Happy Pride 2018!
July 8th marked an important day for members of the LGBTQ2+ community and their supports. As many as 10,000 celebrated love and diversity in the 25th annual Pride Parade, which kicked off at 11am at Pandora Street & Government. Over 100 colourful floats and groups marched, sang, and danced their way through downtown Victoria and into James bay. MacDonald Park was the gathering place for the Pride Festival, which attracted more than 25,000 supporters. Since the first parade in 1994, the event has not only grown in numbers, but has grown to be more inclusive and offers something for everyone and all ages, from the very young to the very old. Enjoyed by all were the colourful costumes, music and dancing, and a beautiful display of inclusion and community. Premiere was honoured to experience the milestone event in Victoria!
Fulll article from Tourism Victoria here
We’re just going to go ahead and say it: September in Victoria is amazing. The weather is gorgeous and summery, the majority of people are back to work and school and there’s still lots going on around the city. For locals, September is a chance to relax, refresh, and enjoy the last weeks of summer before the fall season.
ATTEND RIFFLANDIA FESTIVAL
Celebrating its tenth anniversary from September 14-17, Rifflandia Festival will bring over 150 performances to multiple venues across the city over three days and nights. With artists spanning genres from pop to indie and electronic music, attendees can curate their own festival experience and choose from shows taking place at almost twenty different stages.
While there is ample opportunity to party, Rifflandia is also super family-friendly and welcomes around 800 kids to enjoy the daytime festivities at Royal Athletic Park each year. Don’t be surprised if you see a tiny human riding atop someone’s shoulders wearing a pair of hilariously oversized ear protection.
Image: Rifflandia Festival
CELEBRATE CRAFT BEER
Have we mentioned that Victorians like craft beer? On September 8 and 9, the Great Canadian Beer Festival will take over Royal Athletic Park to showcase 78 breweries and 2 cideries, a VIP cask tent, food vendors, live entertainment and more. Get all the details and buy tickets online here.
Image: Great Canadian Beer Festival
INDULGE IN SPECIALTY TEA, WHISKY, AND CHOCOLATE
Victoria’s very own Terroir Tea Salon (recently licensed, and with a charming outdoor courtyard perfect for enjoying a cup of tea) will be hosting a special Tea, Whisky and Chocolate Tasting event on Saturday, September 16. The Whisky Manager at The Strath Liquor Store will serve four single-malt whiskies, while the founder of The Chocolate Project will introduce four bean-to-bar chocolates that are making their Canadian debuts at this event. Served alongside four pure teas selected to highlight aroma and flavour fusions and contrasts, this unique tasting menu will certainly highten the senses. You can register for the event online here.
Images: Terroir Tea Salon
LAST CHANCE TO SEE TERRY FOX & FAMILIES EXHIBIT
September is your last month to see the Terry Fox: Running to the Heart of Canada exhibit at the Royal BC Museum. It’s moving on at the end of the month, so visit now while you still can! The exhibit includes a timeline of Terry’s life, including key moments along the Marathon of Hope, as written by Terry in his own journals. His iconic running shorts, shoes and t-shirts are included in the display, as well as the Ford Econoline van that housed Terry throughout his journey.
While you’re at the museum, make sure to visit the permanent ‘Our Living Languages’ exhibit, which showcases British Columbia’s diverse First Nations Languages. Also on at the museum is special exhibit Family: Bonds & Belonging, which offers a surprising and unconventional look at the broad concept of family through the eyes of Canadians over the past 150 years.
Image: Royal BC Museum
DO FRIDAYS LIKE A LOCAL
Another way to feel like a local during your visit to Victoria is to attend the Bites, Brews, Bands on the Barge event at Odgen Point. Each Friday, people gather on a floating barge at sunset to celebrate the end of another week with food trucks, live music, local craft beer and cider, and great company. It doesn’t get much more Victoria than that. On tap will be beers from Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., Hoyne Brewing, and Driftwood Brewery, and cider from Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse.
Images: The Breakwater Barge
ENJOY SPECIAL FARM-TO-TABLE HARVEST DINNERS
Get dressed up and enjoy a spectacular evening overlooking the Inner Harbour from the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa on September 16. Supporting the BC Children’s Hospitality, Harvest on the Harbour will include a harvest dinner, dancing and entertainment under the stars – all for a good cause!
You can also indulge in a special Harvest Dinner at Woodwhynn Farms near Brentwood Bay on September 7. This four-course dinner will feature freshly-harvested heirloom fruit and veggies, locally farm-raised poultry, and more – each course paired with tea cocktails by Silk Road Tea.
Image: Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa
PARTAKE IN THE PGA
If you love golf, September is the right time to plan a visit to Victoria. We’ll be hosting an official PGA Champions Tour event from September 11-17 at the world-class Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa. At the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship, you will see top golfers including Sir Nick Faldo, John Daly and Tom Lehman compete for a $2.5 million USD prize purse. See available tickets and learn more about the event here.
Image: Bear Mountain Golf Resort
SOAK IN THE SUMMER WEATHER
It’s looking like summer’s planning to stick around for a few more weeks, so now is the time to cross off those last summer bucket list items. Check out our Essential Summer checklist for inspiration – and 9 Can’t-Miss Patios in Victoria so you’ll know the top spots to soak in the summer rays.
Image: Sombrio Beach, photo by Nik Dunn
Celebrating 150 years of Canadian Pride
Canada 150 marks a celebration like no other. Over 100 free live performances are scheduled for 11 days leading up to the culmination of events this Saturday, where nearly 50,000 proud Canadian’s will gather in Victoria’s Inner Harbour to celebrate what it means to be truly Canadian. For those needing a brief history refresher, Canada Day, formerly known as Dominion Day, marks the historical event in which Canada gained their independence from Great Britain in 1867.
Canada Day celebrations kick off at 12pm on July 1st. The day will be filled with multicultural artistry, diverse food & beverage offerings, and live music, and of course a grand finale fireworks display to commemorate our nation.
Grab your flags and be sure to check out this eventful Canada 150 Day schedule in downtown Victoria:
Main Stage, BC Legislature Lawn:
12pm: Coast Capital Savings living flag tee shirt pickup
2pm: Coast Capital Savings living flag photo
3:00pm: Elder Blessing
3:15pm: Esquimalt Singer & Dancers
3:30pm: Lekwungen Traditional Dancers
3:50pm: “O Canada” – Valdy & The Childrens Choir
4:10pm: Stella Swanson & The Rosie Joyfuls
4:55pm: CIBC Reaffirmation Ceremony
5:30pm: Dirty Mountain
6:15pm: De Temps Antan
7:10pm: En Karma
8:05pm: The Funk Hunters
Harbour Stage, Ship Point Inner Harbour:
12:30pm: Mexican Folklore Dancers
1:15pm: Lilia’s Polynesian Dance Co
2:00pm: To be announced
2:50pm: Sooke Community Choir
3:30pm: Shan-e Punjab
4:15pm: Fortune Killers
6:00pm: Stinging Belle
7:00pm: Deep Sea Gypsies
8:00pm: Band of Rascals
Join Premiere Suites and the Women’s Real Estate Network to find out if Corporate Rentals are right for you!
When: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 to
Where: Premiere Suites, 834 Johnson Street, Victoria, BC
Price: CAD25.00 /per person (Refund policy)
Please come join us and be inspired by an amazing panel of Women real estate investors, business owners and educators. We have an incredible line up of speakers that will be sharing their knowledge, expertise and stories with all of us.
Does the thought of making extra money with a vacation or corporate rental locally or globally get you revved up? Are you confused about the regulations and the amount of work involved? Is a turnkey property that someone else manages for you they ticket for you?
Join Rachelle and Beverly as they give an overview of what to expect and how to prepare to enter this now global billion dollar economy.
President & Managing Partner
Rachelle was teaching French at the University of Victoria when she first heard about Premiere Executive Suites. She was intrigued by a hotel model that utilized fully furnished condos for accommodation, and after some investigating with her business partner they purchased the franchise for Victoria BC. 10 years ago they started with one apartment and $3000, which has now grown to nearly 50 apartments and a staff of 10. In her years of running the Victoria location, Rachelle has enjoyed meeting new guests and clients from all over the world. She enjoys traveling, particularly cycling trips through Europe, and is very fond of French white wines.
Owner and founder of the Magical Marketing Booth, Beverly combines twenty years of diverse experience with her passion and expertise in the tourism and hospitality industry. Bev has held senior sales and marketing roles in the hotel industry and has used her strategic alliances ability to garner exclusive, long-term business agreements with prestigious clients. Bev delights in using her creativity to offer clients unique insights, perspectives and relationships gained through consistent and proven successes.
Her “magical” ability is in her enthusiasm for matching a large network of suppliers and buyers in the leisure, luxury, corporate, incentive, and educational markets. Her strong community involvement spans tourism and chamber boards, chairing organizations such as Vancouver Island Meeting Planners & Suppliers, the Liaison Committee of CFB Esquimalt, Friends of Protecteur, VI South Film Commission, and the Victoria Hospital Foundation. Bev plays golf, is dedicated to her family and friends, and loves to travel and experience new adventures. Premiere Suites Victoria is thrilled to have Beverly join our team! Her warm, outgoing demeanor and drive for professional growth are an inspiration to us all.
Experienced Bylaw Officer
Eleven years in municipal government with five years focused on bylaw enforcement in two of Vancouver Island’s largest municipalities. In this general overview, Mia will highlight common enforcement matters to consider before buying a property and how to manage your way through the compliance process should a violation occur. The key is understanding the regulations and doing your due diligence.
6:15pm – Registration
6:30pm – Laurie & Liza welcome and real estate up-dates
7:00pm – Mia Frankl
7:30pm – Rachelle Keeley & Beverly Booth
8:00pm – Discussions, questions, roundtable
Your $25 Pre-Paid admission will include an evening of real estate knowledge, networking with like-minded women, a glass of wine and light snacks.
We look forward to seeing you there!
The 10 Things You MUST do During the Holiday Season in Victoria BC
Victoria is a magical place, and it truly comes alive during the holiday season. The city is adorned with twinkling lights, carolers and buskers liven up the streets, and festivals & events take place in every neighbourhood. Premiere Suites Victoria has narrowed down the top 10 events you do not want to miss this holiday season!
1) Vote for your favourite Christmas tree while supporting the Victoria Hospitals Foundation at the 25th Annual Festival of the Trees. Hosted by both the Fairmont Empress Hotel and the Bay Centre this year, you will look up in wonder at 85 beautifully & creatively decorated trees
2) Magic of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens is a holiday tradition that you do not want miss. This family friendly, pet friendly event runs the month of December into early January, and features the “12 Days of Christmas” light display throughout the gardens, along with festive brass bands and Christmas carollers, as well as outdoor ice skating.
3) Beat the crowds at the malls and visit Father Christmas in Old Town. You can get your picture taken and share your holiday wishes with this jolly spirit at the Royal BC Museum. Santa will be waiting for you on Fridays-Sundays from 11am-3pm on the first 3 weekends in December.
4) Feast your senses on the creative inspirations constructed entirely by holiday gingerbread! The Inn at Laurel Point is host to Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase, where professional and amateur bakers alike display their masterpieces for all to enjoy.
5) The boats in Victoria’s Inner Harbour are lit up in a vibrant display of Christmas lights during the Marina Light Up. Take in the delightful display as you wander the downtown causeway with a loved one, hot chocolate in hand.
6) On Saturday December 3rd, come be a part of the Ogden Point Christmas Light Up in support of the Mustard Seed. Stay and see the IEOA Lighted Truck Parade, which begins at Ogden Point at 6:30pm and arrives at the Western Speedway by 8:30pm with many viewing locations in between!
7) Marvel at the lights of Centennial Square and downtown Victoria from atop the 20 meter Ferris Wheel Ride. Santa will be there, along with food vendors and holiday entertainers – sure to make this a memorable Christmas event.
8) There is no better place to do your Christmas shopping than at one of the many Christmas Markets offered in Victoria. Find that perfect something for that special someone in your life made by a local vendor with love.
9) Bundle up and bring the family down to the Delta Victoria Ocean Point Resort to enjoy one of Victoria’s great Christmas traditions – Christmas Starlight Cinema in the Inner Harbour. Don’t forget your lawn chair, blanket, and warm drinks – heaters provided by the hotel.
10) Unleash your Christmas spirit as you sign and dance along with the Victoria Soul Gospel Choir. You will have a hard time staying seated through the high-energy sounds of Motown, R&B, Gospel, and Raggae!
With Labour Day behind us and temperatures reaching into the 20’s, the stage was set for a weekend of indulgence as thousands gathered at the Royal Athletic Park for the annual Great Canadian Beer Festival. The energy was high as people sipped on local and national brews reaching as far east as Nova Scotia. Victorians are serious about their beer, with artisanal beers gaining popularity every year. Listen beyond the buzz of tipsy chatter and you will hear conversations about lactic fermentation, quinoa and amaranth composition, cask conditioning, aromatics, finishes, and how toasted coconut and curry powder add a whole new meaning to India Pale Ale. Victoria’s own Spinnaker’s featured local ingredients this year, with fresh hops grown right on site at Spinnakers, and local honey being showcased in their Queen Bee Honey Kolsch. Albeit a beer festival, crowds gathered at Tod Creek Cider, who featured an organic triple-hopped craft cider. Music kept the vibe elevated throughout the day, and food trucks satiated the festival goers so they could keep drinking until the end.
For one magical weekend we came together to celebrate two things that go together so well. Canada and Beer: a match made in heaven.
If you are looking for something to engage and inspire you this month, the Belfry Theatre’s feature play, “The Valley” is running through the month of February, and is drawing praise nationwide:
“A wonderful piece of writing…not to be missed” Toronto Star
“Relentlessly topical – and deeply empathetic” The Globe and Mail
“Macleod has a wonderful ear and eye for the everyday details of Canadian life.” Calgary Herald
The strength and fragility of everyday people is the cornerstone of Joan MacLeod’s work and The Valley is her latest gem. In this timely and moving story, a dramatic police encounter binds four people together – a mother and her teenage son, a policeman and his wife. How they – and all of us – are connected is the stuff of great drama.
Located in the friendly Fernwood neighbourhood at 1291 Gladstone Avenue, the Belfry is a professional not-for-profit theatre company that produces contemporary theatre with an emphasis on Canadian work. I encourage you to visit Belfry Theatre’s website for play schedules and calendar of events: http://www.belfry.bc.ca/calendar/
I love summer. I am a summer gal through and through. The warm lazy days that stretch late into the night. The smell of barbeque in air. The sound of lawnmowers and the smell of fresh cut grass. The feel of the sun warming your back. There is so much to love about summer. Did I mention the long summer days? How could one not feel on top of their game with so many hours of daylight energizing you through long lists of tasks and engagements? …So what happens when the leaves start to fall, the wind carries a bite, and the clocks fall back? Halloween comes and goes with a stir of excitement, and then I catch myself whispering of summer’s distant return. But I am determined not to live half a life, one that not just thrives when the sun warms you from above and the wind is at your back, but one that can be equally as rewarding in darker (wetter) days. I am a firm believer that there is a silver lining to everything, even the seasons. With the arrival of Autumn comes an opportunity for change, reflection, and growth. Growing up, Autumn marked the start of a new school year, a chance to meet new friends, take new classes, and try new things. A fresh start if you will. That feeling has instilled within me to this day.
So as much as you may long to stay in bed with a good book on a rainy day (and there is something to be said for that), this post is about inspiring you to get outside and experience some fall friendly activities on our treasured Vancouver Island.
1. Goldstream Park. Running mid to late October through to early December, Goldstream Park is home to the world class salmon spawning stream with thousands of Chum Salmon returning every year. Did you know that salmon see reds, purples, and pinks very well? Avoid wearing these colours to get an up close look at fish actively building nests and watch for spawning behavior. Make a day of it and bring something to cook up on the BBQ pits in the day use area along the river. The forest canopy provides a natural umbrella in drizzly weather.
2. Craft fairs. Many Christmas Craft Fairs begin in November, and why not get a head start on your list by supporting local artisans at the same time? Who doesn’t love some hand knits, preserves, and Christmas baking? Check out:
3. Pamper yourself at the Spa. Everyone deserves a little pampering every once in a while. Victoria hosts some incredible spas, and my personal favourites are located just outside the city: Sante Spa at Bear Mountain (http://bearmountain.ca/Westin-Hotel/Spa) and Brentwood Bay Spa (http://www.brentwoodbayresort.com/spa/spa-overview.htm). Also worth noting are the Spa Magnolia, Spa Sereine (the 30 minute Indian Head Massage is incredible), Sapphire Day Spa, and Silk Road.
4. Take a winery tour. You need look for farther than our own backyard to find some incredible wineries. Just a short drive to Mill Bay (mini-roadtrip!) will bring you to one of my favourite wineries, Cherry Point Estate Wines. Although the bistro closes at the end of September, tours and tastings are offered year round. Do not miss the chance to try the Cowichan Blackberry Dessert Wine. It’s like summer in a glass. Oops, there I go again…. http://cherrypointestatewines.com/
5. Take a cooking class. Fall is the perfect time to learn a new recipe or two. Companies such as the London Chef, Cook Culture, and Olive the Senses offer classes for foodies and beginners alike. My husband came home the other day from a corporate team building day at the London Chef with a pocket full of Eastern recipes. Being the one who normally does the cooking, I just about jumped out of my skin with excitement. And that got me to thinking, wouldn’t this be a fun idea for a birthday party?
6. Shop (for weather appropriate clothes). I grew up in Ontario where the seasons were extreme. If it wasn’t too cold to go out, it was often too hot, too humid, too stormy. To prevent us all from going stir-crazy in the house, my mom would load us kids up into the Chevy and take us to the mall. A change of scenery did us all wonders, and a little retail therapy never hurt either. I have come to learn that owning a comfortable, quality, water-proof jacket is KEY to surviving winter in Victoria. That and a pair of rain boots. I have not put my feet into rubber footwear since elementary school, and that is nearly 20 years of wet sneakers and soggy leather boots. I stand converted. If you do not have a pair in your current collection of footwear, make that be your next investment! If you are looking for a place to shop, I encourage you to branch outside of the malls for a taste of locally designed men’s and women’s fashion boutiques found on trendy Lojo (lower Johnson St). You can also find an eclectic mix of independent delis, boutiques, bookstores, toy stores and more at the seaside village of Oak Bay Avenue.
7. Walk the breakwater. Cozy up with hot chocolate and lots of layers and go embrace the elements. The 850 m. iconic breakwater was built between 1914 and 1916 to protect the Ogden Point piers which were being constructed simultaneously in anticipation of a trade increase due to the nearing completion of the Panama Canal. Yes it will be windy, wavy, and wet… but that is the point! (refer to point #6)
8. Plan a trip. The internet is great for researching destinations and reading reviews, but I strongly encourage you to get out of the house and go visit a travel agent. Let them tantalize you with exotic destinations, load you up with glossy brochures, and build you a custom itinerary. Even if you are not ready to book just yet, the process will bring you that much closer to making it a reality. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to dream a little dream…
9. Leaf through the volumes in Booktown. Sometimes there’s just something about wandering around a bookstore and discovering new things that Amazon can’t beat. Visit Munro’s Books on Government Street — recognized as one of the 10 most beautiful books stores in the world.
10. Be a tourist in your own town. I went out yesterday and bought a travel guide book for Victoria. I have also lived here for 20 years. Yet, there is so much yet to discover, this I am sure. Venture somewhere new, or revisit a long forgotten site and see it through new eyes. I must mention one of Canada’s most beautiful and diverse heritage estates, Hatley Castle. Built in 1908 for coal baron and Premier, James Dunsmuir, this 40-room mansion is a classified heritage building.
You may have noticed a new trend sweeping social media this week that involves getting chilly for charity. The ice bucket challenge was started by Massachusetts resident Pete Frates who has been living with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) since 2012, in the hopes of spreading awareness and raising money for ALS research to find a cure. He started the challenge with friends and family and since then it has become incredibly widespread, even reaching celebrities like Martha Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timerberlake, Jennifer Morrison, Elizabeth Banks and even entire NHL hockey teams. Once nominated, the nominee has 24 hours to complete the challenge and nominate others to take party or must make a donation instead. Many people have been taking part in the challenge as well as donating.
Most people would ask how dumping a bucket of ice water on your head helps raise money and/or awareness for a disease; the numbers speak for themselves. It’s surprising what can happen when something goes viral, and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is no exception. This week last year, donations totalled $14,000. That’s not bad, but this past week has seen over $168,000 in donations and a large part of that is thanks to the ice bucket challenge. If you’d like to donate to ALS research it’s incredibly simple, just visit http://www.als.ca/donate
Of course celebrities and sports stars aren’t the only people taking on this challenge, the majority of the participants are just ordinary citizens like you and me.. and I literally mean me. A good friend of mine from the US nominated me on Tuesday evening to take part in the challenge, and I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge. I’m also more of the ‘go big or go home’ type, so I asked another good friend to help me out. Marty the Marmot is the mascot for our local hockey team, the Victoria Royals. He’s also internationally famous as Mascot Insider’s Mascot of the Year, beating out mascots from much larger teams in the NHL, NBA and NFL. I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering alongside Marty several times in the past year and when I was nominated I just had to ask for his help in making my video. Luckily the Saanich Parks event he was attending (Music in the Park at Rutledge Park, every Tuesday night in August) was also attended by Ace, Saanich PD’s K9 mascot, so I had help from both of them for this challenge.
Ready to see the video of it happening? I’ll warn you it’s quite loud; the live band at Music in the Park was awesome, and my camera’s microphone couldn’t quite compete so it’s hard to hear me. As this was a personal challenge I nominated three friends to take part during this video, but I’m happy to pose the challenge to other Premiere offices across Canada. Anyone out there willing to get soaked for a good cause?
For those of you who have ever talked with me about a bit more than just reservations, my absolute love of all things Disney has likely come up in conversation. The previous post I wrote about the Descendants filming here was just a small sample of my Disney involvement; for the past year and a half I’ve been putting my 17 years of sewing skills to use creating different Disney princess gowns (often with the coordinating prince outfit for my husband) and have been volunteering at whatever fundraising or community event would have us. My husband and I even got to visit Jeneece Place as Cinderella and Prince Charming last summer! A lot of our regular clients have heard that I do this (and I’ve even run into a few while in costume downtown!), but I haven’t had a lot of photos to share before as I didn’t have a photographer until recently. The majority of my princess gowns are now available for rent from a local costume shop, but I just couldn’t let go of my two new favourites, Anna and Elsa from Frozen. I created my Elsa dress over the winter and then put Anna together for a friend in time for a quick party appearance and photoshoot in June, which led to scheduling both of us for outdoor showings of the movie this summer. We’re both signing up for as many volunteer events as we can as it’s not only a lot of fun but a great way to give back to our community. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had a parent so thankful that their child was able to meet their favourite character without needing an expensive trip to one of the Disney parks. I love that I’ve been able to do this and make so many children smile.
Queen Elsa and Princess Anna from Frozen recently attended an outdoor showing at Uptown, and will be making another appearance on August 21st at the Westshore Parks & Recreation Centre for their showing. The Uptown showing was a lot of fun, and really showed just how popular Frozen has become in Victoria. I believe the overall attendance was at least double what anyone expected which certainly made for a fun crowd! Anna and Elsa did two rounds of meet & greets with the kids and also led several songs for the pre-movie sing-a-long.
One of the things I enjoy about working for Premiere is that our guests are with us long enough that we get a chance to know each other, and this is one of the biggest things I can share about myself. I’m always happy to admit that I’m really a big kid at heart, and being able to tell people that I spend my weekends being Disney royalty is always fun! I’ve met so many wonderful people in our city and been a part of some amazing fundraisers; earlier this year my husband and I made another Cinderella/Prince Charming appearance at a benefit concert for Hannah Day which was just an incredible experience. We visited Formation Fun day which was an event to give back to military families and let them bring their kids out for a day of fun, and we’ll hopefully be appearing there again this year. Volunteering (or princessing as I’ve been calling it) has been a big part of my life for the last year and a half and I’ll keep making appearances as Elsa as long as I can. 🙂
Guest Services Manager