Whether you're a casual window browser or a seasoned shopaholic, in Victoria you can find antiques, locally-crafted artisan wares, boutique designs and gifts for all your friends and family back home. Here's your guide to Victoria's best downtown shopping.
Start on Lower Johnson and make your way up toward Government Street. Here, you'll be charmed by colourful, early nineteenth-century buildings which house unique and creative boutique shops. Stop at Rook & Rose to pick up a decorative succulent and wander through Market Square to explore historic alleyways and more quaint shops. Visit Oxford, the newest shop on the block, and ask the friendly owners about their locally-designed and crafted clothing and accessories for men and women.
Locals' tip: For a huge selection of shoes and lots of options for customization, visit Baggins Shoes. This well-known shop houses a massive collection of Chuck Taylors.
Image: Shops on Lower Johnson
Visit one of Victoria's vibrant shopping centres or malls and get everything on your list under one roof. In the heart of downtown, visit The Bay Centre. This multi-level indoor mall was originally the Eaton Centre and now houses the iconic Hudson's Bay Company department store. Slightly outside of the downtown core, you can also shop at Mayfair Mall or Uptown Mall, both of which are located on major city arteries and feature lots of great clothing stores. Tip: Parking is a breeze at both of these malls!
For all your outdoor adventure needs, stop at Capital Iron or Robinson's Outdoor Store. Both shops are located downtown and carry everything from tents and tarps to hiking boots and fishing gear. Tip: If you simply forgot to bring something from home, inquire about renting equipment from either shop.
Visit Skanda on Fort Street to create your own custom piece with gemstones and beads. Jade Victoria is the place to shop for carved Jade jewellery that will always remind you of your time in British Columbia.
Artina's Jewellery boasts the world's largest selection of handcrafted Canadian-made jewellery, including the work of over 100 Canadian designers. Fact: Many of their pieces are created by West Coast First Nations jewelers.
Image: Handmade bracelets and bangles from Artina's Jewellery
In downtown Victoria, you'll find a ton of specialty shops who simply focus on doing one thing -and doing it well. Check out Black Goat Cashmere for high-end cashmere clothing or The Patch for Victoria's largest selection of vintage clothing.
Russell Books on Fort Street is a book-lover's dream, with three stories of rooms with of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, including an entire level devoted to rare and vintage books.
For speciality spirits and craft beer, head to the Phillips Brewing & Malting Company tasting room on Government Street, where you can take a brewery tour and browse lots of cool merch live growlers and cycling jerseys. They're quite generous with their samples and their tasting room staff will happily talk you through each brew as you decide which ones to take home with you.
Image: The Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. tasting room. Check out all their sweet label wall art from past and present beers!
If you're looking for a great gift to take home with you, visit Vintage Spirits in the Hotel Rialto. They've got a huge selection of unique spirits and local wines, and again, their staff will be happy to assist you in making your selection. Tip: Head to Veneto Tapa Lounge afterward for a snack and a handcrafted cocktail as a pick-me-up. It's located right next to Vintage Spirits in the Hotel Rialto.
Souvenir & Gift Shopping
Start at the Visitor Centre in the Inner Harbour and make your way along Government Street for the city's finest souvenir and gift shopping. For authentic native arts, crafts jewellery and moccasins, visit Cowichan Trading and Sasquatch Trading Ltd. For something uniquely Victorian, visit Spirit of Victoria or Oceanside Gifts on the Lower Causeway at the Inner Harbour.
The Robert Bateman Centre also has a fantastic Gallery Gift Shop which features cards and prints of the artist's work, as well as glass art, ceramics, woodwork and silver jewellery by over 20 B.C. artists and designers.
Image: Shopping along Government Street - make sure to stop in at Murchie's Tea & Coffee for a sweet treat!
Tea and Chocolate
A match made in heaven, we know. Given Victoria's rich British history, it seems fitting that we love our tea - and we do! With several options for experiencing afternoon and high tea, there are also many places that you can shop for tea while you're in town.
Visit Silk Road Tea in Chinatown for a blend of traditional and contemporary tea or Just Matcha Tea Shop, where you can enjoy a Lavender Vanilla Matcha Latte. Stop in at Terroir Tea Salon on Fort Street for a unique tea experience complete with a Steampunk tea brewer and chocolate pairings.
Speaking of chocolate, Victoria is also home to several dedicated chocolate shops. On Government Street, visit the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a candy apple or a piece of fresh fudge, and make sure to pick up a few Victoria Cremes from the historic Rogers' Chocolates.
If you're in the mood for ice cream, stop in at Chocolats Favoris, a new shop in Victoria who are taking the dipped cone to the next level. For an epic selection of cookies and handmade chocolates, a stop at the Dutch Bakery on Fort Street is always a good choice.
Image: The Dutch Bakery
Victoria's colourful public markets bring vibrancy to the city with a wonderful array of locally produced goods and entertainment. Check out our 2016 Summer Market Guide for a full listing of Victoria's seasonal markets.
The Victoria Public Market is Victoria's year-round farmers and artisan market, located in the iconic Hudson Building downtown. In this indoor market, you'll find everything from fresh lunch options to produce and pantry items - pretty much everything you'll need to enjoy a picnic or prepare a great meal for friends and family.
Image: The Victoria Public Market at the Hudson
Visit our shopping page for a full directory of shopping centres and stores in and around Victoria.