Celebrating 150 years of Canadian Pride
Canada 150 marks a celebration like no other. Over 100 free live performances are scheduled for 11 days leading up to the culmination of events this Saturday, where nearly 50,000 proud Canadian’s will gather in Victoria’s Inner Harbour to celebrate what it means to be truly Canadian. For those needing a brief history refresher, Canada Day, formerly known as Dominion Day, marks the historical event in which Canada gained their independence from Great Britain in 1867.
Canada Day celebrations kick off at 12pm on July 1st. The day will be filled with multicultural artistry, diverse food & beverage offerings, and live music, and of course a grand finale fireworks display to commemorate our nation.
Grab your flags and be sure to check out this eventful Canada 150 Day schedule in downtown Victoria:
Main Stage, BC Legislature Lawn:
12pm: Coast Capital Savings living flag tee shirt pickup
2pm: Coast Capital Savings living flag photo
3:00pm: Elder Blessing
3:15pm: Esquimalt Singer & Dancers
3:30pm: Lekwungen Traditional Dancers
3:50pm: “O Canada” – Valdy & The Childrens Choir
4:10pm: Stella Swanson & The Rosie Joyfuls
4:55pm: CIBC Reaffirmation Ceremony
5:30pm: Dirty Mountain
6:15pm: De Temps Antan
7:10pm: En Karma
8:05pm: The Funk Hunters
Harbour Stage, Ship Point Inner Harbour:
12:30pm: Mexican Folklore Dancers
1:15pm: Lilia’s Polynesian Dance Co
2:00pm: To be announced
2:50pm: Sooke Community Choir
3:30pm: Shan-e Punjab
4:15pm: Fortune Killers
6:00pm: Stinging Belle
7:00pm: Deep Sea Gypsies
8:00pm: Band of Rascals
With Labour Day behind us and temperatures reaching into the 20’s, the stage was set for a weekend of indulgence as thousands gathered at the Royal Athletic Park for the annual Great Canadian Beer Festival. The energy was high as people sipped on local and national brews reaching as far east as Nova Scotia. Victorians are serious about their beer, with artisanal beers gaining popularity every year. Listen beyond the buzz of tipsy chatter and you will hear conversations about lactic fermentation, quinoa and amaranth composition, cask conditioning, aromatics, finishes, and how toasted coconut and curry powder add a whole new meaning to India Pale Ale. Victoria’s own Spinnaker’s featured local ingredients this year, with fresh hops grown right on site at Spinnakers, and local honey being showcased in their Queen Bee Honey Kolsch. Albeit a beer festival, crowds gathered at Tod Creek Cider, who featured an organic triple-hopped craft cider. Music kept the vibe elevated throughout the day, and food trucks satiated the festival goers so they could keep drinking until the end.
For one magical weekend we came together to celebrate two things that go together so well. Canada and Beer: a match made in heaven.
I love summer. I am a summer gal through and through. The warm lazy days that stretch late into the night. The smell of barbeque in air. The sound of lawnmowers and the smell of fresh cut grass. The feel of the sun warming your back. There is so much to love about summer. Did I mention the long summer days? How could one not feel on top of their game with so many hours of daylight energizing you through long lists of tasks and engagements? …So what happens when the leaves start to fall, the wind carries a bite, and the clocks fall back? Halloween comes and goes with a stir of excitement, and then I catch myself whispering of summer’s distant return. But I am determined not to live half a life, one that not just thrives when the sun warms you from above and the wind is at your back, but one that can be equally as rewarding in darker (wetter) days. I am a firm believer that there is a silver lining to everything, even the seasons. With the arrival of Autumn comes an opportunity for change, reflection, and growth. Growing up, Autumn marked the start of a new school year, a chance to meet new friends, take new classes, and try new things. A fresh start if you will. That feeling has instilled within me to this day.
So as much as you may long to stay in bed with a good book on a rainy day (and there is something to be said for that), this post is about inspiring you to get outside and experience some fall friendly activities on our treasured Vancouver Island.
1. Goldstream Park. Running mid to late October through to early December, Goldstream Park is home to the world class salmon spawning stream with thousands of Chum Salmon returning every year. Did you know that salmon see reds, purples, and pinks very well? Avoid wearing these colours to get an up close look at fish actively building nests and watch for spawning behavior. Make a day of it and bring something to cook up on the BBQ pits in the day use area along the river. The forest canopy provides a natural umbrella in drizzly weather.
2. Craft fairs. Many Christmas Craft Fairs begin in November, and why not get a head start on your list by supporting local artisans at the same time? Who doesn’t love some hand knits, preserves, and Christmas baking? Check out:
3. Pamper yourself at the Spa. Everyone deserves a little pampering every once in a while. Victoria hosts some incredible spas, and my personal favourites are located just outside the city: Sante Spa at Bear Mountain (http://bearmountain.ca/Westin-Hotel/Spa) and Brentwood Bay Spa (http://www.brentwoodbayresort.com/spa/spa-overview.htm). Also worth noting are the Spa Magnolia, Spa Sereine (the 30 minute Indian Head Massage is incredible), Sapphire Day Spa, and Silk Road.
4. Take a winery tour. You need look for farther than our own backyard to find some incredible wineries. Just a short drive to Mill Bay (mini-roadtrip!) will bring you to one of my favourite wineries, Cherry Point Estate Wines. Although the bistro closes at the end of September, tours and tastings are offered year round. Do not miss the chance to try the Cowichan Blackberry Dessert Wine. It’s like summer in a glass. Oops, there I go again…. http://cherrypointestatewines.com/
5. Take a cooking class. Fall is the perfect time to learn a new recipe or two. Companies such as the London Chef, Cook Culture, and Olive the Senses offer classes for foodies and beginners alike. My husband came home the other day from a corporate team building day at the London Chef with a pocket full of Eastern recipes. Being the one who normally does the cooking, I just about jumped out of my skin with excitement. And that got me to thinking, wouldn’t this be a fun idea for a birthday party?
6. Shop (for weather appropriate clothes). I grew up in Ontario where the seasons were extreme. If it wasn’t too cold to go out, it was often too hot, too humid, too stormy. To prevent us all from going stir-crazy in the house, my mom would load us kids up into the Chevy and take us to the mall. A change of scenery did us all wonders, and a little retail therapy never hurt either. I have come to learn that owning a comfortable, quality, water-proof jacket is KEY to surviving winter in Victoria. That and a pair of rain boots. I have not put my feet into rubber footwear since elementary school, and that is nearly 20 years of wet sneakers and soggy leather boots. I stand converted. If you do not have a pair in your current collection of footwear, make that be your next investment! If you are looking for a place to shop, I encourage you to branch outside of the malls for a taste of locally designed men’s and women’s fashion boutiques found on trendy Lojo (lower Johnson St). You can also find an eclectic mix of independent delis, boutiques, bookstores, toy stores and more at the seaside village of Oak Bay Avenue.
7. Walk the breakwater. Cozy up with hot chocolate and lots of layers and go embrace the elements. The 850 m. iconic breakwater was built between 1914 and 1916 to protect the Ogden Point piers which were being constructed simultaneously in anticipation of a trade increase due to the nearing completion of the Panama Canal. Yes it will be windy, wavy, and wet… but that is the point! (refer to point #6)
8. Plan a trip. The internet is great for researching destinations and reading reviews, but I strongly encourage you to get out of the house and go visit a travel agent. Let them tantalize you with exotic destinations, load you up with glossy brochures, and build you a custom itinerary. Even if you are not ready to book just yet, the process will bring you that much closer to making it a reality. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to dream a little dream…
9. Leaf through the volumes in Booktown. Sometimes there’s just something about wandering around a bookstore and discovering new things that Amazon can’t beat. Visit Munro’s Books on Government Street — recognized as one of the 10 most beautiful books stores in the world.
10. Be a tourist in your own town. I went out yesterday and bought a travel guide book for Victoria. I have also lived here for 20 years. Yet, there is so much yet to discover, this I am sure. Venture somewhere new, or revisit a long forgotten site and see it through new eyes. I must mention one of Canada’s most beautiful and diverse heritage estates, Hatley Castle. Built in 1908 for coal baron and Premier, James Dunsmuir, this 40-room mansion is a classified heritage building.
Premiere Suites Victoria is proudly representing 2 new units in Concert Development’s recently completed Era. We love the location in the heart of Victoria at 728 Yates St, where you can immerse yourself in the vibrancy of urban life. Set amidst coffee houses, restaurants, theaters, yoga studios, markets, and boutique shops, the Era is downtown living at its best. The suites are enticingly quiet and upscale, finished with cool quartz counter tops and polished chrome accents, and furnished to the teaspoon to our highest standard. This chic tower of glass and concrete blends harmoniously into the Victorian cityscape by revitalizing and integrating the existing heritage façade onto the lower level.
We have two 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom suites that pack a lot of punch into their 550 square feet of open concept living space. The bedroom is bright and spacious with plenty of storage to unpack and feel at home. Amenities for our guests include a social lounge with fire pit and BBQ, and expansive garden terrace.
Come see for yourself what the buzz is all about. Pictures coming soon!
The Magnolia Hotel and Spa has always been one of my favourite hotels. A background in tourism has awarded me a vast knowledge of hotels, and the Magnolia Hotel was a name that often arose in the industry and was requested by business and leisure travelers alike. I never hesitated to recommend this hotel, for to me it represented Victoria so well. Welcoming, just the right size (not too big, but still lots to do), and full of charm. Not to mention it’s ideal location smack-dab in the heart of the city and only a block from the harbour.
Needless to say, Premiere Suites Victoria is very excited to enter a partnership with this gem in our city.
Magnolia Hotel and Spa is the perfect accommodation option for our short term guests. The 64 room boutique hotel is small in size, but big on amenities. Guests on business will appreciate complementary internet, phone calls, and faxes, as well as the 24 hour business center. The establishment hosts a fitness center with infrared sauna, as well as an alluring spa to unwind and relax after a long day. This upscale boutique hotel offers valet parking, and laundry & dry cleaning service. Foodies will feel at home eating at the Mediterranean inspired yet locally sourced Catanano’s Restaurant and Cicchetti Bar (Pronounced chi-Ket-tee, meaning small bites or plate of food).
Take a peek at the menu. I just finished my lunch and my tummy is already growling at me after seeing this! House made chorizo in puff pastry with rosemary honey and sea salt? Yes please! http://www.ferrisoysterbar.com/catalano-restaurant/
We love this boutique hotel, but we’re not alone! Did you know that the Magnolia Hotel was voted one of the top hotels in Canada by Conde Nast Traveler, and recognized as both a Top Hotel in Canada and a Top Luxury Hotel in Canada by TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice awards… for the last four consecutive years? It has also been recently awarded #10 Business Travel Hotel in the WORLD by Conde Nast Traveler.
So what does this mean for you? When our guest’s check in at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa, we know they will be taken care of with the kind of undistracted attention you can only receive in a boutique hotel with just 64 rooms. And our partnership allows us to share the savings of our corporate rates with you, our valued guest.
We look forward to hosting you in Victoria!
Summer is upon us, and what better time to get out and enjoy Victoria’s outdoor events! Put on your dancing shoes, because the city is coming to life with an abundance of outdoor concerts and festivals running all season long. Come check out what’s happening, as there’s sure to be something for everyone with this eclectic line up of local and touring artists being showcased at this year’s Summer in the Square!
Free Lunchtime concerts
July 2 – Sept 11 (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) from 12 noon – 1pm
July 2 Random Citizen Aug 10-14 Flamenco Festival Concerts
July 7 Elder Sister Plum Aug 18 Bill Johnson Duo
July 8 Hush Pup Aug 19 Knackers Yard
July 9 The O’Brien’s Aug 20 Beats Working
July 14 Chris Millington Quartet Aug 25 Clay George
July 15-16 Accordion Society Aug 26 Weird Party
Sept 1 Kenny Shaw and Brian Temple Sept 2 Bijoux de Bayou
Aug 27 Andrea Smith Duo Sept 3 Bob Watts
July 21-23 Victoria Symphony Concerts Sept 8 Cookeildh
July 28 Shoestring Bourbon Sept 9 Clover Point Drifters
July 29 Lily Fawn Sept 10 Jenny Ritter
Aug 4 Diane Pancel Quartet
Aug 5 The Dylan Stone Band
Eventide Music Series
July 2 – Aug 27 (Thursdays) fom 5-9pm
July 2 Shake/Arama II Kickoff Aug 6 Shake! Records Presents
July 9 A Night of Alt Country/Canadiana Aug 13 Weird Canada Presents
July 16 Afrobeat in the Square Aug 20 LA-TI-DA Showcase
July 23 A Night of Indie Pop Aug 27 Super Summer Jam II
July 30 A Night of Electronica Sept 3 LA-TI-DA Showcase
Summer in the Square Event Listings
Chess in the Square: May 17-Aug 31 (Sundays) from 1-5pm
Check out full details here: www.victoriajuniorchess.com
Lunchtime Wellness Series: June 1, 8, 13, July 6, 12, 20, 27, Aug 10, 17, 24, 31 (Mondays) from 12-12:50pm
31st Annual JazzFest: June 19-28, various times
Check out full details here: www.Jazzvictoria.ca
Salsa Sundays in the Square: June 7, 14, July 5, 19, 26, Aug 2, 16, 23, 30, Sept 6, 13, 20, 27 (Sundays) from 4-7pm
ROMP! In the Square: July 17-19 from 9-10pm
Check out full details here: www.suddenlydance.ca
Dancing in the Square: July 6, 13, 20, 27, Aug 10, 17 (Mondays) from 7-9:30pm
Check out full details here: www.vbds.org
Festival Mexicano: July 11-12 from 12-5pm
Check out full details here: www.victoriamexicancanadian.org
Symphony in the Summer: July 21-23 from 12-1pm
Check out full details here: www.victoriasymphony.ca
Victoria India MELA Festival: Aug 7 (1-6pm), Aug 8 (11am-8pm)
Check out full details here: www.iccavictoria.com
Flamenco Festival: Aug 10-14 from 12-1pm, Aug 15, 16 from 12-6pm
Check out full details here: www.flamencodelaisla.org
Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival: Aug 26 from 6-10pm)
Check out full details here: www.victoriafringe.com
And to think this is just what’s happening in our neighbourhood in Centennial Square. Our vibrant city is host to and endless array of festivals (musical, culinary, cultural, and arts, just to name a few!), not to mention markets, sporting events, parades, theatre, concerts, and family entertainment.
I’ll leave you with City Vibe’s link, which sums up your guide to summer fun:
So get out there, have some fun, and take advantage of what our beautiful city has to offer.
Hope to see you out and about!
Galleries, delicious restaurants, coffee shops, nightly entertainment, and the Inner Harbour are all within minutes of your front door, that what makes living downtown so amazing. One of my favourite things about living downtown is the food culture, there are so many amazing places to eat in Victoria. But! As much as I love eating out, I do utilize my kitchen daily. For those non-Victorians I thought that it’s important to know where to buy your groceries within the downtown core of Victoria. Grab your grocery bags, sweats, and runners (that’s how I’m usually found at the grocery store) because there is no need for the car. I have put together a list of the most convenient grocery stores that are within walking distance of your downtown apartment.
1. The Market on Yates
903 Yates St. Open 7:00am – 11:00pm most days. The market on Yates is the downtown staple for your grocery needs; it’s truly in the heart of downtown. It’s where you will find all of your grocery needs for whatever you make be chefing up for dinner. Walkable from The 834, The Juliet, The Corazon, The Astoria, The Belvedere, and The Sovereign.
2. Jubilee Pharmacy & Market
851 Johnson St. Open Daily! For the organic lover! This market is a new addition to downtown, and it has many yummy things to offer. Walkable from The 834, The Juliet, The Corazon, The Astoria, and The Belvedere
3. The Public Market
1701 Douglas St. Open 9:30am – 6:30 most days. An amazing market if you are looking for some local goodies. Perfect if you missed something on the shopping list. Walkable from The 834, The Juliet, The Corazon, The Union, and The Sovereign.
4. Save-on-Foods – Vic West
172 Wilson St. Open 7:00am – 10:00pm most days. Situated in Vic West, just over the Johnson St. Bridge, you will be able to find everything on your shopping list. Neighboured to this grocery spot you will find many other amenities such as pet stores, coffee shops, and restaurants. Walkable from The Dockside Green & The Bayview
5. Thrifty Foods – James Bay
475 Simcoe St. Open 24 hours! Perfect shopping spot for the James Bay dweller or living on the Parliament side of the Inner Harbour. I love Thrifty’s because it always has the best produce. Walkable from The Reef.