Summer Festivals in Victoria BC

Summer Festivals in Victoria BC add spice to a visit to Vancouver Island. It’s a pleasant surprise to stumble upon a festival but better to plan a visit to coincide with one of your choice. Here’s a summary of the major varied summer festivals in Victoria BC.

May
Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival – over 150 years of fun and muscle.

Swiftsure International Yacht Race – four races contested by 200 yachts as the Inner Harbour gets thoroughly nautical.

June
Victoria International JazzFest – over 300 musicians in many styles.

July
Victoria International Buskers Festival – remarkable street performers give free shows throughout downtown.

Moss Street Paint-In – outdoor art created by 160 of Vancouver Islands leading artists. 30 years on.

August
Symphony Splash – join 40,000 people in Victoria’s Inner Harbour on the first Sunday in August. Ends with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and fireworks.

Victoria Dragon Boat Festival – 90 dragon boats with 2,500 paddlers race in the Inner Harbour.

Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival – 50 shows at eleven venues downtown.

September
Saanich Fall Fair – our agricultural show on the Saanich Peninsula since 1868.

Victoria Classic Boat Festival – 40 years of admiration of these craft.

Victoria International Chalk Art Festival – stumble across street art unfolding before your eyes.

Click on the above weblinks for full details about these Vancouver Island events and spectacles.

Victoria BC tourism map

What to see, where to eat, what to do, where to stay and how to get there? All vital questions which this Victoria BC tourism map will help to answer.

The map shows Victoria and Saanich Peninsula attractions, recreational activities, restaurants, wineries and other tourism related businesses, and, of course, accommodations. (Victoria is on the southern end of the Saanich Peninsula, the area where you’ll be enjoying your vacation in this beautiful area.)

The map is part of an informative website about Victoria BC tourism. Click on these links to prepare for your visit:

  • Attractions so often guests remark as they leave “We wish we were staying longer. Theres so much to do here”. This page has information and links to downtown attractions, Victoria area attractions, gardens, wineries, and recreation on land and on water.
  • The Butchart Gardens – since this is the place you really should visit we’ve dedicated a web page to these magnificent gardens. Allow sufficient time to explore the varied gardens and enjoy its activities.
  • There are videos about aspects of Victoria and Vancouver Island.
  • Local tourism businesses are listed answering some of those What to see, Where to eat and What to do questions.
  • and lastly, that Victoria BC tourism map. Zoom in and out, click on the icons for more information.

 

Our Greater Victoria bed and breakfasts are located conveniently for your explorations of Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula. We look forward to welcoming you to a memorable stay.

A tasty visit to Victoria

Have a tasty visit to Victoria! Your visit should satisfy all the senses: seeing the sights, smelling the roses at the Butchart Gardens, hearing killer whales on a whale-watching boat hydrophone,  touching camera buttons; but what about taste?

Its an oft-quoted statistic that Victoria has more restaurants per capita than anywhere in North America except San Francisco, but let’s ignore quantity and focus on quality.

Yesterday evening my wife and I went with friends to a where we had not dined for several years. The meal was excellent but what struck us most was the new emphases on the menu: healthy, local foods. This is the trend here these days so embrace it and enjoy! The previous day we had visited two farm markets where the same message was tastefully (pun intended) presented: foods are locally grown, distributed and enjoyed. Economic sustainability and environmental responsibility in action.

Southern Vancouver Island’s climate and terrain enables an unusually wide range of agricultural goodies to be grown; fruit and vegetables, berries and grapes (thus wine), meats and prepared local foods – an overflowing cornucopia. In August the North Saanich Flavour Trail Festival is a good opportunity to discover these.

To enjoy these tastes to the full and make your visit to Victoria even more fulfilling, try these:

  • Ignore the chain restaurants and dine at an independent restaurant whose owners and staff are offering the very best of Vancouver Island produce.
  • Visit local wineries, enjoy a tasting or three and purchase our local wines (whites are particularly good here).
  • Tour farm markets and farm stands on the Saanich Peninsula – the producers will proudly share their wares. Pick up a some fresh fruit for your travels.

Your bed and breakfasts hosts will be glad to guide you with further information to help you enjoy a tasty visit to Victoria.

Victoria tourism website

Old friends from the UK emailed me a couple of days ago confirming that they will visit us this year. They asked what there is to do in Victoria and could we recommend a Victoria tourism website. Needless to say, I sent them useful website links.

Our group of bed and breakfasts has a website which will give my friends much food for thought. Victoria attractions listed on the site include something for everyone:

  • From Canadas oldest China Town to the latest IMAX film,
  • From urban shopping to beach strolling,
  • From horse-drawn carriage tours to whale-watching tours,
  • From formal gardens to wild natural parks,
  • From wineries to restaurants,
  • Eight short award-winning videos.

Our bed and breakfasts are located on the Saanich Peninsula. This is just 30km / 20 mile long, from Victoria in the south to Sidney in the north. Here you’ll find the most popular Victoria attraction of them all, the Butchart Gardens.

 

So, here is a three part plan of action to help you prepare for a visit to southern Vancouver Island using this Victoria tourism website:-
1. Take a look at a map to get a sense of the scale and locations.
2. Browse through our website, especially the attractions page.
3. Book your Victoria bed and breakfast and ask your hosts any outstanding questions to make your trip the best it can be.

Souvenirs and gifts from Victoria

Your visit to British Columbia will be made more memorable by souvenirs and gifts from Victoria. The many gift shops in downtown Victoria are evidence of this.

Most of us like to take home souvenirs of a good trip plus a few gifts for family and friends; mementos of your visit to Vancouver Island As you walk along Government Street downtown it is usually thronged with visitors in the summer. In between the coffee shops are the expected gift shops. Some offer hand-crafted goods, others tacky souvenirs. What thought really lies behind a memento for oneself or a gift for someone if it is mass-produced in China, such as a cast resin killer whale or a keyring with a gaudily painted hanging basket? Surely gifts from Victoria can be more inspiring?

They can. Three sources throughout Victoria BC offer local authentic gifts made with pride.

A. Wander along the side roads off Government Street where rents are more affordable and local merchants, rather than chain stores, can set up shop. They will individually source out gifts appropriate to the theme of their store. Some of these will be local crafts. Walk north from the Inner Harbour along Government Street and visit the neighbouring streets.

B. Crafts markets. Victoria has numerous markets, especially in the summer months. Some are more rural with an agricultural element but all present local artisans proud of their wares. What better source for a worthy souvenir? In the downtown area try the Bastion Square Market, Wednesday to Saturday 10.30 5.30 or Ship Point Market (see below) on Friday and Saturday evenings 7.00 10.30. Further north in Sidney is the larger Thursday evening street market (see above).

C. Naturally there are many worthy gift shops in Victoria, not just in the downtown core. As you travel around the area you’ll encounter them in many locations, given that the whole Saanich Peninsula is a focus for tourism. So it becomes easy to find those unique souvenirs and gifts from Victoria which truly reflect a memorable visit.

Visiting Victoria in the Spring

Visiting Victoria in the Spring makes good sense after the mild winters we usually experience on southern Vancouver Island BC. Avoid the crowds, stay at low season rates at Victoria B&Bs and enjoy the new life all around as Spring bursts into life.

Spring in Victoria is epitomised by displays of flowers. In February 2016 local residents counted 26 billion (!) flowers at the annual Flower Count. (Victoria likes to remind snow-bound Canada of its good fortune.) So where better to start than at The Butchart Gardens? Visit before 31st March to see their Spring Prelude indoor garden within a week they transform their Blue Poppy Restaurant into this delightful garden oasis. See their Spring displays of daffodils and massed tulips.

There are many more gardens to enjoy as March daffodils turn to April tulips and then the May rhododendrons and cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

Other festivals, special events, displays and concerts range from the Victoria Film Festival in early February to the Swiftsure Yacht races in late May.

Victoria is located on the small Saanich Peninsula surrounded by the rugged natural parks, with lakes and ocean beaches. So, weather permitting, you can set out on foot or by car, or rent bicycles or kayaks and explore. There’s scope for taking it easy or having a tough adventure: your choice.

If it is wet then consider indoor options like the Royal BC Museum, Saanich Commonwealth Place with a superb pool, Butterfly Gardens, Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, tours of Craigdarroch Castle or the BC Legislative Buildings,  select a venue for afternoon tea or just browse through interesting shops.

Your bed and breakfast hosts will be pleased to provide further information when you are visiting Victoria in the Spring.

Victoria BC weather

Prospective guests often ask us what Victoria BC weather will be like to help with their travel plans. This is a fair question since their travels may take them from California to Alaska, from BC to the Prairies in addition to their visit to Vancouver Island. This simple question often entails a rather complicated answer so well try to establish some facts here to guide you.

Our Victoria B&B website says “A moderate Mediterranean climate makes Victoria BC a year-round vacation destination” but since we are on the coast weather patterns just have to be more complex than that. That’s understandable but what is harder to grasp is that the whole of the Saanich Peninsula comprises many mini-climatic zones. I remember looking at a weather map of the peninsula last summer noting that temperatures varied by 10 degrees C and the peninsula is only 30 km / 20 miles long!

Victoria BC temperatures are similar to Vancouver and Seattle although our rainfall thankfully only about half of theirs. This handy chart shows average daily maximum temperures (Centigrade / Fahrenheit).
January 6.5 / 44
February 8.4 / 47
March 10.2 / 50
April 12.9 / 55
May 16.3 / 61
June 19.3 / 67
July 21.8 / 71
August 21.8 / 71
September 19.1 / 67
October 14.1 / 57
November 9.4 / 49
December 6.8 / 45

If you wish to convert temperatures from C to F try this formula. Multiply Centigrade by two, deduct 10%, add 32; eg 30C x 2 = 60 10% = 56 + 32 = 86F.

However, coastal weather projections have to be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt. Victoria BC weather can be, as the British forecasters say, “variable”.