Signs of Optimism for Victoria and Downtown Economy in Early Recovery Data

Today the City and business leaders are releasing a series of data sets that show Victorians can be cautiously optimistic about the economic recovery of the city and the downtown. The data compares key economic indicators in February, March and April 2019 with the same months in 2020 and 2021. 

“The idea to create an economic recovery dashboard for the city came out of my biweekly meetings with members of the business community that we’ve held throughout the pandemic,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “We wanted to see what story the numbers tell in terms of the health of our city and our downtown economy after 16 months of a global health pandemic.”

While the early days of the pandemic saw a decrease in the number of people downtown, pedestrian counters, parking data, and bike counters show an increase in people downtown in April 2021 as compared to April 2020. The issuing of new business licences is also a sign of confidence in the Victoria economy. Pre-pandemic, between February and April 2019, the City issued 600 new business licences. In those same months in 2021, 620 new business licences were issued.

“I am pleased that the data shows that despite the global pandemic, we continue to have one of the best mid-sized downtowns in North America,” said Jeff Bray, Executive Director, Downtown Victoria Business Association.

The City’s recovery is guided by Victoria 3.0 which has concrete actions to support businesses to recover from the pandemic and to build long-term economic resilience. This means building on Victoria’s strengths like tourism, tech and a burgeoning film industry, and continuing to diversify.

“The increase in the number of film permits and the value of construction are good indicators of how attractive Greater Victoria is to people wanting to do business here,” said Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Williams. “We see in the data that people are generally returning to typical activity. We also know there is tremendous pent-up demand to visit our region and for locals to get back to dining inside, going to the movies and theatre, and attending concerts and sporting events. We’re ready to go, as soon as it’s safe to do so."

The City will release data on these indicators quarterly over the next few years to track Victoria’s economic recovery. 

View the Economic Recovery Dashboard [PDF - 109 KB]

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