01 August 2010

Goodbye Victoria summer tour

I'm getting ready for a move to Vancouver and naturally I'm sad to leave Victoria. But rather than just wringing my hands over what I'll miss in my everyday life, I decided to make a point of getting around to visit spots I've never been to or places I haven't seen often enough.

Next time you get a chance to visit BC's capital, put some of these stops on your must-see list if you haven't already.

Bamberton Provincial Park
After visiting several Provincial campgrounds over the years, I must say, if you've seen one camp site, you've seen them all. But what makes Bamberton special as a park is the location. The park's secluded, warm, shallow beach has a great view of the peninsula across Saanich Inlet. This campground is also right next to a preserved mining site which is always cool.

Chinatown
Fresh groceries, excellent restaurants, funky boutiques and eclectic art characterize Canada's oldest Chinatown, just a block from the waterfront. (HDR image)




Christ Church Cathedral
A quiet, shady park on one side, and a charming brick labyrinth foot path on the other, this Quadra Street cathedral is a great place to take your lunch. (HDR image)




Hatley Castle
To have a wicked-awesome monument in your own city and not check it out is silly. But when it's a castle featured in X-Men movies, Smallville, and many other films and television shows, you're really dropping the ball if you don't visit. So I did - on my way out of town - but it still counts.




Johnson Street Bridge
Part of what makes Victoria such a great city is it's walkability. The Johnson Street Bridge is no exception, with a separate pedestrian path. A great spot to view the Inner Harbour.




Oak Bay Marina
A great place for seal spotting, the Marina also has a gourmet restaurant.




Ross Bay Cemetery
Located in Fairfield, this large seaside cemetery is filled with beautiful carvings. Lush lawns and ample trees make for a green setting year-round.



Royal London Wax Museum
As soon as I found out the Wax Museum was slated to close around mid-September, it popped onto my must-see-before-leaving list. And now I know why wax figures creep people out so much. About fifty per cent of them are so realistic that you can't look for long before it feels like the statue will say "boo" or lurch towards you. Also creepy was the layout that took you from the horror scenes directly to the Disney characters.

Silk Road
I've been a Silk Road customer since I discovered their tea back in 2005. Shortly afterwards, I realized they had a spa in the basement and I became an avid fan. For a quality spa, their prices are on the affordable side. But don't let that fool you. Silk Road has attentive, professional and skilled staff with excellent natural products.

Stadacona Park
I used to live around Oak Bay Junction as a student (three different apartments over the years) and hardly ever went to the park. I also didn't smell any roses anywhere in the city. But I've always remembered what a great space it is, so I went back for some quiet reading.

The Superior
I'm not one to play favourites, but I'll make an exception for The Superior. Where else can you get a fig, prosciutto and goat cheese flatbread with local gin, alongside live burlesque, blues, or jazz - all under a real life shoe tree? Nowhere. Well, nowhere I've ever been, but I'm working on that.