10 reasons to love Victoria, B.C.

Here are 10 fun ways to enjoy the not-so-prim-after-all Victoria B.C.

By Doug O’Neill

10 reasons to love Victoria, B.C.
Photography by Dave G. Houser/Corbis
British Columbia's capital can be prim and proper on the surface, but once you get inside, it's one hip city.

Afternoon tea in Victoria
Fairmont Empress Hotel (721 Government St., fairmont.com/empress-victoria) has long been the grand dame of afternoon tea in Victoria. But she has a new rival just down the street. Staff at Silk Road Tea (1624 Government St., silkroadteastore.com) urge patrons to taste the latest blends of herbal, oolong, black, green and other teas.

Find the best cocktails
Order The Red Dress cocktail (grappa, Campari, violet liqueur and fresh orange) at Veneto Tapa Lounge in the Hotel Rialto (1450 Douglas St., venetodining.com) or opt for the Queen Victoria G&T at the bohemian Fernwood Inn (1302 Gladstone Ave., fernwoodinn.com).

Victoria's Busker Festival
Runs July 19 to 28 throughout the city. (victoriabuskers.com)

Book a wildlife tour
Orcas, humpbacks, grey whales, harbour seals, sea lions, bald eagles and porpoises are just a boat ride away. What other city offers accessible wildlife tours within steps of your hotel? Get more info at hellobc.com/victoria.

Best burgers in Victoria 
Burger mania has hit town! Try The Pink Bicycle (1008 Blanshard St., pinkbicycleburger.com) or Mafia Burger (730 Caledonia Ave., facebook.com/mafiaburger).

Relax at the spa

Disrobe for the Canadian Maple Sweet Body Treat scrub at the Boathouse Spa & Baths at Oak Bay Beach Hotel (1175 Beach Dr., oakbaybeachhotel.com/spa). The shea butter and cocoa wrap will dissolve your tension in no time.

Where to enjoy Victoria's night life
Shake it at Darcy's Pub (1127 Wharf St., darcyspub.ca) with live rock 'n' roll and Top 40 tunes, or at the fancier Clubhouse at the Strathcona Hotel (919 Douglas St., strathconahotel.com).

Have a laugh
Enjoy a knee-slapping Charlie Chaplin silent film at the re-created 19th-century Majestic Theatre cinema inside the Royal BC Museum's This Old Town (675 Belleville St., royalbcmuseum.bc.ca).

Sit down with Victoria's finest

Sit down at the communal table at The London Chef (953 Fort St., thelondon
chef.com
), a hip culinary centre that features great grub from London-born chef Dan Hayes, Victoria's version of Jamie Oliver.

Where to stay in Victoria
Book one of the ultrachic rooms at the Inn at Laurel Point (680 Montreal St., laurelpoint.com), designed by award-winning British Columbia architect Arthur Erickson. The Inn is bright, minimalist and ubercomfy. 

This story was originally titled "Victoria's Secrets" in the July 2013 issue.

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