VARCS a legacy


A Survey to Determine the Needs, Desires, and Support for a Queer / LGBT Community Centre in Victoria, BC.

The VictoriaNeeds survey took place in July 2015 to determine the needs, desires,and support for a Queer / LGBT Community Centre inVictoria, BC. The survey received 482 responses, 82% of which were identified as from Greater Victoria.

  • Over 84% of participants responded that there is a need for a Queer / LGBT Community Centre in Victoria.
  • Space Priorities: large flexible space and health clinic were clear priorities across age groups and identities.
  • Programming Priorities: social events, health, and advocacy were clear priorities across age groups and identities, though the degree and order did show differences in needs for the various identities.
  • Gender inclusivity, centring of marginalized identities, a conscious political nature, and intentional safer spaces practices were all identified as important factors in making the space accessible and welcoming.
  • Individual Support: almost 50% of respondents report they will attend an initial community meeting and 46% report that they will volunteer their time.

Download and read the VictoriaNeeds survey report Report Final [pdf]

Survey and Report by Andrew Shopland –



Victoria is on unceded Indigenous territories. We give our respect to the Coast Salish Nation, specifically the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the initial conversations, those who provided feedback on developing the survey, everyone who helped disseminate the survey, and to all those who took the time to share their voice.

VARCS A Brief History March 2014-1


March 24th, 2014


It is with great sadness that we announce that, as of March 31, 2014, the Victoria AIDS Resource & Community Service Society (VARCS) will be closing its doors. VARCS staff and board were devastated to learn that after 23 years of service, Island Health (formerly known as Vancouver Island Health Authority) will no longer be continuing its funding.

VARCS has provided comprehensive distribution and collection of harm reduction supplies to Greater Victoria, Sooke, the Saanich Peninsula and Sidney . VARCS provided support to persons living with HIV/AIDS, while simultaneously working to prevent the spread of this disease and other blood-borne illnesses, through our mobile harm reduction services and needle exchange program. VARCS staff, through taking a strength-based approach, tirelessly supported service users, throughout the full spectrum of recovery. This included providing essential life skills, which allowed people to live happier and healthier lives. The closing of our doors means that people living in the South Island area will have diminished social supports, which could have serious health consequences.

TJ Furlani
Chair of VARCS

VARCS A Brief History banner

Victoria AIDS Resource & Community Service Society (VARCS), began its life in November 1991 as Victoria AIDS Respite Care Society.

In the early 1990s, many people with HIV/AIDS were being treated in hospital and by hospice earlier than necessary. Frequently, their family members and partners were burning out from providing on going care. The founder of VARCS remember that in his family, when someone was ill, other family members would help out and lend support.

VARCS began with the simple idea that the community could act as an extended family for people living with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers. Initially the program was based on providing respite homes to alleviate the strain on primary caregivers and delay entry in to hospitals and hospice. Since that time, much has changed with HIV/AIDS. The advent of protease inhibitors and new medications has allowed many people to live longer and healthier lives.

Vancouver Island Persons Living With HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS) 205 - 1120 Yates Street, Coast Salish Territories, Victoria, BC. V8V 3M9
Phone: 250.382.7927 | Fax: 250.382.3232 | Toll Free: 1.877.382.7927 | | | Login