We're officially halfway through fall (can you believe it?) with Remembrance Day just around the corner, there's still lots going on in Victoria.
For the adventurous at heart, outdoor excursions at this time of year will reward you with intense fall colours and the best eagle watching of the year. Here are our top picks for things to do in November this month.
1. Attend a Remembrance Day Ceremony
Victoria has a rich military history that takes center stage every November 11 for Remembrance Day. It's the ideal time of year to take in a ceremony at one of the region's cenotaphs or pay a visit to some of the city's many historic military sites and museums.
Image: Cenotaph at the Inner Harbour
2. Eat Like a Local
This November, visit Merridale Ciderworks for a harvest celebration like no other. This Harvest Dinner Series will feature a French twist - think aged Cognac-style brandy paired with French food from the bistro.
Tip: They'll be featuring a fresh menu every week!
Image: Merridale Ciderworks
3. Take a Whale Watching Tour
Wildlife viewing in Victoria is not just a summertime activity; you will often see a variety of interesting marine wildlife on fall and winter whale watching excursions. Hop on board with one of Victoria's local whale watching operations.
Tip: All month long, current and past military veterans and immediate family members will enjoy a 50% discount on all whale and wildlife tours with Eagle Wing Whale Watching Tours.
Image: Eagle Wing Whale Watching Tours
4. Tour Local Art Galleries
A walk through downtown will take you past several of Victoria's art galleries. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is located just ten minutes from downtown and houses an impressive collection of historical and contemporary art, as well as a large collection of Asian art.
For an in-depth look at Canadian wilderness and wildlife artwork, visit The Robert Bateman Centre in Victoria's historic Steamship Terminal.
Tip: For fantastic artisan gift shopping, visit the Coast Collective Arts Centre in the West Shore.
Image: Legacy Art Gallery in downtown Victoria
5. Experience Forest Bathing
Yes, you read that correctly. Join Ryan LeBlanc of The Natural Connection and become immersed in the tranquil comfort of the forest in one of Victoria's parks as he introduces you to the concept of forest bathing on a guided walking tour. You will come away feeling refreshed, renewed, more connected to yourself and the natural world around you.
Tip: The guided hikes can include a healthy picnic lunch prepared by Glenrosa Farm Restaurant.
Image: The Natural Connection
6. Enjoy Brunch on the Saanich Peninsula
There's a new bistro in town, and it's certainly making good first impressions. The Fickle Fig is a year-round farmers' market, bakery and bistro which uses seasonal, organic farm produce from the Saanich Peninsula. They're open for brunch every day of the week and rumour has it they're serving a killer pumpkin French Toast.
Tip: The Fickle Fig also offers a huge selection of fresh produce and made-on-site pantry items to take home with you.
Image: Fresh produce and canned goods at The Fickle Fig
7. Visit a Local Distillery
While you're on the Peninsula, make time to visit Victoria Distillers in Sidney. While Vic Distillers has been around for a while (you may be familiar with their ultra-smooth Victoria Gin), their brand new distillery and lounge opened on the Sidney waterfront earlier this year.
Take a tour to learn all about the distillation process and see their two gleaming copper pot stills before kicking back and enjoying a cocktail with a view.
Tip: Visit on a Saturday night and you'll get to enjoy live music in the lounge.
Image: Victoria Distillers
8. See Hundreds of Eagles at Goldstream Park
It's salmon spawning season in British Columbia. Head to the province's mighty rivers and streams to witness one of Mother Nature's greatest spectacles; we call it Eagle Extravaganza.
Take the short drive (about 16 km northwest of downtown Victoria) to Goldstream Provincial Park, which is home to 600-year-old Douglas fir trees and several spectacular waterfalls. With trails to explore, covered picnic tables, a Visitor Centre and public washroom facilities, it's a great place to bring a packed lunch and spend the day with family and friends.
Tip: Take a guided hike or walk of the area with HikeVictoria.com if you'd like to learn about the area as you explore.
Image: Mark Vukobrat of HikeVictoria.com
9. Get Your Holiday Shopping Done Early
That's right; the time has come. Think about it this way: you've still got about six weeks until you realize you haven't purchased a single holiday gift and panic sets in. This year, knock a few things off the list early and shop stress-free at Victoria's downtown boutiques and quirky gift shops.
Tip: Check out Victoria's many comic, game and toy shops for more superb gift options.
Image: Shopping in downtown Victoria
10. Treat Yourself to a Cocktail
After a long day of sightseeing and exploring, you'll likely just want to relax. Let the day melt away with a handcrafted cocktail at one of Victoria's many exceptional lounges and wine bars.
Head to the newly-renovated Q Bar at the Fairmont Empress for a modern twist on tradition (and a great view of the Inner Harbour), or visit Veneto Tapa Lounge in the Hotel Rialto for an improvised libation created especially to your taste.
Tip: You can't go wrong with anything at Veneto, so don't be afraid to request something crazy from your bartender, or ask them to surprise you!
Image: Q Bar at the Fairmont Empress