Lower Johnson Street (LoJo) is the place to go for trendy boutique shopping in a picture-perfect setting. Also known as the epicentre of fashion, LoJo is lined with independent fashion and accessory shops.
Every shopping trip starts with a good caffeine pick-me-up. Hit local hot spot, Hey Happy Coffee for a cashew latte using only the finest Northwest roasted beans. Then make your way to Baggins Shoes, which lays claim to having the largest selection of Converse shoes in the world. Still can’t find the perfect pair? Lucky for you, you can order up a custom pair with any print you can imagine.
Head in to Market Square, where at the entrance you’ll find Oscar and Libby’s — specializing in gifts for the upbeat and offbeat. In other words, if you’re after a tea infuser shaped like a guitar or an ice cube tray of sea creatures, this is your spot.
Market Square itself dates from the 1880s and was built while Victoria was a raucous boom town. The square once housed the hotels, saloons and shops where sailors, miners and Chinese merchants worked and played. Market Square is still full of action, but is now home to tamer affairs — including several major events each year.
Running along the Inner Harbour and straight through the core of downtown Victoria, Government Street is a fantastic place to enjoy shopping and while taking in some of Victoria’s distinct architecture.
You’re sure to find the perfect souvenir (and something for yourself) at Artina’s Jewellery, which offers the world’s largest selection of Canadian hand-crafted jewellery. Keep an eye out for nearby Cowichan Trading and Sasquatch Trading Ltd., where you can find authentic Indigenous arts, crafts, jewellery, and moccasins.
In need of a little energy boost? Treat yourself to a stop at Chocolats Favoris for a chocolate dipped ice cream cone that will blow your mind. Chocolate lovers unite!
Fabulous Fort Street runs through the heart of downtown and is home to all kinds of shops and eateries. Once known for its auction houses and antiques, it’s now abuzz with independent cafés, delis, bookstores, art galleries, bakeries, tech hubs and yoga joints.
Pick up a sweet treat at The Dutch Bakery & Diner, then be sure to leave yourself ample time to wander through Russell Books, a book-lovers paradise, where you will find books literally stacked floor to ceiling, three stories high.
VICTORIA PUBLIC MARKET
If you’re looking for a unique handcrafted good, get thee to the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson. Once home to an iconic department store, now you can enjoy a “raw” market feel while shopping a diverse range of handcrafted goods and farm fresh locally sourced artisan foods.
Make a stop at Whisk to find colourful kitchenware for your next feast or family dinner. Next, try The Very Good Butchers for a wide range of vegan options (think vegan sausage rolls, roast beef, burgers and more)!
No visit to the Market would be complete without a wander over to Roast, where you can watch juicy roast beef and porchetta sliced right before your eyes. Sit down and indulge in a sandwich while enjoying one of the frequent live music acts.
Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada and boasts a seriously intriguing past: from the rough and tumble days of the gold rush to whispers of ghosts and gamblers.
These days, Fisgard Street is lined with fruit and produce vendors, restaurants and trendy galleries. A popular lunch spot, taste your way through yummy dim sum at Don Mee Seafood Restaurant.
Stop by Silk Road Tea for a full tea experience, explore the selection of hard-blended teas at their unique tasting bar before picking out a favourite. Tip: You can never go wrong with bestsellers Angelwater (a blend of peppermint and rose petals) or Sour Cherry Green Tea.
No visit to Chinatown is complete without a stroll down Fan Tan Alley. The country’s narrowest street once was home to getaway passes and opium dens, a tad tamer today, you will find over a dozen curious shops and one-of-a-kind boutiques.
If you’re after a one-stop shop, head to one of Victoria’s many shopping centres. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, The Bay Centre offers a large variety of clothing and jewellery stores, as well as a large food court.
Located just outside of the downtown core but easily accessible are Mayfair Shopping Centre featuring a number of fashion and unique retailers, and Uptown Centre an outdoor plaza with a mix of international brands and local boutiques.