Things to Do in Victoria

Spare time before or after the conference? Victoria boasts a plethora of activities to suit everyone. Drop into the Visitor Centre near the downtown side of the Inner Harbour for maps, friendly advice, entertainment listings and tickets for select festivals and events. Also see Tourism Victoria and Vancouver Island Vacation Guide 2016.The guide gives information on:

Near Victoria's Inner Harbour

  • The Royal BC Museum
  • British Columbia Parliament Buildings
  • Miniature World
  • Victoria Bug Zoo
  • The Robert Bateman Centre
  • Emily Carr House
  • St. Ann's Academy
  • Beacon Hill Park
  • Bastion Square
  • Chinatown
  • Victoria Public Market at the Hudson
  • Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
  • Craigdarroch Castle

Downtown Victoria

  • Double-decker "Hop-on Hop-off" sightseeing buses or horse-drawn carriage.
  • Whale watching tours and fishing charters from the Inner Harbour.
  • Kayaking tours of the harbour and George Waterway.
  • Top-class restaurants to relaxed pubs. Walk the "Ale Trail" or "Cocktail Trail".
  • Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress. Fish and chips by the sea.
  • Specialty shops, tourist emporiums and The Bay Centre's multi-floor shopping mecca.
  • Harbour tours see the city from the water.
  • Symphony, opera, dance and theatre.

Pass It Around Victoria

Pass It Around Victoria connects seven heritage attractions in Victoria, BC. Visit these cultural hubs and experience the city, all for a great value.

Inner Harbour

The Victoria Harbour - including the Inner Harbour - is one of the most beautiful harbours in the world. The harbour has had a long history, starting with its use by First Nations. Recreational vessels and small cruise ships can moor in the centre of this famous heritage city, just steps from its historic streets and distinctive architecture. During the summer months, the harbour is the focus of festivals, shows and music. The harbour also serves whale watching and ecotourism businesses, float planes, an International Ferry terminal with connections to Port Angeles, Bellingham and Seattle, and a water taxi service. (Source: Tourism Victoria)

Harbour Tours

Whale Watching

Fisherman's Wharf

Just around the corner from Victoria's Inner Harbour, Fisherman's Wharf is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. This unique marine destination offers food kiosks, unique shops, whale watching & kayak adventures in a working harbour setting. Wander down to the docks with your lunch, buy seafood fresh off the boat, check out the unique array of commercial, pleasure vessel and float home moorage, and watch the commercial fishing vessels unload their wares. (Source: Tourism Victoria)

Farm to Table Dining

The farm to table movement is booming in Victoria with many restaurants sourcing from their own back door gardens, downtown urban farms and local farms to obtain the freshest ingredients. Listed below are examples of 4.5 and 5-Star Restaurants (as rated by TripAdvisor) offering Farm to Table Dining located within walking distance of the conference hotel.

Craft Beer Tasting and Microbreweries

Victoria is a microbrewery haven. Below is a list of the best Craft Beer Tasting and Microbreweries within walking distance of the hotel.

  • Swans Brewpub & Buckerfields Brewery Located on the water in an inviting Old Town building
  • Canoe Brewpub Located on the water in an inviting Old Town building
  • Phillips Brewing Take a tour of Phillips Brewing Wednesdays or Thursdays at 4 p.m. for $5.60 per person. Tours are limited to 10 people and fill quickly, so reserve your spot in advance.
  • Vancouver Island Brewery< Guided tours Fridays and Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for $7 per person or $10 per person with a branded Vancouver Island Brewery pint glass. The tour lasts about an hour and is limited to 30 people.

Museums

  • Royal BC Museum: Located on Bellville across from the Empress Hotel, the Royal British Columbia Museum was founded in 1886. The museum the consists of The Province of British Columbia's natural and human history museum as well as the British Columbia Provincial Archives. Open 10 am - 5 pm every day. Entrance Fee: Adult (19+): $16.00. Tickets Upcoming Exhibitions Calendar
  • Maritime Museum of British Columbia: Located at 634 Humbolt Streetclose to the inner harbour and the Empress Hotel. Exhibits area, our nautical gift shop, presentations talks, research space. Tuesday to Saturday 10 am - 4 pm. Entrance by donation.

Public Markets

These Public Markets are located a few minutes walk from the hotel.

  • Ship Point Night Market: Located just across from the Empress hotel, this outdoor market showcases local artisans, musicians, entertainment, food, original art, high-quality handcrafted jewelry, soaps, souvenirs and more. Friday and Saturdays Evenings.
  • Bastion Square Market: Stretches from Victoria's waterfront along Wharf Street to Government Street, this eclectic outdoor market brings liveliness to historic Bastion Square with its brilliant array of locally-produced arts, crafts, and entertainment. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 11 am - 4 pm
  • Victoria Public Market at The Hudson: Located at 1701 Douglas Street. Old-world style of shopping brimming with ingredients to match your kitchen and dining wish lists, meals made to order, picnics to go, a community kitchen featuring demonstrations, a changing line-up of farmers, producers and artisans, plus a seasonal farmers' market every Wednesday and Saturday.

Tours & Sightseeing

CVS Tours is a medium sized motor coach company operating a fleet of Prevost motor coaches and Alexander Dennis modern English Double Decker buses. The following tours can be found at CVS Tours

  • Deluxe City Tour
  • Hop-On-Hop-Off - Victoria
  • Victoria City Tour & Castle
  • Hop On Hop Off & Castle
  • Butchart Gardens Tour
  • Gardens Express Shuttle
  • Victoria Butterfly Gardens
  • Best of Victoria - Day Tour
  • Fairmont Empress Afternoon Tea
  • Butchart Gardens & Victoria City Combo
  • Butchart Gardens with Afternoon Tea
  • Butchart Gardens Night Illumination Tour
  • Sunset City Tour
  • Victoria by Horse Drawn Carriage
  • Victoria - Catamaran - 3 hour Whale Watching
  • Victoria - Zodiac Whale Watching
  • Victoria - Whales & Butchart Gardens Package
  • Gardens & Whale Watching Options to Vancouver

Further Afield

  • Oak Bay: British Charm, Summer Night Market, Music at Willows Beach
  • Esquimalt: CFB Esquimalt Museum and Archives, Saxe Point Park and the views from Macaulay Point and Fleming Beach.
  • Saanich: Swan Lake, the Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, Mount Douglas Park, Elk and Beaver Lakes, and Gyro Beach. Glendale Gardens and Woodland (named one of Canada's top-10 gardens by the Ottawa Citizen). University of Victoria: Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery.
  • View Royal: Thetis Lake Regional Park.
  • West Shore: Galloping Goose Trail. Fort Rodd Hill, Fisgard Lighthouse and Hatley Park, Royal Roads University.
  • Highlands: Mount Work Park, Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, Caleb Pike Homestead National Historic Site.
  • Colwood: Bear Mountain Stadium. Esquimalt Lagoon.
  • Langford: Mill Hill Park, Goldstream Provincial Park
  • Metchosin: Matheson Lake, Albert Head Lagoon and Devonian Regional Park, Metchosin School Museum.

Gardens

  • Butchart Gardens: "Over a century ago, Jennie Butchart began building what is now one of the world's premier floral show gardens." (Source) Summer is vibrant with colour, day and evening. Vist the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Italian Garden, Mediterranean Garden and more. Shop at the The Seed and Gift Store at The Gardens. Casual to fine dining.A must see for anyone visiting Victoria.
  • Victoria Butterfly Gardens: A tropical jungle up close; wide variety of rescued tropical animals and foods flourishing in their natural habitat. Jungle experts on hand while taking in hundreds of butterflies, stunning blooms and thousands of rare and endangered tropical plants.
  • Abkhazi Gardens: Created in 1946 by Prince and Princess Abkhazi, a heritage garden famous for its majestic trees and dramatic site. The garden is discreet from the street, with only hints of what exists beyond the hornbeam hedge. Garden that embraces a natural landscape that is unique to Victoria.

Farm Tours