Locals Supporting Locals

We're teaming up with local artists and makers to put a spotlight on creativity in our community!

Each week for ten weeks, we'll invite a different artist or maker to share their favourite things to do in their neighbourhood during a pandemic. Get the scoop on local restaurants doing take-out or patio service, find a new small business to buy from, and get creative with new art activities for all ages.

Check back here weekly or scroll through our Instagram page for all of the amazing ideas!

Week 8: Featuring Raphael Vincent, founder of The Unity Mandala Project 

Raphael started making mandalas in with the mantra of, “We hang together as one, or we fall alone as individuals; only groups of individuals will bond together as one.” During COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter rallies, working with mandalas has renewed importance as communities work to stay grounded and focus on creating a better world with unity. Anyone can join the Mandala Project through the free workshops that will be held at Royal Athletic Park by the North Park Neighbourhood Association and the City of Victoria. 

When he’s not working with mandalas, Raphael enjoys walking around Victoria looking at the public art on display. His favourite piece is by his father, Alain Vincent, and is located at the Slide Room Gallery at 1725 Quadra Street. To create your own walking tour of local public art, visit LandMarks Public Art. It’s a great way to get outside, get active and learn about the artists and stories behind the art pieces! 

When walking around town be sure to stop off at Stir It Up, an authentic Caribbean soul food restaurant. Originally from St. Lucia, Chef/Owner Natalie’s menu features fresh ingredients, amazing spices and exotic influences. 

See the full post on the City’s Instagram page here.

Follow the Unity Mandala Project on Instagram:.@theunitymandala  

For information on Mandala Project workshops, email culture@victoria.ca 



 Week 7: Written by Jess Barton & Ariel Reyes Antuan, founders of the Iyé Creative.

The biggest blessing of the pandemic has been the shift from structured days into a slower pace. We have seized the opportunity to delve inwards to soothe the tensions created by the global events, which transformed into creating all kinds of things. Out of all the COVID creations, we fell in love with beading.

It’s a simple form of therapy that starts with just one bead and its unique beauty. The process of creating elevates you to a higher level of consciousness, transforming your reality into a place of healing, resilience, and creativity. It's like diving into the innate feminine wisdom - with each bead, we string an intention that adds to a masterpiece. As we let the joy flow, the abundance grows.

The joy that has come from beading has been spreading like wildfire in our community. With this, we realized the need to create a space for beaders to gather and learn from one another. This is why we created a Beading Circle, where we invite creators of all levels to bring a cup of tea as we gather every Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. on Zoom. We truly believe that when we come together in circle, we cooperate and lift each other up to generate abundance that spills over our community. You can find the Zoom meeting link on our Instagram page bio.

We have found tea to be the perfect medicinal complement to beading. Simple Remedies has been providing us with the freshest sourced licorice root, calendula, and borage to keep ourselves warm yet grounded and courageous while creating.

We owe a big thank you to our friends Susan and Lorrie at Victoria Bead Town Design who have been the most dedicated business owners through these uncertain times. Going above and beyond to keep their beaders focused on their medicine, they have always been there to ensure you get your beading supplies. In the beginning of the pandemic, they would take orders over the phone and gather them for you, and now, they are open every day.

See the full post on the City’s Instagram page here.

Follow the Iyé Creative on Instagram: @iye.herstories


Week 6: Written by Monique Gray Smith, an award-winning and best-selling author, speaker and consultant.

With stores and restaurants beginning to open up in phase 3 of BC’s COVID-19 Restart Plan, I am able to return to some local businesses that I have missed dearly. My first stop today was Munro’s Books. Of course, I can never just browse, I always come out with at least 1 new book to read.

I then headed to Discovery Coffee in James Bay, where I grabbed a double shot espresso over ice 😊 and headed to the ocean to write.

Going to see a movie has always been a source of inspiration for me, so when I saw that Vic Theatre was open I was thrilled and my visit was safe, enjoyable, and yes, inspiring! Oh, and the popcorn, absolutely delicious!

I am grateful to all local businesses that provide this author with the muses she needs to keep the stories flowing.

See the full post on the City’s Instagram page here.

Follow Monique on Instagram: @moniquegraysmithauthor


Week 5: Written by Jimbo the Drag Clown founder of House of Jimbo and season one contestant on Canada’s Drag Race.

It’s not easy being this glamorous! Where do I get my fabulous fabrics for frocks?! GALA FABRICS! I’m so lucky to live in Victoria's beautiful Chinatown and love how easy it is to get what I need when I need it :). Gala is also where we source a majority of our materials to make our awesome masks! Check them out at  www.houseofjimbo.com. Thank you, GALA for your beautiful selection of fabrics and notions! 

The Garden of Eden has supported the LGBTQIA2S+ community for years, as well as Victoria's theatre, drag, burlesque and festival communities. They have a great selection of shoes, hose, tights, wigs, costumes, tassels, glitter contacts and more! Thank you, Garden Of Eden for all your love and support of art and personal expression.

The Victoria Event Centre is where I performed in Drag for the first time in one of Atomique Vaudeville's legendary cabarets. VEC is a dynamic, open and welcoming performance and community space that has continued to evolve and grow and has always supported Victoria's arts and culture scene. I'm excited to be hosting a weekly viewing party of Canada's Drag Race Season One with friend and sister, the amazingly talented Vivian Vanderpuss. We will be limiting capacity and observing COVID protocols for gathering at our show. Watch me compete for the Crown, airing on Crave TV Thursday nights from July 2nd to Sept 3rd!

Victoria has a new queer space, THE VICIOUS POODLE! Check out their tasty menu and catch one of their hilarious Drag shows showcasing many of Victoria's diverse and talented performers! They also have a tasty cocktail named after me! Happy Pride Everyone!  

See the full post on the City’s Instagram page here.

Follow Jimbo the Drag Clown on Instagram: @jimbothedragclown
Featured in photos: @infinite_cats and @seanburgundy

Week 4: Written by Kenneth Kamero, founder of Victoria Eco Fashion Week

COVID-19 has brought me some big challenges, especially because I was very busy planning my 2nd edition of Victoria Eco Fashion Week just before it hit. We held successful pre-event activities including a huge clothing swap in collaboration with The Bay Centre and Women in Need, with the goal to create awareness about upcycling and support a local organization. Our collaboration with The Bay Centre had also led to a very successful eco fashion pop-up boutique in March, where we had been able to sign up more than five local designers to sell their work.

When everything closed down it left me with a lot of free time, and I needed to think of fun things to occupy my mind. I started doing nature walks around Beacon Hill Park and Dallas Road. I have also been doing home workouts with Badiro Lamidi at Limitless Training and starting fitness challenges with friends. This became a fun activity to do where I would record videos of my challenge and send it to my friends who would in return do the same.

I also enjoy cooking and that would lead me to Island Afrikan Supermarket on Quadra to pick up my favourite African food items, especially Ugali. I have been very lucky to have access to this store since it’s the only one in Victoria that sells African food. When I pick up groceries, I used to shop with reusable bags to cut down on plastic pollution. Now that some stores aren’t allowing this, I have been carrying my shopping items to the car and putting my groceries into my bags at the parking lot.

I have also been repurposing my clothes by following and learning from local designers like my good friends Kool Club Vintage and Stone Threads Jewellery who have been making face masks with recycled fabrics and donating them to the local senior residence during the pandemic. 

See the full post on the City's Instagram page here.

Follow Kenneth Kamero on Instagram: @int_ecofashion_entertainment

Week 3: Written by Eden Oliver of West My Friend

With COVID-19 dramatically freeing up my touring schedule this spring, I’ve devoted countless hours to our boulevard garden. From three beds to five and dense weeds to towering tomato plants, it has been a big transition. The vegetable starters from Mason Street Farm have made the process absolutely more doable! Plus it’s oh-so-easy to stop at Cold Comfort, my longtime favourite local ice cream producer, on the way home from the farm.

Once I start a  project it’s hard to stop, which is why I found myself at Seaberry Garden & Flower in Cook Street Village. We had a couple empty hanging baskets and I found just the right combination of succulents and herbs there to fill them. The succulents are my one on-trend garden indulgence and I completely love them.

Plus they make the porch look adorable! Which is good because West My Friend will be performing from that same porch on Saturday, June 20 at 4:30 p.m. You can watch the livestream at home on www.youtube.com/westmyfriend/live or 

See the full post on the City's Instagram page here.

Visit Eden Oliver's website here.


Week 2: Written by the Lelolai Family Arts Music Collective

Often the very best adventures are the local ones! During this time of COVID-19, spending time outdoors as a family has helped to keep us healthy and grounded.

We live in James Bay and one of our favourite things to do is to take an "artists duck walk" to Beacon Hill Park. We love to pick up snacks from the iconic local convenience store, Birdcage Confectionary, then waddle our way over to the park to sketch all the beautiful ducks and geese. This time we ended off our adventure with a picnic of yummy snacks while we colored a do-it-yourself coloring storybook created by our favourite local artist Kristy Durst. You can check out her inspiring and uplifting creations at: www.artofnonsense.com.

What are your favourite outdoors activities to do with your friends or family?

See the full post on the City's Instagram page here.

Follow the Lelolai FAM Collective on Instagram:


Week 1: Written by Lacey Janette

Covid times have been a wild shift for every single human on the planet. And for me, as a mom to a busy toddler and a creative small business owner, I’ve had to make more changes these past few months than ever before. But now more than ever, we’ve been working hard in our family to keep it local - and here are some of the ways!

We’re so lucky to call Fernwood home, where we are within a quick walk’s distance of incredible local shopping and our very favourite eats! While they were gone, we missed our walks to Fernwood Coffee for the best breakfast bagel on earth - we even tried to copy it at home a few times, but Milo knew the difference. But now that they’re back for walk-up service, you bet we’re there almost every day. ⠀ ⠀

With the playgrounds closed and a busy little man to tire out, we’ve been spending countless afternoons at the beach all quarantine long. But of course we can’t hit the sand without a bag of our favourite billies and salted chocolate chip cookies from our friends at Ruth and Dean and a perfect oat milk latte for mama. ⠀ ⠀

But above all, these pandemic days have had us focused on cozy spaces, comfy clothes, and cuddly crafts for cooped up afternoons. We’re so lucky to have our very favourite clothing store for bubba, Thistle and Wren, right around the corner. They came through with a birthday delivery when Milo turned two in March and they remain our go-to for local and consignment duds (like his fave Sloane West Clothing Co outfit) and because no matter how weird the world is, the little ones just keep growing!

And every night our growing little man gets tucked in with his favourite moon dolly, which we crafted “together” earlier this spring, locked down on rainy days, with the help of a few curbside pickup trips to Knotty Knews.

The times they are a’changin, but we are feeling as lucky as ever to call Victoria home. We are surrounded by creatives and small business that make our city so special, so as this new phase rolls in and things remain uncertain let’s keep supporting our neighbours to make sure that never changes. ⠀ ⠀

Xo Lace & Milo

See the full post on the City's Instagram page here.

Follow Lacey Janette on Instagram:

For More Information

Email: culture@victoria.ca