(Victoria Pride Society/Facebook)

It’s almost time to let your Pride flags fly, Victoria!

The Victoria Pride Festival kick-off is just days away, and this year, organizers are gearing up for a celebration like never before, according to the Victoria Pride Society (VPS).

Even the sun is making an appearance, just in time to celebrate!

Remember to be safe in the sun and remember your SPF, however, as Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Greater Victoria as temperatures continue to climb.

Ready to celebrate? Here are 24 things to do in and around Victoria this weekend, June 24th-26th:

Pride Society’s Big Gay Dog Walk

This weekend, enjoy a community dog walk that includes a trick and costume competition with prizes to be won!

The free event, hosted by the legendary Chaz Avery and Noah Lott, will allow locals to mingle with friends while dogs can show off their pride!

  • Where: Dallas Road and Cook Street
  • When: 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., walk at 7 p.m., contest at 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 24th

Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest is on now, and you can still get some tickets!

This year’s event is the first since 2019, and features a plethora of diverse, exciting and hugely talented bands and artists from right here in Canada and around the world highlighting the truly global impact of Jamaican-rooted music.

The festival will finish with a free concert at Ship Point in the Inner Harbour on Sunday!

  • Where: All across Downtown Victoria
  • When: Concerts until Sunday, June 26th
  • Tickets: You can purchase tickets online here. Some events have limited tickets at the door.

FernFest

The 25th annual FernFest is happening this weekend!

The free, community-based, music, art, and family festival, showcases local musicians and artists.

This year, FernFest is adding a stage in the Fernwood Community Association (FCA) building at 1923 Fernwood Road, so there will be even more entertainment to enjoy. 

FernFest will begin on Friday, June 24th with a welcome and opening by the Lekwungen Traditional Dancers, then continue all evening with music on the Fernwood Square Main Stage and on the Little Fernwood Stage.

An artisan market will follow on Saturday.

Be sure to check out their FernFest Program Guide for more info!

  • Where: Fernwood
  • When: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday June 24th, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday June 25th

Active Transportation Ideas Fair

The Town of View Royal is requesting community feedback on active transportation opportunities, working on a strategic plan with a goal to shift the primary mode of transportation away from the vehicle towards more greener modes of transport, such as walking, cycling and public transit.

This weekend, they will be holding an Ideas Fair which will allow residents to learn more and vote. 

There is also an online survey you can complete here!

  • Where: Portage Park and Chancellor Park
  • When: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., (Portage) and 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Chancellor), Saturday, June 25th

Bike Lending Library 

The Salvation Army’s Bike Lending Library officially launches this Saturday. 

Much like a Book Library, the charity is now offering a Bike Library. Families can sign up and borrow bikes for a two-week period for free for their family. 

Bikes adult bikes, children’s bikes, strider bikes, trail-a-bikes, and a few bike racks to attach to a vehicle.

The event will include a bouncy castle, balloon man, treats and more. 

  • Where: 4030 Douglas Street, The Salvation Army Victoria Citadel Church and Next Steps Resource Centre
  • When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday June 25th

Grand opening of Sooke sports box

Sooke’s new community sport box will open later this month and there will be a grand opening celebration to kick things off this Sunday!

The event will include a blessing from T’Sou-ke Elder, remarks and ribbon cutting with special guests, free hot dogs and cupcakes, prizes and more!

  • Where: 2430 Phillips Road
  • When: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, June 26th

James Bay Market

The James Bay Market has been in operation for 28 years. Visitors can still support local farms, food producers and craft vendors when they visit the James Bay staple.

  • When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays from May 7th to September 24th
  • Where: Corner of Menzies and Superior Street

Goldstream Farmers Market

Everything at the Goldstream Farmers Market is homemade, handmade or home grown. 

Vendors offer local fruits and vegetables, fresh-baked breads and goodies, unique and quality crafts and textile creations. There is also live music, a water park and food trucks.

  • When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays from May to October
  • Where: Veterans’ Memorial Park, Langford

Sooke Country Market

From April to October, you can find farm fresh veggies, crafts, baking, art and more at the Sooke Country Market. 

The market is located in John Phillips Park, near the Sooke district hall.

  • When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays from April 23rd to October 8th
  • Where: Memorial Park, John Philips, Sooke

Moss Street Market

Summer 2020 marks the 31st season of the Moss Street Market. The family favourite offers local and organic produce, handmade crafts, artisan clothing as well as community education.

Moss Street Market now offers an online market with delivery and pick up options. The organization also runs a Winter Market (November through April).

  • When: 10 a.m.to 2 p.m., every Saturday May through October
  • Where: 401 Moss Street, Sir James Douglas school grounds, surrounding boulevards and Porter Park

North Saanich Farm Market

2022 marks the 15th year of the North Saanich Farm Market!

The market is made possible by the love and work of many local growers, crafters, bakers, vintners and brewers and the dedicated volunteers and board. 

  • When: 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturdays from June 5th to October
  • Where: 10990 West Saanich Road

Peninsula Country Market

The Peninsula Country Market has more than 50 vendors weekly offering farm fresh products, jams and jellies, honey, homemade bread, cut flowers, assorted meats, organic produce and a fine selection of arts and crafts.

  • When: 1528 Stellys Cross Road, Saanich Fairgrounds
  • Where: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturdays from June 4th to October 8th

Victoria Pride Parade

On Sunday, the highly-anticipated Victoria Pride Parade will take marchers on an all-new route east over the Johnson Street Bridge and south onto scenic Wharf Street before turning onto Government, Belleville, and Menzies Streets.

The colourful march, with as many as 140 entries and 40,000+ spectators, will envelope the downtown Inner Harbour.

  • When: Sunday, June 26th at 11 a.m.
  • Where: Starts at the Johnson Street Bridge

Pride Festival in the Park

After the Victoria Pride Parade, join thousands in MacDonald Park in James Bay for a multifaceted queer-themed festival. 

Programming includes an early afternoon family-friendly festive atmosphere with music, fun activities, bouncy castle, drag story time, and surprises.

  • When: Sunday, June 26th – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Where: MacDonald Park, Niagara Street
  • Admission: Suggested $5 donation

Metchosin Farmers Market

This summer, take a relaxing drive into Metchosin country, where the sheep and cattle graze and the rolling hills beckon.

Buy your fresh vegetables, breads, jams, salsa, baked goods and gifts (or crafts) for your loved ones.

  • When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sundays from May 8th to October 30th
  • Where: 4450 Happy Valley Road, Metchosin Municipal Grounds

Sidney Farmers Market

The Sidney Farmers Market is back with artisans, baking, clothing, health and beauty, entertainment and more!

Check out their website weekly for updated vendor lists.

  • When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sundays from May 8th to September 25th
  • Where: Outdoor parking area of Mary Winspear Centre

Virtual Rogues 

Did you spot the pirate ship docked in Victoria’s Rock Bay area?

Don’t worry, we’re not under siege.

The world’s only Tall Ship Theatre arrived in Victoria this weekend, ahead of its series of nightly performances by dancers and trapeze artists.

The Amara Zee, docked in Rock Bay, is preparing for its world premiere of a production called Virtual Rogues.

  • When: Previews of the show run from June 23rd to 26th, with the official opening scheduled for the following week. Performances begin after dark, at 10 p.m. each night.
  • Where: Rock Bay, at the north end of Store Street

See an outdoor concert in Victoria

As in past years, the City of Victoria has organized a number of summer events in and around Victoria including live music at six different outdoor venues.

In May, the city announced the CityVibe was returning, a virtual go-to guide for free events, summer festivals, arts and cultural activities, galleries and public markets.

The guide showcases 40 festivals and outdoor activities and more than 100 free outdoor music concerts and activities.

Bands will perform at various featured spots downtown, including Fort Common, Broad Street Pedestrian Zone, Centennial Square, Fisherman’s Wharf Park, and Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park.

Check out the full list of concerts here.

Visit a dog-friendly business in Greater Victoria

As the weather gets warmer, everyone is getting outside to soak in the sun’s rays. 

And for those with pets at home, bringing them along can make the day even better. 

Because what’s better than enjoying a patio date with a friend than bringing your furry friend along as well?

To help you plan those special days out, locally owned CommuniCanine Training and Behavioural Counselling has created the Dog Friendly Business list, a comprehensive guide of almost 500 businesses across Greater Victoria.

The list is sorted alphabetically by business name, type of business, and region, allowing users to search for coffee shops, restaurants, retail and more that will allow their furry friend to tag along.

You can see the full list/map here!

Stroll through the Government House gardens

The Canadian Garden council has named the 100 Garden Moments in Canada, in celebration of this year’s Year of the Garden, and a popular spot in Victoria made the list.

Visiting the gardens at Government House is free-of-charge and open daily to the public from dawn to dusk. 

For hungry visitors, Rudi’s Tea Roof offers refreshment and picnics, located in the Cary Castle Mews.

The grounds also host special events, including three free outdoor concerts on July 7th, 14th and 21st at the Government House bandshell.

Be sure to stop by and check out the gardens for yourself!

  • Location: 1401 Rockland Avenue
  • Hours: Dawn to dusk

Get your tickets to Beyond Van Gogh Victoria

A date and location has been set for the immersive Beyond Van Gogh experience!

The experience has confirmed they will host their Starry Night Pavilion at Bayview Place in Vic West, starting October 14th, combining still and moving art from Dutch painter Van Gogh, allowing you to step inside a painting.

The experience features over 300 iconic artworks, including instantly-recognizable classics such as “The Starry Night”, “Sunflowers” and “Café Terrace at Night”, now freed from their frames.

Tickets are on sale now!

  • Where: Starry Night Pavilion at Bayview Place, 355 Catherine Street
  • When: October 14th to January 23rd 2023.
  • Tickets: Prices start at $31.99 for adults and $23.99 for children (ages 5-15), plus ticketing fees. You can purchase tickets here.

Try a new Starbucks summer menu item

Starbucks has officially welcomed the warm weather, announcing a collection of brand new menu items to kick off the first day of summer.

The summer menu features two new refresher beverages, a Pineapple Passionfruit Starbucks Refresher and a Paradise Drink Starbucks Refresher.

Starbucks has also introduced a new Cookies and Cream Cake Pop, Bacon, Sausage and Egg Wrap and Southwest Potato, Black Bean and Egg Wrap.

Cool down with a smoothie

With the weather looking up, and temperatures continuing to rise throughout the week, we may finally be looking for a refreshing drink to sip under the sun.

So if you’re ready to officially kick off summer, check out our list of 6 spots in and around Victoria to get your hands on a smoothie.

Check out the new pavilion at Gorge Park

(Ethan Morneau/Victoria Buzz)

Eight decades after vandals forced the site’s former tea house to shutter, a new pavilion now open at Esquimalt’s Gorge Park restores a deep-rooted history.

On Saturday, the public and local officials celebrated the grand opening of Gorge Park Pavilion—an over 6,000 sq. ft space covering two floors, each with views of the water and renewed surrounding gardens.

According to township officials, the building’s design is inspired by the original tea house, The Japanese Tea Garden, a popular park spot around 80 years ago.

You can learn more here.

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