Hellooo summer! The time of year has arrived to work on your Teva tan lines, fill up your calendar with festivals and, seeing as July 1st is Canada Day, break out your best red and white duds (or head-to-toe denim!) and revel in all things Canadian.

After a weekend full of outdoor concerts and farmers’ market picnics, we’re willing to bet you’ll be brought right back to the days of Otter Pops and backyard sprinklers. To get your summertime nostalgia started, we’ve pulled together 10 things to do in Victoria, BC this July – scroll on and get to planning!

1. Butchart Gardens Night Illuminations & Summer Concerts – July 1

Credit: @thebutchartgardens

Escape the concrete jungle and journey out to the stunning Butchart Gardens during peak bloom season! Take full advantage of the island’s mild evening temperatures and experience Butchart’s beauty come nightfall at their Night Illuminations installation. See The Gardens glow by way of thousands of twinkling lights, transforming the sprawling grounds into a sparkling fairyland!

Visiting on a weekend? Stick around past dusk to catch a concert al fresco at their outdoor stage! With a calendar featuring everything from folk bands to Celtic music, you’re just about guaranteed to find a show that suits your taste.

2. Celebrate Canada Day – July 1

Credit: @canadadayvictoria

As the first in-person Canada Day celebration in three years, Victoria’s Canada Day revelry is sure to be cranked up a notch this year. Things kick off with an Indigenous canoe protocol, paddling out to Ship Point in intricately painted boats. From there, catch live performances from a Ukrainian dance group, an eccentric jazz band, Chinese Lion Dancers, and lots more throughout the day. Those who stick it out through the whole day’s worth of festivities are rewarded with a spectacular fireworks display over the Inner Harbour!

3. Victoria Pride Events – June 23 – July 2

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During the first week of July, Victoria celebrates its LBGTQ+ community & their allies with an array of inclusive, all-ages events. Cheer on two decked-out teams at the Memorial Dragball Game, meet some furry pals at the Big Gay Dog Walk or join in the vibrant tradition of the annual Victoria Pride Parade.

4. James Bay Community Market – Saturdays Through September 24

Credit: @jamesbaymarket

Find a handmade souvenir or stock up for a picnic in the park at the James Bay Community Market. Browse through whimsical home décor, pottery, handcrafted wood jewelry and more to find one-of-a-kind gifts – or a little something for yourself. With live music and prepared food from local eateries, you may just wind up making a day of it!

5. Winemaker’s Dinner Series at Oak Bay Beach Hotel – July 7 & 21

Credit: @oakbaybeachhotel

Raise a glass — of fabulous local vintage — in the luxe, oceanfront dining room at Oak Bay Beach Hotel‘s Winemaker’s Dinner Series. Up your knowledge of Vancouver Island vino straight from the source, with wines presented from Anthony Buchanan Wines (on the 7th) and Blue Grouse Estate Winery (on the 21st). Each glass is thoughtfully paired with a multi-course meal inspired by regional and seasonal specialties, like island-raised ribeye and tomatoes grown right down the road in Saanich. Plus, the whole evening is set to the tune of live piano music from composer Ryan Zak. Safe to say this is one classy event!

6. Tilt! Phillips Backyard Weekender – July 9 – 10

Credit: @capturingtheshow

Did you know there’s a music festival right in the heart of downtown Victoria this month? Grab some friends and head to Phillips Brewing for the July installment of their beloved Backyard Weekender series! Enjoy three days packed with back-to-back sets from artists such as Québec’s Half Moon Run and rad all-female rock group The Beaches. Be sure to arrive thirsty, as the Phillips beer will be abundant and fresh as can be!

7. See Jason Mraz at the Royal Theatre

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Kick back with a night of mellow musical stylings from award-winning guitarist, songwriter, and singer Jason Mraz. Catch chart-topping hits like The Remedy, I Won’t Give Up, and I’m Yours — which you’re sure to be humming all the way back to your hotel. Insider tip: Arrive a little extra early to take a stroll around the ornate, historic theater and grab a drink along the dark wood bar in the lobby.

8. Deuce Days – July 14 – 17

Credit: @torquemasterscarclub

Cue up the Beach Boys and head down to the Inner Harbour to admire some impeccably preserved antique cars at the 90th anniversary of Northwest Deuce Days. Stroll around the city’s scenic Inner Harbour and Parliament grounds to take in hundreds of spectacular pre-1952 collector vehicles! Mingle and chat with the owners from North America and across the world to witness their passion firsthand.

9. Victoria Flamenco Festival – July 16 – 24

Credit: @jhoelytrianaflamenco

Whether you’re the first one on the dance floor or an observant wallflower, the Victoria Flamenco Festival brings both fiery performances and hands-on workshops to Centennial Square. On Friday, take in a live flamenco performance in Beacon Hill Park’s outdoor Cameron Bandshell venue, or head to Centennial Square for an evening of stomping feet and swirling skirts. The celebrations culminate in two all-day festivals featuring emerging artists and renowned Flamenco dancers and musicians. 

10. Eats & Beats at the Beach – July 30

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Grab your sunscreen, pack up your water shoes and head to the seaside town of Colwood for a day of fun under the sun. Enjoy live music, food vendors, activities such as kayaking or paddle boarding and even a climbing wall at this year’s Eats & Beats at the Beach. While you’re in the area, be sure to pay a visit to the iconic Fisgard Lighthouse.

With its stately European architecture and long days, Victoria truly feels a world away. Whether you’re watching windsurfers near Beacon Hill Park or biking along the Galloping Goose Trail, Victoria is the perfect place to enjoy the Northwest summer sun. And let’s not forget the 30 million blooms covering the city. Go ahead, get some color in Canada this summer!

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Feature Photo: Destination Greater Victoria