In May 2023, Sanja and I went to Comox, BC for the first time. After our plane landed, I remember feeling excited, but also a tad nervous. While we were traveling to the Comox Valley to attend some meetings and partner events, we also were going to engage in community exploration (This was my first time not only in Comox, but also engaging in community exploration). As someone who’s relatively shy, I was nervous at the idea of starting conversations with people I didn’t know. I remember thinking to myself, okay, how do I do this without sounding awkward or cliche? I settled on starting the conversations with the truth “I’m visiting from Vancouver, and was wondering if you would tell me a bit about what it’s like to live here”.
After speaking with some locals, and learning about the community, Sanja and I decided it was time for lunch. Wanting to eat at a local restaurant, we saw an advertisement for a family owned Greek restaurant called Yummies & Gyros. Upon arriving at the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful vibrant blue exterior. After ordering & sitting down, we spoke with the owner, Katherine Kirk.
Katherine shared with us the history of her family in the Comox Valley, and showed us historic newspaper clippings from when her grandmother helped build the first community organized long-term care facility in the area, Glacier View Lodge. After learning of the organizations history and importance in the community, Sanja and I decided we had to stop by and see it for ourselves. So we jumped into our rental car, and started the short drive to Glacier View Lodge to learn more.
Upon arriving (unannounced), Glacier View welcomed us with open arms and gave us a tour of the space, and additional details about the programming they provide. Sanja and I were left in awe of the enthusiasm from the staff, and happiness of the residents. While at Glacier View Lodge, we met with the previous Resident Director, Liz Friis, who shared with us the program they had in place where they collected wish list / bucket list activities from residents, and then aimed to coordinate them. This included wheelchair hockey, bringing in a petting zoo, and partnering with search and rescue to host a day of fun by the water, and much more. We were shocked, excited, and amazed to hear about the activities being conducted.
During this conversation, we learned that Glacier View Lodge was currently fundraising for a new bus that would be used to bring residents on these day trips and adventures. The Conconi Family Foundation donated $40,000 to Glacier View Lodge to close the funding gap required for them to purchase a new bus and continue their bucket list adventures. Without community exploration, we wouldn’t have known about Glacier View Lodge, and wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet their incredible staff members, and learn about the amazing work they do.
I highly encourage anyone reading this to learn more about the inspirational work being done by Glacier View Lodge. Visit their website to see how you can get involved.
Comox Valley BC, thank you so much for welcoming me into your community. I look forward to coming back soon!
All my best,