An Appetite for Change

by Yule Heibel on May 27, 2008

If you live in Victoria and are concerned about finding solutions to our city’s homelessness crisis, please consider coming to what looks to be a fabulous event at the Canoe Brew Pub on Sunday June 8, from 6 to 8:30 pm. It’s a fundraiser for the Youth Hospitality Training Centre, an innovative program that needs to secure just a bit more money to become reality.

What’s the Youth Hospitality Training Centre? It’s a facility that will provide eight homeless street youth a roof and a bed, and classroom and hands-on training for a career in the hospitality industry. Once the youths are trained and working, they move on into their own independent housing, making room for other at-risk street youth.

The Centre will be housed in a former restaurant downtown, the Taj Mahal, which comes with an attached bed & breakfast facility. It will be operated by the Victoria Youth Empowerment Society, which is an umbrella agency that provides programs for youth in the city. The Centre is quite unique: kids who are currently living on the street will have an opportunity to live in dormitory-style rooms at the Centre, and receive classroom as well as hands-on training programs in the restaurant and food services industry. The bed & breakfast facility consists of 11 rooms, and will serve as housing for the youth, plus live-in, round the clock staff, as well as counselling rooms. There will also be a “mock hotel room” so that the youth in training can learn about room maintenance and service in situ. By the time they’re finished with their program, they’ll be desirable new-hires in the staff-starved local tourism industry. See this forum thread for more info.

Ok, so where’s the party, you’re asking? If you haven’t clicked through to the first link in this post, I’ll paste below the text in full, which should give you enough info to convince you that this will be $50 well spent — on yourself and on the future of youth in the city. And, ok, even on the future of the tourism & hospitality industry, which is badly understaffed here. (Ever wonder why those cafes close at 6 or 7pm? It’s because the owners can’t find anyone to work in them, true! And you thought it was because we roll up the sidewalks after the government workers go home for the day, didn’t you? Not at all — we have an affordable housing shortage plus a worker shortage…)

Here’s the event description:

An Appetite For Change
A benefit for the Youth Hospitality Training Centre

You and your friends are invited for an evening of food, libation and entertainment
Sunday, June 8th, 2008, from 6:00-8:30pm

The best kitchens in the city have generously donated fabulous dinner party packages, featuring fully catered in-home service as well as Chef’s tables for silent auction.
Every bid is also a chance to win an exciting prize!

The event will be held in the Canoe Brewpub’s 1894 landmark heritage building on Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
The reception will be fully hosted by Canoe Brewpub and Chef Alain Léger.

Victoria’s culinary teams have come together in support of making our community a better place. Will you join us?

Ticket price is $50.
All revenue from the event will go to providing opportunities for disadvantaged youth in Victoria.

Tickets can be purchased by email reply to, by phone at 383-3514, at Canoe online or in person at the following locations:
Victoria City Hall, Canoe Brewpub or The Bay Centre Customer Service.

Free validated parking is available at Canoe and Chintz & Co.

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