News Release: Victorians Take Deep Dive into Urban Challenges

Canadian Urban Institute, City of Victoria and Victoria Foundation partner to deliver CUI x Victoria: Vital Conversations for Our Shared Future

October 14, 2021—The Canadian Urban Institute, City of Victoria and Victoria Foundation are thrilled to be hosting CUI x Victoria: Vital Conversations for Our Shared Future—three days of exploratory, in-person and virtual discussions focused on the challenges and opportunities facing the region and centring voices that are often marginalized, including Indigenous, Black and people of colour, youth and newcomers to Canada from October 18 to 20, 2021.

The sessions will build off of the recently released 2021 Vital Signs report, an annual community check-up that measures the vitality of the region and supports action on issues that are critical to the quality of life in Victoria.

“CUI x Local is designed to bring together a broad range of timely and diverse voices on some of our most pressing issues and opportunities,” said Mary Rowe, President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute. “CUI x Victoria is a national event, featuring opportunities to share the challenges cities across Canada are facing, and the innovative, made-in-Victoria solutions emerging to address them.”

The program will launch with a Lekwungen Welcome, followed by a discussion with members of the City Family Victoria’s reconciliation body. Indigenous family members will reflect on what it means to be Indigenous and Canadian at a moment when Canada is “under review,” in light of cancelled Canada Day events and the discovery of hundreds of children’s bodies in unmarked graves near residential schools.

Tuesday evening features Belonging in Victoria: Muslim Voices for Change, where Muslim women from the community will explore themes of Islamophobia, belonging, racism and safety by sharing their local and global everyday experiences.

“This important session is inspired by the calls to action from the National Summit on Islamophobia that took place in July 2021,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “I look forward to the concrete recommendations for meaningful action that the panelists will offer on addressing ongoing faith-based hate, racism and colonialism on the traditional territories of the l?k?????n peoples.”

Tuesday also features a session by the BC Black History Awareness Society and the Royal BC Museum, who for the first time in its history, handed over curatorial authority to the community. The panel will explore the creation of the exhibit, “Hope Meets Action: Echoes Through the Black Continuum,” and will be a frank discussion about the challenges, opportunities and lessons learned for other institutions wanting to work in a new way.

On Wednesday, the Victoria Foundation is partnering with Coast Capital to host Building an Inclusive Economy, a conversation about the importance of finding meaningful ways to move toward a world in which social and economic well-being is enjoyed by all.

“This vital conversation will ground participants in a discussion around current barriers to financial well-being and explore societal values regarding inclusion and growth that are required for a new economy,” said Sandra Richardson, Victoria Foundation CEO. “It is a timely conversation given the release of our 2021 Vital Signs program with a theme of equity and inclusion.”

The University of Victoria will deliver a session on their joint degree program in Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders and the program’s first-ever field school. UVIC Indigenous Law partnered with Cowichan Tribes—the largest single First Nation Band in BC to deliver a transformative field school experience that required students to explore the diversity of Indigenous legal traditions and observe first-hand the ways Indigenous legal processes are being used today. Faculty and students will share their experience on the Quw’uts’un ancestral site, surrounded by urban development, including their deepened relationship with the people, land and its history

Finally, in Climate Justice, Climate Grief, Climate Action: Intergenerational Dialogue on Climate Change and What’s Next, CUI’s President and CEO, Mary W. Rowe will facilitate a curated conversation between long-time activists, scholars and youth currently working through the difficult terrain of intergenerational climate inequity, climate anxiety and climate action.

The full program can be found at, and includes a mixture of hybrid events, offered in-person and virtually. In-person events will be on a first come, first served basis and will follow all provincial health guidelines. Sessions are free to attend, and all are encouraged to register.

About CUI x Local

Through CUI x Local, CUI is connecting with cities across Canada to gather interpretations, data, assessments, priorities, bright spots and stories from on-the-ground voices to help deepen our collective understanding of the interconnected and interdependent issues facing urban Canada. Alongside local partners, we are organizing these visits which include a combination of public and invitation-only meetings and activities. By looking at local issues and connecting them nationally, CUI x Local will strengthen the connective tissue within and across communities from coast to coast to coast. More at