2016 news

December 2016
New francophone Friends Group established in Casselman

In November 2016, the National Office of Victoria's Quilts Canada set up a new Friends Group in Casselman, a small community outside of Ottawa. The group is led by Carole Prévost-Gratton who was inspired by National’s Friends Group in Russell and saw a need for a francophone group within her own community. A short time later, she had gathered several enthusiastic, like-minded volunteers around her to establish the group and start making quilts. Meetings are held in French on the first Tuesday of every month at the Paul-Émile Lévesque Center in Casselman. The next one is on January 3 and new members are welcome. If you are interested in attending, please contact Carole beforehand to let her know you are coming. Welcome aboard, Casselman!

December 2016
May Court Club provides support to make more quilts

Victoria's Quilts Canada (VQC) would like to thank the May Court Club of Ottawa for the $1,000 grant it awarded us in early November. This grant will enable VQC to purchase batting and flannel to make about 50 more quilts for people living with cancer in Canada. The May Court Club was pleased to award the grant, as our quilt making program met with their priority to assist people coping with illness.

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November 2016
Two new Board members added to seek out additional funding sources

Victoria’s Quilts Canada (VQC) has added two new members to its Board of Directors. The two individuals, Janet (Jan) Peszat and Anne Rooke, were unanimously voted in by VQC’s current Board members at their September 26 and October 31, 2016 Board meetings. Their role will be to assist VQC’s Treasurer in finding new funding sources for our quilt-making operations.

Jan joined VQC in 2013 on hearing of the organization from a colleague at Finance Canada. She stayed on following her retirement in 2014, after completing a 31-year career with the federal government. Anne, for her part, retired in 2010 from a 35-year career with the federal public service where she worked with various rights-based organizations in senior management positions. She has just joined VQC. The two look forward to working with the other Board members and helping VQC find new revenue streams to stabilize its cash flow. The Board, for its part, is delighted to have two fresh faces within its ranks. Welcome aboard, Jan and Anne!

See also VQC Board of Directors

November 2016
Tantramar Branch receives Distinguished Service Award

Tantramar members receiving award Tantramar members receiving award (left to right): Gayle Janes, Mary Farrow Sinclair (Chair), Robert Janes (presenter), Shirley Young, Marilyn Farrow

At its annual Foundation Dinner event this past April, the Cumberland Health Care Foundation presented its Distinguished Service Award to four founding members of the Tantramar Branch of Victoria's Quilts Canada, located in Amherst, Nova Scotia. The Branch members received this award for their distinguished service, over a number of years, which has benefited the health and well-being of Cumberland County residents. Tantramar Branch has received many thanks from different areas of the province, but this one was very special. The recipients were touched by the accolade.


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October 2016
2016 Raffle winners

The draw for our 2016 Raffle took place on October 22, 2016 and we'd like to congratulate the winners!

First prize, Come With Me Under the Sea, was won by Claire Drew. This queen-sized quilt was appraised at $1,200.

Claire Drew (on the left)
with VQC Board member Shirley Gay.

Second prize, Ready for Spring, went to Sylvie Gauvin. This lap-sized quilt was appraised at $1,050.

Sylvie Gauvin (on the left)
with VQC Board member Shirley Gay.

I Spy, the third prize, was won by Diane Potvin. This crib-sized quilt was appraised at $500.

Diane Potvin (on the left)
with VQC Board member Shirley Gay.

Victoria's Quilts Canada would like to sincerely thank all the people who purchased tickets, the volunteers who sold tickets, and the people and organizations who allowed us to sell tickets from their locations. This year's raffle raised $9,896, which will help us continue providing comfort to people with cancer in Canada – one quilt at a time!

Again, congratulations to our winners.

October 2016
Local cleaner supports VQC by washing flannel
for quilting event

Charles Goodfellow receiving Certificate of Appreciation Charles Goodfellow receiving Certificate of Appreciation

Victoria’s Quilts Canada (VQC) would like to express its gratitude to Charles Goodfellow, owner of Ottawa’s Goodfellow Cleaners, for his help last spring. Two weeks before a scheduled Quilt-til-u-Wilt event, VQC Board members cut seven large bags of flannel pieces destined for use in assembling quilts. These pieces needed to be washed prior to their use. Charles, who has on several past occasions washed similar material for VQC, free-of-charge, was there once again to help out and the flannel was returned to VQC one week later, well ahead of the event. To thank Charles for his generous assistance, Kathy Yach, VQC Vice-President, presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation. Charles, who has a reputation for helping charities, was thrilled.

October 2016
Fall 2016 Fashion Show an unmitigated success!

VQC volunteers model latest fashions VQC volunteers model latest fashions (click on image to view slide show)

Our annual Fashion Show fundraiser, held on October 1st of this year at Ottawa’s Julian of Norwich Anglican Church, was the best-ever – and heaps of fun! With 116 people in attendance, it was a full house – and a lively one too. Luscious desserts were available before the show started, as were coffee and tea. Participants also had plenty of opportunity to bid on some marvelous gifts presented in our silent auction.

The best part, however, were the fabulous fall fashions modeled by VQC members. There was something for everyone – classic styles for daytime and glamour for evening. Altogether, the event raised $3,300.75, which will be used to purchase batting and flannel to make more quilts.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Carmen Marson, Manager of Nygard in Barrhaven, who pulled the fashions together and provided a running commentary on the outfits. Thank you also to our classy models, who 'did the walk', and to those generous souls who brought the many wonderful desserts. The biggest thanks, however, goes to all of you who attended. Your participation made a success of this event.

Plans are already underway for next year’s show. We look forward to seeing you there! And be sure to get your ticket early!

October 2016
Moncton Branch bus tour reaps rewards

Mahone Bay scarecrowsMahone Bay scarecrows

Thirty-nine members from the Moncton Branch of Victoria’s Quilts Canada (VQC) recently went on a two-day bus tour to Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia to attend the community’s annual scarecrow festival. During the visit, the participants admired a display of magnificent quilts that were made by the Mahone Bay Quilt Guild then were treated to a lunch by a United Church women’s group. The bus tour, which has been an annual fundraiser event for the past five years, raised a net of $1,883 this year for the Branch. Its participants also purchased $566 worth of flannelette from a local fabric store at a 30% discount, enough to make 55 more quilts. Delighted with the outcome, the Moncton Branch is planning another, longer bus tour
next year to attend the Vermont, New Hampshire Quilt Festival.

October 2016
Calgary Branch shows its colours at 2016 Calgary Stampede

VQC quilts at Calgary

The Calgary Branch of Victoria’s Quilts Canada (VQC) was honoured to have been invited to the Calgary Stampede this past summer. VQC Calgary was the feature charity for the ten days of the Stampede, with four of its quilts on permanent display in the event’s Heritage Cabin. The Branch was well represented during the event and its members took pleasure in talking about VQC with locals and people from all around the world.

October 2016
Waterloo/Wellington Branch raffle winners

Raffle winnersLeft to right: Sheila Goldsworthy (Chair), Sue Palmer (winner), Angie (resident) and Kent Bigrigg (winner).

The Waterloo/Wellington Branch of Victoria’s Quilts Canada (VQC) held a very successful quilt raffle this past spring, where two quilts were raffled off. Congratulations went out to two winners, Kent Bigrigg of Brantford, Ontario, the first prize winner, and Sue Palmer of Waterloo, Ontario, who won the lap size quilt. The quilts were presented by Sheila Goldsworthy, Chair of the Waterloo/ Wellington Branch, and Angie, a member of the Resident Council at the Sunnyside Home Long Term Care Facility in Kitchener.

Thanks go out to all the ticket sellers, and especially the home’s residents, who helped by selling tickets in their lobby. The Branch plans to raffle two Canadian-themed quilts in spring 2017. They will also have 2017 calendars available for Christmas giving this year.

For more information, contact vqbecausewecare@gmail.com.

October 2016
Prince Albert volunteer completes 100 quilts...
and still counting

Rita Villeneuve and 
		her 100th VQC quiltRita Villeneuve and her 100th
VQC quilt

Kudos to Rita Villeneuve, a tireless example of the dedicated volunteers who make quilts for Victoria’s Quilts Canada (VQC). Rita, who was diagnosed and treated for vocal cord cancer five years ago, has been making quilts for VQC ever since. Her goal when she joined was to complete 100 quilts.

This past summer, she did just that. But she isn’t stopping there and has completed three more since then. Her goal now is to always have one quilt finished and ready to go, in case she’s asked. You see, Rita lives far to the north of VQC’s Climax Branch in Saskatchewan. Quilting is her passion, as is helping VQC. She makes most of the quilts from her own stash and delivers many of them herself in the Prince Albert area. As she puts it, ‘it seems like this cancer is everywhere”, so she wants to help.

Her commitment, like that of all our volunteers, makes it possible
for VQC to fulfill its mission of providing quilts to comfort
people with cancer in Canada. We are grateful for her support.

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July 2016
VQC Radio-thon fundraiser brings in much-needed funds

We are thrilled to announce that $ 5,307.70 was raised during this year’s annual Radio-thon, which took place June 19, 2016. The funds will allow Victoria’s Quilts Canada (VQC) to continue purchasing supplies, such as cotton, flannelette and batting to make quilts, and to pay for their distribution across Canada. Thank you to all our wonderful supporters, who so generously donated not only this year, but in past years as well.

VQC once again greatly appreciates Rabbi Bulka’s support by dedicating his radio program, Sunday Night with Rabbi Bulka (airs weekly from 10:00 to 11:00 p.m. on 580 CFRA) to raising funds for VQC. Thanks also to Steve Madely, retired host of CFRA's former show, Madely in the Morning, for co-chairing the program with Rabbi Bulka, and to our wonderful volunteers who worked to organize this event.

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June 2016
Fashion Show fundraiser to take place October 1, 2016

2016 Fashion Show FlyerClick image to download flyer

Mark your calendar! Our annual Fashion Show fundraiser this year will take place from 1:00 to 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at Julian of Norwich Anglican Church (formerly St. Richard’s Anglican Church), 8 Withrow Avenue in Nepean. We are thrilled once again to have Nygard providing their beautiful clothing for the show. As before, our very professional VQC models will be wearing all these beautiful fashions for your enjoyment. Nygard will also have a large stock of clothing onsite, allowing everyone to try on and purchase their favourite items right on the spot.

The event will begin at 1:00 p.m., when home-made desserts are served, followed by the Fashion Show at 2:00 pm. Tickets cost $20 and often sell out quickly.

Once again, we will have items for sale as well as our popular silent auction. It’s a fun place to pick up some of those early Christmas presents. Proceeds from the sale of tickets and the silent auction will enable Victoria's Quilts Canada to purchase the supplies necessary to continue making quilts.

To reserve your ticket ahead of time, call or e-mail Kathy Yach at 613-224-6835 or cityviewky@rogers.com.

The afternoon promises to be lots of fun, and we get a taste of Nygard’s fantastic fall and winter fashions. We hope to see you there.

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April 2016
2016 Raffle – Get your tickets!

This year’s raffle quilts are absolutely gorgeous! The raffle proceeds will be used by VQC's National office to purchase materials to continue making quilts. Tickets cost $2 each, or 3 tickets for $5 and can only be purchased within Ontario. They are available from VQC members as well as various kiosks throughout Ottawa. You can also contact us by by phone at (613) 843-9212 or email us at enquiries@victoriasquiltscanada.com. The draw takes place October 22, 2016.​

First prize quilt

First Prize – Come With Me Under the Sea
This luscious creation in lime green, aqua, and blue cotton batiks is a queen-sized quilt (103” x 86”) with a central medallion block design and a secondary whirligig pattern that gives a feeling of movement. The machine quilting consists of sea horses, fish, starfish, seaweed and bubbles using navy thread on top and green on the back. This quilt was appraised at $1200.

First prize quilt

Second Prize – Ready for Spring
This is a gorgeous lap-sized quilt (74” x 54”) in predominantly pink and green cottons. The centre square has thirteen different quilt block patterns while the top and bottom display a striking ribbon block design in yellow and pink. The centre block has a machine-embroidered flower with metallic thread and one of the other blocks has a blanket-stitched appliquéd butterfly. The machine quilting was done with variegated green thread on top and dusty pink on the back. This quilt was appraised at $1050.

First prize quilt

Third Prize – I Spy
This cheerful crib-sized quilt (55” x 43”) uses primary colors and a large variety of juvenile prints, batiks and tones on tones in a disappearing 9-patch block pattern. It is machine-quilted using a stipple pattern with yellow thread on top and white thread on the back. This quilt was appraised at $500.

Don't miss this chance to win one of these beautiful creations and in the process help us in our mission of providing handmade quilts for people living with cancer.

April 2016
50,000 quilts delivered: a new record for VQC

Liz Johnston with 50,000th quilt

On April 25, 2016, VQC hit a new milestone with the delivery of its 50,000th quilt. The quilt was crafted by Liz Johnston, a long-standing VQC volunteer, and delivered personally by Betty Giffin, founder of VQC, to a woman living in Ottawa.

As you know, VQC makes and distributes handmade quilts to people living with cancer in Canada. These quilts help the recipient to cope a little more easily with the stress and anxiety of the diagnosis as well as the discomfort associated with the treatments. They are a gift and no cost is ever incurred by the person receiving the quilt or the one requesting it.

VQC started operations in 1999 with just twelve women and distributed 16 quilts in its first year. In subsequent years, it grew rapidly and by 2007 had sent out 10,000 quilts. In 2011, four years later, VQC delivered its 25,000th quilt. This spring, just six years later, VQC delivered its 50,000th quilt. During this same period, the number of VQC volunteers has also increased and VQC now has over 1,200 dedicated members located in Ottawa and in 24 Branches across the country. Working together, these individuals make and deliver about 500 quilts each month. That’s a total of 6,000 each year.

We are grateful that we have been able to help so many, whether they are in Newfoundland, British Columbia, or Nunavut. Our success would not have been possible without the ongoing support and dedication of our volunteers – whether they hold the needle that makes the quilt, wrap it for mailing, or work in the office – as well as that of our many financial supporters. Of course, we are always on the lookout for new individuals to join our ranks, and new sources of funding.

VQC appreciates the assistance it has received to date, but a reliable source of funding remains a concern, as the average cost to make one quilt is now about $50. To fund our program, we rely mainly on donations from private individuals, who are often quilt recipients, as well as their families and friends. We also hold raffles, fashion shows, radio-thons and other events to increase our available funds. Donations of cotton fabric sometimes come in from local stores and businesses as well as from individuals who are downsizing or culling their fabric stash. This is a great help to us, but we often need to purchase additional cotton fabrics to augment our inventory, and we must purchase the batting and flannelette. Meanwhile, the number of quilt requests we receive continues to climb; so much so that we can barely keep up.

Efforts are underway to increase the funds we receive and our annual radio-thon, hosted by Rabbi Bulka and Steve Madely, former host of Madely in the Morning on 580 CFRA is coming up June 19. In addition, a recent article published in the Ottawa Citizen on April 25 about our 50,000th quilt milestone has brought us to the attention of many new individuals, some of whom have already donated to our mission. With their help, and the help of many, many others, inside and outside our organization, we will continue to provide comfort, both physical and spiritual, to those struggling with cancer until the day it is no longer with us.

April 2016
VQC pulls off successful Quilt-til-u-Wilt event

Quilt-til-u-Wilt partipants at work
More pictures

The Quilt-til-u-Wilt held by VQC on Saturday, April 16 2016 proved to be a resounding success. Some 30 dedicated VQC volunteers came out to iron, pin, sew and quilt for the day, as they shared in the fun and companionship that inevitably springs up during such events. Several members even showed up early or stayed late to help set up the hall or clean up afterwards.

The participants got right to work and, by day’s end, 36 quilts were completed, needing only to be washed before delivery to VQC’s quilt packers. Another 45 quilts, in various stages of completion, were taken home to be finished by several of the participants. In all, the event will have added 81 more quilts to VQC’s inventory, and 81 more individuals living with cancer in Canada will receive a quilt to comfort them as they struggle to overcome this dreaded disease.

Thank you to our members who participated in this year’s Quilt-til-u-Wilt for your continued support, to the organizers who made it all happen, and to the individuals who helped out before and after the event took place. Lastly, VQC would like to extend a big thank you to the staff of the Metropolitan Bible Church for letting us use their wonderful hall, and for their presence and support during this most productive day.

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March 2016
Join us for the 7th Annual Rabbi Bulka Radio-thon!

Annual report cover

Mark Sunday, June 19, 2016 on your calendars and tune in to Rabbi Reuven Bulka's radio program on 580 CFRA from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Rabbi Bulka has once again generously dedicated his program as a fundraiser for Victoria's Quilts Canada (VQC). Joining Rabbi Bulka as co-host will be Steve Madely, recently retired host of CFRA's former program, Madely in the Morning.

Victoria’s Quilts Canada is a national, non-profit, charitable organization committed to providing quilts to people living with cancer in Canada. By providing these quilts, we hope to bring physical comfort to those dealing with cancer as well as spiritual comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their struggle. The quilts are a gift and no cost is ever passed on to the requester or the recipient.

Our major sources of funds are donations from private individuals who are often quilt recipients, as well as their families and friends. We do not have any paid staff, so these donations go directly towards purchasing materials for our quilt-making program.

Costs are increasing, however, as are the number of quilt requests we receive, now overtopping 500 per month. To make just one quilt now costs us $50 on average, and in 2015 our mailing expenses exceeded $21,000.

Your donation during the Radio-thon is therefore very important. It will enable us to continue purchasing supplies, such as cotton, flannelette and batting to make quilts, and to pay for their distribution across Canada.

Our goal this year is $20,000. We hope you will be able to make this goal a reality.

How to donate: Donate online now via CanadaHelps, or call in during the Radio-thon
at 613-224-6835 or 613-838-2520.

March 2016
VQC annual general meeting scheduled for May 7, 2016

Annual report cover

Mark your calendars! The Annual General Meeting for Victoria's Quilts Canada (VQC) will take place on Saturday, May 7, 2016 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. It will be held at Julian of Norwich Anglican Church (formerly St. Richard’s Anglican Church) at 8 Withrow Avenue in Nepean, Ontario, K2G 2H6.

The meeting provides an opportunity for members to find out what VQC is doing and how it is continuing to grow. VQC members can also help the Board make decisions about our future by voting on the business conducted at this meeting and on nominations for new Board members.

As those who have attended in the past will attest, the meeting will not be all serious business. It's an opportunity to thank our volunteers for all their hard work and dedication in a social atmosphere where members can interact. This year’s meeting will be a special occasion, as we will have sent out our 50,000th quilt by then. Refreshments and a special cake will be provided. Plus, a variety of items will be on sale including quilting books, tools, all-new funky fabrics and quilt kits, among other surprises.

A proposed agenda and draft 2015 Annual General Meeting Minutes will shortly be sent out to VQC members, followed by distribution of the 2015 Annual Report (PDF format) later in April. Proxy forms will also be sent out for those unable to attend who would like someone else to vote on their behalf. For those who cannot be reached by electronic means, please contact your Branch or Friends Group Coordinator for this information.

Please let us know no later than Monday, April 11, 2015 if you plan to attend by calling (613) 843-9212 or sending us an e-mail.

For those travelling from out-of-town, please note that VQC funds cannot be used to reimburse travel and living expenses. However, if you can join us on May 7, we would be very glad to see you. If you are unable to attend, please accept our heartfelt thanks and a thank you from all of those whose lives you have touched.

March 2016
Quilt-til-u-Wilt event to take place April 16, 2016

Quilt being tied

We would like to invite you to attend our annual Quilt-a-thon event on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Metropolitan Bible Church, 2176 Prince of Wales Drive starting at 9:30 am and ending at 4:00 pm.

The format of the Quilt-a-thon is different this year. We will hold a Quilt-til-u-Wilt, which is similar to a mini-Quilt-a-thon. We have chosen this format as the Quilt-a-thons of years past were very labour-intensive to plan, organize, set up and prepare. A Quilt-til-u-Wilt event is easier to carry out and does not overburden the small core group of volunteers who consistently take on the task of organizing such events. It still unites people to work together to achieve our goal of making as many quilts as we can in the one day.

So, bring your own lunch, your VQC quilting projects (no piecing please), and the equipment you will need (e.g. scissors, sewing machine if you plan to sew, etc.). Refreshments such as coffee, tea and water will be available and there will be a couple of door prizes. We will have batting and flannel to layer the quilts, and there will be lots of opportunity to pin and tie the layers as well as sew and bind the quilts. We won’t have any items for sale, however, nor knife-sharpening.

Be sure to reserve the date on your calendar. The event is free, but registration is limited and therefore required. To sign up, please fill in and submit our online registration form. If you are unable to register online, you can obtain a paper version of the form from your Friends Group coordinator. The deadline for registering is Saturday, April 9, 2016. You don’t need to be a member of VQC to participate.

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February 2016
VQC thanks one of its supporters

Sherry Woodburn holding Certificate of Appreciation presented by Françoise MillerSherry Woodburn (left) holding certificate presented by Françoise Miller

Victoria’s Quilts Canada (VQC) recently thanked Sherry Woodburn, owner of The Wholesale Outlet in Ottawa, for her generous donations to VQC. For several years, Sherry has conducted a highly successful biannual cancer fundraising event called Fashion for Compassion. The models were customers who were all cancer survivors or cancer patients, and 25% of all sales from the events were donated to cancer care. This included a $500 donation to VQC from each of the spring and fall fashion shows that took place in the past two years. The money was gratefully received by VQC and was used to purchase batting and flannel to make quilts.

To thank Sherry for her support, VQC’s Françoise Miller presented her with a Certificate of Appreciation. Sherry was surprised, and touched, by the unexpected acknowledgement. She enjoys putting on these fashion shows and plans to continue her fundraising efforts. The next fashion show will take place on April 9, 2016. It is free to attend and all are welcome. Once again, thank you, Sherry.

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Updated: February 1, 2017