This central street attracts the crowds with its museums and galleries, historical architecture, shopping districts and Canada’s oldest Chinatown.
Government Street is one of Victoria’s most popular commercial and entertainment streets. Come to this lively area to shop for fashion and handicrafts, visit museums and historical buildings and discover Canada’s oldest Chinatown. If you follow the street south from the city’s downtown district to Holland Point Park you are rewarded with views over the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Make use of the wide sidewalks and explore Government Street on foot. Start at the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, a neo-baroque palace overlooking Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Walk north past The Fairmont Empress, an Edwardian hotel built in the early 1900s. For sweet nostalgia, stop in at Roger’s Chocolates, a local favorite since it first opened in 1885. Collectors will find precious old objects and furniture at the auction houses on Antique Row.
Sign up for a Ghostly Walks tour at the visitor information center at the harbor. The 90-minute walk with a knowledgeable local is a fun way to learn more about the street’s intriguing history.
Government Street also has book stores, a mall with international department stores and coffee shops, so allow yourself ample time to take it all in.
Also take some time to explore the pedestrian-only alleys off Government Street. Fashion lovers will enjoy browsing the boutique stores on Trounce Alley. At Bastion Square you can see street performers at work and browse the market during weekends and the warmer seasons. While here, don’t miss the Maritime Museum of British Columbia in the Old Courthouse building.
Where Government Street crosses Fisgard Street, walk under the colorful Gate of Harmonious Interest to enter Chinatown Victoria. The well-preserved historic district is home to fortune tellers and souvenir shops, restaurants and teahouses. Try a “tea flight,” consisting of three blends that complement each other perfectly.
Government Street is within walking distance of major Victoria attractions, including the Inner Harbour and Thunderbird Park. Pay-and-display parking is available in designated areas of the street. Alternatively, public buses stop close to most of the places that you’ll want to visit.