Beat the Winter Blues

Canada may be the home of winter, but up in the Great White North those long cold nights can quickly snowball into a case of the winter blues. Fret not sun seekers, an overdue trip to beachside beers and blue skies doesn’t have to take you halfway around the world. Put winter on ice this season with a warm and wonderful getaway to Greater Victoria.

Beaches and Brewskis

No need for snow boots here! Feel the sand between your toes as you roam the coast, rock hopping from pocket beach to pocket beach. The ideal place to picnic, Victoria’s sprawling seaside is a serene and simple getaway from the bustle of daily city life. Here’s the rundown on our favourite beaches and the best beers to complement them.

An hour and forty-five minutes away but well worth the drive, one of Vancouver Island’s hidden gems lies nestled in the sand, Sombrio Beach. There’s a little bit of everything to explore on this one-of-a-kind beach; wriggle through sea caves, surf big waves, or snap a selfie at the secret waterfall. This easily accessible back country spot offers year-round camping for surfers and hikers alike. Spark up a beach fire and watch the sunset on one of British Columbia’s most iconic beaches.

As day turns to night, look up and enjoy the dark. Sombrio’s remote location minimizes any light pollution; truly one of the best stargazing locations on the coast. As you ponder cosmic mysteries amidst the trees, enjoy a Dark Matter from Hoyne Brewing. Not quite a stout, hardly a porter, and far from a brown ale, Dark Matter brings the mysteries of the universe to your glass. Cheers to beers, with suds on Sombrio!

You don’t have to leave the city to enjoy Greater Victoria’s picture-perfect beaches. In fact, some of our region’s most iconic beaches lay a mere hop, skip, and a jump away from downtown. Shhh, don’t tell the locals you heard it from us, resident favourite Gonzales Beach is easily accessible from most Victoria neighbourhoods. This sand beach is an ideal spot to kick back and soak up the sun while you enjoy unrivaled views of the Salish Sea and Olympic Mountains. Outside of summer months, this beach welcomes off-leash dogs, making it the ideal family hangout. 

You’ve sat atop driftwood at Gonzales Beach, relaxed, as you watched the day slowly melt away (along with all your stress). The sun may be fading, but you don’t want to lose that feeling of bliss. It’s time to head on over to Driftwood Brewery. Driftwood has captured that laid back, original, Victoria style in each of their delicious beers. Their welcoming bartenders can’t wait to pour you up a pint of their famed Fat Tug IPA. This Northwest-style India Pale Ale is sure to deliver our vibrant West Coast energy to your palate. 

Insider Tip: With a seemingly endless number of beaches speckling the coastline, and 17 craft breweries in Greater Victoria, there’s a beer pairing for every beach and every mood.

Inn Good Spirits

Sometimes all you need to get back on track is a break. A quick and easy getaway from life’s worries to simply put your feet up and unwind. Being a little further out means Greater Victoria is the perfect place to escape from the stressors of the daily grind. Our relaxed and never rushed lifestyle is embodied by the snug comforts of our city’s delightful boutique hotels and inns.

Housed in a 1930s Tudor mansion, Abigail’s Hotel blends the historic charm of Victoria with the comfort and convenience of modern accommodation. This unique luxury experience eloquently blurs the lines between a small boutique hotel and a heritage bed and breakfast. An intimate 23-room property, Abigail’s is within walking distance of all of downtown’s major attractions. The cozy ambiance of this wonderful property is certain to warm the soul.

Proudly independent, Victorians have always done things their own way. With a history dating back over 100 years, the Huntingdon Manor Hotel tells a story every bit as fascinating as the city itself. Due to their extravagance, the properties of Alexander Blair Grey and William J. Pendray had caused a bit of a stir in the once small frontier town of Victoria. From Mansion to boarding house to eventual hotel, this iconic property has remained a much-loved fixture on Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Write yourself into Victoria’s legacy with a stay at the Huntingdon Manor Hotel.

Eat Good, Feel Good

They say you are what you eat, and that explains why us Victorians are all so fresh. Greater Victoria is a foodie’s city. Home to Canada’s highest number of restaurants per capita, food permeates everything we do. A continuous trickle of trawlers delivers the bounty of the Salish Sea to our mongers on an hourly basis. Local farmers cultivate the country’s best organic ingredients from a climate unlike anywhere else in the nation. Savour the food, savour the memories, savour Victoria.

We believe local tastes better. With local farms stretching from Sydney to Sooke, Saanich to Cowichan and beyond, Greater Victoria farmers are growing premium sustainable produce. Featuring a healthy, local, and predominantly vegetarian menu, Rebar Modern Food has showcased the finest our region has to offer since 1988. This hip spot offers vibrant and tasty food that has led to it being a favourite of locals and critics alike. Located in Bastion Saquare, Rebar keeps the heart of downtown Victoria beating with inventive nourishing cuisine.

Insider Tip: Although famed for their vegetarian and vegan fare, Rebar also caters to our pescatarian friends. Try the Blackened Rockfish Burger for a healthy taste of our wonderful West Coast seafood.

Discover the flavour of Victoria at 10 Acres. The epitome of Van Isle dining, 10 Acres showcases the freshest seafood and cheeses from our region’s top producers served up alongside seasonal produce, meat, and eggs direct from their own farm located on the Saanich Peninsula. With three exceptional Victoria dining options in 10 Acres Bistro, 10 Acres Commons, and 10 Acres at the Pier, you’re never far from truly local fine dining. Each location offers its own distinctive take on the flavours that define Victorian cuisine. 

Gardens and Greenspaces

One of the best ways to break through the drudgery of winter is to expose yourself to nature. Submersion in nature has been proven to reduce anxiety and hypertension, as well as increase mood and vitality. The roots of the island’s mighty rainforests frame our beautiful garden. Greater Victoria is the crown jewel of Vancouver Island, and an extensive network of trails weaves us into the fabric of our diverse biosphere. Step out of the cold and into the lush greenery of paradise.

The towering Cedars and scraggly Arbutus trees that build the foundation of Greater Victoria’s dense forests are a sight to behold. The scale of these natural giants often put our small problems into perspective. A day in the backcountry bush that surrounds Greater Victoria Can be a transcendent experience. Mystical Rainforest Tours & Self-Discovery Quests takes you deep into the natural woodwork of the Island for a mindful and revitalizing encounter with our majestic woodlands. Bathe in the forests to purify your soul, forage for berries and edible plants, and deepen your connection to nature on one of their immersive guided tours.

Greater Victorians feel at home in nature. So, it’s no wonder that the ceremonial home of all British Columbian’s finds itself in Victoria, sat proudly atop 36 acres of garden spaces and a rare Gary Oak ecosystem. The Government House is the official residence of B.C.’s Lieutenant Governor. The beautifully maintained gardens are open to public exploration year-round from dawn to dusk and free of charge. Originally designed by G.K Maclean, the gardens have stood for over 100 years, even surviving a fire in 1957, where they saw a redesign in the style of a traditional English garden.

Out and About

A surefire way to put a smile back upon your face is simply to get out and have fun. With a work-life balance unlike any other city, Greater Victorians are no strangers to letting their hair down. A city that works hard, plays hard, and as such, Greater Victoria finds herself jampacked with engaging activities that are sure to help you forget about the tribulations of life.

Put some spring in your step with Flying Squirrel Victoria. Flying Squirrel is Canada’s largest spring-loaded urban playground with a wide range of attractions. Take yourself to new heights at this fun-for-the-whole-family trampoline park. Then step outside your comfort zone as you tackle the high-flying ropes course. Bounce out of the winter blues with a fun-filled trip to Flying Squirrel. 

Situated at the Royal BC Museum, IMAX Victoria believes that bigger is better. Their 61’x85’ screen is the largest in British Columbia and features state-of-the-art IMAX 4K Laser Projection Technology and an immersive 12-channel sound system. Catch educational pieces or major motion pictures at this massive cinema experience. Partnered with the Royal British Columbia Museum, you can often find documentary films that tie to the wonderful exhibits you’ve just visited at the museum. 

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Destination Greater Victoria is honoured to be based on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples of the Songhees Nation and the Esquimalt Nation, whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.