Victoria’s Culture Day: Explore the Past, Live in the Present, and Embrace the Future
Victoria’s culture is very diverse and fascinating with the influences of the Indigenous culture, the British and Asian traditions. You can experience those influences through museums, heritage sites, galleries, and architecture in Victoria. Take a look at this day guide and plan a cultural trip. You can then immerse yourself in the rich history of Victoria, and learn more about Victoria’s culture.
Breakfast: Pilgrim Coffee House
Let’s start the day in a local coffee shop in Colwood. Pilgrim Coffee House serves delicious pastries and coffee in a friendly atmosphere. It is a 20-minute drive from Downtown Victoria. It is also a 40-minute bus ride (no. 50 Langford) with a bus stop right by the coffee house on Sooke Road.
They are open from Monday-Saturday 8am-4pm.
A 6-min drive from the coffee house, and you will arrive at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites on Ocean Boulevard/Fort Rodd Hill road.
Fort Rodd Hill, a 19th-century west coast artillery fortress on active duty from 1895 to 1956, was part of a coastal defense system set to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base. At Fort Rodd Hill, you can tour through secret bunkers and military command posts. While you’re there, walk further towards the coast to check out Fisgard Lighthouse. It was built in 1860 as the first permanent lighthouse on Canada’s west coast and is still in operation today.
Fun Fact: 12 lighthouse keepers (and sometimes their wives) manned Fisgard Lighthouse between 1860 and 1928.
To learn more and prepare for your visit: https://parks.canada.ca/lhn-nhs/bc/fortroddhill
For hours of operations visit: parks.canada.ca/lhn-nhs/bc/fortroddhill/visit/heures-hours
For admission information: parks.canada.ca/lhn-nhs/bc/fortroddhill/visit/tarifs-fees
Note: admission for youth 17 and young is FREE
*Onsite parking is available and is free
Afternoon Stop 1: Craigdarroch Castle
Let’s head back to town to continue the cultural journey. A 25-minute drive will bring you to the Craigdarroch Castle on Joan Crescent from Fort Rodd Hill. Between 1887 and 1890, coal baron Robert Dunsmuir ordered to build Craigdarroch Castle, the legendary Victorian mansion. He was once the richest and most important man in Western Canada. Unfortunately, he passed away before the completion of the castle, leaving his wife Joan the entire property to live in until her death in 1908.
Craigdarroch Castle was also once a military hospital, a college and a music conservatory before being repurposed as a historical museum in 1979. It has been a National Historic Site of Canada since 1992. At Craigdarroch Castle, you can learn the history, admire the arts and architecture, and have a glimpse of the privileged life in the 1890s.
Fun Fact: Craigdarroch Castle is quite popular in the filming industry. Quite a few movies were filmed in or around Craigdarroch Castle, such as The Boy, Little Women, and The Doctor’s Case.
Visit Craigdarroch Castle’s website for hours and admission information.
Warm reminder: There are no ramps or elevators in Craigdarroch Castle (four-floor historic house museum with 87 steps up the grand oak staircase), thus, it is not wheelchair accessible.
*Onsite parking is available.
Afternoon Stop 2: Royal BC Museum or Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Located in the heart of downtown Victoria, the Royal BC Museum is a perfect next stop on your adventure.
For the first time ever, the Royal BC Museum is hosting four incredible exhibitions at the same time. From prehistoric beasts to ancient civilizations, these exhibitions are a journey through the ages.
Angkor: The Lost Empire of Cambodia is a bona fide blockbuster about a spiritual, cultural and architectural marvel. Dinosaurs of BC, an incredible in-house exhibition showcasing the ground- breaking work of our palaeontological team, is a natural companion to SUE: The T. rex Experience, the story of one of the most fearsome prehistoric predators. Sacred Journey, available free to everyone on the museum’s main floor, is a beautiful and reverent look at the resurgence of traditional Indigenous ocean-going canoes.
While you’re here, don’t forget to explore BC’s past and present in the Natural History Gallery, and see what’s on showing on the biggest screen in the province at IMAX® Victoria.
And if you’re feeling peckish, there are also plenty of great food options on site at Sequoia Coastal Café, Soundbites Concession, and at the food trucks out back.
Or, depending on your preference, and if time permits, you may wish to visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
Located a short walk from downtown, and nestled in the lovely tree-lined neighbourhood of Rockland, the AGGV has been building an art collection for almost 70 years. It showcases contemporary art, significant works produced in this region, and art that represents Victoria’s histories.
Afternoon Stop 3: Tally-Ho Carriage Tours
Across from the Legislature at the corner of Belleville and Menzies, you will find Tally-Ho Carriage Tours. Tally-Ho is a small, family-owned and operated business started in 1903. They offer charming, relaxing and personalized horse-drawn carriage experiences.
Tally-Ho started as a transportation company between 1903 and the 1970s, then it transformed into a tour company to create unforgettable memories for visitors and locals. Since the beginning of their business, they have always been dedicated to ensuring the balanced health of their horses. No matter if it is a 15-minute short and sweet tour to a 90-minute premier tour, Tally-Ho has got you covered. Learn more about Victoria’s culture on a horse-drawn carriage ride, and don’t forget to say hi to their lovely horses.
Please visit Tally-Ho’s website for hours and admission.
Check out this site map of Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse NHS before or when you are visiting there to get familiar with the area.
Did you know that you can hold your wedding ceremony in this national historic site? Click here for more information.
Craigdarroch Castle is home to various events, check their event calendar for more details! They are currently hosting A Night At The Castle: Creepy Classic Movies in November. They are also hosting weddings and other events. Think about them when you’re planning your fantastic occasion.
Other than regular tours, Tally-Ho also offers custom tours like marriage proposals, romantic weddings, or honeymoons. If you need some ideas to make your special day even more exceptional, make sure you remember them.