Victoria firm transforms office into Whoville for charity

If you’re looking for the Christmas spirit, you have to see Victoria’s version of Whoville.

The 41 staff at Victoria’s Raymond James Ltd., a financial company at 1000-1175 Douglas St. downtown, have transformed their entire office into the little town that swelled the heart of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, the holiday classic by Dr. Seuss.

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The decorations are extensive and festive, thanks to the capable hands and imaginations of the Belfry Theatre’s set designers. And the motivation behind it all is a big fundraising push for the B.C. Children’s Hospital, which will use the funds to help sick kids across Vancouver Island.

“Everyone in this office is a big believer in giving back to the community ... we all believe it’s worth it,” said branch manager Sybil Verch.

The planning and decorating was months in the making and it’s become a tradition at the local branch of Raymond James. This will be the 11th straight year that the company has decorated its office for Christmas and good causes with past themes including Charles Dickens and Charlie Brown.

The office opened its doors for the fundraising venture on Thursday, with the Grinch there to greet guests. Raymond James is shooting high, hoping to raise between $75,000 and $100,000 for B.C. Children’s Hospital.

The Raymond James Foundation will match all donations dollar for dollar up to an additional $25,000. Every local Raymond James employee is also making a donation and the parent company’s foundation is matching that up to $2,500 per employee.

The public can pop into the offices with their donations and a tour Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Another key and innovative element to the fundraising drive is a partnership with CHEK TV and children’s entertainers Bobs & Lolo, who have created a Christmas music video. Every time the video is viewed, Raymond James will donate $1 to B.C. Children’s Hospital up to $25,000.

The video features children from Vancouver Island who have received treatment at the B.C. Children’s Hospital. There were 2,326 children from the Island treated at the facility in Vancouver in 2012.

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