If I tell you about a place with long beaches of little sunset coves, interesting local history, people watching, shopping and great food you might immediately be thinking I’m describing somewhere in the Mediterranean, maybe near the high end living of Monaco.
But no, in this first installment of Victoria’s Hidden Gems, we start in my neck of the woods… Fairfield.
With a history that goes back to literally the first landing by Victoria’s founder James Douglas, where the sounds of our early streetcar trams echo, the just-out-of-town pleasures of our community are just minutes away from your cruise line or hotel lobby. The title of Fairfield itself covers quite a large area, from the vibrant fun of Cook St Village to the Observation tower where this photo gazes down to the soft sandy beach cove of Gonzales Bay. This sames waterfront curves all the way around to Beacon Hill Park and eventually the downtown Victoria harbor, creating some amazing walks perfect for sunset romantic strolls past turn of the century homes. Along this same waterfront, near Clover Point when you near the corner of Dallas and Cook St, you are actually near an old military post used by Canadian forces during World War One, with it’s only evidence being the slightly wide fields and the round concrete stairway that can take you down to the beach facing the Salish Sea and the distant snow-covered peaks of the Olympic Peninsula.
For food we have absolutely got you covered as well, with lots of great little pubs like The Ross Bay situated across from the austere Ross Bay Cemetery which is the resting place of James Douglas himself along with other famous names like artist Emily Carr, there is the Oxford Arms in Cook St Village, a variety of small Cook St restaurants serving everything from Italian to Ethiopian food and speaking of Cook St Village, it should be almost be called Coffee Street Village as you can get the dark brew in about 10 places in 3 blocks. No lack of places here to sip and watch the world go by, all a two block stroll through the leafy sidewalks to Beacon Hill and especially it’s bandshell where you can hear world class talent or in summer weekends take in one of our “Free B Film Festival” movies in the park.
I’ve really only cracked the surface of things to do in Fairfield too. It’s amazing for hiking as you’re at our Island’s southernmost point so it’s easy to navigate your way about and if you check out online sites like Harbourliving.ca you can see what activities are happening right now, including live music and the Moss Street market which takes place all summer and is definitely not one to miss, or the Moss Street Paint-In just down the street from the Victoria Art Gallery and around the corner from the beautiful Craigdarroch Castle which was the home to a wealthy Scottish Coal Baron and a place to not miss especially around Christmas where it is decked out in all it’s festive colors and music travels through every curve in it’s oak panelled interior.
If you stop by Cook Street grab a coffee and send me a wave. Hopefully I’ll see you there!