The height of summer has arrived and B.C.'s capital city is the place to make the most of long, sunny days. Here's ten awesome ways to enjoy August in Victoria!
1. Get On Your Bike
Victoria is becoming increasingly bike-friendly, from the paved, car-free bike trails that meander through the city to the flowy cross-country trails located just outside it. Take a tour or rent a bike with The Pedaler Cycling Tours and Rentals.
There is also a lift-accessed gravity park located just three hours north of Victoria at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, which offers downhill riding for beginners, intermediates and experts, as well as rentals and lessons.
Image: Cycling on the Lochside Regional Trail, via The Pedaler
2. Shop Local Art
Art lovers know that the most frustrating part of traveling is discovering amazing, locally-made art pieces, and then having no feasible way to get them home with you. This month, Victoria's Coast Collective Art Gallery is hosting a show that is designed especially for travellers, showcasing small-scale pieces at reasonable prices that travelers can easily pack and safely transport.
Tip: there will be a Meet the Artists Reception on Friday, August 5 at 7 p.m., where you will have a chance to meet the creator of your favourite piece.
Image: Coast Collective Art Gallery
3. Use Pokemon Go to Explore the City
Want to explore Victoria's sites and catch some Pokemon while you're at it? Check out our Pokemaster's Guide to Victoria for all the best Pokestops, Gyms and other hot spots.
Image: British Columbia Parliament Buildings in downtown Victoria
4. Cool Down
There's no better way to stay cool on a hot day than with ice cream. Head to Beacon Drive In for their famous soft serve, or hop on a bike and head to Cold Comfort in the charming Fernwood neighbourhood for an old-school, classic ice cream cone. If you're on foot downtown, head to Fan Tan Alley to grab a paleta from Kid Sister and enjoy it as you explore Canada's oldest Chinatown.
Image: Cold Comfort Ice Cream Menu
For the adventurous types, a dip in the Pacific Ocean can be a fun and exciting way to escape the summer heat. Visit the Odgen Point Dive Centre, a full-service diving facility that caters to weekend dive charters, daily trips, scuba diving holidays and dive education. You can get certified or just enjoy a day exploring the underwater world with an experienced instructor leading the way.
Of course, you can always choose to cool down with a cold, locally-brewed pint of craft beer. Check out the Garrick's Head Pub at Bastion Square or head to Canoe Brewpub to enjoy your craft beer flight on their waterfront patio.
5. Hit the Flavour Trail
From August 19-21, the North Saanich Food and Farm Festival will showcase the region's many growers, harvesters, fishers, vintners and chefs. Taking part in this festival means that you can take a farm or winery tour, sample food, enjoy music and art, learn about regional and indigenous harvesting and watch herding demonstrations.
Undeniably, the best way to enjoy this festival is on two wheels. Rent a bike with Pedego Victoria and sign up for the Flavour Cycle Tour on Sunday, August 21 (but do it quick as it sells out every year), and you will sample the flavour and beauty of the Saanich Peninsula with a cycle tour along the North Saanich Flavour Trail. Tip: The tour is guided and includes a support vehicle to transport any purchase you make along the way!
Image: Reuben Krabbe Photography
6. Attend the Victoria Comic Book Expo
Yes, we have a comic book expo. Victoria takes its comics seriously, as you'll find out when you attend this event at the Comfort Inn & Suites Victoria on August 28 and see thousands of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks on display. The expo also includes toys, non-sports cards and other collectibles, as well as some free comics...as long as they last! Admission to the event is free.
If you are a comic lover, make sure you also check out Victoria's many comics, games, play and collectibles shops around town. Spend an evening at the Interactivity Board Game Cafe or stop by Curious Comics and Legends Comics & Books to find a huge selection of new and vintage comics.
Image: Legends Comics & Books
7. Enjoy Art, Music & Gardens
Victoria is in full bloom right now, and many of our best-known gardens are building on the beauty of their surroundings with live music and arts programming during the summer months.
Visit The Gardens at HCP and you will have the opportunity to view and purchase paintings, ceramics, wood art, jewellery, glass works and textiles from over 40 local artists.As you wander through the gardens and view the art, you will never be far from music as some of Victoria's finest musicians will entertain throughout the gardens each day. Tip: make sure to check out the new Bonsai Garden and speak to the Master Gardeners who will be on site to answer all of your questions!
Head to The Butchart Gardens to enjoy the beauty of several themed gardens, plus live music every evening from July 2 through September 3. Each Saturday, the Gardens also present a meticulously choreographed fireworks display; combining music and intricate pyrotechnics to showcase the horticultural features of the ponds and trees of the surrounding grounds. Visitors to the Gardens can enjoy this show at no additional cost.
Image: The Butchart Gardens
If you'd like a guided tour of some of Victoria's finest public and private gardens, make a reservation with Victorian Garden Tours. You can also choose to book an afternoon tea at Abkhazi Garden, a true garden oasis located in the heart of Oak Bay, just 15 minutes from downtown.
8. Take a behind the scenes tour of the Royal BC Museum
A visit to Victoria isn't complete without a trip to the Royal BC Museum. This month, take a behind-the-scenes look at the Mammals Collection, where you'll get a tour of the area where museum researchers work. The tour will focus on the Entomology collection and the wonderful world of insects. Tip: it's free with the price of admission.
While you're at the museum, make sure to check out the Mammoths: Giants of the Ice Age exhibit (read: a real, 40,000 year old preserved baby wooly mammoth) and Our Living Languages, an exhibit which celebrates the resilience and diversity of First Nations languages in B.C.
9. Hike With a Local
Get out there! The view is always better when you've earned it, which is exactly what you will do with Mark from HikeVictoria.com. He'll take you on a guided hike in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, where you'll be treated to spectacular views of the Inlet and have a personal, professional photographer take your photo along the way.
Tip: For those who are less mobile, HikeVictoria.com also offers a Natural Beauty Tour, where you'll be shuttled between nine of Victoria's most scenic stops with photo ops and some great local history along the way!
For an immersive forest adventure, you can also opt to take a hike with Toni at Rainforest Tours.
Image: Top of Gowlland Tod hike, photographed by Mark Vukobrat of HikeVictoria.com
10. Attend the Esquimalt Arts Festival
The Esquimalt Arts Festival, taking place on August 14, is one of Victoria's favourite summer festivals as it celebrates art, music and community.
At this family-oriented festival, you'll feel like a local as you mingle with artists and watch art demonstrations, hear book readings, play interactive games with your kids and enjoy live music and food trucks.
Image: Esquimalt Arts Festival
Bonus* Say Farewell to The Tragically Hip
This monumental event will be the farewell show of The Hip, who have been one of Canada's favourite musical groups for over three decades. There's no cover charge and you'll be able to watch the show as it is broadcast on over 25 big screens.
If you are still looking for more things to do in Victoria this month, check out our online event calendar for a full look at what's on around town. You can also visit our things to do page and our deals and promotions page to make sure you're getting the best deals on everything.