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.
Morning: Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse
A 6-min drive from the coffee house, and you will arrive at Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse on Fort Rodd Hill Road. It is a west coast artillery fortress on active duty from 1895 to 1956 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 the Fisgard Lighthouse. It was built in 1860 as the first permanent lighthouse on Canada’s west coast.
Fun Fact: 12 people (including 1 woman) served as keepers of the light at Fisgard Lighthouse between 1860 and 1928.
From October 16-April 30: They are open from 10am-4pm every day (Fisgard Lighthouse & Historic Buildings open on Saturday & Sunday only)
From May 1-October 15: They are open from 10am-5pm every day including the Fisgard Lighthouse & Historic Buildings
The admission fee for Adult: $7.90, Senior: $6.60 and Youth: FREE
Physical distancing is in practice and they strongly encourage people to wear masks in the indoor public space.
*Onsite parking is available.
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.
You must purchase tickets online in advance. Don’t forget your masks when visiting.
Admission for Adult: $18.52, Senior: $17.46, Student: $12.69, and Child: $7.91
They are open from Wednesday-Sunday 10am-4:30pm with the last tour beginning at 4pm.
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: The Bateman Foundation
A 9-minute drive will take you to the Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature in the Steamship Terminal from the Castle. The founder of The Bateman Foundation is Robert Bateman. He is a Canadian artist and naturalist who is passionate about nature and committed to ecology and preservation.
The gallery aims to promote the artistic and cultural legacy of nature-inspired artists. It also hosts the largest collection of original and rare works by Robert Bateman and a rotation of other nature-inspired exhibits. Stop by the gallery and connect with nature through the remarkable artworks.
Admission is by donation. Don’t forget to wear your masks when visiting.
They are open from Tuesday-Saturday 11am-4pm. Late night opening on third Thursday of the month, 4:30pm-7pm.
*Plenty of 90-minute street parking available on Belleville Street.
Afternoon Stop 3: Tally-Ho Carriage Tours
Just across the Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature, you will find Tally-Ho Carriage Tours on the corner of Belleville and Menzies Street. 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. Go book a tour to learn more about Victoria’s culture on a horse-drawn carriage ride. Don’t forget to say hi to their lovely horses.
Fun Fact: Delilah (one of the horses) has earned a Gold Star for being the fastest horse on Victoria’s Streets.
They are open from Friday-Sunday 12pm-6pm (weather dependent)
They are currently closed until November 26, 2020.
Check out this site map of Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse 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.