James Bay Food & History Self-Guided Tour

Discover local foodie gems in Victoria's oldest suburb. The best time to do this tour is Wednesday-Saturday 10.30am-1.30pm.
Purchase Tour

Price

$35

DistanCE

3 km
1.8 miles

Mode of transport

Walk

Discover gardens, gastronomy, and history:

Spending a day walking around James Bay is a must-do activity when visiting Victoria. This historic neighbourhood hugs the coastline on the most Southern tip of Vancouver Island and is full of lush temperate-rainforest gardens, Victorian-era heritage houses, and numerous bustling cafes, gourmet restaurants, and quaint foodie shops.

Not to mention it is home to some of the biggest tourist attractions in Victoria including the Legislature Building, Fisherman’s Wharf, The Emily Carr house, and the Ogden Point Cruise Ship Terminal. Our James Bay Food & History Self-Guided Tour is a fun and informative way to explore this popular neighbourhood on your own time and at our own pace using our foodie passport and free GPS-guided app.

Discover gardens, gastronomy, and history:

Spending a day walking around James Bay is a must-do activity when visiting Victoria. This historic neighbourhood hugs the coastline on the most Southern tip of Vancouver Island and is full of lush temperate-rainforest gardens, Victorian-era heritage houses, and numerous bustling cafes, gourmet restaurants, and quaint foodie shops.

Not to mention it is home to some of the biggest tourist attractions in Victoria including the Legislature Building, Fisherman’s Wharf, The Emily Carr house, and the Ogden Point Cruise Ship Terminal. Our Self-Guided James Bay Food & History Tour is a fun and informative way to explore this popular neighbourhood on your own time and at our own pace using our foodie passport and free GPS-guided app.

Passport Foodie Stops:

Imagine Studio Cafe

31 Erie St, Victoria, BC V8V 1P8

Monday       Closed
Tuesday      9a.m.–4p.m.
Wednesday 9a.m.–4p.m.
Thursday     9a.m.–7p.m.
Friday          9am-7pm
Saturday     10a.m.–7p.m.
Sunday       10a.m.–4p.m.

Learn More

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Vegetarian Options: No

Business Website: https://imaginestudio.cafe/

This beautiful café has a lot to offer, and it functions as a great learning tool for youth and people with barriers to employment. The sample is called Bannock. The recipe comes from the Cultural Teachings by Joseph Thomas Family at Esquimalt Nation (offered by permission). Gilbert Thomas and Zach Horne, our Coast Salish team


Ingredients: Organic Flour, Baking Powder, Butter (sometimes use Lard), cream, water.

Passport Sample

One traditional Indigenous bannock

Bannock with butter and jam
Bowl of creamy seafood chowder

Barb's Fish & Chips

1 Dallas Rd, Victoria, BC V8V 0B2

Monday      11a.m.–8p.m.
Tuesday      11a.m.–8p.m.
Wednesday 11a.m.–8p.m.
Thursday     11a.m.–8p.m.
Friday         11a.m.–8p.m.
Saturday     11a.m.–8p.m.
Sunday       11a.m.–8p.m.

Learn More

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Vegetarian Options: Yes

Business Website: https://www.barbsfishandchips.com/

Sampling seafood is a must when visiting Victoria and the very best chowder in the city is from Barb's. They are most famous for their fish & chips but we think the chowder is a secret hidden gem that most tourists don't know about!
Ingredient List: flour, cream, butter, fish stock, bacon, clams, fish bites (cod/halibut), salmon, vegetables and seasonings

Passport Sample

One small bowl of seafood chowder

Nourish Café & Kitchen

225 Quebec St, Victoria, BC V8V 1W2

Monday      10a.m.–3p.m.
Tuesday      10a.m.–3p.m.
Wednesday 10a.m.–3p.m.
Thursday     10a.m.–3p.m.
Friday         10a.m.–3p.m.
Saturday     10a.m.–3p.m.
Sunday       10a.m.–3p.m.

Learn More

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Vegetarian Options: Yes

Business Website: https://www.nourishkitchen.ca/

Here you have options! In the mood for a great coffee? They use a locally roasted coffee from a company called Mile Zero. Mile Zero roasts their coffee in small batches using Arabica fair-trade beans. The residents of Victoria are pretty serious about their coffee and Mile Zero is definitely a local favorite. Not a coffee drinker? No problem, you can choose from any of their signature drinks which also includes tea and hot chocolate.

Passport Sample

One 8OZ signature drink including coffee, tea, or hot chocolate

Small cup of coffee
crackers topped with brie and honey

Off The Eaten Track James Bay

470 Belleville Street

Monday - Closed
Tuesday 10a.m.–4p.m.
Wednesday 10a.m.–4p.m.
Thursday 10a.m.–4p.m.
Friday 10a.m.–4p.m.
Saturday 10a.m.–4p.m.
Sunday Closed

Learn More

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Vegetarian Options: Yes

Business Website: https://offtheeatentracktours.ca/

Did you know that the Off The Eaten Track kiosk space sells local pantry items like peanut butter, jam, hot sauce, crackers, caramels and more? We love supporting local foodie producers and our kiosk space is a great place to pick up some local foodie items. They make a great souvenir.

The sample you will be trying is a combination of three local foodie producers from Vancouver Island, two of which can be purchased at our kiosk. It's a vegan cracker from Jenny Marie's Cracker Co, topped with some brie cheese from Natural Pastures based in Comox, topped with some blackberry honey from Country Bee Honey Farm. We sell the crackers and the honey at the kiosk.

Ingredients: Crackers - unbleached wheat flour, water, olive oil, baking powder, pepper, sea salt

Passport Sample

Local crackers topped with brie then drizzled with local blackberry honey.

two small chocolates

Terrible Truffles

501 Government St, Victoria, BC V8V 2L6

Monday         9a.m.–5:30p.m.
Tuesday         9a.m.–5:30p.m.
Wednesday   9a.m.–5:30p.m.
Thursday       9a.m.–5:30p.m.
Friday            9a.m.–6p.m.
Saturday       9a.m.–5:30p.m.
Sunday         9a.m.–5p.m.

Learn More

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Vegetarian Options: Yes

Business Website: http://www.terribletruffles.com/

Owner David Booth is always creating new delicious chocolates that he makes in the kitchen in the back of the house. The exact samples and ingredients will change depending on the season and what is in stock. If you have a nut allergies just let them know and they will make sure to accommodate you.


Passport Sample

Two handmade Truffles

For Good Measure

579 Niagara St, Victoria, BC V8V 1H8

Monday      8a.m.–6p.m.
Tuesday     8a.m.–6p.m.
Wednesday 8a.m.–6p.m.
Thursday    8a.m.–6p.m.
Friday      8a.m.–6p.m.
Saturday    8a.m.–6p.m.
Sunday      9a.m.–5p.m.

Learn More

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Vegetarian Options: Yes

Business Website: https://www.forgoodmeasure.ca/

Owner Max makes amazing nut butters and snack mixes and the One Sailing Wait is the most popular snack mix they have.
Ingredients: Almonds*, raisins, dried cranberries, diced pineapple, chopped apricots, pecans*, sugar, sunflower oil, non-GMO canola oil, sulphur dioxide, citric acid, rice flour. *roasted with non-GMO canola oil. This product is manufactured in a facility that processes foods containing wheat, milk, soy, tree nuts, peanuts and seeds. This product is manufactured in a facility that processes foods containing wheat, milk, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, and seeds.


Passport Sample

One 100g bag of One Sailing Wait snack mix

one sailing wait snack mix

Important Information

  • Keep your foodie passport safe like you would a real one. We can’t replace lost passports and this is the only way to acquire your tasting samples.
  • The passport is valid for 2 weeks once you pick-it up from our kiosk so use it up! After the expiration date the foodie samples are no longer valid.
  • If you choose to complete the tour in one-day, plan for at least 2-3 hours of walking and tasting. Please note that Imagine Studio Cafe is closed on Monday and many of the included restaurants are closed on holiday Mondays. Courtyard Cafe is now closed at 3pm until further notice due to staff shortage.
  • You will need headphones to listen to the commentary on your phone. Bring your own or we sell them for $7. You could also play the tour on your phone speaker.
  • You will need a fully charged cell phone to run the app. Please charge your cell phone before starting the tour, you are welcome to charge it at the kiosk.
  • Please note that you will need to know your Apple ID in order to download the APP. You may want to have this information handy before you come to pick-up the passport at the kiosk.
  • Hours and times of food businesses change, especially on holidays. For the most up-to-date information please contact the business directly.
  • The most ideal time to do the tour is Tuesday-Sunday 10am-noon. Please note that many of the restaurants included are very busy at lunch hour especially Barb’s Fish & Chips. You will have to wait in line if you decide to go at lunch.
  • There is roughly 3 KM (1.8 Miles) of light walking. We suggest wearing appropriate footwear.
  • This is not a VIP access card that lets you jump the queue. You may have to wait in line or wait for a table at certain spots. We recommend visiting during non-peak times. Sorry, even we have to wait sometimes!
  • The answer is yes, you should definitely leave a gratuity. These are small businesses working incredibly hard and it is our local custom to tip wait staff, counter staff, and really anyone that flashes a smile and serves you food + drinks. A Toonie or Loonie will do.

Dietary Concerns

We are unable to make substitutions for any dietary allergies or vegetarian requests. This tour is not suitable for those with a seafood, gluten, or dairy allergy. A few things to consider:

  1. While the food is a very important aspect of the tour you will still enjoy the commentary and stories that come with the tour so if there is one or two stops you may skip we still think the tour is worth it!
  2. We have more control over dietary requests on our guided tours. If you have allergies we would suggest joining us on our guided tours.