Lifestyle & Parenting

Victoria’s Secrets

October 16, 2017

Victoria is well-known for many things: ferry rides, a formerly ivy-covered grand hotel offering high tea, a world-famous, National Geographic-ranked floral garden and a well-stocked provincial museum. But, recently, we uncovered some more-under-the-radar delights that made our visit to the capital totally unexpected—and completely unforgettable. —Noa Nichol


secret no.1: soar. While a boat ride is nice, it’s not ideal when one only has a weekend to spend away and time is of the essence. That said, we were pleased to get to Victoria in record time—and with breathtaking ocean and island views, to boot—with Harbour Air. Cheers to taking the scenic (and speedy) route!


secret no. 2: stay. We can’t think of a better place to call home base than Victoria’s own boutique Magnolia Hotel & Spa. This lovely inn, with a renovated lobby imagined by local designer Sandy Nygaard (she hand-drew the magnolia-festooned carpet) boasts luxe guestrooms stocked with dreamy duvets and L’Occitane bath products, an on-site spa (try the Spa Magnolia Signature treatment) and the Catalano Restaurant & Cicchetti Bar, where small bites star.


secret no. 3: sip. Thanks to Magnolia’s curated Victoria-to-a-Tea curated map (available at the front desk), we traded the traditional hotel high tea for several intriguing alternatives: tea-infused Little Sunshine Sour beer at Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, a green tea facial at Silk Road, a vegetarian afternoon tea at Venus Sophia and a maccha lesson-turned-tasting at Jagasilk. Pinkies out!


secret no. 4: step. One of our finest discoveries on this particular trip was Gowlland Tod Provincial Park—a gorgeous hiking spot along the Saanich Inlet, just a short drive from downtown Victoria. Our reward after nearly six-and-a-half kilometres of moderate hiking: jaw-dropping views of Gowlland Range, Finlayson Arm and the Olympic mountains.


secret no. 5: cycle. Borrow a bike from Magnolia and cycle Victoria, hitting up some of the city’s quirkier districts like Fort Street (for tacos and antiques), Cook Street Village (for burgers and beaches) and Fan Tan Alley (Chinatown’s narrowest lane). Be sure to pedal to the Abkhazi Garden, which was cultivated, with love, by a real-life prince and princess!


secret no. 6: savour. This city’s food scene is more than up-and-coming: it’s fully arrived! On our newly minted must-dine list: lunch at 10 Acres (whether you choose the bistro or kitchen, look forward to dishes created from ingredients grown and raised on the eateries’ own 10-acres organic farm) and dinner at Saveur, where seasonally inspired tasting menus created by award-winning chef and owner Robert Cassels will leave you wishing there were more than five courses to your meal.


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