VIVA 2015 Year In Review!
It was an incredible year and we’re just getting started.
Vancouver Island Vegan Association had an incredible first year with regular events, fundraisers, demonstrations, outreach and more! Of course, we are so grateful to the Victoria vegan community that supported all these efforts, it doesn’t happen without you!
2015 is almost done and there is much to celebrate, so let’s not waste time and get right down to it!
Prior to officially launching VIVA, we were already holding events at the beginning of the year.
Our first Vegan’s Night Out was at Skinny Tato, a local polish restaurant. While Skinny Tato is now closed, we are still going strong!
In Feburary, we also hosted a fundraiser to help with the rescue of the the rabbits on the Helmcken overpass. We raised $200 that went to the Hillside Veterinarian Clinic where donations can be made. It was also the first time we had the pleasure of meeting Niche!
While we had been organizing vegan events previously under other names, it all started in April….
On April 4th, 2015 VIVA was officially announced at our first official VIVA vegan community potluck, Veaster!
On April 25th, VIVA joined the Earth Walk for Peace and the Planet. We asked many of the days speakers why nobody mentioned veganism as something we can do to help save the planet. Their reply, yes it’s important, but apparently not important enough to mention publicly.
April 27th, we hosted a screening of Speciesism: The Documentary with the UVic Vegan Club!
Also on April the 25 and 26th we had an outreach table at the Creatively United for the Planet festival, where we got to talk veganism with a great many community members and organizations.
April 26th we also took on the Victoria Times Colonist 10k run with members from the community in what would become the Victorious Vegans Athletics Club. We trained hard weekly, and had an amazing showing at the big event.
To start off May, we did VIVA’s first Vegan Outreach leafleting at the Island Farms Victoria Day Parade! We gave out hundreds of vegan leaflets to people in the crowds and educated onlookers about the huge ethical concerns and health and environmental damage caused by the dairy industry.
We also hosted our first Vegan Support Circle! and would host many more throughout the year.
To Finish May off we had another outreach table with at the fantastic, but short lived Fernwood Community Market.
Things continued to grow to prehistoric proportions in June when we hosted our first official Vegan’s Night Out: Dinosaurs and Ice Cream! This involved a delicious trip to Cold Comfort for vegan ice cream, a vegan takeover of the theatre for Jurassic World, and then dinner afterwards at Saaz. What a night!
In June we would also get the big news that RASTA Rescue was coming to Chemainus on Vancouver Island. We were sooo excited, but more would develop from this later in the year!
Vegans night out would continue in July with dinner out at Lido Waterfront Bistro and a night of dancing after at Paparazzi!
In July, we also joined people around the world as they participated in the Direct Action Everywhere organized #lightthepath event. Individuals and animal advocacy organizations from around the world lit candles held a moment of silence in solidarity and a promise to animals that we will continue to expose the violence against them around the world.
In August, VIVA made a special trip over to the Sunshine Coast VegFest to do outreach off the Island and to meet Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary!
And we hosted a vegan community summertime potluck at the Lieutenant Governor’s House.
Vegan Night Out happened at the absolutely fantastic Masala Bites!
We also hosted our first Speaking Vegan workshop! It was a lot of fun and really challenged us to think about the questions vegans are regularly asked and our replies.
This year we had the one of the earliest election calls in Canadian history and VIVA co-founder and organizer, Jordan Reichert, chose to run in the federal election to represent all animals and the environment through the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada!
Our good friend and VIVA member Roy Sasano left Victoria to fight the good fight against whaling and marine life exploitation with Sea Shepherd. We miss you Roy!
In September we brought the spiritual successor to Earthlings to Victoria, through The Vic theatre the long gestating Unity made it to town. Vegans and non-vegans came from all across the Island to watch this much anticipated film.
We also had a vegan outreach table at the BCSPCA Paws for a Cause event!
Vegans Night Out continued with Siam and Soul. We had a great turnout and meal at Siam Thai Restaurant and then put our dancing shoes on at the Victoria Event Centre at the Garden City Soul Club!
October was a big month for a lot of reasons.
There was a lot going in October, including the federal election, but RASTA Rescue was in dire need of some funds to help cover mounting costs related to vet bills, farm repairs, and food for the animals. We decided to organize a fundraiser and were blown away when we approached Green Cuisine to find owner Andy Cunningham’s generosity as big as his buffet. Together we raised $4000 for RASTA, but the credit has to go to Andy for generously donating the day’s profits to help. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
If you were vegan or vegan curious and in Victoria, or able to make it from up Island you were at Thanksliving. 300 people attended the 2nd annual Thanksliving vegan potluck event at the First Metropolitan Hall. It was an incredible event with the community breaking out their cooking skills in full force.
After a huge feast at Thanksliving, we thought it was time for a run! So the next morning the Victorious Vegans Athletics club took on the Victoria Marathon!
Early December the VIVA’s UVic Vegan Club hosted another film screening, this time of Live and Let Live.
To finish the year we had Vegmas! We toned things down a bit after the huge Thanksliving turnout, but still over 100 people came out and enjoy great food and music by The Harbour Rats!
2015 was an amazing year for VIVA and the vegan community in Victoria. We haven’t even listed all the vegan events that VIVA organized or were hosted by others in the Victoria community or across Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands! However, we think it is safe to say this was probably the most active year for veganism in Victoria or across the Island ever!
We have some lofty goals in mind for 2016, but we’ll save those surprises for later. However, a big part of being the Vancouver Island Vegan Association is being present outside of Victoria as well and that is something we need the community to help us with. We want VIVA to have chapters of vegans organizing and promoting veganism across the Island and Gulf Islands with their own unique flavour and ideas. This was a great year of laying foundations of what we can do as a community here in Victoria, in 2016 lets continue to grow beyond our home base! VIVA is about community and inclusiveness, we invite and welcome people who are interested in organizing events to talk to us about what kinds of projects, potlucks, and more they want to see happen in the community and then we work with them to make those ideas a reality.
Thank you to all of those who volunteered, worked with us, and supported us throughout 2015! We couldn’t have done it without you and we look forward to continuing to nourish and build these relationships in 2016! Lets keep doing it for the animals!
Happy New Year!
Vancouver Island Vegan Association