Gnome homes pop up in View Royal

Plus, drowning death in Thetis Lake park

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Coastal Shores

Good morning!

Exciting news: we have found the source of the gnome homes! A local couple decided to create the decorations for View Royal pedestrians to enjoy. We’ve got the scoop on how this little project came to life in our top story today.


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Gnome homes pop up in View Royal

The original gnome home. Photo: Carmell and Tony Nesbitt

If you’re wandering through View Royal Park, there are a series of little treasures to spot along the way: gnome homes have started popping up, as a local couple began the trend in hopes of creating some community curiosity.

Carmell and Tony Nesbitt have lived in View Royal for 30 years, and have a house facing the park. In early May, View Royal decided to cut down all the dead trees, one of which was in direct view of the Nesbitt’s living room window. About a month of looking at tree stumps passed before Carmell told her husband she had an idea.

“I have a little garden in the back, and I have all kinds of little gnome doors and gnomes in my backyard in the garden. I said to my husband, ‘You know, I think I’d like to build a gnome house on that stump’,” says Carmell. “So I went out that day and bought a few gnome decorations and got my husband to measure the stump and build a roof and cut up square blocks for windows; we painted and got everything ready and then when it started getting dark that evening and all the dog walkers had left the park, my husband I and went down into the park with our decorations and his drill [and] proceeded to decorate the tree stump.”

The next day, the pair watched from their window to see just how interested the community was in the idea.

“We got up early the next morning, made our coffee and sat in the living room waiting to see what would happen,” says Carmell. “It was so fun to watch, people would stop and look and soon there would be a little crowd of people around it chatting and oftentimes kids riding on their bikes would stop and check it out too.”

The tree stump has brought a lot of joy to the community, with many in the community creating new forms of gnome homes around the area. The Nesbitts say they love to see the joy on the faces of passersby as they check out the creations, and are so glad the gnome homes have brought people together.

“I just like the fact that everyone's out there chatting and it makes them happy,” says Carmell. “You see, when they're out there, they're smiling and it gives them something to talk about and it is a positive thing.”


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Drowning death in Thetis Lake park

A woman, 49, drowned Saturday afternoon, West Shore RCMP told CHEK on Sunday, saying the area was closed that day so investigators and dive crews could work without interruption. Witnesses reported a woman going underwater and not resurfacing, according to an RCMP statement sent to CBC.

The CRD and RCMP had announced the area’s temporary closure around 6pm Saturday, and made an announcement on Aug. 14 that they had recovered the woman’s body from Prior Lake. Barriers and signs were set up around Prior Lake and McKenzie Creek Trail; both of which have now been reopened to the public.

Thetis had several near-deaths this summer

A woman received an award for saving two people from drowning in May, while a teen was seriously injured in a July cliff fall but survived. The park has had a number of drownings, and some serious or fatal cliff injuries, over the years.

High BC drowning numbers in recent years

There were 86 accidental drowning deaths in BC last year, according to a report last month from the BC Coroners Service. That was the second-most in a decade, behind 2020’s 87, and 10 higher than the decade average. The Island had 18 of those, including six on the Cowichan River. Most of BC’s 2022 victims were male (78%), with people aged 19-29 accounting for a plurality (21%).

Around the 'Shore

🧭 Langford wants Google to choose an alternate traffic redirection in place of Finlayson Arm Road: The City of Langford is hoping Google will change the redirection route during rush hour when traffic backs up on the Trans-Canada Highway. With residents complaining that up to 2,000 vehicles will travel along the winding road, the city is worried for the safety of travellers and locals in the area. [CHEK]

🌡️ Heat wave warning in Greater Victoria: The province is warning those in the Westshore to stay cool as a heat wave with projected temperatures of low- to mid-30s approaches. With the heat comes amplified fire and drought risk, so the province is reminding people to stay safe and aware. [Capital Daily]

🏞️ Retirement isn’t always a walk in the park. The counsellors at Intertidal Counselling & Wellness help people to navigate later life. Book a free consultation today.*

💲 Lake-side condominiums set to be completed by fall: Langford Lake’s new Trailside will be hitting the market for pre-sale soon, offering one- and two-bedroom view homes. The new condominiums will give residents access to Ed Nixon Trail as they sit on the northwest side of Langford Lake. [Citified]

🩰 Ukrainian Shumka Dancers’ Nutcracker is unlike any Nutcracker you’ve seen! The Westshore readers save 20% off adult tickets. Promo code: Nut-Westshore at Royal and McPherson Theatres or 250-386-6121.*

*Sponsored Listing

Want to sponsor The Westshore newsletter? Get in touch.

Community Events

🎼 Ukulele for Beginners: Take the opportunity to try something new with a beginner’s ukulele class at the Edward Milne Community School this Aug. 16 to 18. From 2 to 3pm, join Katrina Kadoski and learn some tips to help you on your musical journey.

🪵 All Sooke Day Family Picnic: Join the Sooke Community Association for free live music, food trucks, a Laughing Loggers Show, and more at Fred Milne Park. From 8am to 6pm, locals can celebrate the All Sooke Day Family Picnic with friends and family on Aug. 19.

🏉 2023 Rugby Americas North Sevens: Get ready for The Rugby Americas North Sevens coming to Starlight Stadium this Aug. 19 and 20 and watch Canada compete to win the title. You won’t want to miss the chance to watch a match, as the tournament acts as a qualification event for the 2024 Paris Olympics and the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2024.

What’s Offshore?

No ships today!

Westshore Eats

The Westshore is getting its very own Tacofino location. The well-known Vancouver Island establishment known for its Baja, California-inspired bites, just announced it will be opening a location in Langford this fall. The location is set to open at the West Shore Town Centre in a 1,386-square-foot spot at East Gate Centre between Westshore Bicycles and Panago. Tacofino will release further details as confirmed.

📸 Snapped a photo you’d like to share? Send it with a caption and don’t forget to add where you live.

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