If you have been following me for a little while, you will know by now that I love local markets. I love eating all the food (or what I can since I’m allergic/intolerant to everything) and listening to live music. I love supporting local artists and farmers but most of all, I love the atmosphere that is created by the local community.
Sidney (a city just outside of Victoria, BC) holds an evening street market every Thursday from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. I happened to be in Sidney around this time for a Tourism Victoria meet and greet (mixer) for my work. The meet and greet was held at the Shaw Discovery for the Salish Sea and had live music, free appetizers and a few samples of wine and ciders from local farms. My favourite snack (the only one I ate because I’m a vegetarian and everything else was meat or fish) was a watermelon/feta/balsamic/mint treat (pictured below). It was absolutely delicious. I silently stalked the waitress as she handed them out. Thankfully, the waitresses occasionally changed shifts and I was welcomed by a new one who wouldn’t notice that this was probably my fourth helping.
I loved that the mixer was held at an aquarium however, this proved to be a problem for my socializing. I found myself easily distracted by all the fish and creatures that surrounded us. I was suppose to be making friends and connections but instead I was trying to find the hidden octopus. Near the back, there was a touch pool. I’m pretty sure I spent most of my time here talking to the volunteer that ‘guarded’ the touch pool. I was able to touch urchins, sea cucumbers, star fish and sea anemones. The urchins were probably my favourite because they aren’t sticky but rather hard and would close their ‘spikes’ around your finger as if they were hugging you. Obviously, it wasn’t painful or they wouldn’t be allowed in the touch pool.
I forgot to mention that we went to a distiller before the actual mixer. We spent about 45 minutes following a man around the building as he discussed the different ways they made gin. I’m not a huge gin fan (mainly because i’m allergic to some of the ingredients) but it was still pretty interesting. I’m not going to lie, the talk was a bit boring for me but I blame my lack of interest in gin in general and not on the actual tour or tour guide. The tour guide also spoke about the different ingredients they use (pictured below) but withheld one because it was their ‘secret ingredient.’ Of course, everyone wanted to guess what it was so after the tour we all gathered around and sniffed the small bowl that contained the secret! Not to inflate my ego or anything but I got it right! I asked the guide “if I guess right, would you let me know?” and he agreed. I was the only one to guess it right but that was probably because I was the only one who had a bag of it at home for making home made root beer (hint hint hint).
At the end of the tour, they did a gin tasting. I took a few sips of the first one but after that I just watched. If this was a wine tasting, I would be all over it. Maybe, one day, I’ll like gin and I can go back there and partake.
I left the mixer early so I could partake in the Sidney Street Market. It was pretty big. There were a lot of craft vendors, food vendors, and live music. My favourite food from the market was probably the “Tornado Potatoes.” They didn’t have mustard (which I normally put on potatoes instead of ketchup) so I ate it plain. It was still pretty good but I enjoyed it for its fun appearance and easy eating! There was also a cupcake vendor (I believe they were Ooh La La Cupcakes). I had just made my own cupcakes at home and decided against eating more. That being said, they had these adorable mini hamburger shaped cupcakes (pictured below). If you are a local, I recommend checking them out. I can’t eat a lot from them but I certainly love the art behind cupcakes.
Another place I snacked at was the Bean Boy stand. This was my first time coming across them. They make delicious hummus that is organic and dairy free,. I can’t eat too much corn (because it doesn’t awful things to my mouth) but I loved sampling their hummus (which I also can’t eat a lot of because of my annoying intolerance to citrus). In the end, their hummus was worth the sacrifice. I ended up buying three different flavours to take home for my family who were visiting. I bought curry flavoured, bean flavoured and tomato flavoured hummus.
There was also a fudge stand. I feel bad because I forgot the name of the stand and their fudge was delicious. I bought a watermelon fudge, a salted caramel/butterscotch fudge and a maple fudge. They did not last long once I brought them home.
One of my favourite stands at the market was the wooden rose stand by Forever Yours Wooden Roses. The hand made wooden roses were beautiful and I regret not buying a few. They were only accepting cash at the time which I had none. I do recommend taking a look at their website. They have such beautiful colours. I need to come up with a special occasion so I can make an excuse to buy a lot.
Overall the Sidney Street Market was easily a 9/10 for me. It was a bit crowded for me and there was no where to really sit down. The live music was amazing but that is because it was Irish and English Folk music played by Knackers Yard (a group I currently discovered and now obsessed with). I love my Irish folk music. Which brings me to the previous week where I first discovered Knackers Yard at the Victoria Night market.
It was date night! My boyfriend picked me up from work and we walked down to the Inner harbor where the Ship Point Night market was happening. This market was a lot smaller than the Sidney Street market but it had pretty cool things too. Our favourite vendor was the mini donuts truck. They had a machine where you could actually watch your donuts being made. It was pretty neat. It also meant that the donuts would be nice and warm once they were ready. While eating our mini donuts, we watched Knackers Yard play old Irish folk music. I did not want to leave but we had to eat real food before hoping on a Water Taxi for a tour.
We went to Red Fish Blue Fish which is a very popular seafood place near by. I bought some fries while my boyfriend had some chowder and chips. He scarfed it down before I could get a good picture of it. I guess you’ll have to go and order one for yourself to see the rich colours! Red Fish Blue Fish is a pretty neat place. It is pretty much a permanently stationed food truck on the docks. Rain or shine, people come to line up for their food so it has to be good…right?
Finally, we got on one of the last water taxi tours of the night. It was just my boyfriend and me as everyone else seemed to want the regular water taxi and not take the tour. It was pretty fun. We got to hear historic stories about Victoria, see historic landmarks, and other important features around the harbour. We even got to see some wildlife and ride some choppy waves. It was a great way to end our visit to the inner harbour.
I had a long day and returned home to drink some local mead in a bubble bath lined with scented candles and accompanied by my Kindle (in its waterproof case). I’m glad I invested in a waterproof case because I put too many bubbles in the bath tub and dropped my kindle. (Note: The kindle I linked is not the same one I own. I was gifted my kindle and it is one of the older versions which I failed to find a link for).
I bought my waterproof case from a local travel store. The brand is GoTravel but Amazon seems to have cheaper ones if you are interested.
Waterproof Case Cover for Kindle