Inner Harbour & Downtown Activities
Victoria, BC – Heritage
- Beacon Hill Park
- Miniature World
- Victoria Bug Zoo
There is a noticeable difference between Victoria and other cities when it comes to culinary experiences. Local and sustainable efforts have deep roots here and are showcased in the sheer number of local ingredients and producers of high-quality products. There are a number of local coffee roasters, a wide variety of restaurants that feature local flare, and a multitude of craft breweries, cideries, distilleries, and wineries in the area.
Victoria is known for its artisan, local products. Coffee is no exception here. There are several roasters in the city that offer a variety of single-origin, ethically-sourced coffees. Discovery coffee has four locations throughout Victoria, two that are a short walk from the conference centre (Blanshard St. or James Bay). Another local roaster nearby is Caffé Fantastico which has three locations, one on Humbolt St. If you are inclined to visit a roaster, Bows & Arrows is just outside of downtown in a former industrial garage. Also of note is Parsonage café (best breakfast sandwiches in the city) which roasts Fernwood coffee and 2% Jazz. Two other independent coffeeshops that do not roast their own are Habit coffee, which serves Bows & Arrows, and Hey Happy, which imports famous roasters from around western Canada and the U.S. Nearby the conference centre is Heist Coffee, in a tiny hut in a parking lot, but serves quality coffee.
Victoria has the most breweries and brewpubs per capita in Canada. Nine of the eleven breweries and brewpubs are all within a 2km radius. A craft brewery map can be found at the visitor information centre. Notable breweries include Phillips Brewing & Malting Company which is becoming one of the most well-known breweries in BC., Vancouver Island Brewery is only 200m down the road, Driftwood Brewery is well-known for it’s bold IPA and other flavourful offerings, Hoyne Brewing Company shares a parking lot with Driftwood (try Dark Matter). Across the bridge from downtown is Lighthouse Brewing Company, which has a steady line of regular beers as well as some neat seasonals. If you feel like food and a seat, you can visit Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub which also across the water from downtown and offers a view of the harbour and wide offering of in-house made beers. Swan’s Brewpub is located downtown in a historic hotel. Almost across the street you can find Canoe Brewpub which is in a gorgeous, heritage building and has a waterfront patio. Just past the outskirts of downtown and a little, closer to Hoyne and Driftwood is Moon Under Water Brewpub who has garnered a reputation in recent years for experimental beers that establish themselves as some of the best in Victoria.
For a centralized location to try most of Victoria’s craft beer offerings, consider Garrick’s Head Pub or its sister bar The Churchill which each have 50 taps, many from Victoria and the surrounding area. Another notable beer bar is The Drake, which features a rotating cast of more than 20 beers.
There are many Public Markets to explore here in Victoria. Full of hand-made goods, food trucks, local farmers and live performances!
- Victoria Public Market at the Hudson
- Moss Street Market
- Bastion Square Market
- Esquimalt Farmer's Market
- James Bay Community
- Oaklands Sunset Market
- Ship Point Night Market
- Church & State Wines - Brentwood Bay
Just 15 minutes from downtown, Church and State is a top Vancouver Island Winery where you can try local or Okanagan wines, and pair them with bistro delights from executive chef Desiree Perrin. Reservations for groups of eight or more are required.
- de Vine Vineyards
Family owned and locally operated, de Vine Vineyards specializes in Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Grüner Veltliner. They use organic techniques and make their wine sustainably, making for a classic Southern Vancouver Island experience. Visit their tasting room today!
- Dragonfly Hill Vineyard
Dragonfly Hill Vineyard is nestled upon a historic acreage on the Vancouver Island Peninsula. Their tasting room is open on Saturdays in June, and their wine can be purchased at the various farmer’s markets around the city.
Inner Harbour & Downtown Activities
Ogden Point Breakwater & Dallas Rd. A perfect spot to enjoy the majestic shoreline that Victoria BC has to offer. The breakwater is an 850-meter long structure that protects the inner harbour, but also serves as a prime location for a beautiful stroll out to the lighthouse at the entrance to the inner harbour. It is the starting point of one of the most picturesque drives. Dallas Road follows the shoreline around most of Victoria. On a clear day you can see across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Mountains in the U.S.
Carriage Tours Victoria offers a number of carriage tours for those who want to explore the city in style. Horse drawn carriages can be booked to tour areas such as James Bay, the Dallas Road waterfront, and Inner Harbor area, China Town, and Beacon Hill Park. Some of the sights that can be seen on these tours include the Legislature buildings, the 1871 birthplace of Emily Carr, St. Ann’s Academy, views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Olympic Mountain Range, heritage homes dating back to the 1800s, Craigdarroch Castle, and the gardens of Government House.
- Victoria Carriage Tours
- Tally-Ho Carriage Tours
A short stroll or ferry from Victoria’s Inner Harbour is Fisherman’s Wharf. Originally a terminus for fisherman seeking a place to rest and sell their catches, the wharf is now the hot spot in town to come for floating restaurants, marine adventures and seafood sales. Colourful float homes line the docks, creating a scenic backdrop to this must-see Victoria location. Of course, the best way to visit is to hop on a water taxi from the inner harbour and boat your way here!
Lower Johnson Street in the heart of downtown Victoria is a shopper’s paradise. Locally referred to as “LoJo”, this trendy area features an abundance of local boutiques and great cafes/restaurants. The charming heritage buildings feature bright colours and unique architecture. Be sure to check out Market Square – one of Victoria’s oldest landmarks from the late 1800’s. This area was the central hub during the gold rush prosperity years. From the convention center, you can walk to Jonson Street in less than 10 minutes! You can even take the boardwalk route, which wraps along the inner harbour.
Located in the heart of downtown Victoria, you can’t miss the beautiful parliament buildings! The buildings are open daily and offer free tours to the public between 9am and 5pm. You will learn about BC’s legislative assembly and the history of the building. Tours take approximately 30-45 minutes and visitors are welcome to continue exploring after the official tour. At night, parliament lights up the entire inner harbour- a definite must-see!
History: The buildings were completed in 1897 by architect Francis Rattenbury – be sure to ask your tour guide about his scandalous reputation in the city.
Royal BC Museum
The Royal BC Museum was founded in 1886 and the BC Archives were founded in 1894. The two organization were combined in 2003 and currently the Royal BC Museum offers a number of featured exhibitions, as well as permanent galleries such as natural history, first peoples and modern history galleries. Visitors can also view the BC Archives on display, the Native Plant Garden and explore the cultural precinct surrounding the museum. For those who want to get the most out of their museum experience, guided and self-guided tours are available; the museum features programs for kids and families, as well as the largest IMAX screen in British Columbia.
Open: 10am – 5pm; Summer hours (Friday & Saturday only): 10am – 10pm
Near the Royal British Columbia Museum, The Thunderbird Park is home to many totem poles and other First Nation monuments. The totem poles were first erected in 1940 to combat the rapidly deteriorating Aboriginal art. Artists such as: Chief Martin, renowned carver - Henry Hunt, and his son’s, Richard and Tony Hunt have all contributed to these beautiful pieces.
- First Peoples House at UVic
- The Gathering Place
- Cultural Precinct Including Thunderbird Park
- First Peoples Galleries
- Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre
- The Unity Wall
Victoria, BC - Heritage
Art Galleries in Greater Victoria
- Alcheringa Gallery
The mandate of the gallery is to create a following for the work of individual aboriginal artists from three areas the Northwest Coast of Canada, Papua New Guinea, and Australia- in the fine art market in Canada and abroad. For over twenty-five years Alcheringa Gallery has exhibited art by tribal artists.
- Art Gallery Greater Victoria
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is one of Canada's finest art museums with a permanent collection of 15,000 objects d'art. Collection features art from Asia, Europe and North America. Canadian and Japan exhibits.
- Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria
The objective of the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria is to provide advocacy through leadership, partnership and community involvement, and to increase and broaden public awareness and opportunities in artistic and cultural activities.
- Dales Gallery
This long-established gallery in Victoria's Chinatown was recently restored and is moving in a new direction with original artwork and with a focus on photography. A warm and inviting space, supporting book launches and artists of all sorts.
- Eclectic Gallery
This welcoming light-filled gallery is known for its vibrant selection of local art, offering rotating exhibits of the regions finest talent. Specializing in original contemporary fine art.
- Mercurio Gallery
We specialise in presenting the work of the Limners Group, among them Myfanwy Pavelic, Pat Martin Bates, Herbert Siebner, and Max Bates, as well as regional contemporary artists such as Ken Faulks, Linny D. Vine, Tobias Tomlinson, Miles Lowry, and many more.
- Morris Gallery
With continuous growth over the years the owner, Lance Morris, has expanded and developed this unique, attractive space. Artists include Myfanwy Pavelic, Roy Henry Vickers, Joanne Thomson, Linda Molloy, Lee Mackenzie, Jan Brouwer, Mark Hobson, Linny D Vine and Jeffrey Boron.
- Slide Room Gallery
Located on the lower level of the Vancouver Island School of Art. Originated from the desire to contribute to the arts community in a way that maintains a high level of seriousness while also reaching a broader public.
- Templed Mind Studio Gallery
Templed Mind is a healthy lifestyle studio located in Fernwood (Victoria, BC). This studio gallery is a platform for collaborative arts and well-being achieved by physical practice, creative workshops and group gatherings which are focused on Art, Nutrition and Individual Growth. Templed Mind offers a variety of classes, workshops, events, exhibitions, concerts and open art studio space for the community.
- The Avenue Gallery
Known to both contemporary fine art collectors and the public alike as an exceptional spot to discover some of Canada finest established and emerging artists.
- The Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery
Featuring a large and varied collection ranging from ancient Chinese artifacts to works by well-known contemporary artists. Additionally, we host as many as 24 exhibits per year in our two gallery locations.
- Winchester Galleries
Exclusive fine art dealers handling Canadian historical and contemporary art. The Gallery opened in 1974. Gallery runs major exhibitions for a period of two to three weeks.
- UVic Legacy Art Galleries
- Camosun College
- University of Victoria
- Victoria Conference Centre
- Craigdarroch Castle
Visit this National Historic Site of Canada for a glimpse into the lives of the rich and industrious during the 1890’s. See perfectly conserved and restored stained-glass windows, woodwork and Victoria-era furnishings, and learn about the triumphs and oddities of one of Canada’s great families.
- Royal Roads/Hatley Park National Historic Site
Churches and Temples
- St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Oak Bay
- Centennial United Church
- Central Baptist Church
- Victoria Chinese Presbyterian Church
- Christ Church Cathedral
- Church of Our Lord
- St John the Divine Anglican Church
- Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue
- First Baptist Church
- First Metropolitan United Church
- Glad Tidings Pentecostal Church
- Grace Lutheran Church
- James Bay United Church
- Oak Bay United Church
- St Andrew's Cathedral
- Ukrainian Catholic Church of St Nicholas the Wonderworker
- St Andrew's Presbyterian Church
- St Jean Baptiste Paroisse Francaise
Museums, Historic and Heritage Sites
- Bastion Square
- Confederation Garden Court
- CPR Steamship Terminal Building
- Craigflower Farmhouse and School
- Emily Carr House
- Fairmont Empress
- Fort Rodd Hill
- Fisgard Lighthouse
- Gonzales Hill Observatory (Walbran Park)
- Government House
- Helmcken House
- Homecoming Statue
- McMicking Park
- Mile Zero Monument
- Millennium Peace Sculpture
- CFB Esquimalt Navy and Military Museum
- Point Ellice House
- Ross Bay Villa
- Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
- Sooke Region Museum
- St. Ann's Academy
- Butchart Gardens
- The Robert Bateman Centre
- Tod House
Theatre and Performing Arts
- Alix Goolden Hall
- Ballet Victoria Society
- Belfry Theatre
- Christ Church Cathedral
- Comedy Cellar
- Langham Court Theatre
- Phillip T. Young Recital Hall
- McPherson Playhouse
- The Royal Theatre