Category: attractions

Valentine’s Day Ideas

By: Maria Taylor

Valentine’s Day is approaching quickly. Feel stuck on what to do for your special someone for valentine’s day? Here are some ideas we hope inspire you!

Dinner Date:

Romantic Dinner for Two at Butchart Gardens:

The Butchart Gardens is offering a special valentine’s day dinner for season pass holders. For $99 per person, you can enjoy a set menu prepared by the outstanding chefs at the gardens. You’ll be seated in their beautiful Spring Prelude garden with a romantic table set for two. This is a unique experience that Butchart Gardens rarely offers.

Vista 18:

Vista 18 is an amazing west coast grill and wine bar overlooking the beautiful city of Victoria. It is Victoria’s only rooftop restaurant. It is located on the 18th floor of the Chateau Victoria Hotel. Enjoy an exquisite west coast inspired menu that uses fresh local ingredients. On Friday’s and Saturday’s Vista 18 has live music for guests to enjoy while they have dinner or drinks. This is an amazing spot to take your special someone on valentine’s day or any other special occasion.

Milestones Downtown:

Milestones in downtown Victoria has an amazing view of the inner harbor all the way across to the Parliament Buildings. Enjoy a romantic evening and great food. They have a variety of options to choose from depending on taste or dietary restrictions. Pair your meal with a glass of wine or signature drink.

Any of these dinner options will give you an amazing meal paired with amazing views of some of Victoria’s most beautiful places.

Romantic Walks:

The Breakwater:

The Breakwater is a beautiful walk that you can take your date on (and your dog too!) On the upper level it’s a smoothly paved path ending at a stunning lighthouse. This is a beautiful walk where you can watch the boats pass and the sunset. They also have a lower level that you can walk along. (this is more uneven so watch your step if you decide to go.) The lower level is more for adventure seekers, as there are gaps in the rocks, waves coming up, and uneven steps. Once you’re finished your walk on the breakwater you can walk along the path on Dallas road from one end to the other or make a stop at the Breakwater Café to warm up with a coffee.

Beacon Hill Park:

I would highly recommend going on a walk throughout Beacon Hill Park throughout the day. There is so much to see here! There are an abundance of trees surrounding the area and many paths that you can explore. They have many ponds where ducks and turtles like to relax and it is more than likely that you’ll see at least one peacock! Depending what time of year you go, they have stunning gardens and flowers all around the park.

Victoria is a beautiful city so wherever you decide to take a walk any time of year, you will not be disappointed.

Games & Activities:

Just started seeing someone and want to spend the day with them without the pressure OR you and your S.O. don’t want to have a “stereotypical” valentines’ day? Check out some fun activities in Victoria like ax throwing, the arcade, or the board game café.

Ax Throwing:

Axe and Grind, Victoria’s only ax throwing club is a lot of fun! It is something different that you can do together. Have a friendly competition or go on a cute double date! Ax throwing is a workout though so if you have a nice dinner planned after I would suggest bringing a change of clothes!

Quazar’s Arcade:

Go back to your childhood with this blast from the past arcade! Quazar’s Arcade recently opened in downtown Victoria. Try and beat each other’s high score or play a two-player game! This is something new and fun to do in downtown Victoria. They have the largest collection of pinball machines in BC, so you have many choices. They also rotate their arcade games, creating an everchanging variety.

Boardgame Café:

The Boardgame Café is a perfect relaxing date location. Order a bowl of candy for you and your sweetie (pun intended) and choose one of the many board games that they have from Snakes and Ladders to Risk. The boardgame café is a perfect date for a couple, double date, or a group date!

We hope that you enjoy these ideas and that it sparks ideas on what you and your special someone can do together on valentines’ day!

Exploring the Indoor Jungle

By: Maria Taylor

My vision blurred as my glasses began to fog as I walked into the humid garden. I heard the birds chirping and the water running as I gazed upon everything that came my way, sweat pooled on my forehead as I go in deeper, I was immersed in this indoor jungle.

Butterfly Gardens is a tropical oasis hidden in the farmlands of Brentwood Bay just outside of Victoria. I would have never guessed that if I continued down Interurban road, I would eventually end up passing an indoor jungle holding an abundance of insects, butterflies, plants, and animals. Happily, immersed in this humid environment I interviewed Justin Dunning the Living Collections Manager at the Butterfly Gardens. He told me all about his job, experiences, and the plants and the animals that he cares for on a daily basis. This small 12,500 square foot attraction has an abundance of stories within its walls where it is home to some amazing creatures; let us dive in.

Justin has worked for Butterfly Gardens for the past six too seven years. Since before he could remember he’s been obsessed with animals and nature. If it was catching snakes, bullfrogs or turtles and having them as a pet for the summer. In high school, he started breeding different kinds of fish. This passion followed him, and others began to notice. His biology teacher saw his interest in nature and gave him some clippings from plants for him to try and grow. This made Justin’s passion grow from animals and move more towards plants. He took this combining the two and made it into his career by taking a greenhouse program. Justin also began to collect more carnivorous, and tropical plants and his passion continued to blossom. After spending some time in Ontario, he eventually moved out to Victoria and applied for a position at Butterfly Gardens, and he, of course, got it.

Compared to other butterfly sanctuaries, butterfly gardens does an immaculate job with creating an open-air environment for guests and the animals. When I first walked in, I noticed that they have a beautiful hand-crafted wooden table filled with fruit set out for the butterflies to snack on. After that, I turned left, and my journey began, exploring all the tropical plants and animals. I felt immersed in the jungle with all the plants, and trees surrounding me as I walked the stone path toward the tortoise enclosure. Justin and his assistant prune the plants so that guests can hardly see the walls of this indoor jungle.

As Justin and I spoke he told me all about the animals that they have at Butterfly Gardens. About 75% of the animals they have are donated by people who feel that they would take better care of them. The two flamingos, Mango, and Houdini who just turned 40 came from Crystal Gardens after it closed around 15 years ago. They just had around 20 coy fish donated to them last month, and they just had some more tortoises donated. Previous owners do come back and visit their old pets when they have time. Each of the animals has a different personality. Justin knows them so well he can tell if the blue and gold macaw parrot Shadow is hungry, wanting attention or just talking. Another one of the birds Leo, used to choose a favorite employee and follow them around, he now likes to be by himself. Even the tortoises all have different personalities. When you spend so much time with the animals you get to know them very well like the Eclectus parrot Little E.

Justin told me that Little E is one in a million and has a very charismatic personality. He is the highlight at the gardens for many guests, and many times when people post about butterfly gardens on social media, they will mention him. Little E is a lady’s man and will only land on women, he has stolen the hearts of many guests while they are at Butterfly Gardens.

Justin does more than feed and care for the animals. He and his team are focused on guest interaction they want guests to be able to have the best time possible. Sometimes they will let children feed the coy fish on school tours, and Justin is more than happy to answer any questions guests have. He has a lot to do with the project design and layout of the gardens and is currently working on many projects. Butterfly Gardens has plans to expand their tortoise pen, so Justin is helping build this. He also wants to eventually introduce a snake enclosure. Justin works with such a small space. The public gardens itself is about 12,500 square feet and his back room where they have other species like ant colonies, insects, and caterpillars, is only six feet by twelve feet. Which is a very small area to work in compared to other similar enclosures. This can be seen as a setback, but Justin uses it to his advantage, in the garden anywhere I looked I was able to see an interesting plant or animal. Justin has big plans for this small space and wants to utilize every inch for guests to have a truly unique experience.

There are so many interesting plants and animals they care for. In the Butterfly Gardens they have an enormous bird nest fern Justin grew this from a spore eleven years ago and it grew and grew. With being able to work in a tropical environment he’s able to grow more and experiment than your average gardener. The gardens receive butterflies from all over the world, Costa Rica, Africa, and Asia to name a few places and they tend and care for these creatures. They also breed some of the butterfly species. When they do this, you can see the whole lifecycle of the butterflies from laying eggs, to turning into caterpillars, cocooning, and then the final stage, becoming a butterfly. This is interesting for the workers and guests.

Everyone at butterfly gardens has a passion for their job. Justin loves his job and has made friends with many of the guests as he loves to educate people on the plants and animals that they have. When people love their job, it makes guests experience that much better. Many people underestimate the Butterfly Gardens not knowing everything that they have to offer, and this is where they go wrong. Butterfly Gardens is a unique experience that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in Canada, their may be other butterfly sanctuaries, but nothing compares to this indoor garden tucked into the heart of Brentwood Bay.


What to do in Victoria during autumn

Are you coming to Victoria in the offseason and looking for something indoors to do? Here are a few options!

Butterfly Gardens

Get out of the wind and rain and explore the Butterfly Gardens. This indoor oasis will not disappoint, it is tropical and warm with exotic wildlife and many different types of butterflies. The Butterfly Gardens also has an insectarium, where they have stick bugs, leaf cutter ants, tarantulas and more! One of the highlights of Butterfly Gardens is Little E, he is an Eclectus Parrot and is very friendly, but the thing is he will only land on women, he is quite the ladies’ man. Butterfly Gardens is about a 40-minute drive from downtown Victoria, it is about a five-minute drive from Butchart Gardens. Butterfly Gardens is an indoor greenhouse and is perfect to go to on a rainy day. Come explore this indoor tropical jungle and hang out with the wildlife.

Axe and Grind

Frustrated because it’s raining on your vacation? Take some aggression out and go axe throwing! Axe and Grind is an indoor axe throwing club in Victoria. It’s one of Victoria’s newest attractions and people are loving it. Axe throwing is a very unique sport that is very fun! When you first go there the staff will teach you how to safely throw axes. After that have fun! They have different types of axes that you can throw. Challenge your friends and have fun!

Afternoon Tea

There are many places that you can have tea around Victoria. The most iconic places to have tea are The Fairmont Empress and Butchart Gardens.

The Fairmont Empress is a classic place to get tea in Victoria. They offer 21 different varieties of tea paired perfectly with their three-tiered platter offering sweet and savory options. You can read more about the experience in our previous blog regarding everything you need to know about Tea at the Empress.

A second place to have tea is Butchart Gardens. If you already have a trip to Butchart Gardens this is great add on to complete your day especially if it is a little chilly out. They have nine different varieties of tea that you can choose from and if you really enjoy it you can purchase most of them from their gift shop and the end of your visit. They offer a three-tiered platter complete with sweet and savory options.


The Royal BC Museum is the perfect place to go on a rainy day. Learn about the history of British Columbia. The museum is currently holding the exhibition Egypt: The time of the Pharaohs until December 31st. They have many interesting artifacts on display in this exhibition. The museum also has some permanent exhibits which include the Natural history of BC, Modern History, First Peoples Galleries, and Our Living languages. All the exhibits in the museum are exceptional.


We hope that this blog has given you some ideas on what to while in Victoria during the rainy months.

Tea at The Empress

Tea at the empress

Wanting to try tea at the Empress? Here is everything you’ll need to know!


Afternoon tea started with the seventh Duchess of Bedford. She had her cooks make her an afternoon tea tier. This then turned into a social gathering that Queen Victoria was interested in and brought it to the palace. The Empress recreated a social gathering atmosphere, people coming together being in a bustling tea room. Guests can now enjoy this experience in The Empress tea room on their trip to Victoria.

History of the china

The china that The Empress uses was gifted to the hotel in the 1930’s during a visit from King George the 6th. In the Late 90’s it was rediscovered and used for some time. About two years ago The Empress took the original patters and recreated brand-new finest bone china. So, when you enjoy tea it is the original patterns from the 1930s. With having this fine bone china there is about $300 dollars per person worth of china.

Afternoon tea

The Empress serves tea to about 80,000 guests a year. With saying this they need experienced staff serving tea, all the servers in the tea room have been there for at least three decades each.  Between 20-49 years, spending most of their working life in afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea is a celebration. Sit, relax, and maybe have a glass of champagne if you wish. The Empress offers 21 different varieties of tea. Some of the teas are the highest quality in the world, they can cost up to $500 for one bag. All the teas come from the metropolitan tea company in Toronto. They supply the Empress with the top 5% teas of the world.

The most popular kind of tea is black tea, such as their 1907 orange pekoe. The servers try to explain as many of the teas as possible, so guests can experience something new. Guests like to stick with black tea, but some do experiment with teas such as the madame butterfly jasmine, which is a green tea layered with jasmine flowers, it has an unbelievable jasmine aroma. It will change your entire perception of what tea is, and what it is supposed to taste like.

Times and schedule

Tea is served from 11 am until 5:45 pm during the summer, and throughout the winter tea is served from 11 am until 3:45 pm. A reservation is required to enjoy tea at The Empress. It is recommended that you make a reservation the minute you decide you want to have tea as reservations fill up quickly, especially through the summer months. The Empress serves tea 365 days a year. 


Winter is the perfect time to enjoy a warm cup of tea. During the winter specifically Christmas, the Empress offers a winter tea and a winter meal. This includes warmer items as opposed to cold items. It is a perfect way to warm up in the cold months.

Local ingredients

In the past 2-3 years, the Empress has changed the food production and quality. The hotel has decided to have BC local or organic ingredients. The bread that they use is from a local bakery, the meat is from Glenwood Meats in Langford, and most of the vegetables come from local farming projects. All pastries are handmade in house. The Empress has never had anyone with dietary restrictions that they could not accommodate.


The Empress is the only place in Victoria that is serving Veuve Clicquot Rose 118. Which is an amazing rose that is paired perfectly with the three tired pastries and sandwiches.

We would like to thank Christian Elsing the Lobby Lounge manager for sitting down with us.


Victoria’s Best Beaches

The benefit of traveling to Victoria is the abundance of beaches, since we are on an island there are many that we can choose from! Here are some of the best beaches in Victoria to check out on your next trip here!

Dallas Road

The name does not technically describe this as a beach, but you will not be disappointed! All along Dallas road you can experience the ocean in many ways. You can take a drive along the coastline in a car, bus, or bike! Enhance your experience by renting a scooter for the day! On Dallas road you can walk along walkway and enjoy the stunning view. If you’re wanting a more up-close experience you can walk down the (many) stairs and explore the rocky beach! If this doesn’t sound appealing to you, you can always walk the break water out to the lighthouse it is a lovely short 20-minute walk. Rain, or shine Dallas road is worth exploring and you never know what you’ll come across!

Many tourist come in at Ogdon point just off of Dallas road. This is where all the cruise ships doc during the year. One of the most beautiful spots to dock in our opinion!


Willows Beach

Willows beach is filled with many activities. It is about a 20 minute walk away from downtown and they have so much to do there in the summer! They have a large grass field perfect for a family picnic. Don’t want to pack a lunch? They have a concession and tea room.  Willows beach has many events going on throughout the summer such as free yoga and free concerts! Check out their event calendar here. Willows beach is a beautiful long beach that has a cement path to walk along or you can walk on the sand! Be sure to check out some of the creative sculptures that they have there such as the Bohdi Frog by the artist Doug Taylor. Every year in Oak Bay they have a sculpture contest and the one with the most votes wins and becomes a permanent instillation purchased by the city or sometimes even residents if they want the sculpture to stay! Willows beach is fun for the whole family and a great spot in Victoria.

French Beach

If you have a car while in town, French beach is one of the most amazing beaches on Vancouver Island. It is a long drive but well worth it! French beach is perfect for a day trip, bring a packed lunch as it is very far from any stores. When at French beach it is a slight hike down to the water and be aware of the wilderness as it is very secluded so there is wildlife in the area. The beach has many hidden treasures you can walk along the main beach, hike in the forest, and along your way find some amazing spots to sit and relax or go and explore!


What is the most important part to remember if you go to any (or all) of these beaches? BRING YOUR CAMERA! All of these beaches are breathtaking in their own way.  You can get amazing shots of the scenery, sunset, yourself, or your family. It will be an amazing unforgettable time!

Best Photo Spots In Victoria BC


Vancouver Island is a photographer’s dream. From the stunning mountain scapes to the ocean views to the dense forests, there is a little bit of natural beauty everywhere you look. Add in the historic buildings and sights of Victoria, and the photos become even better. Whether you are a professional photographer, or just like to snap photos for your Instagram, you will love taking pictures in Victoria. Below are some of the best photo spots that you won’t want to miss on your next visit:

Ogden Point Breakwater

A popular location for locals and tourists to walk and take in many beautiful sights and sunsets. It’s a cement structure that runs from Dallas Road out towards on the Juan de Fuca Strait to a lighthouse on its furthest end. You will have an opportunity to see Victoria’s busy harbour traffic as cruise ships, ferries, sailboats, float planes, helicopters and as we already mentioned some beautiful sunsets.

Swan Lake

Located right in the city, the Swan Lake Christmas Hill nature sanctuary offers a place for wildlife and photographers to gather. The lake and natural area around it is home to many birds and small animals, and you can take some great pictures while strolling around the trails that circle the lake. Even if you are not there to photograph wildlife, the lake itself offers a beautiful backdrop for a photo.

Clover Point

Stroll the waterfront path near downtown and you will reach Clover Point, a popular photo spot that does not disappoint. Photos taken here have a triple threat: the mountains, the ocean, and a gorgeous pebbled beach all in one photo! The location of this point is perfect for capturing a sunset or some fantastic photos of shore birds or seals in their natural habitat.

Cattle Point

If you are looking for panoramic views of the Olympic mountain range, look no further than cattle point. Although a small park, Cattle Point houses lots of tourist and wildlife activity. This is a great spot to come if you cannot walk long distances or have kids, as the walking trails are very easy to navigate. From Cattle Point you can catch snap of a sunrise, see river otters in the evenings, or see many other types of wildlife too, all with the mountains in the background.

Goldstream Provincial Park

If you are willing to head just outside of the city, it will be worth it for the photos you can get at Goldstream Provincial Park. Visit in the fall and winter to see salmon swimming upriver, or take one of the many hiking trails (with different levels of difficulty) up to see temperate coastal rainforests and rocky outcroppings. These magnificent environments make for a fantastic photo!

Esquimalt Lagoon

This lagoon is a hot spot for bird watchers and many migratory birds make a stop here as they head away for winter and back in the spring. Although these times of the year will be most popular for seeing wildlife, the lagoon offers gorgeous sunset and landscape views all year long. Stop by to take in the sparkling waters and grab a picture alone or with a friend!

Butchart Gardens

This really shouldn’t come to anyone as a surprise as Butchart Gardens has so many amazing spots for photos. A Google image search of Butchart Gardens will give you plenty of places you can take some world class photos that you will cherish for a lifetime.

While these are some of the most popular places to go for photos in Victoria, don’t forget that there are many more great spots around Vancouver Island to snap a picture. Don’t be afraid to explore and get off the beaten track as it may lead you to a breathtaking view and a stunning photo to help you remember your trip for life. If you need help planning your perfect Victoria getaway complete with great photos to remember it by, contact us at CVS Tours today or learn more about our sightseeing tours.

How To Spend 48 hours in Victoria BC


If you are lucky enough to visit beautiful Victoria, you may feel unlucky if you only get to explore for a short amount of time. Many people underestimate how many activities and sites the city and surrounding area has to offer, and as a result book too little time in this picturesque capital of British Columbia. While it is best to spend at least three to four days in Victoria, if you are on a time crunch and only have 48 hours take a look below at the best way to spend your limited time:

Stay at the Chateau Victoria

You will love this four star hotel in the downtown core as it is near many major attractions so you don’t have to travel far. They also offer complimentary downtown shuttle service for those who can’t walk or don’t want to walk! The Chateau Victoria is one of the best hotels in Victoria and offers comfortable accommodations as well as many great additional services such as highly rated restaurants.

Get a Rental Vehicle

If you are only in Victoria for a short time, it is highly recommended to pick up a rental car so that you can quickly get around and even visit some of the attractions just outside the city. Luckily if you are staying at the Chateau Victoria there is a rental vehicle pick-up point right around the corner!

Visit National Historic Sites

Once you have your car it is a great idea to visit the Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse historic sites. These two beautiful locations offer a glimpse into history and are exciting to explore. At Fort Rodd Hill, you can tour the coastal fort located in Esquimalt Harbour, while at Fisgard Lighthouse you can explore the interior of the lighthouse and snap a stunning photograph outside with this unforgettable backdrop. Between May and October it is even possible to book a tented cabin and camp at Fort Rodd Hill!

Experience Fine Dining at Cafe Brio

If you are looking to indulge while visiting Victoria, check out Cafe Brio for lunch or dinner. The entire menu is made from scratch using fresh local ingredients, and they even offer half portions for lighter meals.

Have an After Dinner Drink at Clive’s Classic Lounge

While staying at the Chateau Victoria, take a stroll down to Clive’s Classic Lounge for an award winning cocktail that is steps from your room.

Take Advantage of Chateau Victoria’s Restaurants

Whether you choose to stay at the Chateau or not, you can still enjoy the fine food and stunning views of their Vista 18 restaurant. This rooftop restaurant and lounge offers a scrumptious brunch menu including eggs benedict with crab!

Head out of the City for Sightseeing

Victoria has many attractions to see within the city, but some of the best sights lie only a 20-30 minute drive away. Take some time to stroll through Butchart Gardens, or enjoy a craft cider sample with a charcuterie plate at Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse.

Take a Whale Watching Tour

Head down to the docks at Fisherman’s Wharf to experience fresh fish and chips, a village of floating homes, the fresh ocean air, and of course: whale watching! Eagle Wing Tours operates from here, and with this family run business you can see orcas, sea lions, marine birds, and many other stunning sights. While taking your whale watching tour, you will also learn about conservation and the company’s efforts to protect the wildlife of Victoria.

Experience the Diversity of Victoria

It is a little known fact that Victoria is a diverse city, and the restaurants certainly reflect that! Whether you visit Chinatown for authentic cuisine, or stop by La Taquisa for reasonably priced mexican meals, you will be shocked at the many flavours Victoria has to offer.

Grab one Last Breakfast Before Hitting the Road

While Victoria has many wonderful places to grab a bite, check out Willie’s Bakery and Cafe for all day breakfast, or just a small bite. This is British Columbia’s oldest bakery, and you can tell they are very practiced at making great food.

As you can see, it is tough to experience Victoria in all of its glory in just two days. If you need help booking or extending your getaway now that you’ve seen how much is on offer, contact us today or learn more about our sightseeing tours.

Coastal Landmarks in Victoria BC


You may know that Victoria is one of the world’s best places for whale watching, but there is so much more to discover out on the beautiful waters surrounding the city. No matter what time of year you visit, Vancouver Island offers unmatched natural beauty. One of the best parts about whale watching is seeing this beauty from a different angle! See below for some landmarks and features to watch out for next time you are on the water outside of Victoria:

Fisgard Lighthouse

At the mouth of Esquimalt harbour lies Fisgard lighthouse, a white and red brick beacon that is hard to miss. This lighthouse is the oldest in western Canada, and is a popular national historic site that is beautiful from the sea or the land.

Olympic Mountains

Directly south on the Washington Olympic Peninsula, the Olympic mountains offer a gorgeous backdrop to a relaxing boat ride. Take in the snowy peaks and impressive height of these monster mountains.

Trial Islands

Just past the breakwater you will see the Trial Islands, an ecological reserve that protects endangered plant species. Although the public cannot access it, you can take in the beauty of the wildlife and lighthouse (located on the largest island) from the water.

Mt. Rainier

On the clearest days you can see Mt. Rainier from the water, even though it is 87km outside of Seattle! Although from Victoria it may seem like just a small peak, this volcano is actually massive up close.

Race Rocks Lighthouse

This lighthouse is hard to miss because of its distinguishable 24 metre black and white tower. For 150 years it has been guiding boats through the Juan de Fuca strait, and this makes it the second oldest lighthouse on the west coast. If you want to check out the lighthouse up close, there are 3 live webcam feeds that bring to life the ecological reserve surrounding the lighthouse. Be sure to check out the variety of seals and sea lions who live on the reserve!

Discovery Island

Discovery Island is known for its panoramic Olympic Mountain views and status as a Marine Provincial Park. Many visitors come to the island to kayak, hike, and check out the variety of wildlife. At the eastern end of the island lies the Sea Bird Point lighthouse, which marks the Canada-United States border.

Ogden Point Breakwater

Seeing the Ogden Point Breakwater from the water is not a view that many get to see, as it is mostly popular as a half mile stroll from land. If you get the chance to stroll on the breakwater or see it from a boat, it will be well worth it.

Mt. Baker

If the weather is clear, be sure to look out for Mt. Baker. Both impressive and terrifying, this active volcano is about 100km east of Victoria in Washington State, and is known to be one of the snowiest places in the world.

Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands are a grouping that stretch from Victoria to Nanaimo along the eastern coastline. Each island is unique, with scenery from the forested hills of Salt Spring Island to the sandy bluffs of James Island. Since its purchase in 1994 by billionaire Craig McCaw, James Island is strictly off limits to the public as it houses many treasures such as a western village and electric cars.

Clover Point

If you pass by Clover Point, you might see windsurfers, kiteboarders, or kite flyers as it is a popular destination for these sports. If you think this point is spectacular from the water, be sure to check it out off of Dallas Road and get yet another great view of the Olympic Mountains.  

Mt. Douglas

Just a short drive north of Victoria you will find Mt. Douglas. This peak is a great accessible option for families or those who cannot walk far as you have the option of hiking, biking, or driving to the top. The lookout point offers a full view of Victoria and the Juan de Fuca strait.  

East Sooke Park and Becher Bay

This coastal park is a true hidden gem of Vancouver Island. With 50km of trails, breathtaking views, and Mount Maguire (the highest point), it is easy to see why this park attracts many lovers of the outdoors. At the east side of the park you will find Becher Bay, a beautiful space that includes both a marina and a campground.

If you wish to see the best attractions on the mainland, be sure to learn more about our sightseeing tours in Victoria BC.

Lesser known attractions in Victoria BC

As Victoria becomes a more popular visitor destination, it may be difficult to explore some of the most well known attractions in the city. In peak times, tickets sell out and lines form for these places. Fortunately, Victoria is home to many other hidden gem attractions that are much lesser known, but still hold the same experiences. If you haven’t heard of the attractions below, make sure to make some stops on your next visit to Victoria BC.

Ghost Tours

Due to its age, Victoria is known to be one of the most haunted areas in British Columbia. If you want to learn the spooky secrets of the city, then taking a ghost tour is the right choice for you. You and your guide will visit some of Victoria’s most haunted sites, so watch out for ghosts! Since this tour was developed by historian John Adams, you can rest assured that these stories are not just made up to scare you – they actually reveal Victoria’s scary past.

Christ Church Cathedral

As one of Canada’s largest churches, this impressive gothic cathedral is a must see for lovers of great architecture. The Christ Church Cathedral is open to the public and contains a self guided tour to help you get the full experience and history of this sacred place.  

Dragon Alley

In the famous Chinatown in Victoria lies Dragon Alley, a unique street that connects Fisgard and Herald streets. While all the other visitors look for Fan Tan Alley, stop by Dragon Alley for shops, restaurants, studios, and a true Chinatown feel.

Thunderbird Park

Beside the Royal BC Museum you will find Thunderbird Park, an incredible tribute to First Nations peoples right in the heart of Victoria. The park boasts many totem poles and First Nations monuments along with its two historic buildings, Helmcken House and St. Anne’s Schoolhouse. Stop by for a glimpse into First Nations history.

Glass Sidewalks

As you stroll through downtown Victoria, keep your eyes peeled for the glass sidewalks… or you might just miss them. Back in the late 19th century, these translucent purple prisms were installed in a few spots to help sunlight reach the basements below them. Since many of the prisms have been removed or broken, these are a fading part of Victoria’s past and are a must see if you are in the area.

Ross Bay Cemetery

Although it may seem odd to visit a cemetery, the Ross Bay Cemetery is a truly special place to visit. As one of the most historical places in Victoria, it offers a look into the past as it is home to the graves of many famous Canadians and Americans. Visit the final resting place of Emily Carr, Sir James Douglas, or Billy Barker.  

Downtown Markets

Who doesn’t love a street market with fresh produce and artisan goods? Throughout the summer Victoria has many bustling markets that will be sure to have something for everyone. To find out dates and times, check before your trip as they are subject to change yearly. For year round visitors, check out the permanent public market located in the Hudson building!  

Government House

You can find this historic gem in the Rockland neighbourhood away from the main tourist path. Government House is known as the ceremonial house of every British Columbian, and is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. If you stop for a visit, you can take in the impressive 36 acre grounds that house many gardens and a rare Garry Oak. One of the best things about this attraction is it is free to the public all day long.

If you are visiting Victoria, be sure to check out our sightseeing tours which visit some of the best attractions in Victoria BC.  

Best Victoria BC Tourist Attractions for 2017

Are you headed to Victoria BC and at a loss for things to do? As an up and coming tourist destination, Victoria has many booming tourist attractions. From the beautiful scenery to the food and drink, Victoria offers many activities for visitors. Also, as the capital of British Columbia, tourists can get a taste of the province’s heritage. Below are 6 of the top tourist attractions to see in Victoria this year:

    1. Royal British Columbia Museum

      For those who love everything about British Columbia, the provincial museum is an exciting look into the past and present. The museum is at a nice central location on 675 Belleville St., and is only a short distance to the Parliament Buildings or the Fairmont Empress Hotel. The Royal BC Museum features both natural and cultural history and takes a three dimensional approach to allow its visitors to experience the exhibits first hand. Visitors can view a replica of the first ship to land in Vancouver, the HMS Difairscovery, or they can learn about First Nations culture and struggles. The museum also includes Thunderbird Park, an outdoor area featuring First Nations architecture and art.

    2. Fairmont Empress Hotel

      At 721 Government St., the Fairmont Empress is an impressive site right in the heart of Downtown Victoria’s inner harbour. Visitors can choose to stay at the hotel, or just admire the stunning architecture while passing by. The Fairmont Empress was built in 1908, and still functions today as a place to stay, have afternoon tea, or dine in the evenings. The north side of the hotel is a sight to see as it holds Miniature World, a collection miniature model scenes that bring to life castles, historical events, and community moments.

    3. Butchart Gardens

      Although just outside of Victoria, Butchart Gardens is one of the city’s most famous attractions and is well worth the short journey. These gardens have been growing since 1904, and what started as a small project has turned into a 20 hectare sprawl of flourishing plants of all kinds. Some of the most well liked gardens are the Italian garden, rose garden, and Japanese garden. Also included amongst the flowers are fountains and quiet benches to relax by and enjoy. While in the area, Brentwood Bay is also a great place to check out. Learn more about our Butchart Gardens tour.

    4. Parliament Buildings

      Another stunning sight on the inner harbour is the provincial parliament buildings of British Columbia. Designed by Francis M. Rattenbury in 1897, the parliament buildings are a great place to catch a photo- especially among the surrounding gardens. The grounds also hold a large statue of Captain George Vancouver, the first person to land on the shores of Vancouver island. Other tributes can also be seen in the area, and for a unique experience many take advantage of the horse-drawn carriage tours that are close by.

    5. Craigdarroch Castle

      This designated National Historic Site Of Canada was built in the late 1800’s. It was built for coal baron Robert Dunsmuir. The castle was believed to cost as much as $500 000. After Robert Dunsmuir passed away, his wife Joan sold the castle to Griffith Hughes. During a slow real estate market, Mr. Hughes raffled the castle to eventually winner Solomon Cameron who eventually went broke in 1919 and passed the castle to one of his creditors, The Bank of Montreal. Learn more about our Craigdarroch Castle tour.

    6. Beacon Hill Park

      For nature lovers, Beacon Hill Park is a must while in Victoria. With its close proximity to the centre of town, many visitors seeking the peace and quiet of nature or the stunning views head to the park to walk its trails. On a clear day it is easy to see the Olympic Peninsula from the highest points, along with the many critters among the park.

    At CVS Tours, we offer sightseeing tours in Victoria BC. Visit our sightseeing tours page for more information.