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Explore, Sip & Savour Along The Flavour Trails

Just minutes away from the energy of Victoria’s downtown core, the rich rural countryside of the Saanich Peninsula and Southern Gulf Islands are some of Greater Victoria’s best-kept secrets. A land to connect through food with nature and each other.

Discover gently rolling hills, pastures, apple orchards, and ocean-view vineyards, flanked by the Salish Sea and its bounty—all ripe and ready for you to discover—along The Flavour Trails. This self-guided expedition authentically celebrates the diversity and vibrancy of the region, with ample opportunity to taste, sip, and experience what makes this foodie haven so special.

Buy fresh-cut basil, taste fireweed honey, take a winery tour, pick berries, sip cider or sit down to a farm-fresh dinner celebrating local delicacies. The best part? It’s so easy to see and do so much. It really is possible to see and taste your way around, either by car, bike, or e-bike, thanks to a superb network of bike trails. And it doesn’t just have to be a day trip. You’ll find charming B&B’s, welcoming guesthouses, and more all along The Flavour Trails.

We can’t wait to welcome you to the land of farmsteads, cider presses, bakers, distillers, honey farmers, brewers, and growers. Greater Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands’ sub-Mediterranean climate is unlike any other part of Canada, making it the perfect place for agritourism experiences. Our mild winters, fresh water, and rays of west coast sunshine provide us with a unique biodiversity allowing us to produce the very best in organic ingredients.

The Flavour Trails offer an escape from the everyday. A seamless experience of
modern-meets-rustic welcomes you as warmly as fresh-out-the oven baking. Explore this one-of-a-kind region at a relaxed, never rushed pace and discover authentic moments of meaningful connection.

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A Glimpse of the Flavour Trails

Flavour Trails Logo

Getting Here

The Flavour Trails encompass the Saanich Peninsula and Southern Gulf Islands with Greater Victoria, where you’ll find transport gateways to make access super easy. There is Victoria International Airport (YYJ) or the Swartz Bay BC Ferry terminal for foot passenger and car traffic to Vancouver Island.

Plan your trip using the Flavour Trails map. Drive to The Peninsula in just 30 minutes from downtown Victoria, or take in the trail on a standard or electric bike (be sure to bring a bag to carry picnic supplies and all the goodies you’ll grab along the way). Connect with the Southern Gulf Islands archipelago through a series of brief but beautiful ferry rides straight from the tip of the Saanich Peninsula. Nearby Sidney is everyone’s idea of a perfect little seaside town with coffee shops and bistros, a famous crab fishing pier and is another great place to stock up with supplies.

Wherever you go you’ll find a friendly wave and a welcoming smile. All part of the local flavour. Happy Trails!

Itineraries

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Food for Thought

The Saanich Peninsula is a day-tripper’s paradise, easily transformed into a flavourful cycling route. Begin your  journey along the Galloping Goose Trail. Discover a full-day culinary tour that will lead you from downtown Victoria through rolling fields to small batch ciders, local honey, sweet sips and more. Take your time cycling back along the Lochside Trail. This unique experience is sure to be a highlight of your visit to Greater Victoria.

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Start: The Pedaler Cycling Tours and Rentals

From downtown Victoria, rent a bike or e-bike from The Pedaler Cycling Tours and Rentals or Cycle BC.ca Rentals. Embark on your culinary cycling tour of the Flavour Trails. It’s just a short pedal away to our first stop.

Stop 1: The Courtney Room

Just two blocks from the Inner Harbour, at the foot of the Magnolia Hotel lies the Courtney Room, one of Victoria’s top farm-to-table restaurant. The Courtney Room is the perfect primer for your day of exploration on the Flavour Trails, whose partnerships with local farmers allow them to highlight our local community and its bounty. Then, pop on over to the Lochside Trail from Victoria to Sidney and settle in for a 30-minute ride to your next stop.

Stop 2: The Root Cellar Village Green Grocer

Victoria’s go-to for local, sustainable produce and goods, The Root Cellar Village Green Grocer is the spot to load up on nutritious treats to fuel your agricultural explorations. The Root Cellar takes your grocery experience deeper, offering workshops, live music, and one of Saanich’s favourite coffee shops. Make sure to grab some of their famous Green Sauce, which enhances the deliciousness of omelettes, sandwiches, roast chicken, and just about anything else you can top with it.

Stop 3: Country Bee Honey

When you’ve had your sampling of Island flavours, head back out on your bike via West Saanich Road and cycle 20 minutes down the road to your third stop, Country Bee Honey Farm. Taste delicious local honey in their storefront and peruse the locally made gifts and products on offer. This is the perfect spot to find Island goodies to take home.

Fields of Flavour

The Saanich Peninsula, set just 30 minutes north of Victoria, is a rural ramble of rolling hills, wineries, cideries, bakeries, farmstands and much more. This road-tripper’s paradise will tie together the pastoral and urban to add another layer to your Island culinary experience. Visit local farms where ingredients are nurtured and foraged before you complete your gastronomic journey in downtown Victoria at one of several farm-to-table restaurants.

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Start: Downtown Victoria

Start the day bright and early with a short 20-minute drive from downtown Victoria to your first stop. No need to grab your morning tea or coffee en route; there will be plenty where you’re headed.

Stop 1: The Gardens at HCP

Your first stop on your self-guided adventure is The Gardens at HCP, a beautiful botanical garden that you can enjoy year-round. Spend as long as you like here, taking in the seasonal blooms and wandering the garden paths.

Stop 2: Country Bee Honey Farm

Hop back in the car for a quick 9-minute drive to your next stop. Taste the flavours of the Saanich Peninsula in the locally made honey at Country Bee. Sample from dozens of flavours and shop their locally made gifts and products. You’ll be sure to find some goodies to bring home.

Stop 3: Church & State

What could be better than a beautiful vineyard on the Peninsula? Two minutes down the road, arrive at Church & State Wines. Ready for an afternoon snack? Their Tasting Bar is the perfect place to linger a while, especially when seated overlooking the vineyard on their expansive patio. Make a note to return soon with your mat for one of their outdoor yoga classes.

Grapes to Grains

Whether you’re a wine collector or a new wine taster, a craft beer fan or a cidery novice, you are sure to enjoy the Flavour Trails grapes to grains agritourism experience. Be pleasantly surprised as you travel through vineyards, orchards and farms just minutes from downtown Victoria. Whatever the season, visitors can expect to be enchanted as knowledgeable proprietors, dedicated hosts and award-winning makers pour their product and share their stories. This is an à la carte itinerary where visitors pick and choose their stops, as well as some local restaurants we feel pair brilliantly with them along the way. In geographical order, heading north from downtown Victoria (with your designated driver or tour operator!).

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Start: Macaloney’s Island Distillery & TWA Dogs Brewing

Discover how beer and whisky is made on a guided tour of an operational brewery and distillery. Macaloney’s Island Distillery & TWA Dogs Brewery crafts elegant single malt whiskies and superb craft beer. An onsite lounge and visitor centre allow guests to enjoy the atmosphere with a pint in hand or take home their favourite bottle of whisky.

Stop 2: Fireside Grill

Towering garry oak and landscaped gardens surround you in this historic, urban acreage nestled on West Saanich Road. For the ambiance, think rich earth tones, classic planked flooring, elegant woodwork, and warmth. This award-winning restaurant serves a distinctively Victorian dining experience focusing on fresh farm-to-table fare. If you’re visiting on the weekend, don’t miss their famous weekend brunch, consistently ranked as one of the best in Canada.

Stop 3: Niche Grocerant

The one-stop shop for the flavours of Victoria, Niche Grocerant is a locally focused specialty food retailer with a fully licensed restaurant. Find all your favourite foods from the Flavour Trails, Victoria, and Vancouver Island. Niche is the perfect spot to load up on local delicacies in your picnic basket for your day of exploration along the Saanich Peninsula.

Stop 4: Junction Orchard & Cidery

Junction Orchard & Cidery is a rustic eight acre farm rolling out the west coast welcome to cider fans, families, and even our four-legged friends. Using whole, fresh in-season fruit from the Saanich Peninsula and Vancouver Island allows for minimal processing and richer, fuller flavours. After exploring the orchards and tasting room, it’s time to hit the saddle again and keep rolling down the Flavour Trails.

From Tree to Shining Sea

It’s hard to contain so much flavour in just one place. Join us on a culinary adventure as we travel from tree to shining sea, exploring some of the best the Saanich Peninsula and the Southern Gulf Islands have to offer. From award-winning cideries to off-the-beaten path makers nestled at the end of winding country roads, this itinerary provides a playful yet expansive tour of our region. Connect with the roots of Canada’s most ecologically diverse farmlands and the rich bounty of the Salish Sea as you island hop your way from bite-to-bite.

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Start: Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

How would we describe Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub? Island made. As Canada’s first brewpub, Spinnakers has been leading the way for over 30 years. Spinnakers works with over 35 local farmers and producers to serve up a fresh, seasonal spin on pub classics. Enjoy breakfast paired with one of their brilliant craft brews to fuel up for your big adventure. Spinnakers provisions store is the perfect place to stock up with some road trip snacks for your journey.

Stop 1: Heritage Acres

After a filling breakfast, you could probably use a nice stroll. A short 20-minute drive away, Heritage Acres is a 29-acre site dedicated to collecting, restoring, housing, preserving, and displaying artifacts that tell the story of farming, country living, and industry on Vancouver Island. As a living history village, Heritage Acres is home to over 20,000 artifacts and four historically significant buildings. Stop, stay a while, and explore over 150 years of farming heritage on the Saanich Peninsula and uncover the very roots of the farmlands, makers, and markets you’ll be exploring.

Stop 2: Ocean View Estates

A quick 6-minute ride brings us to our next step, Ocean View Estates. A family-run farm, Ocean View Estates provides a range of agricultural experiences. Meander their U-pick fields, or visit their farmstand if you’re in a hurry, and find picture-perfect produce that looks (almost!) too good to eat. Ocean View Estates proudly hosts several community events including the Sunflower Festival from mid-August through mid-September, and the Saanichton Corn Maze through the month of October.

Stop 3: Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse

Practically neighbours, Sea Cider Farm & Cider House is located just around the corner from Ocean View Estates. Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse’s ten-acre farm is home to over 1,300 apple trees, made up of over 50 varieties of heritage apples. Relax at the ciderhouse and drink in the panoramic water views overlooking the orchard across the Haro Straight to James Island. The ciderhouse is open for tastings daily from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Enjoy a flight of ciders paired with a picnic from Toque or Truffles Catering.

Edible Archipelago

Not far but a world away, the Southern Gulf Islands are a handful of serene, verdant, rolling crowns just a 40-minute ferry ride across the Salish Sea. Nourish yourself with the bounty from its growing agricultural legacy while you lose your breath taking in the exquisite scenery. Once the hub of fruit production in BC, you’ll find heritage flavours combined with native plants to experience a terroir that’s shaped as much by its environment as the passion of its people.

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Start: Otter Bay | Pender Island

From the Otter Bay ferry terminal, follow the signs east towards Driftwood Centre, Pender Island’s community hub. If you arrive by car or foot, rent a bike nearby at Port Browning Marina from Pender Island Kayak Adventures and get ready to work up an appetite.

Stop 1: Truss Farm Food

Your first stop is only 15-minutes away, on a route that takes you along winding, rural roads lined with small organic farms and towering trees. Luckily, Truss Farm Food takes inspiration from these surroundings and showcases local produce in their seasonal menu. After you’re satiated, wander through the Medicine Beach sanctuary next door or, if you’re lucky, drop in on a local jam at neighboring Slow Coast Coffee.

Stop 2: Twin Island Cider

Bike back the same route to reward yourself with natural craft cider made from century old apples and pears in the charming tasting room overlooking the farm.

Stop 3: Sage Hayward Vineyards

It’s time to hop over to Saturna Island. Take the AquaLink water taxi from Port Browning Marina. With advance notice, you can bring your bike aboard. You’ll arrive to Lyall Harbour and though the winery is only 4km away, be prepared for a steep climb over Brown Ridge. Once you crest the top, you’ll see stunning views over the valley and into the Salish Sea beyond. Indulge in a wine tasting and, if you’ve timed it right, stay for the pizza night!

Year-Round Flavours

There’s always something delicious in season around here, thanks to the mildest climate in Canada. Enjoy stops at selected farms, buy at the farm gate, or explore full-service farm markets. Many offer produce year-round. Take your pick from items like local honey, pine infused vinegar, jams and chutneys, cider and beer, and much more.

As the year gathers pace, more and more produce becomes available. See below for seasonal highlights.

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Spring

Spring sees newborn lambs gambolling in the fields, farmers busy planting crops, the first flowers in bloom, early season leeks, root vegetables like parsnips and rutabagas, and the year’s first peppers and tomatoes.

Summer

Summer is peak season for fruit and crops. Peas start in June and raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and cherries are ready to pick or buy at farm stands in late June and July. Peninsula figs, zucchini, melons, pears and plums arrive in August—all sought after by locals, restaurateurs and visitors alike. It’s also a busy time for distillers and vineyards as they begin their harvest.

Fall

Autumn is harvest time for many local farmers and producers, and the countryside is alive with vibrant fall colours.

Winter

Winter is a time to take a breath for some producers, for others it’s a time to show off their products. It’s the perfect time to sip cider around a crackling fire and get into the holiday spirit.

Stay on the Saanich Peninsula

Find the perfect home base for your exploration of The Flavour Trails. Get back to nature at a cozy at a quaint B&B, or get the VIP treatment at boutique hotels.

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