As British Columbia’s capital city, Victoria is an incredible, international hub of food, culture and art. Its temperate climate opens up the door to numerous activities and events, and there are endless opportunities to delve into and discover something new. If you’ve never been, or need some extra encouragement to go back, here are 10 reasons to visit Victoria, BC in 2017.
- Victoria knows how to throw a party
2017 marks Canada’s 150th birthday, and you can bet Victoria is going to be getting everyone out to party hardy for their country. Eleven days before the big one-five-oh, a number of celebratory events will be taking place along the iconic Inner Harbour and multiple other locations all over the city. Don your red and white to pay a visit to the BC’s capital for this new notch in Canada’s belt as a country. Check out www.spirit150victoria.ca/celebrate-canada/ for a calendar of events and schedule.
- Young country, fancy old buildings
Despite Canada being only 150 years old, there’s a surprising amount of elegant, historical buildings to be seen. For a dash of history, Victoria is the perfect stop over. Peruse the BC Legislative Buildings to learn a bit about Canadian government and bask in Romanesque Revival architectural style. They’re especially stunning at night. On top of that, you can check out the Craigdarroch Castle, the Empress Hotel, Government House, Emily Carr House and plenty of others. Visit our Historical Places page.
- 365-Days of Outdoors (if you want)
Victoria experiences some of the mildest climates around, sitting under 30 degrees Celsius in the summer and rarely dropping below 0 in the winter. As a bonus, unless you head for the mountains, snow rarely touches the ground. This means golf courses stay open all year, hiking trails and parks aren’t buried in the snow and there’s no need to pile on 20 layers of clothing to go check the mail. There’s also surfing all year round nearby (but especially in the winter), a couple of ski hills within reach and fantastic beaches and swimming spots for those hot summer days. Those craving that outdoor lifestyle can pretty much live under the stars and sky any time of year. Check out some of these great hikes!
- The colours and scents are both constant and endless
Thanks again to the moderate climate, Victoria is a haven of gardens and flowers. In fact, it has been dubbed the “City of Gardens.” Just try being cranky when you’re basked in the scent and liveliness of endless greenery and frequently flowering plants. With the infamous Butchart Gardens, as well as numerous other hidden treasures, there is almost no end to the blossoming beauty in the city. Downtown alone is lined with about 1,350 handcrafted hanging baskets starting in June, all the way to September. Many areas are turned into an enchanted winter wonderland over the holidays, making the gardens another example of the 365 days of outdoors Victoria offers. Discover Victoria’s gardens here.
- 3 weeks are dedicated purely to feeding people great food
Fresh food abound, Victoria is a hot spot for literally any type of cuisine, fit to any style of dining. If visitors and locals weren’t inclined to pay a visit to the delectable eats offered by the city, Dine Around and Stay in Town will surely encourage at least one restaurant outing. From February 17-March 5th, over 60 restaurants put together a special menu for patrons to choose from. Featuring 3-course menus for $20, $30, $40 and $50 per person, you can choose a menu showcasing incredible foods that suits both your belly and your wallet. It’s the perfect chance to experience a new restaurant with some of the best, handcrafted menus, or try out something completely new and get insight into the unique flavours they have to offer.
- Shopping tastes good
Victoria has an abundance of local farms that are constantly producing unreal products. Therefore, it is only natural that Victoria is home to a multitude of Farmer’s Markets. Although most run during the summer months only, the Victoria Public Market in the Hudson boasts plenty of artisan products year-round. Feel good knowing you’re shopping local, getting the freshest and finest products around and that plenty of samples await your shopping excursion. It’s a great way to delve into the local life and see what Victoria has to offer.
- Visiting vineyards doesn’t require a flight to Italy
Sommeliers rejoice; the Cowichan Region and other areas just outside of Victoria are home to numerous, incredible vineyards. Most are fit with wineries and tasting rooms, as well as restaurants full of the freshest, local goods. Pay a visit to the rooms to sample some of the finest selection of BC wines, crafted less than an hour outside of the city. Move over, Italia, Victoria is coming through with some fine sipping of its own.
- Day drinking is both easily accomplished and encouraged
Besides wine, Victoria has kept up with the microbrew fad that has taken over many parts of the world. Hop onto a brew tour or book a seat on a brewery bus and head out to sip your way through the day. There are numerous breweries in Victoria with tours and tasting rooms and many restaurants also casually feature their own beer. Some restaurants are even purely dedicated to showcasing different microbreweries from all over the place.
Highlights include: Phillips, Hoyne, Spinnakers, Canoe, Swans, VIB and Lighthouse.
- Animals love Victoria, too
Bound by the ocean, whale watching is a prime activity in Victoria. 3 pods of resident orcas liked the place enough to stay, as did numerous other marine animals. Sea lions, Gray, Humpback and Minke Whales, porpoises and plenty of marine birds join the orcas in the waters of the Pacific. Although you can take a trek into the forest or onto the sea to make some new friends, there are plenty of local animals right there in the city: Paying a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf usually makes for a meet and greet with the local seals that show off to entice you into sharing your lunch.
- Victoria is only the beginning
An incredible city unto itself, Victoria also acts as a gateway to the rest of Vancouver Island. The city is simply just the beginning. Mountains and local swimming holes nearby slowly entice you out of the boundary of the city. From there, the highway is your friend and more treasures wait. The beaches of Tofino, the forests of Cathedral Grove, the trails in Strathcona, the fishing in Ucluelet… Everything is within your reach as you head out from Victoria to the rest of what Vancouver Island has to offer. Visit this post about road trips to take from Victoria for more great adventures!
Contributed by: Laurissa Cebryk