The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce elected a new board for 2020-2021 with the Executive and committee Chairs being announced in January 2020. The following were elected and appointed: Ian BateyIPB Consulting, Judith EthierGreater Victoria Harbour Authority, Kris Wirk – Dusanj and Wirk, Rose Arsenault – Talentcor Victoria and Tom Plumb Kinetic Construction. Continuing: Carmen Charette – University of Victoria, Christina Clarke – Songhees Nation, Dan Dagg Hothouse Marketing, Captain (Navy) Sam Sader – CFB Esquimalt, John Wilson – Wilson’s Group of Companies, Moira Hauk – Coastal Community Credit Union, Paul van Koll – KPMG and Pedro Márquez – Royal Roads University. Ex-officio: Brianna Green – Wilson’s Group of Companies (2020 Prodigy Group Chair) and Catherine Holt – CEO of The Chamber. Outgoing board members: Al Hasham Maximum Express Courier, Freight & Logistics, Danielle Mulligan – University of Victoria and 2019 Prodigy Group Chair, Lise Gyorkos – Page One Publishing Inc. and Rahim Khudabux – Max Furniture.

The Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on September 26th at Fort Tectoria and elected its 2019-20 board of directors. New to the board this year is Mon Gill of Stocksy United and Jason Morehouse of Checkfront. Returning board members include Scott Dewis of RaceRocks 3D Inc; Christina Gerow of Workday; Owen Matthews of Wesley Clover; Masoud Nassaji of DoubleJump; Ashton Scordo of BCI Private Equity; Erin Skillen of FamilySparks; Mike Williams of Wesley Clover; and Justin Young of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. This year’s executive includes Robert Bowness of BC Pension Corp who will serve as chair of the finance committee; Bobbi Leach of Revenue Wire Inc as chair; Justin Love of Limbic Media was named chair of the governance committee; Brad Williams of GRT Holdings was appointed vice-chair; while Dan Gunn and Rasool Rayani will serve as co-chairs of the VIATEC foundation committee.

FreshWorks Studio placed 7th on the 2019 Startup 50 ranking of Canada’s Top New Growth Companies. The list serves as a companion list to the Growth 500 ranking. FreshWorks placed 30th on the list in 2018 and also placed 20th on the inaugural Report on Business ranking of Canada’s Top Growing Companies. Canada’s Top Growing Companies ranks Canadian companies on three-year revenue growth and is published by the Globe and Mail. Earlier this year, FreshWorks Studio co-founder Samarth Mod was presented with the Entrepreneur Award at the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards. FreshWorks specializes in designing and developing elegant and high quality mobile and web apps for startups, enterprises and government organizations.

Canadian Business and Maclean’s ranked Victoria-based AOT Technologies 74th on the 30th Annual Growth 500, a ranking of Canada’s fastest growing companies. AOT ranked seventh in Canada and first in British Columbia in the Information Technology category. The rankings are based on five-year revenue growth and winners are profiled in a special print issue of Canadian Business that is published with Maclean’s magazine and made available online at and

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait was acclaimed president of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). Tait was first elected to the executive in 2016 and served as the first vice-president for the past year.

Appreciation Engine celebrated its 10th anniversary on September 24th. The company, founded in 2009 in Wellington, New Zealand, provides customer insight tools that simplify data for marketers. The married co-founders moved the start-up to California in 2012 before settling in Victoria.

The BC Council of Forest Industries has announced 13 student winners of its annual scholarship program, one of which was Victoria’s Robin Ripley. Ripley is studying forest and natural areas management at BCIT.

Walmart has opened the first MINISO store in BC in its Uptown Shopping Centre location. MINISO was established in 2013 by Japanese designer Miyake Junya and Chinese entrepreneur Ye Goufu and offers home furnishings, cosmetics, electronic accessories and kitchenware.

Victoria’s high-tech sector will be holding a Battle Pong tournament on November 7th to raise funds for the VIATEC Foundation and the World Partnership Walk. The event will be held at Ogden Point at 211 Dallas Road and will bring together teams from Victoria’s high-tech sector to complete while contributing to a good cause. Each registered team will be asked to donate $1,000 to participate in the tournament. All funds will be donated to the VIATEC Foundation and the World Partnership Walk.

BC Ferries announced it will deploy the Bowen Queen on the Vesuvius-Crofton ferry route between Salt Spring Island and Crofton during peak season from April through October. The ship will service the route during peak season until the MV Quinsam is brought into service on the route in 2022. The deployment is a response to recurring insufficient vehicle capacity of the existing ship that services the route. The Bowen Queen has capacity for 61 vehicles while the MV Quinsam, which currently serves the Nanaimo-Gabriola Island route, can handle 63 vehicles.

Van Isle Windows celebrated the grand opening of its new show room on September 27th at 404 Hillside Avenue.


The GAIN Group has acquired Jim Pattison Volvo of Victoria. The deal was completed on October 1 and will see GAIN take over operations of the Volvo dealership at its current location on the corner of Hillside and Douglas Streets. The new owners are planning on building a new location for the dealership in the next two or three years.

A sales centre has been opened at 2387 Beacon Avenue for Aura Residences, a development with 34 seaside homes located in Sidney.

The University of Victoria has appointed Carolyn Elizabeth Thomas to its Board of Governors. Carolyn has over 30 years of experience in the local finance industry and holds Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Accountant designations. She has served on the Board of Governors of the Victoria Conservatory of Music previously served as Chair and member of the University of Victoria Foundation Board.

DFH Real Estate recently announced its office leaders of the month for the Greater Victoria region. From Victoria they are Sandy Mcmanus, Frank Chan, Kevin Seibel, Brad Neufeld, the team of Ally and Dennis Guevin, Peter Critchton, May Liu, Wayne Hyslop, Roy Stevenson, David Philps, Phil Illingworth, Josh Ray, the team of Tom Muir and Sue Spangelo and Jilly Yang. The office leaders for Sidney were Stephanie Peat and John Bruce, while Michael Kotch led the office in the West Shore.

Q at the Empress recently won Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for the third year in a row. The award celebrates restaurants that have a comprehensive list of quality wines that complement the restaurant’s menu and are regarded by the wine connoisseur community.

James Clarke

Seaspan Shipyards appoints James Clarke as its new Chief Financial Officer. James most recently worked at SNC Lavalin’s Houston office where he was the CFO and Senior Vice-President of Finance for the company’s oil and gas division. Clarke will be working out of the Vancouver Shipyards.

The Vitamin Shop recently celebrated its 35th anniversary. The business was founded by Bruce Reid in September 1984 and remains in the same location at 1212 Broad Street. The shop has since grown to 35 employees and now provides a mail order service and a website for online sales.

Congratulations to the top salespeople of the month at dealerships throughout the Victoria region. They are Krewel (Kris) Kishan of Harris Auto, Jay Dick of Jim Pattison Toyota, Ray Martin of Jim Pattison Lexus, Jamie Elmhirst of Pacific Mazda, Ted Sakousky of Wheaton, David Vollet of Audi Autohaus, Robert La Faucci of Volkswagen Victoria, Matthew Bourassa of Victoria Hyundai, Matt Kennard of Porsche Centre Victoria, Dave Rabii of Three Point Motors, Riley Johnson of BMW Victoria, Jason Ogilvie of Jim Pattison Volvo, Chris Hoeg of Wille Dodge, Connie Wilde of Jenner, John Weiers of Campus Honda, Gage Clough of Campus Infiniti, Emery Mendria of Graham KIA, George Soloff of Campus Nissan, Mike Delmaire of Jim Pattison Subaru and Jeff Hamill of Campus Acura.

The Parkinson Wellness Project is now open in a newly renovated space at #202 – 2680 Blanshard Street. The space offers fitness, yoga and boxing classes to those living with Parkinson’s and their partners and friends.

Re/Max Alliance Victoria recently announced its sales leaders. They are Ron Neal, Manpreet Kandola, Alex Burns, Karen Love, Dallas King, Jean Medland, Claude Delmaire, Patrick Novotny, Sean Thomas and Laura Godbeer.

Swans at 506 Pandora Avenue recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. The building is comprised of a hotel, liquor store, pub, brewery and a recently added live music venue – the Rubber Boot Club. The building has also taken the Village restaurant as a new tenant.

West End Gallery at 1203 Broad Street is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The gallery is a family owned and operated art gallery that specializes in Canadian art.

Anytime Fitness is a new 24-hour gym that is now open for business at 2261 Keating Crossroad.

The City of Colwood was recently presented with a Community Excellence Award at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) annual convention in the excellence in asset management category. The award was presented to the municipality for its Sustainable Infrastructure Replacement Plan which was made to develop a funding strategy for the long-term replacement of existing capital services.

Raj Sen

Open Space Arts Society announced the appointment of Raj Sen as executive director of Open Space, effective immediately. Raj has served as acting executive director since June 1, 2018 and previously worked as the Director of the Singapore branch of Sundaraman Tagore Gallery. Prior to that role he served as Project Manager for Exhibitions at the Bangkok Arts & Culture Centre and the Ayala Museum in Manila. The organization held its annual general meeting at the end of September and elected Lindsay Delaronde, Brianna Dick and Christine Sy to its board of directors. In addition, former Executive Director, Helen Marzolf, was elected as a lifetime member of the Society. Open Space Arts Society is a not-for-profit multidisciplinary artist-run centre located at 510 Fort Street in downtown Victoria that was established in 1972.

Jeff Bray

The Executive Director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, Jeff Bray, has been appointed as the Coalition to End Homelessness Co-chair. Jeff has served as chair of the Community Engagement and Communications Committee for the past two years and replaces Ian Batey, who has served a three-year term in the role.

The Community Social Planning Council welcomes Diana Gibson as its new executive director. Diana has been leading research and community development initiatives and non-profits for over 20 years. She is a Research Advisor to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and a Distinguished Research Associate of the University of Alberta’s Parkland Institute.

The Vancouver Island School of Art (VISA) will move to a new home at the Ross Terrace development at 2560, 2566 and 2570 Fifth Street once it is complete in 2021. The development by ARYZE Developments and The Purdey Group will include two four-storey buildings containing 64 rental units and a new 6,000 square foot campus for the school. VISA was evicted from its long-term residence at 2549 Quadra Street in 2018 and has since been renting space at the former Blanshard Elementary School building at 950 Kings Road. Ground is expected to break on the new buildings in January 2020 and construction will take about 13 months to complete.

Four University of Victoria (UVic) researchers have been elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). The new researchers are James Tanaka, Rachel Cleves, Robert Gifford and Chris Darimont. Tanaka is an internationally recognized expert on facial recognition; Darimont researches wildlife and fisheries; Cleves is UVic’s first humanities scholar to be admitted as an RSC member; and Gifford researchers human-decision making with regard to the environment. The RSC is a 137-year-old senior national council of distinguished Canadian scientists, artists, scholars and humanists.

Honeycomb Cannabis, owned by local realtor and entrepreneur Ron Cheeke, has received preliminary approval from the province and Langford council to open in Langford. The temporary use permit would allow the shop to sell non-medical cannabis for three years after which the shop can rezone or cease operations. The shop is still required to go before council once more and then back to the province for final approval before opening. Ron Cheeke is also the owner of Liquor Plant and the Axe and Barrel Brewing Company and is planning on building the shop as an attachment to Liquor Planet at 2317 Millstream Road.

Wines of British Columbia is a new wine store open in the Save On Foods in Sidney at 2345 Beacon Avenue. The shop sells over 1000 BC wines and features more than 165 local wineries.

McNeill Audiology welcomes Joanne McDonald, BC-HIS RHIP to its team of audiology experts at its Sidney location at 5 – 9843 Second Street. The company has added Hannah Olmstead RHIP to its location at 1463 Hampshire Road. E. Stacey Frank & Associates Inc Hearing Clinic welcomes Jon Lewis RHIP to their team at 102 – 1821 Fort Street.

Re/Max Camosun at 2239 Oak Bay Avenue announced their top producers for September. They are Tony Joe, Angie Hill, Thania Estrada, Brad Hall, Kyle Kerr and Leo Jiao.

WestShore Dental Centre welcomes Dr. Shreya Gakhar to its team of dentists at 152 – 2945 Jacklin Road.

Peninsula Lifetime Eyecare Centre announces that Dr. Tonya Tira has joined their team in Sidney at 2401 Beacon Avenue. Dr. Tira is trained in pediatric optometry and earned her Doctor of Optometry from Illinois College of Optometry in 2005.

Christian Book & Music is celebrating its 80th anniversary at its Victoria and Nanaimo locations. The Nanaimo office is at #2 – 1200 Princess Royal Avenue.

SE Health celebrates 10 years of providing home care and nursing support in the Victoria region. In recognition of their 10 years of service, plans are being made to expand the region they service into Sooke, Duncan and Cowichan Valley. SE Health’s Victoria location is at #202 – 3939 Quadra Street.

Pacific Rim Dental Centre held a grand opening celebration for its second location at 841 Yates Street.

10 Acres Kitchen and the Commons restaurants are combining under the one banner of The Commons beginning in the middle of the month. The new restaurant integration will allow the Commons to broaden its menu portfolio to deliver cuisine that celebrates that Pacific West Coast with sustainable seafood, house-made pasta, local meats and organic produce from its farm on the Saanich peninsula. The Commons is at 620 Humboldt Street.


The Magnolia Hotel & Spa is celebrating being the top 4th hotel in Canada in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2019 Reader’s Choice Awards.

Motel 6 Victoria celebrates its grand opening on October 23rd from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at 2401 Mount Newton Cross Road in Saanichton.

The Sooke Chamber of Commerce holds its 2019 Business Excellence Awards on November 16th at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort. The event will begin at 5:30 with a meet and greet and will be followed by dinner, awards and dancing.

Royal Roads University (RRU) has launched an apiary next to the Hatley Park Rose Garden. The apiary is owned and will be run by RRU grad Alanna Morbin. The beehive is designed to serve as an educational opportunity for the school as well as a chance for bees to pollinate nearby gardens. The hive will remain at the space for four seasons to see if they can adapt to campus conditions.

Victoria’s Rocky Point Bird Observatory (RPBO) is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Our Place Society is opening a 35-bed shelter to reduce the increasing numbers of people gathering outside its drop-in centre on Pandora Avenue every evening. The non-profit’s existing shelter in the gymnasium of First Metropolitan United Church typically has a waiting list of at least 40 people per night.