Contributed by Gustavo Paes, Journalism Class, ILSC-Vancouver
Looking for convenience and ease, the majority of visitors prefer spending their time in the Capital City of B.C. on activities and places that they found in a visitor’s guide. Of course you have to visit these most famous places, like the Empress Hotel and the Legislative Buildings. However, you would be making a huge mistake if you missed going to some hidden places on the outskirts of Victoria’s downtown, and appreciate the beauty and feel the history behind the architecture.
My suggestion for someone who wants to have an unforgettable time in Victoria is to save one morning and go to Hatley Park, 40 minutes from downtown. In this park you can admire Hatley Castle, a marvel surrounded by fabulous Japanese Gardens. They offer a tour inside of the castle that costs about $18 per person, and a self-guided walk through the gardens for $10 per person. It’s fantastic!
On your return to downtown Victoria, you should stop at the 6 Mile Pub, the oldest pub in British Columbia, and try a cold beer while looking out over the Pacific waters.
Back in Victoria in the afternoon, you can’t forget to enjoy a seaside stroll, and check the admirable views of the Parliament Building and the Empress Hotel, as well as the Royal BC Museum and the Chinatown neighborhood.
A great choice for a snack is to cross the Inner Harbour waters by Sea Taxi to the Fisherman’s Wharf. If you are a seafood lover like me, try the breaded shrimp with fries at Barb’s Place Fish & Chips. I have been there and I have seen a sea lion! It was a giant one. It was amazing!
A great idea for people who have energy and really like to discover hidden places is to rent a bike at one of the many bike stores in downtown and to ride to the south. I did this, and my first stop was at Ogden Point, a long water break. Ten minutes later, I reached the Mile 0. This monument is a reference and the official western end of the Trans-Canada Highway. After a brief walk through Douglas Street, I arrived at Beacon Hill Park, a spectacular mixture of gardens and artificial lakes for free!
To have a great night, try some exciting pubs, especially the Irish Pubs!! They are great, but not so cheap! However, the night life there is quieter than Vancouver.
A remarkable choice in the morning that I have chosen was to walk along some beaches south to downtown Victoria, like Ross Beach and Gonzalez Bay.