Community
Features

Our stories about Island mothers and grandmothers

Over the years we've covered all kinds of different ways that Island mothers and children have succeeded, struggled, lived, and loved

Community
Features

Our stories about Island mothers and grandmothers

Over the years we've covered all kinds of different ways that Island mothers and children have succeeded, struggled, lived, and loved

Photo: Kat Mitchell, James MacDonald, and Zoe Ducklow
Photo: Kat Mitchell, James MacDonald, and Zoe Ducklow
Community
Features

Our stories about Island mothers and grandmothers

Over the years we've covered all kinds of different ways that Island mothers and children have succeeded, struggled, lived, and loved

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Our stories about Island mothers and grandmothers
Photo: Kat Mitchell, James MacDonald, and Zoe Ducklow

Over the past few years we’ve done many stories that cover the lives of Island mothers and grandmothers. 

These stories cover connections with late mothers and with fellow grandmothers halfway across the world. They cover the ways local mothers care for their kids and the ways their kids care for them. They cover single mothers and those surrounded by four generations of family.

Read some of these stories below.

Family members with Alzheimer’s inspire food fundraiser

Two years ago, the staff of the popular young Victoria restaurant Dumpling Drop organized a fundraiser to help the Alzheimer Society of BC, and their own family members with the condition. Founder Tarn Tayanunth also uses the dumplings’ success to help provide for mother Toom, who lost her job following her diagnosis and who learned the techniques to hand-make them from her own mother.

Motherhood in a pandemic

For our story on how locals from different walks of life dealt with the first year of COVID, we talked to a young mother of four who gave birth in the hospital. Kat Mitchell then had to manage wrangling four youngsters who are “like border collies” liable to chew the furniture at any moment if not supervised.

Award-winning book honours author’s mother and aunt

Before she went on to win Victoria’s top prize for children’s literature, we spoke to author Wendy Proverbs about her book Aggie and Mudgy. Proverbs was taken from her birth mother in the Sixties Scoop, and grew up without her birth family—until one day her neighbour saw a familiar face in a Prince George paper. The young girl turned out to be Proverbs’s younger sister.

Proverbs spent years reconnecting with her siblings and finding out more about her birth mother, who had passed away in 1976. While completing her master’s at UVic in 2012, she received a memoir that held the story of her mother and aunt’s long journey of being brought to Lejac Residential School—a story that inspired the journey of the two fictional sisters in Aggie and Mudgy.

“You never feel lonely”: How one family keeps their culture close to home

Multi-generation homes are becoming more common in Canada. Last summer, Roxanna Rohani Mohtadi told us about what it was like living with not only her kids but her parents and grandmother too. 

Tonya Gillard and her mother, Bernetta Macey. Photo: James MacDonald

A mother and daughter’s struggle with the BC government agency that was supposed to help them

Our late-2021 story on Bernetta and Tonya’s struggle with the Public Guardian and trustee of BC also looked at the two women’s relationship, the challenges they’ve been through, and the reality of caring for a parent with mental illness and other difficulties. 

Oak Bay couple use 100km run to honour mother and fundraise for cancer research

Last fall a local man ran an ultramarathon in honour of his late mother-in-law after she died abruptly from AML, a fast-acting leukemia.

A grandmother beloved by thousands

In this story Jay Gomez paid tribute the life of his grandmother Felicita, who was so well-known and well-liked by multiple generations of UVic students that they named the campus pub after her.


Running 216km for his mother, aunties, great-grandparents, and more

Sasha Perron is the first generation in his family who wasn’t forced to go to a residential school. To take on some of the burden that his older relatives have lived with, he started a 216km run that raised thousands for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

Sasha Perron and his granny. Photo: Zoe Ducklow


Fresh starts for single mothers escaping trauma

Starting over in a new city is hard. Doing that as a single mother coping with trauma and depression, as Theresa Fraser did in 2009 when she moved to Victoria from Nova Scotia with her daughter, is even harder. But when Fraser entered Bridges for Women Society’s employment program soon after, it quickly became her second home. She went on to not only establish a new career and provide for her daughter, but also became a mentor to others who are in the process of leaving unsafe home situations behind and start safe and independent new ones.

The Good Newsletter also covered how the production of the series Maid, which follows a single mother leaving domestic violence, helped support locals in similar situations.

In the books

Local mainstay Bolen Books has remained afloat (and in the family) for more than four decades—we profiled the mother and daughter who have run it.

Using art to work through her mother’s death—and life

Caring for an ailing parent can be incredibly difficult, especially when the relationship was already fraught. Last summer we showcased the work of B. A. Lampman, whose artwork explored her time as caretaker for her mother following her diagnosis of Lewy Body dementia—a form of dementia characterized by vivid hallucinations or distortions of reality rather than memory loss.

Grandmothers of steel

Local granny group Victoria Grandmothers for Africa rides bikes nearly 300km to raise money to help other grandmothers on the other side of the world. The funds they raise go to 15 sub-Saharan African countries hit by AIDS pandemic, where grandmothers often have to bury their own children and then become full-time mothers again as the primary caretakers of their grandchildren.

Lisbie Rae with Ida Mukuka Nambeya, Senior Advisor to the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, visiting from Zambia. Photo: Submitted

When your child lives in the hospital

Our series of features on how the mental health system has failed to get Simon Stubbs into ideal care and housing looks at mother Jennifer Stubbs's relationship with Simon and her part in the fight to get the right help for Simon.

Victoria’s (fictional) punk-rock mama

The acclaimed debut novel from Susan Sanford Blades follows a mother and daughters who have to make their own way after the rocker father abandons them. It channels the spirit of Alice Munro in an unvarnished look at family life (and at Victoria).

Why Victorians are having fewer kids

Not everybody wants to be a mother, but many locals who do feel that they can’t. Greater Victoria has the lowest fertility rate in the country, and we looked at the factors behind that.

The great grey whale migration

Finally, for the non-human mothers out there, we looked at how grey whale mothers take their calves past the Island at this time of year in what is the longest seasonal migration of any mammal on Earth.

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