Victoria: Where to Eat, Stay and Play
With its old English feel, stunning harbour and Instagram-friendly totem poles, Victoria has long been a popular spot for a picturesque, albeit sleepy, getaway.
But as publications such as Lonely Planet point out, a "quiet revolution" is underway in the provincial capital, as an increasingly young demographic fuels "the kind of brightly painted bohemian shops, coffee bars and innovative restaurants that would make any city proud."
Here's our handy guide on how to save while discovering (or rediscovering) the city you thought you knew.
Where to eat Ferris' Upstairs Seafood and Oyster Bar (pictured) is ranked by The Globe and Mail among the "five top foodie destinations" in the city. Dinner for two is $49 (reg. $81), featuring dishes like bouillabaisse and braised lamb shank in a warm, candlelit setting. Perro Negro gets a shout-out from Vogue Magazine as the "perfect hideaway" for Spanish fare. Travelzoo members get a generous selection of tapas for $39 (reg. $80).
Catalano Restaurant is the place to experience "Victoria's three main culinary passions: small plates, local ingredients, and Mediterranean flavours," according to Frommer's. Dinner for two is $49 (reg. $89).
What to do Victoria Butterfly Gardens (pictured) is home to 70 species in an indoor, jungle-like ecosystem. Other residents include tropical birds, flamingos, iguanas, macaws and turtles. Admission for two is $21 (reg. $35).
SpringTide Whale Watching's off-season Zodiac boat tours give passengers a chance to get close to the birds and mammals that inhabit the shoreline. They cost $66 (reg. $105).
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria houses 20,000 works of art inside a historic mansion built in 1889 and its seven adjacent galleries. Its Asian collection is especially impressive and is among the largest in Canada. Admission is free with a donation on the first Tuesday of every month.
Where to stay Harbour Towers Hotel (pictured) has suites starting at $109 most days from December through February. You'll be a block from the city's picturesque Inner Harbour, and the rate includes parking and breakfast delivered to your room. Travelzoo's hotel search has a number of Victoria options, some of which come with exclusive perks.
Have you been to Victoria? Did we miss any money-saving recommendations? Let us know in the comments below.