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Small Business Week - Bringing Faces Into Focus


October 21 marks Small Business Week in Canada and a welcome opportunity to thank and celebrate the thousands of small businesses that we work with from coast to coast to coast. During the current pandemic they have risen to countless challenges and forged a way forward despite uncertainty and change. Leaders like Gary Henry who is part of Songhees Events & Catering - a First Nations enterprise in BC that supplies Atlantic Towing ships working for Canada's Coast Guard. 

 Gary Henry


Henry is the inspiring Sous Chef with Songhees Events & Catering and Manager of the Songhees Food Truck, serving lower Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The company is affiliated with the marine service provider to Atlantic Towing's two ships currently under contract with the Canadian Coast Guard. Here is his story: 



What is your background/story? 

My name is Gary Henry, I am 49 years of age, my native name is Ya-yul-mux, a shared name with my father. I live on the Pauquachin reserve, the land of cliffs & bluffs. We have a population of 403 members. I am the son of Danny & late Freda Henry. I am such a fortunate person, to be so close to my supportive family. We golf, gather firewood for winter, have Christmas dinners together and a gifted sports family. It is the tradition that my Grandfather left us. I could go on, but I will stop here.

What led you to starting/joining Songhees Events and Catering? 

Well it has been a dream of mine to work on a food truck, there is no better feeling than touching peoples' lives with what we do. There is a sense of gratitude, it's what keeps me going every day. Catering events is the high point of Songhees Events and Catering. We have accomplished so much as a team. We have focused on the little things that make a catering event go from good to great. We have a team that enjoys what they do from baking, service and prep.

 Salmon Burger


What motivates you? 

Motivation is tricky. I believe having the support from my family is a big contributor. It all starts from home. Everything else will work itself out. What has been your proudest moment as Sous Chef and Food Truck Manager? The proudest moment for Songhees Seafood & Steam, now doing business as Songhees Events & Catering, was in 2016. The opening day for the food truck. Watching the team gel together to form a bigger picture as part of Songhees Events & Catering.

 Food truck


What would you like readers to know about you and your part in Songhees Events & Catering? 

Songhees Nation made the first step in the business of owning a food truck in 2016 in partnership with the Victoria Clipper. Songhees Seafood and Steam was the first Indigenous food truck in B.C. and Vancouver Island. In 2017, the partnership was dissolved and Songhees Seafood and Steam LTD was incorporated and forevermore was known as Songhees Events & Catering. Along with the food truck, Songhees went a step further by training and educating Indigenous youth with the Aboriginal Culinary Arts Tourism Hospitality Management (ACATHM) Program in partnership with Camosun Collage. With “Top Soil” Innovative Urban Gardening, we created and now have a rooftop garden at the Songhees Wellness Centre. We grow our own lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, basil, which we sell at farmers markets and use on the food truck, catering events.

 Rooftop garden


 Event Centre



The Connection: 

Atlantic Towing has been working to establish a strong presence on Canada’s West Coast. In August 2018, following a rigorous and open bidding process, the Canadian Coast Guard awarded a three-year contract to the company for the provision of two emergency offshore towing vessels that operate in BC coastal waters. These vessels – the Eagle and the Raven – are capable of towing large commercial ships in distress, helping to prevent potential marine pollution incidents, assist with search and rescue operations, and contributing to Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan. 

In April, 2019, the company announced that conversations with Coastal First Nation Communities had resulted in three new relationships: a Joint Venture Agreement between Songhees Events and Catering and ESS-Compass Group Canada; a contract with Salish Sea Industrial Services; and, a plan to implement Bridgewatch and Culinary training programs for local students via Camosun College. In March 2020, Atlantic Towing announced approximately $700,000 in funding to support a new, state-of-the-art marine simulator for Camosun College, allowing Camosun to offer a wider range of courses and develop a Cadet/Bridgewatch program, growing the number of marine professionals entering the industry.

Atlantic Towing Limited is committed to continued work with BC’s Coastal Communities, and to sustaining a local support system between the Canadian Coast Guard, local partners, and the ongoing effort to protect our oceans for generations to come.

 Small Business ATL


For more on Gary Henry and Songhees Events & Catering, please visit