Ten stories that made us smile in 2021

Oliver Tuck has his head shaved by Anissa Derek to raise money for childhood cancer research and support services in Parksville on Sept. 24. || Photo by Kevin Forsyth
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2021 was a tough year, but we tried our best to celebrate good news in Oceanside. Here are 10 of the stories (in no particular order) that made us smile this year.

Snaw-naw-as hosts Orange Day in the Bay

Peter Hudson (left) and Tyler Bob (middle) began organizing Orange Day in the Bay only a couple weeks before the event on July 1. || Photo by Tyler Hay

Canada Day 2021 was one like no other and events across the country were cancelled after the unmarked burials of 215 people were discovered near the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. 

Tyler Bob and Peter Hudson planned a day full of music, comedy and Indigenous speakers that drew hundreds, as well as 25 volunteer artists and speakers from across Vancouver Island. 

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Oceanside woman creates free store on family property for moms in need

Lisa Redl started the Parksville-Qualicum chapter of Mamas for Mamas, a national charitable organization that supports mothers and caregivers, shortly after moving to the area in June. || Photo Credit: Onnig Cavoukian

One Oceanside mom decided to open up the family property to create a community for moms to support other moms with time and donations. 

Lisa Redl started the Parksville-Qualicum chapter of Mamas for Mamas, a national charitable organization that supports mothers and caregivers, shortly after moving to the area in June.

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Accomplished harpist’s ‘serendipitous’ path brings her to Qualicum Beach

Photo by Kevin Forsyth.

A Qualicum Beach woman has become an accomplished harpist, after learning to play her instrument by ear. Sarah Mainland, blind since infancy, has played her harp for audiences across Canada and the U.S.

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Foundation donates $6 million to purchase and restore Englishman River estuary

From left to right: Emily Griffiths-Hamilton, Nature Trust of BC chair, Jasper Lament, Nature Trust of BC CEO, Summer and Chip Wilson, founders of the Wilson 5 Foundation unveil the Wilson Nature Park sign at the Englishman River estuary on Sept. 16. || Photo by Kevin Forsyth.

The Wilson 5 Foundation donated $6 million to the Nature Trust of BC to allow it to purchase Mariner Way in Parksville, a 2.8-hectare property at the mouth of the Englishman River. The land acquisition is a critical step to re-naturalize and restore the tidal flow of the estuary and ultimately enhance the ecosystem function of the entire river.

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Ballenas Secondary student wins $100,000 national scholarship award

Photo submitted by My Huy Lim.

A Ballenas Secondary School student was the school’s fifth student to win the prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarship for academic excellence, leadership, charisma and creativity. Each year about 100 scholarships are awarded out of 1,500 nominees from the 300,000 student candidates.

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Port Alberni couple tracks down lost dog in Parksville after almost two weeks of daily searching

When the owners found Buddy, he had a relatively large gash on his ankle, which luckily was not bleeding or infected. || Photo submitted by Kathy Taylor Culina

Kathy Taylor Culina and her husband, Tony, made about 18 trips to Parksville to look for their lost pet, who ran away from a caregiver in the area. They decided to drive down Butler Avenue one last time before heading home, when the couple spotted him running out of some bushes.

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Society signs lease agreement with town for St. Andrews Lodge

Mayor Brian Wiese signs the lease as Jay Smith, society president, and Heather Svensen, the town’s corporate administrator, look on. || Photo courtesy of Shirley Culpin, media relations for the St. Andrews Lodge Historical and Cultural Society.

The St. Andrews Lodge Historical and Cultural Society signed a lease agreement with the Town of Qualicum Beach and were handed the keys to a building it campaigned to protect in 2020 and 2021.

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Tour de Rock rolls through Parksville-Qualicum 

Oliver Tuck has his head shaved by Anissa Derek to raise money for childhood cancer research and support services in Parksville on Sept. 24. || Photo by Kevin Forsyth

Cops for Cancer’s annual Tour de Rock rolled through Oceanside on Sept. 24 making stops in Qualicum Beach and Parksville. 

For years, Parksville volunteer Joan LeMoine helped raise money by shaving her head. LeMoine passed away earlier this year, so a few community members stepped up to have their heads shaved in her memory, while raising money for the cause.

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Qualicum Beach twins debut in Hallmark Christmas movie

Baylee Woodruff (bottom left) made her movie debut with twin sister Charlee in The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls on the Hallmark Channel Dec. 18. || Photo courtesy of Erica Horsfield Woodruff.

Twins Baylee and Charlee Woodruff debuted as Billie in The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls on Dec.18. They were 10-months-old when the movie was shot in Victoria this past September, according to their mom, Erica Horsfield Woodruff. 

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Oceanside couple and hair salon team up to provide free back to school haircuts for kids

Left to right: Steve Knutson, Kari Knutson, Emmelyn Szopa, Arwen Szopa, Rayne Bennett, stylist, Urban Edge Hair Group, Sue Larsen, owner, Urban Edge Hair Group. || Photo by Kevin Forsyth

Thirty local children went back to school in the fall with fresh haircuts thanks to the efforts of an Oceanside couple and a local business. Kari and Steve Knutson said they came up with the idea three years ago when they were trying to think of a way to give back to their community.

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