Story by Ryan Massel
Vacay.ca LGBTQ Columnist
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Since 2013, Victoria has held the title of “Most Romantic City in Canada” by Amazon.ca based on the sales of romance-focused products. Romantic movies and novels, relationship books, sexual wellness products and even engagement rings are part of the experience in this coastal city on the shores of the Pacific. Victoria’s residents and visitors have proven they are ultimately the hungriest for love.
So when it comes to a trip to Victoria, surrounded by the wild beauty of the ocean and old-growth rainforests and set against the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains, planning the perfect getaway for two is easy. With places to stay, activities to partake in, and adventures to be had, Victoria is ideal for you and the one you love.
Here are a few romantic ideas to help you get started in planning your weekend couples’ getaway during the cooler winter months.
Where to Stay in Victoria
The Inn at Laurel Point: This architecturally significant hotel located on the Inner Harbour point, and within walking distance from most major tourist attractions, has as much beauty on its exterior as it does glamorous comfort inside its Arthur Erickson-designed wing suites.
From its luxurious bathroom that included a giant soaker tub, double-sink vanity and plush bathrobes, to its oversized balcony overlooking the waterfront with a float-plane landing strip, the suite we stayed in held exceptional comforts that had us wanting to spend more time inside than expected.
To make your romantic getaway a little feistier, the Inn at Laurel Point also offers a “Naughty” or “Nice” package that includes sensual gifts, sweet treats, a rose petal-laden bed, and libations to loosen your inhibitions.
Dine on Vancouver Island’s Best
OLO: Don’t forget to make a reservation at this boutique restaurant for a late-night dinner and cocktails. With a food menu that is constantly changing, Chef Brad Holmes creates delicious sustainable dishes in response to what’s coming through the kitchen doors every day. He uses only the best ingredients available and works with farmers, fishermen and foragers to provide an experience that captures the essence of Vancouver Island.
OLO’s handcrafted seasonal cocktails showcase the best of the island’s products, and its bar program highlights the region’s bounty with an impressive selection of British Columbia distilleries, breweries, wineries and rare Canadian whiskeys. OLO even offers a unique cocktail that utilizes multiple brands of whiskey that are mixed together, barrelled, and aged in-house to create a spirit unlike any other.
What to Do in British Columbia’s Capital
The Pedaler: There’s no better way to enjoy the seasonably warm climate and fresh ocean air of Victoria than spending the better part of a day taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes during this four-hour culinary bike tour. As you and your loved one tour around with a knowledgeable local, you’ll be treated to a wide array of tasty treats as you stop and feast at local institutions that you probably wouldn’t have found on your own. Not only will you enjoy local fare, you’ll also get the inside scoop on the current happenings in Victoria as well as some intriguing heritage stories like how Canada’s oldest Chinatown came to be, and the sordid history of its famed Fan Tan Alley.
Cooking Class at Bon Macaron Patisserie: It’s time to roll up your sleeves as you learn to master the art of the delicate macaron during a three-hour hands-on class at this French patisserie. After a childhood of eating salted caramel macarons in France, owner Yann Fougere moved to Canada and decided to share his love for the sweet treat by opening up Bon Macaron. Unlike most other patisseries, Bon Macaron has not only perfected the classic flavours but also thinks wildly out of the box, creating more than 50 macarons.
There are flavours like Fuzzy Peach, Tiramisu, Chai Latte, Kir Royale, and even a play on an Oreo cookie that you will be encouraged to create during your class.
The best part? After you and your classmates create your unique flavours, you’ll divide the bounty and take a variety of 35-45 home with you — and because macarons can keep up to six weeks, you’ll have the perfect snack for romantic movie nights to come.
Tea at The Empress: For the past 108 years, The Empress has been serving High Tea in its sophisticated lobby. The tea, which includes Fairmont’s house-made signature Empress scones, pastries, clotted creams, and strawberry preserves with fresh lavender from the hotel’s rooftop herb garden is offered with a choice of 21 of the finest loose-leafs teas available. Featuring the original blend of The Empress Tea and the exceptionally rare Tong Mu Phoenix Lapsang Souchong blend, the tea list is completely ethically sourced and certified by the Ethical Tea Partnership.
Request the romantic sofa seat by the fireplace for the perfect place to cuddle as you spend quality time together.
Explore an Emerging Neighbourhood
Fernwood: This kitschy community is filled with artists and entrepreneurs who are breathing new life into this part of the city. Explore the vibrantly painted walls and stop for a mid-afternoon coffee date at the hippest java spot in the city, Fernwood Coffee’s Parsonage Cafe. Other must-sees include: Mount Royal Bagel to pick up some unforgettable bagel and cream cheese offerings for tomorrow’s breakfast in bed, and Cold Comfort, an ice cream shop that has produced more than 400 curious and seasonably inspired, small-batch, handcrafted flavours using local and organic ingredients. The gluten-free ice cream sandwiches, made with almond flour and meringue, will probably be one of the best treats you’ll ever eat.
Sky-High Memories in Victoria
Lastly, surprise your loved one with the everlasting gift of photos. Flytographer is an online company that will pair you with a locally based photographer who can capture you in action on some of the activities above or in a more organized photo shoot.
Because these photographers are local, they can offer endless insights on shoot locales and are professionals when it comes to shooting in their environment to get you stunning photos. If you’re planning on a surprise proposal, they’re up for the challenge of commemorating the moment to film.
As you’ll discover, Victoria is filled with endless places to explore. With so many romantic adventures designed to have you spending time together, you’re sure to fall in love over and over again.