The Raptors at Church & State thrills guests with the midair acrobatics of owls, falcons, and hawks during three daily demonstrations over Brentwood Bay’s 11 acres of rolling vineyards. Raptor specialists brief guests on the behavior and personalities of each bird as they set them loose in 45-minute displays of flight, natural hunting prowess, and avian turn signals. Guests seated snugly in hillside bleachers watch leather-glove-armed holders release their feathery allies. Before or after each bird buoyancy test, visitors taste any four of the winery’s premium wines or three of the super-premium pours. Sip from piquant selections, such as the 2008 chardonnay, 2007 meritage, and the 2010 cabernet blanc, all fermented from grapes roaming free in the winery’s vineyard.
The pilots of Island Express Air ply the skies above the West Coast, armed with years of training and the latest XM satellite GPS technology. They nimbly manoeuvre compact aircraft to Abbotsford, Victoria, Tofino, Nanaimo, and Vancouver South, flying low to provide incredibly scenic views. They lend their services for chartered flights and also run regular routes for the frequent business traveller.
Seasoned charioteers at Black Beauty Line navigate winding routes past Victoria’s most picturesque locales. The average 30-minute tour circles the neo-baroque Parliament buildings that border the Inner Harbour and clip-clops toward historic James Bay Village. Riders can snuggle under provided quilts as buggies glide past sites such as the Heritage Homes, whose snowy veils on winter rides melt away for spring rides to reveal manicured gardens and groggy lawn ornaments. Along the way, charioteers impart tales and tidbits about the tour attractions, and good-naturedly pose for photos after the ride. The well-kept carriages are also available for private event rental, often for weddings. Owner Rebecca Spray brings 30 years of caring for horses to Black Beauty Line. As a member of Carriage Operators of North America, she ensures that horses are healthy, well groomed, and not actually a horse impersonator looking for real-world experience. Pets are welcome to come along for the ride, and everyone must make reservations before the tour.
A city is like a walk-through history book with the stories scrawled along its streets and architecture. The sage-like guides of Hidden Dragon use their knowledge of that landscape to share the stories of Victoria. With that goal in mind, their menu of walking tours entices guests to join them through keystone locales that speak to the indigenous, British, and Chinese cultures that define the city, as well as the paranormal tales that comprise its folklore.
The Crown Victoria Native Island tour explores the indigenous people and British colonists that once inhabited the area. Guests walk past the historic Fairmont Empress Hotel situated beside the waters of Inner Harbour, totem poles, and the quaint historic shops of Old Town. The New World Old Chinatown tour inspired the Hidden Dragon name with journeys through the museums, courtyards, and concealed myths of Victoria’s Chinese community. For an alternative history of the region, guides divulge the stories of ghosts, witches, and demons found in the rooming houses and alleys of Dark Victoria.
Though CVS Cruise Victoria's fleet of biofuel-powered coaches are adept at getting passengers from point A to point B, they do even more. Besides making regular trips to tourist-friendly sites in the city, the company’s multitalented drivers also narrate sightseeing tours of picturesque and interesting spots endemic to Victoria's history. During the daily Butchart Gardens tour, for instance, drivers fill passengers in on the gardens’ background story before letting them wander its stone paths and foliage-lined streams for two hours. Passengers on the 90-minute deluxe Victoria city tour get to know the city by visiting Old Town, Chinatown, Antique Row, and other iconic spots. Beyond trips for the public, the company’s 29- to 56-seat motorcoaches also provide private charter service to events ranging from sports games to multiday excursions to the grocery store.
Colleen Barrow has spent her entire lifetime seeking out and memorizing the coordinates of the most scenic sights dotting British Columbia's Southern Gulf Islands. Rather than trapping them in a photo album or enormous snow globe, the local explorer shares her finds with guests through ITT Wilson's Tours. By partnering with Wilson's Transportation, Barrow coordinates luxury bus tours to castles, lighthouses, botanical gardens, and wineries. With many of the tours, guests receive a midday meal such as rustic oven pizza served at an apple-orchard picnic site, or mutton legs aged to perfection in a castle's meat cellars.