The magazine ranked Victoria second on the list of the top-20 small cities outside the U.S. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
We're No. 2 small city in the world in Condé Nast rankings
Tourism Victoria says Victoria is making a bigger mark on the world stage after it was named the No. 2 small city on the latest Condé Nast Readers’ Choice awards.
The magazine ranked Victoria second on the list of the top-20 small cities outside the U.S. behind San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Tourism Victoria believes the ranking is proof the city punches above its weight on the world stage.
“This result is straight from readers of one of the world’s leading travel magazines,” said Paul Nursey, chief executive of Tourism Victoria.
“This is proof positive that Greater Victoria’s transformation from a quaint and charming regional destination to a world-leading, experiential destination is complete.”
Victoria beat out Florence, Italy, Bruges, Belgium and Lucerne, Switzerland, for the No. 2 spot. The only other Canadian city to make the list was Quebec City at No. 8.
Tourism Victoria believes the ranking is down to getting the word out about the experience of visiting Victoria.
According to the organization, there has been extensive coverage in publications such as the New York Times, New Zealand Herald and Rolling Stone to showcase everything from the region’s burgeoning concert and music scene to the Pacific Marine Circle Route.
Already this year, Smart Meetings magazine recommended Victoria as one of the top 10 emerging destinations for hosting meetings and conferences, while this summer a poll of 5,770 Canadian travel agents chose Victoria as one of the top five destinations in the country.
Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards are chosen by more than 300,000 readers.
Victoria and the other winning cities will be listed in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler.
Last year, Victoria was ranked in the No. 7 spot on a list of Best Cities in the World (outside the U.S.) in the same readers’
Conde Nast Top-20 Small Cities (Outside U.S.)
- San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
- Florence, Italy
- Bruges, Belgium
- Lucerne, Switzerland
- Salzburg, Austria
- Nuremberg, Germany
- Quebec City
- Cologne, Germany
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Edinburgh, Scotland
- Bergen, Norway
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Seville, Spain
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Venice, Italy
- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
- Dublin, Ireland
- Jerusalem, Israel
This Vancouver Island city is drawing a younger crowd keen on the quality of life, great outdoors & see more
Source: Toronto Star
Author: Jennifer Allford
This Vancouver Island city is drawing a younger crowd keen on the quality of life, great outdoors and emerging cool.
VICTORIA, B.C. - A guy has a skateboard beneath his feet and a piercing under his nose. Another rides by with a guitar strapped to his back. There’s a grey-haired peloton or two, a little tyke with a Spider-Man helmet takes a spill, and a smiling Japanese Rasta walks by.
It’s quite some time before you see even one little old lady as you ride a bike on the Galloping Goose — a 60-kilometre trail from Victoria to Sooke.
It’s rush hour for rowers and as you stop on the Trestle Bridge to watch them on the water below, a couple of young women — one with blue hair another with wacky tights — walk past and you have to wonder what happened to the city full of “newlywed, nearly dead and garden beds.”
Somewhere along the way, Victoria got cool.
Students from across Canada have always flocked to the University of Victoria to escape the snow, but people in their 20s and 30s are moving here now, drawn by a booming tech sector.
And the flock of retirees is getting younger — 50s are the 30s.
Sure, you can still pick up a stack of Irish linens or get your age spots removed, but you can also pop into Smoking Lily for a periodic table silkscreened on a dress and find plenty of grooming shops for the ubiquitous gnome beards.
Grandmas line up for afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress, but at the hotel’s Bengal Lounge, someone’s grandkids are enjoying smart cocktails. (At least until April 30, when it closes. There’s no word on what will replace it.)
The signature drink features tea-infused vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white and is served, naturally, with a mini scone.
“I love this room,” says Bruce Livingstone as we settle into one of the Bengal’s low leather couches, taking in the rich wood panelling and colonial ceiling fans.
Livingstone, the guy who founded iStock and sold it to Getty for $50 million (U.S.), moved from L.A. to Victoria a few years ago and started a new stock photography company, Stocksy.
“People say how can you live there, it’s so boring,” he says. “But I tell them if you’re bored then it’s your fault.”
Livingstone and thousands of others are coming to the city for the quality of life and the great outdoors, which can involve throwing on wetsuits to go for a swim, or going surfing or fishing.
Victoria is good for business, too. “It’s great,” says the entrepreneur. “There’s a great network of tech people and we’re all connected.”
On Friday night, beautiful people fill every table at Little Jumbo, enjoying dinner with fresh local ingredients — the chanterelle mushrooms that came in yesterday are served with a little parmesan, garlic and wine on grilled bread.
Tables of tattooed young ’uns sit next to middle-aged couples and every demo seems to be drinking a fancy cocktail.
The drink list changes every six weeks. If you’re bamboozled by which booze to try, you can always go with the blurb that most tickles your fancy, such as gin-based Tea and Toast: “My good man it took Dutch courage, a stiff upper lip and a nice cup of tea to build an empire. Hang on to your monocle and have at it.”
Poking fun is all part of the fun in the Royal City.
The restaurant’s co-owner Chris Jones — “one of the tall bearded dudes with cool aprons” — says the Ruby will open a second location. “Where the locals go, the tourists want to go,” he says of picking spots that aren’t exactly on the red double-decker bus routes.
The tourists may also miss Discovery St., where Victoria’s graffiti artists have transformed a couple of blah buildings into a gorgeous tapestry of street art. Visitors looking for treasures along the famed Antique Row may come home with something a little more contemporary if they stumble into Polychrome Fine Art.
“The sun never goes down on cool, my friend,” the Hotel Zed desk clerk shouts to her colleague as he puts on his aviators and walks toward the 1967 VW bus out front.
The hotel has hipsters in the hot tub, a lobby that looks like The Brady Bunch on acid, and shuttle rides in a couple of VW buses. “They get a lot of attention” my driver tells me during the quick trip downtown.
Victoria is not “nearly dead” anymore.
“It’s getting cooler here all the time,” Livingstone says, but that doesn’t mean the city’s forgotten its manners: “Strangers on the street get mad at you if you don’t say good morning.”
Jennifer Allford was a guest of Destination BC and its partners, which didn’t review or approve this story.
When You Go
Get there: Air Canada flies to Victoria direct from Toronto. If you’re in Vancouver, take the 90-minute ferry over to the island as a passenger or with your vehicle. It’s a remarkably beautiful ride. Or save the time and fly in and enjoy the view from the air.
Season: Victoria can give you your fix of green pretty much any time of the year: flowers are growing around town all year long. If you really want go deep into green, you could visit the Butchart Gardens. If you happen to be in Victoria during one of the rare snowfalls, you can sit back and watch the show as everyone freaks out and drivers attempt to navigate the roads.
Stay: Hotel Zed (hotelzed.com/)
Find out more: Tourism Victoria (tourismvictoria.com/)
Owen Matthews sees China as a solid investment. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
Chinese trade opportunities loom large for Victoria firms
Despite slower economic growth in recent years, China remains a market full of potential for Canadian companies. And for some Victoria firms, it may represent a massive missed opportunity if they don’t get into the game.
Owen Matthews sees China as a solid investment. Matthews is chairman of the Alacrity Foundation, which provides mentorship and guidance to start-up firms and engineers in order to create new tech companies.
A single city, Shanghai, with a population of 24 million, is better funded and has more wealth than Canada, he said.
Matthews, who is also a partner with investment firm Wesley Clover, said companies have the potential to be valued higher there given the availability of capital and the room for growth.
“Not being part of that in some way is a huge missed opportunity,” he said.
Matthews, who has just established a branch of the Alacrity Foundation in Shanghai, said China is starting to open up and the country is more open to technology partnerships in particular. But he warned it’s important for Canadian entrepreneurs to find a Chinese partner who they can trust.
“You have to have people you can work with, whose interests are aligned so when the Victoria company does well somebody there also does well,” Matthews said, noting that partnership is key as it can mean the feet on the ground in China will protect the firm’s interests.
The seven year-old Alacrity Foundation may be able to do some of that for Canadian firms. The non-profit entity, supported by industry and government, has branches around the world, including Turkey, India, France, the U.K. and now in China.
Matthews said each of the Alacrity branches gives interested companies an insight into global markets.
With its arrival in China, Alacrity’s network has trusted feet on the ground in Shanghai that can help open doors, or offer advice.
The mayor of Victoria hopes local firms are looking at the opportunity in China. Lisa Helps, who returned from a two-week trade mission to China in late October, told a gathering of local business people this week that Victoria firms are well positioned to take advantage of China’s potential. She said she believes the $22,000 trip was a huge success and has laid the ground work for trade deals to be signed with a country that is continually changing and opening up.
“The central government is focused on growing its economy in a sustainable manner and they need the innovation and technology we have here,” Helps said
Matthews said having the Victoria mayor join local firms on trips to China can open a lot of doors.
“It’s a great endorsement,” Matthews said. “It makes a big difference in China. Their assumption is government is a very important player in our economy. Having a mayor shaking hands beside a tech company goes a long, long way.”
It can also help the tourism industry, said Paul Nursey, chief executive of Tourism Victoria, who was in China at the same time.
Nursey said Victoria has seen strong growth from China — 20 per cent each year over the last few years — but it can do better.
“We have a great brand and a great product,” Nursey said. “But we are being more deliberate in targeting overnight stays.”
Nursey said Tourism Victoria has changed its sales team to be more digital savvy, and able to converse in China, as they go after a more lucrative slice of the Chinese market — the individual traveller rather than packaged tours. That’s a segment growing as a result of an emerging middle class. “Now it’s about the hard work on the ground and pitching, it’s a sales proposition and we have refined our sales approach,” he said.