Last Updated Thursday, October 3, 2019 11:57AM EDT
Three teenagers facing charges in a sexual assault scandal at St. Michael’s College School last year have pleaded guilty.
The teens pleaded guilty to sexual assault with a weapon and assault with a weapon on Thursday morning inside a Toronto courtroom.
One of the three teenagers also pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography.
In November of last year, six boys were charged in connection with the alleged sex assault of a student at the all-boys private school.
According to police, videos of the incident, which occurred inside a washroom at the school, began circulating between students and on social media.
A few months later, police said they were investigating two additional incidents. Eight students were expelled from school as a result and a seventh student was formally charged by police.
The students were each facing charges of sexual assault, gang sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon.
Charges against one of the seven students were withdrawn in August and the cases against two others have concluded, although Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General would not say at the time what the outcomes were of those cases.
The last student facing charges has a court hearing scheduled for Oct. 17.
The teenagers who pleaded guilty on Thursday are scheduled to attend a sentencing hearing on Nov. 14.
They cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
For people living on lower Vancouver Island with Parkinson’s disease, there is now a community centre to help them through their journey.
Wednesday marks the official opening of the Parkinson Wellness Project (PWP) in Victoria, located at 2680 Blanshard Street. Staff refer to the facility as a community centre where people diagnosed with the progressive neurological disorder can come together and talk about their struggles with others going through the same journey.
Krista Lavoie, operations manager at PWP, says when someone gets diagnosed with the disease, often people suffer from depression and self-isolation.
One of the most important things someone can do for themselves at the time is to talk about it, she says.
“We’re here sharing stories, we’re sharing food, we’re sharing laughter and we’re also sharing the hard stuff too,” said Lavoie.
“It’s important that everyone get a chance to do that here.”
Along with the emotional support, the centre emphasises fitness. While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, physicians globally recognize exercise as the number one way to combat the physical effects of the illness, according to Lavoie.
“People with Parkinson’s need specific movements to slow their progression, so we use specific exercises that we introduce repetitively throughout our classes,” said Lavoie. “It’s helping regain those movement patterns that you’ve lost.”
Classes vary from circuit training to boxing classes, which benefit local residents like Sukhi Rai who was diagnosed with the disease nine years ago.
Rai says he was an avid runner and knew something was wrong when he started having troubles with his left ankle. After seeing a multitude of health specialists, he finally had a diagnosis.
“It was a relief to finally be diagnosed because I had been living with the symptoms for quite a few years,” said Rai. “I continued to work for a while but eventually I had to go on long term disability.”
For Rai, the centre offers him a weekly routine of exercise, conversation and a place to just come feel as though he is part of a community.
“Without it, I don’t know where I’d be,” said Rai. “It’s been a pillar of my health plan and my battle with Parkinson’s.”
The PWP is open to all people with Parkinson’s disease and those around them.
“If you have Parkinson’s, everybody in your social circle potentially is living that journey with you,” said Lavoie. “We want all of those people in here and we just want to make them comfortable.”
The centre is 100-percent funded by donors, with no medical or government support. All classes are completely free but often participants will donate what they can per class.
People who are interested in learning more about the Parkinson Wellness Project or are looking for ways to donate to the facility can find out more at their website here.
The Victoria Conservatory of Music showed off its facilities at its open house Saturday.
Members of the public were invited to tour the conservatory, including performance halls, practice rooms and a library featuring more than 60,000 music sheets and books. Visitors also got to enjoy free concerts by VCM faculty and students.
One of the stars of the show, from the conservatory’s perspective, is the recently opened Music Technology and Creativity Lab, which was made possible by a donation from Pitt and Sheila Linder.
The lab features computers and software for music recording, editing and production, and it’s open to both beginners and experts.
“It’s something we’ve dreamt about for years,” said Stephen Green, dean of the conservatory.
In addition to the software and the computers, the room includes a multi-channel audio system that will allow students to hear their creations and discuss with instructors and peers. There is also a large smart TV that allows the conservatory to connect live with professional musicians and teachers from around the world.
“It’s all here,” Green said. “We want to make sure that anyone who has an interest in music technology knows that it’s not just one particular group. You don’t have to be, like, a professional musician. It’s all open to everyone.”
The new space means greater accessibility for the conservatory, he said, adding that it helps the organization meet the needs of the 21st century musician.
The space cost roughly $50,000 to create, according to the conservatory.
Passengers departing Victoria International Airport Saturday morning were forced to go through security twice after a prohibited item passed through the airport’s security checkpoint.
The airport tweeted that a “security breach” had forced the evacuation of the departures area and caused “minor delays to a few flights.”
We are currently dealing with a security breach. Our departure lounge has had to be evacuated and all passengers will be re-screened. This will cause minor delays to a few flights. Please check w/ your airline or our website for latest flight information. #yyj#yyjops
Airport spokesman Rod Hunchak told CTV News the security breach was caused by an aerosol can that was identified during the security screening process, but couldn’t be located before the passenger it belonged to had retrieved their bag.
“It was a matter of timing,” Hunchak said. “They couldn’t positively identify the passenger immediately.”
After evacuating the departures area, airport staff reviewed security camera footage and were able to determine who the aerosol can belonged to.
Hunchak said the owner of the prohibited item had already boarded a WestJet flight that was waiting to depart. Officials boarded that flight and retrieved the aerosol can, which turned out to be sunscreen, Hunchak said.
A total of four departing flights were grounded during the incident.
The departures area was deemed secure shortly after 10:30 a.m., at which point evacuated passengers were re-screened. Hunchack said this process was expedited by extra staff from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.
Early Saturday afternoon, the airport tweeted to thank passengers for their patience during the incident.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we responded to a security breach earlier today. Safe travels. #yyj#yyjops
Backed by a blow-up of Duomo di Milano cathedral, Ross Bonetti increased the La Dolce Vita flavour of his Italianate Livingspace store’s expansion party by straddling his two classic Vespa scooters. Malcolm Parry / PNG
CHAMPS NIGHT: Chaired by Michelle Collens and Tewanee Joseph, the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame’s recent gala was replete with memories. It couldn’t be otherwise with inductees like the 1968 New Westminster Salmonbellies lacrosse team, 1975 NFL Super Bowl winner Roy Gerela and 1977 Vancouver Whitecaps coach Tony Waiters. Also inducted were 17-season Vancouver Canucks Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
When seen in this column in 2002, the twins displayed deft passing skills. Not with the puck but with bottles of wine that then-Canucks GM and former part-time bartender Brian Burke had them serve at a benefit for Canuck Place children’s hospice. Back at the gala, rugby-star inductee Kelly McCallum heard honorary co-chair Marvin Storrow call her sport “a game of skill, not for me.” Then again, 1934-born Storrow does play hard, skilful tennis four times weekly.
MORE TWINS: Shanghai-born siblings Jim and Pat Carney shared an 84th birthday May 26. They’ll celebrate again June 28 at Pat’s induction into the Order of British Columbia. The honour likely acknowledges her years as an MP, cabinet minister, senator and best-selling author rather than early-career slogging as a Vancouver Sun reporter.
MILES AHEAD: At the Polygon Gallery, Rogers Group of Funds chair Phil Lind presented a $5,000 emerging-artist prize to movie maker Jessica Johnson. It recognized her Scotland-set 14-minute documentary, Hazel Isle. Lind also fronted a reception for regional film and television producers on Vancouver Art Gallery’s rooftop patio. No one present, especially departing VAG director Kathleen Bartels, quibbled with his assertion that “Vancouver has the best artists in Canada — by 10 miles.”
SPACEMAN: The Armoury district’s free-standing Livingspace store always had room aplenty for swish European furniture. There’s even more now that building owner Ross Bonetti has expanded the fifth floor to accommodate specific-brand showrooms. As usual, Bonetti pulled out all the stops — and his two La Dolce Vita-style Italian Vespa scooters — for a recent relaunch party. He rides the mint-condition 1969 and 1971 Sprint models around town, but not astride both as he demonstrated with them parked. Ever the showman, perhaps he’ll master Ben Hur-style riding for his next event.
PICTURES FOR PETER: Eighteen artists, from Thomas Anfield to Elizabeth Zvonar, didn’t stint when donating works for live auction at the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation’s recent Art For Life event. Twenty-four others gave to its silent auction. With supporters filling Pender Street’s The Permanent hall, foundation executive director Scott Elliott reported $185,000 being raised.
TRANSFORMER TODAY: Imagine the wonderment of coastal longhouse dwellers when performers manipulated carved-cedar masks so that the creatures they depicted seemed alive. Something similar pertains at Sarah Macaulay’s First-off-Scotia gallery where long-established artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s first sculpture is displayed. The mask-headed work echoes figures in Yuxweluptun’s large paintings that fetch over $100,000. Step in front, though, and the mask becomes a confusion of multicoloured pieces. The spooky change represents “the process of what drugs do, and this can happen to you,” said Yuxweluptun, who named the $45,000 sculpture Opioid Ovoid Humanoid. There’ll be four more, he added.
SUMMER WINNERS: The 11-day Indian Summer Festival will begin with its usual Roundhouse Community Centre party July 4. Revving up for that, organizers Sirish Rao and Laura Byspalko staged an Odlum Brown-sponsored banquet that reportedly raised $100,000 with the slogan: The Future Is Asian. That’s the title of a new book by geo-strategist Parag Khanna, who addressed attendees. His assertion is supported by the multinational Standard Chartered Bank’s 2017-to-2030 projection for global economies. It foresees China’s GDP rising to $64.2 trillion, India’s to $46.3 trillion and the U.S.A.’s to $31 trillion. Meanwhile, Canada, France and the U.K. lose their global top-10 positions.
ROUNDER BOUT: Old-time Howe Street flickered again on Hornby Street recently. That was when Neil Aisenstat opened Hy’s Encore restaurant’s upper room to those attending a wake for 1988 Promoter of The Year Harry Moll who died at age 83 on April 25. Although most old Vancouver Stock Exchange habitués arrived on foot, Tevie Smith pulled up in his somewhat symbolic “termite taxi,” a junk-festooned 1947 Chrysler “woody” sedan with 300,000 miles on the clock and two rescue dogs on its duct-taped seats. As for the chi-chi era, wake attendees Sonja Chopty, Renata Hofer (who flew in from Zurich), Margaret McFaul and Beverley Robinson recalled partying in the Moll-launched Sneaky Pete’s, Charlie Brown’s and Sugar Daddy’s nightclubs. Moll’s 1994-divorced wife Suzy was unavoidably out of town but still speaks warmly of him.
THE DRILL: Regarding the old stock exchange’s freebooting mining promotions, a contemporary of Moll’s once said: “Sometimes we drill the ground, and sometimes we drill the sky.”
DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Canadians and Americans wrangling over the North Pole’s ownership might recall that cheeky London journalists long ago determined principal-resident Santa Claus’s citizenship. A bewhiskered, overstuffed fellow who feasts on cookies and works one day a year would be a fellow Brit, they said.
The National Energy Board will hear from Indigenous groups in Victoria next week as part of reconsideration hearings for the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
Sessions are set to take place at the Delta Hotel Ocean Pointe Resort beginning Monday, Nov. 26 and continuing through Thursday.
Over the week, the board will meet with members of the Stó:lō Tribal Council, Kwantlen First Nation, Tsawout First Nation, Tsartlip First Nation and Squamish Nation from B.C., and the Swinomish, Tulalip, Suquamish and Lummi Nations from the U.S.
In August, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned Ottawa’s approval of the project, saying the NEB’s initial environmental assessment was flawed.
The project was sent back to the review phase to address tanker traffic concerns and engage in more meaningful consultation with First Nations.
That decision came on the same day Kinder Morgan sold the pipeline to the Canadian government for $4.5-billion, not including construction costs.
In September, the NEB was given six months to complete the new review. It completed one hearing in Calgary on Tuesday, with the second taking place in Victoria next week.
First Nations and environmental groups have expressed concerns about the potential for diluted bitumen spills and increased tanker traffic on B.C.’s coast if the pipeline expansion is built.
Possibly expecting a large turnout of protesters, Victoria police said they would deploy temporary CCTV cameras near the Delta for the hearings.
After the new NEB hearings conclude, the board will have to submit a report with its new findings by Feb. 22, 2019.
Published Thursday, September 20, 2018 11:19AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 20, 2018 12:38PM PDT
Just a day after homeless occupants from a former tent city moved into Goldstream Provincial Park, they and other campers have been told to leave.
West Shore RCMP arrived at the park Wednesday night briefly blocking access and telling campers it would be closed indefinitely after 11 a.m. Thursday.
Reports then surfaced that campers would be granted an additional 24 hours to pack up and move out of the camp whlie the government collected further information.
The park shutdown applies to all campers, not just the 25 or so tent city residents who moved in Wednesday night.
Those homeless campers said they were under the impression they’d be able to stay at the park for two weeks after they were evicted from two Saanich parks in a week.
“I went and talked to park ranger and he said ‘Oh we’re trying to nip it in the bud, we don’t want to see what’ll happen in two weeks from now,'” said camper Morgan Van Humbeck.
Tent city organizer Chrissy Brett called on B.C.’s premier to discuss options with the group instead of evicting them.
“John Horgan if you’re watching this I would ask you to ask your ministers to come down and have a conversation and sit around the one table we have left, and tell people to their face that they have no right to exist here in British Columbia if you’re homeless,” said Brett.
But Langford Mayor Stew Young said problems like open drug use and theft moved in along with the campers, prompting the shutdown.
“This is not a place to have needle sharps and other activity around that neighbourhood especially,” Stew Young told CFAX 1070. “We’ve already, from yesterday, had two individual instances of males in the washroom shooting up in front of other families that are in there and camping, so those people have left.”
Mounties referred questions to BC Parks, saying they were assisting the organization by enforcing regulations of the Parks Act.
On Thursday, B.C.’s housing minister Selina Robinson issued a statement saying that the campground was closed to ensure public safety after concerns were expressed by RCMP.
“The park is not an appropriate place for the establishment of a tent city. We urge those at Goldstream to work with staff to identify better housing solutions,” Robinson said.
She said the province’s goal is to get people into shelters and longer-term housing, but a CTV News report Wednesday found that all shelters in the Capital Region were full. Robinson pointed to 25 new shelter beds opening at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre Oct. 1.
She also noted that in the Capital Region, only the City of Victoria had identified a site for modular units of supportive housing that the government has committed to build.
That changed Thursday, when the District of Saanich announced it had identified a site near Saanich city hall for modular units to be built.
The section of land is north of the Saanich Fire Hall on Vernon Avenue.
“We’re hopeful that by providing this land, we’re moving in the right direction to secure housing and satisfy some of the need for housing in the region,” said Chief Administrative Officer Paul Thorkelsson.
The district said it will make another announcement soon once further details of the project are confirmed.
We’ve offered access to land at the Municipal Hall campus to BC Housing to provide modular supportive housing units for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. #saanich#bcpolihttps://t.co/17BhrPKFx6
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