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Capital Iron goes from 'scrap heap' to 'top of the heap' winning the Family Enterprise of the Year Achievement Award

Apr 03, 2014

News Release) VICTORIA — The Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFE) today announced that Capital Iron of Victoria, British Columbia, was selected to receive the prestigious Family Enterprise of the Year Achievement Award (FEYA) for 2014 at a spectacular gala dinner to be held at the Westin Bayshore Resort & Hotel in Vancouver on May 22, 2014. The national award is given annually by CAFE to recognize and promote the achievements of Canadian family businesses and the vital contribution they make to their local communities and Canada's economy.

From its beginnings as a humble scrap business in 1863, Capital Iron has evolved into a traditional general store for the modern consumer offering a wide range of products from hardware, clothing and home décor to camping equipment, barbecues, and gardening supplies. As their tagline "There's No Store Like It!" suggests, Capital Iron has built a long-standing reputation as the best store in town with second to none selection, all the while maintaining the unique charm of its historical location, built in 1890 and recognized as a Heritage Canada historical building.

Capital Iron is currently owned and managed by the Black family and is an integral part of the Vancouver Island community employing more than 100 people and donating between 5 and 10% of profits each year to various charitable causes.

"The Capital Iron family is thrilled and honoured to be this year's recipient of CAFE Canada's FEYA Award. There is a long list of distinguished winners and we are excited to be included in that number. CAFE is the single most important organization we belong to and we look forward to the symposium in Vancouver,"  said Capital Iron President, Mike Black.

"Congratulations to Capital Iron and the Black family. Clearly, the secret to their success is the inherent 'family-ness' of their business coupled with their focus on supporting and giving back to their community," noted Paul MacDonald, Executive Director of CAFE.

Capital Iron will share their family business story with more than 200 leaders of family businesses from across Canada at the CAFE FEYA Award gala which will also feature a keynote presentation delivered by Canadian business icon, David Chilton, author of Canada's all-time best-selling book, The Wealthy Barber and panelist on the hit T.V. series The Dragons' Den. The FEYA Award gala is held in conjunction with the CAFE Family Business Symposium running May 21-23, 2014.

"We congratulate all of the nominees for the 2014 CAFE Family Enterprise of the Year Achievement Award for their innovation and contribution to their local communities," said Yannick Archambault, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at BMO Harris Private Banking. "The hard work and determination that drives their business is the same passion that drives our economy forward as a whole. We are proud to be associated with an organization such as CAFE that celebrates the accomplishments of Canadian family businesses and look forward to continuing to work with them and support their efforts."

Prior recipients of the CAFE FEYA Award include larger companies such as E.D. Smith & Sons Ltd. and Rogers Communications and smaller companies such as Beau's All Natural Brewing Company. CAFE and the FEYA Award program receive support from platinum sponsors BMO Harris Private Banking, and silver sponsors Northland Wealth Management, KPMG Enterprise and Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA).

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March 2014 Real Estate Activity in Victoria

Apr 01, 2014

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

575 properties sold in the month of March 2014, compared to 483 in March 2013 – an increase of nearly 20% year over year. However, the average sales for the month of March over the past five years is 607 properties per month, so though 2014 is stronger than the year previous, sales have not yet returned to the longer term average.

Victoria Real Estate Board President Tim Ayres says, “This time last year sales weren’t outstanding – the market was sluggish. Tightened mortgage amortization rules resulted in slower sales as buyers adjusted to the new requirements. Property values were stable, but inventory didn’t move quickly. This year we see more sales than last March.”

The Victoria Real Estate Board uses the MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) to report on property values. The MLS® HPI uses the concept of a benchmark home, a notional home with common attributes of typical homes in a defined area. Through the analysis of ten years of Victoria Real Estate Board MLS® sales data, the MLS® HPI defined benchmark homes for Victoria in each category (single family homes, townhouses, condos) and for each neighbourhood. The benchmark starting point was 2005, where each type of property and neighbourhood was assigned an index value of 100.

Current MLS® HPI composite (inclusive of all single family homes, condos and townhomes sales) for the Victoria Real Estate Board area is 139.3 – compared to 139.1 this time last year. While these overall numbers indicate little change in the last 12 months, some areas have changed more than others. Local REALTORS® can interpret what this means to specific neighbourhoods in the region.

President Tim Ayres explains what this means to the local market, “The stable property values year over year, along with the strong inventory of properties we see for sale shows that we have returned to balanced market conditions. There is no extreme upward or downward pressure on housing prices right now. This stability in value combined with the new lower interest rates we see from some lenders may move a lot more buyers into the Victoria and area housing market.”

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

About VREB - The Victoria Real Estate Board was founded in 1921 and since that time has been a key player in the development of standards and innovative programs aimed at enhancing the professionalism and community standing of REALTORS®. Formation of the Board grew out of the realization in the early part of the last century that there was a need to establish basic standards for those working in the real estate industry.

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Mount St Mary Hospital Foundation partners with Oak Bay Beach Hotel for L’Angelus

Apr 01, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — The Mount St Mary Hospital Foundation has partnered with the Oak Bay Beach Hotel to welcome L’Angelus, the final performers for the eight part Tribute to Nashville series in the David Foster Foundation Theatre.

Expert musicians, incredible singers and topnotch live entertainers, L’Angelus combines the best of Louisiana’s music traditions: Cajun fiddle tunes for the dance crowd, saxophone driven swamp-pop, and New Orleans influenced R&B. The result is a live show that rolls along with what Michael Doucet of Beausoleil calls “the instrumental energy of a freight train that knows no boundaries.” And the band is all from one Louisiana family. Audiences across North America and Europe are drawn to the “joie de vivre” that radiates from the stage.

Why: Funds raised from ticket sales for the weekend performances will benefit Mount St Mary Hospital Foundation.  Each dollar received directly and positively impacts lives by supporting the delivery of life-affirming programs like music therapy to the residents of Mount St. Mary Hospital.

When: Friday, April 25 & Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 6 p.m.

Where: David Foster Foundation Theatre, Oak Bay Beach Hotel, 1175 Beach Drive

Tickets: $89 per person, available through Mount St Mary Hospital Foundation (250-480-3138)

  • $10 of each ticket benefits Mount St. Mary Hospital Foundation
  • Ticket price includes a carefully prepared and themed three-course dinner

Additional information:

  • $70K annually is required to operate the Music Therapy program at Mount St. Mary Hospital
  • Music therapy is an interpersonal process in which therapists use music and all of its facets-physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual-to help residents to improve or maintain their health. In some instances, the client's needs are addressed directly through music; in others they are addressed through the relationships that develop between the client and therapist.
  • Music therapy is used with individuals of all ages and with a variety of conditions, including: Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s.  It is used with individuals who have physical handicaps and sensory impairments
  • Music Therapy can improve learning, build self-esteem, reduce stress, support physical exercise, and facilitate a host of other health-related activities.
  • In 2004, the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund generously made a grant to start the Music Therapy program at Mount St Mary Hospital

About Mount St Mary Hospital Foundation
The Foundation raises funds to enhance the care, comfort, dignity and respect of vulnerable members of our community that reside at Mount St. Mary Hospital.  The 200 residents at Mount St Mary Hospital are living here as their final home and all have complex care and/or palliative needs. The age range is from 36 – 103 and there has, over the last few years, been an increase in younger people being admitted who may also be managing mental health conditions as well as condition’s such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, stroke or head injury.

About the Oak Bay Beach Hotel
Reopened in the fall of 2012, the new Oak Bay Beach Hotel has been completely rebuilt on the same spectacular oceanfront lot where the previous hotel sat for more than 80 years. Oak Bay is a residential community with its own village centre, just six kilometres outside of British Columbia’s capital city, Victoria. Today, the Oak Bay Beach Hotel offers 100 hotel rooms and 20 luxury residences. Built to five-star standards, hotel and residential amenities include seaside mineral pools, a fitness studio, Boathouse Spa & Baths, The Snug pub, the David Foster Foundation Theatre, Kate’s Café and a fine-dining restaurant with a 1,600 bottle tasting room. Not only is this Victoria’s first combination full-service luxury hotel and private residence, it is also the only commercial waterfront development in Oak Bay, set across Beach Drive from the prestigious Victoria Golf Club.

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Bob Miller Named Victoria HarbourCats Head Coach for 2014

Mar 31, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – The Victoria HarbourCats are pleased to announce the appointment of Bob Miller to the position of Head Coach for the 2014 West Coast League season.

Miller (left), Co-Head Coach in the inaugural season for the HarbourCats in 2013, has been an integral part of developing the HarbourCats program and recruiting the quality college players who represented Victoria in the WCL last season. Miller has been key to the recruiting process for the 2014 roster.

Dennis Rogers, the Head Coach in 2013 while Miller served as Co-Head Coach, informed the team he will be unable to return to Victoria this summer. Family health and business reasons will not allow him to commit in a way he would expect of himself.

“Bob is a quality coach with a winning track record and he is excited for this opportunity to move from Co-Head Coach to Head Coach. We are pleased to have such a seamless transition process in place for a situation such as this,” said John McLean, President of the HarbourCats. “Dennis has done so much for our team and helped us establish the HarbourCats as a go-to location for collegiate summer baseball. His network within the baseball community gave us credibility from the start, and we wish him and his family all the best. We cannot thank Dennis enough.”

McLean and General Manager Jim Swanson met with both Rogers (at left) and Miller this past weekend in California, in addition to meeting with players from both the 2013 and 2014 rosters. Rogers and Miller remain in close contact and have used their extensive networks to procure players for 2014, focusing on the goal of bringing a WCL championship to Victoria. The team starts its second season at SPORTS TRADERS DIAMOND at Royal Athletic Park in June, opening on the road (at the Kelowna Falcons) on June 6, before the home opener on June 10 against the Cowlitz Black Bears.

Miller, the Head Coach at Cuesta College, located in San Luis Obispo, California, has long had a connection with Rogers, and the two worked side-by-side last summer. Beyond his success at Cuesta, Miller spent four years as a head coach in the Alaska League, winning three championships in four years there with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots and twice being named coach of the year, and also led the Glacier Pilots to the 2001 National Baseball Congress World Series championship.

“Dennis has been my mentor in so many ways, and I feel very comfortable continuing with the program in Victoria,” said Miller. “We have worked together all winter in putting together the quality roster, and feel good about the direction.”

Ben Jackson, from the University of Kentucky, will be back for a second season as pitching coach, and another coach will be brought in to complete the coaching staff and contribute to the implementation of the Cats Camps youth instructional sessions – details of those are to be announced soon.

WHITE, SANDY ALOMAR ADDED – The Victoria HarbourCats are pleased to announce that two more outstanding instructors have been added to the Honda Super Camp youth skills camp, set for SPORTS TRADERS DIAMOND at Royal Athletic Park, July 2-3.

Former Toronto Blue Jays starting centre fielder Devon White, who won World Series titles with the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993, and long-time MLB coach Sandy Alomar Sr. have been added to an already strong set of lead instructors – Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar, former outfielders Brian McRae, Jesse Barfield and Lloyd Moseby, and ex-Jays closer Duane Ward, who was the winning pitcher the night Joe Carter hit his famous game-winning home run at SkyDome to cap the 1993 World Series. HarbourCats players and coaches will also assist with the instruction. The camp is being put on by the HarbourCats and Greater Victoria Baseball Association, and is open to all youth players aged 8-16 – players with GVBA, Little League and softball associations are welcome along with youth who are not currently registered in baseball or softball.

The Blue Jays have teamed with Little League Canada and Baseball Canada to provide 25 camps across the country, including Victoria, Vancouver and Nanaimo in B.C.

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Smart Hard Hats and Wearable Light Shows

Mar 27, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — An energy harvester that converts knee bends into battery power for cell phones; a wireless personal ECG monitor that transmits electrical signals to a remote cardiologist; a smart hard hat that sends data to a safety station; a bracelet that transforms music frequencies into a wearable light show.

It just goes to show you what comes of giving senior computer and electrical engineering students at the University of Victoria cash prizes, course credit, and the challenge to design a product (either theoretical or practical) with a budget of $120.

Twenty-two projects are on display Friday March 28 from 4 to 6 p.m. at UVic’s Engineering Lab Wing lobby. A panel of high-tech industry judges will select the top three projects. This event is open to the public and admission is free.

Some projects are in an advanced-prototype stage, having been refined and tested for several years. The Real Time Wireless ECG device uses a wireless signal to transmit a patient’s ECG from their heart via a smart phone to an online monitoring centre. Though not yet ready to go to market, the device could prove helpful in addressing problems of access to diagnostic testing in remote communities in BC.

PillPoint is an Android app that uses a smart phone camera and a pill database to identify prescription pills. Students anticipate that it could be valuable for people with dementia or cognitive impairment who have trouble managing their prescriptions.

Some projects are ideas that still need a lot of refinement, like the knee-bend energy harvester that in its current form requires an estimated 230,000 hours of running to charge a AAA battery. So far, no one has so much as charged a watch battery, but the ideas—and its inventors—are still young.

For a complete list of projects visit: http://www.ece.uvic.ca/~elec499/2014-spring/Project_List.shtml

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United Way Celebrates the Spirit of Community Giving

Mar 27, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Every year, more than 400 organizations and thousands of employees support a United Way workplace campaign. While all are vital to creating real and lasting change in our community, some campaigns and volunteers stand out for exceptional community spirit, team spirit and spirit of generosity.

United Way’s 2013 Spirit Awards thanks donors, volunteers, community partners and organizations who came together to raise $5.8 Million for critical programs that sustain our social and economic fabric. It’s about moving individuals from poverty to possibility, ensuring kids grow up healthy and building strong communities.

With 12 award categories, everyone showed creativity, ingenuity and wholehearted commitment to United Way and their community. Choosing recipients was a difficult task for the selection committee. Thank you and congratulations to all nominees and award recipients.

2013 Spirit Award Recipients:

This award is presented to a workplace because their United Way campaign is an example for everybody to follow. It is presented for significant long-term achievement in all categories and can only be received once by an organization.
Award recipient Natural Resources Canada – Pacific Forestry Centre

This award goes to an organization that raised over $500,000 in one United Way campaign.
Award recipient Department of National Defence

This award recognizes an Employee Campaign Chair or ECC who has demonstrated outstanding leadership resulting in significant growth in campaign results.
Award recipients Brandy Rowan & Jennifer Downie from the District of Saanich

A great United Way campaign starts with a strong campaign team. This award recognizes a Committee which has demonstrated outstanding leadership resulting in significant growth in campaign results.
Award recipient Seaspan Victoria Shipyards

This award recognizes an organization and its employees that have achieved outstanding campaign results.
Award recipient Viking Air Ltd

For many organizations, the backbone of a strong workplace campaign is their Leadership Giving.  Employees who demonstrate their generosity with a personal gift of $500 or more set the pace for a successful campaign. This award recognizes the workplace that has the highest increase in leader participation and giving amongst all campaigns.
Award recipient TD Canada Trust

For the first time, United Way is giving out a special award to the campaign that had made the greatest impact in the community.
Award recipient University of Victoria

This award is given to the workplace which best demonstrated innovation and creativity in fundraising for the community.
Award recipient Schneider Electric

2013 marked the 25th anniversary of the partnership between United Way and the Canadian Labour Congress.  Last year, over 200 unionized workplaces ran United Way Campaigns. This award recognizes a union for outstanding engagement, involvement and endorsement of a workplace campaign.
Award recipients UNIFOR 333, COPE 378 AND CUPE 4500 for BC Transit  

This is a challenge between University of Victoria, Camosun College and Royal Roads University. The award is made to the institution which achieved the highest percentage increase in overall campaign dollars and participation.
Award recipient Camosun College

This award recognizes a funded community partner which runs a United Way campaign and demonstrates the spirit of philanthropy.
Award recipient Victoria Cool Aid Society

This award recognizes employees of an organization that achieved significant results in a first time campaign.
Award recipient MONK OFFICE

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New Agreements to Accelerate Growth of B.C. Tech Startups

Mar 20, 2014

(News Release) - Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat signed a memorandum of understanding with the Canadian Consulate General in Boston today to establish a formal working relationship and ensure that the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA@Boston) is fully utilized by qualified tech startups from B.C.

Wat and the Canadian Consul General in Boston, Patrick Binns, signed the MOU during a tour of the CTA@Boston facilities at the Cambridge Innovation Centre this morning. The three-month Government of Canada CTA program provides resources and mentoring from business leaders and venture capitalists to Canadian and B.C. startups, including life-sciences, information and communication technology, and other knowledge-based sector companies.

The MOU signed today supports a one-year Specified Purposed Account Agreement between the Ministry of International Trade and the Consulate General of Canada in Boston to secure a B.C. component in the CTA@Boston program. As part of the MOU, the British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC), which accelerates technology commercialization in the province by supporting startups and developing entrepreneurs, will promote the CTA@Boston program to its partners, including companies in its BC Acceleration Network.

Over the past two years, approximately 24 B.C. companies have used Canadian Technology Accelerators in California to secure international sales, partners and investment. Four B.C. companies - Precision Nanosystems, Arazy Group, Shift Health Paradigms, and Ayogo Health -already have participated in the CTA@Boston program. Massachusetts has the largest concentration of biotech firms in the world and the second largest concentration of medical device companies in the United States.

British Columbia identified technology as a priority sector in the BC Jobs Plan and has produced a Technology Strategy that is helping the province develop talent for its knowledge-based economy, open and expand new international markets, and attract investment capital for B.C. technology companies.

To help advance that Technology Strategy, Wat will join Consul General Binns at a roundtable event with the Canadian Entrepreneurs in New England, a non-profit organization that mentors Canadian and B.C. technology companies and helps them secure funding and access to the U.S. market.

The roundtable meetings and CTA@Boston events are part of Wat's five-day trade and investment mission to the U.S. east coast. Yesterday she opened the B.C. Pavilion at Seafood Expo North America, and she will be in New York for a series of meetings with investors tomorrow before returning to B.C. on Wednesday.

Quick Facts:

  • British Columbia has over 6,000 companies in the information and communications technology sector and an additional 1,200 companies in the wireless technologies sector. They employ a talented workforce of over 50,000 people and generate over $11 billion in revenue each year.
  • The B.C. health and life sciences sector includes over 100 bio-pharmaceutical companies, 60 medical device developers and 30 bio-products companies. They collectively generate roughly $1 billion per year in revenues and employ, directly and indirectly, an estimated 14,000 skilled workers.
  • B.C. is home to 50 research centres and eight centres of excellence, including Wavefront, Canada's national centre for wireless technology research, commercialization and growth, and Genome BC, which manages a portfolio of $625 million spread across 180 genomics research projects and science and technology platforms.

Learn More:

Read the B.C. Technology Strategy:http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/wp-content/uploads/TechnologyStrategy2012.pdf

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Inaugural Vancouver Island Trail Network Conference set for May 31

Mar 18, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — The Vancouver Island Spine Trail Association (VISTA) opened registration today for its first annual conference, an event focused on bringing together stakeholders, trail users and interested parties to build momentum towards the completion of a 700km tip-to-tip wilderness trail from Victoria to Cape Scott. The event will be held near the Island's wilderness heart in Courtenay on May 31 and June 1 of this year. Island adventurer and backcountry guidebook author, Phil Stone, will be the keynote speaker for the inaugural event.

"This conference is about building the excitement and capacity needed to complete a marquee outdoor feature for the enjoyment and benefit of our Vancouver Island communities and visitors alike. As one of our Island's best known contemporary explorers and guides, we're very pleased to welcome Mr. Stone to share his stories and enthusiasm and to set the tone for our inaugural conference," said VISTA President Andrew Pape-Salmon. "Phil has over twenty five years of experience climbing, hiking, kayaking, and sailing to the most remote places on Vancouver Island. He knows it like few others and will have some great experiences to share with our fellow trail users, builders and proponents at the conference."

The two day gathering, to be held at the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort, is designed to bring together trail users, outdoor clubs, tourism groups, regional and provincial government officials, First Nations, and landowners to help shape and implement the next phases of the Island-spanning trail.

Day one of the conference will feature a variety of speakers and panels focused on coordinating and expanding the Island's existing networks of trails, best practices for new trail construction, and maximizing economic opportunities from trail-based developments and tourism. Day two will feature guided hiking, mountain biking, and trail running events on existing portions of the VI Spine trail.

"This is an ambitious project with a tight timeline but we know there is more than enough passion and determination on Vancouver Island to make the full Spine trail a reality," said Pape-Salmon. "Our plan is to have a route constructed by 2017 by bringing together visionaries and builders from across the Island with events like this conference. Working together, we'll create a shared outdoor legacy to be enjoyed by generations to come."

Early bird registration ends March 31. Members of the public can learn more and register for the conference at http://vispine.ca/

VISTA formed in 2008 as a membership driven charitable organization with a mandate to coordinate action and support construction of a 700 km wilderness trail traversing the Island's "spine", from tip-to-top, Victoria to Cape Scott. The trail, now one third complete, has a target completion date of 2017, to align with the completion of the TransCanada Trail, which shares the VI Spine route along sections of the South Island.

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Anthony Thorn: Alchemist Show and Sale Benefits AGGV Redevelopment

Mar 18, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Anthony Thorn’s work has been exhibited with galleries throughout North America, Mexico, and the Canary Islands, and included in corporate and public collections -- the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria holds five of his works in its permanent collection.  Over a career spanning more than 60 years, artist Anthony Thorn has created paintings and carved works he calls “wall jewels”, using gold leaf, ivory, and other precious materials.  Now his career as an artist is coming to an end, and he has decided to release the cherished works that remain in his studio.

Anthony Thorn: Alchemist is a unique show and sale in the AGGV’s Massey Gallery, March 27 to April 6, 2014, with an opening reception Saturday, March 29, from 2 to 4 pm.  This is a rare opportunity for new and existing collectors to purchase one of the artist’s few remaining pieces. 

Robert Amos is coordinating the show and sale in collaboration with the artist.  “Anthony Thorn has cultivated his unique vision by exploring aspects of abstraction, sacred art, and philosophical searching,” said Amos.  “He is recognized as a master of traditional oil painting and glazing techniques.  This unparalleled exhibition of almost 20 originals - oil paintings and “wall jewels” - will make up a show of sublime richness.” 

Thorn’s unique small sculptures involve carved gesso, cast bronze and the inclusion of precious stones. They often display his fascination with gilding, using gold leaf and gold foil of high purity. 

The gallery’s sales commission will be added to Thorn’s recent extraordinary $2.6 million donation for the redevelopment of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

A prairie-raised artist and educator, Anthony Thorn (a pseudonym for Arthur Goldman) began to paint in 1948, soon after graduating from the University of Saskatchewan.  His studies took him across North America, to Paris, Mexico, Japan, and Greece. Thorn taught as a lecturer at Lakehead University, in Thunder Bay, Ontario from 1977 to 1979 before coming to Victoria in 1980.  Here he has exhibited widely with Fran Willis, Winchester, and Eclectic Galleries, among others.  Eight of his works have been honoured with the designation of “outstanding significance and national importance” by the Canadian Cultural Review Board and his papers are on deposit at the Archives of the University of Regina.

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Government of Canada Pilot Program Positions Canadian SMEs to Move Product, Services to Market Faster

Mar 18, 2014

(News Release) — The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology), joined by John R. McDougall, President of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), announced a new program that will help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) access the business and technical services they need to get innovative products and services to market faster.

The Business Innovation Access Program, a $20-million investment, will leverage the extensive networks and knowledge within NRC's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to connect SMEs with universities, colleges and other research institutions to address and resolve barriers to the commercialization of ideas, products and services.

The support available through the program can involve external business services such as planning and marketing as well as technical services such as specialized testing, product prototyping and process development.

The Business Innovation Access Program follows from a series of recommendations made by the independent Research and Development Review Expert Panel lead by Tom Jenkins in 2010-11 to better focus federal investments while maximizing innovation and economic benefit for Canadians.

To date, the Government of Canada has delivered on a number of recommendations from the Panel: it has created a Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP) to increase private sector venture capital funds; transformed the National Research Council into a business-focused research council; created a Concierge service to help SMEs navigate existing government innovation programs; leveraged federal government procurement to encourage innovative Canadian products and services; doubled the investments of the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP); and encouraged continued partnerships between Canadian universities, colleges and businesses.

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada is committing $20 million over two years to the Business Innovation Access Program to support innovative research and development that translates into products that benefit Canadians.
  • The Business Innovation Access Program is a national pilot program to be delivered through NRC-IRAP. The program will complement NRC's existing array of innovation support, strategic research, and scientific and technical services.
  • With its national network of Industrial Technology Advisors, IRAP provides support to small- and medium-sized enterprises in Canada in the development and commercialization of technologies.
  • To access the program, small and medium-sized businesses are invited to contact NRC-IRAP by calling 1-877-994-4727.


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Island Beltone Launches Made for iPhone Hearing Aid

Mar 13, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Responding to the importance of technology for  today’s lifestyles, Island Beltone has launched the revolutionary Beltone First™, the first-ever made for iPhone hearing aid. The Beltone First™ hearing aid, when coupled with made for iPhone capability, allows wearers to wirelessly stream phone calls, music and other audio entertainment, as well as  turn-by-turn navigation Siri®, and FaceTime® conversations right into their ears.

“Essentially what this means is our clients can wear their hearing aids like wireless headphones and hear sound streamed from an iPhone, iPad® or iPod touch® without having to wear an intermediary device,” says Jeff Germain, owner of Island Beltone. “It has been designed to virtually disappear inside your ear and allow you to discreetly tailor your hearing via your iPhone, iPad® or iPod Touch®, as your hearing environment changes throughout your day.”

Beltone First, which is about the size of a lima bean and uses Beltone’s award winning, third generation 2.4 GHz wireless technology, can move high frequency sounds that are inaudible due to hearing loss or cochlear damage to areas of the cochlea where these sounds can be made audible. Beltone even has a name for this technology: Sound Shifter™. By simply opening and closing the battery door on the hearing aid and initiating pairing mode and then initiating pairing on the iPhone’s setting menu, the Beltone First is set into action.

Also launched with the Beltone First is Beltone HearPlus™, a free app that allows wearers to save preferred settings for different locations (i.e. office vs. home, favourite restaurant or movie theatre). When they visit these locations the appropriate settings are recalled and applied automatically. Recommended Apple technology that works best with Beltone First is iPhone 5S and iOS 7.X. There is even a Find My Hearing Aid app that helps locate misplaced devices.

Beltone worked with Apple to create this breakthrough technology with the hope that it will encourage people with hearing loss to more readily seek help. Now available at all 12 Island Beltone locations, Island Beltone’s team will demonstrate how it works and be with clients every step of the way to ensure full use of the new technology is taken advantage. For first time clients, Island Beltone will also offer a comprehensive 12 point hearing test, which is free with a doctor’s referral.

“Not only are we hoping to help new clients hear more clearly while using today’s technology, we will also offer our existing clients a very cost effective technology upgrade program,” says Germain. “Hearing aids purchased within the last three years are eligible for rebates up to 100 per cent of their original purchase price. This is our way of ensuring our clients are able to take continual advantage of the latest technology in hearing care.”

For more information, people may visit www.beltonecare.ca or call Island Beltone hearing care professionals directly at 1-800-665-3277.

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IKAN Celebrates Milestones

Mar 13, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — As Anthony Stubbs and Kyler Davalosky blew out the candle on IKAN’s third birthday cake, the company’s co-owners celebrated three years of hard work and growth.
To mark the occasion, the two carpenters also paid a visit to the first kitchen they installed to reminisce with the homeowners and thank them for taking a chance on IKAN.

“You didn’t know it at the time,” Kyler told the homeowners, “but my decision to quit my job and start IKAN hinged on whether we got this project.”

Anthony chimes in to remind Kyler, a Red Seal Journeyman Carpenter, about cutting off part of his thumb his first day on the job. “He was back the next day,” says Anthony with a laugh. “That tells you something about the guy.”

The two have charted a tremendous course since that now-infamous day. This month IKAN installed its three-hundredth kitchen. “The island has proven that they want us here,” says Davalosky.

“Three years is a big deal for us,” says Stubbs. “Almost half of new businesses don’t make it this far so we wanted to recognize how hard we’ve worked to make our dream a reality.”

IKAN Installations designs, ships and installs IKEA kitchens for  Vancouver Island homeowners. IKEA’s kitchens have gained popularity in recent years due to the design, pricing and launch of a 25-year warranty.

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Local Social Enterprises Chosen to Showcase Growth Opportunities

Mar 10, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Social Enterprise Catalyst’s organizing team have announced that BC BioFuel Network (www.bcbiofuel.org) , Habitat for Humanity (www.habitatvictoria.com)  and Robert Bateman Centre (www.batemancentre.org)  will be presenting  at their inaugural gala  event, April 2, 2014 at the Belfry Theatre.

The finalists were chosen from over 20 applications and represent organizations from Victoria, the West Shore, and the Cowichan Valley; as well as organizations with a strong social, environmental and cultural focus. Social Enterprise Catalyst is exactly what its name says – a catalyst to accelerate and celebrate Vancouver Island’s growing social enterprise economy. It  is built upon the success of Vancouver based Social Enterprise Heroes and will be Vancouver Island’s very own pitch event and gala to shine a spotlight on the Island’s dynamic social entrepreneurs and on the resources available locally to social enterprises.

During Social Enterprise Catalyst, each of the three social enterprises will pitch an ‘ask’ for technical assistance and financial investment in a Dragon’s Den-style format.  The judges - Tamara Vrooman, CEO of Vancity Credit Union, Adrian Legin, CEO of Coastal Community Credit Union, and Mackenzie Kyle, Regional Manager from MNP Consulting, will deliberate, provide feedback and allocate prizes which include resources, memberships and $25,000 in funding.

Tickets for the 6 to 9 p.m. wine and cheese event are $25, and guests will also have the opportunity to meet and hear from Joel Soloman, President of Renewal Partners and Chairman of Renewal Funds as well as Paul Lacerte. Soloman is a founding member of Social Venture Network (SVN), Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), the Tides Canada Foundation, and is board chair of Hollyhock.  Lacerte is the Executive Director for the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, a member of the Board of Directors for the Vancouver Foundation and serves as a Lead Aboriginal representative on key Provincial initiatives including the Government Non-Profit Initiative (GNPI). He currently sits as one of the Canadian representatives at the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples in New York.

As well, all of the social enterprises who applied to present at Social Enterprise Catalyst will be invited to showcase their businesses  to attendees and a graphic facilitator will assist in mapping the social enterprise eco-system in the region and Island.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.secatalyst.ca.               

About Social Enterprise
These characteristics distinguish a social enterprise from other types of businesses, non-profits and government agencies:
§  Addressing a cultural, social and/or environmental need is the principal goal of the organization, which serves the common good through its products and services or through offering employment to people who face barriers to mainstream employment;
§  Commercial activity is a strong revenue driver, whether a significant earned income stream within a nonprofit’s mixed revenue portfolio, or as a for-profit enterprise;
§  The common good is its primary purpose, literally ‘baked into’ the organization’s DNA;
§  Surpluses and profits are principally reinvested for its social, cultural and/or environmental mandate.

About Social Enterprise Catalyst:
An event being held April 2, 2014 at the Belfry Theatre, Social Enterprise Catalyst will showcase Vancouver Island’s social enterprises. It  is built upon the success of Vancouver based Social Enterprise Heroes and will be Vancouver Island’s very own pitch event and gala to shine a spotlight on the Island’s dynamic social entrepreneurs and on the resources available locally. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased online.  www.secatalyst.ca.  A full list of seCatalyst partners is available here: http://www.secatalyst.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/partners.jpg

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