On Vancouver Island, summer doesn’t end on Labour Day. When the calendar turns to September and October, we’re just getting started! Here, our local experts list the 10 amazing things to do on Vancouver Island before the weather turns cold.
1. A must-go event for Vancouver Island’s beer lovers is the Great Canadian Beer Festival. This has become a favourite among locals and guests from across the globe who come to sample and savour beers from more than 55 craft breweries from across Canada and the US. Tickets will go quickly for this event, which takes place September 7 and 8. See gcbf.com for more information.
2. Celebrating 100 years of Fall Fairs in Victoria’s West Shore communities, the Luxton Fall Fair hosts animal shows, handicraft, blacksmithing, a midway, children’s games and antique farm displays. Don’t forget some Vancouver Island favourites, like the vegetable and produce competitions, and the Tough Truck Challenge. Runs September 14 to 16. Visit luxtonfair.ca.
3. Celebrate Vancouver Island’s bounty with Eat Here Now 2012, which takes place September 9 in Market Square. At this free, family-friendly local harvest festival, you can shop the farmers’ market, savour buck-a-bite tastings from the many Victoria restaurants that support local agriculture, have fun in the kids’ play area and listen to local musicians and DJs. Organized by the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society, all proceeds support the establishment of a downtown public market. For more information, visit victoriapublicmarket.com.
4. Hop on the Salt Spring Island ferry at Swartz Bay for a quick jaunt to the Salt Spring Island Apple Festival September 30. The island grows more than 350 varieties of apples organically, making this year’s theme all the more appropriate: “So many apples; so little time, but take time to taste the apples along the way.” For details, visit saltspringmarket.com/apples
5. Venture into Victoria’s historic Chinatown on September 17 for the Chinatown Night Market, celebrating the Autumn Moon Lantern Festival with food, entertainment, shopping and more. It’s one of Vancouver Island’s favourite culinary events. For more information, visit chinatownnightmarket.ca
6. A highlight of any autumn in the Capital Region is the annual Salmon Run at Goldstream Park. Not a rival to the Victoria Marathon (though it is equally awe-inspiring), this event mesmerizes park visitors with the salmons’ return to their spawning grounds in the Goldstream River. The run usually begins in mid- to late-October and lasts for several weeks. Visit the park’s Nature Centre for information and activities.
7. Discover one of the Vancouver Island’s most popular family events when the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society hosts its Harvest Fair. Families can take in historical displays, agricultural exhibits, and watch the fall threshing. Runs September 15 and 16. See shas.ca for more details.
8. Enjoy a scenic drive over the Malahat to the Cowichan Valley for the annual Wine & Culinary Festival, September 8 to 16. Enjoy a variety of wine and culinary-related events at various venues throughout the Cowichan region, culminating on the weekend of September 15 and 16. Tour the scenic back roads to discover the region’s many wineries, savour local Vancouver Island cuisine prepared by world-class chefs or dance the night away at a variety of evening soirees. Visit wines.cowichan.net for the event schedule (some may require reservations or ticket purchase).
9. Also in the Cowichan Valley this September is the hugely popular Vancouver Island Feast of Fields, September 16 at Alderlea Farm and Cafe. A Feast Bus is also available to take visitors from Victoria to this celebration of local food growers, producers and regionally inspired cuisine. See feastoffields.com for details.