Further announcements regarding COVID-19 measures will continue to be shared here.

Update: May 29, 2020, 8 a.m.

GVHA statement on Transport Canada decision regarding cruise ships in Canada

We support the decision by Transport Canada to suspend cruise for 2020. We look forward to the return of cruise under enhanced health and safety measures during the 2021 season. Health and safety for the community are the top concern for our organization.

We anticipated the suspension of cruise would likely be extended beyond July 1, and proactively forecasted for the loss of revenue in March. This forecasting led us to temporarily lay off 50% of our staff, reduce expenses by close to half, determine deferrals for major capital projects, and increase our focus on additional business development opportunities at the terminal.

Cruise represents 70% of our annual revenues, which supports our operations across all properties, including community amenities such as the Ogden Point Breakwater, Inner Harbour Lower Causeway, Ship Point, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Without cruise revenues in 2020, we will need to explore how we maintain these facilities for community use over the next several years. This will include further deferring capital projects and reducing maintenance and repairs, while not compromising safety.

Beyond our not-for-profit organization, cruise supports 800 indirect and direct jobs in Victoria and contributes more than $130 million to the regional economy each year. We also want to acknowledge that dozens of cruise-related small businesses and their staff members in Greater Victoria are deeply impacted by the loss of cruise this year.

We appreciate the level of support received from tourism and business operators in Victoria, all of whom have been impacted by COVID-19. We are all in this together and we remain committed to working with all cruise partners for the safe return of cruise to Victoria in the future.

This season, we had planned for 300 cruise ship calls and 770,000 passengers between April and October.

Update: May 25, 2020, 8:30 a.m.

Fisherman’s Wharf is open to visitors with COVID-19 measures in place:

  • Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet)
  • Observe directional signage to assist with flow on the ramps
  • If grabbing take-out, please ensure you properly dispose of your packaging
  • Float Home areas on A, B and C docks will remain closed to the public as long as COVID-19 measures remain in place
  • Restaurant seating meets physical distancing guidelines; seating capacities are at roughly 50%
  • Additional seating in common areas may be added as we monitor the flow of people through our facility.

Update: May 21, 10:30 a.m.

The cruise schedule has been updated to reflect the cancellations made by Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruise Line. All July 2020 sailings have now been cancelled. The updated schedule is available here.

Update: May 20, 2020, 10 a.m.

At 10 a.m. this morning, the Ogden Point Breakwater reopened. Please adhere to the physical distancing measures in place when accessing the space:

  • Do not use if you are feeling sick or unwell.  
  • Maintain physical distancing: 2 metres or 6 feet apart.
  • Please remain single file when passing others.  
  • Stay to the right when walking. 
  • Please ensure children and pets are kept close to your group. 
  • Wearing a mask is recommended.  
  • Do not loiter.

Update: May 12, 2020, 4:30 p.m.

Following the announcement of the Government of BC’s Restart Plan and through a determination by its operations team, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) will reopen the Ogden Point Breakwater to users on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 10 a.m.

Users will be asked to adhere to physical distancing measures outlined on signage at the entrance:

  • Do not use if you are feeling sick or unwell.  
  • Maintain physical distancing: 2 metres or 6 feet apart.
  • Please remain single file when passing others.  
  • Stay to the right when walking. 
  • Please ensure children and pets are kept close to your group. 
  • Wearing a mask is recommended.  
  • Do not loiter.

It is important that all users continue to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community. The Breakwater was originally closed on March 24, 2020 after several incidents where community members were seen in close proximity and not adhering to the mandate by the Provincial Health Officer to practice social distancing. GVHA staff may choose to close the space again in the future if measures are not followed by users.

The Ogden Point Breakwater is a community amenity owned and managed by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and is used by more than 450,000 people annually.

Update: May 7, 2020, 10:30 a.m.

Cruise Schedule Updates

GVHA staff continue to update the online schedule as changes and cancellations are announced. Most recently, announcements were made regarding the cancellation of Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Cunard, and Holland America Line calls. These decisions were those of the individual cruise lines and the schedule has been updated to reflect those changes.

Staff continue to work with Transport Canada and Health Canada on the return of cruising when it is safe for everyone, including residents. The nationwide suspension of cruises in Canadian waters are the jurisdiction of Transport Canada. The suspension is currently in place until July 1, 2020.

The Barge at The Breakwater District

In order to comply with the Provincial Health Officer order to limit groups to less than 50 people, The Barge at The Breakwater District will not open for the weekly Friday Nights on The Barge or special events this season. GVHA staff will plan for a reopening in 2021.

Fisherman’s Wharf Distancing Measures

COVID-19 measures will remain in place at Fisherman’s Wharf until further notice. Visitors and users are asked to maintain physical distancing, avoid loitering, and use the facility on a limited basis. Dining will remain as take-out only until the provincial restaurant association updates procedures on dine-in eating. The float home piers at Fisherman’s Wharf remain closed to visitors. These measures will be reviewed as BC’s Restart Plan moves into new phases.

Inner Harbour Marina Operations

Please be advised that Canadian Coast Guard has put out a request for vessels to stay off the water and travel only if it is essential.

All long weekend reservations are suspended until further notice. Staff will re-assess the reservations program as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

GVHA marina operations staff are currently accepting Canadian vessels. In doing so they are asking all clients to respect the physical distancing protocols in place by the Provincial Health Officer. To assist, staff are spacing vessels a safe distance apart and are also extending low season rates.

Staff will be contacting American clients with reservations to provide an update on the current status of mooring possibilities.

Steamship Terminal Operations

Operations remain closed as plans are developed with the individual tenants on their reopening strategies, developed either individually or through their provincial association. GVHA staff will provide updates on reopening when available.

Update: April 28, 2020, 10:30 a.m.

From GVHA CEO Ian Robertson:

Over the past month we reached the milestone of completing our long-awaited mooring dolphin extension. You might recall that our original plan was to have this extension in place for the start of the 2019 cruise season and was then delayed by a year to the start of the 2020 cruise season. How things have changed since the steel was lost at sea in December 2018, let alone since the beginning of this year.

We continue to engage with government partners and cruise lines on plans for the return of cruise. While cruise arrivals remain cancelled under the jurisdiction of Transport Canada until at least July 1, some cruise lines that operate voyages to Alaska have further reduced their planned sailings for 2020. Our cruise schedule is updated regularly to reflect these changes. I want to assure you that every decision around welcoming any inbound vessels to the Victoria Cruise Terminal will be guided by federal and provincial medical professionals and regulatory bodies.
 
As I have said numerous times, cruise makes up close to 70% of our annual revenues, meaning that our organization needs to look at deferring capital projects and maintenance on some of the city’s most-loved places. While we are hopeful for a return to a situation where we can continue to reinvest in spaces such as the Ogden Point Breakwater and the Inner Harbour Lower Causeway, the timeline for those projects remains uncertain. Our long-term reinvestment strategy will be redeveloped over the next several months.
 
To support the commercial operators on our properties, we created a short-term rent deferral program for April and May. We are also reviewing how the Government of Canada’s Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses applies to our organization, and subsequently to our clients. We will work through these challenging times with all our partners and clients and will, in time, rebuild the businesses that sustain the facilities we share.
 
With adversity and challenges come innovation. I want to thank the commercial operators at Fisherman’s Wharf who are working on new ways to serve their customers. Whether it is helping to enforce physical distancing while waiting for meals, using online platforms for contactless payment, or taking orders by phone these businesses are helping to lead the way forward and setting the stage for an eventual return to a broader ‘open for business’ state at this facility.
 
Finally, I wanted to let you know that we will be extending our corporate office closure and maintaining our current remote/work from home plans so that we align with the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer. This means that we will keep the office closed until at least Tuesday, May 19.

Update: April 17, 2020, 9 a.m.

Fisherman’s Wharf

This week, we have installed increased signage at Fisherman’s Wharf to ensure people practice safe distancing and help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Fisherman’s Wharf remains open to limited service from some restaurants. To assist with their individual efforts, we have several measures in place to ensure health and safety.

If you are picking up a take-out only order, please ensure that you proceed on ramps only when they are clear, maintain distancing (6 feet/2 metres apart), and do not loiter. Restaurants are open for take out only. There is no public seating available at this time.

#BreakwaterLove Contest

Between now and May 15, share and tag your favourite photo of the Ogden Point Breakwater with #breakwaterlove on Instagram or Facebook to be entered to win one of three gift cards for amazing, locally owned restaurants: Barb’s Fish & ChipsBreakwater Cafe & Bistro, and Pirate Pizza Co.

Entries will be drawn at random to choose our three winners at the end of the contest period.

Did you know that the Ogden Point Breakwater is one of several community amenities owned and managed by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority? With revenues from cruise and other operations, we reinvest them back into our community amenities like the Breakwater, Inner Harbour Lower Causeway, and Ship Point.

We love the Ogden Point Breakwater as much as the community. We look forward to reopening the facility when distancing requirements are relaxed by the Provincial Health Officer. For now, let’s all do our part and help flatten the curve.

Update: April, 2, 2020, 12 p.m.

Following the Provincial Health Officer’s orders, direction from government partners, and subsequent changes to operations, GVHA has put on hold any public events on our properties until further notice. This is inclusive of the popular Inner Harbour Summer Line Up on the lower causeway and events at The Breakwater District at Ogden Point.

Several Fisherman’s Wharf operators have suspended operations and the Steamship Terminal remains closed. It is our hope that, with efforts to flatten the curve and spread of COVID-19, these operators will be able to re-open when the global and local situations improve.

On March 27, GVHA made the difficult decision to temporarily lay off 23 staff, or 47% of our organization. The leadership team continues to explore financial scenarios and models.

Government announcements and how they may impact GVHA continue to be monitored and explored. This includes various federal funding programs and provincial relief supports, such as BC Hydro billing deferment. It is our hope that the organization will qualify for some program funding and pass that on to our valued customers.

Update: March 23, 2020, 2 p.m.

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) has made the decision to close the Ogden Point Breakwater effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 7 a.m.

Gates and signage will be installed on the upper walkway level notifying residents of the closure. The lower oceanfront level will see the installation of signage instructing people to avoid the area.

This decision comes after several incidents where community members were seen in close proximity and not adhering to the mandate by the Provincial Health Officer to practice social distancing. While the Breakwater is wide enough for the public to practice social distancing, it wasn’t being practiced by all visitors.

“We own and operate the Ogden Point Breakwater and it is one of the most high-profile community assets we steward,” said Ian Robertson, CEO of GVHA. “We typically see more than 450,000 people use the walkway each year. With the recent sunny weather, tied in with the impact of COVID-19, we unfortunately didn’t see those numbers slow down. While it is a difficult decision to close a space that Victorians love, this is in the best interest of our collective health and safety and our requirement to help flatten the curve.”

Maintenance on the Ogden Point Breakwater is a routine service by the GVHA with sweeps for garbage and safety being done several times each day. This will be reduced during this closure and the Breakwater will be maintained on an essential service only.

GVHA will continue to monitor their other public-facing properties such as the Inner Harbour Lower Causeway, Ship Point, and Fisherman’s Wharf. At Fisherman’s Wharf, the ramp gate leading to the float homes has been closed and the three fingers where the float homes are situated are stanchioned off. Visitors to the food and beverage businesses that are offering take out services only are directed to the middle ramp for access.

Decisions on additional closures and operations changes will be made on a daily basis as the need arises.

Update: March 20, 2020, 11 a.m.

A reminder regarding our facilities, including the Ogden Point Breakwater, Inner Harbour Lower Causeway, Ship Point, and Fisherman’s Wharf.

While these facilities remain open, please be aware that maintenance and servicing is reduced at this time.

Please maintain social distancing as directed by the Provincial Health Officer.

We are very thankful that the weather is beautiful in Victoria and everyone is eager to get outside, but we can only flatten the curve if we adhere to social distancing.

Update: March 19, 2020, 1 p.m.

Please note that, as a result of COVID-19, the GVHA marinas – Causeway, Ship Point, Wharf Street, Johnson Street, and Hyack – will no longer be accepting any new American boaters due to the requirement or all visitors from the USA to self-isolate for 14 days, and for marina staff to maintain social distancing protocol as outlined by the Provincial Health Officer.

This will include any confirmed reservations going forward, until further notice. This will be in line with the upcoming closure of the Canada/USA border to non-trade traffic, which is likely to begin the evening of Friday, March 20.

Update: March 16, 2020, 10 a.m.

Our offices will be closed to the public until further notice, responding to the requirements and recommendations from the B.C. Provincial Health Officer and the Government of Canada to practice social distancing.

Our teams will be utilizing our work from home opportunities where possible, while maintaining essential services at our facilities.

To get in touch with our team over the next while, please use one of these methods:

  • Corporate Phone: 250.383.8300 (M-F 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
  • Corporate Email: gvha@gvha.ca (Checked during week days)
  • Marina Inquires & Reservations Phone: 250-383-8326 (M-F 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; S-S 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Marina VHF: 66A

Update: March 13, 2020, 5:30 p.m.

Following the decision by Transport Canada to suspend the cruise season across Canada until July 1, 2020, for vessels capable of holding more than 500 passengers and crew, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority will incorporate this directive to include all cruise vessels of any size at the Victoria Cruise Terminal and their Inner Harbour facilities. 

This decision is also based on the guidance from the Provincial Health Office requiring that the public avoid gatherings of 250 people or more and the request for people who have visited the United States to self-quarantine for 14 days. As a not-for-profit community organization with board members representing various partners, this decision is also based on the need to put the health and safety of Victorians first. 

We will communicate this decision to our cruise partners and terminal operators over the next few days. Further information regarding COVID-19 and its impacts on port operations in Victoria will continue to be shared at gvha.ca.

Update: March 13, 2020, 9 a.m.

Effective today, Transport Canada has suspended the cruise season across Canada until July 1, 2020.

We respect the decision by the Government of Canada in putting health and safety of Canadians first. We will work to engage with our cruise partners and terminal operators to comply with the decision.

In dealing with the impact of COVID-19, the health and safety of everyone is always our top concern. While this will have a negative economic impact on our organization and numerous small businesses and operators in Greater Victoria, we ask that Victorians continue to support dialogue, collaboration, and community through these unprecedented times.

We will remain engaged with Transport Canada, agencies, and other ports across Canada as these regulations are implemented.

Further information regarding COVID-19 and its impacts on port operations in Victoria will continue to be shared here.

The 2020 cruise schedule will continue to be updated as changes occur and is available here.

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