Victoria hosts one of the best downtowns in Canada. There is a reason we are a hub of tourism—Victoria is beautiful, with a compact, attractive, and inviting downtown full of unique businesses!
This is the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA)’s Fifth Annual Report on Downtown. Every year, we measure our business survey results, and gather data from various other sources to create a holistic depiction of business in downtown Victoria.
Perhaps the most significant theme from this year’s report is the ‘tale of two downtowns’. Business performance overall was good, yet the regional narrative regarding downtown Victoria is quite negative. Thousands of people come downtown everyday and have wonderful experiences, including tourists, yet many locals who rarely visit express adverse opinions about the area. The questions we continue to ask are: what is perception and what is reality?
The lack of adequate supports for those suffering with mental illness and addiction and the centralization of services into a few small areas are major concerns for businesses. We must tackle these issues now, at all levels of government, to ensure our regional downtown remains economically strong and vibrant.
This report paints an evidence-based picture of downtown, using quantitative data to measure the economic vitality of downtown. It reflects our experiences, challenges aspects of the public narrative, shines a light on the impacts the concentration of people struggling with mental health and substance abuse create, and highlights areas of concern and opportunity from the business perspective.
Victoria’s downtown is the envy of many. It is clean, historic, diverse, welcoming, colourful, and full of wonderful people intent on creating a great place for locals and visitors alike. Is it perfect? By no means! Every downtown faces unique challenges, and we are no exception. Our job at the DVBA is to preserve what is working while mitigating the challenges facing the region to make downtown Victoria even more vibrant, inclusive, and economically resilient for years to come.
Read this and previous years’ annual reports below: