Here at the Martlet we have come up with our favourite places to enjoy in Victoria during the winter season. Food, rides, history—we hit all three sides of the holiday triangle. Take a day and spend time at each spot. You may find something new, so enjoy being a tourist in your own city.
The Labyrinth at Christ Church Cathedral
The seven-circuit labyrinth represents the long journey of the soul reaching a centre only to return back to the winding road. Unlike a maze meant to confuse, the labyrinths’ path is laid clearly before your feet. Take time and clear your mind. After, head inside the Cathedral for warmth and a spectacular stained-glass window display. The labyrinth is located on the south side of the Cathedral facing Burdett Ave.
Victoria Public Market at the Hudson
This is the place to be to assemble baskets for your family’s goodies and the sustainability enthusiasts in your life. You can find everything: gourmet soy sauce, organic squashes, and even coffee-flavoured balsamic vinegar. The market is located at 1701 Douglas St. and open everyday except Monday.
Centennial Square’s ferris wheel and audio-reactive tree is back this holiday season. Ride the ferris wheel and see what Victoria looks like at 65 feet in the air for only $2. Follow the splendour east and check out the audio reactive Christmas tree facing Douglas St. Circle bulbs flicker and flare to sounds you create. Clap, laugh, sing, cry, and observe a truly original light show.
Fan Tan Alley
Once a gambling and opium district, Fan Tan Alley is located in the centre of Canada’s oldest Chinatown. This alley has the best stocking-stuffer shopping in the city. From records, crystals, to clothes, Fan Tan has it all. While you’re there, another neat spot is the Ground Zero Printmaker’s Studio. This eclectic studio is open to the public Tuesdays 6–10 p.m., Thursdays 9 a.m.–2 p.m., and Fridays 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Enter through the door on the corner of Fan Tan Alley and Fisgard St., and climb the narrow flight of stairs.
Enjoy a skate on the front lawn overlooking Victoria’s Inner Harbour topped off with a stroll through grand halls lined filled with elaborate trees. Peek at the rose garden in the back and sit beneath white archways for some serenity.
All vamped up for the holidays, the castle will be a feast for the eyes. Craigdarroch’s highest tower has the best view of the city, hands down. Step back in time and explore 39 different rooms. Look on the window sills for etched signatures of past university students. One belongs to a famous writer; find out who at 1050 Joan Crescent just off Fort St.