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Revamped playground excites kids

Jan 22 2012

Students are making good use of sparkling new equipment after the grand opening of a revamped playground at Christ Church Cathedral School.

Last week's opening event at the Vancouver Street school was the culmination of three years of fundraising led by parents. Staff members and the students themselves were also part of the effort to outfit the school with an improved play area.

The playground installation is valued at $20,000, and replaces older, smaller apparatus. Todd Fitzsimmons oversaw the project for the school, with assistance from Don Ilingworth, Paul Cottingham and Tom Hudock. Andrew Spiro of Five Star Paving was also part of the core volunteer group.

"We have a whole bunch of excited kids and a very nice play structure," said a school spokeswoman.

Christ Church Cathedral School serves about 170 students in kindergarten through Grade 8. A junior kindergarten-preschool site is located in James Bay.

MURALS GIVE MESSAGE TO OLYMPIC GAMES

Victoria-made murals with a message will be part of this year's Olympic Games in London.

Victoria's Creative Peace Mural Society was established in 2002 to organize the creation of textile murals that link communities on an international level.

There are 10 murals due to be shown at London's Westminster Hall this June as part of the cultural component of the 2012 Games.

Two of the murals have been produced by Victoria youth, and others have been done in Northern Ireland, Japan, Uruguay, Ukraine, New Zealand, China, Switzerland and Uganda. All of them follow the theme of earth, sea and sky, and include an outer border of handprints to depict the people of the world.

Artist Carole Sabiston came up with the basic form for the murals. Victoria's Lily Wallace has co-ordinated the project, and is organizing a Feb. 1 dinner and auction at Uplands Golf Club - called Hands Around the World - to help pay the costs of shipping the murals to London.

Tickets are $50 and are available from Jennings Florist in Estevan Village or by calling 250-658-8831. On the web, go to creativepeacemurals.org.

PORT RENFREW OFFERS THE PERFECT ENDING

Scott Cannata's introduction to the snowy West Coast came last week when he wrapped up his crossCanada run in Port Renfrew.

The 25-year-old Peterborough resident and Trent University student finished his Run to Live in a steady snowfall that covered the ground right up to the rocky beach.

"By the end, I was running in three inches of snow," he said. "I ran into the ocean almost to my knees."

Cannata said winter started to hit hard way back in Regina, so the weather in final kilometres was not too hard to handle. He said he picked Port Renfrew as an endpoint rather than a spot like Mile Zero because it is a lot like the place where he started on May 1 - Newfoundland's Quidi Vidi Village, near St. John's.

"Quidi Vidi Village had the same feel as Port Renfrew, but the East Coast version of it," he said. "I wanted to start in a place like that and finish in the same sort of place, I didn't want to start and end right in the city."

Cannata averaged a marathon a day during his journey, with his final leg counting as the 202nd time he had covered the 42-kilometre marathon distance. The trip has also brought in an estimated $38,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. Funds are still being collected. To contribute, go to theruntolive.com.

YOUTH ORGANIZATION SETS UP FUND

Philanthropy has come full circle for the Boys & Girls Club Services of Greater Victoria.

In 1969, what was then called the Victoria Boys' Club became the first local group to benefit from a grant program run by the Victoria Foundation, which has since given almost $100,000 to the youth organization.

Now Boys & Girls Club Services has used one of its own endowments to create a fund, also worth $100,000, with the Victoria Foundation. The endowment, called Our Children - Our Future, was started in 2000 as part of the Boys & Girls Clubs' 40th anniversary in the region.

The establishment of the fund has helped the Victoria Foundation to cap a year that saw it mark its 75th anniversary.

"It worked out quite nicely," said Kate Mansell of Boys & Girls Club Services.

Both groups are benefiting, she said.

"It gives more visibility to other donors who support the Vic-toria Foundation or who may have their own funds there. It's also another way of getting the message out that 'Hey, we're here, and this is another way for you to support us.'

"And some people want to support organizations in a lowerprofile way. The Victoria Foundation allows them to do that."

Income from the endowment still goes to areas of greatest need for the Boys & Girls Club, including after-school programs and other preventive measures, Mansell said.

She said strong ties to the Victoria Foundation go back to the late Col. Roland Bull, local Boys & Girls Club founder and a member of the Victoria Foundation's board of directors.

Bull was recognized during the Victoria Foundation's 75th-year anniversary activities for his contributions to charitable causes.

"It was his passion and vision that got us started over 50 years ago," Mansell said.

The Victoria Foundation now manages 105 endowment funds for 74 registered charities.

Further news from the Victoria Foundation is a $15,000 grant to the Greater Victoria Public Library to expand its Chinese-language collection. The larger collection will be celebrated Monday at 10 a.m. at the library's central branch on Broughton Street.

The event will double as a commemoration of Chinese New Year.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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