Moving to Victoria: Things to Do in Victoria

 THINGS TO DO IN VICTORIA

There is so much to see and do in Victoria. We hear it said many times by the locals just how many things there are to do in here. Victoria is a vibrant city with a natural beauty consisting of lush vegetation and lots of beautiful ocean and mountain views. Art abounds with many art galleries as well as lots of theatre and musical events to attend. The downtown area of Victoria is abundant with many things to do and see and is steeped in old world charm.

Welcome Home to VictoriaWalking/Hiking

There are lots of pathways for walking or biking in Victoria, with so much to see and experience. There are many great walks and hikes to do right in Greater Victoria.   Mount Doug or Mount Tolmie are popular destinations. If you are more into walking than hiking, try Dallas Road, or the Inner Harbour or the path along the harbour in the Songhees area. If you do not like to walk alone, join a walking or hiking group.

If you like Wilderness hiking, you are in the right place.  If you like rugged west coast trails, head towards Port Renfrew the southern trailhead of the famous West Coast Trail.  On the way you will pass spots like French Beach, China Beach, Juan de Fuca Provincial Park and Botanical Beach.  If you like mountain trails, Strathcona Park located near the centre of the island will have great trails for you. Other great hikes on Vancouver Island.

With such a mild climate and great scenery, you can get out any day of the year for fabulous hikes and walks.  Whether you want to stay in town or travel further afield, Victoria is the place to be to access great hiking and walking trails.

 

Biking

Victoria has some amazing bike trails throughout the city.  Many people commute to work on their bikes – year round.  Whether on the streets, or designated bike paths, biking throughout the city is easy to do.  Two main trails for biking are the Lochside Trail and the Galloping Goose Trail, both of which are great rides.  The Lochside Trail will take you up to Sidney, which is over 25km’s.  Along the way you will see lakes, mountains, parks and farms.  With so much to see on the way, you don’t need to go all the way to Sidney to enjoy a great bike ride.   On the Galloping Goose trail, you can travel all the way out to Sooke.  The trail is over 50km’s in length and passes through some great country side.  If you are comfortable on the roads you could bike around Victoria along the ocean, ride up the peninsula through some beautiful countryside or, for the extremely hardy, head up Island.  There are many bike groups out on weekends which you could join, or ride solo, whatever you choose you are bound to have fun. Check out the Victoria International Cycling Festival website for cycling events held in Victoria.

Scuba Diving

Although the waters around Victoria are cold, Victoria offers wonderful opportunities for diving, as the waters are teaming with wonderful marine wildlife. There are many popular spots for diving. There are companies that operate year round and offer rentals, lessons and guided tours. Some popular shore dives are Ogden Point, The Break Water, and 10-Mile Point. There are also many boat dives available, contact a local dive shop for detailed information on diving Victoria.

Kayaking, Canoeing, Sailing and The Victoria Harbour

There is no shortage of boating opportunities in Victoria. Whether you prefer paddling, rowing or sailing there are lots of opportunities here. To find out more about kayaking or canoeing visit http://www.hellobc.com/victoria/things-to-do/water-activities/kayaking-canoeing.aspx.

There are several sailing schools and sailing clubs to join in Victoria. If you are looking to charter a boat, there is also opportunity for that.

There are several marinas in Victoria, run by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA). The Victoria Harbour is home to commercial and recreational vessels, and is also Canada's busiest water airport. The busy Victoria Harbour is a great place for watching ship of all sizes coming and going as well as float-planes.

Regattas

  • Swiftsure International Yacht Race is held late May and is the longest-running cross-border race on the West Coast, for all types and sizes of sailboats.

Festivals

Victoria is known for it's many festivals with festivals to attend all year long. It is referred to as the City of Festivals.

As well as many festivals, Victoria has lots of great outdoor markets, live theatre, concerts, sporting events, home and garden tours. Victoria is truely a wonderful place to visit and even greater place to live.

Parades in Victoria

Christmas and Winter Parades

  • Santa Claus Parade
  • Annual Truck Light Parade
  • Harbour Lighted Ship Parade

Farmers Markets, Outdoor Markets and Public Markets

Good healthy food is very important to the local people of Victoria. There are many farmer's markets with a wonderful display of local and often organic fruit and vegetables, cheeses, nuts, honey, locally raised meat and poultry as well as many artisans selling their crafts. A fun thing to do on Thursday evenings throughout the Summer is to drive up the peninsula to Sidney by the Sea and enjoy their wonderful Market. They close off the main street, Beacon Avenue, as the farmers, artisans, chefs and musicians set up their booths. It is a very popular market and lots of fun.

There are also lots of farm markets you can stop at and buy fresh food they grow and raise right on the farm,. Some of these are Dan's Farm, Michelle's Farm, the Roost (wonderful bakery and restaurant) on Saanich Road (near the airport).

Victoria is in the process of developing a Public Market which will be housed in the Hudson building on Douglas Street. Plans are for an summer 2013 opening.

Theatre, Concerts, Art Galleries, Movie Theatres

Victoria has so much local talent in the arts. Whether you are into small intimate theatre products or grand productions you will find it here. Theatres in Victoria include, the Beautiful and elegant Royal Theatre which seats 1416. It has been around since 1913 and still retains its original Rococo/Renaissance Revival decor. This is Victoria's premiere venue for many touring attractions and it is also home to the Victoria Symphony as well at the Pacific Opera Victoria. The McPherson Playhouse presents A variety of professional, community and amateur events, The Belfry Theatre produces up to 12 plays per year, one or two summer productions, a four play Mainstage series, and SPARK, a mid-winter festival of innovative and alternative work from across Canada. This theatre is a wonderful intimate theatre that is dedicated to producing contemporary plays, with an emphasis on Canadian work. Langham Court Theatre is home to The Victoria Theatre Guild, it is tucked away in the beautiful residential Rockland neighbourhood. Intrepid Theatre "is home of the Uno Fest, Victoria Fringe Festival, Metro Studio Theatre + Intrepid Theatre Club, Celebrating adventurous shows, courageous artists and thrill-seeking audiences in Victoria, BC, Canada."

If movie-going is your thing, there are many movie theatres in Victoria to choose from.

Home, Garden Tours and Garden Clubs

Throughout various times of the year, you can join a home or garden tour to see some of the fabulous home and beautiful gardens of Victoria. If you love to garden there are also many garden and flower clubs and groups to join. You will find a Rhododendron Society, the Victoria Flower Arrangers Guild, Victoria Lily Society, Floral Art Club, and more.

Restaurants, Coffee Shop and Tea Rooms

On Vancouver Island, organic choices are common and fresh local ingredients are the norm.  Victoria is a great place to eat, with so many choices and styles of restaurants, so many of which cook with fresh local ingredients.  Fresh halibut, wild salmon, cod, crab, mussels and oysters are among a few of the fresh local fish you can find on the menu.  There are several chain restaurants, such as Moxies, Earls and Milestones, and an astonishing number of original, one off places that serve great food.  You will also find many ethnic restaurants and specialty restaurants including Italian, French, Greek, East Indian, German, Dutch, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, as well as Vegetarian and Raw, eateries Victoria also has an abundance of tea rooms and place for places for afternoon tea, including high tea. Coffee Shop are numerous in Victoria, it will take months just to discover the many places for coffee.

Whether on a budget or money is no object, there are some wonderful choices to be had.  If going out for a meal is important to you, you will be pleasantly surprised at Victoria’s culinary choices.

 

Wineries, Wine Bars, Cideries and Pubs in Victoria

Victoria has lots of wonderful Pubs including many brew pubs. Below is a list by Where Canada of the best Brew Pubs.

The Best Victoria Beer: A Beer-Lover’s Guide to Victoria’s Top Brewpubs and Beer Tastings

Shopping

Shopping Areas in Victoria

Downtown, is where you will find the Bay Centre Indoor Mall. Government Street in downtown Victoria is a great place to poke along and check out the shops, Old Town area has pubs, restaurants and shops, it also has Market Square and Chinatown. Victoria's Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in Canada, it is a wonderful place to stroll along and stop in the little shops, restaurants and coffee shops. It is also home to Fan Tan Alley, which is the narrowest street in Canada.

Antique Row along Fort Street you will find many wonderful antique shops, if you are into antiques you do not want to miss this area.

Other shopping areas include; Cadboro Bay Village, Cook Street Village, Oak Bay Village, Cordova Bay Village, Westshore Town Centre and heading a little out of Victoria, up the peninsula is Sidney by the Sea and Brentwood Bay Village. North of Victoria, Langford has lots of great shopping and many big box stores, including Costco.

Malls in Victoria: besides the Victoria Bay Centre there are several other malls in Greater Victoria, including; The Mayfair Mall, Hillside Centre, Tillicum Mall, and the newest edition to Victoria Malls is the very trendy Uptown.

The Greater Victoria Public Library

Victoria has a wonderful library. A library card is free in Victoria and it opens up a world of things you can do. With your library membership you not only have access to great books of every genre, but you can also borrow music CD's, sheet music and download songs from Freegal. You will also have access to movies including Blu-rays. You will have access to international newspapers and magazines in dozens of languages. You can do family research through the Ancestry Library. Borrow gaming CD's. Borrow an eReader and eBooks. There is a technology Petting Zoo. The GVPL also has a family pass to the Royal British Columbia Museum and to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria you can borrow. The library provides computers with Internet Access. The library also has a wonderful children's section, complete with a puppet stage. Take a class or attend a workshop through GVPL . Progams include family storytime, computer classes, knitting, baby sign language and more. Calendar of the library's programs and events.

How to Keep Current with Events in Victoria

These are some of the many activities and events in Victoria . This little city offers so much for everyone! There are many more things to do and to keep current we suggest you subscribe to the Times Colonist and pick up one of the many papers in Victoria, that will keep you current with events. The Times Colonist has a GO section on Thursdays that will keep you current and on Saturdays a family section with current event. Another good publication is the Monday Magazine, which actually comes out on Thursdays and the EAT Magazine has lots of events around wine and food.