New tea party honours Victoria tech’s best

Victoria’s technology sector went deep down the rabbit hole Friday night as the Victoria Advanced Technology Council handed out its annual awards in front of about 750 people at the Victoria Conference Centre.

Playing heavily on an Alice in Wonderland theme, VIATeC threw what it called “a new tea party” to honour top performers in the tech sector.

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“What we’re talking about is Victoria has changed a lot,” said VIATeC chief executive Dan Gunn. “Noticeably, in the last five years, we have seen a new generation of community leaders in arts, entrepreneurship and philanthropy that are shaping the city in a new direction.

“But we always like to give a nod to our past and what this city has been built on, and obviously we are famous for our tea, so we saw an opportunity to recognize the new chapter by calling it a new tea party.”

The Conference Centre was packed for the tea party and the 15th annual awards show, which Gunn said is a product of a few things. “The tech sector is getting much more profile, which helps as there is more interest in coming to the event, and we try and make the event entertaining so we can have fun at it, too,” he said. “We do unusual things and we put a lot into production to try and make it a fun night and it’s built a reputation for its irreverence and theatrics and that’s been a draw for people.

“We’re honoured people look forward to it so much.”

The show featured a live band, Gunn hosting the awards in a late-night, talk-show format, and a spoken-word performance from Victoria Coun. Jeremy Loveday backed by guitarist Jesse Roper.

While the show is clearly a draw, the awards also garnered more attention this year with 170 nominees and 50 finalists in 13 categories. “I listened in on some of the judging and it was a tough year to make decisions,” he said.

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