We invited Pat Bastone, the founder of the original VIVA known as the Vancouver Island Vegetarian Association to share her story with the new VIVA community which she is still an active part of. We are so grateful for this rich history that she has shared with us, complete with vintage photos. More history from other members of VIVA will also be added in the future. This post will also be added to a new living page on the website entitled VIVA’s Vegstory which will continue to grow each year as the Vancouver Island Vegan Association’s mission of building a compassionate community in Victoria and Vancouver Island continues. Share and Enjoy!
I am not Buddhist, not religious, but the following verse attributed to Buddha continues to encapsulate my first and enduring reason for being vegan and starting VIVA:
All love life.
See yourself in others.
Then whom can you hurt?
What harm can you do?
I acted as the activities coordinator and editor of the quarterly newsletter from 1980 – 1991. Many people helped in many different ways over the years and I am grateful to all of them.
VIVA’s events were all open to the public and publicly advertised (on the many bulletin boards around town and as free announcements on radio and in newspapers), always affordable (the highest admission charged was $1) and children were welcome. We gave away thousands of VIVA brochures (which summarized all the reasons to not eat animal products), printed recipe samplers (always vegan) and information sheets on nutrition and everything vegan.
*cooking demonstrations Sometimes the cooks were VIVA members, sometime they were from vegan food companies such as Sooke Soyfoods. We would rent the Quaker Meeting House kitchen on Fern Street where we would pack in an audience of 20 lucky people who would get to gobble up the results.
*Info Meetings Slide presentations such as “Animal Rights — the Issues, the Movement”, “Factory Farming”, films such as “The Vegetarian World”. We had guest speakers who were MD’s, RN’s, physical therapists, and philosophers.
*Peace Walk (now Earth Walk) VIVA members would carry a green and white banner (Vancouver Island Vegetarian Association FOR A HUMANE WORLD AT PEACE) on the walk each year and have an info booth at the Legislature. We would hand out Spring Potluck invitations decorated with graphics of spring flowers and and little hopping rabbits with the words “PEACE TO ALL BEINGS” and “Join us. Hop to it!”
The UVic Animal Rights Society was also formed in 1980 and VIVA and the ARS jointly put on a number of events such as potlucks and film showings.