Female Veterans of Canada

by Jodi Baker on November 10, 2015

Victoria BC is well known for having a largely female population, we recently mentioned that Victoria took the #1 spot nationwide for the title of ‘Best City in Canada for Women‘.

Female Canadian Veterans

While we identify with women living in Victoria, when it comes to Canadian veterans, even in this city, the stereotype is very male when in reality many women have served our country in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Looking back in Canadian Military history it’s notable that the first women to vote in a Canadian federal election, back in 1917, were the “Nursing Sisters” who were also nicknamed ‘bluebirds‘. One of the oldest Canadian taxi companies in Canada, BlueBird Cabs Ltd. (taxicab.com), was founded in Victoria BC in the 1940s and could easily be a nod to women veterans.

Canadian Women in the First World War

The bluebirds served in the First World War (1914-1918) which saw 3,141 women serving as nurses and over 2,500 Canadian women went overseas to support hospitals and medical units. Of these women at least 40 lost their lives while serving their country, most of which died in direct conflict with enemy soldiers during WWI.

The war efforts had a huge impact on women living in Canada due in large part to the shortage of male workers. Women found themselves taking on non-traditional gender biased roles like working in factories, offices, and farms.

World War Two and Canadian Soldiers

While officially limited to non-combat roles there were over 50,000 Canadian women enlisted in military service during the second World War. 4,480 women were part of the Nursing Sisters in WWII with the remainder mostly serving in the Army (21,000) or the Air Force (17,000). It wasn’t until 1942 that the Navy created the WRENS division (Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service) in which over 7,000 women served.
Women Packing Parachutes for WW2Duties for female officers were varied and included many support services that were crucial to the war effort such as packing parachutes, operating radio/wireless terminals, taking photos, working as clerks, and many other miscellaneous roles.

Similar to WWI, the war effort in the Second World War had a notable impact on genders in the domestic workplace. Women found themselves working in many traditionally ‘male’ roles such as science, shipbuilding, munitions, and even forestry.

Female Lumberjills from WWIIWomen working in the forest industry were nicknamed ‘lumberjills‘ and they carried out all the same ‘lumberjack‘ tasks such as falling, skidding, and burling.

The Korean War

Over 5,000 women joined the Canadian Military in the 3 years from 1950-1953 during which Korea was at war. Although this war was gruesome, with outbreaks of infectious disease, there were no female casualties reported.

In this war the Nursing Sisters played a key role as attendants for air evacuation and providing initial health/mental care to freshly released Canadian POWs.

Modern Wars

Over time Canadian military leaders have recognized the value of women in the military and by the 1970s most branches of military were moving towards equal opportunities for both genders.

Still it wasn’t until the year 2000 that the Canadian Navy officially allowed women to serve in submarines, a role that would have historically been a serious concern for someone of the opposite sex.

Nichola GoddardIn fact the first female Canadian soldier to be killed in combat duty was Captain Nichola Goddard on May 17th 2006 while fighting in Afghanistan.

By 2011 female soldiers represented over 15% of the personnel in the Canadian Armed Forces! The ratio of female to male soldiers continues to become more neutral as opinions change and gender biases are forgotten.

Behind Every Great Soldier..

Even the women who didn’t serve in the wars still played a crucial part by volunteering to make warm clothing such as socks and gloves, that were then sent overseas to soldiers fighting on the front lines.

Male veterans might understand the role that women played during wartime but as a member of the general public I think we could easily do more to recognize the contributions of Canadian Female Veterans.

Female Soldier on Remembrance DayTomorrow the city of Victoria will be gathering in memory of those that have fallen and served in defense of our country. I know that I will be keeping an eye out for female officers but I will no longer be greeting them with a look of surprise/curiosity, I will smile with respect as I now fully understand the contributions they have made to the defence of our country, freedoms, gender equality, and our history.


Moving from Calgary to Victoria BC

by Geoff McLean on September 28, 2015

The Gas Prices are Nice But…

Heck even the gas prices in Calgary are getting a second glance with an 11c per litre price jump on Monday the 28th that’s officially ruining the local optimism that comes with a sub $1/litre gas.

Price Trends for Calgary

Calgary Gas Prices Provided by GasBuddy.com


Calgary isn’t a frustrating/complex city, unless you’re try to use the regional transit, at which point even the Vancouver Skytrain system comes off as impressive compared to the frequently-aweful CTrain lines. What Victoria lacks in light rail transport(a system we’ve yet to find reason to throw regional tax dollars at), we make up for with bike trails, cycling lanes, and some of the best bus transit in Canada.

A person living in Victoria can easily forgo ownership of a vehicle and should the need arise to have regular access to a vehicle there are multiple car share programs guaranteeing a solution that suits every need.

Calgary Housing Costs

It seems like a low blow to start with the high cost of realty in and around Calgary, but it’s a fair point to make since there’s obviously a huge disconnect between actual property values and the current market rates in many Alberta cities.

In BC we still feel the influences of strong foreign markets, and we’re currently looking at a 2.9% rate of appreciation for Greater Victoria. In contrast however, the majority of the largest issues are actually sandbagged by Vancouver, leaving Victoria sheltered from the issues surrounding foreign housing investment.

Snowfall Warnings in August

Snow can be beautiful! You won’t find many Canadians that disagree about seasonal snowfall making everything look nice, and it can be a really welcome sight for some, especially if you operate a snow plow business or sell mittens for a living. For the rest of us though, snow warnings in August are just a bit too early!

Goldstream Park
Over on Vancouver Island we’re still getting in some last minute camping in August and many of the Vancouver Island campsites run from March 15th right up to October 30th.

Sure Victoria is at the tip of a coastal rainforest, and we do get a lot of precipitation, but I’d rather turn on my wipers/wear a rain jacket vs. scrape windows/bundle up for snow! Similarly, in the summer months the coast is incredible with cool ocean breezes that spare us from the dry heat of Calgary’s hot dusty summers.

The Flowers Love Victoria

All that great weather means that Victoria is an incredibly beautiful city to live in with locals constantly putting on displays and events. The Butchart Gardens is a must see collection of exotic flora and gorgeous living arrangements and it’s nestled right in between some world class wineries that are well worth stopping to tour/taste.

Butchart Gardens
One of the frequent reactions of people moving to Victoria from Calgary is that the city is so much cleaner, brighter, and beautiful to look at, especially our inner harbor and waterfront properties. As a Victoria resident I am constantly amazed by the sights, sounds, and smells of living on Vancouver Island and in the heart of such a beautiful and historic city.

Taste the Difference in Victoria

Each year Calgary gets better at providing diverse options for dining and some of the city’s best restaurants tout well deserved 4+ star ratings. That said, the diversity and cost of dining in Victoria tends to shock and amaze our guests. In this city you can expect to dine well for fair prices with enough diversity to constantly be trying something new.

It’s not just seafood! Sure, we’re right on the ocean, we’ve got many restaurants with authentic Asian food at great prices, and we do have local fisheries that serve fresh seafood, but Victoria is more than incredible salmon burgers, stir-fry, and sushi! We have 9 ‘steakhouse’ restaurants in the downtown core alone, all with 4+ star ratings. There are 5 different restaurants exclusively devoted to great hamburgers (we’re talking about real hamburger restaurants, not fast food) within walking distance of the downtown core. There’s even 3 restaurants devoted to waffles/pancakes in the downtown core just to ensure that we’ve got all our edible desires in check.

If you like fast food, we’ve got all the boxes checked and then some. Our city is full of great pizza & pasta options for those seeking delivery or take-out. We even have multiple competing in-city delivery services that will turn almost any local restaurant menu into a delivery option for a small fee.

Victoria has all sorts of local produce (organic too!) that is readily available at very fair prices. It’s honestly very common to dine in Victoria and be served local meat/vegetables/herbs, all of which cooked/presented with professional skill and local pride.

Life’s a Beach

I don’t want to throw sand in your eyes, and I won’t because we don’t have much in the way of sandy beaches, but we do have a ton of incredible waterfront parks and entertainment to explore in Victoria. If you really want sand there’s 8 really popular beaches to visit around Victoria and not all of them are salt water, Elk Lake and Thetis Lake both feature multiple sandy freshwater beaches.
Kayaking in Victoria BC
Sure Calgary has some nice lakes, and a few have sandy beaches, but you’re not going to see an Orca whale breaching, you won’t find any sea shells, and if you spot any lions they probably won’t be the sea going kind! Taking a stroll along Victoria’s waterfront is almost a guarantee of spotting something interesting and it’s just one of many ‘free’ things to do on the island.

Go for a Ride

Sure we don’t use snowmobiles that much but there’s lots of interesting ways to get around Victoria that could be a draw for moving all alone. While Whistler has the longest ziplines in Canada, our WildPlay parks on Vancouver Island feature some memorable zipline rides and trails.

Vancouver Island is packed with mountain bike trails and courses that take full advantage of the steep rocky features of our local island landscape. The same areas are also popular for hiking and climbing enthusiasts.

When you live on an island there is no shortage of water activities. You can rent a stand up paddleboard/kayak and go for a fun paddle in multiple locations in Victoria. There’s water taxis/harbor ferries as well as whale watching and other services to ensure you have endless options for recreation and fun.

Why Wait?

Winter is coming… Why spend another cold season in the snow when you could be living in Victoria where the flowers grow?

If you’ve been considering coming out of the cold this is a great time to plan a move to Victoria and the real estate experts at Geoff McLean & Associates have both the experience and the local knowledge to ensure you get the best deals with the least amount of hassle. Right now their current list of properties for sale in Victoria has a great range of options from smaller suites and condominiums all the way to large waterfront properties.

I’m sure that once you start looking you’ll see that Victoria lives up to it’s reputation as one of the best cities in Canada, and the world, to live and work.


Moving from Vancouver to Victoria BC

by Geoff McLean September 4, 2015

Vancouver is a Wonderful City … But! Please don’t get the wrong idea! Vancouver wins plenty of awards and earns more than it’s fair share of international acclaim for doing many things well including hosting events like the Olympics/International Expos/World Cup/etc.. Heck, in most areas where Victoria is #1 in Canada/Internationally Vancouver is usually close […]

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Economic Analysis of BC – August 2015

by Geoff McLean September 3, 2015

Our friends over at Central1 Credit Union have posted an updated Economic Analysis of British Columbia report for August 2015. The full report is available in PDF format for easy printing/review: Economic Analysis of British Columbia – Volume 35 • Issue 4 • August 2015 | ISSN: 0834-3980 With economic forecasts that run until 2017 […]

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Victoria: Best City in Canada for Women

by Jodi Baker July 16, 2015

Canada is often regarded as one of the best countries in the world for outstanding natural beauty, quality of living, career opportunities, and many more reasons. This week, on the 16th on July, Kate McInturff, a senior researcher at the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) published an extensive report comparing the top Canadian cities […]

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Early Summer Events in Victoria for 2015

by Jodi Baker June 9, 2015

Living in Victoria can be very distracting during the summer months because there’s just so much going on. Even when the weather is wet we tend to find plenty of activities or just ignore it with some rain gear. Early Summer Events June 17-21: Historical Timeline at Fort Rodd HillBring the kids and take a […]

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Exploring Cordova Bay in 2015

by Geoff McLean May 7, 2015

A few years ago (time flies!) we put out a nice little post on the East Saanich Neighborhood of Cordova Bay. This is a historic community with a lot of retirement activities that neither needs major changes nor seeks to reinvent itself. It’s a very close knit residential community that is flush with groups and […]

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Entertaining the Elderly in Victoria BC

by Jodi Baker March 18, 2015

Victoria BC is an incredible city with a wealth of culture and history that isn’t easily matched or beaten. Not content with being named after our Queen, we’re the capital city of our province and home to BC’s legislature. The downtown core is rich with Victorian buildings and architecture. Several days could be spent just […]

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Victoria Neighbourhoods – Rockland

by Jodi Baker February 24, 2015

If you follow Rockland Ave., you will find the beautiful and historic 1800s neighborhood of Rockland centered around Craigdarroch Castle and Government House. The elegant neighborhood of Rockland lives up to it’s name and then some. As the streets become more narrow, you will notice that the sidewalks are bordered by hand-placed stonework and rock […]

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Spring Events in Victoria BC

by Geoff McLean February 13, 2015

Spring Events in Victoria BC One of the highlights of living on Vancouver Island and having access to Victoria, the capital city of our great province, is the many events that are put on by local community organizers and businesses. Have a look at just a few of the most interesting events in and around […]

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