Northwest Passage
An expedition to Victoria, British Columbia
by George Fuller

In lovely Victoria, on Vancouver Island—a quick 15 minute flight from Seattle and Vancouver—golfers can play two of the best courses in Canada, decamp to luxurious accommodations at some of the finest hotels anywhere, sample the local flavors of expert chefs and spend a few days getting to know one of the most breathtaking
cities on the Pacific Rim.

Where to stay

The Fairmont Empress:
Located on the lip of the Inner Harbour in the heart of downtown Victoria, the hotel sits right in the center of the action. Ask for a room with a water view and spend the morning with a cup of coffee and the Globe & Mail. Looking every bit like one of the finest chateaux of Europe, The Empress is a lovingly restored and meticulously maintained historic hotel opened in 1908 and today a national landmark. High tea has been served every afternoon for nearly a century, and just one drink in the Bengal Lounge will transport you to the high water mark of Great Britain’s colonial era. The ivy covered facades house 477 elegant rooms and suites and the new Willow Stream Spa—which offers a Golf Performance Treatment developed by David Leadbetter and his pupil Charles Howell III.

Where to dine

Sooke Harbour House:

While a bit of a drive from Victoria, the inn and restaurant—owned and run by Sinclair and Frederique Philip—sparked a regional cuisine that celebrates the fruits of the countryside and the sea. If you arrive early enough for dinner, you can see the chefs culling their herb garden for the evening’s dishes. A 3,000 bottle wine cellar certainly presents choices for every taste.
The Empress Room: Located in the Fairmont, the ornate, old world dining room is a perfect stage for the culinary performance of chef Rob Cleland, whose creative flavor combinations and elegant presentations showcase locally caught fish and regional produce.

Il Tarrazzo:

Located in a historic brick building in downtown Victoria, the restaurant boasts a fine selection of tasty Italian dishes and an ever changing and extremely delightful selection of cheesecakes. 555 Johnson Street.

Spinnakers Brewpub:
An option for more casual dining, the pub serves a large selection of ales and lagers brewed right on the premises.

What to see

Butchart Gardens:

Set in an old quarry 30 minutes from the city, the 100 year old gardens are world renowned for the colorful blooms year round.
Hill’s Native Art: The best of several downtown galleries exhibiting "First Nations" artifacts.

Where to Golf

With no less than four challenging courses within a two hour drive, a tour around Victoria offers one of best golf experiences anywhere in Canada.

Victoria GC:
Until this year, the oldest course west of the Rocky Mountains was extremely private— and some fortunate enough to have played it have boasted of a seaside stretch of holes rivaling Pebble Beach for sheer beauty. Now guests who book a Fairmont Gold package at The Empress can judge for themselves.

Bear Mountain GC:

A brand new Jack Nicklaus design a few minutes north of town, the course is the first of two spearheaded by a group of NHL hockey players. After putting out on the 14th green, golfers play an extra par-3 betting hole which overlooks the ocean and the mountains of Washington State beyond.

Olympic View GC:
The Bill Robinson course is set beneath the dramatic Olympic Mountain skyline and boasts a waterfall that pours out of a split rock beyond the 17th green.
Arbutus Ridge GC: A semi-private, parkland style course located in a luxurious residential community and designed by Bill Robinson and Geoffrey Cornish, it plays around some spectacular, year-round salmon fishing waters.

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