The following is a message from the Victoria Tourism Board.
With Christmas just around the corner, we are excited about the sparkling decorations, delicious treats and festive atmosphere in Victoria. At the same time, we cannot wait for a fresh start in 2015, bringing with it exciting new possibilities and challenges. To help with your New Year’s resolutions, we have prepared a definitive list of reasons why a visit to Victoria should be at the top of your list.
1. Getting here is easy
Travelling to Victoria is part of the fun. Feel like a rock star and arrive in style by float plane withHarbour Airor by helicopter withHelijet. Take it all in on board a ferry, cruising through tiny scenic islands with BC Ferries to Swartz Bay, or fly in to Victoria International Airport on one of the 17 non-stop services from cities including Calgary, San Francisco and Toronto.
2. Give back while you stay
The Fairmont Empress’ Get Rest, Give Back package is the ideal way to give back to the local community while you enjoy your stay in Victoria, safe in the knowledge that $50 from every room night is donated to a local charity, Our Place Society. Your contribution will help provide nourishing meals to those in need.
So the festive treats were a little too tempting and now it’s time to be more food-conscious. Thankfully, Victoria has plenty of restaurants that can offer a helping hand. Stop by atCafé Blissfor one of their healthy juices or smoothies; their “Rejuvenator” juice is a tasty choice full of vegetables, fruits and locally grown wheatgrass. Keen to eat out? Their sister company, Be Love , offer sustainable organic cuisine without wheat, gluten, dairy, meat or processed sugar. Try their wild mushroom fettucinni made with zucchini noodles and locally harvested mushrooms, and wash it all down with one of their “Elixirs” to stave off any winter ailments.
4. Be kind to yourself and indulge just a little
Everyone still needs a little treat from time to time. Grab a sweet treat atBubby Rose’s Bakery ; they have a great selection of gluten and dairy free options including banana rice bread and chocolate quinoa cupcakes. Enjoy a taste of Italy at Victoria’s newest bakery, La Tana, featuring Northern Italian delicacies. Take a cornetto (Italian croissant) for breakfast, or pick up a panzerotto (stuffed bread) filled with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil for lunch. For those with a sweet tooth, Sirene Chocolate create bean to bar chocolate using raw cocoa beans from Ecuador and Madagascar. Ethically produced and handmade in Victoria, enjoy the unique flavours of these small-batch chocolate bars with a clear conscience.
5. Challenge yourself
Get out of your comfort zone and take on a new challenge. How about making the ocean your playground and learning to dive? At Ogden Point Dive Centre , the knowledgeable dive staff run PADI-certified diving courses, from beginner classes to specialty classes including night diving and digital underwater photographer. Vancouver Island has some of the world’s best temperate water dive sites, and with your new diving certs you will have plenty of locations to explore. Why not can head out with Ogden Point Dive Centre and discover local sunken wrecks, or take a dip by the Breakwater and discover the local marine life?
Join a book club with a delicious twist. Forget dissecting Ulysses while nibbling on tiny store-bought hors d’oeuvres. Two local businesses, Bolen Books and The London Chef, have combined to create The Good Book Club: a book club unlike any other featuring an engaging book and delectable food carefully paired with wine to get the conversation flowing. Seated around the long dinner table, guests can look forward to a gourmet three-course meal served up by Chef Dan Hayes as they discuss the text. Find out more at thelondonchef.com.
7. Learn something new
Did you know that British Columbia is one of the most linguistically diverse regions in the world with 34 indigenous languages? Discover more at theRoyal BC Museumwith their new exhibit “Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in BC” created in partnership with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC). Walk through the colourful “language forest” and hear a greeting in one of the regional First Nations languages. Listen to stories and lullabies, and admire the three masterpieces of contemporary First Nations artwork, each interpreting “language” through a different lens. In May 2015, look forward to the “Gold Rush: El Dorado in BC” and explore the impact of gold on the province. The exhibit will feature a unique collection of artefacts which tell the story of multiculturalism that the gold rush created here.
8. Support local businesses: buy local
Supporting local vendors should be on everyone’s resolution list. In Victoria, it’s easy to pick up fresh seafood caught the same day, sample sea salt harvested from around Vancouver Island, or take home a basket of produce grown right here. The Victoria Public Market is now one year old, featuring the Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and daily vendors selling everything from hand bottled olive oil to fresh pies straight from the oven. Fabulous Fort Street is another Victoria hotspot for local vendors where you can find everything from clothing boutiques to bakeries. Be sure to come hungry, you could do your own self-guided foodie tour!
Get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer here. Go on a road trip along thePacific Marine Circle Route, a 289 km drive from Victoria past Lake Cowichan and along the scenic ocean highway past Port Renfrew and Sooke back to Victoria. Stop off at French Beach and walk part of the Juan de Fuca trail through temperate rainforest, or check out the tide pools at Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew. Be sure to stop for a look at the petroglyphs in East Sooke Park etched in to the rocks along the coastline. Your adventure awaits!
Take time for yourself and unwind with a soothing relaxation treatment featuring products that use ingredients found around Vancouver Island. Revitalise with the Brentwood Experience Massage atBrentwood Bay Resort and Spaincluding a unique exfoliation treatment using local organic seaweeds, or relax deeply with the B.C. Beach Stone Massage at Sante Spa as heated stones and warm oils melt tension away. You deserve it!
For more reasons to add a visit to Victoria to your New Year’s Resolution list, visit tourismvictoria.com/plan.