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Victoria Whisky Festival Celebrates Ten Years of Great Drams

Jan 14, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA — As the world converges on Victoria to celebrate everything Whisky, the Victoria Whisky Festival is celebrating 10 years of appreciating the world’s best drams. Since its inception the Festival has more than doubled the number of whiskies and the number of countries represented at the Festival. It is a reflection of the variety and number of whiskies that are being produced worldwide – and the international interest in them.

This year the Victoria Whisky Festival will showcase over 250 whiskies made in 50 distilleries from nine countries. For the first time, France has joined the lineup which also includes Scotland, Ireland, England, Canada, United States, Japan, Taiwan and India.

Since its inception, proceeds from the Victoria Whisky Festival have supported a variety of charitable initiatives. By the end of the tenth year the Victoria Whisky Festival will have donated over $200,000 to organizations including the T.L.C. Fund For Kids and Victoria Crime Stoppers.

Growth in the Festival’s events and the number of whiskies present is representative of the growth of whisky producers and appreciators around the world. The first year the Festival showcased 100 whiskies from Scotland, Ireland, United States and Canada. A tasting event was held Friday evening and four Masterclasses were held on Saturday followed by a grand tasting. The number of Master classes jumped from 4 Masterclasses to 15 in the second year. The Festival has grown to include 36 Master classes, plus eight Grand Tastings on Thursday and Friday, and concludes with VIP and consumer tastings on Saturday evening.

“Interest has grown immensely in whisky and in the distilleries that make them,” says Lawrence Graham, President, Victoria Whisky Festival. “People are interested in the details of how the spirit is made and where it comes from. More and more people are coming with their notebooks and asking questions about influences on the whisky. People are showing a much more serious interest than ever before and it’s part of what makes the Festival so popular with distillers from around the world.”

The 2015 Festival features more women presenters than any previous Festival. Six women will present grand tastings and masterclasses covering a broad spectrum of the whisky world. Presenters include Annabel Meikle, global ambassador for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society; Johanne McInnes, Canada’s “Whisky Lassie”; Georgie Bell, global ambassador for Mortlach Distillery; Alwynne Gwilt, Miss Whisky Founder and Editor; Tish Harcus, Brand Ambassador for Canadian Club and Beth Havers, Canadian brand ambassador for Balvenie.

“We have seen the percentage of female attendees increase significantly in the last few years. Women are discovering that the immense range of whisky styles appeal to a range of tastes. And women aren’t afraid to give them a try,” says Graham.

This year also marks the fifth anniversary of the Canadian Whisky Awards which celebrates the best in Canadian Whisky produced across the country. Distillers will come together with whisky enthusiasts on January 15 to recognize the best in the Canadian industry. Winners will be posted at www.canadianwhisky.org.

The Victoria Whisky Festival is held annually at the Hotel Grand Pacific. The Festival hosts three days of events including Masterclasses, consumer tastings and a Grand Tasting. Presenters come from around the world. The proceeds of the Victoria Whisky Festival are donated to charitable organizations. Details at www.victoriawhiskyfestival.com.

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Capital Regional District to Consider Forming Wastewater Select Committee for Saanich, Victoria and Oak Bay

Jan 09, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA - The Capital Regional District (CRD) Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee passed a motion on January 7 recommending that the CRD Board approve the formation of a Wastewater and Resource Recovery Select Committee for the Saanich, Victoria and Oak Bay participants of the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan (CALWMP).

Under the new CRD Select Committee Framework, this Select Committee would allow the municipalities of Saanich, Victoria and Oak Bay to take a leading role in identifying wastewater treatment options for their communities as part of a comprehensive regional solution.

If approved, the Select Committee will be supported by the CRD and municipal staff to develop and evaluate sub-regional treatment options for their communities, conduct costing exercises and work with other municipalities to optimize existing conveyance infrastructure.

Last November, westside participants (Colwood, Esquimalt, Langford, View Royal, and Songhees First Nation) developed the Westside Wastewater and Resource Recovery Select Committee and initiated the Westside Solutions Project to engage citizens to work collectively to identify solutions for wastewater treatment and resource recovery that meet the unique needs of the westside. An engagement campaign with westside residents, including a series of open houses and an online survey, is currently underway.

Public consultation will remain a focus for each Select Committee. Sub-regional wastewater treatment plans that are produced through these Select Committees could form the basis for an amendment to the CRD’s CALWMP.

The municipalities of Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood and Langford and the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations collectively are participants of the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Service which is managed and operated by the CRD in accordance with the CALWMP. The Province has confirmed that the CRD is responsible for implementing secondary wastewater treatment in the core area within timelines prescribed in the CALWMP.

For more information on the Select Committee or on how the CRD is planning for wastewater treatment, please visit: www.crd.bc.ca/wastewater.

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Local Frozen Yogurt business Expands its Menu by Offering Healthy Alternatives to Traditional Fast Food

Jan 08, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA — Josh Kalef, owner of Kulture Frozen Yogurt, has expanded his successful local
frozen yogurt business in opening FreshCoast Health Food Bar. 
FreshCoast provides quick and nutritious options for people on the go. This new and unique concept will build on Joshʼs commitment that was created with his frozen yogurt to source locally-produced products with a strong focus on environmental sustainability.

One of the key features of FreshCoast is its in-house production of cold pressed juices, a technique which presses instead of heating and blending, thereby retaining more nutrients. FreshCoast will be the first restaurant in Victoria to offer cold pressed juice on-tap. The health food bar will offer a creative menu with many healthy food options, including salads, wraps and smoothies made fresh to order. The unique “store- within-a-store” will still feature its "build it yourself" Kulture Frozen Yogurt and take home pints with over 75 original flavours to share with the family.

"Victoria is a health-conscious population that cares about nutrition, but we are also a social and busy community, so we wanted to create something fast and healthy," says Josh.

Josh has employed the extensive health food experience of chef and
restaurateur, Cosmo Meens, to provide healthy options for customers to eat in or take- away. The operating model emphasizes strong bottom-line values – Passion, People and Planet. FreshCoast is working with local businesses and non-profits to minimize
its carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier planet. As new members of 1% for the Planet, FreshCoast will be donating 1% of all sales to local non-profits committed to protecting and enriching the environment.

FreshCoast will also be the second business in the Hillside and Cedar Hill X Rd complex to be certified by the Vancouver Island Green Business Certification.

FreshCoast, located at #202 – 3749 Shelbourne St. will be celebrating their Grand Opening on Saturday, January 24th 2015. During regular business hours 11am to 5pm FreshCoast will offer a 25% discount food, drink and frozen yogurt. The evening will host the Grand Opening Party from 7-10pm. Members of media and the local community can RSVP to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Grand Opening will help customers to fulfill their New Year's Resolutions for healthy living by offering fresh ingredients, whole delicious foods for every palate and creative options to meet those goals.

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Canadian Club Victoria Luncheon Featuring Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada and MP, Saanich Gulf Islands

Jan 06, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA — Elizabeth May is the featured speaker at the Canadian Club luncheon on Tuesday, January 20 at the Harbour Towers Hotel in Victoria.  Her presentation is entitled “Taking Action on Climate Change: Locally and Globally."

Elizabeth May has a long record as a committed and dedicated advocate -- for social justice, for the environment, for human rights, and for economic pragmatic solutions. She is an environmentalist, writer, activist and lawyer who has been active in the environmental movement since 1970.

Elizabeth is the author of eight books, most recently “Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada” (Greystone, 2014). Among her many awards are the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Sierra Club, the International Conservation Award from the Friends of Nature and the United Nations Global 500 Award.  She was named one of the world’s leading women environmentalists by the United Nations in 2006. I

In 2006, Elizabeth was elected the Green Party’s ninth leader at their national convention in August 2006. In the 2011 Election, Elizabeth made history by being the first Green Party candidate to be elected to the House of Commons. She now represents the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.   In 2012, she was voted Parliamentarian of the Year, 2013 she was voted Hardest Working MP, and in 2014 she was voted Best Orator by her colleagues in the House of Commons. Elizabeth was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005. In November, 2010, Newsweek magazine named her “one of the world’s most influential women.”

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Database Highlights First Nations' Economic Development Opportunities

Jan 06, 2015

(News Release) VICTORIA — Businesses, Aboriginals and investors looking to do business with First Nations in B.C. have a new tool to track the wide range of related economic activities with the First Nations Economic Development Database (FNEDD).

This is the first time that a comprehensive, searchable database of First Nations’ economic activity has been made available online. The tool was developed by the Aboriginal Business and Investment Council in partnership with the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training.

More than 1,100 First Nations businesses and potential business partners are registered in the online database, which also collects information from a number of public sources. The database includes details about First Nations communities, companies and economic development agreements, as well as their relationship to major projects throughout the province.

Many First Nations are active leaders and partners with government and industry in developing the resource wealth found in their traditional territories. The database is a clear demonstration of just how First Nations are engaging in economic development and a wide range of business ventures.

Businesses and investors looking to partner with First Nations, and Aboriginal companies wanting to make sure they are part of the database, can get the information they need by visiting: https://www.fnedd.ca/about.html

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Year-to-Date Results Show Continued Strong Tourism Growth

Dec 30, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – As 2014 comes to a close Greater Victoria’s tourism businesses are celebrating a successful year in an industry that continues to recover and create a path for future growth in 2015.

Chemistry Consulting Group’s November 2014 Victoria Tourism Bulletin will be released in full in early January but indicators show growth over 2013, with a significant increase year-over-year in Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR).

“We are very pleased with 2014 and particularly pleased with the growth in the shoulder season,” says Paul Nursey, President & CEO. “It’s incredibly important to build the shoulder season business to support our strong high season, and we will continue to do so in 2015.”

Tourism Victoria is preparing for 2015 with various upcoming campaigns and events including a romance campaign through late January and February and bold broadcast campaign from March through June. More emphasis will also be placed on the meetings and conventions business.

“Closer collaboration with the Victoria Conference Centre is key to the destination’s success,” says Nursey. “Together we share the same objective to build the business. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels; at Tourism Victoria we are working even harder with our members and partners to position Greater Victoria for long-term, sustained success."

With the support of valued members, municipalities and the Victoria Hotel Destination Marketing Association, Tourism Victoria commits investments in festivals and events, creates award-winning destination marketing campaigns and conducts far-reaching international sales initiatives. These combined activities make for a vibrant and bustling destination.

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Greater Victoria Exports the Pathway to Higher-Paying Jobs

Dec 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – New technology and skill development are among key issues to enhance export capacity for Greater Victoria export businesses. Other areas key to enhancing export capacity include financing and production capacity. The results from Greater Victoria Development Agency’s (GDVA) export study, Developing Greater Victoria’s Export Capacity, were released today.

The study resulted from four months of research that engaged 150 local companies on how the region can grow small companies into job creators. The research was launched as part of an aggressive effort to reinvigorate the Greater Victoria’s economy.

“Our economy is not keeping pace with other cities in the rest of Canada. We have a tremendous opportunity to expand by helping more companies go international,” said Dallas Gislason, Economic Development Officer with GVDA. “What this translates into is a potential for household sustaining jobs, opportunities for families and young people to grow careers right here in Greater Victoria.”

The announcement, made this morning at Neverblue—one of the region’s largest technology firms—was made by both Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. The two mayors came together in a demonstration that the region’s economy is integrated and regional in nature. The report emphasized that encouraging a more active role of local governments in creating jobs is necessary and will ultimately benefit the entire region as a whole regardless where the these jobs are located or where the employees live. Jobs equate to support of local business, local charities, and demand for new developments that help diversify our region’s tax base.

The next step for the GVDA is to coordinate responses to the study’s recommendations beginning as early as February 2015, when they will launch an export development workshop series focused on building small firms’ capacity to grow internationally.

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Victoria’s Hotel Grand Pacific Debuts On List Of World’s Best Hotels

Dec 16, 2014

Victoria’s Hotel Grand Pacific Debuts On List Of World’s Best Hotels

(News Release) VICTORIA – For the first time, respected U.S. travel magazine Travel + Leisure has named Victoria’s Hotel Grand Pacific as one of the world’s top places to stay in its annual “T+L 500” feature.

The hotel is the only Victoria property included on the list, and is one of just ten British Columbian hotels and resorts to make the cut.
The “T+L 500” list was determined by the magazine’s readers through its annual survey, with the results appearing in the January 2015 issue of the magazine. Properties are rated on rooms/facilities, location, service, restaurants and food, as well as value. Earlier this year, the same magazine also ranked the Hotel Grand Pacific in the top 10 on its list of “Top City Hotels in Canada,” as part of their 2014 “World’s Best” Awards.

“It’s such an honour to be recognized by a publication as esteemed as Travel + Leisure,” said Reid James, general manager of the Hotel Grand Pacific. “We’ve recently started a major renovation to the property, so we’re looking forward to providing future guests with a hotel experience that is even more exceptional once our upgrades are complete.”

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Neverblue Launches Full Service Ad Serving Network, adZerve

Dec 16, 2014



(News Release) VICTORIA — Neverblue, a leading performance marketing company, today launched its proprietary ad serving platform, adZerve (http://www.adzerve.com ) to better monetize ad inventory for site owners, and increase global distribution for advertisers.

adZerve is a global, full service ad serving platform that provides premium, managed ad operations for top tier advertisers, agencies and publishers across every major digital advertising vertical.

adZerve builds on Neverblue’s ten-years as a trusted partner in the global performance marketing industry. adZerve’s fully managed platform provides advertisers with full transparency on their campaigns placements while giving publishers direct access to top tier advertisers.

“adZerve is the natural expansion for Neverblue,” said Bjorn Hougaard, Vice President of Network for Neverblue. “Our global inventory of thousands of brand advertisers can provide 100% fill rates for our site owners. Our advertisers receive qualified global distribution partners across 5 continents.” he added.

With nearly 200 employees and expansion to offices in Asia, Europe and the U.S., Neverblue is continuing to aggressively grow its business operations.

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UAE Tops the List of Potential Markets for Greater Victoria

Dec 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Gulf region top the list of potential markets for Greater Victoria exporters. The UAE along with Brazil, Australia, Germany, Mexico and the UK were identified as potential key markets by Greater Victoria export businesses. These findings were released today with the Greater Victoria Development Agency’s (GVDA) export study Developing Greater Victoria’s Export Capacity.

The report also identifies key markets that Greater Victoria businesses currently export to including the US, Europe, China and Australia. In addition, the report identifies major barriers to export growth that local businesses are facing as well as vital ways to enhance export capacity.

“This study, spearheaded by the GVDA, is the first of its kind in the region. Before now, we didn’t have a sense of the exporting environment in the region,” said Bruce Carter, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. “This sector has massive potential for creating jobs in our region. Identifying barriers that local exporters are facing is important to overcoming them in order to further develop our export sector. This is the first step towards growing exports in our economy.”

The research was conducted as part of the Trade and Investment Program launched in April 2014, in response to stagnant economic growth in the region. The program was announced by Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. Partners also contributed $600,000 to the $900,000 federal government investment to launch this $1.5 million program.

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China’s First Environmental Management Graduate Students Receive Joint Royal Roads, Tianjin University Degree

Dec 15, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Thirty six students have graduated from China’s first environmental management master’s degree program – a two year program jointly offered by Royal Roads University and Tianjin University of Technology (TUT).

“This program is a unique collaboration between Royal Roads and our Chinese academic partner in Tianjin that provides environmental education which has become critically important in China,” says President and Vice-chancellor of Royal Roads Allan Cahoon who participated at the ceremony in Tianjin last month. “We were able to apply our almost twenty years’ experience delivering environmental education in the development of this degree. This graduation is a proud moment for both the graduates and the two institutions.”

Tianjin University of Technology President Hongyang Jing says the collaborative effort with Royal Roads and its team of environmental science experts and scholars has provided excellent results.

“Together we have cultivated senior environmental management professionals with intercultural communication ability, who think logically and critically with global vision and who are replete with academia concerned with sustainable development,” says Jing. “This is exactly how we can meet our country’s professional demand within the field of environmental science and environmental resource management.”

In early 2011 Royal Roads received approval by the Chinese Ministry of Education to jointly deliver a Master of Arts in Environmental Management, the country’s first graduate level environmental management program. Working with educators from TUT, Royal Roads jointly created a face-to-face program taught by faculty from both institutions that began the fall of 2012 on the Tianjin campus. This is the first graduating cohort from the program.

Royal Roads faculty member Tony Boydell, who was instrumental in the delivery of the joint initiative, says there was great learning involved all around.

“We have collaborated well throughout this process, combining our experiences, knowledge and innovation to further environmental management and environment-focussed leadership in China,” says Boydell. “We have learned a great deal from each other regarding innovative and sustainable solutions to our environmental challenges and I think it’s the students who will benefit the most.”

Royal Roads University, a public university established in 1995, offers a progressive model of post-secondary education, delivering applied and professional programs through the faculties of management and social and applied sciences. The university offers its students a unique blended learning experience, combining online and on-campus instruction, as well as full time intensive on-campus instruction in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees, certificates and diplomas. It also offers progressive executive, custom and continuing studies programs.

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Bc Ferries Eliminates Fuel Surcharge Before The Holidays

Dec 15, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – BC Ferries’ President and CEO Mike Corrigan announced today that the 3.4 per cent fuel surcharge will be removed as of Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

“With the current favourable market conditions, we have been hedging our diesel fuel costs and are now in a position to eliminate the fuel surcharge, which is great news for holiday travellers,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We know that fare affordability is an issue for our customers and we are pleased to be able to reduce the cost of ferry travel, as every bit helps.”

BC Ferries still has an outstanding balance in its fuel deferral account, but the remainder continues to drop and forecasts indicate that the balance will be reduced to zero in the first half of 2015.

Under contract to the Province of British Columbia, BC Ferries is the service provider responsible for the delivery of safe, efficient and dependable ferry service along coastal British Columbia.

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Top 10 Companies Announced For Small Business BC Awards

Dec 12, 2014

(News Release) BRITISH COLUMBIA —  The Top 10 semi-finalists for the 12th Annual Small Business BC Awards have now been selected. These awards acknowledge the contribution that over 400,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs in our province make to their local communities and the global economy.

From October 1 to November 30, British Columbians were asked to nominate and vote for their favourite small businesses. This year was the biggest year yet for the competition with over 460 nominations received from upwards of 70 communities across the province.

Nominated companies were given two months to gain as many votes as possible through word-of-mouth, social media, e-communications and other creative means. Those who activated their communities and received the most votes have been named Top 10 semi-finalists.

These small businesses will now move forward to face a panel of judges, who will review their applications, and based on the award criteria, narrow down the competition to the Top 5 finalists in each category.


Best Concept
Kekuli Cafe Merritt
Playgrounds Cafe
Rise Adventure & Wellness Solutions
Soil Mate
Swept Away Inn
Willow Wellness Centre

Best Community Impact
Bob’s Bar & Grill
Coast Salish Development Corporation
eeko Couriers Inc.
Lighthouse Visionary Strategies
Sole Girls
Spark Creations
Squamish ReBuild Society
The Rice Box

Best Company
Alitis Investment Counsel
CoreHealth Technologies
Fully Managed
Nonna Pia’s Gourmet Sauces Ltd
Omega & Associates Engineering Ltd.
Pro-Med Ambulance Services
RaceRocks 3D
Rocky Point Ice Cream
Versatile Fitness

Best Emerging Entrepreneur
Culinary Ink GastroVentures LTD
Float Space
Hungry For Happiness
Iron Oxide Art Supplies
Jane Long, Chartered Accountant
MyAlberni APP
Plenty and Spare Naturals
Rise Adventure & Wellness Solutions
The Juicery Co.
White Rock Skimboarding

Best Employer
6S Marketing Inc
Canadian Wilderness Adventures
Casanova Painting
Durning Directions and Services Ltd.
Dynamic Owl
Gray Monk Estate Winery
Intuitive Independence Rehabilitation Services
Origin Gluten-Free Bakery Ltd
R&B Plumbing & Heating Ltd.
RDC Fine Homes Inc.

Best Immigrant Entrepreneur
Amando Natural Stone
Andrew Watson Design
Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie
Infinity Enterprises Group Ltd.
Nanaimo & Voyager Magazine
Shiraz Cafe and Restaurant
Success Road Enterprises / Iman Biock Aghay
Vancouver Tumblebus
Your Score Booster

Best International Trade
Arcadia Trading Inc.
Averill Creek Vineyard
Branded Athletics
Doi Chaang Coffee Company
Manatee Holdings Ltd.
Orazio’s Olive Oil
Polar Feet
Target Marine Hatcheries
VIVO Masks

Best Online Marketer
All Inclusive Marketing
Barkerville Brewing Co.
Heartstrings Home Decor
Social Media Minder
The Greenery Garden Centre
VIVO Masks
Vonbon Children’s Apparel Inc.
Web Friendly
Best Workplacet

Chris’s Sign & Lighting Service Inc.
CoreHealth Technologies
Cowpuccino’s Coffee House
Mel’s Mainstreet Pizza & Pasta
Nucleus Networks Inc.
Sproing Creative
White Kennedy LLP

Premier’s People’s Choice
Blooming Arrangements
Firehall Brewery
Game Quest
Industry Hair & Body Care
Julie’s Edible Bouquets
Nonna Pia’s Gourmet Sauces Ltd
On Top Fashion
RM Stone Masonry
So Country Radio with Dennis Walker
Soup Wallah

The top ten semi-finalists must now complete an extended award application which will be used to narrow down the competition to the top five finalists in each category. The top five finalists in these categories will be announced on January 30, 2014.

The winners will be honoured on February 26, 2015 at the Small Business BC Awards Ceremony at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver.

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