Local Information | Vacation Packages & Activities
Golf, Fishing Charters, Arts & Culinary Attractions in Victoria, British Columbia
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
1040 Moss Street, 250.384.4101 www.aggv.bc.ca
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is a public art museum dedicated to the celebration of art. With vision, leadership and scholarship, we will engage and inspire diverse audiences through exhibition, interpretation and stewardship of the collection.
The Butchart Gardens
800 Benvenuto Avenue, 250.652.4422 www.butchartgardens.com
Open since 1904, this breathtaking garden is now a designated National Historic Site. Starting with the Sunken Garden, once a limestone quarry, The Butchart Gardens offers 55 acres of spectacular beauty in every season. From spring tulips and daffodils, late summer perennials, Japanese maples in the fall, live outdoor entertainment in the summer, to a magical Christmas wonderland, complete with a new outdoor ice skating rink.
Craigdarroch Castle Historic House Museum
1050 Joan Crescent, 250.592.5323 www.thecastle.ca
Craigdarroch Castle is an 1890's mansion with exquisite stained-glass windows, woodwork and period antiques. Built by wealthy coal baron, Robert Dunsmuir, Craigdarroch Castle is a stunning example of the finest architecture, materials and craftsmanship available in the Victorian era. See the spectacular oak staircase and climb 87 steps to the Tower for the best views in Victoria.
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites of Canada
603 Fort Rodd Hill Road, 250.478.5849 www.pc.gc.ca/fortroddhill
Step inside a real working lighthouse - Canada's oldest west coast lighthouse - where colourful displays tell of ships wrecked and lives saved. Stroll along the ramparts of three coastal gun batteries built over a century ago. Look down the barrels of original guns, explore underground bunkers, and discover camouflaged searchlight emplacements!
Hatley Park National Historic Site, Home of Royal Roads University
2005 Sooke Road, 250.391.2666 www.hatleypark.ca
Hatley Park National Historic Site offers a world of opportunities to visitors of all ages to discover heritage treasures, stroll through glorious gardens, and explore the scenic beauty of this 565 seaside Edwardian estate. Explore a grand castle, formal period gardens, an old growth forest with walking trails, plus a seaside lagoon with bird watching opportunities. Try geocaching and engage in a truly unique quality learning and educational experience.
Royal British Columbia Museum
675 Belleville Street, 250.356.7226 www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca
British Columbia’s past, present and future are alive at the Royal BC Museum. A vast collection of artifacts and specimens tells the stories of BC: its earliest geological formation, its natural and human history, and its evolving role in Canada and the world. There’s something incredible to see every time you visit.
The Victoria area is fortunate to have many splendid public and private gardens that can be viewed throughout the year. For information regarding private garden tours, contact Victoria Garden Tours. 2 – 145 Niagra Street, Victoria, 250-380-2797 www.victoriagardentours.com Specializing in guided and narrated tours, customized tours for groups of all sizes, and special group packages. Enjoy a few hours or the entire day seeing the best gardens Victoria has to offer.
Culinary Tourism & Wineries
Victoria and Vancouver Island chefs have embraced the bounty of the islands by supporting local farmers, artisan food producers and a growing number of boutique wineries and cideries. Experience them as a part of an organized tour, or go it alone on a self-guided adventure. Here are some of our favourite choices and a way to experience them:
- Travel with Taste Tours
1 - 356 Simcoe Street, 250.385.1527 www.travelwithtaste.com
The culinary tour vacation specialist - Gourmet Travel, Cowichan Valley Cuisine, Wine Tours, Winery and Vineyard Tours and Culinary Walking Tours, Cooking and Cookery classes - for individuals, corporate, meeting and incentive activities, or a gourmet holiday that is sure to exceed all expectations! Private day trips and custom group trips are available.
- Cherry Point Vineyards
840 Cherry Point Rd RR#3, Cobble Hill, 250.743.1272 www.cherrypointvineyards.com
Winery, wine bar, art gallery. Farm based winery producing award winning red and white wine. Tasting room open from 10am to 6pm every day. Visit the adjacent gift shop and art gallery. Free tours on weekends. Open year-round in the Cowichan Valley.
- Church & State Wines
1445 Benvenuto Avenue, Brentwood Bay, 250.652.2671 www.churchandstatewines.com
Open for tours, tastings, lunch, light fare and private events. The hours of operation are 11 am to 5pm daily with food being served Thursday to Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm. Open year-round.
- Cowichan Wine & Culinary Festival http://wines.cowichan.net
Explore the growing world of Vancouver Island Food and Wine – this annual festival takes place at the end of September.
- Hilary’s Cheese Company / Cheese Pointe Farm
1282 Cherry Point Road, Cobble Hill, 250.715.0563
Hilary’s cheese makers produce a unique line of original cheeses inspired by local wines and beers: Red Dawn cheese is washed in Vancouver Island ales and ciders; Belle Ann cheese in locally-crafted blackberry port.
- Marley Farm
1831 Mt. Newton X Road, Saanichton, 250.652.8667 www.marleyfarm.ca
A family owned and operated winery in a little slice of Zion, [heaven] in the tranquil Mount Newton Valley, on the Saanich Peninsula. Tours and tasting available year-round.
- Merridale Estate Cidery
1230 Merridale Road, Cobble Hill, 250.743.4293 www.merridalecider.com
The best English style cider in Canada...made from 100% undiluted juice, not from concentrate and all natural. Tours and tasting available year-round in the Cowichan Valley.
- Sea Cider Farm & Cider House
2487 Mt. St. Michael Road, Saanichton, 250.544.4824 www.seacider.ca
On the Saanich Peninsula. Tours and tasting available year-round.
- Vancouver Island Brewery
2330 Government Street, 250.361.0005 www.vanislandbrewery.com
Fresh tasting, premium quality craft brewed beer. Visit the source and discover how we combine old world traditions, all natural ingredients and modern brewing technology to create premium quality craft beers. Tours and tasting available year-round.
Festivals & Events
Experience music concerts, sports, summer festivals and film.
- Jazz Fest International (July) & Vancouver Island’s Blues Bash (September)
The Victoria Jazz Society produces two annual festivals, Jazzfest International and the Vancouver Island Blues Bash. Jazzfest features 300 artists on stages in downtown Victoria with attendance over 35,000 peoples during the 10 days of the festival. Performers are international and cover jazz, blues and world music.
- Royal Victoria Marathon
Every year, the City of Victoria hosts over 10,000 people in the Annual Royal Victoria Marathon - the events include the Marathon (42.2K), the Half Marathon (21.1K), the 8K Road Race and the 1.2K Thrifty Foods Kids Run & Kids Marathon. October annually.
- The Great Canadian Beer Festival
The Great Canadian Beer Festival is the largest micro-brewery festival in Canada. Now in its 15th year, the Great Canadian Beer Festival offers over 40 breweries from across Canada and the Pacific Northwest. September annually.
- Victoria Dragon Boar Festival
One of Victoria's most spectacular summertime festivals, the Telus Victoria Dragon Boat Festival offers something for everyone. In addition to the thrilling races, spectators can enjoy a variety of live performances on two entertainment stages, participate in fun Asian crafts in the Kids' Tent, hang a lantern to support the fight against cancer at the Lights of Courage, or savour tantalizing dishes in the Forbidden City's food court. August annually.
- Victoria Film Festival
No matter if it's the latest Oscar-nominated drama, light comedy, thought-provoking documentaries or simply rubbing elbows with special guest filmmakers attending the 14th Annual Victoria Film Festival, this romp though the world's best new films is the event you don't want to miss! 10 days in February.
- Victoria Tea Festival
Victoria Conference Centre 250.370.4880 www.victoriateafestival.com
The Victoria Tea festival is an annual destination event for the city of Victoria, and the Pacific Northwest that takes place in February. The one day event will feature tea tastings, workshops on a variety of topics by experts in the industry and opportunities to purchase hundreds of teas, exquisite tea wares and delectable tea-food selections.
- Victoria Tall Ships Festival
The Victoria Tall Ships festival is scheduled for June 2008 (happens every 3 years) and will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Crown Colony of British Columbia; a fitting addition to a year that will be rich in history and special events. Victoria will be the only Canadian port where you can experience the full compliment of Tall Ships® participating in the 2008 event.
Ghostly / Walking Tours - Discover the Past
(250) 384-6698 www.discoverthepast.com
Select a history tour, ghost tour or other program to suit your interests and schedule. If you want to make your own program, you're in luck. They will custom design a tour or other activity to suit your exact needs. Their tours are offered year-round. These excellent programs are developed and conducted by John Adams, well-known historian and author, and his experienced team.
Hiking & Biking
For the casual outdoor enthusiast, or the hardcore hiker, Vancouver Island has many walkways along the beach, through the parks and rainforests, on side streets or just a pleasant stroll along the downtown Inner Harbour.
- Coastal Cycle & Watersports
#1 – 1610 Island Hwy, (250) 391-1980 www.coastalwatersports.com
All bike rentals are based on a 24 hour period and they will be delivered the evening before you need them.
- Cycletreks/Great Pacific Adventures
450 Swift Street, 250-386-2277 TF 1-877-733-6722 www.cycletreks.com
Offering a variety of high quality, fully escorted and self-guided riding programs, CycleTreks is continually adding to its itinerary of professionally tested cycle-touring oriented vacations. Full and half-day guided group sightseeing tours; self-guided sightseeing and one-way drop-off programs.
- Sports Rent
#3 - 1950 Government Street, (250) 385-7368 www.sportsrentbc.com
To meet all the needs of roads and trails, we use only high quality bicycles for our rentals; hybrid, moderate terrain, technical and advanced mountain bikes. We provide constant tuning and thorough inspection on all equipment by trained technicians. A variety of frame sizes and options are available upon request - helmets, panniers, racks etc. plus child trailers and seats.
Listed below are just some of the many places to explore. If you’d like more information on these or other hikes, please ask our Guest Services team.
Mount Work Provincial Park
Mount Work is one of the largest regional parks, and is the dominant hill on the horizon from many vantage points in Saanich, Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula. This popular recreation spot offers a variety of landscapes and activities. Features include: three freshwater lakes - Durrance, Fork and Pease - for swimming, canoeing and fishing; 11 km of trails through forest to the summit (449 m) of Mount Work; and Mount-Work Hartland, a separate area of multi-use trails open to mountain biking. Main Entrance: Follow the Pat Bay Highway from Victoria, and take the West Saanich Road exit. From West Saanich Road, turn left on Wallace Drive, and left again on Willis Point Road. Turn left on Ross-Durrance Road, which leads to the park entrance on the left.
- Summit Trail
Visitors can hike to the mountain summit on a sometimes challenging trail that runs north and south, spanning the park's entire length. The trails to the summit lead through natural glacial rock formations. Conditions in the park vary with the weather, and you're fully exposed to the elements during the ascent, so plan accordingly. Please stay on the main trails, as the mossy groundcover is sensitive to damage from trampling.
- Durrance Lake
Of the lakes within Mount Work Regional Park, Durrance Lake is the most accessible, and a favourite among families and picnickers. The water is cool and fresh for swimming. Nestled in a valley carved between the shadow of Mount Work and the neighbouring Partridge Hills, the lake is ringed with forested slopes. A well-groomed path gives way to a narrow twisting hiking trail that circles the lake. Submerged logs and dead trees on the boggy south side of the lake provide important breeding habitat and a foraging area for a number of wildlife species. Durrance Lake is also a popular fly-fishing spot with a population of smallmouth bass and cutthroat trout. Durrance Lake Entrance: Follow the directions above to Willis Point Road. Turn right on Durrance Close, which leads to the park entrance.
- Mount Work-Hartland
Multi-use trails open to mountain biking lie on the east slope of Mount Work, separate from the main park. These trails cover a range of terrain, from moderate, rolling hills to the most difficult grade for advanced mountain bikers. Use extreme caution, and be prepared for hazards or difficult sections on any trail. Hartland Entrance: Follow the directions above to West Saanich Road. Turn left on Hartland Avenue, which leads to the park entrance on the right.
East Sooke Regional Park
Located 45 minutes west of Victoria, East Sooke Park is a hiker’s paradise. Rocky bays, pocket beaches, jagged coastlines and quiet forests reward hikers, birdwatchers and beachcombers in this 1,424-hectare park. The nearly 50 kilometres of trails range from casual strolls to a challenging seven-hour trek. Views from the park, of Juan de Fuca Strait, and the Olympic Mountains are spectacular. Features include: 50 kilometres of trails through forest, marsh and field; the challenging 10 kilometre Coast Trail; pocket beaches, and rocky bays and tide pools for exploring, kayaking and scuba diving. Allow approximately 1 hour driving time from Victoria.
- Aylard Farm is popular with picnickers, and those looking for easy excursions. A 5-minute walk through open fields leads to a pocket beach where you can discover intertidal life, or watch river otters scurrying across the sand. Trails head inland to hilltop views, or along the rugged Coast Trail. Aylard Farm Entrance: Follow the Trans-Canada Highway from Victoria, and take the Colwood exit. Follow the Old Island Highway, which turns into Sooke Road. From Sooke Road, turn left on Gillespie Road. Turn left on East Sooke Road, then right on Becher Bay Road to reach the park entrance.
- Anderson Cove, on the Sooke Basin, is the starting point for hikers heading to Babbington Hill and Mount Maguire. On these hilltops, bald eagles, turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks join you for sweeping views of the Olympic Peninsula. Anderson Cove Entrance: Follow the directions above to Gillespie Road. Turn right on East Sooke Road to reach the park entrance on the left.
- Pike Road is the most westerly access to the park, and to the Coast Trail. An old logging road winds through forest to meadow and beach. Here, at low tide, look for periwinkles, goose-neck barnacles and purple sea stars … but do not remove! Pike Road Entrance: Follow the directions above to Gillespie Road. Turn right on East Sooke Road and continue past Anderson Cove to reach the park entrance on the left.
Elk/Beaver Regional Park
This popular recreation area offers outdoor opportunities for everyone. The lake is used cooperatively by swimmers, windsurfers, sailors, water-skiers, fishers and rowers. Some park trails are designated multi-use, for hikers, cyclists and horse riders, while others are for hiking only. Large freshwater lake for swimming, canoeing and fishing; walking and equestrian trails through forest, field and wetlands; and beaches, picnic areas and a fishing float with access for people with walking disabilities.
- Elk Lake Entrance: Follow the Pat Bay Highway from Victoria. Turn left on Sayward Road, left again on Hamsterly Road, then right on Brookleigh Road, which leads to the park entrance on the left.
- Beaver Lake Entrance: Follow the Pat Bay Highway from Victoria, and take the Royal Oak Drive exit. Turn left on Royal Oak Drive to cross over the highway, then right on Elk Lake Drive to reach the park entrance on the left. Allow approximately 20 minutes driving time from Victoria.
Galloping Goose Trail – Lochside Trail
This picturesque multi-use trail, formerly a railway line, moves through urban, rural and wilderness scenery on its 55 kilometre journey from Victoria to Sooke. You can cycle, stroll, run, or even ride a horse through the rural sections. Whether you're commuting to work, meandering on a weekend afternoon or pacing yourself from Sidney to Sooke, the trail is yours to enjoy and yours to protect. The Galloping Goose Regional Trail was named for the gas-powered passenger car that carried mail and 30 passengers twice daily between Victoria and Sooke during the 1920s. It is part of the Trans Canada Trail, a national multi-use trail system linking trails from coast to coast. “The Goose” intersects with the Lochside Regional Trail, a 29 kilometre former railway line from Saanich to Sidney.
- From Downtown Victoria: Start at the corner of Wharf Street and Pandora Avenue. Cross the Johnson Street bridge, then turn right on the paved path that connects to Harbour Road and the trail.
Suggested Scenic Cycling Day Trips
- From Victoria, follow the Galloping Goose Trail, then Atkins Avenue, to Mill Hill Regional Park. (12km one way)
- From Victoria, follow the Galloping Goose Trail, then Six Mile Road, to Thetis Lake Regional Park. (11km one way)
- Park at Roche Cove Regional Park, and follow the Galloping Goose Trail to Sooke Potholes Regional Park. (13km one way)
- Park at the Luxton parking area, near the corner of Sooke Road and Glen Lake Road. Follow the Galloping Goose Trail, then Lombard Drive and William Head Road, to Devonian Regional Park. (9km one way)
Suggested Cycle Weekend
- From downtown Victoria, take the Galloping Goose Trail and overnight in the Sooke area. The next day, explore beyond Sooke or return after a detour to East Sooke Regional Park. (40km one way)
Juan de Fuca Provincial Park
Located on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, this 707 hectare park extends from China Beach, just west of the community of Jordan River, to Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew. It features spectacular scenery, marine and wildlife viewing, roaring surf and the 47 kilometre Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. The trail is intended to be an alternative to the West Coast Trail and is designed for strenuous or multi-day hiking. At China Beach, a 20 minute downhill walk in the forest leads to a surf-swept beach. Botanical Beach is famous for its tide pools; at low tide, these sandstone pools are full of tiny marine creatures.
Goldstream Provincial Park and Mount Finalyson
Goldstream Park is a lush, 700 year old rainforest setting that houses the Goldstream River, Mount Finlayson, a wildlife interpretive centre and walking and hiking trails: all only 19 kilometres from downtown Victoria. Hike to the top of Mount Finlayson for a 360-degree view of the area.
Horsedrawn Carriage Tours - Victoria Carriage Tours
At the corner of Belleville & Menzies Streets 250.383.2207 www.victoriacarriage.com
Offers the best of Victoria by horse drawn carriage or trolley year round. Professional drivers in tuxedos and top hats give fully guided tours which may include the fascinating Inner Harbour, the beautiful scenery of Beacon Hill Park and the charm of James Bay’s historic heritage buildings. Operating: October to April 10am to 8pm and May to September 9am to 11pm. Also operating seasonal tours at Halloween and Christmas!
Paddle among the Gulf Islands, Sooke Basin or out into Juan de Fuca Straight. View wildlife in their natural habitat and experience the calm waters of Vancouver Island by kayak.
- Rush Adventures
5449 Sooke Road, Sooke, 250.642.2159 www.rush-adventures.com
- Ocean River Sports
1824 Store Street, 250.381.4233 www.oceanriver.com
Ocean River Sports is Vancouver Islands leading paddle sports store. We specialize in kayaks, canoes and paddling gear. We offer basic and advanced instruction; half day harbour tours, daylong explore tours and multi-day trips on our world-class waterways. For twenty years we have been getting kayakers out there.
Blackfish Wilderness Expeditions - Sailing
1327 Beach Drive, 250.216.2389 www.Blackfishal.com
Sail the "Wild Side" of Victoria with us - around Oak Bay and surrounding Gulf islands - a sailing area which is sheltered from prevailing winds and seas, and home to a wide variety of marine birds and mammals. Ours is an introductory sailing experience. Half-day, day and overnight trips. No sailing experience is required. You will be sailing in a 35’ Beneteau, equipped with all the modern conveniences and safety features. Your Skipper is an experienced naturalist and CYA Sailing Instructor.
Seaweed Tours – Outer Coast Seaweeds
2018 Penang Road, Sooke, BC 250.642.5328 www.outercoastseaweeds.com
Wild Seaweed and Seaflora Spa Tour with Diane Bernard, "The Seaweed Lady" of Outer Coast Seaweeds. General Public Tours available May-September - a wild seaweed garden tour at Whiffin Spit in Sooke, BC. In this hands-on tour, learn about edible and wearable wild seaweeds. Thallasso-Seaweed Tour: Learn about the natural health benefits of wild organic seaweeds, and then have a delightfully relaxing SeaFlora Wild Organic Seaweed Skincare treatment at a local day spa!
Spa – Le Sooke Spa
Le Sooke Spa offers a tranquil escape for body, mind and spirit. Visit the new custom built Spa, over 1000 sq. feet of luxurious spa setting. The spa consists of 3 spacious treatment rooms all equipped for couples' treatments, a wrap-around cedar deck with gorgeous mountain views and a spacious Cedar Infra-Red Sauna. The Spa menu provides our clients with many options to choose from as well as Spa Packages. Treatments are available on-site at Miraloma upon request (subject to availability).
Open 7 Days a week 8:00am - 8:00pm
Skiing & Snowboarding
Mount Washington Alpine Resort
1 Strathcona Parkway, Mount Washington, 1.888.231.1499 www.mountwashington.ca
Mount Washington Alpine Resort is a privately owned resort community, open year round, located near the very popular Comox Valley. First opened in 1979, Mount Washington is now in its 27th year of operation. Mountain biking and hiking in the summer, and downhill skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Worth the drive for a day on the mountain! Approximate drive times from Victoria is 2 1/2 hours.
Theatre, Music & Live Performances
- Belfry Theatre
1291 Gladstone Avenue, 250.385.6815 www.belfry.bc.ca
Professional contemporary theatre from Canada and around the world. The Belfry is Vancouver Island's largest professional theatre company. We produce 10-12 shows per season (August - May) in our two theatres. Our mainstage theatre in a beautifully restored heritage church seating 280, our studio theatre seats 94.
- Pacific Opera Victoria
500 - 1815 Blanshard Street, 250.385.0222 www.pov.bc.ca
Pacific Opera Victoria is committed to professional opera activity of the highest standard possible that engages the community and fosters the development of opera in Canada.
- Royal & McPherson Theatres
625 Fisgard Street, 250.386.6121 www.rmts.bc.ca
The Royal & McPherson Theatres Society operates the Capital Regions two premier performing arts venues, the 1434-seat Royal Theatre at 805 Broughton Street, and the 818-seat McPherson Playhouse at #3 Centennial Square. The Royal & McPherson Box Offices are open Monday through Saturday 9:30-5:30pm, or you can purchase tickets online.
Whale & Wildlife Watching
- Prince of Whales Whale Watching
812 Wharf Street, 250.383.4884 www.princeofwhales.com
With the most frequent daily trip departures, the newest and most luxurious boats, and the most experienced and knowledgeable crew in the industry, the Prince of Whales Whale watching has set itself apart as Victoria's premier adventure company since 1995. Whale and wildlife watching tours depart from the lower causeway of the Inner Harbour.