Sun. May 21 - Downtown's $1M revitalization

Plus: Taxi bylaw set to change. Parks get protected status.

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Good morning !

It’s a bustling weekend today with multiple events and the big Victoria Day Parade tomorrow. Downtown isn’t always this active and populated, especially since the pandemic reduced the number of workers who head there every day.

Last week Victoria council unveiled its new plan to change that, with nearly $1M in spending on beautification, safety, and things to do and see in public.

More on that below, along with other updates from Victoria city hall.

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Cam Welch

Victoria to allocate extended parking money to revitalize downtown

Public performers and onlookers at the Inner Harbour. James MacDonald / Capital Daily

The new parking hours and prices, launched on May 1, are estimated to earn nearly $1M for the city, which will be allocated to improve the liveliness and appeal of the core.

Per Thursday's council meeting, the “OUR DWTN” program will focus on four areas of restoration: programming and activation, beautification, cleaning, and safety. These measures are intended to boost tourism and support local businesses in the area that are still bouncing back from the pandemic.

Residents can expect an uptick in events and activities, such as markets, festivals, food trucks, and pop-up stores. The targeted area stretches from Belleville to Discovery, and Blanshard to the water, with several streets and blocks getting an extra focus (see map below).

Image: City of Victoria

Beautification will include 1,600 new hanging plants, the 3D orca whale horticultural display, public art, and new lighting projects that aim to improve decoration, as well as safety by ensuring there are fewer dimly lit zones.

That nearly $1M includes the $255,000 of promised funding taken from the non-police budget for extra police foot patrols downtown, especially at night.

Next steps will see city staff pursue partnerships, more planning and measurement of the plan, and determining the “feasibility of larger scope ideas that involve infrastructure and capital improvements” to downtown.

This funding is separate from the recently announced $3.7M from the federal government to enhance accessibility for the city’s All Ages and Abilities priority cycling network, including the updated Fort Street landscape.

Victoria has also released its new CityVibe event guide, which lists 200 free events for May-Sep.

Capital Bulletin

⛅ Sun & cloud today: Wind light except 50km/h near Juan de Fuca Strait in early morning and at night. High 18C (15 near the water) / low 11C. UV index 7 or high. Night partly cloudy with 30% chance of showers.

🌳 CRD’s parks moved into federal protected area database: The 33 parks were recognized May 16 in the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database, which upholds Canada’s diversity commitments.

🔥 Fire risk level: The Island is currently a mix of Moderate and High ratings.

🏥 Saanich Peninsula Hospital staffing problems may make the ER slow at helping less-serious needs overnight, Island Health said on Sat.


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Victoria eyes changes to its Vehicles for Hire bylaw due to Uber’s arrival

James MacDonald / Capital Daily

On Thursday council discussed proposed amendments to the bylaw, which was written with taxi services in mind, but has needed updates since ride-hailing apps were approved for Victoria in 2019.

Companies will continue to pay a $100 licence fee for each company and a $140 licence for each operator, but the city has proposed an additional capped-licence fee structure to keep ride hailing companies’ fleets to a limited number. This is to encourage people to continue taking taxis, buses, and active transportation options that the city and province are funding. It may later be reevaluated as ride-hailing grows here.

The ride-hailing giant recently took over ReRyde’s Victoria licence after its own applications were rejected several times by BC’s Passenger Transportation Board, which cited limited demand and local companies needing a chance to build clientele in the area. Victoria’s other ride apps are newcomer URide, launched this spring, two-year mainstay Lucky-To-Go, and returnee Current Taxi.

Council also proposed a business licence rate of $0 for wheelchair-accessible vehicles and $30 for electric vehicles.

Capital Picks

🎡 Luxton Spring Fair: The last day of this Langford fair offering carnival rides, free grounds admission, antique farm equipment, the heritage museum, and Island blacksmiths. Noon-6pm.

🎉 Victoria Day weekend events: We compiled a list of the best events this weekend. [Our rundown]

🌱 At last, healthcare designed for families. A team of experts available when you need them. Calm and caring. Focused on prevention. This is Sprout.*

📖 Family Sunday at AGGV: Featuring story time with local children’s book author Fatoumata Bouaré. 2-4pm. [Details]

📅 Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival: These Topaz Park games include the International Heavy Events Challenge and Canadian Invitational Drum Major Championship along with Highland dancing, Scottish country dancing, piping, fiddling, and more. 

📈 Visit the Victoria Foundation's Vital Victoria Data Hub and dive deeper into the issues in Greater Victoria, with over 70 indicators on quality of life.*

⚾️ Take me out to the ballgame: Victoria HarbourCats kick off their 2023 season at home on June 2. The first of four fireworks nights is June 3. [Tickets]

🍕 A slice or the pie? Here’s where to find the best pizza in Victoria, as voted in the Tasting Victoria Restaurant Awards.

*Sponsored Listing


📸 : Compagnie Hervé KOUBI in The Barbarian Nights by Pierangela Flisi

2023/24 Season subscriptions now on sale

Experience the best dance from around the world. Subscribers save up to $146 off regular prices. Four incredible performances plus discounts on three special presentations including Nutcracker.

Box Office: 250-386-6121 or visit

In Other News

🌲 Juan de Fuca trail had third-most Search and Rescue calls in BC last year
It and Cape Scott (10th) were the Island trails in the top 10; combined those 10 required 98 responses in 2022. The BC Search and Rescue Association said most (271) of the total incidents in 2022 resulted from lacking a map, underestimating the terrain, or a slip or fall.
Part of the Juan de Fuca Marine trail just completed six months of renos as part of a larger $2.1M project to upgrade the 47km trail.

🚨 New footage released of Stelly’s Secondary School assault
The video of the Jun. 10, 2022 incident shows five ski-masked people in the school parking lot beating the teenage victim, who was hospitalized with minor injuries. Police had said at the time that they believed the attackers were not students at the Saanichton-area high school.

In Case You Missed It

💐 Oak Bay worker identified: An SUV driver fatally struck a municipal worker last week, and locals are now fundraising for his family. [Sat. newsletter]

🍺 Provinces fail own alcohol health policies, UVic report finds: BC got F grades in a report arguing governments across Canada are valuing sales over public's wellbeing. [Capital Daily]

🥑 This is the place: The Root Cellar at Oxford Corner in Cook Street Village—your innovative destination market for fresh locally grown produce and extraordinary food experiences. Learn more at*

📰 Friday newsletter: The BC Coroners Service reported 35 Island deaths in April from toxic drugs. Plus: Long weekend events, info on the chemical sprays going on overhead, and more. [May 19]

Pacific FC 1 Valour FC 1: Langford’s team remains just 1 point back of #1 in the Canadian Premier League.

🏒 Alberni Bulldogs swept in BCHL final: Penticton took out the Island champs 4-0, and took home a second straight Fred Page Cup.

🏠 The next phase is here! Introducing ELIZA South. Offering 1-bedroom, 1-bedroom + den, and 2-bedroom suites. Discover why so many others are calling ELIZA home! Register today!*

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