While known as a beautiful coastal destination, Victoria is so much more. It's a progressive city, managing its rapid growth with smart development and strategic solutions to ensure a sustainable and inclusive future. What lessons can we learn from Victoria's lead? Four people who are deeply ingrained in the area’s design community tell us everything we need to know about this exceptional city.
Principal, Aryze Developments
With more than 15 years of experience in real estate as a land economist and urban planner (RPP) (MCIP), Luke Mari is an advocate for diverse housing in all neighborhoods and data-informed development. As an engaging thought leader, he has participated in more than 30 national and international housing panels and was a contributing stakeholder in the development of CMHC’s Missing Middle Solutions Lab, and subsequent Innovation Lab.
Working as a Director of Planning and Approving Officer with a leading local government in the Greater Victoria region—and with experience serving as a Real Estate Analyst for two BC Ministries—Mari brings extensive experience at the local, regional and provincial levels of government. Mari also serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Victoria Housing Society.
Ann Squires Ferguson
CEO, Western Design+Build
A proponent of diversity in the construction industry, Ann Squires Ferguson helms Western Design+Build, a woman-owned and -lead commercial design-build company. She is ardent about uplifting those around her, and has instituted a rigorous mentoring structure into her business.
Ferguson is the past chair of the Interior Designers Institute of BC, Vancouver Island Chapter, and has led Western Design Build’s engagement in pro bono projects for local non-profits, serving Cool Aid, Our Place, GVHS, the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Society, and Habitat for Humanity. An ovarian cancer survivor, Ferguson fundraises and advocates for research and early detection through Ovarian Cancer Canada and the BC Cancer Foundation. She serves on the board of The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and is a founding member of the chamber’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Advancement) Committee.
Architect and principal,
Practicing in Victoria for more than two decades, Erica Sangster has contributed to a wide range of commercial, residential, and institutional buildings in the capital region. She is also an active volunteer in the design community as a studio instructor and a director on the Gorge View Housing Society Board. Sangster has a passion for urban community building and human-centered design.
Danielle Pope believes every home has a story to tell. As editor of SPRUCE, Victoria's home and design magazine, Pope covers design, building, renovations, and remodeling projects. While passionate about the esthetics of design, she is most captivated by the stories of the people who live in those homes and how they choose their surroundings.
Known as “The Story Midwife,” Pope is a writer, editor, and writing coach who leads writing workshops and retreats to help people find their voice. She earned her degree in writing from the University of Victoria, and has been a journalist in Canada for nearly two decades.