Dad’s mini-checklist of things to do in Victoria and surrounding area

by Dad


  • The Inner Harbour: Walk through the historic Empress Hotel, admire the architecture of the BC Legislature Building, visit the Royal BC Museum, or chill at Laurel Point Park. There’s also a seaside walkway (David Foster Harbour Pathway) that makes for a very pleasant walk around the inner harbor and eventually leads you to Fisherman’s wharf.
  • Walk the Dallas Road Waterfront Trail and take in the expansive views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Clover Point, at the east end of the Dallas Road Waterfront Trail is good place for flying a kite, watching people flying kites, or beach combing.
  • Browse the headstones (Emily Carr, Billy Barker, and Sir James Douglas amongst others) of the historic Ross Bay Cemetery. Ross Bay Cemetery is across from Clover Point.
  • Check out Russell Books on Fort Street for a huge selection of used books.
  • Shop along Government Street. Visit Munro's Books on Government Street for good selection of new books (see Russell Books for used books). Bastion Square at View and Government St. The charming shops along Trounce Alley. Chocolat Favoris for incredible dipped cones. Sam’s Deli for great sandwiches.
  • Take in the shops along Johnson Street. Baggins Shoes has one of the largest selection of Converse running shoes. Plus the whimsical shops of historic Market Square.
  • The Bug Zoo on Courtney Street.
  • Swimming? Try the huge Commonwealth Pool in District of Saanich.
  • For mini-golf: Mattick’s Farm, Island View Mini Golf, or Blenkinsop Adventure Mini Golf.
  • Craigdarroch Castle, a National Historic Site, built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir in the 1880s.
  • Feed the seals at the Oak Bay marina (the marine store sells herring bits).
  • Victoria has one of nicest Chinatowns around. Fan Tan Alley is only 35 inches wide at its narrowest point. The restaurant Don Mee is our favourite for dim-sum.
  • The IMAX theatre (in the Royal BC Museum) presents 3D films on giant screens.
  • Have tea at the “Chateau-style” The Fairmont Empress hotel, a National Historic Site of Canada.
  • The Songhees Walkway is a beautiful 3.5 km seaside walk that starts at Songhees Point Totem Poles/Delta Ocean Point Hotel (western end of Johnson Street Bridge) and follows the harbour to the floating homes at the West Bay Marina. If you get thirsty, stop at Spinnakers Brewpub about halfway along the walk.
  • Visit beautiful Beacon Hill Park. Kids will enjoy the petting zoo. Close to Beacon Hill Park is the Beacon Drive-In which has the world's best soft ice-cream.
  • Walk the 800 metre Ogden Point breakwater.
  • My wife loves to browse the Patch Vintage Clothing store on Yates Street.
  • There is a full sized replica of Anna Hathaway’s cottage (Anne Hathaway was William Shakespeare’s wife). Anne Hathaway’s cottage is located at 429 Lampson Street in Esquimalt.
  • Visit Fisherman’s Wharf, a community of floating homes where you can feed the seals and buy fresh seafood.
  • Explore the beautiful walking trails around Oak Bay. This booklet has a list of trails.
  • Climb or drive up Mount Douglas (738 feet / 225 metre) for a 360 degree view.
  • Climb “Mount” Tolmie near the University of Victoria. Elevation 394 feet / 120 metre with nice views of the city.
  • Visit The Royal BC Museum, a world class museum with a collection size of over 7 million objects pertaining to British Columbia’s natural and human history.
  • Quaint Oak Bay village offers an array of boutiques, and art & crafts galleries.
  • Walk over Selkirk Trestle on the Gorge waterway. This 300-metre long, fir and hemlock trestle (a former train trestle) has been converted to a walking/cycling bridge.
  • Explore the history of Hatley Castle, A National Historic Site located on the Royal Roads University Campus.
  • Visit the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea aquarium in the town of Sidney.
  • Swim, fish, or walk around Elk Lake in Saanich.
  • The place to go for a fantastic swimming experience in the summer is the Sooke Potholes (about a 50 minute drive from Victoria).
  • The University of Victoria (22,000 students) is located on a beautiful campus and is over-run with feral rabbits.
  • It’s a small world, visit Miniature World on Humboldt Street.
  • History buffs might want to check out the Chinese cemetery at Harling Point in Oak Bay.
  • Take one of the mini-ferries that crisscross the inner harbour.
  • Visit world famous Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay.
  • Browse the used book stores at Sidney-by-the-sea. Sidney is Canada’s Only Booktown.
  • Rent a bike, and ride the Galloping Goose Trail. The Galloping Goose Trail is a 55-kilometre rail trail between Victoria, and surrounding communities.
  • Drive one of the most scenic seaside routes in the world: Follow Dallas Road (starting at Ogden Point breakwater) to Hollywood Crescent, Crescent Road, King George Terrace, and then Beach Drive all the way to Cadboro Bay. Follow the scenic route signs.


Victoria is located on the very southern tip of Vancouver Island.


Vancouver Island


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