BEST WESTERN PLUS
Carlton Plaza Hotel
Victoria

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Heart of downtown Victoria!



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In 1911, at the centre of the planet’s most remote and inhospitable region, a Norwegian explorer named Ronald Amundsen drove a spike into the ice where no man had set foot before. It was the South Pole, and Amundsen’s team was the first to reach it. But they weren’t the only ones to try. As the new exhibition at Victoria’s Royal BC Museum illustrates, this was a journey that ended in awe-inspiring triumph for some and tragedy for others.
 
Running from May 17 to October 14, the Race to the End of the Earth exhibition takes visitors on an immersive tour through the Antarctic quests of Amundsen and his chief competitor, British explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott, as they raced to be the first to reach the South Pole. Together their stories weave a timeless saga of courage and misfortune in the ceaseless quest to conquer the unknown.
 
 
These stories of Antarctic exploration are told in vivid detail with dioramas, interactive exhibits, photographs, artifacts and a guest lecture series. Visitors can see some of the equipment that helped speed the explorers on their way—everything from cups to chronometers—along with recreations of their living quarters and harrowing images of the men who braved unthinkable challenges to make it back alive.  
 
From the stories of the 1911-12 expeditions, the exhibition expands to illuminate the fascinating Antarctic eco-system and the history of Antarctic exploration in the century since. You’ll learn how technology has made this region not only more accessible, but more liveable. You’ll also hear first-hand accounts from some brave souls who have spent considerable time in this often forgotten part of the world.
 
 
Tickets for the exhibition are available online.  For comfortable accommodations less than a kilometer from the Royal BC Museum in the heart of Old Town Victoria, choose the BEST WESTERN PLUS Carlton Plaza Hotel.
March
17

Vancouver Island's Scenic Malahat Drive

posted by Carlton Plaza Hotel on March 17, 2012 2:47:14 PM

The Malahat Highway on Vancouver Island Offers the Ultimate Route for a Memorable Weekend Road Trip

The Malahat Drive is widely considered as one of the scenic roadways in Canada. If you want enjoy a leisurely weekend drive and simply soak in the breathtaking view of the southern part of Vancouver Island, Malahat lives to deliver its promise of a wonderful trip.

All Geared Up for a Pleasant Drive

With the pressures and demands of daily life, it has been quite awhile since I had a chance to enjoy a trip, all without the worry of arriving on time. When I finally got a chance to schedule one last weekend, I naturally brought along by camera to capture a few landscape shots. For those who have not tried this route, the pictures will easily tell you what you have been missing.

The Malahat Drive starts at the Goldstream Park, which is located on the northern part of Victoria on Highway #1. To tackle the Malahat, you need to travel up towards the eastern coast of Vancouver Island. The reason why this particular route is able to afford a scenic view is the fact that the road is constructed hugging the seaside mountains, and gradually carves through the thick forests of Arbutus, Douglas Fir, Red Cedar and Maple.

Enjoy Some of the Most Breathtaking Views of the Island

There are a number of lookouts and rest stops along Malahat, not to mention a string of wonderful accommodations for people planning a weekend getaway. The Malahat Drive provides an overlooking view over the Saanich Peninsula, and the San Juan Islands, which I can easily say is one of the most spectacular views you can find anywhere on the island. If you have scheduled a full day of adventure, it’s a good idea to check out the Goldstream Park before you head out. It features a nature center, which you might want to check out as well.

If you are wondering about the interesting name Malahat, it is actually named after the Malahat First Nation. This is a beautiful rugged region made up of steep cliffs and heavy forests on the northern regions of Victoria. The Malahat Drive climbs towards a summit of approximately 356 metres (1, 156 feet), which ends up just south of Mill Bay.

Popular Viewpoints

To fully appreciate the views, make sure to check out the strategic rest areas and stopping points along the Malahat Drive, which offers magnificent views of the Saanich Peninsula, the Saanich Inlet, Saltspring Island, Victoria International Airport, BC Gulf Islands and the Mount Baker in Washington State from a distance.

• Goldstream Provincial Park – this is known as the camper’s paradise, which is especially busy during the month of November for the annual salmon spawning run. You can enjoy nature walks and trails and a leisurely lunch at the picnic grounds. If you are feeling up to it, hike up Mount Finlayson, which is about 413 metres (1, 375 feet), which offers a beautiful view of the Finlayson Arm along with the surrounding Victoria area.

• Spectacle Lake Provincial Park – if you fancy a few hours of fishing and canoeing, enjoy a few hours roaming around the park. The lake is teeming with rainbow trout, which you can easily see from its crystal clear waters.

• Bamberton Provincial Park – if you prefer to enjoy lunch on the terraced slopes situated above the beach, then this is the perfect rest stop for a picnic. The place presents a quiet retreat, with the warm waters ideal for a quick dip.

Tips for Enjoying the Malahat Drive

• Make sure to schedule the trip on a fine weather, when it’s not raining. Fog will most likely cover the views during cold weather conditions.

• Make sure your vehicle is equipped with all-season tires when traveling during winder since the road conditions are expected to be slippery.

• Expect traffic delays during the summer season since there are a number of tourists who also want to enjoy and share the roadway.

• The best time to fully enjoy the spectacular views is on a clear evening, especially when the full moon rises above the mainland.

• The ideal way to travel back to Victoria is the Niagara Creek Hike.

Accommodations

If you are planning a visit to Victoria, ensure a comfortable stay all throughout your vacation. There are a number of great accommodations available around Victoria, including one of our sponsors, BEST WESTERN PLUS Carlton Plaza Downtown Victoria Hotel:

BEST WESTERN PLUS Carlton Plaza Downtown Victoria Hotel

642 Johnson Street, Victoria, British Columbia V8W1M6

Phone: (800) 663-7241/(250) 388-5513 | Fax: (250) 388-5343

Email: reservations@bestwesterncarltonplazahotel.com

The Best Western Plus Carlton Plaza Hotel is a 3 diamond, award-winning hotel located at the heart of downtown Victoria. It features clean, spacious and well-appointed guests rooms and suites for travelers and tourists looking to find a comforting haven.

Carlton Plaza Hotel is just a few blocks away from a number of popular attractions in Victoria, including the whale watching tours, the parliament building, National Geographic IMAX Theatre, the Butchart Gardens, Antique Row and so much more.

Whether you are staying for business or for pleasure, you are sure to find the perfect place to stay, with hotel staff available to provide 24-hour service.

Re-published from www.amazingvancouverisland.com under creative commons license.

Hatley Castle is a beautiful National Historic Site near Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island. It is a short 20 minute drive from downtown Victoria and is open all year with tours available.

The Castle has an amazing history and is now a university. Decades prior to that it was a military college and before that an estate of the Dunsmuirs who built the Hatley Castle as wells as the Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria.

Breathtaking View of Hatley Castle

The Castle itself from the exterior is quite stunning. The Castle is located on a hill with a breathtaking view especially from the parking lot near the lake. The rolling hills make the whole experience quite beautiful.

A very peaceful and quite place indeed!

The Hatley Castle Gardens

The Hatley Castle and Gardens are a wonderful side trip when you are in the Victoria area. In addition to the historic castle there are five spectacular gardens to walk through and take pictures.

The rose garden is both beautiful and charming. You may even get the chance to meet the gardener who has been there nearly two decades. There is also a formal Italian garden and a large sprawling Japanese garden. Striking peacoks wander about the gardens.

Hatley Castle Tours

Guidend tours of the Castle are available but are not fequent so you need to plan your visit. The guides are very informative and will point out the spaces where scenes from the X-Men series were shot along with the history of the Castle. Queen Elizabeth has visited the Castle twice.

Hatley Castle Specialty Programs

• Afternoon Tea in Hatley Castle - Featuring English tea sandwiches along with pastries, specialty teas and coffees. Reservations required. Minimum 12 people.

• Geocache – an adventure where you can learn how to use a GPS (global positioning system) at Hatley Park. Reservations required. Minimum 10 people.

• Garden Rambling – Explore this beautiful garden by taking a one tour with one of Hatley Park’s gardeners. Small fee of $5 plus admission. Minimum 4 people.

Hatley Castle Conference & Meeting Rooms

Three venues to select from: the Mews Conference Centre, the Quarterdeck and Hatley Castle. Accommodations and catering also available on site. They also have corporate team building events.

• Mews Conference Centre – main floor with a 2,500 sq ft ballroom, lounge and four meeting rooms.
• The Quarterdeck - has banquet space for up to 250 guests – utilized also for banquets, dances and weddings.
• Hatley Castle - 40 room heritage building with old world charm and modern day facilities.

History of Hatley Castle

You can enjoy a one hour guided tour which walks the estate and where you can gain insight into the history of Hatley Castle from the First Nations, Dunsmuir family, Royal Roads Military College and currently the Royal Roads University.

The Hatley Castle is as vibrant as in past with university classes, administration offices and public events.

The mansion was originally build as a home for the Hon. James Dunsmuir in 1908 with a design by Victoria's premier architect, Samuel Maclure based on the English Queen Anne and Elizabethan revival styles of the Edwardian period.

This web site has an excellent description of the Castle’s history.

Contact information

Hatley Park National Historic Site
2005 Sooke Rd., Victoria, BC V9B 5Y2 Tel: 250- 391-2666 Toll free: 1-866-241-0674
info@hatleypark.ca www.hatleypark.ca

Directions to Hatley Castle from Victoria, BC

• About a 20 minute trip - travel north from Victoria on Douglas Street which turns into the Trans-Canada Highway – Highway 1.
• Take exit 10 heading to View Royal-Colwood.
• Follow this to Sooke Road
• Continue on Sooke Road till you see the signs for Royal Roads University & Hatley Park National Historic Site.
• Bus service also available but the walk up the hill is a bit challenging.

Victoria Accommodations

There are a number of hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts to pick from including our sponsors, Best Western:

The BEST WESTERN PLUS Carlton Plaza Hotel is proud to offer the finest in accommodations and friendly customer service at an affordable rate! The convenient downtown location of this Victoria hotel is ideal for guests visiting the Royal British Columbia Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria’s IMAX® Theater. Butchart Gardens is just a short drive away.

Guests looking for things to do in Victoria will enjoy being close to local attractions, theaters, golf courses, and whale watching expeditions. Favorite attractions also include Antique Row, the Royal London Wax Museum and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

Contact info: BEST WESTERN Plus Carlton Plaza Hotel, 642 Johnson Street, Victoria, BC Canada, V8W 1M6, CA. Toll Free: (800) 663-7241 (800) 663-7241; Local: (250) 388-5513 (250) 388-5513; Fax: (250) 388-5343. Email: mailto:reservations@bestwesterncarltonplazahotel.com

Enjoy all that the Victoria area has to offer and please tell your friends.

Re-published from www.amazingvancouverisland.com under creative commons license.

March
11

Great Events and Sports at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre Victoria BC. The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre (SOFMC), the largest arena in British Columbia outside of Vancouver, is a state-of-the art indoor arena located in Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island. It is home to the Victoria Royals hockey team. You can also enjoy top caliber sporting events, concerts as well as, trade shows, conferences, figure skating, family shows and more.

Some of the diverse acts that have performed here include: Elton John, Walking with Dinosaurs, Bryan Adams, The Black Eyed Peas, Cirque du Soleil, Sarah McLachlan, Larry the Cable Guy and CATS to name a few.

Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre

• 7,000 seat facility with special club seating
• Kings Feast, a fine dining restaurant
• Retail outlets
• Club lounge
• Meeting space
• Full trade show and conference facilities - 17,000 sq ft
• Excellent acoustics

Victoria Royals Play at SOFMC

Victoria is a hockey town and now has the Victoria Royals who begin playing in the WHL (Western Hockey League)in the 2011-12 season.  They are in the BC Division of the Western Conference.  SOFMC was formerly the home arena of the Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL.

The WHL is a major junior hockey league with teams from Western Canada and Northwestern United Stats. Teams play for the Memorial Cup, Canada's National Junior Championship.

Contact Info:
Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre
1925 Blanshard St,  Victoria BC
www.sofmc.com

Box Office (250) 220-7777
Located near Gate 1 of the building

Victoria Accommodations

There are a number of hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts to pick from including our sponsors, Best Western:

The BEST WESTERN PLUS Carlton Plaza Hotel is proud to offer the finest in accommodations and friendly customer service at an affordable rate! The convenient downtown location of this Victoria hotel is ideal for guests visiting the Royal British Columbia Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria’s IMAX® Theater. Butchart Gardens is just a short drive away.

Guests looking for things to do in Victoria will enjoy being close to local attractions, theaters, golf courses, and whale watching expeditions. Favorite attractions also include Antique Row, the Royal London Wax Museum and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

Contact info: BEST WESTERN Plus Carlton Plaza Hotel, 642 Johnson Street, Victoria, BC Canada, V8W 1M6, CA. Toll Free: (800) 663-7241 (800) 663-7241 ; Local: (250) 388-5513 (250) 388-5513 ; Fax: (250) 388-5343. email:mailto:reservations@bestwesterncarltonplazahotel.com .

Enjoy all that Victoria has to offer and please tell your friends.

Re-published from www.amazingvancouverisland.com under creative commons license.

 Killer Whales (Orcas)

About 80 Killer Whales in three main family pods make the Victoria area and the surrounding Gulf Islands home. The whales feeding area is about a 160 km (100 miles) radius around the Victoria area.

There are resident Orcas that can be seen from the spring to the late fall. There are also transient Orcas all year and especially during the winter when there is lots of seals to feed on. But your best chance of seeing the Orcas is the spring to fall season.

Other Wildlife

You may also get to see Gray, Minke and Humpback whales as well as porpoises, sea lions and seals. Also keep an eye out for cormorants and the majestic bald eagle.

What to Wear

The boats travel up to 30 miles per hour so it is wise to bring a jacket and cap, especially if you are in a smaller boat is open. Some of the whale watching tour operators have larger boats with enclosed spaces as well as food service and washrooms but you will pay extra for that.

Photographing Whales

Be sure to bring your camera and learn in advance how to shoot fast moving objects. My camera has a sports setting which allows me to shoot continuously. You should also bring a plastic bag or camera bag to protect your camera as you are close to the water.

The boats come to a full stop and the whales can come right by the boat. It all happens very quickly as they are fast swimmers and it seems even more so when they are feeding. Check in advance with the boat operator for the best spot to get pictures.

Whale Watching Tour Operators

You have a number of options to select from:

Prince of Whales Whale Watching

 The Prince of Whales whale watching has Zodiacs and a 62-foot cruiser, the Ocean Magic, which can carry 74 passengers with heated passenger seating as well as on-board washrooms. The Zodiacs are open so be prepared to water sprays and a fast ride. They have the largest fleet of whale watching boats in British Columbia and can service some 800 passengers a day.

Whale watching in Victoria BC on Vancouver Island was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.  There is something very special about watching these amazing animals breaching and then swimming right past the boat. The day we were out a pod of Killer Whales (Orcas) came by to say hello. Whale watching is the top of my list for a nature adventure all in the comfort of a boat and a warm jacket.The area around Victoria BC is ideal for viewing marine wildlife and killer whales in particular. There is an abundance of plankton in the water that feeds a whole ecosystem from fish, to birds to marine mammals. The main food for the Orcas is salmon which are in abundance in this area due to the many rivers that support them.

Contact info: Prince of Whales Whale Watching

Prince of Whales Whale Watching
812 Wharf Street, Lower Causeway Level
Victoria, BC V8W 1T3 Canada Tel: 250.383.4884 Fax: 250.383.4882 Toll Free: 888.383.4884
www.princeofwhales.com Email: info@princeofwhales.com

 

Orca Spirit Adventures

Orca Spirit has a large and luxurious catamaran vessel for whale watching or cruises. They can also accommodate weddings and dinner cruises. It has both outdoor and heated indoor decks as well as food service and washrooms.

 

Contact Info: Orca Spirit Adventures

 Orca Spirit Adventures
146 Kingston Street, Marina Level
Victoria, BC V8V 1V4 Canada

 

Phone: 250-383-8411 Fax: 250-383-4666 Toll-free: 1-888-672-6722

 

Email: whales@orcaspirit.com

 

www.orcaspirit.com

 

BC  Whale Tours

 

BC Whale Tours offer a premium whale watching service.  They utilize a larger yacht that is heated and take just 12 passengers which provides a more personal whale watching experience.  In addition to the day tours, they also offer longer multi-day trips

 

Contact Info BC  Whale Tours

 

Tel: 250-590-5030 www.bcwhaletours.com

 

Victoria Accommodations

 

There are a number of hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts to pick from including our sponsors, Best Western:

 

The BEST WESTERN PLUS Carlton Plaza Hotel is proud to offer the finest in accommodations and friendly customer service at an affordable rate! The convenient downtown location of this Victoria hotel is ideal for guests visiting the Royal British Columbia Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria’s IMAX® Theater. Butchart Gardens is just a short drive away.

 

Guests looking for things to do in Victoria will enjoy being close to local attractions, theaters, golf courses, and whale watching expeditions. Favorite attractions also include Antique Row, the Royal London Wax Museum and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

 

Contact info: BEST WESTERN Plus Carlton Plaza Hotel, 642 Johnson Street, Victoria, BC Canada, V8W 1M6, CA. Toll Free: (800) 663-7241 Local: (250) 388-5513 email:mailto:reservations@bestwesterncarltonplazahotel.com .

 

Enjoy all that Victoria has to offer and please tell your friends.

 

Re-published from www.amazingvancouverisland.com under creative commons license.

January
24

Antique Row in Victoria BC is a delightful section of downtown Victoria on Vancouver Island . Some say Victoria is more English than England with Antique Row to prove it. It is a three-block section of Fort Street labeled “Antique Row”. Victoria in British Columbia is about as British as it comes. This section of the city has many well-preserved Edwardian or Victoria buildings where a number of the antique shops are located.

Best British Antiques In North America

Antique Row,  with dozens of collectible and antique shops, is considered to be one of the best sources of British antiques in North America.

Getting to Antique Row

Antique Row is located on Fort Street between Blanshard and Cook streets in downtown Victoria. It about a 15 minute drive from the BC Parliament Buildings in Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

What you will find at Antique Row

•  Wonderful antique shops

• Wide variety of pictures, furniture, tables, kitchen items

• British food, textiles and more

• Fine china

• Antique furniture

• Bric-a-brac from the Victoria era

• Art galleries

• Auction houses with regularly schedule auctions

• Well preserved buildings

Victoria Accommodations

There are a number of hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts to pick from including our sponsors, Best Western:

The BEST WESTERN PLUS Carlton Plaza Hotel is proud to offer the finest in accommodations and friendly customer service at an affordable rate! The convenient downtown location of this Victoria hotel is ideal for guests visiting the Royal British Columbia Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria’s IMAX® Theater. Butchart Gardens is just a short drive away.

Guests looking for things to do in Victoria will enjoy being close to local attractions, theaters, golf courses, and whale watching expeditions. Favorite attractions also include Antique Row, the Royal London Wax Museum and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

Contact info: BEST WESTERN Plus Carlton Plaza Hotel, 642 Johnson Street, Victoria, BC Canada, V8W 1M6, CA. Toll Free: (800) 663-7241 Local: (250) 388-5513                                                                                                             Fax: (250) 388-5343.  email:mailto:reservations@bestwesterncarltonplazahotel.com .

Enjoy all that Victoria has to offer and please tell your friends.

Re-published from www.amazingvancouverisland.com under creative commons license.

January
12

A cadre of good folks in Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia are planning an extremely well-organized festival soon that spans 17 days and promises to be a lot of fun.  The Victoria International Cycling Festival’s varied events-athletic and sedentary-occur from May 27 to June 12, 2011 and will appeal even to those who never hopped on a bicycle.  And if you miss it this year, be sure to check it out next year, when it will be even bigger and better.

Competitors can muscle their way through the 140 kilometre road ride alongside Canada’s Tour de France hero, Ryder Hesjedal.  Extreme sports junkies can thrill to big air jumps and stunts of the Jumpship exhibition.  Cycling enthusiasts can enjoy a relaxing community ride with friends and family.  To the disappointment of some adults, only children can enter the “Bling Your Bike Contest.”  And spectators can chill out with popcorn and a cycling-related movie in Victoria’s beautiful Inner Harbour.

Here’s a look at just some of the activities, courtesy of the Festival’s website.

The Jordie Lunn Open

World famous free rider Jordie Lunn is presenting his own dirt jump competition, open to all and sure to showcase the best of Vancouver Island’s considerable free ride talent.

Hotel Grand Pacific Harbour Spring Series

Sprinters will go head-to-head in a leg-tearing series of quarter-mile drag races in front of the picturesque Provincial Legislature on single speed and fixed gear bicycles.

Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series

This includes the 6km Kona Russ Hays Time Trial where cyclists race against the clock along Dallas Road; the 19th Annual Condo Group Bastion Square Criterium where cyclists race multiple laps around Bastion Square at speeds of over 50km/hr; and the Tim Horton’s Timbits Challenge where children aged 5-10 get to race alongside Ryder Hesjedal and some of Canada’s finest athletes and Olympians.

Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria

This exciting event welcomes cyclists of all ages and abilities to ride either a short community ride (1-20km), a 90km ride, or the 140km ride alongside Canada’s Tour de France hero, Ryder Hesjedal.

Classic Bike Rally

Cycling turns back a few pages of history by highlighting some of the bicycles of the past, such as the Penny Farthing and the Schwinn Cruiser. Folding bikes are also showcased as a solution to boaters who are looking for a compact and efficient alternative mode of transportation on land.

Thrifty Foods Family Bike Festival

This vancouver island family event includes a bike rodeo, training wheel freedom, family bike equipment showcase, helmet fitting, bike scavenger hunt, and a bike parade over the trestle bridge.

Peddling Art

Collective Works Gallery will be celebrating bicycles and cycling through a wide and exciting variety of art work that includes metal sculpture, painting, photography, mixed media and exquisite photo gravure prints on display from June 10 through June 30.

Jumpship

This will showcase the world’s best free ride mountain bikers riding massive jumps, drops and park features in Victoria’s Inner Harbour on the surface of a floating barge. A bike trials expo will also be included, featuring John Webster who finished in first place at the Kokanee Crankworx in Whistler, BC, and 7th overall in the 2010 UCI World Trials Championships in Quebec.

Balls in The City Bicycle Polo Tournament

Looking like hockey on bikes, bike polo involves bike handling, ball control, and tactics, as well as crashing, skidding, and heckling.

Reels in Motion Presented by The Downtown Victoria Business Association

On the expansive Legislature lawn, the Victoria Film Festival unleashes Reels in Motion – films with big air, BMX and acrobatics. Stories of races competed in and two-wheeled adventures survived in bike-themed movies from around the world.

CONTACTS FOR MORE INFORMATION

To learn more about the Victoria International Cycling Festival, visit their website, call them at 250-415-3246 or email at info@victoria-cycling.com for more information.

Victoria Accomodations

There are a number of hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts to pick from including our sponsors, Best Western:

The BEST WESTERN PLUS Carlton Plaza Hotel is proud to offer the finest in accommodations and friendly customer service at an affordable rate! The convenient downtown location of this Victoria hotel is ideal for guests visiting the Royal British Columbia Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria’s IMAX® Theater.  Butchart Gardens is just a short drive away.

Guests looking for things to do in Victoria will enjoy being close to local attractions, theaters, golf courses, and whale watching expeditions. Favorite attractions also include Antique Row, the Royal London Wax Museum and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

Contact info:  BEST WESTERN Plus Carlton Plaza Hotel, 642 Johnson Street, Victoria, BC Canada, V8W 1M6, CA.  Toll Free: (800) 663-7241; Local: (250) 388-5513; Fax: (250) 388-5343.  email:mailto:reservations@bestwesterncarltonplazahotel.com .

Enjoy all that Victoria has to offer and please tell your friends.

Re-published from www.amazingvancouverisland.com under creative commons license.

December
24

Once upon a time, long ago, there were no machines to record sound and moving pictures.  In order to gain an audience, singers, dancers and other entertainers would perform on street corners for gratuities from passersby.  That’s how the tradition of buskers was born. 

Not surprisingly, since the advent of personal electronics means we can now carry an entire orchestra or theater troupe in our pocket, street performers have become a rarity.  But that will change July 15-24, 2011 as the first Victoria International Buskers Festival comes to downtown Victoria, British Columbia.  Look for event stages along the downtown Inner Harbour, and in Bastion Square. Additional daily lunch time stage performances will also be presented at the Bay Centre.

SEEN ANY GOOD CONTORTIONISTS LATELY?

Entertainment on vancouver island will come in the form of comedy juggling, mime, audience participation, eccentric dance and magic.  Award-winning performers from Australia, the US, Europe, and from across Canada include a blues singer, a Frisbee expert, a team who dances with fire, a woman who contorts herself into a tiny 16” box and another who does bewildering things with multiple Hula Hoops.  It’s all free and appropriate for the whole family.  And in keeping with tradition, tips will be appreciated!                                                                                               

LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION

To learn more about the Victoria International Buskers Festival, visit their website or email them for more information.

VICTORIA ACCOMMODATIONS

There are a number of hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts to pick from including our sponsors, Best Western:

The BEST WESTERN PLUS Carlton Plaza Hotel is proud to offer the finest in accommodations and friendly customer service at an affordable rate! The convenient downtown location of this Victoria hotel is ideal for guests visiting the Royal British Columbia Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria’s IMAX® Theater.  Butchart Gardens is just a short drive away.

Guests looking for things to do in Victoria will enjoy being close to local attractions, theaters, golf courses, and whale watching expeditions. Favorite attractions also include Antique Row, the Royal London Wax Museum and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

Contact info:  BEST WESTERN Plus Carlton Plaza Hotel, 642 Johnson Street, Victoria, BC Canada, V8W 1M6, CA.  Toll Free: (800) 663-7241; Local: (250) 388-5513; Fax: (250) 388-5343.email: mailto:reservations@bestwesterncarltonplazahotel.com 

Enjoy all that Victoria has to offer and please tell your friends.

Re-published from www.amazingvancouverisland.com under creative commons license.

December
14

Landmark Golfing In Victoria, BC

posted by Carlton Plaza Hotel on December 14, 2011 4:05:08 PM

It’s hard to beat the selection of world-class spectacular golfing at Vancouver Island’s southern tip.  There are four major courses in or near Victoria, BC, and it’s easy to see why each is ranked as a major golf destination in its own right.

Victoria Golfing With City Views

With the practice range designated by Golf Range Magazine as one of the Top 100 Ranges in North America – only one of two so designated in British Columbia – for three years running, it’s no mystery why Highland Pacific Golf is a dream-come-true for so many enthusiasts of the game.

And with its spectacular views and accessible location close to the island’s family vacation destination of Victoria, Highland Pacific is ideal for a morning or afternoon getaway round when visiting the city on business, for conventions or with the family.

The lush bent grass fairways weave through forest and natural water features and yield nonstop panoramas of Victoria, the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, prompting Island Golfer Magazine to rave that these are “some of the best looking holes on Vancouver Island.”

An award-winning practice facility featuring covered and heated stalls, CPGA instruction, lighted evening practice and real terrain targets – including a water hazard – rounds out the range’s allure.

The club includes a clubhouse serving Vancouver Island microbrews, and the facility even has spaces for meetings and banquets on-site, as well as Victoria’s largest golf shop.

Spectacular Mountain or Valley Golf Courses

Not only does Bear Mountain Resort boast meeting and banquet facilities as well; but it also includes their pro shop, clubhouse and five different restaurants – even a swimming pool for relaxing after your relaxation!

Host to the 2010 Telus World Skins Game, their Mountain Course is Vancouver Island’s first Jack and Steve Nicklaus co-designed course: a full 18 hole, 7,212-yard, 72-par range meandering over jutting rocks, winding rivers and valleys featuring dramatic changes in elevation and views of nearby Victoria.  This is another don’t-miss for serious and amateur golfers alike.

As if that weren’t enough, Bear Mountain offers yet another course: their newly 2009-opened Valley Course, a gorgeous 18 holes sprawled across forest, lakes, creeks and rivers.  Elevated tee boxes, generous fairway widths with fewer bunkers and larger greens add to the enjoyment of this beautiful range.

Collectively, Bear Mountain represents the only 36 holes of Nicklaus Design golf in Canada.

Magnificent Waterfalls, Mountain Splendor, Roaming Deer, And Soaring Eagles

To say this course is special is an understatement.  Just a short drive from Victoria, Olympic View Golf Course showcases its 17th hole with a natural waterfall.  Olympic View consistently rates among the top courses on Vancouver Island, garnering a four star rating from Golf Digest as Best Places to Play in 2009.  Its GBC Golf Academy instructional team has been distinguished by PGA and BC awards, and even offers corporate clinics.

Their restaurant offers fresh, mouth-watering cuisine served on a wraparound patio with views of the first, tenth and eighteenth holes.  Nature’s beauty is a hallmark of this facility, and one of the premiere attractions for the visitor; any visiting golfer can expect an unrivalled experience of tranquility.

As such, Olympic View is a dedicated member of the Audubon Society, taking a serious interest in environmental preservation.  This and a caring, top-notch staff distinguish Olympic View as an exceptional destination for any golfer.

Vancouver Island Golf Trail

For the truly dedicated golf enthusiast, Vancouver Island has much,

much more to offer.  Victoria is situated at the southern tip of the

Vancouver Island Golf Trail, a tour of eleven amazing courses

situated along the island’s eastern coast from Victoria to Campbell

River, 264 km (158 mi.) to the north.

Voted #1 island destination in North America and #3 in the world by Travel and Leisure Magazine, and #2 island destination in the world by Conde Nast Travler Magazine, Vancouver Island is a vacation paradise by all standards.  From the spectacular golfing near Victoria, to the serenity and near-perfect golfing of Cowichan, to the massive opulence of Crown Isle in the north, Vancouver Island is a golfer’s paradise.

Accommodation Vancouver Island

A message from our sponsor

The BEST WESTERN PLUS, Carlton Plaza Hotel

642 Johnson Street, Victoria, BC Canada, V8W 1M6, CA

Toll Free: (800) 663-7241

Local: (250) 388-5513   Fax: (250) 388-5343

Email:

mailto:reservations@bestwesterncarltonplazahotel.com

The BEST WESTERN PLUS Carlton Plaza Hotel is proud to offer the finest in accommodations and friendly customer service at an affordable rate! The convenient downtown location of this Victoria hotel is ideal for guests visiting the Royal British Columbia Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria’s IMAX® Theater and is a short drive to the Butchart Gardens.

Guests looking for things to do in Victoria will enjoy being close to local attractions, theaters, golf courses, and whale watching expeditions. Favorite attractions also include Antique Row, the Royal London Wax Museum and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

Additional amenities include a fitness center, guest laundry, business center, meeting facilities and pet-friendly rooms.

Enjoy your golf and let us know about your favorites.

Re-published from www.amazingvancouverisland.com under creative commons license.

October
16

Shopping in Historic Old Town Victoria

posted by Carlton Plaza Hotel on October 16, 2011 7:26:22 PM

Whether shopping or sightseeing is on your mind, it’s hard to beat what you’ll find in historic Market Square, Victoria’s premiere shopping district.  Nestled in buildings dating from the 1880’s and 1890’s, the height of The Garden City’s 19th century prosperity when Victoria served as a clearing house for the Vancouver Island’s natural wealth in seal skins, lumber, coal and salmon, you’ll find charming shops catering to everything from trendy boutiques to salons and spas to sushi.  There’s even a nightclub for those seeking evening excitement.

A Lurid History

Market Square is the former site of “the other face of Victoria.”  In the late 1800’s, Victoria was becoming a popular vacation destination, even hosting royalty on occasion.  However, this renown was presaged by the earlier Gold Rush years, and the present site of Market Square was not a place to get caught if one weren’t street-wise enough!  Johnson Street was a rough-and-tumble collection of saloons, shops and bawdy houses, with an eclectic population from around the world; while Cormorant Street – renamed Pandora Street – was the gateway to Chinatown, home to gambling and opium dens.

In fact, in 1887 when the U.S. banned the production of opium, Chinatown in Victoria, B.C. became the main supplier of North America.  Today, the gambling houses, opium dens and tawdry barrooms are gone, but as you wander the shops and nearby streets you can imagine what it must have been like to tread the seamier avenues of this frontier mecca which attracted so many prospectors looking for a good time!

Central to The Garden City’s Sites

Bordered by the trendy “LoJo” fashion and home decor Design Districts, Market Square boasts a location central to multitudes of shopping, sightseeing and strolling opportunities.  And China Town’s only a block away, opening up even more shopping and dining vistas; a short walk will even bring you to the Inner Harbor.  If you’re in the mood for some adventure and a change of scene, take a stroll and catch the Victoria Clipper or Coho ferries.

History in Abundance

Within easy walking distance one will find a surprising abundance of sights.  The Parliament Buildings and grounds, seat of British Columbia’s legislative assembly shouldn’t be missed, and are considered an architectural gem.

And if you’re in the mood for museums, be sure and catch the Royal British Columbia Museum – featuring the cultural and natural history of the province, and their Ice Age Sounds exhibit – and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, with exhibits tailored to appeal to both curious adults and children.
One could go on and on.  Just pick a compass point from Market Square and start walking – you’re bound to hit a museum or historic building to explore, from the Royal British Columbia Wax Museum, to the Undersea Gardens, to the three diamond-rated Carlton Hotel or the Empress Hotel.  And while you’re at it, don’t forget the National Geographic IMAX Theater!

Full Circle

All roads – or walks – lead back to Market Square, where you’re as likely to stumble on one of the city’s many festivals and events, a fashion show, or an outdoor concert.

But what makes Market Square some of the most relaxing shopping around are the beautiful surroundings.  Dining in the open-air courtyard which dominates the center of the Square, surrounded by Victoria’s historic brick buildings and colorful hanging flower baskets, you’ll feel unaffected by the rush of modern Victoria as you simply take in the scenery and breathe the heritage.

Re-published from www.amazingvancouverisland.com under creative commons license.

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