The Landsea Guide to Government Street

Credit: Tourism Victoria 

 

The Victoria and Butchart Gardens Tour is a favourite for many of our tour guides. From a scenic perspective, it’s easy to see why. Unlike so many cities where historic architecture has begun to crumble under the pressures of time and gentrification, Victoria has maintained and preserved their vibrant Victorian buildings seen along both commercial and residential streets. Government Street, in particular, is especially known for its awe-inspiring moments.

It doesn’t matter which map you look at when visiting Victoria, it’s plain to see that Government Street connects you to almost anything you could want downtown. Generally, whenever a Landsea tour guide conducts a Victoria tour, we drive up Government Street turning into Chinatown to get back to the wharf. Even though our guides try to point out their favourite places, it’s hard to catch everything. Most maps only include the main attractions and can’t fit all the details. So here is a list of some of the best spots on Government Street.

History’s Corner

One of my favourite moments whenever I visit Victoria, is turning onto Government Street. You can also hear how excited visitors get once you make that turn. That’s because, within this little corner of British Columbia’s capital city, you not only get to see the famous Fairmont Empress Hotel, the Royal BC Museum, and the provincial parliament buildings, but also a breathtaking view of the water. In fact, if you image search the words “Victoria BC,” all you see are various photos of these four things. It’s easy for time to fly by when you’re snapping photos here.

                         Credit: Tourism Victoria

Never Leave Without a Souvenir

Government Street is basically ‘main street,’ for Victoria; lined with restaurants, stores, and galleries. Multiple souvenir shops are located here so no one misses a chance to buy a gift for themselves or for others. If you happen to want a one-of-a-kind piece to remember your visit, I would recommend the following stores:

  •      Out of Ireland: the perfect place to pick up handcrafted, imported Irish clothing, art, or jewellery
  •      Cowichan Traders: a go-to spot for those looking to own some First Nations artwork
  •      Rogers Chocolate: it’s hard to leave this beautifully-stained glass storefront filled with sweet chocolate, and rich with history
  •       Munro’s Books: a book lovers’ dream in an enchanting historic building; this store has been ranked as the third best bookstore in the world in 2016
  •       Murchie’s Tea and Coffee: also has a café, but has a great selection of teas and china for that “Victorian” feel

 

                                    Credit: Out of Ireland and Munro’s Books

Foodie or Fast Food

With Landsea Tours, we also arrive in Victoria around noon – which means lunch. Now whether you are a culinary adventurer, looking for unique local dishes, or if you’re instead wanting a family restaurant that serves chicken strips, then Government Street has something for you. Some places we always tend to recommend include:

  • Sam’s Deli – great if you want to grab a sandwich and eat by the water
  • The Soda Shoppe – perfect place to grab an ice-cream, especially in the summer
  • Frankie’s Modern Diner – good family restaurant with local/seasonal favourites
  • Bard and Banker – historic Scottish Pub (great place for fish & chips lovers)
  • Irish Times – historic Irish Pub (I will personally recommend the forest mushroom pizza)

Don’t worry though, if you want to stick to what’s familiar, there are also quite a few chain restaurants located on Government Street (and yes there is a Starbucks too).

                        Credit: Brianna Alexander                               Credit: Victoria Pub Company/Tourism Victoria

Chinatown

Victoria’s Chinatown is the second oldest in North America and always deserves a visit. As long as you aren’t claustrophobic, try visiting Fan Tan Alley – the narrowest commercial street in Canada. Containing both history and culture while being a cute bucket list spot, Chinatown is usually as far as we recommend tourists go and we find few guests wander farther north beyond this point.

                        Credit: Brandon McGeachie/Tourism Victoria

For the Person Who Wants to See it All

If you find yourself with a few extra minutes to spare on your trip, there are a few other places that are worth visiting that can be accessed through Government Street.

  •      Bastion Square – leads to Wharf Street and is lined with public art
  •      Market Square – a tucked away corner that is off Yates Street filled with some neat stores
  •      Wharf Street/Johnston Street – follow along with the water and see the colourful Victorian buildings (ie. Snap your Instagram photos here)

                                 Credit: Tourism Victoria

 

While this post offers the highlights of what can be seen, we personally recommend visiting for yourself. With a harmonious blend of Victorian sophistication mixed with a modern appeal that rivals European cities, Government Street offers travellers a way to explore the vibrant highlights of British Columbia’s capital city.

 

Top 5 Reasons to Take a North Shore Tour

Visitors to Vancouver have a lot to choose from when they visit this picturesque city: what to see, where to go, and what to eat. Visitor blogs and books are filled with the must-sees and -dos while visiting Vancouver, and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Grouse Mountain are almost always listed. These attractions are in North Vancouver located north of downtown Vancouver across the Burrard Inlet, only a 30-minute drive from downtown. However, not every visitor rents a car when they visit Vancouver because it’s not always needed in such a walkable city. Ways to get to North Vancouver to visit either the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and or Grouse Mountain include public transit, shuttle service offered by Capilano Suspension Bridge or Grouse Mountain, or with a sightseeing tour. All of these are great options, however, taking a sightseeing tour offers many benefits that the other options may not. Below are the top benefits of taking a sightseeing tour to North Vancouver.

1. No Lineups!

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Capilano Suspension Bridge offers a free shuttle from various locations across downtown Vancouver which is a great way of getting to the attraction; however you may have to wait in line because the shuttles come around every 15 minutes and they may be full! Grouse Mountain also offers a free shuttle service, but there still is the possibility of lineups. If you decide to take public transit, you may have to wait to catch the bus at Lonsdale Quay Market. Not only are there line-ups for the bus, don’t forget the lineups at the Capilano Suspension Bridge or Grouse Mountain once you arrive! When taking a sightseeing tour, you get priority entrance, as the attraction ticket is included with the cost of your tour.

2. Hotel specific pick-up and drop-offs

 

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Landsea Tours & Adventures offers hotel specific pick up and drop off at accommodations in downtown Vancouver, Richmond, and North Vancouver. Your tour guide will pick you up from the lobby of your hotel on the morning of your tour, meaning no need to find the seabus station or a shuttle stop! After a fun day on the North Shore, you will have your seat on our air-conditioned mini-coach to rest your feet while you head back downtown.

3. Pre-or Post-Cruise Tour Option

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Embarking or disembarking a cruise ship? Landsea Tours & Adventures offers our pre-cruise Peak & Canyon Tour and our post-cruise Mountain Discovery Tour. We will pick you up from you hotel or cruise ship in the morning and take you out for a day of adventure! One benefit of a pre- or post-cruise tour is that we will take care of your luggage for the day. This means you do not have to worry about carrying it around or storing it. Have a flight in the evening from the Vancouver International Airport? Depending on the tour and the time of your departure flight, we will drop you off at the airport with your luggage.

4. Be part of an intimate group

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Instead of getting lost in the crowd, make a few friends along the way while taking part in our small group tours. Our mini-coaches accommodate 24 to 30 passengers, which allows for easier bonding with your group and to have a personal relationship with your tour guide. You will also receive personal recommendations on what to see and do at each attraction and a customized commentary from your guide resulting in a fun-filled entertaining day. On our Mountain Discovery tour, an extra stop is included at the Capilano Fish Hatchery, where visitors can see and learn how fish develop from eggs to the juvenile stage.

5. Guaranteed arrival and departure times

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With a sightseeing tour, you don’t have to worry about a bus being full or behind schedule resulting in a missed bus. Our tour guides will let you know how long you have at each attraction and where to meet when you are done, so you don’t have to stress about catching a bus back home. Lastly, you can rest assured that if you have evening plans that you will be back in time with your guaranteed seat on a mini-coach.

Top 5 Benefits of taking a Post-Cruise Tour

Cruise ship season is upon us here in Vancouver, and the Port of Metro Vancouver expects to welcome approximately 830,000 passengers this year, which is a three percent increase over 2015! Along with the busy cruise ship season comes long lineups for taxis and the difficulties of finding transportation. At Landsea Tours & Adventures, we offer multiple pre-and post-cruise options for cruise ship passengers, to ensure that their stay in Vancouver starts off on the right foot!

Don’t know what to see first when you arrive in Vancouver? Landsea Tours & Adventures offers three post-cruise fully narrated tour options. Firstly our Vancouver City Highlights Tour is a 4-hour tour, which takes you to see the top attractions in the city of Vancouver. Secondly, our Peak & Canyon Tour is a 5-hour tour, taking you to see the most popular sights in North Vancouver such as the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain. Our Sea to Sky Tour is a 7-hour tour taking you along the scenic Sea to Sky highway to the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola and the Britannia Mine Museum. Both our City Highlights and Peak & Canyon tours are also available as pre-cruise options, where your guide will pick you up in the morning and our luggage handler will take your luggage to your cruise ship.

With all of these options in mind, read our blog below to learn about the top five benefits of taking a post-cruise tour with Landsea Tours & Adventures.

1. Meet & Greet Service

Our Guides
On the days when cruise ships are docked at the Canada Place cruise ship terminal, Landsea Tours & Adventures has a representative on location to guide disembarking cruise ship passengers to their mini-coach. Our representatives are easy to spot in their bright blue shirts and are looking for guests whose name is on their list for the day. With our meet & greet service, passengers’ time won’t be wasted trying to figure out where to go to find other modes of transportation.

 

2. Luggage Handling

Cruise Luggage Handling
Are you curious about what happens to your luggage during the day once you disembark the ship? Luggage will be placed in our luggage compartments on our mini-coach, so passengers won’t have to worry about it while on tour. After the tour is finished, passengers are dropped off at their hotels with their luggage. If you’re taking a flight in the evening instead, we will drop you and your luggage off at the airport. There is no need to find a place to store your luggage for the day, let Landsea Tours & Adventures take care of it for you!

3. No waiting in long lines!

On Friday May 6th, Vancouver had the busiest cruise ship day in history. With over 13,000 visitors arriving, cruise ship passengers had to wait in taxi lines for up to 90 minutes! A benefit of taking a post-cruise tour with us is that guests do not have to wait in these long lines. As mentioned previously in our blog, we have representatives who meet our passengers and take them directly to their tour bus so they don’t have to be a part of the huge lines and crowds.

4. Entertainment for the day 

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The great thing about taking a post-cruise tour is that our tour guides are fun and knowledgeable, and will entertain you throughout the day. All of the guides do their own live commentary throughout their tours, creating a more personalized experience for everyone. Here at Landsea Tours & Adventures we do all of the itinerary planning for you so all you have to do is pick which tour you like best and we will take care of the rest!

5. Drop-off at your hotel or the airport

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At the end of the tour, guests are dropped off at their hotel with their luggage just in time for check-in. All of the tour guides are familiar with the location of all the hotels in downtown Vancouver as well as the ones in Richmond; therefore there is no need to worry about getting lost if you were to do it on your own. If you are flying out of Vancouver International Airport, we are able to drop you off at the airport depending on your flight departure time. We make sure our guests are taken care of from the moment they meet their guide to when they are dropped off after their tour.

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