June 9 - How to help out local bats

7 summer menus to try. Strange sights of empty Victoria. Lots of weekend events.


Good morning !

What a weekend for events! I had a great time checking out Mabuhay! yesterday, and I'm looking forward to the Cook Street Block Party and Fernwood Art Walk today.

Info on those, and other local events, down below. But first: bats, a throwback, and summer food.


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Today’s approx. read time: 6 minutes

🌡️ Weather Forecast

Today: ☀️ 20 / 10 

Tomorrow: 🌤️ 21 / 10

Tuesday: 🌤️ 21 / 10


Bat Count calls for public's help this summer

Little Brown Myotis photographed on the Island. Photo: Shutterstock

No, the “Bat Count” doesn’t mean Dracula. It’s an annual tally that began last Saturday and invites humans to monitor the residents of a nearby roost.

Bats can congregate in barns, churches, and houses (abandoned or occupied)or, famously, the Metchosin Community Hall. As Capital Daily has covered, the hall is home to some 1,500 bats from different parts of BC. They fly to this and other maternal colonies every spring, bear pups there in the summer, and leave to hibernate in the fall. 

How to participate

At least once in the next two weeks, counters should observe a local bat roost around sunset and count the bats that emerge. Counting four times is ideal: twice between June 1 and 21, when mothers are flying out, and twice more between July 11 and August 5, when pups have also learned to fly. More details on how to do it.

Risk to local bats is high

The biggest threat to Island bats is white-nose syndrome (WNS), which wakes up infected bats during hibernation. It takes so much energy to clean off that they run out before spring and die.

WNS has devastated bat populations throughout the east and arrived in Washington in 2016, but has spared BC for years until last year when the fungus—though not WNS itself—was found in southeastern BC. That's a big part of why the public is encouraged to pay close attention to how nearby bats populations are doing. 

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Bacteria warnings for Elk Lake & Langford Lake. [Island Health]

Pacific FC 0, Wanderers 0 in Halifax yesterday. 

First home win of the season for HarbourCats. 9-6 over Wenatchee. 

Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


7 local summer menus worth tasting

As we inch closer to the official start of summer, great seasonal menus are cropping up across Victoria.

Here are a few beloved restaurants in and around the city that have added brand new items on their menus in celebration of warmer days ahead, available exclusively for this coming summer.

Check out Tasting Victoria for the list of tangy spritzes, fresh tomatoes, and cold desserts to beat the heat.


Empty Victoria: The strange sights of four years ago

The wave pool at Saanich Commonwealth Place, completely dry. Photos: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

It was four years ago last weekend that, just a couple of months into the pandemic shutdowns, Capital Daily published this photo essay by James MacDonald.

It looked inside the shuttered facilities around town during what should have been the midst of tourist season. With no cruise ships, the waterfront was sparse and pedicab repurposed themselves into delivery services. The story looked at dried-out public pools, eerily still museum halls, and theatres without audiences.

A month earlier, another photo story by James looked at the changes to everyday life: cordoned-off playgrounds, switchback lineups at stores, plastic over cashier desks, and handmade signs celebrating hospital workers. 

Not a soul seen on one of the Island's most-strolled stretches.

And a month before that, just weeks into the pandemic declaration, MacDonald’s camera captured even stranger sights: Some of the region’s busiest locations, from the Inner Harbour and Bastion Square to the airport, devoid of human activity.

That was visible on an even larger scale in drone videos from local company SkyScope, which filmed the emptied-out city from above

COVID down, but not out, in BC

This spring, life in Victoria has once again resembled the pre-COVID status quo—though the years of disruption have been cited by several businesses and events that have closed or paused in recent months.

The BC CDC now releases COVID-related stats once per month. Per the June 5 update, COVID has declined since winter but rose in May (in BC and in Canada overall) and has been stabilizing more recently. Last month (May 5 to June 1), 62 Islanders were in hospital with COVID, and 11 died. For BC, 439 in hospital and 80 deaths. 


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⭐️ Capital Picks

⭐ Slimy sea stars—on the rocks: Several stars spend time together in the sun at low tide in Nanaimo. [Facebook]

🥐 Crust Bakery announces cookbook featuring some of the bakery’s classics. Launches Sep. 24, available for pre-order.

🐻 A big, buff, beautiful bear gets its portrait taken in Shawnigan. [Jon Gugin photo]

🤝 Now hiring: Impact Investment Associate - Thrive Impact Fund at Scale Collaborative.

🗞️ In Other News

Greater Victoria unemployment rate inches up
The rate hit 4.7% in May, up from 4.5% in April. BC and federal rates are also up slightly. Statistics Canada’s report suggests the job market has softened as high interest rates affect consumers and businesses alike. Canadians are also stuck taking more part-time work due to a lack of full-time opportunities, with an 18.2% rate for involuntary part-timers, up from 15.4% last year. [Times Colonist]

Harbour Air plane collides with boat in Coal Harbour
The company cancelled remaining Saturday flights. The Vancouver crash, caught on video, left the plane occupants with only minor injuries, while multiple boaters’ condition were reportedly hospitalized. [City News]

Design changes could protect BC owls from dangerous heat
In addition to billions of marine animals, the 2021 heat dome also killed baby owls inside nest boxes. Those boxes weren’t designed for heat risk, but now larger and better-ventilated ones placed out of direct sunlight wilL be safer. [Hakai / Fraser Valley Current]


Register for Pacific Opera’s Auction and Gala

Pacific Opera Victoria presents For All to Hear: Signature Concert and Auction. Highlights include travel packages, exquisite gift baskets, stunning art, and romantic date night experiences. Whether attending in person or online, guests can bid on these exceptional items, supporting Pacific Opera’s mission to enhance public access to the arts.

🗓️ Things to do

 🖼 Fernwood Art Stroll continues today. Download the map here. 

🥳 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. Sun. June 9. 10-am-6pm. [Info]

🎉 Mabuhay!: This festival celebrating Phillipine culture at Centennial Square will include food, music, dances, and vendors. Today, 11am-5pm.

🎸 Chris Thile: The Grammy-winning singer and mandolinist will perform at McPherson Playhouse. Today. 7:30pm.

🎵 Music in the Park: KLEZCADIA Festival will have its finale show at Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park. Today. 5pm.

⚾️ Out to the ball game: HarbourCats conclude home-opening series today at 1pm at Royal Athletic. [Tickets]

🎹 Great American Songbook Trio: Pianist and vocalist Louise Rose will be joined by bassist Joey Smith and drummer Kelby MacNayr for a night of jazz age music at Hermann’s Jazz Club. Today. Doors 12pm. Show 1pm.

🏳️‍🌈 Nanaimo Pride Festival events today, including drag brunch, parade, short films, and more. [Info]

🌳 India Fest: Dance, music, and more at Beckwith Park. 11am-6pm. [Info]

🌊 World Ocean Day at Fisherman’s Wharf (11am-4pm) to wrap up Ocean Week Victoria, along with kelp floats and screenings of Send Kelp. [Schedule]

👀 In Case You Missed It

Famed astronaut dies in plane crash in San Juans; William Anders took iconic “Earthrise” photo during humans' first moon orbit. [Sat. newsletter]

What's up with Rifflandia: We talk to the organizer of the major local festival making major changes this year. [Capital Daily]

Photos behind the scenes at Royal Athletic. [Capital Daily]

Fall by-election in Cumberland: Coun. Jesse Ketler resigns after 10 years, citing work-life balance. 

Friday news: BC old growth plan update Radio host Dylan Willows dies at 44; Seniors facing affordability challenges. [June 7]

CRD’s biosolids plan has multiple problems. [Capital Daily

Carnivorous plants in Strathcona Park. [Photos]

That’s it!

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