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
Together we are stronger: Simple donations bring a community together to make a difference
To uphold our 4 star quality standard in our suites, we are continually upgrading and improving our products and services. With nearly 50 suites in our portfolio undergoing updates, we do end up with a lot of perfectly good, usable items that are certainly not destined to fulfill their days in the landfill. Hence, our philosophy is that what we don’t use or need, we donate. Today was a day not unlike others, but what started out to be an ordinary donation drop off, turned into a heart-warming glimpse into the human spirit of our dear Victorian neighbours.
Today we made a trip to the Compassionate Resource Warehouse, or the CRW as they are known locally. The CRW is a registered charity that helps those in need by collecting, processing, packaging, and shipping a variety of donated goods and equipment to responsible charities around the globe. Walking into the Compassionate Resources Warehouse was like entering into a working beehive. Dozens of volunteers buzzed about between towering shelves stacked high to the ceiling. Rows upon rows of boxes stretched back into the shadowy depths of the huge warehouse. It was almost too much to take in at first; the vast quantity of supplies was dizzying. We were quickly greeted and welcomed a tour of the space and operations. What initially appeared to be complete chaos, soon took the form of a tightly organized, well-oiled machine of an operation.
Every body makes a difference.
I couldn’t believe how many people came together to make a difference. Everyone had a job to do, and everyone did it happily. Someone was assembling educational kits for a country in need, another was fixing sewing machines and replacing the electric components with a hand crank – so that anyone in any country could make use of the machine whether they had access to electricity or not. Dozens of wheelchairs were collected, disassembled, reassembled, fixed, and stored. Everything had a place in the warehouse, from sporting goods to educational materials, tools, toys, medical supplies, clothing, and housewares. Last year alone, the Compassionate Resource Warehouse shipped over 500 walkers overseas, 2956 sewing kits, 689 bikes, 4145 medical supply boxes, and 1267 hospital beds.
It stretched my mind and warmed my heart to think that this kind of compassion is coming from our fellow friends and neighbours, who freely give their time, skills, and resources to make a difference. The CRW is an all-volunteer organization and reflects the generosity and community spirit of Victorians, and we couldn’t be happier to donate our gently used goods to this charity. For drop off information, visit the CRW website here.
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!
Nothing creates a buzz in Victoria like a good snowfall. Even a light dusting creates excited chatter among Victorians, mixed with a healthy dose of trepidation. For many locals, venturing out in their vehicles is a daunting task in winter conditions, as driving in snow and ice can be dangerous and unpredictable. Below are 10 tips to stay safe on the roads this winter in Victoria.
Be prepared and stay safe with these 10 winter driving tips:
2) Prepare your vehicle. Make the time to clear the entire car, not just the windshield wipers. After starting your vehicle, wait for the window to defrost completely, and clear snow from all windows, lights, mirrors, hood and roof of the car. Don’t forget to top up your windshield washer fluid.
3) Get winter tires. In British Colombia, winter tires are required on most highways from October to March. Make sure your tires display the mountain/snowflake symbol, or the M/S (mud and snow) icon. Be advised that all-season tires must also display the M/S symbol to be considered a winter tire.
4) See and be seen. Turn your headlights on during the day to help you see ahead and be seen by other drivers in poor visibility.
5) Watch for black ice. Just because you can’t see ice on the road, it doesn’t mean it is not there. Reduce speed and watch for black ice on roads with shaded areas, bridges, overpasses and intersections where car exhaust and packed snow freeze quickly.
6) Prevent a skid. If you drive over black ice and start to skid, ease off the accelerator, and look and steer smoothly in the direction you want to go. Don’t brake—this will make the situation worse. You may need to repeat this manoeuvre several times until you regain control.
7) Keep your distance. The normal following distance of 3 to 4 seconds should be increased to 8 to 10 seconds to account for the additional time it takes to slow down and stop in snow. Be extra cautious when approaching snow plows and salt and sand trucks, as they throw up snow and spray, making it difficult to see.
8) Drive SLOW. The posted speed is the maximum speed under ideal conditions. In winter, it is safer to drive below the posted speed. Be aware that everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly, and plan for extra time to get to your destination.
9) Avoid sudden movements. Maintaining a slow, steady speed is the best way to avoid skidding. Avoid unexpected quick movements that could put you in a spin by accelerating gently, turning slowly, and braking carefully and early. Anticipate turns, stops, and lane changes well before they occur.
10) Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.
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!
Premiere Suites offers their top tips for buying a condo in Victoria
So you have decided to take the plunge and dive into the property pool. Congratulations! Victoria’s real estate market is smoking hot and there is no better time to get on board and start making your investment pay off. With units selling faster than you can view them, it’s important to do your research so you can make a quick, educated decision to get the suite of your dreams.
Here are our insider tips on buying a condo unit in Victoria:
*Set your sights high
Literally and figuratively speaking, higher floor units are more desirable. They come with a better view, are perceived to be safer, and are the brightest and quietest from street noise. Of course with every floor you jump, your budget does as well. Be prepared to spend at least $10,000 additional per floor for a comparable unit.
*Size does matter – But layout is just as important
Consider a unit that is 1000 square feet that is a one bedroom suite plus a den. In the same building, another unit that is also 1000 square feet has a 2 bedroom configuration. Which floor plan gives you the most flexibility? Which layout offers an inviting, open floor plan? Bright, open concept spaces generally most desirable and have the best resale value.
*Location location location
This has been drilled into us, but what does it mean to the home buyer? First, determine what is going on in your neighbourhood. Is a development craze happening? This could be a smart time to invest, as property values tend to rise with infrastructure developments. Do a little homework to source new developments in the area – will you lose your view if a new building goes up next door? Buying street facing (or better yet, a park facing) unit will, at a minimum, protect your privacy and partial view. Remember that lifestyle and convenience are paramount to condo living. A little research into businesses, amenities, and entertainment/recreation venues in the area will go a long way into marketing your unit for rent. Knowing what businesses are coming into the area will affect the future value of your property.
*Get to know the property management
When run properly, strata’s can save you a lot of time, worry, and money, while protecting your investment from depreciation. Do not hesitate to request a copy of meeting minutes or other relevant documents to the management of the building. Consider past special assessments made and outstanding issues that could add costs in the future. When was the reserve fund last used? About strata fees: do not be afraid of the additional price tag associated with strata’s – they are there for a reason. Too low can mean that the building is not being maintained and can affect the depreciate rate. Strata fees that are considered to be high are normally associated with the amenities and common areas within the building. Consider how important spaces like fitness centres, pools, meeting rooms, party rooms, and communal terraces are to you.
*Plan to live there, even if you plan not to
When purchasing our first property, my father-in-law gave us a piece of advice that has always stuck with me. In our search for an investment property, he advised that whichever condo we decided on, we must be willing to live in it, even if we planned not too. Sounds simple enough, but when shopping for an investment property, many only think of the rental potential or resale value, and ignore a scenario where they may have to occupy the unit at a period in time. His advice proved rather useful, for rather than flipping the unit upon completion, we decided to live there for the first year to take advantage of the First Time Home Buyer Program. Had we not chosen the 2 bedroom unit on the sunny side of the building, it is unlikely that our time there would have stretched to 6 wonderful years of downtown condo living. At the end of the day, it’s about keeping your options open.
*Secure a parking space
Even if you do not have a car or plan not to use a parking stall, buying a parking stall alongside your condo unit should be on the top of your “Must Have” list. With parking spaces are becoming increasingly scarce in the city, your unit will be far more valuable with the added benefit of a secure parking stall. There will always be someone willing to rent the space from you if you find it sitting empty.
*Hire a professional realtor
With the lightning-speed rate of sale in Victoria, it can be frustrating at best to get your name in the game, when cash offers are being accepted on the spot. Your realtors will be your best friend during the buying process. Thy have ins on units before they even hit the market, will be your negotiating hero, and will keep you focused on what’s important while making one of the largest purchases in your life. Best of all, it costs you nothing, as the seller pays the commission.
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.
What are your favourite summertime activities in and around Victoria? If you are looking for some inspiration for the last few weeks of summer, I have asked our team here at Premiere Suites Victoria what has been a highlight for them this season.
You can find her cooling down on hot days with an iced coffee from the Ogden Point Café, walking the picturesque breakwater in James Bay.
As our Operations Manager, Den is always on the go, completing inspections, buying inventory, coordinating trades, and fixing anything and everything in our suites. Rather than kicking back and relaxing on his days off from work, he would rather kick a soccer ball, or explore the trestle bridge and hiking trails around Goldstream Park.
Outdoor movies! Fairy tales at Craigdarroch Castle are among her favourite, but there are so many venues to choose from around town: Beacon Hill Park, Oak Bay Beach Hotel, the Legislature lawn, and Bullen Park to name a few.
Most of Leah’s time outside of work involves textbooks, exams, and studying studying studying. We will ask her again once the school year is up!
As locals, we often forget or overlook the attractions that make us so popular with tourists, like whale watching. She prefers the zodiac experience because you can get up close and personal to the whales, and t
Just spent the weekend camping in Tofino, the small West Coast town that affectionately calls itself the Tree Loving Capitol of the World. Surfing, storm watching, beach combing, birding, camping, hiking, and fishing, Tofino caters to the outdoor adventurist, with a fair number of lodges and resorts for those wishing to experience the West Coast from a comfortable abode.
Loves hitting up the beaches around Victoria. Cadboro Bay Beach because it’s dog friendly year round, Willows Beach because she can walk there from her house, and Gonzales because of the soft white sand and beautiful cove shaped beach which always seems to be warm.
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.