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Seaspan Signs MOAs with the Guild and ILWU, Strike Averted

Jun 16, 2014

(News Release) NORTH VANCOUVER — Jonathan Whitworth, Seaspan CEO, announced today that it has signed agreements with both the Canadian Merchant Service Guild (the Guild) and International Longshore Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 400 to enter into binding arbitration/mediation.

Following extensive discussions with the Honourable Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Status of Women, Seaspan and both unions have agreed to allow the Federal Government to appoint an arbitrator who will run the process and be responsible for setting the terms of reference. Once the arbitration is complete, the outcome is binding and cannot be challenged by Seaspan or its unions.

As part of the agreement, Seaspan has agreed to forgo the new contract terms the company planned to implement on June 9, and both unions have agreed not to strike.

“I am very pleased with this outcome,” said Jonathan. “With the help of Minister Kellie Leitch, both Unions and Seaspan have agreed that stability in the Asia-Pacific Gateway is of the upmost importance and is critical to the success of the Port of Vancouver and the Canadian economy.  We look forward to working with both unions and the government appointed arbitrator to bring the contract negotiations to a close as quickly as possible.”

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Local Law Firm Announces Exclusive New Financial Oversight Program

Jun 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Lisa Collins Law Corporation, a local boutique law firm, announced today that it is launching an exclusive new financial oversight program, aimed at providing comprehensive and personalized financial oversight services.

This program is unique in that it combines high-level strategic oversight with detailed bookkeeping and recordkeeping services. It is aimed at high net-worth business individuals and families who are looking to free up their time and gain a better handle on their complex financial affairs. It is also ideal for older individuals who may not have the capacity or inclination to look after their personal financial management, and who may be susceptible to fraud or elder abuse.

As part of the program, Lisa Collins and her experienced team work one-on-one with the client’s other professionals (such as accountants, financial advisors and lawyers) to identify opportunities to preserve their wealth more efficiently, and match personalized bookkeeping services with the client’s long term goals. The service also includes regular reporting and family meetings, to provide transparent communication and comprehensive guidance.

“We believe strongly in supporting not only successful business families who want to free up their time, but also older individuals who may be susceptible to elder abuse or fraud”, said Lisa Collins, Principal. “We are excited to use the PrimeAssure program to provide trusted guidance, financial security, and peace-of-mind to valued clients across Vancouver Island”.

For more information about the PrimeAssure program, please visit www.PrimeAssure.ca.

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Craigdarroch Castle Hires New Agencies, Gets New Look

Jun 13, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Victoria’s Craigdarroch Castle has retained Trapeze Communications as their advertising agency of record and Good Relations Inc. as their public relations agency of record. Both Victoria based agencies; Trapeze Communications and Good Relations Inc. are known for their work in the cultural and tourism sectors and have worked successfully together on behalf of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria amongst others.

“We are delighted to have found in Trapeze Communications and Good Relations Inc. partners who share our dedication to Craigdarroch Castle,” said Executive Director of Craigdarroch Castle, John Hughes. “Both agencies also share our passion for the development of culture and the growth of tourism in Victoria.”

Earlier this month, Craigdarroch Castle unveiled their new brand, developed by Trapeze Communications with the launch of a new logo and website.  The renowned stained and leaded glass found at the Castle is celebrated in the new logo and website design. A national historic site, Craigdarroch Castle’s stained glass collection is believed to be one of the most exquisite in North America.

The new look Craigdarroch Castle website can be found at:  www.thecastle.ca

Further information regarding Trapeze Communications can be found at www.trapeze.ca and Good Relations Inc. at www.goodrelations.ca

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The Robert Bateman Centre & Summerhill Pyramid Winery Unveil New Bateman Artist’s Series Wines

Jun 13, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Robert Bateman and The Fairmont Empress are partnering to raise funds for the Robert Bateman Centre’s new nature education program targeted at grade 3 - 8 students in British Columbia.

On Friday, July 11, 2014, 75 guests will gather in the Palm Court to be the first to experience the new Robert Bateman Artist’s Series wines from Kelowna’s Summerhill Pyramid Winery. The ‘Grasslands’ collection includes three 100 per cent organic red wines, lovingly crafted by internationally acclaimed Winemaker & Viticulturist Eric von Krosigk. The series includes a 2010 single vineyard Cabernet Franc, a 2010 Merlot and a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon / Syrah blend. Each wine has been aged in French and American oak and are unfined and unfiltered, preserving their full aromatic and flavour potential. They are age worthy, or can be enjoyed today.

For just $150 per person, guests will be enjoy the wines as part of a five-course dinner created by The Fairmont Empress’ Executive Chef Morgan Wilson and led by Summerhill’s CEO Ezra Cipes and Proprietor Stephen Cipes, who is also on the  Bateman Foundation’s board of directors.  Ensuring the bottles are as valuable as the wine that is poured, each bottle boasts a high-resolution reproduction of an original painting by Robert Bateman, who will also be speaking during the dinner. The Cipes family has also promised to bring extra wine to the event so that guests may purchase bottles and have the labels signed by Robert Bateman, to add to their own wine collection. Following the launch, the wines will be available for purchase with free case lot delivery anywhere in Canada and the USA (plus shipping charges) by contacting the winery toll-free at 1-800-667-3538 or by visiting www.summerhill.bc.ca.

“For more than 60 years, Robert has touched our hearts with his genius portrayal of nature and its wild creatures and now, we are so deeply honoured to have him represent the essence of pure nature in the organic, biodynamic, permaculture-produced Bateman Series Wines by Summerhill Pyramid Winery,” says Stephen Cipes, proprietor, Summerhill Pyramid Winery. “This is a true triumph as in his wisdom; he unites us all in our quest to be stewards of our precious planet.”

“Summerhill’s tag line is “celebrate nature’s perfection”, and we like to think that with every painting of Robert’s we are reminding people to celebrate and protect the magic of nature, every day,” says Paul Gilbert, executive director of the Bateman Foundation. “Now people who enjoy Summerhill wines can also learn more about the Bateman Foundation’s mission to bring nature back to the centre of life, and know they are also helping to put more nature into education.”

A portion of the funds from the dinner will go towards the creation of a comprehensive school program at the Robert Bateman Centre that will launch this September. Using the extraordinary collection of artwork by Robert Bateman, learners will deepen their understanding and appreciation of our natural world, while developing their visual literacy skills.

Space is limited. To reserve your tickets contact The Fairmont Empress at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 250-389-2727.

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Tourism Victoria Looks to the Future with Greater Emphasis on Core Areas

Jun 13, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Tourism Victoria announces a restructure today that puts a greater emphasis on the business’ core areas including sales and marketing, business development, member services and visitor services.

This restructure sees five positions impacted, three positions reframed and one new position created. Through this restructure, Tourism Victoria is prioritizing core functional areas to further solidify its position as a lean and skilled sales and marketing organization. A greater emphasis will also be placed on content and social media marketing, as well as deeper engagement with the Greater Victoria community.

“Tourism Victoria is first and foremost a sales and marketing organization and all business decisions must keep this filter in mind,” said Paul Nursey, President & CEO. “We are focused on generating demand for this destination. Our membership is growing and the tourism-related business community is responding well to what we offer.”

Tourism Victoria is often awarded for its dynamic, unique and stand-out marketing communications style. While destination marketing has a proven return on investment, Tourism Victoria has an exponentially smaller budget than competitors of similar size. By reducing overhead, the organization will be able to put a greater emphasis on revenue generation, both directly and indirectly, and more investment into sales and marketing.

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Barb’s Fish And Chips Celebrates 30 Years At Fisherman’s Wharf

Jun 11, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Thirty years ago, a lady named Barb started serving fish and chips on the dock at Fisherman’s Wharf. She had a 100 pound bag of potatoes, and ran out before the end of the day because they were so popular! Ever since, Barb’s has been drawing people to the waterfront and has become a Victoria institution.

Join us to celebrate Barb’s 30 historic years in the harbour! On June 12, Barb’s will be offering free soft drinks with your meal throughout the day and 2 for 1 - one piece Cod Fish and Chips from 3 - 5 pm. The company mascot ‘Chip’ will be at Fisherman’s Wharf to greet you!

“Barb’s is not just a fun place to eat a great meal, it is a fun work environment that the managers, staff and I strive to create. We take pride in doing our utmost to make sure our customers have a great experience too,” said owner Ian Poyntz.

“Barb’s is the kind of business we love to see at GVHA properties,” said Sonterra Ross, Chief Operating Officer for Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. “Fisherman’s Wharf has many flavours, but fish and chips were and remain the original treat that bring people down to the docks each summer. Barb’s is an anchor of the busy central plaza at Fisherman’s Wharf. I congratulate them on many years of great service, and wish them every success in future.”

Can’t be there but want to tell us what Barb’s means to you? Please share your story with us on social media using #iheartbarbs! Your story will be shared on the Fisherman’s Wharf website.

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Prodigy Group Amazing Chase this Friday June 13th in Downtown Victoria

Jun 11, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — The Prodigy Group is hosting the 6th annual Amazing Chase, presented by Island Savings, on Friday June 13th in downtown Victoria. The Amazing Chase is an urban adventure race that combines an adrenaline-pumping race with networking and team building, all in support of Junior Achievement. Teams of four will race around downtown Victoria completing mental and physical challenges located at downtown businesses and other public locations. Funds raised from the Amazing Chase go directly to the Prodigy Group’s charity partner, Junior Achievement of British Columbia.

When & Where: Friday, June 13, 2014, 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Location: Team check-in and start of the Amazing Chase takes place beside the Flying Otter Grill in the Wharf Street parking lot by Harbour Air. Once started, teams will be completing challenges at various locations in the downtown core. Boundaries are: Pandora St. (North), Belleville St. (South), Blanshard St. (East), Wharf St. (West).

Who: Prodigy Group and Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce members and guests will be participating at various levels. Spectators are welcome and can watch from the event information area at the Wharf Street parking lot by Harbour Air at 6:30pm to see the start. Maps will be available should spectators wish to follow the racers and/or tour the Amazing Chase course.

About the Prodigy Group: The Prodigy Group is a diverse network of emerging professionals who reside in the Greater Victoria Area. Through ties to the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and other business and community organizations, the Prodigy Group provides our members the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and to effect positive change in Greater Victoria.

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Royal Roads University celebrates National Aboriginal Day

Jun 11, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – An art show, a medicine plant walk and canoe trips are among the activities taking place at Royal Roads University’s National Aboriginal Celebration on June 20.

Everyone is invited to paddle in the Power to Be’s Voyager canoe, or to learn about medicine plants on a walk guided by Ken Elliott, Cowichan Tribes native plant nursery operator. Artwork by middle and high school students across School District 62 will be on display, and visitors can enjoy singing, drumming and refreshments.

Members of the Royal Roads University Elder’s Circle representing the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) Band, Lkwungen (Songhees) Band, Scia’new (Beecher Bay) Band, T’Sou-ke (Sooke) Band, Tsawaout Band, and the Métis Nation will be in attendance.

This year’s celebration will be held at  Sneq’wa e’lun (the Blue Heron House) located on the shore of Esquimalt Lagoon. Established in June2013, Sneq’wa e’lun is a home away from home for Indigenous students, faculty and staff and supports continuing studies programs for indigenous and Métis students and community member and Royal Roads’ faculty and student research related to indigenous and Métis culture and history.

National Aboriginal Day (June 21) celebrates the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada and is observed in festivals and events across the country.

This event is free and open to everyone.

What:                   Royal Roads University National Aboriginal Day Celebration
Date:                    Friday, June 20, 2014
Time:                    10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location:             Sneq’wa e’lun (Blue Heron House) on Esquimalt Lagoon at Royal Roads University
Parking:               Pay parking is available in Lot #3.

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Clipper Lease Extension Supports Economy

Jun 05, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Families, residents, tourists, and the local economy will continue to benefit from passenger ferry service between Victoria and Seattle (Clipper Ferry) as a result of a lease extension.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Clipper Navigation Ltd. have signed a three-year lease extension until 2017. This follows a separate three-year lease extension between the ministry and Black Ball Ferry Line (MV Coho), the Victoria-to-Port Angeles ferry provider.

The lease extensions will give the ministry time to develop a long-term improvement plan for the Belleville Ferry Terminal wharves and properties.

On April 1, 2014, the ministry took responsibility of the Belleville Ferry Terminal properties and lease agreements, as part of the dissolution of the Provincial Capital Commission. This will ensure the Government of B.C. can continue to provide the best-possible use of these resources while respecting the interests of taxpayers.

The Belleville Ferry Terminal Properties, as well as the operations of the Black Ball and Clipper ferries, will be considered in the Vancouver Island Transportation Strategy. The Vancouver Island Transportation Strategy also will be part of the provincewide 10-year transportation plan, which will outline the government’s vision and priorities for the next decade.

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Totangi Properties Ranked Number One Canadian Home Builder for Customer Satisfaction

Jun 05, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Victoria-based real estate development company Totangi Properties has taken top prize nationally in the custom builder – small volume category for customer satisfaction in the building industry for their homes at Woodland Creek in Sooke. Regarded as a benchmark of customer service performance, the Avid Awards are given out throughout North America to builders who have set the highest standards for home quality and customer service. This is the first time a Vancouver Island company has received this prestigious recognition.

“We are excited and honoured to receive this recognition from Avid,” said Blair Robertson, co-owner of Totangi Properties Ltd. “It’s a validation of the great work that our skilled building and sales team provides and of the positive lasting relationships we are able to build with our customers.”

In North America, Avid Ratings has long been at the forefront of the industry in bringing transparency of builder performance to consumers since 1992. Purchasers of homes at Woodland Creek are given a voluntary independent survey 30 days after move-in and again one year later. The surveys tracked their satisfaction with their homes and experience of working with the builder.

“Totangi has been phenomenal for their customer service and as home builders,” said Kala Souter, homeowner at Woodland Creek. “The surveys gave us the opportunity to give our feedback, which in our case was very positive – in fact we even recommended Totangi to our friends who are building a house.”

Through the Avid Award system, each home buyer survey in the database is analyzed to determine each builder's Avid Index Score which is a combination of the total home buying experience, the willingness to refer and the actual number of recommendations a buyer has made. Builders with the highest Avid Index Score in each category are presented with awards.

“This award is an honour because it means we are doing the most important part of our job well – satisfying our customers,” said Steve Smith, SC Smith Building Company, the builder at Woodland Creek. “We take great pride in the homes we build and it is nice to know we are doing a good job of listening to our homeowners.”

Totangi Properties established the residential neighbourhood of Woodland Creek in 2004. The community now has more than 100 new homes and townhomes built and occupied. In addition to the recent Avid Award, Woodland Creek has won multiple awards including at CARE Award in 2013 for best new subdivision. Homes at Woodland Creek include the Built Green designation and the latest in geothermal heating and cooling.

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Oak Bay Village Night Markets Return

Jun 05, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — The Oak Bay Village Night Markets are returning for a sixth season on June 11. In response to the demand for an earlier start to the market season, the markets have moved to the second Wednesday of June, July, August and September. The Oak Bay Village Night Market features over 100 vendors with a variety of offerings ranging from cards, wood turnings and glass arts to preserves, baked goods and farm produce.

“We have an even greater range of artisans and craftspeople participating in the Oak Bay Village Night Market this year. It’s an amazing range of talented people” says Elizabeth Smith, President, Oak Bay Business Improvement Association. “Many of our favourite vendors are back with a number of new ones who I believe will be very popular.”

The market operates from 4 to 8 pm on Oak Bay Avenue between Monterey and Wilmot Street. Oak Bay Village businesses will also be holding tastings, special events, sales and in-store demonstrations. An increased number of street food vendors will also be set up through the market.

Live music will be performed by Kafoozalum from 4 – 6 pm and Dave Lang & The Twin Otters from 6 to 8 pm. The Victoria Shakespeare Society will also perform a selection of scenes from their summer shows.

Future Night Markets will be held July 9, August 13 and September 10, rain or shine.

Updates are posted at www.visitoakbayvillage.ca

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Global health leader honoured and new chancellor installed at spring convocation

Jun 05, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Royal Roads University (RRU) graduates will share the stage with one of the world’s leading scholars and scientists in global health, and the university’s fifth chancellor will be installed during spring convocation ceremonies at the Royal Theatre on June 18.

Celebrated physician, researcher, and global health and human rights leader James Orbinski will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his contribution to humanitarianism and medical science.

Orbinski accepted the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for its pioneering approach to medical humanitarianism in 1999. He served as president of MSF from 1998 to 2001, and received Canada’s highest civilian award, the Meritorious Service Cross, for his leadership in MSF’s mission in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. His many honours include membership in the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.

“We are honoured to be able to recognize someone who applies his talents and skills as a physician to those who are most in need,” said Royal Roads president and vice-chancellor Allan Cahoon. “His service and compassion inspire us and our graduates as we continue to build a legacy of learning and leadership at Royal Roads.”

Prominent Victoria businessman and Royal Roads Board of Governors Chair Wayne Strandlund will be installed as chancellor at the start of the morning ceremony.

“Wayne is a successful local entrepreneur with a strong commitment to this community and someone who is passionate about Royal Roads University and his role as our fifth chancellor,” Cahoon said.

Strandlund is the founder and CEO of Fisgard Capital Corporation, a Victoria-based, family-run mortgage investment company he started in 1994. A director of the Real Estate Compensation Fund Corporation and a member of the Victoria Symphony Business Advisory Council, he has served as president of the Victoria Real Estate Board and the British Columbia Real Estate Association. Strandlund was appointed to the RRU board by the B.C. government in July 2011.

This spring’s convocation ceremonies recognize the achievements of more than 760 students who have earned degrees, certificates or diplomas in the Faculty of Management or in the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences.

In a milestone event for the university, the first graduates of the Doctor of Social Sciences (DSocSci) program will be conferred degrees at this convocation. Royal Roads’ applied research doctoral program is the first of its kind in Canada.

The public is invited to nominate outstanding individuals for honorary degrees. Learn more at http://www.royalroads.ca/news-events/convocation.

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Seaspan Signs MOA with Canadian Merchant Service Guild, Agrees to Federal Mediation/Arbitration

Jun 04, 2014

(News Release) VANCOUVER – Following extensive discussions with the Honourable Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, Seaspan announced this afternoon it has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Canadian Merchant Service Guild (the Guild), agreeing to enter Federal mediation/arbitration.

This announcement comes after more than eight months of collective agreement negotiations between Seaspan and the Guild, which began on October 21, 2013.

As part of the agreement, Seaspan will also defer implementation of its new collective agreement, which was scheduled to take effect on Monday, June 9. In addition, the Guild, whose members will be meeting tomorrow to discuss a strike vote, have agreed not to go on strike.

In the meantime, Minister Leitch remains thoroughly engaged in discussions with Seaspan’s other marine union, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), and we expect talks to continue throughout the remainder of her visit.

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