Fernwood, Victoria

The neighbourhood radiates out from the intersection of Gladstone and Fernwood Roads, where the Belfry Theatre, The Fernwood Inn (great live bluegrass music), The Cornerstone Cafe (a community-based social enterprise), and She Said Gallery, each occupy a corner. This dynamic urban village also boasts: Ça Va Bistro Moderne, Stir It Up (Jamaican-Caribbean restaurant), Stage Wine Bar (identified by EnRoute Magazine as one of the top 10 new restaurants in Canada the year it opened), The Yoga Den, Soma Active Health, Gothic A.E. Piercing Salon with Nail Haven, Tonic Spa-tique, Fly the Cage Tattoo Studio, Who-Dyd-Your-Hair, The Paint Box School of Art, Aubergine Specialty Foods, and Freedom Kilts.

The Belfry Theatre has been producing plays in the heart of Fernwood since 1976. A thriving music and arts scene has resulted in events such as FernFest (since 1995) and the Fernwood Art Stroll (since 2008) which take place annually during the fourth weekend in June. Little Fernwood Hall houses The Pandora Arts Collective, Little Fernwood Gallery, and Theatre Inconnu.

The neighbourhood is enlivened by 3 vibrant schools with active extra-curricular programs, community celebrations, and involved Parent Advisory Councils: Victoria High School (the oldest public high school west of Winnipeg and north of San Francisco), Central Middle School, and George Jay Elementary. Several registered preschools and day care programs also nurture young families in the area.

The Compost Education Centre, two allotment gardens, and Spring Ridge Commons (a permaculture garden) are community-initiated projects that contribute to the character of the area. Fernwood is also home to many wellness and recreational groups, including the Fernwood United Football Club (soccer).

Since 1979, Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group (Fernwood NRG) has provided child care, family support programs, and recreational activities through the Fernwood Community Centre. Fernwood NRG opened the Cornerstone Cafe and the Cornerstone Building affordable housing apartments in 2006, and in 2008 opened Park Place affordable housing apartments. In 2013, Fernwood NRG opened Studio 1313 Hair Design. These social enterprises continue to be operated by Fernwood NRG with all proceeds re-invested into neighbourhood programs and services (including events like FernFest & Telephone Pole Painting). The Fernwood Community Centre is home to a Community Orchard & Kitchen Garden Pilot Project. These projects demonstrate new ways of growing food in the City of Victoria in visible, public places.

The Fernwood Community Association facilitates land use discussions (between developers, residents, and the City), oversees emergency preparedness and safety issues, operates the two neighbourhood allotment gardens, and provides meeting space in Little Fernwood Hall for various community gatherings including Cafe Sympatico and recovery support groups.

Fernwood is known throughout the city as a particularly warm, creative, and engaged neighbourhood.



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