Over $101,000 Raised in the 2020 Festival of Trees

The Victoria Festival of Trees is a cherished community tradition that transforms the Bay Centre into a lush forest of beautifully decorated trees in an effort to raise funds for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The Victoria Festival of Trees is a cherished community tradition that transforms the Bay Centre into a lush forest of beautifully decorated trees in an effort to raise funds for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Donations to the event help provide the best care imaginable for sick and injured kids from across the province, including the 3,300 kids from Vancouver Island who visit BC Children’s Hospital each year for specialized care they often can’t get anywhere else.

Despite the unprecedented challenges due the COVID-19 pandemic, and thanks to the generous support of local sponsors and volunteers from the community, the 2020 Festival of Trees raised more than $101,046 for the BC Children’s Hospital! These funds will help fund the research, technologies, and kid-focused care needed to conquer childhood illnesses and create a better future for children across  British Columbia.

Congratulations to all the sponsors and participants for helping the Festival of Trees raise over $101,000 in funds to continue supporting children’s health in British Columbia!

To learn more, visit the Festival of Trees website.

29th Annual Festival of Trees Victoria

The 29th Annual Festival of Trees Victoria is happening Nov 19, 2020 – Jan 5, 2021. The Bay Centre Victoria has been transformed into a lush forest of beautifully hand-decorated trees done by local sponsors, businesses and organizations to raise funds for the BC’s Children’s Hospital.

The 29th Annual Festival of Trees Victoria is happening Nov 19, 2020 – Jan 5, 2021. The Bay Centre Victoria has been transformed into a lush forest of beautifully hand-decorated trees done by local sponsors, businesses and organizations to raise funds for the BC’s Children’s Hospital. Guests can bring their loved ones, marvel in the magic of Victoria’s community spirit and vote for their favorite tree. Visit the Bay Centre Victoria website for holiday hours.

Donate to vote for our U-Lock tree and help raise money for the BC Children’s Hospital by texting TREE014 to 45678, or visit our Fundraising Page to make a donation. 

Your support will help provide the best care imaginable for sick and injured kids from across the province, including the 3,300 kids from Vancouver Island who visit BC Children’s Hospital each year for specialized care they often can’t get anywhere else.

Water Bottle Label Design Contest

Attention all artists, graphic designers, doodlers and the all around creatives, we need you to design our water bottle! Moving is hard work, that’s why we always have a cold water available to our tenants when they need to quench their thirst. Want to see your artwork on water bottles across all U-Lock Mini Storage locations? Submit your design for a chance to win!

The design is totally up to you! You can create just about anything your crazy imagination can conjure up. 

Contest Rules:

  • Your design must be an original design (do not use copyrighted material, trademarks, service marks, or artwork)
  • Include the U-Lock Mini Storage logo.
  • Please design your artwork using the water bottle template (download below):

    Download the 500ML SMOOTH SHAPE Water Bottle Label

You can either print out the template and hand draw your design or submit any of the following formats:

  • PDF (preferred)
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Acrobat

The U-Lock Mini Storage Water Bottle Design Contest will run from now until July, 15, 2020. Please submit your artwork to contests@selfstorage.ca or drop-off your submission to any U-Lock location. The winner will have their design printed on water bottles that will be handed out across all U-Lock Mini Storage locations and be rewarded with a stainless steel water bottle with their design on it! 

Once all entries are received, our staff will pick and vote for their favorite. The design that receives the most votes will be named the winner. The winner of the contest will be announced on after July 15, 2020.

U-Lock Mini Storage logos!

Need some inspiration to get started? Check out the designs from our last contest winners!

2020 IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s

The IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s is Canada’s biggest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, taking place in more than 400 communities across the country.

The IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s is Canada’s biggest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, taking place in more than 400 communities across the country. In 2019, Canadians participating in the Walk raised an amazing $6.2 million. These funds go toward local programs and services that improve the quality of life for people living with dementia and their families in our communities and support awareness and education about dementia.

U-Lock Mini Storage is pleased to be a sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Walk this year. The Walk was originally to take place on May 3rd but has been rescheduled to May 31st at 9:30 am. Due to COVID-19, the Walk is now a Virtual Walk in which participants can follow virtually or create their own walk (i.e. around their house, around their neighborhood).

Don, from our White Rock location, and his team are raising money in support of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. by participating in the online IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s on Sunday, May 31.

To visit their donation page, please click here.

If you can, please donate today and help Don and his team reach their fundraising goal! By supporting their team, you are helping the Alzheimer Society of B.C. continue to make a difference in the lives of people affected by dementia.

Thank you again for your generous commitment and support!

Statement regarding COVID – 19

To our valued Customers,

We wish to advise you that we remain open at this delicate time.

U-Lock Mini Storage takes the health and well-being of our staff, customers, and tenants very seriously. As such, we continue to monitor the COVID -19 situation very closely. We are following all federal, provincial and local advisories and doing what we need to keep everyone safe. 

We have increased cleaning in all areas of our facilities and offices, paying specific attention to areas that are frequently used by our customers including but not limited to pin pads, doorknobs, elevators, and handcarts. Rest assured we are doing everything we can to stop the transmission of the illness. We have implemented a special contingency plan for staff and offer them the support to stay home if they are not feeling well to prevent the spread of any viruses.

Please remember that payments can be made over the phone or via our website www.selfstorage.ca. If you require any assistance with accessing your account online please contact us.

We wish you well and ask that you stay safe, enjoy time with family and support each other as well as our local community and businesses.


Your U-Lock Team 

2019 Best Festive Holiday Events

Looking for new ways to celebrate the holidays with your friends and family? Here’s a list of our top picks of fun holiday activities to get you into the holiday spirit! 


Take your family and friends over to the Morningstar Farm for a good ol’ fashioned Christmas celebration. There will be wagon rides, live music, storytelling and crafts. The Knockananna Grill will be serving fresh poutine, cheese & wine samples and pairings, free popcorn, marshmallow roasting, and hot chocolate.

  • When: Saturday, Dec 14th from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.
  • Cost: $5.00 | Children under two: FREE

Walk the lighted grounds of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre and enjoy a fabulous display of laser lights, hot chocolate and even a visit from Santa himself.

  • When: Fridays & Saturdays Dec 6th – 21st from 6pm – 8pm. 
  • Cost: Adults: $5.00 | Children (under 12): FREE. Admission is by pre-purchase only. Buy tickets online.


Check out this annual family festival of lights and music in the Gardens. Wander lighted trails through the forest and visit the Teddy’s Bear cottage, Santa’s Den, and Gingerbread House display. Visit the Milner House and discover the Storytelling Room, Christmas Gift Shop, the Camellia Tea Room, and listen to local musicians in the Dining Room. 

  • When: Dec 6th – 8th | 13th – 15th | 18th – 22nd from 5pm – 8:30pm
  • Cost:  Entry is by donation.

Enjoy special lighting & decor in this magical skating event happening at the Oceanside Place Arena in Parksville.

  • When: Dec 14th – 31st
  • Cost: Click here for the public skating schedule of free skating events.

Join Nanaimo Parks & Rec in a skate with Santa, prizes, draws and some hot chocolate and treats.

  • When: Dec 18th from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the Frank Crane Arena 
  • Cost: Regular admission rates apply
  • When: Dec 20th from 3:45 – 5:15 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre
  • Cost: FREE event courtesy of Coast Capital Savings


Enjoy 12 nights of holiday magic aboard the Christmas Express, a 1910 locomotive, and travel through thousands of twinkling lights across 100 aces of woods at the BC Discovery Centre.

  • When: Dec 6th – Dec 8th | Dec 13th – Dec 15th | Dec 18th – Dec 23rd 
  • Cost:  Adults: $14.00 | Children: $12.00 | Children 2 and under: FREE


The Festival of Trees is happening until at the Bay Centre in Victoria, BC. Tour a forest of hand-decorated trees done by local sponsors, businesses and organizations. Donate to vote for your favourite tree and help raise money for the BC Children’s Hospital. 

  • When: Now – Jan 6, 2020
  • Cost: Click here to donate to the BC Children’s Hospital 

Join us in helping BC’s kids by donating to our fundraising campaign by donating online or texting TREE014 to 45678. 

Stroll through the Twelve Days of Christmas display, have a cheerful time under colorful lights, sing along with carollers, or lace up your skates and step onto the outdoor rink. Then warm up by the fire with a hot chocolate at the Coffee Shop. 

  • When: Now – Jan 6, 2020
  • Cost: Adult: $27.95 | Youth (13-17) $14.00 | Child (5-12) $3.00. Buy online.

The first-ever Lights of Wonder takes place at Centennial Square. This outdoor event features themed light exhibits, four interactive light tunnels, and a 40-foot festive tree. With free admission and for all ages, Lights of Wonder offers live entertainment, warm nibbles, and magical light displays.

  • When: Dec 13th – Dec 30th
  • Cost: FREE


The eight tallest Christmas trees in the world?! – the 30-ton Douglas firs of Treetops Adventure receive the star treatment. Be amazed by hundreds of thousands of lights throughout the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, the rainforest and canyon.

  • When: Now – Jan 26th, 2020 
  • Cost: Family Passes (at the gate): $109.00 | Buy online: $99.00.

The 10th Anniversary Vancouver Christmas Market features more than 80 huts of German sweets, treats, and treasures.

  • When: Now – Dec 26th 
  • Cost: $8 Early Bird Admission (at the gate) on Weekdays before 2pm | Buy tickets online.

Experience Canada Largest Winter Festival at Hastings Park/PNE. Escape to a hidden village with a beautiful skating rink, a tube park, massive light displays, a Christmas Market, amusement rides, food gardens, magical characters, and much more. 

  • When: On select nights now through January 5, 2020 (closed on Dec 3, 4, 10, & 11th)
  • Cost: Buy tickets online


Original Legends of Rock N’ Roll presents Holly Jolly Christmas, a tribute to Buddy Holly, Elvis and Brenda Lee. 

  • When: Dec 18th at 7:30pm
  • Cost: $49.00

Prom Closet Nanaimo’s Annual Boutique Event

For many, the high school prom is a once in a lifetime celebration that marks a milestone between childhood and adulthood (it’s a big deal!).

Prom Closet Nanaimo Boutique Event

Event: Annual Boutique Event

Where: By appointment

When: March 7th, 8th, & 9th

Cost: Free

ContactJoan Hiemstra

Event WebsiteProm Closet Nanaimo

For many, the high school prom is a once in a lifetime celebration that marks a milestone between childhood and adulthood (it’s a big deal!). Students are able to dress to the nines, take countless pictures with their best friends, and dance the night away. It is anticipated by many as one of the most memorable experiences in high school. The truth is, the days leading up to the night of glitz n’ glam are just as memorable as students search for the perfect attire to express their style on the big night. Unfortunately, this process can be extremely costly and stressful as prom dresses can average anywhere between $100-$1000 and tuxedo rentals from $100-$250. The volunteers at Prom Closet Nanaimo, however, offer students a different experience that they won’t find in-store by showing that this rite of passage does not always have to mean emptying your wallet. They make sure that no graduating student in Mid Vancouver Island communities are left out of the end-of-the-year celebrations by offering them formal wear free of charge.

Joan Hiemstra

“We are levelling the playing field for so many students,” said Prom Closet coordinator Joan Hiemstra. “They are welcomed to a low-pressure environment where price tags do not exist. This is especially important for those girls that are experiencing anxiety over the expectations of prom or wearing formal wear for the first time.”

What does Prom Closet Nanaimo Offer?

Prom Closet Nanaimo

Students can visit Prom Closet Nanaimo at their upcoming Boutique Event, or by appointment, to view over 500 dresses and gowns in storage in a variety of lavish colors, glimmering rhinestones, beads, and styles without the worry of a price tag. Students will be met by volunteers that will serve as personal assistants to help students find their perfect outfit, including making any necessary alternations, if needed. There are also tuxedos, suits, shirts, purses, jewelry, and wraps, all free for graduating students.

Why visit Prom Closet Nanaimo?

One of the leading reasons students visit Prom Closet Nanaimo, according to Joan Hiemstra, is because “they cannot justify the costs for a 1-day event, especially at a time they are trying to save up for tuition and college. One dress could equal tuition for an entire course.” The Prom Closet Nanaimo’s goal is to continue see it become more socially acceptable for girls to recycle and redesign second-hand dresses. To them, prom is about embracing the experience and having fun, not getting tied up in expectations, unfair pressures, and spending money.

Is Prom Closet Nanaimo only open to Nanaimo students?

“[Prom Closet Nanaimo] have served students from every single high school in Nanaimo, both private and public. All for totally different reasons,” says Joan. Despite their name, however, the volunteers are happy to serve students from all over, not just Vancouver Island. “Even though we’re called ‘Prom Closet Nanaimo,’ we are happy to accept any graduating student from anywhere.”

Prom Closet Nanaimo cares about finding students the right dress, even if that means exploring outside their own inventory. Volunteers are happy to work with other similar organizations, and have on several occasions through sharing referrals, gowns and other inventory, to ensure a student finds their perfect dress.

What’s new happening with Prom Closet Nanaimo?

Joan Hiemstra continues to find new ways to help students perfect their formal wear for their style. That is why in 2018 she started a new program for students to redesign plain and prom dresses with the help of a sewing teacher.

How can I contribute to Prom Closet Nanaimo?

With over 500 dresses in a continuously growing inventory, Prom Closet Nanaimo has enough dresses to go around, they just need more students to fill them. When asked what challenges Prom Closet Nanaimo currently face, Joan says, “it’s not the dresses, we have an amazing assortment of dresses because people are very happy to work with us and are very generous, it’s reaching the students and getting our name out there.” If you know somebody graduating soon, help spread the word by visiting the Prom Closet Nanaimo Facebook page and sharing their page!

Prom Closet Nanaimo would not exist if it were not for the volunteers. If you are looking to contribute, there are several options for volunteering with Prom Closet Nanaimo, and all of them are essential to the success of the program. For more information on how you can volunteer, click here.

As a non-for-profit organization, the continued success of the program relies on donations. If you have any clothing, accessories, or event items and supplies that you would like to donate, Prom Closet Nanaimo accepts donations year round. For more information, including drop-off locations, click here.

The Prom Closet Nanaimo Boutique Event will be held March 7th, 8th, and 9th 2019.

Appointments are needed in advance. For more information on how you can make your appointment, click here

Moving with Pets

Transitioning to a new home can be stressful for anyone, including your pets. Unexpected activity in the home, sudden changes in routine, family members coming and going, and new environments can easily make your pets feeling anxious. It is not easy to move with animals, but with forethought and planning, you can make sure that your move goes smoothly for both you and your precious furry cargo.

Before the move

As you get closer to the move, your schedule gets more hectic. With such a busy schedule to manage, your pet’s feeding times start to vary, they receive less attention and exercise, and spend more and more time behind closed doors or inside kennels. During this time, it is important to be on the lookout for possible stress-induced behavioral changes, which may include a lack of appetite, whining, listlessness, or accidents in the house. When you are at the pre-move stage,

  • Try to maintain consistency in your pet’s usual feeding schedule.
  • Give them attention and play with them when you can.
  • Take them out of the house. Whenever possible, give them a break from the craziness inside the house and take them for a walk or in the car with you during open houses.

Pet Preparation

Plan and prepare a pet travel bag. No need to go overboard, just make sure you pack the basics to cover your trip: your pet’s favorite food and treats, at least a gallon of water, a pet first aid kit, and some extra towels in case of accidents. Make temporary ID tags and put them around your pet’s collar and include: your name, destination address, and the phone number you can be reached at. After your move, make sure that you update the agency that has your pet’s ear tattoo or microchip information with the new address and required information.

Traveling by vehicle tips

If your pet’s only exposure to a carrier was the day you brought them home, or only time spent in the car is during trips to the vet, then you will want to start to acclimate them a few weeks prior to the move. Place your pet’s carrier somewhere in the house where they can interact with it daily. Place their favorite blanket or toy inside and praise them every time they go inside it. Pet carriers should be large enough for the animal to comfortably stand, lie down, and turn around. Your carrier should be appropriate to the species of animal that is traveling, so if you are unsure, inquire with your veterinarian about what type of carrier you may need. 

  • Cats and small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and birds should be confined to a hard-sided carrier. Ensure there is enough room on either side of the carrier for ventilation. It is recommended that you use a sheet or light blanket to cover the carrier for the first few hours of the trip. After a few hours, your pets should relax, and the sheet or blanket can be removed.
  • You may choose to either confine your dog in a kennel or restrain them. You can attach safety harnesses to any seat belt, which allows them to sit or stand comfortably, or setup a mesh or metal safety gate to allow them more mobility. It is important to restrain your dog before you embark on your trip because an agitated dog can be a dangerous distraction to the driver.
  • Watch the weather. Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly rise or drop in extreme hot and cold weather, which can cause your pets to suffer, or even die. Animals should not be kept inside vehicles for long periods of time. If you need to leave your pet inside your vehicle for a short period of time, ensure that you leave the windows a little bit open, enough to create a cross-breeze, and your pet has access to fresh water.

Traveling by plane tips

It is a good idea to visit your vet to check the health of your pet before any long trips to ensure they are fit for travel. Ask your vet for a current health certificate for your pet as it may be required for travel, especially if you are flying internationally.

  • On most commercial flights, you may fly together with your cat or small dog in the cabin. Your pet in its carrier will count as one standard item toward your carry-on allowance. Remember to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to check-in time to check-in with an agent as passengers traveling with pets cannot check-in online or at a self-service kiosk.
  • Pets that are too large to travel in the cabin will travel unaccompanied as airfreight in the pressurized cargo compartment of the plane. Contact your airline to arrange the details of how your pet will be confined. The fees are generally higher, and pets must travel in carriers. Reservations should be made no more than 24hrs after booking your ticket.
  • Always remove your pet’s leash before placing them inside the carrier.
  • Feed your pet 4-6 hours prior to departure.
  • Allow your pet water right up to the time of travel. Leave the dish in the carrier so an agent may provide water if there is an extended wait before or after the flight, or during connections.
  • Tranquilizers and other medications are not recommended. Consult with your veterinarian.
  • Cover the bottom of the carrier with blankets and absorbent material. Add your pet’s favorite toy to it to provide them with a sense of familiarity and comfort.

After the move

For you, arriving to your new home is an exciting relief, but for your pets, it is a strange new world with new smells, sights, and noises. When you have arrived at your destination, remove your pet from the car and segregate them in a single room with all their belongings. Do not let your anxious cat or dog loose in the house until you have had the chance to walk through your new home and inspect for any open doors or windows. A loose cat or dog can easily slip out and get lost in a new area.

  • Update your animal’s tags with your new contact information as soon as you can.
  • At first, your pet may seem out of sorts or uninterested in their new surroundings, but that is okay, just allow them a little bit more time to acclimate and get familiar with their new surroundings. 
  • For the first few weeks, it may be best to keep your animals in the kennel while unintended.
  • To keep an eye out for accidents or chewing during the first few weeks, you may want to consider keeping your dog on a leash while you let them roam around their new area.
  • To help ease your animal’s anxiety, try to set-up your pet’s water and food dishes and other familiar items in the same locations they were in your previous home.
  • You may instinctively want to wash all your pet’s blankets right away but try to hold off. The familiar smells will make them feel more at home.
  • Make sure you continue to play with your pet and give them attention while you unpack.
  • Routine is important. To help get your pet feeling comfortable, maintain their usual schedule as quickly as possible and stick to it.