Living in Victoria, BC, we take for granted the wonderful little treasures this city contains. So we decided to explore the Fernwood neighborhood, a funky little community with good eats.
Every year since 2011 over 100 telephone poles around the Fernwood neighbourhood are painted by locals, including children. As a result, this walkable neighbourhood has all kinds of magical and interesting pole paintings. We looked for them right by Fernwood Square. My little one found a couple that really piqued his interest, which was perfect because we headed to an art class at The Paintbox Art Studio.
Playgrounds. There are several great playgrounds or parks in the Fernwood neighbourhood. You can get a little walk and then relax as the kids play. Simply choose your direction. Our friends took their dinner to Alexander Park, which is located a few blocks away from Fernwood Square. But, if your plan is to walk back towards downtown Victoria, choose Pembroke Street and stop at Central Park where there’s a great playground. If you really plan you can even go to Crystal Pool, which has a terrific kids pool area. You could pass William Stevenson Park, which has a nice little playground area suitable for small children (and there’s a gate to the street, which always makes me feel more relaxed).
Located a few blocks from Fernwood Square, Parsonage Café is a tiny little spot perfect for bagels (and coffee!) in the morning or as a snack. We were there on a cold morning and there isn’t a lot of space (I think there are 3 booths and 2 tables), and if you’re grabbing a coffee there is a bench seating area and counter. We brought our own toys and scored a booth after waiting for a few minutes. We’re early risers though, so if you come after 9 or 9:30 on a weekend I would assume there’s a wait. In warmer weather there are tables outside and parks nearby to take your food. I love this place because they get their bagels fresh from Mt Royal Bagel, which is located behind the restaurant. If you just want delicious bagels you can pop in and buy them direct. They remind me of the bagels we used to travel into Toronto to get… like real Montreal-style bagels and cream cheese. Yum!
If you’re looking for a big lunch or dinner spot, the Fernwood Inn located in Fernwood Square is a good spot. It’s relatively affordable, the food is good and they accommodate children with booster seats or high chairs if you need them. Our friends were visiting and they stopped here to pick up fish & chips on their way home. Instead of eating inside, they took their dinner over to a nearby park.
Other great neighbourhood options we didn’t go to this staycation include Cold Comfort for amazing homemade ice cream, including non-dairy options, located beside Parsonage. Cornerstone Café located by Fernwood Square is also a great spot for snacks and coffee.
Since we live in town, we didn’t need to worry about accomodation. However, there are plenty of amazing hotels in the city.
We had our car, but visitors from out of town could easily take the bus. Buses 22 and 19 go right by Fernwood Square. Parking can be limited and the streets around Fernwood Square need to be navigated, as there are several dead ends and one-ways. It’s a wonderful place to walk (half the fun really).
BC Transit. Use the trip planner function (or route your trip with Google Maps).
Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group. Look for Fernfest happening in the spring (typically June); if you’re there you could paint a pole yourself!
Belfry Theatre. A very popular theatre, they offer child minding for certain Sunday matinee shows; this would be perfect for a traveling family without child care options