During isolation, while most of us were baking bread and all too quickly getting to the end of our Netflix queues, many downtown businesses and organizations were finding ways to give back to the community. On the DVBA Instagram page, we were posting (almost) daily stories about these “Local Legends.”
Here is a selection of our Local Legends, and the posts we wrote about them:
Did you hear that @nezzanaturals partnered with @vicdistillers to produce hand sanitizer? And they are donating 20% to essential service staff workers, like those working tirelessly at Royal Jubilee. Thank you, Nezza Naturals, Victoria Distillers, and, especially, thank you to all you amazing health care providers out there! We ❤️ you!⠀
Paula and Nairn, owners of @zerowasteemporium, had to think creatively on how to offer zero-waste groceries while following regulations and considering the health and safety of their customers. This small grocer quickly created a system of safely using mason jars with deposits and paper, offering curbside pickup, and they even created a delivery system (free to seniors or those immunocompromised)! Plus, did you hear the store recently won a Douglas 10 to Watch award?! Congratulations!
Several local restaurants, including downtown’s @dobosalacantina and @therubyyyj, are working with the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness on the “Boxes of Hope” program. This program was created to help those in need while keeping commercial kitchens open and restaurant staff employed. For every $10 donated, a warm, healthy meal will go to someone in need. Head to victoriahomelessness.ca/boxesofhope to donate! ⠀
After learning the owners of @robinsonsvic were choosing to continue to support staff through these uncertain times, @pwc_canada chose this beloved downtown outdoor store to receive a $7,500 donation gathered from several hundred clients. Together, the businesses used the funds to buy tents and sleeping bags for Victoria’s @ourplacesociety, which had to close its shelter space due to COVID-19. We are so lucky to have so many kind, community-minded businesses and nonprofits in our city!
The amazing team at the @FoodEcoDistrict (FED) recognized that although the supply chain of food to the island has not been impacted by COVID-19, mass unemployment presents a challenge in the months ahead: buying fresh, healthy food. So, they began a new initiative called #MyFEDFarm. FED will be supporting families and laid-off workers by providing home-based start-up food gardens. They will gather the materials and install these starter gardens each Friday throughout Greater Victoria beginning in late April/early May, with the goal of providing 500 homes in the region with gardens!⠀
After closing three cafes, Shane, owner of @habitcoffee and @sherwood.victoria, was left with 400 lbs of coffee. Together with his staff, they organized an initiative to sell 300 bags of coffee to raise money for team members struggling with lay-offs. They sold out in eight hours, with all the money raised going straight to the staff! ⠀
Our friends at @freshslicevictoria are bringing joy (in the form of delicious pizza) to some very important people. Last week, they delivered their fresh, tasty pizza to Royal Jubilee Hospital, and this week they brought some to the @vicpdcanada . Thank you Fresh Slice for supporting these dedicated essential workers during these challenging times!
Since the beginning of the pandemic, @ruthanddean has had a free meal service program called #soupforseniors to help our most vulnerable community members in these uncertain times. They are offering a limited supply of free soup for seniors in need, available for contact-less pickup at their Estevan location (not downtown!). If you are in need of this service, know somebody who is, or want to contribute to this initiative, please call 250-590-2780 (they are answering Tues – Sat, 8am – 2pm). ⠀
The members of the DVBA staff are mostly working from home, but our beloved Clean Team is still out on the streets every weekday. Their pandemic priorities are on disinfecting bus stops, benches, and other frequently-touched infrastructure, removing tags and graffiti, and, vitally, keeping an eye on vacant storefronts for our members who are staying safe at home. Thank you, Clean Team, for your tireless efforts.
Local photographer Brittney Kwasney started a visual project to highlight the stories of local businesses and self-employed people in Victoria and to bring awareness about ways you support them during this uncertain time. Pictured above is one of the photos she took of the owners of @designhousesalon ⠀
Head to Brittney’s page @bright_photo to see more photos and read quotes from these and other beautiful business owners in our community. Thank you for this wonderful initiative! #YYJLovesLocal⠀
The amazing crew at @anianmfg are turning their efforts toward producing of reusable protective masks, and they are implementing a “one for one” mask program. For each mask purchased, one mask will be donated to a local non-profit organization — @phscss (PHS Community Services Society). The donated masks will be distributed to people experiencing homelessness in Victoria. Thank you Anián for this wonderful initiative!
This sweet note was posted on the notice board of the @bc_transit main office. Due to its friendly service, delicious food, and convenient location, the Aegean Cafe is a beloved stop for our local bus drivers. Thank you to all our essential bus drivers who continue to work through this pandemic, and thank you to Tess and the Aegean Cafe for feeding them so well!
For over five years, the team at @biketoursvictoria has been celebrating our city’s vibrant neighbourhoods and local businesses with visitors from all over the world. During this time of unpredictability, they began searching for new ways to provide support and connection within this tight-knit community. The organization decided to “change gears” with their activities to help support local businesses (who keep our city vibrant and healthy!). Their team of guides is offering fast, affordable, and reliable delivery services for businesses! With access to Victoria’s many bike lanes, seasoned guides, and the ability to park and unload almost anywhere, Bike Tours Victoria is helping small businesses stay afloat. Plus, what a great eco-conscious delivery alternative!⠀
@thebaycentre has announced a very special collaboration with @earlsrestaurant and @unitedwayvictoria in the Bay Centre’s #FeedOurCommunity campaign – launching today until May 11th! (while supplies last). More details in @thebaycentre ‘s bio! With every Earls Kitchen + Bar Grocery Kit purchased, the Bay Centre will donate a custom Grocery Kit to a local family or senior in need through United Way’s Local Love in a Global Crisis Fund. United Way, through their Local Love in a Global Crisis fund, is helping to feed at-risk children, seniors, families and they need our help now more than ever.
For nearly two decades, @metropol_industries has postered the cylinders downtown daily. When COVID-19 shuttered cultural, athletic, and social gatherings in communities worldwide, the Metropol team recognized creatives in our community might have been looking for outlets. So, they called for local artists and image-makers to submit colourful works that the amazing Metropol staff printed and posted around town once a week – free of charge. In their original post, they wrote “Art is a calming and inspiring force. Let’s keep our community vivid, bright, and alive”. What a lovely sentiment from a great downtown business!⠀