Discovering the city of Victoria, B.C.

Discovering the city of Victoria, B.C. in Travel Tuesday

As the capital city of British-Columbia (B.C.), Victoria has something for everyone, so whether you're into an outdoorsy adventure or looking for a low-key getaway, you'll have no problems finding something fun to do!

Where to start exploring?

Victoria’s Inner Harbour really is the heart of the city. You can spend lots of time watching the float planes take off and land, listening to local performers, and admiring the historic buildings. In fact, the Provincial Legislature building is a dominant feature of the Inner Harbour. Tip: The Inner Harbour is especially beautiful when the sun goes down, as many of the historic buildings light up.

While you’re strolling through downtown Victoria, be sure to stop by Rogers' Chocolates for some tasty treats. Rogers’ Chocolates is a Victoria institution dating back to 1885. My go-to is the 20 piece cream collection, which is the perfect way to try several different flavours.

How to get around?

Victoria is super bike-able city and if you’re looking for an upbeat way to explore Victoria, you should consider booking a bike Tour with The Pedaler. They offer a wide range of tours lasting between 2-5 hours, each with a unique theme. Fun fact: one of Victoria’s most popular biking paths is the Galloping Goose Trail. The trail itself extends over 45km, starting in Victoria and extending way out northwest.

On a beautiful summer day, you’ll want to be right on the water! With Victoria Kayak Tours & Rentals, they’ll help you experience another side of Victoria. Book a kayak tour, and let them guide you through the Inner Harbour. Keep your eyes open as you might even get to see some local seals!

Where to shop?

Fan Tan Alley is the narrowest street in North America and is neighbouring to Canada’s oldest Chinatown! There are more than a dozen locally owned shops, where you can find anything from teas, homemade ice-creams, specialty umbrellas and canes, stylish clothing, and great gift ideas. Being so close to the ocean, the weather in Victoria can change within minutes, and if you’re stuck without an umbrella be sure to check out the Umbrellatorium & Canery.

Where to eat?

About a 15 minutes’ walk from the Inner Harbour is Fisherman’s Wharf. This is a very cute and charming area to explore, with its colourful floating homes, wide variety of food stalls, and local fishing boats. Make sure to head over to The Fish Store for “buck- a-shuck” oysters from 4-5pm daily.

Visit Victoria’s public market for lunch, where you’ll find a unique one-stop indoor market -- ranging from farm fresh, locally sourced artisan foods, handcrafted goods, and gourmet items. With such a wide variety of vendors, you’ll be sure to find something to curb your hunger!

Victoria-ites take brunch seriously. On weekends, you can find most locals at one their favourite brunch spots. Check out Floyd’s Diner, they make some of the best eggs benedict I’ve ever eaten, but they’re best known for “The Mahoney” -- the cooks prepare whatever they feel like making for you, and at the end of your meal you’ll be giving a coin to flip, which could result in paying nothing or you could end up having to pay double.

Where to hydrate?

Happy hour might just be the best time of the day. Many of the local pubs and craft breweries offer an awesome happy hour menu.Spinnakers is one of my favourite spots for happy hour food and drinks. Fun fact: Spinnakers was the first brewpub to open in Canada. Up until just a couple of months before it opened on May 15, 1984, it was not legal to brew beer and serve it in the same building.

Also consider popping by Canoe Brewpub, as they have the best waterfront patio which is perfect for warm sunny evenings. This microbrewery and restaurant is situated in a 100-year-old electric power-plant building, and often have live music.

Where to get physical?

Pack a good pair of hiking shoes and a picnic, as Victoria has many parks and beaches to explore. For breathtaking 360° views of Victoria, the nearby islands, mountains, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, I recommend hiking Mount Douglas.

If you’re looking to spend some time at one of Victoria’s many sandy beaches, one of my favourite spots is Willow’s beach. Over the summer months, it’s a popular swimming, paddle boarding, and beach volleyball spot for locals. On a sunny and clear day, you can even catch some amazing views of Mount Baker (located in Washington State).

If you’re looking to get out of the city, less than 25 minutes outside of Victoria on the scenic Trans-Canada Highway, I recommend spending time exploring Goldstream Provincial Park. There’s so much to see and do -- from discovering hidden waterfalls, to hiking along a trestle -- you surely won’t get bored!


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Michelle Auger is Manager of National Business Issues and Projects for the team in Ottawa and has been with the CFIB since August 2015. Michelle holds an Honors Baccalaureate in Social Sciences from the University of Ottawa and is fully bilingual. Recently relocated to the west coast, now based out of Vancouver Island, Michelle spends much of her time running and hiking.