Join Prodigy Group for its July Mingle, hosted by The Parkside Hotel & Spa on its spectacular rooftop this Thursday from 5-7 pm. Don't miss out - register today!
Province buys Woodwynn Farms for supportive housing

The Province has stepped in to purchase Woodwynn Farms, ensuring the property can continue changing the lives of people struggling with homelessness and addiction. The fate of the 193-acre farm was uncertain after employees were laid off in March and the property was put up for sale to pay $5.3 million in debt. The government has allocated $6.9 million for the site to cover the $5.8 purchases price as well as renovations and other costs.
The farm had been following a therapeutic community model that offered people in need a place to heal, learn and work.  
"This property offers an exciting healing opportunity for people struggling with mental-health and substance-use issues," says Don Evans, executive director of Our Place Society. "A recovery-oriented therapeutic model, grounded in farming the land, will be a tremendous resource for our community."
There will not be housing on the site. However, the Province said B.C. Housing will work with the District of Central Saanich and providers of Greater Victoria supportive housing.
Our Place received $4.7 million from the province in May to help fund a therapeutic recovery community at a former youth custody facility in View Royal.
Helping people break the dangerous cycle of addiction aligns with one of The Chamber's 2018 Advocacy Priorities - the fundamental need for Safe Communities.
Our Place Society: member since 2010 
Chamber News
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Summer Social Series
The Business of Cannabis
Business Mixers
Prodigy Group Mingles
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It's electric. BC Transit testing electric bus
On Tuesday, BC Transit announced
Erin Pinkerton, Claire Trevena, Susan Brice and Catherine Holt.
that its first electric bus in Greater Victoria will go into service on July 23. The bus will be used for a six-month trial, before being returned to its Chinese manufacturer, BYD, in October. Data gathered from the bus will be used to evaluate the best way for BC Transit to incorporate electric buses as it transitions to a zero-emission fleet.

"As we move towards new fleet technologies we need to understand the impacts to our business and our partners," Erinn Pinkerton, BC Transit's Interim President and CEO stated in a news release. BC Transit has tested electric buses in the past, but this is the first time an electric bus has been put into regular service. The new bus, which is powered by a 325 kilowatt hour battery and can travel 250 kilometres per charge, will be tested on routes 2, 4, 11 and 27.

Wilson's Group of Companies has also been exploring adding electric buses to its fleet. The company is in the process of converting a 1960 double decker sightseeing buses to electric.

BC Transit: member since 1999

Wilson's Group of Companies: member since 2004
Brewmaster's Dinner

This is a summer BBQ that you don't want to miss out on! Enjoy a four-course BBQ dinner prepared by Jones Bar-B-Que paired with award winning beer from Lighthouse Brewing Company Inc.. The dinner will be served long-table style in Market Square. Not a beer drinker? We will have non-alcoholic options at the event.
Gather your colleagues or friends and take advantage of group pricing! Trust us, it'll be the BBQ of the year!
Sponsored by:
Thu, Aug 16 | 5:30-9 pm
Market Square - Anthem Properties
39-560 Johnson St.

More jobs, more people looking for work
Canada's unemployment rate increased to 6% last month, despite the economy adding 31,800 jobs.
Statistics Canada's labour force survey shows the jobless rate increased from 5.8% in May, breaking the 6% barrier for the first time since last October.
In Greater Victoria, the unemployment rate was 4.2% in June, up from 3.9% in May. Our region continues to have one of the lowest rates in Canada, behind only Quebec City at 3.9% and Peterborough, Ont., at 2.7%.
Greater Victoria had 8,600 more people employed this June than a year earlier.
"Despite the increase in people looking for jobs, we also have more people working, which shows we continue to have a healthy economy," says Catherine Holt, CEO of The Chamber. 
Work begins on Salient's Fort Street project

The Salient Group has started site work on what will be a six-storey apartment building at 840 Fort Street.  
Original building constructed in 1909

An existing two-storey facade will be preserved as part of the plan to add 60 rental units as well as ground-floor retail space.

Construction started Monday and is expected to take 16 months. Salient says the project is not expected to disrupt neighbouring businesses or the recently completed bike lanes on Fort Street.
The Salient Group: member since 2017
Members Around Town
The Downtown Victoria Buskers Festival 
The Downtown Victoria Buskers Festival is back this year with new talent and new dates, Aug 30-Sept 3, for a full week of live entertainment, due to the collaboration of the Downtown Victoria Business Association and key sponsors Tourism Victoria, the City of Victoria, and the Hotel Association of Greater Victoria. Talented buskers will be performing at four venues this year: Centennial Square, CRD Square, Bastion Square and Market Square. 
Downtown Victoria Business Association: member since 2007    
Tourism Victoria: member since 1988 
City of Victoria: member since 1962 
Amica at The Gorge
Amica at The Gorge is hosting an open house this weekend at its new all-inclusive retirement living building. Incorporating the historic Brookman's Grocery the sunny addition to the Gorge includes independent, assisted and memory care suites. 
Amica at The Gorge: member since 2017    
Book recognized with publishing award  
The Royal BC Museum's 2017 book, The Language of Family: Stories of Bonds and Belonging, won two awards at the 2018 PubWest Book Design Awards competition: Gold Award in the Adult Trade Illustrated category and the overall Judges Choice Award. The PubWest Design Awards were developed 34 years ago to recognize superior design and outstanding production quality of books and e-books. Entries are submitted from across North America. 
Royal BC Museum: member since 1994   
World Cup fever in YYJ (and @ The Chamber)
FIFA World Cup fever
Croatia scores!
has hit the Island. Today, England faced Croatia in the semi finals. The Chamber Staff had some fun and bet $0.25 on who they thought would win today. Thomas Zeran, The Chamber's Events Assistant (and part-time bookie) headed down to a packed Irish Times Pub to capture a photo of the festivities.

Bets from The Chamber staff:
Team Croatia
Kate Masters
Thomas Zeran
Jim Tighe
Catherine Holt
Emara Angus
Team England
Cyrus Lee
Jim Zeeben
Alec Reiley
Carmen Lundstrom
Cheryl Wirch-Ryckman

Looks like Team Croatia came out on top!

Belgium will play England for third place on Sat., July 14 at 7 am and France will play Croatia on Sun., July 15 at 8 am in the World Cup final. For the record, Chamber CEO Catherine Holt says Croatia will win the World Cup on Sunday!

Irish Times Pub: member since 2003
Find out what regulations affect the sale of cannabis, what this emerging industry means for businesses in Victoria and what global opportunities are available. 
See the speakers  here.
The Province announced today the Liquor Distribution Branch has signed memorandums of understanding with 31 licensed producers of non-medical cannabis. BC Cannabis Stores will feature more than 150 strains, ranging in quality, from value to ultra-premium product, at competitive prices.

Wed, Oct 10 | 11:30 am-1 pm
Hotel Grand Pacific
463 Belleville St.

With Greyhound ending service, Wilson's looking at opportunities
It's still early in the process, but Wilson's Group of Companies is taking a long look at some of the Western Canada routes that Greyhound  will be abandoning. Wilson's president and CEO, John Wilson, told the Times Colonist they will look at routes that could link up with the company's BC Ferries connector service.

"We'll be looking at largely BC but we will look at perhaps Alberta opportunities as well. It's early days," Wilson told the TC. "I've asked our team to start looking at everything and they will be reporting back to me in the coming days."

Greyhound Canada announced this week it will end passenger and freight service as of Oct. 31 in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Greyhound cites a 41% decline in ridership since 2010 as the reason for its decision to downsize. The company will continue operations in Ontario and Quebec.

Wilson's Group of Companies: member since 2004
As expected, Bank of Canada raises key rate
In a decision that was foreshadowed to Chamber members last month, Canada's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate to 1.5% today.
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen S. Poloz spoke at The Chamber's June 27 Business Leaders Luncheon. His speech highlighted the need for clear communication and for basing strategy on data rather than headlines. "We are data dependent, not headline dependent," Poloz said, noting that the Canadian economy is operating near capacity and inflation is on target.
At the time, tweets by the US President about escalating a trade war with Canada and other countries had pundits disagreeing about the long-term health of the economy. The eyes of the national press had been on Victoria waiting for an indication that the Bank of Canada would hold off on an increase over concerns of a possible trade war. However, the Governor was clear that the bank had set a course for a gradual increase in the rate and would not deviate based on speculation.
In today's announcement, Poloz said tariffs that have been imposed on steel and aluminum won't have an overly harsh impact on the economy.
Making the most of summer in the office

Even when you're not on vacation you can enjoy your
We've taken 5 highlights from the article 15 Little Ways to Enjoy the Summer When You're Trapped in the Office to boost your morale and that of your coworkers:
  1. Change Up Your Commute  
    Try walking or biking to and from work so that you get more fresh air time.
  2. Use Your Lunch Breaks Differently
    Eat your lunch outside, go for lunch on a patio (Check out our patio checklist here) or take a walk on your lunch break.
  3. Make Your Schedule More Summer-Friendly
    Start coming in earlier in the mornings so you can head out earlier in the afternoon or put that time towards Friday afternoons off.
    That's what we do here at The Chamber!
  4. Plan a Frozen Treat Happy Hour
    Fill up your work freezer with popsicles
    or go out for frozen treats.
  5. Play With Your Wardrobe
    Add some fun colour and incorporate your favourite summer pieces into your work outfit.
    Here are some Do's and Don'ts of Summer Fashion. If you're finding your summer wardrobe lackluster, why not go on a shopping spree
Wishing everyone a happy and productive summer filled with a healthy work-life balance!
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