Saturday, April 20, 2024

    Here’s how you can have your say on quality of life in Greater Victoria

    (File Photo)

    If you’re looking to have your voice heard when it comes to issues related to quality of life in the capital region, now’s your chance!

    The Victoria Foundation’s 19th annual Vital Signs Survey is open now, and they’re looking for your opinion.

    The Vital Signs citizen survey asks Greater Victorians to weigh in on 12 Vital Signs issues related to quality of life.

    These issue areas include housing, safety, health & wellness, belonging and engagement—just to name a few.

    This year, residents can fill out a short or long version of the survey, which can be found online—survey responses are used to produce the comprehensive Victoria’s Vital Signs report, which combines public opinion and statistics to provide a snapshot of livability and well-being in Greater Victoria.

    Last year, the Victoria Foundation had the highest response rate in Vital Signs history with 5,319 survey completes! They’re looking to hear from those voices again and more as they enter the 19th year of the Vital Signs program.

    The 2024 Vital Signs report will be released in the fall.

    The survey just opened, and will run until Friday, May 31st—don’t miss the chance to have your say while you still can.

    Also, by filling out the survey, you could win one of three $100 gift cards to Country Grocer! You can also double your chances of winning by filling out the long form of the survey.

    “Victoria’s Vital Signs provides the community with information that sparks action to improve our region,” said Sandra Richardson, Victoria Foundation CEO.

    “There is a significant amount of complex and integrated challenges in our community, and we hope the theme for 2024 and information collected will help us identify solutions for our region to help our grandkids and future generations.”

    Victoria’s Vital Signs was launched in 2006, and is a community check-up conducted by community foundations across Canada that measures the vitality of our communities and identifies significant trends in a range of areas critical to quality of life. Vital Signs is coordinated nationally by Community Foundations of Canada.

    Greater Victoria Vital Signs Survey

    • Where: Head online to have your say!
    • When: Survey runs from now until May 31st

    5 PFC players you should be following on Instagram and on the pitch


    Victoria’s passion for soccer is infectious, and if the packed stands at Pacific FC’s home-opener this past weekend were any indication—we’re only just getting started.

    The buzz around town is real, and a lot of that has to do with Pacific FC’s more-than-stellar roster—but did you know that along with their impressive game play on the pitch, a few of the players have an incredible social media game too?

    Many of the PFC’s players have some intriguing backstories to go along with their attractive Instagram feeds, and we’re bringing you 5 PFC players you should absolutely be following on Instagram AND on the pitch—that is, if you’re not following them already!

    Aly Ndom (@haa_lee)


    View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by Aly (@haa_lee)

    A recent addition to the Pacific FC Roster, Aly Ndom joins Pacific FC for the 2024 season. Hailing from just north of Paris, France, Ndom brings some international flair to the Trident’s squad. Having launched his career in France playing against some of the biggest names in world soccer—including Brazilian superstar Neymar—Ndom will certainly be a big addition to the Island team.

    Plus, he’s worth a follow on Instagram for his carefully curated black and white aesthetic alone.

    Josh Heard (@josheard)


    View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by Josh Heard (@josheard)

    Kicking off his 5th season with the team, Josh Heard grew up playing soccer in Victoria with Lakehill Soccer Association before being drafted by the Vancouver Whitecaps in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.

    Heard made his way back to the Island to join Pacific FC in 2020 and hasn’t looked back, becoming the captain of the team in 2023. Heard also helps coach in the Pacific FC youth programs and is always happy to stop for a photo or an autograph!

    Kunle Dada-Luke (@kdl.13)


    View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by Kunle Dada-Luke (@kdl.13)

    A fan favourite due to his high-flying play and unique on-field look, sporting a signature headband, Kunle Dada-Luke is a player who will get you out of your seat. T

    he fastest player in the Canadian Premier League, Dada-Luke has drawn comparisons to fellow Canadian speedster Alphonso Davies. Dada-Luke’s headband has become iconic and you can find fans sporting their own KDL Headbands at Starlight Stadium on game days.

    Thomas Meilleur-Giguère (@thomasmeilleur64)

    Affectionately known as TMG amongst teammates and fans alike, Thomas Meilleur-Giguère is entering his fifth season with Pacific FC while stepping into a leadership role within the squad. Born and raised in Repentigny, Quebec, TMG is a no-nonsense figure on the pitch, leading the Tridents’ backline into battle each week. A Canadian Youth Team International Player, Meilleur-Giguère brings a level head and a wealth of experience to the PFC squad.

    Off the pitch, Meilleur-Giguère is a proud doggy dad to his pup Whisky and can often be found at local dog parks in Langford!

    James Merriman (@james_merriman8)


    View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by James Merriman (@james_merriman8)

    Okay, so he’s not technically a player, but you’ll still find him on the pitch every game—and on Instagram!

    The first employee of Pacific FC, Head Coach James Merriman has been with the club from day one. Starting off as the Assistant Coach, he took over the reins as Head Coach in 2022 and has led the team into a playoff spot under his two seasons in charge.

    Born and raised in Cedar, Merriman embodies the easy-going yet hard-working spirit of Islanders. His passion for his community is shown through his work as a Board Member of Hope & Health who work to bring access to sport for development and social impact opportunities to Indigenous youth on Vancouver Island.

    Pacific FC’s season has quite literally just kicked off, but season and single game tickets are still available. Join the hype and take part in all the action this season with 15 home games at Langford’s very own Starlight Stadium!

    Pacific FC

    • Next home game: Pacific FC vs. Valour FC – get your tickets here 

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    Here’s why Vancouver Islanders should consider switching to an energy efficient heat pump

    (Coastal Heat Pumps)

    With warmer weather on the horizon, have you considered a home heating and cooling system that provides cool, energy-efficient air throughout the summer?

    What if that same system offered year-round comfort for less than your current electric, oil, or gas heating each month?

    These are just a few benefits that heat pumps deliver to home owners, while at the same time reducing your home’s impact on the environment.

    At Coastal Heat Pumps, their mission is to provide and maintain comfort in your home while offering top quality equipment, and ensuring that your system is covered under warranty for up to 12 years.

    Check out these 5 reasons why Vancouver Islanders should consider switching to an energy efficient heat pump:

    1. They’re affordable

    Heat pumps come in a range of models and styles to suit almost every budget. Coastal Heat Pumps’ ductless heat pump packages, for instance, start at just $5,500. Even without the government energy efficiency and manufacturer rebates of up to $6,000 you will have a heating and cooling system that matches (or beats) the price of any other heating solution, including high efficiency gas furnaces.

    2. Monthly savings

    According to the Climate Institute’s latest report, standard heat pumps are the lowest-cost heating and cooling option for most households, generally offering a cheaper option than gas-fired heating with air conditioning.

    3. They’re energy efficient

    The performance of modern air source heat pumps is up to two times better than those from even a decade ago. ENERGY STAR® models use at least 15-25% less energy than standard models. Coastal Heat Pumps recommends using Energy Star-rated heat pumps for maximum energy savings.

    4. Lower greenhouse gas emissions

    In addition to saving money on utility bills, air source heat pumps reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. If you use hydro-electricity for your home heating, far less pollution is produced. Modern gas and oil furnaces burn much cleaner and more efficiently than those from just 10 or 20 years ago.

    5. Sweet summer relief

    In addition to tackling heating needs during Victoria’s winter, heat pumps sufficiently cool your home!

    (Coastal Heat Pumps)

    You can learn more about outfitting your home with a heat pump from Coastal Heat Pumps online or by calling (250) 999-4720, plus, they’re currently running a contest where you could WIN a free heat pump—check it out here!


    Coastal Heat Pumps

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    Hip Hop legend Ice Cube is coming to Vancouver Island this month

    (Ice Cube)

    The countdown to the arrival of the hip-hop icon in the city is almost over, and although tickets sold out quickly, limited seats have been released!

    In case you missed the news, N.W.A’s Ice Cube is bringing his legendary presence to Victoria as part of the second leg of his highly anticipated “Straight Into Canada” tour.

    Following the immense success of the first leg, which saw sold-out shows across the country, Ice Cube is set to deliver an electrifying performance at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on Tuesday, April 23rd.

    Joining him as direct support for this epic night of hip hop are BC’s very own Merkules as well as Peter Jackson.

    Presented by Livestar Entertainment & International Touring Agency, the tour promises to be an unforgettable experience for fans of all ages.

    While the concert sold out quickly, limited tickets have been released, but they’re unlikely to last long!

    Ice Cube’s influence spans far beyond the realm of music. As a triple threat in the entertainment industry, he has earned prestigious accolades such as induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and recognition in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

    Rising to prominence as a member of the groundbreaking hip hop group N.W.A., Ice Cube embarked on a successful solo career, selling over 10 million albums and solidifying his status as a rap icon.

    In addition to his music career, Ice Cube has made significant contributions to the world of film and television.

    He has produced and starred in numerous hit movies, including the Friday and Barbershop franchises, as well as the critically acclaimed N.W.A. biopic, “Straight Outta Compton.”

    His versatility as an actor has earned him roles in a wide range of films, showcasing his talent and range on the big screen.

    Currently, he is gearing up for the release of his 11th solo studio album, titled “Man Down,” set to debut on his label, Lench Mob Records, in the summer of 2024.

    Don’t miss your chance to witness hip hop history in the making as Ice Cube, alongside Merkules and Peter Jackson, take the stage.

    Visit to purchase your tickets and secure your spot for what promises to be an epic night of hip hop’s finest.

    Ice Cube “Straight Into Canada” Tour

    • Where: Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, 1925 Blanshard Street
    • When: Tuesday, April 23rd
    • Tickets: Available online

    Pacific FC’s home opener kicks off this weekend at Langford’s Starlight Stadium


    The wait is over, soccer fans!

    Pacific FC’s home opener officially kicks off this weekend—and you’re invited.

    This Saturday, April 13th, the club will face the Halifax Wanderers in a Coast-to-Coast matchup—a rematch of the first-ever Pacific FC match, won by Pacific FC with a score of 1-0.

    In fact, Pacific FC have won every home opener match in their history, outscoring their opponents 6-1 all-time. The proof is in the stats—this is a game you don’t want to miss.

    You can grab your tickets for the home opener online here—but don’t wait, they’re selling fast, and this is one match you’re going to want to catch!

    On top of this, the home opener match will be a Vaisakhi Celebration at Starlight Stadium, featuring special food trucks, dance performances, a food drive and more! All in all, it will be a Saturday at Starlight Stadium for the books.

    Additionally, a new game-day food and beverage menu will be launched for this Pacific FC season! Featuring all-new poutine, buffalo chicken tenders, house-made burgers and daily special items, this menu is going to have a little bit of something for everyone.

    Also, did you know Pacific FC offers a Happy Hour? Happy Hour runs for 60 minutes after gates open with select beers available at just $5. Other drink special features will be available and Vancouver Island Brewing will be offering free samples in the Beer Garden!

    If you’re a fan of local talent, you’ll be pleased to know that the 2024 Pacific FC roster features 5 Island-Born players—an all-time high for the club.

    Come watch the present and future stars of Vancouver Island soccer and make sure to stick around to get an autograph after the match—it’s going to be a home opener to remember!

    (Pacific FC)

    Pacific FC vs. HFX Wanderers FC – Home Opener

    • Where: Starlight Stadium, 1089 Langford Parkway
    • When: Saturday, April 13th – 4 p.m.
    • Tickets: Get yours online here!

    Learn where Greater Victoria’s drinking water comes from with these free tours

    The CRD runs tours of the Sooke Lake Reservoir to educate and share information with citizens and students. The Greater Victoria Water Supply Area is located northwest of the City of Victoria and is comprised of 20,550 hectares of forested land in the Sooke, Goldstream, and Leech watersheds. These lands are owned by the CRD and managed by Integrated Water Services (IWS) Department.

    Have you ever wondered where your drinking water comes from?

    The Capital Regional District (CRD) wants to show you—and it’s free!

    CRD is offering a chance for residents to join free watershed tours, which will run through May and June this year, kicking off on May 2nd.

    The ‘Get to Know Your H2O Tours’ are a great way to discover how your drinking water is delivered from source to tap.

    You can register for the tour online, but spots are filling up quickly!

    During the tour, you’ll discover the natural landscapes, water supply reservoirs and the water treatment process that provides Greater Victoria with high-quality tap water.

    Participants will begin the tour at the watershed gate and hop on a tour bus that makes guided stops within the watershed. Participants will be allowed to exit the bus and discover firsthand the beauty of the watershed at each stop.

    Along the way, tour guides will provide information with commentary about the watershed and encourage questions from participants.

    The ‘Source to Tap Tour’ is five hours long, and follows the flow of water starting at the north end of Sooke Lake Reservoir—it explores the surrounding forests, Richet Creek (main tributary to Sooke Lake Reservoir), water supply facilities and the treatment process that ensures the water delivered to your tap is optimal.

    Important tour info:

    • Registration is required
    • Maximum number of participants per tour is 42
    • Tour is not suitable for children under 12
    • Check out some FAQs about the tour here

    Is the tour accessible?

    Accessibility is dependent on tour dates, due to the type of bus available (some busses are not wheelchair equipped). Wheelchair accessible tour dates will be marked as (Accessible Tour). If you require an accessible tour, please ensure you book on a tour date marked as (Accessible Tour).

    There are some uneven and gravelly paths on the tour, so please ensure that your wheelchair or walker can handle these conditions. At any point on the tour if you do not feel comfortable navigating the terrain you can remain on the bus and join in at the next tour stop.

    Check out this video on Greater Victoria’s water supply:

    CRD Watershed Tours

    • Where: 2955 Sooke Lake Road – look for the CRD sandwich boards for where to park
    • When:
      • May 2nd – 5th
      • May 9th -12th
      • May 23rd, 24th & 26th
      • May 30th & 31st
      • June 1st & 2nd
      • June 6th – 9th
      • June 13th – 16th
      • June 20th, 22nd & 23rd
    • Register: Register online here

    15 photos of this stunning luxury Vancouver Island home you could WIN (PHOTOS)

    (BC Children's Hospital Choices Lottery)

    If you’re looking to get your hands on some stunning Vancouver Island real estate, this Grand Prize is for you!

    This beautiful 1,005 sq.ft. 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom home in Sooke is just 1 of 10 multi-million dollar Grand Prize choices in this year’s BC Children’s Hospital Choices Lottery—and that’s just the beginning!

    On top of that, this $2.6 million Grand Prize also comes with the following:

    • 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander
    • 2023 Catalina 275 Sailboat
    • $80,000 Travel Best Bets gift card
    • $8,000 MEC gift card
    • Gas and groceries for a year – $15,000 Save-On-Foods gift card OR $11,000 cash and $10,000 Esso gift card OR $7,500 cash
    • $1,000,000 CASH

    Located at stunning SookePoint, if you choose this package as your Grand Prize, you could enjoy luxury seaside living.

    Tickets for the Choices Lottery are still on sale, but don’t wait on this one—with prizes like this, they won’t last long!

    Want to see even more of this incredible Grand Prize package? Take a look at these 15 photos of beautiful SookePoint:

    (Prize home shown may not be exactly as illustrated.)

    Tickets to the lottery – and a chance to win and choose one of the 10 prize packages including the Sooke Grand Prize package or a $2.3 million tax-free cash option – start at 3 tickets for $100, and go all of the way up to a 20-ticket pack for $500.

    When you buy a Choices Lottery ticket, you’re supporting the only hospital in the province devoted exclusively to children. With the help of supporters like you, BC Children’s Hospital can continue improving lives and defining the future of children’s health care for generations to come.

    Your support could be the key to the next big breakthrough.

    The deadline to enter the to win the Main Draw and Grand Prize is midnight, Friday, April 12th, 2024—secure your tickets today!

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    The tale of Goats on the Roof: Coombs’ quirky tradition

    (The Old Country Market)

    In the quaint town of Coombs on Vancouver Island, lies a peculiar sight that never fails to captivate visitors and locals alike: goats on the roof!

    Yes, you read that right – real, live goats happily grazing atop the roofs of buildings.

    But how did this charming tradition come to be?

    Legend has it that back in the 1970s, when Coombs was a small logging community struggling to attract tourists, the owners of the Coombs Country Market came up with a wild idea to draw attention to their store: they decided to put some goats on their grass-covered roof!

    As unconventional as it sounded, this whimsical idea turned out to be a stroke of genius.

    The goats quickly became the talk of the town, and soon word spread far and wide about the quirky spectacle of goats munching on grass while perched atop a roof. Tourists began flocking to Coombs just to catch a glimpse of these furry roof-dwellers in action.

    But why goats on the roof, you might wonder?

    Well, the idea was inspired by the traditional thatched roofs found in some European countries, where goats were known to graze. While Coombs didn’t have thatched roofs, the owners of the market decided to create their own version of this charming scene.

    As the years went by, the goats on the roof became an iconic symbol of Coombs, drawing even more visitors to the town. Eventually, other businesses in the area followed suit, and today, several buildings in Coombs boast their own resident goats on the roof.

    Visitors to Coombs can now enjoy strolling through the market, browsing the array of local goods, and snapping photos of the adorable goats above.

    And for those wondering about the welfare of these rooftop residents, fear not – the goats are well taken care of, with ample space to roam and plenty of tasty grass to munch on.

    So, the next time you find yourself on Vancouver Island, be sure to make a stop in Coombs to witness the delightful sight of goats on the roof.

    It’s a quirky tradition that has stood the test of time, bringing joy to all who encounter it and cementing Coombs’ reputation as one of the most charming destinations in British Columbia.

    7 fan-tastic perks of becoming a Pacific FC season ticket member


    The wheels are in motion, and the official kick-off to Pacific FC’s 2024 season is just around the corner!

    Hot on the heels of PFC releasing their Indigenous-designed alternate kit, the home opener is slated for Saturday, April 13th, where the Tridents will take on the Halifax Wanderers FC.

    In what promises to be a spirited 2024 season, Pacific FC will play on home turf at the stunning Starlight Stadium in Langford 15 times—and you won’t want to miss one action-packed minute!

    The perks of being a PFC Season Ticket Member are aplenty, from catching all of the action to exclusive deals and discounts—and we’ve rounded up just a few of those perks below:

    1. Score a sweet deal on your new kit

    Looking at getting your hands on a 2024 Trident Territory Kit? Becoming a Season Ticket Member means scoring 50% off of your jersey!

    The 2024 Pacific FC Primary Jersey celebrates everyone who makes the Island special and hoists the trident high.

    Heavily featuring the trident found in the club badge, the Trident Territory Kit is unmistakably Pacific. In a striking head-to-toe purple, this kit delivers a sense of energy, of growth, of a rising tide. Like the waters we call home, Pacific FC is ready to surge forward and take the Canadian Premier League by storm.


    View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by Pacific FC (@pacificfootballclub)

    2. Total Flexibility

    Can’t make it to a match? No problem!  

    The Ticket Exchange Program helps Pacific FC Season Members never waste a ticket!

    It allows you to swap in your ticket to a game you can’t make and exchange it for an additional ticket to a game that you can make.

    Enjoy your weekend getaways in the summer knowing you can snag an extra ticket and bring a friend along to the next game!

    3. Discounts on your favourite gear

    Need a second kit, or just some sweet accessories for your next game day?

    Your Season Ticket Membership gets you 15% off all Pacific FC merchandise!

    From flags, to socks, to hats, you’ll find it all in-store—and you can also shop online, if that’s more your style.

    4. Pacific FC Member Card

    This special designation means that you’ll get to reap the benefits of being a Season Member at local businesses across the city.

    The Pacific FC Member Card gives you access to special member offers from community partners, your exclusive merchandise discount, and more!

    5. Over a dozen action-packed PFC matches

    Prepare for a full season of Canadian Premier League matches, right here on home turf!

    Your Season Ticket Membership includes 15 PFC matches at Langford’s Starlight Stadium, which will feature 14 home matches as well as 1 additional match, which will be versus the Victoria Highlanders in the Canadian Championship on May 1st.

    Check out the home game schedule below:

    6. Not just a game

    Come for the soccer, stay for the experience!

    Not only do you get 14+ home games with your Season Ticket Member package, you’re also getting unique events, theme games, food trucks, live performances, Family Fun Zone, beer gardens and so much more.

    7. Spectacular Stewie

    In 2019, a star was born.. and his name was Stewie!

    Stewie the Starfish is PFC’s official mascot and brings all of the fun, fanfare and good vibes to every single match.

    Look for him at every home game, because honestly—you can’t miss that iconic purple!

    Season Ticket Member packages start at just $295 and can be purchased online, or by emailing Secure yours today before the start of the 2024 season!


    In celebration of Pacific FC’s much-anticipated return, we’re giving away an epic prize pack including 4 tickets plus PFC swag for each ticket holder on our sister site, Victoria Buzz.

    Make sure to enter here!



    Secure your chance to win one of two luxury Vancouver Island homes

    (BC Children’s Hospital Choices Lottery)

    In case you missed it, the 2024 BC Children’s Hospital Choices Lottery has made its return, bringing with it a wave of excitement and anticipation amongst residents of BC.

    With 10 multi-million dollar Grand Prize options and the potential to transform lives, this annual event helps shape the future of children’s health care.

    At the heart of the Choices Lottery lies a noble cause: to accelerate medical discoveries and advancements that directly benefit the young patients at BC Children’s Hospital.

    While the Grand Prize choices include luxurious home packages worth up to $2.7 million and the option of $2.3 million cash, it’s the impact on children’s lives that truly resonates with participants.

    Each ticket purchased contributes to vital funding, supporting innovative research, specialized equipment, and the overall enhancement of pediatric healthcare services.

    And when you get your tickets, you won’t just be shaping the future of children’s health care. You’ll also be in to win millions!

    If you order before midnight, this Thursday (March 28th) you’ll be automatically entered in the Early Bird draws—with prizes including a huge travel package, a Cadillac EV or a GMC truck and travel trailer combo, $25,000 in gas and groceries, or $200,000 tax-free cash.

    Among the most coveted Grand Prizes in this year’s Choices Lottery are two magnificent Vancouver Island homes—one in Sooke and the other in Courtenay.

    Check out some photos of the stunning Courtenay home here:

    Plus, you can check out a video tour of the above home below:

    The funds raised through the lottery serve as a lifeline for BC Children’s Hospital, empowering medical professionals to push the boundaries of pediatric healthcare.

    From groundbreaking treatments to cutting-edge technologies, every dollar raised brings us closer to a future where every child can thrive.

    When you buy a Choices Lottery ticket, you’re supporting the only hospital in the province devoted exclusively to children.

    With the help of supporters like you, BC Children’s Hospital can continue improving lives and defining the future of children’s health care for generations to come.

    Make sure to grab your tickets soon – the Early Bird deadline is coming up this Thursday, March 28th with 51 winners and over $290,000 in prizes, while the Grand Prize deadline is midnight on Friday, April 12th, 2024!

    Tickets to the lottery—and a chance to win and choose one of the 10 Grand Prize packages including the 9 luxury prize home packages—start at 3 tickets for $100, and go all of the way up to a 20-ticket pack for $500.

    Grab your tickets today!

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