Hey guys, one question our students often ask us here at Global Village Victoria is : where are the best places to go shopping?
Even if you don’t have much money or you don’t even like shopping -- there are always reasons to give it a go while you’re here. Here are a few reasons we came up with:
- You can get souvenirs and presents to take back home for family and friends – everyone will love to receive a present from your trip – especially something that represents Victoria, Canada.
- You can exercise your inner shopaholic - some people love shopping and they like trying to find something unique and special they can’t get back in their own country – or just a Canadian brand that is more expensive at home than it is here (Canada Goose, Lululemon, Arcteryx, Roots).
- You might need to do some unforeseen shopping – these are things that you don’t plan to buy, but you might end up having to get, such as an umbrella in winter or sunglasses in summer!
So let’s get started! First though, let’s introduce some vocabulary that will be very useful for you when shopping in Canada and reading this blog.
Window shopping - shopping without really wanting to buy anything. Just for fun.
Canadiana – Things that symbolize Canada in some way or come from Canada…like maple syrup!
Nick-nacks – small, worthless objects…usually for the house.
Apparel – clothing Discount -sold at a lower price than normal
Boutique – a small store that sells fashionable clothes and accessories
High end – the more expensive options
Artisanal/ handcrafted – made in a traditional way or by hand
Cheaply made - low quality
Shopaholic - someone who loves shopping and does it regularly
Second-hand/used/pre-loved – not new
Thrift store/shop – a store that sells second-hand stuff
Good value (for money) – a good combination of quality and price
Generic – a product that is not specific or special in any way.
Reasonable – a good, fair price for something.
Souvenirs and present shopping
Victoria, B.C. is a great destination to study English in Canada. It has the warmest temperatures in the winter and is a very popular place to visit for tourists. As a result, Victoria has many tourist souvenir shops, especially on Government Street - just around the corner from Global Village Victoria. Most of these shops are quite generic, carrying the same range of T-shirts, Canadiana and nick-nacks as all the others. Most of these things are not made in Canada and, although cheaper, are not always the best choices for meaningful, long-lasting, eco-friendly souvenirs.
Here are some of my suggestions…all on Government Street and close to each other:
Migration Boutique – This is a cool shop that tries to use locally designed and made apparel. It’s located at 1223 Government Street. www.migrationboutique.com
Cowichan Trading company/Sasquatch Trading Ltd – These gift shops carry lots of handcrafted First Nations art and apparel for a unique and meaningful present or souvenir. www.cowichantrading.com
Roger’s Chocolates – Famous in Victoria for over 130 years, Roger’s makes delicious chocolate treats that anyone at home would love! www.rogerschocolates.com
Shopping for shopaholics
Face it – everybody loves shopping SOMETIMES! These are some of the places I’d recommend:
The Bay Centre – The Bay Centre is a shopping mall downtown just a block from GV Victoria. They have a wide variety of Canadian stores from department stores like the Hudson’s Bay Company to boutique stores like Le Chateau and discount shops like Winners.
Mayfair mall – Mayfair is a short bus ride away and, like the Bay Centre, has many shops indoors for those winter days when you want to stay out of the cold.
LoJo – LoJo is what people from Victoria call Lower Johnson Street – just five minutes away from the language centre here. It’s made up of a collection of colourful heritage shops selling anything from high-end shoes to international candies and sweets. Great for window shopping!
There are times when you need to buy something that you hadn’t expected – like a winter coat because it’s colder than you expected, or a Halloween costume for the Global Village Victoria Halloween party! You don’t want to spend a lot of money, but you don’t want to buy something ugly and cheaply made either.
These are my recommendations – they are thrift shops and second-hand stores. You can get good used things here for much cheaper than buying them new.
The Patch Clothing – This shop specializes in ‘recycled and vintage’ clothing…meaning you can get good, cool cheap clothes here. It’s also five minutes from Global Village Victoria. www.thepatchclothing.com
W.I.N. – WIN is a local charity that raises money for women in need. It has lots of stuff - from clothes to kitchenware to books. It’s very good value and a good cause. www.womeninneed.ca
Russell Books – This store is a great stop for anyone studying an English course in Victoria. They have a fantastic selection of used books at reasonable prices. Something for everyone! Great to help you improve your language skills. www.russellbooks.com
So there you have it! There are, of course, many more shopping places to check out here in Victoria, but that is part of the adventure of travelling to and getting to know a new place – looking for interesting and fun places to explore on your own or with the friends you’ve made here at Global Village Victoria!
You can read more about things to do in Victoria here:
Find out more about life at Global Village Victoria here: