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  • May 12 - Victoria Borealis: Locals see rare night lights

May 12 - Victoria Borealis: Locals see rare night lights

The stories of Island mothers. Changes for Saanich Fair. More bylaws on bears & garbage?


Good morning !

Happy Mother's Day to my mum and to all the mothers and grandmas reading this. My thoughts also go out to any of you who are missing a late mother today.

We have a collection of stories below on Island mothers and grandmothers, but first a story on the talk of the town: this weekend's aurora.


Did you see the lights?

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Today’s approx. read time: 4 minutes

🌡️ Weather Forecast

Today: 🌤️ 21 / 8

Tomorrow: ☀️ 17 / 9

Tuesday: 🌤️ 19 / 10


Victoria Borealis: Locals get rare glimpse of green and purple night sky

Left: from Vic West by Ian Playfair. Right: by Juliane & Andrew Collard

A clear Friday night brought stunning colours and striking streaks above Victorians’ heads. This weekend’s Aurora Borealis is the result of the most significant solar storm in two decades.

The lights are typically less visible at our latitude and in denser (i.e. brighter) urban areas, but this recent show was easy to see even in downtown Victoria. And we were far from alone—the band of visibility stretched across Canada, as well as parts of the US and Eurasia.

The local lights were a striking sight (as seen on left via Sheri Eastman) but were even more intense in other areas (Quesnel on right via Mark Thomson)

What’s happening up there?

The US-based NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) issued an alert on Friday that multiple coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were observed on the sun. These are plasma and magnetic field explosions from the sun’s cornea, which reach Earth as geomagnetic radiation.

When these charged particles hit the atmosphere, they energize the gases up there. This emits light, in colours particular to the elements involved (primarily green for oxygen and red and blue for nitrogen). The Earth’s own magnetic field directs these interactions toward its poles—hence the Northern (and Southern) Lights. Fluctuations in the Earth’s field and the sun’s output, along with the planet’s movement, cause the lights to “dance” and shift.

This weekend’s storm hit the maximum rating of G5, which can interfere with electrical and satellite infrastructure. 

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Rain may fall tonight but this week should be most warm and sunny.

Keep cats indoors to protect wild animals babies born this spring, BC SPCA asks

Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


Our stories about Island mothers and grandmothers

Photos: Kat Mitchell, James MacDonald, and Zoe Ducklow

Over the past few years we’ve done many stories that cover the lives of Island mothers and grandmothers.

These stories cover connections with late mothers and with fellow grandmothers halfway across the world. They cover the ways local mothers care for their kids and the ways their kids care for them. They cover single mothers and those surrounded by four generations of family. They cover the joys and the challenges, the unique and the universal, and simply the reality of Islanders' lives and relationships.

If you'd like to share your own story of this Mother's Day or a past one, send it in and we will feature a few this week.


Awakening Chinatown is fun for all ages

Step into the vibrancy and resilience of Chinese heritage during the third annual Awakening Chinatown festival on May 26, from noon to 5:30 pm.

Presented by the Victoria Chinatown Museum (VCMS), this free festival celebrates Chinese Canadian heritage and community spirit, with dance, magic, opera, arts, crafts and more, all taking place in Victoria's historic Chinatown neighbourhood.

VCMS was formed in 2020 to honour the history, culture, and contribution of Chinese Canadians. The society launched the festival in 2022 as part of its mission to create broader awareness of the integral role Chinese culture plays in weaving the cultural fabric of Greater Victoria.

Awakening Chinatown thanks Lead Sponsor RBC, Dragon Sponsor Townline and Monkey Sponsors DVBA, Anthem Properties and Campbell Construction.

⭐️ Capital Picks

☕ Celebrate Mother’s Day with tea: Check out Tasting Victoria’s roundup of where to find afternoon tea across the city.

🥕 Local Grocer Day: Support local businesses and opt to shop from alternative grocers today. Find your local shop.

🌊 Explore maritime innovation's future with COAST's latest episode featuring Seaspan's Jennifer Busler. Listen to the full episode here for insights.*

 🌾 Making yards into meadows: Find out why locals are doing just that in this story from our archives.

💖 Show mom what she’s made of. A Dexa scan will give her a complete picture of her bone density, lean mass, and fat tissue and help identify health risks. Book now at Tall Tree Health.*

🤝 Now hiring: Bus driver at Victoria seniors travel and social group society

*Sponsored Listing

🗞️ In Other News

Saanich Fair adding beer and cider, and changing format for carnival rides
For the first time since its 1868 start, the peninsula’s end-of-August fair will serve beer and cider in a licenced bistro-style cafe. It will also get rid of fast passes for rides, but will give the midway an extra 2,300m² to space out patrons and add more entertainment. [Tasting Victoria]

Local municipalities pursuing bear-safety bylaws for garbage
What started with View Royal’s bear-proofing pilot project, in response to a habituated bear being killed, is expanding. The CRD just voted to write up bylaw guidelines that any local muni can adopt, while Langford just began looking at bylaw changes to target unsecured garbage. [CTV]

Sent back last month, Richardson 20-unit gets council approval on return
The rental was rejected after the developer removed affordable units but then made an abrupt (and not legally binding) promise to add four back in. Now, with two studio units at 5% below market median for 60 years, it passed 6-3. Dissenters were wary of setting a precedent that city staff’s advice (which was to deny the project) would be ignored. [Times Colonist]

Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival will not shift to Victoria after all
VI Paddling says an influx of sponsors will keep the event at home—but for one day (not two) and on a 200m (not 500m) course. The fest draws up to 1K paddlers and supports Nanaimo General’s oncology dept., but it hit money troubles this year after COVID grants dried up. [Nanaimo News Now]

🗓️ Things to do

🌸 Mother’s Day Flowers Event: Celebrate mums and plant sunflowers at Victoria Butterfly Gardens. Today. 10am-2pm.

🥞 Mother’s Day Brunch: Chow down on a buffet and seafood bar during this celebratory meal at Fathom. Today. 

🎙️ Shanna Dance: The singer will perform the music of Ella Fitzgerald at Hermann’s Jazz Club. Today. Doors 5:30pm, show 7pm.

☕ Mother’s Day Brunch: Enjoy a brunch to celebrate mums at The Courtney Room. Today. 7am-2pm.

🥂 Mother’s Day at Merridale Cider: Chow down on a farm-to-table brunch buffet or dinner at the cidery in Cowichan Valley. Today. 10:30-4pm and 4-8pm.

🎻 Being Robert Schumann Finale: Conductor Christian Kluxen will lead a performance of Brahms’ A German Requiem at the Royal Theatre. Today. 2:30pm.

🥞 Mother's Day Brunch: Enjoy a brunch buffet with an ocean view at Oak Bay Beach Hotel. Today. 10am, 10:30am, 1pm, and 1:30pm.

👀 In Case You Missed It

Emerson kicked out of Victoria again: The gregarious celebrity seal was relocated this week. [Sat. newsetter] Plus: Camosun students display Craigdarroch-inspired cabinetry projects in castle.

Stop for school crossing guards reminder. [RCMP video]

New live webcams at BC Ferries. [For minor routes]

Missing woman Gemina Mitchell, 26, of Westshore. [Photo/info]

Marine encounters: Kayakers got to hang with a pod of orcas in Oak Bay. [Photos]

Island beach named among best: San Josef Bay ranked 26th on The World's 50 Best Beaches - NA.

That’s it!

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