Since moving to Vancouver in 2010, I’ve been to Victoria a handful of times. It’s always a quick day trip (except one overnight for work, that doesn’t really count) where most of my time is spent commuting. Which is probably why I’ve always said that my favourite part about Victoria is the beautiful ferry ride.
Now, the ferry is no longer the favourite.
That’s not to say I don’t still love the ferry, because I do! I love the giant soft serve ice cream, strangely alluring need to browse the gift shop and ability to always see some awesome aquatic wildlife from the deck. But now I’m coming around to so many other cool things in Victoria itself.
I convinced Colin that it would be really fun for us to spend Victoria Day in Victoria. Sorta like how my dream is to eat a nanaimo bar in a Nanaimo bar. So we decided to head over to the island for a quick Sunday/Monday trip.
A few highlights from our trip:
We arrived early on Sunday afternoon and got to check out a cute outdoor market and the famed Munro’s Books. I love outdoor markets – I would literally plan my days in Europe around which markets were open when. And Munro’s Books is a place I could spend hours and millions of dollars in.
Our next idea was to find a brewery. We had one selected, but it ended up being closed on Sundays (one of the downsides of Victoria – there was also a high tea place I wanted to visit that was closed Sunday/Monday). So we headed to Phillips Brewery. To be honest, I was expecting a cool little tasting section but it was just a place to fill up growlers. Oh well, next time!
After that we stopped for lunch at this cute pizza place with giant glass windows. I think it’s a chain but I’m forgetting the name of it. Anyway, it was delicious!
After pizza we walked towards the Empress Hotel. One day I want to really splurge: spend the night there and go for their $80 high tea.
From there we walked over to the parliament building. I’m always struck by how gorgeous our parliament building is – to be honest, it sorta puts the Empress to shame. We were really lucky that just as we were strolling by, a high school band was setting up. We figured it might be fun to listen to a song or two. We actually ended up staying for their entire set and having the best time. The band performed modern songs, like Uptown Funk, Bang Bang and even the Game of Thrones theme song, and the kids were loving it. They were all dancing and really getting into their music. It was so much fun – maybe the highlight of the weekend!
Next we walked over to Fisherman’s Wharf. I didn’t realize Victoria also had a Fisherman’s Wharf and it was sorta reminiscent of San Francisco’s. And there were seals! Three gorgeous seals were hanging out right by the dock and putting on a little show for us tourists who were only too happy to buy them fish to eat and snap their photo.
We walked around and checked out all of the float homes on the wharf with our ice cream cones. The homes are really cool! Though I can’t imagine the home owners appreciate a bunch of nosy people walking within feet of their homes at all times of the day and night.
To finish off the night we got some mouth-watering fish n’ chips and took a cute little water taxi back to our hotel. We watched Game of Thrones on a very tiny phone screen and then headed to bed.
The next morning we headed out to watch the Victoria Day parade! I love a good parade. I’m hesitant to call this one a good parade, but probably because I was raised on the crazy float-abundant Toronto Santa Claus parade. But what the Victoria Victoria Day (VVD) parade lacks in crazy floats, it makes up for in marching bands. Whoever said quality over quantity, clearly was not a part of the VVD parade committee. We watched from the sidewalk and again from our breakfast table at Cora’s and saw no less than 8 different marching bands.
After breakfast, we headed out of town and stopped at the Highland Games festival. We watched Scottish dancing, sword fights and a strangely enticing goose maze where an elderly Irish man and two dogs would very slowly attempt to herd a group of scared geese through various obstacles.
And that pretty much wraps up our trip! From the Highland Games we drove back to the ferry. Being a long weekend and us not having a reservation, we were expecting a long wait. And we did wait for a couple of hours, but we managed to squeeze in (second last car!) on the 3:00pm ferry back to the mainland.
Next up: I serve as a co-maid of honour (co-MOH) at my friend’s wedding in Toronto next weekend. Stay tuned for details on that adventure!