Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria is a popular destination known for its unique location and many dining options. Once an industrial fishing bay, Fisherman’s Wharf is now a center for culture and tourism in Victoria. Come here to purchase some fresh caught seafood, enjoy a hot meal or ice cream, or simply admire the incredible floating tiny homes. If you’re in Victoria, you should definitely visit Fisherman’s Wharf!
Where is Fisherman’s Wharf?
Fisherman’s Wharf is located just west of Downtown Victoria, and near James Bay to the southwest. The wharf sits on Victoria Harbour and is nearby other harbors for passenger ferries, like the Victoria Harbour Ferry, and the Black Ball and Clipper Ferry lines that head charter to Port Angeles and Seattle in the United States, respectively.
The History of Fisherman’s Wharf
The area where Fisherman’s Wharf now stands, or rather floats, has long been a hub for fishing, and shellfish harvesting. The area was traditionally used by the First Nations Lekwungen people for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in Canada. In the 19th century, the area became a popular spot for “day-fishing boats, transient barges that moored to pilings beyond the low tide line, and to float home dwellers”. The spot eventually became established as what we now know as, Fisherman’s Wharf. The location was overhauled and invested in to accommodate larger and larger ships to help the growing economy of fishermen and is now an economic and tourist hub. Fishing is still active in the area, and you can still purchase fresh caught fish and shellfish, but the wharf itself is now predominantly a collection of restaurants.
Taking a Seaside Stroll to Fisherman’s Wharf
I enjoyed the beautiful weather and decided to walk to Fisherman’s Wharf from downtown Victoria, and explore the area a bit more. I walked down Government Street downtown, past the Empress Hotel at Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
Just around the corner, I strolled past the Legislative Assembly building, a historic government building on Belleville Street. I continued down Belleville Street to the entrance to David Foster Way, a walking path that wraps around Laurel Point all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf.
If you have the time, I recommend taking the walk. It was a pleasant scenic route along Victoria’s inner harbor, and it takes just about 25 minutes from the Empress Hotel. You can shave a few minutes off of that time if you stick to the city streets instead of taking the David Foster route.
You can alternatively take a water taxi from Victoria’s inner harbor downtown. The marina is just below Government Street between Humboldt and Belleville. The taxi will take you right to the wharf, but it is a bit pricey at $12 per adult.
What Is There To See at Fisherman’s Wharf?
Fisherman’s Wharf is a hugely popular tourist destination in Victoria. I visited on a Tuesday afternoon in September, and it was completely packed. To be fair, it was an exceptionally beautiful day, but it just goes to show that even on weekdays and outside of peak tourism months this destination still attracts a crowd. So just what makes Fisherman’s Wharf so attractive?
Unique Restaurants and Fresh Seafood
One of the main reasons people make the trip to Fisherman’s Wharf is to enjoy delicious food. The majority of structures at the wharf are restaurants offering a variety of options, but with an emphasis on seafood. There are several spots to enjoy freshly caught seafood like fish and chips, fresh crab, and more. There are also shops to purchase fresh caught crab and fish to bring home and cook yourself!
It would also feel almost sacrilegious to not enjoy an ice cream cone or a sweet treat while on the boardwalk. You can pick up a cone at Jackson’s Ice Cream, enjoy a meal at one of the sit-down restaurants, or get some takeout and enjoy it in the nearby Fisherman’s Wharf Park.
Floating Tiny Homes
Tourists also love to visit this location because of the amazing floating homes here. There are around 30 homes in total that are permanently stationed at Fisherman’s Wharf, and every single one is more incredible than the last. They are all uniquely individual, and all have their own special quality. It’s common for tourists to come down and photograph the homes, as I did, but please remain respectful. Some folks can take it a little too far by stepping onto the homes themselves, knocking on the glass, etc.
Marine Adventures and Gift Shops
If you’re looking for adventure, you’ll definitely find it here. There is Eagle Wing Whale & Wildlife Tours that direct boat excursions for whale watching, and education about the surrounding wildlife. There is also Kelp Reef Adventures which offers kayak rentals and tours! If you’re on the hunt for a unique gift or souvenir you can also check out the gift shop on the eastern end of the wharf.
Beautiful Views of Victoria Harbor
Even if you’re just visiting the wharf for an afternoon or evening stroll, it’s the perfect place to do it. The area is nothing short of picturesque, and you can watch ships and float planes come and go in the harbor. It’s also apparently a popular spot to see seals and other marine and coastal wildlife, however, all I saw were some Canadian geese and small fish, which is not too exciting if you’re Canadian. However, it was a beautiful time, and my favorite part is checking out all the unique floating homes.
Fisherman’s Wharf Park and Playground
The Fisherman’s Wharf Park is just behind the marina, on Erie St, in between St Lawrence St and Dallas Rd. It’s a hilly park with lots of open green space to enjoy a picnic or play some outdoor games with friends. There are also a few benches that overlook the wharf.
On the western end of the park is a sizeable children’s playground with a slide, a few climbing structures, and some other things throughout for kids to enjoy. There are benches on the walking path so you can safely watch over the kids as they play. The park is only steps from Fisherman’s Wharf, so it’s a great place to stop by after the kids have gotten a sugar high from their ice cream at the wharf.
FAQs About Fisherman’s Wharf
Is there parking at Fisherman’s Wharf?
Yes, there is a parking lot right in front of the Wharf, and additional parking past Dallas Road.
Are there public restrooms at Fisherman’s Wharf?
Yes, there is a public restroom in front of the main entrance to Fisherman’s Wharf.
Is Fisherman’s Wharf busy?
Yes, Fisherman’s Wharf is very busy on nice days, no matter the season. It is busiest during peak tourism months but can remain busy throughout the off-season.
Victoria Harbour History. “Fisherman’s Wharf“