The Domino Effect of COVID-19 on the Restaurant Industry

The pandemic’s aftereffects can still be felt throughout Metro Vancouver’s restaurant industry.

Restaurants owners and chefs are struggling to bring their former employees back to the restaurant business.

Head and Sous Chefs of local restaurants, such as Marty Flores, could serve only takeout food and had to layoff a massive amount of employees.

“It affected a lot from sales and employees. The employees got affected the most, but as operators, it was very difficult for us during the beginning because it just suddenly happened. We had to close down the restaurant, but we still had to keep it open for takeout. My restaurant runs about 70 to 100 employees and now suddenly closing the restaurant with only takeout, we had to cut 95% of our people.”

  • Marty Flores, local Sous Chef

Restaurants have faced many difficult challenges because of the layoffs.

Now that local restaurants have begun to open to full capacity, management must continue to hire more employees to make up for the staffing shortages.

Chef Flores says his staff is still constantly adapting to situations they are faced with as he attempts to bring back as many employees as possible all while fully opening their dining room.

He believes that his workforce is nowhere near to where it was in 2019 and the beginning of 2020, and needs to hire quickly, as he recognizes the tasks piling for each individual as each day gets busier.

“The last six months, we are slowly getting back open. When we started to open up our restaurant, we started to see 2019 sales. The only problem is now that we’re getting the sales, we don’t have enough people for it because we let go of the people and then, yeah, that’s why it’s really tough. Now the workload is higher for each individual.”

  • Marty Flores, local Sous Chef

The pandemic has unfortunately wiped out many local spots along with many establishments still trying to stay afloat due to the shortage of employees.

As the summer dining season approaches, restaurants are trying to find ways to meet the demands for their customers with the amount of staff they have, while continuing to recruit more workers.

Support your Local Businesses.

Seafood Galore at the Steveston Spot Prawn and Seafood Celebration

The Steveston community is one that comes together over many things.

One of them being seafood.

The Spot Prawn and Seafood Celebration is in full swing in Steveston, as local fishermen and fisherwomen have been hard at work. They are bringing restaurants and locals the freshest seafood right to their plates all month long.

Laura Takasaki, a local Steveston fisherwomen, loves the chaos at the Fisherman’s Wharf during the Spot Prawn and Seafood Celebration.

“It gets crazy because it is a short season. It’s like 50 days and prawns are really sensitive creatures, so it can be very stressful. But me personally, I just like the community of it where you see people coming down and they get all excited when they get their prawns, and they’re carrying it in their bags and taking pictures. I love it when people send us pictures and show us the recipes and things they’ve made. For me, that’s the fun part of it.

  • Laura Takasaki, local Steveston fisherwomen

The current season is treating many quite well as fishers are consistently selling generous amounts seafood, and the demand for fresh and local seafood is a constant draw for visitors coming in to Steveston.

Local Steveston Restaurants are also collaborating with local fishers, such as Laura Takasaki, to provide you the tastiest and freshest seafood dishes in the lower mainland.

“We’re hoping that more restaurants, which they have seemed to be doing, come down and buy from the local fishermen rather than buying from a wholesale food supplier. So everybody that’s going to eat knows that they’re actually eating the prawns directly from the fishermen, which is kind of nice to collaborate with everybody.”

  • Erin Lee, local Steveston fisherwomen

It’s the first ever Spot Prawn and Seafood Celebration at Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf so make sure to head down and grab a bag of fresh spot prawns from May 6th to June 5th.

Steveston Velo: Richmond’s First Ever Cycling Club

Steveston Velo is a newly formed road cycling club based out of Sanctuary Café in Richmond B.C. that focuses on building the community through cycling and coffee.

The newly launched club is the first and only cycling club in Richmond which has been considered a popular and desirable place to cycle as the 40 km “Richmond Loop” is a favourite trail of many riders.

Tim Lee, owner of Sanctuary Café and founder of Steveston Velo, wanted to create the club, and make it something a little bigger and more than just customers on a particular day.

It’s become something that seems to go hand in hand. Cyclists stopping for some mid or post ride caffeine and croissant and Sanctuary Café has become a local hub for tons of cyclists.

Erin Lee, president of the Steveston Velo, shares the important role the café plays for the club.

“The connection really is that we want to have this type of atmosphere where once you finish your ride, the idea is that you come back, have a coffee, have some food, socialize and build that connection both with your club members, but also with the community as well.”

  • Erin Lee, President of Steveston Velo

The first-year club has already exceeded all the Lee’s expectations, accruing roughly 120 members in just 3 months.

The demand and interest in Richmond for a cycling club is extremely visible to the Lee’s, giving them tons of hope that the club and community will only continue to grow.

“We were blown away by the amount of interest we had in the club. Originally we had thought, there is always that fear you start something and nobody comes. And then we originally were going to cap the club at 50 and within the first day we had 50 people signed up and then we were like, oh, we’re going to cap it at like 100 and now we are at almost 120 members. As a first year for first club, it’s amazing to have that many people interested.”

  • Erin Lee, President of Steveston Velo

The club has 4 levels and rides on Thursday evenings for about 60 kilometres and on Saturday morning for about 100 kilometres, making for a fun and inclusive way to get some exercise and socialize.

A road bike is required and their are certain speed limits so make sure your ready ride and pump those legs.

Check out their website for more information at

Pickleball in Richmond: Quite the Hit

Pickleball has become a popular sport for hundreds of residents in Richmond and its fanbase continues to grow. It was mainly played indoors by the Richmond community, until they were left without a place to play their favourite sport when the pandemic closed all gyms and indoor courts. That is until, the Richmond BC Pickleball Association was created to propose an idea to city for new outdoor courts.


The courts at South Arm Community Centre and Hugh Boyd Secondary were built in the summer of 2020 and immediately helped grow the Pickleball community over the pandemic. David Yan, Vice President of the Richmond BC Pickleball Association, believes Richmond’s new outdoor courts have played a key factor in the sports growth.

“I think what happened also was with these outdoor courts, especially in Richmond, being built, there was more visibility to it. Now people were actually seeing others playing pickleball, and very often we get people staring, and watching, and wondering, what is this sport? And then learning to pick it up. And that’s how we’ve really gained our membership is people walking by, us inviting them to come in to try the sport, and then them loving it right afterwards.”

  • David Yan, President of RBCPA


The Association will hold their first ever RBCPA Tournament Series to benefit charities in June. David Yan told us more about the upcoming tournament that will be raising funds for Kids Sport Richmond.

“What we decided here in Richmond for our first tournament is to actually do a series of days. Generally, we have our group playtime sessions happening on Sundays, so we’ve asked the city to provide us three consecutive Sundays where we could hold a tournament. So on June 5, we’re going to have women’s doubles. On June 12, we’re going to have mixed doubles, and then on June 19, which actually happens to be Father’s Day, we’re going to have men’s doubles. We’ve got close to 95 teams registered for the tournament over the three days, and we’re raising funds for a charity of our choice, which has been chosen by our board to be Kids Sport Richmond.”

  • David Yan, President of RBCPA

Don’t be intimidated to try it out as it fun for everyone to play and all new players are welcomed in this fast-growing community.

Head down to the courts with your racquet and let’s play some pickleball!

Britannia Shipyards: One of Steveston’s National Historic Sites

Steveston is one of the only places in Canada with two National Historic Sites. The Britannia Shipyards in Steveston, BC is one of them and is home to an amazing museum that is a great place you can visit this summer. For many Steveston residents, including Jason Higo, the National Historic Site is a unique area with many stories to share.

“I think it’s more important than people think, because Steveston’s now such a desirable place to live. One of the things that makes this area so unique is that there is a long history and the history stems around not just First Nations history but also commercial fishing industry history, canneries, and boat building. I think what makes it really special is that you see existing infrastructure there that represents the history from before that still exists.”

  • Jason Higo, local Steveston resident

The lovely area with wood planked pathways, antique wooden bunkhouses, and boat work buildings can be found in the southeast part of Steveston. As an experienced fisherman Jason Higo describes, the Britannia Shipyards as an important piece of Steveston history.

“I think when people that move here learn a little bit more about what took place here in terms of the history, then it just makes it that much more meaningful and I think a lot of the landscape is very beautiful. You see parts of the pilings that were there before, you see remnants of canneries along the boardwalk, and those are all representations of the long-standing tradition of the commercial fishing industry that’s no longer really that strong anymore. Although, we do see some evidence of some local commercial fishermen that I’m still connected with.”

  • Jason Higo, local Steveston resident

Many locals are excited that the Britannia Shipyards will be back to putting on tours, events, and programs this Summer so that more people can learn about the rich history of Steveston while taking a walk along the interesting and beautiful boardwalks.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality, you may or may not have heard of it. The immersive computer-simulated experience has taken the technology world and turned it upside down. Software Designers create three-dimensional environments for users to play games, interact, complete tasks, work out, and so much more.


Now for those of you that think Virtual Reality headsets were just created in the last few years, unfortunately, you are incorrect. The history of VR dates back to 1939 when the “View-Master”, a stereoscopic virtual simulator, was created. With the many advancements in technology since then, many have continued to try and create the immersive experience with applications and experiences being released throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

The popularity of VR grew slowly but surely in the 90s as in the beginning it was mainly used for military and medical training. Flight and training simulations were groundbreaking for the piece of equipment as they showed its true potential in immersing someone in a completely different environment.

Virtual Reality has since widened to a consumer demographic, becoming more sophisticated and affordable for the average person. Companies such as Facebook, Google, and Samsung have all created their own headset, looking to reap the rewards of the fast-growing frenzy for VR. The possibilities for VR users now are infinite. You can play many different games, learn a new language, interact with friends and colleagues, or travel the world all from your own home.


It has also huge possibilities for training and learning purposes as well. Oculus recently partnered with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to build immersive high-risk pediatric training scenarios for medical students and staff. VR is also used in law enforcement and military training to create different scenarios and simulations where authorities need to make split-second decisions. Also in the automotive industry for manufacturers to experiment with new designs. Even here at the BCIT Campus, our library is equipped with multiple VR Headsets to help students fully immerse themselves into many different learning experiences.

So while games are the main attraction to getting yourself a VR headset, the uses, and purposes for it will only expand as the technology world grows larger and it has the potential to transform how we play, work, learn, communicate, and experience the world around us.


The Boom of Bicycles

Since its invention, the bicycle has been an efficient, flexible, and eco-friendly mode of transportation. Millions of people not only in Vancouver but around the world rely on cycling to get them from Point A to Point B. Added benefits to riding a bike are that it is also a great source of exercise and a way to get outdoors!


Over the pandemic, the bicycle business has gone into what many would call a “boom” state. Many people believe the massive increase in bike sales over the pandemic was mainly due to the heightened anxiety and safety concerns of taking public transportation along with the closure of many exercise and fitness centres, encouraging people to find a different outlet for exercise.

The evidence of this boom is very clear and obvious as manufacturers and suppliers have struggled to keep up with the demand for bicycles and bicycle equipment. Many cities including Vancouver have reconstructed and redesigned streets, parks, and bridges to accommodate the number of cyclists around the city. Economists and manufacturers have also begun studying the longevity of the biking industry as well as analyzing the popularity of E-Bikes and bike tours.


There have also been many additional factors that have led to the acceleration in the popularity in the cycling industry. Fitness apps such as Strava have become extremely popular as cyclists are enabled to track their routes, distance, and fitness levels; all while being able to share and compete with friends and family that used the fitness app as well. Competition is always a great way to build a platform and encourage participation as everyone loves a challenge.

What was an already popular activity has been completely catapulted into a frenzy of cyclist enthusiasts around the country due to the pandemic with many curious as to how this will change the future of cycling? Whether you cycle to commute or just to enjoy the city scenery, the boom of bicycles has benefitted many, and looks to continue its trend as one of the most popular hobbies in the city.


Trends in Fashion and Why they Repeat Themselves

Throughout history, the fashion industry always seems to repeat and recycle certain trends. Fashion is an editorial art and can be caught being repetitive over time, especially now with the amount of access we have to different trends, brands, and designer’s fashion. The fashion world is a timeless relic that keeps cycling around like a clock, redefining different types of couture and culture while capturing the interest of the younger generation.


There are a few theories that attempt to break down and explain why fashion trends become popular again many, many years after they are first seen as fashionable or “trendy”.

The most referenced theory is the “20-year rule”. This theory is solely based on the rule that what is popular now, will be again in 20 years. What was popular 20 years ago, is trending now. I mean, I don’t think any of us will deny going into our parent’s closets to try on their pearl necklaces, big goofy ties, retro glasses, or vintage graphic tees. Many people believe fashion designers of today often draw inspiration from the clothing their parents and grandparents wore.

Another thing that inspires our taste in fashion is the media we are exposed to. For example, if you are a big fan of 90’s sitcoms, like Friends, wearing large, chunky running shoes and baggy sweatshirts and jeans were all the rage! Analyzing all the different fashion that is present in media nowadays could be exhausting and difficult to keep up with!


Another theory about the lifecycle of fashion trends people believe in is, how the state of the global economy influences what we wear. This was first explained and demonstrated by Economist George Taylor who developed “the Hemline Theory”. In the 1920’s, he noticed that women would wear shorter skirts to show off their silk stockings, insinuating they had money. However, when the markets crashed, so did the hemlines. Skirts hems then went down to their ankles so they could hide that they weren’t wearing stockings, because they were not able to afford this fashion luxury.

Fashion trends are something people constantly analyze and critique. Every designer always strives to create the newest, old trend, to spark the consumer to buy, buy, buy. Who knows what will be trending in 20 years? Maybe Crocs?!

Podcasts: A Popular Place to Pass the Time

Podcasts have been on an unprecedented rise since the start of the pandemic. Podcasts are a way to keep us informed and connected to a community. Now there were plenty of podcasts before COVID-19 entered our lives and they were of growing interest to many people but when we were suddenly shut down in 2019 our lives were catapulted into a frenzy of new media along with a feeling of isolation. Podcasts have become an essential way to pass the time!


It’s not like podcasts were suddenly invented three years ago and everybody started making one in their basement to pass time. Podcasts have been around since about 2002 according to Google search trends, and they were not extremely popular in their early days. It was considered “a disappointment” by many early investors that didn’t see it as an attention-grabbing venture, and some investors decided to move on to other outlets that were more ‘lucrative’.

The audience for podcasting slowly continued to grow as more podcasts were created and the shows began to have more and more loyal and appreciative followings. The rise of podcasts is an interesting one to discuss as we live in such a sink-or-swim society these days. Chris Sutcliffe, a content publisher at the Advertising Association, believes it all boils down to Amara’s Law, “the idea that we overestimate the impact of technology in the short run and underestimate it in the long run.”

Podcasting seems to have now become an essential way for people to tune in and listen to their favourite shows and series. Many believe the trend of Podcasts took a turn in 2014 when the wildly popular true-crime series “Serial” was released. Bringing the ordinary person right into the middle of a real crime scene.

Casey Fiesler / Flickr

There have been many other podcasts that have contributed to the monumental growth of the podcasting world. Shows such as The Joe Rogan Experience with around 11 million daily listeners, the widely popular Call Her Daddy Podcast by Alexandra Cooper, the infamous Spittin’ Chiclets Podcast that has changed the game in the NHL Media, and even news outlets such as The Daily which sits at #2 on Apple Podcasts. Slowly but surely, the industry has built up its loyal following and now, podcasts are everywhere.

Even us here at BCIT are regularly posting podcasts on a variety of topics! Check them out at the Evolution Podcast Network!


McHappy Day 2022 – Supporting the Ronald McDonald House Charities

ReSurge International / Flickr

Today we celebrate McDonald’s 28th annual McHappy Day, the company’s largest charitable initiative supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and other local children’s charities. On May 11th, head over to your local McDonald’s for a meal, snack, or coffee as every purchase made will be donated to the RMHC and other local charities.

The Ronald McDonald House (RMHC) is a non-profit organization that funds and supports programs that can directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families. RMHC has three core programs that facilitate family care: the Ronald McDonald House, the Ronald McDonald Family Room, and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.

There are so many ways you can support the RMHC and McHappy Day. You can buy your favourite item at any local chain or on online delivery service. You can make a $2 donation with your purchase and receive a McHappy Day Heart. You can also purchase any of the limited-edition McDonald’s Canada x Peace Collective t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other merchandise with a portion of proceeds from every sale going to the RMHC and supporting families with sick children across the country.

If you can’t make it over to the golden arches today, don’t worry, all year long with every purchase at McDonald’s you can “Round Up for RMHC.”  In 2020, RMHC provided about 1.5 million dollars for overnight stays in Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Room programs, saving families more than $440 million in meals and housing costs.

Another awesome way to show support for the RMHC is by listening to and sharing the brand new McHappy Day Mixes on the McDonald’s Canada Spotify. Using the power of music to connect one another, McDonald’s Canada has created a playlist featuring some of the best DJs in Canada to bring some of the happiest mixes from coast to coast.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities are more than just a place to sleep and eat. They support over 1.4 million families, in making it possible to get the medical care and treatment they require, while being able to stay together as a family during stressful and difficult times.