Posted On November 28, 2019 By In Regulars With 190 Views

Last Word with Allison Smith


I’ve said it before and will say it again (and again): I love this community. And nowhere is the feeling of small-town friendliness and caring more apparent than in times of need, and celebration.
The recent School District #63 strike saw many local parents scrambling to find care for their children or risk losing income or vacation days from work. Friends helped friends, swapping playdates so the other could work, but I saw many moms offering free childcare to striking CUPE members while they picketed, or single parents who simply could not afford to take the day off.

The strike also saw the Sidney Elementary School Holiday Fair cancelled, as it was due to be held in the school gym. This left around 40 “makers” (myself included) without somewhere to sell their wares, many with large piles of stock that they no longer had the chance to recoup the cost of. In the grand scheme of things of course this wasn’t a huge deal, but in the midst of the uncertainty caused by the strike it felt like another big blow and was very disheartening.

We scrambled to find a solution but it wasn’t long before a “white knight” stepped in: Sean McNeill, co-founder and principal of McTavish Academy of Art (MAOA), offered to host and facilitate the fair at no charge. This is what MAOA is all about: building and supporting our community, and his generous offer reflected this. The fair took place and was a big success, and halfway through we got the good news that our kids would be back at school on Monday. You should have heard the cheers!

That wonderful feeling of community support is even more present during the holiday season. Smiles come quicker, festive greetings are given to strangers and friends, and even a long line at a cash register doesn’t dampen the feeling of magic in the air and the promise of Christmas around the corner. Celebrating the holidays in a small town can’t be beat, and I’m sure glad that I get to celebrate
them in ours.



Your West Coast Culture. A magazine about the people and places that make the Saanich Peninsula the little piece of paradise we call home.

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