Shopping on Vancouver Island offers diverse premises catering to every taste and need. Victoria boasts several well-appointed shopping malls, one right in the heart of downtown with ties to the Hudson’s Bay Company, still a staple of Victoria’s commerce. The malls boast a variety of shops from jewellery to housewares. If boutique style shops are what you seek, Victoria’s historic downtown has many small, independent businesses offering high-quality luxury goods of all kinds as well as souvenirs. Indulge in some locally made soap, or buy an elegant hat. Downtown Victoria has much to see. Native artisans present their wares in several shops, selling everything from handmade Cowichan sweaters to keep you warm, to finely made jewellery that combines the past and the present with elegant style.
As you travel further north, Nanaimo presents an engaging downtown core that shows off the history of the city and gives the shopper a pleasant place to shop and browse the many independent local businesses. For those seeking an indoor shopping experience, Nanaimo has a large shopping mall with many chain and independent stores too.
Once one leaves the larger centres, shopping is often found at local markets and in town centres. The availability of shops reflects the necessities of life on the north island, with Canadian Tire as a staple, and many smaller shops catering to specific needs.
The Gulf and Discovery Islands have shopping available, dependant on size. Many have markets that run in the spring, summer and fall, such as the market on Saltspring Island where local artists and artisans sell locally made foods, clothing, guitars, jewellery, and art of all kinds. The pace of life is slower here, time irrelevant. Browse the stalls, chat with the farmers and artists, and sample the delicious local food.