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B.C. Welcomes New Flight Simulator Training Centre to Victoria

Jul 15, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond has released the following statement today to congratulate Pacific Sky Aviation Inc. and Viking Air Limited on their announcement of a new training centre at the Victoria International Airport:

“Pacific Sky Aviation and Viking Air are investing in B.C. and in the future with their state-of-the-art Twin Otter simulator training centre at the Victoria International Airport. This is great news for the local economy and it means 20 new jobs for the area.

“The Asia Pacific region is expected to see major growth in aircraft sales and flight traffic in the coming years and B.C. is a major hub for the aerospace sector. In fact, we are a preferred North American gateway for the industry. British Columbia’s aerospace and defence sector is recognized worldwide for delivering highly specialized products and services.”

"Aerospace is part of the Transportation sector in the BC Jobs Plan. The strategies in the BC Jobs Plan leverage B.C.’s advantages in eight key industry sectors to enable job creation and maintain investor confidence. In B.C., we are protecting our economy from global economic uncertainty through low taxes for families and business, controlled spending and balancing our budget, and our Skills for Jobs Blueprint.”


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Viking Delivers Twin Otter Series 400 at Farnborough International Airshow

Jul 15, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — In a delivery event held today at the Farnborough International Air Show, Viking Air Limited of Victoria, British Columbia, officially handed over the keys to MSN 898, the second of a total four Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft purchased by Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles.

Viking production serial number MSN 898, alongside MSN 899, underwent back-to-back aircraft acceptance procedures with Air Seychelles representatives at Viking’s corporate headquarters in the weeks leading up to Farnborough, and will be available for viewing on static display for the duration of the airshow.

The two new aircraft will join the first Air Seychelles Twin Otter Series 400 delivered in 2011 as 19-passenger regional commuters operating as pillars of tourism for the domestic carrier throughout the Seychelles archipelago.  The fourth and final Air Seychelles Series 400 Twin Otter is scheduled for delivery in mid-2015.

Manoj Papa, Air Seychelles’ CEO, said, “As fully backed by our shareholders - the government of Seychelles and Etihad Airways - Viking are without question our preferred supplier and partner in the 19-seat aircraft category.  This delivery of new Twin Otters to serve the inter-islands is a win-win for Viking Air, Air Seychelles and the thousands of passengers who fly on domestic services in Seychelles every year.  Island hopping by air in Seychelles is growing in popularity and the new aircraft will be a terrific addition to our fleet.  They are the right tools at the right time for Air Seychelles.”

David Curtis, Viking president & CEO, stated, “We believe that Air Seychelles’ selection of the Twin Otter Series 400 will not only positively impact their ability to service travelers throughout the island nation, but as a strategic partner to Etihad Airways, will help to expand the Series 400 brand presence throughout the entire Middle East / North African region.”


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SendtoNews Signs Worldwide Distribution Agreement with MLBAM for Digital Video Content

Jul 10, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA/NEW YORK - SendtoNews is pleased to announce it has signed a multi-faceted, multi-year agreement with MLB Advanced Media (“MLBAM”) for the global syndication of Major League Baseball (“MLB”) and Minor League Baseball (“MiLB”) short-form digital video content.

Under the terms of the agreement, SendtoNews will have digital distribution rights to MLB game highlights, interviews, top plays and other MLB-related video to local news sites throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, the agreement provides for expanded digital rights to distribute MLB video content globally, excluding certain territories where MLBAM has existing digital distribution partnerships.  The agreement also includes archived content, long-form original programming and global rights for the distribution of MiLB short-form digital video content.

“MLBAM has long been one of the most prolific sports content creators in the world and its vast library of content generated throughout the 2500 game baseball season is the holy grail of sports video highlights,“ states Greg Bobolo, CEO. “MLBAM is one of the most successful technology companies in the world and to become a global syndication partner is another huge market validation for SendtoNews and a strong statement about the capabilities of our syndication platform, our business model and our people. We are excited and honored to enter this partnership.”

“This partnership is reflective of our long-standing commitment to bring baseball content directly to fans across a variety of platforms, specifically leveraging the SendtoNews syndication platform to reach our fans through their preferred news sites,” states Alexander Pigeon, VP, International, MLBAM.

“There is an enormous wealth of highly sought-after content available to SendtoNews through these two properties,” continued Mr. Bobolo. “This inventory will prove invaluable to our publishing partners for attracting readers and developing readership loyalty.”


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A Good Time to Buy or Sell in Victoria as Steady Market Conditions Continue to Create a Balanced Market

Jul 02, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – The Victoria Real Estate Board today released its monthly report on real estate activity in the Victoria area for June 2014.

680 properties sold in the region in the month of June 2014 compared to 664 in June 2013 – an increase of 2.4% year over year. Compared to last month in May, there were 5% less sales, which follows a common seasonal trend as summer approaches. Compared to 2013, 2014 shows an 8.9% increase in year-to-date sales.

“We continue to see slow and steady growth in our overall sales numbers,” Victoria Real Estate Board President Tim Ayres says. “May and June represent the top two sales months we have seen since spring 2010.”

“Once again we see balanced market conditions in June – as we did in March, April, and May this year,” adds President Ayres. “Market conditions track the ratio of sales to available inventory and indicate supply and demand. A balanced market is advantageous to sellers and buyers – pricing is more stable and predictable and there is less pressure on price either way.”

The MLS® Home Price Index benchmark value for single family homes in the Victoria Core area for June is $556,200, which represents an increase in value of 1.8% over last year. The most common price range for single family homes in the entire region is $400,000 - $600,000. 48% of sales in June were in this range.

Victoria Real Estate Board President Tim Ayres is available for comment. More information on the June 2014 report and the MLS® HPI is available from the Victoria Real Estate Board.

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Victoria-based Beeswax-Wrap Takes Runner-up Prize in 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award Contest

Jun 25, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — BDC today announced that the turning point project Bee Wrapped, submitted by Toni Desrosiers, founder of Abeego Designs, Inc. in Victoria, British Columbia, has won $25,000 in BDC consulting services as the runner-up prize in the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest.

Toni’s reusable, biodegradable and anti-bacterial beeswax-coated fabric food wrap is the practical, environmental alternative to plastic. Her project involves actively pursuing distribution agreements with an environmentally conscious U.S.-based distribution company that will build sales channels by qualifying the best retail partners for the Abeego brand. Toni’s four-step plan includes developing a marketing and promotion strategy, securing a U.S. distributor, and investing in new equipment and manufacturing processes to boost production and quality control. The runner-up prize of $25,000 in consulting services offered by BDC will help move her plan forward.

“We’ve already proven there is a clear market need for Abeego. Now we just need to get our products onto more store shelves south of the border,” says Toni. “BDC’s advice and insight will definitely help our brand achieve our goal of 2,000% revenue growth by 2019.”

“Toni is ready to build on the momentum she has achieved in the Canadian market and firmly plant her flag in the U.S.,” says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. “The runner-up prize will be instrumental in positioning her company as a household name that will empower families to forego plastic and start to Abeego It.”

“I can’t say enough about the fantastic public support Abeego has received during the contest,” says Toni. “I’d encourage any young business owner to consider taking part in the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award. Becoming a finalist is a great opportunity to benefit from unparalleled business exposure and reach new customers.”

The contest’s $100,000 Grand Prize winner is the project Cheese Champs, submitted by Shep Ysselstein, owner of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese in Woodstock, Ontario.

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PISE Announces the Victoria 94 Celebration for the 20th Anniversary of the XV Commonwealth Games

Jun 25, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — PISE (Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence) announced today the celebrations for the 20th Anniversary of the 1994 XV Commonwealth Games that will take place on August 23, 2014 at PISE. The event will acknowledge the organizers, athletes and the 14,000 volunteers who gave their time and commitment to make the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games a success, and provided Victoria with a legacy that continues to benefit the community.

The program will feature an afternoon of activities for the public to participate in, including physical literacy stations and adaptive sports. There will also be sporting events with the Victoria Highlanders F.C. and Rugby Canada. Memorabilia from 1994 will be on display, as well as information on the legacy projects that emerged from the Games.
“The 1994 XV Commonwealth Games transformed Victoria in so many positive ways,” says Robert Bettauer, PISE CEO. “We are honoured to host the 20th Anniversary of those great games to celebrate the wonderful impact it has had on our community and reinforce how ‘The Spirit Lives On’ in the legacies such as PISE.”

Volunteers from 1994 will be invited to take part in a commemorative photo; this will be followed by an official program recognizing the athletes, volunteers and organizers. The event will conclude with an official reunion reception.

“The Spirit Lives On in Victoria. I am excited to gather with the sport leaders, organizers, athletes and volunteers to celebrate the memories and legacies of the 1994 XV Commonwealth Games,” says Jim Reed, former Executive Vice-President of the XV Commonwealth Games. “The ’94 Games were a turning point for Victoria and for sport in the region and country and I am truly proud to have been a part of this special time in our history.”

For more information on the Victoria 94 Celebration go to: http://victoria94celebration.piseworld.com/

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New Victoria Service Helps New Businesses Get Noticed

Jun 25, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA  — Anyone who has ever started their own business knows there are a lot of challenges. One of them is getting the word out about what they are doing, something that’s now even more of a challenge with CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) taking effect July 1, 2014. That’s where The Press Writers wants to help.

The Press Writers are three experienced Victoria-based businesspeople — entrepreneur/mentor Peter Elkins, communication designer Jordan Clarke, and writer/editor Carolyn Camilleri — who have teamed up to offer their expertise to small and new businesses, non-profits, and social enterprises. The concept is simple: The Press Writers writes and designs a professional press release and helps get it distributed at an affordable price.

“We aren’t trying to be a marketing company or a PR company — in fact, we are happy to refer companies who are ready for that stage,” says Peter Elkins. “This is about helping small businesses and new companies get some attention so they can get established and start generating some real income.”

What distinguishes The Press Writers is that the service is personalized and starts with a real conversation — it isn’t an automated, online service — and that conversation may include referrals and advice.

“Some businesses and organizations just need a little direction or to make key connection to get them on the path to success,” says Elkins. “With our collective expertise and years of experience, we may be able to help with that or tell them who can help — an auto-reply from a media-release website can’t do that.”

“We love the enthusiasm and energy new and small businesspeople have for what they are doing,” says Elkins. “We want to give them some good support when they need it most — but can least afford it.”

Contact: Peter Elkins 778-966-1250
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Aimée Ippersiel named Managing Director of Robert Bateman Centre

Jun 24, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Following a successful first year of operation, Paul Gilbert, executive director of The Bateman Foundation is pleased to announce that Aimée Ippersiel will be taking on the role of managing director of the Robert Bateman Centre.

Ippersiel joined the Robert Bateman Centre in April 2013 as manager of marketing and communications, a key member of the opening team for the new centre in the Steamship Terminal location along Victoria’s Inner Harbour in May 2013. Following a successful opening weekend, which coincided with Robert Bateman’s 83rd birthday and saw more than 3,000 visitors in a two-day period, Ippersiel planned a series of community and arts focused events and marketing initiatives throughout the year to help connect the Bateman Centre to the local community and visitors from around the world.

The Bateman Foundation, a national public charity, is the custodian of the largest and most representative body of Robert Bateman’s work in the world, and uses that collection for social dialogue, civic engagement, and experiential learning about nature. The Robert Bateman Centre, an art museum and social enterprise of the Foundation, aims to inspire a love for nature in people of all ages.

“Aimée has an extensive background in museum management including 15 years of experience in exhibit and program creation, project and financial management, creative strategy development, and partner and stakeholder relations,” says Gilbert. “I am delighted that Aimée is taking on this expanded role within our team.”

Ippersiel previously worked at Parks Canada, the Canadian Canoe Museum, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Parliament of Canada, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. An active volunteer in the social sector, Ippersiel was an Arts and Culture Grant Review Team member with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and now acts as an Arts Advisory Council member with the CRD. She has two degrees in cultural anthropology and museum management and curatorship, and this summer will be completing an MBA at Royal Roads University with a focus on innovation in museums and the cultural sector.

Ippersiel will continue to report directly to Paul Gilbert. This new position will allow Gilbert to focus more on strategic planning and development including the establishment of national nature programs that create dialogue, and inspire action about the preservation and sustainability of the natural environment and our interdependence with Nature.

For more information, visit www.batemancentre.org.

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Mel Cooper Receives United Way Honorary Life Membership

Jun 24, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Longstanding advocate of giving where you’re living, local businessman Mel Cooper received United Way’s Honorary Life Membership at their Annual General Meeting this morning for his part in making life better for Greater Victoria’s more vulnerable citizens over the past 40 years.

His contributions to local, regional and national charities, non-profit boards, foundations and community groups are legend. A generous donor himself, Mel also helped yield significant giving increases while serving on United Way’s Campaign Cabinet from 2002 to 2006 and as chair in 2005.

Motivated by the principle where “setting a good example is more important than giving good advice,” Mel believes a richer life can be had when you give more than you take. At 81, his boundless energy, charm, and business savvy give evidence he’s living proof.

Mel will tell you that raising countless millions to improve the lives of many is hard work. When asked how he became such a master marketer, he laughs and says, “It’s just the way my Newfie mind works. I can see past the middle to the end point.”

Proud of his east coast heritage and still partial to living in places with big ocean views, Mel and his family came west in 1945. He pursued a career in broadcasting, rose quickly to lead Western Broadcasting in Vancouver (he was named a Sales Manager at 22), Mel then came to Victoria in 1974 when he purchased CFAX.

Drawn to Vancouver Island long prior, Mel admits, “I always felt there was something special about this place and I felt touched by this city.” Victoria has enjoyed unprecedented benefits as a result.

His decades-long volunteer work has brought too many awards and accomplishments to count (see career highlights in backgrounder, attached). Today, Mel focuses on non-profit board development, mentoring youth, and serving as Chair of the Telus Victoria Community Board.

A career in broadcasting lends Mel a deeper perspective on social matters and the kind of community action that fosters positive change. “Working with kids, enabling schools and universities; I try to focus on helping the good people in our city who are putting everything they’ve got into serving children and youth.”

“Working with United Way allows us to do that and so much more,” he explains. “They cast a wider net of support for our community, targeting the needs that are greatest.” In a word, Mel says, it’s the “we” not the “me” factor that makes all the difference. “We can do more together than we ever can alone.”

“United Way’s Honorary Life Membership recognizes volunteers who have made a significant contribution to furthering the organization’s mission and vision and highlights their outstanding dedication in resolving critical human and social issues in the community,” says Peter Lockie. “Mel’s exemplary record speaks for itself – he has been a long-time community leader and a strong supporter of the United Way. Our Board of Directors is honoured to recognize his achievements through this membership.”

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Vancouver Island Venture Capital Fund Launches

Jun 24, 2014

(News Release) NANAIMO – Launched today, the Vancouver Island Venture Acceleration Fund (“VIVA”) is the first dedicated investment fund targeting early-stage, high-growth technology companies on Vancouver Island. Providing more than just money, VIVA brings connections, knowledge and mentoring to bold early-stage entrepreneurs with game-changing ideas.

“The mission of VIVA is to be a catalyst in helping build the Island’s economy into a thriving center of technology and entrepreneurship – enabling companies to innovate, grow and succeed on the Island,” said Allan Wiekenkamp, Board Director of VIVA.

Business start-up and expansion is one of the keys to economic development at the local level. Most entrepreneurs agree that raising capital is the primary obstacle hindering their growth. On Vancouver Island, few venture or angel sources are making investments in early stage technology companies. Recognizing this challenge, VIVA was created for individual investors who are keen to see the Island’s knowledge-based economy prosper.

“The VIVA Fund has the potential to make a huge difference for Island technology companies,” said Sasha Angus, CEO of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation. “We are very pleased that they have chosen Nanaimo as their headquarters for this new venture.”

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Happy Hours and Minimum Pricing Take Effect in B.C.

Jun 20, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA - B.C. officially opened the door to happy hours and implemented minimum drink pricing today, offering flexibility for businesses and their customers while preserving health and public safety.

Consistent with the views heard from both industry and health advocates during the Liquor Policy Review, B.C.’s minimum drink prices are in place to encourage responsible consumption and are based on ounces of alcohol sold at licensed establishments. The minimum price an establishment can charge is $3 for a drink - which, for example, would buy a single ounce cocktail, a five ounce glass of wine or 12 ounce sleeve of beer or cider.

Check out this infographic for detailed information on B.C.’s new minimum drink prices: https://flic.kr/p/o2NVEq

Allowing licensees, such as pubs, restaurants and lounges, to alter their liquor prices throughout the course of the day is a pocket-book friendly change for British Columbians that will help the industry attract customers at times when business may typically be slow.

Additional changes stemming from the Liquor Policy Review also came into effect today - cutting red tape and simplifying liquor licensing rules.

Food-primary establishments must continue to offer a full menu, but if patrons simply wish to order drinks they are not obligated to order food as well. Also, customers can now move freely with their beverage from one adjoining licensed area to another, such as from a pub to an adjoining restaurant - a common-sense change from the previous rules, which required staff to carry customers’ drinks for them.

Licensees may now transfer small amounts of liquor between similar types of establishments. For instance, if a pub is experiencing a shortage of a specific liquor product, a nearby restaurant can transfer liquor to it, or a liquor store can transfer alcohol to another store with the same kind of liquor licence.

Hosts of family Special Occasion Licence (SOL) events may now serve homemade and UBrew/UVin beer, wine or cider - offering further flexibility for consumers. Also, owners of UBrews and UVins, as well as their family members, are now permitted to own other liquor-related establishments - an out-of-date rule that has been updated under modernized liquor policies.

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Manning Centre Partners with Chamber to Support Local Politics

Jun 20, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – The Manning Centre with support from the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce will provide comprehensive training for prospective local political leaders. The two day session will take place July 19th and 20th to promote good governance through increased accessibility.

“Our community must become more involved in local politics. We hope this session will help to raise awareness of the critical role local government plays in our day-to-day lives,” said Frank Bourree, Chamber Chair. “We hope to stimulate debate, inspire candidates and develop tomorrow’s leaders.”

The Manning Centre’s Municipal Government Project seeks to improve local government by providing both research and training. Anyone is welcome to the sessions—Chamber member or not.

"To become a barista at Starbucks you must take twenty to thirty hours of training. But you can become a lawmaker in our parliament or legislatures or municipal councils without one hour of training in law making. This situation is not in the public interest," says former Member of Parliament Preston Manning, who is the Founder and President of the Manning Centre.

The Chamber is subsidizing over half of the costs of campaign training as part of its Our Vibrant Community Committee’s mandate to promote good governance in the region in view of the upcoming municipal elections.

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Peter Ciceri to Take the Helm as Oak Bay Marine Group CEO

Jun 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Victoria based international businessman Peter Ciceri will be stepping into some legendary shoes in July, as he takes over the Oak Bay Marine Group of Companies as Chief Executive Officer.

Robert H. (Bob) Wright started the company in 1962 with the Oak Bay Marina and was a true west coast entrepreneur, eventually operating a diverse array of businesses in three countries. Wright was known to be singularly focused on his business empire until his death in April of last year.

After many years as a successful CEO, Corporate Director, and International Executive, Peter currently has a successful private practice as an Executive Coach and Corporate Director, helping CEOs build value through effective leadership and management practices.

Prior to his private practice, Peter was CEO of Custom House in Victoria for four years and left in 2011. As CEO, Peter played a leadership role in the company's acquisition by Western Union for $370M USD.

As an authority in international business, Peter has worked in over thirty countries, including over ten years living in Hong Kong & Tokyo in executive sales and marketing positions.

‘Peter brings a wealth of experience to the table and we are delighted to have him aboard” says Director Sharon Halkett.  “As we continue to build upon Bob Wright’s legacy, Peter’s guidance will be a tremendous asset to the management team.”

Ciceri has been recognized by the Financial Post's Report on Business as one of Canada's

top 100 Business Elite, and also named "Alumni of the Year for Business Achievement" in 2000 by the University of Victoria.

The Oak Bay Marine Group employs approximately 600 people and operates world class resorts, marinas, and tourist attractions in Canada, the United States, and the Bahamas.

Their oceanfront properties offer first class hospitality and a wide range of marine based activities including fishing, whale watching, and eco tours and they play host to numerous corporate groups and destination weddings each year. Many years ago their Founder, Bob Wright, recognized that he built his business on the water and he wanted to ensure that the oceans were protected for the enjoyment of many generations to come.  In 2011, the company donated 11 million dollars to the University of Victoria’s Oceans Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Program. (www.obmg.com)

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