Dave Obee, Editor in Chief of the Victoria Times Colonist, kicked off our new speaker series Victoria: a Capital for the Next Generation.


Chris Causton introduced Dave Obee. Chris observed that Dave was giving us a test to see if we could work under pressure by arriving with a presentation but no computer. Fortunately Lisa was able to call out for help and some members came up with a suitable computer for Dave to use this morning. Chris had noticed that the letters to the editor of the Times Colonist were numerous, varied and thoughtful which is a sign of an excellent newspaper which engages it's readers.


Dave took the title of our speaker series as the title of his talk this morning. In the last generation most young people had to leave our community to find work. Older people have the experience and Dave feels that age should not be a barrier.


This year he has launched Capital Magazine, writing about issues in Greater Victoria. We are a large diverse community. The quality of life drives many businesses and causes people to want to stay here and find a way to make their living in the area. Increasingly there is a trend towards looking at a balance sheet that is not just dollars and cents. “We all want to change the world.” (The Beatles, The White Album)


Many public gatherings in the city begin by recognizing that we are on the land of the Coast Salish people and Straits Salish people. The customs and history of these First Nations shape the culture of the city. The improvements recently made to the breakwater at Ogden Point reflect this in the murals. The safety railings have made the breakwater more accessible for many people , reinforcing the value of inclusivity.


Dave went on to highlight many young entrepreneurs who are finding creative new business ideas. Viking Air is building airplanes in North Saanich and selling them worldwide. Seaspan provides employment in the shipbuilding industry. The cruise ship industry brings many visitors but doesn't give them a very accurate impression of our region. The organizers of Rifflandia bring in artists and fans every year. The young owner of the Tapas Lounge provides a unique environment for local arts. The arena and Graham Lee with the Royals add to the quality of life in the area. Hotel Zed on Douglas illustrates a new concept for a tired old hotel. The Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry is the brainchild of a former school district administrator. Makehouse is a business where people can learn sewing and handicrafts.


All of the above businesses are attracting people and keeping people in our capital but not all of the innovative businesses are run by the younger citizens. Tony's Trailers is run by an 80 year old man who recycles bikes and builds bike trailers. Rev. Ian Powell is the general manager of The Inn at Laurel Point, which is owned by a community trust. and is also a part-time Anglican priest. The Victoria Harbour Ferries captains are investing knowledge and experience in our community and are great ambassadors. Victoria is not just a capital for the next generation. We couldn't attract people without the creative and innovative older people building community.


Some additional points that came up in the lively Q&A session:

Capital Magazine is on-line.

Newspaper subscriptions are down but readership is up. People are reading in coffee shops and on-line. There are about 3.6 million hits per month on the TC web-site.

Rick Lemon thanked Mr. Obee and presented him with a gift of 3 antimalarial bed nets in Ghana donated in his name.