- Sightseeing tour of Victoria and neighboring attractions
- Visit Mile 0 of the Trans-Canada Highway, and enjoy 360-degree views of the Victoria area from Mt Tolmie
- Explore two National Historic Sites of Canada — Craigdarroch Castle and Butchart Gardens
- Enjoy an afternoon tea–style lunch in a beautiful Butchart Gardens setting
- Choose to take an insider tour of either Church & State Wines (with tastings) or the Victoria Butterfly Gardens
- Tour the seaside town of Sidney at your leisure
- Comfortable transport by deluxe motor coach
What You Can Expect
Drive through the neighborhoods of Chinatown, Beacon Hill Park and Cook Street Village, and visit the Mile 0 monument, where you have a quick photo stop. Mile 0 — at the corner of Dallas Road and Douglas Street — marks the beginning of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1), one of the world’s longest national highways at 4,990 miles (8,030 km).
Continue your tour to Craigdarroch Castle, a National Historic Site of Canada, where you’ll have a one-hour tour of the Victorian mansion's beautiful stained-glass windows and collection of ornate period furniture.
Back on the coach, head to Mt Tolmie, just north of the city, for a photo op of the panoramic views of Victoria and the surrounding area, and then make the one-hour drive to Butchart Gardens, passing through the suburbs of Oak Bay and Saanich along the way.
When you arrive, you’ll be led to the coffee shop to receive your takeaway lunch. A cross between a picnic lunch and afternoon tea, your ‘tea on the knee’ box lunch consists of savory sandwiches, homemade sweets and iced tea (see sample menu below). Sit down in a reserved area of the gardens to enjoy your alfresco lunch, and then wander around at your own pace; you have one hour and 45 minutes to eat and tour the gardens at your leisure.
A National Historic Site of Canada, Butchart Gardens is home to more than 50 acres (20 hectares) of flowers and other plant life from all over the world. Check out the Japanese Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Rose Garden, Italian Garden and more. If you wish, visit the gift shop to pick up souvenirs, or have a drink or more to eat at one of the on-site restaurants (additional food and drinks at your own expense).
When it’s time to leave Butchart, head just five minutes down the road to either Church & State Wines or Victoria Butterfly Gardens, your choice (they are next door to each other). At Church & State, tour the winery facilities and enjoy a tasting of some of its best Okanagan and Vancouver Island varietals, such as cabernet sauvignon and viognier. If you choose the Butterfly Gardens, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the tropical jungle environment, discovering birds, exotic wildlife like poison dart frogs and, of course, fluttering butterflies.
Meet back up with your tour guide on the coach and head to your last stop, the seaside town of Sidney, about 16 miles (26 km) north of Victoria. You have one hour of free time to explore the charming town — known as Sidney-by-the-Sea — at your leisure. Browse the independent shops, buy a snack at the local bakery or wander along the picturesque waterfront (food and activities at your own expense).
Your Victoria sightseeing adventure ends with the 40-minute drive back to the Fairmont Empress Hotel.
Savory tea sandwiches:
- Locally smoked wild BC salmon
- Whole-grain mustard and maple-glazed smoked ham
- Cheddar scone
- Cowitchan Valley chicken, curry spices, toasted cashews
- English cucumber, fresh ginger cream cheese
- Signature candied ginger scone
- Strawberry jam
- Poppy seed orange loaf
- French meringue
- Battenberg cake
- Chocolate Irish cream truffle
- Iced tea