Old Dogwood is a non-profit society organizing events and educational programs that connect arts, culture, and nature-based learning with the intention of making urban and rural exchanges more accessible.
Located on Mayne Island, BC, unceded territories of 13 Coast Salish nations - Old Dogwood is a 5.3 acre land-based project that centres underrepresented youth, adults and seniors as cultural creators and regenerators, including LGB, queer, two-spirit, trans, womxn, low-income and racialized people.
Old Dogwood is named after the old dogwood tree that stands at the front of the land and is one of only a handful of pacific dogwoods on the island.
The 13 Coast Salish nations whose territories we reside on are Lekwungen, Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose), Scia-new (Cheanuh), T'Sou-ke, Malahat, W̱SÁNEĆ, Səwaθn Məsteyəxʷ (Tsawwassen), and the Hul'qumi'num Mustimuhw (Hul'qumi'num speaking people) including Stz'uminus (Chemainus), Cowichan, Halalt, Lake Cowichan, Lyackson, and Penelakut.
The land is semi-forested natural terrain and not wheelchair or scooter accessible. Bathrooms exist in the form of composting toilets, some requiring a short 30-40 second walk through a forest trail to access.
We have parking at the front coming in from Felix Jack Road. It is a 3 minute walk to the guest area, so if this is a barrier for you, please shoot us an email.
Old Dogwood has a newly planted garden next to a chicken run. We love it when people hang out in the garden, we just ask to keep to the pathways and not step on the soil/garden beds. Also if you are visiting the chickens with a dog friend, make sure your dog is leashed. Thanks!
If you have any other questions, or would like to come visit, feel free to send us an email .
Kian Cham - co-founder, organizer
kian is a community organizer of Chinese-Irish descent who grew up on Katzie, Semiahmoo, Kwantlen and Tswwassen territories known as Surrey. He spends a lot of time connecting and learning from his many practices including gardening, martial arts, carpentary, and social justice. kian is a former 3-time national karate champion and has received their Permaculture Design Certificate from the Nettle’s Guild in Vancouver. Former garden coordinator at the Purple Thistle youth centre, kian is a personal coach for youth and adults.
John Aitken - director
Claire Gendron - co-founder, organizer
With long-standing family connection to Mayne Island, Claire is happy to be setting down roots and continuing the line of community work her grandparents are still doing on the island. As a settler of mixed European and Irish decent, Claire is listening, learning and taking action whenever possible to show her appreciation for being a guest on these unceded territories. Claire works to blend her practices of gardening, building and growing relationships, and art into a form that feeds herself and others around her. Here’s to trying! Claire received her Permaculture Design Certificate, while completing the Linnaea Farm Ecological Gardening program in 2012.
JOHN AITKEN is physical actor, carver, film-maker, photographer and educator with a rich background in performing arts, including dance, acting, and film production. He identifies as First Nations with a mixed ancestry of Coast Salish, Haida and Scottish. He is also a prolific wood carver working within Coast Salish traditional styles and exploring his own contemporary style. As a dancer he was a member of Stages Dance Company in Victoria BC.
Tahia Ahmed - director
Tahia is a passionate advocate for dialogue and collaborative change making. She is a facilitator, community organizer, and doula. Tahia is a co-founder of ArtQuake a youth-driven arts organization and continues her work with youth in her role as Coordinator of the City of Victoria Youth Council on unceded Lekwungen lands and waters. She trusts in the words of Arundhati Roy, “another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
Marie Weeks - director
Marie Weeks has been a summer time and holiday visitor on Mayne Island since 1963. Her parents began building their retirement home on Mayne in the early 80s. Since they became full-time residents in 1989, Marie visits the island regularly. Marie has contributed to the Mayne Island community assisting her mum who was the president of the Mayne Island Agricultural Society for 25+ Years, working alongside the hard working volunteers who are the back bone of the Annual Fall Fair. Marie has also been bringing her 3 kids to Mayne Island since they were born. It has been a commitment of hers to ensure that her kids have access to the richness of multigenerational relationships and to have an understanding of the foundational strength of their family's ancestors and how that feeds the next generation. Marie received her BA major in First Nations and Indigenous Studies from UBC, and currently works for BC Housing in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territories.