Destination: Victoria, British Columbia

J&A Wanderlust

Jul 10, 2018

Victoria BC Travel // Wanderlust // Wedding Photographers Huntsville Alabama

If you’ve been following along on our adventures, you’ll remember that the promise of a weekend’s exploration of Vancouver and Victoria was one of the reasons we settled on an Alaskan cruise for our adventure this spring. {You can read more about that here.}

We arrived in Vancouver around midnight (long day) and crashed at our AirBnB for a few hours. But after an amazing breakfast at Cora the next morning, we hopped on a ferry and headed straight for the beautiful British Columbia island of Victoria!

The ferry took about 90 minutes and was a calm (and cold!) ride through a sprinkling of little islands. Some were big enough to have a few houses, and some were just tiny little pieces of paradise. We adored all those little islands.

First stop: coffee

I’m sure you can guess the first thing we did when we got off the ferry. We found some coffee, of course! Discover Coffee was spot on, and it made our J&A Coffee Favorites list.

After our coffee, we headed toward the historic downtown district. You never know what you’ll stumble across!

Now that is some great public art.

We had a chance to walk through the famous Empress Hotel! Their High Tea looked really inviting (and expensive), but we opted out of tea and just enjoyed the atmosphere. Gorgeous building.

It was too dark and busy to take many pictures inside the Empress, so we tucked the camera away and embraced the experience. I did snap a quick picture on our way out of the conference hall. Even the entryway was stunning and unique!

British Columbia Parliament Buildings

Onto the building that we were the most excited about seeing on this venture. This is British Columbia’s Parliament Building! Canadian Provinces don’t exactly count in our State Capitol Quest, but this does make our 4th Canadian Providence capital. We’ve made Canada a subcategory. :)

The building itself was just incredible.

We headed inside to explore! It didn’t have the huge grand open spaces like a lot of US capitals have, but the details were impeccable. Like the intricate stained glass windows and the painting of Queen Elizabeth.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Next, we left architecture behind and went for something a little more whimsical! We took a walk along the harbor and headed out to the quirky little Fisherman’s Wharf. (If you ever go, we highly recommend taking the sea wall walk! It’s a lot longer than a shortcut through the streets, but so worth it.)

Fisherman’s Wharf is a like a little floating city with some restaurants, shops, and private residences.

Can you imagine living in one of these little houses? You just hop out the door and straight into your kayak! The whole harbor is at your fingertips.

A little sample of the beautiful scenery on our walk along the sea wall. We found some of the sweetest smelling roses.

Nooks and Crannies

Back in the downtown district, we wandered around to see what gems we’d uncover. Historic churches, beautiful architecture, and ivy-lined alley ways are things that make our hearts happy!

Check out this fountain! Three tiers: one for horses, one for people, and one for dogs.

We found this amazing space that housed a collection of shops and boutiques. Our favorite part was the courtyard. In the middle of city hustle-bustle, it’s a peaceful and quiet place to land.

By now I’m ready for a snack, and I’ve had my mind on Crust Bakery all day! We walked past earlier in the day and had a glimpse of the tempting pastries through the window. We knew they were about to close, so we high-tailed it back over to grab a treat!

Joel bought this cheesecake for me and I didn’t even wait to style it before digging in. It was so delicious that it gets a picture on the blog – even though it’s styled with a brown paper bag. :)


We detoured through Chinatown on our way to dinner and our AirBnB.

This is Fan Tan Alley. It’s the narrowest street in Canada. And maybe even in North America, since I can’t imagine an alley getting much smaller than that. Further down, there are lots of little ships with tiny little doorways. Joel didn’t fit very well here…

Lots of whale public art here!

Castle Day!

We had one more morning in Victoria, so we got an early start with breakfast at John’s Place. It had a lot of character! The food was good, too. The walls were jam packed with autographed celebrity pictures and sport memorabilia. The collection was really very impressive.

After breakfast we headed out to visit 2 castles!

Our first stop was Craigdorroch Castle. They weren’t open, so we just walked the grounds. What an amazing sight! The man that built it wanted to make a statement since he was the wealthiest guy around. I’d say he did that. The really sad part is that he died before it was even completed.

It was nestled in a cute, peaceful neighborhood. I wouldn’t mind living across the street from a castle!

On our way out of town to castle number two, we stopped at Hide + Seek Coffee for some road trip sustenance. We loved this little neighborhood, the sidewalk flower stands, and the coffee! Another hit for our J&A Coffee Favorites list.

I love this cutie!

A little road trip later, and we walked up to…

This incredible place – Hatley Castle! Swoon. We fell in love right away. It was closed for a private event, and we just dreamed of what it would be like to photograph a wedding here. Double swoon!

Gorgeous, gorgeous place. It’s been the setting for a lot of movies and TV shows, like Arrow, X-Men, Smallville, and MacGyver.

Fun fact: the guy that built this was a brother of the guy that built Craigdarroch Castle.

These grounds were Jane Austen worthy, and I could have stayed here forever!

It started pouring rain on us as we headed off to catch a ferry back to Vancouver. We took a little break from the rain and stopped by the Urban Bee Honey Farm. It’s definitely worth a stop, even if it’s just to taste their lineup of samples. They even had coffee honey!

Fighting the Vancouver traffic (does it always rain up here?) made us appreciate the quaint atmosphere of Victoria even more. But Vancouver, here we come!



Our Top Recommendations in Victoria

Cora for breakfast or lunch (Richmond and Vancouver)

Discovery Coffee

Hide + Seek Coffee

British Columbia Parliament Buildings

Crust Bakery

Red Fish Blue Fish

Hatley Castle grounds

Craigdarroch Castle grounds

Urban Bee Honey Farm

{Ready for another adventure? Follow along as we explore Nova Scotia and O’ahu, Hawaii!

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