Lesley Cobus

Lesley Cobus

Eco wave hits Oak Bay

Eco Week supports environmentally friendly business with fun events

From April 29 to May 4, Oak Bay residents will learn how to pick up bling, strut their stuff and help make their neighbours green, all in the name of the environment.

Oak Bay Eco Week all started with an idea for a fashion show, the brainchild of A La Mode owner Alexa Lindroos, who wanted the event to tie into an “eco” theme.

She approached the Monterey Recreation Centre, which joined her in going to the Business Improvement Association, Oak Bay council, the Community Initiative Committee and others to get involved. All of the agencies jumped right on board, said Lindroos.

By the time the enthusiasm had calmed and the dust had settled, one event had transformed into an entire week of activities.

“It’s been really, really positive,” said Lindroos. “It’s been a real collaboration.

“I would just really like to put Oak Bay businesses on the map as being green and supporting a healthier environment.”

The idea is to promote businesses taking on environmentally friendly initiatives and customers supporting those initiatives through their shopping choices.

“This is our opportunity to get the word out,” added Lesley Cobus, Monterey Recreation Centre co-ordinator. “This is how you keep it top of mind, doing initiatives like this. There’s new ideas coming in all the time, so really it’s an inspiration just to keep people engaged with the whole concept.”

The fashion show, scheduled for Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m., is still the flagship event of the week. The show features secondhand fashions from A La Mode, vegan handbags from Montreal’s Matt & Nat and jewelry from local artists, all modelled by local women of all ages.

“There’s a criteria for being eco-friendly, and that’s fair trade, secondhand, recycled, local, that kind of thing,” said Lindroos.

Another highlight of the week will be the Accessories Swap and Shop, taking place on Tuesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. at the Monterey Recreation Centre. Admission is $10 and includes light refreshments.

Anyone interested is asked to drop off five to 10 accessories at the rec centre over the week of April 22. For each item brought in, the donator will receive a ticket which can be exchanged for an item at the swap and shop event. Accessories will also be available for sale from local merchants.

“Instead of junking them, it’s that old concept of ‘let’s trade,’” said Cobus.

During the week there will also be a guided walk of the Brighton Ave. walkway (April 28, 3 p.m., starting at Hampshire Rd.) and the grand opening of the Rain Garden at Monterey rec centre with Mayor Nils Jensen (April 29, 1 p.m.).

Saturday is for the kids, with a bike rodeo headed up by the Oak Bay Police on Hampshire Rd. at Oak Bay Ave. from 10 a.m. to noon and activities on the Municipal Hall lawn, care of Recreation Oak Bay from noon to 2 p.m.

Workshops will also be held at Monterey throughout the week, tackling topics such as vegetable gardening, ‘greening’ an office and organizing walking tours. Registration for the workshops is required through the rec centre.

The hope is the event does well enough it will become an annual happening and an addition to the roster of annual Oak Bay events.

“If we can make this one a success, I’m sure that in some way, shape or form it’ll evolve and continue,” said Cobus.

There are only 100 tickets for the fashion show and are $25 each, call 250-370-7300 to purchase. Attendees of the fashion show all receive “swag bags” filled with goods donated by local merchants.

For more information on all Eco Week events visit the “news” section at oakbay.ca/parks-recreation or find Oak Bay Eco Week on Facebook.