See the labyrinth garden at Providence Farm from the ground next week. (submitted)

See the labyrinth garden at Providence Farm from the ground next week. (submitted)

Coming up in Cowichan: From a labyrinth to a book sale, Fashion and Food and more

Providence Farm opening new labyrinth Tuesday

In the shadow of Mount Tzouhalem, behind the iconic, century-old wooden schoolhouse of Providence Farm, a new landscape is taking shape.

From a distance it looks like a crop circle or a giant tub of peanut butter swirl. In fact the circular pattern of soil and gravel that recently emerged from behind the farm’s allotments is the foundation for a labyrinth garden. Paid for by a grant from the Victoria Foundation and designed with the help of Camosun College’s horticulture department, the labyrinth garden is expected to enhance the farm’s world class horticulture therapy program.

“The labyrinth at Providence Farm marks a wonderful step forward for the farm in celebrating the unique spirits and neurodiversity we all share as human beings,” said Chris Holt, Providence Farm’s executive director.

Participants and volunteers will begin planting this month. The labyrinth garden will be unveiled on World Mental Health Day, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

“Rain delays left us many months behind,” said Alicia Taylor, nature based therapy program coordinator at the farm, “and hot weather has hindered our planting and work, but we trust we will arrive at our destination in good time.”

Drawing on the image of a fiddlehead fern, the five-circuit labyrinth will be wheelchair accessible, and is designed to allow easy access to the centre for those unable to make the journey along the circuitous route.

“It’s a setting that fosters the habitats of native plant species and vital food plants, as well as plants specific for their therapeutic benefit,” said Taylor, who conceived the project as a microcosm of Providence Farm. “Its purpose is to evoke calm, inward contemplation.”

Providence Farm hopes its labyrinth garden will be a therapeutic, safe and accessible place for program participants and community members to actively and passively experience the power of a labyrinth to evoke self-awareness, contentedness, and acceptance. Farm therapists seek to understand how certain landscapes and spaces create ease and health.

The farm invites the community of Cowichan Valley to join in the opening and celebration of the labyrinth and honouring of World Mental Health Day by participating in the first public walk of the labyrinth and healing garden on Oct. 10.

What is a Labyrinth?

Not to be mistaken for a maze, which has dead ends and choices of path and direction, a labyrinth always brings you unambiguously to its centre, albeit along a path that is circular and convoluted, and presents no navigational challenge. If the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, the longest is likely to be a labyrinth.

Labyrinths have been used historically both in group ritual and for private meditation, and are increasingly found for therapeutic use in hospitals and hospices.

“The labyrinth will be another tool in the farm’s process for healing,” said Holt, “and will enable the broader community to participate in the healing magic of the farm.”

Garden House Foundation book sale celebrating 10th anniversary

If you’re a reader who loves a bargain, read on!

The Garden House Foundation’s 10th anniversary book sale will be held on Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bonner School in Mill Bay.

With 20,000 high quality used books, including 5,000 kids’ books, priced mostly between 50 cents and $3, now is the time to stock up on your fall and winter reading.

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, there will be a larger collection than usual of Canadiana available, including fiction and historical works. A silent auction of more valuable books will have starting bids of $20. Please note the sale is cash only.

“Donations of books this year continued to be very high quality,” say sale organizers Jim and Jackie Barker. “Ten Old Books, Bibles for Missions and W.I.N.G.S. continue to support the sale, as have many other Valley residents who have donated books.”

Students from Bonner Elementary School and Brentwood College are once again hauling boxes from storage and boxing up the remaining books at the end of the sale. The sale provides students with a chance to grow in the area of social responsibility by learning about the value of community service.

Profits from the sale will go into the Foundation funds, and grants will be made in perpetuity to Cowichan Valley organizations which support families in crisis and animals in need: Cowichan Family Life, Cowichan Women Against Violence and the Duncan SPCA. The grants help to ensure that programs such as Children Who Witness Abuse and Strengthening Parenting can continue.

For more information, visit or call 250-743-4627 to donate books year-round.

Montessori Academy holding French immersion open house

Set in the Annex of The HUB at Cowichan Station since September 2016, the International Montessori Academy of Canada will open its doors to meet new children and their families, as a new teacher will allow the school to accept more children.

The open house will be on Saturday, Oct. 14 and Sunday, Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2375 Koksilah Rd.

With the arrival of Mrs. Maria, the French teacher, the school can welcome more children.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to learn French as a second language from childhood,” said Inayat Bergum, the founder of the school.

“We already welcome five children and we can care up to16.”

Mrs. Maria arrived on the Island in August 2017 with her family, including two sons ages six and nine. She comes from France where she was a Montessori teacher. She specializes with three- to six-year-olds and loves her job.

“I like watching the children, as well as the little seeds growing up in my garden, and realize how much they know the way of life,” the teacher said.

At school, Mrs. Maria speaks French with children who possess the abilities to easily learn another language.

For more information contact Brittany Beal at 250-737-1119 or

Alzheimer Society holding

Family Caregiver Series

An increasing number of Cowichan Valley residents are finding themselves caring for a family member.

The reason? Dementia, the medical term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain.

“The physical and psychological toll on family caregivers is considerable,” says Jane Hope, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. Support &Education Coordinator for the Valley and the North &Central Island.

Knowing the signs of caregiver stress and finding ways to get support are important for both families and those for whom they are caring. To help families on the dementia journey, the Society brings its free three-week Family Caregiver Series to Duncan on three Mondays, Oct. 16 to 30.

Participants will learn strategies for taking care of someone with dementia, as well as taking care of their own health to ensure they are prepared to continue providing care for their family members.

“We offer practical techniques and strategies that caregivers can begin using immediately,” Hope says.

Topics to be covered include understanding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias; effective and creative ways of facilitating communication with a person with dementia; understanding behaviour as a form of communication; self-care for the caregiver; and planning for the future.

The series runs from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Providence Farm, St. Ann’s Garden Club, 1843 Tzouhalem Rd. Pre-registration is required by contacting the Resource Centre at 1-800-462-2833 or

The series is free thanks to partial funding by the Province of B.C., Provincial Employees Community Services Fund, RBC Foundation, NWM Private Giving Foundation, Seacliff Foundation, The Phyliss &Irving Snider Foundation, The 1988 Foundation, Margaret Rothweiler Charitable Foundation, Frank &Yvonne McCracken Foundation, Wheeler Family Foundation, The Belmont Foundation, Paul Lee Family Foundation, Jack Brown &Family Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, Victoria Foundation, Dr. Woo Hon Fai Memorial Foundation, Colin &Lois Pritchard Foundation, Don &Lynn Bendickson Foundation, Cadillac Fairview and by the generous contributions of individual donors.

More information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is available at

Celebrate Canada 150 with Fashions and Food

The Somenos Women’s Institute is inviting everyone to come and celebrate Canada 150 on Wednesday, Oct. 18 with Fashions and Food.

The Women’s Institute is presenting Fashions through the Ages by Heritage Productions. The event, which takes place from 2-4 p.m. at Duncan United Church, will also feature savouries and sweets, tea and coffee and a Dutch auction. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets for the event are $15 and are available through the church office at 250-746-6043, or a Women’s Institute member at 250-746-4389.

Planning the future: CVRD hosting Ecocities event

For the remainder of 2017 and first half of 2018, the Cowichan Valley Regional District is hoping to engage the community in thinking about the future of the Valley. This is being done through the Place-Making Vancouver Island Speakers Series as well as the Cowichan 2050 initiative, a regional, integrated planning strategy.

Following on the inspirational message about creating a Happy Valley from Charles Montgomery, the first speaker in the series, the second speaker will explore Ecocities in Context: Making the Rural Connection.

“We are excited to have Dr. Jennie Moore share her thoughts on ecological sustainability and urban systems,” explained CVRD chairman Jon Lefebure. “We know the environment is a top priority to residents in the Cowichan Valley, and there are many challenges, such as water supply, facing future growth in our region. We look forward to discussing how we can grow in a sustainable way.”

This free event will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Vancouver Island University campus in Duncan. A roundtable discussion with VIU professor Dr. Pamela Shaw, Cowichan Watershed Board executive director Tom Rutherford and a VIU student will follow Moore’s presentation.

Moore is the associate dean of Building Design and Construction Technology programs at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. She is situated within the School of Construction and the Environment, concerned with the natural environment, the built environment, and the relationship between them. She currently serves as a core advisor to the International Ecocity Framework and Standards, an initiative aimed at developing performance metrics for cities in balance with nature.

For more information visit and to get your tickets visit


The Garden House Foundation annual giant book sale is coming up. (Citizen file)

The Garden House Foundation annual giant book sale is coming up. (Citizen file)

Enjoy Fashions and Food with the Somenos Women’s Institute. (submitted)

Enjoy Fashions and Food with the Somenos Women’s Institute. (submitted)