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BBB Announces 2014 Torch Award Finalists

Sep 15, 2014

(News Release0 VICTORIA — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Vancouver Island announced the 2014 Torch Award Finalists today.

“The following 50 businesses are in the running to win a 2014 Torch Award for their ethical practices in the marketplace,” said Rosalind Scott, President & CEO of BBB serving Vancouver Island.  “Every nominee should be proud of themselves for their outstanding customer service and commitment to maintaining trust in our business community. Every finalist deserves to win a Torch Award, but only 12 businesses will receive a prestigious Torch Award at our gala event on November 7th.”

To see the list of Torch Award Finalists for 2014 go to: http://www.bbb.org/vancouver-island/news-centre/news-releases/2014/09/bbb-announces-2014-torch-award-finalists

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New Destination Video Strikes a Chord with Visitors and Locals Alike

Sep 11, 2014

News Release (VICTORIA) – To carry the momentum of the summer season forward, Tourism Victoria launched a new destination video today showcasing the strong emotional connection visitors have with the region.

“This video gives me goosebumps,” says Trina Mousseau, Chief Marketing Officer at Tourism Victoria. “It showcases the wide variety experiences that our region has to offer while telling the story of what is special about a trip to Victoria through the eyes of a diverse group of visitors.”

Tourism Victoria’s new destination video will have multiple purposes, primarily as a tool for members and stakeholders to use in promoting the destination. The organization’s sales department will also use the video while in market conducting sales calls.

“To succeed in marketing a destination it is vitally important to create an emotional connection with the potential visitors,” says Paul Nursey, President & CEO at Tourism Victoria. “I am so proud of how this video achieves that connection. By doing so we compel the potential visitors to learn more about the destination and then ultimately book a trip.”

Tourism Victoria was pleased to partner with Victoria-based Innovate Imageworks for the production of this video that was shot over the summer and features more than 30 locations throughout the Greater Victoria area.

“I want to specifically thank the people at Innovate Imageworks who produced the video,” says Mousseau. “Their passion and connection to our destination was a driving force in this video’s success. They are a perfect example of the outstanding local talent we have right here in Victoria.”

Watch the video HERE.

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Victoria Landmark Moves on After 93 Years of Business

Sep 05, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — One of Victoria’s most familiar locations to say farewell to loved ones is making changes. McCall Bros. Funeral Home, located at Johnson and Vancouver Streets since 1921, is relocating its full services to its Sequoia Gardens location in Royal Oak.

“It makes the best business sense for us to streamline our resources and energy into one main location that we can expand upon and enhance our services over time,” said David McCall, president and chief executive officer, McCall Bros.  “Our Royal Oak location is co-located at Royal Oak Burial Park and has the room we need to expand over time.”

The well known Sequoia Gardens will undergo an extensive renovation and expansion to accommodate funeral services and celebrations of life for a large number of guests in a tranquil setting with easy and ample parking.

McCall Bros. will maintain an office where arrangements can be made in a new location in the downtown area after the transition takes place.

Over the past year, the firm researched the community utilizing focus groups and by surveying more than 400 Victorians. Through this process they learned that people prefer to hold services in an uplifting, modern facility, connected to nature and the outdoors – precisely what Sequoia Gardens at Royal Oak offers.

“What we’ve learned in our years of business is that a funeral is as personal as the family that holds it,” said Trevor McCall, funeral director. “Our new design at Sequoia Gardens will appeal to people who want informal gatherings, celebrations of life, and to those who want traditional funeral services. It will have the ability to be converted into a restaurant-like setting or church-like setting.”

This transition will take place over the next 13 – 18 months. In the meantime, both the downtown and Sequoia Gardens locations will remain open for business and McCall Bros. will continue to offer exceptional service to the families they serve.

“All existing preplanned arrangements will be honoured and guaranteed,” said David McCall stressing that the redesigned Sequoia Gardens will conveniently accommodate small or large gatherings.

David’s son, Trevor McCall, and nephew, Craig McCall Williams represent the fourth generation of the family business and will assume leadership of the company in the near future.


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New Marketing Collective's Contest to Award $10,000 in Services

Sep 05, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — A new collective of branding and marketing experts is preparing to give away over $10,000 in services to one eager Victoria business that is ready to launch or rebrand. The winner will receive a grand prize that will include a new logo, a new website plus copywriting and blogging, professional headshots and business photography, marketing strategy with social media set-up and training, and event space to unveil the new brand.

On August 18th, 2014 the Freebird Collective announced the launch of their own brand in conjunction with the launch of The Freebird Contest. Business owners will be able to send in their creative submissions – preferably in video format - via the Collective’s website (www.freebirdcollective.com) until September 30th. The Members of the Collective will narrow down the submissions to five finalists, whose businesses will be showcased at a gala evening event at the Oddfellow’s Hall on October 16th. The grand prize winner will be revealed at the finale of the event.

“We wanted to launch our brand with a contest to really showcase what the Freebirds are all about – innovative marketing ideas that gets the whole community involved.” says Rebecca Kirstein, the founding member of The Freebird Collective. “As small business owners ourselves, we thought: what would we want to win that would make the biggest impact on our own businesses?”

The Freebird Collective is positioning their business as an affordable alternative to a traditional marketing agency for micro-businesses, entrepreneurs and small start-ups In the Victoria market. For small business owners in Victoria, sourcing professional quality branding tools from local specialists at affordable rates has been a challenge. The Freebird Collective offers comparable comprehensive services that an entrepreneur might find at a full-service marketing agency, but overall costs can be kept lower without overhead of a bricks-and-mortar business.  The Collective is also dedicated to offering group workshops and trainings for businesses operating with a very tight budget. Do-it-yourself devotees have the option of learning the tricks of the trade directly from the members of the Collective.

Earlier this spring, Rebecca Kirstein identified several women working as freelancers in the fields of branding and marketing, and brought them together to discuss her vision to offer accessible services and workshops for small businesses in Victoria. “I hand-picked each one of the Freebirds not just because of their expertise in their respective fields but because of their dedication to educating small business and their clients,” says Rebecca.

The Freebird Collective is comprised of photographers Rebecca Kirsten and Anna McKenzie (BK Studios), web designer/developer partners Kim Timothy and Niki Campbell (Boutique by Design), social media expert JUHLi SELBy (JUHLi SELBy Social Media), content writer Andrea Ting-Letts (SCRIBE Professional Writing), marketing consultant Frances Kinloch, and community connector Carolyne Taylor.

For full contest details, visit www.freebirdcollective.com/contest





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Geoff Catherwood from BDC Venture Capital Added to Speakers List for Capital Investment Network Event

Sep 05, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Geoff Catherwood from BDC Venture Capital has been added to the speakers list for the upcoming Capital Investment Network event on September 15th, Write the Right Cheque - Convertible Debt or Equity?

Debt or equity - which is better for you?  Many investors (and company executives) assume that equity is the only option for early stage investing.  However there are other financing options. Deciding which is best means understanding how each works and how each can be structured.

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of convertible debt and equity from the perspective of the investor.  Learn how to structure these investment types properly to meet your return objectives and maximize tax credits.


Geoff Catherwood: Geoff is a Partner of BDC Venture Capital. Geoff Joined BDC in 2001 and currently runs BDC's Energy and Clean Technology Fund for Western Canada and is active on the boards of several early-stage companies. He also volunteers in a number of programs promoting entrepreneurship, including New Ventures BC.

Mike Volker:   Mike founded Volker-Craig, Inc., a computer terminals company that was acquired in 1981. Since then he has been active in various early stage businesses as a founder, investor, director, and officer.  He is currently President and Founder of VCC fund WUTIF Capital Inc  the Western Universities Technology Innovation Fund and the GreenAngel Energy Corp fund and he manages the Vancouver Technology Angel Network (VANTEC).  Mike is very active on the B.C. high tech scene, serving on the non-profit boards of New Ventures BC, Canadian Listed Companies Association, and the Auditing and Assurance Standards oversight Council as well as various private company boards.  Mike 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.

Todd Tessier: Todd 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.  As Executive Director of the Investment Capital Branch, the program grew from $40 million in 2001 to its present level of $110 million per year available for venture investment.  He was responsible for designing and implementing the BC Renaissance Capital Fund in 2007.  Serving then as Vice President with the fund, his team placed $90 million of capital with top-tier venture capital fund managers based in Canada and the U.S.  The fund managers associated with the BC Renaissance Capital Fund have approximately $2.3 billion of capital under management and have invested $320 million to date into BC companies since 2007.  Currently Todd is the CFO for Recon Instruments Inc., a company that has been developing computer wearable sunglasses and have sold over 60 thousand eye wear units for skiing to OEMs like Oakley, Smith and Maui Jim through its channel partner Apple.

Venue has been generously provided by GUSTAVSON CAPITAL.


Date: September 15, 2014

Time: 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm


The Spacestation.

3rd Floor - 517 Fort St.

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Tilray Holding Job Fair to Hire Additional 40-50 Staff

Sep 04, 2014

(News Release) NAMAIMO — On September 8th and 9th, Tilray is holding a job fair in Nanaimo seeking staff to fill roles including:


Customer Service Representatives

Processing – trimmers, packagers, shippers

Facilities Maintenance

Social Media Community Manager

With this round of hires, Tilray will expand its team to about 130. At their first job fair in March, Tilray was hiring for 60 people, and attracted more than 400 resumes and interviewed 250 people.

People interested in attending the job fair need to email their resume to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to receive details about participating. Additional details are available on Tilray’s Careers page: www.tilray.ca/en/Home/Careers

Tilray has invested $20 million in developing a state-of-the-art facility in Duke Point where they grow, process and distribute cannabis under license from Health Canada. They currently have more than 40 different strains of cannabis in cultivation in its state-of-the-art, 60,000 square foot facility. The company has provided medical cannabis to patients across Canada since opening on April 28, 2014. A short video about Tilray’s team and facility can be watched here.

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What Happens When Super Heroes and Affordable Housing Meet at Western Speedway?

Sep 04, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — This Saturday, September 6th, 2014, Pacifica Housing, Western Speedway and Heroes Inc have teamed up for an exciting night at the race tracks. At their event ”Pacifica Housing Lordco Autoparts Demo Trucks: Be a Hero for a Night” spectators are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite super hero! Numerous heroes from Heroes Inc will be amongst the spectators, adding to the excitement of the super hero theme.

“We are grateful for the amazing support we received from Western Speedway and Heroes Inc for this night,” says Karyn French, Executive Director at Pacifica Housing. “It is our 30th anniversary this year. We wanted to celebrate that milestone and offer our tenants a fun night out.”

Join us at Western Speedway on September 6th and be a Hero for a night. Gates open at 4.30pm, qualifying starts at 5.30pm and racing begins at 6.30pm. Anyone dressed as a hero can join the parade of heroes at the tracks.



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Chard’s Escher Brings a New Perspective to Downtown Condos

Sep 03, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Chard Development is launching sales of Escher, 84 distinctly urban, customizable condos that reflect a new perspective on downtown Victoria and its evolving residential, business and arts community.

“Escher is Chard’s fifth downtown development and our response to the growth and vibrancy that we’ve seen in Victoria’s downtown in recent years,” said David Chard, president, Chard Development. “The way people think about this is changing as businesses and homeowners continue to invest in an evolving urban community.”

Designed by Vancouver’s Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership with interiors by Proscenium Architecture + Interiors, Escher is a 10-storey building with a bold, modern design that includes suite customization that is unlike anything that’s been offered before in Victoria. Located at 838 Broughton Street, Escher’s features reflect a growing diversity among downtown homebuyers who appreciate stylish spaces and ease of living.

“We’re seeing ever-increasing interest in the convenience of downtown living alongside the demand for truly modern design, new in-suite features and the ability for owners to customize their homes. With Escher we have taken a decade of experience building in Victoria and applied the feedback we’ve received from purchasers to the features and options we’re offering. Our goal is for our owners to have a downtown home that truly reflects their personal tastes and lifestyle,” Chard went on to say.

To allow prospective purchasers the ability to visualize Escher’s numerous customization options; Chard has created an online suite customizer that can be used on their website or presentation centre touch screens. Users can explore a variety of back­splashes, countertops, paint colours, wallpaper and flooring options as well as various built-in desks and pantries that can be added to specific locations within suites.

“The response to these design options has been very well received from our initial prospective buyers. They appreciate having a say in the details like whether or not there’s an island or a table in their kitchen. Seeing their selections in real time with our suite customizer really helps with their decision-making process,” said Jeff Griffiths, vice president of marketing for Chard.

Features at Escher extend beyond the individual suites as well: there’s a meeting room with Shaw Wi-Fi that can be booked online for those who work from home or need an occasional quiet work space; an easy ground floor entrance to secure bicycle storage for all homeowners, electric car and scooter charging stations and a dog wash facility on the first parking level to make life simpler for pet owners. The main lobby showcases original art commissioned by Chard, and the building will feature a Chard-signature rooftop terrace and outdoor kitchen on the 11th floor - complete with dining and lounge seating, secure elevator access and an accessible washroom.

Sales for Escher officially begin on Saturday September 6, 2014. A wide variety of floor plans for one and two bedroom suites, some with dens or large outdoor terraces to increase living area and flexibility are available. Prices start at $219,000 with additional launch discounts of $10,000 on one bedrooms, $15,000 on two bedrooms and $20,000 on penthouse suites, which are available for the first 25 sales. A grand opening of the Escher presentation centre, located at 102-608 Broughton Street will be held on Saturday September 6, 2014 from 10 am to 5 pm.

For more information visit www.eschervictoria.com.

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What Does Victoria Supply to Rest of the World?

Sep 02, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — A new survey provides insights into Greater Victoria’s export economy showing Victoria exports an amazing array of services and products to the rest of the world, such as:

  • Video games
  • Aircraft and aerospace
  • Bio-reactors, medical technology, bicycle parts and much more!

This vibrant export economy is a crucial part of the ongoing growth of the Capital Region’s prosperity and economic development. New exports mean new shared wealth. It’s important to keep them coming.

The Greater Victoria Development Agency (GVDA) is a partner in that growth—along with support from Western Economic Diversification (WD) and local stakeholders— and wants to know what growing businesses need. If your business, a business you know, or one of your business partners is exporting, complete this survey.

Survey questions include:

  • What is your company’s competitive advantage in your export markets?
  • How important are the following direct air routes to your international business activities?
The survey will be led by Doug Taylor of Pacific Business Intelligence. The results will be used to address barriers faced by exporting businesses, identify what is needed to grow business opportunities and foster future potential.

Since its inception in 2007, the GVDA has been the region’s lead economic development organization. The GVDA’s mandate is to make Greater Victoria a more vibrant place to work, invest, and live.


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Camosun Cultivates a Culture of Sustainability

Aug 28, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Students and staff returning to campus this September will find evidence of Camosun’s commitment to sustainability in all areas of the college, from the obvious—recycling stations and solar energy systems—to the more sublime—curriculum enhancements and strategic plan imperatives.

“Sustainability is so important to Camosun that it is one of the four pillars of our strategic plan,” says Kathryn Le Gros, director of Ancillary Services. “Our approach is to build a culture of sustainability that is core to our identity. It’s more than just waste diversion…it’s about rethinking how we do everything, from textbook leasing, to solar-charging our electric carts and tools.

For several years, applied teaching and learning projects have begun to shape the campus as a living laboratory. “This means that, through innovative cross-disciplinary partnerships with industry, students, faculty and staff, Camosun is connecting environmental sustainability with the learning and campus life experiences,” says Le Gros. And, through the Environmental Sustainability Council, individuals are influencing college-wide environmental decisions that improve our environmental practices.

A comprehensive Sustainability Report was just released in the spring of 2014 followed by the adoption a Sustainability Plan. Both documents champion a sustainable environment AND a sustainable organization. “We have made real progress in achieving targets towards energy management and carbon neutrality, and I am excited to be part of this college movement” says Brian Calvert, associate director of Facilities Services. “Last year we concluded a 5-year energy plan, which revealed remarkable savings. We are making a measurable difference.”

Examples of innovation and action for sustainability at Camosun

·         Camosun Express free shuttle service for Camosun students and staff commuting from the West Shore and between campuses.

·         Improved bike fix-it stations, lockers and showers for commuting by bicycle.

·         On-campus compost systems resulting in the diversion of an average of 700 litres of organics per month at Lansdowne and a similar system at Interurban. Our compost system provides “living lab” opportunities for students from the Environmental Technology program and the E.A.R.T.H. Gardening and Employment Training and Preparation programs.

·         Solar powered e-charging station—a 4 KW Solar Photovoltaic array at the Interurban Campus to offset the charging of electric vehicles, bikes/scooters, grounds keeping golf carts, and battery powered hand tools. The solar powered e-charging station provides “living lab” opportunities for Electronics and Mechanical Engineering Technology students.

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City to Host Stop on Open Government Tour

Aug 21, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — The City of Victoria is hosting a stop on the Open Government Tour this Monday, August 25. The Open Government Tour is a cross-country tour to help promote the idea that civic engagement can happen on any level and can be both fun and life-changing. Host Richard Pietro is travelling across the nation on a motorcycle to introduce Open Government and Open Data to all Canadians and will be bringing his tour to Victoria’s City Hall on Monday evening. This event is dedicated to introducing Open Government to people who may have heard of it, but are not fully aware of what it is. The Open Government Tour will demonstrate the technology that is changing the culture, tell the stories behind terms, and introduce the people that are making it happen. What: Open Government Tour Where: Victoria City Hall, Council Chambers When: Monday, August 25 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Who: Everyone is welcome, no charge to attend The City of Victoria is committed to transparency and has implemented many initiatives in the last 18 months towards Open Government and Open Data. Some of these include launching an Open Data catalogue at www.victoria.ca/opendata , adopting an Open Data licence, hosting a “hackathon”, launching the popular VicMap, webcasting all Council and committee meetings, and adopting policy and principle statements around the timely release of information. For more information or to register to attend visit www.victoria.ca . For information on the Open Government Tour visit www.webnotwar.ca/open-government-tour-2014

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Moving Transportation Forward- CRD Regional Transportation Plan Approved

Aug 15, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – This week, the Capital Regional District (CRD) Board approved a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), after an extensive collaborative process and direct consultation with all municipalities, electoral areas and other regional and provincial authorities. The Plan was developed in response to a region-wide desire for an integrated regional multi-modal transportation network, and recognition of the need to align future land use and transportation decisions.

At the direction of the Board, the CRD is now working to determine the operational details associated with implementing a new transportation service and will consider consolidating some existing transportation functions under a new service authority. A new transportation service authority would enable the consolidation of some existing and proposed CRD assets, facilities and services into one service area to advance the implementation of regional priorities.

“58% of travel in the CRD is inter-municipal,” said CRD Board Chair Alastair Bryson. “Increased access to alternate modes of transportation will be required to meet our goal of reducing dependence on cars and limiting the projected increase in the number of single occupant vehicle trips that will come with the future growth of the Capital Region.”

Developed in collaboration with all 13 municipalities, three electoral areas, BC Transit and the Ministry of Transportation, the RTP identifies immediate priorities, governance options and long-term strategies to guide planning and development of a multi-modal transportation system that meets future growth demands and is focused on sustainability.

The RTP builds upon existing mode-specific plans such as the Transit Future Plan and the Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan.  At the core of the plan is the identification of a Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Network that connects regional mobility hubs or centres, and provides residents and visitors a choice in their transportation decisions.

The plan is based on the following seven principles:

·         Coordinated and engaged approach to local and regional planning

·         Reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector

·         Integrated transportation and land use planning

·         Capitalized potential for alternatives to driving alone

·         Enhanced role for public transit

·         Maximized efficiency of existing transportation corridors for all modes

·         Prioritized strategic investments that serve regional mobility needs

“To deliver more sustainable transportation in our region and increase our response to climate change, we need to capitalize on the opportunity to coordinate urban growth and transportation decisions,” said Chair Bryson. “Under the existing model, no one agency has direct authority for establishing funding or implementing regional transportation priorities. The CRD Board has repeatedly promoted a change in governance that would impart the CRD with leadership and authority for transit and transportation decisions.”

“Regional investments must be pursued through a unified voice and costs cannot be borne by any one municipality,” Chair Bryson added. “Under a new service authority, a regional funding program would be established over time.”

The creation of a transportation service would require a transportation service establishment bylaw. A three-phased approach to implementation is recommended beginning with the consolidation of existing transportation functions, followed by the addition of other new non-transit, priority functions identified in the RTP and finally the addition of transit. As needs and opportunities differ across the region, sub-regional working groups have been proposed representing the West Shore, Saanich Peninsula, core area and electoral areas to work on localized priorities and initiatives.

For more information on the Regional Transportation Plan visit: https://www.crd.bc.ca/project/regional-transportation-plan


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Victoria Harbour Ferry Launches James Bay Explorer Service

Aug 15, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Victoria Harbour Ferry will launch a new marine shuttle service on Saturday, August 16.  The new service, sailing as the James Bay Explorer, will provide tourists, cruise ship passengers, and locals with direct service between the Steamship Terminal, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Ogden Point.

The new service is an addition to the Victoria Harbour Ferry fleet of Harbour Tour boats, H2O Water Taxis, and Pickle Pub vessels.  The Lynda Mae 2, a 40-passenger, Canoe Cove built vessel will sail on the  hour from the Inner Harbour, directly in front of the newly restored Steamship Terminal building and right off the Lower Causeway.

The crew on the vessel will welcome aboard hometown and neighbourhood residents, cruise ship passengers, and tourists, many of whom will take the opportunity to visit downtown or the Breakwater and Dallas Rd.  The vessel will carry riders and their bikes, owners and their dogs, and families looking for a new experience travelling from Ogden Point to downtown.

The James Bay Explorer will travel outbound to the entrance to the Harbour at the Breakwater shores and provide an opportunity for passengers to enjoy the  First Nations mural on the Breakwater walls.


Schedule: Daily 10am to 6pm until September 14, Daily 11am to 5pm until October 6. Depart on the hour from Steamship Terminal, Depart Ogden Point on the half hour.

Price:  Adults $5 for a one way hop from the Inner Harbour to Fisherman’s Wharf and $10 one way from the Inner Harbour to Ogden Point. Children $3-$5.

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