A Guide to Government Street in Victoria
Government Street easily acts as a hub of Victoria’s downtown. Flanked by wide boulevards, numerous shops, cafes and restaurants, there’s plenty even the savviest local might not know. Whether you’re visiting or local, here are only some of the most notable landmarks and places to see along Government Street.
Though Government Street is often best known south of Fisgard, and North of Bellville, the Emily Carr House, located at 207 Government Street is a National and Provincial Historic Site. Acting as a step back in time, the traditional and colonial home offers guests (by admission) a glimpse into Emily’s life as an internationally renowned writer and painter.
Founded in 1894, Murchies founder, John Murchie, was known to have delivered tea to Queen Victoria in the Scottish Highlands. Operating 9 retail stores between Vancouver and Victoria, Murchies specializes in blending teas and roasting coffee. Murchies, at 1110 Government Street, is the perfect spot to purchase loose leaf tea or sit to enjoy lunch and decadent desserts while sipping something hot.
Only one block apart, the Bard and Banker and Irish Times Pub have a similar vibe. With interiors decorated in dark wood, golden trim, and lofted seating, both spots feature live music nearly every day of the week. Both are home to local beer, craft cocktails, and savoury menus.
Accessed from Government Street or Broad Street, Trounce Alley is pedestrian only. With bistro-style lights strung overhead, the Alley has a special kind of charm. From the hidden, lower-level, home to Quazar’s Arcade, to a Button & Needlework Boutique, to the incredibly popular Tapa Bar and Bodega Bar – Trounce Alley is a must see for all ages.
Previously Victoria Eaton Centre, The Bay Centre is downtown’s largest mall. Four stories high with a centrum in the middle, the mall is home to 90 street-facing and interior shops. The highest floor is also home to a fitness centre and a food court which has an impressive (and not-so-well-known) outdoor patio space.
For those viewing any marketing or visitor images of Victoria, it’s hard to miss the famous and stately Empress Hotel. Its front faces the city’s Inner Harbour offering spectacular views to the guests that stay there. Though managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, the hotel was recently purchased by a Vancouver based couple, Nat and Flora Bosa. The hotel, home to a spa, lounge, tea room, and 412 rooms, recently underwent a 60 million dollar renovation resulting in its refreshed and breathtaking interior and exterior.
Known to be one of Canada’s leading museums, the BC Museum was founded in 1886. Not only offering insight into the history of Canada and British Columbia, the Museum continuously hosted special interest exhibitions like ‘Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises’. Within the same building is an IMAX theatre. IMAX is known for their roughly 45-minute documentary style films, but also hosts special screenings of popular movies like Bohemian Rhapsody and Top Gun.