Wade Gamble, general manager at Jakes at the Lake, invites people to participate in the seventh Dine & Sip festival, which runs from March 2-26. (Photo courtesy of Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce)

Business notes: Dine Sip Cowichan runs from March 2-26

The latest from the Cowichan Valley business community

Now in its seventh year, the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s Dine & Sip Cowichan iconic local culinary festival is an opportunity to enjoy the tastes of the Cowichan Valley.

Participating venues will be offering a range of inspired dishes and beverage offerings at special pricing from March 2 to March 26.

Once again, local food and beverage operators need your support.

Whether you settle into your usual seat at your favourite spot, try somewhere completely new, or make your way through the whole list, with more than 40 venues to choose from, everyone can Dine and Sip Cowichan.

​This year, the chamber will be teaming back up with Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, on a special tandem campaign.

For every Dine Cowichan meal purchased at participating restaurants, Island Savings will donate $5 to The Full Cupboard (up to a total of $5,000) and 100 per cent of funds raised will be gifted to Cowichan food banks.

​“We hope you take every opportunity to enjoy the festivities and flavours of Dine & Sip Cowichan,” the chamber said.

“In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for event announcements and contests.”


There were a total of 142 nominations from all over the Cowichan Valley for the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s Black Tie Awards after the deadline for nominations ended on Jan. 31.

This year’s Black Tie Awards feature nine award categories for Volunteer of the Year, Non-Profit Organizations, Art In Business, Green Business, Young Entrepreneur and Customer Service, as well as three Business Achievement categories.

Businesses, organizations and individuals across the entire Cowichan region, including both chamber members and non-members, were eligible.

The Black Tie Awards celebration will be held at the Chemainus Theatre on May 9.

Tickets for the event will go on sale through the chamber in March.

The Black Tie Awards, presented in partnership with Island Savings, recognizes excellence in business and volunteerism across the Cowichan Region.

“Thank you to all those who took the time to submit a nomination, and congratulations to all of the deserving nominees for doing their part to make Cowichan an amazing place to work, live and play,” the chamber said.


In other chamber news, Rowing Canada Aviron will be featured at the chamber’s next Speaker Series Luncheon on Feb. 24.

Come and meet members of Canada’s Olympic Rowing Team and learn about some of the services and development initiatives to support the growth of rowing in Canada.

Lunch will be provided by Gibby’s Café and Catering at the event, which runs from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Attendees can register online on the chamber’s website, call 250-748-1111 or email chamber@duncancc.bc.ca.

The cost of tickets for members and guests is $35 plus GST, and $45 plus GST for non-members.


For the third year in a row, BC Transit has been recognized for its exceptional workplace as one of B.C.’s Top Employers for 2023.

B.C.’s Top Employers is an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.

This special designation recognizes the employers in British Columbia that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.

BC Transit has more than 1,000 employees with a wide range of careers that include drivers, maintenance and administration.

“It’s an honour to be recognized as one of our province’s top employers, for three years running,” said Erinn Pinkerton, BC Transit’s president and CEO.

“BC Transit prides itself on being a diverse and engaging workplace. We create an environment where everyone can thrive and work every day as their authentic self. BC Transit is proud to provide a service that people rely on every day, a service that helps shape communities across British Columbia.”


Paper Excellence Canada, which owns the Crofton pulp and paper mill, has announced a $100,000 gift to the Pacific Salmon Foundation to boost efforts to conserve and restore Pacific salmon populations across B.C.

The donation will be distributed through grants in communities where Paper Excellence operates to help advance community-driven stewardship initiatives at a local level.

Paper Excellence’s donation will support PSF’s Community Salmon Program, which awards hundreds of grants to grassroots salmon conservation projects across B.C. and the Yukon each year.

Since PSF launched the program in 1989, it has engaged more than 300,000 volunteers to pursue local projects to restore salmon and rehabilitate their habitats.

“Our renewed support for the Pacific Salmon Foundation is critical to our commitment to protecting freshwater and marine ecosystems close to home,” said Graham Kissack, Paper Excellence’s vice president of environmental, health and safety and corporate communications.

“Today’s investment will boost capacity for the Community Salmon Program, which enables the progress of hundreds of local salmon protection initiatives. We strive to continually improve our environmental performance. Our gift to the Pacific Salmon Foundation comes at a time when we are working at our mills to reduce carbon emissions and manufacture innovative forest products.”


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