The Week — June 30

Pride Week gets serious — and fun, Monday says goodbye to Jane Heffelfinger, Colwood gets a "Crawlture Jam"

The ceiling collapsed on the Cool Aid Society last Friday, June 24. No one was hurt, but the non-profit lost a dozen computers and supplies at 707 Johnson, which housed the REES (Resources, Education, Employment and Support) Program for mental needs. The group is now seeking donations and a new window-front location.

Pride Week is serious business

It’s not all feathers, fans and neon at Pride Week this year. One Victoria group is making sure the serious side of Pride is getting as much attention as the more eyeball catching parade.

The third-annual Pride Business Fair will be kicking off Monday, July 4, at Victoria Event Centre from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event, put on by non-profit Island Community In Business Society, is a chance for LGBTQ-friendly businesses to show their support in the community, as well as a potential hotspot to meet your next employer.

“We’re lucky that Canadian society provides a place for everyone, and that includes people who are enthusiastic about celebrating their freedom of sexual orientation … but we’re here to represent the business side of that community,” says Danielle Topliss, a solicitor with S.J. Law and a director of Island Community in Business Society. “I’m a Topliss lawyer, but I’m quite happy not to be a topless lawyer.”

Since the fair kicked off in 2009, dozens of businesses have been involved. This year promises the greatest turnout yet, with nearly 30 businesses attending, including Chef Suzi in the Square, Ocean Island Inn, Green Party of B.C., Thunderbird Insurance Brokers Ltd., Jin Shin Do Victoria, Moon Raven Counselling, Urban Butch Swimwear for Transmen and more — plus, there’s a cash bar. While Topliss applauds the emphasis placed on celebration and fun, she says there are still dark undercurrents that the community is tackling — both in the social and economical sectors.

“Our community is so much more than a once-a-year party,” says Topliss. “There are still pockets of intolerance out there, and evidence of discrimination happening in the world every day. We all need to have a stake in our community to promote the kind of world we want to live in. This is just one more way to do it.”

For more information on the fair, or to get involved, email: islandcib@yahoo.ca.

A lot more Pride

For those who want to join in the fun, check out these events that kick off Pride Week in Victoria.

Grab a hotdog and take sides with the Kings or the Queens at the Marcus Tipton Memorial Drag Ball Game, Friday, July 1, at noon in Vic West Park. Then, tantalize the writer in you or just listen to talented LGBTQ locals with “Pride and the Word,” Saturday, July 2, 6:30 p.m. at Ambrosia Event Centre ($10).

Fluff up Poochy with the seventh-annual Big Gay Dog Walk, Sunday, July 3, 1 p.m. to 3 pm on Dallas Road at Cook Street — complete with agility try-outs, musical doggies, fancy costume competitions and treats for the whole family. If doggy isn’t your style, check out the Pride Tea Party, Sunday, July 3, 3 p.m. to 7:30pm at The Ledge ($2). The theme is “Lesbian Pride Glide,” and you can bust your best moves, on and off the dance floor.

The Pride Business Fair isn’t the only way businesses can get involved. Enter the “Open Your Doors, With Pride” contest — hosted by the Victoria Pride Society — and receive $5,000 of free advertising. Take a shot of your business’ pride, and enter it at victoriapridesociety.org/openyourdoors.html. Shots will be uploaded to Facebook, then voted on until Sat., July 9. Winners receive a fancy batch of advertising from The Zone Radio, Monday Magazine, The Martlet, Village 900 and Play in Victoria.

Monday says goodbye

Sad news this past week when Jane Heffelfinger, leading Victoria arts philanthropist and “mother” of Monday and Pacific Opera Victoria, passed away at the age of 84.

Heffelfinger died Wednesday, June 22, from multiple health challenges after surviving open heart surgery in 1978, three heart attacks and a brain hemorrhage in 2004 and a broken hip in spring of 2010. While the family told media Heffelfinger’s death wasn’t a surprise, arts and culture groups around Victoria are mourning the loss.

“The Heffelfingers were true givers — not just givers of their money, but of their time, energy and connections. They just don’t make people like that anymore,” says Philomena Hanson, former Monday employee and publisher of Victoria Arts Marketing.

Among her accomplishments, Heffelfinger founded Pacific Opera Victoria in 1980, and married George Heffelfinger, who fronted the funds to create Monday in the mid ’70s. She won countless awards and was known across Canada for promoting the arts.

Lyn Quan of Monday knew Heffelfinger for close to 20 years and says all of her memories are fond. “She was always so warm, and when she’d talk to you she’d hold your hand and call you darling,” says Quan. “It was as though you were the most important person in the room.”

A public memorial will be held in coming weeks.

Colwood Crawlture jam

We’ve all seen the madness of the Colwood Crawl, but have you spotted 100 adults on their hands and knees crawling through a Highway 1 intersection? You will — at least if a few students have their way.

“Stop Crawling and Stand Up!” is the slogan five Royal Roads University students are using to convince residents to join on all fours, or at least plan a route around the “Colwood Crawlture Jam,” about to hit the Trans-Canada Highway at McKenzie Wednesday, July 6, at 5 p.m.

The rush hour mayhem started as part of a media ethics course, which encouraged students to practice culture jamming — subverting cultural expectations — as a form of ethical practice. “Often people don’t keep in mind that this is actually something we could avoid — this doesn’t need to exist,” says Erin Richards, 24, a professional communications student at RRU.

The team is working with university staff, media, city planners, activists and even police on the project. And while the students say they don’t have all the answers, they do have suggestions for people wanting to halt the crawl: carpool, bike, negotiate flexible work times, work from home one day a week, petition the city for greater roadways, or even relocate out of the crawl. The goal of the project is just to get people thinking.

“This isn’t a protest or a demonstration, it’s just a call to attention and a chance to add a little humour to something that can be so frustrating for so many people,” says Richards. “We are going to be literally crawling along the three crosswalks of the intersection every time the light turns red.”

Crawlers should join the jam team outside Saint Joseph’s Church Hall on Burnside and McKenzie before 5 p.m. A safety crew will be on hand with vests and stop signs. For more info, search Crawlture Jam on Facebook, or @crawlturejam on Twitter. M

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