San Francisco comes closer
Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe, Fairmont Empress hotel manager Roger Soane and Jocelyn Jenkins, executive director of the Victoria Conference Centre, will be among a delegation heading to San Francisco tomorrow on the maiden direct flight from Victoria.
Although the group of 35 business people falls short of the goal to fill United Airlines’ 60-seat aircraft, the smattering of tourism and technology types are determined to make an impression.
“The delegation shows a strong sign of support to the city of San Francisco and to the airline that this is an important connection for our city,” Lowe said yesterday. “Any new direct flights to Victoria is good news for our economy.”
Technology and tourism potential aside, Lowe is also stressing the cultural importance of the trip and made a point of the similarities of the two cities, who share a crown as most restaurants per capita in their respective countries as well as the oldest Chinatowns.
“A lot of the residents of San Francisco’s Chinatown came up with work here in the gold rush and railways, and they were some of the residents who made our Chinatown,” said Lowe.
The first passengers of United Flight 6054 from San Francisco, arriving at 11:30 a.m., will be given a rousing welcome from the Airport Volunteers and the Victoria A.M. Society, the costumed greeters who welcome the cruise ships. The CRJ 700 aircraft will turn around with the Victoria contingent aboard at 11:55 a.m. for the two-hour flight to San Francisco.
Marc LePage, consul general of Canada in San Francisco, is hosting a gala reception for to mark the air service and there will be industry roundtables on Friday for business people to rub elbows.
“The goal is to lay a foundation for future business,” said Sasha Angus of the Greater Victoria Economic Development Agency. “I think we’ve got a good group of people to do that.”
Local travel agents are already booking wine tours to the area.
The Victoria College of Art, which marks its 35th anniversary this year, is adding a subtle change of name to better reflect what it does. The famous school on Bank Street will now be known as the Victoria College of Art and Design, or VCAD, according to University Canada West, which acquired the school last year and has applied for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program.
UCW president David Strong called VCAD a vital campus of the new university. “We want a fully-rounded university, and fine arts and design is an integral part of that vision,” he said in a release. UCW is reconstructing its curriculum so that any courses given at the college, part time or full time, are accredited toward a degree, said Strong.
Chris Isherwood has joined Dockside Green as an associate in charge of commercial sales. The 15-acre, LEED-platinum development on Victoria’s Upper Harbour will house more than 2,500 people and has 186,500 square feet of commercial space. Isherwood has 13 years in the commercial and residential real estate fields. He co-founded Victoria Properties Management Company, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based firm that developed, leased and managed more than a million square feet of real estate.
Vancouver entrepreneur Peter Armstrong, founder of Rocky Mountaineer vacations, and Walter Smith, a tourism ambassador and volunteer in Prince Rupert for a remarkable 75 years, were inducted this week into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame in Ottawa. Also named to the hall were Jean-Marc Eustache, the founder of air charter company Transat AT Inc., Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, and Charles Lapointe, president and CEO of Tourism Montreal. Click www.canadiantourismhalloffame.travel
Brentwood Bay Lodge has been named the best hotel in British Columbia, sixth best in Canada and 103rd worldwide, according to Expedia Insiders’ Select 2008, a list of the top one per cent of all hotels and resorts listed by the online travel site and its customers. The Insider Select hotels are picked from more than 80,000 hotels and resorts worldwide.
Vancouver Island Brewery is tweaking its packaging and unveiling two new brews this week. The Victoria-based company commissioned its original design firm, Image-Pac Graphics of Vancouver, to keep some of the original look while presenting new Island scenery on its labels and boxes.
Brewmaster Ralf Pitroff also crafted two new recipes, Victoria Pilsner and West Coast Wheat, which will be released along with the new design of the core brands — Piper’s Pale Ale, Hermann’s Dark Lager and Island Lager.