Travel to Victoria: Best picks for eateries and things to do

Lower Johnson Street - with its charming harbour, vibrant square and buzzing microbrewery scene - is the perfect place to celebrate Victoria's 150th birthday this month
By Kate MacLennan
Victoria Phillips Brewing bar, barkeep, beers on tap Phillips Brewing's barkeep Bill Stuart
Victoria Sitka Boutique, clothing, shopping Sitka
Victoria Billie's Bakery Courtyard, bistro sets, tables, chairs, plants, flowers Billie's Bakery Courtyard
Victoria Fisherman's Wharf, water, house boats Fisherman's Wharf

Best brunch: Willie's Bakery, 537 Johnson St.

Willie's Bakery has been responsible for the delicious smell of bread wafting over the harbour since 1887. But the real attraction is its breakfast: brioche French toast, home-baked cornbread, maple farmer's sausage and local free-run eggs served in a sunny courtyard, with rose bushes, a fountain and an outdoor fireplace.


History tour: Royal BC Museum, 675 Belleville St.

The Royal BC Museum is your cheat sheet to the province. It houses the human and natural history of British Columbia from the First Nations through to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Pick up all the tidbits you need to impress friends over dinner.

Pub crawl:

The artisanal-beer scene thrives here with impeccable, creatively named brews (Phillips Hoperation, anyone?) and menu pairings. Canoe, Swans and Spinnakers brew pubs, Phillips Brewing and Vancouver Island Brewery are all musts on a self-guided walking "ale trail" tour.

Harbourfront hub: Erie St.


Fisherman's Wharf is alive with activity. Explore by kayak as boats unload the catch, then sample their fresh fare at food kiosks across the water. Floating restaurant Barb's Fish & Chips is a go-to for the Brit classic, and the new Puerto Vallarta Amigos Mexican food truck serves up traditional quesadillas and beef barbacoa.

Dinner hour: Veneto Tapa Lounge, 1450 Douglas St.

The Veneto Tapa Lounge in the historic Hotel Rialto wows with the likes of grilled lobster and blue crab dip, and duck poutine. Save room for a drink: Pick your spirit (we recommend locally made Victoria Gin) and flavour profile, then spin the $10-cocktail wheel and the bartender mixes a beverage based on where the needle lands.

Surf & style: Sitka, 570 Yates St.

Boho boutique Sitka is named after Vancouver Island's mighty spruce. The store's roots are in surfboards — it makes them — but the stock has grown to include cool West Coast clothing Be forewarned: Go in for a dress, and you just might leave with a longboard.


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