If you had asked me at the beginning of this year to name all of the places in Canada that I wanted to visit, I can honestly tell you that Victoria wouldn’t have even made the list. Not because it’s unworthy of a trip, but because I never really thought too much about the city. Plus, I already had a long list of other places I was excited about seeing in this wonderful country. Well, let me tell you… I had no clue what I was missing.
I recently took a trip out to the west coast of Canada to satiate my need for proximity to mountains and ocean (this is a real thing, I swear). I left from Vancouver on a beautiful sunny day and boarded a ferry at the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay Terminal. Being out on the water instantly makes me happy, so I made sure to hang out outside on the deck as much as possible as we sailed through some of the small islands, making our way to our breathtaking final destination on Vancouver Island.
I was fortunate enough to have paid a visit the island before – but during that trip years ago, we headed straight up to Ucluelet for some surfing and camping on the beach. This time around, I was determined to try something new and find out what the capital of British Columbia had on offer. Upon arrival, I pulled up to the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, which is situated right smack-dab in the middle of downtown Victoria’s Inner Harbour… and ultimately my happy place.
When I checked in, I was greeted by warm and welcoming staff who made me feel like being there was a truly personal experience – designed just for me. Sometimes you just want to know that you’re being taken care of when you check into a hotel, and I felt it immediately. Over the next few days, I would even develop a friendship with some of the staff, which made me feel even more connected to the whole experience – especially since I was travelling alone.
The window in my room boasted views of the gorgeous harbour and faint hills in the distance. How much closer to the mountains and ocean could I really get?! And the overall design was modern with a touch of sophistication. The coolest part, which sounds so nerdy to admit, was watching the Harbour Air Seaplanes, take off and land every hour. I’m determined to hop on one next time I pay a visit directly from Vancouver.
The next morning, I was graced with a tour of the hotel, but not before grabbing some delicious breakfast. I opted for eggs florentine (because it’s my go-to), but they accommodated my specific requests without question and made it on gluten-free bread with avocado – can I have this on the daily please? I also learned that LURE Restaurant & Bar is actually a popular dining destination in Victoria. They source their ingredients locally, create fancy artisanal cocktails and have a scenic patio right on the waterfront.
The hotel also has a pool and fitness centre including tennis, squash and racquetball courts. Or if you’re more into pampering yourself instead, you can indulge in a treatment at their full-service spa.
After I was well-fed (because hangry is not cute) and had explored the hotel property, I thought it was about time to check out downtown Victoria. With a quick 5 minute walk, I waltzed in to speak to the extremely helpful people at the Visitor Centre in order to grab some info on where I should spend my afternoon. A visit to the Royal British Columbia Museum came highly recommended, so off I went. Now, I have to warn you that when I’m left to explore alone, I will spend hours in one place looking over every little thing around me, taking it all in. HOURS.
So, instead of going over every single detail of my museum visit (because I probably could), here are some highlights of my visit:
Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in BC
This exhibit celebrates the resilience and diversity of First Nations languages in BC in the face of change. I was moved to learn of the importance of what First Nations communities throughout the province are doing in order to help their languages survive and flourish.
Natural History Galleries
Like something out of a movie, this display portrays the forests from the warm dry hills of Vancouver Island to the misty cool northlands of Haida Gwaii. Experience the sights and sounds of the Fraser River Delta. Or explore the spectacular diversity and richness of marine life that lives along British Columbia’s rugged seashores, as well as the Ice Age, seashores and oceans. It really is magnificent.
First People’s Gallery
Uniting old and new works, this exhibit emphasizes the continuing artistic traditions of the Northwest Coast First Nations. I spent a particularly long time in Totem Hall, which is the central exhibit in the First Peoples gallery, featuring monumental carvings from Kwakwaka’wakw, Heiltsuk, Nuxalk, Gitxsan, Haida and Nuu-chah-nulth communities.
The next day, I set back out onto the open waters, but this time with Eagle Wing Tours for some whale watching. Stay tuned for my upcoming post on this exciting rollercoaster of an adventure, to get all the details of why whale watching should absolutely be added to your bucket list (if it’s not already on there).
I loved my visit to Victoria so much that I decided to extend my stay for another night. I spent the whole time smiling or laughing, while texting my friends and family to let them know that I may not ever come home. I felt a sense of peace that I haven’t felt in years and I do believe that it has a lot to do with the city itself. Everyone is so welcoming, happy and genuinely just enjoying life. It’s contagious. I can’t wait to go back to Victoria again, as soon as possible.
*Immediately Googles how to do long-term rentals at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort*