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Our Editors’ Picks for Amazing Summer Activities

Taste of Victoria

Savour the flavours of Vancouver Island with the fourth annual Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine. Kicking off July 19 at the Crystal Garden with the Main Event, an evening brimming with more than 100 BC wines and great Vancouver Island eats, events continue to July 22.  Other highlights include the Swine and The Vine pig roast on the Hotel Grand Pacific patio, a three-course brunch at Vista 18, and a Sips and Seafood extravaganza at Inn at Laurel Point.  And you won’t want to miss a dining adventure in the middle of the fields at the Vantreight family farm, overlooking the Saanich Peninsula and Pacific Ocean where guests can reach back and pick what’s on their plate!


Summer on the Victoria stage

Urban Arts at the Maritime Museum

Urban Arts and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia invite audiences on a theatrical journey that opens July 19 to 28 with Into The Woods, featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and based on the book by James Lapine. An ambivalent Cinderella? A blood-thirsty Little Red Ridinghood? A Prince Charming with a roving eye? They’re all among the cockeyed characters in this fractured musical fairy tale – a summer theatrical treat not to be missed. www.urbanartsproductions.com

The 10th annual Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival presents theatre under the stars on the grounds of Camosun College Lansdowne Campus. 2012 performances include As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing from July 16 to August 18 on alternating nights. Performances are outdoors, so dress warmly. Some chairs are available but guests can bring their own to guarantee comfort.

Victoria’s award-winning Blue Bridge Theatre presents two performances this summer. John Steinbeck’s poignant Of Mice and Men takes the stage July 3 to 15. The company’s second production of summer adopts a lighter tone July 31 to August 2 with the musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors.

Art on the street

Shawn Shepard at Paint-In 2010

Art lovers of all ages will flock to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Rockland neighbourhood July 21 for the 25th annual TD Art Gallery Paint-in. Some 150 professional and emerging artists will take their studios to the street to display and create on Moss Street, between Fort Street and Dallas Road. New this year is Paint In the Square, July 16 to 20, from 11am to 4pm. As part of the City of Victoria’s 150 celebrations, the Art Gallery will storm downtown, with five days of Paint-In festivities in Centennial Square, building toward the main event on Moss Street.


In Concert

Lyle Lovett

From country to hip hop, Victoria will see it all this July. Four-time Grammy Award winner Lyle Lovett performs at the Royal Theatre July 11 before hip hop royalty Snoop Dogg brings his West Coast music stylings to the Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena July 17. In between, the open-air fields at the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre on Victoria’s Westhore will rock out with Canadian icons The Tragically Hip. Joining the ‘Hip at Rock the Shores will be Sam Roberts, Victoria’s Current Swell and Jets Overhead.


Big Mama! The Willie Mae Thornton Story

A scene from Big Mama!

Before Elvis there was Big Mama Thornton, recording hit songs like Hound Dog and Ball & Chain, years before others made them famous. This summer, Victoria’s Belfry Theatre hosts Canadian legend Jackie Richardson as Big Mama, whose rocky but joyful life came to an end too early. This soulful revue, July 24 to August 19, pays homage to this extraordinary blues singer, the godmother of rock and roll.


Life on the Fringe

Hanafuda Denki's A Tale of the Playing

The 26th annual Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival brings some of the world’s best live theatre from around the world to the stages of the Capital Region August 23 to September 2. The 11-day celebration of live theatre features more than 50 comedy, drama, spoken word and physical theatre shows, plus free special events such as FringeKids Fest in Market Square, a nightly cabaret at the FringeClub, and a pre-fest concert in Centennial Square. “Easy, fun and slightly addictive…this weird and wonderful festival is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before!”

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