I really enjoyed my first visit to Victoria back in April. It was a very picturesque city, especially under two days of blue skies and warm temperatures. I didn’t do any formal tours or visit any museums or galleries, instead, I chose to do some urban exploring. I gave my wandering a bit of structure by visiting some public art installations within walking distance of my downtown hotel, but outside of that, took it pretty easy for two days. Here are some of the sights and activities from around Victoria that caught my eye over two days.
Although not in Victoria, the journey there on the ferry from Vancouver gave me gorgeous views throughout the ninety minute trip:
The water plays a key part in the ambiance of Victoria. This is the inner harbour with the city’s downtown on the other side:
Just south of the downtown, you can literally walk right out into the ocean. Or do your morning yoga perched above the water with a million dollar view:
As I broke the bank for my meal at the Sooke Harbour House, I went more downmarket in cost (but not taste) for my Victoria eating. I loved the tempura cod tacones at Red Fish Blue Fish on the waterfront (picture below) and a ground pork curry dish at Foo Asian Street Food. I did a bit of craft beer sampling at the Canoe Brewery and picked up a few interesting west coast craft beers at Vintage Spirits on Pandora. The Disruption Black IPA by Category 12 Brewing and Down Easy Pale Ale by Hoyne Brewing were my favourites.
I spent part of an afternoon taking in the architecture and sprawling lawns of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings. Looks like a great picnic spot!
A closer look at the Baroque and Romanesque Revival styles of the buildings:
This is the entrance gate to Victoria’s Chinatown, “The Gates of Harmonious Interest”, Canada’s oldest Chinatown.
On an early morning wandering around Beacon Hill park, I met this new friend who was out for some morning breakfast:
When I had left Halifax, there was still quite a bit of snow laying around and everything looked grey and dull. Even though I had been out on the west coast for about a week by this point, my eyes were still in shock at the colours of trees and flowers in full bloom.
Speaking of colours, Victoria made me feel I had actually traveled into spring.
I spent some time roaming around Thunderbird Park. It’s home to a number of beautiful totem poles and First Nations art:
Here’s the boardwalk around the inner harbour. There were a number of boats docked for a boat show that was starting up just as I was leaving the city. The BC Legislature Buildings are in the background:
No trip to Victoria would be complete without a visit to the 107 year old Fairmont Empress Hotel, one of Victoria’s most famous landmarks. I didn’t stop for their famous afternoon tea, but I did relax with a coffee and a book in a comfy chair in their lobby.
Two days isn’t enough to experience Victoria fully, but it was a great tease to what I hope is a return visit sometime in the not too distant future.