Our Jennie Butchart Garden

by Sarah Smith – Manager of Seniors Services

I wanted to share a story about how a donation intertwined with some other great community partners to impact our program this past year.

It all starts with Jennie Butchart. A brief history: Jennie and her husband bought the land at Tod Inlet for the limestone buried there to use for a cement plant. Once one quarry was emptied and abandoned, Jennie decided to create a garden. With the help of some of her husband’s quarrymen and several tonnes of local top soil brought in by horse and buggy, she began her project. It took from 1906 until 1921 until it was complete, but this adventurous and determined woman made it happen. (side note: Jennie Butchart was a certified Chemist who loved hot air ballooning and flying – quite a woman in the early 1900’s!) During that time, and later as she developed the Italian and Rose Gardens, she and her husband were known for their hospitality and had people – friends and strangers alike – travelling from all over to see their beautiful gardens. At first, they served every visitor (expected or otherwise) tea, and it is estimated that in 1915 alone over 18,000 guests were served! Among those fortunate, and frequent, guests were the past residents of the BC Protestant Orphan’s Home, or The Cridge Centre for the Family, as we are now known.

In 2006 both The Cridge and Butchart Gardens received Lifetime Achievement awards for our longevity and contribution to this community. In honour of the sharing of that award, Butchart Gardens donated all the revenue from their seasonal ice rink that year to our Seniors’ Centre. In honour of THEM, we put the money towards landscaping and named the lovely side garden the Jennie Butchart Garden as a token of our thanks, for the donation, and equally for Jennie’s compassionate support of the young children who lived here so many years ago.

Fast forward a few years and we realized that there was much more room for colourful flowers and plants than we had originally anticipated. After some research, the cost and time involved in filling out the garden was just too much. UNTIL two things wonderfully collided! Our department received a wonderful donation AND we had a call from a group of volunteers from Glad Tidings Church and Saanich Baptist Church who were participating in a Day of Service and wanted to do something for us.

Research was done, (many) plants were purchased, top soil was delivered, and the day arrived! For our garden project alone we had between 15 and 20 volunteers who distributed 5 yards of topsoil to the entire side garden and then planted over a hundred perennials in that space. And the day was magical. I was so inspired to see older generations of church volunteers teaching younger ones how to plant a plant, and everyone working so hard together for a big chunk of time to create something beautiful that we would never have been able to do on our own.

Please stop by next year in the early summer and walk by the Jennie Butchart Garden to see how a combined blessing made it into a space worthy of the name.


Ride for Refuge is coming!!!

On a cool October day last Fall, over 300 cyclists set out on the Ride for Refuge. It was cloudy and threatened rain, but the cyclists — some in full cycling gear, others with bikes that looked like they hadn’t been ridden in a decade — were not put off. They were riding for the greater good. Each of them came with a purpose and a charity they were passionate about supporting. Seventeen local charities who work with the displaced, the vulnerable and the exploited benefited that day — over $100,000 was raised and an excellent new event for Victoria was started.

Not only was that an exciting day for the community, but it was also a rewarding day for the organizers who had laboured to plan the event and make it happen. And this year will be no different — already  we are making lists (and checking them twice), mapping out routes (and cycling them) and looking for volunteers to help us make this year’s ride another fabulous event. We are currently seeking people to take on leadership roles, to lead teams and to get involved with the grass roots planning of the event.  If you have a couple hours a week to give, and a heart for making this a fabulous event, please contact Joanne (250 995 6419) or jspecht@cridge.org to discuss how to get involved. We are so excited about this event — and we need your help to make it happen!


To see photos of last years ride and get more info about how it all works, check out this link

2015 Ride for Refuge on Saturday, October 3 — Mark your calendar!


Fun, Family, Food and New Friends

As we mentioned earlier this week, we had the distinct and unusual pleasure on Sunday of celebrating the birthday of Kendrick Sampson, along with his co-workers who are in town filming the TV series “Gracepoint”  (note: this link is to an excellent fan page, not the official website).

Kendrick, Candace and Gyneth get to know one another.

Kendrick, Candace and Gyneth get to know one another.

The afternoon was, in short, wonderful. Respitality client families, cast and crew members, and Cridge leadership mingled in the penthouse City Club Lounge at the Parkside Hotel and Spa. A delicious array of snacks from Crumsby’s and great beverages kept adults and children alike smiling, while party-goers swayed, and occasionally danced, to the jazzy music of Maureen Washington and Karel Roessingh. A dress-up photo booth, face-painting and activities on the rooftop patio helped to keep the children entertained.

Thank you to our sponsors, without whom the party would not have happened!

Thank you to Kendrick for sharing his birthday with us!

And Thank you to everyone who came out for the afternoon to celebrate with us!

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Give the Gift of Christmas – 2013

The Cridge Centre offers low cost housing and supportive services to woman and children leaving relationship violence, as well as families in transition for many other reasons.

Our Cridge Christmas Hamper program provides these families with an opportunity to celebrate Christmas without a lot of the stress low income families often have in trying to put aside extra money for gifts and Christmas dinner when they are already on a very tight budget.


Each year we’re honoured to witness the shared joy, not only in the families, but also in the donors as they come to drop off their completed hampers. It is obvious to us that the process has been extremely rewarding for them as well.

Here is what some of our clients have had to say:

  • “Without this we would not have had anything for Christmas”
  • “The hamper made Christmas for us”

For those who have donated in previous years, thank you so much for your very generous support. We hope you will consider preparing a hamper this year, too.

Donation Options

  • Women with children – Family size varies from one child to several
  • Women without children – Hamper is for one person
  • Two-parent families with children – Family size varies from one child to several plus 2 adult
  • Program needs – A list of program needs can be supplied on request
  • Food drive for non-perishable items – for our clients to access from our food cupboard, which is in demand year round

All women and families are receiving services within the Cridge Dovetail Program. More information about these services is available on the program webpage.

Here is how it works:

  • Using the guidelines below, estimate what size of family you want to donate to or if you would like to do a combination (for example, a woman without children plus a family of two).
  • Print, fill in, and fax the Cridge Christmas Hamper Form to 250-220-8566. You can also scan it and e-mail it to lneufeldt@cridge.org.
  • We will send you a wish list for the family of the size(s) of your choice. The list may include specific items and/or areas of interest for each member of the family, as well as sizes for clothing or maybe a favourite store for a gift card. What you choose from the list is up to you.
  • Have some fun! Go shopping, have a wrapping party and put it all together.
  • Finally, bring your completed hamper to the Cridge.
    Drop off dates for 2013 are:

    • Monday, December 16th 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    • Tuesday, December 17th 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    • Wednesday, December 18th 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM


Here are some guidelines of what a hamper will often include:

  • New, wrapped gifts for each member of the family (typically donors spend between $25-$50 per person).
  • Items for the whole family or the house may also be included.
  • Grocery gift card. This will vary depending on whether it is to be used to purchase Christmas dinner or to purchase food into the New Year as well. A guide is anywhere between $20-$40 per person.
  • Do not include alcohol, cigarettes or cash.

Thank you for your interest in helping our families this Christmas!

Please contact Louise Neufeldt at 250-995-6418 if you have any further questions

Printable version of this information sheet: Christmas Hamper Information Sheet
Printable hamper form: Cridge Christmas Hamper Form

NOTE: For information on supporting The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program please contact Nicole (Nandrews@cridge.org).

Buskers 2013

For the third year in a row we are welcoming the International Buskers Festival community performance program to The Cridge Centre for the Family. This year we will have three performance, all of which are open to the public.

Charlie Caper – Monday, July 22 at 1 pm

Charlie Caper is an international magician and winner of Sweden’s Got Talent. He’s also an experienced variety entertainer with a swing beat in his heart and a love for the good life.

Kif Kif – Wednesday, July 24 at 1 pm

“Kif-Kif” in French means “same-same.” This young duo of identical twins share their creativity in Quebec City and around the world. Humor, circus and twinship are at the heart of their original and interactive performances. Check out their energetic, family-friendly performance on their website.

Funny Bones – Friday, July 26 at 1 pm

Funny Bones were winners of the 2012 world buskers fest in New Zealand. Their act features rock ‘n’ roll lions, hat juggling, voice percussion, break-dancing, comedy mime, magic and slightly frightening yet hilarious giant puppets.

NICHE Inspiration Ball

The NICHE Inspiration Charity Ball was a generous gift bestowed on The Cridge Transition House for Women by Tracey and Steve Drake, the editor and publisher, respectively, of NICHE Magazine. Tracey met the Cridge CEO Shelley Morris at the Evening to Remember Lindsay Buziak in February, and Tracey decided in the course of that conversation that The Cridge Transition House for Women was a good candidate to be a NICHE charity of choice. A lunch at ‘the house,’ and a couple conversations later, and the NICHE Inspiration Ball was announced, bringing a sparkle to an otherwise ordinary spring.

NICHE Magazine is committed to supporting women in meeting their dreams and potential. This commitment is true in the hiring, staff training, magazine content, and in the charities they support. Having worked with Women for Women International for several years, the Drakes wanted to find a local charity they could also support. The Cridge Transition House for Women couldn’t be more blessed to be that choice.

On Saturday June 8, ball attendees arrived in style, walking under sunny skies up the red carpet to the Empress Hotel. An impressive silent auction, fashion show, and cocktail lounge greeted the guests even before they entered the Crystal Ballroom. Inside, a three-course dinner, fabulous music by local jazz singer Maureen Washington, a live auction, and dancing into the wee hours awaited.

While the evening was one of style and splendor, the realities of the women we support at The Cridge Transition House for Women was never far away. These women, with their intelligence, bravery, and resourcefulness, are our inspiration.

To read Shannon Whissell’s speech from the evening, NICHE Notes.

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headstart salon keeps on giving

A welcoming environment, talented hair stylists, fantastic hair care products, and friendly staff… all of these descriptions fit the atmosphere of headstart hair salon perfectly. But what truly sets the staff of headstart apart is their deep commitment to making a difference for families of children with special needs.

For the past two years, owners Garry & Chris Preston and Assistant Manager Megan Stretch have supported The Cridge Respitality Program by raising funds through the Look Good : Do Good Cut-a-thon. This year, despite the busy-ness of an upcoming change of location, the staff of headstart dedicated themselves to a “Month of Respitality.”

For the entire month of May, the front of the shop was adorned with a Respitality display, and customers were invited to make a donation to the program. All Headstart customers were invited to put their name in a draw for an overnight stay courtesy of the Magnolia Hotel, a longtime partner of The Cridge Respitality Program.

We are so grateful to headstart and their clients for the $ 3,771 they have raised for The Cridge Respitality Program. And we wish them all the best as they move locations in July to 313 Cook Street, in the heart of Cook Street Village.

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Straight from the Heart

This note, from Assistant Manager of Women's and Family Services Candace Stretch, accompanied this lovely photo on a recent email. The on-going gift of quilts from the Westshore Quilters Guild is a blessing to every woman and child who spends time at The Cridge Transition House for Women:


"Attached is a photo from the Westshore Quilters Guild show that I attended on Sunday, March 24. This photo is of me standing by the "Quilts from the Heart" display. Quilts from the Heart is what they call the initiative that they have to give quilts to every woman and child at The Cridge Transition House for Women.

The quilts that you see in the background (plus many more) are all set to be donated to CTHW in the coming days. I had a lovely time meeting the various quilters in the Guild. They are so touched by the stories that we have of the women and children who receive the quilts. They are also incredibly friendly and incredibly talented – some of the work they displayed should be in the Louvre!"

For women and children experiencing the upheaval of leaving their homes for temporary shelter in The Cridge Transition House for Women, the gift of a lovingly made and given quilt means more than just a warm night's sleep. These gifts are a show of love, encouragement, hope, and new beginnings.

Working Together: Engaging Men to End Violence against Women

Today is International Women’s Day, and this year Canada’s theme coincides perfectly with what we have been focusing on in The Cridge Women’s and Family Services for the past year, namely:


“Working Together: Engaging Men to End Violence against Women”

In that context, we share with you the two following pieces. First, our gratitude and appreciation for the men of the First Church of the Nazarene, Victoria, for their engaged commitment to the White Ribbon Campaign. Second, an invaluable, insightful, though-provoking video by male-ally and gender activist Jackson Katz, who breaks down how we have linguistically made violence against women a ‘women’s issue’ and how to change that focus so that our conversation for solutions and change includes everyone.

Happy Women’s Day. And thank you to everyone who stands with us in saying until the world is safe from violence for all, we will not rest.

The White Ribbon Campaign is a non-profit organization that aims to equip men to voice their opposition to violence against women and girls. Each year, the White Ribbon Campaign invites men around the world to wear white ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to put a stop to domestic violence.

In November Candace Stretch asked the men’s bible study in her faith community, The First Church of the Nazarene, to take part in the White Ribbon Campaign. I was invited by the group to lead a discussion about how men can get involved in this issue. I was inspired to see how engaged the group was with the topic. At the end of our time together, each of the men in the group took a white ribbon and signed a pledge to do his part to end violence against women.

The following Sunday, led by Pastor Gary Bennett, these men wore their white ribbons to the service and invited others in the church to join them. By the end of the morning, dozens of men were walking out the church doors adorned with white ribbons. It was a true testament to the commitment shared by many men in our community who have chosen to stand up to violence against women and girls.

Thank you to the men of the First Church of the Nazarene!

Violence & Silence: Jackson Katz, Ph.D at TEDxFiDiWomen

Dance for the Royal Lepage Shelter Foundation

The Royal Lepage Shelter Foundation is a major donor each year to The Cridge Transition House for Women, with money raised locally by the Royal LePage Coast Capital team. They're hosting a new, fun fundraiser this year – an afternoon of dance lessons – on Sunday, April 28 fro 3-5 pm. 

Cost is a suggested donation of $10 or more, and to register email shayla.attfield AT royallepage DOT ca