Do’s and Don’ts of Victoria
I’ve lived in Victoria for a year and a half and I still feel like a foreigner to Victoria’s streets.
From the climate to the geography of this island full of fitness addicts and artsy folks, I feel like I’m discovering more about Victoria every day.
I can’t tell you everything you need to know from a local’s perspective, but as a UVic student who’s constantly curious outside of the computer screen, I might have some useful thoughts.
1. Take advantage of the food scene
The food scene has more options than there are movies on Netflix. You will never be let down when it comes to letting your taste buds touch tasty territories.
From being the home of the oldest Chinatown in Canada to celebrating the diversity of people who live in and visit Victoria, there is something to enjoy from an array of cultures and cuisines. I truly feel like I’m re-visiting Epcot in Disney World.
I suggest checking out Tasting Victoria and subscribing to their newsletter to keep updated on the food scene.
2. Prioritize taking breaks to explore the island
Whether this be a walk to Cadboro Bay or a hike up Mount Tolmie (both 5 minute walks from UVic), UVic is surrounded by Victoria’s most beautiful outdoor environment.
UVic even has on-campus nature attractions, from the fairy-like Finnerty Gardens to the Mystic Vale walking path. If you are off campus you’ll have many options like these around you, you just have to go out and look!
You’ll notice that everyone and their dogs in Victoria wants to enjoy the lush island we live on. Take a break from your screens for your daily reminder of Victoria’s most beautiful landscapes. Most of us moved out here for the environment!
3. Talk to literally anyone you see
I’ve noticed that Victoria is full of super friendly, smiling people who care to chat with strangers!
Victoria is a big open-minded community who celebrates interconnectedness, differences, and overall admiration for the environment we live in and on, which adds a lot of positive energy for anyone walking amongst us.
4. Educate yourself about the Indigenous community
It is so fulfilling and rewarding to learn about the history of the land you’re visiting and moving to. The Songhees, Esquimalt, Tsartlip, Tseycum, Pauquachin, Scia’new, Tsawout and T’Sou-ke peoples have long called this area home.
Walking along downtown and around Victoria there are sculptures and art celebrating the traditional territory of local Indigenous culture. Pay your respect for the creation of the beautiful island by acknowledging its land and Indigenous Peoples.
Check out 5 ways to experience Aboriginal culture in Victoria.
UVic sits on the traditional territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples. “We acknowledge and respect the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples on whose traditional territory the University of Victoria stands, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.”
1. Stay inside when it rains
I’m not saying go stand in the pouring rain, but do go for a walk once in a while.
There’s something very peaceful about walking through the wetness of nature’s natural showers. And if you’re really trying to fit in to Victoria’s crowd, take out your earbuds and notice the pitter patter while you step on soaking stones and steady rhythm in puddles.
Then after taking a brisk jaunt around the block, go home and sip a hot beverage with your favourite relaxing activity.
2. Be scared to bike
Other than the bus routes, biking is very common mode of transportation. I was first scared of biking amongst Victoria’s busy streets, but even without bike lanes (which there are many of), biking is so common that drivers respect cyclists enough for it to be safe to bike in the roads. Don’t worry, it’s not Mario Kart.
3. Limit yourself to one walking trail/path/beach
It’s easy to go on the same walk to the same beach or through the same forest every day, but do try to explore more than one.
Make it a priority to take walks in different areas even if it’s only for 15 minutes.
Exploring new sights and locations allows you to make the most of living in such a lush, warm, and diverse climate.
4. Leave the brunch lines
Unless you’re in a rush, it is 100% worth it to dine in at every local restaurant with a line up.
The first thing I noticed when out and about in Victoria was the weekend brunch lineups. Victoria is known for its fun and funky brunch scene and long lines waiting outside of popular restaurants.
From the Blue Fox Cafe to Pagliacci’s, the eat-in brunch experience is a MUST for more than one place if you live in Victoria.
I hope this advice helped add to your next visit to Victoria or enhanced your island lifestyle.