The farm and food shopping basket of the South Island extends north from Victoria to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal. Transit it end-to-end in a quick half-hour on the multi-lane Highway 17 (aka the Pat Bay Highway). Or hit the backroads to see rolling farmland, vineyards, home studios, and exquisite valley views. Mt. Newton Cross Road rates as one of the nation’s most scenic drives.
The District of North Saanich is home to the Victoria International Airport and ferry terminals in Swartz Bay (BC Ferries to Vancouver and the Gulf Islands) and Sidney (Washington State Ferry to Anacortes, WA).
Brentwood Bay is perched at the edge of the kayak-friendly Saanich Inlet not far from The Butchart Gardens, a floral wonderland in a reclaimed limestone quarry that has welcomed visitors since 1904. Widely rated as one of the world’s premier public gardens, it’s open year-round as native and exotic plants bloom indoors and out. The gardens are especially popular during the summer season marked by nightly fireworks displays and concert performances. Brentwood Bay’s resort and spa is a favourite getaway for foodies, who also enjoy touring area farmgates and wineries. Shop at boutiques along the pretty, roundabout-serviced main street, and dine at pubs, cafes, and a waterside bistro. The Instagram moments pile up fast during BC ferries crossings to Mill Bay in the Cowichan Region.