Calling all travellers and explorers!!! If you are looking for a trendy city, soaked in Victorian architecture and dripping with colonial history look no further than Victoria, British Columbia.
Victoria has successfully married the past with the modern world from their tea rooms and botanical gardens to their chic coffee bars and abundant network of cycling routes. This hip town has landmarks and adventures from the faint of heart to the foolhardy and everyone in between. And the dining in Victoria is second to none and will have any foodie unbuttoning their pants and begging for more!
Recently Q and I had the pleasure of spending 24 hours in this touristy city where a day’s worth of activities are within walking distance from Victoria’s inner harbour. Grab a notepad and pen and take notes cause here is how we spent every exciting minute in this southern, Vancouver Island town.
Huntingdon Manor Hotel
For our night’s stay, Q and I selected the Huntingdon Manor Hotel situated in the heart of it all. The Huntingdon is from days gone by as evidenced by their lack of air conditioning but the rooms are clean and well appointed otherwise, redecorated and pet-friendly. Meka and Winston even received their own bed, food bowl and complimentary snacks. And the hotel staff are friendly, courteous and always available to ensure a pleasant stay. While staying at the Manor explore the Gatsby Mansion now repurposed as the Pendray Inn and Tea House or rent a bike for touring the city at The Pedaler – all located within the Huntingdon Manor grounds. To book a room, read about the mansion’s history or to confirm tea-time click here.
Royal BC Museum
After dropping our luggage and pooches off at our room, Q and I walked to the Royal BC museum a mere five minutes from the Manor. In addition to housing the largest IMAX theatre in British Columbia, where we watched a fabulous movie about the challenges of building Canada’s railway through the Canadian Rockies, the Royal BC contains many excellent exhibits. From the historical and cultural First Nation’s galleries to the Natural history display, the story of British Columbia’s first people and the land they’ve called home for thousands of years comes to life. Expect to spend hours learning and discovering at the museum. For current and upcoming exhibits you can reach the Royal BC Museum here.
Deadbeetz Food Truck
All the wandering, gazing and reading at Royal BC had us work up quite an appetite. As luck would have it, Q and I stumbled upon a courtyard at the back of the museum filled with food trucks for our dining pleasure. And a pleasure it was! Like I said at the beginning of this post, Victoria does NOT disappoint in the dining experience. Looking for a substantial meal to fuel our afternoon walk, Q and I picked a fun, food truck called Deadbeetz. Unknown to us at the time, our food truck selection has been featured on the Food Network and with good reason. Chef K Hill has put her own flare on a North American favourite (the hamburger) and has created an extraordinary work of art while providing a culinary adventure. With unexpected ingredients and composition, these burgers are like no other we have ever tried and even months later our mouths water just reliving each delicious bite. Tag teaming the two different burgers we purchased, Q and I switched mid sandwich to ensure our tastebuds were tantalized with both delights. We always gravitate towards awesomeness and after one bite it was apparent why Chef Hill and her Deadbeetz truck appeared on tv. Click here to salivate!
Robert Bateman Centre & Gallery
With full bellies and still barely able to walk, Q and I moseyed over to the Robert Bateman Centre & Gallery. The centre contains some of his early artwork along with some of his most famous paintings. Each piece of art is captioned with a note about how and why he chose his subject. It is a lesson in who Robert Bateman truly is and what drives him as both a naturalist and a painter. Expect to be in awe of his ability to capture the essence of whatever is in front of him, in perfect form on paper… or canvas as the case may be. To learn more about this famous Canadian artist click here or if you are looking for Robert Bateman Centre and Shop information click here.
Tally-Ho Carriage Tours
Having had our fill of beautiful artwork and being a bit lazy still from our incredible lunch we opted for a tour of the city upon leaving the gallery late in the afternoon. Across the road from the centre, the Tally-Ho horse-drawn carriage tours were begging us (not literally but figuratively because we were lazy) to plunk our rumps in a seat and wait to be dazzled. Tony, our horse, carefully guided us through the streets of Victoria past St. Anne’s Academy littered with the trees that identify the nuns buried beneath, the gothic style Church of Our Lord founded by the first Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church in Canada, Craigdarroch Castle built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir, an authentic First Nation Longhouse in Thunderbird Park and of course the famous Fairmont Empress hotel and the Victoria parliament buildings. To hear the tales and see the community still very much as it was years ago within the comforts of a carriage ride book a tour with Tally-Ho here.
10 Acres Kitchen
After digesting the beautiful Victorian buildings and that oh so fabulous lunch Q and I were starving again! I swear all we do is eat… or at least think of eating. I digest.. I mean digress. So after a quick change into some evening wear (and no nothing real fancy just more appropriate for the evening weather), Q and I walked the inner harbour boardwalk to the fabulous restaurant 10 Acres Kitchen. This locally inspired, fresh, ethically raised and organic farm to table establishment had us thanking the culinary Gods for another terrific find. Have I mentioned yet how good the food is in Victoria? Any way… with a lovely ambience and excellent wine selection, the food cooked on point, our dinner couldn’t have been more perfect. Our choices were Beef en Croute for me and the Chinook salmon for Q. Both dishes were exquisitely plated and delicious! A mojito in my hand and a glass of wine for Q, we smiled at a perfect ending to a perfect day! To make your restaurant reservations, because let’s be honest no one could keep food this good a secret, you can find 10 Acres Kitchen here.
Some honourable mentions not included in this post but awesome nonetheless are Il Covo Trattoria (death by their dish Pappardelle al Funghi would be fine by me) and Beacon Hill Park with their Sequoia trees and wild peacocks are both a delight and a must-do on any Victoria visit!
~True North Nomad
What gets you excited about visiting a new city? Tell us your favourite activity, must-do or type of restaurant in the comments below.
Elbow’s off the table, hands in laps – Not following TNN? WordPress User’s click button to your right OR enter your email address and click “follow” bottom right and never miss an impassioned tale again!