Five Reasons why Victoria is Awesome

Over the past little while, I've talked about my litle neck of the woods in a less than savoury light.  I've talked about the homeless, the weather, and so on, and so forth.  So, it might come as a surprise when I say that I love Victoria, and I can't think of anywhere else in the world I'd rather be. 

My friend Kittens will tell you that lists are the absolute best thing in the world (I'm paraphrasing, and exagerating, here, but I hope she'll forgive me).  She's usually right.  So, I figure if I'm going to talk about why Victoria is so great, I should do it in list form.  Here it is - five reasons why Victoria is a great city.  And these aren't your usual five (oo, great weather, small city that's just big enough that it's got all the important stuff, beautiful buildings, lots to do, cultural tapestry, blahblahblah).  Nope.  These are five reasons that only people in Victoria know about. 

1.  The Noodle Box

Located in the heart of Victoria, the Noodle Box sells some of the best food in the city.  Asian noodles, spiced to order, in a location that pumps trendy music and is always filled with the indy crowd.  If you go anytime during the lunch or dinner rush, you can expect to wait twenty minutes in a place that's standing room only - the place always seems to be packed. 

The place has some great touches - your "to-go" orders (and it's way too loud and noisy to actually ever eat there) come in great little to-go boxes with the company logo.  There is a wide section of imported beers and wines.  And, most interestingly, you pretty much have to eat by chopstick - the place doesn't have forks.  I took Kittens here once... and I'm absolutely awful with a chopstick.  I wound up using the thing as a spoon, and making myself look like an ass.  Good times.

I highly recommend the black bean garlic with chicken or tofu.  Probably the best thing in the world.  Especially if you have it with medium spice (not hot enough to kill you, but still hot enough you'll notice it).

2.  The Selkirk Waterway

The waterway is only a few minutes from my house.  A couple nights a week (weather permitting), this is where I go for my runs.  And it is the most peaceful place in the world, I think - imagine herons waiting in the water, the sound of waves gently lapping against a pier, and the smell of ocean water in the air.  If you go at night, and look down the waterway (to the left of the picture), you can see the lights of the parliament buildings. 

And during the day, the place is bustling with all sorts of government folks, rowing teams, joggers, and the like.  There are three cafes, two restaurants (only been to one, and only had a drink while I was there), spas, and more.

Oh, and see that tree, left of the chessboard?  That's where I had my faceplant.   

3.  Heckler's Bar and Grill

Okay.  I'm not a bar star, but this still has to be one of my favourite places in the world.  I mean, it's a sports pub.  But so many fun stories have happened there, that's it's wormed a place into my heart. 

The place looks like Cheers.  Only, with probably a dozen LCD TVs.  Playing multiple games.  And, during Canucks games, they pipe in the audio, give everyone free popcorn (!), and every table is assigned a player.  Should that player get a goal or a fight, that table gets a free pitcher of beer. 

Add to that wings night, comedy nights, band nights, the only pool table in the world that I don't suck on, waittresses who will give you free drinks, and a Poutine Wrap, and you'll see why this place is awesome.  They used to serve chocolate covered bacon, too. 

Oh, and you probably won't like the wrap, but you still have to try it.  I mean, it's a friggin' poutine wrap

4.  The Street Entertainers

Most of the year, you'll find street entertainers downtown.  During toursit season, the streets are lined with them - musicians, dancers, jugglers, comedians, painters - you can't walk down a street without seeing one.  And they get progressively weirder and more random - there's even a guy that dresses up like Darth Vader and plays the fiddle (pictured). 

Even during the off season, there are plenty of musicians out there.  Granted, many of them are down-and-out, but that doesn't mean they aren't, you know, great musicians.  My personal favourite was the guy that sounded like John Lee Hooker that used to play outside the Bay Centre.  Haven't seen him in a while, though.  Which is too bad - that man was awesome. 

5.  Bookstores

I'm a guy that loves bookstores.  And there are so many amazing, independent book stores in Victoria, it's amazing.  We have Bolen books (the largest independent book store in B.C, and one of the most dangerous places to take me, as I will spend too much money), Munro books (pictured; once owned by noted Canadian author Alice Munro), Russell books (Canada's largest used bookstore), as well as maybe a dozen smaller bookstores (my favourite being Snowden's Books, a cramped little place with piles of fringe stuff). 

The point being, if you love books (and I do), Victoria is the mecca of bookstores in Canada.  No doubt.


  1. Dave - sorry to correct you here but really - I'm ALWAYS right. Nice list.

  2. Ha ha, right. Can't believe I forgot.