Victoria Journals

Beautiful Victoria

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A travel journal to Victoria by travel2000

Royal London Wax Museum Photo, Victoria, British Columbia More Photos
Quote: Victoria is beautiful. So different from Vancouver, where I often visit my family. It's a dose of English proper combined with gorgeous gardens and scenery. A great excursion for those visiting the Canadian West Coast.

Beautiful Victoria

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Overview

parliament Photo, Victoria, British Columbia
Quote:
Butchart Gardens in the spring, the flowers and the gardens, the colors, the smells. Simply overwhelming. The scenery from a drive around coast, bring lots of film as there are many photo moments. The ferry ride is also spectacular. If the weather is warm, do sit on the outdoor decks to enjoy the trees, the mountains, and spot the bald-headed eagles.Quick Tips: The first time we went there, we joined a local tour in Vancouver. Since the ferry gets very crowded, especially during summer months and on holiday weekends, it's best to get an early start, go on a weekday, or join a tour. That way, you won't be stuck waiting in traffic and lines for the ferry, and once in Victoria, you'll get around...Read More

Camille's Fine Westcoast Dining

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Restaurant | "Camille’s"

Quote:
This is one of the best meals I have had in Victoria. With a winning combination of intimate atmosphere and top-notch food, I would recommend this restaurant for that special occasion such as an anniversary. Even if you don’t have anything to celebrate, the food, wine selection, and the personal service you get here is enough to draw you here. I have tried the minted mustard lamb, the ostrich, the emu and the duck salad, all excellent choices. The menu reflects flavour of the local produce and the wine list is impressive for such a small restaurant. The owners were very nice and made it a point to greet each table. I could tell they put their pride and hard work into the place. Camille...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 16, 2002

Camille's Fine Westcoast Dining
45 Bastion Square
Victoria, British Columbia
(250) 381-3433

Swan's Pub

Restaurant

Quote:
What a great find this is! Located in the beautifully restored Swan’s Hotel in Old Town, Swan’s Pub has great good, great prices, and orignal art, making it a popular stop for both locals and outsiders. The restoration of the hotel has won many awards for the articulous work done to restore a heritage building. This used to be a warehouse where grain was delivered on rail right to the entrance of the building.

You can also sample the beer from next door Buckerfield’s Brewery. Sit in the glassed-in patio for an ejoyable time any time of the day.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 16, 2002

Swan's Pub
506 Pandora Avenue
Victoria, British Columbia
(250) 361-3310

Cafe Brio

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Restaurant | "Café Brio"

Quote:
Café Brio is another favourite restaurant in the city, with a daily menu based on what’s available from local organic farms that day. The food is contemporary and adventurous, the wine list extensive, and the atmosphere is candlelit and warm but manages to be child-friendly at the same time. I’ve been there twice with friends and their children and we were treated very well, with special attention paid to the kids. One time, the children were given some paper and crayons and the staff bought them juice in a cocktail glass. For a restaurant of this caliber, this is a rare combination. Though the menu changes daily, I’ve had a wonderful duck confit and jumbo scallops. The pastas are always good, w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2002

Cafe Brio
944 Fort Street
Victoria, British Columbia V8V 3K2
(250) 383-0009

Deep Cove Chalet

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Restaurant

Quote:
Savouring creative French food on the waterfront is a romantic and memorable way to spend a special evening. This is worth the drive and every penny. Pick a warm night with a cool breeze and be prepared to feast your eyes and taste buds. This was first recommended to me by a couple who stayed at Sidney by the Sea and went to celebrate a wedding anniversary at Deep Cove Chalet. They had a beautiful table outdoors and were served the most creative and sumptuous French cuisine. They were shocked to find this caliber of cooking in the middle of Vancouver Island. They later found out that the chef and owner puts great pride into his restaurant and is a constant innovator. Using the freshest ingredien...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2002

Deep Cove Chalet
11190 Chalet Road
Victoria, British Columbia
(250) 656-3541

Royal London Wax Museum

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Attraction

Royal London Wax Museum Photo, Victoria, British Columbia
Quote:
I visited this museum on my first trip to Victoria, which was on a day tour from Vancouver. This was a good thing because otherwise, I would not have gone in on my own. Housed in a Greek-style templedesigned by Francis Mawson Rattenbury (architect of almost all official buildings in the city), the building was once the Steamship ticket office. There are more than 250 realistic wax figures, with the English Royal Family and famous people from Christopher Columbus to Charlie Chaplin to Bill Clinton. There are also exhibits of torture-type scenes, but nothing too gruesome. Located right in Inner Harbour, this is an excellent stop if the weather is not cooperating (which happens sometimes...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 11, 2000

Royal London Wax Museum
470 Belleville Street
Victoria, British Columbia
(250) 388-4461

Beacon Hill Park

Attraction

Quote:
This park is about 150 acres and has marinas, beaches, and waterfront walkways and lots of relaxing green spots. There are playing fields, a petting zoo, and (my favourite) one of the world's tallest Totem Poles. This park is a fine place for picnics and it's only a short walk from Government Street as well as a good starting point for a scenic drive. From here, go along Dallas Road to Beach Drive, through the Upland Estates, stopping at Cattle Point, then onto Ten Mile Point. There is a sign for Mile 0, the beginning of the cross-continent highway through to Eastern Canada. A great look-out point with a great view of the ocean.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2000

Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill Park
Victoria, British Columbia

Chinatown

Attraction

Quote:
Victoria's Chinatown is one of the oldest in North America. It is full of bustling streets and typical Chinatown buildings. My favourite part is Fan Tan Alley, Canada's narrowest commercial street. This alley is a sliver between two buildings. There is also the famous Gate of Harmonious Interest, a typical entrance gate with typical Chinatown fanfare. It's a good photo spot. As for the restaurants, the ones I tried paled in comparison to their counterparts in Vancouver. It's a fun place to take some photos and walk around in if you have more than a few days in Victoria.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2000

Chinatown
Fisgard Street (between Government and Store Sts)
Victoria, British Columbia

Inner Harbor

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Attraction | "Inner Harbour"

Inner Harbor Photo, Victoria, British Columbia
Quote:
Victoria's picturesque Inner Harbour is where ferries come in as well as moored yachts and sailboats. It is also where the Wax Museum is, and in the background, the stately Parliament Buildings and gardens. There is horseshoe shape pathway around the harbour, a great stroll to watch the boat acitivities. You can also take a city cruise, or go off to far-away places by float planes (Vancouver Island is huge!). Watch the red Double Decker buses go by, as well as the horse-drawn carriages. There are often street performers, especially if the weather is nice. I always take alot of photos in this spot. Nighttime is also a good time to see the Parliament Buildings lit up.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2000

Inner Harbor

Victoria, British Columbia

Butchart Gardens

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Attraction

Butchart Gardens Photo, Brentwood Bay, British Columbia
Quote:
This is a must-see. My first time to the gardens was June and it was absolutely gorgeous. Though the crowds were thick, I was amazed by the colors and wonderful aroma of the many flowers. The roses were in full-bloom. I was told that April is when most thousands of bulbs are in full-bloom, but I never had the chance to go at that time. My favourite is the Sunken Garden, where you have to walk down stairs into literally, a valley of flowers. The view is so beautiful. Remember to take photos from above to get the full aerial view. Check out the Rose Garden, theme gardens (especially the Japanese garden) and the spectacular water fountain. Here is the official website: ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2000

Butchart Gardens
800 Benvenuto Ave
Brentwood Bay, British Columbia V8M 1J8
(250) 652-4422

Thunderbird Park

Attraction

Quote:
This is where you can find the totem poles you have read so much about before your visit to Victoria. The poles displayed here have been collected from various villages along the coastline in the early 1900s. And since the 1950s, the art of carving was revived and now, artisans carry on the native craft of totem pole carving and other artistry. You can now see this art being demonstrated in a shed at the edge of the park. I was very curious about the stories behind the poles and the many figures they depict. I would recommend asking some of the carvers in the carving shed some questions, or check out a book on the subject at your local library before your trip. Here is a map and names ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 16, 2002

Thunderbird Park
Corner of Douglas & Belleville Streets
Victoria, British Columbia

Fairmont Empress Hotel

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Hotel | "The Empress Hotel"

Quote:
A masterpiece by master architect of Victoria, Francis Mawson Rattenbury, this imposing but gracious hotel is featured prominently in the city’s skyline. It overlooks one side of Inner Harbour and is flanked by a formal Rose Garden on the south side. On my first visit to Victoria, I immediately recognized the Empress because I had seen it so many times in photos and postcards that to me, that was the symbol of the city. Inside the hotel, there are wonderfully grand lobbies and expensive stores to stroll through as well as the famous English afternoon tea that everyone talks about. This takes place in the main lobby and the prices are quite high. Many consider it a rip-off, but for once in a life...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 16, 2002

Fairmont Empress Hotel
721 Government Street
Victoria, British Columbia V8W1W5
(250) 384-8111

Crystal Garden

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Attraction | "The Crystal Garden Conservatory Center"

Quote:
Crystal Garden is a tropical rain forest inside a glass-roofed conservatory featuring more than 65 species of rare and exotic flowers and plants, alongside birds, bats, over a hundred animals and various reptiles. Upstairs, between the months of April and October, there are also free-flying butterflies, a breathtaking scene. At the waterfall and Koi Pond, there are goldfishes, especially enjoyable for young kids. This wonderful glass hall was built by who else but the famous architect of Victoria, Francis Mawson Rattenbury. When it was first opened in 1925, it boasted the largest saltwater swimming pool in the British Empire. Now, there are also a restaurant and shopping area with interesting...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 16, 2002

Crystal Garden
713 Douglas Street
Victoria, British Columbia
(250) 383-1259

Parliament Buildings

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Attraction

Quote:
The Parliament Buildings were designed by the one and only Francis Rattenbury, architect of all imposing buildings in Victoria, and completed in 1898. These stone buildings are the backdrop of the skyline when viewed from Inner Harbour. You will first notice the enormous front lawn with the fountain, where tourists will assemble for pictures and kids will play in the grass. The night view is also very impressive, with thousands of lights outlining the buildings. Most tourists would walk around the grounds and be content with admiring the buildings from the outside. However, there are free guided tours that leave every 30 minutes from the main steps. They will tell the full history of these build...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2002

Parliament Buildings
501 Belleville Street
Victoria, British Columbia

Market Square

Attraction

Quote:
This is a historic warehouse complex dating back to the late 1800’s, now successfully restored into a festive place for stores, café’s, and restaurants. In the warmer months, there are musicians and entertainers performing in the outdoor courtyard. You could hang out at an outdoor restaurant and enjoy the festivities. Some of the shops sell specialty items like local crafts and books, but there are also your usual mix of mall stores that sell things like toys and sport equipment. All in a beautiful historic setting.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2002

Market Square
560 Johnson Street
Victoria, British Columbia
(250) 386-5534

Craigdarroch Castle

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Attraction

Quote:
This used to be the home of coal baron Robert Dunsmuir, one of the richest men in the region in the late 1800’s. Unfortunately, he died before the completion of this elaborate mansion. Filled with stained-glass windows, elaborate woodwork and Victorian furniture, this lives up to it’s name of being a great castle. There is a staircase that leads up to a ballroom and a tower. Don’t miss this as you can see the city of Victoria and the breathtaking Olympic Mountains in the background. Check the hours before you go, as they change during the summer months. Although the castle is located outside of the Inner Harbour area, you can reach it by car (there is available parking) or bus # 11 and 14, or wa...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2002

Craigdarroch Castle
Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia

West Bay and Songhees Point

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Story/Tip

Quote:
West Bay and Songhees Point West Bay is a residential neighbourhood across the bay from Inner Harbour. It is reachable by any of the many ferries from the docks at Inner Harbour. There is a pretty marina and outstanding views back towards Victoria city and the nearby Olympic Mountains in Washington State. The waterfront paths offer pleasant and serene walks along the coastline. Songhees Point is marked by the Spirit of Lakwammen totem pole and is a nice viewing point on the coastline. A famous pub with home-brewed beer and great value food (not to mention outstanding views) is Spinnaker’s Brew Pub. It is located at 308 Catherine Street, Tel: (250) 386-2739. This is a nice resting point...Read More

Shopping

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Let’s get this clear: Avoid the tourist rip-off stores on the Government Street promenade. It’s a picturesque scene, but these stores are mostly filled with cheesy Made in Taiwan/China souvenirs. Spend your money elsewhere, unless you just want a few refridgerator magnets or the $5 plastic totem pole. Of course, there are some treasures to be found here, but I would spend my time elsewhere. Here are a few of the city’s gems for browsing and shopping: Antique Row, located on Upper Fort Street (between Blanshard and Cook Streets). This street is lined with all kinds of interesting shops. There are rare stamp and coin stores, antiquarian booksellers, collecter’s shops, and intere...Read More