Updated June 12, 2019

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 fireworks and park picnics, we’re willing to bet you’ll be brought right back to the days of rocket popsicles 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 Fireworks & Summer Concerts – July 1

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 Saturday? Stick around past dusk to watch The Gardens’ kaleidoscopic beauty continue with a spectacular fireworks display!

2. Victoria Pride Events – July 1

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One of my favourite things about Victoria Pride this year was talking to and learning from some elders in our community. The best example of this was at a Pride-themed @royalbcmuseum happy hour last week. There were several senior members of the community available to speak with in a human library, and we listened for a long time to one of Victoria's *most* senior lesbians. She applied for the city's first Pride parade, wrote for a publication called Lesbian News, gave speeches in drag, and she misses the days of secret codes and signals! She also mentioned missing having a communal hang out space. Others I met that night echoed that sentiment, including the two women who started the G Spot – a 90s lesbian bar! Sadly (like a lot of lesbian bars), it no longer exists, but they recreated it for the evening! Time to find the G Spot again?! 🌈 🌈 🌈 #ifyoucanfindityoucancome #beaverfever #thegspot #victoriapride #yyjpride #victoriabc #yyj #pride #explorevictoria #vancouverisland #sharevi #explorevanisle #westcoastbestcoast #victoriabuzz #lesbian #wearetravelgays #pnw #pnwbc #lesbiantravel #lgbt #queer #explorebc #explorecanada #canada

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For 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 annual Memorial Dragball Game, meet some furry pals at the Big Gay Dog Walk or get your party on with three floors full of entertainment at Royal BC Museum’s Night Shift: Pride.

3. James Bay Community Market – Saturdays Through September 28

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Summer markets are back ☺️🥧🥬🍑🍓🥕

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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!

4. Afternoon Concerts in the Park – Friday to Monday All Month

Spend a day soaking up some culture al fresco at this year’s Afternoon Concerts in the Park series! Grab a picnic blanket and head to the lush, centrally-located Beacon Hill Park for music ranging from the classical stylings of the Emily Carr String Quartet to ethereal pieces from Vancouver Island favorite, Fox Glove. Or head to the historic Centennial Square for some afternoon tunes paired with pop-up beer gardens and food truck gatherings!

5. Downtown Victoria Buskers Festival – July 3 – 7

Looking for a free event that the whole family can enjoy? Get thee to the Downtown Victoria Buskers Festival! Held over five days in and around the city’s downtown core, unique and quirky performers of all kinds can be found brightening up the city streets with acrobatics, music, fire-breathing and lots, lots more!

6. Deuce Days – July 18 – 21

Cue up the Beach Boys and head down to the Inner Harbour to admire some impeccably preserved antique cars at Northwest Deuce Days. Stroll around the city’s scenic Inner Harbour and Parliament grounds to take in more than 1,200 spectacular pre-1952 collector vehicles! Mingle and chat with the owners from North America and across the world to witness their passion firsthand.

7. Eats & Beats at the Beach – July 20

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.

8. Vegtoria – July 20

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Vegtoria 2018: we came, we saw, I ate all the donuts.

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Landing in the top 10 highest concentrations of vegan restaurants in the nation, Seattlites know a thing or two about this plant-based foodie movement. But did you know that Victoria hosts a day-long summertime celebration of all things veganism? Enter: Vegtoria, the city’s annual festival honoring cruelty-free living and environmental consciousness. In spite of the noble subject matter, Vegtoria still manages to keep things light with live music, an outdoor market and of course, lots of vegan eats!

9. Victoria Flamenco Festival – July 26 – 28

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#flashbackfriday This was a very special memory to me at the Victoria Flamenco Festival! It marked 20 years of me starting to learn flamenco in Victoria and 10 years of living, studying and performing in Vancouver so it was a return to my hometown. It was the first time my Victoria friends had seen me perform since the move, so I worked hard with my wonderful group La Triana to come up with a "Garrotin" choreography with the red hat. Was on local TV and shared some great moments onstage. Palmas for this number Jafelin, Marekito @mmmmmarek on guitar and Maria Avila @mariaavilaflamenco singing. Photos by Maria Miranda Lawrence. . #flamenco #flamencodance #redhat #ruffles #garrotin #victoria #victoriaarts #yyj #victoriaflamencofestival .

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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. Phillips Backyard Weekender – July 26 – 28

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 their Backyard Weekender! Enjoy three days packed with back-to-back sets from artists such as Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors and iconic reggae group Steel Pulse. Be sure to arrive thirsty, as the Phillips beer will be abundant and fresh as can be!

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