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Tourism Victoria And Partners Lead Industry With Close To 1,000 Calls On China Sales Mission

Oct 09, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Tourism Victoria and partner businesses are collaborating together to lead industry and drive business with its 2015 annual Asia sales mission in China and Japan. This is the largest mission to date and combined the delegation will conduct almost 1,000 sales calls and conference appointments.

2014 year-to-date data from Destination BC shows overnight custom entries to B.C. from Asia have grown 11.7 per cent over 2013, with China growing 29.7 per cent alone. Tourism Victoria is dedicated to being active and aggressive in pursuing new business in the market. From October 11 to 28, 2014, Tourism Victoria along with eight tourism partner businesses will travel to Asia to take part in annual conferences and sales calls in the region.

“The potential in the China market is huge,” says Paul Nursey, President & CEO of Tourism Victoria. “We are focused on growing our presence and investment to support the long term potential and volume of this market. Working together as a cohesive Greater Victoria sales team is the key to success.”

Participants in the sales mission include Tourism Victoria, The Butchart Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Hotel Grand Pacific, the Royal BC Museum, Chateau Victoria, Victoria Clipper and Huntingdon Manor. With the combined individual initiatives along with opportunities from Destination BC and Canadian Tourism Commission, the delegation will deliver an impactful presence, generate leads, close deals and build product awareness.

“We have worked with local businesses and Tourism Victoria to increase investment and open markets for our community,” says Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin. “Tourism is one of Victoria’s top sectors and we are proud to support Tourism Victoria’s work to develop international partnerships and grow our local economy.”


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Launch of Authentic Indigenous Arts Initiative supports hundreds of Indigenous artists across BC

Oct 09, 2014

(News Release) COAST SALISH TERRITORIES – The Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC) launched its Authentic Indigenous Arts initiative, designed to honour the rich, diverse cultures of Indigenous peoples throughout BC, and protect the authenticity of Indigenous arts for future generations.

The Authentic Indigenous Arts initiative was designed to provide a simple way to clearly identify authentic Indigenous art, and protection of the art.  It was also created to educate consumers, travellers and resellers on the positive community impact of buying authentic Indigenous art and crafts; to influence consumers, travellers and resellers to seek out and purchase authentic Indigenous products in British Columbia; and to nurture economic and cultural sustainability in First Nations communities throughout the province.

“Over the years, as interest in local Indigenous art has grown, we unfortunately have experienced an influx of knock offs into the market,” says Keith Henry, CEO of Aboriginal Tourism BC. “We want the consumers to buy  authentic Indigenous art with confidence.  Thanks to the work of Shain Jackson, and the Authentic Indigenous Arts team, the Authentic Indigenous Arts initiative is a simple way for consumers to identify authenticity and make a conscious choice to contribute to supporting local Aboriginal communities and artists.”

It is estimated that the sale of Northwest Coast art generates more than $100M annually in Vancouver, BC alone. British Columbia is home to the largest number of Indigenous artists, with almost one-third of the country’s Indigenous artists (about 900 artists or 29 per cent of the Canadian total). These artists account for 3.8 per cent of all artists in BC.

“Arts and culture are integral for enhancing the visitors experience, especially as we have an increasing number of visitors seeking an authentic experience. This program is another way to enhance the visitor’s experience when travelling to BC,” says Brenda Baptiste, Chair of AtBC.

“As an artist myself, it has always been important that Indigenous artists are at the heart of this process,” says Shain Jackson, owner of Spirit Works Ltd. “Our goal now is to get every BC Indigenous artist signed up for the initiative, as well as resellers to support the program.  If we work together, this will be the single biggest shift in control over our artwork that has happened since contact, and in addition the single biggest shift in resources from the sale of our artwork.  And on top of this, the consumers now have a trusted way to ensure they are purchasing local Indigenous art.”

The program uses a three tier process to certify Aboriginal artwork as well as products carrying Aboriginal designs. Each tier corresponds to a defined area within the Aboriginal art market, which allows for maximum participation by Aboriginal artists in what is being sold in addition to ensuring fair value is going back to artisans and their communities.

More than 31 Indigenous artists attended the pilot Authentic Indigenous Arts workshop in Victoria this past June, provided feedback on the tier system and also developed a greater understanding of how valued their work is by consumers. Also as part of the program any retailer who commits to stocking at least 30 per cent of their Indigenous -themed products as endorsed by the Authentic Indigenous initiative may become a recommended retailer.

Throughout the summer, AtBC piloted an additional two workshops to create a group of more than 200 artisans and 7 retailers who are now supporting the Authentic Indigenous Arts initiative.

“Our artists are very excited about this initiative,” says Workshop facilitator and Program Coordinator, Lou-ann Ika’wega Neel. “This is the first time in nearly 30 years that our artists have had this level of support on a provincial level; and we are really looking forward to engaging directly with the public to share the rich and sophisticated artistic traditions of our people.”

The Authentic Indigenous Artisan Program tiers include:

Tier 1:

If an artist, or an artist via an Indigenous company, designs, produces, and distributes a piece of artwork or an Indigenous art product it will be permitted to display a “Tier 1” Authentic Indigenous stamp or tag. This tag ensures that Indigenous artists and craftspeople have been remunerated for their work, while at the same time the integrity of their designs is being protected.

Tier 2:

Tier 2 has been designed to assist Indigenous arts entrepreneurs and allow them to compete in a market where there has traditionally been no Indigenous involvement. If an Indigenous art product is designed by an Indigenous person and distributed by an Indigenous person or business, but made by others outside the Indigenous community, that product will be permitted to display a “Tier 2” Authentic Indigenous stamp or tag.

Tier 3:

Tier 3 products bear the artwork of an Indigenous artist who has been fairly compensated for their work and has also approved the final design. The producer and/or distributor need not be Indigenous.

Further Authentic Indigenous Arts workshops are scheduled throughout the year, with information on locations and dates available through the new website www.AuthenticIndigenous.com

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Orangetheory Fitness Now in Victoria

Oct 02, 2014

(News Release) — Orangetheory Fitness (www.orangetheoryfitness.com), the energizing group interval fitness concept that is sweeping the nation, will open its newest location on October 3rd in Victoria, BC.

Alberta born franchisees Troy Biever and Heath Gabrysh have transplanted themselves into the heart of the west coast with Orangetheory Fitness. As long time members of their respective business communities Troy and Heath believe strongly in local business working together, investing personally in their community, and always being a good neighbor. Although Troy and Heath are new to Victoria they`ve already reached out to and befriended a number of businesses around their neighborhood including, Moxie`s, Frontrunners, Status Barbershop, Cabana Tan, and Café 932.

Orangetheory Fitness is group personal training workout broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training. Backed by the science of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), Orangetheory Fitness’ heart-rate-monitored training is designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. Led by skilled instructors, participants use a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, SBT Suspension Training and free weights, burning an average of 900 calories per class. The result is the Orange Effect –more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours post-workout.

“Many people enjoy exercise but aren’t using their time effectively or tracking their results. At Orange theory fitness we monitor your results throughout your one hour workout and send them to you post workout for you to track your progress. Your results are displayed on screens throughout the studio during your one hour workout and a personal trainer is with you the entire hour monitoring your workout to ensure the best possible results,” says Heath Gabrysh, owner OTF Victoria.

Grand Opening Event: October 2nd 5pm-8pm — Studio preview, sample class, food & beverages, live music, giveaways and the opportunity to register for your first class.

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Strong Sales and Stable Real Estate Market Conditions Continue Through September

Oct 01, 2014

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

565 properties sold in the region this September - an increase of 16% compared to the 487 properties sold in the same month last year. The quarter ending in September shows a 15% increase in the number of sales overall compared to the same quarter in 2013.

“Once again we see more houses sold this month than last September,” Victoria Real Estate Board President Tim Ayres says. “We haven’t seen sales like this in September since 2009. The balanced market conditions we’ve seen over the last seven months mean property prices are stable, so it might be more comfortable for buyers and sellers to make a move because they know that property values are predictable.”

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core this time last year was $550,900. This month the benchmark value increased to $556,200.

“There are some districts in the Victoria area that have seen an increase in their benchmark values, and others that are relatively flat compared to last year,” adds Ayres. “Since there is this difference within the local market, it’s important to connect with your local REALTOR® to get an understanding of the market as it relates to your specific neighbourhood.”




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Pilot Project Promoting Artisans and Their Trade Opens in Sooke

Sep 30, 2014

(News Release) SOOKE — Tourists and residents in Sooke will have an opportunity for an interactive artisanal experience when they visit Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery.

On Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, the ÉCONOMUSÉE® Artisans at Work pilot project launched at the farm located at 8750 West Coast Road.

The ÉCONOMUSÉE® Artisans at Work project, supported by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and the B.C. Francophone Affairs Program, showcases artisans and their trades by helping them open their workshops to the general public to share their knowledge and expertise and sell the products they make on site.

The ÉCONOMUSÉE® Artisans at Work approach was first implemented in Quebec. The B.C. Francophone Affairs Program, in collaboration with the francophone business community and other government partners, are facilitating the development of ÉCONOMUSÉE® Artisans at Work projects in B.C.

Established in 2003, Tugwell Creek was the first meadery to open its doors in Western Canada and joined the ÉCONOMUSÉE® Artisans at Work network in 2014. Visitors there will get to experience first-hand the art of beekeeping and will learn all about how mead is made, from the collection of the honey through to the fermentation process. It will be a complete learning experience from beginning to end.

The first phase of the ÉCONOMUSÉE® project in B.C. involved the launch of two pilot sites in the Cowichan Valley:

Merridale Ciderworks, a heritage cider apple orchard, visitors can discover each step required in the crafting of a world class cider product through professionally developed interpretation techniques.

Hazelwood Herb Farm, where visitors have the opportunity to see how herbs are transformed into culinary, cosmetic and household products using traditional and contemporary techniques, in an interactive setting.

The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and the B.C. Francophone Affairs program are investing $30,000 in the ÉCONOMUSÉE® Artisans at Work projects in 2014/15. The Société de Développement Économique de la Colombie-Britannique (SDECB), a provincial, not-profit organization, is leading the implementation of the ÉCONOMUSÉE® pilot projects in B.C.

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Federal Funding Needed to Support Victoria Harbour Airport

Sep 29, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Victoria’s Harbour Airport is the last aerodrome in Canada owned by the federal government. The Chamber’s Ensuring Viability and Safety in Our National Airport System policy addresses the need for the federal government to invest funds for the successful divestiture of remaining Transport Canada owned airports where appropriate. Transport Canada has indicated a desire to divest itself of the harbour aerodrome but has no funding. This policy requests an allocation of funding to the divestiture initiative.

“It is essential for communities to have certainty over air transportation, as well as affordable long-term sustainability,” said Bruce Carter, CEO of The Chamber.

“The Victoria Harbour aerodrome is the only aerodrome in the country yet to be divested. The aerodrome, like all the remaining airports, has unique needs. It is important that divestiture, if practicable, be managed to ensure that economic, environmental, and safety objectives are achieved. The harbour airport is a key economic asset to the region and we want to ensure its long-term viability and safety and are asking the federal government to allocate the appropriate funding for this.”

The Chamber celebrated this policy win at the Canadian Chamber AGM held in Charlottetown, PEI this past weekend. The policies address issues that are of significant importance to the business community and were endorsed by over 300 chamber delegates from across the country as national policy.

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, with over 1,500 members, is the voice of business for the Greater Victoria region and has received Accreditation with Distinction from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

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Frontrunners Acquires Peninsula Runners

Sep 25, 2014

(News Release) – Vancouver Island owned and operated, Frontrunners Footwear, with locations in Victoria, Langford, and Nanaimo has acquired Peninsula Runners, making this store its fourth location on Vancouver Island. The new store is located at 3659 Shelbourne Street. A grand re-opening is planned for September 26 and 27. For Rob Reid, Frontrunners owner, and co-partner Nick Walker, it is business as usual with the existing staff being retained, and it will continue to carry a large selection of running shoes and apparel. “We will continue to work with the same suppliers and intend to enhance the selection and inventory,” says Reid. “The running clinics will also remain, as well as the sponsorship of the Kool Half Marathon in May.” Reid didn’t hesitate to acquire the store when approached. “When a locally owned business decides to change direction, it is refreshing to see them approach another local business for the buy-out as opposed to a larger national retailer.” A founder of the Independent Running Retailers of Canada, he is a strong proponent of supporting local business, working with Think Local Victoria and the Downtown Victoria Business Association. Reid is also active in the community notably as Chair of the Terry Fox Centre, founding sponsor of Every Step Counts, and serving on the Victoria Cool Aid Society Campaign Cabinet. A new initiative for him is the Kenya Run Camp in the Rift Valley, that includes a half marathon and outreach work in the local community. Frontrunners supports many community initiatives in the Capital Region. It provides support to over a dozen Vancouver Island based age group athletes who struggle with the costs of competing and equipment. The Shoes for Youth program was founded by Frontrunners/Runners of Compassion in 1996 and has since provided over 1000 pairs of shoes to underprivileged youth on Vancouver Island. Frontrunners also supports Victoria Footprints, which encourages youths to participate in local races, and the 100-plus strong running group Sole Sisters. Frontrunners has been a fixture in the Island community since 1988 and promotes a healthy and active lifestyle to over 500 runners each year, through their running clinics and running retreats.

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Capital Investment Network’s angel investment education series demonstrates that the local investment community is strong, active, and interested in opportunities

Sep 23, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — On September 15, close to 50 private equity investors gathered at the Spacestation, a new co-working space on Fort Street in Victoria, for another successful education session hosted by the Capital Investment Network (CIN). The enthusiastic participation and overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees confirmed not only that CIN is right on track with their program, but also that Victoria’s angel investment community is actively seeking opportunities and is interested in learning more about emerging investing trends and new investment approaches. “Write the Right Cheque — Convertible Debt or Equity?” examined the advantages and disadvantages of convertible debt and equity from the perspective of the investor. The three-person panel also discussed how to structure these investment types. “Early-stage deals are not only equity deals any more. Convertible debt deals at the seed stage and beyond are on the rise in both Canada and the US and increasingly popular with both entrepreneurs and investors,” says Mike Volker, president and founder of the Western Universities Technology Innovation Fund (WUTIF Capital (VCC) Inc.) and the president and chairman of the Green Angel Energy Corp fund (TSX.V:GAE). “This forum facilitated an important discussion among the local angel community on the benefits and limitations of convertible debt, as well as how to appropriately structure this instrument.” Volker, who founded and manages the Vancouver Technology Angel Network (VANTEC) and who was named Canadian Angel Investor of the Year by the National Angel Organization, as well as BC Angel of the Year by the BC Angel Forum in 2009, was joined on the panel by Geoff Catherwood and Todd Tessier. Catherwood is partner of the Energy Cleantech Venture Fund with BDC Venture Capital. He is active on the boards of several early-stage companies and also volunteers in a number of programs promoting entrepreneurship, including New Ventures BC. Todd Tessier implemented changes to the Small Business Venture Capital Act that led to a five-fold increase in venture funding for small businesses primarily from angel investors. He is a former executive director of the Investment Capital Branch and vice president of the BC Renaissance Capital Fund and is currently the CFO for Recon Instruments Inc. The high-calibre panel discussed the topic, provided case study and anecdotal examples, and invited comments and questions from the audience. Interest in and response to the panel was enthusiastic and clearly demonstrated that events of this kind are welcome within the investor community. Bringing local angel investors together to stimulate economic growth and prosperity in the region is precisely the aim of CIN. Stephanie Andrew, president and co-founder with Peter Elkins, says CIN is a private equity forum for Vancouver Island that offers investor-focused education, resources, and events to increase the level of sophistication among local angel investors, explore different investment approaches, facilitate collaboration, and grow the local investment community. ”The private equity investor education series is just one of the ways the Capital Investment Network is helping to create a better environment locally for investors by informing them of the large number of available investing options,” says Andrew. “The desired effect is ultimately to promote successful serial angel investments, innovation, and economic growth in the region.” The first session in the series focused on the evolving state of legislation on equity crowdfunding in B.C., as well as its potential benefits and risks and was held at the Investors First Launch Party in partnership with CFA Society Victoria. Other events hosted by the CIN include Keiretsu Forum Victoria/Vancouver Island Chapter meetings. The next session in the private equity investor education series is “What Is It Worth? A Discussion of Due Diligence and Early Stage Valuation” and will be held on October 20. For more details or to register, go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/875496 Investors who are interested in learning more about the Capital Investment Network are invited to attend an event as a guest.

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BC Ferries plans to convert spirit-class vessels to liquefied natural gas (LNG) to realize major savings on fuel bill

Sep 22, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – BC Ferries plans to convert its two largest vessels, the Spirit of Vancouver Island and the Spirit of British Columbia, to dual fuel, as well as make modifications to the hull, in order to save approximately $9.2 million per year (in today’s dollars) over the remaining 27-year life cycle of the two vessels. The conversion is part of an application the company submitted today to the BC Ferries Commissioner for approval to proceed with mid-life upgrades of the vessels. The plans come on the heels of a BC Ferries announcement in July 2014 to build three intermediate-class dual fuel vessels for delivery in the years 2016 to 2017. BC Ferries expects total savings from LNG for the five vessels to be approximately $12.0 million per year (in today’s dollars), based on current fuel price estimates, which will significantly reduce upward pressure on fares. “We are well aware that fare affordability is a concern for our customers and operating on LNG, which is approximately 50 per cent cheaper than marine diesel, is a game changer for BC Ferries,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We’ve been driving a culture of cost containment in many areas of our business without compromising safety and we are moving forward with LNG conversions, which will help us realize significant environmental benefits and enormous financial savings on our fuel bill.” BC Ferries spent $126 million on fuel last fiscal year and the two Spirit-Class vessels consumed approximately 15 per cent of the fleet total. These vessels are the largest consumers of fuel in the BC Ferries fleet and the conversion will reduce their cost of fuel by approximately half. The Spirit-Class vessels operate on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route, which carried 28 per cent of total passengers, 23 per cent of total vehicles and generated 38 per cent of total passenger-based revenue in fiscal 2014. The Spirit-Class mid-life upgrade projects will carry out regulatory requirements; renew end-of-life systems; substantially reduce fuel costs by the conversion of the propulsion to dual fuel; implement hull, electrical and passenger service modifications; and increase ancillary services net income. In addition to reducing fuel costs with LNG, the projects will implement measures to reduce fuel consumption. A new low friction underwater coating will reduce hull drag, reducing total fuel principles from the 1980’s, will be modified at the bow and stern to further reduce drag. As a result, drag is expected to be further reduced which will further lower fuel consumption by up to 1.8 per cent. These fuel efficiency initiatives are expected to generate $650,000 of the fuel savings annually. BC Ferries is planning for the Spirit of Vancouver Island’s mid-life upgrade and LNG conversion from the fall of 2016 through the spring of 2017. The Spirit of British Columbia’s project is planned to occur from the fall of 2017 through the spring of 2018. Requests for contractor bids would be forthcoming. Under Section 55 of the Coastal Ferry Act, BC Ferries must not incur a major capital expenditure without first obtaining approval for the expenditure from the BC Ferries Commissioner. The Commissioner will make a ruling within 60 days. 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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Finalists Named for Top Philanthropic Awards

Sep 18, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Each year, National Philanthropy Day recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations in our community that are making a difference in the lives of others.  By ‘changing the world with a giving heart’, these local philanthropists have been named as the top three finalist in six award categories for this year’s National Philanthropy Day awards:

Generosity of Spirit Award, presented by the United Way of Greater Victoria

Andrew D. Beckerman

Since moving to Victoria in 2005, Andrew has pursued a volunteer career that has allowed him to engage with issues that define the struggles too many Victorians still face on a daily basis: poverty; discrimination; hunger; illness; lack of housing; and opportunity to live as they might wish. Andrew has been a community leader all his adult life, lending his time, energy, board expertise, and significant financial support to numerous organizations. Although ‘retired,’ Andrew volunteers extensively where he engages in local social justice issues.

The Chwyl Family

Upon his retirement in 2001, Ed and Mary Chwyl and their three children moved from Calgary to Victoria. The family’s quiet philanthropy has transformed many lives and a multitude of organizations and has inspired many others to do the same.  In addition, the Chwyl family has devoted thousands of hours of personal time and expertise to support the many causes that are close to their hearts. Now that Ed and Marys’ children are all attending university, the empty nesters plan to travel extensively.

Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer Award, presented by the Coast Capital Savings

Mailman Family/Seymour Pacific Developments

Imbedded in the Mailman Family’s vision for their company is the family’s commitment to volunteerism and a strong desire to build community through social innovation and philanthropy. The Mailman’s takes great pride in giving back to the Campbell River community by contributing time, funds, education and materials to many local organizations. The family puts their values, work ethics and hearts on their sleeves to improve not just their local community but also all the communities that their staff and clients live in. They would like to thank-you for this nomination; “it has been so special to be recognized for doing what we love”.

Doug and Debra Vincent

For over 30 years the Vincent Family has understood the importance of philanthropy and giving back to causes that affect the health and emotional wellbeing of British Columbians. Through their family owned business Bridge Systems, the  Vincent’s have initiated several employee based fundraising activities. In every philanthropic effort the Vincent’s become involved with, they demonstrate true philanthropic behavior, always offering to make a financial contribution while also giving of their time.

Stephen Clark

An experienced entrepreneur, Steve Clark has become a valuable fundraising resource for several organizations in Victoria. Not only volunteering of his time, Steve encourages others to follow in his philanthropic footprints. Steve has served as a director on numerous boards and committees and continues to act in a fundraising advisory role for several organizations.

Outstanding Philanthropic Service Club Award, presented by AFP Vancouver Island

Rotary Club of Sidney by the Sea

“Service above self” is motto of Rotary International. The 52 members of the Rotary Club of Sidney by the Sea have busy work lives; however, their local fund-raising activities funds have supported causes that have the power to change lives.

Recent projects include the North Saanich Free Ride Bicycle Park, the new water spray park in Iroquois Park, and the purchase of a trailer to support Panorama Recreation Centre’s Play in the Park Program.

Internationally, they make ongoing contributions to Rotary’s Polio Eradication Effort, Shelterbox, and Project Unity. Larger projects include improvements to the Malawi Girls School, a Therapeutic pool in Brazil, the Tanzania Malaria Project, and Mercy Ships.

The Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live - Vancouver Island

The Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live is a fundraiser to support prostate cancer research and education on Vancouver Island.  A core group of fourteen volunteer’s plans, organizes and stages the ride, which has attracted from 300-700 riders.  The pledge, “What’s raised on the Island, stays on the Island” has helped The Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live event build awareness and establish hope and pride for men, their families and friends impacted by prostate cancer.

Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary

The Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary is an incredible force of philanthropy.  Managed by a small group of Executive Members, the CHCA has approximately 170 active volunteer members that organize and run many services within the Chamainus Health Care Centre. The significant money the group raises supports a wide range of charities on Vancouver Island. While all of this makes the Auxiliary incredibly impressive, what really stands out is the way that they do their charitable work with an energy and enthusiasm that inspires and celebrates philanthropy.

Corporate Citizenship Award, presented by the University of Victoria

Tru Value Foods

Tru Value Foods is a community-based chain of full-service grocery stores located on and around Vancouver Island, BC. Each of the Tru Value Foods stores contributes to its home community through the Spirit Board, a program which works with more than 50 local charities. The program directs 1% of sales to each customer’s charitable organization of choice. Tru Value Foods staff continually lead by example, whether it be volunteering their time at fundraising events or encouraging their suppliers, community members and local businesses to give back and participate.

Country Grocer

Caring, community support and involvement are basic values to Country Grocer and essential to community growth. Bbelieving it is important to give back, this Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island family-owned and operated grocery chain has made a significant contribution through its support and sponsorship of a wide variety of events and organizations on Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island.

Hillside Centre

Hillside Centre has been a proven supporter of several community organizations through a variety of fundraising events and awareness campaigns. Hillside will host the 13th Annual Night of Lights (aka The Night before Late Night Shopping), a special evening including shopping, entertainment and amazing door prizes, in the centre. Over 50 local non-profit organizations each year rely on the Night of Lights event to generate much needed revenue for their special projects. Hillside is committed to being a great corporate partner and will continue to promote philanthropy throughout the Greater Victoria area.

Youth in Philanthropy Award (Ages 5 – 10), presented by The Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island

Owen Krigolson

Owen is your typical 6-year-old boy who has always had an incredibly giving heart. When his poppa was diagnosed with cancer, instead of asking for birthday presents or Christmas presents Owen began a fundraising campaign to raise money to help the doctors cure Poppa’s cancer. This amazing little boy serves as an example that you are never too small to make a big difference. His dedication and selflessness, even at such a young age, has become an inspiration for many.

SMUS Junior School

At the SMUS Junior School there is an underlying philosophy that every child will be involved in all aspects of leadership and service.  With this in mind all 180 students are expected to participate in all service related school wide events with the belief that all students can be leaders. Students at the school volunteer and raise money for a wide variety of projects both locally and internationally. By giving the students the opportunity to propose student-led initiatives, the school has demonstrated to the children that their ideas are valued and that through their own leadership they can make a difference.

Alyssia Macdonald

Alyssia Macdonald is a 10 year old girl who, at her young age, truly understands and embodies a philanthropic spirit. Alyssia has made an impact on her community and in the lives of her friends. Alyssia has raised a significant amount of money and awareness about childhood cancer. Despite her shy demeanour, Alyssia is always quick to volunteer and look out for those in her community that need support and protection

Youth in Philanthropy Award (Ages 11 – 18), presented by TELUS

SMUS Break the Cycle of Poverty Group

SMUS Break the Cycle of Poverty Group is a group of 30+ students who have been working on ways of addressing local poverty issues in Victoria.  From organizing a two day conference to educate students from our local area to raising several thousand dollars to support various projects, this group of students plans, runs and organizes events to raise both funds and awareness for local and international projects.

Jarod Waters

At thirteen years old, Jarod is already a committed and inspiring philanthropist. His passion for helping others was ignited at the age of eight when he noticed his grandmother writing a cheque in memory of her friend. This prompted him to set a goal to raise $100 to help and he hired himself out to do chores, collecting cans and bottles to turn in for refunds. He more than met his goal and continues fundraising in this way. Jarod has provided a wonderful example that many small, committed efforts contribute in a very big way!

Edward Milne Community School's Leadership class

The Leadership class from Edward Milne Community School contributes significantly to local and global initiatives.  Their annual Cops For Cancer fundraising campaign raised over $7500 in one week and they inaugurated a one-day Spin-A-Thon, which raised $5000.

They set up a challenge for the Christmas Food Drive which brought in the most collected in history. The group then participated in organizing and delivering hundreds of the food hampers around the community.

Upon learning about a staff member adopting two brothers from Lesotho, Africa, the group developed Project: Lesotho, the goal of which is to provide support to schools in the small country.

The group organized a 30 hour famine and a “Fun Day” to raise money for school supplies.


The National Philanthropy Day celebration will be held on Tuesday, November 18th, 2014, from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor of BC, Her Honour Judith Guichon. The Victoria event is presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Vancouver Island.  For event information contact Monica Powell at (250) 217-0772 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; and visit our website at www.npdvictoria.com.


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Province to Study Feasibility of Bridge to Gabriola

Sep 18, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA - In response to a petition signed by a significant number of Gabriola Island residents, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will study the feasibility of a fixed link between Gabriola Island and Vancouver Island that would replace existing ferry service.

This feasibility study is also consistent with government’s goals of connecting coastal communities in a sustainable manner, and finding innovative ways to reduce the upward pressure on coastal ferry fares.

The ministry will retain an independent consultant to examine potential locations for a fixed link, provide cost estimates for a fixed link, and undertake a cost comparison between a fixed link and the existing ferry service. The consultant will not be assessing the level of public support for a bridge.

The feasibility study will get underway this fall and is expected to be completed in spring 2015. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will post the study’s full terms of reference once the consultant is in place.

Gabriola Island is home to approximately 4,000 full-time residents. BC Ferries’ Route 19, between Gabriola Island and Nanaimo Harbour, carried 341,000 vehicles in 2013-14.

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United Way Sets $6 Million as 2014 Fundraising Goal With Unite to Change Campaign

Sep 18, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Unite to Change lives and build community is the call to action for residents of Greater Victoria as United Way celebrates its 77th annual community campaign and announces $6 Million for its 2014 fundraising goal.

When you give to United Way, you support a network of services that provide a greater chance for everyone to live better lives; help children and youth gain life skills and transition to adulthood, support families that are working to meet life’s challenges and connect seniors with their community to reduce isolation.

“The need in our community is great and our mandate at United Way is two-fold – we serve the immediate needs of our most vulnerable citizens today while also focusing on the future to address the root causes of social issues and create measurable, sustainable change,” says Patricia Jelinski, CEO at United Way. “We can only do this work with the help of our many partners from business, labour, government, the non-profit sector and our generous donors and volunteers.”

While United Way serves in its dual role as a year-round fundraiser and community funder, the organization is the largest non-government funder in the region, and is honoured over 11,500 donors and 400 workplaces entrust them with building the collective good in the social service sector.

“Understanding the issues facing our region and being the best steward of our donor dollars is of utmost importance,” says Jelinski. “We are closely connected to our community partners and our donors – monitoring our programs, identifying gaps, investing in solutions, measuring our impact and reporting back on our results.”

Linking the Unite to Change campaign theme to its funding priority areas of All that kids can be, From poverty to possibilities and Strong communities, a gift to United Way means:

-Whether it’s helping people on the street find housing, providing job training or creating financial security, United Way funded programs offer opportunities for people to make better lives for themselves. Unite to Change and build pathways out of poverty for individuals and their families.

-Healthy individuals are the backbone of strong communities. When seniors have opportunities to connect with others in their neighbourhoods, they are more likely to combat isolation and overcome day to day challenges. Unite to Change and ensure seniors have access to services close to home to lead healthier more fulfilling lives.

-United Way works to ensure that every infant grows into a healthy child; every child has the support he or she needs to do well in life; and every young person makes a successful transition into post secondary and the workforce. Unite to Change and help children gain valuable life skills to become strong adults.

Every dollar makes a difference at United Way and here’s what a contribution can do to change lives:

·       For a dollar a day you can provide warm socks and hygiene supplies for homeless youth.

·       For $5 a week you can support 10 weeks of financial literacy training for a woman who has experienced domestic violence.

·       For $10 a week you can provide transportation for isolated seniors to participate in a weekly social program.

·       For $25 a week you can provide a mentorship and support program for three children for a year.

Donations to United Way’s community campaign are accepted at workplaces, United Way’s office at 1144 Fort Street, via phone 250-385-6708 or online at uwgv.ca.

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Moksha Yoga Opens New Studio in Westshore

Sep 18, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Moksha Yoga Victoria, voted 'Best in City of 2013' by Victoria News, and part of North America's leading collective of highly accessible, socially and ecologically conscious hot yoga studios, unveiled the opening date of the sister studio - October 4, 2014.  When open, Moksha Yoga Westshore can be found a few blocks away from the Westhills Stadium, on the North side of the 'green' Splashes building at 311-895 Langford Parkway.

What makes this studio so unique, and unlike many other yoga studios is the directors vision to cater to students most unlikely to walk into a studio.  Whether they are an athlete concerned about injury prevention or a mother with a high-stress job, Moksha Yoga is so welcoming to all levels and body types that accessibility is this community’s 2nd of 7 pillars.  Classes are suitable to any person over 16, whether this is their first time doing yoga, they are recovering from a big game or injury, preparing for a race, crawling off the couch, in need of a good laugh or just the killer workout!  Students can test out any of the classes for FREE from October 4 – 10.

Directors Heather MacLeod (from Moksha Yoga Victoria) and Darci Nyal (Teacher at Moksha Yoga Victoria) both agree, “Mostly, we hear men and women say that yoga isn't for them.  It stems from the stereotype that yoga is only for the remarkably flexible, hip and young.  We are breaking traditional rules with what we’re offering, and proud of it.  We’ve taken into great consideration that when somebody walks into the studio and takes one of our 60, 75, or 90 minute classes, we want to hear them say, 'yes, this is my kind of yoga'.  And with Pheonix Gym next door, what a fantastic pairing for any high performance athlete."

The new studio will offer the following:

Fully loaded change facilities complete with showers, ample space and a quiet atmosphere

Large lounge and chill out area to relax and unwind  in before or after class

Boutique style retail section with athletic gear for both men and women

Male and female certified Moksha teachers, many of which have a background in athletics

A hot room big enough to fit even the narliest of athletes and non-athletes

A community vibe that is inviting and fun

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