Destination Greater Victoria

Official 2020 Vacation Guide

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Since the Hudson's Bay Company established Fort Victoria in 1843, Government Street has been at the centre of city life. It's paved now and the streetcar tracks are long gone, but the classic buildings remain. The one-kilometre stroll along Government from Pandora Street down to the Inner Harbour, the Royal BC Museum, IMAX Victoria and the British Columbia Parliament Building proffers a broad avenue with generous sidewalks and room for benches, lined with stores and restaurants. A century ago this was the bankers' row, and the opulent buildings have found new lives. Munro's Books, considered one of Canada's most beautiful bookstores, is in the 1909 Royal Bank building. The Irish Times pub occupies the 1894 Bank of Montreal building, while The Bard & Banker Public House is in the beautifully restored Bank of British Columbia building, constructed in 1885. (The bard in the pub's name refers to poet Robert Service, who worked in the bank.) Both are known for great food and live music. Garrick's Head Pub has been in the same building at the corner of Government and historic Bastion Square since 1867. If pubs aren't your style, consider a stop at Murchie's Tea & Coffee for a snack or one of their specially blended teas to take home. Or sidle up to the Tea Tasting Bar at Silk Road Tea in historic Chinatown for the finest organic tea blends. Looking for gis? Cowichan Trading Company has a wide selection of work by First Nations artists and craspeople. Jade Victoria is also B.C.-focused, with carvings and jewelry made from jade from the province's north. Then pop into Canadian-created Lile Blue House for funny flannel sleepwear for the whole family. ictoria is rare among North American cities in that it eschews a grid of roadways laid out to the points of the compass. Its avenues instead curve and meet at oblique angles like the old cities of Europe. Built before the advent of the automobile, many of the city's streets grew organically out of the needs of pioneering residents to get around on foot or, at best, at the speed of a horse's trot. That helps make Victoria delightfully walkable today. Here are five streets – each with its own distinct character, history, charm and secrets – best explored at an unhurried pace. 18  |  Destination Greater Victoria 2020  |  800-663-3883 If These Streets Could TALK S I G H T S Exploring Victoria along five of its most colourful boulevards B Y P A U L W I L L C O C K S HIGH TEA High tea remains a Victoria tradition, served in the afternoon at several hotels, cafés and historic sites. Then board a Gray Line Hop-on Hop- off tour for an anglophile experience on a double- decker bus. GOVERNMENT Street Government Street hosts a number of lovingly restored heritage structures, such as the old Bank of British Columbia building, now home to the Bard & Banker Public House (above); the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (top right) can be found on mostly residential Moss Street; Garrick's Head Pub (bottom left) serves thirsty customers on Bastion Square; Johnson Street features quirky shops like Oscar & Libby's (bottom right) V (BARD & BANKER PUBLIC HOUSE) DAVE HUTCHISON; ART GALLERY OF GREATER VICTORIA, GARRICK'S HEAD PUB; OSCAR AND LIBBY'S; (FAN TAN ALLEY) DOUG CLEMENT; ISTOCK

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