Retro Weekend Trip to Victoria, BC

Travel Diary

We jumped at the chance to accept a house sitting gig in Victoria for two weeks. We used to live in Victoria before we moved to the UK for two years. Now we are back on Vancouver Island but we wanted to check out Victoria and see what has changed.

Mom agreed to drive us down to Victoria and we made a little trip out of it. We stayed at Hotel Zed which is an old motel that got fixed up with a retro style and lots of funky colours. It's a good way to revamp an old motel.
Hotel Zed has embraced the retro look of the hotel by making it look like a hotel out of the 1970s or something. They had an old rotary phone in the room and also a guide on how to use it. 
The shuttle bus at the hotel was appropriately a 1970s VW Bus. We got a ride downtown towards Chinatown. We were having fun riding in the old VW.
We got dropped off and walked over to the Victoria Public Market.
We wanted to get some food from the Very Good Butchers which is a bizarrely named vegan deli. They make delicious vegan sandwiches using vegan meat that they make in shop. Their menu board says that they butcher beans in case you were wondering what exactly they butcher.
We tried one of their very good burgers and the roast beast sandwich along with their mac and cheez. Everything tasted great. I wouldn't say that the burger and roast beast tastes identical to meat, it just tastes delicious in it's own right.
We decided to head over to Chinatown since the VW shuttle bus driver told us that it was worth checking out Tan Pan Alley which is something we weren't really sure we had ever seen before. We haven't really explored Victoria's Chinatown in the past.

It's not a very large Chinatown but it is the oldest Chinatown in Canada.
There are a lot of cool decorations and a big Chinatown gate.

We managed to find Fan Tan Alley.

There was a little record shop called Turn Table which we took a short look inside. The have a lot of old records and mostly classic rock it seemed.
Next we started walking back in the Hotel Zed direction. We spotted some street art which we like to take pictures of. It's like going to an art gallery but it's free and often the artists are more talented.
We walked past the Philips Brewery which is a local brewery in Victoria.
We stopped in for a minute since we figured we might as well. They have very colourful designs on all their stuff. They also make soda if beer is not your thing.
We walked all the way back to the hotel since it was such an awesome day. The plan was to make use of the free bikes at the hotel and ride along the nearby Galloping Goose Trail.
It took us awhile to get the bikes and to get our seats adjusted properly.
We were having a laugh and we hadn't even left the parking lot yet. Our helmets were a bit ridiculous. And mom didn't know how to get off the bike.
The galloping goose trail was pretty close to the hotel. The hotel staff told us how to get there and we had very little problems finding it.
The views of the trail are fantastic. It was a perfect day outside but I'm sure it would be great on a cloudy day as well. The bridge over to Esquimalt is the best part of the ride.
We remembered Kayaking in the water around here a few years back and it was great.
We were happy we decided to ride bikes. If you are in Victoria we'd recommend a bike ride as an activity for sure.

The retro style bikes were pretty cool and matched the Hotel Zed theme. I wonder if people could tell we were Hotel Zed guests.

We finished off our bike ride and returned the bikes to the hotel.
Hotel Zed has a swimming pool, hot tub and a waterslide so we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying all that. It was very relaxing to sit in the hot tub. Back in the room we noticed that there was not only a bible but a book of the teachings of Budda. That's new.
For dinner we got some burritos from Tacofino. They have a vegan burrito which wasn't on the menu board. I asked for the vegetarian burrito to be made vegan and he said he'd just make a vegan burrito and listed off a bunch of ingredients. It sounded great so we got that.
The burritos were huge. We had picked up some chips and salsa from the store but I think they were unnecessary. Of course we ate it all anyway.
It's difficult to get a good shot of a burrito. There was lots of great stuff in there.
The next day we started off with a trip to Fisherman's Wharf to show off all the cool house boats to Mom as she had never seen it before. Fisherman's wharf is a great tourist attraction. Just be mindful, people do live here.
Mom had a great time watching the seals and seeing all the cool house boats.
Afterwards we went to Famoso which has Neapolitan style pizza. The have vegan cheese there. Daiya is the kind of vegan cheese they use. The building Famoso is in looks really nice because it has these massive windows. It looks cool.
They have a lunch special where you can get a personal pizza or pizzetta and a salad for $11.50 which is probably the cheapest thing on the menu to have for lunch.

We both got ours with mushrooms, lots and lots of mushrooms.
For dessert we headed over to Green Cuisine which is probably one of the longest running vegan restaurants we've ever been to. It's been around forever and they make great desserts.

Here we have a cheesecake, white and dark chocolate cake and another awesome cake but I forget what kind it is at the minute.
Mom had to ride back home so she left us. We decided to wander around Victoria some more.
We made sure to get pictures of the totem poles near the Royal BC Museum.
The museum is great if you ever get a chance to check it out.
We have both gone many times through the years and depending on what it showing on the IMAX and what travelling exhibit is there we will go back from time to time.
The Legislature is another key landmark of Victoria. You can go on tours of the inside which we have done in the past.

One of the big sights of Victoria is Beacon Hill Park. It a great place for a walk.
We do some of our best thinking and talking while we go for a walk.

We made it up to a view point where you could look out at the water. You can see far.

We went to my sister and her boyfriend's place and my sister made us some dinner. It was delicious. We hung out with them and we stayed the night.
In the morning we got a message from a friend that got us a job with Elections BC for the upcoming election. We had to get to the office and sign some paperwork. Temp jobs are what we like as we value our freedom to travel.

Afterwards we went to the place we are going to be living for the next couple weeks to cat sit this little kitty. She is our new roomate for the next two weeks.
We had a great time in Victoria with Mom so we are glad she gave us a ride. We think that she had a lot of fun too. Especially the bike ride which she was very skeptical about. Victoria has changed a bit but it's also very familiar. It's interesting coming back to a place after a couple years and seeing it fresh like we did with Vancouver before.

If you like reading about our time in Victoria then you might like our post on How We Visited Nineteen Different Countries in Two Years to learn about what we did the last two years living outside of Canada.


  1. Sounds like a great weekend and I love the decor & shuttle bus at Hotel Zed, looks like a fun place to stay!

    1. Yeah the hotel was a funky place to stay. We had a great time.

  2. The hotel looks totally quirky! I love the retro styling! The cherry blossoms in the China Town looks just so gorgeous and so are the street art! Biking around this place sounds so much fun!

    1. We love the spring cherry blossoms. They are so beautiful. We had a great time biking around on our retro style bikes from the hotel.

  3. Looks like a fun trip! I especially love that hotel. Most hotels nowadays look pretty much the same, so it is always cool to find something unique and different. China Town looks nice too.

    1. Yeah we picked it because it stood out from the rest. We loved the bikes! China town is always fun to walk through.

  4. That looks like a perfect weekend. The Chinatown is indeed amazing. What is that tree with all that pink. So beautiful.

    1. That tree is a cherry blossom. They are all over the city. Just beautiful aren't they?

  5. I loved the looks from that trail. And the hotel looks really retro. So does the town itself. Plus an old records shop nearby..I would love to visit here sometimes

  6. I love the look of Hotel Zed - all those retro features are amazing! I'd love to visit Victoria, it looks pretty fun. I've never even been to Canada though, so looks like I need a trip!

    1. It was a great place. We were happy we stayed there. Victoria is a great city. We enjoy visiting.

  7. Despite its urbanity, Victoria seems to be a really charming place. Would definitely love biking around there. And seeing the rotary phone is like being injected with a needle of nostalgia. We had one like that at my parent's home. :)

    1. We had a lot of fun biking around. The hotel was a lot of fun to stay at.

  8. I love finding funky places to stay like hotel zed. I also love exploring cities by bike. I feel like I would enjoy Victoria just as much as you all did.

    1. Victoria is a great city for biking around. It even has bike lanes on major roads which is great!


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