Editorial: Time to fight summer blues

Localized events such as the upcoming Victoria Dragon Boat Festival, and the fledgling Chalk Festival can make a difference

While the days of summer are marching past, there is still plenty of time and numerous special events to take advantage of around the Capital Region on those precious days off.

While you’re at it, why not check out a new store or restaurant, or combine a trip with a sightseeing tour of sorts?

While Victoria is still considered a tourist town first and foremost – government, education and high-tech sectors notwithstanding – the benefits don’t always accrue to those who prime themselves for the annual rush of visitors.

The cruise-ship business, for example, focuses primarily on certain major players such as Butchart Gardens, the Fairmont Empress Hotel and tour bus companies. While the passengers are given free time to walk the streets of downtown, many merchants report the hard financial benefits aren’t as rosy as the tourism folks might have us believe.

That’s where localized events such as the upcoming Victoria Dragon Boat Festival, and the fledgling Chalk Festival, spotlighting sidewalk artists, can make a difference to our small businesses.

Those events allow residents from the Capital Region to gather and see what’s new or interesting in an area of town they may not have visited or explored before.

With musical gatherings such as Folkwest, the Vancouver Island Blues Bash and Rifflandia coming up, theatre’s Victoria Fringe Fest, and the visual arts-based Esquimalt Arts Festival and Fibrations – not to mention the numerous regular offerings in those sectors – there are plenty of opportunities to support area merchants while taking in an event.

Whether you’re from Langford, Oak Bay, Saanich or James Bay, these focused events allow chances to broaden your experiences and try out a new restaurant, step inside a retail store you haven’t visited before, or meet someone new and interesting who might be working at street level.

You might be pleasantly surprised and wind up your summer on an even higher note.