Victoria, British Columbia: I like you.

Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine SmithLast month we traveled to Beautiful British Columbia (that’s what it says on their license plates but it’s actually true!). The main purpose of the trip was to visit friends, particularly those with wee ones. We would spend ten days traveling around to see all of the people. We flew into Vancouver, spent our first night with a friend (more about that later) and then the following morning, we were heading to Vancouver Island. Before we set out on our journey, we stopped at JJ Bean to get some muffins that were the size of my head (Thanks Vanessa for the recommendation). To get to the island, we took a Pacific Coach from the train station in Vancouver. The cost for the bus plus ferry was about $40 each. The bus went all of the way onto the ferry where we then got off of it so we could hang out on said ferry.
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith

I am a big fan of ferries and of being on the water. I loved seeing the mansions houses on the various islands like you see above. I think I saw some seals from the window and apparently sometimes you can see dolphins. The ferry ride is 95-minutes and there are lots of options for food and drink on it. There’s also an arcade. Ask Josh about that.

We took the ferry to Swartz Bay which is where the ferry terminal is. Our luggage was there waiting for us when we walked off the ferry and it was easy-peasy. From there we took a Victoria city bus ($2.50 each) closer to town before our friend picked us up. You can also take the Pacific Coach all the way into town (we will do that next time).
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine SmithWe spent most of our time on Vancouver Island staying at our friends’ in East Sooke. They live right near the East Sooke Regional Park and it was gorgeous. I was slightly obsessed with the rufous hummingbirds that kept coming to the feeder. I was equally obsessed with seeing what the tide had left on the beach…
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine SmithBut more so… I was completely fascinated by the tide pools here. Never before had I ever seen creatures like this. They didn’t look real and I went a little bit crazy with my macro lens one them. The anemones here are awesome.
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith

On our first morning in East Sooke, Josh and I decided to go for a run in the park. On our way back, I saw this sign. Cougars?! Say what?! I have no experience with said animals, growing up in Ontario and all so Kristen gave me the low-down: you won’t see a cougar unless it wants you to see it and never run away from one. If you do see it, basically act like a wild person so that it will think that you aren’t worth it’s time. Noted.Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine SmithAfter a lovely time in the country where our cell phones had not reception, we headed to Victoria to spend twenty-four hours (this seems to be what we do, remember twenty-four hours in Havana?). Since we had just left Toronto, better known as the city-where-winter-did-not-seem-to-have-an-end, I was very excited to see all of the flower blooming here. What a pretty city!
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine SmithVictoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine SmithSince our hotel room wasn’t ready when we arrived, we hit up the liquor store to see what magical beers we could buy here that weren’t available in Ontario. Verdict: most of them.
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine SmithWe wanted to stay at a nice hotel downtown and we ended up at the Hotel Rialto. Let me tell you, this place is great. It’s a relatively new hotel where they do everything right plus it was inexpensive. Upon checking in, they gave us a couple of vouchers: one for a cheese platter that evening at their bar and two for coffee & a pastry in the morning. Awesome. Even better was that the hotel bar – Veneto – was on the top of our list for places to visit since Josh knows the manager. We were served awesome cocktails including one that surprisingly had bitters in it that was made by a friend of ours in Toronto. Oh Canada, you are such a small place!
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine SmithMy photo friends, Jenna & Tristan met us here. The plan was to have a drink before heading to dinner but one drink became three. They were just so good. The plan for dinner was Little Jumbo. Jenna & Tristan raved about the place. Plus before our trip, Josh had read a cocktail book by the guys who run the place (#fanboy) so he was excited to see what they were doing there. I loved the space – it was pretty raw and dark. I also loved the menu. We ordered our own proteins (I had that incredible tuna) and then vegetables to share . They plated it all together and I loved the presentation.
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine SmithAfter having such great cocktails and food at arguably two of the best places in Victoria, we decided to have one more drink at a place that was the opposite to our experience: somewhere dank & dirty where we could have cheap bottles of beer. We headed to Big Bad John’s which was the perfect way to end off an awesome night.
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine SmithThe following morning we got up early to meet another photo friend, Liz with her two boys for brunch. She had suggested a few places to us and we had decided to go to Jam Cafe. We got there early and it was immediately that brunch episode of Portlandia. The line up was long but it was worth the wait: my eggs benedict was delicious.
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith

After brunch, we headed to the beach where I took some photos of Liz with her boys (always the photographer, rarely is she photographed!). She then turned the camera on us which was great and nerve-wracking.
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine SmithLiz then gave us a ride to the ferry (visiting cities with friends who have cars rules!) and we headed back to the mainland. Next up on our adventure: we would conquer Vancouver.
Victoria, British Columbia | Jessica Blaine Smith

3 thoughts on “Victoria, British Columbia: I like you.

  1. Never have a group of 7-12 year olds been so enamored with Guitar Hero as they were after my dazzling performance of “Sabotage.”

  2. Loved this entry. Matt and I are moving to BC in the fall, and we hope that eventually we might end up on the island…he’s a surf junky… You made the place very enticing. Love the details and humor 🙂

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