Thinking of visiting Portland, Oregon this spring? Whether you love the outdoors, craft beer, vegan food, running or art, Portland’s got something for you. Check out some of the things that make the city one the coolest and most diverse places to visit!
1) Visit Powell’s Books. If you’re looking for inspiration to start reading again, then look no further. Powell’s Books is without a doubt the most beautiful and biggest bookstore I’ve ever been to in my entire life! It’s easy to get lost in all of the different rooms of books and end up spending several hours looking for the perfect read. They’ve also got a great coffee shop and tons of spots that you can just sit down at and get inspired.
2) Go for a run. With Nike, originating in Portland and with there being so many great outdoor apparel brands coming out of the area, it’s no surprise that Portland is a great running town. There are a handful of beautiful trails located right downtown that cross the Willamette River and allow you to explore some of the city’s best neighborhoods. You know you’re in a running town when every runner that passes you by, throws you a peace sign or a wave. The running views in Portland are just dreamy.
3) Hit the coast. It’s super easy to hit the coast from the city. With it only being a 90-minute drive, there are tons of really cute beach towns and beautiful scenery to explore. Little areas like Lincoln City offer not only super cute accommodations and coffee shops but also great scenic views, surf spots and more.
4) Hike waterfalls. There are a handful of waterfalls that are located just a few minutes from downtown Portland. Some of them are located in the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, just east of the city, an area that protects more than 77 waterfalls. The most popular being Multnomah Falls, can be reached along with four others on Route 30, Historic Columbia River Highway. It’s a great place to go for a hike and get your nature fix.
5) Visit Alberta Arts district. If you’re more of a city dweller, there are tons of cute and unique neighborhoods to visit while you’re in Portland ranging from the very popular Pearl District to also the Alberta Arts District, my personal favorite. The reason why this strip is so special is because of all the independent shops, coffee stores and restaurants that are located on Alberta St. The area is also adorned with beautiful murals and super colorful buildings, making it the perfect spot for a stroll!
Don’t miss my fun Portland recap video coming later this week on my YouTube channel!
The World Ski & Snowboard Festival is now in full swing at Whistler Blackcomb. For the next ten days, some of the best skiers and snowboarders from around the world will be in town for some epic shredding, concerts and special events.
CLIF Bar invited a small group of media up to their Basecamp this past weekend for an adventure packed VIP weekend at the mountain.
The basecamp was located just a few minutes from the slopes. It had everything a rider could need including a hot tub, sauna, steam room, fire place, movie screening room and deluxe rooms. The basecamp’s bright red kitchen was also very on-brand, a total coincidence they assured us.
In addition to the small group of media, CLIF Bar had also invited some of their ambassadors to come join us. Our host for the weekend was CLIF Bar ambassador, pro-snowboarder, environmentalist and founder of the organization Beyond Boarding, Tamo Campos. Spending the weekend with him was so incredibly inspiring!
We kicked off the weekend with a private dinner at Stonesedge Whistler, a local favourite that serves delicious dishes made from local and organic ingredients. We spent the first night at the launch of the State of the ART, a beautiful exhibit of local artistic talent at the Whistler Conference Centre.
The next morning started off with a fun build-a-bar workshop with CLIF’s registered dietician Tara Dellolacono Thies, who is also an ultra runner and amazing athlete. We got to create our own custom bars, which I can’t wait to receive! We also got to try out some of CLIF Bar‘s latest products, including my new favorite bar, the organic Nut Butter Filled organic peanut butter bar, yum!
We then hit the slopes with local mountain guides. We got to spend the entire day riding outdoors before enjoying a VIP après-ski at GLC, on their heated outdoor patio while listening to Walk Off The Earth sing one hit song after another on WSSF’s main stage. Like if that wasn’t enough, we also got to enjoy a professional massage at the Basecamp before chowing down on some delicious healthy eats and watching some of Tamo’s films, which included a very powerful doc he recently released that I highly recommend checking out called A Last Stand for Lelu.
On Sunday, we got up at the crack of dawn to enjoy an energizing yoga session led by one of the media guests, who also happens to be a yoga teacher. Then it was back to the Whistler Village to go up the mountain to then take the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola all the way to Christine’s restaurant on the top of Blackcomb. The panoramic views from the restaurant were absolutely mind-blowing, it cleared up just in time for our 3-course lunch. The food served at Christine’s is topnotch, the perfect setting for a five-star snack.
One of the best parts of the entire weekend was attending MULTIPLICITY, a TEDTalk-like event, which featured some of the most inspiring personalities in the mountain world. The sold-out event left me so incredibly inspired by everyone’s stories. Some of the speakers included professional Freeride MTB Hall of Famer Brett Tippie, National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey and his son Haweye Huey and our Basecamp host Tamo Campos, just to name a few.
The weekend spent at the WSSF with CLIF Barwas one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time. The entire CLIF Bar team was so incredibly kind and really made this adventure-packed weekend, one to remember.
For more information on how to #FeedYourAdventure with CLIF Bar, go here.
With race season already underway, I thought I would share some of my latest go-to running essentials for spring. I’m eagerly awaiting my half-marathon debut and clocking a lot of miles, so these essentials have been keeping me on track (no pun intended!).
1) Stance Run Fuel Crew Socks – These lightweight reflective socks are perfect for running with a reinforced toe and heel, engineered arch support and also breathable mesh. These Stance socks stay on your feet without moving around, they will never slide off and also look super fly. The entire Stance Run collection is so fun! My new favorite thing is to run races in these wild performance socks.
2) Nike Free RN Distance 2 – The latest edition of the RN Distance shoe is a great new addition to my running gear. I have been using them for my 8-10 km runs because they are very lightweight and also very flexible. The shoe’s outsole has hexagonal flex grooves that allow for greater flexibility of the foot while you run. Additionally, the Lunarlon cushioning supports my feet during these longer distances and so do the Flywire cables that are integrated with the laces, in order to wrap my arch and provide an even more supportive fit.
3) Ciele FSTCap – With spring comes warmer temperatures and higher chances of running in the sun (hopefully!). I always cover my head when running during the warmer months because it could potentially prevent heatstrokes and at the same time, keeps my hair in place. This Ciele cap is super lightweight, UPF +40 protection, easy to bring travel with and machine washable.
4) Spibelt With Waterproof Accessory – This Spibelt is an absolute must for my runs, races and also all of the obstacle courses I’ve been doing. Not only does it keep my belongings dry and clean but it’s also sturdy while not being bothersome when I run. I use the larger belt to stash anything like keys, ID card, money, phone and also gels while I run.
5) Strava Run App – Whether you’re training for a half-marathon like myself, a trail race, a triathlon, a cycling race or just want to keep tabs on your fitness activities every week, the Strava App is a super handy tool! Not only is it a great activity tracker but also a fun and encouraging social platform.
6) Clif Shot Energy Gel – Longer runs often require a little boost of energy so I have been trying out some gels these past couple of weeks as I’ve been clocking more miles to see how my body reacted. Thus far, the Clif energy shot has been my favorite in terms of flavour and also ingredients.
7) Urbanears Humlan headphones – These have been my go-to for running for the past two years. This particular Urbanears model is machine washable, has a tangle-free cord as well as built-in mic that allows you to also be able to chat on the phone if you so desire.
8) Consonant Sunscreen – With the temperatures on the rise, it’s important to wear sunscreen especially when going out for a longer run. The Consonant sunscreen is one of my favorites because it is clean and 100% natural. The cream uses uniquely micronized (non-nano particle) Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide minerals to block the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. The cream is also water and sweat resistant!
Last week I was invited to fly to New York City to check out the brand new Spring/Summer 2017 GapFit collection. The brand teamed up with celebrity trainer Jonny Roxx and celebrity choreographer Tanisha Scott for a special morning celebration that was designed to make us sweat in their latest gear.
We met up at the recently opened Rumble, a boxing-inspired group fitness studio in Flatiron district to preview some pieces from their collections, which included the new GapFit Sculpt, a range of compression shorts and tights designed for high intensity workouts. And high intensity, is what we got that morning! Everyone had the opportunity to try items from their line that was created for both men and women with optimal style, technical innovation and comfort in mind.
The morning started off with a powerful boxing workout followed by some super fun choreography with Tanisha Scott and we capped it off by doing a full-body conditioning workout with Jonny Roxx.
The two Toronto natives are such great ambassadors for GapFit‘s new collection. The pair met on tour with Drake and hit if off immediately, both working in tandem to shape Drake‘s body and stage presence. What’s great about their collaboration with the brand is that they brought in some of their expertise to create a unique workout and dance moves for GapFit.
Both have worked with some of the top stars in the business. Jonny has trained clients like Brandon Jennings of the Washington Wizards, Amir Johnson of the Boston Celtics and Drake. Whereas Tanisha has worked with the likes of Rihanna, Beyoncé, Drake, Jay Z and Alicia Keys, just to name a few.
Jonny and Tanisha are beyond thrilled to be able to collaborate with the brand on this new collection.
“Gap is such a reputable brand. I try my best to align myself with the best. I was excited, when I was approached with the opportunity to work with them. They’re one of the best,” says Roxx. “Gap is the OG classic with great structure and amazing quality clothing that I can pair with anything,” adds Scott.
As for what they look for when choosing activewear, Roxx explains “I look for clothes that are breathable and comfortable. I also look for clothes that do well with sweat and that look great on me in the gym and outside of the gym. I look for clothes that make it easy for me to move. Gapfit is the total package.” As for Scott, she’s looks for three key things, “comfort, functionality and style.”
For this specific collection, GapFit created some ingenious elements, such as Breathe fabric and Aero Mesh. The clothes work not only in a fitness studio or for a run but also after a workout, so you can hit the streets confidently after your sweat session.
After the fun workout last week, we were served some tasty snacks and got to chat with both Tanisha and Jonny. I was excited to be a part of such a special launch and left New York City excited to incorporate the new GapFit collection into my active lifestyle!
TurF recently opened its doors on West 4th St. in Kitsilano. TurF is unlike any other place in the city because they combine a workout space, café and also cute shop all into one. It’s a place where you can “work out, hang out and take out” as they say. I had the pleasure of stopping by for some delicious vegan food and take one of their unique classes led by TurF’s GM Angela Hartman. She also took a few minutes to give me the lowdown behind this magical space.
What was the initial goal and inspiration with TurF?
TurF’s mission is to “create a daily practice to live a life that is enormous”. The idea behind TurF is like a modern day community centre a gathering place for people to grow and contribute to their communities. We put all our favourite things: a conscious sweat, a considered menu and a thoughtful assortment of things we love.
What are some of the classes and services that you offer that are unique to TurF?
We are the only studio outside of NYC and LA that has the method The Class by Taryn Toomey. I’m so happy to offer this class to the community in Vancouver as it has deeply impacted my life. We also have a Boxing Conditioning Program that we worked on with one of our teachers, Tom Taylor. It’s a great mix of proper technique and a great workout. We also have a lot of strength classes like TRX classes and a hip hop based dance program that it SO MUCH FUN.
In addition to being a workout studio, TurF is also a kitchen and café. What is the philosophy behind the food and drinks you serve?
We want people to eat more plants. The base of our menu is Vegan (with a couple vegetarian exceptions) and ethically sourced protein to add onto the menu for those who are not vegan or vegetarian. all the recipes for both the bistro and the bakery came from the kitchens of our founders Delaney and Deanne. The menu was created to nourish and fulfill you. For us this means you can have a great workout and have breakfast afterwards and it would support the workout you just did, along with not getting hungry an hour later.
You also have a boutique of carefully curated lifestyle and workout products, can you share a bit more info about what people can find there?
The Shop was created to have a thoughtful assortment – we have either designed it, tested it or curated it to all go together. We want people to have quality and less things – this means the product you can find at TurF can have several uses or functions in your everyday and that it can all go together. We tried to bring in product that was either not available in Vancouver (like the athletic brand The Upside) and that we think is the best brand in a particular category, like the 2xU compression tights. We also created our own product of pieces we wanted to wear every day.
Where would you like to see TurF five years from now?
Such a good question! I would like to see more TurF locations that support living into our mission for people to live an enormous life. I hope that we are doing something that I can’t even think of right now – we are a group of people committed to always learning and growing and I think TurF will shape in ways that we don’t even see coming.
No gym membership? No worries! With spring now here, it’s a lot easier to be active outdoors!
There are lots of ways I like to be active when the weather starts warming up, one of which is creating my own HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts in any kind of location I can find. Whether you find a park, soccer field, playground or even rooftop somewhere in your area, all of these locations can be used as your “outdoor gym”.
I usually plan and jot down a quick 15-30 minute interval-based workout (usually anywhere from 5-10 different exercises) before heading out to my location of choice. I sometimes even include props like a skipping rope, a resistance band, free weights or even a bean bag, to switch things up. I then throw everything in a bag and walk towards my location of choice.
I also either bring my headphones or a portable speaker with me if I’m going alone to add a bit of atmosphere to my workout.
Whether you’re in an urban or rural setting, there are always outdoor spots you can use for your workouts, sometimes you just need to use your imagination. Though it may take a little bit of time getting used to, outdoor workouts are far more inspiring than indoor workouts. Just look at those views!
Last week, over 150 runners made the incredible trek from from Santa Monica to Las Vegas on foot for the third annual The Speed Project. They left the Santa Monica pier at 5am on Friday March 10th and in relay form, raced to the world famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. Rebecca Gentry was one of those athletes who flew all the way from London just to be a part of the journey. She was one of only two women in the winning team so I wanted to chat with her about her experience and what it was like to be a part of such an epic undertaking.
1) For those who aren’t familiar with The Speed Project, can you share with us what that is?
Aside from insanity, it’s a 340 mile relay race starting from Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles ending under the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign in Vegas! Is crosses the Mojave desert and involves continued running through day and night with the support of a crew in an RV. Each team member runs more or less an equal distance, and you high 5 your team mate to make the exchange between yourselves. It’s all about strategic, fast running though varied terrain battling sleep deprivation and hunger!!!
2) Why did you want to partake in this event? Was it your first experience?
It was my first time racing TSP. I was asked to join the Original team by one of the co-founders Blue Benadum. Blue and I met just over a year ago in Berlin through our mutual work with Nike+ Run Club. I’d followed his journey of the event in 2016 and when he asked me to join the team I knew it would be an incredible challenge and experience for myself as well as an insane way to work hard amongst a great team who were heading out to break records. Furthermore being a runner from London, I thought it would be quite amusing to be cruising through the desert in very high, dry heat – when do you get handed an opportunity like that and turn it down?!
3) What was the hardest part of the journey?
My first leg was actually the hardest. The pressure of being on the team defending the title, and ideally breaking the record, was mammoth. The nerves got the better of my and dealing with a decent incline and LA heat beating down on me as I pushed on the edge of the freeway I felt the pain. I was convinced I was going to let everyone down, but pushed on as hard as I could trying to silence the demons, and was pleasantly surprised when i checked my pace once on the RV! I changed my mindset immediately after that and positively reinforced my mind with reassurance that I had trained very hard for this and I was doing the best I could.
4) In addition to running in The Speed Project, you are also the Nike+ Run Club Coach in London, you work as a fitness instructor at Equinox and you are also a fitness model. Do you find that there’s a real supportive women’s fitness community out there?
Massively. In London the awareness of Women’s running has grown exponentially over the past couple of years. I feel that women are becoming stronger and more fierce within the industry. We are busy people and work hard to incorporate fitness into our daily lives for aesthetic reason and health reasons combined.
At NRC I see groups of women coming to the sessions together. They support one another by making the runs their social time together, they have it in the diaries and they rely on each other to show up. It’s that sense of community and friendship which encourages the progression and growth of each runner.
In my Equinox treadmill sessions I see majority women attending my classes and they’re always asking my advice of how to stay strong and fit along with how to run faster. There’s certainly an understanding that you needn’t be a) male or b) whippet thin to be a fast successful runner. Everyone woman pushing the boundary inspires so many more to do the same which is just awesome.
5) What is the next goal that you are setting for yourself?
Haha well my coach – Blue – would be happy to read that I’ve secured myself a marathon bib for May this year as I’m determined to break 3 hours. As yet I’m still seeing where I could race (I’ve love a bib for Copenhagen) but aside from that, I’m waiting to see what crazy race pops up in my world and I’m sure I’ll be on the start line!!!
With spring just around the corner, the weather changing and the possibility of spending more time outdoors, I felt compelled to share some of my recent go-to beauty products that I’ve been incorporating into my beauty routine. Most of these products are either green or very clean so I’m thrilled to share them with you all today.
This face oil is 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten free and GMO-free. It’s perfect to mix in with your daily moisturizer as it helps target dull, dehydrated and also premature signs of aging. I take this Californian green beauty product with me on my travels and use it either once or twice a day depending on the weather and how my skin feels.
This clean night cream has been my go-to these past couple of months. Its extra-rich properties deeply penetrate the skin helping to moisturize and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. The cream is enriched with antioxidants, Vitamins C and E as well as aloe. It also helps your skin fight against free radicals and the effects of the environment. It is also, 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten free and GMO-free.
Slowly getting to know this incredibly popular and successful line of products. This overnight serum helps enhance skin nourishment, cell renewal and also hydrates your skin while you sleep. Argan and rose oils help revitalize your skin and smooth away fine lines. This product contains no artificial fragrances or colors.
Dermalogica’s primer is a great asset in your daily makeup routine because it does many things at once. Not only does it contain SPF 30, thus protecting you from the sun but it also helps smooth away fine lines while also creating a great base for your makeup, so that your makeup lasts all day. I usually combine this primer with my moisturizer and face oil.
EOS’s latest product combines jojoba oil, shea butter and antioxidant-rich Vitamin E along with SPF 30 to create a lip balm that will not only nourish your lips but also protect them from harmful UVA/UVB rays while you’re outdoors. The lip balm is also 80 minute water resistant as well as PABA-free, Petrolatum and paraben-free. I know it will become my go-to on warmer spring days or in the summer while I’m out running or surfing!
This Belif product is the latest addition to my daily beauty and wellness routine. Their light gel cleansing oil helps remove makeup and residue while also leaving the skin feeling refreshed. The oil is free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, preservatives and animal-origin ingredients.
I have been blending this Belif cream along with my face oil and primer every morning. The cream which contains peat extract, helps rejuvenate and hydrate the skin while also helping to increase the cell turnover cycle of your skin. This cream is free of synthetic fragrances, synthetic colors, preservatives or any animal by-products.
Consonant have become one of my favorite organic and green beauty brands. Added bonus – they’re Canadian! I recently tried their 30-day discovery kit and realized that their products left my skin feeling great throughout. I particularly liked their 100% natural face wash that is packed with tea tree oil and grape see oil that help not only remove makeup but also hydrate the skin and fight blemishes. It is the perfect travel buddy!
Another great travel-friendly product is their non-greasy hydrating face cream. The use of cassia angustifolia seed extract and grape seed oil help with hydration and also work as antioxidants to help make your skin feel hydrated and radiant.
Get your feet and legs feeling minty fresh and energized post-shower with Saje’s 100% natural, vegan and plant-based peppermint, shea and tea tree lotion. Their body lotion has become a favorite of mine post-runs and also in the morning.
March is mindfulness month so in my hunt to find great people to feature, I stumbled across Werklab, a beautiful and mindful co-working space in Vancouver that was founded by Christina Disler. They recently celebrated their 1st anniversary and have already had a very positive impact on the local entrepreneurs and working community here in Vancouver. We had a super enlightening conversation that lasted far longer than I expected so I’m sharing with you today some excerpts from my great chat with Christina, who shares her inspiration for the space and their mindful mission.
1) Can you give us some background on Werklab and how it all started?
My sister, who is an artist (all the artwork in the space is hers!), was living in Amsterdam before and had told me about the world of co-working. A few years ago, I went to an HR conference and found this stat has stood out for me. The stat said that by 2020, 40% of the work force will be freelancers, contractors, temp workers and that the work force will change. It was a statistic that rocked my world because I realized that 2020 wasn’t that far away. It was at the end of 2015 when the idea came up. The stat was becoming more and more real and the fact that we’re in a tech hub and the real estate’s high, I really looked at it from the light of social impact and almost from a light of project instead of a money-making business. I will admit that I come from a privileged position where I loaned money from my dad to do the construction. I’m also not trying to squeeze every penny out of this whereas I think that for a lot of other spaces, it’s hard to have integrity with building community when there’s really high bills to pay. We have a good rent here and at the end of the day, once you pay your membership fee, you’re part of this community, we don’t pinch you for anything else.
2) How does Werklab work?
Some spaces do daily drop-ins, here we’re completely membership based. You don’t have to be here full-time. You can start off with just 5 days a month and work your way up. It’s hard to build community when you have all these transient workers signing up online for only a day. How do you foster trust, safety and vulnerability when you don’t know who the next person is that is coming in? We also have a vetting system, we interview people before they enter the space to ensure that they align with our culture and what we’re trying to do. We don’t just want someone that’s going to come in and just use it as an office, we want someone who wants to sign on and be a part of this community.
When I opened Werklab, I didn’t study the best co-working spaces, I studied the best places to work. At the end of the day, someone can come up with a fancier place to work at and more gadgets, but what people are here for is an intrinsic value. It reminds me of working at some of the cool companies; they aren’t necessarily paying you the top dollar they’re offering you an experience. What do you feel when you’re coming through the door? What’s the energy like? All those things are important.
3) What separates Werklab from other co-working spaces?
We actually don’t call ourselves a co-working space but rather a modern day work club because everything is membership based and we’re a mindful space. We have yoga classes and we hold events. For example, we’ll have someone from a natural cosmetic shop come in or we’ll have lunch and learns on health, etc. At the end of the day, the way we work has totally shifted because of technology, even when you leave here you’re still working in bed. So we’re trying to infuse and offer you things that you wouldn’t maybe have time to go out and do because you have so much work or are working on a big project deadline. We want to bring those things to you.
We have 73 members now and we try to get at least once a week, something going on in the space. We want to bring people together with the more natural human stuff, I want people to have real authentic talk in this space.
Also, with the design of the space, we wanted to offer different areas for you to move around. People think that only graphic designers or coders, those are the creative people that are not working 9 to 5. But in reality, a lot of people work remote. You don’t have to be an “in your face creative” to be in a space like this because at the end of the day, creativity is in everything we do – it’s in problem solving, it’s thinking outside the box, it’s critical thinking, etc. It doesn’t mean that you need to be the best artist in order to be creative.
A lot of the time when we get stuck on a road block with work, movement – moving into a new part of the space, standing up, meditating on our bean bag, being able to stretch out on the couch or just having a quick chat in the coffee area, can all of a sudden reset you.
4) Who are the people that have been drawn to the space?
The demographic is a total range. I thought we’d have a lot of people from the neighbourhood because we’re the furthest space East in downtown Vancouver but we have people driving all the way from Kits and all over town to come here, which is pretty special. Right before people start, we send them a questionnaire that has nothing to do with what they do – asking them where they grew up, where they were born, what’s one thing people wouldn’t know about them, etc. So even before people come in for orientation, we try to find links and connection with others in the space so that they already feel like they belong on day 1, even if they don’t know anyone. I really try to make an effort to go around with them and be there to support them. People call this home, it’s funny but true.
5) A lot of the people in the community seem to really help each other out here in Vancouver, what does it mean to you to be a part of that and how has it helped?
I think the more as a business we become authentic and the more it is aligned with who I am and who I stand for, all of a sudden all these pieces start falling into place and just feels so serendipitous. There’s something really special about people on the west coast, following their crazy independent paths. It can sometimes feel so alone on the journey and can sometimes be really challenging but there’s so much support for Vancouver as a whole. I don’t know if it’s always been that way but that’s how things are shifting. I was talking to another local entrepreneur – Sonia from Woodlot and we were chatting about how expensive Vancouver is, so a lot of people have side hustles to make extra cash on the side. And all of a sudden, those side hustles start doing really well so they run with it. We’re all trying to survive together and there’s a really beautiful energy around this community.
The past year has been a wild ride. It’s this living and breathing organism that changes shape every day but you just have to be present with it. It has been quite the mindfulness task in itself to let it happen.
In need of a little island vacation? Make Victoria, BC your next holiday destination!
Located just 30 minutes by seaplane from Vancouver, this wonderful city has so much to offer. From the little coffee shops, to cute boutiques, to the great nature landscapes and outdoor adventures, you can’t go wrong with an escapade in this buzzing town.
Access to the island was made easy thanks to Harbour Air. It has always been my dream to fly in a seaplane, so I finally got to cross that off the bucket list last week. Harbour Air is North America’s largest seaplane airline and the first fully carbon neutral airline. It also showcases Canadian-made aircrafts and has over 35 daily departures between downtown Vancouver and Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Check-in and boarding is hassle-free plus they have a lovely lounge with complimentary tea, coffee and wifi that allows you to relax before your flight. The sights while flying are absolutely majestic and you get to downtown Victoria in just over 30 mins.
Once in Victoria, there are many accommodations to choose from. On this particular trip, we had the opportunity to stay at a beautiful boutique hotel called Hotel Rialto, located right in the heart of downtown. Opened in 2009 and renovated again in 2012, this restored 1912 heritage building features 52 beautifully decorated guest rooms that include topnotch amenities. In addition to its central location, another plus is the Café Veneto, the bistro located in their lobby. It is the perfect location for your morning breakfast. They also have the Veneto Tapa Lounge, located adjacent to the lobby, which offers guests a complimentary cheese platter upon arrival and great dinning options.
There are so many things occupy your time with while in Victoria. If you’re a nature lover, check out one of The Natural Connection‘s guided hikes. Led by Ryan LeBlanc, the company’s owner, you get to discover some of the most beautiful local hikes and point of views. He comes equipped with a gourmet lunch and supplies for your hike. He is a super knowledgeable guide, who invites you to use all five senses when exploring the area. It’s a great way to discover all of the stunning scenery just next to the city.
If shopping is more up your alley, head on over to the colourful Johnson St. right in downtown to shop at some of the best local retailers, while sipping on a coffee or tea from Hey Happy. Another coffee hotspot that you’ll want to visit is Habit Coffee located on Pandora St. They offer delicious vegan treats and a wide-selection of drinks to choose from.
Want to stay active while in Victoria, check out the newly opened SpinCo spin studio, also situated on Pandora St. in downtown. The city also has a handful of beautiful running trails located such as the waterfront trail on Dallas Rd or the circuit in Beacon Hill Park.
Museums and art galleries are also a plenty in the area. The Royal BC Museum is a great way to spend a few hours going through all of the permanent and rotating exhibits. Their current exhibit called Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in British Columbia is a major eye-opener. They will also be showcasing a new exhibit featuring Terry Fox come April.
While in Victoria, you can enjoy some of the best vegan and vegetarian food the country has to offer. My absolute favourite on this trip was Nourish Kitchen & Cafe, located in a beautifully restored colourful heritage house in the James Bay neighbourhood. They serve up fresh, seasonal produce and some of the most delicious vegan food I’ve ever had in my life. Note that though they aren’t fully vegan, they sure know how to make some tasty and healthy plant-based meals. You can even just stop by for a quick coffee or use their upstairs rooms The Study and The Parlour to work for the day.
Other vegan and healthy stops in the city include Rebar– a funky vegetarian hotspot that serves up everything from fresh juices to vegetarian Reuben sandwiches and homemade berry crumble, Jusu – the best mylks, cold-pressed juices as well as vegan salads and bowls, Café Bliss – a cute breakfast and café perfect to satisfy an afternoon craving and Be Love – serves up raw, vegan and vegetarian-friendly creative dishes using organic, seasonal and fresh Vancouver Island products up to 95% of the time.
Oh and there’s also Jam. It may not be the healthiest option but one cannot visit Victoria and not pay Jam a visit. It’s well worth the wait, their homemade scones and breakfasts are to die for!
If all of the aforementioned info isn’t reason enough to visit Victoria, I made a little recap video for you to enjoy!