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Top 10 Reasons For Loving Victoria - #9

posted on Jul 03
The Square in Fernwood Village

9. Urban Villages.  Scattered throughout the City of Victoria, outside the main, downtown core, are a number of neighbourhood “villages” that each have their own personality and “vibe”. Among them are the Fernwood Village, Cook Street Village, James Bay Village and the Quadra Street Village, all of them within easy walking distance from downtown and all worth visiting while you’re in Victoria.

The really nice thing about each of these neighbourhood villages is that they all have their own, unique characteristics.  For example, Cook Street Village is a trendy (some might call it a "yuppy") village, dotted with coffee shops where locals gather to share a cup of Joe and gossip about neighbourhood issues.  Cook Street Village is located in the urban residential area of Victoria knows as Fairfield, it is close to the Dallas Road waterfront, Beacon Hill Park and downtown. It's a lovely area for young families and singles to live and enjoy the conveniences of this location. 

The Fernwood Village has a different feeling about it. Often knows as "funky Fernwood" it has many young residents, many artists and artisans, urban farmers. Fernwood Village is well known locally for the popular Belfry Theatre, the Fernwood Community Gardens, Spring Ridge Common,  Stages Restaurant, the Fernwood Inn and a number of other trendy (but not yuppy) little restaurants and coffee shops.  The Cornerstone Cafe is operated by a Fernwood community organization and all profits from sales go into local, neighbourhood projects, reflecting the very strong sense of neighbourhood and community that is omnipresent in this Village.

James Bay Village is reminiscent of a typical seaside community, given its location between the Inner Harbour, the Outer Harbour and Dallas Road waterfront.  It's not a trendy neighbourhood and the area tends to be populated by a more senior generation of residents who always seem to take the time to stop and chat to their friends and to visitors alike.  The James Bay Tearoom, The James Bay Inn (affectionally called the JBI) and the James Bay Coffee and Book Store are popular gathering places in this "quaint" Victoria village, tucked in behind the BC Legislative Buildings.

Quadra Street Village is a little further afield, sitting almost on the boundary of the City of Victoria and the municipality of Saanich.  It has a busy and thriving village centre, well patronized by drivers in rush hour traffic who stop in to pick-up a few groceries at the Fairway Market, a bottle of wine at the BC Liquor Store or a tasty snack at the Carribean Village Cafe.  The only, somewhat unfortunate, thing about the Quadra Street Village is the heavy volume of vehicular traffic that passes through the village centre for the best part of the day and into the night.  Other than that it has many services and facilities catering to local area residents and is a pleasant place to stop and shop.

The urban tapestry of Victoria is certainly enhanced by the presence of our neighbourhood villages and each one of them prides itself on its contributions to its particular neighbourhood.  Each of them offers visitors a definite insite into the mosaic that makes up our wonderful Capital City and contributes to its cultural diversity.