Vancouver the top economic performer in Canada: Conference Board

Plus, an early wine harvest and more weed woes

Supercharged spending
The Conference Board of Canada says Vancouver is the top economic performer among Canadian cities, “whose strength in manufacturing, construction, and the services sector will support GDP growth of 3.4 per cent in 2015.” Manufacturing is expected to grow by 8.6 per cent in 2015, buoyed by a multi-billion-dollar contract to build non-combat ships for the federal government at Seaspan’s North Vancouver site. B.C. also rules, due to rising house prices, low gasoline prices and low interest rates. This, plus spending at restaurants and bars was up 7 per cent in the first half of 2015, according to the latest provincial sales forecast from Royal Bank of Canada—and that’s following a record-breaking 2014. Tourism kicked in too, the report continues, with the weaker dollar and the FIFA Women’s World Cup event in July.

Grape expectations
This year’s wine grape harvest began on August 12, a record early date for picking wine grapes in the province, according to an industry press release. The early spring and long, dry summer caused the B.C. wineries that produce sparkling wines to pick three weeks ahead of schedule. Some local winemakers predict that due to the high number of sunny, optimal growing days, 2015 will be the vintage of the century. This despite fears that B.C. wildfires (also a banner year, and for all the same reasons) might infuse the grapes with a smoky aroma. No worries, there. Experts say none has been found to date. 
High hopes
Over 175 applied for licenses to dispense medical marijuana in Vancouver, but many won’t make the cut as the City of Vancouver moves toward regulation of the industry. Though over 100 dispensaries are doing business in Vancouver, the city only needs 15 to 20 dispensaries to meet the need, according to Councillor Kerry Jang. The rest can expect to be weeded out, based on bylaws that require clean criminal records and ban operating 300 metres from schools, community centres and other dispensaries. Local dispensaries say they won’t go down without a fight, which means we can expect months and months of red tape for the green stuff. (via The Canadian Press)