Victoria, BC: as seen on Samantha Brown’s Places to Love

Places to Love: Season 7 | Episode 3

Season seven of Samantha Brown’s Places to Love began airing on PBS stations in late January 2024, and episode three features none other than beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. Watch along as Samantha explores the history of Canada’s first Chinatown, cycles along Victoria’s coastline, and enjoys some of the city’s finest cuisine.

To follow in Samantha’s footsteps, here’s a guide to following her itinerary. Or to chart your own adventure, check out some of our other recommendations below.


Experiencing Victoria like Samantha Brown

Samantha’s exploration begins in the vibrant heart of Canada’s first Chinatown, a place where the past is woven through every shop and street corner. Here, history speaks boldly through colourful alleys like the famous Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in Canada. With Charlayne Thornton-Joe—a former City Councillor of 20 years—as her guide, Samantha learns about the rich history of Chinese immigrants in Victoria, dating back to 1858. Each boutique shop holds an endless supply of stories, offering everything from handcrafted garments to aromatic teas. The air is filled with the scents of traditional dishes, inviting visitors to taste centuries-old recipes.

From Chinatown, Samantha joins up with Richard Bell from The Pedaler and takes to Victoria’s bike-friendly streets, a testament to the city’s commitment to sustainability and outdoor recreation. Of course, this is no surprise—five minutes after stepping off a plane, ferry or boat, you’ll know why the locals love it here. From long stretches of coastline to dense cedar forests, the great outdoors is one of Greater Victoria’s most striking features.

The journey continues to Beacon Hill Park, an expansive green space nestled between James Bay and the Cook Street Village. Part nature sanctuary, part children’s adventure zone, the sounds of the city fade away to the melodious songs of birds and the gentle rustle of leaves. It’s a beacon—pun intended—of the city’s delicate balance of vibrant city life and nature’s untouched beauty. And for an authentic taste of Vancouver Island, Samantha makes a short ride over to Finest at Sea for lunch, a seafood market and food truck serving fresh, locally sourced cuisine.

Another highlight of Samantha’s adventure in Victoria is her visit to the renowned Butchart Gardens. Once a barren limestone quarry, this site has been lovingly transformed into a floral paradise. Walking through these gardens is like stepping into a living painting, where each new scene will make your jaw drop.

Following the gardens, Samantha visits the creative tandem behind Puzzle Lab, before embarking on a whale watching expedition with Brett Soberg from Eagle Wing Tours—a company that’s an industry leader in conservation and sustainable tourism. For dinner, 10 Acres Bistro hosts Samantha for an exceptional meal with fresh, seasonal ingredients straight from their 10 acre farm just minutes away on the Saanich Peninsula. And to cap off her Greater Victoria adventure, Samantha heads over to the Fairmont Empress to enjoy a sunset cocktail served in a teacup—the perfect end to a stay in the province’s capital.

p.s. An upcoming special episode of Places to Love will be featuring Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse. Keep a lookout for it on PBS beginning the week of February 26!


Hidden Gems

Many of Victoria’s highlights were captured in this Places to Love installment, but you can’t cover everything off in a 30-minute episode. In the same spirit as Samantha’s adventure, here are some more activities to consider for your next trip to Greater Victoria.

Places to Love: Victoria, BC

Download Victoria's Vacation Guide

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.