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Craigdarroch Castle – Ready for Christmas Visits

Craigdarroch Castle – Ready for Christmas Visits

  • Posted: Dec 02, 2014
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Christmas at Craigdarroch Castle

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Every December Craigdarroch Castle provides visitors with more to see and hear on a self-guided tour.   Decorating the Castle for the Christmas season takes many hours and involves a number of staff and volunteers. Local businesses and individuals financially assist the Society with this endeavor and with their support we’re able to bring the many wonderful room displays you’ll see on your visit to the Castle.

To see the Castle decked out in traditional Victorian Christmas is a must see “thing to do” during the holiday season in Victoria. The details are exquisite!

Come on our short 3 minute tour of the Castle and wet your appetite for a real visit.  Be sure to spend time reading the self-guided signage so you can learn how they lived when the castle was lived in.  If you run into staff, be sure to ask all those questions you have!  You will be amazed.  Enjoy our tour!

Il Covo – Fine Italian Food in Victoria

Il Covo – Fine Italian Food in Victoria

  • Posted: Nov 30, 2014
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There is a relatively new restaurant in town the is well worth a visit.  Il Covo at the end of Superior and Kingston streets in James Bay specializes in Tuscan and Northern Italian food created from family recipes hand down over the ages. Chef Caesar service simple fresh food Italiano style and the food is delivered by a friend, competent and knowlegable team of servers. Our meal started with warm and freh tasty focaccia bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Next we had Antipasto Della Casa, a delicious plate of curred meats, cheeses, brusehetta, artichokes,, baby shrimps and salad pickles. A delicious salad formed our third course. Finocchi E Aranee Alla Veneziaha was its name. I was an amazing creation consisting of mixed greens, orange segments, shaved fennel, red onions and black olives tossed with lemon basil dressing and pecorino cheese. Primi Piatti is the ‘first plate’ the first half of our fourth course!  Are you full yet? No, well hang on there is more!  The pasta dish has an interesting history.  Apparently it was served by poor Italian prostitures to their families. The penne was tossed with black olives, capers, garlic and anchovies in a fresh roma tomato sauce. Our ‘Secondi Piatti’, Risotto Risotto Ai Funghi Porcini, was a creamy aborio rice with prosecco, porcini mushrooms & asparagus, finished with parmigiano cheese. By now, we are loosening our belt buckles…actually we took our belts right off! Dessert was an array of fresh fruit and custard on pastry. Il Covo has a fine looking wine list, and one of the best house wines we have ever tasted. The surrounds are beautiful surroundings complimented by helpful staff. There is an inviting garden patio for outdoor eating in an al fresco Italian style. Il Covo is an authentic family-run Italian dining experience with a warm, old world Tuscan ambiance. This is a good bet if you are looking for good Italian food.  We recommend you give it a try.

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Serious White-Out Hits Victoria

Serious White-Out Hits Victoria

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2014
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I know you are going to feel really bad for us because we rarely get snow. Of the snows we do get, this is the best kind, no shoveling required! This was taken at 8 am this morning.Hopefully by mid-afternoon it will all be melted. The predictions however are not good. Today we are celebrating our granddaughter Madison’s birthday outdoors at Goldstream Park (burrrr). So, hardships aside on we go. Enjoy winter in Victoria, it won’t be around long.

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We’ve Got Whales – Victoria BC

We’ve Got Whales – Victoria BC

  • Posted: Nov 28, 2014
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Victoria is one of the best places in the world to see whales.  Our waters have 3 resident pods (over 80), lots of transient killer whales, lots of Humpback whales and some Minke whales and some Grey Whales.  In addition we have lots of sea lion colonies most of the year and a whole lot more. 2014 has been an exceptional year, presumably because of large fish stocks. One of the local tour operators reported seeing all three of the resident pods just 2 days ago.  The resident population is usually here from May to September and here it is almost December.  The video show some transient whales that were on a hunt and boy did the fly through the water at horrendous speed.  Whales are such magnificent creatures to watch in their natural habitat and there is no place that I know of where you can see this with such regularity and so close to Victoria. Juan de Fuca Strait and Haro Strait and often Active Pass where the BC Ferry route is from Victoria to Vancouver are all common places  to find whales. The shores of San Juan Island, an American Island about 5 miles East of Victoria is a very common place to find the resident pods.  Come for a visit and enjoy the whales.

Mai Mai’s Bistro in Downtown Victoria

Mai Mai’s Bistro in Downtown Victoria

  • Posted: Nov 27, 2014
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Last night VGSN members experienced the latest addition to the Victoria restaurant and night life scene, “mai mai’s downtown”. Located at 525 Fort Street in the iconic Temple Building, mai mai’s offers up sushi and west coast fusion cuisine in a newly renovated space with a contemporary coastal/surf theme. The room features a bright turquoise back-lit glass bar where bar manager Megan serves up special house cocktails, including our favorite, the Raspberry Herb. Open just three weeks, mai mai’s serves food and beverages until 2 am, Wednesday through Sunday. Plans include an open concept sushi bar, and Sunday “Down by the Fire” industry nights featuring local acoustic musicians in the near future.

Owner Chef Jo Jo prepared and served a feast for the eyes and taste buds. You won’t find a speck of cumin in his kitchen (overused in so many Victoria eateries), instead he uses fresh seasonings to highlight the local ingredients he so lovingly creates with. We sampled several menu items, including his Signature Sushi Roll with local crab, Pepper Crusted Tuna Tataki (the tuna is fished in Sooke waters), Pork Belly Skewers, both Beef and Salmon Tacos folded in corn tortillas, Kimchi and Edamame pizzas, Three Little Pigs (ground pork sliders) and Fanny Bay Oysters, smoked in-house. Dishes were accompanied by a mild mango papaya slaw and fresh lime wedges for squeezing. For a finale, Jo Jo brought out samples of his delicious and unique house made desserts, a rarity in restaurants these days.  Food and beverage prices are extremely reasonable, especially given the downtown location on the corner of Fort and Langley Streets. Whether you are looking for a unique menu for dinner, a late night snack or dessert with a night-cap, mai mai’s can provide.  Reservations at 250 590-8848. Mai Mai’sThe original mai mai’s is located at 6676 Sooke Road, in Sooke, call 778 425-3763.

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Victoria-Mill Bay-Brentwood Bay-Victoria

Victoria-Mill Bay-Brentwood Bay-Victoria

  • Posted: Nov 26, 2014
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Try a Circle Tour with lunch on the water. Drive approximate 25 minutes north of Victoria to Mill Bay and turn right at the light by the Coop Gas Station on Deloume Road, then right again on to Mill Bay Road, then in a short distance turn left on Handy Road and follow it to the end and turn right in behind some condos and park near Bridgemans Bistro. It is on the dock over the water and serves up great food. There is an outside deck in the summer and covered in the winter. After you are well fed, take Handy Road back to Mill Bay Road and turn left.  Follow the signs to the Mill Bay Ferry and take it across Saanich Inlet to the Saanich Peninsula. When you get off the Ferry, take Verdier (straight ahead) up to the round-about (traffic circle) and go right on West Saanich Road (Highway 17A) until you get to Keating Cross Road (Butterfly Gardens is on the right at this corner). Turn left on Keating and go to Oldfield Road and turn right. Follow Oldfield until you get back to 17A were you can work your way back into Victoria. Oldfield Road is home to quite a few farms that sell berries, fruit, baking and more. Check out each of the farms or roadside stalls as you travel Oldfield. Enjoy the countryside.
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Try their great natchos!

Hello world!

Hello world!

  • Posted: Sep 19, 2013
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Welcome to our new website and to our new blog.  We are Vanisle Tourism and our old website has been around since 1995.  When I was introduced to the web, there were 38 websites in British Columbia and they were mostly built using code writing.  My first year I had 7500 visitors and I thought wow…little did I know.  Technology is advancing so fast it makes my head spin.  We will be posting regularly on this blog and the content will cover where to eat, where to play and where to stay and we will also provide you with lots of good information.  So stay tuned folks and be sure to sign up for our mailing list if you really want to have a good time in Victoria and around Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.  Grab a cup of java and read on.

Cuppa Java Anyone?
Well if you are looking for that great cup of coffee to get you going, Victoria offers you a lot of choice.  Starbucks are everywhere and if you are hooked on them, go for it.  The Canadian thing to do is to go to Tim Horton’s.  The drive through line-up at Starbucks will likely be 4-6 cars.  At Tim’s often the line-up is around the entire building and out on to the street.  Price seems to be a motivator, but they go to great lengths to serve “fresh” coffee.  Tim’s is also a donut stop and a lot more!  There are also a lot of Serious coffee shops and a number of Moka House outlets.  We have had good reports on all of these.  Victoria is full of great independent outlets as well, so if you are somewhere in Greater Victoria and want a great cup of coffee, just ask a local.  You might keep an eye out for Mirage café, Spiral café, Discovery Coffee, Solstice café, Demitasse coffee bar, Bean Around the World, Habit, or Café Fatastico.

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