Monday, July 21, 2014


As I mentioned in my last post, I believe that the (3) iconic places in Victoria are, the Empress Hotel (this photo) Butchart Gardens featured on my last post and of course the beautiful Parliament buildings. The Empress is so beautiful however when I post travel tips I try and post the bargain places and the Empress is definitely not a bargain place - more like a great place to celebrate special times like a special birthday, anniversary, etc.  Afternoon tea at the Empress is amazing but a little pricey. Here is the current afternoon tea menu:


Fresh Strawberries with Empress Cream
Smoked Salmon Pinwheel with Dill Cream Cheese
Roasted Bone In Ham with Tarragon Dijonnaise
Free Range Egg Salad Croissant
Cucumber & Ginger Mascarpone on Butter Brioche
 Moroccan Spiced Coronation Chicken on Marble Rye

Freshly Baked Raisin Scone with Strawberry Jam & Empress Cream

Pistachio Raspberry Dacquoise
Tropical Fruit Lamington
Earl Grey Mascarpone Tea Cup
Valrhona Chocolate Cremeux Tart
CitrusVanilla Shortbread


Complementing our world renowned Afternoon Tea,
Royal Tea offers an additional tier of three local Salt Spring Island cheeses,
a glass of tawny port and fresh honey harvested from
the honeycombs of Chef’s honey garden.
An additional $30 per person

Sumac Ridge Stellar’s Jay Brut $14
Villa Teresa Prosecco $14
Cipes Rose Pinot Noir Brut $16

Children are half price and they do offer a senior rate of $29.95.  My husband is not a "tea" kinda guy but he will have tea on Vancouver Island because he knows that pleases me and also that it is a tradition. If tea is not your thing and you are not staying at the Empress and just want to see this lovely place then I would suggest going to the hotel and having a drink or two at the beautiful Bengal Lounge.

Parking can be a problem in the old part of Victoria but there is public parking on the west side of the Empress. They also serve lunch and dinner in the lounge. Beautiful place to relax after some shopping/sight seeing in Victoria.  I might suggest that the Grand Grapefruit Cosmo is pretty darned good. Also remember all prices are in Canadian dollars and depending on the exchange we do get the benefit of having a little stronger dollar. The cash registers in Vancouver and Victoria are set up to give you change using American dollar exchange rate. It is not necessary get Canadian money.  Watch out for those Loonies and Toonies - which is the nickname for the $1 and $2 coins - it's easy to leave way too much tip! The Toonie is gold in the center. The Loonie came first - it has a picture of the common loon on the coin and when they came out with the $2 coin later, well, it very quickly became the Toonie!

Lots of ways to get around the historic district from hop-on, hop-off buses to trolley and carriage tours.  The clippity-clop of horses hooves is a summer sound in Victoria. Once again, this is not an inexpensive way to see the city - 30 Minutes will run you  $100 and if you want to really have a long nostalgic ride it will cost you $225.

A much less expensive option is one of the hop-on, hop-off buses. This particular bus for a one day pass is $29 adults, $25 seniors and for a two day $37 & $32. Great way to see this historic city.
 A particular favorite this trip was a visit to The Robert Bateman Centre.  It was not open the last time we visited Victoria so we were eager to see the gallery. If you don't know who Robert Bateman is, he is a Canadian wildlife artist, nature painter and environmentalist.  I think of him as a Canadian Robert Redford but his art is not making movies but making beautiful paintings.  I gave my husband a print of his famous buffalo painting entitled "Chief." The tour does not take long, the cost is $12.50 adults and $8.50 seniors.  It was so wonderful to see so much of his original art work.  Another clever thing that they have done is that when the art work has a bird in the painting you can press a button and hear the sound of the bird.  My husband and I were alone in one of the rooms and did simulcast bird noises! The center is located on the harbor across from the Empress in the old Steamship building. There is a gift shop downstairs as well as a restaurant (not part of the Centre) and a Starbucks. We had a cool drink on the patio of the restaurant and watched the boats and water taxis. 

The many pubs are great places to eat and they too can be a little pricy but if you are looking for a less expensive meal we had dinner one night at The Old Spaghetti Factory which was very good and simply dripping with hanging baskets of beautiful flowers as are all the businesses in the historic district.  I also need to mention, if you don't want to wait in the summer, make a reservation, even at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  Our last trip was in March of last year and reservations were not necessary.

Last but certainly not least are the beautiful, historic Parliament buildings. I apologize for not getting a better photo and for the wires that were attached to some repair items but these buildings are simply beautiful.  Located adjacent to the Empress and looking right at the harbor. They offer several different tours, unless you are taking a group tour reservations are not necessary.  Here is a link to their webpage: Parliament Tours
They also have a small gift shop and this is a great place to find reasonable souvenirs.

Thank you for stopping by.


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