The 2022 Victoria Fringe Festival is a wrap, and it’s almost a full return to form. This event ran from August 24 to Sept 4 and was well attended. I passed by many lineups while wandering Downtown Victoria at those venues that hosted, and the one big thing that changed, as a result of the pandemic, was the lack of seeing talents run from venue to venue to pass along flyers of their shows, and saying you must check it out. While there were fewer places hosting, that’s to be expected (assuming if they adhered to indoor health code regulations).
An internal change that not every patron is aware of is to buy tickets in advance (online or at the box office). I observed a few people were unaware, and instead of being turned away, were allowed to purchase at the door. I’m glad Intrepid Theatre was aware this situation may happen, and were prepared. I suspect further revisions will be in store to help streamline future events. And as the world transitions to accepting Covid-19 won’t go away, further tweaks will be made. All anyone can do is to be mindful in how things must now operate to keep everyone healthy and safe.
DK: Victoria, BC’s North Park Multicultural Festival is unique for a couple reasons:
- Vendors aren’t charged any fees
- It’s explicitly marketed as culturally diverse.
Does this make the quarterly event wildly different from any of the other market-type events hosted throughout the CRD? I certainly hoped it would!
ES: I wasn’t aware of this event until Don told me, and I suspect it started up when health restrictions were lifted to allow for such gatherings. Out by my neck of the woods, Saanich, we also have a similar type of show but do I really want to go to Uptown Mall?
Downtown is a better choice–North Park is west of the city core, and it’s a beautiful area with a handful of diners and other goodness to wander around in.
With this event at Royal Athletic Park, it took up one side more than to use the baseball diamond field. All I can say is batter up! Don and I were there to see what was offered, and there were some interesting goods that I could’ve picked up, but I wanted to fill up instead. I didn’t have breakfast.
Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods
805 Government St
Hours: Mon to Sun 8:00am to 8:00pm
Phone: (778) 247-0354
ES: From sandwich shop to soup kitchen (if it can be called that), the deli turned health food stop certainly knows how to serve the soups and stews up warm and fresh. They also know keeping a few luncheon staples folded between breads is still important. The operation is now known as Tractor. They have farm fresh in mind, and my meal was cozy enough to warm me up on a wet day while downtown Victoria, BC.
DK: While waiting for Ed a young man in a suit passed by along Government Street. Not a suit, suit. More an “I’m here for a conference and I need to look fresh and clean when the gang goes out on the town” suit. Anyway, while striding by one of his companions asked if he’d ever been to Tractor, and what his opinion was. “Nice aesthetic, but pretty expensive,” was the man on the street’s reply.
Sept 10-12, 2021
Don and I made it Esquimalt’s Ribfest! Though we met up for dinner elsewhere to sate our appetites (review coming in two weeks), my suggestion to check out this festival was with no regrets.
We saw a new tent that may well be part of the annual show. And, it gave us reason to return since we didn’t want to deal with the long lineup for The Colossal Onion. on the evening we went. We both agree that this event is not the type to return to every year. Our criticism is that the “competitors” hardly change. When compared to similiar shows elsewhere around North America, there’s tons of operations out there who can bbq up a tasty pork or beef rib. Either they’re not as well known to get invited to the island or they’re not into national-level challenges.
Cat’s Coffee & Cake
1213 Douglas St
Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Phone: (250) 590-1699
This cat certainly wants to come back to the cafe on Douglas Street because of the treats and sweets offered. Not only is the company logo designed by local artist Gareth Gaudin, but also I figure it’s his favourite hangout spot when not behind the till at Legends Comics. I believe they also offer catering services too, which is a bonus for any downtown operation wanting to support local enterprises.
I was feeling peckish the day I was in town. The signboard detailing Cat’s Coffee & Cake specials caught my eye. Kimchi and bacon in a croissant sandwich? I knew it’d be a flavourful combination, but there was a small lineup. I had another errand to do and when I returned, there was none.
At first I thought I’d be entering a cafe with cute felines around, but alas, that’s another operation in the works (Mask and Mantle Cat Cafe are still searching for the ideal location to set up shop). This operation is apparently a passion project of master pastry chef Yi Catherine Yang who decided to set up shop in the busiest intersection of Downtown Victoria. She’s well known in China as the host of several TV cooking shows. Through these programs, she’s been promoting culture through the exchange of how to make up flavourful treats. While she may not be living in this city and working this particular kitchen (her resume lists her as the creative force behind New York’s Gigi Blue), to have her endorsement is enough.
985 Whirlaway Cres
Phone: (250) 590-3222
Available for Take Out by phone (menu)
Going to Mr Mikes Steakhouse Restaurant is a blast of the past–a tradition from my youth. This franchise operation is renowned for their burgers and it was sad when they nearly disappeared from the local landscape in Victoria, BC in the late 80s. Like Fuddruckers, both operations were very well known and the quality was a step above what the fast-food joints offered. To make a comeback will be tougher.
I’m not just thinking of the current covid-19 stay at home order to flatten the curve and whether diners are fussy. This company needs an advertising campaign to let old timers like me (yes, I’m admitting it) that they are still around. Continue reading