July in Victoria BC

July in Victoria BC always starts with a bang: Canada Day. Join in with the local celebrations even if only to ooh and aah at the fireworks displays. In 2017, Canada Day celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday.

Visiting Victoria BC in July has something for everyone, from regular summer activities to festivals and events.

For example, the Royal BC Museum presents a major exhibition each summer in addition to its highly impressive regular exhibits. In 2017 “Terry Fox: Into the Heart of Canada” celebrates the inspiring story of this heroic young man. Also: visit the Terry Fox monument at Mile 0 of the 8,000km Trans-Canada Highway, at Beacon Hill Park. While there enjoy a stroll through our favourite park with its floral displays, pond and bridge, heronry, petting zoo, cricket pitch and more.

When I visit a new city I like to check if there are any special festivals taking place. One of these in July in Victoria BC is the Victoria International Buskers Festival. In 2017, this runs from 14th to 23rd July. If you miss the Festival you’ll catch a variety of performers on the Inner Harbour causeway every summer day. Look for the one man band (how many instruments does he play?).

The Butchart Gardens are a must for any itinerary, with many hours of delights. These end invariably with a concert on the lawn each evening in July. A wide variety of high quality music is enjoyed in a glorious setting. Afterwards, stay to wander through the illuminated gardens where lights replace flowers for colourful displays. On Saturdays in July there’s the additional bonus of a 15 minute firework display accompanied by music.

Summer markets abound where local artisans and farmers proudly present their wares in a buzz of activity. My favourite is the Thursday evening street market in Sidney, just north of Victoria.

Explore the area – the lakes, beaches, hills, wineries and farms and the Vancouver Island coastline that surrounds us for kayaking, sailing, whale-watching.

Do ask your B&B hosts for information about the events and activities that might interest you. Alternatively, visit the Tourism Victoria InfoCentre in the Inner Harbour for details about all that’s happening in July in Victoria BC and southern Vancouver Island.

Fishermans Wharf in Victoria

Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria BC is just a short walk from the Inner Harbour along an oceanside path with its intriguing colourful houseboats.

Years back the salmon fleet moored here, so the name is a valid one, though today only prawns and crabs are brought in by a few fishing boats. Nonetheless you can buy fresh fish or (definitely recommended) taste the battered variety at the fish and chip shop eating at communal tables: the person who passes you the salt may have come from just about anywhere in the world. Then wander around with ice cream in hand watching out for the friendly harbour seals looking for fishy handouts.

Fishermans Wharf in Victoria is a base for whale-watching and for kayaking too. If these explorations do not appeal then hop on one of the regularly passing harbour ferries which will take you back to the Inner Harbour, bobbing along with commentary from the skipper.

It’s a charming place where you just can not stop smiling and feeling relaxed. The houseboats seem to present a laid-back lifestyle (there might even be one for sale or rent) and the tourists are here to enjoy themselves.

Messing about on the water

Victoria whale-watching and kayaking are two popular pursuits of visitors and residents alike on southern Vancouver Island: messing about on the water is such fun. The reasons are fairly obvious in different ways.

Exploring the coastline gives a different perspective of the island, a new way to enjoy its beauty. Taking a whale-watching trip adds a thrill to this.

Orca Spirit have their base in Victorias Inner Harbour where the fun begins. You will be in the hands of a long-established whale watching company whose skippers / naturalists will give you a memorable experience whether on their covered ocean cruisers or on a zodiac.

It is unusual not to see whales but they do not breach before your eyes to order! There are three pods (families) of residents and passing transcient orcas so you can hope for the rare whale soup of up to 80 killer whales. Humpback whales appear quite often and you may well see porpoises and seals too. Tours usually visit Race Rocks where sea lions, Steller and California, are draped on the rocks by the lighthouse. And look out for a variety of marine birds. It is a trip you will long remember.

A change of pace comes from peaceful kayaking around our shores. Each summer I rent a kayak from Pacifica Paddle in the glorious setting of the Saanich Inlet at Brentwood Bay, near the Butchart Gardens. The scenery is splendid, the waters warmer and placid and the other vessels not overwhelming.

This summer I went alone to explore Todd Inlet behind the Butchart Gardens where they had the cement factory and jetty 100 years ago. A couple of weeks later my wife and I joined friends on their boat and we moored in the inlet to watch the Gardens fireworks overhead.

There are so many ways to explore the Vancouver Island coastline off-shore, sailing and fishing trips too. Do ensure you include one of these on your visit to Victoria.