Greetings from Victoria, BC. We took the ferry from the mainland to Vancouver Island yesterday. The very large capacity ferry (844 spaces) was completely full at 9 AM on a Tuesday morning. We didn’t see any U.S. license plates; the travelers were predominantly Canadian.
The ferry ride was about one hour and 40 minutes. Despite the size of the ferry, it was a smooth and quiet ride. The weather was lovely, sunny and warm. They have an amazing gift shop on the ferry and I shopped up a storm, seriously!
Victoria is about 20 minutes from the ferry terminal.
We both have very fond memories of Victoria.
For those of you who haven’t been to Victoria, this oceanside city (pop. 360,000) is the provincial capital of British Columbia. Victoria is located on the southern most tip of Vancouver Island making it the most southernly city on the west coast of Canada.. The City’s climate is also the most temperate in Canada and it boasts gardens that bloom year-round. (vancouverislandkayak.com).
We stayed at the Hotel Grand Pacific. It is on the harbor and very close to the Empress Hotel. The hotel is old school elegant and the rooms are comfortable.
Victoria has been a bit of a time warp of an earlier time. It still is….to some extent. But the main shopping street, Government Street, is now filled with tee shirt shops and souvenirs. There are some classic shops remaining, such as Murchies Tea, Munro Books, and Rogers Chocolate. But most of the classics are long gone.
I went off the deep end at Murchies and bought up a storm of all my favorites, along with the ones the daughters requested.
The Empress Hotel is still amazing. We had a glass at the new Q Bar on their main floor. My husband tried the Empress 1908 with purple colored gin. He said it was pretty tasty.
One of the BIG highlights of being in BC so far involves vaccine verification. To enter a restaurant, we needed to provide proof of 2 doses of vaccine along with our ID. It didn’t seem like that big of a deal for the business and I didn’t see any potential customer blinking an eye!
Today we are going to spend a little more time in Victoria. We plan on having breakfast at the Dutch Bakery. It has been around since 1956 and we discovered it years ago. The daughters all have fond memories of having tarts there.
From Victoria, we will drive to Nanaimo. It is just under a two-hour drive. We will spend the night there and then take another ferry back to the mainland so we can spend a few days in Vancouver, B.C. before heading home.