Cautious optimism among Victoria businesses, and organizers

Cautious optimism among Victoria businesses, and organizers
WatchAfter a long year, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Restrictions are slowly, but surely, loosening. And a growing number of businesses are cautiously, optimistically, opening up, selling tickets, and holding events for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Mary Griffin reports.

Even the sight of two Victoria Harbour Ferry ferries passing each other on their first full working day on the water brings out the cautious optimism.

General Manager Barry Hobbis watches the maneuvers from the dock in the Inner Harbour.

“We had a bit of a season in 2020, but this is our first day of our 2021 season,” he said.

A sure sign of spring, the fleet of ferries is back in business.

“So far, we have we’re putting three boats out for the next couple of days,” Hobbis said. “And then we’ll put more boats out, as, as the demand increases.”

Hobbis hopes to have ten boats out by summer, still down from 17 running in a pre-pandemic year.

Meanwhile, Canada’s longest-running Highland Games, the 158th running of the event is slated for the May long weekend at Topaz Park.

Jim Maxwell, president of the Highland Games Association, is optimistic the Games will be held outdoors this year.

“It’s going ahead in some form or another. But it probably won’t be on our traditional May long weekend. It’ll probably be late summer or early fall, like we did in 2020.”

Another sign that the tide may be turning is on the horizon.

“Can I interest you in some HarbourCats tickets?” assistant General Manager Christian Stewart asks a member of the public coming into the front office.

Single tickets are on sale for the HarbourCats first home game June 4th.

“We’re just happy to be able to be optimistic enough to release single-game tickets,” Stewart said.

With the borders still closed, and international travel restricted, the HarbourCats may start the season playing the other four Canadian teams in the league.

But Stewart says they are ready for a full season.

“If we have to adapt, I think the league is making a decision to wait until at least April, early May, for the final call on what that will look like.”

While cautious optimism remains the phrase of the day, many are ready to play ball as soon as it is safe to do so.

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READ MORE: B.C. reports 556 new COVID-19 cases, 27 in Island Health region

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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