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Visit famed Butchart Gardens, walk around downtown’s Inner Harbour, experience a brew pub, dine on fresh seafood and local wines.
Don your best elegant-casual duds for afternoon tea at Victoria, BC’s venerable, ivy-covered Empress Hotel. You’ll be transported back to an era of early-1900s hushed gentility: sip exotic tea blends; sample delicate cucumber finger sandwiches and smoked-salmon pinwheels; indulge in warm raisin scones with Devonshire cream and strawberry jam. Sit down to the elegant repast in the hotel’s Tea Lobby, Library or Harborside Room, which overlooks the sailboats, yachts and floatplanes of Victoria’s dazzling Inner Harbour. British Columbia’s capital city blends its British colonial history with a funky, west-coast fashion-and-arts vibe. Find European boutiques in charming Trounce Alley. Explore Antique Row along Fort Street; visit art galleries and designers’ studios throughout the downtown core. In colourful Bastion Square, mingle among street vendors and artisans. Walk under the Gate of Harmonious Interest to enter the oldest Chinatown in Canada. Stay for dim sum and to shop for curios down Fan Tan Alley, once the site of the city’s infamous opium dens and gambling houses. You can see a replica of Chinatown and Victoria’s turn-of-the-19th-century wood-paved streets at the Royal BC Museum. Visit world-famous Butchart Gardens for its glorious sunken gardens and blue Himalayan poppies. Take a Vancouver Island winery tour or visit towering Craigdarroch and Hatley castles. In the summer, watch a symphony in the harbor, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, or meet people from around the world simply out and about on the city’s popular seawall stroll.