The Provincial Capital Commission is welcoming a new Minister Responsible. In taking over as Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, the Hon. Coralee Oakes will also assume responsibility for the PCC.
Born and raised in the northern Cariboo area, the newly-elected MLA from Quesnel has a background in small business, tourism and municipal politics. She was a two-term councillor with the City of Quesnel and served on numerous committees handling environmental concerns, policing and emergency services.
Over the years, Oakes also served as a director on the Small Business Roundtable (2007-2012), Junior Achievement BC, the Minister’s Council on Tourism, the Cariboo Chilcotin Tourism Association, the BC Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Exeutives. She also served as Chair of the Visitor Centre Task Force and as President of the BC Chamber Executives.
Highly involved within her community, she has been part of many groups and associations serving educational, tourism, employment and multicultural needs.
David Everett, Chair of the Provincial Capital Commission, welcomes the new minister and said he looks forward to working with her.
For most, it was their first peek inside this Victoria landmark building in more than 40 years.
An estimated 3,000 people enjoyed their first visit to the Robert Bateman Centre and Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s open house over the May 25-26 weekend, officially marking the re-opening of the historic Steamship Terminal building.
Owned by the Provincial Capital Commission, the neo-classical building with its impressive ionic columns recently underwent a significant seismic upgrade and rehabilitation. In addition to the PCC’s $500,000 contribution, the $5 million project received $1.5 million from the Government of Canada’s Infrastructure Stimulus Fund and $3 million from the Province of British Columbia.
Following an extensive public process, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and the PCC signed a head lease agreement in April of last year. Since then, GVHA secured two key tenants for the building: the Robert Bateman Centre, which celebrated its grand opening May 25; and the Steamship Grill and Taphouse, slated to open later in 2013.
At its spring open house May 25, GVHA unveiled its interior restoration work in the former main lobby of this historic building, including the creation of newly defined space and restoration of important heritage design aspects.
“GVHA put forth a great deal of energy and effort to breathe new life into the Steamship Terminal building, a pillar of Victoria's marine history,” said GVHA President and CEO Curtis Grad. The harbour authority has invested more than $1.45 million into work on the building, out of a more than $2 million projected to bring the terminal to total readiness, he noted.
"The appeal of the building is a feeling of comfortable elegance,” Grad said. “Both the Robert Bateman Centre and the Steamship Grill and Taphouse will add to the experience of the building that offers an inspiring space not just to tourists and visitors, but to locals as well."
“The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has done a first class job of completing interior fixturing of the building,” said Rick Crosby, CEO for the Provincial Capital Commission. “In particular, we are extremely pleased with the heritage restoration work GVHA completed on the main level, bringing this building back to its former glory.”
Noting that access to the building was largely restricted for more than four decades to accommodate a privately-owned tourist attraction and administrative offices, Crosby says the commission’s choice of GVHA’s proposal more than a year ago will ensure a degree of ongoing public accessibility . “It is very rewarding to see people interested and engaged in both the restoration process and the building’s history.”
Tenant improvements to the main level restaurant area are slated to begin shortly and will include the GVHA addition of a 2,000-square-foot outdoor deck overlooking the Inner Harbour, designed to be sensitive to City of Victoria heritage guidelines.
The new Robert Bateman Centre on the building’s upper two levels features a dozen themed galleries showcasing the renowned artist’s work. “The opening was an overwhelming success,” says Aimée Ippersiel, marketing and communications manager for the centre. “We are so pleased that Victorians came out in support.”
In addition to office space for the Bateman Foundation on the top floor, an interactive educational centre is being developed to provide programming that promotes positive human interaction with nature and the environment.
A new gift shop called Thinking Like a Mountain, currently under construction at street level, will soon offer a collection of original giftware crafted by local artists and chosen by Bateman and his wife.
The Hands of Time series by BC artist Crystal Przybille is the City of Victoria’s latest installment of public art for the Capital. Twelve bronze sculptures depicting life-size hands engaged in activities symbolic of Victoria’s past were unveiled this week. They have been installed at strategic sites throughout the Inner Harbour and old town areas, including one statue of hands tying a rope to a mooring ring on the Provincial Capital Commission’s property at Enterprise Wharf.
Other sculptures depict hands carving a canoe paddle, holding a railway spike, performing with a fan, carrying point blankets, carrying books, holding binoculars, panning for gold, raising a tea cup, holding a mirror, cupping dogwood blossoms and digging camas bulbs.
Born in Vernon and currently residing in Kelowna, Przybille was chosen from 80 artists after a nation-wide competition as part of the city’s 150th anniversary of incorporation.
PCC Board members joined students from Surrey’s Star of the Sea school during their tour of the Parliament Buildings. The group is one of more than 140 youth groups travelling to Victoria this spring under the Provincial Capital Commission’s Capital for Kids funding program.
Pictured: PCC Board Chair David Everett and Director Birgit Bennett in lower rotunda, learning about the BC Coat of Arms and the canoe carved by former Lieutenant Governor Steven Point; Directors Diana Skoglund and Linda Annis learn fun facts about the Legislative Assembly Room.
Musicians, filmmakers, photographers and chefs from across the province are invited to apply to take part in BC Day celebrations in the Capital this August.
The Provincial Capital Commission’s Celebrate BC Day event on Monday, Aug. 5 will welcome an anticipated 10,000 spectators for a day of free, family-friendly entertainment and activities at the picturesque St. Ann’s Academy National Historic Site on Belleville Street in Victoria. Festivities will feature the finest from the province’s talented creators and artists, collected through a province-wide public submission process.
Applications from residents of all BC communities will be accepted in four areas of music, food, film, and photography, with an aim to provide a cross-regional representation of the arts and cultural sectors of British Columbia.
“The Provincial Capital Commission has been involved with BC Day celebrations since 2008 and we are looking forward to having a truly BC-wide participation at this summer’s event,” said PCC CEO Rick Crosby. “It is a way to both celebrate our great province and to showcase the many talented musicians and artisans who contribute to BC’s diverse and vibrant communities.”
Submissions are currently being accepted on the Celebrate BC website (www.celebratebcday.com) prior to June 15, 2013.
“Our mandate is to connect and celebrate the Capital with British Columbians and partnering with others to host events like this aligns very well with our goals and objectives,” Crosby said.
Coast Capital Savings is again supporting the Victoria BC Day event as a major sponsor and its Community Youth Team will be onsite with activities to keep the kids entertained.
A field trip to BC’s Capital in May brought classroom learning to life for 18 students from Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries Secondary School.
“The trip was a great fit with the curriculum we have been studying,” says teacher Fiona Martin. Prior to travelling to Victoria, the Grade 11 class had been delving into government and the consequences of war. To drive the learning points home, the trip itinerary included tours of the Parliament Buildings, Government House and CFB Esquimalt naval base.
Another highlight for the group included a workshop at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre and a visit to the Vancouver Marine Museum.
Students also enjoyed visiting the Royal BC Museum to learn more about the province’s early fur trade and the history of Aboriginal people from pre-European contact through to present-day movement towards self-government.
Amid security preparations for the arrival of the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, to Government House, the students toured the official residence of BC’s Lieutenant Governor and the ceremonial home of all British Columbians taking in both the history of the building and the role of the Queen’s representative as well as the splendor of the architecture and décor.
For many of the students, this was their first trip to Victoria and they were enthralled with old town’s architecture and the picturesque Inner Harbor causeway flanked by yachts, fishing boats, the Empress Hotel and the majestic Parliament Buildings – the seat of government for the province.
Climbing the wide granite staircase beneath the copper-topped domes of the provincial legislative buildings, the students were awed by the architectural details inside. Towering marble columns, gilt plasterwork, stained glass windows, colorful mosaics and the circular rotunda reaching high into the dome above captivated the group.
But it was seeing slices of BC’s history first hand at the provincial museum and walking the halls of the Legislature that resonated strongest with the students.
“It’s a privilege to be here,” said 16-year-old Craig Pilla. “It’s important to learn the province’s history and there is so much history here in Victoria. It’s a beautiful Capital and a strong backbone for BC.”
A trip highlight for Craig was talking to a child survivor of the Holocaust. “It was really insightful and I learned how much it changed people’s lives.” Becoming involved in the democratic process and helping reshape the world for the better were also lessons learned during the visit. “It’s important that people have a say.”
Classmate Patrick Zubick agrees. Touring the Parliament Buildings reaffirmed his belief that people need to be informed and involved. “I’ve always been a strong proponent of democracy and in the importance of voting or don’t complain.”
Museums and discovering relevance in history and heritage topped student Israel Millar’s list of trip successes, along with personalizing government and the political process. “I am lucky to be here,” she said from the steps of the Legislature. “I feel more connected to the capital, I know more about the province and I am more likely to vote.
“This trip made it personal for me,” she said. “It reinforced the concept that if I was concerned about some issue, I could contact the elected representatives and help make changes.”
That’s music to her teacher’s ears. Martin is keen on democratic engagement. In fact, she heard about the Provincial Capital Commission’s Capital for Kids travel funding program while attending an intensive four-day workshop in Victoria with the BC Teachers’ Institute on Parliamentary Democracy.
The PCC’s funding assistance allowed her to share her passion with her students. “A trip to Victoria is not feasible for us without the Capital for Kids funding,” she said. Experiencing the Capital first hand is education at its finest, she noted. “Students get to see the real-life workings of a Capital as well as learn about the history of the province.
“They can read about it all they want, but seeing it in person brings it home. Everything we’ve been studying was there. It’s a valuable piece to their education.”
The Provincial Capital Commission’s St. Ann’s Academy went green April 19-21 as an estimated 6,000 people turned out to take part in Earth Day celebrations organized by Creatively United for the Planet.
Colorful tents dotted the academy grounds which housed 100 displays of earth-friendly information, products and services. Habitat protection organizations and agencies promoting better resource management and sustainability were on hand with educational material and interactive fun. Kids of all ages enjoyed making crafts and getting close to snakes, turtles and birds of prey or fishing for tidepool treasures.
Adding to the festive atmosphere, numerous bands and musicians took the stage offering a variety of genres including folk, celtic, jazz and popular protest songs from the 1960s.
Attendance was bolstered Saturday afternoon with the arrival of several hundred people, drums beating and flags flying, taking part in Earth Walk which started at Victoria’s Centennial Square and ended at St. Ann’s National Historic Site.
Special ticketed events were featured in the academy’s auditorium and historic chapel including talks from artist/conservationist Robert Bateman and bear expert Charlie Russell as well as several documentary films and roundtable discussions.
Keeping up with technological trends, the Provincial Capital Commission’s website has been made mobile friendly.
Mobile users are accounting for a higher percentage of new visits so they can now visit our website that is responsive to all types of devices.
The Provincial Capital Commission’s headquarters building in Victoria is one of three properties to be turned over to the Songhees First Nations as part of an Incremental Treaty Agreement announced Feb. 26.
Ownership of the PCC’s 5,000 square foot, two-storey building at 613 Pandora Avenue will be transferred to a Songhees-owned company sometime within the next two years. A government-owned parking lot in James Bay and an Esquimalt property currently housing a liquor distribution store were also part of the agreement announced last week by the Hon. Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.
Constructed in 1906, the PCC office building is on Victoria’s Registry of Historic Buildings. Originally built as a retail storefront and warehouse for the Rosebank Lime and Building Materials Company, it is considered a typical example of commercial architecture of the period with a pillared façade and graceful windows.
In 1954 the building was renovated to house the offices of 14 labor unions. From 1969 to 1990 it was home to the Victoria City Archives.
Since the PCC acquired the building in 1990, it has undergone seismic upgrading and currently accommodates numerous offices and a boardroom for the commission’s corporate headquarters.
Although the PCC loses an asset, the Pandora building is not vital to the commission’s business or self—sustaining model, says PCC CEOO Rick Crosby. “It is considered to be one of our non-core properties.”
As an agency of government, he noted, the Provincial Capital Commission and its Board of Directors support the government’s strategic objectives regarding treaty negotiations.
The Pandora holdings will be turned over to the Songhees after an Agreement in Principle is signed during Stage 4 of the treaty negotiation status expected to take place within the next year or two.
That gives the PCC ample time to investigate several alternatives regarding the future location of its head office, Crosby says. “We fully expect that all options and costs involved will be managed within our Service Plan goals and objectives.”
The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority announced today it has secured a new tenant for the main (second) floor of the PCC—owned historic Steamship Terminal overlooking Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
Romer’s Waterfront Tap Room, owned by Vancouver—based Extra Mile Hospitality Group, will begin renovating their space in coming weeks with a target opening of mid—summer 2013.
A 17-year-old Penticton resident has been awarded the Capital Award for exceptional leadership and citizenship during last week’s Francophone Youth Parliament held in Victoria.
Genevieve Bonin-Nadeau was presented with the Provincial Capital Commission’s award Saturday evening. Members of this year’s Cabinet chose the Grade 12 Penticton Secondary School student noting she proved a “shining” example of responsibility during the parliamentary session as well as in her home community.
“She took her role as lobbyist very seriously and spent time to help newcomers understand what the parliament is all about,” organizers noted.
Genevieve has been involved with activities organized by the Conseil Jeunesse Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (CJFCB) for five years. The annual parliamentary session is “amazing,” she says.
“You always hear that youth are not well represented when it comes to voting,” she explained. “So to see the 130 kids attending youth parliament interested and involved in the political system and who can’t wait to vote is very cool.”
This is the first year the Provincial Capital Commission and the CJFCB have presented the special award. “We want to recognize youth that demonstrate exceptional leadership and who motivate and inspire people around them, in particular to take an active role in the democratic process,” says PCC Acting CEO Rick Crosby.
This year’s Francophone Youth Parliament Cabinet chose Genevieve as a participant showing a high standard of integrity and demonstrating enthusiasm to share her experience and knowledge with others.
More than 80 young British Columbians will take over the Legislature Jan. 10 to 13, participating in the Parlement jeunesse francophone de la Colombie-Britannique or French Youth Parliament.
The annual parliamentary session is organized by the Conseil Jeunesse francophone de la Colombie Britannique, a non—profit youth—run organization that also hosts a variety of sports and cultural events, educational trips and training programs.
Like the Anglophone BC Youth Parliament held two weeks earlier, the en francais version also teaches youth how our government works as well as provides opportunities for skill development in leadership, public speaking and debating.
About 95 youth from across the province will meet in the Legislative Buildings over the Christmas break, taking part in the traditional BC Youth Parliament.
The 16 to 21—year—olds will debate a variety of topics and learn about the democratic process. “BCYP is education and community service in action,” says Sarah O’Connor, premier for the upcoming session. “It’s about young people who want to learn more about our system of government, make life-long friends, and take part in projects that benefit our province’s youth.”
The Provincial Capital Commission is a proud supporter of both BC Youth Parliament and the Francophone Youth Parliament.