The Week — Feb. 21: It’s your time to Vic-ation

It’s your time to Vic-ation, a new way to get carded and viva la superbug résistance!

The dregs of winter are the perfect time to vacation, but for Victorians who hit up Dine Around & Stay In Town, no airfare is needed to find that great escape.

It’s your time to Vic-ation

When is the last time you vacationed in Victoria?

For those who call the south Island home, it can be easy to forget this old stomping ground is the pinpoint that hundreds of thousands of visitors gesture to on a map when asked where they would like to visit. But before they get here, there is a rare opportunity to experience all the city has to offer at a price that’s made for locals. Cue Dine Around & Stay In Town, one of the Island’s most anticipated dining experiences, returning for its 10th year in our city from Feb. 21 to March 10.

“Dine Around really brings a renewed interest in the culinary talent that we have here in town,” says Trina Mousseau, Tourism Victoria’s director of destination marketing. “It gets people out — whether you live here every day or are coming in from Vancouver or up Island — and gives everyone a reason to experience the culture we have in Victoria, which is so rich and diverse.”

The event, which has become a welcomed ray of sun to Victorians and businesses who can’t wait for the festive feelings of summer, is presented by Tourism Victoria and the BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association’s Victoria branch. For those who haven’t tried it before, the experience showcases participating restaurants offering special three-course menus for $20, $30 or $40 per person, as well as hotels offering special accommodations from $79, $99 and $129 price points.

For the opportunity to really see Victoria from another view, the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa hits the experience with a double whammy: stay a night (from the $99 range), then dine at LURE Restaurant & Lounge ($30 point, and special celiac menu). The newly renovated resort is one location that offers the rare postcard view of the city and can give even residents a feeling of getting away. Learn more about what the Delta has to offer here.

“Many people don’t consider hotel restaurants when thinking of where to go to eat, but we have regulars who come here for their special date nights,” says the Delta’s Karri Rolofs. “Dine Around has always been an important opportunity for us to show people what we have to offer.”

LURE’s chef Dan Bain came to the restaurant in 2005 as saucier before becoming head chef in 2011. He uses his fiery passion for marine biology to give his own innovative take on local ingredients with culinary artistry — think stenciled messages specially inscribed to impress your date.

Just to cinch that extra touristy feeling, Be A Tourist In Your Hometown is celebrating its 40th year from Feb. 28-March 3, with $10 tickets allowing locals to experience free or heavily discounted attractions before the summer crowd hits. That’s not to say the experience won’t be packed.

Learn more at tourismvictoria.com/dinearound and attractionsvictoria.com/bat.

A new way to get carded

The government is rolling ahead with the BC Services Card, sent to replace the standard CareCard this week, even though the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has not finished reviewing the program and the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) are asking the government to put on the brakes.

Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has pointed to a number of shortcomings with the plan, and has called for a halt to any further expansion of the card without extensive public consultations on the risks and benefits of data linkage — the card is to be imbedded into B.C. driver’s licences. The BCCLA and BC FIPA, however, say that this will take more than a public consultation to fix.

“This government has got to come clean on the card before we are all forced to use it,” says Micheal Vonn, BCCLA policy director. “British Columbians have been provided almost no real information about it, and the Commissioner herself says she was only given an ‘abbreviated time for review’ of the program.”

Yet the government maintains that the change is needed for a card that has not been significantly updated in the last 20 years. “This new card will be a secure piece of photo identification with many anti-fraud and security features including secure design, an expiry date and enhanced features which will help to protect citizens’ personal information,” says Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid.

The new card provides what the government is calling a “foundation” for the future development of access to online services. Hello, big brother.

Viva la résistance!

Speaking of medical help, UVic’s Let’s Talk Science program is taking on the worrisome idea of superbugs, as antibiotic resistance becomes a growing phenomenon. How do we fight back? Find out at the free lecture “Antibiotic Resistance: Rise of the Superbug” with Lauren Whittaker and Leah Ellingwood, Tues., Feb. 26, noon-1pm at UVic’s Medical Sciences Building (Room 150, Ring Road). M

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