Travis Berthiaume (left), owner of the Dairy Queen in Duncan, and store manager Don McCormick are making Blizzards in preparation for the Miracle Treat Day fundraiser on Oct. 28. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Travis Berthiaume (left), owner of the Dairy Queen in Duncan, and store manager Don McCormick are making Blizzards in preparation for the Miracle Treat Day fundraiser on Oct. 28. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: Dairy Queen to hold Miracle Treat Day fundraiser on Oct. 28

The latest from the Cowichan Valley business community

The Cowichan Valley is expected to see a massive uptick in Blizzards on Dairy Queen’s Miracle Treat Day on Oct. 28.

For a 19th year, a portion of proceeds from each Blizzard treat bought on that day in Dairy Queen franchises across Canada, including the one in Duncan, will go towards one of 12 Children’s Miracle Network member hospitals in Canada.

Travis Berthiaume, owner of the Duncan Dairy Queen, said all proceeds from his store from the fundraiser go to the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

“We raised more than $16,000 from a variety of fundraisers last year, including Miracle Treat Day, that went to the hospital,” he said.

“That’s a lot of money from just one store. We do it to give back to the community.”

Instead of the typical second week of August, the Blizzard forecast was postponed to October to keep patrons safe during the uncertainty of the pandemic, Dairy Queen Canada stated in a release.

Regardless, franchises across the country shovel in proceeds for local children’s hospital care through various in-store initiatives all year round, it added.

DQ has been a partner to the Children’s Miracle Network since 1984 and has raised $44 million for children’s health care in Canada alone to date.


After more than 60 years serving members from the branch at 38 King George St. in Lake Cowichan, Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, is reaffirming its commitment to that community by moving branch operations to a central new location.

In spring, 2022, the credit union will open its doors at 75 Cowichan Lake Rd., current site of the RBC branch slated to close later this year.

“For decades we’ve been dedicated to meeting the financial needs of members in Lake Cowichan and the surrounding area and we’re excited to reaffirm our commitment to this community through our new location,” says Kendall Gross, president at Island Savings.

“Our continued presence in this and other close-knit Island communities is a testament to the financial strength of our organization. As we’ve continued to experience healthy growth, we’ve provided our members greater access to products and services they need while still maintaining our credit union values, local knowledge and member-centred approach to doing business.”

Operations at the Lake Cowichan branch are led by Branch Manager James Funfer, who assumed the role in July.

Funfer, who first joined Island Savings in 2013, has served in a number of member-support roles and spent six years as a member of the credit union’s Learning and Development team.

“It’s wonderful to be back in the Lake Cowichan community which boasts a unique blend of small-town charm and local natural splendour,” said Funfer, who spent time in the area during his youth.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the amazing work our branch has been doing to support members and community partners from our central new location.”


The latest information on the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region published by Economic Development Cowichan shows the continued effects of the pandemic on the tourism industry, with air traffic and tourist information centre visitation still very low.

Housing availability and affordability also continue to be major issues for the region, according to the EDC’s latest dashboard news which tracks local progress in recovery from the pandemic.

Housing inventory is still quite low, with not enough new housing units coming on the market to slow rising home prices and meet demand, according to the report.

In recent months, labour shortages have become a major topic of conversation and concern, especially for accommodation, food service, retail and healthcare positions.

The reasons behind the shortages are varied, and include an aging population, as well as changing employee needs and expectations, such as more flexible or remote work arrangements.

“This latest dashboard reflects trends we are seeing not only in Cowichan, but across the country,” said Barry O’Riordan, manager of EDC.

“Our task is to identify opportunities where we can provide meaningful local-level support to Cowichan businesses challenged by these large-scale changes.”


United Way British Columbia’s annual fundraising campaign has begun.

UWBC will work closely once again with more than 300 local workplaces in central and northern Vancouver Island that support their fundraising through individual one-time or monthly payroll donations.

As a result of the fundraiser last year, more than 37,100 people accessed 40 high-impact programs through 21 agencies in the Cowichan region alone.

“This is another unique year for our fundraising campaign,” said Signy Madden, regional director for UWBC, Central and Northern Vancouver Island region.

“The impacts of the pandemic have compounded over the last two years, putting our vulnerable neighbours at even more risk. This year, our communities are facing challenges we have never seen before as the landscape continuously shifts — and we have to adapt. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we can keep helping our local communities and strengthen vital connections.”

Thanks to the generosity of local donors and support from the federal government, UWBC expects to support more than 24,500 people in need from the Malahat to Port Hardy through 53 agencies running 78 programs.


The Cowichan Valley Fall Home Show will be held Oct. 22-24 at Cowichan Exhibition Park, located at 7380 Trans Canada Hwy.

After a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, the organizers are pleased to present the 27th anniversary of the show, which is the ultimate one-stop-shop for your home.

Visitors to the home show will be given the opportunity to connect with experts in home improvements, renovations, décor, design, and so much more.

“You’ll find the products, services and samples you need to make your projects come to life,” a release from the home show said.

“As always, admission and parking are free to the public. We look forward to seeing you there.”

The show will run from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 23, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 24.

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