Impressions of the Victoria Public Market


#6-1701 Douglas St,
Victoria, BC

Tues to Sat: 9:30am to 6:30pm

Sun: 9:30 to 5pm

The Victoria Public Market finally opened its doors to let locals into its interior. On opening day, the vibe was exuberant. I liked the feeling of how expansive the main floor was but I’m unsure of the industrial look it had along the ceiling. I didn’t feel like I was being shot backwards through time and emerging into an ancient courtyard where traders and farmers would sell their wares to commoners. Okay so I’m no Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, but I could at least hope that I would feel like a fur trader coming to ply my wares in exchange for my next day’s meal.

When this market gets into full swing, I’m sure that’ll happen. I liked the variety that is offered here, even though not every operation is running yet. The one cool thing I could find was healthy treats from Luv Bites that I can offer to my canine pals.

Harvest moon is soon approaching and all those extra yields of maize, pumpkins and yams have to go somewhere. The desire to see this marketplace fully open and operating throughout the year exists, but will everything be in place just in time? Or is history repeating itself? In the past, the problem has been with getting enough vendors to set up shop.

A couple of operations, namely Cowichan Bay Seafood are not ready yet, and La Cocina de Mama Oli, caught my curiousity. The big sign in front of their space had no details about what this place is all about.

Also, I have to wonder if there will be a basement level. I noticed that there was a wheelchair accessible escalator that would take people down but where are the stairs?

The one good thing that I like is that this market also had outdoor vendors at the back of the building. They were here just for this special event and I doubt they will be around during the colder months. After all, this space is meant to be a permanent indoor show than outdoor. But if the availability is open for the spring and summer season, I am all for it. The mainstays from the Wednesday fair were back and that was welcomed.

At least for this opening weekend visit, people were wandering around looking for food to eat and (especially for me) samples to taste. Because I missed the late morning/early afternoon fun, I think all the samples that was offered ran out. That’s okay. I saw a few eateries that I’ll have to return for, like Victoria Pie Co. and -[ Roast ]-. Over at Olive the Senses, I now have a local place to buy black truffle oil.

While they will never replace La Buona Tavola at Pike Place Market for the number of truffle related products, I feel the variety of flavour infused oils is a good start. Most of their stock is available to sample. I think I got more of a healthy dose of pomegranates and blood oranges today than any other, and this place is a must hit for chefs and foodies alike.

The Victoria Public Market looks like it has the full support of the populace living in the downtown area. Now the big question is will it draw people from the various municipalities here? That too was an issue over 50 years ago. The numerous amount of unique products that I saw certainly caught my attention, and I’ll be back to buy them. But I have to note that this place may not be much of an attraction for tourists until more tenants, especially craftspeople, occupy the space and the basement floor is opened.

The only shame is that this place doesn’t have the same rustic feel that the Pike Place Market has. Yes, I’ve been spoiled. It’s tough to beat having a comic book store in a market (which would be what I’d often hit second, after getting my dose of truffle spread). The nerd in me needs some kind of attraction.

Also, I have the benefit of living near Blenkinsop Road so I can get any farm fresh product there. But for a good quick bite or craft shopping, yes a visit to this downtown market is an order. My big reason is that I was told that the space Sutra occupies will vary their menu daily. The pies, once when they offer regular ice-cream delights, will be another draw. Those are enough to get me to mosey on out of my cozy world of Sannich.

Sorry Moss Street, but when I have to transfer onto two buses to get to where you are, my desire to visit is just not there.

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