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Victoria tourism issues and discussion

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#61 m0nkyman

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:30 PM

Financial Center = CBD = Downtown. Same same.

#62 aastra

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 10:13 AM

View Street = Wall Street?

#63 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 09:10 PM

This is sort of totally off-topic, but you know how we sometimes despair here on this forum at the faux "olde Englande" bits floating about? Well, there's this terribly funny article in Vanity Fair this month about ex-pat Brits in New York, [url=http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/04/brits200704?printable=true¤tPage=all:fb684]Brits Behaving Badly[/url:fb684], by A.A. Gill, who is himself an ex-pat Brit (in NYC).

His tirade made me think of all the amplifications of Britishness we sometimes experience here, and ...well, given that Gill is talking about Quite Young Brits, makes me wonder whether we'll ever be able to shake it off completely.

There is a little parade of adjoining storefronts in the West Village. One sells fish-and-chips. Another is a little café called Tea & Sympathy. The third specializes in English comestibles, the sort of thing that Englishmen abroad are supposed to yearn for: Bird's custard, Marmite, Bovril, Jammie Dodgers. The window looks like a pre-war Ealing Studios film set. Nowhere in Britain has looked remotely like this in living memory. Inside, four young Englishmen from the Midlands are reminiscing over lists of Edwardian boiled sweets, like a spoof of High Fidelity. With an intense reverie, they fold me into the conversation for a balming moment of confectionery nostalgia. "So, Victory V's or aniseed balls? We were just discussing Curlywurly versus Caramac." After we've all had a suck on the humbug of Blighty's tuck box, one of them asks, "Ever tried an American sweet? First time I ate a Hershey's bar, saddest day of my life." I managed to get out just before I turned into Oliver Twist.

If it were just you that the Brits annoyed, I wouldn't really care. What I mind is that they've re-created this Disney, Dick Van Dyke, um-diddle-diddle-um-diddle-I, merry Britain of childish grub and movie clichés, this Jeeves-and-Wooster place of mockery and snobbery, and I'm implicated, by mouth. Made complicit in this hideous retro-vintage place of Spam, Jam lyrics, bow ties, and buggery. These ex-Brits who have settled in the rent-stabilized margins of Manhattan aren't our brightest and our best—they are our remittance men, paid to leave. Not like the other immigrants, who made it here as the cleverest, most adventurous in the village. What you get are our failures and fantasists. The freshly redundant. The exposed and embittered. No matter how long they stay here, they don't mellow, their consonants don't soften. They don't relax into being another local. They become ever more English. Über-Brits. Spiteful, prickly things in worn tweed, clutching crossword puzzles, gritting their Elizabethan teeth, soup-spotted, tomb-breathed, loud and deaf.

Sounds rather awful, and makes "our" old dears (retirees, without ambitions to become the next Noel Coward in Manhattan) seem quite sweet in comparison, eh wot?
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#64 renthefinn

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 12:11 AM

Sounds like the writer had some sour grapes to spill. It (the writer) wasn't happy with the fact that the world is the same no matter how many times you flip the coin (or world) that they became upset they couldn't make a real connection with countrymen in a distant land. Like me it should realize that you can't have friends with everyone, and the more you expect from them at the outrun the less you receive. Not to mention badmouthing them in the papers will cause you to have no social interaction qualities whatsoever!

#65 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 09:26 AM

A new sightseeing company is coming to Victoria. The proposal is to run two buses (one that looks like a trolley, built in Portland, OR; another a decommissioned school bus -- I hope it has modern emission standards) on several continuous routes through downtown, up Fort, to AGGV, Craigdarroch, Oak Bay, and scenic route, with the new angle being that it's a hop-on / hop-off at will operation. Tourists can buy a pass for $30, which is valid for 2 days. From a user perspective, this sounds like a great idea. See [url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/business/story.html?id=3f6b3815-f246-4b29-b1e4-e3793b5fb81f&p=1:93921]Big Bus goes topless in Victoria[/url:93921] by Darren Kloster.


The Big Bus Co. has emerged in Victoria and is ready to do battle with market leader Gray Line West for the eyes -- and butts -- of sight-seeing tourists.

Owner Laurence Bourassa, who has operated Big Bus tours in Vancouver for the past two years, said the new Victoria service will allow tourists to hop on and hop off at any of the 25 stops around the city. An adult pass for $30 lasts for two days and will give tourists flexibility if they see an attraction, hotel or restaurant they'd like to visit at any point in the tour.

"The idea is to give people tours at their own pace -- not somebody's else's pace," Big Bus manager Jerry Dolejs said yesterday. (rest of article [url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/business/story.html?id=3f6b3815-f246-4b29-b1e4-e3793b5fb81f&p=1:93921]here[/url:93921])

The routes include 25 stops, and include narration.
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#66 aastra

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 07:19 PM

From TripAdvisor.com:

When you arrive in Victoria, you feel England all around you. The architecture, people, and surroundings all shout British, and thank God, not French.

Thank God that CPR Chateau-style hotel shouts British and not French.

#67 Holden West

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 07:42 PM

What bullshit. England is far down on the list of architectural inspiration.

Here's French architecture:

You tell me Victoria is English?
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#68 Caramia

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 08:49 AM

I wish those busses had a local rate. They pretty much go everywhere I need to go. I see them when I am walking.
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#69 Mike K.

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 08:54 AM

The tourism industry has flip-flopped yet again. Tourism reps are no longer worried about a bad year, they're anticipating a banner year, according to A Channel.

All that negative media coverage and worrying sound bites for nothing.

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#70 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 10:09 PM

Interesting little blip about the cruise ship tourists, and how to get them into town:

[url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/capital_van_isl/story.html?id=b1d352cc-0157-46ad-9129-9f658844ff76:27a58]Cruise-ship bus service wins council's approval[/url:27a58]

Times Colonist
Published: Saturday, May 19, 2007

A bus service to pick up and drop off cruise-ship passengers on Government Street has been approved by Victoria city council.

Gary Gale, general manager of Cruise Victoria, originally wanted permission to make several stops along Government Street as far as Johnson Street, but had to settle for three locations, two on Government and one at Erie Street.

Staff were asked to work with Gale to find another drop-off location farther north after B.C. Transit declined permission to use its stops.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007

So now there's a bus service to get tourists into James Bay. But not downtown. :roll:
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#71 Icebergalley

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 07:00 AM

Not a very informative article, but. I guess it refers to the fleet of "non-liveried" buses that are parked at Ogden Point..

Looks as if the Bigbus.ca which has it's sales kiosk next to Sam's Deli (at a Government St. transit stop) must be in the lead...

There were two of their big busses parked there in the traffic lane for a long while - six thirtyish last evening.. took up most of the block face..

Interesting to see how all this private sector transit makes out over the tourist season... and then compare results with BC Transit's traffic volumes..

#72 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 09:43 PM

Fascinating article in today's "business" section (in Times-Colonist) about China as the next major source of tourists: Tourism Victoria braces for increases from Asia[/url:02bff] (by Carla Wilson).

Tourism Victoria braces for increases from Asia
Carla Wilson, Times Colonist
Published: Saturday, May 26, 2007

Try to imagine 1,000 travel agents working in a five-storey building, and you get an idea of the tourism potential the Asian giant holds for Canada.

Tourism Victoria's senior vice-president of marketing and communications was shocked by the size of the travel agency during a March visit to Guangdong in southern China.

"China is a market that is going to take some time to establish relationships with top agents," McLean said yesterday.

This large agency illustrates why China is a worldwide tourism powerhouse these days.

The world is China's oyster and other major markets are vying for its business, she said. "Our goal is to capture a piece of that pie."

By 2020, that pie is expected to reach 100 million Chinese visitors who will fan out across the globe looking for relaxation, adventure and new surroundings.

Tourism B.C. is estimating that 95,000 Chinese visitors will arrive this year, generating $145 million in revenue -- up from 86,000 visitors and $100 million in revenue in 2006.

That's why Tourism Victoria is staging an Asia-Pacific Tourism Opportunities seminar for its members this Thursday. Key markets such as China, Japan, South Korea and Australia are on the agenda, with tourism experts from those markets tuning us in on what will attract them here.

Last year in Greater Victoria, total overnight visitors reached 3.55 million. Of those, 3.4 per cent were from Asia-Pacific, McLean said. More were here on day-trips only.

In the first three months of this year, Asia Pacific-based overnight customs entries to B.C. rose 2.3 per cent to 147,353 compared with the same months last year, said Tourism B.C.

Of the top-10 countries delivering visitors to this province, five are in the Asia-Pacific region: Japan, Australia, South Korea, China and Taiwan. (Edit: gotta love the lingo: "delivering visitors..." -- sounds like tourist = product!)

"Asia-Pacific is of particular interest to us because of the proximity of many of the target countries to B.C.," McLean said.

So far, Chinese visitors are largely interested in three- to four-star hotels, and in spending money on activities such as whale watching, she said. These visitors are often "very action-oriented."

Many are drawn to B.C. and Canada because of the Chinese heritage here, McLean said.

The number of overnight customs entries from China to B.C. rose 17.4 per cent to 16,322 in the first three months of this year, compared with the same months last year. That represents the largest percentage growth among the Asia-Pacific countries.

Each market is different, with Chinese visitors often here on a day-trip tour, rather than an overnight visit, McLean said. Local tourism officials work to extend time spent here. (Edit: yes, start by letting the tourists know that Victoria is a city, with more to offer than afternoon tea & a trip to Butchart's...)

Japan has typically been a strong local market, but past economic difficulties led to reductions in visitors and cutbacks by airlines on trips here. It takes time to convince them to bring that capacity back, McLean said.

Last year, of the 386,000-plus Japanese visitors to Canada, 215,000 arrived directly through B.C., showing that this province is a major entry point for the Japan market, Tourism B.C. said.

Although Japan's visitors to B.C. have decreased this year, that market still represents the largest Asia-Pacific numbers.

In the first three months of this year, Japan represented 36,266 overnight entries through customs to B.C., down 8.7 per cent from the same time in 2006.

However, Tourism B.C. is optimistic that will increase and Japanese overnight visitor revenue will rise by 8.8 per cent by 2009.

Another strong market is South Korea. It represented 25,703 overnight customs entries to B.C. in the first three months of the year, following Japan. That's up 7.6 per cent from the same time in 2006.

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007

Also in today's "Business" section, another article by Carla Wilson, [url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/business/story.html?id=0cdfcbf0-b275-45c9-8ed2-2316304535c3&k=73535:02bff]Opening Victoria's front yard -- Gateways project viewed as way to bring more people to harbour, downtown[/url:02bff], which profiles Barry Hobbis of Victoria Harbour Ferries. It seems that Hobbis is on a mission to install 'gateways' around downtown and the harbour, as a way of bringing together people -- but without having to rely on a venue or a destination. Some interesting bits in the article (I won't quote the whole thing), although the gateway that's shown in the photo (Reeson Landing Gateway at the foot of Yates Street) looks kinda hokey, IMO.

Some excerpts from the article:

Hobbis, 60, vice-president of operations of Victoria Harbour Ferries, says, "If you get enough people downtown, before you know it, it is exponential."

People love to people-watch, he said. "Maybe that's what we are overlooking."


"We've had all these festivals collapse and all these people-events collapse and we keep thinking that in order for there to be a reason for you to be someplace there has to be something material. I'm saying, no, no, no, no, no."

Gateways are a way to brand the harbour, in the same way Sydney, Australia, is branded by its dramatic Opera House, Hobbis said. There could be a Gateway To James Bay at Fisherman's Wharf, and a Gateway To Vic West at Dockside Green. "I'm gunning for 14 of them."


At the foot of Reeson's Park, three poles resembling wharf pilings stand on each side of the new Gateway. On the city side, the sign says "Reeson's Landing" and, on the water side, it reads, "Welcome."

Supporters of the Gateways project include the ferry company, the Victoria Regent Hotel and Suites, the City of Victoria, Hyack Air, the Downtown Victoria Business Association, and the Provincial Capital Commission, owner of adjacent Reeson's Park, a sloping patch of green grass and rocks.

Ray Parks, Provincial Capital Commission CEO, loves the Gateway idea.

"I think it is absolutely brilliant that we are seeing this sort of initiative. It is positive. It is high-energy. There are lots of people involved. There is no downside."

Paul Servos, harbour authority general manager, agrees, saying it will increase activity in that area and benefit the harbour.

And finally, on the topic of downtown, people, visitors, ...vibrancy:

So You Know: Former Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray is the guest speaker for the Downtown Victoria Business Association's AGM June 26 at the Laurel Point Inn. His topic centres on the essential role downtowns play in making vital cities. The DVBA will also be electing six new members to the board. For information, go to [url="http://www.downtownvictoria.ca"]http://www.downtownvictoria.ca

That's from Darron Kloster's column today (also in the "Biz" section), which also includes a whole bunch of other interesting tidbits. See [url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/business/story.html?id=05150b23-6c67-4b81-90ed-df9de00f3adf:02bff]Shepherd fills Fort book gap[/url:02bff].
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#73 Mike K.

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 12:16 AM

We're looking to Winnipeg for downtown vibrancy advice? God help us.

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#74 Icebergalley

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 12:19 AM

Didn't realize that Laurel Point was in the Downtown...

the Downtown Victoria Business Association's AGM June 26 at the Laurel Point Inn.

#75 Icebergalley

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 12:28 AM

Glad to see a more visible and identifiable "icon" for the Harbour Ferry docks...

Hope that they can get more of them so that land based people know where they are..

Have a # of times had to send people back from the dock behind Value Village to the ferry landing at Canoe and Queen Mother's.. foot of Swift..

#76 aastra

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 04:58 PM

We're looking to Winnipeg for downtown vibrancy advice? God help us.

It's not just funny, it's downright bizarre. Makes me wonder if a new slogan is in the offing?

"Victoria: Winnipeg of the West Coast."

PEOPLE. Get a freaking clue.

As for the Gateway things:

Gateways are a way to brand the harbour, in the same way Sydney, Australia, is branded by its dramatic Opera House, Hobbis said.

Ray Parks, Provincial Capital Commission CEO, loves the Gateway idea.

"I think it is absolutely brilliant that we are seeing this sort of initiative. It is positive. It is high-energy. There are lots of people involved. There is no downside."

I have no problem with this gateway they've set up -- it's a nice little detail for that corner of the waterfront -- but I think I do have a problem with the associated hyperbole. It's laughable to compare something like that to the Sydney Opera House (of all things). "High-energy"? Come on.

Meanwhile you've got a project like the Roundhouse in the works, and it actually IS a high-energy project that could legitimately brand the harbour in the same way Sydney's harbour "is branded by its dramatic opera house"...and yet you know we're going to hear nothing but cynical guff about it in the local media.

#77 aastra

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 05:33 PM

Scathing review of Bear Mountain at TripAdvisor.com, although the guy is really just complaining about the ongoing construction there, of which he had (obviously) not been properly informed. Note the comment about the distance from town.

Need a relaxing getaway? The Westin Bear Mountain is NOT the place for you. Awaken to the soothing sounds of jackhamers. Dodge Bobcats and construction vehicles while walking the spacious grounds. "Just minutes from Victoria" means 30 minutes. And, if you are hoping to "take a swim in the year-round heated outdoor pool at the Mountainside Athletic Club," as they advertise on their Web site...forget it. Again, under construction! My family planned our only summer vacation for VIctoria, and we unfortunately ended up here. We specifically chose this resort for its pool, as we have two very active boys. We were so disappointed! So, what does $300 per night buy you? We're still not sure. The most amazing part, we learned that this resort is in year 4 of a 10-year plan, so don't expect much improvement until 2013!

#78 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 05:38 PM

Here's one too:

We just returned from four days at this resort. Those considering it need to know before they go what they are getting into, for although the resort has some good aspects, we came away disappointed.

First, this hotel is only a small part of a major village/resort development that is still under development and will be for at least 2-3 more years. The result was the constant beeping of construction equipment outside our suite, layers of dust hanging in the air and the frequent sounds of sawing, drilling etc, sometimes as early as 8 a.m.. If what you seek is a peaceful, quiet getaway in the mountains, as we did, this is NOT the place for you. We spent next to no time on our postage stamp sized patio -- we could not it was so nerve wracking.

Secondly, the resort is diminished by a heavily suburban aesthetic and ambience. Our $300 a night suite came with a fake fireplace that projects an image of a fire for 'atmosphere'. Either the most mainstream of pop music, or mainstream smooth jazz, blares in all of the public areas/restaurants. The parking lot is full of Hummers and RAM pickup trucks. In the lobby, is a multimedia presentation trying to sell you on the condos going up around you.

Most frustrating for us was that unless you are a golfer, you will have little to no connection to the natural beauty of your surroundings. The more expensive Clubhouse building we were upgraded into (upgraded, we were told, because of the construction noise going on next to the OTHER building we had reserved in), is high on a hill, fortressed off from the course and surrounding grounds. And the resort frowns upon hotel guests wandering along the pathways adjacent to the course although they allowed us to do it once near sunset. Gee, thanks.

There are a few other design flaws that, for a $300 a night suite, seem amazing. Our shower stalls had no shelving whatsoever for shampoo, soap, etc so be prepared to place them on the floor of the shower and to bend over a lot. Our living room was the width of a hallway, with lots of windows whose extra-thick casements reduced the view of the outdoors dramatically (sitting on the sofa, I could barely see the trees and mountains outside). The dining table was stuck in a corner looking into a wall. The bathroom was wide open and all slate floor, fiberglass tub and faux granite counter -- more like a sterile hospital room bathroom than a cozy retreat for bathing, etc. Meanwhile, the dust we found on the top of our refrigerator was never cleaned in the 4 days we were there.

To the resort's credit, we found the food very good in most cases, and the staff very friendly and accommodating. And, the design of the rooms is quite modern/chic.

But the bottom line is we saved up all year, and flew 4 hours, to have a quiet, classy, tranquil getaway on Vancouver Island. We pretty much ended up with a cheap-feeling, suburban experience that I could have just as easily obtained driving 20 minutes from my home. Most telling -- despite our expecting a retreat in the wide-open beauty of Vancouver Island, by the third day we felt so claustrophobic, we jumped in our car and headed out of the compound to connect with nature
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#79 aastra

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 05:53 PM

And the resort frowns upon hotel guests wandering along the pathways adjacent to the course...

Is that right? That seems crazy, if true.

#80 gumgum

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 08:17 PM

Sounds like my idea of hell.
Sounds like the poor bastards were duped.
Oh well... at least the developers are making a lot of money. :roll:
Seriously, I've been on vacations where I immediately got the feeling that I've been had, and it's the worst feeling. You feel helpless and stressed.
Sad thing is, this will reflect badly on Victoria as a whole.

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