March 24 - 33 years missing

Islanders race to save beached orca. 5 new restaurants coming soon. Bear-proofing local bins. Algae warning.

Good morning !

Today we have two stories about Islanders attempting to protect animals: Orcas and bears. But first, a look at the anniversary of a high-profile child disappearance.


Have you had a bear near your home?

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Today’s approx. read time: 5 minutes

🌡️ Weather Forecast

Today: 🌤️ 13 / 7 

Tomorrow: 🌧️ 11 / 5

Tuesday: 🌧️ 11 / 5


33 years since Michael Dunahee vanished from local playground

Childhood photo / aged-up sketch from VicPD

The four-year-old disappeared on March 24, 1991, from Blanshard School playground in Victoria during a football game. His parents were close by and had only lost track of him for seconds. Police searched the area within half an hour, but little evidence of him was found. The case drew attention from across Canada, becoming one of the country's largest missing-person investigations.

The Amber alert that is used today to find missing children was developed with contribution from Michael’s mother Crystal Dunahee; she received the Order of BC in 2011. She said last year that she believes her son is still alive somewhere and will someday find the family, potentially by checking his geneology.

Victoria police released an aged-up sketch of him in 2021 (above), and say that hundreds of tips came in; this week they called again for public input. Today’s 5km Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run/walk continues annually in Esquimalt. It fundraises for Child Find BC.

In 2022 the podcast Island Crime ran a 10-episode series on Dunahee with new interviews with the family and investigators; the Capital Daily Podcast spoke to its host Laura Palmer about the story.

Many well-known disappearances and cold cases on Island

This disappearance is one of many in BC, which has the highest number of missing persons in Canada. Other high-profile Island criminal mysteries include the 2008 killing of Lindsay Buziak, the 2002 disappearance of Lisa Marie Young, and until last year the 2017 death of Richard Blair Young—which now has a suspect and charges.

Some Islanders have still been found after years missing. Brandon Cairney of Port Alberni re-emerged in fall 2022, with no desire to connect with his old life or family; he had disappeared in 2017 nearly a decade after a life-altering brain injury. This past winter, Melissa McDevitt’s body was found one year after she died while hiking in Sooke’s Sea to Sea Regional Park.

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Rain and cloud, with some sun, expected this week.

Blue-green algae bloom continues, 5 months after starting, at Beaver and Elk Lakes. [CRD safety update]

Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


Beached orca dies despite desperate rescue efforts

The mother whale ran aground on the Zeballos causeway in Ehattesaht territory on Saturday. As a calf swam nearby and the tide advanced, locals attempted to re-float the whale and tip it off of its side and keep its airway clear of the water [Global video]. They contacted the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans and received instructions, but were unable to save the whale.

The Marine Education and Research Society (MERS), based in Port McNeill, said that the mother whale was in an area in which the tide ebbs quickly and was likely hunting. A dead seal was found nearby, but there may have also been a health problem that contributed to the beaching.

Per MERS, it remains unconfirmed whether the whale was a transient orca (not an endangered Southern Resident), which individual whale it was, how old the calf is, and whether family members are nearby to help the calf.


5 new restaurants opening this spring

Photo: Sizzling Tandoor Instagram)

Spring is officially here, and not only can we expect to see flowers, trees and an abundance of animals come into our backyards really soon—we can also expect new restaurants to appear on the scene. As the local food industry hits its busy season, these newcomers are vying to become our go-to spots.

Here are five new restaurants you can check out this spring for brunch, seafood, drinks by the water, Indian fusion tapas, or some crispy late-night onion rings.


Need to talk?

Get support with anxiety, depression, anger management, grief and loss, sleep problems, managing stressful life events, and more.

Tall Tree’s clinical counsellors work as part of a complete mental health team to help you reach your goals. And if you’re not sure where to start, their mental health intake team can talk with you about your concerns and suggest which services might be best suited for you. 

⭐️ Capital Picks

🍲 Top 10 soups in Victoria: Spring may have gotten a warm start, but there are still plenty of chilly and rainy days left. Warm up with these soups. 

👟 Spring break activities on the Westshore for the whole family.

☘️ St. Patrick’s Day fun last weekend. [Photos]

🥃 Where is the best happy hour? Do you have a go-to spot? Vote for city’s best in the Tasting Victoria Awards.

🤝 Now hiring: Certified Dental Assistant at Peninsula Dental

🗞️ In Other News

Photo: West Shore RCMP

Impaired driver hit ‘Report Impaired Drivers’ sign, RCMP say
On Thurs. night a fast-moving Dodge Ram rammed into the View Royal sidewalk sign, a witness told RCMP, knocking off its licence plate. VicPD were radioed and stopped the truck further down Craigflower; they suspended its driver.

View Royal will fund bear-proof garbage bins after shooting
Council voted 4-2 for a 17-bin pilot project near Thetis in response to requests from a local teen and her mother. They were heartbroken that a mother bear had been killed nearby—just one of the record 603 shot dead by BC conservation officers last year. [Times Colonist]

Port Alberni baller plays in March Madness
Isaac Jack, 21, represented Dayton in the iconic NCAA hoops tournament for US colleges; the team made it to the second round. Jack played on the Island as a teen, but lost time on court to injury and the pandemic before heading to play in Ontario, Buffalo, and now Ohio. [CHEK]

🗓️ Things to do

🌸 Hanami Blossom Market: Shop handmade goods from local vendors  at Fernwood Community Centre. Today. 11am-4pm.

🚲 Critical Mass Ride in support of more cycling infrastructure in Oak Bay. Open to cyclists and rollers of all ages and abilities. Meet at the main southern entrance of UVic, corner Ring/University. Monday. 5-6pm. [Info]

Sea Songs and Shanties: La Nef will be joined by the Victoria Symphony for a performance of maritime music at the Royal Theatre. Today. 2:30pm.

🎥 Hey Viktor!: The winner of this year’s Victoria Film Festival Best Canadian First Feature award will be shown at The Vic Theatre. Shows: today 7:30pm, Tues., and Thurs.

🎵 Bach's St John Passion: Victoria Baroque will be joined by the choirs of Christ Church Cathedral and St John the Divine to perform Bach's oratorio at Christ Church Cathedral. Today. 2:30pm.

👀 In Case You Missed It

765 local homes to be built under BC affordability program, including an intergenerational complex at Luther Court and family and seniors’ housing at Chown Place. [Sat. newsletter]

Island’s film industry enters new era. [Capital Daily]

Princess Kate has cancer and is undergoing chemo, she says in new video.

Thursday news: Texas farmers sue CRD’s biosolids maker; 9 days in hospital hallway; mainland police investigating VicPD; and more. [Mar. 21]

No lotto luck for Island as BC’s first “gold ball” $58M prize goes to Richmond man.


That’s it!

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