Saanich Peninsula businesses recognized during annual Crystal Awards

For more than 50 years, Art Finlayson has been contributing to his profession and has been doing so on Vancouver Island since 1989.

On Thursday, Oct. 19, Finlayson was recognized for his years of work in the architectural world — as well as his contributions to the community he calls home — at the 11th annual Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Crystal Awards.

The Crystal Awards are all about business excellence among chamber members, recognizing innovation, customer service and contributions to the communities of the Saanich Peninsula. Finlayson, who is partner in Finlayson Bonet Architecture based in Sannichton, lists a variety of local buildings to his professional credit: the SHOAL Centre and Toast building on Bevan Avenue in Sidney and the Tsawout community center and future longhouse are among the work he’s most proud of. Finlayson has had a longcareer in architecture, working with his father, building houses at the age of 13 then venturing off on travel and in education before embarking on a very successful career.

Outside of his professional life, Finlayson was noted for his years a community work: as a director with the Chamber of Commerce; supporter of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation and spare time with the Prairie Boys Sailing Club.

“I’m very proud to be chosen by the Chamber board,” Finalyson said during his acceptance address to the crowd at Butchart Gardens’ Blue Poppy Restaurant. “I’m proud of being included and among such good company.”

Finlayson credited his family with the inspiration to take the direction he did in life and recognized his business partner Silvia Bonet for their good work tougher for the last 17 years.

“I am proud to be a member of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.”

There were plenty of honours handed out at the Crystal Awards — 12 in total.

Keynote speakers on the evening were Karen and Michael Kuzyk, owners of Category 12 Brewing in Central Saanich. For the last three years, the couple have started up a local craft brewery and have seen the business grow to the point where they have close to 10 employees — and some 20 releases this year alone.

A bio-tech scientist by trade Michael found that his was getting a lot of satisfaction in his hobby — home-brewing beer. He was applying his education and experience as a scientist to brewing and the couple decided to make a change.

“We had an illusion of security,” said Karen. “Michael was a researcher and I was training to be a teacher.”

She said having children took them in another direction and when she was ready to go back to work, they both decided to shatter that illusion of security and try something they were both passionate about. So, they decided to open Category 12 — a blend of research, science and brewing — with a hidden VW van in every one of their bottle labels. It’s a vehicle they used to own and have fond memories of.

They opened on Keating Cross Road three years ago, using local suppliers where they could. At that time, Michael said there were 58 craft and other breweries in all of B.C. Today, there are 151, and staying competitive is always top of mind.

“It’s challenging,” Karen added. “But we don’t take anything lightly … there are no half-measures.”

“We try to bring a passion to the work we do,” Michael said, “with the people we do it with.”

“Yet, we feel like we’re still just getting started,” Karen added.

11th annual Crystal Award winners:

• Business of the Year (1-15 employees) – Hook & Hook Renovations

• Business of the Year (16+ employees) – Professional Components

• Not-For-Profit Organization of the Year – O.R.C.C.A. Dental Clinic

• Contribution to the Community – SeaFirst Insurance Brokers – Brentwood Bay

• Green Business of the Year – Raincoast Conservation Foundation

• Newsmaker of the Year – Victoria Airport Authority

• Lifetime Achievement – Art Finlayson

• Entrepreneurial Spirit – Wilson’s Transportation

• New Business of the Year – Flader Business Centre

• Employer of the Year – Peninsula Co-op

• Outstanding Customer Service – Peninsula IDA Pharmacy

• New Product or Service of the Year – Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa

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Art Finlayson was awarded the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award during the 11th Crystal Awards ceremony on Oct.19. (Hugo Wong/News staff)

Marc Bourdon, Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance advisor, and his wife Melissa. (Hugo Wong/News staff)

Telus marketing manager Sean Donnelly with Corry Flader of Flader Business Centre and mayor of Central Saanich Ryan Windsor. (Hugo Wong/News staff)

Robin and Elizabeth Richardson stand with Alexandra Scott of Scott Plastics. (Hugo Wong/News staff)

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