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B.C. pitches in on Greater Victoria region's Juno Awards bid

May 01 2012

The B.C. government has committed $1.5 million in an effort to bring the Juno Awards to Greater Victoria in 2014.

Ida Chong, B.C. minister of community, sport and cultural development, made the commitment Monday - a critical part of the bid process. The government money would pay for about half the cost of the music awards show if it is staged in the capital city.

"The province is fully supporting the bid to host the Junos in 2014 here in Victoria," Chong said.

The Capital Region Music Awards Society is shepherding the Victoria bid, submitting it to the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which produces the annual music industry event.

No funds will be paid out in the event Victoria is not awarded the Junos.

Victoria is expected to be a strong contender, in part because of its mild weather. In previous years, the Junos - usually staged in March or April - have been complicated by severe winter conditions.

"It's a great event, and I think Victoria would be an awesome city for it," said Victoria's Nick Blasko, a two-time Juno nominee and member of the Victoria bid committee. "It seems like no question we have the facilities to do it."

The recording academy will begin evaluating bids in September and is expected to announce the 2014 host city before the end of the year.

The annual music industry festival features events spread over a week, culminating with a nationally televised concert and awards show.

This year's Juno Awards telecast from Ottawa netted 1.6 million viewers when it aired April 1.

The 2009 Juno Awards were held in Vancouver.

"We know in 2009 when it was hosted in Vancouver there was an economic benefit as a result of that, and I believe there will still be that economic benefit coming to Victoria," Chong said. "If all the local communities participate in it, I think they will all find there is something to be gained."

The province's investment is conditional on the support of all 13 Greater Victoria municipalities.

That goal is close to being met, organizers said. In addition to municipal contributions, which are targeted at $450,000, an additional $450,000 (in kind and in capital) could come from the private sector.

In the event Victoria is awarded the Junos for 2014, money pledged would come from the 2013-2014 budgets of each municipality.

Organizers said that assembling the bid has not cost the volunteer group any money.

To date, Vancouver is the only B.C. city to host the awards. That city has done so three times, most recently in 2009. St. John's, Nfld., a city with an arena comparable in size to Victoria's Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, hosted the awards in 2002 and 2010. Regina, also with a comparable arena, is the host city in 2013.

"I have a lot of first-hand experience with the event itself, having attended over the years as both an attendee and nominee," Blasko said. "I know how it looks and feels. And it's about time that it happened here."

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

rshaw@timescolonist.com

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