I love the diversity of living in Victoria. It’s big enough that there are plenty of things to do in the community, while being small enough to retain a neighbourly charm. It’s just as easy to stay in town and sample the rich restaurant scene; or get out there, whether you’re Gulf Island hopping or hiking coastal trails.
I tried the big city life, having spent years in Vancouver and Ottawa in my early 20s, but nothing came close to the sense of home and community that Victoria offered. Transitioning back to Victoria was relatively painless, with lower rent than in the bigger cities, and Vancouver still being just a ferry ride away when something called our names: a concert, event, or bowl of ramen.
Here are 4 things I like about living in Victoria:
Food and beverage scene
The food and brewing scene is a big part of the lifestyle in Victoria. Take your pick from a stacked lineup of coffee shops serving local roasts, award-winning craft breweries, and eateries in whatever style you’re feeling. There are fresh sushi joints all over and even a “taco district” on Fort St. Some personal favourites are Habit Coffee, La Taqueria, Part and Parcel (try the Moroccan fries or the falafel plate), Ebizo Sushi, Bodega Bar, Hoyne Brewery, Brasserie L’Ecole, Fol Epi and Agrius.
The great outdoors
Camping and hiking the Pacific Northwest is a shared passion for my husband and I. Each year we pick a different Gulf Island to explore and we take weekly hikes along our beautiful coastline. Some of our favourite spots to hike or stay at are East Sooke Park, Mystic Beach, the Woods on Pender (where you can stay in a vintage Airstream), The Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa in nearby Courtenay, and Horn Lake Caves Provincial Park.
Rent is manageable. There is good variety in accommodation available in a lot of unique neighbourhoods outside of the downtown core that are within most people’s budgets, such as Fernwood and Cook St. Village. My family lives outside of downtown and we found many options in our price range. We are really content living in the ‘burbs’ where we are minutes away from beautiful trails and farmland and can still bike or drive downtown in 15 minutes.
There is a deep rooted arts community in Victoria, which is important to both my husband and myself, as he DJ’s and I co-run a makers’ collective called Friends and Neighbors. There’s no shortage of markets nearby, including the Moss St Market, music festivals like Pretty Good Not Bad, art shows and artist workshops.
There’s also a burgeoning young family community scene and many new local businesses are catering to this, including Bumble and Hive, a local play centre/play cafe in the Victoria Public Market at The Hudson (that also offers catered birthdays!) and the 4Cats art studio at Uptown offers classes and workshops for every age as well as themed parties from splatter painting rooms to clay works of art!
There is something for everyone living here. If you like a bit more of a laid back approach to life and enjoy a high quality of life at a more affordable price, Victoria may be for you.