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News from Victoria, April 2012 issue

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Tourism Victoria’s Monthly Media Newsletter                             April 2012

In this issue:

*Harnessing Your Energy in a World-First
*150 Years Packaged
*A Tweedy Affair
*Summer Theatre with Blue Bridge
* Bring Out Your Inner Scotsman
*Take a “Big Ride” Around Victoria This Summer

Harnessing Your Energy in a World-First
In Victoria, B.C., members and guests of the Victoria Athletic Club at the Hotel Grand Pacific now have the opportunity to harness their workout energy output to create electricity in a clean, green way. Using a pod of ten SportsArt “Green System” machines, specially designed energy saving treadmills and elliptical trainers, gym users’ energy is converted at a rate of 75 per cent and then transferred back to a grid to help power the athletic club, thus saving the facility approximately $3,000 in electricity costs per year. While this technology is not new, the partnership between SportsArt and local Victoria-based company EcoFit is. Together they have created a world’s first, as these machines not only send electricity back to the grid simply by using them, but they also allow users to see on a television screen how much power they are producing in real time. Furthermore to help encourage both fitness and environmental goals, once their work out is complete, users will receive an email detailing the stats of their workout. At the Victoria Athletic Club, no hard work goes unnoticed as fitness fanatics are acknowledged for their sweat by a rewards-based program started by EcoFit. Members and guests are given an EcoFit card upon registration which tracks their current and future energy production and fitness statistics, earning them EcoPoints they can redeem for discounts and offers within the hotel and at other local businesses. Having started in Victoria, this initiative is bound to succeed in eco-friendly markets around the world, as finding motivation to hop on that elliptical has never been so easy! For more information visit


150 Years Packaged
The City of Victoria is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2012. The town site of Fort Victoria was incorporated as the City of Victoria on August 2, 1862 and in celebration a variety of events will be taking place over the course of the year. Fifty-seven 150th-themed arts, cultural and community-based projects are planned and take place from March to November. These projects include: Cycling Through Time Victoria from June 1 to June 23, a look back at bicycles and cycling in Victoria’s past, and several themed Chinatown Night Markets, taking place on the third Wednesday of the month from May to September. Special hotel packages for the 150th will also be available, including specials at The Fairmont Empress with rates starting at $150 CDN. The Inn at Laurel Point is offering a stay in a Laurel Wing room at $150 CDN and a $40 CDN food credit as a bonus if you book by April 30. And should you wish for a more intimate stay, Humboldt House B&B is also offering a 150th package which includes two tickets to Butchart Gardens, two tickets to Craigdarroch Castle, two tickets to the Royal BC Museum and chocolate truffles and sparkling wine awaiting you on your arrival. This package can be added to any two night stay for $150 CDN. For more information visit,, and

A Tweedy Affair
On May 12, 2012, grab your chapeau and hop on a bike in Victoria, B.C. for a smashing good time at this year’s Tweed Ride Victoria. Occurring in countries around the world, including Tokyo and Finland, Tweed Rides started in London in the fall of 2009 and feature cyclists riding through city streets wearing classic tweed and other smart looking outfits. Victoria’s version will accept 350 riders and is a fundraiser for Bicycles for Humanity Victoria, a non-profit group that sends bicycles to those in need in Africa. This slower-paced cosmopolitan ride begins at 12:00 p.m. on the front lawn of The Fairmont Empress Hotel and includes judging stations along the way for prizes such as Best Men’s & Ladies Tweed and Tweediest Child, given out once the ride is complete. No Tweed Ride is complete without traditional Afternoon Tea, so riders are invited to bring their tweediest cup and saucer as the ride stops halfway for tea time. Be prepared for anything as this ride goes rain or shine. Whether you want to participate or just watch from the sidelines, this leisurely cycle is bound to be one classy affair. For more information visit

Summer Theatre with Blue Bridge
Back for its fourth season in 2012, Victoria, B.C.’s Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre Company celebrates summer with plays from the United Kingdom and the United States. The season begins on May 15, 2012, with Willy Russell’s British Classic, Shirley Valentine . The play is a wildly funny one-woman tour-de-force about a Liverpool housewife who wins a trip to Greece. This is followed by another British Classic, Arms & the Man running June 5 to 17. John Steinbeck’s American classic Of Mice and Men follows next from July 3 to 15, 2012.  The season concludes with Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s Little Shop of Horrors , a smash-hit rock ‘n’ roll musical about a blood thirsty plant. Housed out of the beautifully restored MacPherson Theatre in downtown Victoria, the 2012 Blue Bridge Season promises visitors a season of wit, outrageous comedy, and rockin’ tunes all under one roof. Single tickets begin at $24.50 CDN. The Blue Bridge Theatre Company also offers special promotions such as B&B package deals and Tea Matinees, where the matinee audience receives a complimentary cup of tea and biscuits from beloved Victoria establishments Silk Road Tea Company and The Dutch Bakery and Coffee Shop. For more information visit

Bring Out Your Inner Scotsman

Victoria, B.C.’s 149th Highland Games and Celtic Festival is a fun-filled weekend event for the whole family. From May 19 to 20, 2012, visitors are invited to experience all things Celtic, as Celtic music, dance, sports and culture entertain the crowds. The two-day event will feature competitions in highland dancing, pipe bands, kilted mile athletics, tug of war, sheep dog herding, haggis hurling and heavy events. This year’s heavy events competition, a crowd favourite, features the top Canadian athletes battling for the title of the 2012 CSAF Canadian Heavy Event Champion through events such as the caber toss, hammer throw, weight over bar and stone put. The traditional massed pipe band opening ceremonies, complete with a cannon and muskets display, take place on the second day of the event held at Topaz Park, located just minutes from downtown Victoria. The Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival is the perfect place to bring out your inner Scotsman. Advance tickets are $12 CDN for adults, $10 CDN for seniors and youth. Children 12 and under are free, with special advance ticket pricing available. For more information visit


Take a “Big Ride” Around Victoria This Summer

On June 23, 2012, cycling fanatics will flock to Victoria, B.C. to push their physical limits with the third annual Victoria Gran Fondo©. Meaning “the big ride” or “the big endurance”, a Gran Fondo is a ride a great depth and endurance and this year’s Victoria edition is just that featuring a 268 kilometre full-day ride around Southern Vancouver Island. Following the Pacific Marine Circle Route, riders will begin in Victoria and pass through the communities of Sooke, Jordan River, Port Renfrew, Lake Cowichan and Duncan before returning to B.C.’s capital. The ride is limited to 85 participants, costs $300 CND to enter and will feature support stations with food and nutritional supplements along the way. Visitors are welcome to cheer on these exceptional cyclists from various spots on the route. If the Gran Fondo is too intense for your tastes, the ride is part of the larger Victoria International Cycling Festival, with many other cycling events taking place throughout the Capital from June 1 to June 24. Highlights include Jumpship, June 22 to 24, with some of the world’s best freeride mountain bikers showing off their big air tricks on the surface of a floating barge! The crowd favourite Bastion Square Criterium will also be back featuring a closed 900 metre loop circuit on city streets around historic Bastion Square in downtown Victoria. The festival concludes with Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria on June 24. Offering a choice of a 50km, 100km or 140km distance, this ride was designed by Ryder based on some of his favourite training routes during his preparation for the Tour de France. Whether you wish to participate in the activities or watch from the sidelines, Victoria is the place to be this June for those who love to ride. For more information visit or


For more information

please contact:

Cathy Ray

Manager, Travel Media Relations

(United States)

Phone: 250-414-6985

Holly Lenk

Manager, Travel Media Relations

(Canada & Overseas)

Phone: 250-414-6974

Tessa Humphries

Coordinator, Travel Media Relations

Phone: 250-414-7390

Coming up for us….
Holly Lenk will be in Fredericton, NB from May 2 to 5 attending the 2012 TMAC Conference and AGM.
Holly Lenk will be in Whitehorse, YT from May 27 to 31 attending GoMedia Canada.


Top 5…

Places to See Spring Flowers

Abkhazi Gardens

The Butchart Gardens

The Gardens at HCP

Government House

Hatley Park National Historic Site


Did you know….

Aside from BC Ferries, Harbour Air, Victoria Clipper, the M.V. Coho and Kenmore Air who regularly service the Victoria area, you can also fly directly into the Victoria International Airport (YYJ) from a number of Canadian and American cities?
Non-stop direct flight are available from Vancouver, Seattle, Calgary, Toronto, San Francisco year-round.  Seasonal non-stop flights available from Honolulu, Las Vegas and Arizona.
Happy Travels!


Other services:
Visit the website
Access our media gallery
Read Tourism Victoria’s “Going Local” blog




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