Susan Down is the new managing director of CVAC. (submitted)

A&E column: Book on historic churches; CVAC names new board; Cowichan Lake Idol to be crowned

Whats going on in arts and entertainment

Need something new to read during the pandemic and have an interest in local history?

Heritage House announced the release of a new book about the historic churches of Vancouver Island and surrounding islands.

Pioneer Churches of Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea: An Explorer’s Guide, tracks author Liz Bryan’s journey to learn about the early churches and chapels that once formed the heart of B.C.’s island pioneer communities.

Organized into five geographical sections — Victoria, Esquimalt, and the Saanich Peninsula; the Cowichan Valley; Salt Spring Island; Central Vancouver Island; and the North Island — the book profiles 46 Protestant and Roman Catholic churches built before 1900, according to a press release from the publisher.

Along with highlighting each building’s unique architectural aspects, Bryan explores the local history of the sites and of the settlers from many denominations and cultures who built and sustained them over decades.

A longtime journalist and travel writer, Bryan says her interest in the churches arises out of a concern for the historical knowledge that is being lost as more and more of them are deteriorating or being torn down.

“Churches across British Columbia today seem to be in a state of uncertainty,” Bryan said. “I began to fear that more would soon be gone, and with them, much of B.C.’s history. I wrote this book to draw attention to their fragility and the pioneer memories they hold.”

“The 19th century churches of British Columbia are important historical landmarks,” she said. “They are all worth study – for their architecture; their graveyards; their fittings and fixtures, many of them antique; and for the stories they tell.”

Pioneer Churches of Vancouver Island is the first in a three-part series on the historic churches of British Columbia. A second book on churches in the Southern Interior of B.C. is planned for fall 2021.


At its annual general meeting on June 24 the Cowichan Valley Arts Council elected a new board of directors for 2020/21.

Janet Magdanz is president, Lon Wood is vice president, Maggie Macdonald is treasurer, Diana Batcheler is secretary and Angela Andersen, Fran Benton, Victoria Blouin, Rory MacDonald, Cam Russell and Travis Rankin are directors.

The board honoured departing staffers Cheryl Galloway and Sharon Jackson. Susan Down has filled the newly combined role of managing director. She comes to CVAC after a career in the news media. Most recently she has handled communications for Royal Roads University and Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria.

CVAC’s gallery space located in the Cowichan Community Centre is currently closed, but the board has planned a full program — including a show on COVID-19 — after the reopening expected in the fall. The gallery is quickly booking the space for shows in 2021, CVAC said in a press release.


Good news for art lovers!

Renowned Cowichan Valley artist Sue Coleman is opening up the studio at 5378 Gore Langton Rd. to the public on July 17 and 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

If you’re a fan of the visual arts, you’ll want to check out what Coleman is up to now.

Highlights for the weekend will be new 2021 calendars for sale, and there will be discounted face masks.


The winner of Cowichan Lake Idol will be named this weekend.

Plenty of local talent has been vying for the title, which has been run this year as a virtual event, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check out the Cowichan Lake Idol Facebook page for videos of contestants singing. Before this weekend’s finale, two rounds have been completed, with judges offering feedback on performances at the end of each round.

Sponsors of the event are Country Grocer Lake Cowichan and Wideglide Entertainment.

Arts and Entertainment

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A new book takes a look at historic churches on Vancouver Island. (submitted)

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