Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Mayor’s message: Cities in the 21st century

I’m sitting in the Imagine Café in James Bay, watching a man and child toss a Frisbee in Fisherman’s Wharf park on this blustery Sunday.

By Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps

I’m sitting in the Imagine Café in James Bay, watching a man and child toss a Frisbee in Fisherman’s Wharf park on this blustery late February Sunday morning. I came here for inspiration, to help me imagine better.

Sometimes here in Victoria we have trouble imagining our long-term future. What will Victoria be like in 2041 when our current Official Community Plan (OCP) expires? How do we meet the OCP vision of Victoria being an urban sustainability leader by then? How do we build for that city now?

Collectively, we can’t imagine. We have a hard time sometimes seeing beyond what we know, what our individual experiences are. I suppose in part this is human nature; we stick within our comfort zones to stay safe. But as humans we’re also intensely curious beings.

To help us all imagine more concretely, City Manager Jason Johnson and I are hosting Cities in the 21st Century: Lunch Time Lectures at City Hall. And we invite you to join us! What does Victoria look like in 30 to 40 years? How do we get there? The Lunch Time Lectures will provide doses of inspiration from near and far. We will examine how, together, city hall, residents and businesses can seize the opportunities and challenges of being a leading-edge city in the 21st century.

The first lecture is Monday March 6. “Inspired to Lead: Climate Action at the City and Beyond,” is presented by Fraser Work, the city’s director of engineering and public works.

Work has been with the city for 16 months. He’s leading the Climate Action and Sustainability renewal programs at the city, and is part of an integrated and interdisciplinary team that is developing the strategy and implementing projects to significantly improve community and corporate greenhouse gas emissions and overall environmental performance.

The lectures are free and open to the public. Bring your lunch; we’ll provide the tea and coffee.

All lectures are 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at City Hall. Have topics or speakers you’d like to see? Email Here’s what’s upcoming in the series. Save the dates:

Monday, April 3

21st Century Leadership, Dan Pontefract, author, speaker, thinker.

Monday, May 1

The Death and Life of the Single-Family House, Nathanael Lauster, University of British Columbia.

Monday, June 5

Bikes Mean Business, Elly Blue, Portland Oregon.

Monday, Sept. 11

Building Child-Friendly Public Spaces, Diana Studer, Victoria.

Other lectures will be announced shortly. For more info visit