It’s been a while since we made our way to Vancouver Island and we decided to extend two client meetings into a weekend getaway and it was just what we needed. The quick hour and a half flight got us away from an early snowfall in Calgary to spring-like conditions in Victoria.

STAY: We had the pleasure of staying at the gorgeous Oak Bay Beach Hotel and it was spectacular. This gorgeous luxury boutique resort is nestled on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and overlooks the Juan de Fuca Strait. We had a breathtaking ocean view and the service was top notch. Always a a good sign when you see a set of the golden keys on the lapel of the first person to greet you at the door. We also stopped in at the newly renovated Fairmont Empress Hotel and it’s still as magical as we remember.

 

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EAT: We’re not typically a fan of hotel food but the chicken wings at The Snug Pub at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel were delicious – so good we went back twice. Grab a coffee and pastries at Ottavio on Oak Bay Drive and for lunch – make your way to the legendary Pagliacci’s where owner Joe sits at top the dining room and greets guests the good old fashioned Italian way – by yelling. The focaccia bread is worth the trip. We had happy hour cocktails and snacks at trendy Sherwood Cafe and Bar (the house radler went down really nice!) and dinner at the Breakwater Tasting Room where we reconnected with Chef Israel Alvarez who is grinding heirloom corn to make the most amazing tacos and tostadas and serving up outstanding Mexican cuisine. No visit to the Island is complete without a pit stop for some fish and chips at Red Fish Blue Fish. We didn’t have to stand in line too long this time around – but it’s worth the wait no matter what. Get a small cup of chowder to enjoy while you wait…

 

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SHOP: Didn’t do a lot of shopping on this trip but did notice a lot of consignment stores and vintage shops in Oak Bay and Downtown.

SEE: Whale watching was on the itinerary thanks to our good friend Jay…Eagle Wing Tours was absolutely outstanding and since it was very chilly out – the option of being inside or outside was awesome. We saw whales, sea otters and even a couple bald eagles. Definitely a highlight of the trip – but dress accordingly…It was COLD out there.

 

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