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Neighbourhood | Downtown Victoria | Victoria
Saanich Peninsula | Victoria Northeast | Outside Greater
West Coast Activities
Explore the Neighbourhood
Explore the neighbouring
area of the Helm's Inn,
these locations are mere footsteps away.
Located behind the Royal British Columbia Museum this small park hosts an impressive
display of totem poles. Next to these proud structures is a carving shed
used in the summer months to create new totem poles. There is also a ceremonial
long house that is used during special occasions such as the First Nations
festival, usually in late summer.
10 Elliot Street Square
This local heritage house portrays three generations of Victorians through
an interesting collection of antiques and furnishings. Right next to Thunderbird
Park, Helmcken House is the oldest house in British Columbia and remains on
its original site. This former home of Dr. Sebastian Helmcken and his spouse
Cecilia, the daughter of Governor Sir James Douglas, is full of fascinating
items from this historical era including a grand medicine chest and medical
kit belonging to Dr. Helmcken. An engaging audiotape tour is available to guide
you through the home.
EMILY CARR HOUSE
207 Government Street
Visit the charming home of Canada's first most well known artist and writer.
Here visitors can experience a similar ambiance the Carr family would have
known during the 1870's. Even some of Emily's early sculpture and pottery are
available for viewing! The People's Gallery, which features works by Canadian
artist, is also open from May to September.
IN THE PARK
Relax and take in the gorgeous scenery in Beacon Hill Park. Many lovely picnicking
spots may be found any time of year. This could be immersed in a field of daffodils
in the spring or a forest of wonderful reds and golds in the autumn! Bring
something from a local bakery or deli and enjoy yourself!
BEACON HILL DRIVE-IN
Located on Douglas Street beside Beacon Hill Park, this drive-in features the
ever- popular soft ice cream cones. Enjoy as you walk through the park!
TOUR THE PROVINCIAL
Experience B.C. history and enjoy some beautiful architecture. Tours of the
Legislative Buildings every 20 minutes during summer months. Located just around
the corner from the Helm's Inn!
True stories from Victoria's Exciting Past.
GEOGRAPHIC'S IMAX THEATRE
Located directly behind the Helm's Inn is the 408 seat IMAX THEATRE offering
state of the art film technology and exciting award winning films.
Located directly behind the Helm's Inn, the Royal BC Museum is showing "Emily
Carr the Eccentric" from June 1st through April 7th. This is a first class
exhibit! Come enjoy the unique presence of a spirited women who has become
an international legend. More than 80 origional paintings and watercolours
are exhibited in a totally unique and creative manner. 50 pieces of rare Emily
Carr pottery are on loan from Bryan Adams' private collection.
The heart of the city! Make sure you
stop by these engaging points of interest, most are just a few blocks
from the Helm's Inn.
Voted as one of best views in Victoria. In addition to the scenery there is
also a variety of live entertainments (buskers) that takes place daily during
Locate in downtown's Bastion Square, this charming museum gives a comprehensive
account of British Columbia's maritime history. All ages will find something
interesting in this remarkable seafaring history!
630 Yates Street
Monday to Saturday 10 AM to 6PM. Sunday noon to 6PM.
Visit this unique and colourful gallery and watch glass blowing free of charge.
631 Courtney St.
9:30-5:30 Monday to Saturday 11-5:30 Sunday Both bug and people friendly, this
live exhibit features fascinating examples of our multi-legged friends and
also provides a great opportunity for knowledgeable staff to introduce your
family to other interesting "families".
Situated on the corner of Johnson Street and Wharf Street. "The Heart of Old
Town" is comprised of restored 19th century buildings that now host a very
interesting collection of shops and eateries. For those who relish a unique
shopping experience this is a great location to explore.
A great area for investigating local history, shopping or a meal. This engaging
part of old Victoria is based on lower Fisgard Street and is also where Fan
Tan Alley (the narrowest street) in Canada is found.
526 Discovery Street
Visit local artists' workspace gallery and café. You will find metal
sculptors, woodworkers, musicians and exhibits of over 50 local artists. A
great location to find unique gifts such as pottery, stained glass, candles,
paintings, soaps, wine racks and furniture or simply relax with a cup of coffee
and enjoy the atmosphere!
VISIT THE SONGHEES
Walk across the blue drawbridge (Johnson Street) and stroll along the scenic
Songhees to West Bay Marina. You will perceive a lovely vista including an
alternative view of the Inner Harbour.
POINT ELLICE HOUSE
2616 Pleasant Street
This lovely local heritage house portrays three generations of Victorians through
an interesting collection of antiques and furnishings.
Located along Fort Street just up from Blanshard Street is a lovely collection
of shops selling their wears of antique furniture, books and collectibles.
GALLERY OF GREATER VICTORIA
1040 Moss Street
There are many other art galleries in Victoria that feature a large variety
of artists and exhibitions. Consult a gallery guide or a Helm's Inn innkeeper
for further information.
The beautiful and well-manicured gardens surrounding the home of British Columbia's
Lieutenant Governor are open year round to the public from dawn to dusk.
Why not investigate these varied and interesting
activities while getting to know Victoria better?
TAKE A WALKING TOUR
950 Wharf Street
The Haunted Walk of Victoria
Get to know the hidden secrets of Victoria!
ARCHITECTURAL WALKING TOURS OF VICTORIA
Tours depart Tuesday through Saturday at 1PM and 2:30 PM from July to September.
All tours depart at G6-1001 Douglas Street in the Sussex Building Courtyard.
This is a public service provided free of charge by the Architectural Institute
of British Columbia.
TAKE A STEP BACK IN TIME!
Tour Victoria's fascinating history on foot with Danda Humphreys -Times Colonist
writer and storyteller/guide. Tours start outside the Wax Museum on Belleville
Street. Departure times vary so be sure to call ahead for the current schedule.
VICTORIA BY SCOOTER
950 Wharf Street
Rent a scooter, motorcycle, bicycle or a pair of rollerblades and visit the
BREW PUBS - Spinnakers
308 Catherine Street
Visit Canada's first in-house brewpub and experience the production process
of local all natural real ales. Tours are available by calling ahead.
BREW PUBS - Swans
506 Pandora Avenue
Located in the heart of old downtown Victoria, Swans features 12 unique brews.
Call for scheduled tours free of charge.
BREW PUBS - Vancouver Island Brewery
2330 Government Street
Public tours are scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays at 1 and 3 PM. investigate
the innovative process of this local microbrewery.
While in Victoria, be sure to take in an afternoon tea! Some very good choices
The Empress -384-8111
Bleathering Tea Room- 598-1413
To find some of the best chocolate in town try the following (prevention is
the best cure!):
Roger's Chocolates-913 Government Street
Purdy's - Eaton Centre and Hillside Shopping
Bernard Calibeau- 623 Broughton Street
BREW PUB - Christie's Carriage House
1739 Fort Street by the Jubilee Hospital
"Home to the largest selection of Cottage Industry Micro-Brews in Canada", Christies
is described as the best Neighbourhood Pub in Victoria. Housed in a magnificently
renovated, turn of the century home, Christies is definately a "do not miss this
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Begin at Mile 0 and head straight down Dallas
Road towards Cadboro Bay for a lovely walk, bike or drive and take in
the breathtaking scenery. The following locations are great rest stops!
Located along Dallas Road, enjoy a great ocean view and bring your kite. On
a blustery day this is the prime spot for kite flying!
Just a slight detour up Foul Bay Road to Fairfield is the "garden that love
built". This is an exquisite heritage garden created in the 1940's by Prince
and Princess Nicholas Abkhazi. Open from March 1st to September 30th. Wednesday
through Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
OAK BAY MARINA
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast, lunch or dinner, take a casual walk or feed harbour
seals in this lovely oceanic atmosphere seven days a week.
Just off of Beach Drive before Cattle Point is the best sun tanning beach in
Oak Bay. Play volleyball, build sandcastles, have tea in the Kiwanis Tea
House, windsurf, or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful view of the ocean
and neighbouring Olympic Mountains.
In addition to the famous Butchart Gardens, the
Saanich Pennisula is full of many intriguing locations. Just follow Blanshard
Street (directly across from the front door of the Thunderbird building)
to many possibilities for excellent adventures!
ELK AND BEAVER LAKE
Elk Lake and Beaver Lake are two beautiful adjoining lakes just off of the
Patricia Bay Highway (#17). They host a superb location for a walk, run or
a picnic. A 10 kilometre marked trail surrounds Beaver Lake, a Kiwanis concession
stand is available during summer months and a lovely lake view may be admired
year round. Elk Lake is probably best known for its rowing facilities. Visit
the waters local world class rower Silken Lauman has spent many hours fine-tuning
her superb athletic ability!
SAANICH COMMONWEALTH PLACE
4636 Elk Lake Road
727-5300 - 24 hour info. line
Originally designed for the 1994 Commonwealth Games, this recreation centre
includes a 50M pool, waterslide and wave pool.
DOMINION ASTROPHYSICAL OBSERVATORY/
West Saanich Road
Observatory is open Monday to Friday 9:15AM to 4:30. No charge for admission.
From April to October look through one of the world's largest reflecting telescopes
Saturday nights 7PM to 11PM.
INSTITUTE OF OCEAN SCIENCE AND PACIFIC GEOSCIENCE
9860 West Sannich Road
Call about tours as they are offered on specific days only.
Investigate a federal research centre and discover information on pacific coast
oceanography including fisheries and ocean research, environmental science
B. C. AVIATION
1910 Norseman Road, Sidney
Travel through aviation history from 1910 to the present.
727-7700 (for rates and schedules)
Climb aboard Sidney's foot passenger ferry and take a 15 minute voyage to the
nearby marine park featuring 400 fascinating hectares of fields, forests and
sandy beaches. Swim, bird-watch and picnic at your leisure.
9801 Seaport Place, Sidney
Explore two informative and distinct collections. One gallery features the
biological evolution of whales in the marine mammal gallery and the second
investigates the history of Sidney and North Sannich and highlights the lives
and traditions of the Coast Salish, European and Asian peoples.
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Traveling in a northeastern direction leads the
visitor to these lovely locations featuring some of Victoria's best outdoor
Walk or drive to the top to witness this spectacular panoramic view of Victoria,
Haro Strait, and Mt. Baker, the pinnacle of the Cascade Mountains.
Located the University of Victoria campus, the Finnerty Gardens provide a diverse
and beautiful display of flora and foliage many of which are marked. There
are many great trees to admire on the campus in addition to totem poles and
a large fountain near the library which seems to be appreciated by local
ducks as much as by the students!
Explore 25 acres of hiking trails networked around picnic, beach, and playground
Situated between the Patricia Bay Highway (#17) and Saanich Road, this beautiful
nature sanctuary is just minutes from downtown Victoria. Visitors can take
in a refreshingly serene view while walking around the lake.
HORTICULTURAL CENTRE OF THE PACIFIC
505 Quayle Road
Open year round. Visit the spectacular Winter Garden, Takata Japanese-style
garden, rhododendron and heather collections, garden and teaching centres.
This is an ideal spot to explore for those who delight in serious gardening
and for those who simply cherish a peaceful atmosphere.
Outside Greater Victoria
There are many wonderful locations to visit outside
of Greater Victoria as well. Going west out of town (via Douglas Street
is probably the easiest route) will lead you to them. These areas will
be certain to make your visit to Victoria a very well rounded and enriched
BRENTWOOD BAY-MILL BAY FERRY
386-3431 or 1-888-223-3779
This scenic cruise is both relaxing and interesting, whether you are travelling
up or down Vancouver Island or are looking to take in some beautiful scenery.
The crossing of the Saanich Inlet only takes 25 minutes and you may walk on
or bring your car or bicycle. The M.V. Mill Bay has been making this journey
for over 42 years and, along with her friendly crew, helps make travelling
a very enjoyable experience.
Located approximately 30 minutes north of Victoria along the Island Highway
(#1) is Goldstream Provincial Park. The outdoor enthusiast can hike up Mount
Finlayson for a spectacular view and there are other trails for the less
adventurous as well. Stop in at the Nature House and talk with knowledgeable
naturalists, observe the remarkable salmon run during the months of October
and November and witness the exceptionally large numbers of Bald Eagles (especially
in November) at this marvelous park. See amazing Westcoast flora and fauna
at its finest!
1-800-668-7771 or 1-888-668-7874
Visit the "adrenaline centre" just south of Nanaimo. The Bungy Zone features
three new attractions and is located in a beautiful West Coast setting.
Royal Roads University (Monday to Friday. 1-4PM.)
Visit beautifully manicured Japanese and Italian Rose gardens alongside historical
Hatley Castle. Castle tours are by donation.
WITTY'S LAGOON REGIONAL PARK
Located on the scenic Saanich Peninsula, visitors experience marshes, sandy
beaches, and a great venue for bird watching. This park is located just outside
of Victoria along Metchosin Road.
Metchosin is a beautiful, rural area just west of the city of Victoria. The
My'Chosin Café is a delightful stop to make for a meal or a snack.
SOOKE HARBOUR HOUSE
1528 Whiffen Spit, Sooke
Experience memorable cuisine nestled in the heart of some of Vancouver Island's
most beautiful scenery. Offering only fresh locally grown ingredients and featuring
local organic seafood, this unique spot has been rated one of the top ten restaurants
in Canada for ten years.
BOTANICAL BEACH PROVINCIAL PARK
Just 3 km outside of Port Renfrew and then a 45 minute walk through amazing
West Coast forest brings visitors to the tidal pools this beach is so well
known for. Low tides are best for viewing this diverse display of flora and
fauna; consult the Tofino tide table.
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West Coast Activities
For those West Coast visitors looking for something
a little off the beaten path, each of the following activities are great
Try this amazing 60 kilometre trail on foot, rollerblades, or by bike. This
trail is named after the passenger car that once ran along this abandoned
CNR line. The trail leads to many wonderful locations. Heading west leads
to the Sooke Hills where breathtaking landscape of ocean and forest awaits
and also to Matheson Lake where visitors can relax lakeside or take a refreshing
dip; especially appreciated after a long bike ride! This trail is a popular
location and will certainly enhance your Westcoast experience.
VISIT A LOCAL FARM
There are a large and very interesting variety of farms in the Victoria area
from vegetable to honey to deer! All are well worth a visit- please ask a
Helm's Inn innkeeper for more information.
TRY OCEAN KYAKING
A beautiful way to discover supernatural Vancouver Island! Both the experienced
and the novice can explore Pacific waters with some of the local companies.
Victoria, B. C.
480-9560 or 1-800-840-4453
This company specializes in Vancouver Island's offshore islands. Minimum of
Victoria, B. C.
This group offers a variety of kayak adventures around Vancouver Island's coast.
Pender Island, B. C.
Explore the breath-taking Gulf Islands!
TOUR THE WESTCOAST BY AIR
West Coast Air Float Plane Adventures
Tour the Sunshine Coast, Butchart Gardens, Glacier and Alpine Lakes and even
fly by the world-renowned Whistler Mountain Resort. There are various packages
and rates available and all provide a fabulous aerial view of the West Coast,
which, undoubtedly, is an uplifting experience!
TAKE A DAY TRIP
There are many interesting locations near Victoria for the Vancouver Island
visitor to explore and make the West Coast experience even more meaningful!
North along the Island Highway you will find this wonderful community which
is most well known for its beautiful murals. Chemainus also is home to the
award winning Chamainus Theatre that offers many entertaining and vibrant
productions throughout the year.
Although there are over 300 islands in the Gulf to explore there are a few
most prominent. Salt Spring Island is the largest and provides many engaging
possibilities for nature and art lovers; be sure to visit the Saturday Market
in Ganges! Galiano Island is a scenic and memorable meeting of ocean and
forest. North and South Pender Islands are a great retreat with their marinas
and resorts. Also, Mayne and Saturna Islands are ideal for a relaxing get-away.
Be certain to visit the East Point Light Station on Saturna Island while
you are there. All the Gulf Islands are easily accessible by B.C. Ferries.
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