Kids get special treat on visit to capital

Minister Ida Chong serves up cake to visiting class

School children from Lac La Hache recently received an extra warm welcome to the province’s capital.

Twenty students in grades 4 to 7 took even more memories home with them following their educational field trip to Victoria last month, where they toured the legislature and other attractions.

Like many youth and school groups that travel to Victoria from around the province to learn about government, heritage and culture, their trip was largely paid for through the Provincial Capital Commission. Its Capital For Kids program is funded by revenue generated from several properties the PCC owns in Greater Victoria.

“I think we may be the only one left to fund kids to travel like this,” said Ray Parks, commission CEO.

After emerging from the legislature, the surprised kids were treated to cake cut by Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong, B.C.’s Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, to recognize that 25,000 young people have travelled to Victoria courtesy of the five-year-old program. The event also recognizes the program’s recent name change from the Youth Travel Subsidy Program.

“We think British Columbians in general should be aware and discover the capital because it speaks to how the province was formed,” Parks said.

The commission has contributed more than $1 million in accommodation and travel expenses to allow school-age children, including Scouts, Girl Guides and 4-H participants, from 105 B.C. communities to travel to Victoria. From March to June, the commission paid out $244,000 so more than 7,600 kids could come here. Kids from Greater Victoria have travelled to other parts of the province with the program, Parks said.

He said he has seen demand for travel funding go up about 30 per cent each year.

emccracken@vicnews.com