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June 8 - Apollo 8 astronaut killed in San Juan Islands plane crash

Plus: Rifflandia news and HarbourCats sports

Good morning !

Yesterday our region made international, but unfortunate, news: The astronaut who took the first colour photograph of Earth from space died in a plane crash in waters not far from here. More on that below.

We'll also tell you about last night's big baseball home opener, and catch up with the top-dog organizer of this year’s Canada Day main stage to discuss his primary project, the music fest Rifflandia.

Mark & Cam

Today’s approx. read time: 7 minutes

🌡️ Weather Forecast

Today: 🌤️ 22 / 12

Tomorrow: 🌤️ 20 / 11

Monday: 🌤️ 19 / 10


Famed astronaut killed in plane crash east of Victoria

Official 1967 NASA portrait of William Anders

A man who once flew through space, 384,400km from Earth, died while flying just 25km from Sidney yesterday afternoon. Apollo 8’s lunar module pilot William Anders, 90, was identified as the pilot of a vintage US Air Force plane that crashed between Orcas and Jones Islands. Anders had been an Air Force fighter pilot in the 1950s.

Approximate crash area marked with dot on Google satellite map

Video initially circulated on Friday showing a plane doing a loop but failing to pull out of the descent, crashing into the water, igniting, and sinking. The US Coast Guard responded shortly before 1pm.

Friends and family later publicly identified and mourned Anders, who had lived in San Juan County for the past three decades. 

Pilot took one of humanity’s most important photos 

In Dec. 1968, the Apollo 8 crew of three orbited the moon, becoming the first humans ever to do so. On Christmas Eve, Anders took a photo that gave the planet's residents the first colour image of their home from space: “Earthrise.”

1968 NASA photo of “Earthrise.” It's rotated on its side from the original shot by Anders

It’s been listed many times among the 10 most important photos ever taken, and credited with helping to fuel environmentalism in the mid-late 20th century.

“We set out to explore the moon and instead discovered the Earth,” Anders wrote on the flight’s 50-year anniversary in an essay describing a flight he feared he wouldn't survive, in a capsule the size of a bedroom.

“All of humanity appeared joined together on this glorious-but-fragile sphere,” he wrote. The trio scrambled for colour film after glimpsing Earth while taking moon-surface photos to scout sites for 1969's “one small step" Apollo 11 landing.

“Here was everything humans had been, everything we were, and everything we might become—and yet our home planet was physically insignificant in space.”

After NASA, Anders was the US chairman of the US-USSR exchange of technology for nuclear fission and fusion, the US ambassador to Norway, and later chairman and CEO of General Dynamics.

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Traffic disruptions and CCTV deployment downtown today. [3-5pm] A rally for Rafah scheduled to start 2pm on Legislature lawn.

43 years after she disappeared, the search continues for Vic’s Linda Pedersen. [VicPD]

Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


What to expect from Rifflandia ‘24: ‘An absolute feast’

Photo: Rifflandia Festival / Facebook

Rifflandia’s 2024 edition will land in Victoria Sept. 13-15, jamming live music, food, and fun into a single weekend—and nobody’s more excited than Rifflandia president and CEO Nick Blasko.

“We're doubling, if not tripling, down on this year,” said Blasko. “It will be an absolute feast.”

Rifflandia’s full artist lineup was released last week, with big names like TLC, Feist, and The Beaches. Blasko says booking a festival is never “a straight line,” with some bookings taking years to nail down and others getting booked closer to the festival date. But the main goal he and his team have in mind when selecting bands is diversity in genre, sound, and generation.

“We try and put together a lineup that truly has something for everyone,” says Blasko. “Whether they're stylistically different, whether they are from a different era, a different audience, all of these things—we love to orchestrate what we call ‘the tight turns’ in our programming.”

Their goal is for Rifflandia lineups to mirror the listening habits of the streaming era, where people can easily jump between genres and decades. It's an attribute that Blasko says sets Riff apart from other festivals.

With a new location designed to encourage exploration around the festival’s site, 2024 marks a turning point for Victoria’s biggest fest.

Find out what to expect by reading Robyn Bell’s full story here.


Baseball’s back: HarbourCats kick off home portion of season

A crowd of 3K+ takes in last night’s HarbourCats season opener at RAP. Photo: Mark Brennae / Capital Daily

Victoria fell 3-2 in 12 innings to Wenatchee but the home opener—played before a sundrenched crowd of 3,123—may have offered a HarbourCats harbinger of what fans will see in the remaining 31 games on tap at Royal Athletic Park (RAP).

It came in the top of the eighth inning when Lucas Ramirez, son of 12-time all-star and two-time World Series champion Manny Ramirez, made a marvelous diving catch to rob the AppleSox of an extra-base hit. I mean, it was outstretched and outstanding.

Ramirez—whose swing looks an awful lot like his pops’—is known for his bat, so flashing the leather the way he did could make for some exciting times this summer down at RAP.

Sporting a Blue Jays cap, Ramirez Sr. and his wife Juliana sat in aisle seats behind the plate, drawing a steady stream of autograph seekers and welcomers to the couple who had just arrived from Florida. “There isn’t a hat, glove or ticket that [Manny] didn’t sign,” Jim Swanson, HarbourCats managing partner tells Capital Daily. “And he had to have taken hundreds of photos.”

The former Red Sox slugger and his spouse plan to stay in town all season to watch Lucas and bother Manny Jr., patrol the ‘Cats outfield. While it may be a herculean task to come close to last season’s ridiculous 27-2 home record, the HarbourCats (4-3) will be competitive as always—and very interesting with the Ramirez connection. 

The ‘Cats—who last night sported their sharp new Expos-esque uniforms—host the AppleSox (6-1) again tonight at 6:30 in the first of four games to feature fireworks.  

For more on the local team, its history, and what goes into putting on these season-kickoff events, revisit our look behind the scenes of last year’s home opener in pictures.

⭐️ Capital Picks

🍦 Hidden Gem Ice Cream truck is reopening for the summer beginning today.

🍩 OSO Cookies & Donuts opens in the Bay Centre today, selling baked goods and coffee on the fourth-floor food terrace.

😋 Carnivorous plants in Strathcona Park. [Photos]

🧵 The Tangled Web I've Weaved a retelling of the Odyssey at the Belfry, from the perspective of the waiting Pia. Today. 2pm.

🗞️ In Other News

Accused cited self-defence in fatal 2022 stabbing outside bar 
In a 911 call played at the trial of Mohamed Omar, 29, he says he stabbed John Dickinson, 30, outside Lucky on Yates—but says it was because Dickinson tried to fight him. [CHEK]

Did anyone lose a wedding ring in Tofino?
A visitor found one near the access path to Cox Bay Beach on May 18. The RCMP hope the rightful owner will call them at 250-725-3242 (quote file 2024-653) and correctly describe it. [RCMP]

Private island for sale cheaper than average Victoria home
Clamshell Island, in Salt Spring’s Long Harbour, could be yours for $845K—a deal compared with Victoria’s average home cost of $845.9K. The island comes with 360-degree views and is close to Salt Spring’s ferry terminal, with a partially built home for a new owner to finish. [Daily Hive]

🗓️ Things to do

🥳 Cook Street Block Party: The Cook Street Village Business Association and CCGF Events present the 5th annual Village Block Party to celebrate the Cook Street Village and the Fairfield Neighbourhood community. Tomorrow. 10am-6pm. [Info]

🎈 Vic West Fest: This family-friendly community festival features live music, artisan vendors, a kids zone, and a dog show. Today. Vic West Community Centre and Banfield Park. 12-6pm. [Info]

🎉 Mabuhay!: This festival celebrating Philippine culture will include food, music, dances, and vendors. Centennial Square. Today. 11am-6pm. Today & tomorrow. [Info]

🎨 Gathered Landscapes: A group exhibition by Barbra Edwards, Diane MacDonald, and Dave Skilling, each employing different tools and materials. Fortune Gallery. Today-June 22. 1-4pm. [Info]

🎵 The Seaside Music Festival: This fest takes over Victoria, Sidney, and Salt Spring. Various venues. Today. [Info] Stephanie Cadman and Porch Couch perform during the festival today at Hermann’s Jazz Club. Doors 5:30pm. Show 7pm.

📚 Summer Book Sale: St. Mary’s Churchmouse Books celebrates all things green. St. Mary The Virgin Anglican Church. Today. 10am-2pm. [Info]

🎊 Esquimalt Neighbourhood Party: This family-friendly block party at Esquimalt Rec Centre features performers, a bouncy castle, face painting, and a kids’ market. Today. 11am-2pm. [Info]  

🎸 Battle of The Dad Bands: Watch bands battle it out in support of Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock at Capital Ballroom. Today. Doors 7pm. Show 8pm. [Info]

🎶 Colwood’s Music in the Park: CourtLand will perform at Royal Bay Commons and food vendors will be available. Today. 5:30-7:30pm. [Info] 

💃 Passion and Performance: The dance company presents its annual spring showcase featuring dancing, drag, and chair dancing. McPherson Playhouse. Today. 6:30pm. [Info]

🎵 Music in the Park: Mostly Motown will perform at Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park. Today. 1:30-3:30pm. [Info]

👀 In Case You Missed It

Friday’s headlines: Radio host Dylan Willows dies at 44; CTV, CFAX, Virgin FM leaving downtown studio; Seniors facing affordability challenges; And more. [June 7]

CRD’s biosolids plan is beset with issues. [Capital Daily

Old-growth update misses the mark, critics say. [Capital Daily]

Summer camp/recreation registration. [City of Victoria]

Paula Abdul coming to Victoria on Sep. 25 for the start of her Straight Up! to Canada tour. [Tickets

GoByBike Week: Opt to cycle this week and beyond. 

Ocean Week pics from Cecile Brisebois Guillemot

Ross Bay beach mat is here for the season, allowing for increased accessibility on the rocky beach. 

Temporary park area closures at Witty’s Lagoon and Devonian this month for herbicide treatments.

That’s it!

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