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  • Mon. May 22 - How local teams fight oil spills in Island waters

Mon. May 22 - How local teams fight oil spills in Island waters

Plus: Esquimalt makes world's best vermouth. Local mothers start early-childhood app.

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Good morning !

Today’s downtown floats will present and celebrate all sorts of local organizations and people. Today in the newsletter we’re also highlighting the impressive work of a few locals.

First up: Our latest photo story covers on-the-water training runs by the specialized teams that deal with oil spills in Island waters. This preparation work may not be as urgent and publicly visible as the response is when an active spill strikes, but it’s these days and years of sharpening processes that get these Islanders ready for when the time comes.

Below we also have stories about an Esquimalt couple making the world’s best vermouth and two local mothers trying to advance early childhood development by using tech.

Do you know a person or group doing good and interesting work in the region? Email us and tell us about them!

Cam Welch


Behind the scenes with the Island’s oil spill response teams

The Race Sentinel crew runs through a Geographic Response Strategies (GRS) verification and boom laying exercise. James MacDonald / Capital Daily

Carving a white trail across the water’s surface, a Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) landing craft tears off towards Race Rocks located off the Island’s southern tip.

Founded in 1976 as Canada’s first spill response organization, WCMRC is responsible for huge swaths of BC’s 27,000km coastline. It has been responding to oil spill emergencies and spills for close to five decades; it averages 20 call responses per year.

This time it’s a practice and training deployment for the crew at Beecher Bay, at the newest of the four bases spread around the Island.

Photojournalist James MacDonald follows the action as they run through tasks such as boom deployment and verification of sensitive and important sites along the south coast of the Island.

Capital Bulletin

🌤️ Today’s weather: Mainly cloudy with 30% showers in morning. Clearing in afternoon. Wind mostly light. High 16C / low 9C. High UV.

🌤️ This week’s weather: Cloudy and 15C tomorrow but mostly clear and around 20C later this

🥁 Victoria Day Parade: The annual parade will go from Douglas and Finlayson to Douglas and Courtney, beginning at 9am.


Esquimalt vermouths named best in world

Quinn and Michaela Palmer in their Esquimalt warehouse. Photo: Ryan Hook / Tasting Victoria

Behind a warehouse on Devonshire Road in an industrial park in Esquimalt—inside an even smaller warehouse—Quinn and Michela Palmer work day in and day out to make the world’s best vermouth. Literally.

This month their small-scale craft producer, Esquimalt Vermouth & Aperitifs, won World’s Best Dry Vermouth and World’s Best Semi-Sweet Vermouth at the 2023 World Vermouth Awards in London, UK. They are the first non-European vermouth producers to win World’s Best in the history of the competition.

This is just the latest international award win for the locals, who set out to compete with the best makers alive and within a few years have reached the same tier as those time-honoured masters.

Tasting Victoria talked to the Palmers about how they make such celebrated spirits—and about what vermouth even is, exactly.


Local mothers make app for early childhood learning

Earlybird co founders Sarah Hunter (left) and Renée Jordan (right)

Sarah Hunter and Renée Jordan built the app that they wished they had in the “totally unregulated” years before their kids began K-12 school. With Jordan’s curriculum design and Hunter’s business acumen, they started Earlybird. It was initially only a web-based activity library, but they later launched an app intended to be more convenient for the parents using it.

What their app offers compared to daycares, they say, is more ability to measure and track how well kids are learning foundational and developmental skills.

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Capital Picks

🎉 Victoria’s longest-running parade features marching bands, floats, and cultural performances today. Musicians, businesses, and nonprofits gather to celebrate the diversity of cultures in Victoria. Following the parade (9am start), activities are at Centennial Square (11:30am-4:30pm). Livestream here.

😌 Often we put others’ needs ahead of our own. Intertidal Counselling & Wellness, is here to help you learn to prioritize yourself. Book your consultation now.*

🚶 Victoria Day Douglas Mile: Walk or run down Douglas Monday before the parade begins. Awards for the three fastest racers. Refreshments after the event. Begins 8:45am / bib pick-up begins 8am. Fundraiser for Parkinson Wellness Projects.

🎈 Canvas Family Fest: Free at Veterans Memorial Park, 11am-3pm, inflatables, face painting, games, and burgers and hot dogs.

*Sponsored Listing

In Other News

🔥 Alleged arsonists arrested after biggest burl burns 
Port McNeill’s “World’s Largest Burl,” a 30-tonne piece of a half-millennium-old tree, was damaged by fire this week. RCMP now say two suspects are in custody following tips from the public.

🏌️UVic men tie for fourth at US-based national golf championships
The Vikes tapered off on the tourney’s final day, finishing +16 overall, but matched their best-ever performance from 2011. Robin Conlan shot -3, landing tied for fifth and being named all-tournament. [Vikes]

⛺ Topaz Park campers fenced in on Thursday, then un-fenced on Friday
The city has cited the Highland Games for some of the recent Topaz relocations, though some neighbours attribute one sweep to a mayor-MLA photo op nearby. Meanwhile, some tenters argue it was bad optics to fence them in “like cattle.” [Times Colonist]


Experience full-flavoured opera

The opera tasting menu of a lifetime!

Book your seats to Pacific Opera's 23/24 Season: deliciously epic Die Walküre (Wagner), spicy flamenco-fusion Ainadamar (Golijov), and scrumptious The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart)—3 shows for $72!

In Case You Missed It

✈️ Initial report on Island plane’s Australia crash: Investigators say the firefighting tanker from Alberni-based Coulson Aviation hit a ridgeline just before its fiery but nonfatal Feb. crash. [Capital Daily]

〰️ On the Westshore: The latest news on MLA byelection contenders, aerial sprays over View Royal, a new playground in Colwood, and more! Subscribe to The Westshore newsletter to get the next edition tomorrow morning.

🚒 Major blaze at Comox gas station: A car hit a fuel pump on Sat., fire officials believe. [CHEK]

🍺 BC failing own alcohol health policies: A UVic-led report gave BC F grades and recommended several changes. [Capital Daily]

👩‍👧‍👦 Island mothers: Last weekend we rounded up Capital Daily articles that feature the lives of Island mothers and grandmothers.

🍴 Your digital pocket guide to the city’s must-try spots: From the best new restaurant to the best hidden gem, download your guide to the winners of this year’s Tasting Victoria Best Restaurant Awards, presented by Gordon Food Service.

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