Stephen Webb Billiards Memorial Fund

Stephen Webb, a long-time Club member and regular attendee of the Billiard Room, unfortunately lost his battle with lung cancer and passed away peacefully with family by his side on February 21, 2022.

In Mr. Webb’s memory, his wife Barbara and good friend Brian W. Johnson (both Club members) have initiated a special memorial fund – The Stephen Webb Billiards Memorial Fund – to help fund the soon-to-be-announced Stephen Webb Memorial Snooker Tournament annually, and to support and maintain the Billiards Memorial Totem, located on a wall in the Billiard Room.

Should you wish to contribute to The Stephen Webb Billiards Memorial Fund, please contact Jan Redekop, Controller, at

Stephen Webb’s obituary will appear in the Times Colonist newspaper, March 5 & 6, 2022.

BC Parks Foundation: West Ballenas Island

A Message from Our Friends at BC Parks Foundation…


West Ballenas Island is an undeveloped 100-acre island gem floating in the Salish Sea – one of BC’s most threatened environments. Listed as one of the top ten most biodiverse sites in the Gulf Islands, West Ballenas is home to abundant bird populations, rare plants, threatened species, and marine life.

It’s also in a prime location for human use, being close to the rapidly growing Nanaimo-Parksville region of Vancouver Island. Part of Snaw-naw-as Nation territory, and long popular with local and international boaters visiting the surrounding archipelago, most people are not aware the island is privately held and zoned for development into a number of individual parcels.

To protect this beautiful island and its wildlife, we have secured an exclusive agreement to purchase it but only have until November 17 to secure the funds.

In 2019 proud British Columbians and friends around the world helped us raise $3million in 3 months to protect Princess Louisa Inlet. That incredible story made the New York Times because people like you– from all walks of life- came together to do something great. That inspired the idea that every year park angels would all work together to protect at least one special place, keeping BC beautiful.

This year it’s West Ballenas Island. While this island would normally be out of reach, we were able to reduce the asking price from $2,225,000 to only $1,700,000!


West Ballenas Island is within the Snaw-Naw-As Nation’s territory.  BC Parks Foundation has discussed the purchase of West Ballenas with the Snaw-naw-as Nation.  If this private land is acquired in order to create a park, all communities and the Snaw-naw-as people will regain access to West Ballenas.  Snaw-naw-as have let us know that they “continue to work toward including the Department of National Defence property on Wallace Point and the Nanoose peninsula into properties and uses that the Snaw-naw-as can once again access.” We look forward to continuing to build our relationship with Snaw-naw-as in the future.


On top of the reduced price, we are thrilled to announce that a very generous anonymous donor has pledged to match whatever you contribute to protecting this wonderful and fragile island!

That means only $850,000 is needed to permanently protect one of the Gulf Island’s most important places!

Your gift – no matter what size- will make a big difference. As happened with Princess Louisa Inlet, this is about the power of many people, from all walks of life, doing something great together.

You have done it before, and you can do it again! Join other park angels in doubling your gift now to protect West Ballenas.


Once we complete the purchase of the island we will issue tax receipts for all donations over $20 which can be used to claim charitable tax credits – the more you donate the more you can save!


  • Recognized by the Conservation Data Centre as one of the ten most biodiverse sites in the Gulf Islands with coastal bluff and coastal woodland sensitive ecosystems
  • Home to red-listed Garry Oak-Arbutus community and a rare Shore Pine- Cladina-Kinnnikinnick plant community as well as blue-listed species
  • Contains the endangered species Water-plantain buttercup, one of only two locations in British Columbia
  • As an island, the property is virtually undisturbed by grazing and other human impacts
  • Foreshore serves as winter haul out for California and Northern Sea lions
  • Adjacent to Federal Fisheries and Oceans’ Rockfish Conservation Area
  • Surrounding waters support rafts of diving sea birds, orcas, and other marine mammals; the passage between the two Ballenas islands contains eelgrass beds


West Ballenas Island is the only private non-park parcel remaining in a proposal to establish the Ballenas-Winchelsea Archipelago as a 4900-hectare marine park– a long-standing conservation initiative within the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve.

The area has a provincial park (Gerald Island), a private park (South Winchelsea Island), a regional park on Vancouver Island, and four small community parks along the Vancouver Island waterfront associated with the Lantzville community.

With support from the Islands Trust, the Nanaimo Regional District, the community of Lantzville, and a number of non-government groups such as BC Nature, Vancouver Island University, the Council of British Columbia Yacht Clubs, Fairwinds Community Association, and the BC Marine Trails Network, the acquisition of West Ballenas Island could act as a catalyst for garnering support from the Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation, BC, and Canada for creating a world-class marine protected area in one of BC’s most threatened ecosystems.

Questions about this campaign? 

Phone – 604 343 3975 ext. 1

Email –

You want to create space in your consciousness for your frequency to shine through. That’s what owning yourself is all about. It is in the stillness that these messages can make themselves known. And you needn’t look further than nature.RuPaul, entertainer

AGGV Presents: 2020 Art Gallery House Tour – Video Edition

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV) warmly invites you to join us on this exclusive guided video tour led by local appraiser and art historian (and Club member!) Alison Ross.  The video will be accessible by ticket from September 20 through to October 30.   Funds raised support Gallery programs, art acquisitions, and art restorations.

AGGV is very grateful for your loyal support over the the decades as homeowners, sponsors, volunteers, artists and visitors!   Over the past 67 years, thousands of volunteers have acted as docents and tens of thousands of art lovers have enjoyed the tour. Since 2001, over 100 British Columbia artists have appeared at House Tour homes demonstrating their work.  This year will be different, but promises to be just as engaging and exciting.

AGGV hopes you will support House Tour 2020 – Video Edition! by sharing this information with friends and family, by sharing posts on social media and of course, by buying a ticket. 

Tickets available through Eventbrite at

Jas Madhur: We All Have to Eat

Jas Madhur, pictured, sees sharing a meal as a way to remove religious and cultural barriers
Photo: Mike Zenari

Jas Madhur is a Non-Resident member of the Union Club, having joined in 2005.

Eating with others has always been an important feature of Jas Madhur’s life, from the Sikh temples of his childhood, to the meals he enjoyed in the many countries he has lived.

Now the British-Canadian national is importing the concept of Sikh community kitchens, or “Langars”, to Luxembourg by coordinating free meals to encourage “sharing, participation and togetherness”.

“Anyone who wants to come together and sit with us and eat in peace and share ideas, we will do it,” he explains. Madhur, who moved to Luxembourg in 2011 and works as an external consultant, has been a lifelong fan of cooking. He says: “It’s very much a part of my cultures to invite people in. The first thing you say is ‘Sit down. What would you like to eat?’”

Madhur has a good selection of spices and enjoys cooking for friends who, he jokes, like to tell him how he can improve. But his culinary skills were turned to a different purpose when he hosted his first Langar in August 2019 for volunteers at the Aërdscheff, a sustainable construction project organised by Cell in Redange-sur-Attert.

“It was for volunteers who, in my mind, were doing a very noble thing by volunteering their time to work in the circular economy,” he says. “We were invited to celebrate their final dinner. They had all the facilities and were more than willing to help cook the stuff.” At this inaugural Langar, Madhur, whose family originates from India, cooked dishes using lentils, rice and vegetables with blended spices. But he says a Langar meal can consist of anything. The essential ingredients are the selfless act of contributing, sharing tasks and eating together.

The Langar practice is thought to have been started by Guru Nanak, who was born in 1469 in Talwandi near Lahore. 
He reportedly introduced the concept  to encourage equality among all people regardless of religion, cast, creed, age, gender or social status. The Sikh diaspora has since helped to spread the tradition around the world. “The difference between what I’m trying to do versus my father was that his generation was interested in collecting money, buying land and building temples,” Madhur says. “My push is to make it more open and go out.”

Madhur has a rich experience of expat life–he grew up in Kenya and has lived in the UK, Canada, US, France and Middle East. And he sees multicultural Luxembourg as an ideal place to establish a secular version of the Langar tradition. “As an immigrant, one becomes very conscious of the fact that one does not look, sound or even smell like the locals. As such, there is a tendency to shrink back into one’s enclaves and comfort zones and cultivate mistrust,” he says. 
“I think that rather than creating religious fortresses, the time has come to say that we are here as your neighbours and want to share an important part of what we value, wherever we go in the world.”

To be able to prepare a Langar, Madhur needs a location with cooking facilities and people willing to pitch in. He plans to coordinate four Langars per year, for groups of up to 50 people and he hopes to encourage others to embrace the concept. “I’m now trying to encourage friends of every walk of life to take the idea of a Langar and do it for their friends,” he says, adding: “We all have to eat. It’s nice to share your food.”

Polar Express Fundraising Event a Huge Success

UC Past President Richard Burke (center, in blue), representing Harbourside Rotary, assembles his team as they prepare to provide all attendees with a healthy breakfast.

The Polar Express arrived right on time on Sunday, December 8, 2019 and they had an amazing event.  Kids and their parents arrived at the Royal BC Museum in their PJ’s, enjoyed breakfast, live entertainment and a visit from Father Christmas…all for “Free”.

Because of the generosity of 6 local businesses, “In kind” sponsorship totaled $13,300.00 and covered the entire cost of the event, but for a small royalty fee for the movie.  In addition, 13 more local businesses and fellow Harbourside Rotarians  and friends raised a whopping $15,175.00 cash, to support our school breakfast programs in our communities.   

Thank you for all your donations and support and check out the sponsorship ad in today’s Times Colonist (below) and give a big “Whoo Whoo” whistle to everyone that made this all happen for the kids. 

Festival of Trees – “Two Hearts, One Wish”

Festival of Trees is a cherished community tradition and has become the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season in Victoria, serving our community for the last 27 consecutive years. Thanks to sponsors, local businesses, organizations and individuals, the Bay Centre is transformed into a lush forest of beautifully decorated trees to raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. 

This year, The Union Club has sponsored tree #38.

“Two Hearts, One Wish” was founded in 2016 by “Emma”, a local Victoria girl who raises funds in support of the BC Children’s Hospital & purchases activity-craft supplies for the Surgical Daycare Centre. Emma made macrame hearts as part of her decorations for the Union Club tree. It is beautiful.

Please vote for tree #38!

How a 27-year-old DJ from Dubai Ended Up Winning Nova Scotia Island

Dubai man thought contest launched April Fools’ Day was joke

Brendan Lopes, third from left, is a Portuguese national of Indian origin who grew up in the United Arab Emirates. (Liv. Bank)

Brendan Lopes has never been to Nova Scotia — or to Canada, for that matter.

But he’s now the proud owner of a private island off the coast of the province’s Eastern Shore thanks to a few lucky dice rolls.

The 27-year-old Lopes, a Portuguese national of Indian origin who grew up in the cultural melting pot of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, holds down two jobs.

He makes video content for businesses by day. At night, he is a DJ at clubs and private parties.

He has friends who love to visit Canada and he knows basic geography. But he admits he isn’t quite sure what the country has in store for him.

“[Another thing] I hear about Canada is like all of you guys say sorry a lot,” he said. “But, obviously, other than the stereotypes, I have no idea in the world about what Canada is, man. I have no idea.”

The 2.4-hectare island Lopes now owns is about 200 kilometres east of Halifax, off the coast of Goldboro, in Guysborough County. It’s called Hollpoint Island or Hurricane Island, and other than trees, rocks and sand, there’s not much else there. 

The 2.4-hectare island, known as Hurricane Island or Hollpoint Island, is about 200 kilometres east of Halifax, off the coast of Goldboro, in Guysborough County. (Google)

It all started on April Fools’ Day. Lopes’s bank, UAE-based Liv. Bank, announced a contest to win a private island in Canada.

He thought it was a joke, until a few weeks later when he was chosen as a contestant.

In the end, it came down to Lopes and 18 others who got up on stage Oct. 14 at Caesars Palace in Dubai and rolled a die — labelled with -2, -1, 0, 1 and 2 — trying to be the first to get to six. 

“And I’m probably the only one over there who was the most underdressed of anyone.… It’s, like, literally me … not shaved, hair unkempt,” he said.

“And I just went down there like, you know, maybe the food is going to be decent,” said Lopes.

But his girlfriend and father believed he could win. 

After some nail-biting rolls, Lopes was in a position to take the final prize. All he needed to do was roll a two to get to the winning number.

“And I could actually see this happening in slow motion. Like, you throw the die and it hits the edge and it slowly goes down and it goes like zero, minus two, plus two. And I’m like what just happened?”

Stunned after the win, Brendan was approached by the MC of the game. 

“And he’s like, ‘Brendan, man, people like Richard Branson have islands, you know, like millionaires have islands, and now you’re one of them. What do you have to say?’

Lopes, wearing a prop life-jacket along with the rest of the contestants, said the only thing that came to mind: “I’m thinking about the way to get a boat to get to the island.”

Why Canada? 

Jayesh Patel is head of Liv. Bank. Its target market is millennials.

He said the bank surveyed customers to find out what kind of prizes might interest them. 

“Canada comes up always as the top three destinations for customers,” he said.

“And it’s a place that has islands which we could give away.”

Patel said Hurricane Island was particularly appealing because gold was discovered east of nearby Goldboro in the mid-1800s.

“We liked some of the facts associated with it because we also wanted it to be a story around the island itself.”

Last year, the bank gave away a Tesla. 

In addition to the island, Lopes also gets a cash prize of 100,000 UAE diram, which is about $36,000 Cdn.

Lopes is waiting for the excitement to subside but said he’s considering using the prize money to start a shop in Dubai that serves biryani, an Indian mixed rice dish. 

Lopes, wearing the orange life-jacket, holds down two jobs. He makes video content for businesses by day and is a DJ at clubs and private parties by night. (Liv. Bank)

He said there’s still a lot of paperwork to complete to take possession of an island in a country he’s never visited but he’s looking forward to making the 20-plus-hour flight in the near future. 

“I mean, I have an island now, so I definitely want to see it,” he said.

Though, Lopes added, he’s not thrilled at the prospect of paying property taxes, which don’t really exist in UAE.

According to the real estate site, the 2019 tax assessment for the island is $21,200, and it’s taxed at an annual rate of $129. 

Patel said Liv. Bank bought the island through a Germany-based private island real estate company for about $50,000 Cdn.

There’s little other than trees, rocks and sand on the 2.4-hectare island in Guysborough County. (Google)

Lopes said he’s been overwhelmed by the response from friends, the media and people he barely knows. 

“But the headlines around Dubai are ‘Indian Portuguese DJ who still lives with parents doesn’t know what to do with island’. I’m like, you guys, you guys are really killing me over this,” said Lopes.

Random Acts of Kindness

Club member and Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson in her VF office.

Here at the Victoria Foundation, we talk a lot about community. In fact, building a “vibrant, caring community for all” is an essential part of our vision. The concept of community is at the core of everything we do.

With that, I believe it’s important to take stock from time to time and think about just what “community” really means, both to the organization, but also to myself, as a member of this community.

The Victoria Foundation promotes Random Act of Kindness Day, which returns to our region on Friday, Nov. 1. This is one of my favourite events we do, primarily because it’s not about any financial or organizational gains, there are no “deliverables” or “ROI” to worry about; it’s simply a day to encourage each of us to do something kind for someone else.

It puts a smile on my face each year to see organizations, businesses, elected officials, families, individuals — anyone and everyone — committing kind acts in the community simply to spread some joy and brighten peoples’ day.

Because what is a community if not the people that it’s made of and the commonalities that unite us all? This can be a divisive world we live in these days, but I’m still a firm believer that we have more in common with one another than we have differences. We may not all look the same or believe the same things or experience life in exactly the same way, but when you actually stop to talk to someone, to take the time to know them, it doesn’t take long to find what we all have in common.

And within a community, you have even more in common with the people you share it with. Here in Greater Victoria, for instance, we share this region’s history and stunning natural surroundings. We all breath the same fresh air, enjoy the same mild climate and gaze out at the same landscapes. We are but a blip in the world’s population and our region is a dot on the map, but there is nowhere else on earth like here and we are united by that which makes us unique.

Random Act of Kindness Day isn’t just about doing something nice for someone else and feeling good about it. That’s a part of it, certainly, but it’s also about seeing the people around you not as strangers, but as neighbours, with whom you share the common bond of our community.

On Friday, Nov. 1, we encourage you to celebrate and strengthen that bond by performing whatever small act you’re able to, because everyone responds to kindness. It brings us even closer together and helps to make this a kinder, caring community of all of us.

For more information on Random Act of Kindness Day, visit

Raymond James’ Father’s Day Walk / Run for Prostate Cancer

The Father’s Day Walk Run is an annual event held in several communities across B.C. This year’s Walk / Run will take place on Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 10:00am.

The Run offers an opportunity to honour the prostate cancer survivors in your life, promote awareness of the number one cancer for men, and raise money to help find a cure. In 2018 alone, $150,000 was awarded to 3 recipients in Vancouver to continue to fund research.

The Union Club will be putting together a team for this special event! To register yourself to be a part of the team, please contact Danielle Scott at 250.384.1151 (ext. 320) or via email.

It’s a Family Affair!


Join us on Father’s Day for this great event for the whole family!.

Bring your dad, brother or son or just come to help support all the men in your life.

5 K  Walk or Run   – 3 K Walk – Dash for Dad

YOU can make the difference!

JOIN US by walking or running with your whole family to raise awareness, raise money and show support for a disease that affects so many of us!

For more information, please visit

Food for Families Gala: A Mustard Seed Fundraiser

The Club’s Community Outreach Committee Chair, Lyle Soetaert, and COC member Margaret Odishaw recently sat with Janiene Boice, Director of Development for The Mustard Seed Street Church, to discuss what it is the Mustard Seed does for our community.

The Union Club of British Columbia is proud to partner with the Mustard Seed for “Food for Families Gala”.

From Janiene Boice:

“To summarize a few points we chatted about:

  • The Mustard Seed is a very large non-profit organization that runs incredibly efficiently and effectively. Our administration costs are less than 10% of our annual budget (including personnel costs).  This percentage is from 2017 and is lower than most Victoria non-profit organizations. All numbers are public on the CRA website.
  • Our volunteer base is enormous; we have 1 staff for every 25 volunteers at the Food Rescue Warehouse and 1 staff for every 70 volunteers at our Queens location.
  • We provide:
    • 5000 individuals a month receive food hampers
    • 2500+ individuals a month receive hot lunches and family style dinners

But what makes The Mustard Seed different is that we believe in empowerment and setting our clients up for success; from need and crisis, to self sufficiency. We offer a hand up instead of just a hand out.  To do this, we run the following programs.

The Family Centre

  • Parenting classes, resume writing skills, interview skills training, day to day banking and cashier training. 
  • We work with Victoria Literacy Connection to provide free tutoring to 460 children from grades 2 to 12.
  • We have 1 social worker and 2 case workers who walk alongside families in their season of challenge.
  • Before school starts, we provide 780 school supplies kits free of charge for children; as well as 360 pairs of running shoes and new back-to-school outfits (2018)

Hope Farm

  • Hope Farm is an addiction recovery centre in Duncan where men can come and stay for 6 months to work through an intensive program to free themselves from addiction. On the farm, the men ‘work’ for the keep.  Daily farming duties include running a ‘U-pick’ as well as selling eggs and free range chickens.
  • Currently, there are 12 Men in our 6-month program. To date, 60 men have graduated from our program.
  • Two years ago we partnered with Oughtred Coffee to develop The Mustard Seed Coffee Co.  This is a social enterprise program that the men run and deliver coffee to Thrifty Foods and Save On Foods. All the proceeds from this coffee company go toward Hope Farm.

Food Rescue:

  • 4000 lbs of food is rescued daily from local grocery stores
  • At our Food Security Distribution Centre we ‘rescue’ fresh produce, meat and dairy from the local grocery stores, clean, glean, then re-distribute the food to 66 local agencies (Our Place, Esquimalt High, Women’s Transition House, Spectrum Community School, Cridge Centre, Life Cycles, just to name a few).  This is a free service because we believe that food waste is a big issue.  If we can lessen what goes into our local landfill and nourish people with fresh produce then it is a win-win for everyone.”