Downtown Victoria, British Columbia, can get really crowded, especially when there are three or four cruise ships in town. So why go downtown? I found everything I wanted in my own neighbourhood of Oak Bay, in particular the area around Oak Bay and Estevan Villages.
Shopping for Food
Pure Vanilla Bakery & Café on Cadboro Bay Road is amazing and everything I sampled was delicious. There are front and back patios so you have a choice of sun or shade no matter what the time of day.
Across the street from Pure Vanilla is BC Wineguys Victoria selling VQA wines, a sushi restaurant, and a small grocery store with an excellent selection of fresh fruit and vegetables.
On Foul Bay Road, Charelli’s Cheese Shop and Delicatessen has a huge assortment of cheeses and imported goods. You’ll leave with more cheese than you intended because they are so generous with their samples – and once you’ve tasted it, you’ll want to buy it.
Almost next door to Charelli’s is Tomley’s Market – I was surprised to find a good selection of upscale chocolate bars as well as lots of grocery options.
Be sure to visit Ottavio Italian Bakery & Delicatessen in Oak Bay Village for olive oils, cheese, gelato, Italian cookies, and much more.
You have your pick of restaurants in Estevan Village, just up from Willows Beach. The Village Restaurant is a lovely spot to have breakfast or lunch with 7 versions of eggs benedict, green or red shakshouka, omelettes, soups, salads, and burgers.
Crumsby’s Cupcake Café is a kid-friendly coffee shop with a good lunch menu. I recommend ordering a panini and salad to go and eating it down the street at Willows Beach.
There’s also a Thai restaurant and a formal Italian restaurant.
I visited Willows Beach and Cattle Point 3 or 4 times a week. You can take a leisurely stroll along the esplanade or scramble over the rocks at Cattle Point. On a clear day you can see Mount Baker. And, if you look carefully, you’re sure to spot a seal or a family of otters.
On a triangular piece of land at the entrance to Estevan Village, you’ll find Lokier Gardens. Initially developed by Thomas Lokier, it’s now under the care of the Oak Bay Parks Department. Sit down on a bench and enjoy the flowers, shrubs, and trees.
Oak Bay Village holds a Night Market once a month during the summer. You can pick up some fresh fruit or fudge, take your pick of international supper options, and enjoy some free entertainment.
Oak Bay is a very large area. To stretch your legs, head to Dallas Road and walk along the seafront.