Harbour Air boosts wingless beings with first-class flights on carbon-neutral aircrafts, boutique stratosphere accessories, and picturesque seaplane tours. Eco-friendly seaplanes furnished with first-class amenities such as leather interiors and hands-free cloud parallel parking launch daily and link Lower Mainland and the Islands through panoramic flights that last 20 to 50 minutes ($156.53–$563.38 round trip). The airline's auspicious boutique furnishes cloud gazers with flight-centric merchandise for gifts and seagull bribes. A small Beaver model plane ($41.99) carves its niche among collectibles with locally handcrafted western maple wood, and a Dax Wilkinson T-shirt ($34.99) celebrates Canadian aviation.
The fishermen lay their catches out on the dock: a haul of meaty king salmon, halibut, and toothy ling cod. The guides of Reel Obsession Sport Fishing take out anglers all year to reap catches such as these, leading charters along Victoria and Vancouver Island into prime fishing waters such as Zeballos, Esperanza Inlet, and Nootka Sound. These spots teem with different species of salmon, depending on the season. During the spring and summer, trophy chinook and coho salmon flood the waters on their way to spawn in the river systems. Some years also bring pink salmon, distinguished by their humped backs and fondness for wearing pink sweatbands. Halibut also lurk beneath the salmon runs, with occasional lunkers known as barn doors reaching more than 200 pounds. In addition to outfitting guests for salmon and halibut fishing, they also have a scenic west coast lodge and guides can also take them out for crabbing, prawning, and on wildlife tours to see bald eagles, seals, and migrating whales.
Selkirk Station arms customers with bikes and turns them loose to survey the scenic trails of Vancouver Island. A two-hour electric-bike jaunt glides e-cyclers along the mostly flat Galloping Goose Trail and the Lochside Trail. Both paths were once lines of railroad tracks but are now blissful strips of sanctuary for nature-hungry handlebar hounds. While large cottonwood trees and farmland breeze by, the Lochside Trail begins to open up into the small hamlet of Sidney by the Sea. Riders also have the chance to explore the shops, cafés, and other attractions of the Saanich Peninsula before steering it back down to Selkirk Station's facilities. Tall pine trees and blackberry bushes, small wildlife, and chipmunks playing pinochle are typical sights seen on the trails.
Opened in 1949 as the Roxy Classic Theatre, the recently rebranded uniplex captivates moviegoers with a full schedule of Hollywood blockbusters and first-run films. Inside the 447-seat single-screen theatre, newly installed digital surround sound tickles open ears with crisp acoustics, and lingering 1940s architectural charm snugly embraces viewers in a retro ambience and inspires rampant suspender snapping during intermissions. As larger-than-life images escape the venue’s digital projector and flicker across the screen, wide-eyed gazers can pay a visit to the full-service concession, where freshly popped popcorn intoxicates nostrils with wafts of real butter and hands with a reluctance to share.
Captain Lenard M. Pearson and his crew greet passing ships in a strange way—they fire a cannon at them. Among the many details of tall ship Thane—a 55-foot gaff-rigged fetch constructed of salvaged building materials—are its working cannons. With a flash of fire, a plume of smoke, and a very loud noise, the captain says hello to neighbouring vessels and makes sure no one on board has fallen asleep.
In addition to the cannon fire, Captain Pearson and his crew find other theatrical ways to engage guests, encouraging them to help out by hauling the sails or riding the bowsprit. Groups may also drag a fishing a line or trap crabs, depending on season. The crew encourages passengers to relax with their picnics and drinks while they take in sights that may range from pods of killer whales to the snow-dusted peaks of the Olympic Mountains. Along with bringing parties up to close to such sights, the captain also shares stories about the area's marine history, geology, and wildlife. Crew members happily provide guests with coolers, ice, glasses, and bottle openers for their drinks, and encourage responsible and respectful imbibing.
Born in Victoria, John Chau grew up fishing for salmon in the Sooke area. Thirty years since he hooked his first fish, Chau now shares his expertise with fellow anglers through guided charters on his 25-foot Pursuit Cuddy boat. During the spring and summer, Chau’s clients hook chinook salmon anywhere between 15 and 50 pounds. Autumn brings coho salmon, and in the winter, feisty feeder chinook weighing between 4 and 12 pounds roam waters just minutes from the dock.
The Sooke area is typically calm year-round due to the lack of ground swell, and its teeming waters attract wildlife such as bald eagles, sea lions, and killer whales eager to gain a better reputation among fishermen.