While Victoria’s artistic community entertains and inspires audiences year-round, winter really is given over to celebrating the local arts scene.
Dance Victoria boasts a busy winter calendar, opening with Alberta Ballet’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, featuring the songs of Sarah McLachlan November 8 and 9. This Grammy, Juno and Gemini Award-winning artist has sold more than 40 million recordings worldwide and raised more than $7 million for charity.
Following Alberta Ballet’s magical performance of The Nutcracker, January brings a Ballet British Columbia Triple Bill to the Royal Theatre January 30 and 31, including two new works by Finnish-born choreographer Jorma Elo and director Molnar as well as a visually striking work entitled Walking Mad by Swedish choreographer Johan Inger set to Ravel’s Bolero.
Switzerland’s Etienne Francey captured this image, Harvest Gold.
Venture around the world and home again with a visit to the Royal BC Museum this winter.
A favourite among animal lovers and photography buffs alike, the Royal BC Museum welcomes the spellbinding Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 winners.
Opening November 29 and continuing through April 6, the exhibit from London’s Natural History Museum features 100 large-scale, back-lit photographs chosen from more than 43,000 international entries and 96 countries.
When there’s a nip in the air and we’re pulling the coat a little tighter, a hearty dish of pasta is often the best winter warm-up.
And if you’re exploring downtown Victoria’s many attractions, the Old Spaghetti Factory is the perfect place to cosy up this winter. Steps from the Inner Harbour, find such signature dishes as Pesto Linguine, Tortellini Pomodoro and the kid-favourite Spaghetti with Meatballs.
Whether it’s toys for under the tree or the sports essentials for kids’ winter activities, Victoria boasts a variety of shops with the younger set in mind.
In the heart of downtown, the Bay at the Bay Centre offers a large toy section, in addition to multiple floors of children’s clothing, gifts and seasonal specialties. Other good choices for toys include Target, recently opened a few minutes from downtown in the Tillicum Centre, and independent toy shops Kaboodles, on Government Street, and Buddies Toys, in Oak Bay’s charming Estevan Village and in downtown Sidney.
In town for a tournament? Sports enthusiasts will want to check out Sport Chek, also at the Bay Centre, as well as two favourites for local athletes, Sports Traders, in Old Town, and Kirby’s Source for Sports, a must for hockey, lacrosse and baseball enthusiasts.
Winter’s Wonderful at West End
Visit downtown’s delightful West End Gallery November 2 to 14 to take in Joanne Gauthier’s More or Less. A new collection of expressive paintings, each canvas conveys the duality of Joanne’s fascination with colour, primary and black and white.
Following November 28 to December 30 is the annual Winter Collection Group Show, a festive and eclectic show featuring new paintings from gallery artists, including Steven Armstrong, Claudette Castonguay, Rod Charlesworth, Greta Guzek, Grant Leier and Peter Wyse, along with local artist Linny D. Vine, a new addition to the gallery and a favourite of Victorians. Known for her bright energy, her paintings are alive with joie de vivre.
Don’t miss the opening during the annual Gallery Walk, November 28 from 3 to 8pm.
As BC’s most haunted place, supernatural events abound in the Capital – and not just at Halloween. While visitors can enjoy a “spirited” visit to Victoria at any time of the year, as Halloween approaches, the Ghosts of Victoria Festival provides even more spooky ideas.
Ross Bay Cemetery, open daily during daylight hours, is a beautiful oceanside Victorian cemetery where phantoms roam. History tours by the Old Cemeteries Society take place every Sunday at 2pm. Two special Halloween events include a Psychic Tour October 20 at 2pm and the annual Ghost Tour October 27 at 1pm.
www.oldcem.bc.ca or 250-598-8870.
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.
Pacific Restaurant pours it on
Wine-on-tap trend comes to Victoria, improving quality & reducing carbon footprint
Smashing stereotypes about bulk wine, the Hotel Grand Pacific is now offering guests “wine-on-tap.” The FreshTAP system allows restaurants to serve high-quality wines at a consistent temperature, maintain freshness, eliminate waste and reduce the environmental footprint of wine service.
With five taps in The Pacific Restaurant, offerings include some of British Columbia’s favourite wineries – the Clos du Soleil Pinot Blanc, Stag’s Hollow Semillon, Calliope Riesling, CedarCreek Merlot and Blasted Church Big Bang Theory, all from British Columbia’s Okanagan or Similkameen valleys. The wines are available by the glass for $8 to $10, or by the half-litre.
Go anywhere with Adventure
Whether your next adventures will have you climbing the Eiffel Tower or crossing the desert to take in the Egyptian pyramids, you’ll find the perfect outfit to take you there at Adventure Clothing. Conveniently located on Broad Street in downtown Victoria, find lightweight, breathable wash-and-wear clothing that will feel great and look even better!
Enjoy a visit to the neighbourhood of Oak Bay, a few minutes from downtown Victoria, and the charming Avenue Gallery.
Opening with an artist reception October 27 is a stunning display of coastal paintings by talented Chinese artist Bi Yuan Cheng, aptly titled Luminous. Join the gallery and artist from noon to 3 p.m. The exhibit continues to November 7.
John Cleese tickles Victoria’s funnybone
Monty Python alumnus John Cleese brings his wry wit to the McPherson Playhouse stage for a series of shows in October. Embarking “on the first, and possibly last,” cross-Canadian tour of his incomparable career, Cleese promises to entertain audiences with Last Time To See Me Before I Die. After regaling fans with stories and exclusive clips from his 40-year career, Cleese will participate in an extended question-and-answer period with his audience. “Canadian comedy fans simply cannot afford to miss this once-in-lifetime (John’s specifically) chance to get up close and personal with a true living legend before he, you know, dies.”
Tim Brown photo
Head over the Johnson Street Bridge from downtown to the community of Esquimalt to enjoy an evening with the Steve Miller Band June 30 at the Archie Browning Sports Centre.
The 2013 tour follows four of the most busy, productive years in Miller’s long, illustrious career, whose broad appeal is indicative of one of rock music’s all-time greats.