Choral Evolution celebrates upcoming concert

Plus, secret skatepark, Langford cyclists hit, TEDxRRU, and more

Good morning! 

Choral Evolution’s artistic director Gordon Miller is putting on his final show with the group in just a few days. Miller chatted with us ahead of his final concerts. Read all about his work in the local music community and more in today’s edition of the Westshore.


Know someone who should get local news in our Westshore community? Forward this to them so they can subscribe for free.


The secret SixSide skatepark is an homage to grassroots skate culture—but is its time up?

SixSide skatepark. Photo: Sidney Coles / The Westshore

The Thrifty Foods Skatepark, opened in May 2023, is a state-of-the-art facility in the Westshore, reminiscent of the origins of skateboarding culture. Designed by New Line Skateparks, it features a street section and a large bowl, paying homage to the empty swimming pools of 1970s California where skateboarding took root. 

Yet, tucked away under the Six Mile Bridge in View Royal, there's an unofficial 'secret skatepark' built by the local skating community, known as SixSide. Despite its DIY construction and lack of funding, it has gained recognition from well known skaters like Andy Anderson and was featured in skateboarding magazines. 

While the Thrifty Foods Skatepark received significant funding from municipalities, SixSide relied on individual donations and because of the nature of its construction and location represents an ongoing safety concern. 

View Royal Mayor Sid Tobias told the Westshore in an email that, “Council and Staff of course have been aware of the skateboarding park under six mile park.” It also hasn’t gone unnoticed by local residents, including those that are not fans of the park citing environmental and safety issues. 

While the Thrifty Foods Skatepark caters to all skill levels and is monitored by park staff. SixSide's tight bowls and location make it covert and inaccessible by design. And while the park remains a problematic addition to View Royal, it does represent a unique symbol of grassroots skate culture in the region.

Have you heard about this hidden skatepark?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.



Complete your vision

Island Window Coverings has been providing window covering solutions in Greater Victoria and the Gulf Islands for over 38 years. Our complete range of manual and motorized window covering products combined with our highly experienced staff has helped us earn our reputation as the go-to source for window coverings. We offer a complete range of Motorized products, Blind and Shade products, as well as Draperies and Shutters. We carry products from all major suppliers including Hunter Douglas, Lutron, Norman, Alta, Shade O Matic, Graber and MaxxMar.

Contact us for a complimentary consultation with one of our knowledgeable experts. We are confident that we can find a solution within your budget, and that you will love.


Choral Evolution says goodbye to artistic director

Throughout the years, Choral Evolution’s artistic director Gordon Miller has played an important role in fostering musicality and community. Now, as his final concert is around the corner, Miller is ready to pass the torch and watch his love for the art prosper through future generations. 

Miller’s passion for music started early in his childhood. Growing up in the United Church, Miller gained experience in choral music as a choir boy, working with talented organists and vocalists who helped hone his skill. Despite the decision to pursue rock and roll in his teens, it wasn’t long before Miller found himself drawn back to his “choral roots.” He was formally trained at the Canadian Armed Forces School of Music in Victoria and studied as a vocalist at the Conservatory of Music. 

“I ended up as a volunteer choir director in a small church in Calgary and that’s kind of the thing where in a small church you don't necessarily have a budget to pay, you just look for the talent that you have around you,” said Miller. “They said ‘oh he can lead the choir right?’ ” 

From that point on, the choral musician’s opportunities grew. Miller spent around 10 years in Calgary before moving to Victoria, where he was able to conduct a number of different choirs. In 2011, Miller went on to co-found the Sing Your Joy young adult chorus, a non-auditioned chorus that has continued to grow and expand with his guidance. Miller also completed the BC Choral Federation Level II course in Choral Direction in 2014.

It was because of his impressive work that Choral Evolution reached out to Miller, which marked the start of a strong and community driven partnership. 

“A few years ago, Choral Evolution lost their director and they reached out to me to take over the reins with a very specific mandate that was different from my mandate with other choirs,” said Miller. “In all of the other choirs, trying to get a good product was a subcategory, it was more about the lifting up of people and the use of singing to enhance the community. With Choral Evolution they wanted to be a performance choir.” 

Miller has now worked with the group for years, pushing each singer to find their potential and perform with emotion. Proud of the accomplishments his team has achieved, Miller is not only excited for his final performance, but also for the future of the group itself. 

“It's been a really interesting couple of years and I loved it, it's challenged my skills and I've challenged them and we've grown together,” said Miller. “This concert is not my success, each individual singer has had to work their butt off to get this done. I've told them what to work on, I've helped them collectively correct and shape, but the success is there because they've worked for this.” 

Choral Evolution's concert Unplugged is coming to the Holy Trinity Church this May 3 at 7pm and May 4 at 2pm, Choral Evolution will also be playing at the James Bay United Church on May 5 at 2pm for those in the area. The group will be taking on a challenging array of pop music, supported by only two keyboards. With tickets available at the door or online, Miller is looking forward to the community coming out. 

“There are too many people in the world who've been told that they can't sing and I get too many people who have come to me over the years saying ‘I made so many mistakes today,’ leading with the negative of how they're feeling about themselves in relation to singing,” said Miller. “I hope out of my direction with the people I’ve worked with up until this point and with people I’m going to be working with in the future that they experience the joy of singing… It doesn't take much in the way of positive reinforcement and a little bit of training to discover that you've got a voice and you should use it.”

Around the 'Shore

👑 Esquimalt prepares for royal arrival: On May 4, Princess Anne will be receiving a 21-gun salute upon her arrival at Her Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt. Traveling on His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Max Bernays, the Princess will be in Esquimalt  for the city’s Battle of the Atlantic commemoration. [Vancouver Island Free Daily]

🚲 Two cyclists hit in Langford: West Shore RCMP attended two incidents where a cyclist had been hit by a driver in Langford. On April 19, an impaired driver hit a cyclist in the afternoon with his Dodge truck; not even a week later, another cyclist was hit at the intersection of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Goldstream Avenue, where “low light conditions” led to the 11pm incident. [CHEK]

🗳️ Ravi Parmar announces plan to run for second term: Langford-Juan de Fuca NDP MLA Ravi Parmar has announced his plans to run for a second term in the new Langford-Highlands provincial electoral district. Due to the elimination of the Langford-Juan de Fuca district as a result of electoral redistribution, Parmar is now finishing paperwork required for the nomination. [Goldstream Gazette]



Your prescription for better health? A walk in the woods 

Research shows that simply walking in nature can lead to a lower risk of depression. When you combine a walk in the woods with therapy, you get the ideal conditions for healing, growth, and wellness. 

Tall Tree’s nature therapy offers a new path to healing for youth, teens, and adults beyond the clinic walls. Book now with Tall Tree Health. 

Advertise your business, event, or restaurant in front of 13,000+ engaged locals! Contact our team today.

Community Events

🗣️ TEDxRRU: Royal Roads University is gearing up to host TEDxRRU this May 3 to 5, and is excited to host a list of alumni as the speakers. With a diverse array of experiences and topics to bring to the audience, guests can search through a range of different talks and attend the ones that intrigue them the most. Tickets are selling quick, so make sure to reserve your seats online

⚽️ Pacific FC game: Watch Pacific FC take on York United this May 4 at Starlight Stadium at 4pm. Not able to make this game? Check out the team’s schedule to see their matches throughout the summer. 

🎶 Sooke Philharmonic: This May 5, head to the Sooke Community Hall for the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus’s production of Choral Reverie featuring conductor Yariv Aloni. The show will go from 2:30 to 4:30pm and play a mix of music from Faure and Vaughan Williams. Tickets are currently on sale online.

What’s Offshore?

No ships today!

Westshore Snaps

Canadian geese goslings. —Gary Woodburn, Colwood

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

That’s it!

If you found something useful, consider forwarding this newsletter to another Westshore local.

And before you go, let us know:

What did you think of today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Did a friend share this with you? Sign up for free. 

Want to advertise to 13,000+ other locals? Contact our team. 

Have a crazy or cool story to share? Drop us an email.