Out and About in Victoria

Before any trip to a new destination, people will share numerous thoughts on a place. Learning I was going to visit Victoria, British Columbia, my dad eagerly told his memories of how much he loved the small city filled with British history. My mom told me all about the famed Butchart Gardens and the abundance of blossoming flowers. Looking at a map, I realized just how small Victoria is and wondered what it had to offer. It wasn’t until I got to Victoria that I saw even more than what others had told me.

Chinatown in Victoria, British ColumbiaThe first start of my journey began in Victoria’s small neighborhood of Chinatown. Although it’s only a few blocks and one of the smallest Chinatowns I’ve visited, it has the vibe of comfort and being at home, something evident throughout Victoria. A few small Boba Tea places and cafes, including vegan restaurant Café Bliss, give this Chinatown a laid back feel. The narrow street of Fan Tan Alley illuminates more of Victoria’s local art scene, but be aware that many shops here and throughout Victoria close early.

Fairmont EmpressOne of the highlights of downtown Victoria is the beautiful, old-fashioned hotel, the Fairmont Empress. With patches of ivy and royal emblems of crowns on structures near the hotel, this building maintains of the British regal persona. Off to the side I found some gorgeous pink flowers, further emulating the elegance of the Fairmont Empress.Bridge at Beacon Hill Park

Although I didn’t visit the Royal BC Museum, just south of it is Beacon Hill Park. This isn’t just any small park. Victoria takes its parks and gardens seriously. There’s small gardens, ponds, a variety of scenery, and walkways all with their own design and aesthetics. Around every corner there’s a new tree, flower, or carefully manicured area with a bench to sit on and relax.

Sunken Garden at Butchart GardensBeacon Hill Park is not the only garden in bloom, however. The Butchart Gardens, a 30-minute car drive or a 45-minute bus ride from Victoria, is definitely a priority on my visit. A National Historic Site of Canada, this garden began from the inspiration of Jennie Butchart who decided to bring natural beauty to her husband’s Portland cement plant nearby. I’m eager to see the flower beds that have been in bloom for the past 100 years. I begin at the bottom of the staircase to the Sunken Garden full of trees, shrubs, and pink, white, and purple delphiniums. Heading back up the walkway, I occasionally stop to glance at the carousel, totem poles, and assortment of fox glove before I wind my way around to the Rose Garden. Unfortunately, everything has just been newly planted, so there’s hardly any roses in bloom except a bush of white roses at the end. I don’t feel as though I’ve missed out, however, as I walk through the archways of climbing flowers and hanging baskets. Up next on my trek is the Japanese Garden, the perfect place for zen and relaxation as I walk along bridges and over streams. At my last stop, I take a moment to enjoy the Star Pond and then enter the carefully carved shrubbery of the Italian Garden. Happy to rest my feet, I sit back to enjoy a sorbet from the Gelataria and soak in the natural beauty around me.

So, if you’re looking for a getaway to somewhere small with plenty of outdoor beauty, don’t rule out this Canadian city. While there are plenty of beach resorts and towns available, there’s something to be said for blossoming gardens and historical buildings in the small town of Victoria to help you get away.

Note: If you plan to use public transportation to get to the Butchart Gardens, check the BC Transit website for schedules.  Bus #75 will take you to Butchart Gardens, but only at certain times, for example the day I visited the buses stopped running from downtown to Butchart Gardens from about 9am-1pm.  It also only takes you from Butchart Gardens to downtown at select times as well.

This post is a part of Weekend Travel Inspiration hosted by Reflections Enroute, The Crowded Planet, Contented Traveller, Albom Adventures, Safari 254, FamiliesGo!, and Malaysian Meanders,  The Weekly Postcard hosted by Travel Notes and BeyondSweet Inspiration hosted by My Sweet Things, Repurposing Junkie, The Boondocks Blog, A Crafty Mix, and Kreativ K, and City Tripping hosted by Wander Mum and Mummy Travels.

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23 Comments

  1. Cat

    I lived in Vancouver for 4 years, but have never made a trip to Victoria… I will definitely need to visit there someday in the spring! Thanks for linking up 🙂

    • brooklyntvlasich

      I highly recommend going at the end of spring or beginning of summer. The Butchart Gardens were in bloom, but there was plenty just planted and starting to blossom, and you don’t want to miss out on that!

  2. corinnevail

    Victoria is such a fun place to go! I love the gardens and the port, but most of all I just love taking the ferry over to it.

    • brooklyntvlasich

      You’ve got a great point. Just looking out at the scenery from the ferry is incredible!

  3. Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad

    Victoria is pretty, isn’t it? I’ve only been once, but it was to visit relatives so we got the insider’s view. One relative and her husband work at the museum so we got a behind the scenes tour, which was fascinating. I’d love to go back!

    • brooklyntvlasich

      I love most places in Canada, but Victoria has beautiful gardens and scenery. I’d love to revisit too!

  4. Ruth

    You have no idea of how much i want to visit Victoria. I have been to Vancouver but didn’t have time to cross to the big island. Vancouver and its surrounding areas felt out of the world to me. Since that trip, I have wanted to visit Victoria and Tofino.

    • brooklyntvlasich

      I haven’t been to Tofino and would love to see it as well. I hope you get the chance to see Victoria soon!

  5. galanda23

    Thank you for this introductory post to Victoria, BC. I wanted to see it las time I was in British Columbia, but time was short. You beat me to it.

    • brooklyntvlasich

      I hope you get the chance to see it someday soon! Victoria was a wonderful vacation.

  6. rhonda

    I visited Victoria on a 1 day coach trip from Vancouver in December. Saw the Butchart Gardens Christmas lights display. It was magical. I would love to see the gardens again in Spring .
    The ferry trip across to the island was most scenic and enjoyable. We had a delicious lunch in The Fairmont. It was a long, but fabulous day, and I saw some beautiful places.
    My other favourite tourist spot, on the mainland just half an hour from Vancouver city was Capilano suspension bridge., A fun and adventurous family destination. There is a shuttle bus running to and from the city as parking is very limited. It was Christmas, and they had the fairy lights display in the afternoon, it was enchanting, and thrilling to walk across the bridge, swinging high above a rapidly flowing river far below.

    • brooklyntvlasich

      Wow! Sounds like you had an incredible Christmas experience in Vancouver! After visiting in spring, I’d love to see the city during other times of the year, especially the Capilano suspension bridge. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing your story!

  7. Mary-The Boondocks Blog

    What a beautiful city Brooke. It is full of history, and charm. So much character in the photos you have shown us and of course the gardens are spectacular. I don’t know if I will ever make it to that end of the world but I can enjoy it from your photos.

    • brooklyntvlasich

      Thank you for your wonderful compliments Mary! It is always wonderful to read more travel bloggers and see the world through their eyes. I don’t know if I’ll get to some of the places they talk about either, but it is nice to see their pictures and think that maybe someday I will.

  8. Ahila

    Your photo of the stone bridge is lovely! Is the bridge in Beacon hill park or Butchart gardens?

    • brooklyntvlasich

      The bridge is in Beacon Hill Park. I also find it to be very lovely. Thanks for visiting!

  9. Tanja

    I’d love to go to Canada one day:) #citytripping

  10. MummyTravels

    The closest I’ve got to British Columbia (so far) was looking across from Washington State – it’s definitely on my list though and lovely to see another part of it I didn’t know. Love the Fairmont building too, they’re always so impressive. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • brooklyntvlasich

      Always a pleasure to be a part of #citytripping! Thanks for visiting.

  11. California Globetrotter

    I would love to explore more of Canada! I’m sad I didn’t get the chance when I lived in Montana a few years ago! I kick myself every time I see something amazing from Canada! #CityTripping

    • brooklyntvlasich

      I hope the stars align for you so you can make a return visit to Canada. Even though I’ve been to the western side of Canada, I hear there is a great deal more on the Eastern side!

  12. WanderMum

    I briefly visited Victoria years and years ago while spending time in Whistler and Vancouver. I didn’t go to the Butchart gardens though. Sounds like I missed out! #citytripping

    • brooklyntvlasich

      If you get the chance to revisit Vancouver and Victoria, I hope you can see Butchart Gardens. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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