Enjoying a Victoria Visit During Any Season
We’re of the opinion that there’s never a bad time to visit our corner of Canada. Victoria truly is a city for all seasons, with plenty to do whether there’s sun in the sky or snow on the ground (which is a rarity!).
Here are just some of the things you can look forward to when dropping into our jewel by the sea, regardless of when you’re planning your trip.
Many people have heard horror stories about Canadian winters. And, to be fair, in many parts of the country, winters can be long and cold. Victoria’s climate typically runs much milder than that thanks to our seaside location. Winter temperatures here rarely dip below 0°C (or in the high 20°s on the Fahrenheit scale), so you won’t be in for too severe of a cold snap even in the chilliest months. As a result, many Victorians are still very “outdoorsy” in the winter, often shopping in Oak Bay Village or on Lower Johnson Street (a.k.a. LoJo), cozying up with cocoa or coffee in our many cafés or even checking out some indoor attractions (Like Craigdarroch Castle, the Victoria Public Market or any of our excellent museums). Of course, winter in Victoria is also the ideal time to strap on your skates and hit the ice rink. Since the winter temperatures are also usually quite mild here, many locals enjoy a good hike. Mount Finlayson, Mount Douglas, or Gowlland Tod are the perfect spots for a nice leisurely trail-trek.
Springtime in Victoria is always magical. The weather warms, the foliage blooms, and the sun warms all it touches. Many locals enjoy spending these warmer days at our spectacular park spaces, like Goldstream Park — a truly stunning space. Goldstream is filled with old-growth evergreens, a picturesque river and even several majestic waterfalls. Beacon Hill Park is another local favorite, featuring 200 acres of gardens, hiking trails and even a lovely duck pond! You’ll also find Beacon Hill Children’s Farm here, a charming family destination that offers an incredible educational opportunity that kids of all ages will love. Spring is also one of the best times to visit Butchart Gardens, a lovely botanical display featuring many bright flowers and other native plant species. Hatley Castle is another favorite locals’ spot with about 15km of hiking trails and a park surrounding the impressive structure. Taking a stroll along Inner Harbour in the springtime is always a great way to check out some stunning local architecture, as well as avail yourself of some amazing dining and shopping.
Victoria in summertime is truly a sight to behold. Locals are out and about having picnics in the parks, fishing and simply enjoying the famously mild temperatures. Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular destination due to its distinctive dining options, unique shops, live entertainment and seafood markets. A neighborhood of floating homes can also be found here, nestled amongst the docks. Looking for an incomparable beach experience? Mystic Beach is just a drive and even shorter hike away — a quick jaunt through Juan de Fuca Park (a gem in its own right) will deposit you in this truly gorgeous spot. Nature lovers will also want to charter a whale-watching tour, as large pods of migrating whales often pass near Vancouver Island in the summer. While you’re out and about, don’t forget to visit Bastion Square — which was not just the location of the erstwhile Fort Victoria, but also serves as the historical epicenter of the downtown core. Here, you’ll find not just many sites commemorating Victoria’s days as a hub of the gold rush, but also some amazing places to dine and drink, most with incredible views of the harbour.
When the leaves change in Victoria, the air takes on a special character. Chillier days may be on the way, but they aren’t here yet. In the fall months, we recommend dropping by the stately Parliament Buildings, which serve as the home of the legislative assembly. These green-domed architectural wonders offer self-guided tours rich with historical information. Afterward, take a quick drive over to the Tugwell Creek Farm and Meadery and sample their delicious honey — and honey liqueur. Fall is also a great time to hop on board the Victoria Harbour Ferry, and check out the goings-on from the water. When the sun sets and things get a bit cooler, then it’s time to discover one of Victoria’s loveliest hidden gems — the Abkhazi Gardens and Teahouse. The fall colours are always spectacular here, and so is the tea service. And if you happen to be visiting any time close to Halloween, then you’ll definitely want to explore Victoria’s reputation as “Canada’s Most Haunted City” by taking a spooky ghost tour.
No matter when you choose to visit us in Victoria, there will always be amazing things to see and do. Of course, the staff of The Parkside Hotel & Spa is always happy to suggest some great activities in and around the area. We look forward to being your hosts as you explore!