Going lightly in…Victoria, BC

> Read Part 1: Going lightly in…Vancouver {& Vancouver Island}

After arriving at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, I dropped off my stuff and started my wandering. First off, this hotel is stunning. It recently went through an extensive restoration and the new lobby was just reopened a week before I got there. Everything is grey & gold {!} and is a really nice mix of traditional and modern.

Fairmont Empress

1 | A French 75 always feels like the perfect drink to have at a fancy hotel bar. The popcorn they serve at the bar is DELICIOUS. It’s some kind of charred popcorn with garlic powder and oil. Still thinking about it.
2 | My lovely room.
3 | The stunning chandelier in the new lobby.
4 | “Happiness is a sumptuous meal enjoyed on one’s own terms.” All of the new marketing materials around the hotel {menus, bar coasters} have a variety of cute sayings on them, reminds me of Kate Spade’s quirky taglines.

The hotel now also has its own Empress 1908 gin, produced for them by Victoria Distillers. It gets its violet colour from dried butterfly pea flowers and turns light pink when tonic is added! So cool! It’s available at BC Liquor Stores and yes, a bottle came home in my suitcase. I saw mention of it being available at select liquor stores across Canada, but couldn’t find where those locations are.

Fairmont Empress Gin

Victoria is a really great mix of antiques, bookstores, seafood, pastries, coffee & gin. Basically, Old Lady Heaven = right up my alley.

Victoria bookstore

It’s a great place to wander and there are a lot of really good food options. A couple of my favourites:

Victoria food

1, 2 & 4 | Red Fish, Blue Fish. I would have went here twice, but the line can get really long. It’s in a shipping container by the water and serves fresh seafood, which is SO good. I tried the Tacone {fish taco rolled into a cone} and the fried oysters.

3 | Rebar Modern Food. Healthy, fresh, simple meals. I had the Rebar Bowl with scrambled eggs – yum.

My favourite bakery was Crust – I went there twice:

Victoria dessert

1 | Lovely pastries at Crust Bakery
2 | A Yonni’s Doughnut, available at Discovery Coffee. Great coffee.
3 | A Raspberry Lychee danish from Crust.
4 | A raspberry lemon Pop Rocks tart from Crust on the Fairmont Empress China I bought as a souvenir.

I also had a chance to do a bit of sightseeing:

1 | Craigdarroch Castle. It’s a Victorian mansion built between 1887 and 1890 by Robert Dunsmuir, who made his fortune on Vancouver Island coal. There’s a lot of really beautiful stained glass windows and woodwork. It’s four floors and takes about hour to get through.

Craigdarroch Castle

2 | Butchart Gardens. The gardens span 135 acres {55 of which are for public viewing} and are over 100 years old. They began in an abandoned quarry {now the Sunken Garden} and have been developed over the years. There are a lot of tours that can take you to the gardens, but the bus will take you directly there for $2.50 each way. It takes about an hour to get there and about 1.5 hours to walk through the gardens.

Butchart GardensButchart Gardens

Overall, I would say the two nights I spent in Victoria is a good amount of time to be there. It’s such a quaint little spot.

NEXT UP: TOFINO!