Thank you for visiting our 2020 Annual Report Page. It goes without saying that 2020 has been a challenging year for our members and downtown. This year, to conform with provincial guidelines we are holding our AGM via Zoom – email info@downtownvictoria.ca for the login information.

This section of our website is dedicated to showing you our main accomplishments over the last year. I would ask that you review each section. Events such as Small Business Month 2019 and Lights of Wonder 2019 were major successes. Our Clean Team continued to shine as our most popular member-facing service.

We shifted quickly at the onset of COVID to become laser focussed on supporting our members from survival to recovery. This work continues to be our #1 priority. Our Save the Sales campaign has been hugely successful. We will be creating a fall campaign and then a December campaign to continue to drive customers into downtown.

Finally, the DVBA has been at the forefront of advocacy for you, our members. On issues from federal relief programs to the removal of campers in Centennial Square, we have been amplifying your voices to statutory decision makers.

We continue to need to hear from you as we travel through this fall season. Please feel free to contact me with comments, questions, concerns, or kudos to our team at jeff@downtownvictoria.ca or 250-386-2239.

Sincerely,

Jeff Bray

Year-long Activities

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Throughout the year, the DVBA performs a number of regular activities including:

  • Social media: The DVBA Instagram account has over 13,000 followers and the Facebook page has over 9,000. We post regularly (three to five times per week) highlighting member businesses, events, and scenic captures of our beautiful downtown.
  • The “What’s On?” newsletter: Every Thursday the “What’s On” events newsletter is sent to 5,000 subscribers, offering them more enticing reasons to come downtown.
  • The “Business Buzz” newsletter: The “Business Buzz” is sent out on an as-needed basis and informs members of special promotional opportunities, governmental updates, and general DVBA activities.
  • As executive director, Jeff has a number of commitments including:
    • Business Improvement Association of BC Board of Directors & Advocacy Committee
    • Monthly column in Victoria News (read recent columns from July and August)
    • Co-Chair Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness
    • Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee
    • Downtown Service Providers Committee
    • Community Wellness Committee (formed due to camping on Pandora St.)
    • South Island Prosperity Partnership Rising Economy Task Force
    • Canadian Urban Institute  – Bring Back Main Street Project
  • The Clean Team: The Clean Team is the most important member-facing component of the DVBA’s activities. This vital team has picked up 7,700 needles and removed almost 14,000 tags since August 2019.

July 2019: International Buskers Festival

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The 2019 International Buskers Festival brought thousands of people downtown to watch the amazing performers. The Downtown Victoria Business Association organized the festival and marketed it within the region. Leading up to and during the festival, the DVBA’s marketing efforts included:

  • Bus advertisements
  • Paper handouts
  • Print advertisements
  • Social posts
  • Video creation and social promotion

October 2019: Small Business Month

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Last year, the DVBA leveraged the BDC’s Small Business Week in October to deem the month of October as Small Business Month. Complete with an official proclamation from the City of Victoria and business owner profiles on the Downtown Victoria blog six days a week, the campaign was focused on the variety of small businesses in the core.

Marketing activities for Small Business Month included:

  • City of Victoria official proclamation
  • Regular blog posts, see examples here, here, and here
  • Social media posts directed the audience to read the blogs, giving the featured businesses extra promotion
  • King size bus ads promoting the month-long event
  • The video below was shared and boosted on social media

December 2019 to January 2020: Lights of Wonder

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Lights of Wonder was the DVBA’s biggest undertaking in 2019. The beautiful light display in Centennial Square was open to visitors to enjoy in the evenings for two weeks, and over 75,000 people wandered through, snapping photos and enjoying the performances on the stage.

Marketing activities for Lights of Wonder included:

  • A Lights of Wonder website was created to highlight the schedule, sponsors, and charity partners.
  • Holiday Guide
  • King size bus ads
  • Radio ads
  • Digital and print ads
  • Video and social promotion partnership with Victoria Buzz (watch the video here)
  • Independent video creation and social promotion

 

March to July 2020: COVID-19 Pandemic

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When the pandemic hit in mid-March the DVBA recognized the need to support their business members. Jeff co-wrote numerous letters advocating on behalf of businesses, Business Buzz newsletters were sent out almost daily with updates, and Jeff was in near-constant contact with various partners looking to find solutions to business and community concerns.

DVBA activities at the time included:

July to September 2020: Save the Sales

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Sales are way down, and vital income from tourism is expected to be at an all-time low in downtown Victoria. To help show support for local businesses, the Downtown Victoria Business Association launched the SAVE the SALES virtual telethon and promotional campaign to help raise awareness and encourage local Victoria residents to shop confidently and safely.

For SAVE the SALES, the DVBA goes old school, revisiting a time when ordering online and overnight shipping wasn’t an option and people had to visit stores in person (gasp!). What else comes to mind from the 80’s? The aesthetics, the theme songs, the outfits, and of course, the annual telethons!  A lot may have changed since the 80’s, but the value and impact of community support is still going strong.  The SAVE the SALES virtual telethon invites local shoppers to register their purchases from Downtown Victoria businesses as a “pledge” on our online Support-O-Meter at www.SavetheSales.ca.  Each week, one entrant will win the value of their purchases – up to $100. Plus, all pledges will be entered to win a grand prize of $5,000!

The more businesses you support and the more “pledges” submitted to the Support-O-Meter, the more chances you get to win the weekly prize or grand prize. Plus, no purchase is too small!  Accompanying the Support-O-Meter, in true 80’s fashion, is an actual half-hour SAVE the SALES Telethon which aired at 6:00 PM on August 22 on CHEK TV and streamed online on CHEK’s Facebook page.  Hosted by true 80’s heart-throbs Ed Bain and Jeff King, viewers can enjoy some AWESOME 80’s themed entertainment, STELLAR local business features, and OUTRAGEOUS guest stars all working together to help SAVE the SALES in downtown Victoria.

 

Marketing activities for the SAVE the SALES campaign included:

  • Several 30-second videos were created for distribution on social media. See the YouTube playlist with the full slate of 80s-style Save the Sales videos here.
  • 30-second commercials for the campaign aired on CHEK TV for the two weeks leading up to the telethon. See the commercial here.
  • The full 30-minute telethon can be viewed below.
  • Five full-page Times Colonist Ads.
  • YouTube ads.
  • Social media posts.
  • Posters and bookmarks for members.
  • CTV pre-roll and digital ads.
  • Radio ads.

Watch the full SAVE the SALES Telethon here: