Victoria Day, May 21, is approaching swiftly and where better to do it up than Victoria? Just a few hours away via BC Ferries, and only 30 minutes by plane, Victoria is Vancouver’s simultaneously quirky and elegant island neighbour.
Named after British Monarch Queen Victoria, BC’s capital boasts a massive parade and a number of Brit-themed activities to that allow celebrants to give Victoria Day the royal treatment it deserves.
Find out more about Victoria’s Island Farms Victoria Day Parade and other local happenings after the jump.
Island Farms Victoria Day Parade promises to be better than ever this year with all the enthusiasm for they city’s 150th anniversary, which also takes place this summer. 143 floats, bands and other attractions have signed up for the parade to celebrate the queen and their city. Expect a competition for best period costume as well as an appearance by Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin stationed at the front of the proceedings.
Up to 120,000 spectators turn out to watch the festivities. The parade starts from Mayfair Shopping Centre at 9am and proceeds down Douglas Street, finishing at the intersection of Douglas and Humboldt in the downtown core.
If you arrive before Victoria Day, you may also be interested in the 149th annual Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival May 19-20 in Topaz Park. Tame highland dancing and bagpipe playing exists alongside log tossing and other extreme, old world sports by men in kilts.
What else can you do in Victoria to step up your royal game? Try a Prince of Whales Whale Watching tour, offering sights of Southern Resident Orcas and Minke whales around this time of year.
If you’re feeling more sedate and peckish, head to the grand, waterfront Fairmont Empress and take afternoon tea. The legendary Empress pours 1.6 million cups of afternoon tea a year to accompany their tiered tray of finger sandwiches, scones, and miniature cakes.
The Royal BC Museum also offers an educational “royal” experience with 7 million artifacts and specimens in the collections. Find out how the fur trade forever changed the lives of BC’s First Peoples or climb aboard Capt. Vancouver’s ship and visit with indigenous wildlife.
Find out more about how to get from Vancouver to Victoria here.