All About Employment in Victoria, BC

Five ‘outside of the box’ ideas for getting to know Victoria from afar

If you’re not currently living in Victoria (which has the airport code YYJ – hence the name of this website YYJWorks) how can you get a feel for the city from afar? This is particularly important if you don’t have a job lined up since you want to be able to ‘hit the ground running’ when you get here in terms of where you might like to live (based on transit, prices, services and distance from potential employers) and other foundational tasks like furnishing your home and choosing schools for your kids. Here are five ideas for how you might get a more nuanced and realistic view of Victoria from wherever in the world you happen to be.

Media Sources
Victoria is blessed with several high quality publications available in print around town for free (or you can pay to receive a single issue/subscription). Many can also be read online and those on the issuu platform (all except FOCUS magazine and the Times Colonist newspaper) can be searched when you are logged in as a guest and manipulated in other ways when you create an account (which is free). Here is a list of publications (free to read online unless indicated otherwise) that you might want to check out:

  • Y.A.M. – Victoria’s Home and Lifestyle Magazine
  • Tweed – Oak Bay’s (a tony municipality in Victoria) very own magazine
  • Boulevard – “Boulevard Magazine is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Vancouver Island by focusing on the Arts, People, Trends, Food, Architecture and Design”
  • Douglas Magazine – “the South Island’s premier business media brand, inspiring readers with our in-depth, 100% local coverage of business, technology, leadership, and lifestyle”
  • EAT Magazine – “EAT was founded in 1998 to celebrate the food and wine of British Columbia”
  • Victoria News – local news from Black Press, also check out Oak Bay News and Saanich News
  • FOCUS Magazine – “Victoria’s magazine of people, ideas and culture”
  • Times-Colonist newspaper – free three week trial, $9.99/month after –

Another resource that shouldn’t be overlooked is newsletters – almost every organization has them now. So get in the habit of whenever you are on a Victoria website – whether it be that of a potential employer or a not-for-profit organization or a public sector facility (recreation centre) – looking to see if they have a newsletter and if a sample copy looks interesting get yourself signed up. Here are some of my favourites with a few details about what they feature:

  • Friends of The Empress – keep up to date on events at Victoria’s most iconic hotel (you need to be a resident of BC to sign up )
  • This Week in Tectoria – “Every Friday we send out a sizzling update about what’s going on in Tectoria: Canada’s hottest technology region.”
  • The LEAD Sheet – great little employment focused bi-weekly publication – you can’t subscribe but check back every two weeks at the GTHiring website to get the latest issue
  • Cycle Therapy  – the newsletter of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition whose mandate is ‘More people cycling, more places, more often
  • Pulse Magazine from the Victoria Foundation – again, not available as a subscription but by going to the website and downloading the most recent issue (published twice a year)

What Victorians Have to Say
Although the above publications are wonderful they of course may give you a slightly ‘rosier than in real life’ picture of Victoria and the region. To get a more accurate picture you might want to check out surveys and competitions in which average Victorians (or Victoria businesses) have had a say. Here are a few examples:

And of course you could also check out Victoria on Reddit though you might have to wade through a lot of noise to get to anything worthwhile!

Victoria in pictures
There are some stunningly good photographers snapping away in Victoria 24/7 (or so it seems). Of course typically these photos show the city, its citizens and its environs in the best light but what the heck – that’s probably why you’re moving here! Some of my favourites are:

Another fun ‘lens’ on Victoria is webcams – and these of course get no editing before the image is shown to you, here are some:

You might want to do a search on Flickr for Victoria, BC (see you sometime next century if you decide to go down that particular rabbit hole!) and the Victoria Grid Project on Flickr is certainly worth checking out though it hasn’t been updated in a while .

Reading Between the Lines
There are lots of less obvious ways to gather information about Victoria. For example you can learn a lot by looking at property on the MLS (multiple listing service) site. Let’s say you are interested in finding a condominium close to the downtown core to buy once you get here to Victoria. Here’s a link to a one bedroom condo in the James Bay neighbourhood and what you can discover from the listing:

  • at the bottom of the page you’ll see the walkability score that gives you a ton of information about the neighbourhood and its transportation connections to the rest of the city and services available nearby
  • by clicking on the Demographics tab you can learn – in broad strokes – about the make up of the neighbourhood (age, gender, income etc)
  • under the Location tab you can find out how far away the property is from things you might be interested in like the University or a potential employer

You can use sites like Kijiji, craigslist and Padmapper to get an idea of how accommodation rental prices vary among neighbourhoods and what’s a good deal (though of course photos online tend to be notoriously flattering and give an inaccurate idea of dimensions, cleanliness etc).

Who (and what) to follow on social media

As you’ve probably figured out by now #YYJ is the hashtag to search on for all things Victoria(n). Other permutations include #YYJWorks (yeah, I know – good choice of a website URL on my part huh), #YYJjob(s), #YYJpoli, #YYJarts and #YYJtraffic. Here are some folks I suggest following – when you see who is interacting with them you’ll naturally expand your own list based on what interests you:

  • Janni Aragon – “Janni jan/eye Aragon is a feminist Political Scientist, BreatheNow co-founder, another wise Latina” – @janniaragon
  • SocialMediaGirl/Chel – “Embrace tech,SocMed,books,ppl,news(esp breaking),NGO’s,travel,science,& hundreds +! SM also=SlightlyMischievious 😉 Digri fan. “ – @SocMedGirlyyj
  • Yukari Peerless – “Connector.Writer.Entrepreneur. ANA Brand Ambassador. Go-to-gal for anything Japanese. Samurai Warrior Wife to@Markdavidson “ – @YukariP
  • Paul Holmes – “Technology Ambassador @SmartDolphinsIT, Co-Producer @SocMediaCamp, Podcaster @JohnPaulandMic, Speaker, Instructor @victoriactc, @GDgeek’s husband, and proud dad” – @tpholmes
  • Angela Rafuse – “Maritime girl in BC. Hotelier. Lover of cats, spa, teatime, dooryards. Random acts of kindness. Strategist. Dreamer. 4/5 sisters.” – @hotel_goddess
  • Dan Gunn – “As Executive Director of VIATeC, Dan is the community shepherd of Victoria, BC’s thriving $4B+ tech industry. “ – @danwgunn

Another great source of info (not sure where it belongs) is podcasts – you can find a number of ‘Victoria’ themed shows at 29er Radio (Lisa, Gene & Eric is particularly entertaining and worth listening to – Lisa is Lisa Helps who was elected Mayor in November 2014). Another good podcast that usually has lots of #YYJ content is the John, Paul and Mic show. And I honestly have no idea why both of these Victoria podcasts have similarly formatted names.

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