Aug 22 - Saanich mural promotes safer roads

17 marmots born. Butchart cancels fireworks. Land returned to WSANEC Nation.

Good morning !

Today we’re looking at an updated road mural in Saanich that could promote safer driving. Plus, 17 marmot pups were born at a breeding facility in Alberta—they’ll eventually make their way to the Island where they’ll be released into the wild. I’ve never seen a marmot in real life, but I always keep my eyes peeled for the cute little ground squirrels whenever I’m hiking up-Island—hopefully continued conservation work will make them a more common sight someday!


Have you ever seen a marmot in the wild?

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Today’s approx. read time: 5 minutes

🌡️ Weather Forecast

Today:⛅ 20 / 13

Tomorrow: 🌦️ 22 / 11

Thursday: ☀️ 23 / 12

🌫️ Air quality: Low risk today (2/10). No smoke expected.

🚘️ Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


They painted it for beauty, but hope it also brings safety

Photo: Greater Victoria Placemaking Network

More than 30 volunteers with the Falaise Community Association, repainted and expanded a road mural on Falaise Crescent on Sunday, touching up some of the faded colours and adding some light purple camas as an ode to flowers that bloom in a neighbouring Saanich park.

It’s no flowery idea to think calming road murals can lead to calmer driving. A study by Bloomberg Philanthropies found road safety goes up when paint is laid down.

It found a 50% decrease in the rate of collisions involving pedestrians on muralled American roadways, and that drivers were more likely to yield to pedestrians—and pedestrians were less likely to cross against the walk signal—on roads beautified with paint.

It also looks cool.

To Teale Phelps Bondaroff, a Saanich councillor and volunteer with the Placemaking Network which supported the project, street murals are more than coloured asphalt.

“They beautify streets, build community, and improve road safety,” he says.

“The other hope,” Stuart Macpherson, president of the Falaise Community Association told Capital Daily “was that motorists driving by would slow down because we’re right outside the entrance to the playground in Falaise Park.”

Macpherson says despite a posted 30km sign, a lot of motorists—generally not residents, moreso delivery drivers, he says—go too fast.

“Certainly people who live on that street are really concerned about cars speeding, particularly there because that's where the park is, and that's where the playground is, where there’s toddlers and kids.”

Phelps Bondaroff is a proponent of using paint to calm traffic. On his personal website he says the “bright colours and designs of a road mural draw and focus the attention of drivers to the road and their surroundings, and also serve to remind them that there are people around.”

Slapping down some paint is also cheaper than the usual methods of slowing traffic.

Phelps Bondaroff points to the Traffic Calming Guide for Toronto which pegs the cost of installing speed bumps at $1K-$5K, chicanes at $15K-$50K and curb extensions at $50K-$100K

The City of Victoria has street-painting guidelines—and tips—in place.

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Butchart Gardens cancelled fireworks show due to wildfires Sat. Whether upcoming shows will continue has yet to be confirmed.

Mill Hill park’s parking lot closed to public today for prep and paving.


Island marmot pups welcomed at Alberta breeding centre

The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo are excited to have six successful litters of Vancouver Island Marmots born this year, totalling 17 new pups.

This is the first year the team welcomed the new pups within the new Archibald Biodiversity Centre, located southeast of Strathmore, which opened in June 2022.

According to Michelle Benzen, an animal care specialist with the Wilder Institute, the 2023 breeding season has been one of the team’s most successful for their marmots.

“We have had years in the low 20’s so not our biggest producing year, but it is certainly a very successful one,” said Benzen. “The size of the litters and how many litters we get can range from year to year, and that can just be based on different factors, including how many pairs we have at the facility and how long-term those pairs are.”

The breeding program at the Archibald Biodiversity Centre is a very hands-off endeavour. The marmots are largely left to their own devices to breed in order to encourage natural behaviours and activity.

This is to, as much as possible, preserve the ability to later release the animals back into the wild on Vancouver Island.

Belfry Theatre

Kat Sandler's comedy, Yaga, opens September 14

Yaga is a comedy, a mystery, a celebration of feminine power, and a dazzling theatrical treat. This production is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between Indigenous and Ukrainian artists - a celebration of two unique worlds and cultures. Get your Pay-What-You-Want tickets here.

⭐️ Capital Picks

🧋 Try some ice cream to help deal with hot summer days. Tasting Victoria rounded up some of the best local options for the cool treat. Or grab one of the city’s most refreshing drinks.

💻 Tired of sneaky internet providers with confusing contracts and surprise price hikes? oxio's got your back with transparent pricing, no term contracts, and a free month using code CAPITALDAILY.*

🖌️ 50-artist outdoor graffiti jam in Esquimalt: From now until the Sept. 4 finale, artists will be sprucing up the Trackside Art Gallery with large murals painted on warehouses along the E&N Rail Trail. [Vic News]

🆓 Free services at RAP today for those experiencing poverty: More than 40 service providers, including medical and foot care, ID replacement, haircuts, veterinary help, and more are on hand today for Project Reconnect 2023. Royal Athletic Park. 11am-2:30pm.

🌏 Sing for a change! Make a positive difference for the planet and its people through song. West Coast Reach's inclusive choirs are accepting new members. Get more info or email [email protected] / call 250-882-4339.*

*Sponsored Listing

🗞️ In Other News

Land parcel returned to W̱SÁNEĆ in Friday ceremony: W̱SÁNEĆ Nation received 19ha of land in Saanichton from an Island family who have owned it since the 1980s, using it mainly for farming, marking Canada’s first land donation to Indigenous people through the Ecological Gifts Program. The land was historically used by the W̱SÁNEĆ people to collect important food and medicine.

Parklets pop up in three downtown locations: The former Humboldt Plaza ping pong table is at one of them—in Centennial Square. The other new parklets—on Broad and at Ship Point—also will have turf lawns, Adirondack seating, and planters for people to sit and relax in the downtown core.

Lost bunny toy found in Oak Bay reunited with owner in Australia: Gareth Gaudin found a well-loved stuffed bunny on Willows Beach and, after posting photos on social media, was able to track down the Australian family who left it behind. Their daughter, 2, was soon reunited with “Flopsy” at their home in Sydney. [CTV] In 2020, Capital Daily covered the similar story of a Wise Island resident who returned a doll that had floated 50km+ from the mainland.

🗓️ Things to do

🪩 Disco today as Tight Hair plays in Rudd Park as part of Saanich’s Music in the Park series.

🎻 Music on the Green: Cellist Brian Yoon will perform today on Pandora Green, alongside performances from singer Hoelune Rose and poet Jezreel.

⛏️ Tanya Bub at The Gage Gallery: The sculptor’s exhibition The Greatest Show on Earth opens today and is on show until Sep. 10.

🪈 Caravan World Rhythms at Hermann’s Upstairs: The Melon Jimenez and Lara Wong Flamenco Ensemble will perform tonight. Doors 6pm, show 7:30-10pm.

🎙️ A Night of Folk Music and Storytelling: Sofia Miller, Fond, Trevor Lang, Kendall Lujan, and Amos Heart will perform at the Victoria Event Centre tonight. Doors 7:30pm, show 8pm.

🎤 Memorial Park Music Fest: Enjoy some live music and be prepared to dance today at Memorial Park, 6-7:30pm.

👀 In Case You Missed It

Plant-based dip business calls it quits: Justo’s had been a staple at farmers markets across the South Island. [Tasting Victoria]

Monday’s headlines: Canada’s rugby women win Olympic spot, wildfires and travel restrictions, Nanaimo hammer thrower wins world gold, and more. [Aug. 21]

Willows Beach not safe for swimming after testing showed high bacteria levels, District of Oak Bay says.

Sailings reduced on Tsawwassen to Duke Point route following Coastal Renaissance’s removal due to a mechanical issue that could take weeks to fix.

That’s it!

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