Where to Eat in Victoria:
Victoria has a vibrant cuisine scene. It is also the province’s Craft Beer Capital and home to Canada’s first brewpub (Spinnaker’s)!
Things to Do in Victoria:
TOUR THE WATERFRONT DRIVE
Drive, bike, or ride the waterfront drive starting downtown or at UVic, and following Dallas Road and Beach Drive. Stops of interest include Beacon Hill Park, Clover Point, Ross Bay Cemetary, the viewpoint at Trafalgar Park, Oak Bay Marina, Willows Beach, Cattle Point, and Cadboro Bay. This scenic seaside route is the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon exploring Victoria’s neighbourhoods and catching the iconic view of Mt. Baker across the water.
BIKE THE GALLOPING GOOSE REGIONAL TRAIL
This picturesque multi-use trail, formerly a railway line, moves through urban, rural, and wilderness scenery on its 55 kilometre journey from Victoria to Sooke. Free of motorized vehicles, this trail offers a tranquil ride perfect for cyclists. Enjoy the views at the historical Swan & Selkirk trestles, and perhaps stop in at Roche Cove or Thetis Lake.
TAKE A WALKING TOUR OF DOWNTOWN VICTORIA
Suggested self-guided walking tours of Victoria can be found here. As Western Canada’s second oldest city, there are hundreds of years of history to be discovered. Must-see stops include architectural wonders such as The Empress Hotel and the Parliament Buildings, culturally-rich areas such as our Chinatown, and natural spaces such as Beacon Hill Park (which has a petting zoo for the kids!).
VISIT THE LOCAL MARKETS
Victoria hosts many public local artisan markets, most of which will be open in May. The Moss Street Market (Saturday 10am-2pm) provides local and organic farm-fresh produce, local foods, handmade crafts, artisan clothing, inspiring services, and community education. If you are staying downtown, the Bastion Square Public Market (Thurs-Sun) offers an eclectic mix of arts, crafts and imports as well as outstanding entertainment.
GET OUT ON THE WATER
The waters around Victoria are stunning, and May is a wonderful time of year to enjoy them! There are many ways to get yourself out on the water – rent a kayak or stand up paddle board, or go on a sports fishing or whale watching adventure. Ask us about which companies are giving a special rate for conference attendees!
Places to Visit in Victoria:
ROYAL BRITISH COLUMBIA MUSEUM
In May, the Royal BC Museum will be showcasing an exhibit entitled “Orcas: Our Shared Future”, diving deep into the stories and science that surround the magnificent Orca, spirit of BC’s wild coast and apex predator of all oceans. The museum also showcases permanent Natural History, First Peoples, and Modern History galleries. Spend an afternoon soaked in BC’s rich history, and visit the museum’s IMAX theatre to round out the day.
Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the gems of our Inner Harbour. Grab a bite at one of the many food shacks, including some of the best fish & chips in town, and stroll through the colourful float home village. You may even catch a glimpse of some of our cheeky harbour seals!
CRAIGDARROCH & HATLEY CASTLES
Built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir during the reign of Queen Victoria and now a National Historic Site, Craigdarroch Castle has been meticulously restored, giving visitors a glimpse of privileged life in the 1890s. Or, if you have the time, take a trip out to Hatley Castle – commissioned in 1908 by James Dunsmuir (Robert’s son), it has been a filming site for many movies, including some from the X-men franchise. The gardens of Hatley Park are one of the area’s most spectacular – and well worth a visit!
VICTORIA BUG ZOO
The Bug Zoo is great fun for the whole family. Nestled in Victoria’s downtown core, it hosts over 40 fascinating insect species to marvel at – and even hold! This must-see mini zoo hosts beautiful praying mantis, giant walking sticks, glow-in-the-dark scorpions, hairy tarantulas, and Canada’s largest ant colony.
BUTCHART GARDENS & BUTTERFLY GARDENS
Once an abandoned quarry, Butchart Gardens has been transformed into BC’s most famous floral display. Autumn heralds a stunning display of red, russet, and golden maples and is one of the best seasons to visit the tranquil Japanese Garden. Add on a visit to the Butterfly Gardens and marvel at the various butterflies, moths, and other tropical creatures living in this warm oasis. *Please note that the Gardens are a half hour’s drive from downtown*
SHAW CENTRE FOR THE SALISH SEA
Located in downtown Sidney (near the airport & ferry terminal), the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea gives a sneak peek into the underwater world surrounding Victoria. This aquarium showcases over 150 species including a few of the most iconic animals in our local waters such as salmon, rockfish, sculpins, and even a Giant Pacific Octopus! A touch pool never fails to delight with sea anemones, starfish, sea cucumbers, and more.
Topic photo by: Destination Greater Victoria