Victoria Native Friendship Centre receives valuable property as donation

·2 min read
The Victoria Native Friendship Centre has been gifted a property in Oak Bay, B.C. (VNFC/Facebook - image credit)
The Victoria Native Friendship Centre has been gifted a property in Oak Bay, B.C. (VNFC/Facebook - image credit)

A Victoria area woman is preparing to transfer ownership of her large house and property in Oak Bay, B.C., to the Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC).

Marion Cumming, 85, and her late husband Bruce, have always been generous toward the First Nations community, says Ron Rice, the executive director of the friendship centre.

"Before reconciliation was even a concept or a phrase that Canadians use, she and her husband were already sort of putting that into action," Rice told Kathyrn Marlow on CBC's All Points West.

Space has been ongoing issue for VNFC

The friendship centre was founded to support Indigenous people who want to live off of reserves. Rice says land and space has been an ongoing issue for the organization so they were thrilled when Cumming made the decision to donate her property.

"She's said it really is about our relationship and understanding and what she wants her and her husband, Bruce's legacy to look like," said Rice.

Rice says the property is about 0.8 acres and the house itself is over 3,500 square feet.

As for what the organization will do with the space, he says that's yet to be determined.

Liam Britten/CBC
Liam Britten/CBC

"Some of the things that came to mind were an artist in residence, a writer in residence, an academic in residence, but also looking at it as a retreat space for some of our youth groups," he said.

This isn't the first time the Cummings have returned land to Indigenous groups.

Nearly 30 years ago the couple donated a large farm to a First Nation in New Brunswick and two years ago Marion Cumming gave another property on the Koksilah River in Cowichan to VNFC.

"We're just so grateful to Marion and her generous spirit," said Rice.

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