7 Sustainable Things to do in the Garden City

7 Sustainable Things to do in the Garden City

Victoria, B.C. is a city on the west coast of Canada deeply connected with its environment. Known as the Garden City, Greater Victoria is famous for its mild climate, incredible flora and fauna, stretching seaside views, and crystal-clean coastal air. Paying homage to the region’s stunning surroundings, there’s no shortage of environmentally-conscious, sustainable things to do when visiting!

In fact, Victoria takes responsible travel to a whole new level by working in concert with local businesses, hotels, and attractions that share the same commitment to sustainability. And the efforts show – many of Victoria’s hotels and businesses are Biosphere Certified

It’s easy and enjoyable to make a positive impact while travelling to this destination – let us show you how! Read on for our list of 7 sustainable things to do in Victoria. 

1. Stay at one of Victoria’s Many Sustainable Hotels

When it comes to sustainability, Victoria’s hotels lead by example! The Parkside Hotel & Spa, Fairmont Empress, Huntingdon Manor, Chateau Victoria, and Robin Hood Inn & Suites are some of the many Biosphere Certified or Committed hotels in Victoria giving back to our destination with every stay.  

Choosing accommodation that honours social, economic, and environmental accreditations, such as Biosphere, helps you play your part as a responsible tourist with ease, comfort, and even luxury! Rest peacefully knowing that your travel experience is giving back to the community, the environment, and beyond. 

2. Go Whale Watching

Start the morning off right with a breath of fresh air – ocean air, that is! Connecting with Victoria’s awe inspiring marine creatures and oceanic environment is made easy, with the help of fantastic whale-watching tour providers. 

Prince of Whales and Eagle Wing Whale and Wildlife Watching Tours are two of such providers, committed to protecting whales, marine life, and healthy oceans. Everything they do is for the betterment of wildlife, giving back to conservation projects around British Columbia as well as Victoria’s local communities. 

Hop in one of their vessels for an adrenaline-pumping, fully-guided whale watching experience. Seeing majestic orcas and humpback whales breach the sea will remind you of why you’ve committed to protecting this incredible planet. 

Interested in a different type of aquatic experience? Check out South Island SUP. SUP stands for “stand-up paddleboarding” and is a local favourite in our blue backyard. Head out on a rental, take a lesson, or explore via a guided tour – it’s a great way to see marine wildlife while getting your exercise in!

3. Farm to Fork, Sea to Spoon, Boat to Bowl

If you’ve never heard these terms, you will after eating at one of Victoria’s local restaurants! The city’s expert chefs take advantage of the bounty of the island’s surrounding coastal waters and rich farming regions, resulting in food and drink that are uniquely West Coast.  

Locally-sourced and island-inspired flavours live in restaurants such as Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods, Niche Grocerant, Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, and more. Seafood—particularly salmon and shellfish—can be caught fresh from Pacific waters and is a staple of West Coast cuisine. 

Locally made wines, ciders, craft beer and spirits also decorate the drink menus of virtually everywhere you go in Victoria. The city boasts the most restaurants, eateries, pubs, and bars per person in Canada, so you’ll be spoiled for choice on this vacation!

4. Explore on foot or two wheels!

As one of Canada’s most walkable AND bikeable cities, in this destination, you won’t necessarily be needing a car rental.  

Stretch your legs and take in Victoria’s old-world charm and beautiful Victorian-era architecture. Feel the warm sunshine on your skin, breathe in the salty coastal air, and delight in wildlife sightings in the heart of the city (peacocks, deer, and river otters to name some of the few!). 

Exploring by foot is easy – charming neighbourhoods such as Beacon Hill Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Canada’s First Chinatown are all close-by and accessible by foot, even on the same day. 

Wanting to go further? Feel the wind in your hair and explore the region via bike or eBike. Hop on one Victoria’s many bike networks and begin your gentle cruise – we recommend the Lochside Trail or the Galloping Goose.

5. Take a City Tour – from the Skies!

Whether on-foot, sailing the sea, or by air, there are so many unique ways to explore the grand beauty of Victoria. Get a bird’s eye view of the city in an unforgettable sightseeing experience – by seaplane! 

A classic panorama air tour above Victoria will give you spectacular overhead vistas of the Olympic Peninsula, the Strait of Georgia, and many of the region’s iconic landmarks. A progressive, local company to book this experience with is Harbour Air, North America’s first fully carbon-neutral airline. 

Carbon neutral since 2007, Harbour Air has been an industry leader when it comes to sustainability. They take green operations to new heights, even piloting the world’s first all-electric commercial aircraft. Harbour Air hopes to begin their first commercial flights aboard the ePlane in 2023 – an incredible accomplishment!

6. Experience Indigenous Culture

Greater Victoria is honoured to be based on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen-speaking and WSANEC peoples, whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day. You can learn about their incredible culture and traditions by booking a walking or canoe tour by Explore Songhees

Tip: If you’d like to learn more about the area’s Indigenous history, see if you can find all seven Signs of the Lekwungen site-markers in the city. You can also consider supporting the Indigenous led, owned, or inspired businesses while you’re in town!

7. Blooms Away in the Garden City

They don’t call Victoria the Garden City for nothing! Between the 1250 hanging baskets that adorn the downtown core, to the region’s consistent, mild climate, some of Canada's most admired gardens take bloom here.

One of the world’s most renown gardens, The Butchart Gardens, is just a short drive or bike-ride away from downtown. The 100+ year old Butchart Gardens are a stunning sight to see, while also implementing an impressive list of environmental initiatives. Recycling and composting programs, and extensive use of manual, mechanical and non-chemical weed control methods are behind this otherworldly flower haven. You must “grow” here!

We hope that exploring Victoria sustainably is in your future travel plans! Head over to Greater Victoria’s Biosphere webpage to find even more sustainable attractions in this city.

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