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Vancouver Island Venture Capital Fund Launches

Jun 24, 2014

(News Release) NANAIMO – Launched today, the Vancouver Island Venture Acceleration Fund (“VIVA”) is the first dedicated investment fund targeting early-stage, high-growth technology companies on Vancouver Island. Providing more than just money, VIVA brings connections, knowledge and mentoring to bold early-stage entrepreneurs with game-changing ideas.

“The mission of VIVA is to be a catalyst in helping build the Island’s economy into a thriving center of technology and entrepreneurship – enabling companies to innovate, grow and succeed on the Island,” said Allan Wiekenkamp, Board Director of VIVA.

Business start-up and expansion is one of the keys to economic development at the local level. Most entrepreneurs agree that raising capital is the primary obstacle hindering their growth. On Vancouver Island, few venture or angel sources are making investments in early stage technology companies. Recognizing this challenge, VIVA was created for individual investors who are keen to see the Island’s knowledge-based economy prosper.

“The VIVA Fund has the potential to make a huge difference for Island technology companies,” said Sasha Angus, CEO of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation. “We are very pleased that they have chosen Nanaimo as their headquarters for this new venture.”

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Happy Hours and Minimum Pricing Take Effect in B.C.

Jun 20, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA - B.C. officially opened the door to happy hours and implemented minimum drink pricing today, offering flexibility for businesses and their customers while preserving health and public safety.

Consistent with the views heard from both industry and health advocates during the Liquor Policy Review, B.C.’s minimum drink prices are in place to encourage responsible consumption and are based on ounces of alcohol sold at licensed establishments. The minimum price an establishment can charge is $3 for a drink - which, for example, would buy a single ounce cocktail, a five ounce glass of wine or 12 ounce sleeve of beer or cider.

Check out this infographic for detailed information on B.C.’s new minimum drink prices: https://flic.kr/p/o2NVEq

Allowing licensees, such as pubs, restaurants and lounges, to alter their liquor prices throughout the course of the day is a pocket-book friendly change for British Columbians that will help the industry attract customers at times when business may typically be slow.

Additional changes stemming from the Liquor Policy Review also came into effect today - cutting red tape and simplifying liquor licensing rules.

Food-primary establishments must continue to offer a full menu, but if patrons simply wish to order drinks they are not obligated to order food as well. Also, customers can now move freely with their beverage from one adjoining licensed area to another, such as from a pub to an adjoining restaurant - a common-sense change from the previous rules, which required staff to carry customers’ drinks for them.

Licensees may now transfer small amounts of liquor between similar types of establishments. For instance, if a pub is experiencing a shortage of a specific liquor product, a nearby restaurant can transfer liquor to it, or a liquor store can transfer alcohol to another store with the same kind of liquor licence.

Hosts of family Special Occasion Licence (SOL) events may now serve homemade and UBrew/UVin beer, wine or cider - offering further flexibility for consumers. Also, owners of UBrews and UVins, as well as their family members, are now permitted to own other liquor-related establishments - an out-of-date rule that has been updated under modernized liquor policies.

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Peter Ciceri to Take the Helm as Oak Bay Marine Group CEO

Jun 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Victoria based international businessman Peter Ciceri will be stepping into some legendary shoes in July, as he takes over the Oak Bay Marine Group of Companies as Chief Executive Officer.

Robert H. (Bob) Wright started the company in 1962 with the Oak Bay Marina and was a true west coast entrepreneur, eventually operating a diverse array of businesses in three countries. Wright was known to be singularly focused on his business empire until his death in April of last year.

After many years as a successful CEO, Corporate Director, and International Executive, Peter currently has a successful private practice as an Executive Coach and Corporate Director, helping CEOs build value through effective leadership and management practices.

Prior to his private practice, Peter was CEO of Custom House in Victoria for four years and left in 2011. As CEO, Peter played a leadership role in the company's acquisition by Western Union for $370M USD.

As an authority in international business, Peter has worked in over thirty countries, including over ten years living in Hong Kong & Tokyo in executive sales and marketing positions.

‘Peter brings a wealth of experience to the table and we are delighted to have him aboard” says Director Sharon Halkett.  “As we continue to build upon Bob Wright’s legacy, Peter’s guidance will be a tremendous asset to the management team.”

Ciceri has been recognized by the Financial Post's Report on Business as one of Canada's

top 100 Business Elite, and also named "Alumni of the Year for Business Achievement" in 2000 by the University of Victoria.

The Oak Bay Marine Group employs approximately 600 people and operates world class resorts, marinas, and tourist attractions in Canada, the United States, and the Bahamas.

Their oceanfront properties offer first class hospitality and a wide range of marine based activities including fishing, whale watching, and eco tours and they play host to numerous corporate groups and destination weddings each year. Many years ago their Founder, Bob Wright, recognized that he built his business on the water and he wanted to ensure that the oceans were protected for the enjoyment of many generations to come.  In 2011, the company donated 11 million dollars to the University of Victoria’s Oceans Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Program. (www.obmg.com)

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Seaspan Signs MOAs with the Guild and ILWU, Strike Averted

Jun 16, 2014

(News Release) NORTH VANCOUVER — Jonathan Whitworth, Seaspan CEO, announced today that it has signed agreements with both the Canadian Merchant Service Guild (the Guild) and International Longshore Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 400 to enter into binding arbitration/mediation.

Following extensive discussions with the Honourable Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Status of Women, Seaspan and both unions have agreed to allow the Federal Government to appoint an arbitrator who will run the process and be responsible for setting the terms of reference. Once the arbitration is complete, the outcome is binding and cannot be challenged by Seaspan or its unions.

As part of the agreement, Seaspan has agreed to forgo the new contract terms the company planned to implement on June 9, and both unions have agreed not to strike.

“I am very pleased with this outcome,” said Jonathan. “With the help of Minister Kellie Leitch, both Unions and Seaspan have agreed that stability in the Asia-Pacific Gateway is of the upmost importance and is critical to the success of the Port of Vancouver and the Canadian economy.  We look forward to working with both unions and the government appointed arbitrator to bring the contract negotiations to a close as quickly as possible.”

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Local Law Firm Announces Exclusive New Financial Oversight Program

Jun 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Lisa Collins Law Corporation, a local boutique law firm, announced today that it is launching an exclusive new financial oversight program, aimed at providing comprehensive and personalized financial oversight services.

This program is unique in that it combines high-level strategic oversight with detailed bookkeeping and recordkeeping services. It is aimed at high net-worth business individuals and families who are looking to free up their time and gain a better handle on their complex financial affairs. It is also ideal for older individuals who may not have the capacity or inclination to look after their personal financial management, and who may be susceptible to fraud or elder abuse.

As part of the program, Lisa Collins and her experienced team work one-on-one with the client’s other professionals (such as accountants, financial advisors and lawyers) to identify opportunities to preserve their wealth more efficiently, and match personalized bookkeeping services with the client’s long term goals. The service also includes regular reporting and family meetings, to provide transparent communication and comprehensive guidance.

“We believe strongly in supporting not only successful business families who want to free up their time, but also older individuals who may be susceptible to elder abuse or fraud”, said Lisa Collins, Principal. “We are excited to use the PrimeAssure program to provide trusted guidance, financial security, and peace-of-mind to valued clients across Vancouver Island”.

For more information about the PrimeAssure program, please visit www.PrimeAssure.ca.

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Enterprising Women Look for Their Own ‘World Cup’ Wins

Jun 16, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Women business owners are declaring themselves ‘game-ready’ as the one year countdown until Canada hosts the women’s tournament in 2015 has begun.

Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC) announced today the launch of a ‘Major Events Supplier Database,’ a portal intended to promote the expansion of public and private-sector supply chains to include more women-owned, minority-owned and LGBT-owned businesses. The database will be accessible through WEC’s Supplier Diversity Canada website, and will cater to the needs of global sports and cultural events.  The project is supported through the federal ministry Status of Women Canada.

“We see tremendous advantages in promoting women and other diverse suppliers in supporting major events hosted in Canada” says Laurel Douglas, CEO of WEC.  “For the entrepreneurs it represents a great opportunity to secure international contracts.”

Inbound soccer federations, corporate partners, broadcasters and media, and sport tourism operators in addition to the organizing committee are all buying, and this database will be a ready resource of qualified companies who can meet their needs in providing an outstanding experience to global visitors. Buyers are expected to start accessing the database in September, when WEC aims to have 1000 businesses in the database from across Canada. 

Working with the national Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada, the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Suppliers Council and the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, WEC will encourage the rapid enrollment of companies in the areas of catering, staffing, event décor, translation, promotional gifts, security, cleaning, tourism activities and much more typically in demand by event organizers and visitors. 

Canada currently sits in the number 2 position on SportCal’s ‘NationsIndex,’ which measures the sport hosting strength of countries. Between 2009 and 2020, Canada will support 42 major international or multi-sport competitions. Next year alone will bring the Canada Winter Games, the PanAm Games and the FIFA Women’s World Cup  with a total estimated economic impact of $657 million dollars in eight host cities. Many of FIFA’s international partners have their own supplier diversity initiatives, including Coca-Cola, VISA, Hyundai and SONY.

“FIFA instituted the Women’s World Cup in response to women’s growth in competing at the elite level of the game. And they are demonstrating their faith in the women’s game yet again by expanding the field from 16 to 24 teams in 2015. We feel an expanded role for women entrepreneurs in making the tournament a success is a natural fit” says Aileen McManamon of 5T Sports Group, who is managing the project on behalf of WEC.

Supplier Diversity is a procurement practice that has been on the rise in Canada and most notably embraced by corporations such as TELUS, RBC, TD and BMO. Many large sporting events have embraced supplier diversity in their procurement strategies, including the PanAm Games, which has already awarded over $5.2 million in contracts to 182 companies as a result.

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Craigdarroch Castle Hires New Agencies, Gets New Look

Jun 13, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Victoria’s Craigdarroch Castle has retained Trapeze Communications as their advertising agency of record and Good Relations Inc. as their public relations agency of record. Both Victoria based agencies; Trapeze Communications and Good Relations Inc. are known for their work in the cultural and tourism sectors and have worked successfully together on behalf of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria amongst others.

“We are delighted to have found in Trapeze Communications and Good Relations Inc. partners who share our dedication to Craigdarroch Castle,” said Executive Director of Craigdarroch Castle, John Hughes. “Both agencies also share our passion for the development of culture and the growth of tourism in Victoria.”

Earlier this month, Craigdarroch Castle unveiled their new brand, developed by Trapeze Communications with the launch of a new logo and website.  The renowned stained and leaded glass found at the Castle is celebrated in the new logo and website design. A national historic site, Craigdarroch Castle’s stained glass collection is believed to be one of the most exquisite in North America.

The new look Craigdarroch Castle website can be found at:  www.thecastle.ca

Further information regarding Trapeze Communications can be found at www.trapeze.ca and Good Relations Inc. at www.goodrelations.ca

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The Robert Bateman Centre & Summerhill Pyramid Winery Unveil New Bateman Artist’s Series Wines

Jun 13, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Robert Bateman and The Fairmont Empress are partnering to raise funds for the Robert Bateman Centre’s new nature education program targeted at grade 3 - 8 students in British Columbia.

On Friday, July 11, 2014, 75 guests will gather in the Palm Court to be the first to experience the new Robert Bateman Artist’s Series wines from Kelowna’s Summerhill Pyramid Winery. The ‘Grasslands’ collection includes three 100 per cent organic red wines, lovingly crafted by internationally acclaimed Winemaker & Viticulturist Eric von Krosigk. The series includes a 2010 single vineyard Cabernet Franc, a 2010 Merlot and a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon / Syrah blend. Each wine has been aged in French and American oak and are unfined and unfiltered, preserving their full aromatic and flavour potential. They are age worthy, or can be enjoyed today.

For just $150 per person, guests will be enjoy the wines as part of a five-course dinner created by The Fairmont Empress’ Executive Chef Morgan Wilson and led by Summerhill’s CEO Ezra Cipes and Proprietor Stephen Cipes, who is also on the  Bateman Foundation’s board of directors.  Ensuring the bottles are as valuable as the wine that is poured, each bottle boasts a high-resolution reproduction of an original painting by Robert Bateman, who will also be speaking during the dinner. The Cipes family has also promised to bring extra wine to the event so that guests may purchase bottles and have the labels signed by Robert Bateman, to add to their own wine collection. Following the launch, the wines will be available for purchase with free case lot delivery anywhere in Canada and the USA (plus shipping charges) by contacting the winery toll-free at 1-800-667-3538 or by visiting www.summerhill.bc.ca.

“For more than 60 years, Robert has touched our hearts with his genius portrayal of nature and its wild creatures and now, we are so deeply honoured to have him represent the essence of pure nature in the organic, biodynamic, permaculture-produced Bateman Series Wines by Summerhill Pyramid Winery,” says Stephen Cipes, proprietor, Summerhill Pyramid Winery. “This is a true triumph as in his wisdom; he unites us all in our quest to be stewards of our precious planet.”

“Summerhill’s tag line is “celebrate nature’s perfection”, and we like to think that with every painting of Robert’s we are reminding people to celebrate and protect the magic of nature, every day,” says Paul Gilbert, executive director of the Bateman Foundation. “Now people who enjoy Summerhill wines can also learn more about the Bateman Foundation’s mission to bring nature back to the centre of life, and know they are also helping to put more nature into education.”

A portion of the funds from the dinner will go towards the creation of a comprehensive school program at the Robert Bateman Centre that will launch this September. Using the extraordinary collection of artwork by Robert Bateman, learners will deepen their understanding and appreciation of our natural world, while developing their visual literacy skills.

Space is limited. To reserve your tickets contact The Fairmont Empress at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 250-389-2727.

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Tourism Victoria Looks to the Future with Greater Emphasis on Core Areas

Jun 13, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Tourism Victoria announces a restructure today that puts a greater emphasis on the business’ core areas including sales and marketing, business development, member services and visitor services.

This restructure sees five positions impacted, three positions reframed and one new position created. Through this restructure, Tourism Victoria is prioritizing core functional areas to further solidify its position as a lean and skilled sales and marketing organization. A greater emphasis will also be placed on content and social media marketing, as well as deeper engagement with the Greater Victoria community.

“Tourism Victoria is first and foremost a sales and marketing organization and all business decisions must keep this filter in mind,” said Paul Nursey, President & CEO. “We are focused on generating demand for this destination. Our membership is growing and the tourism-related business community is responding well to what we offer.”

Tourism Victoria is often awarded for its dynamic, unique and stand-out marketing communications style. While destination marketing has a proven return on investment, Tourism Victoria has an exponentially smaller budget than competitors of similar size. By reducing overhead, the organization will be able to put a greater emphasis on revenue generation, both directly and indirectly, and more investment into sales and marketing.

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Barb’s Fish And Chips Celebrates 30 Years At Fisherman’s Wharf

Jun 11, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Thirty years ago, a lady named Barb started serving fish and chips on the dock at Fisherman’s Wharf. She had a 100 pound bag of potatoes, and ran out before the end of the day because they were so popular! Ever since, Barb’s has been drawing people to the waterfront and has become a Victoria institution.

Join us to celebrate Barb’s 30 historic years in the harbour! On June 12, Barb’s will be offering free soft drinks with your meal throughout the day and 2 for 1 - one piece Cod Fish and Chips from 3 - 5 pm. The company mascot ‘Chip’ will be at Fisherman’s Wharf to greet you!

“Barb’s is not just a fun place to eat a great meal, it is a fun work environment that the managers, staff and I strive to create. We take pride in doing our utmost to make sure our customers have a great experience too,” said owner Ian Poyntz.

“Barb’s is the kind of business we love to see at GVHA properties,” said Sonterra Ross, Chief Operating Officer for Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. “Fisherman’s Wharf has many flavours, but fish and chips were and remain the original treat that bring people down to the docks each summer. Barb’s is an anchor of the busy central plaza at Fisherman’s Wharf. I congratulate them on many years of great service, and wish them every success in future.”

Can’t be there but want to tell us what Barb’s means to you? Please share your story with us on social media using #iheartbarbs! Your story will be shared on the Fisherman’s Wharf website.

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Prodigy Group Amazing Chase this Friday June 13th in Downtown Victoria

Jun 11, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — The Prodigy Group is hosting the 6th annual Amazing Chase, presented by Island Savings, on Friday June 13th in downtown Victoria. The Amazing Chase is an urban adventure race that combines an adrenaline-pumping race with networking and team building, all in support of Junior Achievement. Teams of four will race around downtown Victoria completing mental and physical challenges located at downtown businesses and other public locations. Funds raised from the Amazing Chase go directly to the Prodigy Group’s charity partner, Junior Achievement of British Columbia.

When & Where: Friday, June 13, 2014, 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Location: Team check-in and start of the Amazing Chase takes place beside the Flying Otter Grill in the Wharf Street parking lot by Harbour Air. Once started, teams will be completing challenges at various locations in the downtown core. Boundaries are: Pandora St. (North), Belleville St. (South), Blanshard St. (East), Wharf St. (West).

Who: Prodigy Group and Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce members and guests will be participating at various levels. Spectators are welcome and can watch from the event information area at the Wharf Street parking lot by Harbour Air at 6:30pm to see the start. Maps will be available should spectators wish to follow the racers and/or tour the Amazing Chase course.

About the Prodigy Group: The Prodigy Group is a diverse network of emerging professionals who reside in the Greater Victoria Area. Through ties to the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and other business and community organizations, the Prodigy Group provides our members the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and to effect positive change in Greater Victoria.

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Royal Roads University celebrates National Aboriginal Day

Jun 11, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – An art show, a medicine plant walk and canoe trips are among the activities taking place at Royal Roads University’s National Aboriginal Celebration on June 20.

Everyone is invited to paddle in the Power to Be’s Voyager canoe, or to learn about medicine plants on a walk guided by Ken Elliott, Cowichan Tribes native plant nursery operator. Artwork by middle and high school students across School District 62 will be on display, and visitors can enjoy singing, drumming and refreshments.

Members of the Royal Roads University Elder’s Circle representing the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) Band, Lkwungen (Songhees) Band, Scia’new (Beecher Bay) Band, T’Sou-ke (Sooke) Band, Tsawaout Band, and the Métis Nation will be in attendance.

This year’s celebration will be held at  Sneq’wa e’lun (the Blue Heron House) located on the shore of Esquimalt Lagoon. Established in June2013, Sneq’wa e’lun is a home away from home for Indigenous students, faculty and staff and supports continuing studies programs for indigenous and Métis students and community member and Royal Roads’ faculty and student research related to indigenous and Métis culture and history.

National Aboriginal Day (June 21) celebrates the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada and is observed in festivals and events across the country.

This event is free and open to everyone.

What:                   Royal Roads University National Aboriginal Day Celebration
Date:                    Friday, June 20, 2014
Time:                    10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location:             Sneq’wa e’lun (Blue Heron House) on Esquimalt Lagoon at Royal Roads University
Parking:               Pay parking is available in Lot #3.

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Clipper Lease Extension Supports Economy

Jun 05, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Families, residents, tourists, and the local economy will continue to benefit from passenger ferry service between Victoria and Seattle (Clipper Ferry) as a result of a lease extension.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Clipper Navigation Ltd. have signed a three-year lease extension until 2017. This follows a separate three-year lease extension between the ministry and Black Ball Ferry Line (MV Coho), the Victoria-to-Port Angeles ferry provider.

The lease extensions will give the ministry time to develop a long-term improvement plan for the Belleville Ferry Terminal wharves and properties.

On April 1, 2014, the ministry took responsibility of the Belleville Ferry Terminal properties and lease agreements, as part of the dissolution of the Provincial Capital Commission. This will ensure the Government of B.C. can continue to provide the best-possible use of these resources while respecting the interests of taxpayers.

The Belleville Ferry Terminal Properties, as well as the operations of the Black Ball and Clipper ferries, will be considered in the Vancouver Island Transportation Strategy. The Vancouver Island Transportation Strategy also will be part of the provincewide 10-year transportation plan, which will outline the government’s vision and priorities for the next decade.

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