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.

150 YEARS OF ART from the Union Club Collection

This is the final event in our year-long celebration of 150 years since the union of British Columbia with Canada. Drawn from the Club’s art collection, each of the 16 works has been selected to represent a decade in the 150 years since 1871.

150 YEARS OF ART: 1870-1880 Lake and Stream Pen and ink on paper, ca. 1875 Signed MOKE
Collection of The Union Club of British Columbia 2016.01.08. a/b

The founding members of the Club were mainly professionals: surveyors, engineers, architects, military personnel. The quick field-sketch, as represented here,was part of their professional skill-set.

The Union Club Celebrates BC 150

In July 2021 we mark 150 years since BC joined Canada, we are planning some activities to commemorate the event, and below is some history of The Union Club as part of the union with Canada discussions.



The Club official histories cite two rather obscure exchanges of opinion by the editors of the Standard and Colonist newspapers. In the first, 11 December 1882, the writer accused the founders of The Union Club, which had just hosted a dinner for the Governor General, Marquis of Lorne, of creating a political vehicle to oppose the provincial government’s G. A. Walkem administration’s hard line threats to pull out of confederation if the original terms of the Union were not met.  The Colonist replied on the following day insisting the Standard editor was just exhibiting sour grapes for not having been refused membership (by vote) and vigorously denied the assertion of political partisanship. The Colonist pointed out, Premier Walkem was a charter member. Not giving up, the Standard responded that indeed Walkem and his friends were members but that they were hoodwinked into joining the Club by these “wire-pullers.”

There was indeed much “wire-pulling.” As early as 1874 local businessman William Wilson headed up a consortium of local property speculators who were facing huge losses with the railway failing to appear. Using the local Mechanics Institute, of which he was a director, to foment a crowd he proceeded to storm the Legislature causing Premier Amor De Cosmos to resign. Dr. J. S. Helmcken assembled a coalition to form the “Terms of Union Preservation League” and floated a petition to Queen Victoria. The government sent the new premier, George Walkem, off to London to get the Colonial Secretary, Lord Carnarvon, to mediate with Ottawa. A deal was reached to extend the completion time of the railway to 1890 and work to begin on the Esquimalt and Nanaimo (E&N) Railway portion at once.  However, in the Spring of 1875 the Canadian Senate defeated the financing bill for the E&N and the deal was dead. In response Wilson’s group formed the “Carnarvon Club” to openly lobby for dissolving the Union if the Carnarvon Terms were not met.

The gentlemen of The Union Club coalesced shortly thereafter, finally registering as The Union Club of British Columbia in 1879.  Wilson’s group ultimately became the rival Pacific Club.

A Beginner’s Guide to Solar Wind

In celebration of the International Day of Light 2021, Club member Natasha van Bentum has put together an informative website as an introduction to the topic of “Solar Winds”.

This website is for people of all ages who are looking to learn more about solar physics.

While admittedly “basic” (from the website creator herself), this website offers a complete summary of this fascinating topic:

The Union Club Celebrates BC 150

In July 2021 we mark 150 years since BC joined Canada, we are planning some activities to commemorate the event, and below is some history of The Union Club as part of the union with Canada discussions.



The Union Club of British Columbia was founded in April, 1879, just as the final push was on under Premier George Walkem and Amor De Cosmos, working with John A. MacDonald to get construction to start of the Canadian Pacific Railway as promised under the 1871 “Terms of Union”: a transcontinental railway to commenced within two years, completion within ten.

MacDonald had been able to pass an 1873 order-in-council which identified Esquimalt as the West Coast terminus although this was coincidental with the failure of the CPR syndicate, and just before revelations of the “Pacific Scandal” and collapse of the MacDonald Government

By 1879 there was no sign of a railway. Canada was trying to change the Terms. The negotiations were difficult. Furthermore, a group of disaffected business leaders, land speculators and politicians threatened withdrawal from the union with Canada.

Behind the scenes were the many professionals and civil servants, mainly in Victoria, who were horrified at the prospect of a split. Initially, seeing their civil service appointments and pensions threatened, they had opposed union with Canada. However, having achieved assurances of their continued employment and pensions, a provision actually written into the Terms of Union of course now they remained staunchly in favour of the Union.

It was just such a group, motivated as much by self-interest as altruism who decided to formalize as a club of “remainers”.

Supreme Court Justice Matthew Baillie Begbie was the Club’s founding president. Founding members were businessman and later Lieutenant Governor Frank Barnard, Cariboo MPP and retired Royal Navy Lieutenant Henry E. Croasdaile.  Early members were lawyer, City Mayor and former Victoria representative on the colonial legislative council Montegue Tyrwhitt-Drake, court registrar C. E. Pooley, Surveyor General Joseph Despard Pemberton, and Justice Peter O’Reilly. HBC physician and community leader John Sebastion Helmcken was a member. The owner and editor of the Colonist, David Higgins, soon to become Speaker in the Legislature was a member; the editor of the Victoria Standard, a staunch “leaver” was most certainly not. Other early members and attendees at events were officers of the Royal Navy, and the hierarchy of the Anglican clergy.

By 1884 there were 149 Union Club members and 78 charter members.

Stayed for next month “Chapter 2 – The Battle of the Clubs”

The Quartet is Now a Quintet!

Union Club member Henri van Bentum is proud to announce that the previously announced quartet of children’s books is now a quintet!  Mr. van Bentum has released his fifth children’s book!

Henri’s charming new children’s fable is titled “Three Mermaids’ Escapades in the Coral Reef and Kelp Forest”

In this fable, we meet Poseidon, Lord of the Sea, and his three granddaughters — Topaz, Ruby and Sapphire. Each mermaid is given a mission which takes them to the realm of coral reefs and kelp forests. Join in their adventures, and learn about the vital role coral reefs and kelp forests play in the health of our planet.

Henri van Bentum says: “We’ve just published our fifth children’s book. I wrote the story (a fable), in collaboration with our friend in Arizona, PJ Heyliger, who created the delightful illustrations. We’re a couple of youngsters — PJ is 82 and I’m 91 years young.

The title is “Three Mermaids’ Escapades in the Coral Reef and Kelp Forest.”   The three mermaids are granddaughters of Poseidon, Lord of the Sea.

Enjoy the whimsical illustrations and join in the adventure.

Along the way, learn about the important role of both coral reefs and kelp forests in the health of our planet.”

To learn more about “Three Mermaids’ Escapades in the Coral Reef and Kelp Forest”, or to purchase your copy, please click here.

AGGV: Winter Small Works Group Show & Sale

Have some shopping left to do? The AGGV Gallery Shop has a great selection of gifts for everyone on your holiday list. Items include; local handmade pottery, jewelry, woodcraft, glass art, textiles, books, exhibition catalogues, magazines, posters, art cards, home goods, stationery, puzzles, children’s games and toys and a beautiful selection of holiday ornaments and decorations.

The Gallery Shop works with local artists and artisans to source many of the products available. The shop is located at the AGGV entrance and does not require an entrance fee to browse or purchase. 

The Gallery Shop is ready for Christmas 2020.

The Gallery is open 6 days a week and admission to the Gallery Shop and Art Rental & Sales is free at all times.

Obituary: Kirby William Howard

It is with deep sorrow that we are forced to announce the sudden passing of our baby brother Kirby William Howard. He left this world on October 21, 2020, in Victoria, British Columbia.

Kirby was a kind, sweet soul who was loved and cherished by many. He was born in Montreal, Quebec and moved to Vancouver British Columbia when he was 6 years old. He was the youngest of the siblings. Kirby came from a musical family and was an amazing singer. Singing, playing the piano and music brought him such tremendous joy and acclaim. Earlier on in his music career, Kirby starred in various musicals in Vancouver and sang with “The Platters.” You always knew he was coming because you could hear him as he sang down the street.

With his sense of humour and genuine caring for people, Kirby made friends easily. He also had lifelong friends that he valued from Kitsilano Secondary School where he graduated.

He moved to Victoria in the late 1980’s and loved living there. Kirby was also a server, bartender, and banquet captain. He worked at the Union Club in Victoria for the past 15 + years and he took great pride in his work there. The members and staff there treated him like family, and he felt that. He also adored Karaoke at many of the Karaoke clubs in Victoria. Many a night you could find him there encouraging others to get their song on while he lit up the room with his powerful voice.

Kirby is predeceased by his mother, Constance “Connie” Howard, father, William Melvin Howard and brother Butch Howard.

He is survived by his siblings, Kevyn Major Howard (Tiffanie), Kim Laforest, Kelsey Howard, and Deirdre Thompson (Lee). He was a wonderful uncle to Dominic Laforest (Gabriella) Tyson Laforest, Kimberley Jackson Moreau (Bony) Courtney Jackson, Kayla Kalisz and Cree (Michelle). Kirby also loved being a Great Uncle to Miles Laforest. He adored and had a special connection to all his cousins and second cousins in Ontario. He was so happy that he went to the Family Reunion.

We as a family, will miss him terribly but it brings us peace to know that he is being received by God and in the loving arms by those who loved him and passed before him. We just know that he is singing his heart out and playing Bingo and cards with our mom.

As a family we want to extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who has reached out to us. In these times of Covid, we are not able to celebrate Kirby’s life in person right now, however we will when it is safe to do so. In the interim, we are in the planning stages to celebrate his life on-line and we will let his friends and rest of family know when a date has been decided.

Arlo & Oliver Do Goat Yoga

Past President Edward Kisling is now a published author! During COVID-19, Ed found himslef with extra time on his hands and decided to craft a children’s book featuring his grandsons, Arlo and Oliver!

“Join Arlo and Oliver as they take you on a tour of their farm where they do goat yoga. You can practice the yoga poses and meet the other animals on the farm.They invite you to join them as they explore the farm and goat yoga.”

For further information, or to order your copy, please click here.

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