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Little Libraries liven up communities across Greater Victoria

Plus, burned out: Pressures take a toll on wildfire fighters

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Good morning!

This summer has brought a lot of wildfires, and with those comes a lot of hard work and effort to keep the community safe. As droughts leave the Island at risk, firefighters across the community are burning out due to the unprecedented number of fires this season. Make sure to take the time to thank your local rescue team, as August is one of the driest and hottest months of the year.


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Little Libraries liven up communities across Greater Victoria

Images via Teale Phelps Bondaroff. Collaged by Jimmy Thomson in 2020

The number of little free libraries (LFLs) in Greater Victoria is growing just as quickly as the tomes themselves fly off the book-box shelves.

There are now officially 700—up from 400 in early 2021 and under 300 in early 2020—and even that 700 milestone has become outdated, with 18 more recently added.

With over 120 little free libraries between Esquimalt and Colwood, the Westshore has plenty of options, and that number doesn’t cover the seed and puzzle/game libraries. In 2018, Metchosin and Langford started to see more pop up around the area; the growth from 186 libraries in Greater Victoria to over 120 alone in the Westshore goes to show the popularity and importance of the project.

Greater Victoria now has the highest documented density of the pocket-sized book depositories in Canada.

So why are these little libraries so popular?

“People bump into each other there,” says Teale Phelps Bondaroff, who leads the Pocket Places Project, part of the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network that supports the libraries.

“In addition to adding whimsy to the urban landscape, you also get to take home a book at the end of the day.”

Who uses these libraries? “Pretty much everybody,” he says. “Who doesn’t love a book?”

Over 80,000 books dropped off

When he’s not attending to his constituents, Phelps Bondaroff—a Saanich councillor—restocks the LFL shelves.

“I’ve dropped off 40,000 by bike trailer over the years,” he says.

“As of July 15, we had dropped off 81,946 books since the first book drop-off in August 2018.”

Danielle Steele and James Patterson books are some of the more common finds in area LFLs because of their ubiquity.

Phelps Bondaroff says he likes to leave books from Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, and Timothy Findley when restocking LFLs near Ogden Point, so that cruise ship visitors are exposed to Canadian authors.

The full map of all 700+ LFLs in Greater Victoria can be found here.

By Mark Brennae, with Cam Welch

Read Capital Daily’s original story here on the success of local LFLs during the pandemic, and the locals who have spread the concept to other parts of the world.

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Photos clockwise from top left: Marc J. Chalifoux, Gregg Ingram & Ian Jackson

Early bird Nutcracker tickets; Ukrainian Shumka Dancers and Victoria Symphony

Save up to 20% off regular priced adult tickets to Ukrainian Shumka Dancers’ Nutcracker using promo code: Nut-Westshore until Sep. 30, 2023, at 10pm.

Featuring principal dancers of the Kyiv Ballet (National Ballet of Ukraine) and the famed Virsky National Dance Ensemble. Shumka’s Nutcracker blends the grace and lyricism of classical ballet with the strength and power of Ukrainian folk dance. This classic tale of young Clara and her dream Prince incorporates Ukrainian traditions and symbols, grand orchestral versions of Tchaikovsky's legendary score, and lavish sets and costumes designed by National Opera of Ukraine’s Maria Levitska. Performed to live music by the Victoria Symphony.

Dec. 1-2, 7pm | Dec. 2-3, 1pm | Royal Theatre

Tickets at Royal and McPherson Theatres or call the box office at 250-386-6121.


Burned out: Pressures are taking a toll on wildfire fighters

Battling the Cameron Bluffs blaze. James MacDonald / Capital Daily

Despite drought and high-risk fire conditions, the Island has been largely spared from the fire (and the smoke) that has affected many parts of BC and Canada in recent weeks. But with last year’s ultra-dry conditions extending the fire season through the end of October, we are still likely only halfway out of the woods; just this past Friday, responders contained a fire at Tugwell Creek near Sooke, and are still on their toes waiting for the next call.

This year’s Canadian fires have already doubled the previous annual record for carbon emissions, and make up a quarter of the world’s 2023 total. The demands of the fire season are taking an increased toll on BC’s firefighters, such that many are leaving due to burnout, and the province’s fire response is relying on a steady supply of younger (and less experienced) firefighters.

With pay and working conditions turning off many current and would-be fire workers, the system is trying to shift toward a more stable, year-round profession—but is it changing enough, fast enough?

Around the 'Shore

🚕 Westshore taxi driver performs selfless act: After police were called about two drunk individuals on June 13, they called Verrinder Bharmota, a taxi driver in the area, to help escort them home. Despite police offering to pay for a ride for the intoxicated youths, Bharmota took them home safely for free, and West Shore RCMP gave him a Certificate of Appreciation as thanks for the kind gesture. [Vancouver Island Free Daily]

🏫 Sooke parents look to sue over daycare regulations: Seven concerned parents are looking for accountability as they sue daycare provider Chelsea Wiegel Denton over an allegedly misleading arrangement for care. A notice of claim filed in court shows the lawsuit to be a total of $6,010 in deposits paid to secure childcare, and addresses a number of concerns parents had over the communication with Wiegel Denton. [CTV]

🚒 Former assistant fire chief admits to possessing decades worth of child pornography in court: Colwood’s George Wright has been sentenced to one year in prison and two years of probation after pleading guilty to possessing over 1,000 images of child pornography. Court records show that Wright said he didn’t realize keeping the photos perpetuated predatory behavior. [Victoria Buzz]

Megson FitzPatrick-Acera Insurance is now in The Westshore, providing one-stop insurance services for Personal, Business, Motorcycle, Auto and Life & Health insurance!*

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Community Events

🎤 Taylor Swift Tribute: Couldn’t book tickets to the Eras Tour? Here’s your chance to enjoy Taylor Swift’s music live at Starlight Stadium on Aug. 12. Performed by the Wildest Dreams, a tribute group made up of veteran musicians, the show will go from 6 to 8pm, with tickets sold online.

👟 Jump Rope Camp: From Aug. 14 to 18 at 11am to 3pm, join the community for Victoria Velocity’s jump rope camp. Everyday at the Colwood Church gym, kids ages five and up can sign up to learn new tips and tricks on jumping rope, so make sure to sign them up.

🦮 Pet-a-Palooza: Esquimalt’s fuzziest event is coming up on Aug. 12, as Pet-a-Palooza makes its way into town. With treat samples, food, toys, and much more, your furry friend will love a day in the sun from 10am to 4pm at Bullen Field just celebrating them.

What’s Offshore?

No ships today!

Westshore Snaps

A fun day at Esquimalt Lagoon. –Barb O’Hara, Langford

📸 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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