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Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyards Celebrates 20 Proud Years Building B.C.’s Ship Repair Industry

Apr 28, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Today, Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyards Co. Ltd. (VSL), the West Coast’s leading ship building and ship repair businesses officially commemorated its 20th anniversary of operations at the Esquimalt Graving Dock (EGD) with an all-employee celebration.

“Twenty years not only marks a significant milestone for the Company, but is an incredible accomplishment for our world-class workers, who have been the driving force behind our growth,” said Malcolm Barker, Vice-President and General Manager, Victoria Shipyards. “Today’s announcement is more than a celebration, it is a success story. Just two decades ago, the business began with one 20-foot container; now we are one of Greater Victoria’s largest companies, one of its proudest community partners, and have built a track record of delivering industry-leading innovation and expertise.”

Originally founded in 1994, VSL has steadily developed a culture of safety, care and efficiency, while rapidly expanding its business to capture a wide-ranging and complex global customer-base which includes; ferries, cruise ships, cargo ships, deep sea fishing vessels, frigates and submarines.

Operating from the Government of Canada-owned EGD, the largest solid-bottom commercial drydock on the West Coast of the Americas, VSL has built and delivered two highly successful classes of Federal vessels: thirty 47-foot patrol boats for the Canadian Coast Guard and eight Orca Class Patrol Boats for the Royal Canadian Navy.

VSL currently employs more than 850 people, including a skilled workforce that is forecast to grow to 1000 tradespeople in 2014. In addition to investing in equipment, people and processes for the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS), creating jobs for Canadians through work with the Frigate Life Extension (FELEX) program and Victoria In-Service Support Contract (VISSC) programs, VSL has an extensive apprenticeship training program underway and has created numerous partnerships with Vancouver Island-based educational institutions.

“The ship building and ship repair business has dramatically changed over the past 20 years, but despite a substantial increase in global growth and market competition, the transformation of Victoria Shipyards has been profound and we have continually adapted,” said Malcolm.
“Our Core Values have remained at the heart of everything we’ve done for our employees, communities and the environment around us, and I couldn’t be prouder of the role we’ve played as a pioneer in the resurrection of this essential B.C. industry.”

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Awarding Business Excellence

Apr 25, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA  – The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce celebrated local business excellence during the Greater Victoria Business Awards this evening at The Fairmont Empress. Awards were presented in 14 categories including Lifetime Achievement Award winner Bob Skene.

“We had an amazing turnout this evening celebrating the hard work and determination of so many successful businesses in Greater Victoria. Recognizing businesses for their success in leadership, innovation, and customer service allows everyone in our community to celebrate what makes our community so great,” said Frank Bourree, Chair of The Chamber. “These awards could not exist without the local business community’s continued support. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners.”

The 2014 award winners are:

Business Leadership; sponsored by Coast Capital Savings

Chard Development

Runner-up: Lifetime Networks

New Business; sponsored by Peninsula Co-Op

PBX Engineering Ltd.

Runner-up: Innovative Fitness Victoria

Business of the Year (1-10 Employees); sponsored by Greater Victoria Development Agency

Atomique Productions Ltd.

Runner-up: Cedarwood Productions Inc.

Business of the Year (11-25 Employees); sponsored by Farmer Construction Ltd.

National Courier Service Ltd.

Runner-up: Triangle RV Centre Ltd.

Business of the Year (26-75 Employees); sponsored by Grant Thornton LLP

Spinnakers Brewpub & Guesthouses

Runner-up: Outset Media Corp

Business of the Year (76+ Employees); sponsored by Capital Magazine – Presented by the Times Colonist

Wilson’s Transportation Ltd.

Runner-up: Epicure

Employer of the Year; sponsored by Air Canada

Accent Inns

Runner-up: Seaspan Victoria Shipyards

Innovation; sponsored by University of Victoria, Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

AOE Accumulated Ocean Energy Inc.

Runner-up: BC Cancer Agency – Vancouver Island

Outstanding Customer Service; sponsored by The Chamber

Balance Home Cleaning

Runner-up: ICE – Island Centre of Hockey Excellence

Sustainable Business Practices; sponsored by FortisBC

Big Wheel Burger

Runner-up: Oughtred Coffee & Tea Ltd.

Business Person of the Year; sponsored by United Way of Greater Victoria

Sybil Verch, The Verch Group at Raymond James

Runner-up: Dan Dagg, Hot House Marketing

Young Entrepreneur of the Year; sponsored by Royal Roads University

Janna Malo, Fired Up! Paint Your Own Ceramics Studio

Runner-up: Andrew Higginson, Higginson Consulting

Employee of the Year; sponsored by CHEK News

Paul Rudd, Adrena LINE Zipline Adventure Tours

Runner-up: Chris Loran, The Q! and The Zone

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2014 Care Awards “Call For Entry” Announced

Apr 22, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – The Victoria Home Builders Association announces the Call for Entry for the 2014 Construction Achievements and Renovations of Excellence (CARE) Awards of Vancouver Island.

“The CARE Awards is Canada’s premier event celebrating the finest in sustainable West Coast design and construction,” says Wilf Gorter, Chair of the 2014 CARE Awards. “We invite the public to join in the celebrations by voting for their favourite project in the People’s Choice Award contest this summer.”
The entry deadline for the 2014 CARE Awards is Monday, June 9, 4:00 pm, when all projects must be received at the VHBA office, #1-3690 Carey Rd, Victoria. The CARE Awards entry forms and criteria are online at www.vhba.ca. All entrants must be members of the Victoria Home Builders Association, a registered non-profit organization promoting education and training, professionalism, consumer awareness, and housing affordability.

The Gold winners will be announced at the CARE Awards gala on Friday, September 26 at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Prior to the event, the public are asked to select the winner of the annual
People’s Choice Award from among the CARE Awards finalists. Project photos will be displayed at shopping centres and www.careawards.ca. Voters are entered to win a stay at Long Beach Lodge Resort, www.longbeachlodgeresort.com, 2002 CARE Awards Project of the Year.

The CARE Awards finalists are selected by a panel of industry professionals using criteria such as architectural design, quality workmanship, creative use of space, and energy efficiency. The categories are Residential Planning Design & Construction; Interior Design; Commercial Planning & Design; Customer Service; Sales & Marketing; Special Achievement; and Special Interest.
“The CARE Awards has represented leadership in West Coast design and construction for more than two decades,” says Casey Edge, Executive Director, VHBA. “We look forward to this year’s entries continuing to raise the bar in design, construction, and sustainability.”

For more information, visit www.vhba.ca or contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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ViSTA Collects More Than 21,000 Pieces of Garbage in One Hour Throughout Victoria

Apr 22, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – The city’s streets, parks, and waterfront are cleaner than usual this Earth Day, thanks to the efforts of the Victoria Sustainable Tourism Alliance (ViSTA), who in the period of one hour collected more than 21,000 pieces of garbage.

In addition to the collection of garbage, the group partnered with the City of Victoria Parks & Recreation department and UsedEverywhere.com to leave behind Nature Reboot Kits, comprised of a flower pot with native plants and some ‘planted’ bonuses provided by each team, sprouting from the pot. ViSTA will be sharing the location of each Nature Reboot Kit via social media, using the hashtag #CleanUpYYJ and on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ViSTAvictoria).

Inn at Laurel Point, the winners of the competition (the top team to pick up the most garbage in a one-hour window), were awarded the coveted ‘Golden Garbage Award’ presented by Mayor Fortin. All refuse and recyclables collected during the challenge will be responsibly recycled and disposed of by Ellice Recycle Ltd. using separate bins for garbage, mixed fibres (paper/cardboard) and mixed containers (tin/plastic).

“We’re always thrilled to see our tourism community come together to help make Victoria an even more beautiful city,” says Avril Matthews, ViSTA partner and director of sales and marketing for Inn at Laurel Point. “The majority of the garbage in our city is so small that it is often hard to find, but every effort helps to ensure that our city remains one of the most beautiful spaces in Canada – especially on Earth Day!”

While not required, the majority of teams dressed up, ranging from corporate wear to themed-costumes. For the past three years, Eagle Wing Tours adopted a Neptune and mermaid theme, bringing attention to their task of cleaning up the beach along Dallas Road.

Earth Day is the world’s largest and most celebrated environmental event. Each year, more than six million Canadians join 1 billion people in more than 170 countries in staging events and projects that address local environmental issues. Earth Day was first launched in 1970 in the United States as an environmental awareness event (the first International Earth Day was celebrated in 1990). In Canada, Earth Day has grown into Earth Week and even Earth Month to accommodate the influx of environmental-related events and projects.

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B.C. Gets a Taste of Aboriginal Social Enterprise

Apr 22, 2014

(News Release) COURTENAY — B.C.’s first Aboriginal Social Enterprise Day was celebrated today with the unveiling of a symbolic logo designed by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Andy Everson, grandson of the late Kómoks First Nation Hereditary Chief Andy Frank.

Everson joined Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Don McRae at Wachiay Friendship Centre where they celebrated with Wachiay board members, elders, youth, staff, Comox Valley Art Gallery and community supporters.

Wachiay profiled several social enterprise businesses including AQ’SAAK Aboriginal Food Products Ltd. AQ’SAAK means respect for nature and is a specialty food producer of Aboriginal themed teas, chocolates and other fine products.

Cheryl Simon, a Kwakwaka’wakw business woman and traditional herbs practitioner, explained the traditional uses, history and significance behind the ingredients used in AQ’SAAK specialty products, referred to as Edible Aboriginal Legends in their literature.

The celebration of Aboriginal social enterprises also included the Gwa’wina (Raven) screen printing co-op whose young entrepreneurs practised their skills by printing the new Aboriginal Social Enterprise Day logo onto T-shirts.

Proclaiming April 22, 2014, as Aboriginal Social Enterprise Day recognizes the growth of social enterprise and the entrepreneurial legacy of Aboriginal people in B.C.

The government of B.C. has also proclaimed April 2014 as Social Enterprise Month to celebrate the expanding social enterprise sector and recognize its contribution to the strength and resiliency of B.C. communities.

Social enterprises — a form of social innovation — differ from most traditional businesses in that profits are not just used to ensure financial viability, but are re-invested to achieve, sustain and further a social or environmental purpose.

As an active member of the BC Partners for Social Impact, government works with leaders in the social innovation field to promote and support social innovation and enterprise throughout the province.

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Sooke Meadery Certified to Highest Level of Green Business Practices

Apr 22, 2014

(News Release) SOOKE — Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery is the first business in Sooke to be certified by the Vancouver Island Green Business Certification (VIGBC).
The VIGBC certifies restaurants, retail, and office-based businesses as Silver, Gold and Green, depending on the number of actions they are taking to improve the performance of their operations. The tasting room at Tugwell Creek will be receiving Green Level Certification (the highest level) for their initiatives to reduce waste, water consumption and energy usage. Owners, Bob and Dana are passionate about improving the local environment and go above and beyond to ensure a healthy ecosystem on their property.

"Sustainability at Tugwell Creek Farm and Meadery is fully integrated into the operations, our product and how we do business. This certification gives our customers an understanding of what we do behind the counter to be an environmentally-friendly company," Dana LeComte says.

At Tugwell, sustainability is about more than just LED lights and composting programs – it is about local food security and most importantly the health of bees. Bees are responsible for the pollination of ~30% of the world’s crops and their populations are declining at an alarming rate. Tugwell is participating in a Canada- wide bee-breeding program to raise queen bees that will have resistance to various pests and pathogens effectively reducing the need for pesticides. Traditionally, many pesticides and chemicals are used to control pest and pathogens in beehives.  At Tugwell, pests are controlled in the berry pasture with natural sprays made from Marigolds and Copper.  Fertilization of crops is done with manure from our animals, seaweeds from the ocean, and wood ash.

Made from local honey and berries (within 20km of the farm), the award-winning mead from Tugwell is both sustainable and delicious. Co-owner, Bob Liptrot has been keeping bees for over 43 years and making mead for over 25.

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2014 BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival In The Comox Valley Expands With More Than 18 Events

Apr 22, 2014

(News Release) COMOX – The eighth annual BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival – happening from June 13 to 22, 2014 – is expanding this year with a greater focus on expanding culinary activities, educational events and tours, helping to showcase the importance of the Valley’s role in the shellfish industry in British Columbia.

The festival expansion is driven by Comox Valley Economic Development and Tourism (CVEDS) who has taken on a greater role in supporting the development and marketing of the festival for 2014. Previously, the BC Shellfish Growers Association (BCSGA) was responsible for both coordinating the growers and the creation and management of the event. This year, their partnership with the CVEDS will allow them to focus on engagement with their membership, which has helped to foster new events for the eighth year.

“Having Comox Valley Economic Development & Tourism working to manage the BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival opens up a lot of opportunities for our growers,” says Roberta Stevenson, executive director of the BCSGA. “Bringing different industry groups together like this demonstrates the collaborative attitude that’s found in the Comox Valley. The new format will allow for an expanded events schedule and more exposure for our local products.”

Along with the partnership between the CVEDS and the BC Shellfish Growers Association, the event is assisted by a number of Comox Valley businesses and operators, ranging from growers and harvesters to wineries, restaurants and hotels.

“By helping with the marketing and promotion of the BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival, Comox Valley Economic Development & Tourism is able to work toward the long-term goal of a series of annual events throughout the Valley,” says Bill Anglin, chair of  the Comox Valley Destination Marketing Advisory Committee “By increasing the number of high-quality annual events, such as the BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival and WinterBites, which was held this past January, we’re driving investment to the region through the increase in room nights at our area hotels.”

One of the biggest changes for the 2014 BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival is the move of events including the shucking and chowder competitions, tastings and demonstrations from Marina Park to Filberg Lodge & Park on the afternoon of June 21, 2014. The move is designed to allow for more participants, both local and from out-of-town, to attend the growing annual festival.

Along with these crowd favourites a number of new or expanded events are planned for the 2014, including:

  • June 14: Feast & Fire: a five course, long table seafood dinner at Coastal Black Estate Winery with Chef Andrew Stigant
  • June 14: Under the Sea with Chef Laura Agnew: A seafood and shellfish dinner paired with the award-winning wines of Blue Moon Winery
  • June 14 & 15: BC Family Fishing Weekend at the Courtenay District Fish and Game
  • June 14 & 15: Acrylics Workshop with Esther Sample at the Comox Valley Harbour Authority Office
  • June 15: Celebrate Shellfish of the Comox Valley with Chef Gaetane Palardy. A cooking class and dining experience at Blue Moon Winery
  • June 19: Land to Sea  Tour with Island Gourmet Trails and Comox Harbour Charters
  • June 20: Gone Fishin’ Dinner and Wine pairing at The Westerly Restaurant
  • June 20: BCSGA 8th Annual Chefs’ Gala Dinner at Filberg Lodge & Park
  • June 21: Chef’s Beer Pairing Challenge four course dinner at the Westerly Restaurant
  • June 21: Seafood Feast & Casino Royale evening at Local’s and Old House Village Hotel and Spa

Tickets for the BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival are on sale now through www.discovercomoxvalley.com or by calling 250-890-7561.

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Victoria’s third annual Earth Day Showdown includes “Nature Reboot”

Apr 17, 2014

Victoria’s third annual Earth Day Showdown includes “Nature Reboot”

(News Release) VICTORIA — ViSTA (Victoria Sustainable Tourism Alliance)  founding members Inn at Laurel Point, Harbour Air Seaplanes, and Eagle Wing Tours have submitted a challenge to local Victoria businesses to get involved in the third annual Earth Day Showdown by picking up refuse in their chosen location on Tuesday, April 22.

New for 2014 will be a special gift for Victorians – each clean up team will be leaving behind a Nature Reboot Kit, comprised of a flower pot with plants (provided by the City of Victoria Parks & Recreation department) and some ‘planted’ bonuses provided by each team, sprouting from the pot. Each team will post a photo of the location of their Nature Reboot Kit on the ViSTA Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ViSTAvictoria) to encourage followers to search for their whereabouts.

The winners of the competition (the top team to pick up the most refuse in a one-hour window) will be awarded the coveted ‘Golden Garbage Award’ presented by Mayor Fortin. All refuse and recyclables collected during the challenge will be responsibly recycled and disposed of by Ellice Recycle Ltd. using separate bins for garbage, mixed fibres (paper/cardboard) and mixed containers (tin/plastic).

While not required, the majority of teams dress up, ranging from corporate wear to themed-costumes. For the past two years, Eagle Wing Tours adopted a Neptune and mermaid theme, bringing attention to their task of cleaning up the beach along Dallas Road.

Why: To help raise awareness about Earth Day (Tuesday, April 22, 2014), local businesses are encouraged to sign up for the Earth Day Showdown, helping to keep their neighbourhood clean by picking up refuse over the noon hour.

When: Tuesday, April 22, 2014
10 to 11 a.m. – Nature Reboot Kit assembly and pickup by teams at the Robert Bateman Centre
Noon to 12:59 p.m. – refuse pickup (businesses across Victoria to compete in one-hour challenge)
2 p.m. – awards ceremony (top collector named and given coveted Golden Garbage Award – awarded to Eagle Wing Tours in 2013)

All Nature Reboot Kits will be assembled on site in front of the Robert Bateman Centre from 10 to 11 a.m. Participating businesses select their desired location to pick up refuse, including:

  • Laurel Point Park
  • Dallas Road waterfront (Clover Point to the Breakwater)
  • The beach in front of the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa

Awards ceremony will occur on the front lawn of Inn at Laurel Point

Additional information:

  • To compete in the contest, businesses count the number of pieces collected (for example, one cigarette butt equals one piece).
  • Victoria’s Ellice Recycle will responsibly dispose of all refuse collected during the pickup challenge.
  • Earth Day is the world’s largest and most celebrated environmental event. Each year, more than six million Canadians join 1 billion people in more than 170 countries in staging events and projects that address local environmental issues.
  • Earth Day was first launched in 1970 in the United States as an environmental awareness event (the first International Earth Day was celebrated in 1990). In Canada, Earth Day has grown into Earth Week and even Earth Month to accommodate the influx of environmental-related events and projects.
  • For more information: https://www.facebook.com/ViSTAvictoria
  • Follow #CleanUpYYJ for real-time tweets during the event and awards presentation.


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Kenmore Air Spring Seat Sale Starts Today

Apr 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Kenmore Air, a Seattle-based airline today announced their annual Spring Seat Sale for travel between Vancouver Island and Seattle now through June 16, 2014.

Save $50 $US per person on seaplane flights between Victoria’s Inner Harbour and Seattle’s Lake Union, as well as on wheeled-aircraft flights between Nanaimo Airport (YCD) and Seattle’s Boeing Field.

Kenmore Air also provides convenient ground shuttle transportation between our Lake Union and Boeing Field terminals to Sea-Tac International Airport for connections to all US and International destinations.

The scenic 45-minute seaplane flight from Victoria or the 1-hour flight from Nanaimo Airport is fast, convenient, and stress-free! There are no big airports to get through, there’s no need to show up hours before your flight, and there are no long waits at customs.

Seat Sale tickets available at KenmoreAir.com or by calling toll free 866-435-9524. The last day to purchase Spring Seat Sale tickets is May 12, 2014 and seats are subject to availability.



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BBB Issues Tips on Protecting Yourself from the "Heartbleed" Bug

Apr 16, 2014

(News Release) VANCOUVER ISLAND — Unless you’ve been vacationing on a tropical island for the past few days, you’ve likely heard of the “Heartbleed” bug, a computer security vulnerability that can reveal the contents of a server’s memory and expose private data such as user names, passwords and even credit card information.

The Heartbleed bug exploits a flaw in the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) of popular open source software called OpenSSL. SSL is the standard security technology that establishes an encrypted link between a user’s web browser and the server where a website is hosted. It is used to secure numerous kinds of data transfers, including email, instant messaging, social media, and business transactions. Encryption is essential to Internet security.

The flaw, discovered on April 7 but apparently in existence for two years, means that attackers can copy a server’s digital keys and use them to impersonate servers to decode communications from the past (and, potentially, the future).

The Canada Revenue Agency has become a victim of this bug. 900 Canadian Social Insurance Numbers are known to have been stolen. For details click here.

BBB suggests the following recommendations to protect yourself:

For businesses: BBB recommends that businesses immediately check to see if their website(s) use Open SSL or have been vulnerable. One way to check, recommended by tech/media website CNET, is a tool developed by a cryptography consultant. If vulnerability exists, businesses should work with their IT department or computer professional to install a more secure SSL on their websites.

For systems administrators: Systems administrators should follow the advice of US-CERT, the Computer Emergency Response Team. Although this information comes from the U.S. government, it is applicable to systems in other countries.

For consumers: CNET has also published a list of the top 100 websites, which it is updating regularly as it checks for vulnerabilities and repairs. Consumers can check this list or use the tool mentioned above to see if websites they regularly use are free of problems, or have fixed vulnerabilities.

It’s also imperative that consumers change passwords on all sites, particularly those that retain personal identifying information. Change your password after confirming that the site is not vulnerable or has fixed its SSL.

The “Stop. Think. Connect.” campaign offers the following suggestions to protect your identity:

  • Secure your accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.
  • Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
  • Unique account, unique password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.
  • Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.
  • Own your online presence: When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how and with whom you share information.

BBB also suggests choosing passwords that are phrases (for instance, ilovetofish) and making each letter O into a zero to make the password more complex. Look into password management software to help you keep track of really “long and strong” passwords.

BBB’s servers do not use Open Source SSL. All of its websites have been checked and found to be free of vulnerabilities.


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Mazda Canada donates new minivan to help train Camosun’s Automotive students

Apr 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — George Benda, Service Training Instructor for Mazda Canada, officially handed over the keys of a 2013 Mazda 5 Minivan to Camosun’s Chair of Mechanical and Metal Trades Ray Fischer as a contribution to the college’s Automotive Service Technician program, this month.

The sporty minivan has front-wheel drive and a 2.5 litre, inline 4 cylinder engine. The Mazda 5’s exterior was slightly damaged in transport, but the engine and transmission are in pristine condition. The vehicle retails at approx. $25,000 brand new.

“We thank Mazda Canada for this generous donation,” says Fischer. “Having newer vehicles on site really helps our students to practice their new skills with the knowledge that they can work on the latest in automotive technology. This gives them marketable, practical skills and confidence to be successful out in the industry.”

Forty-six students are currently taking Camosun’s Automotive Service Technician program: 16 second-year apprentices and 30 Foundation-level students. The 30-week long Foundation program gives students the skills to become automotive service technician apprentices. It covers the tools, equipment and techniques required to repair automotive systems like brakes, exhaust, front-ends and more. It also provides students with accreditation toward their first-year of apprenticeship training.

“We can’t run our trades programs without the generosity and support of industry partners like Mazda Canada,” says Fischer. “Our program budgets are extremely limited and there is a high cost to acquiring these vehicles for training purposes. Close partnerships and wonderful donations like these help us provide Camosun students with the best and most up-to-date training in the industry.”

The Camosun College Foundation is currently raising funds and equipment for all of Camosun’s Trades Training programs.

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New Victoria Based Bike Company

Apr 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Locally-based company, Lochside Cycles announced on “date” that it will be launching its trendy brand of vintage and city-inspired bicycles in Victoria and online this spring. Lochside is set to be the first Victoria-based company of its kind to capitalize on the thriving commuter cycle scene, offering a wide range of bikes from fixed and urban to Dutch-style cruisers.

Founders of the company, brothers Brian and Richard Kirk, and their long-time friend, Jeff Zamluk, are hoping to seduce Victorians with their sleek line of simple and stylish rides. But even before diving head first into the complicated process of cycle design, the trio spent many long nights discussing the necessities of urban riding and what they wanted their company to offer consumers.

“We want to get more people on bikes and make riding a painless experience for everyone,” said the company’s youngest proprietor, Richard. “But we also want to design bikes that are stylish…something people are proud to show off, and can get excited about each time they go for a ride.”

It wasn’t long before the boys of Lochside Cycles decided to bring their company to life. Paying homage to the city in which they reside, the threesome resolved to name their project after the picturesque Lochside Regional Trail, a former railway line turned commuter-favourite that stretches all the way from downtown Victoria to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

“We had to give a nod to the beautiful area we live in. The trail is a personal favourite of ours, so it only made sense to personify it by bringing it to the local market…after all, Victoria is the cycling capital of Canada,” said Kirk.

In their first year, the company will be focusing on providing buyers with quality bikes at affordable prices starting in the low $400s that are easy to use, efficient and attractive. The founders hope that the countless hours of meticulous mechanical design and thoughtful styling will afford them a competitive advantage both at home and across Canada. Currently, the company is offering shoppers 8 different models, casting a wide net and appealing to a large assortment of casual and serious riders. And so far, the triad of young entrepreneurs is feeling encouraged by the response they have received from customers and local shops in Victoria and across the province.

“The local interest in our brand, to its name and to the design of our bikes has been truly overwhelming. At the moment we are dealing with local bike shops, but we also want to grow our business on a national stage, while remaining true to our roots and to the whole concept behind our company. We think the future is bright.”

The bikes are currently available for purchase on the company’s website and will soon be available in local storefronts across Victoria the province including North Park Bikes, Fairfield Bikes, the Broken Spoke, and Reckless Bike Stores. For more information about Lochside Cycles, visit their website www.lochsidecycles.com.

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Island Beltone & JC Scott Eco Design Associates Offer Solutions to Those With Hearing Loss

Apr 15, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Restaurants pose unique challenges for those who are hard of hearing, where noise can often result in missed conversations, miscommunication with servers, and a disappointing evening, but designer JC Scott and Island Beltone owner Jeff Germain have a number of solutions to the problem of finding a location that works for enjoying a great meal out.

When choosing a place to eat when you’re hard of hearing, or joining someone who is, a few simple steps will help to ensure that the experience is more enjoyable for all members of the party. Everything from the reservation process to the seating location can help ensure that the conversation surrounding the meal isn’t missed.

If at all possible, it is better to make a reservation in person at the restaurant. This way, you will be able to see the space and determine where the best location to dine within the restaurant would be. Choosing the right space to sit is as easy as requesting to be seated in a booth instead of a table, in a carpeted area instead of a tiled space, and in a lower level of the restaurant should there be multiple floors or levels. In summer months, it is often easier to hear conversation on the patio than inside the restaurant, depending on the ambient street noise. The most important thing to remember is that it will always be louder in a restaurant than at home, but adjusting your hearing aids to match the space is possible.

“One of the most difficult things for anyone who has experienced hearing loss – even those with hearing aids – is to both hear and participate in conversation in a busy restaurant,” says Jeff Germain, owner of Island Beltone. “But, it doesn’t have to be so troublesome that you never enjoy your favourite meal again. The latest hearing aids have automatic noise reduction as well as smart phone remote control for personal adjustments and some even have geo-tracking apps that allow users to set preferred restaurants into the phone’s memory.”

From a design perspective, restaurateurs most often consider acoustics when designing or redesigning spaces. When JC Scott works with architects and restaurateurs, he always starts with the acoustics of the space, whether it is brand new or being redesigned, knowing that they will help to shape the character and ambiance of a lounge or restaurant space.

“The simple rule of sound means that the more people there are and the more reflective surfaces there are, the louder the space will be,” says JC Scott, owner of JC Scott eco Design Associates. “Everything from choosing carpet over wood or tile flooring to the use of fabrics or the size of windows will affect the noise level of a space.”

A great example of Scott’s design work is the Prime Restaurant & Lounge in Courtenay, BC, where the lounge space was designed to be acoustically bright and lively, while the restaurant dining space and meeting rooms were designed to be softer and quiet. The lounge features a lower ceiling, hardwood floors and more glass for more noise energy, whereas the dining space has a higher ceiling with carpeted floors and more booth seating for better acoustic intimacy.

Over the next few weeks, in anticipation of Better Hearing & Speech Month in May, Germain is asking people to list restaurants that they feel provide a better dining experience for those with hearing loss. To add suggestions, visit the Island Beltone Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BeltoneHearingCare.

“Everyone has their favourite restaurant, and we know that many of our clients have worked over time to find those that work for their needs, so we look forward to building a great resource list for anyone who is hard of hearing,” says Germain.

For more information on hearing care, visit www.beltonecare.ca.

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