Whale race to brighten up waterway

Fundraiser boosts after-school programs

Kate Mansell

Kate Mansell

Ducks in the Gorge waterway will have some company Saturday (June 18) when thousands of tiny rubber whales float past.

The toys are part of the Wild About Whales Derby, a new event to raise money for Boys and Girls Club Services of Greater Victoria after-school programs.

The public is invited to buy one, several, or even 100 tickets, which cost $5 each. Each ticket matches a numbered yellow whale, which Boys and Girls Club staff will drop into the waterway at Esquimalt Gorge Park.

The owner of the first whale to make it to the Tillicum Bridge wins $2,500. Other prizes include a trip for two to anywhere WestJet Airlines flies.

Kate Mansell from Boys and Girls Club said the creative event is new this year. In the past, the club’s main fundraiser was Monopoly Madness, an evening gala that featured a two-hour game of Monopoly. However, it was more adult-oriented and wasn’t drawing enough sponsors.

“We said, ‘let’s see if we can find another event that will capture the imagination of the Victoria community,'” she said.

She was inspired by rubber duck races, which are popular in the U.S. The toys were donated by Coast Capital Savings, one of the event’s sponsors. Half of the available 4,000 whales have been sold so far.

Mansell hopes the event raises $20,000-$25,000 for the after-school programs, one of the organization’s main methods of community outreach.

The Boys and Girls Club after-school program is offered to more than 200 children and teens in Greater Victoria.

The money raised will allow the organizers to take the youth to the Boys and Girls Club camp in Metchosin. It’ll also expand the budget for food, which Sanderson said is one of the big draws for participants.

The Wild About Whales Derby is June 18 from 1:30-4:30 p.m. at Esquimalt Gorge Park. The whale race starts at 3 p.m.