Every Sunday in the summer, from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm, Government Street closes down a few blocks to make room for Victoria's largest public market. Get out there and find farm-fresh produce, jams and jellies, arts and crafts, and lots of entertainment! The market starts around Fisgard Street (Chinatown). There are other street markets in Victoria (only on a weekly basis) but this is the largest and most varied- it's popular with both locals and tourists!
Market begins in April and ends in October.
Check out CHINATOWN'S art and gift galleries, tea shops, variety and specialty shops and many wonderful, but inexpensive import shops.
What to buy: I bought a few souvenirs and postcards in Chinatown. Best prices in town.
The James Bay Market runs from 10 am-4 pm on Saturdays from May-October at the corner of Superior and Menzies. This is just behind the Legislative Buildings - simply walk to where the Tally Ho carriage tours start from and keep walking away from the Inner Harbour up Menzies street.
This is a great market bursting with local colour, crafts and personality. There are handmade clothing, hats, soap, art, jewelry and much more. There is often entertainment and you can buy delicious ethnic food made by the International Women's Co-op.
Other market type events occur in James Bay - check out the website given below.
What to buy: Local arts and crafts. Mementoes of your visit to Victoria.
What to pay: That's up to you.
The Government Street Market is a little bit more funky and 'hippyish' than other markets in Victoria. It runs May to October (approximately) on Government Street between Fisgard and Pandora on Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm.
What to buy: Crafts, jewelry, windchimes, mehndi (henna tattoos), sarongs, etc. etc.
What to pay: completely up to you
This market runs on Saturdays from May to October from 10 am to 2 pm.
Although this market does have crafts, ethnic food and other assorted goodies the reason that most locals visit it is to pick up some freshly picked organic fruit or veggies sold by the same folks that grew and harvested them.
If you want some of this goodness you've got to get there early because the locals buy like mad things and the best stuff sells out quickly.
The International Women's Coop provides food at this venue as well as at James Bay. There's usually entertainment here and a mouth-watering selection of food choices.
What to buy: Organic fruit and veggies.
What to pay: completely up to you
Right off of Government St near the Eaton Centre is Bastion Square, a large pedestrian way which decends down to the waterfront through a series of small stairs. Originally, old Fort Victoria sat here in Bastion Square, protecting the developing town if the Americans, French or Russians tried to make Vancouver Island their own. Today the fort is long since gone, and replaced with open markets, museums, botiques, pubs and restaurants, surrounded on both sides by some of the city's oldest buildings.
Bastion Square can get quite crowded in the tourist season, but in the off season, it's a quiet place that's worth the time to explore, shop, eat, or get yourself a pint.
This was once a two-story complex of shipping offices and supply stores. It now contains more than 40 shops that sell everything from sports equipment, fudge, music, and comic books to jewelry, local arts, and new-age clothing. There are also seven restaurants here. The central courtyard is often the site of live performances in summer.
This market’s pre-1900 architecture around a central courtyard has been restored to its original elegance. Two stories of retail surround its courtyard ampitheatre. The square is now home to specialty shops, restaurants and galleries.
At the Market Square, one of the oldest parts of town you will find many shops, restaurants and small businesses, spread over four levels.
Here's a list of the 2012 businesses:
-Green Cuisine Vegetarian Restaurant
-People Logic Software
-Angels of Avalon
-Oscar & Libby's
-A Little Bit of Hanoi
-Still Life for Her
-Famoso Market Square
-Paboom Home Imports
-Global Village Store
-Union Greeting Centre and Display Suite
-The Firelight Group
-Ashtanga Yoga Victoria
-Carpe Diem Media
-Anne Sheane Law Corp./Sheane Holdings Ltd. and Barbara Flewelling Law Corp
-Engaged HR Inc.
-Western Living Magazine
-TalentFIT Staffing Services Ltd.
-Centre for Counselling and Therapy
-Pacific Rim College
-Warner James Architects
-KMP Architecture Inc.
-Adrien Sala Writing & Media
-Veterinarians without Borders / Veterinaires Sans Frontieres
-APG Construction Ltd.
-Red Brick Media
-Noodle Box Head Office
-Market Square Massage
-Tang and Company, Barrister & Solicitor
-ARC Aviation Renewables Corp
-CSW Investment Services
-Lakme Impex Inc.
-Aspen Data Experts Inc.
The Bastion Square Sunday Market is held from 11AM to 4:30PM from May through September.
It's a small artisans market with crafts and more with about 25 stalls.
Often some live music is played at the side.
The Root Cellar in Victoria is a great place to visit for a sunny weekend outing. Their recent expansion makes this 'green grocer' a market all on its own! It reminded me somewhat of a mini version of the Granville Island Market in Vancouver, and definitely has the potential for a theme like the Pikes Place Market in Seattle. The decor and ambiance of the store is incredible (industrial mixed with cozy - one of their walls that spans the room is covered in distressed planks of painted wood). The staff are incredibly helpful and make the store seem full of life and energy. If you're looking for some fresh, local and CHEAP produce I highly recommend a trip to the Root Cellar! They've also opened a new floral area (with amazing bouquet arrangements) which makes the store look so welcoming and vibrant. On a Saturday or Sunday morning the store is just buzzing with activity! Get there early, because the parking lot fills up quick!
What to buy: LOCAL meat (chicken, pork, beef, turkey)
Unique produce items - they had stinging nettles, fiddle-heads and first of the season local rhubarb and strawberries on my last visit!
Gorgeous flowers (pots, plants, home decor)
What to pay: They're slogan is 'dirt cheap' and I couldn't agree more! The BEST prices on local produce, meat, dairy and floral!
This grocery market also offers in-store bakery, flowers, full-service deli and healthy eating products. Prices are reasonable.