Oak Bay Village real estate agents ready to compete in the annual Realtor Food Bank Challenge, from left, Nancy Stratton and Emily Moyes from The Agency, Mark Gutnecht and Krista Voitchovsky from Engel & Volkers, and Tony Joe from Re/Max, and in front, Rebecca Barritt from The Agency. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Oak Bay Village real estate agents ready to compete in the annual Realtor Food Bank Challenge, from left, Nancy Stratton and Emily Moyes from The Agency, Mark Gutnecht and Krista Voitchovsky from Engel & Volkers, and Tony Joe from Re/Max, and in front, Rebecca Barritt from The Agency. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Virtual Santa brings smiles to an even brighter Oak Bay Village this winter

Food drive challenge returns to village

There won’t be a Christmas Light Up or a Winter Market, but there will be more lights than ever in Oak Bay Village and a food drive.

There is also a new Oak Bay specific smart-phone app called #playmagic.

“People are going to love it. You find the sign in the village, which will move around, and once you’re near it you can open the app and invite a virtual visit from Santa,” said Heather Leary of the Business Improvement Association.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay real estate agents rekindle annual food fight

The app features games and selfies with Santa that use the village as the background.

“It’s something that we looked at in previous years and since we were unable to do the regular events this year, this is something that people can enjoy in the village,” Leary said.

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases forced the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association to cancel its winter market series that was slated to start this weekend.

“We had hoped to do a drive-through format but even that isn’t going to work right now,” Leary said.

However, the annual Realtor Food Bank Challenge that pits real estate agencies in the village against each other is back.

Engel & Volkers, RE/MAX Camosun and The Agency are competing in the 2020 Realtor Food Bank Challenge with a goal of collecting 5,000 pounds of food. Cash donations are also accepted and all of it goes to The Mustard Seed Food Bank.

READ ALSO: No Halloween, Christmas events in the Village

Drop off points are open at the three offices plus one more at Oak Bay municipal hall from Dec. 1 to 7.

“Even though we can’t offer our usual celebrations this year there are still ways to come together to make the community stronger,” said Martin Cownden, president of the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association. “With the Food Bank Challenge and an open-air collection box we can give something back while still keeping people safe.”

Members of the Island Equipment Owners Association will be assisting with collecting, weighing and delivering the food as a way to give back in lieu of the annual Lighted Truck Parade.

Donations can be dropped off at The Agency, 2185 Theatre Lane, Engel & Volkers, 2249 Oak Bay Ave., RE/MAX Camosun, 2239 Oak Bay Ave., and municipal hall at 2167 Oak Bay Ave. (starting Dec. 1).

reporter@oakbaynews.com