Violette's Guide to Shopping Local
October is small business month in Canada and we couldn’t think of a better way to support our small business community than by shopping! As the weather cools and the days become shorter, we could all benefit from some much needed retail therapy. And why not make a small business owner’s day while we’re at it?
Now that we have completely justified a guilt-free shopping spree…. Where to shop?
To make this decision easy, we’ve assembled a Local Shopping Guide featuring some of our favourite independent businesses in Victoria.
Always our first stop.
With serious attention to detail, Hey Happy! is always brewing up magic in their seasonal signature drink menu. Try the cashew latte or anything made with their homemade cashew milk.
Surrounded by independent boutiques on charming Lower Johnson Street, Hey Happy! is a great starting point for your local shopping excursion, but an even better midday oasis if you’ve already shopped ‘til you dropped.
Sherwood’s spacious, modern and versatile interior features tables, barstools and a takeaway menu so you can enjoy a satisfying meal or a quick drink on the run. Located across the street from Victoria’s City Hall on Douglas and Pandora, you’re only steps away from the best local shops.
Category: Flowers & Fragrance
Wake up and smell the flowers.
This Lower Johnson shop seamlessly doubles as a flower shop and lifestyle store, offering only the most beautiful objects to enhance your life and home.
Plus, the dried floral arrangements are otherworldly.
Boutique parfum house meets European style flower shop on Lower Johnson Street and the result is Zingaro.
Don’t forget to test each fragrance while taking in the lush greenery that reaches every corner and crevice of the space.
Category: Home Decor
Home is where the heart is, after all.
Don’t miss Open House—a shop discreetly positioned in Victoria’s Paper Box Arcade—as you stroll down Johnson Street. Locally sourced, handmade fashion and décor items adorn the shelves of this neutral toned shop. You’re sure to find a handwoven basket bag or knit cardigan beautiful enough to double as home décor among the selection of hand thrown ceramics and other little luxuries.
Prepare to discover home décor with abundant personality at Paboom—a unique shop that can’t be contained within one category. Located on Store Street in Market Square, Paboom carries objects with stories that will breathe new life into your home.
A central craft brewery with indoor seating and a spacious patio in Market Square. The beautiful heritage buildings that frame the square are home to many small brick and mortar boutiques, making Whistle Buoy the perfect place to scout out your next stop. You can also BYOF (bring your own food)!
Wander over to Bastion Square at the end of your shopping day for an incredible selection of wine, cocktails and coastal cabin food at Wind Cries Mary. The restaurant has indoor seating and an outdoor patio in the square. But, weather permitting, try to get a spot in their secret courtyard for a super cozy evening.
Category: Beauty & Self Care
Break time! continued.
Priestess offers lash, nail, microblading, waxing, and tinting services out of a spacious, white, plant filled studio in Canada’s oldest Chinatown. Its female co-founders named the studio after the High Priestess tarot card to represent their knowledgeable and intuitive approach to beauty. Stop by the studio in Fan Tan Alley with your beauty goals in mind and let the Priestess team bring them to life.
Buy good clothes. Own them for a long time.
Our neighbours from two doors down on Lower Johnson Street are expert curators when it comes to introducing emerging trends to local tastes. Still Life has been a go-to fashion boutique in Victoria since 1984 and continues to offer a mix of local designers and international brands.
If you love designer fashion, take a stroll down Government Street towards the parliament buildings and stop by Bernstein and Gold on Yates. This contemporary womenswear boutique focuses on fashion and lifestyle items from sought after brands within Canada and internationally.
Citizen is another gem tucked into Lower Johnson Street. The owner's values of high quality and timeless design translate into beautiful, simplistic pieces that adorn their shelves. With various brands available in the shop—including their own basics line—Citizen is a go-to for wardrobe staples that will endure the test of time.
A one stop shop for high end contemporary pieces, Outlooks is something of a Victoria menswear institution. Stop by the downtown location on Yates Street to collaborate with the staff on a new outfit from tip to toe, or a new sweater to last a lifetime.
Category: Dining in and taking away
A modern dining spot featuring seasonal, organic brunch and dinner menus, Agrius would be the perfect way to kick off or wrap up a day of downtown shopping. Don’t skip the charcuterie or wood-fired pizza if you’re popping in for dinner.
Based in Victoria’s Chinatown, Dumpling Drop offers a unique dining experience. Dine in, takeaway, or grab a bag of frozen dumplings to enjoy at home. The menu is delicious and you won’t want to leave before taking a look at the merch.
Nestled in the corner of Victoria’s historic Trounce Alley, Bodega offers a warm atmosphere in which to enjoy Spanish tapas, cocktails and wine. If there’s a wait to get in, take the opportunity to explore Trounce Alley and stroll down Government Street.
Set in Victoria’s eco-conscious—and award winning—Atrium building, this trattoria serves Italian soul food. The dinner menu is inspired by the head chef’s Italian heritage as well as seasonal and local ingredients, so bring a healthy appetite.