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Home > Tourism Victoria Blog > Victoria's Guide to Shopping Locally

Victoria's Guide to Shopping Locally

Posted on April 22, 2021

Any time is a good time to support local businesses, and Victoria makes it easy with an abundance of choice. There are so many shops and markets to explore — from the sensual delights of Chinatown to the charming independent boutiques of Lower Johnson Street. 

Please note that businesses are operating with enhanced safety measures in place; including limiting group sizes, increased cleaning regimens and more. Please check directly with the business for their COVID-19 safety protocols.

 

DOWNTOWN CORE

Lower Johnson Street (LoJo) is the place to go for trendy boutique shopping in a picture-perfect setting.  Also known as the epicentre of fashion, LoJo is lined with independent fashion and accessory shops. 

Every shopping trip starts with a good caffeine pick-me-up.  Hit local hot spot, Hey Happy Coffee for a cashew latte to go using only the finest Northwest roasted beans. Then make your way to Baggins Shoes, which lays claim to having the largest selection of Converse shoes in the world. Still can’t find the perfect pair? Lucky for you, you can order up a custom pair with any print you can imagine.

Head into Market Square, where at the entrance you’ll find Oscar and Libby’s — specializing in gifts for the upbeat and offbeat. In other words, if you’re after a tea infuser shaped like a guitar or an ice cube tray of sea creatures, this could be your new happy place.

Market Square itself dates from the 1880s and was built while Victoria was a raucous boom town. The square once housed the hotels, saloons and shops where sailors, miners and Chinese merchants worked and played.  Market Square is still full of action but is now home to tamer affairs — including several major events each year. 

LoJo Lower Johnson Street shopping

 

GOVERNMENT STREET

Running along the Inner Harbour and straight through the core of downtown Victoria, Government Street is a fantastic place to enjoy shopping and while taking in some of Victoria’s iconic architecture. 

You’re sure to find the perfect souvenir (and something for yourself) at Artina’s Jewellery, which offers the world’s largest selection of Canadian hand-crafted jewellery.  Keep an eye out for nearby Cowichan Trading, Out of the Mist Gallery and Sasquatch Trading Ltd., where you can find authentic Indigenous arts, crafts, jewellery, and moccasins. 

In need of a little energy boost?  Treat yourself to a stop at Rogers' Chocolates for a delightful treat that will blow your mind!

Munro's Books on Government Street

 

FORT STREET

Fabulous Fort Street runs through the heart of downtown and is home to all kinds of shops and eateries. Once known for its auction houses and antiques, it’s now abuzz with independent cafés, delis, bookstores, art galleries, bakeries, tech hubs and yoga studios.

Fuel up for your shopping day by dining al fresco at the Fort Properties block where you'll find trendy restaurants like Be Love, Fishhook, and Chorizo & Co. 

Pick up a sweet treat at The Dutch Bakery & Diner, then be sure to leave yourself ample time to wander through Russell Books, a book-lovers paradise, where you will find shelves stocked from floor to ceiling.

VICTORIA PUBLIC MARKET

If you’re looking for a unique handcrafted good, be sure to head to the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson. Once home to an iconic department store, now you can enjoy an industrial market feel while shopping a diverse range of handcrafted goods and farm-fresh locally sourced artisan foods. 

Make a stop at Whisk to find colourful kitchenware for your next feast or family dinner. Next, try The Very Good Butchers for a wide range of vegan options (think vegan sausage rolls, roast beef, burgers and more)!

No visit to the Market would be complete without a wander over to Roast, where you can have juicy roast beef and porchetta sliced right before your eyes. 

Insider Tip: Visit Wednesday-Sunday to find day vendors offering everything from locally made clothing to fresh vegetables.

Victoria Public Market

 

CHINATOWN

Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada and boasts a seriously intriguing past: from the rough and tumble days of the gold rush to whispers of ghosts and gamblers.

These days, Fisgard Street is lined with fruit and produce vendors, restaurants and trendy galleries. A popular lunch spot, arrive early to browse the shops before picking up your dim sum order at Don Mee Seafood Restaurant.

Stop by Silk Road Tea for a full tea experience, explore the selection of hand-blended teas at their unique tasting bar before picking out a favourite.  

Insider Tip: You can never go wrong with bestsellers Angelwater (a blend of peppermint and rose petals) or Sour Cherry Green Tea. 

No visit to Chinatown is complete without a stroll down Fan Tan Alley. The country’s narrowest street once was home to getaway passes and opium dens. A tad tamer today, you'll find more than a dozen curiousity shops and one-of-a-kind boutiques. 

Chinatown Dragon Gate

 

SHOPPING CENTRES

If you’re after a one-stop-shop, head to one of Victoria’s many shopping centres.  Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, The Bay Centre offers a large variety of clothing and jewellery stores, as well as a large food court. 

Located just outside of the downtown core but easily accessible are Mayfair Shopping Centre featuring a number of fashion and unique retailers, and Uptown Centre an outdoor plaza with a mix of international brands and local boutiques.

 

And finally, don't forget GIFT CERTIFICATES

If you still can't decide or you're not comfortable venturing out right now to do your shopping, consider that many local businesses and attractions also offer online shopping and electronic gift certificates. Treat your loved one or yourself to an adventure or overnight stay by purchasing a gift certificate that can be used well into 2022. Visit our Deals & Promotions page for inspiration.

#SupportLocal #ShopLocal