As 2023 peaks around the corner, the stories from a year defined by rebuilding and renewal linger to remind everyone what 2022 was about.
From robberies to recognition, Victoria News has seen it all. Here are the top five stories from 2022.
A bank robbery leaves six officers wounded
A robbery at the Bank of Montreal left six officers injured and saw the death of two suspects on June 28.
Residents in the area reported hearing a slew of gunshots, so many that they could be mistaken for fireworks, with many shuttering their windows and locking their doors.
“I realized that it was definitely gunshots and assumed that if something was happening that it could be people with guns running,” said Lily Hayward. “It was a bit unsettling.”
Police arrived quickly, issuing a shelter-in-place order and later evacuating homes and businesses due to an explosive device.
The Land Conservancy gets biggest donation in history
Joan Alston-Stewart left eight acres in the Blenkinsop Valley to the Land Conservancy in her will, making it the largest donation the organization has ever received. The donation, which was comprised of three properties, included funding to maintain it, as well as a $40,000 donation to Abkahzi Garden.
The portion of the estate that was donated was valued at $3.5 million and includes wetland, Garry Oak and Douglas Fir habitats.
“It was an honour to meet with Joan and discuss her history with the Blenkinsop Valley, as well as her vision for the future,” said Cathy Armstrong, TLC executive director. “She was an astute investor who did her homework to ensure our organization was the right steward for her legacy. We are incredibly grateful for her generous donation and look forward to safeguarding the three properties she left in our care.”
Sea pig sighting
Ocean Networks Canada captured a video of a sea pig swimming in the Cascadia Basin last year, a rare sight for researchers.
The sea creatures, also know as a Sea Cucumber, typically walk to get around and are usually seen scavenging on the ocean floor, but this little piggy was going for a swim at 2,584 metres below the surface.
Pigs can fly! Rare sighting of a swimming #seapig (Scotoplanes sp) at Cascadia Basin, 2584 metres. Usually seen on the seafloor, these sea cucumbers 'walk' on their inflatable tube feet, scavenging for tasty #deepsea detritus. Watch more: https://t.co/Tb3mi7CgIS #knowtheocean pic.twitter.com/M4892uVdeR
— Ocean Networks 🇨🇦 (@Ocean_Networks) February 23, 2022
The great Canadian migration
Victoria remained high on the list for new residents, gaining almost 3,481 people from Vancouver in just a year. Calgary sent over 1,185 people and 941 people moved to Victoria from Edmonton.
Even while other cities saw an exodus during the pandemic, Victoria continued to gain transplants, gaining nearly 6,899 people from late 2020 to early 2021.
International migration, however, hit a low because of pandemic restrictions.
Statistics Canada reported that British Columbia, along with other Atlantic provinces saw an increase in inter-provincial migration, while Ontario and Alberta saw an increase in people leaving.
Overall, the study showed the amount of people packing their bags and coming to Victoria has stayed consistent over the past four years, pandemic and all.
Hundreds gathered at the B.C. legislature to protest government pandemic mandates, Jan. 22, holding posters that read “freedom not fear’ and “my body – my choice”.
“I know I speak on behalf of the construction industry and trades workers, and I don’t know a single one who is behind these mandates,” said organizer Mike Slemko. “Construction workers are behind the truckers – we are going to stop this country until it is ours again and we are all free.”
The protest was organized by B.C. Businesses Against Health Pass, but was a part of a larger movement World Wide Rally for Freedom.
The day before this rally, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced B.C. would be shifting the pandemic response to risk management such as increasing vaccines, following public health guidance and using vaccine cards.
Honourable mention goes to… Mystic Beach makes top 50 best beaches in the world
Locals know how beautiful Vancouver Island beaches are, but it is nice to be recognized for our pristine shores internationally.
The travel website Big Seven Travel included Mystic Beach on a list of 50 best beaches in the world, ranking it among beaches in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.
“Mystic Beach, located on the southern coast of Vancouver Island, is one of (Canada’s) most enchanting,” the article said. “Set along the Juan de Fuca Trail, the white sandy beach is set against lush forest, with a picturesque waterfall cascading right into the brilliant blue sea.”
Mystic Beach was ranked between Eagle Beach in Aruba and Diani Beach in Kenya, sitting at number 42.