December, 2014

  1. B-Side Top 10 of 2014

    December 24, 2014 by Nevin Thompson

    The B-Side is our a way for us to highlight the innovation, entrepreneurship, and sheer creativity that all combine to make Victoria such a great place to live, work, and learn new things.

    Links to the B-Side are sent out to thousands of people each week in the This Week in Tectoria newsletter. The B-Side is now a regular weekly feature on The Zone FM, occupying a prime morning drive-in slot!

    Here are our Top 10 B-Side stories from the past year based on your Likes, clicks, and shares. Let us know what you think!

    1. Zombie Bus

    The big, green bus could be mistaken for a military vehicle, and the Zombie Response Unit has acquired quite a Facebook following. The bus even makes an appearance on a survivalist web forum as a “bug out vehicle.”

    Read more.

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    2. The Churchill

    The Churchill, which just opened this past June in the Bedford Hotel next to Garrick’s Head, is the brainchild of Garrick’s Head general Manager Jay Nowak. Fifty new draft lines run down to the basement, where The Churchill’s original namesake, a seedy 1970s dive bar was once located. The basement is now The Churchill’s new taproom.

    Read more.

     

    3. Specific Mechanical

    What not many people know is how one Saanichton-based company supplies brewing equipment to craft breweries not just in Victoria, but all over the world.

    Read more.


    4. Super Mega Baseball

    With its retro name, Super Mega Baseball harkens back to the 1990s golden era of arcade sports titles. It’s meant to be a fun, accessible baseball game that still hefts enough weight so that more experienced players will still be engaged.

    Read more.

    5. Break Out West

    Years of work by local fans and supporters have resulted in another stage in Victoria’s evolution as one of Canada’s hottest emerging music scenes.

    Read more.

    6. Maker Community

    Victoria is part of growing global community of “makers” — people who take a do-it-yourself approach to construction and design projects.

    Read more.

    7. PiCNic Coffee

    In many ways, the team behind Victoria’s PiCNiC Coffee mirrors the tech industry: they’re serial entrepreneurs with a vision who never give up, and they keep a tight focus on delivering what their customers want.

    Read more.

    8. Stand Desk

    Billed as the “most affordable automatic standing desk so far,” Stand Desk launched a Kickstarter campaign and reached its goal of $50,000 in 38 minutes.

    Read more.

    9. Russ Papp

    Anyone who has been too Rifflandia will immediately recognize Russ Papp’s most memorable creation, a wonderful 36-foot gypsy caravan-inspired refrigerated trailer with 32 beer taps called the Phillips Gypsy Wagon.

    Read more.

    10. Launch of Fort Tectoria

    Fort Tectoria, the tech industry’s new space at 777 Fort Street opened on September 11, 2014. It was the highlight of 2014, and we were so happy that so many people in the community have embraced our new space!

    Read more.


  2. Category 12 Turns on the Taps on December 19th

    December 17, 2014 by Nevin Thompson

     

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    Tectoria has added yet another craft brewery to its already impressive roster.

    Category 12 opens on Friday, December 19th, just in time for Christmas. Located just off Keating X Road, Category 12 is the only microbrewery on the Saanich Peninsula.

    Category 12’s addition to Victoria’s beer scene brings the tally of home-grown craft breweries and brew pubs to nearly a dozen and counting.

    Michael and Karen Kuzyk are the founders and operators of Category 12 Brewing. As Category 12’s brewmaster, Michael comes equipped with a PhD in Microbiology and Biochemistry from UVic, and has worked as a lab manager for the BC Cancer Research.

    “I started homebrewing during grad studies first as a necessity, but it quickly became a passion of mine,” says Michael. “I wanted to turn my passion into my full time occupation so I could really explore the creativity of industrial fermentation and, most importantly, share it with others.”

    A Focus on Belgian and Pacific Northwest-Style Beers

    Interestingly, the brewery is just a short distance away from Specific Mechanical, the stainless steel fabricator that provides so many microbreweries all over the world with the equipment.

    Category 12 will focus on Belgian and Pacific Northwest-style beers. These two influences undoubtedly mean maximum hoppiness for local beer connoisseurs, with one of the first brews being offered a black IPA.

    Luckily Category 12 realized that not every beer in this part of the world necessarily needs to be hoppy – the other member of Category 12’s starting lineup is a fruity Saison farmhouse ale, a nod to the mellowers, sunnier beers of southern Belgium that have discarded the hops of their northern Belgian counterparts.

    The Saison and a Pale Ale due to be ready by mid January will become the year round beers for Category 12. They plan to have two other seasonal styles available at all times.

    “We wanted to make it clear that we are here to make creative styles and experiment,” says Michael. “We have to stand out in a competitive market. I think craft beer fans will immediately understand what we are trying to accomplish when they taste our first two beers.”

    BC’s Craft Breweries Doubled Market Share in Four Years

    There seems to be plenty of demand for Category 12’s handcrafted beers – British Columbia’s micobreweries are booming.

    Besides strong local demand for original brews, there is an evolving ecosystem that is supporting home-grown breweries. As reported here earlier this fall, the Churchill, which just opened in June 2014, features fifty new draft lines, and a large number of those lines are pumping out local craft beer.

    Unlike our friends in Ontario who have to put up with the Beer Store, BC is home to an incredibly vibrant beer scene. According to the most current numbers:

    • BC’s craft brewery market share doubled over four years, from 9% of all beer sales in 2009 to 19 per cent at the end of 2013
    • There were at least 10 microbreweries opened in 2013, with at least 21 new breweries due to open in BC by the end of 2014
    • BC is home to 30% Canada’s 200+ craft breweries and brew pubs; 11 are right here in Victoria
    • Craft beer accounts for 20% of the market share for beer in British Columbia
    • Retail sales of craft beer hit $174 million in 2013, up from $84 million in 2009
    • The sales of small “nanobreweries” increased by 37% between June 2013 and June 2014 while the bigger domestic breweries were essentially flat

     

    According to the Liquor Distribution Branch, large breweries’ beer sales declined nearly 4%in 2013, while sales by microbrewers shot up 38% in 2013.

    So there appears that plenty of people are thirsty for Category 12’s handcrafted product.


  3. The Roost Farm Centre

    December 10, 2014 by Nevin Thompson

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    As anyone living on living on the Saanich Peninsula can tell you, the Roost is the place to go if you want to enjoy local food and local wine.

    Thanks to 72 farms, vineyards and cheese makers on the Saanich Peninsula, the Roost can offer a ton of tasty fruits and vegetables, poultry, eggs, seafood, wine, cider and spirits. If there is a signature taste for Victoria, The Roost is where you’ll find it.

    More than just a bakery or cafe, the Roost boasts 10 acres of farmland where they grow many items used to produce the food they serve.

    For example, the Roost grows their own wheat which is milled on-site. This wheat is then used to bake fresh bread and other baked goods.

    There’s an organic blueberry patch, friendly sheep, and, most delightfully, a substantial vineyard. It all adds to an authentic truly local experience.

    In addition to their well-known breakfast and lunch, amazing farm dinners are served during the cold months.

    That is, until the outdoor, wood-fired pizza oven ignites in May, when they begin offering entertainment, local wines (including a wine-based cocktail menu) and food that locals have come to know and love.

    The Roost also produces its own wine. So you can eat a local pizza that is made in part from local wheat while sipping a local wine.

    It sounds like something right out of Tuscany, but it’s not: it’s the Saanich Peninsula, just a short drive from anywhere in Victoria.

    In a nutshell, the Roost is an unmissable Vancouver Island destination for foodies.

    The Roost can be incorporated into a full day of exploring the Saanich Peninsula, itself a cornucopia of tastes and flavours:

    • Oldfield Road is home to small farms and “gate to plate” roadside stands
    • Church & State Wines located on Benvenuto Road, at West Saanich Road
    • Sea Cider family farm and cidery
    • Marley Farm and Winery
    • Deep Cove Market
    • Muse Winery

    As an added bonus, the Roost unleashes a giant chicken for special events, most recently the Christmas parade in Sidney at the end of November.

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    To get to the Roost, drive on Hwy 17 towards Sidney. Make a left on McTavish (being careful to navigate the cloverleaf interchange). The Roost is at the intersection of McTavish and East Saanich Road.


  4. Ryan Roga

    December 4, 2014 by Nevin Thompson

    Many people who pass by the entrance to Fort Tectoria, our new building at 777 Fort Street, stop and do a double-take.

    Why?

    For one thing, in Fort Tectoria’s lobby there is a large foam rocket ship being piloted by a robot. This always grabs the attention of passers-by.

    And, more recently, the lobby has been taken over by a large, trippy Mega Mushroom by the electronic art and creative design dynamo known as Ryan Roga.

    We have talked about freelance artist and designer Russ Papp on the B-Side before (among many other things Russ 36-foot gypsy caravan-inspired refrigerated trailer with 32 beer taps called the Phillips Gypsy Wagon, as well as Tectoria’s very own Space Bus).

    Like Russ Papp, Ryan Roga is another one of those people who combines technology with creativity and entrepreneurialism to help transform Victoria into a true imagination economy.

    Originally from Alberta, Ryan Roga creates cool art installations that are popular at festivals all over western Canada. Most recently Roga’s installations have been seen by thousands of people at Tall Tree in Port Renfrew.

    And for the moment his mushroom is occupying our front lobby. It looks awesome.

    Ryan uses lights and cool little electronics like neopixels to create beautiful and immersive landscape such as De Minimis Spiritus.

    De Minimis Spiritus as an installation was intended to create an immersive lighting experience for the Bass Coast Electronic Music and Art Festival.

    Each element of the installation was hand made from basic components – no store bought elements. Every light and each control circuit was carefully put together by hand. The original work was entirely wireless and operated strictly on battery power.