Power & Motor Yacht
Things To Do
Museums and shops are nice places to explore in bad weather, but since Victoria is one of Canada’s sunniest cities and boasts a mild climate, there should be time to explore by foot, on a bike or in the dinghy.
But these days there are even more good reasons to idle into the inner harbor, tie up in front of the landmark Fairmont Empress hotel and explore the compact, walkable downtown. It’s wise to take advantage of the bustling pubs and restaurants (foodies say some of the best grub in British Columbia is here), the museums, Instagram-worthy public gardens, green parks and bike paths hemming rugged beaches. That’s because once you slip the lines and head up the coast to the area’s famously remote anchorages, there won’t be many stops this smart and civilized.
Among the places that lure visitors today is LoJo, a district made up of stylish specialty shops. The area is interesting because modern retailers face streets that miners and outfitters used to prowl in search of saloons. This was back in the mid-19th century, as Victoria was morphing from a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post to a busy port town following the discovery of gold in British Columbia. In Victoria, it seems, some of the best new places channel elements of that past. Even the Fairmont Empress, the grand dame of the inner harbor, carefully combines traditional with trendy. As part of a $60 million renovation, an old flag deck was transformed into a terrace with a five-star harbor view, and a rooftop garden was designed for herbs served at the hotel’s restaurant. Yet there’s still plenty of old Victoria to savor. The corridors on the sixth floor, for instance are still as crooked and atmospheric as ever.
“There’s a lot to do in Victoria,” says Langford, who will typically plan to stay for at least two or three nights. One year, he took his wife and two boys over on the Nordhavn for Christmas. “We’d never been away from home for the holiday, and the kids were reluctant, but we ended up having a great time because there were so many things to see, including the Parliament building right there in the harbor. It was all decked out in lights for the holiday, and we could enjoy it from the deck of our boat.” Later, the boys told their parents they wanted to go back to Victoria. They thought it was pretty cool.