I’ve thought about the west coast a lot throughout the years. I’ve always had family out west, but I’ve never made that attempt to travel out there. As we know from other posts I’ve made, I dislike flying. That’s usually the main thing that holds me back from travelling. But I’m so glad it doesn’t hold me back anymore.
I just spent a week out in British Columbia – with 5 of those days taking place on the Island. I want to share my trip with you, but I feel like there’s just so much to talk about, that I’m going to spread it out over a couple of Travel Tuesday posts. First up, Victoria.
I want to live in a floating home. That has now been determined. The houses are so cute and it’s like this cute little tiny neighbourhood. There are a couple shops, and lots of food. This is where we saw a seal (omg!) and got our ten minutes of rain for the whole week. We grabbed some Rosemary & Garlic fries from Smoke and Anchor, and walked around the wharf a bit. A great, colourful, tourist-y spot.
Dallas Rd Beach/Clover Point Park
There’s a stretch of beach along Dallas Rd in Victoria. This beach boasts a great view of the mountains – two different sets. We went here so I could hunt for sea glass (I’m going to make some jewelry!) and stayed for the mountains. We just got to sit on a log, staring across the water, looking at these beautiful snow tops. We also drove a little further down the road and went to Clover Point Park. It was super windy when we were there, but I can imagine on a beautiful day how great the view would be.
Everything from the Empress Hotel, to the Parliament building, to the harbour, to all the little streets. All of it. It’s completely walkable, and there’s lots to see and do. From tourist-based things to do, to hanging like the locals do – there’s lots to see and do. We did a big walk around for about 9 hours one day. We saw anything and everything. I couldn’t even tell you where to start – but we wandered basically from Government & Fisgard over to Belleville & Douglas. And saw everything in between. We wandered down a street that reminded me of Diagon Alley (Fan Tan Alley). It took you from a hip street down an alley with stores, and let you out into Chinatown. A hint for a great Instagram shot? To the left of the entrance to Finn’s Seafood there is a wooden stairwell that leads down to the harbour. Head down those steps, and you’ll see a beautiful bright coloured wall at the bottom of the steps. Great for some classic Instagram poses.
Lido Bistro at 1234 Wharf St. (lidobistro.com)
Great patio at the harbour, down away from the hustle and bustle of the street. I had their halibut tacos and they were so good.
Finn’s Seafood at 1208 Wharf St. (finnsvictoria.com)
I haven’t really noticed it in restaurants in the GTA, but it could be because I don’t go out around here often – but restaurants out west give you blankets on the patio. Finn’s was one of those restaurants. I had their delicious BC Salmon and it was so worth it. Their drinks weren’t half bad either.
The Bastion Square Public Market (bastionsquare.ca)
I would definitely call this a must-see. We walked through Bastion Square twice while in Victoria (on two separate days) and we definitely slowed down our walk to look at all that the market had to offer. It felt like Etsy exploded onto the street. I loved it. The three of us got these cute matching rings from a stand and I so so wish I had gotten her card so I could share the love for her here. But just know that this is must see for me!
Market Square (marketsquare.ca)
We didn’t spend as much time in this market as we may have liked (we were getting hungry) but I loved it as well. The layout was unlike anything I’ve seen in Toronto. It was an open square in the middle with shops all around – but not pop ups. Actual walk in shops. The one we spent the most time in was Beadworld. (sorry not sorry). I bought some charms and we made earrings right there in the store. A little souvenir from Victoria that only cost me $6. Two sets of earrings! $6!
Beacon Hill Park
Guys. I saw a PEACOCK. In the flesh. I could walk right up to it. There’s a zoo in the park, and I guess the peacock’s just hop over the fence. We got super close to one – it was such a surreal experience because I was like – how does this happen? It’s a beautiful park. I would love to bring a picnic and just set up camp. There’s a lot of shaded areas, but lots of sunshine at the same time. Some ponds. Some beautiful flowery areas. It’s a great place just to take a break from the hustle and bustle of being a tourist and just walk around.
Hatley Castle (hatleycastle.com)
Have you ever wanted to see where Oliver Queen lived? Who’s door Deadpool knocked on? Where the X-Men lived? Well, look no further! Hatley Castle is where it’s at. It was really cool to walk the grounds of a castle where many a’ actors have walked before. I mean, I know they walk a lot of places, but to be able to actually picture a scene in your head from a TV show or movie it was pretty cool. We didn’t go inside – the door was locked – but there are tours that go through the building (for a small fee). Maybe next time!
Goldstream Provincial Park (how to get there)
I’ll admit, we didn’t spend a ton of time at this park – but we saw the (in my opinion) best part. It’s a bit off the actual trail, but it’s worth the “hike”. Be careful of the rocks – my friend did take a bit of a slide down one of them (but was okay). The waterfall that we saw was named “Niagara Falls”, but it was definitely not the Niagara Falls I’m used to. I haven’t seen any other waterfalls, really. None that I’ve gotten this close to. I wanted to just take my shoes off and wade right into the water (but it was a little early in the morning and I was still a little bit chilly). It was a surreal experience, and we were pretty quiet while we were there. Just taking in the sight. It was absolutely beautiful.
Victoria has so much to offer – a little bit for everyone. But it was their downtown area that I fell in love with. So easy to walk around and find great things. They had everything from the scenic view, to shopping, to great eats. All within walking distance. A ton of restaurants by the harbour. Wharf St was the place to be. You could take one of their harbour ferries around (from one area of Victoria to another) but it was so walkable I don’t even think it was needed! It was also fun seeing all the seaplanes take off and land.
I’d like to say that Vancouver was the highlight of my trip – but it wasn’t. By far, Victoria took the cake. I feel like I could give you so many more recommendations of things we saw, or stores to stay away from (there’s one liquor store that we are giving the evil eye to) but then I’d be here all day.
Let me know if you have plans to go!