What better way to celebrate B.C. Day than in the capital itself? This weekend, enjoy the charm of Victoria as the harbour fills up with over 120 artisans and performers. Here's a whole bunch of fun, family-friendly activities and things to do in Victoria this B.C. Day long weekend.
1. Check out the Ship Point Night Market
Visit the Ship Point Night Market at the Inner Harbour, where you'll enjoy live music by local musicians and explore super unique, handmade goods made by local artisans. The market takes place in the heart of downtown Victoria and extends through the evening, which means you'll likely take in a beautiful west coast sunset as you shop.
2. Use Pokémon GO to Explore the City
That's right, there are hundreds of Pokéstops around Victoria, especially concentrated around the downtown core and the Inner Harbour. Head to the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson to collect Pokéballs and shop locally-produced cheese, meats, a French bakery, farm-fresh groceries and fresh flowers.
Afterward, take some time to explore the Inner Harbour, Chinatown, Bastion Square, The Bay Centre and Fisherman's Wharf - each of which host several Pokéstops and will give you some great insight on local history along the way.
Image: Victoria Inner Harbour
3. See Live Music and Disney-esque Fireworks at The Butchart Gardens
Take a short drive up the Saanich Peninsula to visit The Butchart Gardens. Not only will you get a chance to see and smell their beautiful, fragrant rose garden (it's in full bloom right now), but you'll be treated to live indie-folk by Great Lake Swimmers (Thursday, July 28) and rock revival group Rukus (Friday & Saturday, July 29 & 30).
If you plan to go on Saturday night, be sure to bring a picnic blanket and stick around for the Gardens' fantastic Aladdin-themed evening fireworks display.
4. Visit the Moss Street Market
Celebrating its 25th season, the Moss Street Market is a staple summer farmers market in Victoria. Located in beautiful Fairfield, about a 20-minute walk from downtown Victoria, the market features live music and over 75 craft, food, beer, wine, cider and spirits vendors, each of whose offerings are made and sold directly by the local producer.
Make sure to stop by the Legacy Wood Crafts booth and check out their eco-friendly, live edge, salvaged or harvested-only figured Maple cutting boards. Speak with Lorne, who makes the boards, and ask him to tell you the story behind your favourite piece.
Image: Legacy Wood Crafts wooden cutting boards
See our full 2016 Summer Market Guide for full details and a schedule of all the markets around Victoria.
5. Experience Aboriginal Culture and Wildlife Viewing
Eagle Wing Whale Watching Tours, in cooperation with the Songhees Nation, is offering a unique Songhees Islands Cultural Tour that combines whale watching with the history of Victoria's Aboriginal people. While you cruise around the Salish Sea looking for marine life, a Songhees guide will tell you about the history of their culture and the land.
6. Spend the day on Victoria's WestShore
Victoria's WestShore is a fantastic place to spend the day with friends and family, whether you're into cycling, hiking, watching live sports events or soaking up the summer rays on a lakefront. Spend the afternoon cooling off with a swim at Thetis Lake, then head to City Centre Park for a junior football game. Don't miss the WestShore Rebels vs. Nanaimo Raiders at Westhills Stadium at 7pm on Saturday, July 30.
7. Enjoy Bites, Brews and Bands (on a Barge!)
From 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 29, head over to the Ogden Point Breakwater Barge to enjoy live music and treat your taste buds to local craft brews! Grab a snack or dinner from one of the several food trucks (try to Songhees Seafood & Steam truck for authentic Aboriginal fare), and drink in the summer vibes on the waterfront.
8. Attend the Symphony Splash
On Sunday, July 31, grab your picnic blanket and head to the Inner Harbour for this year's Symphony Splash where Maestra Tania Miller, the Victoria Symphony and special guests will perform on a giant floating stage in the Harbour. The show will be followed by a fabulous fireworks display at 10 p.m.
Check out our things to do page and our online calendar of events for more great ideas that will help you plan your trip. Tip: don't forget to scope out deals and promotions to make sure you're getting the best prices on everything!