – and increased unemployment. “We hope that the government’s concern for families extends to the families of BC artists as well” comments Mary Desprez, General Manager of the Belfry Theatre.

And these artists do not live exclusively in the large urban centres.  Funding from the BC Arts Council supports artistic initiatives throughout the province, in centres large and small, and – as a recent study from the University of Northern BC proved – the Arts are just as important to people in rural areas as they are in the big cities.  In fact, stable funding is more vital in smaller areas that lack access to other sources found in large centres.

In this current economic climate, where other sources of income – from foundations, corporate and private giving – are eroding, this is not the time for the provincial government to be cutting back as well.  Arts organizations call on the government to live up to Minister Hansen’s own words in his budget speech: “The arts help to shape our vision of who we are. They bring to life the concept of culture, and — just as important — bring us together, entertain us, intrigue us, and challenge us intellectually.”

ProArt will continue to lead the discussion as the debate on this decision continues, and will encourage the public to take this opportunity to speak out in favour of a reversal of this decision.

For more information, contact:

Scott Walker
Coordinator, ProArt

The Professional Arts Alliance of Greater Victoria represents:

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria ♦ The Belfry Theatre ♦ Dance Victoria ♦ Intrepid Theatre ♦ Kaleidoscope Theatre ♦ Open Space ♦ Pacific Opera Victoria ♦ Story Theatre ♦ Theatre SKAM ♦ The Victoria Conservatory of Music ♦ The Victoria Film Festival ♦ The Victoria Jazz Society ♦ The Victoria Symphony

Some Facts About the Arts

Arts and culture make up an important sector in Canada’s economy, creating $84 billion dollars a year in direct and indirect output – 7.4% of this country’s GDP. – Valuing Culture: Measuring and Understanding Canada’s Creative Economy [The Conference Board of Canada, 2008]

British Columbia residents’ spending on culture is four times the amount spent by all levels of government.    – Hill Strategies 2005

On a per capita basis, British Columbia’s expenditure on culture ranks second-last among the provinces and territories. – Statistics Canada, Government Expenditures on Culture 2005-06

British Columbia has the highest concentration of artists of any province. – Hill Strategies 2007

The Arts have proven to have a positive impact on individual and community health, marginalized groups, youth at risk, and the elderly. – Arts and Culture in Medicine and Health [Cooley & Associates, Victoria, 2003]

Youth with high involvement in the Arts had significantly higher marks, lower drop out rates and lower reported boredom rates than those with low involvement in the arts. – Involvement in the Arts and Human Development: General Involvement and Intensive Involvement In Music and Theatre Arts [James S. Catterall et al, UCLA, 1999]

The tourism industry will need to attract 84,000 workers to meet the government’s goal of doubling tourism by 2015.  Attracting workers will have a significant impact on provincial GDP .  Culturally rich communities attract creative people; a highly creative workforce attracts business . – A Case For Investing in Arts, Culture and Heritage Infrastructure [Vis-à-vis Management Resources Inc., 2007] & The Rise of the Creative Class [Richard Florida, New York, 2002]

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Seedy Saturday Victoria

February 9, 2009 at 11:30 am (Community) (, )

Victoria’s 16th Annual Seedy Saturday takes place at the Victoria Conference Centre (720 Douglas St.) on February 21, from 10am to 4pm. Admission is $7 for adults, kids free.

Keynote presenters are: Frank Morton, early seed developer of salad greens, seed activist, and owner of Wild Garden Seeds in Oregon; and Thomas Hobbs, prestigious Vancouver florist and provocative plantsman.

There’ll be lots of local talent on hand as well – for example, be sure to look for Dayle Elizabeth Cosway and Tina Fraser-Baynes, who recently opened Terralicious Gardening and Cooking School at the Haliburton Organic Community Farm just off the Patricia Bay (“Pat Bay” for locals) Highway.

See the Seedy Saturday website (scroll down to Victoria) for more information.

– Yule Heibel

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Belfry Theatre’s Sinners Ball, tonight!

February 7, 2009 at 11:14 am (Community, theater) ()

This is coming up in just a few hours – not much time to get your costume, better hurry! The Belfry Theatre‘s 5th Annual Sinners Ball gets underway at 7pm, till…? Place: The Inn at Laurel Point, 680 Montreal Street.

Started in 2005, The Sinners’ Ball is a fundraising event for the Belfry – a big party with dancing, great food and some amazing performances, both on stage and off.

Like life there are two ways you can choose to go:

Hell ($66.60 + GST)
Hell features an enticing selection of fine food and a specialty cash bar with signature drinks. Hot dance music by Bryden Street House Party.

Heaven ($125.00 + GST)
Includes all of the sinful activities above plus entry into our very special lounge, Heaven, where you’ll be treated to a once in a lifetime performance by Jazz Diva Louise Rose. Guests in Heaven may move freely between Heaven and Hell. Guests in Hell may not. A tax receipt will be provided.

Dress – visit our website http://www.belfry.bc.ca for ideas. Prizes awarded for best costume. Please refrain from all-over body paint. Last year one of the drunken devils got out of hand and ended up with a big cleaning bill.

Please join us for this incredibly fun party in support of the Belfry. Tickets and details are available at the Box Office and the Inn at Laurel Point is offering rooms at a discounted rate.

Here’s a Flickr photo set of a previous Sinners Ball.

– Yule Heibel

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