Gail Andersen captures the moment during Cowichan Family Life’s 23rd Annual Cowichan Valley Garden Tour. This year’s tour had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)

Gail Andersen captures the moment during Cowichan Family Life’s 23rd Annual Cowichan Valley Garden Tour. This year’s tour had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)

Cancelled fundraisers hurt Cowichan Family Life

Two big events postponed due to COVID-19

Cowichan Family Life has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic on two fronts.

Not only did the association have to cancel its two biggest fundraisers of the year, but it has also seen increased demand for its counselling services because of quarantining, social distancing and lost work.

“This is definitely a rough time for everyone,” said Tina Short, who coordinates the annual Garden Tour, one of Cowichan Family Life’s major fundraisers and a highly anticipated event in the gardening community every year. “People more than ever are needing somewhere to turn to to help with worries, anxiety and general counselling.”

Cowichan Family Life had to close its office as well, but offered telephone counselling. The office has since reopened, but telephone counselling is continuing for some clients.

Cowichan Family Life has been offering affordable counselling in the Valley since 1970, and this year’s fundraisers were scheduled to be big ones to mark the 50th anniversary.

The first event cancelled this year was the annual fundraiser at the Cobblestone Pub, featuring a band, silent auction and a raffle, with all admission and proceeds going to Cowichan Family Life.

The Garden Tour had been held traditionally on the first Sunday in June. Last year, organizers moved it to Mother’s Day, but found themselves in direct competition with a similar event run by the Victoria Conservatory of Music, so they planned it for the weekend of May 24 this year. Coronavirus had other plans, however.

“There are a lot of disappointed gardeners out there,” Short commented.

In 2019, about $15,000 was raised from the Garden Tour, and another $5,000 from the event at the Cobblestone, a big chunk of change for a group that receives no funding from the government and relies almost exclusively on donations.

Someone has volunteered to create a virtual tour of six gardens that Short hopes to get onto the Cowichan Family Life website soon. But she knows that’s not the same as the real thing.

“You can’t smell the flowers,” she lamented.

For information on donating to Cowichan Family Life, visit


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

Last year’s session with the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at the Chemainus Legion Hall. (File photo by Don Bodger)
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP want public input

In-person forums not being held this year

Surf scooter at Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Sylvie Newey photo)
Surf’s up!

Surf scoter scours the waters off Chemainus for food

North Cowichan council held its first meeting of 2021 on Jan. 20.
Firearms Discharge Bylaw amendments put on the backburner

Forestry review still needs to be completed before staff makes a recommendation to council

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

B.C. has sequenced about 11,000 COVID-positive samples since last February

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
B.C. teen ‘locked inside,’ battling to regain speech after severe brain bleed

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Most Read