YMP 2014: What is your vision for change in the Comox Valley?

Over twelve weeks a team of Comox Valley Youth were immersed in learning digital media-making and employability skills through the Comox Valley Art Gallery, resulting in a series of original videos which express a vision for change in the Comox Valley. 


FILM SERIES   Comox Valley Art GalleryThe Youth Media Project (YMP), sponsored by the Comox Valley Art Gallery through the Government of Canada’s Skills Link Program provided a range of new skills training for this year’s participants, some who faced real barriers to employment. This second project began early in 2014 and ended May 30th, with a successful screening at the Lower Filberg Centre. It assisted youth in developing life and employability skills through group-based learning. The YMP featured workshops with guest media-makers as well as from the project partners: The Wachiay Friendship Center, Imagine Comox Valley and the Creative Employment Access Society, to name but a few.

Throughout the project youth received training in digital video production, graphic design and animation through the Comox Valley Art Gallery’s media lab, and engaged with key community leaders in discussions surrounding social justice, cultural heritage and community participation. The participants then created group-based video projects that express unique visions of change within the Comox Valley. Alongside the video, participants developed an employment action-plan and resume/portfolio. By completing the program activities youth reportedly experienced reduced barriers to employment and increased ability to enter and participate in the labour market.

Imagine Comox Valley was delighted to play a role in this process and was deeply impressed with the quality of the productions and the social comments they made. The participants had a look at the high standards set in 2013, and raised them with a combination of community involvement, practical use for the media created, and by incorporating innovative and creative elements from group dance to animation. Have a look at the links below to view the videos on Youtube:

  2. CROSS COURTENAY BY BIKE by Kelsey Watts
  4. FAMILIAL TOUCH by Joshua Vandale
  5. JEEP CHURCH by Jesse Polito
  6. KARMA COMES BACK by Marisa Schorno
  7. PANELS by Andy Bayrak
  8. THE PHAGOCYTIC DISCIPLINE by Cameron Masterton
  9. TREES by Annie Becker

Group efforts:

  1. BUT ENOUGH ART, EAT by Team Alpha
  2. ROADSIDE MANNER by Team Omega

Alternatively you can show the Comox Valley Art Gallery some online love by viewing the entire playlist of videos on their Youtube Channel.



Moonlight and Magic is here!

Captain Thunderpants

Moonlight and Magic is a highly anticipated annual event that hits the streets of beautiful Downtown Courtenay this Nov 21-23! Businesses, arts organizations and charities will all join forces to get the Comox Valley into the “seasonal swing of things”. This official kick off to the holiday season welcomes residents and visitors to the heart of Courtenay for special weekend of music event, kid’s activities and more! Plus you can take advantage of unbelievable shopping specials that are here…and then magically….they’re gone! Moonlight and Magic is all about kicking off the holiday season with sizzle and sparkles. The event runs 5-9 pm Friday November 21st, and 9 am-5 pm Saturday November 22nd. The Comox Valley Christmas Parade follows on Sunday November 23rd at 2:00 pm


Fire Performance to Light Up the Streets Friday!

NOVA (2)Downtown Courtenay lights up the night with a Moonlight and Magic Live Fire Show Friday at 6:30 pm  on Duncan Ave with NOVA Fire Spun Arts! These local performers make magic with fire and deliver a magical and breathtaking performance that will delight and dazzle all ages! The Moonlight and Magic Fire show is becoming a real not-to-be-missed annual tradition in Downtown Courtenay. Visitors can also enjoy roving performers, live music, kids craft activities, a ‘pop up’ craft market, Magical Faces Face Painting, cozy campfires and more in a variety of downtown locations right through till 9 pm.

Friday Night the Comox Valley Art Gallery is also hosting their 40th birthday party from 4 to 9 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join them for snacks, warm beverages and birthday cake. While you’re there check out the 40th Annual CVAG Christmas Craft Fair featuring work by over 60 local artists. CVAG is open 10-9 on Friday, November 21 and 10-5 onSaturday, Nov. 22.


Live Music Part of the Fun

ToddButlerValley favourite Todd Butler will offer up great music and big laughs on the CVAG Plaza at 5:30. Come pull up a chair by the fire and enjoy some awesome tunes! After the fire show stick around for choral music from Just in Time Jazz Choir! Later in the evening at 8 pm you can tuck away into the Old Dive Shop for a mesmerizing musical experience with The Moon Band.  The Moon Band is a collaboration of Renée Forrester and Nicholas Tomlinson who create a mystical and magical sort of music, and play a mix of unique originals and covers. Their music can be described as dreamy, other worldly, playful, free spirited and holds a bit of good ol’ foot tapping folk. There are limited seats for this special FREE one hour concert!


 Moon Band

Friday  November 21st – Highlights!

4-9 Warm Fire, CVAG 40th anniversary celebration, Hot Cider and More on the CVAG Plaza

4-8 Crafts, Magical Faces Face Painting and hand on Crafty Fun at the Old Dive Shop on Duncan Ave

5:30 Todd Butler performs on the CVAG Plaza

6:30 NOVA Fire performance on Duncan Ave

7:15 Just in Time Jazz Choir on the CVAG Plaza

7-9 The Figments at Zocalo Cafe

8:00 The Moon Band at the Old Dive Shop on Duncan Ave

8-11 The Jilli Martini Band at Billy D’s



Saturday November 22nd

Saturday November 22nd is also a fantastic day to head downtown and take in the Comox Valley Farmers Market, complete with live music and tasty treats to get your day started right! Then wander up to the heritage heart of the City and enjoy live performances from 11-4 at the Sid Plaza and free face-painting for the kids! It’s a great day to make plans with friends or family, stop by a local craft fair, or visit a local cafes and restaurants for a delicious and fun filled visit to get you in the spirit of the season.


Saturday November 22nd Downtown! – Highlights

9-12 Comox Valley Farmers Market

10-4 2014 Fiesta World Craft Bazaar Florence at the Filberg Centre

11-4 Elasmosaurs Birthday at the Courtenay Museum

11:00 Captain Thunderpants Kids Show at the Sid Plaza

12 noon - All Ages Hula Hoop Jam! Come and give it a spin! - Sid Plaza

12-4 Acoustic Jam at the CVAG Plaza Campfire with special guests

1 pm Josie Aileen Patterson at the Sid Plaza

2:00 Shane Philip Live at the Sid Plaza



Don’t Miss Shane Philip

shane_philip_by_ben_friday_03_344With influences drawn from every corner of the music world, Shane Philip is one-man show instilling audience members with awe and moving them to dance. His rich sonic palette is dynamic and compelling for listeners, and provides a thick backdrop for the vocals. Shane Philip follows his raw creative impulses to the core and his music reflects a stark individuality that is remarkable and constantly entertaining. Borrowing from folk, reggae, blues and beyond, he blurs the boundaries of expectation and music into an altogether unique soundscape.  “We are influenced by everything we listen to, see and do,” Shane reminds.  “I write music that results from everything that goes on in the life I live.”. Shane performs at 2 pm on the Sid Plaza



Elasmosaurs Party and Fiesta World Craft Bazaar!

It is the Elasmosaurs Eighty Million and Twenty Sixth Birthday/Christmas Party and you are all invited to the Museum from 11 -4! Join friends of the Courtenay Museum for birthday cake and Christmas goodies and punch, tons of door prizes, kids crafts, face painting, a reading of the Dinosaur’s Night Before Christmas.  Lots of fun for the whole family.  Admission is either by a new or gently used toy for Santa’s workshop, or food donation for our local food bank.

On November 22nd and 23rd from 10 till 4 both floors of the Filberg Center will be transformed into a Global Craft Bazaar with over 40 local and global organizations and businesses selling their fair trade products. These vendors work directly with the artisans in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America and there is something for everyone: from Christmas ornaments to Tibetan carpets, books, cards, posters, calendars, games, toys, clothing, housewares and jewelry. Enjoy delicious ethnic food including El Salvadorian pupusas and soup, Vietnamese salad rolls and spring rolls and mouthwatering desserts. $2 admission.  


Don’t Miss the Comox Valley Christmas Parade!

Santa Claus is coming to town! The weekend culminates with the much anticipated Comox Valley Christmas Parade! The theme for 2014 is “A Christmas Carol’ and spectators can get ready for an incredible array of parade entries from local businesses and community organization. Kids can look forward to the visit of the season from Jolly Old St. Nick himself! Parade starts at 2 pm on Sunday November 23rd.


Comox Valley Trumpeter Swan Festival too!

Celebrate the return of the Trumpeter Swans and support Mountain Avian Rescue Society! The Trumpeter Swan festival takes places from 9 am till 2 pm on Sunday November 23rd at the Native Sons Hall. Comox Valley conservation displays include Project Watershed, CV Naturalists, Mack Laing Society, Tsolum River Restoration and the CV Conservation Strategy. Experience the popular free bus tours led by a CV Naturalist, speak with experts on swan habitat and foraging behaviour. Buses depart 10 am, 11 am, & 12 pm – First come first served. The event also features a MARS bake sale & silent auction, kids activities, face-painting, refreshments, origami swan making and much more! Festival entry fees are $10 adult, $15 families, $5 seniors. MARS members are free.


Post Your Pics from the Weekend!

Moonlight and Magic weekend is the kick off for the “Spirit of the Season” photography contest! Take a picture of your favourite Downtown Courtenay people, places or moments and tag them to facebook, twitter or instagram #downtowncourtenay or email them to info@downtowncourtenay.com. Winner will be selected Dec 20th for special prizes from downtown Courtenay businesses! For more details visit www.downtowncourtenay.com


Moonlight and Magic 2014

Moonlight and Magic is a project of the Downtown Courtenay BIA with help from our dynamic business and arts community!

2014 Go Smart Day Highlights the Benefits of a Community-Minded Downtown Courtenay

2014 Go Smart Day, an initiative of Imagine Comox Valley, saw almost 500 people take to the streets in downtown Courtenay in a celebration of youthful fun, sun, sports, shopping, food, music and art. Organised by a handful of pro-active animateurs, supported by a few dozen volunteers and enjoyed by hundreds of community members of all ages, the event was everything the organisers had hoped for.

Image caption: 2014 Go Smart Day - early morning chalk art, started by local artist Tracy Kobus and filled in by people of all ages with some gentle guidance from local teacher Nicholas Williams.


After ongoing deliberation and varied input the group organising 2014 Go Smart Day under the banner of Imagine Comox Valley decided to change the name of the event from Car-Free Sunday to Go Smart Day. “It’s never been about being anti-car. We felt that the name Car-Free Sunday was too rigid. This event is about promoting the many possible uses of a public resource. Go Smart Day seemed a much better fit and we are grateful for the suggestion from one of our supporters.” said Andrew Gower, part of the organising team. “Considering the large number of children and youth that come out to the event, it seemed essential to have things flowing freely; we the organisers basically make the roads of the downtown core a safe space allowing people to do what they want as they want.”


Support from the downtown businesses played a key part in the success of the event and the organisers are grateful to be-Clothing, The Broken Spoke, Cardero’s, Courtenay Antiques, Everything Wet Store, Fiction, Home and Garden Gate, Iconic, Kradles, Courtenay Library, The Laughing Oyster, Courtenay Museum, Red Living, Union Street Grill and Grotto and Zocalo Cafe for their participation on the day of the event. Along with some shopping, people were invited to participate in a cretiri-fun event, a community garden potluck, create street art, enjoy a sidewalk music show (thanks to our friends from Elevate the Arts) and ride all kinds of things up and down and around 5th street and a small downtown core loop.


Getting to the event was pretty easy, even for those who had to travel some distance to get there, thanks to participation from the folks at BC Transit, who provided both a special transit schedule for the day of the event and an impressive informative booth. Special mention also goes out to Christine Nave of CNIC Traffic Services, who generously donated the time and effort required to ensure safe traffic control services for the event.


“Seeing your friends and neighbours out on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Strolling through our beautiful downtown core without worrying about kids riding their bikes. Supporting local businesses, knowing that it is money well spent because they support you. This is community-building at its finest - and most fun.” said David Frisch, volunteer coordinator for 2014 Go Smart Day.


As the event came to an end, and traffic on 5th Street resumed to normal, the volunteers enjoying some post-event goodies cooked up by Union Street Grill and Grotto, unanimously agreed that 2015 Go Smart Day couldn’t come soon enough.
For more media from the event search for #2014GoSmartDay on Twitter or Facebook.

Go Smart Day Downtown Scavenger Hunt Criteri-fun Sunday

If you are interested in participating please pre-register by emailing Imaginecomoxvalley@gmail.com with the word Criteri-fun in the subject heading.
A criterium, is a bike race held on a short course often run on closed-off city center streets. Race length can be determined by a number of laps or total time.
A criteri-fun is the same concept, however participates can also gain laps to their total by performing scavenger hunt tasks such as: checking out a book from the library, consuming a pint at Billy Dees, or dressing a manikin at Fiction clothing store!
Each task will have a prescribed lap value for completion and successful completion adjudicated by a judge, usually a proprietor of a business, who will indicate successful completion by stamping a participant’s race pass port.
As with a criterium the participant with the most laps will be deemed the winner.
Registration can also be completed 20 to 5 minutes before race time in front of the Comox Art Gallery. Race time is 1pm to 2pm the 22nd of June 2014 - Go Smart Day!
Course route, race passports, and race details provided during registration.

Community Potluck in the Garden part of Go Smart Day – Sunday, June 22 

Join Dawn to Dawn, LUSH Valley and a number of other community organizations as they celebrate the hard work of the community in the Share the Harvest Community garden!
Located at 6th Street and Harmston Avenue in Downtown Courtenay, the community garden is now in its 3rd year and has seen significant developments this year. A five year lease agreement with the City allows for more activities and longer-range planning for the garden to occur.
If you have not yet visited the garden, this will be a perfect opportunity to take a tour, meet others who share a passion for the garden, and to take part in the age old community tradition of sharing food. Participants are invited to bring a dish to share. Plates, cutlery, tables and chairs will be provided.
The potluck will occur at 3pm and is part of the Go Smart Day festivities which occur in Downtown Courtenay from noon to 4pm.