While Victoria earns deserved accolades for its early spring and easy-living summer, the Island’s long, easy transition to fall has a beauty all its own. Here are excellent opportunities to fall for a Victoria autumn.
1. The bounty of local farms enjoys a starring role at many of the region’s markets. The Moss Street Market is a long-standing city favourite for fresh and delicious organic produce, flowers and local arts and crafts, from 10am to 2pm Saturdays through early October. For those enjoying a visit to the Saanich Peninsula, stop by the delightful Peninsula Farmer’s Market, 9am to 1pm Saturdays through early October.
Hosted at the Saanich Fairgrounds, in the middle of farm country, you’ll find plenty to please the palate.
2. Feast of Fields, September 22 at Metchosin Farm, is another favourite among foodies and locavores, with the opportunity to taste the flavours of the Island from chefs, vintners, brewers, farmers and food artisans
3. A family favourite in the Blenkinsop Valley, Galey Farms plants a new corn maze each year, complemented by a western town, train ride, petting farm and more. Come mid-October, those features take on a decidedly spooky twist.
4. Harvest time on the farm comes to Heritage Acres September 14 and 15, featuring train rides, steam-powered threshing, food, entertainment and more for the whole family. Don’t miss the butter-dipped corn on the cob!
5. Enjoy a short ferry ride from Sidney for the 15th annual
Salt Spring Island Apple Festival, September 29, with a full day of activities celebrating the 350-plus varieties of organic apples grown ion the picturesque island! (www.saltspringapplefestival.org)
6. One of the highlights of a visit to the Saanich Peninsula, just minutes from downtown, is a self-guided tour of the region’s award-winning wineries. Local highlights include:
• Church & State Winery – award winning wines, a stunning location and locally inspired lunch cuisine from the bistro make a stop here a pleasure.
• Muse Winery – in North Saanich, this charming winery is well worth the picturesque drive, with a lovely array of wines, art events and a seasonal bistro.
• Sea Cider Organic Ciderhouse – Not wine, but in many ways similar, taste the differences of traditional cider at this popular destination. Sample a tasting plate from inside the wooden-beamed ciderhouse, or outside on the beautiful deck overlooking the orchard, ocean and Gulf Islands.
7. Stretch your tour a little farther with a drive over the Malahat to the equally honoured wineries and cideries of the Cowichan Valley and the Cowichan Wine & Culinary Festival September 7 to 15, or head west to Sooke and the tasty delights waiting at Tugwell Creek Meadery.
Favourite Fall Events
8. At the Saanich Fairgrounds Labour Day weekend is the Saanich Fair, with agricultural displays and events, entertainment, food and a midway, continuing to September 2.
9. Head west to the community of Langford September 13 to 15 for the annual Luxton Fair, with agricultural displays, midway, games, blacksmithing and antique farm equipment, entertainment and more.
10. As summer turns to fall, head to Victoria’s famous greenspaces, including The Butchart Gardens, Abkhazi Garden, Government House