Victoria is a city with lots of nooks and crannies to explore beyond the obvious tourist traps. It’s a great little piece of the ‘Pacific Northwest’; more laid back than Vancouver and Seattle (I know, its that possible?!) but with less rain. Big enough to have some great pubs and restaurants and yet small enough to easily walk around the downtown core. It is truly beautiful and, surrounded by water on three sides, is the perfect place to dip your toe into the Pacific Ocean.
Take a Pub Tour. Start with lunch at Spinnakers. As Canada’s oldest brewpub, it deserves the pole position. A wide selection of great, house-made beer and great food coupled with one of the best views in the city seals the deal. (Insider Tip: take the passenger harbour ferry from the main dock in the harbour; a fun little ride on boats often captained by ex-Marine officers. Buy a return ticket…you’ll be coming back.)
Take the ferry back and make your way to Darcy’s at the foot of Bastion Square. A pretty nondescript Irish pub, it’s the patio that you’re here for.
Sit back and tipple a pint while watching the seaplanes land in the harbour. Best done on a windy day as they appear out of nowhere over the rooftops to drop into the water at your feet.
Sightseeing. The waterfront drive in Victoria is stunning and the best way to do it is on a scooter. You can rent one down in the Inner Harbour and then scoot, scoot, scoot your way along the waterfront. Simply keep the water on your right and it’s pretty hard to get lost. You’ll meander through a number of neighbourhoods; stop whenever you feel like it.
A few favorites:
-take a stroll along the Ogden Point Breakwater,
-admire the gardens (and views) from Beacon Hill Park,
-wander among the history in Ross Bay Cemetery,
-watch for ghosts through the Royal Victoria Golf Course,
-stop for coffee/lunch at Olive Olio’s in Cadboro Bay.
Turn around here and make your way back along Cadboro Bay Rd and Fort Street. Just try and wipe the smile off your face.