When You Shop, Do You Shop Local?

I don’t know about you, but when I travel, one of my favourite things to do is discover fun and unique shops, restaurants, and businesses in the area. It really gives me a feel for what living in that community might be like.

In Victoria, we have a local volunteer initiative called Shop Local Victoria. Members are all local businesses who strongly believe that by patronizing local businesses, we can keep Victoria (and Saanich, Sidney, Sooke, Langford, and all the other surrounding communities) vibrant and sustainable and a better place to live (and visit). Chateau Victoria is a proud and active member.

But why shop local you might ask? For many reasons but the concept is simple. Shopping local creates collective prosperity. Locally-owned businesses buy from other local businesses. They invest more in local labour, pay more local taxes, spend more time on community-based decisions and create local events. They also care about Victoria – it’s where they live and work. All this leads to more opportunity for everyone in the community.

So whether you live in Victoria, or simply love visiting, spend some time exploring the many great local businesses in the area. It’s worth your time.


Best Coffee Shops – Moka House and Mirage Coffee

When you’re visiting Victoria, along with great accommodation (of course Chateau Victoria is my favourite) many people ask me where they can go for a cup of coffee with a great atmosphere.

To find a good cup a coffee in Victoria, you don’t have to go far. Moka House Coffee, located at 345 Cook Street in Cook Street Village, offers a delicious selection of in-house roasted beans – from a mild-bodied West Coast Roast to a special dark Saigon Style Roast. If organic, fair-trade, and bird-friendly coffee is your choice selection, definitely go to Moka House.

The atmosphere is a combination of younger students and older post hippie types with several in betweens. It’s always busy, and has a nice patio if you can get a seat. This is a great place to stop if you’ve been enjoying Beacon Hill Park and Dallas Road area. It’s very close.

If you’re spending time in the downtown tourist and business area, Mirage Coffee is well worth a visit. Located at 817 Government Street at Courtenay, their lattes are superb – coffee art included! They also roast their own coffee beans that are available in 1lb and 5lb bags as a souvenir to take home with you.

I like their clean, tasteful decor and their attractive brass coffee machines. Clientele include business people and other employees in the area, and tourists checking out the sights. Be sure to get a Gelato to enjoy while walking around town.

Roy has been at Concierge at the Chateau Victoria since 2004.He loves people and he loves Victoria. His favourite part of being a Concierge is introducing guests to the many hidden treasures that Victoria has to offer.


Participate in Ride Don’t Hide to Support Women’s Mental Health

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Shoppers Drug Mart Ride Don’t Hide is a community bike ride that strengthens and supports the mental health of women and their families. This fun event attracts over 2,500 participants and the goal is to raise $400,000.

Hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CHMA), and part of the Victoria International Cycling Festival, this year’s Ride Don’t Hide Victoria will be held on Sunday June 23 on the Victoria waterfront at Dallas Road, Ogden Point. The cost to participate is $35. You can register here.

Ride Don’t Hide is not a race. There are routes for all ages and abilities, complete with rest stops, water and fans to cheer you on!

Bring the family and enjoy some fun and exercise together in the beautiful outdoors. There will be performers, entertainment, food vendors and activities for the kids.

Make your weekend even better! Book one of Chateau Victoria’s newly renovated Traditional Rooms during the Ride Don’t Hide weekend. Call 1-800-663-5891.


Celebrate Victoria Harbour on June 16th

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Experience the uniqueness of Victoria Harbour – the character, history, industry and beauty – on Sunday June 16th on the waters of Victoria’s Inner Harbour and on Songhees and Ship Point, the traditional territory of the Coast Salish Peoples.

Just blocks from Chateau Victoria, you’ll find loads of activities for the whole family from 11am to 4pm including:

  • Sand Sculpture Showcase and Workshops – learn the basics of sand sculpting
  • The Harbour Race – open to everyone of all experience levels
  • Traditional Greenland Sea Kayak Rolling Demonstration
  • Paddling Tours and Fun Races – enjoy traditional paddling in dragon boats
  • Maritime Entertainment – rousing choruses of sea shanties
  • Walking Tours of the Harbour – learn about Victoria’s Waterfront
  • Try a Boat or Board – sea kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and rowing boats
  • Victoria Harbour Ferry Ballet – a 20 minute marine ballet performance
  • Point Hope Maritime Tours – shipyard tours celebrating 140 year history
  • Maritime Museum’s Pirate School – create treasure maps and become skilled buccaneers
  • Seaquest Explorer Open House – moored at Ship Point dock

Harbour Ferry Shuttles will be shuttling between Songhees and Ship Point so that everyone gets an opportunity to enjoy all there is to see and do.

For more details and a schedule of activities visit Celebrate Victoria Harbour’s website.