Happy Pride 2018!
July 8th marked an important day for members of the LGBTQ2+ community and their supports. As many as 10,000 celebrated love and diversity in the 25th annual Pride Parade, which kicked off at 11am at Pandora Street & Government. Over 100 colourful floats and groups marched, sang, and danced their way through downtown Victoria and into James bay. MacDonald Park was the gathering place for the Pride Festival, which attracted more than 25,000 supporters. Since the first parade in 1994, the event has not only grown in numbers, but has grown to be more inclusive and offers something for everyone and all ages, from the very young to the very old. Enjoyed by all were the colourful costumes, music and dancing, and a beautiful display of inclusion and community. Premiere was honoured to experience the milestone event in Victoria!
Fulll article from Tourism Victoria here
We’re just going to go ahead and say it: September in Victoria is amazing. The weather is gorgeous and summery, the majority of people are back to work and school and there’s still lots going on around the city. For locals, September is a chance to relax, refresh, and enjoy the last weeks of summer before the fall season.
ATTEND RIFFLANDIA FESTIVAL
Celebrating its tenth anniversary from September 14-17, Rifflandia Festival will bring over 150 performances to multiple venues across the city over three days and nights. With artists spanning genres from pop to indie and electronic music, attendees can curate their own festival experience and choose from shows taking place at almost twenty different stages.
While there is ample opportunity to party, Rifflandia is also super family-friendly and welcomes around 800 kids to enjoy the daytime festivities at Royal Athletic Park each year. Don’t be surprised if you see a tiny human riding atop someone’s shoulders wearing a pair of hilariously oversized ear protection.
Image: Rifflandia Festival
CELEBRATE CRAFT BEER
Have we mentioned that Victorians like craft beer? On September 8 and 9, the Great Canadian Beer Festival will take over Royal Athletic Park to showcase 78 breweries and 2 cideries, a VIP cask tent, food vendors, live entertainment and more. Get all the details and buy tickets online here.
Image: Great Canadian Beer Festival
INDULGE IN SPECIALTY TEA, WHISKY, AND CHOCOLATE
Victoria’s very own Terroir Tea Salon (recently licensed, and with a charming outdoor courtyard perfect for enjoying a cup of tea) will be hosting a special Tea, Whisky and Chocolate Tasting event on Saturday, September 16. The Whisky Manager at The Strath Liquor Store will serve four single-malt whiskies, while the founder of The Chocolate Project will introduce four bean-to-bar chocolates that are making their Canadian debuts at this event. Served alongside four pure teas selected to highlight aroma and flavour fusions and contrasts, this unique tasting menu will certainly highten the senses. You can register for the event online here.
Images: Terroir Tea Salon
LAST CHANCE TO SEE TERRY FOX & FAMILIES EXHIBIT
September is your last month to see the Terry Fox: Running to the Heart of Canada exhibit at the Royal BC Museum. It’s moving on at the end of the month, so visit now while you still can! The exhibit includes a timeline of Terry’s life, including key moments along the Marathon of Hope, as written by Terry in his own journals. His iconic running shorts, shoes and t-shirts are included in the display, as well as the Ford Econoline van that housed Terry throughout his journey.
While you’re at the museum, make sure to visit the permanent ‘Our Living Languages’ exhibit, which showcases British Columbia’s diverse First Nations Languages. Also on at the museum is special exhibit Family: Bonds & Belonging, which offers a surprising and unconventional look at the broad concept of family through the eyes of Canadians over the past 150 years.
Image: Royal BC Museum
DO FRIDAYS LIKE A LOCAL
Another way to feel like a local during your visit to Victoria is to attend the Bites, Brews, Bands on the Barge event at Odgen Point. Each Friday, people gather on a floating barge at sunset to celebrate the end of another week with food trucks, live music, local craft beer and cider, and great company. It doesn’t get much more Victoria than that. On tap will be beers from Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., Hoyne Brewing, and Driftwood Brewery, and cider from Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse.
Images: The Breakwater Barge
ENJOY SPECIAL FARM-TO-TABLE HARVEST DINNERS
Get dressed up and enjoy a spectacular evening overlooking the Inner Harbour from the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa on September 16. Supporting the BC Children’s Hospitality, Harvest on the Harbour will include a harvest dinner, dancing and entertainment under the stars – all for a good cause!
You can also indulge in a special Harvest Dinner at Woodwhynn Farms near Brentwood Bay on September 7. This four-course dinner will feature freshly-harvested heirloom fruit and veggies, locally farm-raised poultry, and more – each course paired with tea cocktails by Silk Road Tea.
Image: Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa
PARTAKE IN THE PGA
If you love golf, September is the right time to plan a visit to Victoria. We’ll be hosting an official PGA Champions Tour event from September 11-17 at the world-class Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa. At the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship, you will see top golfers including Sir Nick Faldo, John Daly and Tom Lehman compete for a $2.5 million USD prize purse. See available tickets and learn more about the event here.
Image: Bear Mountain Golf Resort
SOAK IN THE SUMMER WEATHER
It’s looking like summer’s planning to stick around for a few more weeks, so now is the time to cross off those last summer bucket list items. Check out our Essential Summer checklist for inspiration – and 9 Can’t-Miss Patios in Victoria so you’ll know the top spots to soak in the summer rays.
Image: Sombrio Beach, photo by Nik Dunn
Cool down this summer with a little help from Spinnakers
It’s all about the little things in life. Like coming home from a long day at the office and cracking a cold one on a hot day. And we’ve had our share of heat this summer, that’s for sure. This is why we treat our hard working guests and tired travellers to a chilled artisan brew, provided by Victoria’s own Spinnakers Brewpub. Spinnakers is the oldest brewpub in Canada, opening for business in 1984. So check into your suite, get comfortable, and be sure to take a peek in your fridge; a chilled libation awaits you!
Here is a sample of Spinnakers feature beer and ciders we provide in each of our rental units:
West Song Wit:
Light, sessionable, and perfect for a hot day. This classic witbier was brewed with coriander, fresh orange zest, and Vancouver Island grown Red Fife wheat. At 4.5% alcohol, this one is light and easy drinking on Victoria’s summer days.
Red Fife Hefeweizen:
Red Fife Wheat, Canada’s first contribution to Slow Food International’s Arc of Taste, incorporated into this classic Bavarian style symbolized brewing in the new world, blending old world techniques with new world opportunities. Craft beer at its finest.
House Dry Apple Cider:
Spinnakers craft ciders are made from freshly pressed 100% BC fruit varietals, each individually fermented and then blended and then back sweetened to taste with freshly pressed juice. This refreshingly dry cider packs a punch at 6.5% alcohol.
VIC Common Amber Lager:
To celebrate their brew #6100 in Roman Numerals – VIC, they offer a new take on a California Common. A “new world” malt forward amber lager featuring delicate caramel notes balanced by moderate bitterness and a light hop character. Enjoy now because this limited edition lager won’t be around forever!
The 10 Things You MUST do During the Holiday Season in Victoria BC
Victoria is a magical place, and it truly comes alive during the holiday season. The city is adorned with twinkling lights, carolers and buskers liven up the streets, and festivals & events take place in every neighbourhood. Premiere Suites Victoria has narrowed down the top 10 events you do not want to miss this holiday season!
1) Vote for your favourite Christmas tree while supporting the Victoria Hospitals Foundation at the 25th Annual Festival of the Trees. Hosted by both the Fairmont Empress Hotel and the Bay Centre this year, you will look up in wonder at 85 beautifully & creatively decorated trees
2) Magic of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens is a holiday tradition that you do not want miss. This family friendly, pet friendly event runs the month of December into early January, and features the “12 Days of Christmas” light display throughout the gardens, along with festive brass bands and Christmas carollers, as well as outdoor ice skating.
3) Beat the crowds at the malls and visit Father Christmas in Old Town. You can get your picture taken and share your holiday wishes with this jolly spirit at the Royal BC Museum. Santa will be waiting for you on Fridays-Sundays from 11am-3pm on the first 3 weekends in December.
4) Feast your senses on the creative inspirations constructed entirely by holiday gingerbread! The Inn at Laurel Point is host to Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase, where professional and amateur bakers alike display their masterpieces for all to enjoy.
5) The boats in Victoria’s Inner Harbour are lit up in a vibrant display of Christmas lights during the Marina Light Up. Take in the delightful display as you wander the downtown causeway with a loved one, hot chocolate in hand.
6) On Saturday December 3rd, come be a part of the Ogden Point Christmas Light Up in support of the Mustard Seed. Stay and see the IEOA Lighted Truck Parade, which begins at Ogden Point at 6:30pm and arrives at the Western Speedway by 8:30pm with many viewing locations in between!
7) Marvel at the lights of Centennial Square and downtown Victoria from atop the 20 meter Ferris Wheel Ride. Santa will be there, along with food vendors and holiday entertainers – sure to make this a memorable Christmas event.
8) There is no better place to do your Christmas shopping than at one of the many Christmas Markets offered in Victoria. Find that perfect something for that special someone in your life made by a local vendor with love.
9) Bundle up and bring the family down to the Delta Victoria Ocean Point Resort to enjoy one of Victoria’s great Christmas traditions – Christmas Starlight Cinema in the Inner Harbour. Don’t forget your lawn chair, blanket, and warm drinks – heaters provided by the hotel.
10) Unleash your Christmas spirit as you sign and dance along with the Victoria Soul Gospel Choir. You will have a hard time staying seated through the high-energy sounds of Motown, R&B, Gospel, and Raggae!
One of my favouite events in Victoria is just around the corner. My taste buds feel like 10,000 tiny children waiting for Christmas to arrive, fiery with anticipation of the scrumptiousness soon to follow: Dine Around Victoria, 2016. You will be salivating, too, once you check out the menu’s offered at over 60 participating restaurants. 60! Good thing the event runs until March, because with 3 course menu’s prepared at $20, $30, $40, or even $50, there is a LOT to choose from.
Oh and I must mention this. If you are at all like me and could spend hours perusing the menus, narrowing down the Can’t-Miss-List from obscenely long to acceptably long (if you were to eat out every day that is)… you will probably want to pencil the Dine Around Launch Party into your schedule.
From 5:00-8:00pm on February 18th, 25+ restaurants have prepared bite sized samples to showcase their Dine Around menu, along featured craft beers from VQA wines to compliment. The Victoria Conference Centre is where you will want to be on February 18; tickets available online at http://www.ticketrocket.co/event/details/87113/dine-around-stay-in-town-menu-launch or at the Victoria Visitor Centre and Spinnakers Spirit Merchant Stores.
In the meantime, you can find me curled up at home in front of the fire with a glass of wine a good menu:
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!
I will be the first to admit that I adore all things bacon, but usually that’s where I draw the line when it comes to eating pork. I’ve never really been a fan of pork chops or tenderloin or anything else really, but when Pig BBQ Joint opened up at Johnson & Blanshard my husband insisted we go. I’m not going to lie, the first few times I stuck to the fried chicken because I still refused to try the pulled pork. That all changed last year when I finally decided to see what the fuss was all about, and I ordered my first pulled pork sandwich. It was magical, and amazing, and a lot tastier and tender than I was expecting. Pig has gradually become a guilty pleasure of mine, and with it being right across the street from our office it’s hard to resist going there for lunch all the time!
The fries are always perfectly seasoned and crispy, and the dipping sauce they pair with it is tangy and delicious. I typically order a pulled pork sandwich without coleslaw as a topping (that’s how it normally comes, I prefer my coleslaw to not have sat on hot pork), a side of fries and a side of the coleslaw on its own.
This is clearly the takeout version, but when dining in at Pig you get your meal on a tray with plenty of space for saucy goodness. I highly recommend trying the local beers on tap while there, or pick up the Phillips Brewery sodas they also carry. The Intergalactic Rootbeer is incredible! Pig is one of my number one recommendations to our guests when they ask for a great place to eat, and once they’ve tried it they completely understand why I changed my mind about pulled pork.
The Victoria International Buskers Festival is BC’s largest festival of its kind, and a great opportunity to watch acts from all around the world performing. This past weekend I had the pleasure of watching Victor Rubilar, Funny Bones and Flame Oz perform along the inner harbour, and they all put on an amazing show! The festival runs til July 27th and the program listing can be downloaded here.
The first act I watched, Victor Rubilar, had me laughing so hard I was in tears. This man is absolutely amazing, he’s an Argentinian football juggler and multiple Guinness World Record holder. His act involves way more than just juggling, so if you’re looking for some comedy as well I highly recommend watching his performance. He’s a great dancer with a wonderful sense of comedic timing, and highly worth your time.
I didn’t exactly intend to watch Funny Bones, but it was a happy coincidence and a hilarious act to take in. The crowd was gathering for a later performance from Flame Oz and I wanted to make sure I had a front row seat for them, so I opted to stay for the act before them as well. I’m glad I did. Funny Bones’ slapstick comedy was great, and while some of it was a bit more PG13 than most kids realized, the adults in the audience enjoyed it. They did everything from sleight of hand magic tricks (that went hilariously wrong) to break-dancing while wearing flaming shoes to dressing up in unique ‘zombie’ costumes and expressing themselves via kazoos while scaring/surprising front row audience members (myself included!). If you’re looking for a funny show with a little bit of everything, Funny Bones is definitely the act you want to catch.
One of my all time favourite acts is actually available year round, and that’s Victoria legend Dave Harris. I can’t even count the number of times my husband and I have sat to listen to him play, and he truly is one of the greatest buskers in our city. His music and enthusiasm for his craft is just astounding, and he’s ridiculously talented. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of him as I moved from stage to stage.
Last but not least, the final performance I watched was from Flame Oz. It’s no surprise they drew a massive crowd, there’s just something about fire that brings people running! They use far more than fire in their shows and it certainly keeps the crowd entertained, in this particular performance they also used beautiful glass globes and lighted wands for additional variety. Their energy level is just contagious as the majority of the show had the crowd constantly cheering and clapping.
For even more photos of the festival, check out our Flickr slideshow below:
It seems like there’s been a lot of filming going on in Victoria in 2014! We kicked off the year with Gracepoint, a Fox re-make of BBC’s Broadchurch. The original BBC series starred David Tennant, best known for his role as the 10th Doctor on BBC’s Doctor Who. David Tennant also starred in the Fox re-make alongside Anna Gunn, more recently known as Skylar White in AMC’s Breaking Bad. Fox opted to shoot their re-make in Victoria (namely Sidney and Oak Bay, along with Island View Beach) and our capital city doubled as a sunny seaside town in California. Gracepoint wrapped up in May, but the city still has quite a bit of filming happening here!
Descendants is a new Disney TV movie airing in 2015. It tells the story of the teenaged offspring of classic Disney characters, where Ben (son of Belle and the Beast) is about to take the throne and opts to give the children of the villains a second chance. They enroll in school alongside the children of Disney royalty such as Rapunzel, Mulan, Aurora and Cinderella, where they struggle to follow in their villainous parents’ footsteps or switch to the side of good and save the kingdom.
Nearly anyone who’s ever met me through Premiere knows of my love for all things Disney, so it was no surprise when I snuck over to watch the filming at the BC Legislature buildings. I managed to get some really great shots showing the turnout to watch the shoot as well as the characters in action; amusingly enough one of the photos has already been making the rounds on Instagram and has been added to the Disney wikia! The best of my photos are below and they feature Ben and Mal (the daughter of Maleficent) as well as Belle (Played by Keegan Connor Tracy who is well known as the Blue Fairy on Once Upon a Time) and the Beast.
Guest Services Manager
When settling a guest into their apartment with Premiere Suites, I often spend a bit of time chatting with them about what they’d like to do in the city. Though I’ve only lived in Victoria for 4 years, I jumped straight into the tourism industry here and made a point of learning about all the great places to check out in town. In an effort to share some of that knowledge with our guests and readers, we’ll be featuring local establishments on our blog that come highly recommended either from our staff or guests.
This past weekend’s incredible weather led to a late afternoon stroll downtown with my husband, primarily with the intent of acquiring frozen yogurt and just enjoying the sunshine. As we came along Bastion Square, dear husband decided he’d like a beer and we headed straight for Garricks Head Pub. We’ve been there a few times and typically sit in the back restaurant section; this time we opted to sit at the bar and chat with their bartenders. They tell me that Garricks Head is the oldest pub in the city, and it’s certainly one of the oldest English pubs in Canada.
With a bar that’s approaching 40 feet in length and 55 beers on tap, Garricks Head has a selection that’s sure to please even the most discerning of pub visitors. Of their 55 taps only 12 are imports, which leaves 43 BC beers to make up the rest of their selection. I opted for the Whistler Brewing Company’s Bear Paw Honey Lager, while the husband enjoyed a Stanley Park Brewery 1897 Amber Ale. They also have a varied menu with plenty of traditional pub food including my favourite, deep fried pickles.
Speaking of the deep fried pickles, upon recommendation from Tyler the bartender, we ordered a couple of delicious bacon cheeseburgers and added the deep friend pickles to the burger. Sounds crazy, but it was absolutely incredible! Overall the food at Garricks Head has always been spot on; properly prepared, flavourful and delivered with a smile.
Located right at the entrance to Bastion Square and just across from The Bay Centre, Garricks Head Pub is centrally accessible to all of our suites. The closest buildings we offer to this location are The Sovereign and The Falls, but don’t let an extra few minutes of walking deter you; the tap selection, menu and staff are well worth it! In addition to plenty of indoor seating and a wood burning fireplace next to the open concept kitchen, you also have the option of taking in fresh air on the outdoor patio.
Guest Services Manager
Premiere Suites Victoria