January 23rd is Jasper’s birthday, and we decided to celebrate it by going around Victoria for a day. If you ever find yourself thinking, “What should I do on a cold winter’s day at Victoria?”, then for your reference, here’s what our itinerary looked like:
(everything is in order according to the places we went first to last)
Chinatown: Fan Tan Alley
From the Swartz Bay Terminal, we went straight ahead to Chinatown and looked for the Fan Tan Alley. There’s a lot of paid street parking available around the city so don’t worry about it, just make sure you have enough change with you or credit card.
The Fan Tan Alley is currently known as the narrowest street in Canada. It is found between Government Street and Store Street, or beside Fan Tan Cafe. The alley has a few small shops including an art gallery, cafe, retail, apartments and offices. (Cleanliness = 4/5)
The Big Three: Miniature World, Empress Hotel and Parliament Building
From Chinatown to Downtown Victoria
The Miniature World, “The Greatest Little Show on Earth”, is a said collection of a man (oops, I forgot his name) and decided to share it to the rest of the world through this show. This tourist attraction is for all ages and it features some of the historic events and stories of facts and fiction. There are buttons available where it animates the complex display.
(We weren’t able to take pictures of the Empress Hotel due to renovations, ugh)
The Parliament Building is just 5-10 minutes walk away from the Miniature World. It is one of Victoria’s Historic Landmark. The great thing about the Parliament building is they offer free guided tours from Monday to Friday, and their tours usually last for half an hour… or you can just explore the building by yourself.
This Victorian-era Scottish Beronial castle is owned by Robert Dunsmuir, a wealthy coal baron who unfortunately passed away before he could even see the castle’s beauty. The intricate design of its woodwork and stained glass made me and Jasper in awe. But in all honesty, a few things inside the castle are just plain creepy (being a scaredy-cat doesn’t help either, lol). Anyway, you need to pay an admission fee of $13.95 beforehand or a student fee of $8.95 (Just remember to bring your student ID). The paid self-tour is guided by a map provided at the entrance, where you need to follow the numbered rooms seen on the map.
*Free parking is available.
Located at Victoria’s Inner Harbour, the Fisherman’s Wharf is a remarkable destination with floating homes and commercial shops. It features marine adventures (kayaking and tours), food kiosk, fresh seafood sales, retail and wildlife. Jasper actually bought four shucked oysters and shared one to me, and it was one of the freshest oyster I’ve ever tasted. We definitely recommend The Fisherman’s Wharf especially if you’re a seafood lover.
*There’s parking available and it only cost $2.50 for two hours!
All photos are taken by me and Jasper.