Leah Smith and Laura Mckee during Smith’s annual toy drive in 2018. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Leah Smith and Laura Mckee during Smith’s annual toy drive in 2018. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Oak Bay’s parliamentary page returns to run toy drive

Toy drive benefits for Stan Hagen Centre for Families

For a seventh year, Oak Bay’s Leah Smith will run her toy drive to benefit children from families in challenging situations.

This year will be different, as the parliamentary page won’t return from Ottawa until Dec. 17. Instead of setting up shop on Oak Bay Avenue for a weekend, Smith is offering to pick up donations from around town on Dec. 18. However, the cause remains the same and will benefit the Stan Hagen Centre for Families.

It’s part of a busy December for the first-year student at the University of Ottawa who finished her exams this week and can focus her last week on being a page in the House of Commons. Just a few weeks ago she attended the swearing-in for Justin Trudeau and dozens of other MPs post-election.

“I want to do it again despite the crazy experience that moving [to Ottawa] has been,” Smith said. “I want to keep my roots.”

READ MORE: Oak Bay teen targets 1,000 toys for families in need

READ ALSO: Oak Bay student Ottawa bound as parliamentary page

As Smith has grown so has the toy drive she started as Grade 6 student (it didn’t fare so well with about five toys, but it took off when she tried again in Grade 8).

The teenager isn’t expecting to exceed 1,000 toys this time, though she has in the past. The Stan Hagen Centre for Families opens a Pop-Up Toy Shop for parents and guardians in socio-economic distress who can discreetly visit and select gifts for their children.

“I’ve scaled it down and changed my expectations, and put it on a day on that’s hopefully easier [to get around],” Smith said.

Anyone with donations can email Smith at Leahstoydrive@gmail.com to arrange a pickup by her or a fellow elf (that includes leaving the toy in front of your home or arranging another way).

Toys should be new or gently used.

“If you’re not sure just ask yourself if you would be happy getting it as a gift,” Smith said.

Until she returns, Smith will focus on her page work. With the election, Smith gets a different page experience than most. The first few weeks were all behind the scenes with election administration.

She was there for the Trudeau swearing-in and in attending many others has seen the personable side, and the family side, of a lot of MPs.

She finally got her first day in the House of Commons after it re-started on Dec. 5. Seeing all the members in the house, all major leaders working, is exciting and memorable, she said.

“Today, for example, it’s question period and it’s super busy and super exciting,” Smith said. “Members are giving speeches, some of them are things I’m studying in school right now [International Development and Globalization].”

READ MORE (2015): Oak Bay teen Leah Smith takes to Sidewalk to share spirit

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Just Posted

Victoria-born, 16-time Grammy winning musician David Foster penned a letter to the Greater Victoria School District May 7 urging them not to cut music programs. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
David Foster joins fight to save music in Greater Victoria School District

‘Music is the great equalizer’ Foster wrote in a letter to the district

‘Nindanikoobijiganag: We are Star People’ by Mississauga Nishnaabe Lucbanin artist Estrella Whetung. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria beadwork exhibit speaks to evolving, enduring nature of Indigenous art

On Beaded Ground features work from West Coast artists and a Cedar Hill Middle School group

Former Victoria HarbourCat and Chicago White Sox player Andrew Vaughn. (Photo courtesy of Chicago White Sox)
Former Victoria HarbourCat hits first MLB home run, adds another two days later

Andrew Vaughn is the first HarbourCat alumni to hit a homer in the majors

A seniors housing complex proposed for Cedar Hill Road in Saanich was supported by council after a public hearing on May 12. (Rendering by Jenson Group Architects)
New 85-unit seniors housing development gets green light from Saanich council

Four-storey rental complex would be located on Cedar Hill Road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read