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.

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.

Visiting Victoria wineries

Visiting Victoria wineries has been one of the great success stories for tourism on southern Vancouver Island. A few years ago there were very few vineyards on the island but now, for example, one of our member bed and breakfasts has four on their road alone.

Our local Saanich Peninsula vineyards are typically small family affairs who are rightly proud of their craft and are pleased to share stories with you as you sample their wines. Your bed and breakfast hosts can help you plan a Victoria wine tours itinerary to visit the local vineyards.

Imagine the setting: driving around the rolling countryside of the peninsula (north of Victoria, south of Sidney) through its farmland and small communities. Every ten minutes or so you pull into a winery or perhaps a fruit stand for some sustaining fresh fruit for your travels. You are then greeted at a tasting room, probably by the family winery operators. With pride, they tell you about their vineyard: its soils and setting, its grapes and, most importantly, its wines.

Do not think that these small wine-making operations produce inferior wines compared to the large wineries; they often win awards internationally. Most BC wines are white, light and fruity.

Visiting Victoria wineries is always a delight. You can also tour local cideries, two distilleries and even a meadery all in the Greater Victoria area.

So plan a few hours to tour them all and sample their wares. Buy a bottle to enjoy in the evening at your bed and breakfast and take a few souvenirs home. Bear in mind that some of these wineries are only open on summer weekends so plan accordingly ask your Victoria bed and breakfast hosts about this.

If Victoria wineries are not to your taste, there are many craft breweries with a large selection of beers, in Victoria and on the Saanich Peninsula.