Category: Victoria

Royal BC Museum Victoria

By the time you read this, you will most likely be out of luck for seeing the 3rd Floor of the BC Museum the way it’s depicted below.  I thought I’d heard of this news during 2021, but a relative of mine pointed out that we had scant days to see the First Peoples displays and the very popular Old Town replica with presentations on the logging and fishery industries as well as Captain George Vancouver’s ship Discovery. The article below gives the broad strokes of the plan. Royal BC Museum Closing Third Floor However, the plan is not without […]

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The Haunted Bookshop Sidney

I don’t know if it’s the name of the shop, but after I spent time in this true antiquarian bookshop in Sidney BC, I had the sensation I was in a used bookshop in the 1980s.  Perhaps this was because the first thing I chanced on was a collection of novels by Anthony Burgess.  I also quickly came across books that fall into the category Books I Should Have Read in University but Didn’t.  They also have antique maps, engravings, antique postcards, and more. For me, this kind of bookstore transcends time in more ways than one. When I stepped […]

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Russell Books Victoria

On Fort Street in Victoria, there’s a two-level large independent bookstore called Russell Books.  If you’re a book nut, this is a required stop in Victoria. Our annual preference is to visit when Russell Books’ calendar collection is on sale.  They have a ton of stuff and the 50% off the calendars is a great way to decorate your walls.  The variety is quite stunning.  The other aspect of the store is that they shelve their used, slightly used, and new with equality.  They also keep them all in their database.  My daughter tested this theory by looking up three […]

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The Five and Dime Diner Sidney

Travelling during a pandemic is tough, so when you have a good surprise, it’s wonderful. We were in Sidney, BC between Christmas and New Year’s when a new COVID-19 variant was wreaking havoc Canada-wide. We had done what we could to limit contacts (obviously without full cancellation of the trip). To make things better, a bitter cold snap with snowfall had occurred. The onsite restaurant at our hotel was under renovation. Beckoning across the snowy street was a sign with “all day breakfast” and I was in. It was also close. The restaurant has classic diner décor, but with the […]

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Butchart’s Gardens

The Butchart Gardens is likely one of the most famous Victoria, BC attractions, even though it’s down the highway in Brentwood Bay. The lesson from this trip is not to hesitate to go on an overcast day.  With cooler temperatures and a neutral grey colour all around, photos were easier due to the lack of harsh shadows.  This wasn’t my first time to the Gardens, but the first time during the pandemic.  The staff were super well organized and made sure our group of four were sorted out and on the right paths. We were provided with handouts that helped […]

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John’s Place on Pandora

About three years ago I compiled a list of breakfast spots in Victoria that I wanted to try. (See www.travelinbc.com/blog/victoria/possible-victoria-breakfast-spots-willys-winner) This year I lucked out and we got a seat at the popular John’s Place at 723 Pandora Ave in downtown Victoria. It’s a funky place that opening in 1984. The walls are covered with memorabilia of all sorts with a focus on sports. You could look at the walls all day. Our server was a feisty lady who quite wisely recommended a lavender latte to my wife and daughter, which they thoroughly enjoyed. My son is a smoothie snob […]

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The Empress Hotel Renovations

What do you think of the renovations to the Empress Hotel in Victoria? On our recent trip to Victoria, we wanted to walk through the Empress Hotel to see what’s changed after it’s 60 million dollar renovation. (See www.timescolonist.com/business/empress-hotel-owner-celebrates-60m-renovation-1.20818547) It’s a significant change but the stately and grand nature of the place is still there. You now enter through a different entrance with high ceilings and a crazy chandelier. Where you have tea seems unchanged but it’s the front that really strikes you. Here’s the current new exterior. The main feature in the old exterior was the endless ivy. Of […]

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Chateau Victoria

We stayed at the Chateau Victoria this past New Year’s and it was a functional choice in a fantastic location. It’s on Burdett Ave with an interesting topography due to it being on the side of a hill. When I was using Booking.com’s link for Victoria, it showed me square footage for the various choices. This was important for me and Chateau Victoria was consistently showing more space than others. We had a suite with a queen bed and another room with another queen and a pull out. This served our family of four well. We did not have time […]

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The Blue Fox Cafe in Victoria

At while ago I complied a list of Victoria breakfast places and I’ve been meaning to actually try them all. Eventually. We lucked out on a Wednesday morning and squeaked into the Blue Fox Café on Fort Street in downtown Victoria. It’s a smallish place and rather popular. A couple of years ago, when we were compiling the list, the line-up was too big and we did not try. It was worth the wait, even though it was a three-year wait. The staff is attentive and they managed to squeeze us into a table. We had arrived around 10:30 AM […]

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BC Ferries is funny peculiar

BC Ferries is a funny entity. My view has been if you offer reservations, it should be for most of the boat. I was travelling on a July Saturday and knew it was busy because I could not reserve from their online system. I wanted the 9 AM sailing and so I planned to be out the door by 7 AM, assuming a 45-minute drive to Tsawwassen where the ferry terminal to Victoria is. Traffic was light so I made in in 40 minutes and I subsequently was loading onto the 8 AM sailing. This was a surprise considering a […]

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