These are the People in Your Neighbourhood
Eleanor Calder: Shining a Light on Esquimalt
– By Tim Morrison
With our CFB Naval Base, Esquimalt is used to welcoming new residents from every province. But the navy is certainly not the only reason why people move here. The fact is that we provide a great place to live. Esquimalt is a community sought-out from people all over Canada. One such person is Rock Heights-area resident Eleanor Calder. Eleanor and her husband moved to Esquimalt six years ago from Saskatchewan.
When asked why she chose to live in Esquimalt, Eleanor says it is because “the ocean is here, the parks are here, the Gary Oaks are here, and the Rec Centre is accessible to everyone.” She knew she arrived in the perfect place because, as she describes Esquimalt, “it is a great size where you can get to meet your neighbours who become your friends. It has it ALL- Accessible, Liveable, Linkage to Nature.”
Esquimalt is a place where people look out for each other. Eleanor fits in well, having dedicated her life to helping others in the health care sector through several avenues of nursing. These days, she works as a nursing instructor at the University of Victoria.
But, most of her time is spent as a community volunteer and promoting healthy living. Her motto is simple: “saying YES to life!”
“The key words are ‘get involved’, it takes everyone to make our community safer, friendlier, better, and the BEST place to live,” says Calder. “Get going to keep going-such as with walking and running clinics. Exercise is the best medicine anyone in Esquimalt can choose to keep our community going!”
Eleanor’s inclusive approach to life has led her to become the Chair of Esquimalt’s Access Awareness Committee, which:
• raises the awareness of Council and the municipality about providing access to transportation, housing, recreation, employment, and education
• provides an avenue for public input about accessibility within the municipality
• identifies barriers to providing accessible services and facilities
• recommends strategies for improving access for all people
Her many other hobbies and activities include gardening, playing bridge, staying fit by running and walking with the Esquimalt Breakers, helping to beautify Esquimalt through Esquimalt Together Against Graffiti (ETAG), and promoting community awareness as a director of the Esquimalt Residents Association.
But what Eleanor is currently most excited about is her involvement with the annual Esquimalt Lantern Festival.
“In 2009, I responded to a request to be a volunteer to assist in re-lighting the Lantern Festival,” recalls Eleanor. “Around the same time, I attended a workshop that focused on how to get community members interested and involved with their community. The solution was simple, have some fun together. So, the Lantern Festival is the event where the community has fun by participating in a lantern parade along the West Bay Walkway and with the entertainment at Captain Jacobson Park. It is all free, family friendly and FUN. The volunteers I continue to meet during the planning of this event inspire me with their talents at organizing, networking, and just doing what it takes to organize a successful event.”
The Esquimalt Lantern Festival will be on Saturday, September 24th from 6pm-10pm.
“We are seeking volunteers,” says Eleanor. “There are lots of great ways you could help out from lantern building to assisting with the set up on event day.”
Join Eleanor Calder in doing your part in the brightening up fun, volunteerism, and the celebration of community spirit by taking part in Esquimalt’s annual Lantern Festival.