The Government Street promenade is line with brick pavement for the five blocks from the Inner Harbour to the start of Old Town (from Humboldt Street to Bastion Square). The area is a mix of quality souvenirs, which include Cowichan Indian sweaters, Haida carvings and British woolens, and low-end “kitch”, including plastic totem poles, and cheap t-shirts. This area has many of Victoria ‘s most unique shops, so have a good look around. The street also passes by the Victoria Eaton’s Centre, an indoor block-sized shopping paradise. Off to one side is Trounce Alley, which leads to the water, and is home to several very fine ladies fashion shops.
The Old Town preserves the city’s treasured past, and are located just north of the original Fort Victoria. The buildings have been recently restored, and includes Swan’s brew pub, the Market Square block of heritage buildings around an enclosed square, with a bit of an Old England style. This area is full of one-of-a-kind boutiques and little shops. For a more interesting shopping experience, search out all the old-style wood-carved Pub signs in the area.
This area runs from the Victoria Conference Centre along Douglas Street toward Yates Street and the Old Town. This area is deemed to include the Eaton’s Centre, and is home to many of the contemporary chain stores, like A & B Sound, Benetton, and Roots.
This three block stretch of Fort Strete, where the signs are also labelled “Antique Row,” is known as one of the best sources of British antiques in North America. Both because of its long status as a British colony, and its attraction to retirees, many older items and furnishings end up in Victoria. While the area has its share of junktiques (more recent collectibles), keep in mind that certified 100-year old antiques can be imported duty free into most countries (including the USA).
This is Canada’s oldest Chinatown, which got its start in the 1850’s Gold Rush days. The other cities’ Chinatowns didn’t get their start until the rush of immigrants to help build the trans-continental railway. By 1884, half of Victoria ‘s population was Chinese (Vancouver reached this level in 1998), though today’s Chinatown has shrunk to a about two colourful blocks, between Fisgard and Herald Streets. Chinatown opens with the 11-metre tall Gate of Harmonious Interest, and is filled with interesting shops and restaurants offering a variety of Asian fare. This area is home to Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in all of Canada.
Cadboro Bay Village
At the corner of Cadboro Bay Road and Sinclair is a neighbourhood shopping area serving Ten Mile Point and the University Area. You will find a variety of shops, services and a Pepper’s grocery store, all close to the popular Gyro Park on Cadboro Bay.
Cook Street Village
On Cook Street in the southern part of Victoria you will find a wide variety of restaurants, stores, services and grocery stores with a warm neighbourhood atmosphere. Located near the eastern side of Beacon Hill Park and only blocks from the Dallas Road waterfront.
Oak Bay Village
In the town centre for the Municipality of Oak Bay is a cluster of shops, services, restaurants and businesses.
Outside of Victoria
The Brentwood Bay shopping area is located along West Saanich Road on the Saanich Peninsula. It is the neighbourhood shopping area for the people in Brentwood Bay and contain shops, restaurants, and grocery stores.
At the corner of Goldstream Avenue and Highway 1A (as you turn off from the Trans Canada Highway) continuing on towards Sooke, are a wide variety of stores, shops, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.
Cordova Bay Village
This neighbourhood shopping area is in the north eastern part of Saanich on Cordova Bay Road and is on the Eastern waterfront. It is close to parks and the shopping area contains shops, services, a mini golf, restaurants, and Mattick’s Farm.
Sidney by the Sea
The town centre of Sidney on the northern end of Saanich Peninsula has lots of shops, stores and businesses, primarily along Beacon Avenue (and one or two blocks to the north and south) ending on the Sidney waterfront.
At the town centre of Sooke, a community of 10,000 along Highway 1A to the west of Victoria , there are a string of shops, services, business, and restaurants.