Rediscovering Victoria when relatives visit


We live in an amazing place, and sometimes it takes visitors to remind us of that.

When I moved here 17 years ago, I was visiting a beach every few days. A long-time Islander was skeptical that that would last. A lot of people here don’t go near a beach for months, even years, he said. I have almost become one of those people, and that’s not good.

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Out-of-town relatives from the Prairies prompted two days of exploring.

On Day 1, we slowly strolled around Chinatown and noted the construction at Fan Tan Alley, then followed a path along the water from the Upper Harbour to Fisherman’s Wharf; we stopped for people watching at the Inner Harbour causeway, went through the newly-renovated CPR Steamship building, checked out the in-need-of-attention ferry loading areas along Belleville Street, and the architecture of the Inn at Laurel Point, particularly the wing designed by Arthur Erickson.

At Fisherman’s Wharf, we had a snack of deep fried oysters, which was something new for our visitors. Next, we gawked at the house boats, many of which sport signs inviting us to gawk.

Our visitors enjoyed all those many hours of strolling on Day 1, so on Day 2, we strolled some more. We spent a lot of time at Beacon Hill Park, walking, sitting, chatting, making guesses about plant names, listening to a concert, and admiring the super-tall totem pole, which was once the world’s tallest.

And we whiled away more time on the rocky Dallas Road beach, watching the world go by. Strolling back into town, we detoured onto the wind-swept Ogden Point breakwater. I had seen it from a distance but had not walked it since the safety rails and murals went up. 

At Centennial Square, the pace picked up considerably. We had supper at the very busy food truck festival, while very loud music played. Between the eight of us, we lined up at around three-quarters of the dozen-plus offerings and mostly ate while standing because there weren’t enough chairs and tables. Pretty much every dish was enjoyed by someone in our group. There were no duds.

The food truck festival continues for two more Fridays, July 25 and Aug. 1, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

After the eating, we waddled over to watch performances at opening night for the Victoria International Buskers Festival, which was also bustling. The buskers festival continues on stages at the Inner Harbour and on Government Street until July 27.

Our visitors were impressed with the wide range of things to do and see, all without spending much money.

The experience has me making a pledge to myself: I’m going to hang out at a beach at least once a month, regardless of season.

Ogden Point breakwater photo
Ogden Point breakwater.

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