Langford hosts third annual Bikefest

Plus, Malahat film studio, Rhino Coffee, Swap Shop, and more

Good morning! 

Langford bike enthusiasts are gearing up for the third-annual Bikefest this weekend, a three-day event where riders will showcase their skills and compete to win the event. Plus big news for the local film industry and more in today’s newsletter. 


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Langford Bikefest gears up for three-day event

The annual Langford Bikefest is back for its third year in a row, and the event has some great activities lined up for bike enthusiasts of all kinds. Going from March 29 to 31, the event splits into different activities on each day, and is a great way to learn more about the sport. 

Bikefest started with the partnership of Wheelhouse Cycling Society, Panache Cycling Sports, and the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission, with the goal of highlighting the world-class facilities at Jordie Lunn Bike Park and the sport of cycling itself. As Bikefest continues to rise in popularity, festival director and Panache Cycling Sports principal owner Jon Watkin said that he looks forward to the upcoming weekend and the community that comes with it. 

“We were part of that original group that pitched the whole idea of the Jordie Lunn Bike Park when the city was trying to figure out what to do with the space,” said Watkin adding that they were trying to draw high-profile cycling events to Langford but were struggling to find venues to host those events. 

“There was a lot of synergy to look at what we are bringing to the community in terms of sports tourism and then building a permanent facility that would have huge benefits to not only local residents, but also people visiting the area,” he said. The City of Langford stepped up and the park materialized into the world-class facility it is today, and Watkin says this event is now an opportunity to celebrate cycling and Langford. 

From March 29 to 30, the Jordie Lunn Pump Jam will kick off the event with the Vesolutions pump track elimination-style race. The race starts with the qualifiers on March 29, and the ranking heats up on March 30. Viewers will watch as racers line up to perform a time trial through obstacles of berms and rollers. The extra challenge: no pedalling allowed. Riders will need to showcase their strength, momentum and skill to win this event, where a single mistake can cost the match. 

The Broad St. Cycles XC is on March 31, which is part of the Island Cup Racing Series. The cross-country style race will have riders race on a six-kilometre course with World Cup style climbing and descents at the Langford Gravity Zone & Nature Trails. The trails featured include Initial Attack, Steam Donkey, Wildcat, Wonderland, and Berm Reynolds.

“It gives the local people something to look forward to every year and you know the fact that we're pushing this element for kids with the pump track event that we're doing, I think that's going to be lots of fun for younger kids to have a chance that maybe they've never raced a bike before,” said Watkin. “It's about getting people access to the sport of cycling in different forms, and [the community] loves it.” 

Langford bike fans have even more activities to look forward to throughout the event, with plenty of kids activities, a public sneak peek at the Jordie Lunn Bike Park Clubhouse before its grand opening later in the spring, and much more. With a second event this August, the future of Bikefest is bright, and the opportunities for Jordie Lunn are wide. 

Watkin says the plan is to continue building and growing from here. “We’re already putting in plans to host more national level events at the park and we can’t do that unless the park is you know completed,” he said, noting that most work in the park will be completed by the end of April. 

“We hope to do some kind of a dirt jumping competition or demonstration [in the future] because dirt jumping was something Jordie Lunn was quite passionate about, so we want to make sure we get that type of mountain biking showcased.” 

Find detailed information for all the Bikefest activities online.

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Celebrate cherry blossoms at The Big Picnic

The Big Picnic is a special event that brings people from all over Metro Vancouver together to share in the beauty of the cherry blossoms and experience why “there are no strangers under the cherry tree”. The event is inspired by the long-time Japanese cultural tradition of hanami which literally translates to “cherry blossom (hana) viewing (mi)”.

Join other Vancouverites and visitors at The Big Picnic on March 30 at David Lam Park. You’ll be able to relax under cherry blossoms right in the heart of the city in the Yaletown neighbourhood while enjoying a superb line-up of local talent on the Cherry Jam Stage as well as a variety of interactive arts activities, workshops vendors and food trucks.


A $242M film studio to be built on Malahat Nation

Photo: Shutterstock

The Vancouver Island film industry is about to enter a new chapter with a huge boost from a new carbon-neutral, zero-waste major film studio complex on Malahat Nation territory, and a new regional film commissioner. 

Last week, the Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission announced that 25-year film veteran Peter Hayman would replace Kathleen Gilbert who is retiring after 14 years as commissioner. Hayman has worked on IMAX projects, films, TV spots, and videos with Canadian rockers Rush. Now situated in Langford, the not-for-profit commission’s mandate is to market the region to the global film industry.

Construction on the $242-million film studio complex, to be built near an industrial park on the western shores of Saanich Inlet north of Victoria, is expected to begin toward the end of the year. It will be built in three phases, with the first to include two sound stages, a workshop, and a pair of production offices.

“I want this to be a film studio that people want to work at and come to for 100-200 million-dollar productions,” said Beverley Dondale, founder and CEO of Victoria-based production company Alpha Select Production Services. “I want this to be a hub for Indigenous and domestic film production.”

For Malahat Nation, getting ready to house such a project on its territory is significant. “To get a project of this scale going in a region where we don’t have a lot of infrastructure to start with—it’s meant building water infrastructure, wastewater infrastructure, power, communications infrastructure and also making sure the right transportation networks [are ready] to make things work here,” said Malahat Nation CAO Josh Handysides.

Alpha Select is hoping the project obtains a Certified B Corp designation, which means the studio meets specific performance requirements across environmental, social, and governance policies. Dondale said for her, the designation is about production. 

Sustainability is a thread running through many recent projects in First Nation communities in the CRD and have seen them become leaders in clean-energy production and waste and water management. As the Alpha Select and Malahat Nation studio project looks through its proposed environmental initiatives to achieve zero-waste production, it joins T’Sou-ke Nation in its commitment to sustainability. 

T’Sou-ke Nation will power its new 12,500-square-foot community complex and health centre with clean energy by installing a state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic system for which it received provincial funding of $492,910 to accomplish. The facility is designed using the Seventh Generation Principle, which states the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future.

Around the 'Shore

☕️ Rhino Coffee House announces new location: Langford coffee lovers are getting excited because Rhino Coffee House just announced a new location opening at Jordie Lunn Bike Park. The coffee house, which originally started in Tofino, opened their first Langford business back in 2022; an official opening date will be released soon. 

🛻 Impaired driver crashes into sign: West Shore RCMP and Victoria Police worked together to arrest an impaired driver who had crashed into a street sign near Craigflower Road and Admirals Road in View Royal on March 21. According to reports, the truck was going at a high rate of speed and rode up onto the sidewalk when it crashed into an “impaired driving sign”. Police arrested the man and are currently investigating the incident. 

🏥 Sooke resident fears hospital after bad experiences: Bernie Radelfinger is speaking out against his recent treatment at hospitals between December and March after spending 10 to 14 days in the hallway over the time of his three visits. Radelfinger was eventually diagnosed with idiopathic pancreatitis, but fears going back due to his treatment. Premier David Eby called the situation disappointing, and said the healthcare system is under a lot of stress at this time. [Times Colonist]

🍽️ 2,000+ locals have voted: Fans of local restaurants are casting their votes for their favourite spots across 18 different categories (with lots of Westshore favourites making the top picks)! Make sure to cast your vote in the Tasting Victoria Awards.


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Community Events

🎨 Art Night Coastin’: This March 28, head to Mile Zero Brewing for a night of beer, fun, and art. Starting at 6:30pm, this is a great event to meet new people and learn more about painting techniques. Tickets are available online. 

🌱 Seedy Saturday: Head to the Sooke Community Hall this March 30 for a day of plants at Seedy Saturday. Going from 10am to 3pm, the family friendly event will have seed vendors, presentations, activities for kids, and more, so make sure to RSVP to get all updates about the event. 

🔄 Westshore Swap, Shop & Market: The annual Westshore Swap and Shop is back for business this March 31, and open every Sunday until Sept. 1. Running from 8am to noon, people can shop from combined parts of flea markets, craft fairs, and local farmers markets all in one place; admission is $2 each or through donating a non-perishable food bank donation at the door; kids under 12 are always free.

What’s Offshore?

No ships today!

Westshore Snaps

Spring is here. —Linda Lee-Guthrie, View Royal

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