The BC Forest Discovery Centre’s Christmas Express is pulling away from the station on Dec. 1. (Citizen file)

Coming up in Cowichan: Jingle Newf Walk; CWAV workshop; Toys, Toiletries & Toques; Christmas Express and Neighbour Potluck

Plan your season

All aboard FDC Christmas Express starting Dec. 1

All aboard a 1910 steam locomotive through thousands of twinkling lights adorning the 100 acre woods of the BC Forest Discovery Centre for the Christmas Express, this year running from Dec. 1 to 23.

Thousands of visitors over the years have made attending this colourful and entertaining event a Christmas tradition.

“We love bringing the Christmas Express out and seeing the magic of the holiday in the faces of everyone that attends,” said Chris Gale, manager of the BC Forest Discovery Centre. “Our attendance has been growing, so we are hoping to exceed previous attendance this year with 13 evenings of holiday magic. We invite islanders to come out to see the light displays, enjoy the seasonal music, make a Christmas craft, and ride the Christmas Express train.”

The Christmas Express event is a huge undertaking and largely driven by volunteer elves. The BC Forest Discovery Centre enjoys the support of so many volunteer elves from the community and local businesses who work alongside the staff to ensure the lights are hung; they deck the halls, including showcasing the buildings and artifacts, to give the museum and our forest that magical festive look. Advance ticket sales are available Monday through Wednesdays noon to 4 p.m. in the BC Forest Discovery Centre’s gift shop until Dec. 13. Gift cards may be purchased and used for the Christmas Express or any time or for any event during the year.

The Christmas Express is the centre’s largest fundraiser of the year and is paramount to the ongoing operation, maintenance of the antique vehicle collection, trains, the historical buildings and the preservation of an important ecosystem within the Cowichan region.

Families and corporations can support the centre and museum by attending the event, or by purchasing a membership for the 2018 season.

The Christmas Express runs on weekends from Friday through Sunday, Dec. 1 through Dec. 23. The BC Forest Discovery Centre opens at 4 p.m. on these dates with train departures every 20 minutes, beginning at 4:30 p.m. The last train departs at 8:30 p.m.

For additional information, visit

Dog Fanciers group ready to share smiles, Newf kisses

The Newfoundland Dog Fanciers of BC are getting ready for their Jingle Newf Walk and Potluck, this year at Mill Bay Centre on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you have a Newf you’re invited to decorate your four-legged friend and join in, starting at Bru-Go’s coffee shop at 2720 Mill Bay Rd.

“We wander around the mall getting dog treats and people cookies. Sharing smiles and Newfie kisses and then it’s onward…for a pot luck,” says the group’s Facebook page.

Those who don’t own a Newf but love dogs are also invited to come out and enjoy the show.

CWAV hosting all-day workshop on resistance

In the article “Standing ovation greets MLA’s speech” (Citizen, Oct. 25), Sonia Furstenau said “#MeToo” and called on us all to “…look deeply at what is in our society that has permitted the situation that so many women face, where they are not treated as persons but as objects. And we must not be afraid to make changes so that we can build a better world where #MeToo is not the norm.”

Cowichan Women Against Violence Society is hosting an all-day interactive workshop by Vikki Reynolds that is titled “Violence and Resistance: Working Together to Transform the Culture of Violence and Rape” on Nov. 27. This is an opportunity to unite and continue to work towards a community of equality and safety for all, said organizers.

The continuing #MeToo campaign may cause many people to remember the experiences they have had of being sexually harassed, abused or assaulted. For some, it might also be the turning point in deciding to get help for their abusive relationship. Cowichan Women Against Violence Society offers many free and confidential programs including emotional and crisis support, counselling for women, trans, two-spirit, gender diverse people, children and youth, emergency shelter, a pre-employment program, court support, advocacy and referrals, safety planning and survivors’ groups.

The newest program called Men Choose Respect is a group for men who are wanting to change their use of abuse to choosing respect and equality in their relationships.

For more information about any of these programs or the workshop, contact Cowichan Women Against Violence Society 250-748-7000, or visit the new office at 246 Evans St., Duncan, or check out

Time to drop off toys, toiletries and tuques

With our 7th annual new non-food campaign well underway, the elves of Toys, Toiletries, and Toques have already collected several boxes of donations from over 25 drop-off locations plus individual events throughout the Cowichan Valley.

But they’re not done, and they’re still urging everyone to help out the less fortunate this Christmas. Donations will be collected outside Walmart on Dec. 2 and additional funds will be raised by their famous Gourmet Hot Dog sale. The hot dogs are expertly cooked by the Farm Table Inn’s chef, George Gates.

All donations are assembled and divided into five groups and are delivered to the five food banks in the Cowichan Valley, who combine them with food items to create hampers for families and individuals who need a boost for a brighter holiday season.

For details of drop off locations or suggestions of what to donate, visit the Toys Toiletries Toques Facebook page.

Join Neighbourhood House Christmas potluck

Cowichan Neighbourhood House is hosting their Christmas Potluck Dinner with Neighbours on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

This is a family event, with everyone welcome to one of the three seatings, though people are encouraged to reserve their seats, as space is limited.

Turkey, ham and other dishes are provided by volunteers at Neighbourhood House, and people are asked to bring a salad, veggies or dessert. Due to allergies, people are asked not to include peanuts or bell peppers. Nobody will be turned away, even if they don’t bring a dish.

Neighbourhood House is also looking for volunteers to help with the event, cooking, set up and decorating, and clean up.

For more information, to RSVP or volunteer, call 250-246-3203 or email

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