There’s no shortage of beautiful wedding venues to choose from in Canada’s “City of Gardens.” The city of Victoria in British Columbia is full of a variety of different event venues for hosting weddings of all sizes and styles, ranging from intimate, small gatherings to elaborate, grand affairs and everything in between. Couples have their pick of beautiful settings for their wedding ceremony and wedding reception, whether they want a seaside celebration, a gorgeous garden setting, a beautiful golf course backdrop, a charming inn, or an elegant ballroom among many other venues. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
The Fortune Gallery is an event venue specializing in creating a versatile and modern space for wedding receptions and other events. The beautiful space was renovated and upgraded in 2016 and provides an ideal setting for loft-style celebrations, with numerous different spaces for couples and their wedding guests to enjoy, with space available to comfortably accommodate a maximum of seventy-five guests for seated wedding receptions. The Fortune Gallery facilities include a sound system, wheelchair accessible bathrooms, and a kitchen that contains a wine fridge. The professional and experienced staff at Fortune Gallery provides a variety of services as well.
537 Fisgard St, Victoria, BC V8W 1R3, Phone: 250-383-1552
2.Oak Bay Beach Hotel
© Oak Bay Beach Hotel
The Oak Bay Beach Hotel strives to be the perfect destination venue for wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions in Victoria, with ceremony and reception sites at the hotel available both outdoors and indoors. Breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean provide a wow factor for weddings, combined with reception spaces that add a touch of elegance to events. Among the wedding sites at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel is a garden that makes for an excellent site for outdoor wedding ceremonies. The hotel also has 100 guest rooms and can accommodate up to 150 guests for seated ceremonies and receptions.
1175 Beach Dr, Victoria, BC V8S 2N2, Phone: 250-598-4556
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3.Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA
© Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA
The Coast Victoria Hotel and Marina offers one of the area’s most idyllic settings for couples tying the knot in Victoria, British Columbia. The hotel is known for having a “keen eye for detail” that complements the unique views of the coast, excellent service, award-winning food, and great facilities. Several event spaces are available to couples for wedding ceremonies, receptions, and other informal gatherings. The Ballroom is the largest, with space for a maximum of 120 guests. The North Coast is a more intimate setting that can accommodate up to 60 people. There is also a patio for ceremonies.
146 Kingston St, Victoria, BC V8V 1V4, Phone: 250-360-1211
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4.Wedding Venues in Victoria, Canada: Da Vinci Centre
The Da Vinci Centre in Victoria is a clean, spacious venue for wedding receptions with an amazing dance floor on which guests can dance the night away. The venue is ideal for couples who want to make sure they have plenty of space for their wedding celebration, as well as a beautiful setting. The main event space of the Da Vinci Centre includes a full-sized kitchen for catering services and a bar. A stunning entrance leads wedding guests into the main hall with a gorgeous chandelier. The space can also be decorated to be as casual or as elegant as the couple wishes.
195 Bay St, Victoria, BC V9A 3K4, Phone: 250-383-8041
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5.Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort
© Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort
The Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort is situated along the stunning Inner Harbour of Victoria, providing an unmatched waterfront setting for wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions. The venue also offers views of the mountains and the surrounding city as an amazing backdrop for wedding celebrations. Along with event spaces, the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort also provides full resort amenities, guest accommodations, excellent dining, and exceptional guest services. Couples can choose from the gorgeous waterfront outdoor patio for ceremonies and a variety of indoor spaces for their reception, such as the elegant Arbutus Ballroom, the Harbour Room, or the Songhees Suite.
100 Harbour Rd, Victoria, BC V9A 0G1, Phone: 250-360-2999
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6.Wedding Venues in Victoria, Canada: Fairholme Manor
© Fairholme Manor
The Fairholme Manor is a great wedding venue for couples who want a very small and intimate wedding with their closest family and friends. This quaint inn is able to host weddings with up to twenty guests, with an ability to rent the beautiful ground of Fairholme Manor for an hourly rate. Garden weddings are particularly popular at the private and romantic inn and the venue is able to arrange wedding packages that include a variety of services, including photography, officiant services, flower arrangements, catering services , wedding cakes, horse drawn carriages, spa services, restaurant arrangements, and many others.
638 Rockland Pl, Victoria, BC V8S 3R2, Phone: 250-598-3240
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© Fairmont Empress
The Fairmont Empress is one of Victoria’s luxurious hotel venues that is able to host weddings of almost any size, ranging from small, intimate parties to grand affairs. The hotel wedding venue provides attentive, personalized service within a picturesque event setting of sophistication and elegance. Both outdoor and indoor event spaces are located at the Fairmont Empress, giving couples a choice of either an indoor or outdoor wedding or a combination of the two with The Rose Garden, The Ivy Ballroom, The Library, The Palm Court, and The Crystal Ballroom. The hotel is able to accommodate anywhere from 30 to 280 guests.
721 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1W5 , Phone: 250-384-8111
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The Goward House in Victoria, British Columbia is able to host wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, and other events ranging from small to large.
Weddings Large and Small The Goward House includes comfortable surrounding within an open heritage home, a large veranda with umbrellas and tables available, a beautiful natural setting with gardens and woodland, a spacious grassy lawn for outdoor weddings, an on-site custodian, and a full-service kitchen. The venue is available to be rented for weddings and other special events on evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays. The entire house is able to fit up to 110 guests.
2495 Arbutus Rd, Victoria, BC V8N 1V9, Phone: 250-477-4401
Hatley Castle is situated within the Hatley Park National Historic Site of Victoria, also home to the Royal Roads University, and is one of the most popular wedding venues in Southern Vancouver Island. The beautiful heritage gardens and Olympic Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for wedding events and wedding photos. The Croquet Garden and the Italian Garden offer great spots for an intimate outdoor wedding ceremony or indoors where brides can walk down the grand castle staircase. The interior of Hatley Castle provides space for a formal dinner wedding reception for anywhere from 10 to 250 guests.
2005 Sooke Rd, Victoria, BC V9B 5Y2, Phone: 259-391-2511
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10.Wedding Venues in Victoria: Hotel Grand Pacific
The Hotel Grand Pacific provides a picturesque setting for wedding celebrations and other events along the Inner Harbour of Victoria. The hotel is great for waterfront weddings that couples and their guests will remember for a lifetime, providing high quality cuisine and elegance that compliment the beautiful setting. Approximately ten thousand square feet of space for events can be found at the Hotel Grand Pacific, including the Pender Island Ballroom with space for up to 80 guests and the Vancouver Island ballroom that can hold up to 180 guests. Cuisine served supports the local fisherman, farmers, producers, and winemakers.
463 Belleville St, Victoria, BC V8V 1X3, Phone: 250-386-0450
11.Wedding Venues in Victoria: Inn at Laurel Point
The Inn at Laurel Point provides premium guest accommodations and spacious facilities for couples, the bridal party, and the wedding guests. The destination venue is situated close to Victoria, British Columbia’s Inner Harbour and offers excellent views of the surrounding area, as well as a waterfront setting for weddings and other special events. There are several spaces available for events at the Inn at Laurel Point, including the Terrace Ballroom, which can host up to two hundred people with the adjacent Spirit Room. There is also the beautiful Japanese Garden, and the Roger’s Suite with panoramic views.
680 Montreal St, Victoria, BC V8V 1Z8, Phone: 250-386-8721
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12.Olympic View Golf Club
© Olympic View Golf Club
The Olympic View Golf Club offers an amazing venue for wedding ceremonies and receptions in Victoria, Canada. The venue features spectacular West Coast scenery, a Japanese garden, views of snow-capped mountains, twelve lakes, and two waterfalls, which all provide beautiful backdrops for events and photos. The clubhouse at the Olympic View Golf Club offers three event rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, wrap-around outdoor patios, and stunning views. Couples can either host their wedding receptions in one of the rooms or choose to combine them. Anywhere between 20 and 250 of a couple’s closest friends and family can be accommodated for weddings.
643 Latoria Rd, Victoria, BC V9C 3A3, Phone: 250-474-3673
13.Pendray Inn and Tea House
© Pendray Inn and Tea House
The Pendray Inn and Tea House, formerly named the Gatsby Mansion, is one of Victoria’s rather impressive event venues, specializing in offering “a regal setting” for elegant events, including weddings. Constructed back in 1897, the historic Victorian estate provides couples with a boutique wedding venue experience close to the Inner Harbour, along with superb services for grand wedding celebrations. The Pendray Inn and Tea House features cobblestone walkways, ponds, and landscaped grounds that surround the reception area, which contains stained glass windows, fresco ceilings, and space for up to eighty guests. Tailored wedding packages are offered to meet individual budgets and preferences.
309 Belleville St, Victoria, BC V8V 1X2, Phone: 250-388-3892
14.Victoria Wedding Venues: Roundhouse Farm
© Roundhouse Farm
The Roundhouse Farm is an event venue and organic farm in Victoria, British Columbia. The market garden offers an idyllic backdrop for a variety of outdoor events, including weddings, retreats, and yoga classes. The Roundhouse can be rented for smaller, more intimate weddings and other events as well, providing around eight hundred square feet of event space that can fit up to around fifty guests. The wheelchair-accessible building also includes several amenities, such as a secluded private garden, parking for twenty-five cars, in-floor heating, washroom facilities, built-in audio and media system, folding tables and chairs, and backjack seats.
1506 Burnside Rd West, Victoria, BC V9E 2E2, Phone: 778-746-1812
15.St. Ann's Academy and Auditorium
St. Ann’s Academy and Auditorium boasts a gorgeous historic chapel, a private garden, beautiful grounds, and spacious event spaces indoors for wedding celebrations. Couples can hold their wedding ceremony outdoors in the Novitiate Garden, followed by a wedding reception in the Sisters’ Parlour, or choose from an array of other spaces for their special day. The historic Chapel is able to hold up to around 125 guests for ceremonies of any belief or faith and features gold leaf decor that sparkles in the space’s natural light. The Novitiate Garden contains perennial flower beds, a large gazebo, and lavish greenery.
835 Humboldt St, Victoria, BC V8V 9V1, Phone: 250-953-8829
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16.Swans Brewery, Pub & Hotel
The Swans Brewery, Pub and Hotel is located within the downtown area of Victoria near the base of the city’s Chinatown. At the time the property was built back in the year 1913, the local area was a place of underground activity, a liquor distillery, and secret societies. The area today, however, is a place that welcomes visitors from everywhere. Today, couples can choose to hold their wedding celebration in the stunning penthouse at the Swans Brewery, Pub and Hotel. The event space is able to accommodate up to eighty guests. There is also the Saffron Room and the Buckerfields for events.
506 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC V8W 1N6, Phone: 250-361-3310
17.Victoria Wedding Venues: The Lodge at Weir's Beach
© The Lodge at Weir's Beach
The Lodge at Weir's Beach is located only around thirty minutes away from downtown Victoria, British Columbia. This venue is casual enough for couples and their guests to feel like they are at a “home-away-from-home,” buts also formal enough to host unforgettable weddings. The Lodge at Weir’s Beach was designed specifically for accommodating private gatherings, like wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions, with the property’s natural beauty providing a feeling of privacy and elegance. Wedding ceremonies can take place on the gorgeous sandy beach along the Pacific Coast or in one of the other beautiful event spaces at The Lodge.
5195 William Head Rd, Victoria, BC V9C 4H5, Phone: 250-478-5000
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18.The Parkside Hotel & Spa
© The Parkside Hotel & Spa
The Parkside Hotel and Spa is a boutique venue for weddings, situated right across from St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria, British Columbia. The hotel is fully sustainable and provides stunning spaces for wedding ceremonies and receptions, with event sites located both outside and inside the hotel itself. Couples can choose to hold their wedding ceremony indoors in the Atrium, which features floor-to-ceiling windows allowing for natural light and a small pond, or outdoors in the Rooftop Gardens with downtown Victoria views. Receptions can be held in the elegant Urban Ballroom or the City Club Lounge, which features amazing ocean views.
810 Humboldt Street, Victoria, BC V8V 5B, Phone: 250-940-1200
19.Victoria Wedding Venues: The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden
© The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden
The Abkhazi Garden in Victoria is an excellent garden and heritage home, known for being a particularly exquisite garden in the “City of Gardens.” The venue now provides amazing venues for a fairy tale-style wedding, including The Teahouse and the Summer House. The Teahouse boasts enough space for up to forty of a couple’s family and closest friends within the beautiful space clad with Nordic white birch that warmly glows during the evening. During the winter season, guests can enjoy a toasty fire in the room’s fireplace, providing an even more intimate setting. The space can also be personalized.
1964 Fairfield Rd, Victoria, BC V8S 1H4, Phone: 778-265-6466
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20.The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa, Victoria
The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa in Victoria is an event venue specializing in offering a natural setting secluded from everything for wedding ceremonies, receptions, and other events. The world-class spa and resort aims to provide both the wedding couples and their guests with the finest services and experience on the big day. The Bear Mountain Ballroom is able to host weddings with a maximum of 650 people, while the Mount Baker Room and Goldstream Room can hold up to 60 people each. Facilities at The Westin Bear Mountain Resort include access to several locations across the property.
1999 Country Club Way, Victoria, BC V9B 6R3, Phone: 250-391-7160
21.Victoria Wedding Venues: Victoria Edelweiss Club
The Victoria Edelweiss Club is the home of the German Canadian Cultural Society in Victoria, Canada. The club is available for rental for wedding receptions and other special events and is situated in the James Bay area of the city, across from the cruise ship terminal at Ogden Point. The banquet room in the Victoria Edelweiss Club is located on the building’s main floor and can host wedding receptions with as many as three hundred guests. The Games Room upstairs can accommodate up to forty people for a more intimate gathering. There is also the Hubertus Klause Lounge for up to 35 guests.
108 Niagara St, Victoria BC V8V 1E9, Phone: 250-383-4823
22.Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
© Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
The Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour provides a beautiful wedding venue overlooking the bewitching and historic downtown area of Victoria, British Columbia, as well as numerous opportunities for amazing wedding photos. Weddings with up to two hundred guests can be accommodated in the elegant Pacific Ballroom, a 5,000-square-foot event space. The space is able to be divided into two separate event areas, and couples can also rent the Terrace Room with its breathtaking views for wedding celebrations with up to 120 people. The professional team at the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour is able to help with all of the wedding details.
728 Humboldt St, Victoria, BC V8W 3Z5, Phone: 250-480-3800
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23.Villa Marco Polo Inn
© Villa Marco Polo Inn
The Villa Marco Polo Inn offers an ideal wedding venue in Victoria for couples who are looking for an elegant and beautiful setting for their special day. The inn is able to host weddings with a variety of fashions and styles, from elegant cocktail receptions and intimate elopements to formal seated dinner receptions and elaborate or casual buffet receptions. The Villa Marco Polo Inn features Italian Renaissance architecture throughout the property and provides several ceremony and reception sites for couples to choose from, such as the Italianate garden, the wood-paneled library, the sun-soaked Orangerie, and several others.
1524 Shasta Pl, Victoria, BC V8S 1X9, Phone: 250-370-1524
24.Victoria Wedding Venues: White Eagle Polish Hall
© White Eagle Polish Hall
The White Eagle Polish Hall is situated within the James Bay, only minutes from downtown Victoria and a block from Ogden Point. The two floors of the venue are available for rent for wedding celebrations, meetings, seminars, concerts, dances, banquets, and other special events. The Upper Hall at the White Eagle Polish Hall is able to accommodate up to 217 guests for events and includes a seating area, a spacious dance floor, a kitchen for catering, a bar, and a large central stage. There is also plenty of parking available for guests on both sides of the venue.
90 Dock St, Victoria, BC V8V 2A1, Phone: 250-882-3797
24 Best Wedding Venues in Victoria, Canada
- Fortune Gallery, Photo: pyrozenko13/stock.adobe.com
- Oak Bay Beach Hotel, Photo: Oak Bay Beach Hotel
- Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA, Photo: Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA
- Wedding Venues in Victoria, Canada: Da Vinci Centre, Photo: Andrey/stock.adobe.com
- Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, Photo: Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort
- Wedding Venues in Victoria, Canada: Fairholme Manor, Photo: Fairholme Manor
- Fairmont Empress, Photo: Fairmont Empress
- Goward House, Photo: mirage_studio/stock.adobe.com
- Hatley Castle, Photo: minichka/stock.adobe.com
- Wedding Venues in Victoria: Hotel Grand Pacific, Photo: tonefotografia/stock.adobe.com
- Wedding Venues in Victoria: Inn at Laurel Point, Photo: malkovkosta/stock.adobe.com
- Olympic View Golf Club, Photo: Olympic View Golf Club
- Pendray Inn and Tea House, Photo: Pendray Inn and Tea House
- Victoria Wedding Venues: Roundhouse Farm, Photo: Roundhouse Farm
- St. Ann's Academy and Auditorium, Photo: photographmd/stock.adobe.com
- Swans Brewery, Pub & Hotel, Photo: IVASHstudio/stock.adobe.com
- Victoria Wedding Venues: The Lodge at Weir's Beach, Photo: The Lodge at Weir's Beach
- The Parkside Hotel & Spa, Photo: The Parkside Hotel & Spa
- Victoria Wedding Venues: The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden, Photo: The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden
- The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa, Victoria, Photo: alexkoral/stock.adobe.com
- Victoria Wedding Venues: Victoria Edelweiss Club, Photo: namning/stock.adobe.com
- Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour, Photo: Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
- Villa Marco Polo Inn, Photo: Villa Marco Polo Inn
- Victoria Wedding Venues: White Eagle Polish Hall, Photo: White Eagle Polish Hall
- Cover Photo: pr2is/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Royal British Columbia Museum
Located in Victoria, British Columbia, the Royal British Columbia Museum offers a variety of exhibits showcasing the natural and social history of the province. The Royal British Columbia Museum was founded in 1886, originally opened within a single room in the city’s Capitol Building. It was later housed within a former courthouse building before being moved to the west wing of the city’s Legislative Buildings in 1898.
In 1913, as part of the Museum Act, the museum was granted formal operating authority, and in 1921, the museum expanded into the basement of the Legislative Buildings’ east wing. An outdoor space, known as Thunderbird Park, was added to the facility in 1941, intended as a display space for totem poles from the museum’s collection, but by the 1950s, the outdoor conditions had already caused significant deterioration to the structures. Original totem poles were moved back inside, with replicas replacing them the park today. A new museum building was constructed in the late 1960s to accommodate growing collections, with the museum opening to the public in its current home in 1968.
In 1979, the museum’s first natural history exhibition opened, signaling the beginning of the museum’s dual mission. Following the new Museum Act of 2003, the Royal British Columbia Museum and Thunderbird Park joined together with the British Columbia Provincial Archives, the Netherlands Carillon, and the St. Anne’s Schoolhouse and Helmcken House historic buildings to form the Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. Today, the buildings of the the corporation make up the cultural precinct of Victoria.
Permanent Exhibits and Collections
The Royal British Columbia Museum is divided into two sections, focusing on natural and cultural history. The Natural History section of the museum showcases over 750,00 specimens, primarily discovered within the province of British Columbia and the surrounding area. Collection holdings are divided into the fields of botany, entomology, herbology, ichthyology, invertebrate zoology, mammalogy, ornithology, and paleontology. Within the Natural History Gallery, displays focus on the past, present, and future of wildlife in British Columbia. An Ice Age area features fossils that are over 80 million years old, along with murals and recreations depicting prehistoric times. In the Coastal Forest and Fraser River Delta displays, dioramas portray contemporary life in the regions with a focus on preservation and conservation, while Ocean Station and Seashore exhibits feature live animals from the waters of British Columbia in interactive displays. A Climate Rules exhibit also presents educational displays on the potential effects of climate change within the region over the next century.
The museum’s Human History section contains two distinct areas: the Modern History Galleries and the First People’s Galleries. A Century Hall exhibit is designed in the style of the museum’s early home in the Capitol Building and features artifacts from the 20th century, including toys, clothing, tools, and electronics. Urban history is the focus of the Old Town exhibit, a walkthrough that allows visitors to explore replicas of turn-of-the-century buildings and businesses from Victoria’s Chinatown neighborhood. The H.M.S. Discovery, a full-scale nautical replica of Captain George Vancouver's 1789 craft, is a walkthrough exhibit dedicated to the marine history of the British Columbian coast. In the Industries exhibit, models explore three early industries that shaped the region: coal mining, logging, and saw mills. A Gold Rush exhibit also features types of gold found along the Fraser River and details the impact of the 1858 Gold Rush on the region.
The First People’s Galleries, opened 1n 1977, showcase over 10,00 years of history of the indigenous nations of British Columbia. Since 2010, the museum has been working with First Nations groups to return some of its sacred and cultural artifacts collections to their original tribal ownership. Today’s galleries are reflective of work with First Nations groups and the impact of Canada’s announcement of support for the May 2016 UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
A Totem Hall exhibit displays the artistry of historic large-scale pole and post carvings of Northwest Coast First Nations people, as well as modern masks and other carving works from contemporary Indigenous artists. A Nisga'a, People of the Nass River exhibit is dedicated to the tribe’s history along the Ness River, including the reclamation of their ancestral lands and declaration of their right of self-government in 2000. A walkthrough ceremonial house, the Jonathan Hunt House, presents an authentic Kwakwaka‘wakw chief home, while a Kekuli Pit House exhibit models the winter homes of the Secwepemc people. A Haida Argillite Carving exhibit features over 150 carving works donated to the museum in 1978 and represents the history of argillite carving among the Haida people. An Our Living Languages exhibit also focuses on the language diversity of British Columbia, allowing visitors to hear over 34 indigenous languages at multimedia exhibit stations.
Ongoing Programming and Education
The Royal British Columbia Museum is home to the IMAX Victoria, which offers current theatrical releases and educational films presented in conjunction with museum exhibits. Tickets may be purchased for individual movies or as part of a package with museum admission. The IMAX Victoria can also accommodate school groups, allowing eductors to select from its library of past offerings to pair with current curriculum for field trips. An annual film festival is hosted at the facility, presenting five weeks of documentary offerings.
The museum offers a variety of educational programs for participants of all ages. Children’s programs include day camps, museum sleepovers, family Sunday afternoons, and a kid’s club that offers museum membership cards and perks for young visitors. Adult programming includes a lecture series, discussion nights, museum happy hours, adult camps, themed outdoor field trips, lunchtime talks, and senior citizen group activities.
675 Belleville St, Victoria, BC V8W 9W2, Canada, Phone: 250-356-7226
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Attraction Spotlight: Fisherman's Wharf
Victoria's Fisherman's Wharf is only a short walk around the corner from the city's Inner Harbor. The wharf is a hidden treasure of the city, just waiting for people to discover it. This one-of-a-kind destination along the water offers eco-tour adventures, unique retail shops, food kiosks and restaurants, and much more right in the heart of a working harbor. Visitors can wander around the docks while enjoying a delicious lunch, view moored float homes and other vessels, buy fresh seafood straight from the boat, or watch fishing boats unload their catch of the day.
There are many different restaurants, shops, and tours offering marine adventures located at Fisherman's Wharf. Among the several restaurants visitors can enjoy a delicious meal at are Barb's Fish and Chips, Puerto Vallarta Amigos, and Rockn'Rolls. Guests can also get a jolt of energy from a cup of coffee at Moka House Coffee and Bistro, or cool off with an ice cream cone from Jackson's Ice Cream.
Visitors and locals alike can buy fresh seafood from places like Hi Gear Crab Sales and The Fish Store and More. Boutique and other shops offer a unique selection of goods, such as the 4 Winds Nest Boutique. Guests can also enjoy several different eco-tour adventures at Fisherman's Wharf. Visitors can paddle through the water with Kelp Reef Kayaking. If a more relaxing marine adventure if more of their cup of tea, visitors can sit back and relax on a whale watching cruise with Eagle Wing Whale Watching. Seals, otters, seabirds, and eagles also occasionally make appearances at the wharf.
From the final days of World War II until around 1990, the fleet of fishing vessels at Fisherman's Wharf was at its heyday. During this time, fishing vessels were moored to every single dock with the exception of two located at the wharf's east end. These two docks were "live aboard" docks, home to an often eccentric and diverse community of people from the 1970's up until the year 2000.
Several colorful characters often roamed about the docks during the time, rubbing shoulders with busy fishermen. People would appear seemingly out of nowhere and make Fisherman's Wharf their home. After a short while, these same people would suddenly move away be quickly replaced by another, just as eccentric as the one before. This meant that there was hardly ever a dull moment at the wharf. This also meant that the local police often were kept busy either breaking up quarrels and fights, or cross-checking their list of people for outstanding arrest warrants with the list of inhabitants at Fisherman's Wharf.
For around forty or so more years after the 1950's, vessels for fishing salmon, mostly trollers, were moored at the docks during the off season, sometimes tied two or three across. While the fishing seasons gradually grew shorter, the fleet of vessels would leave the wharf during late spring for the fishing grounds. These boats would return to Fisherman's Wharf once the weather took a turn for the worse during the fall.
12 Erie Street, Victoria, British Columbia, Phone: 250-383-8326
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Attraction Spotlight: Point Ellice House
Located in Victoria, British Columbia, the Point Ellice House preserves the former home of socialites Peter and Caroline O’Reilly, open to the public as a living history home museum for public tours and private special event rentals.
Born in Ireland, Peter O’Reilly was an early immigrant and civic figure in the future Province of British Columbia, then a colony of Great Britain. As one of the colony’s most prominent civic leaders, O’Reilly is most noted for his development of the O’Reilly Commission, which formed the basis of the province’s present-day Indian Reserve system. He also served as one of the province’s earliest-elected Gold Commissioners and Judges, overseeing the Rock Creek Mining District. O’Reilly married Caroline Trutch, the sister of the province’s future first Lieutenant-Governor Joseph Trutch, in 1863, and in 1867, in advance of the birth of their first child, Kathleen, O’Reilly purchased an 1861 Italianate-style bunaglow from Charles W. Wallace for a price of $2,500.
Over the course of the 1870s and 1880s, O’Reilly renovated and enlarged the house, creating an asymmetrical floor plan and adding several outbuildings, including a barn and shed, greenhouse, boat house, and carriage house. Throughout the late 19th century, the house, known as the Point Ellice House, became one of the most prominent socialite centers in the colony, as the O’Reillys frequently hosted British Columbian dignitaries and civic leaders for tea, tennis, croquet, and other social activities. The home remained in the O’Reilly family for more than a century before it was sold to the province in 1975 by O’Reilly’s grandson, John. The following year, it was designated as a Canadian National Historic Site.
Attractions and Tours
Today, Point Ellice House is owned and operated as a British Columbia Heritage Property, administered by the Point Ellice House Preservation Society. As a nonprofit organization, the Preservation Society is overseen by a board of directors, with daily house operations run by a volunteer staff. The home, which is located along the Gorge waterway near the site of the 1896 Point Ellice Bridge Disaster, is considered to be one of the finest examples of British Picturesque styling in North America, featuring Italianate villa architectural styling elements such as bay windows, pillared verandas, and gables. Many of the O’Reilly family’s original belongings, including original armoires, harps, writing desks, and family clothing, have been preserved and are arranged throughout the house to evoke its Victorian styling at the turn of the 20th century.
Guided tours of the Point Ellice House are available to the public on weekends between June and September, with special tour appointments available during the off season. All tours include exploration of all the home’s rooms and anecdotes about their furnishings and former occupants, as well as exploration of the house’s grounds and historic garden facility. Volunteer gardeners maintain the home’s garden, which features plantings of flowers such as heritage roses and hollyhocks, along with a kitchen garden for culinary herbs and a landscaped heart-shaped flower bed. Pathways throughout the grounds lead through a small forest area, which showcases linden, arbutus, and chestnut trees. Audio home tours are also available during times when tour guides are not on site, and the home’s grounds are open to the public for free for self-guided exploration during regular hours of operation.
In addition to standard guided tours, an Afternoon Tea is presented at the home’s Secret Tea and Vintage Shoppe on Saturdays and Sundays from September through December. Three daily afternoon teas are offered, with traditional tea sandwiches, scones, beverages, and desserts provided by Truffles Catering. All tea reservations and prepayment must be made at least two days in advance of tea date by contacting the Vintage Shoppe via phone or email. Reduced home tour admission is offered for all afternoon tea participants. A variety of gifts and souvenirs are also sold on weekends at the Secret Vintage Shoppe, including historical books, heritage plants, and home decor and accessories.
Ongoing Programs and Events
The Point Ellice House may be rented for private special events, including weddings, receptions, family reunions, and business gatherings. Three site packages are available for private rental, including the home’s Upstairs Loft area, which offers seating for up to 40 event guests. The Gorge-View Lawn area of the home’s grounds is offered for large groups of up to 150, while the Secret Tea and Vintage Shoppe’s dining and event area seats up to 25 guests in an intimate setting. Full home and grounds rental packages are also offered for large events, and grand tea catering packages and pre-planning services with the Society’s Coordinator of Visitor Services are available to add onto all rental packages.
2616 Pleasant St, Victoria, BC V8T 4V3, Canada, Phone: 250-380-6506
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