THE KNITTER’S CITY: VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA WITH SHANNON COOK & JANE RICHMOND

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You may remember some time ago the lovely Bristol Ivy showed us around her native Portland, Maine and Dianna Walla shared with us a travel guide to Seattle, well we are so pleased to be revisiting this Knitter’s City series with a look around Victoria, BC, Canada, through the eyes two of our favourite designers, Shannon Cook and Jane Richmond.  You’ll know Shannon and Jane from a number of places – their independently self-published designs, the books they publish together, or maybe you have taken part in one of Shannon’s seasonal KAL’s, or follow Jane’s lovely blog. They have put together a great guide that has got us dreaming up our next road trip. Here’s Shannon and Jane on why they love Victoria:

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We live in the beautiful city of Victoria, perched on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. One of the special things about Victoria is its modest size—it is small enough that most everything is less than 15 minutes away – yet it’s large enough to harbour diversity & rich culture, attract concerts & events, and support a vibrant retail marketplace. Victoria also experiences milder temperatures and less rain than many other parts of the Island and mainland, and because of our gentle winters, it is possible to enjoy the outdoors all year round. Whether you kayak, hike, bike or more – there’s something for everyone in the wilderness of Victoria, BC.

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WALKS AND HIKES
Victoria has a beautiful downtown core that’s small enough to meander on foot. Victoria is a tourist destination in the summer, during this time you’ll find local vendors selling their wares along the causeway of the inner harbour—it’s one of our favourite walks. It’s also lovely at night when the parliament buildings are lit up. A stone’s throw from downtown is Dallas Road—the perfect walk on a sunny day. The pedestrian walkway along the coastal cliffs spans from Clover Point to Ogden Point with many beach access points along the way—perfect for those who prefer to walk the beach and scale the rocks that border each cove. Outside of the downtown core are plenty of beautiful hikes. Some favourites include Mount Finlayson (a moderate hike with sections of fun rock face to climb—I wouldn’t recommend it for younger children), Gowlland Tod (25 kilometers of trails of all levels with spectacular views), and Mount Douglas (perfect for beginners and kiddo and just a short 20-30 minutes up).

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COFFEE
We love our coffee and Victoria is full of fabulous coffee shops! One of our favourite places is Habit on Yates Street. It’s a bright open space with floor to ceiling windows (perfect for people watching!). It’s centrally located downtown and open later than many independent coffee shops—it also has great treats! It’s situated in the Atrium building which is stunning from the inside and also chocked full of great shops—Victory Barber Shop, Metropol Print Shop, Cook Culture (AH-mazing kitchen store), Poppies Floral Art (love their airplant and succulent offerings), Pig BBQ Joint (try the pulled pork poutine!!), and AJ’s Organic Cafe.  We also love Caffe Fantastico. Their location in Quadra Village recently completed an expansion and now offers amazingly delicious meals along with their regular fair of coffee and treats. Hey Happy wins for the best cup (they also have fresh doughnuts!)—their coffees (especially the americanos) are delicious and the Amanda Marie mugs it’s served in are equally amazing.

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FOOD
There are so many great restaurants in Victoria. Tacofino is fast, fresh, reasonably priced, and OH so delicious!! Their store front is modest in size and the decor is Island eclectic. If you’re in Victoria for brunch, Jam is the place to be—the food is phenomenal and like any good brunch spot, you’ll need to get there early to hold your place in line! Dockside Green is just across the water from Downtown where you’ll find the old favourite but newly expanded Fol Epi bakery. They make their amazing breads from Red Fife which they mill on site (and even sell bags of it in house)! You can grab a tasty sandwich on a fresh baguette, mini pizza, or a sweet treat. And if you need a coffee fix they share the space with Caffe Fantastico! Since expanding they also have a deli case and offer an amazing selection of charcuterie from exceptional companies like Two Rivers Meats. Fol Epi has recently opened a second location in the heart of Downtown with a full service, high end restaurant called Agrius with some incredible offerings. Another amazing lunch spot is Uchida. They offer freshly made, locally sourced, authentic Japanese. They have a limited selection and are only open from 11 – 2, Monday through Friday, and often close early when they’ve run out of food! So get there early for the best selection! For great atmosphere and a seasonal menu try Lure. It has some of the best views in town, situated at the Delta hotel overlooking the water front. They also have the best outdoor patio outfitted with comfy couches and outdoor heaters—perfect for an evening of knitting with friends!

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SHOPPING
Victoria’s downtown is full of sweet little boutique shops that offer well curated collections with a focus on minimalism and well made pieces, often locally sourced or ethically produced. In and around lower Johnson street (LoJo) is a great place to start! You’ll find Smoking Lily‘s tiny store front (check out their larger store Milkman’s Daughter for more), Still Life Boutique, plus access to Market Square (amazing locally handcrafted jewellery at Tonic Jewelry  and Little Gold!). Just a block away is the gorgeous Violette Boutique full of loveliness! And we can’t forget MEC (it’s very similar to REI in the US), offering an amazing selection of outdoor gear! They also have an amazing in house brand and offer their rock solid guarantee that you won’t find anywhere else!

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YARN
Our most frequented yarn shop is definitely the Beehive Wool Shop. The ladies are so lovely there, the selection is substantial (I believe the Beehive is Brooklyn Tweed’s only Canadian stockist!), plus this shop is an impressive 100 years old! Filled with great light, brick walls and some of the best selection in Canada you definitely do not want to miss visiting the Beehive! Another great yarn shop is Button and Needlework Boutique in Trounce Alley, offering a carefully curated selection of yarns, they really only carry the best! …and the button selection is unparalleled!

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We hope you make it over to our lovely area of Vancouver Island someday! You can drive to Victoria from other areas of Vancouver Island and its only a stunningly beautiful ferry ride from Vancouver, BC. A ferry ride definitely not to be missed! The breathtaking views of this part of British Columbia and frequent dolphin & orca sightings are just the icing on the cake!

Thanks so much Shannon & Jane!

Is there a city you’d love to know more about from a local knitter’s perspective? Or a designer or yarnie whose hometown you’d like to get to know? Let us know in the comments!

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7 Responses to THE KNITTER’S CITY: VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA WITH SHANNON COOK & JANE RICHMOND

  1. Sarah V. May 2, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

    I live in Victoria and this guide is amazing! There’s another yarn stop NOT to be missed though – Knotty by Nature in Fairfield! They have the widest selection of local and island yarn and fiber. Thanks for the guide Jane and Shannon!

  2. Jules May 3, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    What a lovely guide. Victoria is firmly on the “bucket list” after reading this.

  3. blithespirit May 3, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    Brilliant – I will be in Victoria in October. Haven’t been for years. Thanks for the Yarn shop recommendations, will definitely try and visit all three.

  4. LoriAngela May 3, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

    Both my kids stayed in Victoria after attending UVic because it’s like a little Portland with craft beers and sustainable living. Listened to your latest podcast while driving my daughter to the ferry. There is also a great ferry from Seattle.

  5. Anne Marie May 3, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    I’ve been once and would love to go again (with Jane and Shannon as tour guides, of course!).

  6. Alla May 7, 2016 at 9:47 pm #

    And there is another little, but very cute yarn shop “Boutique de Laine” on Estevan Ave.)

  7. Alla May 7, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

    And there is another little, but very cute yarn shop “Boutique de Laine” on Estevan Ave.)

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