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Home > Tourism Victoria Blog > Accessibility in Victoria

Accessibility in Victoria

Posted on November 23, 2022

Sunny Victoria BC, a veritable nature’s playground ringed by majestic mountains, has always been famous for its spectacular gardens, rich Coast Salish culture and friendly west coast vibe. What makes Victoria extra special these days, is the ease with which travellers of all abilities can take advantage of the world class activities, luxurious accommodations and delicious dining choices as more and more local businesses see the tremendous benefits of being Accessible for All.


Hi, I’m Robin and I created a website called Girl About Town: Accessible Victoria. I review local restaurants and attractions from my perspective, a person who uses a wheelchair or small mobility scooter. I am passionate about this world-class city and excited to showcase its fine restaurants, lodging options and world famous attractions that ensure an accessible and first rate experience. In this blog I’ll be highlighting some Victoria experiences that make Access for All a priority.

First up, let’s talk food - I knew I had your attention! Boom + Batten at 2 Paul Kane Place is at the top of my list for a reason. Located in Victoria’s Inner Harbour with unparalleled views of the active working harbour, the Parliament Buildings and the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel, this restaurant is impressive for many reasons so let’s get into it.

With a menu both creative and tempting, Boom + Batten cuisine celebrates sustainable sources grounded in local Pacific Northwest culture. As you approach the restaurant from the seaside walkway, you’ll see a gently sloping ramp that takes chair users up to grade. When calling to make a reservation, be sure to mention that a member of your party uses a chair and your group will be seated on the main level with easily moveable tables and chairs, otherwise there is a step up to an elevated area with more seating. Offering delicious choices from seafood to fresh vegetables and meats from local producers, the menu has something for everyone. The restrooms are wheelchair accessible and family-friendly. I always find staff to be very welcoming and accommodating. Open seven days a week, don’t miss brunch on the weekend! After your meal, take a stroll along the Songhees Walkway, which is paved, flat, and well lit with extraordinary views of the dynamic Inner Harbour and the snow-capped Olympic mountain range.

The Songhees Walkway will take you right past the Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Oceanpointe Resort at 100 Harbour Road, one of the city’s premiere hotels, which offers one of the best accessible experiences in the city. The Delta Oceanpointe Resort sets the bar high for luxury accommodation and you’ll find the upscale property thoughtfully appointed for folks of all abilities. Once inside the main entrance and just beyond the front desk, there are a couple of steps down to the dramatic sunken lobby. For those who use a wheelchair or scooter, a gently sloping ramp winds down to the lobby, which is accessed by passing the desk and through a hallway to LURE Restaurant & Bar, the hotel’s casual yet sophisticated dining establishment, which I’ll get to shortly. Guest rooms and suites at the Oceanpointe are modern, beautiful and bright, while beds and bedding are luxurious. The accessible suites are thoughtfully designed with a lowering rod in the closet, well-spaced shelving plus light switches, thermostats and hooks positioned for ease of use. The spacious bathroom has a roll in shower, universal height toilet with grab bars and leg clearance underneath the sink. It’s clear that not a detail was overlooked when it came to creating these well-planned and inviting rooms.

The hotel’s popular restaurant and bar, LURE, offers delicious appetizers, meals and cocktails in an upscale space with beautiful views of the busy harbour, the Olympic mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible and there are tables and chairs that make maneuvering a breeze. There are also accessible restrooms close by just off the lobby. LURE has a classy atmosphere, yet is relaxed and comfortable. Open seven days a week, don’t miss out on Happy Hour daily from 3pm to 6pm.

For another fabulous accessible dining experience on the other side of the Inner Harbour, the Steamship Grill & Bar located in the iconic CPR Steamship Terminal Building at 470 Belleville Street is one not to miss. The Steamship Terminal Building, one of the city’s most iconic and visible, was designed in the neo-classical style and built in 1926 but despite its age, has undergone extensive renovations over the years to retain its stylish and elegant character. Well known first and foremost for their delicious seafood selections, the menu at the Steamship Grill & Bar offers a wide ranging repertoire of tasty choices including steaks, burgers, pasta, bowls and salads as well as Fish and Chips that are rumoured to be the best on Vancouver Island. There are also some gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options that will keep all members in your party happy. The extensive local wine, craft beer and heritage cocktail list is impressive and comprehensive. The restaurant is accessible for people who use wheelchairs or scooters both inside and out on the ever-popular heated patio. The wheelchair-friendly restroom is large and very clean. Happy Hour is on every day from 3 to 6pm and 9pm until close. You can confidently expect an enjoyable and top quality experience.

While still in and around the CPR Steamship Terminal building, take the elevator up to second floor accessed by elevator and check out the The Bateman Foundation an Gallery, a true gem that shouldn’t be missed. Robert Bateman, the multiple-award winning Canadian artist, environmentalist and naturalist is renowned for bringing the natural world to life through his paintings. The gallery is wheelchair accessible and located in a beautiful, light space with a stunning view of the harbour and is plenty-large enough for mobility devices to comfortably move around. One of the restrooms is barrier free with universal height toilet, grab bars and accessible sink. Staff are friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. The accessible gift shop located down on the main floor is well-stocked with all manner of Bateman prints, books, mugs, calendars, souvenirs and much more. Do be aware that parking anywhere near this building is busy. Ninety minute on-street parking is available on Belleville Street but fills up rapidly. There is underground pay parking available across the street at the Hotel Grand Pacific. Best to plan your trip accordingly.

Just a few metres away from the entrance to the Steamship Grill & Bar is the Inner Harbour Causeway, which makes for a delightful stroll whether you walk or roll like me. The causeway consists of two parts; the Upper Causeway, which is at Government Street level and has a wide sidewalk with a substantial granite retaining wall on the water side, and the lower concrete promenade, accessed up at street level by taking the gently sloping ramp with a hairpin turn down to the Lower Causeway. Both causeways are equally charming with the city’s manicured flower bed welcoming all. From the Upper Causeway, the world-famous and regal Fairmont Empress Hotel dominates the view, with the Francis Rattenbury-designed Parliament Buildings just as impressive, especially at night when lit up. The Lower Causeway is a significant public space in the city where you’ll find the best people watching amongst tourists, locals, singers, buskers, and artists with kiosks selling their treasures. The MV Coho, a large vehicle and passenger ferry that sails between Victoria’s Inner Harbour and Port Angeles, Washington twice daily, is a substantial presence while the pint-sized Victoria Harbour Ferry Company Ltd. buzz around to and from different spots in the harbour. These little ferries, also known as “pickle boats“, aren’t very accessible for wheelchair users but a great choice for people who are able to walk without difficulty. Sea planes, bound for and arriving from Vancouver, Nanaimo and Seattle, add to the overall bustling atmosphere.

While in the downtown area, approximately a 15 minute stroll from the Inner Harbour, a fun and wheelchair accessible place to visit on a sunny day (dress warmly on a cool one!) is Victoria’s colourful and character-rich Fisherman’s Wharf. Located at 12 Erie Street, Fisherman’s Wharf will delight your senses with its carnival-esque collection of food stalls, quirky art shops, souvenir booths, float homes, fishing boats and ecotours. The sturdy and substantial ramp from the pay parking lot down to the wharf is covered with an anti-slip mesh that instills confidence for the user. Indeed, a great portion of the wharf is covered with the mesh, which allays worries of slipping. There are gender neutral restrooms on the wharf, including an accessible one, with a small threshold to cross between the wharves.

Eagle Wing Whale and Wildlife Watching Tours, one of the city’s premiere whale watching companies, is conveniently located at Fisherman’s Wharf and has had their vessels specifically fabricated to accommodate wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility aids. Along with an friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating staff eager to ensure an unforgettable experience, I strongly recommend Eagle Wing as they are a very experienced and established local ecotour company with an excellent reputation. Typically tours last between 3 and 4 hours and while there is a restroom on board, it is rather narrow and wouldn’t be large enough to handle wheelchairs. Speaking from experience, my advice is to limit your coffee and tea intake on the morning of your trip and instead, drink in the beauty of the spectacular nature and the magnificent whales, sea lions, seals, otters and more.

If you’re looking for accessible accommodation ten minutes outside of the downtown core and are up for staying in a super clean and comfortable hotel then you should check out the Accent Inn Victoria at 3233 Maple Street just off Blanshard Avenue. The Accent Inn is known for excellent service, friendly staff (from the cleaners to the front desk), great value and easy parking. It’s 30 minute drive from the BC ferries and the airport, and is centrally located close to excellent shopping and the Save On Foods Memorial Centre. This pet friendly hotel will ensure a quality stay with fresh cookies served daily! In the accessible room, the bathroom has a vanity designed for wheelchair users with leg clearance, lowered towel bars, a universal height toilet with grab bars, a full sized bathtub with hand-held shower, and flashing-light alarm notification. A shower chair is provided upon request. There are a handful of accessible parking spots in the parking lot shared between the hotel and adjacent restaurant.

The popular and locally owned Bin 4 Burger Lounge is on site and offers delicious and fresh features that appeal to all ages. The burgers are seriously Delish! Gluten free and vegetarian choices are also available. Featuring local ingredients, house-made sauces, ethically raised meats, perfectly salted fries and onion rings to-die-for, along with Victoria craft beers and delectable cocktails, everyone will leave satisfied and well pleased. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible, on ground level, has moveable tables and chairs for easy maneuverability (booths too), and roomy, accessible bathrooms. Staff are friendly and welcoming as well so don’t make the mistake of giving Bin 4 a pass!

Finally, if you’re feeling like a decadent getaway that will provide you with an unforgettable and unique experience loaded with luxury at every turn, then a stay at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel needs to be on your bucket list. Located at 1175 Beach Drive in the picturesque and upscale seaside community of Oak Bay, is the # 1 Top Hotel in Canada, as recognized by the Condé Nast 2021 Reader’s Choice Awards. The resort is the perfect place for a rejuvenating stay, soaking in the scenic and relaxing atmosphere, while on the receiving end of world class service, but be prepared because after some time at this elegant luxury boutique resort, you’ll have a hard time going home.

A highlight for those of who use mobility devices is that there are several amenities at this luxury property, which could make for an accessible stay. The Grand Lobby is where you’d begin with its warm, rich wood panelled walls, massive wood burning fireplace and stunning views across the Salish Sea. All on ground level, there are no steps in sight but a feeling of luxury in a warm and welcoming space. The elevator takes you to the rooms and suites, which are large and decorated tastefully with a contemporary, quality vibe. The washrooms in the accessible rooms are spacious which is lovely but not designed for people who use wheelchairs due to the configuration and height of some of the bathroom fixtures. To get into the shower there is a step up to a ledge, which may work for some differently-abled folks. The stunning grounds of the hotel are accessible for mobility devices by way of a winding, concrete path that takes you down through the beautifully kept gardens towards the waterfront and past the famous mineral pools. About halfway along there is a compact, hydraulic lift so that people who use chairs can experience the breathtaking views. A stay at this famous and world renowned hotel is an exercise in atomic pampering, extravagance and Richard Branson-esque super-luxe treatment.

Whether you end up staying at the hotel or not, I strongly recommend a visit to the FARO Handcrafted Pizza and Tasting Room, where not only are the wood stone-fired pizzas beyond delicious (think thin crust, classic Neapolitan style), the drink menu is creative and well curated. The premium service is what you would expect in an award-winning resort: First rate. Along with my pizza and salad, I had a handcrafted cocktail called the Pineapple Peat, which I can’t stop thinking about! The dining space with its contemporary, stylish flair has thoughtfully arranged furniture and helpful staff to accommodate people with mobility devices.

Any way you slice it, a trip to Victoria BC is a magical way to spend quality time and as you’ve seen here, there are many accessible experiences on offer for people who use wheelchairs or scooters. The key to any successful trip is to be organized and with planning and some forethought your stay here will be a feature on your highlight reel for years to come.