Victoria Performing Arts & Culture

The Victoria performing arts and culture options are as diverse as most large cities but on a slightly smaller scale.  

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The Victoria performing arts scene boasts contemporary live theatre at The Belfry Theatre. Located in Fernwood village, the Belfry makes its home in a former Baptist Church. They produce up to 12 plays each year with a special emphasis on Canadian productions. They promote themselves in this way:

"With love, from scratch, and with some of the country's best theatre artists, we build, rehearse and create our plays in our own home, a renovated 19th century church in Fernwood - Victoria's most interesting neighbourhood."

The McPherson Playhouse located in the Centennial Square complex is affectionately known to locals as The Mac. It is a 772-seat theatre and concert hall that was originally built in 1914 and has been continuously in use since opening. The Mac hosts professional, community and amateur events year-round.

My sister Jane and I enjoying Lunch at Allens - a musical quartet performance at The Mac.

More performing arts entertainment is available at the Royal Theatre located on Blanshard Street in downtown Victoria. The Royal Theatre is a 1,413 seat opera house and concert hall that opened its doors in 1913. It is a popular venue for the Victoria Symphony and the Victoria Philharmonic Choir as well as for touring bands and dance and ballet companies. In 2022 the Just For Laughs Comedy Night in Canada with Rick Mercer will be on stage in May.

Some other arts and entertainment options include visiting a Victoria art gallery such as our largest one – the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. For many locals this gallery is most well-known for hosting the famous Moss Street Paint In held each year in early summer.

For a cultural experience unlike any other a visit to the Royal BC Museum is a must.

The museum was founded in 1886 and is home to archives, artifacts, documents and specimens that tell the story of British Columbia’s history and its people.

The permanent galleries are the First Peoples Gallery, the Modern History Gallery and Natural History Gallery.

Travelling exhibits are also hosted at the gallery periodically. The current exhibit is Orcas: Our Shared Future on display until March 31, 2022. 

Shortly after this photo was taken, these two set the alarms off when they tried to get closer to the beast!

In 2017 my dad and I went when the Terry Fox exhibit was touring and we found a poster that had been signed by my dad’s co-workers at 3M in London Ontario and was presented to Terry when he came through town.  

We recommend to use TourScanner to find the best deals for tickets and tours to some of Victoria's most popular activities.

In 2019 and 2020 visitors were treated to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit which was exceptional. Hopefully this exhibit will return in future years.

Another popular Victoria performing arts event is the annual Symphony Splash which is held on the Sunday before BC Day in the Inner Harbour. An estimated 40,000 music-loving guests are treated to a free musical extravaganza hosted by the Victoria Symphony who play live, on a barge in the middle of the harbour.  It’s an incredible experience and people come from near and far to be part of the action. NOTE: Covid impacted this event in 2020 and 2021 however we are hoping for a return of this spectacular event in 2022. 

As you can see, no matter what you are looking for, you'll find the Victoria performing arts scene brimming with cool things to do and see.

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