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McCormick Meadows’ Robust Pre-Sales Underscores Victoria's Hot Housing Market

Apr 16, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA – Victoria doesn't draw nearly the same attention of Vancouver, but if pre-sales of McCormick Meadows are any measure, Victoria's housing market is on fire.

Located on the border of Victoria's Westshore communities of Langford and Metchosin, McCormick Meadows is a new residential neighbourhood that has pre-sold over 30% of its homes in just one month. It outpaces the sizzling 28% growth seen across Greater Victoria, a housing market that continues to rebound after a five-year lull.

"We're thrilled by the response we’ve had from buyers," says Rohan Rupf, marketing director at Keycorp, the company responsible for developing and marketing the project. "People are buying houses off plan, without even setting foot in a show home."

That's significant for Victoria, where buyers have tended to be drawn to spec homes. A substantial advantage of buying off plan is the opportunity to customize their new homes, which according to Rupf is a major reason why people are committing early. And now the public will get its first look at this new community when McCormick Meadows hosts a Grand Opening party and tour this Saturday and Sunday, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to tours of two fully-furnished show homes with professionally designed interiors, visitors will be able to partake in free lunch, prize giveaways, and family hay rides through phase one of the neighbourhood.

McCormick Meadows' first phase features 30 wide lot homes consisting of thirteen different floor plans that range from 1,300-square-foot ranchers to roomy, multi-storey homes of more than 2,500 square feet. Starting at $459,900, homes feature on-demand hot water, gas fireplaces, gas BBQ outlets, and ductless heat pumps, amongst many other modern features. Inside, elegant, open-concept interiors include designer-selected classic and contemporary colour schemes.

To find McCormick Meadows, travel south on Veteran's Memorial parkway, turning right on Sooke Road. Continue along about 5 km, turning left on Happy Valley Road – just two minutes along Happy Valley Road, turn left on Braeburn Avenue.

For more information, visit www.McCormickMeadows.com.

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New Collective Agreements Mark Continued Progress in Public Sector

Apr 16, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA – Provincial public-sector employers and employees continue to make progress with affordable collective agreements under the Economic Stability Mandate, as three new tentative agreements, including two in the post-secondary sector, have been reached and a further agreement ratified, Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced.

Overall, there are now 129 tentative or ratified agreements under the mandate, covering more than 230,000 employees – nearly three-quarters of provincial public-sector workers.

New tentative five-year agreements:

• Vancouver Community College (VCC) and the Vancouver Community College Faculty Association (VCCFA) have reached a tentative agreement covering approximately 865 VCCFA Federation of Post-Secondary Educators Local 15 members, who deliver courses at both VCC campuses.

• Langara College and the Langara College Faculty Association have reached a tentative agreement covering approximately 585 faculty members, including all instructors, counsellors, co-operative education officers and librarians.

• The B.C. PSA and the Professional Employees Union have reached a tentative agreement covering approximately 1,150 members who work in occupations including forestry, engineering, health care and environmental management through the B.C. public service.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 15 have ratified their five-year agreement with Langara College, effective April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2019, which provides a 5.5% wage increase over the five years of the term. The agreement covers approximately 645 members who work in a variety of positions ranging from information technology, instructional assistants, administration and lab support workers, to library technicians, facilities and other services that support students and the college.

Each settlement offers the potential for additional increases if the B.C. economy exceeds the annual forecasts set by the Economic Forecast Council during the last four years of the agreements.

The government's Economic Stability Mandate gives public-sector employers the ability to negotiate longer-term agreements within a fixed fiscal envelope, and offers employees an opportunity to participate in the province's economic growth through the Economic Stability Dividend. Settlements are expected to be unique and to reflect priorities negotiated to ensure labour stability and affordable service delivery throughout B.C.

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Finalists Announced for the Inaugural VIBE Awards (Vancouver Island Building Excellence)

Apr 16, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA – The Canadian Home Builders' Association – Vancouver Island (CHBA-VI) is pleased to announce the Finalists for the Inaugural 2015 VIBE Awards (Vancouver Island Building Excellence). The VIBE Awards showcase the best in residential construction, design and renovation that Vancouver Island has to offer and are recognized as Vancouver Island’s premier residential housing awards program.

The finalists were announced April 9, 2015 at The Coast Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo. This special event celebrated all of the entrants and the high level of excellence that the VIBE Awards honour.

Entries were received from companies all over Vancouver Island for projects built, renovated, developed, created and/or marketed for the period of January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2014. An esteemed panel of industry professionals and longtime CHBA members from outside Vancouver Island judged the entries. The judges' scores were tabulated by an accountant from MNP.

"We're really happy to see the quality of projects that were submitted from all over Vancouver Island for our first ever VIBE Awards! We received entries from builders, renovators, designers and other professional companies located in Sidney, Duncan, Ucluelet, Parksville and everywhere in between," said Peter Schultze, CHBA-VI VIBE Awards Committee Chair.

Finalists and winners will be celebrated at a black tie awards gala on Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 at the Coast Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling CHBA-VI.

Details of the 2015 VIBE Awards including sponsors, finalists and Gala Tickets are at www.VIBEawards.ca.

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$8 Million Dollar DFATD Grant Awarded to Victoria-Based Artisanal Gold Council

Apr 14, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA – Today, at the Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development announced the awarding of an $8 million dollar grant to the Victoria-based Artisanal Gold Council (AGC). The grant will help fund a project to be carried out in Peru over the next five years focused on the sustainable development of a responsible artisanal gold sector. The Artisanal Gold Council is looking forward to working with the Peruvian and Canadian governments and the wide group of stakeholders involved in artisanal gold mining in Peru throughout this project.]

This initiative is aimed at the improvement of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector in Peru. It is focused on achieving a higher level of organization, creating more diverse livelihoods, and improving the health and environments of those involved in the primary and secondary economies of the sector. One of the focuses is the reduction in the use of mercury by miners to help Peru meet its obligations under the Minamata Convention. AGC's innovative approaches, expertise and deep field presence will drive improvements in mining, environmental, health and social practices for men and women involved in artisanal gold mining and its related businesses. The initiative will work with government, civil society, and the formal mining sector. It will enhance policy initiatives, create supportive structures for the artisanal mining sector, and increase participation in the trade of responsible artisanal gold in domestic and international gold markets.

Gold is Peru's number one export — it is vital to its economy and many of its rural inhabitants. Of the 166 tonnes of gold produced in Peru in 2012, it is conservatively estimated that at least 26 tonnes (16%) originates from informal artisanal mining operations. Artisanal gold mining in Peru represents direct livelihoods for roughly 250,000 people, with connections to a secondary economy 5-6 times larger. There is an urgent need for social and environmental improvements and a transition of the informal sector into the formal economy. There are also opportunities to develop innovative mining and business practices in this sector. This new initiative will help create sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty and vulnerability for the thousands of individual miners, secondary economy workers, and small enterprises involved.]

Artisanal gold mining is now recognized as a key building block for rural economic development by international organizations like the UN and the World Bank – as was the case for Canada 100 years ago. Globally, it produces 400-500 tonnes of gold or 15-20% of annual gold production with a value of roughly USD$20 billion and involves 10-15 million people (>90% of the gold mining workforce). It supports a secondary economy of approximately 100 million people in 70+ countries. Business and government have begun to understand that supporting and investing in artisanal mining communities is fundamental to many sustainable rural development policies. The AGC has been a key player in providing innovative technical, environmental, health and policy solutions to governments, miners, and the many other stakeholders involved in the artisanal mining sector. This Canadian supported initiative in Peru represents a new and exciting opportunity for the Artisanal Gold Council to expand and strengthen its mission.

For more information about the Artisanal Gold Council visit www.artisanalgold.org.

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Pacific Rim College Announces Local Food Event on May 30

Apr 14, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA – Pacific Rim College is pleased to announce the launch of a pioneering food event. "The Feeding Ground: Inspirational Conversations with Victoria's Leading Food Experts" will showcase the successful and on-going journeys of five amazing food entrepreneurs.

This inaugural event features Stacey Toews of Level Ground Trading, Angela Moran of Mason Street Farm, Heather Benning of Be Love and Café Bliss, Dan Hayes of The London Chef, and Paul Underhill of Rumble. Pacific Rim College founder Todd Howard will moderate the event and spend 75 minutes engaging in dialogue with each of these community leaders to help to share their inspirational entrepreneurial journeys. The event, which is open to the public, is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 30 and will be held at Pacific Rim College. Following the event and beginning at 6 p.m., The London Chef will host a catered event that will allow participants to engage in further dialogue and enjoy the culinary creations of Chef Dan Hayes.

Click here for more information and to register.

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Winners of 26th Annual Awards for Engineering Excellence Announced at ACEC-BC Gala

Apr 14, 2015

(News Release) VANCOUVER – The 26th annual Awards for Engineering Excellence Gala, held Friday night at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, honoured the innovation and technical excellence of Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia (ACEC-BC) member firms.

"This year's winners represent the best and brightest that our industry has to offer, and are a testament to the amazing work of B.C.'s consulting engineers that we have been showcasing on this stage for 26 years," said Keith Sashaw, President and CEO, ACEC-BC.

The theme was "Countdown to Excellence," orbiting guests into a moon-scape atmosphere, filled with intergalactic possibilities. Special guest Her Honour, the Honourable Judith Guichon was in attendance to present the premier award of the evening, the Lieutenant Governor's Award for Engineering Excellence, to Buckland & Taylor for the design and construction engineering of the Champlain Bridge Superbeam and Modular Truss project (Montreal). An emergency situation arose when a major flexural crack was discovered in one of the post-tensioned girders of the Champlain Bridge. Within 48 hours the bridge was fixed by installing a stabilizing component – the Superbeam – until the winter weather subsided. A steel truss was later installed as a permanent solution, allowing the removal of the temporary Superbeam.

"Buckland & Taylor’s innovative approach, responsiveness and expertise played a critical role in the safe completion of such a large and complex project," said Sashaw. "Minimal impact was made to commuters and the flow of commercial goods on the bridge, despite the challenging winter working conditions."

Awards were given in five categories: Buildings, Municipal & Civil Infrastructure, Transportation & Bridges, Energy & Industry, and Soft Engineering.

An Award of Excellence in the Energy & Industry category was given to the Nanaimo Reservoir No. 1 & Energy Recovery Facility. Owned by the City of Nanaimo, the project commenced in 2013 and consists of a 14 million litre (ML) enclosed reinforced concrete water reservoir (storage tank). The reservoir includes a hydro electric plant to generate enough energy to power 60-70 homes. The energy produced will reduce the city's carbon footprint and the revenue earned by selling the power back into the system will help recoup operating costs of a water supply system.

Click here for the full media release and list of award winners.

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Local Green Businesses Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Earth Day from April 18 to 26

Apr 14, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA – The 25th anniversary of Earth Day is April 22, 2015 and for Victoria's green business community, Earth Day is a full week affair. From Saturday, April 18th through April 26th, over 15 of Victoria's sustainability leaders are participating in garbage clean-ups, gardening demonstrations and fundraisers to raise awareness for climate action.

April 18th 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Big Wheel Burger Earth Day Celebration co-hosted by students from Arbutus Global Middle School. Free hard-to-recycle station and pallet garden planting demonstrations from the Food Eco District (FED) at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.

April 18th to 26th - Big Wheel Burger - $1 from each transaction will go towards constructing a garden at Big Wheel Burger with FED.

April 20th 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. - designHouse Salon is celebrating Sustainable Beauty Day with haircuts and manicures by donation (first come first serve) and a silent auction. All proceeds go to The Tree Planting Foundation to plant rare Breadnut Trees in El Salvador as part of Davines' international sustainable beauty week.

April 21st 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. - 4th Annual Earth Day Garbage Showdown. Businesses compete to see who can collect the most pieces of garbage in one hour. Participants include founding members of the Victoria Sustainable Tourism Alliance: Inn at Laurel Point, Eagle Wing Tours, Harbour Air, as well as WildPlay, FreshCoast, Synergy Enterprises and more! The Synergy team will include representatives from Transit Cycle, wannawaffel, Hemp & Company and designHouse Salon.

April 22nd 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. - Oughted Coffee & Tea will unveil their new, state-of-the-art, energy efficient coffee roasters at their Carbon Neutral Roastery in Delta.

April 22nd - Habit Coffee will announce their plans to plant 44 trees to offset their paper use for 2014 and will have displays at both locations showcasing their sustainability program.

April 22nd - Outer Shores Expeditions crew and guests will conduct a beach clean and photography session focusing on marine debris while on tour in Barkley Sound and The Broken Group Islands.

April 22nd - JASCO Applied Sciences staff will participate in a one hour cleanup at the Vancouver Island Tech Park (VITP).

April 22nd - Freshcoast Earth Day features and additional donations made to 1% for the Planet when customers bring in their own containers.

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B.C. Challenges The World As Work Begins on Climate Action Plan 2.0

Apr 14, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA – Building on British Columbia's climate success in advance of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris this December, Premier Christy Clark today announced the Province is challenging other jurisdictions to match or exceed the world-leading standard B.C. has set for climate action.

"British Columbia has set the global standard for carbon pricing with our carbon tax, and other governments are increasingly getting on board," said Premier Christy Clark. "The climate action challenge we're making to other governments is clear and simple: meet it or beat it. Anything we can do to encourage steps in the right direction will help make a difference."

In recognition of B.C.'s demonstrated climate leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while growing a strong, diverse economy and creating jobs, Premier Clark has been invited by the World Bank to participate in conversations about climate change at the World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C. on April 17. Premier Clark will talk specifically about B.C.'s carbon tax, which sets a powerful example for the world. This is the first time a Canadian premier has been invited to speak at this forum.

Meanwhile, Mike Bernier, Parliamentary Secretary for Energy Literacy and the Environment for the Minister of Environment, has brought the 'meet it or beat it' challenge to Boston, at the invitation of Massachusetts legislators who are considering a carbon tax of their own. Bernier spoke about B.C.’s climate actions, including its revenue-neutral carbon tax, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston on April 13. Bernier also will bring the challenge to the Council of the Federation when he represents Premier Clark at the First Ministers’ climate summit in Quebec City on April 14.

Premier Clark also announced work will soon get underway to build on B.C.'s successful Climate Action Plan to help move the Province’s climate agenda forward, ensuring that B.C. remains a global climate leader.

The first step in that process will be the formation of a new Climate Leadership Team, to be chaired by Bernier. The Climate Leadership Team, to be comprised of leaders from the business, academic and environmental communities, including First Nations, will provide advice and recommendations to government on how to maintain B.C.'s climate leadership through a new Climate Action Plan 2.0. Team members are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

"B.C. has shown we can move forward on reducing greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to grow the economy," said Environment Minister Mary Polak. "We proved the critics wrong by meeting our 2012 GHG reduction target, and we remain committed to achieving the 2020 and 2050 targets as well. However, we have been clear from the outset that more actions would be needed to meet our legislated targets. The Climate Leadership Team will help us move the bar even higher as we develop our Climate Action Plan 2.0."

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United Way Greater Victoria Welcomes Bruce Williams as 2015 Campaign Chair

Apr 13, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA – United Way Greater Victoria would like to welcome Bruce Williams as its 2015 Community Campaign Chair. As CTV Vancouver Island’s Manager of Community and Client Relations, on-air TV Host of "Foodie Fridays," and host of Café Victoria on CFAX 1070 Radio, Bruce’s dedication to the United Way movement began in Ontario over 20 years ago. After relocating to Vancouver Island in 2001, he began working closely with United Way, investing his personal time, being a donor at the Leadership level, and sharing his expertise through various roles including Campaign Cabinet member, leadership presenter, and event emcee.

"Bruce is a self-described communicator and fundraiser and I describe him as someone who always gets the job done," says Patricia Jelinski, CEO at United Way. "As a United Way honorary life member, Bruce has a strong connection to the organization and his personal commitment is an inspiration to all of us. He speaks from the heart about his dedication to our mission. We are fortunate to have his leadership for our upcoming 2015 campaign."

"In my role at CTV, the most common thread I see connecting community organizations and programs is United Way support," says Williams. "I am a big believer in efficiency for effectiveness, and how collaboration leads to success. I invest my time and money with the United Way because I have seen how it has a positive impact on this community. I'm proud to lead this team. I promise we will grow United Way support and further enhance positive outcomes for the thousands of people who benefit from our hard work."

Relating to his volunteer work with United Way, Bruce is the recipient of the Chair's Award of Excellence from United Way of Canada and received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Other awards include:

• 2013 Outstanding Volunteer Award from Vancouver Island University
• 2013 Tourism Vancouver Island "MVP"
• 2012 Leadership Victoria Rotary Community Award
• 2010 BC Toastmasters Leadership and Communication Award
• 2010 Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce Sterling Awards' Citizen of the Year
• Named one of the Top 20 Influencers on Vancouver Island by Douglas Magazine

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Greater Victoria Recognized as One of Top 10 Small Cities in North and South America

Apr 13, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA – Greater Victoria has been recognized as one of the top 10 small cities from North and South America for both Human Capital and Lifestyle and Investment Strategies. The results of this year's analysis of the top cities has been announced by London’s Financial Times in their bi-annual fDi American Cities of the Future publication.

Top 10 placement for Investment Strategies was awarded for the pro-active three-year trade and investment program undertaken by the Greater Victoria Development Agency (GVDA) and its partners that has resulted in among other things over $10 million in new investment in Victoria with two more years to go.

"We have worked hard to benefit the economy of Greater Victoria and it is great to see our efforts recognized by such a globally respected leader (The Financial Times)," said Dallas Gislason, economic development officer for the GVDA.

The top 10 placement for Human Capital and Lifestyle provides international exposure for the desirability of the region. "We're in the process of reinventing Victoria as a leading edge city that embraces the future and builds on the past," says Lisa Helps, Mayor of Victoria. "Jam-packed with innovation, creativity and entrepreneurs Victoria's human capital has the potential to make a significant contribution in the knowledge-based 21st century economy."

Companies follow talent and the GVDA is actively working with partners to court entrepreneurs and individuals with key skill sets who possess the business acumen to work anywhere and demand a positive work/life environment such as the one Victoria offers. "We know we have a great place to live and a very strong and well-educated workforce. It is great to see that view is shared globally," said Dan Dagg, chair of the GVDA. “We will be able to use this award to further our attraction of skilled labour and continue to grow our economy."

The recognition of our strength as one of the top cities in the Americas marks a successful end of the first year of a 3-year $1.6-million economic growth program. The GVDA works to sustain and create new household sustaining jobs in Greater Victoria. The agency provides information to hundreds of investors annually, works to retain existing business and help businesses grow.

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PPP Canada Funding Extension Approved

Apr 09, 2015

(News release) VICTORIA – The Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee (CALWMC) has announced that they have signed an agreement with PPP Canada that will allow for a one year extension to make decisions on how to treat wastewater in the core area with the PPP Canada funding of $83.4 million intact.

"With the substantial efforts from the Eastside and Westside Select Committees and the Core Committee we have made considerable progress on the wastewater treatment file over the last few months," said CALWMC Chair Nils Jensen. "By unanimously committing to an aggressive work plan that sets out a clear process with key objectives and milestones we have provided PPP Canada with confidence in our ability to achieve our goals."

In December 2014, Director Jensen was elected as Chair of the CRD Board. Due to the uncertainty around wastewater treatment in the core area he took the unusual step in appointing himself as chair of the CALWMC in order to help move the Committee into a more stable situation.

"I am pleased to say that the PPP Canada work plan provides a clear focus for the work of the Core Area Committee as well as the Westside and Eastside Select Committees," said Chair Jensen. "I am satisfied that I can now take on a more traditional member role on this committee rather than continuing on as its Chair."

Director Lisa Helps has agreed to fill the role of Chair for the CALWMC effective May 13.

"Getting shovels in the ground on wastewater treatment and resource recovery in the core area is the biggest project the CRD has undertaken to date; no one person can do it alone," said Director Lisa Helps. "I am pleased to accept the role of Chair. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the region on a collaborative process which will result in a cost-effective, environmentally sound, and long-term solution that will be supported – and indeed celebrated – by the public."

The CRD is responsible for formulating one final Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan and managing the financial contributions from senior levels of government. Provincial requirements state that the approved CALWMP must be implemented by an independent body, in this case the Seaterra Commission.

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March Traffic On BC Ferries Up 5 Per Cent Over Last Year

Apr 09, 2015

(News release) VICTORIA – Traffic is up on BC Ferries over the same period last year, with March showing increases of over 5 per cent for vehicles and nearly 4 per cent for passengers. In March 2015, BC Ferries welcomed an additional 51,937 passengers and 29,861 vehicles compared to March 2014. February was even better with increases of over 10 per cent for passengers and nearly 11 per cent for vehicles.

"These numbers are very positive and we are optimistic we'll have an outstanding summer for traffic on BC Ferries this year," said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries' President & CEO. "Indications are that lower gas prices and a weaker Canadian dollar will combine to increase traffic this summer. We are also optimistic for the future with annual preliminary price caps set at or below inflation at 1.9 per cent from 2016 to 2020."

Tourism is rebounding from the economic downturn and it is expected to be a busy tourist season in B.C. Travel and accommodation are experiencing increases, and BC Ferries is predicting this upward trend in passenger and vehicle traffic will remain strong for the tourist season.

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First Ever SSDCo Ideas Fair Spotlights First Nations Entrepreneurship And Community Economic Development

Apr 08, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA — Skwin'ang'eth Se'las Development Company (SSDCo) is gearing up to host its first ever Open House & Ideas Fair on Saturday, April 11, 2015, from 10am – 2pm at the Songhees Wellness Centre. This exciting new event brings together Victoria businesses and the Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation with the broader community to generate ideas and opportunities for entrepreneurship and partnerships for community economic development. Highlights include a “Dragon’s Den” style entrepreneur competition and First Nations dancing and drumming performances.

The Ideas Fair has broad support from the community and local businesses. For the full list of participating partners and sponsors, please download the event poster. The following lists partners at each sponsorship level—

Platinum sponsor: Vancity
Gold sponsors: Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, Babcock, Seaspan, Grant Thornton, CH2MHill.
Silver sponsors: BC Transit, The Butchart Gardens, Wilson’s Transportation Ltd., Helijet, CCAE, BC Ferries, Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC, Canoe Cove Marina Services, Capital Investment Network
Bronze sponsors: Salish Sea Industrial Services, Western Stevedoring, Ralmax, Oceans Networks Canada, IMTARC Industrial Marine, CVS Sightseeing, Spirit of Victoria, The Chamber, Social Enterprise Catalyst, Community Micro Lending, Tourism Victoria, Whitehall Spirit, Camosun College, Greater Victoria Development Agency, Ocean River Sports, Downtown Victoria Business Association

The event is hosted by the Skwin’ang’eth Se’las Development Company—a collaboration between the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Songhees Nation and Esquimalt Nation.

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