There are so many things to buy in Victoria. There is high-end retail, there are locally made products and there are iconic Canadian items. When you are visiting British Columbia’s capital city, whether it is your first time or you are looking for a gift for a friend, keep an eye out for these perfect Victoria souvenirs.
Probably what most people think of as one of the things that represent Canada is maple syrup. Available in gift shops across the country, as well as in airports and grocery stores, grab some to take home as it is one of the best presents from Vancouver. If you want the best bag for your buck, grab a bottle from Costco! (But make sure you put this Canadian souvenir in your checked luggage as it is too much liquid for carry on luggage). If you are looking for small bottles, you can often find them while shopping at Winners or Home Sense, and of course, at gift shops, hotel shops, and the airport!
A staple in the diet of the Indigenous peoples, salmon is something you should enjoy while in Victoria. And with the portability of smoked salmon, it makes an excellent gift from Vancouver to bring home to your friends. Try the candied one if you get a chance, its one of my favorites. You can buy smoked salmon in gift shops, grocery stores, Costco and the Duty Free shops!
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory fudge can be found all over British Columbia. Victoria is no exception. If you are looking to indulge while on a weekend getaway pop into Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. While they have dozens of flavors, maple walnut is a truly Canadian one!
Canadian Food and Snacks
If you want some cute candies for loved ones, you will find plenty in Victoria. There are some things you can only buy in Canada that you should consider taking home from your trip. These include Ketchup chips, Smoked Salmon, Smarties, Nanaimo Bars, Coffee Crisp, Purdy’s Chocolates and Laura Secord Chocolates.
If you are a big foodie, check out these top Victoria waterfront restaurants.
Indigenous Jewelry and Coastal Native Art
There are hundreds of incredibly talented Indigenous artists that live and work in British Columbia. Growing up outside the city, I have been lucky enough to know a few of them and have seen their artwork in studios, as coveted jewelry, and as giant art pieces on buildings. Small markets will have local art and so will gift shops. You can even find some beautiful pieces on places like the BC Ferries if you are going to Vancouver to Victoria. When looking for any First Nations art, ensure you are shopping for locally made products, not imported goods that are made in a factory!
Hand Carved Silver Jewelry
Indigenous peoples have always made objects of artistic value. If you want to know what to buy in Victoria to display in your home or to give as a gift, purchase some authentic aboriginal art. Hand-carved silvery and gold jewelry are very popular pieces of First Nations art that many visitors buy from Victoria and other parts of Canada to bring home as souvenirs.
Roots clothing is known for its craftsmanship and functionality. Comfy sweats are also back in style and sweat pants and hoodies are all over retail store windows. I live in their sweatpants when I am at home and there is nothing comfier in my wardrobe. If you are shopping for the best souvenirs and gifts from Victoria that you can wear for years to come, grab yourself a pair of Roots sweatpants or a sweatshirt or bring one home for someone who loves comfort.
Lululemon Yoga Pants
Now available around the world, Lululemon’s roots lie in British Columbia as it was created here in 1998 by Chip Wilson. Check out its original store in Vancouver and shop for the world loved yoga brand that is responsible for changing clothing style and yoga culture over the last 20 years.
Tim Hortons Mug
Coffee and Tim Hortons are synonyms in Canada. Asking someone if they want a “Timmys” is the same as asking if they want a coffee. If you want to know what to buy in Victoria and have a thing for coffee, skip the Starbucks cups and get yourself a Tim Horton’s Travel Mug from any Tim Horton’s coffee shop.
Christmas Ornaments from Victoria
Many travelers like to pick up a souvenir ornament from the places they visit. Victoria offers plenty of Canadian ones, as well as Victoria specific ones as well. Just pop into any of the gift shops and you are sure to find something that suits your taste!
Resources for Visiting Canada in 2022
Whether you are planning your trip to Victoria, or are already here, these resources should help you make the most out of your visit.
Things to Pack when visiting Canada
A good rain jacket is always a good idea, even in the summer. While you are not likely to get wet in July and August, late august almost always sees a wet day, and May, June, and September will also get rain. If you are visiting Vancouver or the West Coast, you can likely get by with rain gear and layers, but if you are visiting the rest of the country, pack your winter gear!
A good power bank to charge phones and other devices is essential for most. After a day of videoing, GPS, and taking photos, the last thing you want is a dead cell phone. These are inexpensive and come in handy during the day. If you are flying to Canada, make sure you keep any power banks in your hand luggage, as security will often remove them from checked bags (I have found that out the hard way before).
A Universal Adapter is going to be handy for International Visitors. Canada uses the same plugs as the USA but if you are coming from somewhere else abroad, grab yourself one before you arrive.
A good guidebook is something I always get when I am researching a new location. Lonely Planet is the usual go-to, but also check out these.
Reusable shopping bags are available to buy everywhere, but if you want to get a compact one before you arrive, it is a good idea. There is a small plastic bag tax in most places and some places do not offer plastic bags at all.
Reusable water bottles are also a good idea. You can buy bottled water anywhere that you can get drinks, but Canada does pride itself on recycling as much as possible, and why shell out wasteful dollars when you can drink the tap water all over the country.
Travel Insurance for Canada
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to international travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel everyday. Canada is a very expensive country for medical care and a doctor’s visit in an Emergency Room is over $800 to just see the doctor.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.
Renting a Car in British Columbia
Rental Cars are very popular in British Columbia. There is just so much to see and there is not a train or bus network outside of Metro Vancouver or Victoria. If you plan on leaving Victoria and want to see even the local ski hills, I suggest a rental car. You can get a rental car before you arrive.
Lindsay Nieminen is the creator of UncoveringBC.com. She grew up and still lives in the suburbs of Vancouver with her family. She aims to inspire inform, and educate others about traveling in her home province of British Columbia. She is also the creator of carpediemourway.com which aims to show parents how to seek out adventure at home or abroad, with their children in tow!