Dispatch from Victoria | A Two Day Tour

Over spring break we took a really nice trip to Victoria (an hour and a half ferry ride from Vancouver) and also the capitol city of our fair province.  It had been years since both Earl and I had been and our son had never, so it was the perfect little getaway plan. As we had limited time, we packed in as much as we could into our two-day one night stay. And because it was such a nice break, we thought we'd share a few sights and recommendations.

We hopped on the 9 a.m. ferry (mid-week to avoid crowds) which got us into Victoria shortly before 11am, allowing for us to grab a little lunch, check into our hotel and then still do a little sight seeing before dinner. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful morning ferry ride.


As we needed a hotel that would take a dog and wanting to be near the downtown area, we booked the Hotel Grand Pacific.  They charged an exra $50 to have the dog, which came with a doggy bed, treats and dog dishes. Although we weren't allowed to leave our dog in our room while we went out we were lucky the weather was cool enough that we could keep him in the car if he wasn't allowed into the places we were going.

Our first stop was to grab a bite.  We were famished from all the fresh air from the ferry ride and found some delicious sandwiches downtown Victoria at a shop called Sitka (570 Yates Street), a lifestyle brand/shop that carries clothing and gear from surfing to fishing. While there we noticed a show of beautiful woven wall hangings (tapestries as they called them) by artist, Britt Buntain (we loved the copper incorporated with them).  Stay tuned for more on Britt in a separate post.

We then dropped by The Regional Assembly of Text (116-560 Johnson St.) who opened up a Victoria location a bit back but we hadn't seen it in person yet.  Such a cute spot, in the lobby (really) of a really cool old building (note the wood paneled walls, staircase and chandelier).  At night, they just somehow magically, roll it all neatly into a corner and lock it all up! Check it out!

Our next stop was the Royal BC Museum, where we enjoyed the Ethnology collection (one of the most comprehensive collections of First Nations cultural materials from BC). We loved seeing all of the different arts and crafts represented from so many nations.  The motifs were so unique to each of them and we especially loved the cradleboards, and the stories behind them. They took such pride in their children and decorated their cradleboards to show their love for them.

Ktunaxa Cradleboard

The  museum had so much to see, you definitely need a good few hours to go through it all.  Click here to see what's scheduled for this spring and summer. We then walked back to the hotel through the Parliament grounds, taking in the historical site. They also have tours of the Parliament Buildings if you're interested and have time; (we didn't as we had to get back to our pup). So beautiful though.

View of the Parliament Buildings from inside the Royal BC Museum

In the evening we headed back along the waterfront and stopped in for dinner at The Keg Steakhouse (Fort Street); we wouldn't normally go to that type of restaurant, but it's funny what children talk you into. We had a nice booth that overlooked the harbour though and the ribs were rather delicious! If we did it again, we would probably walk from the hotel to downtown to eat, as parking was a bit of an issue.  Although it was nice to have the car afterwards, as we took an impromptu trip to the most adorable Chinatown (apparently the oldest in Canada), then drove around the harbour taking in some of the beautiful city lights.

Victoria has to be one of the most well designed, beautiful cities in Canada. The architecture is so charming, especially alongside the harbour, the downtown (the heritage buildings there have so much character) and their Chinatown is adorable. The drive into the city from the ferry or airport is so easy to access as was the highway to go to Nanaimo.  A smaller city, but perfect in so many ways.  We love you Victoria! 

The next day we set off at about 11am and drove (a very rainy drive —hence no pictures) up to Nanaimo (about a 1.5 to 2 hour drive, but for some reason took us almost 3), that took us through the Cowichan Valley (so beautiful), then hopping on the ferry back from there into North Vancouver.  If we would've had time we would've stopped in Ladysmith, which looked rather quaint (with it's heritage town and seaside cove), but will save that for next time.

All in all a fun little two days, if you're ever thinking of heading that way.  Loved being at sea.  Happy travels!

Jan Halvarson


Liza Veenendaal said...

What a beautiful inspriration. Thanks!

Ookpiik said...

You are aware that First Nation people still live here, and still take great care and pride in their children right? It is very dismissive of the First Nations cultures and people that are still here to speak of them in past tense only.

Jan Halvarson said...

Thanks Liza!

Jan Halvarson said...

Ookpiik - we are First Nation! so yes we do! :)