Magic is in the air. People are donning their gay apparel for the company Christmas party. Friends gather and share cocktails to celebrate the season and if you are lucky all your Christmas shopping is done. You deserve a little treat, a getaway where you can take in the holiday magic without the stress of everyday life. You need a weekend in Victoria, BC and I have the perfect holiday itinerary for you. Leave your cares behind and hop on Santa’s sleigh as I take you on a magic and relaxing holiday adventure in Canada’s garden city. Have you got your Eggnog Latte in hand? The sleigh bells are ringing it is time to enjoy 48 hours in Victoria.
When I say a stress-free weekend in Victoria I mean it. That means leave the car at home. Pack everything you need into your weekend bag and take the harbour to harbour flight with Helijet. In 32 minutes you have arrived and either the Helijet shuttle or cab will take you directly to your hotel. It is that easy.
Once you’ve dropped off your bags at your hotel, I stayed at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, I recommend you enjoy a stroll through the downtown core. Light posts that once held flowering baskets are now lit up with Christmas lights and decorated trees are being installed on the harbourfront to light your way.
The first itinerary suggestion I have for you is a visit to Butchart Gardens and The Magic of Christmas display. Hop on the CVS Tours bus located out front of the Fairmont Empress and your holiday adventure has begun.
Once you’ve returned from Butchart Gardens you will be hungry and looking for a place to eat. You are in luck as Victoria has a great selection of restaurants available. May I suggest Saveur Restaurant on Herald Street and order the Chef’s Tasting Menu. It is fantastic.
After a great nights sleep and a delicious brunch, at Jam Cafe perhaps, you are ready to explore more of Victoria.
Your first stop of the day should be Craigdarroch Castle. Built by the Dunsmuir family in 1890 it was the family home for 18 years. Easily the richest family in Victoria and one of the wealthiest in Canada at the time the house is a living museum to the family and a way of life in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s.
The castle is also decorated for the holidays so you can just imagine the opulent and costly holiday parties that Joan Dunsmuir and her children must have thrown here.
Even one of the small smoking rooms is decorated for the season.
After seeing how the other half lived in the early 1900’s it is time for Afternoon Tea at Venus Sophia on Fisgard Street. Afternoon Tea is such a relaxing and refined activity and who doesn’t love eating small cakes and scones with Devonshire Cream and homemade jam?
The atmosphere at Venus Sophia is very calm and relaxing and suitable for all lovers of tea, from your Grandmother to a first timer that has never experienced Tea before. The Holiday Tea is $38 and comes with your choice of Tea and a three-tiered tea tray loaded up with sandwiches, pastries and of course scones. Venus Sophia is 100% vegetarian and to my knowledge the only Vegetarian tea room in Victoria. I had the Cream Earl Grey tea. What will you try?
After satisfying your tummy with afternoon tea it is time to head over to see the Festival of Trees at the Bay Centre. In its 26th year, this annual event has local businesses decorate a tree in the hopes of winning your vote. To vote first make a donation to BC Children’s Hospital and then check out the trees on display.
I lost count of how many trees are on display but here are two of my favourites. Which one would you vote for?
Once you’ve voted take your time to explore the remaining businesses in downtown Victoria. There are lots of great boutiques featuring locally made crafts and products. One of my all-time favourite chachki stores started in Victoria and is called Paboom.
Lots of great dining options to choose from including 10 Acres Bistro + Kitchen + Commons or Fishhook. After dinner make sure you stroll along Wharf Street to see the provincial Legislature building all lit up in its Holiday glory.
Hello, Sunday morning. Stay in bed as long as you like and then make your way to LURE Restaurant & Bar at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Ocean Pointe Resort. Brunch is served with an amazing view of Victoria’s inner harbour. I had the Hash which really hit the spot.
With a full belly head over to the Parkside Hotel to witness the annual Gingerbread Showcase. 20+ home cooks have created gingerbread masterpieces that are on display. Make a donation to Habitat for Humanity to vote for your favourite. I’m not sure I can pick just one as they are all so good!
It is time to return back to Vancouver via Helijet. These past 48 hours have been fun but they have also been so relaxing. Walking around Victoria with a holiday drink in my hand just makes me happy. Everyone is friendly and there is a slightly slower pace of life in BC’s capital city.