When the Victoria Foundation released its 2022 Victoria’s Vital Signs report earlier this month, the annual community check-up shared insights about the vitality of our region as seen through the eyes of residents.
Through a citizen survey, grades are assigned in issue areas ranging from housing and cost of living to transportation and the environment.
But sometimes you want to look at the numbers driving the grade.
To allow the community to delve a little deeper into these topics, last year the Foundation launched the Vital Victoria Data Hub, which operates as a digital companion to the annual Vital Signs report.
Here, Vital Victoria explores more than 70 indicators on quality of life in Greater Victoria, linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and allows far greater tracking than would be possible in a printed report.
For example, through the Data Hub’s Arts and Culture tab, we learn that Victoria has a higher proportion of people employed in the arts, culture and recreation than in Canada as a whole – likely reflected in our “B” grade in this area in the Vital Signs report, since artists are key to an artistically and culturally strong community.
However, the Housing tab reveals that while Greater Victoria’s average rental costs in 2000 were initially comparable to the rest of Canada, in 2007 they began to rise at a higher rate. In 2021, the average rent was pegged at $1,332, compared to $1,134 for Canada as a whole.
And that, in conjunction with factors like inflation, real estate costs and the pandemic, contributed to the community’s first-ever failing grade: an “F’ for housing.
“When we asked the question ‘What does community mean to you?’ we heard a range of answers that not only inspired us but made us pause and think about how we can work together to make our community even better,” says Sandra Richardson, CEO of Victoria Foundation.
“The report makes it clear we face significant issues in Greater Victoria, especially around housing and cost of living. With so many people struggling, it’s more important than ever to work collectively to find solutions that work for everyone.”
Other key issue areas to explore through Vital Victoria include: Our Community, Economy, Environmental Sustainability, Getting Started, Health and Wellness, Learning, Safety and Standard of Living.
In addition to the historical data, Vital Victoria also features a variety of useful tools, including definitions for the different indicators, data sources and web links, reports related to the indicators and issue areas, the Sustainable Development Goals they relate to, and a link to this year’s Vital Signs report.
What Does Community Mean to You?
Beyond the data-driven nuts and bolts behind Victoria’s Vital Signs, the Vital Victoria hub also offers space for reflection, including in a feature article on the 2022 Vital Signs theme.
Here, three community leaders reflect on what community means to them: Dr. Grace Wong Sneddon, who grew up near Victoria’s Fan Tan Alley, is a strong advocate for many communities throughout Greater Victoria, and draws on her own experiences to guide, lead and educate. Patrick Kelly shares his perspective on community filtered through a lens of parenthood, with significant influence from his connection to traditional First Nations teachings. And Carly Milloy, who was born and raised in Victoria, considers community in terms of her professional networks, in addition to how the community supports her family and how her family gives back.