The Week — Feb. 2

Time to pucker up, Victoria; socks for every foot; a night out, over the ferry

Don’t feel limited to the typical this Valentine’s Day: the DVBA’s Kiss in the City contest welcomes all lovers, like 2011 entrants Trish and Darby. Just keep it PG, will ya?

Time to pucker up, Victoria

Love will be in the air, and on the streets and beside the shops this week, as the Downtown Victoria Business Association’s third-annual Kiss in the City competition asks PDA-inclined residents to pucker up for a chance to win a big night on the town this Valentine’s Day.

“Kiss in the City begins right at the time when everybody is about ready to break out of their winter hibernation,” says Kelly. “It’s the perfect time to get out there and explore our beautiful city again.”

It’s worth the lip-and-click — top prize for the winning kiss is a one-night stay at the Fairmont Empress, dinner for two at the Bengal Lounge and a 60-minute spa treatment for two. The package also includes a gold and pearl locket donated by Violette Boutique, flowers from Poppies Floral Art, movie tickets to the Cineplex Odeon, topped off with treats from Roger’s Chocolates. Two runners-up will also receive dinner in downtown Victoria, chocolates and movie passes.

While the same couple (Rajan and Sonia) have won the challenge two years in a row, this year the love-struck duo agreed not to enter, so other face suckers have a chance. The contest is meant for amateur photographers, but instead of winning through Facebook “likes” as in 2011, this year’s submissions — which must be photos or videos taken in 2012 with a consensual partner — will be judged by a panel of “romance experts,” including Martin Leclerc (Fairmont Empress general manager), Mary-Jane Posno (Poppies Floral Art), Erin Weir (Violette Boutique), Derek Ford (Derek Ford Photography) and Robin and Brian from the KOOL FM morning show. The judging panel will determine the winner based on location, creativity and, or course, romance.

“We always see a great variety in photos, from lovers, to owners and their dogs, to grandmothers and their grandchildren,” says Lindsay Windecker, DVBA marketing coordinator. “The goal is to remember this is still a great time to get out in Victoria and have some fun. As someone else said, practice makes perfect.”

Submissions are accepted until midnight on Sunday, Feb. 12. To enter, check out the DVBA’s Facebook page.

Socks for every foot

With the rainy season well upon us, now is the perfect time to launch into some early spring cleaning and consider where to take your lightly used clothing — especially socks.

Many second-hand and donation stores request that socks be packaged and new, but residents aren’t always aware that homeless shelters and facilities around Victoria, like the Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Rock Bay Landing and Sandy Merriman House, accept lightly-used old socks — and are always in desperate need this time of year.

“People are on their feet all the time, standing in line, collecting bottles, walking everywhere, and it’s often hard to get the extra money together to dedicate to a load of laundry,” says Alan Rycroft, community relations for Cool Aid.

Thankfully, McGregor Socks has jumped at the shortage and donated 10,000 pairs of new socks this week for people on Victoria streets to start 2012 off on the — dry — right foot. Socks will be given away by dozens of local social service agencies, including AIDS Vancouver Island, Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Our Place, PEERS Office, the Rainbow Kitchen, Rock Bay Landing, Sandy Merriman House and others.

McGregor has given over 40,000 pairs of socks to the community since 2005. Those who want to join in the donating fun can take gently-used clothing and socks to Rock Bay Landing, at 535 Ellice Street.

A night out, over the ferry

Anyone looking for a pre-Spring Break vacation need look no further than a hop over to the mainland this weekend as Vancouver celebrates its final push of Dine Out Vancouver.

Victorians will get to see the sister event (Dine Around & Stay In Town Victoria) in our own home town from Feb. 17 to March 16, but for those who want the chance to stay somewhere “exotic” without the wait, there are still four days left to the 17-day Vancouver festival, which spanned from Jan. 20 to Feb. 5 this year and showcases a number of culinary events, hundreds of restaurants offering three-course and unique meals, festival and touristy attractions, and special hotel rates at over 30 Vancouver hotels.

The Vancouver festival, hosted by Tourism Vancouver, is now in its 10th — and biggest — year yet. Victoria’s equivalent turns nine this year, and foodies who already want to get cracking on their menu selections can see more at the 2012 website, tourismvictoria.com/dine.

To reserve a scrumptious Vancouver event, visit tourismvancouver.com/dine/dine-out-vancouver-2012. M

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