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Arts and Culture in Victoria - Galleries, Theater, and Heritage Homes

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Victoria is home to a buzzing cultural scene, with a packed calendar of concerts, exhibitions, and theatrical performances. The city has its own professional symphony orchestra and opera company, plus a wealth of artistic talent. Exploring Victoria's earliest homes gives you an insight into its architectural heritage. You can check the local newspaper, the Times Colonist, for listings.

Art galleries

 

Victoria's natural beauty and wildlife have inspired numerous professional artists. Well-known local painter Emily Carr based many of her works on British Columbia's forests, coastline, and indigenous peoples. You can see her paintings and works by contemporary regional artists at the city's larger art galleries. The hip Fernwood neighbourhood is dotted with artists' studios, which open for the annual Fernwood Art Stroll in June.

 

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

 

Victoria's main art gallery is a 5-minute drive east of downtown. More than 18,000 artworks include a significant Emily Carr collection and a huge array of Asian art.

 

1040 Moss Street, Victoria V8V 4P1Tel: +1 250 384 4171

 

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria website

 

The Robert Bateman Centre

 

This contemporary gallery in the waterfront Steamship Terminal celebrates the work of Canadian artist and naturalist Robert Bateman, who specializes in painting wildlife in its natural habitat.

 

470 Belleville Street, Victoria V8V 1W9. Tel: +1 250 940 3630

 

The Robert Bateman Centre website

Victoria theatres

 

From large-scale professional shows to amateur productions, Victoria hosts a busy schedule of theatrical performances. The biggest theatres are downtown, while intimate neighbourhood venues include a converted church, a former carriage house, and an old movie theatre. In summer, Victoria's Shakespeare by the Sea lets you enjoy the Bard's works outdoors with the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop.

 

McPherson Playhouse

 

theatre fans have been flocking to the McPherson Playhouse for more than a century. The nearly 800-seat venue stages a mix of professional and amateur plays, musicals, and ballet.

 

3 Centennial Square, Victoria V8W 1P5. Tel: +1 250 386 6121

 

McPherson Playhouse website

 

Belfry Theatre

 

Contemporary Canadian works are the specialty of this neighbourhood theatre in Fernwood. The professional company produces up to 12 plays a year, including many premieres, in a converted 19th-century Baptist church.

 

1291 Gladstone Avenue, Victoria V8T 1G5. Tel: +1 250 385 6815

 

Belfry Theatre website

 

Classical music and opera

 

Victoria's professional orchestra, the Victoria Symphony, performs a pop series, children's stories, and major productions featuring international soloists. In early August, Victoria Symphony Splash sees the ensemble playing from a floating barge in the Inner Harbour. Every nearby spot is jam-packed with concertgoers, while kayakers grab the best view right by the stage. Opera fans have the pick of 3 professional operas per year, staged by Pacific Opera Victoria.

 

Royal Theatre

 

Home to the Victoria Symphony and Pacific Opera Victoria, the Royal Theatre has been welcoming audiences since 1913.

 

805 Broughton Street, Victoria V8W 1E5. Tel: +1 250 386 6121

 

Royal Theatre website

 

Alix Goolden Performance Hall

 

The Victoria Conservatory of Music's 800-seat concert hall is housed in a former church and plays host to international and local musicians. An annual sing-along Messiah draws hundreds of enthusiastic singers each December.

 

907 Pandora Avenue, Victoria V8V 3P4. Tel: +1 250 386 5311

 

Alix Goolden Performance Hall website

 

Historic homes

 

You'll need your camera at hand when strolling streets of meticulously restored Victorian and Edwardian homes. James Bay, Fairfield, Fernwood, and Oak Bay all have well-maintained examples of the city's earliest architecture. Rockland is home to Victoria's original flashy mansions, including the hilltop Craigdarroch Castle, built for rich industrialist Robert Dunsmuir.

 

Craigdarroch Castle

 

Created in the Romanesque Revival style, Craigdarroch Castle is a massive stone, turreted home, designed to display Dunsmuir's wealth. You can gaze at intricate stained-glass windows, handcrafted woodwork, and high-end Victorian furnishings.

 

1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria V8S 3L5. Tel: +1 250 592 5323

 

Craigdarroch Castle website