The last month of the year is here and with it comes an abundance of holiday things to do in Victoria. You’ll find a number of places to view festive decorations and lights, ice skating, holiday performances and even last minute shopping opportunities. While this season also brings extra shopping and preparing, take a break from the hustle and bustle and allow yourself some time to take in the holiday happenings. Many of these activities are filled with cheer and will cause you to remember that the holidays really can be a lot of fun.

Victoria Parliament Buildings decked out in holiday lights. Credit: Michael Brown

Victoria Parliament Buildings decked out in holiday lights. Credit: Michael Brown

City Lights Shine Bright All Month Long

This year holiday festivities start early since the beginning of December falls on a Monday. Help launch all the fun by attending the 7th Annual Centennial Square Christmas tree Light-Up and watch as the Christmas tree blooms into life with thousands of lights. There will be plenty of free treats and musical performances to keep any little ones engaged, so be sure to stick around for the Island Farms Santa Light Parade afterwards. The parade features marching bands and floats decked out in, what else, lights!

You can experience even more holiday décor and lights if you venture outside of the downtown Victoria. Hop aboard the Festive Victoria Tour to see popular attractions like Craighdarroch Castle in their holiday finest. The Butchart Gardens also goes all out for the holidays, covering all their gardens in lights and even creating an ice skating rink, making the Holiday Lights Tour something you don’t want to miss.

Holiday horse-drawn trolley rides. Credit: Carrie MacLachlan

Holiday Horse-Drawn Trolley Rides. Credit: Carrie MacLachlan

Enjoy the Holidays Indoors and Out

In addition to lights, there a number of other December things to do in Victoria. The Fairmont Empress is bringing ice skating downtown by opening a rink to the front lawn, complete with opportunities to warm up with cider or hot cocoa. There is also a variety of indoor entertainment around town, from performances of the Nutcracker, Christmas Carol, A Christmas Story, singing by the Irish Tenors and more.

If you like sweet treats, Canada’s 6th Annual National Gingerbread Showcase will be on display at Laurel Point now until January 4. These creations are made entirely out of candy, but please don’t eat them, no matter how tempting they may be. However, do look for the entry submitted by Clipper Vacations! Making gingerbread houses is not the only sweet thing Clipper is doing this season. If you take a picture sharing a kiss with family, friends or pets under the city’s biggest mistletoe, your picture could win you round trip tickets for two to Seattle aboard the Victoria Clipper ferry. If that isn’t sharing the love, we don’t know what is.

One of the many shops in Victoria. Credit: Michelle Stewart

One of the many shops in Victoria. Credit: Michelle Stewart

Last Call for Last Minute Shopping

Of course, the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without shopping. Luckily there are plenty of markets that open up in and around town to help satiate your needs. There is the Victoria Public Market Artisan Corner, which sets up in Victoria Public Market every Saturday and Sunday, from November 15th until Christmas. This special section provides an opportunity for many of Vancouver Island’s talented artists to sell and show off their amazing work. Similarly, the Bastion Square Holiday Pop-Up Market features locally produced crafts and sumptuous treats that make for great stocking stuffers. Finally, there is a special night market at Ship Point during the lighted ship parade.

Before the end of the holiday season, make sure to take advantage of the free horse-drawn trolley rides, which circulate through the downtown area on the weekends leading up to Christmas. A fun and unique way to travel, these rides make last minute shopping easier and allow you to take in all the lights and sights around Victoria.

More December Things to Do in Victoria

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City Creative Commons Licensed by Adamantios

One of China’s most treasured and mysterious areas, the Forbidden City, was home to the imperial palace from 1416-1911 during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Located in the heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City contained about 980 buildings and 10,000 rooms. As its name suggests, the city was forbidden to everyone except the 24 emperors who occupied it over the five centuries it was in operation, the imperial household and special visitors. As a result, there has been much curiosity over the city, what life inside the city and the objects the city contained.

Now, with the launch of the Vancouver Art Gallery exhibit “The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors,” the imperial palace will no longer be a secret. Thus, inquiring minds will finally get a chance to have a glimpse of what life inside the city might have been like. The exhibition showcases 200 precious works, many of which are from some of the emperors’ most private rooms, which have not been widely seen outside of China. The artifacts are from as from as early as 500 CE to the early 20th century, and include items such as paintings, ceramics, gold and silverware, jade, bronzes and textiles. The collection is divided into nine sections, based on what the items would have been used for or where they were found in the city. For instance, at the entrance of the exhibit (which is called “Reigning”) you will find the emperor’s throne and portraiture and symbols, in the “Warring” section ceremonial armor and weaponry are displayed, and in “Symbols” you can see the colors, iconography reserved for emperors. Likewise, documents created especially by emperors, such as poetry, political documents and calligraphy are found in “Texting.” In “Consuming” and “Collecting” areas you can see collections of expensive and precocious objects.

“The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors,” exhibit is on display until January 11, 2015, and is a great excursion to add to your next trip to Vancouver. Better yet, add on a stop at Chinatown, which is the largest in all of Canada. Here, you can learn about Chinese culture in Vancouver, shop and enjoy tasty Chinese food. After January, the “The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors,” will be moving on, so make sure to take advantage of the chance to visit while it is in town, and get a look at what life was like for some of the most powerful rulers in Chinese history.

Details:

Where:

Vancouver Art Gallery: 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z2H7

When:

October 18, 2014 to January 11, 2015

For Tickets & More Information:

visit the the Vancouver Art Gallery website

Festive Victoria Tour

The Children’s Pavilion at The Butchart Gardens

The holidays are an exciting time of year, with a number of activities and events to attend. As fun as the holidays are, they can also be stressful with gifts to purchase, meals to prepare and a full social calendar. However, these things should not deter you from enjoying the holiday season. Escape the hustle and bustle while still enjoying the spirit of the season with the Festive Victoria Tour. This fully narrated tour allows you to explore the city of Victoria during this delightful time of year, as many popular locations are festooned with sparkling lights and seasonal decor.

Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle

The tour begins by traveling through Mile 0 (the start of 8,000 km Trans-Canada Highway that spans the entire length of Canada), Beacon Hill Park and Cook Street Village. The coach also goes through the popular Chinatown, which is the oldest in Canada and only the second in age in North America to the Chinatown in San Francisco, California. Next, visit Craigdarroch Castle, and take a self-guided tour of this 1800’s mansion that has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada. The Craigdarroch was created for coal baron Robert Dunsmuir and Joan. Featuring 39 rooms, the castle has become well known for its stained glass windows and ornate carved wood. During the holidays, these furnishings look even more beautiful as they are decorated with traditional Victorian Christmas décor.

The Butchart Gardens at Christmas

The Butchart Gardens at Christmas

Take in views of Mt. Tolmie, the towns of Oak Bay and Saanich all lit up with lights and scenic views of the water along Marine Drive as you travel to The Butchart Gardens. Once you arrive at the Gardens, you will have time to explore the 55 acres of manicured grounds. These gardens, which were a limestone quarry, are stunning any time of the year, but the caretakers at the garden really go all out for the holidays. View wintertime flowers like snowdrops and hellebore or stop and take a break to go ice skating at the outdoor rink that is set up only during the holiday season. While you are at the gardens you will be treated to a holiday high tea, featuring traditional delicacies, savory sandwiches, house sweets and a flight of three local wines. If you enjoy holiday lights, you may wish to stay at The Butchart Gardens to view their spectacular show (later buses are available, please call in advance to make arrangements). All of the grounds are covered in thousands of lights and there are special Twelve Days of Christmas displays interspersed throughout. You can also hear music played by carolers and a brass band from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. each evening and enjoy snacks and a cup of hot chocolate in the Coffee Shop.

The Victoria Butterfly Gardens

The Victoria Butterfly Gardens

If you are continuing on the tour, the final stop is a self-guided tour of the Victoria Butterfly Gardens. You will see a number of exotic plants and animals such as poison dart frogs, tropical birds and of course, butterflies. After spending a day enjoying the highlights of Victoria all dressed for the season, and spending some time relaxing in one of Victoria’s spas after your tour, such as the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Empress, you’ll be ready to face the holidays with renewed enthusiasm. Perhaps you will even find time to do a little shopping before you return. If a fun getaway and all of the holiday sights and activities during the Festive Victoria Tour doesn’t get you in the spirit of the season nothing will!

Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival

You know the drill. Now that Halloween is over, even though you are probably still managing a sugar-hangover, it is time to kick your holiday planning into high gear. However, determining exactly what you want to do for the holidays can often be more challenging. If you find yourself struggling for ideas, why not start a new tradition? Instead of attending the same town Christmas tree lighting you go to every year, take a day trip to experience the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival. Visiting this Bavarian village is sure get in you in the holiday spirit, as it is filled with quaintly decorated chalets and chateaus and full of holiday cheer.

Not only is a trip to Leavenworth a fun way to celebrate the holidays, but will also provide respite from the daily hustle and bustle. After all, the city really goes all out to create this festival that combines the best parts of the winter season into one neat package. You can enjoy classic holiday activities like listening to carolers, sledding in Front Street Park, going on a Winter Wonderland Walk (or snowshoe, if weather permits) along Riverfront Park and meet costumed Christmas characters such as Santa, Mrs. Claus and Father Christmas. In addition, you’ll be able to find tasty treats like German brats, roasted chestnuts and hot spiced wine and cider being sold inside a traditional Gluhwein Tent.

Leavenworth_Snow_Morning

Photo: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce

The holiday festivities begin at 11:00 am each Saturday and Sunday during the first three weeks of December with music and then kicks into high gear with the arrival of Santa parade at 12:00 pm. During the rest of the day you are free to participate in the many activities, shop or explore the town. Make sure to catch the lighting ceremony at 4:30 pm though, which illuminates Leavenworth with thousands of sparkling lights.

However, the best part is that you don’t even have to worry about driving over the pass to Leavenworth yourself. Choose to depart from one of several pickup locations and one of our luxury motor coaches will transport you to Leavenworth. All you have to do is sit back, enjoy the complimentary breakfast box from Clipper Cafe, relax and take in the views along the way.

Speaking of minimizing your anxiety, the best way to make sure you tackle everything on your holiday to-do list is by planning ahead. Start scheduling your holiday activities and trips like the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival now, so you don’t feel crunched for time later. Come December all you will have to do is get your friends and family loaded up on the bus and you will be on your way to creating memories.

Leavenworth 1

Apples and Apple Cider Creative Commons Licensed by Phongnguyen1410

Apples and Apple Cider Creative Commons Licensed by Phongnguyen1410

Around the Pacific Northwest, apple picking has become a popular October and November activity. In fact, apples have almost gotten as synonymous with fall as pumpkins, with a number of orchards in the area offering u-pick options and festivals. Instead of eating or baking all of these tasty apples, why not try drinking them? An interesting and fun alternative to craft beer, hard cider is increasing in popularity and is popping up all over around the Pacific Northwest. In fact, you can even order a dry hard cider off the Victoria Clipper on board menu. This tasty beverage is made with apples grown in Oregon and Washington, and produced by Square Mile Cider Co in Portland. Eager to taste other local brews? Why not visit some of these cideries in person and relax with a new drink or two, or even a sampler, in front of cozy fireplace and soak in the ambiance? To make your search easier, we thought we would help narrow down the selection by providing some of our top choices in each city.

Seattle

Seattle Cider Company

In the state known for its wonderful apples, cideries are surprisingly rare in Seattle. Perhaps it is because Seattle is one of America’s best beer cities, and it can be challenging to compete with fun activities like the Seattle Brews & Views Tour. Or maybe, it is because we would rather eat our apples than drink them, even though are they are mighty good either way. Luckily,Seattle Cider Co remedied this problem last year by opening the Woods tasting room, which serves two year around and four to six seasonal and specialty handcrafted ciders. Be advised that at this cidery the focus is mainly on the cider so don’t expect to find much food, but you are welcome to bring your own.

Schilling & Company

Recently joining the Seattle cider scene is Schilling & Company. While the company has been brewing cider for a few years, they just opened their first cider house, located in Fremont, in September 2014. Future plans for the cider house include education and tasting sessions as well as cider making classes, so guests can become well-versed in the cider producing process.

Pacific Northwest Cideries

Mixed Apples for Cider Pressing Creative Commons Licensed by Anne Dirkse

Victoria

Merridale Ciderworks

If you love cider, Merridale Ciderworks is the place for you. All seven of Merridale’s ciders are produced right there in Victoria, so while you are at Merridale you can see and learn about every step involved in the cider making process. Tour the neighboring orchards where the apples are grown, see the cidery where the cider is pressed, fermented and bottled, and of course, sample a few of these delicious beverages at the Ciderbar when your tour is over.

Sea Cider

A farm-based cidery, Sea Cider grows their cider apples right next to their ciderhouse on the 10 acre property. When you visit, make sure to check out the orchard, which contains over 1,000 trees that produce over 60 varietals of cider apples. After your tour, grab a snack and enjoy a short (three samples) or long (all current ciders, which is at least nine, plus featured cocktails) flight of cider while enjoying the view of the water.

Portland

Portland Cider Company

The story of Portland Cider Company is similar to that of many other cideries. Frustrated by the quality of commercial ciders, founders Jeff and Lynda Parrish decided to start producing their own made from Northwest apples. In their taproom you taste flights of all their widely available ciders, as well as sample a couple of unreleased and limited availability ciders them before they hit the stands. Portland Cider Company has a variety of unique and flavorful brews, and even a pear cider, so it is definitely worth stopping by.

Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider

What began as a project to help rid a friend of excess apples by making them in to cider, quickly turned into the company now known as Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider. The story goes that once Rev. Nat started making cider, he realized he really enjoyed the process, practiced his brewing technique and became popular enough to open his own taproom. Stop by to experience Rev. Nat’s creative and tasty flavor combinations. You may even get to sample a taproom-only special that never leaves the building.

The holidays are almost here, and with them come a variety of meals and events to plan and prepare for. However, before the busyness of the season sets in, take some to relax and enjoy some of your favorite fall and winter activities. Whether you are a foodie or a sports fanatic, there are plenty of November 2014 things do to in Vancouver, BC.

Relax with Hockey and Delicious Food

Creative Commons Licensed by Mr. Leung

Creative Commons Licensed by Mr. Leung

It would not be fall without hockey! This season, hockey fans are in for a special treat, as Rogers Hometown Hockey will be traveling though out the Canada to bring hockey-related festivities to 25 communities. Now that it is almost a month into the season, the tour will be stopping to the east of Vancouver in Burnaby on November 8-9. The weekend will kick off on Saturday with meet and greets with hockey celebrities, games and activities, a winter market full of local food, and other entertainment. The weekend’s festivities culminate on Sunday with a half-hour pre-game show hosted by Ron MacLean, co-host of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, followed by an outdoor viewing party of the game. This is an event hockey lovers won’t want to miss.

Everything is Better with Chocolate

Creative Commons Licensed by David Leggett

Creative Commons Licensed by David Leggett

One of the most popular treats during the holidays (and probably the most popular treat in general), so why not indulge a little more this year by attending an entire event dedicated to this delightful confection? The Festival of Chocolate runs from October 15–November 10 so you can learn what makes each kind of chocolate different, discover how to cook with chocolate (you can pick up some tasty recipes) and of course plenty of chocolate to sample. If that isn’t enough chocolate for you, there are a number of chocolate shops and cafes where you can pair your snack with coffee, tea or even wine.

Speaking of sweet sounding events, Candytown kicks off the beginning of the holiday season on November 22. This outdoor festival transforms Yaletown into a Christmas town, filled with lampposts decorated as candy canes, costumed characters such as elves, gingerbread people, the Ice Queen and Santa, and hundreds of sparkling lights. Visitors can go on free horse carriage rides, learn how to carve and see candy being made at Frankie’s. The festival also features a winter market, where shoppers can stock up on gifts and holiday treats. With so many things to see and do, it is unfortunate that this festival just lasts one day. Luckily, come December, there will be a whole slew of holiday activities to enjoy, from tree lightings to holiday shows, so stay tuned to add them to your calendar.

More November 2014 Things to Do in Vancouver, BC

November 2014 Things to do in Portland

Portland in the fall/ Courtesy of Lance Brown

We’ve reached that time of year where feasts, festivals, events and activities abound. While all these celebrations are a great note to end the year on and make the holidays more festive, they do require some preparation. Since it is never too soon to start planning, we have combined our resources to provide you with some of the most interesting and exciting November 2014 things to do in Portland so you can create a fun-filled holiday season be before it even begins.

Enjoy November Foods and Feasts

November has long been known as the month of the plentiful harvest. Therefore, why not enjoy the fruits (literally) of Mother Nature’s labor and attend a food, beer or wine festival, or two in preparation of the big feast on Thanksgiving day. Epicureans will particularly enjoy the Nortwest Food & Wine Festival, where they can attend classes, participate in contests and purchase food to take home with them. With over 600 wines and gourmet food from 50 restaurants, even the most discerning eaters are sure to have something to enjoy.

You can wet your whistle at BelgianFest, with at least 20 different Belgian-style beers produced by Oregon breweries. If you prefer grapes to wheat, both Columbia Gorge wineries and Willamette Valley wineries are having special open house events over Thanksgiving weekend. This will be a great opportunity to sample of new wines or revisit old favorites while resupplying your wine cellar for the rest of the holiday months.

Appreciate Artists from Around the Northwest

One of the great things about the Pacific Northwest is that it is home to many talented artists. This month, there are a couple festivals that allow you to celebrate and enjoy whichever medium(s), you prefer. Early November launches the Northwest Filmmakers Festival, where over 400 entries from filmmakers in Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington are gathered to showcase the best films in the area. During the festival there are several parties and workshops where filmmakers have the chance to network and share industry insights.

A little later in the month, the rest of the visual artist community, such as painters, sculptors, photographers and even writers get their time to shine at the Wild Arts Festival . About 70 artists and 35 authors will be in attendance at the festival, showing off their art and books that have been created or inspired by nature. This a great opportunity to get a head start on your holiday shopping as there are many unique crafts that you are unlikely to find anywhere else, which will make great gifts for anyone to whom you want to give a little a piece of the Northwest. If you are in need of more gift ideas, make sure to stop by the Portland Holiday Food & Gift Festival, which features 300 exhibitors selling festive gifts, art, clothing, toys and food.

Celebrate the Joy of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is nearly in full swing, and there are a number of events and activities to participate in as you celebrate. Take your friends and family to the Turkey Trot at the Zoo on Thanksgiving day to participate in a four mile family fun run to ensure that you all work up an appetite for dinner. Besides being Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving marks the first day of Christmas and winter festivities, so take a break from your shopping to enjoy the Macy’s Holiday Parade downtown or lightings throughout the city. Of course, this is just the beginning of a variety of holiday happenings, so be sure to check back in for tips on where you can see amazing light displays, catch a production of the Christmas Carol or Nutcracker and more!

More November 2014 Things to Do in Portland

November 2014 Things to Do in Victoria

The Empress Hotel at Night, Creative Commons Licensed by Brandon Godfrey

This time of year there is a good chance that you are looking for things to do indoors and out of the rain and wind. Tantalize your taste buds at artisan food and beverage festivals or support the arts by going to a concert or a play at the theater. There are also a couple of opportunities to get a head start on your holiday shopping at either the 26th Annual Out of Hand Craft Fair or at the 16th Annual Downtown Victoria Gallery Walk. As long as you are beginning your holiday preparations, you may also want to scheduling Christmastime activities as many begin in November.

Explore Victoria’s Art and Culinary Scene

The fall months are known for celebrating and producing extraordinary food and beer, so make sure to take full advantage of them. At Winterbrau, you can taste handcrafted winter beers from over 15 local breweries and sample snacks from Canoe Brewpub’s kitchen. The best part about this event is that you can get unlimited food and beverage samples, so bring your appetite!

If you are literary minded, there are several opportunities for you to connect with fellow writers and bookaholics this month. Stop by the Victoria Writers Festival to can attend readings, workshops and perhaps find some new books to curl up with during the winter months. Likewise, there is the Victoria Comic Book Expo, which has thousands of comic books to buy, sell or trade.

Light up the Town in Preparation for the Holiday Season

The end of November also brings the beginning of the holiday season. As a result, expect to see a smattering of festive things do to in Victoria. Kick off your holiday activities off by attending the Festival of the Trees held at The Fairmont Empress Hotel. This highly anticipated event fills the hotel with tons of trees that have been beautifully decorated by local businesses and organizations. If you visit during the opening decorating gala, you will find Santa, elves and other helpers trimming the trees and playing music. Admission is free, but with a minimum $2 donation (proceeds go to the BC Children’s Hospital) you can vote for your favorite trees, and the winners will be announced at the end of the season.

Later in the month you can also help get the rest of the country in the holiday spirit, at the annual Christmas Lights Across Canada event. According to the Official Website of Ottawa Tourism , “the program was launched in 1985 as a way to liven up the darkest of winter days.” The event reaches from coast to coast, lighting up the Capital of Canada in Ottawa, and extending to all of the provincial and territorial capitals around the country. The Victoria branch of the celebration features the lighting of a large Sequioa tree on the lawn of the Parliament buildings, special guests, Christmas carols and hot chocolate and cookies for everyone. Of course, these events are just the beginning of all of the festive activities taking place this year. Make sure to check back soon for more things to do during the winter holidays in Victoria.

More November Things to Do in Victoria

November 2014 Things to Do in Seattle

Seattle in the fall, Creative Commons Licensed by Wonderlane

Although many of us in Seattle haven’t even consumed all of our Halloween candy for the year yet, there are already more opportunities for feasting looming on the horizon. Most notably, is Thanksgiving, which involves a ton of food as well as friends and family. Of course, all that celebrating is followed by the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, which falls on November 28th this year. As usual, there will be a ton of great sales and deals all over the Seattle area. As such, this is a great chance for organized shoppers to complete all of their holiday gift buying in one fell swoop. The December holidays will be here before we know it, so stay tuned for information about festive events and adventures happening in the greater Seattle area to get a jump start on planning.

Relax with Sumptuous Food and Outdoor Activities

Besides spending time with loved ones, many people enjoy indulging in some football over Thanksgiving weekend. This year is a great opportunity to do so, as the Seattle Seahawks take on one of their biggest rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, on Thanksgiving evening. This is sure to be an electrifying game, so have plenty of goodies on hand for hungry fans. To make sure there is plenty of food around for Thanksgiving weekend, and for the rest of the holidays, stop by the Christmas in Seattle Gift & Gourmet Food Show. With over 400 exhibits and a culinary program featuring local chefs, there will be tons of tasty treats to sample and purchase. This is also a great opportunity to get a jump start on holiday shopping, as there are plenty of gifts available.

If folks feel as though they need a way, besides shopping, to burn off additional Thanksgiving calories there are several outdoor activities to partake in. Take advantage of Free Park Day, where entry to national parks like Mount Rainier and Olympic National Park is free for the day. Yes, the weather will be cooler, but the colder temperatures make the outdoors look even more magical, creating sparkling frozen lakes and waterfalls. Likewise, there is the Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon, which is in its 42nd year and is one of the top ten largest combined marathons in the U.S.

Let the Holiday Magic Begin with Plays and Parades

Once the shopping rush of Black Friday has passed, all of the area’s holiday events are officially in full swing. In fact, the Macy’s Holiday Parade kicks off amid the shopping on the morning of November 28th at Westlake Mall, and bargain hunters who stick around after they’ve shopped-till-they-dropped will get to experience the Macy’s Star Lighting as well. Meanwhile, shoppers on the East-side can enjoy nightly performances of Snowflake Lane, featuring dancing, music and, of course, snow! Whichever event (or events!) visitors choose to partake in, they will find plenty of cheer throughout the season.

More November Things to Do in Seattle

This past week we had the pleasure of sending Monorail Bunny, and his traveling companion Otter, on an overnight trip to Victoria. For those of you who haven’t heard of Monorail Bunny, in 2012 he was accidentally left behind on the Seattle Center Monorail. Bunny was discovered by a Monorail conductor who took him back to the main office in the hope that his owner would come collect him. The Monorail staff subsequently spent months looking for Bunny’s owner, but were still unable to reunite Bunny with his owner and adopted him into their family. As a new resident of the Pacific Northwest, Bunny decided to spend his time visiting many popular attractions around the area and documenting his journey on camera. Recently, Bunny has been joined by Otter, who, like Bunny, was left behind on the Monorail.

Monorail Bunny in Victoria, BC

Bunny and Otter posed in front of The Fairmont Empress in Victoria’s beautiful Inner Harbour.

Over the past few years Bunny has visited hot spots like Pacific Science Center, the Woodland Park Zoo, Teatro ZinZanni, the Museum of Flight and has even taken a Hawaiian vacation. However, we learned that Bunny had yet to travel out of the country, so we decided it was the perfect to time invite Bunny and Otter to spend a weekend in beautiful Victoria. We caught up with Bunny and Otter after their adventure, and they filled us in on the highlights of their trip and shared a few photos.

Clipper Vacations (CV): What inspired you to travel to Victoria?

Monorail Bunny: We asked our friends on Facebook where we should go on our next big adventure and many people recommended taking a ride on the Victoria Clipper.

Otter: I was real worried about traveling so far from home – I didn’t realize that Victoria was less than 3 hours away on the Clipper! It is so close! That helped me to feel better about the trip and once we arrived, we started having so much fun exploring that I forgot about being worried or homesick! You Otter Know… I love Victoria!

CV: What was your favorite part about your trip to Victoria?

Bunny: My favorite part about our trip was meeting lots of new and interesting people in Victoria – there are people from all over the world who go to Victoria! We made lots of new friends [on] The Butchart Gardens & City Highlights Tour and at Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress. Some people even wanted to take photos of us! Everyone was so nice! Did you know that when we stayed at the Inn at Laurel Point , the hotel had these awesome treats that were waiting in our room when we checked in?! I got a lot of veggies and a HUGE glass of jellybeans! Otter got these giant oysters – bigger than he was! We were in heaven!

Monorail Bunny and Otter do Victoria

Bunny and Otter snacking on some sweet treats at the Inn at Laurel Point.

Otter: My favorite part about our trip was going behind the scenes on the Clipper IV and exploring the wheelhouse! It was so amazing how many buttons and levers and screens are inside! We get to sit in the driver’s seat at the Seattle Center Monorail all the time, but the Clipper wheelhouse is something completely different! So cool!

Bunny and Otter got a bird’s eye view from the ship’s wheelhouse and even got to try a hand (or should we say paw?) at navigating the ship.

Bunny and Otter got a bird’s eye view from the ship’s wheelhouse and even got to try a hand (or should we say paw?) at navigating the ship.

CV: Did you learn anything new during your travels?

Bunny: I learned that the Clipper IV can go up to 30 knots – that’s super fast! It was really cool how the boat just slices through the water! Also, where we sat, there was a table, so we could play cards during our trip up to Victoria! We played Otter’s favorite card game… can you guess what that is?? Go fish!

Otter: Oh yeah! I love Go Fish! It was so fun to play during our trip to and from Victoria! I learned all about the history of the Butchart family and how they created such an amazing garden! I really love the Japanese Garden – it’s so beautiful in the fall! I also learned that Victoria’s Chinatown is the second oldest Chinatown in North America after the San Francisco Chinatown. It was pretty cool walking around and looking at all the fresh produce!

Bunny and Otter exploring the beautiful grounds at The Butchart Gardens.

Bunny and Otter exploring the beautiful grounds at The Butchart Gardens.

CV: Did you get to try any tasty treats while in Victoria?

Bunny: My new favorite tea is the tea we had at The Fairmont Empress during Afternoon Tea! They served their own unique blend called The Empress – it’s made exclusively for them! I brought a big box home with me so I can keep drinking it! I’m a Seattle Bunny, so coffee will always be a big deal to me, but this tea is REALLY good!

Otter: I love all the seafood in Victoria! Our hotel, the Inn at Laurel Point gave me the biggest oysters I’ve ever seen – they were seriously bigger than me! Also, I had great food at the Gatsby Manor across the street from the Victoria Clipper Terminal – it was a great place to eat and watch the boats come in and out of the harbor. Also, the tiny sandwiches and the scones at Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress were out of this world! The size of the sandwiches were the perfect size for Monorail Bunny and me – the egg salad one on the croissant was my favorite!

Bunny enjoying an authentic British Afternoon Tea experience, complete with scones, pastries, savories and tea sweets at the Fairmont Empress Hotel

Bunny enjoying an authentic British Afternoon Tea experience, complete with scones, pastries, savories and tea sweets at The Fairmont Empress Hotel.

We are so glad Bunny and Otter were able to travel to Victoria, and had a wonderful time exploring the city. We hope that they come back again and get to check out more of the fun activities the city has to offer. Perhaps we can convince them to take a ride on the AdrenaLINE Zipline Adventure Tours or visit the Royal British Columbia Museum.

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