Fri. May 19 - Victoria Day events all weekend long
Plus, 35 toxic drug deaths in April alone
Good morning !
The Victoria Day long weekend is here, and there is plenty to do in our city this weekend. We’ve got a full roundup of some of the top events happening over the next few days in the newsletter today—including the parade!
Will you be exploring the town this weekend?
153 toxic drug deaths on the Island in 2023
BC’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe/ Province of BC Flickr
April had 35 Island deaths, per the latest BC Coroners Service report, with the province seeing a total of 206—nearly seven deaths per day.
In January through April 2023, Central Vancouver Island saw the highest number of toxic drug deaths with 69, topping Island Health’s list for a second month in a row. It was followed by South Vancouver Island with 51 and North Vancouver Island with 33.
In the first four months of 2023, BC had 814 deaths—nearly as many as in all of 2016, when BC first declared a public health emergency. Since that April 2016 declaration, the crisis has caused more than 10,000 deaths in BC.
BC health areas with the highest number of deaths in 2022 included Greater Campbell River and Greater Nanaimo, alongside Vancouver-Centre, Terrace, and Princeton.
In 2022, 86% of all BC toxic drug deaths were linked to fentanyl. It’s currently the cause of 79% of these deaths in 2023. The amount of fentanyl found in unregulated drugs is typically unpredictable. In the CRD, the average concentration of fentanyl was 11% in April based on 99 samples, according to the most recent report from Substance Drug Testing UVic.
The BC Coroners Service points out in its report that there is no indication that safe supply services are connected to toxic drug deaths.
“This drug poisoning crisis is the direct result of an unregulated drug market,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner, in a release. “Members of our communities are dying because non-prescribed, non-pharmaceutical fentanyl is poisoning them on an unprecedented scale.”
In January, Island Health announced it was offering up to $1M in grants to fund projects that address the toxic drug crisis in BC.
☀️ Today’s weather: Sunny. High 22C / low 12C.
⛴️ BC Ferries pet rule change: Dogs on leashes and cats in carriers will now be allowed on the upper outside decks of select vessels on the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay and Comox-Powell River routes.
🦌 Injured deer saved: Oak Bay Fire rescued the deer Monday after it had been hit and trapped under a car.
Things to do this Victoria Day weekend
Photo: Greater Victoria Festival Society / Facebook
May long weekend is often considered the unofficial start of summer, and the warm weather that Victoria has been experiencing this week seems to confirm it. This weekend is packed with activities for everyone to enjoy. We have compiled a list of some of the best events taking place over the next few days.
Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival
The annual festival will run Saturday to Sunday at Topaz Park. The Highland Games will include the International Heavy Events Challenge and Canadian Invitational Drum Major Championship. Highland dancing competitions, as well as the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, fiddling, and Scottish country dancing are included in performances.
Luxton Spring Fair
Grounds admission is free to this Langford fair that runs Thursday to Sunday. Activities include carnival midway rides and vendor booths, and visitors can see antique farm equipment, the heritage museum, and Vancouver Island blacksmiths.
Victoria Day Douglas Mile
Walk or run down Douglas Monday before the Victoria Day parade begins. Awards will be given to the three fastest racers. Refreshments will be handed out after the event which starts at 8:45am, with bib pick-up beginning at 8am. The charity race is raising money for Parkinson Wellness Projects.
Victoria Day Parade
The annual parade will go from Douglas and Finlayson to Douglas and Courtney on Monday, beginning at 9am. The event will feature showings from bands, businesses, and non-profits. The parade will celebrate the diversity of Victoria’s cultures.
Canvas Family Fest
This free Victoria Day event at Veterans Memorial Park is perfect for families and children, Monday 11am-3pm. Festivities include inflatables, face painting, and games. Burgers and hot dogs will be available to eat.
SPONSORED BY PART AND PARCEL
Discover Victoria's best hidden gem
Victoria's best-kept secret, Part And Parcel was recently crowned as the city's ultimate hidden gem in Tasting Victoria's Restaurant Awards.
Nestled discreetly amidst Quadra Village and Hillside Road, this enchanting hole-in-the-wall captivates discerning palates with its extraordinary offerings. Experience a culinary revelation with their ever-changing dinner and lunch menus, showcasing the finest seasonal, local ingredients. Sip on low-intervention wines, savor creative cocktails, and indulge in a rotating selection of craft beer.
Reserve your table now. And write "Capital Daily" in the special requests when booking a reservation and receive a complimentary dessert!
*Offer expires June 18, 2023
🏉 BC Rugby senior women's game: The Island Blues will play the Mainland Golds at UVic’s Wallace Field on Saturday, 1pm.
💻 Dump your lousy internet provider and upgrade to oxio—the first provider you'll actually like! Say goodbye to shifty prices, long contracts, and terrible customer service.*
🎙️ Carmanah’s final show: Carmanah will be joined by Aidan Knight for their last performance at McPherson Playhouse on Saturday, 8pm. [Tickets]
🔍 The Belfry Theatre’s new season features Yaga, a dark comedy by Kat Sandler and the world premiere of Christine Quintana’s As Above. Tickets and information.*
🤝 Now hiring: Spa Manager at RITUAL Nordic Spa.
In Other News
🚨 Paddleboarder saves duo from drowning at Thetis Lake
The woman paddled out 40m to pull two people (one by his hair) out of the water after their floatie flipped. View Royal Fire Rescue is reiterating water safety warnings; neither person could swim or had a life jacket. [CTV /CFAX]
The popular Thetis has had several near-drownings and drownings in recent years. Meanwhile, Lake Cowichan officials are warning the public not to go river tubing this weekend due to the high waters and fast currents.
🏢 Thrift store closed due to RidgeView Place evacuations reopens in Langford City Hall
Saint Vincent de Paul has temporarily relocated to Langford City Hall after asking for the city’s help following its closure April 26. The evacuation of RidgeView Place residents prompted concerns over the safety of occupying the old location. [Times Colonist]
🔥 World’s largest burl catches fire in Port McNeill
Port McNeill Fire Rescue fought the fire, which started Wednesday night, until Thursday morning. Its cause is unknown and under investigation. The burl has been a major Island landmark since the 1970s.
Aerial sprays have started in Esquimalt and View Royal
This week, the Ministry of Forests began aerial spray treatments to eradicate spongy moths in Esquimalt, View Royal, and Colwood, as well as Campbell River, Port Alberni, and Courtenay. The second of the three planned treatments will take place over the long weekend in many of these areas.
The treatment is a biological insecticide called Foray 48B. It is used in organic farming. It contains the active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (BtK), which is naturally present in urban, agricultural, and forest soils throughout BC.
The spongy caterpillars feed on the leaves of more than 300 species of trees and shrubs and can damage forests, farms, and orchards. The risk posed by these moths is that they will defoliate forests and residential areas.
The sprays will cover 381 hectares in View Royal, 267 hectares in Esquimalt, and 341 hectares in Belmont (Colwood), and will take place over residential, commercial, federal, and public lands.
More on the aerial spray treatments in The Westshore.
Also in The Westshore this week, a Colwood school in the Sooke School District will receive $195,000 in funding from the province to install an accessible playground.
SPONSORED BY BAY CENTRE
Quazar’s Pop-up Arcade now open at the Bay Centre
Quazar’s Arcade has brought back the 80s and 90s to the Bay Centre! On now until Jul. 4, find fan favourites such as Space Invaders Frenzy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mario Bros, Ms Pac-Man, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Final Fight, and Arkanoid.
In Case You Missed It
🚲 Island receives $10M for active transportation: Funding will provide the CRD with more bike lanes, pedestrian bridges, and trails.
🔥 BC fires: An open fire ban is now in place to prevent wildfires, while BC currently faces over 55 fires amid recent hot temperatures. Island firefighters are helping fight wildfires in Fort St. John.
🌟 The Nature of Now | An Evening with John Astin. Explore the nature of experience itself at this Tall Tree Health Speaker Series event, and learn simple, elegant practices for welcoming and embracing each moment.*
🌫️ Misting stations to pop up in Victoria: The stations will be constructed in 13 neighbourhoods to provide relief during heat waves. [Times Colonist]
💊 Victoria’s VitaminLab receives investment: The funding will allow the personalized supplement company to expand across North America.
💌 Find out what Oak Bay locals are talking about in our weekly newsletter, Oak Bay Local, with the latest news, events, and community spotlights. Subscribe today!
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